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A Game of Cat and Mouse

24 Jul

Gabriel found the cute little mouse Vita brought into the house a few days ago. (Vita and Gabriel are both little black cats.)

Vita carried it in her mouth—from the back apartment, so she must have used a magic portal. Yowling as she does when she brings me a creature (dead or alive), she had a mouse hanging out of her mouth. She carried it to the hallway and set it on the floor.

The mouse scurried away and slipped under the closed closet door.

Three alert cats sat in the hallway staring at the space under the closet door.

I opened that door and took stuff out of it (clothing, suitcase). One of the cats slipped into the closet as soon as I removed the suitcase, and I feared the mouse wasn’t long for this world. I bent down and spotted the mouse… and moved some more items out of the closet.

The mouse dashed out of the closet, scurried along the floor, and slipped under the guestroom door.

Well.

Tonight I saw the mouse for the first time since then.

I heard playful cat noises and stood up see Gabriel and Haedrig squatting in front of the shoe rack and staring under it. When Haedrig saw me coming, he ran up the stairs. Gabriel batted at something under the shoe rack.

I knew the mouse must be down there, but also noticed lots of cat hair, so I grabbed the dustpan and brush and ended up cleaning up under the shoe rack.

I was returning from a visit to the kitchen trash, when the mouse darted out for a second and Gabriel went for it. The mouse darted back under the shoe rack.

Half an hour later, I heard frantic squeaks and called out, “Hey!”

The mouse hung from Gabriel’s mouth. He walked up to the landing and dropped the mouse (probably because of my protests). The mouse darted to a corner and sat with Gabriel watching it. I reached for Gabriel, and the mouse ran back to the shoe rack.

I haven’t seen the mouse since then.stonedVita

(This is a picture of Vita on catnip… not with a mouse.)

Anxiety… and Funny Cats

5 Jun

I just remembered: I forgot to do laundry. I could do it now… or wait until tomorrow….

Brooding about toxic people. They’re not worth it. A pandemic and a revolution and that’s what I’m brooding about. No, that’s the other thing I’m brooding about in addition to the pandemic and revolution and white supremacy. Lots to brood and panic over.

Not sure I’ve gotten through a day this week without crying a little. The crying is when the pandemic and riots and all that are on my mind, not empathy-less assholes.

Nasal congestion, a little phlegm, and very little coughing, so I’m getting better and might be up to taking tonic again starting tomorrow. Of course, I could also be Typhoid Mary–asymptomatic with coronavirus.

#

A few minutes ago, I was pressing pieces of sleeves for my 1890s tea gown.

Virginia was dozing on the chair inches away from me. She didn’t react when I sprayed the bottle of spray starch. When I push the top button, it hisses a bit like a cat.

In contrast, Gabriel was sitting in the doorway and watching me the first time he heard the spray starch hiss. He jumped and ran out of the room and down the stairs.

Gabriel soon returned, and while he walked into the room, the spray starch hissed again. Gabriel jumped, turned, and ran back down the stairs.

Cats in the Sewing Room

4 Jun
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(Gabriel getting comfy on the cutting table)
A few minutes ago, I was pressing pieces of sleeves for my 1890s tea gown.
Virginia was dozing on the chair inches away from me. She didn’t react when I sprayed the bottle of spray starch. When I push the top button, it hisses a bit like a cat.
In contrast, Gabriel was sitting in the doorway and watching me the first time he heard the spray starch hiss, and he jumped and ran out of the room and down the stairs.
Gabriel soon returned, and while he walked into the room, the spray starch hissed again. Gabriel jumped, turned, and ran back down the stairs.
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Virginia knows how to relax.

Entertaining Cat

24 May

Thank you, Facebook, for reminding me that today is the anniversary of my dad’s funeral. I really needed to unexpectedly see those photos.

Well, at least Gabriel was entertaining today, never mind the bad memories, brooding, and fatigue.

Gabriel started to jump into my lap–but then he saw Virginia already there and stopped. He sat gazing up at me for several minutes. He was giving me his WTF face. I kept giving him slow blinks, but he wasn’t impressed.

Later, I entered the sewing room and noticed that the catnip I had found and set up on the floor … with the lid off… had tipped over and spilled.

Next thing I know, Gabriel is chirping and covered in catnip. He seemed much more chill now, if a bit… drunken in his movements while he rubbed against a basket next to the catnip.

Mummified Mouse

22 May

Now I know the source of that rotting corpse stench from months ago, when I kept moving the couch and not finding the corpse. It was inside one of those cat toys that have a spinning toy inside–and this one contained a toy mouse. Maybe the resemblance between toy mice and real mice is unfortunate when you have cats with great hunting skills.

Pandemic Shut-in Diary Entry

14 Apr

It turns out that if I’m wearing pockets while using the exercise bike… and put my phone in a pocket… the pedometer on my phone registers my exercise as walking (at least, if I’m doing it vigorously). Best to do it while reading nonfiction or streaming online, not while reading or writing fiction. So much for my multitasking skills.

I woke before 4 am and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while. I think I fell asleep shortly before my alarm went off at 7 am (trash & recycling). Oddly, I was so fatigued today that I slept all afternoon. With contented cats.

Haedrig is grounded for life

28 Feb

(See my previous post, Haedrig.)

After I got back home this evening, I went upstairs… and saw Haedrig sitting on the top step of the cat steps leading to the bed. He saw me and ran, hiding under the bed. I crossed the hallway and put the panel back over the entrance into the crawl space. Since the closet containing that entrance doesn’t have a door, I closed the door to the sewing room.

I just caught another glimpse of him before he hid under the bed again. He’s been hiding and sulking under the bed for hours.

Haedrig

28 Feb

I have three very affectionate and sweet cats who are attached to me. And then there’s Haedrig, a. k. a. Asshole. Yeah, I just changed his name to Asshole.

I adopted Haedrig at a cat shelter when he was two years old—thanks to a narcissistic sociopath frenemy who picked him. Of course I couldn’t say no to a cat. If I hadn’t been under her influence, Haedrig would still be in that cat shelter, because he has a… difficult … personality. He doesn’t bond with humans. Sure, he can be cuddly, though it took him years to reach a stage of letting me pet him for more than a minute before scratching me or at least lunging at me. Occasionally he still does that.

You might think he simply doesn’t trust humans. True, but guess what: I’m the one who has no reason to trust him, not the other way around. He has repeatedly proved himself untrustworthy.

On the evening of February 24, I opened the sliding door and left it open, as I headed for the laundry room (which is only accessible from the back yard). I have a cat fence in the backyard, and my indoor cat Haedrig is the only one who’s never climbed the tree in the back yard to get out of the overpriced cat fence. (Do I regret not hiring someone to custom build a huge catio instead of getting this cat fence? Absolutely!) Even with the cat fence, I don’t regularly allow Haedrig in the backyard—sometimes he gets out through the kitchen window if I leave it open because another cat is sitting on the windowsill. Until this week, I’ve figured it’s okay if Haedrig is inside the cat fence.

After I left that sliding glass door open and did my laundry chores, I didn’t see Haedrig in the backyard, not for a second. I would’ve expected to at least see him slipping under the low deck, but no. Inside, I closed the door … and forgot the possibility that Haedrig might be outdoors.

The next morning, I woke at 7 am and realized that I hadn’t seen Haedrig all night and didn’t see him now. He always spends the night at the foot of the bed. Alarm bells sounded in my head: I remembered leaving the glass door open for a few minutes. Even one minute is enough for him to sneak out, and he’s quiet and fast. I concluded that he was in the backyard, and I opened the kitchen window. I went outside… and not only didn’t see him but also had a strange sense that he wasn’t in the backyard.

I reported him missing on the HomeAgain website (he’s microchipped) and on the Nextdoor app.

The following day, I spotted Haedrig: on the front porch! Of course, when I opened the front door, he ran away. If I’m standing and holding a door open for him, he runs away, unlike any other cat I’ve ever met, and I’ve lived with cats all my life. I caught another glimpse of him, dashing under my car in the driveway. Uncomfortable with doing this, I propped the screen door open and left the front door open… for twenty minutes. I figured that if I wasn’t close to the door, he’d get indoors. But he didn’t. So I continued leaving the kitchen window open, as long as I was at home and it was daylight.

Yesterday he finally came in through the kitchen window, and I watched as he scurried away through the living room. I figured he was headed upstairs (he was) and I dashed to the kitchen, where I shut the kitchen window. When I reached the top of the stairs—and expected to see him curled on the foot of the bed or slipping under the bed—instead I saw him just past the threshold of the sewing room. We made eye contact, and he turned around and dashed for the sewing room closet… where I’d left the panel to the crawl space open so that Virginia could come in and out of the crawl space without waking me. (She’s very vocal.)

Haedrig entered the crawl space.

I used my phone flashlight to peer into the crawl space and couldn’t see him… and  remembered that somehow Virginia can access that crawl space from outdoors. I’ve told myself she has magic powers. But it turns out that the crawl space has an exit to the outdoors somewhere, and cats can use it to get in and out, and Haedrig the cat from hell figured out Virginia’s trick. This utterly infuriated me: he had actually been inside the house… and yet he managed to get back outside! This is when I renamed him Asshole.

Last night, I intended to set up cat traps with canned tuna as bait… but I figured if the kitchen window was open and the other cats got outdoors, I might catch one of them. Plus last time I used a cat trap, I caught a cute baby possum. Besides, Haedrig ate in the kitchen before running up to the crawl space, so he wasn’t as hungry as he could be. I decided to put off the traps for one night: the kitchen window remained closed all night, and I opened it and the gate to the cat fence this morning.

I was upstairs when I heard a meow. I exchanged a startled look with my cat Gabriel, who also heard it. That meow didn’t sound like anyone except… Haedrig. I’d not only closed off the closet panel leading to the crawl space, but I’d also closed the sewing room door. (Normally it’s wide open, but thanks to Haedrig, I’m keeping that door closed until I can find a door for the closet. This house is quirky.)

I pushed aside the panel to the crawl space—and sure enough, I saw Haedrig. I descended the steps and closed the kitchen window and the back gate. Back upstairs, I saw him out of the crawl space, greeting Gabriel… and he saw me and dashed back into the crawl space, further proving that Asshole is the perfect name for him.

My new strategy: keep the kitchen window closed and the crawl space panel open so that he can only enter that way. As soon as I’m between him and the crawl space panel, I put the panel back, put craft supply bins in front of it, and close the sewing room door. Also, if he’s not in the house by sunset, I’m setting those cat traps.

Why has this situation been so infuriating? Well, I’m a cat person—really, I am. As I mentioned, my other three cats are sweet and affectionate. They come back inside happily, purring at me and plopping in my lap. They don’t avoid me.

Not so Haedrig. I’ve taken care of him since 2015, no thanks from him. He’s a bit like that narcissistic sociopath who chose him: an arrogant, self-entitled, and remarkably ungrateful mooch. At least he has the excuse of not being human, but still. If he’s going to eat cat food in this house, he’d better stay in this house and not avoid me, the person who feeds him and takes him to the vet. Respect and acceptance are needs, not luxuries, and this asshole deprives me of both, just like… a narcissist or a narcissistic sociopath. I finally have no toxic people in my life. It’s not the sort of behavior I’ve ever previously experienced with a cat.

After adopting him and discovering that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me, I still felt it was my responsibility to give him a home… and yet sometimes, such as today, I wish I hadn’t adopted him in the first place. If it weren’t for that narcissistic sociopath, I would have allowed a shelter cat to choose me.

An Unexpected Visitor

19 Jul

I went upstairs… and a cute little rat appeared on the sewing room threshold. It sat there looking around with curiosity, while I stared and let my mouth hang open. I grabbed a cloth bag and started walking toward the rat, so it turned and ran to a far corner.

I called for Vita and Virginia, my two hunter cats, and they came upstairs and chased the mouse. To them, this was playtime; I merely wanted it back outdoors.

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The rat sat in a corner, and Virginia slowly approached it. The silly little rat walked up to Virginia and touched noses with her. This cat has caught and  killed countless rats and mice! The rat acted like Virginia was its mommy. She seemed rather shocked and didn’t know what to do, so she backed off.

The cats chased the rat across the hallway, into my bedroom. Urgh. By the time I followed, Virginia and the rat were sitting inches away. I had my cloth bag ready. Anytime, I could grab it by the tail and put it in the bag: I’ve done this with numerous tiny mice. But… I didn’t want to touch it. It was small for a rat, but bigger than any mouse.

The rat saw me coming and ran toward the window; Virginia chased it. The most disturbing part was seeing the rat climbing the curtain. Virginia jumped onto the windowsill. She was fuller alert now. Through the sheen curtain, she tapped the rat, and it squeaked. I noticed it had a white underside and wiggly black whiskers, like a chinchilla. It was cute, but I still didn’t want to touch its tail. It kept climbing, while I tried to figure out a way to catch it without touching it.

I remembered seeing a pair of gloves in my dresser, so I rummaged through a drawer while Virginia and the rat were still in the window. I couldn’t find the gloves, so I grabbed a sock. Still carrying the cloth bag, I approached the rat and, through the sock, began to grab its tail, but it moved, I panicked, and the rat jumped to the floor.

Virginia thought this was fun. She jumped down and stared at the rat. I approached it with the bag again, and it ran across the room, Virginia right behind it.

Virginia cornered the rat on a bookcase. Finally, I used a dustpan to push the rat into the bag. It worked! I held the bag closed, took it downstairs, slipped on a pair of sandals, and went outside, where I released the rat in the bushes at the far front corner of the yard.

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Even that was difficult, because the rat didn’t wish to leave the bag; I kept shaking the bag over the bushes, and the rat clung inside with its little hands. I lowered it closer to the ground while keeping my arms outstretched (I kept my distance in case it ran toward me when it got out) and gave it a few more shakes. Finally, the rat slipped out, head first, to the shrubbery.

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Annoying Dreams

7 Jun

I kept having dreams based on The Handmaid’s Tale.

In one, I was in this bedroom and painting the walls. It was an early phase, and I anticipated being executed or sent to the colonies anytime.

 

I dreamed that I lived in a big old house and was out in the garden. My cat Vita was with me. Or her sister, Virginia…or both. There were white metal patio chairs. It seemed rather autumnal, with a lot of dry, dead leaves lying around instead of things growing out of the ground. A lot of brown, not green.

A large white rabbit, bigger than Virginia—at least as big as the two cats put together—appeared on one of the patio chairs. Vita was fascinated and slinking toward it, and I was struggling to get my phone to take pictures of the creature. At first, I didn’t even know what it was.

Soon both Virginia and Vita were on patio furniture, next to each other, and the rabbit had vanished. I approached the cats, and a little white kitten was on the patio, in front of their chairs. The cats were eyeing the kitten, edging closer out of curiosity.

I came up to the kitten and started petting it and found a lot of fleas. I wished I was carrying Revolution with me and remembered that I still need to give Vita a dose. (This is true in this reality, not just the dream.)

Fleas were getting on my clothing. I went inside to get the Revolution and get the fleas off me. As I entered the kitchen (which looked like the kitchen in the house in Indiana), the fleas seemed to multiply, covering the colorful patterned dress I wore. I stood over a trash container and started wiping them off, and they ended up on top of the white plastic lid, so I went to the sink and started pouring water on my dress. There were also gnats buzzing around.