Bob the Parasite Cat. Or, the Shade Thief.

This is Bob.  He leads a difficult life.  Someone simply must enjoy the cool air coming out from underneath the house whilst napping in the shade on a hot day, mustn’t they?

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And who else is there to hold down the steps leading up to the front door?  No one else!  That’s who.

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Occasionally, the weather worn wooden bench feels neglected and it does make for the perfect place to nap in the sun before it gets too warm, but sometimes, only sometimes, Bob’s nemesis Frank steals the wooden bench.

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Hey lady, I’m napping here!

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Bob is not my cat.  He’s not our cat.  He is a feral cat who has been napping in our courtyard and traipsing through our bushes to get to the creek down the street for the better part of 3 years.  His diet must consist of bugs and rodents and birds and such.  I’m sure he gets all of his water from the creek.  Bob won’t let any of us get any closer than 10 feet away from him before he decides he has napped long enough and darts quickly away.  Thank goodness for the zoom lens on the camera.  We see him almost every day though and Bob seemed like the most appropriate name for him.  The munchkins merrily call out “Hi, Bob!” when they see him, then they try to approach him and he quickly runs away.  Frank does not give the munchkins the chance to tell him hello.

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The Pillow Thief

Back 3.7 million minutes ago when I was a new mother and even before I became a mom, I swore I would never let our many, many cats sleep anywhere near my precious babies.  There is that old wives tale about cats stealing a baby’s breath which my mother explained to me many moons ago as meaning that the cats would cover the baby’s mouth with their body because of the warmth from the exhalation.  Or cats are just evil.  Take your pick.  But the point would be that I was never, ever, ever going to let any of the cats sleep anywhere near my babies.  And for many years, the cats didn’t get anywhere near the boys.  Then, something weird happened.  The boys got older.  They grew and grew.  Who knew such a thing would happen??  The boys ended up in a bedroom all their own down the hall from the master bedroom and, being younger than us, they go to bed much earlier than we do.  But just because they are sent to bed does not mean they actually go to sleep.  They often turn on the hall light and open their door so they can read or harass each other or wrestle.  The boys also like to lure cats into their bedroom.  There’s only one cat who consistently likes to be around the boys and it’s Hunter, the most awesome cat in the world.  When I check on the boys at night to tuck them in and make sure they are breathing (yes, I still make sure they are breathing), Hunter is often on one boy’s bed or the other.  Hunter even has the nerve to steal the use of a pillow.  As neurotic as I am, I have reconciled the cats presence in the boys bedroom by realizing that once a child gets to be sixty pounds, or even a very scrawny fifty pounds, the cat will probably not try to sleep on the kid’s face.  If the cat is smart, it will try to find a place on the bed far away from a wiggle worm boy’s extremities.

Fun with Cats

Logan and Trip recently turned seven.  Their actual birthday sucks because it’s right after school resumes from the Christmas holiday and none of their friends or their parents would be able to remember a birthday so close after Christmas.  At least I presume that’s the case since I usually forget to schedule their birthday party until well after their actual birthday.  I’m punctual like that.  I was a week late for my own birth, I think I can be forgiven for scheduling my boy’s birthday party a couple of weeks late.  I think it should even be expected. 

Starting back in early December, the boys started asking for remote control helicopters.  They asked anyone and everyone who would listen and even a few strangers.  If I had taken them to see Santa, where they would be taught that it’s acceptable to sit on some strange man’s lap, to have their picture taken and asked what they wanted for Christmas, they surely would have said they wanted a remote control helicopter.  (Or maybe I just find the idea of standing in line for half a day for a cheap picture of some strange guy in a suit with my kids to be very low on the list of priorities.)  They wanted lots of other toys.  In fact, they may have fallen victim to the endless commercials they saw on television in the week they were out of school before Christmas.  But the toy they mentioned over and over and over was that remote-controlled helicopter.  There was no room for an unplanned toy under the tree this year.  Why?  Because we had already gone overboard and I don’t want them to get every single toy they ask for.  So the munchkins woke on Christmas morning to find lots of toys and no helicopter.  Oma didn’t bring one either.  The poor dears.

So time passed and they kept asking for that helicopter.  They knew their birthday was fast approaching and so they would mention the helicopter to anyone who would listen.  They are a couple of persistent munchkins.

Today, we finally had their birthday party.  It was a fantastic affair held at our usual spot at the local mall in their party place.  The boys were ecstatic.  Ed and I finally wised up and did not request that people not bring gifts because the boys were still overwhelmed from Christmas presents.  We learned that lesson well last year.  They might have been overwhelmed when they were younger, but now they expect presents at their birthday party.  And they received tons of fantastic presents this year.  My kitchen floor is covered with the packaging from these gifts.  The gifts they were most excited to receive however, were  the remote-controlled bugs from Oma.  They look a bit like cockroaches to me, but they were the first gifts out of their packaging.  After a brief plug-in, the boys played with them for 37 seconds and then they were ready to move on to bigger and better toys.  They received four video games today and such extravagances must be addressed.  So the blue electronic cockroaches were left on the floor, their controllers on my desk in the living room, completely abandoned by the boys.  What’s a mother to do?  There’s only one thing to do!  Play with the cat! 

 Hunter the cat is the most awesome cat ever!  He thought he was a dog until he was a year old and we got our black cat, Penelope.  He still plays like he’s a dog though.  The electronic bug was perfect for him.  I set them both down on the floor and started figuring out the controller.  That’s a difficult thing for a woman of my advanced age!  So there I was, playing with my boys new toy and Hunter sauntered into the room.  His ears perked up as he heard a strange clicking on the wood floor.  His eyes darted back and forth, watching the movement.  He stepped forward cautiously, unsure of what these strange creatures were.  Surely they were something tasty to eat.  And then, they stopped moving.  Hunter moved bravely closer, trying to figure out if this new creature was edible.  He’s on the genius end of the spectrum when it comes to cats and he figured out pretty quickly that these things were not food.   

So I spent  half an hour playing with my boys new toys, which they had grown tired of in a mere 37 seconds.  The bugs go back and forth and in circles in either direction.  As long as the bugs stay close enough, one controller will work both bugs.  The best part is leaving the bugs still for a few minutes and then, when Hunter isn’t paying attention, making the bugs crawl towards him and watching Hunter jump with the sudden  movement.

Tiny, New Kittens at Oma’s House

 I received a text from my mother today that said, “Tell the boys to walk slowly when they come to the house tonight.  There are two new kittens!”

My mother lives in town and puts food out to feed what she still calls “stray cats.”  Personally, I think when you feed a cat for several years, regardless of whether or not the cat comes into your house, the cat is yours.  My mother puts food out on her front porch and the neighborhood cats know they can usually find a good meal there.  In return, the cats who frequent Mom’s porch also eat any mice and many of the bugs they find nearby.  The boys have named the black female cat who consistently comes by Edwina, after Edwin the cat in the Olivia books, not after their father, Ed.  Edwina has had multiple litters of kittens and their numbers are thinned in the way that outdoor kittens lives usually are.  The stronger and faster survive.  Mom maintains that Edwina’s kittens die so frequently because Edwina is an inattentive mother.  Edwina often leaves her kittens deposited in a safe little hiding space or with one of her older kittens.  I maintain that Edwina has to eat occasionally and she’s fortunate enough to have an occasional babysitter.  Edwina is a medium sized black cat with a few stray white hairs.  Her oldest offspring is also a black female cat whom the boys have yet to name.  From the next litter is a black and white female named Laniana, who is around eight months old.  Edwina has many amorous suitors and has a couple of litters per year.  Edwina had been obviously pregnant several weeks ago and then stayed scarce until today.  Mom thinks the kittens are about three weeks old.  Edwina had deposited them on Mom’s front porch today, apparently feeling safe.

The boys were beyond excited.  We drove over to her house and they got out of the car slowly (after being reminded).  We walked up to the porch and Oma came out.  Edwina was there with a tiny black kitten and a tiny brown striped kitten.  They are so young they are still fuzzy and their tails have hardly any hair.  Their eyes still look like the pupils aren’t really set in place.  They have tiny little teeth and loud, insistent meows.  I told they boys to pet them with one finger so as not to injure them.  Edwina looked on, paying us no attention and being the inattentive mother she is.  Trip decided naming the cats today sounded like a good idea.  He named the black one Fermin and the brown striped kitten Suzy.  Upon inspection, I declared both kittens to possibly be boys.  It’s hard to tell with tiny kittens.

After washing our hands multiple times, we left for dinner.  We had an uneventful dinner and when we came back, Fermin and Suzy were deposited by the front step and Edwina was nowhere in sight.  Momma’s got to eat, but apparently, Momma also has to find out if the area is safe for her kittens.

Fermin the cat.

Fermin and Suzy the boy kittens.

And a closing picture of Suzy.

Cats on the Couch

A wonderful thing has happened in the lives of the cats who own the house in which I live.  The puppy Abigail has started spending part of her time outside.  When she’s not outside during the day, she goes to Ed’s office to wreak havoc.  So a calm takes over the house during the day and the cats can come out again to rest after the difficult time they have at work.  Wait. What? Work? Never mind.

Romance around the Neighborhood

The boys and I ran into the Brindle Cat again.  She has taken up residence as he Head Mouser to our new neighbors behind us.  They have named her Beauty.  She is busy not eating mice and attracting suitors.

A big Tom is stalking Beauty.  I have a feeling there will be kittens around the neighborhood soon.  They WILL NOT be coming into my house. 

Beauty is doing her best to act uninterested.  I don’t think Tom is buying it.

Dang!  The pesky, snooping humans ruined the amorous mood Tom was setting for Beauty.  Because really, what’s more romantic than the side of a garage?

The Evil Emanated from Her

Have you ever felt evil emanating from an animal?  A malice you just couldn’t quite put your finger on?  I did just two days ago.

Ed and I had gone out with some friends and came home pretty late to see a strange cat sitting on the air conditioner/heater condenser thingie outside of our side door.  The cat was brindle colored.  I’ve never heard of a brindle cat before, much less  seen one.  Ed made a gentle swatting motion at the cat to shoo it away from the door.  The cat slowly sauntered off, sure of its right to be wherever it wanted to be. 

We all went inside and the cat jumped our fence into the back yard and sauntered up onto our porch.  We let the dogs out because they had to do their business.  The cat just looked at us.  Chills ran up my spine.  Why was this cat not afraid of dogs it didn’t know?

I started to expect the cat to morph into a Hogwarts sorcery professor at any time.  I didn’t expect said sorcerer to say, “Hey, I want to take your kids to a school of sorcery here in the states.”  I expected the cat/sorcerer to want to suck out my soul and the souls of everyone I loved.

The dogs finally did what we had sent them out to do and we brought them back in because A) it was cold, and B) there was a freaky, possessed cat in our backyard that wouldn’t leave.

The friends and Ed and I sat down at the kitchen table to play a game of cards and partake in some adult beverages.  Every time we looked up, there was the cat, prancing back and forth in the window or just looking in at us, me.

I feel like I need to add at this point that I don’t normally feel like this about cats.  We own five (5) cats. Or, rather, they maintain living quarters in the house we own and refuse to get anywhere near the “outdoors” for fear that they might not get to live in the lap of luxury any longer.  I have never felt like any of my cats would turn into a human witch either.

So here is this freaky, brindle cat watching me drink and play cards. 

We ended our evening and hoped that the cat would be gone by morning.   Such was not the case.  I took the dogs out at 7:00 in the morning when Abby the Puppy woke up and there was the cat, curled up on an outside chair like she owned the place.  As the dogs went outside and bounded over to her, she slowly stood up and then stretched before slowly walking over to the stairs.  Why weren’t my dogs barking loudly and running this strange cat off?  I really don’t have an answer other than the freaky, weird cat had cast a spell over them.  So my dogs are sniffing the new cat and following her around like she’s wearing doggie perfume.  She’s lifting her tail and prancing through their legs. I picked her up and tossed her over the fence so the dogs could get on with their routine because I wanted to go back to bed.

The boys came home later that morning after spending the night with Oma and the cat was still there.  They started asking completely unreasonable things of me like, “Mommy, can we keep the cat?”

“Absolutely not!  Have you lost your minds??”

I’m all nice and nurturing with my kids.  Hit me up if you need any parenting advice!

The process went on all day.  The cat stayed on the porch or in the back yard all day long and getting the dogs to do their business required an act of Congress.  Ed decided that his heart would melt around 6:00 that evening and I threatened him with a slow and painful death.  He asked me if that wasn’t already happening to him and if it hadn’t started with his utterance of “I Do.” 

I hate it when he has retorts like that.  It makes me add years to his sentence.  At his current rate, he’s going to have to stay alive until he’s 105, the poor guy.

So Ed got all sappy over the cat and wondered if it was male or female and hoped that if it was a female that she wasn’t pregnant and wouldn’t have kittens under the porch in the cold north Texas winter.  He is a dramatic sap!

So I said that there was only one way to find out.  I went outside and picked up the cat to find out it’s gender. Girl.  What stray cat just allows some strange woman to randomly pick it up and check out the gender bits?  I felt contaminated after picking up the cat, so I washed my hands and arms for 18 minutes.  Then I cooked dinner with this weird cat watching me the whole time.

Fast forward to today.  I worked all day, so I didn’t know the scoop on the cat.  I called Ed on my way home (How pathetic is it that I find time for 2 calls on my 8 minute drive home?) to find out about the cat drama and he says that the cat is gone.  I decided that that moment was the right moment to tell Ed about the feelings that the cat had evoked in me.  Ed told me that I was nuts and there was nothing strange about the cat but that’s just because he doesn’t have a sixth sense or a feel for the occult.  I called my mom and told her about the cat just to make sure I wasn’t crazy.  She totally agreed with me!  She said she had seen the cat too, all the way over at her house, and it had freaked her out too!!