Archive for the KittyMonster Category

Guest Column…

Posted in KittyMonster with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2008 by tigereye

So, most of you have heard of me, right?

I’m Spike. I live with No. That’s what I call her because that’s what she’s always saying to me, and you human types sure like the sounds of your own names, so she must be No. I’m the three-legged dog-mauling survivor she talks about, and most of what she says about me is true. I have kind of a bad temper, but so does No. I have sharp eyes, sharper claws, and I can still jump more than 3 feet. If I still had that back right leg, she’d have a hell of a time keeping me out of her own treats, let alone mine.

Anyway, No’s up to her ears in work this week. I know because I sit and listen with her while she works. (You didn’t think I hung out to be nice or something, did you?) She thinks I’m sleeping, but really I’m listening to those meetings she types up, and using the information she hears to buy stock in a couple of those businesses. Remember, No might have signed a nondisclosure agreement, but I didn’t. I’m a cat. We wouldn’t make promises like that even if we could.

So while she’s working, I thought I’d amuse you folks for a while. I’ve met a lot of you on the net. I like that Little Fluffy Cat (is she single?), and Wanda trips me out, and Ina’s always talking about birds — I could do that all day. You seem like an interesting crowd of people, and most of you are cat people.

Anyway, here are a few of the things No talks about and looks at and does when she’s not on the box-on-the-lap:

TV. No watches some interesting stuff. She’s kind of got me hooked on The Closer and Saving Grace, and there’s this thing with people dancing that’ll do to watch until football season rolls back around and I can keep up with all the Tigers and Panthers again. She also looks at some guy in glasses who cooks and another guy in glasses she calls Keith, who talks about that politician O-someone she likes so much. I hope Furry Guy knows about this Keith, because she talks about him the same way Wanda talks about Orlando Whoever.

Music. Uh, No’s kinda weird on this. She listens to all this instrumental stuff most of the time when she’s reading. If I hear the music from WALL-E one more time I’ll bite her. Zero 7’s pretty good, though. She listens to better stuff through that red and black thing she attaches to her ears: it plays Mary J. Blige and Kid Rock (aw, c’mon, I’m a tomcat, what do you people expect?) and two different Bruces, and lately some girl singers named Missy Higgins and Carrie Rodriguez. I wish she’d put U2 back on, though.

OK, listen up, ’cause I need your help on this one. No doesn’t feed me enough. Seriously. I know, she goes on about how I’ve gotta stay on this diet because a cat with a missing leg can’t get fat, but you people oughta see what SHE eats. Chocolate chip cookies! Fried-ice-cream-flavored ice cream! Orange pineapple juice! Furry Guy cooks healthy stuff for her, but it doesn’t last all week, you know? And I know she’s told you about the government and how they took away her favorite ice cream (though she seems to have made up for them), but they put her favorite Lean Cuisines back, so looks like she could eat more of them and less of the Whale’s Tail chips. The government guys are real, by the way. I bit one who was trying to steal her Eminem CDs. I happen to like rap. See the tomcat comment above.

No wants me to vote this year. She wants me to register as Spike T. Eye and vote for that O guy she likes so much. He does look like a nice guy. The old dude is supposed to have a bunch of pets, but he looks like he wouldn’t tolerate a cat in his lap for very long if you ask me. I’m sure he’s nice and all, but No says if he wins whatever he’s trying to win, we’ll both starve. So vote for O! You heard me, people! Vote for O and tell No to unhook the red and black thing from her ears and freakin’ FEED ME!

Peace. Out.

Happy Mother’s Day to Me; or, Yet Another Reason I Can Never Have Children

Posted in KittyMonster with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2008 by tigereye

Mother’s Day is usually fairly peaceful for me. I send my mom a card; I send my favorite aunt a card; I send my grandmother a card; I send John’s mother a card; I call my mom on Sunday. That’s usually it. Sometimes I visit, but considering that the half tank of gas required to get to my mom’s house and back now costs more than most presents I could get her, we have an understanding.

Yesterday, though, I got to be the mom.

I rounded up Spike last night to put Advantage Plus on him, as I do once a month. For those of you without pets, this involves squeezing the watery, chemical-smelling contents of what seems like a large tube onto the back of the pet’s neck, where he can’t lick it or scratch it away. Spike is pretty laid-back about this most of the time — I give him a treat immediately after I dose him, so it’s probably got good associations for him — but for some reason last night he went all squirmy on me, with the result that some of the chemical mix dribbled slightly down his neck.

I didn’t think much about this until 15 minutes later or so, when I caught him licking furiously at his shoulder, right where the stuff could have dripped. I should also point out that there are roughly 1,000 warnings on the box that say, “Do NOT let your pet ingest this liquid! He’ll burst into flame right in your living room! He’ll melt into a puddle of fur and fat! He’ll sprout wings and possibly another head, with enormous fangs, and will pursue you around your home for your negligence!”

(OK, I just made that last one up.)

I tried to dissuade or distract Spike from licking, but as anyone who’s ever met a cat knows, this just made him glare at me and lick harder. I envisioned my broke-ass self schlepping the cat to the emergency vet clinic, explaining that he’d licked up his Advantage Plus, and being charged $500 and sternly lectured for letting him do it. I saw, in my mind, Social Services coming to take Spike away from me, possibly blaming me for his amputated leg. I saw Judge Judy refusing to let me have custody of my cat again.

Yeah, I know, I really need to get out more.

So, on Mother’s Day, I did what any quick-thinking parent would most likely not do. I grabbed Spike up, plunked his furry little butt down in the bathroom sink, and proceeded to give him a half-body bath with Healing Garden Oatmeal Shower Gel, which was the first thing I saw that wasn’t made by Clinique.

I was pretty lucky. Spike likes water. At my old apartment, he would sometimes hop into the shower with me. He’s not wild about the bowl shape of the sink, though, because before I got the gel worked into his fur, he managed to knock a bottle of perfume, three kinds of hair product, some hand lotion, and my contact lens solution all the way across the bathroom. It’s a small bathroom, but this is a fairly advanced feat to perform on three legs.

Then he realized he was getting a water massage and settled in. He purred; Spike never purrs. He looked the way I probably do when my stylist is washing my hair and I’m thinking ahh, this is nice, and now getting the tangles out is all on YOU.

I’m no fool. After I rinsed him, I didn’t get the blow-dryer out. I toweled him and brushed him and generally did what felt like relieved-mom procedures, and then gave him a kitty treat for his troubles.

But it was about as close to being a mom as I’ll ever come, and that’s a good thing. If I wig out this much over my cat, can you imagine what kind of neurotic wreck I’d be if I took care of anything I’d given birth to? I’d be one of those parents who turn up as extras on medical dramas, hauling the kid into the ER every time he sneezes or stubs a toe.

So, from somebody who just lived it and that’s as close as I want to get to the real thing, happy belated Mother’s Day to all my mom friends, and all the friends with pets, too. Spike also says hello. He’s sitting next to me, probably wondering when I plan to buy him a rubber ducky.

World’s Meanest Feline Bodyguard

Posted in KittyMonster with tags , , , on January 30, 2008 by tigereye

Have I mentioned that Spike is a bit aggressive?

Well, if I haven’t, he is. As I type this, my right hand looks like I stuck it down a garbage disposal without turning off the blades first. This is courtesy of Spike after I committed some real or imagined slight last night — possibly coming home from work at 5:30 instead of being home at 4 to feed him at the usual time. It hardly matters. I’ll be right in the middle of petting the little hellion when he’ll attack me with teeth and all three sets of claws, which, I should remind myself, need clipping.

Every now and then I’m the recipient of a Spike kindness, though.

Like every time I get in the shower.

Spike is a rare cat: he likes water. He used to hop into the shower with me at my old apartment, at least once every couple of months, and he’d stand there preening while the drain became white with shed fur. But at my house, the water pressure (along with everything else) is a vast improvement over the apartment, and the drumming/raining noise of the shower makes him too nervous to get in. Which is just as well. You try shaving your legs when a cat keeps butting them with his head. I should have scars on my calves that pass, in some countries, for tribal tattoos.

So here, Spike will often stand guard in the bathroom while I’m in the shower, and when I yank back the curtain, he’ll come up to the edge of the tub and lean on it. The first time he did this, I said, “Well, that’s sweet of you,” and leaned down to him, and he gave me a nose-to-nose kiss.

Yes, really.

He does it all the time now — not every day, because he’s often got more important things to do than make sure the shower doesn’t kill me, but at least once or twice a week I get a little dose of a mean, mean cat’s affection.

Sometimes it’s very hard to stay mad at him, even when the back of your hand is plastered with band-aids.

Spike: an Introduction

Posted in KittyMonster with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2008 by tigereye

I think most everybody who comes by here knows about my three-legged roommate, Spike, but in case some new folks drop in — everyone’s welcome! — I decided I was being remiss by leaving him out.

Spike is my unreformed hellion of an alley cat, except he lives indoors. I stole him from a neighbor who didn’t take care of him, and let him keep living outside even after he had The Operation that makes males more bearable. Then he was attacked by a dog (I lived in a neighborhood where it wouldn’t have been out of place to see Michael Vick walking his victims) and had a severely injured hind leg removed. He’s lived in the house since then, although I doubt he’s ever stopped plotting his jailbreak. It would be completely inappropriate to feel sorry for him, since among his other accomplishments, he can still outrun me.

Spike’s temperament is a lot like mine, which is to say stubborn and grumpy. He’s not a cat who can be reasoned with. The best I can do is impose a couple of house rules. He stays on a fairly strict diet: I have a terrific vet, and she points out that an obese cat balancing on three legs is a hazard for his health and my peace of mind. Spike also gets a joint supplement so he can keep climbing and running, and has his teeth cleaned every couple of years. If I had a child, I doubt I’d be this particular about its health.

Spike doesn’t purr out loud. Sometimes I can feel him purr, if he’s lying on top of me napping, or if I stroke his throat, but for some reason, the old rumbling freight-train purr he had before he was attacked is gone. He’s also a very aggressive cat. Whenever I play with him, I’ll walk away with at least one fairly deep scratch on my hand or arm, and he bites nearly to the point of drawing blood. This doesn’t particularly bother me. In fact, I sort of empathize with the impulse.

A Spike vignette that will reveal a lot about him: in the winter, he sits on the house’s heating vents. This will knock the temperature down noticeably in any room, so I don’t allow him to block the vent in my living room or bedroom. Oil is expensive and I’m cold enough already. This leads to a battle of wills, which I only win because I’m bigger and can grab him up from the living room vent and plunk him down in the kitchen. This earns me a glare that could freeze hell. When I’m asleep or away, it’s understood that I don’t care where he sits.

On New Year’s Eve, John stayed over to watch football with me. He slept on the couch because his snoring in bed is too much for me. It could disrupt air traffic or radio waves. He awoke from a doze and noticed the room had become colder, and saw Spike parked on the heating vent. So John did what I do: picked up the cat and took him to the kitchen, where he sat him down on the kitchen vent with a couple of treats. Then John went back to the couch.

A few minutes later, Spike sauntered back into the living room — a three-legged saunter is actually quite impressive — and sat back down on the vent.

John said, “You know you’re not supposed to be there.”

Spike fixed him with a look. “He flexed on me,” John said later, in disbelief. He watched the cat for a few more seconds, and Spike returned the gaze with one of his own that clearly said This is my house and She isn’t in the room — leave it alone, dude.

John let him stay.

He’s a great cat to have, as long as I keep in mind that he’s more like a roommate that I feed than a pet.