Tag Archives: cats

Paper and pooties don’t mix

Paper: n. a felted sheet of (usually) vegetable fibers laid down on a fine screen from a water suspension

Pootie: n. slang name for cute pets, cats especially

In this case, the paper is of the soft fluffy variety used to wipe your butt, or when tissue is unavailable, a runny nose.

There’s a lot to say about toilet paper – and recently the New York Times did a long article about how environmentally UNfriendly the toilet paper most Americans use is – and to suggest that recycled toilet paper is the way to go.

But I’m speaking only peripherally about sustainability – the sustainability of using soft fluffy rolls of paper in my house at all.

It’s about my cat, Bama.

First he discovered paper towels and chewed his way through a couple of rolls before I hid it in the kitchen cupboard and put out extra cloth towels. Thwarted, he moved into the bathroom.

I was almost asleep a few nights ago when I heard a strange sound coming from the direction of the bathroom, which I can’t begin to describe, but since I knew I was the only one at home it was very alarming.

This is what I saw when I opened the door:

"Oh, hi!"

"Oh, hi!"

"Excuse me, I've got an itch... are you upset or something?"

"Excuse me, I've got an itch... are you upset or something?"

I left the room to replace my camera battery and caught this…

“Not quite as exciting as a mousie, but I’ll pretend…” "Not quite as exciting as a mousie, but I'll pretend..."
"My precious..."

"My precious..."

There are all sorts of videos on YouTube of this phenomenon (search for “cats and toilet paper”) but the one I’d like to direct Bama’s attention to is this one, where the cat has learned to poop in the toilet first. Having just changed yet another stinky litterbox I’m all for toilet training. All I need is time and PATIENCE…

Paws to play: the life of a young cat

Paws: n. the feet of a quadruped that has claws (dogs, cats, lions, bears, etc.)

Pause: n. temporary inaction or stop

Play: v. to engage in recreation or sport

This really isn’t a blog about pets, but last night was all about pets.

First the dog threw up. Loudly. I woke up – cleaned up the rug (god knows what she got into…). Back to bed. Lay there waiting for it to happen again.

It didn’t. Eventually I got back to sleep.

Then the cat decided it was time to play.  Although he’s almost ten months old and very active, he just discovered that he could pretend his tail was a foreign object – a mouse, perhaps. And he practiced catching it – on my bed, with me in it trying to stay asleep.

Next he used his prehensile paws to root about on every table and shelf in my bedroom, seeking something he could pick up or push onto the floor. Papers, pencils, books, my glasses, my watch, a bracelet, a stapler – one by one these things clunked, crashed or fluttered to the floor, with the cat after them.

Lightweight objects are always worth several bats around the room; heavier stuff he just stares at before jumping back up to find something more interesting.

Meanwhile sleeping had become nearly impossible. BUT, in that awful nighttime nether world I was also too out of it to get up and throw him out of the room.  Besides, I knew he could make an even bigger mess with the stuff on the kitchen counter.


A seed packet?? !


And what would happen if I just pushed it a little farther??

I wish I had as light-hearted and dispassionate view of the world as he does – that I could pause to play.

Pootie Pix II: Bama the cool cat

Pootie: n. cute animal, most often a cat.

Pix: n. photographs


Indulge me. I posted a photo of my cat Gobama (Bama for short) back when I got him at the Humane Society in October. In honor of his namesake I share more today.

Bama is nine months old and looks black only at a distance. In good light he is mink brown. He has turned out to be as cool a cat as his namesake – smart, friendly, confident, curious, open-hearted.  And as beautiful.


Below he rides on my son’s shoulders as he helps me with winter yardwork, and at the bottom, says “Waaasaaaahhhh” in response to the dog”s arrival in the room.



Pillow Pal: postscript to pootie pix post

Pillow: n. a support for the head of a reclining person ; especially : one consisting of a cloth bag filled with feathers, down, sponge rubber, or plastic fiber

Pal: n. friend, buddy, companion

Postscript: n. a note written after and appended to a letter or other writing.

My post about my new kitty, Gobama, and how he likes to sleep on my head, brought this response from blogbuddy Splodge:


The website icanhascheezburger is addictive. Do NOT go there if you like cats or belly laughs.

Pootie “Bama” takes after his namesake

Pootie: n. small adorable animal, most often a cat. Pootie pix (photos of pooties) are used to enliven otherwise dreary political blogs.

Gobama, the sleek black kitty I got at the Humane Society three weeks ago, is turning into the Cool Cat of the Century, just like his namesake President-Elect Obama.

Like Obama, little Bama is interested in everything, ruffled by nothing. Here he is in the hood of my son’s sweatshirt.


I know you’re supposed to go sloooow introducing a new cat to the home and to other pets.  Keep him in one room for a few days until he acclimates to that. Then maybe a brief supervised meeting of the other pet (both pets restrained so nobody gets hurt).

Not Bama – he wanted to explore the whole house right away and he definitely wanted to meet Molly nose to nose, even though she’s ten times bigger than him. Like Obama being willing to “meet with enemy heads of state without preconditions”…


Most pets hate the vacuum cleaner, especially the sudden loud noise it makes. Not Bama. He tips his head as if to say, what’s THAT? and then charges after the electrical cord.

Other sudden noises like toilet flushing don’t faze him either. The first time he heard it, he jumped up to watch the water swirl away and almost fell in.

Water intrigues him. He hopped in the shower last week with my son and when the water hit him he just moved to the side and continued watching. Wylie let more and more of the spray hit him, and he stayed put, getting fairly well soaked.

This is good, because I’m actually allergic to cats and am going to be washing him off a couple of times a week to reduce the dander. The first couple of sponge baths in the sink went very well. He seems to like the rubdown.

Now I need to convince him not to sleep on my head at night.

Putting down a pet: Fritz 1991-2008 RIP

“Put down”: a euphemism for euthanize, “mercy” kill.

Pet: an animal kept for amusement or companionship; one who’s especially loved or cherished.

Fritz, our elegant tuxedo cat, came to us from a local organization of cat lovers who foster feral animals until homes are found for them.  He was six weeks old, beautiful and skittish.

At the time, our youngest son, Wylie, was 9 and effectively an only child because his brother and sister were off at college.  He was the one who domesticated Fritz, and for a long time was the only one Fritz would allow to pick him up.

Wylie not only could pick him up, but as the cat reached full size he wore him draped around his neck like a mink, used him as a fifteen pound free-weight for overhead lifts, and spun him on the oak floor like in spin-the-bottle. Fritz loved it.

Here he is last winter on Wylie’s head. Can’t find any mink pix right now.

He had some quirks. He drank by scooping the water out of his dish and licking it from his paw. I quickly learned I couldn’t leave fresh flowers arranged in a low bowl because he’d knock the flowers out as he pawed out the water. And of course he left splattered water everywhere. He also scooped his food out of his bowl onto the floor. You could say he was something of a slob.

When we lived out in the country Fritz exercised his hunting skills on a daily basis. As B. Kliban wrote:

Love to eat them mousies,
Mousies what I love to eat.
Bite they little heads off.
Nibble on they tiny feet.”

But he was a picky hunter. When he caught a vole, instead of eating it, he would deliver it to us intact (dead).  One afternoon he must have found a whole vole family because he brought us three of them. Wylie, in an act of macabre whimsy, arranged them on his dad’s computer – one peering over the top of the monitor, one looking up at it, and one on the keyboard – with a sign: “Fritz’s Action Figures.”

When Wylie went off to college, my ex and I separated, I bought a house closer to town and brought Fritz with me.  Gradually we became good friends – at least at night. During the day he pretended he didn’t know me, unless he was hungry, wanted to go out, or felt like talking.  He was an excellent conversationalist, with a full vocabulary of different sounds, which we traded back and forth. When you live alone, it’s much more seemly to talk to a cat than to yourself (though I confess to doing both).

At night though, he transformed into Loverboy. His favorite place to sleep was on my face or curled up in the crook of my neck. Sweet as this was, it usually triggered my asthma so I’d have to move him over to his side of the bed.

My doctor always rolled his eyes when I told him I was still wheezy. “Are you going to shut your bedroom door so the cat can’t come in?” he’d ask. He knew it was a silly question – you don’t kick a family member out of your bed!

Ten days ago, Wylie moved back home to regroup financially after an expensive three years trying to break into the film industry in LA.  Fritz was so happy to have him back. But he clearly was slowing down. In fact a couple of days ago he stopped eating and his conversations were more like complaints. He didn’t want to walk more than a few feet. When Wylie put him in the cat carrier (normally a two-person job) to take him to the emergency vet he just lay there.

A 17-year-old cat is a very old cat. The vet said he was cold and so dehydrated it would take a couple of days in hospital on IV fluids and heat just to bring him up to normal – and then we’d still have to deal with whatever was wrong. $1500 for starters.

We conferred and decided that it was time to say goodby to Fritz.  We were ushered into the “Comfort Room” – complete with chintz sofa, flowers, soothing black and white photos of misty landscapes on the wall.  Fritz snuggled between us on the sofa, unfazed, unpurring, seemingly peaceful with whatever lay ahead while Wylie and I wept and stroked him.

A few minutes later, the doctor came in and gave him the injection – and Fritz left.

Even though it was midnight by the time we got home, we buried him in the yard by his favorite sunning spot.

Dear sweet Fritz.  Rest in peace.

Play #1

I have two aging pets, Fritz the cat, who will be 17 in a few months, and Molly the standard poodle, who is almost 14.

I’ve been kind of wishing they were a little more fun, a little livelier. But maybe that was too much to expect from such old critters. Maybe what I needed was a young thing (a kitten?) to juice things up.

Then I remembered what Gandhi said: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” I wondered if the seriousness was not in them but in me. Perhaps I was the one who needed to be more playful.

So when Molly came back in from her morning poop, I stood and faced her and went into the doggy “I want to play” pose – a bouncy semi-squat.

She was surprised for a moment, and then she did the pose herself and started jumping all around, very excited and tail-waggy. We did this a few more times till the energy fairly buzzed in the room. This attracted Fritz, who usually sleeps most of the day. As soon as he came into the room, Molly did the doggy pose to him.

Normally he will have nothing to do with her, but this time he walked back and forth under her nose, waving his tail into her chin. Meowing and purring.

This doesn’t sound like much, but in our small household it was delightful shift.

I think Play may require more than one post…