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March 30, 2005

Some pictures

Just a few photos from the past few weeks. Since there aren't that many decent pictures of Squeek anywhere else, in general (because it's difficult to take decent pics of a dark cat without glare), I think there are more of her in this batch than any of the other cats, and I don't have any new shots of Max that are really worth posting here. I'm sure that will change, once the weather improves for good and we're outside more.

On edit -- scanned some analog camera pics, so there's one of Max in there. Sorry in advance for the quality of the scans -- scanner glass is probably dirty, since I don't use it very often (it's a snack table, for the most part), now that I have a digital that will do photos sufficient to post on line at lower than 300 dpi resolution.

Anyway, on with the show.

Here are a couple of shots from the Nikon, of the cats looking out at the snow a month or so ago:



I love to take pictures of them around the blinds -- they always look better than pictures taken anywhere else in the house, a combination of the contrast of the blinds with the shape of cats and better light, I guess.


This image, and the next ones too, are great examples of how I described Squeek at the end of the last entry -- shirty. She's not that bad, actually, she just gets pissy after the first time the flash goes off in her eyes. Only problem is, she won't sit still long enough to let me get the Nikon SLR set up to take low-light pics of her in the house, and besides that, those always come out kind of yellow. Not that flash pictures of her are all that much of an improvement ...



See? Shirty as it gets.


Shot of Gord on the top of the tower. Most of the time, Tink's up there, but Gord's up there the rest of the time, pretty much.


And Her Royal Highness taking her turn.


Interestingly enough, Gord goes through these phases where he acquiesces to the hierarchy in the household and plays subordinate to Tink. Not sure what it was about, this time -- there hasn't been anything really unusual going on around the house, so he's not feeling insecure. Whatever it is, it's pretty funny for us, especially as big a bully as Gord can be.


Gives you an idea how much Tink thinks of Gord -- she didn't move her tail for at least half an hour. Gord knew it was there, but I guess he decided it wasn't worth it to get her to move it.


Ah, but once in a while they have their moments, too.


The only recent digital shot of Doodle that's worth putting on here.


Here's another one of Doodle, this time an analog shot taken at another time -- you'd think she never moved from that spot, but actually she's the busiest cat in show business. Not sure how it happened.

Finally, the last two shots of Squeek -- she was in the kitchen, the light wasn't bad, and I had the camera. Gord, of course, is lurking in the background in the second picture -- if we're anywhere near the kitchen, he labors under the delusion that food just might possibly happen and, as always, he would have some of that:



Here's one of Max from the roll on the Nikon:


The answer is, "yes, he does that a lot."

Posted by Melinda at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2005

Squeek has a new "thing."

Each night when I drag my butt to bed with a book ... and let me digress here to say I have to lie on my stomach to read, when I crawl into bed with a book, lest Her Royal Highness Tink install herself on her quadrant of the bed without my legs in the locked and upright position (she makes sure to plant herself somewhere I can't possibly get comfortable, if I don't arrange myself properly, you see).

So, anyway ... I crawl in bed with a book, screw in the industrial-strength earplugs (he snores), prop my book against the headboard, begin reading ... and Squeek shows up within a few minutes to waltz back and forth across the pillow, between the end of my nose and my book. Repeatedly -- usually, five or six times.

Then she usually flops down on the near upper corner of Tony's pillow (with a not-insignificant portion of her ass blocking my book) and closes her eyes.

No, I don't really think she wants any attention. If I reach up to pet her, she bails out that much faster. She just wants to have her thirty seconds or so of prancing about, then to flop down in that somehow consecrated spot for a brief while. Once I turn the light off -- if not before I turn the light off -- she evaporates.

She's also the one who can least tolerate being ignored, though we've yet to come to any deep understanding of precisely what she wants when she solicits attention. Tink usually wants some portion of the standard package -- a few minutes of petting (usually at a time or in a situation that makes Max jealous); for you to close yourself up with her privately in the upstairs bathroom; for you to sit on the bed and let her mount herself like a Manitou on your back or your chest. The only unpredictable think about Tink's soliciation of attention, for that matter, is when it will come.

Gord, for his part, doesn't really give a shit if you pay exclusive attention to him. He likes to sit on your lap, but he's content to have little or no individual attention focused on him when he does. He'll sit there for however long he had in mind to begin with -- five to ten minutes, usually, though he has been known to camp for as long as a half-hour -- and then he'll bail out.

Doodle wants -- at least when she comes to me -- for me to follow her around from window to window, and sometimes to wind up the 'tour' by sitting sideways in the bath tub with my feet hanging over the edge, petting her in the remaining (however limited) part of the open tub, while she purrs loudly and rolls around with her motley feet waving in the air ...

And, well, we all know about the dog. He would sit on my lap 24/7, with only temporary breaks to eat and poop, if he thought I'd let him get away with it.

Squeek will suddenly show up off the port bow of my computer chair, when I'm sitting at my desk. She'll grumble a bit in her pathetic excuse for a voice (remember why we named her that?), and if this doesn't accomplish anything -- and frequently, it doesn't -- she'll stand up with her front paws on the arm of the chair and glare at me. If this escalation doesn't result in any action, she'll flip out her claws and insert them into my triceps. Sometimes, she'll drop her ten pounds against whatever I'm wearing, so she's actually pulling my shirt down off my shoulder with her weight.

What she seems to desire is for me to go upstairs with her and sit cross-legged on the carpet remanant in front of the front door. After that, it's a bit of a poser -- sometimes, that's all she wants, and after that, she wanders off. Sometimes, she wants more, and that's where the mystery enters in. She doesn't really liked to be handled about 90% of the time, she just wants to flounce back and forth while I sit on the cold floor on my butt. She doesn't really seem to want to play. The four of them have, between them, made every single toy I've given them upstairs in the past six months disappear, somehow (even with the new futon, which clears the floor by at least five more inches than the old sofa that we had the garbage folks take away months ago) they've been spirited off into one of the myriad piles of assorted stuph (we still have Christmas gift bags on the floor in the front room). Squeek goes all shirty if the dog, say, or one of the other cats larks on in nonchalantly. If I try to play with her, pretty soon every non-human mammal on the premises shows up, including groundhogs and squirrels, so she has to know by now that's not really a great option.

Actually, I shouldn't say Squeen 'gets shirty' -- that would be inaccurate.

See, Squeek apparently exists in a more or less constant state of mild annoyance all the hours of the day she's not asleep. Kind of like me, if I were honest. Which is to say, as aggravating as it can be, I can hardly say I mind it. She and Tink seem pretty intelligent, as these things go, and they're both attractive and/or entertaining enough to offset their usually barely incipient bitchiness.

Kind of like, as I noted, me.

Posted by Melinda at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2005

Well, I'm sure from what I've written so far, it'll be an enormous surprise ...

To find out that Tink's annual vet exam Thursday was a completely uneventful event. Her weight (13.1#) met with the vet's scrutiny (she was up to nearly eighteen pounds a few years ago), her teeth were as near perfect as any seven year old cat's teeth can be expected to be (better than most, I'll wager), and her coat is its usual 'if we could clone her, troglodytes would pay millions for this!' plushness.

Not to mention the fact that she's a real dream to take to the vet. She cries for the five or six minutes she has to be in the crate in the car, between home and the clinic; she shuts up if I take her out of the crate once we get into the clinic. She never fights with me regardless -- into the crate, out of the crate, vet tech takes her into the back room, she has a thermometer shoved up her anus, vet tech brings her back, vet shines a light in her eyes, combs her coat, looks at her ears, sticks a needle in her. Tink doesn't make a sound. She's one of the most confident cats I ever saw.

Of course, she probably knows that if she genuinely felt threatened, those eighteen daggers at the ends of her toes could easily slip the hide off a buffalo without the buffalo breaking stride, so she has no reason in the world to lack confidence. She's the size of a Jack Russell terrier and probably stronger. Though she's fairly peaceful, I dread the day she ever has to do more then bop Max on the nose to keep him in line -- she could really do him some damage, if he got too uppity.

It's easy to ignore Tink, most of the time, because even though she was the first cat we got, once she developed the grudge she seems to carry to this day sometimes, over us going away for our honeymoon, she really didn't want a whole lot of high-volume contact or attention from the humans. Don't get me wrong -- the girl would have some of whatever you're eating or, if you won't offer it, the food you're determined that she eat. I've never had her turn her nose up, if it was something she could reasonably be expected to eat. She's the easiest cat ever, except for the hairballs, and all that requires is a good-quality maintenance food with enough bulk to keep the hair moving out her asshole.

Royal Canin, since you asked. Indoor formula. I think the 'key number' on that formula is 27, but I'm not sure. It's got the same basic stuff the Iams has -- dental plaque removers, bulk-forming hairball movers, lower overall fat and calories than the kitten or young cat/outdoor cat formulae. Unlike the Iams, she hasn't yakked up a hairball for quite a while (about a week after we put her on the RC, for that matter, after a month of weekly pukes for her, and daily regurgitations for Doodle).

Okay, so here goes. I can't fault Iams for their community service -- they genuinely go out of their way, here in Dayton, to donate to animal charities and help out the shelters. Unfortunately, I can't say with great confidence that their food is as good quality as it once was. The one thing you'd think a low-calorie, high-bulk hairball food would accomplish would be to keep cats from puking hairballs up all over the floor. It accomplished this admirably for a long time -- I think we had all four cats on it for the better part of two years, altogether, though we did go back to the regular hairball food for a while.

When the food you pay extra for so it'll keep you from having to clean up gut-slimy cat hair off the floor is no longer preventing you from having to clean up gut-slimy cat hair off the floor, it's time to re-evaluate your loyalty. I did that, and I decided to find something else.

Net result -- everybody happy. No hairballs, no puke, rare regurgitation from Doodle (though she does still yak occasionally, usually if I feed her too big a portion or she eats what she gets too fast), good dental condition, nice coats on everybody.

I still won't talk Iams down, since they do seem to try ... but their shit doesn't smell like candy anymore around here, since the quality is off. Procter and Gamble didn't do them any favors buying them, except to make beaucoup bucks for the people at Iams who received the payoff. Whoop-de-do. I can hardly bring myself to feel good for the people at Iams who raked in an assload of dough when I'm peeling cold, slimy cat puke full of protein matter off the soles of my feet at two in the morning on my way to the pisser.

And that's the way it is.

Posted by Melinda at 03:35 AM | Comments (0)