Cat toys

Izabelle with her favourite toy

Izabelle with her favourite toy

This morning I woke up to the sound of Penny playing. Like all silly kitty-parents, we fall for temptation and buy the odd cat toy for the motley crew at home. It sounded as if Penny was having a really good time, so I craned my head around the old boy (no, not the husband, D’Ar – the old Somali! ), who promptly grumbled at me – Stay Put. Too Early To Get Up. Cuddle Ration Not FulFilled Yet! Penny chose that moment to catapult across the floor, acrobatically land on one hindleg and proceed to throw something through the air with her front paw – and promptly chasing after it. My first thought was that the Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d obviously was doing her arthritis wonders as it has been a while since she was last this agile. The next was curiosity to see what super toy she had found, and a fleeting thought that I should buy a new one of those. Well, probably to no-one’s surprise the super toy that she was playing with was – a really big elastic band…..

We tend to keep the elastic bands out of reach of small kittens, but this one was one of the ones that the mail comes wrapped in, so quite a sturdy specimen that hopefully wouldn’t get swallowed and disappear into the insides of a cat and cause havoc.  Penny was quite pleased with this one. Was Rude! She said… Needed To Be Told Off. Quickly! Quite A Lively Little Escape Artist! She followed up with a slightly bemused expression on her face.

After many, many years of buying cat toys I have come to the conclusion that – at least for my cats – it really is quite simple. A good ‘cigar’ or other big toy stuffed with catnip is extremely popular – for 3 days. Then it needs to be taken away for a month before being given again – for 3 days. Ping pong balls are brilliant – if you can put up with the noise of them on wooden floors or tiles. If you want to participate, feather dusters or sticks with long, dangly boas on their end are great. And the absolute winners are 3: Pipe cleaners twisted into funny shapes (they move like greased lightning when the cats hit them), big elastic bands (SO Funny To Put A Paw On Them, Bite Into Them, Pull And Have Them Go Snap And Hit The Paw, the mittens earnestly assure me) and finally – the little white circle that keeps a stack of blank CD’s in their place (!) (I know – really, really weird…).

The last one we discovered by accident. One of the cats followed the usual principles of clean desk policy – found it on the table and promptly hit it so it fell on the floor. At this stage it was discovered by the mittens – and oh, dear…. I have never seen two kittens play so hard…Being tough parents we tend to only give them one toy at a time – so much more fun to see them all follow each other around to see if they can snatch it away..

So – moral of the story – cat toys are really mostly for humans…. At least according to my cats. Really, Mum, they say with a slightly pitying expression on their face when I present them with a new fancy toy, You Are Just SO Predictable – Will Buy Anything Shiny. And off they go to play with the pipe cleaners…

It’s your fault…

Penny: It's Your Fault! Ulysses: Nope - You Did It!

Penny: It’s Your Fault! Ulysses: Nope – You Did It!

Have you ever noticed how cats are just so different than dogs? Dogs are very forgiving. Our Lakeland Terrier – Molly – gets very excited when someone moves. (Yes, WHENEVER someone moves). She gets so excited that she will run through the house while looking over her shoulder and promptly run into a piece of furniture, the door or the wall. Without even turning her head, she just straightens herself out and continues being excited. Now, imagine if this happened to a cat…..

One response would no doubt be the most indignant look ever! You MOVED The Wall! Purposefully! You Are Out To Get Me! Would be the comment. Was Not There A Minute Ago! The cat would claim…And no amount of apologising or denying any involvement will get you anywhere. The other response would be equally predictable. Meant To Do That, the cat would say while casually walking a few steps. Had Secret Purpose, it would mutter while washing its face, Why Haven’t You Fed Me Yet, might be next.

One of the challenges in our house is to keep a straight face. Inevitably with so many cats, someone will do something particularly Penny rolling on the table, trying to entice us to rub her tummy – and promptly falling off! This is inevitably followed by a truly penetrating stare – at my husband. For some reason Penny has decided that Anything That Happens To Her Is Dad’s Fault! Except of course when she can blame one of the other cats or even the poor dog.. Penny also has an amazingly good memory for slights. She can sulk for a whole day over Something Dad Did – and my poor husband who is the gentlest and nicest of people has to just shrug his shoulder and acknowledge that Penny is having a Scary Dad day…

Sometimes we frankly give up on the whole keeping a straight face thing. This inevitably involves the kittens, though, who are somewhat less bothered by the fact that we are laughing at them. The other day I was in the bathroom, when the kittens had a tussle on the countertop – and Izabelle promptly got knocked into the bathtub that happened to have a bit of water in the bottom of it at the time (the old boy likes to use the bathtub for his private drinking water bowl – Easier That Way, he claims, Nothing That Touches My Whiskers). Now, water is all well and good when you CHOOSE to jump into it, but Izzie is less enamoured of water than Ianthe, so after some VERY acrobatic contortions and an almighty splash – she promptly jumped out again, and did the wet kitty dance. (You will know the one – the ears laid back, shaking each paw one at a time and adamantly refusing any eye contact dance!). Now, I don’t know for sure whether cats can laugh, but there was something about the expression on Ianthe’s face… and I had no success at all in looking serious, so after a couple of minutes, Izzie gave me the MOST disgusted look and went off to Do Something Nasty To The Dog, she muttered…

So end of the day I think we can conclude: Anytime anything happens to a cat – it is either YOUR fault, somebody else’s fault (the dog..) or meticulously planned by the cat..

Kittens or adults?

Izabelle on the left, Ianthe on the right. Plant... What Plant? Oh THAT Plant!!

Izabelle on the left, Ianthe on the right. Plant… What Plant? Oh THAT Plant!!

Through my life I have had the great experience of having kittens grow up with me – and the equally great experience of getting an adult cat. In my mind both have great benefits. When you get kittens you get to see them grow and develop their personalities. You have the fun of watching them play INCESSANTLY with each other (or you), and you can teach them to be indoor cats if that is what is best.

The slightly less fun part of having kittens has to do with the sheer amount of chaos you go through… especially with Somali kittens. Currently in our house, all breakable items have been packed away. Table tops are scrutinised for anything that might be swallowed and cause damage and plants are carefully propped up or barricaded so when (notice the when..) they jump at the leaves, they don’t pull the plants over. The open bin in the bedroom has been replaced with a bin with a lid, so we can finally avoid having the contents spread over the entire house. (GREAT Stuff In Bins, they both claim..). Flowers from my husband are carefully placed in double vases, so when (notice the when…) the vase gets knocked over, there is another one there to cushion it and prevent it from spilling water all over the floor. It makes me realise just why my good friend – who is the Somali breeder I got the kittens from – many years ago gave me a special vase that is extremely heavy and has a very broad base. That is the one everything else goes into – it is the only thing that will stand up to the wilful attacks of the two terrorists. Hmm – she must have had experience…

Being quite a few years since I last had a Somali kitten, I must admit I had forgotten the scale of destruction they can leave in their wakes. It is very like having a herd of monkeys – they get into everything and their inventiveness when it comes to pulling things to pieces is truly impressive. Some things we take for granted these days, such as having to pick the tissues off the floor in small pieces. They still think it is a great sport to pluck them out of the box one at a time to shred them. Cat litter is still everywhere – Digging Is A Great Sport And You Can Never Practice Enough, they tell us, and I have given up on my orchid – the bark apparently Must Live On The Floor.  Toilet paper has to be locked away – Too Cool For Words, they shout as they chase the roll down the stairs and you still have to stand to one side when you let them out of the bathroom in the morning – WHAT HAVE WE MISSED-NOW-FEED-US-FEED-US-FEED-US-NOWWWWW!!! Other things are still slightly challenging, such as picking one of our VERY large plants off the floor from where it fell from the first floor to the ground floor – Almost Got The Dog…they whisper…Put It Back Again..Next Time We Won’t Miss! Or fishing a kitten out of the cupboard before she can chew a hole in the bag of flour…or washing one the day she decided to jump across the loo while my husband was peeing…(yes, exactly what you think…)

It does sometimes make me long for the days when I got an adult cat. A lovely, gorgeous, sweet adult cat, who settled into my home with no chaos, no destruction – just lots of sharing personality, learning where best to scratch her chin – and purring….

Oh well, at least these ones will grow up eventually. Come to think of it though… I am going to breed them… and Somalis can easily get litters of 4-6…OMG!!!!  I need a prison cell!!!!!

Moods and cats

Penny and Ulysses tussling on the lawn... She lets him win..

Penny and Ulysses tussling on the lawn… She lets him win..

Cats are funny creatures. One of the things I find most fascinating about them is how powerfully they can affect us. Cats have the capacity to influence your mood with everything they do. And the range is extensive – from deepest love to complete exasperation…

D’Artagnan – my old Somali boy – is an expert at eliciting the full range – usually in a fairly short period of time and preferably in the middle of the night. He starts with a deep, rumbling purr next to  my head. Love You…. he purrs….Snuggles…Kisses…Cuddles… he sighs… At this point my usual response is to turn over and bury my face in his fur while my hand goes on auto-pilot and rubs his tummy. This usually works for a time and then – after I fall asleep this way – he changes his approach. He sits back up and starts chirping… Hello… Hello!…HELLO… HELLO!… HELLLLOOO!!… and if that doesn’t work (I can sleep through most things these days), he then escalates it into an energetic walk back and forth across my face.  Once he manages to wake me, (or, as is more usual, my husband), he leads the way to where we feed him. Hungry Now, he says. Important To Eat Regularly! Especially At Night – Fewer Disturbances! (Yes, he talks with exclamation would know what I mean if you saw him and heard him).

If we are lucky we then have an hour in which to sleep in before he starts up again. He usually asks for food 3-4 times a night – and then he moves on to other things. Need The Bathtub Filled Up With Water, he gravely announces. Water In Bowl Not Good Enough. So we put a bit of water in the bottom of the bathtub. Hmm! Not The Right Taste Today, he complains. And so ½ hour later he asks to be let out – downstairs.. Must Check For Rain Water, he insists. And by this time we have usually gone the whole way round – from love to being very, very tired….

Personally, I think you should never let life get you down without benefit of inhaling a kitty tummy. There is something so lovely about sticking your face right down in their belly fur, having them curl around on their back, deeply purring the whole time – and just settle in there… I am addicted – I sleep best with fur in my face…

After having a conversation with one of my friends about not watching much television, she asked me : ‘What do you do when  you sit in the lounge then??’, and my immediate response was : ‘We watch the pets’. With 5 cats and a dog in the house, action is everywhere. Watching the kittens pounce on each other, chew on Penny’s tail, chase Ulysses and go tumbling is lovely. Watching the body language as they all determine who gets the best spot on the couch and who gets the second best spot on the small stool in front of the fire is priceless. And we finally know exactly where the inspiration for movies like Matrix came from. Seeing the two kittens jump through the air, exchange karate chops in mid air and continue on unabated literally has our jaws dropping and sometimes (depending on where they land) us rolling on the floor laughing.. HAH! Got You! They both claim at the same time…and on they go..

The bathroom..

I needed a picture so went into the bathroom - 40 seconds later this was taken. The girls were asleep on the desk when I left...

I needed a picture so went into the bathroom – 40 seconds later this was taken. The girls were asleep on the desk when I left…

Have you ever noticed how cats are absolutely convinced that you can’t go to the toilet without you? They seem to find the bathroom one of these fascinating places with lots of activities – some of them rather strange.

The other day I commented to my husband that it was rather annoying the way my make-up mirror kept flickering. He immediately went all concerned. It is one of his rather lovely missions in life to make sure that everything in the house functions really well, and I could already see him lining up an internal list of ‘things that make make-up mirrors flicker’.  He was all geared up to go and get his toolkit – and then I continued, ‘guess it doesn’t help to have a kitten dangling from the chord all the time either…’, causing him to stick his head around the door and look at the make-up mirror. True enough, two kittens taking turn energetically playing with the chord with the predictable result of the mirror blinking on – off – on – off….

The bathtub is another fascinating item according to all my cats. Now, I have a Persian – Ulysses – and as with all Persians he regularly needs a bath depending on what he has gotten himself into. While he is a good guy who patiently puts up with being washed thoroughly, I don’t think he really enjoys it as such, so when I take a bath, he gets really concerned. Is Wet! He exclaims. You OK? He worriedly enquires while hanging on the edge of the bathtub by his front paws. Don’t Worry Am Here To Look After You, he reassures me while peering nearsightedly at my face and pacing worriedly back and forth next to the bathtub. I usually end up taking my bath with my hand dangling next to the tub so he can kiss it a lot… Better That Way, he gravely announces.

D’Artagnan, my old Somali, is also interested in the bathtub – or rather in the water. Water Much Better When It Tastes Of Mum, he claims, Must Test Every End of Tub And Both Sides – Might Be Different! Once he has reassured himself that yes, the water tastes the same no matter what end of the tub he drinks it from, he will then turn his back and sit companionably on the end of the bathtub – which inevitably means that his tail ends up gently swishing through the water without him noticing. (It is quite a lovely sensation to have a kitty tail swishing through the water around your back..). I always struggle to not laugh out loud (that would offend him) when he then jumps down, notices the wet tail and turns around and looks at me with a look of indignant reproach – because of course it is all my fault!

Ianthe, one of my young Somali girls has an even deeper fascination with water. When we first got Ianthe and Izabelle, they were quarantined in the guest bath room. Maria, one of our good friends, came to stay for some days and decided that she wanted a bath. Imagine her mortification when Ianthe promptly fell into the bath as she was filling it up! She immediately fished her out while profusely apologising and gently and carefully dried her with a towel. Phew! She said, and got into the bath. Whereupon Ianthe promptly fell in again…. and it wasn’t until Ianthe did it a THIRD time that Maria finally realised that the cat wasn’t FALLING – she was JUMPING….

The fascination with the bathroom also means that no matter how deeply they all sleep, there is a veritable procession of cats following you when you go there. I often end up sitting on the toilet watching in fascination as 2 young Somalis and a very big Maine Coon argue about who gets to sit closest to me on the countertop (Penny wins…she just waves her big Maine Coon paw around their faces and they back off or get slapped…), while D’Ar regally stays at the end of the bathtub and Ulysses weaves around my feet.  Good Place To Hang Out, they all agree, Mum Can’t Possibly Pee Without Us! And that is that.

The lovebug

Ianthe at a photo shoot at the veterinary practice - making friends

Ianthe at a photo shoot at the veterinary practice – making friends

Most cats are affectionate. Some can be slightly more reserved though even that usually disappears with the years and when they attach themselves to their Special Person. I have found that to be one of the key differences between cats and dogs. Dogs tend to be happy to speak to lots of people while cats are far more focused on just one person. With that one person they have a special language, special behaviours and special habits.
In our household D’Artagnan is completely my cat. He will deign to talk to my husband if I haven’t been home all day – but it is my pillow he sleeps on, it is my company he wants and it is me he is completely focused on.
When we got the mittens – the mini kittens – we expected them to be very sociable. Somalis almost always are, and these were specifically chosen from a fantastic breeder in Denmark that I have known for years. I had met both the parents and been blown away by how affectionate they were, so I knew I was going to get absolutely the best temperaments possible. Izabelle is lying next to me on the desk as I write, regularly pointing out to me that she Needs To Be Cuddled – Now. Izzie has the laid back approach to wanting attention. She will walk over me and lie next to me and purr – waiting for me to give her some attention. After a while, she will roll around and put a paw on my arm – still very courteously – becoming more demanding, and she might poke my mouse to be sure she gets my attention. She is truly impressive in her ability to direct her purr. I swear, she can poke people with it! Now, this is something I have noticed before with my old Somali – D’Ar. His thing is to sit in the middle of the night on my pillow and just purr – directionally – until I wake up. Much Better This Way, he will tell me. Sleep No Good When Cuddles Are Needed. Cuddle. Now!
Ianthe is a completely different story. First of all, Ianthe does not have a Special Person. Ianthe thinks that ALL people are Special People, and obviously they need to be told! Ianthe goes straight to anyone the moment she sees them. Purring loudly, she affectionately headbutts them. Love You, she shares. Chewing on their chin, she says: Is A Kiss. Really. And while biting their nose, she comments: Most Wonderful Person You Are. At this point she will throw herself on her back in their arms, kneading their face with her paws while purring so loudly that she can be heard across the room. Cuddles Best Thing Ever, she sighs ecstatically. And then she gets up and moves – loudly purring – to the next person in the room. Love You, she shares…and very quickly: Is A Kiss. Really.
While typing on my computer, I will often be helped by her. She prefers to lie on her back in the bend of my elbow, purring loudly and gently waving her paws about. Every 30 seconds she will turn or move to make sure that I keep my attention focused on her. After about 15 minutes we MIGHT get to the point where she settles down, and I will be left to do my work with one arm partly immobilised by a snoring kitten on one side – and by this time usually a snoring Izabelle on the other side. What People Are For, they agree. Comfy Beds And Cuddle Hands. Oh – And Food!

The challenges about cleaning

Izabelle - Me? Not Helping With Cleaning? Don't Know What You Are Talking About..

Izabelle – Me? Not Helping With Cleaning? Don’t Know What You Are Talking About..

When you have kittens in the house, cleaning takes on a whole new meaning. Tissues are abducted from the table and shredded to tiny pieces. Cat litter is enthusiastically excavated and spread over large areas of the floor – Archaeology Research, they proclaim. Must See All Details! Might Miss Something! – and bins are upended, burrowed through and contents energetically distributed throughout the house.. Treasure Hunt, they enthuse. Look What We Found! And they drag something potentially embarrassing or just very gross right past your dinner guests…
Cleaning up after them is then the next challenge. The first step is usually to get out the broom to collect the worst of it. As I sweep across the floor, the cleaning becomes somewhat erratic due to the fact that I have two kittens wrapped around the broom being swept along with it. WooHoo, Fun! Ianthe says. Am A Very Big Broom, Izabelle solemnly declare. And once I have – laboriously – swept everything into a pile and turn around to get the dustpan, usually one or both of them take an enthusiastic run through the pile and scatters it everywhere.
The vacuum cleaner presents its own problems. First of all they are completely indifferent to the noise to the point where you have to be careful not to accidentally hoover right over them. Second, they think that the electric chord is the most fun toy EVER! And if that isn’t moving enough, there is always the hose from the vacuum cleaner to the pipe – you could just bite your way through that!
Dusting is fascinating as well – after all, it is Very Important To Follow That Cloth Everywhere! Needless to say, everything that can break has been packed away or has been moved to a level where it can’t be knocked off.
The older cats are either quietly amused by the whole thing (Penny), round eyed with bemusement (Ulysses) or determinedly ignoring it (D’Ar). D’Artagnan adamantly refuses to admit that he EVER did anything like that. Was MUCH Better Behaved, he claims, Never Emptied Bins! Which – to the best of my knowledge – is actually true. But then he was an only kitten – he was with an older cat when I first got him, and I do sometimes wonder how much of the challenges are due to having two… But then I remember when I got my other Somali kitten – Zito – many years ago. While I don’t remember exactly what he did, I DO remember very much the burning desire to just shut him in another room for a couple of hours! So far so good with the kittens – they are hilarious and they spread laughter everywhere they go – except maybe with D’Ar…

Cats are racist..

Checking on the cooking - Penny and D'Artagnan in the back teaching the mittens what to do

Checking on the cooking – Penny and D’Artagnan in the back teaching the mittens what to do

Did you know that cats are racist? That is the only conclusion I can come to after 46 years of owning cats in various colour combinations.. I used to have 2 Somali’s and 2 Chinchilla Persians. Inevitably, I would come home from work and find 2 cat piles – a brown one and a white one. It was so marked that I used to just chuck them into the cat carriers by colour – I knew they would get along, and indeed, my old Persian girl, Eugenie, used to think of her nephew, Einstein (no, the name didn’t help – he STILL didn’t have any brain compared to the Somalis..) as just another convenient duvet to burrow under.
I have had enough experience with this that I was quite sure the Somali girls – Ianthe and Izabelle – probably would settle down quite quickly with everyone brown – but would take longer with Ulysses, my Chinchilla Persian. Everything has worked out as predicted.
The first one they felt comfortable with was my old Somali D’Artagnan. Not only does he look exactly like them, but he probably feels right and behaves right – after all he IS there many times great uncle as they are direct descendants of his sister! It was only a few days before they were chirping at him and trying to kiss him – much to his disgust.. Kittens Are Annoying, he announced. Too Pushy! Take Up Incredible Amounts Of Space On The Desk, he grumbled. Am NOT Your Mother, he exclaimed when Izabelle tried to suckle him… But mostly he puts up with them.
Penny – my Maine Coon – was the next one to be accepted. After spending the first 5 days staring incredulously at the kittens while commenting You Have GOT To Be F&*^%$^ Kidding!!!, she then informed us that we Had Abandoned Her. Was Poor Kitty Now That Noone Loved. All attempts at cuddles were met with the most magnificent sulks and she even tried to claim that she Had Lost Her Appetite – From Grief! Not that we noticed that actually… Eventually she relaxed and about 10 days in she let us know that she Was Very Important AUNTIE! Have To Look After The Little Ones, she proclaimed. Must Teach Them How To Effectively Beg For Food And Where Best To Sit On The Table When Mum Is Cooking! So now we have a loooong one and two very fast ones keeping eagle eyes on anything that has to do with food preparation.
Ulysses is the one that is going to take the longest. Apart from the fact that the kittens think his tail would make a a great toy (I think they got it confused with the white feather toy we have), they mostly consider him as a Very Fluffy And Soft Pillow. Ulysses walks around them hopefully chirping away, trying to encourage them to play with him. He drags his toy temptingly in front of them, but when I pick it up to play with the three of them, he gets so confused and intimidated by the sheer speed of them that he gives up. His best time of day is at night when we shut the kittens in the bathroom – that reminds Penny that she is his chew toy and the two of them have a rumble – though never as long as he would like… But as for playing – hmm, that is going to take a bit longer…

Help or hindrance?

D'Artagnan, Izabelle and Ianthe 'helping' with work

D’Artagnan, Izabelle and Ianthe ‘helping’ with work

As I sit at my very large desk which is my primary work place, I look at the surface. Not that there is a lot of surface to be seen, because naturally things accumulate. There is the keyboard – can’t do without that obviously as it would make writing blogs rather difficult. Then there is a mandatory box of tissues, a telephone, a headset, a pen holder – and the rest. The rest covers 2/3 of the desk. And consists of a lambskin and a soft quilt with currently 2 kittens and an old boy spread out on them. This is actually an improvement over 3 weeks ago. Before the kittens arrived, I would often have to do my work with the 3 full grown cats spread everywhere.
D’Artagnan – my 17 year old Somali – prefers to sleep stretched out over the depth of the desk. He expects me to do all my work with just one hand and to constantly have my other hand deeply embedded in his stomach fur, occasionally giving a gentle stroke. Any attempts to take my hand back is usually met with a pointed stare. Am Not Done, he says. Hand Needs To Come Back. Now! And the hand usually makes its meek way back to his tummy…
Penny, who is 4 and a Maine Coon is a very large cat. Funny enough, she is the one of all of them that at least tries to curl up and take up just a little bit of space. She will arrive politely, gently sink down next to D’Ar and carefully curl up. As time goes by, the curl will extend a possessive paw that inevitably ends up on my arm – especially if I am trying to use the mouse. Small enticing sounds may also occur – and stroking always bring about an even tighter curl, which somehow ends up with her stomach being presented upwards for further attention.
Ulysses who is 10 months older than Penny is slightly smaller, but you can’t tell – because as a Persian he is covered in fluff. I think of him as ‘that fluffy white thing’ (Old Dean Martin joke), but there is solid heft to him. Ulysses never does anything daintily. He is a boy and proud of it. He used to jump up on my desk and arrive on top of D’Ar, proceed to trample all over him and finally throw himself down on him so hard that D’Ar left in disgust. Then Penny decided to take up desk sleeping. And after 3 times in a row having landed on top of Penny and promptly been met with a right hook (she has a SERIOUS paw on her!) – he got the message. Now he stands on the floor and cries piteously (wait – that is what he always sounds like!) until I lift him up and gently positions him in any open space available.
It is wonderful to be able to work with your cats around you. If only you could find space for your papers. And if I could persuade them that I really need that marker pen Ulysses seems to have buried under him. And if I could have both my hands I could even type fast enough to finish what I need to write..

Hmm – what is it about cat litter…

Ianthe and Izabelle playing..

Ianthe and Izabelle playing..

As I leaned over the bathroom floor, scrubbing it carefully with the cloth in my hand, a spray of cat litter exploded over the fresh, clean and wet surface I had just finished with. At the same time, a light weight dropped on my back and an inquiring chirp sounded in my ear. Double trouble had arrived to help with my project of cleaning the bathroom.
You would have thought after 46 years of owning cats I would be used to the mischief kittens get into, but there were two main reasons why it all seemed harder work than usual. The first was that it had been a good 4 years since we last had a kitten – and then we only had one, while there was two now. And the second reason was that we didn’t just get any kittens – we got Somali kittens. Highly energetic, sociable (read: want to have a paw in everything), agile (read: no safe places), inquisitive (read: REALLY gets into E V E R Y T H I N G) and intelligent (read: stay on your toes or they will outwit you…). So yes, it is hard work.
I sighed, looked at the cat litter that was busy setting as concrete (we use very good cat litter) on the previously clean bathroom floor, and reached up a hand to scratch Izabelle behind her ears, while I lowered my head to get a kiss from Ianthe. And then I went back to washing the floor. Again. For the third time.
What is it about cleaning a litter box that immediately sends any cat in the house into a frenzy of digging through the litter to see if they can manage to get it outside the box again? Doesn’t Belong In Here, they announce. Much Better On The Floor, they comment. Can Live In My Fur, says my Persian, Ulysses. Eeeewww! Says my Maine Coon, Penny… And as for my old boy – a 17 year old Somali named D’Artagnan – well, he rolls his eyes, waits until I have cleaned the litter box – again – and THEN he uses it without digging. Am Clever, he pronounces as he majestically walks past the others, not even deigning to look at them. Mum Loves Me More When I Don’t Spray Cat Litter Everywhere. And I clean the litter box. For the third time….
There is a great saying. Dogs have owners, cats have staff. Sometimes that is translated as cats have slaves. I can vouch for both. In our household we are ruled by iron paws in very soft and delicate fur coverings. And we must like it – because the total count is now 5, bringing the dog, Molly, into a definite minority.