The Peeves Of Pets

Someone suggested I write about my pets’ peeves.  I’ll do a more “real” post later, but for now…

The main peeve of my pets is that they’re not single cats.  This applies particularly to Havelock (Vetinary) and D’Artagnan (Inappropriate licking boy) who look somewhat like stuffed animals and, in Havey’s case, squeak like them, but who are indeed alpha males bent on world domination.  (Particularly D’Artagnan who is evil and who, one of these days, will wake up and decide to invade Poland or something worse.)

I don’t write aliens, not really, because I think it’s impossible to write convincing aliens that can be read by humans – I think.  It’s also entirely possible I don’t write them because none of them has assaulted me and demanded I write his story, yet.  BUT if I wrote aliens, I’d write these very adorable, plush-animal like critters whose snarling battles set the galaxy on fire.

Not that the cats have managed to do that.  We’ve had the foresight to make sure we didn’t get cats with opposable thumbs so to the best of my knowledge they haven’t created any portable nuclear weapons, much less built rockets to take them off world.  Of course I could be wrong.  I haven’t looked in the corner behind the litter boxes in a while.

Then there is Miranda-cat doyenne of cats, pushing thirteen.  She’s a tortoise shell Cornish Rex and like one of those whipcord thin dowagers, forever looking down their roman noses with disapproving auteur.  She thinks the boys (she’s the only girl) are silly, and she can’t imagine why we keep them, but she also can’t demean herself by getting into battles with them.  Though she does beat Havey up periodically.  As far as we can tell, she does it because he goes around being young, which, you’ll agree, is an offense that calls to the heavens for revenge.  Mind you, she might also be upset because he’s very dumb.  This isn’t fair.  He didn’t mean to be dumb.  But there it is, he’s dumb, and Miranda, who is an evil genius, can’t help but resent stupidity.  For one, it gives people a bad idea of her species.

And last there is Euclid.  He’s big and black and odd.  It’s possible the reason he pulls out all the hair in his legs is that he has allergies.  The anti-allergy stuff is helping…  A little.  BUT nothing can explain the bouts of walking stiff-legged around the house screaming “NARP”.  The only time he meows he SAYS “meow.”  We think that’s because Havey taught him.  Havey has the same problem.  His natural sound is a squeak.

Here’s the funny thing – even in writing about these aliens in our midst – it’s impossible not to think of them in human terms.  Like random dots on a wall will become a face in the human mind, cats become at least partially human.  How much of it is acculturation on their part, and how much humanizing on ours?  Who knows?  Who can tell?  I bet our relationship with alien-aliens might be the same (they have to be close enough to us for us to recognize them as sentient anyway – or at least the type of sentience we can communicate with.)  Which means if there are aliens out there, and we ever meet them, there’s a good chance the humans-in-a-fuzzy-suit writers are the ones who have it right… Or at least closest to how it will be perceived.

Scary, isn’t it?

Although I’m fairly sure even cat-aliens wouldn’t do what Havey and D’Artagnan do in their fights.  I mean, what if the first thing we know about an alien presence is that strange mildew starts growing on the moon, due to rival cats peeing on it to mark their territory?

52 responses to “The Peeves Of Pets

  1. ppaulshoward

    Too early to think of something clever. [wink]

    • Martin L. Shoemaker

      If it’s too early for a clever comment, think how early it is for a clever blog post! I wake up unexpectedly early Eastern time, only to find Sarah (Mountain time) is up early enough to write 600 clever words. To quote her: “Scary, isn’t it?”

  2. What is really scary, is to think just how many, or how big the aliens would have to be; in order to pee on enough of the moon for us to notice a strange mildew growin on it, from earth.

  3. And this post explains why the Red household only has one feline at a time. Granted, the last but one cat was a ginger tabby who tipped the scales at 22 pounds (36″ nose tip to tail tip), so he might have counted as two. Especially when he planted two paws on your more delicate bits, leaned forward, and wanted to know why you dared to think that reading a book or mending clothes might be more important than petting him!

    • Oh until you’ve had a cat hack a hairball on you at 3am when you were sound asleep nanoseconds before you heard the telltale, “hurg, hurg, HURG,” and you are already sitting up and realize that there is NO WAY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH you are going to wake up and move fast enough to prevent what is happening, you don’t know from keeping cats… >^.^<

      • Euclid once peed on me — this was after we rescued him. We think he was trying to mark me. Also, once Pixie got some dried up poo out of the box and played with it in the claw foot bathtub. At three in the morning.

      • Now The Spouse had a cat who he had adopted as a feral kitten on the same day that we first met. Clyde, short for Clytemnestra, was as ornery and possessive of that which she deemed to be hers. The Spouse was hers, to do with as she pleased.

        On one inconvenient night our water bed died. (Is there ever a convenient night for your water bed to die?) The Spouse figured a way to run a hose out the window to drain it. I placed the sofa bed’s mattress on the floor and made it up. (The frame of that sofa bed had a bar just where it would hurt your back the most. Having heard others express similar complaints about sofa beds I have pondered if this is a manufacturers requirement.) Exhausted we went to sleep.

        All of a sudden I was wide awake. It appears that Clyde had decided to curl up on his face, and when he moved she has initially held on for dear life. This had woken me, and the next thing I knew The Spouse was sitting up and Clyde was taking a flying leap across the room.

        Eventually Clyde forgave us.

        • When I was growing up my grandma had a hidabed couch, and it was fairly comfortable, without the bar you mentioned. But I have one upstairs now, and while it is on of the most comfortable couches I have ever slept on, make it into a bed and it is a torture device; with a bar just like you mention.

  4. I used to enjoy spreading the newspaper out on the floor, the better to read it. One cat took this as a sign interesting things were being hidden under the paper and that she was being invited to play the pouncing game to find them. The other cat knew exactly which article I was reading and would sprawl across it awaiting pettings.

    • Every afternoon around five pm our cat would go on a rampage. We would throw newspaper at her so she would have something to scratch. Once it was shredded into little pieces, she would be calm and ready to face a new day. That cat was nocturnal and it was a jungle kitty (when we lived in Panama).

      • I tried to get a tigarillo to bring home with me, but it never worked out right. May have been a good thing. Our next assignment after Panama was New Mexico.

  5. Cats. Proof of ESP.

  6. I have had some weird experiences with cats. They think I am a big cat and can talk to them. They are always curious about what I am doing. When I was in South Africa, after I sat down a black tom came running to me. It jumped onto my lap, stood with its front paws on my shoulders and carefully bit my ear. The owners were embarrassed. I guess that cat didn’t like anyone… but it liked me too much. I used to call myself a cat whisperer. lol

    • Another note: when I first started with my illness, I was on cytoxan for almost a year. Cats wouldn’t come near me because apparently I didn’t smell right. Now that I am on a different chemo and it is many years later, my kitty attraction is coming back. BTW I never chase after cats. They come visit me. Some of them (the feral cats in our neighborhood) are very vocal.

      • My Elrond Half-Siamese has learned sufficient English that I have heard him say: Hello, uh-oh, oh no, No, Mommy, Darrell, and I love you. In turn I have learned the Felinoid for Yay! now, RIGHT now, are we going to the kitchen? and TREATS. These are usually delivered in sequence as, “Are we going to the kitchen? Yay! Treats. Now. RIGHT now.” He is not permitted to order me around and so I make him say “please,” which interpreted is a head-butt/leg rub.

  7. Long ago I read a short story — in memory it “feels” like it was Mack Reynolds, but I can’t find it so can’t prove it — about Terrans’ first meeting with aliens. A crew of four — two men, one woman and a ship’s cat — land on a planet inhabited by aliens so far advanced over us that the only way we can gain their attention is by becoming their equivalent of cats.

  8. When my wife does her yoga routine our cat acts like it is a conversation and my wife is making no sense. She has learned not to start the yoga with a “cat stretch” since that distresses our cat. I suspect cats would need video phones to communicate properly. Of course I can say that about some people I know.

  9. A Peeve of Pets? Sounds like a good collective-name to me.

    Our two cats are barn-born tuxedos– aliases, Fluffy and Slick; real names from anime– but don’t seem to quite realize that cats aren’t supposed to catch flies, let babies chew on their tails, let toddlers lay on them or let housewives trim their nails with finger nail clippers, nor that they shouldn’t come when called. Both over twenty pounds, haven’t been to a vet to be weighed for a while so I don’t know exactly how big.

    • Now wait – lots of cats catch flies, and some will let youngsters get away with significant indignities, but the rest – yeah, that’s kinda weird.

      • Occasional would be OK– it’s the daily part that shocks me. Slick/Ryo-Okhi (he’s got a diamond shape on his head, and we didn’t know what sex he was) will jump into any crying child’s bed and lay there being mauled, purring away.
        Sanosuke…. oh, good heavens. The most he’ll do to avoid a mauling is to take three steps, sit down and look around like “what was I doing, again?” He can’t be stupid, since they can both open the food storage unit, but by heaven he acts it! All I can think of is that he’s willing to deal with anything to snuggle. Crawler that’s discovered his head feels good when she slams her hand against his skull? Purr central. Toddler who grabs chunks of his skin and hauls? He’s relaxed.

        Heck, they’ll jump into the shower to be next to people, then jump out when they realize water is wet…..

        • Pete — Petronius the Arbiter — our first cat was an evil SOB with a cross disposition. He was bad seed kitteh, 20 lbs at his biggest/healthiest.
          And then we had Robert. He was Robert’s pillow, stuffed toy and guardian. If Robert had wanted to disassemble him, Pete would have let him. Turned out he was a one-person’s cat. And we were not the person.

          • Everyone tells me to expect that…our cats seem to be “one age cats,” with age defined as “too young to know better and anybody else will get nipped while petting.” (Not hard, but still.)

            Smart, smart cats. The one time one really bit a girl, he got tossed across the room. It’s a family trait.

    • One blogger I follow has a cat named Peeve (yup, his pet Peeve), one named “Ding” after the chime in the power plant control room near where he was found, and one called “Itsa.” The latter just walked into the house when the door was open and moved in, occasioning the comment, “Hey, it’s a cat!” Itsa turned out to be a former house pet that someone dumped.

      • Yeah, D’Artagnan just walked in. Feral born. More balls than brain, even now and he’s fixed.

        We found Havey behind a Vietnamese restaurant. I’m assured Vietnamese DON’T eat cats, but still I had to fend off “Chat Main”

    • What do you mean cats aren’t supposed to let you trim their nails with clippers? If humans can use it, so can cats. (I convinced my cat the clippers weren’t going to take her entire paws off by letting her watch me trim my nails. She stopped trying to eat my fingers off and let me trim her claws.)

  10. some people have no pets..

  11. I think cats’ main peeve is that people fail to recognize them as superior…

  12. Miss Miranda’s relationship with Havey sounds a lot like my (now passed) Lucky’s relationship with Berri. Of course, Lucky was starting to become sick with her final illness at the time Berri rocked up as a kitten and informed us she was our cat and we were to take care of her. But though I think it went on a year or so, give or take a few months, Lucky never did get used to her more than stop hissing at her every time she saw her. Dogs, it seemed, she could tolerate for being dumb. A cat should know better. And, as queen of the household (uncontested for at least 15 years), she would educate this young disappointment through disapproval, which Berri (the dumb jock) interpreted as a desire to cuddle.

  13. I have new kittens here, which Stinky (there mama is striped like a skunk) brought around for the first time today. They are pretty much wild cats, there is food out for them, and they will let you within 10-15 feet of them, or come within a couple feet of you if you happen to be putting milk or good scraps like steak trimmings out. One of the kittens is colored up like a snow leopard, really cool looking.

  14. I don’t write aliens, not really, because I think it’s impossible to write convincing aliens that can be read by humans

    I’m coming in late on this one so I’m sure ample ground has been covered in regards to that statement. I’d like to throw Peter F. Hamilton’s “Morninglightmountian” into the mix for consideration. Boiling the species down to it’s most basic narrative aspects, the species is, for lack of a better way of putting it (always a good thing, when dealing with a truly alien concept), an intelligent virus. A single personality composed of literally milllions of “motiles” and tens of thousands of “immotiles”, it’s mental capacity for problem solving is truly stunning. As it’s primary impulse is survive, it spreads everywhere it can and sees all “other” life forms, down to insects, as competition and strives to stamp it out wherever it can.
    One of the morbidly fantastic scenes in this two-book space opera took place when Morninglightmountain captures a couple of humans. The vivisection and “alien” autopsy, done while both humans were very much alive, is stunningly good writing, even for a master like Hamilton.