Category Archives: Cats

Entries where I mention or talk about my cats.

How Dare You!

Just a wee kitten on a banana bed, looking grumpy because I dared take her picture while she was napping.

No filters except for Android’s native “enhance” filter. I also cropped the photo so that my foot wouldn’t be visible. That blue thing in the lower left corner is the food plate.

That’s all for today. Did I mention that I added a post to my Penguin Scientific blog? Feel free to take a gander.


Kitten photos for Thingadailies!

Speaking of Kaiju

Tonight we watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which I’d been wanting to watch since it first came out in 2019. We’d seen the other movies in the rebooted Godzilla franchise: Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, so it was inevitable that we’d see this one. Now we’re all ready to watch Kong Vs. Godzilla when that one comes out next month.

I had listened to an episode of the Our Opinions Are Correct podcast this morning which talked about kaiju movies, and which suggested that, just as the original Gojira was an allegory for the US bombing of Japan in the Second World War, these modern films can be seen as an allegory for climate change. I think this is pretty clear. Or, rather, it’s sledged into us with a sledgehammer. It’s an important message.

On the whole, I liked the movie. I think Jennifer has been less impressed with them than I have.

Speaking of kaiju, I went into the office earlier this evening to hang with the kittens and get pictures. I didn’t get very many. In fact, I only got one that I liked. It’s this one:

This is Misdemeanor poking her head into the tower track toy that they like. Sometimes they will put their whole body in, with just their butt and tail sticking out, and I really wanted that picture but alas the kittens weren’t cooperating. It’s an okay picture. Slightly blurry. The lighting in the office is difficult to work with, but I applied the native “enhance” filter that made it all look slightly less yellow. Enh. Let me know what you think.


In other news, I’ve submitted twenty-five stories this year so far. I’ve gotten eleven rejections so far: nine form rejections, and two personal. A personal rejection is nice, because it generally means it’s made it past the slush team into the hands of an editor. Still, I have fourteen outstanding. I’m aiming for one hundred rejections this year.

Okay, that’s oversimplifying things. Obviously, I want to sell stories so I can make some money off this fiction writing thing. But I got a wee bit of flack on social media; one correspondent commented that if they got that many rejections they would stop and assess their entire writing process, because it meant they were doing something wrong. I disagree with that assessment; there are a lot of stories out there, a lot of writers, and not that many well-paying markets.

Besides, I took 2020 off completely from submitting anything, reassessing my entire fiction output, and that did me no good at all. Well, I did submit one story to a writing contest, but got a standard “didn’t even make it to the next round” letter.

Shooting for 100 rejections doesn’t mean I really want to damage my ego anymore than it already is. It really means 100+ submissions, assuming that at least one of those submissions ends in a sale.

Here’s hoping.


Daily kitten pics for Thingadailies!

A wee bit of purrspective

Despite ample opportunities for kibble (see image to the left) this kitten, Filch, would have you know that he hasn’t eaten in EIGHT YEARS today! Not since noon has he received wet food, which is, in kitten years, approximately forever (give or take). When I opened the door to the office where we keep Filch and his siblings (Pilfer and Misdemeanor, for those who aren’t keeping track), there was much whining and crying going on. We have seen these kittens eat kibble, so we know they know how to do so (though the kittens dispute this; fake mews, and all) and find it yummy enough. They just don’t get to eat wet food as often as they want, which is all the time forever.

Goofy kittens.

These pictures aren’t the best pictures I’ve taken, but in my defense it’s hard to take a good picture of  a kitten who is rapidly chomping down on the few remaining molecules of wet food (Pilfer and Misdemeanor having eaten their fill already). So filters were applied.

Filch is also kind of a meanie. I separate the wet food into three piles when I put it on the floor, because we have seen Filch actually reach out a paw and growl to prevent the others from getting to the food where he is eating. Sheesh.

Meanwhile, in other news, I finally got a photograph of our new (to us) car:

Meet Clovis! It’s a 2017 Toyota Prius. The color is called “sea-foam green”. We weren’t sure when we looked at the initial photos on CarMax. Was it green? Was it blue? When CarMax did the initial inspection, they reported it as “green, with blue flecks”. But it turns out if you have your vehicle’s VIN, you can look it up on Toyota’s website and get all the specs on your car, including paint job. Which is how we found out it’s official color.

Here’s hoping no more trees drop down on our cars.


Cat pictures a day for Thingadailies!

Whiners and Diners

These three little ingrates have done nothing productive all day. They just slept in their fuzzy bed (which you can see in this picture) and occasionally whined at us when it was time to feed them. They have particular desires when it comes to feeding time. One full can of wet food, please, on a large plate so that Filch (in the middle) can eat his without growling at the others.

I took this image on my morning break when I went through the office where these guys are staying to get to the bathroom. I like that they’re all looking up at me. Mostly. I cropped the original picture by about a third and then applied Google’s built-in “Enhance” filter.


Kitten pics for Thingadailies!

So you thought…

…that I would post an entry a day with a kitten (or two) a day for the month of February? Well, so did I. But between school and work and writing and editing stories for Daikaijuzine, I found myself somewhat busy. Still, kittens will kitten, so I took a couple of pictures the other day!

This is Pilfer. I like super close-up pictures of kittens and cats for some reason, so this one (which I actually took in selfie mode because he was facing away from me — fortunately you cannot see my face) I had to keep.

And Misdemeanor! She’s very whiny. I caught her in a thoughtful moment. Who knows what she’s pondering?

I didn’t edit either picture much, aside from applying the phone’s built-in “enhance” filter. The lighting in our home library, where these pictures were taken, is pretty bad, so the filter was necessary to make the pictures tolerable. I think I’m getting better at framing the shots.

Still no pictures of the new car, I’m afraid. Every time I head out to run an errand (approximately once per week in these plague times) I think to myself, as I head out the door, that I ought to take a picture of the car. But something happens when I get to the bottom of the stairs, and the thought flies from my head. Soon, though!


Kittens for Thingadailies!

More kittens!

…And here are Wellerman (front, looking grumpy), and Shanty (rear, looking hopefully at the ceiling) seated together on a kitty sofa which we bought a couple of months ago. They’re cute, right? This is a pretty raw pic and the flash probably wasn’t necessary. I took another picture shortly after this one from a different angle, but Jennifer posted that one to the House of Floof page on Facebook and Instagram, so I think it was a good one just based on that.

In other news, we have acquired a new car. It’s a 2017 Toyota Prius, of course, and it’s a strange color that occupies that liminal space between light green and light blue (the salesperson who looked it over said it was green with blue spots). I tracked down the car to the Toyota website, and found that its “official” color is sea-foam green. We have named the car Clovis for no good reason other than because it sounded good. Pics forthcoming.

And in yet other news, this weekend is Boskone 58. Boskone is a science fiction and fantasy convention that I’ve been wanting to go to for years, but it’s in Boston in winter, which has always been such a deterrent for me. But this year, because of the covid-19 pandemic, it’s completely online. That’s super, because I get to see the panels and panelists and talks and what-not, but not-so-super because gosh darn it I really miss going to in-person conventions and meeting people at random in the hallways or at meals.

UPDATE: This little chucklehead is Pilfer. Like his siblings (Filch and Misdemeanor) he is about five weeks old, closing in on six. He’s very friendly, and has a loud purr. He’s been known to put his whole head into my mouth when I’m holding him and I yawn. I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking. “What’s in there? So fascinating!”

That’s all for today. Tune in later, maybe even tomorrow, for more quality content.

Fuzzy Nation

This little chowderhead is Filch, and he’s about five and a half weeks old. I like this picture, because, well, I like kitten closeups. I just wish I’d gotten him to look directly at the camera. But he’s young so he moves around a LOT.

This is his sister Misdemeanor — Missy, Misty, or Miss-D for short. I think she looks kind of grumpy in this picture, don’t you? She’s not normally a grumpus, though. She was just kind of sleepy when I took this picture. Well, also the kittens had just gotten their first vaccines, and had blood drawn, and their momma cat had gone away. So yeah, I guess they had a right to be grumpy.

These two critters (and their brother Pilfer, whom I did not get a good picture of this morning) are current fosters of ours. Their momma kitty, Carmen (as in Sandiego), went back to her own home yesterday, so these three have been successfully weaned and are living wild and free on their own. I feel like it’s sad to let three kittens be on their own when their momma cat moves away, but that’s the way of cats in the world, and these three guys will be just fine.

In other news, we picked up our new (to us) car last night. We bought it online through CarMax, because we did not want to have to fuss with salespeople trying their hardest to upsell us to features we don’t want or need in a car. Heated side mirrors! Built-in GPS (which we’d never use because we have Google Maps on our phones)! Etc.! No, we knew what features we wanted, and shopped around on the CarMax website until we found the one we wanted, and arranged to buy it. We only got the one car; we’re going to try being a one-car household for awhile. Right now, we’re both working at home 100% anyway, we hardly go anywhere, and even when I am commuting to work, my commute is only six miles which takes me twenty minutes on a bad day.

CarMax did not hardsell anything to us aside from additional warranties, which we expected. So that was fine.

All in all, not a bad time was had yesterday (except, perhaps, by the kittens).


Thingadailies!

RIP Nutmeg (2010-2020)

We had originally gone to the SPCA shelter that day (long before we’d started working with Happy Tails) intending to adopt a little kitten, but when I passed Nutmeg’s cage, she reached out a paw at me and patted me on the shoulder. So while Jennifer tried to coax a shy black and white kitten out of its cage, the attendant took out Nutmeg (called Monet at the shelter) so we could get acquainted. She clambered up one of my arms, across my shoulders, behind my neck, down the other, and let me hold her, purring all the while. So, it was decided: we would adopt her.

We brought her home, and she fit in well with the crew that we already had. The vet’s exam showed she was healthy, and she was friendly to the vet and staff, so the vet remarked that she had a good personality, though she was a bit on the portly side. She was definitely friendly, though she didn’t like to be held for very long by anyone (besides me, which made me feel good).

For the first few years, she slept with me, even followed me downstairs like a puppy whenever I went to bed. As she grew older and less mobile, she tended to stay either upstairs or downstairs during the day, depending on where she was placed in the morning.

Nutmeg was kind of a strange cat when it came to her diet. She was picky. While our cat Ingrid-the-Weird would scarf down wet food and people food and any stray veggies that she fancied, Nutmeg would eat only kibble. No wet food. No people food. Jennifer once put a dab of tuna juice on Nutmeg’s nose, and she acted as though we’d tried to poison her. The only time I ever saw her interested in non-kibble was when she stuck her nose into Jennifer’s root beer float, and even then I think she was mostly interested in how the foam bubbled in front of her.

She was never an active cat, and we ended up calling her “Potato Cat”. She was a floor potato, a couch potato, a chair potato, a potato anywhere she sat (the photograph above shows her with a potato bearing an image of her likeness drawn on it). “Lazy Potato”, we’d sing to her. “She’s our lazy Potato Cat!”

A few weeks ago she stopped eating and started losing weight. Definitely peculiar for our lazy potato cat. She didn’t mind having food put into her mouth and she would eat that, but she wouldn’t go to her food bowl on her own. We took her to the vet, but he initially found nothing physically wrong with her. When he did an X-ray and a more thorough physical exam a few days later, he found a number of lumps spread throughout her body, on her spleen and liver and in her abdomen.

So after that, it was just about keeping her comfortable and happy. The vet gave us Prednisalone for her, and that brought back her appetite. We had a few weeks with her after that.

But then she peed in her bed, and didn’t move out of it. She’d always had a problem with inappropriate peeing, but she’d always moved away from it. This time, she didn’t. We finally picked her up and put her in one of her favorite spots, on a pad on the floor in front of the refrigerator. We noticed that while her stomach was large as always, we could feel her pronounced backbone, which is not a good sign in a cat. So on Sunday morning, we made the painful decision to take her to the vet’s office to have her euthanized. I’m so grateful that Jennifer came with me, and that the vet allowed us into the room where they would perform the procedure — I’d been terrified that we’d have to wait outside because of COVID-19 restrictions. And, of course, I was a wreck the whole time, but I held her and hugged her while it happened.

She was one of the first cats we’d adopted since moving to Sacramento (Rupert and Ingrid were the first), and she was the first one we adopted with the intention of bonding to me. And we did bond.

Goodbye Nutmeg, my lazy potato — also known as Miss Chumbly Wumbly, Chumbles, Chumbelina, and other nicknames I can’t quite bring to mind right now. You were a spiffy cat, and I will always love you.

RIP Azzie (April 1999 – December 2018)

Azzie

 

The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment.
–Dr. Colin Murray Parks

It’s the end of an era. When Jennifer and I got married in 2001, we had seven cats: Allegra, Rebecca, Sebastian, Tangerine, Zucchini, Rosemary, and Azzie. Over the years since then, the cats passed on, finding their way to whatever awaits good and well-loved cats on the other side.

Azzie was the last of these, outliving all the others by several years (I would sometimes ask him if he ever thought about his old crew; and, of course, he would look at me inscrutably and not say a word).

Azzie was a dim little cat, who would get lost behind a clear shower curtain or not figure out that a jack-and-jill bathroom had two entrances. But he was a pretty cat (see picture above, or the pictures on Jennifer’s blog post about him), and we loved him. Though we did warn him that when his looks went, he was out on the streets.

A few months ago, he developed a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away. The vets gave him several shots of Convenia, and he had rounds of amoxicillan and Veraflux, none of which did any good for more than a couple of weeks. After they wore off, he would be right back to sniffling and snorfling and sneezing. And it just got worse and worse. He developed arthritis in his hind end, and we ended up shaving off his magnificent fur because he would constantly get mats that he wouldn’t let us comb out. His spiffy tail, which he used to hold to one side because of an ancient injury started dragging on the ground behind him. And yesterday we finally decided it was time to let him go. He lived for nearly twenty years, which is long-lived for a cat. I was hoping he would make it to April, but it was clear that he was suffering: he was barely eating, and we think the congestion was getting in the way of his sleep, and since a cat is approximately 70% sleep, this was a serious issue.

He was a goofy cat. I don’t know when or why I started blaming him for everything that happened (“BELCH!” “Excuse you!” “Azzie’s power is great!”), but I did. I thought it was funny. Jennifer probably found it less so. Azzie didn’t care either way about this power that rested on his shoulders.

The house will feel strangely empty without him around, either sniffling and sneezing his way around the kitchen as he had done for months, or whining loudly because it was supper time, as he used to do before he got sick. I’ll have to retire my “Azzie’s power is great!” jokes. We’ll have to stop singing the silly songs that we used to sing about him.

Goodbye little Azzie. We love you and we’ll miss you so much.

 This is a picture of Azzie in a Christmas wreath from 2003.

A Thought for the Ontologically Inclined

The other day I was watching Mighty Mouse (one of our foster kittens) playing with a little felt ball in the kitten room. She’d pick up the toy in her mouth, run around with it for a bit, drop it, bap at it, run after it, pick it up again, then run around like mad with it in her mouth again. It was incredibly silly, and very cute.

So I got to thinking about the toy itself and what it represented in Mouse’s brain. Cats are primarily predators (except possibly for Nutmeg, our 16-pound “potato cat”), so many of their play behaviors would be hunting behaviors in the wild. So what, to Mouse, did that little felt toy represent? A bug? A bird? A mouse? Some other small mammal? I mean, she clearly knew it wasn’t food, since she wasn’t eating it, but something about that toy was definitely triggering her latent hunting behavior.

From there, my brain, as it is wont to do, spun on to the same question but about human brains. What high-level behaviors of ours are actually representative of something else? I don’t mean simple symbology, such as looking at the Washington Memorial and thinking of — Well, you know. I mean those higher-level “noble” pursuits that we make so much of. Let’s say science, for example. We as a civilization1 pursue science pretty doggedly (cattedly?), and we’ve made great strides in our understanding of the cosmos and how it works.

So, my question to you is: are there yet higher-level orders of consciousness that could look down on us, view those ideals which we strive for, and wonder what they represent for us? We humans watch the cat play with a felt ball, and figure that the felt ball represents a bug; what would the aliens of Trafalmadore think we’re pursuing when we think we’re pursuing science?

Watching cats frequently makes me ponder the nature of human intelligence and the limits of our consciousness.

I know, this question is an easy one, one that should go up on Facebook or Twitter. I just want to save it here on my own blog.