Smudge – The Tree-Bear Stunt Cat!
We woke up one morning and couldn’t find Smudge anywhere. A few more grey hairs were developed while running around calling her for ages and worrying ourselves silly that she was okay. Then her other servant called to my attention a creature sitting very high up in one of the tallest trees in the neighborhood. Sometime during the night, Smudge had decided that she should be a tree bear. By the time we found her though, she looked like she’d had enough of being an arboreal-type animal and wanted to come down.
But it seemed that while she had forward gear in vertical situations, she lacked reverse gear, and to cut a long story short, she kept going up rather than down. I actually ended up with a bad neck and shoulders from looking up and giving her instructions on descending (which she blithely ignored) and suffered for the next few days. Why is it I love cats again??!! It was also somewhat embarrassing. I’ve had several cats over the years, and never have I had to have one rescued from a tree. There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact that the only cat I’ve ever paid money for turned out to be the one that became a fireman’s cliché.
Other servant had done his best, climbing a tall ladder and risking life and limb to rescue her, and got very close to her a couple of times, but to no avail. The tree she was in was tall, skinny and grew on the side of a very inconvenient gully, and there was just no reaching her.
Dusk came and we weren’t any nearer to a successful tree bear retrieval, and I was starting to get very concerned that she would be taken as a possum by the hunters that live nearby and shot out of the tree. (Possums are an introduced pest in New Zealand and eat all our forests at a very fast rate of knots, so unfortunately they need to be despatched when spotted. Don’t hate us for it – if the forests die, everything dies. What are we to do?!)
There was only one solution left. Cut down the tree. Fortunately, the landlords’ son lives next door and gave us permission to do so. As it was only a weed tree, he was rubbing his hands in glee at gaining some lovely firewood for next winter. He’s a practical man, that one.
So out came the chainsaw. And the camera. Other servant promised me he could fell the tree slowly, causing no danger to the cat, so I went with him and filmed the whole scenario. And laughed.
Throughout the film all you can hear is chainsawing and giggling. Sure enough, the tree was lowered slowly, while a very surprised tree bear looked at us indignantly and finally jumped off at the last moment and disappeared off into the bush. Our tree bear had become a stunt cat.
She didn’t emerge for about three hours. It’s possible that our mirth offended her. When she did show up, she headed straight for the mink cave and washed for half an hour solid, trying to repair her dignity, while we struggled not to laugh right at her. I really hope she’s learned her lesson and stays a ground-dweller from now on – we rather like having trees on the skyline.
I got stuck in a tree today. It wasn’t a very good adventure and my servants laughed at me. Even the birds laughed at me. My heart is broken.
It would seem that there isn’t much to eat high up in a tree. I will keep this knowledge for future endeavors. One of my servants kept telling me to get down. As one of the clawless ones, she obviously didn’t realize how claws and gravity work. They are made to go up, not down. The Gods of Felinity probably didn’t think too hard on this as they can fly.
The other servant brought a very noisy thing over and broke the tree. I was most surprised when the tree fell down and I had to run and hide in case the noisy thing followed me. I had to meditate on my dignity for the following three hours. I then went to the mink cave and proceeded to wash. For a long time, as is proper when one’s dignity is wounded. The servants kept laughing at me. They tried to hide it, but I could tell. I hates them. I will ignore them for at least twenty-four hours. That will teach them. Maybe they will die from love neglect. No, wait. They must feed me. Very well, I will hates them only a little bit.
7. HAZMAT Suits and the Lizard-Eye Licker
I had to go away for a couple of days to work. I have a cat to support now. This gave Smudge and the other servant time to bond. Turns out she likes to lick his eyes. Perhaps she thinks he is a lizard in need of mothering. Who knows what goes through a cat’s mind. Although he is far too much of a MAN to admit it, he has also fallen deep under her spell.
When I arrived home last night, Smudge immediately came out to meet me. I was human enough to feel flattered but deep down I know she was re-imprinting me as her belonging. It strikes me as a little unfair that we both serve her AND pay the rent. We must talk about this.
Other servant has lined the washing basket with a mink blanket, and she completely fills it. It is round and she becomes round when she’s in there – and she is so furry that you can’t see where she begins, ends, or if she has a head. It’s just a basket of cat. I can see I will have to buy another basket for actual laundry use.
I watched her surreptitiously this morning and she used the cat WC. Success!! Now I can continue gardening without rubber gloves and a HAZMAT suit.
One of my servants went away for two days. I expect she went hunting so she could feed me. As is proper. I took care of the other servant in the meantime, lying on top of him so that he stayed put, and I kept him clean while I had hold of him. I never see humans lick themselves – they are totally filthy beings. That’s probably why their fur has fallen out.
I think he was duly grateful to me because he made me a round bed. Lined with mink. As it should be. I will give him some extra licking for his obeisance.
When the other servant arrived back from hunting, I had to re-imprint her . She smelled of many other things from many other places, and it was of great concern that she may have forgotten that she belongs to me. Humans have short memories, which is why I have to remind them ongoingly to feed me. May the Gods of Felinity forbid that the level of my bowl reaches less than half.
She seemed very pleased that I had used my private powder room. Why would I not? It is only right that I should have my own private facilities. Humans are so pathetically easy to keep happy.
6. The Smudge Toileting Facilitation Unit TM
Upon walking outside today, I discovered something dreadful. SOMEbody (gee, I wonder who) has been scratching up our new garden. While mulching it with stones and sprinkling cinnamon powder all over both gardens, I came up with an idea. Make a The Smudge Toileting Facilitation Unit TM for outside, a cat powder room. I figured that if we put fresh dirt inside a tire somewhere, then sprinkle a few granules on it from her inside litter box, Smudge might use that for a toilet and leave my garden alone. I introduced her to it and she sniffed for a bit, then jumped back out again, hunched on the ground beside it and gave me The Look. Hopefully it all goes to plan. Watch this space.
Smudge actually played today. I took the ball with the bell inside it out of the box she’s supposed to scratch her claws on instead of the carpet – yeah, right – and she chased it round the floor for a while. It’s dawning on me now that she likes things with bells. I’m tucking this piece of information away for future psychological manipulations. She also scampered around in the shower tray for a little while. Perhaps the Maine Coon water attraction is showing through now. I did try to take her for a walk to introduce her to the pond down the back, but she retreated to the mink cave, waving the tip of her tail in disgust. I guess I’ll try again another day.
She turned up pretty quickly though when I started dividing the food we’ve been buying for her into smaller bags for the freezer. When she stands on her hind legs, she’s tall enough to have a perfect view of whatever’s on the table. And suddenly, she was able to talk, after several days of not hearing more than a couple of squeaks out of her. Cats are so mercenary!
Today one of my servants discovered my subtle gardening attempts. It caused much industriousness and she made my own place for powdering my nose. It’s about time.
I played with a tinkly ball for a while in the mink cave and my servant went all silly about it. It’s worth showing off my hunting skills if it gets her to give me food.
And it worked. A short while later I discovered her playing with food. I talked to her about it and she gave me some. She is a good littermate. I may keep her on.
My servants also have chairs that are lined with the fur of sheep. I am considering a gradual takeover bid. Perhaps I will squeak when I do so. They seem to respond well to that, so it is great for psychological manipulation.
The training continues.
Maine Coon Madness – Kittens!!
This is Rose – one of the kittens I met on that fateful day that was the beginning of our own servitude. Rose completely rules her owner already, the house, the dog, the child and all things made of paper and cardboard. She has the typical Maine Coon features of pointed ears, long tail, long whiskers, big paws and a need to be involved with everything that is going on. At only a few weeks old she’s already quite large. She will grow until she’s four or five years old.
5. Day 4 – Slimy Pills and The Look
This morning I gave Smudge a worming tablet. It was bacon-flavoured, or some such thing. Smudge licked it a couple of times then dropped it. Now it was bacon-flavoured and spit-covered. I had to hold her tummy-up in my arms and force it between her teeth. Always a nerve-wracking process that can lead to bloodied stumps for fingers, but in the end she took it and all of my digits remain intact. She did give me The Look and retired to the corner to sulk, but once I got the brush out and pampered for a while she forgave me and even played with the stick again.
She then went outside. I spied on her from a distance and saw her roll in the gravel, trot over to a ponga tree and look up at it, then wander down the bank to lordy knows where. I strolled casually past where I had last seen her and walked onto the road in case there was a need for interception, but she didn’t go anywhere near that. So I’m guessing she went to ground into the wonderful cat-haven that is the front of the section we live on. There’s a small water pond and a tunnel under the driveway and trees galore, so plenty of places to hide and spy on the world.
LATER ON: Smudge has casually wandered in and out, checking that we’re still here and the food is still in place, so she definitely knows where home is, much to our relief. When she’s walking around you can see just how big she is. About twice the size of my last cat Otis. And she won’t stop growing until she’s about five years old. Perhaps we should organise buying shares in a cat biscuit factory. And her coat is awesome – thick and fluffy with auburn, brown, silver and creamy bits. A bit like a ground-dwelling possum on steroids. She has a stripe down one side of her nose too, as a little touch of je ne sais pas quoi. Apparently Maine Coon coats were designed by nature for handling snowy conditions, along with those wide paws for show shoes. I wonder if she’ll go down and swim in the shallow pond at the back of the section in the summer, to keep cool. I’m told Maine Coons have a fascination with water, so it’s possible she’ll wander inside soaking wet at some stage or other. And probably lay on the bed to dry…
One of the servants shoved something down my throat this morning. First I licked it though, to make it less comfortable for her to touch. Humans are funny about slimy things. I decided not make too much fuss about it as it’s beneath my dignity to do so. I then gave her The Look so she would fawn all over me, as is proper.
I have decided to go and see the world in daylight today. This is another fun game where my servants watch me while pretending not too, then I disappear into the underground and spy on them in return.
4. Day 3: The Stick, The Idiot and the Mink Cave
We introduced Smudge to the cottage today. It wasn’t long before she found the top bunk in the bedroom and the mink blanket there ensconced. And that was where she spent the day. Later in the afternoon, I finally managed to get her to play, by wriggling the dangly thing on a piece of elastic that I’d bought for her, and it turned out she was only interested in the end of the stick! She doesn’t appear to be overly playful, but I’m putting it down to getting used to her new territory. At least that’s my excuse for making a total fool of myself with ping-pong balls, sticks, laser lights and all manner of other paraphernalia. I hope to heck she doesn’t think she’s far too dignified to play. God forbid we have to get another kitten to justify all the toys lying around…
Tonight she remains in the cottage, even though the door is wide open. We have come to realise that our cat is somewhat chicken-hearted. She’d far rather snuggle up to a mink blanket than face the outside world. Of course, we will not word this in front of her.
Today I discovered another mink cave. It is soft and makes a fine background to my fine quality thick coat. I must look beautiful at all times in the frozen pictures that I know she will share with other humans.
She dangled a stupid toy in front of me this afternoon. It is fun to watch her act like the most foolish of kittens. To be contrary, I played with the bit she least expected me to. She must learn that it is a cat’s duty to be contrary on an ongoing basis. But I want her to keep feeding me, so, for a few minutes, I played .
They think that I am afraid of going outside. But I don’t see why I should. It’s cosy here and food is nearby. However, I will do so later when it is suitably dark. This is the most fun for me so far – testing their stress levels. Humans are so predictable.
3. Day 2 – Hairbrushes and Free Food
Smudge stayed in bed all day today. And adopted the long turkish cushion in the corner of it. I introduced the brush to her, very gently, and she loved it! She rolled over onto her back and demanded that I do her tummy. A lot. I was kinda touched, as that’s a very trusting thing for an animal to do. So she was able to really milk that one!
Once night fell, she played her little game again, but we played it cool this time. Of course, we still had heart palpitations, but we weren’t going to tell her that. I have come to realize that when she walks on the rubber mats outside, I can hear her great big feet landing on them. So we may not be able to see her, but we can hear her sneaking up behind us. I imagine she thinks she’s being furtive, and we’re not going to tell her otherwise. Every advantage we can get…
Today I slept. Training new servants is tiring. One of them brushed me. She is falling deeper under my spell. Tonight when I escaped again, I made sure to walk loudly every now and then. Much as I like fooling with them, I must keep a fine balance between keeping them on their toes and still wanting to feed me. Free food is my first priority.
2. Day 1 at Smudge’s forever home. Sheesh – Parenthood!!
Servant’s Point of View (POV):
Smudge and I got home late last night, and once again she gave a few meows in the car then settled down. When we got home, she dived straight at the mink blanket and proceeded to knead it. My partner introduced himself and she nosed him, head butted him then snuggled on in for a sleep. She did her Edmund Hillary act again with both of us during the night, but that was okay. We were perfectly willing to be mountains if that was what it took to make her happy. I strongly suspect that was the true beginning of our enslavement.
We spent a lot of today in bed. After doing several extra shifts at work lately, I was really okay with this. But of course, the main reason for doing it was to bond with Smudge. Later in the afternoon, I ventured out into the world and spent far more money than I intended on things that Smudge would need. I had already bought special no-grain cat bickies, a worming tablet and some cat litter, and as for what else I bought this time, I don’t wanna talk about it…
Tonight she showed great interest in going outside. Well quite frankly, she escaped. And while we busily had heart attacks over it, she just circled round and round the Navarac playing ‘I can see you having your cardiac arrests and you can’t see me’, the automatic lights occasionally turning on as she went and giving away her movements, bless her little heart. So, suckers that we are, we hung around outside pretending to be all casual-like while she played her little game, then finally she decided that she’d had enough and popped back into the Navarac and onto the mink blanket-covered bed. Sheesh – parenthood!!
It turns out that I have not one servant, but two. They have mink blankets here. And food. It is acceptable.
I played ‘Blend into the dark’ tonight. It amused me to watch them stress. Eventually I took pity on them and went back into the mink blanket cave. At the end of the day, (pardon the pun) I am benevolent.
23 August 2014
1. A Smudge on the Horizon
Yesterday my partner and I went for a drive out of town with a friend to a Maine Coon cat breeder to buy her a kitten. I had foolishly agreed to this road trip as I am a complete and utter sucker for kittens. After spending a couple of hours in Maine Coon kitten heaven, surrounded by four playful, friendly, drastically gorgeous felines, I dragged myself out of there having narrowly avoided forking out money I couldn’t afford. And as my partner pointed out, we need a new fridge. Lemme see, kitten/fridge, kitten/fridge, kitten/fridge, kitten/kitten/kitten/fridge… Believe me, it was a close thing.
When we got home, I looked up Maine Coons (from here on referred to as MC’s) on TradeMe to see what other people charged for their kittens, praying that I could find one for a lesser price, but not really holding out much hope. But, lo and behold, first up on the page was an 18 month old MC, seeking a new home, for a price I could actually afford. AND she looked like a long-haired version of my previous tortoiseshell friend of 16 years, Otis. Could this be kismet?!
I rang the cat’s present servant and we arranged for me to meet her and the cat today. She was seeking a new home for her as her house had several animals in it and the MC just wasn’t getting on with them. So this is how Smudge and I met.
Smudge wasn’t too keen on the idea of meeting me. And I can’t say I blame her. If someone twenty times larger than me entered my home and loomed over me saying ‘Trust me, I’m nice’, the first thought to enter my head would be ‘RUN!!!’ It’s only sensible, right?
But, after a while, she let me stroke her for little bit. Then shortly after that she growled and swatted me away. She’d run out of tolerance and didn’t want to talk to anybody. So I’d had very little time to get to know her, her present servant didn’t know me from a bar of soap and I was trying to convince them both that I should sweep her up and disappear into the wild blue yonder. It wasn’t the best of beginnings for Smudge and I, but I was fairly convinced that in a quiet situation where she was the only animal present, and with a fair bit of patience on our part, all would come right.
Present Servant got her into the cage, I strapped it into the car and off we set. Compared to Otis, who would sing out tragically that her throat had just been slit for every minute of the ride if I had to put her in a car, Smudge did really well. A few meows at first, then just a few here and there after that, usually just as I was wondering if she was alive and okay.
When we arrived at our interim destination, I left her in the cage in a closed room for a short while so she could smell the smells and take in that the car had stopped. The room contained some water, some cat bickies, a cardboard box for hiding in and a large litter tray. I went and sat outside and worried that I had done the right thing, taking on a reluctant cat that might need a bit of rehab.
When I returned and opened the cage, she took a few minutes to sniff, then hopped out. And up onto the bed with me. And ate biccies one at a time from my lap. And within 10 minutes, she had washed my face, head butted me, smooched like crazy while gradually moving further and further onto my body, until finally I was Mount Everest and she was Sir Edmund Hillary, purring all the way to the top. And now, an hour or so later, she’s parked right next to me, flat out on her back, full of fresh meat and biccies and fast asleep on autopurr.
I think we’re going to be okay.
Today I shifted house and gained new servants. My original servant came to realise that I was unwilling to reign over a house with too many creatures in it. Other creatures are idiots – I am the only sensible one. So one of my new servants came and picked me up. And I shifted towns.
I meowed throughout the journey, of course. In an off and on manner – on enough to assure her of my noble existence and off enough to retain my innate dignity. And keep her edgy as to whether I was still alive. Humans need prodding every now and again to remind them not to take us nobles for granted.
We arrived at our interim quarters, where we shall stay until moving on later tonight. I gave the quarantine area a quick inspection then proceeded to eat just a few of the offerings my servant provided. Just a few for now, but I will demand them every half hour or so because it will amuse me to watch her scurry about trying to please me. I am new to her, she wants to soothe me and I will milk it for all that it is worth.
I then proceeded to wash her face and head butt it. She stroked me in an acceptable manner, obviously imagining I was showing signs of approval, when in reality I was merely marking her as a belonging of mine. She will learn.