Friday, January 28, 2011

NAME THAT KITTY - Part 2 on Thursday

The Cat Who Came In Through The Window

Tom says I ramble and get off track, which is true and I did, and Jeff says my posts are too long, and they are -- so I ended my last post when it got impossibly long--even though I hadn't even ever gotten to the point.  So this is part 2 and really is about the cat.  Or, at least, after a while it is.

But first, let me explain: 1) Cats who come in  and  2) The window

The first ever cat who came in uninvited did so through some door or other -- we're not sure which or when.  This feral cat, once in, did not like the inside of our house, nor the people in it, and especially the loud screams they made  and he tried desperately to get out.  The people did not like the feral cat inside the house, especially the loud shrieks he made and they tried desperately to get him out. We were all unsuccessful. The cat tore around the house screeching and shredding things and we sprinted after him.  When he holed up in the small back bathroom, 15 year old Jeff, who thought it was all much ado about nothing, volunteered to go into the room with a pillow case and capture the cat.  He proceeded to carry out his plan--without a plan.  Jeff is like that.  Shirtless, gloveless, clueless, in shorts, he entered the bathroom armed with a pillow case.  We listened, fascinated, to the uproar coming through the door.  Screaming and ouching and spitting and hissing and things knocking into others things went on for a very long time.  At last the door opened. Jeff silently emerged with a lumpy, vocal pillow case which he carried outside and threw over the fence as far as it would go. Jeff, who never spoke of it again, was ordered by his Grandmother to go for a tetanus shot on account of the cat bites and scratches that covered his body.  The cat never came back.

But there is another cat........ 
                                            And there is a window.....

We got the window because of Puck and Muck.  Puck is our animal shelter kitty that Jeff and Cyndy gave us for our wedding anniversary about 11 years ago. Elfin and mischievous  when she was tiny, like the character from Shakespeare, her name fit.  Now she is grown, and lazy and sleeps in the sun most of the time--but still is an important part of the family. She loves to pose on the deck rail, the front window sill, the bookcase, the top of Tom's recliner, or anywhere that shows off her beauty.
Please Take Me Home
Muck is one of those unplanned-for kitties thrust upon us by happenstance, because we are known to be a soft touch. A work friend called about the poor abandoned kitty who had been living in the field across from their office for some weeks. They brought it inside, but no one would take it home, so it was going to the pound, unless.......

Muck is a tortoise shell kitty, whose fur looks like it is all mucked up.  She looks exactly like Sideways Kitty, same fur, same half pint size, except that her head is sitting straight on her neck, so no one stares. She was not feral, so it was clear that someone had thrown her out into the field. She and Puck, after a few testy weeks, settled down and became friends.

I was not happy about some things though. Since the children were grown up and gone, we had pared down our menagerie to the two cats and had no more ancillary animals, such as gerbils, etc. I was ready to be less intense about animal care and less tied down to home.  Most especially, I hated, hated, hated, the mess of the litter box.  When we traveled for the weekend we could put the cat food and water outside in a bowl and that worked pretty well.  Unlike dogs, they don't eat it all up at once and it lasts the whole weekend. Because they are easier to maintain is why we have mostly stuck to cats anyway.  Except for the blasted litter box.  However, the food became a problem because of the raccoons and possums, who ate it all in whatever quantities we put out and who became bolder and bolder in their pursuit of it.  And they became bigger and bigger.

So, what to do?  I began to contemplate a cat door. I never wanted one, because I think they are way ugly and I always thought about the next person in.  How would a not-cat person new-owner handle our cat door. What to do?  I'll tell you the answer! Google it.
 The google answer is a cat window, which fits in the window like a window air conditioning unit.  That is, you push up the lower part of the window and insert the cat window contraption into the window.  No cutting a hole, and it goes with you when you go.  I was amazed that there was such a thing.  It was sorta pricey, but we ordered it and got our neighbor to help install it. (We are from the city and we went to law school.  We can't do anything useful.) Jeff's father-in-law saw it, loved it and made himself one. (He is from the country and he did not go to law school--though his daughter Cyndy did.  He can do everything useful!)  If you are of our ilk instead of his, I will be glad to share the purchasing info with you.

It took Puck and Muck a very long time to figure out how to use it.  We swung the flap back and forth. We stuck our hands through it.  We stuck them through it.  We put bowls of tuna on the other side of the flap.  We waved sardines in front of their noses and snatched the sardines through the flap as the kitties grabbed for them. Finally there was a breakthrough and it has been heaven since.  No more litter box. No more having to feed them outside where the raccoons can steal the food. They are completely independent. They are free to come and go as they please and so are we.  We can go  away for a weekend with no worries. 

Nothing is ever perfect.  Though Puck--the lazy one--is not, Muck is a hunter.  I think it comes from his time living in the field on his own. He quite frequently catches things and brings them in through the cat window. (see earlier post YEECH SOME BUGS DESERVE THE DEATH PENALTY)  Usually they are not dead; in fact, they are often quite lively. I try to catch him if I see him come in with something in his mouth, but if he sees me approaching, he dashes down the hall with the garden snake, cricket, field mouse, baby rabbit, frog, or bird and decides its fate.  If it gets away, it may live in the house for several days before we rescue it or he recaptures it. Then it is released back into nature or suffers a slow death at his paws in the same way it occurs in the wild on Animal Kingdom.  Except it is our rug that gets all bloody under the bed and all. Yuck! 

This window thing has worked well for many years.  There have been naysayers.  So many of our friends have warned us of the dangers. "What," they say, "if wild creatures from the outside--raccoons, possums and such, come in through that window?  What will you do then?"  Of course, it has not happened in all these 9 years, so why should it now?  I have seen no raccoons, no possums, no deer, no bear.   Not in all these years of Muck and Puck going in and out 10 or 15 times in the day and in the night.

And then............

About a year ago, a big black cat came in that window.  This feral cat, once in, did not like the inside of our house, nor the people in it, and especially the loud screams they made  and he tried desperately to get out.  The people did not like the feral cat inside the house, especially the loud shrieks he made and they tried desperately to get him out. We were all unsuccessful. The cat tore around the house screeching and shredding things and we sprinted after him.  He clawed up the walls and slid down; he tore across the tops of the upholstered chairs; he ran up the front drapes and shredded his way down, pulling them apart as he came. Then by some miracle he found the cat window and zipped his way out.

We were all traumatized, including Puck and Muck and sat quietly for awhile, gathering ourselves until we could regain our senses and be thankful it was over.

AND THEN THE CAT CAME BACK.  Again. and then again. and then again. Mostly he comes in the dead of the night. Mostly he comes straight in and out like a streak through the cat window.  To get food and water and be gone.  Muck and Puck, who once freaked out each time, hardly blink an eye now, though they do not approach him, or even move while he is inside for those few seconds.  He has become slightly bolder.  He comes sometimes in the evening while I am at the computer in the next room, but never when I am in the den--the room with the window.  He comes more often.  I can not post a picture, because I do not have a camera with a shutter speed fast enough to catch anything more than a blur.

So, is he ours yet?  Or will he ever be?  Is it time to start trying to make friends? To start picking out a name? 

Fenster and  Sam
Among the most recent good names we have used is one by master namer Jeff for their german short haired pointer who just died after 11 wonderful years.  Fenster was the most kid friendly dog I have ever known with almost the best name ever.  We have immortalized Fenster in the law firm by incorporating his name into some of our computer passwords--though I guess we will have to change them now since I have spilled the beans. 

Some years ago Jeff's kids gifted us a bronze cat for our deck, which they and Tom together named Buck, to go with Puck and Muck.  Tom is quite anxious to be in charge of the next choice of names for any new animals.  Considering his South Park nature, I am refusing to accommodate and, still in the nascent stage of the relationship, I am wondering, what shall we name the cat who came in through the window?


  1. How about, "Getouttahereyoufreakinthing"? I know that the heavier political stuff you guys write should be more to my liking. It certainly stimulates my thinking. But these last two posts are treasures. Just delightful. Thanks!

  2. Judy didn't tell you all about the maddest I have ever been at our cats.

    I am obsessive and proud to raise a successful vegetable garden our back yard and enjoy spending a lot of time planting, watering and nurturing my plants. There are constant problems and challenging whims of nature to overcome. It is especially difficult to get a good stand of okra plants because the seeds will not always germinate allowing the tiny plants to come up and when they finally do come up the fragile little plants are often knocked over by the wind and rain in springtime thunder storms. So I go out and straighten up the little plants with my hands. This spring I would see the soil churned up around the plants with several of them knocked over and killed. It did not take long to figure out that the cats were defecating in the soil near the plants and knocking them over and even pulling them out of the ground with their paws. I spied Puck doing his destructive doo-doo thing one day from the bathroom window. I tried to catch them doing it and when I did I would raise the window and holler and scream at them.

    I even was able to run out and catch Puck in the act and rendered a bit of corporal punishment across his backside. I bought some cat repellent spray and sprayed it around the small okra plants. It was a long and often frustrating struggle but I finally got a good stand of okra plants and we were rewarded with a whole lot of yummy okra to eat last summer.

    Since Judy is big on googling here is what I found on google about cats in South Park. Was Cartman's cat a male or female?

    Kitty was its name and it has also been called Mr Kitty. In one episode the boys got the cat to spray like a male cat.

    In another episode titled "Cat Orgy" the cat went into heat and tried to get mounted by all the male cats as well as being referred to as "She".

  3. Judy, this is completely visual in your beautiful prose but I think it may be a rerun of Animal Hoarders or perhaps "When Animals Attack" on the Animal Planet TV show.

    Cuz Mickey

  4. Mickey, as you know from Part 1, the first ever pet Jimmy and I had was Shorty Shorttail, which I think was captured on a fishing trip (or wading trip) my mom and dad took with your mom and dad in Estill. I didn't tell what became of Shorty Shorttail when he shuffled off this mortal coil (or kicked the bucket). The reason I didn't tell it was because it was the only bad thing Mom ever did and I don't want folks to think badly of her. She casually told me, when asked, that she flushed Shorty Shorttail down the commode. Can you believe your Aunt Libby would do such a thing? Well, I sure couldn't!

    Jeff is 40 years old, still won't talk about the "When Animals Attack" chapter in his life, but does have the scars to remember it by.


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