Tuesday, June 28, 2011

EEEEEEEEEK! - The Story of Socks

(I haven't blogged here in months because I have been putting off this post. I will probably cry. You have been warned. Arm yourselves with kleenex.)

For my 12th birthday, my dad took me to the leetle bitty local animal shelter, in search of a kitten. Preferably a female red tabby. In the "Pet of the Week" section of the newspaper, I had spotted an adorable female red tabby named Darla up for adoption (I have no idea why I remember her name), and I hoped that she was still there.
Of course, she wasn't.
Rarely did we get to see the angry face of Socks.
But Christmas trains....Ooooh, he hated those. XD
In fact, the shelter didn't even have any female kittens. Only five little boys. Two were long-haired lover boys, reaching through the bars and screaming their fluffy little heads off. One was striped and sleeping soundly. One was trying to beat up on his brother. His brother was an interesting mixture of white, and what appeared to be olive green (I have no idea what to call that color. He looked green). He was pressed up against the bars, staring at me, ignoring his brother bopping him on the head. He was certainly adorable, but after the whole Thomas thing (EEEVIIIL) I didn't think I wanted another boy.
Fortunately, dad convinced me otherwise, and a few days later, we brought the little guy home.

I gave him the terribly stereotypical name Socks, because of his white feet, and because I was obsessed with the book at the time.

Socks became my bestest kitty friend ever. He was sweet and gentle, and never ever purposefully scratched me. He wouldn't cry if you stepped on his tail, he would only look sadly up at you, all like, "Whyyy are you doing this to meeee?"
Socks was the sort of cat who seems kind of stupid, but was actually quite intelligent. We had all sorts of games, like Hide and Seek, and Fetch (Yes, he fetched), and his favorite...Kickit.
You know those rubber spiky balls that could also be worn as hats? Socks adored those. I'd turn it spiky side in, and kick it all over the house, and he'd chase it and bring it back to me. I'd start by asking Socks if he wanted to play a game. His eyes would widen, "A game!"   He would stare at me until I'd ask him, "Do you want to play....Kickit?" His eyes would then widen even more, until they were roughly 15% larger than his face, he'd "Meeeyahyahyah!" his approval, and would follow me obsessively until I produced the ball and played with him. And he would not stop until I stopped. Sometimes I'd stop too soon for him, and he'd keep bringing me the ball.
Catnip Par-tay. All teh kittiez are high.
Socks is the pretty boy on the far right.
He had a thing for rubber. I had to hide the ball when I couldn't supervise him, because he totally would've eaten it. He did eat half of a rubber bracelet once (He managed to keep it inside himself for four days before it came out the way it went in).

Socks, like me, was rather phobic. His main problem was intense claustrophobia. He feared small spaces. Even sticking his head into the food dish made him uncomfortable, so he came up with an alternative. He'd stick his paw into the food dish, scoop up a pawful of food, and it like a little raccoon. Occasionally he'd just dump the food on the floor and eat it, but he usually ate from his paw.
Fortunately, he was a healthy boy and rarely needed to go to the vet (Getting a claustrophobic kitty into a little bitty kitty carrier? HELL).

Socks was also convinced that horrible monsters were hiding everywhere. If the blankets on the bed moved, he'd jump, then alternate sloooowly extending a paw towards the scary object, and jumping again, until he had himself convinced the danger had passed.
Come abruptly around a corner? He'd jump. Water in the water dish moving? He'd jump. Make a kissy noise at him? He'd jump.
We liked to mess with him. It was just so EASY.

Ooh, and he also liked to skip with me. I'd tell him I wanted to skip, and I'd start skipping around the house. Socks would be right alongside me, moving with an interesting bounce in his step that can only be defined as a kitty skip.

After I started working at the studio, Socks became even more clingy. He started sleeping all snuggled up with me in bed, something he hadn't done since his first couple of nights at home. He'd cry for me more often.
Socks was a ventriloquist. He'd get lonely, and cry for me. I thought his cries were coming from the pantry or the hallway, and would have to look everywhere before I'd finally find him, in a corner of the living room, facing the wall, and crying mournfully, "Mroww.....MROAH....Mreeoww.....mrow..." I'd tell him to stop it, I was right here. He'd whip his head around, eyes full of joy and squeak, "Meeyahh!"

I'd tell him everything, and he'd listen attentively. I'd tell him I loved him, and to make sure he lived a good long time, because I didn't want to be without him.

Never tell your cats this.

January 15th, 2009, Socks died of either a stroke, or a blood clot that went to his brain. The vets offered to find out the exact cause, but it didn't matter, as there was nothing they could do either way. Either one was extremely rare in a cat so young (He was 4 1/2 years old). He was shaking and throwing up and he couldn't see. Mom said he probably didn't even know us anymore, but looking at him as dad carried him out the door to the vet, I think he still knew me. Most of the time his eyes looked clouded and confused, but he would have a few seconds here and there were eyes were clear.
Dad called home to tell us, and asked if I wanted to come down and see him. I didn't. I couldn't. I didn't want to remember him that way, and by that point he was pretty far gone. I didn't want them to keep him here any longer than they had to.
Easily, that night is the worst night of my life. I've never lost a person in my life, but I'm sure that losing my baby Socks was just as awful as losing a human friend. It's horrible, it's physically painful. I was really depressed for I don't know how long. I usually say about two weeks, but I think it was longer than that. I just didn't like to admit it. The whole time I was crying, Bambi Sue stayed next to me, always touching me. If I moved, she'd follow me, and if I screamed she didn't flinch. She slept curled up next to me, exactly like Socks had, for at least a month.

Yep. I'm crying. I did warn you.

Even though our time together was so short, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. He was such a sweet, loving, adorable little boy, and I'm very thankful he was a part of my life.

If it weren't for him, I never would have become acquainted with Bunny, my big, fat, creeping sausage cat. "Bunny" was one of Sock's many nicknames, because he was an excellent jumper, and had big bunny feet.

God works in strange ways sometimes, but I believe it always turns out for the best.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Penny the Psycho Cat

This is Penny about to claw your face off.
Isn't she cute? :D
After a few years of having two cats, the family decided that getting a kitten would be fun. Kittens are cute, cuddly, an fun to play with, yes?
Well, not always.

A farm cat belonging to some church friends had just had a litter of five kittens, three male, two female. We decided on the female who had been temporarily named Runt. Yes, we picked another runt, like Thomas. But this time, we at least knew the mother of the kitten, and the mother was sweet as could be.

 As soon as the kittens were eating kitten food, we took little Runt home, and named her Penny (Because who the hell wants to love with a name like "Runt"?). She soon received the nickname "Mouse" due to her squeaky little voice, gray fur, and  because she runs around like crazy vermin.
 Penny Mouse made it very clear that even though she was tiny, she would not be intimidated by the other cats. She liked to poof out her kitten fluff and run at the other cats sideways, and trying to hiss.
She was soooooo tinyyy and cuuute. :D She'd sometimes get lost in the house, and we'd have to send out a search party. We'd all call for her, until someone would finally hear her teeny leetle squeaks coming from a little basket, or a dark corner.
 Penny liked to play with other cats. Well...perhaps "play" is not the right word. More like "torment". She loved chasing Mandy around.  We decided to get another kitten to get Penny away from Mandy. The cat needed a cat.

And thus, for my 12th birthday, I got Socks. Penny decided Socks was her best friend, and terrorized him to her heart's content. She would chase after him joyously/ruthlessly. Until he grew bigger than her. Then he chased her joyously/ruthlessly. Ehehehehehehe. Karma.

Penny developed a fascination for dark, cave-like places, and feet. She'd sit in the dark hall bathroom, and watch people's feet as they walked by.

 She likes to pretend to be all lovey and snuggly, and then turn on you, and scratch your face.
If you catch her doing something naughty, and lightly swat her, she will run to the darkness of the bathroom, and plot her revenge. She will sit in the darkness, looking sinister until you walk by. She will wait forever if she has to. When you finally come innocently walking by, completely forgetting that there's a possibility that you may be the next victim of the Biting Clawing Foot Attack.
 Penny senses your approach. Her ear twitches in anticipation. Slowly, a foot....OHHH THE FOOT...comes into view. She prepares to strike, waiting for just the right moment. She dashes out, biting and clawing up the foot. She delights in the screams of her victim. And then, as quickly as she appeared, she vanishes back into the darkness, savoring the sweet taste of revenge.

Penny Mouse also has a strange obsession with licking material. It doesn't really matter what it is. It could be curtains, someone's shirt, a sheet, a purse...anything. She extends her paw, and sticks a single claw through the desired material. She draws it to her face, and......*lick....lick....lick*
It's kinda REALLY gross and creepy.
Sometimes she just sticks her claw into things for the fun of it. She'll poke it through a window screen, and just hang there. She'll stick one claw into my fiance's leg, and enjoy his pain (Poor guy. My parents want us to take Penny with us when we get married. They wanna get rid of her, surprise, surprise).

Penny, of course, has to like SOMEONE. That someone is me. She never sticks a claw in me, or suddenly turns on me. I can get my face all up in her grill, and she doesn't really mind (If anyone else tries this, they will likely lose an eye) and she likes to sit on me every morning and power-purr.
She also really likes my sister, Jenni, despite having been tormented by her for years. Jenni likes to mess with Penny, and make her all growly (This is not hard. You hardly have to do anything.) and pet her, and make her all happy. This results in Penny growling and purring at the same time. Penny actually likes it though. She will sit in Jenni's lap, growling and purring. It's weird. O.o

Creepy Mouse stares into your soul.
But you can't stare back into hers.

She's sitting in my lap right now, watching what I type about her. I think she's going to sit here until I wrote something nice about her. She will wait forever if she has to. All right Penny, I'll do it, if it gets you off of me.

 Despite sticking claws into people and eating their feet, Penny actually does care about the welfare of the humans in her life. If she hears someone screaming (Because they saw a bug, are laughing really hard, or are being chased around the house by mom, who is singing) she will come running, and love all over them and try to make them feel better. We tested this out by going into different rooms and screaming. Penny almost always came.
 If Jenni or I get sick, Penny stays in bed with the sicko, and snuggles them, and sleeps on them. (Cute if it's a cold or something. Bad if it's the stomach flu. Penny likes to sit on stomachs.)

 Awww, she's purring on me. And grabbing my arm. Clearly the kind words have appeased the Vermin. Now get off me, you pushy broad. It's hot enough without a fat Mouse sitting on my stomach. I got her off, and she walked across my keyboard, refreshing the page. Fortunately, Blogger auto-saves drafts.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mandy: And Then There Were Two

On of the few good pictures of Mandy.
She hates cameras, and loves to foil any
photo attempt.

Approximately three years after we got Thomas, it was decided that the family needed another cat. My parents decided to surprise my younger sister, Jenni, and adopt a cat for her birthday. Our dad picked out a cute little gray striped kitten.
All of us were thrilled with the new kitty, and immediately sat down to decide on a name for her. Jenni liked Mara. Nobody else did, and thought that name sounded weird and yucky, so everybody quickly began suggesting similar names, and we all agreed on Mandy.

Mandy was a little shy at first, but she warmed up to us, particularly Jenni and I. We did EVERYTHING with Mandy.
We had tea parties, we watched TV with her (Dora the Explorer was her favorite) we put her in a little plastic shopping cart and pushed her around the house, trained her to sit in a doll's high chair for treats, and even played board games with her (Mandy would sometimes move her own piece by slapping it around the board).
Mandy LOVED it.

One her favorite things to play with was marbles. We had a whole jar full of glass marbles, and we'd dump some out and watch her play with them. Sometimes she would get bored of playing with it in one room, so she'd pick it up in her mouth and trot into another room to play there.
  Thomas would sit and watch the marble game with a regal and dignified expression, looking as though he considered marble games beneath him. One day, though, he decided that, as Mandy played it so often, it might actually be fun, and worth a try. He selected a deep blue marble, and began batting it joyously about the hallway. Because Thomas was so large (He weighed about twenty-five pounds. O.o), and usually concentrating on looked kingly and dignified, he looked really stupid skipping gleefully through the hallway with a marble.
He looked even more stupid when he ran head first into a wall.
He never touched another marble again. Mandy again had aaaallll the marbles to herself.

One year, my family planned a big ol' month-long trip. One week from Texas to California, two weeks in California visiting family, staying in my grandparent's mobile home, and doing touristy things, and then one week back. Dad would be traveling separately, as he could only get two weeks off of work. There was no way Mandy could stand to be separated from her beloved girls for a whole month, so Dad would board Thomas (Who couldn't stand trips) and take Mandy with him when he drove out to join us.
Mandy didn't like the trip so much, but she was delighted to be with Jenni and I again, after a whole week apart.  We couldn't bring her shopping cart with us, so we settled for spinning her around in a spinny chair, and running around with string for her to chase.
And at night, Mandy would play one of her favorite games: Slam the Kitchen Cabinets Repeatedly.
She'd hook her claws around the cabinet door, pull it open a bit, and then - *BANG!*. And again, *BANG BANG BANGITY BANG*
And never just one cupboard. She'd go  around the whole kitchen, and slam ALL of them, so none of them would feel left out. God forbid a cupboard feel left out.

After a few years, she finally stopped slamming the cupboards (Ah, blessed silence! LOL/JK. This house is rarely silent) and decided to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. We call her "The Blob" or "The Galloping Hippo", in the event that she decides to gallop around the house. She prefers to sit, and watch life go by her. Or trip over her. Mandy's fur is the special magic blend of muted grays that allow her to camouflage anywhere. Carpet, sofa, bed or shelf. She manages to blend with it all.

Mandy never gets sick, and will probably be one of those cats that lives forever. Which nobody would mind, since she never does anything aside from sitting in her high chair for treats and love, and occasionally trying to shove people off of chairs, or out of bed.
And howling at people. O.o Mandy howls in a most disturbing manner.

Oh, I feel deliciously evil right now. Here is a picture of Mandy that will haunt you for the rest of your days.

I had a terrible time getting this picture where I wanted it. It kept jumping up to the kitchen paragraph, and refused to come down. Sort of like Mandy, when she finds a ladder.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Terrible Thomas, Who Started It All

 I would start this blog with a picture. But I couldn't find a single photo of Thomas anywhere in this computer. Or even on Facebook. Poor dude. He died several years ago, and he really preferred to not have his photo taken. Most pictures of him were not taken with a digital camera, so I'd have to scan it.
 I'll do it later. I promise.

 When I was little, I desperately wanted a kitten. Almost all little girls, at some point in their lives, want a kitten.Kittens are cute, and cuddly, and fun to play with, right?
I would soon find out otherwise.
 For my birthday (Fourth or fifth maybe. I was little.) my parents decided a kitten would be nice. Some friends had a litter of kittens, and we selected the least violent one. "Least violent" is pretty far from "Non-violent" in this case.
 He was itty-bitty and adorable. He was black, and had seemingly innocent kitten eyes (Possibly still bluish at that point, though they soon turned green). We named him Thomas.
Had we known better, we may have named him Holy Terror.

It was fun for a while, he was a harmless ball of black fluff.
But he grew larger.
And larger.
Fully grown, he weighed almost twenty-five pounds. We nicknamed him Bagheera, after the panther in The Jungle Book.
And soon it became evident...This cat had a wicked sense of humor.
He loved to play little games with us children.
 His special game to play with me was, "Corner the Little Girl and Stare at Her Menacingly Until She Cries, Then Pounce and Bite Her Leg". This was his nightly routine. I would end up screaming in a corner for Daddy to carry me to bed, knowing that hidden somewhere in the shadows of the night, Thomas lurked, his green eyes glittering with fiendish delight.
 My parents found this amusing. Thomas didn't usually bite me that hard. More frightening was the knowledge that if I moved, he would pounce, and if I didn't move, he would pounce. He was nearly as big as me.

He had a special game with my little sister, too. He would sit on the back of a chair in the living room, and just wait. Eventually, she would walk by. When she did, he would pounce on her head, and knock her down.
My sister is not much like me. She thought this was hilarious, and would repeatedly walk by, hoping he would do it again. She loved to wrestle with him. They'd go at it every day, a sport my grandparents disapproved of a little, but everyone found it quite entertaining. My sister didn't believe in pain, anyway.

 Wrestling with Thomas was not as hazardous as one might think, as my grandparents had him declawed. I generally disagree with declawing, but the bastard tried to scratch my eye out, and he fully deserved it.

 He adored his wet food, and begged for it every morning, establishing the routine of Dad having to feed kitties their breakfast each morning, a routine that still stands today. He also loved Barbies, and would frolic in their hair (IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND BLONDE AND LUSCIOUS). When he got a drink of water, he'd flip his head in a odd sort of way, getting little water droplets all over his nose. Having those droplets on his nose made him ridiculously happy, and if anyone wiped those drops off, the happiness would vanish, and be replaced with annoyance. He worked hard for those water droplets.

 As more cats were added to our collection, Thomas made sure that each cat knew that he was here first, and he was DA BOSS. They must follow all the people rules (He was big on rules), lest they receive a bop on the head or a stern glare from DA BOSS. They shalt not look at DA BOSS funny, or DA BOSS will hit them. They must not eat dry food while DA BOSS is. They must not sleep on his Most Sacred Couch Cushion (He would allow them to sleep on one of the Semi-Sacred Couch Cushions).
Of course, sometimes he'd bop them on the head for no good reason at all.

 The veterinarians loved him, and they saw him often. When the vet would try to pull him out of his kitty carrier, Thomas would somehow hang onto the sides with his clawless paws, and it would take forever to extract him. They called him, "The cat who keeps on coming". An abscess in his right ear left him with a shriveled ear, which he didn't seem to mind, so long as we didn't poke it (Which we did. It felt weird.) General poor health and kidney failure eventually got to the old man, and he passed away at the age of ten (Maybe eleven. There was some argument about his age) I believe right after Halloween, which we had deemed his holiday, despite his favorite holiday being Christmas (But as he was black, he could not deny his Halloween Cat status).

 The rest of the cats had seen his death coming, and had quietly elected a new leader, another manly sort, whom Thomas approved of. It was strange not having the big lummox around. We were already getting out of the habit of looking for him on the couch. In his last few weeks he had taken to just falling asleep wherever he happened to be, usually appearing possibly dead already and freaking us all out. I suspect this was another of his fun little games.
 For Christmas one year, I received an ornament that is a little green-eyed black cat with a halo and angel wings. Although I very much doubt his angelic status, I still hang that ornament up near the top, so he can keep an eye on all the other ornaments, and bop them if they get out of line.

Beginning Anew with a Fluffy New Blog

My mother has asked me a few times, "Why don't you blog about the cats?"
Three reasons. I) I tried once, but I didn't keep it to a specific story or cat, it wandered, and I deleted it. II) I simply hadn't gotten around to trying it again. III) I was trying to decide how exactly to go about it. Do I just randomly blog about cats when all other subjects abandon me? Should I start a kitty series? What do I doooooo?

I settled on just starting them their very own blog. It'll take forever just to tell the story of each one. And then there are many many hilarious cat stories to tell after that, which I doubt I will ever run out of.

During my lifetime, my family has owned 12 cats. Thomas, Mandy, Penny, Socks, Linus, Bambi, Thumper, Bambi Sue, Sabrina, Lucy, Bunny, and Blitzen. 13 cats if you count Bambi Sue's imaginary friend, whom we christened Leon.
For the first 12 posts, I'll introduce each cat, how they came to be here, their little personalities and such. After that...we'll see where it goes. Amusing anecdotes, and stories of other people's cats most likely.
Since I'm currently all eager and excited and marveling at the shiny newness of this blog, I will probably post again right away. GOODY GOODY!