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Wounded warrior

Fat cat went lame a few days ago. Very lame in his left rear leg. One of our cats was very similarly afflicted a few years ago and the vet said it was just a sprain and sent us home with some kitty ibuprofen.

So I ignored it, hoping he would get better on his own. But no. By this afternoon, he was looking into Uncle B’s eyes and making a high-pitched keening noise.

This time, the vet poked around and decided he’d been bitten on the ankle, probably by a rat. I mean, it was still just antibiotics and pain meds and wait, but I’m glad we took him.

We is having a rat problem. Oh yes we is. I’ve actually seen the buggers – always a bad sign. I’m like the johnny appleseed of rat poison right now. Stoaty Poisonseed.

Comes next the stinking dead rats.

May 12, 2022 — 4:47 pm
Comments: 16

Get me down!

Pretty high up for a fat boy. Most of the time, a cat picture like this actually a cat caught mid-yawn, but our lad there really was screaming at me.

He’s a talky boy, is our fat black-and-white. He’s shouting at me to get him down – not because he’s scared, but because he likes us to lift him down off high places. We call it playing tree.

And while I was searching for that post, I found this post of him as a lad, before he had the snip.

I also learned that 13 years ago, this blog was the number one hit on Google Images for “cat testicles.” Sadly, I’m not even on the first three pages any more.

Don’t google it. You will see things you can never unsee.

April 20, 2022 — 6:49 pm
Comments: 7

Charlotte’s best friend

That’s a poorly cast cement kitty sculpture we call Mr Grumpy Puss. It’s such a crude representation, I was astonished when my old cat Charlotte reacted to his appearance in the garden as if he were a real cat.

Charlotte hated other cats and was deeply suspicious of this one at first. After a few days, though, she would sometimes see her sitting on the lawn with him, keeping him company. From a safe distance, of course.

Interesting things go on in the little brains of cats.

Chickens, not so much. The flock have never reacted to him at all, other than to perch on his head and shit down his back from time to time.

That chicken is Violence. She was originally called Violet until we learned her true nature. All the lavender pekins I’ve had were jerks.

December 28, 2021 — 5:45 pm
Comments: 10

The saga of Jorts the cat

I linked to this in the previous thread, but it might be slightly easier to read in text. This is a Reddit thread in the AITA (Am I the Asshole?) subreddit. It’s long, but funny. Well, I found it funny.

AITA for “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes” about Jorts?


THE STORY We have two workplace cats in one area of our worksite. They add value to the worksite, we all love the cats and the worksite cat presence is not the issue. One of the cats (Jean) is a tortoiseshell cat we have had for years. The other cat (Jorts) is a large orange cat and a recent addition.

Jorts is just… kind of a simple guy. For example, Jorts can’t open a door even when it’s ajar— he shoves it whether he is going in or out, so often he closes the door he is trying to go through. This means he is often trapped inside the place he was trying to exit and meows until he is rescued.

My colleague Pam (not her real name) has been spending a lot of time trying to teach Jorts things. The doors thing is the main example — it’s a real issue because the cats are fed in a closet and Jorts keeps pushing the door closed. Jean can actually open all the other interior doors since they are a lever type knob, but she can’t open this particular door if she is trapped INSIDE the closet.

Tortie Jean is very nice to poor orange Jorts, and she is kept busy letting him out of rooms he has trapped himself in, so this seems easy to resolve. I put down a door stop.

Pam then said I was depriving Jorts of the “chance to learn” and kept removing the doorstop. She set up a series of special learning activities for Jorts, and tried to put these tasks on the whiteboard of daily team tasks (I erased them). She thinks we need to teach him how to clean himself better and how to get out of minor barriers like when he gets a cup stuck on his head, etc. I love Jorts but he’s just dumb af and we can’t change that.

Don’t get me wrong— watching her try to teach Jorts how to walk through a door is hilarious, but Jean got locked in the closet twice last week. Yesterday I installed a cat cutout thing in the door and Pam started getting really huffy. I made a gentle joke about “you can’t expect Jean’s tortoiseshell smarts from orange cat Jorts” which made Pam FURIOUS. She started crying and left the hallway, then sent an email to the group (including volunteers) and went home early.

In her email Pam said I was “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes by saying orange cats are dumb” and is demanding a racial sensitivity training before she will return. I don’t think it’s relevant but just in case, Pam is a white person in a mostly minority staff (and no she is not ginger/does not have red hair).

TL;DR: AITA for ‘enforcing an ethnic stereotype’ by joking that orange cats are often dumb?

And the follow-up


Thanks for responding to my query which had truly upset me. I work to have a good relationship with my team and the situation had gotten weird so gradually that I lost perspective.

I just met with HR, she had already met with Pam. HR was concerned about Pam’s comparing ethnic stereotypes with giving a cat a doorstop and they addressed that which went well. HR will follow up to make sure Pam understands. (The replies to my query were helpful to me for this discussion.)

HR also addressed Pam assigning other staff Jorts-related tutoring, as it is not appropriate for Pam to assign others work. This also went well.

We both think Pam had a hard time with the transition from volunteer to staff, and may have “new kid” sensitivity projected to Jorts. Pam got emotional about her perception that I favor Jean over Jorts and gave specific examples. Some of these things are fair. Jorts deserves respect as a member of our team.

There are 3 buildings in our workplace. Jean and Jorts are limited to one. HR told me there were 5 holdouts about vaccines, and restricting unvaccinated people from entering the building (to protect Jean and Jorts) was enough to win over 4 of them. That’s CRAZY, but great.

More importantly: the cats’ presence greatly enhances our work with our clients, and Jorts’ friendly nature has been so great. Both cats truly are doing important work. Truly Jorts deserves to be treated with respect.

We all deserve to be treated with dignity at work, so I will apologize to Jorts about some things that were insensitive or disrespectful.

a. Jean has a nice cat bed with her name on it, while Jorts has chosen an old boot tray in my office with a towel in it. Recently a visitor put wet boots in the boot tray and Pam saw Jorts sleeping on the wet boots. I bought a bed for Jorts today and a name tag has been ordered.

b. I will apologize to Jorts and remove the sign saying “DAYS SINCE JORTS HAD A TRASH CAN MISHAP: 0” Jorts likes to fish dirty paper cups out and he often falls into the bin or gets a cup stuck on his head, etc. (He is able to get out of the bin by tipping it over so it isn’t a safety issue.)

c. Jean’s “staff bio” has a photo of Jean, while Jorts’ bio has a photo of a sweet potato. I did not actually know either cat had a staff bio, but we will use a photo of Jorts instead of a sweet potato.

HR also suggested changing Pam’s duties so she is “in charge” of the cats. This I refused, the cats are my staff, not Pam’s. I think Pam was well-intended but actually not meeting the needs of either Jean or Jorts so they remain under my supervision. (Pam is also not to put cups on Jorts’ head or intentionally put him into frustrating situations given his unique needs.)

Lastly, and this made us both laugh so hard we can’t deal with it in person and will be said via email: Pam admits that she has been putting margarine on Jorts in an attempt to teach him to groom himself better. This may explain the diarrhea problem Jean developed (which required a vet visit).

Pam is NOT to apply margarine to any of her coworkers. Jean has shown she is willing to be in charge of helping Jorts stay clean. If this task becomes onerous for Jean, we can have a groomer help. I am crying laughing typing this.


Have a good weekend, everyone! Next week will be short and sweet.

December 17, 2021 — 6:31 pm
Comments: 8

Jurassic Park, but cat

Okay, this is fun. But the shot-by-shot making of is even funner.

This guy’s whole channel is green-screening his cat, Lizzie, into movies. For the love of it, I guess. I can’t find any evidence he’s found a sponsor.

She’s a remarkably tolerant cat, particularly for tummy rubs (hint: it’s all about the Dreamies).

All the OwlKitty videos.

All the OwlKitty behind the scenes videos.

November 16, 2021 — 7:32 pm
Comments: 5

Miaou

Happy National Black Cat Day! Tempted to call it International Black Cat Day, because it also is in the US. Well, that makes two of us.

Charities in both places have told me that they have a hard time adopting out black cats, presumably because of superstition. I doubt that because I’ve repeatedly gone looking for a black cat to adopt with no luck.

The Cat Goddess is fickle and cruel, because of course she is.

Cats Protection (the first link) say it takes on average seven days longer to rehome a black or black-and-white cat. Well. I think the black-and-whites are because there are so gosh darn many of them. I don’t remember so many around when I was a kid. Also, they usually have messy paint jobs.

I wanted a jet black cat because they’re just, like, a cat silhouette with eyes, like this guy. Not specifically because of this guy, though the illustrator (Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen) was a famous drawer of cats and a favorite.

Dover (who else?) published a two volume set of Steinlen Cats that I loved growing up. I can’t find my copies since I moved.

Oh, but hey – look at that. I can buy a Kindle edition.

Weird choice for an art book.
 

 

October 27, 2021 — 6:08 pm
Comments: 9

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

That’s a still from a mildly amusing Youtube of cats interrupting meetings. You’ve probably seen it; it was making the rounds.

I post it because I don’t have any pictures of my moggies making absolute nuisances of themselves just now. I had to host a Zoom meeting of the managing board, and there’s me trying to look all professional and together, and there’s my cats waving their assholes in the camera.

They’re not usually so clingy. I know what was up. They were *pissed* that I was jabbering away at an inanimate object and ignoring them, the dual centers of the universe.

That’s nothing. You should’ve heard when I was late for Chicken Bedtime.

September 7, 2021 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 3

Of course he’s a ginger

That’s Beano the cat. His owner thought about taking him to the pet service, but decided against since he hates being in a box. So Beano decided to turn up on his own and stroll around the place absorbing blessings.

He’s been to church before. Also, the local pubs. And he’s got himself shut into an empty house, twice.

Yes, the pet service is a Church of England thing. I almost turned up with my favorite chicken one year, but I thought the other animals would probably stress her out too much.

Also, do you know how early morning service is?

August 5, 2021 — 6:35 pm
Comments: 7

Playing tree

When the cats want to come in, they jump up on the windowsill outside the livingroom and importune. When it’s the big cat, there’s an extra step: you open the door and go out and he runs up this elder tree here and puts on a little show. When he’s ready, he steps off this fence post into your arms.

We call this ‘playing tree’.

I’m convinced he’s reliving that awful 18 hours he was stuck high up in a tree as a kitten. I sat under the tree most of the night with him. If I stepped away for a moment, the horrible local brute of a farm cat came and circled the tree trying to get up to him.

It wasn’t the only time that cat came after my boy. He clearly had some kind of grudge. We think maybe they both came out of the same feral cat colony.

Anyway, early the next morning, a plumber turned up at the neighbors and, in the face of great personal danger, managed to crawl up high enough to grab kitty by the scruff and hand him down to me. And I think that’s the origin of playing tree.

Sorry for blurry. This is the only known image of a game of tree.

Good weekend, everyone!

July 16, 2021 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 6

Hot cross bun

It’s Summertime, the season when we wake to find bunny bits strewn across the livingroom floor. It’s 50 shades of disgusting.

We think we can tell which one did for ’em. The old boy, former feral, eats his buns and leaves only fragments. Welly, a young and pampered beast, completely loses interest when prey stops moving. Worst is when one or t’other brings them in alive and drops them on the floor to scamper about in panic.

This little peep was lucky. Uncle B managed to throw a box over him until the boys lost interest. We later released him to wriggle away in the undergrowth looking largely unhurt. Which isn’t to say they won’t find him again.

Interesting. They were definitely hunting together this time.

June 14, 2021 — 8:17 pm
Comments: 8