Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do NOT rip the calendar off of the wall!

No, I’m not hiding from a birthday or any sort of dreaded appointment. “Do not rip the calendar off of the wall!” is just something I found myself scolding the cat for this morning. The things that we have to tell these (too clever) cats are much more entertaining than what we use with the kids. With the human kids, it’s normal stuff… “Put your shoes away.” “Don’t bug your brother when he’s doing homework.” “No, you may not have a snack, it’s almost dinner time.”, etc.

With these cats, it’s a whole ‘nother ball of yarn.

The calendar on the wall was just one of those things that are UP, that a certain cat decided might be better DOWN. They like to make up things go down.

Other stuff that I’ve found myself saying recently (usually more than once):

“Do NOT harass your brother when he’s trying to use the litter box!”

“Do NOT harass me when I’m trying to clean your litter box!”

“If you bite your sleeping sister until she gets mad, expect her to bite you back. Do not come running to me, I don’t want to hear it.”

“Leave the spoons alone!” …. which goes along with:


“Brian will NOT share his cereal with you!”

(Cat on table with food is a not allowed… I fussed at both guilty parties: One for breaking rules, one for not enforcing them. Brian told me that he just thought it was funny how closely she was watching him take each and every bite… spoon down, scoop, spoon up, eat, spoon down… he wasn’t sure if she wanted the milk, or his spoon, as Pixie loves both! )

While we are in the kitchen…


“I do NOT need help cooking! Get OFF the counter!!” (They definitely got in trouble for this… after I grabbed the photo… cats on counters, or tables, when there is food present is a BIG no-no! … and they know it! Even when I am cooking yummy looking boiled eggs… )

“No eggs!” (What is it with these cats and eggs?? I get even one puny, lonesome, egg out of the fridge and they are instantly frozen with fascination! Food that is a ball, or a ball that is food?!? Yet they really do not like to eat them. Arrgg!)

… anyway…

“Stop smacking me through the curtain when I’m trying to take a shower!”

“Bring back Honor’s sock so she can get dressed! Brian! Grab Ninja and get the sock!!!”

“Do not eat, wrestle with, or steal the homework papers!”

“No, you may NOT sit on my shoulder when I’m cooking dinner.”

Often heard when the kids are trying to play a board game: “Hey! Pixie’s got the dice! Get her!!!” which will be followed by the noise of a herd of kids and cats chasing merrily through the house until the dice can be (temporarily) recovered.

“Pumpkin, No! Don’t! Stop! There’s no room on my lap! Don’t jump up onnnaaack… me.”

“Get down”

“Stay down”

“Yes, still stay down… still… I mean it!”


“Don’t look at me like that!”

Getting ready to go out is tough too.

“Get out of the sink so I can brush my teeth!”

“Hey! Get back here! Give me my lipstick!”

“You do NOT need another Q-tip.”

I’ve mostly given up on “Don’t eat the parsley plant”, and “Get out of the drawer!” and I have definitely and completely given up on “No, I can do it by myself!”, because obviously, I can’t. Kitties MUST help with everything! They even follow the maid around, getting in her way, as she tries to mop, vacuum, do dishes, scrub the bathrooms, and especially, fold laundry (because laundry is warm and fun to burrow in, and there are SOCKS!). Good thing she likes the cats too.

Cats are excellent at doing crafts and school projects.



And are the BEST at opening boxes. Last year, at Christmas, our main problem was keeping the tree decorated as three climbing kittens had too much fun with their first ever Christmas play-toy… um… tree. This year, I’m sure that not only will we be re-decorating the tree on a daily basis, but all presents will have to be double or triple taped if there is any hope of keeping the box openers out. A single strip of tape does not stand a chance.


Yes, she is digging under the tape with her claws as she’s trying to lift it with her teeth!


She managed to pull up the tape enough to reach a paw into the box so she could feel around… and was instantly inside, neck-deep, digging through the loot as soon as I opened it all the way. Just like the non-fur-kids, cats know that good stuff comes in boxes!

Do I really think that these animals understand when I talk to them? When I tell them “No!” or whatever else I may find myself saying? Oh yes. I am convinced that these guys know English, at least enough English to know what’s what. I reprimanded Pixie for hopping up on the table the other morning before I set out the kids’ cereal bowls… see, she’d heard me open the drawer with SPOONS in it and got excited! She got down, but stalked over to the doorway, sulking, and complaining out loud the whole way. If she was a human ‘teen’ I’m sure that her hair would have been flipped in annoyance, and there would have been a fist angrily planted on a hip. But, then she looked back at me over her shoulder. I looked at her too and said “You can NOT have the spoons, but I love you anyway.” … to which she immediately spun around and ran to me for pets and loving. Yep… she knows exactly what I say! 


A Daring Adventure said...

My gosh, Connie- they are so cute!

I miss owning kitties!!

Yes, poor parsley plant. Quite doomed!

Bfiles said...

hilarious. and amazing that they understand!

Connie said...

A Daring Adventure - These guys are cute, and they know it! We love them so much, even though they eat my herbs, steal the kids' toys, and do other very silly things!

Bfiles - We've kept them indoors since we adopted them. They are very bonded with our family... all three are quick to flip over and expose bellies trustingly for rubs. Probably got their cleverness from their feral genes, but they didn't keep the wildness. :)

Becky said...

Love it!

Emily said...

Your cats seem to have a lot of personality, do all cats have so much?

Connie said...

Becky - Us too!

Emily - I think they all do. Cats are very intelligent critters with strong personalities. The trick is raising them right, and it's not hard. For the most part, they teach themselves! You just have to provide the right environment and positive feedback. They are smart and negative feedback does not work well, nor is it forgotten! Compare it to raising a 2-3yo kid - you have to say "No", usually quite often, but how you do so is important!

Pixie is our most clever cat. The first to learn fetch, or climb somewhere high, or open cabinets, etc. I am sure she does things, like grab Q-tips or my make-up, because she is watching what I do and copies me. I take a q-tip, Pixie watches carefully, then also reaches out with a paw and hooks ONE q-tip for herself (One at a time! I have to cut her off sometimes!). Of course, while I clean my ears or apply makeup, she bats her q-tip around the room, but she copies me like she would copy her mother... except I don't teach her to hunt birds or eat garbage!

I've said this on my blog before, but I'll repeat it again... I think there are two major things that contribute to keeping a cat very tame, playful, and interacting well with people:

One is claws. Declawing is not only terribly cruel (it is amputation of the 'fingers' to the first knuckle, not merely claw removal, and then the cat is walking on stumps for the rest of its life) but it also deprives the cat of confidence. We do not allow teasing. If someone teases, they will get in trouble, and maybe scratched too. Our kids are fine, but I have a talk with any kid visiting. So far, no scratching and much happy interaction with visitors! Our last cats only had a couple of incidents. The offending kids learned, never teased again, and became friends with the cats. Our cats do not scratch (except on accident!) but they know that they can. I think that really matters. We had our older cats when our kids were babies and they NEVER scratched them. The cats wouldn't even walk on them until they considered them old enough (3-4yo). I used to be against declawing simply for the pain and suffering, but I now think that it also messes up a cat's personality.

And two. Keeping cats indoors. I think this is an absolute must. Not only is it healthier for the cat AND the household ... ie. there is no exposure to diseased strays, fights, dogs, cars, fleas, poison or other deliberate cruelty, ticks, etc.... but they do not grow up devoting their entire personality to hunting (the songbirds will thank you) and surviving (outdoor, roaming cats have to be more wary and suspicious). Cats kept indoors, with the freedom to roam and play with their family, and given a number of toys to keep them entertained, stay more tame and kitten-like. Also, being inside with the family, ensures that the family is their 'colony', not the group of ferals living in the bushes nearby.

Socializing cats, and keeping them socialized, is a lot easier with healthy, confident, well treated animals that do not spend half their existence outside playing survivalist.

Sorry if this offends anyone. I know that there are people who strongly believe in letting cats out, that's ok. I'm not a 'pro'! We had our last cats for about 14years, and these guys for just over a year now, and that's most of my experience and it's what I have based my opinion on. It has worked very well for us.

Sorry that this is long-winded, but I hope it answers your question!

Becky said...

Your post has been included in the weekly State Department Blog Round Up


Thanks for your wonderful contribution!

Anonymous said...

Sounds exactly like dealing with willful toddlers!

Connie said...

They are like willful toddlers... that can leap great distances and fit inside drawers!

Rebecca said...

OMG this is hilarious!!! "Food that is a ball"!!! Bwahahah! So true!

Gee, I never thought about giving Livvy some tape! What a great idea, she may love it. She's a very playful and affectionate cat, too. And spoiled. Cats are just that way, ya know. ;)

Connie said...

Rebecca - Last night I used eggs, threw out the shells, but neglected to close the lid properly... I looked over a moment later to see Pixie standing on her hind legs, reaching in to the garbage, up to her shoulders, trying to reach a shell. I told her "NO!" and while she listened to me fuss at her, hers pointed backwards right at me the whole time, she didn't budge in her attempts until I physically removed her! Again, WHy?? She won't eat them??! :D
And I try not to give the cats tape really. I don't want them to accidentally eat it and throw up. But they LOVE to tear open taped boxes.