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©January 2002

Carol Jane Remsburg


Feline Frolics and Pastimes




Unlike humans, the feline species, house-cat domesticus, has no day job or even night job unless it's a task they assign themselves—like waking their humans at 4:55AM EST no matter what day it is.  Thus this leaves them much time to pursue many other forms of entertainment and hobbies.  The list is a staple especially as the calendar changes.


Now that it is officially winter, we 'humans' feed the birds which also brings round feline bird watching.  This is an aggressive sport filled with frustration, tension, much chittering—by the cats not the birds—and a few all out attacks on the windows and porch screens.  Still, it never seems to lose its appeal.  The birds just laugh at the cats as they gobble up their treats. 


Other winter sports are find that mouse as there usually is one in residence albeit a short-lived one.  You'd think the word would have gotten out to the rural rodent population by now but then they are also known as mouse mush-for-brains.  The cats normally will find the mouse, play with it, and then lose it—all except for the Pye girl, she's death on mice and won't let anyone great or small near her kill. 


Snow drifting through the screens of the porch fascinate the cats until their little paws get too cold and they retreat to stand guard at the 'kitty door.'  Then they fight over that spot, normally just Stink and Pye but if old Spike wanders over he gets an ear bashed and runs back crying to Daddy.  Spike's like the 5 year-old who can't stop tattling—even when HE started it. 


Come Spring the raucous twitterpated goings on of the birds drive the cats to cover once they can't stand it any more.  It must be that 'hollow-boned' crunching between their teeth that's so satisfying for I don't think it's the feathers—even though NONE of them has ever killed a bird or gotten close enough to one to kill.  Still, they end up longing without any satisfaction.  This ends up breeding free-for-alls among the three, The Old, The Tough, and The Slick.  Sort of like "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," but these guys are a riot.


(The Old is our old tom, Spike, now pushing 16 & toothless, a veteran weenie and fight-starter only to run whining to Daddy when he finds out he can't handle it—which is never.  The Tough is our young tom, Stinky, who hasn't quite reached his prime yet and has his ego constantly held in check by the manhandling of our daughter.  The Slick is our little girl, Pyewacket, who is wily in her ways of sucking up to get what she wants yet is fierce enough to back off a dog not to mention the toms.)


Once winter breaks and they spend more time on the porch, meaning every available minute, they jostle for the best spots on the window ledges and at the two doors.  They want to see everything while waiting and hoping that any OTHER stray felines might happen to stroll up—then come the screaming attacks on the screens, both windows and doors.  Once we hustle them inside, then Pye will attack both boys with wicked accuracy just to keep them in line.  Old Spike just wanders around dazed afterward wondering just what the hell happened (he never got into attacking the screens like the other two).


Summer is for sleeping in the baking heat—on the porch and avoiding the indoor comfort of air conditioning.  If they go inside they worry that they might miss something.  They never again want to miss the slithering of the snake into the tiger lilies . . . and Oh boy, the hisses that drew.  That's how we found out the snake was there in the first place.  It had escaped the dog.


Oh, and the porch life for the cats is also another way to torment our dog who feels like she owns the porch and they exchange words often.


Pye:  "My, isn't this porch comfy with the cool of the fans and the chairs?  Too bad YOU can't enjoy it."


Sissy (the dog):  "Just let somebody forget to latch this gate and we'll see just how long you last up there on that porch, you little scrap of yowling fur.  You wouldn't even be much of a snack.  "


Pye:  "Ah, such big talk for a dog.  Wonder why they keep you out there?  Must be your hygiene.  Eww, stinky dogs aren't welcome on the porch.  It's a place for a more refined class than you.  "


Sissy:  "I'm sure they keep me from you just to keep you alive.  I wonder why they do.  Still, you could always venture out here.  I have every comfort you do, I even have stereo which YOU don't.  I have heat and air and music and I get people food especially cooked for me along with their leftovers and YOU don't.  You get nasty old cat food!  "


Pye will shut up with that last and exit stage left with a swagger even knowing she's been bested.


And so it goes.  Exchanges with Sissy and Stinky aren't repeatable since they have profanity of the doggy and kitty variety so I'll spare you.  Sissy and Spike?  Well, they've known each other the longest.  Spike doesn't taunt and Sissy isn't a spring chicken either.  "Pax" is their watchword.


With Autumn, it's the freshening of the air and it's still porch time.  It's not so much the birds and other animals now as it is watching the leaves fall.  The whispering the leaves make along with the crunching underfoot signal the change.  The heat abated the cats are on the alert for the annual rite of the rodents and hope one or more enter the house.


Year round indoor sporting events are jostling for the favorite napping spots and they have many.  Still, when it gets really cold outside they all bundle together on MY bed and cry truce and then sleep for hours on end.  What would they do if it was actually COLD in the house?


There are also the 2 AM fur-flying events just to see who gets up.  I think they place bets on if something gets thrown at them (by me, never hubby) or who yells and wakes up the whole house.


The all-time puking champ is Spike, who has superceded the previous champ (now deceased) Muffin.  Spike can hurl at a moment's notice and does daily.  He never puked in his life until the day AFTER the new carpet was laid.  He'll run out of the kitchen and away from the tile flooring just to make SURE he deposits on the carpet and keeps moving so he manages the largest coverage possible.  Then he runs to Daddy again.  I still have to clean it up.







Stinky's the resident 'wild, child' and quite unpredictable.  He hangs with my daughter mostly and takes his life in his hands every night by sleeping by her head.  But when pushed too much or hugged too long or when he's in a REAL play mode—he bites and hard too.  He's got the biggest and sharpest and hardest teeth I've ever seen on any cat.  Spike suffers, and Pye-girl is too quick for him.






Pyewacket is spooky in her stealth, her lightning anger, and then her sinuous loving dance.  She is so like a witch's familiar in her ways, innocent one moment and wicked the next and almost always inscrutable.  Like any female, she can be scary when she wants to be.  Then, she can be the 'cat who wasn't there.'





Erin asked her father today to explain about the cats.  Don sighed and told her that all the cats had different personalities and we've never had two that were exactly alike and we haven't.  The closest would be Pye and Muffin who never met but Pye is more reserved, Muffin was very honest about her hate of the rest of the world and her love for me.  Pye has Muffin's haughtiness but will never rank up there with Muffie's "Go to hell look." 







Then there was Cotton, the all-around 'air head' who was doting, kind, and could scare her own self walking across a room.  That 'vacant' look rarely left her face.  Man what a ditzy cat!






But each cat is different and each own us in their own way and not the other way 'round.  Their foibles and their love are part of our small family.  We dote upon them and labor hard to keep them entertained.  It's not too hard for them they find us funny enough. 



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