Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Pets Think I Control the Weather

Puckett appears to have gotten over her nasty mood of the last few weeks.  This week has become "LOVE ME" week and she will stop at nothing to get her way.  I'm beginning to think the animals just naturally assume I am in charge of the weather.  When the weather is bad, they all act like I have committed some mortal sin and set out to teach  me a lesson by destroying the house and annoying each other.  When the weather is good they flock around me all purrs and mushy looks as if I am to be rewarded for giving them a sunshiney day.

They aren't even outdoor pets, save for the dog.

I know when Puckett absolutely  has had it with everyone and everything, me and the weather included, but the other day she took it to a higher level than I've ever witnessed.  I walked into the kitchen to find her sitting on top of the box in the corner that has been her throne for quite some time, facing the wall.  Not only was she facing the wall, however, she had her face smashed into it, the forehead wedged tightly against the white solidness, eyes shut, ears back.  Her bulk balanced precariously on the box that I have had to set upright in order to keep her from scratching the wooden railings behind it.  It didn't look comfortable at all.  Balancing on a surface that barely contains one's mass is awkward enough, but to ram one's face into the wall for good measure, now to me that just seemed like she was trying to make me feel guilty for something.  I asked her what was wrong.  She turned her head to look at me for a moment, eyes narrowed, then mashed her face back into the wall and resumed the position.

The last couple of days - which have been sunny and in the sixties - my sweet girl has magically returned.  I have awakened each morning to twenty pounds of love jumping onto the bed, purring and rubbing happily against me and the Cowboy.  When we get up, Puckett remains on the bed.  That's when the fun begins.  Usually this is Percy's trick, but for some reason Puckett has decided this week that she needs to hinder the bedmaking routine.  So I snap the sheet in the air and let it settle over bed and cat.  Puckett slips out from under the sheet and settles on top of it, purring.  I straighten and smooth the sheet, then drop the blanket on top of the bed.  There is now a cat shaped lump in the middle of the blanket.  Puckett immediately wriggles out and then follows me from side to corner to side of the bed as I pull the blanket smooth and tuck it in.  She chirps as she does this, like she's chasing a bird or an insect or something.  Finally I drop the comforter on top of her.  She shakes it off, eases on top of it, and finally settles down and licks a paw.  As I finish arranging the comforter nicely, she curls up and goes to sleep.  And there she remains until I get home at five o'clock, and I am quite certain she never moves from that spot.

It's doubly nice for her if I leave the backdoor open and let the air into the bedroom.  Tess sits on the porch outside the door, basking in the sunshine, and Puckett sleeps on the bed.  Even though they are not in the room together, they appear to enjoy the lovely day as one, bringing further evidence that these two just might be soul sisters.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Fever

My animals have absolutely had it with the endless snow and winter wonderland and I have absolutely had it with their lack of tolerance for the crappy weather. It has been a long, miserable winter with three days snowstorms, grey cloudy days, subzero temperatures, a high-energy German shepherd cooped up for hours indoors, and three unimpressed cats sleeping beside the heater, paws covering their faces.

We've had several teasers. The weather would bloom sunny and gorgeous only to plunge headfirst back into a wasteland of snow, wet, and cold. Twice now these teasers have sent the cats into performing their own personal three-ring circus and encouraging the dog to forget her good manners when walking on a leash and try to drag me into oncoming traffic, to say nothing of practically plowing over me on the stairs.

I believe we have finally hit the beginning of spring after this last particular nasty bit of business where the snow fell so wet and heavy, it slid off my car in one big white sheet and froze the roads over, closing I90 from here to Buffalo and from here to the Montana state line. Once again this means my animals are assuming spring has begun and it is time to do the “Spring is Here” happy dance and drive their mistress crazy.

Each one has his or her own way of celebrating. Percy is the most entertaining, and he is the ringleader of this three-ring circus, as well as the acrobat, the trapeze artist, and the “trained big cat.” I guess that makes me the lion tamer and I am doing a bang up job with it, let me tell you. To give an example, a few weeks ago, I was in the bathroom with the door open. Tess was lying right in the doorway, her head and front paws draped mournfully over the edge of the linoleum, eyes gazing at me as though to ask me if we were ever going to do anything fun again. A moment later this small black shape launched itself over the dog, all four legs extended out front, tail stretched out behind. He landed with a thump, galloped into the bedroom with the sound of a stampeding buffalo, and stopped short by the backdoor and yowled. Tess' head shot up and she looked around, eyes wide and startled, before she got to her feet and slunk downstairs to the kitchen.

Every evening Percy tears through the house, up and down the stairs, yowling and caterwauling like the devil himself. Then he'll slip into his litterbox, do his business (speaking of a nasty bit of business), scratches forever, and then jumps back and out and continues to race through the house yowling.

I took him to the vet to see if there was anything wrong with his delicate tummy.

There wasn't.

Puckett has her own methods. She has been on perpetual PMS which is no small feat for a cat with no uterus who is generally a sweet unobtrusive creature. Puckett has been scratching everything and anything that gets in her way, leaving deep claw grooves in the wood of my railings, and has even started scratching the couch. To remedy this the Cowboy fashioned rough wooden braces over the edges of the couch so she can at least scratch something harmless, and wrapped protective foam around the railings after smoothing the wood down with wax. And what does Puckett do in response? She scratched around the coverings and threw me a saucy look as if to let me know that she would scratch whenever and wherever she chose and there was nothing I could do about it.  I swatted her hiney for that one. It was barely a tap, not even with the same strength used for a vigorous patting and cuddling.

You would have thought I had beat her like a redheaded stepchild with the look she shot me. Her large green eyes were wide and filled with such searing indignation as she glared at me and wrapped her tail around her body. Then she turned her back to me, whipped her tail into the air and flounced off, ears slicked back against her head.

Since then the precious darling has been one hell of a moody little bitch. If I pet her she attacks me with her paws, even using her claws to leave welts in my skin. She gives me snotty looks, chirps at me demandingly when its feeding time, and turns her butt to me more times then her face so that I'm starting to wonder whether she's coming or going.

Willow has reverted to her usual pissy tricks, and when I say pissy, I mean pissy. She left me a present on the floor next to the litterbox again and scratches the carpeting on the stairs with wild abandon. When I snap my fingers at her she runs away and then looks at me with this vacant stare like she can't figure out what I'm so upset about. She has developed a new intimacy with her cage for her little missing the litterbox trick. And she teases Percy incessantly. Usually he's the one to pick on her but lately if she is feeling ignored she will roll on the floor enticingly and run after him, pawing at his tail and trying to get him to chase her. Then he does and she trips over nothing, rolls across the floor, and lands on her back, waving her paws in Percy's face. Percy had enough the other night and trounced her pretty good. She responded by hiding under the desk. When he gave up and wandered off to amuse himself with catnip, she darted out and followed him. Another time Percy chased her across the living room and she tried to jump on the desk. She missed and fell back, landing with an ungraceful thud on the carpet. She immediately began to wash.

So did Percy.

She uses the same trick on the dog. If Tess has the audacity to walk by her, Willow shrieks and throws a fit, waving her little claws at Tess all threateningly. Tess just looks at her sideways and moves away, ears back, with a look of confusion. As she walks away Willow will sniff her hindquarters and swipe at her tail.  Oh, the drama.

Tonight I thought maybe the gang had settled down a bit. I was in my bedroom, reading, and gathered around the bed from the side to the foot were all four animals, coexisting peacefully. Tess lay protectively by the side of the bed. Percy stared out the backdoor. Willow was under the corner of the bed and Puckett was curled up between Tess' front paws.

It only took Percy to decide that everyone was being way too good. He attacked Willow who streaked from the room. Tess got up, seemingly annoyed with Puckett's overbearing attention, and left the room as well. A moment later Puckett ran after her. I heard a crash as Willow jumped into her cage and Percy tried to follow. I gave up and got up as well. Percy abandoned Willow and enticed the dog into wrestling with him. Puckett ran to her food bowl and demanded dinner. I started vacuuming and Tess galloped through the house in excitement.  Percy jumped up on the railing and slipped into his tightrope walking routine before he tried to attack Puckett. Chaos ensued.

Well, spring's off to a great start. How long until summer?