Sunday, April 18, 2010


The day has finally come for me to talk about our cats. They certainly add an interesting dynamic to our household in more ways than one. We currently have to two cats. Nemesis and Trouble. We used to have three. Very sadly we had to put Cali down a couple of years ago due to a very bad case of feline pancreatitis. She's the cat on the right in the above picture. Nemesis is on the left. They were litter mates.

When Adam and I were just out of college, we both had the hankering to get a warm blooded pet. I say warm blooded because I had several reptiles at that point and I should probably get around to telling that story eventually too! Anyhow, we were fresh out of college and living in an apartment. It really wasn't the ideal time to get a dog even though that was the pet that I REALLY wanted. We agreed that a cat was a better pet for us to get. It just so happened that the manager of the Petco that I was working at at that time had an oopsy litter of kittens. She had two purebred Bengals. For whatever reason she didn't spay either one of them. One night while one of them was in season they got out of the house. After wandering around amorously for a mate, she returned home nicely knocked up. We thought the Bengal breed of cat was interesting and kind of neat, so why not get a free kitten that was half Bengal?

When we went to pick up our kitten there were actually two females left in the litter. They were just so cute and they were all playing together so adorably that we decided getting two of them so it would keep them both entertained as well as us. Things went well and we thoroughly enjoyed our crazy kittens.

About the time that we moved into our first house, I had started feeling really bad for my sister's cat, Trouble, who was living at my parents' house. He was an outside only cat because my parents' didn't want him inside. When I get around to explaining Trouble's "quirks" you'll fully understand why. Anyhow, I felt really bad that he was never allowed inside the house when we had two cats who were living it up inside. He is also a really affectionate cat and obviously wanted to be inside where the people were. So we took him on and moved up to three cats.

It wasn't until we moved into our current house four years ago and added Heffner that the dynamics of the cats really came through. Nemesis started thoroughly living up to her name. Her "full" name is Nemesis Enforcer, after the G.I. Joe character. Yes, it was highly amusing to us at the time to name her that. Little did we know that it would end up totally suiting her! She established herself as the alpha bitch (and I do mean bitch!) in our household. She no longer really liked the presence of her sister, who really didn't care either way. And she certainly exerted her dominance over Trouble, even though he's twice her age. Trouble is such a push over that he would always back down whenever Nemesis decided to be nasty about something. And then we added a dog!

Cali wasn't thrilled, but she was fine as long as she had her little dog free zone that she could escape to if she wanted. Trouble had grown up around a dog, so didn't really see what the big deal was. And Nemesis DESPISED the fact that we brought a dog into HER house. Oh lordy! That cat was PISSED! And that pretty much hasn't changed an iota over the four years.

When we had to put Cali down and had only two cats in the house, things were a bit easier, but the different personalities of the cats was in stark contrast. There's Trouble, who pretty much loves everything. And there's Nemesis, who is full of little OCD things and despises the dogs. Lets further explore these two cats shall we?:o)

The above picture is of Trouble with Heffner when Heff was just a few months old. As you can see, Trouble isn't exactly small. And unfortunately, he's got long hair. Hair that is the bane of my existence. Trouble doesn't just shed random hairs here and there, he sheds clumps of hair at a time. Often leaving a little ring of hair around the area that he has pluncked down on to groom himself and then fall asleep. Hair that magically appears in clumps on the carpet, right after I've vacuumed. Hair that causes him to have hair balls. Hair balls that he is fond of yacking up on the carpet that is directly bordering any non-carpeted flooring in the house. For whatever reason, he can't seem to yack one of those puppies up on a surface that is easily cleaned. No, he has to expel them on the carpet where it will most likely cause a stain no matter what we put on it to clean it up.

He also used to have an anal leakage problem that has thankfully cleared up. Along with the ring of hair around the spot where he would lay used to be little dark spots that would stain the carpet. That was really annoying.

One of his other lovely little quirks is that he needs to have access to food 24/7. We're pretty sure that he's starting to go a little daft in the head and gets easily confused and that's what leads in part to the food obsession. If there isn't food in the cats food bowl at any random time that he goes to look, he starts yowling very loudly and annoyingly throughout the house. In a manner that would cause you to think that he is in great mortal pain if you didn't already know that this was a common occurrence. Never mind the fact that the food bowl may be empty because he just ate it all, it's empty. And this needs to be extolled throughout the house so that someone will do something about it! It also doesn't matter what time of day or night it is that he does this. He seems to be rather fond of the yowling at 2am or 3am. We, however, are NOT fond of this. So our two cats are free fed kibble because we can't otherwise figure out how to get him to shut the hell up unless we make him stay outside.

On the upside, he's great with the dogs. He acts like they're his buddies. He'll rub up on Heffner and Bess' faces if they're laying on the ground. He'll curl up next to them and take a nap with them on the floor or couches. It really is adorable! And the dogs also seem to generally enjoy him.

As I said before, Nemesis despises the dogs. Hates is just not a strong enough word. I truly believe that if the dogs were her size of smaller she would be attacking them left and right. I know that seems a little crazy, but so is she! She mostly tolerates Bess and Bess mostly avoids her. Heffner however, is another story. Nemesis has never forgiven him for being the one who opened up the flood gates and started this whole dog thing in the first place. He has gradually grown into the opinion that he shouldn't have to put up with her crap. And I have to say, I kind of agree with him. I do have good reason!

At just the mere sight of Heffner she will go into a growling and spitting frenzy. Doing all sorts of posturing and hair raising and generally making a big scene. Of course, she won't do this out in the open. No, she does this from within the safety of the Cat Zone. It's an area of our downstairs that contains a bathroom and our washing machine area that the dogs are not allowed into. The cats have their litter box and their food there, so it makes sense. Plus they need a little area that they can go to just be away from the dogs if need be. There also conveniently is a line of demarcation where the kitchen ends and the Cat Zone begins. Both of the dogs have learned that they are not allowed in that area. When we're not around to supervise, we keep a baby gate up to prevent and misdeeds. This has also helped to sort of train the dogs that they are not to go in there. Nemesis knows this. She will stand roughly a foot over this line and do her little routine to get a reaction out of Heffner. After enough times of her doing this, she did start to get a negative reaction out of him. We've been working on it so that it's getting better, but she got him to the point where he would react every single time she went off on one of her little tirades. It used to be that Heffner would get yelled at for this and we wouldn't do anything to Nemesis. I'm pretty sure that she picked right up on that as an additional bonus to pissing him off. Finally I talked to Adam and told him that Heffner couldn't be faulted when he was being taunted like that and Nemesis also had to learn that she couldn't behave like that. We have both agreed on this. There's not a whole lot that we can do to get Nemesis to stop her growling and hissing once she starts. Except the squirt bottle. Then she shuts up and scampers off. Slowly they are both getting to the point where it's not like it was, but it was really annoying.

You might be thinking that I'm a little off my rocker to think that she was purposefully antagonizing him. I would probably agree with you if I hadn't actually watched her one night egging him on. Heffner was asleep on the couch with his head hanging over the arm. Eyes totally closed and oblivious to the world. Nemesis came creeping into the media room and slowly got closer to him. She sat down and watched him. Nothing happened. So then she started growling and hissing. When he opened an eye ball to see what was going on, then she really kicked it up a notch. Once he stood up, she took off to the stair well and scampered JUST out of his reach and did her whole routine from there with him barking at her. Oy! So yeah, I no longer have sympathy for the "poor cat."

She's also very much a creature of habit. She hates it when we don't go to bed by a certain time and will start pacing around the bathroom if we're washing up for the night. If, heaven forbid, the bedroom door is either all the way closed or closed enough that she actually has to push it open, she gets pissy. If it's shut all the way, she pulls at the carpet until someone lets her in. Therefore, we have a section of almost bare floor by our bedroom door. ARG! Then once she's in the room, she does all sorts of things that she knows she'll get yelled at for. She bangs the closet door. She jumps from the furniture onto either mine or Adam's head (she doesn't do this if the door is cracked or if she's already on the bed when we hop in). She just generally makes a nuisance of herself. And she'll do all of that too if you shut the door completely and she's on the inside of the bedroom. She wants to have full reign of the house when and as she pleases. Yes, she is a total diva!

She's also got some funny little quirks that are just that. For instance, she loves it when my hair is wet. I swear it's like cat nip to her. If I'm sitting somewhere that she can get at my scalp she'll wrap her paws around my head and just go to town! She'll rub her face all over the hair, she'll chew on it, she'll bat at it, she just goes crazy!

She's also fond of chewing on toilet paper. I have no idea why or what sparks it. It seems like she just randomly decides that she wants some toilet paper. We'll wake up the next morning to a roll that has the edges chewed off. It's just plain weird.

While Trouble can create a fair amount of work cleaning up after him, he's great with the dogs and I would really prefer that both of the dogs know that not all cats are evil. However, he's 16 now and obviously won't be around forever. So at some point we will be down to just Nemesis and I'm sure the dogs will forget about Trouble and think that all cats are evil dog haters. Sigh.....


Emma Rose said...

You sure have a houseful! We don't have any cats but our squirt bottle still gets lot's of use :)I love the pictures of the dogs with the cat. That is so cool that they get along like that. :)

Schwang said...

I didn't realize cats were in the mix also!