In Cat Years, That’s…

Thanks to those who wrote, wondering where we were. No, in spite of Minkey passing his fifteenth birthday (which is really old in Siamese years – about 77, according to this chart) we’re both still alive and kicking.

2010 was a year of relentless loss after loss, both big and small:  From the old TV set packing it in to having to leave our little cabin in the woods and move in with my son… who has a big tabby male cat named Beauregard. (My camera is one of the many things in my life that Died last year, so I don’t have a photo yet, unfortunately.)

Minkey and Bobo’s days go something like this:

  • 5:00 a.m. Wake Grandma (yrs. truly)

    7:00 a.m. Cuddle respective owners during morning coffee in living room and flash smug glances at each other

    9:00 a.m. Race round house for No Apparent Reason, occasionally bumping into each other

    9:10 a.m. Discreetly use each other’s litterbox

    10-noon Disappear into separate bedrooms for snooze

    12:05 p.m. Complain that the fresh water isn’t fresh enough. Persist until Grandma changes it (again)

    12:10 p.m. Eat own lunch.

    12:13 p.m. Switch: Finish each other’s lunch

    1-2:00 p.m. Sleep together angelically.

    2:05 p.m. Wash each other affectionately

    2:20 p.m. Disappear for several hours

    5:00 p.m. Play with toys. Have catnip orgy. Eat dinner

    6:00 p.m. Mooch under table/raid counter (they take turns. And neither did this before moving in together.)

    7:00 p.m. till bedtime: Have minor tiff. Sleep (about a foot apart). Compete for owners’ laps.

    11:00 p.m till 5:00 a.m. Hunt each other. Scratch, claw, bite, hiss, pin each other down, thunder all over house, play at “War” on respective owner’s beds, use owners as trampolines…

In other words, they seem to be having fun. And in spite of all the nightly teeth and claws from Minkey and throat-ripping from Bobo, neither has a scratch on them: At its worst, it’s more like exasperated mother cat and bratty kitten (with Minkey being the bratty kitten).

I must say, since moving in with Bobo, Minkey seems about ten years younger (in cat years).

Must be all that exercise!

Minkey Unimpressed With Piano Cat

siamese-cleaning-clawsMinkey and I are probably the last people on earth to hear about Nora the Piano Cat. Rescued as a stray, this velvet-coated beauty with eyes like Scottish mountain mist headlined as soloist on YouTube, playing a CATcerto with the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra. (And garnering 1,305,975 views as of this writing.)

But I’ll warn you – this is no mere “Cute Kitty” video, with Junior bashing a few random notes on the piano. Nora’s musical abilities can only be described as “sensitive” and “staggering”.  The delicacy of her improvisations is equalled only by her skill.

At one point, she even (perfectly) introduces a Jazz riff. (Check it out for yourself!)

CATcerto. Mindaugas Piecaitis

As soon as the entire 4:52 min. concerto finished playing, Minkey leapt sulkily off my shoulder.

He is now elaborately cleaning his claws on the headboard of my bed (a place he only retreats to when feeling Extra Naughty).

I do not have a piano, but if he starts playing my little Celtic lap harp, the results are likely to be spectacular. For both of us.

Because he is likely to Shred it.

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Stalking Cat Meets Cool Cockatiel

lily5Let me introduce you to another Minkeyfriend. This is Lily, who is about 5 months old. As you can see, like Minkey, she is fascinated by Fluttery Things that Move – in this case, her house-mate, Spike.

We hear that Spike is NOT impressed with Miss Lily. But he tolerates her sleeping for hours on top of his cage (her favorite, er, “perch”) without spitting out more than the occasional sulky swear word.

Although owner Katherine optimistically thinks they are friends and this is just a delightful kitty game, we are not fooled by such devious kitten behavior: We think she has been diligently taking Lessons in Stalking (and Advanced Snooze 101) from Minkey.

Babies And Cats DO Go Together: Leo And Fleo

leo-and-fleo3Babies and cats DO go together – and Leo and his pet cat, Flea, are living proof. 

Leo is a rambuctious, happy, little (human) bundle of energy who just turned 2-years-old  the other day. Flea is a lot older and wiser, and as gentle with his human toddler buddy as Leo is with him.

It’s all about parenting. I’m sure that left to his own devices, Leo would happily grab Flea and traumatize the heck out of the poor old fellow. However, Leo’s mom devotes unlimited time to teaching Leo how to relate, share and consider the feelings of other living beings.

I’ve seen living proof of  this myself in the way Leo interacts with Lily, the younger baby his mother provides with full-time day care 4 days a week. Lily is as fair, quiet and gentle as Leo is dark, loud and rambunctious – but the two of them outdo each other in affectionate cooperation. It’s really lovely to watch them being generous with each other (though Leo does like stand beside Lily and open his mouth wide, when she’s getting fed her dinner).

Besides, even though Flea has never actually met Minkey – Leo has.

And when it comes to babies and cats, Leo is the only baby in the world that Minkey isn’t afraid of.

Malinka From The North

malinka1From Guest Blogger Skadi:

Malinka was rescued during a terrible thunderstorm some years ago. It took her two weeks to come out of hiding and begin to trust.  She quickly learned that dogs could be warned off with the dreadful Siamese Hiss, which ones does showing as many sharp, pointy teeth as possible.

As soon as she became used to other cat and dog members of our family she began to relax. Her message was: “I’m Malinka and I’m the baddest girl in town”. Nothing was safe from her, and she knew all the ways to draw attention to herself. The bed became her Queendom, and any other cat coming up was subjected to the savage leap and rush, paws and claws before her, to knock her rivals off the bed. Then she would roll.

It became impossible to read a book in bed. As soon as I started, this wicked seal-painted she-devil’s face would pop up above the book, and puncture it with a fang before disappearing again. Many is the time I came home to find a new or cherished book, with corners neatly chewed off, and numerous puncture holes in the front cover.

I named her for an old movie poster: “Malenka the Vampire”, showing this fierce, yet free, woman, her mouth open to display large and wonderfully fake vampire teeth. It suited the temperament of our Malinka perfectly, Although there was definitely nothing false about her little vampire fangs. But in all this, we love her; how can we not?


Minkey’s First E-Friend

malinka2It seems Minkey has made some NEW friends, whether he knows it or not.  He has never met Malinka, but we are honored that she has come to “visit” our pages. The next post will be her story.

I would love to hear from other cat owners about their special friends. “Guest bloggers” are fun!

And yes – that’s Malinka, (left) doing what Siameasles do best.  Taking over her owner’s house.

Trauma At La Casa Minkey

hisssssMinkey’s friends, while few and far between, have been memorable. Take Ginger, for instance. (Nicknames, “Gingie”, “Gingivitis”).  This chunky big fellow was one of the many strays my mother adopted (not all at once, thankfully!) (Well, okay… sometimes all at once…)

When my mother was preparing to move several hundred miles away to live out her lifelong romantic dream of log-housing it in the far Northern boreal forests, she had a minor heart attack and was put in hospital for observation. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law arrived with the moving truck to load up furniture and cats.  Whiskas and Lucky both docilely got into their cages, but scenting imprisonment, Gingie made a violent break for it.  I was not even in the room at the time, being busy routing a nest of spiders out of my mother’s spare bedroom closet ceiling.  But when I visited her that evening and admitted we hadn’t been able to pack Ginger off to The Great White North, and that he was still sulking in the shrubbery, she bemoaned that she couldn’t trust me to do ANYTHING right, and promptly had a major heart attack on the spot.

So there I was, while she was in surgery, thinking I Had Killed My Mother.

But as one of her surgeons cheerily put it, “she’s a tough old bird.”  She survived.  And I kept on trying to find Gingie.

The day that (unbeknownst to me) she cheerily turned down the convalescent home in favor of my tiny 500 sq.ft. cabin in the woods and me nursing her 24/7, Gingie strolled calmly into the cat cage. They both took up residence at La Casa Minkey.  I moved onto the couch, and mum got the bedroom, the bed – and the cats.

The friendship did not start out well.  Minkey was clearly both frightened and aggressive.  As the visiting V.O.N. nurse thoughtfully put it, “My, I didn’t realize your Siamese cat’s fangs were that long…”

There was a lot of hissing; all of it from Minkey. Gingie was unfazed.  He adopted a policy of calmly ignoring Minkey.  He was a tough old bird.

Minkey kept trying to sleep on the bed, Gingie kept Willing him off (it worked.) My mother found their little passive-aggressive skirmishes endlessly entertaining, and finally began to recover.

By the end of several weeks, Gingie and Minkey had developed an uneasy truce at best.  The Minkey’s Friends page photo of them both on the attic stairs is the closest they ever got, physically.  Gingie resented being an indoor cat – but there was no way I was going to let him out to give my mother a third heart attack by disappearing again.  In protest, he lustily shredded all my furniture – something Minkey had never done, discreetly preferring to use his special custom deluxe wall-mounted scratching rug.  To my eternal relief, Minkey virtuously refused to participate in such uncouth behavior.

catcageMy mother and Ginger thrived.  Minkey and I quietly began to develop strange nervous habits. I began to choke on food (too tired to swallow), develop high blood pressure and tremble a lot. Minkey began to choke on food, dart haunted, wide-eyed glances continuously over his shoulder, and tremble a lot.

Minkey voluntarily spent a lot of time in Ginger’s cat cage. (I – alas – couldn’t fit…)

Neither of us could eat much.

By the time Mum and Gingie were deposited in their new Northern paradise and I got back home to Minkey, we were both nervous wrecks.  Minkey developed skin problems, which turned out to be (according to the vet) “purely nervous”. Eventually his skin magically cleared up, but to this day, I continue to have high blood pressure and sleep on the couch, since I now can’t sleep more than 2 or 3 hours in a row any more, anyway.  Which Minkey thinks is a good thing.

I managed to replace the most damaged pieces of furniture that Ginger had shredded, and finally eliminate his last left-behind flea.  Gradually, Minkey and I settled down to our old peaceful “indoor cat” routine.  Sort of…

One day I bought Minkey a little fluffy ginger toy cat.

I found it the next morning, drowned in his water dish.

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