Affectionate Cat Suffocates Owner

shoulderkittyWell, alright. Not really. But Minkey loves nothing better than to sit on my left shoulder – sit, sleep, hang limply, drape, imitate a fur stole – while I go about my daily chores.

I don’t mind when I’m sitting typing (which is what I do about 17 hours every day). But it gets a little problematic when I’m trying to do the dishes, or clean out the fridge.

Personally, I blame my mother-in-law. We left Minkey with her once, when he was an innocent kitten on the verge of Minkhood. We had bought an old house, and while it was being gutted back to the outer walls and completely renovated at the speed of light, Minkey stayed with Gwen and we stayed with my own mother. (Neither mom would have all 3 of us together).

Naturally, we visited him as often as we could.

“Look what I taught him,” said Gwen proudly, one day.

She patted her left shoulder. Minkey took a flying leap from the ground and landed on it.

It wasn’t bad when he was a kitten, and his little claws were soft. But now, they’re proportionately bigger (and harder) than he is.

I figured it out once: If Minkey was a human (shh! Don’t tell him he’s not!) his feet would be about size 22.

We figure it was Gwen’s revenge for being left alone with an overly affectionate and talkative Siamese cat.

Thanks, Mom.

A Very Special Cat Game

minkey-islandMinkey has a favorite cat game. He thinks it was written especially for him. It’s a video game, and the rare occasions I have time to play it, he sits on my knee and watches the screen intently.

If I leave the game running on the monitor, he’ll sit there for hours.

Frankly, I put it on when I want a Minkey Break (he’s just too cuddly sometimes).

“He likes the movement,” said my friend Angela.

Well, no. There are other computer games I play, and he doesn’t bother about them at all. But he’s heard me talk about his favorite game. It’s called “The Curse of Monkey Island.”

I’m sure he thinks it’s “The Curse Of Minkey Island”.

A video game about Minkey… Now there’s a scary thought!

Alternatives To Declawing Cats

minkicureMinkey’s little feet are not, well, little. They’re the size of Manhattan. And those claws just do not retract! Both my clothes and I have the permanent puncture marks to prove it.

“You should think about getting him declawed,” a recent visitor told me sternly.

Here’s the long and the short of it. I got pressured into allowing that to happen by a (previous) vet once, with another cat – poor little Bluebell.

“It’s painless,” this vet kept assuring me.

Well, no. It wasn’t painless. I spent days cuddling Bluebell while my formerly happy, boisterous kitten lay in listless, palpable misery.

She never recovered, either. Complete personality change. After the surgery, and for the rest of her life, Bluebell was withdrawn, sullen, and antisocial. I am sure she was in pain. Even though the (new) vet said he could find nothing wrong.

So I’ll never do that to a cat again. Even if they do regularly leave large puncture marks.

I did discover a products called “Softpaws” – soft caps that cap your pet’s nails. I read several positive owner reviews. But Minkey, his unretractable claws and I long ago came to a truce.

We’ve settled for Minkicures, which are much more fun. That’s when I do my nails, and Minkey sits on my knee waiting his turn, utterly fascinated by the procedure. He gets a Paw Massage (he likes those) and then I clip his nails. (I’m very good at it – mostly because he enjoys it and doesn’t squirm). It’s a Girl Thing we do together.

But please don’t tell him it’s a Girl Thing!

Cat Photography Ops

minkey-stockingI haven’t taken any new photos of Minkey for a while, with all the recent excitement about not only my sister’s serious illness, but my mother’s near-fatal emergency hospital trip.  Life slowly was slowly getting back to normal as I scrambled to catch up work assignments.

However, I went into the bedroom yesterday morning – and there was Minkey, perfectly posed with an eye-catching red velvet Christmas stocking (last seen in the linen closet). The fact that his chocolate Siamese coloring contrasted nicely was an opportunity too good to miss.  As I suspect he well knew.

(Even if he did look rather sulky).

Christmas in June, anyone?

Minkey Immortalized In Siamese Cat Art

siamese-cat-artYes, Minkey has been immortalized in Siamese cat art.  He was once the sitter for an edition of 12 prints, created using the copper-plate intaglio method.  It was called “Cat With Flower”, and Minkey did a wonderful job of keeping still.

You see, the beautiful thing about having Minkey as your sitter is that he’s very, very easily fascinated by small things.

He’ll stare for days at a spot on the ceiling.  He can easily contemplate a single pea on a plate for 2 hours and 41 minutes. (I know. I timed him, once.)  He’ll go into a coma looking at a speck of dust.

As long as the object of his gaze does not move, it’s safe.

Motion sends him into instant kill mode. As many hapless visitors have found out. (Back in the days when I actually had visitors…)

So all I had to do, to get the sketch down for my intaglio plate, was plop a flower down on the couch beside Minkey. I got about 3 versions sketched, before I accidentally nudged the stalk.

Had I a camera (and lightning fast reflexes) the world might have been blessed with “Cat Shredding Flower”.  A twin to this piece would have gone nicely, I can’t help thinking.

The world will never know what a masterpiece it might have seen.

Siamese Cat Bed Therapy

pangur-cat-bedHere is a photo of Minkey catching a few rays of spring sunshine in his beloved custom-designed Pangur cat bed.  Since spring has finally sprung, he has been doing a lot better and gaining weight. I am sure the sun has something to do with it, since I haven’t changed his food or taken any other drastic measures since the vet gave him a clean bill of health. 

Meanwhile, my poor sister is still in hospital, suffering horribly after intestinal surgery gone wrong that won’t heal.  She is used to living a quiet life in the woods, tending to her wildflower gardens, pond, roses, animals and birds. A hospital is not the place for her to heal – but her health is in far too unstable and serious a state to leave the hospital.  Doctors estimate she will be there for at least a couple more months. 

Since she cannot go home to her beloved forest, I wish I could send her a nice large Pangur cat bed to put in a sunshiney window.  My friend Cari made it for Minkey – and it looks so soft, cosy and comfortable.

And a Minkey or two to cuddle up with. I bet that would help.

Get well soon, Sis.

Underweight Cat Worries

mr-skeletonI haven’t posted for a while. My sister had serious surgery, and I’ve been worried about Minkey. You see, he’s been dropping weight until he went from slightly underweight cat to positively skeletal. 

Gaunt, even.

I did all the right things. I had him checked, and all the results showed no problems. I’m already fanatical about providing him with fresh water, several times a day. And his coat passes the “pinch” test for dehydration with flying colors.

“He’s just an older cat,” shrugged the vet.

But Minkey’s only fourteen. Should he really be dropping weight like that?

He seems happy and healthy. He plays just as much as ever (if not more!) And he gobbles down his special premium Royal Canin Siamese cat food with just as much gusto.

Okay, so he eats only hard “kibble”, which was supposed to be the best for your cat and his teeth back when I first checked into Siamese diets – but which there’s evidence now to show may actually not be ideal. So mindful of the vet’s instructions, I tried to add premium, top-of-the-line, expensive, soft cat food. With good, non-toxic ingredients. (I did a lot of research.)

Minkey hated them, every one.  He’d check out his bowl, glare at me, “cover it up” and stalk away, fangs bared in a rictus of distaste.  (He’s repeated that with every brand, so far!)

“Older cat food” is no solution either – mostly, that’s for kidney problems (which Minkey apparently doesn’t have) or to help cats lose weight – not gain it.

And for the first time in years, he’s actually stopped bazooka-barfing, this year.  He used to regularly upchuck all his meals, until we discovered Royal Canin, which is designed specifically to help Siamese cats not inhale their food, but chew it properly. (It worked – and Minkey’s been eating 3 times as much as usual all year!)

Finally, I noticed his favorite toy of the moment – Mr. Skeleton, a leftover Hallowe’en toy.  Hmmm… all bones. Perhaps Minkey is anorexic?  Trying to imitate his hero?  Influenced by Hollywood?  Batting Mr. Skeleton around too much and racing round the house far more than usual?


Seriously, if anyone has any ideas about what could be wrong with a severely underweight cat who behaves as if he’s on cat-amphetamines, please post a comment! At this point, I’ll check out anything. 

It’s sad to think my immortal playmate Minkey might actually be into older cat health issues now.

Smart Cats Are Never Caught

minkey-discoveredThose of you who have read my earlier posts know that Minkey likes to read in the bathroom. Well, today I caught him with one of my psychology books – “Secrets Of Face To Face Communication”, by Peter Urs Bender and Dr. Robert Tracz. I am sure he was mortified – smart cats are never caught plotting to dominate the entire human race. (Which in Minkey’s world, consists of yours truly, and the Occasional Visitor.)

I wouldn’t have noticed what he was reading – except that he managed to look both guilty and outraged. Ears laid back to his skull, nostrils flaring, eyes wild.

And a gurgling sound that swelled from a moan to a yowl, in less time than it takes Sigmund Freud to leap to his favorite conclusion.

I had absolutely no trouble understanding what he was saying.

But I took the book away from him, anyway.

Vampire Cat – Minkey’s Secret Other Life

psychominkeyYesterday I read in the news about a “vampire” unearthed in Europe – some poor woman buried with a rock between her teeth, a victim of a plague that swept across Europe in 1560 AD.  The writer concluded with the inevitable pondering over whether or not vampires existed.

Vampires… teeth marks… waking up with little holes all over one… Hmmm….

Just take a look at this completely unaltered photo of my Siamese cat, Minkey, and tell me – what do you think?

Ghost Cat

minkey-night-visionI once had a ghost cat. No, I mean, a real ghost.  And I don’t think it was one of my past pets.

We lived at the time in a century home in Aurora, Ontario. I used to see a little grey cat running along out the corner of my eye. When I turned my head properly to look, it would always “melt” into the floor or furniture. And it particularly seemed to like to run along my piano keyboard.

Since my dad was terminally ill and I was under a lot of stress, I put it down as a figment of my imagination. Then my friend Rosemary brought her mother to visit. I had never mentioned my little ghost to either of them.

As I was making tea, Rosemary’s practical mother suddenly piped up with: “Did you know you have a ghost cat?”  She went on to cheerfully relay how she had seen it run into the dining room and “melt” into the floor.

That’s when I first realized my ghost cat might be “real”.  (It was eventually seen and commented on by 4 or 5 incidental visitors.)

Now, a ghost cat is the sort of paranormal phenomenon I don’t mind at all.  I even invited it to come and live with us, when we moved. It didn’t. I think it was part of that particular house, which produced two other paranormal experiences while I was there. (In spite of that, I have to admit, it was one of the most pleasant houses I’ve ever lived in.)

They do say that animals sense supernatural phenomenon.  But having had a Siamese (namely, the Minkmeister) I now have another explanation.

I think they just like suddenly freezing and staring intently at Nothing with their hackles raised (usually while one is watching “Ghost Hunters” or “Most Haunted”). Every self-respecting cat automatically knows, it’s fun to scare the bejabbers out of your owner on a dark and stormy night.

Besides which, Minkey is a little softie, for all his attitude. At the first sign of a real ghost, he’d probably run up my shirt and hide!

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