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.

New Age Siamese Cat Behavior

siamesecatI’ve been spending some time north of  Thunder Bay with my mother and sister lately, both of whom had very close calls with hospitals and surgery.  Minkey got left behind, visited daily by his Favorite Plumber (who he likes because F.P. always lifts him up to look at imaginary Ceiling Spots.)

One of the items I brought back was a large chunk of Amethyst, from one of the many Amethyst mines that line the north-western shores of Lake Superior.

Minkey has finally abandoned Traveling Wilbur, his toy bobble-headed moose, in favor of the Amethyst. He spends hours in the window, curled around it.

One of my friends, who is heavily into New Age stuff, insists he’s feeling the Healing Power Of Crystals.

Me, I just think he likes it because:

  • It’s sparkly-warkly
  • It casts a nice lilac sheen on his snowy-white, chocolate point coat

(What do you think?)

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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?

Canine Home Invasion

mingggMinkey and I just had a morning we’ll never forget. I’m disabled, and the two of us live very quietly in a little cabin in the woods, way out in the countryside.  Minkey is a 100% indoor cat, so I have never had to worry about him getting squashed on the road, or carried away by owls, or ripped to pieces by the coyotes that howl in my forest at night. This peaceful Sunday morning, however, I opened my door to put the newspaper in the recycling box – and promptly suffered a Canine Home Invasion! Two extremely muddy Yorkshire Terriers rushed delightedly in, used me as a trampoline – and then they saw Minkey.

Before I could even blink, they were ricocheting round the room, knocking over ornaments, lamps, papers, and my teacup in their zeal to dismember poor Minkey, who went from napping peacefully in his sunny windowsill (yes: the picture  in our blog header) to backed-into-a-corner, stark-eyed, wailing terror.  There followed a horrible few minutes till I managed to  contain 2 of the 3 snarling balls of fur – they were in full-throttle Terrier “Kill” mode – and finally I managed to get my two canine Home Invaders outside (my clothes ripped to pieces and covered in mud in the process. Oh, not by teeth – their ailoruphobia aside, they turned out to be very sweet, happy little fellows – but by overenthusiasm and scrabbling paws.)

I managed to tie my two canine home invaders up, and remove the tag from the quieter (?) one’s collar (it was too hard to read on a bouncing dog) , so I called the “Pet Find” number on the tag.  Even with the mud and the wet, it was very obvious I was dealing with two little much-loved runaways – especially since one had a Hydro mechanism on its collar (I presume to give it a mild shock if it went off its home property.)

I got a canned response:  “We are closed till Tuesday May 19th.  For this dog, please call…”

Called the number and got a vet clinic in the nearest town.  “We are closed till Tuesday May 19th…”

Oh great. A long weekend, and everything’s closed.

I called the SPCA.  They were actually opening at 11 a.m (only 5 more hours to go!)  But then they added:  “If this is about a loose dog, please call the town.  It is a bylaw enforcement matter and we have no responsibility…”

So there I was, with a terrified cat up in the attic where I couldn’t reach him; and two little canine Home Invaders tied up outside, managing to strangle themselves in the process.

I tried calling the two people I know who live locally for help, but there was no response.  (Sunday, long weekend.  Sleeping in? Off on a day trip?)

I spent the next couple of hours sitting outside, entertaining my uninvited guests.  The water bowl got 3 laps, and then was merrily hurtled across the lawn (at least playing `Frisbee’ kept them happy for a bit.)  I managed to untangle them several times.  Finally, I had just made it back into the house again, to see if my two local contacts were home, when I heard a car pull in the driveway.

No, it wasn’t their frantic owner – but the next best thing:  A friend of frantic owner, helping her comb the countryside for the little rascals.

Handed them over with relief, and got a hug from the kind-hearted neighbour.  Cocoa and Puff yapped “goodbye” happily.  (“What a great morning!  Escaped from our yard, ran all over the countryside, almost killed a cat, got petted and played with – now we get a car ride too!”)  And off they were whisked – naughty Cocoa to go back to the litter of puppies she was supposed to be raising.

I tottered (figuratively speaking) back inside, and made myself  that panacea of British comfort, a cup of tea. My heart had gone all arrythmic with the physical exertion (and the shock of the Invasion and near-Siamicide), so I was very shaky and wobbly.

I was worried about my traumatized Siameasle, lurking wild-eyed in the attic – but as soon as he heard the kettle whistle, he shot down the narrow, cat-sized stairs, and  launched himself onto his Treat Stool.  (Minkey normally only gets a cat treat in the morning, keeping me company while I take my pills – but I guess he figured that he deserved an extra one, after his horrid morning.)

I gave him one, noticing the treat had almost as soothing an effect on him as the cup of tea did on me.

We are now almost totally back to normal, but there is something I really want to say before closing this bizarre little episode:

  • Dog owners, even if you keep your pups in the yard under control (leash, kennel run, electronic zapper) PLEASE put a tag on them that has your OWN phone number – not some generic “Pet Find” service.  And make sure the tag is LEGIBLE – I had the worst time (once I wrassled it off Cocoa) in figuring out that very worn number, and it took several guesses to get it right.

After all, long weekends do occur – and if you don’t want to spend 3 days of anxiety (to say nothing of the poor person who has found your animals) allow people to phone you immediately, if you have a lost pet.

And if poor little “indoor” Minkey can be attacked by a pair of unexpected predators in his own home, your “controlled” dog can just as easily escape, one day.

Don’t let your pet become one of those sad photocopies on telephone posts or grocery store bulletin boards.  A simple tag with your OWN PHONE NUMBER on is all it takes.

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.

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