Pets – Got the Jimmy Legs

Pets

Can you pull the weight that rides on another's shoulders

Whoa, what an annoying week! It's like a delayed reaction from getting back from the vacation. But the first week back was okay; this past week, however, has been horrendous. Things are cooling down again, but work continues to threaten to spill over into my personal life, if only because I am constantly haunted by the memory of the tedium even when I am home.

I take my revenge by hoarding office supplies, I'm taking home a bunch of hanging file folders to go in the ultra-cheep filing cabinets we bought at the Rite Aid. Our intention is to get our affairs in order so we actually know where all our important documents are. This will free up countless shoeboxes in the basement, which can then be used for diorama-building purposes.

Speaking of useless activities, MOTICO is about to renew its contract with America, we actually have a couple of shows booked in the near future. I suspect most people think we've broken up, but you see, that's exactly what we wanted you to think! Anyway, we're playing on Halloween at the Trash Bar, and on Nov. 8th at Goodbye Blue Monday. Hey, that'll be our first show in our neighborhood! Mark your calendars.

In cat news, Gladys' kittens are slowly becoming more comfortable around us. Yesterday a couple of them jumped inside the house and were scurrying around for a while. Most of the the time they stay on the window sill while I try to ply them with a string tied to a stick. The orange kitten will let me briefly pet him, so he'll likely be the first one to turn. Meanwhile, their Moms is totally trying to act the part of a house cat. To that end, on Monday I'm gonna get her fixed, as the Mobile Spay Unit will be back in the neighborhood. The kittens are old enough to be on their own now, so I don't think they'll miss her. This could be tricky, since she is still an outside/stray cat. But she comes by with such regularity I should be able to snag her Sunday night and keep her until the appointment. One by one, I will fix every cat on the block!

It's another hungry mouth to feed

Gladys' kitten!, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

As you know, there are several mother cats who come to us for food on a daily basis. They don't live in the house (although sometimes they do overstay their welcome) but know this is the food spot. We had been hoping that when their kittens are old enough, they would bring them over as well. But these cats live on the street side of the house, and their nests are across the street. So we didn't know if we'd ever see their offspring. Well last night they made the trek.

Gladys came over as usual and was eating when I noticed a little face in the window. There was a 10/11 week old kitten there, checking out the food bowl. Slowly, the kitten stuck its head in and started going to town on the cat food. I got the above photos at this point from across the room. The kitten eventually got spooked because I moved in too close. But it came back, and brought with it another kitten. Both were gray tabbies with white undercarriage, and both have the googly eyes like their mother.

They kept eating while Gladys stood around looking nervous. They hopped down to the floor briefly but when I looked over the couch to see them, they bolted out to the stoop. They came back and ate some more but eventually left. I thought that would be it for the evening, but then Gladys came back with yet another kitten!

This one was all white with orange spots and was the shyest of the 3. It would run if I just looked straight at it. Meanwhile, the first kitten was getting braver and actually came into the living room. It roamed around until it found a catnip mouse, which it started playing with. At this inopportune time, Jefe decided to notice the kittens and started going after it. As usual, I think he just wanted to play, but kittens rarely have the necessary insight to understand this. So I locked him in the bedroom for a while.

The kittens had their fill, but hung around the stoop. By the time I went to bed they were huddled in the steps leading down to the ground floor door, which kept them out of sight pretty well. Tonight I'm gonna make a more concerted effort to get them all inside. They're skittish but they're still so young I don't think they're all that afraid of me. My goal this time around will be to adopt them out, as well as their mother. Gladys is pretty darn cute in her own right:

So you better treat her right

Lucy's new beau, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

Lucy started going into heat again this weekend. It was quite a sight. She rolled like a dog all the way across the kitchen floor, and she's suddenly very friendly to Jefe, has unlimited energy and has started singing around the house. It would be amusing if it wasn't so shockingly out of character. This is why she's at the regular vet and not at one of the cheaper alternatives; I just couldn't take it anymore!

So Lucy's there right now, she was spayed earlier today, I'm just waiting to hear if they'll let me take her home tonight. This is what I hate about vets. They say they have to keep her overnight to make sure her surgery holds together, that she remains healthy, etc. Of course I don't want to jeopardize her health but what this is really about is charging an enormous "hoteling" fee for keeping her in a cage all night.

Meanwhile, if I had been able to take her to the Mobile Spay Unit, or to Animal Care & Control (where 25 bucks gets you one fixed pet), I would have no choice but to take her home afterwards. They're using my assumed love of my pet as a means to soak me for more money. Of course, if I insist on taking her home and something bad happens, I'll feel incredibly guilty, but chances are I'd find SOMETHING to feel guilty about anyway …

Lucy is being wooed by a stray Siamese cat who I would love to tame because I think he'd get adopted in a second. But he's very wary and I have not been within ten feet of him, even though I've been feeding him for a while. He might actually be a real feral cat, all the more impressive that he's such a fine specimen otherwise (the other truly feral cats around here are pretty scroungy). Maybe I'll build a nonlethal tiger pit out of a kiddie pool.

UPDATE: Lucy's home, safe and shaved and sound. I've got her sequestered in the bedroom fro the night. But Jefe keeps sticking his paws under the door, but at least he won't be able to pounce on her as has been his fashion of late. They really seem to have bonded over the past week, probably due to her being in heat. Let's hope they are able to be "just friends" now that her hormones will be in check from now on.

I have science here

Elevated train platform, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

We met with the tax guy finally this weekend, he should be processing everything now. We have always done our taxes ourselves but we were too spooked by the variables involved with being a homeowner. Since we didn't move in until the end of October, though, it means we won't realize much benefit this time around. But at least we'll be better-prepared next time around.

Meanwhile, Lucy's been to the vet, now she's on antibiotic pills, which are proving to be a challenge to get her to consume. She's not falling for the hide-pill-in-cat-treat method anymore, and I haven't perfected the shove-pill-into-mouth-and-hold method. I tried that this morning and she tried to "drool" the pill out by slobbering it onto the floor. Lovely.

Takes abuse but he never seems to get sore

In honor of Hubcap, I'd like to humiliate myself publicly by posting a song I wrote about him some 10 years ago. This is a song I 4-tracked, playing all the instruments. I barely knew how to use the equipment and had a lot of trouble hearing the playback while recording, especially while doing the drums, so the result is a song that only accidentally keeps the beat for any length of time. There's a section about 75% of the way through where the rhythm is supposed to change from 4/4 to 3/4 for several measures which totally does not work, and the recovery is just embarrassing. But I still like the song for its meticulous notation of Hubcap's habits at the time. Also of note is how much I feared he would die, with no fewer than 3 lines referring to my insecurity over his mortality. Here's the song (remember it's 10 years old, recorded on a 4track and copied onto cassettes, then copied to computer at some point), and the lyrics with full notation:

Hubcap

Who's walking on my head?
Who takes up half the bed?1
Who's hanging on the screen?2
Who's looks like he's on ephedrine?3

Hubcap4

Eats from a can
You can scratch my hand
You can bite my knee
Just don't die on me5

Hubcap falls on the floor
Gets the boot and begs for more6
Slams into the front storm door7
Takes abuse but he never seems to get sore

Who always wants to get fed?8
Who's a quadruped?
Who at the door always stalls?9
Who fears all creatures both great and small?10

Hubcap

Asleep on his back11
Dry heaves and hacks12
He's loyal true
Better friend than you13

Locked out of my house at night
Hubcap thinks that it's all right
Follows me to Diana's place
In Amy's bed he's sleeping on my face14

Hubcap can't say why
Hubcap I thought you'd die
Hubcap You death-defied15
Aw Hubcap

Hubcap falls onto the floor
Gets the boot and begs for more
Knocks his head on the front storm door
Takes abuse but he never seems to get sore

1Hubcap enjoyed stepping on my face to wake me up; additionally he always found a way to situate himself in the bed so I had very little actual mattress to sleep on

2To let us know he wanted to come back inside, he would jump onto the screen door and hang there until somebody noticed him

3In his younger days he liked to run around in a panic, but to my knowledge he eschewed all drugs except catnip

4The name "Hubcap": I like hubcaps in general, I have a sort of hubcap collection, and Hubcap seemed like a good name for a cat: I found him on the street, after all

5The first death mention, I honestly can't remember why I was so paranoid about his health, he probably just had a cold or something and I freaked out; the occasion of the song seems to coincide with Hubcap's successful bout with illness

6"The Boot": Former housemate Al discovered that the young Hubcap enjoyed getting his belly rubbed with the sole of his heavy Timberland-style boot; Hubcap would walk into the kitchen, flop onto the floor, and Al would basically mop the floor with him

7In colder months, the screen door was replaced with a glass panel; Hubcap couldn't remember this and would jump at the door with nothing to hang onto

8Up until his death, the act of getting fed was a major preoccupation (even more so than actually eating, he'd often walk off without eating anything)

9Like many cats, he would beg to go outside but upon opening the door would just peer out into the yard indecisively

10He was deathly frightened of other animals, like chipmunks or birds, and would run and hide when he saw any; later in life, he tolerated their presence

11In warm weather he could position himself with all four legs up in the air, and would stay that way for a long time

12Hairballs were a persistent recurring digestive issue

13Shades of my growing need to distance myself from humans and surround myself with animals that can't tell me how I've disappointed them

14One of my favorite Hubcap anecdotes: One night I came home very late and very drunk. I forgot my keys and my housemates were definitely asleep, the only way I could get in was to pound on the door to wake them up. I already felt like a doofus, and I had been feeling like the house loser at the time, so I couldn't bring myself to wake anybody up. Hubcap came up to me on the porch; he too was locked out. I figured my friend Diana would still be awake since I had just seen her at the bar, and her house was nearby. I started down the street. I made it a block or so when I realized that Hubcap was following me. I figured he'd be out of his element and stick close to home, but there he was, trailing me by a few yards. So I started beckoning to him, and he kept following me. Diana's house wasn't all that far, but it was a good hike, especially for a normally-territorial cat. But he kept following. I got to Diana's house, and indeed, she was still awake. Even better, her roommate Amy was out of town so she said I could sleep in her room. With a little cajoling, Hubcap also came inside and he went to bed with me. Hubcap slept on my head most of the night. In the morning we got up and went home together.

15Again, I don't recall the supposedly "death-defying" incident Hubcap survived, but he would manage to evade the Reaper for at least another decade after the composition of this song