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Posts Tagged ‘killer-cats’

Attention: Genghis Cat, Feline Overlord of [address omitted]

Dear Cat,

I am writing to remind you that, according to the pet registry at the local council, I am listed as your owner. Not the other way around.

Admittedly, however, I mustn’t be much of an owner. I mean, I’ve never felt the need to put a picture of you up as my facebook profile pic or get you to wear a Santa Hat on our Christmas cards or have your name tattooed on my arse. Also, I’ve certainly never felt the way cat food manufacturers obviously think I should feel – most of the cats featured on their packaging are giving me their best “Come Hither” eyes and others seem positively post-coital. Is this really how cat owners feel about their pets? If so, I’m sorry. I just don’t see you That Way. For one thing, whenever I try to pat you, you just bite me. Perhaps that’s your way of giving me some lovin’ but I can tell you now, Cat: I’ve no interest in becoming your S&M bitch-slave. It just ain’t my scene.

Anyway, now that I’ve reestablished the fact that I’m your owner, I would like to remind you of a few house rules:

Greetings
Please do not greet me at the door with an accusatory whine, as if continuing a previous argument right at the point where we left off (no doubt about the fact that I “never” feed you). In return, I will cease regarding you warily with a “Helllooooo, Genghis”, like I’m Jerry Seinfeld greeting his nemesis Newman.

Disposal of body parts
I may be wrong here but I think most serial killers attempt to tidy up after themselves a bit. Whilst it can be said that nothing heightens the hanging-out-the-washing experience more than standing barefoot on a mouse head, I’d prefer it if you could either eat your prey in its entireity or use one of the garbage receptacles provided.

Land rights
You have no legal claim over the spot in front of the heater. You therefore do not reserve the right to stalk, pounce upon, scratch or bite anybody standing in that spot, especially if they have just been outside in the cold, cleaning up bird entrails from the trampoline. My husband would also like it to be known that when he sits naked in front of the heater in the mornings (for reasons known only to himself), those things hanging down between his legs are not your sworn enemy.

Meal Times
When I refuse to feed you outside of designated feeding times, please do not sit right in front of me and proceed to elaborately groom your arsehole in protest. And, for the record, other cats the size of small ponies subsist on one cup of dry cat food a day without complaint. You receive the same PLUS two sachets of ‘wet food’, which costs more per gram than most fancy-pants French cheeses, and yet you never quit your bitchin’. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? If I served all your meals to you dressed in a gimp suit made entirely rubber and let you bite the crap out of me, would that make you satisfied? Would it? WOULD IT? Well, it ain’t gonna happen, Cat. It ain’t gonna happen.

Sheesh.

Your loving owner,

The NDM

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I’ve long since thought that Easter Saturday was a bit of a non-event, sitting between Two Giants of the Christian Calendar as it does. Nobody died, nobody rose again – it was just a pause in the parable. My friend, The Amateur Surgeon, pointed out that Easter Saturday might have been just a little bit exciting because Jesus would have been on his tour of hell on that day. But that was all behind-the-scenes stuff as far as the Bible is concerned – or at least it never appears in those Made-For-TV depictions of The Passion.  And whenever I think of “behind the scenes” I can’t help but think of Richard Wilkins doing backstage interviews at something like the Logies Awards. Which I guess is pretty close to hell in my books. 

In any case, with that concept of a “tour of hell” in mind, let me describe to you some our own Easter Saturday antics last weekend. 

It started off innocently enough. The children went outside to play in the sunshine but quickly ran back inside to say that Genghis Cat had a bird in his mouth. The bird – a fledgling Indian Mynah bird – was still alive and my husband bravely rescued it – quite literally – from the Jaws of Death. The bird was in shock but appeared otherwise unharmed, so my husband decided we should let it convalesce with us for a few weeks before releasing it back into the wild – well, the wilds of suburbia, that is. And boy are things wild ’round these parts. 

However, we needed a cage to keep him in (and keep Genghis out).

Now a normal person might have just bought a cheap one, but not my husband. No, he decided he should make one instead, with a view to “future bird-keeping”. 

And so he compulsorily acquired the wardrobe from the kids’ room for his project, leaving its contents on the floor.

Which meant we had to move the shelves from the laundry to the bedroom, thus dislocating the contents of those shelves.

Which led to us reassigning the book shelves in the kids room to the laundry.

Which meant we needed to move the shelves in the loungeroom to the kids’ room to hold the books and… 

Following all this, are you? Well, let’s just put it this way: imagine our house was a big drawer and we turned it upside down and emptied its entire contents onto the floor and then kicked them around a lot. With me now? 

My husband, bless his odd-socks, went onto put in at least five hours of hard labour building an aviary, complete with removable trays.

And, somewhat predictably, “Harry the Mynah Bird” went on and died sometime in the night. 

And so we woke up on Easter Sunday, with a dead bird in our hallway – which, contrary to the spirit of Easter, did not Rise Again – and the house looking like the insides of a snowdome while it’s being shaken and with an Unavoidable Date with Chocolate at hand. Which meant that, as we were trying to tidy up, the kids were just running around high on the Brown Stuff creating twice the mess. 

The moral of the story? I mean, there must be a moral. It was Easter, after all! 

Well, my friend KC said that Indian Mynah birds are considered vermin in most parts of Australia where they pose a real and ongoing threat to native bird species. So she’s now touting Genghis Cat as a Bona Fide Hero, which is a strange turn of events since both her husband and her son are violently allergic to him and his presence in our household has somewhat curtailed our friendship. So I guess, as far as Genghis is concerned, miracles really do happen. And as far as we’re concerned, it’s less miracles and just messes. But that’s really nothing new.

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Personally, I blame it all on having read Orwell’s “1984” at too young an age. To put it plainly: my fear of rats makes The Pixie’s brief bout of galeophobia look like shark-fancying (see “All At Sea“). My fear helpfully extends itself to mice, too –  if only because I have no way of distinguishing them from rats. Apparently you can tell by the width of their tails and the number of nipples they have, but since I’m really not planning on ever being that close to one to actually do any measuring or counting, the distinction is still completely lost on me. 

So when Genghis Cat casually sauntered in with a live mouse in his mouth early the other morning, my reaction was less than mature. If someone were to ask for the transcript of that moment it would read something like “Eeeeewwwwweeoooooooo aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Farrrrrrrrk!”. Which truly represented exemplary role-modeling in showing my children how to deal with their fears.

Upon hearing this profoundly pithy exclamation, ol’ Genghis dropped the mouse, which limped as quickly as it could under the fridge. Genghy then proceeded to sniff vaguely around the “Dust Baffle” area and, realising that there would be enough biscuit crumbs under the fridge for the mouse to live off for a year, he wandered off with the distinct air of someone whose work here was done. Panicked, I immediately rang my husband at work for advice – replacing more traditional telephone greetings with a strangled “Faarrrrrkkkkk!”. My husband calmly and quickly came up with a plan of action for me. 

“All you need to do,” he said. “Is move the fridge, grab the mouse, put it in a plastic bag and then take it outside and drop a brick on it.”

Now let’s just run through that action plan step by step:
1. Move fridge
2. Catch mouse
3. Put mouse in plastic bag
4. Drop a brick on it

Shuh! Like any of that was going to happen. Well, maybe I could have done Step 4 but without completing steps 1-3 it would have been as pointless as, well, dropping a brick on an empty plastic bag.

Luckily, my husband pretty much realised his plan wasn’t going to work the minute he’d presented it to me. My reaction no doubt had something to do with this realisation – again, that transcript would have read something like “Uh, guh, guh, guh, can’t, uh, do, uh, it, aaggghhhhhhhhh.” Under normal circumstances, he would have advised me to leave the house with the children for the day and then sorted it out himself after work. But the problem was that on this particular day, I was picking my husband up from the city and we were all driving straight off to a special holiday destination for a few days. And if the mouse stayed and died under the hot fridge in the hot weather, it would have effectively turned the house into one giant Dutch Oven. Clearly something had to be done and I wasn’t the person to be doing it, blubbing like a baby as I was.

In two words, the answer was Uncle B. 

Now, the definition of True Friendship is being able to call someone with a mouse-in-the-house problem before 7am. KT – wife of Uncle B – answered the phone in a cheerful manner – or as cheerful as someone whose children habitually wake before 5:30am can manage. But because Uncle B was still sleeping (having worked til midnight the night before) she immediately offered her mouse-removal services instead, fearless girl that she is, and was there on my doorstep with her children less than ten minutes later. 

Immediately, KT set to work. She bravely approached the fridge, while I rather less bravely put a closed glass door between me and any mouse action – although, in doing this, I cunningly claimed to be “nobly protecting” KT’s very curious daughter, Cyclone Bella. Since the fridge was too darn heavy for her to move it by herself, KT instead rocked it slightly, and then proceeded to poke the injured mouse with a long stick for ten long minutes. Which got me wondering about how when we say things like “more chocolate and champagne than you can poke a stick at”, it suggests a glorious abundance of something, whereas “more injured mice than you can a poke a stick at” doesn’t quite have the same happy overtones. Because if it was a matter of “want to” rather than “can” when it came to poking those injured mice, the desired number would definitely be NONE. Which is not the case with the champagne and chocolate. Although I would obviously prefer to consume them than poke them, stick or no. Which is all just a good example of the little mini-breaks of the mind I go on when facing my greatest fears. 

ANYWAY, after all that brave poking of the stick, KT had to admit defeat and went home to wake up her husband. Once she’d returned with Uncle B and he was on the job, KT and I were both free to go hide in the front bedroom with the children – and with that bedroom door firmly shut and a story tape on the stereo, we created ourselves a kind of Disney Bubble which could not be penetrated by the mouse’s (or Uncle B’s) screams back in the kitchen.

Less than five minutes later, the Dreadful Dead had been done, the corpse had been disposed of, and I was making suburban hero Uncle B a Very Strong Coffee Indeed. And because he’d had to get down the microwave from on top of the fridge in order to move it, I took the opportunity to give the microwave a good wipe inside and out, plus the top of the fridge, before he put everything back. Which just shows that the mouse didn’t die in vain and from such adversity came a nice clean microwave and fridge top and the reminder of how lucky I am to have such Great Friends.

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The other day, I woke to the distant sound of bells. In my early-morning delirium, I thought “Hooray! Santa’s here!” and then “Maybe he’s bought the giant pitcher of pre-mixed Flirtini that I asked for…”. But then I came to, and realised that it was Genghis Cat doing something at the other end of the house and, from the sounds of it, it was something far more vigorous than his usual bells-a-jingling activity (see “Out of the Bag“). 

I was tempted to just roll over and go back to sleep but I heard little footsteps running down the hall and an equally little voice exclaim “Oooooh!”. I stumbled out of bed to find Tiddles McGee standing at the laundry door staring in wonder at a flurry of grey feathers floating gently to the ground. Part of me desperately wanted to believe Genghis Cat had just gone head-to-head with our winter quilt but then I saw it: a freshly-deaded bird. Whatsmore, a freshly-deaded bird that lay between the toilet and me, with my post-three-pregnancies-at-bursting-point-clear-the-way-it’s-gonna-blow bladder.

And then ol’ Genghis appears from the shadows and starts snaking around my ankles in the way he only does when he wants some food. Which just made me angry because here he was, hitting on me for food with a whole dead bird not a metre away and 3/4 of a sachet of cat food still in his bowl from the night before. And he looks up at me as if to say “Wha’?”

I had originally thought that one of the prime benefits of pet ownership was about finally (finally!) having someone in the household that ate whatever you put in front of them. But of course I found out way too late that this applies to all pets with the notable exception of cats, many of which are even fussier than The Pixie in full-preschool Diva mode (see “Not-so-easy Riders“). Genghis Cat won’t eat chicken. He won’t eat beef. He’ll eat some fish but nothing with sardines or pilchards in it. Even when I feed him the stuff he apparently does like, he’ll have a vague sniff at it and then come straight back to me with this look like “Is that all you got?”. I mean, this is the cat who I’ve caught nicking a whole slice of peanut butter toast from Tiddle’s plate. This is the cat that won’t drink the water I put out for him in any bowl but will happily jump into the bath tub to lick the stagnant water around the bath plug. And, despite the fact I’m the one who feeds him every day and every night, this is the cat who never gives me any lovin’ or comes and sits on my lap: he reserves that honour for my husband, who has never once sullied his lily-white hands with cat shit from the kitty litter or had to scrape caked-on cat food off the side of the feeding bowl with his fingernails. I’m soooo that cat’s bitch-slave. 

And so we come back to the dead bird, the disposal of which stood between my bladder and sweet relief. I’m not good with corpses – and birds give me the heebie-jeebies even when they are alive. So let’s just say, I had to be very brave and carry out my duties swiftly, while Tiddles watched and clapped his little hands, exclaiming “Birdy!”. Yes, Tiddles. See the birdy. See Mummy squirm. See the nice birdy go into the dustpan. See Mummy shudder and groan and dry-retch. See the birdy get tipped into the outside bin. And then see Mummy run. Run Mummy, run! As fast as her potato-pickin’ peasant legs will carry her, all the way to the toilet and hear her shout “Thank Christ!” and then hear her mutter menacingly about “that cat” for the rest of the morning.

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