Tag Archives: cats

Please do not…

Annoy, torment, aggravate, agitate, besiege, discombobulate, disturb, distract, disrupt, pester, plague, molest, worry, badger, harry, harass, heckle, persecute, irk, bullyrag, vex, disquiet, grate, beset, bother, tease, nettle, tantalize, perturb, unsettle, upset or ruffle the animals

Fark you, Birdwell!

 

Hey Bird, get me stick…
…and another beer.

You see, I am the animal pesterer. The animal irkster. I like to grate, beset and bother the animals. Always have. Not sure why, just do. Vexation and badering are my trademarks, just ask any dog that has been unfortunate enough to live next door or any squirrle that has helped itself to my birdfeeder.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

Or my dog, or cat, for that matter. Just because they fall under the general rules of protection in my house doesn’t mean they don’t get bothered, disquieted or worried, occassionally. It all depends on my general mood and blood alcohol level.

 

 

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

I was eating a bowl of chili one evening and noticed the dog across the room in his standard pose – that being prostrate on the floor and motionless, except for his eyes, which always seem to look at me with a mix of distain and worry. Feeling uncharacteristically generous, I flicked a red kidney bean at him. It landed right by his nose. He knew it was there, but like my presence, he gave it no more attention than a nostril flare.

Ungrateful hound. So I flicked a few more at him, all landing in his fur. Neither he, nor the beans moved until I pointed it out my daughter. I’ve never owned a hound like this, one that would eschew easy food in exchange for not having to exert any additional energy in the eating of such.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

Badger, harry, harass or heckle?
The cat, after 7 years, knows that turning his back on me is just not the best idea. Never can tell when a spit ball might come flying out of a sippy straw, or a Nerf projectile (or two, three, four or five) might be launched in his general direction. (I’m so glad my wife purchased that Nerf launcher for my daughter. Now that I think about it, Sweetpea tends to hide it on me and I haven’t seen it lately).

Now, let’s be clear here. I don’t hurt the animals. I just persecute, bullyrag, tease and nettle them. The ears are likely targets, especially if they stick up from the target animal’s head, exposing the inner ear. It must be the same impulse that causes one to give someone else a ‘wet willie’.

Pester, plague, molest? Well, if I can get away with it, sure.

After a lifetime of such behavior, I generally know when enough is enough. I still have all ten fingers intact. But I have a keen sense for when it is time to move onto some other form of entertainment. It usually is not when the animal is ruffled or tantalized.

I cornered a large water snake in some rocks alonside the lake. It chose the wrong crevice to hide in becasue there wasn’t anywhere to escape to. I probed the crevice with stick, trying to sprun the snake into evasive action, but its chosen defense was to emit a horrible, musky stench. I bailed.

Once, I threw a dried kernal of corn into the nostril of a bison. If you’ve never seen a bison nostil up close, let me assure you, it was not that difficult. I could clearly see the corn kernel sitting in the low area of the bison’s nostil, until it inhaled and sucked it up. To this day I am still uncertain if it was aspirated into it’s lungs, or shot back out on exhale. I believe the latter, as the bison became somewhat annoyed and head-butted the fence hard enough to shudder the supports. Talk about beset, bothered and bullyragged. I moved on to other, smaller game that weren’t capable of trampling me.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

But don’t think that size alone will deter me. I once swatted a full grown milk cow in the head with my bow when a herd of them had gathered around me whilst I was bow hunting for deer. At first I didn’t mind, they provided good cover as they lay there, belching and chewing their cud (a most disgusting and unnerving sound to the uninitated). The problem began after they satisfied their gutteral needs. They seemed to grow restless and began bumping into me, rubbing their head on the end of my bow and stepping on my feet. If you haven’t had a cow step on your foot a couple of times, let me assure you, heavy boots don’t do much to mitigate the discomfort.

I wasn’t sure what I could do – a two-legged human of around 175 lbs – against a large, 4 legged ungulate ringing in around a half ton or so. I pushed back, stepped on a few hoofs and back-handed one square on the snout (ker-whap!). They thought I was playing and became even more rambunctious. One cow in particular seemed quite fond of me. I could tell because she proceeded to cover my lower half with cow slobber and bovine snot. That was when I drew the line and cracked her in the skull with the bow. It got everyone’s attention and they stampeded off across the field. Cow stampedes are also very unnerving to be in the middle of.

Is there a problem, Birdwell?

 

Also, know this: A moose is a large animal. If you’ve never seen one up close, let me tell you. Large. Even so, they don’t like being shot with the slingshot. (now that I think about it, neither does anything else…). And just because you are driving alongside one in a Jeep Cherokee whilst poinking marbles off of their ribs doesn’t mean that you are protected. Because, as my good friend Chris pointed out, they can easily turn, attack and roll the vehicle. And that would not be a good thing deep in the Maine wilderness, 10 miles from the nearest paved road and another 4 from camp.

I advise you to stop your shenanigans, Birdwell.

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Pre-cat / Post-cat

For the larger part of my life I never considered having a cat as a pet.  If I had to feed and care for a pet, I would have preferred it be a dog.  Dogs are utilitarian pets – they produce a net worth be it as companion, fallen food eliminator or discourager of unwanted guests .  They make for a good foot rest, too.

But my daughter wanted a pet.  Knowing the effort that goes into the proper training of a good hound, I hesitated.  Maybe for too long.

One day a black kitten became available in the neighborhood and, well, I don’t know exactly how, but it wound up at my house.  To be honest, I knew it would be a hit with my daughter.  Girls love kittens and that is pretty much ‘low hanging fruit’ as far as the whole ‘daddy = hero’ thing goes.

Unfortunately, the farking cat didn’t take to well to her.  It would seem that getting swaddled in a blanket and stowed in a basket with only his head showing is not to his liking.  Nor are lung crushing hugs or snuggles that impede blood circulation, no matter how much love they imply.

He likes to hide under things when he wants to be left alone.  That didn’t stop my daughter from ‘noodling’ for him, reaching under the sofa and catching hold of a leg or tail and extracting him to the light of day.  Her only purpose is cuddling him, whether he likes it or not.

His only concern is evasion and escape.

Of course, with this type of behavior on both child and cat’s part we had some issues with scratching and biting.  I managed to quell those tendencies with a little properly applied ‘tough love’.  It was used on me, and I turned out alright (there isn’t an emoticon made that can accurately depict the amount of sarcasm that was just implied).

Although the cat belongs to me and falls under the general rules of protection (don’t fark with me or mine), there is a hierarchy.  You know, a pecking order. It took some time for the cat to understand his place, that being at the bottom. Everyone understands their boundaries now.

But he was born a barn cat and no amount of air-conditioning, sleeping on the bed and puking on the rug will be able to flush that out of him.  And why bother trying?  To paraphrase Popeye, the Sailor Man ‘he is what he is’.

I will say this much:  The rodent population has plummeted around the compound.  And that’s a good thing.  That, and he hides his own droppings, a big plus.  Say what you want about your dogs, but you still have to clean up after them.  But the cat – he buries his own.  Let’s see your hound do that.

Here I have compiled a list of the before and after details of cat ownership that I have noticed.

Pre-cat: No animals to care for or bills for such.
Post-cat: Vet bills, food bills, food and water fill ups, litter box cleaning.

Pre-cat: Rodents running rough-shod about the compound (27 mice caught in traps one winter).
Post-cat: Automatic rodent control.

Pre-cat: Rugs and carpet in good condition.
Post-cat: Rugs shredded and tufted.

Pre-cat: Laundry room reserved for dirty clothes and the cleaning of same.
Post-cat: Litter box in laundry room emitting horrifying odors.

Pre-cat: Household allergens limited to dust and seasonal pollen.
Post-cat: I am allergic to cats.

Pre-cat: Unbroken skin on fingers and arms.
Post-cat: Scratches and bites.

Pre-cat: Poison ivy danger limited to woods walks
Post-cat: Poison ivy oils linger on cat’s fur, transmits to arms, causes anguish.

Pre-cat: Tendency to sleep through till the alarm.
Post-cat: Awakened by being walked on at 5:30 am or sun-up, whichever comes first.

Then there is the hair, of course.  The cat sheds constantly, the better to mark his return path.

I have been able to correct some of the aforementioned items.  For instance, he prefers to relieve himself outside. Unless we leave him in when we are gone overnight, he doesn’t use the litter box.  He scored big points for that.  My allergic response seems to be under control.  He does seem to have an issue with binge and purge.  He comes in, eats his fill, walks into the living room and pukes on the carpet.

I’m still working on that one.

Being of barn cat lineage he also is naturally tough.  Oh, he got his ass kicked at first and we have the vet bills to show for it.  But it would seem he came back and established his own pecking order with the locals.

I have him trained to a whistle, so when it is time to come in for the night I don’t have to sound like some kind of lunatic calling for him.  And anyone out there who is calling ‘here kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty’ late at night can be assured that there is someone within earshot muttering, ‘shut the hell up already, you idiot.’


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