You think you know someone well, and then you learn something about them that surprises you.
As a young moggie, Smudge would sometimes disappear over the back fence in the mornings. I’d be constantly looking outside and calling him, but he had vanished. The fluff-ball would return later that night or the next morning in time for breakfast. Sometimes he turned up at 10.00 pm and wasn’t particularly hungry. I’d imagined he had been catnapped, but managed to escape.
Recently, I learnt the truth. I was weeding the front garden when someone called out. It was a neighbour from the street behind. She inquired if my cat was still around. ‘Yes, he’s inside having a snooze,’ I replied.
‘Sleepy’ on territory patrol.
On hot days, Smudge made his way over to the front part of their house to a sheltered section, which was cool and comfy. He also visited my neighbour’s place because they had a female, black cat. With his good looks, Smudge has always considered himself a kitty magnet. Apparently, the pair climbed trees together. I was amazed that he had a girlfriend. No wonder he didn’t come home in a hurry!
After I put the rubbish out late the other night, I heard a commotion. Rushing outside, I was stunned to see a fox at the end of the driveway. Smudge was upright, his eyes focussed on the big intruder. I chased the fox away. My not-so-young fluff-ball had sneaked outside earlier and had an altercation with a fox.
One thing Smudge and I both agree on, is that he does his business outside. When away for a night, coming home to a load of his droppings—not to mention the smell—and litter strewn two metres away from the tray, is not ideal.
A mobile vet suggested I reduce the amount of litter—which I did—however, I am still cleaning-up after Smudge. The big mog can’t resist sending granules flying with his ninja moves.
Sometimes I won’t get up after being tortured, or I may sleep in, and having tradesmen around also deters Smudge from going outside. Later, I’ll find a surprise in the shower or dining room.
The offending end.
I left home early and returned at lunchtime, when a worker arrived to discuss a job. From the dining room corner Smudge made strange chirping sounds and started to circle, then scratch the floor. Realising what was about to happen, I rushed over pushing a dining chair out of the way and grabbed Smudge around the belly. His body flopped in my hands leaving all paws dangling. As I sprinted toward the backdoor and turfed him outside, droppings plopped onto the floor leaving a trail.
Earlier, Smudge didn’t go outside, but chose to snooze instead. He always scoffs the expensive, dry food I give him, and enjoys a little bit of wet food too. His droppings were solid, easy to pick-up with a paper towel and flush down the toilet.
A connoisseur of comfort, Smudge has many sleeping spots around the house. His favourite places are an armchair and the couch, the bottom shelf in the hall cupboard, on top of an overnight bag and of course, my bed – mostly when I’m absent.
Due to my study efforts and feeling ignored, he is sleeping back on the bed at night with me. I’d prefer that he didn’t because having a bony chin stuck into my leg is really uncomfortable. I’m a restless sleeper and with Smudge on the bed, I feel guilty turning on my side, rolling onto my back and constantly turning while he stays curled up in the same position for ages.
Recently, I can’t tolerate the weight of the doona on my sore foot, especially when a hefty moggie is leaning on my ankle.
Smudge’s sheet roll.
Early each morning after torturing me to get his breakfast, Smudge will then go outside and patrol his territory. In no time, he will return to bed. When I’m up again he follows me, but sometimes the slacker will snooze for another hour.
Often I wake-up and find myself on one side of the mattress, while the furball is in the centre of the bed, curled up, his eyes and nose hidden underneath a fluffy tail. Yesterday, I found myself balanced on the edge of the bed – literally on a quarter of the mattress – so I shoved him over. Soon Smudge began pawing at my cheeks and flicking his tail across my face.
Twice a day for twelve years, Smudge would diligently scratch my lounge or dining room rugs, and then roll over expecting me to pat his belly. Being told off did not stop the scratching, so I resorted to squirting him with water and used a herbal spray on the rugs, but the defiant moggie was not deterred. Recently, I found two rugs on sale to replace my old ones.
At first, spraying the new rugs with an unpleasant, herbal spray caused Smudge to abstain from his daily ritual. However, the smell even put me off from being in the room. Luckily, after 20 minutes it dissipated. The smarty paws was now on the look-out for alternative scratching material, and much to my horror and consternation, the bedroom mats are constantly shredded.
Smudge has always had his own small rug in front of the lounge room heater. Currently, it is treated the same as the bedroom ones.
By scratching, I know the big mog is marking his territory, but there is a scratching post inside and a huge gum tree outside for sharpening his claws.
The evil fluff-ball is testing me and I caught him yesterday, heard him first, ripping fibres… His pupils were dilated and he was manically working those claws. Yes, it was one of my new rugs. I chased him off—this was unacceptable behaviour—but as usual, it didn’t make any impression and later he was trying again.
Smudge stretching up on the fridge. Check out those claws.
Being ignored is catastrophic for Smudge because I am studying again. He would love to have my attention 24/7. While I sit at the desk working, he stretches up and taps my thigh with a splayed paw. A claw gets caught in the bottom of my jumper and Smudge tries to pull away. The more he tugs his claw is further stuck in the knit. I am not happy as it’s a new jumper. His eyes are now dilated and I anticipate ‘Ninja’ antics.
Literally I am connected to my cat. To disengage the connection I lean over, but it doesn’t help. Think, think. Next I proceed to roll off the chair and am left crouching on the rug. Not wanting to be slashed by his free ‘Ninja’ paw or bitten, I stretch out part of my jumper so he can release his claw.
Evil moggie. Look at his eyes.
Yay, it works and I breathe deeply. From previous experience, I had forgotten how hazardous studying has become. Owh! Just been nipped on the ankle. Smudge scoots out of the room, but returns within minutes. He’s sitting close, looking up with those eyes and extends his paw again.
P.S. Would love to hear any demanding cat stories.
Every morning and night the human brushes her fangs and bubbles come out of her mouth. I think she’s about to turn feral, but it doesn’t happen. She laps up water and the bubbles disappear. That’s weird! Only fur balls come out of my mouth and sometimes drool, when I’m snoozing. The human wrinkles her face if I breathe on her, especially after I’ve eaten something fishy. She always gives me crunchy things to finish my breakfast and dinner.
The small water bowl where the human brushes her fangs.
Each day I wait for her to come out of the giant water bowel where water falls from the wall, so I can have a drink. The human steps onto a mat and shuffles over to the small water bowl where she brushes her fangs, but if I’m sitting on the mat, she can’t move it. I’m no lightweight!
My toes are small, but the ones on her mitts are ginormous. It’s easy for her to pick-up and carry things, but I can only carry a toy mouse or a wriggling bird in my mouth. (The bird thing doesn’t happen much now).
I’m curious as to why humans are mostly furless, maybe that’s why they cover their bodies and hind paws with cloth and things to keep warm and toasty. If I pounce and nip her soft, chewy toes or chunky legs, the human always make a loud noise. It is so much fun, but she doesn’t think so.
Humans do strange things and are funny looking, but are always entertaining.
Grooming is important to me, but bringing up a furball is not fun and immediately I gulp it back down, so when the human wants to brush me, I am very happy. It is purrfect when she gets to that hard to reach place at the base of my tail. I drop to my side purring and reckon she has removed a furball or two, but if I try to groom her, she pushes me away.
The human throws me a ball and I swipe it back. Lying there waiting for her to find it—while she scrambles under furniture and crawls across the floor—is hilarious. Also too, when I hang around the front door she’ll come running. I saunter outside then quick as a mouse, I’m back banging on the mesh. The human groans and lets me in. I turn around again and whack the door.
Back of the couch.
Most of the time she obeys my commands, but sometimes she ignore me and doesn’t like me doing things, like scratching behind the couch. I love scraping my claws down and the sound it makes. The human wants me to use the post covered in rug pieces instead, and crouches on all fours to show me how to scratch it, but it’s more fun trying to swipe and pounce on her big mitts. She yells out when I get her, scaring me.
The human keeps me entertained and fits into my routine. I do miss her when she is away.