Compatible

 

My luxurious coat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

My shredders.

My shredders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The human keeps me entertained and fits into my routine. I do miss her when she is away.

 

Miaow.

The Right One and Away

Contented Smudge.

Contented Smudge.

Last year when I returned from my trip I received an unenthusiastic reaction from Smudge. At short notice, I had found another house-sitter and was relieved. This sitter ticked all the boxes, except she wasn’t a ‘cat person’. Smudge tolerated the stranger and became rotund, because he hung out all day in the hall cupboard snoozing.

After 30 hours of travelling with little sleep, I had arrived home late minus my backpack. It was on a flight to another country. Tentatively, Smudge sniffed my hand, accepted a pat and then stomped outside without looking back. This wasn’t the welcome I had anticipated. He didn’t return until breakfast the next day.

Plaza in Cartagena, Columbia. Piccy from phone.

Plaza in Cartagena, Columbia. Piccy from phone.

This time after extensive selections and meetings, I found a sitter who loved cats. Upon returning, instead of Smudge’s disdain and refusal to play hide and seek chasey with me for three weeks, (last year’s punishment), I arrived home to a moggie who purred like a re-charged mower, circled my ankles and offered a sleek body for big hugs. Later, Smudge snuggled up on the bed.

The Human

Best Shot

Waiting patiently for Tofu.

Tired waiting  for Tofu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smudge shimmies his tail after dashing out the front door and scampering up the driveway. He has a crush on Tofu, the kitty across the road, but she isn’t in her usual spot lounging on the roof of her owners’ car.

Morning or night when he can, Smudge waits in the bushes and driveway hoping that Tofu will appear. He has already had two short-term liaisons. This potential moggie tryst has been going for awhile. (See previous post, ‘Love Hurts And A New Bed’). Smudge seems to skip when I mention Tofu’s name, but she usually snubs his attention by continually grooming herself or sleeping. Something has to change. Am I the catalyst who gets them together now that I’m feeding Tofu with her owners away?

Outside, Smudge circles my legs and rolls over. He enjoys a pat, but his eyes are focused ahead. Leaving him, I saunter across the road and Tofu appears offering her belly for a rub, keen to show Smudge that his human is patting her. I can’t see his reaction, then Smudge disappears.

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Still waiting for his crush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a key I open the garage door. Tofu scoots in and crunches her dry snacks while I open a wet, food sachet. In a few seconds it’s gone. Will Smudge soon feel fuzzy inside and be purrfectly happy? Of course not!

Tofu - Smudge's crush.

Smudge’s crush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My neighbours are back. When Tofu makes an appearance she continues to ignore her admirer from across the road. Bad luck Smudge, time to find another kitty.

The Human.

Communication

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I’m blending in so the human won’t find me!

Being a hefty moggie, you would think that Smudge has a deep, penetrating miaow, but surprisingly the fluffball produces soft, high-pitched sounds, similar to descending notes. ‘Ma-ah’ is his morning greeting, although he sounds more like a toddler to me. Then there’s his short, gentle trill, or more exactly a ‘brriil,’ as if he’s saying, ‘What’re you doing? C’mon, let’s play.’ If I accidentally stand on his tail I get the piercing ‘Miaowh,’ or a lower, long-winded version when we are travelling in the car to see the vet, Dr Hindmarsh. In contrast, Smudge’s purr is a deep rumble.

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Hope she leaves me in peace.

Cats are known for their superior hearing compared with humans, but Smudge often demonstrates selective deafness when:  I ask him to ‘come here,’ I order him to stop sharpening his claws on the rug—immediately he goes into Ninja mode and scratches faster—and if I require him to do something. After repeating a request several times I get no positive response, so I clap my hands and yell, “Hey, you with the big fluffy tail.’

Smudge literally stops for a second, his kohl-rimmed eyes turn to slits. ‘What?’ He will continue to shred fibres or ignore me.

I’m fascinated how we communicate with word associations and objects. Smudge knows, ‘dinner’, ‘breakfast’, ‘nigh-nighs’, ‘crunches’ and more… but it’s through his body language, that I feel I can interpret his emotions and intent, or not.

When Smudge frantically lashes his tail, I know I’m in trouble.

The Human

Sleep

Smudge the next day sitting on my story drafts.

Smudge, the next day sitting on my work.

Numerous drafts of my story lie on the floor. Smudge is sitting on the last one, which I attempt to retrieve as I need to check something. He’s unimpressed and doesn’t move, as I have been keeping him awake with my noise and the light. Eventually, he relents and curls up in the tub chair.

It’s after 2.30 am, so I complete my bathroom routine and fall into bed. However, sleep is absent as I can’t get comfortable and thoughts continue to roll around in my head.

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Smudge snoozing.

At 6.00 am the mantle clock chimes and I gasp and raise my head, disturbed by a weight on my body. Smudge has plopped himself horizontally across my chest. It’s hard to breathe when a 4.5 kg furball has pinned you down. I manage to turn slightly hoping that he’ll slide off, but he clings on with extended claws. ‘Owhh!’ I’m now fully awake and push him off.

In an attempt to ignore my tormenter, I wrap the doona around my body and bury my face into the pillow, but Smudge hasn’t given up and whacks me in the head. I turn around and his face is 30 cm away from mine, his pupils dilated. After a few seconds of eyeballing each other, he looks away and jumps off the bed. Finally, I’m left in peace… but later I’m woken by a loud, rumbling sound. There are workmen outside operating an excavating machine and Smudge is back on the bed again.

The Human.

Always Young

Pick the real moggie.

Pick the real moggie.

Smudge looks like a venerable, oriental gentleman, but don’t be fooled. Now 13 in human years, he continues to be exacerbating and his exuberant playfulness never wanes. The elderly fluffball sleeps a lot more now and has mellowed just a little.

Chubby Smudge with some toys.

Chubby Smudge with some toys.

As I get older, I don’t worry so much about how others see me, but Smudge still loves to impress the kitties by keeping up his fastidious grooming routine, and shimmying his tail.

These days, he subtly wakes me up in the morning with a gentle paw to the face. However, if I don’t get up, he’ll thrust his backside in my face, or block my nostrils with the end of his tail. It’s effective, but not nice.

That dreaded tail.

That dreaded tail.

I enjoy my comforts—a supportive bed and great food are bliss. Smudge has always made sure he is comfy, resting his head on cushions or pillows, even using my belly as a headrest when he is curled up or sprawled across my lap. Although he is fed nutritious cat food, Smudge manages to score a small piece of meat from my own dinner when I’m sitting on the couch watching T.V. After waiting a minute, he’ll saunter by and flick his tail near my food. If ignored, Smudge will jump up next to me and drool over my plate. Of course, I relent and he wins. An excellent human manipulator, Smudge won’t change, and I continue to be wrapped around his paw.

The human.

Big Mitts and Business Spots

Me waiting to go outside.

Me waiting to go outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the human goes out, she always tells me to ‘be good’. That means:  don’t scratch the rugs, doona or furniture. I don’t want her to go, and will try and distract her with a game of chasey, or I’ll scratch the food cupboard door. After a treat or a sprint around the hallway and dining room, she leaves. I’ll then sharpen my claws on the rug.

Lately, I’m trying to ‘be good’, because the human has been in a fight or hurt herself somehow. She had one of her big mitts wrapped up in cloth and then later, the other one too. She had trouble leaning over to pat me and snoozes a lot. It’s hard to wake her in the mornings. The other day because she wouldn’t get up and open the back door, I had to do my business in the giant water bowl, where water falls from the wall. The human was surprised when she found ‘my gift’, and picked it up with a scooper, plopping it where she does her own business. That night, she left out a small tray with some litter—I’d rather go outside. In the morning I stepped into the tray and started kicking. Heaps of litter landed on the floor. The human wasn’t impressed.

Lots of space to do my business.

Lots of space to do my business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, a male human dug up a tree in the backyard, leaving heaps of freshly turned soil. ‘Purrfect!’ It’s a great spot to do my business. I’ve been back there a few times.

Miaow