Tag Archives: non-fiction

Moggie Joker

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Smudge looking innocent sitting on a towel on top of a heating duct.

According to Smudge, I’m responsible for his care and comfort. Unfortunately, I’m also the constant source of his amusement.

His on again/off again use of the new, house-litter tray—I keep the flap open with a cushion—is exasperating. Lately for entertainment, Smudge deliberately steps inside and churns up the fresh litter before quickly making an exit. Of course, he’s anticipating that I’ll check to see if he’s used the tray again. Cleaning it is not one of my favourite pastimes. ‘Tricked again!’

It’s late, I’m in bed typing on my laptop when he suddenly jumps up and tries to bulldoze his head into the folds of the doona. Finally, after stomping around, he’s curled up at my feet.

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Churning up the kitty litter.

Smudge will sit at the front door testing how many times I’ll spend opening  and closing the door for him. Or, sprawled across his rug, I’ll toss him a small, rubber ball and immediately he whacks it with his right paw. Airborne, it reaches the dining room, lands near the buffet, bounces and rolls underneath the dining table and chairs. He yawns, as I’m expected to retrieve it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

The other morning after his breakfast, he was loitering in the hallway when I sauntered past. Suddenly, he extended his paw and I tripped over. Surprised, I stood up and turned around. ‘Why did you do that for?’

Although sitting upright and looking nonchalant, I detected a glint in his eyes. ‘Gotch ya!’

The Human.

The Secret’s Out And A Mighty Moggie

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Young and trim Smudge below fence line.

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.

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‘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.

The Human.

Holding On

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What? I didn’t do anything.

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.

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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.

The Human.

Sleep – I Wish

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Comfy.

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.

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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.

The Human.

 

 

 

 

A Losing Battle

Smudge of his own rug.

Smudge on his own rug.

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.

Evil moggie.

Evil moggie.

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.

The Human.

Uncomfortably Close

Smudge stretching up on fridge. Check out those claws.

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 cat.

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.

The Human.

P.S. Would love to hear any demanding cat stories.

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