Where are the cuddles of yesteryear?

Hello Interworld,

I’m not usually much of a talker. Human 2 jokes it is because I feel embarrassed about my effeminate meow, but really it’s because I’m such a hard-ass that I don’t need to talk. I just glare, and that says enough. Yeah.

Sigh.

I find myself here, in the Wendy house in the garden on a Saturday, thinking.

The humans are gone and have employed a minion to put out food for us. Like that is all we are to them. Supplicants in need of food. Let me tell you something, Humans. I can catch my own food. You know that severed pigeon wing by the french windows? Yeah, that was me. I ate the rest of the bird. Thought I’d leave you the crunchy bit as a treat. Not my fault if you don’t appreciate the delicacy. And you know all those tiny mice by the back door? Yep, me again. I can catch bigger ones, but thought I’d start you on the small ones to see if you like them, like a taster. Why did you shudder and chuck them in the bin? Ingrates.

My point is (it got a bit lost – this is also why I don’t talk/write much) that I don’t hang around here for the food. To be honest – sorry to have to break this to you – your food is a bit crap. Just because it says “with fish” on the box, doesn’t mean those dry pellets taste in any way like the raw, salty, slithery deliciousness that is an actual fish. You’d know if you bothered to taste the things yourself. At least Tiny Human is prepared to try our food and see if it is worthy of such amazingly wonderful creatures (that’s us, me and FatCat). She would let you know, too, except a) you always stop her before she can get to the bowls and b) she can’t speak your language yet.

So why do I stick around here? This is why:

ThinCat asleep

1. Your beds are comfy. Comfier than this plastic house you have put up in the garden (why? it is small, there are no soft furnishings and the tap doesn’t work, have you noticed?)

DSCF43862. At night, when you sleep, we use your laptop to surf the Internetz and charge our iPhones.

IMG_09283. Snuggly duck. Don’t need to say any more, I think.

cat hug4. But really, above all else, this is why. This is why we decided to stay. You made me feel safe again. You gave me a home. Now you are always holding Tiny Human. Why procreate? The world doesn’t need more humans, you are already taking up far too much space and you’re overcooking all the fish.

If you are a human reading this, and you are considering procreation, don’t. Just go home and hug your cat. See picture for the correct technique.

I will press publish now and hope that Human 2 sees this when she gets home and feels VERY GUILTY and put Tiny Human in her tiny cage and gives me lots of cuddles. There, I’ve said it.

hugs & kisses,

ThinCat

Letter to the New Lodger

 

lodger

Greetings.

We were already acquainted, Medium-sized Human, but it seems from the number of objects in the house that carry your scent that you are here to stay now. First of all, respect to you. We are impressed. You have managed what we have consistently failed to achieve over the past ten months and turfed Tiny Human out of our favourite room and claimed it for your own. How did you do that? Was it a particular pitch of meow? Did you rub yourself against Human 1 and 2’s legs a lot? Or did you just poo in the corner of the room? We must swap tips some time.

So, it occurs to us that this is our opportunity to start afresh with a new, unspoiled human. Human 1 and Human 2 are beyond hope and have gone completely off the rails (is there a Supernanny for training your humans?), but for you there is still hope. These are your instructions, please follow them closely.

1. Food
We will let you know when it is meal time. Our meal time, that is. Don’t worry, we realise you’re only a beginner, so we will make it very clear: when we want food, we’ll bite your hand. This is your sign to put food in the bowl. And please go and find us those cat biscuits in the yellow bag. The food in the purple bag is disgusting. It is also perfectly acceptable to leave out a saucer of milk – where ever you like really, we don’t mind jumping up on the table.

Wrong and vile.

Wrong and vile

1a. BBQs

You humans go on and on about being kind and sharing, but you cook meat in the garden and when we gratefully come to sit up at the table you chase us off, like we’re doing something wrong? Seriously, what do we keep you for? Also, Human 1 completely overcooks the meat. Just warm it through and serve it up, thanks.

2. Inside and outside

This situation where we have to get you Humans to open doors for us all the time is utterly ridiculous. You never respond in a timely fashion to our demands and sometimes the door seems to be stuck or something and we end up outside for hours on end, especially around meal times. This has to change. Medium-sized Human, your first mission will be to get rid of all doors. Yes, all of them. The door to Front Land and the door to Back Land, and all those doors inside the house that stop us getting into rooms where we want to snooze, and especially the door to the study because Thin Cat keeps getting trapped inside.

This ought to do it.

This ought to do it.

3. Sleeping

You seem to think you have claimed that room Tiny Human used to sleep in, but of course, you are wrong. A casual sniff around the place will confirm that we have actually left our scent everywhere and, rightfully, we are allowed to sleep there. But we’re nothing if not considerate: you can curl up on one corner of the futon and we’ll have the rest. We can do sharing, even if you can’t.

4. Love

FYI: This is a hint. You must stroke me.

FYI: This is a hint. You must stroke me.

You must give us love. When Fat Cat appears on the sofa next to you, this is your cue to start stroking his fur until he decides he has had enough. This is very important. You should always let the cat signal when enough love has been given. You are to continue stroking our fur until that time. Also, all this moaning and whining about our claws in your leg and how it hurts and so on – come on. Pull yourself together. You should feel privileged to have such beautiful creatures choose to jump up onto your lap.

Great. Now that we have got all of this straight, I think we can say: Welcome to your New Home.

NB: Please note that you are here on probation and on sufferance and if at any time we find you are not adhering to these stringent rules-slash-guidelines we reserve the right to evict you by use of claws. Your possessions will be retained for sleeping on.

Level 9 Walk-through?

baby gaming

The Baby, ready to level up.

Yo peeps, Baby here.

Thought I’d update you on how I’m doing in Life Game. Got some new tricks and skills to share, but also some issues that maybe you can help with.

I’ve recently completed level 8 and started on level 9. So far, really enjoying it. Discovered some cool new skills. It turns out that when the Mummy puts you in the middle of a play mat and walks away, you are not helpless. Crying loudly is still a good way of getting her to come back, but I worked out that if you get up onto hands and knees and move your limbs alternately, you can propel yourself forward and follow her around. This gets you into The Kitchen at floor level – a room previously only accessible in Mummy’s Arms, which only gave you limited functionality. You need to be ready with your plan though, because as soon as the Mummy spots you, you will be removed. Best to use stealth mode.

Needless to say, this discovery has revolutionised game play. I can now get to lots of the interesting objects that I spotted before but was never able to interact with. Things I have discovered since becoming mobile:

1. Occasionally, additional food can be found in the bin. Useful for health points.

2. There are many long, black coiling things along the floor that connect to appliances, lights and electronic devices. I am sure they are significant, as any time I get hold of one it is taken away from me and I get re-set to the play mat. I’ve tried ‘chew’ and ‘pull’ but so far no results. Will let you know when I find out what they do.

3. The black furry creatures that used to be so elusive? I can follow them now. I’ve tried ‘grab’ on their fur, but that turns them hostile, just like doing ‘pull’ on their tail. Not tried ‘chew’ yet, I think I’ll do that next and see what happens.

4. You know how I told you about the absolutely amazingly awesome Brother (he’s level 32 and can do ANYTHING). Well, now I can follow him where ever he goes to adore him. The more time you spend with him, the more positive relationship points you get. Especially if you do ‘play peekaboo’ or let him do ‘rabbit flying around your head’. Be careful though when doing ‘play’ around the Brother, as any object you are interacting with in his line of sight is likely to disappear from your inventory. This happens twice as quickly if you do ‘chew’ on an object, as this triggers the ‘No Not For Eating’ script. I think it’s a bug in the game, hoping a fix is in the pipeline… @God?

My other cool  discovery in this level is Pulling Up. This is a great new skill that allows you to access objects that are higher than your head. You can click on pretty much anything and do ‘pull up to standing’. Some issues:

* Sometimes the object you are using falls over – still working out why it works for some things and not for others.

* Sometimes you just end up with your bottom in the air. Data collected so far: bars of play pen, success. Doll, bottom in the air. Book, bottom in the air. Full laundry basket, success. Empty laundry basket, fall over, lose health points, get buried under basket, reload to start of level.

Finally, just a little question for anyone who has already completed level 9: you know how you wake up in the night, roll over and end up sitting in a corner of your bed? Well, how do you lie back down and get back to sleep? So far I’ve just done crying and got the Mummy to help, which is nice, but it makes the Mummy less helpful the next day. Is there a way you can do it yourself? Plz let me know in the comments.

Hope you’re all having fun playing Life Game!

xxx

The Baby (aka DevourerOfEverythingzz2012)

Locked in

J'accuse, Humans.

J’accuse, Humans.

Dear Emma,

(Is that what you call yourself, or is that just what your owners call you?)

Normally we don’t really care about humans. They are a necessary evil and we make do with what we’ve got. But when we read about you on the Interwebz, Thin Cat and I recognised your plight. We were agreed: we had to contact you somehow and help. We know about being locked in a room.

For any cats reading this who don’t already know, Emma is a human (but an okay one, I bet she wouldn’t be too strict about mealtimes/-frequency) who got ill, had to have some horrible pill that makes you glow in the dark, and now they’ve tricked her into a room and locked the door (sound familiar? Yeah, thought so) and left her there for days. You can picture the scene: lack of familiar smelling comfies, no access to grass if you need to puke up a fur ball, poor litter facilities and worst of all: scheduled meal times with no opportunity to supplement. Also, she has to stay away from her kittens for ages, or they’d start to glow in the dark too. I’m sure that is terrible, although I wouldn’t know as I used to be a tomcat before I misplaced my genitalia.

So, Emma, here comes the important bit.

How to escape

Read these instructions very carefully, this is all the acquired wisdom of two wily cats from a house with some very tricksy humans.

1. Meow mournfully and scratch at the door. If you’re very lucky, the human on duty will be Very Dumb and just think “Oh poor kitty” and open the door. Then make a run for it.

2. Watch the humans carefully when they bring you food. Where does the food come through? There must be a door or a hatch. Next time they come with some horrible mush, bite the hand that feeds you and crawl through the flap to freedom.

3. Leave a really smelly poo in an inconvenient corner. With any luck, the human who has to come and clean it up will be so busy berating you for being so disgusting he’ll forget to close the door. Hey presto, you’re out.

4. Where does the air come in through? This is the ninja option. There is probably a small opening that lets in air. Make yourself very flat and push your way through. Then it’s just a simple matter of walking along window ledges, scrambling up to the rooftops and from there it’s plain sailing from rooftop to rooftop to the nearest fishmonger.

5. Hide under the bed. The human on duty will get suspicious when they can’t see you, open the door to investigate and you can run out between their legs.

6. Last one is probably the most obvious, you’ll have thought of this yourself but we’ll just mention it for completeness: chew through the cables that connect to the TV, sick up on the exposed wires, cause a short circuit that knocks out the lights and the automatic locking mechanisms, when the doors click open push your way through, run down the stairs (not the lift as it will be out of order of course silly) and out through the front door.

Great. Hope that helps. As I said, we make a point of never getting too friendly with humans as a rule (for what happens if you do, see my earlier reference to my missing bits), but you sound alright so when you get out, feel free to come and visit us in our garden. But no weeing, only we’re allowed to do that on our turf. I’m sure you understand.

Love and kisses,

Fat Cat and Thin Cat

PS The Intertubes are crazy. You write someone a personal letter and suddenly the entire world wants to add little messages of their own. If you really must, click on the links below to read things that will hopefully help keep your spirits up in captivity. Just don’t forget to escape.

PPS If anyone out there is reading this and you too are locked in and need to get in touch for more ideas, we’re on Twitter as @fatcatthincat.

PPPS News has reached us that our letter has been retroactively effective! Emma has escaped! On day 3 of isolation, after excessive drinking, peeing, washing and other perfectly normal activities humans feel squeamish discussing for some reason, Emma’s radiation emission levels dropped unexpectedly to 700, meaning she was safe to be let out. [That’s the official version, we believe she went for option 5 and her captors were so embarrassed they hushed it up]. She still cannot come within 1-2 metres of any cat (or human) but has gone home and been given estimated dates for cuddles with her husband on 5th June, 6yr old Bunny on 11th June and 1yr old twins on 16th of June! This is 6 days early and for any bloggers going to Britmums Live or the BiB awards ceremony… She will see you there.

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Pecking Order

Back in the days when we didn’t have children, we talked about our cats. Friends would come for dinner and tell us cute stories about their kids, which we would counter with: “Oh yes, Fat Cat does the exact same thing!” I’d like to say we were making some ironic comment on parents not being able to talk about anything other than their progeny, but really it was just that we were crazy about our cats and viewed them rather like children. We didn’t think our friends were boring – we thought we were joining in the conversation by sharing cat-anecdotes. Yes, we were those people.

Anyway, soon after getting our cats we observed that there was a very definite hierarchy in the house, evident from the cats’ perception of who the food belonged to. We had been warned before they came to live with us that our new cats should see us eat first, so that they knew who was boss. This was sound advice, I’m sure, but could not be combined with all the other instructions we got from the Cattery about keeping them locked in one room on their own to begin with so they could acclimatise. It was thus that the pecking order was established.

Fat Cat – unsurprisingly – established himself as Alpha Cat. He made sure he ate first, and if Thin Cat tried to eat from the same bowl he got nudged out of the way. If Fat Cat finished before Thin Cat, he would nudge him away from the second bowl too and clean that one as well. Was Thin Cat second in command? By no means. Although Fat Cat quite happily jumped up onto the dining table to steal our food, Thin Cat would cower in a corner and watch. Thus we discovered that this was how the cats saw our family hierarchy:

Alpha: Fat Cat
Beta: Husband
Gamma: Me
Delta: Thin Cat

When I got pregnant, we joked that our new arrival would end up being Epsilon Cat, because Fat Cat would not think he was much of a threat.

We were wrong.

Our son went straight to the top of the tree – everyone else’s dinner had to wait while he was fed. There were interesting milky smells, but the cats were not allowed near. The baby’s needs always superseded the cats’ and he monopolised our laps. Our son was Alpha Cat. He ate first. And everyone moved down, demoting poor Thin Cat to Epsilon status.

Now that the Toddler eats like normal people, he has moved down to his proper place at the bottom of the pile. He is the sucker that will fill up the cats’ bowls to overflowing at random times of the day, because he just loves watching them eat. I think the cats nIMG_0928ow see him as their personal slave. Fat Cat does not hesitate to jump up and try to take over his dinner, oblivious to his stern remonstrations of “No, naughty Pike, S food.”

What happened when the Baby was born, you ask? The cats don’t seem to have the same kind of reverence for her that they had for our firstborn. They’ve got babies pegged now: they just turn into big humans and so become your willing food-dispensing slaves. They look at her and wait. One day she will be able to reach the bag of cat biscuits, and when she does, they will be right there.

So the pecking order has gone back to normal, with Fat Cat at the top, the humans in the middle in descending order of height, and Thin Cat dead last, now Zeta Cat.

Or is he? The other day he was up on the table licking the pate off my toast while my back was turned. We’d better keep an eye on him – he may be staging a coup…

In which Thin Cat Suffers

7am. The Toddler is feeding the cats endless handfuls of dry cat food until their bowls are overflowing. The cats are appreciatively nomming away, their tails relaxed on the floor. The Toddler spots them and wants to see what happens when you step on tails. What happens is that Thin Cat runs away as if the hounds of hell are after him and hides under the table in the dining room.

The Toddler is in pursuit.

Toddler: Oh Mummy, quick! Catch Thin Cat! Thin Cat! Eten [food]!

He spots the cat hiding under the table.

Toddler: Cat tafel [table]. Naughty cat. Thin Cat eat. Not hiding table.

He crawls under the table to retrieve the cat, who runs off, back to the kitchen. The Toddler is once again in pursuit.

Toddler: Yes! Cat honger [hungry]!

As soon as Thin Cat sees the Toddler coming, he runs back to the dining room to hide under the table once more.

Toddler: Haha! Fun! Catch you!

Peers under table.

Toddler: Boo! Dinosaur, grrrrr.

Toddler: Oh, gone!

Cats post-baby

I have to admit that my relationship with Fat Cat in particular has become a little more fraught – since my son was born, but certainly since baby number two has appeared on the scene.

My main complaints:
1. He makes a mockery of my authority in front of the Toddler, by refusing to do as he is told. Usually this is: “Get off the table, cat. This is people-food, not cat-food.” The Toddler then gleefully joins in the Cat Reprimanding: “No, Pike. Not tafel. Mensen. Not cat. Tout poes.” [No, Spike. Not table. People. Not cat. Naughty cat.] Fat Cat just continues to sit on the table, staring at our breakfast in the hope that we will eventually share, and as I am usually feeding the baby at the time I don’t have a free hand to follow through on my cat-discipline.

2. TMI, I am sure, but my left nipple is rather badly injured from early breastfeeding issues. To aid with the healing I wear a special wound dressing thing as well as a regular breast pad. While feeding I carefully put this gel pad to one side, away from toddlers. Fat Cat will jump onto the arm of the sofa and put a big old paw on top of it. GRAAAARGH!

3. When the baby is not in it (thank goodness), he jumps into the moses basket and makes it a comfy bed, leaving it coated in cat fur.

4. My feeding pillow is an inflatable travel one. While I am feeding the baby, he will frequently come up to me and lovingly stick a claw into the pillow. It now has a slow puncture.

5. When Fat Cat feels it is dinner time (which is any time after about 3pm), he gets very aggressively affectionate towards anyone who might feed him. The Toddler does not have a finely honed sense of when it is safe to pet Fat Cat and when there might be claws, so this time of day is rather stressful for busy Mummies who are breastfeeding and also trying to keep their toddler safe.

You see a pattern, I am sure: cats and toddlers are just hard to manage while breastfeeding. All in all, I find it so much easier to feed Fat Cat and then encourage (chuck) him out of the house until dinner time. And then perhaps after dinner until bedtime.

Thankfully, my husband sticks up for the poor cat and gives him lots of love and attention in the evenings.