Yep, I’ve been busy. Lotta work, not a lot of money. I’ve been sick. And most importantly, I got a freakin’ cat.
I’m allergic to cats and I don’t particularly like them, so this is a bit of a surprise, especially to me. But I couldn’t resist the little bugger.
I was going over to the Downtown Dollar next to the newspaper office to get a soda to give me a midday kick. There are two doors and somehow, in front of both of them was this starving little kitten, probably too small to be away from its Mom, trying to figure out what was going on. I kept trying to get him out of the way, but where ever I went, he got in front of me. When I got the door open without hitting him, he darted inside. I couldn’t just leave him wondering the dollar store, so I picked him up. In retrospect, it was all over right then: Even if I hadn’t adopted him yet, he had claimed me.
I brought him to the office with me and proclaimed him as an office pet. Not everyone agreed, but enough that we kept him around. Initially, we named him Bob, after our recently retired publisher, but the current publisher, my friend Mark came up with his new name, Edward R. Meowrow, the newscat. This is the second newscat name Mark has come up with, the first being one of his cats, Kitty Couric. In practice, I mostly call him kitten.
Our sales manager Nancy bought Ed food, a food and water dish, kitty litter and flea drops. His ribs were showing for a while, but that ended pretty quick. Ed really liked curling up in our classified manager Natalie’s chair, whether she was there or not, but he would always come over to me when I came in. Edward came when I called once…and my dog doesn’t even do that. Plus, ed would sit on my shoulder when I worked, so I felt like a pirate with a way-too-cute parrot.
The amount of errors has gone down since Ed started proofing my sotries.
Everyone in the office had pretty much recognized that Ed was mine. Ed had recognized it. I fed him, came in six times over the weekend to make sure he was alright, cleaned his litter box and cleaned up from when he couldn’t find his litter box. I pretty much knew he was my cat, but I was fighting it. I was, after all, allergic to cats and, as I said earlier, I don’t like them. There was another problem too. Even if I could live with Edward, the situation had to be cleared with my roommate. Here’s one of her early reactions to Edward:
That's a definitive moment...
Sookie is my three-year-old rat terrier. Most who have met her would say that she’s a tad…hyper. Her main experience with a cat before Ed was this one time in the yard when she RAN 6 FEET UP THE SIDE OF A TREE after one. Seriously. She came down, that cat stayed up. But it stayed scared too. Kyle, the artist who I featured in a previous post, who just stared at me and laughed when I asked him if he would describe Sookie as hyper(Everyone does!), was there as crowd control for Sookie and Ed’s introduction.
There was a lot of anxious barking. Plus on the cat side: Edward wasn’t scared, seemed like the barking hurt his ears, but that’s about it. Sookie really wanted to get her close to Edward. She wasn’t acting aggressive, but you never know. Despite being a little dog, she’s a lot bigger than the kitten. For the first few days, I kept Edward in a crate, to keep him safe, but still in the smelling zone.
I’d start out with a little contact, then a little more. Sookie kept wanting to lick Edward, which annoyed him, but didn’t seem to scare him. Eventually, I had them out together, unsupervised, whenever I was home. This transfer only took 3 or 4 days. Finally, the only reason to keep Edward crated was to keep his food and litter away from Sookie, who views both as a delicacy. In a moment of brilliance, I came up with this solution:
Yep, it's a ramp made out of a piece of plywood with a towel stapled on it.
So gilded elevator it isn’t, but it does the job. I know soon enough the cat won’t need a ramp, but then I can just put his stuff up on counters or bookshelves, and he won’t have to eat where he craps like anymore anyway. Jeez, it’s like he’s some sort of adorable prison inmate.
Sookie has grown to like having the kitten around and I’ve seen flashes of a maternal instinct from her that I never thought I would, indeed, a certain population control procedure she’s undergone would seem to preclude it to some degree, but whatever, she likes taking care of her kitten.
Plus, they play together:
Demon cat attacks!
Yep, I love that photo. Finally, redeye is working for me!
Since this is a photoblog, I’ll go off on a quick tangent here. Redeye (Or bright, scary, yellow cat eye) is what happens when your strobe reflects blood vessels in the back of a subject’s eye. This can be avoided by using the anti-redeye flash on your camera, which fires several strobe bursts before the exposure to get your pupils to contract. It can also be avoided by bringing your flash slightly off of your camera axis. Put it up on a bracket or hold it off to the side or overhead, or put it way off by using studio strobes or by radio-slaving a handheld one. If it’s a pop-up flash, bounce it onto the ceiling and save money for a real flash. With a normal on-camera flash, closeup, it should be off-axis. At distance, it may be close enough to your camera axis to get redeye, so the problem is worse shooting telephoto stuff. Anywhoo, back to the cat.
I’ve also gotten use to some other adventures of cat ownership. It can go places the dog can’t. I think he might have pooped behind the aquarium and I can’t move it to find out (It’s a 40 gallon and on a stand). DVD’s are pushed out of their shelves where the cat has come through from behind the TV. A flexible lamp looks like a kitten may have very well jumped on one of its lampheads.
So, from this:
That bulb on the right. It looks like something tiny may have jumped up and tried to hang on it. Or maybe tried to attack it.
The cat is also more active nocturnally than Sookie or I. It’s knocked pill bottles off my desk for fun (The big 300 tablet jar of multivitamins is the loudest). It’s also woke me by batting at my head in the morning. Finally, the cat has also gotten me up by causing a beeping sound from my Macbook. Apparently, there’s a warning to let you now that a kitten has parked its but on your keyboard:
Maybe it's the heat the computers put off, but many of the cats I've seen love laptops.
We’ll leave that big so that the ferocity of that half-pound furball can show some more. The last thing I wanted to comment on was the reaction I’ve gotten from my friends who are cat owners. I’ve talked to three female friends with cats and they’re all excited. Mark, from earlier in this story, is a cat owner too, but is slightly more negative:
Me: “So this cat is a little evil, huh?”
Mark: “They’re all a little evil.”
Me: “I’m feeling under the weather”
Mark: “It’s cause you got that cat. They’re a curse.”
Me: “Look at these scratches.”
Mark: “Cursed by cat.”
And so on and so forth.
In all honesty though, Mark has the right to complain about cats. The night before his wedding, his older cat, Joey, got out of he and his wife’s house. Mark tried to wrangle it by catching it in his jacket, but a claw and some fangs darted out from the jackets and drew some blood on his hand. On the wedding day, the hand was infected and Mark felt faint. He had to go to the hospital, again, on his wedding day, there, he got his hand put in a bactine bath and he got a course of antibiotics. Still, when some of his relatives said he should kill the cat for that, the thought didn’t cross his mind. When he was shaking hands in the receiving line I felt for him though.