Congratulations, You Have a Maine Coon

Oh, no. Oh, no. What have I ever done to the Universe to deserve this?

Mingo’s vet is convinced he’s a purebred Maine Coon, based on coloring, tufty ears, bone structure, and those feet. He’s barely 5 months old and weighs 7 lbs.

According to Google, Purveyor of Bad News, Maine Coons grow between 18-22 lbs. Some have reached 30 lbs. I do not want a 20 lb. cat.

Maine Coons are supposed to be gentle and sweet. Ah…not so’s you’d notice, she says, as Mingo jumps on top of Squeaky and attempts to beat the crap out of him. Squeaky weighs around 12 lbs. and he’s already on the run from a 7 lb. kitten. At 20 lbs., Ming will probably simply sit on him and squash him to death.

The vet is perplexed as to how he ended up starving in a bush at 2 weeks old, since Maine Coon kittens are valuable. The mother gave birth and kept her kittens outside? Then Ming got separated? The mother and kittens got eaten by a predator, who somehow missed this screaming kitten? It would have had to have been one deaf predator. It’s a mystery and we’ll never know. Anyway, the vet gently suggested I feed him more, since I’m programmed to portion control for older, sedentary cats. Normal-sized cats.

Yet another picture of Mingo. It’s not like I’m fond of this kitten, because I’m not. It’s just to show he has a tongue. Also <sigh> feet.


Mingo Gets Tutored

Mingo had an interesting day at the vet yesterday, getting neutered. He’s fine and celebrated his freedom from reproduction by shredding the hanging plastic sheeting between the kitchen construction and the rest of the house. Not that it matters. Dust is everywhere anyway.

Despite my reputation as a ball-buster, it’s been decades since I’ve castrated anything. (I must be losing my grip, as it were.) Both Rainy and Squeaky arrived weeks post-op, and Bob had had his vasectomy years before we met. Of course, along with every woman with a brain in the country I have a little list, starting with that idiot in the White House, the entire male Republican party both elected and voting, and the dog next door.


Bugs Are Tasty If You’re A Cat

My kitchen is under reconstruction: I’m having the old cabinets sanded and re-stained, dust is everywhere, and all the kitchen contents are in the garage. Mingo was spending a suspicious amount of time in the bathroom — and I finally went in to check. Lots of bugs with wings in the tub. When the contractors arrived in the afternoon, the bugs were swarming in an unpleasant buggy manner literally out of the woodwork under the window. Floods of them. Ming loved it. He was bounding around the tub eating them and having a wonderful time.

I corralled Ming. The contractors patted me on the back and suggested I call an exterminator. Between the time the exterminator got there I’d soaked the bathroom with Windex, which was a marvelous suggestion from my friend Polly, endorsed by the exterminator.

Then I went over to Linda and Chan’s house and had a good weep because I foresaw thousands in extermination fees, plus having to tent the house, which also kills every living thing within four feet of the foundation. Plus having to move out (with three cats) for the duration.

However, it turns out these are underground termites and tenting the house would do no good. THANK YOU UNIVERSE. The exterminator crawled under the house and put out bait. He said. For all I know he was under there watching porn on his cell phone, but he crawled out and said the damage wasn’t extensive. Also he said they are unlikely to return soon.

So when work starts on the bathroom (whenever the hell the kitchen gets done) and after we pull the old bathtub out, the contractor can check for, and hopefully fix, any termite damage.

Chan and Linda both beat me up for being a pessimist. This is true.

Yo ho ho and another glass of wine matey!


You’re Putting That Thermometer Where?

An exciting trip to the vet yesterday for his first rabies shot. He didn’t mind the shot but he was violently opposed to having a thermometer rammed up his ass. As are we all.

Mingo now weighs 5.2 lbs. and is four months old, so he’s officially a teenager. In lieu of stealing the car keys, he’s determined to escape into the yard, but I’m holding the line until after some quasi-elective surgery next month. In the words of the immortal Gary Larson, he’ll be going to the vet to be tutored. And the surgery is quasi-elective because I’m sure he’s against it but I’m not and so far I’m still bigger.

Mingo was silent both going and coming, but I brought Squeaky along for his blood test, and Squeaky sang the song of his people in the car, breaking into a full operatic rendition of that famous cat aria OMG I’M GOING TO DIE in the waiting room.

Here’s pictures of the boys. Ming’s the one in the birthday gift bag. Rainy got to stay home and nap in peace.

Teething, Plus Cat Burglary 101

Kitten gallops across the room, leaps on me, and bites my face.


Me: I don’t care if you’re the fucking Tooth Fairy, you do that again and I’m shot-putting your furry little ass out the window!

Kitten: *purrrrrrrrrr*

In other developments, Squeaky is teaching Mingo how to open cupboard doors. Literally doing demos. Help, I’m outnumbered here.

Apology, A Long Time Coming

I want to apologize for a very bad thing I did in the summer of 1970. It’s been preying on my mind, and there is no way to find the person who I injured and apologize directly. Indeed, that person may be dead. I am publishing my apology to the universe or at least to that part of the universe that has Facebook or access to the internet.

In 1970 I was hitchhiking down the coast of California. A bunch of us made a fire on the beach near Fort Orde. Several young soldiers joined us. Somehow we were talking about fortune telling, Tarot, and precognition.

I had been using my Tarot pack for divination for years and I was very proud of the accurate readings I could give strangers. I boasted. One of the soldiers challenged me to predict his future. I turned my head, looked at his face in the firelight, and said, “You are going to die in Vietnam.”

His face froze, his friend yelled at me, and they left. The people I was with weren’t too happy with me either. I tried to defend myself by saying I’d seen it and he had asked, but it wasn’t defensible and I knew it. There was no way to find him and apologize then, assuming I’d been able to bring myself to admit error at the time, so I made a private promise: I would never tell anyone’s fortune again. Ever. And I never have. I read the cards for my own fortune only, and I keep my mouth shut about it.

It was a horrible thing to have done. It was evil. I am so sorry. I have hoped, over the years, that he didn’t have the prediction in the back of his head, that it didn’t cause him to die over there, that he survived and came back whole and uninjured. I will never know, and that’s the correct burden for me to carry. 

All This, Plus House Remodeling Too

Apparently, “contractor” is a magic word. Okay, here’s the long and tedious version of what’s going on.

The carpet in this house is over 20 years old. Counting Mingo, that’s three generations of cats, one husband, and me. It’s tired, it’s worn, stained, and it smells of cat pee no matter how much Nature’s Miracle I pour on it. I really wanted hardwood flooring but since Squeaky has emotional issues and poor aim, that’s out. And I’m always going to have cats no matter what. But they make tile that looks like hardwood…

BK (Before Kitten) I found a friend of a friend who’s a general contractor and had him replace the rotten french doors in my spare bedroom/office with a window. That went well (he showed up when he said he would, and did a nice job, he’s a fucking miracle without a webpage, sorry) so we walked through the house and lined up a list of large projects.  Some of the best advice I’ve every received courtesy of my friend Chan Moore: Do the work that gives you the most emotional satisfaction first. That will carry you through the mess and inconvenience and catastrophes.

So we started with the carpet. In the gap between window project and flooring project, Mingo arrived. Mercifully, I’d stopped bottle-feeding him before all hell broke loose. I’m living in the house while all this goes on, so the contractor is working room by room. The two bedrooms are done and they start on the living room tomorrow. Today I shift boxes from the front of the house to the back and clear the living room.

As an aside, I packed fifteen boxes of books from ONE ROOM, and stacked them in the garage. This doesn’t count the books in the bedroom or the living room.

The flooring project started on Nov. 6, and since none of the floors are actually level, may not finish until the end of the month. After it’s done, assuming I have any money left, the next project is the kitchen. The current chaos is such the kitchen looks simple to me, that should give you an idea of my life right now.

Of the three cats, Rainy the Siamese thinks the contractors are minions to serve her, no change there, Mingo thinks everything is normal because he doesn’t know any better, and Squeaky…has been forced to accept a lot of noise, strangers, and constantly shifting furniture. He’s doing much better than I thought; he’s actually sleeping through the banging. Anyway, here’s some pictures from the bedrooms, taken in great haste on my way to the vet:


Injury, Crate Rest, and Cat Drugs

Mingo is now on enforced crate rest and yummy pain meds, having injured his left shoulder/leg in either a fall (his leap alway exceeds his grasp) or armed combat with Squeaky.

Two days ago the contractor (that’s another looong post) said, “That kitten is limping.” Not only was he limping, he wasn’t putting any weight on his left front leg at all, but scampering around at top speed on three legs. This was late Tuesday and the vet’s office was closed, so I reacted in a mature and considered manner. I took half a Xanax and a glass of wine.

After two hours and multiple x-rays at the vet’s the next day, (have I mentioned that Boulder Creek Veterinary Clinic is wonderful? They are.) the best guess is an injury to the elbow or the shoulder soft tissue and a probable infection. Especially since he was running a fever.

So he’s spending Thanksgiving resting in a crate and hating it and letting the world know all about it. You would think, since Squeaky weighs around 13 lbs. and Mingo weighs not quite 4, that Squeaky would be the aggressor in their little encounters. Nope. Squeaky plays defense. Mingo loves nothing better than to fling himself on Squeaky’s neck or back or butt and bite. Squeaky backs up and starts swinging; Mingo swings back. And when, inevitably, he ends up smacked down, he gets up and attacks again. And again. I have noticed that cats have rules: Squeaky only uses his front paws and never throws his full weight on the kitten, but still…he’s a big cat.

I suppose this problem was inevitable, and part of them working out who’s on first, but it’s a bit hard on the human. And the human’s checking account. I actually have pet insurance on Mingo, which is turning out to be a good thing. Mingo does not mess with Rainy the Siamese. He walks cautiously around her. Probably due to the Laser Glare of Death she shoots at him when he appears in front of her. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!