The Chronicles of Mingo

Lose Some, Win Some, Or, Pee Wars

Things are going well. I’d better get that in right now, for several reasons. First, when you have multiple cats, something is frequently wrong with somebody. This one is barfing, or that one is limping, and it costs a lot of money to find out why and, hopefully, fix it. If you have older cats this goes from frequent to chronic as the best you can hope for is a vet report saying ‘not deteriorating’ or ‘stable’. But at this moment in time, we good.

It’s been about three weeks since I last posted, and I see I was optimistically attempting to change from an expensive cat litter to a cheap replacement. Also I was hoping Mingo and Sophie and Squeaky would start getting along.

Lose some, win some.

Wow, Squeaky did NOT like the new litter. He didn’t like it sneakily mixed in with his old litter; he didn’t like it here, there, anywhere. He escalated to what I can only call Pee Wars, where he sprayed the walls and left puddles on the floors, culminating in three episodes in 45 minutes. In three different rooms. At that point I wasn’t sure who was more deranged, me or the cat.

Squeaky ended up in the bathroom in a 24 hour timeout, with bedding, food, water, and a large clean box filled with the litter of his dreams. At that moment, I still wasn’t sure if this was a litter issue or he was refusing to accept Mingo. The break gave me time to clean the house, anoint everything including me with Nature’s Miracle, toss out the new litter, scrub the boxes, refill all of them with the old litter (checking account: CLANG), and drink wine. If it was the litter, I was defeated, but if it was Mingo I wasn’t sure what I would do except grit my teeth, buy lots of Nature’s Miracle, and wait Squeaky out.

I cautiously let Squeaky out the next day, and followed him around as, I swear, he patrolled. I was astonished to see him bonk heads with Ming (Buddy! Where you been?).  He finally climbed into one of the restored litter boxes and gave it his seal of approval. Somewhere in the rubble of the last three days the cats had accepted one another and were merely waiting for the stupid human to stop fucking with their god-given litter so they could get on with things.

Squeaky’s official name is Onyx. This was my attempt at originality, having rejected Blacky, Shadow, Spot, and Inky as over-used. We got him as a kitten from the Humane Society via a PetSmart adoption event. He was completely mute and terrified cat until he’d been around for a year and suddenly began to chirp and squeak at Bob. From day one, he’s had many nicknames (Bob called him Peanut) but Squeaky has outlasted all of them. He’s 16 and a bit now, and up to the last year he’s been quite healthy. Once my lovely Siamese, Rainy (No Finer Cat), died a year ago Squeaky began making up for lost time: he has an overactive thyroid, the beginning of kidney failure, hypertension, congestive heart issues, and he almost-not-quite had a detached retina. I get frequent-flyer miles at the vet.

We thought the nickname was cute, god help us.

This boy howls. He shrieks, calls, cries, and wails. He has a warble with a hacking groan on the end that sounds like he is being disemboweled. He loves to do this when I’m on the phone — it’s hard to pretend you’re not an elderly cat lady with the Vanguard rep going “OMG what is that?!” — but he can let go at any moment. He’s not in pain. He just likes to make noise.

With the litter situation resolved (i.e., I lost), and the catio finished, peace has descended and Mingo has settled in. He spends a lot of his nights in the catio since he’s the only one who has mastered the cat flap. This took him about three minutes. Sophie the Tiny Cat enjoys the catio during the day because the cat flap is obviously a CAT MINCER so I have to either hold it open for her or default to the human door. Squeaky has actually used the flap but he’s not that interested. He also prefers door service, but really, Ming in the catio simply means more nap time for him on the bed. I’m all for that.

Here’s Squeaky, in a rare moment of being both awake and silent.


Mingo, after a hard day of world domination:

I haven’t posted much about Sophie, the Tiny Cat. Next time!




Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.