Tummy Tuesday

Today’s Tummy Tuesday at the House of Chaos features the elusive -because the colour of his pelt makes it difficult to photograph right- handsome black residential monster Loup-Garou:

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The light was right, the pose magnificent… Such style ! Such panache !

More majestic tummies can be admired at LisaViolet’s Dairy where every Tuesday a round-up of tummies is executed with gusto.

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Hilarious habits

The cat is a creature of habit. No really, if there is one thing the feline hates it is change in his environment. If you leave it to the feline house tiger home-improvement would never happen, furniture could crumple to dust for all he cares, as long as everything stays the same (and when it does crumple he’ll stare accusingly at the offending furniture for daring to change). He also abhors any change in his daily routine and will look at you with thunderous reproach in his lovely orbs when you forget that 5 o’clock means putting grub in his feeding bowl. Daily. He’ll also insist that until now you’ve always given him fresh steak or tuna, but that’s a ploy no self-respecting cat-servant will fall for. Nevertheless it’s worth trying I guess.
But did you know that cats can develop weird, inexplicable and strange personal habits as well ? And that these habits can be quite funny ? Sometimes even taking on the force of ritual ?

Bean Sidhe, from his youngest days, has always approached the water bowl in this fashion: he walks over to the bowl, scratches the ground a bit in front of it, then proceeds to drink, often while still scratching. Why he would do that is a mystery. But Hrimnir seems to have adopted the practice now as well, although with this minor alteration: he puts at least one paw IN the water. I really don’t know why these 2 felines should have developed that particular habit, since there are -as far as I know- no near-by sources of potable water in the neighbourhood, safe from what humans put out for animals to drink from and that’s usually in bowls or buckets. Is it instinct ? In Hrimnir’s case though it’s clearly learned from his elder house-mate. But the Brothers don’t exhibit this kind of behaviour.

What Zorro does exhibit is a disturbing penchant for precarious nap-places. For some obscure and no doubt sinister reason he prefers awkward perches and mad spots: edges, ledges… you’ll never catch him sleeping on the ground if he can help it. We have found him in gravity-defying poses throughout the House of Chaos on the most impossible-seeming spots. Like that time when he was napping on the side of a suitcase – which was standing upright. Or when we still had multiple couches and he would happily lay down on top of two of them – simultaneously.

His other hilarious habit is sitting on the windowsill at the huge window in the front of our house. Passers-by never fail to note the presence of a lovely feline lying in state behind the window (usually endearing himself to frail old -and sentimental- ladies) and said feline just loves to observe the hustle and bustle of the street outside. Especially when it’s raining, then you can really watch the Schadenfreude dripping from his smug whiskered face. But the really freaky thing is that he likes to sit or lie absolutely motionless for a while and then scare a passer-by out of his or her wits by suddenly jumping up and banging himself against the window. It never fails. Amongst the students of the technical school at the end of our street he has already gained some fame because of this. The girls fawn over him. The boys show proper appreciation for a fellow tough prankster.

Loup-Garou on his part has a lap-fetish. In his never-ending quest for the most comfortable spot to nap on the simian lap is his big-time favourite. Always on the look-out for the perfect opportunity he will scrutinize every hapless visitor to the House of Chaos and can barely wait for said visitor to sit down upon the couch. Then he pounces. Never mind that such irritant details like a laptop might be in the way, Loup-Garou will settle down and feel King Of The Hill. He will purr softly in almost-quiet bliss. No lap is ever left wanting for his august presence. But the hesitating visitor is stared hard at, his eyes overflowing with the silent demand of “sit down – NOW”. Many an innocent soul has been stared into meek submission.

The ordeal doesn’t stop when you finally comply though. Loup-Garou, in his infinite search for the ultimate comfort, likes to make sure he won’t drop off by employing his massive claws. It’s bad enough that he will “knead” with them, but he also makes a bad habit out of it by literally hooking himself up on your lap. Did I mention his claws are sharp as well as massive ?

Other funny habits the feline denizens of the House of Chaos have developed over time are:
– Homing in on The Mistress whenever a kitchen cupboard is opened. (Don’t ask why. It just happens.) For obvious reason the same thing happens when a can is being opened.
– Giving a free polyphonous concert when The Mistress walks about with a pouch of stinky goodness, the elder cats behaving with becoming gravitas but little Hrimnir bouncing all over the place in his eagerness. When you try to hold Hrimnir back while emptying said pouch in a bowl he’ll scramble with all fours like a madcat. The elder cats have learned patience.
– For some strange reason they do tend to converge at the bathroom door whenever The Mistress is in there. (They have however learned to stay out of the shower cabin.) If they are allowed in the bathroom they are wont to just sit there and stare in rapt fascination at whatever you’re doing. For my youngest brother, who cannot go to the toilet if he has an audience (he can’t, really), this can be quite the delicious torture.
– Hrimnir also has this amazing tendency to get himself locked up in the bathroom and any cupboard that has been opened recently. Despite the fact that this has already happened countless times he just doesn’t seem to grasp the logical conclusion of “go in there – be locked up – be thoroughly miserable”. One day he’ll either understand this or learn to open the doors himself.
– The cats will chase whatever moves. No matter how old, dignified and supremely relaxed a feline might be, the moment he opens his eyes and sees something -anything- moving he will automatically tense for the pounce.

Picture below:

Lord Of Toys: “Will you type the password ?”
Loup-Garou: “(grumble) Want lap…”
Lord Of Toys: “Oh well, then I’ll type it this time…”
Loup-Garou: “What part of <<want lap>> didn’t you get ?”

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Oh well, he can always visit the Carnival of the Cats. Plenty of laps there… he hopes…

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L’Amour Brute

The weather has been rather wet lately and, when yesterday a glorious summer sun deigned to show up for a change, the feline denizens of the House of Chaos decided it was Play-Time. Hence the Garden of Chaos has been thoroughly terrorized again by the frolicking felines who have no regard whatsoever for the well-being of fragile flowers and petite plants. All 4 of them have at least been rolling around and generally goofing off. It was fun.

Bean Sidhe and Hrimnir have taken a real liking to each other. By now their friendship has been cemented in re-enforced concrete and rarely do they not sit together and erupt in playful bantering. Their boisterous friendship is a marvel to behold: one 4,5 kilo cat romping it out “no holds barred” with one 1 kilo kitten. It is a testament to Bean Sidhe’s gentle nature that he manages to show Hrimnir all corners of the Garden of Chaos without injuring the tyke. When you see those two rolling all over the place, mrowing and wrewing, paws in all directions, fur flying (oh yes, they’re still shedding…) you cannot help but be worried a bit that the kitten might get hurt. Especially when Bean Sidhe starts to put biteys on the little one, at times even engulfing one tiny kitten head with his massive jaws, one expects to witness bloody murder to happen. Your heart stops cold when his massive hind-paws start kicking in on that tiny furry form of Hrimnir’s. But the kitten always walks away unscathed.

Not that it’s always pies and roses between those two. Bean Sidhe has been known to growl at Hrimnir when he was involved with a particularly tasty titbit, but it is obvious that the huge lumbering hulk has closed the tiny kitten into his giant heart and the heart-felt gusto with which Bean Sidhe is wont to lovingly groom Hrimnir is a joy to behold. But when these two partners in crime are playing together those massive paws of Bean Sidhe’s are sure to bat around his little brother all over the place. Call it “tough love”… we call it “l’amour brute”.

Interestingly enough Loup-Garou too is wont to treat the tyke with kindness when the situation permits. He can be likeable towards humans to no end, especially when a lap is spotted, but towards his fellow felines he has always been kind of reserved. No doubt the prickly relationship with his sibling Zorro would be the culprit, but he warmed up a bit when Bean Sidhe came into the House of Chaos. And when Hrimnir completed the quartet Loup-Garou sort of… melted.

Despite these misgivings Loup-Garou adores the tyke. Still a bit wary of the energetic playfulness that kittens are wont to exhibit this massive (5,5 kilo !!) couch-potato can radiate utter contentedness in the mega-watt range whenever a tiny furry fluff-ball creeps up on his dozing form and engages into a serious kitten-nap. He has been caught grooming Hrimnir’s ears. He has been spied gently nudging the kitten closer to his expansive belly. And he can be seen gallantly suffering in silence when Hrimnir wakes up and beholds a thick black tail slowly wafting to and fro in front of his eager eyes. But when Hrimnir grows too bold and starts attack-playing with the black hulkster tempers quickly sour and a black paw, claws only half-retracted, will swat down and teach the culprit to have fun elsewhere.

Of course Hrimnir can be rather insisting. We all noticed.

Even Zorro, His Ultimate Prickly Grumpyness, has fallen victim to the kitten’s cunning wiles and was caught red-pawed playing with Hrimnir. Only once so far, but for the tiny kitten it’s been a triumph of Olympic proportions. Of course, Hrimnir already sports an impressive scar on his nose, courtesy of Zorro, and the Man In White proclaimed that one millimeter to the right would have left our kitten half-blind before his 14th week, but with Zorro you can be sure that this swipe wasn’t intended to kill or even seriously maim. It was a love-tap really.

As the day went on, and after a few hours (!!) of frolicking in the sun-splashed garden, the cats all retreated to a shady or comfortable spot in order to get some well-earned rest. Zorro of course flopped down next to his beloved cat-mint. Loup-Garou chose the full sun smack in the middle of the Garden of Chaos. And both Hrimnir and Bean Sidhe stretched out together in the beshadowed grass for a convivial snore, now and then gently gnawing on a handy appendage of the other. There’s less happiness to be found elsewhere in the world for sure, but I doubt you could name a place where more bliss was to be experienced than there and then.

Picture below:
L’amour brute allright… “chomp chomp “… go for the jugular…

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More friends can be found having a party on board of the Friday Ark. Care to join ?

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Wordless Wednesday

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Visit other visual masterpieces that won’t need words to explain their content at Wordless Wednesday !

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Tummy Tuesday

Today we present to you the magnificent tummy of Hrimnir The Bold, snoring softly whilst slowly sliding off Grumpy Man’s computer chair…

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More tummies can be found and ooh-ed at at LisaViolet’s Dairy.

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What’s in a name ?

A cat’s name is important. And no, I’m not going to quote “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot. I have always been able to adequately address my cats -any cat- and I have never needed books for that. But I do agree with Eliot that cats do identify themselves with a name, whether simians have chosen it for them or not. A good cat-servant carefully chooses a name that might embody the essence of the feline being saddled with it. And that might prove difficult when you have a kitten mewing in your hands and you have no clue at all of into what his character will develop.

Hence, observe the kitten with meticulous care. Take your time to discover what basic characteristics are displayed: is he feisty or lazy ? Outgoing or shy ? Is there a certain frankness in his movements that might speak of a bold nature or is he petrified by his new people/surroundings ? Also, prepare yourself long beforehand by looking up a bevy of names to choose from. You will want to name the tyke as soon as possible and some names are evergreens that will always match. “Tiger” can be either correct or sarcastic, “Growler” has a nice ring to it, as do “Ceasar” or “Cleopatra”, and ever since the movie-industry discovered Tolkien “Precious” has acquired a special meaning. Or you might try for physical characteristics… “Blacky” for a black cat is typical, “Snowy” for a white one equally so, but have you ever considered “Blanche” which is French for “White” ? Languages are fun: I once had a “Rhuarhi”, which is supposed to be Gaelic and should mean something like “red one” (he was an orange & white tabby). And “You-ling”, who is apt to visit the House of Chaos from time to time, is just Mandarin Chinese for “Ghost”.

Humor can also have a surprising effect. It’s like calling your cat “Goliath” and then discovering he grows either bigger or smaller than normal for instance, or finding out how apt the name of a famous clown like the Russian Master “Popov” is when given to a cat who specializes in pranks. “Zorro” happens to be Spanish for “fox”, a canine creature really, which seems like a wonderful antagonism or irony to the core when calling a cat thus, but our Zorro -having been raised by an extremely motherly German Shepherd- turned out to not only being supremely partial to canines, but sometimes even behaving like a dog. What’s in a name huh ?

Another possibility is to choose from a hobby. “Bismarck” or “Napoleon” if you like history, “Patton” for the army buff or “Nimitz” for the naval enthusiast. But you’ll need to have a weaver explain why “Shuttle” is named that way… You might also look into your book collection for inspiration. “Nimitz” you have encountered before in this story but it is the name of a “treecat” in David Weber’s Honor Harrington stories. Bean Sidhe, by the way, is named for another treecat character in that series called “Banshee”. I guess there must be many a “Harry” roaming in the UK right now, and not because one of their princes is named so. I doubt somebody would dare to call his cat “Voldemort” though. Famous movie characters also make for interesting names, as our Zorro has originally been named after a certain caped crusader. And “Loup-Garou” comes out of fairy tales and legends. Also out of a role-playing game. I have many sources.

Where did “Hrimnir” come from then ? Norse mythology. Another bottomless source for great names: mythology, and legends ! The same way I got Ragnar and Rabauw (“Ruffian”) 10 years ago. Magic and superstition can also play a role in the name-choosing: the first cat I had was named after the bumper of a car (in French) “Bar-Choc” because I wanted him to avoid meeting one, in the flesh as it were. Alas, he was done in by geese.
I hate geese.

What this all boils down to is, I like people who can come up with an imaginative and creative name for their beloved pets. No need to inflict life-long torture on your biological off-spring (although I had Gaetan, Wolfgang, Branwen and Cassiopeia in mind if I ever had some) but your furred babies won’t even bother complaining since they won’t understand the meaning anyway. I simply find it a waste of a splendid opportunity not to give your feline overlords interesting names. Somehow “Puss”, “Kitty”, “Max” or “Moggie” simply won’t delight me. I’m more in for “Nebukadnezar” (a Persian king of 3000 years ago) or “Rikishi” (Japanese for “Warrior”). Don’t worry about the long names either, that will be shortened anyway like we usually use Ban-Ban, Bannikins, Loulou, Zor or Rimmikins.

As the kitten grows into cat-hood and develops his own unique character it might become necessary to bestow other names upon the worthy feline. The feline denizens of the House of Chaos are wont to acquire extra names like people would collect titles. “Rataplan”, for instance, a grey tabby from hell we had several years ago until he had an unfortunate encounter with Mr. Electricity, had his name from a famous Belgian comic book character (an ûber-stupid dog by the way) but we later named him “Frankenstein” in addition because of an injury that required a steel bolt being put through his lower jaw.. Next we added “Mobile Disaster Area”, which shouldn’t need an explanation, but from there on he got an entire string that went “Horsehunter, Master Barfer, Walking Cesspit And Bloody Awkward Nuisance On Paws.”

The current feline residents of the House of Chaos are a tad less adventurous and be also known as “Mafkat” (Loup-Garou), “Blafkat” (Zorro), “Minimormel” (Bean Sidhe) and “Micromormel” (Rhimnir). Maf means crazy but also sleep, blaf means bark like a dog, mormel means ugly creature but is also used to describe a small animal. These are endearments but they also reveal something about the cats in question. We’re sure both Bean Sidhe and Rhimnir will be able to earn a more dignified nickname in the future though. For sure, they’ll live up to it.

Picture below:
Of course, from now on, Zorro might be known as…

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Would they let him aboard the Friday Ark ? Methinks this prickly prowler should ease up a bit on his deportment first…

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Wordless Wednesday

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