Mine !

I wonder whether cats would be able, like humans, to lay so many different meanings into one single expression. We use words, and words are nothing more but sounds that have a meaning we all previously agreed upon. Some of those words, though, tend to acquire several different meanings, depending on the subject, context and the mood of the utterer. And the word we are examining today is the wonderful sound that goes: “mine”.

1.) A mine is an explosive device that has been hidden somewhere in order to do its nefarious and destructive work. It’s usually something you are to trod upon, or bounce against. It can be triggered by tugging at a trip-wire or these days by a ray of light being obscured when you pass through it. It usually contains explosives but sometimes also with little pieces in it that are designed to shred you to pieces were you so unfortunate as to be passing by at exactly that moment when the mine decides to go off. Most of the time a mine will lie dormant, hidden, a silent menace designed to bring excruciating mayhem the next moment.

And that description brings us to Zorro. Who can only be described as some sort of feline claymore-mine. A “this side towards enemy” explosive that knows only one thing and that is to go off in that direction with devastating results. Never -ever!- try to wake up a sleeping Zorro if you can’t do it with a 10-feet pole or a firecracker. A Zorro being rudely waken up is akin to an explosive going off. And if he doesn’t find a victim within immediate claw-reach you may rest assured he will saunter away and bl**dy well find one.

Which explains why during a moment of perfect bliss and peace in the House of Chaos, a moment when 3 of the 4 resident felines present lie softly snoring someplace comfy, Zorro can enter the room and suddenly attack one of said snoozing felines. Yesterday he attacked Bean Sidhe who was having a nap on my computer chair, just like that, out of the blue: bam-bam-bam-bam with his forepaws and next a cowering Bannikins retreating to a corner furiously trying to understand what just happened to him whilst the culprit sat down on his haunches and sedately -delicately even- started to lick one of his forepaws. Only later did Bouncing Psycho confide to me that Bean Sidhe had taken the habit lately of sleeping with him in the Attic of Chaos, which was hitherto Zorro’s exclusive domain.
Which proved again that a mine will never go off without sufficient provocation.

2.) Mine is the utterance that clearly expounds to the entire world that the object just described is belonging to you. When you declare something to “be mine” you make a statement about the possession of said object or person being yours. Yet it depends on your ability to defend your statement whether it is true or be challenged by other wanters. It does not become a law when you say it, but it may become a law by custom when you hold on long enough to it. So it always comes back to the old trusted “it’s mine coz I have it” and whether you can successfully withstand the “gimme back”.

Which brings us to Loup-Garou who is the master of taking possession by the simple expedience of lying down his rather substantial form onto it. Once he’s settled down it takes a disaster of earth-shattering proportions to get him back off, or the sound of a tin can being opened but then that’s a magical charm that works for any cat for any purpose – except chasing them away. The point is that when you try to challenge Loup-Garou’s possession of -say- your lap he can become very pointy about it. So pointy in fact that his massive claws tend to shred your jeans to ribbons and the flesh underneath will get covered in lovely blood-red pearls of blood slowly bubbling through the scratches. It would be beautiful if it wasn’t so painful.

3.) A mine can be any kind of excavation or tunnel of sorts. One can mine there for resources and prizes unimaginable. Mines are often rich and rewarding, yet as often disappointing and devoid of the coveted materials. Nevertheless one cannot find gain without working for it and thus mining has become a lucrative business throughout the world. But, where the simian is an untiring worker and is not loath of dirtying his paws when digging in, the feline prefers a more hands-off approach and waits for his minions to complete the digging and leave the reaping of the riches to the overlords.

Hence the cupboards in the Kitchen of Chaos tend to become irresistible to the resident felines. Especially Hrimnir has become quite obsessed with the contents of the cubboards and never passes up the opportunity to slip in and explore whenever I open one. The problem arises when I close it back again of course and little Hrimnir finds himself locked up in a dark space the door of which he is still not strong enough to open all by himself. After a short while one can be entertained by the pathetic little mews emanating from said cupboard and the faint “bonk bonk” of a kitten’s head feebly trying to butt his way out of this predicament.

When it happens to Zorro though you get the entire sentence right… “that mine was mine but I will explode when you open the door again”.

Picture below:
“What are you going to do with a purse Hrimmikins ?”
“Dunno. Mine anyway.”

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We’re near the end of the week again and that means all cats, dogs, and other assorted vertebrae and invertebrae are to board the Friday Ark next Friday and visit the Carnival of the Cats next Sunday (the latter is hosted this week by Samantha and Tigger of Life From A Cat’s Perspective). Enjoy the parties !!!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Tummy Tuesday

This week Bean Sidhe wanted to show off his assets. He then proceeded to do so in such an impressive way I simply had no choice.

And thus, behold, in all his splendour:

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The tummy. The cutlery. The ego.

Other lovely -and probably more modest- tummies can be admired at LisaViolet’s Dairy.

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Sui Generis

Sui Generis: (SOO-ee JEN-er-is): “Of its own genus,” or “Unique and unable to classify”

Each and every one of the feline denizens that have ever graced the House of Chaos with their august presence has been a case in itself, an individual with his own specific character, a person with his own very personal habits. Although all were and are members of the Felis silvestris catus species, and their interior make-up must hence be identical, their exteriors have always been varied enough as they came and come in all shapes and sizes. And colours. And voices.
And characters.

Of course, every cat is a supreme specimen of the species. It seems as if they all were conceived from this blueprint that says they have to be haughty, individualist, independent, self-reliant, self-centered, egotistical and whatnot. But they also come pre-programmed to be the ultimate hedonists, to seek out sunny spots to soak up those life-giving sunrays up on, to dine only on the best of the prey, and to recline in ultimate majesty on whatever perch or in whatever hiding place they can claim. But each and every feline manages to do this in his or her own characteristic personal über-individualist way and with excellent poise to boot. Even when they live in a group together, even though they may sometimes by circumstance be compelled to act together, you will still find that each and every one of them will do so in his own unique fashion. They may seem to move the same but believe me, everyone would rather be found dead than admit he didn’t do it his way.

So far I have never been able to classify more than one of the feline denizens of the House of Chaos into a group. They all have a special place in my heart and all with their own typical voices, yet to say that two or more of them were similar ? Not even Rhuarhi and Rhuarhuss, both ginger cats but not related, were even remotely the same. Or Rabauw and Ragnar who were siblings that looked remarkably the same, safe for the fact that a black spot under Rabauw’s nose would go to the left cheek and the same black spot under Ragnar’s nose would go to the right cheek. Rabauw was outgoing, an adventurer, a prankster. Ragnar was a home-boy, a bit shy and quickly content to snuggle down. Siblings and with the same body-markings they were however individuals and it showed. I daresay none of my feline babies could be pasted with the same label as one of the others. They were all “one of a kind” and I cherish the memories, whilst cherishing the present ones’ presence even more.

Loup-Garou and Zorro are siblings, they are black and white (yes, Loup-Garou does have 30 or so white hairs on his chest…), are of the male persuasion, and there all similarity ends. Zorro has ever been the more slender one, but with a solid face. Loup-Garou was born svelte yet his face is a delicate triangle. Zorro emits the manly “MOW” he is both famous and infamous for, Loup-Garou is the source of the pathetic “iew” that has melted many a simian heart. Zorro is cunning, sly, demanding and downright brutal, Loup-Garou is far more patient, persisting, pestering and downright getting his own way without exerting himself too much. It’s hard to believe they are related, let alone be siblings.

Bean Sidhe is a law unto himself. I mean, he’s a brand new natural law all by himself. Do you think he would have inherited his mothers lustrous Maine Coon coat and bushy tail ? Nope. But he has the most furred body I’ve ever seen or touched and this purring teddy-bear has stunned many a hapless visitor by the sheer mass of his form. You wouldn’t think from observing his easy effortless gait that this monster weighs 4,5 kilos. And him being only 17 months old !!! Yup, he did inherit his mothers mass. He also inherited the typical Maine Coon cheery character and the thrilling chirrup with which he is wont to greet you when he wants something is a wonder to hear. You wouldn’t think that out of a being that massively built such a sweet high note would erupt, yet it does. He defies several natural laws that one. But one thing he dare not defy and that is gravity.
This kitty suffers from vertigo. Or more correctly acrophobia or fear of heights.

Hrimnir, the newcomer, is still eking out his place in the House but one can already discern certain characteristics that make him so endearingly different from the others. Like Bean Sidhe he spurns the more obvious traits of his mother’s inheritance, in this case a Norwegian Forest Cat, which should have been a lustrous mane and bushy tail. He was also the runt of the litter and we think he will never grow to be as massive as Bean Sidhe, but will rather attain a kind of lithe sleek shape, a wraith flitting about. The ungainly gait of his kittenish form is slowly developing into a fluid grace seldom seen, attracting already the jealous stares of Zorro and Loup-Garou who have always felt superior to Bean Sidhe’s bumbling and stumbling. His pelt has a lustrous sheen and feels silkily-soft, making one wonder what it will develop into after the kittenish down has disappeared. And his thunderous purr rumbles on and on, keeping poor Loup-Garou awake when both snuggle upon my lap during my reading of a good book. (To the overtowering delight of my feline babies I’m currently wrestling myself through a trilogy that consists of some 1000 pages. Each.)

But is it just me or are my two half-bloods developing into something that combines the best of their respective breeds ? Time will tell. And their bodies will of course.

Picture below:
Oh, how the very sun doth caress his developing form,
and silky coat, heralding rough play’s imminent storm…

See him trembling, eyes intent on havoc to wreak,
Who dares deny that cats with their bodies speak ?

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They’ll be chattering like magpies on this week’s Friday Ark for sure… Who’d ever have suspected that cats can be such terrible gossips ?

This Sunday,  at This, That& The Other Thing the gracious hosts Amber, Indigo, Cosmo and Mouse will hold the Carnival of the Cats, there’ll be the usual gaggle of felines babbling it out so be there !

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Wordless Wednesday

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More gorgeous pictures can be admired at the Wordless Wednesday Headquarters.

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Tummy Tuesday

Today we proudly present to you a close-up of Bean Sidhe’s quite formidable belly. With, as an added bonus, … toesies.

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Ain’t he the cuddliest teddy-bear ?

For more incredibly handsome furry tummies we advise you to visit LisaViolet’s Dairy.

A joyful gathering

Last Wednesday the Mistress dragged herself from her bed, only to be greeted by an enthusiast Grumpy Man exclaiming that she should come out into the Garden of Chaos and not forget her camera. As I rushed out the first thing I beheld was his huge beaming smile. And cradling gently in his arms he held a tiny kitten… huge terrified orbs gazing into mine. I thought at first “oh Knarr came back”, but this kitling was black and white. And clearly female to boot. So, this is not Knarr (or Blacky as his owners call him). Who is it then ? Good question. Who had a litter recently ? Neighbours twice removed from Knarr’s, that we knew for sure. But You-Ling, belonging to one of our Moroccan neighbours had kittens this spring too. It remains a mystery, though Grumpy Man confessed he had plucked the tyke from the fence separating the Garden of Chaos from that of the Macedonian neighbours. Thus, the only clue we have seems to lead to the direction of Knarr’s neighbours.

The new kitling was gently set on the ground and introduced to Hrimnir, who with great whoops of joy immediately set to … spray. Oh no. He executed the most impressive tomcat spray I’ve ever witnessed from a cat so tiny but fortunately against a fence, not in da House. But he sure was très exhibitionist about it. Our little boy is growing up. *sniff* Only afterwards did he set out to frolic with the newcomer, who demurely set to exploring the Garden and tried to enter the House, yet thought better of it and retreated to the relative safety of the Garden once more. The fact that Zorro had been approaching her with an ominous hummmm softly thrumming in the background must have been a reason for it.

We heard some frantic mewing coming from behind the fence that forms the back of the Garden of Chaos. Grumpy Man smiled “that must be Knarr, he’s coming”. And not before long another kitten made his way towards us, but… this time white and black. Nope, it wasn’t Knarr, but what clearly must be a sibling of that endearing little black and white she-kitten which yet doth presently adorn the Garden of Chaos with her sweet innocent presence. The sibling was calling out to her and not before long she was scrambling up the fence to reach him. It seems that the kittens have discovered the Cat’s Highway: the high wooden fence that separates our garden from that of our Macedonian neighbours and that all neighbour cats negotiate in order to reach the rooftops of our row of houses.

Hrimnir was clearly delighted to have new friends to play with but Bean Sidhe didn’t know how hard to run away. Yet later on we saw him frolicking with Hrimnir whilst pointedly ignoring the two other tykes. And just to make certain we wouldn’t bother them they were playing in the Macedonians’ garden. The Mistress had to overcome her vertigo and climb a ladder in order to be able to record their antics for posterity ! Ah, what I not sacrifice for my art !!

It was a joy to behold the frolicking felines tumbling all over the place and each other. The sounds they made, the mews, chirrups, yips, growls and screeches, it was like music to my ears. And all along a dignified Loup-Garou was lying flat-out soaking up sun-rays on the chair box (in which we keep our garden chairs) for all the world to admire. Not for him the exercise in the hot September sun. Not for him having his tail chewed up and his whiskers deranged. The kitlings were wise to let him be. In his own way he can be just as grumpy and disgruntled as his famous murderous sibling Zorro.

Alas, the fun soon ended, the kitlings retired back towards their home, and Bean Sidhe slinked off in order to find some much deserved rest on a sunny secluded spot. Hrimnir, though, poor little Hrimnir was left all alone in the Garden of Chaos, frantically calling out to his new-found playmates already gone. His mews and purr-iews pathetically resounding from the fences and walls. That was one seriously forlorn kitty there and we felt pity for his broken heart. But what can you do ? That’s life.

When next I spent the entire Friday afternoon in the Garden of Chaos, due to another fumigation of the House (those pesky jumpers prove to be quite resilient !!), and was reading peacefully from a nice book with lovely pictures, I heard a mew. Coming from above me. Since Hrimnir was certainly NOT above me, I spotted him on a roof nearby, I looked up and gazed straight into the sparkling little orbs of… the black and white she-kitten. Mmmm, such enchanting eyes. She wanted to come down from the top of the lean-to but dared not. Hrimnir, with a joyful chirrup, bounced over and proceeded to show her the tricks of the trade as to regarding the negotiation of rooftops and lean-tos. The next 20 minutes were spent in my rapt fascination with the drumming of tiny kittens’ paws happily pattering all over on the lean-to roof.
Is there a more joyful sound in the world ?

Pictures below:
Grumpy Man with the black and white she-kitten. She wasn’t really … trusting him, was she ? More like… “lemme out !!”

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In the Macedonians’ garden all of our kittens were frolicking merrily. Black and white she-kitten and her sibling white and black kitten were looking at the two others goofing off. Note that Bean Sidhe is only a year older than the 3 others… but 3 times as big.

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They could make a fortune giving a show at the Carnival of the Cats, if the cats were of a mind of paying for it…but they’ll be visiting it anyway. It’s fun. Especially because the House of the(Mostly) Black Cats is hosting it this Sunday ! Treats people !!! MANY TREATS are to be had there !!! YUM !!!

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Carious glory

A recent sojourn at the abode of the Strong Woman Of Flanders has yielded its bounty of beautiful pictures, and amongst the most stunning of all are those I had the pleasure of taking of the few remaining members of the Carious Tribes. After diseases ravaged the Tribes, after a hard Winter, after 2 cullings by local animal welfare workers, the members that remain are the strongest, the most healthy and the most cunning. It shows.

There have been 2 feline Tribes who thrived and multiplied at an astonishing rate until disease ravaged their numbers. Since the little village where the House of Plenty stands is actually a summer vacation home park, there are not many residents who spend the entire year on the premises. SWOF does, and so does Master-Of-Lobo. But the absence of humans during the hardest season, Winter, is a bane for the cats who have to try and survive on whatever they can catch and scrounge.
Master-Of-Lobo is a self-professed animal welfare worker but we happen to know he’s been kicked out of his organization and now operates on his own. He manages to get free cat food from supermarkets in the region by claiming he’s an official. But if he is so official, why doesn’t he lace the food with medicines and contraceptives ? Why does he not set out traps for neutering and spaying ? Oh well, at least he cares enough that he gives them food, even in the darkest days of winter. He’s the reason they survive.

And who has survived ? We saw quite a lot of black cats so the Black Tribe must have come out relatively unscathed, or maybe managed to grow back fast enough. Of the Grey Tribe we saw only 3 and those I’d better dub Giant Grey’s Pride because that is exactly what they seem to be.
Our favourite is and will always be One-Eye Tabby. Followed closely by Giant Grey. They are, as far as we know, the sole survivors of the old Grey Tribe. But we were pleasantly surprised to see a younger version of One-Eye Tabby, whom I dubbed Bright-Eye Tabby. Of the Black Tribe the only one who approached the House of Plenty was White-Foot Black. The rest wouldn’t come near and preferred to stay at Lobo’s Abode, where food is always plentiful in the bowls outside.

One-Eye Tabby is a fine female, who has littered this spring and seems to have recovered well from the ordeal. We don’t know why or how she lost her eye, it simply has not been there for as long as we can remember. But for the rest she is beautiful and sleek. Not so her kits though, sadly, most of them perished on the door mat of SWOF. (Probably, because my mother found the little pathetic remains one morning, did the queen bring them there ?)

Giant Grey is just marvellous, a virile tomcat in the prime of his life. He has the typical “tomcat jowls” and lovely white markings on his chest and paws. Last spring he looked awful, due to many fights and subsequent injuries. He has now recovered and his pelt is glossy with health, his muscles quivering with power, his eyes radiating the majesty of a king. He’s Top Cat here and he knows it, shows it with impressive body-language, walks it with the serene poise of a predator placed securely on top of the food chain.

Bright-Eye Tabby has body markings that look very similar to One-Eye Tabby. So much in fact that we suspect her to be either a sibling or a kitten of the latter. But her eyes are just sparkling and lovely. You can clearly see this youngster has yet to experience the real hardships of feral life and we can only hope she will sail through them with reasonable comfort. She looks healthy and strong enough but will that suffice to stave off hunger and cold ? Will she be able to survive the courtship Giant Grey is certain to impose on her and bear the kitlings ?

And then White-Foot Black. She must have been a conquest of Giant Grey because her markings show she used to belong to the Black Tribe. Swift and sleek, graceful and lovely, this woman has a while to go methinks. But of all the Pride she is the most furtive and always prefers cover from which to safely observe the strange doings of the simians. Where One-Eye Tabby and Giant Grey dare to thread closely and snatch the coveted morsels that we throw towards them, White-Foot Black prefers to keep her distance and counsel. Which I can only admire for it is a prime survival trait for the feral feline.

But it saddens me that these wonderfully beautiful and temperamental cats will never relish in a gentle cuddle, they will never know the blissful sensation of luxuriating under a caress. None of them will ever be caught sleeping belly-up in the sun with utmost relaxation of body and mind. They dare not lower their watchfulness lest they be killed or maimed.
The only time they purr is when the kitlings suckle.

Pictures below:

The Lady One-Eye Tabby

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The Lord Giant Grey

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and Bright-Eye Tabby joins them

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with White-Foot Black flitting by…

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Would these ferals be welcome guests on board of the Friday Ark ? I suppose so, if they behave themselves and won’t hog all the grub…

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Wordless Wednesday

This one warrants an explanation… it’s a feral tomcat that lives where the Strong Woman Of Flanders has her abode. There were 2 tribes of feral cats there, I call them the Carious Tribes, but they have been ravaged by disease and round-ups/cullings. This tom, though, clearly prospers. I had to be real quick, for he was skittish and furtive.

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After he retreated behind the gate I was permitted a close-up. Marvellous dignity !!!

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I will be writing about them on Thursday.

Please visit Wordless Wednesday for more wonderful views of this magnificent world we live in.

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Tummy Tuesday

Last Friday night we had another “Caramel-sighting”. Caramel is the ginger tiger that -in theory- lives with us, he belongs to a friend who could no longer keep him after moving, but chose to take up residence elsewhere in the neighbourhood because a.) he was scared sh*tless of Critter and b.) Zorro kicked him out. Critter being no longer amongst the living he still has to deal with Zorro and that is murder really. We understand. But we don’t like it. We want our furry babies at home with us, snuggled close and purring.
He’s looking good, in fact outdoor life seems to agree with him wholeheartedly. For a cat who grew up on a flat and never saw sunshine until he entered the Garden of Chaos, he’s positively thriving. And we think other people are feeding him because he’s still his old fat self. But he won’t come when I call him, playing the coy shy one. I wonder what he would do now if I were to pick him up and take him home. Unfortunately I’m all too well aware of what Zorro would do… 😦

Anyway, here’s to fond memories and sun-burned tummies…

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Must… have… more… tummies… at LisaViolet’s Dairy of course.

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