“Pussycat, pussycat, I love you…”

So, today I was over at my friend’s photo blog, and I was inspired by her photo for yesterday of a baby tabby cat.  I remembered that I have gotten some pretty sweet shots of baby kitties myself.  So after perusing my blog contents to make sure I haven’t already posted these (I’ve typed in every relevant tag I can think of and I’m still not sure,) I give you these cuties.  *these photos are my property, so I ask anyone who wants to use them or share to please give me credit and possibly a link-back.

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When Not to Pet a Pet

First, a shout out to my friend Dianda, over at Cats & Co., for giving me the inspiration for this post.

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I think for the most part, this is sound advice, advice that you would think is common sense for most people.  Well, we already know that many people are inexplicably devoid of common sense.  Aside from that, this post is geared towards children.  Children, even small children, are capable of understanding a great many more things than you might think… but… they are still children.  They lack sound decision-making skills and impulse control.  And in any case, not all children are lucky enough to have responsible adults around them to teach them these sorts of common sense rules about animals.

Not only do studies show that children who grow up in homes with pets are physically healthier (based on the idea that having a pet may result in a stronger immune system,) children that grow up in homes with animals also have tendencies towards more pro-social behavior, such as empathy, responsibility, and compassion.

This all sounds pretty spiffy… as long as your pet is child-friendly.  I speak from a semi-unique perspective, in that not only do I have a small child, but as a pre-teen, I suffered a fairly serious injury to my face due to a dog bite.

Admittedly, the bite came as a result of me violating one of the above rules– I put my face too close to the dog’s.   However, in my defense, I’m sure I don’t know what would possess a person to give a hundred pound Rottweiler (who has already shown aggressive tendencies) a bath in the midst of a family party is beyond me.

That said, especially in the case of very young children (like mine,) one of the first ways they learn to show affection is through proximity and hugging.  We have cats, and much to their chagrin, J is always trying to “hug” them, and kiss them…and poke them in the eye repeatedly, while saying “Eye.  Eye.  Eye. Eye.” She is two and a half, and while I give her credit for a great many things, I am not sure she understands that the kitties do not necessarily like this, especially when she is too rough with them.  Also, we have a neighbor who has an old pug dog and he lets J do whatever she wants– kiss him, hug him, follow him around…  He even seems to enjoy the attention.  So I know that she will naturally assume all dogs are like that.

When we are out of the house, and come across “strange” dogs (that is, dogs she doesn’t know,) I try to hold her back and encourage her to ask before she touches, but either she is too young yet to understand this, or she is too young to care.

Basically, I think the above chart has excellent guidelines, but ultimately, it will be the parent’s responsibility to teach a child age appropriate skills and rules for dealing with animals on an individual basis.  Each animal really is different, and even “nice” animals have the capacity to bite or otherwise injure someone if the conditions are right.  There have been many instances of children injured or killed by a household pet that was assumed to be a safe animal. And until your child is capable of understanding the rules of engagement, it’s up to the parent to be vigilant and responsible so that their child is not injured (and likewise, does not injure) by an animal, even someone’s pet.

Here are some statistics on dog bites.

*please note that the above link is statistical data, and although it offers data on breed specific attacks (ie. “the dreaded pit-bull”,) it does not, in my opinion, offer a context in which to interpret the data

Run, Rabbit, Run!

Leporiphobia-  fear of rabbits.  Who would be afraid of rabbits? you may ask.

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

For your entertainment, I present, some of the scariest bunnies of all time.

The Killer Rabbit of CaerbannogMonty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Need I say more?

"Run away! Run away!"

“Run away! Run away!”

The rabbit from the hatTwilight Zone: the Movie (1983)

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

Frank the Bunny RabbitDonnie Darko (2001)

The mysterious vision that appears to Donnie to warn him of the end of the world…

"Why are you wearing that human suit?"

“Why are you wearing that human suit?”

Mysterious Rabbit Family– Inland Empire (2006)

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Creepy Not-White rabbit– Starfish Hotel (2006)

The rabbit is a reference to Lewis Carroll‘s “White Rabbit,” and leads the character to an underground brothel called Wonderland.

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The Acid Rabbit- Misfits (2012)

Born of a freak lightening storm and a bad acid trip, the rabbit stalks people with a golf club.  The most frightening aspect of him is his dynamic and reflective eyes.

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So, in conclusion… Who would be afraid of rabbits?  Me. I would.

 

Edit (2/11-2014): I don’t remember where this one came from but it definitely belongs on this list:

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In Which I Unwittingly Try to Mutilate the Cat

So…the other day, and not for the first time, I was rubbing the cat and discovered a mysterious “bump” hidden in the fur.  This time it was on his belly.  the last couple of times I found suspicious lumps in his fur, they ended up being nothing more than a lose piece of skin and fur, or maybe a small scab from a healed abrasion.

To his credit, Methos lay calmly and let me dig through the fur on his belly to isolate what I now thought of as “the weird growth.”  I think he just assumed he was enjoying a very localized belly rub.  I isolated the growth, this dark little brown lump that looked not unlike a mole.  I considered and then briefly dismissed the possibility that it was a nipple, as when I felt around I could not locate the other nipples.

So I did the only rational thing I could think of; I poked and squeezed at it to see what I it would do.  It was kind of odd.  At times it seemed to stick half in and half out of the skin, almost like a small tick (I frickin’ hate ticks, by the way.)  Then I got the tweezers, determined to detach it from the cat.  I tugged and tugged, but it was a slippery little sucker.  I’d think I had a hold of it only to have it slip through my grasp.  Whatever it was, Methos didn’t seem to be having any discomfort from my “ministrations,” and I eventually came up with a little scale of what looked the skin or scab from the top of the “lump.”  But still the brown lump remained.  So I called hubby over to look.  I squeezed the skin around it again, and it sort of protruded out from the surrounding skin.  The following is the general conversation that following, albeit, probably not verbatim:

HUBBY:  I think that’s a nipple, hon.

ME: But I looked for his other nipples and couldn’t find them.

HUBBY:  I think that’s a nipple.

ME: {pause}  I think you’re right.  {second pause}  Ohmygod! I tried to mutilate the cat!  {to cat} I’m so sorry, buddy!   

{Then follows five minutes of shame and horror, probably for me and the cat.}

Lesson learned?  Don’t try to detach things that are attached, unless you are positive of what they are, or at least what they are not.

Methos, in one of his “comfortable” positions on hubby’s lap

A cat’s nursery rhyme:
1,2..1,2,3…
how many nipples do you see?

 

Blood and Claws (not a horror story, just bathing the cat)

…okay, maybe it is a horror story.  Methos has been scratching and licking and biting a lot more than usual lately.  I also saw a flea on my baby’s head a week or so ago when I was changing her diaper… at least I think it was a flea.  It was fast and I couldn’t squish it between my fingers, and then it disappeared, never to be seen again.  I have even gotten a few random “bites” that, with help from my frantic scratching, have turned into formidable patches of irritated skin.  I didn’t have any bites on my ankles, evidence, said my neighbor, that the whole house wasn’t infested, just the cat.  My other cat seems completely fine.

So, after several nights of kicking the cat off the bed due to his incessant scratching and biting (shakes the whole friggin’ bed), I decide he needs a bath.  I’d been told by more than one person that Dawn dish-washing liquid kills fleas.    He’s not routinely bathed, because he grooms himself well enough usually. In fact, he normally has some of the softest fur of any cat I’ve ever seen.  It’s thick and shiny.  I request hubby’s help to bathe the cat, cuz I know it will be a…process.   He basically laughs at me, and then wisely declines.  So the next day I enlist the help of my lovely- and unsuspecting- neighbor.  Actually, she has cats and knows what it’s like to bathe a cat who isn’t “into” baths.

Never, EVER have I heard noises like this come from my cat.

I won’t give you a blow by blow.  Let’s just say it was probably a lot like putting a rabid honey badger in a toilet and flushing…I’m guessing.  I’ve never flushed a furry animal in my life.  My husband was home for lunch at this juncture, and as I haul the cat back to the tub again (when the claws start pinwheeling, you let that bitch go!!!) he decides to come in to help… gee, thanks.

“I eat venomous snakes for lunch! You want a piece of me??!!”

By this point, the cat has already lost at least part of a claw trying to wrest his way free.  He’s making some yowling/growling/mewling sound deep in his chest and has tracked tiny dots of blood on the tile floor from his wounded claw.  He uses anything in which his claws find purchase to try to win his freedom, including but not limited to our skin and clothing.  And he’s panting like he might have a stroke.

I can not understand for the life of me WHY this should be so traumatic for him.  He can’t actually think I intend to drown him.  I try to soothe him with words, but he doesn’t seem interested.  Cats are the only animals that will literally damn near kill themselves trying to get away from something… that’s not even hurting them.

So anyway, as there is only room for two of us by the side of the tub, I step back and hubs wedges in next to my neighbor.  In two seconds flat, hubs is bellowing expletives and the cat is– once again– out of the tub.  Hubs is bleeding profusely from several not horribly deep but deep-enough-to-bruise scratches on his hands and arms.  All of us are wet, the cat is traumatized, the bathroom is half flooded.

After toweling Methos off as best as possible given the circumstances, we decide to leave him in the bathroom for a while to dry off (and because I’m hoping he’ll calm down and decide not to piss on any of my stuff in retaliation.)

My neighbor gets away relatively unscathed; I’m glad because I’d have felt bad if she got hurt.  I think the cat and I have both stopped bleeding.  Not hubs– he’s torn up and has to change his clothes and bathe in Bactine before going back to work.

I actually feel guilty for upsetting the cat so badly, and worried that maybe the dumb bastard seriously injured himself trying to get away.  Now I’ll spend the rest of the night kissing up to him.  He took a nap with me later on in the day, so I guess he forgives me for the bath.

So I won’t tell him that the whole time this was going on …I saw… Not. One. Flea.

Fuck.

PS.  Note there are not actual pix of Methos in this entry.  I didn’t think of it at the time, and even if I had, we were all too busy trying to keep from sustaining any grievous wounds to bother taking any pictures.  Besides, I’m almost positive he’d never forgive me for having hard evidence of his humiliation.