Just when I think I would like to live with a harp seal pup, it becomes obvious that I already do. Ivan is a seal pup in negative.
Filed under: Ivan
October 1 is Ivan’s birthday. Fitting, for a black cat, to be born during Halloween season. Even more important is this year’s particular birthday. It’s his thirteenth.
As Matt said, “This is a significant milestone for a black cat.”
(We’ll be having a party. Don’t tell Ivan.)
Filed under: Ivan
Now I smell it.
Those antibiotics last week got rid of my sinus infection. It means that I can now smell that the entire downstairs of our house reeks of Ivan’s now free-flowing anal glands.
I would open a window but it’s minus10 degrees Celsius outside. I think I’ll just camp out upstairs until el stinko dissipates.
Filed under: Ivan
Human roommates can be annoying. I’ve gone through mean drunk roommates; pathologically clean roommates; pathologically dirty roommates who didn’t mind roaches, rats, pigeons or termites; roommates whose out-of-the-country friends stayed with us for months (some of them coming in multiple batches – imagine the bathroom lines); roommates whose crazy abusive boyfriends had to be chased away by other sword-wielding martial arts roommates; and roommates whose stance against recycling compelled them to sneak out during the night and merge my recyclables bin with the plain old garbage.
Living with a cat roommate is not always easy either. Sometimes we misunderstand each other. Sometimes the cat refuses to play by the rules, just like the human roommate who always smoked in her room despite the strict no-smoking rule. Yes, we do get into arguments too.
Thus, here are my top ten cat roommate pet peeves:
1. He uses our white carpet toilet paper to wipe his butt after #2.
2. He always has tuna breath.
3. He licks a lot. Sometimes he licks my hands while I am trying to get to sleep, then I get nervous that I’ll touch my face with said hand and get a whiff of his tuna breath.
4. He is very noisy when he licks his privates. He vibrates a little. The bed shakes a little. I am grossed out.
5. He sleeps at the foot of the bed, thus stealing leg room from me.
6. When he climbs on my sleeping body, he always stops to survey the landscape from atop my boobs. He is a 16-pound cat.
7. He always follows me into the bathroom and demands I turn on the faucet so he can drink. He never turns off the faucet even though the fixtures are cat-friendly.
(Note on the above photo: this faucet is not cat-friendly. We now live the house with the cat-friendly faucet.)
8. His hair gets in everything. I can be at work, 30 km away, and will be drinking water from a glass, when I see one of Ivan’s hairs float away and land in my glass of water. These hairs stick to everything as well.
9. He always has to be the centre of attention. Whether it’s sitting on top of our boardgame as we play, sitting on our mouse hand as we do computer stuff or sitting beside us as we eat dinner, he’s there.
10. He is menacing around our other, smaller roommates and sometimes to the neighbourhood kids.
(This Halloween one kid ran away in fear, crying to his mother that he saw a big black dog.)
Filed under: Ivan
I swear, we did not fart on his pillow.
Yesterday afternoon, Matt laughed at Ivan who, resting on his muppet cushion, seemed to be unable to open his left eye. “Sleepy head,” we thought.
On closer inspection, we realized that Ivan’s eye had puffed up and was tearing up. We felt the swelling and Ivan did not protest. He purred, thinking we were lavishing more cuddling.
Four hours later, one sketchy after-hours veterinary emergency clinic visit later and his human slaves a few hundred dollars poorer, Ivan was home again. As Ivan did not take kindly to the anal thermometer, the vet sedated our guy and he staggered about for the rest of the night.
Now we have to rub ointment on his eye twice a day. Matt and I also have to both pin him down and shove antibiotic pills down his throat. I had to explain a few new claw scars to people I met today.
His eye is still puffy. Hopefully we will have our handsome cat back soon. He looks like a boxer. Ugly.
Filed under: Ivan
This evening I was talking to my friend Rachael, with Ivan the cat draped across my lap. Ivan was quiet, as if he was about to go to sleep.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Ivan grabbed my hand with his teeth and bit down hard. The puncture wound is rather tiny, the bite drew a pinpoint of blood.
“Good god, Ivan just attacked me!” I interrupted Rachael.
“Maybe he’s jealous. Cats sometimes want to be the centre of attention and you’re not lavishing him with attention while you’re on the phone.”
I agreed and made a mental note to keep my hands well away from the cat.
A few minutes of conversation later, Ivan once more lunges for my hand. This time those little cat jaws act with tiger-strong tenacity. I waved my hand around, startled, Ivan’s teeth still clenched to my hand and sliding off.
“This cat is rabid,” I said. “I am sorry but I may need to call animal control. Can I call you back later?”
A few hours later, I showed Matt my cat-inflicted wounds.
“It could be the start of a zombie plague,” I suggested. I reminded Matt that, in [REC], the Spanish horror movie we saw last week, cats may or may not have been a vector.
Matt shook his head. “No, I think Ivan was horny.”
Apparently cats occasionally get the hots for their human crushes. Particularly if said cat rarely gets out and fails to meet girls his own species.
“One of my friends was rubbing a roommate’s cat on the belly,” said Matt. “The cat discharged a wad of semen all over her hand. It does happen.”
It’s not the first time Ivan has identified with our rodent friends. He has always been fascinated with our hamsters:
He noted, for example, that hamsters line their beds with toilet paper.
Here’s CrenguÈ›a in bed:
Of course, Ivan followed suit:
Now that we’ve switched to guinea pigs, Ivan is having identity issues again. This time, he’s gone a bit further:
Matt described the event: “The pigs actually weren’t very disturbed when Ivan climbed in there, so I didn’t worry about them too much (Chuy actually likes Ivan quite a bit, and will follow him around), but about 30 minutes later, the fact that they’d shared naptime with a cat seemed to have sunk in, and they were a little retroactively freaked out, requiring lots of cilantro and fresh hay to compensate for. . . . ”
Apparently, there was some hay-eating on Ivan’s part too.
“Hey, look at that predator that out-masses us, let’s make friends with him!”
Or so wrote our friend Lee as the caption to this photo.
This is Paco:
Paco is a pet name for Francisco. But he went directly to being a Paco (and sometimes a Paquito) without ever having gone through being called a Francisco.
He’s a guinea pig, you see, and a Peruvian animal, hence, thanks to cultural imperialism, he’s a Spanish speaker. Hamsters, because of their link to Romania, get Romanian names (preferably ones only Romanians understand).
And here is Chuy:
Chuy is a pet name for JesÃºs. It’s pronounced something like “Chew-y” (though not quite so bi-syllabic, says Matt). It’s also the name of a Tex-Mex restaurant chain in Matt’s homeland. On another food-related note, Chuy is one letter off cuy, the guinea pig dish that shocks and delights tourists in Peru.
Chuy is the shyer of the two. Already Paco has taken a liking to Matt, while Chuy prefers me. Paco also feels some compulsion to bite Matt every time Matt picks him up.
Other things we’ve noticed in the few hours hours lives have intermeshed:
1. There have been bubbling, wheating, sneezing, whimpering and chattering noises. We look forward to learning the mysterious language of the guinea pigs.
2. Paco is afraid of the dark.
3. Paco and Chuy love carrots and cilantro.
4. Matt has taken to calling them The Cattle. “Our living room smells barn-y,” said Matt, sniffing at the hay that is the staple guinea pig food.
5. Our friend S. of Small Animal Rescue of BC called Paco and Chuy the “Brillo pigs.” Their fur is indeed very bristly, nothing like the amazing softness of a Syrian hamster.
6. Paco and Chuy like Ivan better than us.
7. Guinea pigs don’t need as much sleep as hamsters.
8. We have noticed two kinds of guinea pig poops. Are guinea pigs coprophagic?
9. Paco has a black paw and a white paw.
10. Guinea pigs can sure run.
Why did we decide to give up on hamsters? Well, we didn’t really. After Lucian’s sudden death last September, we’ve been quite unhappy. We still aren’t ready to replace Lucian with another hamster. Nor can we quite yet bear to fall in love with a new hamster and have our hearts torn when that new hamster inevitably passes away.
Whereas a hamster has a life-span averaging around two years, Paco and Chuy, both at three months, will be part of the household until about 2013.
Filed under: Ivan
Ivan recently turned eleven. That’s 77 in dog-human years. After 15 years, 50% of cats are senile. So far, Ivan is still with it.
To celebrate his birthday, Ivan got a plate of his favourite food:
- A whole can of tuna
- Ground coffee
We didn’t let him watch The Godfather, his favourite movie, because we needed to save a present for Christmas.