The Maury Poviched Feline Patrimony At Nogglestead

Way back when we first moved to Nogglestead, a couple of our cats got into some inappropriate urination. Although one of the tabbies had, from time to time, used the bathroom in a dark closet, he started doing things like urinating on my desk. Instead of getting rid of the cats, we put them into our back yard which is sheltered enough from predators that they would be safe, if not comfortable. We had food and water out for them all day and night, which brought all manner of fauna by for a snack.

Including two neighboring cats. One, we nicknamed Valjean because he was stealing the other cats’ food.

Another cat, more skittish and standoffish came by. We named him Jigsaw because of the coloring on his face resembling a Jigsaw puzzle. Also, because Jigsaw sounds mean.

Our cats and Valjean did not like Jigsaw; I once saw Jigsaw and Valjean tussle where Jigsaw ran the length of our deck and launch himself over our fence to get away, and Valjean went running after him, flying several yards out and ten or twelve feet down, to get that cat.

So, in the mythos of Nogglestead, Valjean was a good cat, and Jigsaw was not.

From time to time, we saw (and continue to see) similar-looking cats in the fields around us, and we say they’re Valjean’s line.

Over the years, we let in a couple cats that showed up around Nogglestead.

The first was about six years ago. It was spring time, and the windows and doors were open. For a couple of evenings, this cat showed up and whined at the open windows and doors of whatever room I was in. I put out some food for him, so he hung around. After a couple of weeks, my beautiful wife decided he should be neutered; she used to volunteer and support a trap/spay/release organization in St. Louis. Since the beast was going to have to stay in the house for a couple of weeks from the neutering, we decided just to have him declawed and a housecat. We were down to four cats at the time, and we have six bowls for moist cat food, so we were hiring.

A couple of years later, a similar-looking cat appeared, and he came when my wife called it. A skinny little thing, he was already front declawed and neutered. Because he seemed nice, my family wanted to, and did, take him in pretty quickly. He’s a bit of a biter, though–nipping at your feet and ankles when you’re walking. One constantly finds him at your feet as well, so we postulate that another family threw him out for it.

So we have these two cats we brought in, which undoubtedly has given us the neighborhood reputation of being cat rustlers. The cats look the same, and they look like the other cats we’ve seen around the neighborhood. So we’ve posited that they’re progeny of Valjean.

However, I’ve recently been using our cat pictures as test data, and I’ve got photos rotating on another monitor again, which led me to a shocking discovery that has proven that everything I believed to be true was a lie.

Continue reading “The Maury Poviched Feline Patrimony At Nogglestead”

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You Have Been Warned!

If you ever see a kitty looking all cute and friendly, stretched out like it wants a belly rub:

Do not pet the kitty belly! It is a hand trap!

You will be bitten and back-raked!

House cats, being predators who unfortunately are very small, must use their very cuteness to lure their prey to its doom!

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The Book Accumulation Points of Brian J., Explained

I explained book accumulation points last year (almost two years ago, actually).

But I failed to explain one of the reasons why the stack of books has gotten so tall by my reading chair.

It’s because my current black cat Isis defends them.

I try to reach for the books, and she bites me.

Actually, she bites me for so many reasons. Such as doing the laundry (she is no longer satisfied with The Arena of Isis; now, she insists upon jumping on the bed whilst I’m folding laundry and batting and trying to bite me).

I don’t know what it is. The black cats are all so sweet and friendly until they come to me, and then they become mean.

Actually, she does not defend the side table that much. I was just trying to use it as an excuse to justify my own habit of laying aside books to finish later, when later might be years.

Isis actually prefers to jump on my lap when I am reading and inspect books by rubbing her cheek against them. Clearly, she favors heavy hardback books which scratch her better than Executioner paperbacks or saddle-stitched self-published works. But she prefers those to nothing at all.

And then she hops off and runs away, only to return minutes later to hop up and inspect the book again.

Sometimes, though, she will settle into my lap for a long-Isis-time of a couple minutes. But I am not to pet her. Otherwise, she will bite me. Ibit.

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I’m Not That Gone Already

So I work a lot on the phone, sometimes leading calls where my microphone is open most of the call.

And this chonker makes himself comfortable on a chair beside my desk and proceeds to nap and snore.

I mean, I might be a short timer, but I am not sleeping through these calls.

This affectionate fellow likes to nestle up with me when I nap or sleep at night, and he snores as loud as a human might. I mean, maybe louder than I do. I can’t tell, because I’m generally sleeping when I snore, but I certainly hope I don’t snore any louder than that.

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Internet Cattin’

I don’t know why I thought of this joke whilst sitting on the pool deck watching my youngest jumping off the diving board.

But I did.

I know, it requires knowledge of Roman history as well as understanding that large cats are called chonkers on the Internet for some reason. To be honest, I could explain the former to you better than the latter.

I know, I could have used Vittles instead of Victuals, but for some reason the slang variant did not come to mind immediately come to mind even though Tender Vittles was a cat food brand back in the day. But I am a snob.

At any rate, I hope you chuckled. Or, as the kids of the Internet say, LOLed.

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Homeschooling Update: A Ink-Licking Good Poem

Last night’s poem was Anniversary by Marjorie Maddox, a poem that my beautiful wife clipped from First Things magazine and deployed this week to remind me we have a wedding anniversary coming up.

Roark, a.k.a. the Big Bopper, a.k.a. Radar Love, kept interrupting my writing to lick the part of the poem I’d already written:

Not a bad poem; a villanelle, of which I might have written one or more once upon a time. Certainly better than the poem on the other side of the page, although the boys liked it better because it was shorter, mostly.

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The Game Where I Became A Lefty

I have previously mentioned that Isis liked to get into the laundry basket to play her game after I emptied it of laundry to fold.

Somewhere in the last couple of years, I’ve altered my habit; instead of putting the basket on its base on the bench after emptying the laundry to fold, I’ve started setting it on the floor on its side instead.

So now, to play, Isis jumps onto the bed amidst the laundry to fold and pretends like she wants to be petted. Or that she can be petted. But once the hand comes out, she rolls on her back and it’s on.

Well, I have a black belt in a martial art. I should have no problem with this game. I even established some ground rules.

The main point of the game is for me to try to touch her, and she tries to prevent it.

I am pretty good at this game, although I use the two-handed “Look at this hand–whilst the other pokes you!” method which does not earn me double points.

Not that I get too much of a high score going. That kitty is fast!

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A Four-Legged Book Snob

Isis, the current black cat, prefers hardbacked, 1000-page classical literature to cheap paperbacks like Deep and Swift:

Of course, she judges a book based on the amount of resistance it provides when she scratches her cheek on it, and she prefers the thicker books and hardbacks for her self-gratification.

She can’t actually read the books, gentle reader.

She’s a great cat, but not that great.

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I Wonder Why The North Side Mindflayers Trivia Team Keeps Me Around

So we have this cat, and I like to proclaim often, “You’re a menace!”

He doesn’t look like much of a menace in this action photo, but he really is. He has the nickname “Foot” which is short for “Underfoot.” He likes to walk ahead of me and stop suddenly to turn to look to see if I’m going. And when I say “Walk ahead of me,” I mean inches ahead of me. He’s also prone to appearing in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and if I start downstairs (and hence towards his food dishes) before him, he will come bowling down the stairs after me, often striking me in the back of the legs as I’m descending. When I say “Bowling,” I mean like a bowling ball. He is, after all, nineteen pounds of cat who thinks affection involves biting the hand that pets him and lying across the pillow in the middle of the night and grooming me while I’m sleeping. And then biting me.

Of course, I call all the cats menaces in the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson.

So recently I started to tell him, “Don’t Be A Menace.”

You know, like the movie.

But then I realized I couldn’t remember the name of the movie, a film that came out in 1996 and which I’ve never actually seen, but which has the words/shortened title on the movie poster.

I had to look it up.

Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.

Which I now tell the cat all the time, and which means I’ll probably retain that bit of information in case it shows up on a trivia night.

Yes, I do talk an awful lot to my cats. But I have been a remote worker for over a decade. I have to talk to someone.

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More Nogglestead Cats Talking Back To Memes

Seen on Facebook:

Isis says:

The hard part is knowing exactly when her desire will change from preening with petting to biting. Which changes faster than a quantum computer can add single digit numbers, my friends.

As I was saying, we have enough cats that we can pretty much match any cat in any meme. And if we can’t? We have an extra Fancy Feast dish with no owner yet.

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I Have A New Life Coach

Modern American society has broken down to the point that people have to hire mentors called “life coaches” to tell them the things their parents, other family members, or peers should have or should be telling them.

As you might know, gentle reader, my own parents are dead, and my stand-offish manner and backwater blog have limited me from developing meaningful friendships with peers and mentors who could guide me to bettering myself instead of spending time maintaining a backwater blog.

But not to worry. I have a new life coach.

All will be better after bacon and a nap.

Actually, I oversell it. Roark does not steal the bacon from the table; he licks it. But now he has discovered the pan in which the bacon is cooked and which sits on the counter with lots of sweet, sweet bacon grease in it, and he has, over the last couple of days, waited for us to sit down at the breakfast table before ambling over there, minding his own business, when lick, lick, lick.

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All I’ve Got Are Cat Memes

I know, you come here for the incisive political coverage, gentle reader (well, reader of 2004, maybe, although the political coverage was about the same on the Mohs scale incisivity, but there were fewer blogs to choose from, so more bored readers chose MfBJN). But some days, all I have are cat memes.

With the five cats we have, it’s pretty clear that any cat picture I see, we will have a cat that looks like that (see also this).

So when I saw a meme on my cousin-in-law’s Facebook wall, I knew my cat had to respond.

Our newest cat is quite an eater. He came into the house weighing something like nine pounds, and now he’s twice that. We call him “Foot” although his chip name is Mercury because he is always where we are, at our feet, and often stopping. If you’re headed to the downstairs refrigerator or coffee pot, near his food, he will take up a position trotting ahead of you, stopping about every step to turn his head to see if you’re following, and when we get there, he’ll have a couple of bites.

Clearly, he still suffers from some sort of food insecurity even though he’s got two bowls of food to choose from all day long.

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Other Cat Games of Nogglestead

You’ve already learned about the games that Roark and Chimera play at Nogglestead. “What about your other cats, Brian J?” you might ask. “Do they have any games of their own?”

Well, gentle reader, the answer is, “Yes.” For Isis, our mostly black cat, has not only a game, but an arena in which to play it.

When we fold laundry, we dump it onto the bed and set the empty basket on the bench at the end of the bed. And then it’s Game On.

She hopes onto the bed when she sees the laundry coming, and then jumps down into the Arena of Isis (which sounds like something the other Isis would have).

The game is to poke her through the holes in the basket while she tries to paw and bite the poking fingers.

Apparently, she loves it, because she keeps coming back for more.

Fortunately for her, there’s always more laundry at Nogglestead.

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Wherein Brian J. Owes Jim Croce An Apology Instead Of Royalties

So when we make the change the linens on the beds here at Nogglestead, it’s game on for a couple of our cats. Roark likes to jump on the bed and chase his tail while we settle sheets and blankets on him, after which he will pounce out if we turn the linen so his head is near the end.

So today I had the bright idea that I would change both the beds in the master and the guest bedrooms at the same time. That way, when he hopped onto one bed to do his little game, I could go into the other room and put on a linen before he followed me in there. Then, when he hopped up onto the bed, I could go into the other room and put on a linen.

It worked, briefly. I got fitted sheets on both beds and a flat sheet down in the master bedroom, when an unexpected complication arose.

Chimera.

Now, Chimera plays a different game: He will lie without moving on the bed and let you completely make the bed on him. Then he will lie there under the sheets and blankets all day. Which is disconcerting, because I tend to worry that he won’t be able to breathe. But so far, so good, clearly.

So all chores were suspended for a bit until the coast cleared, but I did get a little song out of it.

Bed, bed, Howard Roark.
Beddest cat in the whole dang house.
Bedder than Chimera is.
Sweeter than Athena, too.

My beautiful wife claims that the third line is not in rhythm, but I insist because Chimera lacks a hard stop, the Chimera is really sounds like three syllables instead of four.

I would claim that I am a poet, but she is, too. And although she has more magazine appearances than I not counting college journals, I have more earnings from poetry so far than she does ($100 for my poem in There Will Be War Volume X puts me ahead of a lot of poets in lifetime earnings) and more full length poetry collections (one) than she does, so I argue from authority.

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Not a Safe Space

I’ve discovered, as I comb through the archives from the earliest days of this blog, that I used to post more cat pictures. I also used to get hundreds of hits per day. Coincidence? Let’s try it out.

Here’s a picture of Chimera, one of the second generation, pawing at one of my Christmas presents right after I hung it on the wall:

Silly cat. A minute ago, this was blank wall. Now, he’s looking to see if there’s a wall safe behind this particular picture. Clearly, he does not know much about the installation of wall safes.

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