C’mon Chris! You’ve hogged the drawer long enough. It’s our turn.
Chris was not the center of attention during the cat’s weekly outing in our backyard on Sunday. Frankie took that trophy in a big way. He not only caught the only lizard of the day, he managed to climb onto our roof. He then was unsure how to get down.
Unfortunately, I have not perfected my movie making skills yet and was distracted by bringing Puck into the house when he made his way to the roof. I then spent the next 10 minutes following Frankie with the camera as he searched for a way down. Unknown to me then, the last half of that time was spent with the record button off. He did finally jump down to the roof of our neighbor’s truck and everything ended well.
Here is the video from Sunday. If you don’t want to watch the entire thing, I recommend starting at around 5:22.
The other day Frankie tried to get into Rose’s closet. He managed to pop it open slightly but could not get it open far enough to get inside. It was a good effort but the door doesn’t slide easily so I couldn’t blame him for failing. That’s when Chris stepped in. I imagined him saying, “Move aside, let me show you how it’s done.”
I always feel bad for the other cats, Puck and Frankie, because they must be locked out of the bedroom because Chris is bad and can’t be in there. The reason Chris can’t be there is because he is the most annoying cat ever when we are trying to sleep. Nevertheless, I decided to leave the bedroom door open last night since Rose was away. I decided I would just give him a chance and if he was too bad I would just throw them all out and shut and lock the door (I have to lock it because Chris knows how to open it).
Chris and Puck immediately took advantage of the open door. Puck laid at my feet like the good cat that he is and Chris laid down by my head and immediately began clawing at my face and biting my shoulder and my nose. I expected that and put up with it for about ten minutes. I was hoping the excitement would wear off and he would get tired and go to sleep.
Hah! That’s like hoping a root canal won’t be that bad. Chris, of course, would not stop annoying me so I picked him up and put him down next to my side and held him there. That almost never works but this time I annoyed him and he got up and left, taking Puck with him.
The next thing I know it is 4:45 and Chris is crying and poking my face. I guess I would rate that experiment a moderate success.
Thursday evening, after I got home from work, I prepared to cook pork chops on the grill. At our house, grilling has become such a chore because every time I go through the door Chris is right there trying to get out. Unfortunately, we had the meat since the weekend and it needed to be cooked before it went bad.
Before I even got close to the back door, Chris had suspected I was going outside and “followed” me from the front. I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and let Chris out. I figured he wouldn’t annoy me about going out if he was out. Once out, he immediately started eating grass while I turned the grill on. I watched for a couple of minutes while Puck and Frankie became very jealous of what was going on. Frankie was standing on the little table near the grill when Puck jumped up alongside him and pushed him over with his body so he could see better what was going on.
I felt bad for the other two cats but, believe it or not, Chris has become the least bad cat when it comes to bringing him back inside. Puck will stay close but sprint away when I try to get him. Frankie, we learned from his first and last time outside, that he is eager to explore beyond our imaginary boundaries (see here). He went through the fence on the neighboring property and I thought I was going to lose him.
I brought Chris inside so Puck and Frankie wouldn’t feel deprived and proceeded to go in and out while I cooked our dinner. When it was just about ready I went inside, grabbed a plate and then went out the door to shut the grill off and bring our dinner inside.
Just then Frankie slipped past me and out the door. I put the plate down and tried to get him but he moved away from me. I didn’t have my phone on me so I had to decide to pursue him or let Rose know what happened so she could help. I didn’t want to burden her, because she stayed home sick with bronchitis that day, but I decided I would need help, so I quickly yelled through the back door and then went back out to try to catch Frankie.
He was still close when I saw him run at full speed for the fence and then walk through it. He then walked back through it and then again, as if he was taunting me. I opened the gate that separates the back yard from the front yard. Fortunately it was unlocked, unlike the last time he did this. It was then a long walk to the end of the fence and then back again on the other side. I found him but he was not letting me get close and wound up back on our side of the fence and I had to make the long walk back around the fence. He then went back through the fence to the other property and I could see he was very interested in the water. I worried he might end up in the water so I quickly went around the fence again.
By the time I got back around he was on top of the fence and jumped back to our yard, this time in the front yard. I went back around again and Frankie went back through the fence and then again to our back yard. At this point I felt like a sheep herder and eventually got him close to our back door. I took that opportunity to shut the grill off and save our dinner.
Frankie then got past me again and crossed over into the other property. Again, back around only to find him on top of the fence again. He jumped back down to the front yard and I went around to catch him before he started wandering the neighborhood. I tried to corner Frankie but he slipped past me to the front yard where he became interested in the bottom of a truck. I tried to coax him out but he just went to the other side. Eventually he came out and ended up close to our front door. I took that opportunity to knock and say “Hey, I need help!”
Frankie then started to head the other way toward the marina. I tried to get around him to keep him on our property. I did not want him to go on the marina property and I especially wanted to keep him away from the busy road just past the marina. Fortunately he turned back just in time. He then headed south again, past our front door as Rose was coming out to help.
He quickly ran to the edge of our property and onto the next. He seemed to be oblivious to us as many small birds grabbed his attention. We tried a couple of times to grab him while he was distracted but came up empty-handed. We might have tried harder but if we missed and scared him there would be no hope.
He ran into the next yard and then across the street. It was starting to get dark and I was afraid we were going to lose him. He crossed the street again and ran into the next yard. He kept getting farther from home. I wondered at that point how far a cat’s territory stretches. I was hoping we were at the edge. He eventually ended up close to a house and I was hoping to corner him there. I tried to get him but he ran the other way, right into Rose’s hands, to end his big adventure.
Fortunately Rose was there to help or I don’t know what would have happened. I do know that Frankie will not be going out again any time soon.
I mentioned this briefly in my post, Jealousy but I wanted to expand on this issue. Chris used to have a routine in the morning of hanging out with Rose in the bathroom while she got ready to start her day. He would lie on the counter in front of her, occasionally grabbing her makeup or whatever else she happened to be using and pulling it up against his chest. Sometimes he would collect three or four things before Rose would be forced to retrieve them. This would go on until she turned on the hair dryer, which was Chris’s cue to make a quick exit.
When we got our kitten Puck, everything changed. Suddenly Puck would be the first one up on the counter and when Chris came up for his routine, he would take one look at Puck and go back downstairs. I felt bad for Chris but Rose found Puck to be a little easier to deal with.
At first Puck would steal a cotton swab, play with it for a while, then come back for another cotton swab. Much of this playing took place on the bathroom floor, so it was not really a problem. Along with the cotton swabs, he also had a particular mouse he liked to play with. Now, while he still plays with cotton swabs from time to time, his mouse has become the center of much annoyance for Rose.
I very much want to get a video of him and his mouse but Rose does not want to be recorded while getting ready for work. Too bad, because nobody would believe it otherwise. Puck jumps on the counter with his mouse and drops it in the basket that Rose has some of her stuff in. He then waits for Rose to throw the mouse in the bedroom. When she does that, Puck races to retrieve the mouse and then brings it back and drops it in the basket again.
This goes on until Rose gets tired of it and stops playing, but when she does that, Puck pushes on her hand and tries to get her to throw the mouse again. You can imagine how difficult it would be to get ready for work that way. The obvious solution would be to turn on the hair dryer and scare him off, but he is not bothered by it in the slightest. Now Rose is longing to have Chris back on the counter with her.
I would like to see that happen too, but dispute the loss of one routine, or perhaps because of it, he has developed another. He now lies on the back of my chair while I write blog posts.
Update: I did get a video of Puck playing fetch. Here it is.
This is the story of Bad Cat Chris. That’s more his description than his name, but you get the idea. Normally I would not dream of writing a blog about a pet cat but Chris is not like any other cat that I, or anyone else who has met him, has ever seen. Everything about Chris is extreme. He is extremely friendly, affectionate and funny, heavy on the funny. Of course, there is a bad side and his is extremely bad. I’m not talking about an evil bad, he is more like a problem child.
Chris was adopted and we don’t know his exact age but he is approximately three years old, perhaps as much as three and a half. His mental age, on the other hand, is about three months. He is a kitten that has never grown up.
My plan for this blog is to start out describing the early days, what led us to adopting him, the difficulties we had and what has changed. Eventually I want to catch up to the present day and talk about the daily struggles and rewards of taking care of a “Bad Cat.” I hope you’ll join me for more stories.