Tag Archives: Pets

The Bird Tormentor

The following was meant to be published last August so it is out of sequence. I just happened to notice today that it was marked as a draft. Oops

Bad Cat Chris laying in sunshine

Chris enjoying sunshine while looking out window

Considering that cats tend to nap most of the day away, Chris is no ordinary cat. He is usually looking for trouble to get into while Abbey and Tigger are snoozing. That being said, there are times when he will relax. When we lived in the condo, he would often lay on the spare bed and look out the window. This was a favorite spot for all the cats.

Mocking bird finds Bad Cat Chris

Mocking bird finds Bad Cat Chris

One day a mockingbird spotted Chris in the window and started hovering just outside, trying to intimidate him to leave. This of course just caused him to become more interested in the bird.

Bad Cat Chris tries to catch bird

Chris tries to catch bird – notice wings on left

This went on for a couple of weeks, sometimes several times a day. A few times I had the window open a few inches and Chris would slide his body between the glass and the screen in a vain attempt to get the bird. I had to keep the window shut because I was afraid he would push the screen out and fall from the third floor.

The funniest part of all that was the bird only picked on Chris. When Tigger and Abbey were laying there, the bird was nowhere in sight. I suppose this might have been a mother bird protecting a nearby nest and to her, Chris just looked like trouble. Only Chris could cause problems by looking out the window.

Mocking Bird Tormentor comes back

Mockingbird Tormentor returns

I do know that mocking birds can be pretty mean for their size. I have regularly seen them chasing larger crows and even an Osprey. Rose said when she was young she had an outside cat that lived in fear because a mockingbird would attack it every chance it could. She thought it was payback for something bad that the cat did but I think the cat’s territory just overlapped with the bird’s.

Eventually the bird stopped bothering Chris. It was around June so I suppose it was nesting season and once the young birds were out of the nest, there was no reason to protect it.

Chris’s Door

After moving into our townhome, the cats were very happy to be able to go out on the patio again.This patio was even better because it was on the ground floor where they could better see the ducks, squirrels, lizards, dogs, people and whatever else walked, crawled, slithered or flew by.

There was a couple of problems however. First, there is a saying that “no matter what side of a door a cat is on, he will always want to be on the other side.” This is true for our cats and it was somewhat annoying having to let them out and back in all the time. Chris was especially annoying because he was very vocal about wanting to change sides.

The other problem was that we had to keep them inside at night because there was no food, water or a litter box outside. This meant that Chris was upstairs annoying us for half the night while we were trying to sleep. Then one day the solution just appeared.

Our new cat door
Our new cat door

We ran across someone selling a cat door that attaches to a sliding glass door, so we decided to buy it. We had one in South Carolina but it would not fit the tracks. It did fit the track for the screen however so we put it on that track. This worked but did not allow us to lock the door so the cats had to stay in at night and when we were not home.

Now we actually had a cat door that worked the way it was supposed to. Chris, of course, had no problem zipping in and out through the door. Abbey and Tigger were a few weeks behind getting the hang of it.

Chris and Tigger enjoying the patio
Chris and Tigger enjoying the patio.

The best part about the cat door was that it cut down on the amount of time that Chris was upstairs keeping us awake. After a short time I decided to try closing the bedroom door again. As usual I put the plastic runner under the door and put an object on each side in hopes of preventing Chris from digging up the carpet. This did not work before but now it seemed worth another shot.

Miraculously, we were finally able to get a good night’s sleep. Sure, Chris would come up at 4:30 in the morning and cry and scratch at the door, but we would just ignore him and eventually he would quit and go away. I think this worked because he had somewhere better he could be.

But alas, he would not truly earn his name Bad Cat Chris if this was the end of the story. When it comes to Chris, any solution is only temporary until he can find a new way to cause trouble. I’ll save that story for another time.

On another note, Bad Cat Chris now has his own Facebook page. There is a button on the side bar if you would like to “Like” him or you can check out the page at facebook.com/badcatchris.

The Continuing Saga of Poop

On one of my earlier posts, Tub Pooper C, I mentioned the problem we had with Chris pooping in the tub and on the floor next to the toilet. While in Myrtle Beach, one of the things I did was add raw meat to the cats’ diet. My hope was that a more natural diet would help with Chris’s loose stool, which in turn would mean that he would not poop as many times during the day. That would increase the odds that the litter box would be clean when he had to go. That would also decrease the number of “accidents,” even if the percentage stayed the same. In any case, it didn’t work.

It is possible that an all raw diet might have helped but the cats didn’t like it much. I ended up mixing it with canned cat food to get them to eat it. I was told that I could decrease the percentage gradually untill they were eating all raw food. Unfortunately, that worked in theory but not in the real world. I am still giving them the raw meat twice a day but I was never able to reduce the canned food much lower than 50%.

When we moved back to Florida Chris started pooping next to the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. We had two large litter boxes upstairs in the “cats” room, which is what we called the spare bedroom. I wanted to put another litter box in the downstairs bathroom but Rose did not want it there because that is the bathroom that our company would use. The problem was, we rarely had company and the pooping on the floor was getting worse.

Eventually Chris started pooping on the carpet behind the dining room table. Rose was not happy. I seem to remember that he was very close to finding himself back in the shelter. That was when she reluctantly agreed to put a litter box downstairs.

This helped a little but I still found myself cleaning poop from the floor and the carpet from time to time. It was then that Rose’s mother gave us a three-week supply of probiotics for cats. I thought for sure that would help but after three weeks there was no change. So the pooping continued… Today, he is 95% cured, but that is another story.

On another note, I put a link to my new Bad Cat Chris section of my Zazzle store. If you are viewing the website it will be on the right. Otherwise you can go to workingcatstudios.com and click on the Bad Cat Chris tab. I now have 38 items but only 13 are showing. I am working on fixing that. Also check out my other blogs, newlybent.wordpress.com and romeorooster.blogspot.com.

When Three Equals Two

As I mentioned earlier, we had to leave Princess and Alex with people we knew in Myrtle Beach because the condo we were moving into had a two pet limit. Normally, I don’t like to lie. I feel that honesty and good character are very important traits. That is why I felt guilty telling our landlord we had two cats instead of three.

When we owned a condo in the same development, I did not feel guilty having five cats. I guess it was because we knew the rule was really there to limit the number of dogs barking and pooping in the yard. We felt that the Condo Nazis had no business knowing what went on inside our condo.

Now that we were renting, it was not really our condo and the landlord did have the right to know. He was not a bad guy and if he knew we had three cats there was a chance he would not have cared, but I was not willing to risk telling him. He was also on the condo association board so technically, he was one of the Condo Nazis.

Abbey was our ace in the hole. She was just shy enough that she would hide when strangers came in the house. The problem was that she would quickly overcome her shyness once the stranger was in the house for a relatively long time or if they were frequent visitors.

One of the first things we noticed was that the closet light in our bedroom did not work. Neither did the wall outlet next to the closet. We told the landlord about it but when he did not make it a priority to fix it, we did not push the issue because we did not want him spending too much time upstairs, where Abbey would have been hiding. I ended up replacing the outlet myself, thinking that would solve both problems, but no such luck.

He did end up coming a few times to fix other problems, all downstairs. Whenever he would come, Chris would be right there investigating what he was doing. He even came to fix the toilet while we were not home and he told us Chris was on his shoulders while he was trying to work.

Tigger would come down too while he was here but he usually stayed about half-way up the stairs and watched from a distance. It was at those times that I wished Tigger was Abbey because at least Tigger could be confused for Chris from a distance.

Usually when the landlord was here I hung around with him and kept looking for Abbey to show her face. That did happen once, maybe twice, but I was able to run upstairs and shoo her back into the bedroom. I felt like such a criminal.

He did finally come one day to investigate the electrical problem and was there for about an hour without finding a solution. By some miracle, Abbey stayed in the other bedroom the entire time.

Hopefully I won’t have bad karma for what I did. I like to think that protecting the welfare of the cats was the greater good.

Abbey, Tigger and Chris at our condo.

Chris the Thief

When it comes to toys, Chris is not picky. He will play with just about anything but he is especially found of water bottle caps. Before we learned to be more vigilant, Rose or I would open a bottle of water, set the cap down for a second, then watch it disappear. The instant he heard the sound of the cap touching the counter, he would jump up, grab the cap, then jump back down.

He would then play hockey with it, knocking it across the floor and then chasing it down. He was constantly getting his cap in places that he couldn’t reach and then I would have to retrieve it for him. The last time we moved I found eight caps and various other items under the curio cabinet. I don’t remember if I pulled out the refrigerator but I am sure there were several more caps under there.

Another thing he liked was fish oil pills. I had two containers that I kept vitamins in for Rose and I. They were the ones that had seven compartments, one for each day of the week. Every time I needed to fill them, Chris was there on the counter trying to get the fish oil out of the container. He would stick his paw in it and pull it out. If I threw him down he would just get right back up and try again. I even tried being very quiet but he always knew what I was doing. Usually I just gave in and gave him a pill so he would leave me alone. He would then chase it around the house, sometimes on and off for hours.

The Anti Chris

Flash – RIP

Sadly, in April of 2010, we lost Flash at barely five years old. He had succumb to multiple health problems that caused him to stop eating. We might have caught the problem earlier but Flash has always had periods where he would act weird and hide for a week or two before returning to his normal behavior, which was slightly less weird. We noticed his weight loss on a Friday and arranged to bring him to the vet when they opened Monday morning. By then there was nothing that could be done.


I don’t remember exactly when or why, but close to the same time that we lost a cat, we gained a cat. Our oldest cat Princess, who was living with Rose’s son, was returned to us. This brought the cat count back up to five. Chris, who was used to dominating the other cats, was now presented with a cat who, for some strange reason, was untouchable. Chris would basically avoid her like a telemarketer as he continued on to more easy prey…like Tigger or Abbey.

Princess was easy to understand though. She was a spoiled bitch who hated everyone but people and wanted nothing to do with other cats. I think Chris understood this right away, or perhaps princess stood up to him and showed him that she was not the cat to bully.


Abbey, however, was complicated. She was very shy and alway ate her wet food or kitty treats away from the other cats. This is because Chris or Tigger would eat theirs fast and then eat Abbey’s food. When that happened Abbey would walk away and then come back when every one was finished, hoping for some leftovers.

Princess hated abbey and would hiss and growl every time Abbey was near, but shy, timid Abbey would stand her ground around Princess. I think sometimes she would move in closer because she knew Princess hated it and then look around like nothing was happening. Chris played it safe, for a change, and stayed away.

Everybody Loves Chris

Chris has always had a way of endearing himself to people. Perhaps this is because those people do not live with him. It is like the grandparents who are happy to play with the grandkids and equally happy to give them back to the parents just before they get tired and cranky. Equally like grandparents, when we say they can take Chris home, they always refuse. I think if we want to give him away we have to stop telling people about his bad side.

Of course, we would never give him away because he has endeared himself to us just like he does to everyone else. We also know that nobody but us could handle him for more than a few days.

Chris is not a shy cat and will always introduce himself to new people. Sometimes he will follow them around like a puppy dog. This is especially true when someone comes in when we are not home. A guard cat he is not!

Shortly after we adopted Chris we had a leaky faucet that needed to be repaired. Since Rose was the manager there, she sent one of her maintenance techs to fix it. He later reported that Chris was with him the entire time. He even climbed on top of him when he was under the sink trying to work.

You would think people would be annoyed at that kind of behavior but I think it is so unusual that people can’t help but be amused.

I’ll play nice with the baby only until it’s my turn.

Tub Pooper C

Chris had a few minor medical problems when we brought him home. Rose said it was common for shelter cats to have issues so we waited to see if they would clear up. The first problem was with his eyes, Especially with his left eye. He seemed to sometimes not open that eye as wide as the right one. He also seemed to always have what we call “eye boogers.” It is like dried up mucus in the corners of his eyes.

We seemed to be constantly cleaning his eyes. Eventually the problem diminished but it never really went away.

This is Chris a couple of days after his adoption. Notice the “eye booger” and the partly closed left eye.

Of course we were not lucky enough to have a cat with one problem. He also had a very loose stool, almost like diarrhea and he seemed to always be pooping. He would poop and then five or ten minutes later he would poop again. The funny thing was, he cried when he had to go. Actually, I don’t know if I would call it a cry, more like an announcement.

Unfortunately, he started pooping in the bathtub. Imagine the joy of coming home to that. The pattern seemed to be that he liked an absolutely clean box and he would use the tub if that wasn’t the case. This was a problem because he would poop once in the box and then have to go five minutes later but not want to use the box with poop in it.

We had to start monitoring the boxes very closely and clean them when they were used. Even that only worked so well because sometimes he would poop in a used box and sometimes he would poop in the tub when the box was clean.  Fortunately he would always pee in the box.

We started listening for the announcement and when we heard it would pick him up and put him in the box. This worked sometimes but not always. It was like potty training a two-year old.

Eventually we started filling the tub with water. This worked for a while but we had to remember to keep water in the tub. After awhile, he started pooping on the floor next to the toilet. This was a game changer. Now the water in the tub was useless and since the tub was easer to clean, we gave up on that idea.

The best thing about having Chris around is that he keeps us entertained. We were even able to find something funny about his pooping. We started calling him Tub Pooper C in reference to Grand Master B from Married With Children.

There is more to this pooping problem that would be better told in future stories. I hope you will join me. Next time I will tell you about Chris’s name.

The Great Escape

We discovered right away that Chris was not going to be content as an indoor cat. Not long after we brought him home, I opened the front door to come in and he raced onto the third floor breezeway. I wasn’t concerned at first because I assumed he was unfamiliar with stairs and his hesitation to go down confirmed that…or so I thought.

As soon as I tried to pick him up, he shot down the stairs, barely pausing on the second floor before racing to the ground. I set the groceries I was carrying in front of the door and gave chase. When I got to him investigating what was in the bushes, he saw me and ran off to the side of the building.

I was eventually able to catch him and struggled to carry him back upstairs. He was fine until I got halfway up the stairs and then he was determined to jump free.

We had a small patio that I had rigged with screening so the cats would not be able to jump down. It was a fairly long way down and I did not want any of them to get hurt. I also did not want to lose any of them. Shortly after Chris’s first foray outside, he was on the patio one morning while Rose and I were getting ready for work. Rose heard a cat crying outside in the distance and thought a cat was in distress. It was too far away to be any of our cats so I went outside to have a look.

When I got downstairs I saw a gold cat crying to get inside the apartment two floors below. There was a bowl of water next to him so obviously this cat belonged there, but I was amazed at how much he looked like Chris. As I got closer, I realized that it was Chris. How did he get outside and why was he desperate to get into the wrong apartment?

Later that day Rose talked to the woman who lived on the first floor and the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. I can only think of one way he could have escaped the patio. He must have squeezed his body, like a cockroach, through the impossibly small opening under the railing and then jumped to the ground. I only know this was possible because I saw him squeeze under our dresser the first day we got him. We had to pull a drawer out to get him out.

Chris on patio – notice the small opening under railing – Photo taken two days after we brought him home.

Once on the ground, and probably after a thorough investigation of the area, he must have assumed his home was on the first floor so he cried to come in. The women living there opened the door and Chris ran in like he owned the place. She said he ran around the living room in apparent distress. He was probably wondering how we changed the furniture so quick.

She opened a can of tuna for him, hoping that would calm him down, but he wasn’t interested. Eventually she put him outside with a bowl of water. That is where I found him.

He has since turned out to be a great lover of the outdoors which is a shame because he is an inside only cat. Occasionally he gets out but those are stories for another time.

Who Needs Sleep?

The first night with Chris was rough. Actually, every night for the last two and a half years have been rough, but we were not prepared for Chris at that time.

Normally our cats would gradually filter into our room at night and congregate on my side of the bed, eventually taking up about a third of the space, That was the biggest problem we had no deal with. Suddenly, we had a five and a half month old kitten who loved to bite. It did not take long to realize why he was returned to the shelter.

He would not sit still. If he wasn’t laying accross my neck and biting my nose, he was laying on top of Rose’s head and biting her ear. Rose used to tell people jokingly, “You can wear him as a scarf, you can wear him as a hat…” If the face biting wasn’t bad enough, he would see our toes move under the sheet and attack them. Ouch!

Removing him from the bedroom wasn’t an option because he would cry at the door and worse, dig at the carpet. It was very rough for a while getting enough sleep. Even today, on his best day, he wakes us up at 5:00 a.m.

We tried every thing we could think of. I tried putting something in front of the door so he couldn’t dig at the carpet but then he would come around into the bathroom, which had two entrances, and cry and scratch at the door relentlessly. I would have closed the second door but the litter boxes were in there.

We tried pulling the blanket over our heads so he couldn’t bite us but then it was like a game to him and he would work at digging his way in. I even bought a tube of calming gel but using it on Chris was like trying to calm a hurricane by blowing in the opposite direction. Eventually I felt like my marrage could be in jepordy if I couldn’t find a way for us to get enough sleep.

Day two – Chris attacks stuffed animal