A short lesson on getting what you want in 6 pictures.

Our two cats, Cuddles and Jasper, are reluctant housemates. At best they tolerate each other’s company when it’s absolutely necessary. Such as in the morning when breakfast is served in side-by-side dishes or when the sun is shining through the doorwall making for excellent solar recharging opportunities or even when there is a noise outside and the front window is the only good spot to investigate it. Otherwise they don’t like to share things. Cuddles, for example, has laid claim to our king size bed. If he’s on it then Jasper will generally demur and go elsewhere.

The basement tends to be Jasper’s domain and when I’m on the computer he can often be found curled up in the kitty bed sleeping. Cuddles used to dominate my computer time back when we were in the apartment and my setup was in the second bedroom and he often looks put out when he comes downstairs and sees that Jasper has claimed the kitty bed. Every now and then, though, he gets an opportunity to hang out with me and claim the bed for his own. Jasper, being a master of logic and reason, will sometimes have to convince Cuddles that it’s Jasper’s turn to sleep in the kitty bed. Here is how he accomplishes that goal:

First, establish what it is you want.
You may find someone has already laid claim to your objective and may complain that “they were here first.”

Gently explain to them why they should shut the fuck up and get out of your spot.
“Fuck you, I’m not moving.”
Claim victory via calm reasoning and superior argument.
Relax in your newly claimed objective.

There is little need to resort to (much) violence when you have a well-reasoned argument in favor of your position. We could all learn a lesson or two from this.

WTF: The “Licki Brush” for grooming your cats.

Apparently there’s a group of folks out there in the world who aren’t happy with using traditional pet grooming brushes on their cats. They want something more akin to what a mother cat would use. So someone has invented a tongue-brush you hold in your mouth so you can lick your cat.

No, I'm not fucking kidding.

No, I’m not fucking kidding.

I’m not sure I see the point in this. It doesn’t seem to me that a cat would get more out of this experience than they would from a traditional brush or even just your bare hand. If anything they’d probably be annoyed because now you’re breathing all over them through your nose, which most cats don’t really appreciate. It looks awkward as hell to use and I was pretty sure this had to be a joke, but their website claims they’ll be launching a Kickstarter to raise funding for it soon.

I can’t imagine this will be a big seller, but at least they can take comfort in knowing that they have at least one potential customer out there:

Yeesh. I love my cats, but I have my limits.

Clever girl.

 

And now: A cute story about a little girl and her pet fish.

 

This does seem very familiar indeed.

Simon’s Cat perfectly captures yet another of the joys of being roommates with a feline:

In our house this fun is doubled as it seems to infect both cats at about the same point in time. At least once a night we’ll hear something fall to the floor in another part of the apartment and ask aloud to each other “What the hell was that?”

Man dies after competing in a roach eating contest to win a snake.

I understand the appeal of pet ownership and I also understand that the more exotic a pet the more it can cost to acquire. Snakes aren’t my thing, but some folks like keeping them and some of them can cost a pretty penny. So it’s not entirely surprising to me that some folks would engage in silly competitions for the chance to win an expensive snake. What I can’t understand is why anyone would consider snakes, or any other expensive pet, worth eating cockroaches over.

But apparently I’m in the minority in that opinion as a contest held at Ben Siegel Reptiles in West Palm Beach required contestants to do just that and several people signed up to participate.

Alas, for contestant Edward Archbold it would be the last meal he’d ever consume:

Edward Archbold, 32, collapsed after winning the repulsive contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store. Archbold, who was competing for a free python, was stricken outside the Deerfield Beach business, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators reported that Archbold “wasn’t feeling well and began to regurgitate” shortly after the contest’s conclusion. “He had consumed dozens of roaches and worms,” a sheriff’s spokesman noted.

Archbold was pronounced dead after being transported to an area hospital. An autopsy was conducted, and the Broward County medical examiner is awaiting test results to determined Archbold’s cause of death.

On the positive side, he won the contest.

If I had to guess I suspect he may have had an allergic reaction. Eating bugs isn’t particularly dangerous in itself if they’re cleaned and cooked, but live insects can carry a number of potentially problematic diseases (read: e. coli and salmonella, among others) not to mention possibly pesticides.

Knowing all of that, I still wouldn’t eat cockroaches — live or otherwise — unless I was starving and had nothing else at hand. Certainly not for an expensive pet. Very few bugs, uh, bug me, but roaches are at the top of that short list. I couldn’t tell you why. I’ve never had to live in a roach infested home and my encounters with them over the years have been few and very far between, but they give me the heebie jeebies.

And now for a bit of positive cat blogging.

Given the downer nature of the last couple of entries about cats I thought I should take a moment to do a positive one.

One year ago today is when Jasper stumbled into our lives. When I brought him home he looked like this:

Today, he looks like this:

Amazing how much difference a year in a good home can make, eh? He’s grown up into a beautiful, good-natured cat who loves to talk to you whenever he gets the chance. We met by total chance and I think both of us were pretty lucky it happened.

A small memorial.

We didn’t opt to bring Melvin’s body home to bury mainly because we live in an apartment and don’t really have a yard. We also didn’t opt for keeping his ashes, but we did bring home his collar though I wasn’t sure what we’d do with it.

Then I looked up and saw the clock I got for my birthday this past August and the answer was obvious:

Click to embiggen.

I should probably tighten it up a bit so it doesn’t look quite so ridiculous.  It was a spur of the moment thing. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it there, but for right now it’s in the right place.

Saying goodbye to an old friend.

A happy Melvin from 2009.

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that Melvin, the Official SEB Cat, has passed away. Melvin came to live with us 8 years ago on my birthday — August 25th, 2004 — and he was the best birthday gift I could have hoped for. We got him from my sister, who had taken him in after he was mauled by a dog. She spent the money at the vet to get him patched up, but already had her own collection of cats and a dog and really couldn’t afford to take on another one. So she called us and we said yes.

He was never much of a lap cat, I can only think of a handful of occasions he ever got into my lap and almost never into anyone else’s, but he did like to be near people. He would sit on the arm of the chair or couch so you could pet him and often he would come up and tap you on the shoulder to get you to follow him to his food dish so he could be petted while he ate. He become an indoor only cat for most of his time with us, something he wasn’t always happy with, but he made the best of it. He moved with us four times over the years and always managed to turn the new place into home.

A pic taken just under a year ago of Melvin hanging out on our computer desk.

Over the last 6 months he had lost a lot of weight dropping nearly 5 pounds and then over this past weekend he took a sudden turn for the worse. He was lethargic and having trouble focusing, dehydrated, not eating, and having trouble using the litter box. A trip to the animal hospital Sunday became a transfer to our regular vet on Monday to the news today that he wasn’t improving despite intravenous fluids and other treatments. He was uncomfortable and tests pointed to a likely cause being pancreatic cancer.

So today Anne and I went to the vet’s office immediately after work where we spent a little time with Melvin to say goodbye. He was conscious, but still unfocused and was obviously uncomfortable despite being on pain medication. The doc came in and administered the drugs that would put him to sleep for the final time. It was stunningly fast. Literally a matter of moments. He licked his lips two or three times as if he was tasting something and then he was still.

Melvin is not the first pet I’ve had to let go, but he is the first one I was there for when the time came. It was a heartbreaking thing to do, but I knew it was the best thing for him. Any other decision I could have made would’ve just prolonged the inevitable and made him suffer unnecessarily. He had a pretty good run at 14 years of age and trying to coax anything more from him would’ve been selfish. I know all of this and yet it doesn’t make me feel any better.

Goodbye old friend. You will be deeply missed.

How this for irony: PETA kills a majority of the pets they take in.

PETA has always bugged the shit out of me and now I have one more reason to be annoyed. For all the talk of protecting animals that they do it turns out that the vast majority of animals they take into custody end up being euthanized:

“The facility does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody,” Kovich concluded in his report.

Kovich also determined that PETA employees kill 84 percent of the animals in their custody within 24 hours of receiving them.

“[PETA’s] primary purpose,” Kovich wrote, “is not to find permanent adoptive homes for animals.”

Surely this has to be some sort of mistake, right? Surely an organization so devoted to the well being of animals would never consider killing most of the ones they are taking in, right? Surely they have a good explanation:

PETA media liaison Jane Dollinger told The Daily Caller in an email that “most of the animals we take in are society’s rejects; aggressive, on death’s door, or somehow unadoptable.”

Dollinger did not dispute her organization’s sky-high euthanasia rate, but insisted PETA only kills dogs and cats because of “injury, illness, age, aggression, or because no good homes exist for them.”

Well that last reason seems a little odd, but perhaps it’s true that the vast majority of them are unadoptable for some reason or another.

PETA’s own history, however, shows that this has not always been the case.

In 2005, two PETA employees described as “adorable” and “perfect” some of the dogs and cats they killed in the back of a PETA-owned van. The two were arrested after police witnessed them tossing the animals’ dead bodies into a North Carolina dumpster.

PETA had no comment when the Daily Caller asked what sort of effort it routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care.

Or perhaps they’re just full of shit. One suspects that they devote the vast majority of the funds they raise on advertising and harassment initiatives as opposed to, say, proper facilities and outreach for the animals they take in. The Humane Society routinely euthanize animals as well, but they at least make an attempt to determine if an animal is adoptable and find them a home if they are prior to killing them if at all possible. Somehow it’s not at all surprising to me that PETA is as hypocritical as it is obnoxious.