Sunday, August 26, 2007

How a Smart Cat Can Outsmart Himself

Alex and I spent most of Saturday sleeping: the cat in doorways; me in bed with three fans blowing on me and an icepack on the back of my neck alternating with reading a novel and dozing in the bathtub filled with cool water with a tower fan blowing on me.

Saturday Alex didn’t try to climb on my chest while I was in the tub. Friday evening when he did that, he slipped off the side of the tub and into the water. If you’ve been reading Nick’s Bytes for very long, then you are aware that Alex hates water in any form.

About 12:30 a.m. Sunday (today) I awoke and realized that I not only needed to make a bathroom call, but I hadn’t eaten since about noon Saturday. I sat on the side of the bed, removed the CPAP mask from my face, turned off the breathing machine and the oxygen compressor, and exited the master bedroom by stepping over the cat sleeping in the doorway.

Alex, of course, awoke and followed me. He didn’t, however, enter the bathroom with me. I believe that his recent experience with that nasty water in the tub is too fresh for him to get near any possible wetness—at least for a while.

The house was remarkably cool, considering how hot it has been the past several weeks. The thermostat read 80 F, which is much better than the 88 F it read before Alex and I took our evening naps. After going through the ritual of opening a packet of Alex’s favorite food, and deciding that it’s cool enough to use my George Foreman grill to prepare the rib eye steak that I had to eat soon or (God forbid) discard, I telephoned the “time & temperature.” Finding that it was cooler outside (75 F) the house than inside (80 F), I opened the front door and set the tower fan so that it pulled the cooler outside air into the house. Then, I began preparing my dinner.

After I had dined rather hastily because the cat with the endless appetite was drawn to my dining table by the fragrance of the steak, I sat at my desk, opened my notebook computer, and went online to read emails and visit blogs with new posts. It was a marvelous experience because my desk is in a direct line to the front door and the tower fan located between the open door and desk was blowing brisk, cool air directly on me. Meanwhile, Alex meandered to the open door, sat in the threshold for a bit gazing into the early morning darkness, and then went out onto the front porch to really enjoy the coolness.

I was so entranced by vicariously joining bloggers on trips to northern Australia and Alaska that I didn’t notice when Alex came back in. I did become aware of him when he touched (read: “clawed”) my right calf, to which I responded by standing up and looking down at the cat and demanding, “Now what do you want?”

Of course Alex didn’t respond: he simply strolled toward the kitchen, expecting me to follow. As I followed him, I suddenly remembered that Alex and I had slept through the time scheduled for the his second Saturday dose of his liquid antibiotic. Thus, I scooped the surprised cat into my left arm, opened the refrigerator and removed the bottle of Alex's medicine, sat at the kitchen table, one-handedly opened the medicine and filled the dropper with 1 ml of the stuff (which, if one is to believe Alex’s most recent actions, doesn’t taste as good as his previous liquid medicine).

With the cat cradled baby-fashion between my left arm and my chest, I followed Alex’s weaving head until I was able to get the dropper through his clenched teeth and into his mouth, where I squeezed the medicine into the squirming cat. Alex made all sorts of faces (who says cats faces aren’t expressive) and, when I allowed him to free himself from my arm, jumped on the table and stared at me as if to say, “That was not fair.”

He then demanded another packet of cat food to get the medicine taste out of his mouth, licked his fur, and went back outside, where he is at this moment curled up on the coolness of the porch.

The moral of this story, if the story has a moral, is: If you are a cat who has blessedly missed a dose of foul-tasting medicine, you should not claw your unsuspecting human and remind him of your existence.


  1. I love going outside at night in summer. I have a hammock that sits on the balcony for that purpose. Or, it will when summer gets here.

  2. I hate getting clawed by the cat! That is not a polite way to ask for anything... LOL.

  3. Poor Alex! You really did get back at him for clawing you, didn’t you?

  4. Oh I love this, especially about the cat's human. I've been owned by cats for 16 years.

  5. Cats are very expressive. They're not that hard to read, either. They want you to know whether or not they're pleased. Because, of course, you only want to please them.

    I'm glad you've had a bit of relief from your heat. I wish I could send you some of the low-60s, high-50s temps we had while in Anchorage.

  6. Ouch! Fab story as always Nick. its sure good to be back catching up with all your news. Love the crazy cats below, too cute! Hope you're well, your blogs looking fantastic, happy Sunday!

  7. I doubt that Alex learned anything from the experience.

  8. I'm just guessing but I don't think that's quite what Alex had in mind, poor Kitty!

  9. I'm glad it's getting cooler for you and Alex, Nick. Poor things, you really suffered this summer didn't you?

  10. Here's another lesson if you're a cat, from this story:

    If you don't like water, then why the hell would you want to get on your owner's chest or tummy when said owner is in a tub full of said liquid that you dislike? LOL!

    btw - my kitty LOOOVES the water!
    She even drinks from the spigot!

  11. ` Heh heh... my kitten needs 2 ml of banana-smelling antibiotics twice a day (her sister is actually jealous of this), but I can only give them to her after she eats.
    ` ...She doesn't eat in front of me anymore!

  12. Another cute pussycat story!