Not Understanding

This morning Scooter the Siamese Cat came into my office, yowling at top volume. After I scratched him thoroughly he went to Ann’s office and yowled continuously. She took him outside for a walk. Soon, Scooter was back in my office; I let him sit in my lap for 15 minutes while I worked. Then he went back to Ann’s office; she put him on the deck. Soon he wanted off the deck. He still bounced between our offices, yowling irritably.

After about two hours of the squeaky wheel needing grease, we were getting weary and angry with Scooter’s harassment. I rationalized that the bad weather heading our way had him upset. Ann always worries that he is tired of his food.

Ann went into our bedroom and happened to glance at Scooter’s bed. She discovered that he had barfed in his bed and had been trying to tell us about it. As soon as his bed was cleaned up, he took a long nap.

Anyone have a recipe for crow?

Airedale Dog versus Siamese Cat

Ann and I visited my sister Joyce and her family in Richmond, VA, at Christmas. On the day after Christmas, we went to Linda and Chuck’s home across the street. They have a Siamese cat named Grendel. Grendel is a handsome cat with brilliant blue eyes. But he didn’t have time to socialize.

Joyce’s Airedale Chelsea had followed us to the front porch. Grendel apparently doesn’t like dogs on his territory. Nose-to-nose, Grendel growled and yowled, and Chelsea barked and snapped. He and Chelsea were only an inch apart, separated by the glass in the storm door. Grendel couldn’t leave the battle for long, so we didn’t get to be friends.

I regret not having my digital camera along for pictures and a video of the action. Grendel must have the heart of a lion to be ready to tackle a dog that outweighs him by about 60 pounds. However, his vocal power and yowling volume fall far short of our Scooter cat, which is a blessing for Linda and Chuck (and their neighbors).

Scoot Over

Scootersramp Scooter the Siamese Cat pulled off one of his most surprising stunts ever to disturb our much-needed sleep. To understand what happened, you’ll need some background.

Last year I built Scooter a ramp so he wouldn’t have to jump up onto our bed, where he sleeps night and day. Since he turned 20, his hind legs have lost much of their spring and power. He needs the ramp because sometimes his leap didn’t make it over the edge of the bed, which meant he’d have to grab some cover or sheet with his front claws. Occasionally, he’d fall back to the floor, scratching for balance. Not only did he risk hurting himself, it was a most unpleasant way for us to wake up in the middle of the night — and he always spit out some curse words in yowlese when it happened.

Scoot really likes his ramp (click here for video).

On Tuesday night, we were awakened by a flurry of rustling and scratching. Ann turned on a light and I got out of bed. Scooter was stuck, hanging from the end of the ramp by his front paws — like a rock climber hanging from a cliff! His claws were hooked firmly in the fabric.

I grabbed him, unhooked his claws, and put him on the floor. Ann and I were stunned at his predicament.

Scooter’s mischief sometimes backfires on him.

Home Office Pitfalls

Scootsits_1 I’m talking on the phone to a client in Las Vegas. I see Scooter the Siamese Cat at the top of the stairs.

I’m thinking "Scooter don’t do it!"

He turns around and starts howling. He points his nose up and lets out about five 6-second yowls — they sound like someone is torturing a baby.

I don’t know how he does it, but he can always tell when I don’t want him to howl. Then he really lets go. But if I’m on the phone with a friend and I want Scooter to howl because I’m bragging about his vocal skills, he’s completely silent. Nada.

He’s old but rarely misses an opportunity for mischief.

Scooter the Siamese Cat Is Still Spry at 22 1/2 Years Old

Scooter and I started the morning with our standard morning routine.

Scooter gets up at dawn and starts trying to wake me up. First, he sits beside me and stares at me, not believing that I can sleep while the animal kingdom is celebrating the sunrise. As his patience ebbs, he walks across my chest and jumps off the bed, trying to show me that we should be walking to the door. After several cycles of this, he walks across my neck, stopping when his butt is in my face. He has found that this wakes me up. If these techniques fail to get me up, he resorts to the Siamese solution: loud yowling.

I give in and get up. I’m not a morning person but Scooter has a strong will. After a stop in the bathroom, I put on some clothes and we go downstairs. I grab the outgoing mail and open the garage door. Scooter and I walk out together into the early morning. The sun is just coming up.

I turn on the water spigot to create a small stream of water that runs across the driveway. Scooter likes to drink his water from a stream, like his ancestors in Thailand. While Scooter laps up water, I walk up the driveway to put the mail in the mailbox and get the newspapers. When I return, I watch Scooter walk down the walkway (video) in front of the house.

Scooter wobbles and weaves as he walks. It’s painful to watch. He’s stiff and a little shaky after 22 years of cat life. He was in hundreds of fights before he retired from fighting and hunting, and he still suffers from the battle injuries. I can see the splits in his ears as he limps along (he has three wire rings around the bone in his right leg). I follow him and sit on the front steps to read the paper, keeping one eye on Scooter. I’m his guardian, concerned about the coyotes live in the woods behind our house. Scooter doesn’t hear well now – he’d be easy prey for a hungry coyote. Scootears2

Scooter’s nose works well. He checks the bushes on the edge of the yard like I check email. He gets a sense of all the critter activity from the smells. He slowly works his way along the border of the yard and the woods, sniffing and analyzing the scents. Then he drifts into the woods. I stand up to watch him carefully.

If he goes out of sight, I’ll follow to keep him out of trouble. He finds a bush about 10 feet into the woods that appeals to him. He sniffs and circles, sniffs and circles. Finally he backs up to the bush, points his tail at the sky, and marks his territory. But then Scooter alters our usual routine.

He blasts out of the woods in an old-cat run. He can’t run like he used to. He was about 10 when I first met him, but he was still a great athlete. When he really needed to cover some ground, he ran low, with his tail pointed straight back, his front feet grabbing the ground and passing it back to his hind legs with fluid, graceful power. A cat in a flat-out full run is a special sight to me, whether he is 7 pounds (Scooter), 100 pounds (cheetah), or 600 pounds (tiger). Young Scooter was fast enough to run down a rabbit, and he often did.

Now he runs on stiff legs with his tail pointed straight up. He can still outrun most humans. Seeing him feel spry enough to run makes me feel good and I laugh as I move towards the garage, where Scooter is yowling at the door, demanding that I hurry to let him in. I have a smile in my heart as I turn off the water spigot, walk into the garage, and open the door for the old warrior.

For more weblog posts about Scooter, click here.

Links to stories about Scooter:
Fur Flies,
Know Your Blind Spots
Scooter Rolls Past 104
Scooter the Cat Is 100 Years Old
Sixteen and Wise?
That Darn Old Cat
We All Need Nine Lives

Scooter Playing Possum

The Scooter cat gave me quite a scare today.

I looked in on him and he appeared to be dead. At his age (22 years human, 111 years cat), anything unusual worries us.

But he was just sleeping, illustrating one of the many advantages he has over me — the ability to sleep in any position.

Scooter Got Me Again

Memorial Day weekend was hot and humid in Atlanta. It felt like summer. So, for the first time this year, I didn’t wear socks to bed. (I suffer from cold feet – which is better than hot, stinky feet like my Dad and nephew James.)

About 5:30am on Memorial Day I got up to go to the bathroom. As I sleep walked to the bathroom, I suddenly felt something stuck to the bottom of my foot. As I woke up, I began to realize what it was.

Scooter Cat had dropped a turd just outside my bathroom, perfectly positioned for me to step on. He got me again. I woke Ann up spewing some unkind words at Scooter. But he maintained his Siamese attitude, knowing he would be forgiven within minutes. How can I stay mad at the creative mischief that is the spirit of Scooter?

Related link: Know Your Blind Spots

Alert: Cat Trespassing

I just saw a large gray cat walking across our back yard heading east. (Since Scooter the Siamese cat is too old (in our opinion) to defend his turf, I try to help him out. He gets really angry when another cat enters and marks his territory. If Scooter senses a cat on his turf at night, he can really create a ruckus, howling to get out and vanquish the trespasser. Not good for our sleep….)

So I went out the front door, ran around the west side of the house, and ran across the back yard. The gray cat is walking straight away from me — he could not hear me running up behind him because some strong winds are blowing through the trees, making a lot of white noise.

When I closed within 10 feet of the unwelcome feline, I let out my fiercest roar. The cat accelerated from zero to thirty in a flash and bounded into the woods.

When he was about 50 yards into the woods, he stopped to see what demon had almost snatched him.

I got a good laugh out of it. 🙂 And maybe Scooter’s territory will be off limits to that cat for a while.

Scooter the Cat Is 22 Years Old!

Scooter the Siamese Cat celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday, April 10. This makes him about 110 years old in cat years. On his birthday, he enjoyed many servings of deli turkey, several brushings, and was allowed out (with escort) whenever he asked. He also dumped a bunch of chiggers on me.

(Twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, Scooter picks up a dozen or two chiggers on an outing in the woods. They transfer to me during the night when Scooter sleeps against me. I only got about 8 chigger bites this year, a mild year. Several years ago I was feeding about 40 chiggers on my legs – and it feels soooooo good to scratch them.)

The photo below shows one of Scooter’s secrets to longevity.

So you won’t think Scooter sleeps all the time, he shows some of his spin moves in the video link below. (This video also demonstrates two other talents, yowling and waking up sleepers – Ann was asleep in the other room.)

Click here for Scooter Video (If the video is very small on your screen, click on the arrows on the right near the bottom of the video window.)