Advice: Bad Tessa

Dear Meankitty,

My calico, Tessa, was impregnated at an early age by a neighborhood tabby. She now lives with me and one of her calico daughters, Shannon, in my studio apt. Tessa has become quite violent (particularly at night) toward Shannon and myself. Her pupils dilate and the nice, calm, daytime Tessa goes away; making room for insane, ultraviolent Tessa.

I dont like her when she’s like that. Not one bit! What on earth do I do? Please help…




Dear Charlie….

What advice would YOU give Dear Charlie, Meankitty fans? What’s up with this whole Tessa switcheroo? Is this just Tessa’s way of maintaining her SOHC membership? Or is it something deeper?


Sneaky Plans and Catty Tricks

I have incluced two new clever tricks in my torment of Nanny Slave the past week. You all know how I patented the “one paw” maneuver some time ago. Quite the triumph, plus I’m getting some tidy tuna royalties on it since its official inclusion in the SOHC handbook. And whenever I get locked out of a room, I like to use the one paw to get back into it. (Two paws just seem so desperate and are better served for attempting to claw your way through glass to frighten off a stray on the porch.)

Anymeow, a while back Nanny Slave integrated a squirt bottle into her defenses, a story so horrifying I had to tell it on Halloween. Since then I’ve been forced to come up with a work-around.

The bed in Loud Thing’s room, aka Nanny Slave’s room, is up on blocks (like a redneck car) so the humans can store more crap underneath. It has been the site of many a rampaging cat battle since there’s so much clearance, and Loud Thing’s fond of disappearing into the cave, too. To avoid the squirt bottle, I’ve started hiding in the cave to do my one paw scratching. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Right under Nanny Slave’s head, loud and clear, but safely away from the spray. You gotta love seeing a human rolling out of bed, half awake, and holding up the squirt bottle like a gun, trying to find the kitty-induced disturbance and put an oh so temporary end to it.

When I’m under the bed, she’s out of luck.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

I’ll tell you about my other triumph in a day or so after I savor it a bit longer.


PS: Next to come: catku voting!

Always a Meankitty? Or Not?

Waaaay back in October of ’05 my Typing Slave posted a big hairball named Tuxedo Max to the gallery. I liked this hairball’s sophisticated and subtle take on the SOHC requirements and was happy to share him with the world.

His lady slave, however, has some concerns to share with us:

“I just wanted to pass along that TM’s even less qualified as a Mean Kitty now! Back in April, Tux had a mild stroke at seven years old. All the bloodwork, x-rays, everything, came back clean, but he couldn’t walk across the room without listing off to the side. The vet put him on Prednisone, and between that and good old trusty time, Tux is back to about 90% of his original grace (cough) and dignity (cough, cough). He knows he had a close call, and he’s glad to have made it through. You can tell…he actually PLAYS. Yeah, with TOYS. And even with the DOG!”

So, here’s the question for my blog visitors: Once a meankitty, always a meankitty? Or do you have to keep up the mean work? SOHC requires its membership to meet certain basic criteria, but my website is technically separate from that, even though it’s certainly an honor to belong to SOHC.


PS: I wanted to post a picture of Max but Typing Slave is whining about Blogger being bugnuts and says to just go here:

Grandma Slave is Visiting Us

Grandma Slave is coming to spend the night with us so I can go to parent teacher conferences tomorrow. My first Parent Teacher conferences, to be followed Friday by my first stint volunteering at a PTO event. Luckily Grandma isn’t one of those people who comes in and disses the dirt all over your house. On the floors, in the bathrooms, on the furniture, on the kitchen table. We’ve been down for the snot this week, and there’s pretty much a crust on everything. Including us. However, she’s also not the kind of person who comes and cleans your house for you. No, that is called a maid, and we can’t afford one.

I also plan to use Grandma Slave’s presence to get some writing done, if she’ll allow it. Which is what makes this post relevant to “writing”.

Here’s what makes it relevant to cats: it should be interesting to see how Grandma Slave interacts with Meankitty and Big D while she’s here. Owing to her hectic jam schedule (by that I mean the jamming she does with her band, not the strawberry jam she makes and freezes), the 6 cats who live at her house, the dog, and an until recently unreliable vehicle, she hasn’t been to visit us lately. The cats have fallen into quite the routine with Nanny Slave, with the little tricks they play on her, especially at night. How is Grandma going to react to The One Paw? What about Mad Door Scratching? Do you think she’ll appreciate the Midnight Face Inspection? Not that the Party Cats don’t have their own nighttime quirks, such as Cat Pan Bingo and Free Range Peeing, but hey — this is Meankitty we’re talking about. She of the Subtle Psychological Torture and Manipulation. I heard a rumor they were adding a chapter of the SOHC handbook on the tactics she has revolutionized.


Housekeeping Tricks for SOHC members

You know, it’s not often Typing Slave shifts her lazy self to clean house. Something about the kids just get it dirty again as soon as she turns her back. This has literally happened on more than one occasion — spend 30 minutes picking up the living room, walk into the kitchen to start dinner, glance into the living room 3 minutes later to see — you guessed it. A huge mess. She rarely folds the laundry, and when she does, she has to go to great lengths to keep Loud Thing from unfolding it. Heck, it’s not often she shifts herself to DO te laundry, so when she does, it’s a time to celebrate and party, and not in a Kool and the Gang way.

I love the feel of a pair of clean pants straight out of the dryer, all folded up and ready to be hung in the closet. Food Slave’s got more of a selection than Typing Slave because he actually LEAVES the house on a daily basis. All Typing Slave ever seems to put on are nibby t-shirts and sport shorts. Those just don’t have the same feel from the cat’s perspective.

Big D and I try to encourage TS to be a better housekeeper by offering moral support when she….

Ok, who am I kidding? Big D and I like to get in the WAY.

We like to get our hair all over the clean clothes, and we like to get in big fights in the middle of the stacks of clean laundry. I like to run from the other side of the house and take a flying leap onto the table when the laundry’s on it and skid it off onto the floor, where it can fall victim to Loud Thing’s drool and food by products. Granted, I’m not doing that here, but shortly after this pic was taken, I did. Isn’t it a meow to be all boring whenever the camera comes out and then do the funny stuff as soon as it runs out of batteries? Both of these are bonafide SOHC tactics for driving your humans nuts.


Big Dummy Friday

While “Big Dummy Friday” is not at all alliterative, I thought I’d take a page out of the Party Cats book and introduce you to one of the Grandma Slave’s cats. I hear he’s called the “Big Dummy” (aka Sam). I would have to say, based on these photographs, I agree. His posture is classic “Please Rub My Belly” but he doesn’t have the attendant “Venus Fly Cat” upraised head and eye contact combination to accompany his blatant plea for rubbings. Adding bunny paws to the whole mess just puts it over the top. Of course if he routinely combines “Please Rub My Belly” with the more SOHC-approved “Venus Fly Cat”, I suppose that could be seen as somewhat acceptable. However, I cannot find confirmation that this is the case, so one has to assume his moniker is well earned.

A close up of his face seems to hint at eyes closed in contentment. Respectable fang size but the eyes and the bunny paws together–I don’t think so, Big Dummy.

My score on the 1-10 scale of lame, with 10 being a bonafide nicekitty and 1 being a bonafide meankitty: 7


Oh So Subtle Am I!

Nanny Slave was becoming too accustomed to my ways when she stayed here and her sleep patterns were regulating. Well, I couldn’t have that! In addition to all the other sleepus interruptus tortures I subject her to, I have recently mastered the SOHC art of the “loud purr”.

Arguably one of the more controversial SOHC tactics, the loud purr is seen by some as a suck up move. Purring? That’s for nicekitties! Purring shows your appreciation of a human staff member and encourages him or her to continue with the desired task, whether it be petting, tuna-can-opening, string pulling, or what have you.

But the loud purr is subtle and insidious and best used when one of your humans is trying to sleep or concentrate.

Step 1: Lay down somewhere slightly out of reach.
Step 2: Act like you’re going to give the human a break.
Step 3: Whenever the human begins to fall into a pattern of sleep or concentration, activate the loud purr. You may have to build up the muscles in your voice box in order to create a loud purr. Some cats have a soft purr and soft voice, but we all know we’re capable of bringing the noise if we must.
Step 4: Every time the human looks at you or calls your name, purr softly, as if you are incapable of making the loud purr. Purr softly long enough so the human begins to think he or she merely imagined the stupendously loud purr.
Step 5: Activate the loud purr. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until satisfied.

Here’s an article from How Stuff Works about purring for kids:

And here’s one with a lot more detail from Ubiquipedia:


Early Morning Shenanigans in a New Place

The big ones shut me out at night, and Nanny Slave isn’t always here. Yet at 5 am, I simply MUST fulfill my SOHC duties! It’s a requirement I’ve shirked all too often of late. I fear I might get downgraded to the Mean 4 list instead of the top, Mean 5.

So lately I’ve taken to sneaking into Pink Thing’s room early in the morning for bed mouse and jumping. I like to jump over the half-door that blocks her room from Loud Thing. Jump, jump, jump! I’m careful to plant my paws firmly on the edge of the skinny door so it rattles as much as possible. I also like to sit in her window and attack it when the birds perch in the bubby bush outside. This often wakes her up and she falls out of bed and zombies into the living room to complain about me. Which, because of the hour, often wakes up the big ones. Pink Thing does, after all, have opposable thumbs.

I can’t quite say when Pink Thing made the transition for me from small enough person to overlook, unless she had food, to large enough person to taunt. Probably because, as mentioned by Typing Slave in the last blog entry, she is now vacating the house in favor of the school.

Yeah, I like to start on ’em young. Maybe I’ll break Loud Thing in in another six months or so instead of waiting until she’s 5.


Snark Me, Will Ya?

I feel compelled to respond to Merri the Rat’s response to my previous post. Merri apparently feels the life of an outdoor, near-stray, bird and rodent hunting and eating feline is in some way superior to the life of a pampered, worshipped Meankitty such as myself. I imagine the expression on her insolent, way-too-orange face is much akin to the expression in the included photo.

Here is the text of the comment in question:

I confess Meankitty that I secretly worship you and want to be just like you when I grow up. NOT! You couldn’t beat me up even if my front paws were tied together. I’m a young hunter in her prime. The scourge of small animals in my neighborhood. You are a middle aged house cat who looks like she is getting to be as fat as Big D. Plus you let loud thing steal your toys. — Merri

Ah, young fool. Here is a list of reasons why being in the SOHC (Society of House Cats) is better than being an Outdoor Near Stray (ONS):

1) No worms:
2) No worms:
3) Did I mention, no worms?

(Yes, I am aware they are all the same link.)
4) Aside from rare occurrences when Big D has been possessed by aliens and fleas after his attempt to go ONS, no fleas or ticks, either.
5) Better food, without worms.


PS Insofar as Loud Thing stealing my toys, do you realize how much NON-WORMY FOOD she drops on the ground? And how much her toys have increased my own collection? She may borrow my toys on occasion, but it’s nothing compared to what I do with hers.

Ways to Keep the Humans in Line

Typing Slave’s writing career (I SWEAR I’m not kitty-smirking when I say that) consists in part of a lot of packages coming in and out of the house. Rarely are these packages interesting unless they’re from and contain styrofoam peanuts, only they use these plastic bubble things now instead of the much more interesting peanuts. That doesn’t mean I don’t routinely show Typing Slave what I’ll do to her packages and her print outs and her books and all her little papers if she angers me. It’s good to make sure they stay obedient and alert, these humans.

The important thing is to make eye contact when you’re doing it, so they get the message. And thus ends this short lesson in SOHC psychological warfare, subtle category.