Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Few Weeks with Muffet

Every day with Muffet is a new set of adventures and challenges. We're both training each other, and meanwhile she's adapting to her new environment AND growing into adulthood. She's bigger and heavier than before but still has the spindly, long-legged look of a furry spider.

Here are some scattered impressions from the past few weeks.
  • They say that "curiosity killed the cat," and now I understand why. Muffet wants to explore everything. She would climb into a running wood chipper if given the opportunity. When I washed my first load of clothes after her arrival, I went into the basement during the wash cycle and there was Muffet, sitting in the laundry tub and staring up into the washer's outflow pipe, wondering what would happen next. I removed her but there will surely come a day...
  • Yes, she has been scratching my wonderful new chairs. A liberal misting of cat repellent seems to have helped, and I've also been rewarding her each time she uses her scratching tray. As a result she spends much of her time scratching at her tray, staring up at me in confusion, and then scratching some more. It's our way of bonding.
  • Play...ooooh, play. Our morning and twilight involves burning off her excess of energy, which she signals by batting at my ankles. She doesn't care for balls or tiny facsimile mice, but she gets a kick out of a plastic spring that Delirium gal A. gave her, and she REALLY likes Zsa Zsa's old "feather snake," (see picture) though that game always ends with her hiding under the bed and just watching it go by, which is boring.
  • There was a time when I answered to her every beep and meow, which was a mistake. Now she's like the kid who stands at the bottom of the stairs and yells "HEY MA!!! I'M HUNGRY!!! COME HERE!!!" It will take some time to extinguish this behaviour, but until then my mornings are a little tense: she's a loud girl and talkative even at the best of times, and at 5am this is far from welcome.
  • Remember that Stray Badass Cat who used to terrorize Zsa Zsa? Muffet finally had enough of him the other day, and she squeezed under the patio gate and KICKED HIS ASS ALL ACROSS THE PARKING LOT. I had to stop her even though I was secretly proud of her, and that cat doesn't come into our patio anymore.
  • Zsa Zsa never noticed bugs, but Muffet hunts them relentlessly (except for bees, thankfully). Maybe this is something that cats eventually get tired of.
  • Muffet is no longer terrified of my bedroom and spends lots of time there, though she prefers to actually sleep in the living room. In the morning she comes up to meow at me, and when I finally say "Okay, time to get up," she walks over to me and lies down on my chest and then goes to sleep.
  • Shortly after she was spayed, Muffet became lethargic and very hot. Fortunately she had a vet appointment that day, and they diagnosed her with -- get this -- "Fever of Unknown Origin." This is apparently common in dogs and cats and not just a bad joke. She recovered completely in a few days.


Gary said...

Glad to hear that Muffet is now, er, "Queen of the Castle," (with, um, certain exceptions!).

Her acclimatization has been remarkable, and she’s clearly comfortable with both you and your home. And she’s energetic – no lethargy there.

As for “Fever of Unknown Origin,” I guess it’s just one of those cat things. “Idiopathic,” which means the same thing, sounds more ominous and expensive (I guess it’s just one of those doctor things!).

BTW, there’s a great New Yorker cartoon which you might have seen, showing a coroner’s office (everyone’s a cat in this item). Regarding the deceased, the medical examiner is saying something like, “Yup…curiosity.” It’s not riotously funny, but it’s a visual confirmation of the old motto.

Adam Thornton said...

"Energetic" doesn't begin to describe there an adjective stronger than "manic?" :)

And yeah, "FUO" really does sound like "Fever caused by something that nobody wants to pay to find the reason for." In a human we'd do a bit more work, and even then it's usually just "A cold. Or a flu. Or something."

Curiosity: ha!