Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cat Pimp = me

In keeping with this week's animal theme, I believe I found a home for a kitten last night! My friend Nicole (of the house she and her husband have renovated and made gorgeous!) found herself with 13 stray kittens. Some 8 weeks old, some 6 and some like 4. Lots of kittens.

Since my dear sister Jessica lives in the Philadelphia area and has always had an obsessive love of the cat - she still cries for her first cat, Other, when she hears "Wind Beneath My Wings" - I decided to hook a sista up. With a kitten. Because I'm cool like that.

But on a more serious note, I think it's fabulous that Nicole has taken in the stray kittens and is finding them homes and caring for them. Some sounded like they were in pretty rough shape, but she's nursing them back to health. And it's awesome that my sister is willing to take in a stray kitten and give it a loving home where it can play with her cat Lua and have a life of leisure versus a life on the street.

My cat Harold was adopted from the ASPCA shelter on 92nd St. back in 2005 when I moved to Manhattan.

I'd decided to adopt a shelter cat and had been perusing the online listings on Petfinder.com which lists animals that are being held in various shelters around the country. You can search for your area! At the ASPCA, they had a butterscotch cat named Felix that I thought looked fairly adorable in his picture, but as with any Internet dating service, once I went down to the shelter on a Saturday morning to meet him with my sister Julie (not the cat sister), I was disappointed. There was no *spark*. Felix and I were not meant to be.

Let me back up - when you get to the shelter you have to fill out an application for adoption and then have your information verified by an outside source. We had them call my dad who said sure she can have a cat! And then we got to meet the critters.

After Felix was a letdown (sorry Felix) we met a bunch of other lovely beasties. Some were shy. Some were pet-whores, ready to rub up against anyone who was within 2 feet of them. Some were aloof and very prissy indeed. In the front of the shelter they had a room they called "The Diva Room."

That's where I met Harold.

He was lounging on a carpeted pedestal and a bit of a filthy mess. He hadn't been grooming himself so he was dirty and greasy. He had a cold so he was a bit snotty and sneezy. But he turned up his little green eyes and looked at me and went "Meow?" and I started scratching his head and that was it. I went and met a few others, but then went back and saw Harold again and had decided he was coming to live with me in my wee 5th floor walk-up apartment about 10 blocks south. Maybe not stylin', but way better than the alley where he'd been found semi-starved and sickly.

Paperwork signed. Check turned over for adoption fee. Cat in cardboard carrying box. Done.

Julie and I carried him home along First Avenue and stopped at the grocery store for some food. I'd already gotten a litter box and a wee cat bed in anticipation of the event. We lugged him up the stairs, opened the box and out he jumped. "Meow."

Harold took a few minutes to survey the miniature apartment he'd just found himself in - bathroom, kitchen/living room, bed... Then he jumped up on my bed, saw the little round cat bed in the windowsill, and immediately curled up in it and took a nap.

Home. Safe. Awesome.

I hope Jessica's new cat is just as happy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mice Are Not Your Friends!

A friend of mine just informed me that he has pet mice. PET MICE. That's like getting pet head lice or pet spiders. Pests do not equal pets!

Perhaps I react so vehemently because my office has developed a mouse problem. I'm talking PROBLEM. I find mouse poos on my desk and lining the floor of my cupboard. They ate all my cheerios. They peed in my bowl. PEED IN MY BOWL. I hate mice.

In fact, one time, I singlehandedly killed one that had terrorized my neighbor in a story we call: The Time I Killed the Mouse

I arrived at Carrie's apartment just as the book club meeting was scheduled to start, and she buzzed me up. I walked up to her door, and it opened, but instead of ushering me in, she was coming out, adjusting her coat.

There was a mouse. And she needed traps. Stat. She'd be back.

Okay. Mouse. No problem, I thought, entering her apartment to find a handful of fellow bookclubbers ready to discuss whatever it was we had read most of.

Now, Carrie had a mouse problem, and I had a cat, but my cat was of a highly unreliable sort. I once watched him not catch a bug for about 10 minutes. It was depressing. After a bit of discussion and pesto pasta salad eating, Carrie returned, armed with sticky traps - large white pieces of paper with industrial-strength adhesive, sticky enough to trap even the wiley-est of mouses. They were promptly scattered around the apartment in strategic locations.

Time passes, and there's a general air of unease in the room of ladies attempting to discuss books while a roadent is on the move. The building had sent some dudes to plug up the holes in the walls with the unfortunate effect of trapping the wee beasties inside.

Jump ahead.

Liz strolls out of the bedroom, coming back from using the loo, and she announces that the mouse is on the bed. Alert. Alert. The Mouse Is On The Bed.

Chaos ensues.

I take matters into my own hands.

A broom! Stat! (It was a day full of urgencies.)

The mouse had run into the closet, and there it would meet its fate, I had decided. I created a barrier of stickytraps along the edge of the door, and proceeded to corner the bugger with the broom, forcing him to retreat across the stickytrap barrier. A barrier he would never cross.

Mouse trapped! Shit! Mouse trapped! But still wiggling a whole lot. In a stroke of what seemed like genius at the time, I took another trap and slap! Sandwiched it between the two. He was a goner. I picked it up. But wait, what the heck was I going to do with it now?

"Could someone please get me a bag?"

"Huh?"

"A bag. A bag. Could someone please get up and get me a bag?" I held the stickytrapped mouse out in front of me like a smelly diaper.

"Oh!"

A CVS bag was procured. I dropped the trap into the bag.

We couldn't just leave it in the trash to writhe and starve, it was decided, so Carrie, Liz and I took it outside. Leaving it in the can would be torture. We didn't have a bucket to drown it. So, the only logical step was to throw it against the ground as hard as possible and break its neck. So I did. Twice to be sure.

In retrospect, it might sound like a horrifying thing to do, but it really did end the poor sandwiched animal's suffering, and it kept Carrie from sleeping in the hallway. Which probably had even more mice. But I wasn't going to bring that up.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Attack Squirrels!

I live in Brooklyn. Which is a city. A very big city. Maybe not Karachi-big, but nonetheless. One would not expect to have a "squirrel problem."

But we do, my roommates and I, have a squirrel problem.

Last summer, a vermin of the black squirrel variety chewed a neat little hole in our kitchen screen, and we found him having a grand old time in the kitchen, rooting through the foodstuffs, on two separate occasions. Twice. We then banned leaving the window open, but he was spotted on the fire escape, lustily peering inside occasionally throughout the summer.

Now he's back. Or else it's a fellow squirrel who had been well informed of the tear in our screen right off the fire escape that allowed easy access to nuts that had already been shelled...

Emily witnessed the assault on our pantry and chased the bugger out - and on his way he attempted to carry a BAG OF WALNUTS. What what what? The squirrel was trying to scamper away with booty? This animal is not normal.

Unfortunately for him, the gigantic tear in our screen was alas not big enough for him and the bag of nuts so he was forced to jettison them to make his escape.

So, I hear this story when I come home from work. Ha ha. Funny times.

The next morning, I'm standing in the kitchen, next to the window, washing dishes. Dum-da-dum. Minding my own business when I glance outside.

ACK!

Beady eyes peering back at me. Legs in "about to run" pose. Waiting for us to slip sat the squirrel. Motherf*cker. This beast is insane! How often does he sit there and watch us? I feel so violated.

Not as violated as these people though:

Squirrel goes on rampage, injures 3

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:42am ET135

BERLIN (Reuters) - An aggressive squirrel attacked and injured three people in a German town before a 72-year-old pensioner dispatched the rampaging animal with his crutch.

The squirrel first ran into a house in the southern town of Passau, leapt from behind on a 70-year-old woman, and sank its teeth into her hand, a local police spokesman said Thursday.

With the squirrel still hanging from her hand, the woman ran onto the street in panic, where she managed to shake it off.

The animal then entered a building site and jumped on a construction worker, injuring him on the hand and arm, before he managed to fight it off with a measuring pole.

"After that, the squirrel went into the 72-year-old man's garden and massively attacked him on the arms, hand and thigh," the spokesman said. "Then he killed it with his crutch."

The spokesman said experts thought the attack may have been linked to the mating season or because the squirrel was ill.