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Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING....When I stopped doing weekly catblogging a couple of years ago, the truth is that it was because I had gotten bored of taking new cat pictures every week. That will probably happen again fairly shortly, but in the meantime catblogging is back!

Inkblot and Domino are getting along swimmingly. "Swimmingly" meaning only that they don't go into hysterics at the sight of each other, of course. They now eat dinner together, stare at each other in a curious cat-like way (see picture on left), but otherwise leave each other alone. Inkblot occasionally takes an odd little swipe at Domino, which she treats with a casual hiss and the contempt it deserves (which is exactly how Jasmine treated it too). It's sort of comical, really. Not only does Inkblot outweigh her by ten pounds, but it turns out that Domino's previous owners had her declawed. Inkblot could crown himself king of the household if he wanted, but luckily his little walnut brain isn't up to the task and peace reigns.

A few days after we got her Domino took to sleeping in the crack between two of the cushions on our sofa, which left no place for me to sit. So I went to the store and for ten bucks I bought a little oval cat bed that I put smack in the middle cushion. My goal was to train her to sleep there instead. Cats aren't famously suitable for such training, but in this case it worked out spectacularly well. In fact, now that she's settled in we can barely get her to move from her newfound bed. Last night, though, she apparently became convinced that something was under the bed and knocked it to the ground. Now she's treating it with suspicion. Only temporary, I hope.

Kevin Drum 2:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Awww...so cute! This time stay with the kitty pictures Kevin...at least for special occasions!

Posted by: Winnie on January 26, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Last night, though, she apparently became convinced that something was under the bed and knocked it to the ground. Now she's treating it with suspicion."

Sounds like our president.

Posted by: PeakVT on January 26, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well I'm sure Mick Jagger gets tired of singing Satisfaction. But he does it for his fans.

Posted by: Dave Johnson on January 26, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ooooo, kitties! Glad to hear they're getting along, cat-style.

Posted by: TheOtherWA on January 26, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

My wife brought home a sheepskin for Henry, our older male. Instant bliss. Lots of purring and paw-pushing. This was his NEW BED.

But it only lasted a few weeks. Now the couch in the den is his favorite spot. Cats like to switch things around, I guess.

BTW, I see you're cats are outside. Do you worry about them being out in the neighbourhood? We recently lost our younger one. He wandered away during his meant-to-be-supervised yardbreak and was hit by a car. Very sad.

We're torn by this. Cats should have contact with nature but these streets are so dangerous. Lots of guilt. Henry is now an indoor cat.

Posted by: fivewhistle on January 26, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

As far as declawing and dominance go I don't think it makes any difference. Both of our "top cats" in the last 10 years have been declawed in an otherwise clawed (although regularly clipped) cat household.
The declawed hissed and swiped their way to the top of the heap with no trouble.

I think it's personality that counts, myself.

Posted by: clio on January 26, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

OT: WashingtonMonthly GreaseMonkey disemvoweller.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - off topic, but I'm too lazy to figure out your contact info.

I think Larry Kudlow at the Corner has a post http://corner.nationalreview.com/ up that you could treat as a challange. How about a chart comparing average hourly wages and/or unemployment rates with the level of union membership by state. None of this "low tax, pro business, population growing states, with strong economic growth" crap that he typically sites to show what a great economy we have now, while the middle class keeps falling further behind.

Don't know what the chart would indicate, but I have a good guess.

Posted by: Common Knowledge on January 26, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Domino's dominance, a friend of mine who used to run an actual, licensed cat-rescue shelter (a thing I thought was always the purview of spinsters and widows, not a matter of bureaucracy and licenses!) told me that the oldest female will always establish dominance in any multi-cat household, claws or no claws.

Posted by: cmac on January 26, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Love seeing the pictures.

And so sorry firewhistle that you lost your baby Very sad - I know how you must feel - it's devastating.

I was feeding one outside, finally made friends, discovered it was a "she," so grabbed her and got her to Humane Society for spaying. Meant to keep her inside for "two days" to recoup. Of course, she's now member of family (3 others). She came down with a UTI, which then reoccured after four weeks. This is not supposed to be contagious, but every one else got it too - my favorite cat of all time - a male - spent three days in the "hospital." $1800 and three weeks later everyone seems to be getting back to normal. What a month. Talk about stress! I look at Gracie and think, why oh why didn't I leave her outside, but she's such a nice gal the next thought is oh, what the heck, it's only money and she's fun to have around. Obviously, I'm a cat lady. lol More info than you ever wanted to hear?

Posted by: Susan-Tampa on January 26, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmac,

Oldest female becomes dominant, eh?

I'm sure I've been trained well enough that I would never mention any resemblance to human behavior.

Nope.

Speaking of the 10-dollar bed - cats AND dogs seem to LOVE those things, at least in the winter when it is chilly. I think the sides are like blankets to the animals.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I am very nervous about the cat dominance issue as I am about to take in another cat - my mom's 18 year old female (my mom is having some health problems and can't take care of her anymore). I already have a boy kitty and a girl kitty, both under a year old. They are pretty much equals in the house, with the girl having the more outgoing personality, and the boy being twice her size so he will occasionally just tackle her to show her who's boss. The 18 year old is a very passive cat, always has been. When I was a kid, she would be submissive to my other crippled cat. Right now she shares my mom's porch and her food with the neighbor cats. So I am wondering how they will all get along. I suspect that my little girl kitty won't like the old kitty and will be mean to her.

Posted by: J.B. on January 26, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Susan,

Thanks for the info. Pets are one of life's gratest pleasure and as such, in my mind, they never need to be rationally justified.

I'm not saying I like high vet bills though. I've often wondered what the price of Vet insurance would be. Probably too high, I suppose.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I would be very careful about letting a de-clawed cat outside. If she wanders off she has no way to defend herself.

Posted by: Needles on January 26, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

J.B,

Are you able to try it for a short time and see how it goes?

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

One cat staring at another is an act of hostility, an attempt to establish dominance. The one who turns away to defuse the situation is usually the less dominant of the two cats.

I hope that they resolve their differences peacefully and live happily, or at least, tolerantly, together.

Posted by: Jame on January 26, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

My Cookie came with no front claws but that doesn't stop her. There is no strafing damage from one of her blows, but the wack itself is sent with such direct rapid fire intent, she has instilled a healthy repect from any of us attempting to step inside the circle of her influence. Domino looks like my Costavi, named for Last Exile's mechanic.

Mine are all indoors too, dogs, bee bee guns, teenagers, cars, and the worst, their own curiosity.

Posted by: Fat Old Grump on January 26, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Inkblot could crown himself king of the household if he wanted, but luckily his little walnut brain isn't up to the task and peace reigns."

Actually, that sounds like Inkblot with his "little walnut brain" is a lot smarter than many humans with their "big grapefruit brains".

Particularly George W. Bush.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I wasn't aware that our president had a grapefruit-sized brain.

Heck, he doesn't need one anyway since "god" is his real decider.

Hurray for feline-tivistic comehandersinchiefs!
(oops, the in should come b4 hand:-) )

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 26, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Pet Insurance has been criticized by my favorite vet, Dr. Fox of the Washington Post, but otherwise I've read good things about it. Last I knew, there were two primary providers of pet insurance, and both were non-profit organizations run by a veterinary association. The fact that they're nonprofit makes me feel good.

As far as adding to your cat household, I have done this after reading a book on "cat psychology" (cut me some slack--I was desperate while trying to add a rescued feral cat to my three-cat household), but I was adding a younger cat to older cats. I don't know for sure how it'd work best adding a senior cat to a household with younger cats. I would recommend you speak with a vet who's especially knowledgeable about cats.

I love this site. My boyfriend reads the blog regularly but sends me the links to Friday cat blogging pages! :)

Posted by: Angela on January 26, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for bringing back the Friday cat blogging.

Posted by: Jeremi Tripp on January 26, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

And, now a break from cat blogging:

More evidence that our stock market is just a game rigged to benefit a few insider cronies.

Still MORE evidence.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 26, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Those little round cat beds are AWESOME. Every cat I've ever known loves those things.

Posted by: Jason on January 26, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

One cat staring at another is an act of hostility, an attempt to establish dominance. The one who turns away to defuse the situation is usually the less dominant of the two cats.

Bush and Ahmadinijad are Cats?

Damn, I wish we could just give the fuckers a couple of catnip-infused stuffed mice and get on with our lives.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 26, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

J.B., just introduce them slowly. Same house, but separate areas for about a week. Then if possible, ajoining rooms with a see-through gate. If after that stage there is no , or slight, antithapy they will probably be able to ignore each other and no one will get too mean.

Posted by: Keith G on January 26, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK
Well I'm sure Mick Jagger gets tired of singing Satisfaction. But he does it for his fans.

I'm not sure I like this reasoning, Dave. I'd sing whatever you wanted me to every night too if you and 50,000 of your friends paid me $150 to do it.

Posted by: stand on January 26, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I love Friday Cat Blogging, thank you! And I love the picture of Domino resting on the silvery gray garden chair. It's nicely composed.

I came across this description written by Robert Louis Stevenson in Travel with a Donkey in the Cevennes, and it seems to fit Domino: "There was something neat and high-bred, a quakerish elegance, about the rogue..."

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 26, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

"...little walnut brain..."

C'mon, Kevin: you call yourself a cat person? I thought everyone knew a cat's brain was the size, shape and weight of a large Lima bean. Only with occasionally better thinking-power. ;)

Posted by: Jay C on January 26, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin

When you tire of Friday Cat blogging invite one of WM guest bloggers to Dog or Cat or Pet blog. Pet stories are a welcome diversion (at least for me) from crazy politics.

My husband and I have three dogs and sometimes four when we dog sit for our daughter. Our pals are diverse; different ages, genders, heritages, and personalities. Yet, they have learned to live, work and play together.....Humans have a good deal to learn from pets.

Posted by: JerseyMissouri on January 26, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm delighted you're back to doing this weekly, Kevin! FCB Lives!!!

Posted by: Elayne Riggs on January 26, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to hear the kiddies are adjusting. Thanks for the pics, Kevin. FCB is a nice change of pace.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 26, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, where have you been all my life!? Cats and left-leaning politics, two of my favorite subjects! so glad I found your blog...happy sigh... As far as declawed cats going outside, I'm with Clio; I think its a personality thing. My old man cat is declawed and has lost a front leg to cancer, and can still snag a mouse! Still "sharpens" his remaining front paw on the RR tie stair-steps of the back porch too. Great pics of your new addition. Having read some back posts, I note why she is a new addition...sorry to hear you lost one. And I'd like to add my voice to those hoping that cat-blogging Friday is here to stay. Thanks for a great blog!

Posted by: sunshen on January 26, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding Domino's dominance, a friend of mine who used to run an actual, licensed cat-rescue shelter (a thing I thought was always the purview of spinsters and widows, not a matter of bureaucracy and licenses!) told me that the oldest female will always establish dominance in any multi-cat household, claws or no claws.

Well, until one of the younger females decides that SHE wants to be the boss cat now, thank you very much, and starts trying to kill the formerly dominant female. Which is why my mother-in-law now has two sets of cats who are allowed to roam the house at separate times of the day.

When our female cat died of cancer, the vet actually advised us to get a male cat to keep our older male cat company, because the older one is going to be 14 this year, and it would have been very stressful for him to deal with the dominance issues that would have come with a female cat.

So we got another (neutered) boy and they're the best of friends, even if the kitten does drive the older one crazy sometimes by wanting to play all. the. damn. time.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 27, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

We seem to have a sunni (female) and Shei (male) both refuse to avoid hostility. After numerious vet visits..latest punture wounds in rear and dislocated tail...one must be given a new home.

Posted by: catwars on January 27, 2007 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

cmac,

Could not disagree more about the oldest female cat dominance theory.

We have six indoor cats - Only the two males go out in the morning on leash.

Of the six cats, the two males, ages 11 and 12, are Type A - One four yr old female, who had one litter, is a Type A - Her daughter, age three, is a Type B.

A year and a half Burmese female is a Type A.

However, our eleven year old female who came from a mixed litter which included our eleven year old male, is a Type B.

Our A Types hang together, and the oldest male is slightly in the lead as to dominance - The B types hang together, with the exception of the two ll year olds from the same litter - Funny sounds on occasion as he trys to recall some far off Tom gene of breeding - They can fix one part, but not something far back in the brain.

Reminds me of seeing pecking orders in prides of large cats in Africa - Oldest producing female is dominant - non-producing females are at the bottom, if not kicked out of the pride.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

My cat is sleeping on the desk behind me in one of those little oval beds. Here's what happens. Cat likes to snuggle tight up against the high side of the bed. Eventually the bed flips over because of the weight of the cat. Cat freaks, won't go near the bed for a while, then comes back to it. Repeat. Repeat.

But it's better than her brother who sleeps in my closet. He pulls clothes off hangers, makes bed on floor in clothes. Nice, right?

Posted by: PW on January 27, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I would get bored of cat blogging too. Makes me giggle to myself though.

Posted by: Buck Roberts on January 27, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not into cats. I just don't have the pet gene.
If you've got cute baby pictures though, I'm your man.

Posted by: Alan Coltharp on January 28, 2007 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

As a veteran of a fairly large number of new introductions of adopted kitties to an existing group, I've found that the following works pretty well: putting the new arrival in a separate room for a few days to get accustomed to the new place; after a few days, let the resident cats into the new cat's room, and take the new cat to a room where the residents have been, and keep everyone there for a while so they can get used to each other's scents. When finally introducing everyone, just keep an eye out so there's no bloodshed, although honestly apart from some hissing and dominance smacks, I've not had any problems bringing new cats into the group.

Catwars --

One thing that really does help a lot, both with new introductions, aggression between cats, and inappropriate elimination, is the Feliway spray. It plugs into the wall and contains pheromones that serve to calm and reassure cats. You might want to try it before giving up your kitty. There are also flower essences that you can put in their water bowls that address aggression issues without any side effects whatsoever. I get all of my stuff like this from www.petsage.com, a holistic pet store in Alexandria, VA. Good luck.

Posted by: CatStaff on January 28, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

There are no boring cats, only boring people. I would rather read about and see photos of your cats every day, but I shall be satisfied with Fridays.

Posted by: biosparite on January 28, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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