Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 16, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING.... None of my pictures of Domino turned out well this week, so instead you get a bigger than usual picture of Inkblot in the backyard, unwinding from a hard day at the office.

A hard day? Sadly, yes. We had a paper shopping bag up on the table that morning, not intended as a cat toy, but not yet put away either, and it viciously attacked Inkblot and chased him all over the house. He finally ended up cowering under the bed, where I rescued him and untangled the bag handle from his neck. After that, he needed some serious relaxation, and the backyard bushes seemed just the ticket.

I've got people coming over tonight, so I'm taking off a little bit early today. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Kevin Drum 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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That is an unusually fine Inkblot picture. So farsighted, and serene.

Optical Weenie will be so happy she might need that mat after all.

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

What a handsome boy!

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Friday scatblogging (the first one) this week is Friday horseblogging with Scat Daddy.

I've got a second that I'll be posting soon.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 16, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK


That may be one of the best picture of a cat I've ever seen. The coloring, shadows and look on Inkblot's face conveys all that is so damn appealing about these truly noble creatures.

Posted by: Chicounsel on May 16, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

That really IS a particularly fine picture of Inkblot. But did you have to relate that a mere shopping bag frightened him so much he had to hide under the bed. What is that going to do to his military creds image.

And by the way, has Marian finished his sailor suit yet? Also, what are you serving us for dinner tonight - catnip infused Ahi tuna I hope.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 16, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Never mind the cat. I like big, sweaty animals!

Posted by: dramatic horsefly on May 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Well, lemme tell you, Chicounsel, he didn't look so noble when he was tearing around the house with that bag around his neck.....

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Great photo, Kevin. Definitely the best catblogging picture you've posted. Cats are very photogenic, especially when they're doing the whole regal thing.

Posted by: gummitch on May 16, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

My cat has done the bag-handle-caught-around-neck-panic-scramble too... It's guiltily amusing.

Have a nice weekend Mr. Drum.

Posted by: flubber on May 16, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Now we know why he's not a very courageous cat ... if that's what a mere thin paper bag could do, can you imagine the scale of the attack of the big, thick, rigid cardboard box? Now to mention the ammunition of all those peanuts?
no wonder he wouldn't get into it last week.

Posted by: Diana on May 16, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yes it is a lovely picture but I can't get the picture of the cat running around with bag attached. I know I shouldn't laugh so as to not hurt the kitty's feelings buuuut.......

Posted by: ET on May 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Friday scatblogging this week (the second one) is the SCAT bus full of senior citizens. Don’t laugh; it’s a serious issue they’re facing.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 16, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

When their flight reflexes kick in, they don't think well.

Posted by: Colin on May 16, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I know it shouldn't be funny when they get caught in a plastic bag and start shooting around the room in a panic but, damn, it just is.

I do at least try to stop laughing before I soothe the traumatized cat.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 16, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's a good picture, but it would've been soooo much better if you'd made Domino's presence felt through the magic of double exposure. Practical AND classy. Maybe you could get Marian to feather their hair.

Posted by: junebug on May 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

That's the most Presidential-looking photo of Inkblot yet.

Posted by: Brian on May 16, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, a beautiful picture of a magnificent cat.

I'm not surprised that you were not able to get a decent picture of Domino. Black cats - even ones with white markings - are damn difficult to photograph well. Nothing looks distinct. My black cat's best picture is of her in silouette.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on May 16, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I know it shouldn't be funny when they get caught in a plastic bag and start shooting around the room in a panic but, damn, it just is.

Please be careful with plastic bags around animals. Accidents do happen and it doesn't take very long. The grief, horror and self-recriminations last forever.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie: Also, what are you serving us for dinner

I don't recall Kevin mentioning they were having some trolls over...

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

What are US supermarkets coming to these days, with deadly germs on grocery cart handles and the kamikazi tactics of grocery bags...it is enough to make anyone take to the bushes.

Great photo!

Posted by: Zit on May 16, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

What a beautiful creature. You have made my day. Thanks, Kevin.

Posted by: Steve on May 16, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Howdy, Zit. Couldn't you have had the decency to say "take to the woods" and not use the b-word? Sheesh.

Hey, everyone. Here are some more cats.

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall Kevin mentioning they were having some trolls over...

Well I combed my hair today, and since the Yakima is starting to flood I crawled out from under my bridge, so I am not a troll for today. Really hate the loss of tolls that I get from the billy goat gruff types though.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 16, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Since you brought up stressed out kitties (it was a very fine shot of Inkblot, btw), does anyone have any suggestions for driving 800 miles with two cats who will be traumatized as it is (I am picking them up from a shelter)?
(apologies for the thread hijack)

Posted by: Gina on May 16, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I've driven across country with 2 cats, twice. Get carriers for them, add a litter box to the floor of the back seat, and a water bucket somewhere else.
Start off with the kitties closed in the carriers. There may be some howling, but probably within 20 minutes they will be sound asleep. After that you can open the cages and let them roam around - however you have to watch for the one that will invariably decide to have a nap under the brake pedal.
Also, they have mild kitty tranquilizers that you can get from a Vet - they work quite well.

And keep the A/C on.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 16, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

We pre-emptively cut the (rope-style) handles off of shopping bags, to avoid the panicked, strangled kitty effect.

As to pictures of black cats, ours were fabulous,
often made more so by having me in the background,
out of focus. (Human owner as 'extra')

Posted by: catclub on May 16, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am sorry but I need to disabuse you of the idea that cats have Human owners. They don't, they have staff.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 16, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, why I scatblog. It’s a protest against the inanity of catbloggers like the one giving a cat antidepressants. More details at the link.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 16, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

mild kitty tranquilizers

Got leftovers? After all the provigil yesterday, I need something.

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, why I scatblog.

Finally, why we still don't care.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot is indeed feline royalty.

Posted by: Vincent on May 16, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Other people's cat blogging bores me, so I come here to mock this cat blogging. Am I not a clever and contrary fellow? Yes, I thought so.

Posted by: atlantic shoo-fly on May 16, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Am I not a clever and contrary fellow? Yes, I thought so.

And, if you're still in doubt, read my completely straight-faced description of myself on my blog. But don't have food in your mouth when you do it.

Posted by: erratic standby on May 16, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I've finally finished my DVDs of the series "Significant Others" (viewing interrupted by a DVD player that went defunct). I love that show--every moment is a comic gem.

And this week I watched the Australian sitcom "Summer Heights High." It's a lot of fun. The character Ja'mie King really reminds me of this horrible, phoney girl from my high school named Solveig. And HBO just bought it for air in the United States! So you HBO-ers out there will be able to watch it.

Posted by: Anon on May 16, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

That may be one of your best pictures yet!

Posted by: Ann in AZ on May 16, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I love my boy Kev..and all; I will continue to visit his blog, 'cause the kid has skillz...but, this Cat Blogging is so GAY!

Posted by: Big Pussy on May 16, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

For 13 years I sheltered what I modestly believe to be the silliest cat ever to walk on four paws -- a dear sweet little boy but solid kitty litter from ear to ear.

Somehow he got a back paw through the hoop on the elastic cord of a feathered birdie toy. He didn't realize it until he walked away and it followed him, jingling its little bell. So he walked faster and faster until he was running in a blind panic --- jingle jingle jingle it's after me I can't get away help help jingle jingle kabong kabong kabong .....

I found him under a bed with the Killer Canary from Hell glowering at him beneath the bedskirt.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on May 16, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Striking cat picture. I blog about politics and cats (usually) at wevoteprocat.blogspot.com.

Posted by: Gabrion on May 16, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

The green light is very pleasing.

I was at a park and swap and one vendor sold above ground pools. The blue light reflecing off of the water gave everyone one it a pleasingly blue lightness.

Posted by: Brojo on May 16, 2008 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Gina, 80 miles isn't too bad under those circumstances. I would just make sure you have a strong, secure carrier and be ready to tough it out emotionally yourself if they cry the whole way.

You could get a vet to prescribe kitty Elavil, but it's very expensive and hits them hard. Also it is one of the most evil-tasting things on the planet and in my experience just having it forced down their throats ups the stress level massively. You can get it in an ointment that's absorbed through the skin of the ear, but it has much less of an effect.

Cats live entirely in the moment and don't really have much of a sense of time passing, so I honestly don't think the 80-mile drive will be much worse for them than a 10-mile drive.

Just be sure that at the end of the trip, you're able to put them in a smallish room by themselves to decompress and develop a sense of having a safe territory for a day or so before trying to introduce them to the rest of the house/apartment and any other family members.

One more suggestion. There's a superb product, a synthetic cat pheromone, called Feliway or Comfort Zone that makes a huge difference, particularly when introducing cats to scary new places. Most of the big-box pet stores like Petsmart carry the Feliway in a small -- but wildly expensive, $30 -- spray bottle. If you spray the inside of your car and the carrier well with it, as well as their new home for a while after you get them there, it will definitely reduce their stress level. (Don't spray the cats, just their surroundings and your pants legs/sleeves, furniture, etc.) It's a synthetic of the pheromone cats have in the glands on their cheeks that they're always rubbing against things, and it seems to say to them "I've checked this out and it's safe."

Good luck. Good for you for adopting from a shelter.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on May 16, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, your cats are lovely. My understanding is that you have them instead of children, but I am sure you will have children someday...

In California.

Which is on a major tectonic fault-line...just like Szechuan, China.

You need to give the big news of the day another look...

Which is not about cats, or Obama's hurt feelings.

It's about these schools in China being built undercode, on the cheap, hastily, and what not.

Most of the recently built schools in California have NOT been built according to codes now in force for residences, businesses, freeways, etcetera.

I read some article somewhere, years ago, after the last one in California...

Yeah, it was probably in the NEW YORKER. I can't find it, I can't quote it, but I do think its correct to warn you that the schools in California are like, exempt, from the codes that govern the house that you live in...

Seriously, these schools are being thrown up on the cheap by parents obsessed with cutting taxes, buying stupid stuff with their cash rebates...

Now is the time, Kevin, to look at those schools in California. Carefully.

Posted by: wobbly on May 16, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

My vet's office has suggested Using 1/2 of a children's Benedryl to calm a cat who does not travel well. Given the amount of mutual trauma it involves to give Izzy a pill, I decided to pass on the medication.

Posted by: keith g on May 16, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Back in my unenlightened days, we used to get our groceries in plastic bags. One time, our kitty Precious (we've got four now), got her head caught in a handle of a bag and went tearing--I mean tearing--around the house in a panic, plastic bag flapping in the wind. We had two adults and two preteens running through the house, trying to catch the panicstricken kitty.

Some minutes later after we caught her, we all laughed so hard--not out of meanness really, but just because we didn't think a cat could run THAT FAST. We dubbed her "Superkitty." To this day, if you say "Supperkitty" to my kids, they have to supress a giggle.

Posted by: gloria on May 16, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Inkwell: "Is it gone?"

Posted by: James on May 16, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Was the webpage hacked? There are multiple ads for McCain on the site right now.

Posted by: Anon on May 16, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mandy Cat,

They don't reason well some of them, do they? We currently have in residence a beautiful lady who gives new meaning to the words "dumb blond - feline edition." Beautiful fur and markings, but obviously in the next room when the brains were apportioned.

Have you ever read Barbara Holland's Secrets of the Cat?
I can highly recommend it. She describes a cat she once owned as having "the brains of a potted plant."

And, Kevin, that is a remarkable picture of Inkblot.

Posted by: clio on May 16, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Uh oh....

US Democratic Congressman James McGovern was offering the Marxist FARC terrorists help in undermining the Colombian government. Interpol confirmed documents today showing that US Congressman James McGovern (D., Mass.) (pictured), a leading opponent of the Colombia free-trade deal has been working with a go-between, who has been offering the FARC terrorists help in undermining Colombia�s elected and popular government.
Colombia is America�s closest ally in South America.

Interpol disclosed today that there was no evidence that the computers seized from dead FARC leader Raul Reyes were tampered with.

Posted by: Obamabot on May 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot? Somehow that photo made me think of
Ginevra de Benci:


I think it's the green.

Posted by: S on May 16, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

That is a terrific picture! Thanks.

Posted by: Mazurka on May 16, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Swan on May 17, 2008 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

I warned you. Now you get to see how many months it takes for inkblot to look comfortable in a room with groceries.


Posted by: B on May 17, 2008 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

This picture is a keeper. Pick a frame and a display location.

Posted by: little ole jim on May 17, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

A unusually beautiful shot of Inkblot, looking noble and wise. He could use it for his High School graduation portrait.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 17, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know I could feel such affection for an animal that I know only through photos. It helps, of course, that Inkblot is the spitting image of one of my two kitties sitting next to me right now.

Lovely photo.

Posted by: scruncher on May 17, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think that's your best catblog ever. It would be worth your trouble to Photoshop (or your favorite photo software) the green tint out of his coat.

that really is a nice photo.

Posted by: spider on May 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Caption: "Kevin obviously has me confused with another cat, I did not have fear with that bag."

Posted by: Jet on May 17, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Spider: Photoshop ... the green tint out of his coat.

I disagree. I think the green tinge is part of the picture's charm.

Jet wins the caption prize, though.

Posted by: thersites on May 17, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot is absolutely presidential! A noble, beautiful beastie.

Posted by: AuroraD on May 17, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

You're lucky it was a paper bag. Plastic bags are much more terrifying and dangerous to the cat than paper.

Posted by: elfpix on May 18, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK
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