Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Well, Socks was one hyper little kitty last night. He really wanted to play.

After rough-housing a bit and sinking his sharp claws into my soft white flesh early in the evening, he went on to play with some of his other toys. The catnip mouse got a workout and was promptly lost (I found it behind the door this morning) and he even showed interest in the swirly ball, chasing it around for awhile. He must be playful if he's interested in the swirly ball - it's one of the most cute toys I bought and he looked at it as if it were something from Mars.

I also got him a "stretchy toy" as part of his basic play kit. It's made of a long stretchy band of soft cloth covered in what looks like leopard spots with feathers attached at one end and a loop on the other. For some reason, he just didn't seem
interested in it hanging on the door. Once in a while, he'd paw at it, stretching it out, then move on to something else.

I tried dangling it while sitting on the couch, but much the same thing happened - he'd just lie on his back, digging his claws into it and biting it, not really doing much. Then, I thought, maybe he'd chase after it. So, I started dragging it around the floor. Socks just looked at me like
I was nuts or something.

Then, something magical happened.

I dropped the stretchy toy on the floor to answer a phone call from a friend. Socks then found the true purpose of the stretchy toy - he stalked it like a snake, spending quite a while pouncing on it, tossing it around, then pouncing on it again.

Well, I suppose it does look like a snake swallowing a bird.

Sigh. I guess only Socks really knows how these toys are supposed to work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Squeak toy meow

It's been tough getting Socks off the couch today, even when I was offering a treat late in the evening. He just looked up for a few minutes, got up stretching, came for his treat and promptly went back to the couch.

After my friend Sean visited for a few minutes, Socks was a little more lively. He went around the apartment doing his "squeak toy" voice for awhile, which I translate to mean either "Let me go outside" or "Bring back the guy who was just rubbing me".

The meow that Socks has - if one can really call it a meow - has to be heard to be believed. He's a good sized boy of a cat that looks something like a little football player (if cats could play football), but always comes out with this tiny little "squeak" when he wants to express himself. Perhaps it's all the steroids.

Socks isn't very vocal. He can go through a whole day without saying much. He doesn't "beg" for food, treats or attention by meowing, but will just look up at you with a bit of longing and a quest for sympathy in his eyes. Once in a while, he'll wander around the apartment "squeaking" for no reason that I can figure out. If you pet him or talk to him, he just wanders around and squeaks some more. Perhaps he just wants to hear himself talk or maybe he's complaining about the general state of the kitty economy or the attitude of the Bush administration towards animals.

He spent pretty much all night on the bed curled up next to me and briefly did his squeaky voice this morning after I got up. Which, in this case, probably translated to "Hurry up and clean out my litter box, dammnit!" He sat in front of the sliding doors this morning watching me leave ... sigh... so sad with those big eyes...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Say 'hello' to Socks

It's an unusual experience being the new owner of a cat. Or should I say "being newly owned _by_ a cat".

Socks is about three years old, a male mixed breed shorthair, formerly owned by my friend Scott. Scott lives out in the country and there's a colony of cats near a farm there that have been reproducing like rabbits.

After Scott took in one of the cats - a big, beautiful gray male he named 'Buddy' - it was inevitable he and his partner Sean would take more interest in general welfare of the cats in the neighborhood. Socks, so named because of his four white feet, was kept by Scott for awhile as an indoor-outdoor cat.

When I'd go over to visit Scott, I seemed to get along with Socks really well. After being a bit shy the first time or so I saw him, he'd be more than willing to jump up in my lap for a bit of rubbing. Finally, Scott and Sean talked me into giving him a home in my one-bedroom apartment.

I have to admit that I was reluctant. I grew up with cats up in the mountains, but my mom never wanted one in the house - she comes from an old German family that insists on everything being spotless, so a kitty litter box, paw prints, and the possibility of scratched furniture wasn't an option.

I had thought about a cat before. Buddy seemed to be good company for Scott and my friend Stuart, who used to live in Greensboro, had a wonderful cat for several years that was his constant companion. But those guys lived in a house - I really wondered if a cat would be bored or feel confined in my tiny little apartment.

Sean and I talked and he planned to bring Socks to his new home on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I thought that would give me a couple of days actually around the apartment to see how Socks would react and if he would like his new home.

Before the grand day, Sean and I went to the local Walmart, purchasing all of the paraphernalia needed to keep my new companion happy - litter box, litter, food and water bowls, scratching pad, toys, cat food, and treats. I almost felt like I was shopping for a new baby. Of course, this baby didn't need diaper changes and had sharper claws.

On the big day, Sean brought him over in his carrier and let him out. He got out, cautiously looking around the place, going from room to room, his tail held low. After a few minutes, he was gone.

Sean and I looked all over the place. He had gone into the kitchen, but where?

We looked in cabinets, next to the fridge, but couldn't find him anywhere. Then, Sean found it - on the floor, underneath my kitchen cabinets was a hole left by some carpenters, that exposed the space in the corner between two sets of cabinets. Yep, Socks was there, discovering a brand new place to hide I didn't even know about.

After a few minutes, he came out and started eating, then continued his tour around the place, checking out his litter box and taking a keen interest in that big comfy couch.

He seemed to be fine and Sean left us alone. He settled down on the couch next to me purring, seemingly feeling okay with this strange guy with all this odd electronics stuff, records and dvd's all over the place.

That night, I got into bed and Socks curled up beside me. Maybe he would be fine afterall.