The Dippy Cat

The Dippy Cat

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sharks, Jets, and Raccoons

So, there is a raccoon turf war occurring on my patio.
Martha, the blind in one eye, toes missing from frostbite elder Momma raccoon has taken up residence in the feeding area. This is roughly equivalent to having the trash panda version of Blackbeard sculling around in your bathtub.
I don't toss Martha food- I hand it to her on a plate and hope she never figures out how door handles work. I once saw a possum kneel and kiss her ring.
Two young male raccoons, who I have taken to referring to as "Dumb and Dumber" or as "the raccoons soon to be late raccoons" decided to challenge her for the space.
As Martha isn't about to take crap from two want-to-be-Muppets, this was an idea somewhere in intelligence between "invade Russia in the winter" and "submarine screen door".
I am sitting at the work table and minding my own business when the snarling begins. Gently curious and ever ministerial, I glance out the door.
Martha has Dumb by one ear. He appears to be attempting either twerking or a rather determined escape. Whichever it is, it isn't working.
I take a sip of soda.
Dippy, never one to be left out, wanders over to the screen door and nods approvingly.
Dumber stands up in an effort to look menacing. Dippy snickers and lays down on her rug as Martha proceeds to pick up Dumb and calmly use him to beat Dumber about the head.
There is shrieking.
And some wailing.
There is a whirl of fur, with legs and eyes. Raccoons bounce off of the screen door in rapid-fire succession.
Martha is standing on Dumber. Dumb is standing on Dumber. Dumb and Dumber are trying to climb the screen to get away from Martha. Martha is wearing Dumb as a hat and riding Dumber in a circle.
Dippy begins to hop up and down on two legs- she appears to be flashing gang signs at Martha.
Martha picks up Dumb by the tail and begins to beat him against the side of the house. I think she is rolling a cigarette with her other hand.
Dippy falls over from sheer excitement. This is the ultimate in raccoon must see TV.
Suddenly there is silence. I hear what might be the theme from the Good the Bad and the Ugly.
Marshmallow steps onto the patio. There is a moment of frozen terror, and all hell breaks loose.
Raccoons explode in all directions- Dumb runs directly into the screen door and is rebounded backward. Dippy leaps at him- and gets stuck in the screen. She begins to scream.
Dumber begins to scream.
Marshmallow pounces, grinning.
It is over quickly.
Final count: Marshmallow 4, Martha 2, everyone else 0. I am not sure if Dumb and Dumber escaped or if they lay in pieces under the big chunks of raccoon hair on the patio. I am not looking.
Martha is taking a nap on the patio chair. Marshy is cleaning her foot and looking smug on the step.
And Dippy?
Dippy is purring.
This is the most fun she's had all week.

I Don't Care About Waldo- Where the Hell is Dippy?

Bedtime at our house is a family affair. A family with two toddlers- one teething and one in the terrible twos.
It normally is simple. We lay down. There is a lot of angry yowling.
Then there is running.
Then Dippy jumps on the foot of my bed with all of the grace of a hamstrung buffalo and flops over on her side and begins to chew on my toes. Nike jumps lightly and gracefully onto my bedside table and meeps. I move the blanket.
If I do not move the blanket, he will begin to pet my face- running his foot from my brow down over my lips and back again until I relocate the offending fabric, and he lays down against my head, and all is right with the world. He drools.
This morning at 4am I woke up. My glasses are in the bathroom. The room is full of fuzzy silhouettes. I feel no cat on my feet. There is no cat on my pillow.
Suddenly I hear running feet, and a hippo on roller skates bounds onto the bed. It yowls, and burrows under the covers, head first.
It stretches out down my bare leg, and puts all four paws against the skin.
I do not know which cat it is.
I edge sideways seeking escape. The paws wrap around my leg.
Someone is licking my kneecap. As it is not Brian, I am in serious trouble.
I shake my leg softly. I now have a cat with it's arms and legs wrapped completely around my thigh, conveniently near my femoral artery.
I begin trying to remember if I have made funeral arrangements.
A cat leaps lightly up on my bedside table and begins to knead my pillow. I still cannot see.
Oh dear God. It is Dippy under the blanket.
I wonder if last rites can be successfully self-administered.
I begin a combination of the Lord's Prayer and a Tibetan Prayer for the Dead.
I wonder if this t shirt will make a tourniquet.
The cat on my pillow bites my ear- hard- and steps onto my forehead. She proceeds to shove her foot into my mouth, and begins using my tongue for a pull toy. I have found Dippy.
The cat on my leg begins to drool.
And you wonder why I don't bother to go to bed early.

Vampire Zombie Shark A-go-go

I grew up on a steady diet of horror movies. This can occasionally prove interesting. Tonight was one of those occasions.
I go outside to do my normal feeding of the masses.
Miss Possum has some cat food.
I toss some bits for the turkeys to find in the morning.
I check the deer's salt.
Mr. Vole comes to examine the cat food.
Marshmallow eats Mr. Vole.
Nice normal evening.
I sit down on the step with my coffee, contemplating life, whether or not Mr. Vole had funeral plans, and how to train Marshy not to eat the other guests.
I glance back to the dark tree line.
Someone glances back.
A pair of glowing eyes blink.
I squint.
I can see a silhouette standing beside the tree.
It it the size of Chucky, or possibly the dead kid from Pet Semetary.
It blinks again. And takes a step towards me.
There was a long moment where half my brain was saying calm and rational things like "Gee I wonder what that is?" and the other half had begun the Exorcist's Prayer and was frantically trying to remember if bludgeoning werewolves over the head with a coffee cup had ever worked in a movie.
It took another step.
Realizing that this was one of those movie moments, where everyone else screams "RUN!" as some twit wades into the lake where the vampire zombie shark is waiting, I decided that this was the exact moment I wished to stand up and
With dignity of course (and certainly not while spilling my coffee and tripping over my own feet.)
Before I had time to finish making a garlic necklace and remembering if demon children could open sliding doors the evil shape hit the edge of the lighted patio...
...and the blasted stupid huge male raccoon who never comes near the house decided that he was tired of walking on his back legs and it was time to drop back down onto all fours and walk the rest of the way to the catfood.
Memo to self: A huge male raccoon standing upright in the dark has the potential to cause heart attacks in unwary ministers.

If You Give a Cat a Brain Cell..

Step 1: New canvas panels arrive in a box
Step 2: Rejecting all wisdom and prior experience, decide that Dippy might perhaps wish to play with said box.
Step 3: Place box on floor by feet
Step 4: *Critical error step* Add catnip to box
Dippy sniffs box. Dippy cannot comprehend challenging concepts such as "inside" and "outside"- attempts to balance on folded box edge.
Dippy falls off box. Box flips over onto Dippy.
As Shakespeare would say "There were then divers alarums and great shriekings as of demons or small children under the age of three."
Pull box off of Dippy. Vacuum floor. Vacuum Dippy.
Bandage hand wound.
Remove side flaps from box. Return box to floor. Add more catnip.
Dippy sniffs box and falls over. I glance down as something suspiciously cardboard-like bounces off my ankle.
Dippy blinks- her foot, claws fully extended is stuck to the box. Before I can move she rolls, pulling the box over on top of her.
Pull box off of Dippy. Vacuum floor. Vacuum Dippy.
Bandage new hand wound. Write off catnip as a bad life choice.
Watch as Dippy climbs in box, and rolls over.
Box flips on top of Dippy.
She is purring.
My job here is done.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Alas, Poor Dippy

The Dippy Cat is an unapologetic have-not.

I fought this for the longest time.

"Here, have this deluxe yak fur ball, made specially for you by deluxe yaks in countries I cannot find on a globe," I would croon, waving what looked like a mummified hamster meaningfully in her direction.

She bit the orb of bison fluff and carried it away a few steps. An hour later I glanced over. She had fallen asleep holding it in her mouth like a ball gag. She was drooling.

No fuzzy ball. Check.

"Here Dippy, I have a nice box for you to play in. Niiiice cardboard..."

Now, most of you would believe that since she has, after great effort, mastered the art of sitting in the litter tray and making embarrassing eye contact, that she would at least comprehend that a box has an "in" side and an "out" side and that both were fine places to be.

Most of you would be wrong.

I put her in the (open top non-confining guaranteed fun for cats) box.

For a few moments our lives became an existential Dr. Seuss book, or possibly a play about Hemingway, written by Woody Allen.

"I came to the box. The box was there.
I will not sit inside the box.
I will not sit there with a fox.
I will scream and hide my head.
I will fall over like I'm dead."

I lifted up one paw and let it drop. It fluttered weakly to her side. I removed myself to a safe distance.

A bit later her furred periscope of a head, ears flattered, appeared over the rim. She flopped sideways, hard, causing the box to stand up on its short side like a sudden cardboard erection.

And then she rolled out. For a trembling second the box stood tall, and then it fell over on top of her.

For a few moments I watched silently as the cardboard square crawled across the living room yowling and meeping. When she began to eat through in an effort to seek freedom I picked it up.

She spat out a mouthful of cardboard and eyed me with distaste.

Never one to admit failure, I went to the store.

The bouncy ball disappeared.

The sock monkey toy tried to strangle her.

She drowned all of the catnip mice in Nike's water bowl and I had to take them away after he began drinking the resulting 'nip tea, wearing overalls and changing all the songs in my  favorites playlist to the Grateful Dead.

The "entertaining cat puzzle and ball ring" exploded.

Frenzied now, I tried again.

I got her the softest, comfiest, coziest, pinkest kitty sleeping mat which has ever existed.

She did not sleep on it. I did, however, manage to stop her before she finished burying it in the litter tray.

She is currently happily snoozing, on the bare wood of my work table. Nike, who can't believe his luck, is sprawled luxuriantly on a pile made of his own two fuzzy nap rugs and the pinkest kitty sleeping mat ever.

I've got the Grateful Dead on repeat.

Oh, I did finally find something she likes...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Zen and the Art of Dippy Cat

Waking up, for many people, is apparently a positive experience. There are twittering birds and the smell of fresh coffee fills the air.

These people do not live at my house.

Allow me to set the scene...

The hour is "Oh Dear God." I slowly drift from a rather pleasant dream where I am being menaced by a snarling wombat and realize that against all probability I am indeed awake at 4:30 am. I feel as if I am hungover- my mouth is full of fur and my head is buzzing.

Given that I do not drink, I ponder. WHY am I awake in such a state at 4:30 am? I attempt in a moment of zen calm to take stock of my situation.

I do not have to pee, much.

My feet do not itch.

Brian is asleep and not snoring.

My mouth is full of fur.

My mouth is really full of fur.

I cannot close my mouth because there is an entire cat face in it.

And the cat face is snoring.


I have possibly found my answer.

Crossing my eyes desperately, I look down. Nike Cat has stretched out under my blankets, and has decided for reasons known only to himself that my face hole is the perfect place to rest his chin.

I poke him and he opens his eyes.

We lay there. He does not break eye contact. It is awkward now.

I poke him again.

In the space of 30 seconds we try out several new sleeping positions: "cat tap dancing on Mommy's chest", "arm sloth", and "Jesus that's my groin" before mutually deciding on "Alien Face Hugger (TM)".

I attempt to take stock of the situation once again. My head is now pinned to the pillow. I have one cat hoof in each ear and he has begun slowly licking my left eyeball. He is purring. One rear foot is in my mouth, the other is invading my left nostril.

I sigh.

My pillow begins to growl.

Contorting myself instantly in ways never before known to humankind, I manage to rotate my head Exorcist fashion until I can get a look.

Never wanting to be left out, Dippy had apparently fallen asleep sitting upright, her back against the wall behind the bed and her back feet on the carpet. With a little stretching, this meant she could put her front legs on the bed under my pillow, and rest her chin on the mattress.

She looked like a malignant C-clamp.

And I had just woken her up.

There was a brief moment of existential uncertainty ("Why am I here? How will I die? Oh God why did I ever get a cat?") as Dippy attempted to marshal her limbs and teeth into an alien killing force.

As closely as I can remember the next few seconds went something like this:

  1. Dippy swats madly at Nike with both front feet, claws extended
  2. Dippy gets both front feet stuck to the mattress 
  3. Nike begins to swat Dippy on the top of her little head with the paw which had previously been in my left ear.
  4. Lacking crampons, Dippy attempts to pull herself free by sinking her fangs into the nearest object and pulling.
  5. The nearest object is the crown of my head
  6. Nike goes back to sleep
You may not belief this, but it is actually quite restful to lay in the morning gloom, one cat obstructing your breathing, another hanging by their fangs from your scalp.The growling is quite soothing, and the pendulum motion as the head weight tries to free herself lulls you into a meditational state.

I know this because the little creep fell asleep that way.


Monday, October 28, 2013

It's the Tail, not She Who Tells It

We are not good with guests.

At the house in Ohio, our "guest bedroom" consisted of a futon in the library, with a mattress clearly designed by medieval torturers, on an off day, while drinking absinthe. Visitors didn't so much "go to bed" as "beat it into submission" and pray.

Knowing that we would be moving 7-8 hours away from the bulk of those foolish enough to visit (and being tired of hearing "The futon tried to kill me- I swear it was breathing) we took the sensible route. We bought a new wrought-iron type frame, in Queen size, and planned to put our current sleigh bed in the guest room we would create in Wisconsin. The futon would go into the basement office. We cleverly waited until we arrived in the land of cheese before switching.

Did it go well? I dunno- does the Pope enjoy speed dating?

You see, we forgot one important thing.

The Dippy Cat.

A week or so ago Brian manfully set up the new frame. Setup for Brian went something like this:

Empty all pipes onto the floor, in the kitchen- one story down from our bedroom.
Realize that this was not wise- attempt to put 11 billion pipes, 556 screws, and a thing shaped like an Escher triangle back in the box.
Watch as box shrieks, begins to growl, and tries to inch away under its own power.
Call exorcist.
Cancel exorcist.
Retrieve Dippy from frame box.
Stitch wounds caused by retrieval.

Carry 11 billion pipes manually to bedroom.
Realize pipes just got heavier.
Realize Dippy is riding on pipes.
Retrieve Dippy from pipes- lock in spare room.

Lay pipes in rough "bed" formation.
Hear yowling from spare room, and the inexplicable sound of velcro.
Ignore yowling and velco and begin first frame piece assembly.
Realize there is no velcro in spare room.
Retrieve Dippy from prisoner tunnel she has chewed through carpeting at door.
Lock her in bathroom.

Pin left side of bed frame to headboard.
The chorus of "Go Down Moses" erupts from bathroom.
Drop bedframe on toe as Dippy yodels out "Let my people GOOOOOOO."
Open bathroom door.
Note that Dippy has climbed the expensive designer "bath sheets" and become tangled in the weave.
Watch screaming cat caught in oversized towel swing back and forth from towel rack.
Contemplate life without bed.
Realize that cat claws have gone through both sides of oversized towel.
Attempt removal- succeed in creating cat based roller-towel assembly.
Roller-towel assembly very bitey.
Contemplate sales potential of snarling, hissing, linens.
Contemplate divorce.
Use plunger to stop cat and towel from spinning.
Throw away splinters.
Cut towel off of rack.
Watch as cat hops away- towel still attached.
Watch as towel catches on bedframe.
Pull Dippy off of towel.
Realize that she has her fangs caught in the screw holes on the bed.
Using ninja skills, remove fangs from bed frame.
Stitch wounds caused by removal.

On hands and knees, begin putting in crossbars.
Realize something is snoring.
Realize that Dippy is asleep.
Finish bed frame in 48 seconds- using all four limbs and teeth to increase speed.
Realize shirt is now bolted to bed leg.
Shrug- never liked shirt that much anyway.
Nude from waist up, throw bed skirt over frame.
Retrieve Dippy from under bed skirt.
Place mattress on frame and begin adding sheets.
Retrieve Dippy from under fitted sheet.
Add blankets and comforters.
Where is Dippy?
Note suspicious lump under covers.
Add decorative pillows until it is no longer visible.

Go down to the basement, and take a nap on the futon.