Kapooka41c1KJFx8sL            An  Unexpected  Addition

I wasn’t actually looking for a pet when the Kapooka critter and I first crossed paths. I guess we sort of stumbled into each other over at a buddy of mine’s place and, lucky me, the lil’ darlin’ chose me.

I live in a trailer park. I know, such places always seem to have plenty of cats running about, and the one I live in is really no exception. Well, sure enough, I was down the street visiting my buddy J., and this little, fluffy, tiger-striped, creampuff-orange colored kitten comes running onto his front porch while we’re out there smoking. I started to play with the cute lil’ kitten, giving it a whole bunch of attention. I must’ve played with that lil’ fur ball for twenty minutes before my buddy and I decided to part ways.

It was getting late and I wanted to get home. I guess the kitten didn’t like the idea of me leaving, ‘cause the next thing I know I hear this broken-sounding lil’ meow coming from behind me and I turn around to see this lil’ ball o’ fur trying to follow me home. I said to myself, “If he makes it to my trailer then I’ll let him in and likely keep him.”

Well, he didn’t quite make it to my trailer, a car scared him off while he was still a few trailers away, but he sure did put up a fuss while trying to keep up and make it there. I think I fell in love with that broken lil’ meow of his right there on the spot. There’s something about the way that sound just cuts through the air, sending shivers racing up and down my spine, quite similar to nails scraping on a blackboard or feedback screeching out of an amplifier with the volume raised too loud. Tinfoil touched against a filling in a tooth produces a more pleasant result. Yeah, the sound of that little critter’s howl just soothes my soul, let me tell ya. But I digress, or get ahead of myself… whichever?

I get home from my buddy J.‘s trailer and the adorable lil’ kitten’s all I can think about. I was even a little worried about the lil’ guy. He was only a kitten, and he was running around unattended outside. I paced my house, just thinking about him. I couldn’t get him off of my mind. After about a half an hour of pacing back and forth, I reached a conclusion; Either J. finds out whose kitten that is or I’m just going to take the lil’ guy home, period, end.

So, I call up my buddy, J., and I tell him that I want the lil’ kitten and ask him to figure out who the owner is. He says to me, “Okay, I’m on it. I’ll find out for ya,” and hangs up the phone. Another half an hour passes by and I get a phone call. It’s my buddy, J. He tells me, “The cat’s yours! Come and get him!” So, feeling a sense of great satisfaction and relief, I head on down there to get my new baby kitty cat.

Turns out the owner was my buddy J.’s next door neighbor, who adopted the kitten in order to give him a home but planned to make him an outside cat. He was happy to hand him over to a fellow animal-lover with a good heart and a humble home, and by that time I really wanted the lil’ guy and I think the neighbor could tell.

It was like love at first sight, like we were destined to be together. I took him home and kept him. He became, “My good boy,” and, “My lil’ Kapooka,” and I became his Daddy.

He spent the first night right by my side. I didn’t have a litter box yet, but that was just a short trip away and, along with plenty of other supplies, would be obtained first thing the next morning. I would have a litter box, plenty of litter, and plenty of food for him by nine a.m. Meanwhile, he only had one accident, and it wasn’t on the carpet and was easy to clean up. He was all cute and cuddly that night, purring to no end. He was a good, happy lil’ kitty.

The next day I got up at the crack of dawn, went through the morning routine and fed the Kapooka critter, and then immediately went out and got his food and supplies. I fed him part of a can of tuna and poured him some milk from out of the fridge the night before, but only in small portions ‘cause I didn’t want him getting sick on me… oh, and I put a little water down for him, too, of course, though I didn’t want to fill his bladder or bowels too much until I obtained a litter box. That kitten can put away some water, too, let me tell ya, but again I digress.

When I left for getting supplies, boy, oh boy, he was a miserable lil’ kitten. He didn’t like the idea of the Daddy going off and leaving him home alone much at all. When I got back from getting supplies he was an elated lil’ kitten, happily prancing around my feet and purring to no end. I set up his litter box and he used it, which was a very good, very promising sign. It made me think to myself, Look at that, he’s already got it down pat!

After setting up the litter box in the bathroom and watching him use it, the kitten then followed me into the kitchen, right at my feet the whole time. It’s a wonder I’m not always stepping on the lil’ guy. I started to get his food ready, and he meowed in anticipation and struggled to get closer to the food. The lil’ bugger even bit at my ankles while I was preparing a wholesome, nutritious meal of wet food mixed with dry food accompanied by an extra side of dry food for him. Then, all of a sudden, I see this little thing do a back-flip in the air, as if he were trying to gauge his ability to jump up on the counter but realized in midair that he wasn’t quite going to make it.

I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m not going to make it! Oops! He landed on all fours and hit the ground running as though it were all planned out and a total thrill for him, and I imagine the latter part’s likely true.

He continued to meow and pitch a fit for the food, and I soon laid his food bowl down into position and fed him. He ate, and then he became all kinds of playful. Little did I know that, if he had his way, playtime would never end.

But for now, play would have to be put on hold. The Daddy had to make himself lunch, too, and the Daddy actually takes his time and chews his food, as compared to the Kapooka critter who woofs down his wet food in huge, heaping gulps, practically inhaling the stuff rather than just plain eating it. The Daddy also had a few phone calls to make. I wanted to let everybody know about my new companion… my baby kitten.

I first called a few close friends and told them the good news. They all said that they couldn’t wait to see him. I made sure to save the best phone call for last…

Ring… Ring… Ring…

“Hello.”

“Hi, mom.”

“Seamus, it’s good to hear from you. How’ve you been? You sound so good. What’s going on?”

“Well, you know how you’ve always said that you’d like to be a grandma someday and I’ve always said it would never happen?”

“What?! You’re not even married! Are you telling me that you got a girl pregnant?!”

“Nah, I found a happy medium instead. Congratulations, mom, you’re a grandma, and I’m now the proud father of a lil’ Kapooka critter.”

“A what? What in the World is that?”

“Well, it’s either a big, hairy, man-ape creature, kind of like Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or he’s a lil’ kitty, take your pick.”

“I think the cat will do just fine, but how are you going to take care of him? Are you doing anything for work yet?”

“Umm, I got a few odd jobs I’ve been doing here and there. I’ll be able to take care of him and support him.”

“Owning a cat costs a lot of money. There’s food, and litter, and vet bills…”

“I know, I know, and I plan to save up and pay for all that.”

“Oh yeah, how?”

“By robbing bad, mean, vicious, armed drug dealers and giving the money to the poor, by which I mean my cat and myself. I’ll be kind of like Robin Hood, really, if you think about it.”

“Only you’re going to keep the money for yourself.”

“Hey, I’m poor, aren’t I? I count. I fit the bill for the type of person Robin Hood would be giving his hard-earned stolen money to, but it seems Robin Hood overlooked me and forgot to hook me up with my share of the loot. But that’s fine by me, I figure I’ll just have to cut out the middle man and go play Robin Hood myself.”

“You better not be doing anything stupid like that. Drugs are bad, and stealing is even worse.”

“That’s why I’m stealing from the drug dealers, mom.”

“Until they shoot you.”

“Nah, I’m bullet proof. I’ve run enough tests on myself to be sure of that. Bullets pass right through me and I don’t even care. Bullets are too slow to catch me, they can’t keep up.”

“I’m serious! I wish you would tell me what you’re doing for money and work.”

“I did tell you, mom. I’m doing little odds and ends here and there, working whenever I can to make ends meet.”

“You better not be dealing and doing drugs.”

“I’m not, mom.”

“Then why won’t you talk about your work?”

“It’s boring, mom, and I’d rather talk about my lil’ kitten.”

“He’s your responsibility. You better take care of him, job or no job.”

“I will, mom. Stop by and see him sometime.”

“Okay, Seamus, I will. You take care of yourself until then. And do me a favor, make your mother proud of you and get a real job.”

“I’ll think about it. Love ya. Bye-bye.”

After saying goodbye and hanging up the phone with the Kapooka critter’s newly appointed grandma, I then gave in to his desire to play and act like a maniac. I started making paper balls and threw them around the house for him to chase after. I would later learn I could do the same thing with paper airplanes, admittedly more for my amusement than his. It’s fun to see him go after things, and it’s good to see one’s pet happy, and to interact and share in the bonding experience of the human/animal relationship.

Cat’s can be very receptive animals, given the right amount of time, patience, and the proper training. It’s all in understanding their stubborn, independent personalities and embracing that fact with cats, so it seems to me. The irony is that, despite their stubbornness and desire for independence, the more human interaction a cat receives the greater the bond will become, both with the owner and with all people in general. In other words, play with your cat every chance ya get, but remember that it pays to be patient and to move at the cat’s speed while interacting with it. It can be amazing what cats can remember, too, and what they most instinctively react to.

I made the Kapooka critter a kitty-toy-house out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes, cutting one end out completely and cutting a small hole in the other end for him to look out and stick his paws through. I’d stick my fingers up through that hole and he’d try to bite them off (not literally, at least I don’t think so), and he’d even try to stick his small, little head through that tiny, little hole to get at me every time I pulled my hand away.

Then came the ultimate toy; String! I pulled a couple of laces out of an old pair of shoes and went out into the living room to sit down with them and him. I must say, I immediately had his undivided attention, interest, and intrigue. I pulled the string behind me, letting it circle around my waist with one hand, and then I dropped it and reached around my back with my other hand, grabbed it, and pulled it back around. He was on it in a flash, and I soon pulled it away from him and repeated the process, trying to make it go faster, bringing it around the other way, or sometimes even hiding one end of that string where he’s not looking and then pulling it around a corner, or around myself, once he finally does find it in order to provide him with an added thrill. I’m amazed with how fast he can pounce over… oh, let’s say my leg… going after and getting that string.

The string was fun for about the first five hours, but then the Daddy started getting tired. The problem is, the Kapooka critter didn’t get tired, and the Kapooka critter was determined to let the Daddy know it. The Kapooka started to meow, and the thing of it is, the meow was beginning to turn into a howl. I looked at his scruffy, cream-puff orange colored fur with the tiger-like stripes and the silver streaks highlighting the hair running head to tail along his back, and I wondered if he might all of a sudden turn into a werewolf… or a banshee. That’s it, a howling banshee. I was crippled, taken to my knees, paralyzed by the appalling wine in that lil’ voice of his. It felt like it was cutting into every nerve throughout my spine. There was only one choice…

Come play with me! And there I sat in the living room, pulling a flippin’ string. And there I’ll be, pulling that string for the rest of eternity. The end.

Sorry, folks, but we have nothing else to tell ya about other than string from this point onward. I know, I know, it’s interesting and you’ll probably stick around ‘cause ya don’t have anything better to do, but I just wanted to warn ya now that that’ll probably be the direct context for the rest of this novel.

And the Daddy pulled the string around and ‘round, and the Daddy pulled the string around.

And the kitty went around and around and around in circles. And around and around and around in circles he goes. And nobody really knows, where the kitty’s gonna go, but all the kitties go around and around and around in circles.

And then the kitty pounces and he chases the string. The way he runs around, you’d think he’d be getting dizzy. The kitty starts hissin’ and barin’ his teeth. Then he catches up to it and pounces on that string. He picks it up and tugs on it while it’s in-between his teeth. Then he walks around lookin’ just like a kitty on a leash.

And, yes, the whole time the kitten’s running around chasing the string he’s hissing at it, as if some ancient warrior had been resurrected within him upon facing his immortal adversary – that being string – for the first time in this lifetime, but he’s purring the whole time, too. Somebody must’ve done something awfully bad to him to have ended up as that string. He intended to kill string, and he was going to enjoy doing it.

I tried my best to save string, but string was doomed from the start. I tried to take string away from him, but I was defeated by his loud, obnoxious protest. All string could do was run around in circles and pray for the kitty to get too dizzy to chase it (he definitely wasn’t getting tired), but nothing was going to stop that boundless, little hairball of energy and spunk. He ran around and hissed, and hissed and ran around some more. It never stopped. It never ended. It was like the Energizer bunny, it just kept going and going and going. It didn’t have an off switch. Trust me, I looked. I don’t remember everything, like how it ended. One minute I was deliriously pulling a string, and the next…

            Kapooka’s  First  Mishaps

If you don’t wake up and feed me now, then I’m going to assume you’re dead and start eating you!

“Meowww!” and I awoke to find the kitten perched on top of me, standing on my chest, his howl summoning me, beckoning me back to waking reality. I knew right then, “You want something, don’t you?”

“Meowww!” was his immediate response, which translates into, “Yes,” and, “Now,” all rolled into one blaring, obnoxious howl.

I plucked the lil’ Kapooka critter up off my chest and carried him out of my bedroom into the other room, the main room. As I’ve mentioned, I live in a trailer. Though it’s a double-wide, there still isn’t a whole lot of space – which is actually kind of nice ‘cause it’s easy to keep the place clean. Let me take you on a tour of my home. Come with me, please. I’ll have us there in a flash.

As far as the layout of the trailer goes, let’s start with the main room, which is cool ‘cause it’s like a kitchen, a living room, and a dining room all rolled into one. The northern, front part of the main room makes for the carpeted living room, which is the larger half of the room, while the kitchen stretches across the southeastern end of the room and the dining room fits into the southwestern end, kind of right alongside the kitchen – or right inside the kitchen, depending on who’s judging. The kitchen/dining room area has a linoleum floor instead of carpet, and so does the hallway leading out through the dining room. I’m content with the setup, though I did do away with all the dining room furniture. I live alone, now my cat and myself, therefore I have no need for a ton of furnishings.

As far as the furnishing setup goes for the main room, meaning mainly the living room, I have my recliner and my computer chair, my television stand and my computer desk, my musical equipment and my guitar chair, a couple of light and mobile end tables, and a couple of bookshelves ‘cause I do like to read. There’s also plenty of lighting, all throughout the trailer.

As for the Kapooka critter, he has his wicker chair and all his toys out in the living room, so far, and he seems hell-bent on unravelin’ the twine and tearin’ a good-sized gap into the fabric of that chair, mainly in order to get at my fingers. It’s another game I’ve learned to play with him. He loves it, but not as much as string. Even so, you should see the amount of wood fibers and torn up strands of thick twine that build up on the floor under that chair sometimes. I tell ya, he can build up a big, ole’ pile for the dustpan if I let the area go unchecked and fail to maintain it often enough… by which I mean, if I’m slacking on my chores and don’t clean up after him for a few days. And all it takes is a few days… heck, all it takes is a day, or a night, but we’ll get to what I mean by that soon enough.

My bedroom is accessible through a door in the rear, eastern wall of the main room, just outside the kitchen. My television set for the room is on a stand right by the doorway against the western wall of the bedroom, and against the northern wall of the room there’s a dresser. No worries, there’s still a nice gap of space to comfortably enter the bedroom. My bed is a couple of large, yellow foam cushions stacked up on top of each other on the ground near the center of the room, which works out quite comfortably for me, actually, and makes it to where the kitty doesn’t have a bed to go under for a hiding place, which I feel is good ‘cause I’m hoping that the kitten having less hiding places will make him less of a scaredy-cat and more sociable and friendly in the long run.

How can ya tell if a cat’s making progress at something? By giving it time, and by observing the situation and influencing everything to move in the proper direction, which translates into interacting with the animal and rewarding the desired outcome(s).

Back in my room, the big, yellow foam cushions I sleep on are lined up just in front of the dresser, but they’re low enough to the ground to where I can still get into most of the dresser drawers without my bed getting in the way. The cushions are also easily moved out of the way for cleaning purposes or in case I desire more room, let’s say for instance, to play with the kitten. There’s a small, light one-drawer nightstand and a mirror set up against the eastern wall next to my bed. There’s also a taller dresser on the opposite side of the room further down from the position of the T.V. set, set facing outwards against the western wall and touching the southern wall with one side. There’s a closet just in front of the dresser, accessible through a door in the southern wall of the room, and a bathroom right next to it, also accessible through a door in that same wall… different doors, of course, though they’re located right next to each other.

Back in the main room, I’d like to take you through the dining room area and down a southwestern hallway, not by any means a very long corridor. From the center of the hallway, if you’ll look to your left, towards the eastern side of the home, you’ll notice an even bigger bathroom than the one attached to the bedroom. This one even has a shower in it. Now, if you’ll look to your right, towards the western side of the home, you’ll notice one of three main doorways that leads outside. I know that you might be thinking about scurrying out one of these doorways right now, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The Kapooka critter’s out there somewhere, lying in wait, ready to jump out, pounce upon, and bite the ankles off of anybody who attempts to flee.

On with the tour!

One of the other doors outside was in the main room, right there to the northeastern side of the living room, against the eastern wall a little ways down from my room, opposite the kitchen. Notice how I didn’t tell ya about that one right off the bat. I could see it in your eyes, you were already ready to bolt. Stop! Hold it right there! This is only the beginning! We still have a ways to go in our tour!

At the southern end of the hallway is another room. They told me it was a bedroom when I moved into the place, but I’ve since converted it into a storage room. It really was a bedroom once, had a bed in it and everything, and I even had a roommate living in it a long time ago but it didn’t work out. Like my lil’ Kapooka critter, I don’t get along too well with others of the same species. It’s the little things about people that add up, the little fine points, and they add up like a pile of dirty dishes in a nasty, ole’ kitchen sink. Actually, that was quite literally one of my problems with my old roommate. He didn’t like doing the dishes, but he sure didn’t mind dirtyin’ ‘em up. I wonder if I’ll have similar problems with the Kapooka critter? Only one way to find out…

Past the storage room, we continue south and come through the final door leading outside into this garage area that’s been converted into a handyman’s lair with a workbench and a laundry room. You know what this means to me, don’t you? That’s right, outside storage area, and I can do my dirty, stinky laundry out there, too, Hooray!                    

If we head west and open the garage door we come out just south of the awning to the carport, at the end of the cement slab, now outside and mostly in the sun – or at least we would be if it wasn’t for this giant, horrendous oriental orchid tree. So much shit drops from this tree, I can barely keep track of it all. It drops leaves, and branches, and flowers when it’s flowering or seeds and these giant green-bean-like seedpods when it’s not. The strangest thing about this tree is the fact that if one cuts it, it bleeds, or at least it produces a type of sap that looks just like blood… creepy, really.

There are three other trailers next to mine to the west before we hit the back gate, a ditch, the main road, and the neighborhood behind a strip of businesses. The ditch wraps around the trailer park on the south and west ends, and there’s a business district past the ditch and beyond a wall to the south of the park. I live towards the southwestern end of the park, and there’s about a hundred more trailers to the north and to the east of where my home is quite quaintly situated.

The Kapooka critter does not have outdoor privileges at this time. He’s an indoor kitty cat. Heck, he’s only a kitten right now. It’s time to join him. Let’s head on in and jump back on track.

After waking up, scooping up the kitten, and heading into the kitchen, I set the kitty down on the linoleum floor in the kitchen and went about getting his food ready for him. My home is intact and it’s another wonderful day, Yay! The birds are still chirping in the morning sky. The kitten is at my feet, howling for his food. I have my morning routine and fix to look forward to. All’s good!

We only had one incident the night before. The kitty started howling in the middle of the night. I awoke with a start. At first I couldn’t figure out what he wanted, but then he showed me by squatting into position right on the carpet in my room. I caught him and grabbed him in time and, fortunately for me, he held it until I could get him to the litter box in the larger bathroom next to the hallway. He did his business, then I yanked the litter box into the bedroom and stuck it in the southeastern corner. There were no more complaints on his end for the rest of the night… well, that is, until the sun rose and morning came rushing in, when he decided that he was hungry. And now we’re up again and, guess what, the kitten is active and wants to play.

Pull the string, Daddy! Pull the string! Around and ‘round in circles!

And so the kitten continued to play, panting and hissing and chasing after string. And finally, a little after noon of that day, the kitten crashed for the first time – other than bedtime – since arriving at his new home. But not before his second accident, and this time he’d sprung a leak.

The Kapooka critter stopped playing and went off into a corner by my T.V. stand, and right then and there I should’ve known that something was up. I pulled the string, but he refused to come and get it. I got up and watched as he got into squatting position, and I knew immediately what was comin’ next. I had to react, and react fast. I had to get to him before…

It was too late. I lifted him up to witness a raunchy, yellow liquid spurt from his crotch. Yes, the kitty had sprung a leak, and this time there was no stopping it, he just couldn’t hold it any longer. He let loose, spraying the walls, spraying the carpet, spraying my television stand, spraying me and who knows what else, as I attempted to get the kitten’s first, real mishap under control by rushing him to the trashcan and holding him over it until the trickling stopped and his bladder was empty.

What was he thinking? It’s a classic, age-old question, really, and I find myself asking this about the Kapooka critter quite a bit. Let’s go ahead and take a moment to examine the situation from his perspective…

The litter box was still in the bedroom, and that was awfully far away, even during the day, and the Kapooka critter wasn’t about to leave the Daddy long enough to make such a long and perilous journey into that other room so he decided he would just make due. At that point the litter box was moved into the main room and put in the spot where it still sits to this day, right beside a counter set to the right side of the refrigerator in the kitchen/dining room. It’s no wonder I did away with the dining room furniture. There’s hardly room for the kitty’s litter box, chow bowls, and supplies.

After his latest accident, I was worried that I was going to have to buy him a second litter box, like a one-for-each-room type of deal, but the recent move to the center of the house seemed to be a happy medium. The new location took and it’s what works, so I suppose we’re both satisfied with the Daddy’s resolution.

Hooray, no more accidents! Yeah, right… maybe not today. Maybe?

As I’ve mentioned, the Kapooka critter finally got tired and wore out sometime just after noon. I picked the kitten up and let him fall asleep in my arms as I paced the house. He was so small, warm, and cuddly, I guess I figured he’d always be this cute and lovable and wonderful and adorable… and I was right, with only a few, minor exceptions.

I held the kitty in my arms for the longest time, even after they became sore from holding the lil’ lightweight for so long. Finally I carried him into the bedroom and laid down with him positioned on my chest. His ears twitched and he perked up for a moment there, but he never really fully awakened. He lay there on my chest, sleeping, every once in a while twitching his little paws or stirring a bit as if he were dreaming about chasing string or something. He lay right there on top of me like a good baby kitty the whole time I stayed awake. I watched him and smiled, absolutely thrilled and in awe of this little gift from God, my lil’ Kapooka. I soon found myself drifting off to sleep, as well.

I again awoke to find the lil’ Kapooka critter standing on my chest and howling at me, beckoning me to get up and play with him more than anything else, although I did feed him again before we went at it with the playtime. Both strings were already starting to look a bit frazzled at the ends and were all gunked up with kitty slobber. Kind of gross, really, but if he wasn’t complaining about it then neither would I.

I pulled the string and the kitty chased it! Ya hear me?! I said I pulled the string, and the kitty chased it! Yes, we did! Hallelujah! I pulled the string and the kitty chased it! Can I get an amen?! Oh yeah! The kitty didn’t wear out! No, Lord! No, he didn’t! The kitty kept on going like the flippin’ Energizer bunny rabbit. Yes, he did! The kitty didn’t wear out! No, no, no! But the Daddy, he surely did! Yes, he did! And it’ll happen again! And again, and again, and again!

And I asked the Lord in heaven, “Oh, Lord, whatever will I do with this here Energizer bunny rabbit lil’ Kapooka kitty?”

I’m still waiting on a proper response, but maybe this here story will help to shine a little light down, illuminating and illustrating what’s been achieved in the Daddy’s lifetime with the Kapooka critter.

I pulled the string, and he played and chased it, and why are you still reading this, I already told you what happens. The Kapooka critter forces the Daddy to pull a string around until the Daddy goes mad and ends up locked away in an insane asylum in some far-off, distant, unknown land, babbling incoherently about string for the rest of eternity.

If ya don’t keep reading this then the kitty is going to jump out of the page and bite off your ankles. Go ahead and try it. Put the book down and see what happens, just for shits and giggles. Get ‘em, Kapooka!

Hey, wait, where’re ya going?! Come back here! Don’t put the book down! You’ll be sorry!

That’s alright! You’ll be back! They always come back! They will be back, right? Kapooka, where do ya think you’re going? No, you’re not really going through the page. I think the kitty might be a little too anxious to bite something. I think the kitty might be a bit too hostile, period. What do ya say, Kapooka?

Kapooka says, “Hiss!

Anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah, I pulled the sting and the Kapooka critter chased it! Imagine that!

I wish he would remain a lil’ kitten his whole life, that way I could just hold him, and kiss him, and hug him, and squeeze him, and love him, and call him my little boy, and take him for walks, and pamper him, and nurture him, and feed him, and clean up his little messes, and clean up his big messes, and play with him (errrrr, not so much), and run him around the house, and (Please, God!) wear him out, and listen to him purr, and listen to him howl and hiss, and he can be my trusted companion and side-kick, and I’ll call him Boo-Boo, and we can run off together and frolic in the open fields while snatching picnic baskets from under the rangers’ noses for food out in a little place called Yellowstone Park. Hey, Boo-Boo!

Joy, oh joy, this is just going to be a marvelous adventure and the grandest of stories… if we can just get past the string. It’s like a knot, and he’s totally tied to it. Is this an example of obsessive behavior in cats? I think it just might be. He’s either crazy about string or just downright crazy. Perhaps both?

Though I was beginning to wonder about my cat at the time, it’s really amazing how smart cats can be, and actually… are, if one really pays attention to their motives and agendas in the attempt to understand their mischievous lives and stubbornly independent individualities. Cats will not learn commands like a dog, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less intelligent. Cats have their own little language, and if you know it you can teach a cat a few basic commands. Whether or not the lil’ fur balls listen or not, well, that’s always going to be left up to them. They are stubborn creatures and will not obey every time.

One would be amazed at how much they can learn from spending time with a cat, and same goes for all animals, provided a person is open to the experience. As for one example, cats are very patient creatures, which seems to be a trait that many humans lack. But they are very stubborn creatures, too, which seems to be a quality we humans often share with our feline counterparts.

Like all things, having a pet has its ups and downs, but cats are wonderful companions who don’t require a lot of maintenance (no walks or baths, at least), they’re fairly clean animals who clean themselves through the act of preening (cleaning themselves with their tongues through the use of a cleansing agent that’s produced naturally by their salivary glands), they are creatures of habit and routine who are good at adapting, finding their places, and fitting in (although it may take some patience, the proper amount of attention, and a good, positive influence to produce optimal results), they’re fairly independent creatures and don’t require too much attention (though the more attention they receive the friendlier they seem to become), they have the ability to learn how to use the bathroom (by which I mean the litter box), and cleaning up after them and feeding them only takes about ten minutes twice a day, if even that, if you’re in such a rush. Those are some the upsides, but there are downsides, too.

Cats are very curious, mischievous creatures who are prone to getting into things and, the all-time kitty favorite, knocking things down. Cats can also be very vocal when they want something, and have a tendency to protest until they get their way. It can take a long, long time for a cat to give up on something it desires. The hair and litter that they shed and track around can be a bit of a disgusting burden, too, depending on what your willing to put up with. And the last thing that I wish to mention is the fact that if you don’t give a cat the proper environment and the right amount of attention then you risk behavioral problems startin’ up, like the kitty turnin’ feral and becomin’ a mean lil’ bastard. No worries here, that’s not gonna happen to the Kapooka critter. But the Kapooka critter is going to be a spoiled kitty. Perhaps too spoiled?

As I was getting ready for bed that night, having already fed and cleaned up after the lil’ Kapooka critter, he was right there with me in the bathroom, attempting to help me through my nightly routine. Like I’m saying, anything string. Well, he decided that my long, dark brown hair looks a lot like string, so he decided to go after it while I was brushing my teeth in front of the sink and the mirror. Nowadays he can jump right up on the counter to the sink, but back then he had to jump up on the toilet and then jump up on the counter, which is kind of disgusting if you think about it, but I figure that’s why God created rags and isopropyl alcohol. At least he was still too young to jump up on the kitchen counter.

So, I allowed him up on the counter to the sink in the bathroom, and he went after my hair and I provoked him, leaning over and rocking my thick head of long hair back and forth and from side to side in order to make it shake and sway in motion, which I’m sure is exactly the reaction the Kapooka critter had hoped to entice and provoke at that particular moment in time. The next thing I know, the kitten is tugging hard on my hair, like he’s trying to rip it right out of my scalp, so I pull back and he comes with. I’ve suddenly got a kitten dangling in midair from my head, holding on to a big, clumpy patch of hair, but it’s all the same to the Kapooka critter, he’s still trying to eat my hair, clinging and gnawing while hanging there about ready to fall to the ground. My head was pulled taut to the left and he wasn’t letting go. I took a few steps and exited the bathroom with him still hanging on, sardonically stating aloud through a gurgle, “Boy, Kapooka, my neck is probably going to be a little sore tomorrow thanks to this latest stunt of yours.”

The kitty never let go and fell to the ground. Nope, I figure I’ll just have to wear him as a hair piece for the rest of my life, like a toupee or a barrette or something. No, really, I had to get him to let go, then I plucked him off of me and set him down on the floor. After that, I walked back into the bathroom, rinsed my mouth out, and spit out the toothpaste that was still in my mouth.

I finished up my nightly routine and was ready to crash for the night. One problem, the Kapooka critter didn’t want to go to bed. He slept with me just fine the first two nights, but now he won’t stay in bed. He keeps on getting up and running out into the main room every time I try to lay him down to go to sleep, and he keeps on running into the bedroom and howling at me to get back up every time I try to roll over, close my eyes, and do the same. I know what he wants, he wants me to pull that flippin’ string, but the Daddy needs his beauty sleep. I am a single parent, here.

The kitten runs into the bedroom, I roll over and grab him, he pretends to lie down and behave, and then he runs back out and howls. Repeat cycle again and again, and finally I get him, and I get him to lie down for real. The kitty transplant finally takes and I finally get to go to sleep. The Daddy is very tired. Nothing’s gonna wake the Daddy on this night.

Crash! Bang! Boom!

            Assessing  the  Damages

I must’ve slept for ten hours, maybe even longer. When I awoke, the kitten was nowhere to be found. I scanned my bedroom, but he wasn’t in there. I thought to myself, That’s unusual, he’s usually right there beside me at all times.

I called for him, “Kapooka, come here!” but he wasn’t coming to me this morning for some reason.

I got up and walked into the living room to find out why he wouldn’t come to me. From left to right, there’s dry food all over the floor from where he knocked over his food dish, there’s litter all over the linoleum floor by the counter to the right side of the refrigerator, the trashcan is knocked over and there’s garbage on the floor, he’s knocked over and broke a lamp, his wicker chair is knocked over, and there’s shreds of paper, obviously from a paper towel he’s pulled out of his tipped-over trashcan, which he’s torn apart and scattered all over the carpet in the living room area. I look around a little more and notice that he’s been using his litter box, and I think to myself, At least he’s not pissin’ and shittin’ all over the floor.

Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they pick the wrong spot and mistake it for their litter box. Sometimes, if ya don’t correct the mistake, they’ll try to permanently make that spot their litter box.

Troubles with the litter box can develop when a cat gets old, too. And eventually they do get old, a cat’s lifespan lasting not nearly as long as that of their human counterparts, though so often we regret to face the fact, and unfortunately there is such a thing as an incontinent kitty cat. These are things that have to be considered when you take on the responsibility of being a good pet owner. And mind you, being a good pet owner is a lot like being a good parent, though parenting a child comes with a boatload more responsibilities in comparison to parenting a pet. Still, the gist is the same, being that one is responsible for a life other than their own.

Sometimes litter box mishaps happen unexpectedly when a cat isn’t even that old. Many cats use the litter box but have picky litter box habits. Let me tell ya a little something about Mr. Biscuits, the sweetest jet-black tomcat I’ve ever met. You’ll officially meet him soon, I’m sure, but for now…

Mr. Biscuits was fine one day, and then the next day he wasn’t. Something was wrong with his bladder. He wan’t peeing properly, to where he was using the litter box too often but very little urine was coming out each time. Then he started peeing blood, and that’s when his Daddy and I got started to really worry.

Mr. Biscuits Daddy, Kapooka’s Uncle J.B., took Mr. Biscuits to his vet and left thinking that he might have to put him down. A good vet is important, and I’ve got to say, I don’t much care for Uncle J.B.’s vet. A misdiagnosis is intolerable in my book, especially with the amount the vet bill comes to.

Uncle J.B. watched Mr. Biscuits very closely the next few days, and I stopped by or phoned every day to get an update on him, but Mr. Biscuits continued to pee blood. Then, one day, miraculously, whatever it was that was causing this to happen passed and Mr. Biscuits was back in tip-top shape and doing great. Mr. Biscuits was a survivor, a real little trooper. He would live.

After that horrible bladder infection ordeal, Mr. Biscuits went through a phase where he wouldn’t use the litter box inside, he would only go outside to do his business. This worked during the daytime, but at night, well, not so well. Mr. Biscuits’ Daddy would often wake up the next morning to find a big, ole’ clunker of a turd and a wet spot laid out on the floor somewhere around the house. Not cool, but we cope and make due with the ones we love and cherish. Besides, it’s nothing a little cleaner can’t take care of, or even a little alcohol or vinegar will do.

Like his bladder problem, Mr. Biscuits’ fear of the litter box problem also eventually worked itself out, or Mr. Biscuits psychologically worked through the matter, or his Daddy did something that worked to alter the routine and pattern of behavior. Honestly, I think it was a combination of all three of these aforementioned things. And Mr. Biscuits isn’t the only cat who’s ever connected the litter box to the problem he was having, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Though at the time I was questioning the Kapooka critter’s level of intelligence and sanity, especially after this latest destroy-the-main-room stunt, I must say, cats are often smarter than we humans credit them. They can often put two and two together, and will try to do so even if they cannot. If there’s a problem, especially a life threatening one like what happened to Mr. Biscuits, their curiosity can cause them to become hesitant of things related to the source of the problem and force them into trying to make a change.

A good way to correct litter box mishaps after a bladder infection is to first move the location of the litter box to somewhere else in the home and see if that fixes the problem. The difference in location might just change things and get the cat to use the litter box again, and it at least shows the distressed kitty that you’re aware of the problem and trying to solve it with them. A brand new litter box might just be the solution if changing the location of the old one doesn’t work. If that still doesn’t work, I would recommend spending time with and watching the kitty in hopes of working with it and trying to resolve the issue and correct the misbehavior, or off-behavior. I find that direct interaction usually produces the best results.

We’ll have more litter box mishaps soon, I assure you. As for now, we’re back to pulling a string. And around and around and around in circles we go…

And he chases the string when I pull it, and he hisses and pounces upon string, and he crouches down low, sticks his little rump up in the air, and wags his tail before he pounces, and he even stalks string before he gets into his pouncing position, and if I never see another string in my life it’ll be too soon.

So, I change the game for the moment and we begin to center our playtime on his wicker chair. Now, the kitten has this thing he does to where he runs away into the hallway, turns around, positions himself, gets a running start, then takes off and uses the rungs that make up the back of the chair to climb over it from behind. He also sometimes does a balancing act at the tip-top of the chair’s back, and it’s a wonder that he never loses his balance and falls down. However, every once in a while he does knock the chair over while trying to perform this stunt, which is likely why I wound up finding it tipped over on the floor earlier that morning.

When it comes to that wicker chair, the Kapooka critter’s favorite game involves me sticking my fingers up through a small hole in the chair bottom, where he’s methodically ripped apart the twine while we’ve been perfecting this game, and once he sees the finger pop up through the twine he attacks. I try to pull my finger away in time while he tries to bite it. It’s a fun game, really, and usually he doesn’t bite hard… usually.

I guess he was a little too feisty on this particular day. I stuck my finger up through the hole a few times, and he got my finger a few times, but I kept pulling away from him just as soon as he would strike, before he could really latch on, bite down, and really get me. I poked my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair again and again, playing with him, egging him on, antagonizing and enticing him, and then I stuck my finger up through the hole again and there came a Knock-Knock-Knock! at my front door in the living room and I forgot to withdraw my finger.

The kitty saw his opportunity as clear as day. The Daddy’s head was turned, his attention on the person at the door. The Kapooka critter heard the Daddy ask, “Who’s there?” With the Daddy distracted and the finger not going anywhere, the lil’ kitten decided to put things in motion by biting down… hard!

Before my buddy can even answer me, a loud shout cuts through the air and I curse the Kapooka critter. I can hear Kapooka’s Uncle J.B. laughing on the other side of the door, so at least I know who’s there now. With my middle finger bleeding and me holding it in my mouth and suckling on it in order to relieve the blood and pain, I answered the door and let Uncle J.B. in.

“What was that all about? What happened?”

“The lil’ bastard just bit me!”

“Why?”

“‘cause I was playing with him!”

“What were you doing?”

“I was sticking my finger up through the hole in the wicker chair and playing with him.”

“Hmm, you mean, like this,“ Uncle J.B. walks over to the wicker chair and starts playing with the lil’ kitten. I’m not happy about the kitten biting so hard and the pissed off expression on my face shows it, but I figure that it was just an accident, wasn’t intentional, and will probably never happen again. I attend to my bloody finger and everything’s fine again, for the moment.

Next thing I know, I hear Uncle J.B. holler out and I look over to see him sucking on his middle finger. I ask him, “What happened? Did he get you, too?”

“No. Yes,” Uncle J.B. replied, hesitant with a proper response. “He didn’t get me that bad.”

“No? Then do ya want to play with him some more right now?”

“Maybe some other time.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“We need to get him a few things, don’t we?” Uncle J.B. volunteered, changing the subject and covering for the Kapooka critter, but he continued to suckle on his injured middle finger in-between said words the same as I.

“I got him all the essentials, and I plan on taking him to get all his shots and to get him neutered soon. Do you think that’ll calm him down at all?” I asked, very serious now, with a combination of hope and desperation in my eyes.

“Yeah, it should. Why, is he a handful?”

I then tied a string to Uncle J.B. in a way to where he couldn’t untie it, even despite his military training and an extensive military background, and I unleashed the Kapooka critter on him. Uncle J.B. ran, but the Kapooka critter gave chase. Uncle J.B. ran ‘til he couldn’t run anymore, but the Kapooka critter never even broke a sweat – probably ‘cause cats don’t sweat. Uncle J.B. fell down out of exhaustion and the Kapooka critter was on him, eating him string first. That’s the last we saw of Uncle J.B. until the Kapooka critter used the litter box much later on. Uncle J.B. suddenly reappeared, string and all. I asked him about his journey, but he said he didn’t want to talk about it… ever!

“Yeah, he’s a handful,” I cordially replied.

“We just need to get him some toys and find him something to do on his own. He also needs a climbing post and a scratching post. That should help keep him occupied.”

“He has his wicker chair,” I replied, and Uncle J.B. answered me by putting his middle finger up to his mouth.

I showed Uncle J.B. a few more tricks, like how he holds the string in his mouth and walks around with it looking like he’s a kitty on a leash attempting to lead ya somewhere, the balancing act at the top of the wicker chair, and how he learned how to dive into his kitty-toy-house (the one I made for him out of three twelve-pack soda can boxes), sending it and him sliding forward across the floor for a short distance. I also showed Uncle J.B. all of what I had obtained for the kitten so far, and I informed him of everything I had planned. Uncle J.B. said he had a few supplies in mind and would get a few things that he already had from when Mr. Biscuits and Mrs. Piggy were kittens together for Kapooka. After that, Uncle J.B. left, the Kapooka critter played some more, and then a rare thing happened… the Kapooka critter got tired and wore out.

I picked him up and held him, and like the first time, the lil’ kitten fell asleep in my arms again. They’re absolutely adorable when they’re asleep. He purred, and snuggled, and was all kinds of cute and cuddly. I thought to myself, If only he were always like this.

Kitties are cute, but they are also predators, and great hunters. They have a plethora of carnal urges and instincts that have to be taken into consideration and addressed by the owner so that the animal will not be held back and can properly express itself and answer the almighty “Call of the Wild” through plenty of play and exercise. Even indoor cats need a little play each and every day. Balls, strings, and toy mousies are just a few things that work great for keeping an indoor cat happy. They also seem to go crazy for fingers popping out from underneath closed doors and hand movements beneath any and all sheets and covers.

Though at the time I was beginning to wonder if my cat was just downright retarded or something, I now seriously think that kittens just have this God-given youthful energy to where they can just play all day and not get tired. But when they crash, it often happens suddenly and spontaneously, and sometimes instantaneously, right there on the spot. Sometimes they’ll keep on going, even if they’re tired, but you can pretty much tell when they’ve had it. With the Kapooka critter, I would suddenly see him flop down on the floor, his little tongue hanging out of his mouth, panting, breathing heavily, his big kitten eyes only opening halfway and his eyes remaining closed for a good amount of time while performing the act of blinking. When I witness all of these telltale signs I know I can pick him up and let him fall asleep in my arms, no fuss, no muss.

With the Kapooka critter asleep in my arms, I soon took him into the bedroom and, also like the day before, laid down with him on my chest and drifted off to sleep for an afternoon nap of my own. The little creature was slowly wearing me out and I needed the extra zzz’s. A couple of hours ticked by and…

I awake to four paws tromping down on my face and leaping away just as quick as they came. I open my eyes and turn my head to see what he’s after and there’s nothing there, not even a fly or a bug, yet he’s after it all the same. He’s occupied with the invisible object in the air and he hasn’t seen that I’ve opened my eyes and spotted him, so I close them again and lie there on my back in wait to snatch his hyper lil’ buttoosky up the first chance I get.

He’ll be back, and I know it. He just can’t resist jumping on and over the Daddy again. And sure enough, I hear the pitter-patter of four little paws coming towards me and I feel him leap up onto my midsection. I quickly reached my hands out and scooped him up, and then I held him up in front of me, looked right at him, and asked him, “What are you thinking?”

He replied, “Meow!” which translates into, “I’m a crazy lil’ kitty and I was in the process of having fun!”

He then let out another louder, more obnoxious, “Meowww!” which meant, “Feed me!”

I got out of bed with him still in my arms, and we headed for the kitchen where I then put him down and got his food ready for him. As I’ve probably pointed out, he was accustomed to being served a combination of wet food mixed with dry food with a side of just plain, ole’ dry food, and what he does is he eats the wet portion of the food immediately every time and munches on the dry food portion throughout the day and especially at night while his Daddy’s asleep.

In the mornings, when the food bowl is usually empty and the water bowls are often low (he has three water bowls at this point, one in each room), I clean his bowls. It is important to thoroughly clean food and water bowls regularly. This helps to prevent diseases and infections, like the one I told you about Mr. Biscuits having, though I doubt that’s what it was from.

We all know what happens when food spoils, but water bowls can spoil, too. Water bowls will grow a clear, slimy, algae-like buildup at the bottom of them if not properly scrubbed out every once in a while, and my theory is the fresher the water the better it is for my cat. I try to clean the Kapooka critter’s water bowls at least two or three times a week, and I even fill his water bowls with bottled drinking water ‘cause it’s the purest.

The last thing that can spoil is the litter box, and trust me, you don’t want that item to get too bad. It’s weird, when I was a kid I remember buying one kind of litter which came in a bag and worked just perfect. Nowadays, however, if ya buy the bagged litter it doesn’t clump unless ya mix it with fifty percent or more of the boxed litter or the litter in the plastic containers (which isn’t quite as good as the boxed stuff). So that’s what I do, I mix the two types of litter together. The really good stuff that comes in the boxes looks like fine, little granules and is often heavily scented, to where as the bagged litter looks like crushed shells and other things you would find at a beach or in the ocean.

I mix the bagged litter with the boxed litter in order to save in the cash flo’ department, and I always buy the unscented brand of the bagged stuff ‘cause the good stuff is usually so heavily scented. The bagged litter is reasonably priced and seems to lasts forever in comparison to the boxed litter, which is expensive and runs out much quicker, in part because it’s in slightly smaller quantities – or at least the store I most frequently buy my pet products from has the best deal on a twenty pound box that lasts about a month with the mixture I use, as compared to a twenty-five pound bag bought from the same store which lasts more than three times as long but doesn’t work nearly half as good. Hey, that’s why it’s all in the mix.

Dry food is good for a cat’s teeth, but male cats, like the Kapooka critter, especially need a good, healthy mixture of dry food and wet food ‘cause the wet food helps to keep a male cat from developing crystals in his urinary tract which can lead to a horrible bladder infection or even worse and can amount to a great deal of pain and suffering for the lil’ guy. I also stick to a brand of dry food that he likes and has no food dyes or ridiculous additives for my cat’s health. Bottled drinking water can help prevent bladder infections, too. Though the Kapooka critter now gets bottled water, he didn’t always, but that’s a story for another time.

Health problems are never something to take lightly. Vet bills are expensive, but the slightest unknown ’causing one problem to lead to the next could result in losing a friendly, loyal, cherished companion indefinitely. If medical problems arise and don’t heal themselves properly within a reasonable amount of time then a veterinarian who has the proper experience and knows what he or she is doing should attend to the animal, and that person will hopefully give you an honest and reasonable diagnosis – seeing, that is, that they can properly identify one.

Uncle J.B.’s other cat, Mrs. Piggy, developed a skin condition a while back. Uncle J.B. took her to his vet, and his vet diagnosed the problem as being an allergic reaction to fleas. The thing is, Mrs. Piggy is an indoor cat who gets flea medication routinely, about once every month, and she didn’t have a flea on her and hadn’t had a problem for some time.

Uncle J.B. applied the medication as the vet prescribed with the hope that it would solve the problem with Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition, but it didn’t. Perhaps it was done for the sake of money, perhaps it was done out of the arrogance of not knowing the cause or the solution to the problem but not wanting to admit it, or perhaps it was just an honest mistake, but the outcomes all the same, the vet had misdiagnosed the problem. The medication wasn’t doing a thing to help Mrs. Piggy’s skin condition.

It started with a bunch of odd sores on Mrs. Piggy’s neck and back. Meanwhile, her hair was beginning to fall out towards her rear and backside, like it was loose and falling out or she was biting at it and pulling it out. The sores turned into scabs, and between the scabs and the lack of hair Mrs. Piggy was lookin’ somethin’ awful. Uncle J.B. and I aren’t vets, so we can’t figure out what’s going on with the Pig for the life of us, or her. We’re just glad it’s not ringworm or something nasty and contagious like that. All we know to do is apply the medication his vet prescribed for Mrs. Piggy and pray for her recovery.

We never figured out what it was or why it happened, but we were very grateful when Mrs. Piggy’s fur began to grow back and her scabs began to heal over and fall off, the horrible, horrendous sores finally ceasing to recur, though it was a long slow process, the outbreak seemingly now over or at least in a state of remission. It took all of four months for Mrs. Piggy to start looking like her good, ole’ self again. I tell ya, Mrs. Piggy’s Daddy’s prayers and those of my own went leaps and bounds further than that vet’s diagnosis and treatment did, not to dis’ proper medicine.

You should see the before and after photos. No, just kidding, Mrs. Piggy was too shy and vain to pose for the camera at the time. She wouldn’t allow her picture taken while she looked the way she did. She’s really a beautiful cat, especially now that she’s healthy again.

Mrs. Piggy’s a short-haired Manx cat, with no tail whatsoever. She has grey, brown, black, and white in her striping, steel blue eyes that reflect green in the shadows when the light hits them a certain way, and she’s got a big, ole’, round belly and is just as plump as a pig can be. We’re still trying to figure out what happened to her tail. I have one theory…

Have ya ever seen the way one kitten’ll go after another kitten’s tail in a big, ole’ group of ‘em? Well, I think that’s what happened to Mrs. Piggy. It couldn’t be that Manx Cats are just born without tails… oh no, it has to be that there was a wily, little kitten, like my lil’ Kapooka critter, amongst the litter when Mrs. Piggy was a lil’ kitten, and also like my lil’ Kapooka critter, this lil’ kitten liked string, a lot, and mistook anything that was long and straight and looked anything like string for string, especially if it moved and twitched, and you can sort of see where I’m going with this. Of course, this is just one man’s theory on the disappearance of Mrs. Piggy’s tail.

You’ll officially meet Mrs. Piggy and Mr. Biscuits just as soon as we take a trip over to Uncle J.B.’s place to pay them all a visit. Maybe the Cheshire kitty cat will even make an appearance and drop by, too. As for now, let’s see what my lil’ Kapooka critter is about to get into next.

“Meow!!!” Pull the string, Daddy! Come on, pull the string!!!

I said, “I pulled the string and the kitty chased it! What more do ya want from me?!”

And around and ‘round in circles the kitty went. I stood up and tried to walk away from string, but that’s when the kitten transformed into lil’ ankle-biter and attacked. I dodged to one side and got out of the way just in time to see the lil’ ankle-biter go skidding past me. He was on the warpath. He wanted string to move, and if string wasn’t moving he was going to be darned if he was gonna see the Daddy sit still.

The lil’ ankle-biter circled around to make another go at it, hoping to strike himself an Achilles’ tendon on this pass. I scampered in the other direction, but the Kapooka critter was too fast. He was heading directly for me. I had no time to react, no time to dodge left or right, so I took off the only direction I could think to go; Up!

I leapt up into the air, hopping over the lil’ ankle-biter, who was ever so determined to get at me, and landing on the floor behind him. The lil’ ankle-biter did a double-take and circled around for a third pass at me as I rose to my knees and looked around… for…

For what? For a place to flee? For an item to distract him with? For an object to fend him off with? And then, in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, I saw it and thought to myself, I never thought I’d be this happy to see you.

I had found a worthy contemporary to ally myself with. The problem is, I would always, in someway, somehow, be tied to my new ally. Right in-between the lil’ ankle-biter and myself, like a knight in shining armor, there he was; String!

Here he comes to save the day! I thought to myself, as the lil’ ankle-biter crouched down low and got into striking position, ready to pounce. I reached out for String and grabbed one of his ends just as the lil’ ankle-biter was launching himself forward. With a smooth, quick flick of the wrist, string sprung to life, twisting and twirling, leaping and whirling, and goin’ ‘round and ‘round in circles.

I really feel like String saved my life back there. If it wasn’t for String, I could’ve spent my days without ankles, and that just wouldn’t be cool. I would have to learn how to walk around on the stubbies and everybody would call me “Nubby,” and that just wouldn’t be cool at all! I want to thank String from the bottom of my heart for sacrificing himself in order to save a wretch like me. I owe ya one, String! Thank you, man! You’re the best!

“We love you, String!”

Sometimes heroic actions bring about grave consequences, so goes for String, but I just can’t bring myself to talk about it just yet. There’s been a casualty… his first one… I just can’t bear it… What has my baby done?!

Shhh! We won’t tell. If ya tell, the Kapooka critter’ll jump out of the page and bite your ankles off. Ya wouldn’t want to be called “Nubby” and walk around on stubbies, now, would ya? Okay. Maybe I’ll tell ya about what he did to String momentarily, but for now we still gotta get to the end of this day. So, fast forwarding to that night…

I’m in the bathroom as part of my nightly routine and the kitten’s in there with me, at my ankles on the floor, no longer being a bitey lil’ kitty, if ya know what I mean. He’s supervising and checking everything out in the bathroom, and he decides that he’s going to hop up on the counter to the sink again tonight. Again I let him, and he’s checking everything out from up there now, and he’s getting braver about the toilet, and he’s playing with my hair whenever I let him, and while I’m standing over the toilet to take a piss, you know who’s right there, looking at me, like he has to supervise that, too.

Now, I’m not used to the Kapooka critter being able to jump up on too many things just yet, but that’s all about to change. So, the kitten has managed to hop up on the counter to the bathroom sink in my bedroom for the second time and he’s leaning forward over the counter towards the toilet while I’m finishing up, dripping out the last few drops, putting it away, buttoning up my fly, and…

Whoosh! I pull the lever, the toilet flushes, and the lil’ kitten goes from curious and interested to scared stiff and caught up in a complete panic at the drop of a dime. The Kapooka critter wasn’t sticking around to see what happens to the swirling water. He heard that toilet flush, saw that water move, and was gone, darting out of the bathroom, through the bedroom, and into the main room, not stopping to look back ‘til he felt he was out of the range of his number one adversary and phobia all rolled into one; that being, “Water.”

Water, aqua, H2O… call it whatever ya like, the kitty wants nothin’ to do with anything wet getting on him. Now when it comes to drinking the wet stuff, that’s a whole different story. He can really drink it down, just don’t let it touch his precious fur coat. He has a tongue for cleaning that.

The kitten was finally in the safety of the living room and therefore able to look back now. Meanwhile, I was cracking up with laughter. I thought the situation was quite hilarious. I was getting a good rise out of the whole “kitty panicked and ran away from the flushing toilet” routine while finishing up in the bathroom, I must admit.

It appeared the lil’ guy had been so startled, he had taken to using his litter box. I was still laughing to myself when I heard him romping around out there, digging up and kicking litter from side to side, trying to mold the perfect hole to bury his droppings in. I finished up in the bathroom and heard him finishing up and exiting his litter box, and I think that all is fine so I lay down on my bed for a moment of R&R. No sooner do I lay down, I hear an off-sounding noise coming from the kitchen/dining room section of the main room.

At first, I can’t place the sound precisely, but I know it’s him. It sounds like his normal scampering, but there seem to be a couple pitter-patters missing in action. The noises also sound a bit strained and frantic, almost labored, so I quickly get up and exit the bedroom to see him immediately scoot down the hallway out of my sight. I immediately go after him, wanting to know what’s up and determined to find out.

Now, it’s dark outside but, as I’ve stated, there’s plenty of lighting in every room of my house and the lights that need to be on are on at this time, it’s just that the Kapooka critter’s “Daddy” isn’t always that observant. I saw a flash of orange lightning dart off down the hallway in a sudden sliding motion and I went after it. I failed to look down.

Squish! Guess what I wound up stepping in. I’ll give ya a hint, it sort of rhymes with, Squish! and it smells like…

I notice that a sticky, wet clunker is stuck to the bottom of my foot, and I round the corner of the main room and turn left into the hallway to see my lovely lil’ kitten crouched down with his bottom to the floor, ears back, tail hanging out behind him, back two legs up in the air, front two paws reaching out and propelling him forward as he tries to dislodge and rid himself of the poopy that’s stuck to his booty. The thing is, he’s not dislodging the poopy from his booty, he’s just smearing it all over his rear and all across my linoleum floor.

So, here I am, limping through the house with a turd stuck to my foot, streaks of shit all over the linoleum flooring in the hallway, and a turd stuck to and hanging out of my cat’s bunghole, and I think to myself, ever the optimist, At least this didn’t happen on the carpet. I pick the kitty up and, while holding him as far away from my own, personal being as possible, I go and get the roll of paper towels. I then limp us into the bathroom on my one, good, non-poopied foot for a good scrub down and a cleaning.

Nowadays it takes a lot to make me mad, but it didn’t used to. This situation didn’t make me happy, but I did a pretty damned good job at keeping my cool. Resolving the problem is often so much easier than thinking about it and getting emotional about it. Again, carpet cleaner, alcohol, or Vinegar and a roll of paper towels or a damp cloth. Remember, dab at it and get it up, don’t just rub it in. Lucky for me, my cat only poop-scoots on the linoleum flooring.

I got the Kapooka critter’s bottom and my foot all cleaned up, then I said to him, “Don’t do that again! If you do it again, I’ll make it to where you can’t shit anymore and I can’t step in shit anymore by permanently inserting my foot into your behind, ya stinky lil’ asshole! I’ll be walking around with your fat, howlin’ lil’ kitten ass as a boot from here on out if I have to deal with another poop-scoot! How would ya like that?!”

He said, “Meow!”

I said, “Then don’t let it happen again! Gross kitty! Bad, gross lil’ kitty! No poop-scoots!”

The kitty howled in protest one last time before retreating into the main room to finish cleaning himself by licking the poo off of his butt. I didn’t bring him to bed with me that night. That night I left the lil’ stinker out in the living room when I went to lie down and hit the hay.

The horrible thing about poop-scoots is that poop-scoots are horrible things. They stink and smell. They gag the senses. They leave crusty, brown streaks on the linoleum flooring.

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