International Cat Day – What I’ve Learned About Cats

On International Cat Day, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share what I’ve learned about cats since I started living with two of them three years ago.  I’m sure none of this will be new to those of you with cats yourselves, and some probably aren’t even all that new to me.  Cats, like dogs and even humans, definitely have their quirks.

Mickey and Brutus are my furry boys.  Until we started living together, I had never shared a home with cats.  We had a dog when I was a kid, but no cats.  I always considered myself a dog person, but I’ve found cats can also be pretty irresistible!!  😺

Cats and their personalities

Mickey and Brutus are the best of friends, but they have very different personalities.  I think of Mickey as my introvert kitty and Brutus as the extrovert.  Mickey always holds back a little and watches.  I’ve even called him spooky kitty because he’ll sit and stare for long periods of time.

Brutus, on the other hand, has to always be right in the middle of everything.  I think the expression “curiosity killed the cat” was created to describe him.  He’s so curious about everything!!  And he barrels his way in wherever he wants to go.

Brutus is older and definitely the one in charge.  Mickey has a tendency to seek him out and will join him for a nap or mutual cleaning.  Except at night.  That’s when Mickey goes into introvert mode and stays upstairs while the rest of us spend the evening downstairs.  And Brutus will pick on Mickey, deciding all of a sudden to bite him.  Mickey has the advantage, however; he can jump higher and find a spot Brute can’t get to.

Cats and routine

Mickey and Brutus have a definite routine.  Except when they don’t.  While they have routines, they also will all of a sudden do something different.  For example, they find a favorite place to sleep during the day and go there every day for weeks.  Then one day, they’ll decide to start sleeping somewhere else.

Every night, sometime between 9:00 and 10:00, Mickey shows up at the top of the stairs and stares at us.  Sometimes he’ll come down, ready for bed.  Other times, he goes back upstairs.

I may have mentioned in my earlier post that we lock them up at night so we can sleep peacefully.  (We actually tried letting them stay up one night.  Mickey can jump on the bed and he was sleeping next to me.  But Brutus can’t jump that high.  Of course, he then cries.  We ended up taking them both downstairs and haven’t tried it again.)

They know they’ll be “going to bed” every night around the same time.  Mickey has an internal clock that tells him when he should come downstairs.  But even though he does that, he’ll sometimes fight us and hide.  Other nights, he runs into his room, all ready for bed.  There’s no pattern to this, so we can’t predict which nights will be easy and which nights we’ll be running all over the house closing doors so Mickey can’t hide.

What cats don’t like

Mickey and Brutus do not like closed doors.  If a door is closed, they’ll pace and sniff around it.  They think they’re missing something.  This is especially true if they know one of us is behind that door.

They don’t like to be picked up.  I know this doesn’t apply to all cats but it does apply to both of them.  Mickey is a little more tolerant but he’ll get antsy and want down.  I think for a while he thought the only time I picked him up was when he had to go to the vet, so I’ve tried to pick him up now and then so he doesn’t always associate it with a vet visit.

They hate the vacuum cleaner.  They may be up on a chair but as soon as I get close with the vacuum, they take off.  They also don’t like the Roomba we got a couple of weeks ago, but they’re learning to tolerate it.

They HATE going to the vet.  Recently, Mickey had his teeth cleaned and a few teeth pulled.  The vet also found he had a urinary tract infection, so we treated that.  I think he recovered quite well, but we had to take him back to make sure the infection was gone.

And then they found he was low on potassium.  We were given another prescription and had to go back every two weeks a few more times.  By the last time, Mickey (the quiet one) wanted none of it.  When the vet took him to draw blood, we could hear him screeching all the way down the hall.  I guess he was telling us he’d finally had enough.  Even the vet said we should give it a rest for a while.  😾

When we’d first get home with Mickey after a vet visit, Brutus would hiss at him.  We think Mickey probably smelled like the vet’s office and it reminded him of something he doesn’t like very much!!!

They don’t like to take pills.  We tried everything to get pills down Mickey’s throat.  We used something called pill pockets to wrap around the pill.  That may have worked once, but then he figured it out.  He’s no dummy.  So we went to liquid.  That worked better, but my aim wasn’t always the best and if he moved, I’d end up either missing his mouth or squirting Tim while he held Mickey!!

What cats do like

They like to hide.  One of their favorite places to sleep is under our bed.  That’s where they are right now.  Not sure why they like it so much, but whenever I can’t find them, that’s where I look.

hiding cat
Brutus under afghan

They gravitate to anything that looks comfortable for sleeping.  When I change the sheets on our bed, they love snuggling in the blanket and comforter.  And they love sleeping in the sun.

They also like to sit on or near heat registers.  In the winter, I’ll often find Mickey sitting in my closet, near the register.  Brutus will plop down on any register, even if only for a few minutes.  And Brutus loves sitting under our downstairs fireplace in the winter when we turn the heater fan on.

They climb into boxes, any box.  Whenever we open presents, Brutus will do whatever he can to sit in the boxes laying around.  They also like the clothes basket, especially if it contains warm clothes or towels straight from the dryer.

They like treats.  We give them Beachside Party Mix and Dentalife (salmon flavor).  I never knew cats would beg, but they do for these.  In fact, Mickey has become quite vocal when he thinks it’s time for a treat.  He’ll come to find me (or send Brutus) and he can be quite persistent.

And they like treats, as well as their food, to be fresh.  They evidently can tell the difference because they gobble up anything from a new bag!!

Mickey and Brutus are different when it comes to brushing or petting.  Brutus LOVES the furminator.  He knows where it is and he’ll walk over to it if I’m close by.  Mickey hates it.  We think that it might hurt him because he doesn’t have a lot of meat on his bones.

What Mickey loves, however, is to cuddle with me in my reading chair and let me rub his tummy.  Or he’ll come into my office/sewing room, lay down and roll his head back, begging for a tummy rub.

They clean themselves a lot.  I never realized how much until I started living with Mickey and Brutus.  And they will clean each other as well.

Other things about cats

They shed A LOT.  Especially in the summer.  I never realized they could lose so much hair.  It’s everywhere, even flying through the air.  I vacuum and it’s immediately back because I stir it up and it eventually lands back on the floor.  And it gets all over my clothes.  All they have to do is brush up against me and that part of my pants is covered.  It doesn’t help that they’re both white, which is not good when you have a dark hardwood floor.  You can’t believe what the Roomba is picking up every day!!  Wow.

I also read up on how they show love, so I could recognize if they’re doing it.  Brutus rubs up against me or my hand and then twists his head so I’ll rub his chin or ears.  Mickey also rubs against me and he licks me.  He’ll also blink a lot while I talk to him, which evidently is a sign of affection.

Brutus likes to lick as well, but he licks odd things such as condensation on the doors or on water bottles.  He even licks the vertical blinds!!

And he loves to lick fudge bar sticks.  Not sure how we got that started but we’ve created a monster.  If we pull a bar out of the freezer, he’s on us like glue, waiting for us to finish so he can have the last lick.  He can tell the difference between a fudge bar stick and a popsicle stick.  He only wants fudge bars!!!

cat licking stick
Brutus loves his fudge bars

However you choose to celebrate International Cat Day today, know that I’ll be listening to cats talking to me all day. And the softie that I am, I will be giving them treats!!!  And if Brutus plays his cards right, both Tim and I may have a fudge bar tonight.  Bonus!!!

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