Would you take advice from your cat?


And then there was the time we tried writing an advice column. What do you think? We’re cats, so we’re full of opinions. Superior opinions. Send us your questions! We like telling other people what to do.

We find our true calling
We’re grown up now. We’ve been watching the world outside our windows for a long time – cats are keen observers – and we read books, too. Interesting people come to our house and we eavesdrop on their conversations. We’re published authors. With all those qualifications, we’re ready – and willing – to offer advice to others. So, we bring to you Ask the Meezers!

Tip of the week!

Tip of the week (from Mischief, who doesn’t take his own advice): Don’t chew on rose bushes. Even the small ones have prickles.

Dear Meezers: What’s a “mee-zher?”
— A New Reader
Trouble: Uh, that would be us. We’re Sia-meeze cats, right? Meezers.
Mischief: Are all the questions going to be this dumb? Instead of wasting time like this, we could be napping.
***
Dear Meezers: Why?
— Karma Kat
Trouble: Why not? It’s the curious cat’s mantra. Or you want to know why we want to nap? Now that’s a dumb question. We’re cats. It’s what we do.
Mischief: Miao.
***
Dear Meezers: Miao? Are you French?
— Un nouvel admirateur
Trouble: (Rolls eyes)
Mischief: We’re Siamese. We say “Miao.” Draw it out. Breathe deep from the chest. “My-yaaaao-oo.”
***
Dear Meezers: My cat prefers playing with empty boxes to all of the sweet little mousies and fluffy toys we buy for her. What am I doing wrong?
— Confused in Carlisle
Trouble: Nothing! You’re providing boxes, that’s a good start. But make sure you’re letting her play with the packages the toys come in, too.
Mischief: Especially if the packaging is crinkly. Trouble won’t admit it, but he likes to lick cellophane and plastic bags. Ick. If your girl doesn’t like the fluffy things, send them my way. I love fuzziness. And feathers. Got any with feathers?
***
Dear Meezers: My house and yard are full of loud monsters that disturb my sleep and – I admit it – make me puff my tail up to three times its normal size. They’re scary. My heart races. Why won’t my family consider my feelings and get rid of these things?
— Frightened in Fairview
Mischief: Let me go first on this one. Don’t be afraid to call these “monsters” by their proper names. Blender. Disposal. Vacuum. Mower. See? Saying it won’t hurt you. And neither will the machines. Be bold. Let everyone know how you feel. Arch your back and spit at them. If all else fails, a timely nip on the operator’s ankle should help. (Note: This is not recommended for the lawn mower. What are you doing out there anyway?)
Trouble: Ha! Face your fears. I agree with that one. In fact, I’ve found that if you curl up with one of these monsters, people will get all googly over how cute you are and find something else to do rather than disturb you. But I gotta say, Mischief just talks a good game. He won’t go up the stairs if the bedroom ceiling fans are on.
***
Dear Meezers: I get so tired of deciding what to have for dinner. So I ask you, tuna or salmon?
— Gourmand in Gettysburg
Trouble: Tuna!
Mischief: Salmon!
***
Dear Meezers: You guys seem to get along pretty well for siblings. What’s your secret?
— Chocolatepoint in Hershey
Trouble: Two halves make a whole. In our case, I like wet food, Mischief likes dry. I like to play with bottle caps and crumpled foil. He prefers trying to catch dangly things and chasing foam golf balls. I like to sleep on top of the kitchen cabinets. He likes to curl up on a chair. I like laps. He likes to sit next to people.
Mischief: You take my food. You take my toys. You take her lap. You hog the bed. You call that getting along??
Trouble: You pounce on me when I’m sleeping. You bite my neck. You chase me!
Mischief: Decca likes me better than you.
Trouble: Nuh-uh. She likes me better!
Mischief: Wuss!
Trouble: Brat!
Mischief: Hisss!
Trouble: Hisssssss!
Mischief: Hey! What are we fighting for? It must be time for a nap.
Trouble: Pssst. You’re lying on my tail. Mischief. Mischief!
Mischief: Snoor.
***
Dear Ask A Meezer: What’s “snoor?”
— Sleepless in Shamokin
….
Trouble and Mischief are the pen names of two midstate Pennsylvania cats who blog about books, life and the world outside their windows. Got a question for Ask the Meezers? Post a comment here or send it to deccablog@gmail.com You can follow the Meezers on Twitter at @DeccaCats.

(Ask A Meezer was first published at Central Penn Parent as part of the Tail Tales blog in 2013.)

Advertisements

We’ve got hairballs – is that a problem?


Since we wrote this column on our hairball “problem” last year, it seems to have gone away on its own. Our Decca is really baffled, because nothing changed in our diet or our behavior. Maybe it was just a teen-ager thing?? What do you think?

*Cough* Hairballs *cough*

There's something donw thre on the floor...

Pardon us, but there’s something disgusting down there on the floor you need to take care of. (Trouble, left; and Mischief)

Friends, are you embarrassing yourself in front of yourself and others? Does your pep suddenly turn into pooped when you stop in the middle of a good run to hack and heave? Are hairballs making you unpopular around the house?

Friends, the answer to all of your problems is — well, to tell the truth, we don’t know what the answer is. But now that we’ve gotten older, hairballs are more of an issue in our lives. They’re interfering with our play time. They’re interfering with our social life.

Yes, we do too have a social life! People come to our house. They fuss over us, they play with us, they admire us.

And then one of us hacks up and everybody backs off. Talk about bad timing. But, sheesh! You’re around cats and you don’t expect a little lump of wet, compacted hair on your carpet once in a while? It’s what we do.

Even our dearest Decca is giving us the hairy eyeball more often.

Now we’ve checked, and there’s nothing abnormal going on with us. Once a week, each, especially now that the weather’s hot and we’re eager to shed some of our gorgeous fur.

Hairballs are actually a sign we’re grown up and become better at grooming ourselves (as long as we don’t overdo it. We’ve also read that “excessive” grooming can be a sign of health problems.)

But that’s not how Decca sees it. She keeps trying to get us to eat stuff that’s supposed to “help” us with our hairballs. Just because she doesn’t like stepping on them in her bare feet… Put shoes on! Wear your glasses!

Have we mentioned that we’re picky about what we put in our mouths — when it comes to food? (We’ll give anything else a try: Bugs — dead or alive — paper, organic matter that isn’t intended to be food, like leaves or grass, a blueberry that falls on the floor; you name it, we have to taste it.)
This hairball “treatment” thing isn’t going so well, from her point of view.

The best-selling commerical products, according to Amazon? We’ve spurned them all, from the Pet Naturals Fun-Shaped Chews (fish!) to the Nutri-Vet Hairball Paw-Gel for Cats (both flavors). We liked the caped super-cat on the chews package, so we gave that one a trial.

Decca got so excited when Trouble ate two pieces — he’s the primary hairball producer of the two of us — that she couldn’t wait to grab the package the next day to give us “treats.” (Really? You think we were fooled?)

There was no repeat performance, so she snuck them into our food bowls. That worked once, too. Now, instead of white emptiness in the bottom of our bowls after we eat, these gooey, sad-looking fish-shaped bits appear. Yuck.

As to those gels and pastes in tubes, no thanks. It’s not that we’re bothered over the controversy over whether petroleum-based hairball treatments are a bad idea, we just think they’re icky. And don’t you dare smear it on our beautiful paws!

We’re been reading the Internet over Decca’s shoulder as she looks for new ideas. There are some pretty crazy home remedies out there. Mayonnaise? Crisco? Yogurt? (We know she won’t try that one – like many adult cats, we’re lactose intolerant.)

Hmmm. Canned pumpkin puree? Is that a vegetable?? You do know we’re carnivores, right?
But, hey, here’s one that sounds good — catnip!!

This one is even better, though: The experts at Cornell University say you should brush and comb your cat frequently.

Yes! We’d like that. A lot. Bring it on.

We’ll start purring now.

This is an updated version of a post that first appeared on Central Penn Parent.

A tale to make your fur stand up


It’s almost Halloween. That seems like a good time to recycle a very personal scary story we’re sure many of you can relate to. We’re calling it

No One Can Hear You Scream from the Closet

Trouble has no time for a fake jack-o-lantern.

Trouble has no time for a fake jack-o-lantern.

Mischief here. Because our Not-Very-Good Weekend ended with a Very Bad Day, and it was all Trouble’s fault, I’m taking over this blog to tell the tale. Trouble can just sit in the corner and think about what he did while I type.

It all started with the houseguests. We have a friend who comes to stay pretty often, and we like her. But every time Betty visits, there’s lots of coming and going. It throws our whole schedule off. Naps are interrupted, breakfast often is late, and dinner is just plopped in our dishes without so much as a “bon appetit.” We don’t like that.

This time, on top of all that, people came over to our house Saturday night for dinner. We tried to be good hosts, but it’s pretty hard when guests are sitting in your favorite evening nap spots.

And we needed our rest. Just before the people arrived, all of our toys got scooped up and put in a box in a corner of the living room, and our favorite pile of brown paper – we love to dive and burrow in its crinkly folds – was rolled up and hidden away.

We finally marched upstairs in a huff. If we can’t be the center of attention, there’s no point in hanging around.

That brings us to Sunday.

There’s a little room upstairs that’s filled with rows of hanging things and, on the floor, shoes and small boxes. There’s lots of fascinating stuff to explore – except we’re not allowed in there.

This Sunday morning, though, Betty and our Decca were rushing off somewhere yet again. I tried to get involved with their preparations and offer fashion advice (I am an expert on shoes and love to help select belts, scarves and shoes!) but got nowhere. So I went looking for Trouble to see if he wanted to wrestle or play Thunder Paws. That’s where we run all around the house and up and down the stairs, jumping over each other.

I couldn’t find him – and then I saw the door to the little room was open. I stuck my nose in and heard him whisper my name.

“Psst! I’m in here behind the shoe boxes!”

“Trouble,” I said, shocked. “You know you aren’t supposed to be in there! Come out right now.”

There’s tissue paper…” And he rolled around just so I could hear the rustling.

“Trouble, I’m coming in there right now to get you. We can take the tissue paper with us.”

Trouble just can't stay away.

You can’t see me here, right? But you’re not going to shut me in here again, are you??

Heart thumping, with one leap I landed in the center of the room. My second leap took me into the corner where I could hear Trouble behind the hanging things, now chewing on the delectable paper. It sounded so crisp I couldn’t think about anything else.

And then the light went out and the door slammed shut.

A few minutes later, we heard the garage door go up. And down. And the car drove away.
We were trapped!

She’ll come back,” Trouble said, trying to sound confident but failing. “She didn’t do a nose count and she’ll remember that and come back. Listen! I think I hear the car now.

“It’s your fault she didn’t do a nose count before she left!” I gave him a nip on the ear, I was so mad.

Hey! What’d I do?”

“She stopped doing the nose count because you started carrying on so much. Remember last week? She had her coat on and was ready to go and couldn’t find you. As soon as she called your name, you bolted to the top of the refrigerator and cowered. You actually cowered! And the way you mewed! It was sickening.”

I don’t want to go back to the vet. She always takes us in the morning…

“You’re pathetic,” I hissed. “Help me tip over the laundry basket. We might as well be comfortable while we wait. In the dark. Without any food or water. We could die in here – and it’ll be your fault.”

Huh. You wanted that tissue paper just as much as I did.

“Go to sleep.”

I want my litter pan.

“Go to sleep!”

We were in there all day. It was dinner time when the door opened and light hit our eyes. I’m proud to say that aside from shedding – we shed gobs when we’re upset – you’d never know we spent The Entire Day shut in that closet. We managed to hold it in and, if I dare say so myself, we looked pretty nonchalant when we sauntered out the door to freedom. A stretch and a yawn can mask a lot of emotion.

Our Decca felt really bad about our ordeal. But it was all Trouble’s fault. Worst of all, we forgot the tissue paper and don’t dare go back to get it.

This post is republished, in slightly edited form, from Central Penn Parent, where we were among a group of pets contributing to the Tail Tales blog in 2013 — until someone decided recipes were a better idea. But the recipes are pretty good, so check them out! How about Oreo Candy Corn Bark (it looks like pizza!) for Halloween?

Each of us is a precious gem


Here’s something we never thought about before, not that there aren’t a number of such things. It’s what we do most of the day, when we aren’t playing, grooming, eating or writing:  We mediate on the mysteries of the universe and the puzzling things we see outside our windows.

Napping or thinking?

Trouble doing what a cat does best — meditating on the nature of the universe.

Really. It just looks like we’re napping.

But we were thinking recently about Thailand, the home of our ancestors. While browsing the Internet – we periodically google “Siamese cat news” to see what turns up — we came across a story about a new campaign to promote Thai tourism. And it features a cat that looks like us! Handsome face, lithe body, big blue eyes. It’s us!

Brilliant!

But if you clicked, you probably noticed that the writer doesn’t refer to that gorgeous feline representative of Thai culture as a Siamese cat. It’s something called a Wichian Mat. Which we found out means “moon diamond.”
 
Wow. We’re not only gorgeous, we’re poetry. Picture the warm gold and bronze of a harvest moon and the clear blue-white fire of a diamond. Then look at the subtle shades of our soft cream, mocha, tan and brown coats. Look into our sparkling opalescent blue eyes. It’s us.

Ol' Blue Eyes

Mischief shows off his gorgeous blue eyes.

So that’s when it hit us. All cats in Thailand are Thai cats, just as all cats in old Siam were Siamese cats. But not all Siamese cats were of the Wichian Mat breed. (Or, as we’ve also seen it spelled, wichien maat.)

Despite all the fuss over what constitutes a “real” Siamese cat in the rest of the world, if you go to Thailand, you still can see the real deal, the wichian mat, plus all sorts of other cats. We think that settles the argument once and for all.

It makes us wonder what else we’re making gigantic assumptions about. As we can attest just from watching our patio, the world is full of birds, for example. In our case, they’re American birds. But look closer, and you see robins, cardinals, several kinds of finches and sparrows, wrens, blue jays, doves (and we’ve heard tell of an awful, scary story about a dove and a hawk out there we won’t repeat. Thank goodness we weren’t there to see it, is all we will say.)

Some of these birds are native to North America. Some, like the sparrows and starlings, came from Europe. But each is special and distinct. If there were one less color, shape or song, our world would be poorer.

The world is full of diversity, and we miss out on its richness if we only think in broad categories and lump things together as being alike when that’s just not so. Look closer, and you’ll see each of us is a unique gem, bringing beauty to the place we grace with our presence.

Moon diamonds. Rare, exotic, mysterious, precious.

Making work look like play


People like to think cats lead lives of total luxury, but that’s not strictly true. We spend a lot of time protecting our homes from strangers — we’re the first to sound the alarm, whether it’s that pesky chipmunk taking all the birdseed from the feeder again or a neighbor kid at the door wanting to sell popcorn.

And do we have to get into the need for vigilance when it comes to bugs? We can see things people can’t see, as evidenced by the number of times we’ll both be staring up at the wall, only to have some person keep asking, “What do they see? I don’t see anything!”

It’s maddening. It is right there — why don’t you come do something about it?

But these are noble pursuits, bred in the bone. All cats are hunters and warriors, whether their domain is the vast savannah or a cosy condo.

Mischief flattens a cardboard box so it will fit in the recycling bin.

Because we like our person, Decca, so much, we also try to help her around the house whenever we can. We realize that may shock some of our readers. Cats were worshipped in the ancient world, after all, and as Siamese, we mustn’t forget we’re descended from royalty. With royal privilege comes royal obligation, though, and it wouldn’t do to lose touch with the common world. We know our history. Look what happened to the Bourbons and the Romanovs.

Trouble cleans the bathtub.

To accomplish both goals, we’ve discovered a nifty trick that you, dear feline reader, could try at home. You get a good workout — and sometimes even treats — while preserving your dignity as well. Make the work look like play!

Trouble arranges flowers for the dinner table.

For example, when Decca gets that big, noisy vacuum cleaner out (which is far too seldom, we have to say), our job is to protect her from that snake-like cord. It’s apt to catch on chairs and wind itself around her ankles like an anaconda. So, by pretending we are chasing it, we keep the cord as much out of her way as we can. We also point out areas on the carpet needing extra attention by running in front of the machine.

As you can see from the accompanying photos, we’ve found many other ways to help with the housework. This past week was particularly busy, since we had house guests. That involves so much preparation — from hunting down and capturing fluffy clumps of hair under the furniture (Trouble says he’s a shorthair, but he’s suspiciously fluffy) to making the rooms attractive and planning menus (Mischief takes keen interest in the culinary arts).

Mischief consults on the dinner menu.

So what about you, dear readers? Are there aspects of domestic science that you especially enjoy? Tell us about it, and if you send our Decca a photo (at deccaprice@gmail.com), we’ll post it next week and give you a shoutout on Twitter.

(If you’d have a website and would like to be considered for a link here at DeccaCats, email her about that, too.)

Housework can be exhausting.

Writing is hard work


Mischief offers suggestions while Trouble develops his keyboard skills.

Well, here we are. This writing business is harder than it looks, especially when you’ve got a partner. One of us wants to write about what goes on outside (Mischief, the dark handsome sealpoint) and one of us wants to write about goes on inside (Trouble, the chocolate point, aka the mocha marvel) and we both want to write about Life and stuff.

Our person, Decca, says we can write about anything we want as long as we use good grammar and spelling and don’t use baby talk. Decca is a writer and she cares about things like that.

Decca makes writing look like fun, the way her fingers make the keys clack. We like that sound. It’s almost as good as tissue paper rustling! That’s why we try to help her whenever we can.

We call Decca our person because that’s what she is. She not our mom. That would be Sophie. She is a sealpoint like Mischief, only smaller. She was a good mom and we miss her, but she taught us a lot of good things before we came to live with Decca when we were 12 weeks old. We’re 2 now. We tweet “Things our mother taught us” every Friday @DeccaCats.

Last week it was “Poke your nose into everything.” We work hard at that. Decca wasn’t half upset when she saw we could open the sideboard cabinet in the dining room. It just has old dishes in it, but you never know when something more interesting could be in there, right? So we check periodically when she’s busy in another room. The clinking usually gives us away, but that’s OK, too.

Decca doesn’t yell at us, she does what she calls “distracting” when she wants us to stop doing what we’re doing. We call that getting her to play with us! So we try to do “distracting” things a lot so she’ll leave the keyboard and play.

Except now we want our turn to write, too!

Bye now and thanks for reading. Follow us on Twitter and we’ll tell you when Decca lets us write again.

Welcome to our world!


Trouble and Mischief

What can be better than felinity? We rule the web; a world-famous art museum recently drew thousands — We suspect millions — to the first-even international cat video festival. (We were resting and did not attend. Here is the winning video.); We dare you to go to YouTube and search for “cat.” There aren’t enough hours in a day!

We realize We are not the first to venture onto the Web, nor will We be the last. But to amuse our favorite in-house author, chronologer and factotum, We graciously agreed to lend our images for this endeavor. We invite you to view our photo gallery. All rights reserved!

Trouble and Mischief *
* (Pseudonyms, of course. If She can do it, so can We.)