Category Archives: life

Bowled over.

Okay, I admit it–I’m sort of a slob. I live alone, and thus can do things like eat my hastily-thrown-together dinner out of a bowl while sitting in front of the computer.  That’s what I did Saturday evening, in fact. And after finishing my dinner, I occupied myself with other tasks, leaving the bowl on my desk.

I went into the kitchen to put water on to boil for coffee, and let Sophie–who was waiting impatiently outside the back door–in. Her brother Max followed; he raced past her and headed upstairs without so much as a “Hey, ‘sup?” while Sophie hung around, wanting food and attention.

Coffee made and Princess Kitty adored, I decided to go upstairs and check email before doing other things. And here’s the sight I beheld upon entering the office:

YES, THAT’S A RAT. A RAT IN MY BOWL. (And yes, my desk is a mess. Shut up.)

That’s why Max was in such a hurry to get upstairs.

Max is a cat with a mind of his own. He’s like a pushy little dude in a black cat suit, and can be really obnoxious sometimes. But he’s also totally food-motivated. Food is his weak spot. So if I want him to do something (like come inside, or come out from wherever he’s hiding), and he’s being a little shit,  I just offer food; it’s that easy. Sophie and Nate want to be petted and loved, Max wants treats.

He’s also a little beggar, always wanting to know what I’m eating. Every time I sit down to eat, he’s at my side, wondering, “What’s that? Can I have some?” He’ll reach up with his paw and grab my arm, trying to pull it down so he can see what’s in the bowl. (Thought to give him credit, once he knows it’s something he doesn’t want, he leaves me alone.)

So, as you can see, he knows exactly what a bowl is for, and he put my bowl to its proper use. And while my first reaction was something like, “What the hell?” I have to admit I was impressed. And amused. I sat at my desk laughing helplessly for a good five minutes before I went for the camera.

As for Max, when asked about it, he seemed extremely pleased with himself:

He reached out with one paw and swatted at the rat in the bowl (but I was laughing too hard to get a picture). Then he flopped over and wanted his belly rubbed, purring like mad and obviously a very happy cat. So I rubbed his belly and told him what a good boy he was, and thanked him for bringing me a fresh, tasty rodent (and such a big one, too!) before slipping outside to bury the poor thing in the compost pile.

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Filed under cats, life, what the hell?!

The Thursday night all-you-can-scavenge buffet.

The City, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to include kitchen and yard waste pickup along with regular trash collection. For no additional fee, you get a little 13-gallon wheelie bin; if you need a larger container you have to pay for it. It’s pretty clear what is allowed in the kitchen waste bins and what isn’t, and while the guy next door’s been bitching to all who will listen about how it wasn’t put up for a vote, I’m all for it.

The city delivered the free bins to each house in my neighborhood earlier this week; actual pickup of kitchen wastes doesn’t start until March 3oth. But I realized right away that since the bin is  so compact, there’s no reason not to put mine where it will actually get used–in the kitchen, by the back door.

But as I looked at it more closely, I realized there is another reason to keep it inside, one that doesn’t seem to have entered the minds of whoever chose the bins: there is no latch, or some other built-in way to keep the lid shut. And the bin itself is only about two feet tall. That means it poses no challenge whatsoever to an adult raccoon, or even a good-sized dog. Short of setting a cinderblock on the lid, there is no way to keep the bin outside without it turning into a supersized to-go container for the ring-tailed hoodlums that roam my neighborhood.

So I can see it now: another trash day dawns, and the alley is full of little green bins, all tipped over and spilling coffee grounds, orange peels, and eggshells everywhere. The crows and squirrels are duking it out for the best stuff; they already do it now atop overstuffed garbage bins, but thanks to the raccoons the pickings will now be even better (and the alley–already seedy-looking–will be even trashier).

I probably wouldn’t have thought of this–or been so annoyed by it–had I not spent the last five years here keeping urban wildlife at bay. The squirrels and crows can be troublesome, the rats are a constant bother, but it’s the possums, and especially the raccoons that have given me the most headaches since I moved here. I used to think raccoons were cute, but after dealing with the little bastards firsthand? I’m so over that.

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