Monday, August 13, 2007

Mousies Don't Growl

As you may recall, I recently had occasion to question whether my cat might be on the way to setting some sort of record with regard to girth. It's hard to tell. She's not called The Big, Fluffy Kitty because she has a crew cut. But, after placing various household objects near her for scale, attempting to measure her actual circumference (which did not go well and we will not speak of it) and repeatedly asking her about her own perceptions of her self-image, I have determined that she may just be on the heavy side. I'm not convinced that the problem is that she is eating more these days. I think it may be that the activity level has slowed a bit with age.




This is pretty much my view from the couch where I am performing my own lack of movement.
And so began The Running Of The Big, Fluffy Kitty. To say that she showed a marked lack of enthusiasm for this new endeavor would be the greatest of understatements. She was, in fact, quite unmoved by my assertion that she needed to get in a bit more cardio. I was undaunted, though. I promptly made my way to the grocery store, headed over to the "Pet" section and secured a package of Fuzzy Jingle Balls. These tempting little toys would surely inspire any kitty to romp about a bit, thereby melting the unwanted pounds away in no time.
Once home, I woke the sleeping gelatinous mass and presented her with her new fitness equipment. I held the Fuzzy Jingle Ball aloft, shaking it furiously. The bell tinkled like the song of the Siren. The Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty scampered in immediately to see what was sounding this clarion call. The BFK merely yawned and looked somewhat puzzled.
Thinking that she might need a model for the behavior I was seeking, I recruited the Smaller Kitty to assist. I tossed her the ball, all the while encouraging the BFK to observe closely and see if she couldn't emulate the actions. This resulted in the net loss of one Fuzzy Jingle Ball as it was promptly captured by the Smaller Kitty and whisked away with much jingling and capering.
Not a problem. The Fuzzy Jingle Balls come packaged in sets of three. I simply took another from the package and moved on to plan B. Clearly I needed to demonstrate the chasing action more effectively and perhaps engage a little motor memory. I tossed the Fuzzy Jingle Ball a short distance, picked up the BFK (with some difficulty) and chased the ball myself, all the while chanting, "get-the-ball-get-the-ball-get-the-ball!!!!!" After five minutes of this rather frenzied activity, each followed by a test to see if the BFK might chase the ball on her own, I was panting, sweating slightly and no closer to piquing her interest than I was when I started this process.
While I lay gasping on the couch and the jiggled, but still unexercised, kitty rested a bit from the whole fiasco, I decided that I may have been going about this the wrong way. It was time to try something a bit different. So last night, after the whole Fuzzy Jingle Ball episode was well-banished from our minds, I went with the Mousie On A String method of kitty aerobics.
The theory is simple: Dangle Mousie On A String in front of the target. Hilarity and fat-busting calorie expenditure will ensue. That wasn't exactly the case, but it did incite some interest. She was unwilling to remove herself from her seat on her Super Scratcher kitty claw sharpener (and why she likes to sit there is a mystery, but it seems to have something to do with getting as much of the cardboard scrap stuff caught up in her fluffy hindquarters as is possible) But, there was a bit of the Mousie Batting after a few minutes of Mousie Dangling. In fact, we had a rather spirited little tug-o-war going on there for a bit!
And that's when I got a little overexcited, I suppose. I showed poor judgement. I realize this now. But, at the time I was rather caught up in the whole game and doing my best to encourage some true predatory behavior.
But, I forgot that Mousies don't growl. They squeak and wiggle their noses. They do not growl. There is a reason for this, I suppose and I should have thought of that before I tried to add sound effects to the proceedings.
It was just one little growl. I honestly thought that it would make the game more fun. You know...kick it up a notch? Instead, the poor kitty reared back like I'd suddenly morphed into the frightening visage of the dreaded vacuum cleaner and began to slowly back away. Then, with eyes wide, she fled.
That's running, I suppose. And kind of like exercise. But the part where she hid under a chair for the better part of two hours probably didn't do much for her waistline. Nor did the kitty treats I gave her to make her come back to me. I don't imagine that the remainder of the evening spent cuddling on the couch listening to Mommy apologize profusely over the whole affair was all that slimming either.
We are back to the drawing board as far as Kitty Aerobics go. No further attempts at exercising the cat will be attempted until a less traumatizing method has been determined.
That left me with some knitting time today and I figured that I should use it well since, at any moment, I may come up with yet another brilliant plan to scare my poor cat into a coronary. I have knit my way past the heel and gussets on my Bripple Sock and the toe is in sight. As I tried the sock on to get an idea regarding fit, it became clear to me that I could have gone up yet another needle size. They fit quite well by my own "I like my socks tight so they don't fall down" standards. But the ripple effect is pretty much lost in the spreading of the stitches. It's not a bad look. It's just not ripply is all. I'm fine with it. But I may experiment a bit with the next ones and see if a looser cuff will work for me. I'm a loose knitter and often simply go down one needle size for most patterns. But I'm curious. Did I knit the leg portion too small?
Or could it be that the Big, Fluffy Kitty isn't the only one around here who could benefit from playing with a Mousie On A String?
SA

21 comments:

Julie said...

Poor BFK! I'd have given her treats after such a traumatic experience too!

Every now and then, Moogie will suddenly race through the room chasing a toy as if he were a kitten. It's pretty funny; usually he takes 4 or 5 steps and has to lay down to rest.

Mouse said...

Have you tried a laser pointer? My cat (who isn't exactly a youngster anymore..) really loves when the "red bug" comes out to play. Just remember that bugs don't growl and you should be fine. They sell laser pointers at places like Radio Shack and the like. (and some Mousies growl. I growl.. especially when you try to mess with my yarn stash..)

Future SIL said...

Maybe cousin Guardian Hound could get at shot a BFK...she might move then. But then again might cause a LOT of trauma and she would have to go to the kitty pyscho doctor. Don't want that. I don't think I could afford that many kitty treats.

trek said...

No, sorry to report, mousies definitely do not growl.

But Future SIL Sheep has a good idea there with respect to the Guardian Hound.

--Deb said...

Hmm . . . maybe just cutting back on her food would be less traumatic for all concerned? Pity you can't put a cat on a leash and drag them outside for exercise like you can with dogs (grin).

Lazuli said...

What a fun story! My efforts at kitty-waistline-diminishing focus on not letting the little ones eat whenever they darn well please. Occassional hiding of their food resulted in no fast progress, though, just a shift from 12 pounds at the vet one year to 11 pounds the next! Other than that, I second the laser pointer! Very fun!

kmkat said...

Yes, indeedy, laser pointers are a lot of fun with a cat. Felines are not the most intelligent of beasts, so the fact that the flying red dot has neither physical substance nor scent doesn't seem to discourage them.

Limited feeding is another method, one that is guaranteed to produce a slimmer, albeit extremely grumpy, kitty.

catsmum said...

sounds like it was more of a case of sheep aerobics

Anonymous said...

I agree with the laser pointer suggestion. My MIL's cat went right after the dot and even tried to climb the wall.
Karen
http://nothingbutknit.blog-city.com/

Lorraine said...

Try rubbing the toy with catnip. If it doesn't inspire interest, nothing will.

Bobbi said...

LOL! Maybe you need one of those See n Says, you know the pig goes oink, that way you can refer to it for appropriate noises in the future :)

Cursing Mama said...

Could it be, if you stopped carrying the BFK from location to location that this just might increase her exercise quotient enough to stabilize her girth?

Mia said...

oh my gosh.. that was too funny *grin* The fatso miss kitty at my house could use a few of those jingle balls herself. Now I have a rason for yet ANOTHEr visit to the super walmart.

Now I just gotta remember not to growl!

Donna Lee said...

The laser pointer is the best kitty exerciser ever. For some odd reason (they are cats, do they need a reason), they love it and chase it everywhere. We had more fun with that than any other cat toy.

debsnm said...

The laser pointer has an extra-added bonus for mommy! If you play it just right, you can teach BFK to leap majestically off the back of the couch, into doors, walls and occasionally a window or two. My favorite cat toy is the fake-fur mousie. Mine seem to have great fun tossing it into the air - especially in front of the TV - just be prepared to find one in your shoes in the morning - all things considered, that's much better than finding the real thing in your shoes in the morning!

Leigh said...

Too funny. I shouldn't laugh because I have the same problem. My own jumbo sized cat weighted in at 17.25 pounds at the vet's yesterday and now we're under orders for both more activity and less food. He's about as enthusiastic as BFK when it comes to activity, so your efforts are a help to me too!

Beth said...

Do cat owners ever try to walk their cats on a leash? And, if so, do the owners survive these attempts?

Sheila said...

The laser pointers are worth a try. My cat and I used to spend lots of time playing with one, and he was not one to play in his later years.

Ruth said...

Poor BFK! Poor Sheep! I was going to suggest the laser pointer, but flashlights work well, too.

Cathy said...

The image of your growl terrifying BFK just slays me. That poor kitty. Hey! If you growl when she's snacking, it might work.

mehitabel said...

Hmmm... exercise for BFK and Sheepie too? Sounds like a plan! I have a BFK, a SLFK, and a scrawny bony cat. The SCBC always yowls and wants to be fed, the other two will happily join in, and The Daughter guilts me out if I try to keep them away from the feeding trough... can't win!