Living with a Hippie Cat

Note: This post was actually written several months ago, but I don’t think it was ever posted. A few thing have happened with my fuzzy friend since then. Rest assured he’s fine, but now requires gold-plated food. I found this post amusing in light of that.

My cat Wash spent some of his kittenhood living on the mean streets of our hippie college town. I’m actually convinced more and more that he spent that time eating out of the dumpsters of the ultra-hippie co-op grocery store near where he was found. It’s the only way I can find to explain his strange tastes in food.

I know lots of people who adopt stray animals have problems with them expecting/wanting table scraps. But usually they want scraps of… well the sorts of food that pets eat. Chicken. Dairy products. Bones. Wash, on the other hand, wants basically anything. My roommate and I spend a lot of time yelling “_______ is not for kitties!” at him. Some examples from recent weeks:

Garbanzos. Garbanzos are actually one of his favorite foods. At first when he was going after my roasted garbanzos I thought it was because they are round and roll and he thought they’d make good toys. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to eat them. I was making chickpea cutlets the other day and he was obsessively trying to get at the empty can so he could lick the chickpea residue out of it. He also enjoys hummus and curried chickpeas.

Brussels sprouts.

Kale. (another of his favs)

Serrano chilis

Almond milk. I once gave almond milk to friend of the blog Bridget’s cat (I just let her lick my cereal bowl because she’d been begging me to the whole time I ate.) She made this weird disgusted movement with her tongue then glared at me for fifteen minutes for obviously trying to poison her. Current roommate did that with Wash and now he’s obsessed with the stuff.

Pita chips. Well, any kind of chips really. Just about anything made with grain.

Vital wheat gluten. Seriously.

Wash’s New Roommate

As alluded to in my post about taking on a roommate, along with the normal roommate trappings, roommate also brought a cat. This has provided hours and hours of free entertainment as we get to watch the cats work out their own roommate issues: who’s in charge, who gets to play with what toys, who gets to eat what food or use which litter box.

Wash has met other cats, in fact, he’s met this cat before, but this is the first time he’s ever been the first cat in a space and had another cat come in. In the past he’s always been very quick to yield dominance—he either runs and hides under the nearest bed for about six hours or he rolls over and shows the other cat his adorable tummy. He’s very eager to be liked by other kitties. Especially kitties who are bigger than him. Unfortunately, he’s like that kid who tries to hard; he sniffs the other cat incessantly and follows ever step it takes until the other cat just gets annoyed and hisses at him or knocks him to the ground. (I have never heard Wash hiss at another cat, he only hisses at dogs. He flees from small children, but I’m fairly certain if one ever cornered him he would hiss at the small human as well.) Towards the end of our summer stay at my parents’ house he had gotten persistent enough with their cat Stormy that he would half jump/half climb on her back in an attempt to get her to play with him (this inevitably ended with him getting hissed at and smacked to the ground).

Well whether it’s because he’s had more experience or he’s emboldened by having been here first, Wash moved to that stage with new kitty within three days. New kitty is not a fan of this. New kitty is a fan of Wash’s food, but is allergic to it (which means poor Wash’s feeding schedule has had to be altered).

New kitty did bring all sorts of amazing toys. He has a squeaky toy. Wash has never had a squeaky toy. Truth be told I worried he’d be afraid of one. Nope—he loves it. Which means I’m treated to long periods of squeaks from downstairs. What he might love even more are a couple of small stuffed mice. I wondered why he found them so amazing (he’s had other small mice and hasn’t ever been that thrilled). That’s when roommate revealed they’re made out of real fur. Yes, it turns out the stuffed mice might be more or less stuffed mice (we really aren’t sure). I feel like I should be grossed out by that and yet… I’m not. I’m fairly sure no one is hunting endangered species to make these things (which my roommate got free from a pet store). And the fur might as well go to a good use. And if it satisfies my kitty’s hunting instincts so he doesn’t use them on my feet, so much the better.

New Kitty is very patient with Wash. I think he likes playing up to a point, but he does make it clear sooner or later that he’s done. Wash, however, totally misses such cues. Of late New Kitty has taken to pinning Wash on the ground and bathing him in an attempt to calm him down. This has moderate, but unpredictable, results. There are signs they are becoming friends though. At least once they’ve curled up in a chair together (granted, I’m fairly certain this started as an attempt by Wash to make the other kitty play/fight with him. When it didn’t work he decided snuggling was an acceptable alternative).

The best part of all this is that new kitty adventures are wearing Wash out! He spends much less time pestering his mommy because when he’s not following every step new kitty takes he’s generally collapsed somewhere from exhaustion. So like my own roommate situation, I think Wash’s will work out in the long run.