Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rascal - a Mess if ever there was one.

After much research, I found my profile has disappeared to the bottom of the blog. I have no idea why, and really do not care, but I have been printing copies of these pages for someone who does not have a computer and what ever has made the profile move has also sort of screwed up the printing of the pages. So... more work and experimentation.
Anyway, I promised pictures of our cat family - the true owners of this place. I realize I am but a humble servant, one with slightly better manual dexterity whose job description includes keeping the litter boxes clean, opening cans, washing their dishes, opening and closing the windows to suit their comfort, maintaining a clean comforter and baby blankets for them to sleep on, filling the bird feeders for their entertainment and playing mouse toss when desired. Lets see, there was also a clause about providing a lap, chin scratching, belly tickling, and one or two other things I can't think of right now.
Yesterday was a cloudy, rainy day. Rascal missed his morning sunbeam which hits the floor about 3 or 4 feet from the computer here. He usually spends his time rolling over in the sunbeam, getting up, tapping me on the arm or leg and making his little talking sounds until I interact with him, then rolling in the sunbeam again. When the sun moves up enough that it is no longer on the floor, he comes and taps and taps me as if to say, "Hey, where did it go? Turn it back on!" Or something like that. This morning, Anna was sitting in the computer chair watching out the front window for her sister to come to pick her up to take her to her grandson's horse show up in Maryland, so I was in the living room watching the Rascal from a much better place than in this chair. I asked Anna to pass the camera, and got off a series of shots while Rascal rolled and posed. WHAT A HAM! This shot is also on my weatherblog. Feel free to look it up there and give Rascal a 10!!!! Well, he said he was a perfect 10.
We have had Rascal for about 3 years. We found him one winter night sitting along the edge of the road to Wachepreague, yowling. He was pitiful. We are sure someone got him for a Christmas present and then tossed him out along the road when they discovered what a mess he was. That (mess) is an Eastern Shore term that almost defies description... bad? a pest? always into something? Maybe some of you Eastern Shoremen can help me out with this. Anyway, Rascal almost never sleeps. I am sure he "catnaps" when no one is looking, but he can usually be found within 5 feet of where ever I am, watching. He watches everything I do except bathe. I have banished him from the bathroom when I shower as he falls in the tub trying to catch the water as it come out of the spigot. Then I have to clean up the wet mess. Pun intended.
Rascal has many nicknames. Anna is good at nicknames. The first one he learned to recognize and answer to was "Bad, bad bad to the bone, bone, bone." Then came the names Bratty Rat Rascal, Ratty Brat Rascal (all from Anna) or my words, "Who made this mess?" He answers to them all. He also comes running at the mention of the word "mouse." Now you must learn to say that just right, proper intonation and all, because that signals the start of his favorite retrieving game. Yes, Rascal is a retriever. He will run and fetch a toy mouse and lay it near your feet, sit and wait for you to throw it again.
Sometimes he will just find a mouse and bring it to me, usually if I am cooking or doing dishes, make his little Rascal noise, tap me if I am ignoring him, roll over and talk about my duties as his entertainment provider and generally be a pest until I throw the damned mouse down the hall as far as it can go. He is off in a streak and back with the mouse in seconds. Explaining to him I am cooking, I am busy, I don't have time for this only encourages his creativity. Like I said, he is a mess.

Just to let you know how smart and conniving this fellow is, when we brought him home (never mind my protest that I already had 4 cats to care for - 3 too many for my money) he got along immediately with the 2 outside guys, Pumpkin and Spook that I just wrote about. But it was a cold winter, and, even tho I have several heated cat "nests," outside, Rascal (who hadn't been named yet) did not sleep in any of them. I have later wondered if it was because Spook stood guard over what he considered his personal apartments and would not let Rascal in to any of them or if he was just too damned dumb to figure out where he would be warm. I don't know. Anyway, we ended up bringing him inside with the older cats, also boys, expecting a serious cat fight as jealousy raised its ugly head. Instead, he rolled over, made cute, and became a member of the inside crew almost immediately. Well, Hadji was glad to have someone to play with as Snuffy had been so sick for so long.
Snuff basically ignored the brat most of the time until he got on his nerves, then he would jump on him, give him a good scare, or smack him upside the head. Rascal always seemed to know he'd better make himself scarce for a while and not get on Grampy's (Snuff) nerves. The old man was the boss, no matter what.
Rascal and I had a number of Alpha Cat discussions. Fortunately (and amusingly) I can growl real good! If Rascal is about to do something he is not supposed to do, I growl and he runs. I have never had to do more than growl. Now, that is a lie. sigh. We have a good investment in squirt guns. And I had to turn the shower on him once to get him out of the bathroom window. But, he learns fast.
Rascal loves to stand at the back door and talk to the outside crew. He chatters away. Pumpkin sometimes answers him. I think Punky is mostly just asking about the quality and quantity of the food in the house versus outside. Eating is Punk's favorite past time. Did I mention Rascal is a computer geek? He loves to get in one's lap while we are on the computer and hit the keys and mess up whatever we are working on. But his favorite- the printer! He comes from where ever he is the second he hears the printer start up. He watches that little light inside going back and forth like it was the most entertaining thing in the universe. When he does nap, it is often in the computer chair.
Did I mention he chases rainbows? Several years ago, I got a solar powered crystal window thingie that makes rainbows go all around the room. Have you ever seen one? They are so cool! Anyway, it goes in a sunny window and when the sun hits the tiny solar panel, the crystal starts to turn casting mini rainbows all over the walls, floors, furniture, ceiling - just everywhere. It is real pretty. Rascal chases the elusive rainbows. He pounces on them, jumps up to catch them, runs across the room to get them. It is a lot of fun to watch him. He never seems to tire of this activity.
Rascal is a busy, busy boy. At this moment, he is in the bathtub pushing his big water dish around. It sounds like a huge fart, the plastic scraping on the bottom of the tub. It is real embarrassing when I have company and they hear this loud fart sound coming from the other room. It is a real conversation stopper. I mean, no matter how polite you were brought up to be, it is so loud it cannot be ignored. I know Rascal is sitting in the tub grinning waiting for me to explain the noise to my embarrassed guests.
Well, next time I have a moment, I will tell you more about the critters in my little corner of the world, but none will be as entertaining as this guy. OK, let me upload another picture or two. I will save my favorite for Christmas, though.

I have often wondered if Rascal's brain is in his tail. It is never still, not even when he is asleep. I remember reading somewhere that a cat's tail signals what it is thinking. Well, it is obvious he is thinking all the time then because his tail twitches all the time.

Picture information - 1) His Innocence in his Bow Tie - last winter
2) Spread out in his sunbeam, this morning - very modest pose, eh?
3) The new arrival, Jan 3rd, 2004, shortly before he became a house kitty.
4) One of those quuick naps, kitchen window, a modest moment.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about and seeing Beastie Rascal. He is hoping for more fan mail.


Takin'pictures said...

Cute stories about Rascal. The profile on Joe's site migrated to the south for a few weeks and next thing I knew it was back on the top again. Maybe they just take little trips once in a while for a change of scence.

hiphoppe said...

Rascal's name really suits him. He is a "handsome" kitty and knows it!!!!