Hard to believe this little monster turns three today. Seems like it couldn’t have been that long that she’s been causing trouble!
While I admit I’m not one for celebrating or making a big deal out of my birthday, this year saw the arrival of one of the best presents. If you’ve visited my Heroes page, you know my extremely talented sister designed the logo for this site (and my freelance writing business). And I love it. It came out exactly the way I pictured it. And, yes, it’s based on Tonks. So when I opened the present and found a crocheted version of the logo, I was over the moon. It was the perfect replica – and the perfect size to sit in front of my computer screen.
For those who HAVEN’T skipped over to that page (for shame – those people are amazing and the reason my world runs as smoothly as it does), Tami is a genius. She CREATES her own crochet patterns out of her brain. And then she sells them in her Etsy store for people who want to recreate the same pieces (so sorry, but my logo isn’t up there – that’s a one-of-a-kind piece). How she does it, I’ll never know. And she never told me she was planning to make my cute little Antihero. It captures everything, right down to the card suites on the butt. And once I’d snapped the requisite pictures (and bragged on social media), I set it on my computer stand – right where it belonged.
Of course, Tonks felt a need to check it out while everyone admired it on the coffee table. But I didn’t think anything of it at the time. She poked her head into every box and bag. It’s what she does. (And she usually claims the bags as her own) Nothing seemed out of the ordinary in her exploration. Sure, we laughed that she was interested in her little mini version, but then we dropped it.
Until things changed.
It didn’t take long before a new pattern emerged during her “Assistant” duties. Allow me to clarify. A typical morning starts with her “helping” me get dressed and brush my teeth. Then she jumps on the desk, surveys the monitor stands to decide what she wants to mess with, and plops her butt in front of one of the screens. The biggest distractions used to be my shark teeth, followed by my mini How to Train Your Dragon stuffed dragons. And, of course, my pen is always up for grabs (though that happens less often now that it sits in a tray on the second monitor stand). If she felt particularly adventurous, she’d jump onto the lowest book shelf and knock down one of the tiny stuffed cats, Zoidberg, or the Tentacle Kitty. If I had a sweatshirt on, she’d finish by coming over to chew on the drawstrings. And when she finally moved to her chair (or went to spy on the neighbors in a window), I’d straighten everything again.
Now, though? Now she goes straight for the Antihero Kreative logo. She ignores EVERYTHING else on the desk (with the exception of drawstrings – those remain a popular distraction). She doesn’t chew on it, but she HAS to sniff it and knock it over. And this remains a daily ritual. Nothing else gets touched anymore. And the dragon she’s leaning over? It stays upright! She’ll step carefully around it without toppling it in order to reach the crocheted logo.
Of course, she obscures the computer screen the entire time, which is one of the most helpful things she’s done as an “Assistant.” (Good thing I have two monitors and can move the window over) I’ve tried reminding her that she isn’t see-through, but she doesn’t listen. She’s too busy carrying out her investigation of mini-Tonks.
I finally sent my sister the photo and shared the story. She laughed and complimented Tonks on her good taste. And I have to admit, it’s true. The logo’s astounding. And since it distracts that little demon from her USUAL routine of destruction, there MUST be something to it! (It’s a working theory, anyway)
People (non-animal people, mostly) like to argue that animals have no sense of self and other garbage. No one’s EVER going to convince me that Tonks doesn’t know that little figure isn’t modeled after her. Not with this kind of response. She knows the logo came from her pictures. And she checks on the crochet version every morning, without fail. I KNOW it’s her way of saying, “Yup, mini-me is still here and still looks awesome.” (You won’t convince me otherwise) How else to explain why she’s abandoned everything else? Including new additions since then? (So no use trying to say it’s a novelty thing)
Tami’s right – she has the best taste. And, honestly, if it keeps the desk destruction down to minimum, I’m okay with that.
Have you ever dealt with the frustration of trying to keep a pet out of your holiday decorations? Even if it’s not a particular battle of yours, odds are you’ve seen the memes circulating at this time of year. People get creative with their solutions, and it makes for entertaining viewing. Of course, if you’re the person coping with the destructive pet, it gets less comical.
Because it’s shocking the amount of damage a 6-pound cat can do!
That’s right, despite the fact I wrote an article this year on keeping cats out of Christmas trees, Tonks defies every attempt we make. She is a mini machine of absolute destruction, hell-bent on taking out the tree. And it’s not even the ornaments she’s after. Oh, no, this tiny demon of feline grace and prowess infiltrates the tree and bends branches out of shape before a single ornament comes out of its box. One moment, she’s on her cat perch. The next, you hear the telltale sound of a body slithering between plastic. Look over, and there’s a face peeping out at you from half-way up the tree. (Admittedly, she’s never made it to top, but that’s probably because we hear her before she gets that far)
In 2018, when she was only eight-months-old (and not fully grown), she destroyed our first Christmas tree. This is the result of her climbing. Branches mangled beyond repair. Holes gaping from her wedging her body through spaces we never imagined she’d fit. We’d set the tree up early, as a test to see how she’d react. No ornaments (we weren’t completely foolish), no ribbons – just the tree itself. The poor thing never stood a chance. We DID eventually decorate the tree, but it didn’t look as pretty as usual. Turns out the branches weren’t designed to hold a six-pound kitten’s explorations. And, of course, she continued her wanton destruction despite the additional obstacles of ribbon and ornaments. We found ourselves picking up and replacing at least three or four ornaments every morning. Not to mention repositioning the tree skirt that the little bugger insisted on burrowing under. (That stopped once there were gifts under the tree, though) And don’t get me started on her interest in the snowflakes on the wood stove, the garland on the shelves, or the stockings on the stone work around the stove.
When it came time to replace the poor abused Christmas tree, we got strange looks from salespeople. Apparently, “Do you think these branches can support an eight-pound cat?” wasn’t a question they routinely heard. Nor were they used to people pushing down on the demo trees, debating sturdiness. (We entertained other shoppers, though) It took us weeks to track down our current tree, which passed our testing in the store. Of course, our best guesses were nothing compared to the actual demon herself.
Would this new tree survive? Or would it suffer the same fate as the original?
(And, seriously, why has the artificial tree industry not come up with a cat rating?)
Amazingly enough, the new acquisition came through with flying colors. I wish I could say Tonks lost her interest with climbing the Christmas tree, but I’d be lying. She just hasn’t destroyed this new one (yet). And the morning ornament round-up continued last year unabated. Of course, we’re always smart enough to put the unbreakable ornaments at the bottom so they’ll survive the fall.
This year, we adopted a new tactic. Maybe, if we found a suitably soft tree skirt, we could divert Tonks’s obsession with the tree. As you can see, our plan worked – a little too well. We almost couldn’t get the skirt UNDER the tree. After letting it sit on the chair unattended, she claimed it as her own. It took a lot of coaxing to get the fluffy skirt away from her and out to the den. And she HAS been a little less interested in the tree this year (though she has a current obsession with one of the ornaments that has a jingle bell attached – an “alarm” to tell us she’s climbing into the branches). Unfortunately, as soon as we started adding the gifts under the tree, she lost most of her snuggle room on the tree skirt – and she’s let us know her displeasure by scratching at the presents and trying to move them out of the way. (Sometimes you can get a little TOO smart for your own good)
Tonks is the first cat I’ve owned who’s developed an obsession with climbing the branches. No one else cares (though Firefly “chews” on the branches – something he’s done both before and after he had all of his teeth pulled). Then again, our tiny demon does a lot of things no other cat does, so it’s not entirely a surprise. However, she’s given me a new appreciation for those annual battles. So the next time you see one of those cat Christmas tree memes, understand that the struggle is REAL.
We’ve always known Juniper was a strange Greyhound. While still a lazy, cat-like dog, she avoided the couch and bed. We chalked it up to her refusal to use her back legs. Planting her front legs on things presented no problem, but getting those back two up? Nope. It’s made for comical scenes every time we have to haul her into the car.
Especially when you consider she’s a retired racer.
Greyhounds have to jump in and out of trucks and vans as part of their routine. It’s a natural part of their training. No one wants to lift THAT many heavy dogs all day. (We’re not huge fans of the times we have to) But from day one, she’s just looked backwards over her shoulder at us as if she has a sudden paralysis. And while getting into the car isn’t optional, the couch certainly was. So she was left to her beds scattered in just about every room of the house. (A situation that worked for the cats)
And then came the fly.
For whatever reason, flies are where our weird dog draws the line. She’ll trample bees in the yard, attempt to snap up cicadas, and ignore mosquitoes. Flies, though – every fly is out to steal her soul. If a fly enters the house, she goes into full-blown panic mode and hightails it for her crate. We then have to go through an insane process of getting her to come back out. (After Tonks disposes of the offending insect)
It was comical and tragic at the same time. Especially the night THREE flies made it through the door. Tonks wore herself out trying to catch them (poor thing was sprawled on the floor in exhaustion), and Juniper refused to enter the kitchen to eat dinner. She was THAT petrified. We decided it was time to draw the line.
So we implemented the no-crate policy.
The next time a fly came in, we put the baby gate up. Deprived of her hidey-hole, Juniper miraculously figured out how to jump onto the couch. We were stunned. (We shouldn’t have been – flies were the only thing that got her to JUMP the baby gate in the first place) For whatever reason, the couch made her feel comfortable while our resident exterminator went to work. Since we’d long-since agreed the couch wasn’t off-limits, we left her there.
Didn’t take long for Juniper to realize the couch is a comfortable sleeping spot. She could curl up or sprawl out, with room to spare. There was just one problem: Squeak had made his migration to the couch, and he wasn’t impressed with the jostling motion. He also didn’t appreciate sharing the space with a gassy dog.
Thus began the great couch battle of 2020.
Squeak’s brain may work differently than other cats, but he’s still a cat. It didn’t take him long to figure out that if he shuffled further down the couch, Juniper wouldn’t jump into her “new spot.” We’d hear her whining and find her standing beisde it, staring at him. It got worse when Firefly decided to take up a spot, too. (Never mind that there’s a second couch in the den – she wanted the first one) We had to sigh and direct her back to her beds.
Morning’s became an epic battle over who could reach the couch first. Who got to the “prime” spot before the other. And who was willing to slide over and share. It’s amusing – almost as funny as watching Juniper slide into my fiance’s spot when he gets up!
Juniper finally discovered the other couch, but she gets grumbly when she has to shuffle out there. She whines when Firefly chooses to sit out there, even if he chooses to sit on the back instead of the couch, itself. The battle promises to continue into the future (and I’ve put my foot down on buying any more couches).
And she still refuses to get into the car without assistance. We point out the car is the same height as the couch, but she continues that pathetic paralysis stare. Logic doesn’t apply to Greyhounds, apparently.
Check either my or my fiance’s phone, and you’ll find hundreds of pictures of the Minions. No surprise there; parents take pictures of their kids. Especially when their kids are irresistibly adorable. Of course, trying to catch some of those moments requires sneaking up on the buggers since not everyone enjoys the paparazzi. (Firefly, in particular, doesn’t enjoy having his photo snapped) But there are exceptions to every rule.
In our house, it’s Tonks.
Not only is she adorable (you know it’s true), but she POSES for the camera. She knows precisely where the lens is on every camera (including the computers), and she plants herself in the best light and location to ensure someone gets the shot. Of course, this also translates to her adding herself to video conferences, Zoom meetings, and Skype conversations. (A camera’s a camera, after all)
I’m sure people think we set up some of the pictures we take. They look THAT posed (case in point to the left). But it’s really a matter of glancing up and snatching up a camera. She’s simply photogenic. And where the other three usually only give us a brief nanosecond to capture an image, she’ll pause until we get the photo right before moving or resettling and destroying the perfect picture. (Vanity, thy name is Tonks)
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of other cats, and my phone and pocket drive are full of pictures. Rarely have any of them have produced such consistently, ridiculously perfect pictures. I mean look at this! (And, yes, she likes this particular pose – as I’m sure you’ve noted…or you will) It’s absurd! You can even see her eyes dart back and forth, asking, “Did you get the shot, Mommy? Did it come out?”
For Christmas last year, I put together a children’s book detailing her story for my nephew. I was spoiled for choice when it came time to add the pictures to the book. There were so many, some I’d even forgotten about. It made writing the story more fun, because I was able to add funny little touches here and there. I mean, when you find a photo of her with her paw on a wallet, how can you NOT slide that in there? It came out a hundred times better than I ever imagined, and my nephew (and niece) thought it was great.
While I don’t use my own images in my freelance work, I absolutely slide mentions of my kiddos in (where appropriate). They make my writing more approachable, allowing me to connect with the readers on a personal level. And I often remember these images when I’m writing. They’re tiny stories in and of themselves.
So, yes, you see a lot more of Tonks in the Photo Bomb tags than the other kids. It’s not intentional, and she’s not the favorite of the household, by any means. She just happens to be the most photogenic and demanding in front of the camera. I mean, how do you resist taking a picture of that face? It’s impossible! That little demon just begs to be immortalized on digital film. Which is why we’ll continue to do so.
Does anyone know if it counts as tax deductible if you have to buy an office chair for your Assistant?
(Yes, we specifically bought the chair FOR her. It’ll split time between my office and the kitchen, since she supervises the cooking and baking, too. She’s a hard-working little demon)
I was not invited to this very important office meeting…despite being two feet away.
Apparently, Tonks recruited a new Office Assistant for me. (Both are hard at work, as always)
When you’re in the midst of playing and run out of steam. So you park your butt in the sun to recharge your energy.
Tonks hissed at Firefly this morning (he had surgery yesterday, and she doesn’t like that he A) smells like the vet and B) has a cone of shame on), and so she got yelled at for being mean to her brother. As punishment, I wouldn’t let her on the desk. She’s since compromised by curling on my lap, very sad and apologetic.
This might be a first for cat kind. It’s definitely a first for this little demon!