Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Dear Kukka...", Volume VI

Again, my email box is filled to the rim with inquiries into my semi-private life. As I am prone to do on occasion, I will now take a few moments to answer some of the pressing questions recently posed to me.

If you do not see your submitted question in print this time, do not fear. It is only because I thought your questions weren't worth answering...at all. You will not be receiving a private response from me, nor from my assistant (my mom has way too much to do to meet my needs; she doesn't have time to respond to lame inquiries).

Let's get this party started!

Q: I always hear humans say, "That dog stinks! He needs a bath because he smells like DOG!" Why don't you ever hear that cats smell like "cat?"
A: It all comes down to the saliva with which we clean ourselves. First, dogs have perpetually bad breath. It doesn't take a scientist to determine that if you bathe in sewer water, you're going to smell like crap! More importantly, though, cats have enchanted saliva. The colorless, odorless nectar of a cat's mouth not only prevents stench, it actually combats it. Some studies have shown that clothing laundered in cat spit smells fresher, lasts longer and fades slower!*


Q: Kukka, your whiskers always look so well-groomed. What is your secret?
A: Candle snuffing. Whenever you see a burning candle, bravely stick your face above flame. Stand still, inhale deeply and listen to your whiskers as they singe (leaving a delightful curly-q end). This treatment has always been a favorite tool to combat split ends. Yes, it hurts. But who said beauty was painless?


Q: You've been photographed on many red carpets wearing some of the most exquisite frocks I have ever seen. Kukka, who is your favorite designer and how can I buy many of the pieces you have worn?
A: First off, it is so incredibly nice that you acknowledge my extreme popularity. Thank you! Let me begin with your final question. You can not buy the clothes I wear. I never buy off-the-rack, so you will never see common cats dressed in Kukka-wear. As for my favorite designer? It depends on the occasion. If I had a cat treat for every designer that contacts me, asking that I be photographed wearing their clothes, I would never have to ask my mom for snacks ever again! While Dolce & Gabanna, Jean Paul Gaultier and Randolph Duke have been favorites I have to say my proudest fashion moment was when--after a recent catnip binge, Coco Chanel came back from the dead, asking to design for me. Shut up! She totally did!


Q: Kukka, my mother expects me to share a litter box with my younger sister. I find it incredibly disgusting and demeaning. Should I take a firm stand or should I concede?
A: Before you go and shit in your mother's shoes, let's explore your options. Yes, it's incredibly disgusting...but humans share toilets! She's not asking you to do something she is not willing to do herself. Human toilets, however, flush. And they have rules regarding their use (something about flushing brown down and letting yellow mellow). Establish rules of your own with your sister. When Brach came to live with us and my mom suggested we share a box, I demanded she draft and post what became known as "The Manure Manifesto" (we also considered naming it "The Dung Declaration"). It basically states that if I approach the box and a turd is afloat, he is expected to bury the recycled kibble immediately. There are just some things I will not tolerate!


Q: Dear Sir: My name is Mahmud Zubaydah and I am the cat of the former Nigerian Director of Finance. My late owner acquired great wealth through the over influencing of price of sales/purchasing of raw materials. His last will was that I, his most trusted feline companion, invest his wealth in the richest and most powerful nations before the current Nigerian government seizes his assets and freezes his accounts. Please furnish me with your bank account number and financial institution details so that I can entrust 20% of his wealth to you. Thank you and God bless, Mahmud.
A: Yeah, ok. You keep refreshing your email box and anxiously await that banking info, Mahmud! Hiss....


*Any scientific claims made in this blog post are the sole opinion of the author and are in no way to be construed as fact.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Catnip Anonymous

I don't want to take away from "Mr. Blue Steel," but I did want you to know that I contributed a new post at Catnip Anonymous about our latest nip binge.

Could I be any more attractive?

I think not.
I call this look "Blue Steel."

Friday, January 27, 2006

It USED to have a match...

My favorite bowl is one that my mom painted at a local ceramic shop. She thought it would be great to paint a bowl for Brach and a bowl for me. Despite the fact that her version of me doesn't feature my pristine white chest and face and she failed to paint me wearing my tiara, it was awesome!

Up until about a year ago, we used these bowls regularly for our kibble and water. Mom was diligent at giving each of us equal time. She had a theory that it wasn't fair to always put water in my bowl because that meant Brach's image would always be covered with non-transparent food. I never did buy into this philosophy. What could be more pleasant than seeing a magnified caricature of me staring back at me from beneath a shimmering pool of fresh water?

Anyway...last year, Brach climbed onto the kitchen counter after Mom had left the room. We heard a crash and saw Brach bolting from the kitchen.

We ran to the kitchen to find a broken coffee mug on top of a broken Brach Bowl, amid an avalanche of kibble.

I turned to Mom and said, "Well, at least if the boy is determined to be a hooligan, he has the courtesy to damage his bowl instead of mine!"

Of course, Mom only heard, "Meow...meow...meow!"

After shooing us into the other room to avoid any injury, Mom cleaned up the mess and replaced our customized bowls with a matching pair of the plain, navy-blue variety. She washed the Kukka Bowl and placed it in the cupboard.

Now, the Kukka Bowl is used for Mom's sole enjoyment. She says it's the perfect size for an enormous bowl of ice cream, a huge serving of cold cereal, and a movie's-worth of popcorn. I don't see why it can't be used for cat water!

If she wants a bowl for her purpose, she should paint one with her likeness on it!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ugh...with the NICKNAMES!

This morning my mother thought she would be oh-so-clever by giving me a new nickname. Several new nicknames, actually!
  • After she pressed the snooze button 3 times, I decided to wake her up by getting up on the dresser and pawing at yesterday's newspaper and some random receipts she had pulled from her pants pockets the night before. She sat up in bed, looked at me and exclaimed, "OK, RUSSELL! I get it...I'm getting up now!! Stop rustling those papers!"
  • When I was digging in the litter box this morning, she walked by and said, "Could you be any louder, DIRK DIGLER?"
  • When she was in the shower and I peeked around the curtain to make sure she was doing well, she shreiked "Whoa...TOM!! Peep much?"
  • As she was packing her lunch for work, I started to whine for treats. "All you think about is filling your stomach, PHIL..."

She says she is so cute and clever. Are those the same as ANNOYING?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"NO" is just a suggestion

I love trying to open the lower kitchen cupboard door. Love it. I don't get too many chances to do it, since I have to fit in so many other priorities (like trying to get into the laundry closet, trying to open the bathroom cupboard doors, etc.).

When I do find the time to get into the kitchen cupboards (read: slamming the cupboard door against the foundation repeatedly because I am this close to actually opening it, but not quite), my mother is always there to rain on my parade.


"BRACH! NO!" says she.

"Slam, slam, slam" from me.

"BRACH-LEE! I MEAN IT! NO!!!" she exclaims.


See, now I have always believed that "NO" was merely a suggestion. When she says, "NO," I hear:

"BRACH, YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER NOT TRYING TO OPEN THE KITCHEN CUPBOARD DOOR...BUT THAT IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU."

Am I wrong here?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Apology

Dear Mom,

I am sorry we ran an ad to get rid of you. You are not the mean ogre we painted you out to be. In fact, there are many things I love about you:

  • I love that we have a bedtime ritual wherein I wait for you to get into bed and then stand on top of you and paw at you until you pet me. You never complain! You simply pet me until I tire of it and walk away.
  • I love that you defend me against Kukka. When I am sound asleep on the couch and she decides to stand on my body until I wake up and vacate the comfortable (and now warm) spot, you scold her and tell her to leave me alone.
  • I love that you've recognized how much I enjoy having the spray bottle sprayed continuously in my open mouth until my entire beard is drenched. You could have deterred me from this activity by violently spraying me in the face when I got too close (which, by the way, would have been more effective in the scope of discipline by keeping the threat of the bottle alive and well), but you decided that pleasing me was more important than keeping me from trying to get into the laundry closet. What a mom!
  • I love how, when you get the vacuum cleaner out, you wait for me to strategize my escape from the room before you turn it on. Because of the placement of the vacuum, sometimes this takes up to a solid minute (while I work to determine the route that will keep me as far away from the vacuum as possible) for me to actually leave the room. You just stand and wait patiently. Thank you!

All in all, mom, you are a great person to have around. I am not just writing this apology because you found yesterday's blog entry and told us we needed to apologize before we would get any more treats or because we came to realize we lack the upper-body strength to retrieve the food bag from the top cupboard or the treats from the refrigerator. I am writing this because I love you and would be terribly sad if you were to go to "a barely tolerable home."

Love,
Brach
(a.k.a. Brach O. Lee, B-Rock, Boo-Boo and whatever other nickname you come up with, find amusing and proceed to call me--especially in front of your visiting friends)



Dear Mommy-Dearest,

First off, let me explain that I am the real victim in this situation. Your son, Brach, is diabolical and will stop at nothing to get me in trouble. It was not my idea to try to get rid of you! No way!! In fact, Mom, I defended you! I tried to remind Brach of all the nice things you do for us and why it is in our best interest to keep you around.

Having said that, I understand you are expecting me to write an apology for my (or as I reminded you in the first paragraph...BRACH'S) behavior yesterday.

I am sorry you felt sad when you read Brach's ad. I am sorry that I left it on the coffee table where you were sure to find it so Brach would get in trouble. (Actually, I am really sorry I did that! I forgot my name was on it, too...) I am sorry you cried and I am sorry I laughed when you did.

I hope you decide to stay in my house with Brach and me. If you were to leave, I might miss the following things:

  • How you invite me on your lap when you watch TV. You pet me until I fall asleep and sometimes neglect your own needs (thirst, hunger, etc) so not to disturb me. When you do have to get up (bathroom, phone, etc), you tell me how sorry you are to disturb me and tell me not to go far because you'll be right back.
  • How you know that one of my favorite things is to have the inside of my ears rubbed. I adore how, when I'm in complete ecstasy as you rub my ears, I look up at you--past my third eyelid--and see you smiling. I'm not made of wood, mom...you know how to get to me!
  • How you sing to me (even though I pretend to find it annoying). When I hear you sing, "Oh Kukka, you're so fine...you're so fine you blow my mind! Hey, Kukka! Hey, Kukka!" or "Kuuuuuuuuuuukka-Mariiiiiiiiiiiiia!" (to the tune of Ave Maria), my insides flutter with glee.
  • How you wiggle your fingers to indicate you are ready to give me scratches. All that is required of me is to place myself under those waggling fingers and I am in heaven. You make filling my "love tank" very easy for me.

So, Mom, I am sorry Brach hurt you. I expect you will punish him with the spray bottle. If you find you need reinforcement, I am more than happy to inflict my punishment on him, too. Your call.

Love,
The Empress Kukka-Maria
(Oh, and since Brach listed his nicknames, I want to take this opportunity to ask that you refrain from calling me Kukka-Monster and Kookie. They are very degrading names...)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Talk about FUSSY!

She found it. We denied it. I told Brach not to include our names in the ad! Fortunately, the 800-number we set up goes to our cellphone so we can still negotiate--even while we are in hiding.

This can still end well, right?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Did someone say "STRING"?!?

I have an unhealthy obsession with all things string. I admit it. And, despite the trouble this has cause in my life (and in our house), I make no apologies for it.

Last night, The Agent freaked out when I nabbed a bit of dental floss from the bathroom counter--not 10 seconds after she had layed it down--and ran with it. She yelled as she chased me into the hallway--even grabbing my tail to keep me from bolting. She grabbed at the floss, trying to prevent me from swallowing it. I just don't get why she feels she must ruin all of my fun!

Well, maybe I do get it.

Around our house, July of 2004 is referred to as "The Month Brach Almost Died."

The drama began when The Agent decided to take us to Grandma and Grandpa's house to house-sit for two weeks. I remember that her biggest concern was that Grandma had some questionable houseplants that needed to be isolated because they were poisonous to Kukka and I, but I don't think she ever expected that it would be something much smaller and seemingly less-threatening that would almost do me in.

The first Friday--about 5 days into our visit, The Agent and a friend went out for the evening. When she came home, there were two spots on the carpet where I had gotten sick. Since Kukka was following her from room to room, begging for treats, she assumed it was me who wasn't feeling well and set out to find me. She did. I was crouched under the bed in the upstairs bedroom. Even though I knew she was worried and wanted to comfort me, I made it clear to her that I wasn't feeling well and wanted to be left alone.

She checked on me several times throughout the night and in the morning, she knew I still wasn't feeling well. Thinking I may have somehow eaten a bit of a houseplant, she called the vet.

She brought me in and they said I was dehydrated. After looking me over, and also believing I must have ingested some harmful foliage, they hydrated me and send me home with The Agent. The instructions: Keep a close eye on him. Try to feed him bits of moist cat food (read: stinky goodness) and if he isn't wanting to drink his water, give him bits of water through a syringe.

The next day, The Agent called the vet back to tell him I wouldn't eat and was not wanting the water. I was still vomiting often. They asked to see me again.

After hydrating me--again, the vet said that if I had eaten a toxic plant, it would have been out of my system by now. He asked to take x-rays. The Agent was eager to do whatever she could to help me.

The x-rays found nothing. They were all very confused. The vet said to continue trying to feed and hydrate me and that, if by the next day I was not feeling better, he wanted to perform "exploratory surgery."

I remember how The Agent would lie on her stomach and comfort me as I would do nothing but lie under the spare bed. "Oh, Brach..." she would say through her tears. "I want to help you, but I don't know how to make you feel better, baby. I'm so sorry you feel so badly..."

The next day, we returned to the vet office for my surgery. My vomit was now a green color and the vet said it was waste that was coming up through my system and that I was at risk for an infection--and certain death--if they didn't do the surgery. As we drove to the vet's office, The Agent was crying so hard she could hardly drive. She was sure that she was going to have to say goodbye to me that day.

A few hours later, the vet called her with news of my status.

"The surgery was a huge success, but it was what we discovered prior to the surgery that clued us in to what was really happening with Brach. When we opened his mouth to insert the breathing tube in his throat, we noticed his tongue had a very deep cut--way in the back. We discovered he had tried to swallow a piece of thread which caught around his tongue and extended through his stomach and into his intestines. Because the string would not loose itself from his tongue and couldn't pass through his system, it began to tear holes in his intestines. The intestines work like an accordian. They move back and forth, helping food move through. That back and forth motion--against the thread--caused 18 holes in his intestinal walls which we were able to successfully repair. He is resting comfortably now and we would like to keep him overnight to continue hydrating him so he will gain strength."

The Agent cried and cried with relief (and guilt that she had made it possible for me to obtain thread, I am sure).

The next morning, when The Agent came to pick me up, I was my old self again. I purred and rubbed up against her. I wanted to walk around and look at everything going on around me.

"He is like a totally different cat now!" exclaimed the nurse.

"He is Brach again!" The Agent replied, with a great sigh.

The vet thanked The Agent for allowing them to perform the surgery. "Many people would not have been willing to make the investment--both money and time--and, as a result, would have had to put him down. It's situations like this that made me want to become a vet and help animals in the first place. I love that we were given the opportunity to help Brach feel better. That's what it's all about."

The Agent really likes our vet. Secretly, I do too.

When we got home, The Agent lay on the bed and I spent the next half-hour nuzzling and loving her. She understood my power-purrs were my way of thanking her for loving me so much and not stopping until she had done everything she could to make me feel better.

As she stroked my fur, she whispered in my ear, "I love you, Brach."

Suddenly, she laughed, stared at my bare belly (did I forget to mention they had to shave me for the operation?) and said, "DUDE! It looks like you should have asked for a tummy-tuck while you were under the knife!"

She always has to have the last word...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

POINT/COUNTER-POINT:
Sleeping Under the Covers

I LOVE SLEEPING UNDER THE COVERS
by Brach

I love it. I love it. I love it!

First, sleeping under the covers is warm. After my mom makes the bed in the morning, I strategically place myself up by the pillows and I find the edge of the comforter. I flick it with my nose repeatedly until I am able to make enough room for my head to stick under it. Then, I press my nose to the bed and walk forward until my entire body is completely submerged. The ideal place to be, once you get under the covers, is the exact center of the bed. This almost guarantees you will not be jarred from a dead sleep with a burst of cold air.

Secondly, sleeping under the covers is safe. Too often, Mom likes to love on me when I am trying to nap. "Oh, you are sooooo cuuuuuute," she will coo. And then there is Kukka, who choose the most inopportune times to try to show me she is the boss. She is fond of waking me from my slumber by standing on me or biting my tail. Not cool. Sleeping under the covers allows me to get uninterrupted shut-eye.

Finally, sleeping under the covers is mysterious. I believe that when I am under the covers, I am completely invisible to the naked eye. Since neither Mom nor Kukka have X-Ray goggles, when I am under the covers, I become one of the world's greatest mysteries. At least that is how I'll tell it when I write my life story...



HELP! HELP!! I CAN'T BREATHE!!
by Kukka-Maria

Holy crap!! Someone please get me out of here! I've somehow found myself under some kind of blanket and am having an anxiety attack.

HELLO?! CAN ANYONE HEAR ME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?!

I don't know what is going on...I can see absolutely NOTHING under here. My oxygen supply is quickly dwindling!

MOTHER!!

It's not clear to me how I got here and I'm not sure how to get out. Only moments ago, I tried walking through the dark abyss but I somehow I got turned around and am right back where I started.

This can not be my fate! I am too young! I am too beautiful! I have too many things yet to see and...

AHHH! Fresh air! Thank you for rescuing me, Mom.

Can I have some treats now?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Wax on...Wax off...

The Agent waxed her eyebrows this weekend and it brought up horrifying flashbacks for me.

One evening, in or around the summer of 2000, The Agent heated up the eyebrow wax in the microwave and brought the container into the bathroom on a paper plate. She sat the warm concoction on the counter and turned to get the linen wax strips from the cabinet.

When she turned back, I was standing over the wax. (See an artist's rendering of the situation) (Oh, and Brach got his paws on the artwork and did some work with a red pen...please disregard any red ink)

I stood there, smiling, thinking I was about to eat whatever she just took from the microwave. When The Agent turned back around to see me standing over the wax, she panicked.

Trying not to startle, me, she reached out slowly and grabbed me. As she lifted me, my hind legs swung underneath me and flipped the wax into the air.


The Agent yanked me out of the bathroom--I wasn't sure what was going on! I ran and hid behind the couch because I thought I was in trouble. Instead of hunting me down, she closed herself into the bathroom to clean up. She had to throw away the bathroom rug because it was covered in sticky wax. It took her forever (maybe about 15 minutes, really) to clean up the bathroom--and judging by the look on her face, she wasn't too happy about it.

After she came out of the bathroom, she came to look for me. She was worried and wanted to make sure I was ok. From across the room, she called to me. I started walking toward her, but noticed tightness around my back legs. I would try to walk, but the skin was pulling uncomfortably. I would take a step...shake one of my back legs...take another step...shake the other one.

The Agent gasped in horror! She ran to me and picked me up to look at my stomach. I HAD WAX ALL OVER MY LOWER STOMACH!

She kept asking me over and over if I was feeling ok and if I was hurt. I tried to tell her I was fine--that I hadn't been burned (thankfully, because she intended to put the wax on her own skin, it wasn't too hot), I was just a bit uncomfortable with the cooled wax on my tummy.

The Agent studied my stomach for a few minutes and brainstormed out loud. "Can I cut the hair? No...I can't get the hair to come away from the skin because of the wax. I'm going to have to call the vet."

She called the emergency vet line and left a message. I heard her say, "I know this is going to sound weird, but my cat got eyebrow wax on her stomach and part of her hind legs. She is not hurt--just uncomfortable. I don't know what to do to help her. Can someone call me back, please?"

I don't remember anything else from the phone call because I fell asleep.

The next morning, The Agent took me to the vet. They were just as confused as she! They weren't really sure how to handle this because--unfortunately (or fortunately for other pets)--this was the first time anyone had brought a cat in with this condition!

The Agent left me there for about 4 hours. When she came to pick me up, I was very sleepy. In fact, I don't remember much about that visit--I think I slept the entire time!

From what I understand, they put me under so I wouldn't try to fight them. Then they had to call several local beauty salons to find out how to safely remove the wax. What they learned was that they needed to take oil (they tried a combination of baby oil and olive oil) to break down the wax so it could be wiped away. After they removed the wax, they gave me a warm bath and woke me up.

The Agent didn't even balk at the $100+ bill from the vet's office! She was so happy that I was feeling better (and feeling quite guilty, I am sure...); she felt that any amount was worth getting her beautiful, beautiful, precious baby back in her arms.

Since then, The Agent is diligent about closing me out of the bathroom when she waxes her brows. She now laughs and calls my wax debaucle "The day Kukka wanted a Brazilian Wax."
Uh, hello? Some of us aren't ready to laugh about this quite yet.


Edit: Brach just read this entry and said, "Wow...good job, Kukka! You paint The Agent out to be a cold woman with a stone-like heart the size of a pea when you say she didn't check on you until after she cleaned the bathroom."  

Ok...ok! In her defense, she did give me a once-over before she even put me down. She just didn't notice the wax amid her panic.  The Agent would never put cleaning the bathroom ahead of taking care of me (this fact can be proven by taking a look at the tornado-stricken appearance of the bathroom on any given weekday).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Independent Study Links Shower Curtain Licking to Feline Obesity

What exactly is the nutritional value of shower curtain lint?

I am just asking because mom keeps saying she is going to put Kukka (and me, because we share the same food bowl) on a diet, but she doesn't give it a second thought that Kukka sits on the side of the bathtub--between the shower curtain and liner--licking the shower liner the entire time my mother stands in the water each morning.

Mother, don't you think that contributes to Kukka's weight issues? Why must I suffer because she chooses to lick the fabric right off of the liner?

Here are the results from the nutrition study I performed on the shower liner:

Calcium Buildup? If Mom would clean the tub more often, that wouldn't be an issue...

The only data I didn't collect yet is the average number of licks she does during a typical shower session. Even with the suggested serving amount, she's getting more than what she needs.

Mom, my suggestion is that Kukka be banned from the bathroom while you shower. Yes, she might get a little pissy and yes, she might yell at you a bit, but I believe this licking thing is getting out of control and has become the sole contributor to Kukka's weight issues.

Now, can I get some treats as a reward for my research?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Does the cape come with the outfit?

In 2006, I've decided to dedicate my life to my super-hero destiny. From now on, my secret (or not-so-secret, since I'm publishing it here) identity is: The Tamponator!

I've recently become fascinated with pulling tampons from the box under the bathroom sink, carrying--and subsequently leaving them throughout the house. The Agent keeps the box behind TP Mountain under the bathroom vanity, so I have had to work really hard to obtain 'pons.

After the first time I carried one into the livingroom, The Agent shrieked, laughed and returned it to the box. She firmly closed the box, thinking she had outsmarted me.

She had not.

Moments later, I broke back into the vanity, opened the box, removed a tampon, flung it out of the vanity and carried it back into the livingroom--like a dog would carry a bone.

"If you knew what those were used for, Kukka, you sure wouldn't want them in your mouth!" laughed The Agent. After that, she moved them to the linen closet.

Ah, you underestimate me, Agent...

Last night, when she opened the linen closet to remove the vacuum, I creeped in the closet and waited. When the vacuum whir started, I jumped upon the shelf, found the box of little delights and tore it open. In fact, I actually whipped it off of the shelf, littering tampons all over the closet floor. It was all fun and games--batting wrapped tampons around the closet with my paws--until I looked up and noticed mom, hands on her hips, scowling at me.

Yes, I am The Tamponator. Now I just need to figure out whether I should use my powers for good or evil...

UPDATE: Rhett was kind enough to share the photos of him and his 'pon. If she can see me through all the steam coming out of her ears, I think I'll ask my mom to try to get some pictures of me and my tampon the next time around.

You know there will be a next time around, don't you?