We Interrupt Your Monday For This Very Important Picture of Smudge

I think we can all agree that this has been a vital and necessary update.

For those of you asking how well Smudge is being assimilated into the Scalzi clowder of cats, the answer is: reasonably well, but not without its problems. Smudge basically has two personality settings at the moment, “adorable” and “asshole,” which is about par of kittens generally, but even more so for him. This duality of his nature has definitely been noted by the other cats, who have varying levels of tolerance for him. Zeus is generally the most tolerant of him, and will wrestle with him for a while before he gets tired of it. Spice will also wrestle with him, for a much shorter period. Sugar is all “I will fucking cut you” when he approaches her for a tussle, and he backs away sensibly. Otherwise, he’s fearless and underfoot, which again is to expected in a kitten.

The things Smudge is the most frustrated about is that the other cats go outside and he can’t. He can’t because he’s still too small and could be marked as a snack by local raptors. The other cats go outside to do their thing and also (it has to be said) to be shut of Smudge, who can be relentless in his attention-seeking. But I don’t see giving Smudge outdoor privileges for another several months. We expect him to be a fairly big cat, so it might happen sooner than later. But for now when Smudge makes a beeline for the door, he finds them closed before he can get to them — or if he’s at the door when it’s opened he’s picked up before he can escape. It’s frustrating for him, but better alive and frustrated then a snack for a hawk.

And this has been your Smudge update for the day. Thank you for your attention.

23 Comments on “We Interrupt Your Monday For This Very Important Picture of Smudge”

  1. Since it was a thing that came up on Twitter the other weekend, let me note that for the people who are concerned about the fact our cats are indoor/outdoor pets, a) we live in a rural area, far from the road, b) we’re surrounded on three sides by agricultural fields, c) without working cats, which our cats are as well as pets, rodents get in the house, which is even worse than it sounds, d) to date (17+ years at this house), all our cats have been healthy with excellent vet care, and we haven’t lost a cat to anything else but natural causes and/or old age. In other times and other places (i.e., in urban and suburban areas) I’ve kept my cats indoors at all times; here, it’s different circumstances.

    I note this not because I want to have a discussion here on the merits of whether cats should be kept indoors or not — I really don’t — but specifically to make people aware I know this is a matter of concern for some folks, re: cats, and for me the matter has been considered and settled, so please don’t feel the need to bring it up in this thread. Thanks.

  2. The same problems exist here and not just with raptors. The AZ desert has coyotes and other predators. I used to watch ground squirrels out by a wash race between holes and the prize at the end wasn’t a gold medal-it was “I’m not lunch”. I’d say you’re making the right calls.

  3. Smudge has looked since the very beginning like a Cat With An Outsize Personality. Sounds like he is fulfilling the promise of those looks.


  4. Thank you for the update on this growing Catlet. He sounds like a cat I’d enjoy knowing, whether still a kitten or a full-fledged cat. Good job taking him in, and good on him for keep you in line. :-)

  5. Back when I had cats, I had two bourgeois silver persians. Long-haired peace & love creatures, they would have served no purpose out-of-doors but lunch… though come to think of it, we all end up as some one’s lunch… eventually. I don’t think the important question is indoors v. outdoors, but food, shelter, medical and retirement: pretty much the criteria a human might expect from any GOOD employment. I still miss my cats, but I wouldn’t be able to afford vet bills and, being a geezer, should I croak before them, there’s no one I could expect to adopt them (retirement). Enjoy the cats. I enjoy Smudge even if it’s second hand and wouldn’t mind hearing of you other cats, too.

  6. Our own two year old cat Zuko was more than a bit annoying when he was Smudge’s age. Especially to our poor dog, Lucy, who had never encountered a kitten before. Now that Zuko’s the same basic size but nowhere near the same weight (Lucy is not a svelte dog) they’ve figured things out. But now my sister in law is in town and she brought her much bigger dog along with her. Zuko is more than a bit perturbed. He didn’t realize dogs came that big.

  7. Catios. Its a thing. It’s a big thing here on the west coast where we put our wizard building skills to work making outdoor access enclosures of great refinement and creative vision. Think patio sized playgrounds safely enclosed .The Audubon Society and Feral Cat coalition work together to protect cats and birds and they CHARGE to get on the Catio Tour.
    Pretty sweet. Rivals our Tour de Coop crazy chicken coop tour of chickens in the city.
    Anyway, the cats and the birds seem to be just fine with that and the Catio owners are chuffed with themselves. How we roll.

  8. Ah, he’s growing up so fast! And so handsome, too.

    I recognize the behavior; we currently have a pair of one-year-old littermates who seamlessly switch from “adorable” to “asshole” and back in the blink of an eye. For Smudge’s sake, I am glad that at least one of the older felines is learning to tolerate him, and when you think about it, it does make sense that it would be Zeus. After all, Smudge’s integration into the family evens up the male/female ratio. Sugar’s reaction to kittenish nonsense sounds like a typical mom-cat’s response, and it sounds like Smudge is responding pretty typically as well.

    May I inquire if you plan to get the little guy neutered? I respect your decision either way but hope you’ll limit his ability to reproduce. After all, there aren’t nearly as many welcoming homes like yours as there are cats who need a home. (Feel free to delete this paragraph if too off-topic, of course – your house, your rules.)

    Thank you in any case for a most welcome end to a long Monday, and please give Smudge a chin-scratch for me.

  9. Thank the Maker you updated! I was just talking to my cat #SamSam about this. Now I can tell him.

  10. Colonel Snuggledorf:

    We always have our cats neutered. It’s especially important for the boy cats, to keep them from spraying and from wandering too far.

  11. A major reason I’ve adopted adult cats from the local shelter here once I settled in is the whole personality thing. Kittens are adorable. They are also crazy. And my apartment isn’t big enough for kitten crazy. Your house is (from what I’ve seen) a lot bigger. I absolutely adore that Smudge wormed his way into your household since you have room for him. My Zelda is indoors only (and honestly seems quite happy with the situation, I didn’t name her after a fictional princess for nothing) for that reason plus I wouldn’t want the rare wandering bear or mountain lion (both of which can happen here in this mountain town) to have a feline lunch.

    My actual point? Smudge is way cute. Hopefully he’ll outgrow kitten assholishness sooner rather than later.

  12. Is there a market for some sort of anti-raptor cat jacket with spikes on it and perhaps a re-inforced back?

  13. Andrew F – there’s always gonna be a market for something that makes pets look like punk rockers.

    Getting kitties to wear them? Hmmmmmm…..

  14. “c) without working cats, which our cats are as well as pets, rodents get in the house, which is even worse than it sounds”

    Oh so very true. My aunt and uncle spent most of a year dealing with a mouse infestation in their (suburban) house and the resulting damage to stored items — they wound up calling the Got Junk people to send a truck. Cats aren’t an option for them because they’re both mobility-impaired, and even an adult cat is a trip hazard waiting to happen.

    The exterminator told them that if you see one mouse inside, you’ve got a colony of mice inside. Better to prevent the problem than fix it afterwards.

  15. What a welcome break! Smudge is adorable and I love your description of how he interacts (or attempts to interact!) with the rest of your cats. It sounds like there’s no active animosity there, and I’m sure that as he matures and mellows out things will only improve.

    You’re such a good family for animals. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us!

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