Late Night Texts at the Scalzi Compound

Daughter: Did you hear that noise? Me: It's the cats. Smudge is being an asshole. Daughter: Oh, okay, cool.

Look, I know you people adore Smudge, but as a still-young male cat, he’s got a lot of “asshole” in him that he hasn’t completely got out of his system yet. And the time he likes to burn through some of that is roughly between the hours of 2 am and 5 am. Which means from time to time it sounds like the house is being ransacked, when it’s just him having his evening constitutional and/or annoying one of the other cats in the house. It’s a known issue and time will sort it out. In the meantime, however, there are occasional text exchanges like this one, from one side of the house to the other. This is what you get for having cats, basically.

33 thoughts on “Late Night Texts at the Scalzi Compound

  1. Back in the early 1990s, Garrison Keillor did a number on “Prairie Home Companion” to the tune of “Camptown Races”. I don’t remember all the lyrics, but I do remember the beginning and the end: “The Cat Town Races go all night, yee-hah, yee-hah; The Cat Town Races go all night, and again all day.”

    And then the last line, something about “My feet are the finish line!”

  2. My cat has taken to jumping from a tree onto my roof.
    He is not a small cat, and lands with a house-shaking thud.

  3. At our place, it’s Peanut who is responsible for all the late-night havoc (he insists on picking on ElderCat, with the results you’d expect), while Smudgely is the one curled up in the space between my arm and my side, purring. Also, our house isn’t large enough to require text-messaging between the occupants.

    Other than that, though, you pretty much have it nailed.

  4. We have a cat named Dude. Actually his full name is “Dude. Really?” He’s about 8 now and has not yet gotten all the asshole out of his system, spending his wee hours prying and poking to find the secret tunnel out of the house that must exist.

  5. Our cat, Bill the Cat, is still an asshole at age six. Pretty sure it’s a male thing, though he was snipped long ago.

  6. It’s not just cats. Our small two year old male dog is currently – 11.15 pm U.K. time – exercising his lungs downstairs, and my daughter and I are exchanging texts thereon. An utter sweetheart for most of the time but definitely an asshole at times…

  7. My 10yo ginger boy is very sweet, but he does occasionally feel the need to see if I’m awake at 3 AM.

  8. My office cats like to stay away from me all day — until I’m working on my PC in the middle of the night. That’s when it’s time to demand attention by going Boot on my hands while I’m typing and climbing on the keyboard while purring….

  9. Some cats are assholes until they die. I still think I would rather put up with an asshole cat at 3am than a dog who snores all night.

  10. You text when you’re both in the same house? I used to make jokes about how my Dad would drive to the bathroom if he could get the car in the house, but texting from room to room is just . . . let’s say silly.

  11. What this reminds me of:
    I remember being in a hotel room, visiting strangers, during a science fiction and fantasy convention. We weren’t typical nerds, exactly, but we were typically shy. Solution? We talked for hours about cats and dogs and horses we had known.

  12. My current cats don’t talk to the humans much; they purr a lot, but when they vocalize it’s occasionally to each other, or it’s Wayne’s hunting call when he’s hunting catnip mice, or rarely one of them telling us to get them food, but that’s mostly body language.
    (A previous cat used to be much more vocal about his hunting, and would bring all the mice and pile them by the bed like outdoor cats do with real mice.)

    Except in college, I’ve always lived in places that either had forced-air heat or steam radiators, or had cats, or both, so there are always random thumping noises. My current place has electric heat, but high ceilings adjacent to the roof, which amplifies squirrel noises to sound like cats running across it, and cats on the roof to sound like raccoons. My downstairs neighbor once said she seldom heard us walking around, but the cats we had at the time could get a 40-foot run if the bedroom door was open, so they were a lot louder.

  13. Our cat used to jump up on the piano and walk down the keyboard. At two a.m. She was a small cat but heavy footed after midnight. We quickly learned to make sure the cover to the keyboard was closed before we went to bed.

  14. I grew up with two kittens, so I have the benefit that my parents had to deal with *most* of their bullshit and I just had two cute cats. Nowadays they’re old ladies and usually behave themselves. Let’s hope Smudge will grow out of his phase sooner rather than later!

  15. BBC did a documentary a few years ago about what cats in an urban situation did: when and where they moved about, which ones would go into other cats’ homes and steal their food and so on.
    Some cats shared territory with another cat whom they would probably not even meet because one of them did day shift, the other night shift.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-22567526

  16. My family got a new kitten a couple of months ago who’s still in the asshole stage, too. He’s not just rampaging, though: I’ve seen him lie down on the coffee table, look right at me, and slowly push a basket off the table, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

    Naturally, we’ve named him “Mayhem”, after the Allstate commercial.

  17. Yep. Sherbert did the same thing last night. Because of course 4:36 AM is the perfect time for a full-on assault on the crinkly noisy butcher paper playmat he loves.

  18. You also get the texts because you have other people living in the house with you. Get rid of the people and you get rid of the texts. (this is not a course I recommend BTW)

  19. It’s kind of awesome seeing that this conversation is somewhat universal. Our Smudge is named Max. Well, unless Phoenix is standing in. He’s 7 but still has feisty moments.

  20. I think it is largely a tomcat thing. My current cat is a queen, silky soft, sleeps all night under the covers with me, purring. My former cat, the magnificent Charlie Bigfoot (way too many toes) would go out the catdoor, walk around the building, come up the front stairs and yowl loudly at the front door to be let in. At 2 in the morning. Major trouble, that cat — I still miss him.

  21. We have an elderly cat that recently went mostly deaf. She used to be very quiet cat, but now, when she can’t hear where her humans are, she YOOOOOWWWWLLLS at the top of her lungs. Sounds like she’s being murdered. It wakes me up from two flights of stairs away!

    Hugs and scritches to Smudge!

  22. Also, this is partly how our youngest cat’s name went from Malcolm (For Mal Reynolds) to DammitMalcolm. He was berserk as a kitten.

    Now, he’s a 27-pound heffalump.

  23. My cat is 14.5 years old, and he’s been a complete and utter asshole his entire life. (I’ve had him since he was about 8 weeks old.) I daresay he’s gotten steadily worse over the years. He’s being a total dick as I type this, because he wants me to go to bed so he has a heat source to sleep with.

    This does not mean I don’t adore him. I love him madly. But “my cat will grow out of it” is not a sure thing.

  24. The males mostly sleep on the bed and block us from moving our legs; it’s the female who sometimes decides she needs a treat in the wee hours after she’s done prowling the house for the night. This is communicated by low growls, licking and nibbling. (They are all pretty young; so I cannot do an age comparison.)

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