Our family’s pets certainly are characters and keep our lives interesting.
We somehow ended up with three black and white animals.
Zooma The Wonder Dog’s most well-known features in our family are her spotted paws, even though she has white on other areas of her fur as well. When we first met Zooma and decided we wanted to adopt her, 3-year-old Little Miss told everyone we met that we were going to buy the puppy with the spotted paws. We had planned not to tell my parents right away because we thought they might not think we should get a new dog since we’d recently had a negative experience with another puppy adoption. That plan fell apart when Little Miss ran into their house first thing and announced, “We’re getting the puppy with the spotted paws!”
The breeder had actually asked us if we would like to switch puppies because someone else was interested in Zooma, but I told her we couldn’t do it.
“My daughter has already announced to everyone we meet that we are getting the puppy with the spotted paws.”
So now we have our Zooma with her spotted paws. She has taken over this blog a few times and you can find those posts if you search “Zooma” in the search bar in the right sidebar.
Scout, our almost-two-year-old cat, has huge, white paws, as well as other areas of white over the bottom part of her. She is a polydactyl, so she has extra toes.
Pixel, our veteran cat, appears to be all black but if you are unfortunate to be stuck under her underside you will see a small streak of white fur between her legs.
All three of our animals are allowed outside now. In the past, I tried to keep Scout inside because I didn’t want her to be an outside cat. Sadly, after she saw Pixel and Zooma going out each day, her curiosity was almost overwhelming. She became so desperate to go out she would continuously slip out past us, finding any way she could to escape. Stopping her became an exhausting undertaking and she was also severely hyper when she couldn’t go out — raring all over the house and being a general nuisance all of the time. Once she was able to go outside and explore, she would come back in a lot happier and a lot cuddlier.
As a kitten, Scout loved to curl up on my chest to sleep. In a few months, though, she was too big to do that anymore, so she found other places to curl up. Every once in a while she does still try to curl up on my chest and I have to sit slumped down, my arms folded across my chest in a circle for her to lay in. We don’t last very long in that position so now she wakes me up early in the morning by trying to curl up against my neck or chest while I’m still in bed. When she cuddles she bumps her nose against mine while purring and then “kisses” (licks) my chin or cheek a couple of times. When she curls up on me on the bed she eventually decides I move too much and gets up and moves to her favorite place to sleep in the house — Little Miss’s pillow, just above Little Miss’s head. Sometimes she even curls around Little Miss’s head.
Pixel has never been a huge cuddler, but she does occasionally climb up on my chest and kneed and try to curl up there. She’s much too large to cuddle on my chest so her body drapes down my stomach or her large rear crashes into my laptop. She often picks a time for cuddling when I am trying to write instead of when I am trying to read. I would have a lot more room for her while I am reading than when I am typing, but, well, she’s a cat and cats want attention at the most inopportune times, as cat owners know.
Zooma loves to cuddle but wants to be petted most of the time during the cuddle (pawing at your hand to let you know you must keep rubbing her head or belly) and like Scout, she seems to decide somewhere during a snuggle session that she needs more room to spread out and leaves to sprawl onto the floor or couch. The Boy is the champion Zooma cuddler and hugs her like a baby, especially when he is procrastinating on doing school work or any other work.
“I can’t do that. I’m cuddling the puppy,” he’ll say and then he and Zoom will look at me with pathetic “puppy eyes.”
It seems to be an unwritten rule that you can’t move a cat once they’ve curled up in a spot on the couch or bed and you can’t break up a boy and dog cuddle session.
Zooma also likes to cuddle with Little Miss first thing in the morning while Little Miss either plays her online games or chats with her friends before schoolwork.
When we go outside, the animals go with us and often follow us as we walk down the street. Zooma is, of course, on a leash when we go for a walk because even though this is a small town, and very close to the woods, it’s still a town.
Zooma is on a lead or leash when she is outside so she doesn’t take off on us, because she will. She will chase whatever critter she sees in the yard or on the street. When we first moved here, and if we took her off the lead, she would take off over the hill behind the house after deer and rabbits. She would also chase the neighborhood cats and more than once she yanked the lead out of the ground and wrapped herself around our one neighbor’s large tree trying to get to one of them. If she sees a cat while we are walking on the leash she tries to yank the leash out of our hands and get to them. The main cat we see on our walks is our neighbor’s cat Simba.
He was here before our pets so this is his territory, but our animals don’t seem to understand that.
Simba wanders freely like Pixel and Scout do. None of them seem to go very far from their houses and don’t seem to go to other streets. Scout and Pixel do go over the bank toward the old railcar on the street below ours but I have yet to have seen them actually on that street, which is a lot busier than ours, so I hope they never do.
Simba and Scout had a run in the other day after Simba chased Scout out from under the neighbor’s cars where they all like to hang out. Simba wasn’t done with her and even hissed at her while she was laying on the sidewalk in front of our house.
The next day I caught him stalking her in our yard. I guess he’s really not a fan of Scout. I don’t know if he has been doing this for the last several months we’ve been letting her out or if he just realized she is around or what. He and Pixel aren’t really fans of each other either so I’m sure they have some battles too. I know they did when we first moved here.
Another odd thing is that when we walk down the street, the cats follow us like we are taking them on the walk with us. They usually only make it halfway down the street, though, and decide they don’t want to follow us any further. Also, when we visit our neighbors, the cats will follow us onto their porches, like they are visiting too.
Our biggest issue with letting Scout out is that she doesn’t like to come back in so there are some nights we have to chase her down to get her back inside. Pixel wanders in and out all day, jumping up for a snack of food and a drink, and then meowing to be let back out. Scout occasionally comes back in, but usually, once she is out we don’t see her for the rest of the day or if we do see her she comes up for attention and then darts away when we try to pick her up to go inside.
Many an evening the family has watched me pace anxiously when she hasn’t returned from one of her excursions, sure that this time I shouldn’t have let her out and she’s finally got herself killed. Every time she’s come sauntering back in like there was nothing to worry about and clearly clueless, or not really caring, that I was worried sick over her.
We don’t want the animals outside at night because we do live close to the woods and a rural area and that means there could be any number of animals in our backyard at night, including raccoon, skunks, opossum, foxes, and bear.
Speaking of animals, our animals have had quite a few run-ins with animals, I’m sure even more than we are aware of. The main run-ins the cats have had have ended up in the deaths of the other animals since we often open our door to find dead mice or moles on our back porch. The mice were showing up before we let Scout out a lot and then they were showing up even more. Apparently, she had learned how to hunt, or maybe Pixel had shown her. My husband sent me a photo of her with a mouse in her mouth in our backyard one day and we finally knew Pixel wasn’t the only one leaving us presents.
Pixel is quite brutal with her prey. One day The Husband and The Boy were down by the bank across the road cleaning up from a failed yard sale we had and they heard what sounded like screaming. It was, in fact, screaming. It was one of Pixel’s victims trying to get away. My son testified that Pixel came out of the brush with it, tossed it on the ground and let it run a few feet away to give it the illusion that she was going to let it live, then pounced on it again, flung it in the air and repeated the process a few more times before finally killing it. The poor little mouse screamed the entire time and The Boy said it was completely unnerving. They both seemed traumatized when they came back in the house with The Husband only saying, “She’s brutal.”
Neither of them looked at her quite the same for a couple of weeks, trying to figure out how to balance the cat who seems so sweet when she bumps up against their legs for attention and the cat who is a homicidal predator.
Scout also shocked us one day when she came around the other side of the house with a small snake in her mouth. “What did you bring us this time?” I asked. “Is that another — oh my gosh! Snake! She’s got a snake!”
My dad was here so we all walked over to investigate the wounded reptile she dropped on the sidewalk and then rolled next to, clearly very proud of herself.
We all decided the snake wasn’t poisonous (probably a garter) so it hadn’t hurt her but we were still unnerved by the entire incident. We scooped the snake up in a shovel and pitched it over the bank in front of the house. I’m not sure if it made it or not but I did see a similar snake in our backyard last week and it was slithering along quite fast.
Zooma’s last animal run in, beside the rabbits she chases out of the backyard, and the deer she barks at, was the skunk who sprayed her at the end of last summer. That happened a couple of months before we caught Covid and lost our sense of smell and we joked that it would have been nice to have been able to smell when she got sprayed. It took a couple of weeks to get the smell off her even with two or three baths.
I rarely get a photo of all three animals together, even though they are all together at times. For example, the morning I am working on this post, I woke up to find all three of them on the bed with me, which is a rarity. Pixel is still not super fond of Scout and hisses and smacks at her when she gets up to snuggle with me before Pixel does.
We call Pixel our resident witch (we try to be nice and not use the b before the itch) because sometimes she just randomly smacks anyone who walks by her, including Zooma who is simply trying to get outside and use the bathroom. Sometimes even one of us gets smacked by her for no reason at all, but sometimes she wants us to stop and pay attention to her. Usually, the smacks are claw-free. Another funny thing about Pixel is that she snores when she sleeps. It’s this small little wheeze/whistle. I am curious if this is a trait with black cats since the black cat my husband had and I adopted when I married him also had sinus issues and sort of snored. She (Squeak) also sneezed horrible large boogers out of her nose and mainly when she was laying on my chest for snuggles.
Pixel was actually adopted because she reminded me so much of Squeak. The only difference is that Squeak was always skinny where we often call Pixel The Beast or Fat Cat. Sometimes when I call her Fat Cat she glares at me through tiny slits as if to say, “You don’t have room to talk, lady.” Other times she seems to appreciate the nickname and rubs up against me despite me insulting her weight.
Pixel is fairly laid back and doesn’t get herself into trouble, unlike Scout and Zooma.
As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, Scout’s little tree climbing adventures have kept us hopping, including the one night she got herself so stuck the fire company had to bring its ladder the next day to get her down.
The first time she climbed a tree was also one of the first times she escaped. That climb almost killed her because she didn’t land on her feet like Dad told me she would. She landed on her side and then laid there panting and I thought she was going to die. I even prepared for the kids to say goodbye to her. She jumped up and darted away a few seconds later, though, and it was clear she wasn’t going to die after all. Since then she’s had our hearts in our throats more than once with her antics, but I guess we are adapting to them more and don’t worry as much as we once did.
So, there you go. You’ve not learned a little bit more about our crazy pets and their antics. Do you have pets? If so, what kind, how many and what are their names? Let me know in the comments.
I’ll leave you with some random photos of the pets. I’m surprised, yet not surprised, of how many photographs I have of them, actually.