Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Climbin’ Psymon

 

Psymon (the “P” is silent, as in “psychedelic” and “psittacosis”) is just the most recent of many feline friends to have ingratiated themselves unexpectedly but permanently into my life and heart over the past four decades. I first noticed him during the dead of winter 2018, when I saw him, often accompanied by an all-black cat I’ve named, ummm, “Blackie.” (The “B” is voiced, as in “bafflegab” and “blowsabella,” which, I’m sorry to tell you, isn’t the name of one of Old Possum’s Practical Cats. I completely agree that it should be, though.) I’d see the two cats hanging out in the barn, or running in the snowy woods, and sometimes, worryingly, on the road. All my best efforts to entice them onto the porch for food failed, and I’d resigned myself to the thought that they’d either freeze to death, be run over, or be killed by predators. “Can’t save ’em all,” I’d think to myself in an attempt to bring reason to bear, while I fretted from day to day. Story of my life.

But. One cold day, almost exactly a year ago, I opened the front door and found an orange and white cat waiting for me, glaring intently at the entrance and drumming his paws rather impatiently on the brick patio. The moment he saw me, tail waving high, he marched into the house and has never left.** Proof positive, I suppose, that any cat can be saved, once he decides he wants to be. (I think that’s pretty much the way it works for members of the two-legged species, as well.)

The newly-dubbed “Psymon” spent slightly more than a week in my largest dog crate, stinking up the place with his toxic and overbearing (I’m not being catty about this) masculinity. Phew. Fortunately, a session with my veterinarian “fixed” this odiferous and argumentative problem, and he’s come up nothing but roses and agreeableness ever since. Would that all such problems could be solved so easily. She said. LOL.

My lady cats adore him. Well, with the exception of Fat Alice, AKA “Psycho Cat” (silent “P” again, as in “psalter” and “ptarmigan,” just so you know). She is naturally cattywampus about everything, being excessively needy and looming large in all senses, particularly those of self-regard and self-interest; I’m not sure she’ll ever recover her equanimity or let go of her resentment that there’s a new cat in the house. (I’ve thought, every now and then, that she must have browsed through my copy of Who Moved My Cheese one day, and rather missed the point.) But aside from Alice’s occasional outbursts of lèse-majesté, Psymon is king of his indoor forest, and lord of his little harem. This may have something to do with his exotic ginger coloration, or perhaps it’s his devil-may-care demeanor. Either way, the other two girls find him utterly charming.

He’s the smartest, most engaged cat I’ve ever known, and he loves to play. As a result, and for the first time in my life, I’ve bought a number of actual cat toys for him, because it’s worth it, to see him enjoying himself so much. Fabric tunnels. Magnetic “fish.” Corrugated cardboard climbing/scratching trees. He loves them all. Everything’s a toy for him, and, if it’s not, he turns it into one. (Sometimes, when I’m knitting, this isn’t so much fun, at least not for me. I used a photo of Psymon to illustrate this point on a post several months ago.)

Mischief, thy middle name is Psymon. In that same vein, and after weeks of wondering who kept taking the lid off the cat food bin so that the dogs could empty it out, I finally solved the mystery!

Levi and Xena love it when he does this because after he’s eaten his fill, they can stick their noses in the bin and finish off whatever is left. Psymon doesn’t mind, because he’s already replete, and he bolts before the dogs move in and make a mess of things, in the way that only giant, hairy dogs with huge paws, floppy ears, and long tails, can. (Slobber everywhere. Cat food all over the floor. The bin and the lid flung far and wide. Other things knocked over. Thunderous crashing about.) By the time I hear the commotion, Psymon is long gone, and Levi and Xena are the ones who get in trouble. Win-win for the cat!

But the two things Psymon loves most are watching TV while sitting on my lap (he likes Animal Planet) and hogging any leftover room in the bed. On the rare nights that he doesn’t secure his place on it before I get there (thoughtfully leaving me a very narrow strip, right on the edge, so it’s easy for me to get in and out), I can almost guarantee that I’ll be woken up sometime in the wee hours, by his throwing himself against the door in an effort to crash his way into the room. Once he’s done that, he quickly elbows his way into the bed. (Since he’s got four elbows, it’s a very unfair fight and it’s pointless to argue with him.) Anyone who’s ever slept with a cat knows how much room they occupy (the Great Pyrenees, on the infrequent occasions that they’re allowed on the bed (right after a bath–theirs, not ours), actually take up far less room than Psymon, even both of them at once), but I find myself unable to resist his importuning or the pathetic yowls which prevent me going back to sleep, and in he comes.

Most recently, he’s developed a taste for climbing up the library ladder in the living room and making his way into the small loft above where he can observe events from the royal box, and where–what he really has his eye on–there are pillows and yarn! It’s only about an eight-foot rise, but the ladder is completely vertical, and he makes quite a meal of his effort. I’ve been trying to collect video of this feat for weeks, and I finally managed it a few days ago when he got himself stuck halfway up, fell off, and then tried again as I hoped he would.

Next up? I’m going to teach him how to fold laundry, and show him how to load the dishwasher.

What special or charming tricks do your beloved pets exhibit?

**Except for a rather faithless and disloyal episode last summer in which he buried himself deep in another Ricochet member’s RV, with an intent to visit an airshow some distance to the North and West of us. I expect Psymon thought he might like to learn how to fly a plane. (No names, but you know who you are, @gldiii. Cat. Thief.)

P.S.–“Blackie” hasn’t yet succumbed to the inevitable, but shows up regularly on the porch now, for food and drink. He’ll come round. It’s just a matter of time. She persists.

P.P.S.–My granddaughter usually names my creatures. This is how the lambs end up with names like “Adventure” and “Triangle Triangle Fluff,” and the bunnies with names like “Mup” and “Nest.” I have a dog and a (barn) cat which are both named “Levi.” (Their full names are “Little Levi,” and “Big Levi, so we can tell them apart.) She’s very creative. And she likes logic puzzles, puns, and word games.

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  1. Old Buckeye Member

    What an imp! He climbs that ladder like a champ. Or chimp. 

    • #1
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. RightAngles Member

    Next up? I’m going to teach him how to fold laundry, and show him how to load the dishwasher.

    Hahaha!

    • #2
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    3 of our cats can climb ladders too. 1 was self-taught, but the other 2 were encouraged in the task by daughter #3.

    Tank, the car-rescue cat I wrote about nearly 3 years ago here now, is smart, but a big ole fraidy cat about everything, so his tricks are mostly of the sneaking variety – he opens sliding or bifold doors with some ease. The one thing he will do boldly is catch cat treats tossed his way. Like a dog, he will try to catch them in his mouth, but his snoot is too short to do so reliably most days, so most of the time he will field them like a shortstop with a pop fly – catching them deftly from the air in his paws.

    • #3
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor

    He must have been a Tyrolean mountain climber in a previous life!

    • #4
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    He must have been a Tyrolean mountain climber in a previous life!

    Or something. Yes, I think you’re right. He’s so funny.

    • #5
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Tank, the car-rescue cat I wrote about nearly 3 years ago here now, is smart, but a big ole fraidy cat about everything, so his tricks are mostly of the sneaking variety – he opens sliding or bifold doors with some ease.

    I have a theory about animals, and their relative intelligence, that has to do with doors and gates of the hinged, rather than the sliding, variety. It’s quite simple, but as far as I can see, pretty dispositive:

    When you open an inward-swinging door or a gate with the intention that your pet/animal should walk through it, those on the brighter end of the spectrum will head for the “open” side, and walk through. Those on the more clueless end, will head for the “hinged” side, stick their noses in the angle that’s formed when the door opens, and refuse to move from that position.

    In general, dogs will walk through the open side. Cats will always walk through the open side, although, if it’s a gate, they’d much prefer just to jump over it. Lambs/sheep will always head for the hinged side, as will rabbits. And they’ll fight you every step of the way in your efforts to liberate them. Goats are about 75/25 as to what they’ll do, generally falling on the smarter side of things.

    Psymon can open sliding doors. I’ve also caught him, a couple of times, flipping the hook-and-eye latch when he wants to get through.

     

    • #6
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. RushBabe49 Thatcher

     

    Kikyo jumps from the banister on the right, to the top of the closet, on the left. From there, she walks over to the plant shelf, so she can watch out the window, in the company of her gray friend.

    Kikyo and friend
    • #7
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

     

    Kikyo jumps from the banister on the right, to the top of the closet, on the left. From there, she walks over to the plant shelf, so she can watch out the window, in the company of her gray friend.

    Kikyo and friend

    She’s beautiful. Is she completely black?

    • #8
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    Mine were micromanaging me while I was working from home: 

    That would be Baloo, top left; Khan, top right, and Bagheera, being a very camouflaged mini panther indeed in the black basket. 

    • #9
    • April 7, 2020, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tank, I must say, is not very respectful of puzzles, but since he’s so jumpy, whenever we would approach the table he would scatter dozens of pieces. We had to give up on that puzzle.

    • #10
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    What an imp! He climbs that ladder like a champ. Or chimp.

    He’ll come down it if I pull it out to an angle (think library ladder) but not when it’s vertical. Otherwise, I have to go get him, or sometimes he jumps.

    • #11
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Silvia here is our sneakiest one – she loves to escape outside and disappear for hours, sometimes overnight. I watched her once watching the front door at some distance, then making a running start to time the opening of the door and so escape.

    • #12
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Silvia here is our sneakiest one – she loves to escape outside and disappear for hours, sometimes overnight. I watched her once watching the front door at some distance, then making a running start to time the opening of the door and so escape.

    I think the degree to which they “watch” you (or me, or anyone) is an indicator of having their own agenda, and that they’re just biding their time until opportunity strikes.

    • #13
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Socks here is the newest of the group, and still very kittenish. He’ll sometimes open doors, but I think he mostly just likes to tackle the other cats, whether they want to be tackled or not. His best ability is sneaking food off of plates and counters, and he’s quite bold at it, hopping up the moment your back is turned. He has a strange taste for pastries and bread products, as well as cough drops, but I’ve also caught him with his paw down the garbage disposal trying to explore and fish things out. No food is really ever safe when he’s around.

    • #14
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: I can almost guarantee that I’ll be woken up sometime in the wee hours, by his throwing himself against the door in an effort to crash his way into the room. Once he’s done that, he quickly elbows his way into the bed. (Since he’s got four elbows, it’s an very unfair fight and it’s pointless to argue with him.)

    It only just dawned on me that “catnap” is a reference not to cats’ fondness for sleep but for the brevity of naps they allow their servants.

    • #15
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:12 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    She: I can almost guarantee that I’ll be woken up sometime in the wee hours, by his throwing himself against the door in an effort to crash his way into the room. Once he’s done that, he quickly elbows his way into the bed. (Since he’s got four elbows, it’s an very unfair fight and it’s pointless to argue with him.)

    It only just dawnes on me that “catnap” is a reference not to cats’ fondness for sleep but for the brevity of naps they allow their servants.

    Oh, so true. As they say, “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.”

    • #16
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: My lady cats adore him. Well, with the exception of Fat Alice, AKA “Psycho Cat” (silent “P” again, as in “psalter” and “ptarmigan,” just so you know). She is naturally cattywumpus about everything, being excessively needy and looming large in all senses, particularly those of self-regard and self-interest; I’m not sure she’ll ever recover her equanimity or let go of her resentment that there’s a new cat in the house.

    Alice came to us courtesy of a young girl (somewhere between 7 and 9, I should think) that Mr. She and I met outside the Giant Eagle (local grocery store) one day. She and a very nice woman who described herself as a “family friend” had a small black and white kitten, and as we walked into the store, the young señorita (for that’s what she appeared to be) asked us if we’d like a free kitten. I said no (Glory Be, not another one!), and we kept on going. As we gathered up our cart, I thought to myself, “Oh, dear. She’ll ask someone that, and he’ll say “sure,” and then take kitty home and feed her to his pet python.” So, of course we went back.

    In chatting, I discovered that the little girl was with her family, and that they were traveling, working on the oil wells (frackers) in the area. She’d discovered the kitten behind the motel where they were staying. There was a second kitten, and she’d tried to catch it, but had been unsuccessful (“you did your best, you did a very good thing, you can’t save them all,” I told her).

    She’d rounded up the one, read up about how to feed a small kitten on the Internet, gone with her mother to WalMart, and bought milk replacer and a bottle. And she’d been raising the kitten ever since. But it was time for them to move on, and her dad told her she had to find a new home for the kitten.

    She was very conscientious, explaining to me the right way to hold a kitten while feeding her with a bottle, so she didn’t choke. And she clearly loved this little kitten so much, so, of course, we took her home.

    My granddaughter named her “Little Alice,” an appropriate name at the time. And what a sweetie she was. And, in many ways, once one gets past her rather prickly and expansive exterior, she still is.

    Here she is, stuffed inside my jacket, in early days:

    • #17
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    She (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

     

    Kikyo jumps from the banister on the right, to the top of the closet, on the left. From there, she walks over to the plant shelf, so she can watch out the window, in the company of her gray friend.

    Kikyo and friend

    She’s beautiful. Is she completely black?

    As the vet said, when we took her in for her first well-kitty visit, “down to her claws”. The inside of her mouth is pink, but she has a big black “ink-blot” on the roof of her mouth. 100% all-black, with no white patches anywhere. Her coat is soft as mink.

    • #18
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

     

    Kikyo jumps from the banister on the right, to the top of the closet, on the left. From there, she walks over to the plant shelf, so she can watch out the window, in the company of her gray friend.

    Kikyo and friend

    She’s beautiful. Is she completely black?

    As the vet said, when we took her in for her first well-kitty visit, “down to her claws”. The inside of her mouth is pink, but she has a big black “ink-blot” on the roof of her mouth. 100% all-black, with no white patches anywhere. Her coat is soft as mink.

    Just lovely. Only one of my cats, over all these years, has been that way. I think “Blackie in the woods” might be another such, but only time will tell.

    • #19
    • April 7, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Next up? I’m going to teach him how to fold laundry, and show him how to load the dishwasher.

    Hahaha!

    It’s the Driving Miss Daisy theorem (when her son, Dan Ackroyd in the movie, is expressing consternation and reservations that his elderly Jewish mother might be harboring feelings of affection towards an elderly black man):

    “I didn’t say I love him. I said he was handy.”

    One of my all-time favorite movie lines. Ever. (Increasingly ever, as I age.)

    • #20
    • April 7, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Psymon was almost mine! But he would have had competition for the being the most mischievous in the house….

    And of course her clean little sister

    • #21
    • April 7, 2020, at 2:22 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. Robert E. Lee Member
    Robert E. Lee Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tommy Trouble, 15, and Pywackett, 6. These are my babies.

    • #22
    • April 7, 2020, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member