Day 61: Our musical Mau

Our musical kitties

Our musical kitty

My husband and I are hobbyist musicians. I am a vocalist and he plays a ton of instruments: viola, bass, cello, piano, and guitar. He practices while I make dinner, and he’s pretty good so I get awesome music every night. Solstice sits on his lap while he plays the guitar so I guess he likes the music, too.

Day 60: Wintermuse needs some assistance

Egyptian Mau kitten

Wintermuse as a kitten

She’s a few months old in this shot. Look how long her tail is in proportion to her body. So, you might notice she’s on a scratching post with a piece of fabric on it. This was her mega scratching post, about 2.5-3 ft high and half a foot wide. When she was a wee kitten, she wasn’t big or strong enough to haul herself to the top. It’s a smooth pane of wood with nothing to grip on, so I put my coat’s hood on the post so she had something to grab onto when she climbed. Yeah, I’m a sucker.

We now have two of these because Solstice and Winter were playing King Kong on the one we had – basically, knocking each other off all the time because they wanted to be the only tall cat in the room.


Day 58: Is this seat taken?

Can I sit here?

Is this seat taken, Ms. Winter?

He used to want to lay with her so badly that he’d lay ‘nearby’ then slowly creep/ooze closer and closer until he was on top of her. She’s smiling in this picture so you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you she growled, chomped, and swatted at him, then ran off in a huff.

She still does that. Of course, he doesn’t sloooowly creep anymore. He walks right up to her and flops on her. Like she’s a swimming pool, and he’s a 7 year old.

Day 57: My Spotted Princess

My spotted princess

My spotted princess

I’ve never seen a Mau with eyes that compare to hers. They’re just stunningly perfect in real life. Pale mint green. Solstice’s are olive in comparison.

Day 56: Solstice’s First Photoshoot

Solstice's first photoshoot

Solstice’s first photoshoot

This was my first ‘favorite’ shot of Solstice. He was still a tiny kitten. I had been saving it all these months for the 2015 calendar, but vertical shots are hard to use so it didn’t go in. So you can enjoy it instead!

Day 54: Shocked Solstice

Shocked Mau

Shocked Solstice

What is it they say about Maus? Their default expression is worried? This was taken when Solstice was just a wee little kitten. His default expression is now half-asleep joy.

(I painted that peacock in the background in Japan. I was learning the technique of Kyo-Yuzen, ink-grinding, from some artisans in Kyoto’s Marumasu: Lou and I spent three hours painting fabric, and the Japanese were impressed with our work ethic.)

Day 53: Wintermuse and her beloved crinkle mouse

She's a hunter! A killer! A death machine!

She’s a hunter! A killer! A death machine!

Notice how svelte and agile Wintermuse looks here, compared to how low and stumpy Solstice looks in the post below. I’m just sayin’.

Yes, this is a crinkle mouse. I believe I’ve written about them before. No toy lights up Wintermuse’s life like a crinkle mouse. It’s the Romeo to her Juliet.

Day 52: The Mysterious Tale of the Mau and the Drinking Water

Solstice and his kitty bowl

Solstice and his kitty bowl

Egyptian Maus don’t need to drink. They are desert cats and get their hydration through food. Wintermuse does not drink unless she wants to for recreational reasons. Solstice, however, loves drinking. He also loves eating. I think he just loves doing things with his mouth, frankly.

You’ll notice that this bowl has a little fish at the bottom and a little kitty perched on the side. Cute, right? I got it for $10 and half went to charity. Now, you might get the impression from this picture that he was drinking the water. Yes, he was. However, the cats virtually never do this, despite the fact Lou keeps their 3! bowls full regularly. Why?

Because they have tap water in them.

The bowl the cats prefer is a plastic tupperware I occasionally fill for them.. with Poland Springs bottled water.

Wintermuse will ONLY drink Poland Springs. In fact, she begs for it. If I have a bottle of my own, she’ll sniff at it longingly. I’ve tilted it into her mouth, and she likes it. If I put Poland Springs in one bowl and tap water in another, she will always pick PS. Solstice prefers it, too. It really annoys Lou because he goes to all the trouble of keeping their bowls full, and they ignore them, but if I get out the ‘fancy water’, they’re immediately excited. They have good taste, I guess.

More seriously, though, I believe they smell the chemicals in our tap water and are just slightly repelled by them, whereas Poland Springs smells ‘clean’ and is therefore preferable. Cats are highly sensitive to smell. I had a beta fish once, and Lou changed the water for the first time. When he put it in our tap water, the fish died. I was sad, so he got me another one as a surprise. Then he changed the water. AND IT DIED AGAIN. We live in a pretty affluent community so it’s a little disturbing.

Day 51: Wintermuse and the Rainbow Snake

Winter loves rainbows!

Winter loves rainbows!

We call this toy the rainbow snake. It is a multicolored piece of felt tied to a stick. That’s all. She used to looove chewing on it. If we tie a toy to the end of the fabric, she goes nuts. Cats are so simple sometimes.

The cats would swallow it if we left it out so it goes in the toy closet most of the time. When we hold her up to the shelves to ‘pick’ her toy at play-time (and yes, our Maus have VERY clear preferences and opinions), she’ll often pick the rainbow snake.

I think rainbows look good on her.

Day 44: Sleeping with the paws

Sleeping with the paws

Sleeping with the paws

You may notice these grey things in a lot of pictures. They are giant kitty paws made of plush. Lou made them for me years ago before we even had cats as a holiday gift. (We don’t like Christmas, so we give each other just 1-3 gifts, usually home-made and as weird as possible.)

These paws are bigger than oven mitts and extremely warm. The cats love to sleep with them, of course.

Day 40: Wintermuse is meta

Egyptian mau in front of egyptian mau pictures

Wintermuse, straight and tall

My Egyptian Mau stands in front of a screen with pictures of other Egyptian Maus. I think she walked over as I was doing a google image search. She likes to stand in front of my screen and stop  me from working. The modern equivalent of laying on a book.

Day 38: Solstice’s eye problem

Egyptian mau kitten sleeping

Solstice sleeping at 4 months old

We were just sitting around like usual lately when Solstice meowed, then walked up to sit in Lou’s lap, like he does almost every day. Then Lou noticed he had one eye closed. Now Solstice just does this sometime for fun.. he is so lazy he keeps one eye shut, especially if he just woke up. If we pet him or get his attention, he’ll open both eyes and it’s fine.

But this time, he kept licking his paw, then rubbing his eye with it – so hard there was a weird clicking sound. This clicking is what worried us. We wondered if maybe he had hurt his paw, hence the licking, and the face part was just incidental. We called the vet, and they said we could come in in 45 minutes. We started playing with Solstice to see if he was favoring one paw, and he was not. His paws were fine. It was his eye. I drizzled some water in to see if I could flush something out, but it didn’t help. (The vet said salt water is far better for that, by the way, since it doesn’t burn as much as regular water. Salt water emulates tears.)

We kept playing with him, but as soon as we paused for too long, he’d rub his eye again. At the vet, they asked if he had been sneezing or coughing. He had sneezed maybe one time recently so I said no. They put an eyedrop in his eye, then shined a blue light into it to see if he had a corneal abrasion (scratch). This was what I was most worried about – that he and Wintermuse had been fighting, and she had scratched his eye.

However, there was no scratch. When they looked under his eyelid, it was clear it was irritated, but it wasn’t clear by what. The vet said it must have been a particle of some sort – maybe dust or some allergen that got in his eye. Maybe he somehow smelled cigarette smoke. Who knows?

We took him home with some eyedrops, and after the first eyedrop, a curious thing happened. He sneezed a few times. Then, 20 minutes later, he had a coughing fit. I called the vet immediately, worried he was having a reaction to the eyedrops. She thought it was fine – perhaps the eyedrop just dripped down into his throat, and he was trying to get rid of the taste – but I was concerned.

The next morning, I gave him another eyedrop, and he sneezed several times that day. His eye was still irritated. I did not like how this was proceeding. We tried to do another eyedrop that evening, but he was wise to our attempts by now. I wasn’t sure we got any of the drop actually in his eye. We decided to wait until he was asleep, but, being a smart kitty, he came to bed with me in the dark, so we couldn’t give him another drop.

The next morning, he seemed better. His eye was open. I decided not to give him another eyedrop. He didn’t sneeze, and his eye was fine from that day onward. We used up just 3 eyedrops from the prescription. I don’t know what to make of the situation. Did he just have a kitty allergy attack, and then sneezing/coughing were going to happen anyway, then resolve themselves even if we didn’t give him eyedrops? Were the eyedrops making him cough and sneeze? We’ll never know.

However, if your cat starts rubbing its eye, definitely take it to the vet. Make sure there isn’t a scratch. If it isn’t a scratch and just an unknown irritant, well.. use your judgement. Maybe it’ll go away on its own.

Day 36: When the stuffed animals aren’t available

Egyptian Mau under blankets

Wintermuse in a blanket fort

When the stuffed animals aren’t available, Wintermuse sleeps under the blankets. Sometimes if she looks restless, we’ll lift up the edge of a blanket on the couch, and she’ll perk right up, trot over, climb under it, and go to sleep. At night, she used to come in and headbutt my face until I lifted my blanket for her and she could sleep with me.

What I am saying here is that Egyptian Maus love to be warm and comfortable.

Day 34: Wintermuse’s game face

Egyptian Mau malevolently plotting

Malevolently plotting

I mentioned in the last post that Solstice is the cuddler and Wintermuse is the cuddlee, the little spoon to his big spoon. The look she usually has when he is trying to lay with her is quite like this one.

Day 33: Hydra cat!

Egyptian Maus sleeping together

The rare two-headed Egyptian Mau hydracat!

That’s right, her head is on his body. Usually, he’s the cuddler, and she is the cuddlee, passively laying there and secretly hating him. I don’t know how this shot happened. He loves it, though. That’s a smiling cat.

Day 31: Wintermuse sleeping with the stuffies

Egyptian Mau with stuffed animals

Wintermuse in the stuffie pile

The cats like sleeping in the animal pile because it is warm, soft, and burrowable. We lost half our couch to a pile of stuffed animals which became a glorified cat bed. Yes, we’re adults. Good thing we don’t use the couch for anything.

Day 28: Wintermuse napping with her paws up

Sleeping in the princess bed

Sleeping in the princess bed

Who falls asleep with their paws in the air? I mean, really.

It’s now fall. We had a good summer, but with the temperature dropping, Wintermuse is coughing again. Just one cough every other day, but it is back. On wet days, she coughs more. If the weather suddenly gets cold, she coughs more. It’s peculiar to me. I see a clear pattern but there’s nothing about it that makes sense. Why would wet air make her cough more? Dry air is what usually bothers people, as the drying out of the mucus membranes leaves them fragile and vulnerable. All I can think of is that wet air transports mold or pollen better. Maybe it’s an allergy. Her best time is high summer when the air is humid but hot but not rainy. If it is cold, she’s uncomfortable. If it rains, she coughs.

But beyond the coughing, she continues to be sweet. It’s like a switch flipped in her in August, and she went back to being some of the Wintermuse we knew before Solstice. She winds, she nips at my ankles, she asks for toys and plays. She is still mostly silent, though. She used to meow and mrr and chitter all the time, but now she’ll make a noise once or twice a week. Solstice has a full orchestra going every day, in contrast. If he’s alone in the hallway, he’ll howl and wail and pine. If he wants to play, he’ll meow while pawing his toy. If he’s hungry and I’m not getting out of bed fast enough, he’ll cry.

I pretty much have to watch old videos to remember Wintermuse’s vocabulary. I said above she asks for toys – she does it by going to the place they are stored and using her paws or a plaintive look to ask. She doesn’t meow. I wonder if it is because she doesn’t want Solstice to know where she is – he is her little shadow, a little brother who wants to be wherever she is.

Day 24 – Solstice just woke up

Why is it so bright out?

Why is it so bright out?

He’s actually afraid of this chair. He won’t step on the grey part if he can help it. The only way he’ll get into the chair, even if his favorite thing is in it, is if the white blanket is on the grey part. It’s completely nuts.

Day 22: Solstice snuggles with Wintermuse

Solstice just loves Wintermuse. He wants to be wherever she is. If she lays, he’ll flop nearby and creep closer and closer until he is laying next to or on her. Sometimes she leaves in disgust. Sometimes, she is sleeping, so she doesn’t notice. Sometimes, she’ll deign to bathe him. Look how he snuggles into her, the happiest cat in the world, like she’s his mama. Nothing brings him more contentment than getting groomed by his big sister.

Day 20 – Wintermuse and her doppelganger

Wintermuse and her original

Wintermuse and her original

My Christmas gift in 2010 was the little mechanical kitty to the right and a note that said we could get a cat. I named the mechanical kitty Placey, short for Placeholder. Louis did not know we would get a silver cat, much less a Mau, when he gave it to me. But days later, I found Evelyn’s Arietta cattery site, and 2 months later, we had a little Mau kitten that looked just like the toy. How mysterious.