Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Giving New Meaning to the Phrase, "Putting the Cat Out"

As long time readers may know, this is a cat house. There are four of them at current count. One of them, previously blog-named The Mighty Hunter, has the unfortunate habit of spraying when he doesn't get his way. The result of this is that he has us very well trained to give him his way; usually letting him out of the house to patrol the neighborhood. We have also gotten into the habit of putting him out at night, having grown weary of being awakened by a characteristic noise -- followed by a distinct, also characteristic odor -- in the bedroom as he expresses his desire to go outside RIGHT THEN. That it usually happens around 2:00 am does not appear to have any significance to him whatsoever. Therefore, an important part of our bedroom routine is to make sure that the cat has been put out.

As long, medium and short-term readers of this blog, and perhaps some others, may know, tonight is the second night of Hanukkah, a minor Jewish holiday celebrated with the lighting of candles. To the surprise of no one (I hope) we lit our Hanukkah candles again tonight. We sang the blessings and exchanged gifts as we waited for the latkes to finish frying.

This particular evening, the cat jumped up on the table. This is not new; he does it all the time. After all, he has to help us read the newspaper, check out what is on our plates and stuff his snout into the glass to lick out the last remnants of chocolate milk. (Not to worry; he doesn't do this during actual meals, usually just during what passes for breakfast as we struggle to read the paper and snarf something down before speeding out to work.)

At any rate, tonight he hopped up onto the table and began exploring. He approached the menorah (which held three lit candles) and began to sniff one of the flames. His curiosity temporarily sated, he proceeded to pass around the menorah (which still held three lit candles.) The NinjaBaker watched as TMH passed perilously close to the flames. In fact, as I was told later, NB actually thought, "Hm, I wonder if he's going to be dumb enough to catch on fire."

Well, he was, and he did.

Luckily, NB immediately blew him out -- along with the candles, which were quickly re-lit (before I even realized what had happened.) Fur was slightly singed, but no lasting damage ensued to cat, candles, menorah, table or gifts. And the phrase, "Did you put the cat out?" has now gained entirely new meaning in our little household.

Next night addendum: Same event; different cat. It's the only way an indoor cat will ever legitimately get put out.


At Mon Dec 22, 08:59:00 PM, Blogger OHN said...

Oh it terribly wrong that I am laughing (really hard) right now?

I may even have tinkled a little.

At Tue Dec 23, 03:18:00 AM, Blogger Elaine said...

Oh, I hope not as I am laughing still.

At Tue Dec 23, 08:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But is roasted cat Kosher?

At Tue Dec 23, 10:02:00 AM, Blogger Lynn Price said...

Kitty...the new white meat.

At Tue Dec 23, 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't the menorah in our house (or the Advent wreath candles, either) but our cat has done this on more than one occasion - apparently curiousity is stronger than recalling painful consequences!

At Tue Dec 23, 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Over the years I've been able to train my cats to respond at least somewhat consistently to the word "no." This was not the case with the deaf cat who owned me for many years.

One year he got too close to a Christmas candle and it burned off the whiskers above his eyes. Horrible smell of burning hair; nothing left but frizzled little stumps.

You can bet he stayed away from candles after that. ;)

Happy Hanukkah wishes to you and yours!

At Tue Dec 23, 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One morning in highschool I was getting set to make my morning cup of tea. The cat was sitting in his customary spot on top of the washer, which is next to the (gas) stove. Unbeknownst to me, the cat's tail was perilously close to the kettle. That morning the sound of the burner igniting went, "Tic tic tic WHOOSH - RRRRAAAAAAOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!" The poor cat's entire haircoat was melted on his left side. He recovered, but never put his tail that close to the burners again.

At Tue Dec 23, 11:56:00 AM, Blogger ccinnkeeper said...

Very funny story! I'm glad nobody/nothing was harmed.

On the first anniversary of my grandfather's death I lit a Jahrzeit candle for him. At some point during the night my little girl kitty must have gotten a bit too curious about that candle and frizzled her whiskers. Took them months to grow in right. No more mixing of kitties and candles for me!

At Tue Dec 23, 12:47:00 PM, Blogger Indigo said...

Finally someone else who has just as many inside cats..(wipes brow in relief, means she's not the crazy cat woman previously thought)then of course if you add the 4 outside cats...

I've had it happen with a pumpkin. The lid kept getting singed and stinking so I left it off; thinking I could replace it when the candle burned down lower. I came back into the living room, to find my long haired cat holding his tail up like Lady Liberty. It was indeed a torch, he just sat there smiling away. I quickly grabbed a damp towel and dowsed him out.

The amazing thing is even afterwards the idiot didn't realize he'd been on fire. Yes, he was a rather knucklehead of a cat. (Hugs)Indigo

At Tue Dec 23, 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Sandra Cormier said...

My cat did that Christmas morning three years ago. He was deeply offended.

After all, it was his first encounter with a candle, and we learned our lesson, too. Hurricane glass on every candle, or we put them up where he can't reach them.

At Tue Dec 23, 03:39:00 PM, Blogger AnneBethMN said...

HA! That's awesome!

At Tue Dec 23, 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because my three indoor cats will eat anything green and chew on anything bright I have had to give up the Christmas tree, any decorative ornaments, and all those lovely strings of miniature white lights that look so nice draped around windows and doors. Emergency trips to the vet are not on my holiday to-do list.

At Tue Dec 23, 05:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a good laugh glad that it was all sorted before any damage was done.

Have you considered a cat flap for him (and the others) to get in and out without his "slaves" having to do the door for him?

At Wed Dec 24, 02:20:00 AM, Blogger TheRedHead Who Reads said...

Oh my heavens!! That must have added some excitement to the festivities of the evening - flaming cat tail. It might have been his way of "helping" or joining you all in celebration. So glad to hear all went well, no damage to kitty or yourselves. Let's just say he added his own special touch to your holiday memories. :D :D What would we do without our cats?


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