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House Witch

June 24, 2015

IMG_3055The new kitten, Pippin, is eleven weeks old now, and he’s a delightful little creature in almost every way but one, and that is that he still likes to bite me when he’s playing. I went the internet and then to the public library to see what to do about this, but none of the conventional advice has solved the problem yet—mostly it’s to substitute a toy for my arm or leg. Believe me, I try doing that. And it’s not like I’m not playing with him enough—we have regular playtime when he’s awake. So tomorrow he gets a second round of vaccines, and I’ll ask the vet.

I re-read parts of Psycho Kitty: Understanding your cat’s “crazy” behavior by Pam Johnson-Bennett and read through Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw. There wasn’t much I didn’t already know, although it was useful to be reminded of some of the dangers of IMG_3050introducing a new cat to the household.  Tristan and Sabrina are still getting used to the kitten, but tolerating him much better.

Because I was at the library and it was summer, I also checked out House Witch, by Katie Schickel. It was a fun summer read—some might call it a beach read, if they lived in a place where it ever stopped raining.

House Witch is about a wife and mother, Allison, who doesn’t know she’s a witch until her mother, who sent her to foster care when she was 7 years old—dies. Gradually it turns out that her mother was protecting her from her aunt, who is a bad witch. And, surprise! The bad witch has been running her town, using the lure of plum jobs and designer shoes to get the townspeople to do her bidding.

After adventures that help Allison (whose real name is Allesone) remember her mother and the spells she taught, we learn that Mother Goose rhymes are actually “spells. Created by witches. Passed down through the years.”

Allesone defeats Freya by making her remember that her childish arrogance led her to kill her own father, in the mistaken assumption that she could resurrect him. The happy ending is that Allesone/Allison’s children will now learn magic, and she won’t have secrets from them or her husband ever again.IMG_3048 (1)

House Witch was a fine book to read inside, with rain drumming on the roof and even Pippin occasionally assuming a weary posture about the dreadful weather.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2015 1:33 pm

    That Pippin!! He is so cuddly and fluffy and adorable. Though the biting is a bit of a pain. Our Harvey has taken to biting in old age, but because he is old, he has practically no teeth left. So, it’s not such a big deal. However, I will always stop playing with him immediately he bites, though Mr Litlove does not. For whatever reason, cussedness, stupidity, mixed messages, he continues with it. If you find an answer, I’d be happy to know it too!

    • June 25, 2015 4:20 pm

      My vet and all the books say that you are right–one should stop doing whatever is going on when the cat bites. It sounds like Mr. Litlove is more willing to put up with the biting, so the cat is getting a mixed message. The reason Pippin mostly bites me is that I’m slow to get up, what with the knee and all. Everybody else is already out of his mouth’s reach by the time he starts in with real manic intent.

  2. June 24, 2015 2:04 pm

    House Witch does sound fun! And Pippin is adorable. I haven’t experienced a kitten in quiet some time. Makes me want one. (But my marital happiness depends, in part, on us not having another cat until our current Devil Cat – long story – passes away!)

    • June 25, 2015 4:18 pm

      Both the book and the kitten are fun! You kind of forget how much care a kitten needs–luckily there are four of us in my house for the first part of the summer, so we don’t have to leave him alone very much.
      Since our other cats are inside/outside cats, we’re being careful not to let him see the cat door they use until he’s more full sized and has all his immunizations and (at six months) gets neutered. That takes some manpower.

  3. June 24, 2015 2:26 pm

    Pippin is adorable! His paws are huge 🙂

    • June 25, 2015 4:15 pm

      His paws kind of remind me of when Walker was 16 and his feet were the size they are now, while he hadn’t quite shot up to his present height.

  4. freshhell permalink
    June 24, 2015 3:02 pm

    He is so cute! I love that last photo. Franklin is still a bit of a biter – he forgets he’s “playing” with a person – but since he’s also a summer cat, he’s mostly outside basking and soaking up the sun. I guess he’s solar powered and saving it for winter when he’ll need it.

    • June 25, 2015 4:14 pm

      I think Pippin also forgets he’s playing with a person. Another of my pet theories about this (ha, get it, pet theory?) is that he’s going to be a mighty hunter. He knows how to go for the soft part of an arm. Tristan has been bringing some prey around, and I think it might be to help teach Pippin.

  5. June 24, 2015 4:48 pm

    Naughty Pippin! My cats only ever bite when they want me to stop petting them and they don’t really bite, just put their open mouth on my hand. Good luck with figuring it out!

    • June 25, 2015 4:11 pm

      The vet had no suggestions besides what I already know–give him a toy instead of my arm or leg, and remove myself from his presence when he does it.

  6. June 25, 2015 2:31 pm

    Pippin remains substantially adorable, and in every picture I’m struck by the enormousness of his paws. Do they look that massive in person? He may turn out to be a strain of panther, after all.

    • June 25, 2015 4:11 pm

      His paws and ears continue to look bigger than the rest of him, and we’re hopeful he’ll turn out to be a big cat. One of my favorite cats ever was 19 pounds. Tristan is 14.
      What I have to do next is get him to eat dry food. He’s trying to eat nothing but canned, and the vet says it’s time to give him a little canned food morning and night, but provide dry (with a little water on it to soften it up) in between.

  7. PAJ permalink
    June 29, 2015 9:02 am

    So, dog lover that I am, I’m going to actually address your comments about the book, rather than the cat…
    I’m pretty sure you and I could quite happily be conned by someone who provided us with “plum jobs and designer shoes.”
    Also, the cat is adorable. (Puppies bite, too, and the advice is the same: stop playing with them. Good luck with getting Pippin to break this habit.)

    • June 29, 2015 12:04 pm

      I’ve never had anyone offer me shoes or a plum job, so I guess I don’t know how hard it would be to resist.
      I’m going to say that the “stop playing with them” advice doesn’t really apply when a kitten wakes me up by biting at my arms under the covers. Then the only thing to do is get up, presumably the intended effect. I feel I’m being outwitted.

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