Daily Archives: April 16, 2012

Introducing the FreakBeast

It had to come to this. The song was absolutely correct:

I know this because I was informed by Network Solutions this morning that this blog has nowhere near enough photos of cats on it. You wouldn’t believe some of the things they said they’d have to do to me if I didn’t rectify this. Tasers. Sawdust. Hipster poetry. By the time they mentioned “Nickelback concert”, I caved. I mean, what would you do?

Because of this, it’s time to introduce the youngest employee at the Texas Triffid Ranch. Meet Leiber.

Leiber, the FreakBeast

As can be told by his intense expression, Leiber doesn’t care that last Friday was his tenth birthday. He also doesn’t care that he was named after a much-beloved enthusiast of felines of all sorts. In fact, were I to have known how dopy this cat was when I first adopted him, I would have named him “Niven” instead. He’s a sweet cat in his own way, but he’s also so dumb that he trips on the carpet pattern at times, and I wish I were joking. About the carpet pattern, that is, because it’s hard to explain to guests that he has a walking problem. If this cat could speak, the only English he could manage is “Humperdidoo!”

I don’t want to imply that he’s completely worthless. He has some intrinsic value, in some alternate reality where the common currency is manufactured from cat vomit. He’s very good, VERY GOOD, at tripping people in the dark. He’s a master at screaming helplessly at the occasional invading mosquito, even if he couldn’t catch one with surface-to-air missiles and a complete fire team. If universities offered degrees in “chewing on vinyl shower curtains for no readily apparent reason,” he’d have a Ph.D. We started referring to him as “the FreakBeast,” because his grasp of English is right up there with his grasp of French, Latin, Urdu, and modulated armpit farts, and he responds to that as much as he does his given name. This either suggests that he’s intensely intelligent and just refusing to blow his cover until the interstellar invasion fleet arrives to blow up the sun, or he’s exactly as advertised. Humperdidoo!

Now don’t get me wrong. I may give him an inordinate amount of grief, but I’m also incredibly fond of the little monster. He has a thing about trying to sleep on my hip, so I just comment that he has something in common with the Czarina: riding my butt while I’m trying to take a nap. He can’t quite meow, so his vocabulary of meeps and chirps is exceedingly entertaining. He’s also the first cat I’ve ever had that fetches thrown items, leading him to drag his favorite toys for us to chuck across the house. In other words, trying to find unique things about him, other than noting that his base skill consists of shedding defensive hairs like a terrified tarantula, makes us no different from any other cat owner on the planet.

No matter how much one loves a cat, every cat owner has the same dream. Namely, looking the little furball dead in the eyes and telling him “It’s time for you to get a job and earn your keep around here.” Even better is being able to tell the cat to get a job worthy of his skills and aptitudes. This is why Leiber has now been appointed the official Triffid Ranch Social Media Officer. It’s a role for which he’s perfectly suited.

Leiber, the FreakBeast

Yeah, you can see the expression in his eye. That’s not glowing hellfire and severe radiation. That’s ambition.

And now for the funny and/or disturbing

It’s going to be a busy week, between plants and the Czarina’s show this weekend, so let’s just pretend that this is what is going on in the greenhouse, okay? On one side, this is research being done by someone significantly less dorky than I am. On the other, the sort of work I did over the weekend is best fictionalized by someone like David Cronenberg.