Tag Archives: humour

The Feline Water Cycle

3 panels. First panel: I am sitting in front of a window, typing on my laptop. My cat is sleeping on the couch arm. Outside the window, another cat runs across a road. Second panel: the cat thunks up against the window and meows at my cat, who wakes up. Third panel: my cat and the other cat start meowing loudly to each other. I put on headphones.

I don’t think of my cat as my baby.

That’s not to say I don’t love the floof-demon a stupid amount or take my responsibility of his wellbeing seriously, I just don’t think of our relationship as parent-child. I don’t mind if other people think of their pets as their children or fur-babies or whathaveyou, but as he’s an adult cat and I’m not trying to raise him to be a functional member of society with an independent existence, for me, it just feels jarring. I tend to say he’s my eccentric housemate, but even that’s not quite right.

I think pet relationships are different. Not worse, not unimportant, still family, still people. But … different. It’s because pets are inherently a whole other species with different bodies and different brains and different goals.

Mostly, this just makes them seem even more amusing and loveable. However, there are downsides. The big, annoying thing is that it is impossible, and will always remain impossible no matter their age, to communicate complex information clearly.

I mean, sure, there are cat-human phrase-books, and that means I can know that if my cat twitches his tail he is in a MOOD and needs extra personal space, and I can know that slow blinks show love and trust and make sure to do it back to him. Meanwhile, he can learn that breakfast happens when humans wake up and the first thing that happens when humans wake up is the beside lights turn on, and therefore if he was to turn on our bedside lights it will send a very clear message that it’s time for breakfast.

cat turns on beside light in the middle of the night. Cartoon people flail in eye-searing horror

But it’s difficult to convey much more than that. So, for example, he couldn’t tell me when he started having trouble peeing. I just had to notice.

I am on the phone holding a card that says "local vet". In the background there is a cat in a littler box looking like it is in pain. A voice from the phone says "Yeah, that's bad in cats. Can you bring him in right now?"

And I couldn’t explain why he needed to get in the dreaded cage.

I am trying to get my cat into a cage, but he is climbing my face. I am yelling "LET ME HELP YOU"

He had cystitis.

This wasn’t terrible on its own, but a potential outcome was for his urinary tract to get blocked. If that happened, he would need medical—probably surgical—help fast, or he would die.

Hearing that scared me.

Because that’s the other thing about inter-species friendships. Different animals live on wildly different timelines. I am aware that (unless something dramatic occurs and I die very early) I will have to deal with my cat’s death at some point. But he’s not even three years old yet. It shouldn’t be now. It never occurred to me it could be now.

I spent an anxious few days following him around, making sure I was picking up on any discomfit he tried to communicate, examining his litter for wet patches every time I heard him dig in it, and generally behaving like a stalker. He gave me some funny looks, but he didn’t get blocked. The only medical help he ended up needing was anti-inflammatory meds, a special diet, and some time. Although the vet also recommended that my partner and I up his water intake.

We tried. We really did. But explaining the importance of hydration is a bit too complex for blinks.

It’s not that our cat dislikes water. He loves water. He loves water a stupid amount. I have photographic evidence of him having a delightful time belly-deep in what was supposed to be my relaxing bath before he stole it. The problem is he likes water too much, because most of what he does with his water bowl is splash.  

cat makes little splash in water bowl

It was hilarious at first, but that’s because at first he hadn’t caused water-damage to any of the nearby furniture and we thought he would grow out of it. Now he is very much an adult cat, and he will not drink without splashing a glass-worth of water all over the floor.

cat makes big splash in water bowl

Nevertheless, we were determined to follow the vet’s advice. I investigated and found that some cats splash because they prefer to drink from running water sources. We rushed out to buy him a water fountain, hoping he would drink more from it.

He did not.

Cat makes really big splash in fountain

I tried putting it on a tray so at least it wouldn’t splash all over the floor.

He splashed it out of the tray.

Cat making ridiculously big splash so water goes all over the floor.

For the first week he had this fountain, I had to refill it almost every day. In all that time, I never saw him drink from it. Eventually, having almost given up on it, I unplugged fountain for an ironing emergency. Later that day…

3 panels. In first panel, cat is meowing at me from behind an unplugged fountain. In second panel, I plug the fountain in. In the third panel, the cat looks at me. Leads into next image ...
3 panels. First panel, cat splashes the water. Second panel, time has passed. I am reading a book as the cat continues to splash on the other side of the room. Third panel, more time has passed. There is water all over the floor. I look up to see the cat lapping from the fountain.

Still, the fountain has not been a success. He does drink very occasionally, but it’s clear he sees it as his personal water park.

The most effective water-intake tactic so far has been to trick him with food. He loves and will never opt out of food (and honestly, hard same). The best trick is to mix a little extra water in with his wet-food dinners. He loves food so much he doesn’t care if it’s basically cold soup.

Problem solved!

Sort of.

We’ve also been having communication issues at the other end of the water-cycle.

He’s never been a particularly neat cat. He’s one of the ones that kicks litter everywhere.

Everywhere.

EVERYWHERE.

Cat in litter. Litter has been kicked all over the floor and creates the word "everywhere"

 And while he doesn’t have accidents all over the house, his aim could use work.

Cat sitting in litter box and peeing over the edge onto the floor.

Unable to just ask him to please not, we found a practical solution and got him a taller box. He doesn’t kick out as much litter and there was no way he could pee over the side.

Or so we thought.

Because since the cystitis episode…

Me and my cat face each other in front of a litter box. There is a puddle of pee right next to the box. I am not amused.

At first, we assumed he was just peeing next to the box. I feel like this was a reasonable conclusion to jump to. We moved the box to cover that exact spot, but again, we kept finding pee just slightly to one side. We re-cleaned the problem area as thoroughly as possible. No effect on the prevalence of puddles. We tried all kinds of tricks and tips to re-train cats with litter problems. Nothing worked. And then one day I saw him digging in a very odd position.

Now, before continuing I want it on record that by this point my partner and I were frustrated by the constant pee-mopping, perplexed that nothing was working, worried our cat was sick or unhappy or both, and generally desperate to figure out the answer. We couldn’t just see what he was doing in his litter because he’s pee-shy and jumps away from the box if we show the slightest interest. We were in educated guess territory with no compass. Right?

Good.

Because I thought it was this configuration:

Cat is on forelegs in litter, but it's backlegs are on the edge of the (quite high) box, and it is peeing on the ground.

Look.

I know.

Ridiculous.

But that’s the thing about inter-species housemates, isn’t it? You’re living with a completely alien mind.

Not only can you not ask it what’s wrong, not only can you not explain how things should be done, but it’s reasons for doing stuff might be entirely strange to you. For example, the way he holes up in the tin cupboard whenever we open it. There’s no cat food in there. All the human-food is in tins and packets—not nibbly. He doesn’t do it to any other cupboard. And yet, whenever that cupboard door opens, he will hurricane across the house to leap inside.

Why?

Does that specific cupboard smell nice? Would he do it to any cupboard hypothetically but isn’t able to generalise the experience? Is it fun? Does he just enjoy our reactions? We might never know.

So we rolled with my outlandish guess about his peeing habits and wondered if it might be because we had changed litter brands. It was very similar to the old one, but it wasn’t exactly the same. Perhaps it felt different on his paws, and he wasn’t just trying to use the litter while touching it with as few feet as possible.

We got him his old litter and another new litter, and we put two boxes down so he could choose and we could see which he preferred…

Me and my cat face each other in front of two litter boxes. They butt up against each other, and yet somehow there is pee on the floor between them. I am incredulous and very unimpressed.

We were out of ideas, so it was lucky that around that time, by complete fluke, we saw what was happening.

Our cat is not doing litter-box yoga. He starts out normally, then transitions into spray-mode and by the end he’s just standing upright with pee going horizontally right over the side of the box in a huge jet. It’s not the usual way cats mark things. He’s trying to pee normally into the litter and failing.

I was scared it was the cystitis again, or something worse, that he would get blocked and not be able to tell me something was wrong. That he would die too soon.

We got a pee sample and went back to the vet.

And …

…. He’s fine. His spraying behaviour might have been established as a response to the discomfit of the cystitis, and it’s just a bad habit now. Unless we suspect it’s caused by significant anxiety (which does not seem to be the case), he doesn’t need meds. Since it’s only in his litter and he’s not trying to mark things, it’s probably not due to visiting cats bothering him. And as we can’t explain to him why it’s not awesome for us, there isn’t much we can do to stop him.

The solution is just an even taller litter box and puppy pads.

And mopping up a lot of pee.

3 panels. First panel, I am sitting in front of a window. My cat is on the arm of the couch. I say "You're lucky you're cute". Outside the window a different cat is running across a road. Second panel: same scene. Cat boops my nose. I look unamused. Outside the window a car goes past. Third panel. Same scene. Outside the window worried people are converging. I notice. Leads into next image ...
A series of panels. Three small panels show: the couch without me sitting in it, the front door opening, me shocked. Final large panel shows: people gathered around something. A women puts a cloth over something, a cat tail is poking out. She says "It would have been quick". Leads into next image...
3 panels. First panel: I am back inside, looking at my cat. Outside the window, the people walk away. Second panel: my cat steps onto my lap and I say "Your friend is dead." Third panel: the cat curls up and purs loudly in my lap.

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Holiday

Me: posting a comic about how I work too much [me doing this, saying "but FROM NOW ON I will relax more!" Also me: [getting suitcases out the back of a car] "Oh! Ha ha! Looks like my lap top stowed away! It will ruin our holiday to take it back ... so I guess it will have to work for it's keep!"

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I drew this juuuust before we left, and the holiday is done now. The first half of the holiday ended up being too busy for work (I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which was very cool and which I will not spoil), and then during the restful part of the holiday I got a cold and was sneezing and sniffling and leaking from the face far too much to be worried about writing or drawing. So you don’t have to worry about my work-life balance. My immune system has that covered.

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Brewing Tea

Three panel comic. First panel: some tea brews on a counter and cartoon me sits down in a chair nearby saying "I will sit down while my tea brews". Second panel: cat jumps onto cartoon me's lap. Third panel: cartoon me is stuck under the cat and a speech bubble comes from the tea saying "Your abandonment has made me cold and bitter."

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A (frequent) tragedy in three acts.

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More The Thing

In the first panel a person says "Looks like you're feeling more the thing!" And cartoon-me says "How did you know?" In the next panel cartoon-me has turning into a towering, dripping, multi-headed monster, a la 'the thing'.

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One time after hardly sleeping for many, many days and nights (ah, the heady days of chronic insomnia plus university assignments and poor time management), I decided on a whim that The Thing (the 80s one) was absolutely, unbeatably amazing. As I was pretty much delirious from exhaustion, I figured it was completely reasonable to force the friends I just happened to be with at the time to watch it. Even though it wasn’t their sort of thing at all. Even though they told me this. Repeatedly. 

I fell asleep a few minutes in, and they sat next to my unconscious body through over and hour and a half of dripping vagina monsters out of politeness.

They’re still my friends. I don’t know why.

(That story doesn’t have anything to do with anything, not even this comic. But it’s true.)

If you love my stories (which are usually better than the above) and comics (which are usually about this good or maybe even a little worse), check out my store and my Patreon page. You can support my work and get unique rewards!

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A Phrase I Imagine Wrong

A Phrase I imagine wrong: "he threw up his hands" and then a cartoon of someone vomiting up their hands

 

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Thunder Lizard

Brontosaurus "Thunder Lizard". A brontosaurus holds out a finger for a T-rex. The T-rex is saying "See, this is why we spend a century saying you don't exist"

 

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For those who like fart jokes as explicit as possible, I drew another version. And yes, it’s available in my store. Because who wouldn’t want a dinosaur fart on their morning coffee mug?

Brontosaurus "Thunder Lizard" A brontosaurs farts out a thudercloud.

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Meow

Comic with three panels. First panel: cat sits by it's food bowl and meows at comic me. Second panel: cat meows again and I meow back. Third panel: cat meows LOUDLY IN CAPS and I meow LOUDLY IN CAPS back

3 more panels. First panel: cat meows so LOUDLY IN CAPS that the speech bubble squishes him and I meow SO LOUDLY IN CAPS that the speech bubble squishes me. Second panel: Cat looks at me, silent. I look smug. Third panel: Cat says: "bitch"

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Are you even a cat owner if you don’t mock your cat’s dramatic feed-me meows?

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The Apocryphal Tale of the Octopus Liver

Before we begin, let me quickly introduce my dad…

Panel 1: water bubbling. Panel 2: a man wearing a Greek fisherman's hat emerges from the water. Panel 3: He holds up a sea urchin and says "yum!" Panel 4: Child me is standing on the beach. I say "You're ... going to eat that?" my dad (still in the water) says "The row is a delicacy!" Panel 5: he eats the cracked-open sea urchin. Panel 6: I am horrified.

My dad wore a Greek fisherman’s hat everywhere. My dad cooked squid spinach. My dad was notorious for eating unusual things, particularly seafood. He told us which flowers in our garden were technically edible and snacked on them. He fossicked in rock pools and consumed their contents.

We thought it was excellent. As kids, we showed our appreciation through gleeful declarations of how grossed out we were accompanied by general screaming. He retired the fisherman’s hat sometime during my teenaged years, but otherwise remains as is.

This is the tale of the octopus liver. It happened when I was about eleven or twelve. It is an incident of some contention in our household. There have been denials, arguments, blatant lies.

Older modern-day Dad looking cross, saying: "There was no octopus liver"

But this is how I remember it…

It started, logically enough, with an octopus. We caught the eldritch horror in a net while camping. It oozed through the mesh, tearing it wider, and nearly escaped the eskie. It was gross, horrifying, and absolutely amazing.

Panel 1: octopus tentacles burst from an eskie. Dad is trying to put the lid on. Some tentacles disappear off the side of the panel ... Panel 2: tencales following two children screaming "eeeeeeee!" Panel 3: tentacles following child-me screaming "eeeeeeeee!"

I believe it ended up cooked and eaten. That is generally what one does with caught seafood, but I have no firm memory of it.

That is, except for the liver.

Panel 1: older, modern-day dad looking cross saying "I SAID there was no octopus liver!" Panel 2: Older, modern-day dad looking thrilled at his own cleverness, saying "... because octopuses don't have livers! It was a hepatopancreas! An organ that combines the function of both a liver and a pancreas!"

I remember very clearly because it went into the freezer, and I was in a habit of keeping track of questionable freezer content.

My freezer diligence began a little while earlier when dad killed our excess roosters (we were promised one rooster and four chickens, but we got five roosters), put them in the freezer, and talked often and lovingly of cock a vin (a French recipe for cooking roosters—not whatever you were thinking). I would not eat ex-pets, even if they had been shouty arseholes. An anxious child and a fussy eater (by my dad’s standards), I counted frozen roosters every time we were having chicken anything.

And so, after the octopus, whenever I rummaged in the freezer for ice-cream, I double checked the icy little parcel of liver was safely tucked away.

Older, modern-day Dad looking put out and a bit confused that you don't get it. Says: "Hepatopancrease"

And I waited.

Until one day …

Child-me is sitting on my bed reading, another small child (sister) burst in the door shouting "He's eating it!"

It began.

Modern-day Dad looking confused. saying: "Shelfish hepatopancreases are a delicacy. You can cook it in butter and use it as a sauce. It wasn't weird to try it with octopus."

Which, with hindsight, is an almost plausible explanation. Almost plausible, because in reality he didn’t cook it in butter and use it as a sauce, he cooked it in the microwave.

Panel one: octopus liver in microwave. Panel 2: "BANG" from inside microwave. Liver is splattered all over the inside. Panel 3: from inside the splattered microwave looking out--three kids horrified and screaming 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'

… Without pricking it first. I added the microwave to my list of Things To Be Anxious About In The Kitchen and quietly avoided using it for a very long time.

But that’s not the end.

Panel 1: Dad at table. Liver is in bowl in front of him and he is scooping it with a spoon. Panel 2: three kids watch, concerned. Panel 3: Dad raises spoon and opens mouth

Panel 1: Three kids watching, alarmed. Panel 2: Dad puts spoon and liver into mouth. Panel 3: three kids watching, nauseated.

Panel 1: Dad is chewing and his expression says he regrets everything. Panel 2: three kids screaming "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Panel 3: Dad smiles, revealing teeth covered in octopus ink

The moral of this story is my dad kicks your dad’s butt, always prick your cephalopod hepatopancreases before you microwave them, and definitely don’t forget to remove the ink gland.

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First up, a big thank you to my dad for being endlessly interesting and an excellent sport! I’m not sure he entirely understands why I always found this episode so funny (or why his insistence that it was a hepatopancreas and not a liver was so adorabley dad-funny that I worked it in), but he still played along when I asked if he would mind if I wrote (the version I remember) down and showed it to the internet. That’s love.

I’m not sure if it’s necessary to say this, but just in case … my dad is a marine biologist and has passed exams on which rock-pool discoveries are edible and which are certifiable jerks who will stab you with venom* that paralyses your autonomic nervous system, potentially shutting down your lungs and suffocating you. So probably don’t follow his lead in picking up and eating random things unless you also have some sort of relevant knowledge/experience and know what’s what.

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* That’s right, I know the difference between venom and poison. You may swoon now.

Half a Glass

Optimist: smiling glass half full. Pessimist: sad glass half empty. Realist: Half-glass saying "Either way, I'll get drank." Idealist: Glass dreaming of having ice and an umbrella. Anarchist: cat pushing glass off table.

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If you love my stories and comics, check out my store and my Patreon page. You can support my work and get unique rewards!

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Work-From-Home Colleagues

Three panels. Panel one, I walk with my laptop saying "Time to get some work done!" Panel two, I find the cat sitting on my desk chair. Panel three, I work on the couch.

Four panels. Panel one, the cat sits on the couch arm watching me type. Panel two, the cat climbs onto my lap, forcing me to move my laptop. Panel three, I hold my laptop in the air, the cat is curled sleeping in my lap. Panel four, I lean awkwardly to type with my laptop on the couch arm while the cat purs happily in my lap.

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The untold problems involved in working from home.

If you love my stories and comics, check out my store and my Patreon page. You can support my work and get unique rewards!

And don’t forget you can follow me for updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.