Cat Lover.Org

Leica Story - R.I.P. Died April 11th, 2011

The following is a story my owner, Doug, wrote about me. I am neither denying or admitting to what he says happenned. My true loves are eating, shoes, having my chin scratched and my belly rubbed, and eating. Did I say eating twice? I really like eating. 

Leica Kitty

I have three main loves in my life, my cat, my computers, and my cameras. Before you ask, no, I am not married. The computers and the cameras have been around for quite a while, with just a few changes or additions to the membership list. This changed one morning, six months ago, about three a.m. if memory serves me correctly. A friend was leaving after a long computer session of programming, and discussions of the benefits of binary existence, when we were startled back to the real world by a flash of something black running over both of our feet. Its speed was such, that we did not know what had spared our lives, but knew that if anything that fast had wanted to hurt us, it could have. The yellow buglight that graces my doorway reflected off two little yellow eyes, peering out of the darkness. It was a tense moment, we were not sure if the still unknown creature had decided to change its mind and come back to maul and maim us, or was just sizing us up. While we were still in a state of shock and staring at it, scarcely making a move, when a tiny ball of black fur sauntered in the still open door of my house. My friend and I chuckled at our foolishness of being afraid of a tiny kitten. I now think that may have been premature.

From the onset, this small furry creature has maintained its dominance. Having lost one cat to feline leukemia, I was hesitant to welcome this seemingly charming kitten into my house. Even though I was unsure, it was confident that it was at the right place. It wandered around my domicile, checking out every room to make sure that it was up to standards, and then returned to sit at my feet, and wait to be picked up. From its size, I judged it to be six or seven weeks old, and due to its lack of collar, and protruding rib cage, I assumed it to be abandoned. Not having had a cat around the house for a year, the supplies to nourish this little fellow were nowhere to be found. Since it was looking so woebegone there at my feet, and was polite enough to wait to be picked up, rather than force himself on me by jumping in my lap. I obliged it, and picked it up. It immediately rolled over on its back, closed its eyes, stuck its tongue out (looking like the village idiot), and started its little motor, and waited for me to rub its exposed belly. Leaving no question now to its gender, I knew that my heart was lost to this little charmer. 

Three o'clock in the morning is not really the best time to go looking for cat food, but thanks to the marvel of twenty-four hour convenience stores, I was able to find food, milk, and as a smart afterthought, some kitty litter. I returned home. Laid out the no-known-name dry food, canned food, milk and awaited the approval of my new guest. He sniffed the dry food, looked at me with disdain, smelled the canned food, and shook his little head, then proceeded to hungrily devour the milk. While he was eating, I prepared the kitty litter box for the inevitable time of its use. The little fellow came in, and with obvious effort produced an offering for the newly prepared litter box to show me that he was a proper house guest. Having second thoughts, I opened the door to the house, to see if the little guy wanted to go on his way, whereupon he eyed me suspiciously and ran the other way, as if to say, "oh no you don't." We repeated this process several times over the next few days, and his response was always the same. I was resigned at this point that the little fellow was going to be a permanent house guest, and needed a moniker to denote his status. 

For those of you who are not familiar with cameras, Leica is a particular brand name that is famous for its precision, price, and lenses which are able to shoot pictures in low light conditions. The fact that this little guy obviously functioned perfectly in low light, and that by my naming him Leica, would be the only way that I could afford one, (although damages caused by him have exceeded the cost of a real Leica) it seemed perfect. The name is pronounced "like a", which in this case was a better name than I imagined because he is "like a kitty", but not really. In fact, I am studying some books on witchcraft to see if there might be some possibility that I have invited a demon into my home. 

By profession I am a computer consultant and programmer, picking up some spare cash on the side with my second love the camera. Hence, I spend the majority of my time in front of the computer screen, with a few stolen moments in my dark room. Leica with his uncanny intelligence, or lack thereof, has always made his presence aware in both places. If I go for too long without paying attention to him, he will knock something over. If I still do not stop my endeavors to pet him, he will push something off of the table or shelf where it resides. If this still doesn't work he will simply come and stand in the middle of what ever I am working on. I have some of the most interesting pictures of the fur outline of a cat surrounded by the actual photograph that I was developing at the time. Even worse is if he was napping at the time I went into the darkroom, and finds himself OUTSIDE! This requires him to hurl his whole body at the door until I let him in, or if luck has it, his weight will force the door open and ruin whatever I am working on at the time. I have quickly learned that it is better to wake him up from a nap and bring him in with me, rather than face his wrath from the outside. Even if he is inside with me, all is not well. He will knock over chemical jars (now all replaced with plastic), chew on negative strips, switch on the light table, and once in a stroke of genius he clawed open a whole box of light sensitive paper and then switched on the light table. 

You may think that he restricts his damage to my darkroom. No such luck. Aside from clearing my bookshelf of carefully organized disk to a scattered mess on the floor with alarming regularity, he has added a number of other interesting ways to get my attention. He has destroyed glasses, plates, speakers, headphones, CD-ROM's, albums, and even lamps. If the item is too large for him to push over normally, he will lay on his side and wedge himself against a wall to get more leverage with all four paws. I have witnessed this on several occasions. If I am working on several disk at a time, he will scurry away with whatever one I need the most in an unguarded moment. He has also taken a keen interest in my fax machine. Leica discovered that if you press the test button it will spit out a long sheet of paper. Repeating this process several times produces the proper amount of fax paper to roll in and drag around the house, before tearing it to tiny shreds. If by some chance a fax comes in at a time that he did not press the test button, he monitors its progress of coming out of the machine to see if it is a junk fax or not. Up to this point I must be receiving only junk faxes, since he shreds them all. If I am working on the keyboard, like now, he will play with the mouse and press the buttons on it. In the windows environment, that can produce some interesting results. So far he felt that the document need the spell checker's use twice and that everything have bullets. 

I have painted Leica to be a totally evil creature, but that is not always true. Knowing of my interest in computer diskettes, when friends bring over boxes of new diskettes to get copies of my newest project, he steals the whole box. If he cannot locate a whole box in their purse or travel bag he will stoop to swiping single diskettes. Only once has he procured a really interesting program for me. I question his taste in software. Some of my friends have suggested taking him to the local computer dealer to see if he has any interest in peripherals. One of his other endearing traits is his strong desire to share those really private moments in the bathroom. If I go to the bathroom he must do his duty too. If I am sitting and facing one direction, he must do his duty facing that direction. If I am standing and facing the wall, he must do his duty facing the wall. I guess that being "bathroom buddies" is important in a cat's world. This has produced a few interesting moments with some of my female friends, when he either squeezes under the door, or resorts to his body hurling technique to share that tender moment with them. 

This brings us to what prompted me to leave the project I was working on to share some of his shenanigans with you. I have been debugging some interface problems I am having with the Internet, and doing various print outs of the work. His favorite place to sleep is on top of my laser printer. Luckily I can redirect the paper path out the front rather than have it disturb his domain on top of the printer, where he has collected some of my T-shirts to make it more comfortable. By the way, I am also lucky in fact that laser paper lacks the right qualities for shredding, unlike fax paper. As you may have found yourself, the anxiety level increases proportionate to the number of problems with hardware or software that you encounter. After solving what seemed to be all of my problems with the software, I went to print out the results and got a totally messed up print out. It seems that in my single-minded attention to the monitor that he had reprogrammed my default paper size to be A4 rather than letter size. Turning the printer off, and back on did not fix the problem. This procedure required him to press the button to take the printer off line, then press the menu button, then press the +/- button twice to select the A4 paper size, and then press the enter button on the printer to save his changes. The procedure to correct this sent me to the manual. I give up the cat is better at programming than I am. He is proof reading the screen as we speak, so if there are any errors don't blame me. Blame the cat.