The Puking Game

We do not know the rules.

We suspect it goes something like this.

One of the housefloofs goes and pukes quietly. Their object appears to puke somewhere where it’ll take some time to notice, and not leave any clues to the puker’s identity.

We’ve found three such pukes over the last three days. “Someone puked in the living room,” my wife announces.

I check it out, like I’m doubting her report, right? No, I want to conduct forensics, clues like hairballs. But there’s nothing distinguishing about this puddle of upchucked kibble.

“I didn’t hear anything,” I say. Everyone who has an animal knows that each pet has signature sounds associated with their puking. They usually have a preferred place, too. This doesn’t fit any of our animals.

Did our animals bring in a guest floof to puke, to mess with our heads?

“I didn’t hear anything, either,” my wife said.

Of overriding concern when you have a puker is the source’s health. Is this the first sign of serious trouble or a one-time gack attack?

The second day was more concerning. One day is an incident; two days are a worrying coincidence. “Someone puked again,” my wife called out. “On my rug again. Why do they have to puke on my rug?”

“Maybe they’re sending you a message.” I checked out the vomitus. It was as undistinguishing as the first. Again, I’d heard nothing.

I looked around. The three cats were sitting there, watching, like spectators, you know?

Two of them appeared to be smirking.

Now there’s a third puke, except…

Hearing the noise, I rolled out of bed and stumble through the gray drizzle of six AM autumn light. I already guessed (because I saw Boo back in the bedroom and Papi sitting outside on the patio as I oriented myself and ordered, “Left foot, right foot, go forward,”) that it was Tucker, caught it in act.

Yes, indeed. This was a standard hairball.

Was it part of the game, or genuine illness?

Seeing me, he hurried over. “Meow?”

“I’m not feeding anyone,” I answered, guessing that’s what he asked. It was still just after six. I’d stayed up late writing, and I was going back to bed. As I climbed back between the sheets, I saw Boo, Papi, and Tucker watching me. Round one was over.

I wonder who won.


Hairleaf (catfinition) – hairball that resembles a leaf, or a leaf that could be mistaken for a hairball.

In use: “Seeing the object on the floor, he looked for signs of yakking and then pulled a tissue from the box, because one can’t be too careful with these matters. On further inspection, though, it wasn’t a hairball, but a hairleaf.”

So Proud

Little victories count highly when the days roll on in dull hot and cold repetition, challenging me with tedium and boredom. Being an optimistic, though, I remind myself, at least I’m not under fire, fleeing a wildfire, fighting off zombies, dealing with disease, flooding and pestilence, or enduring anything discomforting.

I, on the computer, at the desk, hot coffee in a mug, cool wind through the screen at my back, was thinking through last night’s strange dream, wherein I was collecting health reports on my mother and faxing them off while helping other relatives handle exuberant dogs. Quinn, my personal feline attendant, completing his morning checklist, was beside me asleep on the desk. Suddenly –

Rising, he jumped down to the floor. Sensing something amiss, I tensed, not breathing, for several seconds.

Quinn began his upchuck routine.

Here’s where procrastination pays.

Leaping into action, I seized yesterday’s paper, which should have already been moved to the recycle but I hadn’t because the Zika virus! And Trump! And Hillary’s emails! And ISIS! And Giant Pearl!

Gently seizing Quinn, I spread the paper in front of him and held him as he brought up a hairball. Now my cat forensics rewarded me, as I knew Quinn does not stop with one. No, moving to one side, he began another. I slid the paper over and held onto him.

Once that was done, I let him go off, folding the paper with its ‘prize’. But Quinn wasn’t finished. A third seemed imminent. Folded paper in hand, I joined him, keeping him in place with gentle hands on either side, talking to him and stroking as I placed the paper beneath his head.

Fini, at last.

And I was so satisfied, so pleased and proud, because my cat had brought up a hairball with his morning meal, and I had intercepted it all, getting nothing on the floor, without either of us becoming freaked. Woo hoo, aren’t I great?

There was no one around to share my joy.

Quinn didn’t care. He moved to the window sill to enjoy the jays pondering the day. I, inspired by my MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT, cleaned the litter box.

Still, it’s a great day, isn’t it? Yes sir, no hairball on the floor. Call the news services. Set up a conference. Issue a press release.

And my coffee is still hot. Ish.

Woo hoo.


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