Day 1 The Start of it All
Uh oh! This could be very bad. Casey has discovered Tiggy’s catnip plot. It’s gonna be a drug war!
Looks like Casey’s been in the catnip again. I think Tiggy is getting suspicious.
Tiggy is definitely suspicious. He asked the hens to keep an eye on his catnip today. Didn’t really work out too well for him, though. The hens have no personal interest in catnip. (Their drug of choice is an occasional sip of the fermented apple juice that drips out of the bottom of the apple tub.) And they are easily distracted. They all wandered off after about 10 minutes. Tiggy was not happy. Eventually he had to keep guard himself.
Something happened today I was hoping to avoid. I was beginning to believe I would escape this. However, today the reckoning was at hand. It went something like this:
Tiggy: We need to have a talk, Keen. Have a seat.
Me: Oh wow, Tiggy, I’m pretty busy right now. Can it wait?
Tiggy: Have a seat, I said.
So, I sit down on my barn chair. He jumps onto my lap, purring, and puts his face close to mine.
Tiggy: I’ve been overhearing some talk among the wooly fools. Normally I don’t put much stock in what they have to say. But what I’m hearing from the bird brains coincides. Can you guess what that might be, Keen?
Me (nervously laughing): Gee, Tiggy, I can’t imagine what the sheep and the hens have in common to talk about besides filling their bellies. Heh heh heh.
Tiggy (kneading my legs): Heh heh. Well, it seems they all agree that maybe YOU might know something about certain odd happenings…
Me: Odd happenings? Me? I don’t know….
Tiggy: You are aware of a certain patch of…vegetation…outside the barn that is very precious to me?
Me: Your catnip? Yes. What about it?
Tiggy (kneading harder): This VEGETATION is VERY precious to me.
Me (swallowing): I know there is a lot of it. Plenty for…
Tiggy: Were you aware that I value every stem? Ever blossom? Every leaf?
Me: It never occu…
Tiggy: That it would upset me tremendously if ANYONE were to disturb my precious vegetation?
Me: You have so much of it, it just seemed to me…
Tiggy (really digging into my legs now): You know, Keen, when I moved here last year and decided to adopt you as my own precious human, it was with the understanding that you were a human I could TRUST. (Tapping my face gently with his paw) You and me, we are FAMILY now! That means we look out for each other, right?
Me: Of course, Tiggy, I will always look out for you!
Tiggy (nose to nose with me now, looking straight into my eyes): It also means we look out for each other’s interests. Isn’t that right, Keen?
Me (what else COULD I say?): Yes, Tiggy. Of course. ~Gulp~
Tiggy: So, in future you will remember to inform me of ANY encroachments on my precious vegetation.
It was not a question. He then proceeded to hop off my lap and saunter outside. It was a fairly cool day today, but I was sweating. Ohhh, Casey, please please please stay out of Tiggy‘s catnip! You are my family, too. Don’t make me turn into a “rat”! You should know better than to mess with drugs any way. I’m begging you, Casey, to “nip” this in the bud, before things get worse. No good can come from this!
Casey, Casey, Casey. Where did we go wrong? You were raised in a good home, by a loving family. You are not a kitten any more, you’re downright elderly for God’s sake! And don’t give me that “it’s medicinal” crap! We all know you’re just sniffing the catnip to get high! Do we need to do an intervention?
Well, I did it. I took Casey aside and had a talk with her about this whole catnip business. I explained to her the dangers of addiction.
“That won’t happen to me,” she told me. “I’m just looking to have a little fun once in a while. Why are you trying to ruin my life, Keen!?!?”
I tried to appeal to her better nature, pointing out that her actions affected not only her, but the whole family.
“Screw that! I do what I want!” she ranted. “You wanna cash me ousside, Keen? Howbowda?!”
Finally, I tried to get it through her head that Tiggy was not happy about her infringement on his territory. She did not seem impressed. “Tiggy is twice your size, Casey! He is bigger, heavier, and stronger than you. And, aside from that, he knows I saw you in his catnip last time. He made it very clear to me what would happen if I didn’t notify him of any future encroachments. I will not cover for you again, Casey!”
Yeah, that was not my best strategy.
“I knew it! You love Tiggy more than you love me! Ever since he adopted you, you have loved him more! See! See why I sniff the ‘nip?!?! It’s because of you!”
And with that she jumped down off the banister, crying, and hid on top of the refrigerator the rest of the night. Have not seen her at all today, but something tells me this is not over…
No, Casey! Noooo!!!!!
A confrontation today! Tiggy and Casey came face to face half-way between the house and the barn, in “neutral territory”. I did not plan on interfering. I figured they would bush out their tails, growl at each other, one of them would back off and that would be the end of it.
That is not how it played out. When they started snapping their paws I was more confused than concerned. (How do they snap when they have pads rather than fingers? And WHY?) They began circling each other in a way that seemed synchronized, kicking out their back feet remarkably like dancing. I was perplexed and mesmerized.
It wasn’t until I started hearing music coming from nowhere and realized it was the “The Rumble” from West Side Story that I became alarmed!
Just as their spins and shimmies brought them within reach of each other I ran between them, threatening to call the cops. The music (wherever it was coming from) stopped mid-note. Tiggy dropped his pool cue and ran toward the barn. Casey pocketed her switchblade and ran toward the house.
Whew! That was a close one! But what if I’m not around to stop it the next time?
I am not proud of what I am about to confess. In my defense, my evil deed seems to have worked, at least temporarily.
After yesterday’s near-rumble I decided I needed to sit Tiggy and Casey down together and try to negotiate a peace treaty. Unfortunately neither of them would even agree to meet, much less talk. Stubborn felines!
Sooo, I used their own “precious vegetation” against them. Yes, I drugged them both! When they were both feeling good I got them together and sat them down to hash things out.
Me: You guys, all this fighting over a patch of catnip is ridiculous! It has to stop, before someone gets hurt!
Tiggy: It’s MY catnip! The barn is my territeriteritory. Let her find her own sources.
Casey: It’s a free country! Ohhhh beeeeautifulll for spacious skiiiies.
Me: Come on, you two, there is enough catnip for both of you. And honestly, neither one of you should sniff as much as you do.
Tiggy: Duuuude, you should try it some time. You don’t know what you’re missing!
Casey: Wait! What? Has Keen really never sniffed nip? Never? Duhude!
Tiggy: I know, right? Such a nerd!
Me: Hold it right there, you two! This is not about me! This meeting is about you guys and your battle over catnip.
Tiggy: Haaa ha ha haaaa! Catnip!
Me: Yes, catnip. There’s nothing funny about addiction.
Casey: tHeRe’S nOtHiNg FuNnY aBoUt AdDiCtIon. Hahahaha!
Tiggy: Ha ha hahh! What a nerd.
Me: I am not a nerd! Just because I don’t do drugs, that does not make me a nerd.
Tiggy: i’M nOt A nErD! hee heee
Casey: I’m NoT a NeRd! Woo hoo hoo hoo
Tiggy: Dude, check it out! I think she’s gonna cry.
Casey: Don’t cry Keen! We still love you. Even if you are a NERD!!! Ha ha ha haaa!
Tiggy: Stop, stop! I’m gonna pee! Woo hoo hoo hoo!
They continued to mock me and laugh at me and roll around on the ground, mocking and laughing at me the whole time. (And I did NOT cry! I had something in my eye!) As time passed, they became more and more mellow.
Casey: Tiggy, your catnip is the best!
Tiggy: I know! You should try it some time!
Casey: Dude! I already have! Ah hah ha ha ha!
Tiggy: Oh, yeah! ~Snort~ hee hee hee heee!
Casey: I am soooo hungry! Let’s order a pizza!
Tiggy: Wait waitwaitwait. We should totally go catch some pigeons in the haymow!
Casey: Ohhh, man. I LOVE pigeons! Let’s go!
So, they headed to the barn, laughing and quite chummy together. I don’t know how long it will last or what will happen when they come down off their catnip high. But at least the hostilities were over for today. Will I have to keep them both on a ‘nip high from here on out? Would that be ethical, or even possible? Do I want to deliberately contribute to the delinquency of felines? Would several sessions of catnip bonding eventually lead to a real friendship between them? Is drug use the key to lasting peace?
I found a curtain of love beads hanging across the barn door when I did chores today. The Grateful dead was playing on the radio. And the odor of incense permeated the barn.
“Tiggy and Casey, I think it’s great that you two are bonding, even if it is catnip induced. Buuut I think maybe you’re taking things a little bit too far. I mean, come on, you replaced the chickens’ heat lamps with LAVA lamps! Really? And are you sure tie-dyed tapestries are really going to fit in with barn decor? OK,OK, I guess I can deal with all of that. But you guys, there is one thing I absolutely, positively will not tolerate! You have to lose the patchouli oil! I cannot stand that smell! Can’t stand it! And besides, I can still smell the catnip, so it doesn’t even work!”
So, my two ‘nip-heads are starting new problems in the barn. Oh, they are still feeling mellow, no longer fighting. The problem is with the other residents of the barn. The sheep don’t mind the black light posters, and while they find the sitar music annoying, they are willing to deal with it. The problem, they say, is that Tiggy and Casey don’t clean up after themselves when they have an attack of the munchies. The sheep are tired of tripping over pizza boxes, potato chip bags, pigeon feathers, etc.. As for the chickens, they haven’t complained much. In fact they were acting pretty mellow, themselves. I am concerned the hens are getting a contact high. Not sure this new peace between Tiggy and Casey is worth the bad influence on the sheep and chickens.
Ohmygod! What have I done? I noticed Tiggy talking to Levi by the water tub today. He was acting very secretive, which made me nervous. I strained to hear what they were saying and caught Tiggy saying something about “free samples” and “they’ll be hooked”. As Levi and Karen S Roberts were getting ready to leave Levi picked 4 catnip leaves to take home to his 4 cats.
When I drugged Tiggy and Casey to negotiate a peace treaty, I thought the ends would justify the means. Now, Casey and Tiggy spend all their time on a ‘nip high, my 6 year old nephew has become a pusher, and my sister is going to have a houseful of ‘nip-heads! I’m going straight to hell!
So, Casey and Tiggy were zoning out in the barn today, as usual. Watching repeats of “Three’s Company”, laughing way too hard at Joyce Dewitt’s hair-do. I just rolled my eyes kicked the candy bar wrappers out of my way. “This is really getting old,” I was thinking to myself. Then I heard it. Tiny, high-pitched voices were singing. The singing was not coming from the TV. (Where did the TV come from, anyway?) The sound was coming from the haymow. Climbed up the stairs as quietly as I could. What did I see? A group of 5 or 6 rats skipping around in a circle dance. They were singing, “We’re living in a rodents’ paradise! Oh, yeah.” There was chocolate and doritos crumbs in their whiskers. Suddenly they noticed me and scattered. Things are so far out of hand!
When I got home from work today there was a Fedex truck in the driveway. The driver was standing in front of the barn, looking at his clipboard and scratching his head. I asked him if he needed help. He said he was supposed to make a delivery to this address, a barn. He was very confused. So was I. I asked him who it was for and he said it was for a Tiggy Roberts. Hmmmm. Well, I signed for it. After the Fedex guy left I broke the law! I opened Tiggy‘s mail from Amazon! A Galaxy S8! WTF? Where is he getting all this money? When he and Casey decorated the barn with lava lights I wondered a bit, bit figured that maybe they had picked them up at a lawn sale or thrift store. When they started ordering out to have pizza delivered every day I was curious where they got the money. When I noticed the big screen TV yesterday I was alarmed, but the dancing rats drove the question from my mind. But, now that I’m thinking about it, how are they paying for NetFlix? Where is all this money coming from? I know they didn’t get it from me. Even if they pilfered all my money, they couldn’t afford more than one lava light. Are my cats engaged in criminal activity? I’m afraid to find out….
~Sigh~ I confronted my kitties today about where all this money has been coming from. It’s even worse than I feared. Naturally they just laughed when I asked them about it. Sooo, when they went outside to check on their “crop”, I did a frantic search of the feed room until I found Tiggy’s i-pad. I took it out behind the compost heap and did some “hacking”.
Predictably, his password was CATNIP. It turns out he has created his own website, “Tiggy’s Garden of Precious Vegetation“. He offers free shipping and accepts Visa, Master Card, and Paypal.
Dear lord, the comments from his customers:
“Tiggy’s stuff is the BEST! I hocked my owner’s diamond ring that she dropped under the couch last year. She thinks she lost it, I’ve been saving it for a special occasion and THIS was it. Next time it’ll be the gold pendant that fell behind the dresser.”-Fluffy
“I love Tiggy’s Garden. Yes it’s expensive, but you can’t put a price on this kind of quality. I used my owner’s emergency credit card he keeps in the freezer. He still can’t figure out where that charge came from. LOL”-Bruiser
“Best ‘nip I’ve ever had! Peed all over my owner’s pocket book, then stole her debit card when she had everything spread out to clean up. Got yelled at for my “accident”. Totally worth it!”-Shadow
“Dude! Where have you been all my life, Tiggy? Sold the kids’ fidget spinners on e-bay. Next time imma sell the dog!”-Scooter
My friends, if you have cats, please, please secure your valuables.
“TIGGY! A rat just ran over my foot!”
“Don’t be such a drag, Keen.”
“I’m not being a drag. I am expecting you to do your job!”
“Sorry, Keen, but don’t expect me to be the oppressor any more.”
“The oppressor? To rats?”
“Rats have a right to a peaceful existence, too, Keen.”
“Oh, they can have a peaceful existence. As long as they do it somewhere else and NOT in the barn!”
“There are acres and acres on this farm where they can live. Just keep them out of the barn!”
“I’m a lover, not a fighter, Keen.”
“Bullshit! You are just too busy being on a catnip high to be bothered with anything else.”
“Keen, you need to chill out and relax. Have some ‘nip?”
“Alright then. Keep stressing over minor details. Peace out.”
“~Sigh~ Guess I’ll go chase the rats myself….”
Wow, what a time I had with Casey this morning! When I got to the barn she was struggling to drag a full duffle bag up the path.
-“Whacha doin’, Casey?”
-“I’ve gotta get this up to the road so I can hitch a ride.”
-“Oh no you don’t! You know better than to go by the road! And don’t you ever let me catch you any where near the the road!”
-“I’m not going IN the road. Just by the side so I can hitch a ride.”
-“Hitch a ride to where?”
-“There’s this awesome yowling festival happening up north somewhere. I forget the town, but it has some biblical-sounding name.”
-“You think you’re going to hitchhike to a place you don’t even know the name of for a yowling festival?”
-“It’s gonna be epic! Everyone’s going! All the best yowlzicians are performing. Lenny Catvitz, Bobcat Dylan, The Abyssinian Brothers, Manx….”
-“I don’t care who is going to be there, YOU will not be there!”
-“I am an adult cat, Keen. You cannot tell me what to do!”
-“Oh, but I AM telling you. You are not going anywhere. Now let’s see what’s in the duffle bag.”
-“Stay out of my bag! It’s none of your business what I’m taking to the festival.”
-“Well, look at this! Catnip! Baggies and baggies full of catnip.”
-“Hey! QUIT dumping it all over the ground! The wind is blowing it away! You’re wasting it! TIGGY! Come see what Keen is doing!”
-“Tiggy is zoned out in the haymow. I am guessing you were planning on selling these at the yowling festival. Now, the catnip is not going and neither are you!”
-“But it will be the concert of the century! All the cats are talking about it. Everyone is going. I could have made thousands…”
-“I don’t care what everyone else’s cats are doing. You are NOT going to that thinly disguised ‘nip fest. I am going to put you in the house now. And if you try to sneak out I will lock you in your traveling crate! Is that clear?”
I carried her, hissing and scratching, up to the house. Gave mom and dad instructions to not open the door for her under any circumstances. Rt. 20 is full of VW buses and junker cars with peace signs painted on them, all heading the same direction. I have no doubt any one of them would be happy to stop and let one more cat squeeze in for a ride. Where are all these cats’ owners? Do they even know where there pets are headed? Not my cat!
Our next-door neighbor has been trying to sell her house. It has been on the market for a while now. Haven’t thought too much about it, but I have recently hear something disturbing through the grapevine. People don’t want to move to a “bad neighborhood”. All the clandestine ‘nip deals and cat fights at night make potential buyers uncomfortable. The late night yowling and hissing used to bother me, too. I felt compelled to intervene. But after awhile you become hardened to it. I’m sad to admit that I barely notice the cat fights any more. Or the chalk outlines on the grass the next morning. Now I am being awakened to how the neighborhood must seem to potential homeowners. Especially those with young kittens. They certainly wouldn’t want their kittens to be exposed to drug dealers and thugs. Time to “clean up” the neighborhood!
Keen, how come you never ‘nip out with us? Are you a narc, Keen? You’d better not be a narc!
When Karen S Roberts was picking up Levi this afternoon, I noticed something strange. Karen left the car running, as she was just going to grab him and rush to an appointment. While she was in the house I noticed Casey was messing around under the car. Casey is usually very smart about keeping a healthy distance from running vehicles. I was about to head over to get her when she came slinking out carrying what appeared to be an envelope. She sneaked into the barn with it and disappeared. A little while later I heard Casey and Tiggy talking in low voices near the catnip patch. I sent one of the hens in to reconnoiter. She snapped a quick photo with my phone and came back to show me this:
“Meow Cousin Tiggy,
As we are sure you know, we have not figured out the password to Karen’s tablet, yet. We are still working on it. In the meantime will continue with notes under the car for communication.
We have been discussing your offer. We do not think 10% is a fair cut for joining your business. After all, once our catnip begins to grow, we will be doing all the work; tending the crop, harvesting, distributing to the cats on our road, etc.. We believe we should get 75%.
Until our crop is ready, please continue to keep us supplied. Say “hi” to cousin Casey and cousin Stripey Girl.
All four of my sister’s cats. And they sent cash. Where they got it, I can’t imagine. Sissy is not one to leave cash laying around. I hope they have not been stealing Levi’s lunch money! It was written by Mr. Magoo. I recognized his handwriting because he was born left-pawed, but in school was forced to write with his right paw. But they all signed it. The mayhem is spreading to Slate Hill Road!
Yesterday Karen got locked out of her house because her front door lock “broke”. She had to lift Levi in through a window to unlock the back door. Today this note arrives, attached to the bottom of her car. I can’t help but wonder if the broken lock was a distraction, planned by her cats. Keep your eyes open, Sissy!
What the heck is all the ruckus outside the barn? It’s a raid! The sheep have had enough and they turned vigilante! They were everywhere! Confiscating (eating) the evidence (the catnip plants). Tiggy, Casey, and I were all placed under citizen’s arrest and put in a holding pen. Tiggy is charged with possession and distribution of a controlled substance. Casey is charged with possession. And I am charged with being an accessory.
I tried arguing that I had nothing to do with any of it. They said I could tell it to the judge in the morning. In the morning?! Then I pointed out that I could not feed them if I was locked in a pen all night. They decided to release me on my own recognizance. Tiggy and Casey got remand. They were so traumatized by the destruction of the catnip plants, they didn’t even seem to care. They just huddled together on a bunk singing “Gloom, despair, and agony.”
I’m nervous about tomorrow…
I made it through this morning’s trial and am relieved to say I am still a free woman! It was close, though. As the prosecution pointed out, I was aware of the illegal nature of Tiggy’s “business” right from the beginning. And at no point did I report any of it to the authorities. Fortunately my defense attorney was able to subpoena Goldie and Ruby (two of the hens), who were witnesses to the threatening conversation Tiggy had with me about protecting his interests. Once the jury heard that I was in fear of Tiggy’s retribution they unanimously baaaed “not-guilty”.
Casey’s attorney invoked the jury’s sympathy by expounding on the hold Casey’s catnip addiction had over her behavior. Yes, she did assist Tiggy in distributing his catnip, but it was only to secure more catnip to feed her own addiction. After deliberating for a while the ewes and rams of the jury came back with a recommendation leniency. So, she will be going to rehab for a while.
Tiggy’s case was a bit tougher. Clearly he was guilty, and he showed little remorse. I was called in as a character witness. I did my best to portray him as a good boy, but was pretty well ripped apart on the cross-examination. However, Tiggy’s attorney rose beautifully to re-direct. I passionately reminded them just how bad the rat situation was before Tiggy came to us. And I proposed a deal. How about if Tiggy agreed to limit his catnip production to his own personal use, with no more selling or distribution. The jury was out for a long time on this one. But I think the memory of how bad the rats used to be must have won out in the end. Tiggy did not get off scott-free. Mandatory attendance to a twelve-step program and community service for the next 18 months. He’s already grumbling about the community service. Training strays become “employable” as house cats is a waste of his valuable time, he says. But, when I remind him it beats spending the next year and a half in a cat crate he seems to be resigned to it.
So, for now the nightmare seems to be over. However, I’m not sure the sheep realize that catnip is a perennial that grows back form the roots. Eating the plants did not kill the roots. I’m just hoping that this experience has put enough of a scare into Tiggy and Casey to prevent them from starting their business up again. Hopefully they have been scaredy cat straight!