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Layla: You’ve got us on our knees. October 28, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was quite disturbed to return home last night to find a distraught Silence Dogood screaming and shrieking about the state of her computer. As Luddites, we’re not exactly adept at computer maintenance. We turn it on, we turn it off, the end. So I’d already been perturbed when Silence had accused me of wrecking her computer by checking some sports statistics on ESPN over the weekend rather than turning on my own laptop.

Now, however, it appeared that I’d been exonerated. It wasn’t ESPN but our hefty cat Layla who was apparently responsible for wreaking havoc on Silence’s computer. Silence had twice discovered Layla sleeping peacefully on the computer keyboard, while all hell broke loose as a response on the computer itself. Poor Silence had spent hours trying to regain access to her files, and her nerves were in shreds. According to Silence, Layla was on very thin ice indeed.

But Layla isn’t just any cat. She and her brother Linus were born outside our cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, as a result of yet another pregnant cat being dropped off here because we live in the country. There were two other kittens in this litter as well, and, as we always must when some swine drops off a pregnant cat here, our friend Ben and Silence had to steel ourselves to take the kittens to a shelter when they were old enough to be weaned and eating well on their own but still young enough to be adoptable.

It soon became apparent to Silence, however, that Linus was the most gorgeous cat ever to walk the face of the earth. He wasn’t exactly the smartest cat—in fact, his IQ probably rivals that of an orange—but he was definitely affectionate. Silence managed to persuade me to bring Linus indoors.

But on the day we let Linus inside the house, something unexpected happened: His sister Layla rushed inside along with him. Linus had no clue what was happening, but Layla, the smartest cat we’ve ever seen, was determined that she was coming inside and living with us, and she made no bones about it. We watched this performance, looked at each other, and shrugged. If she really wanted to live inside with us that much, we supposed we could survive three indoor cats (we already had our senior red Maine coon, Athena). And it was very clear that she was coming in to be with us, not to keep her brother company: Even Athena eventually warmed up to Linus, but he might as well be the Invisible Man as far as Layla’s concerned.

We’d named her Layla because it was obvious from the start that she had all the brains and her brother got all the looks. (Not that Layla is homely by any means: With her long, plush grey-and-white coat, big plume of a tail, and striking green-yellow eyes, she’s a big hit with everyone who visits us. It’s just that Linus is the, well, John F. Kennedy Jr. to Layla’s Caroline.) We suspected that Layla would, in the words of Eric Clapton, get us on our knees:

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.

Layla, I’m begging, darling please.

Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.  

Sure enough, Layla has proved to be a handful. Recognizing that we humans appear to communicate through vocalizations, she talks to us nonstop. While the other cats are happy to get occasional attention, when Layla wants to be petted, she will not take no for an answer. And she torments our puppy Shiloh to the point that we’re ready to pack it in and move to a deserted island, leaving Layla in charge of our house and grounds.

Layla’s involvement with the computer is a new development and quite another matter, however. As mentioned, our computer skills are primitive, as in Cro-Magnon-like. But we use our computers as our connection to the outside world and our source of income. So when a cat arbitrarily screws up our whole setup by lying down on the laptop keyboard, we go on red alert. Severe fussing seemingly had no effect, since Silence found Layla on the keyboard again when she returned from lunch. And worst of all, our home office door doesn’t really close, so even if we kept it shut, Layla could push it open whenever she felt like strolling in. 

Layla, you’ve got us on our knees. Layla, we’re begging, darling, please. Layla, darling won’t you ease our worried minds. And keep off the bleeping computer keyboard?!!! Thanks.


1. Barbee' - October 28, 2009

Oh, ho! You have your work cut out with that one. Good luck! You may have to set an upturned box over the keyboard. Let us know how you solve this interesting problem.

Gulp. NOT a happy situation, Barbee’! We’ll let you know if we get it figured out.

2. Gail - October 28, 2009

Well Cro-Magnum you might be but, Layla clearly isn’t~ a) she knows that the keyboard is where all the action is, b)it’s a substitute for the newspaper that every cat instinctively knows is where they need to be sitting while you read it, and c) she really is smarter then the average bi-ped and will find a way to push off the cardboard box that you will use to try to hide the keyboard under. Good luck! She has you on your knees! gail

She certainly does, Gail! Now, if we could just teach her to type and edit…

3. becca - October 28, 2009

I’m guessing she’ll get tired of it after a bit. Shondai roams from place to place around the house. Today, I found him cuddled up with some dolls we have to sell. I have also heard that if you want a cat to stay away from a surface, put something on it that will make noise–tinfoil maybe?

Noise, eh? Maybe I should put Shiloh on there! Actually foil is a good idea, since thanks to the docking port, I have a real keyboard and don’t use the one that’s part of the laptop. I’ll give it a try! And thanks for the suggestion!

4. nancybond - October 28, 2009

Oh, Layla, naughty girl! An overturned box sounds like a good idea, actually — our big boy loves tin foil. 😉

Yikes, Nancy! And foil would have been so easy… sigh. Back to the drawing board!

becca - October 29, 2009

That’s funny, Nancy. Cats are so individual. I think the solution is to put something there that she doesn’t like. So, maybe Shiloh is the answer. Though Samuel and Shondai have started fighting over who gets to sleep on the living room rug!!

There’s just no accounting, Becca! Much as Shiloh torments the cats now, I’m certain some day I’ll look over and see one of them (probably Linus) curled up with her on her dog bed!

nancybond - October 29, 2009

Double sided tape, perhaps? (Kidding!) 🙂

Ha! I’m trying to think what suggestion I’d read about keeping cats off counters, Nancy (mercifully not a problem with ours). I think it was mousetraps set under some protective covering, so if the cat jumped up the trap would snap, scaring the poor cat out of its mind, but being unable to actually harm it. Still sounds way too scary to me!

5. Kylee from Our Little Acre - October 29, 2009

Bwaaaahaaahaaaa! As one who has been nearly exactly in your position (no screwed-up computers as of yet, though), I feel your frustration. We, too, seem to be the depository for unwanted cats. We just adopted two out in the past few weeks, but still, the population at Our Little Acre is nine. And we wub dem all.

I know what you mean, Kylee! We’ve had as many as eight outside cats thanks to drop-offs, and were actually grateful to them for keeping all rodent populations under control. We never had mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, or chipmunks when we had eight outdoor cats! Nine is probably perfect for an acre.

6. deb - October 29, 2009

Doesn’t seem like an obvious choice for napping;) Maybe a decoy keyboard?

Ha! Maybe figuring out a way to keep the damned door securely shut would be the better part of valor, Deb! I think all the doors in this hallway (the “new” part of the house) are out of plumb; when we bought the house, none of them would shut securely. Now, this is the last holdout. Sigh…

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