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Pets of GeekGirlCon: My Cat Sucks

So, I have this cat. If I showed you a picture of him, you might think he is just a long haired black cat, albeit an exceptionally beautiful one, but you would be wrong. A picture isn’t enough to convey the silky softness of his fur with its subtle tones of red that shine in the sunlight and the few stray strands of white on his chest. Nor would it convey to you the depth of his absinthe eyes, dilated with playful excitement. No, a photo would never do him justice. 

We called him Sophistikitty after this.
Description: A black kitten lounging on a coffee table with a glass of white wine and a kindle while a fire smolders in the background.

His name is Loki, but he goes by many other nicknames in our house: Bub, Bublin, Mister Baby, Brother, and many, many others. Loki is the best cat ever! But Loki also has this weird habit—Loki sucks. Loki sucks on shirts, like a baby sucking on a bottle. He has from the minute we brought him home as a kitten.

At first, I was beyond confused by this behavior. I’ve had cats all my life but had never encountered this behavior before. After a few months, I grew worried and did a little research into the matter. What Loki does is called “wool sucking,” even though he almost exclusively chooses my cotton shirts. 

There are several reasons why Loki might wool suck. The most likely reason, I found, was that Loki was weaned from his mother too early. This makes a lot of sense. When we adopted him, he was barely eight weeks old. I will always remember the day he joined our little family. It was the middle of July and it was stupid hot outside. We went to a local no-kill shelter in the height of kitten season. This shelter had kittens coming out the wazoo! Everywhere you looked there were dozens of baby cats ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months old. They had so many that they had to put up temporary kennels in the lobby to hold them all. I am a cat lady, so this was my idea of heaven and I wanted to take them all! I had gone into a few rooms to play with some kitties, but none of them felt like they were mine. Then I stepped out into the lobby and I saw him: a black ball of fluff with greenish-yellow eyes in a kennel all alone. I was done. Dazzled by cuteness and the instant cosmic connection, I told my boyfriend that that was the one. The shelter attendant asked if we wanted to play with him a bit to make sure we were a good match. Nope, I didn’t. I was completely certain. 

Business cat is open for business!
Description: A back cat, wearing a red and green plaid tie.

The people at the shelter gave us a temporary cardboard carrier and we put him in it. I left the top open while we did the paperwork, because it seemed mean to shut him in for longer than I needed to. He was so fearless. He kept popping his head out of the box to stare at my boyfriend and me. His shelter name was Jeff… It didn’t suit him at all. Then the shelter lady began to give us a rundown of his (brief) history. Jeff (Loki) had been separated from his mother at four weeks because of a bad upper respiratory infection, which is common in cats. Though he had gotten better, he had been kept in isolation so he didn’t infect other cats. He had only been placed in the kennel for adoption that day. 

Can you imagine? This poor, adorable kitten had been taken from his mother before he could even eat solid food. He must have been so scared… sick and alone, with no other cats to comfort him or teach him how to be a cat. This separation and isolation may be a big factor in Loki’s sucky behavior. Not only did he still want to nurse on his mom, but it also provided him a sense of comfort in a new, scary situation.

Description: A black kitten sitting in a bathroom sink, looking at the camera expectantly.

I may have made a mistake by indulging his behavior. But how could I not? It was the only time I could get him to purr! And, this is going to sound weird, but it was like a bonding time for us. It let us get to know each other. And we needed each other—he needed a home, and I needed a friend. My house was often empty because my boyfriend was spending the majority of his time at work and school. I was also suffering from terrible anxiety at the time and, now I realize, Loki was too. So really, when Loki would suck on the shoulder of my shirt it was comforting to us both. The sucking gave him a new nickname—Oedi-puss.

I took Loki for a checkup at the vet a while later to get some flea meds and vaccines. I mentioned the sucking to the vet, and she assured me that he would eventually grow out of it. He did not grow out of it. It’s been five years and he still sucks all the time. 

He doesn’t even notice…
Description: a Black cat with cat litter coating its nose.

I can always tell when Loki wants to suck. As is with many males, when a mood overtakes him…he will not be denied. His eyes get very round, until there is almost no green left. His tail gets puffed up and he swishes it back and forth vigorously. He is already purring as he approaches me. This is a special purr—it has a trilling undertone to it that is meant to tell me that he needs attention now. It doesn’t matter to him what I’m doing at the time, it simply can’t be more important than snuggling. He will walk over whatever I have in my lap and hug me. He presses into my chest and nuzzles at me with his velvety muzzle. And then comes the noise. When Loki sucks he is loud! The insistent snuck snuck snuck fills the room and tells everyone what he is doing. His tail whips back and forth as drool spreads over my shoulder and his claws knead my chest and tummy. 

For a long time we tried to discourage Loki from sucking. We tried to play with him, we pushed him away, we closed the bedroom at night. But no matter what we tried, and we really consistently tried, he would force his way up to suck. Recently my boyfriend and I decided it was time to give up the fight. So now when Loki wants to suck I let him. It isn’t hurting him to do it, though his claws sometimes hurt me. But I grin and bear it. I will wrap my arms around him and hold him close as his cat spit permeates my clothing. When I get right down to it, it isn’t only soothing for him, but for me too. Loki needs me like nothing else on this planet needs me. Loki may suck, but he is my fur baby. 

Stealthy…
Description: A cat attempting to hide under a bed, thought his back legs and tail are clearly visible sticking out from the dust ruffle.

Rebecca Anglesey
“Rock On!”

Ask GeekGirlCon: What geeky names and nicknames do you have for your pets?

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by GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services Adrienne Roehrich

I’ve mentioned before how much the GeekGirlCon staff loves animals! And, of course, we give our pets geeky names. So I asked the team what monikers we have for those in our lives, whether official or nicknamed we’ve—because one of the joys of companionship is using terms of endearment.

My own family loves animals. We almost always have a menagerie. We’ve had kitties named Ytse (after a song), Puppy (because as a college student I thought having a kitty named Puppy was funny and we called him Puppy-cat), Korben (named after Korben Dallas from The Fifth Element and of course called her Korby),  Jam (the other half of the song and called him Jammy), and Boo (short for Peek-a-Boo—my kids were young, calling her Boo-boo). You can see we like naming after our music geekiness and from our favorite characters. Other than a lizard named Liz (ever watched The Magic School Bus?), we had frogs named Yoda, Darth Vader, and Leia. I bet I don’t have to tell you where those come from. Liz has an expected lifespan of 35 years, and he is now about 5. He’s just cranky enough to live that long. Sadly, all our other kitties, frogs, hermit crabs, and parakeets have gone.

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D’Argo and Vala

Currently, D’argo and Vala, two boxers, are companions in our home. Do these names sound familiar? My favorite television show of all time is Farscape. When we got D’argo, it seemed like he fit the character, but perhaps we should have named him Rygel since he is more cowardly than brave, and certainly quite stinky. He thinks he is human and since he was two, we’ve called him “old man.” We’ve had many of his pet-sitters offer to keep him if we ever need to give him up, which we’d never do. He’s now eight, entering elderly years for a boxer, but you’d never know it.

When Vala came to us, she was a 10-month-old rescue from the Midwest Boxer Rescue. We were trying to find a name to go with D’argo, but none of the Farscape characters really fit her. We needed someone fairly feisty. So we took the actress who played Aeryn Sun on Farscape and used the character name from another of our favorite shows, Stargate SG-1. That’s how Vala got her name, and she certainly fits the attributes of the character. In the tradition of calling our pets a hyphenated nickname, we call her Vala-Wala often. She’s now six years old and just now is realizing she is no longer a puppy, but she continues with her rambunctious ways as much as possible. Both our dogs are wonderful additions to our family.

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Madison

Other GeekGirlCon staffers shared about their pets. Erin Doherty, copywriter, contributed, “I have an 11-year-old rescue mutt (part Shar-pei, part German Shorthair Pointer, part who-the-heck-knows) named Madison. He’s the first dog I’ve had as an adult and he’s my longest relationship (ahem). He was only 4 or 5 months old when I found him in an alley in Oakland, and he wanted nothing to do with me. But I’m not one to let a mangy, starving puppy fend for himself, so my then-girlfriend and I maneuvered him into a dog crate and I took him home and named him for the street I found him on. I didn’t know how to get him to trust me so I decided that the only way he could eat was if he ate from my hand. Hunger quickly outweighed fear and the rest is history. Ridiculous, heart-wrenching, adorable, expensive, pain-in-the-ass, light-of-my-life history.

Nicknames include Mr. Handsome, Mr. Madman, My Little Bertha Mason, My Little Hannibal Lecter (have I mentioned that he’s fear-aggressive?), Shnoofies, Puddlebumps, Poodleboo, and Booboo (yes, I tend toward nonsensical nicknames).”

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Wanda

SG-1, copywriter, shares her home with a cat named Wanda, a family name. “Wanda’s originating name source is family names: my grandmother is Wanda, and her sister was Theodora. My cats are sisters Wanda and Theodora (deceased). Not nerdy or cool, but my dad’s fam seems to have a habit of naming pets after family members.

My cat Wanda is the sweetest, most clingy cat I’ve ever known. She is almost 13 years old, and I’ve nicknamed her my “Velcro kitty”—wherever I am in the house, she’s either right with me, or staring at me from the doorway of my room. I’ve had her since she was small enough to fit comfortably in my hand, and my life would definitely not be the same without her in it.”

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Giles and Wesley

Jen Stuller, Director of Programming and Events, is wild about her two dogs. “We live with the two best four-footed Watchers in the world—Giles and Wesley! They even take after their namesakes! Giles is proper but with a wild side, and Wesley is nothing less than a Rogue Demon Hunter. They keep us safe from vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness—all with a side of adorableness.”

Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator, now understands why people brag about the members of their families. “People always like to brag about the cuteness of their pets and children. I never got into this headspace until this guy came to live with us back in Texas.

Andy and I went to a local shelter and started our search. He gestured toward a cat who stayed asleep amidst the din and during our meet-and-greet, stayed calm. We didn’t need to see other cats. We fell in love instantly.

Nubbin

Nubbin

The shelter named him Nubby because of his shortened tail. We felt Nubbin was a more suitable name for our new family member and it fits him perfectly. Nub is also a polydactyl cat with extra toes on his front paws so what he doesn’t have in tail, he makes up with in toes!

Sir Nubs-a-Lot has been our constant companion through two moves, an apartment, one loft space, a townhouse, and finally our house in Seattle. He dislikes seeing our suitcases but loves when we settle in the HT room for some Netflix.

Nubface has endured a hurricane, a tropical storm, monsoon season, and Snowpocalypse several years ago. He decidedly didn’t care for snow. He does, however, love watching the daily squirrel show from his silken pillows.

Nubblins has been our constant companion since 2000 and life would be a sad place without that sweet face.”

So, GeekGirlCon Readers, do you have pets? What are they named and why?

Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

Ask GGC: What was your most memorable gift?

Hi folks! In this installment of Ask GGC, we asked our staff members about the most memorable gifts they’ve received. Read up on what some of them had to say:

“My first pet, a baby black and white kitten I named Domino! I asked for a cat (from Santa) when I was seven and decided to test Santa’s reality by putting my christmas list in a neighbor’s mailbox down the street (instead of my own where my parents could find it!) I never mentioned wanting a kitten to my parents, and I wanted one SO badly … and it turns out the neighbors found my letter and brought it back to my parents the next day. So Christmas morning, I woke up to a little black and white ball of fur under my neck! It was seriously one of the most magical moments from my childhood! I was convinced Santa was real!” – LB Chambers, Manager of Fundraising

Sarah’s gift: a talking Dalek!

“I dated a very nice guy several years back, and he was pretty good with gifts. For my birthday, he got me a pair of sterling silver earrings with pretty purple stones, and a gift card to Barnes and Noble — both right on the money. The best gift he ever got me came wrapped in the newspaper — comic section, of course. I opened as we were driving to dinner, and I remember bursting into delighted laughter. He got me a talking Dalek from Doctor Who — black case, flashing lights, rollers underneath it. When I hit the button it croaked out, ‘Exterminate the Doctor!’ and ‘Obey! Obey!’” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter

You can’t go wrong with Snoopy!

“One year, I asked Santa to bring me everything Snoopy … which were my exact words. ‘Bring me everything Snoopy!’ My mother saved all the letters, so there’s tangible proof. Among the avalanche of Snoopy memorabilia, two items tie for some of my most memorable gifts. There was the super-cool Snoopy snow cone machine that my cousins always wanted to use during the summer. It was a lot of work for a little treat! And I loved my Snoopy soap dispenser. The contraption attached to the counter with a suction cup, and it used a weird granular dry soap that looked like dry laundry detergent.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator

“My most memorable gift was a Super Nintendo from my dad that was bundled with Donkey Kong Country when it first came out. We didn’t have much money growing up, so any kind of gift more than $50 wasn’t something I could hope for. My Pa and I used to play on the NES together (he’d ALWAYS AND FOREVER beat me at Tetris) so he thought of it as an investment in family time. My SNES still works perfectly, and I marathon Donkey Kong every so often!” – Meg Humphrey, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Stephanie and her boyfriend, Robert, celebrating after completing a half-marathon.

“My awesome boyfriend spoiled me on my birthday! He bought tickets for Wicked and got me a Camelback — complimenting my geeky and sporty interests.” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator

Thanks, Staff! Readers, what was your most memorable gift?

Shiboo_Krismer
“Rock On!”

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