Monday, March 19, 2007

(P)alms for the Poor

We are having a little problem back at the ranch. I love palm trees, and have several in my living space.

Unfortunately, they are also great favorites of Truffle-the-Cat. They are her playground: Jungle gym, snack canteen, teeter-totter and chinning bar.

They are toast.

I commissioned Flip to carry them to the backyard so I could assess the damage and hose them down as they are too tall for the shower. Imagine my surprise that my formerly healthy, robust, towering and abundant palms, when not inspected against a background of tall, leafy fig trees, turned out to be mere shadows of their former selves with sparse, bent, dangling fronds, chewed at the ends, still sloppy wet with cat spit.


I am good with plants, but I am not Florence Nightingale.

Truffle avoids philodendrons, which would gladly poison her, and is smart enough not to mess with cacti. She has no interest in ferns, taro, or lucky bamboo, nor does she deal in pachera. She has never given my two-foot Giant Redwood a second glance. It will attain its full height in centuries to come unmolested.

She likes palms.

She feasts on them while I am sleeping and they are helpless. She wreaks havoc when I am away from home, even when I am out purchasing cat food.

Does that seem fair to you?

By such nefarious behavior, she demonstrates that she knows the nature and quality of her act, and that it is wrong.

She does not care for toys. Catnip makes her yawn. She is quite the little hair-stomping hobbyist, but I have to be horizontal for that to work out. Sometimes I am vertical.

She turns to plants.

We have no mice for her to chase. Mighty hunter that I am, I bring down the cans and even open them with my innovative thumbs. If not for that, she would probably slit my throat with her innovative claws.

We seem to be at a standoff.

Palms vs Truffle.

Truffle vs palms.

Guitar strings used to be made of cat gut. I wonder if Flip needs any new strings.

She'd better not push her luck.


Pickled Olives said...

Assuming it won't harm the plants, spray a mixture of powdered cayenne pepper and water onto your palms - kitty will quit enjoying in no time. Thats how we stopped the dog from chewing the deck. Hope this helps.

Michael C said...

It sounds like this is most definitely not a party at the palms!! It is amazing how they add a touch of tropic to wherever they are placed. I am still talking about the palms, not the cat. They just add a touch of hair and vomit!!

urban-urchin said...

Our cat Luuuuuvvvvved our pony tail palm tree. She'd wat some and then shortly after throw up somewhere very inconvienient.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I haven't heard of this, but I'll try it. Thank you!


I wonder how a cat would look hanging from the top by a ribbon. Or planted in the soil next to the roots.

I'm just saying...


What do you consider a convenient place for a cat to throw up? I"m sure we haven't tried that one yet.

Liz said...

Oh, naughty kitty! I've heard about spraying the same thing that Pickled Olives shared so definitely try that!

mist1 said...

My cat nanny swears that he grows catnip so fine that only Siamese cats can resist it. I don't know why, but he swears that it's only the Siamese that don't drop to their kitty knees in submission. I would send you some, but it would look suspicious.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

If you get rid of the cat, your home would be palm and also squirrel -friendly. I'm just saying.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I will. Thank you, too. I'm about ready to Velcro Truffle to the wall. MeeoooooOOOOOW.


Ah, primo catnip. Feline Maui Wowie. My last cat, Moonshine, used to get completely stoned on catnip and fall off pianos and porches. Truffle is not a Siamese, and her drug of choice is palm tree.

I wonder if they make patches for that. Of course I'd have to shave her first.


I used to have pet squirrels as a kid. Now I have pet palm trees. I can't get rid of Truffle. No one would take her. (And I love her. Sometimes, love bites.)

Judith said...

Ive made no secret about how cats and I dont see eye to eye but apparently orange peel or curry powder does the trick. A hungry rothweiler can work wonders too if chained up beside the plant.

furiousBall said...

I play guitar too.

Our kitties love this one hibuscus tree in our front room. And by love, I mean love to maim.

Anonymous said...

Have you sat Truffle down and just talked to her? Explain the situation? And reminded her that her occupancy is tenuous and can be terminated at any time? Perhaps have Flip sit closely by, lovingly rubbing the strings of his guitar?

Good luck.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like all animals, but cats are not everyone's cup of tea. It's unfortunate that I also like plants so much, however.


What kind of music do you play?

Maybe I should get an oleander.


I have talked to her about this. But see, it's OUR occupancy that is tenuous. Not hers.

Early this morning, in the pre-time, around 5:00, maybe, Flip got up to feed her after she had begun her stomping routine in my hair, which gets earlier every day.

I heard the unmistakable sound of smashing glass, and grogged to the kitchen, where he had knocked something off the draining rack. Sleepwalkers tend to be clumsy. Truffle waited impatiently while we cleaned it up.

I never thought our lives would come to this, indentured servitude to a cat. Slavery, actually, as there is no end in sight. Life is strange.

Lex said...

Awwwww. let her eat palm!!

All girls should be allowed one vice.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Let her eat palm. I didn't realize you were Marie Antoinette. (And you know what happened to her.)

I thought of getting her her own palm tree, a sort of sacrificial lamb, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Besides, she seems to consider the lot of them her smorgasbord.

At present, I have three large (formerly large) Areca and one pony tail in the ICU. For reasons unknown, she ignores my parlor palm. Of course, that may change since all the others are outside.

I'm stubborn, too. I will not give up and get artificial plants. I have never seen the point in those.

Anonymous said...

"I never thought our lives would come to this, indentured servitude to a cat. Slavery, actually, as there is no end in sight. Life is strange."

Oh man, that is hilarious (though I am not laughing, I swear, honest, I'm not laughing).

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No laughing matter, this. Indentured servitude ran only 7 years; Truffle is 17, I think, and quite youthful. (It's probably her diet, heart of palm salad every day.)

Lee said...

I'm Asian. I say, "Stir Fried Cat anyone?"


velvet girl said...

Those poor palms. What a conundrum. Can't exactly throw the cat out with the kitty litter (like the proverbial baby and the bath water), can you?

Good luck. I'd go with the cayenne spray.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


My favorites! Char Shu Cat and Moo Goo Gai Cat And there's always Tekka Kiti and Catta Maki.


Hee hee. Throwing out the kitty with the kitty litter. Definitely an idea whose time has come (And a cat whose time is up.)

4:53 PM

EsLocura said...

my indoor cat, just claws my furniture, my 3 outdoor cats (stray who just freeload) they climb palm trees, banana trees and with the greatest of ease always snatch a lizard. I don't think I have enough cayenne to stop them, plus what will the chickens think? cats can't live with 'em, can't live without the furballs.

EsLocura said...

wait, I just thought about it, I can live without the furballs but not without my cats. damn it all.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Truffle has destroyed several speakers in her day - probably some confusion about woofers and tweeters.

I'm not really planning to grind her into kittyburgers. I'd miss the little wench, plus I'm a vegetarian. It would make my plants really happy, though.

I'm glad that yours are not an endangered species either. It's a cat-eat-cat world, I tell you.

urban-urchin said...

No where is a coonvienent place for cat puke. Ours would puke right next to slippers by the bed or somewhere we were sure to step in. Blech.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


She's a cat. It's her JOB. And it sounds as if she's very good at it.

I think they consider puking a form of communication since they always place it exactly where it will be noticed and enjoyed.

Thailand Gal said...

I can easily imagine why the cats would be attracted to those plants. What fun for them to climb around and play in them!

The cayenne pepper and water *does* work!



MsLittlePea said...

My grandmother used regular black pepper to keep her cats away from her plants...I can't say if it really worked or not because her cats were so spoiled.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like climbing trees, too, so I understand. I just don't much like it.

Sweet Pea,

Cats... spoiled.

That's a redundancy.

Pendullum said...

But do cats not have nine lives?
Cat gut?
She will just come back to haunt you!

jali said...

She's the empress of the house - you lower caste thingies (people, palms) are there for her amusement.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


She's haunting me now.

I wonder how many of her lives she has already used up.

Yeah, Jali. Tell me something that I don't know. Sigh.

Molly said...

Cats SO have it better than dogs. Have you ever seen a CAT tied up at a fire hydrant?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Of course not. No cat would stand for it. Cats have no small amount of self-esteem and do not trade in unconditional slavish devotion. (Which is one of the things I love about dogs.)

thethinker said...

Recently, my cat has started to become pretty destructive as well, to the point where my mom is considering getting rid of her. Maybe I should get a palm tree to see if she'll go for that rather than the couch. And the chairs. And the bed sheets... The list is endless.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's worth a try. I think that most cats like palm plants.

Truffle is not destructive otherwise. She doesn't claw the furniture or chew things she shouldn't.

Is your cat a Siamese? They often eat wool, and they meow constantly in a very abrasive voice.