Nyxie is doing great! And who says you can’t train a cat? Nyxie knows what “sit” means and knows that it earns her a treat. She knows how to come get me to turn on her kitty arcade games because the training goes both ways.
We have met a hurdle though: learning how to walk on lead.
Supposedly, the biggest part of getting Nyxie to walk on a lead is getting her used to wearing it. We gave her a few hours on day two (a couple weeks after the first hour) and rewarded her after tracking her down.
I later found her sulking on my spot on the bed, one of her front legs half wriggled out.
[To anyone judging me because there is an obese pygmy giraffe plush toy on the bed: you know you’re jealous.]
But I had a reward for her (in addition to the treats I gave her for her walking around earlier). A new toy!
This provided some soothing distraction while I removed the harness and lead.
The toy was a hit!
I did make sure she really liked her toy before I jumped in to remove the thing she has been playing dead while wearing all afternoon.
She’s so cute with her toys. We’ll see how long this one survives.
It turns out she makes funny faces while playing.
After getting out of the harness she stopped sulking rather quickly.
Sometimes she’s a bit surprised to be caught on camera.
And so we live to continue acclimating Nyxie to the harness and lead another day.
Every morning Nyxie waits by the back door, begging for me to let her outside. For now, I look forward to the day I can put that harness and lead on her, then step outside for my morning yard chores, taking her with me. Hopefully that day is soon.
This post is about a black cat named Nyxie. We adopted her 3 weeks ago. She talks. A lot. It’s sometimes hard to get a word in with her full vocabulary of chirps, naws, maws, mows, woas, nos, and other amazing sounds.
Nyxie is settling in well and is now sleeping in the bed most nights. She is a very affectionate cat that will do gentle love nibbles if you stop petting her and she wants you to continue.
She has decided that there is one position that is her favorite to snuggle in. She likes to be attached to my hip. When she was picked up as a stray she weighed 6 lbs, but when we brought her home she was so sick and skinny looking. She spent a lot of time gaining enough weight to look healthy. I’m happy to report she’s back up to 6lbs!
Figuring Out Nyxie’s Personality
I wonder about her history and why she craves so much affection. I don’t know much about cat behavior, so I consult the internet. Cat personality tests are a thing, right?
First in my quest to better understand my cat’s mind I hit up this website I discovered via Google: Meowingtons. They have a list of the Big 5 Cat Personalities they call Neurotic, Extraverted, Dominant, Impulsive, and Agreeable. So I check out their descriptions.
I would absolutely peg Nyxie as neurotic. There’s something absolutely skittish about her. Every time Jacob or the dog flex a muscle in her presence she flies off the bed or wherever she is lounging. In general she’s fairly affectionate with me, but not with many other people.
According to this website neurotic cats thrive on being able to build confidence slowly and having plenty of opportunities to hide so they can do so on their own terms.
Crap. I think I’m neurotic.
Nyxie is absolutely extraverted. She cannot stand to be alone and gets bored very easily. She made friends with Haskell and plays with him, even though he’s in the “I’m angry at not being an only child so I’m going to poop in front of the cat tree” stage. She loves being loved.
It’s noted that extraverted cats need to be kept busy or they could become destructive. Combining this with her extreme dislike of having her toe beans touched (meaning it’s difficult to trim claws) is a bit of a recipe for disaster at the moment if we don’t keep her entertained.
Nyxie is not very dominant. I stand up to Haskell for her because he’s able to chase her off and I’m annoyed at him deciding it’s okay for him to be a little jerk. White dog being a jerk to a black cat right now? I’m not in the mood for that kind of theater.
Nyxie is definitely a little on the impulsive side, but just enough to be useful for problem solving. She likes climbing and getting interesting places. She is very curious about everything and wants to taste all of my house plants.
Interestingly, this website mentions that impulsive cats thrive on routine. Nyxie is a routine driven cat. It’s good to know that this is important to keep up.
Anyone want some succulents? I may need to re-home a few to save their lives.
The Personality Test
So then Jacob and I sat down to do this 2015 Buzzfeed Cat Personality Test. The not-so-scientific listicle experience of cat personality research has us intrigued now. How far can we take this? Time to anthropomorphize our cat to her fullest, purrrrforming potential!
Okay. Surprisingly, Jacob and I both found this as accurate as any human personality test (which is to say, we have our doubts, but it’s fun to play along).
Have You Done Pet Personality Tests?
I’d love to hear from people who have done pet personality tests or have thought extensively about animal personalities. I find every animal very unique and find animals much easier to read and understand than humans. This may be because I like them better than humans, but look at the world and tell me you blame me.
Thank you for taking time our of your busy day to spend a few moments with me. Did you enjoy this post? Please let me know in the comments or by liking this post!
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Unresolved situations are frustrating.
Example: If a character experiences trauma, they will be traumatized and then display signs of trauma as a result of the event.
To not experience trauma in response to a traumatic event indicates something other. This could be used as a literary device. If it is not being used as a device it is distracting and takes away from the work. Make sure all actions have consequences.
Does The Characterization Of Each Character Match Up With The Timeline?
Characters are on a journey. Each character is moving from A to B and some will go on to C or D. Along those paths each character is changed. This creates the timeline of a book. How a character is portrayed in a scene needs to match the point in the timeline a character is at.
Example: A character that is in her twenties thinks about bills and her job as opposed to a character in her teens that is thinking about school. Because of this, the relationships formed around these areas are most important in life and are the most emotionally impactful outside of family and those that might as well be family.
We Didn’t Go Anywhere
When the setting of a story changes it’s important to have some form of transition to show movement of time and place.
There are some stories that don’t include enough details about objective indicators of passage of time and check that they are consistent such that all of the details of the story align temporally.
There are some stories that don’t include them at all and it’s somehow eternal summer somewhere bizarre like Alaska.
There are some stories that include way too much detail. It’s overwhelming and distracting from the story. I am suddenly studying the passage of time and the changing of the seasons instead of the nature of man.
There are some stories that include lots and lots of details. So many details. All the details. But none of them align temporally, so suddenly April was both 6 months ago and 2 months ago with Winter only 3 months away. This is when I start getting headaches. James Joyce does this. A lot.
Characters Have Hidden Lives
It’s Okay To Have “Offensive” Characters
There’s a huge difference between an “offensive” character that upsets readers and an overdone inaccurate stereotyped character that upsets readers because it doesn’t resonate.
The best offensive characters speak to the group they’re offending because they are too accurate and too real. This will be upsetting to some people. That’s the kind of “offensive” I relish. There may be those that demand a content warning. Good – research is showing that content warnings increase the reads a piece gets much like good tagging because people are seeking them out.
I don’t care who the author is – I promise if you have done your research and shaped your character in a way that reveals truths in your observations, I will love your character even if people get really upset with you over it. Cut the wound deep and hit where it hurts, not where it’s been done ad nauseum unless it’s real. Reveal something no one else has, but remember that pen names exist for your protection.
Your Characters Have Conversations The ReaderDoesn’t Know About And Doesn’t See
An author cannot document everything. They are writing down a snapshot of a potential alternate universe that could exist because someone thought of it, right? That means all of those characters have private inner lives the reader can’t possibly know in its entirety. This means characters can have relationships with each other that are implied instead of explicitly stated. All of this helps to create depth.
It helps to come up with a full backstory for every character in a story even if it’s never talked about or mentioned. This will influence how dialogue is written and how hidden relationships between characters are revealed.
Your Characters Have Moods
Depending on your character’s internal state they will have a mood. This mood will translate into action or inaction in response to a stimulus and that will result in some consequence. Moods and energy levels related to exhaustion as an effect of the story timeline should all be cohesive.
Your Characters Of Different Cultures Are Going To Have Trouble Getting Along
Culture clash is real. The minority of people will be peaceful and fine and that’s great, but your characters aren’t the saints you think they are. Nope. They are averse to change and other cultures and view other as dangerous. This goes all ways. Be real – your characters from different cultures are going to be uneasy around each other and hesitant to make friends for legitimate reasons evolutionary wired in (if they’re humanoid).
Settings Are Places That Can Only Be KnownThrough Experience
Setting Descriptions Have A Time And Place With Characters In Them
It is not uncommon that I run into setting descriptions that are detached from the story either by the characters not interacting with the setting features or by the characters existing completely separate from setting descriptions.
By integrating setting details with the story as a whole the sensory experience can be the focus. The integrated sensory experience of the setting provides the reader with a greater sense of passage of time.
Settings Indicate Culture
Think about it – In the United States, if I set a story in the South a reader is going to anticipate a lot of passive aggressive saccharine manipulation straddled by y’alls happening. If I set a story in the Northeast, there’s a more WASPy social norm puppet show expectation.
But that’s based on the dominant culture of an area. What about when you’re writing about an area’s subculture?
I like to refer to framing subculture structures in writing as “country clubs” – it’s exclusive, you need to know someone to be someone, and there are generally specific central gathering places.
Make sure everything makes sense temporally
Ground the reader in temporal details outside the character
Offend by speaking the truth and make very effort to ensure that truth resonates in an effective and impactful way with the audience
Characters have conversations the reader won’t see but totally influence what the final dialogue will be.
Characters have inner lives, states, and energy levels that change as a result of the story. Write that.
Culture clash is real. Observe it and describe it. Be curious and nuanced. This gives a story so much depth.
Details of setting can be added to show passage of time in the story and immerse the characters and action in the location.
Settings indicate dominant culture and can somewhat indicate subcultures.
Thank you for reading! If you like this post on writing please like and let me know. What are things in books that drive you crazy?
Nyxie is getting more settled and comfortable in her new home. She is now demanding attention by inviting herself into Jacob’s lap while he is working. She has decided drawers and cabinets are the best things ever. She opens them, runs inside, then closes them. She thinks she is a clever kitty. We think we need to invest in child safety locks.
She has discovered that Jacob’s desk is also a standing desk. You know, that one standing desk from Costco that lots of people decided to all go and buy right before tech companies started saying work from home indefinitely? That one. It’s buttons spook the hell out of me and are so touch sensitive. Nyxie doesn’t care. Elevator cat.
Guess what else this cat is fearless agains? Robotic vacuums. Shadow cat don’t care. House dragon cause bigger scare. Rawr.
Nyxie is doing well. We’re wondering how much she was eating at the shelter – she seems satiated around 2/3 of a cup of food per day with some treats, a snack, or a little wet food thrown in at some point. Otherwise she is *starving* throwing a tantrum.
Play is a work in progress. She does not seem to engage with objects quickly. That makes using toys difficult. I want to try a laser pointer next.