The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

After setting up the tree this year, I asked my friends on Facebook to place their bets.

The bets were all about how long Squeak would allow the tree to stand. How long the ornaments would stay on. Whether he would climb it. But the only thing Squeak has done is turn the lights on (and off and on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off and…).

People forgot all about Kitten Thunder. And that this tree is for Obi.

Oliver was content to watch. And duck the halls, courtesy of a friendly toddler.

Eventually, even the tree was tired and we all took a nap.



A Dark and Terrible Magic

Hello, peoples of the internet! Obi here.

Sorry we haven’t filled you in on our latest happenings lately, but The Girl has been having trouble logging us in to our account. There’s been much late night cussing at the computer. But today she succeeded.

I’m a little afraid for the people of WordPress, because The Girl has a dark and terrible magic. We discovered it this summer.

A couple years ago, you might remember, Oliver had some tremors. Doctor Tiffany did a lot of mean things to him – he thinks people like to punish him for being sick but The Girl says they’re trying to make him feel better. It doesn’t make sense to me, but anywho. They came back with results that Oliver’s liver was failing. The Girl was very sad.

Oliver suddenly started getting away with things we didn’t used to, because he was dying. At the same time, Squeak – he’s getting bigger every day! – came along and the people started eating at the table in the dining room. They never cared that we were on that table before, but now suddenly it’s a big deal.

And then a wonderful thing happened: Oliver didn’t die. Well, not yet. He’s got a whole bunch of things that are wearing on him, but he’s an old guy. So now The Boy and The Girl are trying to get him to use his manners again.

His GOOD manners.

The thing is…all his manners are about food. And Oliver loves food as much today as he ever has.

So, this summer, the people were all eating at the table. Then Squeak was finished eating and he and The Boy went downstairs to dunk the kid in water. People love water. It’s weird. Anywho, The Girl stayed at the table to finish her dinner. Then she remembered something The Boy would need and she went downstairs.

She left the plates on the table.

Now, Oliver has told me that good manners don’t get a kitten anything. But he’s not a monster. So he got up on the table only long enough to lick all the juice off The Girl’s plate and then he grabbed the bone and took it down onto the floor to eat. “Oliver!” I said, “you’re allergic to cow!”

Oli scoffed at me and purred happily as he pulled meat from the bone. Then he strolled casually upstairs for a post dinner bath. I followed him to make sure he was okay. The Girl is very careful about our food to make sure Oliver doesn’t get cow. She checks the fine print on our food to make sure there isn’t even meat biproduct meal in there.

But Oliver was fine.

“See,” he said as he licked a paw. “She just doesn’t want to share.” It didn’t seem right – The Girl is pretty giving, actually. But the proof was right in front of me.

A while later, The Girl returned to the main floor. I heard her clear the plates from the table. I heard her mumble. Then she yelled the curse: “Oliver! WHERE ARE YOU EXPLODING?”

And it happened.

Oliver’s eyes got wide. His body started to convulse. In a flash, everything Oli had eaten for a day was laid out on the rug in front of me. He tried to get away, but the curse caught him again six feet from me. And two feet from that. Finally he plunked down at the foot of the bed, spent and empty.

The Girl arrived with a roll of paper towels. She set tents down on each of the explosion sites and then went over to my brother. “Idiot,” she said gently and stroked his grey head.

With the curse lifted, Oliver was able to get a drink of water.

It was a full day before we let our bad manners show again. And we haven’t pushed the limits THAT far again. When The Girl tells me to get down…I get down. No one’s using that dark and terrible magic on ME.

We’ll check in more often – there’s lots to tell. For now, Obi Me-out!

Snapshots of Spring

Kitten Thunder had reached various levels of acceptance when it comes to Squeak. But Tail initiated him into the tribe this week. I was sitting on the couch, a baby and a grey kitten in my lap, with Obi watching the goldfinch show on OutTV. Tail gently stroked Squeak’s head. 
With an occasional thwap when a bird landed on the sill.


We’ve installed jail doors throughout the house and Oliver is not pleased. Obi wasn’t either, but when Squeak grew bigger than the cats I made a magic portal to the basement. The other door is upstairs where Obi has always walked along the half wall over the stairs (much to The Girl’s chagrin). 

Oliver, luckily, has never tried to jump up on that wall. He would almost certainly jump over the wall by mistake and take the express route to the main floor.

The magic portal is tricky enough.


The upstairs jail door is only closed when Squeak is upstairs. He mastered going up stairs quickly, but down was trickier. And learning to stop before crawling off the landing was trickier still, as The Boy learned after an incident on the porch steps.

Upstairs, there is much for Squeak to explore, like these cabinets.

When he first opened them, Oliver was napping on the cat shelf. He looked over the edge, incredulous. Was he the only one in the whole house who can’t open doors?!?

Yes, grey kitten, you are.

Since then he had rediscovered the basket inside the cabinet and all is forgiven… Until the baby disturbs his in a basket nap.


Squeak still has a long ways to go in becoming a master scritcher, but he’s making progress. He’s an enthusiastic learner. We say “gentle, gentle, that’s NOT gentle!” a lot.

But he always brings a gift to make amends.

The Circle of Life

Hello, People of the Internets, Obi here.

Oliver would be mad if he knew I was telling you this story, but I think you should know what a great Chief Executive Kitten he is.

I think we’ve mentioned that we named Squeak to hastily. His name should have been Scream. He screams all the time. All. The. Time.

Usually it’s a happy scream and The Girl encourages the behavior by laughing and screaming back. It’s a very noisy house we live in. I sit through it because it’s my job to supervise. Oliver goes upstairs when Squeak is awake, unless they’re training – Oli says the pets are coming along. But the screaming hurts our ears.

There’s also the hungry screams at night. This scream makes our tummies rumble. Oliver always makes sure to tell The Girl that we are also hungry. Sometimes we get fed. Sometimes it is too early, like if The Girl and The Boy are still reading when Squeak cries. Then it makes The Girl crabby when Oliver tells her we could also go for breakfast. Particularly if she doesn’t seem to hear him so he gets up near the almost asleep baby and yells it.

Then there’s the worst cry. The frustrated, I’m all alone in the world, sad cry. We all hate this cry. Luckily it doesn’t happen too much. I try to CAT scan him to determine if there’s anything I can do to help.

Sometimes Oliver steps in.

Like a couple weeks ago when he knocked Squeak over. Actually, there’s some debate over this. Oli thinks it was his fault. The Girl says the baby shouldn’t have let go of the wall to grab his kitten. Either way, Squeak fell and hit his head on the wall. 

Oliver ran out of the room.

At first I thought he was running because we were going to get in trouble. But he was back in an instant. The Girl was on the floor with the baby and Oli came in and tucked one of his milk rings between them. In case you don’t know, there is no greater gift from my brother.

Squeak is also a fan of milk rings. He was soon consoled and distracted.

Oliver has tried this technique a couple more times and it always works. Unlike my piano playing which is sometimes appreciated and sometimes not.

This morning, Squeak was having a my-world-is-ending cry over his diaper change. He really hates first thing in the morning diaper changes and The Girl tries to give him a little time to wake up before she does them. But let me tell you, today’s was what they call “a doozy.” I could smell it from the living room. 

So, as I was saying, Squeak was screaming. A lot. There were tears and a red face and no way was I going in because there was nothing I could do. The Girl was on her own. Except… Then The Boy also headed in. But that was not enough.

Oliver rushed past me with a milk ring. He tossed the ring into the waiting clean diaper, tucked his ears down as he made eye contact with The Girl, and rushed back out.

The Boy and Squeak played with the milk ring. There was still crying. Some shuddering gulps. A swiftly diapering Girl.

But that horrible screaming stopped.

Oliver has the golden ticket, folks. And it’s a blue plastic ring.

Later, peoples,

Obi me-out


The baby was napping and I was eating ice cream so yes, I just watched this happen:

Squeak summarily rejected his father’s lunchtime offerings of pork and broccoli. After all, his parents were having leftover Chinese food. After lunch I scooped the food from his tray into a bowl to save – he loves pork and broccoli so I thought he might eat it for dinner.

Then I got distracted putting Squeak in his swing for a nap.

As I sat on the couch eating ice cream I noticed Obi on the table. He was picking some pork out of the bowl. Once he had a piece he jumped down to the floor.

Because he has manners and cats aren’t allowed to eat on the table.

A minute later, Obi was back at the bowl. This time, though, he took a piece of broccoli. And jumped down.

Because manners.

He returned for pork. Then another piece of broccoli. Broccoli. Pork. Pork. Pork. Broccoli. Pork.

Finally I sat up in a way that I could see better. Just in time to see Obi tucking a piece of broccoli under the high chair. Right next to all the others.

Obviously he needed to get it out of the way so he could get to the pork, but leaving it on the table would be rude.

Better to frame the baby – his manners are abysmal anyway.


Squeak is very good at sharing his food.

Though sometimes the kittehs don’t like his delivery system.

Oliver prefers his treats on the floor.

Especially after The Girl yelled at him the other day. She’d been fairly okay with Squeak feeding the grey kitten turkey from his high chair when it was one piece at a time, dropped to the floor. She drew the line when Oliver stood up against the chair and started gnawing on the baby’s fingers. But they were SO tasty 

The Girl also objected to Obi getting up on the dining room table and eating turkey out of Squeak’s outstretched hand. To be fair, Squeak DID call him (Obi has learned to come to OhEE! as I have learned to respond to AhAA! We’re working on it).

What The Girl would NOT object to, is Kitten Thunder eating salmon off the floor. I realize they aren’t dogs. I’m not asking them to eat everything on the floor. But it’s salmon. Fish.


It’s this really too much to ask?

Well… Yes.

Hidden Treasure

The Boy had to move Squeaks mattress down in the crib. At first, Obi did not approve. Then he noticed two things: he can CAT scan from outside the crib, and the dust ruffle goes all the way to the floor now. This means several surprise attacks from the crib monster every day.

So now Oliver does not approve.


Neither cat approves of the baby gate that keeps everyone out of the basement. It’s a door they can see through, but it’s still a door.

They hate doors.


Squeak shared his roast beef with Obi the other night.

What you probably can’t tell from the picture is that he kept sharing as Obi was eating. Tiny bites of roast beef fell from the sky and nestled down into Obi’s fur.

I tried to pick it out but Obi walked away, irritated that I just couldn’t leave him alone while he was eating.

Hopefully he enjoyed the bonus snack. Maybe his brother lucked out and decided to bathe the brown kitten, earning a nice treat.

Or maybe there’s a less pleasant surprise… For me…