Monthly Archives: March 2011

Oli Packaging

My friend Mona sent me an email on “The Art of Sleeping in a Box” with many funny pictures of cats. Here’s my favorite:

"Even a small box will do in a pinch."

The email reminded me of Oliver’s favorite box. Which is not a box at all. In November, Oli and Obi’s grandpeople gave us a flat screen TV for Christmas. The long skinny styrofoam is a purrfect fit for Oliver.

"Insulation and security are key to a good box."

‏He looks a little tubby in this picture but you’ll have to take my word for it that Oliver is long and skinny, just like this box. He can stretch to fill the whole thing. The tubby look is just fluffy overflow.

When the grandpeople came a couple weeks ago I tried to throw out the styrofoam but our garbage can was full. Now it is in the dining room instead of the entry way and I think it might be okay for it to stay. He sure does love it.

While I was taking pictures of his brother, Obi watched from the dining room table. Then he decided to do something photo worthy to get the attention back on him where it belongs.

It started with him playing with the strings on my sweatshirt from above. Which was funny. But then the funny escalated when he decided to jump to the bookshelf. As he gathered to jump he realized his foot was dirty. Still gathered he licked his foot one and a half times before he remembered he hadn’t gotten the string. But, oh yeah, he was going to the booksh – oh no, his foot is – hey the string!

"The last two minutes have been a blur."

This is him simultaneously reaching for a string, bracing to jump and washing his foot. I got this picture of him before he realized I was laughing at him. Insulted, he left without getting to the bookshelf, getting his foot cleaned or getting the string.

Side note: After work tonight I put a nail in the squirrel feeder to hold the lid open a little bit. Will the squirrels be able to take it from here? Will Kitten Thunder enjoy hours of peanut eating entertainment? Tune in next time…same Out time, same Out channel…

The scars from Battle Bottle

Having been rescued from the feral cat population at just a couple hours old, Oliver was bottle fed for several weeks. Still very particular about his food, he was very picky as a baby. If I failed to hold his bottle correctly he would throw a fit. I can still hear the piercing scream that came from his tiny throat. And he would wave all four paws up and down, wielding razor-sharp claws as weapons until I corrected my bottle-feeding form. Eventually I learned how to pin his front feet down while I fed him to avoid bloodshed.

"Send The Hitching Post Inn my thanks for the giant teddy bear, but Mr. Cow is my favorite."

While he was being bottle fed, Oliver went to work with me at the chamber of commerce. We had a good routine. He had a giant crate with a blanket and his stuffed cow to sleep with. He’d sleep and I’d work. When he woke up I’d feed him his bottle and help him…well…go. THAT was something nobody told me I’d have to do; believe me when I tell you that Oliver and I had daily arguments about who least enjoyed my helping his bowels move. Bleh. Afterward, he would play (ah, the glorious days when I had an office with a door) and I would work.

On occasion, Oliver would need to be “babysat” by the rest of the chamber staff when I had a meeting. It was pretty easy duty. I would feed him and set his crate in someone’s office. He’d fall asleep with Mr. Cow and never caused a fuss.

Knowing that he’d need a bottle when he woke up kept the girls at the office from bugging him. However, whenever I’d walk in the door I’d see somebody hovering by the crate. My presence was the “all clear” and they would swoop down and wake up the kitten for a snuggle. He was adorable. There was no blaming them for not being able to resist him. And they got five minutes of snuggle while I set down my stuff and prepared a bottle.

One day I had the bottle prepared but hadn’t taken Oliver yet when the phone rang. Never one to neglect my job for my kitten – and because our receptionist was cooing over Oliver – I answered the phone. It was a long call. Oliver started screaming for his bottle. I was content to let him scream for a couple minutes but I couldn’t hold him while I was on the phone (I’m sure that guy wondered what we were DOING to the cat) so I handed him to Julie. I didn’t see Julie take the bottle.

Just as I was finishing up the phone call, a ball of fluff and blood was thrust into my face. Poor Julie, silly woman who thought she was qualified to apply a bottle after raising children, had tried to feed Oliver. They both suffered from deep gashes. That’s right, Oli didn’t just cut HER fingers. He sliced his face from one eyebrow, down his nose and all the way to his chin.

They both healed an Oli’s scar is just a little black mark under his nose. But it is a fun reminder of our adventure in kitten raising, my friend Julie, and good times at the chamber.

"Some people say scar, I say it is a beauty mark."

Side note: Obi has come to sit on my lap while I type this blog. He thinks it is a real snooze.

“S” is for squirrel. And stupid.

For Christmas, Kitten Thunder received OutTV programming in the form of a squirrel feeder from my aunt. You may remember the adorableness of it – an antique phone type box made out of rough wood. The theory is that you’ll have hours of fun watching squirrels learn how to lift the lid to get a peanut from inside. However, there seems to be an issue.

"If I pretend to make a call, can I have the nut?"

Squirrels, at least in Cheyenne, are stupid.

I know! I was shocked! I really thought they’d get the knack of this fairly simple contraption in a couple of days and we’d be spending a kabillion dollars a month keeping them in peanuts. But two months after hanging the feeder it is still about half full from the original load of peanuts. And the only reason it is that far down is because I put out a “teaser peanut” between the box and the lid at least once a day.

The squirrels have figured out how to get the teaser peanut. Their strategy, however, may be part of the problem. They jump up onto the lid of the box, reach down, and do a kind of reverse football hike to pull the peanut out from under themselves. If they keep their balance, they are still standing on the lid. And that keeps them from lifting the lid to get more.

Their solution? Destruction.

"When all else fails. Chew through the box."

View of the hinge and corner from the outside.

And more destruction.

“This is where the peanut comes out. Where’s the ‘easy’ button?”

And a little more destruction.

"Two more days of chewing and we'll have a peanut sized hole."

On the bright side, the goal was to provide Kitten Thunder with squirrel programming on OutTV. I’m guessing that these holes are providing hours of entertainment.

All these channels and nothing is on…

I have no pictures to go with this blog so you get my favorite LOLs from an email I received this morning.

Just like on people TV, sometimes there is nothing on OutTV in spite of the many channels. Also like people TV, when there is something on one channel there is usually something equally good on another channel.

This morning, Oli and Obi were looking out the front window in the living room. They looked for a long time. There were no bird calls. No squirrel ack-ack-acking. So when I saw a squirrel on the porch I ran in and grabbed Obi to show him.

Forty-two bunny kicks and some serious chewing later, I let him go and he ran back to the living room window. Curious, I looked closer. There in the bushes we had a giant flock of wrens. But you can barely see them unless you focus on one spot for several seconds. It is a very existential program…they move under the branches therefore they are. Not the kind of programming, obviously, where you ack-ack-ack along.

This - plus fox, coyotes and cars - is why Kitten Thunder has an indoor only policy.

Mad Jedi Skills and the Banana Chair

As I said in my last post, the grandpeople came for a visit this weekend to see my nephew play in the state hockey tournament (congrats on your 4th place win, River Rats!). They brought the banana chair that my brother and I used to sit in to play video games with them. As soon as it was set down in the living room it was good fun for the cats and great for cat watching.

First of all, this chair smells like several cats Kitten Thunder has never met: Gracie, Stoney, Spade and possibly even Stasha. It’s also possible that it smells like Poco from way back when – it was one of her favorite places to sleep when we lived at the grandpeople’s house. It is FULL of interesting smell.

And…it rocks. Oliver spent most of the time he was smelling the chair putting his front paw on it. Then it would rock forward and smack him in the face. Then he’d take his paw off and it would rock back and hit the wall. Rinse and repeat this scenario a thousand more times. Then Obi took his turn.

Obi Wan Kittenobi did the face smacking wall smacking face smacking wall smacking routine for a couple minutes. Then he got on the chair and put his weight on the back of the chair, riding it as it swung back to hit the wall. Then he’d sit back and ride it as it rocked forward.

Then, in an unexpected move of Jedi might, Obi put the chair in its place. He strolled, very casually, about four feet from the chair. Then he twisted back, flew into the air, and landed a flying drop kick right to the center of the chair back. As the chair impacted the wall, Obi propelled himself from the chair and landed – in a surprisingly graceful way – in the same spot from which he’d taken off.

That’ll show that chair.

Ten minutes later he was laying in the chair taking a nap. Really, you just have to show the furniture who is boss. I’d show you a picture of the cute kitten sleeping in the cozy chair, but Obi Wan also used The Force to feel the camera coming and got up. Jedi jerk.

To entice him back – we have a blog to put out here, you know – I turned the banana chair into a chair cave. And we all know how hard it is for a Jedi to resist going into the cave. He can really get that chair a-rocking when it is also a cave.

"Come to the dark side, we have tuna."

Oliver will come around to the banana chair. At the moment he’s using it to guard his hiding spot behind the recliner. While his brother is distracted by the rocking brought on by a move to the left, Oli is escaping to the right.

Besides, Oli already stole the most comfortable napping spot in the house from Obi.

"Who needs The Force when you have a fuzzy blanket?"

Cleaning with Kitten Thunder

We have a second round of State hockey this weekend and this time Kitten Thunder’s grandpeople are coming to stay at the house. House guests means finding the spare beds. And this is why it takes me a week to get the house ready for company:

First, Obi was all sorts of excited to find out there was a bed in my office under all the stuff that used to be on the walls at the old house. Sure, it’s all under the bed – where he used to hang out – but this has potential.

"You've got to be a manly cat to look this good in pastels."

Oliver, never one to just sit back and let Obi get all the attention, realized very suddenly that there was a catnip ball under my desk and that he WANTED it. He pulled all the wires under my the desk out to get to the ball. Then Obi, too, realized he wanted the ball.

"I want the catnip ball THIS much."

Oliver won.

"No one comes between me and the nip."

And then my lunch hour was over and I hadn’t accomplished anything. The dishes weren’t done. The laundry wasn’t folded. This blog wasn’t up.

But we sure had a lot of fun.

FUO update! Oliver’s fever is gone! He has been off both antibiotics and steroids for two weeks and the limp has not returned. The fever has left as quickly and as mysteriously as it came in.

Purr Therapy and Dereliction of Duty

In case you got to work on Monday and said, “hey, where was my Kitten Thunder fix this weekend?” I can honestly tell you I was sick. So sick. My nephew, with assorted family, was in town for a hockey tournament and every moment not spent with them was spent on the couch gathering energy to watch the next game. Uck. I didn’t even step into the same room as my computer for five days. So no blog. But! Plenty of blog fodder.

So the coughing began on Thursday night. It came on so fast and furious I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I ate. When the initial fit was over, Oliver and I settled on the couch for a bit of Purr Therapy. Oliver is most excellent at deciding where a person hurts and pressing his rumbly little purring body against it. It’s good for the soul, if not the body.

Friday the cough progressed from scratchy throat up to full blown cough. I offered to sleep on the couch. Before you feel bad about me sleeping on said couch you must know two things: 1) I always slept on the couch when I was sick as a kid. Looking back, I don’t know why. But setting up Camp Blanket on the couch is a natural and comforting thing for me to do. And 2) we refer to this particular piece of furniture as “the evil couch” because it is sooooooo comfortable. Even if you aren’t remotely tired, this couch will suck the will to move – and your consciousness – right out of you.

We mused, before bedtime, about what Kitten Thunder would do. Of course, Oliver would stay with me on the couch because he’d want to do Purr Therapy. And he always, obnoxiously, sleeps in my arms with his head on my pillow. Obi, we figured, would continue to try to sleep through the night at the foot of the bed.

Folks, we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Evidently, The Girl is too annoying to sleep with when she has a persistent cough. I was totally abandoned. Oliver slept upstairs. The Boy slept upstairs (okay, don’t really blame him for that). Obi slept upstairs. The Girl? Downstairs. With only the dragon to keep her company; and don’t think for a minute that Zensai wouldn’t have abandoned me as well if he could get out of his tank.

No Purr Therapy. Does it not work on coughs? I suspect it has more to do with the inability to get a proper 18 hours of sleep on a coughing Girl. Or perhaps I was too gross for my fastidious grey kitten.

PLUS, in my absence, Obi decided he now sleeps at the top of the bed. Sideways. Pushing The Boy into the middle. You’re thinking that, perhaps, Obi should not get final say on where he sleeps. But he weighs 10 pounds when he awake and 800 pounds when he is asleep. And he’s VERY tolerant. No amount of foolishness will annoy him into moving.

I’ll let you decide how much you want to think about how inconvenient this was once my cough subsided. Oliver, I can tell you, is annoyed. We’re contemplating moving The Boy to the foot of the bed.

Anywho, on Monday my cough was all but gone, but all the hurricane force winds pushing out of my head made my neck sore and my skull throb. The Boy doesn’t think a person can get a concussion by coughing. After yesterday I’m not so sure. For one thing, my eyelids weren’t thick enough to block out the blinding lightness of the dim room I was laying in. I stood only up long enough to get a new round of beverage and, if at last three hours and fifty-nine minutes had passed, more pain pills.

On the bright side. I got some serious Purr Therapy.

Feel free to find my pain amusing…I will, some day when the trauma is dulled by time and more Comtrex. In the meantime, a picture of an early Thunder. This is in the old house when the condo was in a corner window and Obi was trying to fight/play his way in from the headboard a foot or so away. This is before they learned to share the condo.

"Welcome to the condo cafe. Can I offer you a knuckle sandwich?"