Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Could Have Been Attack by the Possibly Homicidal Pumpkins Story

There is much cute happening here tonight. Including Obi chasing his tail. Why? Because it was following him.

But! I promised the story of my potentially homicidal pumpkins so here it goes:

In high school, I desperately wanted to be a botanist. So, of course, I took all the science classes I could. One had a semester project where we could do independent study. I chose a great project. I don’t remember what it was. I do remember that it required growing pine tree seedlings. And that mine never sprouted.

Lucky for me, I’d taken advantage of my access to the greenhouse to plant pumpkin seeds. In January. Awesome. So I changed my project to…something else. I don’t remember. I passed the class mostly because my teacher loved me – I’d taken seven or eight classes from him since Junior High – and I was tutoring most of his college students during my work study hour.

This is as good a time as any to tell you that I’m in public relations. When I went to university I discovered that I am good at science theory but completely incapable of passing the labs. I had to drop BOTANY lab because I was flunking yet another plant experiment. Sigh. Luckily I was already on the communications path.

Anywho, summer came and I took my pumpkins – giant pumpkin plants – home with me. We planted them in the back yard where I could find two empty spaces. And this is where it starts to get weird. In a matter of days the pumpkins started growing toward each other.

They didn’t grow up.

They didn’t get bushy.

They didn’t grow flowers.

Both pumpkin plants grew one stem, directly toward the other, with only a few leaves. And they grew this stem at an amazing speed. In about two weeks the plant stems were long enough to touch even though the pumpkin plants were forty feet apart.

The issue was that these pumpkins were smart enough to reach in a straight line across the lawn. My dad, though, is a sweet man. He would carefully separate the pumpkins, which were now twisting around each other in a weird, stemmy embrace. He’d move the arms of each pumpkin off the lawn, mow, and return them to their place. He’d even twist their little stemmy hands back together.

It wasn’t all about being nice, though. There was definitely a sense that if you tried to separate them or hurt one of them….my parent’s bedroom window was just another five feet of determined growing…

Back to cats on Saturday. Bye!

But wait! I almost forgot it is Thunder Thursday!

“Maddy wants a cracker. With tuna.”

This is Madison, one of three grey kittens that owns The Boy’s father. When we went to visit at Christmas I barely saw the other two, but Madison is very social. Because he’s always on the lookout for a sucker who will let him ride on their shoulders. He thinks The Boy’s shoulders are perfect. Mine did okay in a pinch.

The first day was hard for me because the house was like an Oliver Fun House. The three cats looks like Oli – only skinnier, or smaller or fatter. It was like when you go to your home town and you keep getting whiplash because you see your home plates on a car. Which is usually noteworthy, but here it’s every car.

Stuck In the Middle with You…

Oliver decided to sleep in The Boy’s arms last night. I mentioned to Oli that not everyone likes to breathe through a fur filter. He turned up the volume of his purr and pretended not to hear me.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

On my way home from work every day I see a house that reminds me there’s one thing that was on my must have list for a house. One glaring absence in an otherwise perfect home.

When I first move to Cheyenne the house I rented had a sun porch. Oh, how Poco and I loved that porch. In the winter it was “out.” This would be a great time to mention that we moved to Cheyenne in March so we’re lucky that March and April are still winter here. In the summer it was a cool place to read in the outside breeze but it was inside so I had a comfy chair.

Also? I planted tomatoes in a pot in April. By the time I bought my house in August they were more than six feet tall and we had to bungee cord them to the ceiling of the moving truck. I haven’t had garden success like that since I raised (possibly homicidal) pumpkins with attachment disorder during my senior year botany class.

Anywho, I’ve missed having a sun porch at my house and now we don’t have one here. Only five kabillion windows and an awesome porch that we’ll enjoy. Someday. If it ever stops snowing.

What makes me think about it, though, is people who are ALMOST as good at cat servitude as me. Their sun porch furnishing consist of two kitchen chairs. One always has a cat in it. Usually she’s laying down. Sometimes she’s sitting. There was one time that she wasn’t there and I almost crashed my car. The other chair, I assume, is in case a person needs an audience with the cat. Perhaps they could discuss why that chair doesn’t have a cushion!?! Seriously, people, a cat on a hard wooden chair? The cat-manity.

Today is my birthday and Kitten Thunder has enjoyed my presents very much. Their favorite present? The cardboard string that came off the FedEx box.

It. Is. Awesome.

And that’s all I have to say about THAT.

Battle Box

"You know what's really good in omelettes? Tuna."

The Boy and I were standing in the kitchen when we heard a thunk from Kitty Playland. Obi is the main user of the playland but we thought he was in the condo so we stepped into the breakfast nook to see what was going on.

Kitty Playland, you may recall, has been downsized to one box that has a flap on it. Earlier in the morning, The Boy had pushed the flap over to close Obi in the box. The lid was still closed but this time there was a grey tail hanging out. As we watched, the tail slowly pulled into the box and there was a thunk. The tell-tale thunk of an Oli plunking.

I lifted the lid to see the grey kitten – “hello!” I said and closed the lid. I did this a couple times. Then Obi walked in.

Obi approached the side of the box. He put his nose to the opening. A white paw darted out and punched him. There were a couple seconds of brown paws against white paw.

Then Obi got on top of the box. The lid clamped tight on the box. Then it slid down  a little into the box. Then a little more. A little more. A…little…bit…THWUMP! Oliver was trapped under the triangle of space left by the flap being pushed in. Obi sat next to him on the outside triangle. He looked confused.

Then he was bored. And feeling a little peckish. So he gave up the game for kitty crunchies.

I liberated the grey fuzzy.

As soon as Oliver left, Obi went back to the box. And pushed the lid back down while trying to get in. Trying to be helpful, I lifted him up – and gave him kisses until he squeaked in protest – while The Boy lifted the lid back out. We inserted him into the box and closed the lid.

We went back to cooking breakfast.

THWUMP. Obi was on top of the lid again.

Sometimes we humans just don’t understand the rules of the game.

Stockpiling for the Apocalypse

I heard someone say there are billboards around the country declaring that today would be the end of the world. Obi isn’t going to take any chances.

I was standing in the doorway between the dining room and kitchen watching The Boy cook our dinner when a snack pack of Whoppers hit me in the back of the calf. There’s a bowl of Whoppers, left over from Halloween which I bought candy for and then we didn’t hand out because The Boy hid in the basement and I wasn’t home, on the dining room table. Obi had singled out a pack and thrown it at me. He then proceeded to play with it, which was cute. Then, even cuter, he picked it up and ran into the living room. I watched the cuteness of him playing with it for a minute then turned back to the kitchen.

A few minutes later, I heard the crinkle of candy wrapper on the table and turned to see Obi with another package of Whoppers. This time I watched him sneak away with it and put it in the cave – the blue blanket on the couch was draped very well tonight.

A few minutes later…the same thing. This time, Oliver went into the cave and some kind of weird cave Thunder happened. I watched until dinner was ready and shrimp pasta brought both cats to my feet when I sat on the couch.

Later, I noticed Obi carrying a toy into the cave. Then another. The third toy didn’t make it to the cave – it tried to escape and was beaten and pounced into submission. At last, it was time to get up to blog so I took a peek into the cave. Okay, first I looked all over for the camera but I can’t find it – it is probably in The Boy’s car from when he played hookey yesterday and went to take pictures of trains. Sheesh. He acts like it’s HIS camera or something.

Five packages of Whoppers, two mousies, and a crumpled up piece of paper. I don’t know what, exactly, Obi thinks he’s prepared for. But he is prepared. I hope he’ll share his supplies with the people if we need to shelter in the cave.

It’s Thunder Thursday! Here’s my friend Don’s cat, Aspen. If she ever tells Oliver where to buy laser sights for his eyes I think I’ll be getting up about 19 minutes earlier…

"Put the food in my bowl or you shall be zappified!"

Obi’s Morning Routine

Alarm. Oli encouraging The Girl to get up.

Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed.

Stretch. Jump off loveseat. Mosey over to the bed. Pass between clock’s projector and wall so The Girl knows of presence and says, “hello Tail.” Say nothing.

Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed.

Go downstairs. Check to see what is on OutTV in The Boy’s office.

Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed. Oli running to the stairs. Oli running back to the bed.

The Girl walking down the stairs. Oliver thundering down stairs. Run to breakfast nook.

Tuna? Cat food? Put it on the plate. Some for me, too? Not just Oli?

Food on two plates. Scritch from The Girl.

Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver eating off my plate. Move to other plate. Oliver is done.

The Boy comes into the kitchen. Ignore him while licking plates spotlessly clean.

Watch OutTV from dining room.

Watch OutTV from front living room window.

Watch OutTV from couch window. Scritch from The Girl. Ignore The Girl when she tries to point out squirrels out front window OutTV. Pretend to be very interested in empty branches out couch window.

Robot that makes smelly life-giving juice cries. The Boy goes into the kitchen.

Race to the kitchen. “Belly rub. Belly rub. BELLY RUB! GIVE ME A BELLY RUB!” Lead boy to living room rug.

Belly rub. The Boy and The Girl make commentary on the neglect to which they subject their cats. Despite conversation, seem unrepentant. The Boy walks away without satisfactorily completing belly rub. Returns to hand life-giving juice to The Girl. Get underfoot.

Return to office with The Boy. Scratch rug. Jump in box. Jump out of box. Jump in box. Jump out of box.

The Girl walks in. Picked up. The Girl and The Boy make commentary on the abuse to which they subject their cats. Again, seem unrepentant. Set down.

Follow The Girl upstairs to watch her poke herself in the eye with clear disks. Jump on bed – become Bed Monster. Belly rub. Follow The Girl to the stairs and jump up on half wall over staircase.

"I walk the line between black and white, light and dark, up...and a long way down."

“Obi, you’re going to give your mother a heart attack.” Go down stairs touching only six steps. Follow Girl to other stairs, slowly, to play peeking around the corner game. The Girl yells, “Boo!” Pretend to be startled. Run.

Downstairs to watch The Girl. Upstairs to supervise The Boy’s teeth brushing. Belly rub. Downstairs to watch The Girl. Upstairs to supervise The Boy’s de-hairification. Belly rub.

Kill the bath mat.

“Goodbye, boys!” People gone.

Time for a nap.

OutTV, starring The Boy

“The Girl has the camera again. Try not to be cute, maybe she’ll go away.”

 There was exciting programming on OutTV today. The Boy was raking. Kitten Thunder found it fascinating. They paused in watching only long enough to run to me to tell me The Boy was on OutTV. Doing stuff. To the out.

I sipped my coffee. I could see him from the couch.

As predicted, Kitten Thunder has gotten over the neediness of last week. This weekend they are all about each other. They’ve thundered. They’ve snuggled in the condo. They’ve laid on the couch at the same time – though not together – and done the occasional laying down thunder. It isn’t really a thunder. Just two cats, showing each other their teeth and slapping each other in the face. Good game when there’s a good movie on.

Kitten Thunder’s blog officially has hundred of fans. That’s not a typo. One hundred regular readers. We appreciate you all. But it’s Sunday and I have some more quality time scheduled with the couch. See you Tuesday!

"Operation Dont Be Cute is a failure. Snap on, Girl, snap on."

What’s in a name?

Today was quite the day. It started with being run off the interstate on my way to work, about which I will only say that my Saturn once again saved the day and that I hate GM for making it so I will never have a car as good as this one ever again. I realize Saturn lovers weren’t making them any money, what with our fanatic attachment to our cars, but come on! And go ahead, send me another email about how the Chevy Malibu is perfect for me. I’m thinking about a phrase, GM, and it rhymes with Malibu…but I don’t cuss on this blog.

I mean, I don’t cuss. At all. Hi Mom; hi Dad; hi Grandma!

At lunch time we made dioramas with peeps for a contest amongst friends. I maintained that this was the only good use of peeps. Then I felt bad for condemning a food I have not eaten for well over 15 years. So I had one. Now I feel bad for considering them food. Really. I feel bad. Peppermint tea and ramen noodles for dinner type bad.

ANYWAY! Cats! We’re here to talk about cats! This is the first day Obi came to live with us. And the first time he used The Force to keep his brother from beating him up. Look at that masterful Obi-esque paw wave.

"You do not want to thwap me on the head..."

Cat owners have numerous names for their fuzzies and Kitten Thunder is no exception. I thought I’d let you in on the roll call and the reasons being the names.

Oliver – Well, this was not my most creative choice ever. He’s an orphan. He was little and pathetic. But I defend myself by saying that Oliver! is my favorite musical of all time. I used to sing “I’d do anything,” poorly I am sure, to Oliver all the time.

Bunny – Oli has big eyes, big feet and huge ears. And a cute little pink nose. He also happens to have fur that is as soft as a bunny’s. We noticed lately that if he left tracks in the snow they would be quite similar to a rabbit’s because he walks with his front feet in a line and his back feet slightly off set.

Handsome Grey Man – Well, he’s grey. And male. And a pretty good looking cat. He is also my Brown-eyed Boy. I do not sing the related song to him…mostly because I don’t know any of the words. But I think it at him.

Pi – Pi is Oli’s middle name because when he was little everyone said he was such a sweety pie…and a cutey pie. So I started calling him Kitten Pie. I dropped the “e” because my whole family has this thing against extraneous letters.

Obi Wan Kittenobi – So I know this will come as a shock to you, but I am a huge Star Wars fan. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. And I am so shamed about this. The name Obi actually came from the week before I adopted him but after I’d decided we needed a second cat. It stands for…Oliver’s Brother. It wasn’t until I got him home and couldn’t stop calling him Obi Wan that he got the rest of his name.

Tail – When Obi is walking he holds his tail up straight. You can see it, much like a shark fin, when he walks past a bed or couch. “Hello, Tail,” we say. And, like that shark, if it disappears you know he’s about to jump up.

Belly – When Tail lays down and demands attention, he becomes Belly. We’re a creative bunch in this household.

Cricket – We don’t use this one much but, since Poco was Bear and Oli is Bunny, I thought he needed an animal name. As I’ve mentioned before we hold his previous owner in a highly negative light for calling him Tiger. So…Cricket. Obi has many meows and one of them is a high pitched, short chirp. Another is a trill.

Handsome Brown Boy – Male. Brown. Good looking. Hey, I’m creative for a living and for charity, sometimes I just have to give that half of my brain a rest and state the obvious.

It’s Thunder Thursday! THURSday ThursDAY THURSDAY! And Cousin Puck thinks it’s time for Smackdown.

“I crush my competition in the cage match.”

Puck is a handsome puddle of a cat. No really, when he sits he kind of puddles. He just kind of oozes out from the sides. Part of his size has to do, probably, with him being the kind of cat that lays down to drink water. But he’s on a strict diet so don’t blame my brother and his family – they’ve done all they can do. He looks good as a puddle, anyway.

In spite of his size, Puck is actually active when he wants to be. He plays with the kids. He terrorizes the dog. His favorite thing to do is sit on the top step of the stairs into the basement so the dog can’t get into the family room without walking past. She’s very pathetic, crying in the laundry room because a cat 1/3 her size is picking on her.
Here’s my second confession of the night: for a good two years I thought that someone in their family liked Shakespeare and named Puck after…well, Puck. Sad. Have I mentioned that my brother is the coach for, and my nephew plays on, the Riverton River Rats hockey team?

Cling On, Cats. Not to be confused with Klingon Cats.

I’m pretty sure this is one of only a few funny parts of HOP:
     Easter Bunny: The EGG of DESTINY can only be wielded by a bunny.
     Evil Chick: Look, I’m wielding it. I’m wielding it AGAIN!

The Boy wielded the magic toy making stick this evening and produced two flat leopard skin mousies, the teddy bear mouse, a milk ring, and $3 toy designed to act like a milk rink, a squeaky ball…and enough cat hair to knit ourselves a kitten. Obi was very excited. Then he was overstimulated. He ended up piling them all together so he could just lay on them.

Then The Boy threw them all over the living room. Obi went back to playing with the tiny fuzzy that has been out all week. It’s about the size of a dime but don’t underestimate it. That fuzzy is wily. It requires vertical pounces of at least a foot and a half (while fluttering your feet like a ballerina, for some reason).

"Any minute, a tuna will come by and I will pounce. What does a tuna look like, anyway?"

The world of Facebook confirms that cats from everywhere have been especially clingy this week. Kitten Thunder was no exception. When I sat, someone sat with me. On me. By my head on the back of the couch. With their wet nose in my ear. Or up against my nose for some EYE CONTACT.

When I went down to my work bench there was Thunder. But small scale Thunder that never went where they couldn’t see me. For a while, they were gone. Then I glanced into the spare room and saw the reflection of eyes watching from the bed. At one point Oliver came walking purposefully to where I sat in the banana chair, climbed into my lap and about broke my nose with the hug-headbutt he delivered. The Boy came down shortly after to make sure I’d been found – Oli had been upstairs wailing because I was lost.

For the past few nights, shortly after lights out, Oliver has started the “where did everyone go? Why am I alone?” cry on the main floor. I usually break down and call him. And remind him we’re where we are EVERY night. The ecstatic purr I get when he finds me just adds to how ridiculous this is.

Last night there was no yowling. Because Obi and Oli followed me upstairs to read.

And now? I left two cats on the love seat in the living room when I came in to blog. Obi is in the condo. He’s looking the other way, but I can feel him watching me with his flipped around ears. And Oli has moved four feet so he can see me by putting his head on the armrest of the couch.

I guess I should be grateful for the attention. I’ll miss it some day when Kitten Thunder doesn’t need their mama.

**A side note: Did you know the world’s largest bar made of solid jade is in Medicine Bow, Wyoming? SO smelling a road trip this weekend!

**A second side note: Since I said the word “Klingon” in my title I really wanted to say “Obi hates zebra cows” in that language. Why? Well, because it would be funny. And because Obi kept throwing a little plastic cow – don’t ask ME why he has stripes – off The Boy’s workbench this weekend. No translator will tell me how to say “Obi hates zebra cows.” So instead, I give you what he said to me when I paused in my metal working to tell him to get off The Boy’s bench: “mupwI’ yI’uchtaH!”

Spell check? Thinks I misspelled that.

Dragon in Exile

"You'd tell me if there was something in my hair, right?"

People often ask me how my dragon gets along with the cats. The truth is that when I just had Poco we got along fine. Zensai was out of his cage almost daily. He’d run around for a while, then climb the couch to lay with Poco and I and watch a movie. He loves TV. Especially things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the screen is mostly dark.

There was only one instance between Po and Zensai when I first let him run around the house. He was dozing off by a chair. She walked over, casually. She sat down. She looked at me. She looked at him. She looked at me. She looked at him. WHAM! She bopped him on the head, looked at me with a “and that’s all I have to say about THAT” expression, and strolled off as casual as she’d arrived. Zen was a bit stunned. But fine. That afternoon we were laying on the couch – all three of us – like nothing had ever happened.

That all changed when we got Oliver. Oli ruined Zen’s life.

But not the way you’re probably thinking. Oliver loooooooooooves Zensai. If I take Zen out of his tank a grey kitten arrives in seconds – purring, stretching a paw out to pet, jumping up and down to be picked up as well. He makes a total fool out of himself.

Zensai? Does NOT return the feeling.

Bearded dragons are capable of doing a lot of damage, physically, to us fleshy creatures. They can bite down to the bone. So I really want to avoid that particular visit to the vet. But more importantly, I want to avoid the emotional damage this attack would do.

I made a big mistake on Oliver’s first birthday. The retirement facility that had rescued him was having a birthday party for the cats – most of the litter was adopted by staff so the residents were involved in their lives – and Oliver was invited. Oliver is twice the size of his brothers and sisters. He’s also the only one with long hair. The residents didn’t pay any attention to the weird, unrelated cat. And then, in a horrible moment, Oli jogged up to his siblings in a friendly “hey guys!” way. They turned and looked at him in disdain. Hope punched him in the nose. They turned away.

I saw Oliver crumple in on himself inside. It. Was. Awful.

So now Zensai is a mostly inside his tank lizard. It was one thing when I could let him out and just hold Oliver, kicking and trying desperately to get down to play with his brother, because Po didn’t do anything. But with Obi as well? Forget it.

"Black Beard the pirate? He had nothing on me."

Go ahead, mention that houses have doors. Have you ever heard a desperate 14 pound cat trying to get through a door? That’s no fun for anyone involved.

Obi, by the way, seems genuinely surprised when a sound comes from the box of light. I don’t think he knows there’s anything living in it. I mean, he’s SEEN Zen. But Obi hits his head a lot.

The Claw!

I believe most cat owners are familiar with the claw: a hand held, claw-like, then fitted over the face of a cat. Kitten Thunder has numerous uses for the claw.

My dad and I firmly believe that grey kittens, universally, love the claw. They’ll walk across the room for it. My theory is that their brains are a little fluffy and they like the feeling of having it tamped down a little bit. It is a favorite kind of pet. Even Gracie, my parents’ tiny cat who only allows you to pet the aura of her aura with the very tip of your aura when she’s feeling VERY lonely, will allow you to give her the claw.

Obi likes the claw as well. The fluffy brain theory would also apply to him. Though he always refluffs his brain with a head shake as he pulls away from the claw. And comes back for another round.

Kitten Thunder also enjoys claw fights. If one of them is feeling feisty but can’t get their brother to play, a good battle of the claw is very satisfying. I can set up several feet away and display a claw. With a fierce look a possibly a butt wriggle, a kitten face is thrust into the claw. The goal of course is to attack the claw off center so he can bite the soft spot between thumb and index finger while dragging the claw to the ground for kicking. There is growling on both sides. Then we break off.

The attack is repeated. And repeated. And repeated.

I love the claw.

I had totally forgotten about this until I saw it on someone’s Facebook today. If you have cats, you will love

Today’s guest star  for Thunder Thursday is cousin Spade. The grandpeople brought Spade to Cheyenne with them a couple years ago when he was too young to stay home by himself. Unfortunately he stayed just long enough for he and Oliver to get to the “I hit you but I think it is supposed to be fun” phase.

"You can't have a full house without a Spade."

Things you should know about Spade:

1. He looks like he is solid black but when he’s in the sun you can see he is actually black with black stripes. No joke.

2. His nickname is Spadosaurus because he’s basically a bowling ball on tiny feet and he is the LOUDEST WALKER ever.

3. His favorite toy? Rubber bouncy balls. Favorite game? Carrying them to the top of the basement stairs and throwing them down so he can watch. Them. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce all the way down.

4. He adores kids. You need someone to play cars or with your dolls or a video game? He’s in.