Monthly Archives: May 2011

Do it again!

The Boy was on OutTV this evening, doing various out things, and Obi was in his now normal spot in front of the window in the living room. He was dividing his attention between what The Boy was doing and a sparrow that keeps trying to eat Obi’s birdseed.

I don’t know why Obi won’t let this bird on the ledge. He gets really excited by the finches and orioles, but he doesn’t attack. But this sparrow can’t even land without a brown kitten lunging toward the window. I guess Obi thinks he can take him.

I was watching TV – real TV – when I heard a weird sound and saw Obi leap back from the window from the corner of my eye. I looked up to see that The Boy had sprayed the window with our garden hose. Obi was freaked out. Then entertained.

The whole time The Boy was outside, Obi’s attention was on him. He’d peek around the corner of the window. Hoping.

Do it again!

Grillin’ in the Mist

It’s a foggy evening in Cheyenne. That is important because it means we didn’t grill pork chops. Which means we didn’t eat my homemade applesauce. Which means that the only reason we chopped up all those apples was to provide excellent OutTV.

The buffet I’ve set out for the pregnant squirrels is a big hit in the neighborhood. Especially with the apples I set out today. We had squirrels and all sorts of birds, plus a bunny. My blog today was going to introduce you to all the birds. I had a couple I needed to work really hard to identify. Including orioles. I was really excited to find out Wyoming has orioles. Then, just as I was wrapping up, I discovered our new birds might be grosbeaks. My head hurts.

The funny thing is that we’re serving corn this week and most of our birds are yellow. Five different varieties of yellow bird. Coincidence?

While the apple sauce was cooking, I kept hearing this popping noise. I thought maybe the lid wasn’t on right on the crock pot and kept going to look. Then I figured out that the little yellow and black birds were flying into the windows. They, like Obi, don’t seem to have the whole concept of glass down. At the end of this video you’ll hear a clunk…and my “oh gosh” as a bird hits the window.

Hold the Pickle

We had tuna for lunch today. It was Obi’s idea. Oliver and I went along with it – it seemed like a fine idea. And so it was.
 
As anyone with cats can tell you, the feline ear is built specifically for hearing a can opener. If you have an electric can opener all you have to do is rev it to find every cat in your household. Even, oddly enough, if you feed them from pop top cans. Even if you don’t feed them from cans at all.
 
We do not have an electric opener. But Oliver can hear the manual one from anywhere in the house. It makes him really mad when he comes all the way to the kitchen and I’m opening Spaghetti-O’s. He doesn’t like Spaghetti-O’s. He’ll hang around, though, thinking that maybe I’ll realize that he may be hungry as well. It has never worked out for him.
 
But today! Today it WAS tuna! I divided the tuna juice onto the two breakfast plates. Oliver licked his around the kitchen. Obi has figured out that if he puts his foot on his plate it doesn’t move. Then they licked the can (yay for the safety blade that makes this okay). Then they asked to lick the bowl I mixed my tuna salad in – earning me dirty looks and no licks because I ruined perfectly good tuna with mayo and pickles.

And that is what they remember: I ruined the tuna. I am the abuser of tuna.

Bad Girl.

Today’s Thunder Thursday is about Bisco, my friend Leigha’s pug.

"That's right, they're called DOGGLES."

***

"If these pictures show up on the internet, I'm piddling in your shoes."

 
 
 

Obi, the Amazing Circus Cat!

"I feel like I'm walking a fine line..."

Our very first week in the new house was educational. In the guest room’s closet there are shelves on one side and one day, while I was holding him, Oliver wanted to get on those shelves. I didn’t think too much about it. I just set him on the top shelf and went back to unpacking.

And then…he was gone.

It didn’t take me too long to figure out that Oliver had climbed up into the ceiling. Luckily, he climbed up between two beams and there wasn’t anything but a long path to the foundation with a couple nails sticking up. I didn’t have to worry too much about his safety. I got up on a chair and talked to him until he was ready for me to help him down.

Since then, Kitten Thunder has been obsessed with the ceiling in the basement.

New rule: that side of the closet must remain closed at all times lest a kitten decide to get acrobatic.

A few days later The Boy  came up with a brilliant idea to make the shelves in another closet more shallow  so I would a) have more room to hang clothes and b) have a shelf that was the exact width of a sweater. I have an EXTENSIVE sweater collection. Have I mentioned that I live in Wyoming? And that winter is my favorite season?

Anyway, the shelves were made of two pieces of wood each so all we had to do was take the front piece off of the supports. The bottom shelf is still two pieces wide so there’s a nice platform. Obi was sitting on the platform as The Boy and I sat, huffing and puffing (I made the process sound much easier than it was), on the floor in the hall.

And then he did it. Obi had been looking at the open ceiling but I wasn’t worried about it – he’s not much of a jumper and it was a good six feet up. What I didn’t anticipate, though, was Obi’s amazing circus cat abilities. He used those shelf supports like the rungs of a ladder and zipped right up the wall.

This is where I discovered that I, too, have a special ability. When faced with the possibility of a cat going into the space between two floors of my house, I can move at the speed of light and snatch him back from the abyss at the nick of time! Ta da!

So…new rule. No kittens in the hallway closet, either.

A couple weeks ago, the clothes bar in the guest room closet broke. I maintain this is because of the cheap plastic fixtures and not because I have a ridiculous wardrobe. Stop! Don’t think back to the last paragraphs about me using the hallway closet! Don’t add that to the guest room closet! Cheap…plastic…fixture…no…such…thing…as…too…many…skirts…

While I was waiting for The Boy to fix my closet – the bar needed to be shortened and while I AM a metalsmith, I don’t do hacksaws – I moved those clothes to a spare clothing rack. Did I mention that when we moved to this house I gave away three closets of clothing to charity?

All of this part of the story is leading up to this: the other day, Obi was walking on the rack like a tightrope to get closer to a miller on the ceiling.

New rule: Don’t put the clothes rack near any open parts of the ceiling.

"Whatever you do, don't look down."

On this very special episode of OutTV…

Wow.

And I mean, wow.

The Boy came home from his business trip and you would not believe what happened. I, of course, was happy to see him. Oliver jumped out of my lap and onto the back of the couch to welcome him. Obi…not so much. I’d have never pegged Obi as a punisher, but he is. He ignored The Boy all night. And BARELY let him rub his belly the next morning. Who knew?

The other day, Obi and I were watching the porch while I ate my sandwich. A very pregnant squirrel came to the feeder. She barely made it up and only ate one peanut. She was considering whether it was worth it to try to get up there again when a very VERY pregnant squirrel chased her off. This one had no chance.

She stretched and stretched and streeeeeeetched to try to reach the feeder. The profile of her tiny hands, small head, HUGE belly, and tiny feet was cute. And pathetic. Once she gave up I went out and arranged a buffet for my girls – piles of peanuts and lines of sunflower seeds across all three ledges of our porch.

Now if we can just figure out some way to convince the boy squirrels that they should ignore the easy food and still use the feeder.

We’ve had so much squirrel action on OutTV that Kitten Thunder is losing a little bit of interest. Luckily, we have a whole lot of birds. I can hear a blue jay, right now, calling his girlfriend across the street. There are robins and finches and sparrows and doves and wrens. Last night there was a little woodpecker tap-tap-tapping on the phone pole. And somewhere out there is an owl. I can’t see him, but he’s on OutFM in the morning.

I was watching a robin in the yard with Obi. I was asking about the bird: what was it? What is he doing? Finally Obi turned and looked me square in the eye. I’m pretty sure the look said, “if you’ll shut up and watch, you could figure all this out.” Sorry. I left him to his bird watching and came in here to blog.

Usually I have help when I blog. Lots of “help.” But today we have ten programs going on on OutTV, with smell-o-vision, and that’s an opportunity not to be wasted in May in Wyoming.

And now, back to our program…

Taking Sides

The Boy has an issue, each night, at bedtime. There is 25 pounds of Kitten Thunder evenly distributed across the bed where he sleeps. He’s a considerate man and tries to slip into bed without disturbing anyone. Oliver is first to be annoyed – but he was going to come get under the covers with me so he can put his head on my pillow anyway.

So, with The Boy gone for the week, you’d think Kitten Thunder would enjoy having their own space undisturbed.

But it turns out…

Kitten Thunder is just messing with The Boy. This week they’ve both snuggled up to The Girl. Half a bed, empty.

We’ll be happy to have The Boy back tomorrow. Obi’s belly hasn’t been rubbed correctly for four days.

For Thunder Thursday, we feature three hard-working beige kittens from my friend Nicole. Nicole has a whole herd of fuzzies; this is just a sample.

“Who is the fairest of them all? I think that’s pretty obvious.”

Asia has a small human, of course, but it’s a shame when that’s the only way to get a princess chair. I’ve seen the pictures, though – she’s pretty fond of the girl.

“Just call me the Nap Guard. Now be gone.”

Roca is working hard in this picture. It just LOOKS like a nap with her human.

“We’ve worked all day; do we have to do a photo shoot now?”

Roca and Chloe enjoy having their picture taken as much as Kitten Thunder does. I can tell.

The Mouse on My Desk, the Mouse in My House

The Boy has gone to Indianapolis. I have so much attention from Kitten Thunder it’s almost annoying. Right now, Obi is rolling on his back on the desk. Under the monitor shelf. There goes a pencil. And a pen. And a CD. Plus, there’s a big furry tail on my keyboard.

As I was typing the last paragraph, Obi sat up and started swatting at my mouse. He is horribly affronted by my “no!” as I placed the mouse in my lap.

In other news, Mr. Bear made it out to the living room last night but tonight when I got home he was back in the hall. I can only assume he saw whatever show he needed to see on TV and is working his way back to the office.

This week in the blogoverse, Aluminum Foiled My Plans had a post about her cat and a mouse. And so, the story of Poco, Oli and the mouse:

As I’ve said before, Oliver had to be bottle fed when he first came to live with Poco and I. Since moving to Cheyenne Poco had become an indoor cat but I let her go “out” in the garage. One morning I let her “out” and sat down on the couch with Oliver and his bottle.

A few minutes into his feeding, Poco walked into the living room and came straight to us. She gave us a look like, “well, if he’s staying we mights as well see what the kid’s got.” Then she dropped a mouse at my feet.

**We break in to this story to talk briefly about the mice of Wyoming. Evidently, elsewhere, mice are huge. Here they are about the same size as a toy mousie and very cute. Not that that makes it okay for your cat to bring one into the living room. Back to the story.**

I had a kitten and a bottle and I was struggling to get them set down so I could deal with the mouse situation. Poco knew the look on my face and grabbed the mouse before I could take away her prize. I snatched her up and carried her out onto my front sidewalk.

There, we did the shake. Not much to explain really, I leaned over so Po was almost on the ground while growling, “drop it. DROP it. Drop IT.” She growled back and held on. But eventually the mouse fell to the ground. I am a very persistent shaker – Stoney and I used to argue for hours about whether he was going to eat a bird or whether I was going to take the carcass to my art professor for extra credit. I reeeeally like getting A’s.

The mouse, a little soggy from his ride in a kitten mouth, opened an eye. He twitched his whiskers. One arm moved. His tail flicked. After several minutes it seemed to dawn on him that – against all odds – he was alive. Alive! And then he was off, down the driveway and across the street.

This is when I realized I was standing in the middle of my front yard in a strappy little satin nighty.

Stupid cat.

Sunday Snapshots

The Boy fixed the downstairs toilet today while I was at the old house painting the storage room because evidently people won’t buy a house just because it has a pink storage room. So now it’s Celadon. Men, that means it isn’t pink. The Boy had plenty of help. Oliver sat on the seat and looked in – helpfully proving once again that his head is not transparent and that it is hard to work through, over or around. Obi stood on the floor and showed how tall he is getting. He was on the floor mostly because he has helped me work on this toilet before and knows I don’t play the kitten on the toilet game.

***

Obi is big into showing how tall he’s getting lately. Which isn’t tall at all. But it is now tall enough that he has touched my sandwich on the counter when it was too close to the edge.

***

Oliver had a cootie in his ear and shook his head to get rid of it. I happened to be holding him and got a good thwacking from that ear. Slap! Slap! Slap! Across my face. You could hear it from the other side of the room.

***

As the sun was setting, Obi was watching the shadows of branches dance on the wall in the dining room. I stuck my finger into the beam and he attacked the shadow for a couple minutes. Then I laughed and he noticed I was in the room. Then, for the first time ever, he looked at where I was pointing! Except I wasn’t pointing at anything…

***

After dinner, Obi and I were sitting on the couch. Real casual, I lifted up my hand and DEPLOYED THE CLAW! Except Obi was about two inches further away than my reach. He looked at the claw. Watched it desperately trying to reach his face. Looked at me like I was a little stupid. Then I leaned over and moved within clawing range. THE CLAW!

“Drat. How did you find the camera?”

 ***

On my way in to blog, I noticed that Mr. Bear is in the hallway again. And Oliver had the need…the need to knead.

"Kneading you into a puddle is how I show I care."

Cats, like shoes, are better air-dried.

I take you back to a day in my childhood. My mother and I are sitting in the living room watching TV.

“What’s that thunking sound?”

“Sounds like shoes in the dryer.”

“Oh.” After a couple minutes, “you’re not drying my shoes, are you? I hate dryer dried shoes.”

“You didn’t put shoes in the dryer?”

“No.”

We looked at each other. We blinked. We ran to the laundry room.

Our kitten, Stasha, had climbed in the dryer when we weren’t looking. Of course cats like dryers – they’re warm and full of soft clothing that needs to be rehaired. Stasha was in the dryer for about five minutes. She panted for another fifteen minutes as her temperature slowly came down. Honestly, I think we cooked her brain a little bit. But that didn’t stop her from trying to get back in the dryer every time it was open.

Poco and Stoney have also managed to get dried – though not for nearly as long. See, we learn.

My Aunt Barb sent me this message: “Benjy says to tell you that since you did a blog on cats in boxes, you should also do one on cats in dryers – one of his favorite places.  It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s soft and fluffy!”

I couldn’t agree more, Barb, but with my history with cats, yours is going to have to model this idea on this the Thunder Thursday.

"The laundry police called. They say you're being cited for not separating your colors from your kittens."

 

"What? YOU sing in the shower."

 

“Don’t forget the dryer sheet; I hate static cling.”

 While we’re talking about laundering cats, Lori – of Thundersitting fame – got a new car with a fascinating feature that I simple MUST have in my next car.

Let your cat dry completely before folding or it will crease and no amount of ironing will fix it.

 

Return of the Moth, Man.

And it begins…

Last night, I received a text from The Boy about Kitten Thunder. They were watching a miller by the front door. I, as it happened, was having an argument with a miller in the garage of my old house. Seems he wanted to be wherever I was sweeping.

Miller season has arrived.

Pretty. Tiny. Tasty.

Millers, in case you are unfamiliar, are small brown moths that migrate from somewhere east of here to somewhere west of here in early summer. Then they come back in late summer. At least those who weren’t eaten by cats come back. Miller season for cats is like some-big-dumb-tasty-trophy-animal-that-invites-you-to-shoot-it season for hunters. It is something they look forward to all year.

In fact, Cousin Spade is already looking for millers every time my dad opens the door. They are four hours further west. And these millers are early.

Millers are actually very pretty when you take a close look at them. But they can wear on your patience. For one thing, they are attracted to light. Great because it is easy to attract them for the cats. Not so great because when you go to bed they are attracted to the light on the clock. Imagine the flutter of dusty wings in your face. Imagine the sound of them flittering by in the dark. Imagine a 14 pound cat leaping from the headboard to catch the one that has landed on your chest.

Ssssh, The Boy doesn’t know this is coming.

Last night as I was taking out my contacts, Kittens were Thundering under the bed. They were together. So I thought each was the cause of the other’s Thunder. Then, as I was brushing my teeth I noticed Obi tucking the loose ends of my pillow under.

I brushed.

I watched.

My brow furrowed. The Boy asked why.

I spit. Then, “I think Obi is shoving a bug under my pillow.”

And indeed he was. It’s going to be a long summer.