Monthly Archives: June 2011

How to Build a Fort

Step 1: Survey the build site.

Step 2: Clear the build site - but the kitten can stay.

Step 3: Strategically angle support structure for maximum usable space.

Step 4: Set up walls. The kitten will take it from here.

Step 5a: Check to see if the fort is big enough for two.

Step 5b: Decide it is not and chase off brother who is only mildly interested anyway.

Step 6: Knock walls down close to support structure to keep The Girl from joining you in the fort.

Step 7: Check the roof. The Girl, after all, is in communications not contracting.

Side note: Your fort should always have two entrances to allow for escape during a Thunder or if The Girl decides she wants to take your picture.

And finally: Relax and enjoy!

Today’s Thunder Thursday guest is our second dog – my friend Michelle’s pooch, Hazel. People at Michelle’s job think she does a lot of hard work, but we all know who is behind her success.

"Who moved the stapler?!? "

We provide our own siren.

Just like parents, it is hard for a cat’s people to hear him/her in pain or discomfort. Poco had asthma for over 20 years, but every attack made me stop and listen. I hoped it would be short. I hoped it would pass without too much pain. I hoped it would be only one attack.

Oliver has inverted sneeze, which sounds even worse than asthma when an attack comes. And since he can go months between them you can tell that Oliver is unsure what is happening. They are horrible. But they pass quickly.

Usually, they pass quickly.

"This is the face of discomfort."

On Sunday, Oliver had an inverted sneeze. It didn’t last long. A while later he was in the condo and I went to take his picture. I noticed he was a little wheezy. Then, later that night, he started to cough.

The coughing came in spurts – one cough every 40 seconds or so for several minutes. Then he’s put his head back down and nap. By bedtime he was still coughing but between he was having trouble swallowing. Neither of us slept well.

I did the math and realized it’s been several months since we’ve been to the vet.

So we were due.

Oliver wanted to eat on Monday morning. This is a good sign. When he doesn’t want to eat we throw him in the carrier and call the vet on the way there. The grey kitten loves his food. Unfortunately, his throat hurt so bad that when I went back to the kitchen to check on him he was just licking the gravy off the food.

I dialed the phone. The vet had an appointment at 2:30 p.m., which I took and I thought in relief about how much cheaper that was going to be that squeezing him in on a “same day” visit.

I hung up.

I saw Oli gag.

I called back and told them we were on our way in. Oliver wasn’t so sick that he couldn’t scream his fool head off the entire way there.

They have another new doctor – he’s tall and seems to “get” cats. Oliver would have liked him had the new doctor not been trying to pry open his mouth to examine his throat. Next time, maybe.

And the verdict? Allergies.

Good grief, kid.

He’s on his way back to fine. Prednisone, our drug of choice, for the allergies. An antibiotic just in case because he had a mild fever.

"Beware the dragon, for you are tasty and about to disturb the kitten's nap."

Why this picture? Because no blog is complete without Obi, right?

Haiku Thunder

Kitten Thundering
Fighting all Sunday morning
Long and peaceful night

The Tale of Two Nudists

Oliver and Obi don’t wear clothes. Ever. End of story.

"Don't look, I'm not dressed!"

The Boy is becoming a very good cat owner. He is in tune with Kitten Thunder. Yesterday, he could tell just by how Oliver was walking that he wasn’t feeling well. Of course, I already knew that Oli was going to toss his tuna as soon as I opened their can of food. Somehow I managed to buy a can of dark cat food. Oli can’t keep red and brown cat food down. But I thought it was worth a shot.

And twenty minutes later I was rewarded for my risk. Can we all agree that cleaning up warm vomit is the grossest thing on earth? I about tossed my own tuna.

In addition to yesterday’s bit of genius, The Boy once identified Oli’s “I’m about to toss my tuna” cry from across the house. That was really something because he heard that tone and I didn’t. And I am VERY familiar with that cry.

Kitten Thunder is helping me blog tonight. And by “helping” I mean:

"Don't forget to...zzzzz"

"Remember spellcheck doesn't catch everything."

For Thunder Thursday, we bring you my friend Lori’s cat(ish), Goblin.

“Wait!” You say. “We met Goblin on Tuesday and he was moving to Florida.” You say. Well…

“A little bit jungle, a little bit box and a little bit playland. Paradise.”

Goblin was really happy to see his people. Unfortunately, after a whole day and a whole night of being locked in a bedroom to make sure he’d catch his plane, he escaped through a hole in a screen in a window. He did not catch his flight.

So now things are up in the air. Goblins people love him. Lori loves him. We all know he is happy in Cheyenne where he can go outside and hunt as he pleases. We’re pretty sure he’d also like the beach. It is really hard to decide what to do when all the options are good. For now, Goblin is staying.

So, welcome home, Gobbles.


Just a note to send our sympathies out to Hoody Hoo. Luci, one of the kittens, was anemic and just not meant to spend long with us. It is hard to find a silver lining when faced with the death of a beloved fuzzy. If there were such a lining it would be this: Hoody’s big heart meant that Luci got to spend her whole life with her brother and sister. And in Hoody’s loving home.

The Cats of Out

Lori, of Thunder sitting fame, has a boarder. A cat named Goblin that came to live with her while his people were in Europe. Have I mentioned that Lori is full of awesome sauce? But, tomorrow, Goblin and his people are headed to Florida on a plane.

I won’t even go into how bad I think a plane ride with a cat would be.

Lori and Goblin’s relationship started out a little rocky. He talks. A lot. She has a dog. But eventually they got used to each other and Lori taught him a whole bunch of new habits like eating junk food (I can’t remember if it was dry or canned food he didn’t eat when he got here) and going out.

A couple weeks ago, when I was in charge of Goblin sitting, I was warned about his new habit of bringing…offerings. Kristin, Lori’s roommate, mentioned that mice often showed up at Lori’s door. And, while Lori was away, Goblin had brought Kristin…well…squirrel bits. A bit here. A bit there. A bloody head at her door.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to cleaning up bits. As it happened, I never saw Goblin that weekend. He was eating the food I left him but mostly he stayed outside enjoying the finally warm weather. A with no one to bring offerings, there were none to clean up.

Sensing, I think, that his time with Lori was drawing to an end, Goblin brought the ultimate gift this morning: a magic bunny.

She heard something under the couch and – since she is NOT a fan of squirrels – enlisted her nephew to help her. She roused him from a deep possible-only-as-a-teenager type slumber. Together, they lifted the couch and found the bunny huddled in the back corner.

Lori turned her back for just a second to keep Goblin from getting the rabbit. Her nephew never looked away. And yet, the bunny disappeared. In a blink of a bleary 18-year-old’s eye.

“Maybe he was a magic bunny.”

Unfortunately, magic bunnies get caught if they don’t magic themselves out of the house. Goblin found him in the office a little while later. No worries! Lori rescued the rabbit and set him free.

And Goblin spent the day locked inside to make sure he catches his plane tomorrow.

Bon voyage, Gobbles.

As I was contemplating this post, it reminded me of a night a couple months ago. The Boy and I were walking home from downtown. As we neared our house, we saw a big ol’ raccoon lumbering down the sidewalk. He got to the corner we were walking toward and gave us a look before disappearing down the drain in the gutter.

I’ve seen this happen before. Actually, I’ve seen this with a much bigger raccoon that kicked in the air when his belly got stuck in the drain and he had to suck in to get the rest of the way down. But on this particular night, what followed the raccoon was most interesting.

A little orange tabby was strolling behind the raccoon to make sure it left his territory. Not chasing, just quietly intimidating.

The cat walked up to the corner, looked down in the grate, then turned and strolled back from where he’d come. He paused just long enough to give us a look. “No worries, folks, the neighborhood is clear.”

Now, do you think his Girl ever wakes up to a raccoon at her bedroom door?

Things that go bump bump in the morning…

Bump bump bump bump.

Bump bump bump bump

Bump bump bump bump.

“Obi. Stop.”

Obi, on occasion, feels like he needs to help Oliver with the process of annoying the humans out of bed. Usually this is by crying in the bathroom that someone has to feed him or the bath mat is going to get it. The bath mat usually gets it. We’re not nearly as concerned about its well-being as Obi thinks we should be.

Lately, Obi has been opening the door on the bathroom cupboard and letting it bounce shut. Usually you just have to tell him once and he’ll stop. Not so, yesterday morning:

Bump bump bump bump.

Bump bump bump bump.

“Obi. Stop.”

Bump bump bump bump.

“Obi. STOP.”

Bump bump bump bump.

“OH-BEE. Stop.”

Bump bump bump bump.

Annoyance: accomplished. I got up and stormed into the bathroom. But there was no Obi.

Bump bump bump bump.

I opened the cupboard. “Obi, how did you…”


Oliver feels very bad for himself because he can’t figure out how to open cupboards but Obi can open them all. I suspect it is because my grey kitten has dainty paws and the brown kitten has giant black feet that we are grateful he never grew into.

As I was trying to get Oliver out of the cupboard, Obi appeared from the back. Hmm. There’s a hole in the back of our cupboard for pipes. So Kitten Thunder has been in the walls. Suddenly I know how they opened the access panel on the other side of that wall while we were gone…

After a whole bunch of coaxing I got Oliver out of the cupboard. Then I yearned for an extra set of arms as I attempted to keep him out while trying to get Obi out. Blocking Oliver – who is getting more upset by the moment – while being casual about Obi coming toward the front and away from the hole in the wall…I have skillz, yo.

As soon as I had them both out, Obi turned around and opened the cupboard door again. Grr. The second challenge was getting both cats out so I could shut them out of the room. This is NOT satisfactory for me, The Boy, or Kitten Thunder. The Boy and I knew immediately what had to be done.

Baby proof locks: they’re not just for human children.

And Obi can still go bump bump bump in the morning.

No, please, stay a while.

Three snack packs of Whoppers, two flat leopard print mousies, one teddy bear mouse, one cloth mousie, one fur mousie, one drinking straw, a pen, a milk ring, a ball and a rose from the palm tree wall thing I bought in Savannah when I just knew we were going to buy this house when I got back. That’s what came out from under the couch last night from just one swipe of the magic toy making stick. And, of course, there was also enough cat hair to knit another kitten.

We really ought to hurry up and open that kitten knitting factory. Every time we throw away a wad of hair we lose money. Oliver says we can charge double for grey ones – they’re softer and so much more handsome.

"So many toys, so little attention span...hey, that actually works out okay!"

For Thunder Thursday, I present my parents’ other cat, Gracie. Gracie made sure we knew exactly how happy she was to welcome us into her home this week.

"Why haven't you caught on fire yet? I really need to get my laser eyes checked out."

This is Gracie’s crabby look. I didn’t get a picture of her wide-eyed glare of death. There is not a doubt in my mind that she’s thinking flammable thoughts at us.

I feel obligated to tell you my mother says Gracie gets a bad rap. She supposedly snuggles and is nice to people as long as “people” is my parents. Possibly my niece and nephew.

And now, why Gracie hates me more than any of the others: Poco.

My parents built their house when I was in Junior High. Poco was always and adventurous cat and she loved car rides so she went to the house several times while it was under construction. When we moved in she already knew the layout and wasn’t afraid at all. By the time Stasha and Stoney ventured out of the bed they hid under for two weeks, Poco was the queen. And when we got our malamute, Heidi, Poco was the queen of her too.

Then Po and I went away to college.

While we were away, Gracie was adopted. Gracie is a dilute tortie but she is all attitude. She and our huge dog became best buddies. And Gracie took her place as queen of the house.

Then I graduated. And moved home while I looked for a job.

So here’s Queen Gracie: seven pounds, tiny, BIG attitude. Also, her voice box has been permanently damaged since birth so her meow is a wispy puff of air. And then there’s Queen Poco: 18 pounds, huge, BIGGER attitude. While we lived in Idaho, Poco had beaten up the cats of every landlord I had. And two dogs. Her thug-iness is part of why I have strictly indoor cats now.

The thing is this. I think Poco would have been fine just dividing the kingdom and staying upstairs in our room for the most part. But the upstairs belongs to Gracie. And every night when the people went to bed, she’d come sneaking up to spy on Poco and try to take back some of her territory.

One night, as I was laying in bed, I heard the cry of a cat downstairs. Not Stoney. Not Poco. I raced to the stairwell and threw the lights on so I could see over the rail into the living room below. My parents came from their side of the house. There in the living room was Poco. She was pressing so hard on Gracie’s throat that an actual meow was coming out. And her first cry was most definitely a cry for help.

Of course we broke up the fight. Of course Gracie came back for more the next night. And the night after that. Luckily, Poco and I move out and Gracie is back to being the queen.

All hail, Queen Gracie. Long may she rage, er, reign.