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THE BEASTY

Hello, peoples of the world, Obi here.

AND JACK. I’M HERE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE BEASTY!

Yes, we’re going to tell you about the excitement we had the other night.

IT WAS A BEASTY!

Yes. Anywho.  It was getting close to sunset. The Girl was putting Buddy to bed (Okay was already in her room and asleep). The Boy was waiting in the next room in case she needed backup.

BUT WE NEEDED BACKUP BECAUSE I SAW THE BEASTY!

Yes. Having been relieved of our supervisory duties in the children’s rooms, I assigned Jack to patrol at the open windows and doors. I was going to take the next shift, after a little nap.

AND I SAW THE BEASTY!

Yes. I had just closed my eyes for a couple minutes and I heard Jack call out.

I SAW THE BEASTY!

Yes. I joined Jack at the patio door and called The Boy for reinforcements. Of course Jack and I could have handled it ourselves – except we’re not allowed outside.

AND IT WAS A HORRIBLE BEASTY!

Yes. The Boy came to see what we were yelling about.  He looked outside but he didn’t see.

IT WAS THE BEASTY!

Yes. He assured us there was nothing wrong.

BUT IT WAS THE BEASTY!

Yes. He said he would check it out. The Boy bravely went outside. To show he wasn’t afraid of any man or beast, he wielded the water hose and casually got things wet in several parts of the yard. Jack and I remained at the door, prepared to protect him if needed.

HE CONQUERED THE BEASTY!

Yes. There was no sign of danger by the time he came back indoors. Hey, Jack, what exactly did the beasty look like?

IT WAS COVERED IN FUR WITH A HUGE FLUFFY TAIL. THEY HANG UPSIDE DOWN TO STEAL FOOD IN THE CAFE. THE BEASTLIEST OF BEASTLY BEASTIES! AND IT WAS ALMOST NIGHT!

Ye- wait. It was a squirrel?

A BEASTY!

Hmm. Well, that’s embarrassing. Maybe I should have gotten more detail before we sounded the alarm.

THE BOY BEAT THE BEASTY! HE DIDN’T COME BACK UNTIL THE NEXT MORNING!

Yeah…let’s not tell The Boy about this. Promise not to tell, peoples of the internet?

Until next time,
Obi AND JACK, me-out!

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The Story of Jack

As you know from reading this blog, Obi and Oliver were very close. We’ve always known that Obi would miss his brother when he was gone. We have also known, from his records at the shelter when he was adopted, that he wasn’t cut out to be an only cat.

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But, with the move and some travel and the loss of Oliver, we didn’t want to pile on a new cat right away. So we waited. As we settled into the new house it was obvious that Obi was lonely. It was time.

I searched the local shelter online during the week and found a couple who seemed promising, based on their limited listings. We were looking for a young adult cat, probably a male. Then, on Saturday, we packed up the whole family and headed out to pick our next family member.

We looked at all the cats. Wandered room to room. No one really clicked. But then I asked a passing volunteer about a cat I’d had a good feeling about online: Blaze. We were directed to the communal cat room behind us – a good sign that he was housed with other cats. We looked at each cat in the room through the glass. None of them was Blaze. Then a tube on the floor moved. And out strolled a grey cat.

He looked at me. He looked at The Boy. Then he saw Buddy. And he walked up to the glass and tried to hug him. It was Blaze. When he saw Okay he attempted a double hug.

We quickly found a volunteer and arranged to meet Blaze in person.

From the second he hopped out of the carrier, Blaze had us. He played with Buddy. He checked out Okay in her carrier. He jumped into The Boy’s lap and demanded pets. We already knew he was good with other cats. He proved he would be good with kids when he didn’t bat an eye at Buddy accidentally smacking him with the door of the metal carrier and then letting it slam loudly into the wall of the cage.

Soon he was ours.

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He and Obi were excited to meet each other. We let them meet through glass doors, giving them something in common immediately – a shared hatred of closed doors. When they were allowed to meet there were just a couple hours of “I think we’re playing…are we playing?” Then we all breathed deeply and started to enjoy life with two cats, as is meant to be.

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We’d intended to keep his name, Blaze, for lack of any other ideas. But my sleep deprived brain kept calling him Jack. And it fits him well.

Over the months, Jack has moved right in and made a place for himself. Everywhere. He is a pushy little bowling ball of a cat, in the middle of everything. He throws himself onto feet as people walk across the room. He dives into Buddy’s bed when I go to wake him up in the morning. And he has decided that taking care of Okay is his personal mission. Even if she is a little grabby. That includes lying on top of her and purring furiously while she’s in her car seat and during night time feedings.

We say “hi, Jack,” in an exasperated tone, several times an hour.

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Jack is heavy enough to Thunder all on his own. You can hear him jump off of things from across the house. So an Obi and Jack Thunder makes quite a ruckus. And the Thunder rolls all. day. long.

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Jack is grey and loves to Thunder and he’s dumber than a box of rocks, but he has not replaced Oliver in our hearts. He and Obi don’t snuggle like the brown kitten did with his fluffy older brother. I, too, have lost my night time snugglebuddy. But, at 4 a.m., Obi visits me and we have a short cuddle. And we’re whole…for five minutes before Obi can’t stand people snuggles anymore.

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And we love Jack more every day. He’s a good boy.

Thundering On

Hello, peoples of the internet. Obi here with a lot of changes to re-

HELLO MY NAME IS JACK AND I LOVE YOU.

-port. First, obviously, is that I have a new broth-

HELLO MY NAME IS JACK AND I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU.

-er. Jack. More about him later.

WHY LATER?

Because, Jack, they need to know why you’re here.

I’M HERE BECAUSE I LOVE THEM AND WANT TO MEET THEM.

No, why you’re-

YES, I LOVE THEM. I LOVE YOU. I WANT TO MEET THEM. WILL THEY RUB MY BELLY?

Jack! Look! Crunchy birds in the window!

Anywho. Sadly, my brother Oliver is no longer with us. He was getting very old and tired and skinny. And deaf. When we found out we were going to move to another state, The Girl and Oli discussed it and decided he would rather retire at home. So she and I said goodbye to him, on our favorite snuggling couch, in August.

Which brings us to another change. We moved to Colorado. I like it okay. There are big screen OutTvs all over the house. The birds are very close in one window.

THEY FLEW AWAY WHEN I SAID “HELLO CRUNCHY BIRDS I AM JACK AND I WOULD LOVE TO EAT YOU.”

We also got another little human.

I AM JACK AND I LOVE HER.

Yes, you do. With two little ones, and a year of more knowledge, we decided we needed a better name for Squeak. He never ever squeaks anymore. So we decided to call them what The Girl calls them. And first we though Squeak should be Stop.

BUT THAT IS MY NAME WHEN MY NAME IS NOT JACK.

Exactly. So instead, we call him Buddy. And the little one is Okay. They tell her all the time that she is Okay.

Okay is weirdly appealing. She’s grabby and loud but I just can’t stay away from her.

I LOVE HER AND WANT TO SLEEP IN HER BED BUT THE GIRL DOESN’T LET ME.

You weigh more than Okay, Jack. You can’t sleep on top of the baby.

I LOVE HER AND SHE LOVES ME. SHE GRABS ME. IT HURTS. I LOVE HER. I’M NOT ALLOWED TO BITE HER.

Right. So the final change is that…this was a lot of changes. I got sick this fall and my head was pounding. When Okay was screaming I walked up and nipped at her. The Girl took me to a doctor who said my illness was stress related. The Girl put me back on the “Happy Juice” that I took when Buddy was a baby. I’m feeling much better.

I feel bad about nipping at Okay. Everyone understands. And The Girl points out that Okay hasn’t done that high pitched shriek, that was annoying everyone even without a headache, since. So maybe I trained her. But that’s the end of my baby training days.

Maybe I’ll train her to nap when she’s older – her big girl bed is very comfortable.

MY NAME IS JACK AND IT WAS GREAT TO MEET YOU. I LOVE YOU.

HEY, IS THAT A PICTURE OF ME?

jack

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

Framed

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.