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Oh, how he suffers.

The Boy is gone on a trip right now. It has been 36 hours since Obi has had a proper belly rubbing. And, oh, how he suffers.

And thus, how we all suffer.

This morning Oliver and I were laying on the couch like we always do in the morning. About the time The Boy should have been making my coffee, Obi walked to the middle of the room and plopped down.

“ME!” He yelled.

You see, usually my coffee delivery is postponed because Obi convinces The Boy it is time for the belly rub. Obi runs out to the rug and gets into position, belly exposed, and The Boy comes in and works his magic. They pet and roll and brush and purr. Then I get my coffee.

This morning there was no Boy. There was also no coffee but you don’t see me throwing myself to the ground in a tizzy, now do you? Of course…how would you know if I had? But I DIDN’T.

I’ve done my best to fill in. The problem is that I am The Girl. And The Girl is good for playing and comforting. Those are my jobs. So when I rub the belly it turns into The Claw with biting and scratching and kicking (and kisses to assure me that we’re still playing).

We did manage to get one brush full of hair removed from his coat. We feel pretty good about that.

Tomorrow, though, The Boy will be coming home to three happy mammals. Obi will get his belly rubber back. I will no longer be in charge of the belly rubbing. And Oliver’s snuggles will not be interrupted again.

Zensai, as always, really couldn’t be convinced to care less.

***

It’s Thunder Thursday! On Tuesday, Cousin Puck’s girl sent me a picture of her poor, miserable fuzzy. Puck is a prime example of Feline Heat Index: Too Hot.

"Set the A/C on frosty, please."

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?

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."

The Girl, Kittened Out

First, a definition: You know when you see a kitten stalking something and it’s concentrating really hard? It has its head low to the ground, moving one…step…forward. Then…one…more…step. Butt wriggles. About to pounce…and…ooh, look something shiny! And suddenly the kitten is off doing something else, its prey forgotten? That is kittening out. Prepare yourself for some random, unrelated topics.

First, I bought ugli fruit today. And boy is it ever ugly. It is the cross between a grapefruit, and orange and a tangerine. If it turns out pretty they call it a tangelo. If it looks like this, well, they’ve decided to try to sell them anyway.

"Super nose says this is safe to eat. Super eyes say...eew."

The guy at the store who saw me laugh says they are actually quite tasty.

Did you know that raw peanuts lead to mangy looking squirrels? I found that out on a website for squirrel lovers that happened to be on a website for exterminators in Florida. The top picture is a gnarly looking dude holding a raccoon and a opposum. But he likes squirrels.

I was reading about peanuts because when I was home for lunch the squirrel feeder had grown a tail. A squirrel was all the way in the box trying to dig out the last of the peanuts. I was trying to find out where to buy more. I found some at Murdoch’s but I couldn’t tell if they were roasted (thus safe) so I bought HUGE sunflower seeds and “backyard buffet” that has a little bit of everything. That should take them a while to eat.

Also at Murdoch’s…baby birds! Chicks, ducklings, tiny quail and turkeys. So cute. For a moment I tried to picture Oli and Obi with a chick. I’m pretty sure the chick would win.

Oliver has been bringing his favorite toy to bed with him. He brings it up to my pillow, tucks it under the sheet and tries to lay down. But, to his great disappointment, I will not allow the toy in bed. It’s not like his favorite toy is the teddy bear mousie. Or even Mr. Cow. It’s a milk ring. Um, no.

Obi has been with us for almost a year. Tomorrow morning I take him in for his annual check up. Will he weigh more than ten pounds? Will he be charming? Will the girls ooh and aah over his glorious beauty? Will there be little kids who will be THRILLED to find out his name is Obi Wan Kittenobi? Will he still be terrified of the kitty carrier?

And now, for Thunder Thursday, I bring you Kitten Thunder’s future kitty-cousins. The Boy’s mom’s kitties. This is NOT an announcement of any sort; this is merely an assumption that some day in the future I will become Mrs. Boy. 

"Touch the belly...if you dare."

Lacey is quite discerning about her humans. I didn’t get to interact with her much when we visited. But she’s a pretty princess. But check out this glamour shot of Chuck:

"It is hard to contain this much handsome in one face."

Leave your shoes by the welcome cat.

"World's cutest brown kitten award? It's in the bag."

Part of Obi’s job duties is to greet the people at the door. His methods are quite different from how Oliver welcomed people when it was his job. And he has customized his greeting so The Boy and I get different experiences.

There are the go-to techniques that are included with both greetings. It begins with a roll on the dining room rug while we take off our coats. If we are fast enough, there is a preliminary belly rub in this area. The welcome then goes to the living room.

After being led to the living room, Obi will stretch on the rug and expose his belly. A well-trained human, I will scritch the belly. It is a trap. Obi will lock his arms around my hand and chew on my knuckles while bunny kicking my wrist. Not hard – this is a game. Then, looking in my eyes, he gives my knuckles several kisses and kicks a couple more times. He’ll get up, rub a hug against my leg, and if we want to we’ll do it again. But more often he’ll show me his new favorite toy while I get comfy on the couch.

After the dining room greeting, The Boy will follow Obi to the same spot on the rug. There, things are different. Obi will stretch to his full length and expose his belly for petting. The Boy will pet him in long strokes. Obi will roll over. The Boy repeats the pet. At least once a day The Boy takes this opportunity to brush Obi’s hair – it is so thick it HAS to be brushed or he gets matted. Obi is very helpful in this process, rolling and stretching and offering all sides for brushing. I confirmed tonight that he even purrs.

If you don’t have a cat you might assume that this is normal. It is not. Oliver hates to be brushed. Luckily – since he’s 14 pounds and pretty impossible to get to do anything in which he’s not a willing participant – he has linty soft fur that doesn’t mat yet. With Poco there was almost always bloodshed. Mine. And boy did she ever mat. They were once so bad I had her shaved. They didn’t shave her legs or head…she looked like a lion in wooly chaps. A very, very crabby lion.

The Boy’s welcome procedure takes four to ten minutes. Mine takes about three minutes.

Oliver’s welcome, as I said, was much different. Of course, he became Chief Executive Kitten before we lived with The Boy so there was only one routine. It consisted of him standing in the entry way, usually getting bonked in the nose with the door, and starting with questions. “Where have you been? How was your day? Did you buy cat food? How about tuna?” And the daily report “I saw a bird. I took a nap. Thirteen cars drove down our street today. I like tuna.”

Oliver’s go-to trick is the shoe scritch. He attacks shoes like a scratching post. This is fun if you are wearing shoelaces because it makes some noise and obviously feels good on his fingers. Also, he’ll untie your shoes for you. To make sure you know he wants you to stay. It feels less good when you are wearing sandals and he pinches your skin between his toes and the shoe.

Oli will still do the shoe scritch but, since he is no longer in charge of greeting at the door, sometimes we go days without one.

I have Kitten Slumber on the bed behind me. Time for one last nap to get ready for bedtime.

"I checked this whole bag and couldn't find the kitten manicure set I asked for."

Bonus! The falcon cam is back! If you like birds, this is a great time suck. Watch a couple of peregrine falcons as they prepare this scratch box, lay their eggs and raise their hatchlings. http://www.peregrinefund.org/falconcam/

Sylvan for Squirrels

First, a random funny: this is what Obi would look like if you cut off all his hair and he was really, really, REALLY happy about it.

"Well hi!"

This is from http://goodmorningkitten.com which is how I like to start every day.

The other day I accused the squirrels of Cheyenne of being stupid. But that wasn’t really fair. Everyone learns differently and I shouldn’t have assumed that my squirrels would learn the same way the seller of the feeder’s squirrels learned. So on Tuesday I put a nail in the feeder to hold the lid up a little bit. Just enough that if they saw the nuts and tried to get their face in, it would lift the lid. But…would it work?

For two days I didn’t see a single squirrel. But, today as I drove up to the house at lunch, there were two squirrels working their way across the street. I knew just where they were headed. I sat in the car with bated breath.

The female squirrel was in the lead and I’m thinking she’s expecting kittens because she is OVER the male. She chased him off the porch every time he followed her up there. When he got the hint and went to get birdseed off the window sill, she set her mind to peanuts.

She approached the feeder. She tilted her head left. She tilted her head right. Then…ZOOM! She ran off the porch and up a tree to avoid the Corgi who was walking his owner down the sidewalk. I’d have been more mad, but that dog dragged his owner across my yard and into the tree before he knew what hit him. Or what he hit, rather.

And it gave me a chance to get into the house.

As I was getting out sandwich fixings, the squirrel returned. Again, she contemplated. She jumped up on top of the feeder. Grr, I thought. But then she shimmied down the side and *bloop* into the feeder went her head and out she came with a peanut. Success! Yay!

She repeated the process three times before she had to zoom off again because of two blue jays arrived to check out the porch. Obi had been watching the squirrel with half interest – my pastrami with the other half – and I suspect that the squirrel programming has been going on for two days. Blue jays, however, get him interested. Sink down low the sill, push your ears down flat, holy cow those are big birds interested.

I’m thrilled to see the jays. In the nine years I lived at my other house I only had blue jays in my yard once. My other house is one mile away. The difference in wildlife in that one mile drives me crazy.

Just for giggles, I’m going to feature a fuzzy (or scaley, Zen reminds me) from you guys each Thunder Thursday. We’ll start with my aunt’s cats, Benjy and Fred, because they’re the ones who inspired me to get Oliver a brother. Without them, there may be no thunder.

"Does this brother make me look fat?"