Monday, April 6, 2020

Giving a Extra Paw

Ever since we've allowed Billy on the end of the counter across from the kitty treat cabinet, Bill has used the kitchen wastebasket to cut his vertical leap by six inches or so.  Alas, in the last year even the wastebasket has been stretch for him at age 16. 

Today I did something about it fo him, dragging a dining room chair next to the wastebasket as a test of an intermediate step. A few kitty treats showed him the path; he now moves up and down between floor and counter with little issue. I'm happy to see our senior prince moving more easily again.

I'll replace the chair with a small cat tower the next time I'm to PetCo.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Kitty Melter, Improved!

Katherine gets a major checkmark. Also she gets kudos. (And I get some of the aura). When we moved to Kenmore and Kitten Farm West, the house had a direct vent gas-fueled fireplace (AKA The Kitty Melter). Flick a switch, even during a power outage, and it goes on (the pilot light powers a tiny generator ... I think). It was even installed with an outlet and a wall switch for a fan to actively pull air under the firebox, push the air around the firebox, and blowing it, now heated, out the top.

But it didn't have a fan actually installed. It had been on my wish list for years to put a fan in. I've poked around and never found a source, and Katherine viewed the entire project as "Drew is tilting at windmills." I got a break this May when the HVAC contractor who installed our A/C in 2015 came in to do our annual A/C service, and I saw they had "fireplaces" listed on their invoice. I called their office, who pointed me at a second contractor, who pointed me at a third contractor, who pointed me at Amazon. Bingo (and it was cheap). I ordered. The fan arrived broken, with a spade connector for a wire having come loose. Months passed as we ignored it (it wasn't fireplace season), tried a failed fix, and finally I pinged the Amazon merchant. They asked for photographs, then they asked for our address, and then a new (intact) unit magically appeared. Interweaved with all this, we opened the fireplace access panel, and we determined that:
  1. The gas feed was in the way,
  2. The line needed to be
    1. unhooked and
    2. moved out of the way, and
    3. not done by us.
I went through another round of phone calls. and this time we ended up with Puget Sound Energy (our gas company). The nice PSE technician who came out explained the flexible metal hose can simply be safely shoved out the way -- no disconnection needed.
Yesterday, it all came together -- after various consultations and a trip by me to the hardware store for two tiny nuts, Katherine got it in. Windmill defeated!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chief Snuggler

On day like this, with somber hearings on Capitol Hill that will lift no one's spirits, Penwiper earns his kibbles as the Chief Snuggler of the Kitten Farm West.

While Billy and even Whitey like human attention at times, and Oscar will make daily appearances demanding worship, PW is the chief snuggler because he's available 24x7.

Penwiper walks up to humans and starts purring, without being touched or kitty treats being involved.

He's the only one who thinks being picked up is always a Good Thing, and why yes, a cuddle is then in order.

Unlike most cats, Penwiper comes when called, especially in response to when he meows from boredom/loneliness. ("A human drive my blues away? Cool!"). The others? Rattle a cat treat bottle.

And of course, Penwiper lightly follows insomniacs down the hall at 3 AM and curls up with them wherever they land. This doesn't help one's sleep, but it makes the darkness gentler.

(Just while writing this, and we have done the Meow, Call, &  Cuddle sequence twice. Now he's settled in the office tower, ready in case the valet feels the need for a calming stroke of his floofiness.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sunshine Supercats

And sometimes, with all the boys gathered, we still have peace in our time.  Click for a larger picture.

All the Boys Having a Morning Nap in My Sunny Office

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Battle Royale

Penwiper is living proof that, the like humans, cats roll for intelligence and wisdom separately.  He'll get into a confrontation with a housemate, start meowing when he feels trapped, and when a human valet breaks it up so can he can escape, he steps back ... and then stalks the housemate he was scared of 30 seconds before.

For example, tonight.

Billy and Penwiper started making noises at each other at the top of the stairs, right outside my office.  I grabbed the ever handy Mist of Doom, and mist first Penwiper, who takes the moist hint and backs off into the upstairs hall, and then zap Billy, who wisely decides down the stairs is a prudent (and dryer) place to go.

Only Penwiper decides Billy's orderly withdraw should be exploited.  So he reverses direction and charges down the stairs after our Senior Prince.

Allow me to digress here and point out that Billy and Penwiper don't normally fight simply because Billy is not easily agitated. It's not he can't fight -- in his younger days he would regularly have typical littermate wrestling matches with his brother ... and win.  He is also visibly larger than either Penwiper or Oscar.

So we had Penwiper the Doofus of Darkness versus Billy the Mighty Hunter on the landing of the stairs.  The noise was impressive, it scared me sufficiently that I charged downstairs as fast I could to break it up after 20 seconds or so.

The result? A picture is worth a thousand words:
Center Stage,
after 30 seconds of Billy explaining to PW
that attacking him is a really bad idea.
Note the lack of ticked short-haired tiger fur. That's all from a medium-haired tuxedo with white highlights.  It wasn't a knockout (or a vet visit), but all the judges awarded the bout to Billy.

The good news is that PW only seems to have one or two minor scratches.  His +2 Armor of Fluffiness saves his sorry self again.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Someone to Lay Down Beside Me

We now have four heated cat beds in the form of three bowls and one mat.
I installed each one at usual hangout spots:
  • Whitey's bowl is tucked in the corner of Katherine's office just past the head of her writing futon,
  • PW's bowl is in the opposite corner of Katherine's office by her desk, and
  • Billy's mat is where he likes to stretch out by my nightstand in the bedroom,
  • Oscar's bowl was originally in place of (and then moved next to) his favorite pillow on my desk.
They are, in general, a hit.

The problem is that two of the four aren't being used by their intended target.
  • Oscar looked at the one on my desk in fear. (Oscar was seen last night in PW's bowl.)
  • I moved Oscar's bowl to the bedroom next to Billy's mat as a second one for Whitey, but in the middle of the night I saw Whitey huddled in the middle of the floor while PW used the bowl.
This morning, I asked Billy what to do. He calmly looked up at me and succinctly said, "Well, how many cat towers do we have?"

The answer is eight, acquired over 10 years. No, I don't want buy more four heated cat beds. (Or three more, the Big Black Kitty Warmer Mark II may count as one.)

As Katherine pointed out, I should be glad he didn't just say "More kitty treats!", which is his solution to most problems.