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!" his solution to most problems.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dinner for Two

Penwiper may be the creature in the Kitten Farm PNW with the strongest drives and habits.

When Whitey climbs a tower to reach the top of the adjoining bookshelf, Penwiper will be there right after him to take on station on the top of the tower (trapping Whitey) until we mist the Fluffy Ninja.

When I rise in the dead of night and head for the library due to insomnia, Penwiper will rouse himself, hop down from the bed, and join me at the futon with a purr before I can sit down. Once seated, I invite him up and give him a cuddle, because who doesn't need little extra support in the dark of night?

At meal time, his aggression can get best of him while dinner is being served; to avoid raised paws and growls, he has to go in the downstairs lavatory. However, his drives show here as well -- he understands the directive, "Penwiper, it's time!" and he presents himself at the door to be let in. If we come home late enough for him think it's dinnertime, he'll head for the door without orders. I swear, if he had thumbs, he would let himself in.

Once he's in, we put down Oscar's bowl as soon as it's ready (to shut him up), and then prep Penwiper's and the Catzillas' bowls. Only when all bowls are down, we let Penwiper out to charge across the kitchen, slalom around the breakfast nook counter & dining room table, and attack his bowl.

(If the bowl isn't there yet, he looks sad and confused until the valet with the goods shows up. True heartbreak, expressed in ~3 seconds wall time.)

He may eat directly, or sometimes he'll wander away from the bowl and ask that he may join me for company at the table. This results in my picking up his bowl to set it on the pulled out chair next to mine -- he hops up and after a ruffle behind the ears he settles in.

As he's wanted company every time I've been around lately, this evening I decide to save myself work and to set his bowl on his chair immediately. Katherine opens his door, and starts to explain to me how when he gets to his station and the bowl's not there, he'll do his heartbroken routine. I'm thinking no, he'll get to his station, take one look around, and head for his chair.

We are both wrong. He comes around the corner of the breakfast nook, spies that I have his chair ready for him, cuts under the table and leaps onto his chair without breaking stride. The happy ninja got his ruffle behind the ears and dug into his dinner.

He may be a creature of habit, but he's a smart creature of habit.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Quiet Hunter Hunts

So we eat dinner last night, do the dishes, feed the boys, open most of the downstairs windows, and then +Katherine Derbyshire heads upstairs.

My job before following her is to rake the litter box and to open the laundry room window above it, also known as The Whitey Window (his favorite). There is no time limit on these tasks, so I sit at the dining room room and read for over an hour.

Billy wanders by me as I'm wrapping up my reading and hints he'd really like a kitty treat nightcap. I love our senior prince, so I step over to the kitty treat cabinet to appease him. Then I happen to look left. Lo and behold, look who is in the sink window, enjoying the evening view and air:

Whitey Quietly Hunting in the Kitchen Window
For all I know, he's been there most of the time I've been reading. And he looks too sweet to mist to nudge down off there.

I decide to go about my business with Billy, and sure enough Whitey hops down to his usual spot on the floor to get his share of treats. Meanwhile, Penwiper and Oscar arrive from wherever they are, so my simple treat-or-two-for-Bill turns into a full dessert for everyone.

Then it's off to the laundry room to rake the box and open the window before going upstairs. I head back into the kitchen to wash my hands, and Whitey passes me. He knows where he belongs:

Whitey in the Whitey Window in the Laundry Room
He almost looks like he's telling me, "See, if you had opened my window an hour ago, we would have never had to discuss the window over the sink."

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Inmates' Demands: Send Cuddles! (Or, What Happens in the Litter Box Stays in the Litter Box ... Usually.)

Day three of the inmates running of the asylum.

This morning I didn't have to get out of bed to see what the boys had done overnight. Something which looked it belonged in the litterbox sat four feet from the bed. No doubt Penwiper meant to leave it in the litterbox, but his furry butt occasionally collects a souvenir which then gets left elsewhere.  Fortunately, this morning's souvenir was dry and self-contained.

Short haired cats do have their advantages.

Speaking of dry and self-contained, three hairballs which were not dry and self-contained had to be cleaned up. Of course, in and of themselves, hairballs in the Kitten Farm are not newsworthy. (We feed the boys, rake their box, clean up their  hairballs, cuddle them, fill their fountains, and repeat). But they do add to the inmates running the asylum ambience.

Penwiper, love monger that he is, has noticed the chief valet is, in his book, AWOL. Immediately after breakfast, he reared back and gently put his velvet paws up on me at the dining room table -- his classic "cuddle me" request. So I padded over to the couch, called him, and gave our lovable inmate a few minutes of petting.

Meanwhile, others are also taking also advantage of the short staffing.  For example Billy thinks the food prep counter, including its sink window, is now in bounds:

Billy Conquering the Kitchen Window


Billy, you're as handsome as ever, but I have a Mist of Doom and I'm not afraid to use it.

Two kitten meals left before the rescue party arrives.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

By a Nose

The inmates running the asylum would be so much easier if they didn't rumble with each other. And they have been, or Whitey has been walking into edges of inanimate objects:

Whitey and His Abused Nose

I have my usual suspicions about the other party involved.

Also ...

Note to Penwiper: performing your death-defying leap to the top of the headboard (AKA Death From Above) when it's time to flush the humans out of bed does not work nearly as well if there's no human on that side of the bed.

Two hairballs (one two-part hairball?) cleaned up.

Boys fed, box raked.

Four kitten meals until the chief valet returns.  (I miscounted yesterday).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Inmates Running the Asylum, 2017 edition

Each summer, Pamplona has the festival of San Fermín, including the Running of the Bulls. For decades, the Kitten Farm West and before it, the original Summerhill Kitten Farm, has had the annual Running of the Asylum by the Inmates.

This is precipitated by SEMICON West in San Francisco. SEMICON is scheduled each year shortly after the Fourth of July -- picture the timing of the MLB Summer Classic (AKA the All Star Game) and you'll get the idea. +Katherine Derbyshire  has attended faithfully since she started at Solid State Technology back in 1994.

Ever since the feline overlords arrived in 2004, they've run the place while she's gone. EveryYear.

(To be fair. other conferences like MRS and IEDM also create this condition. Checking the archives, the original documented running of the asylum was December 2004, for IEDM.)

Festivities for 2017 have already kicked off; I got up this morning and walked out into the upstairs hall to this scene:

Inmates Running the Asylum 2017 is Off With Bang!  (And a Hairball.)
Consider the sheer energy required to move the cat tower from its home by my office door (its home footprint is visible in the rug) at a right angle multiple feet from the direction of how it tipped.

You can also see the hairball pointed at by the tower. You can't see the cordless telephone & charger in Katherine's office which landed on the floor in the same timeframe.

Busy early shift.

The telephone, hairball and tower are cleaned up, the boys fed, the litterbox raked, and the (first) morning conflict between Penwiper & Whitey mediated. Now Billy has hopped into his morning sun chair, Whitey is on the floor soaking in the same sunbeam, and so on with our day.

Only eight kitten more meals until the chief valet returns.

I'm praying they don't figure how to order sashimi via Uber Eats before then.