Friday, December 31, 2004

Whitey is sad

New Year's marks the end of the holiday season, which means we won't be getting nearly as many interesting boxes for him to climb in.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Laser Safety

We love playing with the laser pointers with the cats, but we love healthy cats more.

So some laser safety information for you. Note especially the comments on how you may not think something damages your eye but that it does.

Do not pointer a laser pointer directly at your cat, nor at an object which can reflect into your cat's eyes. This includes not letting a cat look up at your weapon hand while you're teasing herding it with laser pointer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Fountains of Joy

The new cat fountain locations seem to be working nicely.

Both fountains are being used in their new location, so we have balance.

Both bowls are staying cleaner than the original location of the first fountain.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Food vs. Sleep

I've decided cats don't really sleep 16 hours a day; they just intently listen for can openers with their eyes closed 16 hours a day.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Daily Stench (Christmas Edition)

Emily (I think) had a partial miss this evening while using her suite litter box. No big deal, I used a dead business card to flip the offending item off the overflow newspaper back into the box as I cleaned it.

Upon reflection, the real news is how after six month the cats have settled in and leave very few problems around the house. Our biggest problem is overzealous burial details sending kitty litter over the edge of the boxes, but their hearts and paws are in the right place.

We'll take it.

Kittens' First Christmas

Yesterday, we had a repeat of printer stand cliff diving, only this time Billy fell off without help from his brother (or anyone else). Clearly, the wheels on that stand make it unsuitable for catnaps.

But Santa loves our kids.

The boys got a new condo, an adult height one that at 78 inches required the help of a Santa's elf (a PetCo junior manager and his truck) to get it to the kitten farm. Tiger Tower now owns the official condo site in the hall. After shuffling other condos around, the shortest condo (which is about the height of the printer stand, but catnap approved) has moved into my office.

In addition, Emily got a new fountain for her suite; this lets us move the original fountain downstairs and hopefully away from the high traffic and litter box which causes endless grit ending up in the bowl as soon we clean it.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Photo Friday - Our Motto

When visiting Syracuse at Thanksgiving, Bluegrass Sister, Millie's Lady in Waiting, gave us this lovely stained glass reminder of our mission statement.


My sister pointed out it should read "cats" (plural), but then again each cat thinks even the other cats are there merely to add ambiance and entertainment.

Photo Friday Extra - Bluegrass Millie

Here's a photo Friday extra, cousin Millie, as she waits for Christmas.

p.s. Millie dear, that fur does make you look fat.


This morning, Emily got her breakfast served, ate for a minute or two, begged to let out of her suite to get a drink of water ... and promptly threw up in the middle of the hall by the fountain.

The Return of the Dawn Patrol

The boys are back into Cat Fu at six am. This morning was the second day in a row they decided pounce on each other amidst the sleeping humans.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Winter Wonderland

My office, which gets the morning sun and a direct (overwhelming) feed from our steam heating plant, is toasty warm even in winter.

This has let me open my office window for a few minutes the last few nice days, allowing the cats to hear and smell winter better. I'm not saying they like the gesture, but I darn near had to pull Billy's head out of the ever shrinking opening while trying to gently close the window this morning.

Okay, maybe they like it. Spring in three months, kids.

Monday, December 20, 2004

They're all grown up

Our last weigh-in was back in early October, so the boys are definitely slowing down as they mature.

Billy weighed 13 pounds today, up just one since October. Whitey, at 11 pounds, up two, is gaining on his brother. Emily retains her girlish figure, stable at 7 pounds.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The End of a Purrfect nap

This just in ... The nap was Purrfect, the end was not.

Whitey was napping on the printer stand in my office this morning, complete with sun beam. Warm, soft, gentle, happy.

Then Billy showed up. He decides Whitey is too asleep or dirty or both, and starts power washing his brother. Well, this is not what Whitey wanted, but it got worse fast -- that printer stand is on wheels, and Billy somehow pushed Whitey to the wall, and the printer stand basically rolled out from under Whitey.

Nothing like dropping 20 inches to make sure you're awake.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Photo Friday - A Lost Kitten

This little guy looks like a relative of the ferocious tigger cub I posted last week. But this guy looks a little lost. I hope he has found a happy warm home now that winter is here.


[Later -- normally, the cats don't comment on our journaling of their existence, but Whitey says that the kitten inside him is warm, well fed, and safe.]

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Extended Buffet Hours


I left the boys food down all day.

No wonder they didn't rush to greet me at the door, they were already quite happy with me.

This did not prevent anyone from enjoying dinner, which is when we serve the only wet (canned) food of the day.

We're Saved!

Katherine comes home late tonight.

This means the boys don't get half the bed (not that they use much of it).

This means Emily gets more attention and more insulation from the boys.

This means the boys don't get to eat dinner from 8 PM until 10 PM. (They like that actually -- Katherine only wants food down from 8:30 to 9).

This means fewer kitty treats all around.

This means I can stick Katherine with litter boxes tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Cat Proof Pizza

How to cat proof a delivered pizza: Toss the box in the (cold) oven; retrieve single slices as needed.

How not to bake a frozen pizza: Preheat the oven before checking for a cat proofed delivery pizza box.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Lovely to See You Again

With Katherine still gone, the house was dark when I got home at 7:30 or so.

As I came up the front porch I could just see inside. What I saw was the newel post, with an attentive Whitey perched on it. Also in attendance was the rest of the crew waiting for me; Billy was down on the floor and Emily up towards the landing of the stairs.

None of this was a surprise, as they do it regularly, but it was still nice on a dark cold night.

It was kitty treats all around for my loyal feline friends.

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Fluffy Tails Christmas Tree is both an inspiration and a warning to others.

We haven't decided if the boys get a tree for their first Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Emily Velvet Paws

Emily wants to make up with me. She came by my desk to be petted, including her usual head butts; she even reached up to my chin with a velvet paw to stroke my chin.

Of course, an hour later the little witch swung at me again when I petted her. At least I am trying to keep my face out of range.

She has picked up a habit from the boys, or maybe she had it all along but never uses it in the summer. In any case, she's become a burrower, I think for warmth. She doesn't tunnel like the boys, but lumps at the edge of the blanket should be checked before sitting on them.

Inmates Running the Asylum

Katherine jumped on a plane to San Francisco yesterday to attend IEDM for her day job (which is not, in fact, self-heating Emily cushion).

That leaves me in charge, although of course the cats do whatever they want to.

So far ...
  • Billy decided my side of the bed is warmer, and so tried to use me as a pillow.
  • I kicked at least three burrowers out from under the covers.
  • Whitey got lonely again. Alot. In the middle of the night (of course).
  • The boys asked for breakfast at 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM (on a Sunday morning). I held the line on that one for their usual 8 AM serving.
  • The boys climbed up to the optics shelf in the closet and dumped half the items off of it, including my camera. One pair of binoculars even landed in the closet litter box (which was reasonably clean).
  • We played with the teaser both last night and this morning.
  • After every teaser work out, everone got kitty treats.
  • I opened my sunny side office window for an hour (in 43 degree weather); all three cats took turns looking/sniffing out. Alas, there was some line cutting, in particular by Billy.
  • My office is like Grand Central Station. At one point, all three cats were in here. All three have at least considered naps on the printer stand.

... and Katherine has only been gone 17 hours.

They'll have me ordering take out sushi (I don't even like sushi) by the time Katherine gets back.

Living Dangerously

I petted Emily wrong this morning. I don't know if it was body language or just bad timing (she had just mixed it up with Catzilla again).

How I know it was wrong?

Because she almost [expletive] took the left side of my face off with her right hook, and no, it was not velvet paws. That's the third time in ~ 2 months she's swung for the fences when disturbed, and if she keeps it up she could nail my eye, even though I wear glasses.

For those of you who knew Bluegrass Sister's cat Radar, picture giving him a tummy rub ... with his usual response (which was to pounce on the hand out of the blue) being directed at the side of your face.

This is on top of the boys scratching various less important moving parts of both Katherine and I in the last few days. However, none of of those events were meant as attacks, but rather things like extended paws hooking fingers instead of a kitty treat (trust me, he wanted the treat), or silly humans accidently imposing their legs between a mighty hunter and the cat teaser.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Goodnight, John Boy

Billy has decided he likes being around me, I think.

In particular, if I watch TV for a little bit at the end of evening and then head up stairs, Billy doesn't so much follow me as come up stairs with me, hang a right into the master bedroom, and curl up on Katherine's side the bed. This is his routine even though usually I go elsewhere (like my office) for my own first upstairs stop.

He knows the humans are done downstairs, my next major stop is bed, I need all the space on my side of the bed, and that Katherine won't be in until much later. His positioning takes all this into account.

So before I am even in bed, he's on duty. He may get up after I am in bed, but he always comes back.

Good Catzilla!

Just A Trim

Katherine trimmed both Billy and Whitey claws today.

Talk about enlightened self-interest. :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Photo Friday - A Tigger Cub from the archives

Looking through our photo archives, I found the picture of this intense little tiger cub who is hiding under a desk. Oddly enough, his stripes and his intensity both perfectly match our very own (but much larger) Catzilla.



I'm so lonesome I could cry

Whitey decided to announce he was lonely by meowing. At 1 something awful AM. I called him, and he quieted.

He then got lonely again and again announced it by meowing. At 2 something awful AM. I called him and started to look for him, and he quieted.

By 6 AM, he had gotten a clue, and was snuggled with Billy and the humans on the big bed.

Try To Remember

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,

The fire of September that made us mellow.

Deep in December, our hearts should remember

And follow.

-- The Fantasticks

Every so often I notice that our Emily is in fact in the December of her life. While she can still make the dining room table leap when she thinks we're not looking, she just doesn't move like a kitten any more. Sometimes when the boys chase the cat teasers she'll come half way down the stairs, watching with an almost forlorn look of one who remembers a more active time for herself.

Given how she can be sensitive to how she is being petted, I worry she's in actual pain from her 15 years of feline existence. Snapping at her humans when she actively solicited being petted says there may not be a lot of physical comfort there.

And more generally, while Emily is not shy, she is skittish and hates surprises (especially of the male tiger kitten kind). If one only watches her at the wrong times, surprises make up too much of her existence.

However, my heart is warmed by two things.

I've directly noticed is that Emily fairly consistently likes to play with our new cats teasers if she doesn't have to complete with the boys. Seeing her actively stalking and pouncing objects two or three times a week says she can still lose herself like a kitten. And that's a good thing.

The second thing, that I less observed as have had stressed to me by Katherine, is that Emily consistently curls up with Katherine at work. Then Emily acts warm and relaxed and anything but forlorn or skittish.

Since we have previous posts that I linked to on both of those topics, none of this is a complete shock, but it is important to me that our elderstates-cat does find ongoing happiness at our little kitten farm during her remaining time (which hopefully will be several human years yet).

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Tease Me, Please Me

We are now loaded for bear (and cats) with teasers. We have three teaser rods, and numerous attachments:
  • 2 dual feathers
  • 2 Pom-poms
  • A feather boa like streamer
  • A cat-o-nine-tails (actually, 5-6 leather shoe laces all dangling)

All this gives variety, and in the case of the cat-o-nine-tails provides just enough less interest than a feather that The Mightly Hunter doesn't kill himself trying to chase the stupid thing. He's interested, for sure, but not crazed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Have a Drink on Me

All sorts of little feline things going on, none of which we've gotten to posting.

One item we bought at PetCo over the weekend was a little carton of cat friendly milk (grown cats are basically lactose intolerant). We haven't tested it yet.

Whitey especially still likes milk, and sometimes we'll let him lick the dregs out of an more or less empty milk glass. Hopefully, this stuff is nicer to him and the others as a treat.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Daily Stench

Hmmm ... another strange wet spot when we got home from dinner, this one on the foyer carpet at the base of the stairs. Someone toss kitty cookies again?

Friday, December 3, 2004

It's good to have a friend

One of the reasons for getting two kittens was so that they could keep each other company. It seems to have worked. (Click image for larger version.)


Wednesday, December 1, 2004


Touch me, it's so easy to leave me

All alone with the memory

Of my days in the sun

If you touch me you'll understand what happiness is

Look, a new day has begun
-- Cats

The author of Cats never heard of PC100 memory, also known as SDRAM, also known as (static sensitive) computer memory. There is nothing quite like having a friendly cat snuggle up to you and rub its fur against you when your hands are full trying get a memory DIMM installed in a PC.

Happiness it ain't.

For those who skipped high school physics, a handy way to make static electricity is to rub animal fur against a (nylon?) rod.

In this case, the memory and cats both survived, mostly because Katherine appeared deploying cat treats and cat teasers to lure the curious static generators away.

Daily Stench

Emily threw up again (just spittle), this time downstairs in the dining room. It seems she mostly does that when she's hungry.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

What Ladies Do Behind Closed Doors

Lady Emily is, in fact, still part kitten. 

Monday night we booted both boys out of her bedroom, closed the door, and invited her to play with the feather cat teaser on the broad expanse of the bed. We tuned the play for her, keeping the teaser less active and often just crawling along the far end of the bed. 

She took nicely to it, stalking and pouncing. She doesn't latch on like the Mighty Hunter does (a good thing), but rather tends to abandon the teaser when it's pinned under her paws and it turns out not to be edible. She does returns to the hunt after the teaser "wakes up" again, and shows proper feline moves for chasing it down. 
She does tire sooner than the boys, of course, but it held her attention as long as any play toy we've had in the house. 

Target Rich Environment

We bought more teasers over the weekend, specifically a replacement feather teaser and a pom-pom teaser. Both passed.

An interesting use for two teasers is that when Billy the Mighty Hunter pounces on one teaser, the second teaser can be used to retrieve the first teaser. Basically, he doesn't know his own limits -- he can't keep two prey trapped at once, but tries anyway.

Unfortunately, Billy still seems too agressive with the teasers; I am cutting him off. He will still get to attack the ribbon teaser, which he doesn't seem too violent with.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Photo Friday - A Portrait of the Might Hunter

One of the many things we have taught the cats that we will regret at some future date is hopping up on the stairway newel post. In this case, Billy is studying an off-camera feather with great intent.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day Recap

My charges were lonely. The cat sitter came, but she didn't bring Turkey or Tuna or Chocolate (we plush cats have a different diet) or anything. So the self-propelled ones got their usual diet, but fewer snuggles.

I'm sure the humans will share kitty treats when they come home though! (Tosci's Bear, in Syracuse with the humans, says they miss the kids already.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Guardian Kitty to the Rescue

The humans went to visit family at Thanksgiving, and left me Sasha in charge!

Okay, so they also hired a cat sitter.

(We plush creatures have always been a computer literate bunch.)

Anyway, the boys want me to order a pizza with extra anchovies (hold the cheese) for them. But I don't think we are in their delivery area and Dominoes doesn't let you order online. And how do we pay the delivery guy?

p.s. Don't tell the folks I was posting!

Daily Stench

Someone with four paws sprayed the wall next to the hallway litterbox. No suspects have been named, although CSI is trying to determine if the same someone left the lake in the closet earlier this week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Farewell my Feathered Friend

Billy killed the feather teaser this morning.

The feathers themselves have been sickly the past couple of days, but that's not the part Billy did in. Rather, he and I got into one of our many tug of wars with the teaser, and the cap holding the string to the rod popped off.

The entire assembly has been given a proper burial, much to the mighty hunter's unhappiness -- he wasn't done hunting it, and later was heard meowing as he looked for it.

(We'll buy a new teaser this weekend.)

Yet another comments change

Due to the problems with comment spam, we now require commenters to register with TypeKey before commenting. We would have required this before, but until a recent software upgrade we couldn't get the [expletive] authentication to work.

At least this change does allow us to drop the dummy password prompt for read access to existing comments and the like. This makes reading our little blog via RSS much easier.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Stomp, stomp, stomp on little cat feet

All three cats were curious about the chicken Katherine cooked for dinner. This led Emily to actually visit the dining room and kitchen with the boys actively prancing about.

Emily does not share space well.

At one point she walked around the border of the dining room, shoulders down, as near as I could tell trying to stomp. Of course, seven pounds of cat doesn't make much of a stomp on a 115 year old hardwood floor, but she tried.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Weekend Stench

Someone left a lake in the door of the bedroom closet which holds the litterbox. Odd. Does that box need cleaning as well?

Valet Service

The hall litterbox is fully cleaned and refreshed, by Katherine.

Meanwhile, I used the bath tub to clean various retired litterbox lids, spare litterboxes, and an empty litter pail. We had left it all outside until we could hose them down, but the weather turned cooler, then leaves fell, then it snowed, then the snow melted, then we got sick ... the stuff had been out there three months by now.

Oh yeah, the tub itself got a free plunging.

Busy useful humans.


As I noted last week, I had an officemate while I was home sick.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Justice Under the Covers

Whitey was under the blankets working on a pounce again this morning when suddenly the world opened up just enough for the Mist Of Doom descended upon him.

In other words, I lifted up the head end of the blanket and shot him.

I bet he didn't know the Mist could do that.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

My Precious

I got more feathers for the cat teaser. Billy is as dedicated with the new ones as the original. It takes longer to get it away from him every time he catches it, he must be getting better at pinning it.

I actually may have teased him a little too long this evening, we try to pace him, but he was panting quite a bit by the time "the bird" went away.

At least he does let Whitey chase it too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Rules are for humans

As previously noted, Whitey likes to burrow under blankets. Usually this is cute. It's not so cute when you're half awake, move your feet away from a warm kitten lump, and feel needle-like claws raking your ankle as he pounces. Owww!

Pouncing is against the rules, of course, but Whitey has a history of considering rules as merely guidelines. This morning I heard a sad and lonely meow coming from downstairs. "Won't someone please play with me?" I went down to investigate and found Whitey sitting on the dining room table, which is also against the rules. I think he was actually saying, "Won't someone help me climb on the chandelier?"

Meanwhile, the "breakfast at 8:00" rule is strictly enforced.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Feline Friends

We haven't been posting much because we have both been sick with 10 day colds from hell. The cats, while computer litterate, consider actual typing to be a clerk's job. (They may have something there.)

At the same time, the cats do have priorities, like actively being family.

It seems every time I take a nap to fight the cold, a tiger cat or even two appears to keep me company, trying to nestle of up to my legs in a mixed species creature pile. Because I am a restless sleeper this doesn't work, but the boys are accommodating of my human limitations, moving out of the way but still sticking close.

When the bedroom door has been shut for noise control, Billy even mews and scratches at it to be let in so he can look after me. (Katherine now has instructions to prop the door open for him.)

As I type this in my office, I can see my roll-away printer stand (sans printer) which mostly acquires junk. One item on it today is a semi-wadded up sweatshirt, and that sweatshirt has now acquired a napping Whitey. And that's not junk at all.

The Mighty Hunter

Billy, the master of the chow line, has found something more important than food.

Someone online mentioned of a
Feather Cat Teaser
as the one true cat toy for his cat, and so when we were getting kitty litter I picked one up. Net result:


Is interested in it, a little scared of it at times. At her age, she tires easily, which may be a factor.


Spider-cat acrobatics in full glory as he leaps up and after it. He thinks it's darn near as good as a kitty treat (see below).


12 pounds of Sabertooth tiger; this isn't pleasure, it's business. He makes Whitey seem disinterested, and when Billy latches on to the feather, it takes 30 seconds to a minute of working the line just get it loose again. And he will growl defending it.

Billy is so focused on the feather that even literally dropping cat treats in front of his nose doesn't make him let go of it. (Whitey will dispose of the treat for him, if needed.) When we put the feather away, Billy lies quietly on sentry duty looking at the place he thinks it roosted, waiting for it to take flight again.

And we do put it away, because Billy would chase it until he collapsed.

Nice to know Billy is on our side.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

The Daily Mess

Knowing there are those hang on every purr of the cats ...

Emily threw up today for no appearent reason.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Go, go Catzilla!

This is mostly posted because I named a big fast computer I test on at work after Catzilla, and I need an accessible picture for its web server.


Penthouse Rumble

Sometimes the boys play nice. Sometimes it gets a little purrsonal, like the left hook Whitey delivered to his brother.

(Pardon the focus and quality, shooting action shots with flash is not our forte).

Cat-Fu-2004-08-09-a.jpg     Cat-Fu-2004-08-09-b.jpg

Friday, November 5, 2004

Back by popular demand

Eek! We've got an actual audience, hanging on our every post! (See comment to previous entry.)

We've actually spent most of the last week dealing with human concerns: baseball, elections, and the lack of productivity inspired by both. The feline contingent has been pretty well-behaved through all this. After all, awake humans are more willing to play than sleeping humans.

Today, both boys reminded me that the distinction between human furniture and cat furniture is purely artificial. Billy decided to hop up on the dining room table to help me put together a grocery list. He was very annoyed that he not only didn't persuade me to buy more kitty treats, but also got smited by the Mist of Doom for being where he didn't belong. Not to be outdone, Whitey decided that the bunch of bananas I brought back from the store was too heavy for me, and decided to help me put them on the banana hook. Tsk tsk tsk.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Natural Habitat

We previously posted a picture of Emily's habitat, namely hanging out in the bedroom. She's actually not in there as much any more, as Katherine's office provides a place with more petting and less Billy.

Of course, Emily knows top priority is being petted when she's in the office with Katherine. (And yes, that is real work Katherine is trying to do.)


A Lonely Meow?

The boys, especially Whitey, seem pretty vocal lately, especially when left alone. If we check on the mystery meower, he is just sitting there, alone in a room.

I wouldn't call it crying wolf, but it is a distraction, especially at 3 AM.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Billy Loves Emily

Billy and Emily seem at war again.

The particular item I'm thinking of is as Emily was leaping up into a living room chair today, Billy tried to pounce on her butt. Lucky for all concerned, he didn't succeed.

However, Billy has also been staking out the water hole (the cat fountain) and generally being rude.

For her part, Emily is not a feline Miss Manners.


Friday, October 29, 2004

Who turned on the lights?

Whitey likes to burrow under blankets. We wish he wouldn't, especially when humans are asleep in bed. Unfortunately, he's so cute that we are completely lax about enforcing the rule. (Click image for larger version.)


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Shower Attendant

Whitey is adding shower attendant to his resume.

He's decided the shower makes really interesting noises, and so each morning he tries to check on things. The bathroom door helps him in this, as it doesn't always latch securely. Thus, for half the days of the past week, I'll hear *click* and then look out and find Whitey standing on the sink counter next to the shower curtain.

Since the shower makes him his most inquisitive, he looks pretty cute, standing there with his ears perked up.

If he could only learn to close the door so I don't get a draft ...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Midnight Marauders

After a long period of relatively quiet nights, the boys were in fine 1 AM Cat Fu form this morning.

All was quiet from when I went to bed early (and closed the bedroom door), until Katherine came to bed and put the door back to its normal open state.

The cats made up for lost time.

We had 1 AM Cat Fu.

We had the office window shade as clanking cat toy.

We had laps up and down the stairs in the Summerhill 500.

We had cats burrowing under the covers.

As my sister Cat noted last week, it's a good thing chipping the cats did not include a performance upgrade, the thought of Bionic Cat Fu makes us all shudder...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Occasional Stench

Emily had another close solid miss after dinner today. She seems to do that more or less once a week now, just to remind us she can.

This was found during evening litterboxes, a task delayed by watching the (first) Red Sox-Yankees Marathon game. I finally tore myself away between innings.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Fast and the Furryous

With modern cars, some of the best performance upgrades don't involve hardware changes per se (or even replacing the driver). Rather, a software upgrade replaces or at least reprograms the microchip controlling engine performance. This is especially useful on cars with turbos, because the factory chip is generally programmed conservatively to avoid abusing the turbo.

The boys were quite excited to hear that they and Emily were being microchipped yesterday. I didn't have the heart to tell them that their procedure identifies them with a microchip implanted just under the skin in the scruff of the neck. No performance improvement at all.

However, if our indoor cats ever get out and lost in the great wide world, we now have a better chance of getting them back.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wipe Your Feet

Like most litterboxes, the ones at the kitten farm get their share of litter tracked, spilled, or tossed out of the box. When I was in PetCo yesterday getting a cat carrier (more on that later), I saw a litterbox mat, and I bought it.

The mat is basically a rug of fake plastic grass about twice the floor space area of a litterbox. It's reasonably soft surface, but weird enough feel that it got field testing in a neutral area.

The field test, set up in the doorway between the living room and dining, has utterly failed. The boys don't want to step on the mat. To avoid it, they use their agile four paw drive to leap, twist, squeeze and otherwise avoid stepping on it.

I served dinner on it, thus showing a way to make Billy eat less. He snacked and bolted; we relented and moved the dishes back to their usual location.

I think the mat is going back, we don't need a new reason for litterbox rejection.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Monthly weigh-in

Since last month's weigh-in was also late, it actually has been about 30 days.

Billy comes in at 12 pounds, up two from last month.
Whitey weighs 9 pounds, up one from last month.
Emily remains stable at 7 pounds.

Lake Emily

Our run of neat litter boxes usage is over (even ignoring the Big Dig, which was not so much usage as an active effort to empty a litter box).

There was a minor solid near miss in an upstairs box over the weekend which was so minor I forgot about it even though I cleaned it up.

Less minor this evening was a lake soaked up by the newspapers in Emily's closet -- no doubt by her Emilyness.



Billy is a smart cat. He figures if he climbs into my briefcase, then he can go to all the exciting Outside the House places my briefcase does. Plus he can be with me! Awwwww.....


Kittens and more kittens

We haven't been keeping up with the photo gallery, and in fact there are pictures languishing in the camera waiting to be posted. We're sorry.... In the interim, the Flickr kitten gallery has all the photos you could possibly want.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Hallway Big Dig

So Katherine and I are in my office discussing Rock'n'Roll songs that all sound vaguely alike, and we hear this digging out in the hall. This sound is not a shock per se, since there is a litterbox out there, and even the sound of litter hitting the newspaper surrounding the box is not of major interest.

But sound of the litter furiously hitting the newspaper puts Katherine in motion, and she was wise to check -- the boys had gotten over a cup of kitty litter out of the box and were going strong landscaping it on the newspaper.

All we can figure is something smelled from a previous litterbox visit. The boys decided the smell was coming from the front page of the Boston Globe -- and promptly went to work to bury it.

I didn't think the Edwards Cheney debate stank that much ...

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Raiding the Kitchen

We finished phasing out lunch for the cats yesterday, they now get fed twice a day. (I'm glad I'm not around to hear them mew about the last time they remember being fed was a week before we adopted them in June.)

In any case, I barreled home from working late to get dinner on the table (on the floor, actually) for them. Knowing they had no lunch, I got the boys' dry food bowls down with the left overs from lunch, and all three cats attacked it with gusto.

(Yes, Emily was shoulder to shoulder with the boys, and we had peace in our time as everyone had food on the brain. I had to pry to her loose to get to eat her own food when I got it down.)

While they got started on the dry food, I put their wet food (1/8 can each) in the bowls on the fly. The attention this got reminded me why I normally fill the bowls well out of reach of the cats. I was missing a cat food can lid, so I tucked the spare open can out of the way in the sink, and took Emily's food up to her suite.

I then collapsed and watched an inning of baseball playoffs, or most of one. I was interrupted by the boys being up on the counter in the kitchen; when I looked they were attacking the spoon I left in the sink after I served them dinner with it.

Oh wait. I also left the open kitten food can in the sink, and a full scale buffet raid was in progress. I gently booted them to the floor and gave them kitty treats for dessert, because they are so good at training their human...

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Admin note

Due to excessive comment spam (which never gets seen because we purge it before approval), we have further secured comments.

If you try to post, will you be get an additional prompt before your post will be accepted. Sorry.

Baker House Revisited

Katherine went downstairs for a drink of water and found Whitey asleep on the dining room table.

I hope he was comfortable.

Monday, October 4, 2004

Kitten Jousts: Spider-Cat vs. Catzilla

Cat Fu is mostly wrestling, but sometimes the maneuvering for position via the stalk and pounce is far more interesting to watch.

Yesterday during Cat Fu, the boys split up into separate rooms. When they found each other again, they both charged and leaped in a manner to make a Klingon proud, resulting in two vertical cats suspended in midair.

Both cats had apparently realized the midair pending collision wasn't going to offer any advantage, and had put on the brakes enough that they didn't actually collide. Unfortunately, Spider-cat let his hind paws get too far forward, and ... well, he came back to earth by landing on more or less flat on his back.

So much for cats always landing on their feet.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Daily lack of stench

We hope. The recent litterbox misses seem to have been Emily's not-too-subtle way of telling us that she really doesn't like covered litterboxes. We took the covers off, and the problem went away. Of course, with four boxes in the house you would think she could find a suitable one, but who am I to argue with Her Emilyness.

The boxes were covered in the first place because of overspray by the boys. That problem seems (we hope) to have been taken care of by moving the box away from vertical surfaces. Thereby tripling the amount of lost floor space, but never mind.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Yes, that fur does make you look fat...

Billy is not getting thinner. If anything he's filling out so his tubbo butt is matched by his torso.

When he looks in proportion, he does not seem overly fat, but he's still just plain big. Thus, we have another title for him: Catzilla!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Tummy Trouble

Someone (I think Emily) threw up this morning in the bedroom just before 8 am feeding. Because it was before breakfast, it was basically a pile of spit. No big deal to clean up, but we want our little fiends young and old to be healthy ...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

All a matter of perspective

I think an entire web site devoted to cats watching pictures of other cats is a sign that someone has way too much time on their hands. The cats, of course, are delighted to see such a noble use of the internet, and want to know when I'm planning to send their pictures in.

(Warning: Eye-bleeding 90s-style white on black site design.)

Stepping In

The problem with having the litterbox in the hall is you never know what you'll find on the way to the bathroom at 4:30 AM.

My foot found a cat pile this morning. There was also a lake, no extra charge, but I didn't step in that.

I knew I need to wear my bathroom slippers if I get up in the middle of the night, but I got lazy.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Maintenance Mayhem

This weekend the cats were not using up their nine lives, but the humans were living dangerously.

First I went to refill the water fountain, the tank for which has a self sealing cap with a weight and a little plunger. This reduces leaks as you flip it over to insert into the fountain. When the tank is fully seated, the fountain base pushes the plunger up, and water flows as needed, like a normal water cooler. Well, I managed to break off the plunger. The tank was still usable, but now one best only flip it over into the bowl and seat it promptly.

Then Katherine took the water pitcher downstairs for me, along with Emily's lunch dish. I got on the web to look for replacement tank parts, and I heard a BOOM. Katherine had slipped on the stairs in her socks ... there was dry cat food over all the stairs.

It was time to find the vacuum before the boys decided they wanted a change of diet...

(Katherine is fine, thank you for asking.)

Friday, September 17, 2004

What's Mine is Mine ...

It's picture Friday!

Aeron Chairs are not cheap, but the boys think that quality is worth it for them. That Katherine can't work at her desk when a cat wants a nap is only a minor issue.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Anyone speak calico?

Yesterday afternoon, Emily left a lake outside the upstairs covered litterbox. Today, she did the same thing outside the one downstairs. She's clearly trying to make a point, but I have no idea what it is. Sigh...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tigers and tigers and tigers, oh my!

The boys just want to thank their Aunt Catherine for linking to the Louisville Zoo's three Sumatran tiger cubs. They were devastated when I explained that Mohan, Jai, and Leela would be more likely to eat them than to play with them.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Saturday afternoon kitten pile

The boys like naps. So we've posted napping kitten piles before. Still, this one was especially cute, and shows how much they've grown. They can now just barely squeeze into the top level of the cat condo.


Naps can degenerate into Cat Fu at any moment, usually when one brother wakes up and starts licking the other one.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Tummy woes

Emily threw up again this morning. This looked like she ate her breakfast too fast and it came back up, but still worrisome. She seems otherwise okay, but we'll want to keep an eye on her for the next few days.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

He really is tubby!

In the more-or-less monthly weigh-in, Billy tips the scales at 10 pounds, up 1.5 since last month. Whitey, meanwhile, put on a 2 pound growth spurt in August, and now weighs 8 pounds. Emily remains stable at 7.0 pounds.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

A Home (Office) of My Own

Yesterday, Katherine booted the litterbox out of my office into the upstairs hall to clean the floor under it. She suggested I move it back, and my response was "why?".

Her valid reason was to avoid tripping over it, but I pointed I never really planned on a litterbox in my office in the first place. We moved a small wicker stool out of the hall (actually into my office) and declared the litterbox's new home the hall for now.

Pavlov promptly started playing with the liner from outside the box; I pointed out to him what he was playing with by picking up him and setting him into the box. He promptly did the right thing and christened the box in its new home.

Happily, overnight no one decided to use the blank floor in my office where the box used to be.

Now if we could just reclaim Katherine's closet ....

Monday, September 6, 2004

Daily Stench

Emily both has a mildly loose stool, and she threw up today. The latter had no solids, but may have been an attempt to cough up a hairball.

Guess we can try the anti-hairball formula food we bought her by mistake after all.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Just call me Gulliver

Billy and Whitey have both decided that one of their favorite places to curl up is between Drew and I, in the middle of the bed. One of Emily's favorite places to curl up is next to me, on the outside edge of the bed. This results in nearly twenty pounds of cat weighing down the sheets that I'm trying to sleep under.

At the beginning of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver regains consciousness to find himself tied down by the Lilliputians. It's sort of like that, only I also need baby blue UN Peacekeeping pajamas to help me keep the two mutually hostile armies of Lilliputians apart.

The Fine Art of Surfacing (Dining Room Department)

Katherine came downstairs last night to toss an apple core and found the dining room table occupied ... by Emily. That's twice this week, after she had shown no interest in it for her first three months with us. The Hiss of Doom announced to Emily that she didn't really want to be there.

Of course, Billy has to keep up with Emily, so on Katherine's next pass through the dining room he was up on the table.

We need one of those road signs that announce strong traffic enforcement for the dining room. We also need a full time cop for the dining room and kitchen.

FRAP Triple Feature

We may not be exercising the boys enough, they decided now that the weather is cool again that they went to be on the bed at night and, oh by the way, Cat Fu is fun at 3 AM. They got booted twice, three times if you count the time I tossed them just for being more awake than me at 6 AM.

Emily (who wasn't really FRAP at all) took over then. Walking around the bed, she lapped Katherine enough times that Katherine The Traffic Cop put a hand in Emily's face, which Emily promptly nipped at.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Does this fur make me look fat?

Billy's current most popular nickname: Tub-O.

Someone may be working on fat feline butt. Katherine alternatively calls him Tub-O and then defends him saying he's not overweight, it's just powerful hind legs and his particular coloring.

I mostly comment on that Whitey doesn't go back for seconds and thirds at the dinner dish.

The argument rages on.

[Later ... see Katherine's comment. She thinks it's actually spelled Tubbo.]

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Hacking, Feline Style

We have decided that Whitey has the soul of an MIT hacker. He's spent a portion of each morning in the past week trying to pry my closet door open (MIT hackers are known for their lock picking skills).

His recent visit to the top of the dining room table caused Katherine to comment that his look was asking, "Is This The Way to Baker House?"

Monday, August 30, 2004

Wanted: Kitchen Staff with Feline Reflexes

I got some feline feedback on being a short order cook.

Both last night and this morning I needed extra time for serving up the boy's meal. Both times, an impatient Spider-Cat decided I needed help.

Last night he hopped up on the small sideboard where I was dishing canned food out.

This morning he managed to look absolutely both innocent and curious while leaping up on the dining room table where I had the kitten dry food open. Never mind that Whitey's presence on the dinning room table is an instant Mist of Doom offense. He looked absolutely like he belonged there -- after all, his meal was involved, and his focus was on that. I could only roll my eyes for several seconds, and only after he showed no intention of leaving, I finally misted him.

Katherine has a stepped up mission to get the cats off the table and kitchen counters and keep them down. Good luck to her (err, us).

Weekend Stench

We've been bad, not keeping on the mudane events which are supposed to be the core of this blog.

Sunday morning, a lake surrounded the litterbox in my office. Emily?

Saturday morning (I think -- that's the problem with belated logging!), we had a miss in the closet of Emily's suite.

We need to track all this better, see who needs more help.

More Cat Toys

You know those rings that seal plastic milk bottle lids? Who knew that they could also contend for the Best Cat Toy title? Whitey will drop everything, even eating, to bat one around. So great is the attraction of the milk bottle ring that Emily will not only allow herself to be seen playing with one, but she'll do so in full view of the boys.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Photo Saturday Double Feature

Emily spends most of her time upstairs, but does wander downstairs from time to time. When she does, she usually doesn't hang around, so it was a double shock to see her her stay and relax in the cat bed which the boys can't be bribed to climb into. Then again, it is a rather regal bed, and she's our most (only) regal cat.


Naps in Our Time

A belated Photo Saturday.

When there is no active stalking going on, the cats can co-exist close to each other, especially if there is a comfortable bed to crash on. This is the closest we have seen them for any period long enough to be believed, much less photographed.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

100% Pure FRAP

Postscript to our return last night, the cats must have been really bored while we were gone. The boys especially seemed in FRAP mode for almost two hours, as if they have been saving up energy all the time we were gone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Lovely To See You Again

We just got back from vacation, up to Toronto to see the Red Sox and back via friends in both NY and Ontario. We missed our little fiends, but our cat sitter Jennifer seems to have looked after them well.

Our first order of business upon getting home was to pet any cat who got near.

Our second order of business was to toss open every window, which made the felines quite happy. No doubt Jennifer didn't aggressively leave the windows open like we do.

Our third order of business was to pick up all the plush toys and other items the bored cats dragged around. This is a bad sign, we have 100 plush toys and I didn't know the cats could lift some of the ones that got moved.

The Further Adventures of Throughly Meowing Millie

It seems the the cat's fellow feline-in-arms Millie is being clever on her chief lady-in-waiting, my sister Cat.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Picture Friday

Okay, sometimes we're in a hurry so the most unique photos don't get posted. But they are all cute, including Whitey atop the hall condo (again).


The Not Quite Daily Stench

Someone missed the litterbox in my office overnight. We automatically suspect Emily of disapproving of the box, but you never know.

At least the cat doing it didn't have loose stools.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Second Verse, Same As The First ...

Yesterday Morning was Fun!
-- Emily, 6 AM

Fun for her, maybe. The rerun wasn't any better for us...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Flight Leader Emily

The dawn patrol returned this morning, slightly later than some days and led by Emily of all people.

She woke us up with a grand tour of the bed at ~ 6 AM, "us" being Billy, Whitey, Katherine, and I. Katherine and I rolled over and went back to sleep (or tried), but the boys, once powered up, did the usual self-cleaning escalating into Cat Fu just by after 6:30 AM.

At least the boys (who got another play session from Katherine yesterday evening) were good bunkmates until woken.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

You want me to eat what?

Our cats are a very accepting, tolerant bunch. The humans are allowed to eat whatever they want, no matter how baffling their lack of interest in fresh mice might be. Cats, however, are predators. And don't you forget it.

Kittens Just Want to Have Fun

We seem to found a partial solution to the middle of the night Cat Fu sessions by the kittens.

The primary tool is a nice long late evening play session with both boys. Both batting practice and the elusive laser pointer dot can send them up and down the stairs until they are more or less wiped out. It does take a half hour or more, but it makes for nice long naps.

'Nite 'Nite boys.

Lake Emily

Emily (we think) created another flood, this time under the dining room litter box. Maybe we need to take the litterbox cover off and move it out from the wall? Since we did that in my office, the misses have stopped.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Quote of the Day

I wanna Rock'n'Roll All Night, and party every day!

--Whitey, 6 AM

Repeated ejections followed. This has actually been going on the past several nights. *sigh*

Food, Glorious Food!

Friday night we upgraded the cat's dinners, adding a spoonful of canned cat food to each dish. It was an instant hit with all three felines. We'll be gradually adding more until most of their evening meal is canned.

However, it's good that Emily doesn't read; she ordered anchovies and we servered chicken and rice.

I realize the dry IAMS we feed them is properly balanced, but I know I would not want to exist on only MRE's.

(Meals Ready To Eat -- three lies In one name)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I'm not going in there!

Our litterbox problems seem to have pretty much gone away. (Knock on wood.) However, this morning we closed the bedroom door to keep the boys from driving us insane. Emily apparently did not approve of the one uncovered box that remained accessible to her, and created a small lake next to it. In her defense, the box in question was pretty heavily used. Sigh...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Seen on a bumper sticker

Cats humor us because they know that their ancestors ate ours.


It's Friday, which means picture day (sometimes). Today is Whitey peering off his penthouse.


Quote of the Day

Guys, you're almost an hour early for 1:15 AM Cat Fu.

-ahd- at 12:24 AM

The boys got gently booted out of the bed multiple times, and finally slept (I use the term loosely) elsewhere.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Dawn Patrol

The last two mornings, the boys were at their early morning hijinks again. They know 3 AM Cat Fu gets them evicted, so this is more subtle.

It starts 100% cute and 0% problem with Whitey quietly sleeping between us. But he wakes up up two hours before us, and his activity slowly goes from a yawn and a stretch through cleaning himself (amazing how that stands out in an otherwise utterly quiet bed) to wandering around. Helped by his visiting brother, he builds up to a big finish with borderline FRAP.

The result is 25% cute, 50% awake humans, and 25% just plain lost in the ozone.

I need a nap.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Mighty Hunter (or Not)

So I'm serving lunch to the cats and I hear this little kitty yelp from the front hall. Not a "why can't I climb up there" meow, but a "someone stepped on my paw" yelp.

I find Whitey sniffing at a yellow jacket on the floor. First I kill it and dispose of it for him. Then I panic, remembering that cats can go into anaphylactic shock just like humans.

Then I make Whitey very irritated by holding him still so that I can see if his face is swelling up. At least the symptoms of a sting allergy are hard to miss and happen fast. I don't need to worry about finding him paws-up tomorrow morning.

He's actually fine. Which is why I'm writing this instead of sitting at the vet (for him) or the cardiac care unit (for me).

This is two lives he's used up this week. No wonder he has nine of them!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Quote of the Day

Billy, you really don't want to be tunnelling under Emily.
-- Katherine, at 3 AM

Monday, August 9, 2004

Ready to Rumble

Emily seems at the center of all sorts of trouble for Whitey.

Yesterday Spider-Cat was parked on the landing of the stairs when Billy decided to stalk Emily on the first floor. Emily bugs out ... up the stairs, and past semi-comatose Whitey on the landing. To Emily, Whitey's role in the evil conspiracy is to block her way, so she swings at him. Fortunately, she missed. (We think).

Fast forward past other minor incidents of that ilk ...

This morning Emily jumped off the bed to go prowling about, and Whitey, who had been crashed in the middle of the bed, wandered over to Emily's favorite corner to sniff about. I observe this leaving the room and pass Emily entering, and I think that Emily won't blindly up jump on the bed without checking her landing zone ... would she? I reverse direction just in time to see her do to exactly that, and land next to the "ambushing" Whitey. Emily issues a battle cry, but is interrupted by my hand pinning her back to the bed. She wiggles free, but the desired delay is achieved, as all parties (including my hand) choose to withdraw from the field of battle.

While Emily is not paranoid (the boys do love a nice stalk), she does work to find offense where there is none.

It should also be noted that with cooler nights the boys (especially Whitey) have taken to sleeping between Katherine and I. With Emily in her usual spot on the bed, this makes Katherine the border between the factions, and leaves her wishing for a baby blue UN Peacekeeping nightshirt. Do they come in Kevlar?

Sunday, August 8, 2004

The Further Adventures of Spider-Cat

It's better to be lucky than good, although it helps have natural talent in either case.

While our vet knows our smaller boy as Whitey, he has other names. Strictly speaking, Whitey is a nickname for James, although we think him of more as Pavlov. He's also Thing 2 to Billy's Thing 1, usually when we're in "Who was that masked cat?" mode after we didn't get a positive id of a speeding feline.

Whitey is also Spider-Cat, because he climbs better than Billy and enjoys it more; if a cat is in a condo penthouse, usually it will be Spider-Cat. He's the also sort that would just as soon climb the outside carpeted wall of a cat condo to get up top than to work from platform to platform. Sometimes he falls, but not often. His honed climbing skills were important today.

Some Background: if you take a close look at the recent picture of the boys doing Cat Fu, a gap exists to the left of railing at the top of the stairs. This carpet covered cliff unnerved us when the boys first arrived, as having a kitten go off it to fall eight feet to the first floor would not improve his health. Katherine actually blocked it off with cardboard. However, the cardboard didn't stay put, and once we realized the kittens also fit between the railing balusters (uprights), we let the boys' natural balance and common sense guard them instead.

Some guard.

I pitched batting practice on the stairs this morning, and as it wound down the boys worked their way to the top of the stairs, with Billy nearer the condo and Whitey by the wall. I tossed a ball up onto the second floor, and first Billy and then Whitey batted at it. Whitey actually turned away from the stairs to get in the corner where the wall cuts away to make room for the railing (and lack there of), and then stepped back from the ball to bat it.

This caused Whitey to go backwards off the cliff, with me just far enough away down the stairs I couldn't reach for him, especially with the bannister in the way. Like a human trying to save himself, he scrambled a bit. Unlike a human, he stopped. Not gave up, but stopped dropping, even though two-thirds of him was dangling in mid-air. The reason was clear, he had all ten fore claws firmly anchored in the rug. Whitely was sufficiently calm about it to pause for a heartbeat (I suspect to check his purchase) before he smoothly pulled himself back up to the second floor.

It was kitty treats for both boys.

Saturday, August 7, 2004

Fountain Service

The water fountain mostly looks after itself, especially compared to our three times day litter boxes. However, the fountain does need to be drained of debris, wiped clean of slime, and the reservoir refilled about twice a week.

This afternoon I gave it the usual service, but after I refilled the bowl I let the pump run exposed as a treat for the boys while I finished refilling the reservoir. They didn't disappoint.

Fountain-Service-A-07.jpg         Fountain-Service-B-07.jpg

Saturday Morning Cat Fu

On Saturday morning, the boys practiced their Cat Fu. This doesn't show it well, but they were typical Heisen Cats and didn't want to show off for the camera.


Friday, August 6, 2004

Happy Ending (better yet, a Happy Beginning)

I originally saw this several months ago, about Lilly the four eared kitten. Unlike some other people basking in the fame generated by their creatures, this shelter cared about Lilly's future, and specifically wanted her to go to a normal family.

Good for them!

(The boys especially like she was napping in a tube similar to our low condo.)

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Caught in the Act!

We caught her!

We have evidence this evening of Emily, acting like she enjoys kitten-like recreation. She has such periods regularly, but they last as little as a few seconds a pop.

This shot was just a few minutes old when posted:


No doubt she'll want to discreetly buy the negatives from us. (Unfortunately for her, it was a digital camera; there are no negatives, and we have good backups.)

What the World Doesn't Need

Genetic Savings & Clone reports that they have successfully cloned their CEO's pet cat. For a mere $50,000, they will clone your pet, too.

Our cats think that's a terrible idea. While they admire the devout cat worship a $50,000 check represents, they also know that millions of homeless cats are euthanized every year. They think the nice foster parents at PAWS could probably help lots of cats with that much money. (PAWS took care of them before they arrived here at the Kitten Farm.)

When to Change the Litter Box

When the same cat misses the same box twice in one day, it's time.

Emily missed the uncovered box in her suite (formerly my closet) this morning, and then again this afternoon. I know it was her because only she had access to the room at the time.

I was planning to change that box this weekend anyway. I guess Her Highness thought that wasn't good enough.

Give Me That Old Time (Canine) Religion

Emily says we can post more dog humor, since cats are always regal rather than funny, and certainly cats are not to be laughed at. Even the boys.

In any case, even religious people own dogs.

Things that go bump in the night

I thought cats were supposed to be quiet. Billy and Whitey must not have gotten the memo.

Chase brother downstairs. Thump thump thump. Spin turbo ball around. Whirrrr thunk. Whirrr thunk. Chase brother upstairs. Thump thump thump. Bang brother's head on floor. Clunk. Bat foil ball around. Rustle rustle rustle. Rustle rustle rustle. (They like this one.) Rustle rustle rustle. (A lot.) Chase brother back downstairs. Thump thump thump. Repeat....

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Kitten rugby?

When we first discovered kitten soccer, we decided the regulation ball is a Ping Pong ball. That may not actually be true. We've got a crumpled ball of colored foil that's trying to establish a competing standard.

Foil seems to be easier to pull out of corners and other places where Ping Pong balls get trapped. The big advantage, though, is that foil can be picked up and carried as well as batted. Very useful when trying to keep the ball away from one's brother.

Hmmm. If the ball can be carried as well as passed, does that transform the game into kitten rugby? Especially since the game often degenerates to a scrum, also known as Cat Fu?

The Daily Stench (Bored, bored, bored)

I woke up this morning and Whitey was curled up between us in the bed, very cute. He actually managed to be quiet about visiting, even with Emily three feet away. I may remember his arrival, but he did not do anything to get himself noticed or, more importantly, ejected.

Both boys have had loose stools over the past few days, but they and Emily are using the litterboxes properly.

Like the elf says, boring is good.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The Manchurian Feline(s)

The kittens visited overnight. I think they are trying to refactor our subconscious, one meow at a time.

All I can remember is noticing Whitey curling up near by, bed feedback from a cat in motion, and then Emily growling. I mumbled something about Whitey on the loose, and Katherine (as sleepy as I am) announces that it was Billy. It's all a haze.

What a team.

I gotta close that bedroom door ...

The Breadth of Their Domain

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."

Whitey and Billy, on the other hand, will always find new places to expand their domain into. Case in point is testing my dresser as a chaise lounge, next to the low condo in the bedroom.


Monday, August 2, 2004

Look at Them Grow

Emily weighs in at 7.0 pounds, the same as last month. In spite of her regular complaints of impending starvation, she's actually doing just fine.

Whitey is at 6.0 pounds, up half a pound from last month. Billy continues to grow faster, up one pound at 8.5. They're coming up on six months old, so they should start to slow down pretty soon.

The Daily Stench

A quick summary of the rest of the weekend.

Saturday night the boys didn't seem as nearly crazy from the heat, we had a visit or two overnight but not the parade we did Friday night.

Yesterday both boys had diarrhea in evening, but this was merely observed (and smelled) as they used the litterbox. Pavlov was especially helpful in letting us know his current state. We changed the litter in the downstairs box, and he dove in to use it when we had it only half full. Of course, before he did his business it he had to landscape the fresh litter, and as I resumed adding more he just smoothed that for me too. What a team!

As an aside, Tidy Cat Immediate Odor Control clumping litter does wonders. (It's that or gas masks.)

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Tigers in the News

The boys say Apollo is their hero, and want to know if they can roam around Queens when they grow up. I explained that they probably won't get to 450 pounds.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Crazy from The Heat Redux

One fun night, when the weather by itself made it hard to sleep.

It was hot yesterday during the day, and after sleeping all day (okay, they do that when it's cool, too) last night the cats took crazy from the heat to new levels. Had I known when I went to bed, I would booted the boys and barred the door.

It was almost surreal, because for example Whitey never visits by the light of the moon, but he did several times last night. Likewise, Emily can't be chased from her habitat, but she fled last night.

As it was, after an initial 1:15 AM Cat Fu session we had at least two more, plus four or five single visits of kittens curling up in kitty furnance mode, and at least two rumbles between one of the boys and Emily.

It was way too much excitement.

[Later ... be sure to read Katherine's comments on the excitement.]

Friday, July 30, 2004

Light Bulb Duty

Cats, of course, don't change light bulbs. They can see in the dark, and don't care if you can't.

But dogs are more helpful.

And like everything on web, everyone has their own version.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Problem? What problem?

More boring litterboxes. I could get used to this... The liner engineering I did the other day seems to be working as well.

Emily in her Natural Habitat

The reason why the Billy wants to say hello to me at 5 AM instead of Katherine is because Emily is on guard.


That corner of the bed is nearest to the bedroom and litterbox closet doors, so it lets her keep an eye on things, like roaming kittens.

Emily stays within three feet of that corner of her bed 16 hours a day or more. Whereas the boys may sleep in any of three condos or other places like desks or office futons, she tends to only venture out from the bedroom for a an hour or two at most a day.

Laundry Bin

The sort of things cats make you think about.

Because of the cats, ~ two weeks ago we replaced the laundry hamper (bin, actually).

The old bin used plastic tubing to hold three bags (light, medium, and dark); the tubes were only held together with friction fittings. The bags were only held up by their drawstrings being pulled tight (like a liner in a wastebasket). Also, cats could climb (or pull down) the open mesh bags.

(Quite frankly, the old bin was cheap junk, and bought only for its three bins.)

The new bin uses metal tubes with screw fittings. The new single bag is velcroed to the top of the frame, and with both a solid band at the bottom and a finer mesh up the sides, it is not as climbable and hangs in there when a cat paws at it.

One never regrets buying quality, especially if it makes the product cat proof.

Third Watch

Everyone with four paws wanted to party overnight. Sheeeesh.

The main event was at 5 AM.

Biggest party animal was Billy, who after a hiatus of two weeks decided he wanted to curl up with me. Alas, he kept lying down where he was putting tension on the sheet, which makes me tense. I kept nudging him and finally he jumped down.

Then someone wanted to play with my shoes on the floor. I got up and tossed them in the closet.

Then Whitey wanted to play with the rolling laundry bin; that was it, I booted the boys and shut the door.

Emily wanted to be fed around 6:30 AM, but she wasn't obnoxious about it and she let me go back to sleep after I ignored her.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Toys of Summer (Watersports Division)

Back around July 14th we got a water fountain for the cats. All the cats (even Emily) like it over standing water in dishes.

Whitey-Billy-Drink-a-07-2004.jpg          Whitey-Billy-Drink-b-07-2004.jpg

A small pump sends a trickle of water through a carbon filter and tumbling down a slide. Whitey especially likes to drink off the waterfall itself.

Between the bowl and reservoir, it holds almost six liters. That means we can ignore it for days at a stretch.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sanitation engineering

Hmmm..... The biggest problem with the covered litter boxes is that liquid accumulates on the liner and is then funneled out of the box and onto the floor (blech) through capillary action. The ideal box design would prevent that by fitting the lid inside, rather than outside, the box. I don't have an injection molding plant handy to try that, but what happens if I fold the liner over so that it drains back into the litter?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Sleeping on the Job

As promised, proof that Katherine needs to give the cats more room on her desk. Believe it or not, Whitey is sleeping in this position (and kicking her keyboard out of the way if he has to).


A Member of the Wedding

As noted, we attended my sister's wedding this weekend. My sister's cats were there, including Izzy.


We don't have much detail on Izzy, except like any Heisen cat, she refuses to pose for a camera. In her case, she refused to even look at Katherine until after the camera's battery died.

Batting Practice

The boys have discovered a new game. This one is best played with medium-hard rubber balls, which are heavier than and not as bouncy as the Ping Pong balls used for kitten soccer.

The game begins when a human referee puts a ball in play by tossing it up the stairs to the landing. The ideal toss has just enough energy to roll and bounce back down the steps. Too soft, and the ball dies on the landing. Too hard, and it ricochets back down too quickly. An ideal toss gives the feline players a chance to bat the ball out of the air (sometimes becoming fully airborne themselves), pounce on it, wrestle with it, and dribble it down the stairs. Almost as much fun to watch as kitten soccer, and less work for the humans because the relatively confined playing field keeps balls from escaping.

Boredom is good

Boring litter boxes this morning. The secret to achieving litter box boredom appears to be litter box cleanliness. Which I sort of knew, but we're working out how the cats define "clean."

We've switched the boys over to feeding three times a day instead of free feeding. The goal is to prevent Emily from raiding the kitten food, and also to transition the boys down to feeding twice a day by the time they're six months old. (In August.) There is, of course, an adjustment period, which manifested itself as Emily being aggressively hungry at about 6 AM. Breakfast was served at 7 AM, about an hour earlier than normal.

The boys also went FRAP at about 5 AM. They stayed out of the bedroom, but the thuds emanating from Cat Fu practice in the hall still woke up the humans. Sigh...

Saturday, July 24, 2004

While The Cat's (not) Away

We zoomed up to a wedding in upstate NY, and left the cats in the care of a twice a day cat sitter for 36 hours:

The results:
  • Emily's food was left down (it's supposed to be up after 30 minutes). Nor was it in its normal dish.
  • We had solid messes in the both upstairs hall and my office. We also had a wet puddle around my office litterbox.
  • The litterbox scoop and and it's stand were in different rooms.

We are not impressed.

At least the little demons seemed happy to see us.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Help Desk

Katherine clearly needs to make more room on her desk for VIPs (Very Important Paws). Emily (who does occasionally get herself out of the bedroom) looks crowded there. We also now have published proof that Whitey thinks the keyboard can interfer with naps.


(Updated for the link to Whitey on 07/26/2004.)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Crazy from the Heat?

One of those nights.

I think the felines all slept during the day more than they normally do because it was fairly warm. Whatever the reason, it left the boys fully charged for 4 AM Cat Fu, not to mention climbing practice. Emily was also awake, both prowling and growling.

At once point, I was dead asleep when a cat, probably Billy, walked on me. Big mistake on his part, my reflex was to kick my pinned legs and he went flying. I think it was under his own power, that is to say he fled before the tidal wave nailed him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Who's really in charge?

One of my favorite cartoonists is clearly a cat owner. Hilary B. Price, who draws Rhymes with Orange, has assembled a gallery of cat cartoons on her site. It isn't complete, but it's a start.

Litterbox Thumping


Last night we got a desk chair mat to protect the floor under the litter boxes in Emily's suite. It got put to the test overnight.

Someone sprayed urine about the open box in Emily's suite this morning leaving a lovely puddle. As bonus the covered box next to it proved that like convertible tops, seams can leak. In this case, urine sprayed on the back wall of the box seemed down and out instead of down and in.

We didn't need the mat tested quite so well so fast. Yeech.

Tunnel of Love

Here's a picture of Billy in the shortest of the condos.


This is the one that started in the hall but moved to the bedroom, where I spiked it with catnip a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Not Quite Daily Stench

Best I can figure, Emily has no depth perception. We're still getting seemingly random litter box near misses. We know it's Emily because it happens to boxes that the boys don't have access to, and also because her umm output is greater. (Think dilute calico racehorse.)They're near misses, and she doesn't miss all the time, so it's not an outright rejection of the box or the litter. Clearly it's time to try transitioning her to a covered box again.

No mews is good good mews

Litterboxes were boring this morning, and the cats, roaming free, didn't raise much of fuss last night.

Billy did come to visit twice at an odd hours. Once he got the The Mist of Doom for toe pouncing, but no hard feelings. He came back after a while and got petted and then gently shooed.

Emily is still scaring the boys. I actually gave her TMOD for growling, which is not an approved reason to discharge it. Aw, hell...

Penthouse Pet

Below is a picture of Whitey in the upstairs hall condo.


This condo is basically three posts supporting two square platforms (three if you count the ground floor) and the round penthouse. Not obvious is that the penthouse has a cat sized hole in the floor for climbing up (or attacking) from the third story.

Other items in the background are the hall window to the left (nice real estate always has a good view), and the HP LaserJet printer behind the condo to the right. The printer is due for booby trapping, we can't have cat hair in our toner ...

Monday, July 19, 2004

Calico Punks on Dope

The truth is out! Emily likes catnip! We thought she was immune (20% to 50% of cats are, depending who you ask), but rather it would appear we didn't use enough previously. I was spiking the tube in the short condo in her suite for the boys when she climbed in it and got real happy.

Let's just say we have a whole house full of happy cats tonight.

Home On The Range

The bedroom access cold war continues. We cloistered the boys last night so Emily could roam free, but my soft heart let them out at 3 AM when I heard soft meowing.

Billy more or less promptly wandered on the bed and curled up with me, but I gently nudged him off after petting him and he didn't come back. All was peaceful for rest of the night.

(Now, the bedroom window/fan configuration to keep all the humans cool and quiet in this summer weather is another story ... but that's not for this blog, since the cats are happy with the weather.)

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Toys of Summer (Furniture Division)

It's official. The cats now have three condos. We got the first one for the living room as part of our major league PetCo run before we picked up the cats. The second showed up ~ a week later so the boys had a place to hang out in the master bedroom, AKA Emily's Suite. The third, smaller one, arrived yesterday. It gives them a vacation home within a home in the upstairs hall, for when they are booted out of the master bedroom.

Why do they get three? Because they use them, which is all the endorsement we need.

Speaking of booting, Katherine thought we need to let in the boys back in the bedroom at night. Yea, right. We left the door open and Billy showed up at 3 AM and wanted to sleep against my legs. Just what I needed, a feline furnance I am afraid of rolling over on. Ejection followed.

(Later -- I should note we actually swapped the tall one out to the hall and the short one into the bedroom, because the printer stander in the hall was taller than the condo. That fact caused Whitey to prefer the printer ....)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

Random notes from past two days ...

I took yesterday off from this because the morning started okay and then crashed badly. After it, I needed a break from cats.

Source of the crash was that the gentle kicking the laundry basket out of my way caused the bedroom to be perfumed with the smell of cat guano. (Actually, it stank of cat sh-t, pure and simple). Someone (no suspects) had made a mess, and kicking the basket out of the way caused the mess to spread like peanut butter off a knife. The basket was full to boot, so I had to empty it one piece at time before I could toss the basket in the shower to clean it.

Side note: our deodorizer spray is killing the finish on our hardwood floors. Aw, hell.

Later, someone (Emily?) also dumped cat gauno on the news paper in front of the litter box during the day while I was gone. Depressing, but not nearly the headache the morning was.

I've kicked the boys out of the bedroom when I went to bed both of the last two nights, and I've gotten decent sleep for a change. I swear, lights off the previous few nights was an excuse for them to go into FRAP. Experiments have shown letting them in any time before reveille causes them to be warm and friendly -- which is not what you want when trying to sleep.

At least Billy seems to be learning not to pounce on my moving parts in bed.

Finally, Emily is being quite affectionate this morning, no doubt because with her suite door closed she missed her midnight raid on the boys' food, and now with the door open I've pulled up the boys' food until 8 AM when I will feed everyone.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Thoroughly Meowing Millie

We have a photo of another honorary kitten farm member. My sister Cat is the primary valet for Millie. Millie is four years old and lives with her valets in Kentucky.


She's your typical semi-neurotic cat--smart enough to be afraid of young boys, and just as Emily owns the Kitten Farm's master bedroom, the Kentucky guest room is Millie's; she will express her displeasure at intruders.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Pavlov's Cat

As Katherine would say, problem? What problem?

I'm working from home, for reasons not driven by the cats, but it does allow me to watch them during a work day, when I am more out of their way. After some morning forays by the kittens across my desk, most of the day they all spent napping. No fights, even when Billy, Emily, and I all napped on her bed.

I am wounded, but it wasn't a cat. Rather, that came from our 20 year old +2 hit point +2 stealth glass coffee table, which nailed my shin when I was looking for Whitey after he meowed a few minutes ago. Whitey was fine of course, just another random "has anyone seen my tail" query. However, he did remind me that it was litter box time.

Why does Whitey remind me of litter box time? Because if he sees one being cleaned, he has to use it. This afternoon he set a record, using the downstairs box and both of the boxes in Emily's suite in under ten minutes. (He actually didn't have anything to contribute to the middle of the three boxes, but hey, he tried.) Must be Pavlovian reflex or something. Of course, because we want to encourage them using the boxes, we have to wait when he does his duty. I need to remember to close the closest doors more ...

Third Watch

Last night was not bad per se, but not as smooth as one would want.

After lights out, the boys were stalking Emily, and The Mist of Doom came out more than once.

5 AM, I wake up to the smell of cat guano, and after 20 minutes lying awake and three checks of the closet (was it even there the first time?) I find someone (Emily?) missed the box. I grab handy cardboard and flip the mess into the box, and cover it with litter to kill the smell until I do real maintenance at 8 AM.

Back to bed.

6:45 AM, Emily is gone and the boys are loving the freedom. Billy jumps from floor to my chest and curls up between my legs, where after a minute he gets (you guessed it) The Mist of Doom for attacking my toes. He doesn't actually bolt, but settles down in a position that will keep me awake. Aw, hell, he's a nice kitten.

Then Whitey leaps from the cat condo to the bed, also landing hard on me. (It's so nice to be loved.) But his heart is pure, and no Mist shall envelope him just for wanting to join his brother.

I give up after a minute, and get up, just in time to see Emily walking up the hall to the bedroom, where I can see the boys, minding their own business on the (her) bed. She jumps up and freaks at the apparent sudden intrusion, hissing and growing like she is ready to rumble. The boys retreat, and I dive for the The Mist of Doom. The Mist descends a bit late, no doubt accidentally telling Emily she's bad for just being on the bed. Aw, hell.

The mist sends her AWOL again (checking after 20 minutes, she's asleep on the bed).

What alarm clocks.

I was going to give up caffeine this week. Really, I was.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Guardian Kitty

Honorable mention needs to go Sasha, who below is watching over a collapsed Whitey two days after he arrived in June.


Sasha is a plush Siberian Tiger kitten, and as such is the closest link of our 100 or plush creatures to the self propelled ones. Of course, the self propelled ones view her as part of the furniture, but she can deal with that.

The little old feline from Pasadena

It's the weekend, and Emily is on prowl again in all her glory. She was out and about this morning, including making regular trips down the length of the hall to my office to raid the kitten's food and water. I saw her in the office at least twice, and two other times she was zipping back to her suite just as I came into the hall.

We want Emily out and about, of course, and we don't mind her smoking OP's, as the boys have plenty. We do continue to mind that she'll growl at anything awake on four legs in her path.

[Later -- to keep her more honest, we'll pull up all food dishes an hour before meal time.]

Kitten Soccer

Kitten soccer is simple; a ball is put in play, and the first feline player to reach it bats it. The ball tends to take off, like a prey, so the players hunt it down again and take another swing. Advanced players can dribble the ball between their paws, and if the ball doesn't get away it will sometimes be used as a punching dummy for Cat Fu kata.

Kitten soccer does require a regulation ball. A variety six pack of toy balls include belled whiffle balls, solid rubber balls, textured hard plastic balls with small rattles and others. However, the only ball which meets the needs of kitten soccer is the basic ping pong ball. That's because it is the lightest of the bunch, giving both horizontal and vertical lively movement.

The kitten farm now has something on the order of a dozen psychedelic ping pong balls, all but one hidden from human view and mostly out of kitten paw reach. That's because when playing kitten soccer the Bleacher Bums knock them around like the Red Sox taking batting practice -- not many stay in the park.

In fact, most kitten soccer games are started by a human groundskeeper/referee who has gone searching for lost balls and puts one in play. Likewise, the game ends when either the feline players lose interest (likely if the ball is not regulation) or the ball has gone into foul territory where the cats can't (or won't) retrieve it.