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.