Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Emily Stench Double Trouble

Emily both threw up and left a small solid mess in the bathroom while Katherine was prepping breakfast this morning.

I guess a better keep practicing giving medicine for during Katherine's next business trip.

Demonstrator, Front!

We had frozen pizza with soda for dinner last night. This greatly disappointed Whitey, who had assumed his usual post on the piano bench while waiting to be offered the final dregs of my non-existent milk glass.

He was so cute, I came up with an alternative excuse to give him milk -- I practiced giving medicine with the syringe on him. He doesn't like objects poking into the mouth, but as soon as he finds out there milk in there, he is looking for more.

Billy got (happily) practiced on as well, but this was really Whitey's show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Human Training

When I was at a pet store last night, they were training dogs to take treats, in particular, NOT to take treats until offered. I asked, and the trainer said the same routine should work with cats.

I tried with the boys this morning, refusing to give them the treat until they settled down.

Two words: cat-like reflexes.

Two more words: Cat claws.

Two final words: New flavor!

In short, the boys got their lovely new tuna flavor kitty treats without a full training session. I considered this fair, as they never had to wait before, and I still have all my fingers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Late one night at the Kitten Farm

Drew: Wow! Your feet are cold.

Me: Sorry. My feet are cold because I was walking on the kitchen tile barefoot.

Drew: Oh?

Me: I was walking on the kitchen tile barefoot because someone left the package of hot dog buns on the counter. Whitey found the package. He brought it upstairs to play with. It made a funny noise. Billy woke up to help him. I woke up to investigate.

Drew: Ohhhh..... I wish I had a voice recorder so I could blog what you just said.

Me: Murf.

Someone to Watch Over Them?

This is a very sad story ... poachers sold two cheetah cubs to fight each other, and blinded one of them in one eye..

I hope the vet who rescued them can find them a good safe place them to live.

[Updated to note that the one cat is only blinded in one eye.]

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Kitten cuteness overload

Little did we know that Drew's earlier post was just the beginning. Team Kitten was in top form this evening.

We had stalking of Emily. We had assaults on the laundry. (Whitey thinks it's especially fun to pounce on sheets as they're being folded.) We had cat fu. We had an invasion of my closet shelves. We had mournful meowing.

All of which left us smiling because it was accompanied by equally outrageous cuteness. Because the boys look so much alike, they're especially cute when they do things together.

Practice Makes Purrfect

After too many unauthorized openings of the linen closet door, Katherine put a shake can on on the door knob.

I promptly made it fall down and make noise by merely wallking by,

However, the closet door was found open a few hours later, with the restored shake can still on the knob.

Katherine's comment, "He's goood."

That's our boy.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Billy's turn

Same stuff, different days ...

Billy thinks that the tall shelf that we keep the cat teasers on top of must be reachable somehow. Thursday night, he took a new tack towards the goal and jumped onto the third shelf (~18 inches off the ground), knocking a bottle of cat deodorizer off. He was still trying decide if he could climb from shelf to shelf when I booted him off.

Friday morning, he decided he wanted to curl up on the towels again, this time at 7 AM in the morning. He got caught because he didn't open the closet door quietly, and refused to move until I showed him a primed Mist of Doom. (I didn't have to fire, which is good because I prefer dry towels, thank you.)

Then he decided to play with the toilet paper dispenser; again, he could have more fun if he was quieter. As it was, I caught him after he only spun off ~ 3 feet off of the roll. The official t.p. shake can has been returned on top of the roll to stand guard.

Photo Friday: The Serenbedi, Revisited

As previously noted, with cooler weather the big (and small) cats of the Serenbedi have returned.

Cats of the Serenbedi

(We know Billy's technically not on the Serenbedi itself. But he's sharing the warm sun with Whitey and Emily.)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Weighing in

The weekly weigh-in was a few days late this week. We're just not that organized.

Emily was up about an ounce and a half since last week, at 6 lbs. 5.5 oz. I took her off the anti-nausea medicine, and immediately changed my mind when she couldn't keep her breakfast down. Sigh...

Billy is stable at 15 lbs. 2 oz. His brother gained an ounce, and is up to 13 lbs. 10 oz. We've cut back their food a little bit to try to fend off impending tubbiness.


Is that your foot that just moved?
-ahd-, after seeing a large cat-like lump under blanket move.

Whitey had gone burrowing in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Emily (again)

Yup, Emily just up threw up just after dawn.

Katherine is going to start her up on her anti-nausea prescription again.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Keeping Good Company

I couldn't sleep, so I am reading my mail, handling bills and so forth at this ungodly hour.

However, the early morning is made kinder by Billy having risen with me. He's been in and out of my office, and adding a little warmth on each pass through ...

Later -- Whitey has appeared and ascended the bookshelf. All is right with my office.

Emily on Parade

Unfortunately, I can't find a copy to link to online, but if you get Parade in your Sunday paper, be sure to read Laugh Parade this week; it (sort of) features our Emily.

Eat a Frog ...

They say that if you eat a frog the first thing in the morning nothing worse will happen to you all day.

First words from Katherine this morning before the alarm:
Yes, that was the sound of Emily throwing up.

At least it was only spittle.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Plush Death From Above

Sometime around the time we reduced the number of plush creatures in the Kitten Farm, we revived the tradition of having a plush creature on duty in the front hall to say good bye to the humans; the same creature also handles tuck ins (in a house with no children, no less).

Today's duty bear was Christopher, the large dark bear in the right upper row of the staff portrait. Since Katherine was at the bottom of the stairs, I tossed him down to her from the landing.

However, Billy was headed up the stairs, at least until he saw an object almost as large him swoop by overhead. I don't know what the Mighty Hunter thought Christopher was, but he didn't like it; he turned and bolted. At least I think he turned. All I really know is that one moment Billy was headed up the stairs, and next moment he was streaking back down to the first floor and out of the hall.

Billy was even faster than if we had announced it was dinner time, if you can believe that.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Photo Friday: Ah ha! Here's where Mom hid the towels!

Billy's love of laundry baskets is well known, but recently he's taken it to another level. If we actually put the laundry away like well-organized humans, he hunts it down. He and his brother have both gotten very good at opening the linen closet door.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Emily and the Morning Stench

Actually, it wasn't much stench (if any), but Emily threw up spittle this morning at 7:30. Maybe she was trying to get us up, because I had explicitly turned off the alarm and the soft noise got us both moving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Making The World Safe For ...

As previously noted in several posts, we have moved a lot of items down to the basement. We've also cleaned up the basement, including getting old lumber thrown out, having our maid service clean the surfaces, replacing the furnace and most recently, taking various old cans of paints and the like to the local hazardous waste day.

The net result is a basement almost safe for unsupervised felines, in particular the boys. Officially they are not allowed down there because it's not 100% safe, but if they catch the door open and come down to help us, we don't sweat nearly as much as when they were kittens and it was more of a feline minefield. It's also better for me, which is good since the server computers (including the web server hosting this blog) and one of the exercise bikes are down there.

We're almost there ...

But "everything we care about" has to come out of the basement. Pulling the old furnace and its oil tanks showed a hole in the foundation wall, and when a expert looked over it and some holes in the floo, he also noted all the cracks we have around the entire perimeter. This is not a shock, but the soup to nuts fix we want (and need) means people putting dust all over the basement for a week in January.

Should be entertaining ...

A Real Group Effort

We have a team project ongoing around here, namely completely breaking down any discipline we might have had. The cats are the proponents of it, and both Katherine and I are following along.

We originally fed Emily on the boy's schedule, three times a day. We almost weaned her down to two meals a day, but Katherine generally kept offering her lunch. Since Emily lost weight, Katherine started making sure Emily at least got one or two snacks a day. This has evolved to where Emily is now fed on demand, and boy, is she demanding. Katherine has thrown in the towel, and uses a seal-able Tupperware dish as a second food dish left upstairs for when Emily announces its time to eat. Emily may now ignore food at mealtimes and we don't panic ... because she just ate.

(Katherine recently referred to the Tupperware as Emily's secondary food dish relative to her regular crockery bowl. I pointed that she may have secondary and primary backwards at this point.)

We almost never feed the cats people food. However, Whitey has perfected the art of looking sweet at dinner, sitting quietly on the sideboard or piano bench in the dining room watching us eat. When we're done, he perks up ever so slightly, and is rewarded on a regular basis with a few drops of milk from the otherwise empty glasses. Last night, we knew this was over the edge when after minor litter box issues which which may have been Whitey, we let him have his milk drops anyway.

Billy meanwhile, is tall (long) enough to look peek over the dining room table with his front paws on the table while keeping his hind paws firmly on the ground. This gives the impression of a very cute furry 3 three year old trying to see what mom and dad are doing. Never mind that kitten heads above the dining table are strictly verboten (generally while on a chair), he was actually offered a kitty treat to keep his head up long enough for a picture.

At least they haven't asked to borrow the keys to the MINI ... yet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Our 15 minutes of fame started yesterday ...

If you looking for the cuteness of the cats from the pointer in the WSJ online, we highly recommend the Photo Gallery.

Just a reminder, we are running on a new server, if you see problems please comment on them or send us mail.


Clean up on Floor 2 (minor)

Some missed the litterbox upstairs. Actually we don't think they missed it, but rather got carried away landscaping and knocked couple of waste items out.

The Daily Stench: Facilities Division

After we sorted out the funny noises from the kitchen last night, we had sandwiches for dinner (bet you were waiting for that information), and then I proceeded on various tasks around the house, including laundry and changing backup tapes in the basement.

Every so often I've smelled gas in the basement, but never been able to smell it twice in a row, until last night. It was very faint but repeatable for a change, so we called the gas company. It was so faint we didn't clear the premises, even though a house blew up in near by Lexington last week.

A very nice yet efficient woman arrived with sniffer in hand within the hour. The first thing I noticed was she knocked, rather than use the doorbell (can you say "avoid electric sparks"). She checked out the area of the meter, and announced we had a trivial leak around the meter itself.

We were correct to call, and we were also correct that we didn't need to run for the hills.

Our efficient friendly utility worker did stop on the way outside to get a new meter to say hello to the boys, who clearly charmed her (and were charmed in return). Emily even popped onto the stairs to say hello.

Our meter is replaced, and our little kitten farm remains warm, cozy, and in one piece.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Clean up on Floor 1

While we were trying to figure out what people dinner would be, we heard the somewhat familiar sound of a feline landscaping crew in the kitchen. Using any excuse to defer the dinner question, we both broke for the kitchen to see who was covering what up.

Answer: Billy was covering up that he missed the litter box and put a lake on the floor.

Katherine handled the inside cleanup while I took the dirty mat outside and hosed it down.

As usual, the hardest part was keeping the boys from helping to finish bury the evidence outside the box ...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Photo Weekend Extra: Chief Napper

I would have taken a nap this morning, but my side of the bed was in use by a professional..

(Actually I did take the nap -- the professional was easily bribed with kitty treat!)

Billy in his role as chief nap cat

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cat's Best Friend

Ginny, a Schnauzer-Siberian husky mix, will be eulogized at the Westchester Cat Show next weekend. She was named Cat of the Year in 1998 for her uncanny ability to find and rescue cats in distress. She's credited with saving hundreds of cats over the years.

Our crew observes that being named an honorary cat is quite an achievement for any creature, but they agree that Ginny earned the title.

Weekly weigh-in

Emily has been skittish lately. Not unreasonably, she seems to be a little tired of getting 5 doses of medicine a day. Her tummy seems to have settled down, so we're taking her off the kitty Kaopectate for the time being. Meanwhile, I had to carry her down to the scale to be weighed. Using a kitty treat as bait just attracted the boys to help.
But after all that, she's gained a bit since last week. She's up to 6 lbs. 4 oz., and her appetite is still good. Yay!
Billy is at 15 lbs. 2 oz., while Whitey jumped to 13 lbs. 9 oz. That's 5 oz. in a week for Whitey, which is a lot. But his appetite seems normal, so I'm guessing we just caught him at a different part of his digestive cycle.

We're Live and Internet Wide

In case you didn't notice, we're running on our new server now. Please report any problems to me via email or (assuming it works) the comment form on this entry.

General feedback is also welcome.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Photo Friday: Boys on the Scale (box)

When the boys can't climb in a box (such as the one the new scale came in), they still explore it. Sometimes this is not good for the box.

Boys exploring the scale box

The Fursome Threesome Does The Early Shift

Katherine woke got up early this morning. Something about three cat furnaces making November weather seeming like July, and something else about being pinned under the covers by her escorts.

I, being the morning person, was woken up all this, and as a result I was up an hour early because of it as well.

At least this means we were awake for Emily throwing up clear fluid before breakfast.

Just another great morning on the farm.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You ...

A gentle notice that our little blog will be changing appearance slightly, perhaps as soon as tonight.

The only visible affects should be:

  • Reverting to the default MovableType layout for now.
  • Easier and faster commenting (we hope to turn off requiring authentication).

The underlying change is that we're moving to a new server (one which was originally planned to be installed two years ago!). This however includes:

  • Upgrading the hardware from a Pentium II to a dual processor Pentium III with three times the memory, twice the clock speed, twice the disk, and other improvements.
  • Upgrading the OS from FreeBSD 4.11 to FreeBSD 6.0 (a jump of 5 releases).
  • Upgrade the major version of the Apache HTTP (web) server.
  • Switching to a more powerful back end database (MySQL).
  • Upgrading to MovableType 3.2.
  • Dynamically generating some of the blog pages when they are first accessed.

(But aside from that, we're not touching anything.)

Since this is an entirely new server, it should be a smooth cut over after we get the bugs out. (Cross your fingers for us.)

p.s. Yes, Pentium III's are obsolete, this machine was retired from front line desktop service back in August 2003. The two years did not make it run faster, but it's replacing a machine which was state of the art in 1998.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Window on the World

Whitey is up in the clouds again.

Unfortunately, he doesn't know a good way down. He was rescued via step stool by Katherine and her shoulders, but he really wasn't expecting the friendly shoulders to have a vertical drop.

Both cat and shoulders did survive with minimal damage.

Emily's Daily Stench

We've missed a lot of minor messes and like lately. Skipping over them...

Emily seemed relatively uninterested in her dry food (which is all she gets now) earlier in the week, so last night I dribbled some oil from the boys wet food on her dinner. This seemed to help her appetite, so I did it again this morning.

Unfortunately, it may have also helped her throw up this morning. (She definitely threw up. It's why is the question ...)

It could have nothing to do with it, it could be she ate too much because it was suddenly yummy, ot the oil itself could be affecting her tummy. No easy way to tell. :-(

Monday, November 7, 2005

To Reach The Unreachable Star ...

As noted numerous times, Whitey likes the top of my seven foot bookshelf, even if it does mean a two foot vertical leap upward across a foot wide chasm. Billy also visits up there on occasion.

What has not been noted is that we actually own five other seven foot bookshelves, the rest of which the cats can't get up to because they each require at least a four foot vertical leap from the nearest launch pad.

Or so we thought.

Last week, Whitey was chasing a bug which fled to safety on the top of one of Katherine's office bookshelves. Whitey decided under the rules of hot pursuit, the laws of physics didn't apply. So he jumped four feet straight up to the top of the shelf. This freaked out Katherine, who fetched Tiger Tower from the hall for him to come down via instead of a four foot drop back on to her metal stereo.

Just to show he knew how, he jumped up there again earlier this week. Katherine swears that this time she saw him do an intermediate push off jump half way up the smooth surface, but we don't have instant replay.

We're gonna have to buy that kid a climbing harness. Or a parachute.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Not quite Friday Photo: Off to the hunt

We've mentioned Chi before, but Percy, the other half of the Paperwork Partners management team, demanded equal time. Actually I think they're just enjoying the attention while they wait for a squirrel to run by the window...


Friday, November 4, 2005

Step on the scale, please

Our tubby Billy kitten seems to be slowly losing weight. He's down to 15 lbs., 2.5 oz., which is a 2 oz. drop since last week. Whitey is at 13 lbs., 3.5 oz., while Emily came in at 6 lbs., 1 oz., so they are both pretty stable.

The new scale continues to justify its existence, as it's much more accurate and much easier to use.

They like me! They really like me!

Whitey has new favorite humans. We had house guests last night. While we are very strict (well, okay, sort of strict) about burrowing under blankets and pouncing on toes, not everyone feels the same way. Rachel described Whitey's late night wanderings as "really cute" and wishes her cat was as friendly.