Saturday, December 31, 2005

Weekly Weigh-in: Return of Catzilla

Just when we thought Billy's diet was starting to take hold, he gained again. He's back to 14 lbs, 13 oz, a gain of 3.5 oz since last time. Whitey also gained a little bit, and is back to 13 lbs 5.5 oz. We need to buy more food soon, and it looks like it's time to switch over to the weight control formula.

Emily is also heading in the wrong direction, having lost an ounce at 6 lbs 4.5 oz. I'm willing to put that down to measurement noise, but we'll need to keep an eye on her. As per usual.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Photo Friday: Newsworthy Cat

Katherine got a new camera for Christmas, which immediately led to a new photo collection of our favorite subjects. One of the first shots was Whitey getting comfortable in the least helpful place he could Christmas morning. (Katherine was reading those comics before Whitey arrived.)

Whitey hogging the comics

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Photo Extra: A bear loving cat

A bear is having a Christmas party, and there are kitties invited.

(We've seen several stories about Aristotle the bear before, and this one included pictures of the author's real cats.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Weekly weigh-in

And the numbers are...
Billy: 14 lbs. 9.5 oz.
Whitey: 13 lbs. 3 oz.
Emily: 6 lbs. 5.5 oz.

The boys are losing, relative to last time, and Emily is gaining. In fact, we'll soon want to try to level the boys off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We are we are we are the engineers

After feathers, pom poms, and other Things on Strings, Billy's favorite toy in the whole world is the filter for our cat fountain. We were reminded of this this weekend when, while cleaning the upstairs fountain, Drew discovered that it had been running without any filter at all for some indeterminate period. We think he must have grabbed it when one of the humans was filling the reservoir, but we aren't sure.

An even more dramatic reminder came this morning. I'm sitting in bed reading the paper when I hear a rattling noise in the hall. It's Billy, playing with the cap from the downstairs fountain. (This is a piece of molded plastic that covers the reservoir and the filter.) Hmmmm....... I head downstairs, where I find the filter, surrounded by wet spots, on the carpet in the front hall. Hmmmm..... Once I get to the fountain itself, I discover that it is unplugged, and pulled out from the wall a bit.

Putting the pieces together, I think this was a team effort. Whitey unplugged the fountain, which I've seen him do before. (Unplugging involves pulling the wire loose from the transformer, not pulling the transformer out of the wall.) This made the water stop cascading down. Billy then stuck his paw into the now dry space (Where'd the water go? Meow!) and popped off the cap, giving him access to the filter.

As a cat valet, I'm annoyed. As an engineer, I'm impressed, and profoundly grateful that they don't have thumbs. Then we'd really be in trouble.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Where did the week go?

We're hre, the kids are fed, and the litterboxes are clean, but we seem to have fallen off the blogging wagon.

Do we have any readers left, anyway?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Photo Friday: Attack from Above

Since we posted Billy in a compromising position when being attacked by a feather a few months ago, we figured we should see if Whitey could be captured looking silly via an attacking feather. We succeeded.

Whitey attacked from above

Monday, December 12, 2005

Emily On The Warpath

Emily is in quite the mood tonight.

Maybe I stressed her appearing in the door of her powder room (litter-box closet) to clean the boxes, maybe her stomach bothers her (she threw up a snack today) or maybe it was just her general mood.

In any case, when she came out of the closet into the bedroom, she jumped up on the bed and saw Whitey in "her" spot up by Katherine's pillow. She growled. Then she growled again. Then she bounded across the bed and started pummeling Whitey, twice her weight and an eighth her age.

Whitey rolled on his back and generally looked shocked. I didn't see him hit her back, although given she only got about two swings in, she merely may have made her escape before he could recover.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not Friday Photo: Brotherly Love Again

Sometimes Whitey wishes his brother would leave him alone, but sometimes curling up with another warm kitten is pretty nice.
They were even more in sync before the photographer turned on the lights and made Whitey cover his eyes.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 6 lbs, 2.5 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 7.5 oz.
  • Billy - 14 lbs, 15.5 oz.

The boys lost weight since last time. Good. Emily did too. Bad.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

After last night's story, the change in direction at the end of this graph tells it all.
Temperature plot during heating failure
The first reduction in temperature loss must have been caused by coming home and turning on various lights; that's an interesting and useful (in winter) side of effect of not killing myself by tripping over a cat in the dark.
Update: it occurs to me when I came home I shutdown the furnace and its ventilation fan, which pulls fresh cold air into the basement. That may have been the real solution for the dropping thermometer.

Get the Door, It's Domino's

Tonight's dinner is pizza for me. This was best, as I can't use the stove. And there in lies a rambling tale.

Over the weekend the local gas company dug a trench in front of the house one door up on Summerhill.

Today, they dug a similar trench in front of the kitten farm. I found this when I got home in the dark. I also found a note telling me to call them so that they would turn our gas service back on, which of course implied the service was off. I called, mentioning that the new gas meter had a slight smell to it as well.

Providing this latter information was a big mistake, this turned the turn the gas back on call into a gas leak call. This caused the wrong type of crew to be dispatched.

When he arrived, he hunted for a gas leak in the house with no gas service. After we sorted out that we needed the gas on first, an exterior road crew was dispatched because it turns out that the note saying "turn on the gas" actually meant "replace the gas service from the street". However, now they need an interior crew as well, because they need to slightly redo the internal pipe around the meter.

They are still milling around as I write this, ~ 3 hours after I got home.

The same weather station which monitors our external weather data also reports and records the conditions inside. This means I can tap into our server to report that the dining room temperature has been dropping since 2 PM this afternoon.

Fortunately, it is only down to ~ 61 degrees inside after a reasonably mild day, and they should finish this decade.

The whole affair can be best summed up by that I think the cats liked our previous utility visitor better.

At least the cats all ate well (their usual menu) despite the confusion.

I think all cats have official permission to burrow so long as they don't disturb each other.

Photo Extra: Reunited

That other Emily is now back with her family. The new link is from the local paper, and includes more and larger photos.

The Paw of Friendship

Emily has figured out I'm the chief valet this week.

She's been in and out of my office a lot since I got back, and this morning gave me the Paw of Friendship. That's the gentle velvet paw reaching out to stroke and get some attention, and is not to be confused with the claws extended Paw of Death (generally reserved for the boys), or the Nip of Feed Me. Neither of those are exactly happy gestures.

One other gesture I got last night while reading a book after dinner was the Greeting Leap of Feed Me. This would not have been nearly so noticed had it been on to my desk, but I was reading at the dinner room table. That's what she leaped on to in order to announce it was time for her second supper. I don't recall if I she got the Mist of Doom, but I did take the hint and headed up to her suite to provide a snack.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Inmates Running the Asylum: 2005 edition

It's time for IDEM again, and thus I'm chief valet for a few days.

This year IEDM is in DC, so I actually went down with Katherine to play tourist for the weekend. Jen the Cat Sitter watched over the beasts as usual, which means the the kids were warm, safe, and a little bored in my absence. She'll also stop in the next few days to give Emily lunch.

Emily in particular is affected by us being gone; she doesn't get to graze as much with a cat sitter, so when I offered her snacks last night and this morning, she ate like she was channeling Billy. So long as she eats, we're happy.

Also, Billy decided I was his sleeping pillow. I don't mind much, but I nudged him everytime I roll over and he finally left at 5 AM.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Tool Time

The table formerly known as the printer stand is now in my office, used mostly as a landing zone for my briefcase. However, to the cats important thing is that it is immediately next to my closet door, which unlike several of the doors upstairs actually latches. This makes the closet, among other things, a good place to store my local stash of kitty treats.

When I was up again early in the middle of week, Billy hopped on the table and started working the knob. This is not the first time he's tried a doorknob, as he tends to rattle the bathroom knob from the floor a lot. However, the table gives him much better purchase for this door.

No, he didn't get the door open.

Yes, I think he'll try again.

Please don't loan him any tools no matter how much he asks.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

All The Comforts of Home

When we're home, the thermostat automatically drops from 68 degrees to 66 or lower at night, for comfort as much as cost savings.

It used to be when we went on trips, we would lock the thermostat at 60 degrees to save money while we were gone.

Now, especially with Emily who gets cold easily, we're considering locking the thermostat up to 68 during our next trip so the four footed mafia is comfortable in our absence.

Never mind they have fur and will burrow into blankets if they want.

Are we suckers or what? :-)

Friday, December 2, 2005

Photo Friday: Brotherly Love

I wish I had a series of images for this. I didn't think to get the camera out until the situation had evolved.

First, Whitey is curled up on my futon, happily asleep and minding his own business. Then, Billy comes along, climbs on top of his brother, and starts cleaning Whitey's head and ears. After a little bit, I get the camera out. By the time I'm ready to compose the shot, Whitey has apparently said, "Hey, Tubbo, I can't breathe under here!" and taken matters into his own paws. I'm sure everyone out there with an older sibling can sympathize.


Thursday, December 1, 2005

Home for the Holidays

The wayward tabby Emily from Wisconsin that disappeared two months ago and wound up traveling across the Atlantic to France on a ship boarded a Continental Airlines flight Thursday -- in business class.

Our own Emily wonders how else would a cat travel (if she had to).

She also points out that of course one would leave it to a tabby to go and get lost like that in the first place...

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.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Pounce Forward, Fall Back

Daylight saving time ended in New England this weekend. This means we get up an hour later.

Unfortunately, no one gave the cats a copy of the memo.

This means their solar calibrated morning routine has them awake and ready for attention based on CST (Cat Standard Time).

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Photo Weekend Extra: Heisen Cats no more ?

In our never ending quest to serve our readers (both of you), we have obtained the latest in techology to better catch our feline employers in the act and share them with you. As a sample, here's Emily greeting us when we walked in the door with our new camera phones.

Emily on stairs via camera phone

To be honest, we didn't get the phones for the cameras (we didn't have a choice given the other features we wanted), but they could reduce the incidents of Heisen Cats around here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Turn for the better (Winning Lottery Numbers)

Emily is up to 6 lbs., 1.5 oz, which is two ounces since Wednesday. More important than the amount of gain, she's definitely going up, rather than down. Her appetite also seems substantially better. Yay!

Billy, meanwhile, weighed in at 15 lbs., 4.5 oz. Whitey was 13 lbs. 7 oz., which is a 5 oz jump in just a few days. However, this weight was after dinner, and the previous weight was before, which could explain much of the difference.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Photo Friday: Self Storing Cats Revisited

Just for the record, it doesn't take new shelves to store the cats. Rather, they have been happy to store themselves in our permanent furnishings, including jumping into the hutch built into the bedroom closet.

Boys in the Hutch

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Daily Stench

Emily's stench, of course. Even with the stuff we're pumping into her, she's still not well.

She threw up on the bedroom floor after Katherine left for class and before I got home (at least upstairs).

Tagamet was given to her again, this time organized with Katherine so we only dosed her once.

Preciousss ....

I was playing with the boys a bit while making dinner, and when I had to tend to the stove Katherine stepped in. She discovered first hand what I already knew (and she had observed from afar) ... Billy doesn't like to give up pom-poms when he catches them.

She basically had to chase him all over the house and finally pried it out of his mouth by hand. She still has all her fingers (kids, don't try that at home).

Unfortunately, chasing him around the house every time he catches the teaser takes the fun out of it...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 5 lbs, 15.5 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 2.5 oz.
  • Billy - 15 lbs, 5 oz.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

0.3 ml for you, and 0.3 ml for you, and ...

The boys are really annoyed about being used as training dummies for giving medicine via a syringe into the mouth. So annoyed they both let me try again immediately. Most be something to do with my using 1% milk to practice with.

On a more serious note ...

I just gave Emily her evening Tagamet (which I'm generally afraid to do) and a kitty treat.

I don't know if I hit the spot with Tagamet.

I know she ate the kitty treat, because she threw it up less than ten minutes later. Not good.

Later ...

It gets worse. That was a second (double) dose I gave Emily, Katherine had already given her her evening Tagamet.

At least Emily (for now) has kept dinner down.

Monday, October 24, 2005


When I went downstairs to get the paper this morning, I found Emily, awake, on the front hall stairs by herself. Emily is never there when I go downstairs, her normal place at that hour is on the bed outboard of Katherine.

It makes me sad to suspect that Emily got up because she was uncomfortable.

Here we go again

Another day, another vet visit for Emily. This is the third trip this month, so the fact that she didn't hide under the bed when I got the carrier out is a sure sign that she isn't feeling well.

This time we had blood work done. The good news is that her kidney function is pretty much where it was back in April. The special diet is doing what it should and keeping her kidneys happy. Or at least keeping them from becoming more unhappy.

The bad news is elevated calcium, which could mean anything from osteoporosis to stomach cancer. Her continuing digestive problems could likewise be due to anything from a stomach ulcer to a tumor.

An ultrasound would detect a tumor, but there just aren't many treatment options for a sixteen year old cat. Both surgery and chemotherapy are right out. So we're debating whether to get the test done or not.

Meanwhile, the doctor has added an anti-nausea potion to her medication regime. It's the same stuff the boys took back when they first arrived. If I remember, they didn't mind the taste too much. Sigh...

Ninth life?

Emily continues to have good days and bad days.

She seemed happier towards the end of last week, and was keeping everything down, so we started her slowly on wet food again.

Unfortunely, she threw up twice over the weekend, the first time a pink stream (hopefully food), the second time mostly water.

(This just in, she threw up again today just before breakfast after she got her morning Tagamet.)

The up shot of all this is that Emily has another vet appointment this morning.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 5 lbs, 15 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 4.5 oz.
  • Billy - 15 lbs, 3 oz.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 5 lbs, 13.5 oz.
  • Whitey - n/a
  • Billy - n/a

Weekend photo extra: Spider Hunting

The boys found a fly (aka self-propelled cat toy) last week. They wouldn't hold still long enough for us to take pictures, but they looked a lot like this.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 5 lbs, 14 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 0 oz.
  • Billy - 15 lbs, 4 oz.

Emily continues to drop, ever so slightly. We need more data for a trend.

Photo Friday: More Chaise Lounge

This is actually a picture of adult Billy from last spring doing something previously tried by kitten Whitey, namely testing one of my dresser drawers as a chaise lounge.

Billy on Chaise Lounge

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 5 lbs, 15 1/2 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 4 oz.
  • Billy - 15 lbs, 5 1/2 oz.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 6 lbs, 1 1/2 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 4 oz.
  • Billy - 15 lbs, 7 oz.

Step Right Up ...

We can say after the first day (yesterday) of working with the new scale that the hardest part is not getting any of the cats onto the scale. Rather it's keeping the other two cats off the scale while the current subject eats his/her kitten treat during their weigh in.

Even Emily didn't mind being picked up to be set on the scale. (Well, she did mind a little, but was perfectly calm once placed on the flat scale with a treat.)

The boys didn't need to be picked up, they were happy to follow the treat up to the table holding the scale.

Had we known it was this easy (and relatively affordable), we would have bought a scale for the kids a year ago.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

Actually, the numbers are for the current feline weights:

  • Emily 6 lbs, 1 oz.
  • Whitey 13 lbs, 5 oz
  • Billy 15 lbs, 7.5 oz


With all of Emily's problems including her weight loss, it was time to get a more accurate scale than the human's bathroom scale we use to measure all the four footed ones with.

I had previously been online and seen an array of pet and infant scales (it seems the same devices serve both groups).

When I checked in person at PetCo, they didn't have a scale, but someone suggested Bed Bath & Beyond. I checked their web site and yes, they had one. I went down to the nearest store (where I have never been, I've always been to the location I knew about near a mall). I found myself in shopping nirvana, with a pet store, Bed Bath & Beyond, an office supply store, cell phone store ...

Unfortunately, the Bed Bath & Beyond didn't have the scale, it appears to be a online only option.

However, the shopping nirvana also included a Babies"R"Us, which has (Ta da) baby scales. I found a nice low one with a pan big enough to hold Catzilla (and kitty treat lure); Emily could bring a friend her size if she wanted to.

If only making a our little girl healthy was as easy.

once more ...

Emily threw up after snack time again. Katherine will call the vet tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Back to the vet

We continue to have both litterbox and vomiting problems with Emily.
Dropping her wet food didn't help, nor did adding the second litterbox to the her closet to give her a choice.

We could blame the litterboxes on her being a fickle witch, but the vomiting after meals is downright scary.

This is bad, so it was off to the vet, where the most interesting thing we discovered was she has dropped half pound since her recent checkup. Everythinge else seemed normal for her. They gave to her fluids, suggested we give her the Tagamet before (not after) meals, and sent her home.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Photo Friday: Engineer's Assistant

Katherine not only gets feline help at work, she gets it on projects around the house, too. Here's Billy helping with the final adjustments to the entertainment center.

Billy helping adjust the entertainment center

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You want me to use that?

For reasons known only to her dilute calico self, Emily has decided that she doesn't like the closet litterbox. This presents a problem, since that's the only one she has access to when eating. (For those just joining us, she eats in the bedroom to keep the boys from annoying her and/or raiding her food.) We've found some sort of mess in there just about every day this week.

After much frustration, we've decided the problem is that the closet litterbox is the most heavily used one in the house. If cleaning and food service are not properly synchronized, she'll decide the box is too dirty to use. Or, she'll use it once with no trouble, then go back to it a short time later and decide it is too dirty, what with that fresh waste and all.

The problem may have been exacerbated by the migration of the hallway litterbox. It's en route to the closet, but is currently at the top of the stairs outside my office. Her majesty appears to prefer a bit more privacy. So. We'll be expediting the move to the closet, thereby nearly doubling the available litter area.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wasting Time (or more exactly, Waste Product Time)

The expanding scope of new problems is getting old.

We had another solid mess up against the wall in the litterbox closet caused by Emily. We don't know exactly what she is protesting.

We also (we think) Emily threw up in the hall, it looked vaguely like a hairball to Katherine. I wasn't sure, but I was sure I wasn't gonna dissect it.

As result of the litterbox rejection, we're considering moving the hall box into the closet. Our previous plan was to retire the hall box completely, it doesn't get used much where it is, and is in the way. Either plan requires teaching the cats the hall litterbox is now in the closet, so yesterday evening the box moved the length of the hall to outside the bedroom door. It will make another jump in a day or two.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

New and interesting stenches

Cat urine in the bathroom? What's up with that? We haven't had a mistake outside of the immediate litterbox areas in more than a year. Best I can figure is the one of the boys managed to get trapped in there. There's a doorstop to keep the door from swinging closed, but they've shown they can pry it loose if they try.

Emily's digestion seems to be especially vulnerable to stress, as she showed this morning. She tossed up her tummy medicine and the treat I gave her along with it, for no reason I can see except frustration with stupid humans who don't speak cat.

In other news, the monthly weigh-in puts Whitey at 13.0 pounds, Billy at 15.5 pounds, and Emily at 6.5 pounds. That puts all three of them down a half-pound since last month, which seems as likely to be due to scale flakiness as anything else.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Photo Friday: Mother's Little Helper

The nature of my job is that some days I spend a lot of time on the phone. On one of those days last week, Emily decided that I needed help with this task. (Or else, knowing Emily, she decided I was giving the phone too much attention and her too little.) So she sat down on my notes. I moved my notepad. She sat on it again. Finally, I gave up, and wrote around her.

I guess I should be happy that she didn't decide the pen was a fun toy, too, huh?

Any readers who think the content of the notes is the most interesting about this entry may want to visit my business site.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

On my honor, I will try

Writer and cat valet Lynn Viehl has posted a collection of resolutions for cats. Very funny. Read the comments, too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Happy Birthday Auntie Em!

Emily turned 16 over the weekend. Much to her dismay, we celebrated by taking her to the vet for a checkup. She passed with flying colors. However, as the vet explained, 16 in cat years is about 74 in people years. She's in great shape for a 94-year old lady, but she's still long past her kittenhood. It's not surprising that she has good days and bad days.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Every Thing Old is New Again

While cleaning the downstairs (kitten pantry) litterbox this morning, I realized what we originally put in that corner of the kitchen when we moved in.

Specifically, before the kitten pantry was the network pantry, it was the Puppy Pantry -- we had the crate for Winnie the Paws sitting there.

Putting pet supplies there again completes the cycle.

Bow - woof!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Photo Friday: 10 years ago today ...

It was ten years ago (29 September 1995) we moved into the Summerhill Puppy Farm. It was the following day (1 October) that we became rather naive puppy owners.

Winnie The Paws

I believe the photo was taken the very day Winnie the Paws arrived. Unfortunately, we only lasted three weeks with her schedule, at which point my brother adopted her. He has looked after her all these happy years.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kitten Furnances

The night time kitten furnances are working into mid-season (winter) form already.

Billy stretched out next my leg overnight, just close enough he got booted when I lost my preferred range of motion. (I hate doing that because I don't feel Billy did anything wrong, but I hate being tense and therefore awake more).

Whitey got more slack from Katherine, and he used all of it, curling up behind her legs. Then he took more space by rolling on his back and stretching out, turning her into a pretzel. He got booted too.

Emily, who curls up more like a teddy kitten next to Katherine just out of reach, survived the night in place.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Haunted Kitten Farm

The farm is not haunted. But don't tell that to Billy.

The oil fired steam boiler which keeps the farm house warm and cozy in the winter is rather old, a conversion from coal fired which in turn was a conversion from dried dinosaur gauno fired (from back when live dinosaurs were plentiful). So we're replacing it with a new natural gas fired boiler.

Being a steam system, this work means our plumbing has been opened up, and a few air bubbles have gotten in the system. This leads to water hammers and related vibration in the pipes.

One flush of the toilet and the resulting screech as the tank filled and shuts off left Billy shaken for minutes. He looked so troubled that I did an exorcism on the house, running the bathtub to flush the remaining air out.

We hope Billy won't need counseling.

Things that go chomp in the night

Oh-dark-hundred. I'm not awake, so I don't know what time it is. I roll over, stretch ... and feel little kitten teeth clamping down on my big toe. It doesn't hurt, thanks to the intervening blanket and sheet, but it definitely pushes me toward "awake," rather than "asleep." I freeze, he relaxes, and I move again. Again, chomp on big toe.

I think it was Whitey, since he's more of a toe pouncer than his brother. The Mist of Doom reminded him that toe pouncing is not allowed.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and the Purring

Billy did his 5 AM "alone and unloved" meow yesterday morning. I ignored him. He solved his problem by coming up to the bedroom. The Good.

He parks his considerable bulk at my feet, clearly ignorant of the fact that I move around a lot, and that it bothers me to get weighed down by heavy blankets, much less 15+ pounds of cat. The Bad.

At the same time, I don't want to tell him to avoid the bedroom, so I go the bathroom (hoping he'll follow me). He doesn't. I came back in the bedroom, and sit down at the foot of the bed to stroke him. This yields 15+ pounds of happy relaxed cat with a friendly rich tenor rumble from deep inside him. The Purring.

The kid knows I'm a sucker for good purr.

(I cheated and used the bed room emergency kitty treat supply to get him to move.)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Photo Weekend Extra: Self-storing Emily

We've shown Emily in her bed prior to its move up to Katherine's office. Now the great storage reorganization has offered her too a better place to hang out as well. We have no idea why she switched from the bed, but we went with the flow and added the blue & white towel so she would be more comfortable.

Emily Nap in Box

Unlike the boys flirting with new places to explore, this move may be permanent. What ever our goddess wants ...

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Overheard ...
Whitey, if you're going to meow for attention, don't do it on the dining room table!
-- Katherine

Friday, September 23, 2005

Photo Friday: Cat Storage

The plush diaspora and other reorganizations were intended to free space for storing other things on the shelves in question. We didn't plan on having those "other things" being self-storing cats, specifically Billy and Whitey. Not that our plans matter to them.
Billy in Bedroom Bookshelf  Whitey in Hall Bookshelf

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Emily status

Emily has thrown up twice this week. She is on Tagament, and as usual doesn't like it, but her throwing up does not get her paroled for healthy behavior.

She seems stressed at times in general, but there is not a lot we can do about it except rub her chin and tell her we love her. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dawn Patrol: An After Action Report

I was up early again, and so of course I got pre-dawn (and post-dawn) entertainment from the management...

Billy again climbed the bookshelf before 6 AM to check out the door, and discovered it no longer tastes good.

Shortly after that, a crash from the first floor announced that Whitey had managed to tip over the front hall watchtower. When I arrived on the scene, Whitey was slightly dazed but unhurt.

Emily was so fickle at breakfast that Katherine asked me to serve her a second time if I had chance before I left. I did, and true to form she decided to nibble a little more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chew toy?

Billy explored the bookshelf again, and once again decided to play with the door to my office from the top. I let him go a little longer, and he did something from out in left field ... he started chewing on the top of the door.

Bitter Apple has been applied to keep the door from tasting like a seven foot high chew toy.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bored, bored, bored

With cooler wet weather, we're closing the windows more.

With more closed windows, the boys bore more easily. So they sleep more wake up earlier.

It could be a longggggg winter.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Photo Friday: Scaling New Heights

As noted, Whitey tried climbing the newly installed printer stand. Here's the proof, note how he had work around the anti-cat shake cans to position for the climb.

Whitey climbing the printer stand

Photo Friday Extra: The Ying and Yang of Cats

A nice person who goes by friscokitty on Live Journal has the following great icon for her LJ posts:

FriscoKitty's LJ icon

If you follow either of the links, you can also see Sinatra and Samantha imitating art.

(Most of her journal is friends only, which is her very reasonable choice, but she left her wonderful kitty photo available for all of us to see.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

8 lives ... and counting

This just in at 5:50 AM.

I'm up early for non-feline reasons, and Billy joined me in my office. He hopped up to the top shelf (usually Whitey's domain). Then Whitey came in the room, which made the door next to the bookshelf swing open and (almost) closed.

I turned around and Billy had both forepaws holding the top of the door, as if he was planning to either open the now interesting door (it moved) or take a walk on it.

With Whitey having rolled off this same shelf once already and Billy also tempting fate this week, the images I had of Billy falling and catching a door knob in the ribs or landing on his brother were not pretty.

The door has been swung fully open (and out of reach of inquiring paws) by your truly. I suspect Katherine would rather risk sleeping through the sounds of my typing rather than the sounds of a cat crashing seven feet to a hardwood floor.

Meanwhile, having written this up, I hear energic cat fu from the first floor. Sounds good to me.

Not me, officer!

We've gotten lazy about putting shake cans on the counter in the kitchen, because they get in our way almost as much as the boys. It's time to get them deployed again, however.

Last night I not only saw Whitey on the counter (but not fast enough to punish him), but Billy jumped up on the counter on the way to the top of the frig and cabinet tops. He saw me coming, but he was so high I was able to give him the Mist of Doom while he was still on the frig hopping down.

A full mine field was laid down to keep the boys off the counter. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

9 8 lives for Billy

A favorite game for Billy is chasing a pom pom on a string. He loves it so much when he sees humans in the living room he'll either wrap himself around the human legs, or just sit quietly with an expectant look staring up at the shelf where we store the teasers.

Of particular interest to him is chasing the pom pom up and down the stairs, and trying catch it as it leaps about on the upper stairs (caused by your truly snapping the wand controlling the string back and forth, like casting a fishing pole in different directions).

Last night, this fun time almost led to disaster.

I'm not sure how it happened, if Billy got in the way of the pom pom or if it brushed against his face after he caught it, but I looked at him and realized he had yellow pom pom fur sticking out of his eye, making him blink.

I immediately charged up the stairs and grabbed him to get a better look while yelling for Katherine. Once we got him to hold more or less still, we able to pull the strands away. It looks like they really got caught on the mucus at the edge of the eye, and not in it. Billy seemed okay, and he was more interested in the pom pom itself than his own health, even after we grabbed him a second time to pluck a few last strands out.

We're going to have to find a new pom pom game for Billy, I'm not risking his eyesight just so I can make him jump after a cat toy for me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cats of the Serenbedi

Fall is definititely coming, the Cats of the Serenbedi are back on display.

Okay, they never left, but this is the first I've seen all three cats lounge on the bed at once in months. They tend to spread out in summer, each choosing their own favorite spot around the house.

The boys even formed a kitten pile to keep warm during a nap over the weekend. Emily of course, is barely willing to be on the same savanna bed as the boys. She doesn't do kitten piles.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tubbo gets tubbier

It's monthly weigh-in time again at the kitten farm.

  • Emily: 7.0 pounds, same as last month.

  • Whitey: 13.5 pounds, up half a pound.

  • Billy: 16.0 pounds, up half a pound.

It's possible that Whitey and Billy gained in part because we were gone for a week and they weren't as active. Still, we've started setting a timer to pick up their food after 15-20 minutes. Those return visits to the buffet have got to stop...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Raining Cats

Whitey took another nap on my high bookshelf. When he woke up, he acted like Emily (who stretches a lot and rubs herself on her bed when she's relaxed).

I reached up and scratched his chin for moment.

Unfortunately, he also did something else that Emily does occasionally -- he wiggled so much he fell off.

I realized out this was possible before he did, so I had stepped back out of the way. As much I wanted to catch him, I figured him in paracat mode would be claws fully extended and flailing, and all I would do is get scratched as he bounced off me.

He landed awkwardly on the floor, but a gentle check of him showed no obvious problems. He also seems his normally mobile self.

Weekend Stench Report

Someone, most likely Emily, just threw up in the hallway down by my office. If it was Emily, it was a new location for her, as normally she's not around my end of the hall much.

We also had a miss next to the migrating dining room litterbox.

Katherine took care of both.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Photo Friday: Whitey Boxed Set

Another Photo Friday, another picture of Whitey in yet another box. This one at least opened on the side, hence the thumb helping holding it open. (Whitey didn't care if the lid was up, but the photographer did.)

Whitey in a UPS box


A major group that the cats have displaced (if not in space, in attention) is our large plush animal collection. We have ~ 100 creatures, mostly bears, on shelves around the place. Collected over 15 years, they are in excellent shape, since of course we have no human little ones and the cats mostly leave them alone.

With the ongoing space issues at the kitten farm, we made a decision last winter to give away many of the plush creatures. With the destruction from hurricane Katerina, this has become more urgent. We've basically been looking for a place which accepts gifts in kind for the youngest hurricane victims.

The Boston Globe had pointer to a collection going on at Foxboro Stadium tomorrow, so 50 or so creatures are leaving us, to lead lives snuggling kids who need them.

However, although we had too many bears even before the cats arrived, it does make me sad to see them go.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

A Daily Stench Roundup

Somewhere in there over the weekend, a cat scored a solid miss of both the litterbox and its area rug.

We also had a cat (definitely not Emily) make a lake outside a second box.

Finally, at 4:40 AM this morning, Emily threw up clear liquid in the closet. This was after she had been looking uncomfortable yesterday evening -- she seems slightly happier now.

Katherine, the wonderful mom, cleaned up all three messes.

Printer Climbing

Whitey is again climbing on the printer rack.

This brings new meaning to the words, scalable fonts.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

March of the Litterboxes

With the living room and other shelves set up, the network pantry is ready to be emptied and replaced with the kitty pantry.

Therefore, the dining room litterbox has started moving towards the kitchen. It moved across the dining room towards the kitchen doorway on Sunday, and today it should move to the dining room side of door.

Thus, by this time next week, the litterbox should be properly exiled away from the normal human traffic.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Down in Front!

The living room shelves (AKA the entertainment center) are up.

They must be deeper than the old TV stand because the first thing that happened is that Billy jumped up and stood in front of the TV looking at the screen. No doubt he would have done this on the old stand had he fit.

Officially, he got the Mist of Doom to keep him from scratching the screen of our relatively new TV screen, but mostly it was just he was blocking the view.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Weapons of mass construction

As previously noted, we're setting up new shelving around the Kitten Farm, including a Skandia entertainment center. We can buy shelves faster than we can get them set up, though. For the last few days we've had a 6"-12" stack of disassembled shelves in our dining room. These shelves are a little under two feet square, relatively lightweight, with a smooth finish on both sides.

So, time for Saturday morning Cat Fu practice. Whitey and Billy are chasing each other around the downstairs with wild abandon. Billy runs behind the stack of shelves. Whitey launches himself onto the top of the stack... transferring all his momentum to the low-friction interface between the top shelf and the one underneath. The shelf keeps going, with him on board.

In other words, our little engineering kitten figured out how to throw a shelf at his brother.

Billy got out of the way. The shelf landed with a crash. Both cats were unharmed but were last seen watching the shelves with deep suspicion.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Wind Sprints

Chowline (AKA Billy) is living down his nickname again.

This morning, he was up on my bookshelf again looking down two shelves for treats or whatever. I am still afraid he'll fall and hurt himself, but I decide I might as well get a picture for his memorial service. I get out of my office chair and wander up the hall for the camera.

This causes Billy to do a Heisen Cat in order to follow me. I hear the various controlled crashes which are Billy hopping down from the ceiling in stages. I sort of expected this, but I don't expect what happens next. Billy bursts from the door of my office, goes into afterburner, and shoots the length of the hall. He's headed for the stairs, but he goes into the turn so fast he loses traction on the hardwood floor and bounces off the wall. This doesn't slow him; rather, he uses the bounce to correct his course and is gone down the stairs headed for the breakfast buffet.

Never mind that breakfast isn't for another hour.

In his favor, he does figure out I am not headed downstairs and comes back, but my act of walking to the top of the stairs sends him downstairs again, except for the wall banging part.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tiger Punks on Dope

We return to the further adventures with my high office shelf.

Today Billy headed for the top of the shelf, which is not common but is a regular occurance. What wasn't normal is that he then tried to reach down two floors to the the shelf where I keep sealed kitty treats ...

... and had recently left the sealed spice jar with cat nip. Whoops.

I got the jar off the shelf before he killed himself trying to climb down to raid it. As a reward/distraction I put some cat nip on both the upstairs and downstairs hall cat condos.

Both boys found the treat within seconds. A fine time was had by all.

The sealed cat nip jar is now back safe in the kitchen spice cupboard.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Heading for the hills

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we're worried about what would happen to our feline friends if we had to evacuate the kitten farm. Turns out the Humane Society of the US has extensive disaster planning information. Are you prepared?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Scaling New Heights

Too busy for kitten posts over the weekend because we running errands and going to a minor league baseball game as a group outing for Katherine's school.

The errands did directly affect the cats, because we continued our reorganizing our shelf space to better accommodate the four footed mafia. Four new shelves were obtained, and two are already up.

Newly installed into Katherine's office is a new small but tall metal shelf tucked into formerly dead space, which gets work in progress off the floor. I'm waiting for Whitey to try scaling it, which should be interesting as it lacks claw holds.

We also replaced the low hall table for the printer with a taller wire rack which can now also handle a displaced printer from the soon to be defunct network pantry. Whitey did try scaling this rack after we left Emily's food on the top shelf for a few minutes. If we leave food up there again we expect Whitey to show up again, next time with his brother and a climbing rig worthy of Batman.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Photo Friday: A Different Kind of Cat

As previously noted, we went up to Nova Scotia last week. What we didn't mention is how we got from Maine to Nova Scotia, since going by land is 10 hours and the Miata doesn't swim well.

Specifically, we rode the fast Cat Ferry. I especially like how the ship's hull motif includes a nose, muzzle, and whiskers.

Muzzle of the Docked Cat Ferry

Thursday, August 25, 2005

All By Myself

Emily has been lonely this week, more so than usual.

If we leave her alone closed in the bedroom for dinner, a truly sad meow comes drifting out. A human has to step in and stroke her a couple of times to get her eating.

Help is on the way as I type though -- Katherine is off to write on her futon, Emily's favorite place to be snuggled.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pardon the Interruption, Redux

Did you miss us (again)?

This time, a web site outage got Billy and Whitey 3:30 AM cat teaser time. But it wasn't their fault I was up.

A solid power hit at 2:30 AM reminded us just how many UPS protected systems we own.

In our case, we have seven:

  1. Drew's office
  2. Katherine's office.
  3. Living room DVR
  4. Network pantry
  5. Production basement server
  6. Test basement server
  7. Basement network rack

The drill on a power hit in the kitten farm is count to some number larger than sixty and wait for things to return, since the systems aren't hurt by the temporary outage, but then shut things down before the batteries drain (mostly to silence the beeping alarms).

This time Katherine jumped up almost immediately and killed to the two feeping office units (which don't need to be on at night in the first place). I lay awake waiting for power to return, then gave up and trundled down stairs and on to the basement killing things as they went.

As soon as I got to sleep, power came back, and a cell phone woke me up by announcing it was charging again with a happy feep. So I trundled back down stairs and turned on the production systems again, and kicked off backups for good measure.

When all was said and done, I had awake cats who wondered if I cared about the important stuff, like playing with them, so I did. :-) They even got kitty treats for working hard.

Monday, August 22, 2005

End of an Era

If you check our legacy photo gallery, you'll see before we were a kitten farm or even a puppy farm, we were a plush bear farm.

One of our eldest and most revered bears, the rugby playing and networking Ping the Panda, is sad. He's been one of our supervisors in the network pantry (an alcove of the kitchen) for a decade or so, but we're slowing disassembling it in favor of moving the networking equipment into the cooler basement and elsewhere. Ping can't move down there, it's too dusty for a cuddly bear like him.

Worst of all, we're disassembling it so we can move cat supplies and the dining room litterbox into the pantry area. Not bear friendly at all.

Last night we set up new shelves in the basement, and we moved the core of the network down, including the network switch and cable modem. The router which sat between them was already in the basement, after it freaked out in hot weather a month ago or more ago. Now the kitchen only has a few patch cables to link the basement to our original office network ports, plus a couple of computers which are waiting for new homes.

(Data was entering the house via the basement as coax cable, up to the pantry where the modem converted the data to Ethernet, down to the basement router where network address translation (NAT) occurred, and back up to the pantry based network switch for distribution to the various computers in the house. Now all that gear is back on the same shelf.)

They say the living room is the new center for networking, we'll see if Ping is willing to move there.

Breakfast with Emily

Emily missed us. This is shown by all the attention she wants at meal time.

Emily misses her medication. This is shown by her throwing up most of her breakfast this morning. It wasn't pretty.

I saw it happen while I was getting dressed, but it was Katherine who cleaned up after Emily while I hopped around on one foot trying to put my other shoe on.

I did pet Emily. She seemed scared after she threw up, as if the humans would be mad at her. We're not mad, we're sad for her.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Pardon the Interruption

Our web site, including the blogs, was down for several days earlier in the week. While the site was updated multiple times, the world (both of you) couldn't read our lovely prose.

Normally this would have been fixed within hours, but while the server was up and the site was being updated, it was doing so on a timer (ala a certain other site, but we didn't get the idea there). We were in Nova Scotia while Jen the cat sitter watched over the crew. Alas, we didn't even know the server was off the net until Wednesday, and Jen's duties don't include extended computer troubleshooting -- I had her check one thing, and then dropped back ten and punted until we returned Friday.

Once we were back, I power cycled a number of items. I think the basement firewall router was confused, and the reset did clear our problems up.

(What? You don't have multiple routers in your kitten farm?)

At least we're back now. (testing 1 - 2 - 3)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Photo Friday Extra: Make My Day

Unlike dogs, cats do not appreciate being dressed up by their humans. Some humans do it anyway, but I figure our otherwise loving cats would kill us in our sleep. Which is clearly what Floortje is planning for his human.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Accept <b>No</b> Substitute

Our pom-pom cat teaser was dead, so rather then open the new (last spare) one, I tried to tease Billy with both the boa and the feather teasers. He didn't yawn, but I couldn't really engage him.

So I got out the new pom-pom. POW!

Rather like Hobbes greeting Cavin after the school day ...

Monday, August 15, 2005

No Son of Mine

Sadly enough, seeing Whitey sleeping (again) on the bookshelf, it's official that he is not really my long lost son.

I know this because I wouldn't be able to sleep with my left leg and tail dangling off a seven story cliff. (I am not afraid of heights per se, but I get vertigo.)

I realize the fur, the claws and the tail should have tipped me off before this, but hey, I love the kid anyway.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Furry

I've got the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly cranked on the stereo. This is worth mentioning here because the speakers, high in the corners of the room, are pointed or or less exactly at Whitey asleep on the top of the bookshelf.

(If you look at the photo by following the link, you can see one of the speaker wires behind him.)

All I can say is loud music must not bother him ...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Play kitty

Random observation: When William is lying relaxed but still awake, the white ascot like neck fur framing his chin makes him look very urbane. Sort like Hef when still Hef actually got dressed for parties.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Photo Friday: Basket Case

Billy doesn't do the mountain naps like his brother; however, leave a laundry basket out and Billy is one happy napper.


Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Diet, exercise, and the monthly weigh-in

All three of the cats seem to have gotten used to the monthly weigh-in, and to being picked up and carried around in general. No clawing and very little squirming to escape.

Emily's weigh-in brings good news: she's up to 7.0 pounds, from 6.5 last month. Seven pounds is her pre-illness weight, though she could still stand to gain a little more. She was off the Tagamet for a couple of weeks, but is back on it now. As noted before, as much as she hates it, it does seem to help her digestion.

Whitey has lost a half pound, down to 13.0 from 13.5. Billy remains stable at a tubby 15.5. That's really a bit on the heavy side for him, so we'll need to think about the best way to further restrict his diet. My first idea is to pick up his food after 30 minutes or so. Emily eats at a sedate pace, and we've been leaving the boys' food down for the duration of her meal. Maybe that's not such a great idea.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Summer Daze

Our written output has certainly dropped off in the last month.

Part of this is summer itself, as I, the primary author, don't feel like typing in a hot office all that much when I have time. This especially is true can I can spend the same time stroking Emily or teasing the boys with a feather at their request.

But also, as we move into the second year with Emily fixed in her ways and the boys fully grown, writing down their actions seems repetitive and routine. This is not say they are boring to us, but trying blog the way Billy begged for playtime today versus last week is a little subtle for a blog which seemed more unique last year.

But no news is good mews -- our cats are happy.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Photo Friday: Lucky Cat Paws

This doesn't quite translate to a photograph, but it really is sort of funny to have Whitey in his high nap spot to disappear except for his paws and maybe a little furry tail.

It's like we're storing lucky cats' paws up there or something.


Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Dog Paddle

Most cats don't like water, but many dogs do. Including this dog that did a canine escape from Alcatraz

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Internet's Best Friend

We're not in it, but the New York Times has an article on cats on the Internet. (Free registration required).

Friday, July 29, 2005

Photo Puppy Extra

We introduced our niece Rory back in February, but I didn't actually meet her until earlier this month. Pictures really don't quite capture her hugeness, but counting the rows of siding on the house behind her will give you some idea of scale.


I ran into a great malamute who was working as an assist dog a few days ago. I didn't ask, but I expect he's very good at pulling his human's wheelchair out of snowdrifts.

Photo Friday: Asleep on the job

Whitey doesn't always sleep on my bookshelf, especially if I am not around. Rather, he goes where the action is ... and sleeps there.

Last year, we captured Whitey was sleeping on the job. This year, he's doing it again (or still), but with improved form that takes up even more space on Katherine's desk.

Whitey on the Job

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Talking About The Weather

You'll notice a small change to our main index, namely we now have the current outside conditions over the calendar of recent posts on the right side of the page. Those are local conditions, as in our backyard.

Note that the wind speed and direction is suspect, because our mast is only ~ 13 feet high (standard observations are made at 10 meters, or ~ 33 feet), and in the lee of the hill the kitten farm is named for. However, given it has taken 19 months to get the mast up and the data recording, we're declaring victory here and now.

If you're a true friend of the Kitten Farm, contact us privately for the detailed weather page which also provides a summary of the interior conditions (which is what the cats actually care about).

update: You may not be able to see the weather sticker if you have ad blocking software running on your computer. However, you can still follow this link to our local conditions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Information Kibble

It's been too hot to sit at the desk and post. So we're sadly behind.

The cats are pretty much fine.

Emily had diarrhea over the weekend (I think), and someone had a small solid litterbox miss this morning. Otherwise, not much is happening.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Photo Friday: High Time for a Nap

Whitey continues to make himself at home on top of my office bookshelf. No launching pad needed, so long as the window sill isn't completely blocked by the drawn mini-blinds.

Whitey Napping on Shelf

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Kiss is Just a Kiss

The heat is back. (Bad) So is Katherine. (Good)

Also back is Emily's digestive adventures. (Not Good)

First, various cats wake me up at six AM on a Sunday morning by jumping on the bed and wandering about. Then Emily sees me awake and waltzes up to me to gives me the official Good Morning Nip of Hunger on my most accessible componenent, my lower lip.

I am not happy at this and yell at her as I grab the Mist of Doom. Her feelings are hurt and this is transmitted straight to her digestive tract -- she throws up in the door to Katherine's office.

Fast forward 14 hours, we return from dinner, and Katherine finds a solid accident next to the upstairs hall litterbox. I wander in the bedroom while she cleans it up, and discover more of the same problem. In other words, we have cat sh-t on the bed for the second time in a week.

Not sure what to do here other than to clean it up ...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Emily News Flash!

Emily is now a Category 5 hurricane. I didn't think she meowed THAT loud ...

(CNN) -- A hurricane warning was issued Friday for Jamaica as Category 4 Hurricane Emily churned closer to the Caribbean island and forecasters warned that some additional strengthening is possible before the storm makes landfall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Second Verse of a Solo Piece

Day was mostly quiet as I continue to hold down the fort.

During the day, I left the upstairs windows open in the cooler clear weather; I am sure both the windows and the weather itself were improvements over Monday for the felines. Nothing interesting appeared to happen while I was working.

The evening was not as quiet. I found that a withdrawn Emily had left brown liquid goo on the closet floor. I think she threw up, a small chance it came out the other end. I think her lack of purring bothered me more.

Then at 4:30 AM, Billy wanted company. Again. Even phyiscally bringing him upstairs didn't quiet him. Finally Whitey wandered downstairs, and I think they played soccer for a while.

This morning Emily was more cheerful; I got some gentle purrs and a few head butts during breakfast.

I also got a minor litterbox miss downstairs and some spilled (clean) litter in the upstair hall, neither of which is worth thinking about it.

Now Whitey is meowing at the ceiling. Anyone got a copy of a Tiger <--> English dictionary?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mostly Quiet on the Eastern Front

Emily's digestive processes have settled down.

When I got home yesterday, she seemed hot due to the weather, but with cooler weather overnight we have a cooler and more active Emily.

Now if Billy would not meow for a feather at 4 AM, I would be all set.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Daily stench: Double Ended Problems

I am in charge again, which as always means the inmates are actually running the place.

Dinner was an adventure with Emily.

I went up check on her. As soon I opened the door, I saw a piece of cat feces on the floor of the bedroom. (Fortunately, it was near but not in the path of the door.) I checked her litterbox, she missed that as well. From the location of and fur on the bedroom feces, it looks like she missed the box and had some get stuck to her to boot, which she cleaned off on the bed.

(Did I mention I need to wash the white blanket from the bed? Barely visible, so it should come clean.)

She also had thrown up in three places, no extra charge.

All of this raises several issues, most of which I can stall on while holding down the fort, but none of which are pleasant:

  1. The cat feces in the middle of the bedroom is new behavior, or at least something I have not seen in months and was rare when it did happen.
  2. This is the second time today she has thrown up

    (and yes, Katherine had been medicating her past few days after a break to get more cat friendly Tagamet)
  3. This is the third time in four days she has thrown up.
  4. She threw up with food in her.

    (Normally she only throws up after drinking lots of water when hungry).

My core concerns are she's starting to lose more control of her digestive tract and/or we're going to lose patience with her current problems.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Gaining weight?

A little bit of good news from the monthly weigh-in. Emily is back up to 6.5 pounds, from 6.0 pounds last month. Much as she hates it, I think the Tagamet is helping her appetite.

Billy and Whitey are both stable, at 15.5 and 13.5 pounds, respectively. Billy has been acting hungrier lately, so his diet may be starting to take effect. We'll see how July goes before we make more changes.

Photo Weekend: Stranger Redux

Through the wonders of modern software, you can now see a larger picture of Stranger.


And it should be duly noted that Stranger did get along with cats.

Photo Weekend Extra: Stranger

Also from the DVD chapter headings, a picture which does not do its subject justice. His name was Stranger, and a recent post by Bluegrass Mama has parts of his story.


Leash laws didn't apply to him, and he was too nice to get busted for it. Like the time a strange 3 year walked up to him and petted him by bopping him on the nose. He knew human puppies could be silly, and was kind to them.

He and I did a paper route for most of six years together.

He joined us when he was ~ 10 years old, and lived until he was 19. He actually passed away at end of my freshman year in college; this means I didn't have to see him go.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Photo Friday: Flashback 1970

The picture below is not very clear (and it's not a thumbnail, it's full size), but it is special.

The little tiger's name is Linus. The year was 1970, and he and Victoria (the not very visible calico) were our cattens.

You can just see Linus wearing a collar, for previously explained reasons.


(The reason for the poor quality is the photo is off a DVD, specifically a chapter heading. The DVD was transferred from analog VHS tape transferred from 8 MM film. I'm going to try to track down the original family 8 MM to get a cleaner video and stills.)

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Top This! (A Daily Stench Three-for-one)

~ 5:30 AM Billy raids the clothes racks in the bedroom closet. No damage, but we're both awake and Katherine stumbles out of bed to check on things (and to implicitly shoo Billy off the racks).

~ 5:40 AM Fall back asleep.

5:55 AM Wake up to Emily retching. Both Katherine and I struggle to step up to the plate and clean up the mess. I complete POST first and let a relieved Katherine collapse back into bed.

5:58 AM I warn Katherine before I turn on the main lights to seek visual clues to what we already got on audio.

6 AM While looking for current results of Emily's retching, I find an already dry one. Clean that up too.

6:02 AM Kill bedroom lights, close door while I clean up the main event in the hall.

6:05 AM Done cleaning; get morning paper, grab more paper towel for any upstairs messes to be named later, take morning paper into bathroom.

6:10 AM Exit bathroom.

6:11 AM Discover strong smell of cat urine in bedroom; discover lake buried in kitty litter which wasn't there at 5:58 AM.

6:13 AM Katherine chooses to not fight fashion and rises to clean this latest mess. I get her glasses and head downstairs to get spare litterbox rug and cleaning bucket.

6:15 AM While retrieving bucket, discover smell of cat dung in dining room. Trace to minor (but smelly) miss of litterbox.

6:18 AM Deliver upstairs cleaning supplies, open window to prevent choking on cat urine.

6:20 AM Reverse course to clean up dining room mess.

6:30 AM Katherine completes upstairs clean up, dumps dirty mat on back porch until she's awake.

~ 6:31 AM on Cats take turns meowing for morning attention. We let them live.