Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Better cat worship through chemistry

Researchers at UCLA may have found a new way to help people unfortunate enough to be allergic to cats. They've combined a feline protein and a human protein to form a new molecule that blocks the release of allergy-related histamine.

Monday, March 28, 2005

It's Backkkkkkkk

With things running so smoothly, we've decided to tempt fate.

The automated Littermaid litterbox has been checked out and returned to active duty. It's actually next to the regular closet litterbox, full of litter but powered off for now. This will let the cats used to it as a "normal" litterbox first.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Treats

How not to treat your cats on Easter Morning:

Leave a not quite empty glass of chocolate Instant Breakfast on your nightstand, an area to which the boys have full blessed access to.

Lucky (if you can call it that) for Billy, he knocked the glass on the floor, and I heard it before he could feast. Of course, this meant I got to clean up the splattered chocolate sludge. But I would rather clean up the mess than bury the cat.

For the record, I had Cheerios for breakfast, and I rinsed my bowl when I was done.

(For those who came in late, Chocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs.)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Sun Deck Redux

The sun and open window in my office were so nice this morning that Billy tried to push Whitey out of the way to get to it.

The winter sun deck, capacity two tiger cats, has been deployed.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Photo Friday: Aerial Ballet

We now present another Photo Friday Double Creature Feature.

This week, proof of how different the boys are once they are off the floor. On the left, we have Billy clinging for dear life, and on the right, we have Whitey out for a claw stabilized stroll. Both photos are accurate; Billy acts like he cannot keep his balance on me, but Whitey will jump to my shoulder from an arm's length away if I promise a treat.

Billy clinging to Drew's shoulders  Spidercat strolling on Drew's shoulders

While typing this sitting down, I just gave Whitey the official kitty on the shoulder signal (i.e. waving an invisible treat). He needed to figure out to move from the sundeck window sill onto the desk so he could launch. Then he was up in a flash, and we were off together through the length of the house to make the treat real.

This was the first time he did the trick at my desk.

With Billy, we've given up on shoulder training since the photographs were taken. It just wasn't working out.

As for Emily, she would never lower herself to any of this tomfoolery in the first place. "Just serve my treat on the good silver, dear."

Liquid Stench

Someone left a lake between the wall and the upstairs litterbox.

Forensics points out that the box is too close to the wall, and was quite dirty even though it had been cleaned that morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dawn Patrol: The Return

With the sun coming up earlier, it seems the boys are up earlier. This is not a good thing.

Earlier this week, we got 360 degrees of early morning cat fun

  • Noisy litterbox landscaping
  • Cat fu on the bed
  • Meowing over lost tails and/or brothers
  • Rattling closed mini-blinds

Good thing that daylight savings starts in ten days or so. We'll jump forward more than they will.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No More Owie

We should have mentioned this sooner, but Emily's Owie seems all better.

I think it bothered her for no more than a couple of days.

Someone to Lay Down Beside Me

During Katherine's last trip, I took the cat bed we bought last summer up to her office to give Emily something to curl up in with her self-warming cushion AWOL. I left it on the futon. When Katherine got back, she banished it to the corner of the room, intending to remove it completely when she had a chance.

The cat bed stays -- Emily likes it too much. She likes curling up on Katherine even more, but the bed makes a nice change, especially Katherine doesn't stay put like a devoted human should.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Got Milk?

I bought cat milk substitute for the boys' birthday, and we never gave it to them (mostly because we forgot).

We remembered over the weekend, and this time we had a clue and served it before dinner, when they were still hungry. One ounce each to all three of them.

Happy Cats. So happy I gave them more this morning, with similar happy results.

It's junk food for them, so it won't be part of their regular diet. But they are good kids, all of them, and it's nice to have an extra kind of treat to share with them.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Photo Friday: Still a kitten at heart

When Billy was little (left), he liked to chase laser pointer dots. He's all grown up now (right), but some things haven't changed.

littleBillyThumb.jpg    bigBillyThumb.jpg

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Emily has an owie

We don't think it's anything serious, but she's acting like her left hip hurts. She's moving more stiffly than usual and complains if you pet her there. We suspect either a touch of arthritis or a muscle pull from jumping too enthusiastically. Something to watch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Does Not Compute

Last night after the official weigh in (which uses Katherine, a 0.5 pound resolution bathroom scale, and a cat), we tried to weigh the boys on the higher resolution kitchen scale by waving kitty treats over it. (We did move the scale off the forbidden kitchen counter.)

Whitey came in just under 12 pounds, consistent with his official weigh-in.

Billy came in as ERR. After three tries, I checked the bottom of the scale -- it's only good to 5.5 kilograms, or ~ 12.1 pounds. Gong!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Not really monthly weigh-in

It's been a while since we last weighed everyone. Still, everything is pretty stable.

Emily holds steady at 7 pounds, as usual. Emily also got to go to the vet for her annual shots today. She is NOT amused...

Whitey is 11.5 pounds, and Billy is 14 pounds. Both are up one pound since the last weigh-in. Now that they have access to food all the time, we'll want to stay alert to make sure Billy in particular doesn't overindulge.

Cats and Sunbeams

Winter is still here. That's the bad news.

But I have the day off, and it's another crisp calm sunny morning, the kind that allows me to setup the indoor/outdoor sundeck again. Right now, I have a serene Billy at my left elbow enjoying the sun and following all the birds twittering in the backyard.

[Later ... I closed the window after the usual half hour or so, and the cats wandered off. But the deck remains in the sun, and as I type Billy has returned and settled into a sunny nap.]

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Stairway to Heaven

I'm not sure I want to know what Whitey tried last night.

What I do know is that I was busy at my desk when I heard cat claws flailing loudly on steel behind me. The only steel back there is the file cabinet, so I think Spidercat was trying to climb the cabinet so he could visit the stereo and bookshelf.

Or maybe he tried to leap up, and the screech was him clawing as he discovered he wasn't high enough. I do not recall hearing a crash landing, but he is light on his feet. (Billy, bless him, would have left a crater.)

Some things, humans were not meant to know.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Photo Friday: Soul Cat

Something we've been meaning to post about but never got a good picture of is the soul patch on Whitey's chin. His recent trip up the bookshelf helped us solve that lack.


Our cat, the beatnik.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Good Morning, Starshine

Any cat will poke a paw at closed mini-blinds to peek at the new day outside.

Many cats will try to stick their head through the blinds to see better.

Some cats will nose under the blinds to push between them and the window.

Our Spidercat wiggled his entire body between two slats in the middle of the blinds to stand on the window sill between the blinds and the glass. (Okay, he was unsure about the pulling the final leg through. But he had the overall problem solved.)

I consider myself duly chastised for not having the blinds open early enough in the first place.

[Meanwhile, as I write this, Billy is lying on the desk looking out the window at the new day. I guess that makes it the sun desk.]

All Along the Watchtower

As noted yesterday, I recently returned to using the exercise bike, which shares a little too much space with the downstairs round cat condo. To keep my pedaling feet from being cat toys, I booted the cat condo into the front hall next to the newel post.

Not surprisingly, the boys found this to be a great place for it, as they love hanging out in high traffic areas. This gives them a comfy little watchtower where they can monitor traffic, see the living room, and hear the upstairs hall. It's also probably slightly warmer there than the far end of the living room.

The surprising thing is, the watchtower in not the way of the human traffic. (Yet.) So it gets to live there for a while.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

The Daily Stench - Overnight Edition

We've settled on leaving the downstairs buffer open all night, but pulling Emily's bowl out of the bedroom and sending it downstairs. This prevents midnight snacking from waking us up.

It appears this causes certain associated problems to follow.

Specifically, as I hopped off the exercise bike in the living room this morning (yes, I actually rode it!), I saw spittle and kibble mixed in a pile by the forward leg of the bike. As usual, we can't be sure, but we think it's Emily.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Photo Friday: Climb Every Mountain

The day we had my office nap condo converted into the winter sun deck, Spidercat used the deck to get on the file cabinet. Sitting on the file cabinet are my CD player and stereo receiver, which are collectively high enough for him to launch himself up to my seven foot bookshelf.


Unlike the great kitchen cabinet adventure, Spidercat is allowed up there if he can get up there back down safely. We just prefer he didn't strangle himself in stereo cords or act like he wants to jump to the top of the open door -- he's not that good to balance on a two inch wide piece of swinging wood.

Also unlike the kitchen adventure, we're happy to report he safely came down the way he went up.