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.