Monday, July 30, 2007

Requiem for Winnie the Paws

A dog of many talents and names (Winnie, WinTinTin, Win, Windawg Windoggie, Pysco Dog, That Damn Dog, Sweetie, My baby) has gone to the Great Puppy Farm in the Sky.

Traverse put Winnie to sleep at 11:30am Eastern time today. The vet said she had lost a lot of muscle mass in her hind quarters and that the time was right. Twelve years is a long life for breeds of her fine lineage. It was a great twelve years. She led a dogs life. Both Traverse and we will think of her often.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Photo Friday: Hunter's Roost

The Kitten Farm West kitchen has nearly three times the counter space of the old one. The boys are allowed on the otherwise unused counter which has an opening to the living room and is a natural perch to watch most of the downstairs from. However, we do use the cabinets over this counter. Normally, with the doors closed, there is no problem. However, with the door open today, Billy claimed one of them as an overhead extension of his counter.

Billy in Cabinet

Please reel your tail up Billy, so I can at least close the door again.

The Grim Purrer

CNN has an article on Oscar, a cat who knows when a nursing home's resident's time has come. When Oscar visits, it's time to call the family for the long goodbye.

The original article text is also available.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Photo Friday: But He's Wafer Thin!

Packing for her trip last week, Katherine could have sworn her briefcase was fully loaded before Billy wedged himself in.

Billy in Briefcase for SEMI 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Daily Stench, Asylum Edition

In honor of my first full day as the only valet of the asylum, the boys very carefully showed me they knew which bathroom that their litter box was moved to. Unfortunately this didn't show me that they actually know where the litter box itself is, as the sign they left was a solid mess on the bathmat. I don't know if it was a hairball or something from the other end. I do know the bathmat immediately went in the washer. No other damage was noted.


As noted elsewhere, Whitey is the less active of our two boys. Compared to Billy, he can act like a lazy bum, but in reality Katherine and I both realize that what Whitey is really doing is simply observing the world around him in a serene feline manner. If Billy wants to get up and run around and take an active part in that world, that's fine with his brother; he'll wait for the kitty treats.

The only problem with Whitey is and his Zen like attitude is that he chooses to exhibit this serenity even when observing the world from places where he should not be in the first place. On two trips into the kitchen last night about 20 minutes apart, both times I found him serenely lying on the main kitchen counter next to the sink with his paws folded under him like he had not a care in the world. (The Mist of Doom was deployed both times.)

Maybe he figures that if rats can be chefs, mighty feline hunters (and bums) can become chefs too, and he should hang around the kitchen until somebody teaches him. Then he can open those pesky cans.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Inmates and the Asylum, Summer 2007 Edition

It is time for that annual summer event, the running of the asylum by the inmates.

I tried make lemonade out of lemons this year, taking the opportunity with Katherine being gone to install a high-speed wired network in the new kitten farm, and make it truly our West Coast electronic cottage.

Having found a larger electrician who routinely works on Saturdays, I thought I had the perfect plan that would minimize both my time off and any interruption to Katherine. I even planned it out for the boys carefully. In particular, at my request Katherine moved the boys' litter box from their own upstairs bathroom back into the master suite, so they can have the self-contained master suite to themselves. (In other words, I was going to jail the boys while the electricians were running around.)

Alas, my glorious plan to avoid disturbing Katherine was foiled! The company I had chosen had sent an experienced low-voltage (network) person out to do the estimate, and we had carefully scheduled two weeks in advance to do the work. At the time of the estimate, the estimator had specifically said that they probably needed two people to do the work. However on the appointed day yesterday, they sent a single high-voltage person out who had no expertise with data wiring, and did not even have the parts required for a new light switch in the garage which was one of the few high voltage items that were part of the original estimate.

The end result is that the kitten farm is still not fully networked yet, and the work will have to be rescheduled in a couple of weeks when we can get the proper people with proper equipment in. For now, the boys litter box is relocated back to their dedicated bathroom. No doubt they view this as the bright side, as the migration caused me to distribute kitty treats in the bathroom to remind them where the litter box had come to a stop.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Accept NO substitute!

I got home late last night, so I ran Billy with the laser pointer but not the monkey tail for the second night in the row.

Did I mention that he meowed in the middle of night yesterday? He did the same thing last night (this morning).

Clearly, he needs a full bribe exercise routine in the evening to sleep through the night.

Monday, July 9, 2007

We Live Here!

CNN has an article on how six-toed cats are welcome at the former home of Ernest Hemingway, as they are permanent residents with a long linage, not some exhibited attraction.

Laser Tag and Other Fun

Billy was silent overnight. It was wonderful.

No doubt having him chase both a laser dot and a monkey tail yesterday evening helped him burn off some of that extra Mighty Hunter energy he might otherwise use at 3 AM.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

More Alarums And Excursions

Last night brought us more midnight joy from the boys.

We suspected that we were in trouble early, when Billy decided that things were too quiet and he needed to meow just as we were going to bed. Sometimes this is not an issue, other times, like last night, he has more patience for his meowing then I have for going to sleep. I managed to finally drift off.

By the middle of the night the boys had moved on to considering disassembling the fountain. This was attempted multiple times, despite my best efforts to convince them that they really did not want to be playing with it.

Also, in the middle of the night, the boys chose to explore the downstairs laundry room where I had stored spare InterMetro polls for building new shelves. I know they did this because I heard the poles crash to the floor. I investigated primarily to ensure that we still had two healthy cats after their misadventure. We did.

However, the crowning achievement of the night was more towards dawn, when Whitey decided check out what is normally Billy's department, namely the toilet roll dispenser. In his FRAP state he managed unwind to just enough toilet paper so it reached the floor. And like a true FRAP cat, he then took off with the T.P. attached to him so that it to unspooled halfway across our new spacious bathroom floor.

As in Friday's refrigerator incident, I was too stunned and amused to chastise him.

(Katherine later lectured Billy that Billy needs to learn how to do things like Whitey in so cute a manner that we don't chastise him for it. I, on the other hand, am not sure we want to hold up Whitey as an example to Billy.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Photo Friday: Teddy Kitten

Nothing makes a nap like a brother to hug.

If you look carefully to the right, you'll notice the serene boys are on the futon in Katherine's new office with wall-to-wall carpeting and painted (not wallpapered) walls. For a comparison, you can look back at the boys on the futon in the original kitten farm. (The flashback is also a reminder that they don't always nap so well together.)

Alarums & Excursions

Sometimes, the boys quietly curl up with us when we go to bed, and are still there when we wake up in the morning. And then there's last night...

It all started innocently enough. I heard the unmistakable clatter of toenails on wood and went down to investigate. Billy was sitting next to the front door, Whitey was sitting in the living room. "Is there a problem officer?" Watching over the railing, though, I saw Whitey launch himself at his brother. Cat fu ensued.

Nothing wrong with midnight cat fu. But later we had the mournful meowing. And the toilet paper roll used as scratching post in the dead of night. And more mournful meowing after we closed the bathroom door. And then the exuberant door-dart when we opened the bathroom door sometime after dawn.

No doubt it will be morning naptime soon. Unfortunately the human staff has to earn our daily kibble and won't be joining them. YAWN.

Update: We just went downstairs and discovered Whitey (who had been mournfully meowing again) standing on top of the refrigerator. He stuck his head over the edge, chirped, and head-butted Drew's hand. He's not allowed up there, but we were both laughing too hard to chase him down. Perfect end to a perfect morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Quiet Hunter

Cats are not really nocturnal; they are naturally crepuscular, which is active during dawn and twilight. I was gently reminded of that this morning.

It was warm (for Seattle) last night, and so Katherine left various office windows open. This was an excellent idea. However, in July this far north, early daylight and the various bird calls that accompany it are in full swing by 4:30 AM. They woke me up, and I was cold to boot, so I decided to close some windows.

Katherine's office overlooks a small (~ acre?) protected wetlands, where most of the nature sound effects originate. I padded to Katherine's office, and stopped at the sight of Whitey, sitting quietly on the window sill. He wasn't up there for company, or warm sun. Nor was he meowing because his prey was on the far side of a screen. Instead, he just quietly surveyed the world as it was.

I switched to my own empty office, and closed my window. I then returned to Katherine's office, but decided not to disturb the hunter on his perch. Instead, I started to close the office door most of the way, and he jumped down ... I felt a little sorry I had interrupted him after all, he had been where he belonged.