Monday, December 31, 2012

Photo Extra: The Return of Spider-cat (2012 edition)

In the summer of 2004, when we had only been valets to the kitten Catzilla Brothers for a couple of months, we had already determined that Whitey was the Spider-cat.   This title has been challenged by others, especially his brother, but never truly equaled.

Whitey doesn't do major jumps much these days.  But just as back in 2009 when a bedroom shelf called, sometimes he gets that look in his eye ... he chooses his destination ... he extends his spider-cat ki ... and he goes.   Up.

This past Saturday he got the look in his eye, when the top of the dining room hutch called to him.   In our five and a half years here, no cat had ever gotten up there before.    He gave on a clinic on how it's done.   Simply. Up.

Note that he didn't jump from the hutch shelf, he started on the window sill, which was a better angle but a full five feet of vertical.   I have no idea how he made the last scramble up, although the smooth upper side of the hutch has a cluster of pin prick holes which could be the tracks from all claw drive in piton mode.

Whitey After Leaping From the Window Sill (right)

He got an easy ride down.  I dragged over a six foot cat tower for the him to hop down into.

The Spider-cat has still got it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Photo Holiday Extra: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Catmas

Around Thanksgiving, +Katherine Derbyshire and I had the usual conversation about whether or not to put up a tree for the holidays.   There are of course only two of us to do the work, we have to make it safe for the feline overlords, and the last time we put one up, we didn't exactly get it down in a timely fashion ...

The question for this year was solved the week after Thanksgiving, when we decided Katherine needed to attend an Aikido seminar in Tampa over the holiday break.   But the boys still got a wonderful Catmas morning, because Katherine packed, and they all helped

Cat-mas Morning Packing
Katherine has now been shipped off, with me as head-valet-in-residence for the next week.   Now if I can just find the proper spot on Oscar's chin to scratch ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo Extra: Stoner Kitty is Stoned


The packaging for this toy said things like "long lasting" and "durable," but also bragged about the high quality catnip inside.

That was less than 24 hours ago.

Apparently their test lab never met anyone like the Catzilla Brothers.

Good thing we live in Washington state.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Phone Extra: Quiet Hunter vs. The Rainbow Ribbon

While Billy and Penwiper are the most enthusiastic hunters among the crew, Whitey does have his moments. Here, he gives Mom an excuse to play with her new camera while ridding the world of evil rainbow ribbons. 


(Note that the image metadata from said camera is wrong. Still working on that part.) 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photo Weekend Extra: Sports Sunday

The boys love to watch sports with Katherine.  And yes, she was watching, the flash makes her close her eyes.   (I have no idea how she can be faster than a flash.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Photo Weekend Extra: Purr More, Meow Less

Since we moved to Washington State, we've always worn our support for pets on our sleeve.  Well, actually, it's been on our cars, with specialty plates that include a donation for pets.

However, we splurged recently and upped it notch with our new and improved pet plates:

Oscar and Penwiper Converse About Our New Licence Plates
We'll let you guess which car got which.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo Friday: Failure to Communicate

Why no, Penwiper didn't get the message a scratched nose should send him.   Three weeks after the last  incident, Penwiper got scratched again this past Sunday.  Whitely probably delivered it, as he was staring at the couch with a nervous Penwiper under it when I found them.

Penwiper With A Scratch On The Tip Of His Nose
He's one smart cat, but clearly not interested in the lesson at hand claw.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Friday: Penwiper by a Nose

Earlier this Month, it was clear that Penwiper put his nose where it got in trouble with a housemate.

Penwiper and his Scratched Nose
Fortunately, it healed with no scar visible under his fur, so Mr. I'm-Too-Sexy-For-My-Fur's winsome "come pet me look" modeling pose is unaffected.  One hopes his respect for his housemates was affected, but not really expected.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oscar's big adventure

Ever since we moved into the Kitten Farm West, we've been dreading the day one of the cats decides to explore the garage. But we always thought it would be Fearless Billy, or Door-darter Whitey. Not Oscar. Oscar would never do that!

Yep, guess whose tail I saw vanishing into the garage as the laundry room door closed behind me when I came in last night. Yikes!

The good news is that we have a very strict protocol: the garage door must be closed before the house door opens. The bad news is that Drew was expected home at any moment, and would unknowingly push the button to open the garage door automatically.

(The intelligent thing to do would have been to call his cell to warn him. I wasn't calm enough to think of that.)

Being Oscar, he instantly decided the garage was a Bad Place, and hid under the MINI. Under the exact geographic center of the MINI. It's a small car, but not that small: I couldn't reach him. He ignored kitty treats.

There is a moment in every frustrated parent's life where they say "F@#% it, I don't have time for this!" and resort to brute strength to get their recalcitrant child to do what they want. With Drew's arrival imminent, I stuck a broom under the car to chase him out.

He hissed, he growled, he ran straight for the house door. Which was closed. When I got close enough to open it, he ran back under the car. I chased him out again... we played that game a couple of times, then I got to the door fast enough to open it and he went through as if shot from a cannon. Right through the other three cats who were hovering on the other side of the door.

He's none the worse for wear. He even ate dinner normally, which surprised me. Often that kind of trauma sends him into hiding. Here's hoping he's learned his lesson.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Photo extra: Visitor kitty is visiting

I've seen this guy wander through before. He seems to think that our sunny, fenced yard makes a nice spot for naps. Not to mention occasional hunting opportunities.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Take Your Spawn to Work Day

A modern office offers lots of ways for cats to get themselves in trouble: cords to play with, papers to chew on, mugs and other objects to knock over....

None of which have really been a problem with our crew. We have to shoo them away from the wires now and then, and gently remind them not to stand on keyboards when the humans are trying to type, but for the most part we've had a pretty good record of office co-existence.

Or we did, until this afternoon, when Spawn of Basement Cat (aka Penwiper) decided to interrupt Billy's transit across my desk. I wasn't watching, so I'm not exactly sure what happened, but next thing I know my half-full tea mug is lying on its side, and a pool of tea is threatening to engulf the stack of bills I was working through.

No permanent harm done. The crash caused both cats to vacate the premises while I cleaned up the mess, and through sheer luck I was able to get everything important out of the way. A formerly white hand towel was sacrificed to the cause -- between the tea and a tissue with some fountain pen ink on it, I'm pretty sure it's a rag now -- but no damage to either electronics or important papers. Whew!

The Annual Turbo Ball Post

It's time for the often annual turbo ball post.

Not really news, but I still get a kick out of eight year old Whitey occasionally giving  it a good flogging, which he did this morning.

I think it was a draw.  Again.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Mr. Personal Space

Penwiper always thinks there's room for two.

Penwiper Squeezing onto the Billy-occupied Laundry Basket

However, while I've lost more pounds than they weigh together, I refuse to carry a laundry basket that loaded upstairs.  Katherine's not exactly keen on the idea, either.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Nip of a Sip

Monday, July 23, 2012

Photo Monday Special: Happy Birthday, Penwiper

On this day in 2010, Penwiper was born.   Here's a picture of Penwiper doing what he does naturally, being in the center of trouble for his tiger housemates.

Penwiper, The Center of It All

Thursday, July 5, 2012

There's No Crying in Baseball

One of the rules in baseball is that you don't talk about a no hitter in progress, especially to the guy pitching it, lest you cause the gem to be broken up.

Likewise, my streak with no hands direction of Penwiper into the lavatory seems over now that I advertised it.   He declined to go into the room on mere verbal direction for his last two meals.  It was not unexpected, because he started to mutter unhappy meows before entering the last couple of times he did listen to me.

So it's back to picking him up or tossing a few kitty treats around.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Cat Whisperer Strikes Again

Left unrecorded in these entries is that by the middle of May, Penwiper had become a discipline problem before meals.  All the boys get excited as we dish up their kibble, but Penwiper somehow feels excessive nervousness, and now swats at his housemates as he waits to be served.    This tends to stress his housemates.

We tried misting him, but it didn't slow him down enough to make a difference.  So we went to plan B around end of May, namely putting Penwiper in the lavatory off the kitchen until his kibble was served.  There are two ways to do this.
  • Katherine's method is to pick up him and set him in there; slightly stressful, but quick.
  • My method is a page out of The Way of Cats, in that I get Penwiper's attention by calling him and getting eye contact, go the door, and keep the other cats out of the bathroom while I wait for him come over and go in with my encouragement.  Since PW is a cat and not a dog, this requires that there are no distractions, and that he can generally feel he's part of the plan rather than a victim of it. 
When my method doesn't work, I revert to Katherine's system, but I actually have an excellent batting average.

In either case, we open the door to let him out as soon the bowls are down for Oscar and Penwiper.    It's like opening the gate at the Kentucky Derby -- Penwiper sprints across the hardwood floor, weaves past the kitchen island, powerslides around the end of breakfast counter into the dining room, and circles the dinner table to reach his bowl on the far side.

Now, I think he'd get there sooner using the shorter path with better traction on the rug through the living room, but I don't want to screw up his routine.  As I replied to Katherine this morning when she said that the Cat Whisperer strikes again:
Cat Whisperers do not "strike". We don't even extend ki. We merely allow the feline overlord to choose his own best path [via the bathroom] for his prompt feeding.
If the second half of his best path is losing traction on the hardwood, who am I to argue?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Photo Extra: One for the Road

All of the cats enjoy luggage, but Penwiper takes it to a new level, hopping onto the trunk cat carrier for Drew's bicycle. We don't think he'd be a happy passenger, though.


How he did it without tipping the bike over, we don't know.  We didn't wait to find out if his jumping off would have tipped it, we assisted him down.   We really need to get the bike stored out in the garage again ...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo Friday: Oscar and the Stealth Tank

We test drove a camera equipped stealth tank around the house a few weeks ago.  While it didn't terrify the feline overlords, it made them curious and a little wary.  Below is the tank's view of Oscar inspecting it.

Oscar Eying the Stealth Tank (from POV of the Tank)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Photo Weekend Extra: Thanks for Warm Spot, Mom!

Katherine posted a photo of sleeping Billy to Google+ a few weeks ago:

"Yes, Billy, you're very sweet. Now can I have my chair back?"

However, if Billy were awake, he would point out it's not a chair, it's a futon.   He'd also ask about this curious"my" modifier she spoke of ...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo Friday: Oscar After the Vet

I'm delighted to present Oscar after his annual checkup and vaccinations.

Oscar Relaxing in my Office After his Checkup
The vet gave us more kudos for our weight management.  The vet thought Oscars's teeth should be cleaned (say next year), and that he's generally a healthy boy.

Due to strong objections from Oscar, the vet never did get Oscar's temperature.

Last year's visit didn't go so well, when for over a day afterwards Oscar's legs were weak and he generally seemed under the weather.  This year, after he calmed down, he was relaxed, mobile, and even social.

Some nasty hisses went Penwiper's way after approaching too close while Oscar was still chilling, but Penwiper could use a few lessons in manners anyway.

Best of all, Oscar ate dinner normally.

There was the small matter of him soiling his carrier (and couple of spots in the house after he got turned loose), but those were easily cleaned up, and hey ... it was a stressful afternoon for our smallest Overlord.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Photo Friday: Dawn Patrol

The day after Katherine posted the picture of Oscar up close and personal, three of the four boys were sharing her side of the bed as the sun came up.

Billy, Penwiper, and Oscar with Their Favorite Self-heating Cat Cushion

As always, click on the photo for a larger picture.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Photo Weekend Extra: Oscar at Work


Oscar continues a long tradition of cats helping Mom work. He's not as big as Billy, and certainly not as big as Billy and Penwiper together, but he makes up for it by resting his bony little elbow on my throat. The closeness is kind of sweet, breathing aside, since it facilitates head butts and other snuggles. Makes photography more difficult, though.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Video Extra: Kitten Cam

The cats don't usually pay much attention to the internet -- except to note that it takes too much time away from cat worship -- but Oscar said I had to post this. Purrfect Pals, his foster humans before we adopted him, now have a webcam. Miranda's Kittens streams a litter of four tabby kittens. The stream includes DVR, so if the kittens aren't doing anything cute at a particular moment you can rewind.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo Monday Special: Seven Years After

Over the weekend we replaced the cardboard in one of the Turboball toys.   This morning, I heard it being vigorously exercised.   When I went downstairs I was delighted to see Whitey attacking it.
Whitey in an Early Morning Turboball Session
I think he always gets little of his kittenhood back when he plays with it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Bunkmates Redux

Further proof Penwiper is getting at least slightly more accepted by his fellow feline overlords:

Penwiper Relaxed in Billy's Clutches
Billy as Penwiper Pillow

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

To reach the unreachable noms

If it weren't so dangerous, we'd love to post video of this...

Billy has figured out that he can't get to the top of the stove via the counters, which are booby trapped with cat detectors.

And he doesn't want to jump directly up. The stove top is a grill, and not so comfortable on the paws.

But the other night during dinner, we saw him doing a chinup on the handle for the oven. Literally hooking his front paws over it and pulling himself up. I couldn't see whether his back paws were helping, but since the front of the oven is smooth glass they couldn't have been helping much.

We were impressed with his athleticism, but quite dismayed. We hope that a dish towel over the handle will close off this approach route.

Update (from Drew): The towel was on the floor when I left for work.  Given how nice a towel rack the oven handle makes, we can only assume Billy experimented once Katherine came upstairs after breakfast.   A shake can has been set on the towel on the handle on the door on the oven.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photo Weekend - Bunkmates

Penwiper Using a Healthy Slice of Oscar's Pillow
Oscar was napping on his pillow last weekend, and Penwiper decided there was room for two.  Oscar didn't object, but I don't think he endorsed the idea, either.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video Saturday: Nap Central

With Katherine off to Aikido for the day, my office became nap central for the feline overlords.   I often get three of them, but today I got all four peacefully napping, and here's impromptu video proof:


Note it probably looks better if you kick it up to HD.  Amazing what a camera phone can shoot these days ...

Monday, March 12, 2012

To Leap the Impossible Leap

As noted, the repair of the bathroom was almost done a couple of weeks ago, and after a false start, the glass was installed today (Monday).   Once it had a few hours to set, we let the feline overlords inspect it.

The inspection didn't go well.  

As the previous photos show, there is a pony wall between the tub and the shower.  This now has ~ 3 feet of glass on top of it, similar to before the remodel.  What's not similar is the glass is offset towards the tub to make the shower side a usable shelf.   Katherine specifically approved this, but she didn't copy the cats on the approval.   

Oscar, Penwiper, and Whitey each tried to jump up from the lip of the tub to the pony wall expecting the former narrow but usable landing area, and instead smacked into the glass and fell back down.   Whoops! No one was injuried.

Billy, being the brilliant leader of our crew, didn't try it.  Instead, I later saw him tentatively put his forepaws up on the pony wall to inspect the the glass, rear paws firmly on the tub.   

No one has tried for the shelf since, so apparently the lesson was quickly learned

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cat 54 Where Are You?

On Saturdays when Katherine teaches, I have morning cat valet duties.  This morning, as she is leaving before I get downstairs, she announced ...
"A cat tower is tipped over!" (Oh so that was the bang I had heard.) 
... followed by ...
"There is a a hairball by the couch!"
... and the hits just kept on coming ...
"We have a litterbox miss!"
At this point, I told she was sounding like the theme from Car 54 Where are You?

The fun didn't stop there.

Once I got downstairs, Oscar decided he didn't want to eat on the floor:

Oscar Eating on the Terrace
He hopped up on the counter and expected to be fed there, which is an improvement over his retreating to the front hall stairs to dine.   Life was also made cooler when Penwiper ignored Oscar and vice-versa.

I can tell I took this picture after Billy somehow detected one lonely kibble was trapped under the edge of the toaster oven.  He hopped up to the kitten meal preparation area with the scale -- the green handled Mist Of Doom is where I left it after spraying him.  (Note the SSSCat towers deployed to keep the boys off the food prep areas, namely the island and far counters.  Unfortunately, I had not rearmed them all yet.)

Our downstairs has been restored to order, with Katherine's impromptu punch list handled, the boys fed, the litterbox raked, the laundry room (AKA the litterbox room, top left) swept, and the Litter Locker emptied.

Can I take a nap?

Updated: There were two litterbox misses, I got one Katherine didn't know about.  There was also a second hairball miss on her side of the bedroom that I had no knowledge of.  Fun, fun, fun ..

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chatting over breakfast

Drew: You know, some people are just amazed that we track the boys' food so closely.

Katherine: Some people are just amazed that their cats are fat, too.

Seriously, folks, if your cat is fat, it is your fault. Feed them less. They'll be happier, and they'll live longer with fewer vet visits.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Photo Holiday Special: Does It Match My Fur?

The bathroom repair/remodel is almost done.

Penwiper likes the new "tuxedo" tile we put in.  However, we're not sure he realizes the real purpose of it.

Penwiper on black & white tile checkboard.
Oh.  That's what the tile is for.
The purpose will be more obvious to the feline overlords once we get the stall glass delivered and installed so we can actually use it as a shower.  At that point, I suspect Penwiper will drop his newest hangout from the list, even if he can get the stall door open.

(As always, click on the photos for larger pictures.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oscar's Take on Remodelling

So ... we realized we were overdue to have the grout in our shower redone, and we called a local contractor.   The contractor came in, looked at it, and showed us that the wall itself was damaged.   The wall itself had to be replaced, and of course they had to retile the whole bathroom (tile is a bear to match, it seems).

This kicked off in mid-January.  Progress has been steady and professional, if slow and expensive.

Oscar, he who is easily startled, now calmly takes our contractors and the associated noise as routine.

Any project which goes on long enough for Oscar to accept as routine is too long.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Photo Weekend: Still Good to Have a Friend

Billy & Whitey Sharing the kitchen pillow
Long ago (7 years) and far away (the original kitten farm), we posted a picture of Billy & Whitey napping together.   They still trust each other more than they would any young usurper to share a comfortable spot together.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photo Weekend: Peace in Our Time

Oscar and Penwiper agree on one thing:

PW and Oscar enjoying the Kitten Farm West fireplace
A good fire should not be wasted.

Yes, the paws of our often conflicted housemates are touching, the fire is that relaxing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photo Weekend: Almost Playtime

The Boys Encouraging Katherine to Get the Toys Out

Katherine's office seems to shrink when playtime approaches in the evening, what with all the excited kitten traffic.  Above, Katherine prepares to enter the toy closet while her playmates bounce off the walls.

Weekend Video Special: Sylvester Penwiper Hunts


This weekend, we bring you a short video of Penwiper at his most frantic.

Like Sylester, this tuxedo kitten can land his prey but can never finish it off.

Update: The video refuses to play here or on Youtube.  This makes me sad.