Monday, July 27, 2009

Shawshank Redemptions and Marauding Raccoons

I got up this morning thinking it was going to be a typical Monday. You know, shower, dress, run out the door to work.

Well, Izzy was rather insistent that I get out of bed right then and feed him, but I expected his usual, "part of my bowl is empty, so I MUST be starving" nonsense. Instead, the water bowl was filled with dirt and the food bowl was licked clean. Which means Max paid a visit at some point during the night.


I can't begrudge an animal a meal every now and then, but when he messes with MY stuff, then that's a different story. After feeding the cats and cleaning up the water mess, I went on into the living room and started seeing something strange. Bits of chewed up paper on the arm of the couch and on the cushions. What could it be?

Now, I am an admitted collector of things that make me laugh. And my newest addition was a present from Becci from her trip to Santa Fe. It was Cat Butt Gum, people! Yes, the raccoon ate a box of Cat Butt Gum. Here's what it looked like pre-raccoon:
And after:
I was able to rescue a few pieces of gum from between the couch cushions, but found them full of teeth marks. He also took a bite out of the hand-made soap she brought me. Is nothing sacred?
No, it's not, as I also discovered one of Izzy's fake mice had been beheaded. Oh well, there's at least 29 more of those things around here.

But the morning fun did not stop there. Oh no, that would be too easy! I still needed to go out and feed the rabbits.
I grabbed a couple of carrots from the fridge and headed out to the pen where I saw a cute little pair of bunny ears sticking up high enough to be seen through the screen door. Awww!! They're waiting for me!
But then I see Jake off to the side of the pen, his attention concentrated on something. Imagine my surprise to see a bunny hole! Yes, they had made a prison break to the outside! A quick head count showed all six innocent-looking bunnies inside the pen, so my little guard cat was doing a pretty good job.
Izzy had to come investigate what was going on. He and Jake had a little discussion over the best way to handle the situation...

And then Izzy took matters into his own hands. I've learned that when he doesn't really know what to do, his solution is to pee on it.

Take that, bunnies! I did put a piece of plywood over the hole, as I don't really have a lot of faith in Izzy's pee to keep the bunnies from heading for freedom. I'll get out there and fill it in when it stops raining.

Friday, July 24, 2009


As promised, here are a few photos of the new kids. They've been busy, digging holes and settling in. I'm still working on some of the more cosmetic aspects of the pen. And filling in holes. And moving rabbits out of holes so I can fill them in.

In this picture, left to right, are Sophie, Jack, Penny, Robbie, and Anna Lee. Susie opted out of the photos. These guys are snuggling up with their ice block on a hot summer day.
Here's Big Daddy Robbie giving Penny an ear wash. Anna Lee is the little rebel. She and her mother (Sophie) are the ones most likely to do something naughty. Last Saturday Anna Lee made a break for it and spent some time wandering the back yard with me following, trying to catch her, and hoping she wouldn't discover one of the holes in the fence.

Izzy couldn't stand it and started chasing her. They disappeared onto the patio and only Anna Lee came back. Not sure what happened, but Izzy gave up the chase and went in the house. Guess I have to put it down as bunnies 1, cats 0.

And just as a flashback, here's a pic of Jack when he was a baby.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Bird Peeps at Midnight

My nephew spent the weekend at my house, so needless to say, once I cleaned up the disaster that was left behind, I was beat. As in, let nothing get between me and my bed kind of beat. Jake and Sam made themselves scarce, so Izzy took the brunt of the visit and crashed for a good solid three hours as soon as the door closed behind the kid. Which is why he had energy for what came later.

So there I was, snuggled in and starting to doze when I heard the first "peep peep!" At first I thought it was the TV (had it on sleep timer) and ignored it. Then there it was again. Kind of faint, but insistent. I opened my eyes to look at the TV to see if somehow, someway, there might be a little bird involved in what was happening on "Futurama" and I might be able to just go to sleep. Nope. *sigh*

When I heard it again, I knew for sure--the hunter had struck again.

I got quietly out of bed, listening for more peeps so I could pin down its location. I stepped out into the hallway and flicked on the light. As I made my way down the hall, Izzy pranced out of the craft room, his attitude all innocent. If he could speak he would have been saying "uh, hey mom, what's up?" in that fake casual way guilty kids have.

Not being dumb enough to fall for a cat's innocent act, I knew the poor bird was somewhere in there. As I started for the door, Izzy switched to the cute act to stop me from going in there and hurled himself against my legs for a rub. Sorry kid, I know your ill-gotten gains are in there somewhere.

Sure enough, there was a baby mockingbird on its last breath lying beneath the table. You poor, dumb thing. Why did you come into my yard when there's a known killer on the loose?

I scooped it up with a sheet of paper and carried it outside where I laid it on the grass. This one there really was no hope for, and all I could really ask was that it didn't meet its demise on my carpet.

I just hope Izzy keeps an eye out for mama mockingbird. Those things are vicious and known to pin a cat beneath a car for hours. Just ask Sam. I've had to rescue him several times from a dive-bombing mockingbird. He still hasn't told me what he did to piss her off.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Life and Times of Jake and Izzy (Illustrated)

So you have to admit Sam, Izzy and Jake have it pretty good. A zombie human to do their bidding, more toys than PetsMart and Petco put together, four plush cat beds, their own fleece blankets.... But why sleep in a specially designed kitty bed when there's a whole house to use as your mattress??

Here's Jake on the lamp table:
I see, a hard surface with a light shining in your face is comfier than a micro-suede bed.

And Izzy, as you can see, prefers his pillows in hardcover: Infinitely better than a soft fleece-lined kitty bed, right?

But I think I have to hand it to Jake on this next one:
Those 400-thread count sheets are pretty irresistible. Too bad that's MY side of the bed he's on! And just think of the stretching capabilities in a queen-sized bed! (Being the good zombie human I am, I just climbed in on the other side. Why fight a battle you're going to lose?)

And would you look at the tail on this cat?? It's at least 12 inches long. Grandad just calls him "long-tail cat." Evidently some cheetah ancestry is coming out in him. Not to make him run faster, but to help him balance when he does this: Hey, don't fuss at me about this--I'm a good human and make sure their water bowl is filled with fresh water every morning. Evidently there's just something irresistible about toilet water.

And now, here's my little black jaguar, Izzy, surveying his kingdom from his perch atop the ladder:
I'm bored.
But wait! What's that sneaking through the jungle?? (Honestly, he's lying down in the grass--my lawn is not that tall... yet....)
I will leap from my perch and defeat my enemy!
Eh, it's just Jake.
I'll get him later.

Sam bowed out of this production of Crazy Cat Lady Theater. There was a cool patch of tile in the kitchen he hadn't laid on yet.

Coming Soon: Bunny pictures!

I Hear and I Obey, Master(s)

*Edited to add a few extra comments*

We cat owners pretty much knew this one already: Cats Do Control Humans, Study Finds. (And to quote a fellow blogger--"No shit, Sherlock.")

Turtle would have made a good subject for this study, since he was always good at getting me out of bed to do his bidding. Mostly because he'd snuggle up on top of my head and purr in my ear and lick my face. It gave me the warm fuzzies and I'd do anything to make the old fart happy, so I'd get out of bed (most times carrying him) and get him some food. He would just purr away, all smug in his dominance over the stupid human.

Izzy's the same way, but his methods need streamlining--like not using blinding rage to get me out of bed. He meows away as I hurtle out of bed in the mornings to save breakable tchotchkes from hitting the floor and he takes off down the hallway only to skid to a halt in front of his partially empty food bowl. And when I say "partially" I mean you can see a tiny bit of the bottom of the bowl!

My struggles to combat this have so far been useless. Shutting the door on him just results in high-pitched "Mommy I'm dying" meows that drag on forever. At least Jake and Sam are smart enough to stay out of the way in the mornings. But let's face it, Izzy's working in their interests as well.

A few excerpts from the article, with my editorial opinions in parentheses...
Household cats exercise this control with a certain type of urgent-sounding, high-pitched meow, according to the findings. (No use trying to outwait them, it just gets worse, and I you wait long enough, you'll hear a crash coming from another part of the house--guaranteed to get you out of bed to investigate!)

McComb suggests that the purr-cry may subtly take advantage of humans' sensitivity to cries they associate with nurturing offspring. Also, including the cry within the purr could make the sound "less harmonic and thus more difficult to habituate to," she said. (As in ignore. That sound penetrates even the thickest pile of pillows. See the above-mentioned "Mommy I'm dying" meows.)

McComb said she thinks this cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring, "but we think that cats learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans." (What?? Cats exaggerate the desperation of their needs??? It all makes sense now!)

You can read the article in it's entirety at the link above.

Oh yeah, I heard a rumor that Sarah Palin hates cats. (Now you can sue me, too, Thomas Van Flein!)

Pictures to come of the furrballs' latest hits. But right now I must play Flying Spaghetti Monster with our system.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eeek! There's a Flea on Me!

Had to treat the furrballs for fleas tonight. It was either that or get myself a flea collar. I was starting to have nightmares about the ravenous pests devouring me.

I threw down some food and hit them all with the spot drops while they were trying to outeat each other.* But once the food was consumed and they realized what I'd done, mayhem ensued. How dare I put some sort of foreign liquid on the back of their necks??

At one point Izzy turned into a one-kitten wrecking machine and raced around the house, leaping on top of everything and knocking as many items onto the floor as he could. Sam just raced around, dashing out of my way whenever I came near him, and he continuously vocalized his displeasure. Jake took it the best of all, staying quiet, but trying his best to get his head far enough around to lick the stuff off. Better go check on him just to make sure he didn't succeed.

*Eating has become a spectator event around here. Jake has torn a hole in the cat food bag and serves himself one pawful at a time. I don't think he eats out of the bowl anymore. Izzy drags me out of bed or away from whatever I'm doing whenever he glimpses the bottom of the food bowl. (But at least he's stopped going hunting!) When I give them canned food in the evenings, I dump the food on the plate and practically toss it at the meowing little piranhas. Not only that, but the two of them broke into the bag of rabbit food the other night and gave it a taste test. I had to hide it. Poor Sam just tries to get a couple bites of food whenever the other two aren't paying attention.

Friday, July 3, 2009

First Photo of the Bunny Haus!

Things have progressed far enough on the rabbit pen that it's ready for occupation!

OK, so the roof still needs to be finished, and trimwork done to make it match the house, but my bunnies can move in! Finally! They've been living at my grandparents' for way too long.

As you can see, I designed it to be transitional. Someday, after the bunnies are gone, it can become a greenhouse (and they just might find themselves sharing space with potted plants come wintertime!)

Grandad and I are working on it some more first thing in the morning. Hopefully I can bring them to their new home on Sunday.

But, if he doesn't start behaving, Izzy might be its first occupant. During the time it has taken me to type this short post, he's climbed all over me and the laptop, I've yelled at him about attacking the lampshade, he knocked a picture off the entertainment center and scaled the bookcase.

These Shoes Weren't Made For Walking

I broke down and bought a new pair of Reebok's yesterday.

My old ones are at least 8 years old and while comfy and broken in, they're looking pretty disreputable and deep-down grungy that no amount of laundering will get rid of.

So I headed to TJ Maxx and shopped around. I've been a loyal Reebok customer for years (although not a frequent shopper, obviously) but I tried on some New Balance and Asics running shoes as well. Nothing fit as well as the Reeboks.

So I bought the cute ones with pink trim. I wanted to make sure I can be seen when walking around the neighborhood in the evenings. I wore them last night on my walk and got home to find small blisters on the back of both heels. Dang.

Wore them again tonight and while I felt some rubbing on my right foot, it didn't really hurt. So imagine my surprise when I kicked off my shoes and saw a bright red patch of blood on the back of my sock. And inside my shoe.

Need to head back to Wal-Mart for band-aids. And I think I'll wear my old shoes.

Time to Hit the Sack

Now, I'm no Billy Mays (RIP), but do I have a new product for you!

It's called Nap Sack (TM pending) and couldn't be simpler to install and use.

Simply obtain a rare item called a paper sack from your nearest shopping outlet (this one was provided at Wal-Mart to keep my frozen items less melty in the gabillion degree heat), take out all items, and toss it on the floor. Curious kittens will take care of the rest of the installation.

Izzy chose a feet hanging style of insertion.

Upon awakening, your kitten will emerge refreshed and ready for more mishchief!

Note: it is best to obtain more than one nap sack in the case of mulitple kittens to avoid jealousy and fighting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What Do You Mean It's Not Friday?

I've been thinking it's Friday all day. (Yeah, I know, wishful thinking!) Which sucks because it's still two days away. And while our offices are closed that day, I still have to work.

Bleh. It's hot, it's Wednesday, and too much pie is making my pants tight. Guess it's salad for dinner and time on the elliptical.