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Nevertheless, She Persisted

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Dave!Jenny came in and woke me up a little after 4am this morning. This is unusual because my cats rarely bother me while I am sleeping. I petted her on the head, she walked to the door and meowed, then ran downstairs. I rolled over and tried to get back to sleep.

Five minutes later she was back meowing again.

Thinking this is like Lassie trying to tell people that Timmy has fallen down a well, this time I follow her downstairs to find out what the problem is. Was Jake into something he shouldn't be? Is there another bird in the house? She leads me to the Litter-Robot and meows again. Turns out the Litter-Robot is stuck, Jake took a big dump in it, and the litter level is very low. So I replenish the litter, reset the Litter-Robot, then watch as Jenny waits for it to cycle so she has a clean spot to go to the bathroom.

Now... I wouldn't blame you for thinking I'm making this up. It sounds unreal, right?

Except this is Jenny we're talking about... and I have security camera footage that captures the whole thing.

This is my life now.

   
Here's Jake taking a dump in Litter Robot at 3:38am...

Jake in the Litter-Robot

   
Here's Jenny going to use the Liter-Robot at 4:02am...

Jenny wants to use the Litter-Robot

   
Here's Jenny deciding that she is not using a bathroom that smells like one of Jake's notorious dumps...

Jenny declines to use the Litter-Robot

   
Here's Jenny coming up to get me...

Jenny heading upstairs

   
Remember that I ignored her the first time. But she persisted. Here's Jenny leading me to the Litter-Robot at 4:12am where, sure enough, I find it's stuck and there's not enough litter in it to cover Jake's poop...

Jenny leads me to the Litter-Robot

   
Here's me refilling the Litter-Robot with fresh kitty litter so I can reset it...

Refilling the Litter-Robot

   
Here's Jenny waiting for the Litter-Robot to cycle so she has a clean place to do her business...

Jenny waiting for the Litter-Robot

   
And here's Jenny finally having a clean place to go to the bathroom like she wanted all along... while Jake watches her...

Jenny waiting for the Litter-Robot

   
Nobody warned me about stuff like this before I got cats.

Remember, I was a dog person before I got cats.

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Caturday 46

Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Dave!While I was on vacation, I could have lowered the heat to save money. I absolutely did not. My cats were still home, and they were accustomed to the temperature as it was set. $26 was a small price to pay... and a drop in the bucket compared to how much my vacation cost.

Now that I'm home?

Jake and Jenny spend half the day (and night) wandering in and out of the catio when the temperatures are freezing.

Jake likes to then run back in the house and hop on me in order to get his feet warmed up. And then promptly fall asleep...

Sleepy Jake

Jenny prefers the electric blanket on my bed. Few things make her happier than rolling around on the luxurious warmth from her favorite spot...

Jenny on the Electric Blanket

Jenny on the Electric Blanket

Jenny on the Electric Blanket

Jenny on the Electric Blanket

Such a cute kitty...

Jenny on the Electric Blanket

   
Speaking of "cute"... earlier this week I compiled the nicknames I call my cats...

Nicknames for Jake: Jakey Bear
Pooh Bear
Poo Head
Pookey Bear
Fuzzy Butt
Chunky Butt
Handsome

Nicknames for Jenny: Jenny Bean
Baby Girl
Pretty Girl
Sweetie Girl
Sweetheart
MEOWSTRESS OF DESTRUCTION!

   
And... no more cat cuteness for you.

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Dieting and Mondays

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2018

Dave!Jake needs to lose four pounds.

Which is not easy because he will eat every bit of food that I put out as soon as he can get it. Jenny prefers to graze over time, which means the minute she steps away Jake will pounce on her food immediately.

I've gotten a little more proactive in taking food away and putting out smaller and smaller amounts that I can ration so Jake isn't devouring food meant for Jenny.

Jake is not taking his diet well.

Tonight I caught him eating from a bag of dry food I was foolish enough to leave on the kitchen counter. He knows exactly what it is... and apparently knows how to open a sealable bag as well...

Jake with his head in a bag of cat food.

I yelled for him to get down, which he did.

Not five minutes later, Jenny hopped on the counter to see if she could get away with snagging a bite or two...

Jenny decides she wants food.

I yelled at her before she could manage it, and she won't look at me now. Even once I called her to come up to bed, she refuses to look me in the eye. Which means I've been getting snubbed and side-eyed all night...

Jenny giving me side-eye all night.

Jenny giving me side-eye all night.

   
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

If I am killed in my sleep, check for claw marks.

   
UPDATE: I've been asked how much food they get. Jake and Jenny get three tablespoons of dry food and a tablespoon of wet food twice a day (each). Jenny doesn't know what to do about wet food. She ate it as a kitten, but now she just licks it. Jake will then walk over and polish off her gravy-free wet food before tackling his dry food. So, essentially, Jenny is eating less than a half cup a day while Jake is eating over half cup a day, when it really should be reversed...

Jake eating Jenny's wet food.

I bought some expensive stainless steel bowls that spread the food out while keeping it centered so that they avoid "whisker fatigue"... but my cats don't seem to care, so I still use bowls for their wet food. As they wear out (or break) I've been replacing them with shallower bowls in the hopes that the cats find them easier to eat from.

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Caturday 47

Posted on Saturday, January 13th, 2018

Dave!When it comes to cats, I really did luck out. Jake and Jenny are healthy, well-behaved, loving, all-around wonderful pets and I honestly have no complaints. Yes, I wish they would let me pick them up... neither of them (especially Jenny) likes that at all... but it's such a small thing in the grand scheme of things that I don't dwell on it.

When it comes to smarts, they both seem like intelligent cats. Jake has pretty good puzzle-solving abilities and can use process of elimination to find stuff. I was afraid that Carl the RoboVac would choke on Mufasa, a toy lion I brought back from Africa for Spanky which Jake inherited, so I picked it up off the floor and tossed it on the couch. Later that day I checked in on the cats with the security cameras and saw him hunting around the house looking for something. Eventually he found what he was looking for... which was Mufasa...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Once he found it, Jake took Mufasa upstairs, assumably to hide it from me so I wouldn't hide it from him. Pretty smart.

And then there's Jenny.

As far as intelligence goes, Jenny operates on an entirely different level. Not just from Jake, but from most cats I've ever seen. She's super smart. When her brother found her secret sleeping spot in the room I use for comic book storage, she went and found another spot to get away from him. Now she sleeps in the guest room closet. To get in, she has to separate the doors by pulling the door out. Something Jake hasn't figured out how to do, and it drives him absolutely nuts.

She's also incredibly devious and crafty.

One morning as I was working in bed, I realized I hadn't seen my cats in a while. Using the security cameras, I found Jake out in the catio pawing at the door trying to get back inside. I couldn't figure out what his problem was, so I went downstairs to see if the door was broke. It wasn't. Jenny had pushed the scratcher lounge in front of the door, then sat on it so he couldn't push through...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

   
I can only guess this was revenge from when she was asleep on the scratcher lounge and Jake kicked her off of it...

Jake On the Scratcher Lounger

   
She was not happy about it, and was staring daggers at her brother...

Jenny Stares Daggers at Jake

Jenny Stares Daggers at Jake

Jenny Stares Daggers at Jake

   
Jake is a bigger cat that Jenny and uses his size to get what he wants. Whether it's the scratcher lounge, the top spot of the cat tree, or whatever. There's times that Jenny is having none of it though. Like the other night when she was chewing on her catnip-infused paper bag and Jake decided he wanted it. She plopped down on it and refused to let him near...

Jenny's Bag

Jenny's Bag

Once he left, she went back to chewing on the thing. Though I have no idea why. Apparently it doesn't taste very good...

Jenny's Bag

   
If there's one thing Jenny loves, it's ambushing her brother when he least expects it. Usually she does this by running up and smacking him in the face while he's pooping. But sometimes she gets deviously crafty. Like dragging her paper bag in front of the cat door so she can hide behind it and jump on Jake when he comes through...

Jenny's Bag

   
Like I said... next-level smart. And clever and devious.

I really lucked out.

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Furry Butts and Dishwashers

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Dave!Between the weather and my work schedule there's nothing much else going on in my life.

Except for the cats, of course...


Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

   
Turns out I didn't close the pots and pan cupboard, so Jake and Jenny were climbing all over in there. This is great, because I was dying to wash six loads of metal in the dishwasher, and now's my chance!

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Caturday 48

Posted on Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Dave!And so... Jenny comes running in from the guest room meowing for attention.

Turns out she's tattling on her brother. I go in to see what he's up to... and he's up on the wall shelves where he knows he's not supposed to be. I go to scold him and then... HE SITS NEXT TO THE RABBIT STATUES AND STAYS PERFECTLY STILL. HE IS CAMOUFLAGING HIMSELF AS A STATUE SO I WON'T SEE HIM!!!

Jake the Statue

Not the most convincing wabbit I've ever seen, and yet... not the worst either. But don't tell that to him. He sat there being a statue long enough that I had time to run and get my phone so I could take a photo.

Eventually he realized the gig was ip...

Jake the Statue

No idea how he gets up there. But at least I know who is responsible for knocking my rabbits off the shelf and busting them...

Jake the Statue

Eventually he pretended to be sorry and dropped by to watch television with me...

Jake the Statue

Just look how sorry he is!

As for Jenny?

Still letting her smarts lead her into trouble. She watches everything I do, and now I'm thinking that she is trying to figure out light switches...

Jenny on the Light Switch

I think she's also taken up Taekwondo. The other night I was rubbing her butt to distract her from the rain falling on the roof (something she really hates for some reason)...

Jenny Butt Rub

But apparently she didn't want to be distracted, and...

Jenny Taekwondo Move

She decided to distract herself by hunting mice...

Jenny Toy Mouse

Nom! Nom! Nom!

Jenny Taekwondo Move

   

I went to bed at 11:00 last night but couldn't get to sleep. Fortunately(?) my cats saved me from a boring night of staring at the ceiling. Since they new I was awake, they took that as an excuse to go nuts. Shortly after midnight I heard them sliding things along the floor. When I looked at the security cameras, it seemed to be wet food packets. They dragged them out of the cupboard before, but the worst they've ever been able to do is bite a few holes in the bags...

Cat Food Breakout

Every time they would fail to get a packet open, they would run and get a different one...

Cat Food Breakout

After a few packets had been dragged out, I saw that Jenny had managed to get one open. She was chowing down...

Cat Food Breakout

As I lay in bed being horrified at the idea of wet food being scattered all over my house, I decided to run down and clean it up before it dried. Sure enough, they broke the bank...

Cat Food Breakout

Much to my relief, the packet that Jenny got open was not wet food, but a bag of treats...

Cat Food Breakout

Ironically, it was CALMING TREATS I bought for when I take Jake and Jenny to the vet next month...

Cat Food Breakout

I'd like to tell you that they calmed right down after eating all those "calming treat," but... not so much. Oh well. At least they didn't look pissed off, like the cat on the front of the package after I put all their food away.

And... what cat antics will tomorrow bring?

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Dave!I always make fun of the people who say "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" when they see their finished home revealed at the end of Fixer Upper (the home renovation show on HGTV). I mean, who says that? It's like, the stupidest thing you could say. YES, WE ARE KIDDING YOU! THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE!

Then just now I was unloading a box of cat stuff from Chewy. The cats were obsessed with the shipping box... until I opened the cupboard where the cat food is. Then they abandon the box come ripping into the kitchen like they're going to be fed dinner... an hour and a half early! It was then I found myself saying "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" — And then I realized either A) I watch way too much Fixer Upper, or B) People actually say that, and I should probably apologize to all the people on TV I've made fun of.

Fixxer Upper Promo Shot

 
It's probably a combination of both those things. My television is tuned to HGTV 90% of the time. I've seen every episode of Fixer Upper eleventy-billion times. I have all the clients memorized. It only stands to reason that the stupid crap people say on these shows is going to get embedded in my brain.

In many ways, watching shows like Fixer Upper is torture this time of year. I want nothing more than to clear out my garage and set up my wood shop so I can get started on all the projects I've dreamed up for my home this year... but that has to wait until Spring when I won't have to worry about my car being piled over with snow.

The last thing I want to do is walk outside in the morning, find an avalance on my car, and find myself screaming "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???"

   

Blanket Dreams 2: Electric Boogaloo

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Dave!As I've mentioned a couple times, Jenny loves sleeping on an electric blanket I have under the far third of my bed. She loves it so much that she gets frustrated when she finds that it's not on. More than a few times I've seen her stamping her little foot trying to get it to turn on... or have come home from work and found that she's pulled the blanket away trying to figure out why it's not hot.

Given how smart she is, I thought that maybe I could teach her how to turn it on when she wanted it on. It automatically turns off after four hours, so I thought that might be an easy solution.

I think I'd have better luck teaching Jenny how to turn on the electric blanket if it got hot immediately after pressing the button. But since it takes time for the heat to arrive after pressing it, there's a disconnect there, and her little brain can't wrap itself around the concept. She still paws all around the blanket... stomping her little foot trying to make it be hot, but this may be expecting too much.

Jenny's Heated Blanket

Jenny's Heated Blanket

Jenny's Heated Blanket

Jenny's Heated Blanket

Jenny's Heated Blanket

   
Oh well. I still think you're a smart girl anyway, Jenny!

Jenny's Heated Blanket

Yes... yes... yes... you're still sexy too.

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Caturday 49

Posted on Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Dave!I cannot get over how smart Jenny is.

She's just bizarrely intelligent, and every day she does something to remind me of it. At first she didn't like the anti-itch liquid on her neck because it made her wet. But now that she understands what it does? She knows to frickin' ask me for it. Then, when I spray it on my hand to rub it into her skin, she turns around so I'm not reaching across her face. It's like she comprehends how things work.

Including me.

She tries different kinds of "meows" until she finds one I respond to (the most pathetic sounding meow, of course)... and then she uses that particular meow until I stop responding to it... then she tries different meows again so she can get her way. She acts all submissive towards her brother, but she also totally manipulates him. It's just gets more and more weird and wacky the more I see what's going on in that little fuzzy head of hers.

As for Jake? Bless his heart.

When it comes to scratching stuff, both my cats are pretty smart though. When they were kittens they would scratch anything, anywhere (my furniture has the marks to prove it) and I was happy to just let it go. As they got older, they learned where they should scratch and where they shouldn't. A part of this had to do with me providing plenty of things that were desirable scratching places. Scratching posts, scratching loungers, scratching cat trees, scratching pads... they've got it all.

And to make sure they don't get bored, I'm always swapping out old, worn scratchers for new ones. The first scratching post they ever had actually wasn't their's... I bought it for Spanky. Needless to say, it's a mess, which is why I've got it out in the catio. The other day I was watching them scratch on it and realized that they like to stretch out vertically on it. Indoors, they don't have anywhere to do vertical stretches, so I decided to buy a new post that was nice and tall.

The cats were scared shitless of the big pole when I brought it in... but the minute I set a toy mouse on top, they were all over it. They love the height, and it's tall enough to even do some climbing...

Jake Climbs the Tall Post

It's a great scratching post... especially at only $38. Nice and sturdy. Both of them can be climbing all over it at once and it won't tip over.

They love it so much that I'm thinking of buying a couple more. It would be nice to have one in their bedroom. Though I'm still a bit upset that I spent an hour cleaning it and they had it trashed the next day...

Messy Cat Bedroom

The messy little monsters.

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Caturday 50

Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Dave!Seventeen days and counting.

Seventeen days and counting until Jake and Jenny have their annual vet appointment. Something that has been stressing me most every day since their last vet appointment. Now that they're two years old (25 in human years), it would be nice to think that they've matured enough that we won't be having a repeat of that insanity that permeated their first trip... but I know better. They are still very much feral cats at heart and not at all accustomed to adventures outside the house or seeing other people.

In order to help ease them into their appointment, I bought Feliway diffusers last month to get them in a more calmed state of mind. I've purchased calming treats for the week before and pulled some of their favorite toys.

And then today I pulled out the kitty carriers for them to get used to. My hope is that, being cats with tiny brains, they've forgotten about anything negative to do with them so I'll manage to lure them in when the time comes...

Jake and Jenny at the Kitty Carriers

Jake and Jenny at the Kitty Carriers

Jake and Jenny at the Kitty Carriers

Jake and Jenny at the Kitty Carriers

   
Just the thought of having to drag them to the vet again...
=shudder=

But, for now... it's business as usual. Sleeping, pooping, and trying to stare me into feeding them early...

Jake and Jenny Waiting

   
Seventeen days and counting.

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Fuzzy Bellies

Posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Dave!"Come of Baby Girl, time for bed."
"Meow."
"Yes. Yes. You can get scratches on your head."
"MEOW!"
"Give me a minute! I have to go to the bathroom."
"MEOWWWWW!"
"Oh stop. You're not dying. I have to wash my hands."
"MEOW!"
"I have to change into a T-shirt... just wait a minute!"
"Meow. Meow. Meow."
"Okay. Okay. I'm coming..."
"Meow."

Jenny Wants a Belly Rub

"Alright! Alright!"

Jenny Wants a Belly Rub

Jenny Wants a Belly Rub

Jenny Wants a Belly Rub

Jenny Wants a Belly Rub

"Meow."

I've never seen a cat get into belly rubs like Jenny does. She goes nuts for them, and is very, very impatient when it comes to her nightly rub-down.

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Caturday 51

Posted on Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Dave!

Jenny's brain works differently from most cats.

Given how smart she is, just figuring out how to get a toy out of the puzzle box is too boring for her. I found this out as I saw her goofing around with it tonight.

   
At first I couldn't figure out what she was doing...

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

   
Then I saw she had found a toy mouse and was apparently trying to put it into the cat puzzle box...

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

   
When she couldn't get it into one hole, she walked around the box and dragged the mouse to a different hole...

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

   
She managed to poke it through the hole into the box, but then decided she wanted it back. She couldn't reach where it landed, so she had to circle around to snatch it...

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

   
And... success...

Jenny and the Cat Toy Box

   
I've never seen a cat who plays with toys the way that Jenny does. It's as if just batting them around is beneath her somehow, and she has to find other ways to amuse herself with them.

I amuse myself by watching her try.

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Caturday 52

Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Dave!When I bought a house, I truly was not prepared for how much work it would be. My HOA fees cover the yard care and the snow removal... what else is there?

Turns out there's a lot.

Tons of little tasks that add up and overwhelm you day after day. For the longest time I just ignored them until forced to deal with them, but then I started writing all the little things down on a "Daily Chores List" and tackle a new task every day. Sometimes it's something quick and easy... like washing the bathroom mirrors. Other times it's something more involved like fixing the toilet handle or replacing the washers in my kitchen faucet.

Today's chore was three-and-a-half hours of cleaning out my toolbox and organizing my screws/nails/fasteners/etc. storage chests.

It would have probably gone faster, except I had "help" from my cats...

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

They simply would not stop "helping." They'd climb in any open box or bag. They'd root through every container and bag of garbage. Half my time was spent wrangling cats.

Jake and Jenny just loooooove to "help." Like when they "helped" with my taxes...

Cat Help!

And, of course, they were right there to "help" when I was cleaning out my dresser and end-table...

Cat Help!

When a new order of food and toys arrives from Chewy, the only "help" they're interested in is composting the packing paper...

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

   
I suppose I should be grateful that I have such kind-hearted and helpful cats?

Probably.

   

Receiver Deceiver

Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Dave!After I finished mopping all my floors as my Chore-of-the-Day, I decided to get to work and turned on my television for some background noise. Then, once again, I got a "Cannot Communicate with the Satellite Dish" message. I assumed it was the cable to my DVR that was dying, because I can usually wiggle it and get things working again. But not today.

And so... I had to postpone work and go buy a new cable.

That was the easy part. The hard part was replacing the cable because I have all my cords wrapped up, and replacing one of them means having to unravel others too...

Jenny the Cat

Since I was already having to wade through all my cables, I decided to just disconnect everything and start over. I've made several changes since I first organized everything, and the mess has gotten a bit out of control. Also... I wanted to relocate my stereo receiver because the cats like to lay on it for warmth, and I worry it's not getting enough ventilation and might blow out...

Jenny Sleeps on the Stereo Receiver

Jake the Cat

   
Unfortunately this is a much bigger project than it may first appear. The IKEA media center I have is a really poor design because the shelves don't have enough space to fit my receiver. I decided to modify the unit by taking out the middle drawer, building a shelf there, cutting out the back so I can run cables, then moving the center shelf up an inch-and-a-half...

   

IKEA STUFF!

While I was at it, I decided to see if moving my router off the top would interfere with the WiFi signal. Turns out it did not, so I decided to move it along with the receiver. This is nice, because now all I have on top of my media center is the center channel speaker and Alexa. Much cleaner, and my living room looks less cluttered.

Once the noise from drilling and sawing was done and the cats came out of hiding, I was surprised at how quickly Jake noticed that his favorite sleeping spot had vanished...

New Media Center IKEA Hack

When Jenny finally noticed, she was not happy. Not happy at all...

New Media Center IKEA Hack

The cats then tried to find a new "favorite sleeping spot," but nothing seemed to make them happy...

Cats on Couch Back

   
And now I realize that I should have waited a day to do all this since tomorrow is their visit to the vet, and that's going to be traumatic enough without them losing their stereo receiver napping spot.

Probably more traumatic for me than for them. Which is why I've been dreading tomorrow all year.

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The Veterinary Clinic Adventure 2.0

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Dave!Living with cats has been a joyous experience every day... save one day. My visit to the vet with them last February. It was equally traumatic of all three of us, and I've been dreading having to go back for an entire year.

As I mentioned a while back, I had brought in the cat carriers in early so I could get Jake and Jenny used to being around them.The difference being that last year I was able to trick them into the containers with treats. This year? Not so much. They didn't want to go in under any circumstances. Even by bribing them with treats.

Here's Jenny hanging out with me five minutes before I would betray her...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

In order to trick them into the carriers this time, I essentially had to starve them, then dangle food in front of them so I could shove them inside and lock the door behind them. It worked, of course, though I felt so awful about having trapped them...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

The 20 minute drive was almost exactly the same as last time. Jenny went catatonic. Jake cried and howled the whole way there.

Once I got to the vet, the challenge was to get them out of the carriers that I had struggled so hard to get them into. Jenny had to be pulled out clawing and meowing... Jake had to be shoved out... then Jenny proceeded to hide in the sink and Jake tried to camouflage himself...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Half-way through the visit Jenny just went flat?... I guess the term would be? Like she was trying to melt into the table or something.

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

It was kind of freaking me out... but then Jake noticed his sister in distress and stepped up to try and comfort her. I was doing a pretty good job of holding it together, but just then I nearly lost it. Such sweet kitties. And such a good big brother...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

   
Just like last year, Dr. Bonnett at Cascade Veterinary Clinic was amazing with my cats. So kind and caring about taking his time to make sure Jake and Jenny were as comfortable and least traumatized as possible.

Turns out that Jake lost a half-pound, but is still a little overweight. Jenny is at her target weight still. Both of them are healthy and have no issues, so I'm feeling more than a little blessed about that. They handled their annual vaccinations like a champ and, just like that, they were done and I was $200 lighter.

After the doctor wrapped up and it came time to get them into the carriers again, they were only too happy to run into them this time.

The drive home was more of the same. Jenny zoned out with an occasional whimper... Jake howling and crying wee wee wee all the way home.

Last year they went screaming from the carriers, hid under the bed for a while, then got all clingy on me. This year they meandered out of the carriers, so I went ahead and fed them... this time without any tricks...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

Instead of being clingy on me, they were fairly clingy with each other, which was nice...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

And so... all good for another year (knock wood). Now I need a drink.

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The Pergola Predicament

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Dave!My addiction to home renovation shows has reached critical mass. My list of woodworking projects I want to do has gotten so long now that I would have to retire if I even wanted to make a dent in it.

Right now I'm excited for Spring to come so I can turn my garage into a woodworking shop again and get started on two (well, actually three) projects...

  1. Custom Picture Frames. I am building a wall collage in my stairwell of family and friends photos. I'm to the point where there are no frames I can buy to fit in the places I need to fill, so I need custom frames to make it work. Alas, they are SO expensive, so I bought a router table and am going to make my own. It's so much easier than I thought it would be. I also have some prints that I'd love to display, but could never find frames to fit. Now I can make my own.
  2. Remodel My Laundry Room. I want some narrow shelving that will be easy to build, but the main thing I want to do is build new cabinet doors as practice for...
  3. Remodel My Kitchen. I ran out of money when I was remodeling my home, so I never got to replace the kitchen cabinets which I hate hate hate. I then decided I would just reface them with new doors and drawers, but that was also insanely expensive. So then I decided to buy the tools to build my own doors and drawers. I'm also confident that I can tile my own backsplash. About the only thing I am not confident about is replacing the countertops, so I'll have to hire somebody after I'm done with what I'm going to do.

That's months of work given that I can only work nights and weekends.

And yet...

I've got another project I'd really like to tackle.

I want a pergola on my patio.

Well, a pergola over the part of the patio which remains after I built a catio out there. It might also be cool to build a cat run into it with seating on top, like yo...

Pergola Planning

That way I could sit outside and read a book under a little bit of shade while my cats run around. Big Fun for all of us!

By far, the biggest project I've ever tackled, if I end up doing it... but it looks like a lot Big Fun to build too!

   

Kitty PTSD and Hairballs

Posted on Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Dave!This morning I was working from home when I hit a snag and needed to be in the office to finish up. I was hurrying to get out the door when I noticed that something was on my floor. Too small for a mouse, so I was guessing it was some kind of hideous bug trying to get out of the cold. So I went to get a glass and piece of board to trap him and... it was a hairball. A Jake hairball.

Jake has, on rare occasions started hacking like he had a hairball, but he's never puked one up. I guess there really is a first time for everything.

So, after cleaning that disgusting mess up, I tracked him down to the pad on my media center (formerly the stereo receiver) to make sure he was okay. I asked him about the hairball, but all he did was demand belly rubs...

Kitty PTSD Belly Rubs

Kitty PTSD Belly Rubs

Kitty PTSD Belly Rubs

Kitty PTSD Belly Rubs

Kitty PTSD Belly Rubs

So my fears that Jake might have hairball inducing PTSD from his vet visit are apparently unfounded. If it was a problem, apparently it's all fixed by belly rubs.

Jenny never seems to have hairball problems but, then again, she's more into getting brushed with THE FURMINATOR, so I suppose that's to be expected. So as to avoid any further hairball incidents with Jake, it looks like I may have to start insisting he gets FURMINATED whether he likes it or not.

Because the first time I step in a hairball I will totally lose it.

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Moppy Mouse Blues

Posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Dave!My cats don't play with toys much, despite having dozens. That being said, they definitely have favorite toys when they do decide to play with them. Jake's favorite has always been a stuffed lion named "Mufasa" that I brought back for Spanky from Africa.

Jenny's favorite toy changes from time to time, but for the past couple months she's been obsessed with Blue Rag Mouse. She will run around with it, chase it, throw it, and otherwise abuse it whenever she's in the mood to play.

Then last night, tragedy occurred.

Jenny brought me Blue Rag Mouse with his guts spilling out everywhere. The fabric had been well-chewed, which didn't give me much to stitch up. I set Blue Rag Mouse on the counter, tracked down Lime Rag Mouse and gave that to her instead.

She looked at me like I was insane.

(Jenny, not Lime Rag Mouse).

I don't know if cats can shake their heads in dismay. Something tells me that they can't, because otherwise Jenny would have been shaking her head as she walked away. How dare I try and fool her with Not-Blue-Rag-Mouse?

So I shook my head, then went off to bed.

This morning I was having some toast and jam while working on a spreadsheet when I heard a meow. I looked up from my laptop and saw this...

Jenny and Gutted Blue Rag Mouse

Apparently she is not willing to let go of this Blue Rag Mouse situation.

I was pretty sure I purchased the toy from Petco. I thought I'd just go to their site and order a bunch of Blue Rag Mice...

Petco Website

   
Oh good... I found it! And apparently it's not Blue Rag Mouse, it's Blue Moppy Mouse. But then I see this...

Offered in Assorted Colors. Please allow us to select for you.

So, unlike when you order stuff for people and get to select which color you want, stupid animals won't know the difference? Obviously, Petco doesn't know Jenny at all.

And so... I guess I'm running to Petco this weekend to see if they have another Blue Moppy Mouse.

They should tell you this kind of thing will happen when you go to adopt a cat.

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Belated Caturday Antics

Posted on Monday, February 26th, 2018

Dave!Since this past Caturday was spent discussing a cat of an entirely different kind... Black Panther... I am picking up the slack by posting my crazy cat lady stuff today.

One of my best finds in the cat toy arena is a new scratching post that the cats have been loving because it's really tall. Unlike most posts, they can stretch out as much as they want and not run out of pole. On top of that, they can climb it like a tree, which is something they both love to do. But Jake is a little more enthusiastic about making a game out of it. Set a toy on top, and he'll jump and climb his way up to grab it and throw it off...

Jake's New Scratching Post

He's kind of violent about it, so you have to be sure that your hands and other protruding body parts are kept clear...

   
It's all fun and games until Jenny makes noise jumping up on the couch and scares him just as he's reached his goal...

   
The reason Jenny is jumping up on the couch is because I set my freshly-laundered pants there. For whatever reason, that's always an open invitation for her to jump up and use my jeans as her personal scratching post. Or, as in this case, bite the crotch out. Which is exactly what I want her to do if somebody ever tries to grab my pussy...

Jenny Crotch Attack... Do NOT Grab This Pussy, Dammit!

   
As I've previously mentioned, nobody appreciates a good belly rub like Jenny does. Every night when I go up to bed, she sprints up for her nightly belly rub. And she will stare at you until she gets her way. Or, if she's really impatient, she'll start meowing at you...

Jenny Belly Rub

Jenny Belly Rub

Jenny Belly Rub

Since Jake got a video this time, here's Jenny's...

   
When it comes to using the litter box, Jenny has gotten increasingly insistent on having a clean place to poop in. She loves a clean box so much that if something goes wrong with the Litter-Robot and she has to wait too long for it to cycle, she has zero problem waking me up at 4:00am to fix that. Last night I noticed her sticking her head in the litter box acting like she was scared to go in...

Jenny and Litter-Robot

Then I saw that the red light was on, which meant that Jake must have beat her there, and Litter-Robot was waiting five minutes before it cycles, which allows the waste to clump and be disposed of more easily. This is no big deal, because Jenny is perfectly content to wait for it to clean itself. I've seen her do so many times.

But this time?

This time she started meowing for Litter-Robot to hurry up.

I started laughing because just when I think my cats can't surprise me... they go and do something like this.

Or this...

Jenny and the Dubai Apple TV Screen Saver

Jenny was watching television, but I had to pause in order to take care of something and the cityscapes screensaver activated. Jenny was not please about this. Not pleased at all. In fact, I think she was quite cross.

I don't know why. That's one beautiful screensaver. I've not been to Dubai yet, and that Blade-Runner-esque view makes me want to visit real soon now.

And that's all I got. See you next Caturday... which is a short five days away!

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In Sickness and In Health

Posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Dave!My cats are not pukers. I think I've cleaned up just one puke and one hairball the entire time I've had them. And the puke wasn't really puke at all... Jake was in the middle of eating when he got distracted somehow and left a spot of half-chewed food on the floor. That's as bad as it's ever gotten.

Tonight I get home and cleaned up three piles of puke... each hardly anything but water. Looking back through video footage, I see that it's not Jake like I expected... it's Jenny...

Jenny Pukes

As I was writing this, she just puked a fourth time. Poor thing has an upset tummy for some reason. I'm worried that she's eaten something she shouldn't have, so I've been scrubbing through security camera footage trying to figure out what it could be. But there's nothing. She goofed around for a while, but was mostly sleeping in different places around the house. All household cleaners and anything dangerous are always kept secured from my cats, so I can only guess it's a bug or a bad pouch of food (just to be sure, I threw the rest of the carton in the garbage). Since what she puked up was mostly water, I took apart the fountain for a thorough cleaning a few days early (I rinse it weekly and deep-clean every other week).

Whatever it was, I've been following her around with towels to clean up after her. The poor little girl is so small that when a bout hits, her whole body is convulsing all the way from her stomach. The good news is that the "attacks" have gotten less severe each time... with a smaller amount of water coming up. I just laid with her for an hour on my bed giving her a belly rub and I think she's done. At dinner she didn't eat a lot, but she did eat... and she's kept it down for 15 minutes with no more puking. After her light meal, she climbed on top of the cat tree and is acting like nothing happened... so fingers crossed.

UPDATE: Well, I'd say all is definitely well with Jenny. She just made a spectacular 6-foot leap off the cat tree, had more to eat, then went outside in the catio to be on lookout for the dog that's running around out there...

Jenny Leaps

   
UPDATE: I'm betting that Jenny has been sick for longer than just today. Tonight she wanted to be fed FOUR times. After the third time, Jake... who will eat anything forever, stopped wanting more food, and she ate his food too. She's been drinking a lot of water all evening. She's also gone to the bathroom twice tonight, which she's never done before. I feel awful that I didn't notice she's been ill until she was puking... my guess is that she hasn't been eating much for at least two days, and now she's making up for lost time. I need to pay closer attention to my cats.

UPDATE: Well, it's the next morning and Jenny is getting sick again. Not a lot... and not the severe convulsions she had yesterday... but enough that I'm going into work late so I can lay down with her and make sure she's okay.

UPDATE: And... she's back to 100% again, it would seem. Odds are that I probably was more upset over her getting sick than she was.

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Caturday 54

Posted on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Dave!Well, Jenny might be in trouble.

She keeps puking, but it's never food... it's always mostly water. She gorges herself on water, then pukes it up. When I Google this, there's a lot of things that come up, but diabetes is the most common result. Since Jenny is two-years-old and not overweight that's unlikely, but I'm taking no chances. I'm going to make some changes to try and get her stabilized, then go through the trauma of taking her back to the vet (my nightmare).

First thing I'm doing is changing Jake and Jenny's diet. Jake is overweight, so it's probably better to make changes anyway. Jenny eats dry food and licks the gravy off the wet food I serve... both are loaded in carbs, which are not natural to a cat's diet. My ultimate goal is to move to a 100% raw food diet (more on that later) but, in the meanwhile, I'm going to blend pâté food with warm water and rinse the gravy off the chunky food.

This morning my cats looks at me like I was insane when I set it down, but hunger eventually won out. Jenny was all over the pâté gravy I made, but didn't eat the chunks. Jake ate a little of both. From there, it was me hanging out with Jenny to see if she puked up the pâté gravy. She had small convulsions, but kept everything down. Next time I'm going to add less water to see if that makes things easier.

Second thing I'm doing is temporarily getting rid of the drinking fountain. In the wild, cats usually get their hydration from the food they eat and rarely drink much water. If I'm going to put water in her food and serve raw food, hopefully that will alleviate the need for a water fountain. But... the last thing I want is for my cats to get a urinary problem, so I'm going to put a fountain back after a few days to see what happens. I've also replaced my plastic fountain with a ceramic one.

And then there's raw food.

Many, many pet owners and veterinarians advocate a raw food diet for cats because it more closely mimics the diet which their digestive system has evolved to handle. This is not as simple as it sounds, however. You can't just go buy a chicken at the grocery store, grind it up, and slop out a portion. First of all, refrigeration only slows salmonella poisoning, it doesn't stop it. You would either have to use freshly-killed chicken... or fresh-frozen to eliminate risk of salmonella. Second of all, cats need taurine to survive. Raw meats have taurine but not enough when ground, so you have to supplement it. Ultimately what this all means is that you partially cook the store-bought meat enough to kill any salmonella, add a cat supplement, then grind it all up. Or... order fresh-frozen and use that (which is a lot more expensive, but the best option for some meats).

But, first thing's first... I have to order up an industrial meat grinder.

Then? Research, research, research. Starting here.

Jenny hides her eyes from bright light!

In other cat news...

I finally managed to make it to Petco so I could pick up new Blue Moppy Mouses for Jenny after she shredded the last one...

Blue Moppy Mice

That should last her the rest of the year. Assuming she hasn't changed her mind and wants something else.

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Puke Patrol

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Dave!This past Caturday, I talked about Jenny and her stomach problems which have been causing her to vomit several times throughout the day. The poor thing couldn't catch a break, and it was painful to watch her struggle. I resolved to take her to the vet on Monday if she was still puking, even though that bit of trauma was enough to make me want to start puking.

But yesterday things started getting better.

Whether it was pulverizing no-carb food into gravy so her entire diet wasn't so carb-heavy... or switching to a ceramic water fountain... or just waiting it out... I don't know. All I do know is that I haven't heard or seen her puking, and nothing has been turning up when I go on puke patrol each morning.

So far, so good.

Maybe it was just a temporary stomach bug she needed to get out of her system?

We shall see.

In the meanwhile... more research into a raw diet. I'd like to at least work some raw (or form of partially-cooked raw) into their food routine.

Maybe that will help Jenny to not be so aggressive with her Moppy Mice. This morning I noticed that she had ripped the guts out of Green Moppy Mouse...

Dead Green Moppy Mouse

Now that she's got a taste for killing her toys, I wonder how long the three new Blue Moppy Mice I bought her will last?

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Tail End

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018

Dave!It's Jake! Hello, Jake!


XXX

   
Sometimes I have the camera on my iPhone ready at just the right moment.

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Caturday 55

Posted on Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Dave!After dealing with Jenny's stomach bug and having a growing worry that she's becoming diabetic due to her crazy water consumption, I started looking for low-carb foods to hopefully head that off at the pass. This isn't that tough, because there are many wet foods which are no-carb. They're all meat. But Jenny doesn't want to chew wet food... she only wants to lick the gravy off of it. The gravy being the part with carbs. If I buy wet food with no gravy, she still tries to lick it, but won't eat it. The only food she wants to eat is dry food. But most dry foods are carb-heavy.

I started making my own low-carb gravy she can eat by puréeing paté canned food with water. It worked fantastic, but was so gross (I'm never using that blender for my food again!). Then I found Tiki Cat brand, which has a "velvet mousse" which is already blended. I just stir in a half-tablespoon of water and away she goes.

Even better? Tiki Cat also makes low-carb dry food!

Tiki Pets Products

The stuff is crazy-expensive, but my cats love it. And, if they're being honest about the contents, it's a much healthier option for Jake and Jenny than anything else I've found.

I'm also trying out the Tiki Cat Grill, which is a series of flaked fish recipes that have shellfish garnish. Or, in the case of the sardine cutlets varieties, disgusting chunks of sardines in shellfish sauce. Opening a can is gag-inducing for me, but the cats love love love to eat it (or, in Jenny's case, love to lick it).

I still want to investigate making my own raw food to work into their diet though... I'm reading way too many good things about it to let it go. Even with Tiki Cat in the picture.

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Lords of the Flies

Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018

Dave!I worked all weekend, so this Monday was just more of the same. Except I spent most of the day feeling like it should be Saturday because I didn't get a Saturday.

=sigh=

In other news... the flies have started waking up. Not that I've seen any of them in my house, but the cats are going insane out in the catio chasing them around the place...

Jake and Jenny Chasing Flies in the Catio

From the minute I got home, I've been hearing BUHDA BUHDA BUHDA as Jake and Jenny run up and down and up and down.

Though sometimes Jenny prefers to just observe from the safety of her home...

Jenny Watching Flies in the Catio

Jenny Watching Flies in the Catio

Not that I blame her. It's still getting too cold out there for my tastes.

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To The Cat Lair!

Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Dave!No toy I ever buy from Chewy will ever compare to the joy my cats get out of the box and packing paper that the toy comes packed in.

This past weekend the packing paper was finally nothing more than a pile of shreds, so it got thrown out. The box survived just fine, but the cats lost interest in it when the packing paper went away.

Until I moved it to the laundry room. Now any time I open the door, Jake goes running for it balls-out...

Jake in his Cat Lair!

   
I think he feels this is his secret lair where he can plot world domination.

World domination being the tiring work that it is, he usually ends up napping after a while. Apparently my lap makes for a better spot to sleep than a Chewy box...

Jake Lap Lair!

   
Among other places...

Jake Lap Lair!

   
Rough life, my cats have.

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Playdate Mufasa

Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Dave!So I come in from working in the garage and hear one of the cats thumping around on the stairs. I walk around the corner and it's Jake wrestling with Mufasa, his stuffed lion toy. The minute he notices me, he throws Mufasa against the wall and pretends he wasn't just playing with it.

Apparently he's too cool for toys now...

Jake and Mufasa

After that we hung out watching television for a while...

Jakespreading

Well, I say we watched television... but Jake doesn't like TV. He just likes hanging out. Jenny, on the other hand, is enamored with television even more than I am. She can stare at if for hours... especially if it's a show she likes (her favorite is Rick & Morty, and she'll come running any time she hears it)...

Jenny Watches TV

How was I ever entertained at home before I had cats?

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Caturday 56

Posted on Saturday, March 24th, 2018

Dave!Sardines are my cats' new favorite thing.

Even Jenny will eat the disgusting giant chunks after she's sucked all the sauce off of them. This is the one food that is guaranteed to be licked clean out of the dish every time. So who cares that my house smells like I'm storing a kettle of fish? My cats are in heaven. =gag=

I mean, just look at this nightmare...

Tiki Cat Chunks of Sardines

I can't say that sardines are responsible, but Jenny is sure turning into a heck of a lap cat. Used to be that her jumping on the couch was a rarity. But now she's all over me almost every day...

Jenny LapCat

Jenny LapCat

   
Makes it tough to get much work done, but she's just so darn adorable that I can't say no...

Jenny LapCat

Jenny LapCat

Jenny LapCat

   
Even when she gets irritated because she wants more space. Then she just keeps kick-kick-kicking me until I move over...

Jenny LapCat

   
But, so long as she's happy...

Jenny LapCat

Jenny LapCat

   
And don't worry about Jake... he still gets plenty of lap-time too...

Jake LapCat

   
And now? Time to bring out the bottle of Febreeze. That sardine smell ain't going away on its own.

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Mufasa

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Dave!As I had mentioned last Thursday, Jake's favorite thing on earth is a small stuffed lion named Mufasa. Given how much he loves the thing, I've started to worry about the day it's no longer around, because things have been getting a little weird around here where Mufasa is concerned.

Namely, Jenny has found out that the quickest way to irritate her brother... or, more likely, get revenge on her brother... is to take Mufasa away. And usually when she does that, she rips into the thing, just like Blue Moppy Mouse, which she's destroyed.

As an example... a week ago Jake pushed Jenny off of the cat tree. Next thing I know, she's grabbed Mufasa and is dragging him up the stairs. I check on the security cameras and, sure enough, she's tearing into it. Then she just sits there behind the doorway... apparently waiting for Jake to realize his toy is gone so she can ambush him...

Jenny Steals Mufasa from Jake

Jenny Steals Mufasa from Jake

Jenny Steals Mufasa from Jake

From time to time I'll hear a ruckus going on. Used to be it was general tomfoolery. But now when I investigate, Mufasa is in the middle of it all. Jake does something to piss Jenny off, Jenny steals Mufasa, then Jake will chase her down to get him back...

Jake Catches Jenn yWith Mufasa

Now-a-days when I check in on Jake, if he's awake he's usually playing with Mufasa...

He carries it with him everywhere...

Jake and Mufasa

So while I was waiting for my work files to upload yesterday, I started searching the internet for a Mufasa replacement in case Jake's beloved toy wears out. The way he's been tossing it around and the way Jenny has been ripping into it has me worried for Mufasa's health. No luck so far...

Mufasa Jake's Lion

Looks like I need to fly to Johannesburg's airport in South Africa to get a new one. Or seven.

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Between the Sheets

Posted on Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Dave!When it comes to bed sheets, I want them to stay cool and dry. I want crisp, breathable fabric that is tough enough to last. I don't like satin sheets. I really don't like "sateen" sheets, which are cotton sheets pretending to be satin sheets. When a hotel has sateen sheets, I have to kick them off (if it's warm) or wear sweats (if it's cold) because the glossy finish makes me sweat.

After being puzzled for years over things like "finish" and "thread count," I finally figured out that the sheets I want are called "percale," they're made of cotton, and the lower the thread count the better. What's great about this is that the sheets I just described are the cheapest you can buy. Also the opposite of what most people prefer, which is "sateen" in the highest thread count possible... 800 or higher.

So when I was shopping at IKEA and saw "percale" weave sheets at a mere 152 thread count, I was intrigued. Could these DVALA sheets at $25 a set (Queen) be the cool, crisp, breathable, dry sheets I've been dreaming of?

IKEA DVALA Bed Sheets

Turns out they totally are the sheets I've been looking for!

They are absolutely perfect.

No, they aren't soft and silky smooth. Truth to tell, they're actually kind of rough... even after having been washed twice. But that's exactly what I wanted because they are cooler to sleep on, they're tougher, and they have that crispy feel I love.

Cat hair sticks to them like glue, however, so I guess you can't have everything.

But anyway...

It's been an interesting morning at my house. At 6:02am I received a robocall from my credit card company saying that I may have fraudulent charges on my account. So I call the number they gave me, only to find out that they have no idea what I'm talking about, and they made no such call. And I'm like "THEN HOW DID I GET THIS NUMBER TO CALL YOU?" and they're all "WE DID NOT CALL YOU!" and I'm all "YOU DID, BECAUSE I JUST DID A REVERSE LOOK-UP OF THE CALLER ID AND IT'S YOU!" — I'm put on hold for a bit, then they come back and say "Oh, there's a problem with our computers calling people." Typical.

As I'm talking to my bank, I hear the cats banging around in the catio. They've heard that I'm awake, and come charging up the stairs demanding breakfast, even though it's almost an hour away. Jake has chunky white dust all over him, and I wonder if somebody threw a bag of cocaine into the catio while being chased by the police or something. I'm not about to snort my cat since I have no idea if the cocaine is premium grade or not, so I brush it all off and try to go back to sleep. Meanwhile Jenny has found Mufasa on the window perch that was left there last night. She starts ripping into him when Jake notices. And so then I have cats chasing each other all over my bedroom when I just want to get some sleep.

Abandoned Mufasa on a Window Perch

When Alexa finally chimes at 7:00am and the cats come back all crazy because it's breakfast time, I see that Jake has straw in his mouth. The only place I have straw is in the garage... I keep some for Fake Jake's winter shelter. So I go running downstairs and, sure enough, I left the garage passdoor ajar and my cats have been having big fun in my garage, including knocking over a bucket which was filled with drywall dust. Which means there won't be a bag of cocaine in the catio as I had first thought.

AND THEN, as if that weren't exciting enough, I can't find Jake and Jenny's Easter baskets. So now I have treats and cat toys for Easter morning, but no baskets to put them in. Looks like I'll be tearing apart my garage looking for Easter baskets this afternoon.

So this is my Saturday.

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Camera Monsters

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Dave!Sometimes having security cameras are not the comfort you think they would be.

Like when you call them up and see a black blob covering one of them...


Camera Monster

Apparently scaly monsters have invaded my home. Or have they?

Camera Monster

Camera Monster

Nope. It's just Jake.

Crawling on the counters where he knows he's not supposed to be.

Maybe he's just trying to get a good vantage point to admire the beautiful new ceramic drinking fountain I bought for them?

Yes. That's probably what it was.

Jake took to it right away, but Jenny has been a bit more cautious...

Jenny and the Drinking Fountain

Kind of puzzled as to why. This new one is far, far quieter than the one I replaced.

Cats.

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Caturday 57

Posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Dave!And so Jenny is terrified of my MacBook power adapter for some reason.

No clue as to why, but if she's near me and I so much as move it from one spot on the arm rest to another, she runs away. My guess is that it fell on her while she was goofing around with the cord, and she's been afraid of it ever since. I can't hide it under anything because it would overheat, so I've just started setting it as far out of her sight as I can.

Because heaven only knows I don't want to miss this...

Jenny on the Couch

Jenny on the Couch

Jenny on the Couch

   
In other Caturday news... Jake's relationship with his stuffed lion, Mufasa, just continues to go deeper. In addition to carting it around with him, he's started taking it to his favorite nap spots so he can sleep with it (probably so Jenny won't take it)...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Not that Jenny is in any way dissuaded. She knows exactly how to push Jake's buttons... and the quickest way to do that is to steal his most prized possession.

Last night just before midnight, I heard a major ruckus downstairs which goes on long enough that I climb out of bed to go check it out. That's when Jenny comes tearing into my room with Mufasa in her mouth, dumps him off, then stands there waiting for Jake so she can snatch Mufasa and run off again...

Jenny Steals Mufasa

   
Don't feel too sorry for Jake. He probably ate some scraps of food left in her bowl... or pushed her off the top perch on the cat condo post... or did something else to set her off. That's usually how it goes.

Whether taking Mufasa is better or worse than running up and smacking Jake while he's pooping is open to debate. Jake seems equally irritated by both.

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Caturday 58

Posted on Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Dave!And so I'm sick.

Which should come as no surprise. I spent over 10 hours trapped on a plane with a girl sitting behind me who was coughing her head off. Of course she wasn't even trying to cover her mouth... parents apparently don't teach that anymore... so I was in the blast zone of the little germ factory as I crossed the Atlantic and then the country.

Luckily, I've got cats who are sympathetic to my Man Cold and willing to offer comfort...

Sick with Jenny

Sick with Jenny

Sick with Jake

   
In other news... I heard a big bang against the screen on the catio and knew that Fake Jake was back. What I didn't expect to see was Jenny out there facing him down. If her brother was there with her, then maybe. But alone? That's my girl...

Jenny faces down Fake Jake

Jenny faces down Fake Jake

Sheesh. I really do need to clean those windows.

And one last thing before I go... when I was in Vienna waiting for my flight back to Amsterdam, I found a box of chocolates with Kitten Jake and Kitten Jenny on the front...

Jenny faces down Fake Jake

At first I thought it was chocolate cat treats meant for cats, but since chocolate isn't good for cats, I'm assuming it must be for cat-lovers who also like chocolate?

Or maybe chocolate-lovers who also like cats. Who can really say?

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Caturday 59

Posted on Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Dave!And it's officially Catio Season!

Jake and Jenny are out in the catio almost every day, regardless of weather. Freezing temperatures, snow or rain, they love being outdoors. But now is the time of year where they spend more time out in the catio than inside. The sun has changed position, so they can bask in its glory while enjoying fresh air as well...

Catio Cats

Jenny especially loves it. Jake is happy to lay on top of the cat tree in the window to get his sunlight fix. Jenny will always choose the catio...

Catio Cats

Not that Jake doesn't have his moments. While I was in Europe, he spent the night out in the catio, which I've never seen happen before. And... he still loves keeping a look out for Fake Jake, where confrontations are ramping up as the weather improves...

Catio Cats

   
Trying to get a jump on packing for my next trip later this week, I've run into the usual obstacle...

Cats and Suitcases

   
I was expecting that as my cats got older they would become more independent and want nothing to do with me. If anything, the opposite is happening. No matter where Jenny is in the house, if she hears me turn on the television in my bedroom, she dashes up right away. She can sit there watching television for hours...

Jenny Television Watching Cat

   
Jake has no interest in television, but he does have a huge interest in sleeping. Last night he spent the night on my bed, which has never happened before. I dozed off and was surprised to find him still around when I woke up...

Jake a Bedroom Snuggler

As I turned off the lights and was falling back asleep, Jake started purring like a motorboat. I couldn't see what he was so happy about, so I used the flash on my iPhone...

Jake a Bedroom Snuggler

Apparently he's liking the ceiling fan drying off his undercarriage.

This morning he was still there...

Jake a Bedroom Snuggler

   
And speaking of things still being around... Jake dragged Mufasa in this morning. I hadn't seen his prized lion since I got back from Europe, so I thought he had been lost or destroyed. Nope...

Mufasa Returns

He probably hid it. Forgot where he hid it. Then found it again.

Why he hides Mufasa was apparent just minutes after Jake ran downstairs for a drink of water. Jenny started tearing into him

Mufasa Returns

I'm shocked that she hasn't shredded Mufasa to bits by now. Really hoping that one of my friends passing through Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport can pick up some more Mufasas because I'm not sure how upset Jake will be if he ever loses the one he has.

And... so much for the last Caturday in April.

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Day Five: Home

Posted on Monday, May 7th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday was a whirlwind of travel getting from Jefferson City back home. Or maybe it wasn't and it just felt that way because we returned from our ghost hunt at 3:30am.

Whatever the case, Coal Miner's Granddaughter and I decided to start things off right with ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST! Yay! Let's set aside the fact that an ice cream parlor opens their doors at 8am each morning and instead focus on the creamy dream that they are peddling...

Central Dairy Ice Cream

That massive ice cream cone there? $3.00 at the Central Dairy. Yes, you read that right... THREE DOLLARS! That same cone would be at least $6.00 anywhere else. And it probably wouldn't taste nearly as good. Because, I gotta tell you... this ice cream was amazing. It's so creamy as to border on being described as "fluffy" and the flavor makes you stand up and say "Dayamn!"

Central Dairy Ice Cream

If you're ever in Jefferson City, MO... this is a must-stop.

After ice cream it was a two-hour drive back to St. Louis Lambert International Airport, followed by a two-hour wait, followed by a four-hour flight to Portland, followed by an hour wait, followed by a half-hour flight to Seattle, followed by a half-hour on the tarmac, followed by an overnight, followed by a two-and-a-half-hour drive home.

Where I was very, very happy to see my cats.

And give them a present I brought back from Jeff City... a stuffed Missouri mule! His name is Moose. Jenny was not impressed. Jake, on the other hand, looked like he might like it at first...

Jake the Cat and Moose the Mule!

...but then started tossing it around. No idea if the cats will warm up to it, but I had to try!

   
And... back to Real Life.

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Feline FOMO

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Dave!FO·MO
/ˈfōmō/
noun, informal
Fear Of Missing Out. Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

FE·LINE FO·MO
/ˈfēˌlīnˈfōmō/
noun, informal
Fear Of Missing Out as applied to cats. The anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by noises made by other cat(s) in the same space.

   
The older my cats get, the more they seem to care about what the other one is doing.

Jenny can be laying next to me purring away because she's getting petted... but then she'll hear Jake running around downstairs, worry that he's doing something super-fun that she's not a part of, then go ripping down the stairs to see what it is.

Jake likes to sit on my lap while I'm watching television. But the second Jenny goes running by to head out into the catio, he is all of a sudden paranoid that she's spotted something awesome out there, and is running after her to see what that might be.

My cats are in a perpetual state of FOMO.

Over each other, of course... not over me. They couldn't care less about what I'm doing.

Unless it's feeding them breakfast or dinner.

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Caturday 60

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday morning I woke up to see Moose the Mule standing in my bedroom.

The fact that he's standing leads me to believe that I sleepwalked downstairs, then brought him up and set him on the floor. So I check the security cameras and, no, that's not what happened at all.

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Here is what actually happened. And, for anybody who ever said that they don't believe Jake can carry Mufasa the Lion around because he's too big for a cat to carry... Moose is TWICE THE SIZE!

Funny, funny stuff.

Anyway... looks like Jake might finally be warming up to Moose.

UPDATE: Here we go again...

Jake's love of stuffed animals isn't surprising, really. When I adopted my cats I was lucky enough to meet their foster parent at the shelter. She told me that Jenny likes to chase a string and Jake liked stuffed toys. Especially a stuffed llama they had...

Jake and Stuffed Animals

I didn't have a stuffed llama, but I did have a stuffed lion I brought back from Africa for Spanky the Cat. So I dug through my old cat toys and found Mufasa. Jake took to him from day one...

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

   
Jenny didn't care much for Mufasa, but that didn't stop her from trying to take him away from Jake. She wanted it just because he wanted it...

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

And they've been fighting over that stuffed lion ever since...

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Which has made Jake spend a lot of time trying to keep Jenny from taking Mufasa away. Over the years he's sometimes been more successful than others...

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Jake and Stuffed Animals

Such a great cat.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Bullet Sunday 461

Posted on Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Dave!Mother's Day isn't the only good thing to happen today... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! Looks like we're getting another 70 episodes of Rick & Morty!

Jenny watching Rick and Morty

My cat Jenny will be thrilled. Don't ask me why, but she loves the show. I think it has to do with Rick's voice, because if I'm watching and turn the television up, she'll come running to see what's happening. It sounds crazy, but I shit you not. She likes watching television, but she loves the Rick & Morty...

Jenny watching Rick and Morty

Not bad for a Back to the Future parody.

   
• Satan! FOX went on a brutal cancelation spree, axing shows that I really enjoy like The Last Man on Earth, The Mick, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and, horror of horrors, one of my favorite shows ever... Lucifer.

Lucifer Promo Shot

Apparently Reno Nine-Nine has been saved by NBC, which isn't much of a surprise since the show is distributed by NBC. Lucifer is co-produced and distributed by Warner Brothers, but their network blew up back in 2006. No idea where it would find a home unless one of the streaming networks like Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix grabs it. Which would sure as hell be nice, since they could wrap up the show and give us a proper ending. No word yet on what the fate will be for Champions and L.A. to Vegas... two more shows I would be sad to lose.

   
• Challenge! Ariana Grande has always been an incredibly good sport when it comes to putting up with Jimmy's shenanigans, and has played numerous "challenge" games with him on The Tonight Show. And now there's this...

Now that's talent.

   
• Adventure! Every once in a while I see an image posted of what video game graphics look like now compared to what they looked like when I first played video games. It just keeps getting more and more insane...

XXX
Posted by marvinrabbit on imgur.

Video games are more like playing a movie than ever, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Back when my gaming experience was an Atari 2600, it was just a distraction that couldn't compare with Real Life...

But now that gaming is, in some ways, better than Real Life? Hmmmm...

   
• Try Evil! According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is going to partner up with the pig-fuckers at Goldman Sachs to come out with their own branded credit card. Looks like Apple has completely given up and decided to go 100% evil. Since the WSJ is behind a pay-wall (deep eye-roll), here's the story at Fortune magazine.

   
• Health! I'm just going to finish my bullets by leaving this right here: The incredibly frustrating reason there’s no Lyme disease vaccine.

   
So long, Sunday... I got a P!NK concert coming up.

   

Caturday 61

Posted on Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Dave!It's kind of strange how having cats has changed my behavior. I am slowly becoming a different person, and it's a direct result of hanging around Jake and Jenny.

Yesterday I received a couple of questions from somebody who found my Antarctica trip in a Google search. I didn't have the answers off-hand, so I had to retrieve my souvenir box. My cats see a box and are instantly in attendance, pawing through everything and chewing on papers, pamphlets, and postcards. And I just didn't care. Two years ago if a cat was chewing on my precious souvenirs I would have ripped them out of their mouths, shooed them away, then been upset for days that my property had been destroyed. But now? It's just stuff. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if a postcard has a corner missing? Not to me. Not anymore. They could set the entire box on fire for all I care. I'd rather have happy cats than any amount of stuff. Unless it's going to hurt them, there's nothing I own that's important enough to smack a cat away. Nothing.

But the biggest change has been learning to accept things for what they are. This is a primary concept of Buddhism, and something I've been trying to get a handle on for decades. Jake and Jenny are "just cats." Given their relatively small stature and lack of opposable thumbs, there isn't much in their lives that they can change. Rather than wallow in misery if their attempts to alter their environment fail, they just accept it and do their best to live with it... or they move on. And that's the key. There are some things in life that simply cannot be changed no matter how hard I wish it were otherwise. Rather than dwell on that and be miserable, I've been doing a lot more accepting... and a lot more moving on. And I have been far happier because of it.

Maybe this world would be a better place if more people in charge of things had cats.

But anyway...

So there I was consumed by work when I hear much thrashing and squawking coming from the dining room. Jake is going crazy about SOMETHING, so I get up to see what's going on. Turns out it's just a boy and his mule. Jake is rolling around on the table with Moose...

Jake and Moose the Mule

Jake and Moose the Mule

Jake and Moose the Mule

Jake and Moose the Mule

Which makes me SO happy because dividing their attention between multiple stuffed animals means that Mufasa, Jakes prized stuffed lion, might stay in one piece a bit longer.

In other non-news, Jenny's television addiction is still going strong. Her favorite place in the living room is the coffee table where she can lay and watch TV. Many nights she'll fall asleep while watching...

Jenny TV Sleeper

Jenny TV Sleeper

Which is better than the cats' latest trend... wedging themselves in-between me and my work so they can get petted and fall asleep. They are doing this ALL THE TIME NOW. Even worse? They work in shifts. One of them will squeeze between me and my laptop so I have to set it down... then the minute they leave and I go to pick up my computer again... the other one will do the same damn thing...

Sleepy Cats

Sleepy Cats

And, lastly, I've been leaving windows and doors open in the mornings before it gets hot in an attempt to keep things cool and let in some fresh air. This cuts down on the expense of having to run my air conditioner as much. This has resulted in Jake and Fake Jake having a couple of "play dates" through the screen door...

Jake and FakeJake Playdate

Jake and FakeJake Playdate

Jake and FakeJake Playdate

Though how they can see each other through that filthy window I do not know.

A part of me wonders if I'll eventually be able to let Fake Jake in for a visit... but I honestly don't think this will ever happen. Fake Jake can get very aggressive, and I think that would traumatize Jenny quite a lot. She may be able to hold her own when there's a fence between them, but up close and personal? Probably not.

Oh well.

I removed the heater and berm from Fake Jake's shelter, then cleaned it inside and out, so he should have a nice cool place to hide from the sun this summer. That will have to do. If we end up with a heatwave, I can always let him hang out in my garage.

Until next Caturday then...

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Bird Life

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Dave!And to think, just minutes ago I was thinking "Gee. What am I going to blog about today?" But, since I have cats, I never have to worry about that for very long.

Case in point?

A bird flew too close to the catio and Jake decided he wanted at it...

It's even more impressive when you see it from the catio side... Jake may have a couple extra pounds on him, but he can move pretty quick when he wants to!

The poor thing looked in really rough shape when I went out to see if he could be saved...

Catio Bird Rescue!

But when I got him turned over it wasn't as bad as I feared. He had slight damage on his right side, but the wing looked intact...

Catio Bird Rescue!

I pet him for a while to calm him down. Once his breathing slowed, I let him be. After a couple minutes, he tried climbing through the fencing, but couldn't manage it. This was making him panic, so I helped him through as gently as I could. He dropped like a stone to the outside of the catio...

Catio Bird Rescue!

I sat with him for a while, petting him until he calmed down again...

Catio Bird Rescue!

Since I had no idea how long he would need to rest up, I decided to make a box with food and water so I could put him on top of the catio where Fake Jake and other cats in the neighborhood couldn't get at him...

Catio Bird Rescue!

But when I went to put him in the box, he started squawking and flew away. I followed to make sure he was in a safe spot... only to find him in a very safe spot, camouflaged in my shrubs...

Catio Bird Rescue!

I'll check on him in the morning to make sure he managed to escape. If not, I guess I'll have to read up on how to nurse a bird back to health.

Of course now my cats are on patrol out in the catio waiting for another bird to come by. Hopefully this doesn't become a regular thing or else I'll have to look into adding a screen on the fencing.

Something I'm sure my cats will just love shredding.

UPDATE: Good news! When I went back in the morning to see if the bird was still there, he was gone! I looked all around to make sure he hadn't fallen out somewhere... but there was no trace anywhere. His wings worked fine when he flew away from me, so I think he was just stunned, tired, scared, and a little hurt. After a rest, he was probably okay. No thanks to my murderous cats.

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Caturday 62

Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Dave!It's a three-day holiday weekend! Except I had to work today, so it's not much of a holiday for me. But hey, I got to come home and clean out my garage for six hours, so it's not like I didn't have any fun.

Last Caturday I posted a photo of Jake all sprawled out and was asked if that's how he always lays down. The answer is "no, not always."...

Jake Lays Down

But he does lay like that a lot of times now that the weather is getting warmer and I am trying to save money by not running the air conditioner unless I have to...

Jake Lays Down

Jake Lays Down

Jake Lays Down

And he doesn't much care what people think about it. You'd probably lay spread-eagle too if it were hot and you were covered with fur...

Jake Sticks His Tongue Out

Unless you're Jenny. She's way too much a lady to lay like that.

Speaking of Jenny, she's started getting a bit demanding lately.

So there I was last night, composing an email to head off a major disaster, when I hear the most pathetic WAILING coming from near my feet. I look down to see what in the heck Jenny's problem is, and it's... nothing. Miss Perfect Pretty Princess just wanted to lay down next to me but my computer was in the way. Jeez. You'd have thought she was dying or something. The girl knows how to get what she wants, that's for sure...

Jenny Gets Her Way

Jake doesn't complain, he just jumps up and pushes his way to where he wants to sit. Which means setting down the computer and letting him get his way...

Jake Gets Her Way

The only one in this house not getting their way is me.

And also any fly stupid enough to wander in. The cats are both completely obsessed with hunting them down...

Cat Fly Hunting

Jake and Jenny are surprisingly good at hunting flies. They're patient. And fast. And resourceful. They catch a lot of them.

Which is fine. Except when they eat the flies. So gross.

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Cat Assistance

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday was supposed to be the day I set up my wood shop in my garage so I can start in on my kitchen remodel. Unfortunately, my garage had more junk in it than I expected, so I'm still working on it. Amazing how even though I'm tossing tons of stuff there's still tons left. It's never-ending. I wish I could make a time-machine, then go back and tell myself "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAVE EVERYTHING!"

The good news is that I have "help"...

XXX

XXX

Really hoping that this weekend I'll be done and my shop will be up and running. I'm burning precious time I need to get things done!

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Caturday 63

Posted on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Dave!And... I'm back home.

It was nice to have Friday away from it all, but I'm happy to see my cats again. Yesterday I tried to talk to them through the security system cameras and it went as expected. No matter how many times I try to get them used to it, they are still completely mystified by The Voice of God drifting in from nowhere...

Jake and Jennt looking for the magic voice

   
I washed my sheets the same way and with the same detergent I've always used... but now, for whatever reason... Jenny is all hyped up over them. She's tunneling under them... biting them... clawing at them... and of course I encourage it because she's too cute about it...

Jenny Undercover

ME: My new sheets don't have enough holes in them!
JENNY: Hold my beer...


   
Jake's entire day is made when he spots Fake Jake outside and can go running around the house trying to follow him around. Which is why I was greatly amused when Fake Jake came waltzing up to say hello and Real Jake was obliviously looking in the wrong direction...

Fake Jake Missed Opportunity

Fake Jake Missed Opportunity

   
Jenny dropped Mufasa the toy lion in the water fountain this last week, so I had to hang him up to dry. Jake wanders around looking for him, but ultimately seems okay chewing on Moose the Mule instead...

Jake and More Moose

Jake and More Moose

And, yes, Jake is still dragging Moose upstairs most nights...


Which is fine, except a couple of times I've nearly tripped and busted my ass... or twisted my ankle... because I've forgotten to look out for stuffed mules on my bedroom floor...

Moose the Mule on the Floor

   
Life with cats.

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Breakfast Alert

Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2018

Dave!My cats were driving me crazy every time it was close to breakfast or dinner time, because they don't want to wait for breakfast or dinner... they want their food now.

And so a couple months ago I had Alexa set alarms for 7am and 6pm every day so that my cats would learn not to bother me until they heard it was time. And it totally works...

Problem is that I can't set Alexa alarms for anything else or my cats will get confused and think it's time to eat.

Something I learned the hard way when I was baking bread last week.

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Jake and Mondays

Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2018

Dave!Too sore to get out of bed. Too tired to go to work. Too worried the cats will eat me to die and not feed them. Especially when Jake is looking at me like this...


Flower Bed Construction

   
And it's a Monday...

   

Cat Cat Catio Ramp

Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Dave!Now that I've finished a bunch of projects, cleaned out my garage, and prioritized my to-do list, I've finally converted my garage over to a wood shop. All I have left to do is hang up the dust barriers, and I'm good to start building! A month-and-a-half later than planned, but better late than never.

One of the first things I'm doing is finishing up the PHASE TWO catio projects that have been lingering since last Fall. It all started with a "Cat Ramp" I had planned to run up the side of the structure. I had built it months ago... it's just floor mats wrapped around a 1 × 6 × 10-foot board that was then glued and screwed to a pressure-treated 2 × 6 × 10-foot board... but I never got around to installing it.

Well, I finally did that...

Cat Ramp in the Catio

Jake and Jenny absolutely love it. The ramp gives them an opportunity to use their claws to climb, so it's kind of like and really long scratching post they can climb and run around on...

As you saw at the end of that video, Jenny makes a death-defying leap across the catio, which is something I did not count on. Jake does it too...

They love the ramp so much that I've decided to not wait on the sisal pole and catwalk pieces I planned to add this Fall. I'll get started on those right away.

It's the least I can do to keep them occupied while I'm away from home!

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Caturday 64

Posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Dave!One of the first projects I put on my list once I got my wood shop set up was finishing PHASE TWO of the catio. The first part was the ramp, which I installed last weekend. The second part is a giant scratching post that Jake and Jenny can access on three levels... or climb from top to bottom as they wish.

When I drew up the initial sketches for the catio, the pole was already there and installation points were planned. All I needed to do was build the thing. Which was easier said than done, because neither Home Depot nor Lowes had round fence posts in stock. I'd have to wait until I was over the mountains and get it then.

Or so I thought.

A friend from high school on Facebook mentioned that the local farm supply carried them. And so away we go...

Catio Pole Installation

First step was to thoroughly scrub it down with soap and a wire brush...

Catio Pole Installation

Then it was time to fill all the cracks and sand it smooth...

Catio Pole Installation

Catio Pole Installation

After three coats of shellac to protect it from moisture, I went to see how it was going to fit and discovered it was too tall. And so...

Catio Pole Installation

Then it was time to wrap the entire thing in sisal rope so the kitties have something to claw on. I wanted to be sure that it wouldn't come loose, so I bought some cement to glue it in place. Not willing to trust that this would be enough, I stapled it along the way on the back side as well...

Catio Pole Installation

From using maths not quite forgotten (C=2πr) I knew I needed seven rolls of 50-foot, 3/8" sisal. The farm & feed store only had five, so the remainder had to be bought at Home Depot. It was slooowwww going, as I was having to glue-wrap-glue-wrap-glue all the way down...

Catio Pole Installation

Installation was pretty easy. I had wrapped brackets under the sisal... the ends were protected by shellac and silicone, and the spot I had designed for it was easily accessible. I added a third bracket to the top of the pole so it was secured to the ceiling as well. Once it was all screwed together I couldn't budge it, so I'm confident it will be safe for Jake and Jenny.

And speaking of the little monsters... Jake watched me install it through the window and ran out to start scratching on it the minute I opened the door. Looks like another catio success!

Catio Pole Installation

I have one final piece for PHASE TWO that I'm hoping to get to in-between other projects next month. Then, depending how long I'm otherwise occupied in my wood shop, it's on to the finale of my catio plan... PHASE THREE.

Until I dream up PHASE FOUR, of course. Lucky cat bastards!

UPDATE: And... Father's Day came early. Jenny just climbed the entire pole from bottom to top! So proud! Unfortunately, she was climbing opposite the camera, so I don't have video... but here's her little paws peeking out as she scaled to the upper shelf...

Jenny Climbing the Catio Pole

That she ran down the ramp I had installed last weekend is just icing on the cake!

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Hardwood Therapy

Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Dave!My cats have been stalking each other as I sit here trying to figure out how to not say what I can't talk about. Every once in a while, one of them will make a break and a chase ensues. Then they are all over the house. The living room. The dining room. The kitchen. The stairs. My bedroom. Their bedroom. The guest bedroom. The catio. Then the tables will turn and the chase will reverse itself.

Truly the best entertainment that a can of sardines can buy...

And the best therapy.

I don't think there's anything that makes me smile quite so much as kitty claws on hardwood floors.

   

Caturday 65

Posted on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Dave!Today I'm driving over the mountains again. Then, after a soul-crushing ordeal that will leave me wrecked, I'm turning around and coming right back home. Not the best way to spend a Saturday, but that's life for ya.

Fortunately I'll return to piles of work to distract me and two cats to delight me.

Now that Summer has arrived, most of Jake and Jenny's time is spent in the catio... watching birds and napping the day away. Which is exactly how I'd want to spend my days if I didn't have to buy food and pay a mortgage.

The sisal pole addition to the catio has been a huge hit. Jenny started climbing it bottom-to-top from the very beginning. Now Jake is into climbing it as well...

It's really amazing to watch them go climbing. They absolutely love it. I guess all cats do...

Jake Climbing a Pole

Jake Climbing a Pole

The money to add it wasn't too bad... $12 pole plus $50 in sisal rope plus $15 in glue... but the time to clean it, scrub it, prime it, protect it, glue it, wrap it, and mount it was the killer.

Still 100% worth it though.

Guess it's time to build the final part of PHASE TWO so I can move on to other projects for a while.

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Cats and Mondays

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2018

Dave!I work seven days a week but, alas, that doesn't mean Mondays are any better for me because... because... well, they're still Mondays.

And Mondays is when Carl the RoboVac resumes cleaning my floors after getting the weekend off.

Something that was easy to remember when my security system reported suspicious activity had been spotted on one of my cameras. I tuned in to see Jenny had climbed on the countertop in front of a camera once Carl started roaming, where she was eyeing him suspiciously...

Jenny and Carl the RoboVac

No idea why she can't get used to Carl... but she still hates him after all this time.

Another reason I knew it was Monday?

Well... I had a bit of a lingering cough this morning and decided to take cough syrup for it so I can get some serious work done. And things didn't quite go according to plan.

For those who swig their medicine directly from the bottle because they don't have time to grab a measuring spoon, please be aware that cat anxiety medication looks the exact same as cough medicine in a poorly-lit kitchen from the back...

Accidental Anxiety

I bought the anxiety medication to sneak in their water in preparation for their vet visit this past February. For reasons unknown, I never put it back in the cat cupboard after their appointment was over and just left it on the window sill with everything else. Can you guess which one I grabbed and swallowed?

Accidental Anxiety

Not that I couldn't use some anxiety medication right about now. I have been going through some awful, traumatic times these past couple weeks, and it's really starting to wear me down. If I'm going to keep buying into the idea that everything happens for a reason, then maybe this was supposed to happen.

If I start licking my butt and peeing in a box*, I'll be sure to let you know.

Though, to be honest, I really shouldn't be needing any medication for stuff like this. Not when I have cats.

Sometimes.
When I'm feeling all is lost.
And I have nothing.
One of my cats shows up.
And reminds me that I have everything.

Like this morning when I shook myself awake and Jenny showed up.

Jenny will happily fall asleep if I lay my arm across her and scratch her face. She loves it, and you literally can't do this long enough...

Jenny Cat Relief

But the minute I stop? "HEY! I DIDN'T TELL YOU I WAS DONE!"

Jenny Cat Relief

And then I have to give her mad love again because right now the only thing that makes me happy is when my cats are happy...

Jenny Cat Relief

After Jenny left, Jake showed up for his turn...

Jake Cat Relief

And all was well.

Until I had to get out of bed and hop in the shower so I can start my day (and take cat medicine, apparently). Then Jake decided to show his displeasure by hopping up on the window perch and pouting at me.

I couldn't bear that, so I found Catnip Lobster to keep him company. He was still hugging it when I got out of the shower...

Jake Cat Relief

How much would my life suck without cats?

I honestly never want to find out.

   

*Well, licking my butt and peeing in a box more than I usually do, I should say.

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The Hardest Part About Leaving Is Goodbye

Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Dave!Another trip over the mountains today.

This will be one of the hardest trips I've had to make in this life. I wish my cats could come with me, because oh so many days lately they've been the salve that soothes my grief... but I don't think they would do well on a car trip.

Not well at all. Though they love to sit and watch the occasional car drive by, I think a highway full of cars would be too much...

Cats on Lookout

Sad to be leaving. It's so hard to say goodbye.

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Caturday 66

Posted on Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Dave!When it comes to my cats, I am the absolute worst kind of parent. Rather than enact strict discipline in my household, I always take the path of least resistance because I find it incredibly difficult to tell Jake and Jenny "no" to anything.

It wasn't always this way. I started out with all kinds of rules. My #1 Rule has always been to keep the cats out of my kitchen... for two reasons. The first is that this is where there front door is located, and I didn't want them to wait there and run outside as I came and went. Second of all is because this is where I prepare food, and I didn't want kitty germs and cat hair all over my counters. I went to great lengths to keep them out. Even going so far as to purchase Scat Mats to electrocute them when they walked across them. Well, "shock" not "electrocute" but you get the picture.

Unfortunately, my cats were smarter than Scat Mats...

Yes. Jumping over the mat. Who'da thunk it? But that wasn't even the start. They would also drag things over the mats so they could walk across without getting shocked.

And so... they were allowed in the kitchen since there didn't seem to be an easy way to stop them. Oddly enough, they stopped hopping on the kitchen counters once I let them in, so I am declaring myself the voctor here.

It goes on and on.

Most all my rules have been tossed out the window. About the only one I have left is to not allow them outside, but they've got a catio for that, so I'm not sure I won that battle.

The latest battle I've lost? Letting them play in the cat food cupboard.

I made the huge mistake of storing all the cat food in a lower cabinet. It's all sealed up to keep it fresh, so they can't really get into anything, but I still try to keep them out so I don't have to clean up all the stuff they drag out of it...

Cat Food Breakout

What's interesting to note is that my cats know the difference between the food packets and the treat packets.

They will pull food packets out of the cupboard, but the only packets they try and open are the treat packets. Food packets never leave the kitchen. Treat packets are dragged and thrown all over the house...

Cat Food Breakout

This morning when I woke up, I heard a ruckus downstairs. I knew what was going on before I even looked at the security cameras...

Cat Food Breakout

There was Jake, throwing around a treat packet trying to break it open since he can't find a way to bite it open.

Usually, I run downstairs and take it away because I have a rule about not letting them mess around with food like this... but... well... another rule down the drain. Who am I to deny them fun times like this? I've bought toys which they have ignored that cost a lot more than a bag of treats.

And speaking of treats... Jake loves air conditioning. Loves it. The minute he hears the AC kick in, no matter where he is in the house, he will run as fast as he can to get to the vent above the cat tree so he can bask in its coolness...

Cat Food Breakout

I've posted this photo (or a photo like it) before, but here's Jake showing his true love of cold air...

Jake Catspreading

And since we just can't seem to get enough Jake this Caturday...

There I was, working away, when I have to stop so I can check my security cameras and find out which cat is responsible for the foul-smelling dump that just got left in the Litter-Robot. Because this is my life now.

Turns out it was Jake (big surprise). BUT HERE'S THE PART WHERE I FREAK OUT, BECAUSE AFTER HE TAKES A DUMP, HE SITS THERE STARING AT THE CAMERA LIKE HE KNOWS I'M GOING TO BE LOOKING. JUST LOOK AT THIS SMUG LITTLE BASTARD! ALL PROUD OF THAT POOP HE JUST UNLEASHED!

Cat Food Breakout

Oh gawd... why in the hell are you reading my blog? Who needs to know this stuff? What is wrong with you?

See you next Caturday!

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A Change of Heart

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2018

Dave!My cats are too weird... when they are apart. When they are together it's an entirely new level of weird.

When I first got my cats as babies, they were inseparable. Probably because they were scared to be in a new place... but their bond lasted well past the time they got used to their home. You would never see one without the other, and one would always follow the other wherever they would go.

Eventually they decided to live separate lives. Sure their paths cross all the time, but they don't feel the need to constantly be together. Jenny, in particular, is happy to find a private spot to sleep or play where her brother won't bother her. Fortunately my home has two levels, so there's never a problem for them finding a way to escape from each other.

And then over the past month something strange started happening. Jake started following Jenny around like old times... playing where she's playing, sleeping where she's sleeping. At first Jenny was irritated by this and would leave the second she felt he was crowding her. But in the past couple of days she's had a change of heart. Sometimes when she absolutely should not...

Jake Wants to Sleep

Jake Wants to Sleep

Jake Wants to Sleep

Jake Wants to Sleep

Jake Wants to Sleep

Because they absolutely don't both fit on the same platform like they used to...

Caturday Cat!

And it's not just on top of the cat tower... Jake will climb onto whatever space Jenny is occupying...

Jake Wants a Bath

Jake Wants a Bath

And lest you think that Jake doesn't return the favor...

Jake Wants a Bath

I am very, very grateful that my cats get along. But there are times I think Jenny probably wishes Jake would just leave her alone.

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Sleepy Time Entrapment

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Dave!Jenny went from a kitten who would never let me touch her to a cat who wants to be petted all day long. She's still terrified of other people, but loves to hang out with me.

What's great about Jenny is that she will absolutely let me know exactly where and how she wants to be petted, and will contort herself into a pretzel to make it happen. And if I am petting her wrong or in a way she doesn't like, she'll paw at me or kick at me to let me know. There have been times she'll paw at me or kick at me because I'm not looking at her as I pet her. The little diva wants my full attention and not some half-assed distracted petting.

Most days now she will clean up after breakfast then run upstairs to hang with me while I'm working in bed. I don't get as much done when I'm working one-handed, but I don't mind because it's a nice way to start my day.

Every once in a while her purring will stop as I'm petting her and I know that she's fallen asleep...

Jenny, a sweet ginger kitty, falls asleep while I'm petting her.

This morning she fell asleep on my foot, which means I can't get up. Sure I could waker her and try to explain that I have to go into the office or else I can't earn money for her food, shelter, and toys... but something tells me she won't be having it.

And so I guess I'm late for work today.

I can always make money putting cat videos on YouTube, right?

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Caturday 67

Posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2018

Dave!Jake is a lovable lump of a gentleman... Jenny is a lovable petite little lady. It's tough to compare their size because you can't corral them to sit next to each other. All I know is that Jake is quite a bit larger than his sister.

Then the other day after feeding them, I noticed this...

Cat Comparison Jake and Jenny

I have no idea which sibling is older.

But Jake will forever be the big brother...

Cat Comparison Jake and Jenny

By about a third, I'm guessing.

   
And now?

Trying to do laundry in a house with cats...

Cat Laundry

Cat Laundry

And just when one cat finally gives it up...

Cat Laundry

   
And lastly...

When you spend lots of time and money to create catio perches and toys... but your cats would rather lay on the cool concrete. Hot summer nights and all that...

Catio Nights

   
And last-lastly...

I leave you with cats who like to sleep...

SleepyJake

SleepyJake

Except Jenny woke up before I could get my phone out, so she's not sleeping any more. But she was sleeping...

   
See you next Caturday.

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Sweet Cats and Disinfectant

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2018

Dave!Jake has adapted to living at my place a little better than his sister. Where she's still nervous and runs away from anything and everything, Jake is a little more adventurous. Front door opens? Jenny runs away and hides. Jake will watch... from a distance... to see who it is. If it's me, he runs up for butt scratches. If it's not me, he will run and hide with his sister.

It's sweet.

But he's a sweet cat. Just look at that face...

Jake!

Jake!

   
Except...

My cats haven't been on the kitchen counters since I started letting them in the kitchen nearly a year ago. I was so grateful to not have to keep disinfecting my countertops. Then... for whatever reason... probably chasing a fly or whatever... here we are...

Jake Busted!

Time to pull out the scrub brush and cleaner, I guess.

And speaking of cats named Jake... Fake Jake is still around.

Yesterday I was testing my lawn sprinklers so I can figure out why parts of my lawn are brown. Little did I know that Fake Jake was wandering through when the sprinklers activated. He was Not Happy. I decided to show him some love to cheer him up...

Jake!

Jake!

Jake!

And now?

A new season of Trial and Error is starting! Woo hoo!

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Caturday 69

Posted on Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Dave!Turns out that my cats sleeping next to each other like they are kittens is not a phase. I see it all the time now, and it's kinda sweet to see Jake and Jenny getting along so well.

They are particularly in love with the "self-heating" pads I bought last winter. Probably because they are larger than a kitty bed and not because they are cold. I keep my air conditioning off most of the time to save electricity so it's usually around 72-76 in here...

Sleepy Cats

But no worried... Jake still likes curling up next to me for a nap too...

Sleepy Cats

Or pulling the blankets off the bed and sleeping on the floor...

Sleepy Cats

I wish I could sleep anywhere like this.

Or just on planes. I would give anything to be able to sleep on a plane.

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Bullet Sunday 471

Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Dave!I've been keeping busy designing and building... but no worries, because a Special Edition of Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Cat Feeding Station! When it came time to decide where I wanted my "designated cat areas to be," everything came together fairly easily. Their food would be in a corner of the dining room next to the kitchen... the litter box goes next to the cat tree... and so on. The problem is that I'm not happy with how things work. The litter box really needs to be moved to the garage, but I'd have to build a pass-through and a containment cage. That's a big project. A smaller project? Building a feeding station...

  • I feed my cats both wet and dry because there are benefits to both. Jenny won't eat wet, however, she'll only lick it. So I buy a "mousse" that I thin down with water and she loves it. Problem is, she is a very messy eater, splashing cat food on my walls and floors that's hard to clean up (I think her tongue must not work properly?).
  • When I am traveling and have the automated feeders out, Carl the RoboVac keeps chewing on the power cords and I need a way to keep them contained.
  • When I throw my back out, leaning down to deal with the cat dishes can be a big ordeal. I need something to lean on in order to make life easier when I'm hurting.

And so? This weekend was the weekend to build that feeding station!

   
• Planning! I always start with a sketch like this...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

On the left there is the power outlet and an open space large enough to hold the power strip and all the cords for the water fountain and auto-feeders. All the posts in the framing seem like overkill, but since I'll be leaning on it I wanted it to be sturdy.

   
• More Planning I had a hundred bucks worth of subway tile in my garage that I bought to put a partial backsplash in my kitchen. I decided I wanted a full backsplash, so it's all been collecting dust. I decided to use it for the feeding station, but had to make sure I had enough of the stuff, so I laid it all out...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

I also wanted to make sure that I had enough rows so a "bricklayer" pattern would alternate nicely between the edging.

   
• Even more planning! I am horrified at the thought of wasting material or having a project turn out wrong, so I am very careful when planning things out. It's not enough to calculate the dimensions... I also have to stack up the materials to verify the calculation... then I have to actually model things out to make sure that I am accommodating things like baseboards, plywood underlay, cement board, thinset thickness, tile spacing, and so on...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Sure it's a big time-waster, but at least I know that everything will turn out perfectly.

   
• Framing! Once I've figured out how big everything has to be, I cut some cement board for the floor and frame everything out...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Because I'm leaning on this, I have to be sure I'm bolting it to the studs in the wall, hence the frame has to match them.

   
• Corded! I mocked up the space I would need for the power cords and such so I could make sure everything fit easily. Thanks to this advance planning, it did, even if the wall bolts had to be off-center a bit on that last stud...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

That's cords for two auto-feeders and a water fountain power adapter.

   
• Power Supplies! At the last minute I decided to add a conduit pass-through for power cords...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

This way I can minimize the amount of cords hanging out everywhere.

   
• Underlay! And here's where everything gets covered up with plywood...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

I went pretty thick for stability... I don't want the tiles popping off when I lean on it.

   
• Underlay Part Two! I don't like working with cement board at all, but it's a necessary precaution when you are working with a tiled surface that's going to get wet. That way if you do end up with a leak, everything won't swell and flex...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Note that careful advance planning resulted in a perfect fit for my tiles.

   
• Wet Cutting! I bought a "wet cutter" for chopping up tile, but had only used it once before on flat tile. I had no idea if curved (mud-cap) tile would be a problem. Thankfully, it wasn't...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

If you are doing a tile project I highly, highly recommend buying (or borrowing or renting) a wet cutter. I bought a cheap one for $80 that spits water everywhere and makes a heck of a mess... but it gets the job done (I just cut a piece of plastic to make a full bib when I use it!). I've tried the tile-score units, but they never do as nice a job and can result in busted, chipped tiles.

   
• Tile Up! This is my second tile project. If you look real close, you'll see that I'm not very good at it yet. But so long as you use a grout color that's not high contrast (like black for white tile) it will look just fine. How I learned this was watching Flip or Flop on HGTV. The one thing that Tarek seems to be capable of is laying tile. I figured if he could do it, I could certainly do it... because any time there is a close-up of his work, it looks pretty bad. Furthermore, any time I've hired a professional, it never looks perfectly set either, so I figured "what the heck" and dove in. Thanks to YouTube videos, you can learn how to do anything...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Note that on the floor I didn't set the edge tiles at the same time as the rest. The reason for this is that I am trying not to damage the flooring as much as possible. This means not getting thinset mortar on the hardwood. Instead I put a bead of clear silicone on the edge that touches the floor, then "butter" the backs of each piece so I can carefully drop it into position. Sure it's a lot of extra work, but ultimately worth it. Under the cement board is plastic sheeting to protect the floor even more. About the only damage I did was three screws to secure the board in place (and there was probably a little leakage on thinset that would have to be chiseled off). So now if I ever change my mind on the feeding station, I can tear it out with minimal restoration needed to the original structure.

   
• Busted! I use a Dremel tool with a ceramic cutting attachment to roughen the edges of the cove base tile (getting rid of the glaze so the grout will stick better). I figured if I was going to damage a tile, that would be the time. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. Unfortunately I ended up with a damaged tile anyway. One of the mud-cap pieces was cracked when I pulled it out of the box...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Since I had exactly the number of pieces I needed, I was in a panic. I bought the tile from Lowes at least a year ago... would a replacement tile match? Fortunately, the answer was yes.

   
• Finale! Tiling done! Now I just have to wait for the thinset to dry so I can grout it up!

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Note that I am so concerned about having the tile pattern be balanced and equal that I even put a thin line of pencil tile in the back so it begins and ends on a row of full tiles (I also made sure that the alternating pattern was maintained around the corners!).

And so... almost complete. Overall I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Jenny's messes can be cleaned up easily. The power strip and wad of cables is concealed. The power cords can be hidden when I'm not using the auto-feeders. And I have a really good support to lean against when setting down or picking up food bowls when my back is out! On top of that, it will match what I'm planning to do in my kitchen/laundry room remodel (and matches the square tile used in my bathrooms).

The nice thing about it being tile is that I can hang stuff on it with suction cups! I can label their bowls and even decorate for the holidays... assuming my cats would leave it all alone!

   
• Inside! Given how much I love to design and build things, I will probably be the one who ends up tearing this out to make something different. But, in case I'm not, I left a note for future owners if they decide they don't want a pet feeding station...

Cat Feeding Station Construction!

Now they know who to blame that there's this ceramic tile construct in their dining room!

   
And that's all she wrote... FOR TOMORROW WE GROUT!

   

Holy Grout!

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Dave!Apparently "white" as a description is variable. In the case of the grout I bought for my cat feeding station, "white" was actually "light gray." Since this is entirely what I didn't want, I had to make yet another trip to Home Depot in order to try a different brand of "white."

Second time was a charm, because I ended up getting exactly what I wanted...

Cat Feeding Station!

Since this will eventually match what I want for my kitchen remodel, it was important to get exactly what I wanted... a clean, sleek, simple look where the tile was more of a suggestion. That way it's not boring and flat, but also not something which calls too much attention to itself.

Anyway...

Overall, I'm very happy with how everything turned out. Sure there are some minor details I'd do differently now that I've learned so much... but that's the way it goes. My only other option is to never try to build anything, never learn anything, and never accomplish anything.

So next up?

I'd love to hop on my laundry room remodel right away. That would put one step closer to remodeling my kitchen... but I've got other projects I need to knock off my list first.

But eventually... one day...

   

Taking Flight

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Dave!I've never much minded traveling for work. But I'm certainly looking forward to it less and less. Partly because there's so many things I'd rather spend my time on now... but mostly because because I've been doing it for decades and am just tired of it. The glamour of jet-set lifestyle has faded. Take a look at my day...

  • Drive to the airport (25 minutes).
  • Clear security and wait for my flight (90 minutes).
  • Fly into Seattle (45 minutes).
  • Have lunch and wait for my next flight (3 hours 15 minutes).
  • Fly into Boston after a delayed flight (5-1/2 hours).
  • Wait for luggage (15 minutes).
  • Wait for the bus (20 minutes).
  • Wait in line for a rental car (15 minutes).
  • Drive to an affordable hotel outside of Boston (30 minutes).
  • Send files I worked on while flying (20 minutes).
  • Read emails to figure out my schedule (15 minutes).

I'm exhausted and work hasn't even started yet!

But worst of all?

This is as close to my cats as I'm going to get for a little while...

Jake and Jenny Sleeping in the Catio

At least Jake and Jenny aren't losing any sleep over my being gone.

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Caturday 70

Posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Dave!And so my work ended two days early. I can either...

A) Take two days off, get some much-needed down-time and disappear... or...

B) Get an earlier flight home so I can see my cats.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

Jenny

Jake

I'll have to think on that and get back to you...

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Let Sleeping Jakey Bear Lie

Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2018

Dave!Tonight was when I was supposed to be traveling home from Maine... but I finished work two days early and got in yesterday early-morning instead. When I waltzed home at 1:00am, both my cats came running to greet me, which is always nice. But then Jenny kind of wandered off to do whatever it is Jenny does. Jake, on the other hand, stuck to me like glue...

Jakey Bear Glue

I finally decided to turn in at 2:00am, but he was not deterred. He was rolling around for belly rubs and would not take no for an answer...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jenny still checked in from time to time, but wandered off after she made sure I was still home...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

In the morning I found that all kinds of toys had been left for me, and so I'm guessing the cats are happy I'm back home...

Jakey Bear Glue

Last night things went back to normal... or as normal as things can get when you have cats... but I slept through the Alarm set for Jake & Jenny's 7:00am breakfast this morning, which made for an awkward awakening at 7:45, because both cats were just sitting there glaring at me when I dragged my ass out of bed. They have been conditioned to expect breakfast when that alarm goes off, and don't know what to do with themselves if I don't get on that immediately.

After breakfast I went back to bed to go through the piles of email I had built up. Jake decided to throw himself on the floor and sleep like Jake likes to do. Every once in a while I'd lean over and snap a photo, because he is all over the place while he's sleeping...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Jakey Bear Sleeping

And now he's relocated to the window...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

I wish I could fall asleep wherever whenever like that.

Seriously!!!

Jakey Bear Sleeping

And why oh why oh why didn't I buy another catnip lobster toy when I was in Maine? Jake loves that thing...

Jakey Bear Sleeping

Back to real life...

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Cat Bites and Iron Man

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Dave!When it comes to cats, I truly lucked out. Jake and Jenny are wonderful animals and rarely give me any trouble. They don't chew on my stuff. They don't scratch anything they're not supposed to. They rarely puke. They leave me alone when I sleep. They're affectionate but not too clingy. They don't meow constantly. They're just the greatest most perfect cats.

99.9% of the time.

Every once in a while though...

I've been bitten three times.

When I first got my cats, they came with hospital collars from having been fixed. My cats were absolutely terrified of me, so I couldn't get close enough to cut them off...

Kittens!
Calm Before the Storm.

After a few days, Jake would be distracted enough while eating that I was easily able to cut his off. Jenny though? Not on your life. And it was scaring me. They spent a lot of time hiding under stuff, and I was worried the collar would get caught and she'd hurt herself. Finally I managed to grab her and cut it... except she was not having it. She clawed my arm so badly I still have marks. And she bit my nose repeatedly, resulting in blood gushing down my face. Not fun for me... and Jenny hid under the couch for two days.

The second time I got bit was when Jake escaped from the catio. Eventually he made his way back to the door, but he wouldn't come inside. So I grabbed him...

Jake Rescued from Outside!

Jake, who is usually a very mellow cat, went full-on psychotic. He was a Tasmanian devil of fury... biting my arm and clawing at my abdomen so deep that I thought my guts were going to spill out Hannibal Lecter style.

And the latest time I got bit? TODAY.

With the heat we've been having, my cats have been shedding their fur constantly. It's so bad that I've been brushing them with The Furminator every day. Jenny loves it. She rolls around while getting brushed and purrs like a diesel truck. Jake, however, merely tolerates it. Most times he doesn't mind so much, but there are other times you can tell he's annoyed. He'll "fake bite" me a couple times, but that's as far as it goes. Today was no different. He was irritated, he pretended to bite me a few times, I ignored him as I always do... and then he lashed out. With a real bite. It wasn't all that painful, but it was shocking.

And so...

Lesson learned. From now on when Jake acts perturbed while being brushed, I'll wait for one "fake bite" and then stop brushing.

Because I like having the greatest most perfect cats.


As I mentioned yesterday, watching the "Director's Roundtable" extra from the Avengers: Infinity War digital home video release made me want to watch all the Marvel Studios movies all over again. And so I am. Starting today...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 1: Iron Man
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
   
At the time it was released, it was impossible to comprehend just how revolutionary Iron Man would be, nor what it would lead to. In retrospect, it should not be as surprising as it is. All the elements were there. Robert Downey Jr. inhabiting Tony Stark in a way that was beyond flawless... painstaking faithfulness to the source material... exceedingly good special effects... a story that was highly entertaining, laced with humor, and had no wasted moments... and... did I mention Robert Downey Jr. being beyond flawless? As impressed as I was with this film back in 2008, I am doubly impressed today because it holds up so damn well. It was the perfect beginning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I love it as much now as I did then. Of particular note is the raw mechanical nature of the suit, which literally had to be bolted around Tony. This was incredibly cool to see and, though the process was streamlined with each new appearance, it always maintained its awesome brute-force physically mechanical nature. Until Infinity War where the suit was "nanite enabled" which completely ruins what makes Iron Man be Iron Man. Bummer.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: So many. But when Tony first dons the finished Iron Man armor and takes out all the bad guys in Afghanistan... it's movie magic. And when he returns home and Pepper catches him doing "not the worst things she's caught him doing?"... it's LOL funny too.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: While Jeff Bridges makes the perfect Obadiah Stane, I question why the villain always has to be a slightly more powerful duplicate of the hero in these films. Iron Man vs. Iron Monger? Sure. But it set a lame precident for too many Marvel Studios films which followed. So much so that they're only just now breaking free of of that trap.
   
SIDENOTE: Nick Fury showing up in the post-credits scene to discuss "The Avengers Initiative" is the icing on a very delicious cake. When I saw this movie in the theater, I was leaving during the credits when some guy started shouting to everybody "DON'T GO! THERE'S MORE AFTER THE CREDITS!" and so I stayed. I was already thrilled with the film. After that scene I was downright giddy leaving the theater.

   

Caturday 71 and Iron Man 2

Posted on Saturday, August 4th, 2018

Dave!This morning I grabbed my phone and delayed Alexa's breakfast alarm because Jake was industriously cleaning his butt, and the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt that. Every once in a while he lets his butt-grooming go, so if he's paying that much attention to things I figure he must need it.

The Alexa alarms I have set for breakfast and dinner are always a great source of amusement. And a smart move on my part, because my cats have been trained to not bother me for food until they hear the alarm. When it gets close to 7:00am/6:00pm, Jake and Jenny will assemble and wait. Then they go nuts when the alarm goes off. I've recorded it these past couple mornings...

Butt first...

XXX

And now? My turn for breakfast.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 3: Iron Man 2
Original Grade: A- • Today's Grade: A-
I have never understood why this movie was so poorly received. Yeah, the story had some problems. Yeah, there were scenes that didn't hang together right. But it was still an enjoyable outing. The acting and visual effects were great. Sam Rockwell was perfect. And Mickey Rourke was not nearly the problem that critics made him to be. On top of all that? The debut of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow! I enjoyed the film then. I enjoyed watching it again now. And the credits scene with Thor's hammer in the dessert still gives me chills.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: The opening where Iron Man jumps out of a plane and lands on the Stark Expo stage only to be robotically disassembled to reveal Tony Stark... being Tony Stark, courtesy of Robert Downey Jr. firing on all cylinders. The Iron Man dancers are just a bonus. A close second? Black Widow mowing through a bunch of security guards at Hammer Tech. Amazing.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Whiplash is just another guy in a suit, following Iron Monger in the last movie... a different guy in a suit. It's a missed opportunity trap that so many Marvel Studios movies would fall into.
   
SIDENOTE: One of the most famous Iron Man comic book arcs was the Demon in a Bottle storyline where Iron Man became an alcoholic. That they did a quick nod to it in this film at Tony's party was an interesting choice. I think it was a mistake, but... better a quick nod than an entire movie dedicated to alcoholic Iron Man.

   

International Cat Day and Iron Man 3

Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Dave!Oh look... it's International Cat Day! As well it should be. I love my cats more than just about anything, so they should have their own day.

My cats decided to celebrate their holiday by eating and sleeping. Though they also decided to walk all over my kitchen counters, which means I have to scrub everything down now. Fun...

Jake and Jenny on the countertops

Oh... and they also put a nice big scratch in my coffee table. Fun...

Jake and Jenny Sleeping by a Big Scratch

The fact that I didn't strangle them today should perfectly illustrate why every day is International Cat Day around my house.

Well, not my house, really. I just pay for everything... I'm pretty sure it's their house.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 7: Iron Man 3
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A
Being the one to helm the film which followed The Avengers must have been a daunting task. In their infinite wisdom Marvel decided to hire Shane Black to write and direct. This was an interesting move but not an altogether bad fit. As writer of the Lethal Weapon movies and the genius that was The Long Kiss Goodnight, he knows how to create an action beat. Many of Black's decisions were questionable. Retooling Iron Man's long-time villain, The Mandarin, as a Ben-Kingsley-enabled decoy for Aldrich Killian from AIM was a bit weak. The modular armor was fun, but was handled poorly (if the parts were 832 miles from Miami, how did they arrive in 10 minutes?)... not to mention that the suit, which has always been powered by the ARC reactor in Tony's chest, suddenly needs to be recharged with electricity? The whole Extremis angle was lifted from a famous reboot arc from the comics, but used entirely differently... not necessarily in a bad way, though it was certainly a step down. And yet... this was a highly entertaining film with fantastic special effects and an awesome finale (Iron Legion!) that makes for good repeat viewing. I love the movie almost as much as the original, though it kind of falls short in the grand scheme of things these five years later so it gets dropped a half-grade.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: I usually hate whiny child actors ruining films that aren't about children, but Ty Simpkins (who plays Harley Keener) is fantastic. IMDB says he's making a Marvel Cinematic Universe return with The Avengers 4 which is kinda cool. Anyway, despite some great action sequences, all the scenes between Tony and Harley are my favorite. With the possible exception of when Tony chops Killian's arm off and says "Yeah, you take a minute." I LOL every time.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Other than the villain being able to magically take over television sets, a trope I absolutely loathe? And the Oracle product placement that's not at all subtle? There are times that seemed as though Tony's dialogue was too scattered and improvised. It didn't come off as natural, and it felt as if Shane Black wasn't sure how to handle it.
   
SIDENOTE: Probably the last Iron Man movie with Robert Downey Jr. which is a darn shame. Seeing hom pop up in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming (not to mention Avengers: Infinity War) is better than nothing, but boy would I like to see another solo Iron Man flick.

   

Caturday 72 and Guardians of the Galaxy

Posted on Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Dave!I fell asleep on the couch last night while watching the Marvel Studios movie for today. Not easy to do when it's Guardians of the Galaxy, which is one of my favorites of the bunch. Guess it just goes to show how exhausted I was.

I woke up again when I got an alert that the security camera in my driveway had gone down.

This is the email I got...

Your Security Camera is Down!

And... look closer...

XXX

I'm thinking that Fake Jake might be behind my camera going down? The rascal.

I have two more cameras out front, so I was in no hurry to fix whatever it was that was wrong. Instead I finished up my movie and went to bed.

As for Real Jake? Just helping me open my mail this morning...

Fake Jake Opens Mail

Fake Jake Opens Mail

Fake Jake Opens Mail

The rascal.

Jenny would rather lay on the floor for some reason...

Jenny on the Floor

When I went to Petco for kibble, I saw that the low-carb Tiki Cat dry food was on sale. This was cool... until I noticed that one of the flavors was marked as "clearance," which scares the hell out of me. I really, really hope that they aren't discontinuing this stuff. It's the most affordable food I've found that doesn't overload on carbs. In the meanwhile though, I snagged all eight bags and my cats are set for the rest of the year...

Jenny Investigates Tiki Cat

I can probably replace the dry with... something... I guess. But nobody makes the Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse that Jenny eats. And I seriously don't want to have to go back to blending my own. So gross.

Fingers crossed I won't have to.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 10: Guardians of the Galaxy
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
I re-watched this movie for the fifth?... sixth? time back in June, so I didn't really have to watch it again to jot down my thoughts. But I did it anyway. And I am hooked from the opening scene of Star-Lord dancing through a dead planet every time. If that doesn't sum up my feelings about Marvel's first "sci-fi" entry into the MCU, I don't know what will. The humor... the characters... the settings... the story... the music... all perfect. And perfectly executed, with amazing casting and brilliant special effects (which are so crucial to a film like this). I've admitted that I laughed when I first heard they were bringing this comic book to the big screen, because characters like Rocket and Groot were just an absurd thing to try and translate. But how wrong was I? And after watching Avengers: Infinity War, I'm even more impressed, because they were able to seamlessly mix Rocket and Groot with everybody else to amazing effect.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: Escape from the Kyln? Escape from Knowhere? The battle at Xandar maybe? I dunno. There are entirely too many good scenes to pick from. I can't even single it out to scenes with one character, because I love them all.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Ronan the Accuser is a powerful Kree warrior, but I don't get how he was able to wield the Power Stone. I understand that he only touched it for a few seconds, which is why he didn't die... but how was he able to command it after he smashed it into his Universal Weapon hammer? He's an important Kree but, in the end, he's just a Kree. Not a god or ancient being. Or, in Peter's case, the son of an ancient being. It's a puzzler. And I still think the whole "holding hands" at the end was kinda silly.
   
SIDENOTE: It's amazing how critical this film was to everything that came after it in the MCU. Thanos... Gamora... Nebula... The Collector... and, looking even further forward for next year's Captain Marvel, The Kree. This was also the first time we got a full explanation on The Infinity Stones as well. Doesn't seem possible that such important stuff was set up in what's essentially a comedy, but there's Marvel Studios being all brilliant again.

   

Wildfires and Ant-Man

Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018

Dave!Whenever a fire siren goes off in town, my heart stops for a second. When you live in a city as small as mine, there's a good chance that somebody you know has their home on fire. Not that it's any less sad when it's a stranger losing their home, but it does hit you harder.

Right now it's especially terrible when the siren sounds because a fire happening when there's wildfires all around us just seems cruel.

Today the smoke was so thick in the air that I could barely make out the nearby hills. If you look at this map...

Washington State Fire Map

...that huge red dot in the middle is just North of where I live. It's a wildfire that's currently 29,186 acres in size and only 5% contained. When the winds blow South, the smoke comes with it. For me that means a day of burning eyes and difficulty breathing.

But that's not the worst part.

The smoke is a constant reminder that hundreds... thousands... of animals are losing their homes and living in terror. And many of those may not survive it. Unlike people, they don't understand what's happening, and that has been weighing heavy on me.

Our local animal shelter has had to stop taking in owner surrenders because they just don't have room. They have to shelter animals from people under evacuation with what little space they have available. And this also weighs heavy on me. I try and think of how terrified Jake and Jenny would be in a shelter... trapped in a small cage with nowhere to hide from the noise and people. I can't imagine how traumatized they would be. I can't imagine that they would ever be the same. I just can't imagine. It's just too awful.

A part of me wants to run down and adopt another cat... do my part to free up some space. But I don't think that's for me. Jake and Jenny are perfect. Life with Jake and Jenny is perfect. We've adapted to each other very well and I think they are happy here. If introducing another element in any way disrupts that, it wouldn't be fair to Jake and Jenny. Or me.

And yet...

I cannot say that I won't give in and take a chance.

I really need to unsubscribe from the Human Society newsletter and Facebook feed. Too many animals need homes.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 12: Ant-Man
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A
I knew I would love this movie the minute that Paul Rudd was attached to star. Then they went and made it into a caper flick so it would stand out from the pack, which was about a brilliant a move as they could have made. I ended up really loving it. Still holds up today. I'm having to really restrain myself from bumping it up to an A+ here, because I have a tough time seeing how the first Ant-Man movie could have been much better than this.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: That opening scene where SHIELD's headquarters (as seen in Captain America: Winter Soldier (three movies ago) are just being built... and we get a de-aged Michael Douglas interacting with Peggy Carter and Howard Stark... thus immediately cementing Ant-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe before he even appears on screen! Genius! But... yeah... the fight in Cassie's bedroom was pretty great. They played with the size altering abilities in interesting ways, which was a lot of fun.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Once again... the villain has the same powers as the hero but is a little stronger. It gets so old. And yet... from a story perspective I get it. Yellow Jacket kinda fell out of Scott Lang's origin story, so it was a logical choice. Fortunately, we got Ghost in the sequel, which was something entirely different.
   
SIDENOTE: With every viewing I remember how upset I was before the movie came out when I heard that Scott Lang would be in the suit instead of the original Ant-Man from the comics. Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne were founding members of The Avengers, and it was a real slap in the face they were being side-stepped. And then I saw the movie and the way they so brilliantly integrated Hank Pym into the history of everything the MCU was building. It was a brilliant move and made perfect sense. It was at this point that I finally just stopped questioning what Marvel Studios was doing until I saw the full film. In most every case they end up nailing it, so why waste the energy?

   

Bird TV and Doctor Strange

Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Dave! I decided that I didn't want to spend money on bird seed if the birds didn't want to entertain my cats, because the seed they want to eat is expensive stuff. And so... I moved the feeder back to the window with the cat tree, figuring that this would be the end of it because the birds are afraid of the cats looking at them... except... not so much any more. If the feeder has the nyjer seed they love, the birds are more than happy to put fear aside. Darnit. Now I guess I have to keep buying the stuff because Jake and Jenny go nuts over their new television station...

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

I suppose it beats a catnip addiction.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 14: Doctor Strange
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A+
The two Marvel heroes I love above all others are Doctor Strange and Black Panther. To see The Master of the Mystic Arts hit the screen in such a spectacular way... and know that Black Panther was coming a little over a year later? Comic book Nirvana. That Doctor Strange ended up being so amazing was just icing on the cake. I don't know why I didn't give it a top A+ score when I first saw it, but upon repeat viewings there's no question it deserves it. The visuals were stunning. The story was an origin story, but it was a good origin story. Some changes they made to get here were terrific... Wong becoming an important character in his own right instead of a manservant stereotype, for example. Some changes were both good and bad... The Ancient One becoming a Celtic woman was good in that it broke another stereotype, but erasing a major Asian character was not good. Other decisions were bad (see below) but not enough to ruin the movie. When taken as a whole, Doctor Strange not only gave us a look at the mystic side of the MCU, it was just a really great movie. I think I love it more every time I see it.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: The battle in Mirror Dimension New York was flawless. To distinguish itself from other super-hero battles, Doctor Strange needed to do something entirely different. The trippy nature of this fight fit the bill perfectly.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: It still irks me that Marvel Studios eliminated Tibet from Doctor Strange's origin. Yes, yes, I understand that China is a big market and they were being politically "sensitive" to make sure that the film would be shown there... but still. It sucks.
   
SIDENOTE: I didn't think it could get much better than seeing Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation act as a supporting character in the film. Little did I know that it would go on to even greater importance in Avengers: Infinity War. Imbuing it with a certain level of sentience was genius.

   

Caturday 73 and Thor: Ragnarok

Posted on Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Dave!The bird feeder outside the window continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

The cats are happy to spend hours watching the birds come and go. Jake spends the most time watching Bird TV... pawing at the window and chattering at them, but Jenny is a bit stealthier about it, preferring to hide like the hunter she is...

Jenny the Bird Watcher

No doubt in my mind that both my cats would be massacring birds by the dozens if they could get at them. Just one more reason to keep them indoors, I suppose. Poor birds.

And poor bugs.

Any time a bug finds its way into my house, Jake and Jenny are all too happy to hunt them down. Like the poor cricket which Jenny was kind enough to bring in this past week. I saw she had something in her mouth... feared the worst... then watched as she spit him on the floor so she could chase him. Jake also decided to run up and get in on the action...

Jenny the Bug Hunter

Jenny the Bug Hunter

Jenny the Bug Hunter

As much as Jake likes chasing an occasional bug, he seems to prefer his toys. In addition to Mufasa, his stuffed lion, he loves his Peeps Bunny...

Jake and Peeps Bunny

And he really loves Catnip Lobster...

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Every once in a while he plays "Watch the Dummy" and will throw it on the bed and wait for me to pick it up and hand it back...

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Toys are far preferable to bird corpses, I'd think.

They're definitely preferable to bug vomit.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 17: Thor: Ragnarok
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
Easily one of my favorite Marvel Studios films... perhaps my very favorite... I love this film now as much as I ever did. Deciding to take Thor in a more comedic direction and deconstruct everything he was to this point was absolutely brilliant, and made the character more cinematically interesting than he had ever been.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: All of them. I mean, yeah, the Hulk reveal and subsequent fight is awesome... as is Valkyrie's... and any scene with the incomparable Cate Blanchett's Hela was gold... and Jeff Goldblum was too perfect as The Grandmaster... and that gorgeous battle between Hela and the Valkyrie... and the battle on the Rainbow Bridge with Thor at full power... and Thor meeting Doctor Strange is the stuff that comic book dreams are made of... and... and... and... it goes on and on and on.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Though I still think it was shortsighted and selfish to kill off The Warriors Three.
   
SIDENOTE: Could there have been a bigger love letter to the art of Jack Kirby than this movie? With every new viewing, I'm even more amazed at just how beautiful and faithful Sakaar is to Kirby's work.

   

Puddles Near Midnight

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Dave!Being allergic to the wildfire smoke that fills the air means that sleep is rare for me. So when I was awakened by a big crash downstairs at 11:48pm, I had zero ambition to run downstairs and see what happened. The alarms weren't going off, so I was relatively certain that it was just the cats goofing off and not somebody breaking in to steal my air purifier.

Thanks to sleeping pills and antihistamines, I feel back asleep in short order.

When I woke up I ran through the security camera footage on my phone and saw that the crash was Jake knocking a stack of DVDs off of my dining room counter. No big deal.

When it was time for the cats' breakfast I went downstairs, picked up the DVDs, filled bowls with food, then went to set them down at the feeding station and...

...STEPPED IN A BIG PUDDLE OF WATER!

What the heck?

Back to the security camera footage, where I saw that Jenny was getting a drink at the same time that Jake knocked the DVDs to the floor...

Jenny and the Water Dish

Jenny and the Water Dish

Jenny and the Water Dish

The amusing part happened after Jenny spilled water everywhere. Both cats decided to go to the feeding station and sit there at the edge of the puddle... just staring at a wet floor, I guess...

Jenny and the Water Dish

And what weird cat antics await me tonight?

Only Jake and Jenny know for sure.

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Caturday 74

Posted on Saturday, August 25th, 2018

Dave!I won't lie to you, these past couple weeks have been tough. My cats, who are unaccustomed to being told "no" have suddenly found themselves being told "no" quite a lot. They can't go in the guest bathroom because I'm repairing my contractor's shitty renovation work. They can't go into the storage closet because I'm temporarily storing some tools in there. And they definitely cannot go outside because the wildfire smoke has been dangerously unhealthy...

Jake Wants Out

I'm still doing my best to keep them entertained indoors. The bird feeder has been the gift that keeps on giving. Except for my wallet, because the critters consume huge amounts of seed. The cats love it though. Especially when the birds land on the window to get at the food which lands there...

Birds on a Window

Birds on a Window

When not watching birds, Jake likes to wander around squawking to go out. Jenny, on the other hand, has resigned herself to her fate and prefers to stare at me with sour looks all day...

Jenny Sour Face

Earlier this week I had set some jeans down so I could fold them. Jenny took this as an opportunity to crawl around in them. Happy to have found something new for her to do, I just left them there...

Jenny in Blue Jeans

And while my cats have been trying to get out, it seems as though every bug in town is trying their best to get in.

Yesterday after feeding the cats I look over and see that they have stopped eating. I wasn't sure what that was all about, so I walk over and... THERE'S A GIANT SPIDER ON THE FEEDING STATION RIGHT BY JENNY'S FOOT!

Jenny and the Spider
Yes, I realize the spider looks like a speck in this photograph,
but you can't see his GIANT LEGS!! He's at least 2 inches across!

Jenny ignores it and goes back to eating. THEN THE SPIDER CLIMBS ON HER DISH!!! At this point, I'm dying (again) but she carefully eats around the spider until she's done with breakfast. Then I get to TRAP A GIANT SPIDER. GAAAHH!!

The smoke did end up tapering off enough yesterday that I finally let them play in the catio when I got home. Which they did. And they were so happy to be out there that they stayed out there all day.

From morning...

Cats in the Catio in the Daytime

Until night...

Cats in the Catio at Night

Hopefully the smoke is under control for a while so they can spend time outside having fun instead of inside wanting to go outside and have fun.

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Window Dressing

Posted on Monday, August 27th, 2018

Dave!Like most cats, Jake and Jenny just love looking out windows. Their favorite window is the one behind the cat tree because the bird feeder is out there. This makes for hours of funtime entertainment... despite it costing me a fortune in bird seed.

I used to keep my blinds lowered to help save energy, but my cats were having none of it. They know there's a window back there, so they will climb under or over or through any obstruction which keeps them from looking outside. And so... I have all my blinds raised to keep them from being inadvertently destroyed.

All the blinds except one.

The middle window on the side of my house gets full sun. The sunlight causes the prints I have on the opposite wall to fade, and so I keep it closed. There are windows on either side for the cats to see out so it's no big deal, right?

Of course it is. These are cats we're talking about.

This morning I investigated a security camera alert I received and saw this...

Cats in the Window

The ONE window in the ENTIRE HOUSE which has the blinds closed... and that's the one they want to look out. Two feet to the right and to the left is an open window. So why? WHY?!??

Because they're cats, of course.

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Sowing the Seeds of Love

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Dave!Today after work I ran into The Big City so I could pick up more bird seed. Not that I really have money to be throwing at birds, but they have been so dang entertaining for my cats that I pretty much have to.

Birds are weird in my neck of the woods. During the summer, regular (cheap) bird seed gets me nowhere. The birds that are looking for food are little things and I guess it's just too big for them. And so I buy "nyjer seed" (aka thistle seed) which is tiny stuff that's five times more expensive. In the winter the little birds have gone, and it's only the bigger birds that stick around. That's when I can pull out the cheap stuff and everybody's happy.

I thought I'd be smart and see if the feed store had bulk nyjer. Turns out they did, but at $2.09 a pound, it was actually more expensive than what I can get at Lowe's. My favorite seed is their "Nyjer Plus" which is cut with bits of sunflower seed. The birds don't seem to mind that at all, and it makes less of a mess. Alas, that's almost always out of stock, but today I got lucky...

Nyjer Seed!

Weird how my entire day can be made by bird seed being in-stock at the hardware store, but there you have it. Maybe this is a sign I need to start a new woodworking project? Probably.

The entire time I was looking for bird seed, this was going through my head...

Interesting side-note... apparently we're getting the first new album in 14 years from Tears for Fears this Fall!

One more thing to look forward to...

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Caturday 75

Posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Dave!Hola cat-fans!

This morning Jake and Jenny were lounging in the catio when the Alexa breakfast alarm sounded so they couldn't hear it. That's no fun for me at all, so I kept increasing the volume until they could hear it.

Kitty Napper

And boy did they come running!

I've been working long hours this past week, so my cats have been more clingy than usual. They're all over me from the minute I get home until it's time to go to bead...

Kitty Napper

Kitty Napper

Kitty Napper

And speaking of bed... a couple days ago I told Jenny it was time for bed. But instead of running up the stairs ahead of me, she decided to stay put. This happens every once in a while, and it's kind of a bummer. So I called to her again, and this time she showed up...

Jenny at Bedtime

Jenny at Bedtime

Jenny at Bedtime

Jenny at Bedtime

Jenny at Bedtime

Jenny at Bedtime

Jake eventually showed up and was looking mighty resentful that Jenny was getting all the attention...

Jenny at Bedtime

But don't worry... he showed up the next morning and stole Dorito crumbs off my breakfast nacho plate, which made us even...

Jenny at Bedtime

Nothing cuter than a kitty crunching on Dorito crumbs.

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Birds and Memory

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Dave!The bird feeder is not depleting as quickly as it once was so I'm guessing the smaller birds are starting to head south? Still going through a lot of seed though. And Jake and Jenny still spend hours watching them out the window too.

This morning when I went out to refill the feeder (again) I saw a small gold bird sitting on the rocks around my flower bed. Usually birds take off the second I open the door, so this was puzzling to me. Thinking he might be hurt or stunned, I thought I'd fill a shallow dish with water and put it next to him. Alas he hopped away every time I tried, so there wasn't much I could do except grab my camera...

Small Bird

Fake Jake would pounce on him in a second, so I did my best to shoo him under a shrub so at least he could rest up in a spot that didn't make him an easy target. Most cats just kill birds for fun. Fake Jake will actually eat them. Which doesn't make me any happier about it (he has food, he doesn't need to hunt!) but at least the poor things aren't being killed for sport.

When I was downloading that bird photo off my camera, I noticed the photo before it was this one...

XXX

No idea where I took it. On the date that was time-stamped on the image I wasn't traveling anywhere, so I'm guessing I shot it somewhere close to home, but I have no memory of it. Boy does it suck getting old. I wonder how long until I forget how to wipe my ass?

Hopefully before I forget how to pay somebody to wipe my ass for me!

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Caturday 76

Posted on Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Dave!Hey! It's my second catioversary!

Before I bought my condo, I specifically asked two questions of the HOA... 1) Can I have cats? and 2) Can I build an enclosure on my back porch for them? Originally it was because I had planned on bringing Spanky with me and, since he was an outdoor cat, I figured he wouldn't be happy if he didn't have a way to be outdoors. When Spanky disappeared and I got some kittens to keep my mom company, I still wanted a way for them to go outside safely.

Work was crazy, so I ended up hiring a contractor to frame it out and put the roof on (something that came back to bite me in the ass later). This was the fastest way to get my catio built, and it's been one of the best investments I've ever made...

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

It's been a big hit with Jake and Jenny since day one. These are photos from their first time outside since they were rescued as feral kittens...

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

Catio Building

The only way the cats could get out to the catio was if I opened the door for them. After a couple months, I had ordered a new door with a cat door in it so they could go out whenever they wanted. At first I was worried about them staying out at night, so I'd bribe them to come back in with cat treats...

Catio at Night

Now, of course, they're in and out in the catio at all hours. In the Summer they'll even sleep out there at night because the weather is so nice. Not that the weather does much to deter them. They'll head out on the coldest day of winter without hesitation. Their favorite catio time is Spring and Fall though, because it's so comfy during the day. They'll go out after breakfast and stay there until it's time to come in for dinner.

In new cat news... Jenny, who always bristled when I'd touch her ears in the past, now maneuvers herself as I pet her so I'll massage them...

Jenny's Ear Massage

Jenny's Ear Massage

Last night it finally rained again. Something that fills me with dread because rain can also mean lightning and still more wildfires. But I think the only thing that came with it this time was thunder. So... yay? Jake and Jenny slept through the whole thing. Didn't even twitch when the thunder was crashing. This is surprising to me, because usually strange noises send them into a panic.

I'm hopefully that this is a new trend. I'd love for them to stop being afraid when the High School cannon fires at touchdowns and when fireworks are set off.

Fingers crossed.

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Caturday 77

Posted on Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Dave!As I've mentioned, my cats are conditioned to expect being fed only after an Alexa alarm sounds. This is fantastic, because they don't bother me for food at all hours of the day and night. It most definitely does not mean that they don't get impatient for that alarm to sound, however. On days they are particularly hungry, they will sit and stare at me around breakfast/dinner time. And heaven forbid I have to go to the bathroom near the breakfast hour. When I exit, this is what will be waiting for me...

Jake and Jenny Waiting for Breakfast

Lately I've been dividing their food up. I give half when the alarm rings, then wait an hour before giving them the rest. Jenny prefers not to eat all her food at once, which means Jake will swoop in and eat everything if I don't. Yesterday I fed them breakfast then went back upstairs to take a shower and check my email. When Jake and Jenny hear me walking around, they know I'm about to head down so they can get more food. Usually they wait for me down there like this...

Jake and Jenny Waiting for Breakfast

Yesterday when I came downstairs I saw that there was cat puke waiting for me at the bottom.

This is highly alarming, because my cats rarely puke. Jake had a hairball and spewed once. Then I had a couple days of Jenny vomiting when she got sick. That's it. They just don't puke much, for which I am grateful.

After cleaning up barf, I went back through the security cameras so I could see if Jenny was sick again. Turns out it was Jake...

Jake and Jenny Waiting for Breakfast

Jake and Jenny Waiting for Breakfast

Then I was all "Oh thank heavens Jenny isn't sick again!" and "Oh well, Jake could stand to lose weight anyway."

Such a bad cat-dad.

I remain impressed that Jenny didn't immediately start puking once Jake had puked right next to her. I suppose I should be grateful he didn't puke on her.

He probably would have liked to have puked on her but he's just too lazy to make it happen.

And speaking of Jake being lazy...

I leave Catnip Lobster on the cat shelves that are in my bedroom window. Both of them just love to lay up there and chew on it. Problem is that they get too excited and sometimes toss it off the shelf. Jenny will immediately jump down and continue to wrestle with it. Jake on the other hand? Nope. He just glares at me until I get it for him...

Cranky Jake is Cranky

Cranky Jake is Cranky

Cranky Jake is Cranky

And of course I do.

Guess I'm a good cat-dad after all.

Until next Saturday then.

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Feline Assistance

Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

Dave!Going through my mom's stuff has been an awful ordeal. No matter how much I sort through, there's still so much left to go. I thought that waiting would make it easier, but two-and-a-half months later and it's far more difficult. It feels as though the more time that passes the more I realize that I'm never going to see her again, and the more the weight of it crushes me.

This weekend I sorted through some clothes I had forgotten about. It was a bundle that I didn't want to send with her to the memory care facility because it was special stuff... like all the B. Kliban Cats T-shirts she had collected. They're so cool that I was worried they would be stolen and some stranger would be wearing them. Now I'm donating them to Goodwill where strangers will be wearing them after all. Had I sent them with her, she might have at least got to enjoy them once or twice. It's the stuff like this that is so damn hard. It doesn't matter how much I did right, it's mistakes like this that my mind wants to focus on.

After that trauma, I decided to go through all of her recipes and cookbooks. When I was a kid, mom cooked all the time. Later in life she barely cooked at all. Most of her recipes are ones that I won't eat (meat) or shouldn't eat (sweets) and got tossed. Jenny was a big help in sorting things out...

Jenny Helping

Some of the recipes she was happy to rip out of a binder for me...

Jenny Helping

Recipes she really didn't like got chewed on and shredded...

Jenny Helping

There were two recipes I was hoping to find. The first was her Applesauce & Walnut Bread, which is sublime (found it). The second was her Spanish Rice, which was very different than what I've had in restaurants (never found it, dammit).

What I was surprised to find was the recipe for my grandma's enchiladas (from my dad's mom). I have refined her recipe over decades in order to come up with my own vegetarian version. They're awesome. But they're not the same. Now I am very interested in going back to her original recipe and substituting Beyond Meat crumbles for hamburger to see if they're the same as I remember. Wouldn't that be a treat? And speaking of treats... grandma made a marshmallow popover roll that was divine. You roll a marshmallow in melted butter, shake it in a cinnamon & sugar mixture, wrap dough around it, then bake. The marshmallow melts, which causes this amazing gooey mess in the middle that ends up being the kind of thing I'd imagine they serve in heaven. I can't fathom what the carb load must be for something like that. I'm sure it's substantial. But what a way to go!

I have great memories of my grandmother and her many pets, but my favorite memories are of her cooking. She skinned tomatoes by sticking them on a knife and holding it over the flame on a gas-top stove. She opened enchilada sauce cans by chopping into them with a cleaver. She laughed a lot while trying to teach me how to make the food I loved so much. She called me "her little politician" because I liked to talk so much when I was a baby. I didn't get to see her very often because she lived in California and I live in Washington, but I remember an awful lot about those moments.

I also found recipe's from my other grandma (my mom's mom). Including her award-winning apple pie. I've had the recipe for ages... but it's not the same when I make it. Grandma would taste the apple then decide what it needed to make a great pie. More sugar. Less sugar. More lemon juice. Less lemon juice. How much spice got added. It wasn't just a recipe... it was a complex negotiation between ingredients until grandma's apple pie became grandma's apple pie.

My grandpa's pickles can't be duplicated either. He used a measuring cup, but it was never a level measure. He always seemed to over-pour on everything. His specialty was dill pickles and hot pepper dill pickles, but he also made sweet pickles because my grandmother wanted them for her macaroni salad. I remember him measuring out the sugar and watching it spill out over the measuring cup for what seemed like forever. The recipe says "one cup sugar" but there was a lot more than one cup in that brine. It's what made grandpa's sweet pickles become grandpa's sweet pickles.

I suppose I shouldn't even attempt to duplicate foods where the best thing about them was the people who made them. It's an endeavor that's certain to be met with failure.

Today I started putting away my wood shop so I can park my car in the garage now that it's getting frosty in the mornings. I'll still be working whenever I can... at least until the snow comes... but The Big Projects are done for the year. Really hoping that next year I have more time in the shop.

Among the things in the garage that need to be put away are all the photos I had canvased for my mom. I made them when we moved into my new house so she'd understand it was where she lived when she saw pictures of herself... and it was a fantastic investment that actually worked. They worked so ell that I took them with her when she had to leave. After she died I brought them all back home with me so I could hang them... somewhere.

Ultimately I decided they should go in Jake and Jenny's bedroom. When I relocated the guest bedroom to the main floor, I ended up with blank walls, so it was the perfect spot. And just like Jenny "helped" me out with the recipes, Jake decided to "help" me decide how the photos should be arranged...

Jake Helping

He did a pretty good job...

Mom Travel Photos
TOP ROW: Trevi Fountain in Rome, Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, The Grand Canyon, Temple of Poseidon in Greece, Beach at Natural Bridge in Aruba. BOTTOM ROW: Amalfi Coast in Italy, Southmost Point Key West in Florida, The Colosseum in Rome, Mykonos in Greece, Angkor in Cambodia.

Mom Travel Photos
LEFT: Kauai Beach in Hawaii, Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. MIDDLE: Neets Bay Float Plane in Alaska, Chilkat River rafting outside of Haines in Alaska. RIGHT: The Great Pyramid in Egypt. The Sphynx in Egypt.

Mom Travel Photos
LEFT: Wild Africa Trek in Walt Disney World Florida. RIGHT: Phone booth in London, England.

One of these days I really need to put together the bed I bought so this could become a second guest room if I ever needed it. There's always One. More. Thing. isn't there?

I had two canvases left over, so I moved the photos of Mom with Donald and Me & Mom with Micky to my bedroom next to the Mickey patent reproduction hanging on my door...

Mom Travel Photos

And then...

Remember when I was lamenting that I didn't know much about my mom when she was younger? Well, she just delivered! I found over a hundred letters she wrote to my grandparents when she left home. Guess there's stuff to know if I ever want it...

Mom Letters

I honestly thought that this small suitcase was filled with sewing stuff! Of course I never looked inside when she was here... I just put it in her closet for her. Then when she left, I put it into storage with the rest of her stuff. I was getting ready to throw it out but, of course, I had to open it first to make sure it was just sewing junk. Guess it's a good thing I did.

And that was enough fun for a Monday. More than enough.

Now I get to hammer out a guard for the feeding station so Carl the Robovac will stop ramming into the water fountain and pushing food dishes all around the house. Not the best pick for the last project I create before putting away my wood shop for the year, but a necessary one!

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Caturday 78

Posted on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Dave!I flew back to Seattle today so I could drive home this afternoon. Between lane closures and torrential rains over the passes, the drive was not fun. What was fun? Walking through the door and having Jake and Jenny act like I had been gone for a month instead of one day. I think when I'm gone longer, my cats eventually get accustomed to my absence. But with quick trips they haven't adjusted to my being gone, so they more excited to see me. Or something like that.

But Jake and Jenny's weird behavior when I come home is nothing compared to when I am getting ready to leave.

When I drag out the automated pet feeders, they know.

I didn't take a suitcase this trip, but when the suitcase comes out, they definitely know.

Both of them stick to me like glue when they know I'm going to be gone. On Wednesday night, I brought out the feeders. When I went to bed, Jenny ran to the cat's bedroom and dragged a kitty bed in my room so she could sleep near me. The next morning I picked it up and put it on my bench. After she ate breakfast she came back upstairs, flipped it on the floor, then slept in it up-side down...

Jenny Up-Side-Down Bed

Thursday night she flipped the bed that's on the coffee table onto the floor and took a nap in that...

Jenny Up-Side-Down Bed

No idea what the up-side-down bed is about.

Even when I manage to get the bed right-side-up, Jenny still has problems to deal with. Like Jake coming in and falling asleep on top of her...

Jenny Squished by Jake

Jake is one big kitty so that can't be comfortable. I went to the cat's bedroom and brought another bed in so they could each have one...

Jenny Squished by Jake

But eventually Jake decided he wanted to sleep on my bed...

Jake Sleepy Beddy Time

And then? I was flying off to Salt Lake City and back again...

Salt Lake City View

In other cat news... I opened the door to go to work and Fake Jake was there to say hello. My cats immediately ran to the door. And by "my cats" I mean "Jake" because Jenny preferred to say her hello from a distance...

Jake Says Hello to Fake Jake

Jake Says Hello to Fake Jake

Come mid-October I'll have to tear apart Fake Jake's shelter to put the heating pad back in. I'm thinking I might also see if I can mount a motion sensor or a camera inside so I can track when he's in and out to make sure he's warm and safe when the freezing temperatures come.

Which will be entirely too soon.

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Caturday 79

Posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Dave!I try really hard not to project human gender traits on my cats. First of all, they're cats. Second of all, they're cats. But it's hard not to. Jenny is a petite and refined little lady. Jake is a big bruiser of a boy. Jenny is complex, scheming, and opinionated. Jake is simple, straightforward, and easy-going. Not that those are necessarily gender-specific traits... but my cats seem to fall into the stereotypes of human society quite well.

And though their personalities are very different, that doesn't seem to matter at the end of the day.

When I first got them and they were scared little kittens, they clung to each other like their life depended on it. After a while, they drifted apart, not really choosing to hang out together. But lately that's been changing. They are back to bathing each other again, which is just too sweet...

A half-hour later...

Jake and Jenny Snuggle Sleeping

Note the large bed I bought them goes ignored. They would much rather snuggle up in a tiny little bed instead.

That's cats for you.

If only humans with all our different personalities could get along together this well.

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It’s a Monday

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2018

Dave!It's my last day before vacation! Which would ordinarily be a good thing, but Jake is sick.

On Sunday things were fine, but he acted a little strange around dinner. Then this morning he was refusing to eat. I saw that he had thrown up last night, so I went back through security camera footage to see what was going on. He was walking into the Litter-Robot, but was walking out without covering anything up, which means he wasn't going to the bathroom. Eventually he did unleash a poop today, so I thought he was fine.

Except any time he'd drink water he would immediately vomit it back up. Then at dinner he was refusing to eat again.

And so... looks like it's a trip to the vet tomorrow morning.

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Meow-Time Trauma

Posted on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Dave!So... not a great day.

This morning poor Jake was sicker than ever, so it was off to the vet we go. From their annual checkups, I already knew that this was not going to go well. My cats hate being stuffed into the kitty carriers. At least this time I didn't have to trick Jake into one. He was too weak to put up a fight...

Jake in a Cage

Definitely not a happy camper.

And here's where things get strange.

Jake can meow now.

He has never been able to meow in the nearly three years I've had him. Not once. When he thinks he's meowing, he will let out little squawks instead. Sometimes he kinda howls (as with previous vet visits) but no meows. And then on the way to the vet this morning...

Poor guy.

Turns out he's got some problems. The first of which is a blocked urinary tract, so they had to do surgery to unblock him. It was rougher than expected, but he managed to come through okay. They still don't know what else is involved, so he's not out of the woods yet. They need to watch him for a few days... make sure his infection clears up and he can pee okay. Then they will figure out what to do next.

And so... instead of flying out in the morning I've changed my flight and will fly out Friday instead. Then fly right back on Sunday so I can (hopefully) pick Jake up first thing Monday morning (assuming he's ready to be released).

If there's anything to be thankful for, it would be that all this happened before I left. If it had happened while I was gone, he probably wouldn't have survived.

UPDATE: The doctor called me at 6:00pm(!) to tell me that Jake was still doing okay. They're concerned that there's too much blood in his urine, but he's hoping it will start to clear up tomorrow. I get to visit him at 10:00am, so hopefully I'll know more then.

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Hospitals and Visitations

Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Dave!Things not going quite as well as we had hoped. Jake still has way too much blood in his urine, so no next steps can't be decided.

I got to visit him this afternoon. The poor little guy is so confused and scared. I've never been able to acclimate him to other people. There are people everywhere. He's terrified of other animals. There are animals everywhere. He's in a cone, which freaks him out because he can't see. He's tethered with a catheter and an IV, which is no fun at all. He's on drugs, which just heightens his confusion.

The good news is that I'm told he's usually sleepy and lethargic, so maybe he's not quite so bothered by it all. He was sure active when I was there though. He was rubbing up against me... probably wanting me to take him home...

Jake in Hospital

Jake in Hospital

Jake in Hospital

So heartbreaking. It was all I could do to hold it together.

Things are not much better at home.

Last night Jenny was super excited when the dinner alarm rang. But when I put the food out, she wouldn't eat. Instead she wandered around... presumably looking for her brother. They have never not eaten together, so she was understandably upset. Eventually she just flopped on the floor of the guest room and nothing I could do would convince her to come eat.

After I left her alone for a while, she came back into the living room and lay next to me, but still wouldn't eat, even when I would hold the food in front of her...

Jenny is Sad

She finally climbed onto the back of the couch and cried and cried and cried. Trying to console her just caused her to cry more, so I tried ignoring her instead...

Jenny is Sad

Eventually she gave up and went to sleep on the small couch. Still hadn't eaten. At one point I got excited because she woke up... but she just gave herself a pedicure and went back to sleep...

Jenny Pedicure

When I started turning everything off and packing up my stuff, she decided to go eat. At last...

Jenny Eats At Last

After I turned in for the night, Jenny wandered in to fall asleep next to me.

I woke up to her meowing again around 5:00am. Still looking for her brother.

It was around this time that Jenny realized I was laying on a heating pad. She then flops down and uses her back to keep pushing me over until she's claimed the whole thing. I tried explaining that I need the heating pad for my back or I won't be able to bend over to feed her breakfast, but she did not care. Here's me trying to slide her over a little bit... note the foot kicking me away. She is NOT having it. Oh well. I didn't need a back anyway...

Jenny Heating Pad

After taking a shower, she was still soaking up the residual heat from the pad (which I had turned off). Guess it's time to pull our "her" electric blanket...

Jenny Heating Pad

Really, really hoping that Jake has improved when I visit him tomorrow. It would be so much easier to climb on a plane Friday morning if I knew he was getting better.

Not that climbing on a plane is going to be easy. Poor Jenny will be all by herself for the first time in her life for three days.

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The Hurting

Posted on Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Dave!I have to leave for the airport at 4:00am. Needless to say, this has made for a hectic day today. Way too much to do and not enough time to do it. But there was no way I was going to miss out on visiting Jake in the pet hospital before I left, so that meant an afternoon trip into The Big City. Apparently I was way too excited about getting to see him, because I accidentally set off the alarm system as I was walking out of the house. One awkward call to the monitoring company later... and I was on my way.

Jake seemed in a little better spirits today. And I was told that he ate all his breakfast, so that's good news. Alas, there's still way too much blood in his urine, so that catheter isn't coming out any time soon...

Jake Hospital Visit

He ran right up and tried to rub his head on me, but the cone kept getting in the way, so I flipped it backwards to create a fashionable poncho...

Jake Hospital Visit

Jake Hospital Visit

Then he could get in all the head-rubbing he wanted, which was a lot...

Jake Hospital Visit

What he was happiest about was getting face and neck scratches. That cone makes it so he can't scratch himself, so once I got started he really didn't want me to stop...

Jake Hospital Visit

I stayed for 20 minutes so I could (hopefully) spend enough time with him that he will be set for affection while I'm gone. But all too soon it was time to go. I flipped his cone back in place and that was the end of that...

Jake Hospital Visit

Really appreciate everybody's good wishes for Jake. He's such a sweet kitty that it's difficult to see him hurting.

And speaking of hurting...

Jenny is still not taking the absence of her brother well. She still wanders the house looking for him. She still cries when she can't find him. She still wants to spend most of her time hanging out next to me looking sad...

Sadder Jenny

Sadder Jenny

Hopefully her brother will be back in the house Monday morning... fingers crossed.

UPDATE: The minute I pressed "publish" Fake Jake decided to pay a visit and Jenny went screaming out into the catio. I don't know if she's confused and thinks it's Jake or what... but she did not run away when Fake Jake started climbing up the catio...

Fake Jake Catio Attack!

Fake Jake Catio Attack!

Usually, this kind of aggressive behavior would have her running into the house and hiding. Such a brave little girl. Something tells me she'll be fine on her own for a few days.

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Bullet Sunday 482: Aloha Bye

Posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Dave!Home again and all is well... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Homeward. And, just like that, Hawaii is over for me. I would have liked to have stayed another couple days to hang out with my friends and relax but, alas, I've got a cat back home that is undoubtedly really, really anxious to get out of the hospital. I did get bumped to First Class, which is kinda like a vacation. A vacation with a bowl of warm nuts...

Aloha Bye

Aloha Bye

The last time I came to Hawaii for fun was when I managed to tack a few days on the back-side of a work trip in 2011. The four times since then were all work all the time. And while I wouldn't have missed this wedding in Oahu for anything, coming to photograph an event is still work!

   
• Salmon. I have been this close to flying Alaska Airlines' Salmon-Thirty-Salmon too many times to count. But I'm always a gate or two away. Like today...

Aloha Bye

It's not every day you get to fly in a plane painted to look like a big fish... and, alas, today is not my day either.

   
• Simon. On my trip to Honolulu on Friday I saw the available movies I hadn't seen (Tomb Raider, yawn... Won't You Be My Neighbor, awesome... and Blockers, surprisingly watchable) and so on my trip back I watched movies I enjoyed that I've already seen... Deadpool 2 and The Disaster Artist... and also Love, Simon...

This movie is so amazingly good (despite a rough start to the third act) and has an ending that's ten tons of wonderful. I've seen it three times now, and one thing continues to stand out... the casting on this film is phenomenal. Not just the main characters, but supporting roles as well. In particular, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner as Simon's parents. I knew Garner could pull off the emotional weight... but Josh Duhamel?!? And yet...

And that clip has been edited down from the original scene.

The first coming-of-age-love-story with a gay lead character from a major studio was going to be a landmark film regardless of how good it was. Or how terrible. The fact that Love, Simon turned out to be something great is just icing on the cake. One can only hope that more films like this entering mainstream culture becomes a step towards more acceptance and less bullying in our schools. Because isn't high school hard enough?

   
• Haerts. In addition to being one of the sweetest, most charming, funny, genuine films in recent memory, Love, Simon has a great soundtrack. It was especially awesome that Wings by Haerts got a snippet into the movie. It's such an amazing song...

And now I'm addicted to it all over again.

   
• Photography. It didn't actually rain on the wedding yesterday, which was nice. A lot easier to shoot photos when you're not soaking wet. The problem was my poor back, which was in spasm the entire day. I was eating muscle relaxers like candy in an attempt to keep being able to move. The good news is that the photos turned out pretty good. Not so much because of my talent as a photographer, but because the bride and groom are phenomenally good-looking... and patient.

And... despite my not being a professional photographer (and especially not a wedding photographer), this was my sixth wedding shoot. No idea how this keeps happening to me.

   
• Home. Jenny meowed when I walked through the door. Meowed after me when I rolled my bag in. Meowed after me when I went to the bathroom. Meowed after me when when I went upstairs. Meowed after me when got undressed. Meowed after me when I got in bed. She did not stop. "Sheesh. I am sorry I had to leave you all alone! Are you going to calm down if I can bring your brother home tomorrow?!?"

Jenny Cuddler

Such a sweetheart. I hope that Jake and Jenny's reunion goes well.

   
And... I turn into a pumpkin at midnight, so... much aloha.

   

Homeward Bound

Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2018

Dave!The doctor who has been treating Jake doesn't start his shift until 11:00am, but he dropped by earlier in the morning to make sure Jake was able to go home. And so... at 9:00am I headed to The Big City to pick up my cat.

I honestly don't know what it's been like for him at the hospital. My guess is that he's been trapped in a cage the entire time... poked and prodded... having to listen to barking dogs and other strange sounds... no doubt it's been a traumatic time. I feel awful about it, but there wasn't much choice.

Hopefully he'll be back to normal in short order.

Because his car ride home was anything but normal. He can still meow now, like his sister, which should make life a bit more interesting...

I started talking to Jake to comfort him, but that just seemed to wind him up worse than he already was, so I didn't talk much on the way home. I did poke a finger through the carrier to scratch his face, which he loves.

After 20 minutes of listening to one angry, confused, and scared kitty, my next hurdle was awaiting me. How would Jenny react to having her brother home?

Not so great, actually.

I was warned that the vet smell on Jake would freak her out, and it sure did. She spent most of her day stalking him... running up and smelling him... and hissing, hissing, and hissing at him if he tried to get too close...

When Jenny met Jake

Or for no reason at all...

When Jenny met Jake

Jake was upset that he couldn't be buddy-buddy with her right away, but he was still thrilled to be home.

As day turned to night, they seemed to be getting along better. They were hanging out in the catio together for nearly an hour...

Jenny and Jake in the catio

After dinner Jenny's hissing was at minimum and they seemed like they might be getting back to normal quicker than I had hoped...

Cats on the dinner table.

And now for the bad news...

First of all, I have to crush Jake's pills, mix with water, then draw into a syringe so I can hold him down and squirt it in his mouth. He takes it like a champ, but is understandably irritated. Fortunately I only have to do this four times.

And also? Jake has to be on a special diet with special food. Which means Jenny is also on a special diet since Jake eats her leftovers. The bright spot in all this is that they both love the special food. The bad news is that the special food is massively expensive. As in maybe I'm having to discontinue satellite television expensive. But the worst news? I have nearly $240 in cat food I just bought on sale that's now going to be feeding Fake Jake...

Jenny and Jake in the catio

It's expensive, low-carb, quality food-stuff... which is good news for Fake Jake, I guess.

And then there's my share of the massive vet bill... nearly $600! But, hey, it would be over $2000 if I didn't have insurance, so I can't be too upset about that.

Not that the money matters. Can you really put a price tag on this?

Cats on the dinner table.

Jake is so sweet... such a great cat. I would be completely crushed if anything were to happen to him.

Anybody need a slightly-used spleen?

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Claws in Absentia

Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Dave!Ever since I got back from my brief Hawaiian excursion, I've done very little except worry about Jake. He seems okay. He's still peeing in tiny amounts a dozen times a day, but he doesn't seem to be in pain or anything like that, so I'm not freaking out. Yet.

No, what worries me is that he appears to have some kind of PTSD.

I'm working half-days this week so I can keep an eye on him. He spends every minute I'm here hanging all over me. He's at my side constantly...

Jake at Home

Jake at Home

   
When I'm not home, however, Jake wanders around crying because he can't find me...

   
With the exception of the patch of fur they shaved off on his arm for an IV, he looks good physically...

Jake at Home

Jake's IV Patch

   
Well... not entirely..

Yesterday afternoon Jenny went climbing up my massive pole in the catio. I watched Jake try to follow her... and he couldn't. Turns out his claws are gone...

Jake No Claws

Jake's Key

This upset me to an irrational degree.

I have never trimmed my cats' claws. When they were babies they scratched stuff they weren't supposed to... but after providing them lots of better things to scratch, they stopped scratching where they're not supposed to. Now they use only the poles and scratcher boards I've bought for them.

When the vet's office called for a check-in, I asked about his claws. They said they do it as a "courtesy' whenever cats are under anesthesia. Sometimes cats are violent and scratch at the staff. Since Jake is not violent I asked if I had the option of specifying that he and Jenny's claws not be trimmed if they are ever admitted. Turns out you can, so I did.

   
This morning I woke up to go to the bathroom and nearly bit it when I tripped on something. I turn on the light and my bedroom floor is covered in toys...

Jake at Home

Apparently Jake is so happy to be home that he spent nearly two hours dragging all his toys up. Including his giant Peeps Bunny. He hasn't done anything like this in months...

   
Jake and Jenny seem to be getting along like they used to now. No hissing is involved. I wish they wouldn't get along on top of the dining room table (pet-safe disinfectant is expensive!)...

Jake and Jenny on the Dining Room Table

   
When they're not together, they're taking turns keeping me from work...

Jake's Nap on My Mac

Jenny at Home

So... I guess we're back to normal then?

Here's hoping.

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In Sickness and In Health

Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Dave!Since I'm supposed to be on vacation this week, but ended up home with a sick cat instead, I've been working 10-2 half-days. Except today I ended up going in at 11-3 because Jake had other plans for my morning.

He hopped on the bed with me after he'd eaten his breakfast... then proceeded to puke all over me. And, let me tell you, it was an impressive amount of vomit. Kind of shocking he was even able to contain so much spew in such a tiny body. Fortunately, it was all contained on my blanket so all I had to do was stick it in the wash... four times (just to be sure).

Afterwards he hopped right back on the bed and fell asleep...

Jake Hanging in Bed

I wanted to keep an eye on him for a while, hence my being an hour late to work.

Before heading home to see if Jake had left any puke for me to find, I headed to the grocery store since my refrigerator and cupboards are bare. While there, I was excited that there was a new brand of mayo for me to try (Heinz!)... until I looked at the price tag...

Heinz Mayo

SIX DOLLARS AND TWENTY-NINE CENTS?!?? FOR MAYO?!? WTF?!? IS THERE GOLD IN IT? DOES IT COME WITH A FREE PONY? WHAT?!? Needless to say, no new mayo for me. Perhaps when I get to The Big City next I'll see if they have it for a reasonable price at the Safeway.

And... back to my home.

Which was pleasantly puke-free!

A quick look at the security cameras and I saw that Jake it still able to pee... many, many times... so I'm chalking this day up as a win.

After I run my blanket through the wash just one more time.

   

You’re Outta Here!

Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Dave!Happy International Coming Out Day to my LGBTQ readers and friends!

Some of you walked through fire to get to where you are today. Some of you are dipping a toe into the flames before taking the plunge. Some of you bounded over the flames like a golden god. Some of you are happy to hang on to your fire extinguisher to keep the flames at bay a while longer. Many of you escaped the fire only to besieged with people lobbing more fire in your direction. But regardless of who you are... what your truth is... I am happy you're here, you wonderful fireproof warrior, you!

Marriage Equality for All

And now... time to clean up another round of cat puke. Poor Jake. I really thought he had turned a corner when he didn't throw up after yesterday morning. It was a lot less than last time though, so maybe he's nearing the light at the end of the tunnel?

Fingers crossed.

   

Caturday 80

Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Dave!Last night when I got home from work I decided to try a new frozen pizza brand I haven't had before. I don't know why I bother, because they all end up tasting like crap, but I keep holding out hope. The pizza was, as expected, truly awful.

In more ways that one, as it turns out.

While I was removing the wrapper, some of the cheese topping fell on the floor. Before I could grab a towel and get it picked up, Jake swooped in and chowed down. It was only a half-dozen small shreds... but that was all it took. Within five minutes he was puking his guts out. Poor guy.

I don't purposely feed my cats human food, but Jake has been getting into my food since I first got him, and it's never caused any problems. But now? Barf-time.

Which means I have to be more careful than ever that he doesn't eat anything except his heinously expensive prescribed specialty food.

Other than that, he's mostly back to normal. Except for the fact that he is still peeing far more often than usual (beats the alternative) and clings to me like glue everywhere I go. When I lay down on the couch to work, he'll immediately hop on top of me... only hopping off to pee, then he's right back on me...

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

Needless to say, any time I'm in bed, Jake is there too...

Sleepy Jake

Sleepy Jake

I'm still irrationally upset that his claws were trimmed. I wish I could get past that, because I know they'll grow back... but, still... upsetting...

Jenny Jealousy

Poor Jenny spends most of her time being jealous that Jake is getting so much attention. For some reason they have an agreement that there can only be one cat in bed with me at a time, and since that's mostly Jake... well... let's just say we've been getting our share of irritated glances...

Jenny Jealousy

Not that Jenny is completely ignored. I make sure she gets some lap-time too...

Jenny Sleepy-Time

This week has been a tough one. I am terrified that Jake's urinary problems are going to come back and they'll end up having to cut him open. Every time he uses the Litter-Robot (which is often) I run to make sure that he was able to pee. Every time he licks his junk, I'm worried it means he's having trouble going again. Next week I'm back to working full days and I won't be able to observe him as easily. I've put alerts on the security camera system for motion at the Litter-Robots, but that's not the same as being here.

Six weeks until my next trip. My hope is that everything will be fine by then and I won't have to change my plans. Again.

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Bullet Sunday 483

Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Dave!Spent my weekend getting ready for winter, but it hasn't been all bad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Jakespreading. My concern for Jake is either growing or easing depending on which minute of the day it is. On one hand, he is peeing regularly. On the other hand, it's too often... sometimes up to three times an hour. On one hand, he is pretty much back to normal. On the other hand, he has been increasingly clingy. Now he's sleeping with me every night. Which mostly looks like this...

Jakespreading Sleeping

He's sleeping next to me, using my leg as a pillow.

Except...

For the past two nights, sleeping beside me hasn't been good enough. He wants to sleep on top of me. Which is no biggie when I'm laying on my back but, given my recent back pains, I'm more comfortable on my side. He tries to climb on me but there's not enough room, so he falls off and starts getting upset. I fix the problem by leaning against a pillow. He falls asleep on the pillow (and against me), but is fooled to thinking he's sleeping on me. So it's all good, I suppose. But I think I'm going to start looking into some warm pads that might prove more tempting than a pillow. In the mornings when I come back from taking a shower, I always find him laying on the slats above the heating vent, so I'm guessing he might be in love with a warm place to lay just like his sister...

Jakespreading Sleeping

Tomorrow I'm going to place another call to his doctor so I can ask about the alarming number of times he's peeing... and to ask if I should be concerned that he's grooming his junk more often these past couple days. Call me paranoid, but I'd do just about anything to make sure he doesn't have another extended stay away from home.

   
• Who? First of all, I love Jodie Whittaker in the new season of Doctor Who. She is sublimely perfect in the role, and everything you could want for The Doctor she projects in spades. Quirky without being silly. Smart without being stuffy. Entertaining without being absurd. She IS Doctor Who...

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

Which is why my disappointment in her first episode being horribly boring was more upsetting than it usually would be. Things picked up a bit in the second episode that aired tonight (the new TARDIS is pretty great), but it still feels like a bit of a slog to get through. I really, really hope that things start picking up... giving both Whittaker and Doctor Who fans the show we deserve.

   
• Boca? When I was last at the grocery store, I noted that Boca Burgers have pretty new packaging. What surprised me is that the burgers inside are different. They are darker. And the taste is different. Not necessarily in a bad way... they're just... different. Still tasty...

New Boca Burger

What I cannot tell is what in the hell they are replacing. Used to be there was "Original Vegan" and "All-American Flame Grilled"... these are "Original All American," which I can only guess is taking the place of both? They ain't vegan (contains cheese like the All-American Flame Grilled) so maybe they are discontinuing those? Confusing.

   
• The Vote. LOLOLOL! Maria Cantwell just released a commercial saying that "drug companies are too powerful and prescription drugs cost too much money." Guess the blowback she got after accepting $75,000 from Big Pharma then voting against cheaper drug re-importation has her worried? Typical piece of shit politician... says whatever she feels she has to at the moment in order to get elected, and then she'll jettison it when she decides to suck Big Pharma dick for cash again. We get the politicians we settle for. We get what we deserve. Not that we're given much choice. My Washington State Voter's Pamphlet just arrived and there's only one candidate I actually want to vote for. The rest are just votes against Trump-enabling Republicans.

   
• Asshole. Vice President Pence would do best to just shut the hell up on all matters pertaining to anything because, odds are, his boss has tweeted something totally fucked up on the topic, which makes Pence come off as a hypocritical asshole. Like this...

VP Pence is deepply troubled about what he's heard about freedom of the press? Really?

Why the hell Pence pretends to give a shit about journalists when it's been made very clear that Trump's administration condemns journalists as an "enemy of the people" is beyond me. Disgusting and pathetic. Like most everything to do with President Trump.

   
• Groupon! Congratulations to Hasan Minhaj on becoming a father...

I can't wait for his show, Patriot Act, to debut on Netflix come October 28th! And, needless to say, if you have Netflix and haven't seen his incredible standup show, Homecoming King, you should do that immediately.

   
Annnnd... scene. See you next Sunday.

   

Global Cat Day?

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Dave!What was once "National Feral Cat Day" has become "Global Cat Day," which is kinda strange because we already have a "National Cat Day" which is October 29 and "International Cat Day" which was August 8. And then there's apparently a "National Black Cat Day" which is October 27? How many frickin' cat days do we need?

Not that it really matters. As anybody who has cats will tell you, EVERY DAY IS GLOBAL CAT DAY!

Regardless, Jake and Jenny were indeed feral rescues...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

And not much has changed. Other than they're bigger...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Though not feral, neighborhood abandoned cat "Fake Jake" is still hanging around. Last year before I headed out to Antarctica, I was worried that he might freeze to death in the insulated shelter I made him, so I bought a new cat shelter that could hold an outdoor heating pad. I also built a berm out of pipe insulation to help keep any wind off of him. It worked great and he survived the winter just fine.

This year when I put the heating pad and berm back in for cold weather, I added a camera so I could get motion alerts and check in on him. He wasted no time making himself at home...

The camera has night vision so I can even see him sleeping in the dark...

Fake Jake Sleeping!

And so... I guess Fake Jake is set for another cold winter.

As for me? I need to wash blankets. And get winter tires on my car. And hibernate.

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Caturday 81

Posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Dave!Now that I'm waking up to frost on my car, it seems like a good time to pull out the electric blanket. This is a wintertime essential for two reasons. The first is that it saves money on heat because I'm heating just my bed instead of the entire house. And the second? It's Jenny's favorite thing.

And now Blogograpy presents: The Three Stages of Electric Blanket (according to Jenny)...

1. What? What's This?!? So Jenny hops up onto the bed and immediately notices that something is different. Is that... warmth? She decides to test it out by plopping her butt down on the bed...

Cats & Electric Blankets

2. Warmth! Glorious Warmth! At this point Jenny is rolling all over the bed trying to decide what part of her body she wants to heat up first...

Cats & Electric Blankets

3. Heat Isn't Enough! The newfound warmth is okay and all, but that's no replacement for tummy rubs, which she demands as well...

Cats & Electric Blankets

Jake likes the heat too. It's nice to have a warm bum while cleaning your junk...

Cats & Electric Blankets

And speaking of Jake... a setback.

Last night while I was watching television, Jake made a spectacular vomit spew from the top level of the cat tower. Before his urinary tract problems, he never vomited. The only time he ever vomited was when his urinary problems started, so now I'm terrified that he's sick again. The poor kitty just can't catch a break. And neither can I, apparently...

Jake Puking from a Tower

I'm honestly not sure what to make of Jake since he got back from his week-long stay at the vet. He still seems terrified to be left alone. When I'm home, he's on me the entire time... or, lately now, snuggled up to his sister. Jenny tolerates it quite well... until she doesn't. At which time he's right back on me. — When I'm gone he is agitated at first, but sleeps alone or hangs out in the catio alone and seems fine with it. Maybe it will just take a while for him to get over the trauma of all he went through. I hope he'll eventually get back to his "normal." In the meanwhile, it's cute to see him snuggling up to his sister at night...

Jake Puking from a Tower

Jake Puking from a Tower

And to have a warm, fuzzy interruption from work when he wants to cuddle up next to me...

Jake Puking from a Tower

At night he still wants to sleep with me or, to be more accurate, on top of me...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Though now that there's an electric blanket on the bed, it seems like he'd rather sleep on that and just lean up next to me instead...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Jake is not one for selfies, as you can tell...

Jake Sleepy-Time

Health-wise, Jake is still peeing far too often... but both the Upstairs and Downstairs Litter-Robots are reporting that the number of uses per day is trending downwards, so maybe one day he'll be back to where he used to be...

Jake Sleepy-Time

The high peak is when I bought Jake home. The valley before the peak is when Jake was at the hospital and only Jenny was using the boxes. The day after he came back, the Litter-Robot was used thirty-six times. Poor kitty. My vet isn't concerned... yet... but I sent and email on Friday just to ask again if this is normal and will eventually subside.

Fingers crossed.

It can't be fun going to the bathroom ten times a day.

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Caturday 82

Posted on Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Dave!The weather has been particularly overcast, grey, and cold this week. For me it's been kinda depressing. For my cats though? Totally depressing. Neither of them have felt like doing much of anything. They don't want to play. Or explore. Or run around. They just want to sleep. And it's become somewhat of a routine for them. I get home from work. I watch TV for an hour. Then I make everybody some dinner. After dinner Jenny will jump on the couch next to me and just lay there. Sometimes she'll sleep.

Monday...

Jenny Depressed

Tuesday...

Jenny Depressed

Wednesday...

Jenny Depressed

Thursday...

Jenny Depressed

Though yesterday morning I put some jeans on the table so I could fold them. I turned my back to clean out the lint trap in my dryer and...

Jenny Depressed

I left them there in case she might want to nap there after dinner. But, alas... right back on the couch...

Jenny Depressed

Maybe I need to look into Kitty Prozac?

As for Jake? He's still sleeping on top of me every night. He's mostly back to normal after the vet, but this has lingered...

Jake Depressed

Not that I mind... I just wish I had a handle on whether he's doing okay or this is indicative of a problem. He's still peeing a lot. Too much. But he is peeing, which is the important thing. If not... another trip to the vet is in our future.

And that is something none of us want.

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To The Vet and Back Again

Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Dave!This morning I woke up with Jake passed out on top of me... which has become his new normal since he got back from the vet. He doesn't like sleeping alone anymore. Also normal? Him running off to pee first thing after waking up. Ever since the procedure to unblock his bladder, he's been peeing... a lot. Ten times a day.

What was not normal was him digging a hole in the Litter-Robot... peeing... covering it up. Digging another hole... peeing again... covering it up. Digging another hole... peeing again... covering it up. Digging another hole... peeing again... covering it up. Digging another hole... peeing again... covering it up. That's five times peeing with one trip to the litter box.

His frustration was obvious, and I felt so bad for him that I decided to call the vet and find out if he should come in.

The answer, of course, was "yes."

Which caused my heart to sink, because my cats do not travel well. It's hugely traumatic. Jenny goes catatonic. But Jake? Jake just freaks out. He meows and howls and cries the entire way. Which is odd, because normally he can't meow. This time was even worse than last. More "howling" instead of "meowing"...

I usually try and time my arrival at the vet very close to the appointment time so my cats aren't left fretting for too long. Because whether it's in the car or in the waiting room, being trapped in a kitty carrier is not their idea of a good time...

Jake to the Vet

Things were running about 20 minutes late at the vet, which made a bad situation worse. Eventually Jake just kinda collapsed in exhaustion...

Jake to the Vet

Once in the examination room, Jake was so whipped from the trip that he didn't have the energy to do anything but cower on the table. He was clinging to me like glue, which was pretty tough to take. Poor little guy. The doctor explained that there could be any number of things going on, but a urine sample was the best place to start trying to figure things out.

That sounded logical to me... except Jake had peed in the kitty carrier (something he's never done before), so I didn't know if he had anything left in him. Turns out he did, so they went up his peepee spout to go get it. Yikes.

For the ride home, Jake was more inconsolable than usual. He was thrashing in the carrier so hard that I was terrified he'd hurt himself. And so I did something I never thought I would do because it seems like it would be even more traumatic... I let him out. I didn't care if he peed all over the place, I had to try something...

Jake to the Vet

At first things were going great. He stopped crying and started exploring. Things got a little crazy when he decided he wanted to drive though...

Jake to the Vet

And then things went bad again.

Very bad. He ran to the back window and started howling at passing cars... howling at the scenery... howling at road signs... howling at everything. Suddenly I felt like I might have made a terrible mistake...

Jake to the Vet

And then? Right after we pulled into town he relaxed and just kind of whimpered the rest of the way home...

Jake to the Vet

After pulling into my driveway I closed the garage door behind us, opened the car doors, and let him dash into the house.

Where he proceeded to drop and clean off all the vet smell...

Jake to the Vet

Jenny had a tough time when Jake came home last time because he didn't smell right. This time he hadn't been gone long enough to develop a bad smell, so she was unfazed. That was good news.

Another piece of good news? Jake has lost almost a pound from when he was last at the vet! Now he's only about 1-2 lbs. overweight!

Though when I compare photos of Jake to really chubby cats, it doesn't look like he's doing so bad...

Jake Weight

And now I wait for test results.

Hopefully they tell us something.

Hopefully it's an easy fix.

Hopefully I don't have to take Jake back to the vet any time soon.

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Pill-Popping Horror Story

Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Dave!Pussy be expensive, yo.

Today I got a call-back from Jake's doctor telling me that there was a small amount of bacteria in his urine. So small that it could have easily come from the dye that they put on the urine slide so they can see stuff. The full laboratory testing is three days away, but the doc said he recommends going with a new regime of antibiotics plus a bladder relaxer plus a pain-killer plus an anti-inflammatory medication so that he's not suffering unnecessarily. I agreed, because it's been two weeks and the poor guy is still peeing ten times a day. And the fact that he is always sleeping on me might be an indication he's in pain or upset.

So off I went to pick up Jake's drugs.

Now, I fully admit that I was radically unprepared for the sticker shock that came from my cat's medications. When added to yesterday's vet visit and labs, we're past $500 now ($2,500 total since his initial visit four weeks ago). Some of that I'll get back in insurance reimbursement. But still... wow. I'm poor.

But the cost is not even the real pain here.

One of the pills has to be dumped out of a gel cap, dissolved in water, then shot into your cat's mouth with a syringe. This is the same stuff Jake was on when he came back from his procedure and it's fine. Jake doesn't like it, but he's chill enough that I got this. Kinda stupid they don't just sell it in liquid form, but whatevs.

I asked if it was the same routine with the other pills.

Of course it's not.

The pills taste awful, so you have to coax your cat into swallowing them. Something tells me that Jake will most definitely not be as chill as this cat...

They gave me a pen, but said it just makes things harder for some people...

And so... I'll give it a go. A part of me wanted to ask if I could give him the pills rectally since that's probably going to be easier than in his mouth, but I resisted. Somebody appearing to be anxious to shove pills up a cat's ass would probably have their cat taken away from them.

The final medication is a liquid. Oh happy day.

Or so I thought.

I asked if I could just drip it on Jake's food... but, alas, that was met with a resounding "no." Apparently it's even worse tasting stuff, so you really have to shoot that into their mouths so you can be sure they won't turn their nose up at it.

Some questions...

  1. Why in the hell do they have some medications come in pill form that have to be dissolved in liquid when they should just put it in liquid form to begin with? This is monumentally stupid.
  2. Cats eat some heinous smelling stuff. Like fish guts. So how hard could it be to make their medication taste like something they want to eat when it's gotta be fairly easy to camouflage?
  3. Is it actually easier to shove pills up a cat's ass than administering them orally? Enquiering minds want to know!

And... on top of all that... it's Halloween!

Last year I made the stupid, stupid mistake of scheduling a colonoscopy on November 1st so I had to pass out candy while undergoing my clean-out prep. Good Lord was that the scariest Halloween I've ever had.

Though this year was not without incident. Every Halloween I deep clean my kitchen while passing out candy. In the middle of it all, a plate slid off of a pile of other dishes and shattered into a billion pieces. Ironically, this is the Corelle stuff I bought for my mom to eat off of because, in her confusion, she ended up breaking a lot of dishes. It's supposed to be super-tough, but just look at this (please ignore the cat hair I managed to find)...

Corelle Busted To Shit

It took me a 45 minutes to clean up the breakage because shards of glass went everywhere. All the way from the kitchen though the dining room and into the living room! Such is the peril of having an "open concept" home! But I wanted to be sure I did a good job because I didn't want my cats getting hurt. I can't afford any more vet bills.

UPDATE: I figured since the liquid antibiotics tasted horrible, I would try being smart about Jake's pills. First I forced him to swallow the antibiotics... THEN I dropped his pill in some crunchy food. Since his mouth was already full of awful, maybe he wouldn't notice the bitter pill? AND IT WORKED! Totally chomped down that pill! Thank heavens. I am so grateful that I didn't have to shove that down his throat too.

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Caturday 83

Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Dave!This morning I woke up hungry for a McDonalds Egg & Cheese biscuit, but I didn't want to pay the stupid amount of money they charge for it. I also didn't want to spend the money on gas to get there (the nearest McDonalds is 20 minutes away). The good news is that I had all the necessary ingredients to make my own. The bad news is that I had to wait in bed 20 minutes before I could actually make it.

You may be asking yourself "How the heck does this breakfast biscuit drama relate to Caturday?"

The answer is "Daylight Saving Time ends tonight."

As anybody with pets will tell you, animals don't give a fuck about Daylight Saving Time. But, for some stupid reason humans do, and so our pets have to live with the consequences.

The way I try to minimize the perceived torture of feeding my cats an hour late is to adjust the time for a couple days before and after we do stupid shit with our clocks. Jake and Jenny get fed when my Alexa alarm goes off at 7:00am each morning. Yesterday I fed them at 7:10am. Today I fed them at 7:20. Tomorrow (after the change) I'll feed them at 6:30. Then on Monday it will be 6:40. Followed by 6:50 on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday they'll be back to 7:00am.

Until Daylight Saving Time starts up again. Then it's this whole mess all over again in reverse.

As I've mentioned previously, I've trained my cats to expect dinner when the Alexa alarm goes off. That saves me being woken up early by impatient cats. Since they know that absolutely nothing will happen until Alexa chimes, they don't bother with bothering me.

Except...

They seem to know when Alexa is jerking them around because their internal clocks are eerily accurate. Yesterday morning at 7:05 and this morning at 7:00am on the dot, Jenny started bringing me toys... apparently in an attempt at bribing me into feeding her. This morning after several rounds of bribes, she just kind of sat there staring at me and whimpering...

Jenny wants food

Heaven only knows how bad it's going to get when the delay gets longer and longer.

Stupid Daylight Saving Time. Can we please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, just split the difference and finally get rid of this stupid shit once and for all?

Early this week I had decided to wash the cat beds I put on the floor. This change was apparently too much for Jake, who walked in... walked out... walked in... walked out... then walked in again. Like he didn't recognize the place...

Jake in the morning

Poor Jake. As if he doesn't have it bad enough with his health issues. So far neither the antibiotics or the anti-inflammatory has been doing any good. I'm convinced that he doesn't have an infection and his constant need to go to the bathroom has to do with lingering effects of the catheter he had, but who knows. He's got two more doses of antibiotic left, so maybe. I won't really know until the labs are back.

On Thursday I spent over an hour desperately searching for a work document that I cannot find. What I did find was the exact moment I gave up on keeping my cats off the dining room table and decided to invest in Lysol and a plastic-back table cover. I remember this like it was yesterday. I went to scoot the cats off of the table and my mom told me to just let them be so she would have some company while she ate her chicken soup...

Jake and Jenny on the Dining Room Table with Mom

And that was that. I've been disinfecting the damn thing ever since.

I also found photos of Jake's first belly rub...

Jake's First Belly Rub with Mom

Up until that point, petting my cats was something you could only do on occasion. As feral rescues, they were very wary of being touched, and the idea of touching them on their bellies was something that didn't even seem possible. Then one day I came home from work and there was my mom... belly rubbing away on Jake's tummy. I think the look on his face tells it all.

Adult Swim fans will be happy to know that Jenny's infatuation with Rick from the amazing cartoon Rick and Morty is still in full swing. I was bored of watching Hallmark Christmas movies and decided to burn through a couple episodes which, not unexpectedly, had Jenny running in the room to snuggle up next to me and watch. There is something about Rick's voice that completely captivates her...

Jenny Loves Rick and Morty

Eventually it was dinner time and the spell was broken. But until that point, wild horses couldn't have dragged her away from the television.

And lastly on this fine Caturday, a meme that was burning it's way through my Facebook this past week...

Cat Pancake Meme

Cat Pancake Meme

Cat Pancake Meme

=dies=

This could be either one of my cats when I attempt some kind of condescending cuteness with them.

I tried to track down the owner of these photos so I could give proper credit, but all I could see was that it seemed to originate on a bunch of Chinese sites and no credit was ever given. Oh well. That's the internet for you.

And now... until next Caturday, then.

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Caturday 84

Posted on Saturday, November 10th, 2018

Dave!Today I headed over the mountains, leaving my cats alone overnight.

As if my cats didn't already hate me.

My week was spent getting death-stares from my cats (well, Jenny, anyway) because my efforts to ease them into Daylight Saving Time ending failed horribly. All they know is that I am starving them to death...

CATS WANT TO BE FED!

This next photo is from THE NEXT DAY. But you are forgiven for thinking that it was taken two minutes after the one above, because Jenny has the same sour look on her face...

CATS WANT TO BE FED!

Every day is the same. Jenny will saunter on the warming bed that sits on the coffee table. A little while later Jake will hop on the media center.

And then they will just glare at me.

And tonight, on the night I'm writing this because I was gone yesterday? On Sunday, November 11th, 2018? One week after Daylight Saving Time ended?

Same...

CATS WANT TO BE FED!

Though I should get some love, since I ended up having to free-feed them while I was gone again. They are thrilled at being the ones to decide when they get to eat (which is all the time).

I can only hope that next week they've forgotten all about Daylight Saving Time.

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Congratulations! You’re Pregnant!

Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Dave!My cats do adorably insane things every day. Most of the time all I can do is say "Why?!?"... then laugh about it.

This morning Jenny woke me up at 4:30am. She jumped on the bed. Meowed in my face. Then ran out of the room. "Why?!?" I'm assuming that she's still pissed about Daylight Saving Time ending, but that was a week-and-a-half ago, so who knows? Maybe she was just upset because President Trump said some stupid shit on Twitter (again) and wants everybody to be upset about it because she's upset about it. Heaven only knows that's how I feel daily.

Fortunately, I have the internet to keep me distracted from stupid shit with even stupider shit. Like a young cat named Ulla from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland (Friends of the Animals in Greenland) who underwent an ultrasound to verify she was pregnant...

Kitty Ultrasound by Dyrenes Venner
Photo from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland

Kitty Ultrasound by Dyrenes Venner
Photo from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland

Kitty Ultrasound by Dyrenes Venner
Photo from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland

Kitty Ultrasound by Dyrenes Venner
Photo from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland

Kitty Ultrasound by Dyrenes Venner
Photo from Dyrenes Venner i Grønland

   
As you can tell by Ulla's reaction, she was indeed pregnant... with four to five kittens!

My guess is her shock is because her boyfriend told her that he had been fixed. All men are liars!

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Caturday 85

Posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Dave!I've been steeped in cat drama again this week. Jake and Jenny are still pissed off that the clocks had to change when Daylight Saving Time ended.

But instead of sitting in front of the television hating on me, they are climbing up the cat tree to hate on me from above...

Jake and Jenny Don't Want to Wait for Dinner

Jake and Jenny Don't Want to Wait for Dinner

In other news, I finally decided to put one of my security cameras in the guest room (temporarily) so I could find out how Jake is getting up on top of the hutches...

I thought he found a way to grab onto something and pull himself up. It never occurred to me that he could jump this high!

The camera has also allowed me to see what else my cats are up to in there.

Now that the weather is cooler and it's colder in the house, Jenny has taken to sleeping in the little kitty bed I put in the guest room. It was a great plan, until... Jake decided that he wanted to sleep there. He'll watch her go in and get comfortable, then go in and squish her until she leaves...

Jake Steals a Bed

Though sometimes he is more careful about climbing in with her, and they end up squished together...

Jake and Jenny in a Bed

No idea how they are comfortable in there like that.

After seeing what was happening, I added a second bed...

Jake and Jenny in a Bed

Though sometimes they still end up in the same one...

Jake and Jenny in a Bed

Jenny had a bad dream a couple days ago. It's the first time this has happened in several months (unlike when she was a kitten and had frequent nightmares). She's been a bit clingy after, which is usually just fine. Except when I am trying to do something and she gets in the way...

Jake Steals a Bed

When the box she was in fell off the couch, Jenny retreated to the cat tree where she could keep a wary eye on it...

Jake and Jenny Don't Want to Wait for Dinner

And now... time to clean the litter boxes. Yay.

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Fly Away Felines

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018

Dave!When I first got Jake and Jenny I was unable to travel because I couldn't afford to pay a service to watch my mom. When I absolutely had to travel, I would bite the bullet and hire somebody. My cats would be terrified of them, but Jake and Jenny would sneak down to the feeders after the caregiver had filled them and walked away.

Once my mom had been moved to a facility, I wouldn't think anything about travel. I had cameras everywhere to look in on the cats. I have a kick-ass home security system to keep them safe. The automatic feeders and Litter-Robot would take care their needs. And they have each other to keep themselves company. If I was gone for more than two days, I'd hire a petsitter to visit every-other-day to make sure everything was tended to. Easy.

When I went to Antarctica and had no internet to check in on the kittehs, I was a little worried about leaving them... but not overly so. Why would I be? They're fine on their own.

But then Jake had his urinary blockage which, if left unattended, would have killed him in days. And now I am absolutely terrified to leave for more than two nights. Jake has been doing better and better over the last couple weeks, so my worries about leaving him have been lessening, but I still can't shake the idea that he's going to have another problem while I'm away.

And then there was tonight.

Several weeks ago, Jake ate two or three small shreds of cheese that fell on the floor when I was grating. A couple minutes later, he puked and puked and puked. Tonight while waiting for dinner, I had myself a snack of some cubed Velveeta. When I was done, there was no cheese left on the plate. So I didn't think anything of it when Jake jumped on the couch and started licking the plate. Sure enough... minutes later he started heaving. No puke, because there was no cheese for him to eat, but the smudges of residue were enough to trigger his stomach. So apparently any amount of dairy protein is enough to make the little guy sick. Which is strange. Because before his procedure to unblock his urinary tract, he would occasionally eat ACTUAL pieces of cheese off my plate with absolutely no problem. No idea what that's about, but I now know to keep anything dairy... no matter how small... away from him.

Hopefully no other allergies pop up.

Especially when I'm away.

I'll be sure to turn off Carl the Robovac just in case.

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Cat Thanksgiving

Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

Dave!For the first Thanksgiving in my entire life, I have nowhere I have to be. No heading to grandma's house for a family dinner. Grandma is gone. No driving over the mountains to buy a turkey plate for my mom at Denny's. Mom is gone. And while I'm grateful that I have places I could be, I think not being anywhere is what's best for me right now.

Last night I took a handful of sleeping pills so I wouldn't have to think about Thanksgiving. My cats decided to have a party.

  • Jake tried to get into the new auto-feeder and knocked it away from the bowls... so food was EVERYWHERE this morning.**
  • Jenny stepped on the "All Lights On" button on the home remote which lit up the entire ground floor at 2:30am.
  • Jake brought all his toys upstairs.
  • Jenny chased Jake on top of the writing desk and knocked over my Tiffany vase* (which wasn't broken).

So I woke up and got to clean up cat food, turn off lights, pick up toys, and gather toys for my Thanksgiving. Perfect!

Then I got to answer emails while being visited by my cats...

Jake Thanksgiving

Jenny Thanksgiving

Cat Thanksgiving

It was a great way to start my day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


*Back when Northwest Airlines was being merged with Delta, they sent out really nice Tiffany vases to their top-tier flyers as a "welcome gift" to Delta's SkyMiles frequent flyer program. Every once in a while I see them pop up on eBay (or other auction sites) for ridiculously low prices (usually around $40-$50).

**Guess I'm coming up with a way of securing the feeder so it can't move. Oh what fun...

Cat Feeder and Jake

Cat Feeder and Jake

Cat Feeder and Jake

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Three’s Company

Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Dave!How could I ever be lonely?
I'm never left alone for very long in this house.

Jenny Stalking Me

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Caturday 87

Posted on Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Dave!After Jake got back from his procedure to get his urinary tract unblocked, he was peeing a dozen times a day. You could tell he was frustrated and upset about his many, many trips to the litter box, but the medications we tried didn't do much to help. Rather than put him through even more torture of shoving medicine down his throat, I decided to be patient.

Two months after I first took him to the vet... and he's finally back to peeing normally. For the past week the Litter-Robots have been reporting 7-8 cycles per day. When dividing that between two cats, it's 3-4 times a day per cat, which is right where it had been before all this drama started.

To say I'm relieved is an understatement because I'm leaving for a short trip tomorrow. Yes, I've got a cat-sitter checking in and, yes, I've got a security system to keep them safe and cameras to look in on them... but it's not the same.

A part of my cat separation anxiety comes from feeding them. My original auto-feeder, the Feed-and-Go, was bricked and became non-functional when the monsters who made it shut down without warning anybody. Despite how it all ended, I liked the Feed-and-Go because it allowed me to remotely feed my cats if I noticed that Jake ate all of Jenny's food before she got to it or something. I've been looking into other internet-enabled feeders, but haven't found one I like. I bought a timed feeder ages ago as a backup, and decided to try that. I was going to order a second one, but apparently there's no way to sync their clocks which means you end up with one activating before the other. The solution was to buy a "splitter" that will feed two cats from the same feeder...

Cat Feeder Splitter Design

Problem is that the bowls are too close together, and sometimes Jake can block Jenny from getting to her meal. Also, the drop to the bowls is so high that food was bouncing out of the bowls and onto the floors. My solution for that was to build little chutes to transfer the food farther away...

Modified Cat Feeder Splitter

Modified Cat Feeder Splitter

All it took was cutting the drip well from a couple black plastic paint roller trays I found at Home Depot and taping them to the splitter. Not only does it allow the bowls to be farther apart, the change of angle slows the food pour so it ends up in the bowls instead of bouncing out onto the floor.

In other cat news, I noticed that Jenny has a floopy whisker that curls up. I think it might be due to her digging her face into the edge of the warming pad and laying there for hours. And she sleeping in the same position every day...

Jenny Sleeping

I've tried curling it back down, but it doesn't stay. She doesn't seem bothered about it so I guess it'll be that way until it falls out.

Jake, on the other hand, flops around every-which-way when sleeping, so he's floopy-whisker-free...

Jake Floppy

And so... guess I'd better be packing my suitcase.

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Bullet Sunday 490

Posted on Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Dave!December is here and you shopping days are numbered. But don't despair... because the greatest gift of all is here! Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Cap! I didn't think it was possible for me to want to see Captain Marvel more than I already did... but then this poster was released...

XXX

UPDATE: And then the second trailer was released...

And holy crap am I dying to see it now!

   
• SO CUTE! And now I want kittens! Again!

But... Jake and Jenny are plenty of cats in my house, so I'll just have to keep watching YouTube videos like this.

   
• A Catch! Speaking of cats and YouTube... my current obsession is watching cats catching fish videos...


Amazing. I don't know why I always thought that fish were an unnatural food for cats. Something that we humans got them addicted to. Maybe because most cats don't like water? But now that I've seen it? Makes perfect sense.

   
• Becoming! I purchased the audiobook of former First Lady Michelle Obama's Becoming because I wanted the experience of having her read it to me. I'm half-way through and it does not disappoint...

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Of course Obama-haters were going to crap all over her no matter what she wrote... and people hoping for dirt will be better-served elsewhere... but I enjoyed going behind the scenes of her life from her own perspective. Mrs. Obama's ability to advocate for hope is inspiring, and I found her words was a welcome distraction.

   
• IN THE NEWS! "REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO TRIED TO KILL YEMEN WAR RESOLUTION WERE PAID BY SAUDI LOBBYISTS" — We truly do have the best government money can buy. This is fucking disgraceful. For the life of me, I don't understand why Americans aren't rioting in the streets over this bullshit.

   
• A Man Called Ove! I've seen this remarkable Swedish film four times now. I think I love it more with each viewing...

I honestly don't know how to feel about Tom Hanks doing an American remake. Usually Americanizing a foreign film doesn't bode well, but... Tom Hanks. I want so badly for it to be good. If, for no other reason, that Americans who don't like watching films with subtitles will get to see this terrific story.

   
And that's the end of that. Fun times await me, as I'm flying out tonight.

   

Homeward Tuesday Bound

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Dave!Originally I was to fly home on Thursday. This "buffer time" was in case weather caused me to arrive late or there was a problem at work that delayed my leaving by a day or two. Well, there were indeed problems at work (we started four hours late) but, fifteen hours later, I was free.

Exhausted to the point of feeling like my brain had melted. But free.

So instead of waiting until Thursday night to fly home, I rebooked my return trip for tonight. I lost my premium seat, but I'll take getting home two days early in a coach seat any day.

After two days without sleep, I managed to sneak in a four-hour nap at my hotel before they kicked me out. Then there was a 45-minute drive down to Portland for dessert for lunch...

Apple Crisp

Followed by shopping for new Dr. Pussum's Organic Maine Catnip toys that my cats go crazy for...

Cat Toys

And, no, I decided against buying a President Trump toy. If Jake and Jenny want to play with something like that, they can dig in the litter box.

The remaining 100 miles to Boston Logan International Airport blew by in two hours and... viola... here I am flying home... TWO DAYS EARLY! Can you believe my luck?

Sure I'll get home after midnight and still have to go to work in the morning, but still... home.

   

Happy Third Birthday Jake and Jenny!

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Dave!It's Jake and Jenny's birthday today! And, miracle of miracles, I'm actually here for once. Last year I was in Antarctica. The year before that I was flying to Maine. Today I was supposed to be in Maine, but got to fly home early.

Since Jake and Jenny were feral rescues, I'm not quite sure how the Human Society came up with their birth date. Maybe the person who found them saw when they were born? I dunno. But December 6th is what's on their adoption papers, so that's what it's been.

It doesn't seem like it's been three years.

But since 3 cat years is about 30 in human years, maybe it seems longer to them? Next year they'll be 35 human years old. At this rate they'll be older than me in 2023!

Jenny spent her birthday terrorizing her brother.

Jake spent his birthday chasing after his sister for terrorizing him.

Typical Jenny. She sneaks up behind Jake and waits...

Jenny Terrorizes Jake

Then when she's sure he hasn't heard her, she pounces...

Jenny Terrorizes Jake

At which point Jake jumps four feet in the air...

Jenny Terrorizes Jake

And a chase ensues.

You can watch the video below. It's pretty spectacular...

I don't know why Jenny feels the need to act this way toward her brother. Maybe it's because he's always invading her sleeping space? I dunno. Sometimes she seems happy to have the company...

Jake and Jenny Sharing Sleepytime

And so... happy birthday, cats!

Adopting you both is still one of the best decisions I've ever made!

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Caturday 88

Posted on Saturday, December 8th, 2018

Dave! The day before yesterday was Jake and Jenny's third birthday and it was a day-long celebration. For breakfast they got the horrific stinky sardines that they love so much. For dinner they got even stinkier fish stew plus kitty treats for dessert. I also gave them the two Maine catnip toy presents I bought while I was in Other Portland. So... not a bad day to be my cats.

Though, let's be honest, every day is a good day to be my spoiled kittehs!

Seems like just yesterday they invaded my home...

Jenny & Jake

KITTENS!

Jake!

Jenny!

Which brings us to my favorite photo of Jake and Jenny ever...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

Adorable, aren't they?

They're just as adorable today... but a bit bigger...

Jake!

Jenny!

Jake and Jenny Waiting

Way back in January I listed my nicknames for my cats. As I was reminiscing over the past three years, I thought to go back and revisit them. Surprisingly, they've changed quite a bit. Though Jake is still "Jakey Bear" 90% of the time, I still mix it up a bit for him. Jenny is almost always "Jenny" and I rarely use nicknames for her anymore. No idea why.

Nicknames for Jake:
Jakey Bear
Sweetie Bear
Pooh Bear
Poo
Poo Head
Poopie Butt
Pooper
Poopernoodle
Pooper Trooper
Super Pooper
Poopinator
My Little Vet Bill
The Six Million Dollar Cat
Thank God I Have Insurance

Nicknames for Jenny:
Jenny Bean
Sweetie Girl
Poo Two

And, on that note, it's their dinner time in three minutes, so I guess I'd better wrap this up. Heaven only knows I wouldn't want to keep them waiting!

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