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New Year, New Day

Posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Dave!Happy New Year's Day! Happy 2019!

I'm doing really well this morning since I decided to stay home and hang out with my cats instead of going out and drinking my weight in alcohol last night.

All was going well until the fireworks started blasting around 7:00pm. Jenny, who is usually the biggest scaredy cat over the smallest thing did surprisingly well. She was shocked at first, hid under the bed for a while, but was pretty much ignoring the noise an hour later. Jake, on the other hand, was scared out of his furry little mind. I was able to lure him out from under the bed with treats, but he was on edge the whole night and would be terrified whenever more fireworks would start banging.

Rather than be afraid alone, he decided to try and squeeze in next to Jenny on the coffee table cat bed where she had set up camp...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
Jenny wouldn't budge, so Jake finally just shoved her out of the way...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
Jenny was not at all happy about this. So she tried smacking him on the head to get him to leave...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
When that didn't work, she decided biting him on the ear might be the answer...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
Finally she decided to just squeeze in next to Jake like he had tried to do to her...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
It kinda(?) worked...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
I thought maybe she had succeeded in forcing him out just like he had forced her out...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
But he was just getting re-situated and wasn't planning on going anywhere...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
And so... they ended up sharing...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
Which Jenny was not happy about because she couldn't get comfortable...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
Finally she flipped around, which was just the ticket. Jake was happy to have something to hang onto since the fireworks were still going on...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
But eventually Jenny was tired of being crowded and decided to find someplace else to ride out the firework noise. Jake looked a little depressed after she left...

Jake and Jenny... BED FIGHT!

   
If only cats could just do a couple shots of Jägermeister to make everything better.

Fortunately belly rubs work just as well...

Jake and Jenny... BELLY RUBZ!

Jake and Jenny... BELLY RUBZ!

Jake and Jenny... BELLY RUBZ!

Jake and Jenny... BELLY RUBZ!

But more on that tomorrow...

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Caturday 91

Posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2019

Dave!For the longest time after I got Jake and Jenny, they were completely silent. They didn't meow at me or try to communicate at all. I, on the other hand, talked to them all the time.

Then Jenny started talking back. Jake tried to talk back, but he can't meow for some reason (unless he's stressed out, apparently). He kinda squawks a bit though. Especially if I look in his direction and he wants to be petted. Jenny mostly wants kitty treats when she meows.

They don't talk to each other at all. They chase each other around from time to time, however. Otherwise they just kinda work around each other. Sometimes literally.

Jenny was sitting directly in front of the cat door looking at something outside. Jake then decides HE wants to look outside, but he can't see around his sister. He tries one side... then the other side... then goes back to the other side. And still can't see out. He was not happy...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

Finally he figures out that if he twists his head, he can look past her...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

He looked outside sideways for several minutes until Jenny got bored and left.

Jenny gets bored easily. Which is why I think she likes watching television so much. Her favorite thing to watch is Rick and Morty. But I was re-watching Isle of Dogs recently and she was totally absorbed...

Jenny Watches Television

After a while she decided she wanted to sit next to me while watching the movie, which is what she usually does...

Jenny Watches Television

She's too adorable, even if she has a couple floopy whiskers...

Jenny Watches Television

She's even more adorable when she decides that the drawstrings on my favorite hoodie are more entertaining than what's on television. It only cost me $100 and I had to fly to the bottom of the earth to get it... but please do chew on my Hard Rock Ushuaia hoodie. It's fine...

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jake never wants to sit and watch television with me. He just climbs on my lap and falls asleep. He does like my computer to scratch his face though. They both do...

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

With the exception of my hoodie strings, my cats are surprisingly great about not chewing on stuff they shouldn't be chewing on. They are happy to chew on their toys when they feel the need. Assuming they let each other.

After dinner one day this past week, Jake was laying on the floor gnawing on Mufasa. Jenny comes bolting through the room, snatches Mufasa, then goes running to the stairs.

"JENNY! Why are you stealing your brother's toy?" I ask. She then drops the toy, runs up the stairs, and glares at me. I grab my iPhone to capture the moment, at which time she looks away and whistles. Or appears to be whistling. Can cats whistle? I dunno. So guilty!

Jenny Steals Mufasa

Jake wasn't too bothered. A minute later he went out in the catio because he saw Fake Jake walk by.

Fickle kitteh.

See you next Caturday!

   

The Catio Murder

Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Dave!There are two reasons I decided that Jake and Jenny were going to be indoor-only cats. The first reason was to protect them. I don't want them attacked by dogs... run over by a car... or hurt by some heinous excuse for a human being. No, for my peace of mind and their safety, they are staying indoors.

The second reason was to save the poor birds, mice, and other critters that cats seem to relish torturing.

That being said, I really didn't want to deny my cats access to the outdoors. There's too many interesting things to look at (and even more interesting things to smell) which can help make their lives more exciting than if they were trapped inside all the time. and so... I built a "catio" for them so they can go out when they feel like it. Jake and Jenny love the catio... especially in Spring and Summer when they are out there all day lounging around.

Unfortunately, an occasional bird wanders into the catio. It's happened twice. The first time I was able to build a tunnel to shoo the poor thing outside. The second time I managed to rescue it and get it un-stunned so it could fly off.

Then yesterday it happened a third time. Unfortunately I wasn't home to rescue the poor thing, so I came home to a dead bird yesterday...

Poor Dead Bird

I had no idea which of my cats were responsible. My money was on Jake. He was the one who caught the birds the other two times. So I check the security cameras and, sure enough...

Jake sure can move like lightning when he wants to!

A part of me wants to add a fence screen to the bottom foot of the catio to hopefully prevent birds from hopping in. But then I worry that if a bird comes in from above and wants to get out, a screen might make that tough. And so... since it has only happened three times in three years (with only one fatality), maybe I should just hope it continues to be a rare event and leave well enough alone.

Having to disinfect my home because the cats bring in dead birds is no fun at all. I mean just look at Jake going nuts and tossing that poor bird carcass around...

Bring on the Pine-Sol.

And not just for dead birds.

Tonight Jake threw up his dinner.

This is scary and worrisome to me. I'm hopeful that he somehow ate a shred of cheese from my pizza to make him vomit. Because the alternative could be that he's got urinary problems again. The first time was such a horrible ordeal for the little guy that I am in no hurry to go through that again.

And I'm sure Jake would agree.

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A Clean Place to Poop

Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Dave!Last month I was reading through one of the dozens of "Little Things You Can Do to Save The Planet" type articles I found online. In the list was the idea to wear clothes more than once before washing. At first I dismissed it out-of-hand. I'm not wearing dirty clothes! I don't even wear dirty clothes when I travel! And it's true. I bring more than enough clothes to make sure I can change every day.

But then I got to thinking...

Most days I wake up, take a shower, put on a pair of jeans, go to work, then come home and change into a pair of sweats after tossing my jeans in the hamper. Which means I wear the jeans for 8 hours in a clean environment and then waste water, energy, and detergent washing something that's not dirty.

And so... for a month now I've been coming home and hanging my jeans on a different color hanger so I can wear them a second time later on. Easy.

And since it was so easy, I decided to revisit the list and see what else I might be able to do.

It looks like my next step will be trying a biodegradable cat litter. I didn't realize that the clay litter I was using doesn't biodegrade.

Hopefully my cats will use it. Because something tells me that they really don't care about saving the planet...

Jake

They do care about having a clean place to poop. And I would just as soon have it not be my floors.

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Caturday 92

Posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2019

Dave!Ever since Jake got home from his week-long stay at the vet, he's been more clingy than usual. He also doesn't want to be left alone. If Jenny follows me upstairs while he's asleep, he'll wander around crying when he wakes up until I holler down for him.

This has been tough of Jenny, who likes her independence.

I've tried to make sure that everywhere there's a bed she likes to sleep in, there's a second bed for Jake. This was a little confusing for her at first...

Dueling Cat Beds

But it actually ended up working...

Dueling Cat Beds

For a minute or two. Then Jake was right back to crowding in on her...

Dueling Cat Beds

Needless to say, she isn't thrilled...

Dueling Cat Beds

After a while Jenny escapes, leaving poor Jake alone again...

Dueling Cat Beds

Every once in a while Jenny does a bit of rearranging, which kinda works...

Dueling Cat Beds

But the minute things are back to the way they were, Jake wants to share again...

Dueling Cat Beds

Dueling Cat Beds

It's been three months since the vet, so I can only guess Jake's behavior change is here to stay.

How this is going to affect Jenny's behavior remains to be seen.

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Snow Day

Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2019

Dave!We keep getting promised snow in the weather forecast, but it never comes. Then yesterday morning it started coming down like crazy. We had inches accumulate in short order. My cats couldn't get enough of it, and spent all morning hanging out in the catio watching the flakes fall. They came in for breakfast, but then it was right back outside.

When it was time to go to work, I stuck my head out to make sure all was well...

JENNY: =meow=
JAKE: =squawk=
ME: Yes, I see that. It's snowing!
JENNY: =meow=
JAKE: =squawk=
ME: Yes, how exciting!
JENNY: =meow=
JAKE: =squawk=
ME: No, you can't go play in it. You'll get all wet and make a mess in the house!
JENNY: =meow=
JAKE: =squawk=

But then I got to thinking that it's unfair they don't get to experience snow like outdoor cats do. They also don't get to experience walking on grass. What I need to do is create some kind of catio tunnel out to the yard. Then I need to find a way to bury some latches under the grass so I can secure a cage there. That way I can have a safe way for Jake and Jenny to walk on snow in the winter and grass in the summer... but also have it be removable so the lawn can be mowed.

Something to think about. In the meanwhile... I can shovel a little snow into the catio for them to play with.

Jenny ran out immediately so she could see what it was all about...

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

Jake was a bit more cautious. He circled around it trying to sniff out what it could be. Probably trying to determine if he could eat it...

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

Then he pawed around it for a while...

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

Eventually he saw me through the window and started squawking at me. Assumably telling me that the snow made his feet cold. I tried to explain that he needs to step off the snow to fix that, but he just stood there complaining...

Jake and Jenny Playing in the Snow in Their Catio

And that was the end of that. Tonight it's pouring rain, which I'm assuming will melt all the snow. Again.

Guess it was good while it lasted.

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Caturday 93

Posted on Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Dave!I am telling you... if I end up dead under mysterious circumstances, my cats are likely responsible.

Earlier this week I was awakened by my cats raising holy hell in the guest bedroom downstairs. Wanting to know what in the heck was going on, I grabbed my phone to look at the security camera and got... a black screen. Reviewing the footage revealed that one of them had pushed the camera off the dresser at 1:02am. The last thing recorded was A GIANT ALIEN CAT EYE STARING AT THE LENS!!! ZOMG!

Cat in the Security Camera!

Which means their shenanigans this morning were premeditated. I don't bolt the camera to the wall because I need to remove it when guests are staying with me. I honestly didn't think that would be a problem. But there I go again... underestimating my cats...

Cat in the Security Camera!

In other news...

Jake has started sitting like this now...

Jake Perching

He does it everywhere...

Jake Perching

And he's thoroughly irritated that I'm photographing him all the time. Look at that face!

Jake Perching

Awwww... look at that face...

Jake in Blue

And in Jenny news...

I try not to interfere in my cats' skirmishes. I worried about Jenny for the longest time since she's smaller than Jake... but it turns out that she's more than capable of taking care of herself. Not only that, but she often is the instigator. Take, for example when Jake was out in the catio running around acting the fool. She sits there watching him through the window... AND THEN... when Jake wants to come back inside, she lunges for the cat door and scares him off. SHE DID THIS THREE TIMES IN A ROW!...

Jenny Attack

Jenny Attack

I finally had to intervene so poor Jake could come inside.

But they still hang out together otherwise, so I guess it's all good...

XXX

XXX

   
And now... it's kitty dinner time. Can't keep the little monsters waiting.

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Poop on a Triscuit

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Dave!I'm trying not to swear in front of my cats.

Well, technically I'm trying not to swear out loud any more. I worry about somebody hearing me being an ass who would just as soon not hear it. Including young kids, babies, church groups, and Vice President Mike Pence. As well as my cats.

The challenge is trying to come up with alternatives which adequately convey my feelings about a situation.

Like just now when I realized that I left my phone at work and have to go back and get it.

I was about to yell "Fuck!" but instead said "Poop on a Triscuit!"

Jake and Jenny seemed confused. I'm guessing it's because they hear me scream "Fuck!" all the time and are accustomed to it... but the Triscuit thing is something new.

I hope that Vice President appreciates that.

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Caturday 94

Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Dave!This morning Jenny demanded belly rubs after she had breakfast. She hopped on the bed, sauntered up to me, then flopped over on her back and waited impatiently. I was happy to comply... except she was irritated at the way I was rubbing her belly. She'd grunt. She'd flop around. She'd paw at my hand to move it. She'd contort herself to get me to the right spot. But no matter what I did, Jenny was having none of it. She kept getting more and more frustrated until she meowed in disgust and walked off.

When I went downstairs to work while my bread was rising, Jenny sat next to me on the back of the couch, but refused to look at me no matter how many times I tried to talk to her...

Jenny Ignores Me

After some butt-scratches for a little while, she started to forgive me, but was still perturbed...

Jenny Ignores Me

There are times I'd give anything to be able to talk to my cats. This was one of those times.

But then, with a little patience...

Jenny Forgives Me

Jenny Forgives Me

   
In other news... my cats are still trying to kill me. Yesterday's morning tributes included Mufasa, a piece of rope I used to make the massive scratching pole in the catio, and one of my mom's rubber stamps. Made of wood. Which hurts a LOT when you step on it. Where did it come from? How did they bring it here? How did they fit it in their mouth? What does it mean? How long does it take foot pain to go away? WHY ARE MY CATS TRYING TO KILL ME?!?...

Jenny Ignores Me

   

My Philips HUE light in my bedroom lights up on "low" a half hour before I get up at 7am to feed the cats. It then keeps increasing in brightness until my Alexa alarm goes off. It's supposed to be simulating a sunrise or something. Anyway... the minute light clicks on at 6:30am, Jake has learned that this means it's getting close to breakfast. He then hops on the bed to stare at me for a half hour...

Jake Wants Breakfast

IS IT BREAKFAST TIME YET? I'M LITERALLY DYING OF STARVATION! I'M JUST GOING TO SIT HERE STARING AT YOU UNTIL YOU FEED ME. I HOPE THIS MAKES YOU FEEL BAD.

If he's feeling really frisky (or hungry) he will hop on top of me...

Jake Wants Breakfast

Or, if he's feeling lazy, he'll lay down beside me and fall asleep...

Jake Stretch

Jake is pretty much back to normal after his health scare. Still likes to sit on my lap when I'm trying to work...

Jake Laptop Cat

And he still watches for birds to land in the catio so he can attack them...

Jake Waits

But his behavior has definitely changed, because he still doesn't want to sleep alone...

Jake Loves Jenny

Jake Loves Jenny

He will sleep in the guest bedrooms alone if I'm at home. If I'm downstairs, he'll sleep in the downstairs guest bedroom... it I'm upstairs he'll sleep in the upstairs guest bedroom. But his days of being fully independent when sleeping seem to be over.

So long as Jenny doesn't mind, I guess it's all good.

Hey, maybe she can train Jake the right way to scratch her belly? He speaks cat, so maybe...

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Caturday 95

Posted on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Dave!As I've bragged many times, my cats are remarkably well-behaved.

They don't bother me when I'm sleeping. They don't scratch or chew on things they shouldn't. They rarely go where they're not supposed to. And they really don't try to get at my food while I'm eating it. Even Jake has the manners to wait until I'm finished before sniffing my dishes for crumbs. Jenny, on the other hand, doesn't seem interested in people food at all.

At least that's what I thought... until she made a bee-line for my chip dip...

Jenny Tries Dip

Once she smelled garlic, she was over it in a real hurry, however.

Instead she and Jake decided to stare me down in the hopes of getting an early dinner...

Jake and Jenny Want Dinner

In other news, Jake has started snuggling up with me since his sister has been getting more and more annoyed with him trying to snuggle up to her...

Jake Looking

Jake Looking

Jenny, who has always loved watching television, has started getting interested in computer videos now. Last night I was watching an otter video when she leaped up on the couch behind me to take a look...

Jenny Watches Otters on YouTube

She must really like otters, because she came in for a closer look...

Jenny Watches Otters on YouTube

Guess I need to install YouTube on the cats' iPad.

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Bird Boxing

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Dave!A while back Jake managed to murder a poor bird that wandered into the catio, leaving me a not-so-nice present when I returned home.

My hope was that this would be a rare incident. But the little maniac struck again last night. Luckily this time I was home and could run out and admonish him so the bird could escape...

If I weren't so mortified at Jake's homicidal tendencies, it would actually be funny. The minute I open the back door he's like "whut?" and the bird plops right out of his mouth and wanders out to the back porch.

As soon as the bird had escaped I immediately ran to get a box I could cut open as a temporary shelter to keep the snow off of him and (hopefully) keep him safe from another cat. But by the time I had made it back there he had flown away...

Box for a Bird

He didn't look gravely injured, just shocked, so I'm hopeful he was able to recover. I have no idea how much damage Jake does when he attacks, but I'm assuming there's some kind of puncture wound from his claws/teeth. Poor bird.

Except...

A couple weeks ago I got an alert that somebody was breaking into my house. It ended up being a bird...

Bird in Flight

Just before it snowed, it happened again...

Bird in Flight

Bird in Flight

   
Maybe these bird break-ins are not accidental.

What if... they are seeking revenge?!?

Somebody alert Tippi Hedren.

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Excuse Me

Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Dave!I've been preoccupied with work lately, starting up at at 5am and working until late. This is no fun for me... but it's even less fun for my cats. I still make time for them whenever they want attention or need to be petted, of course, but I'm not going out of my way. This is confusing to them, resulting in Jake and Jenny being a little more needy than usual.

"Excuse me. Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior, Hill's Prescription Diet Ocean Fish Dinner?"

Jake Looking Over My Computer Screen

   
After next week I'm hoping to be caught up enough that things can get back to normal.

Or whatever passes for normal when you have cats.

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Caturday 96

Posted on Saturday, February 9th, 2019

Dave!And so we're in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning.

Which sounds like a bad thing, but I'm so grateful that there will be more snow accumulating in the mountains that I just don't care. Not having to go through a drought come Summer is worth it.

Jake doesn't care much about the snow or rain. He mostly ignores the weather. If the snow is really coming down, he might go out in the catio and watch for a while. Jenny on the other hand?

Jenny Watching Snow

Jenny Watching Snow

Jenny Watching Snow

Jenny is greatly upset by the weather. When it rains, she meows at the drops falling on the roof. When she sees big snowflakes falling, she meows at them (and her brother) through the window...

Jenny Watching Jake Out eh Window with Snow

Or hides in a paper bag...

Jenny in a Paper Bag

Jenny in a Paper Bag

Jenny in a Paper Bag

   
In other news... Jenny is still stealing Mufasa from Jake whenever he does something to piss her off.

So there I was headed to take a shower when Jenny comes charging up the stairs with Mufasa in her mouth at top speed. She dashes into her bedroom and I hear rustling as she runs through the cat tunnel... then strolls out of the room like nothing happened. I must say, this is not a very inventive hiding spot...

Jenny Puts Mufasa in a Tunnel

Don't worry about Jake though. He knows how to console himself by eating my junk food picnic...

Jake Steaking Junk Food

And demanding consolation scratches...

Jake Wants Scratches

Jake Wants Scratches

   
And... it looks like the foot of snow we got is going to be it. Not much of a "winter storm" if you ask me.

But don't try to tell Jenny that.

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A Boy and His Lion

Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

Dave!Worst. Monday. Morning. Evar.

Which is bound to happen when your bed ends up covered in cat vomit and you pull a muscle in your back.

But we'll get to that. First let me back up to yesterday, which was a much better day for me.

As I've mentioned a few times, Jenny has a vindictive streak and knows exactly what buttons to push on poor Jake when he pisses her off. First thing on her list? Stealing Mufasa, his stuffed lion and favorite toy. Many times when Jake has done her wrong, she runs off with Mufasa and hides him away somewhere. Jake will then spend hours trying to find him.

Yesterday I found Mufasa stuffed behind the garbage can in the bathroom so I took him to Jake, who was lounging on top of the cat tree in my bedroom. It was like Christmas morning...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake oftentimes latches onto Mufasa with his claws and swings him around...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

But it always comes back to bite-bite time...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

He was all smiles for a good ten minutes...

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Jake and Mufasa

Good times. Good times.

I am dreading the day that Mufasa gets ripped to shreds. I've already had to repair him once, so his time on this earth is coming to an end eventually. A friend checked at the gift shop "Out of Africa" in Johannesburg's airport where I got him but, alas, they are no longer selling Mufasas. Every once in a while I check eBay just to see if one will pop up, but no luck so far.

Anyway...

This morning at 4:00am Jake hops on the bed and wakes me up in distress. He's making chirping noises and acting like he wants to throw up, which is a rare thing for my cats to do. I'm immediately worried that he's sick with a urinary problem again, but it turns out it was just a hairball. A hairball that took him a full ten minutes to hack up, the poor guy. He was pretty whipped after that, so I threw off my vomit-covered sheets and let him rest up for a bit before I took them to the wash.

Not wanting to disturb Jake on my bed after his rough morning, I decided to take a nap on the couch. But it wasn't ten minutes before I heard a cat howling and was freaking out that Jake or Jenny was hurt... only to realize that it was coming from outside. Turns out that the people who plow my driveway piled the snow over the path that I keep shoveled for the neighborhood cat, Fake Jake, to get around my home so he can get to his food and his bathroom out back.

And so... there goes my morning nap...

Snow Shoveling

Snow Shoveling

Snow Shoveling

   
And so... crisis averted...

Fake Jake on His Path

Fake Jake on His Path

That'll teach me not to get up and start shoveling when the snow removal team messes with Fake Jake's routine!

After my bagel and cream cheese breakfast, I took a shower and got ready for work. All was good... until... I went to get in my car and pulled something in my back. I had screwed it up last week and had been taking care to move gently until it had healed. I thought I was fine... but then had to go shoveling a path for a cat and messed things up again.

Good times. Good times.

   

Afternoons with Jake

Posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Dave!In order to be able to take time off to go to Vegas, I had to work obscenely long hours the week before I left. Because I had to work obscenely long hours, I was sleep-deprived and my body was run down. Because I was run down, my immune system was compromised. And because my immune system was compromised, I got sick on my flight to/from Las Vegas.

It has been pretty bad. So bad that I've only been able to work part-days since returning. The rest of the time I've been plopped down on the couch watching television with my cats. But mostly Jake...

Sick at Home with Jake

Jenny is easily spooked and would run away when I'd cough or blow my nose. Jake is somehow able to ignore it. Kinda like with the vacuum cleaner.

The good news is that I'm all caught up on my shows.

The bad news is that I'm going to have to start working late so I can get caught up on the work I missed while I was sick.

The vicious circle continues.

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Caturday 97

Posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Dave!Like most people with cats, I do what I can to keep them amused. I put cat trees in the windows so they can look out. I buy all kinds of toys. I put scratching posts everywhere. I built a catio so they can go outside. And I play with them when I can find time.

But Jake and Jenny are also fairly inventive when it comes to entertaining themselves. Which mostly involves them chasing each other all around the house.

Jake's latest entertainment? Climbing up to the top perch in the catio, knocking icicles off the roof, then running down and playing with any pieces that landed inside the catio...

Jenny doesn't like the racket, but will gladly go out and play with any ice on the ground once the commotion is over.

The icicles on the catio are pretty small. They don't have the water volume to get very big, so they're not much of a danger. The icicles off the roof, however, are pretty severe. Once Jake and Jenny hear one drop, both cats will rush to the window and hang out for long periods of time waiting for more to drop...

Icicles out my window

Unfortunately, Jake will stare out any window waiting for icicles, even on a side of the house where there are no icicles. My neighbor slams a car door and away he goes, staring not at the neighbors, but at the roof-line...

Jake staring at icicles that don't exist

It's okay that he's not terribly bright, because he's awfully handsome...

Jake looking handsome

Maybe once the icicles are gone, I'll have to see if tossing some ice cubes in the catio will end up being something they want to play with. It's certainly worth a shot because it beats spending money on toys they get bored of in ten minutes.

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Raccoon Patrol

Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Dave!Well, the family of raccoons were back last night. Though this time I only counted three instead of the five that showed up last time.

Usually when another cat wanders by the catio, Jake and Jenny are dashing for the kitty-door at top speed so they can confront whomever is invading their territory. But when it's raccoons, Jake is perfectly happy to watch them pass from the comfort and safety of inside the house...

Once the gaze had passed, Jake went dashing out to make sure they were really gone, which had me all kinds of worried. What if they came back and took a swipe at him? After the problems with his urinary tract last year, I was not anxious for yet another emergency visit to the vet for a rabies check. He spent the rest of the night wandering between all the windows to make sure the danger didn't return. By the time I went to bed at 1:30am, the poor guy was thoroughly tuckered out and fell fast asleep next to me within minutes.

Jenny, meanwhile, was obliviously sleeping in the guest bedroom... never appreciating that Jake was protecting her from the threat of DEATH BY RACCOON.

I can't fathom what raccoons find to eat this time of year. And I notice that they're noticeably thinner than last time. Hopefully it's not scarcity of food that's driven them from where they normally live. Thanks to Jake, Jenny, and Fake Jake, I have my hands full caring for enough animals already.

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Shoveling After Midnight

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Dave!This has been a weird, wacky winter.

To begin with, our snow came late this year. For a while I was worried that we were in for a drought come summertime because there wasn't much of a snow pack in the mountains. After a couple false starts, the snow came down in earnest, and now it's piled up like a "normal" winter here.

Except...

We keep getting warm spells in-between the snowfalls. Warm blue skies will pop up, things will start to melt, you'll think that winter is over... and then it snows again.

Last night as I was watching television there was a rumble coming from the catio. When I looked out the window, I saw that a pile of snow had fallen off the roof, obliterating the path that Fake Jake uses to get to his food and bathroom spot. At first I thought I'd write a note to remind me to shovel it out in the morning... but then I felt bad if poor Fake Jake had to pee in the middle of the night, so I grabbed my snow shovel from the trunk of my car and headed out back to get to work.

Except I couldn't open the door...

Catio Icicles at Midnight

Because of all the warm days, the catio screen door was blocked. The water drips off the roof down these massive icicles, forming a pile of ice in front of the door. Making it impossible to open. So instead I had to trudge through snow all the way around the house so I could even get to my patio...

Me Shoveling at Midnight

Then I had to trudge back to get a hammer. The icicles were so big that I couldn't snap them off or break them with my shovel. Instead I had to get a hammer and chip away at them. The last thing I want is for Fake Jake to be walking there and have icicles fall and impale the poor guy.

My neighbors probably didn't appreciate my banging away after midnight, but it was all for a worthy cause.

This coming summer I need to work on clearing a pathway under my eaves to make it easier for Fake Jake to navigate in the winter. Right now it's all rocks, which are difficult to walk on, so I need to come up with something different. I also need to see about adding some kind of overhang to my pergola plans so that there's no ice buildup outside the catio. Some kind of snow removal tool in the design would be good too.

Ugh. I hope spring gets here soon so I have time to get everything done that I need to do before next winter rolls around.

   

Caturday 98

Posted on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

Dave!Without being able to keep any food down for two-and-a-half days, I couldn't do much except sleep. Which was fine. My hope was that I'd be able to snooze through my stomach flu. It was a nice plan, except my head and neck ached so badly that getting comfortable enough to sleep was not easy.

This morning when the alarm to feed the cats went off, my plan was to try eating a bagel for breakfast. But when I got out of bed to go downstairs, I felt waves of nausea crash over me, so I decided to feed the cats then go right back to bed.

That's when I saw that Jake and Jenny had brought up a huge number of toys in the middle of the night... assumably to give me something to play with as I lay around recovering...

Isn't that sweet?

And speaking of bed...

My cats have been by my side for pretty much the entire time I've been confined to my bedroom. Even though I've done nothing but sleep and watch television. Both of them enjoy watching television with me, so it's the perfect holiday to them...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Though Jenny often looked at me warily. I'm guessing it's because she doesn't know whether or not the stomach flu was contagious to cats...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

I swear, Jenny can give the most adorable sour looks.

Jake didn't seem to worry too much about getting sick, however...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Not that my sickness stopped Jenny from taking her turn getting belly rubs...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

And butt scratches...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

I think the kitties actually like it when I'm sick and spend all day with them...

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Sick in Bed with Cats!

Kinda nice to have somebody keeping me company all this time.

I guess.

I mean, it's not like they decided to clean the house or make their own breakfast to help me out.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for another nap.

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Caturday 99

Posted on Saturday, March 9th, 2019

Dave!Now that the weather has been nicer, Fake Jake is spending a lot more time outside of the heated shelter I built for him. The nights are still bitter cold though, so he's still hunkered down after sunset.

Many days he is waiting for me when I return home from work so he can get scratches. If it's warm out, I'll even leave the door open so he can visit with Jake through the screen door...

Jake Visits With Fake Jake

Fake Jake is too violent with other cats for me to risk letting him inside for a visit, but I think it's good for my cats to interact with other cats from time to time.

Though Jenny would still prefer to do so from a distance...

Jenny Visits With Fake Jake from Afar

But not always. Sometimes when she's out in the catio, she'll sit quietly as one of the neighborhood cats walks by...

Jenny in the Catio Watching a Cat Walk By

If they turn to engage her through the fence, however, she'll run back inside as fast as her little legs will carry her.

My cats have been doing a lot of rough-housing lately, but it must all be in good fun since they still get along just fine...

I'm really proud of Jenny. She will happily stand her ground (or even be the one to engage in battle) despite the fact that she's 1/3 smaller than Jake. This was not always the case. She used to run away if Jake even thought about taking a swipe at her. But now? She is a scheming death machine who will happily hide in waiting to ambush Jake when she is feeling sassy.

Last night Jake shoved her out of her cat bed (again) at which point she retreated to the cat tree so she could stare daggers down at him...

Jenny Giving Jake the Death Stare

Meanwhile Jake is blissfully unaware that death is lurking from above...

Jake Sleeping

Lucky for Jake, Jenny was really tired and face-planted while she was planning her attack...

Jenny Falls Asleep

   
This has been an incredibly difficult week for me, and I think my cats can sense that. On the days I've spent home, they've worked in shifts to keep me company. Jake has even taken to spending the entire night sleeping next to me...

Jake Being My Sad Company

Jake Being My Sad Company

This is a bit unusual because usually Jake and Jenny will only sleep next to me while I'm awake and petting them. The minute I fall asleep and stop petting them, they'll leave.

And speaking of leaving... looks like we've come to the end of another Caturday.

   
UPDATE: Tonight was a night filled with cat drama. Jake and Jenny saw raccoons outside and got all fired up. This resulted in a lot of running around the house for no particular reason. But, so long as they are entertained, I'm entertained.

Until...

There I was catching up on television when I heard a massive crash upstairs. After running up to see what happened, I see that my nightstand has been knocked over. Jenny is sitting there like "Whut?" and Jake is nowhere to be found. Eventually I find him under the bed and manage to coax him out. Unfortunately he's limping, which has me filled with dread over a possible vet visit. But... Jake's done this before, so I stop panicking and wait it out. Sure enough, pretty soon he forgets that he was ever limping.

All of my dressers and shelves have been anchored to the wall. I heard about kids getting squashed by unanchored furniture, so I took no chances with my cats. It never occurred to me to anchor the nightstands because they're so small... but I guess that's something I need to look into.

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Like a Door Mat

Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Dave!This evening when I got home from work, I sat down to make a list of what I needed to do/buy/pack before leaving, and spotted Jake out in the catio poking his little paw at the ice which had flowed inside. Now that it's getting warmer, the ice is starting to melt, which means thin pieces of it are floating on little puddles. The cats like to bat at them to send ice chips flying across the catio. It's adorable and fun to watch, though you can tell neither Jake nor Jenny are accustomed to getting their paws wet. Each of them will take a swipe then shake, shake, shake their little foot to get the water off.

But only Jake comes running inside to wipe his paws off on me.

No joke. If he gets it wetter than he likes, he will come inside, hop up on my lap, paw at me until he's confident that the water is off, then run right back outside to play some more...

Jake Paws

I've never resented the fact that my cats think of me as a food dispenser.

But I am starting to resent it a little bit that Jake thinks of me as a literal door mat. Can you believe that cat owners sign up for this nonsense?

Sure they make up for it in other ways, but still...

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Caturday 100

Posted on Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Dave!I am not home on my 100th Caturday... I'm over the mountains saying goodbye to a friend.

It used to be that leaving my cats even for one night was a traumatic experience. Even with a house full of security cameras, I worried from the minute I walked out the door to the minute I walked back through. In my head I knew that cats were solitary, self-sufficient little beasts... but it's still tough not to worry about all the things that could go wrong when Jake and Jenny are left to fend for themselves.

But then I was gone for two weeks on an expedition to Antarctica. With no internet available to check the security cameras, I hired a pet sitter to stop by every day and make sure everything was okay. The rest I left the rest to fate.

Of course everything was fine. Eventually I started having the cat-sitter stop by every-other day instead of every day. Now I only hire a cat-sitter if I'm gone for more than five days. Everything from the litter boxes to the feeder is automated, so that's all that's needed.

Except...

Tonight, for the first time, the cat feeder jammed. A little bit of food dropped out and then... nothing.

I was going to call a neighbor to have them unclog it or put some food out manually, but I figured Jake and Jenny would be fine until I get home tomorrow. Having a small meal for dinner and getting a late breakfast wasn't going to kill them.

But don't tell them that.

Usually when I get home, Jake hears me fiddling with the door and comes running down to greet me. Jenny waits until she knows it's really me before she more cautiously comes to say hell.

But not tomorrow (this is being written on Sunday... sorry I'm late).

When I walked in they were not there. I called for them but they did not come. They weren't in the catio... the living room, or the guest bedroom. So I went upstaris and found them in the other guest bedroom...

Cats in Their Bedroom

Apparently they were pretty mad about having been ditched with a non-working cat feeder.

And they had no intention of forgiving me.

Until I went back down to the kitchen and started shaking the bag of cat treats. They forgave me really quickly after that.

Cat bribery works every time.

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Cats in Pants

Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Dave!Just because I've grown comfortable with leaving my cats alone doesn't mean that I don't try and make sure they feel safe and comfortable while I'm away.

A couple months ago I had thrown a pile of jeans on the back of the couch so I could fold them after I cleaned out the lint trap on the dryer. When I came back less than a minute later, I saw that Jenny had climbed on top. I assumed that she liked laying there because they were warm out of the dryer. But eventually I saw she liked laying on top of the jeans even when they weren't warm. Months later, it's still her preferred place to nap.

And so I usually leave one or two pairs of old jeans there just for her. Especially if I'm going away for a while. If it makes her feel safe and comfortable... why wouldn't I? Whenever I check in on the security cameras, that's where she is half the time.

Then tonight... something new.

Jenny decided to crawl into the pants...

Jenny in Pants!

Jenny in Pants!

Jenny in Pants!

Jenny in Pants!

A second after the last photo, she fell out and went ripping up the stairs, but still... pretty funny.

As for Jake?

I swear he can sleep anywhere. Most mornings when I'm working in bed, he camps out on top of the cat tree in my room though...

Jake Asleep

Cats... so adorable you can't help but love them!

Until...

With the weather growing warmer, the cats have been shedding their winter coats at a frantic pace. Loads and loads of cat hair are blowing across my floor at any given moment. It's so bad that Jake and Jenny are dropping hair far faster than Carl the RoboVac can clean it up. I'd pretty much have to run the poor thing 24/7 in order for my floors to be fur-free.

But that's the least of my worries.

Jake is prone to hairballs. And if there's anything more gross than having to clean up a big wad of puked-up cat hair, I don't want to know about it. So I have been working overtime to make sure that he's brushed with The Furminator as often as possible. At least every-other-day. And, for the most part, this works great. No unpleasant surprises waiting for me when I come home from work.

But then I have to leave for three days... forget to use the Furminator when I get back... and all of a sudden a week blows by without brushing. Which means I'm likely to wake up to a massive hairball in the middle of the room.

Like I did this morning.

Poor Jake, yes.

But what about poor me trying not to hurl while I'm cleaning it up?

And that's what I keep telling myself.

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Caturday 101

Posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Dave!And lo Spring did sprung.

This is joyous time of year to be my cats because there's a lot of activity going on outside now that the snow is melting and critters are returning. Jake and Jenny are spending a lot of time looking out windows and being on high alert out in the catio...

Jenny in Pants!

And it's melting so fast! This was the 19th...

March 19th!

This was the 20th...

March 20th!

Ooh! Look! BIRD!!!

March 20th a Bird!

And here's this morning...

March 23rd!

In front of the catio was a 5-inch-thick block of ice that formed from the roof run-off. It's now a tiny little piece. By the end of the day it will be gone.

   
As Spring arrives, the neighborhood cats are restless. Here's a list of what's roaming around (not their real names, these are just the names I call them)...

   
• Fake Jake. He's the cat everybody in my corner of the neighborhood has been caring for since his owners moved away and he didn't want to go with them. Last year I built a heated shelter for him when it got cold. This winter I put the heater back inside and he made it through just fine...

Jake!

Now that it's warm out, he's spending less time in the cat shelter and more time sitting on people's cars... for a long while...

   
• Ghost. This is a small grey kitty that lives across the street. They seem to get along okay with Fake Jake, though sometimes he is not in the mood for company and will chase Ghost off. Any time I try to approach them, they run away...

Most of the time I see Ghost, they are following around Fake Jake...

   
• Charm. This is a big black cat that likes to wait outside the catio so he can visit with Jake. No idea where they live, but I'm thinking they definitely have a home. Seems sweet, but runs away when I try to pet them...

Charm visits Jake

If Jake's not out in the catio, Charm will call for him to come out...

   
• Killer. This is a white and grey cat who is Fake Jake's mortal enemy. Doesn't come around much, but whenever they do, there's going to be a battle somewhere (turn up your volume on this one, because holy crap!)...

And here again...

I have never seen Killer in person. But in the videos you can see a collar tag glinting in the light, so they belong somewhere.

   
• Bongo. This is a big grey cat that doesn't want any trouble. They are happy to keep to themselves and walk away when another cat comes along. I rarely see him, because he avoids everything and everybody.

   
There are other cats around, but I don't see them often enough to know if they are just passing through or if they actually belong here. I'm just hoping that no more felines arrive. Fake Jake doesn't need the competition. I think he has his paws full as it is.

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Caturday 102

Posted on Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Dave!This morning Alexa's alarm was chiming, letting everybody know that it was kitty feeding time. I went to say "Alexa, Stop" to turn it off... and... couldn't speak.

My voice was completely gone.

This raised two questions:

  1. How can I be sick again, when I just got over being sick a couple weeks ago?
  2. How in the heck can I tell Alexa to turn off an alarm if I can't speak?

I ended up just letting the alarm run itself out because I had no idea how to turn it off. I suppose I could have tried deleting the alarm from the Alexa app, but my cats were way too impatient for that nonsense.

I should have known this was coming. Yesterday I was feeling poorly so I cut out of work early to come home and take a nap. When I woke up, my butt felt warm. At first I thought that I might have filled up a hot water bottle and forgot about it, but when I reached back... it was Jake! His butt was snuggled up against mine...

Jake Butt Warmer!

My cats usually do not hang around me when I'm sleeping. But when I'm sick? They seem to want to congregate around me... taking turns throughout the day. Eventually it was Jenny's turn. Though I think she didn't care as much about me being sick as she did getting belly rubs...

Jenny Butt Warmer!

She was asleep in no time, trapping my hand...

Jenny Butt Warmer!

I tried to carefully remove some blankets because I was sweating, but that woke up Princess Floopy Whisker and she was not amused...

Jenny Butt Warmer!

Nobody gives sour-face quite like Jenny. I think it just makes her look even more adorable.

Eventually it was just too hot in my bedroom. It's upstairs, so all the heat rises up. That's great in the winter, but can be a nuisance when the weather starts warming up. And you're sick.

It was plenty cool downstairs. At least it was until I had a warm kitty laying on top of me...

Jake Front Warmer!

A couple days ago while I was working in bed, I heard a commotion in the cats' bedroom. Since there's always a commotion somewhere, I just ignored it. Then, when I got up to take a shower, I saw that Jake had been dragging all the toys he considers "his" onto the bed. Mufasa, Moose the Mule, Grey Mouse, Thing 2 Mouse, Blue Rag Mouse, Mr. Pretzel, and both Purple Squiggles. And he was still going...

Jake's Toy Pile!

I honestly think that he feels he's hiding them from Jenny so she can't steal them. He's growing really tired of going to play with his toys only to find that Jenny has run off with them somewhere.

Not a very good hiding spot... on top of the bed... but hey, he's trying.

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Overmedicated Irritation

Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Dave!Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So there I am exhausted but not sleeping because I am coughing my head off... when Jenny comes in to complain. And I'm like "Dude, I can't help it! I can't take more cough medicine for another hour"...

Jenny is Irritated!

This does not phase her, so I try to ignore her by checking my phone.

First thing I see is an alert that the Litter-Robot is stuck. So I go downstairs and fix it so Jenny can go to the bathroom... then take more cough medicine even though it's too soon (hey, I'm already there)... then grab some crackers... then go back upstairs.

Jenny follows me the entire way... never going to the bathroom. THEN... FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER... I hear her using the UPSTAIRS Litter-Robot. Which means she got me out of bed to fix a Litter-Robot she had no intention of using? Or maybe she did, but changed her mind? Oh well. I'm not coughing anymore, so I guess we both got what we wanted in the end.

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Caturday 103

Posted on Saturday, April 6th, 2019

Dave!This week I officially lost my cats to the catio.

It's been so warm out lately that they are spending most of their days laying around outside or watching all the bird activity that comes with Springtime. Jake and Jenny absolutely love it outside, which means the catio remains one of the best home improvement investments I've made...

Out in the Catio

What also comes with warm weather?

Cat hair. Cat hair everywhere.

For Jenny this is not much of an issue. She loves to be brushed with The Furminator. I try to brush two times a week, but sometimes Jenny will go running to the cabinet with The Furminator in it and start rubbing all around it and complaining until I start brushing. And she can't get enough of it. She'll roll from one position to the next, making it easy to get to every square inch of her fur.

Jake on the other hand?

He'd rather forgo the brushing and go straight to puking up hairballs.

I've started Furminating him while he eats. It isn't very efficient, but it's better than nothing.

Alas, the warm weather earlier in the week turned to colder weather and rain at the end of the week. This has irritated my cats on numerous fronts. The first of which is that I turned off the heat in March so it's been colder inside than they're used to. I keep seeing them snuggling up for warmth when the temperature dips...

Jake and Jenny Cat Snuggles

Jake and Jenny Cat Snuggles

The babies.

It's not that cold.

And now? I suppose Jake and I should get back to watching The Jungle Book...

Jake Watches The Jungle Book

Seriously, Jake is totally into it.

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Caturday 104

Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Dave!After some truly lovely weather, we've been getting quite a bit of rain lately. This has been wildly frustrating to the cats in the neighborhood. They want to go out to play and kill stuff, but they definitely do not want to get wet doing it. Today Fake Jake went wandering by my back window and he was soaked. I felt bad for him but, hey, it beats the alternative. As in snow.

I found this video from the dead of winter when Fake Jake thought he would go chasing after the chirping birds in the back field. He gave it a shot, but had a tough time trudging through the snow and had to nope back to where I had shoveled...

A little rain seems tame by comparison.

As for Jake and Jenny?

Still spending a lot of time out in the catio. Even when it's sprinkling, there's still plenty of action to be found. Like when Jake's buddy (whom I've named "Charm") comes to visit...

Jake and Jenny Confront Cat from the Catio

   
Though when it's particularly cold out, Jake is content to look out the window rather than go outside...

Jake Looking Out The Window

   
Jenny has no problem in the cold though. She still goes outside even on the coldest days.

Which is odd, because Jake is the one who has a little extra padding on him!

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Jakey-Bear Goes Back to the Vet

Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

Dave!Poor Jake. He just can't catch a break.

Yesterday Jake vomited, which is rare. I thought it might have been a hairball, except there was hardly any hair in it. Last night he became inactive and lethargic, which is a symptom I recognized from the last time he had problems. Then this morning he barely ate anything (WARNING!) and an hour later when I left for work I shook the treat bag and he didn't come (WARNING!). Had to look all over the house and found him cowering under the guest bed, unwilling (unable?) to move.

Uh oh.

The same signs he had last time there was a serious urinary blockage.

And so... I managed to grab him so I could take him to the vet immediately. You know how that goes...

Amazing how the little guy cannot meow until he's in distress. At which time he has no problem meowing at all.

Also amazing? How he manages to time his health problems to the day before I am due to fly out. Again! Last time he got sick I had to delay my trip to Hawaii, then fly immediately back home. This time I'm due to be flying out to L.A. for two days starting tomorrow morning.

Apparently I can't catch a break either.

When the doctor came out to talk with me, he said that Jake peed all over the carrier while he was in the exam room waiting to be seen. Like, a LOT of pee. He theorized that it may have been a temporary blockage, and the stress of being driven to the vet shook things loose.

So yay? I guess?

Last time this happened, I didn't understand the symptoms and waited a full two days before taking him to the vet. By that time the poor guy was so badly blocked that he ended up with an enlarged bladder with a nasty infection and had to be hospitalized. I will never make that mistake again. As soon as I see the signs, he's packed up and taken to the vet. And I honestly don't care if it turns out to be a false alarm. There's simply no way I'm risking him getting as sick as he was last time. I take absolutely no chances when it comes to my cats' health. I will pay any amount of money. I will cancel any trip. I will change any plans. I will miss work. I will do whatever I have to do. Because how could I not?

Anyway... six hours later...

Looks like I will be (once again) flying off while leaving poor Jakey-Bear in the hospital.

They are hesitant to release him and would like to keep him an additional day or two for observation... and also to keep him hydrated and medicate him for (possible) bladder problems. They don't think he's in pain, but will be medicating him for that too.

This time there are no crystals in his urine, which is good (the expensive prescription cat food I have to buy must be working!). But he does have high white and red blood cell counts showing up for reasons unknown. He also has high sugar levels in his urine, which would ordinarily be a sign for diabetes... but all his blood lab work came back perfect, so he's not diabetic. His doctor can't say for certain, but still believes he had a blockage of some kind, but managed to flush it out after I took him in. And so... even if he would have eventually passed it here at home, I am so glad I got him to the vet considering the other issues that they've found.

And then... three hours after that...

After spending the day at work, they allowed me to visit Jake after 5:30...

He's a trooper! They have him on anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relief drugs, anti-spasm drugs, and are monitoring his white blood cells and urinary sugar levels (which are still high). Surprisingly, the nurse told me that he's been highly affectionate with the whole crew. And since he's the only cat in the boarding area, he's been getting lots of attention which (apparently) he loves. I'm guessing it's the drugs...

Jake at the Vet

Jake at the Vet

Jake at the Vet

Jake at the Vet

They removed his IV, which makes me feel a little better about having to leave. Such a drastically different experience from last time with the IV and the catheter and the cone of shame! So glad I brought him in right away this time and didn't wait until he had to go through all that again.

Hang tough, little buddy! I'll see you on Thursday!

And then... back home...

I hate to say it, but this time it seems as though Jenny isn't phased one bit by Jake having gone missing. She's wandering around like she owns the place (which, let's face it, she does... I only pay the bills). Without competition from Jake, she got all my attention. First she wanted to be brushed for a while. Then she wanted a snack. Then she decided to sit and watch television with me...

Jenny on the Couch

Jenny on the Couch

I have such great cats.

Tomorrow I head to the airport at 3:30am so I can fly out to L.A. for a couple days. Where I will undoubtedly worry... but also breathe easier knowing that Jake is under constant care while he recovers from whatever he had going on. Hopefully Jenny won't get too lonely all by herself. I can always say "hello" through the security system, after all.

I don't know why I worry though. Something tells me that my cats will do better than I will.

UPDATE: Well, I spoke too soon. Just like last time, Jenny has started walking from room to room crying as she looks for her brother. Last time she got over it pretty quickly, so fingers crossed.

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Paine, Thievery, and Little Packages

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Dave!We did not have a great night.

I went to bed at 8:30pm with the hopes that I'd be able to get a bit of sleep before having to drive over the mountains at 3:30am. I took a Benadryl to help things along and fell asleep around 9:00.

Shortly after midnight I was awakened by Jenny going up and down the stairs crying for her brother. After a few minutes I couldn't take it any more and called for her. She ran into my bedroom and hopped on the bed like her tail was on fire. After ten minutes of belly rubs, she fell asleep...

Jenny Tummy Rubs at Midnight

As did I.

Then, around 1:30am, Jenny apparently realized she wasn't getting belly rubs and woke me up to complain about it. My cats never bother me when I'm sleeping, yet here was Jenny... standing on my chest and meowing her head off. After I woke up, she flopped right down for more belly rubs. She looked quite cross that I had dared to stop...

Jenny Tummy Rubs at 1:30 AM

Next thing I know, it's 3:30am and Alexa is blaring an alarm to wake up. I'm already packed, so the only thing to do is give Jenny a handful of treats before heading out. I felt terrible that I had to leave because she was still walking around sniffing for a trace of her brother. As I walked out the door she just sat there like she didn't know what to do with herself. The poor thing looks so small...

Jenny Sitting in the Middle of my Home

But there's a lot of love in that small package.

This is my first time flying out of Everett Paine Field*. I'm pretty excited about it because it's so much more convenient for me to get to than shitty SeaTac airport... 2-1/2 hours compared to 3+ hours, with far better traffic conditions.

You can still that they are still new to accommodating passengers, because things are not quite completed...

Paine Field Temporary Walkway

Paine Field Temporary Walkway

This used to be a private airfield for Boeing, so I'm not sure what kind of terminal was here previously. The new passenger terminal is pretty great...

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

I don't have any checked luggage, but baggage claim looks painless...

Paine Field Baggage Claim

Being a small airport, security was tight, but getting through was a breeze.

The gate area is really nice. Unlike shitty SeaTac, there's enough seats for everybody to actually sit down! =gasp!= Imagine that!

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

Adjacent to the gate waiting area is the passenger lounge, which is stellar...

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

There's a nice bar...

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

And nifty window seating...

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

And even a fireplace and table orchid across from my big comfy seat!

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

Overall, five stars from me! I'm glad to be able to make most of my West Coast flights from here. Hopefully they start up East Coast flights soon!

Interesting to note that my iPhone XS is reporting that I'm 5G here...

Paine Field Passenger Terminal

Except... not really. The radio in the iPhone XS is only capable of "Fast 4G" (Cat 16 Gigabit LTE) which is not 5G at all. I'm assuming that's why there's an "E" after "5G" there? Apple is stupidly lagging behind other handset manufacturers when it comes to next-gen cellular data networks. Typical.

My seat was upgraded (nice!) and the flight from Alaska Air was excellent as always. The movie I picked to watch was Mary Poppins Returns. I'm not much for musicals at all, but was curious to see what they did with it. It's a surprisingly good film with fantastic imagery and animation... though I did fast-forwarded through some of the musical numbers that were too groan-inducing for me to manage (the exception being A Cover Is Not the Book which was excellent)...

Mary Poppins Movie Poster

Casting was note perfect. Emily Blunt had just enough proper British disdain to make a terrific Mary Poppins, and Lin Manuel Miranda was as fantastic as you would expect (his rap in the middle of A Cover Is Not the Book is everything you could want from him). The children were scattershot... being exceptionally well-behaved one minute, then unbearably annoying the next. The biggest surprises came from some guest-casting that I won't spoil here. Suffice to say that there were a couple actors popping up that made the movie even better.

And then... hello Los Angeles.

First thing I did upon landing was make sure that Jenny got her breakfast, which she did...

Jenny at the Feeder

Except... oops... I didn't adjust the amount of food, so she's getting Jake's breakfast as well. She never ate from his bowl though, which was sweet. We'll see if she gets hungry enough later in the day to eat his portion as well!

My flight back isn't until tomorrow evening, but I would really like to pick up Jake tomorrow afternoon so Jenny doesn't have to spend an additional night alone. Unfortunately there is only one flight SNA->PAE per day at 5:50pm, but... I may be able to get a flight into SEA then Über back up to Paine Field in the morning? Something to look into when I'm done with work, I guess. Sometimes life on the road is a bitch, yo.

And, speaking of work, off I go...

   
*A few people have asked me why I no longer fly out of my small local airport. That's a bit of a long story, but suffice to say it has nothing to do with the airport itself (which is nice), the Alaska Air staff (which is exceptional), or the airport security personnel (which has always been great). No, the reason I avoid flying out of Wenatchee when at all possible is because they have partnered with the assholes at Republic to handle their parking. I fucking loathe them. They force you to pay in advance, even if you are a business traveler like me who is never quite sure when you'll be flying back home. So you have to pre-pay for the longest possible time you'll be gone. If you run past your guesstimate as to when you'll be back, you pay a fine. If things go well and you can come back early, Republic categorically refuses to refund money for the days you DIDN'T USE. And so... so long as the Port of Wenatchee chooses to use a bunch of fucking thieves for their parking contract, I'm not flying out of there so long as the mountain passes are open and I can safely drive to a better airport.

   

After the Fall

Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Dave!And so... to catch up with my cat drama...

On Monday, the day before I was due to fly out to L.A., Jake was hiding and unwilling (or unable) to move. This is exactly how he acted when he previously had a urinary blockage. Back then I didn't recognize the signs, didn't take Jake into the vet fast enough, and he ended up with a horrible infection that could have killed him. Not wanting to go through that again, I confirmed with the security cameras that he hadn't used the litter box, then immediately took Jake to the vet.

The vet found high white cell counts and high sugar counts in his urine so they started treating him for a "temporary urinary blockage" since he had peed in the kitty carrier while waiting to see the doctor. They decided it would be best to keep him while I was traveling to make sure he was okay.

And now I'm back.

This morning I went to pick Jake up from the vet. When I got home (after a traumatic drive back), the poor guy was limping so badly that he could barely walk... and he vomited twice. Did he get hurt at the vet? Did he get sick while he was in observation? Or was there a bigger problem here?

Let's go back to the security cameras even further and see if we can learn something, shall we?

Holy crap.

WARNING: This is not easy to watch...

The fear I've had since the day I brought my cats home came to pass. Jake slid off the banister and fell down the stairwell, injuring himself pretty bad. I'm not surprised. My cats are constantly climbing up there and it's a long drop...

Jenny On the Banister

Jake managed to crawl his way under the guest room bed (where I found him the next morning). It took him nearly a half-hour to get there because he couldn't use his back leg. That's where I found him in the morning and freaked out because last time he couldn't move his hind-quarters it was because his bladder was enflamed. Off to the vet he went.

So... it wasn't that he couldn't pee because of a urinary blockage... it was because he couldn't get to the litter box. The reason nobody noticed his leg at the vet was because they had him on painkillers for his bladder and he wasn't limping because he couldn't feel it. The reason he started limping when he got back home was because they stopped the painkillers and the trip probably strained his leg again.

The good news? The expensive urinary care prescription food he eats is working.

The bad news? I didn't look back far enough on the security camera footage to understand what had really happened. I stopped when I saw he wasn't using the litter box. Which means I put Jake through the trauma of a trip to the vet for entirely the wrong reason.

The good news? Because he was chillin' at the vet and hopped up on painkillers, his leg had a chance to heal a bit. Also? He wasn't at home alone where he could have hurt himself much worse. So it definitely wasn't a wasted trip.

The bad news? Not only do I have the expense of a 3-day vet bill (thank heavens for insurance!) I also have the expense of building some kind of barrier to try and keep this from happening again.

And so now I know I need to make darn sure that I review all the camera footage to have a better idea what happens when one of my cats is sick.

I had to build a zero-entry litter box so poor Jake has a place he can get to. Don't know if he will actually use it, but he does know it's there...

Jenny On the Banister
Just look at that sad, sad face!

Jenny is not happy about Jake smelling like the vet hospital. She sneaks up to snif around him, but ends up hissing and running away. No worries there though, she did that last time for a couple days. She'll come back around when he starts smelling "normal" again...

Jenny On the Banister
Jenny says... STRANGER DANGER!

I was forced to leave Jake alone to go grab my stuff from the office so I could work while I watch him. During that time, he managed to claw his way up the stairs and pull a blanket off the bed onto the floor where he could rest up...

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

I was terrified that he would try to climb up on the bed or hurt himself trying to get back downstairs, so I decided to hang out with him until he was ready to leave. He spent most of the time sleeping...

Jenny On the Banister

But occasionally woke up and wanted belly rubs...

Jenny On the Banister

I tried to explain that he could just pee on the floor if he had to go, but I was the one who had to pee. So I accepted the fact that I might be peeing my pants before the day was over.

Eventually, through sheer force of will, Jake clawed his way up on the bed. I had to lift his butt up, but he made it...

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

Such a sweet kitty.

After pulling himself around the bed for a bit, he decided to lean up against me for more sleep...

Jenny On the Banister

Jenny On the Banister

After we both fell asleep for 90 minutes or so, he woke me up as he tried to climb back across the bed. I decided to carry him downstairs because I knew the dinner alarm was going to chime in a half hour. Neither Jake nor Jenny likes to be carried, but he handled it like a champ.

And though Jake is still limping quite badly, he's getting around a bit better. More "howling" that "drawing" now.

He must also be feeling better, because he ate all of Jenny's wet food after he ate his own...

Jenny On the Banister

As for Jenny? Jake's butt must not be smelling quite right yet, because she wants nothing to do with him...

Jenny On the Banister

I'm really hoping that Jake recovers at home so I don't have to take him back to the vet. Because my next trip will be to take Jenny in for her shots. That's more than enough stress for the coming month.

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Perfect Home Pub Fries

Posted on Friday, April 19th, 2019

Dave!I am beyond exhausted. Taking care of Jake as he recovers from his fall is a full-time job. A big chunk of my day is spent trying to make sure he doesn't have to exert himself. Whenever I see him hobble up to something and look like he's going to jump up, I go running to lift him up instead.

Day and night.

When what I really need to be doing is working.

Though today I did end up taking time to make some greasy pub fries, which are my favorite thing to eat right now. Last week I documented my efforts so I could blog about it, but then travel happened and Jake happened, so I never got around to it.

Anyway...

I Love fries.

Problem is that here in the USA they usually suck. Either they're undercooked and not crispy... or they've been sitting for too long... or they have no flavor... or they're entirely too salty. Way too many things go wrong, and they usually do.

My favorite fries are from the Netherlands. They really know how to cook a potato! Most places in Europe do. And they're usually cooked-to-order, so they always taste their best.

But here? Not so much. And so... last Summer I started making my own fries. Here's what I've found makes the best fries after dozens of batches and months of trial and error...

  • Russet potatoes. Nothing cooks up like them. No other potato I've tried works as well. And I've tried a LOT of potatoes.
  • After slicing, a vigorous rinse in cold water is essential. Agitate them with your hands as the water runs over them.
  • Soak for three hours in ice water in the refrigerator. Most recipes say overnight. I found no benefit to that, and three hours is perfect...

Making Home Pub Fries

  • Fry in small batches so the oil doesn't cool off too much when you add the potatoes.
  • When you pre-fry for 5 minutes at 300°, USE A THERMOMETER TO CONFIRM 300°! Any hotter and you will brown them, which is bad. After blanching, drain on brown paper bags (preferred because they don't sick as bad) or paper towels in an oven set no higher than 300°...

Making Home Pub Fries

  • Increase temperature of the oil to minimum 375°. Though 400° is better if your fryer can go that high. Cook until desired golden brown. I prefer a dark golden because the flavor is better...

Making Home Pub Fries

Making Home Pub Fries

  • Salt and pepper are essential. A dash of paprika is nice. BUT DON'T OVER-SEASON! You don't want to kill the flavor of the potato! If you like a spicier fry, use seasoning salt or hot pepper salt. But, again, don't over-season! The potato flavor will be buried...

Making Home Pub Fries

  • With the skins on, the flavor is so nice that you don't really need sauce... but mayo/ketchup is great!
  • You need more potatoes than you think. Two large russets per person. Or three if you are having me over to dinner.
  • Enjoy!

As for oil... I just use the cheapest vegetable oil I can find. I cook with it 3 or 4 times until the refuse accumulation is too high. They recommend that you dispose of the oil in a milk carton. I don't drink milk, so I let it cool completely, pour into a bowl, freeze, then scoop into the trash before I take it out.

And there you have it! Perfect fries you can make at home!

And now it's back to taking care of my poor cat.

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Caturday 105

Posted on Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Dave!I've read up on cat sprains... a lot.

Seems the absolute best thing you can do is force your cat to rest the injury. They recommend keeping your cat in a cage so they can't move around a lot and cause further injury. I think we all know what would happen if I tried to keep Jake locked up in a cage. He'd go absolutely nuts and probably sprain even more appendages.

Lucky for me, Jake is taking professional advice without me having to cage him. This is how he spends most of his time...

Jake Resting Up

Unfortunately, he insists on walking around as well. He has a terrible limp, but doesn't seem to be pained by it. This is awful because the pain is what should be keeping him from using it. Friday night I was so worried that he'd try to follow me upstairs that I slept on the floor next to him all night...

Sleeping with Jake on the Floor

Last night I just slept on the couch because my back couldn't take another night on the floor. Jake slept next to me on the cat-bed that's on the coffee table... or on top of me when he felt up to it...

Jake on on Me

As if worrying about Jake hasn't been difficult enough, I've had to worry about Jenny as well. Jake not smelling like Jake has really freaked her out. First of all she's not been eating. She spends most of her time avoiding Jake and hiding.

But today all that changed. Fake Jake was outside the catio, and suddenly both cats were rushing outside. I had to jump ahead and open the back door so Jake wouldn't hurt himself trying to get through the cat door. Both cats then hung out together while Fake Jake meowed for a while...

Fake Jake vs. Jake and Jenny

So... back to normal then?

Not quite.

But hopefully in a couple weeks everything will go back to the usual madness instead of whatever it is that I'm going through now.

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Come Back Off the Ledge

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Dave!If you've watched the terrifying video of poor Jake falling down my stairwell, you can understand why I hope to never have that happen again. In addition to the $500 vet bill, which could have been far far worse if he had broken something, it's just awful having to watch the little guy hobble around the house as his leg heals.

From what I can tell, he was lying on the narrow banister, as he is won't to do. He might have been napping there for all I know...

Stairwell

Then something startled him (possibly Jenny running around) which caused him to slip and fall all the way down the stairs. About a story-and-a-half...

Stairwell

So I am trying to come up with an added layer of protection that will help prevent slipping and falling... but also help better keep them on the ledge. I'm not sure what the best way to do this might be. But I really want to have something in place so I can travel and not worry so much. Since I don't have much time before I leave again, I thought I'd throw something together quickly now that looks good enough I can leave it in place until I have a better idea.

My thought is to have a "ledge tray" that I can temporarily screw onto my banister.

It will add width so the cats can have more room to lay down. It will be carpeted so the cats have something to grip onto if they start to slip. And it will have a small ledge that will prevent them from accidentally falling off...

Stairwell

So I don't have to look at an ugly carpet edge, I found a 90° molding that will act like a lip on the front. Here I am gluing it to the bottom of the tray...

Stairwell

Tomorrow I'll sand off the putty... paint it white to match my banister... then install it. The carpet squares I ordered (which match my hardwood floors) won't be here until next week, but at least it will be a little safer until I get back home.

The next step will be to build a narrow staircase up to it so the cats don't have to risk jumping up, overshooting the ledge, and flying over it.

After that I'll come up with some kind of ledge under the small window that's on the exterior wall. Jenny sometimes jumps up there (horrifying!) and it would be just my luck that she'll be the next one to fall down the stairwell. Something needs to be added there, I just have to figure out how to actually do it.

I will never run out of woodworking projects so long as I have cats.

   

Caturday 106

Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Dave!Jake is doing so much better, so thanks to all of you who reached out with concern and kind words! He still limps... sometimes more than others, but he's showing vast improvement. I wouldn't be surprised if his limp is mostly gone in another week.

Right now my priority is keeping him safe from another fall.

When I design projects I also write out a task list and a schedule so I know how long it will take. For my new "banister cat tray" I had one evening allotted for construction. One evening to fill nail holes, sand, and prime. And one evening to smooth-sand and paint two coats. Which means I was ready to install it yesterday morning...

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

The carpet that goes on the bottom arrives on Wednesday. In the meanwhile, I hope things are a little safer for Jake and Jenny. At least Jake can't fall asleep... then fall off... so easily again.

From the bottom, it's not very obtrusive, which is nice...

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

I sent the photos to a friend who does carpentry... he replied with "DESIGN FAIL! Somebody using the hand railing for the stairs will run into your construction!"

I couldn't understand what he was talking about until I realized that the angle of the photo doesn't show the whole story. So I sent him this photo and said "YOU WERE SAYING?!?"...

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

Turns out I actually DO put some thought into my projects!

Eventually I want to build a narrow staircase so they can climb up to the banister instead of making a dangerous jump. Until I do that, I put a bench in front that they can use to hop up more easily. Jenny was the first to take a look...

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

And there you have it... a safer, conveniently cat-sized walkway!

Cat Banister Tray Installed!

And now to think about how I can build cat stairs... and a safety ledge for the windows above the stairwell where Jenny likes to play. A "feature" of my house that terrifies me to no end. The girl is fearless when it comes to heights. Which is fine. But only when it's reasonably safe! She likes to be totally UNSAFE, and it drives me crazy.

Until next Caturday...

   

Thursday is for Shitty Sonic Fries

Posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Dave!It's not like I can say my life is boring... I have been lucky enough to travel the world, meet interesting people, and do really cool stuff... but when I'm not doing that my life is as mundane as it gets. Oftentimes I question why people read this blog* when most of the time all I've got going on in my life is cats.

Take today for example.

I woke up at 5:30am, which is about average. I then check my personal email, see what's happening with my East Coast Facebook peeps, then check my work email. At 7:00am Alexa alerts the cats that it's breakfast time, so we all go downstairs where I feed them. I then do household cleaning and chores until around 8:00am when I hop in the shower and get ready for work. I am usually out the door around 8:30-ish for my 7-minute walk to the office.

I try to be out of the office at 4:00 (today I left at 4:10) and walk back home.

Today there was some excitement when I spotted an old cat with patches of fur missing walking through several yards until it decided to rest on somebody's porch (no idea if that's where home is)...

Old Cat Taking a Walk!

Once I got home at 4:20, I worked until Alexa chimed for the cat's dinner at 6:00pm. Since I received a notice from Home Depot that my carpet squares had arrived, I decided to run to The Big City (20 minutes away) and pick them up. Afterwards I wanted to have fries for dinner, but was too tired to make them by hand. I was going to drive to McDonalds, but Sonic was closer so I went there.

Huge mistake.

I rarely go to Sonic because they don't have vegetarian options. I only go there when they are having an ice cream promo or some kind of drink special. I've never had their fries before. AND I WILL NEVER HAVE THEM AGAIN! Holy crap! They were not very fresh, barely warm... AND THEY WERE GUMMY! As in, you had to chew through their saggy, bleak texture in a way that is usually reserved for gummy bears. And then there's my OREO Sonic Blast (AKA a McFlurry). The first third of the cup was as expected. A good distribution of OREO pieces that were large enough that they tasted like OREO. The second third was just OREO crumbs. Just a dust, really. And the final third? NOTHING! NO OREO AT ALL!

OREO-Free OREO Blast from Sonic!

How the fuck did Sonic get to be "America's Drive-In?" Their half-assed food is a blight on the entire country!

Oh.

Never mind.

Anyway... I head home and immediately get to work carpeting my Cat Bannister Tray when I arrive around 7:10pm. The squares were way thin, but surprisingly nice considering how cheap they were. The good news is that I have lots of spares if my cats decide to destroy the ones I installed...

Carpeted Cat Banister Tray

And that was that.

At some point I'll build the cat-stairs up to it so it's safer for Jake and Jenny to get up there... add a shelf under the upper window so I won't go out of my mind with worry when Jenny leaps up there (nearly two full stories above the stairs below!)... and then my project will be completed. At least until I think of something else to add to it.

Around 7:40pm I threw a load of clothes in the wash then finished up a work project a little after 9:00pm.

Then it was clothes in the dryer, catching up on television, clothes out of the dryer, and I was in bed at 11:30pm so I can blog this then start it all over again tomorrow.

Thrilling, I know.

But hey, not every day can be an expedition to Antarctica.

   
*Yes, people actually do visit this blog. A lot. The interactivity I had from the heyday of blogging is long gone, but my wide variety of topics and daily updates means that Google sends scores of people here every day. Though it's not all search results... most days the number of people coming here directly is fairly substantial. No, I don't know why. You tell me!

   

Caturday 107

Posted on Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Dave!I'm pretty sure that Jake thinks his name is "Where is Jenny" and Jenny thinks her name is "Where is Jakey Bear." Heaven only knows why I keep asking... they never tell me where their sibling is... but I guess it makes me feel like a concerned parent to ask.

Speaking of being a concerned parent... Jake seems to have (mostly) healed from his tumble off the banister. His limp is very slight now, and sometimes disappears altogether. Hopefully the new Cat Banister Tray will prevent this from happening again.

Even if his physical state is getting back to normal, I'm afraid Jake's mental state is not being so quick to return. He is far more jumpy than he used to be. He also is far more clingy than he used to be. It used to be that my cats left after I fell asleep, but now Jake is with me most of the time I'm home... including when I'm sleeping.

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

He's pretty much stuck to me like glue...

Jake Stuck to Me Like Glue!

The good news is that Jake is considerably more agreeable to getting Furminated now...

Jake Getting Brushed with the Furminator!

   
As for Jenny? She's doing great.

She spends most of her time out in the catio chasing bugs and watching birds parade around the back yard...

Jenny Paws at My Jeans!

Jenny Paws at My Jeans!

She still likes to spend time clawing at my jeans...

Jenny Paws at My Jeans!

And she still likes to stare me down each morning until it's breakfast time...

Jenny Paws at My Jeans!

And she still likes hiding in places... even though she's not very good at it...

Jenny Paws at My Jeans!

She also likes to shed a metric ton of cat hair every week... but I'm sure she feels bad about it.

And, lastly this Caturday, I ran across this video and liked it so much I was compelled to share it...

Awwwwwwww!

See you next Caturday!

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Caturday 108

Posted on Saturday, May 11th, 2019

Dave!I'm not home with my cats this Caturday. I'm over the mountains spying on them through the security system.

Though I don't really need to spy on them to know what they are up to. Every day is pretty much the same this time of year...

  • 5:30am — Wake up and fret until breakfast time.
  • 7:00am — Breakfast.
  • 7:15am — Post-breakfast bathing and running around.
  • 9:00am — Treats.
  • 9:10am — Sleep.
  • 4:00pm — Wake up because daddy's home (if daddy's home).
  • 6:00pm — Dinner.
  • 6:15pm — Post-dinner bathing and running around.
  • 6:30pm — Nap.
  • 7:30pm — Chasing bugs in the catio.
  • 11:00pm — Sleep.

The catio bug-chasing is a huge deal this time of year. Huge.

Both of them love it, but Jenny obsesses over it. Sometimes she will stay out there past midnight chasing them around...

I feel bad when the bugs aren't out yet, because Jenny is out there alone bravely waiting for them to show up...

Jenny Waiting!

Sometimes she'll come in to hang with me... but then five minutes later a bug will hit the window and she's on high alert...

Jenny Waiting!

Then she's right back at it again.

Jake goes out to the catio often, but a lot of his bug hunting is attempted through the window...

Jake Hunting!

Jake Hunting!

   
As I type this it's 4:30pm and I'm not home, which means they are asleep...

Cats Napping!

Interesting that they both brought a toy to bed. Jenny brought her Dr. Seuss Thing 2 mouse. Jake brought Mufasa (of course)... but he's too big to fit Mufasa in the bed with him (or his foot, apparently).

   
And I guess that's it for Caturday this week.

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It’s a Monday, After All

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

Dave!My day began at 5:00am when I grabbed my laptop off the nightstand so I could start in on my work emails. Jake, hearing that I was awake, came running in to get his butt scratched, which is fine. What was not fine was when he jumped up to the window perch ten minutes later an immediately began puking up a hairball.

My bad. I apologized to Jake because I went to Seattle for Laser PRINCE instead of grabbing The Furminator and giving him his weekly brushing this week.

Jake was unfazed. He just moved to the other window, pushed Jenny over so he had a place to sit, then went about his business of watching birds fly around..

Jake and Jenny Sharing a Window Perch!

Jake and Jenny Sharing a Window Perch!

After catching up on work I got up to clean up the hairball puke only to find that... it was only water? No hairball to be found.

This scares the crap out of me because... A) My cats do not puke often at all... and B) the couple times they have puked and it wasn't a hairball, it was because something was seriously wrong. But Jake didn't seem sick at all, so I made a mental note to keep a careful eye on him for a while.

I tore apart the window perches so I could toss the covers in the wash and noticed that my window sill was filthy. So I ran down to the garage for a scrub brush and bucket only to find that a can in a twelve-pack of Coke had ruptured* while I was gone this weekend. It dripped out of the carton, down the shelf, then spilled out onto the floor.

Where it mixed with the sawdust and formed a gummy syrup that super-glued itself to the cement.

Yay.

My choices were... A) Leave it and clean up the mess later... or B) Clean it up immediately so ants don't fill up my garage. I opted for the latter because I really don't want ants in my wood shop.

After moving tools and relocating boxes and pulling apart shelves and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing, I worked up quite a sweat. This made me realize just how badly I needed a haircut... so I grabbed the clippers and went to town on my head. I have started cutting my own hair again because... A) From what I can tell I don't do a half-bad job... and B) I really don't have money to spend at Super-Cuts after getting Jake's vet bill.

By this time it was past 7am and Alexa's alarm had gone off, letting the cats know it's breakfast time.

When I went back into the house Jake and Jenny were very put out that I had dared to allow a haircut to interfere with their breakfast being delivered in a timely manner.

At least whatever was wrong with Jake this morning didn't seem to affect his appetite.

In other news... the bulbs outside my house bloomed while I was away! The ones out front look pretty good...

Bulbs in Bloom!

Whereas the bulbs on the side of the house have already collapsed from their own weight and fallen over...

Bulbs in Bloom!

Irises have to be one of the stupidest flowers. When your design doesn't allow your stem to support the weight of your flowers... how are you not extinct? Oh well. I guess they're pretty while they last.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to put the window perch covers in the dryer and get ready for work.

It's a Monday, after all.

   
*I couldn't even figure out where the can had ruptured. They are so darn thin any more that you can barely hold onto them without crushing the can. I'm not surprised that cans are leaking at random... any thinner and soda cans will just explode when they feel like it.

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Caturday 109

Posted on Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Dave!I rescued Jake and Jenny to keep my mom company while I was away at work. As her dementia progressed, being alone was not easy for her. I remembered how much she liked Spanky hanging around at her old place and thought kittens would help. But they were feral rescues and spent most of their time hiding under the couch instead. Eventually, they got used to mom being around and were happy to hang out with her. It took another couple weeks before they trusted me.

On Mother's Day I talked about the books I made as souvenirs of our travels. Yesterday I found photos of my mom actually looking at those books.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Mom didn't seem to notice that Jake was there at first...

Mom Reading Her Travel Book with Jake!

Once she did notice, she says "Hey..."

Mom Reading Her Travel Book with Jake!

Then... "Don't you chew on my book!"...

Mom Reading Her Travel Book with Jake!

And Jake's like, "Well, shit!"...

Mom Reading Her Travel Book with Jake!

A heartbreaking, awful time made so much better because of cats. I still don't know how I would have made it through without them.

Earlier this week I was just about to fall asleep when I heard something plastic fall to the floor downstairs. Then I heard the cats batting it around. I am generally very careful about not leaving out anything dangerous, but decided to check the security cameras anyway, just in case. I couldn't tell what they had, but I was certain it was something harmless, so I figured I'd look for it in the morning.

Turns out it's a pencil sharpener.

A pencil sharpener shaped like a nose that a friend gave me along with colored pencils and a Vanderpump Rules coloring book for my birthday...

Nose Pencil Sharpener!

I put it back next to my pencil cup and forgot about it.

Until Thursday morning when I woke up and found it on my bedroom floor...

Nose Pencil Sharpener on the Floor!

A quick check of my security cameras and, yep, Jake dragged it up the stairs at 2:17am...

Jake Carrying a Nose!

No idea how he managed to carry it up the stairs, but he did. No idea why he thought I needed a pencil sharpener, but he did. Maybe he just likes bringing me stuff. He does that a lot.

Speaking of Jake.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, he has not been the same since falling down the stairwell and spraining his leg. I mean, personality-wise, he's the same... but behaviorally he's changed. He's clingy now. Any time I'm home, he's on me. Literally...

Jake on Me!

For a while he was sleeping on my bed with me, but he seems to have moved on these last couple of nights, so maybe he's healing? How long is a cat's traumatic memory anyway?

Still likes to nap next to me while I work though. Yesterday I thought something was wrong with him because he was sleeping funny.

For reference, this is how Jake usually sleeps...

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

Every time...

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

Awww... who can resist that fuzzy belly...

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

Anyway...

He was sleeping abnormally like this...

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

I was genuinely worried. But then he went back to normal...

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

Jake Sleeps Spread-Eagle!

There we go!

And don't worry about Jenny. She still gets her share of belly rubs too...

Jenny Belly Sleeper!

Until next Caturday...

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Of Crackers and Mondays

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

Dave!There are times... not many, but enough... that I think I have my life together. Then I get smacked in the back of the head by reality and realize that I'm about as close to having my life together as I am to walking on the moon.

Not that I'm discouraged or depressed about it though. I'm most definitely not. I'm doing the best I can to keep my head above water (and mostly succeeding) so what else is there? Nothing. And I'm content with that. Perhaps one day I won't be, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Last night I had cashews and crackers for dinner. It was my fallback plan after the frozen pizza I bought was essentially inedible and I could only get through two slices.

Jake, as he does any time I have food, was curious to see what I was eating. Or, to be more accurate, curious to smell what I was eating. Very rarely does he try to actually taste any of it though...

Jake Wants Crackers!

Probably because a boring-ass cracker doesn't even smell like food to him.

Or to me.

I don't know why I continue to buy frozen pizza. It's always bad. But every time there's a new brand that pops up, I roll the dice anyway. This time it was another variation on the "Rising Crust" type pizza. The crust is okay, I guess, but the sauce is pretty weak and the cheese is rubber. I'd throw it out, but the thing cost me $5... so... bad pizza for breakfast... and bad pizza for lunch today.

I have got to save up money for pizza steels so I can work on my own recipe.

Until then? Crackers it is, I guess.

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Caturday 110

Posted on Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Dave!Jake has taken up golfing!

Well, not really. But he has taken up playing with a golf ball I found by the railroad tracks (don't worry, I ran it with at least 10 loads of clothes in the washer to make sure it's safe to play with).

When I brought it home, neither he nor Jenny wasn't the least bit interested. Then early, early this morning I heard a golf bar drop and roll across my bedroom floor (it was dark, so I couldn't see it, but there's no mistaking the sound a golf ball rolling on a wood floor makes)...

Jake and His Golf Ball!

Jake and His Golf Ball!

Jake jumped on my bed right after letting it drop, so I knew it was him... but how?

Turns out he can fit an entire golf ball in his mouth...

I would have never thought it was possible, but there's the proof.

Just one more thing he can bring upstairs like he does every day. Though now he's putting it behind the bed, which is nice of him. Less to step on when I wake up in the morning...

Jake and His Golf Ball!

In Jenny news... she can open doors now. Only doors that slide (for now) like pocket doors and closet doors, but she's figured out how to poke-poke-poke her little paw at the crack until she can work it open. Another thing I didn't think were possible until I sat here last night and watched her do it...

Jenny Open Door!

At least now I know that it's not me leaving all the doors open in this place.

Until next Caturday...

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Sunset Catio Nights

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Dave!The sunsets sure have been pretty this past week...


Jenny at Sunset in the Catio!

   
And the cats have been out in the catio enjoying them every night.

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Caturday 111

Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Dave!My cats get along very well. Sure they chase each other around the house from top to bottom... but it's all in good fun.

This is not to say that they don't irritate each other from time to time. Jake seems difficult to ruffle, and it takes quite a lot before he will lash out. With Jenny, however, you never quite know what's going to set her off. Sometimes it's the littlest thing. Like her brother sniffing her butt.

Fortunately she has mad kung-fu skills to deal with that...

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Five minutes later they were side-by-side looking out the window, so these little scuffles don't last long...

Jenny Kung-Fu!

Wrapping up this fine Caturday I will leave you with this...

That would totally be my cats, which is why I won't be buying them a bell any time soon.

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Caturday 112

Posted on Saturday, June 8th, 2019

Dave!Today was a rare day when I didn't have to go into work. Instead I worked around the house which is, in so many ways, worse. Sitting at a desk all day doesn't strain my back, whereas painting garage doors, making bread, assembling shelving, and cleaning house definitely does!

Most of the chores I had set for myself were done by 1:30, so I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my cats...

Jake and Jenny Hanging Out!

Jake has continued being clingy and wanting attention after his accident. Poor thing. I think his new behavior might very well be permanent...

Jakey Bear Green Eyes!

Jakey Bear Green Eyes!

Jakey Bear Green Eyes!

I always make time for my cats, and it's kinda nice to have Jakey Bear for company. Now that it's warmer, he doesn't snuggle up against me very often though, preferring to sleep in a way that's easier to cool off..

Jakey Bear Green Eyes!

Jenny, on the other hand, will still snuggle up against me in any weather...

Jenny Snuggle!

Speaking of Jenny, a while back I happened across a folder of old photos. I think this is when I first noticed that she has an adorable sour face...

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Jenny Sour Face!

She's entirely too cute. I think her coloration and narrow face camouflages the way most cats have that "smile" where their mouth turns up... so she always looks like she's frowning. Just makes me love her even more!

And now? Time to make dinner, I suppose. Happy Caturday!

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Kitten Danger

Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Dave!My walk to the office each morning is something I look forward to. A nice chance to clear my head before diving into work for the day. And an opportunity to see cool stuff. This morning I saw the cat that appears from time to time... which would already make me happy. Except this time the cat was with... KITTENS?!??

I'm assuming that this is mom cat, who was content to watch over her kids while they were playing...

Kittens!

Kittens!

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there's another adult cat in the porch...

Hidey Cat!

Is this where the cats live? Have they been spayed/neutered? They look well-fed, so they're obviously not suffering... I just hope that somebody is taking care of them outside of food.

This is a dangerous time of year for me. The local Humane Society shelter is overflowing with kittens, and it's all I can do to keep from running down and bringing a dozen of them home with me. But that's not really an option, and so I have to make do with seeing random kittens at times like this.

Which just makes me want more cats, of course.

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Caturday 113

Posted on Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Dave!I loathe the constant barrage of senseless plastic pollution which permeates modern life in this country. Absolutely everything comes packed in it or protected by it. It's a plague that's destroying the planet, and only getting worse as more and more people like me do their shopping online.

Most of the pillow packs can be deflated and recycled. I don't think they can go in my recycle bin, but they can be saved and dropped into those shopping bag recycling receptacles at grocery stores.

But not before my cats get to play in them, which is one of their favorite things. Especially Jenny, who likes hiding in them...

Jenny Hiding in Pillow Packs!

Jenny Hiding in Pillow Packs!

I like to hide toys under the pillow packs so that the cats can have fun playing in them as well...

   
Jenny is still sleeping on the jeans I put across the back of the couch to dry, so I've just been leaving them there. Sure I'm down two pair, but how can I say no to this?

Jenny Sleeping on My Jeans!

   
And then there's Jake being Jake...

Jack Cleaning His Junk!

My cats are the best. Happy Saturday!

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Lazy Monday Cats Are Lazy

Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Dave!I didn't step foot in the office this past weekend. Not once. I'm thinking that's probably the first time that's happened this year. It was a good thing... a great thing, even... but I did end up going back into the office tonight and working until very late to do stuff I probably should have done over the weekend, so perhaps it wasn't my smartest move?

This morning when Alexa sounded the breakfast alarm for the cats, there were no cats to be found.

This is highly unusual. But it's also the second time this week. They did it on Monday as well.

85% of the time both cats are lounging around my bedroom waiting for the alarm to chime. 10% of the time one or both of them are not in my bedroom when the alarm chimes, but come running when they hear it. 5% of the time one of them sees something out in the catio and forgets about trying to guilt me into an early breakfast... but the other one is still in my room waiting for Alexa.

My first thought Monday morning was "Wow. What is a big enough event that both Jake and Jenny don't come running when the alarm sounds?" The only thing that entered my head was that a bird flew into the catio and they are out there playing with its corpse. AKA: my nightmare. Poor bird.

But that wasn't it at all. They were just too dang lazy to come running and were waiting for me to come to them at the bottom of the stairs...

Jake and Jenny Waiting at the Bottom of the Stairs

   
Then again today. Well, okay. Fine.

But I draw the line at serving them breakfast in bed!

At least until they demand that I start serving them breakfast in bed, of course.

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The Best Ending

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Dave!My morning walks to work are starting to become the best part of my day. When I'm not nearly getting run down in the sidewalks, I'm discovering all kinds of things that make life interesting.

Far and away my most favorite thing each morning is looking to see if the family of cats that live on my route is out. The kittens spark joy in my cold, dead heart, so it's always a good day when I can start it out with kittens. Today they were indeed lounging in the front yard, watching me warily as I approached like they always do...

Jake and Jenny Waiting at the Bottom of the Stairs

Much to my dismay, the little puffball cat was not there again. That's the third time in a row, and I'm heartbroken at the thought that he was attacked or got run over or something...

Jake and Jenny Waiting at the Bottom of the Stairs

The only thing keeping me from going crazy and adopting every kitten I see is space and money. I had better never win the lottery or else I will end up buying a big house and filling it with homeless cats. I think we all know that this never ends well.

UPDATE: Well would you look at that! The kitten is back! All three accounted for...

Interesting how the puffball sibling is always alone or hanging out with mom. It's never playing with the other two (who are forever wrestling around).

   
In other news... inside the "Little Library Box" this morning was a new book. A children's book made famous because it was written by Madonna. This one from her The English Roses series is called A Rose by Any Other Name...

Madonna's The English Roses Book

I remember when Madonna released her first English Roses book and went on MTV(?) to read it to a group of kids. She was trying to read with an English accent but it wasn't working out so well.

I thought I might grab the book because I was intrigued about the offer for a free MyEnglishRoses.net access card... but the domain is dead now, so I guess it's not quite the bonus I was lead to believe.

   
Guess I'll spend the rest of my day wondering where that kitten ended up. I think I might choose to believe that he was adopted and is now living happily in a new forever home.

Sometimes the best ending we can hope for is the one we make up for ourselves.

   

Caturday 114

Posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

Dave!I always find it funny how Jake will barrel through the patio door when he spots an "enemy" cat wandering by outside and wants to quickly investigate... but when he just wants to go outside, he'll hem and haw at the door flap until he gingerly and reluctantly pushes his face through and ever-so-slowly oozes out.

A while back I was on the phone with a colleague and mentioned that my little trash panda was licking all the snack wrappers from my breakfast. She said "Why is the cat the trash panda... you're the one eating garbage for breakfast!" Touché...

Jake Licking My Wrappers

He's still adorable like a panda though...

Jake Being Adorable

Since my cats spend most of their day sleeping and most of their night out in the patio waiting for bugs to fly in, there's not much else to say this fine Caturday...

Kitties Waiting for Bugs

Except...

See you next Caturday.

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Caturday 115

Posted on Saturday, June 29th, 2019

Dave!The past week has been filled with wet weather. This used to be a source of great anxiety for my cats. Rain hitting the roof was confusing. But that's been changing over the years. Jake is actually able to sleep through rain, thunder, and lightning now.

Jenny? Not so much.

She meows at the ceiling. She meows at the windows. She's very interested in what's happening outside, but not interested enough to actually go outside and investigate...

Jake is interested because Jenny is interested...

   
The other day my dinner burned up in the oven. In an effort to help clear the smoke smell out of my house from my cremated pizza, I opened all the windows and doors (but not screen doors) here in the house. And there I was... walking to the kitchen with my dishes... when I see that SOMEHOW I FAILED TO NOTICE THAT THERE WAS NO SCREEN ON THE WINDOW NEXT TO THE CAT CLIMBING TREE! And there was Jake... leaning out the window all "Wassup?" As I start to crap my pants, I quickly made my way to the kitchen so I can shake the "bag of treats" and lure him away from escaping.

It worked, thank heavens. I honestly don't think my heart could take him escaping again. But at least this time I would actually know what happened!

   
Speaking of cooking disasters just waiting to happen... my old barbecue grill had to be replaced and I had time to assemble the new one this week. As with anything new, Jake and Jenny are invested...

The replacement grill is smaller than the old one, which is perfect for me. This one can fit in the catio without obstructing the door so I can leave it out instead of having to drag it back to the garage each time...

Now that the weather is turning nice again, I may actually get to use it.

Fingers crossed.

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Caturday 116

Posted on Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Dave!Apparently I had some motivation in me after all?

Today was so beautiful out that I ended up floating the river with friends instead of lounging around the house doing nothing.

Though laying on a floatie drinking booze and letting the river take you is pretty close to nothing...

Floating Down the River

Floating Down the River

At the end of our float, there was a couple with their too-cute dogs out enjoying the sun. One of the pups was tuckered out and decided to take a nap under a cap...

Floating Down the River

Floating Down the River

But this is Caturday and not Dogurday, so back to the usual feline madness that Saturday brings...

I ended up having to leave the post-float party early because I have ghosts...

Asking Jenny to go close the door had no effect.

Behind my house is a big field filled with dandelions that have gone to seed. So leaving the door open like that will guarantee that dandelion fluff will fill my living room if I don't take care of it, so off I went.

   
Whenever I have guests staying over, my cats cower upstairs in my storage closet until everybody goes to bed... then they come out and goof around until everybody wakes up and they hide upstairs again. This morning poor Jake was lounging in the catio and didn't make it upstairs before we were all awake. This is the look on his face when he realized he was "trapped" in the catio until we all left for the day...

Jake Staring from The Catio

He didn't have to wait long, but enjoyed staring at us from behind the safety of my massive pole...

Jake Staring from The Catio

I have tried many, many times to get my cats so they are not afraid of people. It never works. After a few days Jake might come wandering out for a minute if it's quiet and calm, but he's completely scared and on edge the entire time. Jenny won't even think about it. This makes me terrified as to how my cats will manage if I'm in some kind of horrible accident. Will anybody want to adopt them if they are this frightened? Are there kind souls who are patient and caring with a feral rescue who's terrified of people? I sure hope so.

Of course, just getting ready for guests is an adventure unto itself. I try to get everything cleaned up and organized, but this is never easy. "Oh, you just made the bed? Here, let me get on that, even though I haven't been on the bed in weeks...

Jake on the Guest Bed

   
And now, as I retire on this fine Caturday, I leave you with this...

Oh. And this...

Cats are the best.

   

Caturday 117

Posted on Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Dave!I was only away for two nights, but my cats seemed more bothered than usual by my absence. This has me a bit concerned for my upcoming travel. Fortunately, I have security cameras everywhere to look in while I'm gone and can call a neighbor if they need help... but since they are so afraid of strangers, that would probably just add to their anxiety.

Which is the reason I don't hire a cat-sitter any more. Jake and Jenny just run and hide, so what difference does it make? Unless I'm going to be gone long enough that the Litter-Robot will need emptying, it's probably better to just let them be.

Heaven only knows I wouldn't want to interrupt their busy day of sleeping and lounging in the catio...

Cats in the Catio

Surprisingly, despite how hot it's been out, bot my cats are still spending a lot of time in the catio. During the day, it's for napping and bird-watching...

Jake in the Catio

Or just watching me while I work...

Jake Staring from the Catio

As the sun sets, it becomes all about catching bugs (yuck) and eating bugs (double-yuck).

Here's Jenny observing a bug before Jake literally pushes her off the perch...

It's hard to tell from the camera angle... but I was watching it happen, and Jake absolutely put his paw around her and shoved her off while she was leaning over.

Jake seems to like poking and pushing Jenny for no reason other than his own amusement...

Jake Pokes Jenny

Fortunately, Jenny is not shy about poking back when she's had enough of Jake's crap. You can see in the above photo what she looks like juuuuuuust before she's about ready to snap.

Fortunately, my cats mostly get along, so the poking is kept to a minimum.

And so long as they're not poking me, it's all good.

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Caturday 118

Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Dave!Tonight I went to see the 4:00 showing of Spider-Man: Far From Home. It was a darn entertaining flick, but it was TWO HOURS AND TEN MINUTES LONG! Which means I didn't get home until 45 minutes after their dinner time at 6:00.

They were not happy.

Jake wouldn't even let me get my shoes off before he was all over me... squawking and fretting and glaring at me for daring to delay his dinner...

Jake pawing at my feet

Jenny was a bit nicer about it. She had the manners to sit on the kitchen table and meow from a distance.

After dinner, Jenny ran upstairs. I thought Jake might be up for some belly rubs, but he ran away from me and hid in his scratcher-lounger...

Jake hiding in his scratcher-lounger

Guess I'm in the dog house for a while with my cats.

Which is the opposite from how it's been lately.

For one thing, both my cats want to be in the same room I'm in. Jenny comes after me every morning and every night to get petted and scratched...

Jenny getting butt scratches.

She really gets into it...

Jenny getting belly scratches.

Jake is actually sleeping with me now. He likes to find space around my legs after I fall asleep and wedge himself in-between. Many times I wake up to find him there, which is odd because I'm not a still sleeper. I'm all over the place. Which means he adapts as I move around...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

Jake sleeping around my legs each day...

We'll see what tonight will bring. Hopefully he'll be over hating me by then.

Hope you had a good Caturday!

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Caturday 119

Posted on Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Dave!So happy to be home.

And my cats seem happy to have me home. As usual when I get back from a trip, they don't want to leave the room I'm in. Unless they are running around chasing each other, because they gotta work off all that excitement somehow.

When I sat down to check email, there was Jenny making biscuits next to me...

Jenny making biscuits!

When I turned in for the night, I thought they would be all over me, but they just plopped down on the floor next to the bed and that was the end of it. But this morning when I woke up and turned on the television? There's Jake, watching with me...

Jake watching television with me on the bed!

And after I took a shower and was getting dressed?

Jake looking at me up-side-down.

Jake looking at me up-side-down.

But it isn't all perfect.

I thoroughly cleaned my house before I left. My cats went nuts while I was gone and there's toys, cat hair, and kitty litter tracked everywhere.

And a few half-eaten bug?

WHY?!? Why are my cats bringing in bugs from the catio and eating them inside. WHYYYYY?!? IF YOU MUST EAT BUGS, JUST EAT THEM OUT IN THE CATIO!!!

And speaking of their catio...

Before I left I glanced out my window and thought for a moment that Jenny had murdered Jake...

Jenny staring at me intently while Jake is laying on the ground looking dead.

Fortunately, Jake was just sleeping.

And speaking of murder...

I am currently traveling to Maine twice a year for work... once in the winter when it's cold and miserable... and once in summer at the height of tourist season when it's crowded and miserable. I'd love to come in Spring or Fall when it's calmer, but it hasn't happened yet. That's a shame, because Maine is an amazing, amazing place. And I've only scratched the surface.

But at least this time I didn't have to make the drive from Boston to Maine on a weekend. It's a frickin' parking lot the entire way and, after hours of it, you definitely get in a murdery kinda headspace...

The highway to Maine is jammed with cars going 10 miles an hour.

And speaking of a murdery headspace... Amazon's anxiously-awaited adaptation of The Boys, one of the most insane comic book series I've ever read, is on now... so... see you next Caturday!

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Judgement, Antibodies, and Bread

Posted on Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Dave!This morning after I fed my cats Jenny started making "yummy noises" while she ate breakfast. It caught me off guard because I've never heard her do that before. It was so subtle I would have missed it if I hadn't leaned over to fill the water fountain... and so adorable that I very nearly fell over laughing.

Not sure what brought this on, but it made my day.

For a little while, anyway.

Because then I decided to have tacos for breakfast and was all "SUCK IT, HATERS... only God can judge me! Wooooooo!!"

About twenty minutes later I spent an hour in "intestinal distress." Apparently God's judgement hath cometh and it cometh for me.

Guess that's what I get for ignoring Fish Friday! Though if the point of Fish Friday is to abstain from eating meat, these were vegetarian-safe tacos, so no harm no foul (no beef no fowl?). Maybe this Wrath of God stuff would make more sense if I had paid more attention in Catholic Sunday school? I dunno. I never found anything about "Fish Friday" in the Bible, so I'm guessing this came from the Catholic Church, much like "purgatory.".

In other news... my measles antibody test came back as 203. Anything higher than 29 is positive for immunization. Which left me looking at the results like... HOLY SHIT, MOM! My antibodies are at 203?!? TWO-OH-THREE?!? EXACTLY HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU HAVE ME IMMUNIZED?!?

It's nice that I'm protected as well as I can be protected from the measles plague while traveling. One less thing to worry about. Now I can focus all my worry on the plane crashing where it belongs!

Just kidding. That's probably the last thing I worry about while traveling. The way the world is going right now, sometimes I think a plane crash is the best thing that could happen to me.

And the second-best thing? Freshly-baked bread for dessert...

Two loaves of freshly-baked bread on a cooling rack.

Three slices of freshly-baked bread with tons of butter stacked on a plate that I'm holding in my living room with one slice half-eaten.

I'll take bread and butter over cake and ice cream any day of the week!

My turn to make yummy noises.

   

Caturday 120

Posted on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Dave!This past week I've been trying to recover from the work trip that badly messed up my sleep routine. I don't sleep much in the first place, but to basically have to stay awake for three day is not something you can easily bounce back from. My solution has been to just sleep when I'm tired and hope that eventually things go back to normal.

This makes my cats happy, because they just love to have a nap buddy. Especially Jake...

Jake looking adorable while sleeping.

Jake getting belly scratches while he's pressed up against me on the bed and falling asleep.

It wouldn't be so bad if he would share the bed instead of pushing me to the edge...

Jake asleep next to me on the bed, taking up most of the space.

I put a cat bed on the couch so that Jenny could take a nap next to me when I nap...

Jenny asleep and looking completely adorable.

All is well until I shift position and Jenny has to get all upset over it. Here she is doing her best "Might you have any Grey Poupon" look after I accidentally slid my leg under her bed...

Jenny alert and looking regal but peturbed.

   
For the past couple months, Jenny has been waiting on the small corner-ledge outside my bathroom so she can get petted after I take a shower. She knows that there's no way I can resist, but has taken to meowing to get my attention anyway. This past week I started recording her each morning...

This adds five to ten minutes to my morning routine each day, but it's worth it! Note the cat hair that goes flying everywhere. I can usually keep her shedding under control by brushing her with The Furminator, but she's been resisting it lately for some reason. Don't know if I accidentally brushed too hard or what, but we're taking a break from it for a while.

And don't worry about Jake getting his fair share of pets. He waits for me on top of the cat tower in my bedroom...

And now, since I've had my shower, I guess it's time for a nap!

But before I go...

Jake has discovered that if he pounces on the pet feeder he can knock loose any kibble that got stuck in the release tube...

Jake pouncing on the automated food dispenser to get treats.

I suppose it's only a matter of time before they figure out how to open the thing entirely.

At which point I might as well fill a trough with food when I'm gone and just let them eat until they explode. Silly cats.

=yawn= Have a great weekend!

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Caturday 121

Posted on Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Dave!I have never trimmed my cats' claws. I've never had a need to. There's plenty of stuff I've built and purchased for them to scratch on, so they've kept their claws in good condition without any intervention from me. They also groom their nails often, so they seem to be in good shape whenever I examine them. Of course, I have hardwood floors which means there's no carpet for them to snag on, so that probably helps. Perhaps when they get older and are less active I'll have to start trimming, but it's not been an issue so far...

Jake giving himself a pedicure.

I've never bathed them either. On occasion I've had to wipe off something dirty they've laid on (usually out in the catio), but even that's rare because I try to keep their environment clean. And, again, they are very good about bathing themselves, they don't stink, and so I'll just let nature take its course until I need to intervene...

Cats have self-maintenance as a built-in feature. I plan on taking advantage of that for as long as I can.

This past Thursday was International Cat Day. Which is kinda silly, because EVERY DAY IS INTERNATIONAL CAT DAY in my house!

This is what I woke up to on the 8th, however...

Jake and Jenny laying next to each other on my bed being adorable.

Not a bad start to International Cat Day.

Or any day, really.

See you next Saturday!

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Found Kitten Footage!

Posted on Monday, August 12th, 2019

Dave!This morning I checked the local security camera system and noted that one of the hard drives in the mirrored storage array was reporting a fault. I have a spare drive for just such an occasion, so I swapped it out, rebuilt the mirror, and everything was up and running again in just a few minutes. Easy. Just for kicks, I thought I'd pop the failing drive into my drive dock and see what was on it.

Turns out... quite a lot!

Both the local cameras and cloud cameras are disabled when my mobile phone connects to my home wifi, so there's never any interesting footage to look at... just my cats sleeping and goofing off when I'm not home. But before I moved into my new place, the cameras were running 24/7. And while most of the footage has been recorded over hundreds of times, there are some clips that haven't been. Clips of my house just after I bought it when it was completely empty. Clips of my house undergoing renovations. Clips of my house having appliances and flooring installed. Clips of my house in the middle of the night with all the lights left on (I didn't have a security system or automated lights installed yet!). That kind of thing...

My house being rennovated with new flooring put in and garbage piled up.

   
But the real surprise of the morning?

There was oodles of video footage I offloaded from my iPhone of Jake and Jenny when they were kittens! Stuff I had long since forgotten about... some of which I didn't even have backed up! No idea what that was about, but it's definitely backed up now!

Awww...

Jake and Jenny wrestling at the end of my bed as kittens.

And here's the actual video...

   
And that's not all... there's lots more video clips waiting for me...

A Macintosh computer file screenshot showing dozens of video files.

   
Guess I don't have to worry about having stuff for my Caturday posts for a while.

And now... time to pack a suitcase.

   

Caturday 122

Posted on Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Dave!Another Caturday... already?

Nothing quite like looking up and seeing your cats staring at you.

This usually happens close to feeding time. I'll be working or reading or something, look up, and there they are...

Jake and Jenny staring at me.

But lately Jake has been staring at me just to stare at me...

Jake sitting on the entertainment center staring at me.

No big deal. I'm a fascinating person, even when I'm doing nothing.

But the other day he actually caught me by surprise. I was getting dressed for work, turned around, and he was... hiding in the cat tree staring at me...

Jake poking his head out from inside a hidey hole in the cat tree.

This is a big deal.

My cats have never... not since I first got them as kittens... ever climbed in the little hidey-holes in the cat trees I bought for them. They do not like enclosed spaces and won't go inside of them. Why Jake has all of a sudden taken to hiding in them is a mystery.

In other news... my cats are getting lazy.

A couple days ago I caught Jenny scratching on the scratching post, which is nothing unusual. Except she was laying down while doing it...

Jenny laying down and scratching the scratching post.

Jenny laying down and scratching the scratching post.

Jake is even lazier. He no longer comes up and rubs against me when he wants a belly rub. He jumps on the bed, shows his belly, then grunts until I rub it...

Jake is laying down showing his belly while grunting for me to rub it.

Me rubbing Jake's belly.

Jake flops over to get his belly rubbed.

Jake flopped on his back spread-eagle getting a belly rub.

Jenny is a little more subtle but, then again, she always gets belly rubs when she wants one...

And speaking of Jenny... just to put to rest any doubt that she can handle herself when it comes to her brother... this showed up on my security camera yesterday...

Jenny chasing Jake around the bedroom in an animated GIF.

Have a great weekend!

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Caturday 123

Posted on Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Dave!Every once in a while it strikes me just how different my cats are. Jake and Jenny have completely different personalities, but are equally sweet in their own way. Jenny is very smart and calculating. If you aren't petting her in the right spot, she moves so your hand lands where she wants to be petted. She will also complain if you pet her in a way he doesn't like or if you stop petting her too soon. This is the opposite of Jake, who just flops down when he wants to be petted and takes whatever you will give him.

And speaking of Jake...

A friend stopped by to drop something off, which meant Jake was "trapped" hiding out in the catio. After my friend left, I went to the window to tell him that it was safe for him to come back inside (you laugh, but it works). Jake was pissed. SO MAD. He can't meow, but he was acting like he was meowing me a new one. I have never seen him this angry! JUST LOOK AT HIM! (I am on the other side of the window talking to him)...

After this he calmed down and came running inside, but still!

The next morning Jake woke me up at 4:30am. This never happens. My cats simply do not bother me when I'm sleeping unless there's something terribly wrong. I petted him until he stopped whining and crying and fell asleep next to me...

Jake laying spread eagle on my bed at night.

He was still next to me when I woke up. I canceled the Alexa alarm for breakfast so he could sleep in. I thought he'd wake up when the kitty feeder cycled, but he didn't...

Jake laying against me in bed, fast asleep.

A little after 8:00, he woke up and must have realized that he missed breakfast, because he went tearing downstairs to eat.

And speaking of eating...

Both of my cats are always curious about what I eat. They usually come up and smell it, then wander off when they realize that it's "people food" and not something they want. Since I don't eat meat, the only thing Jake and Jenny want of mine is animal products I eat... like cheese, butter, and eggs. If I set down a plate after lunch and there's butter or mayonnaise or cheese on it? They will definitely lick it clean, so I try not to do that because I think dairy upsets Jake's stomach.

A while back I made chip dip, which is pretty much cream cheese, mayo, lemon juice, and garlic. When I got back from putting my clothes in the dryer, Jenny was very interested in it...

Jenny sniffing a half-eaten bowl of chip dip.

It must have been confusing. On one hand... cheese and mayonnaise. On the other hand... lemon juice and garlic. I didn't shoo her away, but instead sat and watched. I figured that if she wanted to give it a taste, I wouldn't stop her. The problem being that garlic is toxic to cats in quantity, so a taste was all she was going to get. But, after a marathon sniffing session, she walked away. Probably for the best.

And lastly today? The very definition of ape-shit... when a tiny mouse goes running by the catio while your cats are out enjoying the sunset...

There I was sitting watching television when they came running into the house, high-tailing it to the bedroom window. A minute later they were running all over the place like crazy cats. I had no idea what happened to get them so riled up... until I went to the security cameras and saw that a tiny little mouse had run by. I guess that's all it takes.

See you next Saturday.

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Caturday 124

Posted on Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Dave!My cats are 3-1/2 years old. I just looked it up, and this is the equivalent of 30 in human years. Once I managed to work the lump out of my throat, I started thinking back to when I was 30. I think that's the time I started calming down and getting more serious about life. Who I am now was formed in my 30's. That was the time that my personality stopped changing... instead it just grew in intensity.

Uh oh.

If this works the same for cats, then I'm in for an interesting time of it.

Not from Jake, mind you. This is going to be Jake from here on out...

Jeff Bridges as The Dude from The Big Lebowski, sitting spread eagle in a limo while drinking a white Russian.
I'm The Dude, dude!

I mean, seriously... this was Jake this morning when I was ready to start my day...

Jake smiling and happy while sleeping.

Jake asleep while laying on his back spread eagle without a care in the world.

He is so laid back and chill. The only time he is even remotely anxious is when he's waiting for me to dish out his food. Any other time? Unfazed. He might squawk at me if I'm walking by and he wants to be petted, but that's the end of it.

Jenny on the other hand? Entirely different ballgame...

Glenn Close looking particularly devious in Fatal Attraction.
I'M NOT GOING TO BE IGNORED, DAVE!

As she enters into her thirties, Jenny's trajectory has her turning into a demanding, cranky old lady. Which is all kinds of adorable. If she wants to be petted, she will insist you drop whatever you're doing and take care of it. Pet her the wrong way and she has no problem letting you know that she's bitterly disappointed in you. She never used to meow much at all, now she will absolutely meow to get your attention.

Like she just now did after jumping up behind me wanting to be petted...

Jenny getting her head petted and really leaning into it.

She's still an incredibly sweet cat, so you can't possibly get upset when she gets a bit demanding... on the contrary, it's just made me love her more... but it's remarkable just how far Jake and Jenny's personalities have diverged.

Jake hops on the coffee table for a nap, and I can slow blink with him for twenty minutes...

Jake laying down and blinking at me.

Try slow-blinking with Jenny that same night though?

Jenny laying down and staring at me like she's been interrupted from something important.

YOU WANT SOMETHING FROM ME, HUMAN?

In 2-1/2 years, my cats will be 40 human years old. They grow up so fast.

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Mufasa, Labor, and Hallmark

Posted on Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Dave!I worked late last night so I could work a half day today. For whatever reason I just wanted a small piece of my Labor Day holiday to have no work involved. The rest of my day was reading and watching the Hallmark Summer Movie Marathon in the hopes that there were movies I hadn't seen yet in the countdown.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My day started with Jake running into my bedroom, dropping Mufasa the Lion on the floor, squawking as loud as he could manage, then running back downstairs to run around with his sister until breakfast.

Since Jenny keeps taking Mufasa away from him and hiding it, I'm guessing that Jake wanted me to watch over his most prized posesstion for him...

Mufasa the small plush toy lion laying on my brown hardwood floor.

Jenny is way more crafty than I am, so that probably wasn't one of Jake's best ideas.

And, yes, I am still on my mission to watch all the Hallmark originals.

The good news is that I was able to check several that I missed off my list. Including my new favorites Love at the Shore and Summer Villa...

   
These two movies aren't just "good for a Hallmark movie," they're good for an actual movie. Well, assuming you like cheesy romance flicks.

And now it's just a matter of waiting for October 25th, which is when all the new Countdown to Christmas movies start up. As I mentioned, this year there are forty of them. FORTY!

   

Cleanliness is Next to Nothing

Posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Dave!Thanks to my two cats, my home will never be impeccably clean. Their fur is everywhere. Their toys are everywhere. Their kitty litter tracks everywhere. And their cat trees are pretty gross. And yet... I do what I can to keep my house as clean as possible. Partly because I don't want it looking like a disaster area when guests drop by unexpectedly. But mostly because I don't want bugs in my house, and I've found constant cleaning goes a long, long way towards keeping them out.

Carl the RoboVac runs every day to keep my floors mostly clean (I vacuum by hand when needed to get the rest). I steam-clean the cat feeding station every week (Jenny makes a bit of a mess when eating wet food because she licks it instead of bites it). I keep countertops clean and my kitchen mopped. I wipe up or vacuum food crumbs whenever I spot them. I scrub everything with a baking soda wash on a rotating schedule. I do whatever I can to keep my home as clean as possible so bugs don't show up. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it because it actually seems to help. I am lucky to see few insects in my house.

Except...

Lately my cats have been catching giant spiders out in the catio then bringing them inside to play with.

As you can imagine, this has me more than a little freaked out. Nothing quite like spotting something on the floor out of the corner of your eye... going to investigate... then seeing it's a spider that the cats tortured to death.

And here I thought that Jake and Jenny eating bugs out in the catio was the worst thing that could possibly happen. I love my cats more than I know how to adequately express, but this is driving me insane. But what can you do? I refuse to yell at my cats for being cats. When I adopted them to keep my mom company, I knew what I was getting into. Any problems that come out of that decision are my fault, not theirs.

And so... occasional spiders are in my future, I guess.

Meanwhile in TV Land...

Hallmark has finally confirmed their new Christmas movie schedule and I've updated my 2019 movie page so that all forty of them are in my winter television schedule. Hopefully at least half of them are worth a crap. It seems as they increase the number of movies year after year, the overall quality has been declining.

On the bright side, however, this year we're getting A Christmas Love Story starring KRISTIN CHENOWETH and Scott Wolf...

Kristin Chenoweth and Scott Wolf staring into each other's eyes in front of a Christmas tree.

Just when you think that everything that could possibly be said about Christmas from Hallmark has been said... here comes Kristin! So at least one of the movies will be insanely chipper in the way that only Kristin Chenoweth can deliver!

Ho! Ho! Ho! 50 days to go until October 25th...

   

The Cats Before The Fall

Posted on Friday, September 6th, 2019

Dave!This morning I woke up and felt, for the first time this year, that Summer is on its way out. Instead of the beautiful mornings that permeate the months of June, July, and August, things looked considerably less bright. More dreary and foreboding. The afternoons will still be sunny and warm for a while yet, but the mornings and evenings will be colder, dimmer, and less life affirming. Don't get me wrong... I love Fall... but the transition to get there is darn depressing. Not enough that I want to move south so I can avoid it, but enough that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning.

Especially early in the morning, like today.

Usually I am awake and working at 5:30am. Checking email, going through my to-do's, setting up things that need to be done when I get into the office... that kind of stuff. But I don't get out of bed until the Alexa alarm goes off at 7am and it's time to feed the cats. Then I work a little more before getting ready to go into the office at 9am. Most days this means I've put in two or three hours before I even go to work, but I'm okay with it because I'm not completely overwhelmed once I get there.

If I get out of bed earlier than 7am, it's almost always because I'm traveling. This morning it was because I had to shoot some video.

But Jake and Jenny don't know that. All they know is that their daily routine is being disrupted. In their mind, I'm going to be gone for days, which causes a major freak-out. Jenny's crying on the banister. Jake is running after me so he can rub up against my legs. It's like a Greek feline tragedy unfolding, and I always feel terrible about it. I try to explain that I'll be back this afternoon, but they're cats... so... well, you know...

Jake the cat hovering around my feet while.

I wish for the ability to talk with my cats almost daily. Most of the time it's to ask them "Why did you just do that? What are you thinking here?" But times like this would be to tell them what's going on so they wouldn't be so upset.

Instead all I can do is distract them with cat treats while I sneak out the front door.

Then spend the rest of my day wondering how they're doing after the cat treats are gone.

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Caturday 125

Posted on Saturday, September 7th, 2019

Dave!I know my cats like me. They greet me when I arrive home. When I'm around, they are always in whatever room I'm in. Heck, they're always waiting outside the door when I'm come out of the bathroom. Granted, their adoration is probably because I feed them, play with them, pet them, scratch them, and buy them stuff... but I'll take it.

This is not to say that it's non-stop adoration around here.

This morning I had to get started cleaning the house. I put it off so I wouldn't interrupt their post-breakfast nap. But when their post-breakfast nap turned into a pre-lunch nap, I finally bit the bullet and started with my weekly chores.

Jake was irritated.

Jenny was livid. She gave me a death-stare that came dangerously close to melting my skin off.

My sweet girl has had a bit of a sour face from the beginning...

Kitten Jenny with her sour face.

So when she's irritated, you definitely know it...

Adult Jenny with her sour face.

But even when she's grumpy and irritated one minute...

Jenny with her sour face.

...the next minute she can be all adorable and melt your heart again...

Jenny with her sour face.

In other Caturday news, Jake and Jenny have been pretty buddy buddy lately. Usually they coexist without much interaction... but now they've been hanging out together quite a bit...

Jake and Jenny sitting on the cat scratch lounger.

Jake and Jenny out in the catio together in the dark.

My guess is that it's getting cooler, so they're snuggling up for body warmth?

I hear that. We're supposed to be getting a thunderstorm tonight!

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Caturday 126

Posted on Saturday, September 14th, 2019

Dave!And so begins the season when I have houseguests coming and going. Since I spend most of my time here alone, I rather enjoy the company. Jake and Jenny, on the other hand? Not so much.

Despite trying and trying and trying to get them accustomed to other people, they are having none of it. They hide in the storage closet attached to my bedroom and don't come out until the coast is clear. This becomes a problem when I have overnight guests, because they gotta eat, drink, pee, and poop.

I've kinda solved the problem by moving their food, water, and upstairs Liter-Robot into my bedroom and closing the door. It's not a perfect solution, because if there's any noise at all going on in the house, they won't come out to use them, but at least they know they are there when things settle down.

And it's better now than they used to be. Instead of continuing to hide when everybody is asleep, my cats will roam the house until people wake up. Instead of taking days or hours to recover and come out of hiding, they are out reclaiming the house within minutes of my guests leaving.

Even so, I'm thinking of doing some work in the storage closet to make things more cat-friendly. Maybe rethinking things so that they have more comfortable places to hide? Add some ramps and scratching posts to make it more fun?

I feel bad about them feeling they need to hide, so the least I can do is try to make it easier on them.

And speaking of feeling bad...

This time I had people with cat allergies coming over. This is, technically, not a huge problem... thanks to my air purifier, Carl the RoboVac, and a good deep cleaning... but there is one thing that makes a real deep cleaning impossible... the ratty old cat tree that Jake and Jenny love. Thanks to the cheap, ugly fuzzy fabric which covers the thing, it's impossible to keep clean. It's so gross, but I dare not get rid of it. Instead I temporarily moved it to the catio.

Jake was livid. Boy was he mad. He was squawking at me while I was moving it.

Jenny just sat there staring at me like WTF, dude?

So they've been out in the catio all over the thing... still angry at me for having moved it...

Jenny outside in the catio on top of her beloved cat tree, staring at me.

The top of the cat tree is Jake's favorite place to sleep so he's out there all the time, bless his little heart...

Jake out in the catio asleep on top of that filthy old cat tree.

Just look at how disgusting the thing is! And this is after I vacuumed it! I honestly don't want that filthy thing back in my house, so I made a decision. Well, two decisions, actually. First I ordered a replacement cat tree of the exact same model. Once it arrives on Wednesday, I'll put it together and hope that they will transition to it. Then, come Spring, I'll take the old cat tree, strip it apart, then rebuild it from better materials that I can actually keep clean. Should be a fun project. I hope.

In the meanwhile? Here's to my cats not hating me too much.

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Cat Tree Returns

Posted on Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Dave!Remember when I said that I would not be dragging Jake and Jenny's filthy cat tree back into my home? Remember also when I said that I ordered a replacement that will be here Wednesday, and they can just deal until it gets here?

Well...

Jake had decidedly different ideas about that.

He's been spending all his time out in the catio lounging on it... and whenever he's in the house, he's whining to me about it... or looking mournfully out into the catio at his favorite place to hang out.

I felt so bad that I really had no choice but to drag that filthy thing back inside last night...

Jake climbing all over his cat tree again.

Jake climbing all over his cat tree again.

Jake climbing all over his cat tree again.

Jake climbing all over his cat tree again.

The new cat tree is supposed to arrive tomorrow. If they don't take to it, there's no way... no way... I am dragging this gross thing back in my home. There's just no way.

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Technology Welcomes Sleep Success

Posted on Friday, September 20th, 2019

Dave!I've been having a tough time of it lately. I either pulled something in my leg... or twisted something in my leg... or maybe it's a blood clot in my leg... or perhaps nerve damage... I dunno. All I do know is that it feels as though all the bones in my left leg are being broken over and over again. It's excruciating. And sleep has been tough to come by because of it.

My guess is that it will probably have to be amputated. But I suppose that's for a doctor to decide.

Today I was too exhausted and in too much pain to get anything done, so I left work early to drug up, wrap my leg in hot packs, and take a nap.

I don't want to brag, but it was a huge success. I slept so good that there was a cat on me when I woke up. That's some great sleeping right there...

Jake laying next to me in bed

I would have liked to have stayed in bed for the rest of the day, but I have a massive to-do list that I need to be working on before winter arrives.

First up was figuring out why some of my SONOS speakers are showing up as "offline" to Alexa. It happened after the last update and it's been driving me crazy. It's also been driving the cats crazy, because one of the speakers that Alexa can't recognize is the speaker which plays their breakfast and dinner alarms.

The horror.

A half hour later and I eventually solve the problem by uncoupling my surround sound setup, making all the speakers be individual "rooms," then running "discovery" so Alexa could see all of them again. Then setting up my surround system from scratch again. What a pain in the ass that was.

But that's technology for ya. Making things easier for you while making things more difficult at the same time.

But try explaining that to a cat.

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Caturday 127

Posted on Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned last Caturday, I ordered a brand new cat tree to replace the disgusting pile of filth that the old one had become. My biggest worry was that the cats wouldn't like new cat tree smell and reject it. So after I put the new one together on Wednesday, I thought I'd keep both trees out so there could be a transition. Turns out it wasn't necessary. They were all over the thing from the minute they saw it...

Old cat tree. New cat tree. Both cats on the new cat tree.

Jake knawing on the new cat tree.

Jenny sitting on top of the new cat tree.

During their dinner time I hauled the old tree to the garage so I can eventually rebuild it. The new one slid to the old location and the cats didn't seem to notice that anything was different...

The new tree in the old location with Jenny sitting on top of it.

   
Yesterday I heard some commotion in the dining room. Not knowing what I was in for, I walked in and saw that Jenny was on the dining room table. At first I was all "GREAT! NOW I HAVE TO DISINFECT THE TABLE AGAIN!" But then I saw how neatly she had bundled up the table runner that I had up for dinner last weekend, and was all "Awwwww! Aren't you just the cutest thing!"

Jenny sitting on top of the new cat tree.

And she really is. I just melt every time I look into that little sour-puss face. And since it's been getting colder, I brought out the cat beds they like to snuggle up in this time of year. So now I get to look into her little sour-puss face every evening when I watch television...

Jenny waking up in her cat bed with her little adorable frowny-face.

   
First I added a second blanket to my bed... then this week I added my electric blanket. Something Jake and Jenny just love. But this year Jake has been all over it...

Jake laying on the electric blanket looking very content.

He even gave himself a pedicure on it the other day...

Jake biting the claws on his rear foot.

Jenny is pretty aggressive when grooming her claws... but Jake takes it to the next level. There were times I honestly thought he was going to rip his claws right off his foot.

   
and that's all the cat-news for another cat-week. See you in seven cat-days... same cat-channel... same cat-time!

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FlyPad

Posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Dave!This is the first post I’ve written entirely on my iPad. Thanks to iPadOS 13 (which was released today) and other apps stepping up their game, it’s actually a realistic option for me now.

Not that it’s easy, mind you.

It’s time consuming and clunky.

Take getting an image to appear in this post, for example. First I have to open the image in Adobe Lightroom for iPad so I can adjust it a bit. THEN I have to save it to my iPad so I can open it in Image Resize, because Lightroom DOESN’T ALLOW YOU TO FUCKING SPECIFY PIXEL DIMENSIONS WHEN YOU CROP A PHOTO. Once I crop it To 1200 × 800, I then have to save it to FTPManager Pro so I can upload it to my blog. It sounds simpler than it actually is. And it doesn’t end there. I then have to open up my WordPress admin panel to write the actual post. But since I want to use images where I put them instead of where WordPress wants them, I have to copy and paste code from old entries into new entries.

Like these photos of Jenny going after a fly in the window this morning...

Jenny stretching her neck up to look at a fly in the window.

Jenny stretching up the window under the window blinds to find a fly.

She’s adorable, I know.

Eventually (hopefully) one of these days it will be a more streamlined process to edit and upload images and write posts. I’m guessing it took me three times longer to post this on my iPad than it would have on my MacBook Pro. With practice, perhaps I could get it down to twice the time? I dunno. Right now I’m just happy I can do it. An iPad is a lot easier to lug around than a laptop.

   

Winter Is Coming…

Posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Dave!This morning I woke up to a news report that there will be a cold snap in the Cascades starting Friday night. Snow is expected to accumulate anywhere from 4 to 10 inches.

Oh hell no. I am not ready for snow.

Now, usually I don't panic on these things, because any snow that lands will melt in short order this early in the season. I'll be driving over in the afternoon and there likely won't be much of anything on the ground. On top of that, I have been driving in the snow all my life and am pretty good at it, so it isn't a concern. And I have chains just in case things get unexpectedly bad.

But my snow tires expired last year which means I have to get new ones this year. This is a definite cause for concern. If you wait too long, it will be slim pickings or... worst case scenario... there will be a waiting list because they're all sold out. Making matters worse, sometimes you can't get an appointment to get your new tires mounted, balanced, and put on your car because the appointments are fully booked.

So this time I ain't waiting.

I made an appointment during my lunch, and away I went. And now my car has pretty new shoes...

A close up of my new winter tires showing monster tread and lots of siping.

If I drove a lot, I would probably have waited a month to save some tread. But I drive so few miles each season that my tires expire long before the tread is too low to be legal, so I figured I'd just beat the rush so I don't have to worry about getting an appointment when the snow hits.

Buying tires is kinda a weird deal. The advice is always "Buy the best tires you can afford!" because so much is (literally) riding on them. I always followed that advice for my mom's car... buying her the absolute best tires I could get, regardless of cost. When it came to my own car I was far less picky. I always bought mid-quality all-weather tires that were half the cost (and I never bought snow tires). When my mom couldn't drive any more, I donated my crappy Saturn to the veterans and took over the car I got her since it was newer and less crappy. It's a cheaper model 2007 Toyota Corolla, but it's clean, dependable, and in great shape. Since I already had the snow tires for it, I went ahead and had them put on.

And was subsequently shocked at how nice it was to drive through snow, slush, and ice with proper winter tires on!

It's so nice that I don't ever want to go back to all-weathers for winter driving, even if that means I have to spend money I don't have to get new ones. Because not having to brake six feet early on icy roads so you don't slide into an intersection is totally worth it. I remember one time I was driving to the airport at 4:30 in the morning and had to turn around and take an alternate route because my car didn't have enough traction to drive my regular route. At the time I was like "Oh well." But now I know this wouldn't have happened if I had winter tires, so driving my mom's car has been a game-changer.

Especially to my wallet.

In other news...

My cats haven't left tributes in a while. This morning I awoke to Blue Ball, Pretzel, Moose the Mule, the skin from a toy that's been ripped off the cat tree (which they brought in from the catio), and a ball of cat hair. No idea what they are wanting. Maybe it's to turn the heat on? I think it must be to turn the heat on...

Cat toys and crap left on my bedroom floor.

I kinda miss waking up to find what my cats brought me in the middle of the night. They used to do it in exchange for food, I'm guessing. Because once they were trained to wait for the Alexa alarm, they stopped bringing me stuff. Surprisingly, they know enough to not bring tributes to Alexa. Smart kitties.

I wonder if Jake and Jenny will appreciate that we'll be riding on awesome new winter tires when I take them in for their annual vet checkup in February?

Probably not.

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A Million and One Things

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2019

Dave!Facebook has a features called "Memories" which allows you to revisit posts for the day of years past. Most of the time, it's kinda cool to look back and see what was happening last year... three years ago... five years ago... and so on. Other times? Not so much.

A year ago today I was burying my mother.

It's weird... very weird... to think back to that day.

She had died three months prior, but it took a while for her marker to be made and shipped from the Veteran's Affairs office. I ultimately decided to go with the free marker they provide to veterans because the local funeral home had gone out of business and I just didn't want to shop for another one. Also? I really liked the simplicity of it all...

Mom's Marker

Placing that marker was symbolic of so many things.

For the previous three months I had been in a constant state of stress and anxiety. Closing out accounts. Paying off bills. Writing thank you notes. Sending out death certificates. Disposing of possessions. — It's a million and one things and it seems like it will never, ever end.

Until the marker is set, you write an obituary, and it does.

Except it really doesn't, of course.

It was never a sprint, it was always a marathon. And as I sit here one year later, I'm really glad I didn't know this back then or I probably would have gone insane.

Though it's early. I still might.

In the meanwhile, I have cats to keep my mind off things...

Jenny, an orange cat, sitting in front of the television looking at me as Samuel L. Jackson lifts up Goose, an orange cat, in the movie Captain Marvel.

A job for which they are exceptionally well-suited.

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Caturday 128

Posted on Saturday, September 28th, 2019

Dave!What happened to the transition between Summer and Fall? Does anybody know?

Usually there's a "grace period" before it starts getting really cold... but not this year. One minute it was blue skies, sun, and warmth... the next minute it's overcast, dreary, and cold. This is a bit of a bummer because I like a month with a low electricity bill since I'm not running the air conditioner or the heater. This year it was just three days before I made the switch.

When it's cold, there's nothing better than a warm cat laying on top of you. Jenny doesn't do this very often, but Jake is totally into it...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

Um... not exactly what I had in mind.

Oh that's better! In other news...

Jenny has had a floopy whisker since she was a kitten...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

A while back it fell out and left me wondering if it would grow back straight or floopy again. I noticed it was back... and, yep... it's floopy again. This makes me strangely happy, because it's one of the things that makes Jenny uniquely my cat...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

With the weather getting colder and rainy-er I set out the cat shelters for Fake Jake. On Friday I saw that we were due for a cold snap this weekend, so I braved the rain to install heating pads. Good thing too, because Fake Jake has been all over them...

Fake Jake huddling on a heating pad in the shelter.

He showed his gratitude by running up to me for butt scratches when I ran out with the garbage. Unfortunately, I left the door open and Jake and Jenny saw me betraying them for another cat...

Fake Jake getting butt scratches while Jake and Jenny watch through the window of the screen door.

I tried making up for it by giving them their own butt scratches, but they seemed oddly detached...

Fake Jake huddling on a heating pad in the shelter.

Anxiously awaiting them pooping in my shoes.

See you next Caturday!

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She’s Gotta Have It

Posted on Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Dave!It is easier to set my Alexa alarm to 7:04am than to reset the clock on the cat auto-feeder which has been gaining time and drifting a little bit later and later every day. So that's what I did last night. There's no sense messing around with the feeder until stupid Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3rd.

This morning Jenny was NOT having it.

At 7am ON THE DOT she was on my bed meowing her head off wanting breakfast and was very cross indeed that Alexa hadn't chimed in on that. Can you imagine what my life will be like in November when I have to set the clocks back and she has to wait ONE HOUR?!? No extra hour in bed for me... I can guarantee that. Actually it will be two weeks of no sleeping in, because I change their clock in 15 minute increments over time until they are off DST. Apparently it helps them adjust easier...

Jenny laying on my bed forelorned with a paw and claws out while waiting for the Alexa alarm as I scratch her belly.

In other news... I was very nervous testing my blood sugar this morning. After all the potato salad I ate last night... and the huge bowl I had just before bed at 1am... I was sure it would hit 300. But nope! My spleen totally had my back and was a chipper 117 this morning. IT'S A POTATO SALAD MIRACLE!

Not a bad way to start my Thursday.

I am celebrating by having a bowl of potato salad for breakfast.

   

Caturday 129

Posted on Saturday, October 5th, 2019

Dave!I try to keep a clean home at all times. Partly because I never know when people will drop by, but mostly because I just like living in a clean home.

When it comes to cleaning, it's mostly about my cats. They drag toys everywhere. They leave fur everywhere. They track kitty litter everywhere. They bring dead bugs in from the catio. That kind of thing. I'm not saying that I don't make messes of my own, but I am saying that most of the cleanup requirements are not because of me.

Carl the RoboVac helps. He does a very good job of sweeping up kitty litter and fur day-today. But he has his limits, so I end up having to vacuum things like stairs and moldings manually once a week.

And then there's the deep-cleanings.

I used to "deep clean" every other month. Then it was four times a year. Now it's twice a year in March and October (or possibly when I have company staying with me, especially if they have cat allergies). It just doesn't make sense to be cleaning all the time when my cats are just going to get fur over everything. The most important deep cleaning is the Spring. So much dirt gets tracked in over the winter that it's pointless to do any thorough cleaning after the snow falls. So I just wait until March when the snow has gone and things have dried up.

My October deep cleaning is happening over the next couple weeks. Everything gets moved and taken apart. Everything gets scrubbed. Everything gets washed. Everything gets cleaned. It's a lot of hard work, but worth it because I know that my house is free of filth. For a few days, anyway.

The problem is that Jake and Jenny always want to "help."

Deep cleaning is something different and new for them to get excited about, so they are always all over anything that gets moved and investigating every little thing I do. Unless there's noise involved, at which time they run and hide.

Which is why I always vacuum first. It's just easier that way.

I juuuusssst finished vacuuming five minutes ago.... Annnnd they're back already. Apparently there's something happening outside that they simply must look at...

Jake and Jenny sitting on the cat scratcher lounger and looking out the window.

Used to be I could count on them to hide for at least an hour when the vacuum comes out. I guess those days are gone...

Jake and Jenny take a break from staring out the window and are now staring at me.

Jake and Jenny bored now and wandering around the cat scratcher lounger.

It was probably Fake Jake, who has been hanging around ever since I put the heated winter shelters out for him. Real Jake isn't quite so threatened any more, but Jenny is still mostly terrified. She hisses at him even when she knows she's not in danger...

Jake sneaking up to the front screen door to visit with Fake Jake.

Jake at the front screen door visiting with Fake Jake.

There was a part of me that hoped I could eventually bring Fake Jake inside, but it's just never going to happen. He's horribly aggressive towards other cats and I Would never risk him hurting Jake and Jenny. So... my neighbors and myself do the best we can to take care of him and make sure he has shelter and food. The heated kitty igloos are a favorite spot for him to hang out when it's cold or raining, and I still have cameras inside so I can see if he's hurt or sick or needs help...

Fake Jake cuddled up on the heating pad in his kitty igloo sleeping with a smile on his face.

My cats are happy inside now that I've turned the heat on and put out the kitty beds for them to sleep in... or half-in...

Jenny is hanging out of her kitty bed and yawning.

See you next Caturday!

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Just Another Thursday Morning…

Posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Dave!As usual when I return from a trip, my cats have been taking turns glomming all over me. Poor Jake acts like I've been gone for years, and will sleep on my bed for two or three nights before things get back to whatever passes for "normal" in my house.

Though at some point in the middle of the night, he left me long enough to go downstairs and grab Mufasa and Moose the Mule and bring them upstairs. I went to take a photo of them when I woke up this morning and was surprised that iPhone decided to use the flash instead of Night Mode. The flash washes everything out, so I turned it off and Night Mode kicked in, giving much better results. Apple needs to work on this. Maybe the camera should know how to cut back on flash and create some kind of “Half Night Mode” for cases like this? Just a little flash on top of Night Mode would have cut down on grain, but preserved color fidelity and detail. Oh well. Until that day, I’ll just keep the flash turned off. It just seems to ruin things...

Mufasa the toy lion and Moose the Mule toy mule on the floor of my bedroom... taken with iPhone flash and is all washed out.

Mufasa the toy lion and Moose the Mule toy mule on the floor of my bedroom... taken with iPhone in Night Mode and looking all gorgeous.

I don't know what's going on with my cats and their toys. When I got home from work yesterday, I walked in the door to this...

Mufasa the toy lion laying on the floor with a long, long stream of packing pillows strug out behind him.

I don't know what chain of events led up to it. Maybe Jake did Jenny wrong, so she took Mufasa away from him and was going to ship him back to Africa? Silly cats.

Yesterday I made potato salad (again) and it was the first thing I thought of for breakfast when the cats' feeding alarm went off...

A beautiful scoop of my homemade potato salad with paprika on top sitting in a bowl and ready to be eaten.

As I was taking my tater salad back to bed so I could go through my email and get some work done, I noticed that my thermostat was glaring at me. Apparently it's time to turn on the whole-home humidifier...

The display on my smart thermostat telling me that the indoor humidity is only 24%.

I would have turned it on right then, but all my woodworking tools are piled in front of it, so I guess that will have to wait until the weekend.

When I managed to get back up to my work, my laptop let me know that the final version of MacOS X "Catalina" dropped while I was in New Orleans (I've been running the betas since they were first released)...

My MacBook Pro telling me that it's downloading the final version of MacOS X Catalina.

There goes my morning productivity. Fortunately Jenny came up after her breakfast and kept me company while I waited...

Jenny laying next to me as I wait for my laptop to finish updating its operating system.

As usual with Apple, first there's a time to download screen... followed with a time to install screen... followed with a time to update screen. Which not only made it so I couldn't get any work done, it make it so I was late to the office. Yay.

Just another Thursday morning.

   

Caturday 130

Posted on Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Dave!Today after work I was hungry so I ran to the local drive-thru to get some fries to hold me over until dinner. Then I drove home and ate them in my car in my driveway because I didn't want to eat in front of my cats. I would have pulled into the garage and ate them there, but my cats run to the door and wait for me when they hear the garage door opening. The last thing I want to do is get them excited and have them sit there waiting for 15 minutes while I scarf fries.

I mean, come on, this was Jenny staring at me this morning until the breakfast alarm sounded, how can I eat in front of that?

Jenny staring at me from the cat tree in my bedroom.

Though perhaps I am being too kind. According to science, Cats Know Their Own Names, Even if They Pretend Not To. I'm telling you right now... Jenny DEFINITELY knows her name. Jake seems to sometimes, but I'm not 100% sure. In any case, yes, they pretend not to... unless it suits them. The little scoundrels.

Speaking of scoundrels, this is me when I hear a skirmish: "HEY! WHO INSTIGATED THIS?!??? Let's go to the tape!" — =watches camera feed=JENNY! YOU INSTIGATED NOT ONCE... BUT TWICE!!! =sob= I'm so proud of you, my tough little lady!

Little poo-heads!

Though they can also be the most adorable things on earth too. My cats are rarely on my bed at the same time. They take turns... and if one sees the other on the bed, they will leave and come back later. But the electric blanket seems to be a big enough draw that they will make exceptions now...

Jake and Jenny laying next to each other on my electric blanket.

If you remember from previous years, Jenny's favorite thing in cold weather is the electric blanket, which means she will be there a lot.

Jenny walking up to me on the electric blanket looking for the perfect place to lie down.

Though this time of year both of them spend plenty of time using my body heat as a source of heat too...

Jake laying on top of me for heat.

Jenny sitting next to me for heat.

Though, these are cats we're talking about, so everything is not all perfect. Lately Jake has been copping me some serious attitude. Here he is when he couldn’t get a pretzel out of the box and I wouldn’t help, so he turned his back on me. This is despite my calling his name. AND WE KNOW THAT SCIENCE SAYS HE CAN TOTALLY UNDERSTAND MY CALLING HIS NAME...

Jake sitting on the couch with his back to me while a box of pretzels sits next to me.

Jenny's not innocent in all this. Earlier this week she came into my bedroom meowing for treats. I told her no, that she just had breakfast. She threw herself down on the bed and just stared at me with a look of 100% derision...

Jenny looking at me with an air of complete derision.

JUST LOOK AT THAT SMIRK! SCOUNDRELS, I SAY!

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Caturday 131

Posted on Saturday, October 19th, 2019

Dave!Somehow... sometime... in the middle of the night I scratched my eye. This happens two or three times a year and I have no idea how I manage it. Do I scratch it with a fingernail? Does a blanket slide across it? Do I get it stuck open when I'm laying on a pillow? Dunno. All I do know is that I wake up in sheer agony, and wishing that I had those OcuCaine drops that the eye doctor uses to numb your eyeball.

In absence of OcuCaine, all I could do is stumble downstairs for some Advil... and nearly die.

When the cats run up stairs, they take a high-speed turn at the top by digging their claws into the stair tread carpet and changing direction. Lately the edge of the carpet has come up, so I have to remember to step around it. Which is something I do by habit.

Alas when I stepped around the carpet, I nearly killed myself falling down the stairs avoiding Blue Mouse... and stepping on Fuzzy Ball Two, which Jake or Jenny apparently ripped off the cat tree last night. My vision was all messed up because of the tears my eyes were making...

Blue Mouse and a Fuzzy Ball from the cat tree tower on my stairs.

After loading up on Advil... and Tootsie Rolls... I went back upstairs to sleep for another 90 minutes before the breakfast alarms rings to feed the cats. But when I got to my bed, it was already occupied...

Any normal person would have moved a cat or two in order to get their bed back. But not me. I slowly and carefully slid in-between them diagonally so they could stay where they were resting. Five minutes later they heard a noise or something and ran off. Which meant my efforts were all for naught. But no worries, Jenny was back soon after...

Jenny laying on my bed with her paws stretched out towards the camera as I scratch her belly.

Jake waited until I got downstairs...

The weather here is that dreary, awful, wet, and grey kind of weather you get before the brisk Fall days with dry blue skies take over. Fake Jake is not a fan at all, and is usually waiting out the rain in one of his shelters...

Fake Jake laying inside his winter shelter looking outside and waiting for the rain to stop.

Or sleeping through it...

Fake Jake laying inside his winter shelter sleeping.

Can't say that I blame him. I'd sleep through these days if I could.

But, alas, it's off to work I go...

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Homestead Slipper Feet

Posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Dave!Last year I slowly came to realize that during colder months my feet were always cold when I'm at home. Even with a pair of socks on, they feel freezing. At first I chalked it up to getting older... maybe my circulation isn't what it once was... but eventually came to the conclusion that it was my floors. When I'm upstairs, my feet aren't cold. When I'm downstairs, my feet get cold fairly quickly.

My guess is that it's because my home is built on a concrete slab. To my knowledge, that's never happened to me before...

  • I remember a small home we rented in The Big City and am almost positive it had a crawlspace underneath. I remember being afraid of it because there were spiders under there.
  • My family lived in a small attic apartment here in town for a while (assumably while our home was being built).
  • My childhood home had a crawlspace underneath.
  • From there I moved to an upstairs apartment in The Big City.
  • From there I moved to an upstairs apartment back here in town.
  • From there I moved to my current home, which is built on a slab.

So upstairs apartments and homes with crawlspaces apparently have warmer floors than homes built on concrete slabs. Which kinda makes sense. The concrete absorbs the cold from the earth and, since heat rises, they are cold to the touch when you walk on them. YEAH SCIENCE, BITCH!

So last year I ordered a pair of slippers for 50% off from a post-winter sale, then tucked them away for when cold days came again. After a week of suffering with cold feet, I remembered that I had them... pulled them out of storage... then put them on my feet only to find that they are too big. Like... a whole inch too big. Unfortunately, it's way too late to return them for a different size.

And so I've been wearing three pairs of socks so the slippers aren't falling off my feet... which, as it turns out, makes my feet too hot. But wearing three pairs of socks without the slippers makes it difficult to navigate stairs since I'm sliding all over the place, and so I guess I fail at life or something.

Making a note to add slippers to my Black Friday shopping list.

Cold floors don't seem to bother my cats at all. Though Jenny is sleeping exclusively in the "self-warming beds" I bought them, and Jake is snuggled up against me on the electric blanket all night now...

Me in bed with Jake, who is staring at the camera with his tail in my face under my nose like a giant mustache.

I move a lot when I sleep, but he doesn't seem bothered. At some point I'd like to put a camera on us all night so I can see exactly how mad he gets when he has to wake up and move because I've moved. Apparently it's not irritating enough for him to give up the electric blanket, because he's still there when I wake up in the morning.

The things we do for a warm place to sleep and a snuggle buddy.

   

Caturday 132

Posted on Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Dave!Both my cats are pretty smart, but Jenny seems to be getting smarter than smart. She learns things.

At 7am the alarm rings on Alexa for me to feed my cats. Both cats are well aware of this and are conditioned to wait for it to sound. This is handy because they don't bother me for breakfast in the morning. The alarm sounds, we go downstairs, they get fed. I also have them trained to expect a treat before I leave each day. I did this so I can leave the house knowing they're both okay and I don't worry (as much) over being gone.

Used to be that any time I went back downstairs after feeding they would both run to me expecting a treat. Jake still does. But this past week Jenny stopped doing that. She knows that I don't really leave the house until I've taken a shower. So now she doesn't get excited about a treat until after she heard the shower running. I know this because I tested it, of course. I can go up and down the stairs a half-dozen times and she won't move unless she's heard the shower run first.

She's just that smart...

Jake, bless his heart, will come running all six times.

Speaking of Jake... have I mentioned that he likes living on the edge?

When he hopped in the cat bed, it slid. So he made the best of the situation. I got nervous about him falling, so I couldn't take looking at this and had to give him a ride back to safety...

Now that the weather is getting colder, the cats have been taking turns sleeping next to me in bed so they can take advantage of the heated blanket. This is mostly Jake while I'm sleeping and Jenny if I'm awake and watching TV or working in bed...

Whenever they are not on the electric blanket, they're in a kitty bed or sleeping on one of the self-heating pads. Though their method of sleeping varies a bit between them. Jenny must be situated in the absolute center...

Jake is all over the place. Sometimes he's half-in, half-out. Or with his head or arm sticking out...

Such is life when you're a bit "fluffier" than the rest.

Jenny has long been a bit particular about appearances, even when sleeping. Or just lounging around looking sexy...

In preparation for Daylight Saving Time (which I HATE HATE HATE!), I've been moving the Alexa alarm for feeding back 15 minutes every few days leading up to it so that there's not a shock when the time change happens. After the first couple days, Jenny expected that I could be convinced to move the alarm back again, so she sat staring at me for a half-hour...

This is something they did all the time before I got them trained on the Alexa alarms for feeding. Now most times they ignore me. Until now. Apparently Jenny seems to know that something's up.

Told you she was smart.

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Bullet Sunday 635

Posted on Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Dave!A busy, busy week for me has ended but I'm just getting started, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Monster. I have been toning down the politics on Blogography because it's just so pointless. Unless you are living under a rock, you already know the horrific shit our president is doing, so there's really no need to repeat it here. But lately it's gotten so bad that my disbelief has escalated to a level I didn't even know I had in me. Fortunately John Oliver was back tonight to put one of the most tragically awful events into perspective...

Holy shit.

There really is no bottom. President Trump lives in a fantasy world where everything he does is perfect and everybody loves him for it. Somebody this detached from reality has no business running the country, and I hope that people are really, really scared about what damage could come next.

   
• Idiocity. And speaking of damage, I saw this headline on The Verge yesterday: Donald Trump wants the iPhone home button back. OH FUCK NO! With all due respect Mr. President, go back to using a flip-phone and leave technology advancements to those of us who know how to form complete sentences which people can actually make sense of.

   
• Good. When I was at Uluru (which the colonizers dubbed "Ayer's Rock") in Australia, there was a sign saying that it was a sacred place to the people who own it and they ask you not to climb it... despite there being a chain path to climb it. So I didn't climb it. There were also signs posted at a few points around Uluru asking you not to photograph it at that point because something sacred to people happened there. So I didn't photograph it there. I don't understand why it's so difficult to follow the wishes of the people whose land you are visiting. You're their guests, and should be grateful that they allow you to visit their home at all. I know I sure was...

Uluru at Sunset in Australia.

By banning people from climbing on it after the month is over, Australia is righting a great wrong. I hope people respect the new ban on climbing Uluru and adhere to the Anangu People's request. It literally is the least people can do.

   
• Kangaroo Cats. I ran across an interesting Facebook post this week which was talking about the "primordial pouch" which appears on some cats. I think it’s genetic. Jake and Jenny both have big pouches. When they run, the skin flops back and forth... it’s kinda hilarious, but doesn't seem to bother them at all. For the longest time I just assumed they were mutants. But apparently that's not the case...

Interesting stuff, that evolution!

   
• Rhinos! Will of Burrard-Lucas Photography is the reason I selected the Antarctica tour that I did. His wildlife photography is the most inspiring and beautiful I've ever seen, and getting a behind the scenes look at how he does what he does is about the coolest thing you'll see on YouTube this week...

Thanks to his BeetleCam invention, nobody does wildlife photos like Will Burrard-Lucas. He amazes me with each new book he publishes.

   
• Pepper. You really do learn something new all the time. My homemade pizza sauce recipe calls for green peppers. I don't normally eat them because I prefer the sweeter red peppers, but the recipe tastes so good that I do what is called for. On Tuesday I came home from work and was already too tired to cook... but then realized that I actually needed to clean my kitchen before I could cook. Double the horror. It's while cleaning that I notice something strange... WHAT HAPPENED TO MY GREEN PEPPER?!?

My green pepper in my hand... TURNING ORANGE?!?!

It's then that my Facebook friends had to inform me that green peppers aren't ripe and, like tomatoes, they will turn from green to orange to red as they ripen. I honestly had no idea. Until Tuesday, I truly thought that they were all different species of peppers.

   
• Hallmark Moment. As you can imagine, I am in full-on Hallmark Movie Mode now that their 10th Annual Countdown to Christmas is in effect. I almost never watch live, choosing instead to DVR the movies so I can jet past commercials. But the new movies for 2019 I have been watching live, and this commercial came up...

Well done. Somebody at World Market really knows their Hallmark audience. I don't understand why any company spending the huge amount of money required for a national ad doesn't put this kind of care into creating them. Most ads are just terrible and something you want to skip. Why would you waste money like that?

   
And now... time to wash underwear so I have something clean to wear to work tomorrow. You're welcome, my co-workers.

   

Bug Time Entertainment

Posted on Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Dave!Happy National Cat Day!

As it gets colder, bugs are looking for a warm place to hide. This has created a flurry of activity out in the catio as creepy crawlies pass through. This has, in turn, created a flurry of activity in my cats. They just love to chase bugs... eat bugs... and, much to my horror, occasionally bring bugs inside to play with.

Unless it's too cold out. Then my cats just watch the bugs through the window...

Jake and Jenny looking out the window straight ahead.

Jake and Jenny looking out the window down on the ground.

Jenny looking out the window while Jake is looking opposite back into the house.

Once the bugs have gone, it'll be time to haul out the bird feeders. Bird Time Entertainment to follow.

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Caturday 133

Posted on Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Dave!I have made no secret of my apoplectic rage over the fact that we still mess with the clocks twice a year. It is a stupid, stupid, STUPID and outdated practice that only serves to screw up our lives. Washington State is working to get rid of the barbaric practice. Our House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to go on permanent Daylight Saving Time. And now, once our Senate gets off their asses, I'm guessing they will approve it as well... BECAUSE NOBODY F#@&ING WANTS IT! Oregon and California are in accordance and will switch if we switch. Even British Columbia has stated that they would be interested in coordinating with us so the entire West Coast is on the same time because THEY DON'T F#@&ING WANT IT EITHER!

And because state's rights are a joke, passing the House and Senate doesn't men it's a done deal. Because then, once it passes there, we have to get PERMISSION from Congress to actually do it. Which, given the fact that Congress doesn't do jack shit unless it benefits their lazy, corrupt asses, means it could be years before anything happens.

Adding to my loathing of switching clocks? The way it affects my cats.

Their behavior changes when their schdule is altered. Even when I try my best to get them gradually adjusted to it by shifting the clock in only 15 minutes increments, they just aren't having it.

Jake is affected the worst when you delay his feeding. For the past week he's been asserting his dominance towards Jenny and, just like last year, it will likely last another week or so. He'll just randomly decide to climb on top and bite her neck...

Jake on top of Jenny biting the fur on her neck.

Oddly enough, Jenny doesn't seem to mind. She'll just keep looking around like "whatever" about it. Until she does mind, then she'll start hissing at him and smacking him until he gets off of her...

Jake on top of a hissing Jenny biting the fur on her neck.

When this happened last year, I'd go up and pull Jake off of her. That was a mistake. Eventually I realized this made it traumatic for both of them, and it was better to just let Jenny take care of it, which she can do just fine...

Jake on top of Jenny on top of the cat tree biting the fur on her neck.

Jake on top of Jenny and she's hissing now.

Jake on top of Jenny as she twists around and starts to escape.

They still get along fine... but during the switch from Daylight Saving Time, we get an occasional show of dominance.

Fortunately it's quail season, which can take their minds off of the clocks changing and put it where it belongs... stalking birds from the catio...

Jake and Jenny looking out the door flap to the catio.

A big fat quail outside the catio.

Jenny stalking a quail out in the catio.

Jake has joined Jenny out in the catio to stalk the quail.

Jake and Jenny out in the catio looking very serious about stalking the quail.

And now I have to get back to work. And hope that Jake can remain calm while I'm gone.

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Caturday 134

Posted on Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Dave!I try to make my trips as short as possible so that Jake and Jenny aren't left alone for extended periods of time. Thanks to the automation tech I bought for feeding and litter box cleaning, they actually could be left alone longer, but I get the feeling they would rather me be here.

This feeling comes from the toy gauntlet that they build for me whenever I get back from being away...

A bunch of toys strewn through the entrance to my bedroom.

Jake still does most of the work... hauling Moose the Mule all the way upstairs... after trotting him on the dining room table. Which is great, because I was dying to disinfect it, and this is just the excuse I need...

Two images... the first with security camera footage of Jake walking on the dining room table with a big toy mule in his mouth... then climbing up stairs.

After breakfast Jake decided to hang out in bed while I watched emails...

Jake snuggled up next to me on my bed... I have my arm around him and am giving him chin scratches.

But it was Jenny who wouldn't leave my side. She missed out on two days of scratches, and she was determined to make up for lost time. Unlike Jake who just kind of sits there and is happy to get scratched wherever you want to scratch him, she moves around so you scratch her exactly where she wants to be scratched...

Jenny flopped on her back and getting tummy scratches while looking adorable.

Jenny staring at me while getting tummy rubs.

Jenny looking at me while getting butt scratches while sunlight streaks across her.

Jenny flopped on her back and rolling around on the bed.

Jenny reaching towards me while I rub her belly.

My poor cats are so deprived.

Happy Caturday!

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Caturday 135

Posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Dave!This morning I was awakened at 4am because somebody was walking through my back yard and I got a security alert on my phone. Just some guy walking by for some reason. Did't look in my windows or anything, so I have no idea... maybe drunk and lost? So I worked for a couple hours, then decided to take a nap. THEN I was awakened by a “person in my house” alert. Which ended up being Jenny sticking her ass in one of the security cameras and just sitting there. =sigh= My houseguests arrive later today, at which time I can turn off my interior cameras and will hopefully be able to sleep in for once tomorrow. That will be nice. Assuming people aren’t walking through my yard again.

Jenny sitting in front of the secutiry camera, blocking the view entirely.

Jenny sitting in front of the secutiry camera looking adorable.
Does this wide angle lens make my butt look big?

As I mentioned a couple Caturdays ago, the stupid clock-changes are a disaster for my cats. They don't understand it. The don't want it. And they most definitely aren't happy about it. I always try to minimize the impact by easing them into it by "falling back" in 15 minute increments, but all it seems to do is draw out their frustration.

Part of the problem is the automated feeder I have. Not only is it a pain to program, but it loses time constantly. So not only am I having to make adjustments for the time change, I'm also having to keep on top of it being the wrong time. All that does is draw out my frustration. I have seriously toyed with the idea of just keeping them on Daylight Saving Time all year long (much like what Washington State wants to do). This would involve my having to get up at 6am instead of 7am each morning for four months so I can feed them the spoonful of wet food they get with their dry food. Something I would gladly do... but it becomes a problem when I have guests over.

The solution seems to be getting a web-enabled feeder. That way I could make tiny 5-minute adjustments from the comfort of my couch and make sure that the clocks on the feeders are keeping proper time without me having to do a thing. I'm a bit shy about doing this, however, given the horrendous experience I had when I previously bought web-enabled feeders (the company shut down the server so the feeders were bricked and I was out $400). Nevertheless... this being the easiest solution, I've been putting aside $20 a month until I could afford one that can be split two ways... or get two feeders that can synchronize their clocks. Alas, at $400 for the two that I want, my $20 a month wasn't going to go very far.

But then...

...I was looking up the cost to get new filters for the cat fountain and saw that there was a new PETKIT SMARTFEED MINI Smart Feeder for $99 on sale for $89 each! The reviews were good, so I decided to take my savings and buy a pair of them...

The PetKit Mini, which is a slender white cylibder with a feeding tray at the bottom and a dispenser spout above the tray.

They are absolutely perfect (once getting the WiFi set up which, thanks to their app, appears harder than it actually is). There is one problem, however... I don't like the fact that my cats are eating out of plastic (this can cause feline acne and other problems), so I thought I'd see if I can construct a holder for my metal dishes when I have a chance. Looks like it'll be fairly straightforward. Though the plastic tray that comes with is really clever because it has magnets to hold it into place... so maybe I can come up with a liner of some kind.

So now I have feeders which can be easily reprogrammed from an app on my phone, making adjusting to time changes far, far more easier than what I used to have to go through. Jake and Jenny were scared of them at first... there's a hissing noise when the seal opens... but now they come running when they hear it activating, just like their old feeder...

Jake and Jenny running to the PetKit feeders at my feeding station.

Now all I have to do is cross my fingers that PETKIT doesn't go out of business and close down their servers any time soon.

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Caturday 136

Posted on Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Dave!As the days grow colder, Jake and Jenny's singular focus seems to be warmth. I mean, my house is far from cold, but cats can't seem to get enough heat, I guess.

As I've mentioned, their favorite place in the house is on the electric blanket. Which wouldn't be a problem if they would share it. But, for reasons that escape me, this is a rare sight...

Jake and Jenny laying on my electric blanket.

If one of them is on the bed, the other one usually leaves my bedroom. But... once... maybe twice a month... they are willing to share for a while for whatever reason.

Though Jenny still seems to appreciate it most...

Jenny rolled up into a ball on an electric blanket while I'm scratching her bum.

Jake seems happy to steal warmth from me most days...

Jake laying on my lap asleep.

Jake laying on my legs and looking around the room.

What's weird is how Jake and Jenny have no problems at all sharing a bed when I'm not in it. Since heat rises and upstairs is warmer than downstairs, they spend their days in the guest room. Used to be they would run downstairs to greet me when I come home from work. But lately? Nope. Jake will look up to acknowledge that he's heard me arrive... then go back to sleep. Jenny doesn't even do that much...

Jake and Jenny curled up on a bed. Jake is looking up because he's heard the door open.

In other news... Chewy sent Jake and Jenny a handwritten birthday card...

A birthday card from Chewy which says Whether you bark, shirp, meow, or squeak, here's to having a hoot on your birthday. It's hand-signed Hi Jake and Jenny, May your special day be as pawsome as you! XOXO The Chewy Family.

I guess this is how their phone operators spend their time when they're not on the phone? Interesting that they sent a combo card. Apparently their system lists pet birthdays by household so they know when they can send one card for multiple pets.

Still... that's nice, right?

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Caturday 137

Posted on Saturday, November 30th, 2019

Dave!Since I worked on Thanksgiving, I decided to sleep in. Probably not the smartest move this time of year, but I figure I deserve to rise late from time to time.

My day started with some entertainment.

Because this morning Jake decided to investigate the ice left from my glass of Coke Zero...

Jake sticking his face inside a glass with ice.

Jake trying to fish an icecube out with his paw.

Jake trying to fish an icecube out with his other paw.

Eventually I took pity on him and pulled a piece out for him. At which point he immediately lost interest of course.

And speaking of Coke Zero... I had a small amount left in the can that I hadn't poured over ice yet. After Jake had his grimy mits on my ice, I decided to drink it from the can as I walked out of my bedroom. When I tilted my head back to get the last drop, I freaked for a second when I saw bugs on my ceiling.

Except they weren't bugs they were staples...

Remember when Jake and Jenny brought in a bird that had wandered into the catio and I had to build a tunnel from the bathroom to the window so it could get out?

My Bird Tunnel!

Apparently I never removed the staples after I tore down the plastic. Great. One more thing to add to my list.

Jake is generally a good brother to Jenny. They chase each other, sure, yet it's all in good fun and he doesn't pick on her or abuse her in any way. But he does like to antagonize her from time to time. Usually by pawing at her from on high...

Jake reaching out to touch Jenny.

At which point I say "Jake... don't do it..."

Jake looking at me after I've called his name.

That look of "Who me?" is pretty typical. But it worked. He withdrew his paw and didn't bother her again. I'd say something like "I've trained my cats!" but I think we all know that would be a load of bullshit.

And... time to finish adding a heater to Fake Jake's shelter so I can get our local stray through another winter.

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Soles of a Traveler

Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Dave!My boots and half of my Black Friday shopping spree bounty showed up today.

I have to say I'm more than a little sad to let my old boots go. I've literally been around the world in them (and the bottom of the world as well), so I am thinking of taking them to the local shoe shop to see if something can be done (they've been around these parts for 99 years!). With exception of the badly-worn soles they're in perfect shape and still look great. My new boots are nice too, I just think it's a genuine waste to toss out something if they can be repaired...

A photo of my new boots that look rugged in their forest green and balck... plus my old shoes which look nice except for the soles which are literally falling off the boot!

I gave up on wearing tennis shoes decades ago, much preferring a light hiking boot. They're more comfortable, easy to slip in and out of when you tie the laces low, and can be quickly laced up for those times you need good protection for your feet. For a traveler who can end up anywhere and everywhere they're everything I need. The last pair of non-dress-shoe shoes that I bought 25-30 years ago sit in my closet barely used.

As I mentioned, I had a few bucks left over from everything I was saving to buy, so I got a copy of the LEGO Jurassic World video game. I was surprised to see that when you order something LEGO, Amazon will put it in a cool LEGO Star Wars box...

An Amazon box with LEGO Darth Vader using The Force to lift LEGO bricks over a LEGO Stormtrooper!

An Amazon box with LEGO Darth Vader has imprisoned the LEGO Stormtrooper in a jail cell made of the LEGO bricks!

So clever!

In sadder news, the world received notice that BUB had passed.

She was such a sweet cat who faced a difficult life with an optimism that inspired a lot of people... and raised a lot of money and awareness for homeless pets. It was so very hard to follow along with her latest health crisis knowing that she was probably nearing her end... but, as always, she was doing her best to be happy and live her best life...

BUB the cat with her Dude... both when he got her in June of 2011 as a kitten, and before he lost her on December 1, 2019... she has a large growth on the side of her face that musy be painful, but she still looks happy!

I cannot fathom my life without Jake and Jenny, so my heart goes out to Mike Bridavsky and the loss he is suffering. I find it amazing how he was so dedicated to such a special cat, and grateful for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he worked tirelessly to raise in support of animals.

Rest in peace, BUB, you will be missed by a great many people.

   

Curious Jenny is Curious

Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Dave!I have been working a crazy amount of hours and it's thrown my sleep schedule off.

Last night I worked until a little after 1:30am, woke up at 6:00am to answer emails and feed the cats at 7:00am. Then decided to take a nap. I figured if I could just get an hour or two I'd be rested enough to take on the rest of my day.

It was a good plan.

But one which was doomed to fail.

At 7:28am my phone starts sounding alerts from a web security camera. I figured I could ignore it since the wired cameras weren't setting off any alarms, but the alerts kept coming. So finally I took a look...

Security camera shot of my ceiling with Jenny the cat entering the frame.

Security camera shot of my ceiling with Jenny the cat looking into the camera.

Last night I set up my new Nest Outdoor Cam, but it was too dark and cold outside to install it. So I just set it down in the box and forgot about it.

Apparently that was a mistake. Curious Jenny decided to be all curious, so no sleep for me. She kept coming back to take another look at the camera and was setting off an alert every time. Which meant I ended up installing my new camera this morning instead of taking that nap.

My guess is I will be falling asleep at my desk sometime today.

But, hey... at least I don't have to install a security camera when I get home!

   

Caturday 138: Birthday Edition

Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2019

Dave!Yeah, yeah... I know it's Friday. But I have to run with Caturday a day early because it's Jake and Jenny's 4th birthday today!

I was away working for their first three birthdays so this is kinda a big deal for me. This morning I fed them their breakfast, had them completely ignore the new toys I bought for them, then watched as they ran out to the catio because they heard something interesting outside.

So... not quite the exciting birthday I had planned. But... cats. What can you do?

Tonight they will get stinky mashed up sardines in fish gravy for dinner, their favorite treat. It's also a rare treat because I gag while prepping it every time. It's SO gross. But if I don't mash it up then Jenny will just lick the chunks and Jake will pull the chunks outside of the bowl to eat them (getting fish sauce on my floor).

=sigh=

The things I do for love.

It seems like only yesterday I brought them home. But it wasn't yesterday it was February 16th, 2016...

Jenny & Jake

It was a tough time for me. I had just moved into my new home because my mom's apartment was no longer safe for her. The dementia was getting worse by the day and I was completely lost trying to cope with it all. Originally I was going bring Spanky the Cat with us (the stray cat I had been caring for at mom's place) but he had run off just a couple weeks before moving day. And so... I waited for cats to become available at the local shelter so my mom would have some company while I was off working. She loved hanging out with Spanky so it seemed the perfect solution.

Alas, Jake and Jenny were feral rescues and not very sociable at all. They spent the first week hiding under the couch, only coming out to eat and use the litter box when the coast was clear. Eventually I was able to coax them out with a cat charmer, but I wasn't allowed to get too close or touch them...

KITTENS!

   

KITTENS!

It was incredibly frustrating having cats I couldn't touch. But mom was entertained by their running around, so that was all that mattered. Then one day I'm working on the couch while we're eating dinner and look over to see this...

Mom and Jake

Jake and Jenny were interested in her dinner, and she was talking to them and petting them like it was no big deal. It would be days before they allowed me to touch them.

And so... achievement unlocked.

KITTENS!

I felt a lot better about leaving my mom alone now that she had cats, and they would be a calming influence amongst the chaos right up until mom had to leave.

And after I was forced to move mom to a facility, having to feed Jake and Jenny their breakfast was sometimes the only reason I had to get out of bed in the morning. Cats, as it turns out, are excellent therapy...

Jake and Jenny Kittens!

And amazing companions. They're there for me to make even the worst days better...

Jake & Jenny Petting

Jake!

Jenny!

So happy birthday to Jake Ryan Reynolds Simmer and Jenny Elizabeth Hurley Simmer! You've literally saved my life, and bringing you home has easily been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Every day with you is my best day.

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