Posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2017
Just what you were hoping for... another entry about my cats!
This time of year that's about all that's happening for me. And so...
This is handsome Jake when he's laying on your lap being petted...
Here is what happens when you stop petting him so you can take a picture...
If he had a knife... he'd cut a bitch for sure. Which is why I'll go back to petting and photographing at the same time...
And I guess I should stop working when Jake wants to be petted. It never works out anyway...
Jake can't help but be irritating. The minute I leave the house, he's all over the kitchen... the one place he's not supposed to go. I finally installed an alarm that sounds if I'm out of the house and there's movement in the kitchen. It works great. Here's the security cameras catching Jake two seconds before the alarm starts blaring...
I'd post a photo of him while the alarm sounds, but it's just a blur as he high-tails it out of the kitchen.
Jake isn't just irritating to me... he's also irritating to his sister. A while ago she brought up Jake's stuffed lion toy as her morning tribute. Jake was upset about this, and threw himself down next to it. Jenny, not dissuaded at all, snatched the lion and ran back downstairs with it. Jake, of course, tore off after her. A few minutes later, Jenny came sulking back, then threw herself on the window perch to pout...
I didn't know what was bugging her until Jake came back up with his toy lion in his mouth. Apparently he snatched it back...
As for Jenny... she's still as adorable as ever. When not pummeling her brother for irritating her, she's been spending a lot of time out in the catio...
She's also taken to hogging the blankets on my bed. I started rolling them back so she wouldn't lay in the middle, preventing me from being able to get in. So now she just lays on the roll of blankets...
Every morning Jenny drags toys upstairs as a tribute in exchange for breakfast. Or at least I think that's what she's doing. And now she's going overboard with it... bringing up an abundance of toys. I think she's trying to build an altar to the cat-god Bast.
And every morning I kick all the toys back downstairs so she has something to do the following morning.
Except a couple times now, she's having none of it. She barricades the steps so I can't kick the toys anywhere...
And now I suppose it's time to go to bed.
Assuming the cats will even let me in my bed.
Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Tonight one of my worst fears nearly came true.
I went out the front door to drag the trash can from my driveway to my house. After I finished, I went back to open the screen door and noticed that I had left the front door behind it slightly ajar. For some reason I glanced down before opening the screen door and saw... Jake. I pounded on the glass to scare him the hell out of the kitchen before going inside. And then broke out into a cold sweat when I realized that, had I not seen him, it's likely he would have darted outside. The little bastard.
I have done everything I can think of to keep the cats out of the kitchen for just this reason. I even bought "scat mats" to discourage them from stepping foot inside. Touch the mat, and they get an electric shock. That worked for all of two days. On day three, they just started jumping over it...
Eventually they learned that I would yell at them if I caught them in the kitchen... so they started only doing it at night when I was asleep. After I realized what was happening, I had my security system alert me if there was motion in the kitchen after I go upstairs for the night.
Eventually they learned that even if I wasn't in the room, I could still yell at them if they went into the kitchen if I were home... so they started only doing it when I was away at work. After I realized what was happening, I bought an alarm that would sound if there was motion in the kitchen when I'm away from home.
Eventually they learned that even if I wasn't in the room and wasn't home, there was still punishment for going into the kitchen... SO NOW THEY ARE DOING IT WHEN I AM HOME SO THE ALARM DOESN'T SOUND, OUTSIDE SO I CAN'T SEE THEM, AND DOWNSTAIRS SO I AM NOT ALERTED?!? I mean, come on... exactly how many contingencies do I have to plan for before all bases are covered?
Living with cats is enough to drive one insane.
Especially since the little fuckers still pretend to respect the boundaries that have been set for them. When I'm getting them breakfast in the morning, they wouldn't dream of stepping foot into the kitchen...
But there's no question that they are planning their next kitchen break-in. Conditioning by reward and punishment is never cut and dry where cats are concerned.
Also not in question? How Trump is going to react in any given situation.
If you say or do something which displeases future Lord President Trump, you get the stick...
If you say or do something which pleases future Lord President Trump, you get the carrot...
Never mind that there are plenty of American companies in competition with LL Bean who have done nothing to deserve LL Bean getting preferential treatment and free advertising from their soon-to-be-president. But they didn't donate enough money to Trump to merit such treatment, so tough luck, I guess. Maybe if Lands' End were to put Trump's face on the cover of their next catalog proclaiming him "The Best President Ever!" they too will have Trump telling everybody to buy their stuff.
Which is a disgusting abuse of power by the president, but not entirely unexpected.
I live with cats. Nothing is unexpected to me.
Posted on Saturday, January 14th, 2017
For about a month now, I have been turning the thermostat down in order to save money on my electricity. Heating is by far the priciest contributor to my bill, so I thought it was worth a shot. I never minded adding a couple layers to stay warm... but eventually couldn't take having cold fingers while working, so I relented and went back to a more sane thermostat setting.
The cats never seemed to care one way or another about the lower temperature. Them having fur coats and all. But they don't have to worry about their fingers getting cold while they type.
They don't do much typing on their iPad.
I was reminded of this when I found an old memory card and ran across some photos I took of Jake and Jenny when they were kittens. My favorites being them goofing around on a video game made for cats...
Jenny is an all or nothing kind of gamer.
Jake would rather sit around being handsome than play games...
Some things never change.
Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2017
I've been online since... well... before the internet was a thing, really. Back when it was all bulletin boards and CompuServe and modem-to-modem and stuff like that. In oh so many ways, things have changed radically from those early days. But not everything. Some things haven't changed one damn bit.
Here is how online forums have worked since the dawn of time...
Poster: I am a bit confused about something and would appreciate people's experiences and opinions on this matter.
Me: Here is my opinion and my experience from having this opinion.
Commenter: YOU ARE WRONG! YOU HAVE BAD INFORMATION! GO FUCK YOURSELF!
For a goodly chunk of people, it's never about presenting their own opinions and experiences... it's all about attacking people who have opinions and experiences that differ from theirs.
Responding to some topics is more likely to invite an attack than others... like... say... "What's the best brand of mobile phone, iPhone or Android?"
Another example? As I found out last night, coming out against declawing cats is a topic that invites all kinds of attacks...
My opinion on declawing cats is pretty cut and dry... you just don't fucking do it. It's not like cutting your nails, it's like removing the entire tip of your finger down to the first knuckle. And if you're okay with doing that to a kitten, then you probably shouldn't have a cat. I would let my cats scratch the shit out of everything I own and still never consider maiming them like that.
I'd buy a shitload of scratching posts and cardboard scratchers, put them next to everyplace that my cats want to scratch so they have a more pleasing alternative, cover them with catnip to make them more attractive, put sheets of double-stick shelf-paper on things I want scratch-free to make them less attractive, then slowly remove half of the scratching alternatives once I figure out the ones they prefer.
Time consuming and expensive? Yes.
But it worked. My cats have their claws and me and my furniture are still in one piece.
Though some of my IKEA is sporting scratch marks from the training period. Oh well. Small price to pay.
Of course, there are people who have different opinions. And they are not afraid to attack you because of it. They call you names. They tell you that you're attributing human feelings to an animal. Provide "evidence" that declawing is not inhumane. Berate you for trying to make everybody hate them because they support declawing. Etc. Etc. Etc.
All I did was provide my opinion and relate my experience, as requested. I don't really give a shit if people want to attack me for it. That's the risk you take.
I'm used to it. I have a blog.
Posted on Saturday, January 21st, 2017
We've hit a bout of above-freezing weather this week, which has the cats in and out of the catio all day and night. Especially Jenny, who just loves ripping it up out there. This has me forward to Spring when I'll start working on Catio: Phase Two, which will add even more cat-tastic fun! Though I'll probably be looking at installing gutters first, since the guy I hired never showed up and there's water everywhere.
I think the wet floor is why Jake would rather hang out with me on the couch...
Not that Jenny spends all her time outside. She likes to snuggle up from time to time too...
Or sit around watching television...
Also this week... I've started bribing them to spend time in the new cat carriers I bought for their vet visit next month...
Not something I'm looking forward to. At all.
I'm pretty sure the cats won't be thrilled with the prospect either.
Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
Today was a horrific day for the country in so many ways. I cannot fathom what it's going to be like after four years.
As if that weren't bad enough, I woke up to an idiopathic angioedema attack (which causes random swelling of random places like my tongue, throat, face, hands, or feet). Fortunately, it was just my right foot this time, which is painful and inconvenient... but not life-threatening like other areas can be. I took one of my massive antihistamine pills and hung out until I could put on shoes, then went to work knowing that it wouldn't last. Angioedema fatigue on top of antihistamines is a recipe for falling asleep at your desk.
I expected to head home at noon, but lasted until 2:30. Go me.
After napping for a few hours, I awoke to find that my foot had ballooned back up. So much for some desperately-needed vacuuming.
Which was okay with the cats. Especially Jake, who snuggled up to watch YouTube cat videos for a couple hours...
He can't get enough of those "funniest cats" compilations.
Jake has always been the more affectionate cat... but he's really been ramping it up this past week. He's crawling around my legs whenever I'm standing still. And he's all over me the minute I sit down. I don't know what it's all about, but I don't mind the company. Jenny still likes to sleep next to me on my bed and cry for the occasional cuddle. I guess that's enough for her.
And now... time to take another massive antihistamine pill and hope that something else doesn't decide to go all angioedema on me in the middle of the night. Especially not my tongue or throat... for which I keep an Epi-Pen on my nightstand, just in case.
Though waking up alive in America ain't what it used to be, so who knows if I'll actually bother to reach for it.
Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
Ain't nothin' going on but the cats.
Posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2017
A woman once called my cats "ordinary" after I posted a photo of them when they were impossibly adorable kittens. I'm assuming she was referring to the fact that they were "merely" American shorthair cats, and exceedingly common. Unlike the three Persians that graced her profile.
It was kind of an odd reaction, because I never said anything about them being "extraordinary." I think she was probably just jealous that so many people commented that they were cute.
I asked her if her precious Persians could solve quadratic equations, because MY CATS FUCKING COULD! She never commented back.
This is not my week. First The United States of America ends up in the shitter and now my cats won't let me dry my washing! Jenny loves the clothes dryer. I can never get my clothes out fast enough because she hears the buzzer and immediately runs to the laundry room. Oooh... nice, warm clothes...
Once I manage to get my clothes out, Jake decides to hop in too. It'll be at least 15 minutes before I can put the next load in now. But... awwww... look how Jake has his arm around Jenny!
Jake sure has grown up to be a big boy!
Speaking of Jake... all the photos I've been posting lately have been on him hanging out with me watching TV. But Jenny does that too...
The difference being that when Jenny sees something that upsets her on the television, she will run up and smack it. For example, here she is about to smack a 5ive Gum commercial...
Other times she will run up just to see what's going on in the world...
Smacking my television is a bit upsetting, but she's always really gentle about it, so I don't say anything. When it comes to cats, you have to pick your battles. So far as Jenny goes, she pretty much behaves all the time, and I'd like to encourage that.
Jake, on the other hand?
Well... when he's not going places he shouldn't go (like the kitchen) and getting into things he shouldn't get into (like the water fountain reservoir)... he's doing things he shouldn't do.
Like smacking pictures on the wall. Which he does every chance he gets for whatever reason.
In most cases, I just remove or move the picture. But there is one picture that I can't really move... my original Pulp Fiction poster. It hangs in the stairwell below the banister, and you can only see it going down the stairs. Jake likes to lay on the banister and smack at it. Until I admonish him, at which time he'll sit there pretending he's just innocently looking at it...
You can see that he's made it all crooked.
Eventually I can't take how adorable he is and call him over for petting, which he loves...
AWWWWWWW! What extraordinary cats I have!
Posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2017
My cleaning routine is fairly basic. I divide the house into sections, tackle a section each morning... then vacuum on Saturday... and finally handle any needed repairs or remaining cleaning on Sunday. Simple, really. Except not really. BECAUSE CAT HAIR! GAAAAAHHHH! Cat hair goes beyond dusting and cleaning because it gets into places that require you to tear apart your home to get to. And so I do this on the first Saturday of every month. Which is today. This morning, in fact. Which means my house right now is the cleanest it will be for another month. It's been completely ripped apart with all furniture moved and every crevice vacuumed out.
And then... just as I was sitting down to type this... a clump of cat hair goes floating past the window.
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!? WHERE WAS IT HIDING? WHY, LORD... WHYYYYY?!?
It's interesting how my cat's behavior is ever-changing.
As an example, I have a water fountain that I bought for Spanky to try and keep him from meowing for the bathroom faucet. I've had it out for Jake and Jenny since day one. But, unlike Spanky, they never drank from the water spout... they just lapped from the bowl at the bottom...
Then today I noticed that Jake has started drinking from the water spout instead of the bowl, just like Spanky did. Jenny looks like she's trying to do that, but she goes in sideways and gets more on her face than in her mouth. Oh well. I'm sure she'll get it eventually.
When it comes to ordering pet food and supplies, I bounce between Petco, Amazon, and Chewy. Chewy was recommended by friends, and they've got the best prices on most things, so that's where most of my stuff comes from now. Especially food. You can tell when my bi-monthly shipment arrives, because the cat cupboard is full-up...
If there's one place in my house that's organized, it's the cat cupboard.
STEP ONE: Sniff at the box!
STEP TWO: Step into the box!
STEP THREE: Get in that box!
And that's the way we do it...
It's a cat in a box!
At least they're taking turns...
Cat in a box, yeeeaaaaah!
And now, in security camera theater...
Listen to this and tell me that Fake Jake isn't possessed by Satan! It starts out mournful, but then goes full-on crazy. Note that when Fake Jake smashed into the catio fencing, Jenny ran inside. BUT THEN MY LITTLE TROOPER WENT RIGHT BACK OUT AGAIN! And... can anybody tell if Real Jake is growling back at Fake Jake? It kinda sounds to me like he is!
I have two sets of security cameras. One has video history, the other does not, and only stores a few clips at a time when it notices motion. I had an extra clip camera, so I decided to put it in the guest room, which is where the cats are always getting into trouble. A couple nights ago I heard a crash from the guest room while I was on the phone. When I got off the phone, I go running in and see this...
I check the clip camera and see this waiting for me...
Turns out Jake knocked another rabbit off the shelf. I'd be mad, but he's been playing Jungle Panther Cat lately, and he's too cute to be mad at...
Alrighty then... until next Caturday...
Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
You might remember Fake Jake... the cat who looks a little bit like Jake, which resulted in my brother accidentally bringing him in while housesitting because he thought Real Jake managed to get out. He's also the cat that has been routinely terrorizing my cats when they're out in the catio... though they aren't so scared of him now that they realize he can't get in.
Fake Jake has learned my daily routine, which makes for some interesting times.
In the evenings, he knows what time I get home and will wait for the garage door to open so he can dash in before my car rolls up. This means I have to walk him out before closing the garage door so he doesn't get trapped... or, even worse... follow me into the house.
In the mornings, he knows what time I leave and will wait for the garage door to open so he can dash in after my car rolls out. This means I have to get out of my car, walk him outside, then "distract" him with some petting until the garage door closes...
He really is a sweet cat... even if he doesn't get along with my cats very well. And, despite living outdoors (even when it's freezing cold out) Fake Jake seems to be a happy, healthy kitty.
Probably a good thing my cats don't get along with Fake Jake... I'd be sorely tempted to steal him.
Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2017
This is a long one, so strap yourself in.
When I adopted my cats one year ago today, I was supposed to take them back to the vet in six weeks as follow-up for their spay/neuter surgeries and to get a booster for a shot they had just gotten. It was never going to happen. As feral rescues, they were still hiding under the couch most of the time at six weeks. I called the vet and was told that since they were indoor cats they could probably get away with waiting for their annual check-up in a year.
Which was today.
This was something I absolutely did not want to do. In preparation I had read several stories from people who had said that their cats became hostile towards each other after their first visit. Something about the vet smell screwing them up or whatever. Jake and Jenny are so sweet to each other that this would kill me, so I was about as nervous as I've ever been. My first time having sex was not nearly as nerve-wracking as this. Needless to say, I did not get any sleep last night.
And then, before I knew it, it was time to go.
Months ago I bought new pet carriers that had doors on the top. I had numerous people tell me that it was the best, least traumatic way of loading your cat for transport.
Thank heavens I did.
I had been training them to go into the carriers for the past several weeks by bribing them with treats. It never failed. Until today of course. Jake went right in. Jenny refused for some reason.
My whole plan was to lock Jenny in first, because she was the one I was most worried about getting to stay in the box. So I grabbed her, with the intent of dropping her through the top of her carrier. She put up a fight, but I got her in on the third try. The commotion agitated Jake, but I was able to shove him in his carrier before he could back all the way out of the box. I quickly locked all the doors, sprayed a shot of Feliway to calm them down, and... voíla... two cats, ready for transport...
At first, they were quite calm about the situation. Yes, they were trying to open the doors and get out, but they were more curious than upset about their predicament. After giving them a few minutes, I hauled them out to the car. I had put a 2x4 in the back seat so they wouldn't be at an angle, then faced the doors towards each other so they could see they weren't alone.
Two minutes after pulling out of the garage, I honestly thought I was the luckiest person alive. My cats were still calm and collected. This was going to be a piece of cake!
Three minutes after pulling out of my garage, Jenny started crying. Seconds later, Jake had joined in. Guess I wasn't going to be so lucky after all.
But the real drama began once I hit the highway. Jake started yowling. Then he was thrashing in the carrier so violently that I was worried he was going to hurt himself. Jenny went catatonic and just laid in her carrier frozen in terror.
Eventually Jake calmed down, but still went into howling fits from time to time. Jenny was in some kind of shock and didn't make a peep.
22 minutes after leaving my house, I pulled into the veterinary clinic. It felt a lot longer than 22 minutes.
When I got out to check on the kitties, I noticed Jake was panting hard and his bedding was flipped on its side. On top of that, his nose was scraped up, the poor guy. His efforts to escape had him in a sorry state. But by the time I had checked in and came back out to get him, he was calm again.
The nurse weighed and took Jake's temperature first. He took it like a champ, then went exploring. Jenny had to be dragged out of her carrier, but managed to be weighed/temperatured without too much of a struggle.
The nurse left, then the adventure really began as we waited for the doctor. Jenny ran to hide immediately. First trying to hide under the paper towels...
But eventually finding a much better spot...
She would stay there until forced to leave.
When the doctor came in, he let Jenny be and took a look at Jake first. The good news is that Jake is in perfect health... but, not surprisingly, could stand to lose 3 or 4 pounds. While I distracted Jakey-Bear with head rubs, he got the vaccinations he needed and didn't even flinch. Then he tried to escape by jumping to the TOP SHELF of the cupboard, and failed miserably. Lucky for him, the doctor had quick hands and caught him before he hit the sink. "Wow. That was pretty good for a cat his size! If he was four pounds lighter he would have made it!"
For safety's sake, we loaded Jake back into his carrier.
Then it was Jenny's turn.
Bless him, the doctor was really sweet in trying to calm her down and make her comfortable. He even let her stay put for the first half of her exam...
He finally had to pull her down to give her vaccinations. It wasn't too bad... though I did have to hold her down because she was just not into being exposed in the open like that. The doctor said "you have beautiful cats," and then... $200 later... it was over.
Jake started yowling a bit as we were half-way home, but he wasn't thrashing around hurting himself this time. Jenny never made a peep, but I think she was just exhausted and not catatonic again.
When we got home, Jenny immediately ran upstairs. Jake started walking around the room smelling everything.
Eventually Jenny came downstairs to forgive me for such a betrayal...
Jenny usually likes gentle petting. But the harder I scrubbed her, the more she liked it. This left her looking a mess, but I think it helped get the vet smell off of her, which I'm guessing was the goal...
After twenty minutes or so, Jenny hopped off so Jake could have his turn. He was still pretty freaked out...
But calmed down after five minutes or so...
So... probably more traumatic for me than them, all things considered. Or so I'm guessing. What I do know is that =knock wood= I am so very glad I won't have a vet visit for another year...
In the meanwhile... all is well...
Posted on Saturday, February 18th, 2017
It's a lazy Saturday.
Which is fine for the cats, but I've got stuff to do. Which would be fine except the cats are lazing all over me as I try to get my work done...
Or begging for attention...
Eventually they decided the floor next to me was close enough...
And now? Back to work for me...
Posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2017
My life with cats.
Which is probably better than my life without cats, I'm guessing.
Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2017
And so Fake Jake has a new friend.
When I opened the garage this morning, it was two cats I found waiting for me. Introducing... MINI FAKE JAKE!!
Mini Fake Jake likes to follow Fake Jake around, which Fake Jake finds very irritating. Poor Mini Fake Jake is constantly being swatted away...
Mini Fake Jake is shy, but completely adorable.
And now I have to chase two cats out of my filthy garage each morning...
I sure hope that Mini Fake Jake has a home to get back to. It's still fairly cold at night.
Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
And so here I am back in California for another quick work trip. Though, unlike my previous trip to San Diego which was a breezy nine hours, I'm sticking around Los Angeles for a couple extra days to decompress a bit. I haven't had a vacation in over a year, so it's the least I can do.
The good news is that the weather is supposed to be beautiful for the length of my stay. Given the flood of rains that have been pelting SoCal, that's a pleasant surprise.
The bad news is that I couldn't fly out yesterday, so I had to take an early morning flight to make my meeting...
"Alexa? Set an alarm for 3:30am."
"I've set an alarm for 3:30am."
"Alexa? Kill me now."
I don't sleep very well these days, but I do like laying around in bed. Even if I'm working in bed. Having to drag my sorry ass out of bed at such a heinous hour makes me stabby.
Just ask my cats.
Not that they're happy about it either.
Jenny brings me toys every morning as some kind of tribute. I think that she thinks she has to bring me stuff so I'll get up and feed her. Some mornings she brings one toy... other times she'll bring a half-dozen. The hungrier she is, the more she seems to bring.
This morning when I got up at 3:30 to take a shower, Jenny flew into a panic and ran downstairs to start dragging toys up to me. Since I wasn't in my bedroom, she was confused as to what she should do, so she started making a pile in the upstairs hallway...
Poor thing probably thinks she overslept!
Though my cats definitely have a better sense of time than I do, so who knows what goes through her fuzzy little head.
After having made sure that the Litter-Robot was emptied, the Feed-And-Go was filled, the television was turned on with the brightness lowered, and the extra litter boxes were set out, I was off to the airport.
Two flights later, and I was back in L.A.
A city for which I have mixed feelings.
Way back in the day, I worked on a project here over seven months. It was nice money, but having to fly back and forth every other week was tough. Even tougher was having to deal with the business behind showbusiness, which was awful to a mentally-debilitating extreme. Turns out I just wasn't cut out for the Hollywood lifestyle... nice as it was to live it for a little while.
But hey... after work I get to go to Disneyland, so there's that.
Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Last night at a wonderful early birthday dinner with friends, I had told them how proud I was that I finally managed to get Jake and Jenny trained to not jump on the kitchen counters. Yes, Jake still wanders into the kitchen from time to time but, thanks to sticky mats, his days of climbing over my kitchen counters was over.
And then... less than an hour after getting back to the hotel... I get a motion alert on my iPhone that there's movement in the kitchen. A quick check of the security cameras and, sure enough...
I rewound the footage to see what made Jake suddenly revolt, and was surprised to see that it was actually Jenny who was the instigator. You can see her beady little eyes reflecting in the dark on the refrigerator return before she makes a spectacular leap across to the kitchen counter...
Jake hopped up a minute later...
I thought Jenny had hopped back down, but nope... she was over digging in the sink...
Eventually I started talking to them from the speaker on the security camera, which was all kinds of confusing for them as they started looking around trying to find out where I was. Jake seemed to think I was on the ceiling, but Jenny seemed to figure it out eventually...
What's weird is that A) The motion alarm did go off, which usually scares them away, so apparently they are immune to that now, and B) My yelling at them to get off the counters through the camera speaker was equally ineffective. Eventually I rang the doorbell, which finally did the trick.
Guess I need to figure out how to tie the motion detectors to the doorbell when I get home.
It also looks like I will be disinfecting my kitchen counters when I get home.
I was pretty much Disney-ed out half-way through yesterday. But the hotel kicks me out in an hour... my ride to the airport isn't here until 3:30... and I have another day left on my park ticket... so I guess I'm going back to Disneyland again today. Oh well. There are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon.
Still... vacation goals achieved...
Until next time, Disneyland.
Posted on Saturday, March 4th, 2017
Traveling when you've got pets back home is the worst.
Not only are you missing your pets while you're gone, but you're worrying about any trouble they might get into as well. And so, even though I have spent a crazy amount of time cat-proofing my house and making sure there's no trouble they can get into, I'm still checking the security cameras several times a day...
...so I can watch them get into trouble.
Yesterday I posted about them jumping on the kitchen counters where they know they're not supposed to be.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg...
• Jenny dragged most of her toys upstairs, as expected. She also dragged up an iPhone cable, which one of the cats conveniently bit in two. No idea where she got it.
• I left my Hanes hoodie hanging on the back of a chair. It was pulled down, scratched up, chewed on, and dragged around the house.
• My upstairs office is now officially the cat's play room. I've had to pull all of my stuff out because they love to "play" with it. The only thing I had left in there was a desk, book case, and a box of envelopes. Now all I have is a desk and a book case.
• I'm working on a family photo collage in my stairway. Since it's an odd-shaped wall, I've used masking tape to section off where the photos go. Jake ripped down every bit of it he could reach.
• Which was a prelude to him ripping down a "DO NOT LET CATS OUT!" sign that's been in the catio for months. Apparently he's been hating it for a while and suddenly decided he'd had enough. So then, without hesitation...
When I got home last night after midnight, the cats went crazy ove me. Which was nice. Until Jenny decided she needed petting at 1:00am.
Neither her nor Jake have ever bothered me while I'm sleeping, so I'm guessing that she's just making up for lost time?
Anyway... today they had calmed down to their normal(?) selves and spent most of the day outside in the catio because it was just too beautiful out to be inside.
When I left, the weather was like this...
L.A. was like this...
Now that I'm back? This is the view the cats have from their catio...
Looks like I brought California skies back with me.
Which is great, because this snow can just go away any time now.
Posted on Monday, March 6th, 2017
I've been getting up early each morning so I can catch up with the work that piled up while I was kicking' it in Disneyland. Even though I am not a "morning person," I seem to be most productive when I just wake up.
This morning I managed to make some huge headway... first while working in bed... then by moving down to the couch in the living room. When I got out of bed, Jake jumped up and took my spot. When I got off the couch to go into the office, he did it again...
Apparently he's taking advantage of my residual body heat, which is nothing new. When it's cold outside and he's been out in the catio, his first stop when he comes back inside is to glom off my body heat by lying across my lap... whether my MacBook laptop is there or not.
Jenny, on the other hand, seems to actually like chilly weather.
Today after opening the windows for the first time since winter started last year, she was all over it...
Never mind the pet door out to the catio that she's been using all winter... looking out a window is fun stuff!
As is looking down at me while work... silently judging me as cats are won't to do...
None too impressed, is she?
Honestly, I think that's her natural state.
She is a cat, after all.
Posted on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
In case you missed it, I took my cats to the vet for their one-year check-up last month.
Not that I wanted to, mind you, but it is required by Washington State law that your cats have current rabies vaccinations. And it is required by my pet insurance that they get an annual checkup. And I wanted to make sure that they got any other vaccinations that are recommended for cats to have so they stay healthy.
The whole ordeal was a traumatic experience for all three of us.
But mostly for me, and I was thankful that I could wait an entire year before having to go through all that again.
And then I get THIS emailed to me this morning...
After shitting my pants at the prospect of having to take my cats back for another vaccination when I was just at the vet less than a month ago... I called up to find out why in the hell Jenny didn't get this shot already.
Turns out that she did, it's just that the way they have to bill vaccinations sometimes causes erroneous emails to go out. I actually don't have to go back (knock wood) until 2018.
Pants shitting aside, all's well that ends well.
Posted on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
Thirteen minutes is the amount of time between when I leave for work in the morning and when Jenny starts hauling all the toys upstairs that I had just brought down before I left.
Twenty-seven minutes is how long for her to make the nine trips up and down the stairs to do it...
Which means I have to toss all the toys back down again before I go to bed so that she can "go hunting" for her "morning tribute" that she drops by my bed every day.
I'm happy Jenny is keeping herself busy... and all that stair-climbing is certainly good exercise... but I can't figure out what is compelling her to make sure all the toys are upstairs at all times. I had thought that dragging them up was a random process that she did throughout the day. But now, thanks to my security cameras, I know that's not the case. She starts in almost immediately and then keeps going until the job is done.
Guess I am going to have to buy more toys.
Posted on Saturday, March 11th, 2017
Adopting Jake and Jenny have me contemplating a lot of "What If?" scenarios.
The biggest "What If?" being... What if I hadn't adopted them? What would have happened? I came very close to not getting them because I didn't understand the rules at the Humane Society. If it wasn't me, I'm sure somebody would have adopted the kittens... they were tiny and adorable after all. But they likely would not have been adopted together, and I have a mild panic attack at the thought of Jenny having been separated from her brother at the beginning. Now she would do fine. But, as a kitten, she took a lot longer to come around. The only thing that helped keep her from being terrified for months was that she had her brother to lean on.
Another "What If?" that plagues me is... What if I had gotten to adopt Jake and Jenny's brother? I certainly wanted to once I learned there were three siblings. But somebody had "reserved" the third kitten, which was something I didn't even know was allowed...
The only thing I do know is that his name would have been Roger. The name I wanted to give Jenny before my mom forbid it.
Ultimately, two cats is what I wanted, and I do think that a third would have added some difficulty with my travel. Litter Robot would need to be emptied faster, so I couldn't be gone as long. Feeding would also be more complicated. So... all's well that ends well. At least I hope that's true for Could-Have-Been-Roger.
Jenny has become addicted to television. Every night she waits for me to head upstairs, then runs ahead of me... excited that we get to watch TV in bed. And heaven help me if I don't turn it on fast enough! She will start meowing at the television until I do...
Once it's on, she'll have a seat...
And watch for an hour or more...
She likes shows with people talking the best. The West Wing is a favorite. She does not like action-packed shows very much. The noise and fast camera swaps seems to be a turn-off.
If it's too late... or I am concentrating on work and don't want the TV on... Jenny will sit and stare at me with a disapproving look on her face if I ignore her meowing...
When that doesn't work, she throws herself down and pouts...
Other than TV time in bed, Jenny doesn't hang out with me very often. Could be because Jake has been really clingy lately. He's on me in the morning before I go to work. Taking a nap while Jenny hauls up her morning tributes...
And on me in the evening when I get home from work...
Covered in cats from sunrise to sunset.
There are worse ways to spend a day.
Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2017
I mentioned a while back that Fake Jake has learned my schedule and waits for me outside the garage every morning when I leave to work and every night when I return.
Yesterday being Sunday, I didn't see him coming or going because I was on weekend hours. But this morning, sure enough, he was waiting for me as I opened the garage door... wanting to be petted...
Such a sweet kitty. To people anyway. He doesn't seem to get along with other cats at all.
Speaking of other cats... no sign of Mini Fake Jake.
Hopefully that kitty made his way back home.
Posted on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
There's one place in my home that my cats are not allowed to go... the kitchen. Partly because that's where the front door is and I worry about them getting out. But mostly because I don't want cat ass on my kitchen counters.
I had tied the kitchen motion detectors to an alarm to scare them away, which worked great at keeping the cats out. Until it didn't.
I had bought some sticky tape to put on the counters, which worked great at keeping the cats off. Until I removed it after a month because I thought they were "trained." But they weren't.
I was still able to scare them out of the kitchen by remotely ringing the doorbell, but tonight that failed too.
Well, it failed with Jake. He just starts looking around to see where the noise is coming from...
Jenny, on the other hand...
I just don't think Jake is smart enough to learn a lesson.
And so I've added anti-germ wipes to my shopping list.
I wonder if they sell remote-control water guns?
Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
The cats know when I'm leaving.
Packing the suitcase. Emptying the Litter Robot. Filling the cat feeder. Cleaning and filling the water fountain. It all adds up.
And once they realize what's happening... they stick to me like glue...
Follwing me everywhere right up until I walk out the door...
Nobody lays down a guilt trip like cats do.
And I'm off.
Posted on Friday, March 17th, 2017
And that was San Francisco.
Jester dropped me off at the airport and, before I knew it, I was on my way home. Via Virgin America Airlines, which I hadn't noticed on my ticket until yesterday... but, now that they're merging up with Alaska Airlines, I'm guessing this will be happening with greater frequency.
SFO had a display of Ouiji boards on my concourse, which was interesting but surprising. Given how freaked out some people are by them, you'd think they'd avoid putting such an exhibit in a public space like this. And yet...
The trip home was nothing exciting, which is the best kind of trip to have.
The cats were, of course, excited to see me. Jake was all over me from the minute I walked in the door, and needed a lot of attention before he settled back into normalcy. Or whatever passes for normalcy in a cat.
Jenny was a bit more reserved... until bedtime.
Then she decided to make up for lost time by bringing me a toy as a welcome back present. Or so I would imagine...
I started to pet her, but she was more interested in television, as usual...
So I guess we're good.
Nobody tell her that I'm leaving again tomorrow...
Posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2017
And now I'm off again.
Of course the cats figured it out, they always do.
Jenny was particularly upset by the news. So much so that she thought it a good idea to prevent me from packing my suitcase...
I distracted them with kitty treats and... away I went.
The drive over to Seattle was pretty bleak for March. Usually we're in almost-Spring mode here by then, but not this time...
Oh well. The roads were pretty much clear, which is all that really matters.
Las Vegas, here I come.
Posted on Saturday, March 25th, 2017
It seems as though my cats are getting more and more attached to me as time goes on.
Which means that it's more and more difficult to leave them when I have to travel. Despite their automated litter box, their automated feeder, and their automated neighbor checking in on them... they want me to be at home. And when I return after being gone a while, they cling to me constantly.
This morning while I was working in bed, Jenny laid right beside me the entire time...
And Jake was snuggled up wanting pets every ten minutes...
The good news for them is that the weather is getting nicer, so I'll be able to start working on Catio Phase Two soon. They seem to spend most of their time out there now-a-days, so spicing things up a bit will make their days more exciting.
Hopefully exciting enough that they won't notice me being gone when I have to leave again.
Posted on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
Can I have your attention please?
Are you listening to me, Jenny?
Every morning you bring me a tribute in exchange for my feeding you. It's unnecessary, but I like to encourage this kind of thinking.
Over the past year, you've really put your heart into the task, and I want you to know how much that's appreciated. Hauling a bunch of toys upstairs every day in an effort to please me is dedication you should be proud of, right?
But lately I've noticed a decline in the quality of your morning tribute, and I'm a bit disappointed in you.
Did you hear me, Jenny? I'm disappointed.
I mean, look at what you brought this morning! Just one tired old toy, a ratty tan mouse, and that's it...
Sad! You're not a slacker, so why are you acting like one? You're better than this! If you're going to do something, don't you think you should give it your best effort?
Are we agreed that you're going to step up your game? That you're going to take a little less time sleeping, eating, and pooping... and a little more time improving the quality of your work?
Alrighty then, I'm glad to hear it!
Good talk, Jenny. Good talk.
Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017
That cat I planted has finally sprouted!
Guess that means Spring is finally here...
Posted on Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Jake has started thinking he's the Alpha Cat of the house.
I don't know when the shift occurred, and it's not always consistent, but it's as if he realized that he's got four pounds on his sister and decided to take advantage of it. Sometimes. Other times he just can't be bothered...
Jenny was birdwatching and Jake snuck up on her. Surprise.
Mostly this Alpha Cat mentality manifests itself on the kitty tower.
Jenny always wants the top perch. If Jake's already on it, she'll take a lower perch, but it's the top one she prefers. Jake doesn't care which perch he's on. But 50% of the time when Jenny is on the top one, he'll knock her out of it just because he can. Sometimes she'll fight him for a little while, but eventually she relents.
This is not to say that Jenny is putting up with Jake's delusions of grandeur. She not only stands up to him when it suits her, she is not above jacking up Jake's shit on a daily basis...
She ended up nailing him good... he didn't know what hit him.
I just feel lucky that they still get along.
Needless to say, as the weather gets better and better the cats are spending more and more time out in the catio. They're even napping out there when the sun is shining. I only hope that if Jenny pukes from the bugs she's eating, that she pukes out there as well.
I think next weekend is the weekend I set up the garage as my wood shop. Then I'll be adding even more catio fun. The construction of which will be fun for me too.
Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2017
Sure it's Easter, but there are other reasons to celebrate the day, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Kitty! Everything I love about cats can be found in this one clip of a kitty trying to escape the field at a Marlins game...
What a trooper! Apparently a Marlins' employee adopted the cat, who was named "Don Cattingly" in a Twitter poll.
• Kedi! And, speaking of cats...
Can't believe I have to wait until November for this to come out on video!
• Atomic! Okay... putting aside the fact that the trailer for Atomic Blonde features music by both Depeche Mode and New Order... how badly does watching this make me want to see the movie?
Charlize Theron should be in a lot more movies.
• Ragnarok! Speaking of movie trailers... how amazing is the latest Thor movie looking?
I'm part of the minority who actually likes the Thor films. The first one was really great at establishing the characters. The second stumbled quite a bit, but was still entertaining. But this? Probably the best Thor yet. Possibly one of the best Marvel films yet.
• Spicey! Melissa McCarthy is hosting SNL on May 15th. I'm hoping it's just an hour-and-a-half of her impersonating Sean Spicer, playing out the best of his ongoing fuck-ups. Verbatim. In the meanwhile, we have yet another flawless sketch from last night's episode...
What a big, beautiful slice of chocolate cake.
• Politics! The more you know about how politics work in this country, the more you think that we should burn the entire system to the ground and start over...
Politicians don't act in the best interest of those they represent because they don't have to. That's the underlying reason we're as fucked as we are.
Now go eat some eggs, you animal.
Posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
My cats are frickin' adorable.
I mean, most cats are adorable, but every cat is adorable to their human in different ways. Jake and Jenny are very different cats with entirely different personalities and behaviors. And yet... they somehow still manage to get along. They still play together. They still groom each other. They sometimes still sleep together, though Jake has gotten so big that this isn't as practical as it once was.
While reading through a cat forum recently, I saw that people were posting things about their cats they find adorable. I came up with a list of my own, which I am re-posting here for Caturday...
And... I'm out of adorable for today.
Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Everybody have a nice Earth Day?
Good! Because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Sikh! Essential viewing...
The more you know...
Sikhism is a fascinating faith that I haven't studied nearly enough.
• Kingsman! Holy shit! Going back to insert this in Bullet Sunday because it's just too good. I loved the first film, and it looks like the second is going to be more of the same!
Very cool that the American version of "The Kingsmen" makes their debut... " The Statesmen!" I wonder if a spin-off franchise is at hand? So long as Matthew Vaughn is involved, that's fine by me!
• Krypton! Ooh a TV show based on Superman's home planet... Krypton. This could be interesting! Wonder how faithful they'll be to the source material? Will we get to see the Scarlet Jungle? The Gold Volcano? How about Vathlo Island? The Jewel Mountains? Or even the Red Ocean? Can't wait to find out. The series is being developed at SyFy but, for reasons too fucking stupid to comprehend, they're killing the trailer everywhere it pops up. So I can't share the trailer. I can only share this hilarious reaction video from Double Toasted, which only shows parts of it (NSFW)...
The trailer is getting pretty good buzz. God only knows why SyFy is keeping people from sharing it.
• Mountains? When your CAPTCHA tells you to select all the mountain images, so you do... only to find out that they must live in Nebraska and think hills are mountains, which they most certainly are not...
#1 and #8 qualify as "mountains"... alrighty then.
• These Days! "Take That!" is a band that didn't get huge success here in the US when compared to their home in the UK, where they are massively popular. Even so, I've always liked the band, and was surprised to find out that they released an album back in 2014 that I missed entirely called III. The lead single is a track filled with poppy fun that I can't seem to get out of my head...
Kind of cool how Take That! keeps chugging along even after losing two of their bandmates.
• Puppy! And, lastly, your weekly dose of "Awwwww... cute!" is right here...
Amazing how Mother Nature works.
And now... I could really use another day of my weekend.