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The Howling at Midnight

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Dave!I have come to the conclusion that once you pass 50 it takes two days to recover for every day you go without a bare minimum of sleep. I went three days without sleep, so it's going to take six days before I recover. Which, for me, will be sometime Saturday.

It was not always like this. Used to be I would operate on a few hours sleep for weeks and suffer no ill-effects. Sometime in my mid-30's this changed and I needed a couple hours extra sleep to recover from a week of insanity. Then I hit 40 and suddenly I needed a day for every day of missed sleep to recover. That was at least manageable. But two days per day? How do I schedule for something like that? Being able to operate at only half-speed is killing me.

Last night I went to bed much earlier than I usually do (around 11:00pm instead of 1:30am) in an attempt to make up for lost rest. Jake, who usually sleeps with me most nights now, fell asleep in the downstairs guest room so I wouldn't be bothered by him. This left Jenny, whom will hop off the bed and go sleep in the other guest room the minute I fall asleep.

But not last night.

Oh no. I fell asleep while petting her and she was very upset about it.

VERY.

I woke up to the sound of her walking around my room howling because I dared to fall asleep before she was done with being petted. When she gets upset or wants attention, she will meow from time to time... but this was howling. Keep in mind that this camera is downstairs, so what you're hearing is one floor and three rooms away from the microphone. That's how unbelievably loud she was...

I love how she is so loud that Jake wakes up and is all WTF?!? and goes walking upstairs to see what Jenny is on about.

And so... I pet her for another twenty minutes until she was satisfied, then eventually fell asleep and hour-or-so later. Not quite getting the sleep I was hoping for, but... well... cats... you know.

Speaking of cats...

One of my favorite things on YouTube is Super Easy, Barely An Inconvenience, a series of "pitch meetings" for popular films by Ryan George for Screen Rant. The guy does the same thing every time and yet it is hilarious every time. The most recent pitch meeting is for the Cats movie, and it's one of the best yet...

And so now I'm binge-re-watching all of the episodes of Super Easy, Barely An Inconvenience while I work, which is a fantastic use of my time. Better than most stuff on television if I'm being honest.

And here's hoping that Jenny gets all her required petting in before I fall asleep so I can maybe... possibly... perhaps... kinda get some sleep tonight?

Well, she's a cat, so I'm not holding my breath. But maybe I should hold my breath. Can a cat howling in your bedroom wake you up if you've passed out from holding your breath?

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Ibuprofen and Benadryl Cocktail

Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Dave!Somehow, someway I managed to seriously injure my right shoulder. I think the muscle in it is torn or something. No clue whatsoever how it happened, but it's been a couple months. Probably slept on it wrong, because that's a thing that happens after you turn the-big-five-oh.

Anyway...

Since I am not a pro athlete or even remotely physical in any way, this is not a big deal. It doesn't bother me at all during the day because, let's face it, there's not a lot of shoulder action that comes from typing on a keyboard, clicking on a mouse, or watching television. The only time it bothers me is when I am trying to fall asleep* and I end up laying on it funny. Then... ouchies. But, no big deal, I just load up on some Ibuprofen and take a couple Bendryl, problem solved.

Except when it isn't.

Which was last night.

As I mentioned a couple times now, Jake reeeeeally likes to snuggle with me at night now. Lord knows why with all the tossing and turning I do, but he apparently likes a wild ride while trying to sleep. Or he's just terrified I'm going to leave him for a week like I did over the holidays (=insert sad emoji=). On those nights when he wants to sleep on top of me, it's especially awkward because I'm a side-sleeper. So in order for this to work, I have to grab a pillow or two and build a "shelf" beside me that he can lay on. Because, you know, laying beside me might result in him getting crushed and he won't do it. It looks something like this...

Jake laying on top of me and the pillows next to me... being king of the bedroom.

When Jake hopped up last night and waited (im)patiently for me to build his sleeping shelf, I had to reach behind me to grab a pillow. Unfortunately I did that with my bad shoulder and twisted in such a way that I let out a yelp. Jake did not have any sympathy at all. He promptly hopped on top of me and fell asleep.

Then, at 3:00 in the morning, I could not get to sleep and simply couldn't take the agony any more. I gently lowered Jake to the bed (much to his annoyance) then escaped from under the covers so I could go drug up on an Ibuprofen and Benadryl cocktail.

And go to the bathroom... again... something else that happens after you turn the-big-five-oh.

When I got back to my bed, he had decided to lay down RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, which meant I had to kinda work my way around him. Eventually he curled up BETWEEN MY LEGS... SO COMFORTABLE... and I passed out 20 minutes later thanks to over-the-counter drugs I was abusing.

When I woke up to the 7:00am cat feeding alarm blaring, Jake was sniffing my face... probably wondering if I was dead. Because if I wasn't dead, why wasn't I rushing downstairs to feed him his breakfast?!?

And so my day was spent attempting to get caught up on work while in a sleep-deprived stupor... occasionally wincing with pain.

How about you?

Though, if you're under 50 years-old without cats, I probably don't want to know.

   
*I lie. I found out while traveling last week that it hurts my shoulder a great deal if I offer to get a suitcase full of bowling balls down from the plane's overhead bin for a young woman who is 90-lbs. soaking wet if she's a day** and would probably be crushed in the attempt.

**Or however the fuck that metaphor goes. I am from the Pacific Northwest where we don't do that.

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Caturday 141

Posted on Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Dave!I've heard a number of scary stories about people who have had to leave their cats only to come back and find their shoes pooped in... their clothes shredded... their furniture chewed up. Basically, the cats get their revenge for being abandoned. For whatever reason, I am blessed with two cats who are not vindictive like this at all. When I come back, they are incredibly happy to see me and then hang around me constantly. Whatever room I'm in, they're in regardless of time of day.

Jake sitting on the bed while I work while Jenny is on the window shelf.

Jake curled up next to me while my arm is around him.

Jenny on the nightstand rubbing up against my arm while I pet her.

Jake sitting on the end of the couch staring at me to make sure I am not going anywhere.

   
But they will leave me if there's something exciting outside. Like Fake Jake stopping by for a visit...

Fake Jake outside the catio staring up at something.

They will abandon me instantly for that...

Fake Jake outside the catio staring up at Jake and Jenny staring down at him.

And now it's time for the second-most dreaded time of year... making an appointment for Jake and Jenny's annual checkup at the vet. Because the most dreaded day of the year... their annual checkup at the vet in February.

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Bullet Sunday 644

Posted on Sunday, January 5th, 2020

Dave!We may be on the verge of World War III as a reckless, clueless president is intent on starting a war to distract from his impeachment, but all is not lost because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Oh Deer. So there I was falling asleep last night when the security system alarm goes off on my phone telling me that there was a person on the side of my house and in my back yard. I thought it might be a cat trying to get into the catio again, but Jake and Jenny were in bed with me. Nope... definitely not a cat... it was A FAMILY OF DEER! A couple others came along after this video...

Apparently with the warmer weather they are looking for something to eat, because they spent some time in my shrubs before moving on...

A deer walking through my back yard.

I feel horrible that somebody may harm them as they try to survive by heading into suburbia.

   
• RIP Syd Mead. It's unbelievable how so much of how we envision the future was defined by one guy... Syd Mead. He has created a tremendous volume of incredible work, and I was saddened to hear of his passing.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner showing a futuristic city street.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner looking out of a flying car's windshield.

Syd Mead future submarine-like-craft that shows futuristic construction.

Syd Mead scene from Bladerunner showing a futuristic cityscape skyline awash in lights.

2010, him. Aliens, him. Blade Runner, him. Blade Runner 2049, him. Star Trek the Motion Picture, him. Tron, him. You will be missed, sir.

   
• Poop. I loathe coffee. I have never liked it despite my proximity to Coffee Central (AKA Seattle). On those occasions where it's the only thing to drink, I will try it (again) and want to barf (again) so I've just stopped trying. Finally, finally I've found a video which encapsulates how I feel about the entire situation...

Smart kitty.

   
• Persevere. And speaking of cats... for all the challenges you meet in 2020... take courage from this cat who perseveres over whatever life throws at them!

Way to go, buddy!

   
• Squishy. HOLD UP A MINUTE... how many butternut squashes were y'all going to let me buy, peel, and cube before telling me that they make LUXURY BUTTERNUT SQUASH that comes pre-peeled, pre-cubed, and frozen for my convenience?

Me holding a bag of frozen butternut squash.

Y'all are on my list now. — I think I was dangerously close to breaking down crying in the supermarket when I saw it in the freezer case. This changes so much!

   
• Fly Someone. And lastly, I missed this adorable Christmas commercial from Heathrow Airport. Well worth your time to watch...

What a nice way to end Bullet Sunday! Have a good one, everybody.

   
Stay safe and be kind, everybody...

   

Caturday 142

Posted on Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Dave!I will never understand my cats.

Never.

After I returned from my travels a week ago, my cats were all over me. They wouldn't leave my side any time I was home. Jake and Jenny could not get enough of me and I was adored.

Until today.

But before I get to that, let's take a look at eight photos of them not being able to get enough of me...

Jake and Jenny laying in bed with me.

Jake on my bed peeking out from behind a blanket.

Jake curled up on my bed.

Jenny rubbing up next to me.

Jenny getting scratches from me.

Jenny getting more scratches from me.

Jake laying next to me curled up and looking up at me.

Jenny getting butt scratches in bed.

   
Tonight I was at the office working. I lost all track of time, so I didn't get home before Jake and Jenny's dinner alarm sounded. When I walked in the door seven minutes late, they were both sitting there waiting for me.

They were livid.

L-I-V-I-D-!

They ate their dinner and then, instead of coming into the living room to hang with me, they ran upstairs!

A couple hours later Jake finally came downstairs. After a while he hopped up on the couch next to me. Mostly so he could show me his ass...

Jake on the couch next to my legs with his ass pointing in my direction.

After making sure his butthole had been clearly presented, he lay down at my feet and threw his head down on my leg so he could look as forlorned as possible... his dinner was seven minutes late, and he was still devastated by the memory of it all. Devastated.

Jake curled up next to my legs with his head laying on my leg looking sad.

He went to sleep soon after.

Jake curled up asleep next to my legs.

I started talking to him so he would come lay on my lap and keep me company while I watched TV. He looked up at me... grunted... THEN TURNED AROUND AND WENT BACK TO SLEEP...

Jake curled up next to my legs sleeping but turned around so he's facing away from me.

Jenny is still upstairs not speaking to me.

So... gone for seven DAYS, cats can't get enough of me.

Seven MINUTES late for dinner and they are so mad they want nothing to do with me.

I will never understand my cats.

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Caturday 143

Posted on Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Dave!Earlier this week before going to work I was in the kitchen packing a lunch when I saw the lights in the dining room turn on. This was strange because that set of lights isn't programmed to turn on until 30 minutes before sunset. I was about to tell Alexa to turn them back off when they went off on their own.

What is going on here?

I head into the dining room and... there it is... Jenny is turning the lights on and off.

Jenny sitting on a shelf by the light switch.

Jenny turning on the lights in the dining room.

This was not an accident. She's done it twice since then. I don't know if it's fun for her... or she likes the beep that the smart switch makes... or it's her way of getting attention... or what. At first I was just going to de-program the switch. But then I though "why?" Let her have her fun. If it becomes a problem, I'll just deal with it then.

Also this week I set up a security camera in my bedroom to see if Jake is actually sleeping at my feet all night long. It just seemed impossible given all my tossing and turning. But, yep, he sure does. Not only that, but I am not tossing and turning nearly as much as I usually do. I wonder if my cat buddy is responsible? Seems likely. Previous times I've recorded myself to see how I'm sleeping I'm like a maniac.

Speaking of sleeping with cats...

Jenny will fall asleep next to me... so long as I am petting her the entire time. The minute I stop one of two things will happen: 1) Cry until I start petting her again if she hasn't had enough, or 2) Leave if she has. What's weird is that if I am asleep, she will leave. Neither of my cats will wake me up. Last night I was so sick that I couldn't sleep. I went to bed at 10:00pm and watched television and pet Jenny until 2:00am at which time I couldn't take it any more and went downstairs for sleeping pills. Jenny was gone when I got back.

I took a photo of her every 20 minutes. She doesn't move a lot...

Four images of Janny sleeping

Four images of Janny sleeping

Four images of Janny sleeping

I'm willing to bet that had I kept petting her, she would have slept there until the breakfast alarm rang!

Before I sign off this fine Caturday, I ran across this photo last night and it absolutely slayed me. It's adorable times a hundred...

It's also genius. I'd credit the guy for his fantastic photo if I knew who he was. Obviously he's quite the cat lover, as his awesome wardrobe attests.

Until next week... same cat-time, same cat-blog.

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Tiny Cat House Living

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2020

Dave!Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Technically I have the day off but, given how behind I am at work (something not helped by being sick this past weekend), I really didn’t have the day off.

Yesterday afternoon I had somebody float the idea of creating a tiny house community. After ten seconds of thought, I decided I liked the idea. As I get older I am trying to rid myself of all my possessions so that cleaning up after me when I’m gone won’t be so much a burden. What better way to get rid of 90% of your stuff than to move into a place where there’s no room for it? Assuming a location existed where I could find work, I’d build my tiny house, drive it there, then set up until retirement. After I retire (assuming I get to retire) I can drive my home to wherever I want to end up.

Tiny house living might be a great option for me. Assuming I could find one which has a ground floor bedroom so I’m not having to climb up to a loft each night when I’m 90 years old (knock on wood).

Except...

What about Jake and Jenny?

Tiny house living with cats seems an almost impossible idea. For one thing, I think they’d go crazy if they were confined to a small space for extended periods. As it is now, they like to run all over the place and cutting down their room to roam by such a huge amount would be cruel, wouldn’t it?

And then there’s the smell of their litter boxes. I have Litter-Robots which actually do a pretty good job of containing smells, but that’s when there’s 1,800 square feet for it to dissipate. What happens in 240 square feet?

And so... I guess perhaps tiny house living isn’t such a great option for me after all.

And then last night I got to thinking... unless... what if the tiny house was built from the ground up with cats in mind?

An hour later I had roughed out an idea in Chief Architect Home Designer.

  • The home is single-level for humans... but the addition of an upper “catwalk” for the cats gives them far more space to wander.
  • Perhaps running a steel pipe underneath the entirely of the catwalk would give me a place to hang clothes in my bedroom, pots and pans in the kitchen, and a place to dry clothes after washing in the living room? No closet required! Just put bins underneath a flip-up mattress on the bed for storage of things which don’t hang.
  • To handle the Litter-Robots, why not build a ventilated loft for them? Between the robots keeping the smell to a minimum and cat-flap barriers to keep any residual smell contained, this is totally doable. You’d have to use incline-steps (which lower from the ceiling) for the once-per-week changing of the bags and twice-annual scrubbing, but if the bed flips up, there’s plenty of room for that.
  • A removable “catio” that bolts to the back side of the unit adds even more room for the cats to have access and allows them outside time. Just unbolt to make the house street-legal when you move it, then bolt back on when you arrive.
  • So many designs have the bathroom at one of the ends. This seems such a waste of potential window space! I’d rather have the bathroom in the middle and have nice big windows on the ends!
  • 99% of the time I eat on the couch while watching TV. No need to build a separate dining area, I’ll just create a fold-out table when I need it.
  • A couch which converts to a bed for guests isn’t as nice as a dedicated guest room, but it would work in a pinch.

And here we are. Note that I don't know how to make a slant-roof in Home Designer, but that's the kind I would definitely use on this so the snow would slide off. It just has to be tall enough at the front-side for the Litter-Robots, and could slant towards the back no problem. Cat's don't need more than 18"-20" to run around...

A rendering of my Tiny House plan.

Also not shown... wheels. The entire thing would be built on a trailer bed so it's movable.

Here's the back side with the catio attached. Note that Jake and Jenny would access the catio from a door in their loft...

A fenched walkway and cat enclosure attached to the back of my Tiny House.

Here you can see the upper track for the cats leading to the ventilated loft where their Litter-Robots would be located...

A walkway for the cats runs all around my Tiny House.

Here you can see how the Litter-Robots would be accessed from a door in the bedroom. An incline staircase would be lowered from the ceiling, the bed would be flipped up, and the staircase would attach beneath the door. You can also see how there are stairs leading up to the cat track (just as there are in the living room)...

A walkway for the cats runs all around my Tiny House.

You can see the vents in the cat loft here. I'd think that I'd probably get some near-silent, slow-moving fans to install in each. That would help keep small flying bugs which might get past the screen from entering while keeping any smells blowing outside...

A cutaway view of my Tiny House showing the vents in the cat loft.

Tiny houses are, well, tiny. There's no getting around it. I would likely have to build a small shed that I could transport with me to hold stuff I don't use that often but want to have handy. I still love the idea of a metal pipe hanging under the upper catwalk so I can hang stuff from it. As you can see from this render of the living room, there's plenty of room for it. Note that the catwalk has windows all the way around so Jake and Jenny can look out everywhere and not feel so confined...

Looking up at the catwalk in the living room.

A view from the catwalk in the bedroom for looking down at the unsuspecting human sleeping there...

Looking down at the bed from the catwalk.

The bathroom features a full-size toilet, vanity, cabinet, medicine cabinet, good-size tiled shower, plus a closet for electronics and a water supply (plus small water heater)...

In my Tiny House bathroom.

In the kitchen I prioritized a good-sized refrigerator/freezer, a micro-convection oven, range top, and a decent-sized sink. You can see the "stairs" for the cats to access their catwalk here on the left...

Looking towards my Tiny House kitchen.

Here's the blueprints. You can click on them to embiggen...

Tiny House blueprints.

The best part? $80-$100K and you're done. Assuming there's space where you want to live, you'll never have to buy another house. You can just take it with you.

And it's not so bad, really! I mean, sure I'd rather have a proper-sized house... but if that's not possible, I could certainly live like this. And I'm pretty sure that since it was designed to keep cats happy, they could live like this as well.

One of these days when I have some free time, I'll have to figure out how to slant the roof and add scratching posts and stuff. Fun times. Fun times.

   

Cat House Tiny Two

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2020

Dave!It's funny how something can start out as a lark but snowball into something else entirely.

On Monday I wrote about how the tiny house craze might not work with me having cats, then designed a tiny home with cats in mind. The friend who asked me how I felt about tiny house communities posted my plans to a tiny house forum and, next thing you know, I've got a list of ideas from people who might actually want to attempt something like this!

As I had mentioned, I started with the idea of having a ventilated loft for the Litter-Robot litter boxes. The idea being that foul odors will tend to accumulate more easily in a tiny house, and it's better to plan for that from the start. Everything else just kinda fell into place.

There were some really, really good suggestions passed my way.

The biggest was that since I have a cat walk going all the way around the interior, I might as well add some storage underneath. I was also told that while I might not mind eating on the couch, a guest might feel otherwise, and it would be good to have a dining area... even if it was all collapsible.

And so... this morning while eating my Corn Flakes, I took the ideas that people had and revised my tiny house idea.

To make room for the dining table and add a window so you're not staring at a wall while you eat, I built cat "stairs" on the back of the door and added a pole so cats could climb up if they wanted to... along with small storage cupboards below the catwalk...

My tiny home interior, showing a dining nook with a table and chairs.

My tiny home interior, showing cat stairs and a climbing pole to the catwalk.

And here it is from above. Having a "catwalk" adds a lot of space for cats, and I changed the litter box loft so that they can access from both sides now, which would avoid congestion with more than one cat...

My tiny home interior, showing catwalk from above.

One person who was most enthusiastic about my plans asked if his-and-her closets could be added rather than hanging clothes everywhere. That sounded like a great idea, so I added closets (extending the home from 30' to 34') and also added corner shelving to the bedroom. Note that there are also cat stairs on the back of this door as well...

My tiny home bedroom now with closets!

Plus dual poles in the corners so cats can climb up to the catwalk that way if they prefer...

My tiny home bedroom now with poles in the back corners!

I had to switch from barn doors to actual doors for the bathroom to accommodate the cat stairs, but I actually like that better. I thought that barn doors would be better because you wouldn't be opening the door into somebody but, hey, people can be careful. PLUS... now that I think about it, there's no reason the doors to the bathroom/passthrough couldn't open inward which would solve everything. There's definitely enough room for both doors to do that. Hmmmm...

My tiny home bedroom now with poles in the back corners!

And here's the updated main floor plan with the dining table, closets, shelves, storage, and catwalk access poles and stairs (click to embiggen)...

Tiny House blueprints.

Note that the bathroom is slightly larger because I was told my electronics/water-tank closet was not big enough. Now it's plenty big enough for that and maybe some linens and towels! And now that I think about that... perhaps the washer/dryer unit would be better in the bathroom so the water tank and electronics were closer to the shower and kitchen sink. Nifty!

This was a really fun project! I may continue to tweak it as new ideas occur to me.

A pity I don't have millions of dollars laying around so I could buy a chunk of land for a tiny house community and actually build the thing. But who knows? Maybe somebody with money who wants to try tiny cat house living might take the idea and run with it?

   

Caturday 144

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Dave!I've had to pull a chip bag off of Jake's head more than a couple times. Usually they are the "Big Grab" size, and once that goes on his head it don't want to come off! I have to chase him around the house until I can pull it off. Poor Jake.

The larger bags are easier for him to get out of. Unless I cut them down when they are near empty. Then he can get his head stuck in there while digging for crumbs, no problem. Earlier this week he got his head stuck but I was able to pull it off right away. I thought he had learned his lesson, but here he is at it again...

Jake sticking his head in a potato chip bag.

Until... he stopped short of sticking his head all the way in and started digging with his paw to pull the chips out of the bag...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

He knocked it on the floor, spilling crumbs. I was going to go toss it in the garbage, but he was learning something and so I put it back...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

Sure enough, he fishes a chip out of the bag so it falls on the floor and he can eat it...

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

Jake fishing for chips with his paw in a potato chip bag.

And speaking of Jake...

He's not content to sleep next to me at night any more... he wants to sleep ON TOP OF ME now. This shot is him on my back. It was tough to take because my arm is twisting back with my iPhone...

Jake laying on top of me as I try to sleep.

It's easier when he lays on my chest...

Jake laying on top of me as I try to sleep.

Jenny is still being Jenny. She's incredibly smart. She's deviously clever. She's wonderfully . And she's also inexplicably weird at times. I've seen her jump down seven feet without even batting an eye. But earlier this week she hopped up 30 inches into one of my jean cubbies and somehow felt stuck. She cried until I got out of bed and helped her out...

Jenny sitting in a small cubical shelf crying.

Jenny sitting in a small cubical shelf crying.

She's a cat alright.

Until next week's adventure...

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Caturday 145

Posted on Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Dave!You will be pleased to hear that a life-long dream of mine was realized this week: Jake has consistently been falling asleep on my cold feet while I am working in bed. He did it on occasion over the years, but it was seemingly random and by accident. Then, on Tuesday he fell asleep on my toes... and has every day since. It's his favorite place to be now, apparently, and it's certainly my favorite place for him to be. So... win-win then, I guess...

Last week Dolly Parton started a meme sensation that's been picked up by just about everybody...

Earlier this week I made one for Jake...

And one for Jenny...

And that's all I have to say about that.

But before I go... watch this until the end...

I love raccoons almost as much as I love cats.

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Caturday 146

Posted on Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Dave!As I've mentioned before, there's nothing more stressful in my life than when my cats are sick. I've been very, very lucky*. Other than a rare hairball and an even more rare "scarf and barf," they've been really healthy cats, and they rarely puke.

So when Jenny started being antisocial, then puked in her dinner this past week... then puked in her dinner again when I cleaned it up... I was understandably freaking out. I tried feeding her a snack at midnight and she threw it up immediately. Not good.

Usually Jake and Jenny sleep in their separate beds like they are tonight...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in separate kitty beds.

But with Jenny feeling so terrible, Jake sought to comfort her by crawling into bed with her and watching over things while she slept...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

Whether she wants him to or not. I kept checking in on them with the security cameras and saw that she crawled to the other bed... only to have Jake follow her there...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

After I dropped a plate on the floor, I thought I probably woke them up. But only Jake was awake. Jenny was still passed out...

A night vision photo of Jake and Jenny curled up in the same kitty bed.

He's such a good brother. He does the exact same thing when I take them to the vet and Jenny goes catatonic...

Vet Visit Two Point Oh

The following morning Jenny had thrown up a bunch of water. Rather than panic and head immediately to the vet, I decided to feed her only small portions to see if she could keep food down. After a day of that, she had a full dinner, but was still being anti-social. She wouldn't let me near her.

Then the next morning she had breakfast without incident, then showed up while I was working in bed and was back to her usual self...

Jenny laying in a kitty bed passed out while Jake is wide awake.

And then there's Jake.

I've been waking up the past several mornings with him LAYING ON TOP OF ME. I finally put a security camera in my bed so I could see what was up. Turns out there's no reason for it. Jake comes wandering in around a half hour before breakfast time, then just climbs right on top...

Jake laying on top of me while I'm sleeping.

Which is nothing new. He's constantly crawling up on me even when I'm not in bed... hoping for some scratches...

Jake laying on top of me getting scratches on his chin.

The weather has been warming up at an alarming rate. This has meant that Fake Jake is leaving his shelter more and more. He's out most of the day now unless it's pouring rain out. Nights are still spent laying on the warming pad though...

Fake Jake laying in his shelter all nice and warm.

When I got home yesterday, Fake Jake came meowing and running from across the street. He was desperate for some scratches and pets. Then, as usual, he got overly-enthusiastic and snagged me after about five minutes. I just wait until it happens because I know he's not being mean... he's just being a cat... and it seems unfair to cut his time short...

My finger with blood on it from cat claw scratch wounds.

Oh well. That's what anti-biotic spray and band-aids are for, right?

   


*Seriously lucky. I've only had three real "incidents" for the entire four years I've owned them...

  • Jake started puking and couldn't even keep water down. Eventually he was so lethargic that he didn't even put up a fight when I packed him up in the kitty carrier and took him the vet. When I got there they had a line and asked if he had been using the litter box. I didn't know, so I checked the security system and found out that he had been trying to go to the bathroom many times... but I never heard anything drop when the Litter-Robot cycled. They immediately admitted him and, sure enough, his urinary tract was completely blocked. It was horrifying, and he had to stay in the hospital while I went to Hawaii and back.
  • Jenny had itchy skin so bad that she was scratching herself raw to bleeding. She was clearly miserable, waking up from sleep in order to scratch. I did my best to scratch her with fingertips whenever I saw her scratching so she wouldn't scratch with her claws. I coudn't figure it out, as there were no dietary changes and the whole-home humidifier keeps the air from going too dry. Eventually I started saturating her fur in the itchy spots with a rotating assortment of anti-itch sprays until, eventually, everything went back to normal.
  • Jake was hiding and could not be coaxed out. I was mortified that his urinary blockage came back despite switching to a pricey prescription food. At the vet they couldn't find anything wrong. When I brought him home, I saw he was limping badly. Checked the security cameras and, yikes, he fell down the stairwell and hurt his leg.
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Caturday 147

Posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Dave!The reason that Bullet Sunday and Caturday switched places this weekend is that today is the 4th anniversary of my adopting Jake and Jenny.

When their 4th birthday arrived back in December, it didn't really register with me. Probably because that's an estimated date. They were feral rescues who were rescued when they were days old, so "December 6th" may or may not be the actual day. The date that I actually went and got them is not estimated, however, because I wrote a blog entry on that amazing day...

Jenny & Jake as baby kittens hesitantly looking out of the kitty carrier they were in.

Initially rescued so my mom would have a distraction from her mounting confusion and memory loss, she was able to coax them out from under the couch long before I was...

Mom and Jake

Probably because she was home with them all day so they got used to her faster. Or maybe just because they liked her a lot. Especially Jake, who would flop down and invite her to rub his belly at any opportunity...

Mom rubbing Jake's belly

Adopting my cats remain one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.

After my mom passed, they were my reason for getting up in the morning, and they've been saving me every day since.

They are the most amazing creatures, and I love absolutely everything they do. Both of them are exceptionally well-behaved, never scratch up the furniture, always playing nice, and always happy to hang out with me. On those rare occasions something goes wrong... like them getting sick or waking me up in the middle of the night for some bizarre reason... I am never upset. Ever. Because they continue to be one of the best parts of my life...

Jake and Jenny Pals sleeping together in a way too small kitty bed.

If they have a failing, it's that I could never get them to adapt to other people. I have tried and tried and tried to slowly introduce them to houseguests. Sometimes, after a day or two, if nothing too exciting is going on, Jake might come downstairs to take a look... but he is wary the entire time and never hangs around for very long. My guess is that if somebody were to be around for several weeks they would eventually adapt. If I ever end up in a situation where that becomes a necessity, I sure hope that's the case.

In the meanwhile, I'm just going to keep enjoying their company for as long as I possibly can, because every day I love them just as much as I did when I first got them four years ago...

Jenny Eating My Feet!

Happy Caturday, everybody!

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Time and Tide and Time Again

Posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2020

Dave!If there's one thing I'm certain of, it's that humanity as a whole is on the decline.

Today reeeeeeally drove that home for me. Vividly. And so I decided to go home and turn off the world for a while. Which would usually mean that I'd clean house, play video games, or build something, but I didn't feel like doing any of that.

Fortunately Netflix decided to tell me that there's a new offering called #CATS_THE_MEWVIE, which is a documentary about cats on the internet...

Mom and Jake

Yep. That did the trick.

Even if some of the people on this are nuts. Or assholes. Or both.

Ready to face the horror show that we call "Reality" again.

   

Caturday 148

Posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Dave!Jenny has become a crotchety old gal and, heaven help me, it just makes me love her even more. Never mind that she only just turned four last December, she is wasting no time in reclaiming her time right now.

For the longest time, neither of my cats would meow. Jake doesn't meow because he can't... he just kind of silently mouths his meow or kinda does a dry squawk. The only time he gets vocal is for his trips to the vet which, holy cow, has to happen very soon now.

Jenny always could meow, but chooses not to.

Until now.

Not that she's annoying about it. She's still mostly silent. But when she wants attention or wants to let you know that she's not at all pleased with a situation, she definitely lets me know it. Last night I was working a while before bed when she hopped up next to me and was all "Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!" Until I started petting her. Okay then, maybe she has an itch. So I start petting her with one hand while I continue to compose emails with the other.

"Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

"What the heck, Jenny, I'm petting you... SEE?!?

And she's fine.

"Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

What is going on with you?!?"

And then, after a bit, I figure it out.

It's not enough that I'm petting her like she wants to be petted... SHE IS MAD BECAUSE I'M NOT LOOKING AT HER WHILE I'M PETTING HER!

I swear... I am not making this up! I'll start petting her until she kinda drifts off like this...

Jenny drifting off to sleep while purring happily.

Then, every once in a while she will raise her head and squint to check and make sure I'm looking at her while petting. If I am, she'll drift back off. But if I'm not? "Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!"

Jenny squinting as she checks to make sure I'm looking at her while petting her.

Now... I've given up trying to understand why cats do anything. They're cats. That's why. But this is entirely new and has come completely out of the blue. Why is it that now she demands my complete attention? Do I do a better job petting her when I'm not half-occupied doing something else?

And then there's her wanting to play SuperCat. Still...

Jenny hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

Jenny hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

THAT'S the pose that really gets me. Especially because she usually hangs her tongue out...

Jenny's tongue is sticking out while she's hanging off a cat perch with her paws extended out like she's flying.

Jenny is such a remarkably smart, funny, sweet cat. And her personality makes my heart melt. But I can't help but wonder if in four more years I'll be spoon-feeding her all her meals or something.

Because apparently I can't resist her, no matter what she wants.

And apparently she knows this.

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Caturday 149

Posted on Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Dave!Another Saturday... another Caturday.

Jake has been acting pretty weird lately, which is to say that he's acting more like a cat. I thought his skittish and erratic behavior was due to the Feliway diffuser running out, but it's still half-full. Which means he's being totally weird all on his own.

For whatever reason, he will run around the house... climb the cat tree... run around the house... climb the cat tree... run around the house... climb up the cat tree...

And this goes on from the minute I get home until dinner time. He used to just sleep.

Still makes time for chin scratches though...

And butt scratches, of course...

I don't know what has him all riled up, but it's bound to be good exercise, so I'm not complaining.

I wish I could find motivation like that.

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Caturday 150

Posted on Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Dave!The reason I keep checking in on the coronavirus has nothing to do with me... it's my cats. Right now it is believed that pets can be carriers but they won't be affected by it like humans are. Which is great, because I am mortified at the thought of having two cats with no way of explaining to them why they're hurting, sick, and confused.

Even so, I've been washing my hands a lot more than usual.

With a face like that, how can I not?

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Temporary Yard Work for Cat Treats

Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2020

Dave!I live each day in a Benadryl-induced haze so that people don't think my allergies are coronavirus symptoms. That would be bad enough if not for the fact that I keep getting curve-balls thrown at me.

Take this morning, for example.

I worked late, late, late last night and was still dead-tired when my cats came running in after the Alexa alarm for their 7am feeding went off. So I dragged my ass out of bed and made my way past the landmine of cat toys strewn in my path to give them their food and get some household chores out of the way. At 8am I decided to go back to bed for a half-hour nap before heading into the office.

Five minutes after my head hit the pillow, Jake and Jenny were running into my bedroom at top speed. I had no idea what brought that on... until a second later when the yard-care people fired up a thatcher so they could groom the lawn for Spring. The noise was huge, the cats were freaked, and I wasn't going to get any sleep.

Then, at 8:30 the Alexa alarm I set to "wake me up" went off, which got the cats all excited because they thought it was feeding time again when they heard it.

As I was headed to the shower I realized that the thatching noise had stopped and it was quiet... even though I only heard them working on the side of my home and nowhere else. I thought perhaps the thatcher had broke down and looked outside to see if there was a problem.

Oh there was a problem alright...

A shit-load of snow falling outside my bedroom window.

Great.

Might as well go to work then.

My cats were still waiting for their second breakfast when I trudged down the stairs...

The cats waiting for their second breakfast with Jenny at the bottom of the stairs and Jake on the table... both of them looking up the stairs in anticipation.

Note that Jake is ON THE TABLE WHERE HE KNOWS HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE!

I'm all like "SERIOUSLY? YOU JUST HAD BREAKFAST 90 MINUTES AGO!!" But I was feeling sympathetic from the noisy yard work that scared them, so I gave them kitty snacks before heading out the door.

Where I had this greeting me...

A shit-load of snow piled on top of my car.

Guess I converted my garage into a wood shop too soon?

I am going to try and do as little work-work as possible this weekend so I can get caught up on house-work that's been piling up. Because, just like with the snow that's currently falling, I really don't need an avalanche to bury me.

I'm buried enough.

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Caturday 151

Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Dave!Jake and Jenny have been bonkers crazy this past week. Perhaps they are sensitive to the shit sandwich which we're all dealing with now? I dunno. Cats are smart, but I don't think that they are reading the news while I'm asleep. But maybe they are.

It all started on Monday when I nearly crapped my pants because I thought there was a snake under my bed...

A shadowy shape under my bed resembling a snake.

It was cat fur, of course. Which is why I exclaimed "I JUST VACUUMED TWO DAYS AGO!" after I figured it out. But now that the weather is warming up, the fur is practically falling off the cats in handfuls.

Jenny has taken to being particularly savage in teasing her brother. Sneaking under the scratcher lounge so she can swipe at Jake when he jumps off. Eating his snack when he's out in the catio. And, oh yeah, walking by with Mufasa while he's next to me getting petted...

Jake next to me watching Jenny walk by.

About two seconds after this photo was taken Jake scampered after her at top speed so he could retrieve his prized toy.

Jake has been even more clingy than usual lately. He wants attention all the time...

Jake looking up at me with his pretty green eyes while getting a butt rub.

And then there's Jake squawking for me while I'm in the kitchen. Usually he only does this when he's in distress or needs help finding Mufasa. After dropping everything and running in to find out what was wrong... I found out he wanted emergency belly rubs...

Earlier in the week I walked in the door, greeted the cats when they came running. Checked their food and water. Pet them for a while. Then went to work. But Jake was not satisfied with the level of attention, and decided to hop on me in a way to get my full attention...

Jake laying on my shoulder so he can get more butt scratches.

More than once I've woken up in the morning only to find Jake curled up at my feet. I try to stay still so I don't disturb him...

Jake curled up at my feet asleep.

But he's easily disturbed...

Jake curled up at my feet awake and squinting at me.

Jake is one cranky boy when you wake him up from sleep.

I don't have the coronavirus. At least not that I know of. But I'm acting as if I do in the hopes that I won't catch it and, if I do, I'm hoping I won't pass it along to my cats. I'm washing my hands before I touch them. I've ordered an extra bag of Jake's prescription food in case I'm quarantined. That kind of thing.

And, oh yeah, I'm also treating my bodily fluids as if they are toxic and keeping the bathroom doors closed so the cats can't go in. They don't normally go into the bathrooms unless they follow me in, but better safe than sorry, right?

Naturally they are furious that there's a place in the house that they can't go... even though they don't really want to go there. They felt the same way about the laundry room until Jenny figured out how to slide open the pocket door that leads there. Alas they can't open a door with a latch, and so they sit and meow at the door (Jenny) or squawk at the door (Jake) in an attempt to open it that way.

It doesn't work, but it does give them something new to do.

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Caturday 152

Posted on Saturday, March 21st, 2020

Dave!This morning Jake came running into my room and attempted to convince me to feed him breakfast early. Instead I gave him a full-body massage with both hands as a distraction. He was in such ecstasy that I thought I was going to have to find him a cigarette. Then the breakfast alarm went off, Jenny came running in all excited, and the spell was broken.

Since it's Saturday, I decided to work in bed for a couple hours. Jake never came back, but Jenny did. No idea why she kept staring me down with contempt and disapproval, but that's what she was serving up all morning...

Jenny looking at me with disapproval and contempt.

I don't know that my cats understand that a plague has descended upon us, but they definitely know something is wrong with the world. At night they are irritable and restless. After I go to bed, Jenny just hides in the closet. For the past two nights Jake will sit on the stairs and howl until I come down. After I talk to him for a minute and pet him, he'll follow me upstairs and fall asleep on the foot of my bed as usual. Not really sure what it's all about. It's like he's forgotten where I am or something?

Jake at the bottom of the stairs, looking up and howling.

Despite not having a handle on the COVID-19 situation, I am proud to say that both my cats have been practicing social distancing. When Fake Jake pops by for a visit, Jake hides around the corner even though there's a glass door between them...

Jake peeking around a corner out the screen door.

As things drag on... and seem to be getting worse... I am oddly calm. Whatever happens I'll find a way to survive somehow. Regardless of what that may mean in an uncertain future. The only thing I worry about are my cats and how any drastic change to my life might affect them. That worries me a great deal.

Fortunately there are loads of cat videos on the internet to take my mind off things. Like this one...

Take care of yourself... and any furry friends you might be living with.

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A Hazy Shade of Spring

Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Dave!My life has become a delicate balancing act between taking enough Benadryl to keep post-nasal drip down so I'm not coughing my head off... and enough caffeine to stay awake so I can work. Too much Benadryl and I'm unconscious. Too much caffeine and I won't be sleeping at night. Not enough of either and I'm non-functional. It's a tough spot to be in, I tell you what.

Any time not spent trying to stay awake enough to work is spent trying to stay awake enough to catch up on television and play Animal Crossing: New Horizons (a game I think I've played long enough to comment on in a semi-review post on Friday). And hang out with my cats, of course. But that's something they feel they can do while I'm asleep. I keep waking up to find them sleeping next to me. Awwwww.

I maintain that cats have a sixth sense and know when something is wrong. Whether they are looking to be comforting or are looking to be comforted doesn't really matter... I'm awfully glad to have my furry companions at a time when I'm living my life in a Benadryl-induced haze while trying to self-isolate.

Not that I'm knocking my Benadryl-induced haze, mind you. It's dulling down the horrors of a world gone to shit, and that's kinda nice.

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Caturday 153

Posted on Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Dave!If people could see me talking to my cats, they would think me insane.

Jake likes me to talk to him though, and actually talks back. He can't meow, so he kinda squawks, but I know what he means.

Jenny just stares at me for a minute... then looks away like she's embarrassed for the both of us.

As you can imagine, in the day-and-age of Washington State's "Stay-At-Home" order, I am awfully glad to have my cats around. More and more every day. They keep me company... and definitely keep me entertained... which is something I'm happy to have while in self-imposed exile.

Even if my cats sometimes tire of me bothering them during their down-time...

Jenny asleep in a cat bed.

Jenny woken up looking VERY cross.

You will note that there's a toy in there with her. Jenny has been going through a toy renaissance lately, dragging them around and sleeping with them...

Jenny getting a head-scratch while laying in a cat bed that has toys in there with her.

The other night Jake was wailing downstairs again after I went to bed. I have tried to just let him yowl so he doesn't get trained into thinking that he can beckon me on command... especially when I'm trying to sleep... but I just don't have the heart. What if something is actually wrong this time? So I head to the stairs and immediately know what's got him stressed this time...

Mufasa the toy lion sitting on the stairs.

Apparently Jenny grabbed Mufasa from Jake and ran away with him. And if Jake can't find his favorite toy, he's understandably upset. So I took Mufasa to him downstairs, he grabbed it and sauntered off, and that was that.

This past week I got a security alert on my phone while I was at work. When I looked to see what had happened, I saw Jake and Jenny running from the kitchen at top speed. Curious to know what had happened, I checked the kitchen-cam only to see this...

A stack of dishes completely obstructing the kitchen security camera.

I've been tearing apart my house and disinfecting everything, and should have put the dirty dishes in the washer after I finished cleaning out the sink. Naturally I was curious as to what had happened, but my cats were safe so I didn't rush home.

And when I did get home I found this...

Carl the RoboVac choked to death on a big towel.

My cats still hate Carl the RoboVac. And since I have no idea how that bath towel got in the kitchen, I'm guessing they are still working together to murder him. This time by choking him with the towel.

Psychotic nut-balls.

And speaking of psychotic nut-balls, HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING THE TIGER KING ON NETFLIX?!? This was me and Jake watching earlier this week...

Jake riveted by the glow of the television which is playing Netflix's The Tiger King.

The show is just bananas. Seriously. You have NO idea...

If you want to see some seriously messed-up television, there's your show.

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