8 June, 2012

Earth, receive an honored guest


Aida curled up in a sunbeam on the cat tree.
BluSkeyes Aida al Nefermau
“Little Boo”
2003-2012

It’s all sunbeams and brie for you now, Little Boo. Say hi to your Mama for me.

21 March, 2011

Multi-pet management

So these days we’re up to four dogs and five cats. This can make it a little bit tricky to make sure everyone’s needs are getting met, and leads to some creative management processes.

Cats have been the biggest area of concern. Rooney Lee has to be kept from eating kibble as it makes him projectile vomit, Braxton Bragg (aka Braximus Maximus Caesar) and the tabby girls (Noodlehead and Emmaline) must be kept from getting fat, and Aida the Small Angry Siamese must be kept from getting too thin. This is all quite an adventure as you might imagine.

The original method was to lock Roo in my room with his food and leave food for the other cats down while I was at work. The advent of Daniel meant that the cat kibble was getting picked up earlier because there is only so much desolate howling from Roo that Daniel can take. But under these methods, Aida kept just barely enough weight on to stay alive, while Braximus Maximus Caesar put on a small squishy gut.

The current method involves locking Roo in the crate we purchased for Juniper, which is still set up in the living room, with his ground raw food. Aida gets her very own bowl of kibble and another bowl with wet food in it and is locked into my room. Brax and the tabby girls get their own bowls of kibble in Daniel’s room, which can be picked up when Roo wakes from his post-breakfast nap and begins to whine to get out of the crate. Aida has been gaining weight at a steady, healthy pace since we started giving her “spa days” by herself, and is licking both bowls clean on a regular basis. Huzzah!

Meanwhile Roo’s food has been an adventure in itself, we recently upped him to 50 grams per meal (100 grams per day) because 45 grams per meal of rabbit made him whine obnoxiously from hunger for hours on end. We’ve also rotated, in the natural course of things, to duck for his food, and on the duck his coat has grown super-soft and extra-wavy. His ears and toes are also cleaner. So we’re thinking that the best thing to do is to eliminate the rabbit, which leaves Roo on a diet of chicken, turkey, pheasant, duck, and goose.

In dog news, it’s a struggle to get Sid to eat for some reason. He’s just not enthused about his food, and it worries me since he’s a growing boy. We’ve tried switching brands, garnishing the food with everything from water to an egg, feeding him in a crate, out of a crate, in a different crate, feeding him by hand. We’ve tried four different brands of food to date. Nothing reliably gets the boy to eat, and it drives me absolutely nuts.

11 February, 2011

Home Office Essentials

I worked from home yesterday. It’s important, when working from home, to set things up so that you can successfully concentrate on work. One of the important things for me is temperature, if its too hot or cold I can’t focus, if you have temperature problems in your home then I recommend chesapeake heating and cooling at https://eastwoodairlodi.com/ you will also find HVAC near Lodi services. It’s also important to have an “office” feel to your working area, to help you stay focused.

One important thing in any office is to have a supervisory presence to keep you on-task:
Roo, an orange and white Cornish Rex cat, peeks out from between the curtains in the door of a cat house.  Only his head is visible.  The cat house, made from felted wool, looks like a little house with siding and an appliqued pot of daisies on either side of the door.  His doting Grammy made it for him and it features actual insulation (the kind with a shiney metal layer to reflect heat) although that is not visible.

With over 18 years of experience in Heat Pumps industry, the training that is provided to our employees is cutting edge in technical and customer service!

Sometimes, one supervisor is not enough:
This time it is Aida, a seal-point Siamese cat, who has her head out the door of the cat house.  If you peer behind her, you can see Roo's face.

Of course, you also need a faithful assistant to fetch your coffee or tea, or at least to agree with you that all your ideas are totally brilliant:
Sid, a solid black 7 month old Shedder puppy, lays half on the dog bed under my desk and looks up at me with wide eyes and ginormous ears.  My pajama and robe-clad knees are visible at the bottom of the frame, because I dress professionally when I work at home, yo.

29 December, 2010

Cat Sports: Synchronized Sleeping

On the left, Aida (a seal-point Siamese) is curled into a ball but about three-quarters upright against the back of the recliner.  Next to her on the right, his head touching her butt, is Roo (an orange-and-white Cornish Rex) who is curled into exactly the same position.

Aida and Roo practice for the 2012 Summer Olympics. As you can see, they have their routine down pat, although Roo might get them docked a point for having his elbow on the outside of his knee when Aida has her knee tucked over her elbow.

8 December, 2010

More info on Juniper, World’s Most Laid-Back Kitten

Juniper went to the vet yesterday for his check up/initial vetting. I am pleased to say that he is FIV and FeLV negative, which clears him for a potential home with other cats! He is also now free of fleas and has been dewormed, as well as receiving his first FVCRP shot. He goes back on the 28th for the booster and we’ll schedule his neuter then, the vet felt that he was only 10 weeks old and thus too young to get his rabies vax or a quick neutering. He weighs about four pounds.

Thus cleared for interaction with the Usual Suspects, I brought him out to spend some time on the futon last night. He was Not Impressed with the dogs. In fact, faced with dogs he achieved such a phenomenal growl from his tiny frame that he established a three foot Canine Exclusion Zone around himself. My dogs are used to much larger cats than tiny Juniper, and were not about to poke their sensitive noses at a cat who was indicating so clearly that he would bite them off, even if he is tiny.

With cats he was much, much better. Roo sniffed him all over, established that he was not a snack, and then went about his business. Juniper did not react, except to politely touch noses. Aida jumped up, and they politely touched noses, and then she hissed in his face. He did not react. Aida was confused. They repeated everything, from nose-touch to hiss, and Juniper still didn’t react. Aida grumbled and went on her way. Emmaline took one look at him and said “Oh hell no I don’t do kittens” and retreated to watch him disapprovingly from the back of the Cat Chair. The only time Juniper showed any cat-oriented hostility was when Braxton Bragg snuck up behind him and patted his butt to see if he would do something interesting; that got a little growl that sent the dogs into whimpering panic.

Gentle reader, you have not lived until you have seen your 75 pound German Shedder and your 75 pound male Doberman reduced to whimpering and clinging to their Daddy because a 4 pound kitten growled, seriously.

Juniper will get more socialization time over the coming days, we’re hoping to work on the growling at dogs thing because, well, it’s too pathetic to see the dogs like that. But he’s doing quite well, and I think we’re on track to have him in a new home come January!

10 June, 2010

Early morning miracles

I know, I said I wouldn’t be around much. And in fact I am really tired, because once again Zillekins decided to have a barkfest around 0330. Except this morning instead of believing her insistence that she needed OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW, I got up and shut the bedroom door and went back to bed. As it turns out, she was lying to me, or at least there was no emergency so severe that it couldn’t wait for me to get up at 0430. My alarm was set for 0515, but unfortunately I had cats in the bedroom with me. Why didn’t I shut the cats out, you ask? To which I reply: HAHAHAHA you have never had cats, have you. At the first sign that I may be about to banish cats from the bedroom, one or more of them hide under the bed, just to make sure I can’t kick them out without going to more trouble than it’s worth. So at 0430 Roo started tapdancing on my head and screaming, and then lo and behold Aida joined in with her creepy Siamese Wail of Death, and I knew there was no way the little buggers would peacefully leave the room and let me sleep, so I got up and let the dogs out.

But that’s not what I came to tell you about today.

No, I came to tell you that at 0539 I stuck some oatmeal in the microwave for myself and then checked the front porch to see if Noodlehead and Emmaline were out there, and they were, so I grabbed a couple cans of food and some plates and went out to feed them. As usually Zille stuck her head out the door to have a sniff at these fascinating stranger catbeasts she has never met, which is a risky business when Noodlehead is around as Noodlehead has offered to kick her ass six ways from Sunday just for being large, hairy, and a dog, and also standing between Noodlehead and her desire to explore the inside of the house on her own terms.

But Zille stuck her head out regardless of terrorist threats from Noodlehead, and Emmaline was closer to the door anyway, and y’all should have seen it because Emmaline is about the size of Zille’s head, a really tiny kitty, and she stepped forward toward this big ol’ dog head and touched noses with Zille. There was caution but no fear, Emmaline trust me not to let the dogbeast get her, and apparently feels no need to kick anyone’s ass. It was the cutest thing I have seen in a long, long time.

30 April, 2010

Cat Maintenance, or If I Die In My Sleep, You’ll Know Why

It is a sad fact of pet ownership that sometimes you must do things to them in the name of their health that they find unpleasant. This includes, in my household, nail trims, baths, and ear cleaning. Unfortunately I’m the only one here to do them, so the Usual Suspects have learned that when I head toward them with a certain determined gleam in my eye, it’s time to scatter. You haven’t seen hilarious until you’ve seen two Dobermans and a German Shepherd trying to disappear into the futon.

The dogs are pretty easy. They give me sad reproachful looks while I carry on with routine maintenance, and when I’m done they claim they’ll hate me forever but two minutes later have forgotten all about it. The cats, though.

The cats.

Aida needs her nails trimmed periodically. I did it last night. This is a huge production because Aida also hates me. I’m not sure why, she’s lived with me since she was 12 weeks old and it’s not like I beat her. When guests come over she hovers around them, telling them lengthy stories of neglect and abuse. But if I want to get near her to, say, trim her nails because the time has come when she is sticking to the upholstery in the house every time she tries to move, I have to sneak up on her while she’s asleep and towel her. Then, under a stream of loud Siamese abuse and threats, I must carefully fish each individual glossy brown paw out of the towel ball, taking care to keep the other three scythe-tipped paws and also her teeth safely sequestered, and clip the nails.

You know what they say, right? If you’re going to grab a tiger by the tail, don’t let go. I’m here to tell you, gentle reader, that if you must wrap a Siamese cat in a towel and carefully trim all 18 of her pointy as hell claws, you had better find a way to be five miles away before she gets out of that towel. What’s even worse than the whole set the towel down veeery carefully at arm’s length and then back rapidly away in the hopes that I will be long gone before she escapes thing is the part where she stalks me afterward. For a preference, she hovers at the edge of any light, the better to have her eyes reflect the fires of hell. She’s doing it now, and the nail trimming was more than 24 hours ago. She will not be swayed by processed cheese slices, which she normally devours, or cooked hamburger, or even cooked hamburger with a processed cheese slice melted on it. Nope. Nothing less than my fresh blood will do.

Meanwhile, because I have a death wish, I have cleaned Roo’s ears. You might not expect that the fine hairs that grow in cat ears serve any useful purpose, unless you own a Cornish Rex cat like Roo who doesn’t have them. Then you realize that those hairs are actually blocking a LOT of dirt which you must now gently and painstakingly clean from the cat’s ears. Roo does not like this. While normally his ears are large enough to pick up Radio Free Europe and you can look straight down the canals and see his tiny little walnut-sized cat brain, when he sees the ear cleaner and the cottonballs come out, he somehow manages to origami his ears into something the approximate size of a spitwad. Then I must wrangle him into my lap, pin him down, carefully unfold each ear, which is a two-handed job right there, and then somehow manage to swab it out with a moistened cottonball before he can refold it and suck it back into his head. In the meantime, he protests by falling over and playing dead and occasionally viciously gumming me. He’d get toweled for this if he had any teeth, but since he doesn’t and I don’t come out of it bloody but rather covered in cat spit, he is unrestrained and I get the full effect of his hateful gaze. It’s something like this.

Which is nothing to the hateful gaze I get from him when it’s bath time, because occasionally he needs a scrub down, being (like some C-Rexen) prone to being a little oily and yeasty on occasion. Bathtime gets me first stared at angrily, then cursed inventively and loudly, and finally he comes for my face.[1] Still, ear-cleaning is not far behind baths on the List Of Things That Cause Roo to Plot Murder.

That’s two out of three cats plotting my death. I made a move toward Braxton earlier with the nail clippers and the towel and he laughed at me in a menacing fashion, so I’m leaving it for now. If I’m still on his good side, I just might survive the weekend.

[1] I JEST. HE WASN’T REALLY ABOUT TO TRY TO SUCK MY EYEBALL OUT, HE JUST WANTED TO ESCAPE THE BATH TUB SO HE COULD PLOT MY DEATH IN PEACE.

13 March, 2010

Mornings at the Manor

Feeding time is an exciting time as one might imagine. The Usual Suspects look forward to breakfast in particular with great relish. Monday through Friday, breakfast happens around 0500, before I get in the shower. Weekends, it happens whenever I can no longer stand to listen to Rooney Lee as he sits on the arm of my chair and whines:


Transcript of video and more post below the cut!
(more…)

7 March, 2010

A pile of puppies!

My friend C (Zille’s breeder!) came over yesterday, bringing with her a PILE OF PUPPIES. I am not kidding, check it:
A pile of 8 week old German Shedder puppies rests on a laminate floor.  Their right ears are green from recent tattooing.  There are four sables and two bicolors (black and tan), and this is seriously dangerous levels of cute, people.

That is the only puppy picture I am posting, as I do not wish to steal her puppy picture thunder. It is possible that she got pics with Tink in the same frame as puppies, but Tink was not about to hang out with puppies and play the auntie. She was relatively calm about puppies in the yard, although she did work herself up to frothing at the mouth, but she found puppies in the house unspeakably disturbing and was confined to the bedroom after she cornered one under my desk to bark at it. Beowulf was much the same, although rather than stare at puppies and froth at the mouth he nobly pretended that puppies did not exist, with random expressions of horror when they came galumphing toward him.

He did, however, flirt with Nike (who is 12ish and adorable), who came with, and Nike flirted back and was all “yeah, I still got it, the boydogs half my age want me!”

Anyway, puppy ears are green because part of the reason they came to visit (aside from the random socialization of visiting a strange place and new adult dogs who look radically different from the other adult dogs they have met) was to get their ears tattooed. So now the little boogers have things like “BORN TO FETCH” in their right ears for ID purposes[1]. And at this age they were over it within 3 seconds of getting it done. In fact, they all learned quite quickly that the puppy scream when the stamp was done meant that cookies would be forthcoming, so the mercenary little buggers were just WAITING for their siblings to cry out in pain. They’re so adorable.

The Feline Horde was mostly absent. Braxton took one look at puppies and disappeared himself. Aida made one foray towards the living room, saw them, and disappeared. Roo on the other hand hovered around the edges whining about being hungry and giving puppies really, really dirty looks. The black and tan girl with eyebrows was brave and confident and followed him around and even barked at him…as long as he wasn’t looking at her. The minute he gave her the Evil Eye, she would back off to a safe distance or the comfort of the puppy pile. It was six different kinds of hilarious.

[1] OK, I KID, THERE’S ACTUALLY SOME COMPLICATED CODE THERE. BUT MY VERSION IS WAY COOLER.

6 March, 2010

This is how my mornings go…

The scene: Manor house, 0245 on 3 March. All is calm, all is dark. I am asleep in the bedroom with Tink and the Feline Horde, who are also asleep.

Me: Zzzzzz.
Braxton: Zzzzzz.
Roo: *snrk* Zzzzzz *snrk* Zzzzzz (he was laying on his head funny)
Aida: I am too evil to snore. In fact, I am too evil to sleep.
Tink: ZZZZZZZzzZZZZzZZZzZZZ (she even sleeps dramatically)
Beowulf: DEFCON ONE DEFCON ONE ALIENS ARE AT THE DOOR ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT DEFCON ONE NOW SET GENERAL QUARTERS ALL HANDS MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS TRAVEL FORWARD AND UP TO STARBOARD DOWN AND AFT TO PORT GENERAL QUARTERS!!!!!!
Zille: MY GOD BEOWULF SAYS THIS IS REALLY SERIOUS AND THERE’S ALIENS OUT THERE HOLY SHIT EVERYBODY GET UP I DON’T KNOW WHERE MY GENERAL QUARTERS STATION IS ALIENS DID I MENTION ALIENS?
Tink: SOLIDARITE! UP, UP! ARISE MY MINIONS SOMETHING HORRIBLE IS HAPPENING OH GOD THE OTHER DOGS ARE BARKING AND I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT WE’RE BARKING AT!
Braxton: OMG NOISE AIE! *launches off my stomach*
Me: Zzz–OW HEY WTF NOISE?
Aida: I’m going to kill you all if you don’t shut up. I can kill you with my brain.
Roo: *snrk* Zzzzzzz *snrk* Zzzzzzz *snrk* Zzzzzzzz
Chorus of Dogs (with full orchestration): WILL YOU JOIN IN OUR CRUSADE WHO WILL BE STRONG AND STAND WITH US? BEYOND THE MANOR’S WALLS THERE IS A TRUCK AND WE’RE NON-PLUSSED!
Me: *staggers to living room window*
Me: Guys. That is a TOW TRUCK. No, I don’t know what it’s doing there but odds are quite good that you do not need to be barking at it like fools.
Chorus of Dogs (where did they find an orchestra at this hour?): DO YOU HEAR THE DOGGIES BARK? SOUNDING A VERY LOUD ALARM! WE ARE BRAVE AND LOYAL DOGGIES WHO SHALL SAVE YOU FROM ALL HARM!
Me: No, seriously, you don’t need to save me from the tow truck. It’s not even pointed at our *house*.
Tow Truck: *drives away*
Chorus of Dogs: SECURE FROM GENERAL QUARTERS. SEND THE ORCHESTRA HOME.
Chorus of Dogs: *collapses in various places as if unplugged and is asleep in mere moments*
Me: *staggers back to bed*
Roo: *snrk* zzzzz *snrk* zzzzzz *snrk* zzzzz–hey wha?
Me: How did you sleep through everything except me coming back to bed?
Roo: Shhh. Sneepin. *snrk* zzzzzz *snrk* zzzzzz