In My Next Life, I’m Coming Back as a Cat

Posted by Kathy on May 31st, 2016

Every morning when it’s about time to do my cardio video in the living room, it’s the same thing.

My cat Lucky waits for me in the center of the room.

I take this as my cue to put my sneakers on.

I load up my water bottle, move the ottoman out of the way, and prepare two couch blankets in a very specific fashion.

I take the first one and fold it length-wise, then lay it across the couch, smoothing out any wrinkles. Then I take the second blanket and fold that too. I drape it over the couch in a way that creates a tent.

I now have an A-frame house for Lucky, who knows now that he can move to the end table and sit there.


I begin the video.

For the first couple of minutes, Lucky does nothing but observe me, making sure I have good form and that I’m getting into a zone.

After that, he begins pawing at the edge of the top blanket to indicate that he’s now ready to enter his tented house.

There is plenty of room for him to just crawl through the side opening I have carefully created for him, but no. He paws at the blanket because he wants me to stop doing my cardio, go over and pick up the top blanket, pull it back, then wait for him to decide the time is right to enter.

This may take five seconds or it may take a full minute. Meanwhile, I’m losing precious cardio time. I coax him by saying “Come on, Lucky. Who’s a good boy? Lucky’s a good boy! Go on, go in!”

I encourage him as long as it takes, then he slowly makes his way through the tunnel to settle his warm little body into a nice blob under the center of the blanket. I return the top blanket to its position so as to recreate the tent, taut and well-constructed.

Here, he either makes a satisfying little noise or he says nothing.

Either way, I go back to doing the cardio. If this was a day where he said nothing going in, I go back over to the couch and poke him through the blanket until he makes the noise. I don’t know why I do this. I guess for the same reason Lucky has his routine. I have mine.

Halfway through my workout, I ask him how he’s doing – “Lucky! Is he a good boy? Yes! He’s a good boy!”

When I’m done with the video, I go back over and ask him if I did a good job today. He looks at me like he wants to answer. I like to think what he wants to say is “You did a great job, Mommy! And thank you for making my blanket tent a good one today. You’re the best Mommy! Yes, you are!”


I love this routine of ours. I like to make Lucky comfortable each morning because we don’t know how much longer we’ll have him. He’s getting up there in age. I love that he has to have a house tent made for him “just so.” I will do it for him forever and always.

So what do you do for your pets just to make them comfortable?

We Have Cats Because They’re Not Dogs. And Yet…

Posted by Kathy on October 25th, 2014

So I’ve never been a dog person. First, because I was attacked by a German shepherd as a child. That’ll turn you off dogs for good, lemme tell ya.

Second, because dogs eat stuff they shouldn’t, break stuff and need to be taken out for walks. I’m a very easily annoyed and lazy person, so there you go.

And yet, I appear to have a dog anyway. A new cat named Chloe, renamed Chewy.

Why renamed Chewy?

Because of this:

chewed HDMI cable

This is the HDMI cable from our upstairs TV that suddenly wouldn’t work. Took 45 minutes on the phone with a perplexed RCN tech support guy before I realized the cable had been chewed. Swapped out for another and bingo! TV works. Thanks, Chewy.

And this:

chewed bass cable

This is my husband Dave’s bass cable. He made the mistake of leaving it out of the case. It still works. For now.

And this:


No, she didn’t do all this damage, but she does have a weird habit during her morning feeding routine.

When I grab food out of the pantry, where the broom is stored, she’ll squeal a bit and then start gnawing on the bristles until I have the food plopped down on a plate.

Every morning. Pantry, squeal, gnaw, plop. Pantry, squeal, gnaw, plop.

And now she’s turned to breaking things. This morning when I was trying to sleep in late, which for me is 6AM, Chewy would have none of it.

When I didn’t get up at 4:45AM as she demanded, she pushed this large-ish lamp right off the bedside table.


Really? We’re deliberately shoving lamps off tables now? Who does that?

When the lamp landed, I heard some metal breakage and now it won’t turn on again. Well, it did for a moment, long enough to get a flash of light and then darkness.


She broke the lamp that we bought 22 years ago with our bedroom furniture. I know a lamp really can’t have sentimental value, but, dammit, we really liked it.

Well, I’m up now. So let’s go get you fed, jerk dog in cat’s clothing.

I suppose I owe you a picture of Chewy.  We have so few clear pictures of her because she’s such a spaz and won’t sit still for long. She’s hilarious, playful and weird and we love her to bits.

You know, when she’s not wrecking the place.


MOL. It’s Like LOL, Only Felinier

Posted by Kathy on October 17th, 2013

laughing catSo today I was remotely troubleshooting a client’s software problem when I happened to realize why her User ID reminds me of something.

A key part of her ID is “MOL” and I blurted out “OMG! You have MOL in your User Name!”

She’s like “What’s that?”

I’m all “It’s what Internet cats say in response to funny comments. You know, “Meow Out Loud.”


I explained further “All Internet cats use that. It’s hilarious because they’re not LOL-ing, they’re MOL-ing. Get it? So cute!”


I started to list all the famous Internet cats that I know who MOL to see if she recognized any.

She didn’t.

I immediately shut up about meowing out loud Internet cats and resumed working on her computer problem like a normal person.

But now I’m permanently that weirdo she has for tech support.


Maru Hires an Assistant Cat

Posted by Kathy on August 31st, 2013

Maru and HanaIf you follow celebrity cats on the Internet, you know about Maru, the Japanese round raccoon-faced cat who loves boxes.

Last week, Maru hired an Assistant Cat, Hana.

But first she had to make it through the interview:

Maru: So you want to be my Assistant Cat, do ya?

Hana: Every cat I know does!

Maru: Why do you want to be my assistant?

Hana: I want to be your assistant because you have your paws full with too much work and too many boxes for one cat.

Maru: This is true. Let’s talk about the boxes. Can you sit in boxes? Jump in them? Boxes that are too small for you, oddly-shaped, too tall or too thin?

Hana: Yes, I can handle all kinds of boxes. I fits where I sits.

Maru: Excellent. This position isn’t all about boxes, though. I’d like to discuss your media relations skills. On occasion you might be asked to appear on TV or go on press junkets with me. Have you done any commercials?

Hana: You mean like for insurance?

Maru: No. For cat things.

Hana: Oh,  yes. Well, sort of.

Maru: Sort of?

Hana: Yes, I was an extra once for a kitty litter commercial, but I didn’t make the final cut because I kicked litter out of the box. It was a mistake, I admit. I usually don’t do that. I assure you, I am fastidious in The Box and mindful to cover completely.

Maru: Good, because you have to be very clean at all times. No hairballs, no fur in the food, and certainly no stinky things left outside The Box, understood?

Hana: Yes.

HanaMaru: I want to talk about your education. It says here on your resume you studied at NY Mew and majored in Napping and Playing, and minored in Personal Grooming. Tell me about the programs.

Hana: Well, Napping and Playing is a rigorous program. You would think Napping would be a cake walk, but not true. We often had in-class lab work where we had to nap the whole period. Proctors would come around and poke us, but we were instructed never to stir.

And for our course assignments, we had to nap some more. And when we finished napping, we had to nap again. It was harder than it sounds because sometimes you don’t want to nap. Sometimes you want to play with milk jug caps, but you’re not allowed. You have to keep sleeping.

Maru: How did you cope with the stress of all that napping?

Hana: I played after class for like ten minutes, really hard. And then I could nap again. Sometimes for seven hours straight. You find a way, you know?

Maru: What were your Playing courses like?

Hana: Well, our classes were pretty standard. String, chasing the red dot, cat nip mousie. That sort of thing. I aced all those courses. But I like to think I’ve advanced beyond regular play.

Maru: How so?

Hana: Well, for my Independent Research Project, I demonstrated that it’s possible to run down the stairs at the feet of your owner and not make them fall and break a leg. My research showed that nipping at heels can still be fun if you simply remain behind the subject at all times.

All the current literature shows that most cats insist on getting in front of the subjects, which causes a hazard and leads to injury. My research is currently under review for publication in the International Journal of Feline Leisure and Play.

Maru: I’m very impressed with your scholarly work. Now tell me about your Personal Grooming program.

Hana: Personal Grooming was all about presentation. We were graded on technique, duration and percent of cleanliness. I excelled at technique, if I may say so. Paw-to-face cleaning is my specialty.

Maru: What were your exams like?

Hana: Most of them involved the purrfessor mussing up our fur and then we’d have to spend the entire class period grooming ourselves back to normal. One of my classmates failed a course because he kept leaving a mohawk on his head. For some cats, it’s very difficult to groom that area.

Maru: True, true. Now I’d like to ask you some behavioral questions. Can you give an example of how you used logic to solve a problem?

Hana: Yes. Many times my food bowl gets empty. Well, not quite empty. You still have plenty of food, but you can see the bottom of the bowl. You know and I know this is unacceptable. I realized if you dump the entire bowl over, the mom will come around and clean it up and refill the bowl to a heaping mound. This tactic has never failed me.

Maru: Fantastic. Did you ever postpone making a decision and why?

Hana: Yes, many times I think I want to get up off the couch, stretch, yawn and walk in a circle a bit. But then I decide to instead just roll over and sleep longer. Then I get up later and do it. Waiting longer ensures I have met my daily requirement of doing absolutely nothing for hours at a time.

Maru: OK, so I’m feeling pretty good about your qualifications, Hana. If I give you this job, the pay rate is one blankie, full meals with occasional treats, twelve assorted toys, plus a signing bonus of one medium-sized box. Do you think you have what it takes to be my assistant?

Hana: I do! I do! Can I start right away?

Maru: You may. Welcome to the family!

Maru and Hana 2

* Photos courtesy Maru.


Posted by Kathy on April 26th, 2013

Really? There’s not one other place my cat can sit?

Not on a couch.

Not on a chair.

Not on a bed.

Not over there.

Not in a window.

Not on the floor.

Not on the pillow.

Not by the door.

So many choices.

What in the hell.

Of all the places.

He picks my Dell.


So As Not To Squish a Cat

Posted by Kathy on July 23rd, 2012

This is what it’s come to:


This is a Post-It note, stuck to a blanket on our couch.

It’s there to warn descending buttocks that a cat is sleeping under it.

Our cat Lucky is one of the strangest cats I’ve owned. Since Day 1 of living in our house, he’s always slept under blankets.

Even when it’s hot in the house. I don’t understand how the boy can breathe under there.

This oddity, I will admit, is a bit annoying at times. Whenever he sees you lying down anywhere under a blanket, he must get under there too.

He’ll grab and stab at the blanket until someone lifts it and he can burrow slowly into his cocoon.

Most bothersome is when he does this after I’ve already burritto’d myself up to my neck in a perfect assembly of blankets. Then I have to partially unburrito myself and wait until he’s circled around and found the perfect spot on top of my legs.

Then you know you’re never getting up unless you move the sleeping blob, blankets and all.

Then if you want to get back under, good luck slipping your body back under the new assemblage, now with a cat in it.

A cat who won’t hesitate to let you know how annoyed he is that you’ve upset his 18th hour of beauty sleep today. Because, you know, it’s all about him.

What we do for our pets.


So, where do your weirdo pets like to sleep?

How an Angry Cat Makes Demands

Posted by Kathy on April 29th, 2012

TP destroyed by catDear Homeowner and Servant,

I wish to inform you that the new food you’ve been serving me is not at all to my liking.

Yes, I know the [claw air quote] vet [claw air quote] said you should feed me that nasty wet venison and dry food so I have better poops.

But you see, I’m not really fond of either selection.

Therefore, this is what you can expect to find in the morning, afternoon and evening. The ones you found on Monday and Wednesday were just the beginning.

Nice trick bringing one downstairs for you to find, eh?

Whatever roll you leave out gets the treatment. I have all day to work on it. And my claws and teeth go deep. Just sayin’.

Please refrain from all attempts to encourage me to eat this new food. I know what it is. You know what it is.

I miss my old stuff.

Yes, I understand you are very happy with the state of my poop situation with this new diet, but you would be wise to give into my demands, lest you find more than toilet paper destroyed.

You have a whole walk-in closet full of clothing I haven’t even touched yet.


The Cat

How a Cat Gets the Last Word

Posted by Kathy on April 8th, 2012

Meet Shadow.


Shadow has a habit of pooping when she rides in a car.

Every. Single. Time. It’s all we’ve ever known.

In fact, the day my husband and I picked her up from her foster mom, she dropped a bomb a mile out.

We had 20 more miles to go.

At some point we pulled over so I could clean her up a little and toss the smelly offense.

Dogs may like sticking their heads out the window doing 65, but that’s not a good look for humans.

Wednesday she had to go to the vet.

I explained to Shadow that we were going to try a new thing.

We were going to diaper her so that she doesn’t mess in the carrier and so we don’t have to choke to death when she poops.

Shadow said “Sure, silly woman. You can give it a whirl, but I wouldn’t count on anything.”

She miraculously allowed me to slip her tail through a hole in the diaper, wrap it around her butt and tape it at her belly.

Feeling all smug about how easy it was, I placed her in the carrier and off we went.

cat in diaper

Things went well for the first three of four miles, save for her relentless I’m in a car, in a diaper and you’ll pay for this meowing.

And then.

And then we smelled it.

She pooped. Like clockwork, at mile four.

Huh. I wonder why we can smell it so much. Shouldn’t it all be contained in the diaper? Or most of it?

We get to the vet’s office and soon discover that Shadow was right. We shouldn’t have expected this to work.

Because at some point she must have busted out of her diaper and pooped all over herself anyway.

And that’s how a cat lets you know diapers are for babies and pet parents may be well-intentioned, but they are also quite stupid.

Kitty Defensive Tackles

Posted by Kathy on October 29th, 2011

It occurs to me that even though I don’t know much about football, my cats have been studying up.

In particular, both have become exceptionally good defensive tackles when I try to play Facebook Bejeweled.

Defensive tackles play at the center of the defensive line. Their function is to rush the passer and stop running plays directly in the middle of the line of scrimmage.

The line of scrimmage is the six inches between me and my laptop.

To wit:

Shadow line of scrimmage

This method of blocking is very effective, since this large, hairy tackle does not move once the play begins.

She sits there like a rock while the quarterback tries unsuccessfully to click around her body. The QB’s attempts to match falling gems fail miserably until or unless she actually lifts the tackle off the table and places her on the floor.


The other defensive tackle in this household uses a different strategy, known simply as the tail wag.

Tail Wag

This technique sends tail and fur directly into the nose, and sometimes mouth, of the quarterback. The Play of Unmerciful Tickling causes the quarterback to either sneeze or spend the next five minutes in a futile attempt to remove that one hair that’s been bothering her.

It is not necessary for this tackle’s butt to block the entire line of scrimmage, as the tail’s whipping action is plenty effective.

In addition, both tackles have learned the art of the head butt and purring while play is underway. The quarterback has no choice but to abort the game due to obsessive cuteness.

So tell me, how many four-legged defensive tackles do you have? Got any good strategies that work for you?

Or do you just punt?

How to Change the Color of a Whirlpool Dishwasher

Posted by Kathy on April 2nd, 2011

I’m so awesome, I can’t stand it.

Today I saw a home improvement show where the home owner changed a white dishwasher into a black one (without paint) to match the rest of the appliances in her kitchen. I never knew that was possible.

I set out to do the same, since we have a black stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and toaster.

Here’s the before:

Dishwasher white 

Here’s how I did it:

Note: You may want to disconnect power first. I did not, but I was also careful not to touch any wires (You won’t have to for the procedure.)

1. Remove any screws that secure the access panel below the dishwasher door.

2. Release the access panel and remove the retainer strip (if you have one) that holds the door panel on.

Dishwasher panel

3. Slip out the flexible white panel and peek behind it to see if the reverse side is black.

4. Mine was (!!!), so I pulled out the panel (it’ll bow), flip it over and slide it up back in place. Smooth out any puckers.

5. Slide the retainer strip back on to secure the panel.

6. Put the screws back in the access panel. This was the only hiccup I had. One of the screw holes was located in a tight space above and behind the access panel.

We don’t have one of those magnetic screwdrivers that holds screws in place until you get it in the hole.

What did I use to hold the screw on the end of the screwdriver?

Chewed gum.

Again. Awesome. Me.

Now not only does our dishwasher match our appliances, but our cat Shadow thinks the “new” dishwasher goes so much better with her fur.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Dishwasher black

Fear Not the Neti Pot

Posted by Kathy on December 29th, 2010

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, but I’ll play one on the blog today.

If you have sinus problems and prefer a non-pharmaceutical treatment, go get yourself a neti pot.

Neti_pot A neti pot is a container that looks like a cross between a small tea pot and Aladdin’s lamp. It’s used to irrigate your nasal passageway and relieve sinus congestion or allergy symptoms.

It’s also used to make you look more ridiculous than you ever thought possible.

You fill it with warm water, add non-iodized salt and then place the spout into one nostril, tilt your head and run the water out the other.


If you do it right, it’s not uncomfortable, just oddly, weirdly, bizarrely strange. If you do it wrong, you’ll feel like you’re drowning. I strongly suggest you do it right.

Why the neti pot?

I have not been able to breathe clearly from my right nostril for years. What’s worse is that I also suffer intense pain in my ears when I lie down, more so on my right side. I’ve discussed the ear thing with three different doctors and they are intrigued, yet stumped as to the cause.

While researching the ear pain issue on my own, I came across a forum where someone suggested a neti pot as a possible solution. Because I take advice from total strangers on the Internet, I thought perhaps if I relieved the congestion in my right nostril, it might also alleviate some pain in my ear(s), assuming the two issues are related. Isn’t that a good doctory assumption? I should know. Because I’m a doctor.

I prepared the pot and got right to it. I. Was. FEARLESS! I was also alone and not in front of a mirror. No one, including me, needed to see a drainage of the Kathy Canal.

The clearing effect to my nostrils was immediate and lasted a good while. I breathed equally well out of each side for the first time in probably a decade.

What remains to be seen is whether regularly-administered neti pot action will do anything for my ears.

More about that ear pain

Whenever I lie down, pressure builds up and it feels like someone jammed a knife directly into my ear and left it there. The pain varies. It can be sharp, burning hot, dull or throbbing. I’ve described the pain to my doctors as simply “My head’s on fire.”


I’ve also said that if I had this kind of pain while awake and walkin’ around, I would be on disability. It would easily incapacitate me if I felt that measure of pain 24/7.

The reason I can tolerate it is because I’m mostly sleeping through the pain. It often wakes me up, but then I flip over to the other side to relieve pressure and pain in the ear. When the other ear hurts and wakes me, I flip back. I do that probably a dozen times a night.

Again, fun.

If the neti pot doesn’t help with my ears, at least I’m seeing results with my plugged-up nose. So it’s at least a partial win.

Oh, and some of you remember I said on Facebook that I might videotape myself using the neti pot.

For. Get. It.

Imagine filming yourself doing this and you will understand why I changed my mind.

Robot Lady Using a Neti Pot

So have you ever used a neti pot? Are you like some friends of mine who bought one, but are too afraid to try it? If you love your neti pot, share your success story!

Shadow in sink UPDATE: I just discovered that I can’t use my neti pot over the kitchen sink, where I find it more convenient.

My cat Shadow thinks my nose is a faucet. Because she loves to drink water right from the tap, she tried doing the same out of my nose.

I know. Gross. And annoying. Thanks, Shadow. ‘ppreciate it.

The Stinky Weight Loss Plan

Posted by Kathy on September 5th, 2010

So how much weight have you gained since blogging?

Me? A whopping 30 pounds and I’m tired of walking around with all that extra tonnage. So what am I doing to lose?

  • Walking two miles most weekdays and eight on weekends.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, with fruit for snacks.
  • Having a very light dinner.
  • Eliminating the Frisbee-sized iced cinnamon bun I used to have twice a week. OK, make that three times.

I’ve had good success during the first month. And rather than mark my weight loss milestones by a straight number of pounds, I’ve decided to mark them by the number of Stinkys I’ve lost. Stinky, my beautiful, sweet kitty, weighs 5.2 pounds.

My progress so far:

image                        image   

Weeks 1-2 Weeks 3-4


Every time I lose a Stinky, an angel gets its wings. Wish me luck. I’ve got four more to go!

And to the guy who asked me last week if I was losing weight, you have no idea how close I got to jumping in your lap and giving you a big sloppy kiss. Thank you!

The Thing I Swore I’d Never Tell Anyone

Posted by Kathy on July 12th, 2010

calvininabag This is my dearly departed cat, Calvin. RIP, buddy.

Calvin was really a dog in cat’s clothing. He would rather be outside, terrorizing birds, squirrels and anything else that dared come into the yard, than sit on my lap getting nice chin skritches. My husband Dave would put him on a leash and take him for walks like you would a dog. He practically barked.

Calvin would also rather take off a few fingers than allow you to pet him on the head like you can do easily with most cats. I don’t know how or why he got so angry, but towards the end of his life, I stopped trying to touch him.

He was the Hannibal Lector of the cat world. In fact, whenever he went to the vet, they had to muzzle him. That requirement came after the time he bit straight through the rubber glove of a vet’s assistant and made the guy bleed. A big, red warning note was stamped on the top of his medical chart.

We were told the next step would be to medicate him before he was allowed back for any kind of visit. It was that or he would be blacklisted.

By then, I’d been fed up with many of his behaviors, not the least of which was him peeing on the carpets in almost every room of our house. I spent many a Saturday shampooing and disinfecting the rugs.

Were we lousy cat parents? No. Calvin was just one bad ass cat who showed his general displeasure by spraying everywhere.

But it’s not like we didn’t try to make him a happy, normal cat. We did.


We took him to a cat therapist.

That’s right.

We plunked down $75/hour to have a cat shrink tell us what we could do to make Calvin the sweet ‘ol cat he was supposed to be.

We knew how insane the idea was, but we did it anyway out of desperation.

Of course, we laughed to ourselves the entire time we sat in the therapist’s office, realizing how ludicrous it was to spend that kind of money trying to straighten out the plum-sized brain of an animal who couldn’t understand English, much less what brought him to see a doctor who studied at a real school and knew the difference between all the classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

So, yeah. The visit.

We brought him into the office in his carrier and the nice doctor talked to us about Calvin’s bad behaviors for a while. Then she said she would try to coax him out of his carrier and “get him comfortable.”

She opened the carrier door, stuck her hand inside the hole and he bit her. Duh.

That ended the hands-on portion of the program.

She talked more about what we could do to enhance his calm and then the kitty equivalent of Prozac came up. Prozac. For cats. Um. No.

Since I was mostly concerned with his spraying the inside of my house instead of using his litter box, she said “Oh, that’s an easy fix. Put out more boxes. One in every room.”

Now you’re talkin’, sister!

I wouldn’t have thought it would work, but she was absolutely right. Multiple boxes all but put an end to Calvin’s spraying and I could reclaim my weekends as my own again. No more rug shampooing.

Was the kitty shrink a success? Not really. Calvin remained an ornery bastard until the day he died. I’d venture to say he might have been happier that way. Cranky was his thing.

If you ever took your pet to a shrink, I would love to hear how your experience went.

No? Then at least you’ll have a story to tell your friends. You now know someone who actually did and admitted it.

Behind Closed Doors

Posted by Kathy on June 27th, 2010

patio door Yesterday my husband and I attended a birthday party for my brother-in-law. I was disappointed to find out from other guests that I missed the part of the show where my husband tried to walk through a patio door without first making sure it was, like, open. Smooth move, Dave.

Though he’s not so great with walking through glass, he does have a knack for screen doors.

The year: 1992

The place: Our townhouse

The event: Escaped cat

One morning before work, I had enough time to let one of our cats out into the backyard, which overlooked a wooded area and a small creek. I put Calvin in his harness and tied the leash to a fence.

From the breakfast nook I could keep an eye on him, but when I had my back turned for a split second, he managed to wriggle his way out of the harness and escape to God knows where.

Not prone to too much panic, as this had happened before, I grabbed a can of cat food and went outside to open it up in the hopes that Calvin would hear a familiar yummy sound and come running back from wherever he ventured off.

He didn’t.

I began calling his name, pleading more desperately with each shout.

Still nothing.

I ran inside for a jingle bell toy he liked and returned outside to ring it in an annoyed, I-mean-business kind of way.

Time ticked with no response.

Looking over the bank, down to the creek, I saw something orange and white moving about the brush. It’s him! Good that I found him, bad to see how inaccessible he was. The hill dropped at a 45 degree angle.

Now I panicked.

So what’s a girl to do? I ran back to the house and yelled through the screen door “Dave!!! Calvin’s in the woods!!! I can’t get him!!!”

A formerly-sleeping Dave bolted out of bed, stumbled downstairs and shot through the door to begin search and rescue.

And by “through the door,” I mean through the door.

Like a gorilla in the mist, my beast of a husband took out the entire screen door, right off the tracks.

Huh. That’s sort of unfortunate.

Without skipping a beat, he handed me the door, said simply “Here. Hold this,” and went off to retrieve Calvin.

And so there I stood, regretting having turned a peaceful morning into a three-ring circus, holding an ineffective jingle bell toy and a giant, slightly-bent patio door that would never again close properly.


For Your Outdoor-Loving Kitties

Posted by Kathy on June 7th, 2010

Last week my husband Dave and I received the outdoor pet tent I ordered from Amazon. We wanted one because our cat Lucky is always jonesing to go outside, but he can’t be trusted to stay put, nor did we want to struggle putting a harness on him.

The Outdoor Feline Funhouse is perfect and I highly recommend!

Lucky in Tent

Lucky enjoys feeling a breeze, sniffing the fresh air, watching birds and rabbits in the yard and rolling around inside of it.

I even trained him to go right into it when I open the patio door. I just tell him “Come on” and he slips right in. There are two panels, one on the long end, one on the short, secured with easy to open and close zippers.

Lucky is clawed, but he doesn’t bother scratching at the mesh, so we don’t have any problems there.

When he’s done enjoying the outside, he meows to go inside to take his eleventh nap of the day.

The tent is great, except for one thing.

It’s lightweight.

Really lightweight.

Dave and I left the house to run errands yesterday, pulled out of the garage and started down the street.

Before I noticed, Dave said “I wonder who that belongs to.”

Who what belongs to?”


Tent in street

Four houses down, smack dab in the middle of the street, sat our new mesh tent. (Of course I took a picture, you silly goose. I’m a professional.)

The tent got up off the patio, hung a right, tumbled past the neighbor’s house, across the front lawn and then down the street.

Luckily it folds up quickly and I could stash it in the trunk of the car. We hightailed it outta there like we just robbed a bank. I felt oddly embarrassed that our tent ran away. Was anyone watching?

Anyway, we know now we have to fill bags with sand to anchor the tent. The bags the tent came with. The bags that the directions say you should use because the tent is lightweight. The directions I never read unless you have a gun to my head.

A Very Expensive Cat Chair

Posted by Kathy on April 28th, 2010

This month marks my 25th anniversary working at a local university.

Before y’all gasp and pity me for working at one place so long, I haven’t worked in the same job all that time. I’ve held several different positions in two vastly different departments, so it hasn’t been boring and I haven’t gotten stale.

Last week I was notified by the HR department that, as a gift for my years of service, I may choose between two kinds of $425 hand-crafted solid maple chairs.

Boston Rocker

Captains Chair

Not a bad deal. They are very nice chairs, except I know deep down I will never sit in them because I’m not 93 years old.

Obviously, I would have to make a decision based on the seating preferences of someone else in my house:


Meet Shadow.

Her first favorite spot to sit is in the kitchen sink.

Her second favorite spot to sit is on a junky chair we keep in the dining room.

Shadow, my dear, you just got an upgrade.

I decided to go with the second chair since the rocker will probably slide on the floor every time she jumps on it and bang against the wall as a result of her girth.

The stationary chair will serve her well.

Of course, something tells me she’d be happier sleeping in a $2 hand-crafted cardboard box.

Too bad. She’ll just have to suffer in luxury.

Remember That Crazy Cat Lady Thing?

Posted by Kathy on March 3rd, 2010

Lucky Do you remember the other day when I found out I’m that crazy lady who talks to herself and that I’m thisclose to being a crazy cat lady, too?

Well, we’re there.

I took my cat Lucky to the vet yesterday for dental work.

When I arrived at the office, I checked him in, along with three other people who brought pets in for some kind of surgery.

After I finished filling out paperwork, I delivered my cat to the receptionist who said “We’ll take him from here.”

Being the worrying type, I suddenly got a thought in my head that maybe with all the other cats there for surgery, the vet might mistake my cat for another and do the wrong procedure on him.

And then I didn’t want to give up my cat.

What if they do a microchip implantation? I didn’t ask for that!

What if they declaw him? No, no, no!

What if they try to remove a gall stone? He doesn’t have any!

And what if they think he’s in for what the poodle came for? I’m pretty sure Fluffy McFluffster was in for a botox treatment.

So I asked the assistant “How will you know what he’s here for? How will I know you’re working on the right cat?”

She assured me that he’d get an ID wrist band just like people get in a hospital and walked further back to the prep room.

I said “So you’ll put it on him?”

“Yes.” She kept walking.

“Like, you’ll put it on him right now?”

Her walking, walking, me following, following.


Hey! Did she just roll her eyes at me?

“You will? Promise?”

[blink blink]

Mrs. Frederick, I can guarantee you Lucky will get the right treatment.”

And then I left, happy in the knowledge that Lucky would have his teeth cleaned and cared for and I wouldn’t be picking up a clawless, plump-lipped cat with an incision for a gall stone that never existed.

He did come home with one less tooth, though. Sorry, dude. I could save you from the wrong surgery, but I couldn’t save you from this.


What Was That Crazy Contraption?

Posted by Kathy on December 30th, 2009

We have a winner! Surfie guessed correctly that yesterday’s What’s That object was a bunion stretcher, used to stretch points in a shoe to allow more room for bunions if you’re so afflicted.

Business end

Surfie gets a Junk Drawer magnet and a mystery prize involving eyeballs. Surfie, if the package is leaking when you get it, don’t open it. Just kidding. Maybe.

In other news….

I’ve been enjoying a leisurely vacation from work this week. Leisurely up until the point when I had to take my cat to the vet. He’s been sneezing for two days.

Ever try to load an angry cat into a carrier? Yeah. I was all prettied up and ready to leave the house when the time came to introduce Lucky to his mode of transportation.

I quickly found myself in a fit of aerobic activity over what should have been a cinch. He always went into the carrier easily before. Today he challenged me to a duel.

I tried head first, then butt first, then any way I could first.  The boy was having none of it. Ultimately, I had to unscrew eight connectors on the carrier lid, which is tedious, and place him inside that way.

I later learned it’s best to go butt first, holding the cat by the scruff of the neck with one hand, then holding said butt while securing the hind legs between the fingers of your other hand. Next, lower the cat into the carrier that’s been placed on its short end, or at least on a diagonal. Got it? Sounds so easy on paper.

My recommendation? Bundle up in your thickest clothing, cover all your skin, wear a ski mask if you must. Or pay someone else to do it. And throw in a box of Band-aids.

p.s. Lucky is fine, but I’m wondering about my vet. She suggested to me, in all seriousness, that my cat could have caught something from my husband who is sick this week. She said if he has the flu (he doesn’t) Lucky could have picked it up from him. Do I have to check my vet’s credentials or has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Daisy, you’re a cat. Can you confirm?

Any Chicago Area Cat People in the House?

Posted by Kathy on December 5th, 2009

kitties I’m helping a friend out by trying to find a Forever Home for two adorable cats in the Chicago area. Rather than repeat the information about them here, I’m going to send you over to JD at I Do Things, who is on the hunt.

There is a HUGE incentive, besides getting to be a fabulous human being who can save kitties from a shelter.

The owner is offering a full year’s worth of kitty litter and food for the cats, PLUS a cash incentive.

Please help us by getting the word out: Stumble, Tweet, or Facebook this (or JD’s post).



A final thank you for all the good wishes and button-pushing and retweeting.


Kitty OCD

Posted by Kathy on November 14th, 2009

Meet Shadow. She’s a sweetheart, but she’s got a problem.

She only wants to drink water directly from the faucet.


Since she developed this little habit, it’s become near impossible to function in the kitchen.

Whenever my husband or I walks into the kitchen, she follows.

Whenever we’re washing our hands or rinsing a dish, she’s there.

Whenever she hears the garage door open, she’s on the counter. Waiting.

At 5:00AM, like clockwork, she’s nudging us out of bed. When I get up, she runs downstairs to sit in the sink.

I oblige her. Again.

We figured it’d be easy to break her of the habit if we never turned the water on for her. Or so we thought.

All that does is make her smash her face, over and over, into the spigot and give us that wanting look. And so we give in. She once got an eye infection, we assume because of this smashing behavior. The tip of the faucet can’t be that clean.

I know they make pet water dishes that produce a steady stream of water, but we don’t think that’ll be good enough for her. When she does decide to drink from a bowl, she pushes it all over the floor and dumps half of it.

Must go. I feel eyes burning a hole through the back of my head. She’s in the sink again.

So let’s hear it. In what ways do your pets rule your household?

A Gross Question for Dog Owners

Posted by Kathy on March 15th, 2009

dog_on_leash One of the reasons I admire cats is their fastidious nature, especially with their bathroom habits. I love that my cats feel the need to bury their business.

It means I don’t have to see it au natural. A deposit covered in kitty litter is infinitely more tolerable to clean up than one that isn’t.

Which is why I was monumentally grossed out when one of my cats came running up from the basement and flung from his butt a large deposit that hadn’t detached itself at the litter box. Right there in the living room. Thanks, buddy.

He looked at me. I looked at it. Both of us ran away in horror.

I immediately went to the sink, wet some paper towels and, when I picked it up, almost vomited. In my hurry to get rid of the offense, I forgot that the deposit would be piping hot.

Now. Dog owners. Here’s the question. If you take your dog for a walk and you have pooper scooper laws where you live, how do you collect and carry away your dog’s business?

I’ve very serious. I want to know how you do doggie doo duty. Do you use a special glove? Do you use a plastic bag, grab it from the inside, then turn it inside out and knot it? I mean, plastic bags are thin. Don’t you want to vomit? Do you wait for the deposit to cool off before picking it up?

This whole process of having to clean up after a dog like that blows my mind. I once saw a guy dressed in a business suit, walking his dog before work. He held a cup of coffee in his left hand and a bag of poo in his right. I wouldn’t do it myself, but man, I admire anyone who can.


A Reminder from Stinky

Posted by Kathy on November 21st, 2008


Stinky doesn’t want you to forget about the chance to win cool prizes. And I want to make sure you know it’s possible we’ll reach the magic number this weekend. Please don’t miss the window of opportunity.

Cancel your life for a while if you have to. Just be there at #9,999!

UPDATE: I removed the counter since we’re getting so close. The removal of the counter ensures that no one will really know when we hit 10,000 and we can keep the winning comment truly random.

***** The Winner’s Circle *****

The latest winners of the Random Comment Picked-by-My-Husband Contest are:

From the last post, comment #42, Karen of A Strange Life Revisited.

From the post before, comment #84, Gandalf and Grayson.

Congratulations on winning a Junk Drawer magnet! I’ll be in touch with both of you shortly.


One final thing, I’m tired of hanging out in the basement of, so if you click this link and smiley me, it might get me up to the first floor where all the cool kids hang out.

Honey, Think Smaller Next Time

Posted by Kathy on November 12th, 2008

Here is a flower arrangement that my husband sent me to work on our wedding anniversary last week.

It’s a lot like another one he sent me that had thin branches jutting out of it, one of which almost took out an eye when I got too close.

I do not know how or if I’ll get it in my car to bring it home.

When I’m working at my desk, its appendages seem to move in my peripheral vision and it scares me.

It’s near impossible to water because it’s jam-packed at the vase neck. And the cat’s in the way.

And while we’re on the cat, I swear its eyes follow me around my cube.

If I’m not mistaken, a flower arrangement is supposed to make me happy, not freak me out.

A little smaller next time, dear. And not so horror movie. I promise I’ll appreciate the gesture just as much.


I’m pretty sure it can strangle me when I’m not looking.

Monday Mishmash

Posted by Kathy on November 3rd, 2008

scribbles What’s on Kathy’s mind today?

To my best good friend, Tracey, who threw her back out lifting an object she could have thrown over her head twenty years ago, I’m sorry for your injury, but you’re old now. Welcome to the club.

To the guy who called me today and left his phone number at lightning speed, I didn’t get it. I had to listen to your message three times because you sounded like you had a mouth full of marbles. If you’re leaving me your number, it’s because you know I don’t have it. Slow the hell down.

To my colleague, Heather. Thank you for making a pot of coffee every day before I come into the office. You don’t even drink coffee. You’re good people.

To my cat, Lucky, who insists on burrowing under a blanket on the couch for whatever reason. I do not know you are there. Learn how to make a warning noise or you shall require a visit to the vet to get unflattened. And I’m not so sure they have a procedure for that.

To my other cat, Stinky, who just walked across my laptop keyboard, you know that screws me up, right?

To daylight savings time, you suck. I feel like changing into my pajamas before I even leave work.

To whoever thought of putting bread in a thin bag and then thought to put it in another bag, that’s just stupid. Trust us. It goes stale as fast in two bags as it does in one. One is less annoying.

To that guy who darted unsafely in and out of my lane this morning, it gave me great pleasure to time my speed such that you never got back into the lane and then missed the exit you wanted so bad. Me, 1. Jerks, 0.

And there you have it. Anything on your mind today? The more random, the better.

Think Hugh Hefner Would Be Interested?

Posted by Kathy on October 13th, 2008

I’m terribly sorry for this post. If I lose some readers over it, I’m prepared to pay that price. But when I saw the deposit one of my cats left in the litter box, I couldn’t resist.

I swear on a stack of Bibles, this picture was not doctored. If it grosses you out, just imagine for now that it was made with water.

Whoever left it there is incredibly gifted. I mean, seriously. All it’s missing is the bow tie. I’m trying to figure out which cat made this masterpiece so I can enter him or her in some kind of contest.



Playboy Bunny Pee in a Box

This is Not a Cat Blog, but …

Posted by Kathy on September 10th, 2008

Yeah. So since I let my sister guest post yesterday, my three cats wanted to get into the act. I’m sensing a little attitude.



Dear Bigfoot — When you try to pet my head with your disgusting foot, do you not think for a moment that I won’t bite your freak, ugly toes? You have it coming. And p.s.? I wouldn’t show those things in public.



Dear Gigantic Person — I’m black. All black. You can’t see me at night, but you know where I lay down on the bedroom floor. Why must you always step on me when you get up to go to the bathroom? I’m pretty sure you can crush me. Load.



Dear Peon — If you fail to bring me breakfast in bed one more day this week, you’re going to find a gift on your pillow. I poop outside, you know. I can poop anywhere.

And thus concludes the first and last guest post from my ungrateful cats. They shan’t be getting their own blogs anytime soon.

But if you want to read the most outstanding blog written with paws and claws, head on over to see Daisy the Curly Cat.

Those of us who leave comments for Daisy, as if we are actually talking to Daisy, have decided it doesn’t make us too mental. Embrace it.

Clean Up in Cubicle 4

Posted by Kathy on May 25th, 2008

Anyone who works in an office environment comes to expect certain things:

1. Staff will always be a little slow-moving on Monday mornings.

2. Meetings will always run later than expected.

3. No one ever wants to make the next pot of coffee.

4. The copy machine needs paper the second you’re about to use it.

5. Staff don’t clean the kitty litter box often enough, which is a shame because everyone knows cats will go anywhere they please when it’s not kept spotless.

is that what I think it is

Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.

My sister Marlene works at what I thought was a cat-free, poo-free insurance company. When she sent it to me, the first thing I wrote her was “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.”

She reported back, “We found it in our office this morning. No one knows how it got there.”

I replied, “Who disposed of it, and more importantly, can I blog about it?”

Marlene replied, “One of the guys picked it up and Gina sprayed Bath & Body Wash on the spot, but we have no Lysol….Yes, you can blog about it, in fact, the lunch bunch said you would have a field day with this….”

She and her colleagues have two theories:

1. A cat or other animal got in somehow – maybe Louie – he’s a cat that roams outside. Somebody in one of the buildings of our industrial park feeds him, but he’s allowed to roam.

2. The cleaning people brought their pet.

My money’s on Louie. All I’m gonna say is they should be real happy that Louie left his calling card in an obvious, open space. Otherwise, I’d hate to be the poor soul who sits down at his desk Monday morning, bleary-eyed from the weekend, only to find a fresh Tootsie Roll next to the keyboard.

What’s that saying? All the world’s your litter box?

Oh, and God bless the person who thought to take this picture. I love that it was the first thing someone did before cleaning it up. There’s a Junk Drawer magnet for you if you want it.

When Practical Jokes Go Bad

Posted by Kathy on March 29th, 2008

Among the qualities I wish I was blessed with is the ability to tell jokes. Can’t do it. I’d have to read from a card to get it right, and somehow I think cue cards detract from the hilarity, don’t you think?

“A duck, a nun and a priest walk into a bar…” Wait, wait! “It was a dog, a nun and a priest.”  Oh, poo! That’s not it! Let me check my cards. Yeah, real smooth.

I’m a little better at practical jokes. I once kidnapped a Chia Pet Turtle from an office I used to work in, took pictures of it — blindfolded — and then sent pictures back to my officemates with a ransom note that I had a friend mail from out-of-state while she was visiting family. The note was made from letters I cut out from magazines and newspapers and was signed “The CLA” (Chia Liberation Army). Ahhh, good times.

The last joke I tried to play was on my husband, Dave. My niece gave me a stuffed black cat that looked like our kitty Shadow.  Attempting to scare up some fun, I put it in Dave’s car, attached to the steering wheel. He usually leaves for work fairly bleary-eyed, and I thought it might be fun to give him a heart attack. It didn’t. He thought I was lame, but gave me an “A” for effort.

A few days went by and I thought I’d try to scare him again by sticking the cat in the dinnerware cupboard. He went in for a plate that night, gave me a weak shoulder shrug and blessed my little heart for trying.

I gave up my quest to scare him with the cat, forgot all about it, then came home to find this when I went to heat something for dinner.


Don’t do this to someone you love because they just might die on you.

When I opened the door and found the cat in the microwave, I let out the kind of scream that comes from deep within. A scream that surprises you because you never knew you could make that sound. A scream that is followed by a punch to the husband.

My heart did not stop beating fast for about five minutes. There were no laughs. I was mad at Dave for a day. Yeah, I love a good practical joke. Except when it’s played on me.

Anyone pull off a Class A stunt and not get punched for it? I need some recommendations because I haven’t gotten back at Dave yet.

A Tech Tip From My Cat

Posted by Kathy on December 29th, 2007

shadow Until now I had only considered my cat Shadow’s butt to be a weapon of mass destruction. Last month I wrote about how she mortified me by dropping a fart grenade in front of my plumber.

Today I’m happy to report that Shadow can use her butt powers for good, as well. It dispenses tech tips.

Here’s how it happened:  My husband Dave was doing some online shopping when Shadow decided the keyboard would be a fine place to get comfortable. She laid down across the whole keyboard and her butt landed hard enough on some keys to screw up the screen Dave was viewing while he was scrolling with the mouse.

The screen content went from normal size to gigantic with that little trick of hers. Once he shooed her away from the desk, Dave had to figure out which key caused the screen text to enlarge so much. After some fiddling around, he discovered it was the CTRL key. It seems if you press CTRL while scrolling up or down, the screen’s text size enlarges or minimizes as you scroll.

In almost ten years of working in the computing industry, I have never known about this little tip. And I can really use it now, since my eyes are not what they used to be. The beauty part is it’s not just for web browsers. The technique works in programs like Microsoft Word, where the view is enlarged, but your font size stays where you want it.

What makes this technique better than other text enlarging maneuvers is that you don’t have click around menus inside each program to find what does the job. That’s what I used to do — for years. Now it’s just a simple CTRL and scroll!

Thanks, Shadow, for sharing your buttalicious talents. See how much better it is to use your powers for good?

Lazy is as Lazy Does

Posted by Kathy on December 24th, 2007

pumpkintree I know. It’s sad and it doesn’t make any sense. Welcome to our Pumpkin Tree Display. We never intended to leave our autumn pumpkin display out on the patio, but it just happened. OK, strike that. It didn’t just happen. It happened because we are the laziest people we know.

Then a friend gave me a small artificial tree to stick out there because we can’t keep a tree in the house. Our cat, Lucky has "chewing issues," and would likely eat the needles and puncture a necessary organ. This is how we still enjoy a tree and keep Lucky from using up some of his nine lives.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope that Santa is good to you and better than he was to me. Today I woke up with a huge zit on my chin. So now when I have family pictures taken of me today and tomorrow, I will be instructed to cover up that thing or get out of the picture. Can someone please tell me when the pimples of my youth will stop showing up on the face of my 40-something self?

Happy Holidays to all my zit-free bloggy friends!

So THAT’S What They’re Saying!

Posted by Kathy on December 13th, 2007

I came very close to giving up blogging this week. Moving from Blogger to WordPress was no picnic and I wondered if it was all worth it. I finally got some outstanding issues resolved and I’m happy to say that I’m not giving it all up.

During the five days it took to fully make the transition, I had reason to laugh only once. It was when I discovered the following two videos.  The first one shows two chatty cats having a conversation in their native feline language. The second one is its interpretation to English.

Until I can get my bearings back to write something unrelated to my blogging nightmare, I want to share them both with you. Even if you’re not a cat person, you can’t not think they’re hilarious. Enjoy!

The Feline Language Version

And now for the English Version

How My Cat Mortified Me

Posted by Kathy on November 5th, 2007

Last week my husband Dave and I called for a plumber to fix a problem in our powder room. The toilet had minor issues, but we worried somehow it would turn major and we’d have a flood on our hands. For the record, we specialize in flooding basements, not bathrooms.

Nice plumber man shows up at our house bright and early and gives us the good news that it’s not a major problem. It costs $300 to fix a minor problem. I can’t help but wonder how much a major problem would cost. I’m clearly in the wrong business.

So he gets to work on our toilet and after about ten minutes realizes he needs more tools for the job and leaves to grab something out of his truck.

Because cats have a sense of humor, my cat Shadow, the one with occasional intestinal issues, decides now would be the right time to have some fun with everybody.

She got up off the couch, walked past my feet and stopped. And then she went pfffftttt. I thought "Oh, Shadow. No. Not today. Not now. We have company!" Well, plumber company. But still, company.

When Shadow passes gas, you know it instantly. She can pollute a whole room quicker than you can say "Where’s my gas mask?"

In all fairness, we were well-warned of her Silent But Deadly propensities by the foster parent who cared for her before we adopted her. The day we picked her up we were given one warning before we put her in the car.

"Shadow sometimes poops when she’s nervous. She doesn’t like cars much."

We thought how funny this was until Shadow let us know just how nervous she was only two miles out from the foster mom’s house. We were still twenty miles from home when it happened.

"Oh. My. God. She pooped. What are we going to do? Open a window! No! Don’t do that! It circulates up front! Air! I need air!!!"

We figured that the lesser of two evils was, believe it or not, to keep the windows closed. So now we were only 90% sure one of us would vomit. And then we hit construction.

We quickly pulled over and I tried to remove the offending deposit, but Shadow freaked out so bad in the carrier, I couldn’t get near it. So we were left with the poop and left with the gag-inducing odor.

The smell in the car for the entire ride home was criminally bad. It would have smelled sweeter if we had worn fully-loaded diapers on our heads and then submerged ourselves in a vat of sewage. The girl has a problem.

So back to the pfffftttt. After Shadow dropped the grenade and pulled the pin, she walked right into the powder room and began inspecting the plumber’s work so far. It almost didn’t matter that she walked in there with the cloud following her. The whole downstairs area was already a hot zone.

The one thing that came to mind as I pinched my nose was "What will the plumber think when he comes back into the house? He’s going to think it was me!"

When he arrived back to the work area, I looked up and said "Brian? It’s Brian, right?"


"Um, that … um… smell you’re smelling? I have to apologize for my cat. She did it. I’m terribly sorry. You have to work in that small space and it’s horrible. I’m really sorry."

He looked at me point blank and said "I’m a plumber. You think I haven’t smelled anything worse than that? Don’t worry, I can take it."

I could have been no happier to write a check for $300 after forcing a complete stranger to stick his head near my toilet and smell my cat’s ass for the rest of the job. Plumbers are worth their weight in gold.

As for Shadow, she got a bowl of Beano for dinner and I may make her wear a diaper the next time we have visitors.

Even Cats Love HDTV

Posted by Kathy on October 19th, 2007

Last month I wrote about my new, awesome Sony Bravia HDTV. Dave and I have been enjoying the Sunrise Earth program on the Discovery HD Theater channel a couple times a week. Stunning is the only way to describe it.

Evidently cats can enjoy it too! It’s been reported that cats have some trouble distinguishing between real objects and those projected on an HDTV set. Here is Shadow enjoying penguins from a recent episode of Sunrise Earth. Her head moved back and forth, following them as they waddled across the screen.

She sat like this for almost ten minutes. If you have cats, you’ll know they can barely sit still for any length of time unless they’re sleeping. Easily distracted, they’ll respond to the slightest movement. I was able to go upstairs, prep the camera, and take a few shots without her budging from this spot. She sat there for another five minutes afterwards, enthralled by the penguins.

I was going to suggest she’s in this trance-like state because she has a little brain. But that’s pretty much how I look when I’m watching Sunrise Earth. So let’s just say I must have the smartest cat in the world, shall we?

Run! Run for your lives!

Posted by Kathy on October 2nd, 2007

We’ve all had moments where something fortunate happens to us and it can’t be explained by logic or reason. Some call it luck, some call it fate, some call it divine intervention. One of those moments happened to me this week.

WARNING! The post includes the following: cats, rodents and bugs. If you’re turned off by any of these things, I urge you to click away now and come back tomorrow.

When I started this blog two months ago, I vowed it wouldn’t turn into a blog about my cats. Just so you know, it’s still not going to be a cat blog, but this story does involve a cat, so I have to make an exception. It’s more about bugs, which isn’t much better.

First, let’s meet Stinky.

Stinky is one of our first cats together. We got her and her brother from some friends almost 15 years ago. Her brother, Calvin, is since deceased (RIP buddy). In human equivalent years, Stinky would be on Medicare by now. She’s a self-confident old girl whose partying days are behind her. She doesn’t care, for instance, that this pose is not a good look for her. She lets it all hang out and we let her do whatever she wants. At her age, she’s pretty harmless.

However, there are times when she surprises us and acts all kitteny and spry. About two years ago, she shocked us by bagging her first mouse (I’ll spare you the picture, and yes, I took a picture). We didn’t witness her kill her prey, we only saw the damage. She dropped it on the patio and then laid down next to it, all proud of herself. Luckily for us, the mouse was gone the next day and we didn’t have to worry how to dispose of it. We presume it met its second demise at the claws of some other ravaging animal that happened upon a free lunch. Such is nature.

After the mouse incident, we realized Stinky’s days of being harmless were over and now we had to be mindful of whatever she set her eyes on out in the yard, whether it be bugs, birds or chipmunks. No one is safe now.

Fast forward to this week. I’m reading a book all comfortable on my nice new couch and for reasons unknown I decide to check on Stinky. Despite the collar she wears to keep her within the bounds of our invisible fence, she’s been known to not care too much about the shock fence and sometimes crosses it despite the zap to her neck.

When I look out back, I’m instantly relieved to see her still on the patio, but this relief quickly turns to fear when I see that she’s crouched over the edge of the porch staring at something. This can’t be good, since cats stare at only two things:

  1. Imaginary objects that exist only in their pea brains.
  2. Living things that are smaller than them that they’re thinking of killing.

I’m instantly aware it’s something in Category #2. I can just about make out what that something is — looks like a meaty spider. But because it’s fairly dark outside, I can only make a positive ID if I get within inches of it.

I don’t have many choices here. Get closer and see what it is, and freak out. Consider that whatever it is might jump on me when I get very close, and freak out. Pick Stinky up by the hind legs and drag her away from what she wants to maim, kill and eat, and freak out. Basically, I’m freaking out. And Dave is nowhere to be found, so that is not an option either.

With my crappy options, I proceed anyway. I opt for picking Stinky up by her backside and she begins to growl at me. Not a problem, since I don’t have far to get her in the house. When I get to the door and deposit her inside, I glance back to see what it was she was so intent on investigating.

Meet the praying mantis.

I suspect what I thought was a balled-up spider was just the head of this thing. What will give me nightmares for months to come was the fact that it RAN AFTER ME while I was carrying Stinky inside. I barely made it in before I slammed the door shut on it.

Can someone please explain to me why bugs can’t just simply be gross? Do they also have to torment me by chasing me down?

It was long, ugly and FAST! Apparently they can attack and kill prey larger than themselves. Read more about that here, but only if you’re not eating right now.

Once safely inside, with the door shut, I began to thank God that I got up off the couch when I did. I don’t know what made me go check on Stinky, but I’m convinced if I hadn’t done it at that exact moment, I would have had to try and get this disgusting creature out of her mouth somehow, some way. I can barely think about it without wanting to throw up. I like to think it was divine intervention that saved me.

I’m sorry if I grossed anyone out here, but if you stuck with the story, thanks. You’re a better person than me.

Knobs ‘n buttons ‘n hooks, oh my!

Posted by Kathy on September 27th, 2007

I break stuff. It’s what I do. On Sunday I broke our toaster while cleaning the kitchen. This is not the first time I’ve damaged a fairly important piece of an appliance and it won’t be the last.

Here’s a rundown of all the fixtures I broke:

The victim: Toaster
When: Last weekend
How it happened: I picked it up by its pushdown button to move it to a cabinet and the whole thing crashed to the floor. The button broke off and cracked into two pieces.
Can we still use it? Yes, the larger of the two pieces slides back onto the metal lever quite nicely.

The victim: Vacuum cleaner
When: About 3 months ago
How it happened: No idea. The metal hook thingy just broke off from cord tension over the years, I guess. And now there’s nothing to wrap the cord around.
Can we still use it? Yes, but it’s only used in the garage because when you turn it on, it smells like an electrical fire. I won’t use it in the house. I shouldn’t even let Dave use it in the garage, but hey, if your husband will vacuum anything, you let him. Bought a new vacuum for inside that won’t spontaneously combust, because, you know, fire bad.

The victim: Carpet shampooer hose
When: Almost a year ago
How it happened: There is a knobby thing that connects to a thin tube that solution runs through. I over-twisted it and now it twists no more. FACT: Duct tape does not fix everything.
Can we still use it? Nope. But I keep it hanging in the garage because I’m too lazy to throw it out. New hose fixture is on the right.

The victim: Garden hose pipe
When: Last summer
How it happened: Ran the lawn mower into it. I’m a pretty spastic mower. I mow the grass about as well as a
Flowbee cuts hair.
Can we still use it? Yes, but you have to turn the water on by the nub that remains. A rubber gripper used for opening jar lids does the job just fine. I don’t know why we keep the broken piece.

Because I’m trying to earn knob karma for all the ones I’ve broken, here’s one I actually fixed myself! The previous knob would never secure well enough to keep the door completely closed and our trouble-making cat Lucky would always run full tilt into it and push it open. Because it’s the door to the laundry room, I was always afraid he would chew through the dryer hose and get stuck in the vent (he has a very little brain).

I wanted to surprise Dave with my knob-fixing abilities and decided to install a new one myself. With some phone assistance from my brother-in-law, Dale, I was able to do just that. Lookie here!

p.s. It was fun to watch Lucky run headlong into a door that used to open real easily a minute ago. The skull that protects his little brain makes an interesting sound when it hits wood. Don’t worry, he’s OK.

Our new furniture arrived

Posted by Kathy on September 26th, 2007

Halleluia! All of the work and waiting is behind us. The furniture arrived today! After getting it in place, we realized while we like it, we don’t love it and began having flashes of buyer’s remorse. But that could change after a few days of getting used to it.

Here’s what we like about it:

1. Both the recliner and the couch are extremely comfortable, and that’s the biggest plus. The old furniture was too soft for comfort. No more sinking into the middle crevasse.

2. We think we hit the mark on the color scheme. The dark colors are richer-looking and warmer than the old pieces. The table lamp you see here is from another room. Seeing brass with the furniture tells us that’s what we need to buy. For a while we were thinking porcelain, but not anymore.

Here’s what we’re on the fence about:

1. The recliner is probably too big to be paired with the couch. We didn’t know this because it wasn’t paired with it in the showroom. To make it worse, our living room is so small that this is the only configuration that’ll work.

2. The patterned pillows are a bit much. They actually sent us the wrong ones. We asked for a set of two patterned, and two solid blue (to match the couch). It’s an easy fix, but we’re bugged about it now.

Here’s what could get Lucky killed:

See him under the chair? It’s the first place he went because he likes to play fast and loose with his nine lives. Dave’s already worried that when he gets up from the reclining position, he’ll squash him. We figure Lucky will crawl into the metal folding mechanism, fall asleep in there and get crushed when he puts the chair in its upright position. Lucky may not be so lucky one day.

UPDATE: Ten hours after seeing our new furniture arranged the way you see here, we’re working hard on rearranging it. We’re not making maximum use of the space we have, so we want to figure out a way to move the chair as far from the couch as possible, and put the television in its place.

Not sure how this will all go down, but I’ll post back with another picture if we get it just the way we like. For now, we’re still only liking the setup. We’d much prefer loving it.

Do they make sneakers for cats?

Posted by Kathy on September 22nd, 2007

I knew it would happen, but just not this soon. We’ve had our new coffee and end tables for a mere 200 hours. Been enjoying them. Until I moved some books aside on the table and shrieked.

The damage: Coffee table. Three fresh claw marks. Lovely.

The perpetrator: Lucky, the soon-to-be pawless cat. Where’s that rotary saw?

If anyone knows how to conceal scratches on wood, I’d much appreciate hearing from you. We don’t want to make things worse by using the wrong product on it.

While I’m at it, anyone want a spastic cat who never sleeps and doesn’t understand the meaning of "For the last time, get off the table!"?

p.s. Our new couch and chair are coming on Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll be reporting back on the damage to those in no time at all.

10 Things That Annoy Me

Posted by Kathy on September 13th, 2007

I’m cranky this week because it’s been so busy at work that I thought Tuesday was Thursday already. It really felt like four days’ worth of work crammed into two. We have our old ugly furniture paired with our new tables and now it looks like Unclaimed Salvage & Freight in my living room. And we’re starting to wonder if La-z-Boy will ever send us our new furniture. I have to fight for space at my kitchen sink because my fat cat insists on drinking her water straight from the faucet … and I keep letting her. How stupid am I? Don’t answer that. Plus a spider may have just crawled into my cup of coffee.

What better time to post a list of 10 things that annoy me. I’m so in the mood!

1. People who can’t control their car alarms. Guess what? No one cares if your car is getting broken into, stolen or damaged in any way. In fact, is there anything I can do to help?

2. People who pay for groceries with a check. A check? Are you kidding me?

3. Brittney Spears. Tell me, why is she still here? After Sunday’s MTV Music Awards disaster she needs to pack up her lingerie in a really tiny suitcase and call it a day. Call it a career, actually. And take your dancing pole with you.

4. Billy Mays, the ear-piercing, high-octane infomercial pitchman for OxyClean and something orange that cleans everything. I can never get to the mute button fast enough.

5. People who let their dogs crap on my lawn, and then walk away. You’re supposed to be carrying it around in bags, aren’t you? And, by the way, how does that steaming pile of poo feel when you pick it up with your bare hand from the inside of the bag? Reason number #284 why cats rule.

6. Red light runners. Um, you do know you can kill people doing that, right?

7. Microsoft for too many reasons to list. But just for today, you annoy me because you think everyone has the 20/20 vision of an 18-year-old. Why on God’s green earth can’t you make the Office 2007 program buttons bigger? You know, the ones people use a hundred times a day? Plus now to open the File menu, you have to click that big gumball Office logo, that’s if people even know what it is.

8. That lady who drove practically attached to my trunk yesterday who was not only talking on a cell phone but smoking a cigarette. It was fun to watch how you managed that and I did want to see you get into an accident, just not with me.

9. Hard plastic packaging you have to risk life and limb cutting open. Since when did a $10 cable require Fort Knox protection? Seriously, can’t it just go in a box with a lid?

10. This video and accompanying song. I stumbled onto it a while back and now every time I see a furniture commercial, I’m reminded of it. Not as bad as Pop Goes the Weasel, but it’s in the general vicinity. Beware.

Please don’t write me to say "lighten up." If you do, you’re going to make my next list.