Living With a Retiree

Is that a blissful face or what?

While BC has become my office mate, and is especially present to “help” in the afternoon, WC has retired from all such obligations. She is on the feline equivalent of Social Security and Medicare. In cat terms that means she meows and we do whatever she wants. The meow is usally one of two things – either a strident demand for me to get to the kitchen and put more wet food on her plate, or a strident but plaintive cry for my husband to sit back down on the couch so she can snuggle. BC wonders why SHE doesn’t get a plateful of wet food every hour, so I have to buy her off with catnip-flavored greenies. WC has yet to demand a place on my husband’s keyboard, but she HAS gone back to utilizing her hiding spot on top of one of his other desktops (really floor model). It’s very warm there, and safe. I’ve found her sitting next to the electric radiator in the breakfast room and snuggled up next to the hot-air humidifier in the sunroom. Ahhh, the life of a retiree – eat, sleep, snuggle.

I bet she has the same expression that I have when I feel the sun on my face.

Office Mates

Sharing office “supplies” (btw – we have more, but some were on the floor)

I shifted my home office several weeks ago. I used to work in the dining room, where we have very strict rules about the table. I moved up to my son’s bedroom. There are some great advantages up here. First, warm air rises so it’s much warmer up here than downstairs. Second, there is a red tailed hawk in the neighborhood and up here I sometimes glimpse it as it soars. Third, my office mate is much more present. This of course has both an upside and a downside. We share supplies, although I tend to have less need or desire to knock them off the table. We both like warmth, however, and that can lead to a few disagreements. Overall, I’d have to say the new location has been working out quite well.

Awkward but manageable. I can still reach the mouse.
At this point, we disagree. Only ONE of us gets the keyboard.

Mealtime

Come upstairs, already!!!! Where ARE you, WC????

My mother used to tell us that she ‘wasn’t running a restaurant’. If we didn’t like what she was serving when she was serving it we could fend for ourselves. I like to pretend that I am that strict with my cats, but our reality is a bit different. WC (and GC when she was still alive) takes medicine for her thyroid. My technique for giving medicine to these cats is to grind up the pill and put it in their wet food. While some may prefer the ‘grab, hold firmly, pop it in their mouth, and rub throat” method, I’ve found that our cats, like ourselves, are more willing to accept unpleasantness if there is good food to ameliorate the situation. Unfortunately this means that I must stand guard over the plates so that the right cat eats the right food. When GC was alive she was convinced that the other 2 plates might have something BETTER than her plate, even though everyone got the same food and WC had the same medicine.

In order to maintain some illusion of control, I don’t put the plates on the floor until both WC and BC are in the kitchen. BC understands this concept. I come down in the morning, go through my routine and BC is right there with me. WC, who is old, and sometimes cranky, and completely deaf, is usually here, but not always. If WC decided to sleep in the basement, she does not always hear me in the kitchen and doesn’t see me. I try stomping on the floor (she seems to feel vibrations and maybe even hear them) and I flip the lights on and off. I call for her, even though I know that she can’t hear. BC sits there, looking for her, waiting for breakfast. Ultimately WC will come slowly up the stairs, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Ah, mealtime!

Postscript: Came down to my computer this morning to work. Not only had ‘someone’ turned off the power strip, apparently ‘someone’ walked all over my keyboard before shutting off the power. Have now spent over 20 minutes trying to get things back the way they should be. All I see are innocent little faces. Who ME?????

I’m here, I’m here. Make it worth my while.

Deceptive Appearance

wc napping on kitchen floor

She looks oh so innocent, doesn’t she? Adorable, sweet, quiet. You might ask, “WHY is she sleeping THERE?” Why? Because if she is there, the moment I move from my chair she will know, and begin meowing piteously for more cat treats. She has become addicted to Greenies. She will meow and meow and meow until she falls asleep in exhaustion. That is NOT a picture of sweet innocence. That is a picture of the fierce predator in wait for the prey. 🙂 I ❤ WC.
wc still stalking

Social Distancing With My Cats

Social Distancing With My Cats

My sister got me a prezzie the other day. 🙂 The true names of GC, WC and BC are on the shirt, but I’ve cropped them out to protect them from the paparazzi. We will be distancing more than ever. My brother-in-law was running a fever all day yesterday. Now there are MANY things that can cause one to run a fever. But until we know why, we are being much more vigilant and distance. We’ve all signed up for testing over the weekend. Time to get back out in the garden.
GC social distancing
WC social distancing
BC social distancing

The Cats are Happy

BC in fireplace bed
Living a life of ease

I love my cats. You know I do. They also make me crazy, but that is the nature of cats. I’ve seen so many memes about how dogs all over the world are so happy that their people are home all the time. I’ve also seen memes about how all the cats are complaining because their people are home ALL the time. My cats have always enjoyed when I worked from home. It always turned into extra cuddles for BC, earlier dinner time for WC, and sometimes extra breakfasts for GC (we think she may actually be a hobbit but we haven’t quite reached 7 meals a day). There has been one other great joy for the cats now that we are both home, all the time, every day.

wc on chair
WC pretending she is a little angel, never doing anything annoying

Last July WC came close to extinction. She decided somewhere in the spring that the carpeted stair landing would do very well for a litter box. We assumed this was some sort of aberration, that maybe she didn’t have the energy to walk down to the basement and use the boxes there. So one weekend my husband ripped out the carpet on the landing and all the stairs. I spent several days with several different chemical products attempting to remove stain and smell from the wood. I did a pretty decent job. We thought we’d solved the issue. As is so often the case, we were wrong.

GC under dining room table
Lately GC has decided to sit under the dining room table. I guess she needed a change of scenery.

It turned out not to be about too far and difficult to walk to the basement. WC walked up the stairs to the carpeted upstairs hall and began to use THAT as her litter box. No amount of spraying or other little barriers seemed to dissuade her. My husband got wise this time and hired someone else to pull up the carpet. The poor contractor nearly passed from the fumes. You need to know that besides the 3 current cats, we have had 3 other cats before them and a dog. The people from whom we bought the house also had at least one dog. The carpet came with the house. Years ago we had already pulled out all of the carpeting from the downstairs (oh my the stench) and put in new wood floors. “Ah hah!”, we thought. Surely NOW we have solved this problem. I’m sure you sense what happened next.

BC on couch
I’m a little angel too!!!

WC noted the lack of carpeting, noted that the litter boxes were still in the basement and noted that we were still completely lacking in understanding the true need. She began to urinate on our beautiful, comparatively new, wood floor. In the dining room. In the living room. I went a little crazy. We scheduled an appointment with the vet and in the meantime I debated locking her away. Trying to lock one cat away when you have 3 is awkward. When we ‘rescued’ BC we had to remove nearly everything from a small storage room and live with the removed items piled up all over until BC was clean and past her quarantine. (Sound familiar?) I couldn’t face emptying that storage area again. At this point I thought of bringing up a litter box to put in the bathroom on the 1st floor. Our dog was trained to use what we called ‘wee-wee pads’ (very classy, I know). We had them in that 1st floor bathroom. The dog was trained to use the pads. This saved us from having to walk her when we didn’t want to walk a dog. Every time she used the pads she got a treat (biscuit). Everyone – family and friends alike – were all trained to praise her and tell her how wonderful she was and give her a biscuit. Then we disposed of the dirty pad and put down a fresh one. We were all so effective at this that our male cat figured out that using the pads resulted in food, so HE started using them. Unfortunately male cats are not built to the same specifications as female dogs. That necessitated a new alignment of pads on the walls, not just on the floor. No, we did NOT give him treats. We didn’t really want to reward HIS behavior.

1st floor bathroom
My apologies. Never thought I’d post a picture of a toilet and litter boxes.

I put down a wee-wee pad in the corner of the bathroom and put a small litter box on top of it. WC used it immediately (or near enough to immediately). That was the issue – she wanted her commode on the 1st floor, thank you very much. Well, you know that if WC was using the commode on the 1st floor, everyone else wanted to do the same. Four wee-wee pads and 2 litter boxes later, we all use the bathroom on the 1st floor. My husband and I are less than thrilled about this. The dog had wee-wee pads. That was it. The cats also have LITTER. It sticks to their little messy paws, they kick it out of the box, sometimes on the pads, sometimes they are exuberant and it reaches the floor. Every day starts with cleaning the boxes, adding fresh litter, cleaning and readjusting the pads and sweeping the floor in the surrounding vicinity. It doesn’t last long. The first cat in kicks litter out. We spend the entire day cleaning the litter boxes in that room. They spend the entire day using the litter boxes in that room. When we worked in an office that was NOT in our home, we avoided hours and hours of litter box use. We had litter-free bathrooms in our office buildings. Ah, those were glorious days and we failed to appreciate them properly.

WC being petted on couch
One other joy of us being home – sitting with Dad on the couch while he reads his paper. GC and WC vie to see who can get there first and won’t let the other join. “He’s scritching ME!”

Back in those halcyon days we thought that after the kitchen renovation, we’d redo the bathroom as well. We can see that there is no point in pursuing THAT dream. There may be memes about cats complaining that their people are home all day, but OUR cats think it is fantastic. Clean litter box EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Oh yeah, keep those folks working from home!! The cats are very, very happy.

GC and WC on couch
No people on the couch? We can share happily.

Life Lessons From My Cats

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How to Pass the Time – Option 1

Ah, to be a cat. Or more specifically – one of MY cats. I’ll concede that not all cats have it as good as my cats have it. In this time of covid19, self-quarantining, social distance, what does an extrovert DO all day if there are no other people??? My cats are demonstrating the way to survive. Nay, not survive – THRIVE. Yes, they are thriving. They have no issue with social distance – WC is on the couch, BC is on the chair (MORE than 6 feet away) and GC is in the living room. What to do? Sleep. Do nothing. Periodically get up and eat. Use the litter box. Sleep. Do Nothing. They are the experts. So far the part I’ve learned the best is get up periodically and eat. 🙂

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How to Pass the Time – Option 2

Cat Birthday Haikus

cat poem birthday card

Today is my son’s birthday. As you can see by the picture above, I found a card that I thought was perfect for him. Although he is far from our home these days, and far from his/our cats, his love for them is strong. They love him too, assuredly, that is, as much as cats love people. He does soooooo much for them when he is here. He cuddles them, he plays with them, he finds new toys for them. He will even feed them and clean their litter box if need be (meaning I ask for help *grin*). I thought it would be considerate if they wished him a happy birthday. I offered to help them write a birthday haiku for him. I thought something like this might be appropriate:

Kind hands stroking fur,
Dangling string toys, scritching ears,
We love when you’re here.

When I proposed a poetry writing session to the kitties, I was greeted with scorn or indifference. GC, who considers my son “her boy” (as opposed to his considering her ‘his cat’) suggested this instead.

Feed me feed me FOOD!
More food NOW! poop sleep pee sleep.
Feed me feed me FOOD!

IMG_3239
Do I look like I am in the mood to write poems?

WC is nowhere near as interested in food as GC. WC believes in TIMING, not quantity. She starts the meowing for her dinner sometime after 3:30 pm and will continue until she receives food. At which point she will eat 3 bites, maybe, and then walk away. She spends most of her day in her bed. The exceptions to that are when she’s puking or using the litter box. Somehow I have an unerring knack of walking past that room while she is in the litter box. Why can’t mother cats teach their babies to puke in the litter box?? That would save me SO much cleanup. Anyway, once I finally roused her to creativity, here is what she had to say.

MeNOW! MeNOW! Food!
ick. disdain. sleep. nibble. puke.
MeOW. Just because.

IMG_3220
Too much creativity exhausts me.

BC – *smiling* – yes, it’s true, I’m extremely partial to BC these days. She knows it, too. The other 2 have me hopping and jumping and dancing attendance on them from the time I wake up til the time I go to bed. GC really does spend the most time with my son when he is home, but BC is a close second. They both (my son and BC) like playing games. Once she remembers that he is “safe” she’s very happy to hang about. Poetry is not her main talent, however, nor is paying attention, but she tried.

Do you belong here?
Oh right. You. Amuse me now!
Red laser dot game?

IMG_3236
Look how cute my belly is! What’s a poem?

Sometimes you are better off having a blank card than a poem from your cat. *grin*