A Familiar Sight

A young Sam peeks over the edge of a cat bed in January 2008. Original: _MG_7079.cr2

If this picture seems a little familiar, or even very familiar, it’s not by accident. Little Sam has joined Scout and Templeton in loving to sleep in the heated bed beside my desk.

Scout hasn’t wanted to sleep there since we brought the new kittens home, but Sam has been happy to take over her spot. We’ve got two beds now so Scout will have one available if she wants. Emma has been positively indifferent to them so far so we probably won’t need one for her.


Our cat Scout nuzzling up to Emma while she wears her bib

Emma had a scheduled visit to the vet today for shots which she didn’t end up getting. We had noticed some bumps under her fur so they shaved the area and are going to run some tests to see what might be causing them. In the meantime, Emma gets an ointment rubbed into the area, antibiotics, and this lovely bib. Scout, who still has one more week of antibiotics her own self, came over to commiserate. Emma may not look too thrilled to have her moment of indignity posted to the web, but she joins some mighty fine company.

She did manage to get out of the bib earlier tonight, I heard a loud thump in the litter box room, then Emma came running out sans bib and I found the bib rubbed into some fresh droppings in the litter box.

She knows how to make a point, I’ll give her that.

A Drinking Problem

Our cat Templeton drinks water I put in a base to a flower pot

Templeton had a drinking problem. Not that he’d get loaded up on hooch while scatting about town, more that he didn’t drink as much water as he should.

He didn’t like wet food, so encouraging him to drink more water was the only way to keep him properly hydrated. We tried several approaches, starting with a drinking fountain that kept the water circulated and aerated, but he wasn’t too impressed. We started keeping a water bowl on each floor and that certainly helped.

There were two approaches that worked really well once I realized that Templeton liked to drink water from just about anywhere but where he thought he was supposed to, and that he liked really fresh water. One was to fill his water bowl and hold it out for him near the sink, he’d hop up away from Scout’s affections and drink heartily. Sometimes instead of a bowl, I’d cup my hands in the sink and he’d drink quickly before the water seeped through my fingers.

My master stroke, however, was getting him to drink during his supervised outdoor visits. I brought out a bowl of water with me but he’d drink the water I left out for the birds in an old flower pot base. After fruitless efforts to get him to drink out of his water bowl, I cleaned out a flower pot base and started filling it with fresh water. He was aware of the ruse but willing to live with it.

Playoffs? Don’t Talk About Playoffs! Are You Kidding Me? Playoffs?

Our cat Sam as a kitten playing with a string in my lap in January 2008

While I sat in my chair and watched the NFL playoffs, Sam played on my legs, curled up in the blanket over my knees. He animatedly played with his beloved string and needed little encouragement from me, apart from the time he got so worked up that he rolled right off my legs onto the floor. It was this play session that convinced me that all world leaders should be required to have kittens in their laps while they negotiate — even generational hatred cannot stand in the face of a kitten’s charms.

Make love, not war. And bring plenty of string.

If you’re not a football fan, today’s title is a reference to Jim Mora’s classic postgame speech while coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

A Good Day

Our cat Emma sleeps on the guest bed on Christmas 2007 a few days after we adopted her

Today was a good day. I got up before sunrise to spend a few hours at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It was very foggy (typical for the winter) and I’m not sure the pictures will be all that special, but I saw up close a coyote, an American bittern, a red-tailed hawk, and a great blue heron snaring a Townsend’s vole. It was also nice to hear the waterfowl, even the ones I couldn’t see, as I hadn’t been to the refuge in months and many of the ducks are here for the winter.

I came home and watched the football playoff games, one of which was already in progress. At one point, Emma climbed up onto my chest and lay under my chin, I rubbed her belly and under her chin and she was visibly delighted. Then the purring stopped and I realized she had fallen asleep. Emma is very affectionate and often underfoot but hasn’t been much of a lap cat, so I’m not sure if today was an aberration or the start of something new, but she slept on me for quite a while, her arms wrapped around mine. I wanted to encourage the behavior, so I didn’t move for the duration of her nap and we stayed curled up together the entire time.

Today’s picture is not of that event since I couldn’t get to my camera but of her first week here when she was kept in the spare bedroom. One of the first things I liked about her when I saw her with the other cats at the Oregon Humane Society was how she was sprawled out as she slept, something Templeton did that I loved.

The World At Large

Our black cat Emma laying on the hardwood

During the first couple of days that Sam and Emma joined us, we kept all three cats separated. Emma was put into the downstairs bathroom, which worked well for the first day. She wasn’t too sure of herself yet, and slept behind the toilet when she was alone and wouldn’t leave my lap when I stayed with her. The second day she wasn’t dealing with her confinement so well, so we let her stretch her legs upstairs for a little bit while Scout was napping downstairs, and she settled down outside Sam’s door. I took the opportunity to take my first picture of her outside the bathroom.

The next day she and Sam passed their physicals and Emma got to join Sam in the guest bedroom.

The Last Temptation of Templeton

Our cat Sam playing with the drawstring from my Virginia Tech sweatshirt

I have a Virginia Tech hoodie that I bought as a freshman and had for all the years Templeton was with us. Templeton loved that sweatshirt — specifically he loved chewing on the drawstring that tightens the hood. Every single time I wore the sweatshirt and picked him up, he’d start lunging for the string. A few years ago after a washing, the string fell out and was lost. Even so, every single time I picked up Templeton wearing that sweatshirt he’d start lunging after the string that wasn’t there.

My wife recently found the beloved maroon string, and since it was Sam’s first day out in the house, I wanted to see if he’d enjoy playing with it. It was an immediate favorite of both Sam and Emma, and somewhere up in heaven, I’m sure Templeton is looking down and smiling, and lunging for that string.