Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Now with the water

    There are three bowls of water for the cats. It's filtered, it's clean, it's even cold since the bowls are porcelain. OK, pretty cold. There are also two bowls of food. One of the bowls of food is in a larger bowl with water in it and there's old scuzzy olive oil in the water. All this is to discourage ants, who have overrun Amelia's food (well, it was Amelia's food then) in the past.
    I bet you can see where I'm going with this. New cat, the one I thought was the smart one, drank of the skeevy olive oil water instead of from the other three bowls. Even Amelia never did this. Now, I can think of a good reason for this. One of the kibbles fell in the water yesterday, so in the overnight hours, that same water would have been full of meaty goodness. I had just cleaned the bowl, though, so it was quite kibble-free. Hopefully he's learned his lesson. Bets, though, are that he'll knock another kibble in the water and drink out of it again. He is after all the smart one.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The war at home

    The good news is that Amelia has determined that hissing at Harry isn't very effective. The bad news is that she has decided that chasing him is more effective. This of course is also good news, since at 11 she needs the exercise. Also it's very funny.
    Yesterday went quietly, which was very good. The temperature outside reached 100. Bets are that cats evolved in Africa, so they ought to do well in this weather. Then again, so did we, and we don't do well when it's 100 outside. So what I'm saying is that I'm glad I didn't have to worry about Harry outside. He was an indoor kitty for a record 15 hours straight. I did give him two chances to go out, but he stuck his head out and thought better of it both times. This buttresses my claim that Harry is a smart cat.
    In all that time, Amelia only hissed at him once. He left at 5:30 in the morning (I have little tolerance for Mrrrr-OW! Mrrrr-OW! Mrrrr-OW! at that hour.) And he was back two hours later. And Amelia chased him out (almost literally) two hours after that.
    He's been in for the last 3 hours straight, and things have been peaceful. I hope they stay that way, since it's headed toward 100 again today. Starting tomorrow, things get cooler again, so I can wait more patiently for the growth of fraternal/sororal feelings. Or for a diplomat to show up.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


    (Subject line comes from a series of Friskies (I think) commercials a couple of people sent to me. Possibly they were online only, I wouldn't know. In them, the old cat is explaining to the kitten about life. In one, he tells of the vacoom: "It eats and yells at the same time." Pretty funny. Also true.)
    I searched "quietest vacuum" and found out pretty quickly that the Roomba, which I had been coveting, is pretty universally panned. This was OK with me; I wasn't coveting it all that much. What I wanted was a quiet vacuum, but one that I didn't have to get everything off the floor for all the time. The kitties need their junk on the floor after all.
    I found a Consumer Reports article from 2010. It named a number of high-price vacuums, but also noted that Kenmore from Sears had a couple that were only moderately insanely priced. Oh that's right; I blithered about this the other day. So I went to Sears.
    Short version is that the one they recommended most strongly, which was almost as good as the insanely expensive models, was on the floor in the clearance area. From $600, it was marked down to $300. (It was actually marked down further; I got it for $260 including tax and bags.) The purchase was an adventure. The elderly sales clerk, who sounded like '60s character actor John Fiedler, was nervous as a deacon in a cathouse. However, he did demonstrate the model for me and showed me how to use its many features. Then he forgot to unplug it. Then he couldn't work the cash register because I swiped my card prematurely. Then he taped the attachment part to the canister when applying the Sears tape that showed that I wasn't shoplifting the vacuum. ("You SAID 'clearance'!") But we got the job done.
    He suggested I carry the attachment and let the canister roll behind, which was very, very funny since it followed like a little dog, which is to say erratically. Once I was out of his view, I just carried the whole thing; I'm all for looking like an idiot, but in moderation. Anyway, now I have a new toy.
    I haven't actually tried it out yet. He demonstrated it and it was certainly quieter than my old one, though not anything one could mistake for quiet. I hope Amelia at least hates and fears it less. And I hope it works better. I've already heard that I'm crazy for spending this much ("You need a girlfriend!" though I have no idea what this means) but apparently it's true that black cats are more allergenic than white ones. My eyes and Amelia's are worse since Harry started being around even though he's short-haired and not fluffy at all. Hopefully the new one will make the situation better, or be quiet enough that I can vacuum oftener. We will see.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ungodlier in Olympia

    Thursday, it turns out, there was a double murder two blocks from here. Apparently, it was the result of a drug deal gone wrong. As I'm not involved in any drug deals, I don't feel too threatened, but it is a bit alarming. Also it was in a house where Margaret and her husband once lived, decades back though as I understand it. A nice-looking house still, probably nicer looking than this one; it has also been subdivided into two apartments, so not quite like Margaret remembered it.
    To be honest, I've wanted to move out of here since I moved in, not because it's a dangerous neighborhood (it isn't) but because of the trains impeding navigation and seven home football games a year eating seven Saturdays. I can't say that having a murder two blocks away makes me any more inclined to move. As has been pointed out to me, it can happen anywhere. It does, however, give me a ready-made excuse if I decide to go. I think it was more scarring for Margaret than for me. We're all very relieved that the rocket-scientist perpetrator is in custody thanks to whacking into numerous cars on the Interstate. A criminal genius, he is.
    I did go get the expensive vacuum yesterday; I will endeavor to blither about this tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2014


    I saw a small calico cat dead on Olympia Avenue yesterday morning. It certainly made me feel more pressure to convert Harry into an indoor cat somehow. Still, not infinite pressure; he mainly seems to want to hang around on my street, the much less dangerous Ohio Street. Indeed, he MAINLY seems to want to hang out on my back porch. And he's very smart, and very wary, and very wily, and very, very, very fast. Maybe I should worry about the cars instead.
    We're making the usual two steps forward, one back. Amelia had quit hissing at Harry, but resumed, so I put him out again. I see no evidence of misbehavior on his part; more just that she resents his existence. Also, in a week he's gone from smaller than her to larger than her, which must be alarming. Well, he was already taller and longer than her, but he's almost certainly passed her in weight, or anyway will soon. His Starvin' Marvin days are definitely behind him.
    One thing that would make it easier to make him an inside cat would be if I could find a quiet vacuum. Unfortunately, the cheap ones cost $350. Mostly, they are Kenmore, a Sears brand. So far, I've looked at KMart and they didn't carry any of the quiet models mentioned by Consumer Reports. I think there's still a Sears in town, so I'll go look later. It would be nice if I could keep the place clean and our allergies under control without also scaring the hell out of the cats twice a week. I wonder if anybody could sell me kitty earmuffs?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flavored by envy

    Amelia and Harry eat each other's food. All the time. This amuses me boundlessly, since it's exactly the same food. Except... OK, I'll admit to foolishness, maybe, but I meant well. Somebody on an online forum was shocked that I didn't change Amelia's food and water every day. (I just topped off both.) So for years now, I've been changing her water morning and night and changing her food (and washing the bowl) twice a week. I threw the food in the garbage since tossing it in the yard for feral kitties would more likely just create giant mutant ants.
    When Harry turned up, I just gave it to him instead. Hell, he'll eat anything! So the other day, I put Amelia's cast-off food in Harry's bowl, washed her bowl and gave her new food. So she of course went and ate her cast-off food from Harry's bowl. I tell you, my kitty's a genius!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The continuing Harry adventure

    As of yesterday, Amelia quit hissing at Harry, which was a nice improvement. Fortunately, for indoor cat training purposes, it was raining the past two days, so Harry was pretty much OK with staying indoors. I even kept him inside all night by the simple means of leaving the lights on. (I sleep with a sleep mask anyway.) I found on an earlier attempt to keep him in all night that the cats were very mellow and nap oriented as long as I had the lights on but, nocturnal beasts that they are, started acting up once I turned them off. Leaving them on worked pretty well, although I woke up every two hours like a new parent myself.
    Today it isn't raining and Harry started acting like a butthole. I played with him with a shoestring and he loved the hell out of it but got so amped up that I finally let him out. He's been in and out all day, but is in at the moment. It's not like he's romping and carousing; mainly he's just napping out there. Still, he batted at Amelia again, somewhat more seriously than before, so it's probably best to let him out for large chunks of the day for her greater equanimity. Honestly, I have no idea whether he will be amenable to becoming an inside cat in the long run. I think the transition is going pretty well on the whole and I am reasonably optimistic. It occurs to me too that I have a good reason not to rush: he has to go back for booster shots in 2 1/2 weeks, and my best chance of getting him back in the carrier is to nab him coming in the door again. This of course requires him to be out the door first. Logic!