Sunday, August 31, 2008

Three whales!

This is what a whale looks like from 6 feet away!

A whale of an afternoon!

George and I went for a drive today, thinking that we would go to Plum Island and do some birdwatching. As we neared Gloucester, we saw the sign for Whale Watch, and decided on a whim to see if we could catch a boat. We waited at the draw bridge for almost 30 minutes while boats traveled to the sea and thought that the delay would probably nix the idea of a whale watch. But we got there in plenty of time! We had time for a nice pizza lunch, then got on the boat and took a lot of pictures of the beautiful schooners that were there for the Gloucester Schooner races earlier in the day.

The day was clear and beautiful and the trip on the boat was going to be fun whether we saw any whales or not. But we were in for a huge surprise. Not only did three whales cavort near the boat for nearly 30 minutes, we went further out and another whale almost mated with the boat he was so close. The whale swam under the boat, back and forth, which mean that we all ran from one side to the other, and the boat listed in the waves. I swear, for a bunch of land lovers, we didn't even care if the boat tipped over it was so exciting to see this beautiful creature come right up to the boat and play with us. Naturally, my pictures didn't turn out well, so I don't have the full effect of seeing fins and tails and eyes of whales staring at us all. The man who led the tour said he wasn't sure who was watching who. I never expect to see whales that close again in my whole life. What an awesome day we had.

As we pulled back into Gloucester harbor four hours later, they had a raffle for a prize of one free ticket to a future cruise. Guess who won. George!!!

What a great day. We can't believe how wonderful it was to see those beautiful creatures.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nap time

I have often wondered where the kittens sleep when we are at work all day. I have found Safari under the end table in the den taking a nap. No surprise there. But I was amazed to see where Simba chose to take her nap for two days in a row. A comfy platter on the dining room buffet.


Have a great day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Safari playing hard to get

Our big boy Simba

At home with the kitties

George and I spent a lot of time at home this week. It has been a relaxing summer, and having the kitties here waiting for us means that we are happy to come home after work and relax with our little furry family.

The kitties have the run of the house all day and they don't mess up a thing. One day they found a kitty stick toy that I had put away, and there it was all wrapped up in it's bag on the kitchen floor. At least when they get into things, they get into the right things! Pretty smart to get up on the counter and find a new toy still in it's plastic sleeve.

George has made great big strides with Safari, who now lays down and lets us pet her, and often lays down to be picked up. She loves the head scratching and is really getting the hang of being a lap cat. She is not shy, but she likes to do her own thing. She is never far away from where we are, and often sits halfway up the stairs when I am getting dressed in the morning. The upstairs rooms are off limits to kitties, and they wait for us on the stairs. Cute.

Petco has been a frequent stop for little toys and more tiny cans of catfood. We spare no expense with these kitties, and it makes me wonder why Thunder had to make do with a bed and a litter box. Oh well, the world is for the young.

Have a good day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A new toy -- boy what a toy

The kitties got a new cat condo today. It is high and just right. They love it. We do too. A kitty never had it so good.

Have a great day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The kitties discover windows!

Kitty Saturday

On Saturday the kitties get to spend more time in the whole house and don't have to stay in the kitchen. They explore the window sills, the couches, and their favorite hidey hole under the blue couch in the living room. The upstairs is still closed off to them (doors shut) because they have a lot of exploring to do yet downstairs. Simba got into the bedroom yesterday morning and it took us ten minutes to get him out from under the bed. So the rooms upstairs will stay closed off to kitties.

Saturdays for kitties are pretty boring. I am wondering what they are going to do if they have to spend the next 20 years or so exploring this house, but I will wipe that out of my mind. George is working hard to get Safari more comfortable with the whole lap thing. Safari now lies on the couch next to George, in her come hither pose, and we have made big strides in getting her to be less shy. She is by far the more curious of the two. Simba just takes everything in stride, and jumps on every lap he can find.

We have a lot of training ahead of us. Neither kitty will use the new $40 scratching post with the sisal rope. They would rather scratch the purple couch. Last night I decorated the post like a kitty Christmas tree, with fluffy feathers that blow in the air, and a favorite toy, hoping that they will take notice. So far, they haven't, but we have a lot of training ahead of us.

Simba has learned how to climb the back of my computer chair and walk across the keyboard. Bye for now. Hello from Simba: /liouezniop34jk;=dp

Have a great day.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's easy, right??

I bought a feather toy for the kittens the other day and got it out yesterday afternoon. I like to hold a few things back, and when I see that they are bored and ready to get into trouble, I pull out something new for them to play with.

Before I had this brown mouse with long pheasant type feathers out of the package, I had two small cats clawing at my leg trying to get at the thing. I held it high, and unclipped it from it's cardboard backing and tied it to a string and stick. Bad news. Both cats went nuts. I looked to see if there was catnip in this toy, thinking that my cats were now high on drugs. No catnip. It was the feathers they were after. Safari, who is the huntress, immediately got the thing between her paws and started ripping the long beautiful feathers out of it. She got one out right away. I tried to toss the thing around and the cats were falling all over themselves trying to bite it. It got very aggressive. If this continued, I was going to get scratched. I'm trying to play with the kittens, not make them into blood thirsty feather monsters.

Things never improved, and in a few minutes, I cut the new feather toy off the string and hid it in a place where they will hopefully never find it. Since it cost $5.00 I don't have the heart to throw it away. But, frankly, I don't see many options. They act just like outdoor cats act when they are pulling apart a dead bird. Not exactly my idea of nice housecat behavior.

On the back of the feather toy package, there is a copywrited color wheel chart that lists a kitties "Complete Needs" system. According to this fancy chart, cats need privacy, scratching, hunting, resting, stimulation, hygiene, exercise, nutrition, independence, treats, interaction and safety.

No wonder George and I are tired.

Have a great day.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Yvonne, come here!

I heard these firm words this morning, as George stood looking out the kitchen window. I know when George says this, firmly and quietly, that something amazing is happening in the back yard. Sometimes it is a herd of wild turkeys, one time a huge pregnant raccoon drinking out of the birdbath in broad daylight. Today, I went to the window to look and there was a hawk sitting on the lawn pulling feathers out of an ex-pigeon.

We have been bothered by the pigeons that are coming to eat out of the bird feeder. They line up on the roof and do their pigeon things up there, and we don't want them. They are messy, and look ridiculous trying to hang on to the finch feeder, sometimes four deep, twirling and unbalanced where they do not belong. We asked them to go back to Boston Common, but they don't listen. George sometimes resorts to throwing a pail, or garden tool, or whatever is at hand. I bang on the upstairs bathroom window with a can of hairspray. Well, today I think they are listening. It was unnaturally calm for a while this morning. In fact, there were no birds anywhere for awhile. Seeing a predator will do that to a fella.

This is the second pile of feathers we have found on our lawn. We thought a cat had caught a bird. Now we know who the real hero is. A beautiful, brown, and magestic hawk. And it isn't some hapless bird, but a pigeon as big as a small chicken. You go Mr. Hawk.

Have a great day.


Today the kitties were roaming around the house and it became apparent that they were sleepy and ready for their nap. I put them in the kitchen, with the door closed, and went to work at my beading table. In a while, I looked behind me, and the kittens were up on the shelf in their cage, with their heads together, leaning on each other and enjoying a peaceful kitty nap. George took this picture, and you can see the back of my head. They love their playpen/cage, and I'm glad that we have a peaceful place for them to go where they feel secure and safe.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Incredible Love Bug (Simba)

Space Cat

Safari likes the wool rug

Home Bodies

George and I are spending a nice Friday night at home with our cats, watching the opening of the Beijing Olympics. The kitties are in bed after three hours of fun exploring. We are happy that they are adjusting so well, and getting to know their new home. Safari spent some time behind the china cabinet, and Simba likes to explore behind the TV, but they also had time for some love bugging.

Have a great night.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kitties in the living room

Tonight was a big step in a kitty's life. We had our first long visit in the living room. There are so many fascinating things to see. Safari was amazed by the little rocker. Simba likes just about everything. Safari discovered the window to the world first. It is going to be nice not to have to take a nap on the kitchen floor anymore!

Training cats and parental instincts

George and I are pretty strict parents I guess. A friend of mine has a new kitty that was alone and unwanted. They picked her up a week ago and that little kitty has the run of the whole house already. That little kitten hasn't been to the vet yet, and already has access to several rooms and a screened-in patio. I also heard that she likes to hide, and has scared her owners to death more than once. I'm sure this kitty will be fine, and will grow up to be a wonderful cat, but because we went through a shelter adoption agency, our process for making a home for our kittens is very different.

In comparison, our kitties came to us with a file full of vet records, paperwork and lots of baggage. They have all the shots needed for the first year, and were spayed and neutered and one was microchipped. (Little Safari still has that to look forward to.) We acquired cages, beds, toys, scratching posts, litter boxes, bags of food and lots of advice from the shelter foster mom. We have gained knowlege in the process of adopting and I have bought and read four books about raising kitties from Amazon. It is a crash course in kittydom.

George and I are working to train our kitties to mesh with our lifestyle. They have the kitchen to run and play in during the day, and at bedtime, they both scurry into their cage, and bunk down for the night. The cage doors are closed, and locked, and we know where they are. They aren't unhappy about that, and neither are we, and we are all in our beddies by 9:30 p.m. I haven't told these kitties that cats are nocturnal, and maybe they won't find out by themselves. One can hope.

Our plan is to acclimate the kitties and get Safari to be less scared of being picked up by leaving them in one room. We also wanted to make sure they wouldn't escape. We have an "air lock" to make sure; we don't open one door to the outside, until we have shut the other. This means we have to stand in a very tight space and suck it in, but it is worth the effort when we imagine what it would be like to see a kitty streak through to the outside.

The kittens are big in size but small in experience. Safari explores the top of the kitchen counter, and I fully expect her to find the kitchen window to the world one of these days. Simba is like the adolescent athlete. He jumps, climbs the cage and hangs from one leg and isn't much curious about the rest of the world. He is happy and well adjusted. Safari is wary and curious. She tiptoes across the counter in front of the sink as if she is traversing a rope bridge over the Amazon valley. She peers at each dish and is very stealthy. And she must think she is doing something wrong, because when we come in the door, she jumps for the floor. I have never seen her get up to the counter except once, when she jumped from a chair. Without the chair there, I don't know how she does it. Simba is the strong and fearless jumper, not Safari, but there she is, tiptoeing up to the KitchenAid mixer in wonderment of it all.

Someday soon I imagine it is time to open the door and let the kittens explore the house. But, it seems right now, that they have enough to learn in their own little kitchen-world and we are very happy to know where they are.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The blur on the left is Safari with the Ex-Feather

If it flies like a bug, its a bug.

The other day I went into the kitchen and found that the kitties had chewed off the feathers from their feather toy. The upsetting thing about this is that I never found the feathers, so they are probably already digested. I've learned another lesson about feather toys. Now we are left with a small stick with an elastic cord and a bell at the end. Safari is CRAZY for that bell. It is her favorite toy. She is the one who likes bugs, and this little light weight bell flinging around is just the kind of fly she likes. She jumps and twirls and hangs from the rafters when that bell is around.

I have to be careful, because I don't want to hit her in the eye with it, and I don't want her to eat and swallow it, so I have it securely fastened and we only play with it a few minutes at a time. But she loves it so much, I can't resist.

Simba will play jump around the kitchen like a madman with all toys. He likes the big yellow fake feather one the best. Fake feathers are much sturdier than real ones, and since they are made out of fabric, they hold up to chewing much better than real feathers. They sell feather toys for cats that have long elegant and colorful feathers, and look beautiful. Those would last about five minutes.

We change the toys around, and give them someone new to play with, and put the older things away and then bring them out again later. This seems to satisfy that curiosity. Still you don't always need store bought toys. One of Safari's favorite things to do is to go by the back door and hide under one of George's nylon coats and wait for Simba to find her and pounce on her.

Who needs pretty feathers when and old gray coat will do just fine.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Life is 10% stuff and 90% kittens

George and I went to Paxton, Massachusetts on Saturday to join Michael and Michelle and her family at the memorial service for her grandmother. As I read about her grandmother, who I only met once, I wished I had known her better. Her home is filled with beautiful artwork that she created, and I would have had fun talking to her about that. I did get a chance to talk to Michelle's grandfather about his rhododendrens and the beautiful large plantings by the front door. The two acres of land in the back were beautiful and serene, and while we were there, a gentle rain was falling and everything was emerald green. It was lovely.

Paxton is a historical place, and I would like to learn more about it. It is interesting to think what it would have been like to grow up there. It is very different than the plains and praries of Oklahoma. The Paxton Congregational Church in the center of town was built in 1728. It was standing for 140 years before Oklahoma became a state. No wonder we are "sooners". Massachusetts is full of history, and makes me wish sometimes that I was a "later" instead.

The kittens are doing well. Safari has discovered climbing, and has been to the top of the cage (like the top of the Empire State Building in kitten terms), and is very interested in bugs and flies. She can chase and catch and bat, and is really agile and quick and intensely interested. I hope one of my china cups never comes between her and a fly. The cup will lose.

Simba has learned how to jump over to my lap and nuzzle in for some petting. Safari stands nearby and watches, and now rubs just a little on my leg. She is coming around. They are a handful, and just taking the time to play with them several times a day sort of wears us out. George lays down on the kitchen floor and pets Safari gently to get her used to being touched. And sometimes he taks a little snooze there. Since the kittens arrived, sleeping on the kitchen floor doesn't seem strange at all!

Have a great day.

Paxton, Mass

Friday, August 01, 2008

Great Balls of Fur!

Our kittens are great balls of fur. We play every morning and every night and the fur really flys. Simba can jump four feet in the air, as high as the kitchen counter, and she can do almost that well. They chase the feather toy, and I have to be careful so we don't hurt ourselves. Claws out! Beware!

George and I are spending a lot of time in the kitchen with the kittens, and they are showing the effects of all this good food and love. They stay in the kitchen all day, and the play must have been really good yesterday, because they were two sleepy kitties last night.

Pictures of kitties in play are all a blur. They love to play together, and once or twice a day, they indulge in a playful love fest, where they hug each other and roll around like two wrestlers. They are all "claws in" when they do this, and there are no yelps or scratches....just a lot of rolling hugs.

Have a great day.