Monday, June 30, 2008

A very noisy day

It didn’t look as though Monday was going to be a good day for the cats. To start off with, the Daddy had run out of squishy food and told them that he’d get more for them by lunchtime, but they’d have to settle for crunchies this morning. Crunchies are fine as a snack, but they just aren’t breakfast. It would have been okay if the Daddy had made them bacon or steak or even chicken, but he just left them with crunchies and a promise.

Next, the Daddy pulled out the dreaded bacoom. He didn’t do anything with it right away, but still, it was a scary presence right there in the kitchen. None of the cats like the bacoom, but Peep hated it. When the bacoom started its horrible roaring, LT and Rudy generally just took off for parts unknown, but for the Peep, it was a more difficult issue. If Fuzzy were anywhere around she wouldn’t be able to go outside, and it always seemed as though the bacoom chased her from room to room. It roared at her and threatened to eat her. She didn’t want to be breakfast for the bacoom, particularly since she hadn’t had a good breakfast herself.

After he’d finished his coffee, the Daddy stuck the bacoom’s tail into the wall and it started to roar. LT and Rudy had already left when they saw it in the kitchen. Peep ran into the living room and jumped up to look out the window. “Oh no! Fuzzy’s out by the poo field. I can’t go out there now.” Peep was terrified. Where could she go? The Daddy was fighting with the bacoom – it seemed that he had trouble controlling it. He’d push it and pull it and it was obviously trying to get away from him. She just knew he was trying to keep it from eating her, and wasn’t sure he could control it.

Peep ran past the two of them struggling in the kitchen and hid under the bed. She could still hear it, but at least it couldn’t get at her. She cowered and shook with fear. After a few minutes it seemed to go into the living room. Maybe the Daddy would win his battle with it in there and they wouldn’t come into the bedroom. She heard it make a higher pitched noise and then all of a sudden the bacoom was quiet, although now the Daddy started yelling at it. He seemed to be mad at it because it had eaten something.

Peep crept out of the bedroom and into the door of the living room. He had the bacoom lying on its back and had his hand in its mouth. “Be careful, Daddy,” Peep yelled to him. “Don’t let it eat your fingers. I love you Daddy, be careful!” She watched as he pulled out a long string and helped it to stand up. Peep thought that if she were the Daddy she’d have left it lying helpless on its back. After a minute it began to roar again, and Peep ran back under the bed.

As she lay shaking under the bed she heard the bacoom come roaring towards her. She asked the Higher Cat to please make it go into the office, but that feline obviously wasn’t listening to her or had as little control over the bacoom as she did. It roared into the bedroom and stuck its ugly head right under the bed. Luckily it was so tall that only its mouth really fit under the bed, but it was still too much for Peep. She ran out the other side, vaulted onto the bed and ran into the living room. She hoped that since the Daddy had already fought with it in there that they wouldn’t come back. Peep crouched under the television next to her friend the pig. The pig didn’t seem to be bothered by the noise, but then again he was only a statue.

Finally Daddy got the best of the bacoom and it was silent. He put it back in its lair and Peep breathed a sigh of relief. If it hated having its tail stuck in the wall so much, why did the Mommy and Daddy keep doing it? It was more than she could understand. The Daddy came into the living room and said, “Peep, it’s safe to come out. I’m done with the vacuuming. I have to go to work for a little while, but then I’ll be back with canned food.”

Peep sighed and jumped onto the fleecy thing on top of one of the chairs. Now she could rest. What a day, and it wasn’t even lunchtime! She did think though that it probably couldn’t get any worse.

Peep was wrong. It did get worse. As Peep slept, heavy dark clouds moved over the yard, and she was woken by a very loud and very close clap of thunder. She levitated about two feet, right into the Windsor chair stacked on top of the chair she was lying in. “Ouch!” she screamed. She looked out the window, and as she watched the skies opened and the rain came down in sheets, in buckets, in bathtubs. She’d never seen that much rain at one time.

Rudy and LT came running through the cat door soaking wet. “It’s terrible out there, Peep. You better get away from the windows in case the lightning strikes close by.” LT said. Peep jumped down and as lightning lit up the darkened room she squeezed under the couch. It was the smallest place she could think of, and no way could the lightning get here there! For the next ten minutes it was flash-crash, flash-crash as the storm raged around them. Rudy soon joined her, saying that she didn’t want Peep to be scared, but Peep thought Rudy was pretty scared herself. LT sat under the coffee table, guarding them.

Finally the storm moved away and the rain slowed. Peep crept out and jumped up to look out the window. The yard was a puddle, a swamp, a lake! So much water! Would the Daddy be able to get home to them? Across the yard, she could see a drenched Fuzzy crouching at the edge of the trees. She could almost feel bad for her brother, having been out in that storm, but not bad enough to invite him in. LT saw where she was looking, and stuck his head out the door. “Fuzzy, use my winter house! You can get dry in there.” Gratefully, Fuzzy ducked into it and they could see him starting to groom himself.

“That was nice, LT,” Peep said to him and gave him a kiss. “I don’t much like Fuzzy, but I don’t want him to get hit by lightning or get sick from being drenched.” LT just snuggled next to her warm little body. He was still a bit wet himself. The three cats watched as the rain stopped and the sun came out. The yard steamed and it became almost foggy with all the water all over the grass.

They saw the Daddy’s truck pull in and around the house. A few minutes later he came in the house. “What a storm! I had just come out of Shop Rite when it started to rain, and had to sit in my truck for fifteen minutes before I could drive. I was afraid the truck would be hit, it was so much taller than the little cars around it, but I’m okay. The yard is a mess, though. Leaves down, flowers crushed, and half the yard under water! Are you guys okay?” As he said this he was pulling cans out of his bag.

Wonder of wonders! There were some of those little tiny cans that had the delicious squishy food in it, not just the regular stuff he bought usually. “I bought this for you as a treat, to say I was sorry for not having canned food this morning. Will you forgive me?” he said as he put the contents of each can on its own plate. He placed two on the floor and one on the table for LT. Each cat went to a plate, and happily began to eat.

Before she started, Peep said, “Thank you Daddy. I forgive you and I’m glad you didn’t get hurt in the storm. Can we have a calm day now?” Then she buried her face in the food and quickly ate the delicious squishy food.

The Daddy looked out the window, took out something from the bags for him to eat and settled down at the table. “I think that’s enough for all of us for today. Let’s have a quiet afternoon. Maybe television and a nap.” Pee agreed, that was calm enough for her.

Photo courtesy of Tomasz G. Sienicki -

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And now a word from the Peep

After reading the installment that Miss Rudy posted late last evening, I thought about how nice it would be to ask Peep and LT what they would like to see written about them. Unfortunately, I’m not one of LT’s favorite people, unless neither Jay nor Mary Rose has been around and he is hungry. Since LT seemed well fed and Jay isn’t away, LT will have nothing to do with me. Peep on the other hand had a few things to say. I told her what I’d been writing so far, and she was delighted with most of it, but had a few things she wanted to include in the story, so here goes –

Peep, sadly is the product of a broken home. Her father was a wandering tomcat who left her mother before she was even born. She regrets that she only met him once when he came to visit her mother and got a badly scratched nose for his trouble. You see, he hadn’t been very nice to Peep’s mother that day, and had criticized the kittens. He said they were scrawny, and she replied that if he’d been providing food for them, they wouldn’t be so skinny. She then scratched him and he left.

Peep was the smallest of the family, and was picked on by her brothers and sisters. Fuzzy was by no means the largest of the other four, but he was the fiercest. He began bullying her as soon as their eyes were open. Her one sister was a black and white cat, and looked like Miss Rudy with short hair. She wasn’t exactly kind to Peep, but she wasn’t as mean as her brothers. The largest of the kittens was named Bruiser, and with good reason. He beat up all of the other kittens, and even scratched his mother when he was only two weeks old. The rest of them ganged up on him and he settled down a bit. He left the litter probably sooner than he should, because he was caught by a local fox and provided a tasty supper for him. The other brother was Roger, and he was the smartest of the bunch. He bugged Peep only because the others did. He was much more interested in learning about things. He was adopted early by some visitors to the family, as he was a handsome black tom.

Once the kittens were old enough, their mother gave them the boot, well that is she strongly encouraged them to move out on their own. Peep didn’t really think she was old enough. She was definitely the smallest of the kittens, and was also the shiest. When they’d all lived together, her cat mother had protected her at least a little from her siblings, but now she was truly at their mercy.

If one of them had food, they wouldn’t share it with Peep. If the owner of the property they lived on (you couldn’t really call him an owner because he sure didn’t take care of them) put out food, as he did every once in a while, the other cats would chase her away and not let her have any of it.

Starving and miserable, Peep decided to go into the woods to die. There was nothing she could do right. She couldn’t hunt well enough, wasn’t smart enough and no one, but no one, liked her. She moved through the woods on the side of her property, and found an odd looking tower. It seemed to be a bunch of metal legs that went up as far as she could see. She couldn’t figure out what it was for, and considered trying to climb it and jump off. It didn’t look easy to climb, so she kept going. Next she saw a truck, or part of one, and then a low building. There was a largish truck next to it and then an area of lawn.

As Peep sidled along the edge of the woods, she was spotted by a tall thin man. He saw a cute and very scrawny kitten that looked to be no more than a month old. He knelt down and made little noises, like fake meows and hissy noises, except they weren’t threatening. He put his hand out towards her, but didn’t rush at her. Peep was intrigued by this person. The only people she’d seen so far were loud and large, and didn’t seem to like cats (except for the one who’d taken Roger away). She hunkered down and watched the man, who continued to make the nice little noises. Peep edged a little closer, but was afraid to go right up to him.

The man got up and slowly went into the house, and came out with a bowl of something that smelled delicious. He put it down where he’d been kneeling before and backed off a little bit. Peep was so hungry that she couldn’t resist that food. She crept up, almost on her belly. She was so scared, but even more hungry. She stuck her nose into the food and ate it as fast as she could, while still watching the quiet man. He just sat there and watched her. When she finished, she ran as fast as she could back to the edge of the woods. Still he stayed there, and he began to talk to her and tell her what a beautiful little kitten she was.

Oh, this was so new to Peep! She’d been called runt, scrawny and a bunch of names she didn’t even want to think about by Bruiser and Fuzzy. As he talked he sat down on the ground, perfectly willing to sit and talk to Peep for as long as she’d stay. He kept one hand out a little bit towards her, but he didn’t try to creep up on her or pounce or anything.

Peep felt her little heart melt just a little bit. It had frozen into a hard little lump because of all of the sadness she’d had in her few months of life. A little sound came out of her mouth, although she hadn’t even meant to say anything. She just said to the man, “Peep. My name is Peep.”
It seemed like he understood her, because he smiled a big smile and said, “Peep! You peeped at me.”

Peep didn’t think she peeped. Baby chicks peeped, and she wasn’t a baby chick, but she did have a dainty meow. The man made a little chirping noise, almost like a wild bird and rubbed his fingers together. Since he’d called her by name, Peep took a chance and slunk towards him along the ground.

The man just held out his fingers and let Peep sniff them. After she’d smelled him, he gently reached and scratched her head. Oh, what a feeling! No one had ever scratched her head before, and it had been weeks since her cat mother had given her a bath. It felt so good she started purring. The two of them sat there getting to know each other, Peep and the nice man.

He said his name was Jason, but people called him Jay. He said he had a cat that lived with him named LT, but that he had really been looking for a little black kitten to make their home complete. For a moment, Peep thought that he might mean Fuzzy, but he was smiling at her so much she knew he meant her. Finally he picked her up and carried her into the house where he introduced her to LT.

Peep told me that this was the best day of her life, and the second best day was when the Mommy came to live all the time with the Daddy. She told me that she tends to forget that there was a time when the Mommy wasn’t there. Peep says that with the Mommy she now has the family she feels she never had, and that she really wishes the Mommy would come home soon

Photo courtesy of FurKids, a non-profit no-kill animal shelter in Atlanta, Ga.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miss Rudy's perfect day

Miss Rudy woke up on Saturday morning with a smile on her face, because she knew it was goind to be a perfect day. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze and Daddy was off today. I She strolled into the kitchen where he was cooking bacon. Daddy had it ready just the way that Rudy liked it, and he broke off half a piece of cooled and drained bacon and fed it to her. Peep came in begging, but Daddy made sure that Rudy had all she wanted before he even loked at Peep. Finally Rudy decided that she was done with the bacon and waited by the back door for Daddy to notice that she wanted to go out. He noticed, as he always did, and stopped feeding Peep to let her out.

Rudy walked out into the backyard and considered whether she should have Daddy let her back in or have an outdoor nap. Seeing LT on the porch, Rudy decided to join him, since he adored her so. Rudy walked onto the porch and settled down next to LT. He snuggled up to him, and he nuzzled her ear and licked her face to show that he cared. The two of them fell asleep just lying the beautiful sunlight.

When I Rudy woke, it was time for a hunt. There were mice out there just waiting to be caught. She prowled out to the edge of the trees and settled down silently to wait for her prey. After only a few minutes, she heard a group of mice singing as they walked through the trees. The little rodents were singing about how smart they were and how they’d never be caught by cats. As they walked towards Rudy she burst out of her hiding place and surprised the mice. She caught one under each paw and one in her mouth, leaving a fourth to run back to all his little mice friends to tell of her hunting prowess. LT stood by, amazed at her skill. She graciously shared her mice with him, because he adored her so much.

Peep came out while they were dining and asked if she could have a mous, since they had three. LT looked at her and told her to get lost, this was his and Rudy’s together time and she was just in the way. Peep slunk back to the house, crushed.

After their bounteous lunch, I Rudy lay on the porch and prepared for a bath. She washed her beautiful fur until it shown like silk and was as soft as a baby bunny’s tummy. She stood at the back door for a moment, meowed once and the Daddy rushed from the office to let Rudy into the house. He opened a fresh can of food for her, but since she was still full, she simply nosed it and walked into the bedroom where she arranged herself on the comforter – a picture of beauty. All in all, it was a perfect day.

OK, here’s the scoop. When I came to Blogger today to write today’s installment, I found that this had already been posted by Miss Rudy. I’m not one to turn down a free day, even if I don’t think she did justice to poor Peep. On the other hand, I have been writing about Peep a lot in the last few days, and this must have been Rudy’s way of getting back into the story line! - Ande

The Case of the Missing Frog - Day Two

Friday morning found Peep no closer to solving the mystery of the missing froggie. Peep’s confrontation with LT and Miss Rudy hadn’t gone well yesterday, and she still had no idea where the frog might be. LT had been downright insulting when she’d asked them if they’d taken the frog. Well, okay, maybe she’d kind of accused them of taking it, but that’s what all the facts had pointed to.

“Peep, why would either of us want your smelly old frog? It’s disgusting!” LT had almost bristled, he was so angry. “We’re your family, Peep. Family don’t steal from family.”

“Well, I thought perhaps you or Rudy had taken it as a joke, maybe,” Peep said in a little voice. This interrogation wasn’t going well. She was supposed to be an intrepid detective, maybe even a little forceful, and here she was sounding like a little kitten being scolded by its mommy cat.

Trying to smooth things over Rudy said, “Peep, we might pull jokes on you sometimes, but we wouldn’t take your favorite toy. Well, at least we didn’t take it. We might do something like that, but we’d admit it. Well, we would unless it were a really well-planned joke, but it isn’t, this time. We didn’t take the frog, although it would have been a good idea, if we’d thought of it….”

Rudy’s answer hadn’t helped a lot. LT had laughed and said that it would have been a good idea for a joke, but since the frog was gone and they hadn’t taken it, it wasn’t their joke. They suggested that Peep must have put it somewhere and forgotten where she’d put it. As if! Peep knew she wasn’t that forgetful.

On Friday, Peep decided that she’d have to do a more thorough investigation of the house. She went through the living room, moving knick-knacks and books on shelves and crawling under everything in the room. She ended up dusty, but without finding her frog.

She repeated her search in each room, and every time she found another cat toy, she brought it into the living room and added them to the line she’d started yesterday. She’d missed quite a few in her previous search, but she hadn’t gone behind furniture and into dark, somewhat scary places.

She also found a trove of pencils, bits of paper and stray change and screws. She eeled herself into places that probably no one had visited since the Daddy had bought the house. In one very inaccessible spot she encountered what she decided must be a dust elephant, since it was way too big to be a dust mouse, or even a dust bunny. It was gray and quite large, so elephant was a good way to describe it. She poked at this elephant, to make sure he wasn’t concealing her froggie. She was relieved to find that it didn’t react to her – something that large and old might have come alive! It also didn’t contain her frog.

By the time she was done, she was a gray cat instead of a black one. She had so much dust coating her fur she thought she’d make a cloud if she sneezed. Peep carefully went outside through the cat door before she tried to get the dust off. She was a responsible cat, you know, and didn’t want to make the house any more dusty than it was.

The Daddy was walking towards the house from the street as Peep emerged onto the deck. He did a double-take and said, “Peep, is that you? You’re covered in so much dust, you look like a long-haired gray cat.” He knelt down and Peep walked over to him. He carefully used his hands to brush the dust off of her coat. It did make quite a cloud and both of them sneezed several times before he was done.

“What were you doing, that you got so dusty, Peep? Did you decide to take over the vacuuming and roll around on the floor to collect the dust?” Jay had no idea what Peep might have done to get so dusty. He hadn’t even known there was that much dust in the house. He thought that maybe he should vacuum a bit more often. He picked up Peep and carried her into the house.

Jay sat down on the couch, putting Peep on his lap. He noticed the line of cat toys, which had grown longer since yesterday. The ones at the end of the line were covered in dust to varying degrees. “Hmmm, I think I know how you got your fur so dusty, Peep. You were collecting your cat toys. I didn’t know you had so many.”

Peep jumped down, and pawing at one or two of them said to the Daddy, “Where’s my frog? I found all these others, but my frog is missing, and you’re the only other person who might know where it is. I really wish you could understand me!”

“I bet you really want that crinkly frog back, don’t you, Peep. After we played yesterday morning, I noticed how dirty it was, so I washed it and hung it outside on the clothesline. Let me go get it for you.” The Daddy went out the back door and returned in a moment with her froggie, who did look much better.

Daddy crinkled the frog for Peep, and tossed it to her. She tackled it, and flipping over onto her back held it between her paws and bit its head. She growled at it, pulled it out from between her paws and whipped it around, holding it only with her teeth. She opened her mouth and it flew across the room and Peep followed in hot pursuit. It skidded underneath the corner shelf and she pounced on it, kneading it with both paws to make it crinkle over and over.

The Daddy sat on the couch and laughed at Peep’s antics. It was always so much fun to watch Peep being the brave hunter. Finally, Peep exhausted herself and crawled back onto the couch with the Daddy, where she let him scratch her ears.

It had really seemed as though the Daddy had understood her when she asked him about the frog. Was it a coincidence? He’d almost seemed to answer her question. She figured she’d try again. “Daddy, can you give me a nice can of tuna all to myself right now?”

“I love you too, little Peep,” the Daddy answered.

Wrong answer. She was glad he loved her, but at the moment, she would have rather had the tuna.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Case of the Missing Frog

On Thursday morning, the Daddy had stayed around the house for a while after breakfast playing with the Peep. He’d thrown balls for her, wrestled with her, and played with her favorite toy, the blue crinkly frog. The frog was so much fun, it didn’t really look like the bullfrog out by the pond, but it was obviously meant to be a frog. It was squishy soft, but it also had something crinkly inside, so whenever Peep pounced on it, or dug her claws into it, it made a fascinating sound.

After the Daddy had left for work, Peep had settled down with her frog for a small nap. It had been an exhausting workout, playing with the Daddy, and she just needed a few minutes of rest. Three hours later, Peep awoke with a start. She thought she’d heard a noise, but everything was quiet now. What woke her up like that? Well, she didn’t know.

Peep stretched and yawned slowly. What a pleasure that was. All your joints and muscles loosen up and you feel so good, you almost want to go back to sleep. As Peep tried to decide whether to return to sleep or continue waking up, she looked around. Something wasn’t right. Something was missing. The furniture was all there, the television, the rugs, lamps, what was missing? She stretched out her left paw, and it hit her. Where was the frog? It had been right under her left paw when she went to sleep.

Peep jumped up, no longer thinking of leisurely naps. Had she rolled over and lain on the frog, or pushed it under a chair in her sleep? She carefully looked around the rug where she’d fallen asleep, but there was no frog. Using her keen nose, she sniffed the rug and the air around her for scents of intruders. The air smelled the same as always. The rug – well, maybe the Daddy needed to clean the rug. It didn’t smell that good, and actually it smelled so bad that it probably covered the scent of any stranger who’d come to steal her froggie. It was that rug the Daddy had brought home with him a little while ago – the really long one that was fun to bunch up.

A full house search was in order. She combed the house, looking either for the frog or clues to who might have taken it. She went through the living room, kitchen, office, bedroom, spare room, bathroom, and hallway. No froggie. Nothing else seemed out of place or missing, so it wasn’t a general burglary.

Next Peep decided to inventory her cat toys. She found her balls, her furry mouse and other assorted odd toys the Mommy had bought for her. She didn’t even know what some of them were, but she played with them just enough to show the Mommy that she was grateful for them, even when they weren’t all that entertaining. Nothing else was missing. She got distracted by the furry mouse for a bit, growling at it and worrying the fur with her teeth. Then she remembered what she was doing, and put the mouse back in the line of toys.

She went to the cat door and sniffed it for scents of intruders. Nope, just Miss Rudy and LT. She sniffed the back door, just the scent of the Daddy. Perhaps she’d gotten up in her sleep and done something with the frog? Had she dreamt of frogs? She didn’t think so. Just in case, she decided to see if maybe she’d taken the toy frog outside.

After making sure the yard was Fuzzy-free, Peep ventured outside and sniffed around - literally and figuratively. No frog on the deck, no toy frog near the pond. The real frog was there, and she wished she could talk to him. He could tell her if she’d done something stupid like tossing her toy frog into the lily pond. She hoped she hadn’t. She didn’t smell her own scent anywhere around the pond, so she didn’t think she’d been out here any time this morning.

She worked her way around the house, sniffing for other cats and even her own scent. There were faint traces of Fuzzy, none of Ginger, and lots for LT and Miss Rudy. The only time she found her own scent was when she crossed a path she’d just walked on. There were no dog scents, and no traces of raccoons, opossum or even mice. Boring day.

Going back inside, Peep considered the case, as she now thought of it. She was Peep, Cat Detective, on the job. Fact one – the froggie was missing. Fact two – there was no trace of intruders. Fact three – nothing else appeared to have been taken.

What conclusion could she draw from these important facts? She wished LT or Rudy were around so she could talk to them about this. Wait a minute. LT and Rudy weren’t around. Why weren’t they around? Was it because they had guilty consciences? Facts one, two and three all pointed to only one conclusion. LT and/or Rudy had taken her froggie. Now detective Peep needed to
confront the perpetrators.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Responsibilities - Dinner for the Daddy

Life was getting back to normal, well as normal as life could be without the Mommy. The Daddy was home, and everyone was happy. The Daddy even seemed happier, but that was probably because he’d seen the Mommy. Peep was jealous. Why hadn’t he taken her to see the Mommy? She missed the Mommy even more than the Daddy did. It wasn’t quite fair, she thought.

Looking at the Daddy while he was getting his coffee, Peep noticed that he seemed to be even skinnier than he always was. She and the Daddy were similar, that way. Both were on the slender side. Sleek, even, but now the Daddy looked really skinny. Thinking back, Peep remembered the Daddy being that skinny a long time ago. She thought it was before the Mommy was around every day.

Peep wondered what was different that the Daddy would lose weight. She watched the Daddy drinking his coffee and wished he’d make some bacon and eggs. She loved bacon, although she didn’t think much of the eggs. Then it hit her – the Daddy didn’t cook the way the Mommy did, and he probably wasn’t eating well! That wasn’t good. She didn’t want him to get sick from not eating.

Was there anything she could do? Obviously she couldn’t cook for the Daddy, she didn’t know how to. Cats eat their food the way they find it. Mice – raw. People food – cooked, usually. Cat food – whatever. That led her to wonder if cat food was cooked or raw. It obviously wasn’t just chopped up mice, because it didn’t smell right. She’d like it if there were mouse cat food, but she doubted she’d ever see it.

Cat food did come in various types. Sometimes it was ground up stuff, other times it was chunks or slices of things. It was nice to have variety in your food. Sometimes it was tuna – those days were heavenly. She did so love tuna. If she could operate a can opener, she would eat every can of tuna that ever came into the house.

Well, all this musing wasn’t helping with the Daddy’s problem. Was there anything she could do to help feed the Daddy? It was something quite grown-up to do and it would probably impress the Mommy quite a bit when she found out about it. Now what would the Daddy like to eat?

Peep’s first thought was mice or baby bunnies, but she didn’t think he’d eat those. She and the other cats had provided lots of those in the past, and the Mommy and Daddy had never eaten any of them. They just tossed them into the woods – what a waste of good food! Thinking about it, she didn’t recall them ever bringing food into the house that was still wearing its fur. That was probably the problem. The food needed to be de-furred before leaving it, and then they’d eat it. The problem with mice, though, was that by the time you got the fur off, there was almost nothing left. Peep decided that she wouldn’t be providing any meat for the Daddy.
Peep waited for the Daddy to leave to go work, and looked around the kitchen to see if there was anything already there she could make for the Daddy. She couldn’t cook, but maybe if she could put food out that the Daddy would eat. There was a box of cereal, but it was bigger than she was. Maybe she could drag it, though? She went over to the shelves and batted at the box. It teetered and fell down on top of her. She jumped out of the way, and watched the box hit the floor – so far, so good. Peep shoved the cereal box towards the table and positioned it so that it was next to a chair pulled out from the table.

Peep jumped up on the chair and considered how to get the box from the floor to the table. She lay down and stretched out and found she could reach the box. Could she pull it up onto the chair? Maneuvering it, she somehow managed to get it standing on a side. That was better; at least she could reach it more easily. She dug her claws into cardboard of the box and pulled it up towards her. Unfortunately, she found herself sliding off the chair and onto the box. Now it was a somewhat squished box, and it was lying flat again. She tried to stand the box on its side again, and found that it wouldn’t in its current squished state. She decided against cereal and shoved the box under the small table. It wasn’t so obvious there.

Peep decided to sleep on the matter and arranged herself on a favorite chair. She dreamed of mice and bacon and the Mommy, and woke up feeling very much cared for. She settled down for some serious thought. What kind of foods did the Daddy eat that she could get? Salad! The Mommy and Daddy ate salad lots of times. Salad was just green stuff and there was lots of that in the yard.

Peep looked out windows to make sure that Fuzzy was not in sight. LT and Miss Rudy had been doing a wonderful job of keeping her out of the yard, except on Cat Club days. The coast was clear and Peep zipped out of the cat door and into the yard. She looked around, considering her choices.

There was always grass, but she didn’t think she’d ever seen the Mommy and Daddy eat grass. Besides, grass made Peep throw up, and she didn’t feel the need to throw up right now. Peep began to make her selections. She bit found a piece of cactus that didn’t have any spines at the top and sunk her teeth into it. Not a bad taste, but no competition for mice. She worried the leaf off the plant, and carried it up onto the porch. Her plan had been to pile it all on the porch and then bring it in, but she didn’t want to pick up the cactus twice. She jumped onto the kitchen table and carefully put it down where the Daddy always sat for meals.

Going back outside, Peep considered what to get next. There were some lovely large plants with wide leaves at the side of the driveway. She picked one and brought it to the porch and went back for another. Making her way around the yard, Peep managed to assemble quite a variety of greenery.

LT wandered into the yard as Peep sat surveying the collection. “What’s up, Peep? Do you have a stomach ache of monumental proportions?”

“No, LT, this is for the Daddy. He’s getting too skinny, and I think he needs to eat more. It’s salad!” Peep was quite proud of herself.

“That’s good thinking, Peep. Let me help you take it inside.” Between the two of them, they brought it all in and arranged it on the table. Peep tried to make it into an attractive display, and thought she succeeded marvelously.

When the Daddy came home he saw the collection of weeds on the table, topped with a leaf from one of the cactus plants in the yard. Peep was sitting at the end of the table, and said to him, “Daddy, you need to eat more! I got you food for your dinner.”

Jay didn’t quite know what to make of the collection on the table. His first thought was that a friend had come over and put this on his table as a joke, but then he noticed a pattern of cat teeth marks on the cactus leaf. Maybe the cats had brought it in for him? Although he knew the cats had a sense of humor, he didn’t think this was their idea of a joke. Maybe they were trying to tell him something? Maybe he should cut the lawn more often? No, there was no grass in the pile.

Looking at it again, he thought that other than the cactus, it looked kind of like a mesclun salad. Maybe the cats thought he was getting too skinny? Mary Rose had mentioned to him that that he looked like he had lost weight, so maybe the cats noticed it too. Peep was looking at him expectantly. “Peep, thank you for bringing me this fine salad. I don’t feel like a salad right now, but I will make myself a nice pork chop.”

Peep was a bit confused. He didn’t look like a salad, and she surely hoped he wasn’t going to turn into a pork chop. Maybe, he was talking about what he was wanted to eat, though? Well, even if he didn’t eat the salad, he was going to eat something. Mission accomplished.

Photo courtesty of Damon Green -

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A cat named Lassie

Rudy and LT sat companionably on the deck. They were thoroughly enjoying the day because the Daddy had come home last night. “You know, LT, if I could live my life over I would like to have been named Lassie.” Rudy had been thinking about life and had come to this conclusion.

“Lassie? Isn’t that just another word for female?” LT was confused. A name was just a name to him.
“The Granddaddy used to call me Lassie sometimes because I followed people around. He told me about an old-time television show about a dog named Lassie and he said I reminded him of that dog.”

LT was horrified. “How could you like being compared to a DOG! Dogs are a lower life form.”

“I don’t know. I’ve met some pretty good dogs in my life, not that I let them know it. It’s just…” Rudy didn’t know how to say what she felt.

“What’s wrong, Rudy?” asked LT. “Life is good. The Daddy came home, we have enough to eat and we have each other.” He snuggled up against her side. Sometimes girl cats just need reassurance, he thought.

“Well, lets start with what you just said. Rudy. Who ever heard of a female named Rudy?” Miss Rudy asked this question quite seriously.

“That’s why your name is Miss Rudy, even though most everyone just says Rudy.” LT saw this wasn’t going over well and added, “I think it’s beautiful. It’s like Ruby which is a lovely red stone for jewelry.”

“Then my name should be Ruby, not Rudy!” Rudy was yelling by now. “But I’m not a pretty red stone, I’m a black and while cat. I wish I had been a Lassie.”

“Um, we could call you Lassie, ‘guess,” said LT.

“That’s not the point LT. Lassie was brave and loyal and a hero, even. I could have been a cat like that, LT but here I am, nothing but a house cat.”

LT didn’t quite know what to do with a cat in crisis. He’d never seen Rudy like this before. Wait, he had an idea. “Rudy, tell me what you would have been like, what you would have done.”

Smiling, Miss Rudy settled down and thought for a minute. “Well, LT, I would have been a very brave cat. I would have protected the barn and our house here from anyone who might have bad intentions. If I had noticed an animal in trouble, I would have helped it, and if I couldn’t I would have found one of the people and made them go the animal. I’m good at that, LT. That’s why the Granddaddy called me Lassie. I’d follow them around, and when I was hungry I’d run to my food container and then run to the person and do that until I was fed. That’s what the dog, Lassie, used to do when something bad happened.

“Maybe if the barn had caught on fire, I could have chased the gray horse out and then ran for the granddaddy and woke him up by meowing by his window until he woke up. I could have been the hero that saved the house from burning down! Or if a bad guy came to the barn to steal the granddaddy’s electrical supplies, I could have bitten or scratched them and chased them away and saved his business. That’s the kind of cat I would have been. Heroic. Brave.” Rudy sighed. “But I’m just scaredy cat Rudy.”

“I don’t know about that, Rudy, and you can’t regret the past.” LT was taking Rudy seriously now. He knew what was bothering her. “I think you’re a pretty good cat just as you are. You’re pretty brave, anyway. You chase off Fuzzy when he’s in our yard or going after the Peep. I don’t know that any of us has had any opportunities to be heroic, but I bet you would be if the time came.”

“Do you really think I’m brave and heroic, LT?” Rudy’s eyes lit up.

“As much as any cat is, Rudy. Cats that keep company with people are called upon to be companions, not heroes. Are you thinking that you should have done something to get the Daddy home sooner?” LT decided to get to what he thought was the root of the problem.

“Well……yes,” Rudy admitted. “When he didn’t come home, I thought that maybe I should go look for him, or do something to make him come home sooner, but I couldn’t think of anything.”

“That’s the point, Rudy. None of us could think what to do, so we just trusted in the higher cat and the yarn lady to take care of us, and they did. We’re fine and the Daddy did come home.”

“He better not go away again, LT. I don’t think I could take the worry.” Rudy sighed and arranged herself for a nap in the sun.

“Me too, Rudy,” said LT.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Trevethan

Monday, June 23, 2008


By Monday afternoon all three cats were very worried. The yarn lady had come every day and spent time reassuring the Peep that she was loved and cared for. She fed them and then lay on the couch for Peep to crawl on and get love, and catered to Rudy’s inflated ego. Sunday afternoon Miss Rudy had held up the yarn lady’s departure by standing at the door not going in, then going in and immediately coming out and then demanding love. Rudy thought the yarn lady was nice, but awfully gullible. The yarn lady, on the other hand, thought Rudy was just being a prima donna.

LT and Rudy met in the kitchen to evaluate the food situation. There were only another four cans on the shelves, and what would happen if they ran out? Would the yarn lady go and buy more food? That was the job of the Mommy or the Daddy - not the yarn lady!

Rudy looked at LT and said,” “Pottawattamie is looking better every day, LT. Wouldn’t you love to live somewhere that cats are so highly valued?”

“Whatever do you mean, Rudy?” asked LT. “Cats are valued everywhere. Even dogs know that we’re the pinnacle of creation!”

“No – people in Pottawattamie so value their cats that there are special holidays every month for cats, and cats have better birthday parties than people! Instead of stupid dog parks there are salons where cats go for brushing and massages. Oh, and the taxes go for buying cat beds and catnip for every cat in town.”

Rudy would have gone in indefinitely but LT stopped her with a snort.“Rudy, I think you’ve been eating catnip yourself. Where did you hear about this place?” LT shook his head.

“Oh, the gray horse told me all about it when I used to live at the barn. He said it was paradise for cats and that I should try to go live there.” Rudy’s eyes were almost misting with thoughts of Pottawattamie.

LT fell over laughing. “Either the gray horse was trying to get rid of you or he was pulling your tail, Rudy. I know all about Pottawannamie and it’s nothing like that. It’s a place where every family has three cats, and none of the cats are ever neutered. Everyone loves the kittens and they all go to nice homes. Older cats are revered for their wisdom, even by the people.”

Now it was Rudy’s turn to fall over laughing. “You must be kidding, LT. That sounds like a kitty tail that your mother told you.”

“Well, excuse me, Miss Rudy goody-goody! My mother did tell me about Pottawannamie but not as a story! LT’s claws were out, digging into the kitchen floor. How dare Miss Rudy insult his mother!

Neither cat had noticed Peep come into the kitchen. She simply sat down and looked at both of them. “You’re both wrong, you know. The Pottawattamie were an Indian tribe, in Iowa. I believe. When the government said that all the Indians had to go west to a reservation the Pottawannamie were worried about how they would get their livestock there safely. They planned and packed very carefully to make sure they had enough food for them. Their cats were treated best of all. There were special baskets on the horses for the cats to ride in and plenty of good food.”

Rudy and LT looked at Peep as though she’d sprouted an extra head.

“Where did you get that outlandish story from?” asked LT.

“The History Channel of course,” Peep answered smugly. “All cats want to live somewhere that they are valued as much as the Pottawattamie did their cats. It’s basically the same idea as the stories you both told, although Rudy, I think you made some of yours up. Everyone wants to be special to someone and have their needs provided for, or at least be able to provide for themselves and be valued for it. It’s simple!”

Peep wandered back to the living room and curled up on a favorite chair. Rudy and LT looked at each other.“You know, she’s probably right, LT,” said Miss Rudy. “Even if the story isn’t exactly right, what we were saying was the same thing. And I did make up part of mine.”

“Sometimes Peep can be so deep, and other times she has the attention span of a gnat.” LT dug into the crunchie food and Rudy joined him.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This blog has been hijacked by Rudy

I just found out that the yarn lady has been writing this blog, whatever that is, about us for the past three weeks. She used my email account to start it, of all things! When I was checking my email yesterday, I decided to surf the net a bit, and when I checked my Google account, I found, surprise, that there was a blog on my account with of all things, Peep’s name on it. Yeah, I know the email address has all our names, but it’s my email, because the others can’t even type, or read that well. Peep and LT can barely get by reading the cat food cans and the newspaper, which rarely comes in our house anyway. I didn't like today's entry, so I decided to delete it and write my own. Here goes -

The things she’s been writing about us! Exaggeration doesn’t even begin to describe it. That thing about Peep counting – she’s got to have made that one up. Peep doesn’t have enough brains to come in out of the rain, much less count. I heard Daddy say once that if Peep were a person she’d be a blond. I agree – she’s cute and sweet, but she’s a few cards short of a deck in the intelligence department.

And LT – well, he hasn’t been the one calming Peep, it’s been me. I’m the one who tucks Peep into bed at night and gives her kisses, not LT. He couldn’t care less about Peep, because he has eyes only for yours truly. Since I moved in here I’ve had him wrapped around my little toe.

Well, I do agree that we are worried about the Daddy being gone. It’s Sunday, and he’s still not back. I wish I could call him on the phone and talk to him, although it probably wouldn’t do any good, since although I understand him, he doesn’t understand me. Humans are just not that smart, when it comes down to it. I think he should be home today or tomorrow, though, because that’s what the yarn lady said.

I’m going to talk to her for sure when she comes over today. I’ll give her a piece of my mind for writing a blog about us without asking our permission. Isn’t that like identity theft, or theft of intellectual property?

I do think the picture of me on the blog is rather nice, though. The other pictures in the blog are good, too. She’s done a good job finding pictures, although none of the ones really look like me. She should take more pictures of me, I think. I’m way more beautiful than LT or Peep. Well, this has taken so long that I need to have my nap now. A cat needs her beauty sleep, you know!

Rudy, “The Beautiful”
(She did write that about me, you know. It says it right below my picture!)

Saturday, June 21, 2008


When Peep awoke on Saturday morning she went in search of breakfast. She hoped for bacon, but would settle for some fresh squishy food. The plate on the floor was empty, and the dry food was half eaten. What was wrong with the Daddy? Then Peep remembered that he’d gone to Virginia to see the Mommy and she sat down and sighed. She checked the bedroom, just in case he’d come in late, but the bed was still made and there was no sign of the Daddy.

Peep sadly ate some of the dry food and went to look for Rudy or LT. They were both sitting on the deck, enjoying the cool weather. LT looked at Peep and asked, “Are you okay this morning, Peep?”

“I’d be better if there was squishy food, LT, but I’m all right.” She sat down near LT and nuzzled his head. “Do you think the Daddy will be back today?”

“I don’t think so, Peep. When the yarn lady left last night she told Rudy that she’d be feeding us for a few days.“ LT shook his head. “I don’t like the Daddy going off like that. He knows how much we need him.”

Rudy had something to say. “He did get the yarn lady to feed us though. He didn’t abandon us or anything, LT.”

The yarn lady’s car pulled up just then, and she got out and called to them, “Good morning, kitties!”
Rudy followed her in the back door. “Thank you for the delicious tuna last night and what did you bring this morning? We’re hungry!”

The yarn lady washed and refilled the water dish and replenished the crunchies and then opened a can of squishy food. She sat and talked with the cats for a while before leaving and saying she’d be back later.

“Well at least we’re getting fed,” LT grumbled.

All three cats wandered around like lost souls all afternoon. Ginger came over to see if their person had returned and commiserated when she found that he was still away.

“If he doesn’t come back maybe we should all just run away.” Ginger suggested. “I’ve heard that Pottawattamie is a beautiful place for cats.”

LT sighed. He had always wanted to go there, but now was not the time. “Good try, Ginger, but we’re not leaving. The Daddy will need us here when he comes home,” and LT settled down to wait.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where's Daddy?

Friday morning the Daddy was up early, and when he put out the squishy food and lots of crunchies he said to Peep, who was the only cat around, “Peep, I’m going to visit the Mommy today. Ande will take care of you until I come home. Don’t worry, I won’t be gone long.” He bent down and scratched the Peep’s head, which she loved. She was so distracted by the scratching that she didn’t really pay attention to what he’d said.

Peep ate some delicious squishy food; it was tuna, and the good kind. She decided against any munchies and wandered into the living room to think about what she’d tell the Cat Club that night. She figured that since no one had seen her encounter with the little dog, she could play it up a bit. She was going to scratch him, but just hadn’t been able to do it, since the Daddy had grabbed her. It wouldn’t make a good story to tell that she’d scratched the Daddy, since that was a no-no.

Peep had decided that she’d tell them how she’d pounced on the dog and pinned him and got so caught up in the details that she almost forgot the true story. She was recalling how she’d nearly bit his ear off before his owner rescued him when sleep snuck up from behind and claimed her.

When she woke it was late morning and she used her poo box, wandered around the house, snacked a bit and sat on the new little dresser Daddy had put in the living room to watch the birds. It was just the right height for Peep, not to high to jump up on, but high enough that she got a good view. She saw the blue jay that LT hated, several cardinals and a few chickadees. There were also sparrows, but they didn’t count, as there were so many different kinds she could never tell them apart.

Just before dark, Rudy came in for some dinner and to tell Peep that it was almost time for the Cat Club. Peep joined her for more food and a chat. Peep told her the day’s bird list, and Rudy talked about visiting Ginger yesterday. Ginger’s owner was sad, because she was going to have to move soon, and that made Ginger sad, too. Peep thought she’d miss Ginger, but wished that it was Fuzzy who was moving and not Ginger.

At the Cat Club meeting, LT announced that Peep had bravely taken on a Yorkshire terrier the previous day, and invited her to tell her story to the group. Peep started her story, concentrating on her bravery in the face of a dangerous Yorkie. Ginger snickered a bit, but stopped when a car pulled into the driveway. It couldn’t be the Daddy, he was never home now, which was why they chose this time for the Cat Club.

The yarn lady got out of the car, and greeted the cats saying, “Well, what is this? Does the Cat Club meet on Fridays here in Jackson?”
Fuzzy and Ginger ran for the woods, but LT, Rudy and Peep just sat there, because they liked the yarn lady. She never brought horrible dogs over. The yarn lady bent down and scratched Rudy’s and then Peep’s heads. She nodded at LT to show him the respect that he deserved, knowing he wasn’t a cat to accept physical contact from people who were not a part of his family. “I’m just here to feed you and visit for a while. I’ll go in the kitchen and see what I can find. I did bring some special cat food with me,” she said, shaking a grocery bag.

Special food! All three cats’ ears perked up at that. Sometimes the Mommy bought special food – the kind where only a can fed only one cat. It was delicious, but the Daddy wouldn’t buy it because he said it cost too much money and it was just the same slop in a different can. Little did he know! The special food was much tastier.

Rudy followed the yarn lady in through the back door, and Peep scooted in through the cat door. LT waited on the porch. He had an image to maintain, and couldn’t appear to be too eager. Still, as soon as she left, he’d be in there in a New York minute to help himself to his share of the food.

Rudy and Peep watched her put the bag down and take out three little containers. Peep wreathed around her legs as she opened the first two and put the food on plates. “I think I’ll wait to open LT’s until you two have eaten and I’m almost ready to leave – unless of course he comes in. I don’t want you two accidentally eating his food because he doesn’t want to come in while I’m here.”

The yarn lady went into the living room and sat down on the couch, turning on the television. Peep finished her delicious squishy food and went into the living room to join her. She was always nice, and was more than happy to provide head scratches, and even tummy rubs. She would even groom Peep with the brush, but she didn’t see the brush out, so she guessed it would just be scratches and rubs.

Peep jumped up on the couch and arranged herself next to the yarn lady. She leaned into the head scratches, stretched out and presented a beautiful pure black belly to be rubbed. “This is heaven,” Peep said. “Just keep this up for another few hours, and I might be satisfied.”

From the trunk across the room, Peep heard Rudy say, “You are such a hussy, Peep. You’d do anything for fancy food and a tummy rub.”

Peep was too content to get angry. She just laughed and replied, “And you wouldn’t? Okay, maybe not the tummy rub, but you do love to get brushed and you were eating that food as fast as I was.” She closed her eyes and gave herself to the pleasure of the moment. She began to doze off to the dream of little mice combing her belly fur with tiny golden combs.

The yarn lady brought Peep back to awareness saying, “I’m so glad you’re here, Peep. Last time I came over, you were no where to be found. I’ll be here off and on to feed you until Jay comes back from Virginia.”

“Virginia?” Rudy howled. “Now the Daddy’s gone to Virginia? Now we’re in trouble!” Rudy jumped down and went to tell LT.

Peep tried to recall something the Daddy had said to her this morning. It was something about the Mommy, and someone else taking care of them. Her heart sank and she snuggled even closer to the yarn lady. What would they do if the Daddy never came back? The Mommy was already gone, and now the Daddy – both to Virginia. “Boy,” Peep thought. “Virginia must be some special place if both the Mommy and the Daddy went there and left us by ourselves. The Daddy would never leave us for long, though. The last time he went to Virginia he was home the next day, so I won’t worry until tomorrow morning. I’ll just enjoy this lovely tummy rub right now…,” and drifted into sleep.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Peep and the Pooch

Peep woke from her nap late in the afternoon to the sound of voices outside. It sounded like the Daddy and his friend that rode a motorcycle. She liked him because he had a nice voice and he liked to scratch her head. Then she heard a sound she hated – the sound of a dog barking. No self-respecting cat likes dogs, and Peep hated dogs. This one sounded like a little yapper - one of the terrier breeds. “Well. At least it’s not a Doberman,” Peep thought.

The voices came closer, and so, unfortunately did the barking. Peep jumped up and called for LT and Rudy. Neither answered her and she ran to the cat door and called outside to them. They had to hear the racket the dog was making! No one answered her and as the back door opened, Peep ran outside. She sprinted to the edge of the woods calling for LT and Rudy, but neither answered. Where could they be? This was not the time for the house to be left in Peep’s charge - there was a dog out there! No, correct that, there was a dog in the house. In all the time Peep had lived with the Mommy and the Daddy there had never been a dog in the house. What in the world should she do?

Peep ran back onto the deck and stuck her head through the cat door. No dog in the living room, thanks be to the Higher Cat. She slunk through the door and ran under the couch to eavesdrop on the conversation.

“Thanks for coming over and bringing me lasagna, Ken,” the Daddy said. “Mary Rose has spoiled me for my own cooking, I think.”

“You don’t mind that I brought the dog in, do you?” Ken asked.” The kids and their friends were making so much noise that she was a nervous wreck.”

“Not a problem with me, but I’m not sure about the cats. I saw LT and Rudy heading to the neighbors, so it’s probably just Peep here right now.” Jay didn’t want to speak for the cats, who he was sure would not like a Yorkshire terrier in the house.

Peep definitely did not want the dog in the house, but what could she do? She could hear him sniffing around the kitchen chairs, yapping occasionally. “He’s probably getting dog slobber all over our chair legs,” Peep thought. Since she was the only one home it was her responsibility to protect the house, right?

Being a small cat, Peep was afraid of dogs. Their bodies were bigger, their mouths were bigger, their teeth were sharper. Her claws were sharper, but if she was close enough to claw, then she was close enough to get bitten. There was no easy answer for this problem.

Peep peered out from under the couch to get a good look at the dog. “Good grief,” Peep thought. “I’m bigger than he is! I don’t need LT and Rudy to help me; I can mop up the floor with this little rag-mop myself.” With that she ran out from under the couch, hissing and yowling. The fur all over her body and tail stuck straight out as though she was a porcupine, as she ran towards him.

The dog ran between Ken’s legs and under a chair. Peep followed, knocking Ken off balance. He teetered and fell sideways on top of the chair which then crashed to the floor. The leash was wound around one of Ken’s legs and the leg of the fallen chair, pinning the Yorkie in place. Peep sprung over Ken and was about to rake her claws across the dog’s nose when she was grabbed by the Daddy.

“Ouch! You’re hurting me,” Peep yelled. She squirmed and accidentally scratched his arm. Holding her even tighter he ran to the bedroom, tossed her in and slammed the door shut on her. Peep raged and spit, saying, "Let me out of here! You squeezed me and hurt me and you won’t let me protect our house. Meany! Tyrant! Cat abuser!”

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Jay helped Ken untangle the leash and helped him up. “Well, I guess we know how Peep feels about the dog being in the house.”

While Ken checked himself for injuries, Jay looked the poor Yorkie over. He whined and licked Jay’s hand, saying “Think you for rescuing me from that demon cat. I was never so scared in my life!”

“You should be scared, rag-mop!” Peep yelled from the bedroom. “When I get out of here you’ll be dog meat!”

Ken picked up the shivering dog and he and Jay walked outside.” Maybe bringing him here wasn’t a good idea,” Ken said ruefully. They went onto the deck and sat to continue their conversation. The Yorkie sniffed happily around, going to both men to be petted. He liked it much better out here.

Rudy and LT returned from their visit to Ginger’s house and noticed the three on the deck. “Rudy, is that a terrier?” LT asked. “It sure looks like one. I got hurt really badly by one when was younger.”

“Sure looks like one to me, but it’s small. How could something that small do so much damage?” Rudy looked doubtfully at LT.

“Oh, they’re deceptive. They bite your neck or leg with their sharp little teeth and they just don’t let go! I’m staying here.” LT settled down to wait out the Yorkie, who hadn’t even noticed them.

Once Ken and the Yorkie left, LT and Rudy went inside, to find the Daddy deep in conversation with the Peep. “Peep, even if you don’t like the dog, you can’t scratch me when I try to separate the two of you. I’m sorry if I held you too tight, but I was afraid you or the dog would get hurt.”

“Daddy, the only one who would have been hurt was that rag-mop! I had to protect you and the house.” Peep was quiet but insistent. She licked the Daddy’s hand to show she wasn’t holding a grudge.

When he’d left the room, LT looked at Peep. “Did you go after that dog? Terriers are dangerous!”

“Yeah, well he wasn’t too tough. I taught him a lesson before the Daddy grabbed me. That dog won’t want to come back here anytime soon.” Peep was so full of herself she actually swaggered.

Rudy shook her head in admiration. “Peep, you’re a lot braver than I thought. LT told me how dangerous that type of dog can be.

Peep gulped, but not so LT or Rudy would notice. “Dangerous or not, I know my job is to protect the Daddy and that’s what l did.” Peep sauntered into the living room, jumped on the green chair and pretended to go to sleep. “I guess I was lucky the Daddy grabbed me.” She thought about what a good tale this would be for this week’s Cat Club meeting and wondered if she should elaborate a bit on what she’d said earlier. She’d decide later.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Doyle -

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Emailing Mommy

Miss Rudy sauntered into the house in search of breakfast. The Daddy had left early, so she had to use the cat door. She ate her food leisurely, wondering where the Peep was. Wandering into the living room, she called Peep’s name, and heard a tiny reply from the sofa. She walked around the back of the sofa and saw Peep snuggled into the right corner of the sofa. That was odd, Rudy thought. Peep never sits there, that’s the Mommy’s spot when she’s studying.

“What’s up, Peep?” Miss Rudy asked.

“Nothing,” Peep answered in a tiny voice.

“Do you feel okay, Peep? You don’t sound too good,” Rudy said. In fact, Peep looked rather flat. She was lying with her face pillowed on one leg, but looked as though the weight of the world was lying on her back.

“I miss the Mommy. Nothing is right. Food doesn’t taste good, the sun isn’t bright, my toys are boring.” Peep’s voice was even flat. “She’s not here, she’s not in the phone, and it’s been a whole cat’s worth of scratches and she’s not home.” With that, Peep began to cry.

Rudy jumped up on the couch and lay down next to Peep. She began grooming the Peep, hoping that it would make her feel better. She cleaned Peep’s ears, her head and was working on Peep’s back, but Peep hadn’t even moved. “Peep, the Mommy will come home. The Daddy promised us she would.”

“I hope I’m still alive when she gets back. I may succumb to old age by the time she gets back. Leave me alone, Rudy. Let me be miserable by myself.” Peep’s little voice was so pitiful. Rudy gave her another few licks, and jumped down, leaving Peep to her misery.

Rudy knew it was time to put her secret plan into action. She’d thought about this before, but hadn’t wanted to do it, because it wasn’t exactly catlike. The Daddy would be gone for hours, so it would be a good time to put her plan into effect. She walked into the office and jumped up on the desk. Good, he’d left the computer on. It was always harder when she needed to turn the on the computer.

Rudy turned on the on-screen keyboard and logged into her email. This would be the most important email she’d probably ever send, so she needed to word it just right. She wrote, deleted, wrote again, considered, revised and finally came up with her message.

It was short and to the point. Rudy was happy with it, and was about to send it when she was swatted by LT. She had been paying so much attention to the monitor, she hadn’t even heard LT jump up on the desk.

“Rudy, what in the world are you doing?” LT asked.

“I’m writing an email, obviously.” Rudy replied, bristling. There had been no call for LT to swat her.

“Rudy, cats don’t beg. We’re not dogs. Dogs beg. I want the Mommy home as much as you do, but you can’t beg her to come home. Cats are mysterious. We hint. We allude. We talk in circles around a topic to the people. We never beg.” LT said each of these with repressed fury. He took his position as senior cat of the house seriously.

“LT, the people don’t understand what we say. We could be reciting the alphabet for all they know.” Rudy was angry now. She’d done this for Peep, and now LT was picking on her!

“Your body language shows what your words say. Your voice sounds like the meaning of the words. If you recited the alphabet you’d just sound and look like a silly kitten.” LT explained all this carefully, as if to a kitten who had never heard it before.

“This is email, LT. The Mommy won’t see my face, she won’t hear my voice. I need to tell her how miserable the Peep is!”

LT shook his head. “All the more reason not to send it. Rudy, what if the Mommy doesn’t want to come home? If she came home just for the Peep, she’d be miserable, and then we’d be miserable too. She’d regret not staying in Virginia and then she’d get sadder and sadder and the Peep would get sad because Mommy would be sad, and we’d be back in the same place.” With that, LT jumped onto the floor and carefully turned off the power strip that provided electricity to the computer. With a hum, the monitor went blank.

Rudy bristled and said, “LT, you had no right to do that!”

LT came out from under the desk saying, “I have every right. If you won’t be a self-respecting cat, it’s my job as cat of the house to make sure you do! Now, let’s go support the Peep.”

Both cats went into the living room, jumped up on the couch and settled in by Peep. LT sat next to her, and Rudy perched on the arm of the sofa. Without a word, LT started to groom Peep, as though she were the tiniest kitten. He cleaned her from head to toe, rolling her over when needed to groom her belly fur. Miss Rudy just sat and purred, although she really didn’t feel much like purring. By the time LT was done, Peep was purring softly herself. Not a purr that would shake the couch for sure, but at least she was purring.

“Peep, no matter what happens, I’ll always be here to take care of you, and so will Miss Rudy. The Daddy will be back soon, and he’ll feed you and love you. We’ll all just stick together and wait for the Mommy to get home.”
When the Daddy got home, he found all three cats cuddled together on the couch fast asleep. He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen them like that before. He tiptoed out, leaving them to their dreams.

Photo courtesy of Giane Portal -

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Phone calls

Peep awoke very confused on Tuesday. She’d heard the Mommy’s voice coming out of the phone on the desk, but she knew Mommy couldn’t fit in that little box. LT had told her that the Mommy wasn’t in the little box, but was still in Virginia, but Peep wasn’t sure. When the Daddy woke up she tried to ask him, but all he did was give her a cuddle and say, “Peep, you sure are talkative this morning. Wasn’t it great that you talked to Mary Rose last night?”

Peep appreciated the cuddling, but wished he’d answered her question. It was strange that she could understand the people, but they couldn’t understand her. She shrugged and figured that it was just another one of the ways that cats were more intelligent than people.

After a good breakfast and a leisurely bath, Peep settled down in the living room. She figured that she could hear the phone if it rang, and she’d run in and talk to the Mommy. The Daddy left, saying that he’d be back sometime in the afternoon, and Peep drifted off to sleep.

She was awakened by the ringing of the phone. She ran into the office, jumped up on the desk and waited for the Mommy’s voice. The voice she heard wasn’t out of that phone, but another box across the room, and it wasn’t the Mommy’s voice. It was some lady saying that since the Mommy’s credit was so good, they wanted to give her a new credit card, and to press a button on the phone. Peep didn’t understand any of that, really. She knew that credit cards were the little plastic things that Mommy and Daddy had, and that they looked at them sometimes and said nasty things to them. She’d decided some time ago that credit cards were mean, somehow, and therefore she didn’t think the Mommy would want another one.

She investigated the box that this other voice had come out of. It didn’t look like a phone, really, because it didn’t have the part that people put against their faces. It was just a box with lots of buttons on it. She shrugged and decided that she didn’t understand that box at all. Since she was already in the office, she decided to resume her nap in the open window. She settled on the window sill and drifted off to sleep with a cool breeze ruffling her fur.

The phone rang again, and this time she was sure it was the one on the Daddy’s desk. She ran over to the desk and kissed the phone as it continued ringing. A voice came out of it, saying, “Jay, this is Laura over at Penske. That truck in Asbury Park broke down again. I don’t know what those people are doing to it. Please call back as soon as you get this. I’ll also try your cell.”

That wasn’t the Mommy either, and Peep pulled away from the phone. Eeeww. She’d just kissed a complete stranger! She stared at the phone as though it had betrayed her. That was not the Mommy. What was this phone anyway? She’d never paid a lot of attention to phones. She knew that the people stuck them against their faces and talked a lot to them, even through there wasn’t anyone else in the room.

As she was staring at it, the phone rang again, scaring Peep. She jumped back, sliding on the papers the Daddy had on his desk. This time a man’s voice came out of the box. “Jay, this is Ken. Sorry I missed your call last night – give me a call when you get home.”

Peep knew the person for that voice. He was a friend of the Daddy’s and came over sometimes on a motorcycle. Peep hated motorcycles, almost at much as the vacuum. Motorcycles were louder, but at least they didn’t try to chase you around the house!

Thoroughly confused, Peep decided that she’d look for Miss Rudy and see if she knew more about phones than LT did. She found Rudy asleep on the deck rail, and seeing that Fuzzy was no where in sight, Peep went out to talk to her.

“Rudy, last night the Mommy talked to me from the phone on Daddy’s desk. I thought that meant that the Mommy was inside the phone now, but today two other people’s voices came out of the phone instead of Mommy’s. Do you know about phones?” Peep hoped she did.

“Oh, sure. I learned about phones from the television. You should watch more television, Peep.” Rudy was an avid watcher of anything that was on the air.

Peep had no patience for television, as it was as useless as the little screen the Daddy looked at. No fish, no food, no one she knew. “Well, if it taught you about phones, that’s worth something. Tell me!”

“Phones are ways for people to talk to each other who aren’t together. If two people have phones, the voices go from one to the other and the person with the part held to their face can hear and talk to the other person. If the Mommy talked to you from the phone, that means she’s not here, not that she’s in the phone, silly little Peep!” Rudy started laughing and fell of the rail into the dirt.

“Serves you right for laughing at me, Rudy!” said Peep, and slunk back into the house.

Peep didn’t know whether to be sad or relieved. If the Mommy wasn’t in the phone that meant that she could still give hugs and cook bacon, but since she wasn’t here, she couldn’t do either of those. Peep sighed and put her head down on her paws. She decided she was sad. She really wanted the Mommy to come home so she could see her and talk to her. She’d even let her put her under that blankets if she’d come home.

Peep dragged herself into the bedroom and snuggled down in the covers where the Mommy used to sleep. “Mommy, come home,” she cried, and buried her nose in her paws to hide from the rest of the day.

Photo courtesy of Robin -

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mommy's WHERE?

After sunset on Monday, Peep lay in an open window in the office, keeping the Daddy company while he watched the little screen and played with the little boxes in the frame on the desk. Every once in a while he’d say something unintelligible, but Peep really wasn’t paying attention. The phone rang, and the Daddy answered it. He talked for a few minutes, and then pushed something on one of the funny plastic boxes on the desk.

“Peep, can you hear me?” said a very familiar voice. Peep’s head came up immediately. That was the Mommy’s voice!

“Peep, I miss you very much you know. I wish I could pick you up and give you a big kiss right now, Peep.” Peep couldn’t see the Mommy, but she knew that was her voice. She jumped down out of the window ran into the hallway. The voice wasn’t coming from the hallway, but she had to be out there, or in the kitchen, because Peep could hear her very plainly.

“She just ran into the kitchen, Mary Rose. I don’t think she understands telephones,” said the Daddy.

The Mommy wasn’t in the kitchen, and the voice was clearly coming from the office, so Peep ran back into there, calling, “Mommy, where are you? I can here you but I can’t find you!”

“Can you hear her, Mary Rose? She’s calling for you, I think,” the Daddy said. He scooped up Peep and sat down at his desk, putting her in his lap. Peep’s nose was barely an inch from the edge of the desk, so when she heard the voice again, she knew it was coming from the box on the desk that the Daddy called the phone.

“Peep, I’m right here, can’t you hear me?” the Mommy asked.

Peep answered, “I can hear you Mommy, but I can’t see you. I just see the box on the desk, that phone thing and it has your voice….”

“I hear you little Peep, don’t worry, I still love you.” The Mommy sounded glad to hear her voice, almost as glad as Peep was to hear the Mommy. If only she could see the Mommy, though.

“Give me a kiss, Peep,” said the Mommy.

Peep thought for a moment, and then leaned over and nuzzled the phone, and said to it, “Tell me that you’re not in that little box, Mommy. How can you give me kisses, if you’re in that little box.”

The Daddy picked up the handset for the phone, talked to it for a few minutes more, and hung up. He put Peep on the desk, facing him and said, “Well, do you feel better, now that you’ve talked to the Mommy?” He gently scratched her head as he said this.

Peep wasn’t sure how she felt. She loved hearing the Mommy’s voice, but was upset about her being in that little phone box. How could the Mommy give her pats or cook bacon if she was in a little box like that? It didn’t have hands, which could be even worse than not having thumbs!

Peep settled back down in the open window, but instead of looking outside, she stared steadily at the phone. She spoke to it occasionally saying, “Mommy, are you there? Can you hear me?” The phone didn’t answer. After Peep thought about for a while, she remembered that the Mommy had talked only after the phone had rung. So, if it didn’t make it’s jingly sound, the Mommy wasn’t there, or awake, or something like that.

Peep went in search of Rudy and LT. She found LT and told him about her conversation with the Mommy and her thoughts about the Mommy being in the little box.

LT was as confused as Peep was. "The Mommy wouldn’t fit in that little phone box, Peep, plus we know she’s in Virginia.”

“But the Mommy didn’t say she was in Virginia any more, LT. She did say she wished she could hug me, and if she’d turned into a box she wouldn’t be able to hug me, would she?” Peep was getting quite upset.

“Did she say anything else, Peep?” LT asked.

“Of course. She said she loved me and missed me,” Peep said almost crying.

"Well, she wouldn’t say she missed you if she was going to live on the desk in the little box from now on, would she?” LT used his excellent logic to show that the Mommy couldn’t have turned into a phone.

“Well, I guess not. Thanks for talking to me, LT.” Peep conceded, and went back inside.

After thinking a bit more, she still wasn’t quite convinced that the Mommy wasn’t in the phone box thing. Just to play it safe, she jumped up on the Daddy’s desk and gave the phone some kisses, and then snuggled up next to it and told it good night.

Photo courtesy of Jeroen Mirck -

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A perfect day (for frog hockey)

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, and a light, cool breeze just ruffled the leaves on the trees. Flowers bloomed in the beds around the house and the deck, their blooms turned to the sun’s warmth. Peep awoke in the living room, feeling the air moving through the open windows on three sides of the living room. She stretched and jumped down from her chair. After a few mouthfuls of breakfast, she ventured to the cat door and carefully pushed her head through. The air tasted delicious. Miss Rudy was perched on the deck railing and greeted her.

“Good morning, sleepyhead! We’ve been up and out for hours. You’ve missed the best part of the morning!”

“Well, I’m here now. Any sign of Fuzzy, Rudy?” Peep asked.

“LT chased him off about an hour ago, and by the noise of it, we won’t see him for the rest of the day.” Rudy chuckled at that. Although they were ally cats during the Cat Club meetings, none of them really liked Fuzzy, because he was such a bully.
“Oh, good! I really wanted to spend time outside today since it’s so nice. I haven’t had a good day in the yard since last fall.” Peep ran across the deck and down into the yard. Since she didn’t have to worry about Fuzzy, she took her time exploring about. The late spring flowers were all in bloom. She sniffed each of them, deciding that they had been chosen for looks and not scent, because none of them really smelled like anything. She really preferred flowers with good scents, but it’s what was there, so she might as well enjoy them.

After a quick visit to the poo field, Peep stretched out under a pine for her morning bath. It was so nice to be able to bathe outside with the air ruffling her fur. She groomed herself slowly and carefully, paying special attention to her long, sleek tail. She really thought it was her most beautiful feature. When she finished, she did a bit of claw trimming using the trunk of the tree, and then kneaded around in the pine needles, just because she liked the scent and the feel of them. By the time she’d done all that it was time for a mid-day nap, and she dozed off under the tree.

When she awoke, the sun was lower was well past the zenith, and she was hungry. She debated trying to catch her lunch but decided that since the kitchen always had a supply of food she would see what was there. Peep found a nearly full bowl of crunchies and some fresh squishy food. She ate the squishy food until she thought her eyeballs would pop out, and had a morsel of two of crunchies just for variety. She washed it all down with some clear water from a cleanly washed bowl and wandered back outside.

“Oh, Rudy, this is the life,” Peep sighed. “Fresh food, warm weather, soft breeze, sunlight and friendly companions.” She sat on the edge of the deck and looked around the yard, wondering what to do next. There were so many things she could do today….

A deep croak from the lily pond decided Peep on what to do. She stalked towards the pond, determined to surprise the frog. Sometimes she was successful in this – it was such a marvelous day, who knows, she might be again! Keeping to the shadow of the deck, Peep crept closer to the little pond. She could see the bullfrog, sitting on a lily pad, croaking for all he was worth. Peep listened, and wished that she could speak frog. She doubted that he was saying anything important, but still she’d like to know what it was. Perhaps he was singing a song about flies and algae. Or maybe he sang songs about lady frogs that he admired. Who knew? Certainly Peep didn’t.

The bullfrog croaked on, oblivious to Peep’s presence near him. She was less than ten feet away now, and with one good rush, hopefully she could catch him. She waggled her hind end, and sprang towards the pond, stopping at the sharp edge, surprising the frog. That had been her intention, and when he leapt from the lily pad onto the opposite edge, she jumped across the pond and caught him in her mouth.

Carefully, Peep carried him across the lawn and onto the porch. The bullfrog knew better than to struggle. They’d played this game before, and he knew that if he just stayed still he wouldn’t get hurt. Rudy saw Peep with the frog in her mouth and said, “Oh, did you catch him again? What are you going to do with him this time?"

Rather than answer, Peep walked past Rudy and pushed her way through the cat door. Once they were inside she opened her mouth and the frog hopped away. Now, the game would get fun. Peep had learned that it was a lot easier to place chase with a frog indoors, as the frog couldn’t really get away. He could run around the living room, and maybe even make it into the kitchen, but Peep would always catch him and bring him back right to where they’d started by the couch.

Peep tagged the frog with a velveted paw, pinning him for a minute without hurting him. Then she let him go, and he frantically hopped away, trying to fit himself under the baseboard radiator. Peep feigned disinterest as he did this and turned her head to do a quick lick to her back. Once the frog felt safe, Peep pounced again, chasing him the length of the radiator until he was cornered. She snaked her paw under the radiator and batted him out into the room. “Tag, you’re it!” she yodeled.

LT and Miss Rudy had come in to watch the show. They liked chasing things as much as the next cat, but had never understood Peep’s fascination with chasing the frog. You couldn’t eat a frog, so why bother chasing it, was their attitude. “Peep, the frog is not a hockey puck,” LT joked.

“Sure he is, and you’re the opposite team. Try to get him away from me!” With that, Peep knocked the frog again, but away from LT. LT gave a little hop and tried to bat the frog, but the frog had decided it was time to try and leave, and had hopped under the gas fireplace. He sat in the few inches underneath the iron, his little frog chest heaving with exertion and fear.

“Ah, I’ll give him a break for a few minutes, and we’ll play more later,” Peep said. “Frogs are so much fun. Mice and moles and voles only move left, right and ahead, but frogs jump and you never know where they’re going to land. They’re more fun than a barrel of mice.”

“Yeah, but you can at least eat the mice,” Rudy replied.

All three sat and watched the frog, which didn’t help the frog’s peace of mind. He was used to his one on one game with Peep, but if all three cats played, he might never get home to his lily pond. He figured his best option was to not move, and maybe they’d forget he was here.

The back door opened, and they heard the Daddy call out, “Peep, Rudy, LT – I’m home!”

Peep rushed into the kitchen to see the Daddy, and Miss Rudy followed after a moment’s wait. It’s never good to appear too eager when you’re a cat, was Rudy’s motto. The Daddy replenished the squishy food, and refilled the water bowl, saying, “I’m sorry I’m late with your dinner, but I lost track of time. I need to find some dinner for myself now, too.”

Peep watched as Daddy opened the refrigerator and took out food and began to prepare it. He eventually picked up a book and walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. Peep jumped up onto his lap, and sat on the page he was trying to read, begging for snuggles.

A loud croak made the Daddy jump up, spilling both the book and Peep to the floor. He looked around and saw the bullfrog under the fireplace. “Peep, did you bring the frog in here again? I wish I knew why you did that. The bullfrog belongs in the lily pond, not the living room. Well, at least you don’t eat frogs. Catching the frog is hard enough, but I’d hate to clean up frog guts.”

The Daddy caught the frog under a bowl and slipping a magazine under it, he carried the frog outside and put him by the pond. The traumatized frog quickly jumped into the pond and disappeared from sight. Peep sighed. She wished the Daddy had gotten home just a little later, so she could have had more frog play time.

They went back inside, and the Daddy ruffled her fur. “You look like you’re not missing Mary Rose as much these days, Peep. I’m glad you’re getting along alright.”

Peep started as though someone had pricked her with a pin. She hadn’t thought about the Mommy all day! She hadn’t even marked the day in the secret place! Was she forgetting her? No, it couldn’t be. She’d just been distracted by the beautiful weather. She dashed off and made her mark for the day, and came back to settle down near the Daddy and dream about frogs playing hockey.