Monday, August 30, 2010

285 Security Risks???

Late Monday night, the Daddy came home.  It had been a long day.  He’d had three jobs and then had gotten together with a friend for an hour or two.  It was almost ten in the evening and he hadn’t had any supper.  His stomach growled fiercely, but he was too tired and too hungry to take the time to cook anything.  He found ham and cheese in the fridge and slapped them onto some bread, along with some nice spicy mustard.  He dumped the sandwich and some grapes on a plate and headed into the office to check his email.  

When he walked into the office he noticed that his computer was on.  He thought that was odd, as he was almost sure he had turned it off this morning before he’d left.  Perhaps he’d been preoccupied and had left it on.  No big deal.  He put down his dinner and tapped the mouse to disengage the screen saver and the screen came alive with messages from his anti-virus program.  The largest one informed him that there were 285 security risks.  That was impossible.  He’d just done a full scan two days ago, and it had been fine.  Not a single risk found on Saturday and now 285 on Monday.  Two. Hundred. And. Eighty. Five.  Ridiculous.  

He clicked through to the next screen, and saw a list of the problems found by the program.  Still not believing it, he shut down the window and started a full virus scan.  Within seconds the program started registering security risks.  Three, eight, fifteen – no it was too painful to watch.  He grabbed the sandwich and headed for the radio room where he had the yarn lady’s old laptop computer set up.  He’d check that one.  As he walked out the back door he muttered, “If that one has computer viruses like the one in the office does, I’ll just shoot myself and get it over with.  I’m tired.  I can’t deal with this.”  

Rudy heard this, and wondered what in the world he could mean.  Computer viruses on the office computer?  It had been fine when she downloaded the photos this morning, so how could it be messed up now?  

Rudy understood computer viruses.  She’d watched a show about viruses and worms and malware on television with the Mommy one night and had gone on to do some research on her own, as it seemed quite interesting.  She had thought it might be fun to develop a non-quite malware program that would do silly things to Mommy and Daddy’s computers, like turn the cursor into a little mouse or cheese icon, but had given up the idea when she learned she’d need to write computer programs.  But who in the world would want to harm Daddy’s computer.  She went inside and jumped up on the desk to see what was up.  

The virus scan program was running, and it had detected over a hundred security risks.  Those were either viruses or worms or malware or a dozen other types of programs that could damage the computer or even steal information off it.  This was almost as bad as the identity theft that Rudy had prevented by not sending Daddy’s personal information to that man in Nigeria.  Wait a second…when she had downloaded those photos, two of the files hadn’t worked.  Maybe those weren’t photos at all, but rather programs that then pulled other programs off the internet and onto to Daddy’s computer.  And she hadn’t even turned it off!  It had been at least twelve hours since she’d been on the computer.  How many programs could have been downloaded onto the computer in that time?  

Just then Daddy walked into the office.  “Well, Rudy, at least that old laptop is okay.  I’d think that the newer computer would less vulnerable than the old one, but you never know.  Humph.”  He plopped down in the chair and lifted Rudy off the keyboard.  “How many viruses now?”  He looked at the screen and said something quite rude.  “Four hundred and twelve security risks?  Well, at least it’s says it’s finished.  But why are none of them resolved?  Isn’t an anti-virus program supposed to remove them?  Aaargh!”  Rudy got the impression that if Daddy’s hair was long enough, he’d be pulling it out in frustration.  

He sighed, and clicked on through to the next screen.  It was full of links to follow to manually remove all of the viruses, along with instructions to disconnect the internet connection as soon as the instructions were printed, to prevent even more threats to the computer.  

“I don’t get this.  From this information, it looks like someone must have downloaded a Trojan horse program to the computer that then loaded all these other things.  This is going to take hours to fix.  I can’t deal with this now.”  Daddy printed out the pages he’d need to remove the problems and practically yanked the wire that connected the computer to the internet.  

“I’m going to bed, Rudy.  I’ll deal with this tomorrow, providing I don’t get any calls for work.  I got so much done today and have no routine jobs scheduled for the next two days.  Good thing.  It may take me that long to fix this.”

If cats could cry tears, Rudy would have been crying her eyes out.  She knew it was all her fault, and now Daddy would have to do all the work to fix the problem she caused.  She sat on the floor in shock, trembling with emotions she couldn’t express.  She’d never be able to make it up to Daddy.  

Photo courtesy of

Photos from Nigeria

For nearly a week Rudy had debated whether or not to answer the email from the Nigerian man.  On one hand, he had tried to scam her, and she’d almost fallen for it by giving him the Daddy’s information.  That was bad.  On the other hand, he wrote that he was desperately poor and trying to support both his and his dead brother’s family.  As a cat, she could appreciate his predicament.  Cats helped each other out.  If Peep had kittens and something happened to her, Rudy would do her best to take care of them and protect them from harm. 

“Should I, shouldn’t I, should I, shouldn’t I?”  It went around in her head like a song that you just can’t get off your mind.  She didn’t want to encourage him if he was going to try to get money from her in some other way, but if he really was as poor as he said he might need someone to encourage him.  It couldn’t HURT to write to him, could it? 

Rudy logged on to the computer after Daddy left for work in the morning and checked her email.  She had only twelve messages.  Very nice.  None for pharmaceuticals or internet degrees, even better.  There was one from Tatum telling how he’d snuck outside one night for a few minutes, but that the yarn lady and the noisy girl lured him back inside with the laser pointer.  Rudy felt bad that Tatum wasn’t allowed to go outside, as there were so many interesting things in the outside world.  She did understand why the yarn lady didn’t want him to go out, though.  She lived about twenty-five feet from a very busy road, and she didn’t want the cats to get run over.  She composed a reply to Tatum, telling him that he was probably better off indoors with all the cars and trucks around his house. 

There were two email messages from the Nigerian gentleman.  The older one told a bit about his family.  It gave the ages of his children (all under five) and his brother’s children (six under age ten), and mentioned about his wife who had some mysterious problem that kept her in bed much of the time.  He couldn’t afford a doctor to find out what was wrong with her, and some days he couldn’t even afford three meals for the children.  They had to skip the mid-day meal and often the children went to bed hungry.  It was a very sad story.  The Nigerian man wrote that they didn’t have any electricity in his part of the village, and even if they did, he wouldn’t be able to afford it.  He ended his message by saying that he’d take pictures of his family and send them to her, so she could know them better. 

The newer message was shorter, asking why he hadn’t heard from her.  It also had a number of attachments, which he mentioned were the photos of his family and village.  Rudy eagerly opened them.  The photos were of small children with big bellies, but skinny arms and legs.  Rudy knew what that meant – starvation.  The village was interesting looking.  It was all dirt with round little buildings that looked like they couldn’t be more than ten feet across.  As Rudy continued to open photos she became more upset.  So many people!  They couldn’t all be his family, some must be other villagers.  Oddly enough the last two files wouldn’t open correctly.  She thought they were pictures, but no image came up.  She noticed they weren’t .jpg files, and decided he must have sent these by accident. 

She began to compose an email to him, but was too upset to write anything that wasn’t completely banal.  She logged off of the account, figuring that she’d write to him later when she’d put a little distance between herself and those photos.  She was so disturbed by them she even forgot to turn off the monitor or computer. 

Rudy walked outside and looked around her.  She lived in a beautiful house and had plenty to eat, as did all of her friends.  How could humans allow each other to starve?  Rudy sat in her favorite spot and considered if there was anything she could do.  Obviously she couldn’t send the man any of Daddy’s money.  He had enough for what he needed, but not enough to support another eleven people in another country.  She knew that there were aid organizations, perhaps she could let them know of this man’s dilemma and they could help?  That was an idea.  She began to relax now that she had a tentative plan, and drifted off to sleep as she considered to could best help this destitute man who lived halfway around the world.  

Photo courtesy of Jeff Attaway -

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Studying Sunday

It was a lazy Sunday morning.  The Mommy had cooked breakfast for everyone, including some bacon for the cats.  They loved bacon, and often hung around on weekends hoping she would make it.  A lot of the time she was too busy, but this morning she’d decided that she needed some brain food, as she had a lot of studying to do for work.  Peep daintily ate her piece of bacon and sat back to see if more would be forthcoming.  It didn’t look good for second helpings as Mommy turned off the burner and sat down to eat her bacon and eggs.

Mommy and Daddy were talking about all the things that needed to get done, but what Mommy really needed to do was study.  She had a big course to finish for work and it had to be done by Monday night.  So, when she finished eating, she put her dishes in the sink for later washing and settled down on the couch with her computer.  

Peep thought she’d stay in for a bit and help her to study.  She used to help her a lot with her math, but that was easier, because Peep could sit on the textbook or her notebooks and point out the correct answers.  She’d found that sleeping on the text books when Mommy wasn’t studying gave her enough understanding of the subject that she could help her when she worked on her homework.  

This type of studying was a lot more difficult.  It involved lots of facts that Mommy had to remember and use to take tests.  And *shudder* it had to do with human business things.  Buying stuff, selling stuff, distributing stuff, figuring out when stuff was needed.  Peep couldn’t understand why humans weren’t more like cats.  If you needed food and there was none in the bowl, well you went out and caught it and ate it.  If your fur was dirty, you sat down and groomed. 
She supposed it had to do with humans’ lack of fur.  They had to put clothes on to keep warm or not get a sunburn and then the clothes needed to be washed.  They wore out or didn’t fit and humans needed to buy new ones.  They also didn’t like to eat things like raw mice or rabbits or grass.  So, they had to go to the grocery store sometimes.  Even if they had a garden and grew vegetables, they couldn’t live just on those.  

Come to think of it, cats didn’t study things like humans did.  A mother cat trained her kittens to groom, use the litter box or go outside to poo and how to hunt for mice.  Cats also trained their kittens in how to get along with other cats and how to protect their territories.  Other than that, there weren’t a lot of things that cats needed to know.  Why did humans think they needed all this information?  

Peep watched Mommy study and peeped at her to encourage her studying.  Unfortunately, the effect of that was that Mommy stopped studying and kissed her and scratched her head.  That was lovely, but it wasn’t going to help Mommy study.  Peep sat next to the computer and touched the screen to prompt Mommy to get back to work.  Mommy replied, “I know Peep, I have to study.  But you know I’d really rather play with you.”  

Peep lay down on the couch and decided that purring support would be the best idea.  She drifted off to sleep, as it had been literally hours since her last nap.  A while later she felt someone moving her, but was too comfy to wake up.  When she finally awoke several hours later she found her Mommy asleep next to her.  As she stretched, Peep wondered if the Mommy had finished her studying and if she should wake her up.  Mommy looked so comfortable there, Peep decided to leave her – work needs to be tempered with naps.  

Photo courtesy of Cameron Maddux -

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Playing with baby Elliott

It had been ten days since Baby Elliott and Missy, his mother, had come to stay at Greymalkin’s house.  Greymalkin had discovered two things in the past week or so.  Babies do NOT always smell fresh and they make an awful lot of noise, usually when one is trying to sleep.  Most of the time, Elliott was a delightful baby.  Once Missy saw that Greymalkin wouldn’t try to hurt the baby she’d let him lie on his special quilt on the floor when Greymalkin was in the house.  

This quilt was special for several reasons.  Missy had told her mother that her friend Crystal had made it for her and it had all sort of fun things sewn right into it.  There were pockets around the edges that held little stuffed toys.  One was a cat that meowed when you squeezed it (or stepped on it to the humans’ surprise), a tailless mouse, and a brightly colored ball made of fuzzy cloth.  On the quilt itself was a section that made crinkly sounds just like the ones her favorite toy made.  Another part was soft and fluffy, just like a baby lamb.  There was even a little fabric door that opened and inside it was a mirror so that Elliott could look at himself.  Elliott was still a bit young to use a lot of those things by himself, but his mommy would sit on the floor holding him and show him the various things and help him play with them.  

Greymalkin liked playing with the quilt too, and helped entertain Elliott with it.  She’d walk across the crinkly part and then look around as though she didn’t know where the noise came from.  She also would step on the cat to make it meow, and then meow back at it.  Elliott loved that the best.  She’d pull the toys out of the pockets and push them over to the baby so he could grab them.  She’d discovered that Missy wouldn’t let Elliott play with toys she’d picked up in her mouth, so she was careful to only use her paws.  She’s also learned to use only her velveted paws on the quilt, as Missy was worried that it would get pulls in the lovely fabric.

Last night Greymalkin had attended the Friday night meeting of the Cat Club as usual.  The meeting had been shorter than usual, as Fuzzy had made good on his vow not to return to the meetings since they didn’t need him anymore.  The cats agreed they felt bad that Fuzzy had his feelings hurt.  On the other hand, they agreed the meetings were a lot friendlier without his sarcastic presence.  She’d sat and talked with Peep and LT after the meeting for a while and discussed Elliott with Bunny.  Bunny thought she’d like to have a quilt like Elliott’s for herself.  

Greymalkin headed home, happy to have spent the evening with her friends.  As she neared her house, she heard Elliott’s cries.  She’d heard hungry cries, needing a diaper change cries and come play with me cries, but this one was different.  It sounded almost frantic.  She picked up her pace, worried that something had happened to her human or Missy.  She burst through the cat door, and Missy said, “Greymalkin, thank God you’re back!  Elliott has crying for the past half-hour and the only thing I can think was that he missed you.  Look, Elliott.  Here’s Greymalkin, home again.”

She sat down, tipped her head and said to Elliott, “I’m here, dear.  Did you miss me?”  His cries slowed down and he reached out for her with his chubby little hands.  Greymalkin walked towards him, and sat at Missy’s feet.  “I hope you weren’t crying because I was out.  Your mother and grandmother were here to entertain you and provide everything you need.  I am perfectly happy to play with you when I’m home, but I can’t be here all the time.  A cat has her own responsibilities, you know.”  Actually, Greymalkin felt guilty, but she didn’t want to set up a relationship where Elliott expected her to be there every time he cried.  If she wanted that, she’d have had a litter of kittens, for sheesh’s sake.  

Elliott stopped crying altogether when Missy put him down on his quilt.  She crinkled the quilt for him and he cooed and then she made the toy cat meow from its pocket, responding to it, “Meow nicely for Elliott.  Make him laugh, now.”  Greymalkin then walked over and nuzzled Elliott and one wildly waving hand smacked her tender nose.  She backed up, blinking.  This was definitely what Bunny was talking about.  Babies could be dangerous.  

Photo courtesy of Crystal Keller Lee -!/photo.php?pid=31606355&id=1113733816&ref=fbx_album

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stargazing for cats

It was late at night and there was not a cloud in the sky.  The weather was cool, humidity was low and LT decided there wasn’t going to be a better night for stargazing any time soon.  He called to Peep and Rudy, telling them what he was going to do and inviting them to join him.  LT found a good spot and made sure there were no pokey stones and lay down on his back.  This gave him the best view of the stars. 

LT snuggled into the grass and started to look for his favorite constellations.  Not all of them were visible in the summer.  His favorite, the Litter of Kittens, a group of seven stars, could only be seen in the winter, but there were a bunch of great summer constellations.  Peep and Rudy came to join him, and laughed at his prone position.  “Laugh all you want.  You try getting a good view of the sky without ending up with a stiff neck.”   Both thought about that briefly, and joined him on their backs on the lawn. 

Peep and LT had enjoyed many a night stargazing in years past, but Rudy had never joined them before.  She didn’t see the point of staring up in the sky at a bunch of little points of light.  “So, there are stars up there.  I’ve gazed at them.  What’s next?” 

LT, who had just found the constellation Squishy Food Can sighed and said, “Rudy, cats through the ages have named special groups of stars after significant things in their lives and histories.  We look for those groups, called constellations.  Often there are stories around them that hark back to the beginning of human domestication.  For example, there is Comfy Chair, one of the oldest constellations.  It’s shaped like the back of a chair, its seat, legs and the floor in front of it.  Kind of like a sideways ‘W’.  The story behind it is that many, many years ago humans only had hard chairs to sit on, and cats didn’t like it, so they didn’t spend much time with the humans.  Then, one group of humans began to put comfy things on the seats of their chairs, and cats decided that those were the humans they would stay with, and not the ones with the hard chairs.  It’s a story of the start of human domestication.”

“That’s a nice story, LT.  So, constellations are a way of reminding us of our history and passing it on to the next generation of cats. That makes sense.”  Rudy was still having trouble finding the comfy chair up in the sky, but she liked the story.

“Oooh, ooh, there is the Piece of String,” Peep said. “That one is about how cats taught humans to play.  Cats had always known the value of play.  It re-energizes you when you’ve been doing hard things for too long, like watching a big litter of kittens.  Humans didn’t know about play, though.  They just hunted, and slept and ate and grunted at each other.  This was way before they were domesticated, you know.  Well, cats were around the humans then, but they didn’t live with them.  One day a cat found a piece of string, except it wasn’t really string, because they didn’t know about fibers yet.  The cat started playing with it and a human saw it and went to take it back because it was hers.  She picked up one end, and the cat had the other.  The cat tugged on it, and it flew out of her hand.  The cat ran away with it, but not far, because she wanted the human to play.  It took a few minutes, but the human got the idea, and dangled the string for the cat to play with.  She showed the other humans how the cats would play with it, and they all laughed together.  It was probably the first human fun that ever happened.” 

Rudy thought this story was even better than LT’s.  “So, are all of the stars in the sky part of constellations?” 

“No, not nearly," replied LT.  "Only the brightest, usually, are part of our constellations.  Although, with all the light from the moon and streetlights and houses, it can be tough to even see those some nights.  If it’s really dark sometimes you can the Spilled Milk.  It’s almost like a background of a cloud of stars in the sky.  When I tried to go to Virginia a couple years ago I found a place where you could see the Spilled Milk really easily.  It’s so beautiful." 

For the next several hours, LT and Peep took turns showing Rudy the various constellations.  Some were easy to find, such as Home, Food Bowl, and the Big Pot.  Others, like the Dead Spider were harder, because the stars were spread out so much.  By the time the sky started to lighten Rudy could find almost all of them on her own, even if she got up and moved to a different spot. 

All three cats were exhausted by the time the stars started to dim, but they felt happy.  They’d shared stories of their history and laughed as they created a few constellations of their own. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Obsession bordering on addiction?

It was a beautiful afternoon.  Peep and LT were outside enjoying the weather.  Peep lounged in her favorite spot in the back yard, and LT prowled around checking to be sure there were no new bee or wasp nests anywhere in the yard.  After all the rain both cats felt they’d have to be nuts to be inside on a day like this.  

As LT completed his circuit of the yard, he wondered where Rudy might be.  She usually let someone know if she was leaving the property, and she wasn’t anywhere in the yard he could find her.  He walked up onto the deck and stuck his head in the cat door and noticed Rudy watching TV.  She didn’t even notice he’d put his head through the door, which was unusual.  They all kept an eye on the door when inside, in case Fuzzy tried to come in.  

LT backed out and trudged over to where Peep was sunning.  “Rudy’s at it again.  It’s a beautiful day, and she’s glued to the boob tube watching that stupid story.”  Peep thought a moment and replied, “Well, at least she’s not watching in the middle of the night and waking Daddy up if she hits the volume control too many times.”  

“My concern is not so much that she’ll wake up Daddy, although that wouldn’t be good.  I really think this obsession with a show about humans is not healthy for Rudy.  She wasn’t on a quest for a ‘soul mate’ until after she started watching it.  Cats don’t have soul mates.  We have friends and then there are mates, and although it’s nice to be friends with your kitten’s sire, it’s more a matter of breeding than compatibility.  And Rudy can’t have kittens anyway, so I don’t know what the big deal is.”

“So, what should we do, LT?  Do we talk to her and ask her not to watch it?  Unplug the TV?  Tie her up so she can’t watch?  I can’t see any way she’d give up this show!   Peep had tried talking to Rudy about it several times, and all she got was a detailed synopsis of the plot elements.  

“I’m going to just go ask her what’s up, and see how she acts.”  LT casually walked into the living room as the show ended and asked her what was going on.  At first Rudy was very defensive, but when she realized LT was just being friendly she launched into a frenzied summary of what was going on with her two favorite characters.

“Oh, it’s just these pregnancies of Natalie and Jessica.  Both pregnant at the same time, both not sure who the father is.  And Jessica, who has Hepatitis C is afraid that her baby’s father might be Ford, who is really a very not nice person.  Natalie’s baby’s father might be the mate of her sister Jessica, and she told him and he’s really worried about it.  And Natalie did something she shouldn’t have done in reconstructing a photo that turned out to be Elijah or Bennett, whoever he really is.  I bet she’s going to get attacked because of this.  I just hope it doesn’t hurt the baby, although since she’s thought about getting an abortion, she might like that.  Oh, Brody and Jessica love each other so much just like John and Natalie.  I wish I had a relationship like that.”  Rudy finished with a sigh, and she put her head down on her paws gazing off into space.

LT shook his head.  “Rudy, if you could hear yourself you’d wonder about your sanity.  You just said how the two human females cheated on their mates, but you think they love each other so much.  It’s sick, Rudy, sick.  These are not healthy human relationships, and definitely not healthy cat relationships.  Cats know what is true about relationships.  A mother and her kittens, that’s true and healthy.  If the kittens’ father happens to be around, well okay he can help out, but it’s friends that count, Rudy, not mates.”

Rudy shook her head.  “What about you and Ginger?   You loved her, didn’t you?  Why can’t I have someone like that?”  That comment made LT stop and think.  He had loved Ginger very much and missed her.  He still thought wistfully of her sometimes, wishing her human hadn’t moved away.  LT hung his head and admitted to Rudy that yes, he had loved her, and he’d missed her a lot when she moved away.  He still didn’t think it was the same as this quest for a soul mate and told Rudy so.  

In the end they agreed to disagree, and both walked away dissatisfied.  Rudy knew she’d find her soul mate some day, and LT was truly convinced that Rudy’s obsession with this television show was bordering on addiction.  Not a physical one, but a mental addiction.  He needed to think more on what needed to be done to return Rudy to sanity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mischief on a rainy day

After months of dry weather it had now rained for days and days, or at least it seemed that way to Peep.  To be completely honest, she had to admit that it didn’t rain all the time, but even if it wasn’t raining it was cloudy or misty and the grass never quite dried out.  During the years that Peep had been too scared of Fuzzy to go outside much she had lost her tolerance for being outside in the wet.  LT didn’t seem to mind it at all, as long as he could find a sheltered spot to sit, and Rudy liked to hang out in the house or garage.  Peep didn’t like the sharp smells in garage from Daddy’s work stuff, so she had a choice of being in the wet or staying in the house.  

The problem with staying in the house was it was boring.  It was great for sleeping and eating, but other than that, it had limited entertainment potential.  She wasn’t interested in television or the computer, like Rudy, and there were no little critters to chase unless some bugs got in, but with the rain even the bugs were laying low.  So, nothing to do.  

Peep was napped out.  She figured she’d slept about three-quarters of yesterday, and had slept some during the night.  She’d been up more last night than usual due to her excessive sleep yesterday.  She’d tried to interest Daddy in playing with her or scratching her head, but he’d just groaned, rolled over and when that didn’t work pushed her off the bed.  When he did that, Peep made a point of walking over him several times as soon as he’d drift off to sleep.  Each time he’d reach out for her, but she’d scamper off him right quickly.  Tee-hee.  Show him for pushing her off the bed!

But now it was day and Daddy had gone somewhere to work.  Poor man, having to probably work out in the rain.  She had a lot of sympathy for him right now, as she didn’t want to be in the rain either.  She looked out the window at the lily pond, and then moved to another window to look at the woods and then another window to look at the neighbor’s house.  Boring.  She batted the cat door a bit, to see if there was anyone on the other side.  There wasn’t.  

Peep roamed the house looking for things to play with.  A towel hung down from the handle on the stove, and she batted at it until it fell down and then tried to play slide on it.  On the linoleum floor she’d flatten it out and then making a running leap onto it, hoping that it would slide across the floor.  At best she skidded less than her own length, so it wasn’t all that fun.  She left the towel where it was and went looking for something else to do.  

Hmmm.  A pile of clothes on the coffee table.  They were soft ones too.  Shirts and sheets  – none of those hard blue jeans.  Peep made a nest in them and settled down, but realized she was not tired at all.  She poked at the clothes.  Perhaps she could help Daddy by folding them.  She didn’t know how well she’d do, lacking thumbs, but it was worth a try.  She dragged one t-shirt to the floor and flattened it out.  When Mommy folded them she made them into a nice little rectangle with the sleeves on the inside.  Peep wasn’t sure how she did that since they were at the sides, but maybe if she used her teeth and picked up the sleeves and walked to the middle of the shirt…

A few minutes later Peep realized that cats were never meant to fold clothes.  She’d failed with the t-shirt, and decided that maybe she’d do better with a sheet, but that didn’t work well either.  It just kept following her around the room, just like the t-shirt when she picked it up in her teeth.  

A snack.  She definitely needed a snack.  Peep went into the kitchen and surveyed the available food.  Squishy food, half a can.  Crunchy food.  Lots.  Water, full.  What did she want?  Oh, there was a bug, landing on the squishy food.  Had to take care of that.  Peep swatted at the bug and missed.  She tried again, but it just took off and landed elsewhere on the food.  She decided she’d try to squash it, but all she got was a paw full of food.  The bug flew off, and Peep realized she not only had food on her paw, which was now on the floor, but that in swatting the bug she’d managed to spread a good bit of squishy food around the plate.  No matter, Daddy would clean it up.  Peep ate a few mouthfuls and walked back into the living room, not realizing that she had put all four paws in the food on the floor and now tracked the food into the living room.  

She groomed herself, enjoying the food on her paws and then wondered what else to do.  It had stopped raining for the moment, so she figured she’d check out the lily pond.  Rain made the frogs come out, usually.  She might find a frog to play with before it rained again.  As she stalked over to the pond, she heard the bullfrog’s deep croak.  Goody!  Peep hoped she could catch him.  He was good for hours of play.  

Peep’s first leap ended up with her in the pond.  Bother.  That almost never happened.  The frog just moved over to the side and kept croaking.  Dumb frog – he didn’t know that he was about to become a cat toy.  Several tries later, Peep had caught her frog and happily headed for the cat door.  She brought him in and set him down on the floor, pinning him for the moment.  “Okay, frog.  Just try to get away from me.”  

The bullfrog did just that.  He hopped all over the living room and kitchen, finally taking sanctuary between the refrigerator and the counter where Peep couldn’t reach.  Peep was still trying to get at him when Daddy came home.  

“Daddy, I’ve missed you so much.  Can we sit down and you can rub my tummy?  Please?”  But when Peep saw his face, she realized he might not be too interested in giving her loves.  He took in the cat food all over, and the towel on the floor covered with cat and frog footprints.  He walked into the living room and saw a t-shirt and sheet carefully spread on the floor, also covered with dirty foot prints and wet cat fur.  Even the clothes on the coffee table were wet and muddy, since Peep had jumped up there soon after coming inside, thinking it was a good place to observe the bullfrog’s movements.  

Daddy sighed.  “I know it’s been rainy for a few days, Peep, but can you please find something to do that doesn’t make more work for me?  You kept me up so much last night that I’m exhausted.  I’ll deal with all this later.”  Daddy plodded towards the bedroom, Peep following remorsefully.  She hadn’t meant to make a mess at all.  It had just happened.  

Daddy lay down on the bed, sighing with exhaustion and frustration.  Peep checked her paws, and fur to make sure they were clean and dry and then jumped up to snuggle next to him.  He absentmindedly reached out and stroked her head.  They were both just drifting into sleep when the bullfrog croaked from the kitchen.  Daddy jumped, but just got up and closed the door, deciding that he’d deal with it all later, after a bit of a nap.  

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Email from Nigeria

Rudy sat in front of the Daddy’s computer monitor, debating whether or not she should check her email.  Other than her correspondence with the yarn lady and Tatum, everything in her mailbox over the past month seemed to be either garbage or things she’d rather not see, such as email scams or replies to her personal ad from folks who weren’t even cats.  Well, maybe there was an email from Tatum or the yarn lady that needed her attention.  So, she clicked on the link to get her mail.  

Garbage, garbage, garbage.  Almost all were ads for things a cat was not interested in.  She didn’t need any pharmaceuticals, and even if she did, the doses would be for humans, and those amounts would be way too strong for her.  There was an email from Tatum from last week, talking about how much he missed the humans in his house that were on vacation.  Too late to be sympathetic on that one – they were already home.  Oops – one from the yarn lady asking if Rudy would keep an eye on the blog while she was gone to make sure there were entries by 6PM, and if not fill in.  

Rudy groaned as she saw one from the man in who said he was from Nigeria.  She’d deleted the last one because she didn’t want to give away Daddy’s identity or his money.  Well, she should at least see what the scammer had to say.  “Rudy, I have not heard from you, and I was so counting on your assistance.  You sounded like a loving and generous cat who would be willing to help someone who lives so very far from you.  Please send me the information I need.”  

Steeling herself, Rudy composed a reply to him.  “Dear scammer.  As a cat, I am not familiar with the ways humans cheat each other and steal from them.  Luckily, I have a human friend who is aware of those things, and she told me about these email scams that end up in the person sending lots of money to the scammer, or my human’s identity being stolen.  I am a loving cat, but I love my family and care for them.  Therefore, I will not be sending you any of the information you requested.  I hope the Great Cat awakens your conscience and you stop preying on other people.  We cats hunt to catch what we need to live, but scammers like you take money undeserved from good folk who just want to help people.”

Having finished her email, Rudy surfed the internet for a bit, looking for information on email scams.  She thought she might be a little less vulnerable if she was aware of ways humans tried to cheat and steal using computers.  She was deep into an article on key loggers when she heard the sound that indicated she had new email.  

She switched to the window that showed her incoming mail and was surprised to find a response from the scammer, as she now thought of him.  “I am sorry dear Rudy that I attempted to defraud such a sweet cat as yourself.  Yes, I was trying to do just this, but I have never done such a thing before, and would not be doing it now if I was not so destitute.  I am trying to support not only my own three children and sick wife, but the wife and six children of my brother, who was murdered last year.  Although I work at least twelve hours each day I cannot make ends meet.  So, I resorted to such trickery.  I hope you can forgive me, and perhaps even continue to correspond with me for encouragement.  I am truly sorry for my deception.”

Wow.  That was not what Rudy had expected.  She’d thought she’d never hear from the guy again, or he would deny the scam and still try to get Daddy’s information from her.  She wasn’t sure she’d respond to him, but it did give her something to think about.  Maybe the Great Cat did touch his conscience and he’d be a better person.  

Photo courtesy of Matt Law -

Monday, August 23, 2010

Large birds, with and without feathers

It was not a typical Sunday.  The Mommy was hurrying around the kitchen with all sorts of food, and Daddy was making the house pretty and setting the table all fancy with napkins and everything.  Peep sat on the floor near the bedroom watching the hustle.  The whole house smelled delicious.  Mommy was cooking a bird – a big bird from what Peep had seen when it was put in the oven.  Peep wondered where these birds came from.  They didn’t have any feathers and were wrapped up in plastic.  She knew they were from the grocery store – that heavenly place that provided squishy food and crunchy food and treats, but how did the grocery store get birds without feathers?   Come to think of it, they didn’t have heads or feet either.  Very odd.

Peep ventured out to see if the Mommy was in the mood to dispense little bits of whatever she was preparing.  Sometimes she did that.  As Peep got close to her, Mommy rushed in her direction, carrying a big bowl of something and said, “Peep, watch out!  You’re going to trip me and there will be food all over everything and no dinner for us.  Scoot!”

Peep scooted.  She walked outside, still thinking about the naked bird.  Rudy and LT were nowhere in sight, so Peep settled on the deck to consider birds.  The birds she’d seen in the yard were small enough for her to catch.  She usually didn’t even try, as they weren’t good playmates once caught.  She preferred her prey to be playful, since she didn’t actually want to eat them.  Frogs, chipmunks, mice – those were animals Peep could get into.  Birds just flew away if you caught them, and if they did that in the house, the Daddy would be angry.  They flew into things, pooped all over and made a general mess.  She knew from experience, and didn’t want to repeat it.  

As guests arrived for lunch, Peep kept to her observation spot on the deck.  The one that looked almost like Daddy and the other one who visited at the same time came as well as one of Daddy’s friends.  They all went in the house, and presumably sat down to eat the big featherless bird.  

As she considered whether to check if a frog wanted to play, Peep heard an odd sound, no several odd sounds.  It was a cross between a cat purr and a chicken cluck.  Peep hoped that it was not the ridiculous geese that belonged to one of the neighbors.  She was not in a mood to herd them home today.  She stood up and looked around and nearly fell off the deck.  There were one, two, three, whatever – too many very large birds coming across the yard.  Maybe these were the kind of birds Mommy cooked today, except these looked even bigger.  Wouldn’t it be great if Peep could catch one and give it to the Mommy?  She could take off its feathers and cook it up just for Peep.  

She crept off the porch towards the birds and hid in a bit of high grass.  If she could just get one of them off by itself, she could catch it, she was sure.  Well, maybe not sure, but if she could grab its neck, which was ridiculously long, she could bring it down.  She’d just have to do it silently and quickly, because she didn’t want the other birds to notice and come after her with those nasty beaks.  One was moving closer to her.  Good.  Good.  Just a little closer….  It turned and fixed its beady eyes on her and said distinctly, “You really don’t want to mess with me, little cat.  I outweigh you and every one of us is keeping an eye on you, so you’d be full of holes before you could say ‘giblets’.”  

Peep ran quickly up onto the deck and through the cat door, all her fur standing on end.  Thinking better of it, she decided to hide under Daddy’s chair in case one of those birds tried to come it.  Daddy reached down to pet her, saying, “What’s wrong Peep?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”  He stood up, looked out the window and laughed.  “I think Peep just had an encounter of the turkey kind.  There’s a flock moving across the yard, except one that’s keeping an eye on the house.  It probably told Peep off and is making sure she doesn’t come back with reinforcements.”  Everyone laughed and Daddy sat back down.

Mommy got up then and went over to the counter, where she stuck some pink sticks in a cake she’d baked.  She lit the sticks and started singing.  “Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday, Jay and Jeffrey.  Happy birthday to you!”   She put the cake with the sticks on it on the table and told Jay and Jeffrey to blow out the fire she’d started on the ends of the sticks.  Peep thought that if she didn’t want them burning, she shouldn’t have lit them in the first place, but there was no telling with human behavior.  

But now she did know what all the fuss was about.  It was a party for the Daddy and his twin brother Jeffrey.  His real birthday wasn’t until Wednesday, so Peep still had time to figure out what to give him.  Perhaps a frog.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rogers -

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meeting baby Elliott

Greymalkin was armed with the advice from her friends at the Cat Club, and wanted to see what she should do about or with this baby.  Up to now she hadn’t been near enough to it to even know what it could do.  She didn’t think it was old enough to walk or get its own food, so she guessed she’d need to be nice to it.  And was it a male or a female?  She knew how to figure that out for cats, but not for baby humans.  

Greymalkin hesitantly approached her human’s daughter.  She didn’t even know if the baby’s mommy would even let her within ten feet of it.  When she wasn’t shooed away she rubbed up against the babymommy’s legs.  She reached down and said, “Oh, Greymalkin, it’s so good to see you again.  I’ve missed you.  May I introduce you to the newest member of our family?”  She reached over and picked up the baby from some sort of plastic contraption.  “This is baby Elliott.  He’s five months old.”  

The babymommy, who was called Missy by her mother, held Elliott on her lap and Greymalkin put her front paws up on the chair seat to look at the baby.  Elliott was a male name; she was pretty sure of that, although sometimes humans gave odd names to their offspring.  Things like Moxie Crimefighter and Sage Moonblood.  Missy held Elliott so that Greymalkin could get a good look at him.

Elliott cooed and laughed and then dribbled on his shirt.  Nope, no way this baby could do anything for himself.  He didn’t even seem to have a lot of control of his arms and legs, which flailed around as he saw Greymalkin.  She thought to herself, “He is kind of cute, in a furless kitten sort of way.”   She nosed one of the feet when it relaxed onto Missy’s lap and decided that the baby smelled lovely.  Kind of perfumy, even.  A light clean scent.  

Greymalkin’s whiskers must have tickled Elliott’s foot because he let out a loud screech and she backed up quickly, looking at Missy to see if she was upset.  In fact, she said, “Elliott, you scared poor Greymalkin!  She can’t know you’re just laughing because your foot got tickled.”  

She approached again and looked baby Elliott full in the face.  She could get used to having one of these around the house.  Cute, smells good, can’t move on his own and get in my way.  She gave his foot a lick to let him know that she’d take care of him and retreated to the kitchen for a snack.  It would be good to have a baby in the house....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A full agenda for the Cat Club

For all that LT had insisted that the Cat Club was just a bunch of cats that liked hanging around together they’d had a lot to discuss in the last few weeks and LT had resorted to a mental agenda to organize his thoughts.  Tonight they had quite a bit to discuss.  The status of the bee population, Inariko the fox, solicitation of advice for Greymalkin regarding the baby in her house and a series of complaints the other cats had about Fuzzy.  LT sighed and started the meeting.  

“We’ve got quite a bit to discuss tonight, so let’s get it over with so that we can have some fun.  Oh, and as an incentive for everyone to be brief, I figured out how to open the treat bag, so we have those incredible crunchy delicacies for after the meeting.”  LT hoped that would help the side conversations that got them off track.

“First item, bees.  I found one small nest of wasps this week and was able to alert my human to its location.  He took care of it early one morning when it was cool, so in my estimation we’re as safe from bees here as we’re going to get.  Has anyone else found any evidence of nests or excessive bee population?”  

Fuzzy didn’t get this emphasis on bees and said so.  “It’s just your human.  What’s the reason the rest of us have to do this bee patrol?”

LT gave Fuzzy a sorrowful look.  “My Mommy has a very bad allergy to bees.  If she got stung and didn’t have her shot thing with her and no one was around she could die.  Isn’t that important enough?”  Fuzzy mumbled an apology and the rest of the cats gave negative reports on the bee population.

Similarly there was little to report on the fox.  A few people had seen her, but she hadn’t talked to anyone or done anything unusual.  Greymalkin told the others of the baby in her house and asked if any of the cats had experience with babies, since she didn’t quite know what to do with the thing.

Fuzzy said that there were babies that visited his house, and if he got the opportunity, he’d scratch them.  LT looked sternly at Fuzzy and told him that Greymalkin didn’t want to get kicked out of her house, and that he should hold his tongue if he didn’t have anything positive to say.  

Bunny said that her owner had grandchildren who came to visit.  “We treat them like kittens.  Until they are old enough to feed themselves, and I’m not talking about using a spoon to get food in their mouths, we don’t scratch or bite.  We wouldn’t do that with each others’ kittens.  We’d go somewhere that the kittens couldn’t hurt us and let their mothers take care of it.  Once they’re old enough to do things like get a drink from the fridge or cookies from the cabinets we figure they’re old enough to take realize that they shouldn’t pull our tails or pick us up roughly.  THEN we scratch them.  They don’t usually require too many of those lessons, unless they’re just mean kids.  Luckily, our human’s grandkids aren’t mean.  They learned very quickly.  Without fur, our scratches hurt.  

Finally, LT had to bring up the one topic he’d been dreading.  “Fuzzy, many of the cats here have come to me with complaints about your behavior.  Although you’ve respected the sanctuary rule we set up for meetings, you’ve verbally tormented many of the cats here and they don’t like it.”

Fuzzy looked menacingly around the group.  “So what?  I don’t see any of the cats here acting like my best friend.  You all have your little cliques, and I’m not included in any of them.  Why should I treat you all better than you do me?”

Peep said hesitantly, “Fuzzy, you’re my brother, and I do love you, but we don’t treat you anywhere near as badly as you treat us.  You used to chase me every chance you got, and still do sometimes.  You’re rude to all of us, and we are perfectly civil to you.  Why would anyone want to invite you to do anything if all you do is insult everyone?”

Fuzzy scowled at everyone, but didn’t say anything.  LT got to the point.  “If you don’t start being at least civil to the other cats sitting here, we’re going to have to, um, terminate your membership in the Cat Club.”  

With that pronouncement Fuzzy did speak up.  “I get it.  Now that there are plenty of other cats here to be in your precious Cat Club, you don’t need me anymore.  I can tell when I’m not wanted.  Good-bye!”  He stalked off into the trees.  

Peep stated the obvious.  “That didn’t go well, LT.”  She sighed.  “Maybe he’ll think about it and decide that it would be better to have friends than victims.  I hope so.  He is my brother, after all.”  She sighed.

LT closed the meeting, and for once none of the cats felt like chatting, and so everyone left for their respective homes.


Friday, August 20, 2010


The three cats sat around the giant crunchy food bowl discussing how badly their humans understood their communication.  The cats were sure they were perfectly clear, but time after time the Mommy and Daddy misunderstood them.  Even when they addressed a specific question or comment to the cats they didn’t understand what the cats were communicating when they responded. 

Rudy cited an example from just last night.  “Daddy was typing an email and I sat on the keyboard so he’d include a message from me, and instead he thought I wanted my head scratched.  Far from it!  It was hot and sticky and the last thing I wanted was hot fingers in my fur.  I had an important message, although I don’t recall it now.  I even tried typing a word or two and telling him what I was typing at the same time, and he just didn’t get it.”

“Well, I’m sure the Daddy doesn’t know you can really read, much less type, so that’s probably why he gave you a scratch.  I think it’s kind of funny how Daddy misunderstands me, although some day it could cause problems.  At night when there are intruders on the property I hope up onto the new air conditioner in the bedroom.  I tap on the window and meow so the Daddy will come out and investigate.  He comes out all right, but he just picks me up and carries me in and feeds me treats.  Since he comes out, he scares away most of the intruders, and anyhow they’re usually only groundhogs or raccoons.  If it was a burglar or something I’d have to run around the yard and hope he’d chase me.  I love Daddy, but he sure can be dense.  I don’t mind the extra treats, though.”

Peep thought it was entirely unfair that LT got extra treats that way, but since he was the senior cat of the house she held her tongue.  Peep thought about all the times she’d tried to help the Mommy with her math homework.  She always praised Peep for her intelligence and support but never seemed to adopt any of the proofs Peep had tried to explain to her.  Then again, that may have had more to do with her style of developing proofs.  They usually involved mice (or parts of them) and various quantities of crunchy food.  The mice were the variables, of course, since one can never depend on catching a mouse at a specific moment in time.  Crunchy food, on the other hand, was always there.

“You know,” said Peep, “even if Mommy and Daddy don’t understand everything we say, they do understand the really important things.”

Rudy look at Peep and said snidely, “What?  That we wuv them wery, wery much?”

“No Rudy, they understand when we ask them for treats!”  With that, Peep ran to Daddy and nuzzled and capered and sang until he gave her one.  “See?”

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It was finally raining today.  Although spring had been very wet, summer had been way too dry.  Most of the lawn was looking brown, and LT’s favorite patch of moss was completely brown and not very comfortable.  The cats didn’t enjoy being out in the rain, but appreciated its benefits.  When it rained a lot the lily pond was full and the bullfrog croaked happily.  And sometimes cats just need to eat some grass, and grass that has received a lot of rain was juicy and its green flavor burst in their mouths.  

The three cats each had their favorite places to be when it rained.  LT’s was of course Daddy’s truck.  Daddy had left the window open when he left this morning so that LT could jump in to snooze in a soft cushion-y place.  If he’d known it was going to rain, he would have closed the window, but it probably hadn’t been cloudy when he left, so the window had been left open.  The driver’s seat was soggy, but the other seat was dry, although it had a small accumulation of paperwork.  LT shoved the papers on the floor and snuggled down for his nap.

Rudy loved to lie where she could see anyone coming in the driveway, preferably on the walk or under the bushes.  She stayed under the bushes until the rain got heavy enough that it dripped on her long fur, and then she dashed for the house.  Once inside, she groomed all the wet out of her fur and settled on top of the gas fire next to the window.  It wasn’t soft, but it had the benefit of a view of the driveway.

Peep was curled sound asleep on the living room chair.  She was on the blankie that the yarn lady had made her.  It was soft and made her feel loved.  How many cats had people knitting for them?  (Little did she know that the yarn lady had made a quilt for another of her cats years ago).  She was having that dream she loved of the mice combing her belly fur with little golden combs.  

The Daddy came home for a late lunch and noticed the window in his truck open.  He said a few choice words about the sopping wet seat, and threw a towel on it to soak up some of the water.  He gently picked up a sleep LT and held him to his chest to keep him at least partly dry while he walked to the house.  

The Daddy deposited LT on the couch.  LT curled up in his favorite corner and went back to sleep.  Peep and Rudy greeted the Daddy, but when it became apparent that no food was forthcoming they went back to the living room.  The settled down together to watch the rain, finding it quite hypnotic.  It was quiet in the house and outside the only sound was the rain drops.   Slowly their eyes closed and they fell into contented dreams.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Giaccai -

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A noisy monster

Greymalkin streaked into the yard, yowling for whoever was around.  “Peep, LT, Rudy - help me!  My house has been invaded by some sort of monster!”  She ran from the garage, around the special burner thing, past the lily pond and up onto the deck without seeing a single cat.  “Isn’t anyone here?”

Rudy stuck her head out the cat door.  “Sorry, no salescats allowed.  We gave at the office.”  Seeing the look on Greymalkin’s face, she realized this was not a time for humor.  “Sorry, Greymalkin.  I’ve always wanted to do that.  Won’t you come inside?”

“Oh, no, please come out here, all of you.  I need to talk to you and find out what to do about this monster in my house!”  She waited impatiently for the three cats to come out.  LT still had squishy food on his whiskers, and he sat down to groom while the words spilled out of Greymalkin.

“This morning my human’s daughter came to visit.  She lives a long, long way away and hasn’t been here for years.  She came with all sorts of suitcases and strange things that were folded up and then she brought in some sort of carrier.  It had a squirmy animal thing in it that had no fur at all.  She put it down on the floor, and this thing must be really dangerous because it was all tied into the carrier.  Although, you’d think if it was dangerous they’d just put it in a cage.  Anyhow.  It waved its paws around for a while and then started making an absolutely horrible noise.  My human ran over and untied the straps and picked it up – I wouldn’t have done that, believe me, but she did.  It got quiet after that thank goodness.

“My human and her daughter played with the little animal for a while, talking the kind of baby talk that my human uses with me sometimes.  They both completely ignored me.  Not a pat, not a scratch, and certainly no treats for Greymalkin today!  Then the little thing started making tiny grunting noises and suddenly the whole room smelled worse than a skunk that’s been dead for a week.  That’s when I decided it was time to get out of there.”

All three cats looked quizzically at Greymalkin.  LT spoke first.  “Haven’t you ever seen a human baby before?  That’s what it is from your description.  Since humans don’t have fur, of course their babies don’t either, and they are like kittens in that they can’t take care of themselves when they’re small.  I will say though, that they take an awful long time to learn to do it.  Years and years.  I’ve seen a few babies over the years, but mostly I’ve heard about them from television and people talking.  They can be fun, but watch out, because when they’re old enough to move around they like to pull tails or dress you in funny clothes or carry you around like a stuffed animal.”

Peep looked at LT.  “Not just babies. Mommy likes to dress me up, but I did break her of it when I didn’t talk to her for a month or two.”  

Rudy offered, “Well, I’ve seen plenty of babies on One Life to Live, and mostly they’re trouble.  Sometimes there are fights over who their parents are, and who they’re going to live with because human parents on that show never seem to want to stay together.”

LT looked sternly at Rudy.  “Soap operas are not real life, Rudy.  We’ve discussed this before.  Watch it if you must, but please don’t share its wisdom as though it were reality.”

Greymalkin wailed, “But what should I do?  Will they kick me out of my home?  Will my human even love me anymore?  I’m too old to have to look for a new home!”

Peep snuggled up next to an agitated Greymalkin and started to groom her ears.  “I’d try to stay out from underfoot, but be a beautiful, serene presence.  Your human loves you, and when the baby gets on her nerves, what better to soothe her than her beloved cat, Greymalkin?

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tatum, filling in for Ande

Hello, this is Tatum here.  Ande is on vacation this week, and she asked me to fill in for any days she couldn’t get her internet connection.  She said that the wireless signals on Block Island aren’t very good.  She told me all about how she has to take a boat ride for a whole hour to get to the place where she goes, and I guess the signals don’t go that far too well.

I’ve never written a blog before, but she told me just to write about what we’re doing around here while she and the noisy kid are gone.  Well, it’s quiet.  Very quiet, actually.  Ande doesn’t make a whole lot of noise, unless she’s dropping something or falling over and going, “Ooomph,” but the noisy kid is really noisy.  She likes to play music a lot.  The music is really good (better than Ande’s taste in music, actually), but she plays it loud and dances around when it’s playing.  Ande listens to things like weird a cappella folk music sung by people with funny accents and really old music that has too much melody and not enough beat.  

Yesterday morning I slept.  Ursula slept too.  Then I woke up and found some nice squishy food that my loving Daddy left me and ate some of that.  After that I slept some more.  I like sleeping on the big bed because it’s so nice and soft.  Even the sheets are soft, and Ursula can’t find me when I’m on the bed because I sleep in the middle.  She woke me up early in the afternoon, walking around the house and calling for me.  She was lonely, I think.  Ursula isn’t used to being by herself.  I’m not either, really, but I kind of like it.  When I lived at the SPCA there were always lots and lots of cats around, even if we were all in our cages, so I am a cat that appreciates solitude.  Ursula on the other hand, gets scared when she can’t find anyone, kind of like the noisy kid.  

I went downstairs and Ursula and I played chase for a while.  She is a very bossy cat.  She thinks because she’s lived here longer she’s the boss of me.  It’s easier to let her think that, so I go along with it mostly.  When I get tired of playing chase I go sit in the window or on top of the tower that my loving Daddy got for me.  Well, maybe he got it for both of us, but I think it was for me, since he didn’t get it until after I came to live here.  He thought I’d like sitting on the little platform inside it.  I really like to sit on top, because then I can see outside and also what Ursula is up to.  

After we chased I sat in the window and watched the outdoors.  It’s better than television.  It has birds and bugs and if I watch long enough my Daddy drives in and comes inside to spend time with me.  When he came home yesterday he did something on his computer, watched some television and did stuff around the house.  I think he ate something too and made sure we had crunchies and water.  

After that he went to bed, and I went to sleep too.  Well, that was our day here at home.  I wonder if they’re having this much fun up on Block Island?

Tatum, your blogger for today

Monday, August 16, 2010

A beautiful dream

It was Monday, and Rudy could understand why humans said they hated Mondays.  Nothing seemed to be right.  There was this creepy fox that all the cats kept seeing, the Mommy had gone away again last night and she, Rudy was still a cat without her soulmate.  Personals ads for cats, that was definitely a bad idea.  How many cats actually read newspapers or surf the internet?  Well, there were probably more than she thought, since she did it and so did Tatum, but it wasn’t like they were going around saying they were cats when they visited websites.  Mostly they just sent email, did some research, and occasionally made an online purchase.  

“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day…” Rudy hummed to herself.  It was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, that was her motto.  She so wanted to meet that special cat, catch his eye across a crowded room and know, in that instant, that he was the one for her.  So, as she sat on the walk, she fell into a daydream.  

Rudy was lying on a large cushion of gold cloth, her fur brushed to silken perfection. Throughout the room there were other, similarly important cats, also ensconced on gold cushions.  They were all being celebrated for their lofty thoughts, intelligence or beauty.  Rudy, of course was being honored for all three of these attributes.  As one of the emeriti crossed the room to begin a speech honoring these illustrious cats, his eye was caught by a beautiful black and white long-haired cat.  His attention was riveted upon her, and almost against his will he rushed to her side.  “Madame, I must know your name!  Your beauty has pierced my heart full through.  I am…

With a jolt, Rudy returned to the world of her back yard, with its sandy soil, cacti and evergreens.  Fuzzy sat beside her, laughing.  “I don’t know where you thought you were, but believe me, I am not the chairman of the Ancient Fraternal Order of Whatsits, and no I don’t want to kiss your paw.”  He batted her again, that being what had brought her out of the beautiful fantasy.  “I was afraid if I didn’t wake you up, you’d come running after me and smooch me, or something.”   Still sniggering, Fuzzy stalked back towards his yard.  

Oh, my.  That has been such a beautiful daydream.  Her, beautiful, high-minded and fascinating; him (whoever he’d been), handsome and charming.  What more could a cat ask?  

Rudy went inside for a snack and to consider her daydream again.  She jumped up to look at herself in the mirror, to preen just a bit and wonder who her Prince Charming might be?  What she saw in the mirror didn’t match what she’d been imagining.  Rather than silken fur, beautifully arrayed Rudy’s fur stuck out every which way, and was developing some uncomfortable matted areas, and she felt the tickle of a flea on her neck.  Well, so she wasn’t a beautiful young cat anymore.  She was still a cat who shunned the common to consider the mysteries of the universe, wasn’t she?  Of course she was.  Thus reassured, Rudy jumped down and ran to the living room to watch One Life to Live.   

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fox sightings

When the cats got together for their weekly Cat Club meeting they were all clamoring to speak first, even Peep who normally was quiet and patient during the meetings.  LT had to raise his voice to get any sort of order at all.  “Quiet, all of you!  You sound like a bunch of starlings at sunset.  Remember yourselves.  We are cats – decorous, quiet and mysterious.”  He turned to Snoogums.  “Would you like to start as spokescat for your housemates?”

Snoogums nodded.  “Thank you, LT.  Remember last week when Peep mentioned that she’d seen a fox?  Well, we’ve all seen it now, and it’s got us well spooked.”   Mr. Snuggles, Bunny and Ladybug all started talking again.  “He just disappeared.”  “It’s unnatural.”  “I’m scared.”  

LT put up his paw for silence, and just gave the four the ‘look’.  They settled down.  “Okay, so you’ve seen the fox, and it’s unnerved you.  Well, I’ve seen him too, and I agree that he’s a bit spooky.  Can we each tell what we’ve seen WITHOUT interrupting each other?  Otherwise we may still be here when the sun rises tomorrow morning.”

Snoogums continued his tail, er, tale.  I was out harassing those stupid geese.  I just love teasing them.  They really think I’ll break their necks and eat them.  Well, as I turned to leave I saw a red fox at the edge of the yard, under a bush.  He, or she, not sure which, looked at me, winked and just – vanished.  He didn’t turn and walk away, or even back into the bush.  Poof, he was gone.  I ran over to the bush, but there was no sign a fox had ever been there.”

Bunny was next to Snoogums and she spoke next.  “I was lying in the window enjoying the sun when I saw a fox walk across the driveway.  She turned and saw me and sat down, cocking her head.  Then she said, ‘Don’t worry, I won’t eat all the prey around here.  I can be a responsible fox, and no, I don’t have kits.’  Then she bowed her head, turned and sauntered off into the trees.  How could she know what we’d discussed last week?”

Each of the cats had a similar story, except Fuzzy, who claimed that he’d seen the fox and chased her down.  He said he’d pinned her, and then pulled her tail before letting her go with a warning to stay away from the mice on his property.  Since Fuzzy was known to be somewhat of a braggart, the other cats didn’t take this story too seriously.  

Peep was the last to speak, and she said that she’d awoken from a nap out by Daddy’s burner to find the vixen not two feet from her.  The vixen had identified herself as Inariko and said that she’d been sent to help them, and that they shouldn’t be scared of her.  Peep said the vixen had turned and walked under the burner, but when Peep ran after her, she’d disappeared, and there was no way she could have run to cover that fast.  At first Peep had thought it was a dream, but there was a definite fox odor, so she think it probably did happen.  

The cats sat there looking at each other.  A fox sent to help them?  By whom, and help them with what?  They did just fine on their own.  LT asked all the cats to keep him apprised of fox sightings, and moved on to an analysis of the bee and wasp population in the area.  

When the cats finished their meeting LT offered to walk Greymalkin home.  It didn’t seem like a good idea to have her all alone in the woods with a fox of unknown motives in the area.  Fuzzy stalked off on his own, muttering about no one believing him.

As Fuzzy reached the trees that separated the two properties the cats saw a fox jump out of the tree line and tackle Fuzzy.  He was thrown to the ground, and the fox then pulled his tail.  “I wouldn’t tell tales of how you bested me, cat.  I am a fox and as such I am faster and smarter than you are.  Run home, little kitty.”  The vixen released Fuzzy, who bolted for home and then turned to the other cats, bowed and walked slowly off into the trees as the cats looked on, mouths agape.