7 July 2009 — Nemo the Hunter (5)

As much as I make fun of little Nemo, I have to admit he’s our fiercest hunter. Mostly he hunts his sister Toto (which makes her hiss) and his brother Max (which makes him growl). But he also likes to hunt other critters, especially baby birds.

Perhaps his favorite prey, however, is the squirrel that lives in the walnut tree. He hasn’t caught Walnut yet, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.

Just now, for example, I was sitting at the table eating my raisin bran, when I heard Walnut begin his awful racket. He sounds like a chicken. I looked out the window, and sure enough: There was Nemo chasing Walnut up the tree. What cracked me up, though, was that Walnut paused halfway up to let Nemo scoot right by him. “Psych!”

Nemo and Walnut
Blurriness is from the old glass in the window

I’m not sure Nemo is actually serious in his squirrel hunting, though. And I’m not sure that Walnut is serious about escaping. The pair of them spent about five minutes in a cat-and-mouse game (well, cat-and-squirrel, I guess), but neither seemed willing to follow through.

Walnut, for example, could have dashed up the tree at any time. He didn’t. Instead, he’d often creep closer and closer to Nemo. For his part, Nemo could have tagged Walnut during a couple of these moments — he was easily within paws’ reach — but he didn’t. Nemo and Walnut were content to jockey for position.

Nemo and Walnut
Blurriness is from the old glass in the window

What broke this stalemate? One of our resident crows* came along to break things up. He landed on a nearby branch and began to caw at the two combatants. (Or are they playmates?) Nemo decided that he was no match for squirrel and crow, so he retreated to the picnic table.

Walnut actually seemed disappointed. He came down to scold Nemo from close range. It didn’t have any effect. When the crow left, Nemo came into the house. He’s now sound asleep upstairs on the bed. (Which is where he usually is…)

* This year, Rosings Park is home to a family of crows. Or something. These crows don’t behave like any crows we’ve ever seen. They come down to eat at the feeder. They drink from the birdbath. They interact with the other birds. And, as I just mentioned, they play a role in the goings-on around the yard. (I mean, really: Breaking up a fight between a cat and a squirrel? Why?) We have no idea how long the crows will stick around, but it’s fun to have them.

Tags: Cats · Rosings Park  → 5 Comments

2 July 2009 — Cat Drifting (2)

So hilarious. I snort-laugh every time I watch this:

Tags: Cats · Funny · YouTube  → 2 Comments

26 February 2009 — The Lovecats (11)

“You know what?” I told Kris last night as we were getting ready for bed. “I finally have an idea for a long foldedspace post. Like in the olden days.”

“Ha!” she said. She didn’t believe me.

“It’s a story from when we were boys,” I said. “But there are a lot of different threads to tie together. It’s going to take some time.”

This isn’t that post. This post ties together threads of a different sort: YouTube, LOLcats, the music of my youth. Here, my friends, is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Some of you will laugh (Will K.?), some of you will cry. But most of you will just scratch your heads in bewilderment:

So funny it hurts!

I suppose some context would help many of you. “The Lovecats” is a 25-year-old song from The Cure. It’s a song I loved when I was in high school and college (and even today). And, of course, LOLcats are those (mostly) funny captioned cat photos. This video combines the two.

[Via Gina Trapani, of all people.]

Tags: Cats · Funny · YouTube  → 11 Comments

23 December 2008 — More Winter (3)

Are you tired of the winter photos yet? We Oregonians aren’t. Well, we’re tired of being house-bound, perhaps, but not tired of the snow. (According to today’s Oregonian, this is the most snow we’ve had in a winter since 1968-1969, which was just before I was born.)

First up, a comparison of a photo from Saturday night with a photo from Monday afternoon. The first photo was taken at about 7pm, in the dark. We had just a few inches of snow on the ground. The second photo was taken about 42 hours later, at 1pm in the afternoon. We had about fourteen inches of snow on the ground (with one-half inch of ice in the middle).

Snowy Birdbath Birdbath (with MORE Snow)

Winter doesn’t just bring snow — it brings icicles, too. Because our house exudes heat, the snow melts and icicles form on the gutters. (Unfortunately, our gutters have actually been damaged in spots.) Click through to see a larger version of this photo at Flickr, where you can see the giant icicle hanging over the dryer vent.

Icicles Hanging from Our Gutters

Winter also, apparently, brings Oliver, who still is not my cat.

Oliver is STILL Not My Cat

Actually, Maxwell likes to be outside in the the cold. He’s our snow bunny. He whines to be let outside the moment we get up, and then won’t come when called all day long. He only returns just before bed. And where does he go? He just sleeps in the bushes. Stupid cat.

Finally, here’s Kris’ first venture out into the white stuff. Mainly, she’s stayed inside, reading, drinking tea, and snuggling under blankets. But yesterday she ventured outside to experience winter:

Kris Throws a Snowball

Depending on which forecast you trust, we could see another 3-5 inches of snow tomorrow, as well as some freezing rain. Who knows? All I know is that Christmas has been delayed in the Roth family!

Tags: Cats · Friends and Family · Portland · Rosings Park  → 3 Comments

Warning: This story is funny, but it’s a little gross. You’ve been warned.

Yesterday, Kris and I went to Big Lots! for the first time. A neighbor had told us they had cheap bird seed, and we wanted to stock up. While there, I picked up a box of “Tooty Fruities” breakfast cereal for seventy-five cents.

This morning we rose to find ourselves snowed in once again. So much for playing Santa today. While Kris and I discussed what we should do, I sat in my chair, eating a bowl of Tooty Fruities. As we talked, Simon came into the room, sniffing. His “cereal milk” radar had gone off. There are few things Simon likes more than cereal milk. And although I know it’s bad for him, I always let him indulge.

Today he was a little bossy. Usually he sits patiently, waiting for me to finish my cereal. Today he pushed his striped head into the bowl, lapping up the milk as I was finishing the last few spoonfuls. I set the bowl down so that he would have easier access.

“Simon loves that stuff,” I said, laughing. He was lapping it up.

But he wasn’t loving it five minutes later.

Kris was in the other room, just starting her yoga for the day. “Oh no!” she shouted. “Simon’s throwing up.”

We’re not unused to cat vomit in this house. We do have four cats, after all. And Toto is the queen of vomit. She goes through periods where she vomits every day for weeks. It’s exasperating. But at least when she vomits, it’s confined to one spot.

Simon never vomits. Until today.

Today he stood on Kris’ yoga mat and projectile vomited fur and cat food — and cereal milk. He sprayed it all over the room. Then, to make matters worse, he ran away. While continuing to vomit. Because he’d never vomited before, he didn’t know how to handle it. Most cats would just stand still. Not Simon. He ran from the yoga mat into the dining room, to the front door. He ran over to his chair and jumped up, continuing to vomit. He ran around the table, vomiting. He was like a firehose.

I did the only thing I could think of. I opened the door and called, “Simon!” He ran outside, vomiting. He’s probably standing out in the snow vomiting even as I type.

Poor guy.

And poor us. It took three towels to mop up. It wasn’t a pleasant task.

Now I face a tough decision for the future. I know that Simon loves cereal milk, but I’m not sure I should let him have it. He seems to be lactose intolerant!

Tags: Cats · Rosings Park · Stories  → 6 Comments

23 September 2008 — Complaints from Rosings Park (2)

It’s come to my attention that I haven’t written enough about our cats lately. I apologize. Here, then, is a revealing look at the psychology of the beasts with whom we share Rosings Park. These are the top complaints from each animal.

Max

Max is Very Serious

“Not enough birds.”
“This family is boring.”
“Simon plays too rough.”

Nemo

Nemo

“Dad is scary.”
“Dad is very scary.”
“Simon plays too rough.”

Simon

Simon Loves Kris' Lap

“The front door is shut.”
“Dad is in my chair.”
“My brothers are pansies.”

Toto

Toto and TS

“I want to snuggle.”
“I don’t want anyone to touch me.”
“I hate my brothers.”

The squirrels

Mad Squirel

“Too many cats.”
“Not enough pumpkin seeds.”
“Too many birds.”

The birds

Blue Jay in an Apple Tree

“Too many cats.”
“Not enough peanuts.”
“Too many birds.”

Tags: Animal Intelligence · Cats · Rosings Park  → 2 Comments

3 September 2008 — My Wife Is Sometimes Wrong (3)

Toto vomited on the bed again today. She does this all the time.

It’s not so bad if we discover the hairball midday, but it’s kind of a pain if we don’t notice it until we’re ready for bed. This time was sort of in between. Kris happened to wander into the bedroom just after dinner, and from her loud cursing, I could tell what had happened.

Sometimes Toto manages to get the outermost layer of bedclothes, which is fine. But often — like tonight — she pukes all over the fitted sheet.

“Can you help me take the covers off?” Kris hollered down to me. I was writing at the kitchen table.

“In a few minutes,” I called back. “I’m in the middle of something.” I had spent all day trying to craft a rare personal-finance article about credit cards. I couldn’t find the right tone. I was frustrated.

I continued to write while Kris watched the Republican National Convention. Half an hour later, she came downstairs.

“Do you need help with the bed?” I asked.

“It’s too late,” she muttered. “I’ve already done it.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see she was carrying something in her arms. Oops.

Later, when it was time for bed, I went to the laundry room to fetch the sheet. It was dark, but I didn’t bother to turn on the light. The sheet was easy to spot amidst the socks and t-shirts. I also found a pillowcase. “Toto must have vomited on that, too,” I thought.

“Just one sheet and one pillowcase?” I asked Kris just to be certain.

“Yes,” she said. I went upstairs to make the bed.

When I got there, however, I noticed that both of my pillowcases were missing. (I sleep with two pillows, and have done so for most of my life: one for my head and one for my side.) I sighed and walked back to the laundry room to fetch the other one. I couldn’t complain, of course. If I’d helped Kris in the first place, I would have known how many pillowcases were in the dryer.

We made the bed. Kris fed the cats their bedtime treats. (Each cat gets three “greenies”, a sort of organic treat they love. Then they’re kicked out of the bedroom. Except on Cat Night. Cat Night occurs once or twice a week, and is a cause for much feline celebration. On that night, they’re allowed to sleep in the bedroom. Of course, during the summer it’s rare that all four cats are even ever in the house at the same time, even over night. Tonight, for example, Simon is outside and refuses to come when called.)

The bed made and the cats indulged, I went to my office to write.

“Aren’t you coming to bed?” Kris asked.

“I’m not done with tomorrow’s post,” I said. And I’m not. I can’t find the right tone, and I’m not sure if I should list specific credit cards. Hell — I’m not even sure I should cover credit cards at all. I’ve given them a wide berth so far.

“Oh,” Kris said sadly. Then she said, “Where’s my pillowcase?”

“What?” I asked.

“Where’s my pillowcase?” she said.

I got up from my desk and walked to the bedroom to gave her my best look of incredulity. Then I said, “When I asked you if there was just one sheet and one pillowcase, you told me yes.”

“I know,” she said.

“But then I came up here and I put that one pillowcase on my pillow, and I realized that you were wrong. My other pillow needed a pillowcase, too. So I walked back downstairs to fetch it.”

Kris realized what I was getting at. She started to laugh. I continued my lament: “And now you tell me there were actually three pillowcases in the laundry?” I let out a long, dramatic sigh and trudged downstairs.

“See how it is to live with you?” Kris called behind me as she continued to laugh. I confess that I laughed a little, too. Our roles in this sort of situation are usually reversed.

Now if only Kris could see how it is to live with her.

Disclaimer: I love my wife, and would not share these stories if I didn’t think they were fun.

Tags: Cats · Daily Life · Friends and Family · Fun · Funny  → 3 Comments

3 August 2008 — Three in a Row (2)

I was awakened last night by a jab in the ribs. “Wake up!” Kris said. “Wake up!”

“Huh?” I said through the hiss of the C-PAP machine. “What’s up?”

“Look,” she said, pointing to her side of the bed. I looked.

“What?” I said.

“Look,” she said. “Look at the cats.” Toto was by her head while both Max and Simon were by her feet. Only Nemo was missing.

“Yeah,” I said. “Three in a row.” I turned over to go back asleep.

“Look again,” she said. I groaned and rolled over to look. “Look at Max and Simon,” she said. I looked more closely, and then I realized what she meant. Max and Simon were huddled close together, and Max was draped over Simon’s haunches. In essence, they were cuddling.

Now I know this is no big deal for many cat owners. Most cats like to cuddle with each other. Not our cats. Our cats may be friendly to one another (with the exception of Toto), but they do not cuddle. It’s just not done. In fact, it has never been done in the fifteen years we’ve had multiple cats. This was the very first time.

“That’s cute,” I said, adjusting the C-PAP mask. I pulled the covers over my head and fell asleep.

In the morning, Max and Simon were still on the bed, but they were no longer cuddling. I’ll probably have to wait another fifteen years to see that happen again.

Tags: Cats  → 2 Comments

Last fall at Animal Intelligence, I shared a two-minute video of a cat who was raised by a crow. A reader recently pointed me to a longer video with a more complete story on this unlikely friendship:

There is nothing I like more than stories of interspecies friendship. I love the idea that different kinds of animals can communicate and empathize with one another. Now if only our cats would be nice to the blue jays…

Tags: Animal Intelligence · Cats · Geekiness · Interesting · YouTube  → 1 Comment

2 May 2008 — A Day at the Office (5)

I’ve just returned home from my morning workout, and am sitting at the computer writing a piece for Get Fit Slowly. I can hear Maxwell thumping around, but I’m not really paying attention. Soon, however, the thumps turn into squawks, and then to growls.

Max and Nemo wrestle a lot, so I’m not too concerned. They take turns being the aggressor. Sometimes Max pummels Nemo. Sometimes Nemo pummels Max. They both love it.

As I’m typing, the growls and cries become more distressed, so I go to the bedroom to see what is the matter. Max is on top of Nemo, chomping him. Nemo is trying to thumper his way out, but is having no success. The fur is flying. Literally. Chomp chomp, thumper, growl.

Being a good father, I don’t break up the fight. Instead, I stand and watch as they roll around on the bed. Toto is sleeping on a chair in my office. Simon is sleeping on the kitchen table, in a box of my clothes. He’s been there for the past twelve hours. Or had been there. Here he comes now.

Simon comes clump clump clumping up the stairs in a fat cat run. He’s heard the squawking and yowling, and wants to see what’s the matter. He charges past me, hops onto the bed, and stares at his brothers. They stop wrestling. They look at him. He looks at one and then the other.

I can’t tell if they’re saying something in a secret cat language, but both Max and Nemo fall apart, moving away from each other. Simon continues looking from one to the other. Then he looks back to me as if to say, “Dad, it’s your job to keep them from fighting.”

Max hops down and goes to the guest room for a bite to eat. Nemo slinks downstairs. Simon curls up on the bed and falls back asleep.

Footnote: As I’m writing this, the cats take turns coming into the office. First Max comes charging in, flails around on the floor, then barrels downstairs. A couple minutes later, Nemo strolls in, sits down, gives himself a bath for five minutes, and then leaves. Toto is still asleep on the chair. Maybe she’s dead!

Tags: Cats · Daily Life  → 5 Comments