Captain Me-Ow

Captain Me-Ow is the name a friend gave to this photo of the late Louie the ginger cat, cat super hero. “Captain” because many super heroes have rank. “Me” for “it’s all about me” and “Ow” because that’s what happens to you if you don’t pay attention to “Me”! It is a favorite photo of that beloved cat.

Louie as super hero copy

The original photo wasn’t much. Just an under-exposed snapshot of my cat Louie sleeping on my computer chair. The cute super hero uniform is the work of a New Zealand friend with a delightful quirky sense of humor!

Some time after Louie died on August 1, 2011, I decided I wanted to hang an enlarged photo of him in my home. This was a natural. Aside from showing his magnificence, it shows him in a humorous way: Louie, if nothing, was a funny cat!

The person who custom framed things retired, so I tried to find a ready-made frame big enough to display the photo of Captain Me-Ow and failed. It has odd proportions. I ended up buying a poster frame that was way bigger than the photo. Friction and static electricity held the photo in place until wee Andrew started tugging on the bottom part of the frame, pulling it off.

Louie framed picture_edited-1

I re-attached the piece; Andy pulled it back off. Finally, I took the photo down till I found a solution, which was a smaller poster frame that still is bigger than the photo. Positioning the photo in the smaller frame, I let friction and static electricity hold it in place again. No problem there. AND it hanged higher than the other frame because it was smaller, of course, and I used the same nail. Andy, I figured, couldn’t reach high enough to bother this one!

Of course he did, pulling off the bottom piece of the frame again.

No cat will defeat me, I declared, and taped the thing together. Andy tried to repeat his naughtiness, but was defeated.

Or was he? He managed to break the hold of friction and static electricity on the photo, and gravity finished the process of creating what you see above: A cat-altered piece of cat memorabilia. The whole thing is taped tightly, would be a mess to straighten out.

The more I looked at it, the more I started to see the sense of it. A household with cats always is a bit askew. Louie couldn’t have done better! Ahem! “Captain Me-Ow”, rather.

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O Canada! Would you like two cats?

Face it. There are times cats just aren’t fun. Like when Andy and Dougy were babies and had diarrhea from an intestinal amoebic parasite. First they’d poop outside the litter box. (Little kitten legs couldn’t carry them there fast enough – I forgave them that!) Then I’d have to give them “poop baths”, as I called them, to put a joke on top of a crappy situation. Ever bathe a cat!? Two cats!? More than once or twice or three times a week!? I shudder to recall it!

Or, they aren’t much fun when you have to catch not one, but two cats to take them anywhere. They learn from each other’s mistakes, so you can’t let one see how you trapped the other or you will be late for your veterinarian or groomer appointment. Oh yes! Even if one don’t see you catch the other, there is an art to cat trapping. Maybe I’ll write about that some day. I’ve a fair amount of experience.

Or, you pick one cat up and he’s happy for five seconds of loving before he wants down again, so you pick up the other and find out he’s not only not in the mood for five seconds of loving, he’s having a hissy because you interrupted something he really, really wanted to do instead. You know, like nothing! Claws time.

Then there’s the fun side of cats, the “most of the time” side, where they purr when they see you. Or bump a tiny nose to your extended finger in a cat greeting. Or when you blinky-eye them your love, and they blinky-eye you back, forgiving you all those baths and other intrusions in their otherwise perfect existence.

Or waking up in the middle of the night because one of your cats is kneading bread all over your body in a little love fest of kitty massage. Oooh! It feels good, though I make sure all skin is covered because kneaded bare skin is not fun. My boys have their claws!

Or there’s cat play, a manifestation of pure joy we all should emulate before we turn into cranky old coots.

But enough of this! Tomorrow, Andy and Dougy will be the Big 2. Coincidentally, our great next door neighbor to the north, Canada, will be the Big 146! I’m a day early – I’m too excited! – but Happy Birthday, Andy, Dougy, and Canada! You all are the cat’s meow, purrfect, pussycats, and the cat’s pajamas! You all make me feel warm and fuzzy!

The Big 2!

Andy and Dougy are almost two years old! They were born July 1, 2011, and came into my life at about six weeks old (Andy) and 11 weeks old (Dougy). I feel blessed!

I generally don’t observe birthdays, let alone cat birthdays, but I felt like splurging this year. I ordered them a cat toy that… well, watch the video!

That’s a cat for you! Andy played with it later without incident. Dougy looked it over when it wasn’t operating, but isn’t really comfortable with it yet. That surprised me since Dougy is the more enthusiastic with toys of the boys.

What you can learn from your cat: Nr. 2

We’ll call this one “Andy’s Immutable Law of Self-Respect”.

First, let me set up the scene with a short video I took minutes ago:

The law goes something like this: If others treat you like a joke, balance is restored if you bite them!

Works for Andy, let me tell you. He’s little, but he’s tough. No sense of humor, either, that Andy. Mmm-hunh! NO sense of humor.

cat fishing (updated)

Not much happening down by the settee today. Took in a little cat fishing, but regret to tell you I had little luck! Lots of nibbles, though, and it felt like a 11 pound or so lunker on the line early on. It got away, of course, because cat fishing is harder than it looks.

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Little did I know when I wrote this post as it originally appeared that June 25th, today, is National Catfish Day in America, as proclaimed by Ronald Reagan in 1987.

[eery music…rattling chains…pregnant pause…a blood-curdling scream…]

you can learn from your cat… if you want to

Andy and Dougy are out of sync today. Dougy wants to play; Andy will have nothing of it; Andy is excited about birds outside the back door; Dougy’s licking his bum in obvious contentment. You just can’t predict the plan for the day with these boys.

Andy is the least predictable. He’ll walk up to me, give me kitten eyes, maybe put his little front paws on my leg in an inviting way. “Oh, you want me to pet you, darling pet,” I say, and reach down to stroke his soft wee ears or to scratch his kittenish chin. Purr-purr-purr! I’m all excited for our cat-human bonding moment!

Then, quicker than my hand can reach Andy to start the love fest, he gallops away from that very hand that dares to stroke his silken Persian magnificence!

“Rats! Foiled again!” I curse as my hand barely touches Andy’s fabled “nice tail”, the one he arches so gracefully over his back when I touch it, run it through my hand and say the magic words, “Nice tail, kitty! You have the nicest tail of all cats ever!” He likes this, so he generally lets me do it. It’s our “thing”!

Flattery usually fails on cats, though.

On the other hand, or maybe “under the other hand”, there is Dougy, a personable cat much like the idealized cat humans often think all kittens grow up to be. You know, kittens still, playful, affectionate, amusing, lap-dwelling lumps of love, which is to say meatloaves with personality!

(I thought I just heard a disbelieving voice say, “You mean they don’t???”)

I confess I am more like Andy than Dougy many times: “Give me my space. Don’t press your luck when I clearly am not interested in interacting with you just now. Leave me alone, I’m thinking. Maybe not about useful things to you, but I’m thinking, and it is pleasant for me not always to be social.”

Shame on us both! You saw in the video what our unsocial ways did to poor Dougy! He had to make his own fun! Hey! If I didn’t already do that myself, I could have learned that from my cat! In case you need a life lesson on having fun, I offer that one to you for free. We’ll call it “The Dougy Principle: Make your own fun.”

Incidentally, Andy is at my feet at this moment, giving me kitten eyes. “I want you to think I want something, which I don’t, but I will play my favorite cat game with you till you figure this out: When I sit at your feet giving you kitten eyes, I’m just trying to fake you out!”

I ignored him. No fuss about it, he simply moved on to find something else to do. Maybe I can learn from my cat if I want to!

=(.+.)= =(^+^)= =(.+.)= =(^+^)= =(.+.)= =(^+^)= =(.+.)= =(^+^)= =(.+.)=

POSTSCRIPT: Dougy had to make his own fun this morning, too, and is a stronger cat for learning to tough it when everyone, cat and man, ignores him.

Honestly, though, sometimes he’s so frustrated he could just kill a bird!

Mayhem and Tornado would be better names

I love my little fuzzy guys, Andy and Dougy. They are an amusement, a challenge, a responsibility, a source of entertainment and videos. Not bad for free cats that cost me $1400 in veterinarian bills before I had them 3 1/2 months!

They came to me by accident, really. Louie, the beloved 23 pound 12 ounce ginger tabby I had before the boys died on the first of August 2011. Some of you know the story. I had him cremated at the veterinary where he got his shots and check-ups. It was when I picked up his ashes that Tara, one of the technicians who raises cats, came out with this little fuzzball that looked remarkably like Willie the groundskeeper on “The Simpsons”, you know, a crazed wild-haired Scotsman!andy  as baby

“Would I be interested in having this kitty when he’s old enough to leave his mother?” she asked. She set him down on the counter , and he waddled over to me! Aw! “Sure!” I said. Seems he (and Dougy) weren’t breeding or show quality, so their value as cats for sale was diminished. Plus they were sick, and responsible breeders don’t sell sick animals. They just give them away! I joke. I really, really appreciate the fact that Tara gave them to me as pet quality Persians still have a value, and it’s more than I ever paid or likely would pay for a pet, hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, look at that face! Aw! Priceless!

I decided he needed a Scottish name since I am mostly of  Scottish ancestry. I chose Andrew, after the patron saint of  Scotland, St. Andrew, even though I’m Presbyterian and Andy’s no saint. There was a hope, however, so he became Andrew James Thomas. All my pets have the same middle and last names. Because. Don’t ask. Just seems right to me, and I like James, which has some family connection. The absurdity of it, this long name on this fuzzball appealed to my sick sense of humor. “He’ll grow into it.”

cropped-naughty-kitten.jpg

[It says “naughty kitten”, which, by the time I took the photo seemed a shrewd assessment of his potential for mayhem when he grew older. And how!]

Dougy came a few days after I picked up Andy to bring him home. After a week, Andy’s illness concerned me enough I called Tara to let her know I wasn’t sure Andy would survive. He had diarrhea, ate sometimes, other times not, and that I wasn’t ready to have another pet die on me so soon after Louie. I was very stressed! She picked him up that night and took him to the clinic, where I left him till his medical issues were in better control.

When I went to the clinic a few days later to see Andy, Tara came out with another fuzzball that looked pretty much like Andy, only a bit bigger now that the boys were maybe two, three weeks older. She told me Andy played well with his brother while at the clinic, that the brother wasn’t a kitten she could sell because of health and age issues (I think it was), but would I be interested in having him?

Aw! Damn cute kittens! Of course I wanted him!

Yes, the boys play well together! I decided Scrapper Nr. 2 needed a Scottish name as well, the boys being brothers and all. I sorted through many suggestions from friends: Angus, Archibald, Murdoch, ugh! Nr. 2 was a quirky little rascal, funny and loveable. “Why not name him after another quirky little rascal, funny and loveable, me!” I thought, though I had concern people would judge me to be vain or crazy to name a cat after myself. “I’ll pronounce it ‘Doogie’, and no one will know the difference,” I smugly decided. It took no time at all for Doogie to become Dougy, and for me to learn he tore around the apartment at top speed, a little tornado.

To this day, the boys tear around the apartment at top speed, leaving a trail of destruction, a fact well documented here and on videos, many of which I’ve attached to different posts.

Mayhem and Tornado. Those are pretty cool cat names. Too bad I didn’t think of them earlier!

morning at the zoo

Happy first day of summer! Carhenge is just down the road from me, and there often is some to-do there in observance of the longest day of the year. A barbecue. Human sacrifice. You know, just your typical small town America celebration!

My favorite visitor comment came from an English tourist who wrote, “We have one in England like this.” Ha!

Anyway, not much doing here. Cats woke me up. Got up and fed them, and prepared the trash for the trash guys to pick up later today. Had a lot of trash this week because I shredded lots of old bank statements, tax records, and the like that passed their shelf life. Never have enough room where I live, so anything that reduces clutter – paper is the worst! – is a happy thing for me.

Andy and Dougy had some scuffles in the past few days, but today they are their usual well-oiled team, doing their best to assure I get nothing of my own done so long as there is urgent cat business to tend to. What can I say? I got a short video out of it.

Time to stop and do something for me. A nice cup of coffee, a light breakfast, and maybe I can stay a step or two ahead of the boys!

To be or which to be?

When I first set up my retirement computer, I made some decisions that were less than ideal. For example, use of “weggieboy” as an identifier here and other places. It’s meaningful to me, but it has other meanings to others, some not so good! The confusion my user name causes occasionally attracts unsavory people or comments wherever it shows up on the Internet. It prompted me to write a blog called “wedgieboy vs. weggieboy” in July 2009, and that helped for the short-term, if not so much now.

More and more, the user name is a burden, so I want something more comfortable and less provocative to wee brained people trolling the ‘net. I’m just not sure what that new user name might be!

Weggieboy might morph into “birdman”, since I am a life member of an ornithological group. I use “phainopepla95” on YouTube. The phainopepla is a bird. I’m a man. Erm. Yeah. Birdman. I note, for clarity, that I am the first person to make a photographic record of a phainopepla in my state, where records go back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition of May 1804 to September 1806. No one outside of my family saw it since I didn’t realize in 1980 that my record was unique, a first state record accepted by the organization that evaluates and maintains state records of birds. In the 33 years since, no other phainopepla wandered north to sample the lovely winters we have here!

There are people in the ornithological group to which I belong who feel it is unfair that an amateur spotted and gained credit for this record and that it spent two months in my backyard feeding area (January through end of February 1980) as my exclusive rara avis. Snot happens. (Thank me later for cleaning that up a little!) That makes “phainopepla95” a bit provocative as a different user name, but only to a small number of people worldwide. Ha! Many more confuse my current user name with immature behavior involving yanked underwear.

The blog’s evolved into a “guy with two cats” format since the early days, too, with a subtext of retirement issues. The blog might be, then, “Andy, Dougy, and Doug” or “2 cats and a guy” or “a guy and two cats”. Not too punchy, no sizzle, no pizzazz….

How about “birdman and the boys – surviving retirement with two cats”? I often call the cat brothers “the boys” here and in day-to-day references to them elsewhere. Seems a natural! Of course, no one will recognize the new name and I’ll risk losing both the people who subscribe to this blog. It’s a conundrum.

What do you think? Does any possible change above make sense to you? Or do you have an idea you like better?

Here’s a link to “wedgieboy vs. weggieboy”:

http://weggieboy.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/wedgieboy-vs-weggieboy/

bad boy

Today, Andy pinned Dougy down and bit him till Dougy let out a serious yelp. This is the second time this week. Though the boys usually play well together, this occurrence is troublesome. I hope it isn’t a change in their relationship. I know cats work out territorial differences. The boys do this all day long every day long, just not so noisily or with any pain inflicted.

The other day, the boys had their first really confrontational disagreement, which I broke up with a loud hand clap after Andy tore into Dougy till he yelped in pain. They stopped and stared at me. I clapped one more time, and they scattered in opposite directions. They played well together the rest of the day.

I hope these incidents are products of enthusiasm, not something dark. I’d hate it if they stopped being best buddies, if only because they are brothers. In the meantime, I probably need to wear off that energy by playing more with my cats.