Wake up! >Mrow<

You can tell a cat, but not much, as the joke goes. They definitely respond to people differently than dogs do, but it isn’t as critical as how we respond to them. Ask Andy. Ask Dougy. What is a kitty to do when it’s breakfast time and your human won’t get out of bed?

My boys are predictably accurate about the time. They know when it’s three in the morning, so pester me for as long as it takes to make sure I’m up and feeding them by that time. Believe it, they do pester me until I get up to feed the kitties, and all stops are out if I try to sleep past three.

How demanding can a cat that sleeps 23-3/4 hours a day be!?

Here are some of their favorite cat tricks to get me out of bed:

1. Standing by my bed, meowing. [Not effective because neither Andy nor Dougy meows very loud. If I am awake, I know that it signals more harassment until I get up; if not, I don’t hear it. FAIL!]

2. Jumping on my bed and meowing by my head. [A bit more effective, but usually a FAIL because of the same reasons standing by my bed and meowing is a FAIL. Andy just jumps on my bed, but usually stares at me long enough to try to decide if I’m faking sleep or am actually sleeping. He is my stealthy cat. After a short time, he’ll jump over to a favorite spot on top of the little bookcase next to my bed. There’s a fan on it, a folded blanket for his comfort, but, best yet, a good view of me in bed where he can see me but I can’t see him. He watches, watches, watches…! You know you are watched when Andy watches you. Dougy, however, scratches on the mattress, which irritates me but usually doesn’t achieve the desired effect. Then he jumps, landing by my head. The moment he lands he always meows, just once. The landing can wake me. The meow just tells me which of the two landed. Andy makes no sound. I try to not open my eyes, though, and pretend I am still asleep. Between them, they sometimes have success.]

3a. Walking on me. [Less effective than it could be because their predecessor, Louie, weighed as much as both Andy and Dougy together. Dougy usually is the designated walker, and I kind of like it when he does because it feels like a massage. FAIL.]

3b. Andy and Dougy are rank amateurs compared with the late Louie. He’d usually walk on me, starting at one end, then end at the other after he took a slow stroll on my body. I handled his almost 24 pounds (10.8 kilos or so) treading on me except for that spot between my pelvis and bottom of my rib cage. When he landed there, it hurt like heck unless I anticipated it and tensed my muscles. When I tensed my muscles, he’d hop off my body, stroll to my face, and start to stick his butt in it. He knew I was awake and that I always got up before he got his butt too close to my face. I definitely hopped up and fed the kitty! Louie was a tough cat, a veteran of the streets. You couldn’t fool him by keeping your eyes closed!

Louie reacts

Cute or not, you didn't want Louie's butt in your face. As a boy cat, he sometimes was less than fastidious about personal hygiene...!

Cute or not, you didn’t want Louie’s butt in your face. As a boy cat, he sometimes was less than fastidious about personal hygiene…!

louie ponders an outside life

4. Knead the human. [Definitely a FAIL because Dougy, who has has a “mommy fixation” on my beard, doesn’t realize that kneading feels good so long as he doesn’t do it on bare skin. Plus, he has to nestle up to me to do it, which gives me a chance to gain more rest when I stroke his fur. That in turn prompts more kneading. I’m having a good time, Dougy’s forgetting why he’s kneading me because he’s having a good time, too. I just have to make sure he doesn’t get in my beard. It creeps me out when he nestles in my beard, and tries to nurse. ICK!]

5. Sniff the human’s face! [SUCCESS! I know where those little kitty faces have been, so the moment I sense one coming my way, I fend it off. They know I’m awake then, and gloves are off till they get me out of bed. This is when they start to gang harass me. Otherwise it’s a solo business, each in his turn. Besides, those cat whiskers tickle!]

6. Wag your tail in the human’s face. [This is a recent development that is guaranteed to get the point across to me: Get up. NOW! Absolute SUCCESS! Fie on you, Dougy. You discovered my kyptonite! Andy hasn’t learned this trick yet.]

7. Late in life, Louie discovered something that makes him unique among the four cats I’ve had in my life. His failsafe method to get me up? He’d stand on my shoulder with his back feet, put his front feet on my blankets, then walk my blankets down toward my waist. When you are a 24 pound cat, you can do this!

different cats, different styles

Before I had a cat, I imagined what it might be like. None of them has been a neck warmer, however sweet that would be on a blizzardy January Nebraska night.

I had an impression of what I wanted in my pound cat...!

I imagined this is what having a cat would be like!

Dougy is the closest to a body part warmer of any of my cats. When he stops by for a cat nap in the middle of the night, he walks on me, meows to ask me if I’m awake, kneads any exposed skin he can find, then snuggles between my chest and top arm. He wraps all four legs around my arm, and I suspect I keep him warm, rather than the other way around. Ha!

Dougy loves my computer desk...when I'm trying to use it!

Dougy loves my computer desk…when I’m trying to use it!

Andy isn’t a snuggle bunny. He likes to sleep, instead, by a small fan on top of a small bookcase by my bed. There’s a window behind it, which I crack open for the fresh air. I suspect night sounds are what interests Andy, not a chance to share my bedroom! From the bookcase to my bed is a small jump.

From my bed, he can jump to a television stand and a drawer I leave open for his amusement in case he needs a way up to catch an occasional fly, spider, or moth. A cat chasing a critter pretty much ends any possibility of sleep. On the other hand, a fly, spider, or moth loose in the room doesn’t help sleep conditions either. Dougy always comes running when he hears Andy on the hunt.

Andy before a haircut. That piece of cottonwood is a favorite perch.

Andy before a haircut. That piece of cottonwood is a favorite perch.

Two cats hunting definitely end any possibility of sleep!

Louie the ginger cat was big enough to kick me out of bed had he chosen to sleep there. He visited only to wake me up to feed him. This he did by several means: tail end in my face, sniffing my nose, patting me roughly with a big paw (claws barely out for effect), walking up and down my body, and, toward the end, he self-taught himself to put his front paws on my covers, his rear paws on me, and push my covers down! When a nearly 24 pound (10.8kg) cat pushes your covers off, you get up!

Louie climbed on the kitchen table to check out this bouquet. Bad kitty!

Louie climbed on the kitchen table to check out this bouquet. Bad kitty!

Then there was little Freckles, the cat only those who’ve been around since fall of 2009 will remember. She was a small teenaged cat, like Louie, that I rescued from the city pound. She was my first cat.


Freckles was a sweet kitty.

She was a nervous little tabby cat, having spent weeks in the pound at a time they caged cats next to the dogs. They couldn’t see each other, but they definitely were aware of each other through smell and sound. She relaxed immediately at home when I brought her to the apartment: No more dogs!

That first night, I brought her out to rest on my chest while I sat in my recliner. The moment I picked her up, she began a purring, a surprisingly loud purr for such a petite cat. I pet her till I fell asleep. The vibrations of her purring felt so good on my chest! When I woke up, she was still there, still purring.

Freckles wasn’t big enough to warm anything much, though she warmed my heart.

Different cats, different styles.

It started on YouTube…

My first Internet exposure was on YouTube in April 2009. I had this notion I’d vlog my way to notoriety as a retirement activity that’d keep me off the streets yet encourage some small brain activity…so I didn’t die a slow, stupid death over however much time I had on this side of the divide.

I’ve set aside those early videos, much as I refocused this blog as one about “surviving retirement with two cats”. Cats are much, much more interesting and entertaining than some old fat guy chatting. Let’s be honest here! Yet those old videos pop up when people discover the older videos, recognize some value in them, and attach comments to them.

YouTube re-invented their channel format awhile back, and the new format allows viewers a sample of whichever videos the poster choses to feature. I feature current videos, most viewed videos, and favorites by others on my channel. Before the improvements, a viewer had to dig to find earlier videos people posted or call them up with tags. Most of the “most viewed” videos are early efforts at establishing a presence on YouTube. Apparently, people still find them worth a look.

Here are my five “most viewed” videos plus my favorite Andy video of when he was a very young kitten, upset with me for reasons I never learned:






And, finally, Andy at two months old:

The Prednisone videos are hard to watch again, though people dealing with the effects of that drug periodically leave comments and questions on these. Doctors take heed: You put people on the drug, but you fail to really, really explain possible side effects, like you can suffer psychosis on the drug or develop diabetes. No small matters!

The Louie videos are fun. [“Lucy” is Louie before I learned how to tell the difference between a female and a neutered male cat. Ha! Seriously!]

Caught in the act: self-incrimination.

Before there were two Persians in my life, there was one ginger cat, Louie. The late Louie the ginger cat was huge, almost 24 pounds (10.8 kilos). He had presence! The photo shows one moment where Louie managed to catch himself in the act of being a bad kitty.

I couldn’t account for the odd photo at top left until I noticed a little detail. Look at the black circle…the tip of Louie’s tail! With a little Photoshop manipulation, I uprighted Louie’s picture, and regard the result as one of my sweetest souvenirs of his time with me!

Louie captured proof he'd knocked my webcam off the monitor and walked on my mouse...

Louie captured proof he’d knocked my webcam off the monitor and walked on my mouse…

Here’s another look at Louie, in a quiet moment when he was being a good boy:

Louie was a beautiful cat, sweet dispositioned, and a character.

Louie was a beautiful cat, sweet dispositioned, and a character.

a tail of two kitties…

Andy isn’t the only cat with an interesting tail. Louie, the predecessor to the boys, also had an intriguing tail:

Louie's fine tail.

Louie’s fine tail.

Then there was this video, one of my first attempts at cat videography. Louie was a natural:

The closer it gets to the anniversary of Louie’s death, the more I think about what a fine cat he was. The boys are fun, cute, lively, and great to have around the house. Louie was an older, wiser cat. He taught me a lot of what I needed to know as a cat companion.

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.

where have I been?

It’s been a long, hot summer. Lots of visitors, transitions. It all left me stunned, tired, worn.

I enjoyed the visits. Those were good! Some friends I’d not seen in years. Larry and Robert: four years. Ralph: three years. My brother from California, my sister and friend from Seattle, my other sister from Rapid City filled in the rest of the time. I felt blessed by each visit, and look forward to more in the coming year. Another friend, from Rapid City, couldn’t break away from his railroad job long enough to visit with us, an all too common thing, eh?! The person closest to the host is the one who can’t make it. Life can be perverse.

After 22 months of companionship, laughs, my cat Louie died August 1st or lymphoma. I was – am – shocked because I didn’t even suspect he was ill until his last day. I made a video for his veterinarian, thinking I could somehow save Louie by documenting how ill he was. The morning of August 2nd, I found him dead in my dryer, his favorite “hideyhole”. I bawled. I bawl just writing this. Louie was a beautiful, great cat.

Don’t watch this video if you are sensitive.

If you are sensitive, watch this Louie video. It is Louie at his best. He was a great cat!

When I picked up Louie’s ashes, a lady who works as a technician at the veterinarian’s asked if I’d be interested in a kitten. He wouldn’t be ready to leave “home” for about a month, she said. He was a pure bred Persian, suitable to be a pet, but not suitable for breeding or showing because his face is a bit crooked.

My face is a bit crooked, too, I thought, and I said I’d at least take a look.

It was instant bonding! I will tell more about this new kitten as our relationship develops. He isn’t a Louie, but, as this little video shows, he is quite the character. I named him Andrew (after the patron saint of Scotland) and James (because I like the name and all my pets have “James” as a middle name- why not?). Just plain Andy!

What do you think? Is Andy a keeper?