Monday, June 27, 2005

Monitor Blues

My boys are a chip off the block, for sure. They love to play with daddy's computer. They used to walk all over the keyboard, but now their main thing is playing with the the wrist rests (I can't keep them out so I'm starting to get RSI in my clicking finger) and jumping on top of the monitor.

I've been thinking of getting a new flat panel monitor. It's something I've wanted for a long time, but if I get one, I'm worried that they may ruin the soft LCD screen by pawing at it. Any suggestions?



Tuesday, June 21, 2005

New Hideaway

As you may recall, we have a crate that we use to keep the boys safe for a few minutes at a time when we do things like build a bookshelf or paint the bathroom or vacuum. Even though we rarely use the cage to confine the boys, they love to sleep in it.

We have a cage cover we bought a few weeks ago, but were unable to use because they kept batting it off the cage. So we gave the Pet Dreams Cratewear cover to Liz's mother so she could shorten it and sew velcro straps onto it. We got it back this weekend and Liz put it on the cage yesterday. The boys love their new hideout and, now that the bars are covered, Beowulf even likes to sleep on top of it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bowl Experiment

Last night, my fiancee Liz came home from visiting her parents and she decided to put the large waterer out again, because she said: "sometimes the boys act up when one of us isn't around." I didn't buy her theory, but I let her try the experiment. This morning, when I woke up to feed the boys breakfast, the kitchen was flooded again from an all-night water splashing party.

After Liz mopped the floor, I put down some metal bowls with water. These are my backup food bowls (I have two sets). I'm thinking that I should get some ceramic or hard glass bowls because I'm not sure how tasty water is when it's in a metal bowl.

I'm not sure if they are drinking as much as they normally do but I saw Arthur drink from one of them. It's always hard to tell how much they are drinking because they rarely drink in front of us.

He Knocked My Socks Off!

Well, he didn't knock them off, but I always appreciate a good pun. Have I mentioned that Arthur loves feet and, not only does he love feet, but he loves socks that have been on feet without being washed. While I was away on a business trip a couple of weekends ago, my fiancee Liz gave Arthur some of my dirty socks to play with. He dragged them back to a cubby in the bookshelf and guarded them like some kind of sacred treasure.

Now, if I want to entertain him, I'll take a sock off and dangle it for him or throw it across the room.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Water Crisis Continues

For several hours yesterday, I had taken the boys' normal water bowl, a LeBistro Waterer, away and put water in stainless steel bowls. They didn't play with the water in those, but I also couldn't tell if they were drinking any.

Then, last night, I decided I'd put the LeBistro back b/c I was worried that the boys might not be drinking enough. I put it back, but I only filled the water in it to a low level and didn't put any in the reservoir so, they'd have less ability to splash it around. So what happened? This morning, I wake up to feed the boys and find the LeBistro knocked over on its side and a puddle on the floor. Fortunately, there wasn't a ton of water in it, because I had only filled up the bowl portion of it, but it was still a puddle that had been sitting there for who knows how long.

I'm thinking that we need to switch to some kind of really stable, deep bowl that doesn't tip over. I wish I could get some kind of water bowl that the cats suck water from. I see one place that sold standing waterers, but now seems to be temporarily out of business.

Any bowl suggestions? Also, if I get a new bowl, will the boys refuse to use it?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Water Batting: A New Cat Sport

Just when we thought that paper-towel eating would be the most difficult thing to deal with, Arthur goes and discovers a new toy, his water bowl!

This evening, he has been flooding the kitchen by dipping his paw in the water bowl and splashing the water all over the floor. He then runs around with wet paws, leaving water all over the floor.

Anyone else have this problem? How can I stop him?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Cat Proofing the Kitchen Counter: In Plain, Boring English

I'm glad everyone enjoyed my whacky retelling of the kitchen counter saga, but I know some of you were also curious about what I actually did and didn't do to cat proof my kitchen counter.

First of all, I should say that my fiancee Liz and I are, by no means, satisfied with the current situation. The boys are still jumping on the counter from time to time, though usually when we're not around to see it. We would really like to keep them off of the counter, but for the time being, we have tried our best to make the kitchen counter as safe as possible for them while, at the same time, using some deterrants.

Last weekend marked the first time that the boys had managed to reach the kitchen counter at all. We had always dreaded the day that they would grow old enough to get up there, because it was one area of the apartment we really needed to ourselves. We kept paper towels there, jars of food, dish soaps, sponges, tupperwear, etc. We keep what we can in the cabinets, but cabinet space is really at a premium.

When I found the paper towels on the floor, I immediately went to the http://cats.about.com and read Franny Syufy's article on counter-surfing. She suggests a few different things to keep cats off of kitchen counters, including:

  • Sticky Tape: Liz and I bought a product called Sticky Paws which is basically double-sided tape that's made to stop cats from walking on surfaces. Sticky Paws is basically an annoyance to cats b/c they don't like walking on stickum. Who would? Unfortunately, we don't like the idea of stickum all over our mable countertop. We did line the lid of our trash can with Sticky Paws so the boys can't use it as a launching pad to the counter. They still occasionally step on the lid, but they don't like it. Another problem with Sticky Paws is that it becomes less sticky over time and needs to be replaced.
  • Aluminum Foil: Apparently, some cats dislike the idea of walking on aluminum foil. It really doesn't bother our boys. We tried the aluminum foil trick months ago on our diningroom table. No luck. They tried to play with the foil.
  • Pennies in a Can: Franny suggests putting a jar of pennies on the counter edge so the cats will knock it over and get scared away. She doesn't know our cats. Loud noises don't scare them more than one or two times before they become desensitizied to them.
  • Spray Bottle: We have been using this method and it is effective to a point. If we see the boys and spray them, they will usually jump off the counter. They also now have the message that we disapprove of them jumping on the counter so they don't tend to do it when we are in the room with them.
  • The Tattle Tale: The Tattle Tale is a product that makes a loud noise when it detects vibrations nearby. We bought this product a few months ago and tested it on the diningroom table. The only creatures who were scared by sudden loud noises were Liz and I. We found Arthur batting the Tattle Tale around and playing with it, completely oblivious to the really loud noises it made.

So what are we using?

  • The Spray Bottle method
  • The Skat-Cat: The Skat-Cat is a water-spraying motion detector. We bought this product a few months ago and were saving it for the day when the boys got up on the kitchen counter. Unlike some other cat-deterring sprays, this one uses regular tap water to spray your cat so you don't have to buy expensive refills or worry about what the spray is made out of.

    The only real problem with the Skat-Cat is that it can only shoot what's in front of it so one of them will only protect a certain area. Also, I get the feeling that, after a while, being shot with water, might not stop a determined cat like Beowulf. That said, I think this is a good product to try and I'm glad to have it as one of the best weapons in my arsenal.
  • The Sink method: If we see a cat in the sink, we go and turn the faucett on, drenching him with water.

Even with those three deterrants in our "arsenal," we can't guarantee that the boys won't jump on the counter. So we've taken steps to make sure the counter is less dangerous for them and less interesting to them:

  • We bought a large, square breadbox (this Brabantia bin) and placed the paper towel roll and holder in it.
  • We got a clear plastic shoe drawer, put it on its side, and placed our soaps and sponges in it. The boys didn't show an interest in these cleaning fluids, but I was very concerned that they might lick soap and get sick. We bought both the drawer and the breadbox at a local branch of The Container Store.
  • We placed all food jars flat against the back wall so they are harder to move or knock over.
  • We made a decision to not leave any dishes soaking in the sink at all. This is particularly annoying because we need to be able to let things soak sometimes. Fortunately, we have a dish washer so we can put most things in the dishwasher right away.

So that's where we're at.

Blogging and Cats: Both Contagious

I got a really nice comment from a reader name Alysha, who tells me she is both:

A. Starting her own cat blog, called The Purrsuit of a Princess

and

B. Looking to adopt her first cat.

It's a real honor to be able to inspire someone, just as I was inspired to adopt cats by my friend Franny Syufy, About.com's Cats Guide.

This reminds me that I mean to put up some advice posts for new cat people so that maybe I can help Alysha and others like her out a bit in their cat journeys.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Paradise Lost: Book II

By popular demand, our tale of lost innocence continues . . .

And the human called unto Arthur, and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the livingroom, and I was afraid, because I was naked and furry; and I hid myself.

And the human Avram said, Who told thee that thou wast naked and furry? Hast thou eaten of the paper towel roll, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

And the cat Arthur said, The brother Beowulf whom thou adopted with me, he gave me of the paper towel roll, and I did eat.

And the human said unto Beowulf, What is this that thou hast done? And the cat said, The paper towels beguiled me, and I did eat of them.

And the human Avram said unto the paper towel roll, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all paper products, and above every object of the kitchen counter; hidden within a breadbox shalt thou be, and dust shalt thou clean all the days of thy life:

Unto Beowulf he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow; I will hide the sponges and the soaps in a clear plastic container so that thou mightest see them, but cannot touch them.





And unto Arthur he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy brother, and hast eaten of the paper towel roll, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the counter for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou climb on it all the days of thy life;

Sprays with the water bottle shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt be hit with a stream of cold water each time I find thee hiding in the kitchen sink.

Therefore the human sent him forth from the counter of kitchen, to walk on the floor from whence he had jumped.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Paradise Lost

In the beginning, there was a man. The man met a woman and they bought an apartment with a really nice kitchen. But they were lonely. So they adopted two fur creatures and named them Arthur and Beowulf.

When they brought the fur creatures to the apartment, they pointed to the tables and the shelves and the furniture. "All these are yours to climb," said the man, "but you must never walk on the kitchen counter."

For seven months, the fur creatures enjoyed climbing the sofa, the bookshelves, the desks, and even the diningroom table and all was well. But Beowulf was not satisfied with all the other desks and chairs and shelves. He stood on top of the kitchen garbage can, staring longingly at the counter and sink. It had so many strange glass jars, pieces of tupperwear, and, of course, the most tempting roll of paper towels.

Now the paper towel roll was more subtil than any appliance or object in the apartment. And it said unto the cat, Yea, hath the man said, Ye shall not climb of every counter in the apartment?

And the cat said unto the paper towel roll, We may climb of the surfaces of any furniture in the apartment:

But of the counter of the room which is in the midst of the apartment, our human father hath said, Ye shall not jump on it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye knock something over and get hurt.

And the paper towel said unto the cat, Ye shall not surely be hurt:

For the human doth know that in the day ye jump thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as humans, lords of the apartment.

And when the cat saw that the kitchen counter was an easy climb, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a counter to be desired to make one wise, he climbed thereof, and did eat the paper towels, and gave also unto his brother with him; and he did eat paper towels also.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked and furry.

And they heard the voice of their human walking in the livingroom in the cool of the day: and Beowulf and his brother hid themselves from the presence of their human by sitting in the bookshelf.

And the human called unto Arthur, and said unto him, "Where art thou and what hast thou done? Hast thou eaten of the paper towel roll, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Back Home

As you may have noticed, I was gone on my business trip for a few days. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home on Sunday night that the boys had not forgotten me nor were they upset. I spent Monday relaxing with them and reconnecting. Unfortunately, my Internet connection at home has been on the fritz so this was my first chance to post. More later . . .