Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Turning and Learning

If my fiancee Liz was not on a trip with our camera, I would have snapped a picture of Arthur tugging at the door knob on the front door last night or Beowulf trying to pull the knob on the hall closet this evening. For the past few days, the two of them have been leading against both the front door and the closet door, meowing up at something, and then reaching their paws up to try to turn the knob.

Fortunately, the front door is always locked and the closet door knob is actually just a handle that can't be turned. However, I'm starting to feel like I did the first time I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey and I saw the scene where the first ape picks up a bone and decides to use it as a weapon. They are trying to learn to turn a door knob. It may not be long before they successfully open another door, the door to the bedroom.

Heavily-Photoshopped Season's Greetings

This was actually my family's holiday card for last year, but this year we just haven't had time to send one. Anyway, this is kinda corny, but I thought you might get a chuckle from it. We don't have a real Menorah or Christmas tree in our house, because the boys would probably destroy either one.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Sins of the Father

To put things mildly, my fiancee Liz hates it when the boys walk on our diningroom table. I'm not as concerned about the table as I am about other surfaces, like the kitchen counter, but I do try to keep them off the table when I see them there, particularly while I'm eating. I certainly don't want them coming up there and tasting messing with my food.

However, on Saturday morning, Beowulf jumped up on the table as I was eating my breakfast and, rather than investigating my food, he just sat there and purred. I have to admit that I couldn't resist petting him while I ate and I even stuck my arm out so he could hold onto it. Liz is going to kill me when she reads this.

And what was Arthur doing while his brother sat on the forbidden table? He was just lying around watching.

My Crazy Million Dollar Idea

Every now and then, I come up with a wacky idea for a new business and then calm usually sets in and I realize it's not viable. However, I really want some feedback on today's idea: Pet Showers and Pet Registries.

This weekend, my fiancee Liz and I registered for wedding gifts at a couple of stores and it got me thinking. If people have showers for weddings and for new babys, what about new pets? And if people register for wedding gifts and baby gifts, why not create an online pet registry where people can register for gifts for pets they plan to adopt or just adopted. People would be able to throw actual shower parties for their new pets OR they could plan and execute an "online shower" OR they could just plain register so their friends and family can buy gifts they will need to get started with the new cat or dog (leashes, collars, litterboxes, toys, etc).

Forget for a second the myriad ways in which providing an online pet gift registry could turn a profit. Would you register for gifts for a new pet you adopted AND would you buy gifts for a friend's new pet if she registered?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One of My Favorite Things

Arthur has this great habit of hugging my arm with his whole body. Sometimes when he's lying on my desk chair, I roll him over to the couch and stick my arm out just so he can do this.

Two Years with the Boys

The boys' two-year adoptiversary was November 13th, just two weeks ago. As always, I observed the occasion by donating money to Bideawee, the shelter we adopted them from.

It's hard to believe so much time has passed, because it seems like only yesterday we brought the boys home. Liz and I still find ourselves amazed at some of the wonderful things they do. We love them more each day. Spending time with our boys never gets old.

Here are a few then and now pictures.


This is our first picture of the boys, taken on November 13,2004. They were just coming out of the cardboard carriers from the shelter:

Here's a picture of them using their bed on the third day we had them:

Finally, here's a picture of them cuddling with me on the night we brought them home.



One sure-fire way to get the boys to come sit with us is to whip out the fleece blanket. They can't resist it and Beowulf loves to hide under it if he can find a spot.

Arthur and Beowulf enjoy the blanket

Arthur and Beowulf enjoy the blanket

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Purrfect Wedding Cake Topper

Many thanks to the user who turned me on to the Cool Cats line of figurines by Toni Goffe. I just ordered "the Kiss" as our wedding cake topper. What do you think?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cats in Snug Spots

This is probably not a revelation to anyone who has cats, but more and more I'm discovering that the boys like to be in snug spots. This is probably why they like beds that are box-shaped and surround their bodies. It's also why Arthur and Beowulf like to come sleep between my legs when I'm lying on the couch.

Their love of snug spots is probably why they aren't interested in sitting next to me on the couch when I'm sitting by myself, but they will come sit between Liz and I, because they want a warm body on either side of them.

The other day, Beowulf found the ultimate snug spot. He came over when I was lying on the couch and got me to open up a hole between my body and the pillows. He then proceeded to stick his head under my arm. He was so content that the vibration of his purr was like a massage machine on high setting.

Beowulf Sits Between My Arm and the Couch

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reading with the Boys: A Friday Night Tradition

I try to spend quality time with the boys every day, but Friday nights lately have become a special time for me to lie on the couch with a book while the boys come to cuddle. Tonight, Arthur decided to sleep between my legs and Beowulf later joined us and leaned on my leg. Without a doubt, this is the most serene feeling.

Reading with Arthur and Beowulf

Reading with Arthur and Beowulf

Arthur and Beowulf Sleep on My Leg

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The One Thing that Scares the Boys

Not much scares the boys, particularly not much in the way of sound. Loud fireworks on the Fourth of July don't even cause them to wake up from a nap. However, the vacuum cleaner does send both Arthur and Beowulf running for cover. Beowulf tends to hide under the dining room table.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Chair, New Bed

We put together our new chair today and the boys immediately took a liking to it. We put a pillow on it for a few minutes and they turned it into a grooming parlor. If they don't destroy it, this chair is going to be their new favorite spot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Doubly Purrfect

It's rare, but occasionally both of the boys will come sit with me at once. Beowulf is always the one who will sit on my legs, while Arthur sits on the ottoman. Here's a recent picture, though it's not particularly high-quality.

Chair Chewers

LIz and I are about to buy her a new desk chair, but we're concerned that the boys will destroy it as they did her previous desk chair.

Back when we first adopted the boys, Liz and I had matching leather desk chairs. Unfortunately, the boys started biting and clawing at the bottom of Liz's chair so that a hole opened up and some stuffing came out. The chair was still usable but we didn't want the boys to eat any filling or loose staples from the bottom of the chair so we gave it to my parents and Liz bought a new chair with a plastic bottom about a year and a half ago.

The chair with the plastic bottom was never very comfortable and recently became so uncomfortable that she needs to put a pillow on the chair to sit comfortably. We went to our local office stores (Staples and Office Depot) and looked at several chairs, but we didn't find any with solid plastic bottoms that were even a little bit comfortable. All the chairs have cloth bottoms with staples used to hold the cloth in place. We already had to replace our dining room chairs with all-wood chairs after the boys kept pulling string off the bottoms. This office chair doesn't have any loose string on its bottom but it does have fabric.

We saw one chair at Staples that's a little bit pricey but incredibly comfortable. Our concern is that we're going to buy this wonderful chair and the boys are going to rip open the bottom of the chair and ruin it. Any ideas as to how we could keep them messing with the underside?

We don't care if they sit on the chair; we just don't want them to start pulling the fabric off the bottom. Any ideas? Our first thought is to spray the bottom of the chair with bitter apple spray, something we have used with limited effectiveness on wires. Has anyone else had the same problem?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Couch Potato Cats

Last night, I was feeling really tired so I went to lie down on the couch with a book. When I first sat down, it was around 8:30 and Beowulf came and slept on my legs for a little while but he quickly got up and went to sit in my desk chair. I kept trying to get Arthur to come site on the ottoman, but he was too busy running around.

I quickly fell asleep and woke up about an hour later to find Arthur lying down next to me. He spent the next few hours shifting positions while I kept nodding off. At one point he came and sat between me and the couch pillows and rested his head on my chest, something I can't remember him doing before. I had the most relaxing evening I've had in a long time, but I got to read only about two pages of my book.

Arthur and Beowulf on couch

Arthur and Me

Arthur and Me

Arthur Cuddling

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blanket Cats

If Liz wants Beowulf and Arthur to sit on her lap, all she needs to do is whip out the fleece blanket. The other day it was particularly cold in the apartment, because the building hadn't turn the heat on (now they have). So Liz took out the blanket and the boys came running.

Cat in blanket

Cats on blanket

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cats Hide in the Cutest Places

A few months ago, my fiancee Liz and I both joined the local gym and we've been spending several hours a week there. I was getting ready to go to the gym tonight and I put the gym bag down on the diningroom table for a minute while I went to wash my hands for just a minute. When I came back from the bathroom, I saw a pair of eyes peering out from inside the bag.

Beowulf the cat hides in a gym bag

Beowulf the cat hides in a gym bag

Beowulf the cat hides in a gym bag

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Whiskers in our Wedding Pictures

After many years of saving up the money and waiting for the right time, my fiancee Liz and I recently set our wedding date for June of 2007. After we put down the deposit on the wedding hall back in June, the real wedding planning began. Liz has already chosen her bridesmaids and ordered a wedding dress.

As the groom in this affair, I don't have as many things to think about as Liz. So I've started to wonder how we can include our cats or our love of cats in the festivities.

Clearly, we can't expect Arthur and Beowulf to attend the wedding ceremony or reception. We are having the ceremony and reception at a catering hall and, even if the hall allowed us to bring pets, it would be pretty selfish of us to drag them out of the house and expect them not to get lost or injured or scared in a strange place.

However, I do have some ideas of how to involve our cats in our wedding:

  • Take a Photo: One of my coworkers has a picture of his wife in her wedding gown and himself in his tuxedo, with both of them holding their cat. I asked him how this picture was taken and he told me that they had had a photographer take the picture at their apartment on the morning of their wedding.

    Unfortunately, Liz and I are getting married at a place which is about an hour and a half from our apartment. We will be staying over at a hotel the night before and the night of our wedding so taking a wedding picture with the boys may not be possible. I asked Liz if we could stage the photo at some point after our wedding by getting dressed up in our wedding gear and taking the picture at home and she said that her dress has some beads that could fall off and be swallowed. Also, staging the picture seems somewhat fake to me. I feel like our boys should see us on our wedding day and I would be willing to take a limo into the city after the reception just so we could stop by and see the boys.

  • Feature our Cats on our Wedding Invitation: We're probably going to print our own invitations and I would love to find a way of including a picture of the boys on the invitation.

  • Encourage Donations to Animal Charities: Perhaps this sounds tacky, but I'll just throw it out there as a concept. I would love to find a way to encourage our wedding guests to donate to an animal charity like the ASPCA or Bideawee Shelter (where we adopted the boys). I had thought about asking for donations in lieu of wedding gifts, but Liz would like to register for all the normal things people get when they are married (flatware, cookware, etc.), and I can't really blame her for wanting those typical things.

    Another thought we had was to donate a few dollars in the name of each guest and give that instead of a thank-you gift. That might also go over like a lead balloon. Any ideas?

  • Get a Cat Cake Topper: I would love to find a cake topper with a cat bride and groom or with a human bride and groom surrounded by orange cats. I've seen some sites that will custom make a topper for you, but they are hundreds of dollars and it's a little wasteful to spend more than $50 on a cake topper, IMHO.

  • Name Tables at the Reception after Cats: Besides the Beowulf table and the Arthur table, we'd have to think of other cats for the rest of the tables if we want to have a consistent theme. I suppose we could have a Morris table.

Anyway, these ideas might seem a bit silly to some and, if you think I'm being impractical, I can't blame you. It's just that Arthur and Beowulf are such a huge part of our lives. We were engaged before the boys came into our lives, but adopting them really brought Liz and me closer together and made us a real family.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Favorite Cat Things

Arthur has this habit of wrapping his whole body around my arm and going to sleep. It's one of my favorite cat things and I finally caught him in the act.

Beowulf is more likely to reach and grip my fingers with his paws, like he's holding hands.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Arthur Worships the Great Lamp God

Arthur has a strange habit and I would love to figure out what it means. Sometimes he'll jump up on the table next to the couch and start looking up at the torch lamp and meowing at it. He'll also try to lean on it or to scale the wall next to it. This behavior freaks me out because:
  • He could very well tip over the lamp, break it, and hurt himself

  • He only does this when I'm around (My fiancee Liz has never seen him do it when she is home alone nor has he played with the lamp when I'm in another room.)

I have theorized that Arthur does this for attention, but if that's his reason, it makes no sense, because he'll often jump up on the table and start his "lamp worship" when I'm in the middle of petting him and giving him lots of attention.

He also does a variation on lamp worship at the other end of the living room where he occasionally stands in the kitchen doorway and meows up at the ceiling, while trying to scale the wall. I call this "ceiling worship."

When he performs either of these behaviors, Liz and I scold him, because he's scratching the wall or tipping the lamp. I find it hard to believe, however, that his motivation is a desire to scratch something because he has a really good scratching post and because he acts like he's trying to talk to something up there.

Does anybody have any idea why he does this?

Desktop Cats

Forget about their $300 cat tree! The boys' favorite sleeping spot this week is on or near my desk. Beowulf, in particular, likes to lean on the keyboard while I'm working. Arthur used to do lately Beowulf is king of the desk while Arthur is lord of the chair.

Beowulf has learned how to lean on the keyboard in such a way that he is not blocking the screen or obstructing the mouse so I can work while he snoozes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cuddly Cats

It's still amazing to me that some people think that cats don't show love to humans. If having a purring cat lean on you is not a sign of affection, I'm not sure what is:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Arthur and Beowulf Turn 2

Friday was Arthur's and Beowulf's second birthday. We didn't do a lot to celebrate, other than spend a lot of time cuddling with them on the couch and give them their favorite food (Solid Gold Blended Tuna). We also made a donation to Bideawee, the shelter we adopted them from.

We actually adopted the boys on November 13, 2004, but Bideawee told us that they were born in the shelter on September 1st of that year. Below is a picture of the boys today followed by a photo from when we first took them home. Some would say they aren't cute kittens anymore, but I actually think they've gotten more handsome as they've grown up.

arthur and beowulf sleep

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Room Enough For Two Atop the Cat Tree

I'm still really pleased with the Lotus cat tree I bought a few weeks ago. I was worried that the top of the tree wouldn't fit two cats, but it does, as long as they get along really well, like Arthur and Beowulf.

Sure, I'll still catch them wrestling up there from time to time and that does worry me abit, but, for the most part, they share.

Need Help Finding a Cat Ball

A few months ago, I was at a local PetSmart and bought a bag of three rubber balls (a blue, a green, and a pink) which became Arthur's favorite toys. These rubber balls are different from any others I've seen because they have these small rubber spines sticking out and they have bells inside which jingle as they roll.

These balls are superior to any others I've seen or bought because they roll slowly and are easy for cats to carry in their mouths.

I wish I had video of it, but Arthur will actually play fetch with the pink ball (his favorite color for some reason). If I throw the pink ball up on a chair or a couch, he'll grab it in his mouth and bring it back to me to throw again.

Unfortunately, these balls are starting to wear out and PetSmart doesn't have them anymore. I've been to dozens of pet stores and searched tirelessly online, but I haven't seen these balls anywhere. Does anyone know where I can find them?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Cat Tree Fit for a King (or Two)

Yesterday, our new cat tree, the 69-inch tall Lotus from Refined Feline, arrived at our door. We quickly put it together and the boys love it already. Is a cat tree really worth $294 plus tax and shipping costs? In this case, yes.

The Lotus is made out of finished wood, not particleboard. There aren't any staples or sharp protrusions to injure a cat. The carpet is low-pile so it's not easy for a cat to pull out the fibers and eat them. Did I mention that it's 69 inches tall? I'm 5'9 and my boys are looking down on me!