So in my ever-expanding quest to catify the apartment to a) make them happy and b) help ease tensions, I re-did a corner of the living room again, all new and kitteh-like. I moved the stairstep scratcher into the bedroom (its intended purchase was to provide steps to go up to the bed, though it has never been used that way), moved a litter box into that corner, added another wall shelf, cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half, and added a sky chair.
Wait, why did I cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half? It has four stories inside made of super industrial cardboard. Well, one of those stories went bye-bye after it was peed upon. Two more have buckled and been clawed to death (btw, yes – considering I’ve had the House for I think a couple of years, that’s durable for them to have lasted this long). They could no longer hop through all the stories up to the rooftop. So I took the inner floor that was still intact and one of the buckling ones that was the least damaged (it wouldn’t matter if it was buckling if it was upside down and on the ground level), and made it a two-story House of Awesome instead. I added a basket with the warming blanket I made them on top, and now they have a salvaged Cardboard House of Awesome!
Now, the sky chair. Have you ever seen those beds that are pillows hung from the ceiling with cloth, like this? I’ve long wanted to get one for my kitties, but I am, alas, but a poor blogger and funds are tight. So, I made a makeshift one of my own!
All I did really was take one of their pillows that my grandmother had made them years ago, and suspended it in a macrame plant hanger. Voilà! Instant kitty sky chair!
So this is what the new-and-improved cat corner looks like:
I hope they like the changes. Yuan has already been in the cup on the stairstep scratcher in the bedroom (I’m hoping its proximity to my pillows will facilitate two – or three – cats sharing bedtime with me with less of an issue, though it has been getting better already anyway). But so far the corner has not been claimed (I just put up the sky chair this afternoon, and was modifying the Cardboard House of Awesome at about three this morning). Maybe I’ll put out some catnip to signal that construction is complete.
Now if only I could mount a sky chair for *me* from the ceiling…
And now it’s time for some cute Deidre photos:
Meanwhile, little brother was on the other side of the door, wanting to play:
It’s the little things that make me happy in the Quest For Kitteh Peace, and one of those things is Maggie and Yuan SNIFFING NOSES!
You may think that’s not a big deal, cats sniff noses all the time… but when they’re at war, they don’t!
Back when it was just the girls and I, one of the first signs of peace and tolerance for each other (which, incidentally, ALSO took about two years to develop) was that Deidre and Maggie would surreptitiously sniff each other. Usually that meant one of them was cuddling with me in the papasan with their tail hanging over the side, and the other would come up and sniff the tail, with the cuddler unawares. Or perhaps I was feeding them in the kitchen, and one would be so fixated on me with the food that they didn’t notice the other come up from behind and sniff their… behind.
Now Yuan and Maggie have been doing the while-they’re-not-looking sniffs, which made me happy in and of itself, but the other day they actually both turned the corner at the same time and sniffed *noses*. No growls, no hisses. Just sweet sniffs!
I am a happy human.
And yes – I’ve had Yuan for a little over two years now. Apparently that is the magic timeframe.
On a little side note, I finally got the water fountain working that had been out of commission for WAY too long (I lost two different parts at two different times when I had taken it apart for washing, and only found them months later, because yes, I think the dryer sock monster sometimes vacations in my kitchen), and Yuan is MYSTIFIED by it. The girls seem to be like, “Oh yeah, the fountain,” but for the first day Yuan was just staring at it, as though he was debating whether he should drink from it or pounce it (he eventually did drink from it, and yes, I still have other water bowls about). Simple kitty amusements.
And finally, the other kitteh news is: Maggie is frisky!!! And playing with TOYS! It’s a miracle!!!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that Maggie, historically, generally found toys to be evil. She would growl and hiss at them, and seemed to be stressed out by their presence rather than amused. As she is the fluffiest of the three (though Yuan The Food Bully is doing his darndest to catch up despite all of them being on a diet), I could never figure out how to get her to play so she’d get some exercise and have fun! Then she got some awesome wine cork toys for Christmas from a neighbor friend, and she’d actually chase and play with them in small doses. Previously, the closest we got to play was her rolling around in catnip or licking catnip toys enthusiastically – but she never chased them. These ones she chased!
Then the other day, I couldn’t find the wine corks, so I tossed a feather-ball toy that we’ve had for years and… she actually chased it and attacked it! We’ve had a few play sessions since then, and she’s actually having fun!
*sings the hallelujah chorus*
I have a Deidre curled up leaning on me right now, so I’m going to go and snuggle a kitteh. The peace treaties are working! Yay! 🙂
So Yuan scared the snot out of me the other day. He was sitting in the strawberry pot on the balcony (the strawberries have not sprouted at all, so really, it’s a pot of dirt and trellis at this point), staring intently at something over the ledge. I went out to distract him, because I didn’t want him making a crazy flying leap off the balcony in a moment of blind hunter instinct. Well, he didn’t leap – he snatched.
He then proceeded to carry it in his mouth to the door, like, “OK, I have dinner, let me bring it in now.”
Luckily I close the screen door behind me because I don’t want bugs to get in. But meanwhile, I’m being a silly human screaming as much as the bird is, “OH MY GOD! YUAN, LET IT GO!” …like he’s going to let it go just because I’m screaming and flailing around like a crazy woman. He luckily a moment later turned away from the door to fuss with the bird who was struggling to get free, and I ran inside, fetched a cup of water, and threw said water on Yuan to get him to let go of the bird. He did, and it flew off the side of the balcony (with Yuan in pursuit, but it got away and Yuan watched it go). So I’m pretty sure the bird is OK. But it scared the bejeezus out of me. If I had indoor/outdoor cats, if I let them roam the neighborhood, etc., I might expect that type of thing to happen every now and again. But I have indoor kitties who are allowed on my second floor apartment’s balcony… I don’t expect there to be a whole lot of hunting other than toys and the occasional bug!
Since he was just being a cat and trying to bring me a present (when kitties bring home prey to you, they are bringing you a present – sharing it with you), once I had calmed my silly human self down I gave him treats. That way he got his “hunter noms” and a “thanks for taking care of your family”. Not that I want to encourage him to snatch more birds out of the air (we had a talk about that, but again, he was just doing What Cats Do), but he was being natural. Can’t punish him for that. And I felt bad about dousing him, but I REALLY didn’t want the bird to be hurt. I do think it was OK – it flew off – just scared out of its mind. Yuan wasn’t biting on it hard, just holding it.
So that was my Yuan taking me out of my comfort zone (he’s my teacher man!) once again moment. I’ve been living with cats since I was 11, but they’ve all been indoor cats. So the whole “find a dead something on your porch” thing is alien to me. The closest I came to that was Butterscotch (my first cat – who I got when I was 11) would hunt the occasional mouse that got in the house. He would then leave the dead mouse in front of my bedroom door. Such a sweet boy bringing me a present and hunting mice! But luckily for my mice-made-me-literally-sit-on-the-table-and-scream girlie self, my parents usually found it before I did and got rid of the carcass. Butter was probably very frustrated by this, like, “Why are you throwing away HER PRESENT?!” Us humans are very confusing.
The only other experience that somewhat resonates with this is the time Deidre ate my betta fish after living with him for a year and a half. I came home from work to find his tail on the ground, and all the rest of him gone. I did initially get mad, but afterward I felt bad for it because again – she was just being a cat.
But this is why, though I would like to have fish again, I’m not going to get any until I can get a big tank that can’t be knocked over nor the lid popped off. I can just see it now – one lone betta fish in a giant tank. 😉 He’ll be king of the world!
So lately I’ve been feeding Maggie and Yuan closer and closer together whenever all three of them are getting cat food (Deidre so far is not interested in expanding her territory to the kitchen as of late, which is where the other two eat). But the other day, as I go in there to feed them, Maggie and Yuan meet at the corner of the kitchen, and *almost* sniffed noses. They both kind of hesitantly made moves like they were going to do it, but they were both a little unsure about it, so they didn’t *quite* get there. They were just an inch or so apart, face to face, no growls, no hisses. So I moved their bowls pretty much next to each other to see if they’d go for it.
I finally made a video on YouTube explaining how to make kitty shelves like I have. Please check it out and share pictures if you make some! 🙂
Deidre is such a cuddle muffin. She has been extra-cuddly as of late, and more receptive to receiving reiki. Who here gives their cats reiki? Do you find that they like it?
Also the laptop belongs to her; she rubs her cheek on it leaving her mark all the time.
Maggie has been my mellow- but also frisky- brave girl; always coming over to where I am to hang out and say hi; not backing up in the face of her ferret-U-jumping brother; playing with toys like I haven’t seen her do until recently and she’s been with me for three years.
Ferret-U-jumping brother? Yep. Yuan sometimes will rush at her, but I really think it’s more playful than intimidating, as he ends with a sideways hop with his back arched – yes, I know the arching in cats is supposed to be making themselves look bigger, and hence being aggressive – but he’s HOPPING. And she just looks at him now, like, “You’re strange.” He doesn’t lunge at her or hiss or growl or anything, he just rushes up and hops at her. I think he is inviting her to play “run around the house like mad”. Since she has been getting frisky and playing with toys more, I’m hoping one day she’ll join in. If those two could give each other exercise by running laps around the dividing wall in my apartment, that would be fabulous – but mostly I can’t wait for them to be friends.
Unfortunately, Deidre and Yuan’s relationship doesn’t seem to be improving as of late. As I was writing that last paragraph, there was just a “GET AWAY FROM ME!!!” scream from Deidre when Yuan approached her where she was eating. Le sigh.
Yuan has also reclaimed his old favorite hangout spot – the top of the washing machine. It’s a nice cubby for him now that I have a laundry hamper in the bathroom and the top of the machine is no longer the place where dirty laundry goes. It’s become routine that when I take a shower, he comes in with me and naps on the washer.
All three kitties are on diets, as all three of them are a little too fluffy – but they are doing great. They aren’t starving and gobbling down all their food right away, or begging for more. I feed them twice a day now from a measuring cup, and they seem quite content with it. Usually the food lasts them all day – some days there is a little left over, some days the bowls are empty when I go to add more. If I give them canned food, they get less kibble. I just hope it shows the next time we go to the vet! Sometimes I look at Maggie (my fluffiest) and think, “You look like you’ve lost a little weight!” and other times I think, “You don’t look like you’ve lost weight at all!” I’m not going to bus them over to the vet (a trauma, if you ask them) just for a weigh-in so I’ll have to wait for their next check-ups. One day when the money gods have blessed me maybe I’ll get my own scale for the kitties; I’ve seen them in a catalog for not too much money.
That’s about it for news on the kitty-front! Purrs and headbonks! >^.^<
This week’s adoptable kitteh is actually two; but unfortunately I can’t find Buddy’s page on Maxfund’s site. It could be that since they are incoming that they are still working on it. We have Eek and his pal Buddy!
Eek and Buddy were adopted from Maxfund seven years ago, but since then, their human passed away and now they are back at Maxfund looking for a forever home. Of course Maxfund is not MANDATING they be adopted together, but it would be super nice since they are friends! Could your home be their forever home?
So, Yuan using one of his nine lives. The other day I let him out on the balcony. I was sitting just inside the balcony doors at the dining table, so I could watch him. Not 60 seconds after I let him out, he gets the spontaneous midnight crazies and leaps from the floor to the top of the air conditioner that juts out from the wall onto the balcony, then onto the giant cable spool that serves as my balcony table, then onto the green onions in a pot on the ledge.
That pot had been there for months, and he’d even climbed in it before (I always take him out of the pots as I don’t want him going on the ledge for fear of highrise syndrome). It was stable and not hanging over the edge or anything at all. But with his centrifugal force or whatever law of physics he was using to fling himself around as he did, the speed and angle at which he launched onto the pot caused it to tip off the ledge and down to the ground below. He tried to leap from the falling pot to the lettuce (and somewhere in this mess the pot in-between the two got knocked off too). The lettuce is the biggest pot of all the pots on my ledge and luckily held him, as he hung on by his front paws with the rest of him over the side, for the two or three seconds I had to react, which is to say that I screamed and ran out onto the balcony, and grabbed the other side of the lettuce pot that was beginning to spin and tip over as well to counter-balance his weight, and before I could grab him too, that gave him the leverage to scramble up and over and right into the apartment.
He happily stayed in his cozy chair for the rest of the evening and did not ask to go outside at all. But before he camped out, I hugged him and nearly cried and died of a heart attack. So, I used up one of my nine lives, too.
The second and third floors are the MOST dangerous for a cat to fall from, as they don’t have sufficient time to flip over and land properly as they might from an even higher floor. I’m on the second floor.
The next day I figured if I got into the habit of taking him for a daily walk (we walk occasionally but not every day), maybe he’d get some exercise and fresh air and not want to go on the balcony so much, but he was not even interested in going for a walk at that point.
Now, normally he’s pretty darn good out on the balcony, and just rolls around on the cement floor and looks out under the wall to see what’s going on. He often camps out UNDER the a/c, or on top of it. Occasionally he’s snuck onto one of the plants but at that point I pluck him off and bring him inside to indicate that the ledge is a no-no, and he gets that. It’s gotten to the point that I trust him enough to be chill that I’ve let him outside while I’m putting around doing things in the apartment, and I just poke my head out periodically to check on him. He uses the spool/table as a giant scratching post and enjoys his balcony time. Neither of his sisters have gone out there yet at all. I know it was the spontaneous crazies that caused him to jet around like that recklessly, but still it scared the crap out of me!!!
We’ll try a walk again today, I think. 😉
This week’s adoptable kitteh is: Domino!
I also just had to share how FRISKY Maggie has been lately! She’s playing with toys! She’s playing with boxes! She’s chasing her tail!
…and she startled Yuan today!
I repeat, in case anyone had a case of cat name dyslexia: MAGGIE startled YUAN. Not the other way around.
I predict they will soon be chasing each other around the apartment in play! Let’s see how long it takes. ^_^
Just a little update for today, with some happy news on the progress front. Above you see the very first time in over three years that Maggie and Deidre have sat next to each other on the scratcher – and they even stayed put for a while!
What prompted this show of tolerance and peace? The big, scary, noisy, yellow thing, AKA the vacuum. Deidre had already taken refuge in the cubby, and Maggie hopped up to the other shelf when the vacuum came too close. At first, I don’t think she even realized Deidre was there, or perhaps she was just the lesser of two scary things right then, as both the girls seem to agree that the vacuum is a demon from the seventh circle of hell. There were some growls at first, but then they calmed down and settled in to weather out the invasion of the noise-making monster. No swats, no fights. It brought a tear to my eye.
Then just last night, all three kitties seemed to get a case of the midnight crazies all at the same time. As Yuan is the more energetic of the three, I’m used to him having a moment of pent-up kitten-like energy and zooming around or trying to get into things he shouldn’t (the boy could rob museums he’s so ninja, is what I’m saying). Maggie’s bouts of midnight crazies, on the other hand, are so rare as to be shockingly notable – but she’s had three frisky moments in the past week! Last night was even more notable as she was playing with a couple of toys on the ground. So, she’s playing with toys, you might say. That’s not notable.
Except that toys, with rare exception, have historically either fallen into the “EVIL! RAWR! HISS!” category of unhappy Maggie sounds, or the “…and?” category of cat apathy. She’ll lick a few, and chase a laser, but other than that, she’s never really batted them around or otherwise seemed amused by their presence. But last night, she not only played with the Stinky toy from our furriend M-chan, but she also attacked a tribble! I was delighted, to say the least. She’s been opening up so much lately, it makes a mom proud.
Then Miss Deidre, who hasn’t been too playful as of late either, had a crazed session with a fur mouse the other day, and last night decided that the marker/magnet board that is mounted on the wall above my bed that she has ignored for months was suddenly *too* tempting to resist. Deidre is like that – feign nonchalance at something for a long time, and then, after a year and a half, eats my betta fish (true story). Well last night the siren song of dangling markers and paper held in place by magnets finally was too much to ignore. As I was trying to sleep, I was laughing my butt off as she batted at dangling objects above my head. I woke up and plucked magnets, markers, and paper from my pillow (remarkably, nothing clobbered me).
I love frisky kitties.