Friday, March 31, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yeah But When U Gonna Get Home and Feed Us?

I went and saw Neko Case's show at First Ave last night. I guess Case can best be described as a crooner- her voice is almost too good to be true. When she's singing acapella there are times the power and emotion is spine tingling stuff. Her music reminds me of when I rub Theo's spine and his whole back arches up.

Standing there listening to heartbreaking versions of "Wayfaring Stranger," "Buckets of Rain," "The Needle has Landed" (my favorite song from her new CD Fox Confessor Brings the Flood), and "The Tigers Have Spoken," I was simply amazed at the sound of the songs. Neko's voice could probably make a cynic believe that God actually exists.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Thompson and Diego-san have seemed to rediscover their friendship in the past week or so. They are spending a lot more time together including finding a common sleeping area. I think the catalyst in this reformed bond is Theo- the other boyz often get worn out by his relentless energy and they figure if they can team up he won't bother the two of them together.

When I first adopted Theo I told his foster mom that I needed a third cat around because in the current household I often felt outnumbered two to one. So now I guess it's my duty to be on Theo's side.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sausage Making

I spent most of yesterday down at the State Capitol watching our lawmakers rubber stamp some really bad elections related legislation. I didn't get home until around midnight. My supply of cat food is low and I was hoping to stop by the pet store on my way home so that I didn't have to ration out the boyz meals (although truthfully I don't think it would harm any of the three to skip a meal or two).

I got home and there was quite the commotion caused by the disruption of the usual house schedule. Theo ran up and down the stairs. Diego hopped in bed with me and was circling around me until Thompson came up too and the two then hopped up and looked out the bedroom window. I didn't get much sleep because all three boyz were restless the entire night.

Monday, March 27, 2006

M-'s Friend

My friend M- was over because I promised to help her with some school work. I've never seen Thompson act the way he does around M-. Usually when we have a visitor Thompson runs and hides somewhere. When M- comes over Thompson will stay in the hallway where he can make an easy escape as Diego and Theo go greet her. But when M- calls out to Thompson he'll hop on up to her. And when she's sitting down he'll hop up on her lap and let her pet him. He seems to trust her like he trusts me proving that he has excellent taste in his people friends.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Common Cause

Those of you who haven't yet read Stacy Horn's wonderfully insightful memoir, Waiting for My Cats to Die, must do so now. The book got through and touched me more than any has in a long long time. It's a book about a not so sad girl living in a feline world. And on top of it all she is a fan of Buffy! I don't often take to recommending books because the books I read are often done so for a far too personal reason (he's breaking down!). And the books I read are at this point in life way too far between, but this one I'd really encourage all to check out.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Diego-san is my deepest purrer. He'll climb in bed next to me, face to face, and he'll be purring so loudly that if I have my TV on, it's hard to hear above the sound of a content cat.

Theo is my most frequent purrer. Seems that if I pick him up, or pet him he'll purr no matter what else is going on.

Thompson doesn't purr that often. He likes to have his face rubbed and that's when he'll most often purr. I appreciate his judicious use of one of a cat's most appealing tools.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I and I

One of the most enjoyable parts about having three cats in the house is watching how they interact. Thompson and Diego-san are like two old war buddies. They'll often sit together both looking out a window peaceful as can be. Thompson enjoys cleaning Diego, who in return loves the attention.

Thompson and Theo have a more competitive relationship. Theo will often attack/play with Thompson who will in return wrestle back. The playful wrestling once in a while comes close to turning into an all out cat fight. But even after things get a little heated Thompson will often a few minutes later be at Theo's side cleaning his fur.

I don't think Theo has figured out his place with Diego yet. He'll try and play/attack Diego in the same way as Thompson, but Diego usually ends up running away. Often when Theo enters a room Diego will then leave the room. They seldom spend much time together and it's rare that they will sit or lie together.

All in all it's remarkable to observe the differences in personalities and I'm always grateful how well the three get along (most of the time).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jump Shout Boogie

Every moment is a moment to play according to Thelonious. He's particularly in a playful mood in the morning as I'm getting ready for work. As I go downstairs and upstairs and walk in and out of rooms and through hallways, Theo is usually either right by my side or chasing after me. My favorite move of his is when he's running towards me and just as I'm about to pass him he'll stop in his tracks and jump straight up. His agility is quite impressive. He'll then continue running by me in the other direction and sometimes I'll tackle him only to get this look of utter surprise as if his play has some structure and this move isn't part of the playbook.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Thompson didn't come down for breakfast this morning. I realize that this isn't news on the scale of "Dewey Defeats Truman" but still for a boy whose favorite part of the day since he's lived with me has been each and every meal, this was extremely unusual behavior.

I went upstairs to find him resting comfortably on the edge of the bed. I went over to him and petted him and he softly purred so I don't think he was feeling ill or anything, just that he wasn't hungry perhaps.

Thompson is a big boy. He weighs close to 15 pounds, the heaviest of the three. Diego-san may look bigger what with his long fur and big bone structure but there is a lot of fluff to his frame. Thompson is solid through and through. There is a lot of 'there' there with him.

I worry about the affect all that weight will have long term on his back. When he is standing on me with his lone front paw on my chest, the weight is hard for me to take. When he's chasing the other two boyz around, or trying to keep up, his running motion has to be quite jarring on the rest of his body. Still there is very little that he hasn't figured out a way to do, so I'm sure he'll continue to adapt to whatever obstacles may come his way.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Leave Me Alone

Diego-san's quest has been to find a quiet, solitary, and peaceful place. This can lead to extreme measures. The other day Thompson, Theo and I were taking a nap on the living room couch. Diego decided to make himself home inside the newest piece of furniture in the house.

I used some Christmas-bonus money to buy a small wooden container that sits by the living room door and holds books and magazines. The container opens from the top (took me hours to figure out the proper way to put on the hinges). On this particular day Diego figured out how to nudge the top open with his head and crawl inside the container. This of course got the attention of both Theo and Thompson, but neither could figure out a way to join Diego inside. I'm sure he was quite pleased about that.

Friday, March 17, 2006


When Theo moved into the household just about a year ago, he brought with him a case of feline herpes. It's a respiratory disease in cats that manifested itself a little differently as it passed from cat to cat. The worst part for all three was it caused each to lose energy and lie around lethargically. For over a month there was always a sick cat in the house and both Thompson and Diego got trips to the vet.

Theo's initial symptoms were mostly a lot of sneezing. For Diego-san it caused discharge from his eyes. Thompson actually lost his voice for a while. And that was very sad because he's such a talkative fellow. He usually announces his arrival into the room with a low meow. His plea for food is more drawn out, a combination of asking and demanding. He grunts when he walks and sometimes when he is sitting at a window or just standing somewhere minding his own business he'll let out a hrumpfh. When he lost his voice he would try to make the same sounds- the ones I've grown to love- only nothing came out. I was so glad when his voice returned. The house was too quiet without it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

R.I.P. J.T.

A co-worker of mine, J.T., passed away yesterday quite unexpectedly. She was eating lunch with some friends, felt nauseous, had a headache and then passed out. A day later she died.

I didn't know J.T. well. We only had a few conversations longer than a few minutes. I do remember the last one we had though. She had overheard that I was thinking of adopting a fourth cat (which I would never do). She kept telling me that four cats are much more than three. I kept saying I had already learned that three cats are much more than two.

I never did get to hear J.T. say how she knew four cats were so much more than three. I really wish I had the chance.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Teenager

Theo's rebellious streak continues. I was trying to get some work done in my office this morning. If he wasn't knocking books off shelves he was trying to climb on my stereo and get at my CDs. When he attempted to climb boxes to get to the shelves where my bobblehead collection is displayed, I put him in the bedroom and shut the door.

I could hear him clawing at the door to get out. This of course also got Thompson and Diego's attention and they parked themselves on the other side of the door from Theo. I'm not sure what side they are on and I'm hoping Theo outgrows this phase soon.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Accidents Do Happen

I was on my way to work this morning. The streets were still pretty bad from yesterday's storm. The snow had been removed but there were spots of ice on the road that made things both bumpy and slippery. I passed a big black Jeep who kept hitting her brakes- dangerous driving because it's braking that will cause you to spin and slide.

She showed me though. A couple of miles down the road I was at a stop light and I saw her in my rear view mirror coming towards me way too fast. Even if it had been dry out I'm not sure she could have stopped in time. Sure enough as she got closer and closer I braced myself for the impact of the collision. With cars in front of me waiting for the light to change, there was nowhere I could go. WHAP! I got out of my car and saw it was a young woman behind the wheel of the Jeep. I think she thought I'd be angry. She was apologetic but calm. When I asked for her insurance information she gave me a sheet of paper. She told me her name was Jasmine and as we got back in our cars/Jeeps she told me she hoped the rest of my day would be better. What could I say to that?

My bumper is detached from the fender is quite bent so I'm guessing it won't be an inexpensive repair. Worse is my back is stiff so I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow. I got home in the evening and was hoping for some sympathy from my housemates. Instead, the only item on their agenda was to let me know the food dishes were empty.

My boyz have gotten into the routine of the their days. I enjoy knowing what to expect (most of the time) when I get home. Still on days like today when something hits you out of the blue, it would be nice if the boyz could comprehend that things are rough out there. I guess that's what people are for. Still I can't complain. Thompson, Diego-san, and Theo are quite good at comforting, calming, and entertaining.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wintery Mix

We got nearly a foot of snow last night/this morning making it look like a virtual wintery wonderland. It also made the morning's commute a hellish experience.

Thompson spent most of the night looking out the upstairs window. I sometimes wonder if he misses being an outdoor cat. Just as this thought crossed my mind last night, he hopped down and stood on my chest, purring away as if to indicate he was sure glad that he wasn't stuck outside in all that snow.

He had quite the same look this morning as he sat looking out the living room window watching me struggle mightily trying to clear the snow from my front sidewalk.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Weekend with Theo

Theo and I have had a rough weekend. He has developed the habit of reaching up as high as he can and pulling down whatever he can grab. So I've been coming home and finding papers and cat combs and pens and whatever lying on the floor. I've been trying to break him of this habit. Last night while I was in my office on my computer Theo was going around reaching up for things and I would yell at him and pick him up and try to get him to play with other things. But he wouldn't stop trying. So I eventually put him in the bedroom and closed the door.

I really don't think he's deliberately misbehaving. Instead, I think Theo has discovered he can reach places he wasn't tall enough or confident enough to reach before. Now that he can reach those places it is his sole mission to explore.

Friday, March 10, 2006

This Just In

Cat Comforts Grieving Orangutan at Zoo
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By The Associated Press

March 09,2006 PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. -- Tondalayo, a 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan, and T.J., a stray tabby cat, became an inseparable duo after a zoo employee introduced them late last year.

Stephanie Willard, Education Director at Zoo World in Panama City Beach, said Tondalayo was depressed since losing her mate two years ago.

Her age prevented her from moving to another zoo or taking another mate. The ducks and turtles swimming in a moat around her island were not enough, Willard told the Panama City News Herald for Thursday's editions.

When the sweet-natured orange cat wandered into Willard's life, the solution became clear.

"It's an unbelievable match," Willard said. "This has worked out a lot better than I expected it to. She's got brighter eyes now. He's brought a lot of light to her."

Zookeepers named the cat, T.K. -- short for "Tondalayo's Kitty."

They play together, cuddle and sleep together each night. They have been together constantly for more than a month.

"He's perked up Tonda more than anything," Willard said.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Jon Stewart of Cats

Given his expressionless (though some may say it looks pretty dour) look on Diego-san's face it's likely he doesn't have much of a sense of humor (let alone appreciation for humor). Yet some of his behavior is so goofy I gotta believe that he's putting me on.

I'll come home only to find him perched high atop the refrigerator. He climbs into various places in the house that the other cats wouldn't even think about. He's amusing to the extreme and somehow I think he knows that and knows that I know that.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Never Deterred

Thompson has had a rough few days. The other day I was doing my laundry. I was bringing up a finished load from the dryer downstairs to the upper wing to fold and put away. As I was climbing up the stairs I dropped a sock and I stopped only to see that Thompson was flying up the stairs right behind me. He wasn't prepared for me to stop and as he tried to apply his brakes he ended up crashing his chest hard into the next stair. He sat there dazed for a second but eventually bounded up the rest of the stairs with me.

Last night he threw up (and I mean really threw up) after eating his dinner. Of course Diego and Theo immediately had to go over to the regurgitated food to sniff at it. Thompson seemed OK the rest of the evening. It was probably just pay back because I was recently marveling to a friend how these three boyz have thus far thrown up or hacked up hairballs with far less frequency from what Mr. Max did.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little Kitty that Dreams of Being a Wild Cat

Theo has never really been outside. After he was born he was taken in by a "foster" family who I adopted him from. Last summer he liked to sit by an open window and take in the many new smells and sights. Now that it's winter and the windows remain shut, he doesn't have much interest in what's going on outside his walls.

Still when he takes a deep nap on my chest, sometimes his whiskers will begin twitching and his legs will begin trembling as if he is in some far away dreamland chasing an elusive bunny or moose. Given his history this has to be based on instinct rather than experience. I only hope that the freedom that he has in his dreams is enough and that his dream ends with him capturing his prey.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Number 34

It's on sad nights like these that it's so nice to have the boyz around for unexpected hugs and comfort.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Love Sidney

If the term could apply to cats I would describe Thompson and Diego-san's relationship as a friendship. The two ended up in the same foster home and I'm just guessing but it appears that Thompson took the younger Diego-san under his wing. At the same time Diego was instrumental in helping Thompson deal with his handicap- showing him how to do things all over again.

Thompson loves to groom Diego. When Diego gets into his mischievous mode and gets into trouble and thus yelled at, it's Thompson who gets upset and usually goes over and sits with Diego-san. Where Theo gets into trouble engaging Diego-san, Thompson and Diego often spend time watching Theo do his thing. Thompson is an expert at dealing with Diego's many moods. He knows how to read his friend, when his friend needs to be left alone and when he should express his gratitude for the company.

Friday, March 03, 2006

TV Time

This house's heat is kept around 60 degrees. When I find time to catch up on my TV viewing duties I tend to climb underneath a down filled comforter. I soon am joined not only by Thompson but also by Theo (Diego-san is usually situated on a couch cushion above us or off doing his own thing). 25 pounds of cats can feel quite heavy on the arms and chest but the warmth of the boyz is greatly appreciated. I think the exchange of heat is mutually enjoyed by all involved however.

Happy Sounds

I love that when I'm lying in bed I can usually tell which cat is walking down the carpeted pathway in the upper wing and soon will be jumping up on to the bed with me.

Diego walks as if he doesn't want to be heard. His walk is more of a glide and the sound of his walk is full of confidence and decisiveness.

Theo has a similar sounding walk but his walk is more of a precise march. Although he doesn't weigh as much as Diego he presses his paws down heavier in the carpet.

Thompson's hop is often accompanied by a grunt. But even when he doesn't make a vocal sound his approach to the bed sounds like a bunny.

One of my favorite things to do is to lie with my eyes closed and guess which boy is approaching. It's one of life's small pleasures but for me it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Theo's Big Morning

Theo had his first annual physical today. He'll turn two years old at the end of June so today was the first time I brought him in for his annual shots and examination.

He's a remarkably calm fellow. Didn't flinch when I put him in his carrier didn't make a peep when I carried him to the car nor during the five minute drive to the vet's. When we got to the vet there was a woman with a Russian accent and her dog Spanky who looked like Diego-san might look if he was a dog. Same size, long black fur and an impressive mane.

Theo came through his exam with flying colors. He's gained two pounds over the past year and the vet said that he's starting to get a little overweight. If Theo's overweight that means Thompson and Diego are downright fat.

On the way home Theo let out a frightened? angry? impatient? meow. Once back in familiar surroundings he immediately returned to his sweet yet always curious and sometimes pesky self.