The Cat That Cried Salmon

It was a gloomy day in middle Tennessee on Monday.   To perk up after my lunch meeting, I decided to make myself a coffee. I usually limit myself to coffee in the morning so this is a departure from my routine. As my coffee machine (the setting up of which I will detail in a future post) was warming up, Gus started having an absolute fit, meowing loudly and constantly, desperately trying to get my attention. At first I thought something was wrong, but both he and Scarlett didn’t seem to be in any life-threatening binds. I went to the fridge to grab the half-and-half for my coffee and Gus continued his tirade, putting his paws up on the freezer drawer and looking up at the half-eaten can of salmon on the top shelf. He had been fed that morning per usual so I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss what about. Then it dawned on me. The term “conditioned response” popped into my not yet caffeinated brain and I realized that Gus heard the coffee machine warming up, which usually signals that I am about to crack open a can of Fancy Feast for his breakfast. As I assume he doesn’t track time very well, it was morning for all he knew and he heard his cue to beg for food like he hadn’t been fed in weeks and his life was falling to pieces.

 

I shouldn’t have been surprised that he would pull such a stunt. This is how we started the day (after his first round of salmon):

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I heard him crying like he was stuck or hurt and looked around the corner only to see him antagonizing Scarlett.

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He meows pitifully to provoke her and then punches her in face. What a punk.

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Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

 

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Knock Knock…

During the ice age we experienced recently, there was a woodpecker that kept trying to peck through the exterior wall of my office.  I don’t really blame him except for the fact that he made it very hard for me and Gus and Scarlett to concentrate.  Me on my work and Gus and Scarlett on their naps.

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Barney Fife and Andy Griffith had narrowed in on this situation, springing into action from their deep slumber on the sofa in a matter of seconds.

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Scarlett tried to stare a hole through the wall.  Gus got distracted by a woman walking her dog.

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Scarlett assumed the position as the suspect’s knocking intensified.

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Scarlett decided she needed a better angle.

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Although this looks like a tender moment, Gus was not pleased that Scarlett infringed on his personal space.

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Gus shared his feelings and Scarlett quickly made him regret it.

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“Are you calling me fat???!!”

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Tensions subsided as the two were quickly reminded of the task at hand.  Mr. Pecker had resumed his knocking.

All in a day’s work.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Kitty Christmas

Having had such a nice Christmas ourselves, it would have been just plain rude not to get the cats a little something. Not that they really care.  They normally end up playing in the gift boxes anyway.  But I happened upon another fabulous fur find and couldn’t resist getting the little boogers a treat from Santa.

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I got them a big, soft bed and a new scratching/play toy combo gym thing.

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While Gus was immediately hypnotized by the carpeted ball tree, Scarlett gave me the “I asked for a Play Station 4” look.

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Scarlett pouted for a minute as Gus executed his attack.

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It took a few minutes for them to declare the new bed habitable, but they eventually got in it.

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The bed is plenty big enough for both of them to relax in it comfortably.  This isn’t exactly the sleeping configuration I had imagined. From the looks of it, it wasn’t what Scarlett had in mind either.

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After a while, Scarlett settled into a position with a little more breathing more.  As for Gus, I decided to have a little fun with him and put one of those paper “ribbons” on him.   At first, he acted like it was some debilitatingly heavy back brace even though it couldn’t have weighed 1/8 of an ounce.  He went and sat in the bed with Scarlett to recover from his condition.

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Then he forgot he had a condition and a back brace and decided that hangy-ball needed catching.

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Mmmm, tastes like salmon.

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Time for a nap.

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Burst of energy!

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Time for another nap.

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He slowly overcame his condition, got up from the bed…

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and started to step out of his back brace to check out the carpet ball tree from another angle…

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Then he got distracted and had to sniff Eugene’s gift boxes…

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Nearly free of his shackles, he spotted Eugene’s egg-shaped lip gloss that was evidently much more entertaining than his gifts.  He and Scarlett then spent the next 30 minutes chasing it around the living room.

I should have just gotten them lip gloss.

And a Play Station 4.

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

Jailbreak

Until recently, I had left Gus and Scarlet in my bedroom suite when out of the house so that I did not return to find them patrolling the top of the upper cabinets in my kitchen.  I’ve heard that animals like to be somewhat confined anyway.  Maybe somebody feeling guilty about leaving his/her animals in a small space made that up, but I was going with it.  My cats had all of my bedroom, hall and bathroom to roam and they had all the food they could eat, water they could drink and litter box they could…well you know what I mean.  They were all set.

Imagine my surprise one night when I come home from work and am greeted at the front door by two 15” tall furry creatures eager to see the world beyond the front door.  I quickly closed the door and stood there for a minute, amazed that they could have gotten out.  I have small French doors that must be very forcefully pulled open and closed for the spring to lock.  How a 13 pound cat without thumbs or considerable muscle mass can open a door I struggle with on a daily basis is beyond me.  I thought maybe this was just a fluke and that perhaps I hadn’t closed the doors all the way.  But lo and behold, the next day, I was again welcomed home/hounded for food at the front door.

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When my parents were here a couple of weeks back, we decided to run an experiment to see how long it takes them to get the door open.  I closed the cats in my bedroom and headed out to work, leaving my mom in the living room.  My mom texted me not 20 minutes later that she had company.  Those little rascals.

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I also used to close my bedroom suite a night to keep the cats from standing on the stove and potentially scorching a tail or two.  In the middle of the night after the first few daytime escapes, I would hear the rattling of the door and then all of the sudden a click sound as the spring released and the door opened.

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Turns out Miss Scarlett is the brains and the brawn of this operation.  Gus doesn’t know nothin’ ‘bout nothin’.

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I have relented and let them roam the place as they please when I am gone now.  Although the other night, I had my hands full of groceries as I walked in the door and little Mr. Gus waltzed right out into the breezeway.  I shuffled groceries at lightning speed and grabbed Gus by the tail to drag him back inside.  I almost had a heart attack because there would be no catching that little booger if he got out and were beyond my reach.  Ever since, I stick my foot in the door first and Gus has learned not to stand so close. In fact, the novelty is beginning to wear off and there are times Gus and Scarlett decide it’s not worth their energy to get up from their cozy perches to welcome me home.

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I’m slowly losing control.

Y’all send reinforcement,

Sugarlump

Cause for Alarm

This week has been full of surprises.  Tuesday evening, I went to ladies’ night at a shooting range and got second place in our bullseye competition.  Everybody watch out.

Early the next morning, at approximately 3:00AM, I awoke to tornado sirens.  This was the first time I had heard them in person since moving to Tennessee so it took me a minute to figure out what was going on.  My weather channel alerts on my phone confirmed that we were under a tornado warning and needed to take cover immediately.  I grabbed my phone, the cats, two cushions from the sofa, and my laptop and closed us in the bathroom as I set up a little fort with my cushions in the bathtub.  I then decided I needed a flashlight and a bottle of water.  Maybe I should have thought through my tornado plan a little bit more.  In my defense, it was JANUARY(!) and tornado season doesn’t usually start until spring.

Anyway, as we waited out the very strong winds and tracked the radar on my laptop, the cats could not have been more confused/annoyed.  They kept looking at me like I was crazy and tried to dig a hole under the door to get out of the bathroom.  Apparently tornado safety does not apply to them.

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Thankfully, other than some seriously violent winds, we were alright.  There were, however, a few tornadoes within 50 miles of us that damaged several buildings and pulled roofs off of homes.

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Less than 48 hours later, the temperature had dropped nearly sixty degrees from the low seventies into the teens and it was snowing.

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It’s a beautiful, sunny day here as long as you’re indoors.  It’s a whopping 17 degrees at the moment and with the wind chill, it feels like single digits.

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There is still snow on most roofs and school was canceled, which I thought this was pretty silly, given that we got about 2 inches of snow.  New Englanders wouldn’t bat an eye at that kind of snowfall.  But then I discovered that there was still some dangerous ice lurking around as I tried to speed out of the gate at my apartment complex earlier this morning.  I spun in place for about 10 seconds until my Jeep finally slid forward, narrowly avoiding the gates as they began to close.

Like the weather, my garbage disposal has been acting backwards this week.  The other day, as I ran the water and turned on the disposal, instead of the water easing the food down the drain as the disposal ground it up, all of the food and water spun violently up and out of the drain and onto me and the counter.  The maintenance man just found a metal spear approximately the size of a chopstick jammed in the pipes, courtesy of the previous tenant.

It’s been a strange couple of days.

In other (likely related) news, I’m back to drinking coffee, but just a small cup.  Hopefully, things will now return to normal.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

What Next?

This weekend, it was over 70 degrees on Saturday and part of Sunday.  A cold front moved in and by Sunday afternoon we were under a tornado warning as it stormed violently.  Yesterday, it was sort of snowing/sleeting with a winter weather advisory in effect.  Today, we are under an ice storm warning.  It wouldn’t surprise me if tomorrow brought a heat advisory or pollen alert.  Hang tight.

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It started to get icy in the afternoon.  Schools closed early.  I had the day off and have spent most of it under several blankets on the sofa, catching up on months’ worth of the food network.   It was the laziest I’ve been in a while and it was great.

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The cats are so confused that they have been snuggling with each other in the same cat bed even though there is one for each of them, SIDE BY SIDE.  I’m not sure Gus is as pleased with situation as Scarlett is.

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Oops, she heard me.  Not pleased with my commentary.

I think I’ll go out for a Mexican dinner to spice things up a little bit.  I lived in the Northeast nearly my whole life, so I’m not afraid of venturing out in the wintery weather.  (I apologize to my grandmothers if you’re reading this. I promise I’ll be careful.)

Stay tuned for the next spell of bizarre weather.  Get your bikinis ready.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

Puss in Loafers

My cats have a well-documented history with shoes.  They just can’t get enough.

When my parents were visiting a little while back, Gus found himself trying on some loafers.

Maybe he thought these smart looking shoes would increase his IQ.

He does look awfully serious.

Trying to look natural.  I guess he thinks he’ll grow into these, physically and intellectually.

He has a long way to go.

The poor dear.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Furball Fate

I vacuum almost every day.

And yet, my apartment is in a constant state of fuzz.

…thanks to this little guy…

…and this heifer…

Until I figure out how to make my cats self-vacuuming, I’m afraid this is my fate.

At least my cats have cute little feet.

Upon closer inspection of this photo, I noticed yet another furball lurking to the right of Gus’ foot.

Don’t give me that look.

That’s not my fur on the sofa, sir.

His furballs frustrate me, but then he gives me the puss in boots eyes.

And the intense stare-down.

And a scowl.

Sometimes I forget whose apartment this is…and thankfully my cats are here to remind me.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Young and Fabulous

I’ve been going through old family photo albums lately.  Now I know why people take so many pictures and put them in albums: it’s absolutely hilarious to look back in time.

While looking through these old albums, I discovered that when I was young I was pretty fabulous.

I wore hot pink jelly flats, floral tops and patterned band aids.   I must have been subscribing to the “more is more” philosophy of dress.

This shot was taken at the front row of fashion week…in Granny and Papa’s den.

I wore sunglasses in the house and Mary Jane’s on a regular basis.  In hindsight, I might have opted for some sheer black stockings instead of the white tights, but we all fall victim to toddler fashion trends at some point in our lives.

Hopefully, it’s while we’re toddlers.

I wore sunglasses at night.  My theory on this obviously practical choice is that posing in my sunglasses after my bath prolonged having to go to bed.  My mom was eating it up.  It was genius.

I rocked white faux fur.  The paparazzi (my dad) caught me leaving the house in it Easter morning of what looks to be 1991.

This was my parents’ first home, purchased in the era of the high-teen mortgage rates.  And, bless their hearts, they still managed to keep me stylin’.

I wish I were as fabulous now as I was then.   I’m not sure that I could pull off any of these things now.

More to come on the first decade on my life.  Brace yourselves.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Handy (Wo)man

This precious little furball is a real trouble maker.

She gets into EVERYTHING.

And almost always leaves evidence.

“Who, me?”

I mentioned before how quickly she took to my new drapes.  I thought she was just cuddling up on them, but I should have known better.  This is Scarlett we’re talking about after all.

She likes to cocoon herself in the drapes and then have a crazy spell, which invariably results in tangled drapes.  The other day, however, she took it too far.  Literally.  Scarlett got caught in the drapes and decided to take them with her, thus pulling the drapery rod bracket out of the wall.

As the only member of the household with opposable thumbs, I had the privilege of buying new wall anchors and installing them to fix the drapes.

I also bought a new vacuum cleaner yesterday while I was out buying wall anchors.  Talk about an annoying way to spend several hundred dollars.

After I played handyman again and put the vacuum together, I got Scarlett back for her destructive behavior by running my new airplane engine of a vacuum for about 10 minutes.

Scarlett does not like the new vacuum cleaner as well as the new drapes.

Y’all hurry back,

Sugarlump