Caldonia’s new bed

Over the years that I’ve had her, I’ve bought a variety of beds for my cat, Caldonia. Without exception these have been ignored in favor of piles of laundry, cardboard boxes, magazines on the floor, pretty much anything not specifically designed as a cat bed.

For Christmas, my mother gave her a “Wooly Buddy Bed”, a very cozy-looking bed constructed from a woolly sweater. 5% of the proceeds from which are donated to The Home For Friendless Animals in Waynetown, IN., she tells me. This sounds wonderful and the bed looks like just the sort of thing a cat should want to lay on, but, given my past experience, I had my doubts.

I got the bed home and Caldonia loves it. She now spends the majority of her sleeping time in her new bed. My mother and my Aunt each have 2 cats all of whom are just as enamored of their ‘Wooly Buddy Beds’ as my cat is. 5 cats, all with very different personalities, but they agree on one thing, they love their “Wooly Buddy Beds”.

Caldonia's new bed

So, if you, or someone you know, has a hard to please feline (or dog, she makes them for our canine friends as well) I strongly urge you to get in touch with Susie at Wooly Buddy Beds. (No affiliation, just the “roommate” of a very satisfied user.)

New Wheels

For those of you wondering about my new wheels, allow me to update you. I picked them up last Monday. Unfortunately, over the weekend I also picked up a flu-bug (or something). I spent the week feeling crummy (to put it very mildly), went to the doctor Thursday, got antibiotics (for the bonus sinus infection, yeehaw!) and cough syrup, then spent this weekend feeling even worse.

So, anyway… I’ve now had the wheels for a week and I’m only just now feeling up to so much as mounting tires on them, nevermind the test-ride.

Here’s a photo of the new front wheel being protected by my ever-vigilant guard-cat.

Click photo to enlarge

Caldonia’s Killing Fields

So, a while back I blogged about my dismay when I had to trap (and dispose of) a mouse while the cat sat idly by. Evidently if the mouse had looked like this*;

there wouldn’t have been a problem. That’s how the “mouse” she got for Christmas looked, briefly. And yes, I give the cat toys for Christmas… it’s not like I wrap them or anything, so give me a break!
Anyway, back to the mouse. For whatever reason, catnip filled/scented toys, particulary mice, bring out Cali’s dark side. She promptly tears into

and eviscerates them.

Oh, the horror!
Note too, that she has also removed the ears, tail, and contents tag from the poor thing.
*This is actually the first mouse’s replacement, prior to the inevitable destruction.

RIP Gatemouth

From the AP:

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown , the singer and guitarist who built a 50-year career playing blues, country, jazz and Cajun music, died Saturday in his hometown of Orange, where he had gone to escape Hurricane Katrina. He was 81.

Clarence ''Gatemouth'' Brown
Photo © 1993 GS Evans

Even though this really didn’t come as a surprize to anyone, it’s sad, sad news. Gate was always a favorite of mine, in fact, his particular version inspired me to name my cat “Caldonia”.

The Problem With Detachable Cyclocomputers

Really I suppose it’s the problem with any sort of small gadget, gizmo, or doodad; they’re easy to misplace.

I’ve been meaning to take my ‘geared’ bike out for a spin. Since I got the fixed gear (11 months ago!?!), it’s the only bike I’ve ridden.

So, today upon getting home from work I decided it would be a good idea to locate the Fuji’s computer. I thought I knew exactly where it was, but of course, I was wrong. I looked everywhere I could remember ever having put it. I looked and looked and looked some more. Finally, after about an hour of tearing the house apart looking for it, I gave up, for the time being.

Within a few minutes of this concession, it hit me. I dashed into the living room and sure enough, there it was, sitting on the bottom edge of my music stand (I’m not sure why) concealed by various sheet music and such.

The good news, aside from the fact that I don’t have to buy a new bike computer:

The kitty enjoyed the whole process immensely. In addition to getting to play “smack the noggin” while I looked under the couch and such, “we” found a bunch of her toys which had been missing; great big fun.

Mouse Update (Human–1: Cat–0)

So, the dark chocolate did the trick; without going into the gruesome details, it appeared that the trap functioned as humanely as possible.

The cat watched with feigned disinterest as I removed the carcass. She was strangely silent when I confronted her with this query:

I’m the person and you’re the cat, yet I’m the one who caught the mouse. What the Hell am I paying you for?

I bet she’d catch a mouse if it was running around carrying a damned ink pen! Of course, she’d probably just take his pen away and send him on his way.

The bad thing is, I don’t know if Mr. Mouse was here alone doing reconaissance or if he was just a part of a larger invasion force. Naturally, the cat has nothing to say about that either… damned worthless animal!

Eeeekkk! A Mouse!!

So, I’m in the kitchen yesterday, getting ready fix something to eat. While I’m in the kitchen the cat jumps up on the counter by the sink (which she knows is off-limits.)

“Cali! Get down from there! You know better than that!”

I said, swatting at her with the loaf of bread I had just picked up. She got down and I went to the sink to wash my hands. Suddenly, out of nowhere a flash of grey fur appeared, dashed in front of me, across the stove, and vanished. I recoiled, jumping back spouting an incoherent, unintelligible stream of noises and fragments of words, punctuated with a few choice expletives.

This is a first for me; I’ve never had to deal with a mouse in the house. Bear in mind, I’m the type of person who catches bugs and releases them outside, and who is willing to disregard spiders if they stay out of my way. I don’t want to kill anything.

I have a great big (~16#) cat who’s quick as lightning; but she won’t kill a bug either, so I don’t hold out much hope of her being a great mouser.

I thought about a live-catch trap, but unless you take it out to some remote wilderness (which is in short supply hereabouts) you might as well just release it into someone else’s house. I find the glue traps to be just barbarically cruel, poison isn’t an option because;

a) I don’t want a dead, smelly mouse decomposing inside my wall or something and
b) the cat.

So, that just leaves two options;

a) hope for Caldonia to discover her killer instinct and hunt the mouse down (which seems unlikely, plus I’m not crazy about the idea of her getting some mouse disease) and
b) old-fashioned mouse traps.

So, today I go buy traps, two old-fashioned wood spring traps, and two plastic traps that operate something like an overgrown clothespin. I baited the spring traps with dark chocolate (which this mouse has demonstrated a taste for) and the plastic clampy ones with peanut butter. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Now if I can just get rid of the little bastard before he jumps out and makes me hurt myself, or gives me the Hantavirus, or the plague or something, that will be cool.

By the way, remember the loaf of bread from the beginning of this story? After swatting the cat with it, I made two sandwiches, ate them, and went for a ride. It wasn’t until today that I discoved the half-inch diameter, half-inch deep hole the mouse had eaten from the opposite end of the loaf… yuck!

Postscript: It now occurs to me that I may have sold the cat short. It seems obvious now that the very reason she ventured up onto the forbidden counter was that she was in hot pursuit of the mouse.

Travelogue Part 7, the final leg (Or, “That Damned Cat”)

Upon arriving back at Mom’s house in Indianapolis, I received a very warm welcome from my mother and her two kittens. My cat had elected to be sequestered in a room by herself, having decided she wanted no part of anything involving kittens or any people who weren’t me. Cali (Caldonia if she’s misbehaving) had a lot to tell me. Either she was extremely happy to see me, or she thought she’d been abducted by aliens, it all sounds the same to me.

Anyway, after much kitty-petting, socializing with Mom, tamale eating, and a good night’s sleep it was again time to hit the road. The cat seemed happy when she saw that I was gathering not only my things, but hers as well. I took this as a sign that she would behave herself for the drive home, as she had done for the drive to Mom’s. After loading my bikes, clothes, cd’s, assorted accoutrements, the cat’s food and toys, and 10 dozen tamales (sharing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be) I came for the cat. She was quite docile about going into the carrier, which I took as another good sign. She started to meow, (or more accurately to howl) as I carried her to the car, but this wasn’t a point of too much concern, she had done this before but had quieted down fairly quickly once we got in the car.

I don’t know if it was because it was dark (unlike the trip coming) or if it was because she was still freaked out about being left for 2 weeks+ with two somewhat obnoxious (but thoroughly adorable) kittens, but whatever the case, she was inconsolable – howling, panting, and just generally caterwauling non-stop. I thought that if I opened the carrier (aka cage) and petted her, she would calm down (as she had done previously). This was not to be, however. Instead she immediately made a bee-line under my seat, where she continued to serenade/berate me as loudly as possible. You would think I was torturing the poor thing, from the sound of it. Upon realizing that I couldn’t simultaneously reach under the seat to pet and comfort the cat and see the road, I opted to put on a CD, turn the volume up loud enough to drown out her impassioned howling, and make haste getting home. During the brief pauses between songs, I tried to calmly reassure her (through gritted teeth) that we would be home soon.

Indeed we were home soon but she had apparently decided that she was going to take up permanent residence under the seat. “Fine”, I thought. “I’ll carry in a load of stuff; a few minutes alone in a cold car should change her mind”. Upon my return, she was still hiding under the seat. I attempted to extract her from the front of the seat, which proved quite impossible. I’m not sure how she managed to squeeze under in the first place. Thankfully the space under the rear of the seat is larger and I was able to drag her out. She didn’t put up a struggle as I re-inserted her into her carrier, though she did resume howling as I carried her inside.

As soon as we got inside and I let her out, she was transformed. It was as though nothing had happened at all; business as usual in kitty-land.

If only I, too, could go from total screaming freak-out to docile tranquility so readily, life would be so much easier.