Author Archives: Charles Huss

A Not-So-Good Father’s Day


Father’s Day definitely did not start out good. The evening before was not so great either. That started with my wife, Rose, complaining about a smell in the kitchen. I smelled nothing but I have the nose of a mere human. Rose, on the other hand, was the subject of a secret government experiment where her nose was genetically altered to that of a blood hound’s nose. She can smell a fly fart two houses down.

She did a thorough search of the kitchen but couldn’t find the source of the smell. We then went outside and she said “It smells worse out here!” There happened to be a bag of cat poop that I put outside the door but hadn’t yet put in the trash so we assumed it was that.

About this same time we were preparing dinner because Rose’s sister and here family were in town and coming to our house for dinner. That’s when we noticed the water was backing up in the sink. I had no Draino or sink plunger or time to go get one. The water drained out slowly and we were able to get through dinner but I had to wash dishes a few at a time.

Before I did anything else Sunday morning I decided to take off the P-trap and clean it. Unfortunately, the P-trap only unscrewed from one end. The other end was glued. It was hard but I managed to get the one side to separate from the other.

I was about to go to Home Depot to get an auger but Rose starting complaining loudly about how horrific it smelled in the house and I needed to look under the house to see what died. At that time, my human nose was starting to smell something. It was faint but it was there.

I found my flashlight but of course the batteries were dead. It needed three batteries and I managed to find two. Wonderful. “What else could go wrong?” I did manage to steal a battery from one of Rose’s beauty instruments, and went outside to see what I could see. I didn’t see anything but there were flies so I knew something had died under the house.

I went to Home Depot and got an auger and ran it through the p-trap but there was no obstruction. I then ran it down the main line as far as it would go but found nothing. At around this time, I don’t remember exactly when, Frankie escaped. I didn’t pursue him but worked on the drain for awhile hoping he would return but after a half hour he still wasn’t back.

I took another look under the house and that is when I found it. It was difficult to see and considering how close to the edge it was I was surprised I missed it. I couldn’t tell what kind of animal it was but I feared it was a cat because it had what looked like a cat’s paw.

Rose said, “You’ve got to get that out of there. I can’t take the smell for another day.”

“I know,” I said, “but it’s just too gross.” It wasn’t just the smell, it was the flies too. And if it was a cat I would be very sad to see that.

I needed to go back to Home Depot to get masks and gloves and a heavy duty drain cleaner but I didn’t want to leave before I found Frankie so I decided to go out looking. By then it was close to 11:00 and it was already hot and humid. I had walked around a little already but now I got my bike out and peddled around the neighborhood. After twenty minutes I gave up and came home.

When I got home I grabbed a can of flying insect killer and sprayed around the area where the dead animal was, which happened to be next to the air conditioner. That was probably how the smell was getting into the house. When I walked back around to the other side of the house I saw Frankie on top of Rose’s car. He meowed at me as if to say, “Where have you been?”

Now that Frankie was home I headed back to home depot. When I returned Rose and I put on masks and gloves like we were part of a hazmat team. I have a grabber tool so I brought that and a shovel to the other side of the house. I removed the bricks and used the grabber to pull out the animal which was a tabby cat. So sad. That is not something I ever want to do again.

It is now almost 4:00. My son is coming over around 6:00 but the drain cleaner didn’t work and our sink is no longer draining slow. It is not draining at all and both sides now have two inches of dirty water. We were going to cook dinner but now we need to make other plans. I did not really want to fight the crowds at a restaurant on Father’s day but we have no choice.

Here’s hoping all the Dad’s out there are having a better day.

Update: We ended up ordering takeout. My son came over and we ate pizza and watched a movie. The day certainly ended better than it started.

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Locked Out of Twitter


I logged onto Twitter today to update the logo for Bad Cat Chris. When I did I noticed a blank birthday field so I decided to put Chris’s birthday, May 14, 2009. That was a mistake. I immediately got a notice that my account was locked because I don’t meet the minimum age requirement.

I was given no option to go back and change the date. What if I accidently chose the wrong year? Or I was writing for a cat? I understand they have to be diligent about keeping minors out but I added the date voluntarily. There was nothing there before. If I added it I should be able to correct it while still logged in. This was like saying hi to my friend Jack while boarding an airplane.

Anyway, I had to send them a copy of my drivers license and wait. They say they are busy and it could be awhile. I also worry about what will happen when they find out my name is not really “Bad Cat Chris.”

Remembering Tasha on World Pet Memorial Day


Today is World Pet Memorial Day. It is a holiday supposedly created by the American Veterinary Medical Association but it is very difficult to find any mention of it on their website. It is also strange that an American organization would create a world event. Just as strange is the fact that the “National” Pet Memorial Day, in September, was created by the “International” Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories.

Regardless of who started it, I thought it would be a good time to talk about my dog Tasha. This does not diminish the memory of all the other pets we have lost but since I have not written much about Tasha on this blog I figured you might want to read more about her.

I believe it was April, 1976. I was twelve years old when my dad brought home a full grown female Doberman Pincher. Her name was “Natasha” but I don’t know who gave her that name considering where she came from.

The story I remember was that Tasha was a stray that was wondering around the neighborhood of a friend of my dad. Apparently, the two of them caught her and my dad brought her home. She had her tail docked and her ears cropped (although one ear flopped over a bit) so she must have belonged to someone. If someone dumped her it would be surprising.

Tasha the doberman
Tasha 1976

She took to me right away. Back then I would watch television while lying on the floor. I don’t know why I wouldn’t have preferred the sofa. Perhaps the uncarpeted floor was cooler or perhaps other family members had taken the prime viewing locations. Whatever the reason, I would lie there and Tasha would lie next to me with her head on my pillow.

My memory is a little foggy so I don’t remember if this happened once or if it was a regular occurrence but one day Tasha started with her head on a little corner of my pillow. She then gradually took over more and more of that pillow. When I tried to retrieve some of that precious real estate I got growled at. I then got up and left her with the pillow.

Dobermans had a bad reputation back then. I heard they were used as guard dogs and many owners would beat them as puppies to deliberately make them more aggressive. Of course, they were bred to be personal protection dogs so they needed to be aggressive but also obedient. A trained Doberman would never attack without command.

I have read that today’s Dobermans are bred to be less aggressive and more of a companion dog but Tasha was already a great companion dog. I will admit, though that she did have some aggressive tendencies.

Shortly after we got Tasha one of my dad’s friends, Jack, came to the house for a visit. Jack was older than my dad and a bit of a hillbilly even though we lived in northern Illinois. He thought he would have a little fun with Tasha and started to pretend to harass me. He would slowly reach out his hand like he was going to grab me. While he was doing that Tasha was growling at him but he continued because that’s what Illinois hillbillies do. After about 30 seconds of warnings Tasha lunged forward and bit Jack in the hand. She didn’t hurt him badly but she did draw blood and put an end to his game.

When we got Tasha she wasn’t fixed and my parents didn’t get her fixed right away. That was a mistake because she loved to go outside and run and would sometimes escape, run around the neighborhood, and then slink back home an hour later. On one of those outings she got pregnant.

My younger brother and I shared a room. We had bunk beds and Tasha decided to give birth under the bed. I think we were away at school at the time. When we found her there it was a huge pain because we had to take the bed apart to get to her.

By then we had moved to a bigger house and had a partially finished basement that we used as a TV room. We put some blankets down and moved the puppies there. There were seven puppies if my memory is correct. One of the puppies had deformed front legs and I worred it wouldn’t make it. Tascha accepted the new location for a short time but wasn’t exactly happy with it.

My parents both worked and us kids went to school so Tasha was alone for a good part of the day. The first day we were gone after the puppies were born, Tasha decided that she wasn’t happy with the location we chose for her so she moved all her puppies to the sofa. When we got home we discovered that two puppies had fallen between the cushions and suffocated, including the one with the bad legs. It was very sad.

That evening, determined to keep her off the sofa, we layed three or four kitchen chairs on it. It didn’t work. She somehow managed to get herself and her puppies on the sofa between the chairs. We lost another puppy that day. I don’t remember what we did then but she was not able to get on the sofa after that.

One day a friend of my brother came through the basement door from the garage quite quickly which startled Tasha and she jumped up and bit him in the arm. Even though she drew blood it wasn’t an attack. It was more like a stern warning to stay away.

When the pups were old enough, my parents put an ad in the paper for free Doberman mix puppies but they didn’t tell me they did that. I came home from school and the phone was ringing off the hook. Dad’s friend, Jack, took one of the puppies and the other three were gone that evening. It seems people were interested in Dobermans and didn’t care that they were half-breeds.

Tasha also had a weird habit of suddenly getting agitated every once in awhile when people she didn’t know very well left the house. Occasionally, she would even nip them a bit. I was surprised to hear Richard Pryor talk about that in one of his skits. He said Dobermans will let you in the house with no problem. They’ll even show you where all the valuables are, but when you try to leave they turn into the Exorcist. “You can’t leave yet! I want to play!”

When my sister moved out, my brother took her room and I no longer had to sleep at the top of the bunk bed. Tasha then slept in my bed every night. That lasted until I was seventeen and bought a waterbed which was way more common back then. Tasha did not like getting on the waterbed and ended up sleeping on the floor. I felt bad about that but I didn’t anticipate that being a problem when I bought it.

Tasha loved food and would eat just about anything. The only requirement was that she had to see me eating it first. I could offer her a grape and she would refuse it but once I started eating them grapes suddenly became a great treat.

Doberman Tasha

She also developed many styles of begging. If the puppy dog eyes didn’t work she would extend her paw. Surely shaking deserved a treat. If that didn’t work she would rest her head on my knee and give me the saddest look she could muster. Her go to was the drool. Whenever everything else failed she could count on the drool to get her food. It was pretty gross trying to eat while watching drool come out of her mouth so I always gave in and gave her something. I also always saved a little food on my plate and brought it up to the kitchen to leave for her. She knew whenever I was done eating and got up she was going to get something and got very excited.

She followed from the front when she thought she was going to get food. I would stand up and start for the stairs and Tasha would race up the stairs and wait for me at the top. This was something my dad once used to tease her. He got up with his plate of food and as soon as Tasha ran up the stairs, dad would sit down and wait. After about 30 seconds Tasha would come back down to see what was happening and the trick would start again. By the fourth time I had to yell at my dad like he was being a misbehaving child.

Tasha passed in April 1986, almost exactly ten years after we got her. Yes, I was a 22 year old still living with my parents at the time. I had plans on moving out but I feared what Tasha would think of me for leaving her behind. I was pretty sure I would not be able to take her with me.

She seemed perfectly healthy but one day she suddenly started foaming at the mouth. I thought she got into the cabinet and ate the laundry soap or something. When I let her outside she crawled under the deck and I had a hard time getting her out. She then hid somewhere in the house although I don’t remember where.

My parents brought her to the vet and left her there overnight. That night they got a phone call from the vet’s office saying that she didn’t make it. It was very heartbreaking. Apparently, she had stomach cancer. I can only hope it wasn’t because of all the food I was giving her. I was not the most healthy eater back then.

I moved out shortly after Tasha died and never had a dog again. The one exception was a Dalmatian named Ernie that we had for about a month. I was living with my now ex-wife. I believe it was around 1992. She brought Ernie home because a coworker had a husband that would abuse him. Unfortunately, my ex-wife was too much of a clean freak and after a week relegated Ernie to living outside. I felt bad for Ernie and soon found him a home with a co-worker of mine.

It wasn’t until I met my current wife in 1999 that I would have a pet again. This time it was a cat that eventually turn into two cats then three then four then six. Well, I think you know the rest of the story.

Floki Visits the Groomer


I finally caught Floki on Friday and brought him to the groomer. You may recall my last effort ended in failure. This time I caught him by surprise, picked him up and almost lost him as he twisted and scratched trying to get loose. My wife helped me get him into the carrier and off I went with him to the groomer.

I bring him to a place called Heaven Grooming where he is handled very well by the groomer.

Normally Floki is well behaved at the groomer, which is very different than at home. It is impossible for my wife and I to trim his nails but a groomer has no problem. I think it is because he is nervous around strangers so he behaves. Unfortunately, the groomer is not as much of a stranger as she used to be so he did struggle a little this time but she handled him well. Hopefully, that trend won’t continue.

Kitten Season


I saw these kittens at my local PetSmart on Thursday. It’s amazing how many need homes. The funny thing is, I was most attracted to the only cat that wasn’t a kitten. She is a Russian Blue with no age listed. Too bad I am already over my cat limit.

These kittens are at the PetSmart in Largo, Florida if anyone is interested.

Cats Can Be Jealous


I heard somewhere that cats don’t get jealous but that is very, very far from my experience. Chris, for example, is a very jealous cat. Whenever he sees Frankie on my lap, he has to be on my lap too. At first I thought he didn’t want me paying attention to other cats but now I think he doesn’t want Frankie to pay attention to me.

Floki doesn’t get on my lap very often but when he does Chris ignores him. This is either because Chris want’s Frankie to himself or it is because Frankie is an alpha like Chris and Chris needs to protect what is his.