Category Archives: Uncategorized

Photo Friday: Third Wheel


This photo was from ten years ago yesterday. It is Abbey, Tigger, and the ever-present third wheel, young Chris.

Abbey, Tigger, and Chris – January 14, 2011

Returning to Our Florida Home


The second leg of our trip back from West Virginia went pretty well except Floki cried almost the entire drive home. He would stop for brief respites and then start again. I half expected Chris to smack him and meow at him to be quiet.

We got home at about 1:00 in the afternoon. When we reached Tampa and were about a half hour from home we started joking about how surprised the cats were going to be when we put them in their old home.

30 seconds to home.

I never researched how good a cat’s memory is. I always imagined it to be similar to a human’s memory. I’d like to think that if I brought Chris back to the home we lived in when we adopted him more than eleven years ago he would remember it, or at least find it familiar.

I brought both crates inside and then opened the door. They were all so happy to be free and I could only imagine what they were thinking. What they did not do was go exploring. A new place requires exploring but this one was already known to them.

When we left for West Virginia I cleaned our three litter boxes and brought two of them with me. Before coming back I ordered from Amazon a replacement for each of the two boxes I took from there along with a couple of bags of litter. Our neighbor was kind enough to bring everything in the house for us so I was able to quickly get all the litter boxes filled with litter because I knew that would be needed right away. I wasn’t wrong about that.

One bad thing that happened in West Virginia was that Floki mostly stopped paying attention to Rose. Every morning Rose would sit on a stool at the side of the bed and check her email, Facebook, and I don’t know what else. During that time Floki would come to Rose and let her hold him for a while. While in West Virginia, he never did that. And to throw salt in the wound he would get on my lap right in front of her. The day we got home Floki let Rose pick him up and hold him again. I was very pleased to see that.

Another bad thing that happened up there was my toes almost fell off. Well, not literally, but it felt like they would. Even in Florida my hands and feet always seemed colder than they should be, but in West Virginia, there were times when I felt like I had frostbite on my toes. One evening, on Christmas Day or the day after, I spent quite a while standing in the kitchen. When we finally sat down to eat my toes on my right foot felt frozen and were throbbing with pain. When I took my socks off later I saw they were red and slightly swollen.

I looked up what might be the cause and the closest thing I could come up with was a condition called Chilblains which is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to repeated exposure to cold but not freezing air.” One symptom I didn’t have was itching so I wasn’t sure. I also read it was common in very young and very old people. If I did have it, I reasoned, I must be too young.

A couple of days later it happened again so I went to the doctor and she wasn’t certain but agreed that Chilblains was probably what I had and I should go out of my way to keep my feet warm. I think we decided then that we would not be spending Christmas there anymore, even though all of our Christmas decorations are there now.

We have been home for almost two days now and the cats have gone back to their old routines like nothing ever happened. I, for one, am happy to be wearing shorts with no socks.

On the Road Again


We got to our hotel room yesterday a little after 2:00 p.m. It was relatively early but the cats needed a potty break and my back was hurting from the car ride.

On the way to West Virginia we stayed at a Home2 by Hilton in Columbia South Carolina. It was a nice room inside the hotel where I didn’t have to worry much about Frankie escaping because even if he got out of the room he would still be contained inside the hotel.. This time we stayed at a Best Western in Walterboro, South Carolina. It was an outside room and not nearly as nice.

Going both ways I wanted our second day to be slightly shorter than our first because I figured we would be sick of driving by the second day, plus we needed more time to settle in at home. So with that in mind, Walterboro was the only option.

Rose typically likes to stay at Hiltons or Marriotts but those hotels, at least in Walterboro, did not allow pets. My only choices were Best Western, Econolodge, Motel 6, etc. We both thought Best Western would be the best of the worst so we picked that one. We may have been wrong.

We got a room near the end and when we pulled in a calico cat immediately came up to our car with a big story. I happened to have Stella and Chewy’s readily available in the truck so I put some down for her while Rose put the top down so we could remove our cats.

Rose thought she was pregnant but then we noticed she was ear tipped. I think she is just smart and knows how to get food out of visitors. It worked on me.

When we got in the room we noticed it smelled like dog. It also was covered with old carpet and Rose was worried about fleas. I wanted to put the litter box on a hard floor, not carpet, for ease of cleaning, but the only hard floor was in the tiny bathroom. I couldn’t put it there. Rose suggested putting it on a towel, which I did.

It wasn’t long before Chris pulled the towel back and then dumped a bunch of litter on the exposed carpet. It was then that I realized I had forgotten to bring a broom and dustpan. All I could do was pick it up with my fingers.

What surprised me was when Chris got into the crate that he was trapped in all day. I found Floki in the smaller crate too but I did not get a photo of that.

I went out later to get dinner and brought some food out for the stray. It was then that I noticed a shy black cat hanging out with the calico. Frankie noticed too.

We left this morning around 6:30. The first thing I did was bring out bowl of wet food and a bowl of dry food for the calico and black cat. The calico was there eating the wet food as I loaded the cats in the car. I never saw the black cat again. Perhaps he was waiting for us to leave.

It is now 8:00 a.m. and Floki is still howling. Yesterday it lasted three hours and then another two hours of on and off crying. Hopefully today will be better.

Florida, Here We Come


It is now 6:30 on Saturday morning as I start this post. Ten minutes ago we left our home in West Virginia and ate heading back to our home in Florida. Getting to this point wasn’t easy.

I think what caused me the most stress was worrying about getting Floki in the crate before he ran under the bed. My idea was to feed them in the empty bedroom and then put them all in the crates when we finished everything we had to do.

I woke up at 3:00 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was worrying about carrying the crates down the stairs, especially the big one with Chris and Floki. I am sure the handle was not designed for that weight and I didn’t want to drop them down the stairs.

I also knew I had litter boxes to clean since we didn’t want to leave with old litter in the box. Actually, Rose didn’t want to do that. I cleaned two of the four boxes last night. I figured I would clean one this morning, which I did, but the last one would have to wait until the cats were in their crates.

Rose couldn’t sleep either so we got up at four and decided not to lock the cats in the bedroom. I fed them and spent the time preparing to close up the house and get stuff ready to go out to the car, including cleaning our giant litter pan.

I then started loading the car. There was way too much stuff for Rose’s little car and didn’t know how I was going to fit everything. I had the car more than half filled when Rose stuck her head out the door and said “We have a big problem.”

Since we had to put the top down to fit the crates in the back set she reminded me the trunk had to be empty to put the top down. Since it is a hard top it takes up room in the trunk when it’s down.

So I had to empty everything that was in the trunk. As I was doing that Rose informed me she caught Floki and put him in the crate. I went inside and helped get Chris, who we put with Floki, and the Frankie, when is flying solo. I then put the last litter box in a big garbage bag.

Rose put the top down and I put the cats in the car. I then loaded the trunk, which is as full as it can be, took out the trash, double checked the house and left.

Forty five minutes has gone by since I started writing and Floki is still crying. Wish us luck.

The Return of the Heated Pet Mat


A couple of years ago I reviewed the Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat. The cats seemed to like the mat but living in Florida we really didn’t have enough cold days for it to be useful. I think shortly after I got it I removed the heating part of it and just used it as a cat pad. We had it on our coffee table and Floki used it quite often there.

We brought it with us to West Virginia along with the heating element. I used it as a pad to one of the cat crates during the trip here and it fit perfectly.

When we got here and realized how cold it was I reinserted the heating element and plugged it in. It was a big success.

All three cats took turns lying on it and often there were two cats at a time on it. I have no photos of Floki lying on the mat for some reason but I assure you he was just as interested at Chris and Frankie.

We will be heading back to Florida on Saturday and I plan on bringing the pad with us but I will leave the heating element here.

Stray Cats Everywhere


When we moved into our new home in West Virginia we met several people who were happy to talk about the house, the neighbors, and the town. I will write about the house soon but for now, I want to talk about stray cats. They are everywhere around us. Even so, I have yet to get a photograph of one because I usually see them from a distance or when I am not ready with a camera.

One guy talked about our next door neighbor feeding strays like it was a bad thing. One day, while I was bringing the trash to the alley, I counted four cats and a kitten in the back yard of the house behind us. As far as the neighbors next door, I have only occasionally seen a stray or two there but I was able to get a video of a confrontation between two cats. I first heard the howling sounds that cats make when meeting another cat that they don’t know. I then saw them out the bathroom window at the house next door. I expected a fight but it never happened.

My office is upstairs in the back of the house and I often will see a cat walk by, sometimes through our yard and sometimes next door or across the alley. Once, after it snowed, I saw cat tracks that came right up to our back door.

A couple of weeks after we moved in my wife somehow became Facebook friends with the woman who lives behind us. She said that a woman died at a nearby home who had 14 cats. When the son came to clean out her home he just dumped the cats outside. So, being a caring person, she felt compelled to take care of them. Strangely, we have yet to meet her in person. We bought two cases of wet food for her but when I brought them to her house, nobody was home. I also brought cookies over there for Christmas but only her son was home then.

There are other kind people too on the block. One neighbor said there are at least three people who care for cats but I don’t know if they all care for the same 14 cats or if there is more than one colony here. One man, we were told, leaves a heater on in his garage for the cats. If we were permanent residents I would not be opposed to leaving food out on the back porch and perhaps a shelter too but I wouldn’t want to get cats dependent on me and then leave.

I am glad to know there are many caring people in this neighborhood. I have always felt like most people are good but the bad ones seem to get the most recognition.

On another note. We are planning to head back to Florida this Saturday. This time we will have to cram the two cat crates in the back seat of my wife’s car, where they just barely fit. While it will be an easier trip than coming up here in the moving truck, I am concerned that the only way in or out for the crates is by putting the convertible top down. This could be a problem in an emergency. Let us pray there is no emergency.

Photo Friday: Puzzled


Happy New Year to all our readers. Hopefully 2021 will be a good year for everyone.

I bought my wife a 1000 piece puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle for Christmas and no, it was not the only thing I bought for her. I just thought it would be something nice to do together instead of watching television. Her son and his girlfriend came on Christmas eve for a week and we all worked on it together, on and off, finishing it in just over two days.

Of course Frankie had to help, too.

I have never made an online puzzle before but I thought this would be a good excuse to try it.

Click here for puzzle

Chris Remembers His Youth


I stopped working three of my four jobs before moving to our new home but I feel like I now have less time than ever. This post, for example, probably should have been written two weeks ago.

I don’t remember what prompted me to pick up Chris and put him on my shoulders like I did when he was young. Perhaps he “asked” me to pick him up by clawing at my leg. However it happened, he ended up on my shoulders just before I walked from the kitchen to the dining room. Along the way, I passed the China Cabinet. If anyone has been reading this blog long enough to have seen the post named Chris’s Springboard could probably guess what happened next.

Chris used me as a springboard and jumped to the top of the China Cabinet.

I was surprised Chris was able to get up there given his age and weight but he seemed to manage just fine. I’m not sure then why I have to pick him up when he wants to get on my lap.

Since it is “kitty see kitty do” in our house Frankie also had to get on my shoulders and then up onto the China cabinet.

Next up was Floki. He got on my shoulders but was too scared to make the leap onto the cabinet. He does have a reputation for being a bit of a scaredy cat and this did not help it.

Chris has slowed down these last couple of years but it is good to know he still has some of that youthful spirit in him.