I have always found it somewhat easy to connect with animals. Often when visiting someone they would comment about how their pet likes me, like it was surprising to them. I think it is because I tend to be calm, easygoing, and patient, traits that I inherited from my mother.
My mother is here visiting us and has already made a friend in Frankie.
Years ago, before I started this blog, we had a cat named Flash.
Flash was very shy and the most skittish cat we ever had. He would come to me for attention sometimes but would never go to my wife. One day, while my mom was visiting, Rose and I went out for some reason and when we returned, Flash was on Mom’s lap. I probably don’t have to mention how jealous Rose was at that sight.
When we adopted Frankie in February of 2014, we noticed that he puked a lot. To be honest, I don’t remember if we took him to the vet for that specific problem but he has been to the vet a few times since then and I can’t imagine I never mentioned it to the vet. I think we just assumed that he ate too much too fast and then puked it up.
We don’t know Frankie’s backstory. I used to think that he was bulimic but now I think he must have had gastric bypass surgery before we got him and his stomach can’t handle eating too much food at one time.
For a long time I have been feeding our cats a large 5.5 Oz can of cat food in the morning and another later in the afternoon. That is 1.83 Oz per cat and actually a little less because I would often end up with uneaten food on at least one of the plates. It doesn’t seem like that much food but you have to account for the extra that Frankie was eating, usually at the expense of Chris
When I was working full-time I would feed them when I got up in the morning and again when I got home from work. This year I’ve been working almost full time in addition to working at home. Rose has been working from home more and usually Frankie bothers her so much that by 3:00 she feeds them.
That was the routine when we lived in Florida. Very often, but not always, Frankie would quickly finish his food and then he would finish Chris’s for him. A little while later I would have to clean up puke.
When we moved here to West Virginia and I took a two-month hiatus from my job I decided to buy the smaller, 3 ounce cans of cat food and feed them three times a day instead of twice.
I think the smaller portions have worked. Frankie has only puked twice in over two weeks. The first time was probably because I had brought the larger cans with me and used them up the first few days we were here. The second time he puked was after I gave them a large can of tuna as a treat.
I don’t like paying more per ounce for the smaller cans but considering that a lot of it was getting wasted it probably comes out even. Plus, I don’t have to clean up puke as much.
Our cats are finally starting to enjoy our catio after the interruption of our dog visitors. It took Floki until Wednesday but once out, he loved it.
Frankie goes out more often than Chris or Floki, not because he likes it more but because he is the one most likely to be hanging out near the back door when somebody goes outside.
The weather is starting to cool down here and I expect we will be outside more often which means the cats will be outside more often too. Its a win win.
As a side note, we had people over for dinner yesterday and later that evening we were sitting on the catio and a very cut grey kitten came up on the step and peeked in through the screen door. I believe I saw another cat walk by before I saw that kitten but it was dark. I put my hand against the screen and he smelled me and then walked over to the edge of the catio. I wanted to go get treats for him but considering our limited time here it is not wise to get them dependent on us. Fortunately, our cats were not on the catio at the time.
I got out of the shower yesterday and saw Chris on the floor waiting for me. As I dried myself Chris jumped on the toilet and then on the sink. He looked like he wanted to jump on my shoulders, just like the old days, so I put my towel over my shoulders and let him.
There is something else Chris did in the old days. He would use me as a springboard to get to a higher place. That thought didn’t occur to me until two seconds after he jumped on my shoulders and then jumped up to the top of the linen closet.
By then Floki was in the bathroom. Upon seeing where Chris was he jumped on the sink and started crying at me.
I let him up on my shoulders too.
I thought he would jump up there with Chris but I think he was afraid to try. He stood on his hind legs and had a short conversation with Chris but decided not to join him.
That left me with the problem of getting Chris down. When he was young he could jump down but now he is old and heavy so I didn’t want to risk him getting hurt.
I finished getting dressed and went downstairs and got the stepladder. I then pulled Chris off the shelf, which he was not happy about.
I am glad Chris still has some of that adventurous spirit in him, despite his age and weight. It gives me hope for my future.
About five or six weeks ago my wife contacted a contractor here in West Virginia to see if it was possible to screen in our back porch. We wanted it to cut down on the bugs but we mostly just wanted a catio that our cats could enjoy in the nice weather.
Rose told the contractor that it needed to be done before we arrived, which was last Saturday. When we got there he still hadn’t finished. He was actually here until late Tuesday afternoon. I think he said he could do the job before realizing how difficult it was. The way the porch is built it is nearly impossible to keep the bugs out. He couldn’t put screaming all the way to the top because of the rafters so he decided to not screen all the way to the bottom so that the water would have a place to go when we washed down the porch.
The biggest problem was the doors. There is a large opening in the middle and a smaller opening on one side. The opening in the middle has two four by fours that are crooked both left to right and front to back. One of them is also twisted. It took a while to get the doors in so that they would slide back and forth easily without a gap too large for a cat to get through.
Wednesday morning I cleaned the mess left behind. I than fixed the doors a little better. I still needed to put up a panel to close the gap on one side (which I did this morning) but it was ready to test out that afternoon.
Frankie happened to be standing by the back door when Rose and I went out, so we decided to let him out onto the porch to see what he would do.
Of course, Frankie is our little investigator so he spent some time investigating.
I found Chris waiting by the back door to see what was going on so I let him out too.
I called floki but he was nowhere in sight. He was probably upstairs and not interested in what we were doing.
So far it has met with the approval of Chris and Frankie. I don’t trust that one or both of them won’t scratch a hole in the screen and escape so I think we will only let them out there when one of us is out there with them.
Today I pressure washed the catio in addition to closing the gap by the door. Later I may try to get Flokil out there to see if it meets with a unanimous approval.
Saturday night, after arriving at our West Virginia home, we decided to leave our bedroom door open even though we knew that was a bad idea. We did it because we wanted the cats to feel comfortable before locking them out of the bedroom. Of course, Chris disturbed my sleep all night long.
Sunday we decided that we needed our sleep so we closed our bedroom door and went to bed. At about 11:00 we were awakened by Chris making an awful howling sound. It sounded so awful I had to get up to see what was wrong with him.
The sound came from the bedroom across and down the hall that I use for my office. My wife left the light on in the bathroom across the hall from my office and closed the door most of the way. She feels the cats need light even though they can practically see in the dark.
Nevertheless, it provided barely enough light for me to see what was going on. Frankie was on the floor looking at Chris and Chris was on the middle part of the cat perch. I thought the two were fighting but then I realized Chris was looking out the window. I walked into the room to see what Chris was looking at. I was surprised to see a cat on the roof looking back at me. No wonder Chris was howling. I tapped on the window and the cat ran away and I went back to bed.
At 4:00 a.m. Chris jumped on the bed and lied on top my head. Not above my head, on top of it. I moved him and saw he had somehow figured out how to open the door. Maybe someday I will get a full night’s sleep. Maybe.