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.
I am writing this from our Hotel in Columbia South Carolina, which is a little more than halfway to our final destination in West Virginia.
We had a lot to do before our trip. One of the things was to make sure the Tile trackers that we bought for the cats on our last trip were still working. I procrastinated on that until Wednesday when I learned they all needed new batteries. They still worked but they were close to not working so I ordered batteries from Amazon for a Thursday delivery. When they arrived they were the wrong batteries.
Rose thought the collars were unnecessary and I was just being paranoid but there is a difference between cautious and paranoid. Anyway, I didn’t put collars on anyone for fear of tipping my hand to what was going on to Floki. I thought I would wait until the last minute. The last minute was Friday morning. I had moved both crates to the Florida room the night before and now Chris was sleeping in the new crate and Floki slept in the old crate. Frankie was in the house outside of Floki’s view so I put his collar on. I then put Chris’s collar on while he was in his crate but it was tight on him. I guess he has gained even more weight since January. Just after I took it off to adjust the fit, Floki got wind of what was going on and tried to sneak past me but I grabbed him and shoved him in with Chris and zipped it up. It was a little early but close enough. They didn’t get their trackers on but I decided not to worry about it. I then put Frankie in his crate and we were on the road at 7:34 a.m.
The trip was uneventful for a while. We even had peace and quiet because Floki didn’t cry up a storm like last time. Then there was that incedent.
At 1:15 we crossed the border into South Carolina. At that very moment, Rose said “Oh my God! Somebody pooped.” Okay, she didn’t actually say “pooped” but let’s pretend that is the word she used.
“We are probably just passing something stinky,” I said.
“Don’t question my nose,” she said. “If I say somebody pooped than somebody pooped!”
I should mention that Rose is blessed with a nose like a bloodhound but she is cursed with the inability to tolerate bad smells. Unlike dogs, who can stick their noses in a pile of dung, the tiniest oder is like standing in the middle of a stink factory to Rose.
I looked back and saw Chris clawing at the corner of the pad. I said, “I think you are right. Chris is either burying his poop or Floki’s poop. Probably his.”
At this point the smell was getting worse and Rose’s stress level was through the roof. Fortunately there was a rest stop a mile ahead but I feared she would have a nervous breakdown before we got there.
As soon as we parked I went to the bathroom to get wet paper towels but found only electric hand dryers. It occurred to me that there was a container of window cleaner wipes in the truck but when I returned saw that Rose had already thought of that and was wiping the poop out of the crate with them. The poop was loose and runny but fortunately Chris pulled the pad up first so it was mostly on an easy to clean surface.
We got to the hotel at 3:33, almost exactly 8 hours after we left. The first thing the cats did was use the litter box. They must have all needed to go badly because they couldn’t wait for Frankie to finish.
I cleaned the box about twenty minutes later and is was basically full already.
I then opened the blind a bit so the cats could look out the window. They liked that.
Later, Rose opened up a couple of catnip toys. Frankie and Floki enjoyed playing with them while Chris watched.
I did not get a photo of Floki but I did get a video which I may post later
That evening Rose commented about how exhausted we bought were the evening we arrived in West Virginia the first time. I suggested that since we could not close the cats out in a hotel room, Chris probably kept us up all night.
We went to bed early last night, around 8:45, hoping to avoid the exhaustion this time. Almost immediately Chris climbed up to the top of my head and started digging his claws into my face. For some reason he prefers to bother me and mostly leaves Rose in peace.
I moved Chris to the foot of the bed and tried to go back to sleep but three minutes later Chris was bothering me again. I counted how many times I had to move him or put him off the bed completely. By 9:50 it was eleven times. I stopped counting then but the bothering continued. I woke Rose up a couple of times as I annoyingly moved Chris away. She complained that I was keeping her up and I sarcastically said, “I am so sorry I disturbed you.”
We were both up well before 4 a.m. and decided to stay up. I estimate that I moved Chris more than 40 times that night. I kept thinking that cats are supposed to sleep a lot so soon he would tire and fall asleep. I was wrong. He waited until I was up before taking a nap.
It is now after 5 a.m. The hotel serves breakfast at 6:00 so we will eat then and get back on the road.
I wrote a post last month about the many problems we encountered in planning for a trip back to West Virginia. My wife wanted me to trade my electric Nissan Leaf for a larger vehical, like a mini van. I did not want to give up my Leaf, which was my favorite car ever, but I knew we needed to do something different. I looked into renting a vehicle but since the pandemic, there is a shortage of vehicles and the rental car companies no longer rent cars for one-way trips out of state. That same shortage also caused used cars to be more expensive. I considered a new vehicle but I just didn’t want an expensive car payment.
I eventually found a 2008 Nissan Titan pickup truck with only 19,000 miles on it. I probably paid more then it was worth a year earlier but beggars can’t be choosers and it was a better price than lesser vehicles that were a few years newer. Plus, it has plenty of room for the cats and all the stuff we needed to bring.
On our last trip I bought two crates that were as big as the limits of my wife’s convertible would allow. The smaller crate was 22L x 13W x 16H and we put Frankie in that one. The bigger crate was 24L x 18W x 20H and Floki and Chris went in that one.
There is more room in the back of the truck so I decided to replace the smaller crate with a soft, collapsible crate that is 30L x 20W x 19H (Please note that Amazon links will earn me a small percentage if you make a purchase). We plan on putting Chris and Floki together again and will put Frankie in the larger, wire crate. We decide on the first trip that Chris and Floki would travel better together than either one of them with Frankie.
When the crate arrived the cats were immediately interested in it.
It was easy to put together but would have been even easier without cats in it.
Once together it seemed like it would be a good fit for Chris and Floki.
Chris decided he liked being inside of it.
Frankie decided he liked being on top of it.
Not to be outdone, Chris had to get on top of it too. I was impressed that it stood up to his weight.
After I put it together and after Chris got out of it I put the two crates in the back of the truck to make sure they both fit okay.
I then ordered a pad that was a perfect fit for the inside of it.
We will be leaving on Friday morning. I look forward to being there but I do not look forward to the trip.
Floki update: I am writing this on Tuesday evening for a Wednesday morning post. As of now Floki seems better. He had a bad reaction on Saturday morning either to the vet cleaning his ears or the flea medication we asked them to put on. He hid under the bed for three days but this morning he was out eating breakfast. He went back under the bed briefly but spent the rest of the day acting like a normal kitty.
Last week I was contacted by someone from Cardboard Cat Homes and asked if I would do a review. He told me I could have my cat’s name printed on the box, which I thought was pretty cool. I asked if he could squeeze three names on the box and his reply was that he would send me three boxes. I couldn’t argue with that. To be clear, I did get the boxes at no cost to me but I was not compensated in any other way. The opinions written here are my own and that of my cats.
When the box arrived on Thursday Frankie was immediately interested.
When I opened the box I saw there was catnip in it which I thought explained his interest but he seemed to ignore the catnip packages.
I decided to put one together and save the other two for Friday and Saturday. That way there would be renewed excitement. The first one I opened was the Cat Condo. That one had Frankie’s name on it which was great for reasons you will see later. I read the directions on it but I am terrible with assembly directions and my mind just glazed over.
I thought the picture was clear but some of the pieces were hard to identify. At first I thought maybe stamping numbers on the pieces would be helpful but then I realized that I could easily figure it out from the picture alone so that is what I did and found it to be really easy to put together.
Of course, everyone was interested in what I was doing.
When it was done, Frankie had to test the sturdiness of it.
It met with his approval so I decided to put a towel on the top and inside to see what happened.
Suddenly Frankie had a new favorite place to hang out and Floki liked it too.
Then Chris discovered how great it was.
I was busy Friday and did not put the second cat house together that day but Frankie continued to enjoy hanging out on top of his cat condo. The workout bench was his favorite place to nap but he completely forgot about that.
He still liked it on Saturday.
Saturday is when I put the next cat house together. This one was called “Kitty House” and is probably the best looking one. It was a little more complicated than the first but still fairly simple.
This one had Floki’s name on it and coincidently it was he who was most interested at first.
Floki’s interest waned but once I was finished, Frankie became interested.
Unlike Frankie’s condo, this one has two doors. What it does not have is enough room on the roof for a cat to nap. I guess it would depend on whether you cat likes to sleep inside or outside.
Sunday I put together Chris’s “Cat Castle.” It is fitting that one has his name on it because Chris thinks he is king around here.
I only got it halfway put together when Chris decided to get inside of it. That made assembly more difficult.
I managed to get it mostly put together but Chris’s twenty pound heft was pushing against the side and it was too difficult to finish snapping it together, so I just decided to wait for him to get out.
There was a bit of a cat fight while I waited. Apparently Chris was defending his castle.
Eventually he got out and I was able to finish construction before he got back in again.
I think Chris is too heavy and he is pushing the sides out. I suppose it doesn’t matter since it seems to be holding together. I just hope he doesn’t try to jump on top of it while it is apart like it is here. He has not yet tried to get on top of any of the houses so I don’t know how well they would handle a twenty pound cat. They do seem perfectly capable of handling a twelve pound cat though.
As I write this post Frankie is still enjoying hanging out on his condo where his association has no code of decency.
So what do you think? Is this something your cat might like?
Update: I forgot to mention that the company also donates to pet shelters. Here is a line from their website: To give back to our feline community we work closely with shelters, aiming to donate supplies and goodies to at least one shelter for every five orders we receive.