Tag Archives: Dunedin

Watching Fireworks With Chris

We have unusual cats, especially Chris. There is just no better way to say that.

Yesterday we had a lot of company at our house and, as usual, Chris was up in everybody’s business. There is nothing surprising about that. Chris is a very social cat. What is a little surprising is what happened later.

We had planned on walking around the corner where we could watch the city fireworks display but a thunderstorm rolled in just before the fireworks were supposed to start. We sat on our patio as the wind pushed the rain through the screens. We were hoping it would be like a typical summer shower and be over quickly but it lasted long enough for us to give up on watching the fireworks.

Bad Cat Chris watching fireworksThen the rain ended as suddenly as it began and several locals began setting off their own fireworks that we could see from our patio. It quickly became very loud and Chris jumped up on the cat perch to get a better view.

He never ceases to amaze me. I know Chris and I knew that he would not be afraid of the fireworks but he was actually fascinated by them. He watched them with the same interest that he would watch a squirrel running up the screen.

Frankie was also not afraid of the fireworks and spent much of the evening on the patio as well but he took a more passive interest in the fireworks. Puck, as expected, was nowhere in sight but even he surprised me. Instead of being under the bed, he was actually napping on top of our bed and seemed not to notice the noise.

After a half hour or so the fireworks started getting better. It seemed that several neighbors on the other side of the marina spent a lot of money on fireworks, one in particular. Rose and I went outside and sat near the dock to watch the display. There was a ten minute stretch were it seemed to be more spectacular than most “official” fireworks displays.

While we were out there I kept thinking I should have brought my video camera with me but I was afraid it would be over by the time I got it. Eventually, I did get it and capturedĀ some good moments but not as good as what I missed. Someone even had a remote control helicopter that was probably filming everything from the air. Some people just have all the toys. I was told this morning that one homeowner spent $25,000 on fireworks for our enjoyment. Did I ever mention that I love where we live?


Inside Cat Wants Out

Chris enjoyed a year of patio privileges while we were in Myrtle Beach but after moving back to Dunedin, that was no longer an option. Our condo did not have an enclosed patio so he was stuck inside.

Tigger and Abbey didn’t mind but Chris would often cry to be let out or he would try to race out the door when someone opened it. If he got out the front door (technically, the parking lot was the back of the building, but I consider the main door the front) he would just plop down to the ground and stretch. For Chris, it was not about exploring, it was more about celebrating the victory. Anyway, since we were on the second floor, there was not much for him to explore.

After awhile I started to let him out and I would stand there and watch him roll around. Sometimes he would investigate the area around the front door but he would stay within a few feet. Eventually he started venturing farther and farther away until he was at the stairs.

Notice how close the carport roof is to the staircase.

Once he reached the stairs he was amazingly cautious for a cat that showed no fear inside the house. When he started to get up enough courage to go down the stairs, that is when I stopped letting him out. My biggest fear was that he would get up on the roof of the carport, which was alongside the staircase, and then I would have to get up there and chase him down.

That is almost what happened one day when he unexpectedly bolted out the door as I was leaving. He ran to the stairs and took a few steps down, hesitated for a moment, then stepped through the slats and onto the carport roof. I got there just in time to reach over the railing and grab him. We were much more diligent about guarding the door after that.

I don’t have many pictures of the patio but here you can see the slats are wide enough for a cat to get through.

Our other door was a slider that led out to the patio. It was not screened like our last patio so we could not let Chris out there. This, of course, did not stop him from running out the door anyway. At first he would just roll around like he did at the front door, but then he discovered he could get through the slats to the neighbor’s patio. Before long, every time he would get out he would immediately cross over to the neighbor’s side and then roll around just out of reach. I would then have to go down my stairs and walk across to the neighbor’s side to retrieve Chris. He would then sometimes run back over to our side as if it was a game.

Our condo was just right of far left. I usually had to walk around with no shoes, which is risky because of the sand spurs.

Keep in mind that Chris is a very smart cat and would hang back, away from the door, and pretend he was not interested. He would then race out the door as soon as it was opened. He once ran across to the neighbors patio and discovered her door was cracked open. To Chris, this was an invitation to go inside, so he did.

I knew Chris had an outside cat in him and I didn’t want to suppress that so I bought a harness and leash for him so I could take him out without worrying about the trouble he could get into. This was difficult because he would not let me put the harness on him. When I finally did get it on him, the first thing he did when we got outside was lay down and kick at it with his back feet until he was able to slip out of part of it. I brought him back in and tried several times over the next few weeks.

Sometimes he would not try to get it off. He would slowly make his way down the stairs, smelling everything along the way. Each time he would go a little further until he was on the ground. I don’t know if it was because of the leash but he was not as adventurous as I thought he would be.

Other times Chris would try to get the harness off and would almost always succeed. I don’t know if I should credit Chris’s intelligence for that or my stupidity but, in either case, the harness idea didn’t work out as I hoped.

Sometimes, during the cooler months, we could leave the front door open so Chris could look out the screen, but most of the time Chris just had to enjoy the outdoors like the other cats by looking out one of the upstairs’ bedroom windows.

Believe it or not, Chris isĀ able to cause problems by just looking out the window. Stay tuned for that story.

The Great Upheaval

Sixteen months after moving to Myrtle Beach, it was time to go back to Florida. Rose was asked to manage the property she left when she was an assistant manager. It was another promotion for her since the Florida property was more than double the size of the Myrtle Beach property. More importantly, we really wanted to go back to where we belonged.

Since Rose did not want to live on the property, we ended up renting a condo at the same complex that we used to own. We knew it was nice there and did not want any unpleasant surprises, since we couldn’t see the rentals first hand.

The big problem was that renting almost always means two pets. This place had a two pet rule in their bylaws. When we owned it was easier to sneak in a few extra cats, but as a renter, forget it. We decided we could get away with no more than three. That meant that two cats had to go. It was something I was not prepared to do and even tried to talk Rose into moving into one of her own apartments. At least I would have some pull with the landlord. Unfortunately, that did not work.

It was decided that Princess was an obvious choice because she didn’t like any of the other cats and absolutely despised Abbey. She would spend her days hiding under Rose’s dressing table and hiss and growl at Abbey when she came in the same room. Tony, the maintenance supervisor, took Princess for his little girls, who planned on spoiling her.

The next choice was difficult. Chris, we knew, could not be tolerated by anybody and would wind up back at the shelter so, in this case, being bad was good, for him anyway.

That left Tigger and the sister and brother, Abbey and Alex. It was not a matter of which one we cared about more, it was who we thought would be less affected by the separation. In this case, being good was bad. Alex turned out to be the better choice to stay behind because he wasn’t as needy. He also seemed to have become more of a loner as he aged. Don’t get me wrong, he was one of the friendliest cat I knew, he just was becoming less social with the other cats.

One of my last photos of Alex with Chris, of course, on top of him.

Alan, the maintenance technician, took Alex. It was nice to know our cats had someone to take care of them. I could not leave them in a cage at a shelter.

I brought Alex to Alan’s apartment a couple of days before we left and then went over a couple of times to visit him. He seemed happy there. I hated to leave him but that’s life sometimes.

I decided to plan the drive to Florida better than the drive to South Carolina. The first time we drove straight through and that was hard on the cats. This time I calculated the half-way point to be somewhere near the Florida border. I had checked hotels in Brunswick Georgia and Jacksonville Florida and found the ones near the expressway that took pets. This time we were going to leave later in the day and spend the night at a hotel.

Truck driver Rose with the cats.

On November 12, 2010, we spent all morning and part of the afternoon loading the rental truck. When that was done, we were left with the hard part, packing the cats. We had to put the cats between us on the front seat of the truck. In the large carrier, we put Tigger and Abbey because they get along well together. Chris went on top in the small carrier because we thought he would appreciate being able to look out the window.

The cats were pretty good for the most part and we made it to Jacksonville before stopping for the night. They were all happy to be out of their boxes, especially Chris, who had to investigate every nook and cranny of the hotel room.

The next day we drove the rest of the way to Dunedin. When we arrived we had two men come and help us unload the truck. That took many hours and the cats had to be shut up in the bathroom the entire time. I supposed after being in a truck all morning, it was a welcome respite.

Our new place had two levels and Chris shot up and down the stairs like an old pro. He would sometimes skip two or three stairs as he bounded down, usually hitting the ground floor and sliding into the bathroom door. Abbey, however, would come down very carefully, first the two front feet then the two rear feet, one step at a time.

Our new home with screen-less patio.

The biggest problem with our new home was that our patio was not screened nor could it be, so the cats had to stay inside. The other cats didn’t mind but poor Chris was like a bird with no wings.