My wife and I were on the catio yesterday evening with the cats who were out there much of the day. Frankie, in particular, always wants to be out there.
We talked about what Frankie was going to do after we return to Florida in just over two weeks to our house with no catio. It will surely feel like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
Even here, Frankie has become quite the pain. As we were getting ready to go upstairs last night to go to bed, Frankie was at the door crying to go out. This morning at 6 a.m., after eating only half his breakfast, he was again at the door crying to go out.
All we can do is let them enjoy it while it lasts. I quess I will have to start taking Frankie for a walk again when we return.
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.
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.
Before we came back to Florida I took a 360-degree video of our home in West Virginia so you could get an idea of what it was like for Rose and I and the cats. I took it using my GoPro Fusion camera that has two 180 degree lenses. It is essentially two cameras in one with a software program called Fusion Studio that stitches the two images together.
Unfortunately, Fusion Studio is the worst software program since Windows Vista and possibly even worse than that. Both the camera and the program were discontinued shortly after I bought the camera so there is no hope for an update that will improve it.
In any case, it would not work on my computer in West Virginia so I had to wait until I got back to Florida to process it. When it did process the video, it tried to keep the video pointing in the same direction even though I turned the camera. So watching it will require you to use your mouse or finger to turn the image so you can see everything. Better yet, if you have VR goggles you can use that.
A couple of things I didn’t mention in the video are that the home is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and two people told us there is a ghost in the house. One said the ghost is a woman wearing clothing that would have been worn at the turn of the Twentieth Century. He claims to have personally see her, multiple times, in or near the gossip room. Another says the ghost is male and can sometimes be seen in the upstairs window smoking a pipe. I have not seen or heard any ghost but I think it would be fun to partake in a city-wide ghost tour which I heard they have done in the past.
As you can see the cats had plenty of space to run around or just hide if they wanted personal space. Even so, I think they are happy here in our Florida home too. Our next task is to find a larger vehicle so we can transport them more comfortably. But that is something I won’t have to worry about until the summer.
What do you think? Were you able to see the video okay?
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.
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.
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.
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.