Monday, December 26, 2016

Thunder and the New Windows

We had an unseasonably warm day for December, and when the temps got into the upper 50s, I turned down the thermostat and opened a bunch of my new windows.  They put them in a few weeks ago, and the smell from the caulking was still very strong.  It was time to get some fresh air.  This was an easy process since I no longer have to fuss with storm windows/

I was never able to open up the dining room window in the past, so this was a new experience for Thunder.  His eyes got big with amazement.  He very cautiously approached the window--sniffing the whole time.  I put one of his pedestals in front of it, and in a few minutes, he was on it peering out.

Thunder is one of those very cautious cats.  He isn't at all a daredevil like my sister's cat, Stormy.  It took him a while before he could just relax and look out of it.  It helped when we got some big gusts of wind and leaves started blowing around. Thunder loves hunting leaves.

You would think he would just want to stay in front if the window and enjoy a taste of the outdoors, but he was soon on his way.  He wanted to explore the whole house.  Once he gets into exploring mode, everything becomes interesting.  He would stop whenever he would hear the rare bird and just listen.  Then, of course, he got hungry...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thunder's Opinion: Dogs Ruin Everything

i was trying to take a picture of Thunder, and Maggie, aka Dumb Dog, kept getting in the way.  He just kept staring at her with this expression.

He really does seem to think dogs ruin everything.

If he is taking a nap, who is the one to bark at the deer outside and wake him up--causing him to run for cover?

If he is sitting on my lap, she wants to join us.

If she is sitting on my lap, her 35 pounds of fur take up so much room, he can barely find a spot.

She smells--particularly in the summer time when she goes swimming every day.  Then, not only does she smell, but she stays wet for hours.

If he wants to play a game, she is bound to walk into to room and distract him--ruining his concentration.  Or, she will bark at a deer...

If he is hunting birds or squirrels on the windowsill, she will bark and chase them away.

He loves to eat on the floor.  She has to get as close as possible and watch him eat. At least she knows not to steal his food, but he doesn't trust her.

I used to hide treats for him in paper towel tubes.  Not only did she eat the treats, she ate the tubes, too.  We can't play that game, anymore...

When he is feeling generous and makes gestures of friendship, she doesn't understand and backs away from him.  At that point, he feels the best thing to do is give her a swat.

She does let him stalk and pounce her because I have praised her so much for tolerating him--and given her plenty of treat for it, so that is good.  Still, she doesn't play the game as willingly as a cat, and if he does it too much, she will refuse to even get close to him.  That is not the proper way to play pounce.

If I try to take pictures of him, she wants to be part of the action, and as in this case, disturbs his gorgeous poses.

Yes, in Thunder's opinion, dogs ruin everything.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Scarf

My Scarf

On these chilly nights, Thunder feels that my nose is too cold.  He has the solution.  He curls up on top of me and leans his body right on my face.

My nose stays warm.  Breathing is the bigger issue.  I end up turning my face to the side.  He purrs and purrs and purrs.  I don’t have the heart to push him away.  He will stay there easily for a few hours.

The real problem is that I like to read before I go to sleep.  Usually, I will get a few pages in--and up he pops on the bed.  I reluctantly put the book aside.  The good side of this is that it gets me to go to sleep earlier.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kingdom of Days

With you I don’t hear the minutes ticking by
I don’t feel the hours as they fly
I don’t see the summer as it wanes
Just a subtle change of light upon your face

Walk away, walk away, walk away walk away
This is our kingdom of days.

Bruce Springsteen
“Kingdom of Days”

This has been Thunder and my song since the first time I heard it.  I have sung it to him many, many times over the years.  When I took this photo of him, capturing the only ray of sun we saw that day, I immediately thought of it because of the light on his face.

Here in Northeast Ohio, we don’t see much sun in November and December.  When we do, it is special.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stormy in all His Cuteness

My sister did it again.  I was minding my own business, checking up on the latest news on the Internet and BAMM!  Here is another adorable picture of Stormy.  Isn't he just the cutest cat ever?  He sticks his tongue out because he doesn't have teeth to hold it in.  Notice his winter mane is starting to grow in.  Don't you just want to hug him?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Introducing My Nephew: The Cutest Cat in the World

Introducing My Nephew: The Cutest Cat in the World

Ellen’s cat, Stormy, is the only cat cuter than Thunder.  He showed up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night, and never left.  She sends me adorable pictures of him all the time; and he is even cuter in person.

The most distinguishing thing about Storm is his lack of teeth.  Poor little guy had a condition where his body was attacking his teeth.  He completely recovered from the operation and even likes to eat some dry food.  

He is a very good-natured cat--except when he bites.  Not that that is a problem!  He likes to play, run around and pick on his dog, Stubby.  He eats a lot, but never gets fat because he is such an active cat.

Ellen delights me with stories about him every day, for he is as silly as he is cute.

I love to visit Stormy, and sometimes he is even sociable and plays games with me.  Other times, he just goes off and naps.  That is a cat for you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Update on Thunder

Update on Thunder

I am so far behind with my plans for my cat blog.  Going back to work part time really messed me up.  I have been retired for a few weeks, now, but I have had trouble getting back into it.  That has just got to change.

If only Thunder agreed with me.  He is going through a very demanding stage.  He just wants attention all the time.  Whenever I try to do something, he is calling me to come talk to him, sit with him, follow him around, listen to him purr, play a game, feed him...

You get the idea. I am lucky to eat a meal without interruptions.  Blogging has been so tough.  I have to wait until the he finally gets tired and decides to nap--or if the sun is out.  This time of year, the sun doesn't shine in the house very much.  That will change when the leaves fall off the trees--which will be soon.  Of course, as winter approaches, there won't be many sunny days.  It will be colder in the house, too, so he will want to cuddle all the time.  It will be back to lap wars with him and the dog.

So, I will try to get my blogging in where I can, but taking care of Thunder is a higher priority than blogging about him.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Review: The Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang

Book Review: The Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang

I loved this book.  Written by an art historian and amateur Egyptologist--and evidently, someone who loves cats, it kept me entertained from beginning to end.

A cat is magically endowed with the ability to speak and walk upright.  He is then befriended by a young pharaoh, and their adventures begin.  Ancient Egypt and her customs come to life, and that would have been enough for me to enjoy the book, but the story took unexpected turns that kept me at the edge of my seat--and often made me laugh.

The story is told in first person by the cat, who often gets into mischief and certainly has an attitude.  I love how he interprets the world.  I thought the cat was simply delightful. Of course, I am rather fond of cats.

I don't want to give too much away, but if you like cats, history and adventure, this book is for you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016



I don’t have any pictures of Blackster, but just imagine a small black tom cat with ragged ears, and that is him.  There isn’t anything remarkable about him--except that he decided I am his best friend.

Even that wouldn’t be such a big deal, except just last winter, he was a feral cat that would visit our barn.  We have a lady that comes out every day just to feed the cats.  Her name is Carol.  By feeding him and talking to him, she got him gentle enough that she could pet him a little bit.

Ellen and I don’t feed the cats--they get plenty of food, and most of them are rather fat.  I always talk to Princess, the cantankerous empress of the barn.  Many times, I would sit with her in the winter time so she could warm her paws.  She can be so unpredictable, that only her old owner who brought her to our barn, Ellen and I are the only ones that spend much time with her.

The feral black cat that they named Blackie would see me with Princess.  Over time, he got closer and closer to me.  I think he decided I was safe because Princess liked me.  Soon, I was able to pet him.  That is when I decided that Blackie was not a name fit for a tom cat.  I started calling him Blackster.  Once I did that, he fell in love with me.

On the evenings that I feed the horses, he finds me when he hears my voice to greet me.  He, himself, has just a tiny meow--the kind that most of the time you only see his mouth move.  He will then follow me from barn to barn as I feed the horses.  Sometimes he will greet me when I come back with Ranger on his walk.  II will pet him most of the time as I walk by.  Our problem?  Princess, the tyrant doesn’t think he should be with me and will try to chase him away.  She wants me to pet her instead of him.

I try to reserve a few minutes just to pet and talk to him--and that only works until Princess finds us.  He just loves when I sit and talk to him.  He has never tried to climb on my lap, though.  The time I have spent with him has helped him feel more comfortable around other people, too,  He is still skittish with them, but he is getting better all the time.  He likes Ellen, too, but not as much as he likes me.  He even likes me more than he likes Carol--who feeds him.

He is really a nice fellow, and if I didn’t have Thunder--a cat who is meant to be an only cat--I would be tempted to take him home.  The cats who live at our barn do have a good life, though, and I get to see him plenty when I am out there.

New Pedestal for Thunder

New Pedestal for Thunder

Ellen saw this great, little piece of cat furniture at Marc’s for $19.99.  She knew I would want it, so she bought it for me for Thunder.  (I reimbursed her, of course.)  He hasn’t had a new piece of furniture for a while.

Of course, he really liked the box.  It only took a couple of minutes to assemble, and he was immediately on it.  Even though the platforms seemed a little small, he fit just fine.  I often forget how much of him is really fur and how little of him is cat.

Since we had found some new turkey feathers when we were walking Ranger, we had other things to do.  Thunder loves fresh feathers to play with.

Then, he saw Maggie walk by his new pedestal. He ran to it, jumped on top of it and swatted her.  I guess he wanted her to know it was his.  He also marked his territory by clawing the post a couple of times.  It belonged to him.

I tried to convince him to hop from one pedestal to another with clicker, but he refused to leave his new spot.  He promptly took a nap.

He now has one more place to perch on to survey his kingdom.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thunder and Maggie

Thunder and Maggie

Thunder the Cat really doesn’t care much for Maggie the Dog, but it seems that they are getting along better now that I am home more often.  Thunder is still pouncing Maggie, but not as often.  The problem boils down to there only being one of me and two of them.  They both want me to pay attention to them.  

Thunder is the aggressor; not Maggie.  She likes to pretend he doesn’t exist and merely tries to interfere by just walking between us and asking for attention.  Thunder pounces her and even chases her.  He doesn’t like the way she smells, and he hates how she barks at any noise, the neighbors and the wildlife in the yard.

In the cooler weather, he hates when she sits on my lap.  She is too large for laps, and she leaves very little room for him.  He will walk over, look at the problem and walk away in disgust.  Finally, he will find a way to squeeze on my lap regardless of her.  That lasts until she hears something to bark at, and then he runs away as fast as he can.

Like I said, Thunder is more accepting of her since retirement.  He will walk up to her and rub his body on her chest or brush his tail on her face.  She doesn't understand and just looks at me in disgust.  I praise her and even click her sometimes to encourage her to allow him to do that to her.

Of course, this may have nothing to do with my retirement and more to do with the very hot summer.  I have no air conditioning, so the two of them are sleeping more because of the heat.  When the weather cools off, dog pouncing may become Thunder’s favorite sport, again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thunder’s New Routine

Thunder’s New Routine

I am on my fourth week of retirement, and Thunder’s routine is changing.  On the mornings that I am at home, he was starting to nap about 8:00--and he would stay napping until 11:00.  He is still napping, though he will start it a little later if I sleep in.  I then go out to work in the yard and take Maggie for her long walk.  When I get back, he wakes up to greet me and is very sociable.  He then goes and sits in the sun in the dining room and wants me to pet him.
He still seems tired, but at least he isn’t deep under the dining room table where I can’t be with him.  By around 11:00, he is much more awake for a few hours--ten he takes an early afternoon nap.  

I thnk he is really happy to have me around, and since I am around more often, he seems less frantic about spending time with me.  He doesn’t start crying if I’m not in the same room as much, and I can eat most of my meals in the kitchen in peace.

On the hot days, and there has been a lot of them, he is much quieter and doesn’t eat as much.  He has been doing a lot of eating overnight.  He has always been like that.  I used to panic--the first few years I had him--that he wasn’t eating enough.  I know better, now.

He does lay in the sun a lot in the morning, but only for short periods in the evening because he gets too warm and has to cool off

If I leave him for more than a few hours, I am still getting the ecstatic greetings that go on and on...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Can't Resist Him

He has become impossible, simply impossible.  Unless he is sleepy, he keep demanding attention.  When I am out of the room, he calls me.  I go to see what he wants, and he is striking one of his adorable poses to get me to visit him.  Sometimes he is sitting on his claw post or he may be stretched out on the floor.  As soon as he sees me, he pops up and trots over to the TV room and demands that I pet him.  Do I have any choice?  Of course not.  After a few minutes, I go back to what I was doing.  A few minutes later, it starts all over, again.

Does he care that I am writing a cat blog which he stars in?  Of course not.

I just don’t have the power to resist him, and he knows it.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thunder and My New Mattress

Thunder and My New Mattress

After years of wanting a new mattress, my brother offered to help me get it up to my bedroom.  My bedroom is atop circular stairs, and it was necessary to dismantle some of the stairs and then hoist the mattress up to the upper floor--not an easy project.

He came over one hot afternoon with my two nieces to complete the project.  Of course, Thunder went into hiding.

It took an hour, but we were successful.  My family left, and then it was time to introduce Thunder to our new bed.

Thunder is a very timid and careful cat--the kind that measures five times and jumps once.  I was afraid he might be scared by the new mattress.  It was much taller than the old one, and it had a different smell.  Thunder is very sensitive to smells.

I carried him upstairs.  He was very tense.  I put him down in the hallway, and he furtively entered my; all crouched down and small.  He didn’t notice the mattress, at first.  He noticed the pillows and blankets on the floor.  He went to investigate them, and I slowly put them on the bed.  He then had to look all around the room to make sure it was safe.  It seemed like he intentionally wasn’t looking at the mattress.

Finally, i told him it was time to check out the mattress.  I lifted him up to his favorite corner.  He stood there for a moment, and then he laid down, stretched his paws out and got a look of contentment on his face.  He liked to two layers of memory foam.  I chose well.

He only sat there for a few minutes, and then he wanted to explore the other bedroom, too.  A cat can never be too careful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Adjusting to Retirement with Thunder

I discovered on my first day of not going to work at 8:00, that Thunder takes a nap at 8:00.  He looked at me and then went right up on the chair under the dining room table.  I waited a while, and he didn't come out.  So I took Maggie for a long walk, worked in the garden and came back a few hours later.  He hadn't moved and didn't greet me.  It was unlike him not to greet me.

An hour or so later, he came out and was all affection.

The next morning I stayed home, I was a little too slow with the routine.  After breakfast, I brush Maggie's teeth, let her outside and then brush Thunder's teeth while the dog is out of the way.  It was right about 8:00.  As I went to get him, I saw him heading under the dining room table.  I was too late.  He was going to nap.  I didn't get his teeth brushed until after lunch.

I am learning to do my chores and take care of Maggie's walk in the mornings if I am home.  Sometimes, he will come out for a bite to eat, and on sunny morning's he may come out to lay in the morning sun in the dining room.  It arrives around 10:00.  This still counts as nap time.  I can admire him, but I can't disturb him.

We are learning new routines.  I am just glad I can spend so much time with him.