15

Cat Forum: Interview with Abby

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We have a special treat for you today. We are interviewing Abby. She is a dog who owns a human Cat knows. We weren’t sure what to expect.

(Remember: If it looks like this, we are talking to each other)

Kommando: I have never met a dog.

Snoops: My only experience was in the shelter I lived in for a little while before I found my forever home here. I really didn’t like the dogs there. They smelled weird and barked all the time. Apparently they smell better when they live with a human. I don’t know about the barking.

 

this-is-me

We’ve never had a dog on here before. How do you feel about cats?

I’m excited to be the first dog on here, thank you for inviting me. As for cats, I’m not sure what a cat is. I’ve never met one. If they are smaller than me, I’m OK with them.

(Wow. Her mom sure has let her lead a sheltered life. She has no idea how pawsome we are.)

my-little-friends

How many humans do you live with? Which one do you own?

I live with my adopted Mom and her family. There are two big humans who I don’t get along with. When I was a baby I did my business on their bed. I was sorry but I didn’t know any better. (sometimes I poop in their shoes now cause I know they don’t like me….I’m not sorry)…..There are a bunch of little humans that I love though so it’s OK. They love me and leave snacks for me all over the house. I love to run around sniffing until I find them. I’ve heard they have a game called hide and seek, maybe that’s what it is.

Anyway, my Mom and I kinda own each other.  I came to live with her after she lost her own Mom, (she went to live somewhere called Heaven, I think it’s over the Rainbow Bridge). We helped each other not be lonely, now I really hate being alone, it makes me sad and I cry.

There is another human, his name is Cody, he loves me too and helped keep me company. He moved to another house though. When he visits I get so excited. I love him as much as I love my Mom. He lets me kiss his face until he can’t breathe and he laughs and laughs. I miss him.

(Wow. She sounds just like us. We hate it when all the humans are gone. This Cody person sounds like he could be a cat person. The treats all over the house thing sounds really good. We need to tell Mom.)

What’s your favorite thing to do with your human?

Mom works at night so we sleep a lot. I love to snuggle under the covers and keep her warm. I have sudden bursts of energy and run laps down the long hallway. It makes everyone smile so I like that too.

me-and-mom

(Wow. Sleeping all the time. Maybe we could make her an honorary cat.)

We heard that you moved here from the South. Do you miss it?

I was so little when I came to Michigan that I don’t remember what it was like in the south. I hear it is warm though so maybe that’s why I don’t like the cold wet stuff that always falls around here. Mom says it’s because I’m spoiled. If I am it’s her fault. I just don’t like the feeling when my feet get wet.

(Her mom’s crazy. No one likes that stuff. Especially the slippery kind.)

Do you get to go outside a lot? Can you come back in when you want?

I mostly go outside to do my business, do cats do that too? I have to wait for someone to open the doors for me to come back in. I’m pretty smart but can’t open the doors myself.

When we go out just to play, Mom keeps me on a long leash. Sometimes I escape when the door is open and I get so excited that I run away. I don’t mean to. It just smells so different out there. One time I ran down the road across from our house. It made Mom mad so she went inside the house…That scared me so I started back home. I was so glad to see her when she came back outside that I went right to her when she called me. I wish I could remember to do that every time…she gave me special treats.

(Someone needs to tell her about litter boxes. Do they make them for dogs?)

We have something called cat TV. It’s what we see out the window. It can be birds or squirrels or rabbits or whatever. Is there something similar for dogs?

Wow, I sit on the back of the couch watching the same thing. That’s cat TV? Maybe I’m a cat. I see strange humans out there and I growl and puff the hair on my back up so they will be afraid of me. There are birds and rabbits out there. I growl at them too, but I don’t think they can hear me because they don’t run away. I must not be very scary.

dog-tv

(Guess dogs aren’t very scary. Or the animals know dogs won’t eat them. Maybe cats could get closer if we used dog cologne.)

We’ve heard that dogs are rather flexible about what they eat. Do you have a favorite food?

Mom feeds me kibble, but shares her food with me too. I will eat just about anything but my favorite is this sticky stuff called peanut butter. It sticks to the roof of my mouth but it tastes so good I don’t care. The humans will use it to trick you into taking medicine, so you have to be careful. Oh and I love cheese. I hear the noise the wrapper makes and come running to get a bite.

Dogs are social animals, right? Do you get to see a lot of other dogs or other types of animals?

I was never around other animals when I was small. Mom says that’s why I am afraid of other dogs; I never learned to play with them. When dogs come to visit it makes me very nervous. I try to be nice, but get overwhelmed when they try to play. Sometimes I bite them and we fight but if they would leave me and my humans alone I would be OK. Mom calls these visitors her 4 legged grandkids. Does that make them my nieces and nephews?

my-neice-and-nephew

meeting-the-horses

When we camp out, at my human Grandparents house, I watch out the window for strange four legged animals. Recently I was watching these really big dogs at the house next door. I wasn’t growling at them so Mom took me to meet them. She said they are called horses. I got brave and touched noses with them. They smell funny.

(Those dogs are all huge. I’m glad Cat’s friend didn’t have one of those for us to interview.)

What’s the best part about where you live? Is there anything you don’t like?

There is a big puddle of water behind our house that the little humans play in. I try to join them but they splash me, and I get scared. It smells funny and there are things living in there that must really like being wet because they never come out. I try to catch them but they are too fast.

I really don’t like to be alone. When Mom goes to work, I sit on the stairs and cry. I’m not allowed upstairs, where the other humans, live unless Mom is with me.  I don’t know the rules and I get in trouble. I would stop if they would teach me, but like I said before, they don’t like me much.

(Those upstairs people sound really mean. We should teach Abby how to sleep while her Mom is gone. It works really well for us.)

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I hope I was able to answer your questions about dogs. I am not a normal dog though. I was brought to my human before I learned how to act like a dog. Some humans think I’m special in the bad way. My Mom just loves me anyway and that’s what matters.

I want to thank you again for asking me to be your guest. I have to say, I think I may like cats if I ever get the chance to spend some time with them. Maybe my humans will get one for to learn from.

(This dog is OK. If they’re all like this, maybe we should stop making fun of them.)

me-watching-big-dogs

 

2

Proceedings in the Court of Paws

I finally left the cheesewall. Yes, it is true; the name of this blog is no longer related to me in any way. It’s a good thing I turned it over to the mice a few weeks ago.

I am now stocking at another store. I work midnights in either crafts and stationery or the pharmacy, (Not the real pharmacy, the stuff next to it: pain relievers, bandages, etc.). I like it a lot better.

I thought the cats would be happier. Someone would be home almost all the time. Turns out, I was totally mistaken. My presence was requested at Animal Court for the case of Kommando Kitty suing Super Snoops for alienation of affection. My affection.

The case went as follows:

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): Does anyone have any questions before we get started?

Kommando Kitty (KK): Why do we have a German Shepherd as our judge?

ALJ: All of the judges are German Shepherds. We’re intelligent. And can sound really scary. It helps keep everyone on track. So, Ms. Kitty, why are we here today?

KK: Everyone knows that Mom is MY human. I sleep with her. I sit with her. I even follow her sometimes. But now that Mom’s home sleeping during the day, she (points at Snoops) is crawling up and sleeping in her arms before I can get there. And Mom lets her!

ALJ: What do you have to say to that, Ms. Snoops?

KK: You always napped downstairs with Dad and I was upstairs with Mom. Now you’re hogging both of them!

Super Snoops (SS): What about you? I always sit on Dad’s lap while he watches TV. Now I come into the room and you’re already there asleep. I have to guilt Mom out of her chair so I have somewhere warm to sleep.

KK: Don’t you remember? The wires in the electric blanket irritate your delicate paws. So I get the blanket that just happens to be on Dad’s lap.

SS: I can’t help it if you have tough feet. And delicate feelings.

ALJ: So what outcome are you looking for here?

KK: Don’t you decide that? Like maybe split Mom and Dad each in half so we can share better?

SS: Sometimes I think your head is fur all the way through. If we cut them in half, they’ll bleed a lot. Do you want to lay in that?

KK: EWW! No! I hadn’t thought about that.

ALJ: Have you two ever thought about sharing?

(SS and KK look at each other, perplexed)

SS: I thought you said you were smart. Cats don’t really like that word.

KK: Yeah. What do you mean?

ALJ: Couldn’t you both sleep with a human at the same time?

KK: We do that now.

(Now the judge is perplexed.)

ALJ: So what’s the problem?

KK: Who gets the arms and who gets the legs.

ALJ: Couldn’t you alternate?

KK: We do.

ALJ: So, again, what’s the problem? (He’s starts to growl under his breath.)

SS: We’re cats. We don’t like change.

ALJ: (Barking) Get out of here.

KK: Why?

ALJ: Because if you don’t, you’re both going in the kennel for a week.

(Snoops and Kommando run out and stop in the lobby)

KK: I knew it was a bad idea to come here as soon as I saw the dog.

SS: Yeah, dogs are so stupid sometimes. Know what we should do now?

KK: Of course.

Snoops and Kommando Sleeping_05292015

4

Where’d Everyone Go?

(Kommando and Snoops woke up Monday morning starving as usual. Snoops went over and woke up Kommando.)

Snoops: Hey! Why isn’t there any food? Didn’t you wake up the humans? You know that’s your job. It’s already light outside.

Kommando: Bad news. Remember when they got in the car yesterday? They never came home. They aren’t anywhere in the house.

Snoops: Oh no!! I wonder if something happened to them? Who’s gonna feed us and take care of us? I am NOT going back to that shelter. They stuck me in a cage and all I could smell was dogs. And there is no Cat TV. And the food was awful!

Kommando: What about me? This was my only home. I was left at the side of the road.

Snoops: Don’t panic! It’s not a crisis yet. We still have dry food and water.

Kommando: I have a great idea!! We could use that computer thingy and order out.

Snoops: That is a great idea! And we can look for new humans too. When it gets cold again we’ll need someone to snuggle up against.

Kommando: OK, Snoops, you’re the one who spends all the time in here. What do we do first?

Snoops: Well, the first thing Dad does is push in that button. (points to “ON” switch).

Kommando: Oof (pushes with her whole body). Maybe it’s stuck. Mrrrrow! (Falls over as the computer turns on.)

(Hear somebody at the back door.)

Kommando: Run! That’s not our humans.

Male Voice: Here kitty, kitty. I’m here to feed you while your humans are out of town.

(Cats look at each other.)

Snoops: What do you think?

Kommando: Anyone could come in and say that. Maybe he wants to kidnap us and sell us to rogue Canadians to use as sled dog trainers.

(Snoops stares at Kommando.)

Kommando: What? It could be true.

(They hear a can of food being opened and sneak forward.)

Kommando: He doesn’t look too dangerous.

Snoops: Naw, I’ve seen him with the beta male. Just watch out for his feet.

Male: Oh there you two are! Here’s your food. I’ll change your water too.

Kommando: Should we trust him?

Snoops: I’m hungry! And he’s feeding us the right stuff. I’m eating.

(Runs over and starts to scarf down the food. Kommando sniffs her food and begins to eat.)

Kommando: Yumm! It’s our food. We won’t starve.

(They don’t notice the male leaving. The next day he appears about the same time. They greet him at the door, meowing.)

Male: Hi, cats! How’ve you been?

(Kommando rubs her head against his leg.)

Male: You’re so cute. No wonder your humans said they’d miss you while they were gone. They’ll be back in a couple of days.

(Snoops and Kommando look at each other. They wait until the male humans leaves.)

Snoops: They’re coming back! They’ll probably bring treats to make up for leaving us. I wonder where they went.

Kommando: Who cares? We should have a party to celebrate!

Snoops: Great idea! You send out the KittyChat, and I’ll check out what’s in the refrigerator and cupboards. Tell them to bring their own milk if they want it.

Snoops in Fridge 3

(Later)

Snoops: Kommando, how many people did you send that KittyChat to?

Kommando: Just our mailing list.

Snoops: Then why did so many cats come?

Kommando: Ummm – Well, I did tell them they could bring a friend if they wanted. I wanted to make sure they knew they could bring their mates. And I did tell them it was going to be awesome because the humans were out of town.

Snoops: We don’t know a gang of alley cats. There aren’t any alleys around here.

Kommando: They said you were cage-mates at the shelter. At least everyone’s gone before the neighbors saw.

Snoops: This place looks awful. We need to clean it up.

Kommando: Why? Most of the damage is outside. We don’t go outside. They’ll think raccoons did it.

Snoops: What about the house?

Kommando: They didn’t clean before they left. They’ll just think we did the rest because we thought they deserted us.

Snoops: You’re smarter than you look. Let’s take a nap.

20150107_234322

 

 

6

Critter Capers: Kommando’s New Hobby

Hello humans and cats with computers. I hope it’s as nice there as it is here. We’ve had full Cat TV for the last couple of days. Drapes and windows open. Sun. Birds. Two channels: dining room and living room. Hopefully the upstairs channel will be available soon. It’s harder to watch the things in the window wells (I think the humans call them frogs), but we can see a lot farther. We can sleep in the sun on the inside porch too. Purrrr.

Before it got so nice, Blondie (B for short) taught me a new hobby. She has a really little box that shows pictures and she talks into it. But it also does this:

Kommando_03272015

Pretty cool, huh?

B says I don’t like to get my picture taken. That’s because you couldn’t even see me in the first few pictures she took. I guess it took her a couple of days to figure out that since most of me is white, I need a dark background. I could put a dumb blonde joke here but I’m kinda blonde too.

Anyway, now that she knows how to do it, I think I like it.

IMG_20141129_241401715

I just wish they would clean the house. I don’t know who Mr. Beer is, but I don’t want his stuff in my pictures.

My Grandma used to take lots and lots of pictures. But you can’t see them on the computer. They’re on some kind of paper. Snoops says they’re delicious. They’re all of the same people and cats. Some of them look like Mom and Dad, but better looking. Grandma must not have known too many people.

B isn’t around when I do most of my really cute stuff like lie in Mom’s arms in bed. Maybe she should teach Dad about this. He has one of those little boxes too.

Now that I think about it, I don’t know what to do with all of these pictures. Do they just live in the computer forever? Do new ones come and eat the old ones?

20141216_203409

Guess I just have to lay here and think about it for a while.

 

9

Critter Capers: Snoops Speaks

Welcome. Snoops here. Mom said that we could each write a post about whatever we wanted.

I want to tell you about a new game I discovered. If I put my paw under the edge of the water dish and push a little, I can make waves! I really like to watch them. The humans sometimes tell me to stop if any water gets out. (They should put less in, more often.)

IMG_20150108_221953331

But they like it a lot more than the game I played before. I would put my paw into a glass and see how far it would go in before it got wet. Sometimes the glass would tip over and lots of water would run out.

It was fun to see the water run out (but I had to be careful so my paws didn’t get wet). It’s their own fault. What else would I do with a glass of water that was too low to drink?

Remember how I said that the humans had to fend for themselves and learn how to catch mice? It’s been really slow going. I brought a mouse to Dad while he was on the computer and let it go so he could chase and kill it.

All he did was yell about how I should have killed it. What good would that have done? I already know how to catch mice.

Not only that, the humans are blaming us cats about some missing chocolate chips. It seems that somehow a bag got chewed open and half of them disappeared. I’d say that’s pretty circumstantial. They didn’t check for mice DNA or anything. Maybe one of the kids did it.

The beta female (we call her Blondie, B for short), has been laying on the sofa a lot recently. There was some kind of problem with her foot, and she had to have surgery. If there’s one thing we indoor cats like, it’s a human who can’t move. Especially in the cold weather.

The only unfortunate thing is that B had to use those clompy things to get around with. The ones that can smash a cat’s tail. I think they’re called crutches. But she got a cool scooter thing too. She puts her knee on it and walks with her other leg.

It’s a purrrrfect perch for a cat. And it’s padded!

IMG_20150310_174337399

Rumor has it that B won’t be couch-bound for too much longer. Good thing the weather has gotten warmer. It’s almost time for cat TV.

I think that’s about it for me.

Oh yeah. Mom won a cool cat mug from a blog called Cats at the Bar (The blog’s great. It’s run by a bunch of cats: http://catsatthebar.org/). I guess she wrote some kind of a poem or something. (It’s a limerick; her real poetry is really, really bad.) You guys seemed to like her other limericks (https://cat9984.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/doggy-doggerel/), so I thought you might like this one:

On a trip to the North for vacation,
Saw a cute cat who lived at the station.
He said, “Name is Orca
“I come from Majorca.
“I’d really like to have some libation
.”

Time for my nap. Thanks for reading.

20150107_234332

Snoops

(B is still learning how to make good pictures. I think she’s making progress.)

6

Critter Capers: Wintertime Blues

Super Snooper (SS): It’s good to finally be back.

Kommando Kitty (KK): Yeah. Mom’s been sick so much this winter that she keeps putting off typing our article. It is nice having her around to sleep with, though.

SS: Particularly when she turns on that bed warmer thing.

KK: It’s really nice when she turns it on and goes away for a few minutes. We can lay on the warmest spot before she gets in bed.

SS: And she finally understands that it’s impossible to move both of us at the same time. The only bad thing is that they shut the door to downstairs down. So we have to find someone to let us up there.

KK: Dad keeps talking about how much it would cost to heat the upstairs as warm as the downstairs. He makes it sound like it’s warm downstairs.

SS: I know. We have to sleep together to keep from freezing. And we have fur!

                   IMG_20150108_010733762

Horatio Hedgehog (HH): What are you two yowling about now?

KK: How cold it is. Mom won’t even open the drapes sometimes. She says the old windows let cold air in. Why don’t they just buy new windows? Why should we have to suffer?

HH: It doesn’t feel very cold to me.

SS: That’s because your cage is heated!

HH: I come out to explore sometimes.

SS: Dad puts you on a heated blanket before you go anywhere!

HH: Maybe he just likes me better.

(low growls)

HH: Well, you know I am more popular. My introduction was the favorite story last year according to that report Mom got. (https://cat9984.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/horatio-hedgehog-intrepid-explorer )

KK: Yeah, we saw it. You were a couple of spots above the one talking about fake cheese (https://cat9984.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/cheez-whiz-love-it-or-hate-it )

HH: You’re just jealous. There is one problem with Mom being sick. Dad forgot to tell her that I was almost out of treats before she stayed home from work. No wax worms for days!

KK and SS: Awwww. Poor hedgie!

HH: Fine. I’ll just go back to my nice warm bed and sleep.

20150111_221420

SS: Let’s go see if there’s any food left in the kitchen.

KK: OK. Then we can go back to sleep.

6

Cats + Hedgehog + WordPress = Success

You may have guessed that I am not particularly detail-oriented about a lot of things. For example, I looked at the WordPress Stats page for the first couple of weeks I was blogging and haven’t been back. (It’s probably a little less depressing now.)

I am gracious enough to see who has joined the blog and check out their site. I reply to comments and look at the notification of who has “liked” a blog.

I’m guessing that the posts that continue to get “likes” as time goes by are the ones that appear in the little box you get telling you that someone liked your post. Which keeps them in the little box until you write something even more thrilling.

Anyway, after a period of (more or less) being clueless, it has slowly come to my attention that some subjects are significantly more popular than others. (I can sense the collective “duh!” out there.) Based on nothing other than a vague recollection of what I have received in my in-box, I think my topics are cats, hedgehogs, and WordPress/blogging.

So I had a brilliant idea. <groan> The cats and hedgehog should get their own blog. They could write about their adventures and become a WordPress sensation. Then I started thinking. (It’s a bad sign when the thinking comes after the great idea.)

  • Collectively, they sleep between 55 and 60 hours/day. That doesn’t leave much time for adventures.
  • None of them can type.
  • They don’t speak the same language. And none of them speak any type of human.
  • There are several cat-narrated blogs out there. I’m not sure that working with a hedgehog would be enough to differentiate them.
  • None of them are particularly good at working in groups (“diva syndrome”)
  • They don’t seem very interested in schedules, unless it’s for feeding time. Hugely irregular posting is not the route to celebrity.

So I’ve decided to share my blog with them. They will be making occasional appearances as guest-bloggers. I will type and make sure everything is in English.

That said, they need User Profiles. In order of adoption into the family:

Super Snooper – I am a beautiful calico cat. I joined the family in May 2012 when I was 2 years old. They rescued me from a shelter that must have had a million dogs in it. It was awful! My favorite activities are eating, sleeping and cuddling. I also like to eat photographs. I enjoy an occasional mousing expedition. Since it’s gotten colder, I really enjoy sleeping by the fireplace. I tried to climb in it after a cleaning, but the human made me get out. (There wasn’t a fire in there; I don’t know what the problem was.) My favorite toys are a stuffed sheep and a stuffed rat. I also go by the initials SS.

Kommando Kitty – I am part Siamese and part generic snow cat. I have extremely thick, white and gray, ultra-fine fur made for cold weather. I prefer to cuddle in front of the fire or in bed. I also enjoy sleeping and mousing. I joined the family in July 2012 when I was about 4 weeks old. My first humans deserted me. I tried to jump in the window here twice, but fell in the window well both times. Finally they brought me into the house. My new favorite toy is something Mom (the alpha female here) calls a laptop computer. I am making it do things even she doesn’t understand. I go by the initials KK.

Horatio Hedgehog – I am an African Pygmy Hedgehog. I have black and white quills and a furry tummy. I joined the family last Christmas. It is really cold here. Luckily the humans have given me a heater. I don’t really like cats, but these two are OK. Dad (the alpha male) finally figured out that I was tired of only getting kitty kibble to eat (I’m not a cat, you know). So now I get a few wax worms at night. They are extremely yummy. I only have one toy, my wheel. But I really like it and use it every night. I go by the initials HH.

So that’s the team. They wanted a title for their posts, so people won’t confuse them with mine. We have come up with Kritter Kapers. (Nobody gets their name in the title.) I read that the letter “K” is supposed to appeal to readers. I don’t get it – it just looks misspelled to me. You will see the first post sometime next month.

Assuming I can keep Kommando from turning off my email or Internet access.

10

Cat Forum: Living with a Hedgehog

On this edition of Cat Forum our two resident experts, Super Snoops (SS) and Kommando Kitty (KK) will answer questions regarding living with their somewhat unusual housemate, Horatio Hedgehog.

Host: How did you feel when the humans brought a hedgehog into the house?

SS: We didn’t know what it was. It looked like a gift for us that needed to be unwrapped to get rid of all the pointy things.

KK: But it smelled horrible. Not like any mouse I’d ever known.

Host: When did you find out what it really was?

KK: The male human was cuddling it. Can you imagine actually wanting to hold that?

SS: And he held it up to the female, and said it was an early Christmas present. She was all excited and told him how cute it was. No accounting for taste.

KK: We went on the computer and looked it up. It said African Pygmy Hedgehog.

SS: We wondered when it would be going back to the Africa Hedge.

KK: Soon we hoped. It smelled really bad.

Host: Did you try to make friends with it?

SS: I went up and tried to sniff it, but it totally ignored me. I put out a paw and it totally ignored me. I went a little closer. It was way too prickly to get close to.

KK: I looked from the distance. It was all rolled up and made funny noises. And it smelled …

Host: Yes, we understand. Hedgehogs smell bad. Did he sleep with you?

SS: They gave him a cage, so I didn’t have to worry about being attacked in the middle of the night.

KK: True. But it was a really nice cage. His exercise equipment was right there. Along with his food and his water.

SS: And he got really good food. Better kibble than us.

KK: And a heater.

Host: Did you try to make him feel at home?

KK (purring): Did you know they eat hedgehogs in some places?

Host: Moving on. Did he get in the way of cuddle time with your humans?

SS: Not really. Apparently hedgehogs like it warm, and the humans keep our house at cuddle temperature (as they like to call freezing). So he only came out at night.

KK: I don’t know why they bothered. All he did was sit in a ball and sound like he was going to explode. I don’t understand the appeal. You can’t cuddle it, you can’t play with it, and you can’t eat it. It doesn’t even look attractive all balled up.

Host: I imagine things have smoothed out a bit.

SS: Yes, he seems to have calmed down a little….

KK: And he almost ran away from home twice. I even had to rescue him one time. And they gave him a couple of baths. It was hilarious. The only thing funnier than a wet dog is a wet hedgehog. He tried to shake the water from his quills.

Host: Did I hear you correctly Kommando Kitty? You rescued him?

KK: Yeah. The idiot tried to go down some stairs. I stood guard over his lifeless little body until a human noticed. Turns out he wasn’t lifeless, he was sleeping.

Host: So things must be a little better.

SS: I watch from my cat tree. He appears to have bonded with the male human – my male human – rather than the female human – her human (motions at Kommando Kitty). He even ate out of my human’s hand. See if I ever eat out of his hand. (tail flap)

KK: Horatio does ignore my human now. Pretty good trick of hers – buy him worms and let the male human feed him. I still stay close to keep an eye on him, though.

Host: The three of you are living in harmony now?

SS: You could say that.

KK: Yeah. We don’t look up hedgehog recipes on the computer anymore.

Host: Well, I guess that wraps us up for this edition of Cat Forum. Come by the next time for a discussion of Baths: Evil Incarnate?

0

Lamb Chop to Lamb Chomp

Back in the dark ages when we had to watch TV in large wooden boxes, there was a ventriloquist named Shari Lewis. She had a children’s show featuring hand puppets. Besides Shari, the stars were Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, and the “star” Lamb Chop.

Lamb Chop was basically a white sock with closed felt eyes and a pink nose. And a lot of attitude. She always had a retort for Shari. I was afraid that Shari might have her revenge in 1996 with Shari’s Passover Surprise. I hoped that Lamb Chop was not the surprise, as in the Seder dinner. Fortunately Shari was just teaching Lamb Chop about Passover.

Shari died a couple of years later and apparently Lamb Chop has fallen on hard times. I found her (and many of her clones) in bins at the store. It seems that Lamb Chop has become a chew toy for dogs. Her name isn’t on the box, but I’d know her anywhere.

To add insult to injury, Lamb Chop and her fellow sheep come in three sizes and multiple colors. I’m thinking that someone is finally getting revenge for being annoyed by Lamb Chop for years during his childhood. Or in an advanced case of sibling rivalry, getting even with a sister for years of torment by destroying a TV idol.

I wouldn’t normally be looking at the dog toys except they did a major renovation of the pet area. They didn’t add any space, but they moved things around so the toys are on the main aisle. And apparently pet toys are a big business.

Our cats have the basic set of 50+ variations on mice and birds that they can carry around. Most of them were accumulated during the lifetimes of the previous cat residents.

I looked for a new scratching post. Apparently cats only scratch on kitty condos these days. If you want something that is strictly for scratching, the material is no longer carpet on a pole. It’s something that looks like cardboard that lies flat on the floor. I’m not sure how to train the cats to scratch down rather than up. (I think it’s some kind of cat spin to call a scratching post a toy. Everyone knows they’re for sharpening the weapons.)

Snoops’ favorite game with my husband involves a hole in the cat tree. He puts all the toys away in the bottom section which is a box with a hole in it. She watches then pulls them all back out again. It’s cheaper than buying more toys. And neater.

It appears that dog toys are less durable. They seem to fall mainly in the categories of chew and fetch.

There is an appallingly large variety of things for a dog to gnaw on. A stuffed version of any animal that you can think of can be thrown to the dog. The one exception is the absence of cat chew toys. I imagine that’s to keep the cat lobby from shutting down the company. Or using the corporate boardroom as a litterbox.

Also gone are the days of throwing Fido a bone from the dinner steak. I couldn’t find any of the rawhide chews we used to sell. However, there is a large variety of rubber/plastic “bones” for the health of the dogs’ teeth. And you can get gluten-free bones to clean the dogs’ teeth and give extra calcium to puppies.

Gluten-free is only the tip of the iceberg in the pet food industry. Dog food proudly announces that it has taken the grains out of the food. Cat food announces that it has added grasses to its products. Cheese, eggs, all types of “people” food can now be part of your furry friend’s dinner. (Of course, you don’t want to share these items from the table. Their version is more pure than ours.)

There are so many organic food choices they have taken over a whole aisle in both the cat and dog sections. I’m not sure I really understand the concept of organic pet food. Do they only use free-range chickens? Only use cows that have fed on pesticide-free grass?

I think we may have gone over the edge with the new dog food I discovered. It needs to be kept in a refrigerator at the store and at home. Some of it looks like kibble. But there is a selection of things that look like tubes of sausage. It seems that you break it up and feed it to the dog. And it costs more than the sausage in the meat department.

In spite of the over-abundance for dogs and cats in the newly refurbished department, there is still one glaring absence. I could not find a single thing for Lord Nelson, the hedgehog. I can’t believe they couldn’t find room for a single exercise ball or wheel. Guess we have to stick with the wax worm treats.

Perhaps if I look hard enough, I can find him a mini Lamb Chop.

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That Was a Bad Idea

A couple of nights ago, it was really hot and humid here. We don’t have air conditioning so it was almost as uncomfortable inside as out. Horatio Hedgehog has his cage covered with a blanket so the sunlight doesn’t bother him while he’s sleeping.

I had forgotten to give him water that day, so I was worried about him. When I opened his cage, he was panting. I figured it was from the heat (not his grumpy personality.) Hedgehogs are supposed to love water and are good swimmers. Which had been the case with Jean Luc, his predecessor hedgehog.

So I put some water in our sink and brought out Horatio. When I put him in the water, he was not a happy hog. He immediately panicked and tried to get out. He managed to climb up the side of the stainless steel sink. I had to give him his favorite treat (wax worms) before he would calm down.

Speaking of bad ideas, I asked my (temporary) doctor for a note saying that I couldn’t unload pallets for more than 2 hours per day. I got the note. Unfortunately it says that I can’t do any repetitive motion for more than 2 hours/day. Which pretty much eliminates my entire job. I really need to enroll her for a course in empathetic listening.

It’s not just me. You may remember a few weeks ago I talked about Other Stocker and New Guy. New Guy didn’t last. First there was the work slow-down, then the quitting without calling in. Not the way to get a good reference.

But Other Stocker (OS) was the one with the really bad idea. The company is really strict about actually working while we’re on the clock (go figure). They even feel that we should be using the restrooms on our breaks/lunches (not gonna happen).

The deli and bakery are about as far from the break room as you can get. OS would pick out a bagel, pay for it, then go on break. Totally against the rules. It’s called abuse of time clock.

OS got caught one time and warned. He continued to do it without being caught. Until one day they got him again. He was called to Security and terminated.

The really stupid part about the whole thing is that his girlfriend was terminated a while back for abuse of time clock. She lived about 25 minutes from the store (why she would drive that far is beyond me). She always seemed to be running behind, so she’d pull up to the door, punch in, then go park her car. OS seemed to think it was reasonable because she lived so far away. It didn’t seem to occur to either of them that maybe she should leave the house earlier.

Probably the dumbest idea I’ve run across lately is from the guy in the next section over. He stocks overnight with another guy in dairy. The night people are supposed to take breaks consistently every two hours.

Dairy Guy (DG) has his own “system” and feels the need to not take his “lunch” until he should actually be taking his last break. And he usually schedules it so he misses unloading as much of the truck as possible. DG also has things he “has to do” before he goes to lunch.

The other day, one of the managers asked why DG was not working on the load. He went to find DG and told him to go help. DG was sure that his partner had ratted him out. DG was furious that his priorities should be questioned. He said that he was going to take his second break and leave on time. It was actually kind of amusing that he had thought he was impressing management by not taking his last break and working over every day.

The next day, DG went to the manager above the one who had “forced” him to help unload the truck. He told the manager that his “system” was being interrupted. The second manager agreed with the first one. I thought I was going to be stomped on if I got too close to one of his carts. It was the fastest any of us had ever seen him work.

At least Horatio will never tell anyone how I tried to drown him.