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Cat Forum: Summer Safety

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Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We are taking a break from our interviews to pass along some summer safety tips. We suggest you read them and leave several copies around the house for the humans. In front of the computer screen is usually a good place. In their “bathroom” is another.

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Roads – Hopefully you all remember the rhyme your mother taught you, “Road + Cat = Splat”. You should never play in the street. If you must cross the road, “Listen well, sound will tell.” The things humans drive are noisy. You may hear them before you see them. Be sure your adolescents know that playing “chicken” waiting for the car is a stupid idea. Girls are not impressed by idiocy.

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Machinery – Humans use a lot of things that make noise. They want the grass shorter. They want the tree and bush limbs a certain length. They want to get rid of the high weeds. And they don’t know how to do anything quietly. Or by hand.  The general rule here is, “If it makes your ears sore, head straight for the door.” All of the human machines are dangerous to kitties.

Note – do not let any small human convince you that you will have “fun” riding on one of these loud machines.

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Heat – It seems like we cats should like summer. After all, it’s basically one big sunspot. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, “Sidewalks are hot. Walk on them not.” If like to take the occasional stroll by yourself or with your human, try to stick to the grass. Our paw pads aren’t covered with fur and are sensitive to heat.

If you do feel your feet burning, find some water to put them in. It will stop the burning. Stay off of them as much as possible until they feel better. Do not let a helpful human try to use one of their remedies. Just because it’s safe for humans, doesn’t mean it’s safe for cats.

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Note – especially stay away from aloe. It’s a plant that humans use on burns and seems to work really well for them. It’s like poison to cats.

Make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep your body at peak efficiency, How else will you be able to chase after the bugs and moths that are so tasty this time of year?

If you are an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure your human leaves you water both inside and out. The outside water needs to be in a shady spot. That way you can enjoy a drink and nap in the same place.

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Water – Speaking of water, we know that some of you cats like to participate in water sports. Things like sailing, surfing, kayaking, etc. Remember, “Wear a vest for water past your chest.” Most cats are pretty small, so it’s safest to always wear a vest when you go to the beach.

Life vests come in a variety of sizes. Make sure yours is snug but not too tight. The idea is to keep you safe, not turn you into a sausage.

Note – sand is usually hot. Have your human carry you, if possible. If they forget, jump on them. You won’t have fun with sore feet.

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Children – Remember that summer is the time when the human children will be around full-time. They are usually fun and good to sleep with.

Try to avoid being dressed up as a doll. The clothes will be hot and uncomfortable. You will most likely be strapped into a carriage or stroller where you can’t see what is going on. And you won’t be able to get out on your own. Cats hate that.

Note – the older ones will be around more. Be careful. They usually have some sort of gadget in their hands that they are looking at. They will walk around looking at the screen and may trip over you. You should avoid this unless they have irritated you. In that case, get out of the way before they fall.

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Parties – Humans like to get together outside in the summer. Generally speaking, it involves food and some sort of hot surface to cook it.

No matter how good it smells, avoid these parties. There are a lot of noisy humans who may step on you. They may sit without looking and some of them are rather large. Try to snatch your food when no one is looking.

We hope these rules will help you have a safe, healthy summer. We are not responsible for humans who do not cooperate. You may want to find a large spider (or two) to put under the covers of their bed.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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2

Of Chickens and Kazoos

My husband and I started going to a new church in a small town (village actually) not far from here. It’s a stereotypical small town with a main street full of small shops and extremely nice people. The church itself is 175 years old.

Like many small towns around here, they have a street fair-type thing over the summer. Ours was this past Friday and Saturday. Being the new deacon (yes, it’s true – I’m ordained), I wanted to show I’m a team player.

Gotta be sure to research before making a commitment like that.

Friday was good. I was at the information booth handing out goodies (various noise-makers) and answering any questions people had. The section we were in was beautiful. A little valley next to the river.

Very bucolic. Until we got to the last act on the entertainment schedule. They introduced themselves as a band from a local school district. My expectations weren’t extremely high; just some very generic covers of popular music.

On the positive side, the instrumentals were very good. As was one of the male singers. Unfortunately there were four singers (two male, two female). Who were very loud. And did not enunciate. And did not hit one correct note in some of the songs.

Then they did the unforgivable. I have always been a fan of Eric Clapton. I think some of the work he did with Cream is amazing. The band tried to play Sunshine of Your Love (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwDo0JUeKqM). I don’t know how the instrumentals sounded. They couldn’t be heard over the tortured-banshee singing of the girls. You would not have had to be a fan of 60’s rock to have felt my pain.

The big event for the church came the next morning. The famous chicken barbecue. It was pretty amazing. They build a massive production grill on the front lawn and barbecue halves of 500 chickens in an assembly-line type of thing.

But first the parade. The church is known for the chicken dinner so the float had to be something chicken-esque, right? OK. It’s a flatbed trailer, covered with bales of hay. Church members sit on the hay wearing chicken hats (felt, chicken-shaped) playing kazoos.

Yes, you read that correctly. Anyone who says we take ourselves too seriously needs to come to the parade. We rode around town playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, When the Saints Come Marching In, and other crowd favorites. We each had a three-foot chicken cut-out (very nicely decorated) that we could make dance along.

When they told me about this, I wasn’t even sure what a kazoo was. I think I may have played one on a boat that used to go up and down the Detroit River when I was little. I could not seem to get the hang of humming the tune into the thing to get the song to come out. It probably had something to do with laughing too hard to get my mouth properly around the kazoo.

I think we might have been the most popular thing in the parade if Paws hadn’t shown up. Paws is the mascot for the Detroit Tigers. Admittedly, Paws is extremely cute. He doesn’t have one of those creepy, over-sized heads. He actually looks like a friendly tiger on two feet. I may be the only chicken who can say she was hugged by a tiger.

We had to give the chickens back at the end, but got to keep the kazoos. Mine is sitting on the table right now. I certainly don’t want to play it, but it seems wasteful to throw it away after only using it once. Maybe I’ll leave it at the church for next year. It’s probably safe from theft.

The barbecue was a bit of a let-down after that. It was very successful, and the chicken was delicious. But I had to go back to being an adult.

A couple of the men told me I needed to learn how to flip the chickens on the barbecue. They have huge racks that probably hold 20 chicken halves. They put a second rack on top and flip it over to cook the other side.

I got on one side and one of the guys got on the other. When we went to flip, my side opened (of course) and I lost a chicken. They told me I had to try again next year. I need to check the budget to make sure there’s insurance to cover loss of chickens.

The next big event is the cookie walk at the beginning of December. Apparently this church is known for food. It’s a huge sale – kind of a build-your-own cookie selection. They had 8 long tables full of cookies to choose from last year.

At least they don’t dress up like elves.