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Cat Forum: Interview with Alberto and the Tribe of Five

Today we welcome the extremely handsome Alberto, spokescat for the Tribe of Five. You can find him and his siblings at Feline Opines. It’s a pawsome blog. Among other things, Alberto reports on topics of interest to cats and their humans that can be found around the Internet. (Of course, he includes links so it’s really easy to follow even without thumbs.)

Could you tell us a little about each member of the Tribe of Five?
It would be my purrrleasure!   The Alpha of our Tribe is Tucker. Tucker and his sister, Jasmine are 14 years young. The humans got them from a rescue lady in California. They moved here with the humans about 10 years ago. Tucker says it was a loooong trip in the metal moving machine!  Lily was adopted from our local shelter (Panhandle Animal Shelter) four years ago and Oliver and I came to the humans as foster kittens two years ago also from the shelter. My humans are “foster failures” and Ollie and I are very happy that they are!

Tribe of Five is a great name. How did you get it?
After Oliver and I settled in, the female human looked around one day at feeding time and said, “Yikes we have a whole tribe of felines in this house!” and the rest, as they say, is history. (Plus it’s easier to refer to us as The Tribe of Five than use all five or our names!)

Do you felines ever have hissy moments?
Oh yes! Lily gets hissy when it’s time to get her nails clipped (actually “hissy” is a mild term, the humans often have to seek help from the first aid kit in the laundry room after a clipping session.)  Tucker does not appreciate anyone encroaching on his food nor does he like neighbor cats or the local raccoon staring into the room at the downstairs sliders.  Oliver and I are pretty chill but if you sneak up on us and make a loud noise, we might not hiss but I guarantee we’ll have a fuzzy tail!!!

Does it ever cause a problem that there are more kitties than humans (maybe competition for cuddle time)?
Well, it never causes a problem for the Tribe but the humans do have a few challenges. The female human was griping that there was no comfortable place for her to sit in the living room (because the male human and the Tribe occupied the sofa). She bought another sofa but that just gave us more space to spread out so now she has to squeeze between us to find a spot.  I find it quite thoughtful that she provided more comfy space for us and am a bit annoyed that she is still griping about seating.

How do each of you like to spend time with your human?
Tucker loves to be brushed, his favorite thing is sitting on a stool watching the female human prepare dinner (sometimes there’s a little treat forthcoming and Tucker is ever hopeful). . Jasmine, is still trying to transition back into the full household after going through a bullying experience (it was a very sad time for the humans, you can read about it here    https://felineopines.net/2016/07/26/amelias-story-part-1-2/  ) so for Jasmine cuddling with the humans at night is her favorite “me” time. Lily enjoys relaxing on the upstairs deck with the humans, sniffing the air and watching the birds at the feeder. I like walks with the female human. As soon as she puts my harness on me I know we’re going for a stroll and I love it. Oliver enjoys helping the male human play his guitar or assisting the female human as the house cleaning snoopervisor, watching her work and chasing the mop (he doesn’t like to hang around the vacuum monster though).

You Wander the Web every Wednesday. How do you find such interesting stories every week?
My goal is to find the most fabulous, undiscovered  feline stories on the web. I make sure my purrrsonal assistant searches daily and looks for things that we haven’t seen several times already. My favorite stories are about adventure cats and cats with jobs.

You had mentioned that your human was going to start taking you kayaking. Has it happened? What’s it like?
The female human loves kayaking and when she was at BlogPaws she met other humans who took their cats paddle boarding and kayaking. She decided she’d see how I’d take to it (I’m the chillest feline in the Tribe). It’s been a long process. We went through a few life jackets (none of which fit well as I managed to wiggle out of all of them). Until she finds the purrrfect life vest she won’t take me out on the water but we are planning a stroll to a quiet spot by the water so I can dip my paws in and get used to it in the meantime.

You seem to do a lot of the communicating for the Tribe. How did you get the role of spokescat?
The female human is a fiction writer and she says she likes to write in a character’s “voice”, She says we’re all characters and that I seem to have the loudest and most persistent voice and often, the most to say.  The rest of the Tribe do chime in now and then with their own purrrrticular points of view.

Does the Tribe get regular outdoor time or do you rely mainly on cat TV?
We are primarily indoor kitties due to the fact that we are surrounded by woods where all manner of critters live and also due to the fact that Tucker (whose cross eyes cause him a bit of visual difficulty) fell off the railing of the upstairs deck (twice) into the forest ravine below.  We now have a cool pop up net tent that fits all five of us and the humans can set it up for us on the upstairs deck, the front porch and the downstairs patio. It’s pretty cool! We have lots of big windows in the house and squirrel, bird, butterfly watching is very comfy on the wide window ledges.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Some folks have asked how I got the name Alberto. Actually my full name is Alberto Contador. The male human is a crazy bike racing fan and he said I was a mean fast feline machine and felt that he would honor a racer he admired. Sadly Alberto isn’t doing so hot on the tour this year and retirement might be imminent. I appreciated this opportunity to talk to the Cheeseland folks and want to say to Snoops and Kommando Kitty, “Keep on blogging!” The world needs to hear more from felines!

Purrs & Head Bonks
Alberto

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4

Quit Teasing Me!

Our weather has been pretty lousy this winter (yeah, I know, it’s been a lot worse other places). Friday it was sunny and close to 50 degrees. Yesterday it was overcast and in the low 30s. The next couple of days it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 40’s. Then on Wednesday we expect accumulating snow.

As the days get longer, cats’ fur is supposed to shed and the cooler (?) summer fur grows in. We’ve had plenty of shedding, but the cats have replaced the old fur with electric blankets (ours) and heating pads (ours).

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning and not being able to move because one cat is on one side and the second cat is on the other side, pressed tightly to you for warmth. Generally speaking, you wake up because sleeping between two cats is so warm that you feel like you’re melting.

Regardless of snow and cats, you can always rely on retail to tell you when the warm weather is/was supposed to arrive. The first thing out was the Easter candy. It had to be expected since it had been sitting in the back room since the week after Christmas. Besides, holiday things always have to be out early enough for the customers to be tired of them by the time the holiday actually arrives.

Next were the grills. I know people who start to grill as soon as they can run outside to check the meat without getting frostbite (it’s a northern thing – like wearing shorts as soon as it gets above 40 degrees). So the grills weren’t too depressing.

Same with the golf supplies. I once knew a guy who bought orange golf balls so he could practice putting in the snow. I also know people in golfing leagues who schedule their first matches at the beginning of April. They generally end up rescheduling that match. Golfers must be the most optimistic (or stubborn) people around.

I started to get depressed when I saw the first army of garden gnomes. Generally speaking, they do not like the snow. Besides, I really dislike garden gnomes. I think they’re creepy looking. I will admit that they are an improvement over the previous fad. There were (too) many houses with wooden cutouts of fat women bending over so you could see their underwear. I never understood why those replaced the concrete animals and dress-up geese. I admit to a reflecting ball and several concrete animals (the best is a large bear).

My son asked me to buy him a shirt in early February. He wanted green, some type of forest green. It seems forest green is not a spring/summer color. Spring and summer are when forests are green. He also prefers soft cotton. Apparently soft cotton only comes in heavier weights. Much heavier weights. Like flannel. We certainly didn’t have anything like that left (no discount, rats). So I looked around. The only thing I could find was cream and green. Soft medium-weight cotton. Worked out OK. Shortly after that, the temperature went below zero. Guess I could have bought close-out flannel – of course, the green was gone.

Next thing out were the tiki torches and citronella candles to keep away the mosquitoes. By the way, I’m told that the hard winter means fewer mosquitoes. I’m not sure I believe that. The Upper Peninsula gets lots of snow and cold every year. Not only do they have huge mosquitoes, they also have biting black flies. I can see it now – everyone spends extra time outside this summer to make up for the winter but has to go in before dusk to avoid being eaten alive.

The worst for me was when they put out the seeds and small bags of potting soil (with starter pots, of course). There are several things they recommend you don’t plant in Michigan until after Memorial Day.  I used to spend hours in the late winter looking at seed and plant catalogs. We had a very nice garden when we lived in the city. I expected great things when I moved out here. I forgot that most of the cute animals that live around us are herbivores or vegetarians.

We knew to put up a fence. We didn’t know that deer jump fences. We knew that woodchucks and bunnies would burrow under. We didn’t know that woodchucks can climb small trees. Taller fences. Deeper posts. Finer wire. Increasingly innovative animals. Food motivates.

We were going to put in decorative trees. Apparently very tasty. Put a fence around the bottom. Deer eat the top. Tree grows big enough to defend itself. Deer rubs itself against the bark and destroys it. Put in bushes. Bunnies eat bark during tough winter. We have oaks and pine trees. And a lilac bush that is probably older than any of us.

The final straw came last week. They put out the kayaks (the life jackets had been out for several weeks). I do not know anyone who kayaks before the risk of hypothermia disappears. Unlike a boat, there’s a fair chance you will tip over a kayak. Particularly if you don’t know what you are doing. If you do know what you are doing, you should not be buying a kayak at a big-box store.

There is one thing still sitting in the back room. It’s a display of starter bushes (roses, etc.). The display says “Plant Now”. At the rate we’re going, they will probably be able to put then out with the back-to-school supplies.