19

Animal Resolutions for 2018

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Greetings furry and non-furry friends. We at Cheeseland have discovered that humans do something called “making New Year’s resolutions” this time of year. We weren’t sure what that meant since most of us track time by food or sun. When we looked it up, it said that humans make promises to themselves to improve something about themselves. It also said that most of these promises were broken in a short period of time.

So that explained the shortage of pizza everyone once in a while. And the strange furniture that appeared with the Christmas tree and then went downstairs. It would make funny noises for a little bit and then make a great bed.

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We weren’t sure that animals needed to make resolutions. After all, most of us are pretty close to perfect the way we are. So we send our renowned cat-on-the-street team to interview various animals to see what they could find out.

As expected, most of the animals had no idea what we were talking about. However, a few decided to think about things that would make the humans happier. Names have been changed to prevent ridicule from friends and family.

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Cliff (cat) – I resolve to not to put anymore mice into the human’s shoes. Unless she starts wearing those tail-crunching high heels again. Or irritates me.

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Beverly (hedgehog) – I resolve to not prick my human anymore. Unless she puts her cold hands on my tummy. Or puts a costume on me.

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Josephine (llama) – I resolve not to spit at people. Unless they get too close. Or do annoying human things, like try to pet me when I’m relaxing.

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Ralph (bear) – I resolve not to try to scare campers. Unless they have really yummy food. Or try to catch my salmon. Or try to camp near my berries.

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Mollie (raccoon) – I resolve not to break into people’s houses. Unless it’s really cold. Or they leave food near an open window or door.

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Max (dog) – I resolve not to chew up the pillows. Unless the humans won’t let me sit on the sofa. Or I get bored.

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Those resolutions all sound reasonable to us. And it will be the humans’ fault if they fail.

Perfect.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

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10

 The Kittens’ Woodland Experience

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Brothers Timmy and Tommy were very excited. Their Kitten Scout troop was taking a trip to the woods nearby. They had never been there and were hoping to see bears and wolves and all kinds of wild animals. Their mother tried to explain that they might see raccoons or squirrels, but that their leader would keep them away from anything dangerous.

They were up at dawn on the day of the trip. Oh no! It was raining. A lot. They were afraid the trip was canceled. Sure enough, their mother got a call from the scout master. But the trip wasn’t canceled; it was postponed until the afternoon when the weather was going to be better.

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There were ten kittens on the trip as well as the leader and two mothers. Each mother was responsible for five kittens. Timmy and Tommy were really glad that their mother hadn’t called in time to be one of the chaperones. She would have spent the whole time watching them. It would have been too embarrassing.

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The leader’s name was Mr. Moggie. He was a nice cat, but very easily confused. The kittens liked him because he usually let them do whatever they wanted while he was trying to get organized. Luckily, he was required to bring extra adults along on a trip like this.

When they got to the woods, Mr. Moggie told them to practice their “quiet walking” so the other animals wouldn’t be afraid of them. Being cats, walking quietly should have been natural; as kittens, it was impossible. He didn’t have much luck stopping their chatter either.

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Finally Mr. Moggie decided that he would teach the kittens about the different kinds of scents they could find in the forest. That sounded like fun to the kittens. They gathered around a tree and sniffed. The kittens guessed that it was a dog. Mr. Moggie told them that the scent belonged to a fox.

Next he took them to a pile of droppings. The kittens thought it was disgusting to have to go near it and sniff. They decided that it was some kind of big cat. It was a raccoon. As they went on, the kittens got better at identifying squirrels, rabbits, and woodchucks.

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But after a while they were bored. Mr. Moggie wasn’t sure what to do next. He had planned to show them how to fish in the creek and how to find shelter, but couldn’t decide. He wanted to talk to the mothers about it.

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He told the kittens to play close by while they discussed what would happen next. The kittens ran and chased each other around. Timmy was chasing Tommy when they realized that they had run away from the rest of the group. They headed back when it started to rain again.

As soon as it started to rain, Mr. Moggie told everyone to run out of the woods so they could go home. They raced through the trees. When they got out, Mr. Moggie did a tail count. There were only eight kittens! Timmy and Tommy were still in the forest.

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He panicked. What was he going to tell their mother? Should he go back in and try to find them? Should he take the other kittens home first? Could the lost kittens hear his voice if he yowled?

Meanwhile, Timmy and Tommy found a dry spot to wait out the storm. They weren’t going anywhere until it dried out. Soon they were fast asleep.

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The next thing he knew, Timmy felt a wet nose on his fur. He looked up and saw a huge dog! He started crying and woke his brother. They waited to be eaten.

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The “dog” looked at them in amazement. He had never seen kittens before. He wanted to play. The kittens weren’t sure, but he insisted. They romped around until the kittens were exhausted.

Finally, the “dog’s” mother came looking for him. When the kittens saw her, they were terrified. They hadn’t been playing with a dog. He was a wolf pup.

 

To be continued

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

16

Cheeseland Personal Ads

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(Please note that Cheeseland is not responsible for the content of these ads. It is solely the responsibility of the individual to determine the truthfulness of any claims.)

Lonely male lion looking for mate. Must be sleek, fast and good at presenting dinner. Please no mothers with cubs. Send RECENT picture to S231@chz.catz.

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Attractive hog looking for love. Do you like walks in the woods? Snuffling for goodies? Wallowing in the cool mud on a hot day? You might be my dream girl. Contact me at S232@chz.catz.

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Single lady groundhog looking for gentleman to den with this winter. Must be of good character. Possibility of romance. Prefer country living.  S233@chz.catz.

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Good-looking Tom cat looking for a kitty to share fun times. If you like hunting mice, chasing bugs, and lapping a bowl of good cream, we should talk. Not looking for a relationship, just a friend. S234@chz.catz.

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Male moose looking for girl to take home to Manitoba. Must be willing and able to walk long distances. Good home, plenty to eat. Remote location with no hunters. S235@chz.catz

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Female raccoon looking for male who enjoys city living. Likes: tipping garbage cans, dumpster diving, woodpiles and garages. Dislikes: plastic lawn ornaments, metal cans, and people. Sound like you? Contact me at S236@chz.catz.

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Female monkey looking for partner. Should be hunky monkey who’s good with keys. I want to escape this cage and run away on a romantic weekend. Family in another country a plus. S237@chz.catz.

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Hunting dog seeking same. I need a partner for an upcoming trip. Must be able to handle loud humans, bad hunting skills, and poor sleep. Potential for permanent home with humans. Interested? S238@chz.catz.

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Male sloth looking for companionship. I have a good coat with an attractive moss cover. Prefer local female. Would like to meet face-to-face within the next six months. S239@chz.catz.

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Adorable kitty looking for Prince Charming. Should be clean and well-mannered. Must be willing to treat me like a princess and fulfill my every whim. Human responses will be considered. S230@chz.catz.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Snoops and Kommando here – Next Thursday is Remember Me Thursday – it’s a reminder that every kitty deserves a forever home. Please do your part and adopt several cats. Kittens are acceptable.

11

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

11

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 2

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Al and Abby Gator have left their swamp in southern Florida for a visit to more temperate Tennessee. You can read Part 1 here.

Soon enough Abby and Al had a good idea of what the human’s desire to “go viral” was going to mean for them. It seemed like every time they started making progress on the drive, they would pull over. It was usually at a gas station or restaurant. The guy would get out and invite people over to see “his” alligators. Invariably he would draw a crowd of people to look at his “tame” alligators. It was totally humiliating, and the Gators hoped no one they knew would see it.

Abby and Al tried to endure it with dignity. It was terrible having a bunch of humans trying to put dirty hands on their bodies. It wasn’t even the children who wanted to pet them; it was the adults. Finally Al had enough. When one particularly obnoxious man said he wanted to “pet the suitcase-to-be”, Al snapped at him.

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The driver loved it. At the next stop, he showed the video of the “vicious” alligator he was courageously transporting. Luckily they arrived at Orlando before Al tried to discover how courageous he really was. They were dropped at the station for the Raccoon Brothers Regional Rail Lines.

Abby: Thank goodness! I thought we’d never get here.

Al (growling): It’s a good thing. The world was almost minus a couple of humans. Not that anyone would have noticed those two were gone.

Abby: Forget about them. I’m so excited! We’re finally on our way!

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Conductor: Welcome aboard. We don’t see many alligators.  May I see your tickets, please?

(Abby hands them to him.)

Conductor (looking at the tickets): Don’t think I’ve ever seen a gator go that far north. You sure this is really where you want to go?

Abby: Oh yes! I’ve done a lot of research. We can’t wait!

Conductor: Well then, have a wonderful time.

Abby: See how nice he was? He wasn’t even afraid of us.

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Al: I guess you’re right. This will be a good trip. I’m worn out from that horrible truck ride. Wake me when we get there.

(Al fell asleep almost immediately. Abby cuddled up next to him and was soon asleep too. A while later, the conductor noticed that their breathing had slowed considerably. Afraid of what would happen if they got too cold, he found a large blanket and covered them.)

Abby: Al! Wake up! Look out the window!

Al (mumbling): mmm…why?

Abby: We’re almost there. It’s very pretty.

Al (looking out): Where are we?

Abby: Tennessee, silly. Don’t you remember?

Al: What happened to the ground? It’s not flat.

Abby: I know! The conductor says that the little ones are called hills and the big ones are mountains.

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Al: And the trees look funny. Where are the palms and the cypress trees?

Abby: They don’t have those here.

Al: We better take pictures of it. The other gators will never believe this.

(The train stops and they get off. The sun is hot, and Al relaxes a little. )

Al: So where’s the swamp? I want to bask and warm up a little.

Abby: This is Tennessee. They don’t have swamps. They have rivers.

Al: You didn’t tell me they don’t have swamps.

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Abby (nervously): I didn’t know they didn’t have swamps. I thought there were swamps everywhere, so I didn’t ask.

Al: What’s wrong, Abby?

Abby: Everyone’s staring at us. And I don’t see a single reptile anywhere.

Al: I’m sure they’re staring because you’re so beautiful. Where are we staying?

Abby (pointing): Over there. The Critter Comfort Inn.

(They enter the lobby. The lobby empties and the little opossum behind the desk faints. The gators look around, confused. The manager, a rather large raccoon, comes out. He is accompanied by two large bears.)

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Manager: May I help you?

Abby: Yes, please. We have a reservation. It’s under Al and Abby Gator.

Manager (looking at his computer): Did you register online?

Abby: Yes.

Manager: What did you put down as species?

Abby: Alligator, of course.

Manager (embarrassed): There seems to be a problem with your reservation. It shows the species as “unknown”. The system doesn’t recognize “alligator.” We’ve never had one stay here.

Al (irritated): Is that a problem?

Manager: Unfortunately, it is. We cater to small mammals.

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Al: And you can’t make an exception?

Manager: I’d like to. You seem like nice folks. But like I said, we cater to small mammals. If word got out that we had alligators here, it would ruin our business.

Abby: Why?

Al (sarcastically): Because they think we’re going to eat them.

Manager: I’m sorry. But alligators do have that reputation.

Al: Fine. We’ll take our business elsewhere.

(The gators stalked out without eating anyone. As a gesture of goodwill they left a bag of their favorite treats, Boa Bites. They thought the mammals probably didn’t like snakes either.)

Abby (sobbing): I’m so sorry Al. I had no idea they’d be so specie-ist. They looked so nice in the pictures.

Al: Don’t worry, honey. We’ll hydrate ourselves in one of their rivers and take the next train home.

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Abby: OK. But let’s go out of town. I don’t like it here.

(They found a nice spot with a soft sandy bottom. Neither of them realized that the night air would get as chilly as it did. They were unable to move when they heard a noise.)

Cub: Daddy, what are those?

(The gators looked up to see one of the large bears they had seen earlier at the Comfort Inn.)

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Next time: Dinner Guest or Dinner? The Conclusion

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

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.

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6

Is WordPress Specie-ist?

As I was wandering through some blogs a few days ago, I made a discovery. There are a lot of blogs about/by cats. Which makes sense, since everyone knows cats are the original Internet stars. There are probably an equal number about dogs, although I really didn’t do a full recon on that. In fairness, for me size matters when it comes to dogs. Generally speaking, I prefer those of 40 pounds or more.

Of course, I found some posts about hedgehogs. Lord Nelson (my hedgehog) seemed to be the predominant recurring character. I guess grumpy and spiny is not for everyone. In fairness to Horatio, though, he has stopped huffing at me.

The only thing I found for bears were some very nice photos, but nothing with any personality. Likewise for most creatures who live in the wild. Raccoons and bats made the cut for the cuteness or nuisance factor. Not exactly material for an ongoing storyline. I disqualified blogs like Cute Overload who have a variety of animals, but only pictures/videos intended to make you say “awwwww”.

Then I tried to figure out how one would put backyard critters in a blog. When I looked out the window this morning, I would have sworn it was November: cool, gray and rainy. Eureka! A story about how the little guys decide where to winter. Hint: most of them can’t afford the fare to Florida or Padre Island. If we’re quiet, we can listen in:

The fall meeting of the semi-rural/suburban animals was about to get started. Squirrel, the most energetic of the group, was getting ready to moderate. He looked around to make sure everyone was represented.

Then he frowned and pointed. “You predators, you know you’re not allowed at these meetings.” The coyote slunk off, but the rest stayed.

Fox: You never let us stay. What are going to say that’s so top-secret?

Squirrel: You know very well that the main topics of these meetings are food and safety. The last time we let you guys stay, you and raccoon spent the meeting whispering about which of us looked tastiest and which was the easiest to catch. We’re talking about winter survival today. Now scram!

Raccoon: We have to survive too, you know.

Squirrel: Maybe, but not by eating us.

Fox and Raccoon walked away. The deer made a circle around the little group to keep them out.

Squirrel: OK, does everyone have a den ready?

Woodchuck: We found a great place under an old tree trunk. My cousin Woody already claimed the primo spot under the deck.

Rabbit: Just remember, Woodchuck, we live in that complex too. Keep the noise down.

Woodchuck: What are you talking about? We hibernate all winter. You guys are the ones practicing to repopulate the world in the spring.

Mouse: We’re taking our usual spot in the walls of those two old houses over there (points to a couple of Victorian holdovers).

Mole: Well, be careful. There’s a couple of domestics over there that roam around a lot outside.

Mouse: Not to worry. The pointy-eared one spends the winter in front of the fire and the floppy-eared one only comes out to mess up the landscape. The human won’t stay out and play with him.

Squirrel: Are all of you going to fit in those two houses?

Mouse: Not a chance! But the older kids want to try toughing it out in the woodpile. I tried to tell them that the humans use those woodpiles in the winter. They think they won’t get caught. You know what it’s like trying to talk to kids.

The animals all laugh and nod.

Frog: It’s almost time for us to burrow into the mud for the season, so we’re set.

Snake: Same here. What about you, squirrel?

Squirrel: We’re splitting up this year. Some of us are going the usual route and sleeping in trees. But my brother Earl heard that attics are nice and toasty in the winter.

Mole: There’s bats up there!

Squirrel: Earl says they were all driven out over the summer.

Mole: But the humans will hear you.

Squirrel: That’s part of the plan. The mice will be in the walls and the squirrels will be in the attic. It’ll drive the humans nuts, but it will be too cold for them to do anything about it. We just have to get out quick in the spring.

Mole: I think the rest of us will just hang out at the club underground. It’s pretty cozy if we cuddle up. We mostly sleep anyway.

Squirrel: Well, it looks like everyone’s set. The community center has extra nesting material if you still need any. Otherwise, on to the potluck! Remember, you can take as much as you want, but eat everything you take. It’s the season for bulking up, we don’t want any food to get wasted. Anything you brought that’s not eaten, you can either take home or donate to the emergency pantry.

The animals disperse to eat and talk.

The humans have been inside commenting on how cute they all are. They don’t realize they are about to be invaded.