28

Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. If you live with small (or not so small) human children, you may have noticed that they are not around as much as usual. That’s because they have gone off to “school”.

Humans are a little odd in the way they teach their children (among other things). Instead of teaching them how to survive in the world, they send them to “school” to learn “facts” and “socialization”. And they only do it for part of the year. Very strange.

Anyway, life around the house changes when school begins. We’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they may affect you.

Image result for cat with alarm

Getting up Early – Your young human will probably start getting up earlier than usual.

Downside – They will use some loud noise to wake up. It’s called an alarm, and it makes an awful sound to wake the small human. You will not enjoy it. Also, you will lose your warm sleeping companion.

Upside – You get the warm bed to yourself.

Image result for cat with school bus

Buses – Your young human may take a “bus” to school. They are yellow. An alligator friend of ours refers to them as a can of people.

Downside – Young humans rarely are ready for the bus. They run around the house looking for things. There may be yelling. And buses make a very loud noise when they stop.

Upside – None

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Backpacks, Books, Shoes – Humans need a lot of stuff to go to school.

Downside – They will probably leave their stuff all over the house. You will either need to walk around it or over it. Often the adult humans will yell at them to put their stuff away. (School seems to cause a lot of yelling.)

Upside – Some of the stuff is really comfy to lay on. In particular, backpacks and books are good for relaxing. The shoes can be used as containers for gift mice.

Image result for cat playing with pencil

Pencils, Pens, Crayons – School also requires a lot of stuff to write with.

Downside – Crayons taste awful. Pens can leak ink onto your paws. Sometimes humans get cranky if you play with them.

Upside – It’s a lot of fun to bat any of them around and watch them roll. If you’re lucky, the small human may play with you.

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Lunch – A lot of small humans take food to school. An adult human usually makes a lunch.

Downside – The humans will spend a lot of time in the kitchen totally ignoring you. Some of the food is really icky, like celery. And they won’t let you give a sniff test to make sure the food is good.

Upside – Once in a while, you may get a piece of the meat that’s going on the sandwich. Don’t be fooled if they offer you peanut butter – it does not taste like butter.

Image result for cat smelling something bad

Gym Clothes – Sometimes the schools make the small humans exercise. They wear special clothes for exercise.

Downside – When these clothes come home, they smell terrible.

Upside – None. Avoid them.

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Baths – Parents make children bathe more often for school.

Downside – Small children don’t always want to bathe. (Disgusting, isn’t it?) There may be yelling (again). If you like to be in the bathroom, you may get dragged into the water.

Upside – Less chance of sticky fingers in your fur.

As you can see, school doesn’t really do much for us cats. In exchange for having a quieter house for a few hours a day, we get more yelling and running around for the rest of the time.

We highly recommend that you find a nice, quiet spot and ignore them all.

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10

The Year of the Sloth

You can thank Barbara over at Silver in the Barn, a wonderful blog about her insights into life (and photography) for the title. She had a post around the beginning of the year about how certain items seemed to be more prevalent some years than others (https://silverinthebarn.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/minotaur-ukulele/). She also asked what we thought our year might be titled. I had been thinking about writing a sloth post, and it seemed like the perfect title.

Wandering around the blogosphere, I was reminded of the interview Kristen Bell did on The Ellen Show about three years ago showing how much she likes sloths (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5jw3T3Jy70).

That may have been the starting point for the love affair some people have developed with sloths. My daughter has certainly joined the fan club. I was amazed that I was able to find a sloth calendar at a major brick-and-mortar bookstore. There it was amongst the overwhelming number of dogs, cats, cars, sports, and spiritual calendars. (Horatio reminds me that there was also one with pictures of hedgehogs.)

If you type in “sloth” on YouTube, you will get a long list of videos about the little guys (average height 23 in/58 cm; weight 8.75 lbs/4 kg). Google says it has over 22 million results for “sloth”. Of course, we all know that Google lies. Those results include doubles, triples, etc. of the same item and any 600-page essay that includes the word. Nevertheless, this may be the year.

So why did we fall in love with an animal named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins? It moves so little and slowly that algae grows in its fur, so it looks like it has been to the salon for a green tint. Any animal that moves that little has a certain appeal to those of us always yearning for a nap. They sleep 15–20 hours/day (which sounds just fine to the cat sleeping next to me). Even awake, they are often motionless. Kind of like football fans in the fall.

Sloths are versatile as well. They come in the two-toed and three-toed variety, but have basically the same traits. They live almost their entire lives in treetops. Those long arms allow quite a bit of freedom in the trees. They have a powerful grip which may not even release in death. Sounds a bit like some people and their money.

Sloths mate and give birth while hanging in trees. I can’t imagine how birthing would work.Who would catch the baby?  Maybe they come out clinging to the mother. That’s how they spend the first nine months of their lives. (How do they know when nine months is up?)

However, I think people are attracted to them because they are almost excessively cute. How can you resist an animal that looks like it’s smiling all the time and gives great hugs? (http://www.slothsanctuary.com/meet-the-sloths/)

Plan ahead. International Sloth Day is October 20. If you want a real sloth at the party, he/she will need to start moving now. It’s a long way from Central America.

Facts courtesy of National Geographic (http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/three-toed-sloth/)

Pictures courtesy of The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica (http://www.slothsanctuary.com/)