2018 Animal Olympics – Week 2

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the second and final week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. Of course, the big surprise this week was the withdrawal of the highly favored reindeer team from the Sleigh Pull.

Rumors have swirled that members of the team failed a drug test. The truth is that the “failed” test was a pregnancy test. Roxy, the leader of the team, is going to have a calf in the spring. Animal Olympic rules prohibit participation of pregnant athletes due to the possibility of being kicked.

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The Dall Sheep had their appeal over the conditions of the ski slope rejected, so the standings are unchanged.

The week was full of surprises. Now on to our commentators.

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Harold Hare – Cross Country Tracking

The non-carnivore competition was a real disappointment. First, only four teams qualified for the race. Of course, the snowshoe hares were brilliant in finding the food we had distributed on the track. The beavers fell asleep and missed the race entirely. The squirrel team was fun to watch although their constant playing on the track was somewhat of a distraction.

Gold: Snowshoe Hares; Silver: Squirrels; Bronze: Mice.

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The carnivore competition was much more intense. Generally, the field is all mammals. The birds prefer to compete in the Raptor Grab. However, this year the arctic owls decided to enter the tracking hunt. With nests on the ground and their outstanding hunting skills, they were sure to be a threat.

The arctic foxes weren’t intimidated. They had inspected the field closely and were confident of their abilities. The wolverines had edged the wolves in the semi-finals to get the last spot in the finals.

It was a good fight. Unfortunately for the owls, one of their players got side-tracked by some non-competition prey and was eliminated for leaving the track.

Gold: Arctic Foxes; Silver: Wolverines; Bronze: Arctic Owls.

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Bruno Brown Bear – Ice Hockey

In recent years, the sport has been dominated by the bears. A combination of intelligence and strength has been the key. But this year there was a surprising new challenger. The dogs decided to enter a team of border collies.

The bear teams weren’t concerned. Who ever heard of dogs on ice? They concentrated on their usual threats, the otters and the seals. Both teams were fast, with plenty of experience moving chunks of ice.

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Fans were stunned when the border collies beat the black bears in the semi-finals. The dogs were fast learners and agile on the ice. The final four teams were the brown bears/grizzlies, seals, polar bears, and collies. The match-up between the brown bears and the seals wasn’t close, with the bears winning 6-0.

In the other game, it appears that the polar bears may have gotten a little over-confident. The collies took them to double-overtime and finally won, 2-1. So it was brown bears v. collies for the gold and silver, and seals v. polar bears for the bronze.

Gold: Brown Bears/Grizzlies; Silver: Border Collies; Bronze: Polar Bears.

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Arnie Kestrel – Raptor Grab

As usual, the Raptor Grab was an intense competition. The rules state that the contestants can only score with specially marked fish. However, there is nothing in the rules about taking another competitor’s fish before crossing the line.

A new member of the arctic owl team repeatedly brought back ineligible fish, leaving the team out of the finals. The bald eagles were eliminated when two of their team members lost fish in fights.

The finalists were the red-tailed hawks, the snowy owls, and the golden eagles.

Gold: Snowy Owls; Silver: Golden Eagles; Bronze: Red-Tailed Hawks.

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Rodney Reindeer – Sleigh Pull

As Riki said earlier, the favored reindeer team withdrew at the beginning of the week. As a result, we saw some different competitors joining the now-favored moose in the finals.

The sled dogs decided to field a team this year. Traditionally a strong competitor in the race, the dogs have been sitting out a suspension following that unfortunate incident in 2010. That team turned over the sleigh, but continued to run for a distance. The bears riding inside were dragged along with the sleigh. Once the bears and the dogs were released, there was a terrible fight.

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The final place was taken by the horse team. The horses fielded a good team, but their lack of experience at an elite level showed. It turned into a showdown between the moose and the sled dogs. The dogs had an emotional edge, trying to redeem their reputation. They edged the moose by less than a second.

Gold: Sled Dogs; Silver: Moose; Bronze: Horses.

It’s Riki again. I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the 2018 Animal Olympics. We hope to see you in 2022 when we’ll be covering the Winter Animal Olympics in Beijing.

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Cat Forum: Interview with Andy and Dougy



This month we are interviewing Andy and Dougy from weggieboy’s blog. We don’t know what a weggieboy is, but we’re pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with cats. Which is a little weird since everything in the blog is about cats. Humans are really strange sometimes.

Tell us a little bit about your brother.

Andy: Dougy is my best buddy. In fact, the lady who had our mother was so impressed with how we played together as kittens that she offered him to our human, too! I was really happy about that because it meant our new home was going to be together! Our other brother and sister went to someone in South Dakota. They didn’t like each other. Dougy and I are lucky that way.


Dougy: Andy is too serious for his own good. I think his high blood pressure stems from that. He needs to lighten up and play more! Of course, we do that that string game we play. Andy usually starts the game, but we really, really, really like it! We both are smoke Persians, but he takes after our Birman father more, with a less broad (or big!) head than mine. We both are pretty, though, if you ask me!


What is your favorite thing about your human?

Andy: He tells me I’m a good boy even when I’m not, and he gives me kitty treats. He could be a bit better about when he serves us kitty food. Dougy complains to him about that but I just hang around because I’m more patient.

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Dougy: He lets me do anything I want. I know he doesn’t like me scratching on furniture, so I do it right in front of him sometimes! Hee! Hee! He lets me get away with it, and I’ve been doing it ever since I was a kitten. He even made a video of me as a kitten doing that, and I am very proud of that! He also gave me his ottoman because, well, I took it from him. Pretty neat, eh?!

(Dad would have killed us!)


We like cat TV (looking out the window for you non-felines). Do you watch? What’s your favorite program?

Andy: You know I do! I especially like the fir tree revue in the backyard. I watch it all the time because there are lots of squirrels and birds there just about any time of day! Sometimes Dougy and I fight over the best spots, but, really, there are many good watching spots on the computer desk.

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Dougy: Oh, I love, love, love cat TV!!! I can’t get enough of it. Andy gets upset with me when I watch it out the back window from the computer desk, but that’s the best spot to check out the squirrels and birds in this place. Sometimes we even see neighborhood cats. You know we are indoor cats, don’t you? Our human worries that I would follow my nose to Fargo if he let me outside because I like to explore! I guess I would. But he worries naughty people would hurt Andy and me because we are black cats or that we might get run over on the busy streets nearby. We have each other to play with, so we basically are happy (and warm and safe!) indoors.

(Wonder if they ever have trouble with reception this time of year?)


What do you like to do when your human isn’t home?

Andy: That would be telling, eh?! Actually, I sleep most of the time, maybe eat some crunchies, then drink some water. (I do a lot more than that, but I have my reputation for sobriety to protect!)

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Dougy: I’m a good boy so I sleep mostly. I guess I do some of the stuff Andy does, too, and we play our game or just run like wild horses all over the house! We like doing that together.

(See, everyone tells their human all they do is sleep. Don’t want the humans to be jealous of our private lives. Or ask too many questions.)


Do you ever get annoyed when your human wants to take your picture?

Andy: Not really, though I like to “hide” in dark places because he has a hard time getting good photos of me then! Hee! Hee!

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Dougy: Oh yes! I hate that bright light his camera makes, so I turn my head or blink my eyes. That new one he uses doesn’t make a bright light as often, so he likes it to take my picture. He says that way people on his blog get to see my beautiful eyes! (Couldn’t agree with him more!)


Does your human ever let you use any of his toys?

Andy: When he’s not watching, I sit in his chair or walk on his computer keyboard. I get away with roosting on top of his PC. I like that a lot! It’s warm and high!

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Dougy: He IS my toy! Hee! Hee! I can get him up whenever I want in the morning and get him to do anything I want by talking in my most annoying “meow”! And my most annoying “meow” is pretty darn wretched, if I do meow myself!

(Look Kommando – Dougy knows your trick!)


Is there anything you’d like to add?

Andy: Yes. My full name is Andrew James Thomas. I’m named after the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew. I think my human chose that name because I’m usually very serious. Truth is, though, I do like to play, but it just takes me a bit longer to get in the mood than my goofy brother Dougy! He’s up for play any  and every time. I choose my time to have fun.


Dougy: Yeah! Don’t put your feet or fat butt on my ottoman! I do not allow it! Ask Andy about that. Or my human! Oh, yes, my full name is Douglas James Thomas. It’s a family joke. My middle name is different than his, so I am not a junior! It is a good Scottish name, and my human comes from a long line of crazy Scots! He wanted to honor that part of his heritage by giving us both Scottish names.

(Wow! I don’t think we want to go there in person. Sounds a little testy. 🙂 )

Don’t forget to visit Andy and Dougy at their blog. They don’t get to talk as much, but they are extremely photogenic.


Cheeseland News Classified Ads


Image result for help wanted sign clipart   Help Wanted

Dam Builders. We are looking for some strong beavers who don’t mind working hard for the community. We are building dens for beavers left homeless by the recent storms. Must have good dental hygiene. We provide temporary housing. Potential long-term position for the right candidate.

Guard for senior mouse village. Must be alert and flexible in ability to respond to a variety of dangers. Experience preferred. No carnivores please.

Locksmith. Looking for someone who can make our house child-proof. Particularly young, blonde females. Something easy to use with paws. Must not be afraid of the woods or large bears.


Image result for for sale sign clipart  For Sale

Cat door. We have finally trained the humans to let us in and out on demand. Some damage from dog trying to squeeze through. Newer model. Both entrance and exit functional.

Empty nest. Perfect for those couples who were surprised to find out that they need a permanent abode for the season. Secluded location, safe distance from the ground. Furnished with rabbit fur and dryer fluff. No leaks. Sheltered from the rain.

Running wheel. Husband wanted to run to keep in shape. Ran after girl next door instead. Barely used. You won’t find a better deal.

Sheep’s clothing. Full set, size XXL. Slight smell of wolf should disappear with airing.


Image result for heart clipart  Personals

Image result for calico tomcat  Handsome Calico Tom looking for beautiful young kitties seeking fun and adventure. Weight proportional to bone structure. Not looking for an exclusive relationship.

Image result for brown bear  Lonely Male Brown Bear looking for ongoing relationship with a kindred spirit. Someone who likes long walks in the woods and long naps together. Ideally you will also love fishing and tree climbing. Not interested in an aggressive partner. No taste for humans.

Image result for gray squirrel  Female Gray Squirrel looking for foraging partner. Someone to gather nuts with and play chase around the woods. Must have good memory. Potential winter nest for the right guy.


Image result for money clipart   Business Opportunities

Perfect opportunity for feline entrepreneurs. Get in on the ground floor of Catnip Unlimited. Develop your own field of specially developed, extra-potent catnip. Easy to grow, easy to sell. Franchise opportunities available in many locations. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Potential franchisees will be subject to a background check for history of addiction.

Always wanted your own humans but didn’t know what to look for? Try time-sharing with other animals. You can buy into this unique arrangement for a small down payment. See whether you like living alone with humans, with of other species, or fellow animals of your own species. Our humans have been carefully chosen for their ability to get along with a variety of animals.

Are you tired of your food and belongings smelling of human? Need some extra money for the holidays? Become a Human No sales agent. Practically sells itself. Comes in a variety of scents. Will remove even the most pungent smells. Makes your home smell like home again.


What Do You Bring to an Inter-Species Potluck?

Like most other offices, “Adventures in Cheeseland” has a holiday party between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Probably the only difference between ours and yours is that being inter-species, we don’t allow meat. It would definitely ruin the ambience if someone saw a friend/family member in the stew.

Being in charge means that Lenny and George (they are the mice in the header) need to make sure that everything runs smoothly. They are looking at the sign-up sheet to see what else is needed.

George: It looks like almost everyone is bringing something.

Lenny: Oh, no! Sigmund Squirrel has signed up to bring acorn squash again. It’s your turn to tell him that smashed up acorns are different than acorn squash.

George: Fine. But you tell Hortense Hen that it creeps out people when she brings in deviled eggs. Everyone knows where they come from.

Lenny: Eww! I forgot about that.

George: It appears that Snoops and Kommando are getting together to make catnip brownies. Do you think that’s appropriate for an office party?

Lenny: If you think it’s a problem, you tell them. They scare me.

George: They’re harmless. Cat won’t let them near us.

Lenny: Don’t you remember what happened last year at the party? Snoops threatened to make me the main dish!

George: I’d forgotten all about it. Well, you did make her pretty mad.

Lenny: I thought she’d like me bringing kitty kibble.

George: You brought kitty kibble from her secret stash.

Lenny: How was I supposed to know that?

George: It was behind the kitty bed in Cat’s office.

Lenny: Oh, yeah. I told you we should have gone in together and gotten pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice coffee.

George: Most of the staff doesn’t like pumpkin.

Lenny: But it was a great sale!

George: So do you have any ideas for this year?

Lenny: I think so. What are you bringing?

George: Well, I was going to bring a cheeseball. But when I bought one last year, the kids ate out the core. They didn’t think I’d miss it. So I’m thinking almond cookies. I can go down the street to the Chinese restaurant to get them. That way, the kids won’t even see them.

Lenny: That’s a great idea! Almost everyone likes almonds or cookies.

George: So what’s your idea?

Lenny: I was thinking hot chocolate. Well, not really hot chocolate because it’s served cold.

George: So you’re bringing cold hot chocolate?

Lenny: Yeah. I found it in an old book. It think it might be someone’s family recipe. Do you want to try some? I made a test batch and brought it in.

George: Sure! I love chocolate!

(They go to Lenny’s office and close the door. Lenny brings out a pitcher and two small glasses. He pours a brownish liquid into both glasses. George sniffs and wrinkles his whiskers.)

George: This smell kinda weird, Len. Are you sure you made it right?

Lenny: I followed the recipe exactly.

George: Okay. Well, here we go.

(George takes a large mouthful, turns green, and spits it back in the glass.)

Lenny: What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?

George: That is the worst cold hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Let me see that recipe.

(Lenny pulls out the recipe and gives it to George.)

Lenny: See, it says it was put together by some doctor in Spain in 1631.

George: It says “Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chilies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color.”

Lenny: Yeah, it didn’t say what kind of chilies, so I asked the guy to give me a couple of hot ones. And I told you it wasn’t served hot.

George: Did you try this?

Lenny: No. The smell made me sick.

George: And you want to serve this at our party?

Lenny: I said it was an idea.

George: It’s a terrible idea.

Lenny: OK. What do you think I should bring?

George: We still need napkins and paper plates.






Christmas in the Forest – Part 1

Somewhere in the forests of Montana:

It was time for the Grizzlies’ annual holiday party. The party was highly anticipated – the food was always great, and it usually happened right before hibernation.

Mr. G: So are you ready for the big night, dear?

Mrs. G: I don’t know. I’m not sure I have enough food. Maybe I should go hunting one last time.

Mr. G: (laughs): You always have more than enough. We snack for days. What are we having?

Mrs. G: Well, I wanted to try something different. I saw a couple of joggers. I thought they might be tasty but I didn’t get a chance. Probably just as well. I talked to some of the other bears later. Apparently that kind are gristly. They said that the others are too fatty. So it’s back to the usual cows and sheep.

Mr. G: (disappointed) I suppose that means you’ve invited all those herbivores again. Some of them are delicious. (The guests gets uncomfortable when they see a relative on the menu.)

Mrs. G: Of course I did. That’s part of the tradition. The herbivores have a day when they don’t have to worry about us eating them. The humans call it a “truce”. They don’t seem to last very long. It won’t hurt us to do it for one day.

Mr. G: I suppose. I’d hate to think that we can’t even be as civilized as the humans. So where did you find the food for them?

Mrs. G: The Rabbits sent their regrets. Because of the early bad weather, the decided to den up early. She felt badly, so she sent a huge bunch of greens. Once I knew what to look for, it wasn’t hard to get more.

Mr. G: Nasty things! I don’t know how anyone can get them down, much less live on them.

Mrs. G: I don’t understand it either. But they are guests, so we need to serve them something they can eat. And none of your jokes about inviting them to be dinner. It frightens them.

Mr. G: Hmmph! (as he wanders off)

On the night of the party it was clear and cold. Mrs. G. had just finished the preparations when they heard a rustling.

Mrs. G: Just in time! Our first guest.

Mr. G: It’s probably your freeloading brother coming to eat all the salmon chunks before anyone else gets here.

Mrs. G: Be nice to him. You know he’s been depressed since that girl left him.

Mr. G: What did he expect? Her family’s from Alaska. You know how snobby those bears are.

Sure enough, the brother headed straight for the salmon. Mr. G went over but was interrupted by the arrival of the Black Bears. Hugging his cousin, he asked how things were going.

Mr. B: Haven’t you heard? The humans got my friend from China.

Mr. G: You mean the one that was here for last year’s party? I felt a little badly that he had to bring his own food. Mrs. G couldn’t find bamboo anywhere. She took a real liking to him. He was rather nice to look at with that black and white fur. What happened?

Mr. B: It turns out that he was getting his food from a place they call a “nursery”. One day he got careless and went during the day. A human saw him.

Mr. G: How awful!

Mr. B: He got away, but they knew he was there and they hunted him down. I guess they don’t see very many Chinese bears around here. They took him to a “nature preserve.” I don’t know what that is.

Mr. G: I hope it isn’t one of those awful places where the human cubs scream all the time and throw things at you. I saw one once. I still get nightmares. Bear cubs would never behave that way.

Mr. B nodded. His wife joined them. She gave Mr. G a hug.

Mrs. B: How are you darling? You look wonderful! Where is your lovely wife? I must say hello to her and tell her how fabulous everything looks. I’ll leave you boys to whatever it was you were up to.

Mr. G groaned inwardly. He could not understand why his cousin, as good a bear as he had ever known, had decided to mate with her. He’d met her down in Yellowstone. She’d been in some “Don’t Feed the Bears” video and thought she was a star. Mr. B had brought her home to meet his family and convinced her to stay. It wasn’t even her looks – her fur had no gloss and her eyes were too big for her face.

He overheard her ask Mrs. G if she had any berries, “Because all I ever eat is a small bowl of berries, as you know.” What kind of bear was she anyway? Mr. G had never met a bear who didn’t like fish. Besides, she always looked like she was ready for hibernation regardless of the time of year.

He was getting really irritated when he was interrupted by the arrival of the herbivores. They always came in a group, just in case the bears had changed their minds about the “truce.”

Mrs. G: How wonderful that you could all come. We’re looking forward to a special dinner. Mrs. Rabbit sent over some beautiful herbs and grasses. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

Mr. Squirrel: That was very thoughtful of her. I have brought some nuts to share as well. You are so kind to share your home with us Mrs. G, I hope you don’t mind.

Mrs. G: Not at all, Mr. Squirrel. Anything you’d like is fine. (To herself: How can anyone consider nuts a meal? He’s as bad as Mrs. B with her berries.)

To be continued…





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.