Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Pumpkin Dance

At barely two years of age, our dear Pumpkin is still very much a kitten--he's mischievous, inquisitive, and can be utterly ridiculous. Sometimes all of those qualities merge into the trifecta of entertainment.

Our senior cat, Kyla, eats dry kibble and only dry kibble--we purchase 7-pound bags of the stuff. Dad thought it would be fun to see what Pumpkin would do with an empty bag; would he attack it, dive into it, or ???

The tango began slowly, with Pumpkin circling the sack. A soft paw tentatively prodded. Sniffing, sniffing. Pounce! Bite! Then more prodding.

Though the sack was as large as the kitty, he managed to smack it several feet away where it fell to rest in front of the coffee table. "Darn" I thought to myself--now I won't be able to see what he's doing. How wrong I was. Both cat and sack became animated. Jaws would clench the sack and toss it aloft. Then in the next moment cat would fly upwards, as though propelled by the sack, and then descend and pounce again. This went on for 10 minutes or more, and then....the room grew silent.

Pumpkin tired? Bored? Sleeping?

No, Pumpkin had torn a hole in the rear of the bag. His inquisitiveness (or hunger for the wonderful aromas lurking within) had now become his undoing for his head is stuck in the sack. With the laughter that erupted in the room I guess he knew he would have to solve this dilema on his own and so, in typical cat-like fashion, he circled the room.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kitty Sibling?

Not our "cow kitty" but a close facsimile
About two weeks ago we noticed a new kitty wandering around our garden. We've named her the "cow kitty" since she is black and white. But poor little thing is thin and dirty (the white is more a dingy grey). She seems to enjoy relaxing under or near the bird feeder. I've not seen her chase a bird (and I haven't found any "remnants" of a kill). I think she gravitates to that part of our yard because it is directly in front of our kitchen--the hub of activity in our home.

Pumpkin has certainly noticed her. But his reaction to her is significatly different from his "opinion" about other cat visitors to our backyard. He doesn't hiss, moan, or yell. He hops onto the window sill, tilts his head to and fro, and occasionally utters a low warble.

I'm beginning to wonder if they are, perhaps, siblings.

They are about the same size, have the same head shape, and the same l-o-n-g tail. Only one characteristic of "cow-kitty" is different.

Dear kitty is decidedly cross-eyed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin--ticking off those 9 lives at an alarming rate

Last evening I cooked a pork roast for my family. It was a lean, boneless loin, but nevertheless there was a bit of fat in the pan--so I drained the fat into a small dish, thinking that I would let it solidify and then toss it away, plastic dish and all.

Unfortunately, I forgot about the dish, but Pumpkin did not. He must have thought he had died and gone to Heaven (and if he does this many more times his cholesterol levels will hurry that process along!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Terrible Twos

Dear Pumpkin - I love you dearly, but I've had to rescue you twice (from yourself) today and it's not even 10 a.m. You get into more trouble by yourself than my two daughters ever did in collaboration.

For those who are keeping score:

  • First, Pumpkin crept into the pantry (the door was left ajar). Curiosity led him to stick his head into a shopping bag. In doing so he pushed his head through one of the handles...and could not pull his head back out. He was stuck with the bag around his neck and the weight of it (filled with several jars and cans) was more than he could drag. Luckily I heard his plight and saved him from strangulation.

  • Next, I was looking through an upstairs closet for wrapping paper. This closet is where we store all of our wrap, ribbons, gift boxes, and holiday decoratations. Of course, Pumpkin found the one item that would get him in trouble--a small styrofoam Easter egg. Fun to bat around and chase, but disaster if you are a small kitty with a big mouth, bite down on the egg, and get it stuck in your mouth. Again, "Mom" to the rescue.

Pumpkin -- Please slow down. You've lost 2 lives today. Who knows how many you have left?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Houdini and the Heart Attack

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that in addition to Pumpkin, we have a senior kitty in our house named Kyla--Kyla has been with us since the age of about 6 months. She is now almost 12 years old.

From almost Day 1 we have allowed her to go outdoors with a harness and leash. She loves it! Yes, the leash and harness are mandatory--we have far too many predators (coyotees, raccoons, bear) in our area to allow one of our little kitties to roam about freely.

We thought--why not give Pumpkin a chance to get out and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, sights and sounds as Kyla does. So, we got out the leash and harness, cinched the buckles really tight, and out the door we went.

Everything was going fine--he was just slowly wandering about, stopping to sniff here and there, and seeming to be having a great little kitty excursion. Suddenly, the switch flipped and he was freaking out, twisting and turning and...the harness was empty. He had wriggled his way out of the harness and darted--where??!!

We lived in a heavily forested area and in an instant he had disappeared. I was beside myself with fear (for him) and disbelief (in my own stupidity in allowing this to happen). Thank goodness rational heads prevailed. My daughter ran into the house and moments later brought out a can of cat food. We popped open the can, set it down on the edge of our road, and moments later heard a timid little "meow".

Out crept Pumpkin. We scooped him up into our arms and quickly brought him back into the safety of our house and his home.

Kyla was sitting at her window, watching the entire scene unfold. I wonder if she was cheering him on ("make a break for it!") or disappointed when we brought him back in ("rats, the little bastard is back").

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Houdini strikes again

Do you recognize the name "Houdini"? According to Wikipedia--
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice as Handcuff Harry, on a tour of Europe, where he would sensationally challenge different police-forces to try to keep him locked up. This revealed a talent for gimmickry and for audience involvement that would characterise all his work. Soon he was extending his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk-can.
In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from a special handcuff commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were fabricated, it is ironic that Houdini was meanwhile presenting himself as the scourge of fake magicians and spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists who gave practitioners a bad name. He was also quick to sue anyone who pirated his own escape-stunts.
 So, Harry Houdini was the master of magic, escape, and performing impossible acts.

What does this have to do with kitties? Yes, they can escape. Yes they can disappear and reappear as if by magic. But what is the greatest trick of all? I'd have to say that it is opening a jar because, unlike us, kitties do not have thumbs. did he do it?

We have a plastic jar on our kitchen counter that contains dried catnip. We don't use it often; in fact, we rarely touch it (our kitties are so totally insane, we feel that catnip is akin to tossing gasoline on a raging bonfire).

But, let's get back to what happened today. All of the humans in the house were outdoors (enjoying this wonderful Spring weather). The matriarch of our kitty kingdom was in her room, door closed. Therefore, Mr. Pumpkin was allowed to be "out-and-about", free to roam and frolic, the container of catnip?!

Honestly, I can't begin to fathom how he did it. How did he remove a 3-inch diameter lid from a plastic jar?

Suffice it to say, he has been wobbly, grinning ear to ear, and in a state of bliss for most of the afternoon.


Update - I have swept, vacuumed, and deep-vacuumed the scene of the crime. Three days later it is still the happiest place on earth.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scaredy Cat

Our family lives in a rural area of Puget Sound, tucked back into the forest. We have fruit- and nut-bearing trees on our property, along with snags for refuge, an ephemeral stream, and a year-round pond for water. I'm proud to say that our property has been designated as a Wildlife Refuge.

We maintain suet and seed feeders in several places throughout the year. And one of them is directly in front of our breakfast nook window.

Why am I telling you this? Well, as a result of the seed feeder in front of breakfast nook, Pumpkin was today introduced to a new bird species. The Evening Grosbeak.

For those of you who are not familiar with this bird, let me begin by saying--it is BIG! Bigger than a robin, bigger than a Stellars Jay. Bigger than a wild pigeon. And, it's "big-ness" is only outweighed by its loudness.

With the heat of late Spring our windows are open (although covered by window screens) and Pumpkin LOVES to sit in the windows, watching birds and butterflies frolic in our backyard. But he had not seen an Evening Grosbeak until today.

It landed and he jumped backwards...about 3 feet. (I didn't know cats could do that).

After regaining his dignity, he v-e-r-y cautiously crept back, placed his front paws on the windowsill and ever-so-carefully peaked up to espy the monster at the seed feeder.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mormons

They came to our house today. Pumpkin was out-and-about, and happily ran to the door at the first knock.

Fearing that he would leap outside (and not come back), I scooped him up into my arms before I answered the door.

Now, I'm a pretty good singer, but I dont' proclaim to have perfect pitch. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure that Pumpkin hit E above high C when I opened the door.

I dont' know why.

Was he excited? Or scared?

Anyhow, the Mormons left pretty quickly.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's

My husband and I grew up in the 50's, in the early years of television. Cowboy westerns were popular (Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger were favorites with kids). My dad liked to watch Gunsmoke and my mom watched soap operas. But everyone in the family enjoyed watching Superman.

"Yes, it's Superman - strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman! Who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way!"

So, you might wonder why I'm reminiscing about a black and white weekly television series from the 1950's. Blame it on Pumpkin.

Somehow, despite the fact that my years on earth were still in single digits, I knew that the "man of steel" was just pretend. (My DH, however, was not quite so astute. His mom tells me that he donned a blanket to use as a cape and jumped from atop a fire hydrant to fly through the air. Things didn't work quite as planned, but it took him only one broken collar bone to deduce that flying wasn't in his repertoire.)

I think, however, he might have told that story to our Pumpkin. This evening I watched in horror as our little man leaped from the balcony of our home to the entryway below--a drop of about 9 feet (one for each life).

Don't worry, he's fine. But I've discovered 5 more white hairs.


In retrospect, I think I know where Pumpkin got the notion that he could fly. I'm pretty sure our senior kitty, Miss Kyla, whispered to him something like "Hey, want to really have some fun? Jump off the balcony. You're soar through the air--it's amazing."

She's been looking rather pensive lately. Probably thinking to herself "Damn, even that didn't kill the little stinker. He's still here!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Dear Pumpkin - You have lived in our house since last summer. In that time, I've come to understand your likes and your dislikes. And I know the joys in your life (that's easy--there are only two--food, and catnip).

I've seen you rolling on the floor, instantly in ecstacy. I've seen you dash through the house in a frenzied state of cat-ti-tude. But I was not prepared for what happened this evening.
My daughter gave you a new kitty treat--a tooth-cleaning kibble filled with catnip.

Apparently that is the real meow-y wowie!

You didn't roll on the floor, you levitated. You didn't dash through the house, you flew on wings. And you made sounds I've never before heard on this earth--a cross between a meow and the squawk of the Aflac Duck. And then a well-deserved nap on the back of the sofa  (**sigh**). You are cute when you're asleep.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vroom, vroom!!!

Have you ever noticed the noises that little boys make when playing with toy cars? ALL of them make the sound of engines roaring and tires screeching. It must be programmed somewhere in that Y chromosome.

And, it appears that it's not just human little boys who carry the trait. Our little monster was doing the crazy psycho-cat run through the house last night. As he came bounding into the family room his paws touched down on the floor (once), then he became airborne and flew onto the desk and, I tell you the truth, he was making a vroom-vroom noise while creating a wake of destruction.

I'm not sure I'm cut out for this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Danger lurks in hidden places

I am a quilter and have many comfy quilts on my chairs and sofas. We tend to keep the heat kinda low in our house (to save $$) and so in the evening we all snuggle up under a quilt.

That used to be a comfortable, pleasant way to relax in our home, but no more.

Now we find that danger lies within. Apparently Pumpkin likes to hide under the quilts (stealth kitty). He waits quietly until you are warm and relaxed, unknowing, unsuspecting. And then he zooms out from under the dark confines of the quilt and POUNCES.

It's all a game--no teeth and soft paws, but my poor old heart can't take this too many more times!

Pop goes the...

...rib bone. No, don't get alarmed. Pumpkin is just fine, but I will never be the same (melodramatic music playing softly in the background).

We were playing--having a great time. One of his toys was behind the sofa, out of reach. Any sane half-intelligent person would have walked around to the back of the sofa to retrieve the toy. Not this girl. N-o-o-o-o-o. I leaned over the back of the sofa. Really leaned. But I'm short and couldn't reach. So, did I give up, and walk around to the back of the sofa? Of course not! I leaned some more. Feet higher than head type of leaning.

And then I heard a "pop".

One broken rib, on the left side, directly beneath the underwire.

I'll be fine. It only hurts when I cough, laugh, reach, bend, move, or breath.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kyla has gained sainthood

Clip art copyrighted by Bobbie Peachey,

How does he do it? Despite the harness with numerous bells attached, Pumpkin continues to be the stealth kitty.

And today, due to his actions, Kyla will soon be canonized--of this I have no doubt. I was IN THE KITCHEN, on the phone and somehow Mr. Stealth got up on the counter, grabbed a stuffed, breaded, boneless skinless (RAW!) chicken breast and retreated with it to his hiding place.

I was totally unaware until I turned around, looked on the counter, and found only one chicken breast where just moments ago there had been two.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We need Kevlar in the kitchen

Does anyone make sandwich bags lined with Kevlar? Dad reached on the top shelf of the pantry to get his English muffins, and found that the baggie of "tooth chewies" was riddled with holes and chewies were/are all over the shelf. That can mean only one thing--that Pumpkin managed to get on the TOP SHELF of the pantry and tear into the bag.

I'd love to see how he did it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where is Pumpkin?!

Two days ago our area was hit with a major winter storm--a deep blanket of snow followed 48 hours later with a severe ice storm. That second storm coated all of the trees with a heavy coat of ice and therein was the reason for the devastation. Hundreds upon hundreds of trees snapped in two, limbs sent crashing onto power lines, cars, rooftops.

We were so very lucky. Unlike other communities, the area in which we live has underground utilities ans so we were spared the days and days without power. Our home was not hit by falling trees. But our 1.5 acres looks like a war zone. Countless limbs have crashed upon beloved trees, shrubs, and flowrbeds, and three huge trees fell across our private road--our only way in and out.

After several days of cutting and shoveling, we made our way out and with 4-wheel drive got our older daughter to work. My husband left home at 9pm this evening to pick her up at the end of her shift and bring her home. But something was amiss.

Where is our little guy? We called and called for Pumpkin but he was no where to be found. My other daughter and I looked everywhere possible (closets, behind cupboard doors, etc.). I even looked in the impossible places (such as the dishwasher and the refrigerator).

Finally, long after returning home with daugher number 1,  my husband went out in the garage and there was Pumpkin. Wet, cold, and shivering. Apparently he had slipped out some time during the day while we were going in and out of the house. We're guessing he might have even ventured outside of the garage--but thankfully there was 10 inches of snow on the ground to convince him that doing so was not a good option.

I don't think he'll want to leave our house again any time soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

He's probably concerned about our diet

I have planned a "comfort food" meal for this evening--home made macaroni and cheese.

I set the bag of dry macaroni on the counter. Silly me! Pumpkin grabbed it with his teeth and ran away with it, as fast as he could, into his "cube". It took only seconds for him to totally destroy the bag and have macaroni scattered all within his hide-away.

..........what else can I cook for dinner?


Ten minutes later -- I thought once he had nabbed the dry macaroni our dinner would be safe. Now he's chewing on a sack of frozen green beans.

Is nothing sacred?