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.