Saturday, April 30, 2011

We're Back!!

What a week to be without internet! I just saw on Daily Dose of Dogs (aka Cats With Your Coffee) that the second cat house, wonderfully dubbed Winnie’s Room, is open! I’m absolutely thrilled for her and the cat house cats, which includes Leo’s sisters! Congratulations Chrystal!!

So, no internet, no phone, no netflix.. I feel like I’ve been living in a cave since Monday! We thought it was a limb that took out the line during high winds, but when the repair man showed up today he said that squirrels had chewed through the line on the opposite side from where the branch was on the line. He left the branch so now we’re worried that we’re going to go through this again soon. I hope not! He also said that we should not have had to wait all week, with no service at all we should have been on the top of the list! I thought it was too long to wait, and they are going to hear about it..

On to the kitties! They’ve had a heck of a week too! I heard about the pheremon plug in called comfort zone on another blog before I lost the internet last weekend so I got one to see if it would help Leo and Star finally start getting along. Leo has gotten more bold, but Star is still al hissy and growly.

I was going to keep a log for the week with the new plug in, so I could post it when I finally got the internet back, but I never actually wrote anything down.. I’d like to say it was because of getting my niece (the live in) ready for her big move to Alaska this coming week, but really, I haven’t done much more than cook for her going away party which is tomorrow. So I’ll just try to give you a few highlights.

Just about three hours or so after we plugged it in Star laid down in front of my niece, turned her head upside down and looked up at her with her, "Pet me please" look. Star, as you may recall, likes only Greg really, likes me when he’s sleeping or gone, and barely tolerates anyone else, including the niece, except for her hair, which she can’t keep her paws off. So this was quite a big deal. The niece pet her for a little while, and still has both arms and all her fingers!

This, however, was our one major breakthrough.. Star and Leo are still not best friends, and she’s still all hissy and a little growly. It’s funny though, he still doesn’t care. And he’s started letting her know that he’s tired of how things are going. I have hopes that he’ll win her over, though I’m not sure some of his tactics are the best route to go down..

Take for instance the way he’s decided that she is pounce-able. At least once a day he will duck down, chin between his paws, rear wiggling, tail twitching, while he watches her walk through the room. Then he’ll jump out at her and take off , usually evading the paws of death.

The other day, she didn’t even have time to hiss! He was on the footstool that he’s claimed as his kingdom and she was walking past. She must not have noticed him because she sat down a foot or so away. Then he leaped off the footstool, landed on her, immediately sprung to the hall and laid down, blocking the way to the stairs with the best cat-that-ate-the-canary look on his face. She looked bewildered for a moment, then silently, tail between her legs, slunk quickly past him and rushed upstairs. It really was too funny!

Later I will share some of the pictures I have on the camera of the week, but for today I will share with you some pictures of my silly boy and the kitty teaser. He really loves that thing..

Please pardon the poor quality of the following cell phone pictures.. I wish he’d be so cute when I get out the camera!

My toy! nom nom

...nom nom nom.. Chewy...

Note his feet in the next two.. He’s pushing off the footstool as he plays! Just too adorable!


*Scoot scoot*... I’ll get you again!

And this one is just... too cute!!!
Look at that belly! So snugable!
And that tail! What an amazing plume of a tail he has!

My toy.. Only mine hee hee

Monday, April 25, 2011

Star's Obsession

So Star has an obsession... Probably more than one, but her main obsession, something she cannot resist, is wet hair. She loves it! It’s like the best catnip in the world to her! Any wet hair will do. The funny thing is, when it comes to my niece’s hair, the live in, not the twin, she doesn’t care if it’s wet or dry. She just wants that hair!

She will stick her head into the hair, roll around on it, dig at it with her claws, rub on the head it’s attached to, and generally act like she’s getting freaky in the ‘nip! Her purr is never louder than when she’s head deep in hair.

Ah niece hair.. yummy hair.. must love hair..

If hair isn’t available, she’ll take a comb. If there’s a brush! Forget about it! She loves to rub on a brush. She will hold it in her paws and comb her face on it. And drool on it..

Brush brush brush... brushin' my face...

If the niece leaves a headband around? Oh yeah, she’s got it. She tries to roll herself up in the band. I know she’s a little kitty.. But not that little! Ponytailers? They work, but not as much fun as a headband. Mostly, I suppose, because she gets those taken away quickly as she can render them useless in about three minutes..

Ah headband... I wuv you..

It’s a weird feeling, to have your hair combed by kitty claws... And the poke holes in the shoulders can be a bear when she’s trying to reach up high enough. I thought perhaps it was a certain shampoo, but it doesn’t seem to matter what brand, scent, or type. It must be the feel, but then explain the nieces dry hair?

Whatever it is, we don’t try to explain it any more, we just giggle at her and let her go nuts. And really, she’s never sweeter, more apt to let you pet her without fear of losing a hand, than when she’s getting her hair fix. The cuddly, pet-me!, sweet attitude lasts for a good five minutes after she’s done with the hair. Then she’s back to her usual self. She’s not an overly cuddly kitty, taking pets only on her own terms. Except for those few minutes with the hair.

Give me a head with hair,
long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair,
shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

My Headband... purrr


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Have a Colorful Easter!

Leo and Star and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter!
Leo is intregued by everything.

Ooo what are these! Pretty colors!
For me? Not hidden very well, but I’ll take it!
Star is bored with the whole affair.

Wake me when it’s over..

Have a good one!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lazy Day

We're doing Easter on Good Friday this year to accommodate those who work on Sunday, so we've been quite busy cooking and packing up baskets today. The kitties, though they've had their bursts of wild play time, have had a bit of a lazy day too.

Leo on the footstool he's claimed as his very own, both the top and under it.

Star, in her spot on the back of the couch.

I'll write more another time, for now it's back to dipping eggs!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Leo Gets Bold

This morning, too early for me really.. My niece (not the live-in, the twin) woke up and got all chatty, so I had to get up and listen. Not that I mind listening, I just prefer to be more awake for these discussions. Anyway, Star was perched on my hip when the chatty one came in, and she decided that this was far too much conversation in the morning for her too so she jumped down and went to patrol her kingdom.
Leo must have been upstairs because we heard hissing in the hall and then bounding down the stairs. Star came back to the bed, foe vanquished, and made herself at home with a smug little kitty look on her face. Then she spied a comb.. Oh does she love combs and brushes! She has a weird thing about hair that I'll tell you about another time. For now I'll just say that she claimed the comb and preceded to rub it all over her face.

Leo, not nearly as vanquished as Star presumed, trotted back into the room, tail high, and did some sentry duty back and forth at the foot of the bed. Checking for hanging sheets and hiding places one would suppose. This did not disturb her highness as she was too busy with the previously mentioned comb.
That is, until Leo the Bold jumped, yes, jumped! onto the bed and ran a quick circuit, leaping Princess HissyFace so fast that she barely had time to register a belated growl before he was gone! She was, however, now apprised of the fact that the Intruder was intruding in HER space. Comb all but forgotten, she watched him scope out the room, being held back from putting him in his place by two previously chatty humans.
This was not his only infraction either! He had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to walk across.... her own, personal, private, hitherto unadulterated, special closet bean bag! He didn't just walk across it, he stamped! Removing and rearranging her custom fitted indentations! Oh the humanity! um... Oh the Cattity?

As he trod and squished and generally took his time squishing the squishy bean bag, she growled from her spot on the bed. She never moved, she just... growled.. The entire time he had paw to bean bag! It was funny really, like she was telling him, loudly and repeatedly, that he was trespassing on sacred ground, but she never moved a muscle to actually do anything about it.
She might, just might, be mellowing? Or perhaps she was guarding an even greater treasure.. The lovely blue comb!
(I appologize for the cell phone pictures, that's all that was handy!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So Why Leo?

Surely there have to be many gray kitties much closer to home, no? Yes, there probably are. But I wasn’t looking for a kitty, remember, gray or otherwise. Star, supposedly, is happy being an only kitty. Although I did wonder if the attacks she’d been leveling on weren’t because she was lonely. My mother had a cat that attacked her ankles in sneak blitz attacks when he did not have a furry friend. She lost many cats, we assumed runaways, until it was discovered that foxes had moved in closer due to new housing in the area.
You see, when I was a kid, we had woods on three sides of us and a field across the street. Now there are houses where the fields were and a few more in the woods. Anyway, between foxes and chicken hawks, she had a problem. Her current kitty, Sir Moose-a-lot Roadkill Goodyear Thunderbottom, is not allowed out at night and that seems to have solved the issue. But I digress.

Star’s attacks on me might have been a cry for furry friendship, or it might have just been her cranky personality getting crankier as she gets older. But it made me think that a new kitty might be the solution. I still have that hope. The attacks on me have stopped anyway. And Leo’s too fast for her to lay a paw on really. I have high hopes that they will be cuddling someday, though I concede that it might take a little more time.

So you know that I fell in love with that furry gray face when Chrystal first showed the little feral kittens she was catching. The fact that he was gray was only one factor. A huge one, but coupled with another huge one. And that huge one was his name. Someone asked, I think on Chrystal’s blog, if I was going to keep his name. I have to! His name told me that he was mine.

My gramma, the one who got my first gray kitten, Misty, was the sweetest, most wonderful woman on earth. She and I were very close. Though we don’t believe in astrology, we both have the same astrological sign. Leo. A cat. Which we thought was perfect since we were cat people. I stayed with her a lot and we played cards a lot. With a deck of cards with a Leo on them that we joked only Leo’s could play with! We even made a show of changing decks when my grampa would join us for a hand or two.

I loved that woman more than anything, and I lost her about a year and a half ago. It left a huge hole in my life that I still struggle with. And then one day, a gray cat that looks like my gramma’s cat, and looks like my cat, shows up with THAT name.. Well, I’m not superstitious, but I have to think maybe there’s something to it. Did she find him for me? I don’t know. It would be nice to think so wouldn’t it?

So Why Leo? Because he’s got a name that reminds me of a special bond with my special gramma. Because he looks like her kitty. Because he looks like my kitty. Because he was scared when he showed up. Because I understand scared. Because everything added up to him being the perfect cat for me.

Thought you might want to see Moose
aka Sir Moose-a-lot Roadkill Goodyear Thunderbottom

My mother's cat. He's sporting a shirt sized for 18 month olds.

Can't go out at night, Moosey, preditors!

And my sweet Leo!
Mom, I need more toys!

Monday, April 18, 2011

story by the neice!

Yes its the Neice,
First you all should know im not a good writer, my mind has so many thoughts that I just can't get them down in order or in an understandable sense  but I will try.

Well Mr.Leo loves it here. He gets a lot of lovings from my Aunt. He gets all the treats he wants, tons of toys, and lots of people to play with him.
I was watching my friends 2 year old son and he just loves cats! Well Star don't like to play much with him so she hides whenever the kid is around and so was Leo. My Twin decided to get a string toy and hold the baby and they were playing with Leo and Leo came out of hiding to play. So Leo decided he enjoyed this new playmate, and they played the whole afternoon. (I think Leo also enjoyed being fallowed around.)

As I'm typing this Leo is climbing up my chair and only stopped when he found he couldn't go any higher!

Well I hope you all keep reading my Aunts posts and stories I know the whole family love them. I also know when I leave home for a couple months that I can aways find a smile from this blog :)

Peace out and enjoy!

by the way she posted below this one so read on

Gray Cat Obsession?

Why do I have two gray cats? No, I didn’t set out to have a matched set. No, that’s not the only kind of cat I like. No, I’m not color blind. No, I’m not obsessed... mostly.

My first kitty was a tiger. I got her for improving my grades in the second grade. My parents said I should pick out a boy kitten from a litter their friends parents had. We visited and I got to play with the litter on the porch. When my parents were ready to leave they asked if the kitten in my lap was the one I chose. I was pretty sure someone had said that this one was a girl, but I said, yes, this was my kitty and I named ‘him’ Morris. After Morris’s first trip to the vet my mother said that I should rename him because he was a she. So I said how about Maurice. My mom said that was basically the same name so I decided to think about it. Before I came up with a new name, she became known forever more as "Momma Cat."

She presented us with three little bundles of joy every spring, and the occasional fall, for the next 10 years or so. Most of those babies were also tigers/tabbies. Black tigers. Grey tigers. Orange tigers, which were at least different! But tigers. Occasionally there would be something else. We had a few black and white tuxedo kitties. One dilute torbie, who was a terrible mother and always let her mother, my Momma cat, nurse and care for her babies for the most part. We had a couple white with tiger patches, and one solid black. I always liked the odd balls best because they were different.

One year, the set of three consisted of a dark tabby/tiger, a black and white tuxedo, and the prettiest, fluffiest solid gray kitty! Oh she was the sweetest thing! I wanted to keep her. We usually tried to find homes for the kitties, especially the girls so we didn’t become over run. The most we had at one time was 17. That’s when Maria, the dilute torbie, went for a ride with my parents, who handed her to a group of kids on a corner, asking if they wanted a kitty... I understand their desperation.. But I was freaked out.

Anyway, so we had this set of kitties, and I wanted to keep the grey, but as she grew and they started weaning and eating a problem arose. At that time my parents didn’t buy cat food, they bought puppy chow. I think it was cheaper and as I said, we had a lot of cats. The little gray kitty had issues with the puppy chow, it would get stuck on the roof of her mouth between her teeth and she would go nuts trying to get it unstuck. Her mouth was narrower than the other kittens and even though I would try to break some pieces up for her, she would still eat the larger pieces too.

My gramma wanted a kitty at this time as the previous kitty we’d given her, who was indoor and outdoor, had run away the year before. All of our kitties were indoor and outdoor, or mostly outdoor with garage privileges in the winter. We took this litter of three to my gramma’s and I kept telling her how wonderful the gray one was, how it was the nicest and sweetest and she wouldn’t cause her any problems! I knew gramma would get her real cat food and she wouldn’t have any more puppy chow issues there. It worked, because that’s the kitty she took. Not caring for Foggy, which was the name I gave her, she renamed her Misty, Miss Misty Fog. And she lived there happily, fixed, all indoors, for over 15 years.

I got to visit her of course, but she hated everyone except my gramma, and my grampa. My uncle called her Slash LaRue because she would rather smack you than look at you.

Her sister, the tiger, went to my great gramma, and was given the name Trixie because she loved to climb the curtains. The Tuxedo became my best buddy for many years and went by the name Sausage or Specks depending on if you asked me or my dad, who also loved him.

So a few years later, Momma Cat once again graced us with a gray kitten. I was keeping her! But my sister wanted her and she was about to move out with her boyfriend/fiancé. He had a siamese named Asti Spumante, (after the wine), and my sister wanted the gray kitten and called her Champaign Bubbles. So ok ok, I gave her up.. Unfortunately, she never made it away from our house.. She got a cold, and slept a lot, and one place she found to sleep was on top of a tire on my sisters car. I won’t go into the horror of what happened next.

When I moved out, in with a friend who had a grey tiger named Sadie, I took along Sheldon, a very fluffy white with the dark tiger patches, and Evenrude, a solid black kitty. Sadie was not fixed, neither were my boys yet, so the inevitable happened. My friend didn’t want to keep her kitty in that condition, so I took her rather than see her turned out. In the mean time, Greg and I got married. When the bid day (for Sadie) arrived, one of her kittens was a solid grey! Now this one would be mine, right!! I had a home for the other two, so it was going to be perfect.

Evenrude did not like being an all indoor kitty and did not care for all the other kitties, so we found him a home with a friend. Sadie would become my nephew’s kitty in a few years, so I would have Sheldon and the grey. That was the plan anyway.. Until some neighborhood kids knocked at the door and said that they’d been chasing a black kitten and it was under my truck now and could they open the hood and get it out. Finding out that it was not their kitten, I told them no. I got my brother in law to open the hood of the truck and I grabbed the tiny thing, and it flipped out! It bit my thumb so hard I had to let it go. We couldn’t catch it again so my brother in law left and I kept an eye out until my husband came home.

Greg enticed the kitty out from under our cars, (we had many), with a dish of food. It must have been starving! Greg was wearing welding gloves because by that time my thumb was swollen up twice it’s size. Little as it was this kitten was a fighter! We locked it in the bathroom for the time being. Long story short, it did not have any sickness, rabies, or distemper. For a week all we really saw of it was a little black butt racing behind the toilet. It was so frightened that it wanted nothing to do with us. I would sit on the floor and try to get it to come to me, so I could at least see if it was a boy or a girl! But nothing. So after we knew it was healthy, I sat on the floor and opened the door and let Sadie’s kittens come see what was in there.
The tiger kitten my mother in law named Hobbes walked straight in, no hesitation. And out from behind the toilet, tail straight up, came the little black baby! He was tinier than our kittens, and ours weren’t weaned! These two became fast friends, and happily, Sadie adopted him and he was able to nurse until they were all fully weaned together.

But this new buddy relationship caused me a problem.. Hobbes was due to go to his new home with the other tiger sister and the gray was the kitten staying.. Could I break up this duo? No... I didn’t have the heart to do that. So the woman who was taking the two tigers was thrilled that she was getting the extra fluffy gray and the pretty tiger. Another gray kitty slipped through my paws.. Er.. Hands.

Oh, and to top it off, Calvin, which we named the black kitten, and Hobbes wound up not being buddies before a year was out! Calvin became inseparable from Sheldon, one of the original 2. Hobbes, poor thing, could not stand anyone else getting attention. If someone was petting him, and another kitty was getting pet by someone else, he would run over and shove his way between. Then he’d see the person who had been petting him and oh! must have pets from them too! So he’d run back. He was making him self crazy trying to get all the pets! We decided that he would be calmer and happier as an only cat, so I found him a home with a family with two youngish kids. He thrived! As an only cat, all pets were his pets! And they adored him!
Fast forward several years and I had Calvin, Kikken (a very fat calico) and Nikita (a seal point Himalayan). But no gray kitty.. Perhaps I am not meant to have a gray kitty..

Then one day there I am, in my usual parking spot on the street, waiting to pick my nieces up from school, and I glance over at the house I’m sitting next to. There had been a free kitten sign in the front yard for a while, but it was gone now. Sitting on that front porch was a little gray kitty. It was sitting up properly, looking straight ahead, not to the right or left (where I was) and it was meowing. I could see it’s mouth moving every few seconds. Meow. .... Meow .... Meow .... over and over. And I thought, ooo that must be one of the kittens they were giving away! Ok, so it looks half grown now, but it’s still a gray kitten, right!
I started praying that if it was to be my kitty, that it would work out. Then I asked Greg what he thought. You see, he thought with our small house, that three cats was all we should have. But he also knew how much I wanted a gray kitty! So he said if they were giving it away, I could have it!

But they were never home... We checked every day for a while, no one was ever there and I never saw the kitty on the porch again. Sigh, no gray kitty for me... Weeks go by, and one day my nephew was in the car with me as I saw waiting for the twins. I asked him to, just for fun, to see if anyone was home. And they were!! Did they still have the gray kitty? They did! But she wasn’t one of the kittens, she was one of the momma’s! That little thing? Yup, petite little Star, named by their little girls, was a full grown, two year old mommy cat.

And she was mine! They were moving, divorcing, and all kitties needed new homes. So we walked out with a gray kitty! And she hid under the couch for three days.. Until I got my hands on her again and put her in the cat room where I made friends with her by visiting several times a day. Then she came out and told the rest of kitties, all much much older than her, that she was going to be the top cat now!

She was ‘my’ kitty for several years, but slowly, her allegiance transferred to Greg.. She is now fully his cat. I’m only a poor substitute when he’s not around. So, there I was, once again, gray-cat-less...

UNTIL NOW!!!! Leo’s my baby and I’m his adoring slave. We belong to each other, my heart kitty and me!

I finally got that video off my nieces phone!
So here's Leo being slightly klutzy, or just silly! (please ignore the remnants of dinner on the table..)

Here are a few pictures of Star.

One of Star's favorite sleeping places is a bean bag chair in my closet.

The Kong Kickaroo is one of the best toys around!

The ring with the ball in it... took her ages to actually touch the ball.
She still sits in it more than plays with it.
It's like a bottomless kitty bed?

Even upside down, she's beautiful!

Star loves the pillows around here too!
That fuzzy bit on her belly.. that's her tail.

Sorry the pictures are not the greatest quality, they are from my phone, not the camera and it doesn't have the best camera in it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Cushy Life

Today I was going to tell you why I have two gray kitties.. But something happened that was just too cute not to share! So Monday I’ll tell you about my gray cat obsession, lol!

I’ve told you that we don’t know where Leo goes when he’s upstairs except that he smells like my nieces cedar bed. Well this morning (afternoon!) as I was starting to leave my bedroom to go downstairs I glanced back and caught sight of something so I turned and couldn’t believe what I saw. Under the sheet that was hanging off my bed, was a gray furry body! (I am not a bedspread kind of person and the sheet usually hangs to the floor, but today it was about 5 inches up)

Star was already waiting for me at the top of the stairs, as usual, to escort me down, so I knew wasn’t her. I went over and picked up the hanging sheet, looked under and Leo was laying there with a cat-ate-the-canary look on his face. It's like he was pulling one over on Star being in "her" room and she didn't have a clue. Well, maybe a tiny clue.. When I'm getting ready is one of the times I'm supposed to pet her highness, but she was restless and kept walking to the edge of the bed, ears swiveling, looking around in a paranoid fashion. I looked out into the hall and didn't see Leo anywhere, so I thought maybe she heard him moving around downstairs. He does start to call me when he thinks I'm coming down but I hadn't heard him yet. (now I know why!) For sure she hadn't seen him, because if she had, there would have been fireworks!

Anyway, when I reached down to pet him, he moved away so I patted the bed and said, "Hey, Leo, come up here." My big, tall, fuzzy man stood on his back feet and put his paws on the bed and peeked over! He looked like one of those 'Kilroy was here' things! Too cute! I have a high bed because it’s got drawers under it, so this was impressive! Star can’t come close to doing that! I patted the bed again and he crawled his way up. Big as he is, he doesn’t jump anywhere, he climbs, silly boy.

As he walked across the bed toward me you could see this look on his face like "Hey... this is soft and cushy!" He let me pet him once then went to the other side, found a depression in the sheets and snuggled in, "Oh I could get used to this, mom!" (This is a tubular bed, which is like a water bed except the water is in 12 tubes running length-wise across the bed and covered with a 1-2 inch mattress-ey top, so it's not as mushy as a water bed, but smooshier than a regular mattress.)

I decided to leave him to it because he looked so comfy and head down with Star so she wouldn't see him there and have five kinds of fits because the bed is definitely her territory! She spends most of the day there until Greg comes home. I wasn’t half way down the stairs when a large gray bullet ran past me! Guess he wasn’t going to give up Leo Scarf time!

I do believe Leo the Chinese Lion is liking the cushy life around here!

Sparkle Toy Fun

"Is that a sparkle toy bouncing around up there?"

"It is! it is a sparkle toy! I'm gonna get you sparkle toy!"

"Gotcha! Bwhahaha!"

At this point, he ran off with it, which he loves to do. But this particular sparkle toy is on an elastic string.. so he gets so far and it snapped back to me! He goes nuts trying to figure out how it got away!
Once, he ran with it around the corner and it snapped away from ME, it flew into the other room and hit my niece who was on the computer. A shot from no where! A shot from nowhere!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Leo Top Ten

When Leo had been here for exactly a week, I sent an email to Chrystal with a top ten kind of list. Yes, I’m that goofy, but hey, it’s all true! Let me share most of that email with you:

It is so hard to believe it’s been a whole week since Leo arrived. Then again, it’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been a week! He’s just the sweetest thing and I’m totally enamored with him!

Since it has been a week, let me share with you 10 things I now know about Leo:

1. He’s a love bug! Such a cuddler! He wants to be near me, and not just near, he HAS to be touching me. If he’s between my feet on the footstool, his head is on my ankle. If he’s next to me on the couch or computer chair, he’s leaning his head on me. If I’m holding him, better yet, he curls up in my arms and stays there until I swear my arms will fall off!

2. He calls me! He always wants to know where I am and will call when he doesn’t see me. I call back and he comes trotting over, and depending on his mood, will either go back to playing or exploring or he will demand pets and cuddles.

3. He’s a carrier! There is nothing so cute as seeing him carry around toys! He carries mice, fuzzy balls, and the end of the kitty teaser! The teaser is a long piece of fleece on a stick, and once in a while he’ll pick up the end in his mouth and carry it to the other side of the room! Makes it look like I’m fishing for kitties! And he does it several times a play session!

4. He will let me play with his toes! I love those extra toes, and the fur between his toes is irresistible!

5. The claw on his extra toes is shaped oddly, kind of crooked and wavy.

6. He is not intimidated by growls, hisses, or even being chased! I think he even encourages it sometimes! Star can be hissing almost in his face and he just keeps going like he doesn’t see it or hear it. His attitude is actually starting to wear her down! She’s getting tired of growling when it produces no results.

7. He loves snack time! But he still has to check out what Star got in her bowl before he finishes his own! Of course, she has complete fits about this breach of protocol, but see number 6! (last night they both took turns going to each others bowls and back again, it was too funny as they had the same thing!)

8. He hides well! He has been upstairs at least half a dozen times now, and we have yet to know where he goes when he’s up there, sometimes for hours! He gets in the tiniest spaces! He squeezes behind a TV cabinet, which cant be more than 3 or 4 inches from the wall, and he even got under it and that’s a space probably 4 inches high!

9. He does not understand TV! The first time I turned it on, he disappeared and didn’t show up again until it was off.. I turned it on once when he was sleeping on my footstool between my feet, volume off, and after a while he yawned, caught sight of it from the corner of his eye and fell off the footstool! He slunk out of the room and did not come back. That was in the first few days, yet still today he looks at the TV oddly like he’s wondering what in the world all that noise and movement is.

10. He might be a little klutzy! If he’s on the footstool while playing, he WILL fall off, it’s only a matter of time. If he’s on the computer chair with me, he will fall off more than once, while sleeping or readjusting because I had the audacity to shift.

I just love him for all those and so much more! He’s my cat for sure, exactly as I hoped he would be. He tolerates Greg, he puts up with the nieces (especially the one that lives with us), he acknowledges the nephew and his fiance, but me, he LOVES. He has claimed me and I couldn’t be happier!

Greg asked today, "Now that he’s been here a week, is he everything you wanted?" You bet he is! For all the reasons I’ve said, and a million more, he’s all I hoped for. There’s only one thing that I didn’t expect, and that’s his size! Such a big boy, and still growing! But I don’t even care about that, he’s MY big boy. Star can happily prefer Greg, and I’m glad for the two of them, but I don’t feel left out any more because of my precious Leo the Chinese Lion!

Thank you, Chrystal, so much for one of the best thing anyone’s ever given me!

Tomorrow it will be three weeks since I got my sweet Chinese Lion. Has he changed in that short of time? A little yes, and a little no.

He is still a huge cuddler! And I’m still thrilled about it! I joked to Chrystal in the first email I sent her when we arrived home with Leo that there had been a terrible mistake. I was supposed to get Leo the Chinese Lion, but she’d given me Leo the Chinese Parrot instead! All because he rode half of the 8 hour trip on my shoulder. He is still a shoulder sitter! When I’m at the computer, he thinks that’s time just for him and he crawls up me until I let him on my shoulder. If I try to get him to lay next to me, he leaves, though he did sleep there for hours in the first couple days. He’s back in minutes though, crawling back up to my shoulder and I have to just let him.

I think it was my mother who called him a Leo scarf! And that’s exactly what it feels like! He lays over my shoulder, chin hanging down my back and purrs and purrs and just wants to sleep there. And it’s always my mouse arm! I can’t get him to switch so I can at least do something, no, he wants what he wants and that’s it! If I’m talking to someone on line, I type "Leo scarf"’ and that means ‘sorry, cant type for a while, huggin’ my baby!’

Leo Scarf

He still calls me in the morning and I call back. He still carries toys around. And still has the most adorable toes in the world! He still doesn’t care if Star hisses herself dry, he never says a word back to her, just doesn’t care. I think he’s telling her in his own way, "You can be top cat, just shut up ok?"

Star on left, in her usual spot. Leo tries to get close to her sometimes.

A week or so later, he's closer still.
She didn't know he was there and just after taking this pic,
he stretched out a paw and touched her butt. Boy did she freak!

He loves his nightly snack and yup, still has to check out what Star had. We know that he goes upstairs but have not actually seen him there more than once. However, he tends to smell like cedar, so we’re sure that he’s spending time under the niece’s bed as that’s the only cedar in the house!

That's the end of his tail as he squeezes behind the cabinet.. Silly cat.

He’s not afraid of the TV any more, but he does look at it oddly, still trying to figure out what it is. Klutzy? Yup. And if I can figure out how to get it off her phone, I’ll post a video of him being silly and falling off a chair that my niece took.

Don't like the TV.. turn it off mom...

I love him to pieces, he’s my heart kitty. I didn’t really know if he was going to be this snuggly, and I was prepared for him to favor someone else. I was prepared for him to take forever to adjust to the move and to get used to us. I even tried to prepare myself for the possibility that he would still be too feral and scared to ever love any of us. But all those fears were unfounded. He loves me and I love him! It’s more than I expected and everything I hoped for.

Ah, the kitty teaser!

Having carried it off, he sits with his prize..
until it starts to wiggle again!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Home, The First Days!

So now we were home with our new bundle of fur. I thought it might be best if I went in the house first, without Leo, so that I could say hello to Star and give her some attention before she realized she was not an only kitty any more. I figured if she got her fist whiff of him on me, then she might think 'hey, that's an interesting new smell..' But Star was true to herself..
Whenever we go away over night Star holds it against us. She refuses to come down to meet us. She refuses to let us pet her. She holds a grudge and makes sure you know it. The day we brought home Leo was no exception. So we finally brought him in, still in his kennel, and set him on the floor in the living room. I saw him look frightened in this new space and no hidey hole to run into in the kennel. So I wrapped my coat around half the cage, making basically a three sided tent if you will.
I wish I'd thought to do that during the trip... Maybe he would have eaten or drank or used the litter box. I still can't believe he went 8 hours without doing that. Greg continued to unload the van and make sure we didn't forget anything and I heard Leo crunch a few pieces of his food. Thank goodness he was eating! (again, why didn't I think to cover the stupid kennel!) I called to Star, without much hope that she'd come downstairs. I sat on the couch with my leg up, (old hip injury acting up throughout the trip, fun), and started writing an email to Chrystal to let her know we made it home. I was startled to hear a hiss! I looked down and saw a gray streak heading back to the stairs.
Star and Leo had met. And it was not an auspicious start.
It was late, getting close to midnight. So we decided to put Leo in the cat room. Actually it's our laundry room, but we have used it for a cat room for so long that the name stuck. It's just off the kitchen, but it has no heat vent so years ago we took the sliding door off and replaced it with one we made. It's a frame in the same size as the door but we used plastic trellis board in the frame so air, warm and cool, will pass through. And so the kitties can see out and we can see in.
Kennel and all went into the kitty room with a blanket over half so he could hide if he decided to stay in the kennel. But that was not his intention! As soon as Greg opened the kennel door, he came out, tail up and nose going as he took everything in. Greg tried to pet him a little but he decided that under the utility sink looked like a nice spot.
I finished up my longish email to Chrystal and we headed up to bed, after checking on Leo once again. But all we saw of him was one hairy eyeball staring out from behind a covered bucket under the sink.
Star decided that since we were in 'her' room, she might allow us to pet her. But we had to work at it. She tends to sit at the very end of your reach, making you lean to pet her at the best of times. That night, she sat just a little further than that even and gave us reproachful looks. We kept telling her that we still loved her even though there was a new baby in the house. Not sure she was buying it that night..
If you read the comments from yesterday/last night, you might have noticed that my niece talked about seeing Leo when she got home from work in the middle of the night. She begged to be allowed to go in and see him and I finally relented. I had wanted him to have a peaceful night, but I do tend to be a push over when it comes to my nieces and nephew..
She had told me that he was meowing and I was surprised because he did not make one single peep the whole ride home. Though he did meow once or twice when he was brought in the house. Anyway, I said she could go see if she could see him, thinking he was hiding out of sight, I thought there was a fair chance she might not actually see him at all. I was so wrong... She answered his meow and when she went in, he kept it up and she moved a few things and he came right out! He rubbed around and around her ankles and let her pet him!
After a while she came back upstairs and said that Leo was hers because he loves her! The brat! lol
In the morning, I came down and heard him calling. For me! Ha, so there brat niece! lol I had her go in and bring him out to me. He let me cuddle him for a little bit, but he was more interested in exploring his new home. My niece followed him around to make sure he didn't get himself into trouble, and probably to make sure he liked her.. But he was fine. Until he went to the bottom of the stairs..
Star came down and was sitting on the third step when Leo wandered over. We all thought, uh oh.. cat fight coming.. But all she did was sit there and growl and hiss at him. Leo's response? If he could talk he would have been saying "Whatever... Dish it out lady, I'm not leaving." He completely ignored her! She gave up and went back upstairs. Leo, who was exploring every inch of downstairs, showed no inclination to follow her and explore up there.
We were getting ready to leave for church and thought we'd put him back in the cat room to be safe while we were gone. But he totally disappeared! We couldn't find him anywhere so one of the girls, (the niece's twin was here by then) volunteered to stay at our house to keep an eye on him and to prevent any cat fights. No worries. But we had no idea where he was hiding! He's not a small cat as I've mentioned, so I don't know where he could have been. (I'll tell you more about that later as I'm getting long winded again here..)
For the next few days we kept Leo locked up at night and in the morning (my mornings start around noon!) he would start calling me as soon as he heard me on the stairs and I would go let him out. He would rub on my ankles and let me pet him. But he would only stay out of hiding as long as he could see me! He was MY kitty! He'd call to me when I was out of his sight, and I'd call back and we'd find each other and have a good snuggle! He stayed mostly in the kitchen and dining room those first days, coming to the living room only if I went ahead of him letting him follow close to my feet. Then Star would show up and he'd retreat after a few minutes of ignoring her.
On about the third night, we went to put Leo in his room, with his nightly snack, (Star gets hers in the living room) and he said, "I don't think so" and scurried out before the door could be shut! He actually tried to nose in on Star's treat bowl! Of course, she was having none of that. Another attempt to put him in his room failed, so I said ok buddy, we'll try it. We brought his treat to the living room and he stayed out all night. There were no altercations at all, so he's not been locked in since.
I have so much more I wanted to tell about his first days! But I know this is getting really long.. So tomorrow, or later tonight, I will post something I sent to Chrystal when Leo'd been here for a week. I called it, "10 things I now know about Leo!"
Thank you all for the kind words and welcome! I think I'm going to enjoy sharing Leo's, and Star's, stories!
Here's the handsome boy giving the bedroom eyes.

 And here he is being a silly sleeper!

 Ah, the cushy life! Pillows and blankets are his friends!

Face To Face

Two and a half weeks ago, 8 hours from home, I fell in love all over again. That’s when I met the new man in my life. His name is Leo. Leo the Chinese Lion. And he is absolutely the mostly cuddly, sweet, fluffy, snugglishious grey kitty I’ve ever seen!

And I owe it all to Chrystal of Daily Dose of Dogs (AKA Cats With Your Coffee)! She is a private rescuer who took in a family of 6 little feral kittens last October, one of which is Leo. She’s an amazing woman with a heart as big as all outdoors! If you want to read about Leo from his very beginning, check out her blog. Leo’s story starts in the archives on October 8th.

That is the day I first set eyes on Leo, even before he had a name. I saw that little grey face with the huge scared eyes and my heart melted. I looked for mention (and pictures!) of him over the next few months and I shared the stories with my husband, Greg. I kept telling him that if we lived closer I’d want to try to adopt him. Of course, neither of us thought our older kitty, Star, would accept another kitty even if we did live closer. So I tried to content myself with pipe dreams of that fuzzy little baby.

I would joke with Greg about trying to contact Chrystal to ask about Leo, and we’d laugh because it seemed such a far fetched thing. Then something odd began happening. Greg started talking like maybe it didn’t have to be a joke or pipe dream. Then I started thinking he was the crazy one. Didn’t he know how far away this kitty was? He knew I was a little jealous that Star was HIS kitty. I’ve always loved cats and always had one or more. But this kitty, an only kitty for many years, slowly had transferred from being my kitty, to being his. She loves him deeply and completely.

If I’m holding Star and Greg comes in, she leaves me for him. If he’s sleeping, she will let me pet her as she lays on my book. But if Greg so much as shifts a finger, she rushes over to him to see if he will pet her! I’m only good enough for her if he’s not around. Yes, I think it’s funny, but I want a cuddly cat too!

So back to Leo. I tried to contact Chrystal a few times and heard nothing. Then one day I got an email saying she’d been trying to contact me! I have no idea why I didn’t get her e-mails, I’d even checked my spam folder several times. Whatever the reason, we got in contact with each other finally and I told her how much I would love to have Leo. We e-mailed back and forth a few times and it just became more and more obvious that this could really happen! Greg even decided to ask for a few days off so we didn’t have to wait for vacation to go get the kitty!

Fast forward to two and a half weeks ago and we loaded up my mom’s van with a kitty carrier, kennel, and gifts for the special woman about to make my dreams come true! Saturday as we prepared to check out of our hotel we got a call, Chrystal and Leo were there! If we hadn’t had trouble with the hotel doors and keys and manager we’d have been at the gas station to meet them in, I swear, 3 minutes! I was that excited! I don’t know how long it actually took, probably no more than 15 minutes that felt like an hour, but we pulled into the gas station and looked around for a car with someone looking for us.

We pulled into the just vacated spot next to Chrystal and I was beside myself with excitement! I had to slow down enough to give her the things I’d brought for her and her kitties because I knew once I got my hands on Leo I’d totally forget what I wanted to say! Still, we quickly got to the main event, the transfer of Leo The Chinese Lion! She handed us her carrier, and I asked Greg to get in the back of the van with me in case he got out and ran around and I couldn’t catch him. I was prepared for the worst.

I needn’t have worried. I opened the carrier and he sat there looking at me with huge gold eyes. I reached in to get him out, not an easy task, but I finally pulled him into my arms and he melted into my chest! This was not going to be one of those don’t-touch-me kitties! I wanted to just sit there and hold him, but Chrystal was waiting, so I reluctantly put him into the carrier. Chrystal had suggested the carrier rather than the kennel right away so he would feel enclosed and safe. He went to the back of the carrier and huddled.

We gave Chrystal back her carrier and after hugs and well wishes, we headed out for out 8 hour drive home. Was it excitement, I wonder, that had Greg get on the highway in the wrong direction? I don’t know, but I, for one, thought it was too funny! If you know Greg, you know that this kind of thing rarely ever happens to him, so when it does, I gotta tease! Love you Greg!

We got turned around at the first exit and about 20 minutes into our drive, I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to get him out of the carrier and into my arms. It was a lot harder to get him out of my carrier because it has a rim and he’s a very strong boy! But I got him out and he immediately crawled up to my shoulder, snuggling under my neck and leaning into my head. Ok, I thought, this is good for a minute.. But I can’t see him! I could, however, pet him, and I did. Eventually he started purring, but he refused to move from my shoulder!

Nothing I could do would entice him down. Sure, I could move him, put him in my arms, but within seconds he would climb back up to his spot. Stubborn! But at least I was holding him. He spent about half the trip on my shoulder, and half in the kennel. I don’t think he was fond of the kennel at all!

You can see the box I put in the kennel in the picture. I put it in there to give him a hidey hole to duck into, somewhere to feel safe and cozy.. Do you notice something? Like how it’s WAY too small for him! I never expected him to be so huge! I figured six months old; he’s going to be half grown, a teen kitty. But wow, he’s bigger than my Star who’s about 14! Given the size of his feet, regardless of the extra toes, I think he’s still got some growing to do, he’s gonna be a very big fluffy boy!

We arrived home fairly late. But I think I’ll tell the story of his first night and the following days in another post as this is running a lot longer than I intended for my first post! There are many more wonderful tales to come, including how I just knew Leo was meant to be mine.