Poor Little Kitty Cat

When I picked up Ripley from boarding last Tuesday morning he was totally fine. He even snuggled with me later in the afternoon, forgoing his usual “I hate you for abandoning me to that evil place” snit that lasts for a day or two after he comes home. He sneezed a bit more than normal on Thursday, but I chalked that up to my cleaning and stirring up dust before leaving for Phoenix.

By Friday it became apparent that he was under the weather. The sneezing was frequent and explosive. I called the vet Saturday morning to see about bringing him in, but based on his symptoms they didn’t think it was urgent, so I made an appointment for Monday afternoon. By late Saturday he was spraying when he sneezed, rubbing his nose frequently and napping on me for longer and longer periods.

Our sweet little fur ball picked up a cold while he was boarding. I felt terrible for him. There’s nothing worse than a poor little defenseless creature who feels miserable and doesn’t know why. It wasn’t a fun weekend for either of us. Monday morning the clinic called and asked about his symptoms. Since he was clearly suffering from a cold and not displaying any significantly worrisome symptoms, they advised that it wasn’t really necessary to bring him in.

It was a relief, because Ripley hates getting in his carrier and I really didn’t want to stress him more while he was sick. I ran the shower extra hot and long yesterday to help his sinuses. It seemed to work because he hung out in the bathroom until the middle of the afternoon before coming to take a 2+ hour nap on me. Ripley’s definitely taken a turn for the better this morning. He ran around like crazy, ate half his breakfast and then disappeared. I predict a quick recovery.

The Cat is Suspicious

I had to take Ripley in for boarding yesterday morning. This was significant in that it’s the first time I had to put him in his carrier by myself. Normally, our method involves my husband picking up Ripley while I hold the carrier and we both sort of shove him into it. Ripley does not like going into his carrier, because he’s smart enough to realize it means a car trip either to boarding or getting his nails trimmed.

I tried to be clever about the whole thing by taking his carrier out of the corner a few days in advance and moving it around, thinking that would desensitize him. My final step was to put it in the bathroom. I was hoping to shut him in there, thus minimizing his hiding spots. My deepest fear was that he would crawl under the center of the bed and refuse to come out. So I shut the bedroom door first.

That put him on alert immediately. Then I shut the doors to our TV room. Now he knew something was up and no treat would lure him into the bathroom. At least I had limited his movement to the hall and bathroom, thus eliminating any serious opportunities to hide. I donned a pair of leather gloves and wrapped him in a towel. My first attempt was unsuccessful, but at least there was no blood.

I managed to get him in on the second try. Once he was in there and I had shut the door, he hunkered down with a look of resignation. It made me feel incredibly guilty. I’m so sorry buddy, but I had to get you to boarding. The rest of day flew by, as I had a landscaping meeting at our new house at noon and then a bunch more stuff to get done before driving to the airport at 5:00. As I was backing out of the drive, I got a text from Delta that my flight was delayed 20 minutes. Deja Vu.

When Did We Get a Lap Cat?

Our resident furball continues to surprise me. Ripley started taking naps on my lap in late December, something he hadn’t done since he was a kitten. He would jump from his window seat, cross my husband’s legs and plop down in my lap for anywhere from fifteen minutes to two plus hours, often multiple times a day.

Occasionally he would stop to sniff at my husband, as if considering him as a nap host, but he always ended up on me. Which was totally cute and adorable until my feet and legs start to go numb. Then, last week, Ripley switched his allegiance. It started with him napping on my husband when I was out of the house Wednesday morning.

By Friday it was clear I had been replaced as the favored napping lap. He’s only snoozed on me a couple of times for short periods since then. Compare that to last Tuesday, when he took no less than four naps on me in one day, each an hour or longer. I have to admit, I’m a little heartbroken. I wouldn’t mind him alternating, as it’s impossible to do much of anything with 14 pounds of fur in your lap.

But I am no longer the chosen one. Even today, when he was on the outs with both of us because we had to put him in his carrier and take him for a nail trim, he still ended up sleeping in my husband’s lap for nearly an hour. I got nothing. Hopefully he’ll come back around.

Fuzzy Little Kitty

I’ve been going through and trying to clear out my folder of photos for potential future blog posts. While going through it, I decided I wanted to share a few more of my Lensbaby photos of Ripley.

In theory, none of these should really work, but they do for me.

Is it just because Ripley is so damn cute? Or is it just that I needed a break from all the beautiful nature stuff?

Or is the black/white/gray graphic pattern of his fur?

None of these are conventional images, by any stretch.

As you may have guessed, I’m not really big on conventional images these days. So these fuzzy little kitty photos are just about perfect to me. The one to the right is my favorite. He’s looking for treats.

 

Lensbaby Kitty

My last post on Ripley featured some photos of him taken with my Lensbaby Velvet 56. The Lensbaby is great for portraits and Ripley is the only member of our householdĀ  who doesn’t seem to mind having his photo taken. At least he doesn’t complain about it.

Needless to say, getting the focus “right” with the Lensbaby is difficult with a stationary object. Trying to photograph an active kitten is pretty much an exercise in frustration. Especially since he’s sort of fascinated with the camera and likes to charge at it. I can take photos of him while he’s sleeping, but I want some with his eyes open.

So I got a lot of duds. I mean a LOT of duds. But I kept shooting and shooting and eventually managed to get some interesting images as well. Maybe not your classic portrait material, but cool nonetheless.

The beauty of the Lensbaby is that even when you don’t get the focus right, you can still end up with some really interesting results. Especially when your model is completely adorable.

Kitty Cot

I’m constantly looking for new diversions to amuse the furry little terrorist that lives with us. Most recently, Ripley discovered he could jump on top of our television. It’s a flat screen, so it’s less than an inch wide along the top, but that did not deter him from landing on it. The first time he did it, I was too stunned to react quickly and he leapt up to the center channel speaker that sits on a shelf just above the TV.

I couldn’t reach him up there, so I screamed for my husband. By then he had really dug his claws in, so my husband had to scruff Ripley in order to get him out. I put plastic carpet protector nubby side up under the TV, in an effort to discourage him.

 

Didn’t even slow him down. So far he’s proved immune to every deterrent. Sticky tape and citrus sprays don’t phase him at all.

When I go into the kitchen for his food, I have to shut the doors in the TV room, so I can get back through the kitty gate. They are heavy pocket doors, so I shut them just enough so he can’t get through. If I’m not quick enough returning, Ripley starts rattling the doors and meowing.

 

Finally, one day, he was able to push the doors open enough to escape. Now I have to shut the doors completely so he can’t get a paw in between them and start working them open.

He has a window perch in our TV room, but he likes to look out the window in our bedroom, which faces the park across the street. There’s just a lot more action happening out there.

 

That window only has a narrow sill, which he’s scratched all to hell. So the other day I ordered something from Amazon called a Kitty Cot. Essentially, it’s a little sling on a PVC frame that attaches to the window with giant suction cups.

It arrived last week and my husband put it up immediately. Initially, Ripley was a lot more interested in the box and the packaging, but he took to the cot pretty quickly. It’s now his favorite place to hang out when he’s in a mellow mood, at least during daylight hours. These photos of him were all taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

Furry Little Terrorist

Cats are assholes. This morning I was awakened with a paw swipe to my face at 5:15 am. Second day in a row that’s happened. So I shut the furry little terrorist out of the bedroom and slept for another hour and a half. Last weekend I was talking with my mom on the phone when I kept hearing odd noises from the bedroom. I went in to find that Ripley was devouring my foam roller.

I had been keeping the foam roller in our bedroom for months, standing up next to my nightstand. My quads are always tight and I try to roll them regularly. Not as regularly as I should, because Ripley likes to pounce on me when I do it. He had otherwise never paid any attention to the roller. Why he had suddenly decided it was a mortal enemy, I don’t know. By the time I found him, my poor roller had been reduced to a chewed mess, soaked with cat saliva.

Lately he’s also made a habit of sitting by the door that keeps him out of the rest of the house, meowing plaintively. He clearly wants his turf expanded. This tendency to guard the door almost every minute he’s awake has made our getting in and out a lot more complicated. He isn’t as easily fooled by our tossing toys to distract him, either. So when we’re trying to get out, I have to give him a treat or lure him with a toy and then outrun him to the door.

Getting in requires opening the door a tiny slit and picking him up when he wiggles through the gap. Which is fine unless I’m trying to bring anything in with me. We are reduced to executing a series of military style maneuvers in order to move freely around our own home. And don’t even get me started on trying to use the toilet or shower in peace. It almost gives me a sense of what it might be like to have a toddler. Almost. Reaffirms that decision not to have children.

Missing Mouse Mystery and Other Kitten Tails

I love Ripley, but he can be a total shit at times. The other day I came home from working out to find my socks laying in the hallway. These were not dirty socks, mind you. This was a rolled pair of clean socks that I had left on the bed with some other clean clothes I planned to change into after showering. I have no idea how he unrolled them.

That was nothing compared to what I found later on. I keep a rounded pillow under our comforter to put under my knees when I sleep. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks, but for some reason just yesterday Ripley decided it was an alien creature and attacked it through the comforter. I know this because I found dozens of small holes in our duvet, right over where the pillow was sitting.

Oh sure, he’s adorable when he’s sleeping. But awake he can be a little one kitty power machine of mass destruction. Later in the day I noticed that the shirt I had left out with the socks also had a series of small holes chewed/clawed in it. Fortunately, it’s just an old t-shirt. And the duvet, while quite expensive when I bought it, is over fifteen years old and not compatible with the interior design of our new home. Instead of being donated when we move, it’s now going into the dumpster, which is a shame.

Hopefully when we move, we’ll find the location of his secret mouse stash. At least four of them have disappeared somewhere in a relatively small area. He has an addiction to these little deer hair mice, but he seems to lose them within hours of getting a new one. I just hope he grows out of his destructive ways before we move into our new home.

Crazy Kitty Antics

Ripley has been alternating between sleeping in the bed with us and sleeping alone. Sometimes on the bathroom mat (heated floor) and sometimes on a bench in our bedroom. Early Sunday morning, just before 5:00, I got up to use the bathroom. I didn’t see him anywhere, but he made an appearance while I was using the toilet.

Of course he followed me back to bed. I fell back asleep and woke up to find him under the covers with his tail by my feet and his head uncomfortably close to my private parts. I spent what seemed like an eternity laying perfectly still, willing him not to go after any sensitive areas with his teeth or claws. I finally got up the courage to pull back the covers. Ripley stared up at me, with his head sitting on his paws, looking utterly adorable.

Life with Ripley has made simple household tasks considerably more challenging. He loves “helping” me make the bed. By that I mean he attacks the sheets, both as I’m taking off the old ones and putting on the new ones. Inevitably, he ends up underneath either the sheet or the comforter. He also likes to tangle with the clean sheets while I’m folding them.

I was never great at folding sheets, but having a cat attack them during the process has raised the level of difficulty significantly. It can be frustrating at times, but it’s also absolutely hysterical. I’ve never laughed so hard while making the bed before. I’ll sacrifice efficiency for humor any day.

Shoulder Surfing

Ripley has recently expanded upon his repertoire of tricks. He had developed a tendency to jump on my back every time I bent over near the bathroom vanity. Which was okay when I was scooping out his litter box and not so okay when I was right out of the shower (read naked) and putting lotion on my legs.

I started to anticipate his move, so I’ve become a little more careful about bending over anywhere near a launching pad. But he really upped his game the other day. I was standing at the bathroom sink and he jumped from the vanity on to my shoulders, which kind of freaked me out. I slow walked into another room and crouched down near the sofa to let him jump off.

Barring theĀ startle factor, I don’t really mind him jumping on my shoulders or my back. I’m concerned about two things – him using me to reach a higher, supposedly kitty proof location and me getting his claws dug into my flesh if he starts to lose his balance. I’m also mindful that he only weighs 7 1/2 pounds right now. His trick might not be so cute when he reaches his adult weight.