Saturday, October 31, 2015

10/31/2015: Happy Halloween!

There will be no Clinchfield Report today - everyone's pretty quiet, although Clinch has been very interested in our trick-or-treaters.  Or it might be that the front door is being opened a lot more than usual.

In my other blog I've just posted about the Minion pumpkins my husband painted.  Feel free to hop on over there to take a look.

I know, I know... you just can't go a day without a picture of Clinchfield.  I completely understand.  Here's a Halloween-specific bit of Clinchy naughtiness:

The details on that will be in an upcoming report.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

10/29/2015 - 10/30/2015: Cappuccino Days 1 and 2

Let me tell you about my mother's and stepfather's dog, Cappuccino.  She's a Shih Tzu, 13 years old, and a bit high maintenance.  By "a bit" I mean "a lot."

She was born with problems in her eyes, so I don't think she sees very well.  We have to put drops or goop in her eyes every night or they look really cloudy and red.

I don't know if it's because of her eyes or something else, but she has problems eating.  John feeds her out of his hand, but I refuse to do that.  I hold her and the bowl of food and wait until either she eats or falls asleep with her little head half in the bowl and half on my arm.  Yes, I know I should put the food down and just wait for her to eat when she gets hungry, but the cats will eat it.  So I sit on the couch with Cappuccino tucked under my arm and wait.

Last night was the first time Clinchfield witnessed this.  He was riveted:

I look really fat in this picture.  I'd like you to know that, while I am fat, I am not sitting up straight on the couch.  So please take that into consideration when you view the following video:

I trimmed some stuff out, but this will give you a really good idea how it went.  Oh - you'll have to turn the sound up a lot to hear her grunting and our comments.

I regret to inform you that as soon as Steve stopped filming Cappuccino promptly stopped eating and refused to eat the rest of the night.  She wouldn't eat this morning, either, even though Clinch pretty much left her alone.  She did finally eat early this afternoon after I switched her food out.

She also doesn't want to drink on her own.  We have to hold the water bowl up, and sometimes she won't even drink unless she's on a lap, too.  I'll try to get a picture of that to show you.

Sleeping last night was very interesting.  I got up around midnight, and when I came back to bed, Cappuccino refused to lie back down.  I thought she needed to go out, but I discovered the reason was that Clinch was in the bed.  I took her out anyway, and we eventually went back to sleep - Cappuccino at my legs and Clinch up by my head.  They both were in the bed all night long, leaving me with little room and not enough covers.

This morning I was able to get a few pictures of what was probably going on last night:

Cappuccino didn't like that very much.

After she finally ate this afternoon, I wrapped her up in my blanket so she would hopefully go to sleep and let me do my own thing:

Shih Tzu or ET?

Even though she didn't stay wrapped up, she did let me have peace.  I appreciated that, because everyone else wanted attention from time to time all afternoon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Archive: 08/20/2015 - Bath mat destruction

(This archived Clinchfield Report was originally posted on Facebook on 08/20/2015.)

We can either have bath mats where they're supposed to be or a kitten, but not both. I don't know if you can see in this picture, but there are Q-tips on the floor as well. Walking further into the bathroom I saw that the garbage had been tipped over.

(Note: This is before we replaced the waste baskets that I mentioned in this report.)

Here's the culprit after I straightened the mats, planning his next move:

As I'm fond of saying, he's lucky he's cute!

After I posted this report, one of the comments that came in was, "Not up on all things cat, but can't you just close the bathroom door?"  I replied, "What's the fun in that?  :)  Yes, I could, but he'd probably bang on it trying to get the toy that he batted under the door. There's quite a gap there."

Steve and I staged this picture so we could post it as an example.  I said, "Picture this but with noise."

Then Steve commented, "This morning in the bathroom I tried to startle him out of my way by nudging the bathmat against his hind leg. If he were Pixel, he would have jumped three feet. But Clinchfield didn't even turn around, just lifted his leg like "meh." I realized: He's not Devil Cat, he's DAREDEVIL Cat, the Cat Without Fear!"

Tonight my mother and stepfather are bringing their dog, Cappuccino, for us to watch.  Goodness knows what kinds of things I'll be posting about tomorrow and for the next week or so!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

10/28/2015: Brand new evidence supporting chew toy theory!

(This is an addendum to yesterday's Companion or chew toy? report.  Also, this is the second post of the day.  If you missed the first one, click here.  Thanks!)

I was chatting with Steve during his lunch break, and he asked, "Going to nap this afternoon?"  I replied, "Cats willin' and the crik don't rise."  Well, the crik ain't rising, but the cats are not willing.

It took me a long time to lie down - Facebook has been particularly distracting today - but when I finally did and was getting settled, elephants started thundering around the bedroom hissing.  I thought that was odd, because elephants usually don't hiss.  It turned out to be our boys.  Pixel just wanted to come nap with me, but Clinch was having none of it.

Since I was also having none of my napping, I thought I'd turn on the light and shoot some footage for you.  Because I care.  And because the Clinchfield Report would not be complete without it.

As soon as I turned on the light, though, all elephant-like-thundering ceased.  It's like they were elephants in the dark and innocent kitties in the light.

However, it wasn't long until Clinch decided that Pixel's tail was too tempting a target:

Turn up the sound a lot if you want the full Pixel response.

I mean, really.  Pixel knows what's going to happen.  Clinch does this all the time!  But does he jump up on the bed?  No.  Does he leave the room?  No.  Does he beat the crap out of the kitten because he's ten times Clinch's size?  Baffingly, no.

They stayed in that position for a good four or five minutes.  I trimmed the video because you don't need to see all that.

You also don't need to see my shoes, so I stashed them in the closet, sat back on the bed, and waited.  I was not disappointed:

Again, you'll probably have to turn up the sound a lot to hear Pixel's whining and tail-thumping, which he should not be doing because it looks like he started it!

I was going to record more, but my phone decided that I had run out of video space.  I'll have to clean that up.  Just as well, because the video file was too big for the blog, so I had to trim it using Adobe Premiere Elements.  I don't use that much, so it took a while.  The things I do for science!

I really hope you can view both videos.  The first is an MOV, and the second is an MPG.

I know Pixel's belly looks funny - he has been over-grooming it.  I'm hoping it's not due to stress of kittens jumping and chewing on him for the past two years.  I have never seen him actually licking there, though.

Since I never did nap, I'd better go to bed early tonight!  Wish me luck!

Archive: 08/16/2015 - DIY bed and other random bathroom chaos

I don't know what it is about cats and bathrooms.  I suppose since we spend a lot of time in there they feel it's a very important room and want to spend a lot of time in there, too.  Or maybe it's because they want to be where we are, because most of Clinchfield's chaos happens when I'm in the room and usually unable to stop him.

Since that whole water incident after our first trip to the vet, I have to take my medicine very carefully.  I'll fill the water glass, put it on the counter (we have a long, low counter in the bathroom supposedly for putting makeup on), and gather my pills.  Clinch is fond of bounding into the bathroom and onto the counter when he hears my pills rattle around.  He'll stick his little face in my glass and sometimes a paw if I don't grab the glass quickly enough.  A few times I was really slow, and, with his paw in the glass, he pulled it toward himself, knocking it over.  That's probably his way of telling us that the counter needed to be washed.

Within a few weeks of his arrival, it was extremely apparent that we needed to purchase some new equipment for the bathroom.  The wrappers of various monthly supplies (ladies, you know what I mean) are very crinkly, and Clinch absolutely loves anything that makes a crinkly sound.  New ones placed in easy reach for me were also in easy reach for him, so they were being dragged around.  Fortunately, The Container Store just opened at our mall, so Steve and I went shopping there and at Target.  We bought new waste baskets with lids (because used crinkly wrappers of all kinds were fair game in an uncovered waste basket) for the bathroom, my studio, and the living room.  We were also able to find a white tin with a secure lid for me to use one week a month.

But I was able to get pictures of his DIY bed.  I was, er, indisposed, as one tends to be a number of times a day, and he pulled down my towel and plopped down:

He doesn't stay in one place for too long, so less than thirty seconds later he switched positions:

Shortly after I was able to shoo him away, shake my towel off, and hang it back up.

He hasn't done it again.  I find that very odd considering how comfortable he looks in those pictures.

Tomorrow I'll share more bathroom antics!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10/27/2015: Companion or chew toy?

(This is another hybrid report from July through October.)

I don't know what it is about Pixel, but kittens like to wrestle, chew on, tail-chase, jump on, and jump over him.  I'm not sure if Pixel likes it or hates it - he makes weird whiny meows with some intermittent hissing, but when I look over, Clinch is on his back pawing up, and Pixel is sitting or standing over him, batting back.  When Pixel gets a chance, he'll hold Clinch's head down and lick his head or in his ears.  I call it "forcible grooming."  Occasionally there's also some cuddling.  It's a very odd relationship.

It's hard to catch some of it in pictures, but I've been partially successful.

Here's some tail chasing from 07/31/2015:

From another angle:

You know, if Pixel wouldn't twitch his tail, Clinchfield wouldn't try to catch and bite it.

I was able to catch actual wrestling on 10/22/2015, but it's a bit blurry:

We call this Neko-Koneko (kitten on cat):

I don't have any pictures yet of Pixel grooming Clinch, but I do have one of Clinch digging for gold in Pixel's ear:

Taken 08/19/2015

Pixel didn't seem to mind, so I let it continue.  Clinch did this for about five minutes until he started sneezing.

Every once in a while we catch them cuddling.  I really like that, so I take lots of pictures, and that's where we'll end today's report:

Taken 08/02/2015

Taken 08/29/2015

Taken 09/06/2015

And my personal favorite so far:

Taken 10/20/2015

Come back tomorrow for a really quick archive report on Clinch's DIY bed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

10/26/2015: My desk is continually under attack

(This is a hybrid report lumping a bunch of chaotic activity from 07/30/2015 through 10/26/2015.)

My studio has an awesome built-in desk with a beautiful frame around the window and a shelf underneath, perfect for all manner of things.  I keep a small tube of E6000 glue up there for my crafting projects, and my grandmother's pin cushion for extremely bent needles that I can quickly grab while I'm beading.  I have rocks, a slice of wood from one of my mother's trees that was cut down, a few small stuffed animals, a beautiful Fenton bowl I bought at an antique store, pictures of pets I dearly miss, and much, much more.  Basically, anything little that I want to see while I work (or procrastinate) that I love or that inspires me goes on this shelf.

When we moved in, our cats (Steve's Katy and Fe and my Simoon and Pixel) left that shelf alone.  The desk itself is popular, but none of them were interested in the shelf.  Kittens are more curious, so Frisco loved jumping up into the window and knocking things off of the shelf.  Once he got over the worst of it, I put breakable stuff on the right, less accessible side and the rocks and stuffed animals and such on the the left side.

I blogged about my new and improved clean desk in April, 2014 in my other blog (you can read the exact post here if you'd like), so I have proof:

So clean!

You should be able to click the picture to see an enlarged version.
The shelf stayed pretty much just like that until six days after Clinchfield came to live with us:

Picture taken 07/30/2015

Do you see the culprit on the bottom right part of the picture?  He looks so innocent.  I quickly learned to catch or deflect items tossed at my head, and I just calmly put them somewhere else.  From time to time Steve puts things back, but for the most part I've let it go.  I'm waiting for him to lose interest.

Picture taken 07/30/2015

You can see he's reaching for something black at the bottom of the picture.  That's a Darth Vader Pez dispenser that had just gotten thrown at me not two minutes before.

Now, I can't blame him for the mess of papers he's lying on, but I spy four things in that picture that should be up on the shelf: the Pez dispenser, the glass vial just to the left of it, the slice of wood to the left of his head, and the purple turtle that's right next to the wood.

Here's how that shelf looks today:

Picture taken 10/26/2015 in the wee hours of the morning

While I was preparing to write this report about him messing up my desk, he decided to wreak more havoc:

Fortunately, he doesn't do this very often

"What can I knock down next?"

 "Hey, you!  Come here!"

 No, Clinchfield!  The stamp is not a foodstuff!

I just looked at the time stamps of those four pictures.  They were taken between 12:53a and 12:54a.  Here's the sequence of events:  he knocked down the train stamp (that picture just shows him watching it fall - I was too slow), he batted at glass ornament, I put train stamp back up, he looked over the edge to survey what to destroy next, he pulled over the Japanese cat-watering-flower stamp, he started nomming on said stamp, I took the stamp away.

A note about those irises:  they have been jumped over, trampled on, laid upon, batted at, and chewed on.  They're looking pretty bedraggled at this point, and I'm going to have to see if they can be fixed up or if I should just make more space for the kitten.

The other part of my desk that Clinch loves is my task lamp.  It used to have ChapStick, a thumb drive, a few pieces of jewelry, and some business cards on the base, but they have all been pushed off:

Taken 09/12/2015

I have paper taped to the light because my eyes are sensitive to light peeking out from underneath the shade.  You'll see it better in this next picture:

Taken 09/12/2015

He likes to wear my light as a belt:

Taken 10/09/2015, while I was trying to prepare for a show

and pretend he's getting his hair done:

Taken 10/25/2015

Or maybe he thinks he's the Pope.  It's hard to tell what's going on in his little head.

Tomorrow's report:  Another hybrid of Clinch "playing" with Pixel.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Archive: 07/28/2015 - Kitten on drugs

(This archived Clinchfield Report was originally posted on Facebook on 07/28/2015.)

So, our kitten is stoned.  We went to the vet today for an exam, second round of shots, and for them to take a look at his ears because they were filled with gunk, and he scratches at them and has scabs.  Turns out he has ear mites.  Easily enough fixed - cleaned his ears, put some medicine in them and some Revolution on the back of his neck.

 Here is a very unhappy Clinch ignoring all treats and looking like a Gremlin

However, about ten minutes after (while we were waiting for the Feline Leukemia/FIV test to come back (he's clean!)), he was still shaking his head, scratching at his ears, running around the room, and yowling a bit.  I asked about it, and they said he could be in discomfort because of all the cleaning and what-not.  They gave him some pain meds that were SUPPOSED to make him a bit sleepy.

Well, in the three hours or so we've been home, he's not slept a wink.  He's been running around, harassing Pixel, chasing after jingle balls, and... just a little bit ago, he started pawing at the water bowl like he was scratching in a litter box.  Water EVERYWHERE.  After a hurried conference with Steve, I picked up the bowl and tried to clean things up.  The kitten was still running around and weaving himself in and around the metal holder we have for the food and water bowls and acting nutty in general.

I just called the vet, and they said that it's likely because of the pain meds. He's "feeling happy," they said.  "So he's stoned?" I said.  She laughed and said, "Yeah, probably. It'll wear off."  I sure hope so, because the kitchen floor is damp, my socks are soaked, and there are little wet kitten footie prints all over the place.  He's even wet on his head. I wonder when he'll wear himself out so we can nap.

(Here ends the archived report.  Read on for the rest of the story.)

Well, it took a really long time for him to calm down.  I put the bowls and their holder in the sink, and I kept hearing clanging going on.  Every time I went in the kitchen, he was in the sink messing around with the bowls.  The holder ended up going outside, and I washed the bowls and put them in the drainer.  Did that keep him out of the sink?


I must have taken him out of that sink 10 or 15 times.  I kept coming back into my studio to type on Facebook and to message Steve about what to do, and I kept hearing him in the sink.

I started feeling very frazzled and frantic myself and almost climbed in the sink with him, but instead I called my father-in-law, who has decades more experience with cats than I have, has studied veterinary technology, and has worked in an animal shelter.  He said I should put Clinch in his carrier until he calmed down.  I did that then put the water and food bowls back for Pixel and Fe.

Since I also needed a nap, I put him in the bedroom so I could lie down and keep an ear on him.  He was quiet for about 15 minutes, then he started meowing and scratching the inside of the carrier a bit.  I'm a softie, so I closed the bedroom door and let him out of the carrier.  He wandered around for a while, then we were both able to sleep a little.

He was a lot better by the time Steve got home, but we had to pick the water back up because Clinch kept sticking his paws in it and splashing.  It wasn't as forceful as before, but it was enough to make things wet.

Once the meds fully got out of his system he was better, although he does still stick a paw in the water from time to time.

Here are some pictures of Clinchfield being cute in his first days of settling in:

On the chair in my studio

On Steve's lap

Peeking out from behind my computer
(Yes, I know my desk is messy - more on that tomorrow!)

His other favorite spot - on top of my filing trays to the right of my computer
(I have the laptop's lid closed in this picture.)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Archive: 07/24/2015 - Bringing the "Devil Cat" home

Before we really can get into The Clinchfield Report, I need to introduce our protagonist and explain how this mischievous kitten came to live with us.

The cat of a friend's daughter had kittens.  My friend wanted a companion for her dog, so when the kittens were old enough, she brought one of the girl kittens home.  She was named Madelyne and was incredibly cute and lovey:

However, it quickly became apparent that the dog and kitten were not getting along and that the kitten was going to be a handful.  Her great capacity for loving was equal to her great capacity for getting into everything.  My friend was heartbroken, the dog was miserable, and the kitten was being called "Devil Cat."  I assured my friend that Madelyne would mellow out as she grew.

A few months in, my friend couldn't take it any more.  My husband, Steve, and I were still grieving the loss of our youngest cat, Frisco, who wasn't even two years old when he peacefully passed away in his sleep.  We had wanted to get another cat, but we hadn't decided when.  The tears in my friend's eyes when she told me how much turmoil was going on in her home made our decision for us, and on Friday, July 24, 2015, we went to see if we'd be compatible with Madelyne.

We walked in, and the kitten was in the middle of the living room floor looking at us.  My friend kept the dog busy, and I walked up to the kitten and let her sniff me.  Within 30 seconds, Steve and I were sitting on the couch with the kitten on my lap, and she was purring in short order and not making any efforts to jump down.  Ten minutes later, we said, "Okay - we're good!" and put her in her bright pink carrier, gathered up the pink scratching/ball toy, and were on our way.

On the way home, I sat in the back so I could bond with her, and she sat on my lap for part of the ride home.

Then we brought the carrier into the dining room so Pixel and Fe could get to know their new sister.  They sniffed for a few minutes then left her alone.  We opened the door and waited:

We brought her into the living room (it's pretty much attached to the dining room) and waited:

Eventually, she did get out and start exploring... her carrier:


Steve picked her up and gave her some loving:

And I got some time in, too:

She eventually became brave enough to explore more of the room:

A very popular cat spot

Really close to Fe's favorite spot

On the piano

While she was doing all that, Steve posted a few pictures on Facebook with this status:
New kitteh! Squee!
World, meet Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range RR Cat, or Missabe. (Missy or Miss Wasabi for short.) Just shy of 4 months old. Missabe, meet world.

If you haven't read the "About Clinchfield" section on the right side of this blog yet, you might be wondering why she was named for the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railroad.  Steve is an avid model railroader and an associate editor for Model Railroader magazine.  All of his cats are named after railroads.  First there was Pennsy (the Pennsylvania Railroad), then came Miss Katy (the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad), then Fe (the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway), then Frisco (the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway).  Before we met I didn't have any such guidelines for naming my cats, so I've had Perrin ("Precious" in Finnish and a reference to "Perin" from the Wheel of Time books), Simoon (she was "Simone" until my boyfriend's son couldn't pronounce it), and Pixel (because I was a computer programmer, and it's the name of the cat in Heinlein's The Cat Who Walked Through Walls).

Since we've been together, we've fallen into the habit of Steve listing possible railroad-related names, until I go, "Ooh!  I like that one!"

I really liked the name Missabe because we could nickname the kitten "Miss Wasabi" because she was spicy.

Here's what Steve posted about what happened when we were going to go to bed that first night:
Missabe update: Last night she was all sweet and fine with being around and on us, and being petted. Then we carried her around a bit too much trying to get her to eat or use the litter. She got anxious and hid under the kitchen table. We wanted to close her into the guest room for the night, so I foolishly tried to extract her, and got my hand shredded for my efforts. So we left her hiding in the living room for the night. This morning she had changed hiding places, but not by much. We don't know if she emerged during the night. She hissed when I approached but was soon purring. When Traci came out, I withdrew my hand, and Missabe soon emerged. She played with her ball toy, explored a bit, and is now finally eating! Yay! If only we didn't have to go out of town today.
And then a little later:
Me to Traci a minute ago: "What would you call that thing if you were talking to an adult?"
Traci: "What thing?"
Me: "The roundy-round."
Traci: "Ball toy... with... scratcher?"
Me: "OK."
Traci: "Wait, does this mean you don't think I'm an adult?"
I think I got that backward.  I think he meant he is not an adult.  Oops!

At this point, you may be wondering why this blog isn't called "The Missabe Report" and why all that stuff to the right refers to the kitten as "he."  Shortly before we left for a family wedding the day after we brought Missabe home, Steve made a startling discovery:

(shield the eyes of any children and sensitive folk, please!)

Is it just me, or ... is it possible our "Missy" is a boy cat?

Um... oops!  My friend had quite the laugh over that.  She was surprised it didn't come up (or, rather, they hadn't come out) when she'd had the kitten's shots done, and she had never flipped the kitten over.  I said, "Well, that probably explains why he was so rambunctious!  He was being forced into a gender role he wasn't comfortable with!"  (That was a joke, of course, but did you see how pink that carrier is?)

My initial reaction was to laugh, too.  See, Pixel's also a tabby, and his original name was Isis because I was told he was a girl.  His "eyeliner" made him look Egyptian:

You can see all the scratches on my hands that Pixel wasn't a very gentle kitten, either.

My cousin had come over the day I brought "Isis" home and was looking the kitten over.  "I don't think this is a girl," she said.  We poked and prodded and looked up whatever we could on a 2005 Internet.  We were about 90% certain "she" was a "he," and I started looking up new names.  I liked "Pixel" because of the computer and Heinlein connections.  The next day we went to the vet, and he kinda scoffed at me.  "How could you not tell the kitten's gender?"  Well, it took him a few minutes of poking and prodding before he declared Pixel was, indeed, a boy.

Since I have had two tabbies and both were boys when they were supposed to be girls, my hypothesis at this point is that tabbies like to hide their testicles to confuse their humans.  I should have known better in both instances.  The ears and paws on both cats were pretty large, which indicated to me that they were boys, but I took the word of previous caretakers.  Next time I'm going to do some poking and prodding of my own before I decide on a name.

So, now, the name Missabe is on the back burner for when we get a girl cat.  But what to name our new boy kitten?  Well, you know the answer to that, but I'll let Steve explain:
New boy cat name: Clinchfield. "Clinch" for short. As in, the clinch he put my hand in when I tried to pull him out from under the table last night.
(Not really - he ran through a list of potential boy railroad names, and I said, "Ooh!  I like 'Clinch'!")

Shortly after, I made a startling realization:
Me: "T.S. Eliot was right."
Steve: "What do you mean?"
Me: "The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you," pointing at the kitten, "THAT cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES."
(Madelyne, Missabe, and Clinchfield)
Spooky, isn't it?

Sorry this was so long, but back stories tend to take a while to tell.  Most of the reports will be much, much shorter.

Come back tomorrow for our initial vet visit.  (Here's a hint on how the day went: I ended up calling my in-laws for advice.)

Here's one final picture of Clinchfield starting to feel at home:

He was sitting behind me in my office chair,
looking incredibly confused at what was being waved in his face