Tag Archive: cat


It’s A Kitty!


Today we take a peek inside the brain of Ghostie. Be sure to buckle in and keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times.

I consider myself an average artist – I can draw things reasonably well and know how to paint a bit. Mother Dearest and GhostSister are much more talented, compared to them I’m that kid in the back of the class whom everyone suspects eats the paste when no one is looking. The Things and GhostBoy show signs of having a love of art, they all draw remarkably well for their ages – GhostBoy can do some very nice work in the manga style.

I could probably improve my skills with a class or three, but I don’t have the patience for that. So I doodle and learn from my mistakes.

I made an ATC for a swap recently that was a bit different from ones I normally make. It was for a “pick one” forum swap – the person listed several themes she would like made into an ATC, I picked one and posted my own list of themes (I have not received my ATC yet) One of this swapper’s themes was Art Deco, something I’m slightly interested in but not a subject I have done a lot of sketches on. Since I like a challenge, I chose to make her an Art Deco card. I checked out her profile to see if there was something listed under her likes that would inspire me, which is when I noticed that she liked cats.

My brain, she started working.

Art Deco, like it’s predecessor Art Nouveau, has a lot of flowing, asymmetrical shapes with an organic feel. It has a pretty lush appearance and I find it quite beautiful, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it for myself. Since this was for someone else though, I felt compelled to try my best.

I’ve noticed that a lot recently – when I sign up for these different swaps, I’m more likely to try things I would never have tried just for myself in an effort to please a total stranger I will never meet. Odd.

So I start doodling and trying out different things. I do a Google Search for Art Deco cats but don’t really see anything I like until I spotted a set of bookends.

These.

I liked the arc the cat’s body made and I got to thinking about cats clawing things and the flowing shapes of Art Deco, which led (eventually) to this sketch.

Probably the tenth version of this particular design.

I had the hardest damned time with that head. Every version I did either looked like a squirrel or a dog or was the wrong size for the body. The tail was also problematic – too big and squirrel-like. I finally took it to Mother Dearest and she gave me a few suggestions that eventually led to this version, which I’m quite happy with.

Final version, colored in with India ink and watercolors. Lots of little lines.

Feeling Blue?


Today is another picture post, because I’m lazy and want to get to bed early since I’m going yard saleing tomorrow. (Which is now today, Saturday. Spooky.)

And now – Simon!

Hey. How you doin'?

This is not me being a pretentious artsy hipster, Simon was in GhostDad’s game room (where he keeps all his game … thingies) GhostDad has a blue fluorescent lightbulb in the ceiling fixture, he says it is easier on his eyes. You can see hints on the far left and far right where light from outside of the room is visible. I saw Simon, who is a Russian Blue, chilling on the love seat (also blue) in the blue room and couldn’t resist taking a photo. It’s Avatar Simon!

I Can Haz Front Page!


Although I’m not a fan of the Cheeseburger cats and in fact think they are everything that’s wrong with the Internet, I do like the cute photographs. So, like a teenager with a porno mag, I will furtively sneek a peek from time to time.

I have even, I’m ashamed to say, submitted my own captions. With correct spelling and grammar, of course.

And one made it to the front page! Yay me!

 funny pictures - Only a few more days and I'll have all the fresh chicken I can eat!

What Was That?


Saturday was Laundry Day in the Ghostie household. As a cost saving measure, I follow Mother Dearest’s lead and hang my freshly washed clothing on the lines strung on the back deck.

My attempt to be artsy. You can see how the backyard tends to slope a bit.

As I was hanging a load out, I heard a noise in the trees leading down to the creek that runs behind the house. I saw two animals run by. My first thought was “Huh. That’s a weird-looking dog. Almost looks like a fox.” Nope, it was neither.

It was a pair of these;

Hey there. Mind if I eat your face?

For those who don’t watch a lot of Animal Planet, that’s a coyote.Not the nicest of neighbors to have. Being that we are in the middle of a bad drought, feed is scarce – which makes prey scarce and predators bolder.

The first one I saw had something dark in it’s mouth, probably a squirrel or other rodent. Another followed about ten or fifteen feet behind the first one in a rather furtive manner. Probably looking to steal a meal.

I am very glad my cats are strictly indoor cats.


I was driving to work one morning, thinking about things as is my habit, when I realized I hadn’t written about my litter boxes.

I may have mentioned that I think of odd things while driving.

I am unusually proud of my litter boxes, because I made them myself. Granted, it wasn’t that hard, but still – I made them.

Back when I just had Simon, I had a standard box you can find at any Sprawlmart or pet store – it resembled a large dishpan. I got one of the “deluxe” models with a cover, to cut down on the smell. (This was back when I was living in my camper.) Then the kittens came along and it was very clear, after cleaning out the box three times a day, that I was going to have to do something else.

But what?

I already had the largest litter box available (they just didn’t make litter boxes any bigger) and the lack of space meant I couldn’t just buy another one. I was stumped until I realized that while they didn’t make litter boxes bigger, they did make larger plastic containers.

No, I'm not going to post pictures of my litter boxes. Sicko.

I ventured out to Sprawlmart’s storage section and found the perfect solution – a thirty gallon storage tote. Five (very careful) minutes with a sharp knife and there was a seven inch square hole in one end about eight inches from the bottom. Why seven inches? Because that’s how wide the handles are. I filled it with litter, it took most of a twenty-eight pound bucket, and then popped the lid on, congratulating myself on a job well done.

And now the cost breakdown

  • A regular far-too-small-for-anything-other-than-a-single-kitten  litter box, around ten dollars or so.
  • A fancy “extra-large” covered model, like the one I had, can go for twenty-five or so.
  • The even fancier self-cleaning models cost over a hundred, but that’s really overkill in my opinion.
  • The thirty gallon tote, which can accommodate two cats at the same time, cost me less than nine dollars.

This is quite a savings, in more ways than one.

When I cut the hole in the end, I measured the depth of the old box and added an inch or so, making the tote slightly deeper than a standard litter box. It’s not much and the cats have no trouble getting in and out, but that inch or so spread out over the entire box really increased the volume of litter I’m able to use. Most litter boxes are no more than about six or seven inches deep and you never fill it to the top, that’s just a recipe for getting litter everywhere.

Even the “extra-large” boxes are barely big enough for one cat; Simon had a hard time turning around in his, the small amount of litter in the bottom made it lightweight and prone to rocking back and forth when “in use,” and the top popped off constantly.  The larger footprint and heavier weight of the tote makes it much more stable. This is especially nice, since all three of my furry darlings like to dig during their private time. Sometimes I think they just go in and dig for fun.

Keeping all of this in mind, when it became clear that Simon was going to have to be put in a permanent time-out the protect Nikki, I didn’t buy a regular litter box; I bought a tote. I didn’t need one quite as big as the thirty gallon job, so I got a slightly smaller eighteen gallon one, which is perfect for one cat. It cost me a little over five dollars. I do have one standard litter box, I bought it to use when Simon hurt his shoulder and I had to keep him caged for a month, the tote was too big to fit in the cage. It was very messy, with litter getting everywhere, and I was glad to put it away when Simon’s shoulder healed.

If you’re thinking about getting a cat or currently have a cat or cats and you are fed up with too-small litter boxes, go get yourself a tote. Since they are fairly air-tight, it’s a good idea to leave the lid off from time to time to help the ammonia evaporate. I leave the lids off of mine about once a week and give the litter a good stir every time I clean it out to help things along.

Bonus tip!

While there is very little litter kicked out of the totes since the sides are so high, there will be some as the cats go in and out. Putting a mat down in front of the opening solves this problem nicely.You can buy an expensive one for at least ten dollars, if not more…

Aww... it's kinda cute.

Or you can be smart and get a rubber doormat.

I find the kind with the little pegs works the best.

The doormats I use both came from Family Dollar and cost three bucks a piece. They do both say “WELCOME” instead of being cute little paw shapes, but it’s not like the cats care about that sort of thing. The cats walk over the mat and the little rubber feet knock the litter off their feet, even Fearless’ fuzzy clodhoppers.

Her fuzzy, fuzzy feet.

They reduce the amount of litter getting tracked through the house down to almost nothing and I don’t have to comb litter out of Fearless’ foot-fur every night. (Yes, I’ve done that. It’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds.)

Busy Busy Busy


Been busy traveling to Charlotte and going to IKEA and various thrift stores so I haven’t written anything today and I don’t have anything left in my queue. Instead, enjoy this picture of Fearless sitting on my duffel bag.

Take me with you!

 

Be back tomorrow with tons of photos from my trip!

My Little Sister


In the last of my series covering the cats in my life, we have Nikki.

Mua-ha-ha. Mine is an evil laugh.

She is an American Shorthair ginger tabby female, something of a rarity since most ginger tabbies are male. I like to call her Mooch or Princess Pumpkinbutt, because she likes to eat my cats’ food and when she hunches down in the classic “loaf of bread” position, she looks a bit like a pumpkin.

Technically Nikki is not my cat, she belongs to my parents (specifically my mother) and not me, but she does live in the same house that I do.

About a year after I moved out, GhostDad heard about a cat named Butterbean on a radio spot highlighting local shelter rescues. The parents went down, met her, and adopted my little sister.

Mother Dearest needed a lapdesk.

As an older cat she was perfect; no kittenish antics to worry about, she was very independent and could be left alone while they were at work without having to worry about her.

Then I moved in and brought the terrible trio with me.

She did not have much of a problem with Firefly and Fearless, they were content to let her be the top cat in the house, but Simon was another matter. Every time they got near each other there was growling and hissing, both of them wanted to be top cat and there can be only one. He cornered her one day and literally scared the poop out of her, after that Simon was put in lock down. He never leaves my rooms for fear that he will try to harm Nikki, who has gone back to being top cat in most of the house. She comes down to my rooms most mornings after I’ve shut away Simon and mooches some food from the cats’ bowls. When we first segregated them, Simon kept trying to get out. Now he knows better.

Hail Princess Pumpkinbutt!

Uh ... No. I don't play.

She has a bad back and isn’t as spry as she used to be, she is starting to have trouble seeing things but still seems to get around pretty good. She is just a crotchety old lady who doesn’t like me very much unless I have food with me.

Her favorite thing to do is to stare at my dad. She will sit on the floor two or three yards in front of his favorite chair and just stare at him for hours. It’s as if she believes can will him to give her a treat is she just stares hard enough.

Nicki's nap

I don't care if it's Christmas, it's time for my nap! Keep it down!

Nikki Kitty

She also perfectly matches to the kitchen floor.

Ghostie the Supersleuth


I have been noticing a lot of moths and other various insects (or “flying toys” as the cats view them) in my room lately but could not figure out where they were coming from. The room in question is quite a ways from the front door, where I presumed all these little annoyances were coming from, and there are several rooms between here and there, not to mention the screens on the doors should have kept most of them out anyway. It has been puzzling me and puzzling me, but Saturday I finally figured it out.

Early on Saturday morning I was petting Simon, who was laying in the coveted middle tier of the Cat Castle, when I saw a small spider run down the inside glass, vanish, and reappear outside. Curious as to if I had found Houdini’s reincarnated soul, I looked closer. The window is a standard two-part window, the top and bottom halves overlap slightly in the middle. The top half of the window had been lowered slightly so that there was a small gap, maybe an eighth of an inch or so, not enough to be immediately noticeable. A closer look at the very top of the window showed that, while it looked closed from a distance, there was a very small amount of light visible when you got very close. The answer to how this had happened was written all over the glass; like most cats, when one of mine sees something interesting outside, they try to “dig” through the glass to get it, leaving streaks and smears behind. I had neglected to check and see if the window was locked  before installing the Castle, so this “digging” had gradually lowered the top half of the window until the gap was large enough to admit the insects.

So I’ve figured out where the bugs are coming from. Now what? I have this big heavy thing in front of the window. I reach through the opening, press my hands against the glass, and push up, hoping I can slide the window closed that way. Nope, it won’t budge. It rained the night before and the window frame has probably swollen a bit from the humidity. Do I try to move the Castle and possibly tip it over and hurt myself? (Or possible one of the cats, who have become very interested in what Mama is doing and want to “help.”) So after thinking a bit, I go get my Bug-Killing Stick out of the closet. The Bug-Killing Stick is a roughly four foot length of 1′ PVC pipe that I use to squash bugs that are out of my reach. I take the Bug-Killing Stick and use the tip to push up on the top edge of the window frame, pushing it back into place and locking the window. I congratulate myself for being so damn clever and go make myself a double shot of espresso.

Mama’s Little Psycho


To continue my on-going series covering the various felines in my life, today were are going to meet Firefly.

Firefly

I will destroy you. Right after my nap.

Or as my dear sweet father likes to call her, Psycho-Twitch.

100_3458.JPG

Pictured: GhostDad, The Man Who Hates Cats, is shown here hand-feeding treats to my cats.

Firefly is the smallest of my brood at a dainty twelve pounds; she is a regular old run-of-the-mill Domestic Shorthair with a beautiful tortoiseshell pattern. Her coloring is where I got her name; her back is almost solid black with tiny flecks of orange that reminded me of fireflies at night.(I did not name her for the TV series, although I am a fan.)

Her favorite position. You can see how the tip of her tail curls over like a question mark.

Her tail has an odd little crook at the end; it was likely broken when she was still a baby kitten. When I first got her, she was a tiny little runty thing and like Fearless she was infested with fleas. The day after I got the kittens, I took them to the vet for a checkup and their first shots and was informed that Firefly had a heart murmur.  A few weeks later we go back for the booster and the murmur was gone, the vet said it was possible it had been caused by a lack of blood from the flea bites. Poor little thing.

D'awww...

Awww... Who's a cute little psychopath? You is! Yes, you is!

Firefly is the most illogical cat I’ve ever known. You can be petting her one second and she will be purring up a storm, and then she will suddenly turn and bite you with the Crazy Look in her eyes. It’s like a switch gets flipped in her brain and she suddenly goes crazy. It was worse when she was a kitten, she has calmed down a tiny bit as she’s gotten older, but she will still twitch out from time to time. Four things guarantee a twitch out; touching her tail, touching her feet or her tummy, or going anywhere near a source of water.

YAY!!!

If I were a meaner person, I could have a lot of fun with this.

Firefly LOVES running water. She will drink from a dripping spigot for as long as you let her and if you go anywhere near the kitchen or bathroom she will materialize as if by magic. Her most favorite thing in the world is a Sink Drink, something my dad started. Just say the magic words “Sink Drink?” and she will start weaving back and forth in front of the kitchen sink, meowing as loudly as she can. If she feels you are not moving fast enough, she will jump up on you chest and give you the choice of catching her or losing some blood. Flip her over onto her back, holding her as you would a baby, and turn the faucet on so that a trickle comes out. Stick her head under the water so she can drink it. Wait. Wait some more. Wait even longer. When your arms get tired, remove her from the sink (she will still try to drink) and put her back on the floor. She will immediately start meowing and demanding that you do it again.

If you want to see two cats acting crazy, then you want the Tub Drink. Tub Drinks are done in the hall bathroom, where there’s a standard tub. First, go into the bathroom. This will bring Firefly and Fearless running. Turn the tub on so that a trickle falls into the tub. Firefly will jump onto the edge of the tub and start drinking from the stream. Fearless will jump into the tub and start drinking from the drain, getting splashed in the process.

The two of them love to cuddle together. They do it less than they used to, but every once and a while I’ll find them crammed together into some uncomfortable-looking position.

Then ...

and now.

One of the odd things about Firefly, apart from the running water thing, is the licking. She will lick and lick and lick you until you physically make her stop. And it can be any body part. When she was a kitten I was home with a bad migraine and had pulled the covers up over my head. I woke to the smell of fish and a pain in my face. My nose had come uncovered while I slept and she was curled up beside me, licking the tip of my nose raw. It looked like raw meat.

GhostDad, who has claimed for years to absolutely hate cats, is her favorite person. She will cuddle with him, sit in his lap, and  sleep with him if he will let her.

She can be sweet when she wants to be, if it’s her idea she will cuddle with you for hours, but try to pick her up and put her in your lap and you are just asking for pain.


So here’s another dream I had the other day.

I’m driving along in the car with Mother Dearest and we pass a section of road with wide sandy shoulders. There are little turtles crawling across the sand, most heading away from the road but there is one that is heading straight towards the asphalt. We stop and I get out and turn the turtle around. It spins around and starts heading for the road again. I turn it around. It turns back towards the road. We do this several times before I pick the turtle up and get back in the car with it. We keep driving down the road, only now I have this tiny turtle in my arms. And suddenly it’s not a little turtle but a big turtle, with a furry shell. And then it’s not a turtle; it’s a cat that looks like a turtle. A green cat with fur that resembles a turtle shell and a head shaped kinda like a turtle’s, but with cat ears on top. When it purred  it sounded just like ocean waves.