In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: animals Page 2 of 6

Kitty ramp

You may recall that I posted early in 2014 about buying a 2×6 so the cat could get up onto my bookshelves. She wasn’t having any of it because the angle was a bit steep so I thought I’d wrap it in carpet.

4M6C3244.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17–40mm 1:4L @ 22mm, 1/100, f/4, 1600 ISO

4M6C3244.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17 – 40mm 1:4L @ 22mm, 1/100, f/4, 1600 ISO

As you can see, I didn’t wrap it in carpet. I wrapped it in ⅜″ twisted sisal rope. I read that’s the ideal material for a scratching post so in addition to wrapping the rope around the board, I wanted to make sure the rope would not move or shift. To accomplish this, I glued it. And I mean seriously glued it. It took nearly a year because I’d glue a 6″ length on one side, wait at least six hours, then flip the board, and glue the next 6″ length…over and over and over. This works out to 32 days per foot, assuming that I glue two 6″  lengths a day, which I did not always manage. This is why it took the better part of a year to complete. I just didn’t think about how long it would take when I started. It’s probably for the best because I’m not sure I would have started. I’m glad I finished it though.

When I completed the task, the cat wanted nothing to do with it! So I dropped the board down to one shelf below the top and lured her up by placing three treats along the board. Initially she would only eat the bottom treat because she could get to it from the top of the sofa. Eventually though, she went all the way up and I was so pleased. The elapsed time between buying the board and taking the photo above was about 14 months.

But damn it, mission accomplished!


4M6C2413.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 50mm 1:1.4 @ 1/125, f/2.8, 1600 ISO

4M6C2413.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 50mm 1:1.4 @ 1/125, f/2.8, 1600 ISO

I bought a board! All 2″×6″×10′ of it. Why?

Cats like a commanding view. I believe it comes from not only being a predator, but also from being prey. People I’ve lived with have had cat trees, so I looked up what that cost and quickly realized that I wouldn’t be buying any cat tree that I found acceptable. So what to do?

I’ve got quite a number of bookshelves, and I typically don’t make much use of the top of them. So what’s the easiest way for the cat to make use of the top of the bookshelves? A plain old board! A quick mental run-through of the Pythagorean theorem told me that if the shelves are 6′ tall, a 10′ hypotenuse would be inclined at a little less than 45°. The angle shown in the photo is much less than that because the boards placed one shelf down from the very top.

It turns out that the cat will still have none of it. I’m planning on wrapping the board in carpet so I’m hoping that will make the incline navigable. We’ll see!

Birds be crazy!

4M6C2286.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 70–200mm 1:4L IS @ 165mm, 1/200, f/7.1, 100 ISO

4M6C2286.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 70 – 200mm 1:4L IS @ 165mm, 1/200, f/7.1, 100 ISO

It made me cold just looking at them!

Meet Emily

4M6C2192.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 70–200mm 1:4L IS @ 160mm, 1/60, f/4.5, 800 ISO

4M6C2192.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 70 – 200mm 1:4L IS @ 160mm, 1/60, f/4.5, 800 ISO

My mom’s wanted a cat for years. She brought it up with my dad once and he was not sympathetic. While I’m living here, he said, I want no animals in the house! He’s not living here any more of course, and she’s mentioned getting a cat a few times in the last month. Each time, I encouraged her to go ahead and do it. There’s no reason not to. She still hesitated.

Then, last Wednesday, she told me she wanted to go out the next day and do some errands. She wanted to update her bank book, and while out that way, we’d stop at the Humane Society and see if there were any cats that looked like they’d fit in here.

I had my doubts. My mother keeps an immaculate home. If the cat liked climbing the curtains or using the furniture as a scratching post, it wouldn’t be living here long. So we went and she did pick one out. After we started the adoption process we were surprised to learn that the adoption fee was half the usual amount. As I was trying to tactfully word my question, my mom asked the question without finesse: “What’s wrong with her?” We learned that she doesn’t get along with most other adult cats and she’s very low-energy. The former issue is no issue at all because she’ll be the only cat. The latter issue is an advantage because my mom wants a lap cat and as little drama as possible.

So far things are working out very well. I’ve never seen such a low energy cat! Nor have I seen one that enjoys attention quite so much. The only time I’ve seen her run is when she ascends the stairs. She’s pretty well-behaved as well. She has scratched the furniture but we quickly direct her to the scratching post, on which she resumes scratching. The only other real issue is her climbing. We’ve caught her walking on the kitchen counter and table, and she earns herself the immediate attention of the water-filled spray bottle. In a variation on that theme, I contributed to her delinquency this evening by not only leaving a pizza box on the kitchen counter, but I left a dinner plate on top of the pizza box. So the dish crashed to the floor and shattered as a result of her trying to get at the left-over pizza in the box!

So despite the occasional drama, things are going well so far. I’m very pleased that my mom has a new friend to keep her company! I’m glad that I also like the cat, because I’ve taken the initiative with cleaning the cat box! If I’m going to clean poop, I’d damned-well better like the source.

Not quite Woody

Don and I took our lunch on a nature trail yesterday, looking for animals to shoot … photographically, of course. We tried to move along the trail quietly so as not to disturb and frighten-off our quarry. So there we were, standing on the trail, looking around us when this incredibly loud pecking erupted from above us. I was startled, to put it mildly. Looking up, we saw this lovely read-head. As near as I can tell from the various birdwatching sites on the Web, it’s a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Yes, that’s a real bird rather than a name made up to sound funny.

4M6C0211.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1250, f/5.6, 400 ISO

4M6C0211.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/1250, f/5.6, 400 ISO

When it started pecking again, the forest paparazzi were out in full force as shutters clacked in continuous mode trying to capture its staccato movement. As shown here, its head is back, primed for a peck.

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