The great disappointment

So the silly human’s back home. We have to admit that we weren’t as hard as we wanted. We planned on ignoring her, showing our disrespect, but at the end of the day, we’re just two little poor cats: we were so happy to see our Mommy again that we couldn’t hide it.

However, this was before we found out that she didn’t get us any souvenirs. You should think that she’d bring bags of treats to bribe us – but nada. Quite the contrary happened! She had a look at the cupboard and said “I see the catsitters have spoiled you!”

Bah. Ok, she admitted that she wrote on the looooong list that they can spoil us rotten. Truth is that those clueless catsitters didn’t have a choice as we’re very dangerous predators. We protected our home, hissed, and were just about biting them to hospital, so they had to give us a lot of treats!

You think Mom’s behavior was bad? The worst thing is yet to come! We came to know that she was visiting Granny in Germany. Our wonderful Granny felt of course sorry for us, and wanted to buy some souvenirs. Can you believe that Mom just sneered at her???

Oath of revenge

We heard rumors that our shabby Mom will come back any minute, so we’re plotting our revenge. I decided that I won’t let her sleep in the big bed.

That’s me a couple of weeks ago. I had a good nap on the bedspreads when Mom went to bed. The thought of waking me up broke her heart, so she tried to find a compromise. Eventually, she sneaked under the bed-cover without disturbing me too much.

Today I’m planning to place myself in the middle of the bed, and make myself as big as possible, so that she can’t get under the bedcover at all. Maybe Kajsa could back me up here? Mom’s bed is quite big, so it’s difficult to do this job all by myself.

 

Caution! Double-check your plants

A last smarty-pants post on the balcony: make sure to double-check poisonous plants to cats! I was lucky enough that I only lost money, but I could have ended up with an injured cat too.

I was very disappointed when I found out that I bought toxic flowers. I actually spend a lot of time in the flower shop, checking each plant I liked. I relied on a well-recognized and seemingly reliable source: ASPCA . While I do believe that ASPCA is in general a very good reference, mistakes happen to the best of us.

I fell in love with these flowers and checked the latin name Gypsophila elegans on ASPCA’s webpages. “Non-toxic to cats”. Great!

However, I accidentally found out that ASPC had two articles on Gypsophila elegans under its common names Baby’s Breath and Maiden’s Breath. 

Source: Aspca , 06/25/17

The latin name is identical so we are dealing with the very same flower – but one is toxic and the other non-toxic. Obviously, ASPCA made a mistake here.

I didn’t mean to shame a great society, and I’m sure that they do put a lot of effort into their great list of toxic plants. However, mistakes do happen, and I’ve definitely learned a lesson: to double-check. Keep in mind that many webpages (including blogs) refer to ASPCA, so double-checking doesn’t help when both websites use the same source!

Opinions and research on toxic plants to cats differ, and you’re likely to find contradictory statements. Oh yes, I spend many hours googling a replacement for my flowers. In the end, I had a small list of flowers which a) most sources considered non-toxic, b) I liked, c) were not too expensive and d) suitable for sub-arctic climate and an eastward balcony.

P.S. I already emailed ASPCA and asked them to control their entries on Gypsophila elegans. I’m sure they do their best to keep their pages updated and reliable!

 

Cat versus human logic

Okay, we do admit that Mom made a great effort to catify our balcony, but keep in mind that she wanted to build a cuboid. We only demanded free access to the balcony, nothing more.

She also needs to become more efficient; it took her two days to build the cube. Way too long! Indeed, Kajsa and I were not satisfied. Mom took this picture while she was “working” on the balcony and saw two impatient cats through the window.

Don’t really understand how she had the nerves to take pictures – shouldn’t she spent all her time on her work? Would she play with her smart phone if her boss supervised her at work? Certainly not. Bah.

However, we were thrilled when she finally opened the balcony door! Kajsa, our Queen of Indecision stood the first hour on three legs in the living room holding the fourth paw through the door frame. The important decision “in or out” always requires a very long working process.

I again was very excited about exploring the world from our balcony. So many new perspectives and views! So I spent the entire evening on the window sill, observing the living room through the balcony window.

Can’t really understand why Mom got so annoyed. She normally complains that we ignore things she does for us. So here we were, on the window sill and in the door frame, exploring the world, appreciating our new freedom and her hard work, but she was still frustrated ?!?

Turned out that she wanted us to look at something else than the living room and the door frame. Human logic … wasn’t it her who enjoyed observing us in the living room earlier that day? And doesn’t she always stress that we’ve to be careful when exploring new places? So what is wrong with Kajsa’s careful decision-making process and me observing the living room?  Sigh.

 

 

Our new catio !

Catproofing the balcony of our new apartment was very tricky.

It’s relatively easy to cat-proof a balcony when you’re not living on the top floor: in most cases, you only need to lattice the distance between the handrail and the balcony above. And best of all – you can actually buy adjustable poles to fasten a cat net without drilling! Simple, effective and surprisingly cheap. (I had no idea that it was so easy and cheap to secure standard balconies, so I thought that some of you may find this information helpful)

We faced several challenges: first, we live on the top floor, so our balcony doesn’t have a roof. Second, I wasn’t allowed to drill holes into the outer wall. And third, but not last: a 10 cm gap (for snow / water) between the floor and the handrail. Plus some smaller problems which are too complicated to explain here. Thank you “Äiti” Karin, for your help – she actually designed our catio!

The basic design is a cuboid of wooden poles. I fastened the net with a staple gun to the poles. The frame itself is secured with cable tiers to the ceiling.

Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons

I put under each corner clothespins to allow water running underneath the bottom poles.

The white wall is attached to the exterior wall of the house with small joints – perfect for cable tiers!

I also had to secure the white wall because of this 10 cm gap between floor and wall.

The clothes rack was a perfect opportunity to attach the upper pole to the wall.

I paid about 150 € for the material (not including tools and transportation). I took my time to choose the wooden poles: it’s often more expensive and very time-consuming to buy cheap wood because you need to protect it with waterproof paint. I recommend fence material as fences are typically designed to resist the weather of your region!

Please pay attention to different sorts of cat nets – you need a material animals can’t bite through. I wrote “animals” instead of “cats” for a reason: even if your cats don’t have teeth, you’ll still need to protect your net against squirrels and other animals!

I’ve no idea how I succeeded, but I actually build the catio all by myself without any help (apart from the design). You’ll need a power drill and staple gun to save a lot of time and nerves.

 

House Party

Mom’s still away, and oh yes, she will pay for abounding us. However, we’ve to admit that this “somebody-called-catsitter” thing turned out ok.

Mom hired two maids to serve us in her absence. One live-in maid and one live-out servant who’s compensating for the house maid when she’s off duty. It’s very difficult to find live-in servants nowadays, so we guess we’ve to accept that the live-in maid is not covering all days of Mom’s vacation.

That being said, we do require a certain standard. That’s me on the grand catwalk, demanding entertainment.

Now that’s working pretty well!

That way I can also show our new maids that I’m a very talented and dangerous predator, so they better treat me with respect – and don’t call me stupid.

Now after the hunting party, I’d expect a great feast for the feline aristocracy. It’s according the etiquette, isn’t it?

 

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Feline friends, do I look annoyed?

You bet I am! Not enough that Mom wrote a long list of instructions to someone-called-catsitter, no, she labelled our toys as well.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just in case you can’t read Mom’s illegible scrawl: “Kajsa. (She’s too stupid for the other one)”  Eh what????

Let me explain: Mom made a so-called ‘activity toy’ (where poor pets have to solve puzzles to get treats) by taping two cardboard packings upside down. I’m sorry, I can’t really explain what she did, but maybe you get it from the pictures.

These cardboard things are underneath cans and usually wrapped in plastic. Facing each other, they make a box with slits on each side. Mom fills the box with treats and thinks that this is a funny game. Bah.

Tessa figured right away that all treats will fall out when she turns the box, so Mom barricaded three of four slits.

However, I decided that I don’t want complicated puzzles, so I was just sitting in front of my box and meowed, and eventually, Mom gave up, hehehe. So now we’ve one complicated box for Tessa and a plain one for me.

Dear feline friends – who’s the stupid cat in YOUR opinion?

 

When the human’s away

So where’s Mommy? I’ve been looking for her all day!

Maybe she’s just behind the house? I better check the other window as well.

Nope. Good thing is that she can’t complain now that I’m blocking the way to the (cat-proofed) balcony. But this won’t help me in the long run: we’re left all to ourselves, and we’ll probably starve to death soon.

You know, I really tried my best to prevent her departure. Yesterday she found a tick behind my ear and failed to remove it – its head is still under my skin. I thought she’d stay home, nurse me and give me a lot of treats, but all she did was to check with a vet if “we” need to come. Bah. Vet. I just need treats and attention to feel better!

Can you believe that she left me heavily injured?? She just added a note to the loooooong list to someone-called-catsitter and asked to keep an eye on my wound. And then … then the unbelievable happened. She just cut my wonderful fur behind my left ear so that someone-called-catsitter / a vet can control my wound. Bah. I look terrible, so I didn’t let her take any pictures.

Uh-oh. Someone’s tinkering with the door lock. Help! Thieves? Or even worse – the vet???

 

When the cats move away…

Moving to a new place sounds horrible to most cats, but some things are actually great about moving!

I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but Mom’s been completely exhausted. Which is in a way good because she was too tired to play with us, but had a bad conscience.

To keep us busy, she made us work hard for treats and kibbles. Our favorite game is Hide and Seek: Mom hides kibbles and treats all over the place and we’ll do a long work shift finding each one. Wonder why only dogs take all the glory as drug-sniffing dogs at airports and so on? We sure should be paid much more, but Mom says that dogs don’t get a good salary either. In fact, they’ll probably get less treats when sniffing through hundreds of bags than we get when we play Hide and Seek. Right. Now it makes sense that cats don’t do this job, but leave it to dogs, hehe…

We also loved the packing. So many bags to explore, so many things to spread your fur on! And so much chaos that Mom lost track of bags, had no idea what is where and couldn’t prevent us from digging our way. She packed, we unpacked, she packed, we unpacked … a wonderful game!

Oh, did I mention bags? They also turned up on places where Mom doesn’t normally store bags.

You can also see another important detail on this picture: she quite often forgot to put her phone charger and headphones away, hehehe … Such delightful chewing times!! Mom’s annual budget on headphones is 120€ because of me, but she already spent about 80€ in 2017, and it’s only June!

 

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