Saturday, February 8, 2014


This is Puzzle and Wuzzy. They got themselves up on the top shelf of a set of crockery shelves that are built onto our kitchen wall. I didn't see how they did it. Cats are climbers. Wuzzy was the one who climbed plumb up to the tippy top of a tree last winter, up to where he had no idea at all how to get back down. I can refresh your memory of this event. (Maybe he'll be reading this blog and also remember how it goes when you don't think ahead.)

Wuzzy's the little black dot up there amongst the branches. I've circled him in red. It looks cold and lonely, and that was in the morning after the long long night, which followed most of the previous day. He probably felt a little like Edward Abbey did that time he decided to explore the alternate route down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Or maybe like that moment when some character on Doctor Who was put into the machine which showed him literally his relationship to the rest of the universe. The man in the boom truck came much later, in the afternoon, cut his way to where he could actually get his boom up to Wuzzy, and then rescued him. Deus ex machina. Not really having a concept of money, Wuzzy didn't even ask about how all this happened to work out so well. He just came in, ate a lot, and went to sleep.

At any rate, as is well known, Houdahenians are climbers. You can google it. There are many websites featuring cat stairs and perches. And of course if you have shelves and furniture, you already have stairs and perches. Same deal if you have trees. But in these times the vets tend to recommend that cats don't go out in the trees, and so there's now a veritable industry of cat stairs and perches, to substitute for the ready made ones you already have. Because cats aren't much concerned with how to get down at the moment they decide (should it be "decide"--you call the evolutionary geneticists and get back to us) to go up. And I definitely don't mean to kid the wonderful critters we love so much about their tendency to exuberance. Mike Tyson has compared himself to a double-bred tumbler pigeon. Those lovely avians get so engaged with their tumbling that they often never pull out of their dives. It's best, Mr. Tyson says, not to breed two champion tumblers.

I've already written about the squirrels in the kitchen ceiling. Living in the woods as we do, this had been a battle for many years, and we've mostly won, except for one very difficult to reach place in the kitchen roof, which is going to have to be dealt with when it gets warmer. I won't go into the roofing stuff, but squirrels, hardy little bastids though they be, would just as soon be indoors during the cold months, and will put up with insulation in their ears and the sense that creatures are near who would like to eat them for a warm cot and some acorns. Thus it is we now have this vector of intersection, between the formerly wild domestic cat, and the still wild squirrel, separated only by some one-by ceiling planks once the cats can get up to the top shelf.

Yesterday the two big brothers were up there, as you can see. It seemed as though the getting down might be dangerous both to them and to the crockery. These two are the big cats. Little Kirby has been climbing up there and getting down by just jumping to the counter, with is about five feet or so. Same with Mokey, who's also fairly light. For the big boys it would be more of a jolt to their shoulders and perhaps internal organs. This doesn't mean that they wouldn't try the big jump. It'd be just whenever they "decided" they'd had enough of being in that particular spot. But I climbed up and passed them both down to Libby last evening, and as far as I could tell this morning, they hadn't been back up again in the night. (In the winter Houdahenians are attracted even more to the wood stove in the back room, particularly when they've been fed. Squirrels? They can wait.

Today I'm going off to buy some one-by-six. I can see a few places for kitty stairs. The snow's held off till next week and it's Saturday. I'll post a picture perhaps. Meanwhile, one other report from the real world. Driving home from work yesterday I saw four dead skunks on the road to town. They were separated by at least a mile each. I'd say we've never seen skunks in Chatham county before a couple of years back. They're very pretty little creatures, and it's sad to see that they have little ability to deal with vehicles. Maybe they can't see too well, or are distracted by whatever it is they're immediately interested in when the fatal car tops the hill. Whatever the reason, we must have a burgeoning population of the critters here. It's another reason to keep the boys inside. A cat could certainly kill a skunk, but there would be a price.

(You wanna see some cat stairs and perches: )

1 comment:

  1. what a delightful post. from the tree-climbing cat (who looks oddly like an owl on a greenhouse, don't you think?) to the hapless skunks. i remember as a kid in duluth, my dad used to sit out on the front steps on summer nights, smoking and staring off into the dark, and one night a skunk walked right across the bottom step, right in front of his feet. you'd better believe my dad did not move a whisker; there would be a price, for sure.