Archive for Apartment Living

A Tale of Two Kitties: It’s a Festivus Miracle!

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For Parts 1, 2 & 3 of A Tale of Two Kitties, click here.

Ten months after first bringing Pippin into my home, she and Sadie are touching noses and occasionally even sitting on my lap at the same time (see middle pic above).   Yay!  They’re not BFFs yet but I think they’ll get there eventually.  They are comfortable with each other and sometimes try to play together.  Sometimes.  Pippin shows off ninja-cat moves that seem to bewilder Sadie.  Chasing, Sadie gets.  Taking turns attacking string, Sadie gets.  Franken-Cat moves, Sadie does not get.  She promptly sits down, turns those big green eyes my way, and gives me a look like “What is wrong with Pippin?”

Sadie also likes to tattle on Pippin.  In the evenings when I’m sitting on the sofa, Sadie is usually on my lap.  I can always tell when Pippin is being naughty by Sadie’s posture.  I usually don’t hear Pippin jump up on the kitchen counter but Sadie does — she’ll sit up suddenly and glance from me to the kitchen and back to me again.  So, I move Sadie to the side, get up, and walk towards the kitchen, at which point Pippin sees me coming and jumps down from the counter.  Siblings, right?

The two are generally good about sharing.  They both sleep on my bed; when I’m on the sofa, Sadie usually sits on my lap and Pippin usually sits beside me.  Pippin does get a little possessive about their S-shaped scratchy things.  I can always tell when Pippin is annoyed with Sadie because she makes a beeline for Sadie’s scratchy-thing and scratches like there’s no tomorrow, casting looks at Sadie the whole time.  And Sadie is just as likely to return attitude with attitude; she’ll then make a beeline for Pippin’s scratchy-thing and scratch away.  Pippin usually wins the scratch-off; typically, as soon as Sadie makes her move, Pippin chases her and the contest is over.

one of the coveted scratchy things

one of the coveted scratchy things

Last week, I put up the Christmas Tree aka Sadie’s Favorite Toy Ever.  It has a noticeable cat dent from years of Sadie resting on its branches.  Sadie is just as enthralled with it as ever; Pippin is less impressed.  As it has yet to be toppled a week after I first put it up, I think I’ll actually decorate it this weekend.  Non-breakable ornaments only though — once things are dangling from the branches, Pippin may become more interested in checking it out.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!


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A Tale of Two Kitties, Part 3

Sadie and Pippin

I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by!  Tomorrow will mark Pippin’s 8 week anniversary as a housecat.  It’s amazing to me how Sadie and Pippin’s relationship has evolved from week to week.  If you’re just checking in, click here for A Tale of Two Kitties, Part 1 and here for A Tale of Two Kitties, Part 2.

Week 4:  DopplerShift

Pippin’s curiosity is finally enough to draw her out of the bathroom but she’s still afraid of Sadie — which is sad because Sadie really wants to be BFFs.  Really, Truly, Desperately.  Pippin takes the longest way possible around Sadie and hisses if Sadie tries to approach her.  If a long route around isn’t possible, Pippin simply increases her speed — the closer she has to pass by Sadie, the faster she goes.  I’m sure there’s a scientific equation involved but it’s nearing the end of Spring Break at the library and my brain is mostly mush at this point.

One of the highlights of this week is seeing Pippin play.  We played a little bit while she was living in the guest bathroom but there wasn’t much space for her to really let loose.  Sadie appears surprised to discover that she’s not the only cat in the world to think of hiding behind lace curtains and attacking whatever toys come rolling along.  She’s hurt that Pippin won’t let her play at the same time but she’s an easy-going girl and waits her turn.

What I love most about watching Pippin play is that she waggles her head A LOT and her eyes get super-huge.  I’m reminded that she’s had a rough time of it and it’s probably been a long time since she’s felt safe enough to just play.  I’m so happy that she found her way to my patio door.

Week 5:  My space — Your space OR Romulans vs Federation?

Pippin is torn between fear and possessiveness.  Our daily evening routine has me sitting on the floor between them, using both hands at once to wiggle two strings across the floor.  They ignore each other and chase their individual strings.  All is going well until one night I deviate from the program.  Sitting on the floor with Pippin on my left and Sadie on my right, I’m opening the packages of new toys purchased for them on my way home from work.  Sadie’s accustomed to getting new toys so she knows exactly what I’m doing and she gets excited.  She puts her paws on my lap because she is anxious to see what tonight’s new toy is.  Pippin apparently thinks that Sadie has crossed into the Neutral Zone and promptly bonks Sadie on the head with her paw, adding an angry hiss for good measure.  Sadie runs away but returns when I call her.  Sadie is such a good-natured girl, she doesn’t even give Pippin a dirty look.

Week 6:  Bonding by vacuum

Sadie and Pippin hiding from vacuum

Pippin still views Sadie as a threat to be avoided at all costs but there’s apparently one thing more intimidating than Sadie — the vacuum cleaner.  Previously they’ve run in separate directions when I’ve vacuumed but today they both make a beeline for my bedroom.  Sadie gets the bed; Pippin gets the floor.







Week 7:  But that’s MY spot

Pippin’s definitely feeling more comfortable — and so is Sadie.  Both girls are feisty this week.  Sadie’s been patient up until this point and for the most part, she still is, BUT it does seem like she’s ready to take a stand.  I’ll admit, she’s been fascinated with Pippin and has tentatively approached her on several occasions, wanting to be friends.  That said, she’s also been quick to back away or to avoid a spot that Pippin seems to prefer.  She still backs away when Pippin hisses or puts her ears back, but Sadie has apparently decided to let Pippin know that she’ll sit wherever she wants to sit.

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One of the best things that I ever bought Sadie is an s-shaped scratchy thing — she reclines on it and uses it to practice her disembowling kicks on a daily basis.  I bought one for Pippin as well.  Sadie still loves HER s-shaped scratchy thing but she also likes Pippin’s.  The minute Pippin leaves the room to answer nature’s call, Sadie claims it.  Pippin returns and the two stare at each other a bit before someone decides to play nonchalant and start grooming herself (it’s about 50/50 as to who breaks eye contact first).  When Sadie leaves, maybe to answer nature’s call, maybe to filch some of Pippin’s food (yes, that’s happened), Pippin is back in her spot.  It’s like living with two feline Sheldons.

The highlight of this week is that for all of their posturing, this is the week that the two girls attempt to play with each other.  Pippin takes the initiative — she hides behind the white lace curtains and I can see her wiggling her butt like there’s no tomorrow.  Sadie is oblivious.  Pippin charges out but when she gets to Sadie, she suddenly realizes that this may not be a good idea, and backpedals as fast as she can while hissing.  Sadie looks confused.  Later, when I’m petting Pippin, Sadie races up and taps Pippin’s tail but does her own version of the backpedal.  Who needs tv when pets are around?  I’m laughing so hard, I’m crying.

Week 8: Taking a step back

For whatever reason, neither girl shows interest in trying to play with the other this week.  They seem comfortable with each other although Pippin will occasionally charge Sadie and hiss if she thinks Sadie is in her way, like when Sadie was planted in the middle of the bedroom doorway this morning.  And Pippin did bonk Sadie on the head last night when Sadie interrupted Pippin’s petting session.  All in all though, I’m happy with the progress they’ve made.  They are both sweethearts and I’m lucky to have them!

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A Tale of Two Kitties: Part 2

Sadie and Pippin 2

Click here for A Tale of Two Kitties, Part 1.

Financially, I feel more comfortable limiting myself to one pet because I feel more confident that I can handle any potential health issues that crop up.  A few years ago, my rabbit Petey had bladder issues and last year Sadie had a severe kidney issue — both resulted in large vet bills.  That said, when Pippin stood up, put her paws on my patio door, and meowed, I had to take her in.

I may have been a couple hundred dollars poorer by the end of February 8th but I was thrilled — aside of worms, Pippin was healthy.  I dosed her with dewormer and within a few days knew that it would be hard to consider finding another home for her.  I still worry about the financial aspect of having a second pet but we’ve bonded; I will just have to find a way to save more money in case health issues arise.

The dilemma now is convincing Sadie and Pippin that there’s room for both of them in my apartment.  Sadie’s been an only child for 4 years now and who knows what Pippin has endured while she’s been fending for herself — her torn ear and the scar above her eye are testament to at least one fight.  Both Sadie and Pippin are young adults, so they’re well past the kitten stage when every new creature is a potential playmate.  The vet recommended that I keep them separated for at least a week but cautioned that it might take a good deal longer for them to accept one another.

Luckily, Pippin seems quite content in my guest bathroom, despite the fact that there are no windows.  The bathtub has been cozied-up with a kitty cube, a padded crate mat, and several toys.  For the first time in who knows how long, she’s safe, she’s warm, and she’s comfortable.  Sadie has been less certain of this arrangement — unable to see Pippin but able to smell her, for the first few days Sadie seemed convinced that something huge and terrifying lurked behind that door.  She refused to walk past it.

Pippin 19

About midway through the first week, I started opening the door for short periods but I planted myself in the doorway as a human barrier.  I intended to follow the vet’s advice and keep them separated but I thought they’d both feel more comfortable if they could see as well as smell each other.  So that they would associate good things with one another, I gave them both treats while doing this.  I also took turns letting each of them chase string.  This definitely did wonders for Sadie — rather than avoiding passing that door at all costs, she began to sniff it cautiously, and now makes herself comfortable on the other side of it.

While Sadie appears to be warming up to the idea of having a sibling, Pippin still has reservations.  We’re now in our third week and I’ve begun leaving the bathroom door wide open while I’m home and awake.  Pippin has ventured out of the bathroom exactly twice.  Sadie has tried to approach her cautiously but Pippin hisses whenever Sadie gets within three feet of her.  Sadie backs away quickly and gives me a puzzled look when this happens.  I reassure her that she’s a good girl and reassure myself that it will work out in time.  It’s early yet.

Sweet Sadie

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A Tale of Two Kitties: Part 1

Sadie and the StrayA few weeks ago, I noticed that a cat was camping out on my patio (I have cushy patio chairs).  I’ve seen this cat around the apartment complex over the past year, always on the move.  The cat seemed fairly skittish — if it saw a person, it would dart away quickly.  With the weather being so cold, and believing that it didn’t have a home to call its own (I’ve seen it outside at all hours of the day and night), I started putting out food and water.  While I didn’t make any attempt to approach the cat, I hoped that eventually I would be able to get close enough to it to make sure that it was neutered/spayed.  Given its skittishness, I didn’t expect it to be housecat  so I was content to allow it to remain free.  That said, I wanted to make sure that it didn’t contribute to the feral cat population.

Imagine my surprise when I came home one night to see the cat sitting by my patio door, looking in expectantly.  This was a first and I didn’t want to frighten the cat by approaching it, so I went about my routine.  It was soon time to fill the food bowl and the cat was still there, so I got the food and opened the door.  A few weeks ago, the sight of me walking towards the door would have sent the cat running — however, this particular evening, the cat only moved to the edge of the patio.  As I poured the food into the dish, the cat came up to me and started rubbing against my legs, purring.  I was surprised, thrilled, and tormented.  I sat down and started petting the sweet little girl and she continued purring and rubbing against me.  It was cold and I wanted to bring her inside but I had no idea if she was healthy and I didn’t want to risk Sadie-Cat’s health.  So I got a blanket and sat outside with her for a long time.  When I finally went inside, I left the blanket on the chair so that she’d have something to snuggle in.

This routine expanded and continued for a few days.  I’d wake up early to feed and pet both cats and I skipped evening workouts in order to come home earlier to feed and pet both cats.  It was obvious by now that this sweet little stray had once had a home.  I didn’t want to take her to the shelter — sweet as she was, she had a partially-torn ear and a small scar above one eye so she wasn’t likely to win any beauty contests among the other cats desperately wanting homes.  I started asking around, trying to find a home for her.  I also began working on a plan to bring her inside without risking Sadie’s health.  My apartment is small but I do have a second bathroom . . . .

And then the day came.  I’d fed and petted both cats, I’d gotten ready for work, and I was heading towards the door when the sweet little stray stood up, put her paws on my patio door, and meowed.  I opened the door, scooped her up, put her in the second bathroom with cat necessities.  On my morning break, I called the vet and made an appointment to have her checked out that afternoon.  I’ve decided to name her Pippin — like one of my favorite hobbits, she’s sweet but timid.  I’m hoping her curiosity will override her timidity when it comes time to properly introduce her to Sadie.

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The end of an era

It’s official–my good friend and neighbor for the past few years has moved into her lovely new home.  No more chance meetings in the hallway or on the sidewalk near our apartment building; no more impromptu patio visits when Bartle-dog decides that’s the direction he wants to go for his walk.  The next time one of us has a family or relationship crisis, we’ll have to hop in the car and take a drive for that shoulder to cry upon.  Luckily, it will be a short drive–Melissa’s only moving a mile or so down the road.  There’s really no need for me to get all Rachael & Monica about it, right?  We’ll still get together for our tv nights–I mean, it just feels silly to yell at the tv when you’re watching alone.  Our favorite shows to watch together have been Lost, Being Human (BBC and SyFy), Sherlock, and Vampire Diaries (Damon Salvatore is HOT).

And, let’s not forget, we work in the same library.  In fact, there have been times we’ve barely crossed paths at the apartment complex but have seen each other throughout the day at work.  So, instead of looking at it as the “end of an era”, I’ll try to look at it as the beginning of a new era.  Of course, it will help a great deal if my new neighbor across the hall bears a striking resemblance to any of the following:  Joe Manganiello, Colin Farrell, or Matthew Perry!  If I can’t have one of my best friends across the hallway, I think I should have an age-appropriate hottie!

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What have I been doing?

My last post was on June 28th – I haven’t been blogging so what have I been doing?

  • Hanging out with Erin and Melissa
  • Reading
  • Negotiating rent with my apartment complex (I’m currently paying $10 a month above the market rate and they want to raise my rent an additional $25 a month.  I think that’s unfair.)
  • Trying to keep my patio garden alive despite record temperatures
  • Talking on the phone with April
  • Maintaining my workout routine even though it’s way too hot to be fun
  • Going to the theater with Melissa to see Magic Mike.  I’m still laughing.
  • Playing with Sadie-Cat
  • Relaxing

My nice little staycation is over now so it’s back to blogging!

Melissa, Erin and me. Not our most current pic but one of our best!

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Save the birds

I like the windows in the breezeway of my apartment building – they do lighten things up a bit – but I do wish they had some sort of design to make it easier for birds to realize that there’s something there.  Birds fly into the glass and fall back onto the ledge – and try to fly through the glass again.  I’ve rescued a few of these feathered friends but it’s not easy.  As the window is fairly high, I have to stand on the stairs and extend a broom – and hope that the bird hops on.  They all have so far, but usually accidentally; they think I’m pestering them and typically continue trying to fly through the window.  When one lands on the broom, I pull it back and lower it as quickly as possible so that they have a clear path to fly away.

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