Category Archives: Cats

Mrs. P finally gets her lapcat

We have been adopted. It’s official, or at least as official as a cat-adoption can be. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a stray/abandoned/homeless black male cat started hanging around our house a day or two before Christmas. After we ascertained that the cat was definitely not the neighbor’s cat, which we originally thought, Mrs. P took him to the vet and had him checked out, shots, etc. If he wasn’t our cat before paying the $300+ vet bill, he sure was afterward.

Since then, Zorro and Mrs. Poolman have developed quite the mutual admiration society. Mrs. P goes out to the garage to smoke. Zorro is frequently hanging out there anyway, but if not, he comes trotting through the pet door to the back yard and gets in Mrs. P’s lap. Neither of our “regular” cats will do this, and this has been a source of constant frustration to Mrs. P, who wants a “lapcat.” This Zorro knows who is buying his Friskies.

Mrs. P and her new boyfriend.

Mrs. P and her new boyfriend.

We had a close call last week. While I was on my way home from work, I got a call on my cell phone from an older woman who started off with “Oh, you are a real person, not a machine.” Huh? She told me she had a black cat that had disappeared a few weeks previously when she was in the hospital. She had been at the vet and picked up on one of the various “found cat” notices I had spread around a few weeks ago. She thought Zorro might actually be her “McPheron.” She came over to the house with her adult son. However, she couldn’t definitely ID the cat as hers. Also, on the phone, she could not ID two distinctive physical features of Zorro that she would definitely have recognized if he were her cat. Mrs. P was not at home at the time, so I was not very encouraging about letting her take off with Mrs. P’s new cat. That is, not unless the cat just jumped into her arms and started licking her face, which he most definitely did not do.

 So the cat came back…and stayed.

The cat came back! Good luck?

We may have a new member of the Poolman family. It all started early last week when we heard a cat whining. Mrs. Poolman and I searched the house for one of our cats trapped in a closed bedroom or a closet but didn’t find one. But there on the front porch was this black cat crying to be fed.

Mystery Cat

Mystery Cat

Of course we fed the poor thing. We thought the cat must be “Sophia,” a stray that had taken up with our next-door neighbor. (I know this sounds politically incorrect, but let’s face it, one solid, jet black cat looks pretty much like the next one, especially if it isn’t your cat.) The neighbors had vetted her and fed her, but otherwise she was an outside cat. They neighbors were away for the holidays, so we figured we would feed her until they got back. We also placed a beach towel in a plastic box for her to sleep in and stay out of the wind.

Sophia stayed with us even after the neighbors returned which created some joking about us stealing their stray cat. Then the other night, Mr. Neighbor came over.

“Hey Poolman, that cat who is living on your front porch?”

“Yeah, so are you coming to take her home?”

“Ah, I hate to break this to you, but Sophia is asleep in our garage right now. YOUR cat is not OUR cat.”

Great! Just what we need — another cat. Upon closer examination, we also discovered that that cat we thought was “Sophia” was actually “Tom.”  We don’t know if he is lost or was dumped. He is a very nice, friendly feline. He loves attention and will actually come when you call him, especially if he thinks food is involved.

So we are looking for his real family. I have checked and posted “found cat” notices on several local pet sites. I think Mrs. P is going to take her to check on a microchip tomorrow.

If we don’t find his home, I guess we will have a new “outside cat.” He still has his front claws. That rules him out as an inside cat in the Poolman household. (We have donated too many couches and chairs to the scratching pleasure of cats over the years. We are done with that.) However, we won’t just take him to a shelter, since we know, although he is a very sweet, friendly cat, the chances of an adult cat being adopted are very slim.

I didn’t think we had a current job opening for a new cat, but I may have been wrong.

This and that

No, honey, that smoke detector is not a kitchen timer.

 Earlier this week, Mrs. Poolman made us tacos for dinner. This is usually a fairly easy, mistake-proof meal. Not this time. Rather than heating the taco shells in the oven, like we normally do, Mrs. P decided heat them in the microwave.

 “What is that smoke I smell?”

I pulled the taco shells, that were “spooned” together, out of the microwave. They were still combusting! I stuck them in the sink and hit them with the dish sprayer. A large cloud of steam later, the “blaze” was extinguished. I’ve heard of hot Tex-mex food, but really!

 We always have soft tortillas around, so we just had soft tacos that night.

 Actually, this just makes us even. A few weeks ago I saute’d some tilapia for dinner. I used a new spice mix, not knowing it was heavily salt-based. The fish filets were virtually inedible. I’m not a great cook, but usually my meals at least can be eaten. Not that night.

 *   *   *

I understand the reason behind Amber alerts. But is it really necessary to send the same alert out to my phone every few minutes all night? The other night, my phone was hopping with an Amber alert from Tampa, more than 300 miles away. I had to turn the phone off just so I could get some sleep. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Duh.

 *   *   *

It’s tough running a small business, but sometimes when I see how some businesses treat their customers, I don’t understand how they can keep their doors open at all. Last December, we contacted a local pest control company about some unwanted pests in our attic. We called this company because they handle other termite inspections and because someone close to us works for them. The pest control guy came out for an inspection a few days later and said he would be back the next week to seal off the attic and set some traps. Two months later, we hadn’t heard back from the guy. When we finally reached him, he confessed he “forgot.”

 So he sent one of his minions out to seal off all entrances to the attic, but he had forgotten to bring the traps.

 “No problem, I’ll be back on Thursday to set the traps.”

 Of course, he never came. Meanwhile, we got a bill for the incomplete service.

 After continuing to hound than, we finally got the rodent boy to come back out last week and set his traps — four months after we initially called. He is supposed to come back this week to collect whatever (hopefully nothing) that has been caught. We’ll see.

 *   *   *

And speaking of unhappy experiences with local merchants, we took Sammie the dog and Sid the Tailless cat to a groomer this weekend to be trimmed a little. Both are long-haired and desperately needed it. We went to a groomer we had not used before. I don’t know what the groomer was thinking. Sammie was cut down fairly close. Sid was practically shaved.

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

He looks like a little piglet with the head of a lion. Poor thing. Fortunately, Sid doesn’t really seem to care how funny he looks. His “sister” Penny, however is another story. She has been hissing at him ever since he got home yesterday afternoon. Quite the critic she is. Fortunately, Sid is an inside cat, so sunburn won’t be a problem. Otherwise…

I don’t think we’ll be using that groomer again. Duh.

We have squirrels! Well, we hope so anyway.

It may just be time to declare war on squirrels around the Poolman house. As cute as the little demons are, they are starting to get under our skin.

Earlier this year, I had a leak in my car’s windshield washer system. Everytime I refilled the reservoir, the fluid would just come pouring out. I thought maybe I had a broken tube or lose connection. No, said the mechanic. I had squirrels. The suckers had chewed through the plastic tubing.

Did someone say "party?"

Did someone say “party?”

This past Saturday, Mrs. Poolman and I went up to the attic to bring down the Christmas decorations. She noticed right away that there was ample evidence of rodents having partied there. (I don’t need to discuss the evidence. It was not pleasant.) Mrs. Poolman immediately began having visions or giant wharf rats taking over her house and sneaking up on her in her sleep to gnaw off her toes. I suggested our problem was probably not rats, but one of their smaller cousins. I have never seen a field mouse, let alone a wharf rat around our hour house or yard. On the other hand, our and the surrounding yards are a paradise for squirrels. There are millions of them out there. I strongly suspect our B&E culprits go by the nickname “Rocky.”

Sid

Sid

Penny

Penny

Mrs. Poolman began to make disparaging comments about our “lazy cats” not earning their keep, and threatening to take them up to the attic and leave them there. Sid and Penny were not impressed, and went back to sleep. In defense of our cats, they don’t have access to the attic where the squirrels are.  Our daughter, Writer Princes, works for an exterminating company. She will send someone out this week to take care of the unauthorized entry point and whatever party animals have been left behind.

This and that

It’s been about a month since I last posted. After our trip to France, I needed a bit of a “blogacation.” I’m back with a mixed bag of thoughts.

The hot news out there this past week has been the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus.

David and Paula Broadwell in happier times.

What a waste! It is interesting to note the double standards our society has for those in the public eye. If Petraeus were a Hollywood celebrity or a professional athlete, the entire episode might not even be worth a mention in People Magazine. I think we, as a society, tend to be a little sanctimonious when it comes to a good scandal. I’m not justifying marital infidelity, but I don’t understand why today that activity needs to ruin a good career. In the not-to-distant past, many great and admired leaders had a little, or a lot, action on the side. (Hello, FDR, Ike, JFK, Teddy K, etc.)

I got a chuckle out of a set of petitions that have been circulating around the Web promoting states to secede from the Union following President Obama’s re-election. What a bunch of sore losers! I’m not an Obama supporter, and, while fairly centric, lean more towards the right side of the political spectrum. (Big surprise there, huh?) This is a democracy folks. If you want someone you like in any elected office, then go out and convince enough people and get them to vote. If you can’t, then suck it up and live with it. Don’t just try to take your ball and go home. And, oh, by the way, didn’t we settle the issue of secession back in the 1860s? You would think the folks here in Georgia would remember that.

How messed up is college football? Imagine this. My Florida Gators are 10-1 and ranked #4 in the country. With just a couple of games going the “right way” this weekend, (wins by UF, USC, and Alabama) they could play for the national championship. And this, for a team with an offense so bad they would have trouble getting a first down against Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind. I love the Gators, but I do wish they would play some offense.

And if sex scandals, a replay of the Civil War and the BCS aren’t enough controversy for you, how about skydiving cats? There has been a uproar (or at least an upwhisper) over a Swedish insurance company television commercial that featured supposedly skydiving cats. I like cats. I have two of my own, one of whom is snuggled in my lap as I write this. But when I heard about this, I laughed. Jeannie Moos with CNN picked up on the story and had this tongue-in-cheek report.

The key here, folks — they didn’t really throw cats of airplanes. It’s all a joke. And besides, don’t cats always land on their feet anyway? (That’s also a joke.)

A well groomed cat

Our large (16 pounds) silver Manx cat, Sid, hasn’t been taking very good care of himself lately. He has slacked off on his grooming, and the result is the long fur on his back became just an impossible tangle of matted fur.  This isn’t the first time we have had to intervene with Sid’s grooming issues.

Mrs. Poolman finally found a groomer who could handle Sid’s problem and left it to me to get him there and pick him up.

Sid the Tailless with his new look.

Sid is not a big fan of being messed with, being placed into a carrier. He is a master of the spread-eagle “I’m not going!” move. Our technique is to turn the carrier up on its end; hold his front and back legs together; and allow Sid’s significant weight help lower him into the carrier. The funny thing is, once you get him confined to his carrier and into the car, he becomes resigned to his fate and is fairly well behaved.

Sid’s “sister” Penny

I dropped him off at the groomer across town yesterday morning and picked him up after work. The groomer said he behaved himself.
The funny thing happened after we got home. His “sister”, Penny, acted like he was a stranger. She hissed and growled at him. I don’t know whether she didn’t recognize him (He didn’t look that much different.) or was commenting on the new haircut, but it took most of the evening before Penny stopped acting strange.

The dogs, on the other hand, didn’t notice the new “do” and didn’t care.  No surprise there.

 

Who let the cat out of the bag?

Mrs. Poolman and I had a busy weekend. Sunday was all yard work, but Saturday involved a grueling trip to a “shot clinic” and two movies, one very good, the other very bad.

We started off with a trip across town to a shot clinic for our menagerie of pets – two dogs, Casey the Lab and Sammy the Mutt. We also included the two cats, Sid and Penny.

Even with the two of us, it was a lot like work. The shot clinic was very popular so we had about a 45 minute wait. The two dogs were totally excited to have the chance to be in the same place with so many other people and pets. The cats were less so.

We really didn’t want to put both cats in the one carrier that is large tough to hold them both. When loaded with 30 pounds of feline, it’s awkward and heavy. So instead, we put Sid into a relatively small cat carrier and Mrs. Poolman borrowed an idea from my brother-in-law for a way to transport Penny – a mesh, drawstring laundry bag. It really worked. Penny was not happy about the whole idea of being carried around, transported in a car and getting her shots. But with the mesh bag she could see out and was reasonably well behaved.

There is a cat in there.

"All right. Enough with the fun. I'm outta here!"

It was a good plan. If you have cats you need to transport, keep it in mind.

It’s all in the name

The Gator Nation is in an uproar over former-coach Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State. Those hurt feelings were rubbed raw when he reached back and poached his former strength and conditioning coach to join his OSU staff.

Personally, I’m not all that concerned about it. As a Gator fan, I know our team has more than enough on its plate, to rebuild from a 6-6 year, than to worry about what may be happening in the Big 10.

For some fans, this whole situation is putting them in a serious pickle. One couple is thinking of changing their child’s name.

That’s just crazy.

Alberta the Alligator. Isn't she lovely?

Now for the disclaimer  – I’m not totally innocent. I have named cats “Gator,” “Stevie” (as in Stevie Spurrier) and “Alberta” (UF’s female mascot, Alberta the Alligator.)

But a child?

Seriously?

Mrs. P has mentioned that she was just glad our children were born well before Gator football took off in the early 90s. Otherwise, who knows what may have happened?

Tebow Poolman?

It has a certain ring to it.

Ode to a swimming pool

I have often thought of our swimming pool, which we had installed in 1994, as our 7th child (after two natural children, two dogs and two cats) because of the amount of care and attention it requires. I ran across this description of a pool today. I can relate.

“Swimming pools need things. It isn’t enough to invest in the pool, the pool will require constant care, a cover, extra lounge chairs, extra towels, and plenty of poolside umbrellas. As soon as you think it is all taken care of, a storm will blow the umbrellas into the pool and rip the liner. You’ll replace the liner just in time for your children to have parties that you will get to cater. Afterwards you can spend the evening laundering your towels. Then the pool will want toys – slides, floating chairs, LED lights. You’ll want the pool to have self-cleaning robots that you just toss in…”

There is a great deal of truth in that paragraph. However, we still love ours .

 

Getting the family organized, or…

I sent an email to my brother and sisters (3) today to start the process of getting organized for a family wedding in September.

My nephew (brother’s son) is getting married in the small town of Lewes, Delaware. No one in our family lives close to there so it will be a “destination wedding” for all of us. The problem is there are really no affordable hotels or motels in or around Lewes. The alternative is to rent one or more houses for the weekend and, fortunately, there are a number of those available. The trick is to get everyone organized to answer key questions like:

Who is going to be there?

Who wants in on any group rental arrangements?

How many beds do we need?

And so on. I’ve checked into a couple of possible rentals and am ready to lay down a deposit, but I don’t want to bump up against any of the others plans or anticipations.

Usually, my siblings are a fairly business-like group, so hopefully this won’t be a difficult process. Otherwise, we may have to go out and get a professional “catherd” (That’s like a shepherd, except for cats.). I checked the Yellow Pages. I don’t see any advertised.