Kacey, Novice Trick Cat

Kacey, Novice Trick Cat

Kacey, posing with her DMWYD Novice Trick Cat title certificate. Kacey is only the 4th cat titled through that program. Video to follow (’cause I know there will be doubters!)

This and That

Well another year coming to a close! Who saw THAT coming?

I’ve been a very bad blogger lately and I blame Facebook. It’s too easy hop on there and post a quick status instead of a lengthy blog post, and after several status updates the blog post seems redundant.

Somehow we got through the Fall agility season fairly well despite only having use of my teeny-tiny yard to train in. Jayda (who just moved into the B classes this summer) is now 2 Q’s from her MJP, halfway to her MXP and, after several weekends in the “one little thing” club, finally got her first double Q. She’s also just 2 Jackpots and 5 Standard Q’s from her C-ATCH2. Despite her issues, I’m really enjoying her these days. Jayda is the poster child for “good egg” and she really has no technical/equipment issues at all – getting good runs out of her really comes down to choosing venues where she feels “safe”, and I’ve added a few more of those to our list this year. And at home she makes me smile, she makes me laugh – I adore her :)!

Raven started out the season really well, only to fall apart in the end. Not sure what’s up with her – if it’s a confidence problem or something physical. Probably a little of both. She tested negative for TBD’s, but to me she looks “stuck” in her mid-lower back so a long-postponed trip to the chiropractor is definitely in order, probably followed by some remedial training and a lot of cookies.

Bryce is still in clinical remission. If I look at him at certain times and in certain light, he looks exactly the same as he always has, but looking at him closely he seems to get older by the minute. He’s developed some really odd quirks, and I have to wonder if we will share another New Years after this – that makes me sad. I know I’ve been saying that since his cancer diagnosis, but he IS almost 13 1/2 now. I ran him in agility a couple weekends ago – just CPE Fullhouse (Veteran, Level 5.) I found a nice do-able strategy for him, we had a good run – qualified and placed with time to spare, but I could see him get a little “confused” at one point. It may be time to fully retire him – will totally miss running the little guy, but it would be nice to end his career on a happy and dignified note.

Speaking of agility, I am going to be teaching agility part-time again next year :)! I’m excited and a little apprehensive all at once, having been away from it for several years, but I do miss it. I love agility and I like helping other teams learn and be their best – simple as that.

Hopefully not a bad omen that I got miserably sick (sore throat, coughing, sneezing, laryngitis, sniffling, fever, not-sleeping, tapering off to just a lttle sniffling and coughing now) after spending a weekend at the facility where I will be teaching – or maybe it’s some kind of really weird good omen?

Kitties are good. Kacey and Hat have become BFF’s – they often sleep together and there’s a ridiculous amount of mutual grooming. Cuteness overload! Kacey is doing pretty well at nearly 16 – I do have to watch her eating, since Biki often noses her out and eats her food! She’s a skinny little thing to begin with so I’m always giving her “snacks” – she doesn’t complain.

Cassie (left) now has the run of my upstairs room most of the time, and is pretty friendly with Hat and Kacey. I need to bring the dogs up there more often so that they’re “familiar” to her when she starts to come downstairs. Biki refuses to even go upstairs and LOOK at her (though she’s curious enough to sit outside the door) – I have a feeling it will be ugly when those two (who are probably real-life sisters, or half-sisters) finally meet!

Cassie is a little snugglebug with me, and now that she’s not constantly on alert like she was outside, she’s relaxing and learning to play. She loves her catnip and is just starting to see the fun in wand toys. She may be getting a new name for the new year – “Cassie” and “Kes-Kes” started turning into “Cassandra” and the urban-chic “Kessindra” which has lately turned into “Cindee”. It seems to fit her.

I love that Cassie/Cindee and Hat are both safely inside now, but it has its drawbacks: After years of freedom from rodent pest problems, there are icky mice in my basement again, and even worse, I had a flying squirrel in my house again a few weeks ago! I think I need another “porch cat!” Any takers?

It’s A Girl

Look Familiar? She should – this is Cassie from Outside. She’s now Cassie from Inside.

How the **** did this happen? Good question!

With the eye of hurricane Irene headed straight for us, I was afraid for her safety outside, so I brought her indoors, fully intending to put her back out again when the storm passed. But things didn’t go as planned – one day turned into two, three, four, a week as I agonized over what to do with her.

Keeping her in won out by very a slim margin.

On one hand, I HATED taking her from the outdoor “home” she’s known for 8 years and certainly didn’t NEED another cat (or the extra litter, food, vet bills and cat squabbles that would come with it.) And I totally appreciated her keeping the mouse and mole population down (I had to deal with a lot of icky “presents” over the years – just proof of a job well done.)

On the other hand , with her inside I would no longer have to worry about cars, coyotes, hawks, frostbite, heatstroke, rabid wildlife, cat-hating people, parasites, or freaky-big spiders. Not to mention I wouldn’t have to coax her out from under my car every time I wanted to go somewhere, could paint my porch without risk of little painted kitty tracks all over, and the dogs could go out again without having a CAT rubbing up against them while they were doing their business (I have no clue whatever posessed her to do THAT!)

She loves the dogs, she and Hat used to lick the rain off of each other’s fur when they were outside together. Biki’s probably her real sister … or her half sister. The adjustment won’t be easy, but been there, done that, we’ll manage – somehow. We’re her family, she belongs here.

Four cats? Four litter pans? ARGH!!! I think this officially pushes me over the edge to “Crazy Cat Lady!”

Crop Circles – Mystery Solved!

You’ve heard of crop circles, right? Those circular shapes that mysteriously spring up in fields throughout the world?

Lately, I was finding a bunch of little mini-crop circles right here in my own yard!

Then one day I caught the circle-maker in the act! Guess what they are?

They’re CAT BEDS! Mystery solved.

Ode to 2010

2010, I’m gonna miss you – as years go, you were a good one.

I don’t say that to every year. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve said that in recent memory. Maybe around 1998 or so – isn’t that pathetic?

Oh sure, you had your bad points – there was all the wacky weather and that little business of a 70′ spruce tree in the potty area, but at least no one got hurt. As a matter of fact, everyone here stayed relatively healthy – no catastrophic vet bills for a change (except for Kacey’s $800 ultrasound, which showed that there was basically nothing wrong with her.) The indoor head count actually increased. Sadly, we did say goodbye to a few old friends – I really wish you could have skipped that part. But for once, no plagues of locusts or flying squirrels, and business was pretty good (especially 4th quarter). And it was a good year for agility – heck, a GREAT year, if you go by swag like ribbons and titles.

So I took this picture of your last sunrise to remember you by. See? You even made a nice sunrise for me!

Here’s a recap of this memorable year!

January: Started off inauspiciously with a nasty case of food poisoning, however things quickly took a turn for the better. January 18 – after a year of chemo, Bryce is officially declared to be in clinical remission! January 20 – Bryce’s PT clears him to run agility after his back injury. Jan 24 – Bryce earns his CPE C-ATCH!

February: Hat shows up injured and I bring him inside to a new life as a housecat. Kit goes missing the same week and presumably met some sad end. Poor Kit – you hissed at me the first time you saw me every single day, but underneath you were just a big softie who liked to have a full tummy and stretch out on your blanket in the sun. Miss you, buddy.

March: Crazy weather! Huge trees snapping like twigs! No power for days! Giant spruce breaks and falls, just missing the house. I play amateur lumberjack and cut branches with a pruning saw so I have some place to potty the dogs!

April: Did some agility. Jayda turned 6. Kacey turned 14 and made friends with Hat. She’s such a “cougar.”

May: More agility. Jayda moves up to Excellent JWW and Q’s her very first time! Jayda – NADAC Novice Triple Superior award!

June: With one of her friends gone and the other living in the house, Cassie starts to make friends with Jayda and Raven. Then she starts rubbing up against my ankles and letting me pet her! More agility, and a sudden and sad goodbye to Bryce’s litter brother, Grady :(.

July: Bryce, still in remission, celebrates his 12th birthday! Kacey goes through one of her weird digestive ailments. Fluids, bloodwork, ultrasound – turn up absolutely nothing and she eventually starts eating again and acting like nothing happened. Thinking he only needs about 80 points, I decide to try for Bryce’s 1000 Lifetime Points Award in NADAC. More crazy weather (torrential rain) the end of the month.

August: Trashed my lower back. More agility, more rain. I realize I miscounted and Bryce really needs about 180 pts for that lifetime award. Decided to go for it anyway.

September: Raven turns 3, grows a Big Girl Brain and gets some NADAC and CPE titles. Bryce goes 6 for 6 at a NADAC trial. I strain a quad the 2nd front cross of the first run of a CPE trial … and somehow manage to make it through the rest of the weekend! Jayda – CH-CL! Jayda and I briefly lose our “mojo” and spend the next 6 weeks with intermittent weave and timing issues. Weird weather continues … this time, with a tornado watch!

October: Jayda has a couple of spectacular runs and a couple of spectacular meltdowns. Jayda AJP! Raven’s first AKC title (NAJ)! Bryce almost chokes himself on an apple core. We all have a really “off” day at a Halloween NADAC trial. A sad goodbye to Jayda’s little half-sister – we only knew her from the internet, but she looked so much like my Jayda, right down to her mannerisms.

November: Roof finally fixed! Bryce aces another NADAC trial for 3 titles and his 1000 lifetime points! CPE trial – C-ATCH Jayda, Bryce Ch-JU, Raven – CL3-F! Bryce’s bloodwork still good! I go to my (mumble mumble)th reunion.

December: Raven gets her NF at our Novice Only AKC trial. We have a 100% weekend (16 runs, 16Q’s) in CPE! Raven CL3-R! Final weird weather episode of the year dumps about 2 feet of snow on us the day after Christmas.

So 2010, here’s to you – you’re gonna be a tough act to follow!