A Day in the Life of Ribbie

Here’s a list of stuff I need to do today:

  • grade papers.
  • cook – it’s my turn.
  • watch football.
  • grade more papers.
  • watch more football.
  • read The Master and Margarita if I can wrest it away from my cat.
  • help my daughter study for the SAT II U.S. History exam.
  • grade more papers.
  • prepare lesson for tomorrow night’s class.
  • rake leaves or leave them to blow in the wind – which reminds me of a novel I read in the late 80’s by Richard Brautigan, So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away a novel I loned out to a friend, who must have thought it was a gift because she never returned it.
  • supervise the assembly of a chest with 5 drawers called a Kullen made in Denmark –  designed and sold by the Swedish company Ikea.   Kullen – does that mean chest of drawers in Danish or Swedish?  Actually, according to an entry on Wikipedia, Kullen is the name of a lighthouse equipped with one 1,000 watt light bulb on the coast of Sweden.  So watt’s the connection?  I should add that yesterday my wife, who is a fine carpenter, assembled an Ikea designed Polish made chest of drawers called a Rast.  An internet search of the word rast revealed no connection whatever to furniture. In fact,  the rast is a blood test for allergens, a musical mode in Arabic and a reference to an outsider in the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons.  Perhaps rast is an inside reference for Swedes that no outsider could ever hope to understand.
  • Watch the show Chopped.
  • Watch more football.
  • Watch 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race right after.
  • Watch Iron Chef and more football – flipping between the two.

Tips for the New Cat Owner

Thinking of getting a pet? Torn between a cat or a dog? I recommend a cat, not that I don’t like dogs, it’s just that cats are a little easier to care for, in that you don’t have to walk them everyday, unless you have a big yard. I don’t want this post to be about cat vs dog, but rather a guide to cat ownership. The following 15 tips are designed for the new cat owner, or for those of you considering becoming one.

1) Go to your local animal rescue league. You should be able to find a great cat who needs a home. You can also arrange to have the cat spayed or neutered, and for its vaccinations; highly recommended.

2) Dry food is best. Go with a quality brand. If your kitty likes it, stick with it. You can try some varieties, but cats are pretty finicky, and may prefer only one flavor and one brand. Dry food is good for their teeth, and keeps them regular. Wet food on the other hand stinks. The problem with wet food, especially the seafood flavors is that your cat may become addicted and demanding of say tuna to the exclusion of anything else. At least that is the danger. I’m sure there are many cat owners out there who will beg to differ, but this has been my experience.

3) One brand of cat litter will do. Find one you like and stick with it.

4) Catnip. Get some catnip laced toys. They love it.

5) Don’t pick up your cat too much – resist the urge.  Some felines will throw a fit, others are more docile, but I am convinced they don’t like to be picked up.

6) Cats are not dogs. They don’t like rough house. If you have kids, make sure they don’t chase or scare the cat. Cats will self-defend and will scratch and bite you and your kids if threatened.  They will.

7) Play with your cat. You can roll a small ball or toy around for them to chase. You don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive toys – cats will play with anything: garbage ties; rolled up balls of aluminum foil; a hacky sack ball; golf balls, – this can get pretty loud – and plastic pens.  Be careful with anything small that could be a chocking hazard.

8) Buy a scratching post. This is the best and perhaps only way to save your furniture. Cats love them. It helps to both clip and sharpen their claws.

9) Don’t have your kitty de-clawed. This is just cruel and unnatural in my judgment. Without claws, they are basically stripped of their kittiness and their best defense against an enemy real or imagined.

10) Keep you cat inside if you can. Indoor kitties live longer. They are less susceptible to disease, fleas and injury from other animals. They learn to adapt to their environment. Make sure they have access to a window for viewing birds, squirrels and other creatures, an activity they love. They also enjoy basking in the sun.

11) Two is a crowd. Don’t feel the need to get another cat to keep the one you have company. Cats are both sociable, some more than others, and solitary. They are not pack animals. Adopting two from the same liter is probably the best way to go if you really want more than one.

12) Don’t overfeed your cat. Cats can become overweight pretty quickly, especially if you keep them indoors. About a bowl of dry food a day is all they need. Don’t fill up the bowl every time you notice it empty.

13) Keep your kitty hydrated. One thing I’ve noticed is that my cat won’t drink from the water bowl next to her food. She only drinks from the water bowl we keep in our bedroom. So you might try moving the water bowl to another location. Keep the bowl clean and full at all times.

14) Don’t bathe your cat. Unlike dogs, cats can keep themselves clean. You may have to clean up your kitten a little with a wipe for a few weeks as they learn to use the liter box, but they quickly learn to groom and bathe themselves.

15) Beware of stairs. Kittens do not see very well for the first few weeks or so, and could easily tumble down a flight a stairs and suffer an injury. Keep your kitty secure in a closed room during the night and block off the stairs if you aren’t at home during the day, at least for the first few months.

I hope these tips are helpful. Enjoy life with your kitty!

If you would like to read about my kitty, tap on this link.  Ella the Cat

A Day in the Life of a Calico Cat

Ella has had a tough day. She woke up, ate a little dry food and sat in the living room window for about an hour intently watching some scrappy jay birds. After a while, I found her pawing a startled black ant. Exhausted, she fell asleep on top of my bedroom desk only to be abruptly awakened by a family of flighty sparrows nesting outside our air conditioner.