Monday, April 29, 2013


The kittens turned 8 weeks old yesterday, so Mom took a bunch of new pictures of them.  They will get neutered and spayed on May 7.  They all weigh over 2 pounds already, except for Esmé, who weighs 1 pound, 14.5 ounces.  So by the 7th, they should all be big enough for their surgery.

Some people came over a few nights ago, and they met all the kittens.  They already thought they wanted Edward, and they decided they would also take Etienne, so those two are spoken for.  There are some other people who want a white kitten, which means that their only choice now would be Esmé.  If they adopt her, then we will only have one kitten left to find a home for, and that is Erica.

Of course, Eliza will also need to have a home.  But first her milk has to dry up and she has to get spayed.  Mom was talking to Aunt Tania yesterday about maybe trying to get Eliza to nurse some "bottle baby" kittens, if any more come in during the next week or two.  There are just way too many kittens right now, and all the foster homes are full.

Anyway, here are the latest photos of our own kittens.  I am sure they are much cuter than anybody else's kittens.

Here's Esmé:

And here's Esmé having a discussion with Chloe:

This is Erica:

And Erica exploring Mom's plants:

Edward likes the Kitten Tower:

And he also likes playing with his mama:

Etienne is exploring the bathroom:

After they romp around for a while, the kittens all line up at the milk bar.  It's harder to get in there than it used to be because the kittens have grown a lot.

Eliza doesn't let them nurse very long these days.  When she gets tired of them, she just gets up and goes away, because sometimes all she wants to do is lie around by herself!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Yiddish is a language that got started between 900 and 1100 C.E.  It is pretty much a mix of medieval German and Hebrew, and it is written with the characters of the Hebrew alphabet.  Yiddish was spoken by the Jews who lived in central and eastern Europe.  At one time, about 100 years ago, 11 million of the 18 million Jews in the world understood the language.  A lot of these people spoke Yiddish as their main language.  But then Jewish people stopped living so much in isolated little communities.  And also, during World War II a lot of Jews got killed.  Which meant there weren't as many people speaking Yiddish anymore.

Nowadays, fewer than 250,000 people in the U.S. speak Yiddish.  About half of these people live in New York.  But even if they can't really speak the language, most Jews know a bunch of Yiddish words.  And quite a few of those words got adopted into English, and we all use them.  Most people probably know more Yiddish words than they think they do.

Here are some of the most familiar words:

OY VEY -- People say this when they feel pain or sadness or horror.  Or sometimes just when they are annoyed or exasperated.

SCHMOOZE -- To hang out with somebody while you do some friendly chatting and gossiping.

NOODGE -- To pester, nag, or whine, especially if you're trying to get somebody to do something.

TUCHES, TUSH (TUSHY) -- This is your butt, bottom, or rear end.  In a basenji, the tushy can be very cute!

CHUTZPAH -- Nerve or gall.

KLUTZ -- Somebody who is awkward and uncoordinated.

KOSHER -- Originally, it meant food that is prepared according to Jewish law.  But now it also means something that is legitimate and okay to do.

YENTA -- A talkative, busybody woman who gossips about everybody's business.

SHLEP -- To carry something around.  A variation is shlepper, which means somebody who doesn't have any ambition.

Okay, well, here are some Yiddish words you might not know, but they could be really useful for you to learn and use.  Mom wouldn't let me put any "naughty" Yiddish words in my list, even though there are quite a few of them.  Mom says I have to keep my blog G-Rated because kids read it sometimes.

SCHNORRER -- A beggar, somebody who whines until he gets what he wants.

TCHATCHE -- Little knick-knacks and toys that you might find at a garage sale or thrift shop.  Also, it can mean a trophy wife or pretty young thing.

NUDNIK -- A pest , a bore, a pain in the neck.

SHMATTA -- A rag.  Also used to describe somebody's unfashionable clothing.

GONIF-- A thief or tricky person.  Somebody that you can't really trust.

KVETCH -- To gripe or annoy.  To be an annoying person.

MESHUGGE or MESHUGGINA -- Crazy (in a long-term way).

MISHEGOSS -- Crazy, bizarre actions or beliefs.

NEBBISH or SHLEMIEL -- Someone who is crazy or inadequate.  A dummy, a loser.

MENSCH -- A person with a lot of character.  Someone who is recognized for how noble and good he is.

Anyway, my advice to you is to always try to be a mensch, even if it might be more fun to be a nudnik!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CAT TRIVIA, by Latifa the Cat

Piper doesn't like some of this trivia because she thinks some silly Cat Person made it up.  But I assure you it is not made up; it is entirely true.  And in my opinion, these facts simply prove what should be obvious to anybody -- namely, that cats are superior to dogs.  Anyway, Piper refused to write this blog entry, but she said I could write it if I included the disclaimer that not everything you read on the internet is true.  Anyway, that's all I need to say by way of introduction, let's get on with the trivia!

• Cats sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day.

• Cats have two vocal chords, and they use them to produce over 100 different sounds.

• A male cat is called a tom, or if he's been neutered, he's called a gib.  A female is called a molly or queen.  A group of cats is a clowder.

• Tom cats are mature enough to mate by the age of 7 to 10 months.

• A queen can start mating at anywhere from 5 to 9 months of age.  She can produce a litter of 3 to 7 kittens every 4 months.

• A cat's brain is more like a human's brain than like a dog's brain.

• The collarbone in a cat is not connected to other bones, but instead is buried in the muscles of the shoulder region.  Because of this, a cat can fit through any opening that is the width of its head.

• Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear, which means they can quickly swivel their ears to pick up sounds from many directions.  Dogs only have 30, and humans have 6.

• A cat's hearing is much more sensitive than that of a human or a dog.

• Studies done recently show that cats can see blue and green.  Researchers are still debating whether cats can see red.

• Cats cannot see directly under their noses.  But neither can dogs.

• A cat may spend five or more hours a day grooming itself.  A cat loses almost as much fluid in its saliva while grooming as it does through urination.

• A cat's diet must contain fat because a cat's body cannot produce fat.

• Almost 10% of cats' bones are in their tails.

• The cat's nose has between 60 and 80 million olfactory cells, as compared with the 5 to 20 million in a human's nose.  Dogs have about 150 to 220 million olfactory cells, so I guess they win in this category.

• Cats dislike citrus scents.

• A cat can sprint at about 31 miles per hour and jump 7 times its own height.  

There are many other fascinating things I could tell you about fabulous felines such as myself, but I will leave them for another time.  That way I will have a good excuse to write in Piper's blog again!

Monday, April 22, 2013


On the last two Sundays, Mom went to a place called Loose Park, and she helped a bunch of people from the cactus club make a garden for hardy cactus plants.  A hardy plant is one that will live all the way through the winter here in the frozen north of Missouri, without getting killed by the cold weather.

The space laid out for the cactus garden.

Loose Park has that funny name because many years ago, a man named Jacob Loose gave the city the land for the park.  I don't think I would like to have a name like "Loose" for my last name, but I guess a person can't help being born with a certain name.

Barb is spreading sand while Brad builds a wall

Anyway, last year the park made a new driveway and more parking spaces, and now all the different garden clubs are going to make flower beds.  So there will be one for day lilies, one for irises, one for dahlias, one for peonies, and one for cacti.

The big pile of rocks.

Last week, the cactus club people decided how big to make the bed, and they marked the space with rocks.  A truck brought a whole bunch of rocks from somewhere and dumped them in the parking lot.  The club has to move all the rocks by May 5.  Lots of the rocks are heavy.  Mom knows this because she lifted a bunch of them, and it made her back hurt.

Bryan tills up the soil

The other thing that had to happen was the ground had to be tilled up.  Then some sand and gravel was put on top, and it got tilled in.  This process got repeated a couple of times.  The reason for all the sand and gravel was so the plants would have soil with good drainage to grow in.  Also, there will be a bunch of rocks in the middle of the bed, where the plants are.

Pat, Brad, Bryan, and Brian

Maybe you are wondering what kinds of cactus grow outside all year in Missouri.  Well, here are some examples:

Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha)

Pencil Cholla (Cylindropuntia ramosissima)

Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii)

Escobaria missouriensis

Also, you can grow other kinds of succulents such as yuccas and hen-and-chicks.  So someday, when the hardy bed is all finished and when all the plants are planted and start growing and blooming, it will be very pretty.


Hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum)

I would just like to warn all the dogs who are walking their owners in the park to stay out of the cactus bed because if you run into some of those really spiny plants, it can hurt a lot!  And yuccas are poisonous to dogs, so don't be eating those.

Also, I want to warn anybody who is thinking about digging up the plants and stealing them not to do that, because if you do, I will track you down with my little doggy nose.  Then I will bite you on the ankle and make you give the plants back!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Mom called Aunt Tania yesterday morning and told her about how Hank the Hound Dog had killed Elton the kitten.  Also, Mom told Aunt Tania that she couldn't get ahold of anybody at the shelter who could help with getting Hank back into the shelter.  So Aunt Tania called some people, and at lunchtime, Mom came home from work, and Aunt Jana came and picked up Hank.

So now we are back to our normal selves, and we like that much better, even though Hank was a nice dog in some ways.  But since Hank is gone, I can sleep on the sofa in my usual spot, and I don't have to worry about whether Hank is going to come along and want to sleep there.

The kittens get to come out of their room again and play in the living room, which they like to do.  Eliza was already coming out of the kitten room, but now she can be out more.  We don't know if she misses Elton or not.  She keeps making little trilling, meowing sounds to her kittens, so maybe she is calling for him.  Or maybe she is just talking to the other four kittens.

We don't think Eliza is nursing much anymore, but she is driving Mom nuts because she keeps getting into the kitchen cabinet where the cat and dog treats are.  Then she rips open the bags and eats the treats.  Or else, if the treats are in plastic containers, she bangs the containers around and makes a lot of noise.  And sometimes she pulls the containers out and knocks them on the floor.

Mel just sleeps a lot, kind of like I do.  Mel can't hear much anymore, probably because he is getting really old.

Last night when it was bedtime, Mom could only find two of the kittens.  She looked everywhere for Esmé and Etienne, but she couldn't find them.  She looked under the sofa and behind the piano and around a lot of other furniture.  She even looked in the refrigerator and outside on the patio.  But she couldn't find the kittens anywhere.

Of course, I could have found them, because I am a dog, and I have superior tracking abilities using my doggy nose.  Mom asked me where the kittens were, but I was busy sort of snoozing on the sofa, and besides, it was more fun to watch Mom look for them.  Finally, we all went to bed, and Mom left the door to the kittens' room open.  And this morning, guess what!  There were four kittens all snuggled up in there in the rocking chair.

Okay, well, that's all for now.  I just wanted to tell you that our kittens are safe again, and we are sort of back to normal.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Yesterday Mom was at work all day long, which was horrible enough.  Then when she came home, it was already over an hour past our suppertime, so that was also horrible.  After that, she had to change clothes and look at her email.  But finally she got around to being ready to feed all us very hungry animals.

First, she went in the Kitten Room to get the kittens' dishes.  Then she washed the dishes and put new canned food in them and warmed it up in the microwave.  I got to lick Mom's finger after she stuck it in the cat food to see if it was warm enough.  Hank was there, so Mom let him lick her finger, too.

Elton at age 3 weeks.
After that, Mom piled up the three kitten dishes and went to the door of the Kitten Room.  When she opened the door, three or four kittens ran out.  Mom managed to shove all the kittens except one back into the room.  She shut the door and put down the dishes.  Then she came right back out to get the other kitten, who happened to be Elton.

But in the meantime, Hank grabbed up Elton in his mouth and bit down.  I saw this happen because I was right there in the kitchen.  Mom rescued Elton from Hank's mouth, but there was all this blood coming out of Elton's mouth.  Mom put Elton on a towel on the counter.  She thought maybe she could give him a little kitten CPR, but that didn't seem to help, because Elton died anyway.  When Mom was sure Elton was dead, she started crying a whole bunch.  She cried and cried and cried.  She said it was all her fault because she thought she could foster Hank when she already had a litter of kittens here.

We're not sure why Hank killed Elton.  Maybe he thought Elton was a raccoon.  Or maybe he thought Elton was a cute little play-toy.  Or he might have been hungry because supper was so late.  Hank has been fine with the big cats, but sometimes kittens look more like something that should be chased and eaten.  Mom said that Hank was just doing what dogs do.  She understands, but that doesn't mean she forgives Hank.

Mom buried Elton in our back yard, not far from where Gabe's ashes are buried.  We had some other kittens die before, but this time it seems sadder because of how it happened.  And Elton wasn't even sick, so that makes it hard to think that now he is suddenly dead.

Anyway, we are all feeling kind of sad and depressed.  I'm thinking I may have to take a nap for most of the day.  Mom has to go to work, but she says she would rather stay home and take a nap with me!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Hank and I get acquainted
When Mom came home from the Humane Society yesterday, she brought us a new foster brother, and he is a DOG, not another dumb cat!  His name is Hank, just like my basenji boyfriend Hank, who used to live in Austin with Aunt Cheryl.  But this new Hank is not a basenji.  He's a hound dog.  Mom likes to say "he ain't nothin' but a hound dog," and she thinks she is being funny when she says this, but I think she's just being dumb.

Mel and Hank get acquainted
Anyway, Hank is a coonhound, but I don't know if he ever went hunting for raccoons or not.  Maybe he did in his younger days, but now Hank is about 8 years old.  He ended up at the shelter because he was a stray dog.  There is something wrong with his right front foot, so he walks with a limp, and sometimes he holds his foot up when he is walking.  We think this means his foot hurts him.

Hank's funny right foot
When Hank's foot got x-rayed, it turned out that he had some bones that broke but aren't healing right.  We don't know how his foot got broken.  Hank doesn't like to talk much about his past.  An orthopedic surgeon at the University of Missouri vet school looked at the x-rays, and he said that maybe if Hank wore a splint thingy for a couple of months, it would straighten his foot out, and then he wouldn't have to have surgery.

A nice lady at the shelter, Aunt Jen, started looking for a foster home for Hank about three weeks ago, and Mom said she would do it because it sounded like Hank would be very mellow and easy to have around.  Then when Mom was ready to bring Hank home, some dogs at the shelter got sick with kennel cough, and there was a quarantine.  So Mom couldn't bring Hank home.  And after that, it looked like somebody wanted to adopt Hank, and we thought he wouldn't need a foster home at all.  But then yesterday when Mom went to the shelter, she found out that the people never did call back about adopting Hank, so we think they changed their minds.

Hank's bootie.  The green vetrap
 is just to keep the ends of the velcro straps
from flapping around.

Dr. Kimber, who is taking care of Hank at the shelter, only just got the splint, so she was trying it out on him.  At first, he thought he couldn't possibly walk with it on, but later he decided maybe he could.  The splint thing is sort of like one of those boots that people wear after they break their foot or ankle.  It makes a loud clunk noise on the floor when Hank walks around, and he sounds like Captain Ahab with his wooden leg.

Right now, Hank only has to wear the boot for a couple of hours every day.  This does not seem like very much, but it's what Dr. Kimber said.  At the shelter, Hank stood nice and still while the boot got put on, but when Mom put it on him at home, he danced all around, and he kept taking his foot out of the thing before Mom could get it fastened up, but finally she did.

Oh, and did I mention that Hank also has heartworms?  I told you all about heartworms in a previous blog entry.  Hank is being treated for them, but he is not supposed to run around and be very active while the treatment is going on.

Hank sits on the sofa like he belongs there,
which I find annoying.
Anyway, at first I thought Hank was a pretty nice dog, but now I'm not so sure.  When I was on the sofa in my favorite spot last night, and Hank came along, I growled at him a little to let him know that I was there first, and that he was not welcome.

Later on, Hank got on the sofa while I was busy checking out the floor in the kitchen.  But Hank didn't seem to mind if I got on the sofa, too.  Except one time he growled at me and got snarky, so I had to go sit next to Mel in front of the fireplace (which did not have any fire in it).  Then at bedtime, we all went into the kitchen to get our traditional bedtime snacks.  Mel and Hank and I each got a treat, and we gobbled our treats down right away.

Mom went in the kitten room to see what the kittens were up to and to get their dishes so she could feed them.  While she was there, Hank and I got in a fight, and I started screaming for help.  Then Mom came running out of the kitten room, and she saved my life by making Hank let got of me.  He had me totally pinned to the floor, but I didn't really get hurt.  I just got scared.  Mom was scared, too.  We have all got used to cat fights around here lately, but we haven't had any dog fights since Barry went away.

I think the problem is because I have been the Alpha dog around here for a couple of months now, and suddenly Hank comes in and thinks he will be the Alpha dog.  Mom says we have to work things out between us, which I guess we will try to do.  I just hope it won't be too hard or take too long!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Big news!  Our kittens turned six weeks old yesterday, and to celebrate, Mom let them come out of their room for the first time.  And what was more important was that I got to go in the room and check out the food dishes and the litter boxes.  Sadly, the dishes were pretty much empty, but I did find a few goodies in the litter boxes.  And I found a few more yummy little tidbits on the floor.

Here I am, checking out everything in the Kitten Room
while Eliza just kind of hangs out.

Jason also went in the kittens' room, and he ate some food out of Eliza's dish, which is on top the crate where I can't reach it.  Mom was afraid Jason and Eliza might be all hissy with each other, but they got along pretty well, except when Eliza growled at Jason because he was eating out of her dish, and then he whapped her on the head with his paw, and she shut up.

Meanwhile, the kittens were out exploring the dining room and part of the kitchen.  Whenever one of them got too close to Mel, he snarked at it, so then the kitten would scamper away.  These kittens are at the age when they think they are really hot stuff, and you can tell that by the way they run around with their spiky little tails straight up.  Then if they get scared by something, which happens a lot, they get all puffed up and they bounce sideways.  No self-respecting puppy would act like this, but kittens do it a lot, and people think it is cute, for some reason.

Anyway, Mom took some pictures of the kittens running around, exploring.  Here's Erica.  She's probably the bravest of all the kittens.

Of course, Esmé is pretty bold, too.  I think girls are not such scaredy-cats as boys are.

Esmé and Erica

Elton is like a tiny tiger, stalking through the jungle.  Except he has lots fewer stripes than a tiger.

Here's Esmé playing with Eliza's tail while Elton checks to see if the milk bar is open.  Poor Eliza just gets skinnier and skinnier because she keeps letting the kittens nurse.  Yesterday she only weighed 4 lbs, 14 oz.  Mom is trying to feed Eliza some extra-special food in her own dish so that she will eat more.

Etienne is the biggest kitten, and he did a lot of exploring yesterday, too.

Etienne even got a little acquainted with his big brother Jason.  When Jason started eating Eliza's food, Etienne got up on the crate to see what was going on.

After the kittens had been out for a while, Mom realized that she had not seen Edward anyplace.  Edward is kind of the shyest kitten, so Mom thought maybe he was behind the piano or hiding someplace like that.  Of course, I knew where he was all along, but I didn't care because I was still busy vacuuming the floor around the litter boxes.  Finally, Mom looked the big cardboard box where the kittens first got born, and there was Edward, all by his lonesome.

Mom took him out of the box and put him down in the dining room, and then Edward started exploring, just like all the other kittens.  So we think maybe he just didn't understand that was what he was supposed to be doing.

Okay, so that's my report about the kittens and how they turned six weeks old.  In just two or three more weeks, we hope they will be big enough to get their surgery, and then they can get adopted.