Hotel Catifornia

Mineou in the yard

Somewhere along the way, I became the cat expert in my friend group.  I’ve read a lot about actual cat behavior and spent time learning how to talk to cats in their language.  At some point, I was helping a friend with an outdoor cat and the best analogy I had heard along the way for making sure an indoor/outdoor cat didn’t run away was to “make sure you have the best hotel.”  If you meet the cats needs with food, fresh water, clean litter and enough* attention, they will make your home their safe space, even if they roam for miles away from home.

This is the real reason cats bring their kills home.  It’s not to teach us how to hunt, even though it’s a cute thought (although I do have a cute anecdote about that I’ll share in a bit).  Their instincts are to bring a kill back to their safe space to eat.  Most of the time, they realize that live food doesn’t taste as good as most commercial cat food.  Cat’s digestive systems are super inefficient, so most cat food is packed with sugar in order to up their caloric intake.

To illustrate this, during one of my first business trips back to Austin after I moved in with B, Mineou demanded that B make food for him.  Shortly after I moved in with B, we installed a cat door in on of the back windows.  This was the first place where Spirit and Mineou were able to roam freely, as I lived in an apartment in Austin.  We often found dead mice in the back room, and occasionally didn’t find them in my office (ewww).  I have an auto feeder that typically lasts 10 days, but I must not have filled it up before I left, and B didn’t know to check it as he’d never had to before this point.  Mineou woke B up one morning, got B to follow him, went and picked up a dead mouse and dropped it next to the feeder.  B says it was like he was asking him to turn the mouse into cat food.

Chipmunks are cute (and fast…)

One year I kept a running tally of the number of animals brought back to the house, and made it to 50 before I stopped.  That included 2 live chipmunks** (Y’all!  Did you know that chipmunks sounds like birds?!), a few (actual) birds, a juvenile squirrel and a skink.  Tug took to the best hotel concept well.  He’s not as bright as Mineou, or I suppose a kinder way to put it is that his is much more bold than Mineou.  He has come home with a concussion and ripped nails (no other damage, so maybe a fall from a tree) and we had to take him to the emergency vet for a snake bite once.

When Mineou was diagnosed with IHMA, the reco was to keep him inside.  That lasted though the winter, and then both cats moped and cried until I convinced the vet it was a quality of life issue for them.  B and I discussed that when we moved we may try to keep them indoors again, and that’s what we have done.  We have made it longer this time, but that is also due to the very large 5 lane street that is a quarter mile down the road.  Tug is too bold for such adventures, and we fear that he will not adapt well to a busy street so close to home.

I’ve always prided myself on having the best cat hotel, but now it’s hotel catifornia.

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

*Each cat will have its own definition of “enough” attention as some cats won’t want a lot, want attention only on their terms (initiated by them) and some will be glued to your side.

**I rescued and returned to the great outdoors those that I could, and disposed of those I could not.

The cost of ennui, part 2

You have to constantly polish the rock.

Shortly after I wrote about my decision to take a “grass is just as green here” approach to my job, the grass actually got greener.  I went to the home office to host a day long workshop for the project I was kicking off, and used the rest of the week to catch up and network with folks at the home office.  During those meetings, I worked out that I would be transferred to a new manager in our organization. Continue reading “The cost of ennui, part 2”

2016 sucked

And it was the Cubs’ fault

I’ve had this head cannon rolling around in my brain for a bit now, but haven’t had the time to get it into words.  The Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series in 108 years and many believe it was due to a curse placed on them by a man with a goat who was kicked out of a game.  There have been a lot of cute supernatural short stories written over the years about breaking the curse of the Billy Goat.   Continue reading “2016 sucked”

The cost of ennui, part 1

New houses take a lot of time, not to mention the old house…

A few months ago, I wrote about the big decision to buy a new home.  We did close on Sept. 23rd with no other last-minute surprises, thankfully.  We got to meet the previous owners during the inspection of the repairs to the sub-flooring and joist under the shower.  They told us the house was a duplex before the renovations, which completely makes sense with the layout.  Basically, my bedroom is a big as a living room, because it once was a living room!   Continue reading “The cost of ennui, part 1”

My furry friends

On my growth as an animal owner.


One of the bonus questions from Life Story asks about pets.  Our family’s first pet was my mother’s cat.  When my parents were planning their wedding, a neighbor’s cat had kittens.  The story goes that my mom rushed home to ask my dad if she could have one.  He sarcastically said, “Sure, if you name the sucker Dog.”  The story goes, the next thing my dad knew, there was a tiny kitten running around and everyone was calling it Dawg.   Continue reading “My furry friends”

The problem with toast

The Goldilocks of the condiment world.

I realized yesterday the issue that I have with toast.  Let me back up a few steps from that statement though and explain myself.  I love condiments.  A meal feels incomplete to me if condiments are not involved.  Bachelor fridge?  Yep, that was me.  (B has this annoying habit of insisting “real” food be kept in the fridge.  It’s pushing my condiment space aside, sadly.) Continue reading “The problem with toast”

My previous homes

Home is where your heart is…

Azaleas framing the steps to the first house I purchased.

Continuing on my Life Story posts, I am choosing to combine a few topics this week.  I’ll start with my childhood home, and move on to the cities I have lived since leaving that home.   Continue reading “My previous homes”