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Pets: 2009


I actually got temporary custody of Fred's cat, Bobbie Lee Maxine, last Fall, before we went on our cruise. Fred had brought her down for Rudolf Lowenstein's visit, and she just stayed on, since we knew that we would be doing a lot of traveling through the Fall (and it would be easier for someone to check on her here rather than at Fred's house). This year, Fred is going to add another kitten to the mix, so I think that it will be best to collect all the cat pictures for this year onto this page, regardless of when they were taken or whether or not they were in conjunction with some other event or trip.



March 15

Well, Fred's cat, Bobbie Lee Maxine, has been with me for almost half a year. He originally brought her down to my house when we went to Florida late last October. He knew that we'd soon be going on our three-week cruise/vacation, and though that it would be easier to have someone to check on her if she were at my house instead of his. Add that to the fact that he is at my house about as often as he is at his own, and couple that with the benefit that Bobbie Lee wouldn't be by herself so much, and it made sense for me to have temporary custody.

She's been a pleasure to have around, although she makes her appearances only on her own terms, and usually when only one person is in the house (although now she can detect when the two people around are Fred and myself). Today, Fred snapped a few candid shots of Bobbie Lee and myself, and you can have a look at these pictures if you click on the thumbnails below:



April 23: Buster and His Littermates in DeLeon

In March, Fred found a new litter of kittens at his Mom's house in DeLeon, and in April, when he went down for another visit, he inspected the litter more closely. Almost all of the kittens in the litter were "tuxedo cats," a term used to describe mottled black-and-white cats, but the kitten Fred had his eye on was a bit different from all the rest. He had a black spot on the top of his nose, and another black spot underneath his chin. One eye was in a patch of white fur, the other in a patch of black. And he seemed at least as friendly as any of the other cats.

So Fred called me and we discussed the kitten. He was unsure about whether it was too early to separate the kitten from its mother, so I checked with my vet and got some information that seemed to indicate that it would be OK to do so. So we agreed that he should go ahead and bring the kitten home.

Fred did not come back to Dallas until the next day, but before he left, he took a couple of other pictures of the kitten and its siblings and their mother, and if you click on the two thumbnail images below, you can see these pictures:



April 24: Fred Brings Buster to Dallas

Fred arrived home from his mother's about 5PM with the new kitty in tow. We had a dinner date with Mario, Steve and Mario's parents and sister who were in town visiting the both of them. So we just had time to get the kitten's food, milk and litter box squared away in the downstairs bathroom before we had to head on over to Mario's house. When we returned, it was time to get to know the kitty a bit better.

One of the first things we did was to give the new kitty a bath in the kitchen sink, just in case there were already some fleas on it. While we were doing that, Fred did a check to see if he could figure out what sex the cat was; it appeared to be a male cat (which was confirmed Monday when we brought it to the vet).

Introducing the New Kitty
Right after we gave the new kitten a bath, we sat down to let it dry off and to play with it a bit. The first thing we did was to make a movie of the new kitty, in which Fred gives a bit of its history and during which the kitten gets his name.

Fred and I took turns sitting on the couch and playing with Buster, trying to get him acclimatized to his new surroundings; he seemed very calm and inquisitive, which was a good sign. Below are some thumbnail images for the best of the pictures that Fred and I took of Buster while we were sitting here; just click on them to view the full-size pictures:

As we concluded our first day with Buster in the house, I had Fred take a few movies of the kitten playing on the couch and in general just being adorable. You can use the movie players below to watch these movies:




April 25: Buster Eats Solid Food and Learns About Stairs

We didn't take any pictures today, but we did spend some time with Buster trying to see whether he could learn how to navigate stairs. I'd been surprised early in the morning when I walked upstairs and then came down again, only to find the kitten had navigated up two or three stairs. The kitten is very small, and has to really stretch and dig in claws to pull himself up one riser at a time. Going down is a lot easier, and looks pretty funny either from the front or from the back. Have a look using the movie players below and you'll see what I mean:

The Vermont State Capitol from State Street

In the couple of days that Buster has been here, we have also been feeding him half-and-half with an eyedropper, but today I had some success getting him to lap some up out of a shallow dish. So we thought that we would try soaking some kitten food in milk and seeing if he would begin to eat it on his own.

Buster Eats On His Own
We got Buster up on the kitchen table and mixed some of the kitten food that Fred got with some milk to see if we could coax Buster into eating it, and we were pleasantly surprised when he dug right in without much coaxing at all. Since I had gotten him to lap up milk on his own earlier, our feeding problems were at an end. Now if we can just catch him using the litter box...



April 29 - May 15: Buster Goes to Florida and Visits San Antonio

Fred and I had planned a trip to Florida and San Antonio leaving on the 29th, and Buster was too young to leave at home alone, so we took him with us. I expected a lot of crying, but it was pretty much a calm trip.


            Best of the Best

Our trip encompassed the drive to Florida, ten days there, the drive to Ruckman Haus in San Antonio, three days there and the drive home. All during the trip both Fred and I took lots of pictures of the kitten. I have selected ten of the best of these pictures for this first section. If you only have time to look at a few of our photos, look at the ones in this section by clicking on each of the thumbnail images below:


            More Pictures: In the Car

The time in the car and on the road worked out well, with the carrier and litter box on the back seat, and food and milk up front with us. Buster spent the entire one-and-a-half day trip alternating between exploring around the car, sleeping and eating. The only time he meowed much was when we put him in the carrier when we had to get out of the car for gas or to eat. He was actually a good deal of fun to have in the car with us, and Fred took lots of pictures of him. Below are some thumbnail images for pictures that Fred took in the car both on the way to Florida and on the way from Florida to Prudence's house; click on them to see the full-size pictures:


            More Pictures and Movies: In Florida

As I said, the kitten was a pleasure to have with us, particularly when he could run around more freely inside the Florida condominium. I'll admit, his biting behavior due to teething was irritating at times, but he had enough toys to play with that it wasn't too bad. Below are thumbnail images for more of the pictures we took of Buster in the Florida condo. Click on them to view the full-size images:

Buster Attempts to Nurse

One of Buster's more endearing habits (although one that gets old fairly quickly) is that he will happily snuggle up in the crook of your arm and attempt to nurse by sucking on the inside of your elbow. We assume he thinks that there is a teat there and that he's getting milk, but it would seem to be obvious that he would figure out there isn't any there. If that's true, then this is more of an instinctive habit that his little brain is hard-wired to perform and which makes him feel good, even if he doesn't get nourishment. Most times, when he does this, we can detach him and take him to his milk bowl and he will drink some.


            More Pictures and Movies: At Ruckman Haus

Click on the thumbnail images below to see some of the pictures we took of Buster while he (and we) were staying with Ron and Prudence at Ruckman Haus:

Prudence and Ron were very nice to allow us to keep Buster in our room, the Luxembourg Room. Prudence's own cat, Callie, roams around downstairs, although at her age and with her arthritis, she doesn't do much roaming. We did not want to stress Callie, so the only time Buster was out of our room was when Ron's niece, Robyn, was holding him and playing with him- which she did as often as she could. Prudence always tells prospective guests that there is a cat in the house, but she was a little worried that a guest might have an allergy not so sensitive as to be bothered by Callie but sensitive enough that they might be bothered by a cat having been in the guest room for a while. So we just removed anything that Buster might climb on that Prudence doesn't usually launder between guests, and we all thought that would eliminate any possibility of a problem down the road.

At night, Buster took great pleasure in tearing around the top of the bed trying to catch toes, fingers or anything else we might dangle in front of him. I am sure that if you ask him, Buster would agree that Ruckman Haus is a great place to stay.

Robyn and Buster
You've already seen pictures and movies of Buster's habit of snuggling up in the crook of your arm and trying to nurse by sucking on the inside of your elbow, but this was the first time he displayed that habit with anyone but Fred or myself, and you can see that Robyn is very much amused!



May 16: Buster and Bobbie Lee

Today we've just taken a few random pictures and movies of both Bobbie Lee and Buster. Have a look at the pictures by clicking on the thumbnail images below:

Buster and Toy
Of course, we've bought Buster a few cat toys guaranteed to amuse, but what does he play with? Watch this movie to find out.
Buster's Weigh-In
Fred's been weighing Buster by holding him while he weighs himself, but Buster wanted to check his own progress. Trouble was, he couldn't figure out how to turn the scales on.



May 17: Bobbie Lee

Today, it's Bobbie Lee's turn to get photographed. She has been pretty good about the new kitten, although she still spews at it, it is getting closer and closer to her before this happens. They've done some chasing around the house, but I think that if Bobbie Lee were really freaked out, she'd go hide. But she still likes to get in my lap while I am working with one of the computers, and I try to give her as much attention as I can so she doesn't feel left out. This evening, Fred decided to take a few pictures of Bobbie Lee and I at the computer, including one really good close-up portrait of her. Click on the thumbnail images at left to see the pictures that Fred took.



May 21: Bobbie Lee and Buster Share a Meal

I have found a way to get Bobbie Lee and Buster closer together, and that is to feed them in separate dishes that I place close to each other on the kitchen floor. I took a series of pictures of that process today, and, as you can see, the cats get right next to each other without any problem. Until the food runs out, that is. Watch the sequence of events by clicking on the thumbnails at the right, beginning with the leftmost.



May 22: Cat Pictures and Movies

Fred will be down in a while, this being Friday, but this afternoon I got another good opportunity to make a movie starring Buster.

Buster's Favorite Pastime
I probably won't take many more pictures or movies of Buster as he "nurses" inside the crook of my elbow, but I happened to have the camera within reach when Buster climbed into my lap. So here is one more movie of what he does quite often. His purring is extremely noticeable.

After Fred arrived, he sat down on the couch in the living room. This is one sure-fire way to attract Bobbie Lee to your side. A few minutes after Bobbie Lee arrived, Buster jumped up into Fred's lap as well. In these pictures, they are wary of each other (actually, Bobbie Lee is "wary" whereas Buster is "adventurous") but not so stressed as to jump off the couch. In a couple of the pictures, you can catch Bobbie Lee in mid-spew. But as the days go by, it is taking more and more to get Bobbie Lee really stressed.



May 24: The Cats Make Steady Progress

Today, I took one picture and one movie. The picture was an excellent portrait of Buster being held in Fred's arm, and you can see that picture here. The only entry here will be a movie that I made during feeding this morning.

Buster and Bobbie Lee Eating Lunch
Today I have put the two dishes of cat food even closer than I have before, and it seems that at least while they are occupied with eating, they get along just fine (that is, Bobbie Lee doesn't hiss at Buster). Even more remarkable, when this meal was finished, Bobbie Lee walked slowly and calmly away, without hissing at all.



June 7: Lucky at Play

Lucky and His Cat Toy

Probably the first thing I should mention here is that we have renamed the new kitten. When he first arrived, Fred had nicknamed him "BB" (for the buzzard bait he might well have been had Fred not rescued him from DeLeon). That got a bit cumbersome, so I renamed him Buster (euphonious with "Bobbie Lee"). When he went with Steve and Mario for a while, they renamed him Jake, and we kept that when it turned out that they couldn't keep him. Finally, we have settled on "Lucky," which not only refers to his luck at being rescued, but also his luck at being somewhere where not only do lots of folks fawn over him, but where he's already had the luck, at the age of three months, to have traveled to six or eight different states and vacationed already in Florida.

Anyway, today Fred has taken a picture and a couple of movies of Lucky. In the picture at left, we've gotten an old cat toy that used to belong to Chip out of the closet, and Lucky seems to be quite taken with it. There is a little ball in a circular enclosure; the cat can bat at the ball and send it around the ring, but it can't get it out of the enclosure- so the toy stays together.

Fred also took a couple of movies today. One shows Lucky playing with his cat toy, and you can watch this movie using the left-hand player below. The other one shows Lucky and I playing "cat toss"- a game that evolved quite by accident. Lucky had been getting a bit too rambunctious up in the bedroom, so I leaned forward from the chair I was sitting in and tossed him gently onto the bed. He didn't run off, but came right back into my lap. So I tossed him again- a little higher and a little farther. He seemed to like it, and kept on coming back for another toss. Fred captured the game on film and you can watch that movie using the right-hand player below:




June 13: Lucky at "Work"

Today, Lucky has been running around all morning, but finally appears to be slowing down. It must be all the work he has been doing:

"Oh, hai.
Needz tabel?"

Actually, no, since I'm working on my taxes in the kitchen. But let Fred take some pictures of you anyway so the folks can click on the thumbnail images below to see them:



July 2: June Into July

Since I filed my taxes, I've continued to work on the kitchen table, but now on my photograph album. When Fred is not here (and doesn't have Lucky with him) he can usually be found either chasing Bobbie Lee around, or somewhere near by where I am working. It seems that one of his favorite places is right behind my laptop. Perhaps it is the warm air exhaust at the back that he finds soothing, but I have to take care to move him a few inches away from the vent so that the machine doesn't overheat.

Anyway, sometimes he will sleep for quite a long time back there, and it is nice to have him close by (and nice to know that he isn't terrorizing Bobbie Lee or demolishing one of my silk trees). Below are some thumbnail images for a few pictures that I have taken of Lucky today (July 2) and in the past couple of days. They are all cute, I think, and you can look at them by clicking on the images:



July 14: We Leave for Florida

Two Cats Eating

This morning, Fred and I are getting ready to leave for another trip to Florida, and we have been getting the cats all set up before we go. We've brought the drop-down feeder into the kitchen to make it easier for the cats to find and for Steve and Mario, who have again kindly consented to check on them periodically, to fill as needed.

We have just about finished loading the car, but before we left, I took a movie of what I thought might be both cats eating out of the same feeder at the same time. You can have a look at that movie using the player at right.

Then we were off. (If you want to see the photos from our trip, you can go back to the main index using the link at the top or bottom of this page.)



July 30: Lucky at Home

Just a couple of pictures today. We are back from Florida, and Fred is back at his house. I am working at the kitchen table on my photograph album (currently I am working on our trip to Oklahoma City). When he is not in a "tearing around the house" mode, Lucky can be very mellow, and one of the places he likes to nap is right behind my laptop. I think it is the warm air coming out of the vent in back, but he will stretch out behind it, sticking out at both sides. Sometimes, I have to move him away from the vent so the computer won't overheat.

That's where he is today. If you click on the left-hand thumbnail in the group at left, you'll see him looking at me, half asleep, from behind the laptop. Clicking on the right-hand thumbnail will show you a picture of him curled up between the laptop and my file of picture negatives.



August 16: Lucky at the Computer

Fred is here this Sunday, as usual, and, also as usual, he is doing some surfing on the Internet. Not wanting to be left out, Lucky has, again as usual, gotten up on the desk and laid down to keep him company. Unfortunately, the spot he has chosen is right on top of the mouse pad, making it difficult for Fred to do his surfing.

Just after taking these two pictures, I moved Lucky out of the way, although he did stay on the desk top.



August 28: Lucky in the Office

Lucky can usually be counted on to be right where we are. Today we're working in the den, and Lucky spent an hour lying next to the scanner watching me. Then he got bored and went to play in the trash can in the closet. Fred got pictures of him in both places. Click on the two pictures below to see the full-size images:



September 13: Lucky in Sleep Mode

Lucky seems to have three operative modes. In the first, he is into and onto anything and everything; he can usually be counted on to be the culprit when something goes missing from a counter or table (and it can usually be found under something where he has batted or carried it). In the second, he is chasing Bobbie Lee around the house. While she squeals and they roll around pawing at each other, my suspicion is that they both enjoy the play and exercise. Certainly the exercise is good for Bobbie Lee. In his third mode, Lucky is asleep somewhere- usually in the same room where the people currently in the house are found. And this means, most often, in the den.

Today, as I am often doing, I am working on one of the computers, and Lucky is asleep in one of the wing chairs behind me. I am constantly amazed how he can sleep in the positions he assumes. It seems to me that while most cats, including Bobbie Lee, curl up when they are asleep, Lucky sprawls, often upside down with his feet in the air, on chairs or the floor. The positions he assumes are a source of constant amusement, and today I've taken a few pictures of him.

There are thumbnails for these pictures below; click on them to view the full-size images:



October 12: Lucky At the Computer

When I am working in the den, Lucky is usually there with me, unless he is off chasing Bobbie Lee around the house or sleeping in one of his favorite spots. As I write this, for example, he is sitting in the other computer chair behind me. Today, I have been doing my email, and my sister sent a link to a commercial website that had some very, very clever animation. I was intrigued by it, and so was Lucky, so when I was done looking at, I let Lucky have a turn. I should have taken a movie; the site looks like a shopping site with a product catalog when you first get to it, and it is. But as soon as the page of product pictures and descriptions loads, one of them starts moving and, like some Rube Goldberg contraption, interacts with all the rest of them until the opening page is a shambles (although you can still read the descriptions and prices and place orders). So I am just going to put some thumbnails below for the pictures I snapped before I turned the site over to Lucky and while he was watching it. You can click on the thumbnail images to see the full-size pictures:



October 24: Lucky and Bobbie Lee in the Den

When Fred and I are in the den, you can pretty much count on Lucky being up on the desktop watching us, and Bobbie Lee being in one of the two chairs behind us. That was the situation today when we took some candid shots of them. Click on the thumbnails at left to have a look.



October 25: Lucky and Bobbie Lee

Fred's Kodak camera had been acting up the last month or so, and since we were heading out on the cruise of a lifetime in another week, we thought it best if he took this opportunity to upgrade his Kodak. So we've ordered a Z1015 model, which looks almost exactly like his current one but has a better optical zoom and the ability to take pictures in many more formats- including 16/9 and stitched panoramas.

Today, Fred is experimenting with the camera, and I am experimenting with the new settings that I need to display these pictures properly on these album pages. Our test subjects are, as usual, Bobbie Lee and Lucky. Click on the thumbnails at the left to have a look at the cats today.



November 27: Lucky Gets a Bath

Today, Fred is planning on showing me how he gives Lucky a bath. He's been doing so every other month or so since Lucky was a kitten, trying to get him acclimatized to being bathed. It has worked well, Fred tells me, in that Lucky doesn't seem to mind much getting into the tub or shower with him and getting shampooed. But today is the first time I'll have a look at the process.

We begin with the unsuspecting cat. Actually, we have two unsuspecting cats here; this picture is unusual in that Bobbie Lee and Lucky are rarely so quiet and so close to each other. This relationship, too, has been improving, and while Lucky still harasses her occasionally, he is just as likely to walk right by her, and she him, without any reaction to speak of.

Fred got Lucky upstairs and into the shower without any trouble at all. (In fact, I've noticed that Lucky is actually happy to get into the shower right after you're done; he seems to like the feel of water on the pads of his feet, and he will wander around inside for a minute or so if you let him.) Holding him in his arms, Fred shampoos him and then rinses him off underneath the shower. Lucky does not seem to mind much. You can see a picture of Lucky (and Fred) in mid-shower here. After the shower, Lucky gets dried off with a towel and with the hair dryer on a low setting- so there is a minimum of heat and noise.

All in all, it's a pretty painless process, as evidenced by the fact that not a half-hour later, Lucky was zonked out in the den.



December 29: Lucky and Bobbie Lee

It's coming to the end of Lucky's first nine months with us and he has grown tremendously, of course. He and Bobbie Lee got off to a rocky start, with Lucky being the kitten who wants to play, and Bobbie Lee being the recluse who just wants to be left alone.

Times during the year when they were together but not chasing each other were rare, and one of them occurred today, when both Fred and I were in the den. Both cats came in and, in an unusual move, got up on the same chair. Fred thought that unusual enough that should take a picture, and the photo of the two of them is at the left.

That was the last of our pet pictures for this year. You can use the link below to return to the Index for 2009.

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