Monday, March 23, 2015

Cabin Fever Grips Skunk the Cat

Ho hum- Skunk the Cat here and as you can tell from my salutation I’m a little bored. But I guess right now who isn’t? All this cold air and lingering crunchy stuff on the ground has everybody chasing their tail to find fun things to do. And it's frustrating because I worked hard this winter. Despite the stacked odds and feet of snow I kept a pawsitive attitude and kept my caterwauling to a dull roar. But Dude, these chilly days are dragging onnnnnnnnn...And it's suppose to be spring!

And I know you know what I mean because come on, everyone's favorite days are the ones spent laying around in a sunbeam smelling fresh air pour in through a window screen. Oh yeah and the birds. Ye Haw! The birds are so much fun to watch- especially when they get tearing around with the squirrels. And I can see millions of them from my window. Dude, the action just never stops.

That is until chilly air arrives and my fur gets furrier, the birds get fewer and the window gets closed. Then it just gets sad. Really sad. And when's the last time anyone saw a peppy bug worth chasing around the couch room? 

Which is why the other day when I saw Alanna in the garage I thought to myself, hey-why not? She must be fed up with this polar bear air too so why don’t I do both of us a favor and mix things up a bit. I waited until it looked like she was in deep thought (you humans are good at creating that look but really, if you don’t have to catch your own food what is there to think about?) and zinged her with my fast paw action- dodging in between her feet a bunch of times creating a game of skill, strategy and moderate danger. To a cat there’s absolutely no better way to take your mind off of stress. But you know Alanna and her overreactions. She of course starts flailing her arms around, shrieking and I think she called me Cheeze-Its. Any hoo- when the drama cleared it really looked like she was gassed and could use a breather. So she leaned against the wall and the next thing I knew she had pulled out my very favorite ball and string and waved it around for a good long while. Oh sure, at first it was coupled with some nonsense rantings about “Skunk you better never do that again!” But honestly, once that little feathered ball starts flapping around I can’t hear a thing. Anyhoo, what’s most important here is that a little running around and flying through the air made me feel really good again. So that got me thinking. There must be other gatos out there who are going stir crazy so maybe I should share some pointers(hey- laser pointers!) on keeping us content and off your feet. 

  1. Pull out the ball and string or whatever toy your cat fancies and play with them! Roll balls in front of us, swing strings to and fro. Don’t just expect us to crawl into any ol’ box and occupy ourselves. Winter doldrums need friendships to counteract them.
  2. Mix up the variety in our toys- We don’t always want to chase the same ball. I mean, we will, but we prefer to see different stripes spinning from time to time. I have a container where I keep all my gear and then Alanna surprises me by switching stuff out every few weeks or so. What's cool is I’ll have so much fun playing with a newly discovered catnip mouse that I’ll totally forget about the jingly ball stashed away guessed it...Alanna pulls it out and again makes it a newly discovered treat.
  3. Grow some green stuff for us- We love to gnaw on, tug on and chew up different varieties of grass that can easily be grown indoors. And this is good advice for all year. Just because the great outdoors is unsafe doesn’t mean we don’t still relish the feel of grass under our paws. And I’ve even heard humans say that green stuff growing in the home helps chase their winter blues too. So plant some seeds or buy an established plant but do something to make the house smell grassy.
  4. Visit some Cat Enrichment Websites- There's no shame in asking for help. Look at me, I never open my own food cans but with help I still eat like a champ. And the internet is cranking with ideas to make free or low cost toys for your gatos. I really like this one provided by ASPCA but feel free to explore and find ideas purrfectly tailored for your cat. And guess what. All that research, toy building and playing is a great way for humans to beat back the winter blues too. 

So my fellow cats, if you’re hearing your human say “kitty you’re kind of bugging me?” a lot more often and humans, if you're finding more and more toys laying around on stairs, in the hallway or anywhere else humans walk fast and become more in tune to their toes, perhaps it's time to come together and work for each other's enrichment. Because as we all know, cold weather is awful but together we stay warm!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hi ho ho ho!!! Skunk the Cat here and I just got back from lunch with Alanna. That’s right- this kitty’s been known to chow down on a cheeseburger or two. But I will admit that at first there was some miscommunication and I had thought she asked, “Hey Skunk wanna grab a tweet burger?” And there I was - ready to give her all kinds of credit for having the pre-neuters to call a chicken patty what it really is. But as you may have guessed, no, that’s not what she meant.

Anyhoo- as we all know, the holidays are here and with them come some of the best customs a human can participate in. I mean, the total reconstruction of the outdoors in a couch room has got to be the coolest thing since catnip got shaped into a ball. But since Alanna can’t get through a social engagement without pointing out a behavior or two of mine that she thinks is ridiculous I now need to share these cat safety tips (yes I lost another bet and no I don’t want to talk about it). 

So here are the arguments we had this time while we waited for our server to figure out that of course a cat would want a window seat in the restaurant. 

You gotta make sure you secure the tree.  First of all, let me just say thank you for the wonderful treat that is a tree. You bring all that fresh air goodness indoors, you make sure all those pesky monsters that Alanna is always going on about are shaken out of it and you leave it alone for the best hours of the day- nighttime!!! What is not to love? But here’s the thing. A tree’s gotta be green and cat’s gotta climb. And we are just so darn good at it. Have you seen how fast we can go floor to ceiling. It’s paw-inspiring! But it can also be a pretty dramatic moment when we realize the flaws of a tree stand compared to a solid root system. TV’s, lamps, small children- none of it’s safe when we answer that age old question “when a tree falls in the couch room, if no one’s there to hear it, does it still destroy everything in its path?” Survey says, “Oh yeah.”

Only put unbreakable/digestible ornaments within paws reach. I’ll never forget the grandiose sight that was my first tree. I mean, who could?  It was like Santa had come four weeks early and plopped a fully stocked cat toy right in front of my face. And not only was everything bright and shiny but it was all strung and swung with tiny hooks and strings- Shazam! But it’s all fun and games until someone’s got broken glass shards in their paw or garland coming out southern ports. Now that is a shame a cat should never feel.

Cords are not good beef jerky- I’ll never get the fascination you humans have with those white and green strings you leave dangling from the walls and running all over the floor. I never see you bat them and they don’t go anywhere to be chased. What I do know is that one time I got gnawing on one and suddenly I couldn’t feel my lips for a month. Not a cool feature when you share water bowls with friends. Nobody wants the drooling guy slurping next to them. So I guess the best advice I can give on this subject is to watch out for us and keep reminding us that numb lips are nobody’s friend.

Not all plants belong in salad or cole slaw- That’s right because some are just downright deadly. And while I am always amazed by the talents and skills evolution has graced my species with, we are not blessed with a great deal of knowledge in botany.  And I believe I speak for all cats when I say that we probably wouldn’t bother to read a posted note, so help us out and keep the poisonous plants out of the house. There are so many other ways to create the magical outdoor world inside without including things that can take out a kitty.

Okay, so I got another bet paid off and I’m really happy to have put this one behind me. Oh- and let’s just say- I won’t be so quick to try putting 3 cheeseburgers in my mouth at one time again. So I hope my tips have been helpful and if they keep just one kitty safe this holiday season it will have been worth the embarrassment of shooting a pickle out of my nose.
Happy holidays, everyone!!!


Monday, October 13, 2014


Mwahahaha!!! Skunk the Cat here and this time my Tail from the Garage is a scary one!!!

After all, it is almost Halloween, the most wonderful time of year for a cat. Especially since this is our time to shine in the media. And not that most cats like to be the center of attention or anything but hey, who doesn't like a little bump in Twitter time or Instagram selfie marathons?

So here's to the magnificent creature that is the Halloween cat. Whether you be scaredy or mysterious, you have done more for this pawsome tradition than any reindeer ever did for that human in the red suit. And we don't tear up your roof shingles like a certain other breed of a holiday symbol.

But I would be letting down my human fan base if I didn't throw out a couple of reminders about how to keep your cats safe as they walk the walk of their bad Halloween selves. Because with media exposure comes myths and unholy tales that need to be dealt with. So here it goes:

1. Cats (gulp) need to be inside all year long (yup- I still choke on these words). But it gets even more important during Halloween. People who don't respect us think it's really funny to pull pranks on us or worse even, use us for props in ridiculous holiday tricks they do to others. And some of these tricks can even involve fire sometimes, so you get why this is important. But no worries, we still strike some pretty haunting poses silhouetted in moonlit windows. So everyone will still know you're rocking' the pawthentic holiday feel in your casa.

2. No matter how much we beg, plead or cat-jole DON'T GIVE US CANDY. We're not as sensitive to chocolate as dogs are. But hey, let's face it, they are a much more delicate species. But we still shouldn't eat human food. And when you think about it even humans shouldn't eat too much. So imagine how much less our smaller stomachs can handle. It's just best to keep it out of our reach. The good news though, is we won't fight as hard for candy as we will for...

3. Delicious Halloween decorations! Oh I can see them now! Swingy, string tethered delights all right there in every window for us to bat and whip around! Sa-weet!!!! But then bad things happen when they get caught in our tails or around our necks or sometimes even more likely, we get to gnawing a bit and we swallow more than we should. Bad kitty and bad trips to that place where they like to pick up your tail and check out things that are, quite frankly, nobody's business. Yikes!!! So while the other cats might frown on me sharing this- sometimes we need to be protected from our own delightful imaginations and the games they lead us into. Help us strike a pose a safe distance away from these tail tanglers.

And finally I want to send a special alert out for all my cat buddies like Scrappy who are all black. Black cats have a really bad rap as somehow they get blamed for all the world's bad luck. Not cool, dudes. Not cool at all. Cats are amazing and we add a certain je ne sais quoi to everywhere we live. Black cats are no different and have no evil powers. But somehow these myths get rolling and it's the black cats who really take the heat for it. So protect all your felines but especially look out for your all black ones. They definitely have a target on their back during this season.

"So hey, Skunk," you might now be asking, "what was so scary about this Tail from the Garage?" Fair question. But to answer I only have to point your attention to the picture above. Did you not see the spider dangling in the top corner? And while a spider sighting alone is enough to make a cat shudder on all four paws, I asked around Feline Friends to see if anyone else had ever seen that spider in the garage before. And they did, everyone of them. But the crazy thing is, they all had a story about how they had smacked that spider with a shoe and other heavy anti-spider objects. So I ask you, if that spider was long since gone from the garage, how did it get in the picture I took last Wednesday? That's right- it's a spider ghost! So you tell me, have you ever heard of anything so scary? Now imagine all the spiders you ever squished showing up in your next family photo as ghastly images hanging around your faces and square dancing in all your hair. Uh you're scared!!! My work here is done.

This is Skunk the Cat signing off to go spider ghost hunting. Happy Halloween, humans!!!




Okay...yeah...I lost a bet. But I have a perfectly reasonable excuse. That's right- I was duped! Because here's how it played out. I was chillaxin in my bed while Alanna was very busy organizing food and searching for Christmas decorations in the garage. She will argue this with me- but she fell over while reaching for a box of blinky lights. She did. She tipped right over. But she denies it and claims some heroic act of grabbing cat litter boxes kept her from actually touching the floor. Whatever. This of course made me laugh. I find it absolutely hilarious that you humans have no sense of balance whatsoever. It's true- I can see why you stay out of trees. 

Any hoo- turns out humans are super sensitive about this point and when I laughed it really set Alanna off. Right away she brings up the whole "so?- you got no thumbs, Skunk!" Like that even matters in this discussion. Dudes, it's not relevant- at all. Well one thing led to another and the next thing you know we got into this "proving our evolutionary accomplishments" contest. 

First up was a foot race. Four paws to two I had her beat at the tweet of the starter's whistle. I'm that fast- oh yeah. And I really dig the sound of a tweet. It motivates me.

Next we sat at our respective desks and raced words per minute. As a professional blogger, I felt strong going into the battle. And for a laid back guy, I really am a fast typer. Unfortunately, I ended up shocked. I knew Alanna did some office work sometimes but I had no idea how much practice she had pounding on the keyboard. But whoa- she totally dusted me. 

That left us tied at one evolutionary accomplishment a piece. So we spitballed ideas for the tie breaker. It was not easy to agree on a fair test. She said swim a mile. I said jump off the garage roof. It went back and forth awhile. And then she blurted out, "I know- a sit up contest!" I was immediately interested. I had heard of sit ups before and knew dogs were famous for them. And yo, if a dog can sit up once then a cat can sit up way more times- and with more style. I was in!

So it's possible that you've already figured out where I went wrong. Yeah. Not that kind of sit up. I only had to see her do one to know I had been hosed. There's no way I would have agreed to do that. Next thing I know, this holly-jolly get-up is picked out of a box and becomes my holiday blog suit. Oh the evil little sense of humor that Alanna has. But if there's one fact that we cats prove holiday after holiday it's this- you can dress us up in antlers and hats and silly red noses but you can not break the spirit of the dignified cat!

So what crazy get-ups are your cats humoring you and wearing this holiday season?

Four Paws in Peace