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Ferdinand bathing Maria, and Maria returning the favor.

Mariette’s crazy little face in the background is cracking me UP.

Sweet babies.

Orlando, lookin’ smug.

Ferdinand keeps an eye on things.

Orlando, batting at a beetle.

I believe I mentioned that in the Fall, the Lady Asian Beetle invasion begins. We’re swarmed with the stupid insects, all looking for a place to hibernate. They come in around the windows (despite the work we’ve done in trying to seal the spaces around the windows), crawl all over the place, stain my curtains bright orange, and then die (the ones who don’t get sucked up by the vacuum or find a crack in the wall to enter. I suspect we have thousands of dead and hibernating beetles in our walls). Then, all Winter long, the instant the temperature gets above 50, they come out of hibernation, stretch and yawn, and say “Is it Spring ALREADY?” Which is to say that all late Fall and Winter long, we have those beetles in our house. I suck them up with the vacuum during the course of my regular vacuuming (if I got out the vacuum special every time I saw one of the beetles, I’d be doing nothing else all day long).

The beetles especially love the foster room, because it gets sun all day long (when it’s sunny), and so they think it’s time to wake up and crawl around. Luckily, the kittens like playing with the beetles, but don’t eat them (they must not smell very appetizing). So I’m forever vacuuming up flattened Lady Asian Beetles, too.

My glamorous life: you know you want it.

“I haz a basket,” says Orlando, smugly.

Hallo, gorgeous.

Another beetle, flattened.

And sticking to the bottom of Mariette’s foot.

On Sunday, Fred started harassing me about letting the kittens out of the foster room to roam around the upstairs. I fought it for a little while – I really had wanted to let the permanent residents have the whole weekend to recover from the visit by that TERRIFYING Molly – but ultimately gave in. I had thought that we would put the baby gates up across the bottom of the stairs (we stack them, which blocks the entire doorway), but Fred wanted to put the barrier across the end of the hall, and then one baby gate at the bottom of the stairs.

“So if one gets past the barrier, we’ll hear them, and we can block off the stairs!” he said brightly.

I set up the barriers, opened the foster room door, and then went about my day. As I’d expected, the kittens sat in the foster room, staring out into the hallway, and said “We’re not going out THERE. We’ll die!” Eventually they started venturing out, though if they heard the noise of someone coming up the stairs, they ran right back into their room.

A couple of hours after I’d opened the door, I heard the distinctive sound of a kitten coming over the barrier at the end of the hall. I got up and went to the bottom of the stair. Fred had been napping in his room, so I called up to him.

A second later, Dennis came FLYING down the stairs, sailed over the baby gate (I didn’t have a chance to stop him), and went flying into the front room.

I won’t give you the blow-by-blow, but it took us about 20 minutes to capture him. He ran around this house like he KNEW all the good hiding spots, and ended up way up inside Fred’s recliner. He fought like crazy once Fred captured him, and then we put all the kittens back in the foster room and shut the door.

On Monday, we put all the gates up across the bottom of the stairs, and opened the foster room door again. So far, it’s working. The kittens come to the bottom of the stairs and look around occasionally, but spend most of their time running around upstairs. I’ve tried to convince Jake and Stefan to go upstairs and visit the kittens, but neither of them has been all that interested. I’m sure that, given enough time, they’ll be willing to check it out. There’s DIFFERENT food up in that kitten room, after all!


Stinkerbelle keeps an eye out for her beloved Tommy.

“You’re getting too close, lady! You better back it OFF.”


2013: Note to Tommy: it’s impossible to look scary in a blue cape.
2012: “I like to get as close to Mama’s face as possible. It’s more comfy up here.”
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: “Woe is me, and when will the suffering ENNNNND?”
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-12-14 — 24 Comments

  1. You practically caused me trauma! 6 am sharp…no Wednesday posting! GAH! Not till 7:30 am! What are you trying to do to me!!!????

    “I haz a basket,” says Orlando, smugly. – Lordy, that face is killing me! Ha!

    Dennis…that must have been quite the show! You know he was telling all the other kittens about it and laughing his silly head off saying things like, “You should have seen their faces….”, “Then I made that man crawl under that big chair to try and get me. I just stayed an inch out of reach. You should have seen how red his face was!”, “The lady with the camera kept yelling things! I think all the words had only 4 letters in them!!!” ROFLLASK (rolling on floor laughing like a silly kitty)

  2. I thought for sure you were going to say that after you stacked the gates at the bottom of the stairs, Dennis came flying down again and flew smack into them! I had visions of him sitting at the bottom going “Wha happened?” as little birdies circled around his head!

    Was he scared during the downstairs escapade, or having fun running you and Fred around? 🙂

    • He was scared – but I think he was more puzzled than scared. Like, “Why are these people bothering me? I’m just up in this chair, minding my own business!” I haven’t actually seen him on the stairs since we put the baby gates up – he’s mostly hanging out in their room, occasionally venturing out to the hallway or the bathroom. Maybe he thinks he’s seen all there is to see!

  3. The last 3 days alone I’ve found the following in our apartment (my cats are all indoor/outdoor,so I can’t really tell who were the true culprits):

    1.Bottom half of a rat (neatly placed next to their empty food bowls)
    2.A huge moth-like creature,first saved and released on Sunday night,and then found dead on my slipper,one day later.
    3.3 dragon flies

    I hope they are all killed out now.

  4. And to think I was going to mention that Dennis had mastered the “innocent” look in that picture. haha…. sounds like Fred and his kitten advice is to be ignored 🙂

    • “sounds like Fred and his kitten advice is to be ignored”
      My first thought when I started reading that part of today’s post was, This is not going to end well. I think I’ve learned that about the Fred-Robyn dynamics, at least when it comes to kittens (I’ll give him credit for things like wells and ponds) in the two years that I’ve been a faithful reader.

      • I should probably point out that Fred does have good ideas on the kitten front (occasionally… okay, maybe once, ha), but I probably only mention them in passing. 🙂

  5. My parents had boxelder bugs in their living room and wasps in the upstairs of their old house. Makes one wonder how people got rid of them before vacuum cleaners!

  6. Maria and Ferd are just so adorable. Very loving babies.

    I love how Dennis got INSIDE Fred’s chair. They’re amazing how they find a crevice and then zip! Forget it.

    • Oh, I thought you meant INSIDE his chair, like under the niche where the footrest goes or under neath in the frame underneath.

      which is where mine would’ve gone.

      • No, he was literally up inside the chair – we had to press on the back to feel where he was. Apparently there’s a cross-bar about halfway up the back of the chair, and he was perched there. I had to get on my back on the floor and reach up to grab him, and could barely reach him. It was nuts!

        • Yeah, that’s what I thought intially but then thought you meant he was just in the seat, playing with the remote.

          My old cat used to hide inside a sleeper sofa. Made my 23-yr brother cry because he couldn’t find her and thought she had gotten out in a blizzard.

          Silly thing, my father shook the sofa and she popped out, all purrs.

  7. A friend of mine in CA nurtures polistes wasps and writes: “Our lettuce is magnificent. No worms nor caterpillars at all. Haven’t seen a tomato hornworm in years…Anyway, the paper-wasps eat every worm & caterpillar around, it seems.
    As for protecting the house: I’ll see a roach at the curb–eugghh! –and little black ants on the trees & plants outside, but nary a one INside. No matter what. If I spill sugar it’s no big deal, and sweep it up when I get round to it.
    It’s actually quite weird. I can’t credit my housekeeping for it, but as of a few years ago, the ants just..never came back. It was about the time I stopped thinking of wasps as unwelcome, AND STOPPED SPRAYING, and allowed that first nest to remain over my tea-chair.” Can’t help wondering if there are any polistes wasps in your neighborhood and they’d help keep you beetle free.

    • We do have those kind of wasps here, quite a few of them. They have an odd tendency to start building nests over the doorways (on the outside of the house), and then abandoning them. The only time I bother with them is when they get in the house (which happens a lot in the spring and fall), because their stings are painful and the cats don’t have the intelligence to leave them alone, so I suck them up with the vacuum. Otherwise, they’re welcome to stick around. I hadn’t thought about it before now, but I don’t think I’ve seen more than a handful of hornworms!

      They don’t seem to be doing anything about the beetles, but maybe that’s just ’cause there are so MANY of them!

      • More info from my friend:
        “The females can sting, and I was stung on rare occasions, years go..but not anymore.
        These are paper-wasps, not hornets–although the two species look alike–and they are not aggressive at all.

        They are inquisitive, however. Sometimes they will fly at your head, but I have learned that they are not attacking; they are just checking you out.

        …There are ways to make friends with them. First, be sure you are looking at a polistes and not a “yellow jacket”.
        Once you realize you are in the presence of the insect that inspired so many classical illustrations of fairies, it helps if you talk to them. Or at them. your speech will calm you down and focus your thoughts and emotions. Bugs as well as other wild animals of course do sense our emotions, via some sort of scent-signature that we give off.
        Also, I believe they can actually pick up on what we’d call brain-waves, such as the alpha-waves we have when we’re feeling serene.

        I put out tiny lids full of weak sugar-water, or even just plain water, for them. They are thirsty critters, especially during the summer.

        DIP YOUR FINGER INTO WHAT YOU OFFER, before setting it out. This lets them know who did it, and when they smell you again they’ll be in a genial state, rather than alarmed.

        …If you approach them non-aggressively and with a positive attitude, and make friends by the ways I’ve done it, you can pretty much count on them returning the friendship.”

  8. So – sounds like you won’t be hanging that screen door up on the stairs or the foster room door any time soon. Nope, no need for that at all.