A study in symmetry with the fabulous model, Zoey the Cool Cat.
A study in symmetry with the fabulous model, Zoey the Cool Cat.
Many readers who like my San Diego Historical Landmarks series might think that I have given up on them. Not so. I simply want to do them in order, and I got stuck at #15. Its name is “Conception,” and it’s on the United States Naval Submarine Base at Point Loma. In other words, it’s not accessible to the general public….
….Except for one day each year. Guess which day that is? Yep. Today. “Cabrillo Festival” day. So you know where I’ll be going later today, and I can resume my San Diego Historical Landmarks series. I have no idea what I’ll find there since I have not done any research on #15 year.
Meanwhile…. September has been a very active month for getting Out & About, and I’ll have blog posts on everything as the summer comes to a close and the cold, wet, fall and winter months arrive. To whet your appetite, here’s a sample of some of the places I’ve been.
We’ll start at home with Zoey the Cool Cat. I continue to take care of her every need—boxes, tummy rubs, food, clean litter box, food for the squirrels and rabbits so she can get her daily exercise running from window to window watching them, and what does she do? Turns her back on me.
September 3—Wildlife Corner at our new home
September 9—Queen Califa’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park, Escondido
September 10—Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar
September 13—San Diego Zoo
September 15—Getting some kicks on Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga
September 16—Chili Cook Off & Classic Car Show in Alpine
September 18—Big Border Baby in Tecate
September 21—Watching trains in Colton
September 22—MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego
September 23—San Diego Bonsai Show
September 23—Wavecrest Woody Meet at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
September 24—Cuyamaca Rancho State Park near Julian
September 24—Apple Days in historic Julian
September 24—Gold mine tours in Julian
September 24—Cool shopping in Julian at The Warm Hearth, The Birdwatcher, and the Julian Jewel Box
September 25—Newest visitor to our new home
September 29—San Diego Quilt Show
Long-time readers know that I don’t have children and never wanted children.
I like to jokingly say that it’s because, being the horrible juvenile delinquent that I was, any children I might have had would probably have been horrible juvenile delinquents, too.
Truly, though, it’s because I can’t imagine explaining to a toddler that there really is a monster under the bed.
Zoey the Cool Cat has never been an under-the-bed cat, but it is her preferred hiding place when strangers come over. Today, the window tinting guys came over. Instead of installing curtains and blinds on most of the windows, which seemingly get all dusty and never cleaned, Jim & I chose to put privacy tinting on the windows. The tint keeps out 57% of the heat from the sun, allowing the cooling system to work better in this 100°F+ heat wave we’re having. It also lets us see out but doesn’t let people see in. Pretty nice. And less expensive than curtains or blinds.
I was worried about my relationship with Zoey the Cool Cat. She has her little comfort spots that she rotates to every 3-5 days, but at night, or whenever I needed a nappy, she was always right there with me. Not so in our new home.
I think I found the problem….
She’s got to have a window that she can see out of.
In our new place I put blackout curtains on the bedroom window where I take nappies. Zoey the Cool Cat had never joined me in that bedroom. Not even interested. Just walked on by as if the door was closed.
Until two days ago when I was so tired that I left the curtains open. When I woke up, I couldn’t move. My legs were numb. A-ha! (not the group). Zoey the Cool Cat had jumped up on the bed and made herself comfortable on my legs, oriented so that she could see out the window. I got up and left her on the bed, and this is how I found her a couple of hours later:
This morning I went out at 9:00, which is usually about the time she is worn out from running around window to window to window watching the wildlife. I came back at 11:30, and this is what I found:
Problem solved. Curtains shall remain open and I’ll be adding tinting to the window so we can see out but no one can see in.
Zoey the Cool Cat still loves me but only under her conditions….
It’s day 20 in our new home and Zoey the Cool Cat is as enamored as ever. She loves the floor, both carpet and vinyl, but she doesn’t like the two bathrooms, my room (I keep the blackout curtains drawn), or the office (also blackout curtains to cut down on glare on the 4K monitors and the 4K TV. She does have her favorite positions on the floors:
We still are unpacking boxes, mostly books—we must have the largest library outside of an actual library. Books are heavy, and when one puts a lot of them in one box, the box becomes heavy. Uh, der. So I bring in one box in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each time I bring in a box, Zoey the Cool Cat believes it is solely for her. She can be nowhere around, but as soon as I put a box on the floor, BAM! There she is! It’s hers!
Yesterday afternoon’s box
This morning’s box
So our live-in-the-sky experiment came to an end yesterday. It lasted 2 years and 3 months. For the first few months it was kind of neat to live high up but then the 45 stairs to get to the front door became burdensome. Sunrises from the home office were spectacular.
Sadly, though, there was no wildlife 50 feet up in the sky—no lizards, no snakes, no spiders, no bugs, no birds. Well, alright, one mourning dove did come to visit us in the 27 months we lived there.
Our new home is in the boondocks, which is kind of funny since the city of La Mesa had 60,00o people crammed into 9.1 square miles. Out here in the boondocks, we live in El Cajon (ka-hone), a city of 104,000 crammed into 14.48 square miles. So the population density actually is greater in El Cajon, 7,163 people per square mile, versus La Mesa’s 6,592.
Maybe it’s the outskirts, where we lived and live, that is the difference. A-ha! (not the group). Google Maps indicates that we don’t even live in El Cajon. That’s simply the post office that delivers our mail. Google Maps indicates that we live in Winter Gardens, which is a census-designated place in San Diego County. In other words, an unincorporated area. In other words, THE BOONDOCKS!
We’re at the end of a street, not a true cul-de-sac, but we only have one neighbor. The other three sides are hills. At night it is quiet quiet quiet. We kind of like it since the street we lived on in La Mesa was noisy noisy noisy, even with dual-pane windows. We also have a nice oversized 2-car garage. We haven’t had a nice garage since March 2007.
I don’t know who loves it best out here, me or Zoey the Cool Cat (ZCC). The old place was 684 square feet (we downsized too much) and the new place is 1,440 square feet. Our largest home was 3,984 square feet on 1.83 acres of land, too big for just two people. This new place feels just right for the queen and her staff of two.
ZCC has 14 low-sill windows where she can watch all the wildlife, and after 11 days here (hmmm, same number of days that Scaramucci was employed by Twitler………), she knows where the sunny spots are, the sunny windows, and, of course, the wildlife. There’s a difference between dawn, day, and dusk wildlife, so she has to go to different windows. There are a few billion rabbits, another billion ground squirrels, only a million fence lizards, and then birds of all types, with ravens and raptors prevailing. Sometimes the ground squirrels come to see ZCC.
Following are some pictures of the wildlife and, of course, the queen adjusting to her new palace. It’s all about the queen….
Common garden wolf spider found its way inside.
It was returned to the outside where it could become food for….
….California quail, the state bird.
I built a cat box for ZCC whereby she can go through a cat door
in the window and sit outside while still being protected.
This ground squirrel came up to see ZCC in her cat box,
which is the blurred white in the lower right.
They are just a couple of feet from each other.
ZCC helping me put together our new desks,
although she’s more interested in the tennis match
on our new 49″ 4K TV than she is actually helping me.
ZCC exploring the new digs.
ZCC helping me populate the bookshelves.
Like any cat, ZCC likes to help unpack things.
Once all the work is done, of course, one has to sleep,
and ZCC has lots of options for that vital task.
I grew up with animals of every kind—ponies, donkeys, dogs, cats, a monkey, snakes, rats, skunks, opossums, raccoons, birds, mice, rats, fish, bugs. If it moved, it interested me.
I always considered myself a dog person, though, simply because my dogs would follow me around, roll over on command, sit, shake, and lie at my feet wherever I was. It was obvious that my dogs loved me. The other animals, no so much.
My first dog was a mutt named Bosco. I don’t have a picture of him. He was an alley dog, roaming wherever he wanted to go. One day he didn’t come home. I’m pretty sure he simply died; he was an old dog at that time.
I didn’t have another dog until I graduated from Texas A&M University and moved to Houston. I got two dogs, both purebred Beagles from the same litter. I named them “Union” and “Pacific” after the Union Pacific Railroad. Yes, I was weird even then. One day I came home from work and my apartment was open with fire, police, and apartment personnel rushing in an out. Union and Pacific had pooped in the bathtub (just like I had taught them to) but then had managed to turn the water on. The dog poop clogged the drain and the apartment flooded. I was upstairs, so water was leaking into the apartment below me and the roof in their unit collapsed. Fortunately everyone had insurance which covered us, but I either had to give up Union and Pacific, or move. I couldn’t afford to move at that point.
Finally, three years later, I did move. My Houston rent had gotten to a dollar a square foot, so I picked up and moved back to College Station where I was hoping to get a job with Texas A&M University so I could get that awesome state-supplied health insurance. I did. That was when I bought a duplex and got two dogs, Penney, a Long-haired Dachsund, and Sugar, a Chow Chow/Besenji mix. The only Chow Chow part of Sugar was her purple tongue.
One day when I was preparing to leave on my motorcycle, Sugar jumped up on the seat. I took a few minutes and left her on the back seat and drove around the neighborhood fully expecting her to jump off and run home. Nope. She stayed. Happiest dog in the world.
Since she was so happy, I took time out each day to take her for longer, and faster, motorcycle rides. Eventually she rode with me on the highway at 65 mph from College Station to Waco, a distance of about 90 miles. She was the best backseat rider ever, keeping her head pinned to my side and watching the road to determine which way she should lean into the upcoming curve.
On April 15, 1993, I left College Station on a suicide journey (see my unsuccessful suicide journey post here). I gave Sugar and Penney to a friend and never saw them again. I also lost contact with the friend, so I don’t know what happened to Sugar and Penney, or how long they lived.
From 1993 to 2007 I was too mobile and too into work to have a pet, although I did have several aquariums, even a 300-gallon aquarium full of African cichlids. Then, on Thanksgiving Day 2007, a black cat came to visit. Jim and I gave it food and water. It ate and drank, and left. Didn’t even bother saying “Thank you!” or “Goodbye!”
On Christmas Eve, it came back. Imagine that, a cat that knows human holidays!
Jim and I gave it food and water again, it ate and drank, and stayed. We named her Sophie.
We moved 8 months later and took her with us, all the while trying to make her into an indoor cat. Didn’t work. When darkness came, she would howl like a coyote until we let her out. She always came home, though, until the morning of September 20, 2007. No Sophie. A phone call at 7:30 a.m. No one calls me at 7:30 a.m. It was the worst phone call ever. A neighbor a couple of blocks over had found a black cat that had been hit and killed by a car. She had moved the cat out of the road, saw the collar tag, and called me. I went to retrieve the body and give it a proper burial, out near the house we had just sold, her old neighborhood.
I was so devastated with the loss of Sophie, and how she died, that Jim and I immediately went to the El Cajon Animal Shelter to get another cat. We wanted an older cat that was an indoor cat, but I also wanted a cat that would let me hold it and pet it. We found Zoey, but she wouldn’t be ready to adopt until the next day. We were there 10 minutes before they opened, signed the adoption papers and paid the adoption fee, and brought Zoey home. Three hours after she arrived in our home, I captured this picture:
That was when I renamed Zoey, adding “the Cool Cat” so that she became Zoey the Cool Cat.
At first, having a 100% indoor cat was difficult. One of the reasons why I never considered myself a cat person was because cats like to jump up on things, climb on things, climb up things, and study gravy by knocking anything and everything to the floor. About the same time that I was getting really frustrated, a new show made its debut on cable: “My Cat From Hell” featuring Jackson Galaxy. I will admit that I judged a book by its cover and as soon as I saw Jackson, I said, “No way!” Yes way.
I learned from Jackson that cats are vertical animals. They like to climb. Once I was able to accept that and help Zoey the Cool Cat (ZCC), she and I became much better friends. I catified my house so that ZCC has vertical places she can go with no questions asked. I even have a special cat shelf in front of a window in each room. She loves them.
I also found out through Jackson Galaxy and “Pets Rule” at SeaWorld San Diego that you can train cats. I had never believed that. ZCC can go anywhere she wants except the top of the railing on the balcony (don’t want her falling off), the grand piano (just no), the leather sofa (don’t want cat claw holes in the leather), the kitchen counters (that’s where I prepare food), and the top of the refrigerator. Actually, she can go to the top of the refrigerator if she can figure out how to get there without making an intermediate stop on the kitchen counters.
Cats will react to a loud clap and a loud NO, usually by jumping down and hiding. Jackson taught me to wait about a minute and then give them a treat to let them know that I still love them, but it’s far enough away from the clap/NO so they won’t connect being bad with getting a treat.
Also, when you find cats somewhere you don’t want them to be, pick them up and put them someplace where it is okay to be, along with some loving words, a soothing voice, some petting or head butts, and a treat. You can get them to go where you want them to go by leaving treats there. Just don’t leave too many; otherwise, they’ll think that’s their eating spot.
Make it easy to get up and down. It’s more easy for cats to go up and not so easy for them to come down. I have catified my home so that it’s just short jumps from here to there, both up and down. In the window shelf picture, it’s a short jump up to my desk and then another short jump to get to her window shelf. She comes down the same way because they are short jumps. ZCC prefers those spots where she has to make a short jump. So, floor or bed? Bed. Floor or chair? Chair. Chair seat or chair back?
One thing it took me a little while to discover is that ZCC, and most cats, prefer the old and smelly to the new, so I never have spent money on a cat tree or cat toys. If I want to spice up ZCC’s life, a box or sack from the store is all she needs, and her favorite cat toy are the red rings from the gallon milk jugs. She’s easy.
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