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Uno Happily Irrepressible!

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Six little kittens & a very rough start

January 27th 2013 10:25 am
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Early Saturday morning, May 28 2011, six little kittens in a box were dumped at a sanitation plant. Four of the kittens were approximately 6 weeks old, two of the kittens were only 4 weeks old. Five of the kittens were white, one was black. A small bag of dry cat food was left sitting uselessly alongside the box. There the kittens sat in an open cardboard box throughout the long Memorial Day holiday weekend until Tuesday May 31 2011 when the sanitation plant employees returned to work and discovered the box of kittens.

One of the sanitation workers immediately called my best friend, a veterinarian who lives in the same town and told her about the kittens and asked her if she could take them and try to save them. She agreed and he took the box of kittens to her house.

Upon inspection, all six of the kittens were remarkably healthy, no herpes virus, no upper respiratory problems, no ear mites, although they did have a lot of fleas and of course were in very bad condition from starvation and dehydration after going 4 days without anything to eat or drink. Being the youngest, the little 4 week old kittens were in such bad shape it was feared neither would survive.

The smallest kitten, the 4-week old black kitten, not only was in worst condition of all from starvation and dehydration, she also had a mess of fluid and crusty matter streaming down the entire left side of her face and her left paw etc was wet and crusty from having tried to rub at her left eye which obviously was causing her serious irritation. Closer examination revealed that the little 4-week old black kitten had severe entropion which was causing her alot of discomfort and all the excessive tearing. Her left eye had been completely destroyed, someone had deliberately put her eye out. What was left of the eyeball had

Two of the 6 week old white kittens also had eye damage caused by some kind of sharp object. One of the white kitten's left eye was so damaged there was no sight left in it and her right eye was damaged too although she seemed to have a fair amount of vision left in the right eye. One of the 6 week white kittens had damage to her right eye but not to her left eye. Luckily the two white kittens eye damage wasn't severe enough to do any more than cause permanent scarring and vision loss. The other two 6 week old white kittens and the 4-week old white longhaired littermate to the little black kitten had no eye damage at all.

When offered solid food, it immediately was clear that none of the kittens had any idea at all what food even was. Obviously none of them had even begun to be weaned yet when they were taken from their mothers and dumped. My best friend tube fed the kittens, rehydrated them, got rid of the fleas, and gave them other supportive care. The kittens survived and began to regain condition.

When the little black kitten was approximately 8 weeks old, she underwent surgery to have her left eyelids trimmed and sutured shut to correct the problem with entropion. While under anesthetic she was closely and very gently examined to try to discern what actually remained of her left eyeball but no eyeball could be seen. Due to her small size and the softness of kitten skull bones, no attempt was made to do any deep probing to try to find the eyeball because of the risks involved. It was assumed that whatever remained of her left eyeball was too small and too recessed into her head to be visible. The conjunctival membranes and tear duct were left intact so that she would have normal tear drainage. Except for some normal post-surgical slight drainage over the next 24 hours after the surgery, she had no further problems with the eye until a little over a year later.

Knowing I like black cats and handicapped cats, my best friend offered me the little black kitten. Of course I accepted and took her home after her surgery. Uno had to be kept crated but in an early demonstration of her strong will & determined temperament, she threw such a fit in the crate I was afraid she'd injure herself and so I would let her out to play beside me on the bed for short periods of time and then put her back in the crate.

When I first uploaded photos of Uno, they didn't show on her profile for some reason. I hope they will show now. The photos of Uno with the little green ball and the toy mouse were taken during two of her short play sessions on the bed two days after her surgery. They clearly demonstrate how strong willed and determined she was and how playful and surprisingly unaffected she was by her surgery. My best friend and I feel that she was probably so miserable with the eye before the surgery that even with post-surgical pain etc, Uno was so much relieved by the surgery that she felt good compared to all she had suffered before her surgery.

A week after her surgery, it appeared to me that Uno's sutures had begun to itch a little. She was starting to try to scratch at them so her sutures were removed. Surprisingly, she held still and cooperated with the task of suture removal & seemed relieved to get her stitches out.

Uno was at first named Dynamo because after her surgery she became a little dynamo, a fast moving bundle of energy. Being one-eyed seemed to have absolutely no effect at all on her coordination. I quickly found out a one-eyed kitten is every bit as rambunctious as a normal two-eyed kitten.

The third picture of Uno was taken July 13 2011 and shows her attacking a booda bone, one of her favorite toys at that time.

Uno also was very sweet, personable and loving. Her favorite spot to sleep at that age was curled up beside me or when I was lying down, she would curl up on my shoulder. Amazing that this tiny kitten whose first experiences with humans were shock, agony, terror, pain, starvation, dehydration and the trauma of having an eye put out, is so sweet and personable and trusting and loves human attention.

At first Uno was fearful of the other cats, which was to be expected but also being such a young kitten, she quickly got used to those cats who took the time to interact with her. Buddha, a 10+year old cat who I adopted from a shelter when he was 7 months old and whose personality fits his name, was as usual the first and most persistent in winning her friendship and trust, doing his usual self-assigned role of being friend to all who will allow him to befriend him and self-assigned role of kitten caretaker.

Although Uno had beenn eating canned food prior to arriving at my house, from the first day I got her she refused canned food and preferred dry cat food. She also liked (and still likes) yogurt and wanted to sample anything she saw a human eating. Her absolute favorite treat was and still is cheese. It's impossible to sneak a slice of cheese or a piece of string cheese out of the refrigerator without Uno instantly showing up to try to con me out of a bite.


The Coming of Lefty & Righty

January 28th 2013 3:30 pm
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As I write this second entry in Uno's diary, Uno is in her favorite spot, lying on my lap right between me and my laptop, bumping my arm with her nose wanting me to pet her and although she knows better, occasionally trying to chew on my trackball cord. continue Uno's story....

After Uno's surgery to trim her eyelids, relieved of the misery of her severe entropion (caused by the lack of a normal eyeball in the socket), she started showing her true self. She became a little dynamo which gave her her original name of Dynamo. As soon as her stitches had been removed, she no longer had to be crated or restricted to supervised play. Partly because she felt good for the first time in her life and partly because of Buddha's mothering her, Uno's confidence was in place and she was gung ho to take on the world. She did so with a vengeance and never looked back.

Uno was anywhere and everywhere all at once. No place was too high to climb, no cord was safe from her attempts to chew it, no other cat was safe from her baby playfulness, nothing was going to stop her now. Luckily Uno had no interest in chewing electrical cords, they were too thick for her tastes. Her preferences were for thin USB mouse and trackball cords. I had to splice trackball cords and repair them several times during Uno's kittenhood.

In spite of or perhaps BECAUSE Uno is one-eyed, small, lean and lightweight due to her Siamese type build, she's the fastest most coordinated cat I've ever known. During that first week after her surgery, she astounded me by doing such feats as leaping from the top of a shelf 5 feet high onto my bed which was a good 7 feet away from the shelf, a leap that carried her OVER one of my computer desks with two monitors on it, and landing precisely with one forepaw on a dime-sized piece of cheese I had placed on the bed beside me for Buttons, one of my other cats. I had just placed that piece of cheese on the bed for Buttons and he didn't even get time to move his head down and forward to pick it up before Uno snatched it and took off with it to the floor. Uno's entire maneuver was performed in mere seconds!

This kind of agility, speed, and coordination wasn't what I would have expected to see in an almost 9 week old, small for her age, one-eyed kitten. I've never seen a normal 2-eyed kitten do these things, not even Wings another of my cats who was named Wings for her ability to seemingly fly and land on me light as a feather from absolutely nowhere.

Uno very quickly made her dominant, strong willed, determined temperament and presence felt among the other cats, all except Hallie. Uno never once tried to bother Hallie. Hallie was the only cat in the house that Uno totally respected from day one. The other cats probably communicated to Uno that she should leave Hallie alone just as they communicated to Uno that Charlie the blue front Amazon parrot, Percy the cockatiel, Mama the chinchilla, Chloe the bearded dragon, the snakes, and the aquarium were all to be left alone. Uno never tried to bother them either.

My best friend had kept Uno's litter sister, who was longhaired and white and although larger than Uno, had the same slender oriental body type as Uno. Two of the older white kittens had found new homes but nobody wanted the two older white kittens with damaged eyes. So on 7-29-2011, Lefty and Righty joined my feline family. At this time, I changed Uno's name from Dynamo to Uno because it fit together with Lefty and Righty to make a theme of three names that aptly described the most distinguishing characteristics of the three kittens.

Lefty and Righty were similar in build to Uno and although there's no way to ever know for sure, it's quite likely that Lefty and Righty's mother was a sister to Uno's mother or at least very closely related. It's also possible that they all share the same father. White in cats is dominant and a cat has to have a white parent to produce white progeny. One of Uno's parents obviously wasn't white and would have had to be black, brown tabby carrying solid black, or Seal Point Siamese which is actually genetically a black cat whose appearance is modified by the action of the thermoreceptive partial albinism gene that is responsible for point colored cats.

Luckily Lefty and Righty's damaged eyes do not cause them discomfort or give them any kind of problems. Lefty's left eye is severely scarred and she has no vision in that eye. She does have vision in her right eye. Righty's right eye is scarred but less severely than Lefty's left eye and Righty does have partial vision in her right eye.

As soon as I brought Lefty and Righty home, all three-Lefty, Righty, and Uno-made it clear they were very much all bonded and very glad to see each other. The instant they came together, all three greeted each other with the familiarity you only see in cats who know each other well and like each other.

Lefty and Righty have temperaments that are totally different from Uno's temperament. Both are quiet and easygoing and laid back. They have an interesting way of "rotating", the only word I can think of at the moment to describe it. For awhile Lefty will be persistently wanting attention, petting etc, while Righty doesn't actively seek human attention much at all. Then they will switch off and Lefty will be doing her own thing while Righty will be persistently seeking human attention and petting etc. They also do this trading places when it comes to who sleeps where. One will sleep on a pillow near my head while the other will sleep on one of the cat beds at the foot of my bed. Then the two will switch places.

Speaking of rotating, I don't know if other people see cats organize rotations for favorite spots to sit or sleep, etc, or not but I see my cats do this all the time. The prime spot in the house for the cats is a cat bed by the window and next to the computer desk in my bedroom. The cats actually take turns sitting or sleeping on that cat bed. Once in a while two cats will sit together on that cat bed when something interesting is going on outside the window. Never once has there been any kind of cat quarrel over that favorite spot.

The cats also seem to have some kind of agreement among them for shelves by other windows in other rooms where they like to sit and watch out the window, for favored perches on the cat trees, and for favorite cat beds. There never are any disputes over these spots.

I find that cat communication is far more complex and imaginative than most people realize. Games between multiple cats are often obviously well planned and organized with an agreement on who will play the prey role. The cat who's agreed to be "it" will turn his or her back and, except for tail twitching, will pretend to be unaware of the cat or cats sneaking up on him. At the last minute, the cat who is "it" will obligingly run from the chaser, a play wrestling match usually ensues and then the cats reverse roles. The chaser becomes the chasee.

Two or more cats will play together batting the ball in the Turbo Scratcher, a toy the cats dearly love and one of the first cat scratching toys I found that the cats actually really spend a good bit of time playing with. The cats also love cat trees that have sisal rope around them and carpeted perches, although the trees they loved most were the cat trees built with actual tree branches and carpeted shelves that I had for many years until those became worn out and fell apart. The cats have all sorts of small toys, little balls, toy mice, the small boodabones, a couple of old socks rolled up with catnip inside them, etc. I try to keep all their toys in a basket but like little kids, soon as I pick up their toys and put them in the basket, the cats get busy taking them out and strewing them all over the place again!

Just like humans, the cats occasionally will be in irritable or bad moods and not want bothered and get into an argument with another cat who won't take "leave me alone" for an answer. There are times when everybody seems to be "in a mood" and argumentative. These cat quarrels are usually noisy and dramatic, with hissing, growling, long low warning meows, fluffed tails and chasing each other but when they're over there's rarely even a scratch on any of the combatants. When anybody has gotten a scratch on the nose, it usually was very well deserved.

Sometimes the cats are all in a weirdly active, playful, energetic mood. Interestingly, I've noticed this often coincides with a full moon. Even more sedate less active cats will usually run and play and act silly at these times.

Whenever I bring in fresh catnip from my catnip garden and crush a leaf to release the scent, it's fascinating to watch the cats start noticing the scent in the air. They put their heads up, you can see their noses wriggling as they start noticing the catnip scent. Then the fun begins. I strew bunches of catnip leaves and flowers around. Different cats react to catnip different ways. Some of them will rub their cheeks against it and roll on it. Some of them will eat it. Some of them will become very playful and play with if. A couple of them will play with it and then race around the house. A couple of them don't do much more than possess and guard their catnip from the other cats.

I've found the most effective kitty discipline to be a can of canned air or a can of air freshener. A squirt bottle of water works too, but with the canned air or air freshener, it's the hissing sound that does the disciplining. I don't actually squirt a cat with either one, I just aim in the general direction of the cat and tell the cat to get down, leave him or her alone, leave it alone, knock it off, etc and the offending cat or cats immediately stop the undesired action and usually vacate the area for awhile. After just a few times, I don't even have to actually squirt anything, all I have to do is just pick up the can and tell the cat get down, knock it off, etc. Sometimes when the cats are mobbing me and I'm busy or not in the mood to be mobbed, I'll pick up the can and say "enough now" and the cats will clear out and leave me alone for at least a good 10 to 15 minutes before they return. When they return, they gingerly come up to me, testing to see if its ok yet to mob me.

I always have plenty of feline "help" when it comes to changing bedding and making beds. However, the cats don't want any part of vacuuming, steam cleaning carpets, or flea spraying the house. They clear out when they see me go get the vacuum cleaner, steam cleaner, or flea spray jug. Most of them also usually clear out when they see me preparing to give them their flea drops and heartworm preventative/dewormer or when they see me pick up the claw clipper. The only declawed cats I have are cats that came already declawed. Except for Buddha, nobody cares much for having their claws clipped. Buddha is the only cat that will quietly lay in my lap and let me clip his claws without any protest. With a cat that struggles or tries to scratch or bite when having its claws clipped, I wrap the cat in a towel and just stick the foot I'm working on out of the towel, although after all my years of clipping cat claws, I can clip claws so fast that I usually have most of the claws clipped before a cat even starts getting really upset. Maybe thats the reason why it seems my cats don't protest claw clipping until I'm getting ready to do the very LAST claw.

Uno is one of my cats who, befitting her temperament, usually vigorously and very vocally protests claw clipping. Sometimes I have to towel her although usually I'm fast enough that I have most of her claws clipped before she gets to physically resisting enough to cause any problem. Like most of the other cats do, soon as I'm finished clipping her claws, she usually immediately flees the room. Unless I'm still clipping other cats claws, those who flee the room after their claws are done usually return after a few minutes and except for being a bit more alert to what I might pick up, act as if nothing has happened.


The New Queen Ascends the Throne

January 28th 2013 4:39 pm
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I've told of Hallie's passing in her own diary. Hallie's passing affected all my cats for she had been the undisputed Queen and ruler over all the cats in my house since the day she first had healed enough to be allowed freedom of the entire house. When Hallie came through a hallway or doorway or other narrow area, any other cat would literally get out of her way when they saw her coming. If another cat was laying or sitting in a spot Hallie wanted, they would vacate that spot and give it up to her without question. Whenever I shared any human food with the cats, if Hallie came to get any, the other cats would hang back and stay out of her way until she departed before they would try to get their share. Whereas other cats frequently shared food dishes (I free choice dry food but when I'm refilling the dishes the cats usually all have to come check out the food) no other cat would bother Hallie when she was eating. Litter pans were no problem, except for young kittens, I've never seen two cats try to use the same litter pan at the same time even though I have some huge pans that are at least twice the length and width of normal litter pans and would easily accommodate two cats at once. I've found that cats like plenty of room in a litter pan and that many of the litter pans I see offered for sale at petshops, especially covered litter pans, are too small for an adult cat to comfortably stand, turn around, etc in.

After Hallie's passing, the other cats acted sort of "lost" without her. They were so used to watching for her and yielding to her, they were still on the alert and prepared to yield but now there was no queen of the cats for them to yield to. None of my other adult cats had the strong willed, dominant, determined to get her own way "Queen of the cats" temperament that Hallie had.

As I stated in Hallie's diary entry about her passing, the answer to who would take her place as ruler and Queen of my feline family came from the most unexpected place.

Only a short time after Hallie's passing, one individual took the initiative to step up and take over the ruling position as Queen of my feline family. This individual was the only one of my cats who really had the dominant, strong willed, determined to get her own way no matter what kind of temperament that had made Hallie the undisputed Queen and ruler of my cat family.

As a small kitten, this new Queen had already made it clear to the other cats to yield to her, let her be first, and not interfere with her when there was food involved. It used to be both amazing and amusing at the same time to see this tiny kitten always beat my other cats to a treat and swat at even the biggest adult cat who made any attempt to get too close. Any one of the adult cats could so easily have swatted that impudent little kitten right off her feet had they chosen to do so. But as is usual with most adult cats except perhaps for outdoor unaltered males, the adult cats showed infinite patience with the kitten and let the little kitten have her way.
Thus even before Hallie's passing, a pattern was already being formed which cleared the way for the new Queen to take her place as the new ruler of my cat family.

To look at her, the new Queen of my cat family would appear to be the unlikeliest candidate for becoming the ruler of my cats. She was barely a year old, undersized for her age, lean, lightweight, she had only one eye, and along with Lefty and Righty, she had just finished recovering from being spayed. But the new Queen of my cat family had never let anything stop her yet from doing what she intended to do (as long as it was safe and there was no need for human intervention of course!).

Thus it was that Uno, the smallest and youngest of my cats, stepped up and took the role of ruler, Queen of my cat family. The others accordingly gave Uno the same respect as they had given Hallie, but with a difference. Hallie was an old arthritic cat who had suffered much in her life and was often irritable and wanted to just lay around and not be disturbed. Uno on the other hand, was very young and playful when she took over as Queen. Whereas Hallie was usually slow-moving and demanded the other cats get out of her way, Uno is small, young, and very quick and easily gets where she wants to go and rarely ever has to make another cat get out of her way except for when it comes to things such as treats. Uno always has to be first when it comes to treats etc..

Hallie for the most part wanted the other cats to just get out of her way and leave her alone although she would let other cats sleep near her and occasionally she would enjoy playing with the younger cats. Uno on the other hand, being the youngest, is much more amiable with the other cats enjoys their company, enjoys playing with them, and likes sleeping together with other cats especially Lefty and Righty. Like most of my younger cats, Uno still goes to Buddha to have him mother her, wash her ears, etc.

When I give the cats treats, Uno being Queen always has to be first and the other cats stay back and wait on her just as they did for Hallie when Hallie was Queen. However, when Hallie got a treat, she was rather slow eating it and not inclined to exert the energy to try to take treats from any of the other cats. Uno on the other hand, is lightning fast at taking a treat, carrying it away from the other cats, and eating it and the other cats must be quick at eating their treats too or else Uno will steal their treats right out from under their noses and eat their treats as well as her own.

Uno's absolute favorite treat is cheese. There are times when she was at the opposite end of the house or sound asleep on my bed and I've tried to see if I could sneak cheese out of the refrigerator without her catching me and somehow she always knows and is right there before I even get the refrigerator door shut, demanding me give her a piece of it. Yet she doesn't do this if I'm getting anything else out of the refrigerator. How she knows when its cheese I'm getting out of the refrigerator, I don't know. When I have cheese, Uno is right there trying to convince me to share and if any other cat tries to come close, as fast as lightning Uno will smack at them with her forepaw. BTW when Uno and other cats smack at each other this way, they don't use their claws at all, they keep their claws retracted.

I like Dannon Activia blueberry and strawberry flavored yogurt and often eat it. Uno also likes yogurt and when I'm done with it, I'll set the container on the floor for her and she'll use her forepaw, usually her right forepaw, to scrape yogurt from the insides of the container. Then she'll lick the yogurt off her forepaw. Although some of the other cats like yogurt too, they will wait until Uno is finished before they try their own luck at the yogurt container.


The Second Surgery

January 28th 2013 5:40 pm
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Up until the beginning of August 2012, Uno's left eye caused her no trouble at all. There never was any excessive tearing. Interestingly too, Lefty, Righty, and Uno never have had any of the typical kitten runny eye, sore eye, or upper respiratory problems that most young kittens have. Even now none of the three have ever had any of the typical runny eye, sore eye, or upper respiratory problems that most cats get, even when some other cats in my household had these problems.

At the beginning of August 2012, for the first time since her surgery she had undergone as a tiny kitten, Uno started showing excessive tearing down the left side of her face. It was clear liquid. There was no sign of infection, no swelling, nothing at all to indicate any problem. Allergy seemed unlikely because she was only having excessive tearing on the left side, not the right side. It was thought that perhaps the problem was some kind of irritation and that it might resolve itself.

As time progressed, the tearing got worse and Uno's left eye started obviously bothering her a LOT. There still was no evidence of infection or any other problem to explain the tearing except for the possibility that the eyelids were somehow again causing irritation or there was a problem with the eyeball itself. The decision was made to have Uno undergo a second surgery, this time for a complete enucleation of the left eye.

On September 3 2012, Uno underwent her second surgery. The vet found that for some unknown reason, what was left of Uno's left eyeball had ruptured. Complete enucleation of the left eye was done and the eye opening was sutured completely closed. I took Uno home that night with orders to keep her crated for a week so she couldn't do anything to injure herself. The vet told me that Uno was likely to be subdued and in pain after the anesthetic fully wore off. However, when it comes to Uno, its better to expect the unexpected.

That very night, Uno made it clear that she felt GREAT. It was just lucky for me that Uno still was under enough anesthetic effect to still be willing to be relatively inactive and accepting of her necessary crate confinement. The consensus is that just as before her first surgery, Uno's left eye must have been bothering her so much before the second surgery, that the second surgery brought her so much relief that she felt good even with the post-surgical pain. As a preventative measure, Uno was put on antibiotics for a week post-surgery.

Uno's next few days in the crate were a nightmare for me and for her. She wanted OUT. She repeatedly loudly protested (the Siamese in her was SO obvious when she was crated, no other breed can vocalize the way a Siamese or Siamese mix, especially a pissed off one, can) and tried to pull the crate door open. I managed to keep Uno crated five days and then there absolutely was no holding her back any longer. On the fifth day she repeatedly dumped her litter, her food, and her water, and was raising so much hell in the crate I was afraid she was going to hurt herself if I tried to keep her crated any longer. So I let her out.
Uno came out like a rocket and she never looked back. Uno healed rapidly and without any complications after her second surgery. She immediately resumed her position as the Queen of my cat family. Uno still continues to astound me with her agility and coordination. Yesterday I was sitting on the bed working at my laptop and Uno was lying on the headboard above me. She decided she wanted to go somewhere so she took a flying leap from the headboard, sailing over and completely clearing me and my laptop and landing at the foot of the bed, a good 90 inches distance from the headboard.

Whenever I hear anybody talking negatively about handicapped animals, I think of how well and happily and capably all the handicapped animals I've had over the years have handled life and how much they all have lived their lives to the fullest and enjoyed their lives.

After all who would have ever thought that an undersized little kitten with only one eye would manage to become the ruler and Queen of all the other cats in my cat family and although I try not to show favoritism, I must admit Uno has become my favorite cat.


Humble Thanks To All for Your Appreciation of Uno & Her- Diary

January 29th 2013 9:35 am
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I was humbled, surprised, amazed, and awed to find out Uno's diary was picked today. I thank everyone for their appreciation of Uno and her diary and I hope Uno and her diary will encourage other people to adopt handicapped cats or keep their own cats and not euthanize them when something happens that results in the cat becoming handicapped. A handicapped cat can live a very full happy normal active life.

Just ask Uno. With her left eye having been put out before she was even four weeks old, she's never known anything different than being one-eyed. She happily charges in gung-ho, seizes life by the tail, and lives her life to the fullest.

Uno also has a practical, grounded side to her. She's not letting her day of celebrity and Catster fame go to her head. No way! You see, I just opened a stick of string cheese and Uno, being her usual irresistible self unchanged by her day of fame, is busy sitting here working on conning me out of a few bites of string cheese which she knows she will get.

I do hope Catster gets the photo problem fixed soon so everyone can see what Uno and other newer members of my cat family look like.

Thanks again to all for your appreciation of Uno and her diary.


Mystery of the Traveling Trackballs

January 31st 2013 11:49 pm
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For a few days now, I keep finding my computer trackballs have somehow been diving off my computer desk and the balls themselves somehow have been coming out of the trackballs and traveling impossible distances to impossible places. The trackball balls achieved all their impossible journeys without having ever once been caught in the process of traveling!

I don't know why trackballs haven't totally replaced computer mice. I love trackballs, they're so much better than mice because instead of having to move the entire unit around, the unit is stationary and you only move the little ball around. With a trackball, you don't ever end up running the unit off of a mouse pad or off the edge of a desk. Best of all with a trackball you can even kick back on your bed, prop yourself up with some pillows, put your laptop on your lap, plug the trackball into the USB port, set the trackball on your lap or beside you, and relax as you work on your laptop or play a game. The only problem I have when doing this is that sometimes my view of the screen becomes partially obscured by a small black warm furry opaque object that tends to enjoy laying on my lap between me and my laptop.

Computer trackball balls are heavy and solid and they can't travel very fast or very far on carpet. A ball that falls out of a trackball and lands on carpet usually will only travel a foot or two at most from the spot where it landed. Even if a trackball ball could make it all the way to one of the doorways to the room, the doorsill would stop the rolling ball instantly.

Both of my desktop trackballs are of the design where the ball is recessed on the side of the trackball. With this design, there's a small hole in the trackball bottom cover under the ball where you can push the ball upward and out with an object such as an ink pen.
If a trackball of this design falls right side up and lands right side up, the ball will not fall out of it and even if it lands upside down, the ball doesn't always fall out of it. It's not that easy to pry the ball out of this style of trackball. I hadn't caught any cats trying to mess with the trackballs. There's no way a cat could pry the ball out of this style of trackball. A cat cannot pick up a trackball ball in its mouth because of it's size, smoothness, and heavy weight.

Mysteriously, my trackballs have been taking dives off the computer desk, and the balls have been jumping out of the trackballs and traveling impossible distances to such strange hard to reach places as the exact center of the area under the bed, where it can't be reached from either side thus making it necessary to go find a broom and use the broomstick to knock the ball out from under the bed. Another trackball ball turned up in such impossible places as under a chair in the next room, meaning it had to travel an impossible distance on carpet, levitate itself over a doorsill, then travel at an angle across carpet for several feet to reach the chair and go under it. The most impossible trackball ball journey so far has been when somehow a trackball ball traveled across carpet, levitated over the doorsill, traveled several feet further across the living room carpet, made a 90 degree lefthand turn, traveled 10 or more feet across the living room carpet in this new direction, and came to rest under Charlie the Blue Front Amazon parrot's cage. Is this the work of playful ghosts or what?

Last night I was doing some work on my laptop, I got sleepy, and nodded off. I don't know how long I dozed before suddenly.... CRASH!!! I opened my eyes to see that a trackball had just taken a dive off my computer desk. Quickly I half closed my eyes again and pretended to be still sleeping. Now was my chance to get to the bottom of this traveling trackball ball mystery. But after that first crash, all was quiet. And btw, My laptop was still on my lap, my trackball was beside me.

Then (JAWS music here....) CHOMP!! Something grabbed the trackball that was attached to my laptop and like the scene in Jaws where the buoys that are attached to the shark get pulled underwater, my trackball got pulled down onto the floor and then started to disappear under the bed. I decided to stay quiet, not intervene, and let this trackball shark drama play itself out

Thwacking noises emanated from under the bed that clearly indicated the trackball was being banged around against the wall behind the headboard. Then....silence again. It stayed silent for awhile, I don't know how long.

Suddenly a couple of the cats on the bed alerted and turned their heads toward the bedroom doorway that leads to the living room. I quickly thought how glad I was that I'd left on a small light in the living room so I'd be able to see what it was that had alerted the cats.

Out from under the bottom corner of the bed nearest the living room doorway came a little black shadow that was unmistakably...Uno. She had obviously managed to get the ball out of the trackball and now was busily rolling it toward the doorway with her front paws. When she reached the doorway, she performed a maneuver that astounded me. In one swift motion she somehow got one forepaw under the ball and with the other forepaw on the the upper part of the ball and half scooped, half threw the ball upward and forward with enough momentum that it neatly flew right across the doorsill and dropped onto the living room carpet on the other side about a foot away from a big chair that sits in the living room near the bedroom door. As soon as the ball landed, Uno swiftly rolled it under the chair.

At this point, I got up and as soon as Uno heard me get up, she took off in the opposite direction as cats usually do when they're doing things they shouldn't and don't want their humans to catch them in the act. I retrieved the ball from under the chair, fished the trackball out from under the bed, put the ball back in it, and put the trackball in a drawer. As far as I know, Uno hasn't figured out how to open drawers yet!

Although I don't appreciate any cat messing with my trackballs or any of my other computer equipment, I still had to admire the cleverness of that little one-eyed cat for her problem solving skills and the way she so neatly used every bit of cover to her utmost advantage. Uno's initial "Jaws" strike on the trackball cord was made from under the bed and then she promptly dragged the trackball back under the bed. Her manipulations to dislodge the ball from the trackball were all done out of sight under the headboard and against the wall. It amazes me how she figured out that hitting the trackball against the wall was a good way to knock the ball out of the trackball. I wish I could have had x-ray vision to see just how she did it.

The spot where Uno emerged from under the bed to head for the doorway was the absolute closest spot possible to that doorway. The spot where she went under the chair in the living room was the closest place to the door where she could get out of the open and go back undercover again. Her dexterity at manipulating the ball across the doorsill really surprised me. As I said before, a trackball ball is heavy, solid, and smooth. I wouldn't have expected any cat to even be able to get it off the ground with her forepaws. How Uno managed to hang onto and control the ball well enough to scoop it up and hurl it across the doorsill with her forepaws the way she did. It was a remarkable feat of coordination, skill, and timing, made even more remarkable by the fact that the ball landed only a foot from the chair that was the nearest possible place where she could get under cover and out of sight again.

We humans are supposed to be smarter than animals but if that's true, how is it that a little cat is able to make it a serious challenge for me to try to figure out a way to convince her to leave my trackballs alone? For a moment I was thinking how nice it would be if Uno and the other cats could turn their energy and cleverness to doing something useful such as changing their own kitty litter or doing the dishes. Then I come to the realization, in a lot of ways our cats really are smarter than we humans! After all it's the cats who figured out how to psych us humans into willingly becoming their slaves. The cats are so smart they've even managed to psych us humans into enjoying being their slaves!!!


Again I humbly thank all ....shhhh don't tell Uno!!!

February 1st 2013 7:31 am
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Again I humbly thank everyone for your appreciation of Uno (and Hallie) and their diaries. Don't tell Uno her diary made diary of the day for a second time though. She'll think she has to come up with something new and creative to do to give me some material for another story so she can try to get diary of the day again.

Curiously today Uno hasn't shown any interest in trackball heists at all. Oval track racing through the master bedroom, the living room, the kitchen and two of the hallways seems to be the game of the day for Uno and her crew today! Its surprising how a little cat can move swiftly and never make a sound, yet when she chooses to, that same little cat can race through the house making as much noise as if it were horses racing through the house!


Uno's Newest Trick=Attention-Getting or Getting Even?

February 3rd 2013 1:01 pm
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This morning after getting accidentally on purpose knocked off the bed onto the floor by Splat Cat (that story is told in detail in Splat Cat's diary), Uno was not in a particularly good mood. She voiced her displeasure in an obviously angry meow at Splat Cat who continued ignoring uno and walked out of the room without even looking back. Uno looked up at me and meowed and I said "Sorry girl you asked for that one."

Now although I know my cats clearly understand some things I say to them, I have no idea how much they understand of other things I say to them such as the remark I made here. Uno's actions following my remark sure makes me wonder if she understood it though.

After I made that remark to Uno, she went over and sat beside my cordless house phone which was sitting in its base. Then she reached out a paw and very deliberately knocked the phone out of the base and onto the floor. After this she jumped up onto the computer desk, knocked my TV/Cable remote control onto the floor and shoved it under the bed. When I said "knock it off Uno" and made a move to replace the phone in its base and fish the remote back out from under the bed, Uno turned and flew out of the room.

At least half a dozen more times today, Uno has knocked the cordless phone off its base, knocked the remote off the computer desk, and shoved the remote under the bed. Regardless of her motive for doing it, Uno's certainly getting my attention with this newest "trick" of hers!


Thanks again for DDP & Uno keeps making sure to give me more- to write about!

February 6th 2013 6:24 pm
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Again my feline family & I humbly thank you for your appreciation of Uno's & Buddha's diaries and honoring both of them with DDPs again on the same day!

I think Uno must be taking note of her DDPs when she's sitting here with me. She seems to be working on making sure to keep giving me things to write about!

Uno is still doing her newest "trick" of knocking my cordless phone off its base up to a dozen times a day. She also has picked up a new attention-getting trick from Righty.

On the headboard of my bed sits a reading lamp that turns off and on just by touching a button on the lamp's base. There is also a space by the lamp that usually is occupied by a member of my cat family. Righty is one that spends quite a bit of time up there by the lamp and she discovered how to push the button that turns the lamp on and off. She's figured out that turning the lamp on and off when I'm in the bedroom is an excellent way to get attention.

Now Righty's personality is fairly laid-back and easygoing and she's often busy playing and doesn't demand a lot of human attention. Therefore, she uses the trick of turning the light off and on to get attention in moderation. Uno, however, is a different story.

Today Uno has been very demanding of attention, knocking the phone off its base, yanking my trackball cord out of the USB port, trying to step on my laptop keyboard as I was typing, knocking books off the headboard of my bed, getting on top of the screen lid of my bearded dragon's terrarium (a place she knows is off-limits to cats) and not even getting down when I came into the room and told her to get down. I had to pick up the squirt bottle to convince her to get down.

When I went to eat a Subway meatball and cheese sandwich for lunch,
Uno was more persistently pesky than usual about begging and demanding me to share. She tried to help herself to my sandwich and as a result, she didn't get any of it. Shortly after that I was in the bedroom, Uno was nearby, and Righty was up on the headboard. Righty proceeded to turn the light off and on a couple of times. Now Uno in the past has seen Righty do this but has acted disinterested. Today, Uno was all attention when Righty did it.

Later on, when the spot on the headboard by the light was devoid of any other cats, Uno jumped up there and proceeded to turn the light off and on to the point where the effect was annoyingly similar to that of a strobe light and I finally unplugged the light to put a stop to it.

I guess Uno successfully accomplished her mission of giving me more to write about in her diary!


Now You've Gone & Done It!

February 10th 2013 5:03 am
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Sometimes cats, like children, will for no discernible reason, will take a notion to be exceedingly bratty. At times like these even the normally best behaved individual can behave like a feline version of Tazz the Tasmanian devil cartoon character. When the individual already bears some resemblance to Tazz in behavior to start with, that individual becomes REALLY bratty when the brattiness mood strikes. The brattiness escalates until sooner or later, the "Now You've Gone & Done It" threshold is finally reached.

Recently Uno has had a bad case of the bratty Tazz behavior bug. She still is knocking the cordless phone off its base constantly. While I'm trying to use my laptop, she yanks the trackball cord out of the USB port. She yanks the cords of the desktop trackballs and sends the trackballs crashing down onto the floor. She yanked a keyboard cord and pulled a keyboard off the desk onto the floor. When I was trying to eat a bagel with cream cheese, Uno tried to grab a bite. I held the bagel up out of her reach only to have one of her partners in crime, a little tortie named Skittles, reach out from where she was sitting on top of the headboard and swipe a paw through the cream cheese. I quickly moved the bagel out of Skittles reach & while Skittles licked the cream cheese off her paw, Righty made her move to try to get a bit of my bagel. While Righty and Skittles were keeping me busy, Uno sneaked up from the opposite side and was busy licking cream cheese of the second half of my bagel that was sitting on my plate as fast as she could.

The Now You've Gone & Done It point was almost reached. I picked up my canned air. Suddenly there were no cats in my immediate vicinity and I was able to eat my bagel in peace.
Then I saw the little red light that indicates my cell phone is charging, suddenly go out. I looked down. Uno was standing there looking at me innocently. The cord to my cellphone charger had been neatly severed in two. Although I wonder if there was some sort of defect in the cord that allowed it to be broken in two so quickly and easily, there was no doubt as to who obligingly provided the sharp little teeth to help that cord break. Today I'll have to go buy another cellphone charger.

The Now You've Gone & Done It point has been reached.

After I buy a replacement cellphone charger, I'm going to fish the bottle of Bitter Apple out of my animal supplies cabinet and the trackball cords and the cellphone charger cord will get a nice coating of bitter apple. The cordless phone on its base is going to be covered with a plastic box and a rock too heavy for a cat to move will be put on top of the box. Certain feline family members are going to find me armed with a can of canned air nearby when I eat. After I do these things for a few days, most likely Uno (and her partners in food theft crimes) will have given up on these particular antics and gotten over their bratty Tazz behavior bugs.

When their pets misbehave, too many people react by getting rid of the pet. I believe your feline/canine/other animal family members should be for keeps & that when one of your non-human family members reaches the "Now You've Gone & Done It' point, that you should take positive measures to work through problem situations with our non-human family members and deal with the problem behavior(s), in this case coating cords with Bitter Apple (and if that doesn't work I'll try Bitter Orange or Tabasco sauce), temporarily covering the cordless phone on its base with a protective box for a few days so it's no longer fun to play with, and making sure I have a can of canned air within reach and within sight of would-be food thieves when I eat. A number of times when I've had a feline family member urinate and/or defecate in inappropriate places and there were no clear reasons for it, I've caged that cat and after that cat has consistently used its litter pan for a month while caged, I've let that cat out again and the cat has continued to be clean again in the house.

I have a 15 year old cat who I have to keep confined to an extra large dog crate. Her kidneys and digestive system function poorly, she urinates and defecates excessively, is unable to be clean in the house although she's clean in a crate because her litterpan is nearby, and has to have a special canned diet. She is happy and cheerful, plays with her toys and clearly is still enjoying life. If I leave her crate door open, she might come out for a moment, then she'll go right back in. She is also very well aware that when she's eating, the other cats cannot get at her food. Before she got to the point where she wasn't able to make it to the litter pan in time in the house, I used to crate her to feed her so the other cats wouldn't get her food and she would run to the crate, get in it, and meow when she wanted fed.

Now You've Gone & Done It!

And you're lucky I love you enough to use positive strategies to handle and work together with you through behavior problems and situations until we, you my non-human family member(s) and I, reach solutions that are positive for us together.. But my home really is a forever home for my non-human family members , my non-human family members really are for KEEPs and together I will see my non-human family members through good times and bad.

But that's what a good responsible owner/pet parent SHOULD do.

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