Chip and the Big Flush

Chip grabbed the tool box off his bed and headed out the door.  “Bye, see you tonight,” he called to his three siblings.

Chip walked a few blocks to the office of Plumbers R Us.  Today was his first day on the job.  Graduating from CAT-U seemed like a lifetime ago, since Chip’s focus the past week was preparing for this job.

Chip found Mr. Hewey waiting for him at the front desk.

“Good morning, Mr. Hewey,” Chip greeted the plump black and white cat.

Mr. Hewey climbed off the chair and lumbered around the desk, “Hi, Chip.  Are you ready for your first assignment?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, here are your jobs for the day.  Normally, I try to schedule you 5 jobs each day, but since this is your first day, I started you off easy with only 3.   I will be following you to each home and assisting you if needed.  Any questions?”

“No.”

“Good, let’s go.”

Chip followed Mr. Hewey down the street as Mr. Hewey explained, “The first client has a stopped-up kitchen sink.  The garbage disposal has quit working as well.”

Chip nodded and rang the doorbell.

“Hello, I am Chip with Plumbers R Us.  How are you?”

“Good, come on in,” a tan tabby replied as she stepped aside so Chip and Mr. Hewey could enter.

The tan tabby led them to the kitchen explaining, “My kitchen sink is stopped up and the disposal stopped working.”

Chip opened the cupboards and checked under the sink and then in the sink.  “Give me a few minutes and I should be able to find the problem.”

The tan tabby nodded in pleasure and left the room.

Chip worked quickly as Mr. Hewey observed.  Soon Chip exclaimed, “I found the problem.”

The tabby came back into the room, and Chip showed her the large glob of cat food that was stuck in the disposal and sink drain.

“I am going to dislodge this here,” Chip said, as he positioned the plunger over the sinks opening.  He pumped it several times, before the glob came loose and Chip pulled back triumphantly.

He scooped the old food up and into the trashcan.  He then ran the sink and turned on the disposal.  The water ran easily and the disposal churned.

“You are wonderful.  I can’t believe you fixed it so fast.”

Chip beamed at the praise.

After the tabby had paid Chip for his service, she lead him and Mr. Hewey to the door. 

“Good job, Chip,” Mr. Hewey praised as they walked to the next job.

“Thank you, Mr. Hewey,”

At the next house, Chip knocked on the door, and a large black cat answered gruffly, “Yes, what do you want?”

“I am Chip with Plumbers R Us, sir.  I am here to fix your toilet.”

“Oh, right.  Come in.”

Chip followed the large cat through the house to the bathroom.

“The toilet is running a lot longer than normal every time it is flushed,” the black cat explained.

“Let me take a look at it,” Chip said.

The black cat nodded, but proceeded to hover as Chip looked for the problem. 

“I found the problem,” Chip exclaimed, after watching the toilet flush several times.  “I need to replace the flapper, so the water will stay in the tank.”

The black cat came closer to Chip and peered into the tank.

With a grunt, he backed away again, and Chip set to work

The client hovering made Chip slightly nervous, but he concentrated on his work.

Soon he had the toilet fixed and the toilet flushed and stopped much quicker.

“There you go, sir.  It is all fixed.”

“Thank you.  You are very efficient.”

It was only when Chip and Mr. Hewey were on their way to their next job, that Chip admitted, “The client hovering like that really made me nervous.  I was waiting for him to argue with me about how to fix it.”

“You handled him well, and he was obviously impressed by you.”

The last job Chip had that day was at the house of a young calico mother.  She greeted Chip and Mr. Hewey and ushered them inside.

As she led them to the bathroom she explained, “The shower has been slow to drain for a while but last night it stopped draining completely.”

As Chip listened and followed a trio of rambunctious kittens raced by them.

“I will take a look at it for you,” Chip replied smiling at the kittens as they circled him again.

“Leave Chip alone, please kittens.  He is here to fix the shower.”

The kittens scurried into the other room.

“Sorry about that, they are so curious,” she explained to Chip and Mr. Hewey.

Chip inspected the water filled tub.  He reached his paw onto the drain but the direct opening was clear.

“Must be a clog in the line.  I will run the snake down it and see of that will fix it,” Chip explained.

The calico nodded and went to check on her kittens.

Chip got the snake from his toolbox and set to work.

He loved working the snake down the drain.  He smiled feeling much more relaxed at this job.  The tub slowly started to drain and after the snake went a few inches further, it drained normally.

Chip retracted the snake and monitored the shower drain.  When the standing water was gone, he turned on the tub faucet and watched the water drain.  When he was satisfied that the clog was cleared, he called, “ All fixed.”

The calico appeared in the doorway shadowed by her three kittens.

Chip smiled at her and said, “ I think have cleared the clog. Is this how it normally drains?”

Everyone watched as Chip turned on the tub’s faucet.  The water poured out of the spout and flowed easily down the drain.

“That is wonderful.  Yes.”

Chip shut the water off.  After being paid, he and Mr. Hewey left the calico’s home.

“Good job today, Chip.  I am very impressed with you.  Are you ready for 5 jobs tomorrow?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Great.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Chip waved bye to Mr. Hewey and hurried home.  He could not wait to tell his sibling about his first day.

The end

Did you know?

Lots of common household items and plants are toxic to cats. Here is a list of top 10 toxins: poisonous poisons

  1. Lilies
  2. Spot-on flea and tick medications for dogs
  3. Household cleaners such a Windex and Bleach
  4. Antidepressant and stimulate medications
  5. Essential Oils- meant to be inhaled not ingested!
  6. Anti-inflammatory medications
  7. Mouse and rat poisons
  8. Aspirin and decongestant medications
  9. Onions and garlic
  10. Adult multi-vitamins- will overdose a cat.

Petey on the Job

Petey walked to his first day of work reflecting on how fast the time had gone.  Before graduating from CAT-U he was offered a job with Structures Done Right.  Now only 5 days after graduating, Petey was on his way to shadow one of the foremen of the company.

He found the office for Structures Done Right easily, and was greeted by a blue-eyed Persian at the front desk, “Hi, can I help you?” she asked flirtatiously.

“I am Petey.  This is my first day here.  I am supposed to meet Mr. Levy here.  Is he in?”

“Yes, he will be right up.”

The Persian picked up the phone and hit a few buttons, spoke to Mr. Levy and then hung up the phone.

Petey looked at the photos of buildings under construction that hung on the wall.

Mr. Levy appeared a few minutes later.  He was a sleek built Siamese with piercing green eyes. “Good morning, Petey.  Are you ready to get to work?”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Levy.”

“Great, well, let’s go.”

Petey followed Mr. Levy out the door and down the block. 

Mr. Levy explained as they walked, “Today we will be helping with the construction on the Furville Tower downtown.  Have you seen it?”

“I saw it when they were just starting to put up the frame work, but that was a while ago.”

“They have the exterior frame up and are working on the support structures on the inside of the building now.  Soon they will be putting up the walls.”

Petey nodded.

Mr. Levy led Petey through the fenced off area, and handed him a yellow hard hat.

After introducing Petey to the crew, Mr. Levy said, “Ok, the first thing we have to do is finish getting the corner supports on.  Take these nails and the support joints are over there.”  Mr. Levy pointed to a stack of thick corner brackets.

The crew grabbed the nails and headed off.

Petey said, “Um.. Mr. Levy, I don’t think those nails are long enough to go through the bracket and the wood.”

“What?  Nonsense.  I have been using the same materials for every building.  I have been doing this for 8 years. “

Petey nodded and quickly looked back to the crew that was working.  He realized that he shouldn’t have corrected his boss.  I am just so excited; I couldn’t help it.  I know they need the three-inch nails not the two-inch nails.

As Petey stood in silence certain that Mr. Levy hated him already, the crew members attempted to attach the corner bracket to the structure.

They each hammered four nails into the bracket, but when they let go, the brackets fell to the ground.

Petey smiled to himself seeing that the nail had barely penetrated the wood.

Mr. Levy glanced around, before calling the crew over.  “What’s going on?”

“The nails aren’t long enough,” a buff brown cat responded.

Mr. Levy snatched the nails from the out stretched paw, and muttered, “Who mixed the two-inch nails with the three-inch nails?”

The crew members shrugged and shifted uncomfortably.

Petey saw that the bucket of nails had the number 2 on one side and number 3 on the other, which caused the confusion.  But after earlier, Petey kept his mouth shut.

Mr. Levy dug through the bucket and said, “We are going to have to sort these out.  Here everyone take a handful.”

Petey and the crew grabbed the nails and quickly separated the two- and three-inch nails.

Once the crew was back to work, Petey grabbed some extra buckets, and a marker.  He marked out the second number on each of the buckets, so that it was clear what length nail went in each.  He then carefully sorted the nails into their new buckets.

Mr. Levy watched Petey work without objection.  “Thank you, Petey.  Nice initiative.”

Petey beamed at the praise.

After lunch, Mr. Levy was explaining how the crew was going to start putting up the stucco walls.

Petey listened intently as he watched the crew prepare to hoist a large sheet of stucco up against the frame.

Petey waited for Mr. Levy to pause, before he said, “Mr. Levy, they need more support on that stucco sheet, or it will break before they get it flush to the wall.”

Mr. Levy, followed Petey’s gaze and was about to respond, when the sheet snapped in half and fell back to the ground.  The crew members scrambled to avoid being hit, and all escaped unharmed.

“Good eye, Petey.  Why don’t you go help them?”

Petey nodded with a smile and walked over to the crew.  He explained, “You need an extra support in the middle of the sheet, otherwise it creates too much pressure.  The pressure is what caused the first sheet to break.”

The rest of the afternoon passed quickly, as Petey assisted the crew with placing the stucco sheets along the frame.  The crew members all respected Petey and by the end of the day were asking for his help over Mr. Levy’s.

Petey couldn’t believe, it was already quitting time.

“Bye, Mr. Levy, thank you,” Petey called as he walked out of the fenced yard.

“See you in the morning, Petey.  You did excellent today.  You will be surveying your own construction site in no time.”

Petey smiled and walked home.  He could not wait to tell his siblings about his adventures.  I like this job a lot.  I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

The End

Gizmo and the Rodeo

Two-year-old, Gizmo had graduated from CAT-U last Saturday.  Now only one week later, he was headed to his first rodeo with All City Rodeo.

Gizmo saw the arena ahead and ran to greet his new boss.

“Good Morning, Mr. Buck.”

“Hello there, Gizmo.  Are you ready for your first rodeo?”  Mr. Buck responded.

“Yes, sir,” Gizmo said puffing out his grey chest in excitement.

Mr. Buck led Gizmo and the others through the crowded arena to the riders area.

After talking with the cat at the registration table, Mr. Buck returned with the riding times for each of them.

Gizmo’s eyes lit up as he saw he was scheduled to ride in two different events.  The Buck-off event, where he had to hold onto the bucking bull for as long as possible.  The Barrel Race where he would ride a horse through the barrel maze as fast as he could.

“The Buck-off is coming up soon, we need to get you a number, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck said breaking into Gizmo’s thoughts.

Gizmo followed Mr. Buck through the crowd to the edge of the arena.  A pudgy black cat was holding vests and passed them out as each rider approached.  Gizmo was given the number 5 vest, which meant he would ride 5th in each event.

“That’s good, I can watch the first few rides,” Gizmo told Mr. Buck excitedly.

“Yes, it is never good to be the first one in the event.”

Gizmo stood at the railing at watched as the Buck-off started.

The first cat didn’t last 2 seconds out of the gate.

The second cat lasted 5 seconds.

The third and fourth cat each only lasted 4 seconds.

“Wow, this looks hard,” Gizmo muttered under his breath.  He climbed onto the bull, who right now stood calmly in the slot.  Gizmo dug in claws into the saddle cloth as far as they would go.  He took a deep breath preparing himself for what was to come.

“Ready?” a voice asked him.

Gizmo nodded and clenched the saddle cloth tighter.

The gate flew open and the bull now bucked and twisted down the arena.  Gizmo held on, not feeling at all off balance by the bucks.  The bull then turned to go back up the arena.  He did a series of mini bucks followed by a big buck that caught Gizmo by surprise.  The buck caused Gizmo to slide down the right side of the bull.  Gizmo quickly righted himself on the saddle and was digging all four feet back into the  saddle pad, when the bull did another big buck sending Gizmo hurdling over the bull’s head and onto the sand below.  Gizmo managed to land on his feet and get up the railing before the bull trampled him.

“The longest ride so far, Gizmo rode for 10 seconds,” the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers.

“Yeah, good going Gizmo!”

Gizmo looked in the direction of the cheers, and saw his three siblings in the stands.  He waved to them and continued on his way back to Mr. Buck.

“Good ride, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck praised, “I think you have won this event.  There are only two more riders.  The rider after you barely made it out of the gate.”

Gizmo nodded, trying to hide his excitement.  He turned to face the arena, so Mr. Buck wouldn’t see the huge smile that Gizmo couldn’t keep off his face.

Gizmo stood at the railing watching the last two riders in a daze.  He couldn’t believe his ears, when the announcer called, “Gizmo has won the Buck-off event today.  Come to the staging area and claim your ribbon, Gizmo.”

Mr. Buck patted Gizmo on the shoulder, “Good going, son.”

“Thanks,” Gizmo beamed and hurried off to collect his ribbon.

Gizmo showed off his blue ribbon to Mr. Buck, before handing it to his siblings to hold.  Gizmo went back to his spot along the railing and started mentally preparing for the barrel race.

It wasn’t long before the first cat and horse team wove through the barrels.  They took several turns too tight and knocked over three barrels by the end of the run.

The next two riders also knocked over the third barrel, but otherwise had a good ride.

The fourth rider made it through without knocking any barrels over, and his time was fast at 1 minute 7 seconds.

Gizmo mounted his horse and clutched the saddle pad.  When the gate opened the horse lunged forward in a gallop.  Gizmo swayed momentarily in the saddle, before steadying himself and concentrating on the barrels.

Gizmo leaned and nudged his horse around barrel after barrel.  After making it passed the third barrel without knocking it over, Gizmo let a breath out. 

“Almost there,” he muttered to his horse.

A few barrels later, Gizmo and his horse made it through all the barrels in a clean run. 

“Gizmo has a clean run with the time of 1 minute 9 seconds,” the announcer’s voice says.

“Drat,” Gizmo says as he makes his way back to Mr. Buck.

“Good ride, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck praises.

“I was too slow,” Gizmo complains.

“You can’t expect to win every event.  You did great for your first show with us.”

Gizmo’s face brightened.  “Does that mean I can ride again next weekend?”

“Yes, I already have you signed up for three events.”

Gizmo felt better, knowing he hadn’t blown his dream job after only one day.

Gizmo collected his red second place ribbon a while later.

As the arena was emptying out, and the crew was starting to clean up, Gizmo found Mr. Buck.  “Thanks for letting me ride today.  I learned a lot and will be ready to go again next weekend.”

“Great, see you for practice on Monday.”

“Bye,” Gizmo called as he hurried out the arena door to find his siblings.

“Good job, Gizmo,” they all cheered at once.

All the way home, Gizmo told his three siblings about his day.

The end.

Why do cats drop their toys into their water dish?

Misty has always taken her toys or post it notes from my desk and dropped them in her water dish. She then attracts her brothers attentions and all five cats will attempt to fish the toy or piece of paper from the dish with their paws splashing water on the floor.

I was curious what instinct made Misty want to take her toys or my post it notes to the water dish, so I started looking into it.

I was surprised to find there wasn’t one definite answer.  Scientists are guessing at why cats take toys to their water dish.  There are several theories.  One is that cats are using their fishing/hunting instinct by putting the toy in the water and pawing at it.  Another theory is that cats view their food and water dishes as a safe place.  Since domestic cats don’t have a ‘nest’, they use their food and water dishes as a safe hiding place for their ‘catch’.  A third theory is that the cat is trying to teach it’s human to hunt/fish by showing off their skills. 

Training Your Kitten to use the Litter Box

Kittens explore the world with their mouths just like human babies. Using clay clumping litter with kittens under 8 weeks old is dangerous.  This litter is highly toxic if eaten.  The best litter for young kittens is recycled newspaper.  These litters have newspaper that are pressed into inch long pellets, which is too large for a kitten to swallow.  The newspaper won’t hurt the kitten if they chew on the pellets.  The newspaper pellets should be placed in a low-lying open box/pan that is easy for the kittens to get in and out of.  A rabbit litter box is a good height for young kittens.

To start litter box training the kittens, stimulate them to go potty in the box after every meal.  Leave the soil pellets in the box, so the kittens can smell where they have gone before.  Scent is a big part of litter box training.  Some kittens will start pottying in the box very quickly, others take several days of repetition.  Praise the kittens for successfully using the litter box.  Don’t scold them if they go outside the box. 

As kittens are learning to go potty without being stimulated, they will have very little warning that they have to go potty.  Keep the litter box in the same room as the kittens at all times.  The litter box should never be more than 10 feet away from young kittens.

Set up the room so that the litter box is at one end of the room and their toys and beds are at the other.  Kittens naturally don’t like to potty where they eat and sleep.  Placing puppy potty pads under the litter box will making cleaning up mistakes easier.  Kittens will already have a natural drive to cover their potty, so allow the kitten to cover their potty even if they are scooping the litter pellets out of the litter box. 

Clean the litter box multiple times a day, as the newspaper pellets will get quickly soiled.  Kittens are naturally clean creatures and won’t want to use a dirty litter box.  To clean the box, scoop out the soiled pellets and wipe down the sides with a damp paper towel.  After a few times scooping the box, it will be time to dump the entire box and put fresh pellets in.  Do not use scented soap or cleaners when you are wiping the box down, this hides the kittens’ scent.  The kittens will go potty where they smell that they’ve gone before.

For kittens under 12 weeks old, it is dangerous to use clay clumping litter in the litter box.  Remember, kittens still put everything in their mouths and clay litter is dangerous for them to ingest.  After they have learned to use the litter box and are consistent with going on the newspaper pellets, transition them to a natural ground litter, such as corn cob litter.  Initially mix the newspaper pellets and corn cob litter together, so the kittens don’t stop using the litter box.  After a few days of them using the combination of litters, you can fill the litter box with corn cob litter only.  This litter will have a similar texture to the clay clumping litter but is much safer for kittens if they do put some in their mouths.  Corn cob litter will absorb odors and clump just like clay litter, so it’s easy to scoop.  Corn cob litter allows the kittens to use their instinct to dig before they go potty and then bury their potty.

Clumping cat litters are those that are designed so that urine and feces can be removed easily from the box without having to empty the entire box.  Most contain a material known as bentonite that allows the litter to form a nice solid clump as the litter absorbs liquid.  It is important that the cat litter is low in dust.  Cats naturally dig in the litter before and after they go potty, so they are very susceptible to inhaling dust.  Cat’s respiratory systems are very sensitive, so inhaling large amounts of litter dust can lead to serious health issues.  Look for litter that has 99% dust free on the packaging.  Avoid litters that are heavily scented.  The scents won’t hide the odor any better and can irritate cat’s respiratory system.

The pet stores carry a scoop-able litter that is designed for kittens.  It is ground to finer size so it doesn’t irritate kitten’s paws.  It also contains kitten-specific natural pheromones so kittens are curious to use the litter box. This litter can be used in the entire box or mixed in with other clay clumping litter.

Kitten Olympics

“Let’s have our own Olympic events today,” Petey said one Saturday afternoon.

“Good idea,” said Gizmo.

“I want to run a 50 yard dash,” said Misty.

“Let’s get the events organized,” instructed Chip.

After a few minutes, the kittens had their backyard setup for their events.

The first event was the four legged race.  Petey and Misty teamed up against Gizmo and Chip.

Each team had one front leg and one back leg tied to their partners.  Both teams lined up on the starting line, and then took off. Both teams moved slowly as they tried to find their rhythm.  Chip and Gizmo stumble after a few steps, and had trouble getting back up.

Petey and Misty had found a steady pace and made their way across the yard without stumbling, and were the first to cross the finish line.

After untying their legs, the four decided to try a tug of war game next.  This time, Gizmo and Misty teamed up against Chip and Petey.

Getting the rope in their teeth, both teams started pulling on the rope.  Chip and Petey got a quick tug in right off, that caught Misty and Gizmo off guard.  They stumbled forward a few steps, before recovering and pulling consistently back. Despite Chip and Petey’s quick hard tugs, they still skidded forward until they crossed the centerline.

“Yeah, good game everyone,” Gizmo cheered giving Misty a high five.

After a quick water break, the four kittens lined up at the far end of the yard for the final event, the fifty yard dash.

All four kittens took off in a rush.  They stayed neck and neck for the first half of the yard.  Then Chip and Misty started pulling away from Petey and Gizmo.  In the last quarter of the yard, Chip pulled ahead of Misty, and kept his lead to the finish line.

“Yeah, that was so much fun,” Chip cheered.

“We should come up with more events next weekend,” Misty suggested.

“Yeah, it keeps me in shape,” said Gizmo.

“It was perfect weather for it today.  Thanks for playing today,” Petey said.

The four siblings cleaned up the yard and headed inside, happily exhausted from the afternoon’s events.

The end.