What’s Been Up at Cats Working

By Karen

Virginia FINALLY cooled off and now the leaves are falling like mad. The acorns are crazy, too, so it’s like walking on marbles to go anywhere in the yard.

My house sprung a new quirk in the form of a weird tapping in the living room wall behind the TV. It had some intelligence because it would stop if I walked near it or went out on the deck or into the crawlspace to investigate. But I never saw anything.

The pest control guy I hired also heard it but couldn’t find the source, so he left some chemicals. I haven’t heard it for two days since then, so whatever it was may have moved on or died.

Speaking of the deck, one of my house’s good qualities is how high it is. This is the view from the deck. It feels like living in a treehouse…

Last night I was too tired to cook, so I popped this Lean Cuisine into the microwave…

The instructions were a little weird — 9 minutes at 50% power. I watched TV in the living room while waiting for the microwave to ding, but it just kept running and running and running.

Eventually, I realized something was wrong and this is what I found. These meals never look like what’s on the box, but this was ridiculous…

The timer showed 66 minutes left at 50% power. I must have accidentally punched in 90 instead of 9, so I’m glad it was only at half-power or I might have burned the house down.

But I know you’re dying to for cat news, so enough about me. The other morning, Tony toyed with being a tabby…

“Do these stripes make me look fat?”

He’s also been enjoying some fresh brown paper from Chewy.com delivery. He thinks it’s an invisibility cloak…

“You can’t see me, right?”

Lately, Max has been spending nights on my bed, but his favorite spot is between my legs, which means I can’t move. So, I relocated from the living room a cat bed they’ve all ignored for ages. Max actually slept in it the first night and made it the hottest new ticket in town. The next morning, Roc relinquished his claim on his own favorite bed to Tony so he could grab Max’s spot…

The following morning right after breakfast, guess where I found Tony staked out?…

Tony wouldn’t budge even after Roc showed up. Roc often bullies Max, but he knows better than to mess with the Tonester…

Almost forgot. Back in October for my birthday, my sister gave me this personalized mat. You’ll notice the kitties on it are furatomically correct…

8 Responses to What’s Been Up at Cats Working

  1. Bonnie C. says:

    I bet I can resolve your “tapping” mystery. We get that too, & especially at this time of year only for some reason. While it sounds like it’s coming from right behind the interior wall, it’s actually a woodpecker pecking at the exterior of your house.

    After hearing it enough, as well as its disappearance when I walked near the wall, the next time I heard it I checked outside. Nothing. Tried again, & this time caught the “Hairy Woodpecker” just as he was flying away from the house. Just to be sure, tried again – this time VERY quietly (no door slamming), & caught him on the house & at it.

    And after hearing from others with the same problem, you don’t even have to have an wood exterior (although ours is Cedar) for the woodpeckers to give it a try.

    Thus, most likely no chemicals were necessary.

  2. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, so funny you mention woodpeckers! I DO have a woodpecker problem, but that little bastard has been pecking under the eaves on the back side where it’s so high, the guy I paid several thousand $$ this summer to fix my woodpecker damage couldn’t reach that spot.

    I can bang on the wall upstairs in the Man Cave or go out on the deck and he flies away. Once, he saw Tony sitting in the window and fled.

    I think that pecker has made a hole that leads into a tiny attic above the upstairs rooms. Roc and I have heard the pitter-patter of something twice lately. Couldn’t tell if it was on the roof or in the attic. I wanted the pest guy to stick his head up there to check, but he was a big and the attic access is a small hole above a file cabinet in my office closet and he couldn’t make it. (Roc could do it — and does — with one paw tied behind his back.)

    I personally have never EVER stuck my head up there. I’m afraid something will run across my face.

    This tapping behind the TV has been more irregular and tentative, but you could be right. I’ll go out there and look around some more, although I didn’t see any signs of pecker damage before. I haven’t heard it again since a day after the pest control. If it was some kind of bug, it must have been HUGE.

    Come to think of it, I haven’t heard the woodpecker, either, since the pest guy was here. He seems to take off for a good while after he sees a human in the yard.

    PS: I did need the pest visit because I needed a termite check and the camel crickets were back in my pristinely encapsulated crawlspace for some reason. Also, there’s a lingering mouse mystery in the outside storage room I wanted him to check. We never caught it, but it pooped everywhere.

    I also have cedar siding. Three neighbors immediately around me have replaced theirs with vinyl recently, but they did it all horizontal and lost their houses’ original “personality” where the siding was vertical or diagonal. (I’ve got diagonal on the front to match the triangular shape of the house.) The house identical to mine next door now looks like a barn.

  3. Bonnie C. says:

    If the woodpeckers made a large enough hole, you could have a squirrel in the attic. Unfortunately, we’ve had that happen as well.

    Woodpecker made hole, squirrel moved in & raised two families. Thankfully, apart from annoying me with her constant pattering around above the upstairs ceiling, she & her little family didn’t do any damage.

    Squirrels normally raise two broods per year – one in early Spring & one in late summer into early autumn – so the biggest problem in safely & kindly eradicating them is not plugging up the hole until any young are weaned & gone & you’re sure “no one is at home”. Then the safest way is to install (or have your pest guy install) a one-way entryway cone that allows any critters to leave, but doesn’t allow them to go back in, after which you can safely/kindly block the hole permanently.

  4. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, I haven’t heard the scampering now for a couple of weeks, and I only heard it twice, but it has to be a squirrel. My pest guy says he knows someone who does this type of animal control because it requires a different license than bugs. But I just need to confirm there’s something in the attic to begin with.

    This place is crawling with squirrels. They chewed through the fuel line on my car because I don’t drive enough. Thanks so much for the information on how they breed. I really had no idea. I’d rather not kill anybody, so your advice is great.

    I’ll have to check again, but I think it would be a HUGE leap for a squirrel to get into the pecker hole from a tree, unless it could come from the roof and hang from the eave and pull itself in.

  5. Bonnie C. says:

    Believe me, the last thing you want to do is trap squirrels in your attic space. The babies for obvious reasons – they end up dying a horrible death, as well as stink up you attic space – & the adults because they can wreak some real havoc in their attempts to get out.

    While it hasn’t happened to me, there are quite a few cases of squirrels getting walled up in attic spaces & then actually chewing their way to the INSIDE OF THE HOUSE in their efforts to escape. Then you have lots of wall damage as well as a squirrel loose in your house!

  6. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, OMG, I couldn’t live with myself if I knew squirrels were dying in the attic. And I pity the poor squirrel that ever finds its way into this house. Roc and Tony would go bonkers until they caught it. They’d probably chase it to death.

    In the over three decades I’ve lived in this house, I’ve never had a rodent venture inside. It would be a suicide mission.

    Many years ago, my parents were away on vacay when a baby squirrel fell down the chimney at their house. I don’t remember how my sister and I found out about it, but we went over there to rescue it before the pest guys my parents had called got there. We managed to corner it in the space beside a mini fridge at their wet bar and blocked the way out with a Tupperware container. When it ran in, we slipped the lid on and carried it out to the heavily wooded backyard and freed it. This was all done with much screaming.

    I believe the little guy did scratch some wallpaper in the laundry room while he was scampering around trying to find a way out.

    Another time, same house, an adult squirrel got in, and I don’t think my parents even realized it until their Siamese cat got it. They found it dead on the floor of the guest bathroom, and Samantha looking pretty pleased with herself

  7. bassgirl23 says:

    Love the mat! Very appropriate.

    We had our own rodent mystery last year. We bought a bag of hay (for our guinea pigs) from a local farmer. He dropped it off to our door in a large bag, which I left in our basement laundry room. A couple days later, I found a hole chewed in the bottom of the bag – I assumed it was our cat Eva, as she’s nuts about hay for some reason. I put the hay in a large plastic bin & didn’t think anything more of it.

    For a few weeks after, we kept hearing our other cat Wall-E running around at night (like 3-4 am), lots of thumping and crashing, which is odd, but not unheard of. Later, my husband was in his basement shop wrapping Xmas presents. He’d hidden chocolates for my stocking in his workbench, and one had a nibble out of the wrapper! He again assumed it was one of the cats, so he boxed everything up and forgot about it.

    We didn’t see anything else until after Xmas, when Wall-E was chasing and playing with something in the dining room. We thought it was a toy until we realized it was self-propelled…..he’d cornered a mouse, which my husband quickly caught and relocated outside.

    We compared notes and realized although we hadn’t seen any droppings (anywhere), the poor little mouse must have unwittingly hitched a ride in the bag of hay. It chewed its way out, and then somehow survived for a few weeks, probably venturing upstairs only at night for food (when Wall-E would chase it back downstairs!) It must have been terrorized – good thing for the mouse that Wall-E’s not a great hunter. He was probably trying to befriend it, not eat it.

  8. catsworking says:

    bassgirl, wow! Yes, you have to wonder how the mouse managed to survive for weeks. I had one in my outside storage room a few years ago (I saw it, but we never caught it), and it pooped everywhere, so it must have lived there a while.

    That weird tapping on the wall behind the TV started up again the day after Thanksgiving for a few hours, but I haven’t heard it since. It’s so weird. It doesn’t sound like a woodpecker. My guess is squirrel. But where is it? The pest guy is coming back for a 30-day checkup, so we’ll see if anything turns up.

    If I did have a mouse inside, Tony would probably find it first. He’s an amazing bug-hunter. He will chase the slightest little one until I notice and catch it.

    Speaking of guinea pigs, I was watching No Res last night in the Amazon, and one scene showed a herd of the biggest rodents on the planet. They were monster guinea pigs. (Just Googled: they’re called capybara and can weigh 200 lbs!) Tony even appreciated that they didn’t have ugly tails like rats.

    Luckily, he had no interest in eating one, so they were left alone. (PS: Tom Vitale got some prominent screen time in that episode, too.)

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