25 August 2017

Feline Friday

 So after last week's Dog Incident, I vowed not to take Lily outside again until she was properly secured. But day after day she was crying at the back door, begging to go out, so I resurrected her old harness to see if it would actually fit. With a little adjustment, it did expand to fit around her neck and chest comfortably -- enough that I felt OK taking her out into the backyard.

 Then I remembered the problem with this harness. It's a small dog harness, making the distance between the neck and the body loops too short. As such, the loop that extends around her body ends up under her arms (yes, I call them arms). :) It's not tight at all, but you can tell it's not super comfortable.

She doesn't walk much in this harness. Of course, she might just be lazy. :)

 Shockingly, Lily even plopped down in the middle of the grass, something she never does!

Then it was back to the cool cement for the rest of our outdoor session.
Just because we go outside doesn't make us outdoorsy! :)

18 August 2017

Feline Friday

First, let me say that Lily and I are both OK. But we had a Big Scare this week, and I learned an important lesson!

Here's what happened:
Early last evening, I took Lily out on her leash for a walk around the yard. She still won't walk much on the grass, so we ended up in the driveway which seems to be her favorite place. She was rolling around on the cool cement and generally enjoying herself so I sat down next to her. We were positioned near the closed garage door with our backs to the street and our view blocked by plants. I was enjoying the moment with Lily, oblivious to the world around us.

Then I heard voices of people walking in front of our house. Lots of people walk by our house and Lily ignores them. We live on a corner lot and often people pass by on their way to the park. 

But in an instant -- and I mean an instant -- everything changed.

I glanced around to see The Biggest Dog I've Ever Seen on the sidewalk at the base of our driveway. He was accompanied by The Smallest Dog I've Ever Seen. Both dogs were on leashes held by small children, with the father trailing along behind. 

For a split second, I thought Lily and I would remain very still (read: FREEZE) and let them pass. Her back was to them, and she seemed not to notice. Lily has encountered dogs before and doesn't seem to get rattled by them.

But then the little boy leading The Biggest Dog I've Ever Seen shouted, "Don't bark at the cat!" which unfortunately was a rallying cry. The dog began barking furiously and lunging up the driveway toward us, resulting in this:

Lily started to run and began jumping wildly, all claws extended and engaged. I was holding her leash, and somehow she dragged me across the cement before I could scramble to my feet. If startled, Lily can slip out of her collar so once I had her in my arms, I hung onto her for dear life.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the little boy and his dad struggling to hold onto the dog, still barking furiously. 

As soon as I had Lily in firm grasp, I ran around the corner and into the safety of the garage as the dad shouted an apology. My quick response was "Oh, no problem! I should have seen you coming!"

Lily ran into the house, collar and leash still attached, and hid under the bed until I offered her a handful of treats. I bandaged my knees and knuckles, scraped raw and bleeding from the cement.

Of course, "Oh, no problem!" was not quite accurate. I don't even want to think about what might have happened if Lily had slipped out of her collar and ran, or if the dog hadn't been restrained. I fear that the sight of a running cat would have been too much for the dog to resist.

I don't fault the people with the dog at all, although I wish the little boy hadn't drawn attention to Lily. I absolutely love dogs, and if Lily hadn't been with me, I very well could have ended up chatting with the them. I'm very grateful that they were successful in keeping the dog restrained.

The fault in this situation is mine. I'm always alert when I'm outside with Lily, watching for loud vehicles and keeping her close to the house. Had I paid attention when I initially heard those voices, I would have seen the dog rounding the corner, and could have immediately picked her up and shuttled her inside. But I let my guard down last night, and it could have ended very badly.  

In addition, I've been planning to buy Lily a new harness since she outgrew her old one, but I just haven't gotten around to it. She needs something she can't slip out of in the event of an emergency like this one. We won't be going outside again until she's properly secured.

Although we're both OK, I'm pretty sure both Lily and I lost one of our nine lives!

13 August 2017

Prairie in August


We are fortunate to have a few areas of prairie running through our neighborhood. The largest area features a path which makes it very nice for an evening walk or bike ride. Over the years, the prairie has undergone restoration by experts and finally the real native Iowa plants are beginning to thrive.

 Each time you walk through the prairie, different flowers are in bloom. You'll see bunnies darting in and out of the protective prairie cover, with birds and butterflies hopping from flower to flower. 

There are weekly prairie walks with a local expert who points out plants of interest, such as this milkweed. There are several species of milkweed thriving in the prairie now, which makes it a perfect stopover for monarch butterflies.

 The leaves on this large plant are cupped and hold water after a rain. You can see birds, bugs, and butterflies stopping by for a sip.

One of my favorite flowers is Queen Anne's lace. It looks delicate but is actually extremely hardy. 

 On our recent walk, I spotted this False Indigo. It was interesting to see it in bloom as I now have one in our garden, along with a few other native prairie plants.

I'll leave you with this thought for the day:

11 August 2017

Feline Friday: Baked Goods Shenanigans

Recently, Spouse and I picked up a raspberry strudel at the grocery store, something which we never do, but it was the weekend and we indulged our sweet tooth (teeth?) just a little bit. When we lived in Chicago, we used to buy strudels quite often. Of course we were younger and smaller then! :)

For some reason, we totally forgot to hide the raspberry strudel from Lily. Within minutes of its arrival, she was up on the counter inspecting it.

 I shamelessly allowed this naughty behavior to continue for a bit because I wanted to see just how far Lily would go. Answer: ALL THE WAY, if allowed!

I watched as she pawed at the plastic cover.....

...and even bit it!

Over the years, she has perfected her arsenal of techniques, allowing her to access most any type of baked goods!

Had I given her enough time, she would have knocked it to the floor in hopes that the lid would pop open to expose all that raspberry goodness. :) As reference, I will point you to the Cornbread Muffins Incident.

After watching for a few seconds, I reminded Lily that she was engaging in naughty behavior and gently removed her from the counter. 

And yes, I did give her just a tiny taste of raspberry strudel, for all of her trouble. :)

04 August 2017

Feline Friday: Yoga with Lily

We miss Tinsel every day. Tinsel had a whole set of little routines, one of which was doing yoga with me. She would weave in and out around my legs while I was on the mat, sometimes even standing under me (brave girl!) during a Downward Dog. After a bit of yoga, she'd move to the chair to supervise the rest of my practice.

Recently, Lily has started coming to the yoga mat with me. This was totally unexpected, as she has never shown an interest in yoga before! Now she weaves in and around my legs, just like Tinsel.

Sometimes she observes from across the room.

 And I often see her practicing her Reclined Twist pose on her own time. Good job, Lily!