Tag Archives: pets

Octopus Sans Garden

There has been some interest in octopuses (I, being a heathen, used to call them octopi–sorry!). Nevertheless, I’ve always found them fascinating.

Years ago, I was able to successfully maintain a marine (saltwater) aquarium. At various times, I had coral and clown fish, sea horses, and an octopus, although not all at once. The octopus was the most interesting–here’s what the octopus taught me.

  • My octopus could not only change colors for camouflage, it could mimic patterns and shapes. On the bottom of the aquarium, it would match the pattern and color of the gravel. On coral, it would have the color of the coral and appendages on the skin that made it blend in marvelously.
  • They are so good at camouflage that there have been reports of apparently empty aquariums being drained, only to find a number of octopuses hiding.
  • An octopus is curious and loves to climb. If one is in an aquarium and there’s a teeny-tiny-miniscule gap, the octopus is likely to squeeze through and climb up (Apparently,up is their favorite direction),
  • When my octopus saw food, it turned reddish–it’s “Time to Eat” signal.
  • My octopus–like all other octopuses–had no bones. It was a squishy organism. It’s hard to believe that the favorite food for an octopus is crab. It amazes me that the squishy creature routinely eats a one with a shell and nasty pincers.
    The octopus would stalk the crab, then suddenly turn red and in a split second, attack land on the crab like a parachute. An expels a toxin that paralyzes the crab and in the middle of the octopus underside is a very effective beak–exquisitely designed for opening a crab shell.
  • Octopuses are wonderfully intelligent, although difficult to keep in captivity.
  • My octopus would watch me as I walked around the room. It used two of its arms to hold onto the aquarium glass. When I walked, it would move along in parallel and in synch with me, supporting itself with two arms and swinging the others to imitate my legs.

Now, isn’t that better than reading the news?

Update on Alex the Parrot

alex

Alex, my pet parrot, is now about four years old. As you may recall, he (she?-it takes a DNA test to tell) is a Quaker Parrot (although, not a practicing Quaker) also called a Monk Parrot (although he doesn’t seemed inclined to Gregorian chant or making brandy.)

The dog and the two cats go through a couple of bags of food each month. They need checkups and shots, anti-flea medicine and licenses. Alex, on the other hand, goes through 2 bags of parrot food per year. I will admit that I take off my good shirts and don an old denim one so he can climb all over me, with minimal damage. He likes my company, and I enjoy his after a long day when I don’t feel like talking.

My point?

Like many people, I view each of my pets as individuals.

On the other hand, it’s far too easy to look at people not as individuals, but in terms of their appearance, attributes, background or whatever.

Weird, huh?

Louis’ Help+-9-+-+5698

I waaas trying to write a blog about pictures

3+32663*.s

(I’ll try that topic again tomorrow)SONY DSC

However, as I tried to write, Louis, our dog, wants me to toss his ball for him. ( That’s pronounced LOOwee in proper Cajun fashion, in case you’re wondering.)

0 2-1 +la+r6ge6r +

He keeps dropping the ball on my keyboard, to get my attention, but simultaneously leading

+g+-T+

to interesting effects. Since –he+’s +most insistent, I’m going to go and throw the ball with him.

+ + +6S45

See you tomorrow.8.9+

Animal Tales

The two children who are still at home each have a cat. We adopted them from the same place and they allegedly are from the same litter, but I sometimes have my doubts. My son’s cat, Smokey, who has shown up in this blog before is primarily striped, with just a touch of calico/tortoise shell and short haired. He dotes on my son, waiting for him on the stairway near the front door when he is due home from school. He follows Adam around like a puppy. Each morning as each person gets up, Smokey needs some attention and he meows loudly as though he’s part Siamese. Think gregarious.

Katie’s cat, Sam, was a long haired kitten and is still long haired in certain areas. Her tail is narrow near her body and then bushes out at the end. The long hair around her face has an uncanny resemblance to Martin Van Buren‘s muttonchops. Although she is very affectionate to my daughter, except for first thing in the morning she is less so. You don’t have to be threatening to frighten her.  If you think too hard about her, she’ll run and hide under the bed.

President Martin Van Buren – I would have included a picture of Sam the cat for comparison, but she’s hiding under the bed.

Louis (pronounced Louie as in King Louis) the dog is just a plain predictable dog. Think an overly affectionate slobber generator who wants to play. Or maybe it’s eat. Or maybe play. Or – SQUIRREL! You get the picture.

And of course, there’s Alex. As with most birds, Alex could be Alexander or Alexandra; other birds can tell so they really don’t worry about whether we humans can or not. He can charm when he wants, but when he feels offended, or ignored, or just feels like it, he can be a royal pain. Which phrases he uses and whether he speaks or just glares also change with his mood.

Why am I telling you this?

With two children in those teen and pre-teen stages, I sometimes have difficulty dealing with their moods, attitudes, and communication style.

Looking at the pets I think, maybe it’s just natural.

Neither Fit for Man nor Beast

I repaired the antenna where the dog had chewed it. I had the kids, the tools and the supplies out in the semi-dark and full dark under the not-so inviting glare of the halogen work lights. Naturally a problem like this couldn’t happen during the long days of summer. Nope, it waits until the early darkness days of fall.

The Antenna Eating Dog from Hades

In any case, I fixed it.

I buried as much of the new cable as I could under the mulch so as not to attract the dog.

I used black duct tape to tape what I could to the antenna mast. So he wouldn’t be able to get at it.

Then to discourage the dog from hanging around the antenna, I placed mothballs around its base.

My son worried that the dog might eat them. I told him not to worry, that dogs found the smell repulsive.

As I cleaned up the tools and supplies, I realized that some of the smell of the mothballs had clung to me.

My mind immediately went to the days of my youth and visiting great aunts and uncles and having that pervasive smell of mothballs. How the smell would cling to you forever.

I don’t know if the smell will keep the dog away, but I’m glad the other end of the connection is in the house.

Because I’m certainly not going out anywhere near that smell.

Dog Days

As you know, yesterday I wrote about 2 of the four cats of the apocalypse. How they reign terror and destruction.

I didn’t anticipate the possibilitly that the dog could read.

I never discussed the fact that I had written about the cats. There’s no way he could have overheard a discussion. Nevertheless, somehow he seems to have known.

His response?

He ate my ham radio antenna.

Actually, not the whole antenna, just the coax and RF isolator (don’t worry about knowing what each is – the fact is he knocked me off the air.)

Bottom line – in a fit of pique after seeing the cats being featured, he decided to strike back, and an effective strike it was.

After the cats’ and dog’s actions, I plan on disconnecting all the telephone lines as pre-emptive effort before the parrot calls someone and creates significant issues. If the police, fire department or a semi-tractor trailed load of pistachios show up, it will be the third phase of the pets-against-me-attack.

Don’t be fooled by the innocent expression.

Wish me luck.

Cats!

“The fog comes

On little cat feet…”

As you know, we have a small menagerie -1 dog, 2 cats and a parrot. These are not the first domestic animals I have owned (or been owned by), so I feel that I have some authority to speak about pets.

My cats do not in any way resemble the quiet fog, unless “Quiet Fog” is the stage name of a Sumo Wrestler. Late at night and early in the morning the cats play, resulting in sounds one would expect the Foley Artist to use during a barroom brawl on the big screen.

Bang!

Clunk!

Crash!

Is that one of the kids? Is it a burglar? No, it can’t be, it’s much too loud.

So, sorry Carl, I don’t buy it.

It’s a normal day when you doubt politicians. It’s a sad day when you begin to doubt poets.

Pets & Who Owns Whom

When we lived in Wyoming we adopted a dog from the shelter. She ran away the first day, jumping a 6 foot fence. After that she never was happy if she was more than 6 feet distant from my wife.

A cat that someone had abandoned in the country stopped by for a visit and stayed for quite a while. He lived outdoors but slept indoors. It was Wyoming, after all. When we moved, both moved with us. The cat would head out each night, and return in the morning, after which he’d try to get the dog’s attention. The dog would ignore the cat, after which the cat would spend time with my wife.

One day when the cat was well over thirteen years old, he went out one night but never came back the next morning. The dog was despondent and quickly deteriorated in health. We lost her several months later.

Soon all we had was Alex, my parrot.

That didn’t last.

The kids talked us into a kitten. Each. The usual promises of responsibility for caring for them were made, dismissed, and eventually caved into after which the follow through was somewhat lacking. Then, of course came the inevitable replacement for Jazz, the dog we lost.

And yes, the same promises were made again and promptly forgotten at the first taste of inconvenience.

Now that you’ve taught the cat to come when you call, what are you going to do?

I finished fencing in the yard today so that the dog can run without being on a chain. So much for the “inexpensive” dog from the animal shelter. In the meantime, the parrot calls for a snack, at which time the cats cluster around his cage as if he’s offering, not asking. As if that weren’t enough, the parrot calls my son’s cat mimicking my son’s voice.

The journey to the dark side is complete. The inmates are now officially running the zoo.