Saturday, December 25, 2010

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

Part Two, in which we discover why there are scratching posts in homes with cats….

Cheese had fallen asleep while thinking about all those human holidays of the winter, but Banana had just had a great idea and needed to share it with him. One more teensy nudge, and Banana watched as Cheese fell from the bookcase and landed with a thud on the floor.

“Grrr!!!! I’ll get you, Banana!” Cheese chased her from the room, which was just what Banana had planned all along. They needed some privacy so Banana could explain her brilliant idea to Cheese.

An hour later, they were taking turns at the scratching post.

Awww…look at the two cats! They’re being so cute together, using the scratching post…” Gale laughed at the earnest faces of Banana and Cheese. “I’m going to get the camera and take a photo—they look so serious!”

Banana and Cheese were so focused on their scratching, they didn’t notice the flashes of light. “OK,” grunted Banana. “I think that’s the last of the message to Kitty Klaws! I hope she gets our wishes in time."

“Don’t worry, Banana! We’ve sent our message with days to spare! She works magic on all those wishes!” Cheese tried to sound confident, but he was a little worried too.

“I know, but there are just so many cats in the world…maybe she won’t have time to get to our wish!” Banana sat and thought for a minute. “Maybe we should scratch it again, just in case?”

“She’s got it, I can feel it!” Cheese felt so happy, he twirled in a circle, chasing his tail, until he got dizzy and fell over.

“Did you get a photo of our silly cat?” Karen asked Gale, as they watched Cheese tumbling around on the rug.

Now, what follows has been, up until this moment, a secret to all beings except for cats, but Banana and Cheese have given me permission to tell the story…..

The story of the winter cat holiday, Felidae Whiskermas!

What, you ask, is Felidae Whiskermas?

Well, you’re familiar with what happens on the night of December 24th? Better known as Christmas Eve? When Santa Claus pays a visit to the homes of good children? Even adults look forward to Santa’s visit (it’s true!)—they can’t wait to see what gifts he’s brought down the chimney or through the door. It’s a magical time for humans, and even grown-ups can’t really explain how Santa gets to all those houses, all over the world, in one night. AND, he brings gifts and fills stockings at each and every stop! AND, nobody ever sees Santa, even though some try and others say they hear Santa, or his reindeer, just outside….yes, all very magical indeed.

Well, there’s other magic on Christmas Eve—magic you’ve probably never even noticed. It happens in the blink of a human eye, and it’s easy for humans to miss—it’s just that quick. Just 47.3 seconds after Santa leaves, when everyone is rushing around, eager to see what gifts have been left for them, what goodies are in their stockings—that’s when the magic happens.

47.3 seconds after Santa leaves your house, your cat vanishes. Yes, all the cats, from all over the world, gather in one magical place to celebrate Felidae Whiskermas.

[Sorry, the place will remain a secret to humans; besides, humans don’t really care that much; they’re too busy with their own celebrating!]

In this magical gathering place, there are treats, games, and…catnip! But best of all, Kitty Klaws (ever wonder where Santa Claus got his name?!) comes to visit too! Kitty Klaws has spent months carefully listening to the scratches of cats from all over the world. And in this magicalplace, the wishes the cats have scratched to her come true. That is, the wishes Kitty Klaws has heard will come true, for Kitty is just like every other cat we know, and sometimes she just doesn’t listen at all. That’s why you will sometimes see your own cat, frantically clawing their scratching post; they have a great wish to send to Kitty Klaws, and they are really, really hoping she will hear it.

On this particular delightful, magical night, Banana and Cheese are having great fun with their friends: Pekeo, Earl, Kona Kitty,

Freya and Teego

The Baby, Grayce, Tiny Johnson, Felix, Rupert, Scouty, CC, Sweet Pea, Maui, May Ling, Salem, Sylvester,

The Katnip Lounge

Admiral Hestorb, Teego, Charlie, Kiki,

Tabbouleh, Joey, Orange, Vegas, Angel, Kirby, Mac, Freya, and Twitch.

Admiral Hestorb

Cheese is munching on some chicken, and Banana is chasing a little blue light around the circle.

Angel, Kirby and Mac

All at once, the cats stop what they’re doing, sniff the air, prick up their ears, and begin purring….

Kitty Klaws has arrived! Kitty moves quickly and quietly from cat to cat to cat, and then, with flick of her tail, she’s gone.


Shortly after, the cats make their sleepy way back into the human world. While it’s just been a blink of a human eye, they’ve been celebrating for most of a cat day, and they are very, very tired.

Miss Kitty

Sometimes they’re so tired, they take extra cat naps every day until the next Felidae Whiskermas (and that explains why cats seem to sleep so much, doesn’t it?) .

On this particular Felidae Whiskermas, Banana and Cheese head back to the human world with big smiles on their faces and packages tucked under their collars. Kitty Klaws heard their wish!

The next morning, Banana meows and meows to go out. Karen opens the door, and Banana rushes out, Cheese following close behind. They run after the squirrels, sit under the bird feeders for a while, and even have a roll in the snow with Twitch. Karen and Gale watch them play for a while, and then Gale turns to Karen, a puzzled look on her face.

“Karen,” she asks, “where do you suppose Banana and Cheese got those mittens?!”

Happy Felidae Whiskermas to all our furry feline friends.

Happy holidays to all our human friends—we wish

you all the best in 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

Part One, in which we learn about Human Winter Holidays….

Banana and Cheese were sitting at the patio door, watching the snow fall. Banana sighed deeply, flopped onto the floor, and put her head on her paws. “Well Cheese, that’s it. No mores squirrel-chasing for a long time!”

Cheese looked questioningly at Banana. “Why can’t we chase them? They’re right out there at the feeder, eating corn and shaking their tails this way!”

“Well, duh, Cheese—our paws will get too cold in the snow! I’ve tried to walk through the snow, and I’ve lasted about 20.6 seconds—Karen had to come out and get me because I was stranded under the picnic table!” As Banana remembered her ordeal, she shook herself, then started licking her white paws.

“Well, some animals aren’t so delicate—here comes that dog from across the street!” Cheese peered through the glass door, then looked again in surprise. “What’s that on her tail?!”

Dog-from-across-the-street walked toward the patio door, tail held high in the air. “Hey cats! Happy St Nicholas Day! Did you remember to leave a shoe out last night? I borrowed one from my person (don’t worry, it wasn’t his best-tasting one), put it outside the door, and look what was inside this morning: a tail bell!” Dog-from-across-street wagged her tail, and there was a loud jiggling sound.

“THAT. Is THE MOST frightening thing I have ever SEEN!” Cheese turned and ran.

“Ignore Cheese, Dog-from-across-the-street,” Banana explained. “He ran and hid during the loud Diwali celebration hosted by the Roys last month too. He just does not enjoy noise very

much. Candles make him nervous too, so even though Comet Cohen invited us to tonight’s Hanukkah celebration, I will have to go without him.”

But Dog was not listening anymore; “Squirrel!” she barked, and off she went.

Banana sighed and settled down for another long winter nap….

One week later, Banana and Cheese, still sleepy from the night before, when they celebrated the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe with Blythey Soto and her people, were stretched out on a heat vent. They took turns wandering from window to window and wishing they could be outside. But there was still snow everywhere, and even though each cat tried, they couldn’t last more than 20.6 seconds outside—their paws just got too cold.

“Cheeeeeeese! Think!” Banana whined. “There’s got to be something we can do to get outside! Maybe we could ask Karen and Gale to build us a….” Before she could finish her thought, Banana heard the doorbell. Cheese had started running for the basement, but Banana ran to look out the window to see what friend was coming to visit.

“Cheese! Stop! It’s just Lucy Carlson and her people. Ooooo….wow….” Banana stopped talking as Lucy walked in, wearing a bright red sash.

“Do you like it?” Lucy asked. “Today is St. Lucia Day, and all the young girls in our family get to wear these this morning. It’s so soft and makes me feel so pretty…” her voice trailed off as she stroked the sash for the 22nd time that morning. “But enough chit chat! Have you two scratched your message to Kitty Klaus yet?” Before Banana or Cheese could answer, Karen called them into the kitchen so they could try the tasty Swedish cat treats Lucy brought to share. Yum! There was plenty of fishballs for all!

Another week passed; it was a busy week of birthdays—first Erika’s birthday, and then Peter’s birthday. The cats were thrilled with the smunchy wrapping paper and the licks of ice cream they stole from dishes when nobody was looking.

On this day, the whole family had gathered in the living room. They were napping, reading, wrapping gifts, batting at decorations on the Christmas tree, chasing balls of ribbon, but in the midst of all the activity, Banana was doing what she had been doing for weeks now—staring outside, wishing she could find some way to be playing in the snow and visiting her birds at the feeders.

Cheese, who as taking a break from decoration destruction, was startled when Twitch jumped up on the ledge on the other side of the window.

“Hey!! Cheese!! Happy Solstice!!” Twitch looked so happy, but Cheese just looked….puzzled.

“What is Solstice, Twitch?” Cheese made himself comfortable, for he knew this would probably be one of Twitches’ long stories.

“Well,” Twitch began, “Solstice is a holiday some humans celebrate—for them, it’s a time to celebrate the Return of the Sun. And, as all outdoor cats know, tonight will be the longest night of the year, BUT beginning tomorrow, each day will be a little longer…and warmer!’ Twitch purred in happy anticipation. “Evergreen Marsh has invited me to his humans’ bonfire tonight…he says they will be burning a Yule log. There will be food and heat! Want to come?”

“Ohhh….no thank you,” Cheese shivered at the thought of all that fire. “Banana and I have….um…we’re….uh…scratching our wishes to Kitty Klaws tonight! Yeah! That’s what we’re doing—scratching our wishes…” Cheese was relieved he had thought of something to do, so he wouldn’t have to tell Twitch that he was really afraid of the fire. Besides, they really did need to figure out what to say to Kitty Klaws.

“Well, suit yourself,” Twitch shrugged. “I plan to be warm tonight, and then tomorrow, it will stay light a little longer, and before we know it, Spring will be here and there will be lots of little ones running through your back yard! Yes indeed, this is a very important night for all wild animals like me. Well, see you in a few days—I can’t wait to see Kitty Klaws either!” With a happy flick of her tail, Twitch was gone.

Cheese sat at the window a little longer, thinking about all the human holidays that were celebrated this time of the year—there had been so many already, and Cheese knew of even more holidays to come: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year. Each holiday was special to some group of humans, and the humans had unique traditions for each holiday. But no matter what holiday the humans celebrated, they were convinced their cats should be included, because of course cats did not have any holidays of their own, and would probably be sad this time of the year if they weren’t included in whatever the humans were doing.

But! They…would…be…WRONG!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Party!

To all the kitties out there! Our Halloween Party story was such a success that we have decided to throw a Christmas Party story.

If you plan on coming, please RSVP by Saturday, December 19th!

Pass it on!

Banana and Cheese

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It was the 4th Thursday in November; one of Banana’s favorite days in the whole year, because Thanksgiving Day was a time for feasting and people and feasting and friends. Oh, the food! Banana had watched with great anticipation as Gale put the biggest bird Banana had ever seen into the oven just 2.5 hours before. Banana had sat right by the oven for a long time, until Karen spotted her and shooed her away, saying, “It will be HOURS before the turkey is done!” Reluctantly, Banana left her viewing station, and went to find Cheese.

Cheese was sitting in front of the television, watching as shapes seemed to float by on the screen.

“Wow! What’s that?”

Banana pointed to a humongous orange cat hovering inside the big black box.

“Gale says it’s a helium balloon, Banana. I don’t know what that is, but look at how small the people are, compared to that cat! Hmmm….” Cheese peered more closely at the screen. “That cat reminds me of you, after you’ve eaten your bowl of food AND mine!”

“Hrumph!” Banana turned and left the room. She called back, over her shoulder, to a still-laughing Cheese. “I’m going to take a nap…in front of the stove. That way, I’ll get the first bite of bird!”

Cheese was torn; he wanted to watch some more of those “balloons”, but he also wanted some of that turkey. As he rocked back and forth, trying to decide, he heard a familiar rumble in the distance. Banana heard it too, and she came running back into the living room.

“CD!!!” The cats pawed at the front door, each trying to be the first to greet their friend.

“Hey cats!” CD fairly burst through the front door, she was so excited to see Banana and Cheese. “Look what I brought for you!” CD held up two little, teeny, tiny…Native American and…Pilgrim costumes?! Banana and Cheese sniffed, then started backing away. “Oh, c’mon…you two will look great in these!” CD used her most convincing voice. “Just try them on. Then, I’ll draw your pictures. Pleaaaase?”

How could the cats refuse CD? They put on the pilgrim hat and the beads and the coats and had to admit—they DID look good!

Later in the day, as Banana and Cheese joined the rest of their family…Karen, Gale, Erika, Peter, and Joey…and many people friends…for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, CD captured it all. Banana didn’t even notice; the turkey was just too…yummy.

As each being sat back, feeling very full and very blessed, there was a loud crash in the kitchen. Banana and Cheese were first to reach the scene, and found Twitch…covered in what was left of the pumpkin pie! “I…well…the back door was open, and well…I slipped,” Twitch sheepishly admitted. She raised her paw, to start the long cleaning process. “Hey! This not-tuna is pretty good!”

We wish all of our friends and family, near and far, a very Happy Thanksgiving…we are very thankful for each and every one of you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Sky is Falling…A Nature Lesson

It was a beautiful autumn day. Banana was, as always, crouched under the bird feeders. Today, she was waiting for those really ravenous, radically red cardinals. Cheese had been tracking the sunbeam all morning, and he was now sunbathing in it. He was being nice and sharing it with Joey, who was visiting for a while. Some things are hard to share (like your favorite toys, your bed, your food bowl), but sunbeams are usually big enough for two or three beings to lie in; in fact, Cheese was expecting Gale and her book to come in and curl up in the sunbeam at any moment. Cheese was staring at this…smudge on his paw…and…his eyes…were slowly….closing….when all of a sudden, he heard a big gust of wind. Shortly after that, he heard Banana.

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Cheese! Joey! Run for your lives!” Banana was shouting as she ran as fast as she could across the yard and through the wide-open patio door.

She slipped on the throw rug just inside the door, regained her “dignity”, and then scurried underneath the sofa.

“Hurry!” Banana panted. “We’ll all be safe under here!” Banana was shivering with fright, and covered her eyes with her paws.

Cheese and Joey just stared at her.

“Quick! There’s no time to lose!” Banana took one paw from an eye, and motioned toward the cats, then towards the sofa. “The sky is falling, and we’re all in danger! Even the squirrels! Good thing they don’t know about this safe sofa, or we would have quite a crowd in here…” Banana suddenly became quiet as the thought of SQUIRRELS…in her HOUSE…passed through her mind.

Cheese used this moment of silence to really look at Banana. She didn’t appear to be hurt, but maybe something hit her head? He and Joey got up, stretched, and then wandered out to the patio doors, to see if there really was something dangerous happening outside. It also crossed his mind that, if Banana were correct and the sky WAS falling, that a squirrel MIGHT land right…next…to…his…mouth……

Cheese was drooling as he peered outside. Another gust of wind blew through the trees, and a large number of yellow, orange, and red leaves rushed past. There was another, smaller breeze, and the leaves swirled through the air. They landed, rustling, on the patio outside. Joey jumped into the leaf pile made moments before. His head popped out when Cheese started to laugh.

“Banana!” Cheese shouted. Banana’s head popped out from under the sofa.

“Banana! You are so silly!” Cheese laughed. “The sky is NOT falling. You thought the exact same thing last year. Remember?” Banana tipped her head to the side, and looked at him skeptically.

“The leaves are falling. From the trees. It happens every year. That’s why our people call it FALL. Because the leaves…fall.”

Banana still looked unconvinced. She had trouble remembering when she last ate, let alone remember something so long ago!

Cheese went on, patiently explaining. He loved knowing things that Banana didn’t. “Like I told you last year, when you were such a young cat: leaves fall from the trees in the fall. It’s a scientific fact…” Cheese raised a paw. “The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting longer. The leaves love to dance in the dark…we know this because we can see them moving at night, making shadows in the house that we love to chase. Remember last week, when you bumped into the wall when you were chasing one?” Cheese giggled, and Banana scowled at him from under the sofa. “OK…anyway—the leaves dance in the trees at night. As the nights get longer, they dance longer. Banana, pay attention! This is the most important part!” Cheese raised up on his hind legs and waved his front paws in the air.

“And so, Banana, the scientific reason leaves fall from the trees every year is because they get so tired from dancing all night long!” Cheese finished with a flourish and bowed when Joey and Banana burst into applause.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Halloween Obsession

The prelude to our story is here:

With anticipation, Charlie, Mike and Nick started to knock on the door….

Hold on, hold on—wait a minute….there’s more back-story to be told.

Twitch had been working on a project, and was very eager to show it off. She ran to the sliding door at the house next door and batted on the screen until Banana and Cheese, who were stretched out on the floor soaking in the sunbeam, woke up and raised their heads.

“Now what, Twitch?” yawned Banana. “I’ve only been asleep for 83 minutes. Leave me alone.”

“Listen, you two! I have a very special ‘project’…I call her Ms. Whisp…to show you, and I want you to leave your house and come to my house [the empty house at 311 Walnut] and see it! It’s important, and can you come tomorrow night (that’s when it will be all dry), and have some mouse bits with me and some others I’ve invited? I think it’s a party? Pleeeeeeease?” Twitch was talking so fast and was so excited, she fell backwards and knocked right into the Jack-o-Lantern on the bottom step.

“Oh! Pardon me, Mr. Orange!” Twitch was a very polite cat after all.

“Well,” Cheese stretched and yawned, “I think we can make it. Our people are having a party too, and it will be really noisy here.” Before Cheese could finish asking, “Do you know what the other cats will be wearing to your…,” Twitch was running off, shouting over her shoulder, “Great! Gotta go! I’ve got tons more cats to invite!”

“Well,” Banana noted, “Twitch seems a little more bizarre than usual. Do you think she even realizes that tomorrow is Halloween? Oh, never mind…, how are we going to sneak through the fence, AND, more importantly, what are we going to wear?”

The next night, as the streetlights came on, Twitch was adding the final touches to her creation. Her nana, a beautiful all-white cat named Switch, was perched on top of the dress form, “supervising”. “Twitch, give this contraption another push around the room! That will help it dry faster!” Switch neglected to add that, when Twitch would give her that “ride” back and forth a

cross the room, she loved feeling the breeze blowing through her own fur, and the great view out the window of 311 Walnut St. One more push across the room, and Switch jumped down.

“Twitch, I’m impressed by your masterpiece.” Switch squinted. “You know, it almost reminds me of some human, wearing a dress!”

“Oh, don’t be silly, Nana!” Twitch scoffed, but secretly was pleased. Her creation, made of white plastic shopping bags, and her special “glue” of: axel grease from that auto repair place down the street, tuna fish oil, and cat spit, was holding together nicely. She didn’t have time to completely admire her artwork, because the other cats had begun to arrive through the broken back door. But, why were they all dressed so funny?

In they came: Banana had been practicing being the scary vampire—and she was! Cheese had rolled in…cheese (he was terrible at being original!).

Zippy, Sadie, and Speedy were dressed as those famous monkeys: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, and Hear No Evil.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy's Blog

Freya and Teego’s people had dressed them as Catman and Robin (not the bird).

Freya and Teego's Blog

Little Tabbouleh snuck in wearing a baby bonnet. Charlie the cat had a long, grey beard.

Charlie's Blog

The honorable Admiral wore a few of his medals and ribbons.

Admiral Hestorb's Blog

Angel came as a ghost with a pumpkin head and Kirby came as Frankenstein.

Angel and Kirby's Blog

Cokie came as a witch.

Cokie's Blog

Hanna sported a frightful costume-dog mask and ears! Lucy wore a Charlie Chaplin moustache stuck to his whiskers.

Hanna and Lucy"s Blog

And Miss Kitty? She photographed it all!

Miss Kitty's Blog

Unfortunately, Amy’s cats couldn’t make it; they had told Twitch they were having a party of their own.

“Happy Halloween!” the other cats yelled. Twitch was so pleased with all of her company, she neglected to properly admire every costume.

“Great!” Twitch exclaimed. “Now I’ll be able to start work on Ms. Whisp’s ‘dance’ partner!”

Just then, there was a knock on the door, and then the doorbell rang. The doorbell? It had never rung before, and Twitch looked bewildered, because she didn’t even know what it was. Banana pushed her to the door; “It’s the thing that makes Cheese run from our living room! Go open that door and see which friend is behind it!”

Twitch was a curious cat, and was interested to see who was behind that door. She jumped up and grabbed the doorknob. The door swung open, and there stood three little people. They were dressed funny too, and each one was holding a bag. Twitch looked at their faces; their eyes were opened wide, and their mouths were hanging open. Before she could invite them in, the little people turned and ran away…

The boys ran all the way back to Charlie’s house. “Crazy cats!” “White, plastic bags!” “Old, white cat!” “Smell!” Until they could fully catch their collective breath and wits, those were the only words they could choke out.

Minutes passed, and then Charlie whispered, “Did you two see what I saw back there?”

“I saw a bunch of cats!” Nick began, with some confidence. “They were…were…wearing bits of cloth, twigs, leaves,…a medal?” he sounded less sure now. “One had…was wearing cheese? One was wearing a vampire cape? OK—two were wearing those costumes that people sometimes put on their pets! They were Batman and Robin!” He hurriedly finished his part of the story, “Did you guys notice they were all carrying trick-or-treat bags too?”

“I saw…I saw…a white cat sitting like the head of a mannequin, and the mannequin-thing was wearing a dress…made of plastic bags?” Mike shook his head, not really sure that that was what he saw. “Could that be? Naw…” Mike shook his head, refusing to believe the “old woman of 311 Walnut” was really a bunch of bags stuck together.

“I’m not sure I believe all that I saw back there, but I sure know what I smelled,” Charlie started.

“TUNAFISH?” The three boys whispered.

“TUNAFISH!” They giggled.

And they never again went to the door of 311 Walnut again. Especially not when they started seeing TWO figures moving in the window!