Three Kitty Kapers

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Jan&Jack   Hi there.  Jack and Jan here.  The stories of the Three Kitty Kapers are best told by the humans.  Some stories may seem strange but they are all told with much love.  


Dusty was active and inquisitive.  We weren't surprised one evening when she came home smelling from an encounter with a skunk.  We washed her off with lemon juice but the odor remained.  She evidently found the odor quite distasteful.  She would sit down for a few minutes, sniff the air and move to a new location where the process would repeat itself.  It took several hours for her to figure out that she was the source of the odor and couldn't get away from her own smell.

Dusty liked to sit on the edge of the bathtub when Jan was having a bath.  One day, you guessed it, she slipped and landed firmly in the water.  She never sat on the edge again.

Although she was neutered (as are all our kitties), Dusty had strong maternal instincts.  We couldn't leave any of Jack's socks in the laundry basket as Dusty would collect them, carry them through the house like kittens and hide them in various out-of-the-way spaces that only she would find.  We are, to this day, missing a sock.  We think it is in a hole in the wall behind under the stairs.

When Dusty and Quisty were young, we would travel to Philadelphia to visit Jack's parents.  It was about a 6 hour drive.  We couldn't afford a kennel so the kitties would come along.  Quisty would sleep in Jan's lap and Dusty would sleep on the back deck of the car in the back window.  It was always very amusing to watch the reactions of people in other cars when they discovered that the "ornament" on the back of the car was actually a live CAT.

Dusty wasn't with us long - only about 4 years.  She had a cardiac defect for which she took several medications.  Every evening she would come into the kitchen and poke and rub on Jan until Jan gave Dusty her medications.  Dusty took them willingly with no fussing, hissing or scratching.


Quisty liked to sleep outdoors on the patio on hot summer nights.  One evening a raccoon climbed onto the bird feeder above the patio to get seed.  The raccoon slipped and landed squarely on the chaise lounge where Quisty was sleeping.  Quisty ran through his cat door and into the house faster than Jan could get to the door.  We never knew who was more surprised, Quisty or the raccoon.

In his earliest days, we lived in a semi-urban neighborhood.  This availed Quisty of all sorts of mischief.  One day he came to the door and his entire hind quarters (from about his waist) was covered with motor oil.  He evidently had sat in someone's oil pan.  We cleaned him up with a box of corn starch that absorbed the oil nicely.

Having two cats as litter-mates means that they grow up together, learn together and get into trouble together.  They even learn from each other.  Dusty's favorite toy was a rubber ball with a bell inside.  In the middle of the night, she would find her toy, carry it in her mouth to the top of the stairs, position it exactly then push it off and chase it as it rolled down the stairs and around the hallway below.  Quisty thought that would be a fun game so he picked up his favorite toy, carried it to the top of the stairs and pushed it off.  CLUNK.  It didn't roll down the stairs.  His favorite toy was a rubber mouse with a bell in it.

One evening, Jack was calling Quisty and Dusty into the house from where they had been playing in the garden.  He opened the door and in ran the kitties; Jack counted them as they passed: one, two, three.  The third "kitty" didn't come past Jack.  It turned around on the top step and went back to the garden.  It was a baby skunk.  Evidently Quisty and Dusty had found a new friend.

Quisty is, hopefully, a unique name for a cat.  When we brought Quisty and Dusty home as kittens, we used a box that had been used several months earlier when we had moved.  When we moved, the box had contained magazines with the name "QST".  Hence, one of the kitties was named Quisty.

Quisty and Dusty grew up in New England where we had snow for several months of the year.  When we humans were outside shoveling the snow from the decks, sidewalks and driveway, Quisty would often accompany us and help.  He would spread his front legs and push his body along in the snow much as a snow plow.  He couldn't move much snow but his effort was appreciated.


One day when Frosty was younger she was playing with Quisty.  Frosty was hiding at the edge of a small frog pond and Quisty ran towards her.  She jumped up and over a few feet, landing in the middle of the 3 foot deep pond.  She began swimming when her first feet hit the water. Although her entire body was soaked, her head never got wet.  Evidently she could swim!!

Frosty never learned how to hunt, although in her younger years she knew that squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents were to be hunted. One day she was hiding at the base of the wooden railing on the deck. A flying squirrel climbed onto the railing looking for food. Frosty was getting ready to spring onto the squirrel when the squirrel jumped off the railing, extended the skin flaps behind its front legs and sailed into the woods. Frosty looked very surprised as if to say, "I didn't know they could do THAT."

Frosty actually went out in the snow once.  She followed us outside and a few yards down the plowed driveway.  We decided to go back into the house using a different door that required walking in snow that was probably 12-15 inches deep.  Rather than going back to the house the way she came, Frosty actually tried to walk in the snow that was much deeper than she was tall.  She kept leaping into the air to check her location and then she leaped forward to follow us in.  She was exhausted and panicked when she finally got to the door.  We don't think she ever went in the snow again.

Frosty and Quisty were the lucky kitties who were moved from Massachusetts to California.  A professional pet-moving agency was hired to arrange and complete the move.  They were examined by the veterinarian, collected at their kennel and placed on an airplane in Boston.  They changed planes somewhere in the mid-West.  (We can't remember where.) and they landed safely in San Francisco.  They spent the night in a kennel and were driven out to our home in a convertible, none the worse for the trip - a real kitty adventure.

Frosty actually met a skunk one day.  Frosty was sitting in the open sliding glass door and the skunk came up on the deck and sniffed Frosty.  They touched noses and Frosty stood her ground.  When Jan came into the room, she could actually see the skunk shrug and waddle off into the brush.


Wookie and Yoda were litter-mates.  Where Yoda is active, curious and mischievous, Wookie was more like the big, dumb brother who always ended up with the worst of the consequences when they were playing together.  When Wookie was a kitten, he would place his head into any hole he could find.  Several times, he would get caught on a strap or handle.  He would then try to run away but the bag attached to the strap or handle would always follow, seemingly chasing very close.  We always had to rescue him as he never understood what was happening.  We often wondered whether Yoda didn't set up the situations.

Wookie was a cuddler and a lover. He was often referred to as a "special" pet.  He never knew what his claws or teeth were for and anything you need to do with him was acceptable.  He would sleep in bed with Jan with his head on the pillow and his body parallel to hers under the blanket.

Wookie did get into trouble on his own, occasionally.  He tried to play one day with the local skunk.  He was sprayed right between the eyes.  We rinsed his eyes in running water and placed him in the sink of warm water.  He relaxed and let us give him a lemon oil bath which he actually enjoyed.  Who says you can't bathe a cat?

Wookie did hunt occasionally.  His favorite prey was a snake called a "rubber boa".  They are quite harmless.  He also caught a bird one day.  As Jan came out the kitchen door, Wookie ran around the corner of the house.  In his mouth was a female Black-headed Grosbeak.  The bird, slightly smaller than a Robin, had one wing hanging out of each side of Wookie's mouth and it was flapping furiously.  On either side of Wookie's head were grosbeaks who were evidently flying escorts.  On seeing Jan, Wookie dropped the bird and all the birds flew off unharmed with quite a story to tell.

YODA    Yoda

Yoda is the family member who we always expect to be causing trouble.  Most of her stories involve her skills as a hunter and her lack of skill at killing her conquests.  Currently Yoda enjoys a cat door so, during the day, she can come and go out of and into the garden at will.  In her mouth, however, she will often be carrying one of what we call her "smart toys".  Smart toys are toys that react to what she does.  They make her games much more enjoyable.  The human description for "smart toys" is alive !!  These "toys" can include rabbits, chipmunks, lizards, mice, voles and shrews.  The "smart toys" are most often brought into the office where Yoda puts them down so we all can play.  Yoda will sit back and watch as we humans run around with gloves, cardboard boxes, humane traps and wastebaskets trying to capture the critter and put it back outside.  The lizards are easiest as they are the slowest movers.  The rabbits are reasonably slow and large enough to be captured.  The smaller rodents are quite a challenge.  If we are lucky, Yoda will flush them out from behind the furniture or the computer and we will be in position to stamp our feet to herd the "smart toy" in the right direction to either trap it or get it to run outdoors.  This is a game called "mousy soccer".  Sometimes, Yoda will bring in a critter and we won't know about it until we start finding chewed cables or a pile of scat.  We had a rabbit as a guest for 3 days until it appeared in the bedroom one morning as Jack was dressing.  We also believe there is still a lizard living behind the bookcase in the office.

Yoda has managed some successes as well.  One day, Jan heard Yoda's bell ringing in the garden.  When Jan went out, Yoda had a gopher trapped against a tree.  The gopher was standing on its hind legs, showing its teeth in an attempt to intimidate Yoda.  Jan called and Yoda came into the house.  After about a one hour "time out", Yoda again went out to the garden and the same bell was heard ringing in the same manner.  When Jan went out, Yoda had the same gopher trapped against the same tree.  The gopher was again standing on its hind legs, showing its teeth.  Yoda poked the gopher with her paw and it fell over sideways, frozen in its upright position.  Upon inspection, Jan found the gopher was dead and very stiff.  Evidently Yoda had literally scared it to death.

Time out ...  Yoda just delivered a 4 inch lizard to the office.  Time to get the gloves and the box and to trek out to the edge of the woods.  (Last night it was a mouse in the living room.  Someone needs to tell Yoda that this is getting old.)

Because Yoda in incredibly inquisitive, she will go anywhere, into any hole or crevice and not pay any attention to the dust, spider webs, leaves, flowers, pollen etc. that ends up all over her face, ears, whiskers and sometimes the rest of her fur.  We call this adornment "garp" and she wears it proudly.

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