Teaching a Kitty New Tricks?

Today’s post comes from Sherrilee.

All I seem to do is go from one pet issue to another.

For many years, I had to keep Zorro (my old cat) and Nimue (the “baby” kitty) apart during feeding. Zorro learned early in his life that he needed to eat at meal time; an earlier Irish Setter was rabid about getting to food, including Zorro’s food, no matter where I put it.  Even after the Irish Setter had gone to the big dog park in the sky, Zorro still came around at breakfast and dinner for his food.

When Nimue came along, she wasn’t even remotely interested in this kind of schedule. She would show up and have a few bites, then wander off.  A classic free feeder.  Since I was already keeping the dog separated between the kitchen and breakfast room, I started keeping Nimue on the counter near the sink and Zorro on the window ledge.  Then the rest of the time Nimue’s food was on top of the fridge, where Zorro couldn’t reach it.

Now that Zorro is 18+, he has decided he can be more relaxed about his meals and has reverted to free feeding as well.   For a while now I’ve been thinking that I don’t need to make sure they are separated at “meal time”, but hadn’t done anything about it.

As you can imagine, keeping Nimue on the counter has engendered some bad habits – mostly that she thinks being on the counter is just fine. Unfortunately when I am using the counter for something else, this isn’t all that fine.  I spent A LOT of time wiping the counter down and pushing her away.  I know, I know, entirely my fault.

Then last week I was making coffee with my one-cup drip and decided to run down to the basement to do the kitty box. As I was coming back up the steps I heard a “clunk”.  You guessed it – she got up on the counter and knocked the coffee over.  And this was NOT an accident; the coffee wasn’t anywhere near the edge.  Coffee, wet coffee grounds went everywhere.  The kitchen still smells a little like a coffee shop.

That was the last straw, so I took her food bowl from the top of the fridge and put it on the window ledge. Now at meal time, I fill up the two bowls on the ledge and no food is put out on the counter.  She’s 8 years old and having a little trouble getting used to the new regime.  Every morning I end up “showing” her where the food is now located and I’m still shoving her (gently) off the counter 8-10 times in the 30-45 minutes I’m in the kitchen before going to work.  Sigh.  I figure it will be a while before she gets the hint.

Any traditions that you’ve abandoned?

56 thoughts on “Teaching a Kitty New Tricks?”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Oh, so many traditions I have abandoned. I come from a family that seems to use, then abuse traditions until they die of meaningless and boredom.

    Reunions, for example. The first 8 years of picnics and gatherings were so much fun and a relief after years of our parents’ generation bickering. (8 years is a cycle, since there were 8 children and each family hosts 1year). After that cycle, children grew up, cousins moved afar, parents died; but despite concrete suggestions about how to organize this thing, schedule it so people could plan for it and attend, and about reducing the frequency, family members voted twice over each 8 year cycle, to continue as is. Despite the fact it obviously is not effective. People don’t attend anymore—we are lucky to get 25 people. It was once attended by over 100 people.

    I have abandoned this. I just don’t go or help organize it because it is not fun or pleasant or of any value to me any more. It is boring.

    So there. I am done. I quit. And nobody cares much.

    What a negative rant. I try to stay away from such diatribes but there it is, my bad attitude in full flower.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VS, I want to move to your house, if this is how quirky pets are treated. I can sit on your counter and never shed or knock over your coffee.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. i ask that my moms family be left out of conversations or referenced in my presence

      i think cancerous thoughts are not enjoyable

      i would rather lick razor blades

      i have abandoned trying to figure out why i react this way

      every time i put my hand in boiling water i pull it out real quick
      i have stopped wondering why i do this also

      Liked by 2 people

    3. There are extrememly large families here who continue to have family reunions like the ones you write of. I think they will die out in the next generation or so.


      1. i think italians irish and hispanics will keep it going for a while
        italians it’s good food and family
        irish it’s weddings and funerals
        hispanics it’s celebrating family

        it will be interesting when the melting pot incorporates china russia somalia and other african culture along with south and central america the baltic’s and those damn aussies into our anglo european culture

        funny how i almost missed my native american heritage that has spiraled into drunken squalor from a beautiful relationship with the circle of life

        when all this is so readily available won’t it be interesting to see how we choose

        i am a reunion guy who allowed cousins to sidetrack the jones family reunion ten years ago with someone or other coming up with reasons why not to do it then or there to the point it got abandoned. then death and circumstances took all the fun out of it so it will not happen


      2. I would love to get together, I just have tired of the current format that just does not seem to work. This seems obvious when people don’t attend and stay to visit.


  2. robert fulgham wrote a book (maybe his last) called traditions where he took note of a bunch of peoples valued traditions and presented them in an interesting way
    it got me thinking about my stuff
    why do i do it that way?
    because it’s the correct way to do it
    morning is kind of my set up for putting one foot in front of the other
    in my hay day i would wake up, start the coffee
    feed the critters, start the tub, go out to the front step for the newspaper grab the newspaper head to the tub with my coffee my ashtray my daytime turn in the tv and the radio and soak for an hour or so as i connected with my day a peanut butter english muffin and i was ready out the door at 8

    today i have no tub access
    we have one bir it is in the middle of morning central and i can’t have it til 10
    there are days when that works but i savor those because crawling into the tub at 10 is not starting your day it is spending your day

    when i crawl in the tub i check with everyone to be sure it’s ok to hang for an hour or two

    today i wake and feed the cats after letting the dogs out. the cats split a big can of cat food every day and about 1/3 of the can gets saved to be added to the dogs food where it gets stirred into the dry to make morning feed the highlight for the dogs, they will eat 4 more times per day until the dry is gone but the 5 minute snarf with meat is the the definition of good quality life for vinnie and nala

    then i go to the part one two or three of my tea making. the monster cup for drinking and two or three pots for next and for tucking under my arm

    10 days a month i have 7 am meetings so the tea and i head out and i gather my thoughts along with my briefcase as i commute to meeting, warehouse or other

    i have abandoned many unhealthy traditions that i embraced and defended for years, cigarettes, booze, coffee, potato chips, one hitters

    i was commented on as the vegetarian who smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish but it felt like abuse was ok as long as it was self abuse and had a moderate bottom line

    today food is the focus
    i need to find peace with fruit and veggies rice and beans avoid gluten dairy and sugar as well as meat

    i’ll get it
    master of soy and spice is my new quest
    workouts as part of my daily routine
    getting my checklist prioritized and ticked off as i go along and remembering to smell the roses are my goals
    i have to remember to smell the roses

    i get caught up in pursuit of the moment and these damn smart phones ,devices and the ability to stream, record, do audio books in addition to daily living can leave you an outsider looking in if you’re not careful

    a tradition of purpose is what i want as my legacy

    let the cat have the counter and top of the fridge
    it the cats natural mojo
    embrace mojo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well if her natural mojo weren’t interfering with MY natural mojo, she could stay on the counter. But the tipping over of my coffee wasn’t the first naughtiness she has perpetrated on the counter. So……..

      Liked by 2 people

  3. All the family traditions have evaporated – esp. since we moved away from the Cities, where most of Husband’s family is/was. And I can’t bring my mom here for holidays any more, so we go to her residence, which just isn’t the same. I do kind of miss those ritual holiday gatherings, but oh well, time marches on.


  4. Most of the traditions I can think of have changed over the years, if not been completely abandoned. Others have emerged in their place, but they, too, are in a state of flux.

    The much beloved tradition of the annual Memorial Day pot-luck and song fest hosted by the Eddies on Harriet Island is in danger of dying, if it hasn’t already. Three or four years ago, one of the Eddies dropped out of the group, and a year ago, another moved to Tucson. While they haven’t announced that they’re not hosting the event this year, I fear they may not, if for no other reason than Paul, the one who moved to Tuscon, was the one who cooked all the barbecued meat. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No tim, I don’t think so. If this is the end, so be it. Last year was the 19th annual Sunday-of-Memorial Day “we ain’t got no stinking cabin” pot luck picnic and little concert. I think we all hoped to make it to the 20th, and maybe we will, but I think it may have run its course. It’s not as if time has stood still for any of us, The Eddies have aged too, and this was a lot of work. I consider myself very fortunate to have discovered it the first year they held the event, and have attended every year since then.

      Some of the memories from there are priceless. We have brought a lot of different friends to the event over the years. The year we brought Hans’ oldest brother and his wife there was a deluge. Torrential rain. But this is a rain or shine event, and hard-core Eddies fans stayed throughout, literally in water up to our ankles. You can only get so wet. Peter and Bodil left St. Paul convinced that we were nuts.

      There were a couple of years when a number of baboons attended. On one such occasion the event was “raided” by the police. Someone, an employee of St. Paul Parks & Recreation, had reported to police that a large group was having an event and hadn’t obtained the required permit. Police were aware of it, but seeing as we were not an unruly mob, tried to shoo us out of there as gently as they could. For a couple of years afterwards we held the picnic at Cherokee Park so as not to attract undue attention.

      Last year, about half an hour before the picnic’s scheduled start time, the sky turned black with ominous looking clouds drifting toward us above the river. As they drifted ever closer, those of us who were already there stood ready to do whatever was required to prevent a disaster. When the wind came whipping down the Mississippi and started blowing our large empty trashcans around, we were all holding on to whatever we could. We threw our bodies over the tables to prevent the food already out from blowing away. Ten minutes later it had blown over, and the sky cleared. We retrieved the trash cans, drew a huge sigh of relief and settled in for an enjoyable afternoon.

      I know I’m not the only one to relish these memories, and I’m pretty certain that some of us older folks realize that this party can’t go on forever. If they have it this year, I’ll go, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be my last Eddies event. I’m no spring chicken myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you have made me remember two cherished events i had to say good bye to.
        when i was in 9th grade two science teachers took 8 of us to the northern minnesota camping canoeing experience before it was the boundry watrers. we had such a good time it turned into a yearly event with a transition to kayak and the final favorite destination of the brule river that was a favorite of steves too. it was a special event with a special group and it lasted about 20 years before the gang stopped going.
        the other was a softball team i put together.
        i was invited to play on a team one summer a couple of years after high school and it didnt go well. the cliques and back biting was enough to spoil the fun we could have had. my clique was three guys where were invited to join at the same time. i pulled them aside after 5 or 6 games and suggested we start a fall league team with mike at first dick at second rex at short marco at third, justin john randy and d a in the outfield and hoppy as the pitcher and me as the catcher. we had a couple extra guys in case someone got sick or missed a game but it took 20 minutes to call those 10 guys and tell them the plan. they all said yes in a heartbeat and we had a group of best friends that shared the summer nights and watching each other get married have kids and come to a point where it was time to quit playing beer ball with the boys and start coaching your own kids team. i stayed with that team a couple years after the core started departing because i got married late and really enjoyed the camaraderie but when its over its over
        i get it

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You, tim, have reminded me of a couple of other cherished periods of my life.

          Two years after my divorce, I volunteered to do telephone counseling at Face to Face on St. Paul’s East Side. After undergoing six weeks of training in the evening after work, I was assigned to work a Friday evening shift from 7 to 11 PM. I didn’t have a social life, so giving up Friday evenings wasn’t a huge sacrifice. I worked that shift for close to a year.

          During my time at Face to Face, I met what became a core group of friends that remained friends for years. We played softball and went cross country skiing together. We hiked in the woods, camped in the Boundary Waters, and generally hung out and shared impromptu dinners together. It was probably the most rewarding period of my life.

          Then, in short order, four members of the group moved to the state of Washington near Seattle, and little by little, what had once been a tight knit group of friends fell apart. Individuals married, sometime within and sometime outside of the group. Relationships changed, some fell apart, children were born. Sickness and death followed. Life happened!

          Same thing with my Danish book club. Lasted 25 wonderful years of great dinners at each other’s homes, lots of laughs, good conversation, and close female bonding during child rearing and difficult years of various marriages. We read some great and some not so great books, too, but truth be told, what held us together was the camaraderie and our shared Danishness.

          At this point, with two of the members being Trump supporters, that’s not enough to hold the group together. We’re still friends but no longer meet monthly, and don’t see each other regularly.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. When you mention “our shared Danishness,” PJ, I wonder what that would be like. Is there a distinct Danish personality? How would a typical Dane differ from a typical Scot or Dutch person?


        3. Our shared Danishness, Steve, consisted mainly of the common bond of having grown up within the Danish culture. We shared a fondness for traditional Danish foods and literature. Most of the books we read were by Scandinavian authors, and we read them in Danish. Otherwise I’d say we shared no more characteristics than, say, members of the baboon trail. Different backgrounds, different ages – we spanned about twenty years – and different interests. Only two of us are married to Danes, so it was nice to be able to spend a whole evening without feeling rude if you spoke Danish.

          I couldn’t tell you how Danes are different from a “typical” Scot or Dutch person, except they both speak funny.


        4. Thanks, PJ. I asked because on several occasions Canadians have mentioned the culture of their country, insisting “it isn’t at all the same as the US.” I have always asked them to explain that, and they all were unable to do that.

          I had two house guests from the Netherlands who got into this issue. I asked how their country was unique. The guy said, “We Dutch are really cheap. We are cheaper than any other culture in Europe.”

          I’ll bet there are ways Danes differ, too. But it is hard to see one’s own culture because you can’t see it with the eyes of an outsider.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. What exactly is a “typical” American I wonder? Someone from NY or Boston, or perhaps from LA, Biloxi, or Bozeman? I have lived in four different states and visited about thirty others, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you what makes the US hang together. Seems to me there are such pronounced regional differences it would be difficult to come up with one overarching characteristic that would pertain to all.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Today I saw our tortie kitten stand up on her back legs and reach up with her front paws to turn the knob to the door that leads out to the garage. This will not become a tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a visit this morning from one of Hans pickleball friends who lives in Woodbury. At some point during the visit, he needed to retrieve something from his car. He accidentally let our tortie out onto our front porch, and was close to a state of panic. I told him not to worry about it, she goes out whenever she wants. His reply was “don’t you have coyotes around here.” I told him “no we don’t,” one of the advantages of living in an inner city neighborhood. Although, having written that, I’m pretty sure they probably have coyotes over by Linda’s house. She lives so much closer to the river bluff. We don’t need MAGA, it already is.


  6. Perhaps it’s time to bring up the elephant in the room. Is the baboon trail nearing its demise? Can we sustain this effort with just a few people piping up whenever they feel like it?


    1. til we stop

      i appreciate renee and vs keeping the topic going and look forward to it daily
      i know i should contribute with a guest blog but my life is so on edge lately this is my respite

      i am hoping it’s not the elephant in the room
      i hope it goes forever as it is today

      i don’t want it to grow to 100 people
      it’s a perfect sized group

      oh yeah i’m here to say the water broke and the baby is on the way

      woo hoo

      the trail knows before my mom

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Re: the elephant in the room. I’m not always able to participate every day and over the next few weeks will be able to participate even less. But in a few weeks, I hope to be back to normal participation (still not every day, but most days). I’m not ready for the demise of the Trail yet but would be fine with a 3-day-a-week schedule (as an example) in order to accommodate those who can only participate a few days a week or need to take more time to think about how they want to respond. That’s not a popular option with others, though, so I’ll continue to pop in when I can.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Regarding the crepe-draped elephant: I do not comment sometimes because I have so little meaningful to add, such as on this topic, which misses me. I did not grow up in that kind of family for one reason, and I am not a tradition sort of person. Or because I would repeat myself from previous blogs. Or because I do not feel it is right for me to comment, for various reasons. Or because when I do comment i drift off into my personal miseries, which are boring to hear about. I have to climb over a few hurdles to post and some days I am not up to the climb.
        My guests posts miss the group.
        But I do not want to lose contact with this community.
        So I have no insight, but I feel sorry for Renee and VS trying to come up with topics. I thnak them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, some of that goes for me, too. My family, growing up, did a lot of stuff with a group of families that all lived within walking distance (we weren’t a commune, but we were a deliberate community of like-minded people). Then we moved while I was still young and any sense of traditions were lost, not just because we weren’t with the community any more, but I think because my mom was so overworked and stressed that there wasn’t time or energy for family traditions.

          NorthShorer, you don’t have to fear repeating yourself. I, for one, cannot remember everything everyone ever said here, so a little repetition is fine.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think we have an elephant. We just have a group of folks with plenty in their lives. I’m still committed to our current format – it’s OK with me if we have a little comment day or a lot of comment day. I agree w/ tim; eventually the trail may get completely grown over, but as long as some of us as still getting hiking along, we don’t have to do anything about it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Agreed, VS. I have tried to puzzle out why some days have dozens of comments, and others only a few. It seems to be a combination of a question that’s not similar to one that’s been asked before (or not for years, anyway) and just the luck of the draw – how many baboons have time that day. I miss some of the regulars who have dropped off, but enjoy those who pop in at least once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. And having said that… do we want to re-schedule Blevins for some time in May, or do we want to say admit that April was a bust and get back on track in June?


  9. One of the traditions that is gone from our household is the manic themed birthday parties . When YA was younger we had a birthday parties with themes like Summer in January or Pirate’s Treasure or Pocahontas even Barney once. I made the cake purple. I went all out on these, with crafts and themed food. The year we had the doggie birthday party I bought little tiny dog bowls and the kids ate their ice cream and cake of them. Not trying to show off, it was just something I knew I had a very short window of time for. Eventually she would get older and not want these fancy parties anymore. And of course I was right. By the time she was 11 or 12 she just wanted to have friends over and hang out or go ice skating or something like that. And I had to be fine with that. What choice did I have?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I sure hope tim’s grandbaby has arrived by now. His post announcing that the water had broken was at 2:23 A.M. The suspense is killing me.


    1. Hang in there, PJ. He’ll let us know eventually. Grandparents can spend hours holding the baby and being totally besotted with him or her. It’s hard to stop staring into their beautiful faces.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, but I’m considering the possibility that his daughter might be having a prolonged and difficult labor. Hope that’s not the case.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. DIL had only 4 hours of labor. They enlisted the help of a doula, so perhaps that helped. Babies come of their own accord at their own pace.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. PJ… I think it was you who asked what kind of bonsai tree my next door neighbor has. It is a juniper fir? Pine? Well, she definitely said Juniper. And I guess I get to babysit the Bonsai for a week while they are out of town in May.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, vs. I love bonsai, but have never succeeded in keeping one alive for an extended period. Good luck with your plantsitting duty.


  12. Some of my routines have changed over the years. I remember when I first bought my house, I’d spend most weekend mornings having coffee and reading the newspaper in the kitchen. Certain TV and radio shows accompanied the morning routines – Christine Sweet on Saturdays, and the repeat broadcast of Almanac on Sundays. I had a little 5-inch TV in the kitchen, and often made pancakes, or bacon & eggs, while Almanac was on. Over time, the newspaper has dwindled down to almost nothing. Christine Sweet went away. Almanac is still there, but since TV went digital I can only have it on in the living room, so I’ve gotten away from using that as a cooking opportunity. I started firing up a laptop on the kitchen table for awhile, but then I’d want the laptop in the living room later in the day, and since the battery was weak and the power cord inconvenient to move back and forth, I sort of stopped having coffee in the kitchen in the morning. Just brought it out to the living room couch. Now I have a desktop computer in the dining room and I have coffee there.

    Another thing I miss is having an announcer on the radio to tell me who was singing that song that was just on. When it was Dale and Jim Ed in the morning, I learned the names of most of the artists they were playing. Now if I have Radio Heartland on, I recognize maybe ten percent of the artists. I could look at the playlist online, but I usually don’t.

    I still get a Sunday paper, but I usually don’t look at it till Monday or Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I kind of liked “appointment” watching or listening to TV or radio. It’s kind of gone now. There are advantages – you can see your favorite programs on your schedule – but some of the anticipation and engagement is missing.

        Liked by 1 person

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