Our New Fortress! (August 29, 2008)

Since the playground opened in mid-July, the basement window leading to it has always been open. Cats have always been able to go to the playground whenever they wanted, day or night.

Until today. When, to the amazement of the cats, the window to the playground was CLOSED!

Even worse, the cats heard sawing and hammering. For hours and hours.

FINALLY, the playground re-opened. The cats bounded through their basement window to find -- A FORTRESS!

Cats set to work exploring. They soon saw that the Fortress serves as a massive entrance to their basement window, and that it will provide shelter in bad weather. On the first landing, there is plenty of room to relax or play. A ramp leads from the landing down to the ground. Or, cats can jump from the landing, to higher shelves within the fortress.

From the top of the fortress, which has a peak so that snow will slide off, the cats can jump up onto the highest rafters in the playground. Best of all, from a shelf mounted on the back of the fortress, they can run in and out of the first-floor window that now provides a SECOND portal to and from the playground!

(Remember - CLICK TO ENLARGE any picture on this page):

The cats also discovered that one of the posts inside the playground has been transformed into a circular staircase. They saw immediately that they could use the stairs, not just to climb up to the rafters, but as launching pads from which to ambush each other!

The cats are increasingly excited as they figure out more and more ways to play on the Fortress and on the circular stairs. They are grateful to Dean Martin and Brodie Machon, who built the Fortress and stairs:

Pat and Henry say, THANKS AGAIN to Dean Smith Carpentry Services, 69 Kingston Road, Cornwall, PEI, COA 1HO.

Compare our Fortress to this one, at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN. To see more photos of our big cousins, go to http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/.

Our New Playground! (July 2008)

Welcome to our new play area! As you can see, we have lots of space to run and climb and hide or just relax. We have plenty of fun in here, especially at night, when we can stay out as long as we want. And best of all, Pat and Henry know we are safe . . .

Again, we want to express our thanks to Dean Smith Carpentry Services, 69 Kingston Road, Cornwall, PEI, COA 1HO, who designed and constructed the cats' fenced-in playground.

Just in Time

On the very weekend that construction of the cats’ new playground was completed, we opened our mailbox to find this anonymous message:

We were surprised. We are on good terms with our immediate neighbors – that is, the neighbors on each side of us, the neighbors who live in the three houses behind us, and at least one of the families who live across the street from us.

Indeed, in the past we have explicitly asked several of our neighbors if the cats disturb them, and they have told us that on the contrary, they enjoy watching the cats.

Obviously we have other neighbors who feel differently.

"They have been causing all sorts of problems" - ?

We are sorry the cats kill baby robins. We are sorry they kill any birds. We are sorry they kill mice – even though our immediate neighbors seem to appreciate the cats’ attempts to eradicate the local rodent population.

But we have found it impossible to persuade the cats that killing other creatures is "bad." After all, cats were domesticated and tamed in the first place, because humans wanted them to kill the rodents and birds who destroyed crops and invaded human dwellings.

We built the fenced-in playground because we worried about cars and (animal) predators. Now that we know the cats have made human enemies, we are all the more relieved that in their pen, the cats can enjoy the outdoors, and still be safe.


The new outdoor recreation area for the cats is under construction! It will be 32 x 20 x 9-1/2 feet. Cats will have access through two basement windows and three windows on the first floor. Humans will have access through screen doors on each end. The area will be filled with wooden structures for the cats to climb.

The recreation area is designed and constructed by Dean Smith Carpentry Services, 69 Kingston Road, Cornwall, PEI, COA 1HO. THANKS, Dean!

How many cats can you see in the next picture? Hint: click the picture to enlarge:

Cats think construction should stop NOW: who needs sides or a roof?

Restore Text

COCOA is lost for 55 hours, and SMARTIE is found! (April 2008)

One morning Farah, Summer and the Jets all went outdoors, as usual, at about 7 a.m. Usually everybody runs in and out of the house every half-hour or so. Because she loves treats almost as much as she loves frequent cuddling, Cocoa in particular tends to stay close to the deck in the back yard.

But this day was different . . . Cocoa was not seen in the back yard all morning!

As usual, all the cats came in by 2:00 for a nap - all, that is, except for Cocoa.

By evening, Pat and Henry, the resident humans, were so alarmed that they walked all over the neighborhood calling "Cocoa! Co - Co - Co - Co - Co - CO-ah!"

That's what they did all day Saturday too.

On Sunday, they made this poster, with picture, which they put in over a hundred mailboxes:


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Cocoa Cat left home on the morning of Friday, April 4, and did not return.
Cocoa has beautiful orange fur. She is a small girl, who usually stays close to home, and she is quite timid: she might hide from people.
We ask that you please check your garages and tool sheds in case Cocoa was accidentally shut in.
Many, many thanks . . .

They posted the same notice on the website "PEI Talk," which is read by almost every human on the Island.

Lots of neighbors called, and lots of people wrote in to "PEI Talk" to say they hoped Cocoa would be found soon. One person asked, why is she named "Cocoa"? Pat explained online:

"We fostered a mother and five kittens from the Humane Society. We named the male kittens Hershey and Smartie. We named the female kittens Cocoa, Taffy, and Tootsie. When the kittens were big enough, they and their mother went back to the Humane Society to be adopted. Smartie was adopted immediately, but not the others. We were so in love with them by then that we adopted Hershey, Cocoa, Taffy and Tootsie. Their mother was adopted by friends of ours. I wish we had kept Smartie!"

Well: BOTH the poster and the online notice got results!

Pat and Henry were barely home from putting the poster in the neighbors' mailboxes when Cocoa arrived at the back door, frightened and hungry and thirsty and smelling as if she had indeed been shut in a garage for over two days!

And then, Pat got an email message from a nice lady who read the notice on "PEI Talk," and who wrote us to say that Smartie now lives with her! And he is happy and healthy and mischievous! And he has four other cats to play with! And his name now is Max! And Pat and Henry are welcome to visit him! The nice lady even sent us some pictures of Smartie / Max - who looks just as we remember him:

Here is a baby picture of Cocoa (on the left) with Smartie (on the throw rug):

Meanwhile, Cocoa is HAPPY TO BE HOME - in this picture, she relaxes between Summer and Hershey (click to enlarge):

To read Cocoa's own first-hand account of how she was lost and found (as dictated to Pat), go to http://www.vivapets.com/petdiary.php?id=1454&entry=609

The Plum Tree Variations

Summer's sequence:

Hershey's sequence: