I’m spending an inordinate amount of time trying to outsmart my cats. Oh sure, I expected them to be sorta naughty, but dear dang dog, Mister Kitty especially is H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E, and that’s with the French pronunciation. He’s not mean horrible, mind you, but super duper curious horrible. It’s such a paradox, so sweet and affectionate with us, and so contemptuous of everything else.

The second Mister gets near you, his purr O’meter shoots to high. And when you hold him, he touches your face so gently with his soft pink paw. No claws, ever.

Mister loves Pumpkin & likes to keep a paw on her too.

Mister loves Pumpkin &  likes keeping a paw on her too.

That’s Posy Etta James atop of this post. She looks like an angel, doesn’t she. Well, we’re pretty sure she’s just as bad, but she’s way more stealth. Both cats are wild for Bromeliads, though I’ve yet to catch them in the act. After finding this Cryptanthus ‘Black Mystic’ uprooted a couple times (a gift from Evan Bean), I’ve attempted to get it out of their reach with a little florist wire. But we’ll see. More wire is on it’s way, and I’m considering floating shelves. I’m even toying with the idea of buying them their own piece of furniture–instead of a cat tree. Maybe an open bookcase that could go near a window. Is that too crazy?

Evan's bromeliad in a silver pot from Danger Garden. There was a tillandsia covering the wire on the ornament, but...

Evan’s bromeliad in a silver pot from Ms. Danger Garden. There was a tillandsia covering the wire on the ornament, but…

Hey, what’s that up there.

Just looking. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Posy Etta: Just looking. Nothing to see here. Move along.

And then there’s the happy time when packages arrive.

Mister fancies the new orange hose.

Mister fancies the new orange hose.

When we put out something new, anything, anywhere, it takes that Mister 2 seconds to be on it. And it doesn’t matter how many times he’s been warned about curiosity and the cat.

New R2D2 style humidifier.

New R2D2 style humidifier.

I bought a new humidifier last week, because I had a dang cold, and I was feeling so smug having found one that’s easy-to-clean and doesn’t require a filter. Of course, Mister is enthralled with the stream of steam, sniffing it, batting at it, and for good measure, periodically tackling it. I guess I need one that is spill proof too. (I hear you thinking, Loree, “Damn, Andrew is never getting a cat!”)

Around here, you need to check before closing the dishwasher.

Around here, you need to check before closing the dishwasher.

It is challenging, I’ll give you that. But deep down, I love the critters.

We had a four-hour power outage this week, and yes, I am not prepared for the gargantuan earthquake they keep promising us. (I wish they wouldn’t do that–because I already worried about earthquakes. And now I can’t even tell myself, don’t be ridiculous. But really, what if you’re all prepared at home, and then when it hits, you’re not even there? How does that work? I have started making making sure the animals have access to ample food and water when we’re out–especially if we’re across the rivers, the Willamette and/or Columbia–because included in the cheery news, is the dire warning that the bridges will fall down. Well, thanks!)

A manual gas fireplace is  good during outages.  And I have lots of candles. But candles + cats=challenge.

A manual gas fireplace is good during outages. And I have lots of candles. But candles + cats = challenge.

Here’s a picture from last year. The wreath had been up for the requisite 2 seconds.

Mister checking the holiday swag. That cat can stretch.

Mister checking the holiday swag. That cat can stretch.

And I briefly considered a live Christmas tree.

Hmm, what have we here.

Hmm, what have we here.

We’re constantly rethinking design choices. That’s a old clay dog from China. On his list, checking it twice. Also the Spuds dog on the green stand–he currently sports only one ear.

If I stand on this Buddha I can probably knock that dog off his high horse.

If I stand on this Buddha I can probably knock that dog off his high horse.

Or maybe I’ll get in the fireplace.

The Richard Pryor of cats: it was there.

The Richard Pryor of cats: it was there.

This Aloe must come in today. Last year, I overwintered it in the basement. And it bloomed–until some dread bugs got into it. This year I want to keep it upstairs where I can see and treat it if necessary. I bet the cat like this plant too.

Aloe with blooms. Surely I can keep cats out of it somehow.

Aloe with blooms. Surely I can keep cats out of it somehow.

The point–I swear I’ve got one–as we head into the holiday season like a cruise missile, I’m trying to up my game on Operation Outsmart the Cats. And I need your help. I would love to hear what you’ve come up with to keep critters out of the holiday decorations, candles, plants, food, trees, etc. There’s gotta be a way, right?

Cheers.