Tito’s Guide to Cats

MeeMee! Communicating with your cat

House cats are almost never vocal with each other. They do talk to their humans though as humans aren’t as good at reading body language and scents. We talk to our people when we want something. We have lots of different sounds we can make.

We can purr, meow, or chirrup. I say MEE! and chirrup and purr. My brother says a lot more. He also makes a clacking sound when he sees birds outside. He says Hmrao a lot. He also yells and says mazuzu whang? I think that is his new name.

There are some forms of body language that are important to know. If we are walking with our tail held high, we are happy. If our pupils are dilated, it means we’re angry or want to play. If you are petting us and our pupils dilate, it’s time to stop.

Our body language says a lot. You can tell if we’re happy or if we’re not happy. Since humans aren’t good at body language, we’ve learned to make the sounds necessary to get what we want. Even the doggies are better at reading our body language than most humans.

Yawning cat

Did you know that if I look at you, close my eyes, and yawn, that I’m NOT bored? It’s a sign of contentment. If you look at me, close your eyes and yawn, I’ll probably come to you right away. Also, I’m sure you noticed that we always run to the one human in the room that doesn’t like cats. That’s because they don’t stare at us. Staring is considered rude in cat society and is frowned upon. For us, staring is a sign of aggression.

Our body and voice language vary from human to human. One meow may sound totally different to another. We vary our language because we have to learn what each human reacts to. Our way of saying “I’m hungry” may sound one way for you and totally different for someone else. You have to pay attention and watch us in order to learn. 

We’re not as indifferent as some people think we are. People think that we ignore and disdain them. It’s not true. Sure, we don’t always get lovey on command, but when we love our humans, we love them.

I’m not a lap kitty. I love my humans, but I’m too nervous to stay on a lap for more than a few seconds. It’s ok. My humans know that for me, sitting on the floor works best. When they do that, I get very lovey.

My last comment is that I’m terrified of shoes. I don’t know why. My humans brought me home from the shelter when I was a kitten and they have NEVER treated me badly or kicked me. When they come home from shopping, I hide under the futon until they change and take their shoes off. Only then do I come out of hiding. My humans understand and take their shoes off right away. They have figured out a lot of my body language. They had to. I don’t say much other than MEE!


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Nerves of Steel

El Caminito Del Rey in Spain is certainly for the stout hearted.

From Wikipedia

El Caminito del Rey (English: The King’s little pathway) is a walkway or via ferrata, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Alora in the district of Malaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey.

In 1901 it became obvious that workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls needed a walkway to cross between the falls, to provide for transport of materials, and for the inspection and maintenance of the channel. Construction of the walkway took four years and it was finished in 1905.

In 1921 King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce  and it became known by its present name.

The walkway is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and rises over 100 meters (350 feet) above the river below. It is currently in a highly deteriorated state and there are numerous sections where part of or the entire concrete top has collapsed away. The result is large open air gaps that are bridged only by narrow steel beams or other support fixtures. Very few of the original handrails exist but a Via ferrata safety-wire runs the length of the path. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years and after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances.

Even though the government has closed the trail, climbers still walk the path.
This video is NOT for anyone with acrophobia. I do ok with heights, but this vid makes me a bit queasy.


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Hiking Cataract Trail in the Marin Municipal Water District

Cataract Falls are located in the Marin Municipal Water District on the North side of Mt. Tamalpais and not far from the town of Fairfax. It is a seasonal waterfall that flows during the rainy season (Dec. through May). The best time to see the falls are right after a good rain. At other times, it’s just a trickle.

It’s ranked by many as a moderate hike, but as most of it involves stairs, one should be in decent shape. It’s a trail that is well worth the effort. It’s only a 2.7 mile round trip, but has a fair altitude change. The starting elevation is approximately 650 ft. It climbs to about 1100 feet in a half mile and on to about 1400 ft in the next .8 mile.

The trail and stairs can be slippery when wet, so use caution. The only way to remove the injured from the trail is by helicopter. A good trekking pole can help.

To get there:

Take Hwy #101 to San Rafael, and take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit. Drive 6 miles to Fairfax, and turn left on Pacheco Rd. (may be unsigned, there is a sign saying “Fairfax” at intersection). Take an immediate right on Broadway, then first left on Bolinas Rd. Drive 7.8 miles to Alpine Lake, and park at the hairpin turn just after crossing the dam. Parking is limited, find a parking spot somewhere off the narrow road. The trail head is on the left at the hairpin turn.

You can also park at the other end of the trail, on West Ridgecrest Blvd. at the Laurel Dell picnic area. From the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach / Hwy #1 exit on Hwy #101 north of San Francisco, drive 1 mile to Shoreline Hwy. Turn left and drive 2.5 miles to Panoramic Hwy. Turn right and drive 5.2 miles to Pantoll Rd. Turn right and drive 1.4 miles to Ridgecrest Rd. Turn left and drive 1.6 miles to a small parking area on right. The trail is marked “Laurel Dell”.

The road is narrow and the day we went, we had to move tree branches out of the road. Also, be sure not to park facing oncoming traffic as tickets may be handed out.

Alpine Lake and the dam are beautiful when the water is flowing.

Alpine Lake
Alpine Lake
Alpine Lake
Alpine dam at full flow
Alpine Lake
Alpine Lake looking toward the Cataract trail

Once parked the trail follows the West side of the lake heading South.

Alpine Lake
Alpine Lake from the trail
Alpine Lake
Cataract trail

This part of the trail is fairly easy. Don’t be fooled. It doesn’t last long.

Cataract trail
The easy part of the trail

Soon, the stairs begin and you start to climb.

Cataract trail
Stairs

The amount of greenery is incredible and worth the hike.

Cataract trail
Ferns along the trail

Soon, you begin to see the beginning of the falls. Some are small, others quite tall.

Cataract trail
Small cataract
Cataract trail
Bigger cataract


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Friday Night Cat Blogging

It’s time for the boys to shine. They are our inspiration after all.

Tito being lazy and sticking his tongue out at me.

Tito

Thursday was bath day for Kitsune. As you can see, he has bath toys to play with.

Kitsy's bath

He also gets a good snuggle in a warm towel.

Kitsy getting a snuggle in his warm towel


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Happy Birthday Yosemite

Today, Yosemite National Park is 120 years old.  Thanks in large part to that wonderful explorer and naturalist, John Muir.  According to the John Muir National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) :

The “Father of the National Park Service”
John Muir was many things, inventor, immigrant, botanist, glaciologist, writer, co-founder of the Sierra Club, fruit rancher. But it was John Muir’s love of nature, and the preservation of it, that we can thank him for today. Muir convinced President Teddy Roosevelt to protect Yosemite (including Yosemite Valley), Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mt. Rainier as National Parks.

That said, here are a few pictures in honor of that wonderful place called Yosemite.

Merced River in Yosemite Valley
El Capitan
Half Dome

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Tito’s Guide to Cats

MeeMee! Introducing your new cat to your home

We kitties don’t like change. Change is very scary to us.

When you bring home your new cat, put them in a quiet room with food, water, litterbox, toys and scratching post. This room should have a door that closes. The safe room gives your cat time to adjust to the change of location and makes them feel much more safe. Make sure to spend a lot of time with them. It may take a couple of days before they come out of hiding.

This is especially important if you have another cat in the house. If you already have a cat, this change is as scary for them as for the new kitty. With the new cat in the safe room, the original kitty can sniff at the door. You may see and hear a lot of hissing and whatnot. It’s normal. Follow the guidelines I discuss below and it should be ok. If it doesn’t work the first time, just start over again.

The Boober and Tito

When mom and dad brought me home, they put me in a safe room. It’s a good thing as I’m a very nervous kitty. I have a few phobias as a result. Anyhow, The Boober, who already lived there wasn’t happy and he hissed at me at lot. It was good to have a door in between us. It took about 3 days before he quit hissing and I wasn’t as scared. After that, mom took me out to the other room in the carrier to spend a bit more time with everyone. The Boober hissed a bit more. After two days of that, he quit hissing and was friendly. Mom and dad turned me loose in the apartment after that and The Boober and I became the bestest friends. I miss him.
After The Boober passed away, my folks brought Kitsy home. They knew I was lonesome without a brother. Like me, he had a safe room. He only spent one night there. I wasn’t upset to have a new cat in the apartment and Kitsy wasn’t scared. I was a bit wary, but I wasn’t scared or angry. Within a day, we were good friends.

Tito and Kitsune

In conclusion, my biggest advice is to have patience. Patience will mean having a much better adjusted cat (or cats). Otherwise, sudden changes can lead to behavior problems and that’s no fun at all.


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Woof! Baa! Wow!

A friend of the blog (aoeu) posted this elsewhere. I’m grateful. I saw this and was amazed. Yes, it’s a bit funny, but when you think about the sheer talent that went into making this video, it’s more than funny. It’s amazing. The coordination between the dogs and their handlers is incredible.


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Hiking up Sweeney Ridge

In 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola was looking for Monterey Bay. Having missed it, he anchored off of what is now Pacifica. Short on food and water, Portola and a group climbed to the top of what is now known as Sweeney Ridge. It is where the first documented sighting of San Francisco Bay occurred. Previously, everyone had missed the bay due the the fog.

Sweeny Ridge is located in Northern San Mateo county and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area or GGNRA. You can find out how to get there by going here. Do be sure to dress warmly. The wind is always blowing at the top and it can be quite chilly.

This is the start of the trail at the end of Sneath Lane.  The climb is gentle at the start, but the trail does get steep later on.

Sweeney Ridge

This is the road that leads to the San Andreas Lake. It is off limits to everyone.

Sweeney Ridge

This is the beginning of the fog line. That’s the line down the center of road. The road is only one lane wide, and it was almost impossible to navigate without the fog line. I neglected to mention that the road leads to an old military installation. The trail gets pretty steep after this point.

Sweeney Ridge

This is about halfway up and looking back at San Andreas lake.

Sweeney Ridge

At the top, the views are stunning. The East Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pacific Ocean, and North Bay are all visible from the top. This is looking to the West at the Pacific.

Sweeney Ridge

The trail will lead you to the monument that commemorates the Portola Expedition and their sighting of the bay.

Sweeney Ridge

This is a nice view of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the South.

Sweeney Ridge

Sweeney Ridge is a great place to hike. There are two other trails to the top. One starts in Pacifica and the other starts at Skyline College. Whichever trail you choose, it’s worth it. The views are stunning.


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Friday Night Cat Blogging

Friday evening is the time for the boys to shine. They inspire us, after all.

Tito is showing off his white gut. That gut is MUCH smaller now that Kitsy is giving him a run for his money every morning and evening.

Next, we have Kitsy looking like the shameless, nekkid golem that he is. He was daintily dancing pirouettes while escorting me to the kitchen earlier. They weren’t the trip-you-up kind either.

And last, but never least, we have the kitty who gave us the inspiration we needed to adopt the other two and start blogging. He inspired us and made us better people.  We lost him last year to lymphoma.  I suspect that he is watching over another kitty named Lil Goober.  I’m sure they’ll be waiting at the rainbow bridge for us.


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Trailblazers: Stories of the Explorers

When I was a very young girl, I read a biography of John Muir. I developed a tremendous respect for him and his accomplishments.   John Muir was an extraordinary explorer and naturalist.  Later, I read his writings.   Thanks to him, I have always loved reading about the explorers or their journals and books.

Excerpt from My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

After[Pg 118] withdrawing from such places, excited with the view I had got, I would say to myself, “Now don’t go out on the verge again.” But in the face of Yosemite scenery cautious remonstrance is vain; under its spell one’s body seems to go where it likes with a will over which we seem to have scarce any control.
After a mile or so of this memorable cliff work I approached Yosemite Creek, admiring its easy, graceful, confident gestures as it comes bravely forward in its narrow channel, singing the last of its mountain songs on its way to its fate—a few rods more over the shining granite, then down half a mile in showy foam to another world, to be lost in the Merced, where climate, vegetation, inhabitants, all are different. Emerging from its last gorge, it glides in wide lace-like rapids down a smooth incline into a pool where it seems to rest and compose its gray, agitated waters before taking the grand plunge, then slowly slipping over the lip of the pool basin, it descends another glossy slope with rapidly accelerated speed to the brink of the tremendous cliff, and with sublime, fateful confidence springs out free in the air.
I took off my shoes and stockings and worked my way cautiously down alongside the rushing flood, keeping my feet and hands pressed firmly on the polished rock. The booming, roaring[Pg 119] water, rushing past close to my head, was very exciting. I had expected that the sloping apron would terminate with the perpendicular wall of the valley, and that from the foot of it, where it is less steeply inclined, I should be able to lean far enough out to see the forms and behavior of the fall all the way down to the bottom. But I found that there was yet another small brow over which I could not see, and which appeared to be too steep for mortal feet. Scanning it keenly, I discovered a narrow shelf about three inches wide on the very brink, just wide enough for a rest for one’s heels. But there seemed to be no way of reaching it over so steep a brow. At length, after careful scrutiny of the surface, I found an irregular edge of a flake of the rock some distance back from the margin of the torrent. If I was to get down to the brink at all that rough edge, which might offer slight finger-holds, was the only way. But the slope beside it looked dangerously smooth and steep, and the swift roaring flood beneath, overhead, and beside me was very nerve-trying. I therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless. Tufts of artemisia were growing in clefts of the rock near by, and I filled my mouth with the bitter leaves, hoping they might help to prevent giddiness. Then, with a caution not known in ordinary cir[Pg 120]cumstances, I crept down safely to the little ledge, got my heels well planted on it, then shuffled in a horizontal direction twenty or thirty feet until close to the outplunging current, which, by the time it had descended thus far, was already white. Here I obtained a perfectly free view down into the heart of the snowy, chanting throng of comet-like streamers, into which the body of the fall soon separates.
While perched on that narrow niche I was not distinctly conscious of danger. The tremendous grandeur of the fall in form and sound and motion, acting at close range, smothered the sense of fear, and in such places one’s body takes keen care for safety on its own account. How long I remained down there, or how I returned, I can hardly tell. Anyhow I had a glorious time, and got back to camp about dark, enjoying triumphant exhilaration soon followed by dull weariness. Hereafter I’ll try to keep from such extravagant, nerve-straining places. Yet such a day is well worth venturing for. My first view of the High Sierra, first view looking down into Yosemite, the death song of Yosemite Creek, and its flight over the vast cliff, each one of these is of itself enough for a great life-long landscape fortune—a most memorable day of days—enjoyment enough to kill if that were possible.

The rest of this book can be found at Gutenberg Press

This work is copyright free. I have obeyed the rules of Gutenberg by NOT changing anything about the posted segment, with the exception of the font, which is permitted. This is the reason you may find inconsistent spellings and page numbers listed.

You can read the entire license agreement here.


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