Archive for the 'Animals' Category

Best Birthday Ever!

For my birthday, Chad took me to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and I got to meet Happy the Penguin! It was AWESOME!

chris on December 16th 2015 in Animals


“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so it is with us; we had begun to bandy about the idea of finding a friend for Kimi, when this little hungry, wet tortie found Chad.

This sweet little kitten with impeccable timing showed up on brew day. By happenstance right on the heels of several conversations revolving around Kimi needing someone she could chase who wasn’t terrified of her.

Poor Duncan & Fionnlaugh were scared of their kitty sister and wanted no part in being chased. So clearly the answer to this problem was to find a kitten. 

After spending a few days in the kitten containment unit (aka the ferrets’ playpen) and having her first check up, it’s now time to set about integrating our new little tortie girl into the fold.

And so we introduce Nyx, named after the Greek goddess of the night, as the newest member of the Matlick household.


Here’s some bonus kitty belly rubs – Chad


chris on November 15th 2015 in Animals, Family

Farewell Shadowfax

It is with a very heavy heart that we bid farewell to our big girl, Shadowfax. The Princess. Weasel Alpha. The Big Weasel.


Two and half years ago, after our ferret room had been empty far too long, we took a trip to Hide-e-Hole ferret shelter. We came home with three ferrets. Shadowfax was The Boss. She was all muscle, all brain and a little OCD. She was in her new home maybe 15 minutes before she nearly made it over the ferret room’s Dutch door. That was our preview to life with Shadowfax.  Constantly being outsmarted and surprised by what she managed.

The dresser they all loved to sleep in? Yeah, she slept in the 2nd drawer up, because she could. That about gave me a stroke when I couldn’t find her anywhere and in desperation pulled the next drawer open. There she was. “Hi, Mom.” How? How indeed. She’d pushed the second drawer out while standing on the back of the first drawer and then climbed on up. Honest to goodness. That girl.

Our Big Girl loved mousecicles. There was a particular way in which she and Duncan would have them. First Shadowfax would take take the one she wanted. Then after eating the best part first (I’ll spare you the details) she would put the rest of hers in a corner. And then she’d take Duncan’s, whether he was done or not, and place it along side hers.

Shadowfax also had a better sense of time than I ever will. If it was closing in on dinner time, she would go to the kitchen and lay on my feet. If that didn’t work, she’d put her cold little nose up my pant leg. And if that didn’t work, she’d stand on her hind legs and put her front foot on my leg.

If I picked her up, she’d use me a launchpad to try to reach the counter top to get her dinner herself. And if I thought I’d be clever and hold the bag of mousecicles up above her head, that didn’t work out so well. For a little short legged critter, she had a heck of a vertical jump! Chasing her through the house as she ran with her stolen mousecicle was part and parcel of life with her.

One morning I was running late. I walked into the kitchen…to find her on the kitchen table, previously potted plant and soil all over the table and her standing smack in the middle of it staring me down. As far as she was concerned, I needed to get it together! Breakfast was late and that was unacceptable!

Life with Shadowfax was never predictable. One evening I went to their room and the louvered doors to the washer and dryer had been left open a crack. And there she was, standing just where they opened. I called to her. She usually would come right away. But nope, not having any of it that night. So I went to pick her up and she backed up. Which is when I saw what she was guarding….a former mouse, now headless. Oh yes, she’d caught herself dinner. Delightful. I scooped her up and called in Chad to dispose of the remains.

Shadowfax was just over four years old when she came home with us. After a while, Big Weasel developed a bump on the top of her noggin. It was a bone growth; it looked like the nubbin of a unicorn horn. That wasn’t a problem. A cyst formed on top of the bump and that’s what eventually took our little one from us. We thought she’d be with us at least four years, if not longer. It was a terrible shock to lose her at six-and-a-half years old. Our Princess drifted off in her sleep as she lay by my side.  We buried her in the shade of the trees, near a creek, on Chad’s family’s land. Godspeed Big Girl, it won’t be the same here without out you.

chris on November 8th 2015 in Animals, Family, Uncategorized

Farewell, Freyr

It is with very heavy hearts that Chad and I say goodbye to our little boy-cat, Freyr.

In the summer of 2000, we were looking for a kitten that could handle two ferrets (Fidget & Hotspur) while keeping Ghost company. As luck would have it, my friend Steph just happened to have a bunch of kittens. We wanted to see how the kittens would react to the ferrets, so we let Fidget & Hotspur pick out the newest member of the family.  I’ll never forget how the kittens spilled out everywhere when Steph opened the carrier. The ferrets went crazy chasing the little furballs and the kittens went bananas trying to get away. Except the red tabby kitten with hints of platinum, who would shortly be named Freyr. He wasn’t exactly brave, but he wasn’t freaking out and trying to get away. He was the one.

Upon being presented with her little brother, Ghost exhibited the typical disdain she kept for any new cat we would bring home in the ensuing years. The ferrets though, they loved the new toy in their life. Poor Freyr. Poor handsome, soft, red tabby Freyr. He was dragged under the sofa and stashed so many times. Our little boy just cried and squealed and, fortunately for him, soon became too big to be stashed. He was exactly what we needed.

One Spring Freyr became “Momma” Freyr to a litter of feral kittens that were born under our pine tree. Ghost wanted nothing to do with the little heathens. But Freyr, oh he heard their cries and came barreling down to see what the Hell we were doing to those babies. They were not sure of us humans, but they took to Freyr immediately as he set about bathing them and taking care of them. They were his. One of those kittens would stay with us, Freyr’s baby Seti. And woe be it to anyone who upset her. He took care of his baby Seti until we lost her.

At the time Freyr came to us, we lived in a small house. It had three rooms on the first floor. We would be in the living room and out of nowhere, Freyr would start crying, as if to say, “Where are you guys?”  We’d call for him and eventually he’d find us and stop crying. We started saying Freyr was lost any time he cried like that. He got lost a lot. We never said he was brilliant, but he was soft and loving and that was enough for us. Among Freyr’s other hobbies, besides getting lost in a tiny house, included demanding to go out in the back yard so he could eat plants, sitting high up on whatever was available, and walking on a leash. Unlike every other pet we have ever had, we could put the ridiculous hot pink harness (bought for Ghost) on him and he would walk around on a leash better than most dogs I know. We could walk him around the block and he’d go, tail held straight up, swaggering like a tiger. He gave no cares whatsoever.

Freyr, for some unknown reason hated dogs. And he was willing to try to rid the world of their presence, one at a time. One of the best Freyr stories, the one that I always think of, is this. We were babysitting Mom’s rottweiler Major. Now Major lived with cats and ferrets and was just a happy (big) dog. I had just come home and was bringing Major inside with me. I walked into the dining room. She was on my left. I looked into the living room – the french doors were open and I could see Chad on the sofa also to my left – and suddenly this: Chad shouting loudly, Freyr flying through the air towards me and Major; legs extended, claws flexed, tail puffed up and straight and screaming like a banshee! I grabbed Major and sorta hipchecked her into the kitchen and shut the door. Freyr landed, all puffed up and making some seriously insane noises. His fur was shedding and floating all over. I started yelling at Chad for throwing Freyr. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. He hadn’t thrown Freyr. When Freyr saw Major in HIS house, he used Chad’s thigh (now bleeding from claw wounds) as a launching pad for his flying attack on the dog. Yep. Nine pound Freyr was going after 100+ pounds of (clueless) dog.  Major was just the first in a long line of canines Freyr went after during his 15 years. He tortured Harper, Deanna’s happy go lucky dog, quietly threatening poor Harper who was in a crate. It wasn’t until Harper’s howling got someone out of bed that Freyr was found out. And as soon as my friend Kim’s little miniature schnauzer Lexie walked into our house, Freyr was ready to turn her into pup nuggets. Freyr may have been 9 pounds, but he saw himself as a big red tiger. One of his last acts was to threaten a little white fluffy dog with grievous bodily harm. That was our boy.

So we bid our little boy cat a fond farewell. Fifteeen years is a long time, but it wasn’t really long enough. We thought he’d be around a lot longer. You were the good boy, Freyr. We’ll miss you.


chris on July 9th 2015 in Animals, Family