Mr. Elvis

Elvis the cat is completely blind and perhaps completely deaf. He gets along fine though and is a good groomer. My wife is away and I needed to clean his room today. As a result of his car accidents, his nasal passages and sinus’s are not quite right. To put it frankly, he snots a lot. The floor in his room was just a mess with boogs. I used a table knife and hot water with detergent to get them cleaned up.

But first I had to get him out of the room as I needed to vacuum also. I set him up in the master bathroom with a box, a bunk, food, and water. Then went to work. Vacuumed up all of the food crumbs and then washed the floor. Once it was all cleaned up, I put him back and he seemed to be happy again.

Elvis meows or howls at the top of his lungs 1. When he is hungry, 2. When he uses his box, 3. When he has found his bed and is ready to lay down. He seems to sense also when you walk through the room to check on him. Sometimes that will set him off as well. He wakes up hungry between 4:30AM and 5:30AM. So even though I am on vacation, I have been getting up each day. At the same time, I put out new feed for the other cats, change the boxes, and feed the birds. Then I can go back to bed until 7:00 or so.

Each evening, Elvis gets a walk outside and then walks around the kitchen while the other cats are fed. Here is a picture of Elvis on his walk singing his little song.

Elvis takes a walk


I got up early this morning so that I could take pictures in Fountain Inn of the Fall weather. I have posted a few of them at the Weather Underground picture site. I will select a few more perhaps and put them up to Flickr. When I got back Elvis was sleeping.

I started raking after the pictures were up, took a break for lunch. After lunch, I brought Elvis outside to help me. He wandered about while I raked. If he got too far I would bring him back, hold him a bit, give him some pats, set him down, rake some more, repeat for about an hour.

I still have the back yard to do. I had better get back to it to finish before dark.

Hillard and Harry

Harry and Hillard formerly fought. So much so that we kept one inside when the other was out. But at some point I grew tired and let them both be out. After a couple of years of that, they are rarely more than 20 yards apart when they are out. One is always watching the the other. If one is getting pats, the other will approach and act like he needs to be patted too. If one is watching squirrels, the other is watching him. It is so funny.

But today they both smell like the clothes fresh out of the dryer. Something about the hot sun of a warm day caused their fur to smell like hot clean clothes.

Elvis and Hillard

Elvis if feeling better now. He seems very perky.

Hillard on the other hand does not like his medicine and spits it out. He may have heaved a bunch of cat crunchies this morning. I only saw the evidence, not the cat responsible. I hope that either he does not need the medicine, or in the alternative, he is getting enough of it to knock out any infection.

Cat Bed

I have made a number of beds for the cats. This is a fairly quick and simple project. You need a table saw or a router with a 1/4 inch cutter that will cut to 3/8 inch depth.

I noticed that the cats liked cardboard and corrugated boxes and box lids of a certain size. This is the size that I made the box out of wood. The sides are a little higher than the preferred lids but my wife makes Polar Fleece “puffs” to fill the bottom and the cats seem to like them.

The first box lid that the cats liked was the tray that came in the citrus fruit from Florida. This tray had doubled sides and seemed to be a particular favorite of the cats and so became the model for size and proportion. This one is 16 by 10 1/2 inside. This makes the length 17 1/2 and the width 12 inches.

The basic idea is simple. Four sides and a bottom. The bottom is fairly fixed. It is 1/4 inch plywood. The sides give lots of options.

The first option is the choice of material. Pine, oak, and cedar are good choices. Pine is inexpensive and easy to find and work with. Oak is pricey and pretty. Oak looks good indoors and ages gracefully outdoors. Cedar is rot resistant and can be pretty. Not too expensive but cedar splits easily if the corner screws are over tightened. The height can by the 5 1/2 inch width of 1 by 6 or the 7 1/2 inch width of 1 by 8. And a couple that we have are from 1 by 4. Of course the 1 by is 3/4 inch thick.

The box construction is straight-forward. A rectangle with the long sides (length) overlapping the ends (width). The bottom is set in a groove around the bottom. The groove is 3/8 inch deep in the 3/4 inch thick sides. Cut the plywood about 5/8 inch wider than the width and 7/8 inch shorter than the length.

For the box above, this would be 2 pieces 17 1/2 inches and 2 pieces 10 1/2 inches. The bottom is 16 5/8 by 11 1/8.

NOTE: Follow all general and specific safety instructions for the tools you use.

Cut the side and ends to length. Set the saw blade (or router cutter) height to 3/8 inch above the table and remove the splitter so that you can dado a grove. Be very careful if this leaves the blade unguarded. Check the height with a piece of scrap and adjust it until it is just the right height. If you are using a router, you and your router may be happier and your cutter may last longer if you make several passes increasing the depth until the final depth is reached.

Set the fence so the close edge of the blade is 3/8 from the fence. Carefully make a pass through each piece. If you are using a 1/8 inch saw blade go on to the next step. If you are using a 1/4 inch router cutter, skip the next step.

Reset the fence so that the far edge of the blade is 5/8 from the fence and just a scosch more. Test it with the scrap. Try the plywood bottom for fit in the slot. If it is loose, move the fence closer. If tight, move the fence a bit farther way. When adjusted, make sure that you hold the previously cut edge toward the fence and carefully make a pass through each piece. When you have cut both sides, you may need to clean out the bottom of the groove with a 1/4 inch chisel.
You now have a 1/4 inch groove in all 4 pieces.

Trial fit the sides and ends against the plywood. The plywood should fully close the bottom. The sides should mate up tightly against ends.

Drill and countersink a hole in each side 1 1/4 inch from the bottom and another 1 inch from the top. IMPORTANT: Assemble with brass screws. Steel screws and galvanized screws will leave stains on the wood. Brass screws will turn a pretty verdigris if they do anything.

Line with a blanket made from Polar Fleece. Make sure that there are several thicknesses and that the ends and sides of the liner extend beyond the wooden sides.


Adah has become a bit of a frustration as she does not want to go outside. Even when she goes out, she “pees” on the rag rug on the garage step. Or else she uses a clean catbox inside. Between Elvis, Adah, and Tabbie, there are about 10 boxes per day on a rainy day. So today was a clear, warm day. Adah was to spend the day outside. I was working on my car. She likes to come inside the peaceful interior of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser. Her little gray exterior goes so well with the the Cruiser’s gray interior. So she was there in the backseat while I working under the dashboard in the front seat.

Hillard Goes to the Doctor

Now it is Hillard who gets to see the doctor. He had a bite on his paw from some overnight conflict. He will have 10 days of 1.5 ml of cephadroxil as Cefa-drops. He is pretty easy to medicate with the supplied syringe. I put it in the corner of his mouth, get him to unclench his teeth and squirt as 2 small shots.

Elvis is sick

Elvis had to go to the vet today. He was making messes on the floor when he did not make to his box in time. The vet evaluated his stool and gave him a pill for spirochetes. He seems a bit better this afternoon.


It has been quite a while since I have written about Elvis. He is still very much a part of our lives. He is our only permanently indoor cat. He has take over my daughter’s room since she is off at college. Since he is completely blind (we think), it is remarkable that he finds his way around the room. My daughter’s American Girl dolls sit atop their bunk beds under the window. Elvis finds his way up there to sit in the sun beam when he wants to. He comes down and uses the litter box (there are two in diagonally opposite corners) and to find his food. His feeding station has a bowl for half a can of wet food twice per day. Two flavors of crunchy food in an oval bowl and a deep large water bowl.

Elvis walks outside every day that it is not too cold, windy or wet. He used to follow a tapping or dragging stick but something has changed and he is not too good at that anymore. My wife wears flip-flops when she takes him. But since she is out of town, I have been trying to get him to follow my shoes with mixed results. He likes to walk in the gutter next to the curbing. This slight trough keeps him in line until he wanders off in an odd direction. Each time the ground changes texture, he stops to sharpen his claws (leave a paw mark). Whether he can smell those or it is just to let other know he stopped by I do not know. He had a possible stroke in December but seems mostly recovered. Sometimes he walks in a small circle in his room. That might just be because he needs to walk. He is always affectionate when he gets pats or is being held. He is a sweet old cat.


My son reminded me that we should replace the smoke detectors that came with the house. We have been here 13 years and the USFA suggests that 10 years is the life of a smoke detector.

User requirements: Same size as old model – no repainting or touch up. AC power. Common Alarm.

I found a replacement at Lowe’s in a 2-pack. Just what we need. When I told Phillip that he would be doing the installation, he was a bit taken aback. He has never done the electrical work. He found the circuit breaker while I was at work since he had a holiday off. We needed to replace the connector plug for each unit as the new detectors were a different brand than the ones the builder had installed.

He did the first unit but somehow the wire nuts did not connect properly. May they just needed a bit more twist as that is all that I did. On the second unit, he was uncertain that the circuit was dead and was reluctant to work on it. He did point out that the thing had not had power for some time as the hot lead had pulled out of the old plug and was loose in the box. It was a plastic box or it would have shorted and blown the breaker. Even though I pointed out that it was the “middle” of the circuit as a pair of black and white came into the box and another left and we could tell that the other unit was off, he let me do this one.

After much discussion about the radioactive ion detector, Phillip found a source on the web that said that we could dispose of the units in the trash. So I threw them in the covered trash can in the kitchen. A couple of days later, before the trash went out, they started to chirp. I had not checked that the batteries were removed and the decomposition products in the trash were enough to set them off. I had to fish them out and get the batteries out.

We also discovered that the Elvis, our cat that is blind and mostly deaf, can hear the smoke alarm just fine. He starts singing at the top of his lungs when he hears it. If there is a problem, we will not be forgetting him.