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Bike racers, food and cats

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 at 2:27 pm in Cats, Pets.

It can sometimes get a little "wild" around my house.

Last weekend, our bike racer son, Karl, pulled up in front of the house in a huge van filled with 8 members of the UC Santa Barbara bike racing team, and towing a 10-foot long trailer full of racing bikes. UC Santa Barbara had a series of races scheduled with UC Berkeley on Saturday and Sunday and they needed a place to sleep on Friday and Saturday nights, and most important … they needed a place to eat.

(Translation: My wife Lois and I spent the weekend cooking for 8 ravenous college students who were fully prepared to gobble up everything in sight, including the kitchen sink. Bike racers burn up enormous amounts of calories and need to eat huge quantities of food to replace them. As an example, for Saturday night’s dinner, Lois and I served a king-size lasagna, 4 roast chickens, 3 loaves of seeded French bread, and a homemade peach pie for our 8 visitors. Later, before they went to bed, they snacked on 16 bananas, a gallon of ice cream, and a whole loaf of banana bread Lois had baked the day before, slathered with cream cheese.)

I’m always interested in observing how our two cats, Tut and Newman, react when these hordes of starving creatures descend on our household (yes, this has happened before).

At the first knock on the door, Newman, who runs through solid walls if somebody whispers "BOO" in his ear, immediately dashes downstairs to the spare bedroom off the garage we use as a home office and hides in his litter box in the bathroom (the Cat Room).

Tut, on the other paw, loves crowds and is always waiting at the front door to let them in.

And dear old Gary, grouch that I am (just ask the cats), always steps in at this point, boots Tut downstairs to the cat room (figuratively speaking, of course, so no e-mails please) and closes the door at the top of the stairs and shoves a chair under the door knob (Tut knows how to open the door). Those college kids leave open too many doors as they come and go and I’m always afraid our indoor kitties will slip outside if I don’t keep them locked up.

All weekend, every morning when I went down to feed the cats, Tut would stalk me at the bottom of the stairs and DEMAND to know why I wouldn’t let him out to play with Karl and his biker friends. Finally, I sat down on the floor beside him and explained about the primitive eating habits of bike racers and said I was afraid they would eat him and Newman if I let them out.

In the background I could hear moaning sounds coming from Newman’s litter box.

"Oh dear," Tut sighed. "That’s different. Can you recommend any good books here in your reference library I can read until they leave?" I reached over and gave him a copy of "How to Live With Humans for Idiots."

It’s been almost four days since Karl and his bike racer friends left to drive back down to school in Santa Barbara, and I’m still tired … 

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