A day in Dobrzyn, with added cat

January 2, 2014 • 10:50 am

Here are just a few photographs from yesterday, and of course the Queen takes precedence.

Dinner was a delectable pork roast with apples, mashed potatoes (with pork-roast gravy), pickled coleslaw (a cross between coleslaw and sauerkraut) and a good Polish beer.


Upstairs lives a teacher at the local school, Gosia, and her daughter, along with their black cat “Fitness” (so called because he was rescued as a kitten outside a health club). Fitness and Hili do not get along: although they used to tolerate each other, Fitness now chases Hili when they are together. Thus they are not allowed outside at the same time. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, Gosia puts a two-sided sign on the front windowsill that gives Fitness’s status.

“Fitness is at home” (happy face): Hili can go out.

Fitness in

“Fitness is outside” (sad face): Hili should not go out.

Fitness out

The Queen, waiting for noms. She is on a diet because she’s been putting on weight lately. This is a difficult exercise because Hili noms rodents outside (see yesterday’s post), so any deficit of cat food at home is compensated by her increased and uncontrollable consumption of rodents.

Waiting for noms

Hili helps me with the dishes:

Hili helping me wash dishes

It is time to weigh her. Andrzej on the scales with Hili: 73.5 kilo.

Hili weighed 1

Andrzej without Hili: 69 kilos. Weight of Hili: 4.5 kilos (9.9 lb). Not too bad, but a tad fluffy.

Hili weighed 2

Walkies: A man and his cat:


Hili will climb when you tap a branch. She’s quite agile in the trees, but doesn’t have many “down” genes.


It is not too cold here (about 0° C), but after a few hours outside, Hili announced her desire to come in by the usual trick of jumping onto the windowsill.  When I went out to let her in, she remained on the windowsill, and when I asked Malgorzata about this, she said, “Hili wants to be carried in.” Sure enough, Malgorzata went outside, fetched the cat and carried her inside. What a diva that cat is!

Hili at window

Bedtime for moggies. Hili crawls under Malgorzata’s legs when she’s resting on the couch.

Asleep on M's feet

48 thoughts on “A day in Dobrzyn, with added cat

  1. Jerry just went to Poland to escape Chicago winter. The snow that began on New Year’s Eve finally stopped today – 10 to 17 inches total depending on where you live. Those close to Lake Michigan (which includes Jerry) will be getting another 3 to 5 inches of lake effect snow today. Indiana and Michigan will get a foot or two. And then the cold. On Monday, the HIGH temperature will be -6F (-21C). The low will be -13F (-25C). That is the air temperature without wind chill. We have had over 20 inches of snow so far this winter. About double normal. Last year at this time, we had less than an inch.

    Poland is looking pretty good. Miami would be even better.

    1. Yep. It was -16 C at lunch here and it is expected to go down to around -23 C with a -29 C wind chill! It is scary cold out there right now!

      1. Seems to me like you’ve just had a wee bit too much eggnog and / or cider, and that you’ve mistraken your walk-in freezer for the front door.

        You must do an awful lot of entertaining to have a walk-in freezer. I can imagine the coolness (heh) factor of one, but I can’t imagine having anywhere near enough food to fill it up.



        1. As a student I worked at an ice cream place that made its own ice cream. We kept the tubs of it in a regular freezer and extra in a deep freeze that was around -20C. We moved the really frozen stuff into the less cold freezer regularly.

          On occasion we would be out of a flavour and it would only be in the deep free. I remember telling a customer this and they didn’t believe me and accused me of being lazy. So I brought out the barrel of ice cream, opened it and bounced the ice cream scoop off the ice cream. Their eyes widened and they believed me.

          That’s about the temperature outside right now. I so wish it were just a freezer and it was really summer outside.

          1. I like my ice cream firm and cold, but that does seem to be a bit much.

            Perhaps it’s time to pretend you’re religious, and just have faith that it’s not cold outside?

            …or, I suppose, you could toss another sweater on the fire and put on another log….


      2. Diana – Where are you? The bitter cold is not supposed to reach Chicago until Sunday night. Right now it is 16F (-9C). The snow we had is heading east – get ready Boston, New York, et al.

        1. I’m in Southern Ontario. We get the lovely arctic cold first bit it is on its way south. Enjoy! 🙂

        1. Yeah, my Winterpeg friend said the windchill was like -50C! I certainly hope they don’t get anything like that recent ice storm that put a ton of people in Toronto and elsewhere in the deep freeze, with no electricity.

          1. Fun and games here in Winnipeg for sure. We don’t generally get ice storms like that one out East. When it’s really cold like this, we get gorgeous sunny, blue skies and no precipitation. If we’re lucky there are sun d*gs too. (Sun cats are smart enough to be inside!)

          2. Yeah I lost power for 24 hours but had a generator to keep things going. When I lose power, I can’t get water because I live in the country & I’m on a well & therefore need electricity to get the water out of the well.

            1. Some family members in Toronto were left out in the cold for several days, from Saturday to Xmas day. As you must know, there are still some people with more complicated electrical issues that have to be fixed before they can get back on the grid. Poor souls! Nine days and counting! Nutz.

    2. I am so jealous!
      London at 9am on 3rd is blue sky & sunny after torrential rain at 7am – 9c which is mild to me – I was sweating & I almost never wear a coat. Already had 20mm rain since the new year began…

  2. Being a lover of ALL cats — but owned by a black one — would love to see a photo of Fitness. Don’t tell Hili 🙂

  3. Hili’s stoutness might have more to do with the specific foods she’s eating than the quantity. Commercial cat foods, despite frequent claims to the contrary on the labels (and even veterinarian recommendations), are often the feline equivalent of Twinkies and potato chips. Not necessarily a bad thing as an occasional treat, but not good as a dietary staple.

    The rodents she eats are the ultimate ideal cat food. She’s not going to get fat eating them.

    For indoors food…I don’t know what’s available in Poland. Here in the States, there’re several brands with several varieties each of frozen raw foods. Just move the next day’s portion from the freezer to the refrigerator, and then serve from the refrigerator. Most boutique pet shops here carry at least one or two brands.

    But, A & M, seeing how comfortable you are in the kitchen, I suspect the real answer would be to make Hili’s food. The basics are simple and quick, assuming you have a meat grinder: grind whole fresh raw chicken (or rabbit, etc. pieces, skin and bone and all, and then mix with either organ meat in proper proportions or a nutritional supplement with the right amount of taurine. Maybe add a little bit of flax or fish oil or eggs or tuna juice or whatever for nutritional value and / or flavor. Fill ice cube trays with the mixture, freeze, and then defrost the day before as with commercial stuff.

    If that sort of thing interests you, there’s a lot of good information, including recipes, here:


    A word of caution…Dr. Pierson suffers from logorrhea. Don’t try to read every single word unless you’ve got nothing better to do. Skimming is highly recommended.



    1. If you want your cats to stay in good shape, don’t ‘fix’ them. My owner gets ad lib standard cat food (both dry and wet) and has his own plate at our dinner table (meat or fish and vegetables – he loves green beans) and is in perfect athletic shape.

      1. Granted, I have a sample size of one to work with…but Baihu got “tutored” very shortly after I invited him in off the streets (he was probably several months old), and his physique is textbook perfect.

        There’re overwhelming reasons to spay and neuter cats, and it’s perfectly possible for a neutered cat to have perfect health. Whether neutering might be a contributing factor to obesity I can’t say, but I can guarantee you that it’s emphatically not a deciding factor, and therefore not a good reason to refrain from doing.



          1. Baihu’s weight doesn’t noticeably change. Nor, for that matter, does his coat. Then again, what passes for “winter” here has daytime highs hovering around 70°F.

            We do usually get at least a few nights, often several, with hard freezes overnight — which is a serious problem for non-native vegetation. Most plants that can tolerate (or are happy with or require) freezes die in the summer. Most non-native plants that are happy with our summers have a hard time with a single freeze, and every several years we’ll get a serious cold snap that will kill off most non-native frost-sensitive plants.

            But, for the most part, our winters are like spring everywhere else.



  4. Wonderful photo essay. I particularly like the walkies panorama. Sure brightens up my day!

    And you can feel smug sitting in 0°C when it’s well below 0°F here in the frozen middle west of the US! (No temperature gloating now Ben G.! 🙂 )

    1. Gloating? There’s nothing worth gloating over, here. Why it’s a bit after noon right now and only just now has it warmed up enough that I can open the windows!


          1. July? Not so much. It only gets to then 110+ mark occasionally, and it still generally cools off to the 80s or even 70s overnight.

            August, on the other hand…add five degrees to July, and then add a non-trivial amount of humidity on top of it….


            1. Humidty in Phoenix? I suppose so many people have planted things and made pools, golf courses, etc., that you get humidity now.

              1. Not a bad guess, but our humidity is seasonal; moist air blows in from one of the gulfs (Baja or Mexico, depending on storm season activity, but mostly Baja, and occasionally just the Pacific) and we get lots (relatively) of thunderstorms. Most such storm mostly bring blowing dust and humid air, but we also get a fair amount of rain (and sometimes hail) out of them.

                Monsoon season used to be officially defined based on the first time we had so many consecutive days with a dew point above such-and-such, but they’ve given that up and just picked some fixed date on the calendar. In practice, it tends to start to pick up at the end of July (but sometimes earlier and sometimes later), reach its peak in August (again, give or take), and trail off in September.

                I should note that this isn’t at all the sort of thing where you can set your clock by the 3:00 rainstorm. Rather, this is the time when you’ll almost always see thunderheads piling up on one far side or the other of the Valley, but you’ll go at least several days, if not weeks, between actual storms that make it to wherever you are. Sometimes you’ll get a couple days in a row of storms if you’re especially lucky.



              2. Very interesting Ben. I’ve only been in the desert SW during April (preferably) or once in June (bloody hot). So I haven’t experienced the humid time. But I remember Ed Abbey writing a lot about the August T-storms in S. Utah and N. Arizona.

                April hiking in southern Utah: Morning, 30°F, hard frost, numb fingers. Noon: 75°F, 3pm, back to the car, 85+°F, 7pm, sun going down: Time to pull on the pile jacket (and drink my bottle of wine!). Love it.

                I was in Utah this summer and was astounded to find alcohol for sale all over the place, in bottle and in restaurants. Wow, things have changed! (I guess the LDS-ers figured out how much cash there is to be made selling it! 😉 )

              3. Those types of extreme temperature fluctuations are much more common in the northern high country, and especially if you’re on the move. Hike from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the river at certain times of the year and you can go from freezing to triple digits in a single day. That’s a serious challenge for hikers…how to layer (and de-layer) appropriately.

                Sadly, the heat island effect in the metro Phoenix area means that it doesn’t cool off at night…it’s not uncommon for it to still be 110°F at ten o’clock at night in July in some spots, and for it to still be in the 90s at dawn.

                I haven’t been in Utah (other than in transit, such as an airport layover or cutting across the southeast corner) since I was a teenager, and then only briefly. I do remember seeing an headline in the past couple days about how nervous Utah cops are now that Colorado has decriminalized marijuana, though….


              4. 110°F at 10pm?! Yikes! I don’t feel so bad about MN winter now …

                Worst we’ve had in summer was a couple of years ago: 5:00am, before sunrise, 84°F, 100% humidity (fog). It was like Malaysia. Highest dew point ever recorded in MN. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

                All that said, the HIGH here Monday is predicted to be -18°F (-28°C) and our governor has closed all the schools for Monday. Phoenix in January sounds really good …

              5. It’s not that bad, actually.

                You stay indoors where it’s airconditioned, of course. And temperatures that high aren’t unpleasant outdoors at night with a breeze — though be sure to drink plenty of water, as you’ll still be sweating plenty even if you don’t get wet. What you don’t do, unless you’re healthy and properly prepared and know what you’re doing, is physical exercise in the Sun that time of year. There’s always regular reports on the news of somebody from out-of-town getting in trouble in the urban parks (large undisturbed tracts of land, including the largest in the country, South Mountain Park) that time of year. People do, of course, still do everything (including heavy construction, roofing, run marathons, whatever) that time of year, but they work up to it and they’re careful about it.

                I’m gonna take a wild guess and suggest that there aren’t very many people who’re going to be outside on Monday there save for the time it takes to walk from a building to a car and vice-versa….



    1. Maybe Prof. Ceiling Cat could broker some kind of detente. I don’t like the thought of Hili being chased by Fitness. Maybe Fitness could be fattened up, to slow him down. 😛

  5. The term “walkies” reminds me of Barbara Woodhouse, the late dog trainer from England.
    But that’s beside the point. Jerry….you’re making my life very difficult with the displays of Polish food in the last few posts, as I’m trying to lose a few for the new year. I have looked up recipes for just about all of the delicious looking platters you have splayed out before us. The new year will have to start a few weeks late in 2014. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hili is such a beautiful cat. I hope her weight can be regulated. Lovely meal! I adore the photo with Hili snuggling between Margorzata’s feet and the blanket. Helping with the dishes? She could lick them clean. Not good for her diet though. 🙂

  7. All cats, especially those who spend time outside, put on weight in late fall and the beginning of winter. It is to protect them from the cold. They then naturally begin to shed that extra weight in late spring and are lean in the summer.

  8. I have a male cat (Murray) who just turned 15 years old. He looks almost exactly like ‘Hili’. He used to weigh 17 pounds, but now weighs only 12. Maybe Hili is a fine weight. Murray is a big cat; not fat at all. My cat lost weight when he had 6 teeth removed and was forced to eat only ‘wet’ cat food.

  9. -5F (-20C) here now. Every now and then the house makes a sort of percussive CRACK! that scares the bejeezus out of me.

    Love the photos, esp. the last one!

    1. -22 C here. Thankfully, this is my work from home day! I hated the 1 hour commute yesterday with the rather slick roads & I was in constant fear of black ice.

      1. -22°C here also this morming.

        Monday, the HIGH is supposed to be -24°C (-11°F). This is ridiculous!

        But it’s a cold late 2013/eraly 2014 here in the upper middle west of the US (and Canada, I’m very sure). One of the top three (bottom three?) coldest Novembers on record (while the rest of the world (so says NPR) experienced one of the warmest Novembers on record). December continued apace and January is looking the same.

        After last winter (snow the first week of November; still snowing at ~sea level on 3-May-2013) I figured we were due for a break. Guess not!

        1. Yeah, this is a bit early for the deep freeze here which usually only lasts about 2 weeks. A friend in Victoria, BC posted pictures of spring blossoms – grrrrr. But honestly, for some reason I don’t mind the weather this year. I love the sun being around and prefer it be horribly cold if I get sun instead of cloud.

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