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Surviving rain, snow, sleet, hail and scared kittens: Top 10 bad weather basics

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It's raining and hailing in California, it's so many degrees below zero in Wisconsin that Ellen DeGeneres shivered when she announced it on her show, and - most important in our household - Bob the Kitten is not pleased. And when Bob isn't happy, nobody's happy. Because he has a meow louder than the thunder, a whimper more pitiful than a baby without its pacifier and nails that can dig into your flesh like a tetanus shot at 2 a.m.

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And we admit it: We aren't fond of electricity outages, listening to the radio announce intensified storms and warnings to stay inside and all the other un-fun of bad weather.

So with that in mind, we've got our top ten bad weather basics:

  • Got a cat? You need a laser pointer. When the electricity goes out, keep the cat entertained and get him tired out by playing laser pointer tag. Then use it to read. Bob the Kitten recommends SmartyKat LocoLaser Interactive Laser Pointer (click for details).
  • Got cold? Warm up with high quality hot cocoa. For a guilt-free version, we recommend Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Sensible Sweets, No Sugar Added (click for more information).
  • Kitten entertainment rule: Prime playtime is 2 a.m. Also 3 a.m. Uh, and 4 a.m.? (Oh, Bob, why?) Hide an interactive cat toy until that witching hour - then get the cat to play solo while you snooze (ahhh). Our cat-tested, five paws high recommendation includes a scratching pad as well: Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy (click for details).
  • Have an old-fashioned, battery-operated CD player with soothing music ready. It will calm kittens, kids and, yes, you.
  • Remember in the olden days when games didn't require electricity? Have several on hand, such as Boggle and Bananagrams. Our favorite: Big Boggle (click for details).
  • Wine and wine corks: Can't drive, so it's the perfect time for that vintage wine. Save and wash the wine cork for the kitten.
  • Ping pong balls: Set up a ping pong ball or two in a big box. Place the kitten inside. Ping, pong, ping, pong.
  • Jump rope: Can't get to the gym? Work off those calories from the hot chocolate and wine with a jump rope. Also great for cat entertainment ("haha, look, stupid human tricks!).
  • BIG flashlight: Good for finding kittens meowing under your bed, reading and hunting for your hidden stash of extra-dark emergency chocolate. We like: Dorcy 41-2510 Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight with Carabineer Clip.
  • Writing paper: Remember Great-Aunt Myrtle who thinks computers are explosives? Write her an old-fashioned letter to say you love her. Enclosed a photo of your kitten and kid at their cutest and brighten her day (even if the electricity is out).

And a final note from Bob the Kitten: "Keep cat food on hand with extra treats. Catnip helps. Meow!"

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