In reference to the Dec. 28, 2010 blog Of Pencils and Pianos: I have a new update. Howard the cat has necessitated making some changes. He is always causing trouble of some sort. My mother calls him Dennis the Menace, and for good reason. He is always into some sort of mischief.
The Tether Technique of Tying a Pencil to Your Piano recommended by my tuner, Al Moles, has been successful in preventing wayward pencils from being swallowed up by the piano. I had originally used a red string, to match the errant red pencil, but Howard the cat did some flossing and bit the string in two.
Thus, it came time to be the designer that I am and color coordinate the string and pencil to the room accordingly. I have to say I have grown fond of the leashed pencil. I never lose it now and it makes me laugh!
This handsome black pencil with black eraser, complements of Holly Hunt, fit the bill nicely. Twine in a natural color from the basement workroom meant I didn't have to go shopping.
Howard playing Music for Marcel Duchamp
There are times that I have been in another room of the house and heard harmonic and dissonant chords being played. It is the kitten on the keys. My other cat, Simon, has no interest in playing, but Howard has a some real potential channeling composers such as John Cage.
My tuner, Al Moles, warns me though, that he has heard stories of cats sharpening their claws on the felts, both under the strings and on the hammers. Now THAT would be a CATastrophe! I always keep the top closed to prevent that from happening. But if I'm playing, Howard has a way of jumping up to play if I leave for a break or whatever.
Paul L. Jansen and Son
artist bench in leather (not vinyl!)
I bought this artist bench when I bought the piano. The cats never touched it. One day, however, six years later, I heard the distinctive sound of cat clawing. I rushed in to the living room to find Howard doing his dastardly deed on the bench. I was horrified, but fortunately I caught him before he did any real damage. You can see a few "pin pricks" on the leather, and I hate that it's not perfect anymore, but what can you do? Now I have to remember to put sheet music on the bench when it is not in use, to prevent any more damages. Cats! You can love them and hate them, but I can't live without them!