Frivolous Friday—Where Does Your Cat Sleep?

lily2My dad had a refrigerator magnet that said, “If you want the best seat in the house, move the cat.” Those of you with cats certainly know the truth in that quip. Cats are not shy about charting out their territory and it’s usually where you’d rather they not shed, claw, or hack up a fur-ball.

We buy our cats cozy beds, but will they use them? Actually, our Sophie and Lily do, but they’re the first cats I’ve ever had who would curl up in their own designated bed. And it’s so cute when they do.

However, they don’t always sleep in their own beds. Both of our fur-girls prefer a easter2010-023human-size bed. But they also sleep across the back of the sofa by morning—to catch the rays shining through the window. Lily claims my lap as I work at the computer on a cloudy day and during the early morning hours before the sun’s up. She also likes my office chair and seems to know when I’m through for the day. Lily likes to tunnel. When she was a kitten, you’d often find her sleeping in the carpeted tunnel of the cat tree or inside the long tube we brought home for her to play inside. She also likes to crawl in under the blankets on my bed for a long, undisturbed afternoon nap.

You may have noticed that cats sleep a lot. Although, I’ve often wondered how deeply they sleep because they can sure wake up fast and without seeming groggy. According to Amy Shojai, animal behaviorist, cats sleep about 2/3 of their life away—that’s about 16 hours per day—more than almost any other animal. For more about cats and sleep, read Amy’s article here: http://cats.about.com/od/amyshojai/a/understanding-your-sleepy-cat.htm

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Thoughts for Thursday—The Power of a Kitten

Kitten 2ullSizeRenderYou may notice I’ve changed the title for the Thursday posts. Why? Well, in the beginning, I thought we’d do some giveaways. But no one seems interested. On Thursdays, we’ll now focus on something that encourages thought.

Today, I’d like to introduce a kitten who is so new and so unexpected that he or she still doesn’t have a name. Upon seeing her picture, I’ve decided she’s a girl and I’ll refer to her as such in this post. Since she should have a name, as well, let’s call her Amelia. Although, as far as we know, she has never flown, she is somewhat of an adventurer. I have this vision of her fleeing from a bad situation and waiting alongside the road for the right car carrying the right person. That person was Joanne. Of course, Joanne swerved, stopped, and pulled over when she saw the tiny kitten in front of her. And she did more—she picked Amelia up and took her home.

From the stories I’m hearing, Amelia is a charmer who has endeared herself to the couple KittenFullSizeRenderin the home as well as extended family members who make regular visits to play with and cuddle Amelia. Because of little Amelia, there’s more smiling going on in that family and more laughter in the household.

Kittens are magical in that they can change the very atmosphere in which we live. If you’ve ever adopted a kitten or had one visit, you know exactly what I mean. A tiny kitten such as Amelia has the ability to calm nerves, slow our pace, warm our heart, and increase our sense of joy. It’s well known that pets can encourage us to relax and can actually lower our blood pressure caused from stress. They can also help improve symptoms of depression.

What power these tiny fur-babies carry. You go, Amelia!

In case you’re interested, here’s a site listing 27 ways pets can improve your health. http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-pets-improve-your-health

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday—Cat Videos

lilysophie-030-2How can we get crazier and wilder than yesterday? I mean, who dresses their cats? While researching yesterday, I came across some fun cat videos. Do you have a favorite? Here are some of the themes for cat videos;

Cats who come out on top—who seem to be playing a prank on another animal or a person.

Cats making fools of themselves.

Cats being teased.

Cats being exploited—there’s a lot of that going around.

Cats stuck in a sticky situation and, instead of helping the cat, the human grabs a camera.

Cats being catlike.

Cats being un-catlike.

Here are twenty of the top cat videos being circulated on the Internet. I’m sure these were chosen from the human perspective, not the cats’. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/20-top-cat-videos-web/story?id=17150083

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Newsday Tuesday—Dressing Kitty

Lily and CWA Conf 032Do you dress your cat? Do you know anyone who does? It’s a sweet premise—the scenario of the little girl dressing her kitty and pushing him around in her doll buggy. That wasn’t me or my children. What about you? Did you have a cat who let you dress her as a child?

Once when my Himalayan came home from the groomer (in the days when a bath was the only healthy way to get rid of fleas), she had a tiny blue bow tied to a tuft of fur next to one of her ears. Soooooo cute.

I’ve seen cats at cat shows dressed in exquisite outfits…all coordinated and stylish down to a tiny purse over their arms. Sweet—but kind of weird.

When Lily was a kitten, she adored children. She was interested in everything they sasha 027did—playing blocks, putting puzzles together, sitting and reading, painting, playing inside a tent (a blanket draped over a couple of chairs), etc. One time when a three-year-old granddaughter wanted to play super hero, I made her a cape. She insisted I make Lily one to match.

I thought you’d enjoy viewing some of the sites I found showing cats all dressed up. Enjoy!

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/i-dress-up-my-cat-all-the-time-and-he-loves-ithttp://www.mtv.com/news/1979167/national-cat-day-cats-wearing-clothes http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-do-your-cats-like-wearing-clothes

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Mindful Monday—Feline Friends

alyzaykatie-0101Most animals have enemies. Think of those attributed to the cat—dogs, coyotes, large owls, hawks, eagles, raccoons, wolves, and some other cats… But are these really natural enemies for all cats? Do cats naturally hate birds, lizards, mice and other rodents? Probably not. Cats are some of the most discerning animals around. They hunt when they must—for survival and sometimes for sport. They can get mighty angry at a squirrel or a blue jay that taunts them. Certainly, outside cats had better be wary of renegade cats and dogs as well as larger wild animals. But cats have also been known to make friends with some of these critters.

Our cats live inside, so they don’t come in contact with other cats. Of course they’re friends with each other and that was instantaneous. Sophie, then four, accepted baby Lily upon sight and vice versa. The cats who visit with our cats through the screen door are varied. George is welcome, but let Rocket step foot in our yard and Sophie and Lily go flat-eared. We call him the terrorist cat. He’s been known to attack other cats in their own yards and he has torn up more than one window screen trying to get at our cats inside the house.

What about dogs? Are they natural enemies of cats? Many of you reading this probablyCorral Cat Caper, a Klepto Cat Mystery have both cats and dogs who have learned to get along. Some canine and feline pairs even adore one another. We’ve all seen pictures and videos on the Internet showing kittens piled in a large dog’s bed with him, a dog and cat playing or sharing a meal. There’s nothing quite as sweet as watching a relationship develop between what might be considered natural animal enemies. And that’s why we enjoy stories of unlikely friendships among the animal kingdom.

A quick peek into the great Internet over the weekend revealed cats enjoying friendships with a variety of other critters, including a rat, fox, owl, rabbit, monkey, lion cub and, of all things, a crow.

In my Klepto Cat Mysteries, the star of the stories, Rags, has a variety of friends—many other cats, a few dogs, and even a horse. So far, I haven’t introduced him to a wild animal, but I just might—hey, maybe he could have an adventure in a wild animal park or a zoo. Just think about the possibilities.

What are some of the most unusual/unlikely friendships you’ve observed in the animal kingdom?

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Frivolous Friday—Pets Who Come Home From War

010Last night I saw a touching story on the news of a soldier and his family welcoming home a cat he’d befriended as a kitten in Baghdad. I decided to share something about that in today’s blog. How surprised I was to learn how many dogs and cats are being reunited with their military rescuers through kindly organizations such as Operation Baghdad Pups (and Cats).

There’s a lot of war stories on the news. But we don’t hear much about the part animals play in the soldiers’ world. Some of them, for example, find a measure of solace in rescuing dogs or cats (puppies and kittens) and caring for them while serving their country.

But what happens when they are discharged? That’s when Operation Baghdad Pups (and

Cats) kicks in. This organization helps to bring the pets to the US to live a safer, healthier life in the homes of the soldiers who they’ve come to rely upon. This program is part of the SPCA International. According to their website, they’ve helped over 500 service members’ animals since 2008. And this is with the help of other agencies and organizations such as FedEx. Not only do they make sure the animal gets the shots and clearance they need to be welcomed into the US, they arrange for the trip to their new homes. They also help with the expense of moving pets when military families are transferred.

I’m touched by the stories of our heroes becoming heroes to stray animals and following through by giving them a forever home in the US. But I also realize that, not only does the pet benefit, these dogs and cats serve to help the soldier readjust to life away from the battlefield.

To learn more or to donate, http://www.spcai.org.

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Bring Your Best Game Thursday—More Famous Storybook and Movie Star Cats

LilymirrorDid my post of May 11, 2016 get you to thinking about the cats you remember in cartoons, children’s stories, fables, movies, literature? Here are a few you might not have thought of.

The Cheshire cat (Alice in Wonderland)

Garfield

Heathcliff

Pepe le Pew

Pink Panther

Tigger (Winnie the Poo)

Simba (Lion King)

Snowball (Simpsons)

Morris (who did cat food commercials)

Figaro (Pinocchio)

Lucifer (Cinderella)

Sassie (Homeward Bound)

Monty (Stuart Little)

Tonto-Cat (Harry and Tonto)

The Aristocats

General Sterling Price (True Grit)

Baby (The Leopard in Bringing Up Baby)

What can you add to this list and the one we started on May 11 here at this blog site?

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday—Fun Cat Websites

lily2While waiting in a out-patient surgery clinic yesterday, I did some reading on my Kindle. I happened across a book I’d forgotten about—“1106 Fascinating Facts About Cats” by Emma Boyes. I thought you might be interested in some of the facts I discovered.

For example, did you know there’s a dating site for people who love cats? Check it out at http://www.purrsonals.com

For those of you who want to write, but find yourself procrastinating—or if you just want an uplifting experience, try http://www.writtenkitten.co. Each time you write 100 words, you’re treated to a new picture of a kitten. How cool is that?

Tell me about the unusual cat sites you’ve stumbled across

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Newsday Tuesday—Your Home; a Danger Zone for Cats

AlyzayPoolLily 041Yesterday we mentioned a few toys that might be dangerous for cats. I’d like to expand on that theme. While some dangers I’ll mention today apply to all cats, others might never be within the realm of concern for your particular cat. What are some of the hazards for cats? Depending on the cat, it could be something as seemingly benign as string, ribbon, rubber bands, cord, raffia, etc. Our cat, Sophie, is what I think is considered a wool sucker. She used to chew on some fabrics. She especially liked towels or other fabric that were starting to unravel. She’d bite off the strings and eat them. Since then, she has expanded to wanting to eat long pieces of string, ribbon, and now metallic bows. We can no longer use curly, grosgrain, satin or any other type ribbon or bows (fabric or metallic) or string or yarn on gift packages where Sophie might get to them, like under the Christmas tree. If any of you want to know what we use as an alternative, contact me. PLFry620@yahoo.com. What is the big deal about cats swallowing ribbon or string? It can get tangled in their intestines and cause severe damage or death. We discovered Sophie was eating metallic bows when we found her vomiting large amounts of blood one morning. Seriously alarming.

I know a cat who eats plastic and rubber. She even chews into the connections for the

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computer and other electronic devices. Her family has spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars not only replacing and repairing things around the house, but in vet bills for this kitty. I wonder if she should have been a cow. Aren’t they able to digest strange objects?

Watch out for small objects a cat might choke on. I’ve never had a cat choke on anything, but I’ve read that it can happen. If your cat tends to pick up beads, small bells, etc. in her mouth, try to keep these things up off the floor. I have an iron cat figure guarding our broom closet because Lily likes to chew on the broom straw. As I understand it, feathers are not good toys for cats. When I saw one of our cats chew a large feather into pieces, I could see the danger in the splintering. Like a chicken bone, you would not want a cat to get that caught in his throat. Lily also has a fetish for glue and tape. She attacks anything UPS drops off for us.

They say a cat can suffocate in a plastic bag. Although we don’t leave them around, I’m not sure how this could happen, unless a kitten got inside, rolled around and got stuck. We had a curious cat once get caught in the handles of a gift bag. So beware of that scary danger for your cats.

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Also be careful about vertical sliding windows—especially those old heavy wooden ones. I kept braces in the windows when I had them open so if the cats got in the opening, the window wouldn’t fall on them. Likewise, if your cats are inside only or you don’t want them sneaking out into the night, make sure all screens are secure. Our neighbor had a terrorist cat attack her cat through a screen on a window and knock it off. The inside kitty didn’t get out, but the terrorist cat got in and caused some damage inside the house.

The kitchen trash can should have a lid or be in a cabinet. We had a cat once lick a sardine can lid and cut her tongue quite badly. Ouch.

Speaking of the kitchen, there are a lot of dangers in there. A kitten who hasn’t learned the ropes, yet, might get caught in the refrigerator door. The kitchen can be a popular place for some cats when there’s cooking activity going on. Lily is my kitchen helper and I have to watch every step I take when preparing a meal because she is often under foot. If I’m taking something out of the oven or hot off the stove, I often call for backup. “Come get Lily; hot stuff coming out.”

Another danger for a cat like Lily is getting locked away in a closet. I’ve learned to keep my sliding closet doors ajar if I don’t know where Lily is, because she loves to go in there and hang out. There have been times when we couldn’t find her, eventually discovering her sitting quietly, waiting for someone to open the closet door and let her out.

Also beware of your cat tree. I’ve trusted cat trees for years to stand the weight and exuberance of kittens and cats, until something awful happened. Sophie and Lily were playing happily on the cat tree. This was a short, squared off tree with a tunnel. It wasn’t lightweight or top-heavy. But the larger cat, Sophie, hit it just right and it went over with 10-week-old Lily on it and fell against a brick fireplace hearth injuring Lily quite seriously. In this story is another caution—make sure the area around the cat tree is free of anything that could cause harm to a cat or kitten if the tree were to topple over.

Remember the post about poisonous plants and flowers.

Have I left out any obvious dangers I should discuss? Let me know. PLFry620@yahoo.com. Now go make sure your fur-kids are safe.

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Mindful Monday—Cat Toy Faves

AlyzayBirthday3 020Does your cat have a favorite toy? What playful traditions do you and your cat engage in? As you have noticed, there are many types of toys at pet stores and in the pet section at most big box and department stores as well as your local grocery store. You may look at the toy display and imagine your kitty enjoying a tussle with a fish on the end of a wand, happily batting a bell ball around the house, climbing in and out of an elaborate cat tree. But the reality is, the cat may have preferences of her own.

Lily, for example, loves to carry around her small stuffed animals as if they were her kittens. Sophie pretends the baby possum toy is a mouse. She tosses it into the air and pounce on it over and over. But Lily’s favorite toy to play with is a wad of paper. Sophie likes to attack the strings, buttons, zipper pulls, sequins, etc. on your clothing—yes, while you’re wearing it. When Max was a kitten, we’d bring him those furry stuffed mice, which he’d tear apart as if it was a real mouse. He’d chew off the eyes, ears, tail and finally the little red pompom nose. Then he’d discard the soggy mouse body and play for hours with the tiny pompom.

Lily and I have a morning ritual. I clip the end off a plastic straw to use in sipping my LilyMayJune2009 008coffee and she waits eagerly for me to flick that end out into the room. Some mornings, she plays with that straw nub for quite a while, involving me when it gets lost under a piece of furniture.

Like most pet owners, we’ve introduced many new toys to our household cats and they’ve rejected several of them. One of the most unsuccessful toys we tried (actually, this one was given to us as a “Welcome to the family, little feral kitty,” gift). But it was not suited to a recovering feral kitten.

We love wand toys around here and find them safe. But this wand toy had a cord attached with a toy dangling from the end of the cord. The first time ten-week-old Sophie felt that cord attempt to tangle around her, she panicked. We saw the potential danger in that toy and discarded it. However, when I went searching for lists of safe and unsafe cat toys this morning, the fishing pole-type toy was touted on several sites as being safe. Maybe for some cats. As it turned out, Sophie became interested in eating string and ribbon. So that makes any toy with cords, string, ribbon, raffia, etc. off limits for Sophie.

I know of a kitten that strangled to death when he was playing with a toy hanging from a wire coat hanger on his cat tree. To this day, I won’t leave a hanger anywhere near where a cat can get to it. Hyper-cautious, I know.

Cats often find their own favorite toys. And there are items that could be deadly or at least dangerous in their choices. We’ll discuss more specific household dangers tomorrow.

Probably the most exciting toy for our cats is the doomed moth or spider who makes its way into our house and that the cats find before we can carry it to safety. I have to say, it is entertaining to watch them leap and dance trying to capture the intruder. And good for their heart and their waistline. But make sure that what your cats are chasing is not a bee (some cats are allergic to a bee sting), a black widow, or other poisonous critter.

 

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