Mindful Monday – An Assortment of Munchkins

When I first heard of the munchkin, I assumed it was a single new breed of cat. And because I do a lot of research for this blog, I often stumble across all sorts of interesting facts and trivia about cats. Last week I learned that there are actually eight munchkin cat breeds. There’s the Kinkalow, which is a cross between the munchkin and the American curl. This breed was established in 1994 and named for the kink in the cat’s ears and the fact that the cat is low to the ground.

The Bambino is a cross between the munchkin and the sphinx. This cat, established in 2005, is hairless. Add the American curl to this combination and you have the Dwelf.

In 2006, the Genetta was introduced. This is a cross between a munchkin, a Bengal and a Savannah. The Genetta is more exotic looking as it is spotted.

The Lambkin is a cross between a munchkin and a Selkirk Rex. Established in 1991, this is basically a munchkin with a curly coat. The Napoleon is a munchkin bred with a Persian. In 2015 the name of this cute cat was changed to Minuet.

The smallest of the Munchkin breed is the 3-7 pound Skookum. Established in 1990s by breeding the Munchkin with the La Perm. The Skookum has a curly coat. More information and photos here: https://catvills.com/8-munchkin-cat-breeds/

The Munchkin breed, of course, was developed from a mutation. The first breeding began in the 1980s and the cats were originally known as Kangaroo cats. For additional information on the Munchkin, here’s an interesting link. http://mentalfloss.com/article/80011/7-short-facts-about-munchkin-cats

I know someone with a Munchkin and they absolutely adore this sweet, comical, interesting little cat. And as you can see, this kitty likes water.

 

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Frivolous Friday – Naming Your Cat

What’s in a name? Naming a cat can sometimes take a lot of time and trials. My mother, for example, gave her gift kitten a name, but couldn’t remember it. She kept calling him Smokey, which was the name of her previous cat. So he became Smokey Two. I rescued a sweet calico from a shelter many years ago. She came with the name Katy. But we already had a Katy in the house, so we decided we’d better change her name. But we were stymied as to what it would be. I said, “Let’s let her decide.”

So we watched her, observed her personality, paid attention to her actions and reactions, scrutinized her preferences and finally came up with a name. It took days. We noticed that anytime either of us went into the kitchen, there she was with us. One day I broke out in song, “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.” And that became her name—Dinah.

Some cats are named for their coloring and features—Mama’s cat, Smokey, is gray, as was the Smokey before him. I had a Calico named Callie and a white beauty named Snowflake. Many people name a striped cat, Tiger and a Manx, Stumpy or Rumpy. My grandson has a pure black munchkin with the Kinkalow ears and they call him Bruce Wayne (Batman). Blackie or Ebony is used a lot for a black cat, Tabby for a tabby cat, Tangerine or Marmalade for an orange cat and so forth.

How do you name your cat? Do you tag them with something related to their looks or their personality? Or do you project how you would like your cat to be or become–Serena, Precious, Angel, for example.

Some cats are harder to name than others. I found Max’s name at a high school graduation. I listened to the names that were being called out and when I heard Max, I knew that was it. I know, it’s one of the most popular cat names—nothing unique. But it sure fit our  Maxie boy.

Some names don’t fit so well once the cat grows up. My daughter named her beautiful orange boy Rookie because he was new at being a house pet. He’d been dumped, as far as she could tell, at the barns where they keep their horses. He sure runs the show now—he’s quite the opposite of a beginner—a new kid on the block, which is what his name implies.

There have been times when I have a backlog of names or I know what name I’ll use for the next cat I adopt. For my 25th wedding anniversary I bought a Persian and named her Crystal (the traditional gift for that anniversary). I know, I know, adopt, don’t encourage breeders. I know that now. That was a long time ago. Sometimes, however, I choose a cat and the names I’ve gathered don’t fit.

What are some of your cat-naming stories? We all have them.

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Thoughts for Thursday – Cats Out and About

A favorite topic here, as you may have noticed, is whether to let your cats outside or keep them in. And a general consensus is, it depends on the cat. Cats are small, but some of them are mighty big in purrsonality. They know what they want and when and generally figure out ways to get it. Have you noticed that about your delicate kitty-cat?

If fluffy want the warm spot you left in your favorite chair, she will bug you or simply stare you down until you finally leave. And boy do cats have patience and stamina. Cats can be extremely focused and it can be difficult to distract them from that focus.

Most cat owners have certain rules. No peeing outside the litter box is usually number one. No scratching the furniture. And some of us say, “the out-of-doors is off limits.” Now, as you know, if you’d had many cats, some of them will comply without a complaint. Lily and Sophie stay as far away from the outside doors as they can when one’s open. They’ve never tried to dash out. But I can’t say that for all of the cats I’ve shared my home with over the years.

Dinah was almost a year old when we found her at an animal shelter. And she’d evidently been allowed to venture outside. She loved being inside, but she definitely wanted the option to go out on demand and boy was she demanding. It took us a while to realize that, while she enjoyed playing out in the sunshine and adventuring in the backyard, she also did her potty-duty while outside. In fact, she refused to use the litter box, even when it was raining.

Smokey, the cat I patterned Rags, the star of the Klepto Cat Mysteries, after, is an indoor-outdoor cat. He loves time inside with his people, adores a good lap cuddle, but he’s an adventurer and he must also have outdoor time. So he has kitty doors, which are closed at night. He comes and goes during the day as he pleases, however, and this certainly pleases Smokey. He’s the king of the neighborhood, after all.

Sophie and Lily like to watch the neighborhood cats enjoying our yard and they may be thinking, “Those lucky cats. They get to lay in the sun and chase bugs and butterflies and explore.” But I’d like to think they’re saying to themselves, “Poor kitties. They must not have a cozy and safe home like we do.”

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Laughing Out Loud With Your Cat

What does your cat do that makes you laugh out loud? If you’re like me, you can’t help but open videos promising cute cats or dogs or other animals doing funny things. No matter where you’re watching these, you probably burst out laughing, even while waiting in the doctor’s office or for an oil change.

I get a kick out of our cats on catnip. They are so silly. Lily becomes limp and lazy. She’ll collapse on top of the cat tree and look around at you from upside down. Sophie will drop her reserve and play with more abandon.

We have fun with the cats when a box arrives on the porch. The girls have no interest in what’s inside the box; they just can’t wait for us to empty it so they can explore the cardboard cave, shred the packing paper, climb on it, jump over it, play hide-and-seek around it. When it’s a large box, I’ll sometimes cut windows and doors in it and turn it upside down. Generally one cat will claim the inside and do her best to keep the other cat at bay. A wrestling match might create a new castle guard and the other cat becomes the outsider.

The girls often tear around the house like maniacs—Sophie in the lead during one go-around and chasing Lily the next time they appear.

Lily still brings me her stuffed toys on a daily basis. Every couple of days I gather up her toys—usually a dozen or more of them—and return them to her toy box. Within hours, they’re all spread out generally around the cats’ water bowls, at the bedroom door, and around my feet in my office. Rarely does she drop her toys in the living room, but last night she brought me her stuffed kitty. Some toys are moved regularly. I find her little owl at the bedroom door in the morning, but after her breakfast, she brings it to me in my office. Some toys like the owl and the little kitty go back and forth. And she always announces herself as she brings a toy to me—whether it’s in broad daylight or the middle of the night. Sure wish I knew why she did this. But I think it is just the sweetest gesture.

Since every cat has her own quirks and habits, let’s celebrate them this Valentine’s Day. What does your cat do that makes you laugh out loud?

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Newsday Tuesday – Animals That Have Gone Extinct

I thought I’d continue with Monday’s theme by listing some of the animals thought to be extinct—many of them having gone extinct in our lifetime. Let’s start with the cats: The American cheetah no longer exists, neither does the Iberian lynx (deemed extinct in 2004). And at serious risk of extinction, with very few left in existence, are the lemur leopard and the Sumatran tiger.

Also fairly recently found to be extinct are the African black rhinoceros (1911), the Pyrenean ibex (2000), Caribbean monk seal (2008), Tasmanian Tiger and Javan tiger.

Here are a couple of sites with additional information: It lists eleven animals already extinct https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/11-extinct-animals_n_4078988.html

Here’s an article featuring 100 recently extinct https://www.thoughtco.com/recently-extinct-animals-1092157

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Mindful Monday – Is Climate Change Affecting the World’s Animal Population?

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This is a topic I’m interested in, so decided to do a little research and share my findings with you. It’s all very discouraging. You know how all parts of the body are connected to make it function properly—the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone…etc. Well, we’ve been told for years that we’re a danger to the world we’re living in—that we’re not taking very good care of it. We’ve done a lot of damage and we continue to do so. According to expert accounts, this thing called climate change is all on us—the humans who walk this planet. And there are numerous agencies and organizations struggling to right things by educating us and warning us to make important changes.

In our environment as with our bodies, each aspect depends on another in order to sustain us and our precious wildlife. When the human jumps in and starts taking from the environment without giving back, when we destroy aspects of what was created with a purpose and was working perfectly to sustain the life here, many species of plant and animal-life struggle and die.

Here are some of the animals that are at risk as we speak: I’ll start with the cat—the beautiful snow leopard is struggling. Most of us like bears—how many of you have one or more adorable stuffed teddy bears? I have several and Lily-kitty has a few of her own. It’s sad to know that polar bears are being seriously affected by our choices and way of living. They aren’t on the endangered list yet, according to some, but they’re being affected by pollution and climate change (due to our handling of the environment) as their natural habitat is melting away. The adorable koala bear is also at risk because they’re slowly losing their primary food source.

The Adelie penguin is struggling to survive and some don’t have much hope for them. Even the Asian and the African elephants are at risk, as are the mountain gorilla, the monarch butterfly, the elephant seal, the American pica and others.

So what is causing the problem? Will the animals we’re familiar with go extinct like the dinosaur? Some certainly will if we don’t pay more attention to what we’re doing to our environment. What can I do? you might ask? I asked the same thing. First educate yourself. Conduct your own research. Pick up that magazine that features an article on climate change. Watch specials on TV showing what’s happening. Listen to commentary on this subject. Then vow to do what you can do to help save the wonderful animals we share this earth with and humanity. Here are a few sites that outline specific things we can do: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-you-can-stop-global-warming http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/us/climate-change-strategies/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-solutions-for-climate-change/

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Frivolous Friday – Is Your Cat Fat or Just Fluffy?

We’ve all seen the drawing (or photograph) of a clearly obese cat with the caption: “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy.” And it’s that fur that can sometimes be a hindrance in determining whether your cat’s putting on weight or even losing weight–both which can be red flags in determining her level of health.

How do you know when your cat’s weight is creeping up to a dangerous level? Yes dangerous! One report says that just two or three extra pounds on a cat can be equivalent to forty pounds for a human. And we all know that this much extra weight can put us at risk for arthritis, diabetes, heart and liver issues, bladder stones and skin conditions. It’s the same for your cat.

Although a cat’s ideal weight varies depending on the breed, lifestyle, gender, and bone structure, the average cat weights around 7 to 11 pounds.

While I keep a close eye on our cats’ weight and eating habits, I depend on my veterinarian to tell me when we should cut down on food for our cats and engage them in more exercise, etc. However, we’ve been to see the vet recently and both of our cats are over the average weight. Lily is in the twelve pound range and Sophie hit fourteen pounds this trip. So I guess our vet considers this normal for our cats.

Here’s one way to judge whether your cat is overweight. View her from the top as she’s standing on all fours. She should have a waistline and you should be able to feel her ribs but not see them. How do you see ribs through all that fur?

Max

The key to putting your cat on a diet is less access to food and maybe a different kind of food. Some professionals suggest lacing new food that the cat isn’t excited about with beef or chicken broth. But others warn that these pre-packaged products can contain garlic and onions—a big no-no for cats.  So if you want to do this, consider reading labels and/or make your own broth.

Never put a cat on a crash diet or replace her food abruptly. Not only do you run the risk of being clawed to death in your sleep (if your cat lives for food like our Lily does), this is dangerous to her health.

Here are two sites I found useful and informative on this topic. If you notice that your cat is moving more slowly than usual, playing less often, and looks fluffier (fatter) than usual, visit your veterinarian. If he or she agrees and her exam doesn’t reveal an underlying cause that needs treatment, let them help you to put your cat on a healthy eating plan and a good exercise regime and do your best to follow it.

I like those feeding balls that came out a few years ago–the kibbles come out one or two at a time when the ball is rolled in a certain way. So the cat has to work for his food. It keeps him busy, alert, active, and he’s probably eating less.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180124131708.htm

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/how-to-put-your-cat-on-a-diet/

 

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Thoughts for Thursday – A Unique Way to Protect Wild Birds From Your Predator Cat

First, I want to let you know that you can order either the print or Kindle version of my newest Klepto Cat Mystery Secrets, Trickery, and Meows here at Amazon. They have linked the print and Kindle books together. https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Trickery-Meows-Klepto-Mystery-ebook/dp/B079MRLN58/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1518093596&sr=8-23&keywords=klepto+cat+mysteries Or visit http://KleptoCatMysteries.com

Are you as green as you think you are? Maybe not, if you allow your cat to roam. “If you install solar panels on your roof and avoid dousing your lawn with chemicals and pesticides, your online peers may consider you to be environmentally friendly. But this street cred can all be erased if you let your cat roam around outdoors.” This is according to a brand new report coming out of Cornell University last month.

The research team led by Hwanseok Song, determined that environmentally conscious individuals use solar panels, have a water-wise yard, and use no or few chemicals, and, if they have a cat, they keep it indoors. An outdoor cat, they say, can be a detriment to the natural environment because of the cat’s tendency to hunt—in particular to kill birds. Here’s the link to the story:   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180130140249.htm

If you have an outdoor cat or an indoor/outdoor cat who often or occasionally brings you a bird, or if you sometimes find feathers around and suspect your cat, there is hope. You can deter your cat from encroaching on the wildlife in your neighborhood. In fact, here’s a good site with some interesting suggestions: http://www.audubon.org/news/how-stop-cats-killing-birds

Susan Willson, a conservation biologist couldn’t stand that her cat was killing as many as two birds a week. She knew she had to do something and she cured his killing prowess by fitting him with a BirdsBeSafe collar. Here’s how it works: evidently birds see bright colors very well. (I’ll remember that when I go on my bird-photography adventures.) So the BirdsBeSafe collar is brightly colored and quite noticeable—sort of like a clown collar. According to Willson, it was 100 percent effective with her cat. According to the BirdsBeSafe collar site, researchers studied for seven years to discover the most effective color combinations for the collar—those that would warn birds of a cat’s presence soon enough for them to escape. They claim their product is 87 percent effective. It’s made to be comfortable and safe for the cat to wear. And motorists are more apt to see a cat wearing one of these collars.

And, as you’ll see when you visit this site, the collars are really kind of cute on the cats. https://www.birdsbesafe.com/

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Announcing a NEW Klepto Cat Mystery

Many of you have been waiting patiently for the Kindle version of Book 27, Secrets, Trickery, and Meows. Well, it’s here.

In this adventure, Rags ups his game when he discovers clues to a 70-year-old crime. Rags leads his family to a missing cat and, despite serious challenges, saves her from certain death. A friendship develops and Rags drags Lucy into the discovery of the century. Everyone’s on edge when strange threats appear out of nowhere and they’re baffled by the appearance of exquisite vintage jewelry. When Savannah and her sister-in-law, Holly, can’t leave well enough alone, they, along with Rags and Lucy, become tangled in a web of mystery and suspense. But there are more questions than answers as the case and the clues seem to follow the Iveys back to California. Who blew up the Airbnb the Iveys had rented in Colorado? Who took the stash of exquisite jewelry from the obvious hiding place? Is the man Savannah suspects behind the blatant crimes or is it someone she is yet to meet? This story will entertain, amuse, and tantalize you.

Order it your Kindle copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079MRLN58/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1518005215&sr=8-17&keywords=klepto+cat+mysteries

I’ve asked Amazon support to link the print and Kindle books, so that might be done by the time you read this. Currently, the print version is here:

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Trickery-Meows-Klepto-Mystery/dp/0999472410/ref=sr_1_28?ie=UTF8&qid=1518005380&sr=8-28&keywords=klepto+cat+mysteries

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Newsday Tuesday – Unbelievable Cat News

You really need to check this site out every once in a while. Here, you’ll find the latest news about cats. For example, did you hear about the travelers who tried to smuggle a six-month old kitten onto an airline in their checked luggage? This little fur-gal has a new home with responsible people.

Don’t you love those sweet pictures of newborn babies? Don’t miss the photo of the adorable sleeping baby swaddled with a sleeping kitten. Purr-ecious!! And then there’s the cat who gets almost too much love every day from his doggie housemates. And don’t forget to click and watch the cat who discourages the US mail from being delivered.

http://www.lifewithcats.tv/category/news/

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