Newsday Tuesday – Community Cats: Welcome or Not?

I sometimes talk about and feature office, warehouse, library, and shop cats in this blog. Today I want to focus on community cats—often considered feral, stray, or abandoned. But first, I’d like to introduce you to a giant beauty named Bone-Bone. Have you seen this cat on the Internet? He’s popular on Instagram. He lives in Thailand and evidently everyone who meets him wants their picture taken with him. He’s gorgeous—probably at least part Persian—and he’s very large.

I tried, but was unable to locate information about his weight, but you can see from some of the pictures that he’s no light-weight.

https://whatzviral.com/bone-bone-the-adorable-fluffy-cat-from-thailand/

While Bone-Bone has a home—he’s out in the public only under supervision—there are millions of cats throughout the world known as community cats. Some of us enjoy seeing a stray or a neighbor’s cat wander through the yard, stop to curl up in our birdbath or under the patio umbrella, but others consider free-roaming cats a nuisance. Here’s a link to some good information and ideas for those abandoned cats in your community. No matter which side of the cat-fence you’re on, you’ll probably gain something of value from this article. https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/resolving-conflicts-over-community-cats

 

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Mindful Monday – Announcement, Announcement, Ann-ounce-ment!!

You may recall my excitement when Lily was chosen to grace a page on the Cat-A-Day calendar by Workman Publishing in 2011. She was a kitten then—playing in a scattering of alphabet blocks.

Well, I got notification that she’ll have her own page in March of 2020. Here’s the photo they chose.

I’ve sent more flattering shots of Lily and Sophie for the calendar. I’ve submitted pictures I thought were more meaningful, but you never know what they need, what messages they want to put across, or what your competition is. So I’m pleased just the same to participate in the calendar I’ve been enjoying for so many years.

Order your Cat-A Day calendar by Workman and enjoy a different cat every day of the week along with words of wisdom about cats and interesting quotes. https://www.workman.com/products/365-cats-page-a-day-calendar-2020

It’s always fun and exciting for me to be chosen to participate in this calendar, but it was a real thrill when Lily’s photo was published in the 2011 365 Cats Cat-A-Day Calendar as Lily’s picture was also used on the back of the box showing only 3 of the pages inside. That’s her on the top—the March 15 cat. Cool, huh?

Spoiler alert—Lily will be featured in March again next year.

Note: I guess they figure this is Lily’s good side–notice how she’s posed similarly in both shots.

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

Frivolous Friday – A Cat Who Puts All Her Ducks (Bears, Hedgehogs…) in a Row

Lily may have the largest collection of stuffed animal toys around. She started her collection at a young age by taking a tiny stuffed teddy bear from a shelf and a stuffed polar bear and turtle from the grandkids’ toy box and making them hers. Since then we’ve bought her many little critters and she has confiscated more of mine—a small moose and a grizzly bear I brought back from Alaska, for example.

Sometimes I get a little annoyed to find a dozen or more of her toys strewn all over the house only minutes after I’ve put them away. But I also find it humorous, especially when she shows up with a stuffed toy in her mouth and meows loudly before dropping it at my feet.

Last week, when I picked up her toys, I put them in a different place. Soon I heard a loud meow and I went to look. I found Lily sitting just outside my office, the polar bear toy lying in front of her exactly where I’d picked it up from. It was as if she was telling me, “This is where it belongs, not in that basket in the living room or the toy box…right here!”

What is she a frustrated home decorator? Is this a mind game? She is asserting herself to gain greater control in this household? Is she simply bringing me her toys out of love? Or is she showing off her hunting abilities? We haven’t been able to figure it out, but in the meantime, I have to say—I’m learning to live with Lily’s odd obsession and it does make me smile.

Posted in About Cats | 1 Comment

Thoughts for Thursday – Life Without a Cat

Have you ever thought about what life would be like without a cat in your home and your heart?

For me it would mean never having to use that tape roller gizmo on my clothes before leaving the house. I could take my black slacks out of plastic and move them to the front of the closet. I wouldn’t have to vacuum furniture when I expected guests—especially those with cat allergies. There would be no worries about a cat getting out when little children were going in and out of the house. There would be no nagging reminders of when it’s time to eat, give treats, etc. I could walk through the house unencumbered—no cats velcroed to my ankles. And the kitchen would once again be mine.

I could have fresh flowers and any plant I want in my home without fear of poisoning or spills. I could come and go without guilt or elaborate planning for the care of the fur-kids left behind. I could complete a project without an inquisitive helper, and I could get up from a chair or sofa without disturbing a fur-baby. My bed would once again be MINE and so would my favorite chair. I could also eat in peace.

I could walk barefoot throughout the house and not feel as though I was at the beach. Yes, no more tracked litter and no puffs of fur to chase across the hardwood floors. I could wake up on my own without a cat jumping on my head, biting my hair, and pawing at my nose?

Without cats, I’d have to blame myself for lost earrings and displaced keys. I wouldn’t have a cute little inquisitive fur-face join me in my office each morning. My house might even stay neat all the time without kitty toys, tunnels, trees, blankets, boxes, bags, tents, etc.

BORING!

Do you remember life without a cat? Do you agree that the pros way outnumber the cons? In my mind I can actually turn the cons into pros. I mean, without a cat where’s the intrigue and laughter—the joy?

 

 

Posted in About Cats | 2 Comments

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – You Found the Cat Where?

I found a cute piece of cat news last week involving presidential protocol and one smart cat, who may have broken it. While Trump visited the UK, Larry, the Downing Street cat and Chief Mouser for the cabinet office, crawled under his limo and refused to move. As I understand it, it was raining and Larry’s certainly no fool. He’s a cat, after all. He cared little about protocol or time-schedules, he just wanted to stay dry. You go, Larry.

Cats know how to take care of themselves. There was a story circulating a few years ago about a cat who kept an abandoned baby alive by climbing into the box with the infant to warm him. I have to wonder, was the cat’s primary concern the baby or was it his own comfort he was thinking about? Nonetheless, it was a touching story and I’m glad both beings survived.

Most likely, you’ve found your cat in odd places over the years. Kittens, especially have a way of discovering hidden, out of the way, secret cubbies where they can nap or just watch the world go by. I recall spending some frantic moments more than once searching for a kitten that seemed to disappear into thin air. In fact I’m having fun with that concept in Book 37 of the Klepto Cat Mystery series. (You should be reading that book before the heat of the summer subsides.)  I won’t tell you where the cats in Book 37 are coming from (and going), but in my real life,

I’ve found cats in closets, cupboards, drawers, exploring the dishwasher and fridge, and one was lost for hours in my home once among cans of peas and spinach on a built-in lazy Susan shelf. Boy, was I glad to find that little guy.

Cats are known to love boxes. It follows that they also like bags, tents, topsy-turvy blankets, and even baseball caps (if they fit). A cat can cause terrible fright when she disappears and can’t be found in any of her usual hiding places. You probably know that if a cat is especially frightened (or angry with you) she’s not going to return to her usual hiding spot. If she doesn’t want to be found she’ll hide where you’d never think to look. We’ve sure had that happen in our household. One of the best hiding places our cats found—freaking us out for hours until we discovered them—was up inside the lining of a mattress. Good job, Max. When I found him that day I didn’t know whether to scold him or hold him. Scary moments.

And sometimes a cat will hide in plain sight–a place you would never think to look–where she blends in so much you don’t see her. Yup, Lily has done that a time or two.

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Newsday Tuesday – The Line Between Cat Protector and Dangerous Hoarder

What causes a person to become so overwhelmed with cats that they can’t take care of them? Many cat hoarders start out wanting to help cats. Some don’t have the means to do the right thing by having the cats spayed/neutered. The cats keep having kittens, more cats come to them, and soon things get out of hand.

If you’re looking for a fur-ever fur-friend, this is a good time to find one. Cats are still being abandoned. They’re still being rescued by the droves from hoarding situations. So check with your local shelters for wonderful cats so very much in need of a loving home where they’re safe. If you’re in the Philadelphia area check out this site showing some of the cats in currently needing homes. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cats-in-philadelphia-looking-for-their-fur-ever-homes/ar-AAEeURj Here, you’ll meet adorable Willow, striking Puma, and sweet Pepper, among others.

In New York, Simba, Tiger, and Bubbles are among the hundreds of cats waiting to be adopted. Thirty cats were found in a van and rescued in Fargo, ND last week. They’ll be up for adoption soon, as well.

It doesn’t matter where you live in the US—even the world. There are cats in need. 178 cats were rescued from a home in West Bloomfield, MI in May and may be ready for adoption as we speak. In June, in Polk County, Iowa, there were found to be over 176 cats living in horrendous conditions and nearly 200 deceased cats on the same property. And there was another case of cat hoarding where dozens of cats were rescued in Billings, MT.

Here’s an article with information on how to recognize when someone in your neighborhood or a friend is in over their head with cat responsibility. Sometimes the individual has a disorder, but there often are clues that neighbors should pay attention to. Maybe by reading this, you’ll be able to save unsuspecting cats or thwart a hoarding situation because it gets out of control. https://www.petplace.com/article/cats/pet-behavior-training/hoarding-cats-how-to-recognize-animal-hoarding/

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Mindful Monday – How to Successfully Feed Multiple Cats

It’s second nature in our household to feed our two cats two different diets. I was asked again this week, “How do you do that? How do you keep them out of the other one’s food?”

Sure, it was a problem at first, especially when Lily wasn’t all that taken with the special kidney health diet we’d sprung on her. She wanted what Sophie was eating, and I’m not sure that was because of what it was as much as she just wanted whatever it was Sophie had. You know how little sisters can be.

It took us a while to make a believer out of Lily: “This is your breakfast and you’re not getting Sophie’s breakfast. So eat this or lose out.” Sophie didn’t really care one way or the other. If Lily managed to approach her meal, she’d walk away and let her have it.

Fast-forward nearly ten years. Each cat has her food station. They cannot see each other. But I can see Lily. I feed her where I am so I can watch her. Sometimes, still, she’ll glance in the direction where Sophie is eating, then look at me, and go back to eating her own food. Occasionally, she’ll try to sneak away—to visit Sophie, of course. And it isn’t that she doesn’t like her own food. If she does make her way to Sophie’s dish, she’ll eat it and come back to her meal and finish it off too. She’s a relentlessly self-centered cat. It’s all about “me—me—me!”

Sometimes, when I see her start to leave her dish, I’ll call her name. Know what I get? A tail swish. Does your cat ever swish her tail at you when you say her name in a scolding manner? Cracks me up!!!

If Lily leaves her dish too soon, I’ll sometimes get down on the floor near her dish and attempt to entice her back. Most of the time she will return and, for as long as I’m kneeling alongside her, she’ll eat. I don’t know if she thinks I’m going to eat her food—she thinks it’s a competition, if she likes the company, or if she’s actually shamed into leaving Sophie alone.

Anyway, Lily does make mealtime in our home interesting. And I’m pleased to have discovered a way to successfully (most of the time) feed two cats two different diets.

I think the key is that we put Lily’s food down first since she’s the hoggiest of the two, and that the cats can’t see one another as they eat.

I’m open to any additional ideas.

Posted in About Cats | 1 Comment

Frivolous Friday – Cats as Food Monitors

A friend sent me this story and photo of her cat Mouse last week. I thought you’d get a kick out of it.

“The other day we were down to two small cans of cat food. I was unable to capture a video of Mouse counting those two cans with his left paw, tapping them over and over again. Then he looked at me as if I had committed some horrible crime by allowing the inventory to drop so low. When I returned from the store with the new cans, I took this pic of him settling in to show his approval.”

Does your cat have an obsession with her food? Lily sure takes every opportunity to dive into the cat food cupboard and make sure we’re stocked up for the season. When I return from buying cat food, Lily is always available to make sure it gets stacked just right. And she lets me know when the kibbles in her bowl are running low or maybe getting a little stale.

Have you ever forgotten to feed your cats? Around here that’s not going to happen. Sophie and Lily seem to have built-in clocks and they start hanging around us and staring about forty-five minutes before feeding time. If we walk into the kitchen, we have a kitty-cat company. If we get up to walk anyplace else, Lily tries to herd us into the kitchen. When it is finally time for the cats to eat, Lily becomes Velcro against my legs as I prepare their meal and both cats sing for their supper (or breakfast or lunch) at the top of their lungs.

Feeding time can be a bit chaotic where there are multiple cats. But it’s important to a cat’s health and well being. Not only from the standpoint that a cat should eat on a schedule, but that feeding time gives us the opportunity to really check on a cat. He’s out in the open and you can see if there are any signs of distress. If he doesn’t show up for a meal or he doesn’t eat it, this is a big red flag. Time to go on high alert. If the cat misses more than one meal, it’s probably time for a vet check. Is the cat also lethargic? Does he spend a lot of time lying in a meatloaf position? Is he coughing, wheezing, does he have diarrhea, is he straining to urinate? Make notes and take him to see his veterinarian. Many a cat is saved simply because someone noticed he wasn’t interested in eating one of his meals.

 

 

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Thoughts for Thursday – White Cats

This morning Lily (a dilute tabby) leaped into the bathtub after a flying insect. As she sat there looking up at me I remembered Winfield. He was a pure white odd-eye cat. He had one blue and one green eye. One day I happened to see him sitting in the bathtub and my photographer’s eye took over. I thought he looked stunning with white against white with those striking eyes and pink nose. What a great photo opp. As it turned out I couldn’t manage the shot well enough, so I had a friend who’s a professional photographer take that picture for me.

Winfield was born with a black spot on his head. He matured, however, into a pure white cat. His eye color was his crowning glory as was his gentle, sweet, curious purrsonality.

You might wonder if he was born to a white cat and if all of his siblings were also white. No. His mother was a dark tabby, as I recall. And he was the only white cat in the litter.

For the purpose of this blog post, I decided to do some research on white cats. Interestingly, I learned that white is a non-color. White fur on a cat is masking its true color. I mentioned that Winfield had a black spot on his head when he was a kitten. According to experts this indicates that his true color was black, but genetics caused the white fur to mask his true color. Fascinating.

Pure white cats with one or two blue eyes have a larger chance of deafness. I’ve also read that white cats are often born blind. I knew someone years ago who had two white cats. One was blind and the other deaf. They were siblings and they watched out for each other throughout their life—the deaf one seeing for the blind one and vice versa.

While only about five percent of cats are white, there are several breeds that produce white cats. They include Persian, Oriental shorthair, British shorthair, ragdoll, and several others. So how do you breed for a pure white cat? It appears there’s no way to guarantee white kittens. Even if you were to breed two white cats, you could get a black-and-white, tabby, or calico throwback or two or three.

Well, I still have a lot of questions, how about you? One of them is, what color parents produce a pure white kitten? I finally found that answer. If this expert is correct, one parent has to be pure white. Here’s a site I found fascinating. It relates entirely to cat and kitten color and genetics. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070628115337AA4E5Im

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – I Stalk Cats

Yes, I’m a cat stalker. I walk most days and I’m always on the lookout for cats in the neighborhood. Why? I like to see them and meet and greet them. And I often photograph them.

Some of them I know and some I’m only familiar with at a distance. Some peer at me through a window from inside their home, but most are roaming free, climbing trees, hiding under cars, slinking through empty lots, sitting on a rooftop or porch, or curled up in a shady spot in someone’s yard.

Do you enjoy brief encounters with neighborhood cats while out in your yard or walking around the block? Do you stop to pet the feline greeter at the local pet store or library before conducting business there? Do you smile upon seeing a cat sunning herself on a windowsill? Do you often photograph cats you see out and about? Maybe you’re a cat-stalker too.

 

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment