Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Hero Cats

Smokey, the inspiration for this series

Smokey, the inspiration for this series

My Klepto Cat Mysteries feature a hero cat. Rags is always stepping in to help (and sometimes hinder) in times of chaos and in times of calm. He has been an eye-witness in a murder case, he saved a woman from a burning house, he has disarmed more than one villain when they least expected it, he saved an ill cat from freezing, and more. In the next story—Book 22—Rags needs saving and he gets help from a most unlikely critter.

You’ve no doubt read the story about the cat who saved the boy from a potentially vicious dog attack.  It occurred a few years ago in Bakersfield, California. The boy was riding his bicycle when a dog approached in attack mode and the family cat chased the dog off. If you want to read the story, it’s easy to find in a search.

Last year we talked about a stray cat in Russia who kept a baby alive by climbing into the box where the baby was left in the cold. One has to wonder if the cat was thinking about herself in this situation. I mean, the cat was probably cold, too. At any rate, the baby and the cat came out okay.

There are stories of cats rousing family members when a fire breaks out in the house.

I had a cat once who attacked a Great Dane that came too close to her kittens. PomPom, a lilymaxseven pound grey-and-white cat, saw the large dog nosing around outside. Her kittens, in the meantime, were playing nearby in the living room. Well, I guess she sensed the kittens were in danger, for she leaped into the air and hit the screen door, it flew open, and PomPom landed in the middle of that dog’s back. The poor dog didn’t know what had hit him. He ran off and never ventured into our yard again.

That day, once the attack was over, I opened the door and let PomPom back in. After checking each of her kittens, PomPom got herself some lunch and took a nap.

She was not a vicious cat. In fact, I took in a baby racoon once and had to bottle feed the tiny creature. PomPom used to sit next to me while I fed him and lick any spilled milk from his little face.

Some cats can be scrappers—fighting for what they want—a larger share of the kibbles, a lap, some petting, or a particular toy. Others will sit back and take what’s left without a complaint. Which purrsonality does your cat have? Is your cat a hero cat? Would love to hear your cat’s stories. Be sure to send pictures.

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Newsday Tuesday – Designer Feline Sanctuaries

010Many of us grew up knowing about the local animal control facility in our community. Here, it was called the pound. You could go there to adopt an animal, to search for a lost pet, or to drop off a stray cat or dog.

In those days, there were also a few cat hoarders. I don’t think we used that term then. These people opened their hearts and homes to an unusual number of cats. Some, like my step-grandmother, knew the importance of a good spay-neuter program and would come up with the money to take care of the cats they collected. And they’d do it without donations. Others simply continued allowing the cats to breed indiscriminately and ended up with many cats who suffered because they’d become overwhelmed—just like occurs today.

And then there were cat breeders—those who liked a certain breed of cat and enjoyed surrounding themselves with more and more of them, selling some off to make extra money.

Now, in a time when so many people are trying to protect cats and save cats, there appears

Kittens waiting for a home

Kittens waiting for a home

to be more cat breeders than ever. Yikes, I even learned this morning that there are those who breed cats specifically for research purposes. Oh don’t worry, they’re regulated and licensed. Say what? That certainly doesn’t make it okay with me.

Today, I’d like to talk about human heroes who give their all to save and protect cats. There are hundreds of shelters and sanctuaries designed to provide cats in all manner of need the care they require for a better life. Did I say hundreds? At last count, statistics show there are actually 13,600 community shelters. Why so many? Well, because we aren’t doing a very good job of taking care of our cats.

There are 3.4 million cats entering animal shelters per year.  And some of those shelters provide permanent homes for unwanted cats, some provide hospice care, others take in disabled cats, and some even specialize in cats with communicable diseases.

Cat House of Kings in California, is billed as the world’s largest no-kill no-cage sanctuary. They maintain around 700 unwanted cats and they’ve saved more than 24,000 cats over the years.

pumpkinOther similar sanctuaries that specialize in special needs cats are Tabby’s Place in New Jersey and Milo’s Sanctuary in Burbank, CA. There’s also HEART in New York.  Many cat sanctuaries focus on cats that can’t be re-homed—those that are terminally ill, have been abused, or have disabilities.

If you have a heart for cats with disabilities, here’s a link where you can tap into the possibility of adopting one http://www.petswithdisabilities.org/catadopt.html

Most of us do what we can. We adopt (rescue) the number of cats we feel we can properly care for. We become educated so we can most appropriately care for our cats. And we spoil our cats in every way possible. But aren’t we grateful to those who go beyond and take responsibility for the thousands of cats that have no one else, those that have come into being or are left behind because of ignorance?

Yesterday was Love Your Pet Day. Today we celebrate those who go above and beyond loving a pet or two. They embrace all of the furry beings who come to them in need.

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Mindful Monday – What’s Happening in the Klepto Cat Mystery Factory

Lily talking up the Klepto Cat Mystery books

Lily talking up the Klepto Cat Mystery books

March should be a BIG month for Klepto Cat Mystery fans. I’m rewriting the first book in the series—Catnapped and I can’t wait to launch it. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Why? I’m toning it down to fit a little better into the Cozy Mystery genre. As it is, it’s just a tad racy and somewhat controversial. The story will stay pretty much the same with some toning down and a greater focus on the cats. I believe the story and characters will have more depth. I think it will be worth reading again.

We’re building a Klepto Cat Mystery website to make it easier for fans and other interested people to find us.

We’re planning to publish our first audio book. Now this is really big news–we’ll start with the new and improve Catnapped. So get your audio technology ready for a treat.

And we’ll finally launch Book 22. This one has hit some snags and it has gone back to the drawing board numbers of times. Each time I revise or edit, it becomes richer. So I think you’ll find our delay worth it.

Watch for the big announcements.

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Frivolous Friday – New Cats on the Block

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Ever hear of a Highland Lynx, a Lykoi, a Cheetoh, a LaPerm or a Donskoy? Well, guess what? They’re all cat breeds. I actually thought breeders were finished developing new cat breeds until seven years ago when I attended a cat show and met a Savannah. This is a handsome very large cat that’s crossed between a domestic cat and a Serval. These active and curious cats can be quite a challenge as a house pet, so it takes a special person to keep one of these cats inside and safe. Some states outlaw the Savannah as a house pet.

The Savannah pictured is Elvis. The owner told me she was having trouble with him escaping from the hotel room because they had lever handles and he could easily pull down on it and open the door.

While checking into some of the newest cat breeds, I came across the Lykoi—werewolf cat.

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Learn more about this cat here: https://diaryofdennis.com/2014/02/12/werewolf-cat-a-new-breed-of-cats-called-lykoi/

The Highland Lynx is supposedly part wildcat and part domestic. It’s a cross between two hybrids: a Desert Lynx and a Jungle Curl. Many Highland Lynx are polydactyl. They may have long or short hair, wide-set eyes and curled ears. Check them out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/werewolf-kittens-lykoi_us_564070cde4b0411d307185dc

If you’d like to know more about a LaPerm, Donskoy, Cheetoh, Ojos Azules, Minskin and other designer breeds, here’s an interesting and informative website with pictures: http://iheartcats.com/the-10-newest-cat-breeds

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Thoughts for Thursday – To Bathe or Not to Bathe Your Cat

LilyBathThere are dozens of videos and stories online featuring cats having a bath. Have you ever bathed a cat? It used to be common to plunk a cat into warm water with gentle cat-friendly shampoo in order to free the cat of fleas—at least here in California. When I bought my silver-shaded Persian, she came with this instruction: “Bathe her once a week.” Say what??? I didn’t understand why—still don’t. But I did give her one bath. Neither of us were happy campers. Never did it again. Never saw a need to do it again. She was purrfectly capable of licking herself clean.

Now if a cat goes under a car and gets greasy, yeah, you might want to dunk her in a tub of water and scrub her clean. If she finds herself in a toxic substance, yes, take it upon yourself to wash her. And if fleas are a problem, she might need a flea dip. But many cats are kept inside now and don’t get greasy. And fleas can be dealt with in a much better way.

What about litter box problems? A long-haired cat with irritable bowel syndrome or who has eaten something she shouldn’t, can come out of the litter box with messy pantaloons. I’ve had to plop a kitty bottom into the bathroom sink a time or two.  Sorry Katy, Daisy, Max.

In case you find this necessary, I suggest placing a towel in the bottom of the sink before adding the cat to the water. It seems to give the cats a little security—they don’t slip and slide around so badly. My other tip would be, make it quick. Don’t dilly dally. In and out.

If you enjoy seeing cats struggle or seeing them get the best of a situation, Google cats taking a bath or cats in the bathtub and get a couple of chuckles. Otherwise, just be glad that your cat has a rough tongue and the desire to keep herself clean and that you don’t have to try giving her a bath.

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – My Cat Just Stuck Out His Tongue At Me!

lilysophie-030-2Does it sometimes seem like your cat is dissing you? When you want to pet her, she bites. Or you wriggle your fingers in an attempt to play with her or toss her ball and she just looks at you like you’re weird. I was talking to Lily-kitty the other day—having a meaningful conversation with her—and she yawned in my face.

What about when your cat stares at you—just stares from across the room. Does it make you squirm? Do you feel as though you’re being hated or maybe adored? With some cats it’s hard to tell what’s on their mind.

Last night, Dennis looked at Lily, who was looking at him, and he asked, “Are you mad at me?”

When I questioned his question, he said, “She’s looking at me like she’s mad.” There was no body language, just a stare.

Later, he said, “That’s better. Now she’s happy.” Well, he’d just fed her, so maybe that’s the reason.

Can you decipher your cat’s moods just through their eyes? Does your cat have expressive

Lily is waiting patiently for the next book

Lily is waiting patiently for the next book

eyes that reveal her mood?

Sure, when she pins their ears back, swishes her tail, and growls, you know she’s angry. When she sits up tall, ears forward, eyes wide, she may be interested in something in front of her or she’s eager and ready to play. When she purrs, she’s most likely contented. But what about that stare?

I swear when we’re preparing to leave, we get a sad look from Lily. When she’s waiting around a corner to pounce on an unsuspecting Sophie, her eyes are alive with impishness. But sometimes she just stares from across the room—locks eyes with me and I don’t have the slightest idea what message she’s trying to convey.

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Newsday Tuesday – Cats Cozy Down in Cold Weather

Mousestaying warmHow does your cat keep warm when the weather turns cold?

Mouse, a Catscapades blog follower’s in Arizona, shows us how he cozies down. Here, he has crawled into a sweatshirt that was hanging out near the radiator heater.

I received an adorable attachment the other day, IMG_0577showing cats and dogs in their comfort zones—sharing a shard of sunlight, sleeping curled up together, hugging a space heater (probably one that was either not turned on or turned very low). Most cats will navigate toward a warm body—any body on a cold day. Lily practically never gets in my lap in the summer months. But come winter, she’s curled up with me almost every morning. Sophie, who has a shorter coat, needs lap time every evening even when it’s 100 degrees outside. And this time of year, she cozies up to our radiator heater until the sun comes out and begins shining through the living room window across the floor. Then she and Lily lounge there for a while.

IMG_0583When we were heating with our wood-burning stove for all those years, our, then, four cats all curled up in front of it every morning in winter.

Here’s a tip—when you leave your cats overnight and turn your heating system down (which most of us do when we leave the house), toss heavy blankets, quilts, and such over the chairs and sofas for the cats to cuddle under. They can generate their own body heat in these small spaces and stay warmer. Which is what Mouse is doing in these pictures. Isn’t he adorable?

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Mindful Monday – The Hunting Cat

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Is your cat a hunter? You probably see hunting skills even in your house cats—as they stalk, leap, and pounce on their toys or you when you walk past. Our two foo-foo house kitties—both females—will annihilate a poor moth, fly, or bug that finds its way in. But usually after a lot of teasing and tormenting. Gosh those cute, fluffy, balls of fur can be ferocious.

I came across an article this week featuring the best hunting breeds in cats. I found it interesting and thought you would, too. Among those breeds thought to be the best hunters are, the Turkish Angora, Manx, Burmese, Siamese, Japanese bobtail, American shorthair, Maine Coon and, believe it or not, the Persian.

I actually had a purebred Persian once who presented us with a mouse one morning when we woke up. There, that beautiful shaded-silver Persian sat ever so prim next to the bed looking at us through huge green eyes, a dead mouse at her feet. She was so proud!

Female cats are purported to be better mousers and ratters than males. Although I doubt

Smokey, the inspiration for this series

Smokey, the inspiration for this series

any cat can out-hunt Smokey—my mom’s part ragdoll cat. He regularly brings her lizards, birds—even humming birds—and baby gophers. At the age of 95, my mom still occasionally chases down and rescues a bird that Smokey turns loose in the house.

According to one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, the best hunter is a cat with big ears and a long tail.

Now you know, if you need a cat to help rid your barn or garden of vermin, choose a female with Siamese, Persian, Maine Coone, and Manx breeding and make sure it has large ears and a long tail. Good luck.

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Frivolous Friday – Cats in the White House

Presidents Day is this month and I thought I’d look into White House cats. Did some of our presidents have pet cats? I wonder if they use cats for pest control around the White House. That question I didn’t resolve. But I was surprised to learn how many of our presidents had cats and how many of them lived like kings or queens in the White House over the years.

The first reported cat-loving president was Abraham Lincoln. Not only did he bring Tabby (a brown tabby) with him to the White House to become the first first-cat, Lincoln was an early advocate for the humane treatment of cats.

028All together, there are reported to be 21 first cats. And few of them had any breeding behind them. William McKinley had two Angora kittens, named Valoriano Weyler and Enrique DeLome. The only other first-cats I located that might fit into a breed category were Rutherford Hayes’s Siam—supposedly the first Siamese cat to enter the United States (in 1878); Gerald Ford’s Siamese, Shan; and Jimmy Carter’s Misty Malarkey Ying Yang, also a Siamese cat.

There were a few black cats in the White House, including Calvin Coolidge’s Blackie and George W. Bush’s India

Other first-cats include a couple of tabbies, at least one tuxedo cat (Bill Clinton’s Socks) and the Reagans’ two torties who actually lived the presidential  term out at the ranch.

With a few exceptions, names for the first-cats were ordinary—Puffin, Blackie, Ernie, Buddy, Tiger, Smokey, Cleo, Slippers, Timmy, Miss Pussy. But then these were ordinary cats who happened to live in a larger home than most.

I don’t think our cats would like the lifestyle of a first-cat, although, I’ve had some fairly aristocratic cats over the years—cats who always seemed to be posing and preening. I can imagine them being served freshly cooked chicken livers in crystal goblets, sleeping on cashmere pillows, and being taken to the veterinarian by limo.

Who do you suppose cleans the litter boxes for the first-cat and picks up the occasional fur CatfaceIMG_1972ball the cat might hurl just before a dignitary enters the Oval Office? And the cat hair! Is there someone assigned to the task of using a lint roller on the back of the first-lady’s skirt before the media arrives and making sure the dignitary’s chair is not covered in cat hair? I suppose there’s someone in charge of picking up the cat’s toys before a visiting queen trips on a plastic ball and scouring the grand Persian rugs for any sign of mouse or bird remains, lest the queen is queasy.

Oh yes, there’s the lovely, romantic aspect of a cat gracing the White House, but a cat is a cat is a cat and we all know what comes along with loving one.

 

 

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Thoughts for Thursday – Designer Cat Breeds

lilydoubleIMG_1930Ever hear of a Munchkin, an American Wirehair, or a Twisty Cat? Surely, you’re familiar with the Scottish Fold and the Manx. These are all cats stemming from mutations. At some point, a breeder got an unexpected peke-faced Persian or a tail-less kitten or one with six toes, for example, and decides to breed for this deformity. Why?

There’s a market for designer cats. They’re something different. And people will pay big bucks for something different—sometimes without even understanding how the deformity affects the cat’s health and well being.

I remember the first time I saw the Ragdoll cat. It was at a cat show. There’s a rule at cat BrucieKittyshows. You do not touch the cats. However, this time, as I admired a large buff and brown cat, the owner held him out to me and said, “Here, want to hold him?” Of course, I did. And I was told that day that the Ragdoll, known for its large size and floppy, relaxed nature, is an accidental mutation. I was told that a pregnant white cat was hit by a car and when she delivered, the kittens were very calm and quiet. Some say this cat feels less pain than most. This is a fairly new breed, having been started in the 1960s.

Peke-faced cats were first bred in the 1930s, the Scottish Fold, in 1961, and the Sphynx in 1966. Many designer cats have health or physical issues. The Peke-faced cats have problems with breathing, as well as with their eyes and teeth, for example. The Scottish Fold is more susceptible to ear mites and deafness, plus they cannot use their ears to communicate mood as other cats can. Hairless cats must be cared for differently because they have no defense against the cold. The Twisty Cats are thought to have all sorts of problems—they can’t knead on the mother cat to get milk, they can’t scratch to keep their claws healthy, and some can’t escape danger like a normal cat. Some say the Munchkin is prone to a variety of health issues due to the length of the spine and the set of the legs.

LilyEarSure, kittens are sometimes born with a deformity—deafness, blindness, crooked tail, or diminutive size, for example. And we just take care of it in the best way we can. Just scour the Internet and you’ll find cats with an extra set of ears, cranial abnormalities, two faces and more, but this doesn’t mean that we should capitalize on the defect by trying to breed for more such kittens.

Some of these designer cats have actually made it into the various cat registries and some have not. Sometimes all it takes is many years of perfecting the abnormality in order for it to become a recognized breed. “Perfect the abnormality.” Is that an oxymoron?

Our Lily has very soft ears. I’ve never known a cat with such flexible ears. Often, when she washes her face and cleans her ears, the ear will fold back and stay that way until she fixes it or I gently fold it back. (See photo) I guess (before I had her spayed) I could have found a male with “bendy” ears and started a breeding program to capitalize on this odd  distortion. Lily could have been the mother of all “Bendy-eared Cats” or “Flex-ear Cats” or maybe “Gumby-ear Cats.”

How do you feel about breeding to change the cat? I once knew a woman who knew nothing about being a breeder or about breeding cats, but she had a particularly small cat and decided to breed her with other small cats and try to come up with the eternal kitten. I lost track of her, so I don’t know if she hit her goal. But guess what, there are now Teacup Persians, Toy cats, and Pocket Cats. And they are adorable. But do you want to support the irresponsible breeding of cats or any breeding of cats, when there are so many homeless cats waiting for a good home and who would make wonderful pets?

 

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