Newsday Tuesday – Interesting and Outrageous Stories About Cats

 

We’ve reported on an island where cats are practically the only residents, we’ve talked about the cat train in Japan, but here’s an unusual story of cats renting their own apartment in San Jose, California.

Evidently the space was going to be used as an AirBnB. The rent is $1,500 a month for the apartment, which includes everything a person (or a cat) would need except a kitchen. This unusual arrangement came about when a man, who was caring for his daughter’s cats when she went away to college, moved in with his girlfriend, he had no place for the cats. So he rented them their own apartment. I just hope someone spends time with them. Poor little rich kitties.

Here’s an interesting story countering the claim that cats are totally responsible for the decline in and the extinction of some birds throughout the world. https://www.animalwised.com/cats-killing-birds-separating-fact-from-myth-1366.html

Late this year Cats the movie will hit American theaters. I’m excited to see it. I enjoyed the play and I’m curious as to how they recreated the story on the screen. If you’re interested in acting cats, you might find this story fascinating. The behind-the-scene stories are always curious, especially when cats are involved. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/02/movies/animals-acting-movies-tv.html

Here’s a feel-good story about a North Carolina woman who retired from her work as a corrections officer and jumped right into helping feral kittens. She started by volunteering to feed abandoned kittens and now runs a shelter where she cares for forty cats at a time. Read her story here: http://www.reflector.com/News/2019/01/02/The-cat-s-meow-Snow-Hill-woman-provides-home-for-felines.html

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Mindful Monday – Portraits of Cats—How to Capture Your Cat at Her Best

This week’s blog fare is varied. Throughout the week we’ll focus on some of the smart and clever things cats do—one of my favorite topics. As a contrast, I’ll share stories of cat oopsies—some of the missteps cats take. We’ve all watched comical episodes of cats losing their grace. I’ll also talk about some amazing cat happenings in the news, and I’ll give an update on an upcoming book with a timeline as to when you can order it.

Today I’m sharing portraits I’ve collected over the years—some are friends’ artwork and others are some of my favorite cat photos. I also photograph birds, and I have to say it’s easier to get an amazing bird shot than a great photo of a cat.

I took a class once in cat photography and learned something valuable. It was actually one of those duh moments. My strategy when photographing my cats is to snap a picture when I see one of them striking a pose. And it works most of the time with Lily. If I have to move to reach the camera phone or go into another room to get the camera or move closer to the cats, Sophie’s gone. She’s a horrible photo subject. Lily, however, will usually stay in the pose until I’ve gotten my shot.

The photographer who led the workshop I attended suggested setting the scene for cat photography, then allowing the cat to be a cat. The photographer goes into another room and closes the door. He places the props he wants in the shot, maybe lays out a blanket or cloth where the interesting props are and arranges the lighting to his liking. He might take a couple of shots to check the lighting, contract, color, etc.

His props might be Christmas decorations; a patriotic

Lily with battery-operated candle.

scene—small flag, etc. He might create a mood with candles (I recommend the battery-operated candles, not real candles). Maybe he brings in a fishbowl with a goldfish in it or he simply wants a photo with the cat sitting at a window with a view. Whatever theme he chooses, once he sets it up, he opens the door to the room and the cats either immediately or eventually go inside to check out the changes he’s made in there. You know how cats MUST check out changes to their environment. Whether it’s packages brought into the house after a shopping trip, the chair you moved to a different spot in the room, the jacket you draped over the sofa when you came in from outside, or a potato chip you dropped while munching. Cats are going to spend at least a few moments examining whatever is new in their space.

So the cats enter the area the photographer has set up and he is at the ready to take whatever shots they create. Does it work? Yes. I’ve tried it and it certainly does work. If you decide to experiment with this concept, I’d love to share the results with my followers.

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Frivolous Friday — A Celebration of Cats

This is the Catscapades blog and I don’t believe you’ll find a Dogs-capades blog anywhere on the Internet, but what cat person doesn’t also appreciate dogs and many other animals?

I belong to the Cat Writer’s Association–an organization for those who use their communication skills and channels to educate the public about cats and their care. Our annual conference is coming up in May and many of us are preparing for a weekend of everything cat in St. Louis. We even wear cat motif clothing, shoes, jewelry–oh yes, this is the one time in the year that we practically become cats. And one of the fun accessories for us has become cat ears.

I bought an array of cat ears to go with my wardrobe this year and sent a couple pair to a cat writer friend. When she sent me this picture of her dog, Ozzie, trying them on I just had to share it. Isn’t he adorable?

Those of you who read this blog love cats and advocate for cats. I invite you to check out membership and participation in the Cat Writers Association (CWA) at http://www.catwriters.com. And consider joining us at the conference. It’s one of my favorite events of the year and I learn so much in the presentations, at the luncheons and banquet, and just mingling with wonderful people who share my passion for cats. Many of them are extremely impressive in the time and expertise they give in such a variety of ways all to further the health and safety of our sweet fur-friends.

And you can win prizes for your writing. Here, Lily checks out my Muse Medallion that I won last year for this blog.

And don’t forget, some dogs love cats, too.

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Thoughts for Thursday – Sleeping Cats–Ohhh So Cute!

Try not to smile. I’ve posted pictures of sleeping cats before. Who doesn’t melt when seeing a cat so relaxed? I love watching internet videos showing cats sleeping in some of the most interesting, positions. Some of them are hilarious. How many of you have had a kitten fall asleep while eating? I used to worry about a kitten falling asleep while drinking her water and drowning. I guess it could happen.

What are some of your cat’s cutest or most humorous sleeping positions? I’ve had cats who curled up together. I think that is one of the most charming visions. In fact, I was tempted to adopt two half-grown kittens yesterday when I saw the siblings snuggled together in a pen at the pet store. Lily and Sophie may sleep on the same sofa, curl up in kitty beds placed next to each other, but I’ve never caught them sleeping together. On the contrary, if Lily’s in what appears to be a great sleeping spot, Sophie might take it from her, but she sure won’t share it with her.

Max and Katy used to fight over my lap. And if I laid on the couch with a blanket over me, Katy might crawl under the blanket to lay with me and Max would lay on top of the blanket on top of Katy.

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – How Many Cats are Too Many Cats?

I’ve had as many as seven cats at once. I’d just lost a sweet marmalade tiger kitten through ignorance and started collecting cats. Tina Marie showed up on my doorstep and I took her in. Soon she had a litter of kittens. Fluff was wandering the neighborhood, so I started feeding him. There was another cat that I confiscated—a grey tiger stripe as I recall. That was a long time ago.

In more recent years, the most cats I’ve had on the long term is four. I show three of them in this photo. Around this time, we’d just lost our beautiful odd-eye white cat, Winfield, to cancer. And Dinah to a brain tumor. Yeah, there was some bad luck there for a while.

It’s such a shame that we outlive our cats. No matter what we do, they live for only seventeen or eighteen years. Fortunate are those who have the companionship of a healthy cat for longer. There’s a cat in Britain who’ll turn 30 this year.

I know people who live with more cats than I’ve had in a lifetime. Some have taken these cats in, others foster cats. My appreciation and admiration goes out to all of them. While I adore cats and don’t feel complete without one or two in my life, I’m not of the temperament or mentality to take responsibility for a bunch of them. It’s a big job—being responsible for one cat can be a big job, especially if it is a high-maintenance cat—one with a chronic illness, is elderly and failing, or has a dangerous habit, for example. There are cats that swallow string and ribbon and even chew metallic bows. Some cats are attracted to plastic and get themselves into some serious fixes when they eat a piece that doesn’t want to pass through their system. I know a cat who eats plastic bags. House plants can be a danger for some cats. Yes, some of us have to redecorate our homes for a cat with a dangerous habit or fixation. And what about a cat that can’t be litterbox trained. I loved one of those for seventeen years. He certainly forced many changes in our household.

If you have an easy-going cat with no dangerous or annoying inclinations, count yourself lucky and treat that kitty like the jewel that she is. If you’re dealing with a special-needs cat or you’ve taken in a lot of cats, bless you for giving so much.

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Newsday Tuesday – Funny Cats

Did you ever hear the one about the cat who went into a bar? Probably not because a cat’s sense of humor is more sophisticated than that. In fact cats are some of the finniest clowns around. Today I’d like to share some of my photos of funny cats.

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Mindful Monday – Where’d the Cat Go?

Do you ever go looking for your cat and discover, after several minutes or more, that she’s hiding right under your nose? Before leaving your house do you check to see where your cats are? We’ve been known to close a cat in a closet—I mean, who hasn’t done that? And do you profusely apologize when you finally locate your cat in a closet, cupboard, high up on a shelf, or, heaven forbid, the refrigerator? Does it do any good? I mean, how can you explain to a cat, who has been deprived of his freedom for a couple of hours, that you didn’t mean to do it.

Why do cats like to hide? I guess it goes back to their roots. In the wilds, it’s either stay hidden or be eaten. Cats also need a good cover when they’re hunting for their dinner so they can get the drop on the varmint. Just watch your cat’s movements and activities throughout the day. While his antics may seem like play and he looks really cute peering out from under the sofa, in reality he’s probably acting on instincts carried over from his wild ancestors. When he leaps out at you when you walk into a room, he’s emulating a wild cat attacking his prey.

I can’t help but smile when I see Lily or Sophie staring out from their tunnel or from under the bed spread. But I have to wonder what’s really going through their mind? Are they imagining being on a hunt in the jungle or plains or are they oblivious to why they’re hiding? Is the instinct connected to a long-held memory or is it simply DNA guiding them blindly in these activities?

Here are some hiding cats—Pearl follows this blog. This is her Little Kitty looking down from a high place with a couple of teddys. Smokey likes to hide up high in the garage too. Here’s Lily trying to camouflage herself in a newspaper and Sophie under a blanket.

 

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Frivolous Friday – Shopping for Your Cats

Ever since I established the inside-only rule for my cats, I’ve toyed with the idea of allowing them outdoor time in the sunshine. And I’ve talked about catios and other types of enclosure on the market. Here’s another one that could offer a cat plenty of room to roam in your yard. Have you examined the Purrfect Fence? Check it out here: https://www.purrfectfence.com The company claims that even Houdini cats can’t escape from these enclosures.

I’ve been seeing a lot of online promotion about new-fangled litter boxes. I’ve attempted to isolate a few to review, but there are just so many and then there’s the litter choices, and let’s don’t forget about cat preferences. Here’s a site that lists what someone believes is the best of the best for 2019. Do you agree? Disagree? https://www.thesprucepets.com/best-cat-litter-boxes-4151093 Wayfair has some incredibly attractive and discrete litterbox solutions and they’re cheaper than some of the fancy automatic cleaning boxes. If I had more room in my bathrooms, this is the way I’d go—an attractive cabinet where the litter box is hidden and maybe the litter is more well contained. But would the cat shy away from entering the dark hole. You be the judge: https://www.wayfair.com/pet/sb0/litter-boxes-c409564.html

How about teaching your cat to use the toilet? Here’s a start: https://www.wikihow.com/Toilet-Train-Your-Cat

This site offers their pick for the best cat products of 2018. They include a folding cat tree. It looks rather like an interesting ladder for cats to climb. Cool. Also Jackson Galaxy has created a design for a new bed for cats—he calls it a donut cat bed. Sure looks comfy. But I just bought our cats a new kitty bed. I don’t know why I keep doing that. We have four beds now and only two cats. I’ll bring home a new bed and it sits empty for days—or weeks—even in winter when they’re more apt to cozy down in a bed. Lily has not stepped one paw into it at all. Finally Sophie curled up in it. She seems to like it. Success. Here’s the site showing best cat products for 2018: https://consciouscat.net/2018/12/26/10-best-cat-products-of-2018/

What is your cat’s favorite product? Is it something for cats or your favorite new throw or pillow? Maybe it’s a basket you’ve added to your décor and had hoped to use for magazines or something other than a cat toy. Our cats are fighting over a cozy throw that happens to have cat’s all over it. Sophie usually curls up under it and Lily likes to lay on top of it. Last night we heard a commotion and found Lily under it and Sophie throwing a hissy fit—wanting her out of there. It doesn’t help to provide a second blanket—not with these two strong-willed little girls.

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Thoughts for Thursday – Favorite Cat Toys and Cubbies

Yesterday I revealed Lily’s passion for tiny stuffed toys. She has a stuffed spider, little owl, baby otter, and, of course, a small stuffed kitten. Her lambie is one of her favorites. Lambie seems to come out of the basket first after I’ve scooped the toys up and put them away.

Sophie has no interest in Lily’s collection of toys. Her favorites are those furry mice you can buy at pet stores or in the cat food aisle of most grocery stories. She takes the little things by the tail and repeatedly tosses them in the air before pouncing on them with vigor. Both girls also like empty boxes. And they enjoy it when we wriggle a wand toy enticingly.

Someone once gave us a sort of fishing pole toy for the cats. We had to discard it, though, because once, when Sophie was a kitten, she got tangled up in the line and it scared her. This was during her socialization period—not good. So we shy away from toys with string or cord.

What’s your cat’s favorite toy or play style? Lily loves to chase paper wads. I especially get a kick out of her super-cat leaps into the air while batting at the wad when I toss it. It’s fun to watch her look of anticipation when she hears me crinkle the paper. She’ll come from anywhere when she hears that and becomes very alert to what might come next.

Sophie likes paper too—only she’d rather shred it than chase it. She’ll sometimes shred a piece of paper and make a nest out of it.

Why do we play with our cats? I’d say it’s for the pleasure we get from watching them at play. I love it when they get excited over a toy or a game.

It’s interesting how they can fall into a routine. Our big boy, Max, used to jump up onto the cat tree when he knew I was getting ready for bed. He’d wait anxiously for me to pick up his soft rubber ball and toss it to him. He’d bat it back to me over and over again—both of us obviously enjoying the game.

Lily likes to help me put on my walking shoes—you know, the kind with shoe laces. It’s a wonder I don’t sometimes tie a paw into the bow.

Blanket tents are a favorite of our cats. While neither cat likes to be covered up—you know, under the covers, they adore having a shelter they can crawl under and take a nap. We drape a lightweight blanket or towel over a chair or sofa and the cats immediately dive for cover, coming out only for food or treats. This is a great idea for when you leave your cats alone with the heat turned down on a cool day. They generate heat within the shelter and remain more comfortable.

Of course, there are numbers of ready-made cat tunnels and cat cubbies, but if you want a quick fix for a bored or chilly cat, the blanket tent is the way to go. Try it and let me know how your cats liked it.

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Cats and Teddies

What’s cuter than a baby cuddling with a teddy bear? Let me suggest that maybe it’s a kitten curled up with a teddy bear or sitting with a stuffed owl or posing amidst her array of animal toys—or cats cuddling with cats.

After all, isn’t a stuffed animal kind of like a cute kitty-cat? They’re furry, have an adorable expression, are usually soft and cuddly. Only the stuffed ones don’t claw furniture, climb the drapes, beg for food, hide where you can’t find them when it’s time to see the veterinarian, dart outside in the dark when you least expect it, take a nap on your favorite black sweater which you forgot to put away, or bat your favorite pen or pair of earrings off the tabletop and into the waste basket or some other dark hole.

Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed cute stuffed bears and other critters. I have a stuffed moose from Alaska, several stuffed cats, an owl, and teddy bears in all shapes and sizes, including a tiny red-and-white checkered one, which I’ve so far successfully kept hidden from Lily. Yes, she has confiscated some of the small ones from my collection. Since then I’ve bought her some of her own and she does play with them. In fact, her collection is larger than mine now. At last count, Lily had 17 stuffed animal toys, including a koala bear, armadillo, hedgehog, and eagle.

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