Frivolous Friday – Happy Cat Month

No one wants a grumpy cat or one that’s unhappy, ill, angry, or fearful, right? We all delight in our cats being relaxed, healthy and happy. The CATalyst Council, a nationwide council of several organizations, has set aside September as Happy Cat Month in order to help cat owners create an atmosphere and a demeanor that will most likely support and encourage happy cats in our home.

They suggest that if your cat hasn’t seen a veterinarian for the last six months, it’s time for a well-check. Do you notice the condition of her fur, eyes, ears, mouth? Do you pay attention to what she leaves in the litter box and any changes to her litter box habits? What about her eating habits? Any changes there? Have you checked her claws lately? Do they need to be trimmed? Happy Cat Month is a good time to catch up with her veterinary care, like I said, if it’s been over six months since she’s seen her veterinarian.

The Catalyst Council recommends other things you can do to insure that your cat is a happy cat. Is she maintaining a good weight? If not, with your veterinarian’s help, consider a new feeding routine. Is she regularly stimulated by new toys, changes in the location of her cat tree? When’s the last time you added something new for your cat—an empty box, a cozy cat tunnel? You can even spread a blanket over an arm chair or sofa for your cat to cozy under. They especially enjoy a “tent” in cooler weather. What about a water fountain for your cat? Many cats find running water quite a fascination.

What about play time? Is it time to revive a game they used to love or come up with something new to entertain her (and you)?

Let’s all come up with something that will make our cats happy and share it here at this blog. Our girls have had their well-check within the last six months and their eating habits and food quality was discussed and adjusted at that time. So, for Lily, I think I’ll save used paper, crunch them into wads, and throw them across the living room for her to chase. She especially loves leaping for the paper wad.

For Sophie, I’m going to purchase a container of cat grass. She’s on a grass kick, lately, and all we can bring in for her to munch on are weeds as here in this drought-stricken area of CA, no one supports a lawn any more.

While I’m at the pet store, I think I’ll see what they have in innovative toys our girls might enjoy. What about you?

Here are some additional ideas for you and your cat to celebrate Happy Cat Month. http://www.catalystcouncil.org/newsroom/?ID=160

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Thoughts for Thursday – Why I Consider My Two Purebred Cats Rescues

When we talk about rescuing a cat, we think of plucking feral cats from the streets and domesticating them. We adopt unwanted cats from shelters. We take in strays that are roaming free. We might save a lost cat after a disaster. I’ve done a lot of that. But I’ve also inadvertently rescued two purebred cats.

The first time I bought a purebred cat was in 1972. I wanted a Persian, so I went to a local breeder and chose the sweetest shaded silver Persian ever and named her Crystal. What a dear being. By the time Crystal was a year old or so, I knew that I’d probably actually rescued her. Anyone buying her for breeding or showing would certainly have put her down once they discovered Crystal’s deadly secret.

When Crystal became ill, she wasn’t diagnosed correctly—in fact none of the veterinarians she saw could tell us what the problem was. There was never an actual diagnosis, just a whole lot of treatment. Looking back, it’s pretty clear that she either had feline leukemia or feline aids, which were not very well known in those days.

How much love would Crystal have received from someone who purchased her for breeding or showing purposes? How long would they have treated her? As it was, we had to let her go when she was only about six years old. If only we’d known—if only there’d been a vaccine by then. But we can’t go back, we can only move forward.

Fast-forward to 1986. It was a pretty summer day when I walked into a pet store and fell in love with Himalayan kitten. Yes, I was guilty of supporting a kitten mill. Her papers showed she was born in Missouri and shipped to a California pet store. Needless to say, I bought her and named her Katrina (Katie).

When Katie was around a year old, she developed a serious infection in the uterus and it had to be removed. Yes, she had a hysterectomy. Now if she’d been purchased by another breeder or an individual who paid the fee because they wanted to start a breeding program, what would have happened to Katie? I’ll tell you what did happen to Katie. She was absolutely adored. (I’m tearing up as I write this.) She was a beautiful creature and she had a beautiful life with me for 18 precious years.

I’m grateful for the time I had with those two sweet beings. But, as we know, there are equally lovely cats that have been abandoned, become lost, are neglected, and who need a home. My rule now is to rescue in the more traditional way—by supporting a shelter rather than a breeder. I just thought you’d find it interesting that there may be other ways to rescue a cat whether it starts out that way or not.

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Silly Moments With our Comical Cats

You’ve probably seen that Twizzler commercial where grumpy or serious people are tempted by a Twizzler and have trouble keeping that straight face. Cats (especially kittens) have a similar affect. Just try to be melancholy, angry, or stoic when a cat is at play. I mean, what other animal has the sense of humor of a cat? They’re the clowns of the animal kingdom and their whole world is a circus.

Just think about what they can do with the simplest item—a wad of paper, for example. They might attack it, play soccer with it or hide-and-seek. They’ll chase it, leap for it, and even take it for a swim in their water bowl. Give a cat a box and you can see their imagination soar. They become swashbuckling buccaneers, explorers of the bravest kind, or maybe the king of the jungle as they take on imaginary adversaries in and around that box. Throw a toy mouse in the mix and the cat’s antics escalate.

Lily becomes a comic on catnip. And Sophie sometimes entertains us with her athletic prowess when we give her a toy mouse—especially if it has a tail. Like any accomplished feline huntress, she tosses that mouse in the air, then pounces on it. She flings it and chases it; lays on it, rolls over it a few times, then tosses it across the room for the chase.

When it comes to Lily and catnip, she turns in place meowing excitedly when I pull the catnip package out of the freezer. She’s practically beside herself as I approach their cat tree where I dispense the “drug,” and she releases all inhibitions upon her first scent of the stuff. She eats it, rolls in it, and otherwise fills her body and soul with it until she becomes a limp dishrag. I’m sure she must see psychedelic images or something for a while after the treat as she seems to have no backbone—she’s a wet noodle and she delights in staring at is from upside down.

What does your cat do to entertain you and make you laugh?

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Newsday Tuesday – Clear the Shelters Day

This is a wonderful story of adoption sponsored by NBC and Telemundo TV. And it was a huge success. Over 1,200 shelters participated and over 70,000 animals were adopted. You should see the pictures of the happy pets and excited new pet owners. See them here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/clear-the-shelters-adoption-photos_us_5b7879b5e4b05906b4144567

For a period last month, shelters discounted their adoption fees—some actually waived them altogether—and thousands of cats and dogs who might, to this day, still be waiting for someone to love are happy in loving homes.

From Chicago to the Bay Area, Tulsa to Boston, in Detroit and Dallas, beautiful and not so beautiful animals were saved from euthanasia by such sponsors at the Bissel Pet Foundation who seriously supported this event. And it appears that this even occurs not only in August, but on other dates throughout the year. If you know someone who would be a loving, responsible pet owner, but who can’t afford the adoption fees, encourage them to participate in the next Clear the Shelter Day and save an animal from death or a life in a cage. Here’s the official site. http://www.cleartheshelters.com/

 

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Mindful Monday – Cats and Books

 

It cracks me up how and where I find ideas for this blog (and for the Klepto Cat Mystery stories, by the way). Last week I visited the restroom in my chiropractor’s office and saw a photograph of a cat sitting on a shelf of old books and thought, “Now that’s a nice theme.” I also have a t-shirt picturing a cat lounging with books. It says, “Cats and Books: Life is Good.”

What is it about cats and books that warms a heart? I think it’s a calming concept. What is more relaxing than the thought of curling up on a rainy (or a sunny) day with a cat and a good book? When the book has a cat in it, the experience is even more priceless. When you read a Klepto Cat Mystery while snuggling with your cat, you might gaze into her eyes at some point and say, “Boy I’m glad you’re not a naughty klepto like Rags.” Or you might say, “Gosh, you’re boring next to Rags and his feline friends. All you do is sleep and eat.”

Well, there’s no comparing Rags to any single cat as he’s actually a compilation of cats I know and have known. That’s where he gets his over-sized purrsonality.

Yesterday, I came in possession of yet another cat book. I walked down to my favorite bookstore, BookEnds, which is actually an old church that’s been transformed into a unique bookstore with tons of collectibles and curiosities. Marsha handed me a book—a gift. It’s old and charming. I looked it up and I believe it was published in 1903. Are any of you familiar with S. Louise Patteson’s “Letters from Pussycatville?” She also wrote “Pussy Meow: The Autobiography of a Cat” in 1901. Collectibles, for sure.

Wishing you and yours a purrfect labor day, hopefully with your favorite cat and, if circumstances allow it, a good read. If you haven’t read it, pick up the latest Klepto Cat Mystery, Revenge at Its Felinest. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat and delight you all at once.

Me? While I’ll most likely spend the early hours of the morning continuing the editing for Book 31, my afternoon will be spent at a family beach barbecue. Can’t wait!

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Frivolous Friday – Cats in Art and Collectibles

We see dogs posing for portraits wearing human clothing, horses being depicted as unicorns, and just about every animal in porcelain, ceramic, metal, wood, leather, etc. But is there any animal who is as photographed, painted, animated, emulated and otherwise portrayed as the cat?

Do all of us who adore cats admire and even collect other things cat? I’ve shared some of my favorite “cat art” in previous posts. I’ve collected cat things for years and have stopped myself many times from buying another piece of clothing or household accessory with a cat on it. But that doesn’t stop friends and family from giving me kitty-cat art and doo-dads and I truly enjoy these things.

One of my favorite cat possessions is this pencil drawing of a magnificent leopard by a friend, Susan Colla. One of the quirkiest is a set of nesting measuring cups shaped like cats. Clever, and something I’ve never seen before—useful too, and given to me by a dear friend. Another meaningful piece of cat art I have on display is a pitcher shaped like a cat. I bought it when I really couldn’t afford any extras, but I needed to do something risky nonetheless and treat myself. As I recall, it cost under $10, but buying it was a big statement-making, self-validating moment.

I think I’ve listed some of my cat things before—did I mention my stuffed cat computer screen cleaner and my cat-face mousepad? Our hanger for extra keys is shaped like a cat and I’m drinking coffee out of a cup with cats on it. Recently, my mother gave me a trash can I’ve admired at her house for years. It has a painting of a gorgeous cat on it. Another favorite piece of cat art in my house is a throw (blanket) that my daughters had made for a birthday a few years ago. It has pictures of all of my Klepto Cat Mystery book covers up to that point. This is highly treasured—for its beauty as well as the beautiful thought and love that went into that gift.

I think just about everyone collects something. I also have a thimble collection and a collection of old sheet music. Mama collects inkwells. I know different people who collect frogs, things depicting Boston terriers, various ceramic collectibles (Hummels, Llardro, Willow), tea cups, etc. What interesting, unusual thing do you collect?

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Thoughts for Thursday – The Cat in the Window

A cat without windows is unimaginable to me. For much of my life I’ve had inside/outside cats. My cats have all been totally indoors for the last forty years or so—with the exception of one rescued calico who insisted on having outdoor privileges. She refused to use the litter box. No she didn’t have accidents. She absolutely insisted on going outside—even in the rain. But she also enjoyed lolling around indoors with the other cats and, like all of the other cats we’ve ever had, she enjoyed gazing out the windows.

Windows and cats—they actually make for interesting photography. It’s fun watching a cat at the window, as she reacts to her experience. She might chatter when seeing a bird—my cats and I enjoy bird-watching together. Sophie gets excited when she sees another cat outside. And she lets me know by her posture if someone’s walking by or coming up our walkway.

I once had a cat who found an otter in our yard. It was raining and our Turkish van girl was sitting on a windowsill looking out with big eyes. I joined her just to see what had her interest and there, diving in and out of a little pond in the back yard was—I rubbed my eyes a couple of times to make sure—yes, it was an otter. He was having the time of his life in the rain. He was especially happy when he discovered our pool and we had a blast watching him. We later discovered he was a pet. He’d escaped and, when the rain stopped—a day or two later—and we’d finally found the owner, he arrived with a ferret to ferret him out from under our tack room. They were friends and the ferret did, in fact, entice the otter out so they could catch him and take him home.

You never know what might be lurking in your yard until you have a cat at the window.

 

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Litter Box Art

Sometimes I just can’t resist sharing Lily’s artwork, even if it comes from the litter box. Does your cat pee interesting shapes for you? Does she claw designs in the litter—something that looks like a bird or a fish, perhaps? Maybe your cat spills sand out of the box and smears it around to make recognizable designs. What? You’ve never noticed? Not an art connoisseur, huh?

A while back, Lily peed an owl shape. Dang, I didn’t photograph that one. But I did have it verified by someone else. Yep. It sure looked remarkably like an owl. Most typically, however, I find hearts and kitty-cat faces, such as those I’m showing here today.

How do I know it’s Lily doing the artwork? Well, she’s my artistic girl. Plus, she’s the one with kidney disease and a gigantic bladder. She drinks tons of water, thus pees a lot and leaves big clumps. Sophie’s clumps are tiny and always round. Her art simply lacks the imagination that Lily’s does.

When Lily was a kitten, she used to scratch patterns on the walls. Sorry, I didn’t think to get pictures. Underneath the white paint in the hallway, was orange—of all things. The walls were in need of a paint job and Lily, I guess, decided to help prepare the walls for the painter. Every day, she’d find a spot on those walls and scratch away the white paint to reveal little orange designs.

When I came across a book called, “Why Cats Paint?” I was fascinated. I bought it, of course and delighted in the photos of cats painting on walls, refrigerators, boxes, etc. If you’ve never seen it and you appreciate art, you must check this book out.

Maybe studying what’s in the litter box had never occurred to you. But I’ll bet that, after seeing Lily’s unique “pee-art” you’re going to pay attention.

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Newsday Tuesday – Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood –What You Can Do?

A feral cat is a cat without a home—one that was born into or has returned to a wild state. There are also domesticated cats that have lost their way or been abandoned. These cats might be called strays. Homeless cats will often band together in what we call colonies. And they can be found living just about anywhere—in cities and rural areas, in warehouse districts and neighborhoods, in ravines, under bridges, among sand dunes along the coast or trees in a forest. For the most part these cats are wily, cunning, and clever. They have to be in order to survive.

Some colony cats are somewhat social—they’ll allow petting and, in fact, might eventually worm their way into the hearts and homes of humans. Many, however, have been running in fear for too long. Their encounters with humans have validated their fear and they will probably never warm up to people.

Where do feral cats come from? Some are second, third, etc. generation feral and, without human intervention, continue to add to the population of feral cats. Some are housecats that were left behind when their people moved or turned out because of what their humans considered unacceptable behavior. Many cats get lost while traveling with their people or during a disaster such as a tornado, fire, hurricane, flooding, etc. If they survive the event, they might begin foraging for food, seeking a new home, or they’ll end up with other homeless or displaced cats and become part of a colony.

When you see what appears to be one or more feral (or homeless) cats, you probably wonder if they were ever loved, how they wound up in that situation, why there are so many. Do you also wonder what you can do to help?

There are hundreds of people and programs dealing with feral and stray cats today. Their current solution to the overpopulation of unwanted cats is the trap, neuter, release (TNR) program, which is being operated in every state in almost every community. So what can you do? The first step, when you see what appear to be stray cats collecting in your neighborhood or where you work or anywhere in your community, is to find a TNR program near you. Do an Internet search using keywords, TNR and the name of your city or county. I found a site listing over 175 such organizations in California. In some communities you can borrow traps from your local Humane Society and trap feral cats yourself. The director will tell you where to take the cats for evaluation, treatment, neutering, and placement. Or the TNR volunteers will do the trapping for you and follow through as outlined above. They’ll find homes for those cats who can adjust to domestication and release the wilder cats in the same area or a more suitable area where, perhaps, the colony is being monitored and fed.

Stray cats may seem as though they don’t belong to anyone. Truth is, they belong to everyone. It is our responsibility to take action on their behalf. I imagine many of you have cats in your home that were destined to live a life on the lamb—in a colony or alone on the streets. Both of our cats are rescues and so were several of our cats before them. It does a heart and a cat good when someone steps up and embraces a cat that’s otherwise destined to be homeless.

Sure cats are clever and smart and they have good survival skills, but why should they have to use these attributes to survive alone. Don’t they deserve to live a less stressful life in the hearts and on the laps of a caring and doting human? Cats have needs too. Primarily they need nourishment, a safe place to live, care, and love.

Posted in About Cats, Cat Rescue, Feral Cats, Homeless Cats | 5 Comments

Mindful Monday – The Cat Nap

The weather is starting to cool a bit, which makes it more comfortable to sleep. Although I’m not sure cats ever lose any sleep no matter the weather. They seem to be able to catnap or snooze soundly under any conditions, and in some of the most interesting positions.

Do you ever photograph your cat asleep? How can you resist when she or he is curled up or sprawled out in pure relaxation or in a laughable position?

It’s widely known that cats sleep approximately sixteen hours out of every twenty-four. Some experts say a cat might sleep twelve to fifteen hours a day and some cats sleep as much as twenty hours every day. Generally this is the very young cat and the aging cat.

While a cat might not have trouble sleeping when the temperatures soar, their sleep patterns can be affected by the weather. When Fluffy wakes up in the morning, looks out the window and sees that it’s cold and rainy, she might go right back to bed, just like you wish you could do, right?

Why do cats sleep so much? Is it that they’re lazy? Actually just the opposite. It’s because they’re so active. When they’re awake, they expend a lot of energy. Plus they’re hardwired to sleep a lot in order to be ready for the next hunt.

Cats are considered crepuscular. This means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. This, too, is influenced by their wild ancestors. Our domestic cats don’t hunt to survive and the only things the house cat fears are maybe the vacuum cleaner, the sound of the garbage truck outside, and maybe small grandchildren visiting. But she still has a busy day—begging for her meals, giving herself a complete bath after eating, investigating packages and boxes brought in from outside, giving chase when a toy mouse is flipped in front of them, leaping after a fly or moth that makes its way into the house, worrying about whether you’re going to leave and when and if you’re coming back, keeping an eye on what’s going through the windows, examining bits of sunlight shining on the floor, looking forward to the next meal, and so forth. When you consider all that they do, you can clearly see why a cat sleeps so much during the day. It’s exhausting being a cat. But you can be sure that a cat nap is just the thing to re-energize your fur-pal.

 

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