29 October, 2015

Biting Heads Off

As I left the house this morning, for the drive to work, The Hubby looked at me square in the eyes and said, "Don't be like Patty O'Malley and bite someone's head off!"

Work has been a bit trying recently, so sometimes I'm the opposite of happy and bouncy, if you catch my drift.  And recently, we've witnessed Patty O'Malley in the yard, munching on...something.  He's still eating full meals (and treats!), and yet, he's ridding the world of many, MANY mice and birds.

I shot a video too, but it's much too graphic!  Who knew we had so many rodents around?  And now, when I call Patty 'Fatty Patty' because he's getting so BIG, it's not all my fault!

P.S. I promised not the 'be like Patty' today at the office!

28 October, 2015

'Tocks for Tocktober


Don't really have 'tocks pics of Angel or Sweetie, but now I'm on a mission to get some!  How weird is it to have aspirations to take photos of kitties behinds?  Yeah, pretty weird!

27 October, 2015

Bacon Balls

"I want food, not pills!"

Chuck's daily medicine; these are little tiny pills!

Bacon Balls
The manufacturer knows NOTHING about this post!

Chuck gets a lot of meds each day:

1 capsule of Budesonide, an anti-inflammatory for his intestines
1/4 pill Plavix, blood thinner
1/2 pill Lasix, twice a day; diuretic
1/2 pill Enalapril, twice a day; blood pressure reducer

At first, we used those pill pocket things, but Chuck refused to eat them after awhile, so we ended up simply pilling Chuck.  Erm...um...The Hubby does all the pilling; there is no 'we' about it!  

Then, I discovered pill masker while reading a comment on a blog (thank you, whoever you are!), and ordered some online.  It is like edible Play Doh; you simply pinch off any amount, since it's really pliable.  Wrap the stuff around the pills, and you've got a nice brown bacon ball. Well, it SAYS it's bacon-flavored, and it certainly smells like it!  Voila!

Chuck loved his bacon balls; I'd roll everything up before each meal, and he'd chomp away (even the capsule!)  But then, one day, he bit into the Plavix, and he spit that bacon ball out and foamed at the mouth.  I tried again, but he was done.  That pill must be bitter.  So, now I make the bacon ball and hand it to The Hubby, who drops it down Chuck's gullet. Just to be fair, I make a smallish no-pill bacon ball for Angel to eat at the same time.  She eats hers.

I have no photo of a bacon ball to show; it looks like a piece of poop on camera!  I've also discovered that I can get pill masker at one local pet food box store; it's pricier than online, but no shipping.  And luckily, Chuck doesn't seem to hold his twice-a-day pilling as a grudge against The Hubby (or me, for that matter!)  He does get pretty elusive, however...see him hiding in the first photo?

26 October, 2015

Nursery Rhyme Cat Saver

When I was a little girl, our family had an illustrated book of nursery rhymes.  At about the age shown above, I took scissors and cut out the drawing of a cat going down a well, that corresponded to:

Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy’s in the well.
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Flynn.
Who pulled her out?
Little Tommy Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To try to drown poor pussy cat,
Who never did him any harm,
But killed all the mice in the farmer's barn.

I recall how my sister yelled and screamed that I'd cut up a page in that book, but all I could do was cry and say I was saving the kitty from drowning!  And to think of all the generations of kids who learned that rhyme, which bespoke of animal cruelty, even if Tommy Stout saved the cat!
This memory has stuck with me through all these years.  I recall being scolded to never again take scissors to a book (something that I haven't done since; heck, I don't even bend the page corners!), but the feeling I had, that I had to save the cat, lingers in my heart even now.   

Funny how things turn out sometimes.

20 October, 2015

Time To Change The Straw

While The Hubby was cutting up the fallen Maple branch in the backyard the weekend, I decided it was a great time to replace the straw in The Cat Hotel and Mama's Place.  I swept everything out, made repairs where needed, added the warming pad to the bottom floor of The Cat Hotel, and tidied everything up again.  I also sprinkle a small amount of diatomaceous earth in the corners, to eliminate any insects that want to set up house too.

I do this twice a year, spring and fall.  In past years, I've worried myself sick, thinking the 'O' Cats might run away or refuse to use the shelters because I've messed with them, but so far, they've come right back.  You see, when Mama's House was built in 2009, no cat used it for years!  It wasn't until I was volunteering at a TNR class, when it finally dawned on me that straw was the reason; The Hubby had talked me out of putting straw in!  That day, I filled Mama's House with straw, and BOOM...cats inside that night. That'll teach me...

Mama's House, with fresh straw.
Notice the insulation sandwiched on all four walls.

Originally built in 2009, Mama's House was designed from
Alley Cat Allies instructions.  

Last year, one corner of Mama's House roof was broken;
Looks like a feral cat ear tip!

The Cat Hotel, with the second floor pulled out.
We originally designed this for three friendly ferals, but after
Sammy's passing, we cut a piece of insulation board to cover the
extra second floor entrance and removed the divider.
Usually, Patty takes the second floor,
while Sweetie uses the first, which is where the warming pad is.
Warming pad, with protective leg-o-jeans covering.
Always remember to make sure it's working BEFORE
filling The Cat Hotel with straw...just sayin'

19 October, 2015

Book Review: The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

The Guest Cat
January 28, 2014 by Takashi Hiraide Eric Selland (Translator)
Paperback, 140 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by New Directions (first published 2001)
original title猫の客 Neko no kyaku
ISBN 0811221504 (ISBN13: 9780811221504)

edition language: English

I discovered the book while trolling through the public library's website, when I had simply typed 'cat' into the search bar.

I quickly learned while reading, that different cultures love cats, and write about them with love and compassion. People are people; cats are cats.  "The Guest Cat" is an emotional set of chapters, revealing the story of a cat-less, child-less couple who find that the visits of the neighbor's cat bring a huge volume of tenderness and joy into their hard-working, money-scraping lives.  Chibi, the black and white cat, learns quickly how to enter their dwelling for a nap or a bite to eat, then becomes a daily visitor.  She often sleeps on the bed with the writer and his wife, who keep odd hours due to the journalistic timetables.  The chapters unfold as time moves through the seasons; Chibi playing with insects in the garden, Chibi sleeping in the box the wife makes up for her in the corner of the room.  

The story is delightful, yet touched with pain and sadness; the death of friends and of the landlord. Towards the book's end, the writer and his wife must leave their home, as the estate is sold off, but they stay determined to find lodging nearby, just to remain close to Chibi.

A quick, easy read, and my emotions were stirred.  I too have visitor cats, who have become a part of our lives as they patrol our yard and interact with Sweetie and Patty, and even Angel and Chuck through the windows or on the front porch. Aries, the two floofy-tailed cats, and the big orange kitty, have all visited my yard, as well as Hobo (who I TNR'd) and the Siamese kitty belonging to a renter two doors down who moved away suddenly.  The Hubby can attest to how I fall in love with these visitors, and pine for them.

16 October, 2015


Last night's wind storm caused a huge branch to break off one of our backyard maple trees.  The Hubby and I heard only the sound of leaves and twigs hitting the house, but look at how big that branch was!  Lucky for us all, the only damage was our cat statue, named Ghost Cat, was knocked off the deck.  The Cat Hotel is safe, the feeding station, and both cats survived the crash.  See Sweetie in the bottom photo, telling me to STOP taking photos and feed her!  Guess we'll be slicing and dicing wood this weekend!

15 October, 2015

Shhhh...don't tell anyone!

-looking around, to make sure no one is listening-

(in a whisper)...Sweetie let me pick her up last night!!!!  She is so much smaller and lighter than all our other kitties, and I just instinctively put my left hand under her chest, and scooped my right hand under her back legs, after she spent a long while rubbing on my ankles and making the cutest meows.  I only lifted her about a foot off the ground, but she did not struggle or fuss...which is good, because she has some SERIOUS claws!  After five years...!

AND...Patty O'Malley has decided to wage war against any rodent in the vicinity.  The Hubby reports daily that he's watched Patty eat a mouse or two, or more.  And Patty never misses a meal that I bring out, so no wonder he's growing in girth again!  Who knew we had so many mice...?

12 October, 2015

Team Patty and Sweetie

As you can see by the above photos, Sweetie almost got up on Step #1, and Patty jumped to Step #2 on the 'O' Cats Stairway.  But once Patty is higher than Sweetie, she will not go any higher.  I will continue to work on inducing them both to jump up the steps, yet I am concerned that Patty is gonna get even FATTER with all the treats he's eating!  He's getting to be a real chubby again, after I was able to slim him down this summer.

Curled up bum to bum
Close up

Yesterday was warmish, and I spied Patty and Sweetie asleep in the yard, with their backsides together.  This photo was snapped through a window and storm window, so I did not disturb their slumber.  They are a real team! Don't ask me what that concrete and stuff is; all I know is the cats like bare dirt sometimes, which I can taste when I give them smooches...kiss kiss...pthbt pthbt!

10 October, 2015

Shy Angel

Angel on the round rug, waiting for hugs

She watches

Angel has lived with us for over eleven years, and she still stays at arm's length most of the time.  Neither she nor Chuck, her litter mate, are lap cats, but Chuck will come toward us while Angel prefers to stay on the edge of things.  She is a typical Gamma cat-type, as characterized by Pamela Merritt at The Way Of Cats.  Pammy has classified Alpha, Beta and Gamma cat types.  Angel's Gamma-ness tends to keep her wary of excitement, preferring for quiet, one-on-one lovin' when she initiates it.

Which is why, before the alarm is due to ring, Angel will start a quiet meowing, as she calls to us for love and reassurance.  After years of trying many things to get her to be quiet in the mornings, The Hubby and I have learned (more like, have been trained!) to simply join her on the round area rug, and give her quiet petting time.  When she has a human to herself, in the gentle morning, Angel is like a rose at full-bloom.  She is adorable, beautiful, loving and gives of herself.  Those are precious moments for us.  Angel, our shy wall-flower!

P.S. I'm telling you, go to visit The Way Of Cats to learn a TON of cat stuff!  Patty O'Malley is most definitely an Alpha: staying involved in everything, demanding attention.  Chuck and Sweetie fall into the Beta type: curious and communicative.

07 October, 2015

Introducing: Mina!

 The kitten found on a busy road in August has become a real beauty!  Click here for the story.
Sweet Mina Face
Look at that belleh!
Mina playing
Mina in the toy box
Mina is still living at the foster's home; she goes in for her tests and baby shots next week.  After that, she can be adopted.  I'm told she is ruling the roost; she has no fear of the adult cats, and takes on any kitten that comes near.  A sassy pants!  Because of her unique coloring, I thought we should call her Domino, but that is too ponderous a name for a little mite, so the foster decided on Mina.

06 October, 2015

"Cats Are Funny People"

"Cats Are Funny People", says The Hubby.

I think he is absolutely correct!

"No way, he did NOT feed us!"
On Sunday, The Hubby kept the cats quiet in the early morning, so I could sleep in.  He fed both the 'I' cats and the 'O' cats.  Wonderful, right?  The rest of the day, both Angel and Chuck spent their time in the kitchen, sitting in front of the cat food cabinet.  As if, because I did not feed them and The Hubby did, that his meal did not count and they wanted ME to feed them!

They surely are FUNNY!  

02 October, 2015

Purple Paw Prints

A purple paw print!
More purple!
Squashed berries
Severed branch of the dreaded pokeweed!
The neighbors had a huge pokeweed (or pokeberry) tree-like bush growing in their garden. Pokeweed is great food for many of Mother Nature's critters, but it's highly poisonous to humans, and especially children who are drawn to it's rich, shiny berries.  The neighbor cut down this bush yesterday, and dragged it away.  However, one severed branch and many berries ended up in our yard.  I didn't worry about it, since I know Patty and Sweetie would stay away from anything that would make them sick, and yet this morning there were purple paw prints on the front porch!  I chased down Patty, who I was sure was the purple culprit, and I checked him out thoroughly to make sure he was not in danger of ingesting any of the stuff. I inspected his paws, and gave him a good snuggle to let him know I want him to take care of himself!
Patty this morning
He appears to be fine!  Maybe Patty has a future as an artist, like Quint at Colehaus Cats!

01 October, 2015

How I See Autumn

This is a graph that I update daily.  I keep track of temperatures: average, highs and lows.  Plus I match everything up to last year's temps.

Why, you say?  Because I've fallen in love with Patty O'Malley and Sweetie. And they do NOT live inside.  And even though they have insulated shelters, and good food and water MORE than twice a day, the upcoming cold starts putting worry lines on my forehead.  For them.

I've tried every day to coax them up the stairway on the back of the house, with little success.  They just don't understand what I'm asking them to do. Patty has managed to jump up to Step #4, but he only looks at the ramp and turns around again.  I may have to do some serious begging, to get The Hubby to reconstruct the ramp portion, making it more like steps:
He, rightfully so, has doubts about the wisdom of trying to get the 'O' cats inside.  Even in their own closed off room.  How will it effect Angel and Chuck?  I try to tell him, that it will matter to the 'I' cats only if we humans make a big deal out of it.  However, I think he hears my voice like WAH WAH WAH, as in the old Peanuts cartoon TV specials when adults talked. The Hubby is focused on Chuck; his health, the remaining time we have with him.  Chuck comes first; everything else is secondary.  And I feel the same, and yet I know that snow is just right around the corner.

In the meantime, I hear the wind blowing and watch the leaves fall. Because I go inside every night, while one half of my cat family stays outside.  I dream of sleeping with these cats, and hope to make it a reality. Until then, I update my temperature chart, and hide my worries under my hat.