Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spay Day USA 2008

February 26th is Spay Day here in the United States. This event is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, and its intention is to help inspire people to spaying and neutering pets and feral cats to decrease the amount of homeless and unwanted animals. Events and activities are taking place throughout the entire month of February, and the official Spay Day is February 26th.

For those of you who LOVE taking pictures of your pets: They are also sponsoring a photo contest, starting February 1st! According to the website:
You'll be able to upload a digital photo of your pet and briefly tell us how he or she has improved your life. Your pet will then compete with other pets for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Prizes will be awarded to photos and write-ups with the most votes and those judged best by our panel of celebrity judges.

One of these judges is Patrick McDonnell, creator and author of the Mutts comic strip.

You can find more information about the photo contest here. There are also links from that page to find an event near you. I encourage you to check it out and participate as you are able! And if you have a pet that needs spaying or neutering, then February is the month to do it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Animal therapy

I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but a few months ago I tried to enroll my cat Lewis in a program for animal therapy - that is, animals who are brought to hospitals and assisted living communities in order to help boost the spirits of those living there. Lewis is very friendly and laid back, so I thought he might be a good candidate. They also told me that they have a very strong need for cats - especially in nursing homes.

Unfortunately, Lewis didn't pass the stress test. We went to a dog training facility and I think all the smells, the new environment, and everything was just too much. Lewis was very scared and not calm (though, he didn't bite or scratch). The people in charge did say that he could probably be a good candidate, and they encouraged me to get him out more and come back if he starts doing better in new situations. I haven't really done anything to further this, because to be honest I'm not sure what to do. However, if you have a cat (or a dog!) that is good with people, I highly recommend pursuing something similar to this! If you live in Atlanta, you can contact Happy Tails Pet Therapy.

I am sad about how this worked out for Lewis and me, but I know that a lot of people are able to successfully do this - especially if you have a dog! I was thinking about this when I read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Canine caregivers help autistic kids. An excerpt:
Before they got Ajax [the assistive dog], Jennifer Plunk said, Matthew was prone to darting away, especially if he became frightened or upset. And when he was in the middle of a meltdown, behavior common in children suffering from Asperger's syndrome such as Matthew, he was inconsolable.

Not with Ajax. He's trained to recognize the situation, and he moves in to nuzzle 7-year-old Matthew to avert the behavior.

Matthew was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 3. He was socially aloof and moved constantly, Plunk said... When she saw a news special about assistive dogs, she knew then that "this could be something huge for Matthew." Within months of receiving Ajax last year, Plunk said, Matthew started to change.

I love how pets are used to help people with disabilities. The group that trained Ajax, the dog featured in the article is called 4 Paws for Ability. I think this is a really neat program. I encourage you to go to their website and read more about them! I am not very experienced in this area, but I am definitely a supporter of animals being used to help humans in this way.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rose Is Rose on blogging

(click to make bigger)

I saw this Rose Is Rose comic strip for today, and I kind of reminded me of myself and my cats! Except replace the word "journal" with "blog". :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Two Kitties & A Puppy Giveaway!

Photobucket**UPDATE: Comments have now been closed. Click here for the announcement of the winners!**

Welcome to Two Kitties and a Puppy! Thanks for stopping by to visit our part of the internet here. Feel free to browse around my archives! And continue reading to take part of the first 2008 Bloggy Giveaway (hosted by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer).

I am giving away two books here, so that means TWO winners!! To enter for a chance to win one of these books, just leave a comment and let me know which book you'd like. I will close the comments on Saturday, February 2nd and will announce the winners on this blog shortly thereafter. Be sure to check back on Saturday evening to see if you won!

Now about the two items up for grab. The first item is in new condition, and the second is in very good condition (having been lightly read a few times).

The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care
This is the best cat care guide book that I have read. It's chock full of great information about meeting the needs of your cat. I also like that it's written by a non-profit organization so it doesn't try to convince you that you need all these products for your cat. This book covers topic such as:
  • Myths vs. facts about cats
  • Getting ready for your new cat and the first days home
  • Giving your cat an enriching lifestyle
  • Cat behavior
  • Cats and children
  • Handling and socialization
  • Choosing a veterinarian
  • Food and feeding
  • Feline health: observation and action
  • Emergencies and life changes
  • Humane activist: be an everyday activist for cats

Maran Illustrated Puppies
I bought this book when we got our first puppy. I thought it was a pretty good basic overview for taking care of a new puppy. It is full of illustrations and images, so you can easily follow what the book is saying. It's great for the first time puppy owner! This book covers a wide range of puppy topics such as:
  • Picking out and preparing for your new puppy
  • The first week
  • Housetraining
  • Puppies and kids
  • Puppy care and development
  • Basic training commands, games, and tricks
  • Preventing problem behaviors
  • Keeping your puppy healthy
Again, to enter this giveaway contest, just leave a comment and let me know which book you'd like. I will close the comments on Saturday, February 2nd and will announce the winners on this blog shortly thereafter. Be sure to check back on Saturday evening to see if you won! (Please, U.S. shipping only! Thanks!)

For more fun things that are being given away, click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Animal friend

When I first moved to the state of Georgia, I got a specialty plate for my car. It's for a good cause: the manufacturing fee, minus $1 county tag agent's fee & the actual cost to manufacture the tag, is deposited in a special fund supporting the Dog & Cat Reproductive Sterilization Support Program under direction of the Ga. Dept. of Agriculture. I am a big supporter of neutering cats and dogs, and if I can contribute to that then I am happy. I also like that those I pass on the road can see where my interests and alliances lie. And besides, how could I resist a plate that has a kitty on it and says "Animal friend"? :-)


This post brought to you by Dick's Sporting Goods coupons

What to feed your cat

The subject of FOOD is Lewis' favorite! He lives for mealtimes. I have done some research to make sure I'm feeding my cats the best possible food. Here is what I discovered for a normal, healthy cat. If your cat seems to be ill or overweight, then you should talk to your vet about what to feed your cat.

When picking out food for your cat, it's important to read the labels. You are looking for:
  • The words "complete and balanced" - avoid packages that say vague words like "entree" or "platter".
  • Main dry-weight ingredient is animal protein, like chicken, fish, liver, or beef. You can find this from the ingredients list - if the first item is not meat, then pass that up for something better for your cat. Adult cats need at least 26% dry weight protein.
  • Appropriate life stage - whether your cat is a kitten (under 1 year), adult, senior (over 7 years), etc. Cats in different life stages have different energy needs, so it's important to make sure they are getting a balanced diet.
Keep in mind that cats are carnivores. Their diet needs are not like humans! So you might be a vegetarian, but in general it's not a good idea to put your cat on a vegetarian diet as well. Also, avoid feeding your cat straight tuna - I used to do this, actually. I was under the impression that since cats like fish, and tuna is fish, and tuna is all meat, then it would be good for them. Actually, this isn't so - tuna is high in fatty acids and lacks the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients for cats.

Now for a lesson in reading the labels. You want to make sure you feed your cats a high grade of food. Even though it's more expensive, it will save you in the long run because your cats will be overall healthier and they'll actually eat less to gain the same amount of nutrition. The general rule of thumb is: if you can buy it at a grocery store, it's probably not good quality. But how do you know for sure? Say we go to the store and see this label (click to make bigger):

The ingredients will list what's in this cat food, from highest percentage to lowest. See here how the highest percentage of the food is "ground yellow corn"? And that meat doesn't appear at all on the list until #3? This means you're actually filling your cat up mostly with CORN, which isn't what your carnivorous animal needs. So I'd bypass this brand and look for something else.

Now let's compare it to a higher-quality, more expensive brand:
The first ingredient in this list (if you can't read it) is "Chicken By-Product Meal". This means it's a good food, since meat is first on the list. Corn doesn't appear until #3, which is good. Also, towards the bottom it reads: AAFCO STATEMENT. AAFCO evaluates animal food by running rigorous tests. Look for AAFCO statements on the label of your cat food, because that means it has been fed to actual animals in controlled tests. On this particular label, it says that AAFCO has determined that this brand provides "complete and balanced nutrition" - two other words that are good to have!

The same concepts apply to dogs as well. The dog trainer we worked with said to look for food that had oatmeal or rice, instead of corn. Later I will try to do a label-comparison about the food that we fed our dogs.


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Friday, January 25, 2008

I got to play with kitties

I got to play with kitties a few days ago.

We had a few things hanging around our house leftover from Zoey. We were unable to sell them, so we contacted our local animal shelter to see if we could donate the items. They said yes, so earlier this week we took a trip to drop them off. While we were there, we passed by the cat room and they let us go in and play with the cats! The cats were SOO friendly - they all came up to us and wanted pet or to play. I was quite impressed with the cat room - it was warm and inviting, cage-free with lots of interesting things for kitties to play with. Also it had a ledge all around the top of the wall for those height-loving kitties to explore!

Joanna sent me the link to this blog post. The whole post made me smile. The author wrote:
On December 1st, I visited the shelter and adopted the three adult cats who had been there the longest--because really, three cats is only one more than two.

I must admit I'm secretly jealous that she is able to get three cats! Oh well. I am so grateful that I have at least two. :-) I was reading about one of the cats at the shelter. This one caught my eye, named Justine. They wrote:
We think she’s adorable with her crushes on big male cats and her love of treats. She comes around to be petted and she talks, too! She has a tiny little voice that speaks volumes about her gentle nature and need for a loving home. If you have an easy-going male cat (preferably large and really good-looking), Justine just might want to meet him.

Now you have to help me convince my husband that Lewis is just the cat that Justine needs to befriend, and that we should take her home! :-) (His response, by the way, is that he needs to be careful with me or I'll adopt all the cats at the shelter. Then I'll become the crazy cat lady and need drug treatment or something. I think if you're going to be obsessed with something, then helping animals is not a bad thing to be obsessed with!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snoopy as a beagle

When we had our beagle, we would walk through the park and people would always comment to us, "Hey it's Snoopy!" I've never thought Snoopy looked very much like a beagle, and Jera didn't look very much like Snoopy, because she was mostly brown. Zoey had a lot more white and black on her (only brown on her face), so I could see the resemblance more.

The other day, Paul mentioned to me how the Peanuts comic stripped changed style a lot from the beginning (as is true with most comic strips). We are used to seeing Snoopy as this:

However, in older comic strips he is drawn with a closer resemblance to a beagle:

His more pointed nose in the early strips look more like a typical beagle.
Catch that leaf!
You can see from the picture that it Zoey had a "black patch" on her back that was similar to Snoopy's, though much bigger. However, I think that Snoopy having an all-white face and only dark ears is more atypical, though certainly not impossible! The white face probably translated to black-and-white drawings better than if he had given Snoopy a multi-colored coat.


This post brought to you by mover NYC

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feline patrol

I was delighted the other day when my husband forwarded me this link about feral cats being used at police stations. Check out the video on CNN here.

In Los Angeles, California, a police station was having trouble with rats. So, they signed on some new recruits - feral cats were brought in to control the problem. The rats are frightened away by the cats' presence and the scents they leave behind, and the cats are fed and taken care of by the police. The feral cats probably have been on the streets so long that they wouldn't be happy being penned up in someone's home. This way, they are being taken care of and even being useful! It seems like it's a happy ending story for both parties!

One thing I didn't know: I thought that cats were valuable at rat control because they would catch and eat the rats. However, the video said that rats dislike the scents that cats leave behind, and so stay away from area with cats for that reason. I thought that was interesting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wild and crazy kittens

A few years ago, my now-husband was living in Rhode Island with a roommate. One day, they found an abandoned kitten about 2 weeks old. They took the kitten in and took care of it. The kitten grew up happy and healthy, and was named Chipi.

I met Chipi when he was about 3 months old. He was wild and aggressive, racing all over the house, ready to Pounce and Destroy anything in his path! My husband's roommate pleaded for advice on how to control this crazy kitten.

Now I'm no animal behavior specialist, but my guess is that the kitten was bored. Since he didn't grow up with any siblings, he needed to get his normal kitten play out sometime. I recommended getting a second kitten about the same age, which they did a few weeks later. After that, there was SUCH a change in Chipi! My husband said that it was like Chipi was afraid that they had gotten the second kitten as a replacement. Because they were so young (3 and 4 months old), they were immediately best buddies.

I've seen this happen three times - a wild and crazy kitten/cat who has calmed down with the acquisition of a second kitten/cat. I would highly recommend this as a method if your cat is crazy. Better yet, start out with two cats! A second cat isn't any more work, and only slightly more expensive. It's only slightly more food, and they can be less destructive in your house because they have each other to play with. I've also found that vets give a discount for the second cat if you bring them both for an office visit, so the healthcare costs are not quite as high.

If getting another cat isn't an option, try to increase the amount of play-time you have with the kitten. Get lots of toys, and rotate them so he doesn't get bored. A cat climbing tree is also a great investment. You can also try finding another kitten for a "playdate". Definitely talk to your vet if your kitten has serious issues - I read one case where a vet prescribed some "calming" medication for the ultra-hyper cat. I don't know if it's a good idea to do that, but it might be worth looking into. It's better than having your furniture, curtains, luggage sets, and everything else torn to shreds!

For further information:
Paws and Effect: My kitten acts more like a wildcat. Help!
Cat Healthcare: Cat Boredom... Find the Cure

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Don't get a puppy from a pet store

Paul and I were window shopping one evening a year ago. We stopped by a pet store, and I begged to go in. We had been wanting to get a dog, and I had decided (after much research) that beagles were the breed I wanted. So we went in, and there in the window was a cute little beagle. I fell instantly in love. We asked to see her, and before we knew it, we had signed the paperwork and she was ours. We brought her home with us and thus began our lives with Jera.

It wasn't until later that I thought about the negatives of getting a dog at a pet store. A friend was very shocked when we mentioned those "two words" - and assured us that she would never do that. We started to feel very ashamed about it, and we would be very vague if someone asked us where we got Jera. I am coming clean about it now because I don't want people to make the same mistake as us.

Pet stores have a number of disadvantages:
1) They promote instant gratification buying. They allow people to take home pets who are just enamored with the cuteness of the puppy, and they don't monitor if people are prepared for an animal. Many of these animals end up in shelters later because of improper care and/or abuse.
2) The cost of the animals is higher. Many of these places are higher, so they rely on people not having done their homework about what dogs cost. They also try to sell you other things that you might not really need, from fancy collars to travel health insurance. (Well, probably not the latter, but you get my point.)
3) Pet stores are often accused of getting their dogs from puppy mills. Puppy mills are where dogs are just bred to produce puppies to be sold to pet stores, without proper care and nutrients. The dogs are just "merchandise", and not as much concern is put on the well-being of the animal.
4) Dogs from pet stores tend to have more health problems. Since they change hands so often (going from a breeder or puppy mill, to being transported, to the pet store), information can get lost in the shuffle. Genetic diseases and abnormalities are often overlooked.
5) In a lot of pet stores, animals are kept by themselves in cages all the time, and aren't given a chance to run and play like puppies should. Jera was 4 1/2 months old when we got her, and we had SUCH a hard time potty training her! At 11 months old (when she ran away), we were still having trouble with her having accidents in the house.

We didn't have any health problems at all with Jera even though she came from a pet store, and she had SUCH a great disposition. I guess we got lucky. :-) But if you are looking for an animal, then I suggest you check out your local animal shelter! It seems that most put up pictures on the web of the animals they have, so you can keep an eye on the website and when you see an animal catch your eye you can go visit. Also, rescues are another good place to get a dog. If you're patient, you still are likely to find a puppy and the breed you want (if you care about either of those things). And trust me - a dog is worth the patience! (I don't advocate rushing into it, like I did - twice.)

For further information:
Dog Owner's Guide: Pet Stores
10 Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tiger attack in San Francisco

Have any of you been following the tiger attack story in the San Francisco Zoo? Three boys were attacked by a tiger on Christmas Day at the zoo, and one of the boys died. This story has made me really sad. Especially now that police are saying the tiger was taunted. It makes me sad that a tiger lost her life because of some people who don't understand the gravity of being around wild animals.

When we lived in Peru, we occasionally visited the zoo there. It was nothing like the zoos in the United States. The animals were all in cement cages, and there weren't as many restrictions between the animals and people. Two cages stick out in my mind: the lion cage, which was completely cement with a couple of big rocks. The other cage was one of the most popular exhibits, the chimpanzee cage. It had grass at least, but people loved to throw things into the cage and laugh when the chimps interacted. It was sad how much trash was thrown into the cage. Soft drink cups, beer bottles, cigarettes... If the monkey picked it up and started drinking/smoking, then everyone laughed and more drinks/cigarettes were thrown in. It breaks my heart when I think about it.

I am sad when people are not taught to respect animals. I am sad when boys (usually, though girls do this too) think it's fun to taunt, tease, or otherwise harm an animal. It's especially sad when people are not taught to respect big animals. I've never been to the San Francisco Zoo, so perhaps it's a bad place to be for an animal. But I've seen how animals can be taunted, and I can see how three drunk boys could be stupid enough to get a tiger out of its cage. That was not fair to the tiger, who lost her life because of it.

And it really annoys me that the parties involved are trying to turn this into a lawsuit. Sigh, life in these United States.

This post is brought to you by life insurance quotes.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A dog's life

I read a great article today entitled "A dog's life". In Austria, one of the movie theaters started a "Doggie Day", where you can bring your dog along to see a movie. (This reminded me of a "Doggie Day" at our local baseball stadium.)

An exceprt:
"For €6 ($8,8) per biped and accompanying quadruped, special cuddle seats are available to the Viennese moviegoers and their best friend, complete with fresh water and dog popcorn for the four-pawed audience...

"The Admiral management also asked pet owners not to forget leashes and muzzles and only bring dogs who 'liked the cinema and are friendly and agreeable companions'.

The same applied to humans, the cinema said."

This makes me laugh, though I must admit I've never felt a desire to take my dog to see a movie, complete with popcorn from a popcorn machine.

What kinds of movies do you think a dog would be interested in?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spoiled kitties live here

A couple of years ago, my mom and grandmother found a discarded cat bed in a junk store. They fixed it up, sewed a covering for the mattress with matching pillow and dust ruffle, and gave it to me for Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts that year! The kitties love it, and I love all the creativity that went behind making it.

Lewis and the cat bed
Lewis taking advantage of the cat bed on Christmas morning! Notice how it says "Spoiled" in the headboard.

Since then I have kept the cat bed in front of the window. The windows in our apartment go down to the floor, so by setting the cat bed right in front of them, my cats can curl up on it and watch the world go by. But no, they aren't spoiled a bit. ;-)

The other day I was doing some mad cleaning. I had picked up piles of laundry and other stuff from the floor while I was trying to vacuum. I picked up the cat bed and set it on top of everything. Later I noticed that Ebony had crawled all the way to the top of the pile to curl up on her bed. It made me laugh.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Reevlauting purposes

When I first started this blog, I wanted a place I could post cute pictures and talk about my pets without cluttering up my main blog. Then when I started doing sponsored links in posts and putting ads on my sidebar, I began to take this blog more seriously. I'd love to get more readership on this blog - it seems that right now I only have a couple of readers; most of the comments I get are spam! :-) But that's okay. I don't comment on a lot of blogs I read. I know I need to give people a reason to comment other than "Aww I think that picture is cute too."

The problem is, I still only post cute pictures of animals or news articles I read about animals. I don't intend to stop that, but if I want this blog to be taken more seriously then I need to post things that are more relevant to pet owners.

So I want to know from people who actually read this: what would you like to see? More practical tips? More posts about controversial subjects (like the pit bulls)? Would you prefer to see more cat stuff or more dog stuff, or more other animals? Or do you like the current mix? Do you like the articles? The cute pictures? Part of the problem is that the latter is the easiest to pump out without thinking. Do you have questions that you'd like to hear answered? (Like the whole "cats and Christmas trees" debate we had.) I'd appreciate any input you have for me in this area!

I have a few posts up my sleeve; hopefully it won't be too long before they get written! :-)
* My opinion about declawing cats
* Pet stores vs. the pound
* What to do with that wild and crazy maniac of a kitten you suddenly ended up with
* What to do when the bell of a wedding rings, and suddenly there's two of you and kitty has to share!
* Indoor vs. outdoor cats
* Any other ideas?

The importance of that nasty e-word

When I was growing up, my friend's mom would always refer to "that nasty e-word: exercise". Ah, yes, that thing that we hate doing but it's so vital for our health!!

We're not the only ones who need exercise, though - your dog needs it too. As they say, a well-exercised dog is a happy dog! Don't spend all your time on fitness equipment - make sure you head outdoors for some good old-fashioned romping. The benefits for your dog are high: he'll be healthier, he'll maintain good weight, he'll develop muscle, he'll learn manners (provided you are teaching him!), and it will increase the bond and communication between the two of you.

One great way to exercise your dog is an off-leash dog park. This doesn't have as much fitness benefit for you, but it can be a great social outlet for your dog! Just be careful to watch your dog and make sure he isn't the cause of any aggressive behavior.

Regular walks and runs are essential for raising a happy, healthy dog. Start off slow if your dog isn't used to it. Make sure to keep him on soft surfaces until his pads have a chance to toughen. Avoid extreme temperatures - dogs can suffer from frostbite and heat stroke just like humans! Take the opportunity to teach him leash manners. Use this time to learn more about him, what makes his tail wag and what scares him. Just getting out of the house will be good for both of you!

If your dog needs something more, try playing with a ball or tossing a Frisbee. You can always try to hook up with some kids who also need to expend some energy. :-) Each breed is different as far as how much exercise they need, and it changes with their age too. We found that our dogs seemed happiest when we spent an hour at the dog park at least 4 times a week (we didn't have a fenced in yard, so that was their only chance to run). I also tried to take them on daily 15-minute walks during my lunch break.

The point, though, is to get both you and your dog outdoors and moving! You both will reap the benefits.

For further information:
Exercising With Your Dog |
Dog Play: Great Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

eHarmony for animals!

Joanna sent me this fun article entitled: A Personality Test for Pets. An excerpt:

"As growing numbers of people find their perfect mates with the help of screening services like EHarmony or, animal lovers can now turn to personality tests to help find their perfect pet."

The article is what it sounds like: People who are interested in adopting a pet fill out a questionnaire about what they would desire in a pet. Meanwhile, each adoptable pet is watched for a few days by shelter workers and behavioral characteristics are recorded. The two profiles are compared to find the best possible match.

"More than 150 animal shelters now successfully use what are called Canine-ality and Feline-ality assessments to match prospective pet owners with just the right dog or cat. The quizzes have been so successful that euthanasia rates have been cut by 40%."

Part of me wants to laugh, and the other part thinks this is such a great idea! I think that pets have their own personalities, and helping the pet find a good fit could be good for both parties. Of course, I wouldn't want a pet to be passed up on a potentially great home just because of a personality test. Sometimes you just don't know things about yourself until you're there. For example, my cats could scratch the furniture and chew up my ipod headphones and I would still say that the benefits of having them outweigh the negatives. With Zoey, it was different - I really don't think her personality fit in with our family as well. (I also think that Jera's personality fit with us better, but perhaps I just don't remember anymore.)

When I first read this article, I found a link that talked about the different "categories" of pet personalities. I can't find it now, but I'm going to hunt around a little and see if I can find it.

What do you think? Personality tests for pets: good idea, or does it seem overkill because they're just animals?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Traveling with dogs

A while ago, I came across this link about traveling with dogs. (This probably would have been a better thing to post during December, when more people were traveling. :-)) There were some great ideas in the article, and some great links to other helpful sites. I encourage you to check it out if you plan on traveling with your dog!

We were very lucky to have two dogs who traveled very well. Both of them would fall asleep almost immediately at the beginning of the trip. And somehow they knew the difference when we were just going to the dog park, and when we were on our way to Florida...

Actually a funny thing happened the first time we took Zoey. She was about 3 months old, and we went up to Asheville for Labor Day weekend. Every time we stopped the car, we would get out and walk her around and stretch. Then we'd get back in the car and as soon as we got up to speed she would let out a loud "BARK!" She'd be standing with her front paws on the console between us, her eyes as large as golf balls, looking back and forth to each of us as if she expected something. It always shocked/surprised/scared us! That trip was the only time she did that, though. (Thank goodness!)

Hi, Zoey!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cat musings

(From an email forward)

I think this is pretty much how cats think in their heads - you can tell by the way that they look at you and make you feel like a commoner.

To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.
To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.
To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?
Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.


(This post brought to you by cheap hotel Las Vegas... and the letter S)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cats in bed

My cats have always slept with me in my bed. When they were kittens, that was a bit more annoying than it is now. Ebony loved to purr and knead her claws on my chest. I would wake up and she would just be sitting there right by my face, eyes squeezed shut, and purring like a mac truck. And ouch! Those little claws were like pins on my skin! I used to hide under the covers to avoid her!

Speaking of hiding under the covers, I do the same thing with Lewis. He usually starts meowing for breakfast about an hour before it's time to get up. He likes to rub his head on my face, meowing, and walking all over me. So far my efforts to stop this prove futile. I usually resort to knocking him off the bed, or pulling the blankets over my face so he can't get to me. No, Lewis, no matter how hard you meow you are not getting breakfast earlier. (You'd think after three years of consistent feeding times he would have this figured out.)

For the first few months that I had my cats, I was working a job where I routinely got home between 1am and 4am. One morning, the cats decided to hold the Indy 500 in my bedroom. I woke up around 6:30 (2 hours after I had gone to bed!) with them racing wildly around my mattress. I tried to kick them out, but my method in my sleepy state was to stand at my bedroom door and say "Out! Out!". Yeah, anyone who’s had cats will tell you that won’t work. Heheh

It got better once I got a regular 8-5 weekday job and moved to Atlanta. Part of my nightly routine involved me laying in bed, talking to Paul on the phone. One evening, I called out, "Lewis! Ebony!" I continued my phone conversation with Paul when Lewis came running. I glanced up to see him headed straight for my face! You really had to have been there; I screamed, scaring the poor kitty half to death. He switched directions midair and managed to land right beside my head before taking off to hide under the bed. By this point, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't even tell poor confused Paul why I had screamed.

After Paul moved to Atlanta, he stayed in my apartment while I rented a room from a friend. I really, really missed sleeping with my cats at night. On a few occasions, I would stay the night at my apartment because I was too tired to drive home. On such an occasion, after making the decision to stay the night, I crawled into bed (with Paul on the couch, of course :-)). I called out loudly, "Lewis! Ebony! Kitties!" I heard that beautiful little "mrow" (that other cat owners will nod their heads in recognition), and immediately both kitties came running to join me in bed. Aw, they missed me too!

All this is to lead up to a video I found a little while ago. It's one of the few videos that I could watch over and over; it makes me laugh every time. Watch and enjoy, especially those of you who own or have owned cats (be sure to turn on your sound!):