Thursday, October 28, 2010

tasty veg snack

Willow and Nahum share a love for lettuce. Nahum rarely gets all worked up with desire, but when a leafy vegetable is out, he can't hold back! He knows the sound of the produce bags that leafy veg come home in. When he hears the sound he begins to lose control!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

tough outside kitty

Theo likes to think he is a tough outside kitty but really he's a gentle sweetheart.

crown comfort

The other day I had to get a crown at the dentist.

That is such a confusing sentence to me. When I hear the word "crown" I get excited, who doesn't want a crown?! Burger King used to give paper crowns to kids, what fun! And then there is the crown of righteousness, from Paul's second letter to Timothy:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2Tim 4:7-8, NIV)
Anyway, even though I didn't come away with a glorious crown, the experience actually wasn't all that bad. Having an amazing dentist really makes a huge difference.

When I got home from the procedure, I was still a bit groggy and quite numb. I plopped down on the couch for a quick nap. Nahum promptly jumped up on me for a snuggle.

A few minutes later Theo hopped up and snuggled in.

When Willow hopped up, Theo rearranged himself to snuggled with me and Willow.

Rose was the last to come up, but she did!

In just a few minutes all four cats were snuggling with me - it was glorious!

One of the things I love about our cats is how they always seem to know when their humans are feeling ill or are in need of some kitty therapy. Max used to always snuggle, he lived to snuggle but our current collection of cats are much more frugal with their snuggles - except when they sense the need. I'm thankful for kitty snuggles.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

big paws


Apparently one of the cat's doesn't like cornbread! It looks like they gave it a good healthy try though.

I'm guessing it was Theo. If he had liked it, half or more of the cornbread would be missing!

Monday, October 25, 2010


I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with my fellow Michigan Tech alumni at the PAWS Wildlife Center, in Lynnwood Washington for Make A Difference Day. PAWS operates a shelter for homeless dogs and cats and they rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife.

The people at PAWS have learned how to utilize a tiny space in amazing ways. Apparently, with the change in seasons comes a change in the needs of local wildlife. Summers are filled with taking care of lots and lots of orphaned babies (squirrels, raccoons, opossums, seals, birds of all types, bears, etc.) In the winter they prepare to care for birds who are injured due to oil contamination. I am not sure why they would get more oil spills during the winter, but they seem to know what they are doing.

 I got to assist in assembling drying pens and other rehabilitation tubs for birds.

Assembled drying pens. The sheets work to hold the heat in. I'm not sure what keeps the bird from flying off.

These are the rehabilitation tubs. Once the oil has been removed from the feathers, the birds get to hang out in a water bath before being released.

Before leaving for the day, I had to pop in to the shelter and visit with the kitties who are waiting for adoption. There were lots of great, lovey kitties just waiting for a good home. And I will have to admit, there were some great dogs too, who were awaiting their new homes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

hamming Rose

I came downstairs the other day and found Rose sandwiched between some pillows and the back of the couch! She seemed quite cozy. When she saw the camera come out she turned into quite the photogenic ham!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I can't decide if I am a vet's worst nightmare or dream client. I am a bit of a feline hypochondriac - whenever there is something slightly amiss with one of the cats I want to get them looked over right away. That means I am at the vet's office a lot! Typically the vet staff reassure me that there is no cause for alarm. Living so close to the vet's office makes it really easy to dash over and get the kitty checked out. I think the cost of frequently seeing the vet is worth the piece of mind it gives me in knowing the cats are getting the best possible care.

Theo has recently gotten over his upper respiratory infection and over the past few days it looked like Willow may be taking a turn with illness. So, this afternoon, after seeing some yellowish discharge coming from her eyes, I popped her over to the vet. I get a little more concerned about Willow than the others, because of her asthma. She sometimes has to work hard at just breathing, so combining that trouble with now being congested, I get concerned.

Willow is so sweet. She makes her displeasure known when you are making her do something she doesn't like, but she never fights. She submitted for all the tests, even though she really wanted to hide. After it all, I learned she has an elevated temperature and needs antibiotics. So, in the end, I am glad I brought her in. I will certainly sleep better tonight, knowing she is getting the treatment she needs. And soon she will be sleeping and breathing better too.

 Willow, hanging out in her carrier bag at the vet's office.

feeding time

Four cats with four different styles for consuming their food makes dinner time quite the chore.

Theo consumes his food as fast as he can so he can steal another cat's food.

Rose has taken up after Theo, by inhaling her food so she can take someone else's.

Nahum takes his time and savors each morsel. He usually is the last to finish.

Willow doesn't care to eat her food from a bowl, so I usually scatter some on the little square rug for her. If I don't do that, she will grab a mouthful from the bowl and drop it all on the floor and then eat each nugget one by one. Needless to say, she is also a slow eater.

What all this means is every morning and night, having to hold Theo and Rose from eating Nahum's and Willow's nuggets. Theo is very persistent, it takes physically restraining him to stop him from going after more food. Relocating him to the back porch after he is done eating seems like the simplest option. Probably will need to banish Rose with him too.

I definitely need to come up with a better system that doesn't require watching over them and fighting with Theo and Rose twice a day! I don't think Willow and Nahum appreciate the pressure coming from the bully cat ready to take their food at any moment. It would be great to teach Willow and Nahum to defend their food.

Friday, October 22, 2010


fun friday feline factoid - longest cat

The world's largest cat has been in the news lately!

MSNBC reports that, Stewie, a 5 year old Maine Coon has broken the record for longest domestic cat. At 48.5 inches he beat out the previous record holder, a 48 inch Maine Coon.

Way to go Stewie!

Just for fun, I'm gonna have to stretch out Nahum and see how he measures up. The measurement is from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail bone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

how to pet a kitty

A friend sent me this link from and it's absolutely hilarious!

How to pet a kitty, as graphically depicted in 5 easy steps!

It's worth checking out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The largest cat and the smallest cat love to play! 

Nahum and Rose enjoy tussling with each other and are frequently rolling around the floor in a blur of fluff! Nahum is very gentle in his play with Rose as it wouldn't take much for him to squash her with one paw. Rose works hard to bite Nahum but I don't think her mouth is big enough to get through all the fluff! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It has been awhile since I have had a dog, but I don't remember seeing a dog hold a grudge and lash out because of stored anger.

Nahum can play too aggressive for Willow's liking. Last night it sounded like Nahum tackled her down the stairs; a mix of bonks, bangs and angry growls. And as if that wasn't enough, he continued going after her once they hit the bottom. At that point she was snarling and screaming loudly. I scrambled down the stairs to come to her aide. By the time I got there she had managed to get away from him and get to the safe refuge under the couch. Meanwhile Nahum was just sitting out in the open living room, collecting his thoughts when out of no where, Willow leaps out from under the couch runs up to Nahum and smacks him hard across the head and promptly returns to under the couch! Nahum just sat there shaking his head as if trying to clear the cobwebs.

I'm a believer that two wrongs don't make a right. But since Willow rarely strikes back, this time I couldn't help but praise her for a job well done!

crazy circle

Petmate Crazy Circle Interactive Cat Toy, SmallWhen I picked Rose up from being boarded, a staff member told me that Rose loved playing with the Crazy Circle toy. So, the other day I stopped at a nearby cat store and picked one up.

Sure enough, Rose loves it. So does Nahum and Theo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary CatMaking Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa, M.D.

Dr. Dosa works with geriatric patients who suffer from dementia. Oscar is one of two resident cats on the advanced dementia unit of the nursing home where Dr. Dosa spends a lot of his time. The staff and patients on the dementia unit quickly notice that Oscar has a unique ability. He always seems to know in advance when a patient is going to die and he insists on being present with them while they pass from life to death.

Oscar would settle himself on the end of a patient's bed prior to their death and simply be. Sometimes he would visit with the patient's family and other times he would just sleep. Oscar seems to know a truth that eludes many people, the gift of one's presence is the most amazingly powerful gift we can offer someone.

Facing difficult times in life can be very scary and unsettling, and facing those times alone makes it even worse. Having someone be truly present in a hard time is very comforting and soothing and yet it is rarely done in our culture. Rather than being truly present with someone in their pain we offer platitudes, meant to show our care but from a safe distance. More than words or things, simply being tuned into and close to someone in the midst of a challenge can be the most powerful show of support and encouragement we can offer. Oscar inherently knew this.

After reading this book, I am left with the idea that Oscar functions as a compassionate guide to the dying, their families and their caregivers. His job is to assist the person in making the transition from this world to the next, like a well meaning parent, making sure their child is well prepared for the harrowing journey ahead.

Making The Rounds With Oscar tells the story of how Dr. Dosa, a hard-fast believer in science and overall non-cat person, wrestles with accepting Oscar's mysterious, undeniable and unexplainable abilities. The story also provides an understanding of dementia and the heartbreaking challenges families experience as they grapple with being powerless to intervene as they watch their loved ones gradually unlearn everything, leaving them empty shells of their former selves.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

nugget raids

Theo routinely patrols his space for unattended nuggets. I recently collected some photographic evidence of his handywork.

Operation Hideaway:

An unusual sound of clanking bowls drew my attention to the kitchen. There I found Nahum looking oddly innocent. Interestingly, there were no bowls around that could clank. Moments later, I heard the sound again - it was coming from inside the cupboard.

Nahum serving as lookout while Theo does the deed.

Moments later, Theo emerges after ransacking the cupboards in pursuit of stray nuggets.

Theo, feeling pretty good about himself and not at all concerned about being caught in the act.

Operation Sniff and Snarf:

Minutes after Operation Hideaway went down, I had settled back into my work in the living room when odd sounds emanating from the kitchen again attracted my attention. 

Upon investigating the strange sounds I found Theo shredding a ziploc bag and snarfing down nuggets as fast as his jaw muscles would allow. He had successfully sniffed out a bag of nuggets that I had forgotten to remove from the small pocket of a canvas bag. (The canvas bag can be seen in the first picture, to the left of Nahum.)

Theo's nose for food is astonishing. Even while feeling under the weather and congested, Theo was able to sniff out a sealed plastic bag of nuggets hidden away in a small pocket of a bag.

His amazing ability got me thinking. Dogs are used to sniff out all sorts of things; bombs, narcotics and perishable contraband, but why not cats? Maybe Theo's sniffing talent could be harnessed and used for good! A police-cat could have all sorts of advantages over a dog; cats can move without making any sounds, their amazing agility gives them more options for sneaking up on the bad guys, they do very well seeing with little light and they can jump incredible heights. I think I might be on to something...

Friday, October 15, 2010

fun friday feline factoid - therapy cats

The Delta Society, through their Pet Partners Program, trains and screens human and animal teams to safely visit with people in hospitals, nursing homes, school and other facilities. Delta Society's mission is to "help lead the world in advancing human health and well-being through positive interactions with animals. We help people throughout the world become healthier and happier by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives."

Debra White writes, in the November 2010 edition of Cat Fancy, that there are currently 10,000 dogs and 193 cats registered as therapy animals around the world. Over the course of Delta Society's Pet Partners Program they have had 1,000 cats registered total.

The number 193 struck me as rather small. I imagine there are a lot of people out there whose lives would be greatly enhanced from a visit with a therapy cat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I had high hopes for Willow. I just knew she would be a great mom-cat. I envisioned her being the mom to Rose that she hasn't had. I saw Willow teaching Rose how to be a delightful, dignified female cat.

I even thought I had some data that told me this might be true. The way Willow looks after the other cats by grooming them, cleaning out their ears, and cleaning up any vomit. But apparently once again I'm not living in reality. Willow is not the cat I wished her to be. I hope someday I can get to know her for who she really is rather than who I need her to be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I have always disliked returning home after vacation as it signals the end of something wonderful and the impending return to work. This time felt different. I felt bummed about the end of vacation and yet, I was really looking forward to being reunited with the cats.

It's really nice to have something to look forward to upon coming home!

only two

I spent a week in New Hampshire last week. I saw some beautiful foliage. What I didn't see were many cats. I counted only two.  Do people in New Hampshire have cats?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The quarantine is over!

All four cats are now integrated together. Rose has had a ton of fun playing with Nahum, who has been a great sport. She pounces and paws at him and he graciously lets her have her fun. I bet he doesn't even feel most of her efforts due to his thick layers of fluff!

Theo has been curious about Rose but for the most part he leaves her alone. He did play ambush with her a little. It seems like he is still trying to figure her out before he trusts her enough to engage in a lot of play.

Willow has not appreciated having a kitten around. Rose tries to get Willow to play, but all she gets is a nasty hiss and the occasional swat of the paw. As long as Rose leaves Willow alone, all is well.

Rose walks confidently around the other cats, like she owns the place!


We arrived home yesterday and first thing went to get the cats! First up was Nahum. He was so easy going, he barely moved in my arms. Willow was next, she seemed more scared. Theo was his typical cool self and Rose was scared.

Now that they are home, they have settled back into usual routines. Theo sounds hoarse, a week of non-stop meowing will do that! I feel sorry for the other cats and the staff who had to endure his wailing.

They seems to have caught a kitty-cold, leaving me wondering who he was kissing?!

Thanks to the wonderful staff at Diamond Veterinary Associates who took great care of our kitties, you all do great work.

Willow play