Saturday, April 30, 2011

Two Cats and the Woman They Own - review

Two Cats and the Woman They Own: or Lessons I Learned from My CatsTwo Cats and the Woman They Own: or Lessons I Learned from My Cats by Patti Davis, is a fun romp in the adventurous world of living with cats.

Twelve, very well written, short stories each with delightful full page illustrations provide a glimpse into the human - cat bond. Each chapter concludes with a wise life lesson learned.

I am amazed at how Patti Davis covers so much of the emotional spectrum in such a short little book. Her stories evoke joy, laughter, delight, sadness, grief and more. This little book is very much like a box of fine chocolates, each chapter provides a few bites of delicious flavors that feeds the heart.

One of the things I love about cats is their complexity. Patti conveys this well in her presentation of the main feline characters, Aretha and Skeeter and their interactions with everything in their world. Truly, if the door to your heart has a cat-sized opening then it is only a matter of time before felines will enter and take up residence.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

wow!

Canvas PicturesA little while back, I received an email from Megan, at Easy Canvas Prints. She offered to give me a canvas of my choosing in exchange for a candid review of their product. I agreed.

The biggest challenge in this whole process was choosing which picture to use. But before I get into that let me tell you how the process works.

I was amazed at how easy it all was. Four simple steps. First, it was a matter of choosing the canvas size, that was easy because Megan was giving me an 8" x 10". I did get to choose the wrap thickness. I went with the 1.5" Gallery Wrap, which adds a nice profile to the unframed picture. The next step is to upload and crop your picture. I liked how easy it was to move the picture around to get the right composition. The third step is to choose how you want your border. I went with the solid color (black), but you can get mirror or image wrap. Then finally you can choose special processing options (finishing or retouching) - I didn't select either.

After looking over a bunch of wonderful Max pictures, I settled on this picture, which I absolutely love:
Max loved his fish toy.

I was little worried how the finished product would look because the original picture is a little out of focus. Four days after ordering the canvas, I received an email telling me it had shipped and then four days from then it arrived on my doorstep via Fed-Ex. The canvas itself was wrapped in bubble wrap and packed well in the box.

And what did I think of the picture canvas? I am quite pleased with the finished product, seeing such a large vivid image of Max literally brought tears to me eyes. Max looks gorgeous. The quality of the print is fabulous. The colors are very vibrant and striking. I was a little surprised by the semi-glossy finish, which can add some glare if the light catches it right but that's true of any printed photo. The canvas feels thick and the frame is good and tight. It came with a picture hook thingy already attached to the wood frame, which made hanging it on my wall a snap.







I love it! I think a canvas of this size would make a perfect gift for someone. The available sizes range from 8" x 8" to a huge 30" x 40"! I could have a life size Max! I would most certainly recommend Easy Canvas Prints for any canvas print needs.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

foreign tummies

I like my daily commute, I get to walk about a mile to my office. I rate the quality of my commute by the number of cats I see. Among the dozen or so cats along the route, there are only two black and white cats and they are rarely around. However, when they are out, seeing one of them can really make my day.

On a recent late afternoon, I was out for a walk to enjoy the rarely seen sun. As I came up to the first house with a black and white shorthair, lucky me, it was lounging in the yard. I stopped to admire it from the sidewalk and it came running up to me! After a few quick meow greetings, it gave me a few quick head-butts before flopping over and offering me it's tummy! My gosh, we just met!



What a super-lovey kitty! I so love the black and whites.

This kitty has a big fluffy gray kitty friend who I often see out in the yard. After the black & white started loving on me, the fluffy one came running up wanting some love too! What a delight.

Most of the cats I see keep a safe distance. I wish I had a small camera with a good zoom lens so I could get pictures of my commuting buddies. Or, maybe I should be wishing for all the kitties to run up to me for head-butts and tummy rubs and then I won't need a zoom!

Friday, April 22, 2011

concern

I get easily freaked out when the cats show signs of distress or injury. I worry about their health. This afternoon, Theo seemed to be acting a little off. I checked him over and found a bit of dried blood on the bottom of his chin. Further investigation revealed a good sized lump and what looks like a gouge.

Theo's ouchy.

We immediately called over to the vet to see if they had any room in their schedule. They were all full today but we got in for first thing Saturday morning. And if my worry gets too much there is always the 24-hour emergency clinic. I know I have said this before, but I take great comfort in living across the alley from the vet and the emergency clinic. No driving needed, just whisk the cat about 75 yards from my backdoor to the vet's front door.

Theo still seems to be a little off. I imagine he might be feeling some pain from the gouge and the lump. So far this evening, he still seems not quite himself, but I'm not feeling the need to go the emergency route.

It has been awhile (thankfully) since I have taken a cat to the vet because of an issue. Because of my easily freaked out nature I take cats over for the littlest of things, I would rather be safe than sorry. But, ever since September 20, 2008 when I brought Max over for his yearly vaccinations and check-up thinking that everything was fine but was shocked to learn he had CRF and only months to live, I get quite anxious when bringing cats in. Knowledge is good, but sometimes it is overwhelming.

I have no idea what Theo could have done to get a big gouge on his chin. I thought maybe he tried to stick his snout into some tight spot to get food and he cut himself, but I can't think of what it would have been. My current theory is that maybe while tussling with Nahum a sharp claw got him good, after all it is time to trim the claws. I'll be happier after a vet has looked him over.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

city tortie

For the first time in seemingly forever, it didn't rain today! I celebrated the occasion by taking a walk down to the utility to pay my bill. Along the way I got an unexpected bonus - a kitty sighting by the railroad tracks.

The zoom on my mobile phone camera is lousy, so it's hard to see, but if you like right in the middle of the picture, you will see a kitty stalking some dinner in the tall grasses.
(You can click on the picture if you want to see it bigger.)

The kitty after zooming in on the picture.

This location is right in the middle of the city and there are no residences around. I have no idea where this kitty lives, I hope it has a safe and secure place to call home. My heart always aches when I run across a stray/feral kitty. Has it ever enjoyed a tummy rub or had it's chin and ears scratched? Does it have a dry, cozy and safe spot to stretch out and nap? I always feel the tug to want to take them home and provide all those things, but I know that is not practical. (Although I don't have a tortie yet in my cat collection!) I struggle now to meet the play and love needs of the four cats I already have.

I said some prayers for the kitty and left knowing it's paws are guided by Starclan. On the walk back to my office, I made sure to go back to this spot to check on the kitty and it was gone. I hope kitty is safe and well looked after.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

rolling Rose

Ok, I need your help again. Rose was being cute rolling all around on the floor. I got lots of pictures of her, but I can't decide which is the cutest. You can help by voting for the one you think is the cutest. Thanks!

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Photo 3: 

Photo 4: 

Photo 5: 

Photo 6: 

Photo 7: 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

change

Spring always seems to stir up in me the desire for change. So, I decided it was time for a new look here at fourwhitepaws.

The old fourwhitepaws

The new fourwhitepaws

Willow doesn't seem to share my excitement about the change.
She doesn't even want to look at it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

who done it?

The other day I came home to this:

The black pot that is upside down on the rug is usually filled with water and sitting atop the stove. It's purpose is to add humidity to the air which will hopefully reduce the static electricity in Nahum's fur.

The pot holds about 2 quarts of water. It was about 3/4 full in the morning. After work it was empty yet the rug, cat bed, ottoman cushion and LL Bean kitty bed were all soaking wet. There was also a stream of water that ran across the length of the dining room (10 feet) into the closet under the stairs (sadly, this shows how unlevel my house is!)

None of the cats took responsibility, they all looked innocent and surprised at the new water feature in their environment. My mind instantly accused Theo. I suppose the only way to know for sure is to dust the pot for paw prints.

Even though it could have been any of them, I immediately rule out Willow. She has never caused any trouble in the past, she would never do such a thing. I also rule out Nahum because he has never shown any interest in the pot of water nor the stove. I have seen Rose express interest and hang out on the top of the stove in the past, but I would bet the full pot of water weighs as much as she does. It would have taken all her effort to topple it. That leaves Theo. I have seen Theo on the stove in the past, I have even found him drinking from the pot of water in the past, yuck! I pin the blame fully on him, however, his motivation remains a mystery.

GUILTY!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

lazy day

Rose is now taking a turn in the napkin basket! First Willow, then Nahum and now Rose.

It's a good thing we don't have guests over anymore, they might not care for the cat-hair covered cloth napkins!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

cats in the Navy

PAWS Cat City recently posted this link up on Facebook, it is quite cool so I thought I would pass it along.

From the US Naval Institute: Cats in the Sea Services.

There are many older pictures of kitties serving on ships, but to me the rescue photos from WWII are stunning. Here are a few images from the site that really give me a sense of hope for humanity.



Check out the link for more.

And thanks to all the military folks out there past and present who not only serve our country but also help to rescue the helpless animals caught up in the aftermath of battle.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

new ribbon toy

The cats can get bored with the same old interactive toys. I cycle through them every so often trying to keep them fresh. I am amazed at how expensive a little cheaply made toy is.

I was inspired to put three things together to make a new toy. In the cat toy box was a old piece of wide cloth ribbon, about a yard in length. I tied one end of a small piece of string to the end of the ribbon and attached the other end to a wand. The result was a new ribbon wand toy!

The ribbon flutters beautifully in the air as it moves around which really intrigues the cats. It also makes interesting sounds when it is moved quickly. We all enjoyed playing with it!





Monday, April 11, 2011

who trained who?

I love giving Nahum tummy rubs. In fact, I can't resist giving him tummy rubs when he offers. He knows this and he exploits my weakness!

Countless times a day, I will look up and see this:
Nahum on his back, tummy in the air, just looking right at me.

He's asking that I come rub his tummy, which of course I must do! After a few seconds of tummy rubs he flips back over and wants to play - a bait and switch! I'm onto his game, but he knows I can't resist his soft tummy.

Did I train him to request tummy rubs? He knows that if he wants affection, all he has to do is to get in the position and it will happen. None of the other cats do this.

Or has Nahum trained me to drop whatever I am doing and rub his tummy on demand? It seems I can't resist his invitation no matter what I am in the middle of.

I am not sure who trained who, but it always works for him. He rolls over and looks = he gets tummy rubs! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

new feather toys

The feather toy is Nahum's and Rose's favorite toy, so we go through them fast. Rather than spend a small fortune in new feather toys every month, I decided to give it a go at making them. Back in August, I posted about the creation process (building a feather toy).

Tonight, it was time to create some new ones. I have learned along the way that both Rose and Nahum are less interested in the feathers but they really like the shiny strands. So, now I make feather toys sans feathers!

The raw materials.


I used to a rubber band to hold the strands in place before the hot glue. Having run out of tiny rubber bands, I now use a little piece of tape and then a touch of hot glue to secure the strands to the wand.


Here is the finished product. Floral tape covers the tape and glue. 


Lastly, comes the product testing.

Product passes quality control check!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

new stuffs

I did some shopping for the kitties yesterday and got some new kitty things.

A new bowl for Willow. 

She prefers to eat off the floor rather than from a bowl. In the past she would take a mouthful of nuggets from the bowl and dump them on the floor and then eat them from the floor. So I used to use the little carpet square in the background as her food spot, but I got worried about not being able to clean it properly. I also didn't like that they would all spend loads of time just licking on it. I bought this shallow and wide bowl hoping she wouldn't think it of as much as a bowl. So far, it seems to work.

New toy! A cork ball.

I always have to look over the kitty toys when I go into the kitty store. The cats certainly don't need any more toys, but it's fun to buy them new ones. This cork ball was cheap and I could see Rose having a good time with it. Since giving it to them, it has disappeared somewhere - so, some cat must have had a good time with it!

The time had come to expand the litter box offerings.

I was operating two jumbo litter boxes for four cats, one upstairs and one downstairs. Even though I was emptying them at least twice per day, sometimes more, they will get too full for my liking. The cats never complained about it, but I wanted to be proactive and prevent them from communicating their displeasure. I didn't do a scientific study but it seemed like the box was getting fuller, I wondered if it had to do with Rose transitioning from a kitten to a cat. Anyways, it was time to add more litter box.

The downstairs box saw the most traffic, so it was the obvious choice for expansion. Fitting another large litter box in the bathroom closet would be a challenge. I was looking at a nice corner model that was on clearance, but I finally decided it would be too small. I have made that mistake before - I attribute it to being in denial about Nahum's large size! So, I got another jumbo covered model like the one upstairs. Now the entire closet is filled with litter boxes. We didn't need that closet anyway, I am thankful the cats let us use the closet for as long as they did.

The store I like shopping at for kitty supplies, Next to Nature, usually has a bunch of adoptable cats roaming around the store. On Wednesday, when I was there, they were all confined to their room because they get deliveries in the front door and they could escape. They all wanted out though! And of course I wanted to take them all home!



On a different note, Willow decided to celebrate yesterday's Willow Wednesday with a full afternoon of lap snuggles. Getting Willow laptime is still a rare and delightful treat.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Willow Wednesday

Soon Willow will be baking in the sun rather than roasting in front of the fire. She loves to be warm!

Monday, April 4, 2011

sleeping with cats


I enjoyed a glorious Sunday afternoon nap yesterday with my Nahum. He stretched out on top of me and kept me warm as we napped the afternoon away. Snuggling with a big fluffy kitty is the best!

Taking long naps in the middle of the day can be detrimental to falling asleep at night. Last night, my difficulty falling asleep had more to do with Nahum, Theo and Rose. They all were cuddled up together in one big furry-snuggle party on my side of the bed, which meant I couldn't move!
Rose is like me, she loves to snuggle up with Nahum. She often uses his fluffy tummy as a pillow!