Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Tension remains high around Buddy. He hasn't warmed up to the other cats, even though ambassador Nahum has tried on many times to reach out to him in the spirit of kindness and love.

Ambassador Nahum approaches Buddy with friendly licks

Buddy walks around grumping at the other cats when they get near. He has also taken to putting his teeth to Theo's neck and swatting at him frequently. He seems to target Theo with the hostilities more than the others, I am suspecting it is because Theo often tries to steal his treats and snacks and Buddy doesn't take kindly to that. So he holds onto the anger until just the right moment, then WHHAAP!

I was hoping in time things would settle, but that doesn't seem to be occurring. So, I thought maybe some Feliway might calm the tension.

The Feliway has been active only about a week now and so far I haven't noticed any change. It may take time and I'm sure the effect is diluted by having the windows open.

It's hard to tell what Buddy's play-style is. For all I know he is trying to play with Theo by swatting at him and chomping on him. Long ago, Theo used to chomp on Willow all the time and it seemed to be the way he "played" with her. Thankfully, he doesn't do that much anymore.

Even though it's expensive, I'm gonna keep trying the Feliway for a while and hope for the desired result.

I think in this picture, Buddy is actually initiating play with Nahum. Nahum is the perfect cat for him to start playing with because he is very cautious and usually plays very gently. Just before this picture, Buddy pounced on Nahum from behind the packing paper, something Nahum loves to do with the other cats. Maybe this is the start of something wonderful.

black kitty update

Since building the new cat house for the black kitty on Saturday, it hasn't returned. My concern was growing, but today, it decided to come back and visit. Luckily, I saw it coming before Buddy did, so I was able to lock Buddy away before he knew what was going on.

Before I get too far, I feel the need to apologize for the fuzzy pictures. It's embarrassing, but the fuzziness is because the windows haven't been cleaned in way too long. I hope to get that done this weekend!

I was happy to see the black kitty chowing down on the Meow Mix I have been leaving out for it.

8/30/11 5:35:50pm

It never eats much of the food however. It eats a little then trots off. I'm pleased so see the sheen on it's coat looks glossy, that seems like a good sign. However, it still looks skinny.

8/30/11 5:36:22pm

Less than a minute after leaving the Meow Mix, it hears something in the tall grass and pounces.

8/30/11 5:36:33pm

Success! Apparently the black kitty prefers fresh prey over Meow Mix! I'm not sure I can blame it, I'm using some of the food I won in the giveaway to feed it.

8/30/11 5:36:53pm

8/30/11 5:50:12pm
There is a pile of rocks in the tall grasses that it likes to hang out on to listen for prey.

8/30/11 5:50:52pm
I have left these grasses uncut in this part of the yard specially for this kitty, because I know it likes to hunt there. I regularly remove the blackberries that try to grow there as I don't want ity getting scratched by the thorns.
8/30/11 5:56:01pm
One of the things I love about cats is how they retain their wildness. Watching the black kitty hunt is like watching an African Safari right out your window. Very cool!

8/30/11 5:57:45pm
After the fresh meal, the black kitty went over to check out it's new home. Whenever I make one of my cats a new home out of a blanket or a box, they always find it and seem to know it was meant for them. I am hoping the same will be true for the black kitty, that it will somehow just know that this house was create especially for it.

8/30/11 5:58:38pm
The black kitty entered the home and checked out the accomodations. Before moving, one must consider all the options. So, I don't expect it to move in right away, it has much to think about before making such a decision but I was very excited to see it explore its new home!

8/30/11 5:58:55pm
Annie, our new cat sitter, works at our vet's office as a vet tech and she shares my compassion for kitties, especially homeless ones. She was over at the house on Saturday meeting all our cats and she got to see the black kitty and wants to help it too. She thinks it may be so skinny due to having worms, so she is bringing me some dewormer medicine to feed it. I'm still trying to figure out how to deliver the medicine since it doesn't seem to visit on a regular schedule. I'm thinking of mixing it up in a little wet food and then keeping an eye on it so the crooked-tail kitty doesn't get it.

I really hope it likes its new home. This weekend, if I'm healthy enough, I think I will go ahead and add a window to the front of the cat house. I'll also build a separate structure for covering the food. I'm also gonna clean the windows so I can get better pictures!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

thankful for Theo

On days like this, I find myself so utterly thankful to have Theo in my life. His personality is so delightful and his presence brings me great joy. He has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to make me laugh. He also loves a good snuggle.

I'm not all that mobile at the moment, some sort of pinched nerve in my leg. So, I'm spending a lot of time on the couch with ice and pain killers. Meanwhile, Theo is providing me with comic relief, therapeutic snuggles and endless purrs.

It seemed crazy at the time, but rescuing Theo from the freezing cold of an Indiana winter was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Life would be very dull and boring without him.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

new outdoor cat house

The black kitty keeps coming around even though Buddy tries his best to scare it off. It continues to sleep under the bench in the side yard and has started to eat a little of the food I have been leaving out.

It is really interested in what goes on in the house. It likes to watch the humans. Notice the little white patch on it's chest.

After waking from a long nap, I was excited to see it check out the food I have been leaving out. Sadly, it got too freaked out from me taking pictures and ran off before it ate any food.

Lounging in the sun in the front yard.

I call this cat the "crooked-tail kitty" because it always holds it's tail like it's broken in the middle. This cat doesn't look like it needs more food and yet it always eats what the black kitty doesn't eat.

The black cat seems to be hanging around more. After watching it sleep in the rain the other day, I decided it needs a home of it's own. So, I built it a home.

I used materials that were around the house, so it didn't cost me anything except a day's labor. My original plan called for having a covered place for the food and a cozy place to sleep. 

The smaller entry space would hold the food and the larger space was for sleeping. Now that it is together, I am having second thoughts about having the food in the smaller space. I imagine if the black kitty is asleep inside and the crooked-tail kitty comes to eat the food there may be a fight. Fights are bad, so, I may build a separate little three-walled shelter just for the food.

If the kitty takes up residence here, I may spend some money and insulate the house for the winter. I also have thought of putting in a window to add some natural light and allow me to see in.

Now that it has a home, I'm gonna have to start thinking of a name for the black kitty. Any ideas?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

behind the scenes of a photo shoot

People always ask me how I get the amazing cat pictures featured here on fourwhitepaws. Well, let me tell you, getting high quality photographs for the blog requires more than state of the art equipment and an artistic eye.

Let me take you behind the scenes of a recent photo shoot.

You may recognize this picture. It is from a recent blog entry, Captivating Cats Figurine review. Capturing this image involved more than you might think.

First I had to scope out the right location. I desired quality natural light. I also wanted a background that would not take the focus away from the subject, so I decided to use a sheet of blank white paper as my background. Once the background was established, choosing the location was easy. I setup my little "studio" on the love seat because it was in the direct sun and allowed me to get just the right distance from the subject. Since I decided to use an all white background, I decided to add a common object to provide a sense of scale.

When selecting a location, it's good to also consider accessibility. Choosing a desirable location may attract visitors and having visitors on location is sometimes problematic.

Sweet Willow decided to visit and check out the subject.

Willow was very interested in meeting the realistic figurine kitty. 

After a quick snuggle with the figurine kitty on the photo shoot background, Willow starts to change...

A different Willow starts to emerge...



What's this?! Now what's going on?

Where did the ferocious Willow Monster go?! This looks like Sweet Willow again...

Tummy rubs?! After attacking the figurine kitty?

Meanwhile, back to the photo shoot...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Captivating Cats Figurine review

Last year, I wrote a post about an offer I received in the mail from Willabee & Ward for a Captivating Cat Figurine. This year, I received another offer and I decided to promptly take them up on it, after all the mailing clearly stated the free figurine was only being held for 10 days.

The writeup about the figurine claims, "This is the first in a collection of extraordinary figurines of playful felines. These beautifully crafted figurines are skillfully sculpted of fine quality porcelain. Each figurine is then carefully hand painted by skilled artists."

I promptly mailed my check for $2.95 to cover the shipping and service costs.

When my "free" figurine arrived, my first impression was not good. The packaging was very unimpressive. I was led to believe these figurines were fragile and valuable, yet it arrived in flat box with a large bulge in the middle. The figurine was in a small plastic bag that was wrapped in one layer of bubble wrap. Due to the box being too flat, the cat's ears had poked into the cardboard box. Thankfully, the cat didn't lose it's ears.

With the figurine came a nice letter congratulating me on acquiring my first Captivating Cat Figurine. It goes on to say, "As you examine your first figurine, notice the stunning design...the brilliant hand-painted colors...the intricate crafting." So, as I looked over my figurine, I kept these qualities in mind.

The figurine is small, but not miniture. The size feels appropriate, not overwhelming and not too small to see. It feels solid; it has a nice weight of 0.6 oz.

Stunning design
I'm not sure what to say about this quality. The figurine is of a cat, and the design resembles a cat, so I guess the design is done well. Is it stunning? I'm not sure that's the word I would choose, but the design looks good.

Brilliant hand-painted colors
There is not a lot of color on this figurine. The ears and nose are pink and the eyes are yellow. The remainder of the cat is white and black stripes. The paws are dirty white. The sparse use of color really makes the bit of color stand out. The eyes are small but clearly yellow, like my Rose. The artist must have had really good eyesight and a microscopic brush to be able to paint something that small.

Intricate crafting
There is a lot of detail packed into this little figurine. The front paws clearly have four toes, the back legs are resting against each other and the tail has a nice authentic curl. The markings on the face have nice detail. Above the cat's right eye there appears to be an off-color abscess. If one of my cats came to me displaying such a lump, I would be quite concerned. In this case, it looks like the porcelain glaze may have pooled just above the eye.

Nothing conveys "intricate crafting" like a "Made in China" sticker. Thankfully, it is easily removed.

The congratulatory letter tells me that I can expect to receive my next shipment of two figurines in approximately four to six weeks. At the time of my third shipment, I will receive a free "luxurious wooden Collector's display to store and proudly display" my collection. There is no mention in the letter or in the accompanying invoice of how much the future figurines will cost me. I'm assuming they are $12.95 each + $2.95 shipping. I'll have to call Willabee & Ward to find out for sure, but if that is true, I'll be canceling my subscription.

I should confess that I'm not overly into figurines or knickknacks, but I'm into cats, and since this was a cat, I thought I would give it a go. In the end, this figurine is actually better than I expected. It looks and feels nice. My main hang-up is the cost. When buying something directly from the "skilled artist" I don't mind paying a lot because it is going to support the creation of wonderful art. To me, this figurine doesn't fit in the category of "wonderful art" nor is it really "captivating". However, the Willabee and Ward figurine does a good job capturing the feline mystique.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

staying dry in the rain

Yesterday felt like a Fall day in the Northwest. That means the summer that just arrived is ready to move out. Sigh.

It rained most of yesterday, mostly a light rain, but rain nonetheless. I wouldn't have thought much about it, except when I came home for lunch I saw this:

August 22, 2011

Notice the black cat curled up under the bench, which is under the tree. The cat is trying to take a nap and stay dry. I have seen this cat around before. I posted about it when it first showed up, early this year. I have a hard time distinguishing stray cats from pet-cats who roam, but seeing a cat out in the rain sure makes me wonder if it is homeless.

The other day, it was curled up in the middle of the yard, taking a nap. 

August 15, 2011
August 15, 2011

Last month, I saw it hanging out in the tree in the side yard. Laura said she saw it catch a mouse in the tall grass and eat it.

July 29, 2011
July 29, 2011
And then this photo, from earlier in the year. I think it has lost a lot of weight since the start of the year.
Feb 9, 2011

In this, one of my first pictures of it, you can see it has a big gash in it's right rump.

Jan 23, 2011

Every time I have tried to approach it, it runs off. It frequently tries to visit with the cats, even one time coming on the roof so it could visit through the upstairs windows. Theo and Nahum enjoyed visiting with it, but now Buddy won't have any of that - he makes a big fuss and tries to scare it off.

I have recently started leaving food out for it. I haven't actually seen it eating the food yet, but something does, because the food keeps disappearing. There are other cats who roam and there used to be a family of raccoons who live nearby - hopefully they let this hungry black kitty have the food.

In my dream world there would be no homeless cats. Sadly, that world only exists in my dreams. So, I am left trying to figure out how to best care for this kitty. I'm entertaining the idea of building an outdoor shelter so it can have a dry place to live and eat. Another option would be to capture it and take it to the animal shelter. For all I know maybe it's someone's microchipped cat who got separated from it's peoples. I have even thought of investing in a microchip scanner.

Today, I know there is a homeless black cat out there and it breaks my heart.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Casita Cat Condo

The giant box from the Pawcurious Sam's Club Pet Care Product Package giveaway is a huge Cat Condo!! Our very first piece of kitty furniture! The 73" Casita Cat Condo with two residences, two perches, one dangly mouse and Willow's favorite, a nest!

All the kitties insisted on helping with the construction.

Assembling the condo was fairly simple, however, the kitties playing on it during construction made the process a lot more challenging! 

The finished product:

Willow's in the nest, Rose in the round condo and Buddy on a platform.

After construction came the rigorous quality control testing.

The cats love their new super-deluxe condo! We are still trying to figure out where it will reside in the house, for now it shares the living room. It is quite large and takes up a fair amount of room.

Thanks to Sam's Club for all the wonderful goodies and thanks to Pawcurious for having such great giveaways!