Kitten Palooza Part Two

As promised, here are more photos of the kittens Aaron and I visited yesterday afternoon. It’s hard to get photos of 9 scampering kittens, especially when occasionally one’s hands are full of said kittens.

The bicolor tabbies were Ragdoll-level super chill and enjoyed being cradled.

This one had an adventure on the new cat tower.

Must investigate ALL the things!

I found a spot!

Hide-and-seek?

Who could resist that face? I could not. I babbled inanely at her and gave her lots of lovies. (That’s the official term.)

Kitten Palooza Part One

Aaron and I visited the Pflugerville Animal Shelter for two hours this afternoon, originally intending to see Mau. We’re still waiting for him to be transferred to APA and receive more intensive treatment for his dental issues. In the meantime, we get to visit!

When I visited last week, there was a litter of seven kittens. Two of them–the black and the white and grey bicolor–were adopted last week. The grey will be adopted tomorrow. But now the adoption room has four more kittens–9 total! I can verify that they were indeed most precious.

These three were mellow and super-cuddly and freely demonstrated their excellent purring technique. (You can see the third’s rear end sticking up. He took kneading on the bed very seriously.)

This little girl was positively loquacious! Her brother had been adopted late last week so she did not like being by herself, and let everyone know how unfair it was.

“GIMME ATTENTION NOW!” The grey tabby (the only girl in the litter of seven, now five) was a little diva.

“Love me please?” These orange and grey furballs wanted all the smooches.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all human and pet mothers!

Photo courtesy of Visual Hunt

Photo courtesy of Cuteness.com

This morning, Charlie and Garrus were up bright and early to let me know that it was, in fact, food o’clock. (Boudicca slept in a bit.) Charlie was incredibly lovey and flopped all over the bed looking for rubs and attention. It’s heartwarming to wake up to the sound of a loud, trill-punctuated purr and greeted by a cat as happy as Charlie is.

May the Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day! Are you celebrating the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars with any delightfully geeky activities? Are you celebrating any with your pets? If so, please share in the comments!

As I write this, my house is a vortex of inaction. It’s gloppy outside and all three cats have declared mid-afternoon nap time, which they take quite seriously. However, I do have a few cute photos to share with you.

Here Charlie demonstrated how to be a stretchy cat. Check out all the spots on his belly! As he shimmied on the window seat, he trilled cheerfully and revved his purr motor loud when I rubbed his tummy. It wouldn’t rub itself, after all!

“The Force is one with this highly rubbable tummy…” Don’t you think? 😉

“Human, you will give me attention and lots of rubs.” ~Garrus, Gentleman Jedi Cat

Queen B sprawled and purred after I brushed her and gave her a kiss between her ears. “To keep the balance in the universe, you WILL give me my due adoration!”

National Pet Day

Happy National Pet Day!

In 2006, Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and pet lifestyle expert, founded National Pet Day to celebrate pets (of all kinds) and the sheer joy they bring into our homes and lives. As with many pet-themed holidays, this holiday is also intended to shine a spotlight on animals in shelters all over the world.

Garrus and Charlie are former shelter cats. Note the sun-soaked snuggle in progress.

Do you have a cat, dog, rabbit, bird, hamster, rat, mouse, lizard, turtle, fish, or other type of pet? (Approximately 80 million households in the US have a pet. There are nearly 80 million dogs and 86 million cats kept as pets.) How can you celebrate National Pet Day? Here are a few ideas!

  1. Love. Give your pet extra smooches, belly rubs, a thorough brushing, lap time, snuggles, and assorted displays of affection.
  2. Play. Indulge your inner child and play with your pet. Get out all the toys and toss them around or invent a game to play with your pet. (Hide and seek? Bottle cap soccer? Chase?) Get your dog (or cat!) to fetch. Go for a walk. Go to the dog park. Arrange a playdate.
  3. Take pictures of your pet. If you are so inclined, share them on social media using the hashtag #NationalPetDay.
  4. Be grateful. Pets enhance our lives and they teach us lessons about joy, laughter, love, cuddling, playtime, and appreciating the little things in life. What do you appreciate most about your pet(s)? What lessons have they taught you? Have they brought you joy today?

Googly cat sequence initiated. (Boudicca loves to be brushed.) Cue PURR PURR PURR FLOP.

Siamese Pretty Please

Happy National Siamese Cat Day!

Do you share living space with fur people of the Siamese variety? Do you enjoy their talkativeness? Do their blue eyes enchant you?

Siamese Cats 101

  • They are an Asian or Oriental cat with point coloration, i.e. a light body with darker markings on the face, ears, legs, and tail.
  • These point colors come in a number of varieties including Chocolate, Seal, Lilac, Blue, Red, and Cream. There are also Lynx (striped), Tortie, and Tortie Lynx Points.
  • They also have two body types: the Traditional (Old-Style, Classic) and Modern (Show). The latter sports a slim body, small wedge-shaped head, long straight nose, huge ears, and a whiplike tail.
  • Behaviorally, Siamese cats are intelligent, busy, doglike, highly communicative (they will give you a highly opinionated commentary about everything!), and extroverted. They love attention!
  • Siamese cats are chatterboxes with a distinctive loud, low-pitched meow! They caterwaul too and do not like to be quiet.

Modern or Show-Style Seal Point Siamese Cat

Traditional Lilac Point Siamese Cat

I’ve had some exposure to Siamese cats. In middle school, I briefly had a half-Siamese cat but she did not inherit the color-point markings of her mother, a splendid Balinese or long-haired Siamese. Instead Misdemeanor was ink-black without a speck of white anywhere on her. She did, however, inherit the characteristic vocalness and intense inquisitiveness; she had to be into everything, especially all the mischief (hence her name).

Another Siamese cat I knew was a shelter kitten appropriately named Miao. He was feisty (attack all the toys!), demanding, charming, and a handful (he was a kitten, after all, so that was his job). I helped match him to an outgoing family whom he would likely keep on their toes with his antics.

If you have a Siamese cat in your life, be sure to give him or her an extra dose of love and perhaps a treat or new toy today! I’m sure your kitty will thank you vociferously!

Photo credits: Pexel and Pinterest

These splendid fur people are not my own.

St Catrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Or, if you’re a cat lover, you may say St Catrick’s Day! There is no Saint Catrick (to my knowledge) but it’s a fun excuse to have a pet-themed holiday anyway!

Why might this be, you ask? Because today coincides with the feast day of Gertrude of Nivelles, who has become to be regarded as the patron saint of cats. This is a recent development starting in the 1980s. Her association with cats may have sprung from her role as protector against rodents, which dated from the 15th century in Germany, the Netherlands, and northeastern Span.

I don’t have to worry about a rodent problem in my house. Charlie’s got me covered.

Enjoy your weekend!

World Sleep Day

Happy World Sleep Day!

Guess what’s going on at my house right now? Nothing. My house is the place of inaction because there are three happily snoozing cats in it. I could nearly see the z’s floating off of them. I’ve always wondered what my cats dream about.

Being hunters by nature, cats tend to be more active around dawn and dusk (crepuscular). They sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, with some cats sleeping as many as 20 hours a day. Kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than younger cats. Of course, we have the idiom catnap from our feline friend’s ability to snooze for brief periods of time.

Boudicca likes to snooze, birdwatch, and sunbathe on the window seat in my office. The boys like it too.

I have not timed how much my three cats sleep in a given day and night but they sleep a lot and take their sleep seriously. Everyone seems to take at least one nap in the morning and a longer nap in the afternoon, especially the boys have their 1 o’clock zoomies and scamper session. Maybe they schedule pre- and post-naps as well. I know that the boys, at least, are awake for part of the night because I hear them playing. (They often choose to bat around a jingling ball right around the time we’re going to bed.) Boudicca heads to bed the same time we do. Given her age, she does seem to rest more than the boys do but she is also always down for lap time!

Notice the layers. It is a baby pink bed with a pink blanket inside a box. I had purchased this bed for Queen B and put it on the floor for her; she refused to use it. I put it in a box and instantly she claimed it as hers. She becomes upset at me when I take off the blanket it clean it. This is her supurrviser spot in my office.

Each of the cats has a distinct preference for a sleeping spot, although each will change it up or grab an odd choice, like a scratching pad every now and then. Boudicca usually opts for her pink bed in the bedroom, the couch, her box bed in my office (see above photo), or the window seat. The Downton Tabbies have their orange bed (they like to share), the overstuffed chair, the rolling car seat (Aaron outfitted these for video game use), the ottoman, or the cat tree. During the day they sometimes commandeer the bed and snuggle. At least once a day I catch a snuggle in progress. It’s adorable.

Garrus found a meditating/catnap/sunbathing spot on a scratching pad near the sliding glass door.

Generally speaking, the cats don’t sleep in the bed with us for long periods of time. We might bring Boudicca into the bed with us for a snuggle but she usually leaves after a couple of ours. I’ve briefly woken up in the middle of the night to discover that Charlie had surreptitiously crept up onto the bed and curled up behind my knees to sleep. I find it soothing to fall asleep with a purring cat next to me. Boudicca and the boys are polite and don’t bother us by caterwauling at unholy hours of the night. Depending on your cat’s behavior and your individual sleep needs, sleeping with your kitty may or may not help your own sleep hygiene. Additionally, there are a few things to consider about pet safety.

Garrus is quite fond of his blue elephant Pillow Pet.

The Downton Tabbies lounge on the worn car seat. Their new orange bed is shown beneath.

On the other hand, there are many cats that view the night as the prime opportunity for shenanigans: flopping on your head, tearing around the house, getting into ALL the mischief, attacking your feet, yowling, playing with the loudest toys, and starting blood feuds with every pet in the neighborhood. Wild antics can disrupt even a veteran cat owner’s sleep but do not give up hope! Cats, believe it or not, can learn to sleep at night. Adding play sessions during the day can tire your cat out and thereby discourage such lively romps at night. Cats learn so much through play, including manners and boundaries; they also build trust and confidence. Teaching a cat manners (such as bite inhibition) is vital to having a well socialized companion.

Garrus and Charlie like to be high up in the cat tree. When we first put up the cat tree, Charlie spent a lot of time in the cubby; he spends less time in there now.

Sleep hygiene is important for dogs too! Given that dogs are pack animals and very different creatures than cats, their sleep needs vary. Certain breeds can develop sleep disorders, just like humans; brachycephalic airway syndrome and narcolepsy are two examples.

For many years, my family had Miniature Schnauzers as pets, as I’ve mentioned before. As you may or may not know, Schnauzers, like many other types of dogs, have a habit of “nesting” in their beds. This, and the tendency to sleep pressed very close to my parents legs disrupted my parents’ sleep so they trained the dogs to sleep in their own bed. Although it took a bit of work, we were happy with the end result. Since we lived in Minnesota at the time, during the winter the dogs were very insistent in reminding us to turn on a heating pad under the cushions for 20 minutes before bedtime (we turned it off before we went to sleep)! The dogs also liked to snooze on the back of the couch.

Now my parents have Chiquita, a Kooikerhondje, and Chiya, a Tibetan Spaniel. Chiya is not as brachycephalic as, say, a French bulldog, but she does snore a bit when she sleeps. Chiquita twitches while she dreams sometimes.

Chiquita does not believe that guests should sleep alone.

Is it nap time yet?

Silly Cat and Dog Poses

Happy World Sleep Day! Cats and dogs, just like children, sleep in the weirdest positions. I often ask myself, “How on earth can they find that position comfortable?” Evidently they can…Hence the running theory that cats, at least, are part liquid…

Here Boudicca demonstrates the classic pinwheel sleep position with the half chin twist and her hind paws perfectly posed together. She may have started to purr in her sleep while I took this photo. Adorability Score: High

Charlie flaunts his spotted tummy while he sunbathes and flirts for attention. He also demonstrates marvelous neck and core strength by not sliding off the edge despite repeatedly wiggling and shimmying all over the platform. Great demonstration of multitasking: high level of cuteness, very loud purring and squeaking, successful eliciting of belly rubs, and prompting human caretaker to squee. Adorability Score: Very high

Here Sir Garrus demonstrates a variant pinwheel with the semi-held curled tail and paws hiding the face. Normally I can see his fang peeking out. Adorability Score: High

Here is Chiquita executing a classic “I’m a good, pretty girl. Please give me a belly rub” roll. Of course she gets them in spades because she is indeed a good girl and she is SO SOFT with highly pettable ears. Look at that face! Adorability score: TKO

Garrus appropriated the topmost cat tower platform and snuggled inside. It looks a bit cramped to me but I thought he looked cute hiding his face and holding his tail like this. Adorability Score: High

“Look, Mom! I found a hammock!” “Charlie, that is not a hammock!” “But…it’s made of warm…” Adorability Score: Moderate. It’s cute yes but I don’t want him to get in the habit of lounging in the freshly sanitized Cat Genie.

I have no idea how Charlie doesn’t get a crick in his neck when he sleeps in the cubby like this. But he likes it anyway. Adorability Score: Pretty Cute

Here is Nala, may she rest in peace. She LOVED boxes, and did not care if they were far too small for her. She crammed herself into small boxes, especially those with crinkly paper inside, and snoozed very happily inside! Her happiness level went up if said box was in Aaron’s office. This photo was taken in May 2015 when Nala was 14 years old. Adorability Score: Nostalgic High

A very rare Yin-Yang display (shown with Boudicca and Nala) in 2015! They very rarely slept so close together. Clearly they were in between napping and belly rub appointments. Adorability Score: Squee!

IMG_1022

Chiquita asks, very subtly, for a belly rub. Isn’t she adorable?

 

Do you find your cats or dogs in cute poses, especially in sleep? Do they sleep in uncomfortable-looking positions? Feel free to share in the comments!

Playing Favorites

As I’ve mentioned before, Charlie has favorite toys. These are his three fuzzy mice and a fuzzy ball. A couple of times a day I replace these toys back on the top platform of the cat tower for him to find. He likes fishing one out with his paws, playing with it fiercely, and tossing it to the floor. Sometimes he will simply throw each toy to the floor before taking a nap on his favorite platform. I was able to get two short videos of him doing this so enjoy!