Category Archives: Cats

Colby’s Excellent Adventure

Our family recently adopted a cat from a shelter.  This is not unusual, as all of our cats were either looking for homes as kittens (Enzo and Bella), or were adopted from our local shelter (Jacques, Julius, and Chloe).  Colby is our newest cat.  What makes his story interesting, is that we live in San Diego and we adopted him from a shelter in Florida.

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All the cats we’ve loved. Only Julius and Colby are with us currently, the others having gone on to their great reward.

Our daughter has been staying in Florida, and while there she has often visited a local cats only shelter.  She is getting ready to leave Florida, but did not want to leave Colby, her favorite cat from the shelter, behind.

Shelter

Emma in front of the little cat shelter. Colby stationed himself on the desk, so he could see everything that went on, and he could get first dibs on treats!

3 Emma and Colby.2

Emma visiting with her favorite kitty Colby.

So we decided to adopt Colby, which meant that I would have to bring him from Florida to San Diego.  Since my tickets were not purchased in time, I had to take him home via a stop in St. Louis.  Before we headed off, everyone said goodbye to Colby.  He was a big favorite, having been in the shelter for years.

Goodby to Colby

Bye Colby!

After goodbyes we were off!  He did not like the rental car, and meowed for pretty much the whole 45 minutes it took us to get the airport.  He did not like being in his carrier much either, but did okay, beyond trying to push his nose through the netting.  I had to take him out of his carrier and carry him in my arms through security, so I got him a nifty harness and leash.  He was pretty happy at the gate, waiting on the window sill, watching our plane being loaded.  Several people asked to pet him, and he took their adoration as his due.

Orlando airport

In the Orlando airport. Colby was a trooper.

The flight was pretty good from Orlando.  Colby did some meowing, but it was hard to hear over the sound of the plane.  I petted him and tried to help him relax, with variable success.  A few treats helped.  When we landed in St. Louis and I checked the board I got a nasty shock.  I was supposed to have an hour between planes.  Instead, due to a mechanical issue, I now had 4 hours to kill.  In an airport.  With a cat.  Fortunately, the pet relief area was very close to my gate, and we hung out there for awhile.  Then I found some red rocking chairs and Colby slept on my lap while I read a book.

St. Louis airport

Colby in the very dog-themed pet area. Like no one travels with cats?!? Colby and me in our red rocker. He likes to stick out his tongue, which is too cute.

We managed finally to get home.  Colby got a bath that night, which is my rule.  All cats get a bath when they come from a shelter.  He did great!

13 Colby bath

So now we are figuring out our new routine with our new cat Colby.  Julius has been a perfect gentleman, he was the same when we adopted Chloe.  No cat fights, no drama.  He is a sweetheart.  Colby is settling in.  He loves to nap on the couch, to go outside into our cat escape-proof yard, to eat wet food for breakfast and dinner, and to get petted and scratched and generally loved.  He is part of a family now, after a long wait, and we hope he and Julius, who are both 12, will be buddies for many years.

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Colby sitting in my lap in the yard, watching the birds at the bird feeder. Picking his way through the long grass, which I’ve since mowed!

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Hanging out with me, with Sam, and with Julius.

Colby.composite.1

Colby is settled into his new home. He’s now a California Cat!

 

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Cat Sitting Venus – I’m Afraid She Will Never Want to Leave

Venus header

Our friends Leslie, Blake, and Ben left for a few weeks on a trip to Europe recently, and they asked me to take their cat Venus to our house while they are away.  They used to have an evil cat named Raja, who was an Egyptian Mau, who I would check in on at their place while they were gone.  He was mean-tempered, and growled at you just for looking at him.  Not all the time, but it happened, and that’s enough for me.  I watched him several times for Leslie at her house, and I don’t think I ever touched him.  We were both happier that way.  Raja dropped dead, which was very considerate of him, since that really saves on the vet bills, and he was getting up there in years.  I recently had to put down our 19 year old cat Bella, who, was, of course, a saint, and it was heart-breaking.

My Bella.

Saint Bella.

Anyhow, back to Leslie and her new cat Venus.  We all took a trip to the shelter a month or so after Raja died, and after much petting and deliberating, Leslie and Blake came home with Venus.  Leslie is forever in my debt for dragging her away from an Egyptian Mau that looked like Raja that was at the shelter.  It looked very pretty as it tried to claw it’s way out of its enclosure.  We went in looking for a sweet cat, and that’s what Leslie got.  And she is a beautiful black cat, who are the hardest cats to place in new homes, so Leslie got some bonus feel good points. Venus has been at our house for almost two weeks, and she is loving it.  It took a few days for her and Julius to get used to each other (I took it slow and kept her in the kids’ bedroom initially), but now they are pals.  He licks her head, they sniff each others noses and behinds, and have even started chasing each other at 4:00 am.  I could do without the last one.  The cats get to go out in the yard when I am home, and Venus thinks this is the best invention EVER!  She watches birds, swats at butterflies and looks confused when I yell at her to leave them alone, and slinks along the edge of the yard behind the plants, looking and feeling mysterious.

Julius and Venus greeting each other, Venus hanging out in the plants and blissing out on the grass.

Julius and Venus greeting each other, Venus hanging out in the plants, and blissing out on the grass.

Venus in two of her favorite bird watching spots.

Venus in two of her favorite bird watching spots.

I must say that this cat sitting experience has really encouraged me about our own upcoming foray to the animal shelter in August, when we will pick out a new kitty to bring home.  We are thinking about getting a young adult, and Julius has been such a gentleman to Venus.  He is enjoying having her around, especially since Bella was not very energetic her last few years, and sometimes downright grouchy.  He really is the best cat ever (sorry Venus).

BEST CAT EVER.

BEST CAT EVER.

But his time with Venus is soon to end, as her family are back home in a few days.  It’s like John and Olivia said…

Summer loving had me a blast,
Summer loving happened so fast,
I met a girl crazy for me,
Met a boy cute as can be,

Summer days drifting away,
To, uh oh, those summer nights…

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She Was the Softest Cat in the World

Bella.Header

I recently put down our 19 year old cat. It was terribly hard.  Even though I know it was the right thing to do, I will feel guilty about it forever.

Her name was Bella, but she had many nicknames.  Bella Wella, Pretty Girl, Little Girl, Girlie Girl, Little Punkin, Little Bit of Nothing, Little Miss Sunshine, Sun Bear, and Iddle Biddle Diddle.

She was a medium length hair tortie who had the softest fur in the world.  She had orange stripes hidden on the inside of her front legs, mottled skin on the inside of her ears that reflected the patchwork of fur colors on the outside, tufts of fur that stuck out between the pads of her paws, puffy back leg fur that looked like pantaloons, and a small patch of creamy white on her chest (hence Sun Bear).

I loved to bury my nose in her side and sniff her, because she had a nutty, earthy smell.  Not all cats smell the same.  Julius smells like an old closet.  I don’t like to sniff him so much.

She was always tiny.  At her heaviest she weighed about 8 pounds.  For most of her life she weighed about 5 or 6 pounds.  Towards the end of her life she was 3 to 4 pounds.  I held her over my shoulder and carried her cradled in my arms a lot the last few months of her life.  When she was young I would drape her around my neck like a scarf.

But she was not a cuddly cat.  When I chose her from the litter, I should have been tipped off when she wouldn’t stay in my hand for more than a few seconds.  She would let me hold for a short time, but then would jump away.  She would cuddle in bed at night for 5 or ten minutes, and then jump away.  She was a quirky, freaky little cat, like a lot of torties.

Bella was a bionic jumper.  I found her on top of an open door once.  Perched up there.  Actually, she was kind of stuck.  When we moved into our current house she would jump to the top of an 8 foot tall fence to get into the neighbor’s yard.  I had to fish her out of there a couple of times, thank goodness they were friendly people.

Bella was fiesty.  She lived with big, grey Enzo for 10 years, big, grey Jacque for 2 years, and big, grey and white Julius for 8 years.  Julius weighs 15 pounds.  She was less than a third of his size.  When he started messing with her she would take it for awhile, but if he pushed too hard she would start in on him, and I would come into the room to find him rolled over on his back crying while she dove in to nip him again and again.  When she was very small Enzo used to lick and clean her until she was damp, and then he would start to chew on her.  She learned early not to take any guff from big, grey cats.

She was also stubborn, obtuse and sometimes not terribly bright.  Enzo and Julius were/are my smart cats.  Jacque not so much, evidenced by his running off one night and never making it back.  Bella would jump on the counter, I would take her down, she would jump up, I would take her down.  Rinse and repeat.  When Lisa and Tom were watching her when she was kitten she got her head stuck in a tissue box.  When Mel was watching her she freaked out each and every time she walked past a mirror wall in their house, because she saw the stranger cat in it.  As she got older her stubborn streak became a mile wide.  She got wet food whenever the hell she wanted it, because she would NOT STOP meowing for it.  She never learned the word “No”, which is something smart cats do.  Or maybe she was the really smart cat, and she knew what “No” meant, but just chose to ignore it.

Until the last few years of her life, she had a huge purr.  It was incongruous, coming from such a little body.  Even the tips of her whiskers rumbled when she purred.  But like most things that made Bella Bella, her purr became almost silent.  She, who could leap several times the length of her body straight up into the air, couldn’t jump up onto a chair or climb the stairs.  She became deaf.  She had cataracts and couldn’t see well.  Her right hip was painful and caused her to limp.  She faded.

My eyes are tearing as I write this, because when you live with a pet for 19 years, when you know every little detail about their body and spirit, watching their decline and making the decision to end their life is gut wrenching.  So I tell myself she had a wonderful life, a wonderful family, a wonderful trio of big, grey cats.  We had her cremated, and she is in a little box, on top of a slightly larger box that holds Enzo.  Over the summer we will go to the shelter and look for another little female cat to bring into our home and lives and hearts.  But I miss her.  My little Bella.

The Early Years

Early

The top left is Bella when she was a few weeks old.  She is licking her paw.  She wasn’t the prettiest kitten, she looked more like a scraggly bat.  Enzo would groom her and sleep with her.  He is gnawing on her on the bottom right.  Me with my two besties in the middle.  Bella isn’t the only one who got old!

Fur

A close up of her glorious fur coat, all beautiful earth tones.  She was kind of freaky, especially when she was younger.  You get a sense of that from her wild eyes in the picture on the right.

The Middle Years

Middle

Bella mellowed some with age.  We moved into our current house, and we all enjoyed our expanded indoor and outdoor space.  She loved to sit in pots.  I guess that made her a pot bella cat.

The Later Years

Later

She remained beautiful and healthy, though a lot slower, up until the last year or so.  She went in the yard every day, to sniff the air and sit in the sun.  She slept a lot, and she and I both got creative finding new places for her to nap.

Last Day

Bella on her last morning.  I made a nest for her on the floor downstairs, and during the last week she spent a lot of time curled up in it resting.  Goodbye Miss Bella, you were a good girl.

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City People Visiting Country Cats

Cats header

In my previous post I took you on a tour of Meadow K View farm, where we stayed in the guest house for two lovely days last August (Cats and Cows and Cats and Cows). And I think I might have mentioned that I took one, or two, or maybe more like a million photos of the multitudinous felines that roamed the farm.  There were cats and kittens of all colors and sizes.  Though none of them were pudgy, these are working cats.  They were lean, mean, mousing machines.  Emma and Sam and I had a great time naming them all.  The cats were one of our favorite parts of going to the farm.  If you like cats too, you will love this post!

Click on photos to enlarge

Let's start with my favorite color for a cat.  This is Sky.

Let’s start with my favorite color for a cat. This is Sky.

Midnight napping.

Midnight napping.  Look at those adorable big kitten paws!

Soulful Ash.

Soulful Ash.

Momma cat, who I could never get a picture of by herself, as her kittens were always nearby.

Momma cat, who I could never get a picture of by herself, as her kittens were always nearby.

See!

See!

This is Mama's Boy.  He was ALWAYS nursing or trying to nurse.  But what a beauty.  Probably the most photogenic cat on the farm.

This is Mama’s Boy. He was ALWAYS nursing or trying to nurse. But what a beauty. Probably the most photogenic cat on the farm.

Shy Cat.  He was pretty wary, which is a more typical farm cat personality, from what I've seen.  The Meadow K cats were a really friendly bunch in general.

Shy Cat. He was pretty wary, which is a more typical farm cat personality, from what I’ve seen. The Meadow K cats were a really friendly bunch in general.

Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Don't ask me which one is which.

Thing 1 and Thing 2. Don’t ask me which one is which.

Lily had the most amazing markings.  She also had a very strong personality.  As in, "Don't mess with me unless you have some treats to bribe me with."

Lily had the most amazing markings. She also had a very strong personality. As in, “Don’t mess with me unless you have some treats to bribe me with.”

Chicken Stalker.  This kitty like to mess with the chickens.

Chicken Stalker. This kitty liked to mess with the chickens.

Dusty.  Guess how he got his name.

Dusty. Guess how he got his name.

El Mustacio was one cool cat.

El Mustacio was one cool cat.

The Ghost.  This cat was super stealthy, and only came out in the milking barn when it was very quiet.  I got this photo when I went up there by myself after dinner.

The Ghost. This cat was super stealthy, and only came out in the milking barn when it was very quiet. I got this photo when I went up there by myself after dinner.

Twilight.  Look at those green eyes!  This kitty needs a witch to hang out with.

Twilight. Look at those green eyes! This kitty needs a witch to hang out with.

New York Cat.  This guy lived in New York for awhile, and was having a hard time adjusting to being a farm cat again.  He kept trying to get in the house.

New York Cat. This guy lived in New York for awhile, and was having a hard time adjusting to being a farm cat again. He kept trying to get in the house.

Stormy was Emma's favorite.  A super pretty kitty.

Stormy was Emma’s favorite. A super pretty kitty.

Snow Field was Sam's favorite.  He is partial to white cats.

Snow Field was Sam’s favorite. He is partial to white cats.

This cat was Hobbes, because he looks like Hobbes.  But he was much better behaved.

This cat was Hobbes, because he looks like Hobbes. But he was much better behaved.

This is Blaze, for the blaze of white on his forehead.

This is Blaze, for the blaze of white on his forehead.

Cats washing and playing.

Cats washing and playing.

Cats racing!

Cats racing!

Big cats, little cows.

Big cats, little cows.

Table and chairs = cat beds

Table + chairs = cat beds.

Cat relaxing.

Cat relaxing.

I could put even more cute cat photos on this post, but if I did I think the internet might explode.  Hope you enjoyed seeing all this feline goodness.  Now go pet a cat!

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Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Cats, Travel

Cats and Cows and Cats and Cows

Header.farmWe go to the East Coast a couple of times of year to visit my husband’s family, who live near Philadelphia.  We haven’t been in the summer before, and we thought we would take advantage of the warm weather to visit south-central Pennsylvania for a few days.  Andrew worked his usual magic, and found us accommodations in the guest house of a working dairy farm.  I am from Wisconsin, so it wasn’t hard to sell me on the concept.  I remember visiting the dairy farms of my relatives when I was a kid.  Emma and Sam were very excited about the idea of a farm; not just milking cows but collecting the eggs from the chickens also.  What we didn’t realize it that the farm would be chock full of cute cats and kittens.  There are some cat pictures in this post, but I am saving the majority for the following post, which will be all cats, and nothing but cats.  Cats, cats, and more cats.  Yeah!

But back to the farm.  Sharon and Barry are farmers who rent out their guest house on Meadow K View farm.  We spent lots of time on their front porch petting cats, which also gave us a chance to chat with them.  They were lovely hosts, taking us on a tour around the farm, and allowing the kids to “help” with the milking.  Check out the photos below to get a virtual tour of their farm, complete with big animals, small animals, new barns, old barns, solar panels, and corn.  A heady mixture indeed!

Click on photos to enlarge

This is Sharon and Barry, the owners of Meadow K View farm.  Both cats and people love to hang out on their front porch.

This is Sharon and Barry, the owners of Meadow K View farm. Both cats and people love to hang out on their front porch.

When we arrived there were cat greeters.  After we settled in, Sharon took us on a tour of the farm.

When we arrived there was a greeter cat. After we settled in, Sharon took us on a tour of the farm.

This is the new barn.  I would like to point out to my sister Melissa the cow in the upper right corner.

This is the new barn, all nice and shiny. I would like to point out to my sister Melissa the cow in the upper right corner.

The farm has a large solar array, which reflected the cloudy afternoon sky.  It made for nice photos.

The farm has a large solar array, which reflected the cloudy afternoon sky. It made for nice photos.

Our next stop was the milking barn, where we all got to try milking the cows by hand.  The kids helped to hook up the milking machines also.

Our next stop was the milking barn, where we all got to try milking the cows by hand. The kids also took a stab at hooking up the milking machines.

Milk maid Emma.

Milk maid Emma.

Milk master Sam.

Milk master Sam.

The cows were cool, but I kept getting distracted by all the cats!

The cows were cool, but I kept getting distracted by all the cats!

More cats!  This was the gang that hung out at the milking barn.

More cats!  This is the gang that hung out at the milking barn.

One of my favorite photos from our stay.  Cats drinking milk from a giant bucket.  This is what cat heaven must be like.

One of my favorite photos from our stay. Cats drinking milk from a giant bucket. This is what cat heaven must be like.

We headed out to the chicken coop, to gather up some eggs.  Several of the barn cats headed over with us, checking out the cows and chickens on the way.

Next we headed out to the chicken coop, to gather up some eggs. Several of the barn cats headed over with us, checking out the cows and chickens on the way.

Gathering eggs, which we then cooked up in the kitchen.

Gathering eggs, which we then cooked up in the kitchen.

The kids also got to bottle feed baby cows, and visit the older babies outside in their pens.

The kids also got to bottle feed baby cows, and visit the older babies outside in their pens.

There were many barns and outbuildings on the farm, each with their own personality.

There were many barns and outbuildings on the farm, each with their own personality.

Now we now the answer to "Where does all the poo go?"

Now we know the answer to “Where does all the poo go?”

All around the house colorful flowers were blooming.

All around the house colorful flowers were blooming.

The kids kept creeping away to find cats to pet.

The kids kept creeping away to find cats to pet.

At twilight we went out to hunt fireflies.  We never get to see them in San Diego, so that was a real treat.

At twilight we went out to hunt fireflies. We never get to see them in San Diego, so that was a real treat.

Relaxing.  Finding fun things to do.  Admiring the twilight.

Relaxing. Finding fun things to do. Enjoying twilight.

This is the house cat gang.  They hung out on the porch, in the yard, and around the big tree.

This is the house cat gang. They hung out on the porch, in the yard, and around the big tree.

More house cats.

More house cats.

I hope I gave you a good sense of how enjoyable our time on the farm was.  We are headed out there again this summer for a few days of down time.  It will be fun to see how the cats have grown and changed.  I have A LOT more cat pictures (which won’t surprise anyone who knows me), so my next post will be devoted to the cats of Meadow K Farm, in all their adorable glory!

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Adorable Cats

As I get older, I find I can no longer ignore the cat lady who is trying to scratch and claw her way out of my seemingly extra-normal exterior.  Thus I am giving in and putting an adorable cat post on my blog.  So gird yourselves, screw your courage to the sticking place, and forge ahead, as I put up on the web for all to see…photos of the CUTEST CATS EVER!

For your viewing pleasure, a photo gallery of our four cats through the years; Enzo, Bella, Jacques, and Julius.  Even though most of you aren’t lucky enough to know them or have known them, these photos will give you insight into their moods, thoughts, hopes, and dreams…

Intrigued

Julius.lookinh

Julius on high.

Distinguished

Enzo.yard

The irreplaceable Enzo.

Beckoning

Bella.upclose

Bella girl cat.

Curious

Julius and Bella checking out the tree cutter guys in the canyon.

Julius and Bella checking out the tree trimmer guys in the canyon.

Melancholic

Julius on a rainy day.

Julius on a rainy day.

Content

Cat napping on a lap.

Cat napping on a lap.

Fixated

Killer instinct.

Ready to pounce.

Balanced

Sunning on the balcony.

Sunning on the balcony.

Shameless

What a nice belly!

Look at my belly!

Chillaxed

The Dude abides.

The Dude abides.

Dreamy

"I love Mo so much, all I do all day is lie around and think about her and how amazingly perfect she is."

“I love Mo so much, I just lie around all day and think about her …”

Peaceful

My first and best kitty.

My first and best kitty, Mr. Enzo.

Cats as Kids

Emma with baby Jacques.

Emma with baby Jacques.

Julius.hat.100

Enzo wearing Emma’s baby hat.

My three babies.

My three babies.

Kids as Cats

Emma and Sam in their matching leopard suits.

Emma and Sam in their matching leopard suits.

Kids with Cats

Two cool guys just hanging out.

Two cool guys just hanging out.

Emma and Jacques.

Emma and Jacques.

Sam and kitten

Little Sam, little kitten

Bedtime buddies

Bedtime buddies

Parting Shot

Yes, even their butts are cute.

Yes, even their butts are cute.

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