Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On Wednesday—Home with Cats #8: Adapt

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, we explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home.


In any home where more than one human or fur baby lives, everyone must adapt to others’ needs. In a home with cats, it’s usually the humans that adapt. And that’s OK.

On this particular evening, Larry got ready to do some work at his computer desk. But Natasha had settled quite comfortably into his desk chair. 

Did he move Natasha out of his chair? Of course not! 

Did Natasha say, “Oh, Papa, let me move out of your way”? Of course not!

Larry simply rolled Natasha back a bit, got another chair, and sat down to do his work. And everyone was happy.

Can you relate? 

Note: Larry is mostly cropped out of this photo to respect his wishes not to have his image on the blog. He’s a friendly man—and he loves animals!—but shy about photos. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

11 Things That Make My Cats Happy

Sunshine on their shoulders

Breakfast, of course

Watching for birds

Watching for squirrels

A good bath

A good scratch

A good box

A long nap in a soft, fluffy bed

Hanging with Mama, watching the birdie DVD

Playing with Papa

Snuggling with Mama

What are some of the things that make you happy?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter!

This is our Chase Bird last Easter. My friend Carolyn made the picture for me, and I was excited to share it on Facebook.

We lost Chase Bird on October 27, almost five months ago. My heart still hurts so much, I sometimes can’t believe I can bear it. 

Looking at pictures like this helps me, even if I cry. Because I smile, too, remembering our sweet boy.

So my Easter greeting this year is this picture again. A very precious picture.

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate. And may you all have a peaceful weekend. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On Wednesday—Home with Cats #7: Just relax

***Prayers for all those affected by the violence in Belgium. May we live toward peace.***

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, we explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home.


This week—just relax.




Back to back: Natasha and Abbey

And back to back: Connor and Abbey

Do your kitties help you relax?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Spring!

Abbey and I appreciate all of your comments guessing what she was thinking

It's fun to see how imaginative humans and furbabies can be!

So what was Abbey thinking? On that day, she says she was thinking, “Will spring ever come?”

Yesterday was the official first day of spring. Despite the cold temperatures we had, Abbey and the other kitties are now able to look out the side window at this:

It’s the time for white, pink, red, yellow, and purple blooms and for what Abbey, Natasha, and Connor enjoy watching the most out the windows: more birds!

We wish you all a Happy Spring!

Friday, March 18, 2016

What is Abbey thinking?

Happy Friday, everyone, from Abbey, Natasha, Connor, and Tina!

Let's have some fun to start off the weekend. 

What is Abbey thinking? Take a guess and post your caption in the comments below. Abbey will reveal what she was thinking in Monday’s post.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

On Wednesday—Home with Cats #6: Let’s Play!

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, we explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home.


This week—let’s play!

Connor: "I bet you can't see me. I'm going to scare you when I jump out!"

Natasha: "Go, go, go, go!"

Connor: "I'm going to smack Abbey on the head. Maybe."

Connor: "Why is that mousie moving? I thought I got it already."

Natasha: "This doesn't taste that good."

Abbey: "Look at me! I caught the blanket."

Natasha: "If I hold my paw just right, I can hold on to this wand."

Abbey: "Monkey. Wand toy. Box. I'm exhausted. Time for a nap."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Honey the Cat

Sweet Abbey

Last week I wrote about my early experiences with animals. Most of those experiences were with dogs.

As a child, I had one cat that was “mine”: Honey. My cousin, who lived next door to me, gave me one of the kittens from a litter her cat had.

I named her Honey because she was light brown and because one of the characters in the Trixie Belden mystery books I loved was named Honey.

Honey had to live outdoors—no animals allowed in the house. I don’t even remember if my mother bought cat food for her or if she was expected to eat the dog food. 

In truth, though Honey was “mine,” she was only nominally mine. She wasn’t part of the family. I have no pictures of her.

The only time I spent with Honey was the time after I got home from school, before it got dark. I didn’t really know her. As I had with the dogs, when I went indoors, I felt like I was deserting her.

She walked back to my cousin’s house several times, on her own. That’s where her mom and siblings were. And that was no easy feat. When I say my cousin lived next door to me, I mean in the rural way—the next house over. There were large hay fields and corn fields between us. So Honey traveled to get back to what she considered her home.

One day I took Honey back to my cousin’s house and said I was giving her back because she kept going back anyway.

But really, I was trying to get rid of the guilt I felt over leaving Honey alone outside. And I was an anxious child. I was beginning to have symptoms of OCD, and part of the way that anxiety disorder manifested itself in me was huge sense of responsibility for the well-being of everyone around me. If I didn’t have a cat to be responsible for—if I could give that responsibility to someone else—then at least temporarily, that reduced my anxiety.

I still feel guilty about Honey, about giving her back. But I hope that once she was back at my cousin’s life, she at least had the comfort of other cats.

I was about 11 years old then. It would be over 25 years before I opened my heart to another cat.

Now let’s talk happy memories. What is your first happy memory about a cat?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Connor’s turn: “Finally!”

Hi! My name is Connor, and I’m finally getting a chance to talk with you. I’ve been a part of the family for a whole month, and Mama is just now getting my picture on this page!

To help you get to know me better, and for me to get to know you better, I’m doing the question thing like my sisters did. You can ask me anything, and I will answer in the comments. Be sure to check the comments for the answers. Mama is slow sometimes, but she will help me answer you as quick as she can. 

So, what would you like to know?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

On Wednesday: Home with Cats #5


“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, we explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home.


A home with cats is beautiful. A home with cats also needs to have certain things that make life easier—and cleaner—for cats and for the humans living there.

Every cat person is different and every home will have different “must haves.” I doubt I’m telling you anything new if you’ve had cats in the home for a while. But it’s fun to compare notes and learn from each other. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that we keep on hand because we choose to have a home with cats. 

*Paper towels. Lots of paper towels.

*Cleaners that won’t affect carpet, hardwood floors, or upholstery. Throw-up and poop outside the box happen. I am not endorsing any cleaning product, but some that we have used are Resolve and Windex Multisurface with disinfectant.

*Blankets/throws to cover the furniture. None of our furniture is off-limits to the cats. Over the years we’ve collected throws and blankets that cover our living room and den furniture. They help keep cat hair and other stains from getting on upholstery. But they are also softer than the upholstery and are more comfortable for the cats and the humans in the home.

*Other blankets. A soft blanket over a cat bed, a mini-afghan over the end of the sofa where a cat likes to sleep—these make things comfortable and cozy.

*Old towels that have softened with years of laundering. We have a stack. They’re good for covering a cat bed and lining the carrier when we have to make a trip to the vet.

*Plenty of bowls. Bowls for dry food. Bowls for wet food. Bowls for water. We have bowls to back up bowls. And lots of dishwashing soap.

*Important phone numbers in an easy-to-find location. In our case, that’s our refrigerator. We keep our vet’s phone number and the contact information for the emergency hospital where we know we can get it when we need it. Our vet’s card has the office hours on it too, so when I need to call, I can see immediately what their schedule is. (Note: I know my vet’s phone number by heart, but when you’re in a panic or upset, it’s good to have the number where you can see it in case you can’t remember it.)

*Treats. I asked my husband for ideas for this post, and he suggested treats. If your cats love treats, it’s best not to be without them. They know the difference between the dry food you sneak out of the bag and a treat. We know. We’ve tried.

So what do you make sure you always have in the home for your cats? Please share in the comments.

Monday, March 7, 2016

My early experiences with animals

Abbey, Connor, and Natasha on a recent morning.

Animal welfare, especially cat welfare, is a passion for me. But it took a while for me to realize it.

If you had told me when I was a young woman that I would become a happy cat woman, I would have had serious doubts about you. 

One of my first memories of animals is of me running through the yard of our farmhouse, trying to outrun the puppies chasing me. I was afraid they would scratch me.

But as soon as I was inside the storm door, I looked back out. They would be outside the door, looking at me. They had sad looks on their faces, I thought. So I tried to make them feel better by talking to them through the door, telling them what good dogs they were and how sweet they were.

I had a heart for animals, but they weren’t a real part of my life. 

I was raised on a farm. When I was very young, we had milk cows, beef cows, chickens, and pigs, in addition to several dogs and some cats. None of the animals were allowed in the house. Ever. My parents believed they belonged outside, though old pictures showed that my oldest brother used to be able to bring his dog inside sometimes.

A view of the farmhouse I lived in until I was 10 years old.
The house is the white building in the center.

I don’t remember ever playing with the dogs other than running with them. But I do remember feeling sorry for them because I was leaving them alone when I went inside, and because they had to stay outside when they so clearly wanted to be with us.

And I hated to hear them cry. When my mother bought a boxer puppy, she was kept on the back porch. It was enclosed but not a real part of the house. Boots was by herself behind a barrier fashioned from a fireplace screen. When I heard her cry—probably from loneliness—I would sit on the concrete floor by the screen and sing to her. Sometimes I’d pull the church hymnal from the piano and sing hymns to her. She wouldn’t cry as long as I did that.

The cats were even more in the background. At the farmhouse I lived in until I was 10 years old, the only thing I remember about the cats on the farm was when my mother called us over to a bush, where a cat was giving birth under it.

So even though I lived on a farm with many animals, they seemed separate from me. That’s why it still surprises me—but delights me—that I’m an advocate for animal welfare today. But I’m sad at all the missed opportunities that I had as a young person to realize the true value of animals.

There’s a lot more to this story, more than you would want to read in one blog post. As time goes on, I’ll share more of how I became the cat woman.

What are your first memories of animals? 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Natasha’s turn: Ask me anything


Happy Friday! It’s Natasha again. I hope you’ve all had a pawsome week and will have a great weekend!

Last Friday, Abbey answered your questions. Today it’s my turn. Ask me anything and I’ll answer in the comments. Be sure to check back to see my answers. I hope that will help you get to know me better. Thank you for visiting!


We were asked to post pictures of Abbey’s favorite spot to sleep in the den. It’s a soft bed—we call a fluff bed—with a frame over it that Larry made out of PVC pipe. When we put a blanket over the frame, it makes a “cave” for Abbey to sleep in. 

Close-up of the frame. Larry cut the PVC pipe to fit the design he made.
He didn't glue the parts together since it's used as a frame,
so it can be folded  for storage.

The frame fits right around the fluff bed. When we drape the blanket
over it, a dark "cave" is created. Abbey usually sleeps in it during the day. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

On Wednesday: Home with Cats #4

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
--Jean Cocteau

Every Wednesday, we explore different ways home is changed, improved, and complicated when cats are part of that home.


Happy Wednesday! Natasha here. 


Mama has been working extra hours for the last couple of days, so she asked me to take care of today’s post. Being the helpful girl I am, I said yes. And I really enjoyed those extra treats. MOL!

Mama likes how we cats make our house feel like a home. Sometimes we run around a play and sound like a herd of elephants, according to her. But sometimes, it gets really quiet. If we’re all quiet, it’s probably because we’re asleep.

Every day when Mama gets home from work, she asks us how many naps we took that day. I hold the record for number of naps in one day: nine. Abbey says two of those naps didn’t count because they were too short. But I think she just wants to beat my record.

Mama says we’re “so sweet” when we nap and tends to take pictures. Sometimes the camera wakes us up, but that’s another story.

This past Sunday, she found Connor sleeping like this:



Looks strange to me, but he must have been comfortable.


This is one of the few times that Abbey has slept on Mama’s lap. It was right after Abbey was adopted. I figure she and Mama were doing the bonding thing.


And now me. 


Mama wasn’t sure if I was completely asleep here because you can see a little of my eyeball showing. That’s because it’s a kitten nap—shorter than a cat nap, and a lot shorter than a tiger nap. 

So now tell me about your kitties. Do they like to nap? Where’s their favorite places to nap?