Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Cats' Christmas 2012

Ghost Christmas morning

The following photos are snapshots of our cats Christmas morning. Due to the bad weather coming in Christmas Day here in North Texas, we celebrated Christmas with the family Sunday Evening so that those who had to travel could get on the road Monday before the rain and snow made it too treacherous.  So Christmas morning the cats had the house to themselves!

Tux has fireplace to himself

Molly and her Christmas toys

Christmas lazy bugs
Julie after toys in bag

The following are a series of shots as Tux decides to investigate mysterious 'catnip odors' coming from Christmas bag...

Merry Christmas !

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"we need a bigger rug..."

"we do need a bigger rug..."

As the days grow colder (and to be honest, it hasn't been that cold), the cats tend to huddle by the Aga... except for Molly who only comes into the kitchen when she wants cream. Other than that, you can find her either in her own bed or on the sofa curled up on an afghan.

But the others... well, you can see where they spend a lot of their time. Actually, it's partly because I'm in the kitchen baking so much these days. They tend to gather where we are. If I'm cooking, they like to be underfoot (ever try to cook or bake leaning over 5 cats to get to the hob?). If we're in the den watching TV, they're there.  If we're in the bedroom, they're there. I guess we are a chummy bunch.

Here's a picture I just took of Molly today 'by the Aga'.  But she isn't interested in sleeping there, just guilting me into giving her cream. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our cats...

Since I downloaded Picasa, I have been playing around with the program. This collage of our cats is one of the things you can do with it.  These are our 'inside babies'... minus the 2 on the bottom (left and right) who passed out of our lives in the last 2 years. Molly (center Tortie) is now the Matriarch at 19 (that's about 93 in people years).  The 3 black and whites are siblings (8 yrs), Rose showed up and stayed in 2001 (think she was about 7 then... so she's getting old also), and Ghost was abandoned at our back door by her mom at about 4 wks (she is 5 now and has genetic kidney probs - was not supposed to live past her first year).

They are all sweet lovable cats. Jack (upper center), by far, has the biggest heart... loves everybody and everything - never hisses - will clean any other cat or person around - will let any other cat or person lie by him - loves strangers - even kids,  and 'talks' to us like he really knows what he's saying...

The others have their own idiosyncrasies; Molly (center Tortie) is sweet, but pissy at times, Rose (white calico) is wacko, but getting better with age, Julie (small black and white in middle left) is a strange one - lovable and sweet, but only when she's in the mood, Tux (black and white in middle right) has attitude and is a total mama's boy, and lastly Ghost (grey Burmese at top right) is a sweetheart, but absolutely terrified of loud noises.

Well,  this is my post for today. Nothing terribly exciting, but a general update on the cats that make up a big part of our lives. They say one picture is worth a thousand words... so here are my cat family photos!  I will let them speak for themselves.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aga Cats and Picasa...

Cats by Aga

It's chilly here the last few days.  We were suppose to get a freeze, but I don't believe that this happened. The coldest it has gotten (as far as I know) is about 35. The cats hug the Aga on most days,
but on cold days they all try to cuddle together on the blue rag rug. From left to right, there's Rose (big white cat), Jack (heart of the house), Julie (Jack's sister), and Ghost (gray one holding on to Julie - they're buds).  Tux (Jack's brother) and Molly (19 yr old tortie) are elsewhere.

BTW, thank you for all the comments regarding photo editing programs.  I did finally end up with Picasa freeware.  Haven't played with it a lot yet, but at least I can put borders on my pics now. Sometimes (as here) my pics are not as clear as I'd like... but I think it's because I use my iPhone and then transfer them to the computer (and I only have the iPhone 3, not the 4 or 5).  I do have a Nikon, but it's not always handy for on the spot shots.

Maybe blogger is having some technical problems lately since every time I hit save or publish this morning I get an error message.  Anybody else having this problem? 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

the easy life...

spoiled cats

Just came across this photo while browsing through my old photos. I need to find a good photo editing program... not too expensive... preferably free.  But I'm a little leery of free sites, thinking free means  viruses.  Guess I subscribe to the old adage, 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is'.

So my plan tonight since there's nothing on TV at our house but football, is to surf the web for a good photo editing program or watch some pottery videos.  If any of you out there can recommend anything, I'm open to suggestions.  From some of the blogs I visit, I take it that you either subscribe to a photo program, own one, or one came with your computer.  I used to have several on my old desktop, but this one (which is also getting old - past the 5 yr date) doesn't have anything but a photo gallery (still have windows vista).

I was going to download the freeware,  'Photoscape', but when I started the download, my security system said "Don't!".... so I stopped. Don't know if it was being overly vigilant, or there was really a danger.  So-oo I'm still looking.

Also - I must have inadvertently done something to my blogger site tools or Internet tools as blogger will no longer let me change the font on my blogs????

Sunday, October 28, 2012

a sad thing...

Bad Boy Prince and his 'gang'

I hesitate to mention this, but also think Prince deserves to be remembered, so I will tell his story here.

Prince is a gray tabby male with a white chest, a feral that has been coming around our yard for years. He wasn't a well-loved cat as the other adult cats in the yard (especially the females) would disappear when he showed up. We think this was mainly because he liked to fight... or so it seemed.  But... in the last few months, we had a  clan of youngsters (we call them our 4 black Velaciraptors) that took a liking to Prince - probably because they were young teenage cats and Prince was the king of the Bad Boys.  Anyway, he's come into the yard, eat, hang around a little while, and then leave... until the next meal time.

Well, we hadn't seen him in almost a week and were beginning to wonder where he was.  But Friday noon, I heard a howling in the back yard and looked out the window. Didn't see anything, but just as I did this, DH walked into the kitchen and looked out the french doors... and said, "Oh, my god!" I ran over and looked. Prince was on our patio actually eating, but from his hips down he was flat. He was dragging himself around using his front legs only. We both nearly died when we saw him.

Decided that even though he was feral, we'd have to try to catch him and get him to the Vet. But the little bugger was really fast with his front legs and DH chased him all the way down to the creek before being able to get a towel over him.  Even then Prince fought him, hissing and spitting and trying to bite.  We soon realized that we wouldn't be able to get him to a Vet by ourselves and since it was noon, probably they were closed for lunch... so while DH held him covered up, I ran in and called the Animal Shelter. They immediately sent 2 men out to pick him up. Looking at his condition, they said that they would have a Vet check him, but more than likely, he would have to be put down.  We told them we realized that... he had to be in a lot of pain... but it was amazing that he still had so much fight in him. And even though our local shelter is 'no-kill', some cats are not suitable for adoption (and more than likely Prince's condition and his disposition would put him in this category.) 

So... now we have mixed feelings; we are really sad that this happened, but glad that he came to us for his last meal.  Sad that he came to us and we had no choice but to catch him, but glad that he wouldn't be in pain much longer.  It still amazes me that he could get around at all the way he was injured. We're thinking he had to have been run over by a car...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alert! Bug in the house!

Jack and grasshopper

No bug lasts long in a house with 6 cats!  I always feel sorry for the poor little geckos that inadvertently make their way into our domain.  They are quickly surrounded by a pride of cats who take great joy in tormenting them.  They seldom eat them, most probably die of fright.  I do try to catch the little fellas and put them outside, but sometimes I'm too late.

Now the outside 'youngsters' (4 solid black DSH's that are now about 6 months old) are more like little velociraptors (sp?).  They appear out of nowhere and circle their prey (which is more often than not, a bug or lizard - rarely do they catch birds).  I really wish I could catch them on video as I'm sure that it would win something on World's Funniest Videos.  We once watched them circle an Anole (green lizard) and as the lizard turned in circles to fend off his attackers (who took turns striking him with their paws), at one point he jumped into the air and hooked himself onto one of the cat's noses.  It was hysterical watching the cat panic and shake his head trying to get the little lizard off.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bootsie has a baby...

Bootsie and Baby Bootsie

Guess what?  Bootsie has a baby!  She's such a small cat that we didn't even know she was pregnant. And Bootsie's baby is an identical copy of herself.  In case you aren't up to snuff on all our outside (feral and semi-feral) cats, Bootsie is a very small (maybe 6 or 7 lb) intact female that lives in (and out) of our backyard.  She is only about a year and a half old and has had 3 pregnancies. I've been able to adopt out all of her kittens when I've found them.  This pregnancy and kitten she kept a well hid secret.  If we could catch her, she would be spayed, but so far... no luck.  However, it is very unusual for a cat to have only one kitten, so we are keeping our eyes open for more surprises to come.

This little fella on the top was one of Bootsie's litter from last Spring. And the ones on the far right are more of hers.  We bring them in when they are 3 - 4 weeks old, get them friendly and fat, vaccinate them, and take them to the Adoption Center. They are adopted pretty quickly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

This week's pictures...

I could swear he's smiling...

This one isn't a great picture as they are 'on the move', but this is Prince and his entourage (actually part of his entourage).  There are 4 young black babies that have started following him around like a little gang. I was taking pictures of our possum, when he suddenly appeared out of the bushes and before he knew it, the other four converged on him from all other parts of the yard.

This is Julie.  She is the small female of our 3 black and whites.  At the moment she is curled up on the trundle bed in the computer room while I blog.

And no, this one isn't in our yard (wish he was).  But I love this fella anyway. We were in Scotland and fell in love with the 'hairy coo' (or that's what it sounded like?)...  Just thought I'd add him in here for some variety.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rainy days, kids, and cats....

It's been raining for 2 days now here in Dallas.  Cats are loving the cool breeze coming in through the windows... and extra attention of grand kids who are a bit bored with having soccer games cancelled and no Park time.  But thank goodness for Nook, X-box, etc. 

GS wins Angry birds game

We did make it over to the pancake house for a diversion and breakfast.  DH and I shared strawberry crepes, DS had hash browns and Canadian bacon, and kids had chocolate chip pancakes!  Life is good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bed buddies and Aga buddies...

Julie (8) and Ghost (5) on bed

Molly (19) in her spot on my chair

Rose (19) , Tux (8), and Jack(8) hanging out by Aga

This is a normal day for our 6 cats... lying about (or is it laying about?).  They occasionally get 'full of beans' and run around chasing invisible flying objects, or one decides to chase the other for no apparent reason but perhaps to hear the other squeal.  But they are all getting up there in years (except Ghost who has never been very active, not even as a kitten).  So-oo lying/laying about is their normal routine unless it's feeding time or they're watching the outside critters run around in the back yard.  Our french door in the kitchen acts as a TV screen that works both ways.  Either the inside kitties are lookin' out or the outside critters are lookin' in...

Tux watching TV

But they also watch a little TV...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The possum and the kitten...

"Hey, don't sneak up on me!"

This morning our little young possum came by for breakfast.  One of the half-grown kittens came by and sniffed him.  This shot was taken after the possum hissed at him... basically telling him to 'shove off!'   Then he resumed eating. 

Some people think possums are ugly.  I tend to think that they are rather cute.  Ours are especially handsome (as are the raccoons) as they are fed well and have thick shiny coats.  And the wildlife all seem to get along fairly well.  They give each other a wide berth at times... laying together at other times.  Occasionally there will be a hissing fight, but that's about it. 

Mama and baby coon

Baby coon up close

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ghost, Tux, and Jack...

Ghost and her birdie

This post really isn't about Ghost, but this picture I took of her on the bed was too cute not to post. And then there's Tux laying his head on my hand as I read.  Aren't they sweet?

We recently had a cat problem come up. Jack, our huge black and white 'heart of the house-hold' cat takes medication (Prednisolone 5 mg). He was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia about 5 years ago when he was 4.  Jack was born outside (along with his siblings, Tux, Julie, and Cocoa).  When his mother dropped the kittens off on my patio and then disappeared, we took them in.  My daughter took Cocoa and we still have the other 3.  Anyway, we took them to the Vet and had all of them tested, vaccinated, etc.  So, when Jack got sick the first time, we were confused.  He was tested negative as a kitten, and he'd never gone outside, how did he get this disease? We can only guess that it passed from his mother and didn't show up until 4 years later.  Anyway, he is not 'actively' sick with it.  But he has 'episodes' (so far only about 2 -3 times a year) when his blood count drops drastically and he turns yellow.  Anyway, even though we have been told many times that he would probably not survive, Rx Pred has always 'somehow' kept him going.  (BTW, we keep the others vaccinated and tested so they shouldn't be susceptible).

Our Jack
Now for some unknown reason, the Vet has told us that Prednisolone is no longer going to be available. When we ask why... because from what we've been told, there are a lot of cats on it... no one seems to know.  I'm guessing for some reason, it is no longer economically feasible.  Anyway, after discussing our options, we ended up ordering a special pill to be compounded for Jack.  It costs more than the old med, but hopefully it will work the same miracle with him.  We just got it this Saturday and hoped to all heaven that he would take it... since it is in the form of a treat (his others were pills and he's a good pill-er).  Well, luck has it that so far he seems to like it and chews it up readily.  Thank god for small favors.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Perusing old posts...

Thibbadeaux in 2002

"If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur."

Doug Larson

I came across this picture and quote while I was perusing an old online journal yesterday.  Thibbadeaux was 9 then.  He died this past year at the age of 19.  He was a good cat and is sorely missed... especially by Molly who was his constant companion.  She is 19 also, but seems to be doing fine. She has 'slowed down' a bit - but haven't we all? 
Thibs' mother was one of my sons' cats.  She was schizophrenic. And I take it from some article I read years ago that research was being done concerning the schizophrenic gene in cats. It wouldn't be hard to believe. One minute his mother was extremely friendly, the next she was a raging wildcat (maybe I exaggerate... but still).  When she had kittens, she gave birth to a wide range of personalities. 
My daughter took one of the kittens and named him Hucklebug.  He grew into a beautiful large orange male with a white chest.  But he was a one-woman cat... mean as all get out with most everyone else. DH and I  kept Thibs, a sweet orange tabby that for whatever reason was scared of his own shadow.  Spent a lot of time hiding (and boy could he hide!). He would only come out when DH and I were alone... and was never in the least interested in going outside. I told a friend once that it always looked like our house had been ransacked because Thibs would have every drawer and cabinet open as he searched for hiding places. And he was very quick with his paws... if the doorbell rang, you would see an orange blur and quick as a wink he would open a drawer or the cabinet under the sink and slip inside. But odd as he was, we loved him... and we still miss him.
I will tell this one story as it always makes me laugh when I think about it.  For some reason when one of my grandkids was about 4, he was afraid to use the hall bathroom when he came over. I finally asked him about it and... apparently he was in there one day when the bottom drawer slowly opened and Thibs stuck his head out and hissed at him! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kuchi... a New Orleans cat


This is Kuchi, my cousin's cat in New Orleans. She lives in the upper half of a new built house... in Metairie, just a few blocks from where the levee broke with Katrina.  They will be battening down and waiting out Hurricane Isaac today.  Since their living area is on the 2nd floor, they should be fine even if the streets flood (which they generally do even with a hard rain).  Since the levees and pumps have been repaired and replaced, they 'should' hold. We are all praying that they do. 

Kuchi doesn't like thunder so she is probably in for a long day of hiding under something with the storm coming through... this evening sometime.

Kuchi playing with yarn

Having just spent a few days there with family I was happy to see how well the city has come back since Katrina. We were down several times previously and things were not looking good.  However, this visit made me realize how resilient and optimistic people can be.  The city looks good... and we are pretty sure that (unless something unforeseen happens - like a levee doesn't hold or the pumps don't work), New Orleans and its people will be fine. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creature comforts...

creature comforts...

We all like our 'creature comforts'.  Here Jack and Tux have taken over my chair by the fire where I'd been previously sitting (see my cup of tea in background).  This was during one of our snow storms in 2011.  The rule here is 'if you leave... you lose'.  This happens a lot at our house with 6 cats.  DH's armchair and ottoman is constantly being overtaken by Ghost.  She hangs around and waits for him to get up... and in a split second... has his spot.  (It's a good thing we aren't as neurotic as Sheldon on the Big Bang TV series - as we do relinquish our spots quite often)

They also like my mother's old lane recliner where I tend to sit and read in the evening.  Its not unusual for me to find Jack, Tux, and Molly all cozied up together on it.   I've had people tell me that their cats don't lie together... well, ours do (as can be seen by this picture of them on our bed). 

They also like to see how many of them can fit on a towel that sits in front of the Aga.

Yes, they are a funny bunch.  They make us laugh and we love them...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good Dark Chocolate...

I love good dark chocolate!  And I'm always willing to try a new source.  So far... 'Lindt's Excellence Dark Chocolate with a touch of Sea Salt' is my favorite.  And I'm sure that all of you out there have your own favorites. So please... share them with me so I can have a broader outlook.  I'm sure our likes and dislikes are subjective, but hey, who isn't willing to try more chocolate?

Also... I love good coffee... again subjective, yes? Being originally from New Orleans, I do like strong coffee. And I do like it black - no cream, no sugar.  I can actually drink it any which way... but I prefer it black... and fresh!   Now, we just converted over to the new Keurig k-cups.  (I know this is probably sacrilegious, but believe it or not, we like it.)  It has taken some time to figure out which k-cups we like and which we really don't care for,  but we're getting there. So far we seem to like Green Mountain Colombian the best. 

Since I'm allergic to artificial sweeteners, and vendors seem oblivious to using these indiscriminately, I can't drink any of their combinations... such as Cafe Mocha, Chai Tea, etc.  I don't understand why they can't use normal sugar? Or at least give the buyer a choice? But hey, no one's asking me.

So as you can see, today's post is about Coffee and Chocolate... no cats.  Sad, yes?  I'll close with a cat pic:

From left: Julie, Jack, and Tux

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Story of Ghost...


Ghost is our 5 year old grey DSH.  She appeared on our back patio when she was a few weeks old along with a few of her feral siblings.  However, she lacked their ability to sense danger or react.  We could tell that 'something' was not right with her, and consequently took her in. The Vet diagnosed her with mental and physical problems and the prognosis was not good.  BUT she has done really well. Despite her rigid expression (which never changes), she is really very sweet.

What I wanted to say here is why we called her "Ghost".  Well, she was very small... and grey... and since our floors are several shades of grey slate, once inside, we could never see her.  She would run along the floor and blend right in... a little grey blur.  Now she's bigger (a lot bigger), but still when she lies on the charcoal grey carpet on our stairs, she's apt to get stepped on if not careful. And another reason we named her that was because she appeared outside around October 31st... and then disappeared inside into the slate... so we started calling her our 'little grey ghost'.

Ghost in her 'youth'....

Monday, July 23, 2012

7 cats on the bed...

7 cats on our bed  (we lost Thibs, orange tabby, this past Jan.  He was 19)

I came across this on Dr. Wells site today and thought I'd post it.  In general, my cats have never liked 'people' food.  But occasionally we have had one that liked crackers or potato chips. At the moment, we have Rose (white) and Ghost (gray) that have taken a liking to chicken and salmon.  I can't cook these without the two of them hanging around the kitchen wanting a bite. And come to think of it, Rose is also crazy about yogurt. DH eats yogurt. I can't because it's one of my 'migraine' foods.  But whenever he sits in the den to eat his yogurt, in pops Rose patiently waiting to lick the bowl.

Here's the article:

5 Foods to Feed Your Feline

Published: 7/23/2012

General Health Want to feed your cat human food? Understanding your pet's nutritional needs is the first step. Cats are classified as obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to survive and thrive. If you want to cook for a cat, I urge you to talk to your vet or consult with a veterinary nutritionist about the individual needs of your feline companion animal and how those needs change with age. You'll also want to pay close attention to how much home-cooked food your cat should eat in order for him or her to maintain a healthy weight - a good rule of thumb is that human food should not make up more than 15 percent of a cat's diet. Follow these guidelines for foods that are safe to feed cats.

•Meat: Cats are carnivores, and cooked animal meat is safe for them. Cooked poultry is a good choice.

•Veggies: Cats don't get much nutrition from vegetables, but they aren't unhealthy for them, either. Choose washed, cooked vegetables to aid digestion, such as baked carrots, steamed broccoli, green beans and winter squash.

•Cheese: It's a good source of protein for cats, but be aware that some cats become lactose intolerant as they get older. Start with a small amount of cheese to see how your cat digests it - if he or she gets diarrhea, don't feed it any dairy.

•Fish: It can provide some much-needed nutrients for cats, and a bit of fish such as tuna here and there is fine. But don't give your cat too much - the high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in a diet heavy on tuna can deplete a cat's supply of vitamin E.

•Eggs: In nature, cats raid bird nests for the eggs, which is an indication that eggs are fine for your feline friends! Scrambled or hard boiled eggs are a good source of protein, but don't feed your cat raw eggs.

We think our cats eat well.  We give them both wet and dry food.  The Vets change from year to year about which is best. We feed both - to the inside and outside cats. They also get feline treats.  And god knows, they each have their own preferences. Spoiled? Maybe.  Loved, yes.   Ghost has to have her special diet of K/D because of her genetic kidney problems. Jack has to have his daily medication to prevent his body from destroying his red blood cells.  Tux needs time every afternoon on my lap as despite his size, he's very needy.  Julie is very vocal and persistent.  Rose is a bit of a wacko (sweet at times and a bit strange at times - possibly psychotic) And Molly is 19 (92) - and thus, can have anything she wants.

Tux, Jack, Ghost, Thibs, and Molly (they love this fisherman's afghan?)