Light, Please

Newton doesn’t sleep in the bed. He has his own bed, and he prefers that.

He also prefers that the bedside light be turned off promptly. Otherwise, he has to use The Look to ask for it to be switched off.

Newton: It’s time. Do you mind? Trying to sleep over here.

Newton is ready for bedGoodnight, Newton!

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The Hobo Cat Symbol

Did you know that  hobos used the symbol of the cat?

Hobos were migratory workers, traveling from place to place in search of menial work on farms, factories, or for individuals. They caught free rides on freight trains to get from place to place as they traveled across the United States.

Hobo Cat Symbol-National Cryptological MuseumIt was a dangerous way to live, with hostile railroad guards, fast-moving trains, and inhospitable local residents who didn’t trust the hobos who passed through. To help each other know whether the town they were entering was hospitable or contained hazards, the hobos created pictographs that they would write with chalk or coal to warm each other of potential dangers or points of interest nearby. A symbol would be left on a tree, fence post, or mailbox post to provide information about the people who lived there.

One of the symbols in the hobo code is a cat, which meant that a kind woman lives here. The symbol of the cat must have given comfort to the hobo who encountered it the way that the cats who live in our homes comfort us today.


References

Hobos, Clarendon Hills Historical Society
Looking for a sign: Hobo Communication in the Depression, NSA Cryptologic Museum virtual tour
Hobo Cat image from National Cytological Museum exhibit courtesy ideonexus.

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Wordless Wednesday: Newton’s Ambitious Bucket List Edition

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We’re excited to announce the winners of our Jackson Galaxy Petmate giveaway: Dezi and Lexi.

We hope you’ll enjoy your Jackson Galaxy toys as much as we do!

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Feline Firebomb

Newton: Check this out, this can of Mike’s Harder has a picture of our buddy Waffles on it.

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You don’t suppose that the picture on the can is there to tell you what’s inside, do you?

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Don’t worry, buddy, I’ll wait right here with you until we can find someone with opposable thumbs to pop the top and let you out.

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Tale of a Naughty Tail

Pierre: There’s nothing finer than rolling around on an unmade bed.

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Hey, did you hear that? I heard something…

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Watch me work my slinky-like spine as I look for the source of what I heard.

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Wait… I think I see it! It’s a naughty tail. And it’s telling me to do bad things.

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I’d better punish it FAST before something bad happens.

** CHOMP **

Ouch!

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Maybe that was the naughty thing that the tail was telling me to do after all…


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Pierre says
“Get Your Own!”

Have you entered the giveaway for items from the Jackson Galaxy Petmate collection and a copy of Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)?

This is the last day! But it’s not too late! Enter today!

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Pink Mouse, Round Two

Pierre: Newton isn’t looking, so it’s my turn to party with his pink mouse. Hey, Mister Mouse, are you awake?

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This will wake you up. Just a little nibble.

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 Okay, fiiiine, if you’re going to…. wait, did you just MOVE?

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Oh, you’re a sneaky little thing. Get back here! 

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You aren’t getting away from me that easily!

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**GOBBLE**  **SNARF**

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I’ll make you a tailless mouse!

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Do you have tailless mice at your house, too?


Pierre_get_your_own_02
Pierre says
“Get Your Own!”

Have you entered the giveaway for items from the Jackson Galaxy Petmate collection and a copy of Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)?

It’s not too late! Enter today!

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National Feral Cat Day

Ashton: It’s a special day today: National Feral Cat Day. I want to tell you about it because I started out as a feral cat. I’m one of the lucky ones. I was rescued as an injured kitten and live a safe and well-fed life.

Ashton on bed

That isn’t how it is for a lot of other cats, though. An estimated 70 million cats just like me or Newton or Pierre live outdoors, getting by the best they can, often in social groups called colonies. Feral cats aren’t socialized with humans, so they are afraid of them, kind of like I am with men. So you can’t just adopt a feral cat that happens to live near you.

Portrait of a Street CatIf you can’t adopt feral cats, what can you do for them? You can help take care of your local colonies by making sure they have food and shelter. And this is important: you need to get them neutered to prevent their having lots and lots of kittens. Areas like Florida where I was born have kittens all year round, and overpopulation can happen in a hurry. Feral cats can be trapped, neutered, eartipped to identify that they are neutered, and then returned (TNR) to their colonies where they can live out their lives but not continue to reproduce. Groups like Alley Cat Allies can teach you more about how that is done.

I’m not just lucky to be living life indoors, I also live in a community with an a group, CARE Feline TNR that actively helps organize affordable spays and neuters for feral cats going through the TNR process. They also have an agreement with our county shelter that they can get the ferals out and return them to their colonies. This is really unusual, and animal control in most areas of the country doesn’t make extra provisions for feral cats. In fact, feral cats usually die in shelters because they aren’t adoptable.

is_there_any_food_left_for_me_smWhat can you do where you live to help feral cats? First of all, you can spay and neuter your own cats so that you don’t risk accidentally contributing to the feral cat population in your area. You can feed feral cats. If you do feed them,  check to see if you have an organization in your community to help you with trap, neuter, and return.

Also, if you live in a cold climate, you can build shelters for feral cats. Winter is coming, and feral cats will appreciate a place to escape the weather.

Most important, spread the word that feral cats are part of the community, too, and that they deserve our care and concern.

Big winks and thank you from the bottom of my once-feral heart for helping raise awareness of feral cats!


Portrait of a Street Cat image courtesy Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr
Is there any left for me? image courtesy Beverly Goodwin on Flickr

 


Pierre_get_your_own_02
Pierre says
“Get Your Own!”

Have you entered the giveaway for items from the Jackson Galaxy Petmate collection and a copy of Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)?

It’s not too late! Enter today!

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Wordless Wednesday: Kiss My Paw Edition

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Pierre_get_your_own_02
Pierre says
“Get Your Own!”

Have you entered the giveaway for items from the Jackson Galaxy Petmate collection and a copy of Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)?

It’s not too late! Enter today!

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Jackson Galaxy Petmate Collection Review and Giveaway

The nice people at Petmate reached out to us and asked if we would be interested in trying out the line of toys designed by cat expert Jackson Galaxy. You probably know him from his television program on Animal Planet, My Cat From Hell, but he has been observing and explaining cat behavior for a long time. This is his first line of toys for cats, and we were pretty excited to check them out.

jg_mojo_toys_smTwo of the toys in the package were the Mojo Maker – Air Prey and the Mojo Maker – Ground Prey These are both variations on the “cat fishing pole” design you’re probably familiar with. Both of them use telescoping wands rather than long, fixed-length ones, which is great for storage, and also for adapting them for play depending on the size of the area you are in.

The Mojo Maker – Ground Prey has a sturdy wire connecting it to the wand. The head peep liked this because she thought it would survive repeated attacks and wouldn’t break like a string would if we chewed on it. It arrived partially unassembled — the lure wasn’t attached to the little loop at the end of the wire. This didn’t look like a big deal, since the loop is kind of like the end of a safety pin, but she really struggled to get it open to put the lure on, then to close it again. This is probably good because a cat can’t accidentally open it up and then cut or pinch themselves with it, but if you’re gifting it to somebody with arthritis, make sure you help them assemble it so that they can use it.

Once it was put together, we loved chasing it around. Because it’s on a wire, it’s easy to have the little caterpillar-looking thing on the end lie still, then wiggle invitingly. Pierre really liked that. Once he had hold of it, he didn’t want to let go!

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The Mojo Maker – Air Prey is a little different. At the end of the telescoping wand is a retractable string with a feather lure on the end. The lure is attached with the same safety-pin end that the Ground Prey version is, but this one came already attached and ready to play. And boy, did we play!

We have a video below showing a little of how much we enjoyed the Mojo Maker – Air Prey.

(If the video doesn’t display above, you can view it directly on YouTube.)

In the video, you can see that Pierre quickly started to figure out that he could use the cat tree for extra height when going after the lure.

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The video also showed that Ashton will not play with it as long the boys are occupied with it. She usually plays with toys when no one else (especially the boys) are around, and she got some serious pouncing in on the Mojo Maker – Air Prey later, when they were not keeping it to themselves.

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We also got a Twisted Kicker to try out. This is made of a velvet-type material and must be stuffed with some premium catnip, because we couldn’t resist grabbing, kicking, and biting it. Newton was so excited that he got it soaked with drool, but that didn’t stop Pierre from trying out his moves on it, too.

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The last two toys we got in the package are kind of special. They’re called Natural Playtime.

17_natural_playtime_xsEven though we never seem to touch them when any humans are looking, they seem move around at night, every night, on their own. Of course, this is because we love to play with them on our own at night. We can’t explain why we don’t play with them during the day — or while the camera is around — but they are in a new location every day, so they are fun, but we don’t like to be caught having fun with them.

In case you can’t tell, we give the Jackson Galaxy Petmate collection toys our high paws of approval!

Would you like to try them out? This is your big chance. We’re having a giveaway, where you can win a selection of Jackson Galaxy Petmate toys to play with at your house. Not only that, but the winner will also get a copy of the new book Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (And You!) by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin.

Today’s giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. If you live outside the US, you can enter and name either a friend or a shelter to receive the prize package if you win. The drawing is open through October 20.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


FTC Disclosure: We received the Jackson Galaxy Petmate toys for free as part of our agreement to run this review and giveaway. It didn’t influence what we say or our opinions. All opinions expressed on this site are our own.

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Found Toys are the Best Toys

Pierre: We are angelic cats who never bother charging cables, unlike lots of other cats we hear about. So the head peep was surprised to catch me checking out the charging cable on the bedside table when I thought she was busy making the bed.

Pierre reaches for the iDevice cord

Gotcha!

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I don’t understand what all the sudden “No!” stuff was all about. It’s string, and it’s in my house.

Am I right, kitties?

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