We’re lucky to be southern cats. We have ridiculously hot summers in exchange for not having snow like so many of our friends up north. But we learned that there are a lot of hazards lurking in the winter for kitties in cold climates, and we’re sharing a few tips we found that humans can use to make winter a little easier on their outdoor kitty friends like community cats who stay out in the cold.
Pierre: It’s almost time!
Newton: Time for what? Dinner? Can I order the hungry-cat portion?
Pierre: Time for Hanukkah!
Newton: Hey, we did that last year, didn’t we?
Pierre: We tried. but even at your age, it’s clear that anything with candles isn’t safe around you, Newton.
Newton: Fine, blame me. You already blame me for everything that happens to the tree. And aren’t we supposed to have either menorah or a tree? Both seems kind of like cheating.
Pierre: It’s not cheating. We’re multicultural cats. The head peep grew up lightning a menorah every Hanukkah, but we also have a tree because they’re beautiful.
Newton: And they’re fun to climb.
Pierre: *sighs* That too, Newton. Which gets back to why we can’t light the menorah. I hope that Hanukkah Harry finds us anyhow.
Newton: If I promise to sit way up here, do you think she’ll light the menorah so that we don’t miss out on gifts? I promise not to get excited by the bright little flickering lights and pounce! See, I’m waiting.
Newton: Latkes? Wait up!
What we say here is often in good fun, of course, but we really can’t have an open flame around. Newton really will knock it over or catch his fur on fire. Always be careful with open flames around cats. Also, latkes are tasty, but are often made with onions. Check the recipe before sharing a taste with kitties. Have a safe and joyous Hanukkah, however you celebrate!
Today is one of our favorite holidays of the year: National Cat Herders Day. It’s a day to celebrate those who, in their day-to-day lives, find that what they are doing is herding cats, whether literally or figuratively.
The head peep says that sometimes she feels like she is herding cats literally and figuratively to get us to do what she wants in time for a photo shoot.
“Smile, Pierre! ”
“Okay, Newton, now for the closeup. Not THAT close up! ”
“Look excited about building the gingerbread house, Newton. ”
“Just put on the pirate hat, Pierre. ”
Even more than the head peep, our favorite cat herders of all were on the EDS Superbowl commercial from 2000 where cowboys herded cats:
(If the video doesn’t display for you, you can click here to view it on YouTube.)
However you herd cats today, we know you’ll do it in style. And if necessary, herd your humans instead today. That’s what we usually do, anyhow.
Pierre: The only problem with dining treeside instead of alone in a room like I usually do is that I have company.
Ashton: We’re having company?
Pierre: I’m talking about you, Ash. I don’t mind when the humans are around, but there’s something about the way you stare while I’m eating…
Ashton: I’m not staring at you, I’m staring at your food.
Pierre: Oh, well then it shouldn’t bother me at all to have you stare at my food while I’m trying to eat it. Is there something you want?
Ashton: Well, since you asked…. Are you going to finish that?
Have you ever noticed that when you carry an umbrella, it doesn’t rain? It only rains on the days you forget the umbrella at home.
Cat carriers seem to work the same way. A long time ago, I kept a carrier in my car’s trunk, and never ran across a cat in need of rescue. In the past few years, I was out of the habit, and sure enough, I repeatedly ran across rescues that required carriers and didn’t have them.
One of those rescues was Ashton. I was fortunate that she was small enough at the time to fit into a bin of odds and ends I kept in my trunk and hastily emptied for the rescue. If she had been uninjured, that wouldn’t have contained an active kitten.
Another was a friendly cat outside a restaurant. One of the waitresses told me that the had been begging there for weeks, and that the waitress had been trying to catch her. I didn’t have anything to put her in, and we had to wait for the waitress’s boyfriend to arrive with a cat carrier before catching her and sending her off to her new home with their family.
That was when I decided I needed a carrier in my car. The problem was that my trunk area isn’t that big. I have to be able to carry groceries home in it, too. That led me to look into collapsible carriers. Surely there were plenty of them out there, right?
I was surprised how few there actually were. Sure, there were plenty of fabric bags you could use as a carrier, but that wouldn’t work when you were rescuing a strange cat. You need something with hard sides to prevent escape. It also should be something you can decontaminate later, or it might not be safe to use again.
I finally settled on the Care-Eze folding carrier.
It folds down to only 4 1/2″ tall. When it is assembled, it is about the size of my medium, hard-sided carriers. Just what I was looking for. And even better, it has been like a cat umbrella. In the year I have had it, I haven’t needed to unexpectedly transport a cat! I even had it with me during my recent trip to Atlanta for BarkWorld/MeowWorld, and I managed not to bring back any additional cats. It’s like magic.
I gave a ride to other cat bloggers to and from the airport last month at BarkWorld/MeowWorld, and none of them never knew I had a cat carrier with me, riding along with their luggage. The size difference between it and a standard carrier makes it almost unnoticeable in the trunk.
Just recently, I ran across a photo of a different kind of folding carrier that got my attention. The Sportpet Travel Master carrier looked interesting because it has a huge door that takes an entire side of the carrier. This is something I usually want when Ashton, Newton, or Pierre need to go into a carrier, so it makes sense that when I do finally need to use a carrier for a strange cat who doesn’t even know me, it would be a lot easier to put a frightened cat inside.
Of the two carriers, the one by Care-Eze is easier assemble. I found the pieces on the SportPet carrier a that need to slide to secure the surved sides a little fiddly, and you have to be sure to latch it securely on top during assembly. But the Care-Eze carrier is a lot louder and rattles more, and Newton, Pierre, and Ashton were all afraid of it, even when it was inside their own house.
The Care-Eze carrier feels more durable, but both feel like they would hold an angry or freaked out cat. I found the SportPet carrier for less than half of cost of the Care-Eze carrier, so that may be a consideration. Someone in full-time rescue who is constantly moving cats would want something more durable than either one of these carriers, but both of them will let you fit a carrier in your car’s trunk and still have room for groceries. If my experience is any guide, they’ll serve as your “cat umbrella” against unexpected cat transports, too.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we get a small commission for our cat treat fund if you purchase after clicking the link on this page.
Pierre: The head peep’s car was in the shop earlier this week, so she worked from home. This allowed me to actually help her with real work she usually does in the office! She used her camera phone to capture this photo of me before she made me move.
I think she didn’t appreciate it when I started a voice call with one of her coworkers all by myself. Why would that be? I didn’t hiss at them or anything.
Have you ever wondered who helps make shelter animals have a happy holiday season? The Santa Paws drive does!
The Santa Paws drive has raised more than $55,000 in toys, treats, and donations for 30 shelters worldwide over the past five years. This year, the Santa Paws drive benefits two organizations: Good Karma Pet Rescue and the Cute Transport Network. These two organizations work together by save animals in high-kill shelters by finding them forever homes or no-kill rescues where there is greater demand for adoptions. Over the past two years, these two organizations have saved over 350 animals through their transport efforts.
This is a cause near to our hearts because the head peep has been a volunteer driver for the Cute Transport Network on several occasions, transporting up to 21 cats at a time on part of their journeys toward their forever homes.
How can you help? You can donate to save a shelter cat… or even a whole family. Or if you’d like, you can donate to sponsor a kitten’s spay/neuter or health certificate so he or she can travel onward toward a forever home. You can even sponsor a cat carrier for the trip where a rescued kitty — or kittens — will travel safely on their journey.
Please consider helping kitties in high-kill shelters find homes through Good Karma Pet Rescue and Cute Network by making a donation to the Santa Paws drive. All donations go to getting rescued kitties vetted for transport and for the supplies needed to safely transport them to their happily ever afters.
Pierre: Remember the other day when I asked to have my meals forwarded to under the tree?
I can eat in front of the tree whenever I want.
Actually, as long as I eat, I’m allowed to eat pretty much anywhere. The good news is that I’m eating pretty well again as long as I’m allowed to choose where I eat and I get to take my time. And as long as Newton doesn’t come bully me, so he isn’t allowed to dine in front of the tree like I can. Being the senior cat in the house has its privileges.
I’m going to be snoozing my way into the weekend, then snoozing the weekend away. Hope you have equally energetic plans. Humans can run around like crazy creatures with their holiday preparations, but we cats know that taking it easy is the way to go.