Thursday, January 31, 2008

Animals as Teachers

Technorati Tags:


"South Pacific" was one of my favorite musicals when I was a child. One of the songs from the show made a lasting impression on me since it beautifully illustrated the early teachings about compassion, respect and love for my fellow humans that my father bestowed upon me. I was blessed to be raised to always keep an open mind and heart.

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear, you've got to be taught from year to year, it's got to be drummed in your dear little ear . . . you've got to be carefully taught."    I will never forget these powerfully prophetic words.

When I saw the heart-warming photograph above it triggered the memory of that song. And while we do learn to fear the unknown, and experience its concomitant hatred , we can also be taught, through our relationship with animals, the possibility of allowing ourselves to remain open to the miracle of diversity and how it can enhance our lives. 

And when I hear stories about the ease with which different species can so magically connect, I often wonder about our lofty status in the animal kingdom. Who in reality  need to be our teachers? To whom do we we need to pay attention if we are to heal the open wounds from which we suffer?

If we can learn to hate and fear, we can also learn to love and trust if we are willing to do the work.

Watch the inspiring video uploaded to YouTube by normankremer. These powerful teachers give us a delightful lesson upon which to reflect.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let Sleeping Cats Sleep!

When I have difficulty falling asleep, there is nothing that can soothe me faster than watching my two Oriental shorthairs, Trouble and Hush Puppy. As I observe the gentle movement of their breathing, I often am mesmerized.

Their total submission in worship to  Hypnos, the god of sleep, from which I should take lessons, since I abhor tossing and turning for hours.  My mind races a thousand miles an hour while the clock ticks by the seconds and minutes, reminding me that I am still awake. Am I jealous of my cats?  You bet I am!

What special talents do cats possess in order to attain slumber in the blink of an eye? I know that they are nocturnal by nature, and require eighteen hours of sleep a day,  but these two kitties have honed their catnapping skill to an art form. Why do I resist that surrender into oblivion?


Are you feeling a bit drowsy as you gaze at these two sleeping beauties?  I suspect have been hypnotized as my eyelids are getting a little heavy.

Purrhaps the power of suggestion is overtaking me, letting me know that it is time to join my cats in a delightfully refreshing nap!

What kind of sleep habits do your cats exhibit?  Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Remembering Barbaro: A Year Later

Photo by Sabina Louise Pierce: Used with permission 

There is something powerfully magical yet spiritual about horses. There is that special something in the depth that sparkles in their eyes, which once you have had the opportunity to experience will forever capture your soul. Horse lovers know precisely what I am talking about.  It is always a mystical experience for me.

There is something about the soul of a horse that has captured humans for eternity. As our trusted warriors. they carried us into battle. Their soldiers mounted on their brave and faithful horses entrusted their lives to them and many even sacrificed their own lives in an effort to save their horses if, in those crucial moments a choice had to be made.

So what has riveted humans to horses over the years? What has inspired us to have written the numerous books, produced the countless movies and plays and to create the awe inspiring artwork as we attempt to capture the essence of these magnificent animals?

The vast majority of people have not had a personal relationship with a horse, nor have they experienced the exquisite joy in owning one. Many have never even had close contact with a horse, yet horses seem to have the capacity to cast a powerful spell upon us.

Anyone who doubts that such a spell can be cast needs only remember the opening moments of the Preakness, the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. The odds-on favorite to run away with the race was 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro. Tragically, his race ended just seconds out of the gate when he shattered his right hind leg. That accident might have been the end of Barbaro's story, but of course that was not the case. A powerful phenomenon began as suddenly as this unforeseen accident. People who had never even given a thought to a race horse, let alone Barbaro, gathered around the world to pray for his recovery.

What prompted this huge outpouring of concern and prayer to begin in the hours after Barbaro's accident. What funded the growing depth of feeling and support, not only for Barbaro, but which transformed into concern for all abandoned, injured and needy horses in dire need of human protection. A unique network began to flourish via the Internet, where complete strangers gathered together, forming groups whose mission was to protect and save horses from needless suffering and to find safety in forever loving homes.

It was truly an amazing experience for me to be able to share the depth of feeling with people who proudly displayed their love for Barbaro, his breeder/owners, his trainer, and the incredibly skilled veterinarians who worked feverishly to try to save him. The world came together to pray and honor a hero. 

For over eight months we were privileged and honored to experience the joy and passion surrounding Barbaro, and to marvel at how the Internet brought strangers together in friendship and love.

And then the world came together once again, to grieve his loss. It has been a year today that Barbaro was euthanized, due to the heartbreaking setback in his condition in his battle with Laminitis. Both his owners, the Jacksons and his courageous Veterinarian, Dr. Dean Richardson listened to Barbaro and knew that there was nothing more that could be done to grant him the pain-free quality of life that they valiantly strived to achieve. This final act of love was performed peacefully, with Barbaro surrounded by those who loved him so very much.

 eduardo Hernandez
Barbaro and his groom, Eduardo Hernandez

I fell in love  Barbaro on May 6, 2006, and the love affair continues. And when I remember his incredibly brave soul, his sharp intelligence and the trust which he demonstrated during his long hospitalization, I remain in awe.

And while It is difficult for me to write about Barbaro without tears welling up in my eyes even though a  year has passed, I choose to remember him with with joy, passion and with his essence which ignited my heart..

Barbaro lovers will always remember his undaunting, powerful spirit which moved us so deeply. and whose memory continues to inspire us to gather together to do the valuable and necessary work which will ensure the safety of all our horses.

You have forever touched our hearts, Barbaro. We will never forget you. You live on in every horse that is saved, every horse that is now loved and protected.

And as you gallop freely now in Heaven beloved Barbaro, looking down on those of you who adore you, know that the "Barbaro effect" which you inspired will continue until each and every horse that needs us is saved.

Due to the efforts of the Fans of Barbaro (FOBs) more than 1,900 horses have been saved and over $800,000 have been raised in funds donated to a variety of equine charities.

Enjoy this beautifully inspiring video tribute created by phutc7274.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Barbaro Memorial Statue: No Honor Here!

"The Barbaro Memorial" (work in progress) by artist Daniel Edwards.
Photo: Leo Kesting Gallery

I was shocked and dismayed when I saw this statue depicting Barbaro, the beloved fallen Race horse as conceived by Daniel Edward, scheduled to be unveiled in Central Park in NYC in April.

If this statue is intended as a tribute to Barbaro, it totally misses its mark. When the painful decision was made on January 29, 2007, to humanely end Barbaro's life to prevent any suffering, he was surrounded by loving and devoted people who courageously fought to save his life. His comfort and well being was constantly in the forefront during his treatment.

The inference made in the description for the inspiration of the statue's creation, "forego their own self-interests and act mercifully on behalf of their suffering horse" will certainly be interpreted by those who are not aware of the facts concerning Barbaro's medical treatment and points the finger at Barbaro's owners, only serving to fuel ignorant rumors suggesting that Barbaro's life was prolonged to obtain stud fees which circulated during Barbaro's heroic fight for survival

The truth of the matter is had he overcome Laminitis, the enemy that ultimately brought him down, the odds that he could have stood at stud were slim to none. Live cover is required in the breeding of Thoroughbreds.

"It was reported that in the end, Barbaro was biting at people before he was finally allowed to die with dignity."

I want to know from where this report emanated. Daily update reports given to his fans through the New Bolton Center where Barbaro was treated, consistently contained the words,"Another comfortable night."

Finally allowed to die with dignity? To imply that Barbaro was not given compassionate treatment, constant assessment to ensure his comfort is totally unfair and unfounded. The sorrowful decision to end Barbaro's life was made only when his comfort was compromised to the extent where additional treatment could no longer be rendered without suffering.

"If Barbaro has taught us anything, it is that horses deserve our compassion first.” Yes, compassion, respect and the deep love for this horse funded the tireless care that Barbaro received. He taught us many things, and as a result of the thousands of fans who became involved deeply in his care, untold numbers of horses have been rescued and saved from the horrors of the slaughter house.

To exhibit Barbaro lying on his back, his legs up in the air, is in my opinion a travesty. Daniel Edward's interpretation of Barbaro denigrates the spirit of this great horse who should rightfully be depicted as one who now stands as an icon for the protection, freedom and respect that all horses deserve.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cats in the Bathroom: Invasion of Privacy?

When avid cat lovers get together, conversations inevitably turn to a few of the more curious antics in which our kitties have indulged. We often find that our cats have much in common and that their behavior which we might have considered to be unique, is in fact something that is rather common.

I was talking with my friend Kasparcat the other day. She suggested an interesting topic with which other cat people might identify.

Do all cats follow their humans into the bathroom, making privacy impossible? It was something to which I had often given thought, but figured that it was just my issue. It was good to hear that I was not alone.

Privacy in the bathroom in our home is impossible. Our cats seem to be compelled to use the litter box quite "coincidentally" when we are in the bathroom. I don't know if this behavior is due to a "contagious" urge or some type of competition, but it occurs so frequently that I cannot chalk it up to a random act.

My cats haunt me during my morning ablutions. While I am bathing, all three are riveted to the bathtub rim, often drinking from the hot, soapy liquid in their gigantic "water dish." My cat Hush Puppy, a lilac point Oriental shorthair, often uses his tail as bait for some unknown critter that may reside in the tub. Is he trying to protect me, or to find a scrumptious meal? You tell me!


I am positive that my white Oriental shorthair, Trouble, is mocking me! He sits on the bathtub ledge primping and preening, fastidious in his grooming, even paying strict attention to the area between his toes.
Now I ask you.. is this the paws that refreshes?

One of his bizarre habits though is his insistent inspection after I wash my hair He persistently tugs and chews on my wet locks to make certain it is thoroughly cleaned to his standards. It is either that or he is taste-testing my brand of shampoo.

One never really knows for certain what motivates cats' behavior.

Do your cats join you in the Jon? Do they supervise your bathing routines? Please share your experiences with privacy invasions in your bathroom. We would love to hear about them.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Michael Vick's Dogs: Happy Endings Foretold!

Butch relaxing 2

The expression,"There are no bad dogs, just problem owners" is one that easily can be attributed to any canine breed, but is particularly germane to the Pit Bull.

With a reputation hyped by the media for being vicious and dangerous, many people believe the myths surrounding this highly misunderstood and maligned breed.

Dispelling these myths, in reality with proper training,
Pit Bulls are famous for their intelligence, affectionate disposition and protective nature toward their human family. They make excellent and charming companions which is clearly illustrated by this fetching photograph taken by Laurentha of Butch, one of her Pit Bulls, as he relaxes in "his" recliner.

On December 10, 2007, Michael Vick, the former NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his participation in Pit Bull dog fighting. The sentence, in my opinion was not sufficiently harsh, yet it served to raise public awareness about animal cruelty, a serious crime which can no longer be tolerated.

According to the
Dogtime Media's article published today, we can, for the first time meet some of the dogs taken from the fighting ring. Only one of the 49 dogs evaluated by the ASPCA led team was euthanized due to its highly aggressive behavior toward humans.

With the patient, compassionate evaluation, re-training and human affection the dogs are finally receiving, these former "fighters" are well on their way to becoming family pets in their new forever loving homes which they so richly deserve.

I was deeply touched and heartened by the poignant, informative video,"Michael Vick's Dogs: From Fighters to Family Pets" created by the
Dog Time team. I know that you will be too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Felines Discover Ingenious Use for Exercise Bike

Our two ingenious cats, Hush Puppy and Lucyfur have discovered a few interesting uses for the broken exercise bike in our bedroom. Lucyfur loves to perch on the seat which affords her the opportunity to locate any "hidden" toys, and Hush Puppy occasionally enjoys draping himself on the handlebars to stretch out for a nap.

But their greatest delight is jumping into a plastic bag, swinging to their heart's content when I hang a plastic bag from the handlebars.

The other day I returned from my veterinarian's office with a stash of cat food stored in a paw-printed plastic bag. As soon as the cans were unloaded, Hush Puppy excitedly jumped into the bag, staring at me with his huge blue eyes, begging me to play with him. I acquiesced to his imploring look, grabbed the bag and hung it on the handlebars.

The loud purring sounds which emanated from the bag resembled a finely tuned engine. Lucyfur, not missing a trick, watched Hush Puppy carefully. I could feel the wheels turning in her head as she made her move to get in on the act.

I grabbed my camera, and the rest is history! Enjoy this little video starring Hush Puppy and Lucyfur and, of course, a paw- printed plastic bag.

Happy Birthday today, Mozart!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chester the Cat: A Tale of an Adorable Adoptee!

It is possible that  Chester, who owns my friend livinginavandown may be preparing to coach a drag racing team.  Having an affinity for this white VW, it appears to me that this is the car of his choice.

But I think he may be, (excuse the expression), "barking up the wrong tree" in his selection for a potential winner.

Or, possibly he may be performing his particular version of the "slip and slide."

Rescued from a shelter six years ago, Chester was afraid of everything and everybody. Timid and withdrawn, unable to show affection to humans, one can easily imagine what a difficult and challenging life he endured as a youngster.

With the abundance of  love and patience lavished upon him after his adoption, this lucky fellow responded positively, transforming into the trusting, playful and inquisitive kitty that he is today.

livinginavandown spends a lot of time hanging out with Chester. She has taught him to climb trees while under her supervision when she and her husband sit outside on their bench. Chester quickly learned that he will catch her attention when he demonstrates his athletic prowess.

There are untold numbers of "unwanted" pets languishing in shelters waiting for a kind and committed person to make them part of their family. Please think of them when you consider adding a pet to your household. 

Have you ever adopted a pet? Please leave a comment to share your experiences with us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The "Three Kitty Opera": For Cats and Music Lovers

I thought I would take this opportunity to share a delightful video created by my friend Pam, phutc7274.  Since all three of my kitties are music lovers, this short "stand alone" duet by Rossini seemed to be purrfect background music for the picture show!

So take a few moments to sit back and relax, kick off your shoes, put your feet up and enjoy the  "Three Kitty Opera" featuring our fur kids.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Save our Horses! Take Action: National Call in Day: 1/22/08


Photo: Raven, Kim's equine partner.

Calling all horse lovers! Today, January 22, 2008, is National Call In Day!

If you feel strongly that the cruel and unnecessary slaughter of our beautiful horses must finally be abolished, once and for all, please pick up your phone, now, and call your two US Senators, and one US Representative. Contact information may be found below.

Ask your Senators to please cosponsor and vote "yes" on S-311. If they are already cosponsors, thank them. Ask your Representative to cosponsor and vote yes for HR-503. Thank them also if they are cosponsors.

Your input is crucial. Speak from your heart, telling them how important horses are to you, and how critical their cosponsoring and vote in support of these bills are to help abolish horse slaughter, once and for all.

In spite of the fact that newspapers and other media are filled with news about how negatively the abolishment of horse slaughter will generate untold numbers of unwanted and abandoned horses, this simply is not true. There is no accurate evidence to back up these claims. We must set the record straight.

While the doors to the three remaining foreign owned horse slaughter houses in the United States have been shut at this point, we need to keep them closed permanently. The transportation of horses to Canada and Mexico remains legal. We must ensure that both horse slaughter and the export of horses destined for slaughter will be finally outlawed.

Let your voices be heard today! Additionally, please ask your friends and family to also call their legislators today and throughout this week.

Contact your Congressperson in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Senate: Senators Home 

For more information about National Call In Day: Visit: rallyforhorses.

Watch the HSUS video: The Export of America's Horses  Warning: graphic images

Monday, January 21, 2008

Numa Numa: The Feline Version!


Today was a lazy day at our house. Even Lucyfur decided to nap away the hours. But she wanted me to share a hilarious kitty video. We are still laughing ourselves silly. Lucyfur and I are sure you will get a chuckle out of this one!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who's the Top Dog?


It was love at first sight the moment this adorable St. Bernard puppy, Elli Mae, caught my friend Vicki's eye. A small bundle of fur who has a  huge talent of showing affection, her lavish puppy kisses accompanied by a glance of her soulful eyes, worked its magic. Elli Mae found her new home.

Elli Mae adjusted to Vicki's canine and equine family in short order. Always wanting to play, she bounded through the house and yard with the fervor and energy that only a youngster can muster.

Inquisitive and highly intelligent,  Elli Mae explored every nook and cranny in Vicki's domain, vying for her own territory with the resident dogs.

The months flew by in a heartbeat. Elli Mae kept growing by leaps and bounds. "Hide and Seek" became one of her favorite games. Generally the winner, largely due to her finely tuned nose, Ms. Elli was a pup with whom to be reckoned. 

We now have evidence that  Katie Lou,Vicki's Sheltie has been tagged as "it" for the next round of canine fun.


What kinds of games do your dogs prefer?  Tell us about it by leaving a comment. I am sure that Elli Mae would love to learn some new strategies to add to her repertoire.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Little Horse Has a Large Sweet Tooth!

Kasodi's miniature horse, Pagan, is a fanatic for peppermint candies. Whenever Kasodi's uncle pays a Pagan a visit, he is always armed with a huge assortment of her favorite treats.

Pagan's peppermint passion sure is obvious when she raises her lip in approval, giving him a rather "toothy" grin.

What are some of your horse's favorite goodies? How do they communicate their delight upon receiving a treat? Let us know all about it. I am sure Pagan would appreciate some suggestions as well!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cats and Music!


They say that "music soothes the breast of the savage beast."

I bet that my friend Gene's kitten is considering whether to pounce on his guitar which appears to be laying in wait for capture . . .  or he is just waiting for the music to begin.

My kitties do love music, frequently curling up with me while I  listen to the classics. I found that their preference is Claude Debussy and J.S. Bach. They definitely have good taste!

Do you think it is a common practice for cat lovers to leave the radio on for kitties their cat servants are away? What type of music do you think kitties enjoy?

Please leave a comment and tell us!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back in the E-Collar Again!

Without fail, with each approaching Spring, my white Oriental Shorhair, Trouble seems to get the "itchies." We have tested him for all kinds of allergies, both food and pollen, but so far nothing has proved to be conclusive as a reason for his behavior.

He does have a tendency to over-groom at times, often pulling out clumps of his fur resulting in a mottled appearance. He is presently on an anti-anxiety medication which seems to have effectively alleviated this problem.

But the seasonal scratching is something which is completely separate from his grooming issue. His preference is one particular  spot located at the top of his neck which he mutilates, creating a raw and bloody area which is difficult to treat.

Since Trouble suffers from chronic Herpes, steroid injections are out of the question, so I use a tiny drop of a topical antibiotic/steroid ointment to control the itching.

Trouble hates the E-collar.When he spies it in my hand, he immediately puts his tail between his leg accompanied with one of those heart-wrenching expressions on his face as if to tell me I am betraying his trust.

But when I remove the collar before feeding time, his hind leg instantly transforms into a magnet aimed at the itchy spot, at breakneck speed.  What is a kitty mom to do?  I am definitely  between a rock and a hard place. 

Trouble's brother, Hush Puppy does empathize and always provides a shoulder upon which he can cry. I just wonder what kinds of nasty things he is communicating to his brother in the photograph below. What do you think? 


Have you had experiences with cats who have allergies?  Please tell us about them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is a HOT Dog!

Often when I am reading my Email, I am compelled to throw my head back and laugh loudly in delight at some of the creative photography that my friends send me. Yesterday my belly laugh was the result of the kitty making himself comfy in a hammock fashioned from his mama's bra.


Today I received this photo taken by my friend Kim, of Ziggy, her delightful doggy that sometimes drives her crazy with her antics. It appears to me that Ziggy is seriously getting ready to compete in the Indy  500.  Her feminine driving skills are very much enhanced by the pink steering wheel, tires and front bumper.

I think that a pooch who not only owns her very own racing car, but who also permits us to get a glimpse of her practice session is definitely not a common sight.

You GO Ziggy!   Your fans love you and will be out there rooting for you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cat Discovers Unique Use For a Bra!

"The Cat's in The Cradle", is a line found in a golden oldie popular song.

My good  friend  DBDustbuny's cat sure found a unique way to put a picture to those words, don't you think?

I think he is telling the world that he prefers "lingerieing" away his time close to his mama's heart.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feline Intelligence: How do we Define it?

first pictures 042
I have sung the praises of my super-genius cat Hush Puppy.  But since I seem to have a highly analytical mind, I started to give a lot of thought relating to the different qualities of intelligence in which each of my cats excel.

Hush Puppy is a whiz at figuring out how to break into or out of areas in our house which my other two cats, Lucyfur and Trouble could care less about. They let him do the work and reap the benefits.

Trouble's talent lies in his ability to do "cute" to such a high degree that it is always difficult for us to become angry with any of his mischievous  antics.

Lucyfur on the other hand scores high on the hunting skills achievement table and thrills us with her "revert to the wild" behavior when she is in pursuit of a toy or other object which has caught her fancy.

The "Rosie the Rat" toy, which I found at a cat show several years ago, seems to be "her" favorite possession, and when she gets into the mood to show off her hunting prowess, woe betide either of my other cats if they get in her way.

I think this little video demonstrates how focused Lucyfur can be when she chooses Rosie for the target for her pleasure, don't you agree?

Have any of your cats claimed a toy or object as theirs, also? Leave a comment and let us know.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The 2008 Rose Bowl Parade Horses in Action

One of the yearly events  to which I look forward is the Rose Bowl Parade. I am fascinated the creativity of the gorgeous floats which are decorated with flowers and flower petals.  The amount of work that goes into their design must be truly incredible

This year however, I was glued to my high definition big screen TV once I caught a glimpse of the horses. Grabbing my video camera, I just had to capture segments of their outstanding performances. 

As each group of horses crossed my screen, my heart raced with excitement as I watched the Andalusians, Paso Finos,Bashkirs, Palominos, Miniature Horses, Clydesdales and other breeds too numerous to list. Our United States Olympic team riding their dressage and Grand Prix jumpers were beautifully featured.

I even got to wonder if Raven, my friend Kim's horse, pictured above, gave some thought to participating in this delightful event, dressed up in this fancy attire.

As Horses are one of my deepest passions, I created this video of the horses in the 2008 Rose Bowl Parade. It is to honor the tremendous number of generous people who contribute tirelessly from their hearts, as they work miracles to save the "unwanted" horses in our country.  They give generously toward the welfare of all horses and have become their voice. Our goal is to end the cruel and unnecessary slaughter of these magnificent animals, forever.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

RagaMuffin Ruffians: To The Victors Belong The Spoils!


Savvy cat lovers will agree felines are exceedingly intelligent. They love talking about their cats' brainy prowess.

I myself am guilty of bragging ad nauseam to my friends about how

my lilac-point Oriental Shorthair, Hush Puppy, could more than likely compete with Dr. Albert Einstein.

I have to admit however, that my bragging rights were recently set back a peg or two.
While visiting a dear friend the other day, our conversation got around to our cats' interesting habits and how "endearing" they are to us. HA!

As usual, I was puffing my chest out in pride while relating the story about Hush Puppy's closet capers. My friend grabbed me by the hand, leading me to into her computer room. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she said, " just wait 'til you see the photographs and read the story about Jean and Tom's beautiful RagaMuffins and their amazing bag of tricks." Once I saw them,I was in awe and deeply humbled. 

The moment I arrived home, I instantly told Hush Puppy about what I had  just seen. He was quite interested in contacting these furry geniuses for some lessons in perfected pussycat pilfering.

Apparently Jean has a cupboard in her utility to store their cat supplies. Since one of their kitties had been opening the doors, mainly to get at the catnip, Jean inserted a screwdriver to thwart their thievery. They thought they solved the problem with dispatch.

"Someone" is about to open the cabinet doors, with ESP instructions from Meezer, Bliss. 

Jean asks, "Do these babies look remotely sorry?" It sure kooks to this blogger that they were about to score a huge heist. I love the "vacant" look on Bliss's face staring out of the open cabinet with apparent disdain. 

Tom found a solution for the handles . . .

Can't you hear the wheels turning in Cole's head, as he contemplates on how to get through this new challenge?

But Cole is considering all his options, as Bliss sits by patiently to reap their potential rewards.

Did Cole  succeed? Did the dreaded cabinet door cord tie remain intact?

What do you suspect about the outcome, dear readers? Please stay tuned for further developments.

Technorati Tags:
   Frequently Feline

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where's Kitty?

Our lilac point Oriental Shorhair cat, Hush Puppy has been consistently fascinated by the variety of planters containing silk ivy  around our house. They definitely offer him opportunites to blend in with the deep green leaves to find  that purrfect  hiding place.

He has thoroughly checked out each and every container around the house resulting in the choice of the basket which graces out garden tub.

He generally ventures into this basket while I luxuriate in our garden tub and I often wonder what may be motivating him to practice this repetitive behavior.

Does anyone have an idea what might be on his mind?  Being a neutered male, he certainly isn't a "peeping" Tom by any stretch of the imagination.

Leave a comment and help me solve this mystery, please!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Closet Cats: Lemme In


Don't you agree that cats often show off their high degree of intelligence, especially when in pursuit of their goal with sufficient motivation? They rarely abandon their chosen target.

For example, we have a bi-fold mirrored door on our bedroom closet. It is located in our bathroom area. My Oriental Shorthair, Hush Puppy is fascinated by it and discovered a technique by which he was able to insert his paw under the bi- fold, tugging at it tirelessly until within 30 minutes, the closet door was open.

The two other cats would immediately follow him to find a cozy niche amongst the blankets stored on the floor. Now that in itself wouldn't have been so bad, however there are several wire shelves in the closet that are extremely tempting to a mischievious kitty hell-bent to climb.

Finding a pathway to the shelves, substituting the blankets for a ladder. allowed the cats to leap to the top of the closet which holds planters containing silk ivy. They discovered that they could view the entire bedroom vista using this lofty perch.They also learned that simultaneously they could amuse themselves by knocking clothing off the racks, making a huge mess, which of course would irritate their human parents. So much fun!

After several attempts to prevent this activity by installing different types of barriers at the bottom of the door, by shoving different types door stops ( one that was even attractively designed as a pet paw) but Puppy quickly learned a method which allowed him to push the doorstop aside, rendering it useless.

We finally were forced to employ a clever Mr. Fixit, Hank, who altered the closet door mechanism. making it difficult for even the most persistent pussycat to open.

For weeks on end, Puppy tried valiantly to open that door. He would walk by it, eying it carefully, testing it's strength to see if by some stoke of luck it had weakened. Maybe he thought by some powerful magic the door would bend to his will. After almost a year now he still will test it as he walks by. Of course he remains thwarted and often gets very upset and frustrated.

So for those folks that think cats have short attention spans I am here to tell you this is not true. And if I leave the door open even for a moment unattended, Puppy immediately seizes the opportunity to dash in and I swear I can hear him snicker at me.

The other two never gave a hoot about trying to open it. They would only run in once he liberated the closet and proceed to make as much mischief as possible.

By the way, Puppy is now scoping out an alternate route into the closet. He knows that there is no closet ceiling and that the ivy can be defeated by leaping from a ledge that separates the shower area from the closet. He has recently started to walk on top of the shower door with a great look of determination on his face. I am concerned about if he will learn how to get out.

Don't you just LOVE the creative mind of a motivated kitty and the challenges that it creates?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lucyfur: The Top Drawer Kitty


Have you ever had one of those days when your patience is stretched to the max? Do your pets suddenly behave in a way that fries your last nerve?

Today was one of those days for me!

Living in Florida does have some great advantages during the Winter months. Today's Spring- like weather inspired me to keep my promise to gather clothing to donate to a local shelter. It was a project that was long overdo. I was guilty of procrastinating but promised myself that after the first of the year I would would set aside time to undertake this task.

Going through the closets was a breeze. I was able to shut the closet door behind me in order to do my work without any feline interference. They do so love to assist their mama with interesting chores.

Closet finished, I set out to go through our dresser drawers to search for shirts and sweaters, all in excellent condition which we had sadly outgrown. All of a sudden, Ms. Lucyfur decided that the thrill of exploring the open drawers was far too much of a temptation. Jumping in with lightening speed before I could intervene, she somehow discovered that she was able to explore the entire dresser, squeezing herself into a flattened feline and fitting where no other cat would deign to attempt.

I tried to catch her but she eluded my hand. My husband, eager to get to work, was not thrilled in the least. His reddened complexion expressed his exasperation in living color. With evident frustration, he barked orders at me to grab her by her front paws, which resulted in hisses and throaty menacing growls which rivaled those made by big cats. I had no idea she could be so fierce.

Trying to remain calm, we carefully removed each drawer one at a time.However,as each drawer was extricated, Lucyfur moved more deeply into the bowels of the dresser. Bound and determined to evade capture, she slithered into spaces that were unreachable. The clothing strewn all over the floor made our job extremely difficult.

Finally, after most of the drawers lay spread out on the carpet at our feet , Lucyfur decided to come on out, wearing an expression that could only be interpreted as a Cheshire Cat grin. She was taunting us and appeared to be enjoying every second.

I fervently hope that we will never have to endure this kind of tabby- cat torture again. Alas, I know that she has more tricks up her sleeve and will be on the lookout for an another opportunity to drive us batty. She so enjoys being naughty.

Have you had exasperating experiences with your pets? Please let me know that we are not alone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wrinkly Kisses: Meet The Vizsla Gang


When I see wrinkles, my first reaction is to grab an iron and straighten them out!

But the more wrinkles the merrier, which these Vizsla puppies certainly possess is what made them so appealing to me and which immediately caught my attention.

Some wrinkles are definitely a good thing.

Jim Arnold's fantastic photograph of this gang of Vizsla puppies beautifully captures the joy and delight that his niece must be experiencing as she is covered with an abundance of puppy kisses by this adorable little guy.

Seeing the smile on this little girl's face suggests to me that puppy kisses bring good luck to the recipient, don't you agree?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Internet Friends Bring So Much Joy

There are times when I am totally blown away by the wonderful folks I get to meet via the Internet.

After Barbaro, the great racehorse, who was critically injured in 2006 during the Preakness Race, I was totally devastated.

While searching the Internet to follow his progress, I discovered a group of like-minded people who joined together in support of one another by sharing feelings and sending their prayers to Barbaro, his owners, his Veterinarians and all his  connections who worked tirelessly to help this brave and courageous horse to recover.  We all mourned deeply upon his loss.

One of the folks I met through a nightly prayer vigil held for Barbaro in a private room on AOL, was Sheila, a charming woman who was living in South America at the time. A horse lover with a great sense of humor, and hope, her spirit and huge heart drew me to get to know her better, and to ultimately become good friends.Thankfully, long distances disappear through the magic of online life.

Our love for horses and our passion for all animals, in fact, remains the basis for our on-going friendship.

Sheila recently sent me a photograph of her atop her beloved mare, Sarah. This picture inspired me to share a little about how my Internet friends bring so much joy to my life.

Have anyone had a similar experience and as a result made a close and enduring friendships through the  Internet?


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Klepto Cats Strike Again

Sometimes I wonder if I am unique in my habit of hiding some of my cats' toys in order to increase the toy's  longevity and to also remain of interest . I try to keep those special ones that are top on their hit parade as it is much more amusing for both my cats and me to savor interactive playtime.

One of those hiding places is in the top drawer of my dresser. Of course they know exactly where they are, and whenever I open the drawer which is the receptacle for my socks and pajamas, my kitties jump onto the dresser top, longingly gazing at the toys, giving me wistful glances and of course, attempting to extract one or more of them to entice me to play.

I am amazed at how they remember the location of each and every toy stashed away in this drawer and when they hear me open it, will come bounding into the bedroom from any location in our house. I swear they have marked the toys with a secret GPS tracking device. Even the sound of the electric can opener does not carry the same appeal.

When the phone rang the other day,  in my haste to answer, I forgot to completely shut the drawer. While my attention strayed,  much to my dismay, from right  under my nose,  Lucyfur was boldly stealing her favorite feathery boa toy out of the drawer. Additionally she was encouraging the other two cats to perform a search and  seize mission in order to grab any other exposed goodies. She is such a bad influence on the boys.

I was thrilled that my camera was at hand so I could capture their feloniousness behavior.  They will not be able to proclaim their innocence with a straight face.

Do your cats ever pilfer objects of interest to them?  I would love to hear about it.


Pets as Family Members


One of the most fascinating aspects of our relationship to animals, which I frequently encounter when I meet pet lovers via the Internet, is that they often virtually "adopt" their friend's pets and consider them to be a "family" member.

Often when I visit a pet chat, I hear folks refer to a friend's pet as a "nephew, niece or grandkid" and inquire about the pet in the same way they would if that pet was a human relative. Personally, I think it is really charming and warms my heart.

For example, my friend Amy, whose daughter adopted this adorable pooch named Jonah, frequently brags about him in a way that only a beaming grandmother would. She proudly refers to him as her "grandson." Blessedly rescued during Katrina, one of the most devastating hurricanes in history, he is now living in the lap of luxury with Amy's daughter and family.

Amy and Jonah want to share their best wishes for a spectacular year ahead, and to also remind folks who are thinking of adding a fur baby to their family to consider adopting. There are so many pets who linger in shelters, pining and longing for a kind hand and a warm home where loving people will give them the attention and devotion to which they are entitled.

We, as humans, must be the voice for these beautiful creatures. Please help your animal loving friends to spread the word to educate others to spay or neuter their pets. Wouldn't it be amazing, as 2008 moves on into the future, that the numbers of unwanted dogs and cats will diminish, and ultimately the need for shelters will be a thing of the past?

Personally I think that would be the time to really celebrate.

Do you ever consider a friend's pet to be part of your family? Please tell us your story.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Are Girl Cats Smarter Than the Boys?

My friend Mollyspause recently informed me that she thinks that Girl kitties are way smarter than the boys. I have never given it much thought as far as intelligence is concerned. I do think that male kitties are generally more affectionate than their female counterparts, but as far as intelligence... the jury is still out as far as I am concerned.

I am going to have to do a lot of research and cogitate at length upon what she said.  But I am totally up for feedback from the cat lovers who have experiences with both genders.

Purrhaps this little video of Lucyfur outsmarting Trouble, leaving him with a stunned expression on his face after she purloined what he considered to be his own brand new and alluring toy.

So let's talk about the feline gender I.Q. differences.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Then Came Lucyfur!

lucystareFor years I strongly resisted the addition of a third cat to our household. After we lost Mousie Tongue,a beautiful seal point Siamese to a hidden heart condition when he was eight years old, I wondered if I would ever be ready to bring another cat into our home, or if I could ever be able to open my heart again.

My Veterinarian, Dr. Erin Holder,of Florida Wild Veterinary Hospital in Deland, Florida  began dropping compelling little hints to me, every once in awhile, suggesting that it might just be the right time to consider adding another cat. Since over two years had passed, adopting a kitten might be prudent. After all, a diminutive  ball of fluff has got to be appealing to any cat lover, right?

I began to give her invitation serious thought. So when she called to let me know me that a litter of kittens were available to go to a new home, my husband and I reluctantly,  our curiosity aroused though, visited her clinic for a look. After all, how could I say, "no" to her gentle reminder.

Mousie Tongue was a super affectionate cat who always gave me kisses, or spent time chewing my hair. It seemed like his tongue was always ready to bestow a loving gift, or to give me the feline version of a shampoo to ensure that I was appropriately groomed. He took such good care of me. So much to my surprise and delight, when I reached into the cage to remove the prospective adoptee, and held her close to my face, she immediately started giving me an abundance of kisses. That did it! I decided at that moment that her behavior was a sign of approval from Mousie Tongue and she came home with us.

Lucyfur has been a part of our family for almost three years. She is not a highly social cat, and will deign to sit on my lap from time to time. She plays with the boys on her terms,chasing them around the house in spurts, is highly territorial about "her" toys and is not a fussy eater. But she continues to kiss me and has even learned to do so when I request one, verbally. 

But I sure don't appreciate the facials she gives me with her sand paper tongue, and her continuing compulsion to chew upon my fingers. But it sure is hard to refuse these little purrsonality traits that she must consider to be endearing.

I am very happy that I listened to Dr. Holder's reminders. After all, Mousie Tongue must have been whispering in her ear in the first place.

Do you ever feel that a Rainbow Bridge baby has located a needy pet to join your family? I am curious to hear about your experiences.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

They Named Me Trouble: How Could They?

troubpawup I don't get it.

When I was adopted, I was a purrfectly adorable 4 month-old Oriental Shorthair kitten whose behavior was beyond reproach. All kitties who arrive at a new home should be as well behaved. I could give them lessons, and in fact have frequently been asked by feline friends for advice on how to behave for humans in order to be secure in their fancy new digs.

But anyway, my humans named me Trouble. I wonder if it had to do with the time they went to Florida to visit friends and left me with that oh-so-beautiful lady veterinarian who was instructed to <gasp> neuter me.

When they came home I ripped open my freshly healing surgery site and finished the job by chewing a hole in my neck.

That resulted in a hurried late night visit to the local veterinary ER. Purrhaps that had something to do with my name change. Originally I was dubbed, Moon Raker, a much classier name. Oh well . . .

Maybe it had to do with my charming neurotic habit of over grooming, which left my beautiful coat appearing a tad scraggly. I don't know . . . they told me that the name they chose for me was right on the money. I beg to differ.

Who knows how humans think. I am now almost 8 years old and feel that since I have entered my eldership years, it is about time for them to start calling me by my authentic given name.

Please leave my mom a comment and tell her what you think. She doesn't listen to me!

Catnip Crazy

Puppy the Cat

One might think that a cat named Puppy might be plagued with species confusion. A lilac point Oriental Shorthair with the registered moniker, Hush Puppy, I assumed he would have no problem.


His call name is Puppy. Whenever I talk about him however, quite understandably folks always inquire about how my dog is accepted by my kitties.

I had thought about changing his name, but he seems to be quite content with it, always responding by bounding through the house to see what treat might be waiting for him.

I often wonder what prompted his breeder to bestow this interesting name upon him. I suspect that she thought he was a shoe-in to find a forever home.

However there is nothing quiet about this cat. Talking constantly about one thing or another, generally complaining about my proffered meals rather loudly, with that all too familiar sound that Oriental cats are famous for, he communicates his feelings quite directly.

Is it possible that his breeder may have given him that name in the hopes that he might take the hint and speak in a more modulated tone?

Do your cats use certain sounds with which to communicate their wishes? I knead to know!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Horses, Horses, Horses

It is a lot easier to share one's home with kitties of course.

This being said, horses continue to remain one of my deepest passions. There is something magical about a horse . . . something that is so different and so unique. Some folks don't consider them to be pets. Some folks think that horses are not capable of becoming emotionally involved with with humans to the same degree as cats, dogs and other small animals with whom we share our homes.

I have always considered my horses to be very special companions. I always thought of her as a very unique pet. When I was sad, or upset, I often found myself in her stall, with my arms wrapped around her neck, which many times became dampened with my tears.

She loved and protected the many children who rode her while she was active as an equine volunteer in the Pegasus Therapeutic Horseback Riding program, which met weekly at the barn where she was boarded. One of the favorite members of that team, the children always took the time to give her an apple or carrot and to bestow kisses upon her nose. She was considered to be their special "pet".

When I lost her in her seventh month of pregnancy from a twisted gut, her death was so devastating that it took me many years to be able to arrive at a peaceful acceptance of that loss. But I am left with many wonderful memories of her sweet disposition and of the time we shared together.
Many of my friends own horses, or, rather are owned by them. They all agree that their horses are very special to them and consider them to be part of their family. While you can't snuggle with a horse easily, those who have developed trust and affection for their human "partner" reach out for that loving touch and contact on which most pets thrive.

Have you ever had the joy of sharing that deep emotional connection with a horse? I would love to hear what others have experienced.

The Cat Toy Dilema

Finding a cat toy that is both appealing and safe would be a great discovery.

I am a sucker when it comes to giving presents to my cats. I search for them with a passion that would rival the quest for the Holy Grail. After searching the Internet I found a whale shaped cardboard toy that featured an area that was designed to provide hours of happy scratching and even a place to stretch out to take a nap. What appealed to me especially is that a portion of the proceeds were donated to an animal charity. What a win-win situation I thought.

I carefully stashed it away in the hall closet to save for Christmas. My cats were on it like white on rice. Opening the bi-fold mirrored closet door, they found it and dragged it out into the middle of the living room. For 15 minutes they played with it like it was a million dollar treat.

Then it sat there, dejected, rejected and unused. They may have thought that it might make a good foot rest for humans.

Two other toys arrived that I thought would be appealing and enticing. One was a pink mouse on wheels. Pull the tail and the little critter runs across the floor inviting kitties to stalk them. After a few luke warm chases, this mouse is now resting on its back, wheels in the air like a dead thing. The other was a mouse attached to a wire, connected to a weight loaded base. Cats are supposed to play with this mouse while the base revolves making the toy more compelling. Yeh right sure. This toy has been relegated to a huge pile of useless toys in our bedroom.

My friend brought my kitties a gift, pictured above. They loved it. All of them seemed to be attracted to it. Lucyfur, my mackerel tabby domestic spay, upon finding it, grabbed it out of my hand, growling and hissing at the other cats, claiming it as her prey, warning them not to approach her or the feathery object attached to the plastic wand with a string.
With one swift move she detached the toy from the wand scurrying under the bed making fearsome sounds. The toy has since disappeared . . . hopefully someone will be find it and resurrect it from its hiding place.

What kinds of safe toys continue to attract your cat's attention for a reasonable amount of time? I want to keep my threesome happy .
It seems to be my primary mission in life, lately.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why "Frequently Feline"?

I chose the title of this blog simply because the majority of its comment will be about felines. Of course, this leaves room to for me to blog about other animals about which I am passionate, whether they be house pets, pleasure or competitive horses, or animals living in the wild.I hope that you will find this blog both stimulating and enjoyable.

I look forward to reading about your experiences with animals so that this blog may become a supportive resource for animal lovers as well.These are my three little "tigers", Hush Puppy, Lucyfur and Trouble. They just wanted to be introduced.