Sunday, October 16, 2016

Happy National Feral Cat Day!

Niss writes:

Happy National Feral Cat Day!  Today is very important to me because I've never known the inside of a house.  A feral cat, also called a community cat, is one who is wild and unsocialized to humans.  Although I'm getting there, I'm not to the point of allowing the humans to touch me for more than one stroke of a finger on my head, side, or whiskers.  Then I move away and hiss, or sometimes just look and hiss.

Mouses, but the house air feels warm and dry!  I really want to be in that shelter, whatever the dangers are, but I'm not quite ready.  I'm still too leery of what might be hiding in there.  My friend Sherbet, who used to be a feral like me, lives inside now and won't come back out here.  He decided once he was in, that it was his forever home!

Sherbet writes:

Yep, Niss, you're right!  I love it in here.  I know you would, too, if you gave it a chance.  While some ferals don't ever adapt to life with or around humans, some of us transition to life indoors.  Once I was trapped in a humane trap and neutered, given my first shots, and got my eartip to mark me as a feral, I was brought back to be inside in the trap while I healed for a few hours.  When it was time to let me out, the humans gave me that chance because that's the "return" or "release" part of trap-neuter-release (TNR).  I, however, didn't want to go out!  I bit the mommy on the thumb (not hard) and escaped inside the house!  I've been given multiple chances to "escape", but I love my life inside.  I don't trust that scary blinking thing on the wall that gives off a weird smell and emits strange sounds, and I also don't trust the daddy's electric recliner when it talks.  I love playing chase around the house with the others, especially with Autumn, though!  I also have a green bouncy ball that I play with for hours at a time.  I love to get pets from the humans, and will brush up against their legs to tell them I'm there, then wait to be petted.

You can go to the National Feral Cat Day website for more information about cats like us, and please give your ferals an extra treat today!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Remember Me Thursday

Little Bit writes:

Today is Remember Me Thursday, lifting up shelter pets and those who didn't make it.  It's unfortunate that many shelters and humane societies in the U.S. and around the world are kill shelters.  The main ones in our area are no-kill or close to it, but that still means that around half of the shelters in our area do euthanize adoptable pets.

Today, the world comes together to remember, help, and adopt those in shelters.  164 countries around the world celebrate Remember Me Thursday.  Think of how many pets are being helped today in various ways!

So, how can you help?  You may think, "But I'm just one!  How can I make a difference?"  You do make a difference, every day.  You can be an advocate for animals in many ways.

  • Speak up about pet adoption!  If someone you know wants to adopt, share information on shelters in your area.  Along with the many "Heinz 57" pets like me, there are purebred cats and dogs just waiting for a loving home and family to belong to.
  • Share information on kill and no-kill shelters.  Get to know the shelters and humane organizations in your area and advocate for them.  Even being against pet euthanasia, we still recommend kill shelters as well as no-kill shelters to people looking to adopt.  Why?  Because they might find their forever pet there, and save it from the needle!
  • Foster a pet or five.  Our family fosters and adopts out cats that people bring us.  Right now, we have three fosters:  Dare, Autumn, and Panther.  Dare came to us from a friend, as did Autumn.  Autumn was a "Craigslist kitten", probably from a backyard breeder.  Dare and Panther, who showed up in our yard as a socialized feral, lived outside before finding people to take them in.  I, myself, was saved from a kill shelter, along with my four boys.  I'll tell you more about that later.
  • Make or buy blankets to warm the floors of the cages for pets waiting adoption.  Grammy created the "Read Me a Blanket" program:  children read books, crafters sew, knit or crochet blankets, and for every book read, a blanket is donated to the humane society.  It's a wonderful way for the community to come together to help shelter pets.  The blankets are not only placed in the cages while the pets wait; families are encouraged to choose one blanket when they adopt their forever pet, giving the pet a connection and a safe place at their new home.  Many families then use those blankets when transporting their pet to and from the vet.  Think Linus' security blanket!  Other organizations make and donate blankets as well.  Many shelters also take clean towels to be used in the cages.
  • Donate something off the shelter's wish list.  Many animal rescue and adoption organizations have a wish list on their website.  Any item you donate from that list is appreciated.  It could be a can of pet food, a toy, or even an office item like printer paper.  Everything helps.
  • Spread the word!  Share this post, others like it, and the Remember Me Thursday website on social media with the hashtags #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday to add your voice to the movement.  We all count!
Little Bit and her 3-week-old boys, first day being fostered
I was one of the lucky ones, and my babies were even luckier.  Who can resist three-week-old kittens?  Well, apparently one animal control center can.  My original people, upon finding out I was pregnant, didn't know what to do with us.  They hadn't bothered to spay any of their pets, so they had two litters of kittens and one litter of puppies all at the same time!  They packed up the kittens and mama cats and set off to find a shelter for us.  Two of my mama's kittens had been adopted already, but she still had two and I had four.  The animal control center told the people that, if they took us in, my kittens would be euthanized right away.  It was the start of "kitten season", and they knew they would be soon overrun with litters needing cages, permanent placements and foster homes.  They simply didn't have the room for us.

Carbon with Little Bit's kitten sisters, first week of fostering

The people left the shelter with us, packed us all into the car, and drove two blocks away.  They opened the car door and threw my mama out onto the street!  They then went to eat, leaving the rest of us in the car.  I hid, and the others couldn't climb out.  When the people came back, they did a very sensible thing.  They remembered that the people two houses down were "cat people" and rescued animals, because my sister and cousin were already with those people.  All seven of us who were left ended up at the new house.  That became my forever family, and the nice people adopted out my two kitten sisters and all four of my boys.  One of my boys later on had to be euthanized because of a genetic intestinal issue, but he had a good foster family, and even a forever home for two weeks.

Please help spread the word and be a force for shelter animals!  "Opt to Adopt" is not just a campaign slogan, but a way of life and a way to save lives.  Please share the message with the hashtags #RememberMeThursday and #RememberTheRescue and check out the Remember Me Thursday website for educational materials, information, more shareable memes, and a photo contest to benefit rescues.  Thank you for all you do for animals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fly Free, Carbon!

Carbon, June 8, 2005 to August 17, 2016
Carbon writes:

Today I earned my angel wings.  I'm sad about leaving my family, especially my sister, Tabby, but I'm glad to be feeling whole again in mind and body.

The above picture was taken a few years ago, when I was still feeling well.  Within the last year, I've really been failing.  I lost a lot of weight, my fur on my tail and sides got so matted that I begged Mommy to cut the mats out (which I hated doing) without a struggle.  I yelled for food and followed everyone around for bites of theirs, so Mama Shawnee nicknamed me "Shark".  She trained me to sit on the footstool in the kitchen and wait while she cooked omelettes, then she would give me bites of the egg and meat.

Within the last week, my mind's been failing, too.  I've always been super-smart and alert, but lately I've been not listening, not responding the same way to others and things, and taking a while to realize when I needed to use the litter box.  Well, that last one has been for a few months now, actually, although up until the last few days I would go try if someone said to.

Last night, Mommy came down the hallway to find me being a loaf (normal) with a glazed expression on my face (very not-normal).  She asked me if I was ok, and it took me about a minute to focus enough to look up at her, and then I had a confused expression on my face.  I didn't know how I'd gotten to that spot, why I was there, if I'd been headed somewhere else, or why Mommy was worried!  She asked me if I wanted a hug or a cuddle, and I meowed sadly at her.  My meow changed, too, from what it had been.  I sounded as lost as I felt.

Mommy picked me up and gave me a huge hug, then carried me to a chair and sat down with me on her lap.  She gave me another big hug while some of the other cats gathered around to sniff me.  I tried to tell her that I was ready to go to the Bridge.  The others knew it, too.

Early this morning, Rori ran to get Daddy, meowing her head off.  Daddy didn't know what she was trying to tell him, but she sounded and acted very worried.  Daddy asked Mommy, but she didn't know why, either.  Once she woke up, though, she knew.

I was in my box lid in the dining room, where I loved to hang out and nap, but whenever anyone else approached the food or the water, I ran to them and beat them up.  Then I ran back to my box lid and lay down again.  Tabby was supposed to go on one of her animal-assisted therapy visits, but I beat her up, too, when she tried to eat breakfast.  She was so upset, she ran and asked Mommy what was going on with me.  Then she wouldn't leave the part of the room I was in, choosing to watch over me even though I wouldn't let her snuggle.

Truth be told, I didn't even recognize the other cats as my family today.  All I knew was they were trying to get my food and my water, so I defended what was mine.  I feel very sad about that, and I hope they know I didn't mean it personally.

Daddy and Mommy discussed what to do, but it was more like when, not what.  Mommy called the vet, Mama Shawnee, and Mama Cai, while Daddy called Mama Erin and texted Debbie and Kimila (friends of ours who loved me).  Once the purrents were ready, Mommy tricked me into the carrier bag and zipped me in.  I tried to get out a few times, and ended up sticking my head out while we went out to the car, but Mommy was holding my head.  I actually did better on the car ride than both Daddy and Mommy thought, but especially better than Daddy thought I'd do.  I kept my pee in my body, which is a big thing for me on car rides, and hardly yelled at all.  My purrents petted me while we traveled.

At the vet's, there were a lot of dogs on one side, but the other side was pretty quiet.  Daddy checked me in while I lay in the carrier on the quiet side on Mommy's lap.  Then Daddy held me for a while in the carrier, too.  He reassured me that none of the doggies would come and get me, and told me none of them were Mixx, the one who lived with us until recently.  Mixx lives somewhere else now; long story, and not ours to tell, but not by anyone's choice.

It was going to be 20 minutes for a room if my purrents wanted to be with me when the vet put me to sleep, or they could take me back right away if we didn't need a room.  Daddy can't deal with being in the room emotionally, too sad for him.  Mommy sometimes does and sometimes doesn't.  She felt that it would be best if it were done as soon as possible, so the vet tech took me back.  At 2:15 pm, I went to the Bridge.  They wrapped me in a thin blanket that had been donated for that purpose and put me into a cardboard box, then taped it up and took my body out to my purrents.  Mommy and Daddy both had been crying, and cried more when they got into the car.

At home, Mommy opened the box and took my body out, after uncovering my head and paws.  Autumn wanted to hop in the box, but no one would let her.  Then she saw me in there, and left the box alone.  Daddy let everyone know what had happened, and he and Mommy petted everyone.  My sister sniffed me, nuzzled my ear, sniffed my paws, and slowly walked over to Daddy.  He told her how sorry he was, but that I wasn't coming back, then she walked over to Mommy to the same response.  She slowly walked back, and conferred with Missy about it.  One by one, everyone came to pay their respects.  Sherbet didn't want to come up to my body, and hissed at Mommy when she went over to him to have him smell her hands, so she didn't push the issue.  Starla was carried over to me, sniffed me, conferred with Tabby, then figured it out and ran to the chair.  Daddy carried the twins in from the other room.  Freya kept thinking that I was just sleeping, and came back many times to check on my, thinking I might wake up.  Mommy got Rori, who took the news badly and bolted back down the hallway.

Daddy dug a hole and buried me by the cedar tree in the backyard, by the roses where Miss Marble is buried.  That's the toughest part emotionally for him:  digging the hole and laying the body to rest, then covering it up.  It's so final.  He and Mommy are going to keep the blanket I was wrapped in and use it in the carrier for the others for vet visits and things like that.  They also have a clay double-paw print that I made for them at the vet's, with my name stamped below my paw prints.

I love you all, purrents, friends, sissy, nieces, nephews, and extended furmily!  I'll wait for you here at the Bridge with the other angels.

    Carbon Cuddlekins/Fluffikins

P.S.  How appropriate that today's Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PhotoHunt: Paw! Also celebrating a birthday

Tabby writes:

It was my 11th purrthday last Thursday!  I went visiting on Wednesday in my party dress, and everyone loved it.  I'm having to go on shorter visits now that I'm getting older, because of my arthritis, but I still can visit for an hour easily and 1 1/2 hours at my regular place.  That's plus the bus ride there and back!

Our humans have been rearranging all the furniture again!  Almost everything in the living room moved, and two bedrooms got switched almost completely!  I got to ride on a shelf as it was being moved, and the kittens we've been kitten-sitting didn't know what to do when the futon mattress came off so that could be moved.

We're posting our photohunt pictures late this time, because of all the rearranging.  Have fun guessing whose paws are whose, and we'll tell you on Thursday!  Carbon and Little Bit declined to pawticipate, because they wouldn't stay still for their paw pictures.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4

Pic 5

Pic 6

Pic 7

Pic 8

Pic 9

Pic 10

Pic 11

Pic 12

Are you a photohunter?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Feral Friday: Mouses, a mousie!

Niss writes:

MOUSES!!!!  Of all things in the world to be eating MY cat food!  I let the raccoons, the occasional birdie, and the occasional possum eat MY food, but do I really need to put up with THIS????  A MOUSE has been consistently eating my food every morning!!!  He or she comes up the side of the deck by the food pile, then steals a few crunchies at a time.  Either he eats them on the spot or he takes them back to his storage, no one's sure.  Sometimes, he definitely eats them on the spot, because Panther has seen him do that!  Panther calls him HIS mouse, but I just want to make him my DINNER one of these days!  MOUSES, but that mousie gets on my nerves!

In other news, I've gotten to the point of sniffing the humans' hands when they leave them down for me!  I'll actually go up and nose-tap some of the time!  This is, of course, after I hiss at them for being late with my food.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Happy Belated Purrthday to Carbon!

Carbon writes:

Don't worry, my purrthday wasn't forgotten!  Yesterday was just an extremely busy day around our house, with appointments for the humans and kitten-watching for us.  I had a good purrthday, though!  It was very relaxing, as you can tell from the above picture, MOL.  I snuggled with Daddy and later with Mommy, taught Bunny that the food plate is mine with a whap to the head (gently), and ran around playing with all kinds of toys that Mama Shawnee had taken out for us.  I even played Crazy Circle!

I turned 11 years old yesterday!  Yes, I'm a grouchy old man, but I can still tear up the house like a kitten when I want to, including going after a bouncy ball set loose in the kitchen!  The kittens were afraid of it, but I taught them how to whap it down mid-bounce.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Surprises!

Sherbet writes:

First of all, hi from my second-favorite spot in the whole house!  This shelf is the one I used to like when it was in my room, but now it's in the dining room.  I still love it, and will go out to it to sleep sometimes.

Mama Shawnee likes to take pictures of me.  She took the one of my shelf and also this one, of me spying on her.  She wasn't supposed to see me from her bed, but she did!

Just in the last few weeks, I've started hanging out on Mommy's desk while she's sleeping.  Once again, Mama Shawnee caught me in the act of being cute!  Mommy woke up to Mama Shawnee talking to me and the camera flash at 2 a.m.!

But, that's not the latest of the surprises.  We have two visitors from another kitty family!  We're kitten-sitting for a couple weeks.  Until now, I didn't know what kittens looked like or sounded like, since I haven't been around any since I was one.  I was quite confused when they appeared.  What were they?  Why did they move so fast?  Was it ok that they were wrestling?  Was it ok that they were eating my food, drinking my water, using my box, and climbing my kitty tree to check out my "house" cubby there?  Mooooooooommies!!!  Daaaaaaaddy!!!  They've been here three days now, and we're all getting used to them (and they to us).  I actually like them, and will go find them if I haven't seen them for a while!  They like me, too.

Bunny (on the left) is fun to watch zoom around.  Well, they're both fun to watch, but he runs with a lope!  He likes to play with Auntie Dare (on the right), who now thinks the kittens are fun to torment (in a good way).

Prince Eric is very fast, and he loves my kitty tree!  I'll even let him sniff me sometimes, if he doesn't try to jump past my house (on the next shelf down) to get to his favorite place.

Their people need to move from the apartment where they've been to a new one, because of poor management and very poor maintenance.  While the family's moving, they've asked that the kittens stay with us.  Once the humans get settled, the kittens will go back to them at their new home.  If you could help Prince Eric and Bunny's people with some green papers, their GoFundMe is here.  It's set up and monitored by them, not us.  Please, no rude comments.  Everyone's trying to help them and the others at those apartments.  Thank you.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Goodbye to Mommy's Grandpa T.

Tabby writes:

This is Mommy's Grandpa T., her dad's dad.  I visited him and Grandma T., and also Uncle David, on April 27th.  I went visiting at H. in the early afternoon, like I normally do, but then as soon as we got back home I was off again!  Mama Shawnee and Mommy took me over to the T.'s, because they needed some purr therapy right away.  Even though it was for family, the visit was an official therapy visit and I knew it.

I'd been over to their house once before, and they'd been over to see us a few times, but not for a while.  I remembered them, though, and was glad to see them.  Mommy put me on the big bed in the bedroom, and I looked around for my patient.  I could smell that he wasn't feeling well at all, that he smelled like some of my oldest friends at H.  Why wasn't he in his bed like he was supposed to be?  Then I saw him in the special hospital bed next to the big bed.  After my special blankie was set up, I was lifted over and positioned myself in the crook of his arm, as you can see in the picture above.  Grandpa T. consented to have his picture taken with me, and talked to me, petting me the whole time.  I purred for him, and moved around a little so he could pet the easiest places.  He had Parkinson's, so his arm was shaking, but I snuggled against it so it stopped bouncing so much.  He liked that a lot.

He couldn't talk much, but he told me I was a good kitty and tried to purr at me.  While he talked with everyone and Mommy held his hand, I kept the bouncing arm in check and purred, letting him rest his hands against my soft fur.  At one point, I rolled over so he could give me tummy rubs, which gave him the giggles!

After a while, he fell asleep, so then Mommy and I went out so I could sit with Grandma T.  She sat in the recliner with her feet propped up on the footrest so that I had more of a lap.  She loved being able to pet me and snuggle with me.  I purred loudly for her, too, just like I do sometimes for her on the phone.

When it was time for Grandma T. to eat dinner, we all sat at the table with her, I in Mommy's lap.  Uncle David went in to the bedroom to try to get Grandpa T. to eat something.  Mama Shawnee said that we should probably leave in a half hour, so when that time was up I trotted down the hallway in search of Grandpa T. and Uncle David to say my goodbyes!  I knew that was going to be the last time I saw Grandpa T., so I wanted to be sure to say goodbye to him and purr for him one last time.  I hopped up on the bed to snuggle with Uncle David for a few minutes, then got to purr for Grandpa T.  After that, we went back out to say goodbye to Grandma T. before we left.

A few days later, Grandpa T. was transferred to a hospice house, where he spent almost a week.  He passed away on Wednesday, May 11th, at the age of 90.  Mommy's dad was with him when he passed, and that day he also had a visit from the pastors of the church where he and Grandma T. belong.  Grandma T. and Uncle David were just down the hall in the kitchen/dining room/lounge area when he passed, but Mommy's dad went to get them and they spent about an hour sitting in the room after that.

We loved you, Grandpa T.!  Say hi to Grammy and our angel kitty family from us!

We've all been taking care of Mommy, Daddy, and Mama Shawnee for the past week, even more than usual, and giving them our purrs and snuggles continually.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday to Little Bit!

Little Bit writes:

Today's my 8th purrthday, and my sister Smokey's as well!  Smokey lives with Mommy Erin and is celebrating with her today.  We were born in SE Portland to a sweet black kitty named Boo-Boo.  She and our cousin Starla (Boo-Boo's sister's kitten) belonged to neighbors two doors down from the house that my purrents lived in then.  Boo-Boo and Starla used to go over to eat with the ferals in their yard, so they brought us over as soon as we were able.  We had another littermate sister, Baby Chiba, but she got eaten by our people's puppy when she was a kitten.

My dad-cat is Spongebob, who lived with a neighbor across the street.  He's a huge Maine Coon!  No one knows for sure who Smokey's dad-cat is, and Baby Chiba's dad-cat was Outdoor Fluffy Buddy.  She looked like his "mini-me"!

From left to right on the porch:  Starla, Little Bit, Smokey     From left to right on the steps:  Outdoor Fluffy Buddy, Boo-Boo Kitty     Summer 2008

Baby Chiba and Starla     Summer 2008

Little Bit     Summer 2008

Smokey     Summer 2008

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy 6th Purrthday to the Twins!

Happy 6th purrthday to Freya and Heimdall!  In 2010, they were born to a pet cat in Salem, OR, and were two out of a litter of four.  The other two were taken with them to Salem Friends of Felines.  Freya was given the shelter name of Furkins and Heimdall was given the shelter name of Fonz.  The other siblings were given the shelter names of Fizz and Fink.  They were already adopted by the time we saw Freya and Heimdall.

Their mom-cat was a tuxie and their dad-cat was a neighborhood Siamese.  They were born at their mom-cat's home, but the humans there didn't want to keep them and got the mom-cat spayed shortly after.

Happy purrthday, twins!  We love you both!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Saturday PhotoHunt (on Sunday): Night

Niss writes:

Usually I eat at the back porch food bowl, but sometimes the raccoons get there first.  When that happens, I go hang out by the front door of the house, because sometimes the humans will put a little pile of food out here.  They were coming home when I was checking, and startled me!  Once they were inside, they got food for me and put it out where I was waiting, then called for me.

Are you a photohunter?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What Starla Did on her Gotcha Day!

Starla writes:

Today was my Gotcha Day Annifursary!  I can't believe it's been seven years already since I was adopted by Uncle Skylar!  The piccy above was me on the first full day (the 4th) I was a member of this household, when Smokey and I both got spayed.  I came inside the afternoon before, so on the 3rd, which is why we celebrate the 3rd.

I was just shy of my 2nd birthday when I was adopted, at least that's why my purrents think.  I'm not telling for sure!  They didn't know me as a baby kitten, only after I moved in two houses from them in Portland.  My mom-cat and Little Bit's (and Smokey's) mom-cat were sisters from the same litter, making me cousins with Little Bit.  The same people had Little Bit's mom-cat who had me, because they took me from my feral mom-cat when they moved with Boo-Boo Kitty (who they had adopted).

I became a semi-feral, semi-socialized young cat, then I found the green house.  It had a nice, warm, dry basement that I could get into from the outside, a porch with a food bowl, and sometimes the humans would bring me inside.  They made plans to foster me when they were told by "my" humans that they could.  My spay was scheduled.

They brought me inside the day before, and told me I would be staying.  I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded nice.  The next day, Smokey and I went to the vet and got spayed, then came back.  We got chilled, even though we had a fleece blankie around us and one over the stroller, so Uncle Skylar hopped up on the couch to snuggle me warm.  He looked at the humans, curled around me, and that was that!  We were besties from then on.  I miss him a lot.

Slowly, I got used to the other cats in the household, and now I'm friends with everyone.  I still worry some about Carbon, because he likes to be threatening, but I don't hide.  I mainly spend time on the dishwasher in the kitchen, but I also like the sun puddles in the dining room, if Carbon's not easily seen.  I still have anxiety issues, and have to be "flown" in or herded in to the bathroom for potty time.  I use the tub still if I make it in there; otherwise, I use the kitchen floor and then Mommy cleans it up.

Mixx doggy and I are still besties!  I'm "his" kitty and he's "my" woofie.  We both get big smiles when we see each other, and happy ears!

Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What? Who? Woofie!

Starla writes:

This is my newest friend!  His name is Mixx, and he's Auntie Shawnee's woofie who came to live in our garage when she came to live with us.  We first met him when he was just a tiny puppy, smaller than I am.

Mixx was the little one in the box!  That picture was taken at Daddy's brother's house on June 2, 2013.  Now he's about as big as the bigger woofie, Timber, who lives with Daddy's brother's family.

So, that dishwasher where I spend a lot of my time lately?  It makes prime woofie-watching territory!  When Mixx is running around out in the garage, I can spy on him if the door opens.  I bob up and down, trying to look around whoever opened the door, until I see him.  Then I meow, sometimes out loud and sometimes silently, and he spies on me, too!  It's a pretty fun game that we've been playing for about a month now.

Well, the game escalated last night, in a great way!  See, I'm the scaredy-kitty of the household, even to the point of having been on kitty Prozac a couple times.  But I like the Mixx-woofie!  When Auntie Shawnee came in from the garage last night, I was on the dishwasher, bobbing to see the woof as usual.  Auntie Shawnee was talking to us both, and then I jumped down to get a closer look.  I didn't puff up or anything; far from it!  I got as close as I could while still staying on my side of the open door, and Mixx got as close as he could while staying on his side.  We sniffed towards each other and got as close to touching noses as either of us dared!  Auntie Shawnee was so proud of us!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, he doesn't come inside with us and he's got a doghouse in the yard to play around, too.  And he gets walkies!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday PhotoHunt: Cat

Dare writes:

This is feeding time at our house, when we get special treats!  This time, we got tuna, but sometimes we get canned cat food or pouch food.  Everyone comes running, meowing our heads off for the plates to be put on the floor faster!  Once they're down, we all jockey for position.  We eat by pecking order, so Carbon and Rori always get plates first, also Tabby and the twins.  The rest of us get to eat with them or when they're done, unless there are more plates put down for us.  In this picture, Carbon, one of the twins, Starla, and Missy have the plates.  I'm getting ready to ask Starla if I can share a plate with her, and Tabby and the other twin have the cans.  Bit's waiting her turn patiently, and so is Panther.

I love being part of a clowder!  That's what a group of cats is called, and we have 14 in our clowder.  Some of us are fosters, some are outside ferals, and most are forevers.  Regardless, we're all part of the gang!

Are you pawticipating in the Caturday Photo Hunt today?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dress Up Your Pet Day

Tabby writes:

Today is Dress Up Your Pet Day, so are you dressing up?  I sure am!  Unlike our friend Ava (pictured above), I actually will wear clothes.  I even was a model for a fashion show once!

Of course, I just had to get a new dress for the day!  I got this one at PetSmart.  It has an attached purple tutu and says "Best Friends are Rescued".  Yep, we are!  Mommy let me wear her pretty coral necklace, and Auntie Shawnee let me wear her headband.  I love the flowers!  I also got to use Auntie Shawnee's vanity table!

Every good model needs a great manager, so Heimdall offered to be mine.  I think he may be mixed up on what a manager does, because he acted like a bodyguard most of the time.

See what I mean?  But, hey, at least he rocked the necklace, too!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Taking the Pet Blogger Challenge!

This is the first year we've participated in the Pet Blogger Challenge, and we're glad to have had input from many of you over the last year and few years that we've had this blog.

Here are our answers for the 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge:
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone who is visiting for the first time, please give a quick description of the subject of your blog.

 We've been blogging for about 9 years now.  We first started blogging in our diaries on Catster, then created "Furry Tails of the PDX Pride" after a few years when we realized that cat blogging was a "thing".  We blog about our daily lives around the house, which animal visitors we get in our backyard, the feral cats who come by, and Tabby's tales of being an animal-assisted therapy volunteer with Mommy at a nursing home once a month.

2. What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?

 Because of Tabby's therapy cat tales series, she and Mommy were speakers for the second time at the NW Pet and Companion Fair (a pet expo).  They talked about/demonstrated how to be a therapy cat team and what training is necessary.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

We have two favorite posts:  one that shows how smart the ferals are and another that shows what Tabby does when she's out and about.  The first one, about ferals Tigress and Little Niss, shows how Tigress treats Niss as her own kitten, even though she never had kittens of her own.  The second, about Tabby, details a typical visit and reactions when she's doing her therapy cat work.

4. A common theme from last year’s challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audiences. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we’d all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you’ve done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?

We did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the first time this year.  It's not specific to pet blogs, so it brought a varied new audience.  We found some blogs from it that we really liked, too!  Plus, we were blogging every day, so it was a good routine.

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link.)

Our birthday posts when they came around were high-traffic ones, but we really don't know what made Daddy's Lawnmower Monster so irresistible!  It got 321 views!

6. What is one blog that you read religiously – other than your own – and what makes you such a devoted reader? (Please include a link.)

We love reading SparkleCat, featuring Summer and also Glogirly.  We love the photography and the stories behind the photos!

7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?

Mommy uses Picasa to edit the photos she takes of us, and we use NetworkedBlogs to post directly to Mommy's Facebook page (and sometimes Tabby's) as well as let our readers know when we have new posts.

8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?

Write from the heart.  If you don't like what you write, redo it until you like it.  Other people's opinions don't matter as much as your own, so do what you love.

9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?

Our goals for our blog for 2016 are the same as the last few years':  chronicling our year in words and photos!

10. You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there one blogging challenge you’d like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

We would like to know what you like best and don't like about our blog, and what was the most surprising thing we wrote about in the last year.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Therapy Cat Tales: How Tabby Travels on Public Transportation

Tabby writes:

Today's Pet Travel Safety Day, so I'm writing about how I keep safe while traveling on public transportation.  When I'm in the car, I ride on harness & leash or in a carrier like the kitty pictured above.  However, when I go visiting the nursing homes and other places, I usually ride the bus or the MAX light rail train with Mommy.

This is my stroller.  It's specially-made for pets!  People think it's a baby stroller, but the top folds out and the mesh comes up so it's fully enclosed.  We decorate it for holidays, like these heart stickers for last Valentine's Day.

Heimdall also likes riding in the stroller, but usually only around the house after I get back from my visits.  He likes to roll places, mol!  Mommy is training him to go places, too, so he rides the same way I do.  Since Heimdall's in training, he isn't allowed to ride just on harness and leash.  He has to be in the carrier bag as well.  It fits right in the stroller and has mesh so we can see out.

When I go places on the bus, I have to be in the carrier bag also, because the bus rules for both the Vancouver buses (C-Tran) and the Portland public transportation (Tri-Met) say that all pets must be in carriers.  Some bus drivers don't consider the stroller an adequate carrier, so the carrier bag is taken out of the stroller and the stroller is folded down.  On the MAX light rail, I can stay in the stroller because strollers don't have to be folded down.

Animals that participate in animal-assisted therapy have to abide by the rules for pets, not the rules for service animals.  That's because we are still considered pets.  Service animals help only their owner, and with specific tasks for medical and/or psychological reasons.  Emotional support animals are pets but have specific housing regulations and airline regulations.  Therapy animals are pets that are trained with their owner to help other people in a variety of situations.  We can help random people on public transportation, but that is a side-benefit and does not grant us extra legal protection.  We are pets, first and foremost, and then we help people in specific settings like nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and therapists' offices.

These rules and laws help keep me safe on public transportation and out in public in general.  When I'm in my carrier bag, no one can pet me without my humans' approval because my carrier bag is zipped shut.  I also cannot escape from it, so if I get scared I can't run in an emergency.  I prefer to ride in my open stroller like in the Valentine's Day picture, but I also know that my carrier bag is my "safe zone" and ask to climb in it when I'm unsure of a situation or am too tired to visit anymore.

Dogs are another reason I like being safe in my stroller.  This dog actually wanted to hop in my stroller with me!  Another time, a husky actually picked me up.  When my stroller mesh is zipped, they can't get to me.  When it's unzipped, like this picture, my humans keep an eye out for dogs, small children, and other potentially-hazardous situations.  Most dogs get along well with me, but there are always exceptions.  That's why it's good to know the pet's boundaries and monitor the situation.

Safe travels, my friends!  Always follow the rules for pets on public transportation!