Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mr. Chin

I have begun helping another rescue operation and a new group that is running low cost spay neuter clinics and planning on building a sanctuary. The sanctuary plan is very exciting and I will tell you more about it as it progresses. You may go to the site on the top left of the blog for more about The Rozzie May Animal Alliance. And if you are interested in supporting a new sanctuary, you may contact them through the site. I can vouch for the fact that the folks running it are quite capable of doing what they say they will do, so I am looking forward to being part of the project.

I will add the rescue group's site to my links as soon as I have done the work on it.

About this fellow whose charming photo is featured here. This is the wonderful Mr. Chin. He is a rescue dog in search of the human who will love him. As you can see, he is a major personality. I have so far found that taking photos of cats is a cinch and dogs were difficult. But now I am going to have more dog photos to do. Mr. Chin has given me my first really good dog portrait. He sat for it, as you can see.

If you are interested in meeting Mr. Chin, drop me a line and I will put you in contact with the rescue group. It's zuleme AT zuleme Dot com

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Working Class Cats

The New York Times has a neat story today on working cats abd how valuable they are for keeping rodents down. Since it is now free on line, hop over there and check it out.

Here in the Frozen North we have our own famous working cat. His name is Nin and he works on top of Mount Washington, at the Observatory. Nin is pretty famous around here and you can get a coffee mug with his photo on it. See the Oberservatory's web site at for more on Nin. Olof and I have done a lot of work for them including exhibits at their Discovery Center and videos. Olof has been up there shooting in the winter when the wind was so strong he needed help holding the camera down.

And there is a cool website called If you have any working cat stories to tell.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Yup, she has been adopted! I thought she would go quickly, especially since she had become comfortable with being at the shelter and she was connecting with people who were paying attention to her.

The shelter will do a follow up call in two weeks. But she is such a sweet girl I don't think there will be any problems.

I am glad she has gone to a good home and is not out wandering in the snow. Next time I go in for photos I will ask who adopted her.

I will add her to my list of the ones I wish I could have had. But it is better for her to be with someone else. We are doing well as a brother sister team right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Little White Kitty Girl Update

I stopped by the shelter and took a few cat photos yesterday. Little White Kitty Girl is doing quite well. She looked calm and cozy in her two room condo. She had adjusted to the sounds and smells of the shelter and came up to greet me. She is very sweet and they say there is a nice woman interested in adopting her. I am sure she will be adopted soon, she is such a pretty girl with a sweet nature. I was glad to see how calm and content she looked. She does have a slight cold at the moment so I hope she will be adopted soon. I didn't hug her because of the cold but I felt like she was quite comfortable while she waits for that special person who will love her.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ramona in Motion

Yes, somebody caught the mouse. There wasn't much left of it when Olof found it. Did you know that the food highest in taurine (which cats need) is mouse?
It is good to know we have a ready supply of cat food if the world runs out of Fancy Feast. Just set up a little mouse farm. Each night now as soon as we turn off the lights, herself goes to work to rid the den of rodents. I appreciate her efforts.

I think she is the better hunter, but I guess it could be Harper.

Most of the time Queen Ramona is elegant and poised. But sometimes she gets a little flirty when she wants a belly rub or a cuddle.

The wind is whipping around here tonight. It will be a cuddly cat under the blanket night here in the Frozen North.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I awoke around 5 AM to the sound of angry voices. Feline voices. Ramona was growling. I knew what she was saying.

"I have the mouse, it's my mouse. I am Tiger GUUURRRRRLLL and it is MY MOUSE."

Harper was pissed. But Ramona was determined to hold on to that mouse.

I fell asleep again and woke at 6 AM to floofy tails and Harper doing the Long John thing. You know, he is really pissed off now.

"Oh Long John, oh oh oh wrorw wrow wrow"

Ramona was under the bed.

When I got up I pieced the story together from what they told me.

There was a mouse. Ramona caught it and Harper said it was his since he heard it first. Ramona was not going to let him have it. Then she lost it and Harper was really upset because he didn't get it at all.

Down in the kitchen I saw Harper on mouse duty.

"It''s here and I am GOING TO GET IT""

Then I heard the mouse's side of things. Imagine this two octaves up.


At this time, a little past 8 AM, they appear to have made up and are teaming up.

That mouse doesn't have a chance if he sticks his nose out.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Harper Behaving Badly

This happened Monday night and Harper has not been happy about it.

"I am very concerned about this white stuff all over my Outside."

"So why the heck don't you fix it! Fix it for me! I wanna go OUT! Now!!"

"Please? Fix it so I can go out?"

"OK, then if you won't fix it, let me play with the clicky thing."


You may think that my cats are always perfectly behaved and I know everything this is to know about feline behavior.


Monday morning while we were watching (but he was quick about it) Mr. H walked into the kitchen and took a big stinky POOP on the kitchen rug. The litter box being an uncomfortable foot and a half away.

I quickly went and put some baking soda kitty litter on it and whaddya know, the dainty Miss R came along and said "oh, new bathroom? How conveinent!" and she peed a dainty little pee on top of the mess.

This happened once when we were away overnight and my neighbor who was looking in on them informed me she was leaving it for me as cleaning up kitty poop was beyond the call of neighborly duty. At that time I figured they were stressed out by our absence.

But this one has really got me puzzled.

Harper will also invade the Queen's boudoir for a wrassle every evening around 9 PM. I guess he gets lonely. She puts up with it and we know she can lick his butt if she wants to. He also will hop on the bed when she is peacefully sleeping and start doing competitive licking which escalates to wrassling. So I woke around 4 AM to a commotion on my belly.

So as they grow and their personalities develop we can see that Harper is going to be the Big Lug and Ramona is going to be the Peacemaker. Harper always wants to play more and Ramona likes to cuddle up and contemplate the world.

A couple of kittens would keep him on his toes, dontcha think?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cats Sleep Anywhere

They run around like the wild things they are, up and down the cat trees, through the alley behind the stairs, tearing up the rugs and hopping up and down on the bed. Then a switch goes off and perfect repose happens. It is about 16 degrees out and the wind is howling as winter circles around to slap us hard and make us think we only imagined the too hot days of summer picking an endless harvest of tomatoes. We'll all be dreaming by our winter fires soon as the apartment next door will be finished today complete with a gas fireplace for the elders, done up in stone. Uncle Sid should appreciate it too, as he is getting on seven.

The Harpster does this unbearably cute move where he reaches his paws out and then crosses them over his head as he stretches luxuriously.

Ramona curls up into a perfect zen circle on one of her favorite spots. The first photo I took didn't happen when the camera battery died, so this time, when I came back, she is well aware that I am pointing the clicky thing at her.

But she doesn't mind. It is to be expected that I need to take many photos of her royal beauty.

And this of course, as long time Caturday readers will remember, is Fergus the Beloved at about eight weeks old, sleeping in the tiny basket I carried him around in because he couldn't bear to be left alone. I adored the way his lower jaw would jut out as he slept, giving hin a charming profile, like a wise oriental sage.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Room of Her Own

A girl, especially a Queen like Ramona, deserves a private spot for reflection on her arduous duties. I built Ramona a private space she loves. It is only a square footstool covered by a snuggly polar fleece blankie with a girl soft fuzzy kitty pillow underneath. When the Queen is in her boudoir it is understood that she Does Not Want To Be Disturbed and we leave her alone. She loves this spot and I recommend it for any kitty that Wants To Be Alone.

Her brother, on the other hand, curls up on top of the sofa or on the bed or in his favorite spot in front of the heater. He's never needed a spot for meditation like his contemplative sister.

By the way, for fun check out the new site featuring purrcasts. I thought of doing this once but luckily some folks have gone ahead and done a good job recording some purrs from happy felines. Two so far. It's at...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Winter Plans

I decided to get in shape and joined the local exercise club. 8 AM for PIlates. Harper says he wants to come too. That might not be a bad idea, he is a little portly. I'm sure he'd be a hit in class.

The weather has gotten gloomy and the felines outdoor activities have been shortened to a quick "Yippee I'm Out!! and Yippee I'm In!" Ramona has her throne from which she can keep an eye on things outside. Most days she lets Harper run out in the snow. She is too smart to want to get her feet cold. They run around the house in frantic bursts of energy and then collapse in front of the TV like the rest of us.

And lastly, here is the Thanksgiving message Jack Frost left for us. Good thing we like snow around here. It's on the way.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Cat At The Door

My English friend was sounding a little concerned.

"I have three things to ask you," she said. The first two were merely dates to get together for writing critiques and dinner. Then she paused, "And the third thing is, I found a cat. She's been crying around here for about four days and finally I got her in and fed her. She was starving. I've called everyone in town and no one knows anyone who might own her. I can't keep her, our cat would make her miserable. Can you help me?"

I knew our local shelter where I take photos was pretty full, as are all the shelters in NH.

"Don't bring it here," said Olof. He knew what would happen. It's peaceful around here with just Brother and Sister and we hope to travel next summer.

So I emailed the shelter's new director, hoping that all my volunteer work would gain me some help when a feline and my friend needed it. She said, we're full but bring her in.

I went and picked her up. She was a slender girl, pure white and very much wanting affection. She was not a feral stray. This girl had been someone's pretty kitten. I wondered what her story was. Had she been dropped off on a quiet country road once she was no longer a kitten? All the way to the shelter she gave out soft, sweet, heartbreaking cries.

So here she is, checked into a mini suite at the shelter and isn't she too beautiful for words?

Yes, I'd like to take her home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Abby's Story

I took this photo of Abby on July 23 this summer. She is a lovely 4 year old Lady Cat now in residence at the shelter in Conway. She is safe there and taken care of but she is not happy.

Abby's human died last summer and Abby doesn't understand why he is gone, why he didn't come back for her and what she is doing in this strange place with strange people and lots of cats. She is rather pissed off about it and feeling depressed and cranky. And she doesn't understand that she would have a home in a second except for one thing.

She can't stand other cats.

Her human's sister would love to give her a home except that she has other cats and that would make everyone miserable. Abby needs that rare creature, a kind loving cat person with no cats.

Abby's story is a reminder to all of us that we need to make plans for our beloved felines in case something happens to us. I know that if I died, my two would be safe in their home with Olof. If we both left this planet unexpectedly, my in-laws would do their best to take them (as we would take care of Uncle Sid for the rest of his life if he needed us).

But they are 80 and we are in our fifties and I need to keep that in mind for the future. For one thing, at some point I believe that older people should not adopt kittens. I might have another kitten in my life but probably only if that kitten was Brendan returning. My mother, who is 76, has been adopting only adult cats for some time now. Her current feline is 13. If she needs another she will go to the shelter and look for the oldest and least adoptable feline there and give them a loving home.

The shelter sees elder humans coming in and wanting kittens (and puppies) all the time. That's fine if there is a famiy waiting in the wings to take care if needed. But a kitten could also end up in the shelter a few years down the road if there is no care plan in place.

Like Abby, who is confused and sad and angry at what has happened to her. None of us want that for our beloved felines so it is part of our responsibility towards them to have a plan for their care if needed.

Abby will find a home eventually. There are wonderful people here in New Hampshire and someone will come along who will help her. But how much better it would have been for her if her human had chosen someone beforehand and she had never entered the stressful environment of the shelter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ramona's Dawn Patrol

Ramona likes to keep watch on her King (oops, Queendom), from a suitably high road.

La da di da...Nice morning for a stroll.

What's going on here today?

Would you look at that now! How many guys are working today? And did that big dog come?

Nope, no dog. Cool.

Gotta turn the corner here, this can be tricky. It's a delicate manuver.

Whew! Need a rest after that!

I'll just rest my paw here while I check on how things are going over there.

Um mum da dum. It's good to be Queen.

Down we go! (she was so fast this shot is blurry)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Queen

Oh I am Queen
Of all I see
All I see
Belongs to me

la la la la
la la la la!

I am Queen of the World!

Like my song?

I will rule wisely, with a gentle paw.

Queen Ramona

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Harper Makes A Mistake

On Tuesday Ramona and I went to the vet to have her gums looked at. Ramona had some acupuncture (she fell asleep in the vet's arms) and we were told she should have a dental and no more Fancy Feast or any food with grain in case she is allergic to something in it. After a dental we could start trying a regime of herbal remedies and maintenence.

We were goine a couple of hours.

When we came home Harper came in and walked up to Ramona and...

He didn''t recognize her.

She must have smelled different, all those smells of other animals from the vet. Our vet is very much hands on and after an hour of being held on her lap, Ramona might just have smelled like a

Harper turned into a growling monster. His tail expanded to four times its normal size and he went after her. Poor Ramona fled to a spot under the washing machine but Harper struck at her and hit her in the head. She quivered under the stairs while I got Harper into another room. When I got Ramona out she had a claw stuck in her head and she was indignant.

I gently removed the claw.

"My brother is an idiot," she said.

Harper was adamant. We had removed his sister and returned with a stranger.

That night we shut him out of the bedroom and kept Ramona with us. Harper came and howled miserably at the door when he wanted his middle of the night hug.

The next day he hadn't come to his senses. I put him in a crate and let Ramona come up to him. He growled and hissed and she growled and hissed back,

The situation was ridiculous and we worried that we would have to keep one of them in the studio for the rest of their lives. I put Harper in a harness and tied him to a chair in the living room where he and Ramona could stare and growl at each other.

I left them and went upstairs to watch TV.

Suddenly I heard the sounds of racing, hissing, growling cats and I ran downstairs.

Harper had slipped out of the harness and cornered Ramona under the living room stairs. And then..

She turned into a growling, hissing, spitting fireball of furious feminine tigress.

He not only backed off, he suddenly realized he had made a huge error.

This was his sister, his beloved sister, he had attacked.

And she was PISSED!

From that point on he backed off and began to work on getting back into her good graces. And Ramona saw that she was now in charge of the situation. She would growl and Harper would slowly slink away and then creep back as close as he could get to her. He would sit under her glacial stare and wash his paws, trying to say "See, I'm just a nice guy sitting here washing."

Ramona decided to make him eat a lot of crow. She wouldn't let him on the bed with us. Harper was miserable.

Then the next day as I looked out the window I watched as she played along the rock wall in the garden. Harper was watching. Ramona knew he was watching. She let him come close to her and give her a sniff while she pretended she didn't see him. I let them alone to work things out.

That afternoon Olof and I went to sit in the last warmth of the autumn sun in the garden. Both cats came up to join us and they were playing at walking along the top of the wooden fence along the garden's edge. Then Ramona made a play leap at Harper. He sat down with a happy, surprised look.

"She's going to forgive me!""

And carefully he hunkered down in the carrots and wiggled his butt, then gently sprang at her in a play attack. The two of them ran off and then continued to leap at each other.

And when Ramona had had enough she just said so.

Now things have changed a little here. Harper no longer disturbs Ramona's sleep by licking her until she comes and wrassles with him. The family has a new Top Cat.

Ramona is in charge.

"It is good to be Queen," she says.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ramona's Ritoileys

Ramona is a bit of a foodie.She appreciates the good things in life and Stinky Goodness is one of them. When they were little I would make a point of whistling whenever I brought their food, planning ahead for when I might want then to come when I call them.

Now I can stick my head out the door and whistle and both cats will arrive. Ramona usually runs. Then I look at her and whistle softly and most of the time she will answer...Yeah! Feed me!

Sometimes she will now say Yeah Feed Me without a whistle asking her first.

She is also our Sub Dorker. That means she loves to get under a blanket under our knees, which is where she is right now, gently persuading me to stay in bed just a bit longer.

Todsy she and I will go see our holistic vet. Ramona still has red gums and I am concerned about it. Ramona is terrified of anything to do with a vet's office but this is not quite the usual bright lights and stainless steel table thing so I hope she will not be so scared. And I hope to get some good advice on making sure Ramona doesn't have issues that inflame her gums.

Last night Ramona was sitting with me in front of the Noisy Box when she suddenly got up and walked over to Olof where she settled herself on his lap, much to his delight. These two have not divided up their possesion of us, they split their affection evenly, helping to make a contented and peaceful Animal Family.

Brendan told Ramona to take care of us and she is a grown up girl now taking over her responsibilities. Brendan would be proud of her.

They are not quite two years old. Their birthday is February 7th which is still over three months away. So they are one and three quarters years old.

Fat Eric has given is a blogging award which I will try to post. Thanks Eric! I remember Ramona was also given a Rocking Girl Blogger award a while ago which I will have to try to find and post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Time Goes By

This winter the kittens will be two. The time has flown since that cold day in April we drove one thousand miles to collect them from a shelter in NY State. We agree they are worth every mile.

I love the way a feline's personality and their relationship with you grows. On the drive back, Harper calmly sat next to me in the back seat of the car, looking up at me and giving me eye blinks. He looked like a mini Yoda with those big paws. Ramona was shyer but she came out of the crate too to sit closer to me. She was ill with an infected eye and URI and they were only seven weeks old. The shelter's vet had said the best thing for them was to get them out of the shelter, which was cold and overcrowded since it was new and under construction. Their beautiful mother, Maya, had been adopted.

So they came here and we put them in a room of their own and every night I would get up around 2 A.M. and bring them some warm, wet food which they would gobble up. Then Ramona went through a phase where she was so ill she wouldn't eat. She pulled though and her eye healed, much to our relief.

When she got better she pursued Brendan until her admiration won him over. The rest is history, as you know.

While Brendan was alive he slept on the bed in between us on his special heat pad, which no one else ever lay on. After losing him, both kittens have joined us. And in the evenings they have learned to come upstairs for a lap sit in front of the Noisy Box. Lately I get Ramona and Olof gets Harper.

It always amazes me that we can develop an understanding relationship with these small tigers. Some tine ago Ramona was on my lap when she looked up into my eyes and we gazed at each other for a long time. I felt the understanding coming from her, we are two species yet we connect and we are one tribe. If I pick her up she purrs and I always wonder when they start to connect being safe with being with us. And when they learn that the feeling we have for them is love.

They are developing their own ritoileys too. Those are the things cats figure out that they do every day with you. I think cats find ritual very comforting. Brendan used to say that a good day was a normal day. And I think a cat has a normal day when the ritoiley happens on schedule.

For Ramona it is running down the stairs with me in the morning for breakfast. Then going out after Dawn Patrol and coming in at noon for lunch and then in the evening to have the door shut. She is also learning the evening lap sit. Harper has the ritoiley that he doesn't eat until I put a taste of his food on my finger for him. And he loves to hop up on the toilet seat and get a firm grooming session. He'll put his paws up on the back of the toliet and snorkle loudly to show how much he lilkes it. Now when he hears the shower running her will wait outside the door and yell until you open up and brush him.

Harper also comes in for a hug in the middle of the night, yelling to wake up his chosen hugger to make room for him. And he climbs up and puts his head on my chest in the morning while I read the news.

I think there is another stage in a cat's understanding on their relationship with humans when they learn that they give you comfort. Then they start seeing your well being as their responsibility. That's when they come to you if you are wide awake at 3 AM or sick in bed. I believe Ramona remembers being sick and being cared for and now she cares for us.

I think that when you reach that stage your understanding of each other and your bonding is complete.

Harper is communicating that I will not get another cuddle from him until he has been Out and Border Patrol must be done.