Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Tradition?

Today for Christmas my mother and I watched videos of cats interacting with Christmas trees  Neither one of us have a decorated tree this year and we're both cat lovers.  After watching these vidoes, we realized our cats were relatively good in the past. I don't think my artificial tree is big enough or full-bodied enough to be enticing.

In the video below I think Shorty and Kodi get the prize for being the most "helpful."
This is one of my favorites:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Joy, Joy

A little while ago I wrote about knitted birds for Christmas.  A friend of mine especially likes cardinals and I wanted to knit her one.  I even bought the pattern.  However, I was not very happy that it seemed like I had to buy an entire hank of gold yarn to knit a little, bitty gold beak.  Then I noticed a drawing and did some investigation.  Cardinals' beaks are red! I don't have to buy gold yarn.

Best piece of news I've had in a while.  Now all I have to worry about is attaching the eye, without the little white felt circle since the bird obviously doesn't have that either. 

Cat Agility

Several years ago my mother moved into a very nice senior citizens' apartment complex, Bethany Village Apartments.  Unfortunately she's allowed only one cat.  Understandably her cat Susie is a little tubby and a little bored.  I've mentioned cat agility exercises to my mother before, but she doesn't seem interested.  I wonder if someone else would.

Here is a wonderful video demonstrating what cats can do:

I have one cat who goes into crazy zooming mode and runs from one end of the apartment to another and does what I call circuits around the living room. If she ate treats that were good for her, besides catnip, she might enjoy this.

Here's a photo from the web site from International Cat Agility Tournaments with some upscale equipment.  The young man in the video made his own equipment, so it can be low cost.

Here I was just thinking it would be a good thing for high energy or tubby cats who are bored and need something to do.  You know what it's like when a high energy cat is bored. They either bother you for attention, get into something they shouldn't or keep you up at night.  Put the cat through the agility course a couple times and s/he should leave you alone for a while.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Most Beautiful Christmas Tree

This in my mind was the most beautiful Christmas tree I ever had in all my life:
This is what a Christmas tree is supposed to look like, not one of those unnatural, bristly, upside-down cones that hardly have room for ornaments.  This tree had one flaw but you can't tell.  It had a bottom branch that hung too long, so I pulled it up with a wire and anchored it.

The fun began for the cats before I even had it up.

Unfortunately I have to deprive them of a real Christmas tree these days.  I found out they release thousands of mold spores inside and I'm allergic to mold.  I'll never find another tree like this anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Genealogy Scrapbook

At this point in time my mother wouldn't be happy that I spent money on her, but I do know that subconsciously she still expects something for Christmas.  What I chose to do will at least spread out into other holidays.  I decided it was time to start a genealogy scrapbook for her.  Mom doesn't really understand pedigree charts.  There is a lot more information than the charts give you, anyway.  The genealogy programs on television the last few years gave me the idea of doing a scrapbook for her, only not in black and white.  Friends also want me to write a book from my research and this will also help me develop it. 

It was a good day to buy what I needed.  Since medication affects my mother's cognition, I thought it would be a good idea to buy the light green book that reads "Family" all over it.  That would help her remember what it was.  A few weeks ago when I looked they were in all the stores.  For one reason or other I went to three craft stores tonight and there was only one single book left, and of course I bought it, with a coupon.

In the family name section, I'll put in "[Mother's Name]"s Ancestors."  It's a very unusual person who is only the product of one family.

Inside this is a family tree silhouette you're supposed to put names and photos on.  It doesn't work.  I guess no one in the company realized that you go from 2 ancestors on a side to 4 to 8.  The numbers of branches don't agree, so I'll just ignore it.  The page is also slightly creased.  It was the same case with the one before that I almost bought.  I hope it'll iron out.

No blah backgrounds for me.  Pads of paper were on sale, so I found what I thought would be a nice assortment.  I plan to make the backgrounds for each basic family a different color.  I chose Recollections' Fashionably Chic.  The patterns have a nice vintage feel and are moderate in design.

I've liked K & Company's SW Botanical and finally bought a pad.  It doesn't have any pink in it, so I might have to look for another by the company.

I don't remember seeing Spring Blossom, but isn't it pretty?  Mom and I both like daisies and bumble bees.

This one might work, too:

I'm entering scrapbooking without a lot of money to spend on it.  I will have to do more with less, but that's my style anyway in most things that I do. I want to use the more interesting designs to accent the plainer backgrounds.  I hope it will work.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bird Ornaments

A few years ago I ran around all over trying to find realistic looking birds to put on my Christmas tree.  I found them the very last place I looked, a store a couple blocks from me.  It's since closed.  I think my search was worth it because I liked my tree very much.

I  really didn't want to take the ornaments off and put them away.

However, there are some very cute bird ornaments I wouldn't mind knitting.  I really like these round little fellows from Chiwaluv Amigurumi Critters.  I think the only thing stopping me is I don't have DK or other lightweight yarn in the right colors.

There is also this little adorable bird from Knitting For Your Home.

Audrey's Knits on Ravelry gives you a lovely flying bird.

Another dove-like bird, one I like from Knit Cafe Toronto.

Yet another dove pattern.  I don't want to be accused of leaving one out!  This is Picasso's Peace Dove from Nicole A. Davis .

You'll have to think about what you want in your dove in order to choose a pattern.

With a little more effort you can make these felted birds, designed by Marie Mayhew and available at Marie Mayhew Designs

This little guy isn't very realistic--he doesn't even live on my continent--but he's definitely very cute and cheerful.  He'd be great to find waiting for you on a package.

He comes from Jacquie Turner.  Here's a whole flock:

Some enterprising knitters made some clever variations.  I had fun looking through them on Ravelry. 

Elfin Booties

A few years ago, probably after I lost my job and realized what a cold draft there was along the living room floor, I decided to knit some felted slippers to wear.  I finally got to it. When I first started to look for a pattern, I came across Elfin Booties by Knitwhits.  I thought they looked like fun.

I had some skeins of Bartlett yarn that were given to me in assorted heather colors.  They have a medium intensity and I thought the heather would help camouflage the dirt.  I knit a cardigan out of Bartlett yarn and I know how warm it is.  I was wearing the cardigan when the temperature was in the 40s and I was comfortable.  I thought the yarn was a good choice.  The original pattern calls for 8 different colors.  I'm knitting with 6 and get a repetition I'd rather not have.  I think you'd probably need 7 to avoid it.

The slippers are fun to knit.  As you can probably guess, each section is knit modular, decreasing from its fullest width.  For the most part you pick up and knit along the edges of two adjacent sections.  It took only about a week to complete one slipper and I'm more than halfway done on the other.  Be warned there are a lot of ends to weave in.

I plan to felt them in a bucket in my tub.  I bought a plunger just for this and will put it on the end of the handle of my old broom.  There's no way I'm paying over $6 to use the laundry mat washer to felt these.  (I have yet to make a friend who will let me use her washer.) At least I know from the Yarn Harlot's effort to felt her French Press slippers that it'll take about 20 minutes.

As I was leaving my mother's on Thanksgiving, she said she'd like a pair if I had enough yarn.  Well, the alpaca laceweight yarn that I wanted to knit her scarf out of came all apart when I just wound it in a ball.  I think it was that particular yarn.  I got out another laceweight and wound that one up successfully.  I even knitted a little with it.  Those stitches are awfully small, though, and I don't think I have the patience for it this year.  I think Mom just might get multicolored slippers for Christmas.

Not all people used 8 different colors to knit the Elfin Booties.  There were some awfully pretty variations shown on Ravelry.

If they aren't elven enough for you, you could always try Elf Shoes by Flint Knits:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sumac Shawl Progress Report

It's been almost a week and I have 6.5 repeats of the pattern row done on the Sumac Shawl. A couple times I had to tink it back because I put in an additional yo.  Once I dropped a yo and couldn't fix it without tinking it.  At least I know I can get yo happy and put in too many.  I don't think I'll have any trouble finishing this in time for Christmas.  I think I can definitely say working on increasingly more difficult shawls is a good way to learn how to knit lace shawls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Missing Yarn and New Projects

Once again I can't find a skein of yarn.  It'll show up sometime soon.  I hope it will be in time to knit a small shawl for my mother for Christmas.  A friend of mine had just found her dog after it had been missing for almost two weeks.  Her search for Phoebe inspired this message and photo on Facebook:
Missing 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill alpaca lace yarn in colorway Quartz (I think).  Last seen in the vicinity of my armchair last Friday night.  Yarn does not come when called.  It is wary of anyone with a stick in their hand.  May be hiding in stash. May be looking for another of its kind.

It's still missing.

Fortunately I had another project in mind for my mother.  I had bought some lovely Laines du Nord Dolly Baby in Spring 2009 half price.  It's a lovely lavender in "100% Wool Merino Extrafine Unshrinkable." 

My mother had chosen the Sumac Shawl pattern.  I hadn't yet knit any lace shawls and planned to knit a few shawls in progressively more difficult patterns for practice beforehand.  It seems to have worked.  I've done 4 repetitions of the pattern so far. 

When I was looking for the missing yarn, I was talking to my mother on the phone.  She said she hoped after I finished the pullover I was working on that I would knit something for her.  I didn't say anything.  I hope to keep it a surprise.  She doesn't use a computer, either.

I wanted the lace yarn so I could start the shawl for the knitting group Friday afternoon.  I didn't think I could work on my Sumac Shawl then.  I couldn't find anything else, though, so I took the shawl pattern.  For some reason I have to make 3 attempts at a new shawl before I can work the pattern right.  The same thing was true last Friday.   At least I left with a few rows finished that I was confident in.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Home Fiber Festival

I see there will be yet a third fiber festival this fall, this time in Springfield, Mass., within driving distance.  I can't afford to go to that one either.  It's not just buying yarn, although that's inevitable.  It's being surrounded by lots and lots of color.  It feels so good!  In a yarn shop it's difficult not to feel obligated to buy something.  A fiber festival is as close as I can get to being invisible and yet soak in all the color as long as I want. 

It's not like I need the yarn.  Here are a few photos when I was trying to do something cute or artsy.  My cats were too well behaved to comply.

This is only a small part of my stash.  Only one of the yarns was knitted, then it was tinked.  Some of my stash goes back to when I first discovered fiber festivals, sometime between 1990 and 1996.  Sometimes I was too busy to knit.  When you live by yourself and work full-time, you don't always have much time to knit.  Then later I became too sick with allergies to knit.
In between it was too difficult to knit.  See this kitten?
It was too hard to knit with her when she was younger.  After I took out my knitting, she would swoop in, grab the yarn in her mouth and try to run off with it.  After rescuing the yarn three times it was just too wet and yucky to knit with so I'd have to put the yarn away.  I had to wait until she was three years old before I could knit again.  Other than this and putting away all the knitting tools, including the circular knitting needles, I haven't had much trouble with her since.  I think that's pretty amazing. 
I have several projects waiting to be finished.  I should have a finishing weekend.  It's not that I have Startitis exactly.  Last year I was knitting sweater vests.  Several times I would be approaching the shaping where you have to pay more attention, so I would start another vest to take to the knitting group because I didn't want to make mistakes with the other vest.  You can see how you'd get in trouble if you keep doing this.  You can also keep in trouble if you don't keep track of what pattern you used and what size needles.  Sometimes I used a pattern for more than one yarn.  From now on, I will at least put a piece of paper with the knitted pieces with that information until I come back to it. 
I also have stash yarn I have to convert.  I've become more sensitive to fibers since my allergies have become more prominent.  Some of  the yarn I have might be beautiful but it's a little too itchy now.  When I started buying yarn it was difficult to find and afford the softer yarn.  Now it's much easier and I have to let go of some of my stash so I can buy it.
I'm pretty excited my last post got a comment from Love and Hisses!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kitty Bunk Bed

Love & Hisses' photo of Loony Jake on the doll bed reminded me of the Kitty Bunk Bed, and I discovered I never shared the story. 

One hot morning in early July I passed a sign for a yard sale and stopped on a whim.  I found this nice, old, wooden doll bunk bed.  It was made in the late 1940s or 1950s.  It was in good condition except for the stain you see in the photo.  I thought it might be a nice thing to keep my plush animals in.  I did not figure on the cats.  Of course they had to check it out immediately, but they also had to get in it. 
Attending a flea market later on I saw another bunk bed almost identical to it, but it was painted. A woman around sixty years old was reminiscing about having one like it and the price was about her age in dollars.  I paid five.
I hadn't even gotten the bed into the living room before Emily climbed in it.

Midnight's fur looks so shiny in this photo.  The straw on the floor below her is his sister's playtoy.

Emily in particular fell in love with the bed.  She would allow only two plush animals at the bottom of it. 
As you can see from the second photo, the platform was not made for healthy ten pound cats.  Within a week I came home from work to find the top one had given out on Emily.  A friend cut out two new hefty platforms out of plywood and I bought new hardware to hold them.  The original supports hadn't been varnished and they disintegrated when I removed them.  Unfortunately I messed up putting in the new platforms and I still have to fix them.  However I have an electrical tool that heats rubber stamp ink for an embossing effect and it turns out it heats up glue to remove it.  Isn't that lucky?  I should have a glue heating session soon, as soon as I locate chisel to scrape the glue away.  I know my cats would love to be able to sleep in the bunk bed the way they want to again. 
I figured I probably wouldn't be the only cat owner using doll furniture for her cats and now I know I'm not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Black and White Cats in the Kitchen

I happen to have black-and-white cat kitchenware in my kitchen, mixed in with the vintage flower dishes, sugars and creamers.  Cats and flowers go together in my mind since growing up my cats always enjoyed the flower gardens.  My collection started when I found a Boston Warehouse black-and-white cat canister at a flea market in Rhinebeck.  The separate sections together make up the shape of a black-and-white cat lying down.   Then I discovered there was a matching cookie jar and tea kettle.  Here's a photo of a different cookie jar I got from ebay:

I did deviate to buy this tabby clock, but she holds flowers.

Recently from Woodenwimsie on Etsy I found this paper towel holder:

I think it belongs in my kitchen, don't you think?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Husband Who Didn't Like Cats

My cousin G. once told me her husband didn't like cats.  G. and C. had a few cats living indoors and out, and I thought maybe C. was just a considerate husband.  He seems a pretty nice guy generally.  Then G.'s parents had to change apartments and they couldn't keep their cats.  G. and C. took the three cats in.  I think the total number of cats inside now is 12, even though their entire house would probably fit in the living room and kitchen of my apartment.  C. must be very considerate I thought.

A few years ago G.'s father passed away and I drove down to the funeral.  I met C. by his father-in-law's casket.  C. started telling me cat stories!  He works nights on the railroad and leaves saying he has to go make cat food money.  Before he leaves, he makes sure all the inside cats are inside and that all cats have food and water.  He also told me about his favorite cat.  A man who doesn't like cats has a favorite?

The second story evolved through bits and pieces of information.  C. has a large building in back where he keeps the old cars he likes and an old airplane.  There's a loft inside.  When my aunt and uncle were moving, C. asked his wife to ask her parents for any old pillow, towels or blankets that they didn't want anymore.  G. asked why.  C.had scrounged up some old armchairs to put in the loft of his workshop in back.  The soft furnishings were to put in the chairs in the loft so that the outside cats could come in and stay warm in the winter.  Since when does a man who doesn't like cats scrounge up cat furniture and bedding?

I have a theory.  G.'s father was pretty much a loud-mouth red-neck.  He thought it was funny when his uncontrolled and neglected huskies killed and ate a kitten.  He had two sons who took right after him.  Another son  told me that verbal abuse was pretty common in the household.  If I were C., I would keep my thoughts about cats to myself too.  But C., I know.

A Friendship in Black and White

Visiting a friend's home for the first time today, I heard a funny story.  The couple had two black-and-white cats and recently they took in a lovely tortoiseshell-and-white pregnant stray (all the kittens found homes).  A skunk lives in the backyard in a woodchuck burrow.  The black-and-white cats and the skunk are friends.  They hang out together and the skunk flushes out rodents for the cats to hunt.  He even comes over to check out my friend's husband when he's outside.  The husband thinks the cats want the skunk to come inside with them.  Every time they come in for the night, they form a line with the skunk in the middle.

I wonder why the attraction.  Is it because they are the same color?  Could the skunk have been raised by a cat?  That's not unheard of.

We are all wise to nature here and know about Eau de Skunk and keeping our pets' shots up to date, but we can't always figure out inter-species friendships.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Swedish Bird Mystery

Recently at my knitting group someone was giving away a collection of knitting booklets.  I took one because of these socks.  I like the little birds.  The booklet is 0115 Idehefte, Sandnes Julehefte.  It was distributed by Swedish Yarn Imports and the copyright belongs to SandnesGarn of Sandes Uldvarefabrik SS.  The booklet is in English and the socks are designed for my shoe size. 

I assume being in a Swedish knitting booklet the bird is Swedish and I don't know what species it is.  Offhand I couldn't find anything on the web to tell me.  However, my knitting group also has a member from Sweden.  I'll have to take this with me to ask her what bird this is.

It's getting closer to that December holiday, you know.


I've done a little investigation.  I think it's possible the bird is supposed to be a European bullfinch.  See the photo below:

It looks pretty close to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beautiful Kitten Litter

Here is the litter the sleepy kitten comes from.  There ARE eight kittens and it looks like only ONE is not a calico.  I tend to like calicos and tortoiseshells.  Did you know that three colors in cats is sex-linked?  Most are female; 1 in 3,000 are male, and usually sterile.  Tricolor males have the feline equivalent of Kleinfelter's Syndrome and have an extra X chromosome.  Female calicos or tortoiseshells can be thought of as half-orange because they have one orange color gene.  An orange female can must have two orange color genes.  A orange male cat needs only one orange color gene.  Each calico or tortoiseshell is unique because the coloring and pattern are determined by conditions in the womb.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweet, Uber-Relaxed Kitten

I can't get over the trust the little kitten has.  I hope nothing ever happens to destroy it.  The litter of kittens is so big!  Eight cow and calico kittens I think.  I wish I could be there with them right now!  What fun.
There is another video of the EIGHT kittens when they were younger, but Blogger refuses to find the right one.  [I do not like this new way of embedding videos, no, I do not.]

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Sweater Finally Underway

I think it was 2008 or earlier when I bought the pattern for Artful Yarns Broadway Trimmed Top:

It was approximately the same time that I bought some Park Avenue Printed yarn, the blue-green no. 136 color, from the Lily Chin Signature Collection at a deep discount from Webs.

The contrast band was tricky because my skin is more sensitive now and the pattern called for a fuzzy yarn, and most natural fiber fuzzy yarns have mohair that is too itchy for me.  What I ultimately set my heart on was Great Adirondack Caribou Yarn in the Birdsong colorway that it was just discontinuing.  Thanks to ebay, I found it in fingering (?) yarn. I kept finding it listed as different weights.  All I know is that if I knit 2 strands together I get exactly the gauge I need, and that's all that counts.  The Birdsong colorway is a hand-dye of green, blue, violet and plum.  The green in the colorway is almost the exact shade of green in the Parke Avenue Printed yarn. 

Within the past year and a half I started to knit the back of the sweater.  It begins with a ribbed lace stitch.  I recently took it to my spinning and knitting group because it was the easiest thing to find.  Tonight I just had to knit for a while and I ended up being able to knit the contrast band in the back.  It looks so pretty knitted.  Too bad it couldn't be fuzzy, too, but the two yarns look so nice together.  Now I wonder how long it will take me to knit the rest of the sweater.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Affected by Color Affection

If you are a member of Ravelry and like shawls, you might be aware that one particular shawl garnered an unusual number of likes, the Color Affection shawl designed by Veera Valimaki.  My friend were discussing it in the spinning and knitting group one spring afternoon.  Thanks to her electronic gizmo, my friend Laurie could even show it to me right then and there. 

I love playing with colors and textures. Try as I might, thoughts of that shawl kept creeping into my mind.  It wasn't long before I scrolled through the project photos on the site. I saw some lovely combinations, but only one or two in my favorite colors.

I learned about the shawl before the  Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair  on the Cummington Fairgrounds.  A friend and I went there together.  It was one of the first hot days of the year.  I wore my favorite batik clothes by Global Village,  a scoop-neck top and a paneled gathered skirts in complementary fabrics in two leafy prints in purple and green (sorry, no photo). I couldn't think of anything I wanted to buy, but since I loved my purple and green batik clothing so much I thought a shawl to wear with them on chilly summer evenings would be nice. 

I walked into my friends' booth Sliver Moon. Here is the same booth at a different fair. 

I happened to find a fingering yarn in just about the exact shade of purple I wanted.  The price for the yardage was great. Because of the way Laurie hand-painted it, it shades to a pink that brings out other colors in the fabric.  Kay had the last of some green yarn she'd dyed.  I don't think I could match the green of the fabric much more closely if I tried.  There was some shading in the green yarn, too, that would echo the batik effect of my clothing.  Both women were amazed at how well the yarn looked with my clothes when they hadn't known what I was wearing that day or what the other was bringing.

I have to admit I immediately thought "Color Affection shawl."  I didn't knit it immediately though.  I lacked a third yarn to go with the yarn.  On the rich purple background of the batik print there is a tie-dye double leaf design in white, shades of green and blue. In the stall that day we all decided that blue would be the color, and a shade they didn't have that day.  I've put off buying the blue yarn because of finances.  I have the fabric that I cut off when I shortened the skirt. This past week Laurie told me to bring in a swatch so that she could dye a blue to go with it and I can knit my shawl. 

On a completely different note, the animal barn were right in the midst of the vendors.  We couldn't hear the music from the other part of the fairgrounds.  The soundtrack for the day were the various vocalizatons of the sheep and goats.  Some sounded very forlorn, some upset, others angry or insistent. At the end of the day after the public had gone, in the barn in the middle of everything it sounded like the animals were talking over the day.  One little black lamb was standing in the center of his pen and for all the world sounded like he was saying he was tired, he was hungry, he wanted his mama, he wanted his own pen and he wanted to go home!


The old HP digital camera is dead, as well as the much newer one. This time it wasn't the camera's fault.  I blame it on the design flaw of a monument.

I wanted to take a photo of the plaque at one side of the Daniel Nimham Memorial at the Putnam County Veterans' Park.

I had the plaque in the viewfinder of the camera and I was stepping back very carefully to site it, since the zoom doesn't work in the camera.  The next thing I know I'm tumbling backward into the small circular structure in the middle. I was first aware of hitting the bottom of my head and my lower back.  I landed on a sharp rock, that I could literally feel in my back the next morning when I woke up.  My thighs came to rest against the interior of the stone wall.  The camera went flying and landed on the gravel. The door of the battery compartment sprang open and the batteries fell out.  I held onto the stone wall, keeping my aching head up and yelling, "Ow!  Ow!"  I was in enough pain that I couldn't think of yelling anything else.  A couple leaving the park stopped and pulled me out. I don't think I would've been able to get out by myself. I remembered I had a blue ice pack in the cooler and put that on my head for a while.  It was not fun driving two hours home.

The next week was pretty much a washout.  The fall aggravated the bursitis in my hips. My neck was so sore.  I was very glad that I already had a cervical collar at home.  I put that on and it helped so much.  Any one position hurt after a while so I alternated between sleeping and sitting. 

To add insult to injury, I had just finished sewing a ribbon dress.  I wore it for the first time to a pow wow at the park that day.  It did not survive unscathed.  The fall must have torn at the fibers.  Washing the dress weakened them further. One stroke with the iron and they gave way in the pattern of a tear from a sharp point.  The dress is made out of one piece of fabric, so there is no way to make it look like new again.  I'll darn the tear to keep it from raveling and then I'll probably patch it.

For the immediate future I'm cameraless. I know of a way I can buy a good used digital camera reasonably priced.  I'm going to check reviews first and stay away from the brand I had before.  I don't know how long it will take since finances are very tight. 

It's been a month since my fall.  I wish I could say I'm all better.  I've just entered the worst part of my outdoor allergy season.  For some reason September is worse and I don't know why.  It's a shame because there's usually some beautiful weather during the month. This coming weekend I'm going to the Cherry Valley Kite Festival, something I haven't done in a few years.  I'm in serious need of some good, old-fashioned, pointless fun and I think it's worth some stuffiness later.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Animal Practice Uninformed and Offensive

 In the opening sequence in Animal Practice, on NBC right after the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, a vet tells an owner her Himalayan cat was in heat, and she ought to be let outside in the city to breed. That was a very irresponsible answer from a vet.  No vet would ever tell an urban dweller to let her cat loose in the city. The average life of a cat that lives outdoors is only 4 years.  It faces too many dangers.  Inside cats can live to 20 years.   Only 1 out of 10 canines and 1 out of 12 felines ever find a home in this country.  It would have been by far much better if the vet would have urged his client to have her cat spayed.  It would be even better if the program could be a new way to educate the American public on animal population control.  I could even imagine the comedic potential of animal rescues, too, a la the Meg Langslow murder mysteries by Donna Andrews.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Molly and the Snuggling Olympic Event

My youngest cat Molly Kayleen I got during the previous Summer Olympics.  I was given money I didn't need at the time, things weren't going well at work and I needed to do something good.  I didn't know that I could just donate money to a rescuer or for foster care.  So I rescued a kitten from an old-fashioned kill shelter in Georgia.  It must not have enough money to always care for their animals because Molly didn't even have any shots.  Her middle name is for the staff member who persuaded me to adopt her.
Molly's "mugshot" from the web
Molly was brought up by a vet tech who spent his weekends transporting animals rescued from southern kill shelters to either the upper Great Lakes or the Northeast.  I met him and the rental van in a motel parking lot outside of Kingston, NY.  He took a skinny, small kitten with bright colors out of a carrier and she meowed.  He said that was the first noise she'd made during the entire trip, which started the day before. 
First meal in the rest area
She was very happy to be out of the van.  She started to purr after I put her in the carrier.  I buckled the carrier onto the passenger seat, got into the driver's seat and started driving home.  At a rest area I stopped to feed her because I knew she probably hadn't eaten much.  I'd brought some dry food and water.  After a drink and a few nibbles, she started hopping up in the carrier to reach my hand.  I picked her up and petted her.  She was purring away.  She rubbed her whiskers against either side of my mouth.  She started licking me, too, all over my mouth.  Then she snuggled against my neck and climbed her way up to my collarbone, and perched there with her front half on my shoulder, watching the traffic and purring.

Here you can see how skinny she still was.
Of course my cats had no idea they were about to gain a new sister.  I thought the older cat would be tolerant.   I was right.  The next day she was eager to play with her.    I used to have to go to bed a half hour early so that she and the kitten could wrestle for half an hour on the bed.  Molly usually laid on her back and Midnight nibbled her neck and tummy.

There is never anyone around to introduce cats the way the experts say you should.  I just set the carrier down in the hallway and let the other cats look.  Midnight hissed once at her and walked away.  For the life of me I can't remember which cat it was that followed her around as she explored.  I think it was Emily. 

In the evening Molly stayed on the sofa with me.  When I was busy, she disappeared.  It turns out she went under the bookcase in the living room.  There was plenty of room.  She didn't like using the litter box where the big cats could see her, so I bought a disposable one to put under the bookcase too.  She lost her fear quickly.

Emily was actually a little scared of the kitten and didn't know what to think of her.  Then she realized she was entertainment, like a wind-up toy.  She was four years older, and in about a week she wondered how you turned the toy off.  Turn around is fair play, because when Emily was a kitten she was a hyperactive dynamo.  One weekend she retreated to a corner to sleep, but after that she and the new kitten became best buddies.  As a matter of fact, Emily lost most of her bad habits.

As for the Olympic Snuggling Event, Molly had to sleep with me that night.  First she snuggled up to my neck on the right side of my head,  then she snuggled under my chin, then she crawled over and snuggled against my neck on the left side, purring loudly all the time. At some point she began grooming me, washing me all over my mouth and chin, nose, too, outside and in.

Another fun kitten event, yarn-winding.

All grown up