3

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation

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It had been abnormally hot and steamy in the southern Florida swamp. While most of the gators loved it, Abigail had had enough. She was a Carolina gator who had met Al on a spring trip to Panama City. It was love at first sight, and they spent their time curled up in a hot tub some human had forgotten to drain.

When it was time to go home, Al invited Abby to come with him. She didn’t hesitate and had been living south of Miami ever since. It had been an adjustment. She thought it smelled weird, and all the gators did was lie around. She loved Al and she soon adapted. But this summer was too much.

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Abby: Al, the heat is starting to make me cranky.

Al: Sweetheart, you’re an alligator. Being cranky is part of our charm.

Abby: I want to go somewhere for vacation.

Al: OK, we can go to somewhere on the coast. You pick the spot.

Abby: I was thinking a little more north.

Al: Back to Panama City? That would be nice.

Abby: Um. A little further north.

Al: How much further north?

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Abby: Tennessee.

Al: Where is Tennessee? I’ve never heard of it.

Abby: It’s north of Georgia.

Al: That doesn’t sound very tropical. Exactly how far is it?

Abby (hesitating): Well, I couldn’t get the exact mileage, but it’s about 850 miles.

Al: 850 miles! Abby, we’re alligators. It would take us years. There’s no way we can take that kind of trip. Find someplace closer or we’re not going.

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Abby (starting to cry): Just look at the pictures. See, the humans are wearing shorts. That means it’s warm. And the place I found has a hot tub. It’ll be romantic, just like when we first met. We can leave the kids with your sister.

Al: What’s that big, furry thing standing in this picture?

Abby: It says it’s a bear. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s well-mannered since it’s at a resort.

Al: I don’t see any alligators in these pictures. All the animals are furry.

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Abby: I’m sure it’s just because of where they took the pictures.

Al realizes that Abby really has her heart set on going to this place.

Al: OK. How do we get there?

Abby: I thought that we could take an airplane, but we gators don’t have our own airline. Apparently, not enough of us fly. We used to be able to take All Animals, but they went out of business. The last one available is Creature Air Comfort, but they’ve banned gators.

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Al: Isn’t that discriminatory?

Abby: Apparently not. In the past few years, there have been five instances of gators eating other passengers.

Al: Trust some hooligans to ruin it for everyone.

Abby: So the next fastest way to get there is by train. The only problem is that the trains from Miami charge gators double because of the eating other passengers thing. We’d need to go to Orlando to get a decent rate. Apparently there are lots of humans in the area who spoil the alligators, so they don’t bother the other animals.

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Al: Well, there’s one positive to the human invasion down here. So how do we get to Orlando?

Abby: Well your sister Jean told me about something the humans have, called ride-sharing. Some people do it because they’re friends, but other people do it for anyone to make money.

Al: Well, that’s great, but we don’t know any humans.

Abby: Jean does. Some guy who was out here taking pictures. He said that driving alligators to Orlando would make him “viral.” We don’t know what that means, but she made sure that he would deliver us to the train station alive and in good shape.

Al (defeated): So when does he pick us up?

Early Saturday morning, the driver arrives in an old pickup truck. He has filled the bed with water after laying down blankets for their comfort. He has a friend who is recording everything while talking the whole time. Abby and Al climb in, ready to start their adventure.

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Next time: Tennessee is definitely not the tropics.

(Pictures courtesy of Google Images)

 

 

15

Cat Forum: Interview with Marty the Manx

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Today we are interviewing Marty from martythemanx2, a pawsome blog about Marty and his family. He lives with a human. (Of course, otherwise he wouldn’t have anyone to fulfill his every wish.) But unlike most (all?) of the cats we have interviewed, Marty lives with more woofies than meowies. He is a model of inter-species tolerance. Head on over to his place and see all the great pictures. He has great tummy floof, and since he likes flowers they also do an amazing Flower Friday.

(Remember – if you see something that looks like this, it’s us talking.)

You look like a cat. What is a Manx?

Well hi guys! I am a cat. I am just a cat born without a tail. Manx like me with no tail are called Rumpy Manx. So, I am a classic tabby Rumpy Manx! (Makes me sound like I am special doesn’t it MOL!)

(No worries about humans thinking it’s funny to say he has a “handle” We like it!)

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You live in a multi-species household. Would you please introduce everyone?

I am Marty The Manx. Ralphie is my grey tabby brother. We also live with Mazie the Lab, then Abbe, Anne and Breezy the Chinese Crested Powder Puffs.

(Do you think their Mom uses those dogs to put on powder?. They look pretty fluffy. They probably hold a lot of powder.)

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But the cats rule, right?

Yes we do! Ralphie is the head of the household and doesn’t let anyone forget it!

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It looks like you spend a lot of time outside. What do you like to do? 

We do get to spend part of every day outside if it is nice. I love hanging out in the hostas and chase bugs.

(Kommando – I’m so jealous. Mom’s afraid I’ll run away. Snoops – Rats. I’ll have to work on getting that door open.)

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Do you have friends in the neighborhood or do you prefer to hang out with your brothers and sisters?

We have our own private yard and are never allowed to leave it. Ralphie and I hang out together and explore when we are out in the yard.

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We never see any humans. Are there any around?

We live with Mom, she is our pawparazzi and personal attendant.

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What do you like to do with your human(s)?

I like to cuddle a lot with Mom, and I love it when we play with my Da Bird!

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Do you help around the house?

I am the chief bed inspector. I make sure there are NO sheet mice hiding in it when Mom and I make it every day.

(Kommando – I really like this cat!)

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What’s your favorite part about blogging?

I love all the great bloggers I get to meet and all the fun activities we do here in Blogville.

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Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? 

One question that seems to come up a lot is how do I stand living with woofie sisters.  Truth be told, Mazie is my very best friend and I love her the most. I even sleep with her every night when we all go to sleep in the big bed with Mom.

Don’t forget to go visit Marty at home.!

 

(All non-Marty pictures are courtesy of Google Images)

 

14

Ragnhild and the Big Cats

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We were able to score an interview with the awesome Ragnhild from Green Lights Ahead. She writes a blog from Norway, but has spent time in Namibia with the big cats. (That’s in Africa for you domestic cats who don’t get out much.) She has also been other places. (We saw a picture of a kangaroo while looking through her site.) Ragnhild writes poetry and various other things, but we really like her pictures. You should definitely stop by.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from Norway and am currently in nursing school. I’m an obsessive Netflix-watcher, love to dance, and have a passion for sleeping. However, most of all I’m a traveler. Anywhere, anytime.

Have you ever lived with a domestic cat?

No, sadly I haven’t. I hope to one day though!

Why were you out among the big cats?

I went to Namibia to be part of a volunteer project for some of the native species.

I helped take care of hurt animals and their environment

Did you actually live out in the open with them?

Yes and no. They were supposed to be in their designated (fenced off) areas; supposed being the keyword.

We got close… In all senses of the word.

It looks like some of your friends there were not cats or humans. What other species did you live amongst?

Meerkats, caracals, hyenas, vultures, vervets, warthogs, baboons (lots of baboons) and many more.

And ostriches!

Did you discover different personalities?

Yes! Cheetahs are kind of like dogs – they can be somewhat trained, but can also be deadly. Leopards are the scary version of housecats – love to be pet, but can, and probably will, kill you if hungry or annoyed.

As for the other animals I interacted with, baboons are the ones I remember the most. They can play all day long, and some of them are smart enough to figure out locks. In addition, a group of baboons is called a troop, and my scars can testify to that behind those cute eyes, there is a being surprisingly similar to a human – calculating, protective of its own, and yet violent and aggressive.

Baboon vs turtle!

 Did you learn anything from them?

I learned a lot. One of the most important ones probably being how to protect myself. I also developed a new understanding of how dominance works – true animalistic dominance.

There are four cheetahs in this photo, can you find them all?

 Did you have a favorite?

This is like asking me which of my children I love the most – if I had had children. But I did love a leopard named Missy Jo. She was the epitome of majestic and had a purr stronger than any I’ve ever heard. I also enjoyed the company of the caracals; their enclosure was my safe haven on bad days. Eventually, I did love a few of the baboons too, even though they probably hurt me the most.

This is her and one of her best friends. Probably one of my favorite pictures.

Do you miss them?

Sometimes I miss them more than words can express, while other times I’m glad that they are several flights away. I had the highest highs with them, but also my deepest lows.

But who wouldn’t miss this?

What advice do you have for someone who might want to do what you did?

Research, research, research. Find somewhere with a better insurance for your safety, and while there – remember that it’s probably a once in a lifetime; enjoy it, and don’t give up.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Just thank you for having me! Now I can cross Cheeseland of my Bucket List too!

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9

Cats: Enjoy Your Bugs Responsibly This Summer

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Every cat knows that summer is the time to enjoy bug hunting. Whether you chase the occasional fly that manages to get into the house or go on hunting sprees in the great outdoors, we have some tips to share.

Humans do not enjoy bugs the same way we do. If you bring a nice, crunchy moth over to share with your human, you will probably be disappointed. The response will be something along the lines of “Very nice, kitty. Please take your moth somewhere else to eat it.” Or “Take that disgusting thing away from me.” They will not even taste it.

Note: Do not eat Tiger Moths or caterpillars. They might make you sick.

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Some bugs look better than they taste. We have something around here that the humans call a “stink bug” It looks a little like a really big tick. They fly around like other bugs. But when you start to eat them, they taste awful, like they’re way past their “eat-by” date.

Some bugs should not be eaten at all. You know those annoying bugs that fly around at night with their own lights? The humans call them “fireflies”. They’re almost impossible to catch and it’s a good thing. That’s not really fire in their rears; it’s poison.

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Note: It is considered poor etiquette to catch one and offer it to a dog. Many dogs will eat anything.

Then there are those nasty things that sting. The humans call them “bees, hornets, and wasps.” Although they are usually just a pain in the nose or paw; they can kill some cats. They are poisonous to those cats and can cause them to stop breathing. That is never a good thing.

There is also something called a “fire ant.” You can probably step on one and be OK. But they can also cause some cats to stop breathing. And being stung by a bunch of them will do the same thing to any of us.

Note: We recommend you stay away from anything the humans call “fire”. Except, of course, that toasty thing they have inside during the winter. Sleeping in front of that is a cat’s right. The human’s job is to keep it safe and keep it burning.

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Spiders are not insects, no matter what the humans say. Spiders are usually a lot more fun to play with. For one thing, they are usually within paw’s reach. And they move in a lot of directions to get away. You can play for a long time if you’re not too rough. (More like mice that way.)

Of course, there are a few to avoid. The humans like to give them human-type names: “black widow” or “brown recluse”. Generally speaking, humans will have an “ick”-type reaction to the fun, tasty spiders. They are more likely to go with an “eek”-type response to a poisonous one. Even humans who tolerate the regular ones will usually try to kill these. Self-preservation and all that.

Note: We live in Michigan and have a temperate climate. The cold keeps away most nasty spiders. If you live in a hot tropical place, make sure you know the locals. If you live in Australia, we recommend you not eat anything with 8 legs until you talk to an elderly cat (who has probably seen some unfortunate victims). Particularly if the spider is bigger than you are.

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Bug Hunting on a First Date. If you want to take a fellow feline on a bug-hunting trip, make sure they like to hunt in your style. Unfortunately, there are many instances of a run-and-play cat being partnered with a stalk-and-kill cat. There is little hope for the relationship.

Hunting as a Team. Usually bugs are small. So it is unrealistic to think that you will share the kill. However, it is polite to take turns bringing down the prey and eating it. If you catch something you don’t like, by all means offer it to your partner. You may both try for the next bug.

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If you are inside, watch for wall and tripping/falling hazards. If you are chasing a bug and fall off a table or run into a wall, you can be sure your human will be watching, laughing, and pointing a camera at you. Then they will show the video to all of their friends who will also laugh at you. In this situation, it is appropriate to make your next bug-hunting trip in their bedroom, in the middle of the night. Make a video. Send it to your friends.

Enjoy your summer. And Happy Hunting!

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(photos courtesy of Google Images)

14

Snoops and Kommando: On the Prowl

Kommando: Hi everyone! We’ve been so busy interviewing other cats that we forgot our most interesting subjects.

Snoops: Who’s that?

Kommando: Us, silly!

Snoops: Things have been a little interesting recently.

Kommando: We got two new channels of cat TV. It’s pretty pawsome. They’re on the second floor.

Snoops: You may remember that we had four humans – two male and two female. Now we’re down to three.

Kommando: The younger female moved out. She brought home a strange male human one time. It was awful. He smelled worse that Horatio Hedgehog.

Horatio: Hey! I’m right here, you know.

Snoops: She didn’t mean it. You know we love you.

Horatio: Cats!

(He huffs and goes back to sleep.)

Kommando: Anyway her room is on the second floor and has views from two directions. One is even a new direction!

Snoops: It’s true. But it’s probably the most boring. There aren’t any trees that way.

Kommando: That’s true. But still, she was hiding it from us.

Snoops: True enough. It was so messy that it was hard to get over there.

Kommando: It hurt my delicate little paws to walk on it.

Snoops: Whatever you say, Kommando. Let’s move on to the pawsome TV show we found on human TV.

Kommando: That’s right; I almost forgot. It’s called “My Cat from Hell.”  Every time we see it, there are cats just being cats. You know, racing around and getting into stuff.

Snoops: Well, some of the cats are a little obnoxious. There seem to be awful lot of them who bite their humans. We don’t approve of that at all.

Snoops: She right. The pawsome part is that the human who runs the show, Jackson Galaxy, always blames everything on the humans! All the “bad” stuff that the cats do is because of something the humans do. Even scratching the drapes and pooping outside the litter box.

Kommando: Yep. They get homework and everything. And the humans work really hard to get their cats back to our usually sweet selves.

Snoops: He always says that there are no bad cats. We already knew that, but it’s really cool to hear a human admit it.

Kommando: Every week, the humans have done what they need to, and the cats have become snuggly like the rest of us.

Snoops: Life has been good.

Kommando: Well except recently. We got abandoned again.

Snoops: Oh yeah. Last night.

Kommando: Mom has been home with us 24/7 for the last few weeks. She had the other tunnel opened, on her left wrist. That’s two, so I think she’s done.

Snoops: It’s too bad. For the first couple of weeks, she wasn’t supposed to lift much of anything. And after that she had a weight restriction.

Kommando: It was great. Naps and snuggles and cuddles…

Snoops: It’s a good thing that she went back though. We used our last can of food the day before she went back. And she gets our food where she works.

Kommando: Oh, right. That would have been bad.

Snoops: At least she works nights. So we have someone here to wait on us all the time.

Kommando: And Dad had that flu thing a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t much fun, but he was good to sleep on.

Snoops: And they get different days off, so they’re both here together.

Kommando: All right. I guess life is pretty good.

Snoops: And it would be perfect if we could get rid of all the noisy machines…

 

5

A Cat is a Tortie, But a Tortie is a Turtle

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Come crown my brows with leaves of myrtle;

I know the tortoise is a turtle.

Come carve my name in stone immortal;

I know the turtoise is a tortle;

I know to my profound despair;

I bet on one to beat a hare.

I also know I’m now a pauper

Because of its tortley turtley torpor.

by Ogden Nash

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Every once in a while we get an interesting question from a human. We’d like to share a recent one:

Dear Cheeseland:

The most recent addition to our family is an adorable kitten. They told us she is a tortoise shell. However, when I looked up tortoise shell on the computer, it showed me a picture of a top of a turtle. It didn’t look at all like sweet, little Penelope. I’m confused.

 Tortie Mom

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Dear Tortie Mom:

Congratulations on your new addition! You are actually more confused than you think you are.

Your new kitty is a tortoiseshell, not a tortoise shell. It refers to the beautiful colors in her fur. Humans think these colors look similar to a piece of polished shell from a dead tortoise. Humans have truly grotesque imaginations sometimes.

Since you looked up tortoise shell, you saw the top of a tortoise. A living tortoise.

A tortoise is a turtle. But only a type of turtle. We’ll turn to our resident reptile Rex, a member of the painted turtle family, for more clarification.

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You’ve brought up a very interesting topic, Tortie Mom. It’s not very often that we get a question about the difference between turtles and tortoises. Or anything about turtles. Turtles are fascinating creatures.  Of course, I’m partial to the painted family of turtles. However, our tortoise cousins offer some interesting traits.

Those of us who spend a large part of our time in or near the water rarely see a tortoise. You see, they don’t like water. Strange, huh? Explains those short, stubby legs and feet. And knobby knees. Nothing at all like the webbed beauties we other turtles have. Probably have dry, scaly skin too.

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Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you confused the big, bulky tortoise shell with the sleek turtle shell. Seriously, it looks like you could go camping in one of those domes.  But I supposed that if all you do is go lumbering around on land, it really isn’t too much of a problem. My shell is built for speed in the water. They should have let me race that rabbit.

Tortoises are rather picky eaters. Most of them are vegetarians. I guess that makes sense since they’re so big and slow. You don’t have to move very fast to catch grass. The rest of us are much more flexible in our dining habits. Fresh juicy bugs are the perfect companion to a nice bunch of berries.

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You may have heard some rot about tortoises being better mothers. True, they protect their hatchlings for up to 80 days while ours are set loose at birth. But why do they require protection? Because they’re being pampered to live a softer life than our offspring. That’s why they live longer too.

Who cares? Our turtles are tougher!

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(Ed. Note – We have no idea who Rex is. We received a message telling us to pay $500 to have the original post ending restored. Rex’s was better, so we left it in.)

21

Cat Forum: Interview with “Three Chatty Cats”

Hi everyone. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here and welcome to this month’s Cat Forum. We are interviewing the pawsome cats from Three Chatty Cats. It’s a great blog about cat rescue, cat shelters, foster cats. And, of course, the three cats: Dexter, Olive and Sophie. (We listed them alphabetically for reasons you will see below.)

Would you each tell us one nice thing about each of your siblings?

Sophie: Hi Snoops and Kommando! I’ll tell you one nice thing about Dexter and then have a good think about Olive. Dexter is an awesome groomer! And I don’t just mean grooming himself. He loves to groom both me and Olive. He’s the bestest big bro any kitty could ask for.

Dexter: Thanks Sophie. That was nice of you to say about me.

Sophie: Now you say something nice about me.

Olive: Hey, shouldn’t he say something nice about me first? I am older than you.

Dexter: I’ll say something nice about both of you. Olive is right. She’s my first baby sister and she is a beautiful and mysterious tortie. She is the bravest of the three of us, except when it comes to big dogs. But other than that, she will greet most anyone, which is very impressive to a shy cat like me.

Sophie: Now what about me?

Dexter: You’re the goofiest of us. And you always make mom and dad laugh.

Olive: I’m so sorry, Snoops and Kommando, but I just don’t have anything nice to say about Sophie. Except that it’s nice when she’s not near me. But I love hanging and snoozing with Dexter. Although he’s shy around people, we have a lot of fun together. Like during our morning zoomies up and down the hallway.

Are you all BFFs (Best Feline Friends) or do you get hissy once in a while?

Olive: Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no. We are not all BFFs! Dexter and I, sure, you could call us BFFs. But that Sophie…she deserves the hissy hisses more than just every once in a while. Why, the other day, I was minding my own business, walking along the windowsill and Sophie bit my bum! Can you believe it? She just came up behind and chomped down on my bum bum! I have proof, too. Mom saw it happen! Anyway, I gave her a big ol’ hiss.

Sophie: I have no idea what Olive is ranting on about. I was just trying to nudge her out of my way. She was hogging the whole window!

Dexter: See what I have to deal with here? Does that answer your question?

It sounds like your human is pretty busy. Do you ever feel ignored? How do you get her attention?

Sophie: Oh yes, the Mama stays pretty busy. She works one of those 9 to 5 type job thingys. But I think we’re lucky kitties because she gets to work from home. Which means she’s lucky, too, because she gets to work with us kitties in her office. When she gets too wrapped up on that computer thingy, I’ll jump up and reminder her that we need petting. Or, I’ll drag something throughout the house – like a sock, the kitchen towel, or the doggie doo doo bags – and then I’ll meow and meow and meow until she comes and investigates to see what prize I brought her.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your human?

Sophie: My favorite thing in the whole wide world is to snuggle up on Pop’s chest. I pretend to read his iPad with him because I know he thinks it’s cute. But I’ll tell you a secret…I can’t read.

Olive: My favorite thing is to snuggle up against mom’s leg when she’s reading a book. I’m not a lap cat, but I definitely love lounging next to her and rolling on my back so she’ll pet my belly.

Dexter: I like hiding from our parents and making them work to find me. It’s so much fun seeing them sweat as they turn the house upside down looking for me. But I also love sleeping next to mom at night.

Do you live somewhere you can go outside or do you just watch cat TV like us? (The channels are much more interesting this time of year.)

Sophie: We’re indoor kitties, but our parents put together a little catio for us. Nothing fancy, but it gets us fresh air and we can hear the birds chirping. And sometimes a lizard will run into our area. Now that is fun. All three of us like the catio a lot. And since we live in Southern California, the catio stays open all year.

We are seeing a lot more of you on the blog. Do you like your increased role?

Olive: It’s okay. It just means that mom is putting the camera in our faces more and more. Although if a treat is involved, then that’s fine with me. I know that Sophie really hams it up for mom, so that takes the burden off me and Dexter.

Does your human make you share with each other?

Dexter: Not really. We have so many toys and different lounging spots that we could go a whole day without seeing one another. But mom can usually find at least two of us cuddling together at some point during the day.

Olive: I’ll give you one guess as to who you’ll never see cuddling together.

Sophie: Us? Is it us, Olive? You and me? If it’s not, do I get another guess?

Olive: (shaking her head and muttering) Not the brightest bulb…

What’s your favorite hang-out place?

Olive: My favorite place in the whole wide world is in my big box! It’s in the sunniest room in the house and no one is allowed in it except for me! And Dexter. Dexter is allowed in it. But not Sophie.

Sophie: My favorite place to hang out is on the cat tree in the bedroom. Or in my favorite scratcher. Or in the downstairs cat tree. Or in the catio. Or on the Mama’s desk. Or on the…

Dexter: Sophie! She said favorite! Those places can’t all be your favorite.

Sophie: But they are, Dexter. They are. What about your favorite place?

Dexter: In the closet.

Sophie: Oh yeah. I knew that. I should add that one to my favorite list, too.

Your human does a lot of work with shelters and rescues. Do you ever get to give advice? Is that why you’re chatty?

Olive: We’re mostly just chatty because we want more food. And treats. Food and treats make us really chatty. Sometimes we sound like a choir waiting for mom to fix our breakfast and dinner. But we do let her know what we think about any foster kitties she brings home. So far, it’s only been a few, but I have a feeling more are coming.

Dexter: We had some secret meetings with the fosters to let them know what it’s like living in a home. We told them all about the endless supply of food and treats, about the loving and belly rubs they will get, how someone steals our poo, and about the warm beds to cozy up in. We told them how much they’ll love it in a home.

Sophie: Just like we love our forever home!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Olive: Nope! We just want to thank you for the awesome interview! We had a lot of fun. I was even able to tolerate Sophie being around me.

Sophie: Hey, Olive.

Olive: What?

Sophie: Knock, knock.

Olive: (gets up and slams the door in Sophie’s face) Go away. I don’t want any.

Don’t forget to go visit Three Chatty Cats to see what everyone’s up to.

And to all our furry (and not) mothers:

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