Everyone knows that we cats love our routines. Ours wasn’t perfect, but we were content. Now Mom has ruined it. She’s having an attack of some kind of nerve condition that won’t let her eat or talk. If she can’t eat, she can’t work. (We know. Usually people say they have to work to eat. She’s weird.)
She works overnight, so she’d feed us when she got home. No worries, right? She’s home, so the feeding stays the same. Wrong, She sleeps different hours now because of the medicine she’s taking, so no one can keep track of breakfast time. We’re pretty sure she’s trying to skimp on us though.
After we ate, the three of us would hang out on the sofa for a couple of hours while she did computer stuff. Then we’d all go up to bed. Now she can’t lie flat, so she has to sleep on the sofa. She’s downstairs ALL THE TIME. We’ve lost all our bed-warmer time. And the three of us can’t sleep comfortably on the sofa.
Our human brother would make dinner. Mom says he’s a really good cook. We’re not sure what she’s using to measure that. When Mom cooked we got to share meat and fish. He cooks with something called lentils a lot. They are NOT meat or fish. He uses quite a bit of chicken. But he cooks it in weird stuff.
It’s gotten worse since Mom can’t eat. It’s all mushy, soupy stuff. And the chicken is too small to pick out. More proof we’re starving because she can’t eat.
After dinner, the three of us would take a nap before she went to work. Now she goes back to the sofa and plays on her computer.
Our lives are a mess!
Ed. Note: Cat’s having an attack of trigeminal neuritis.It’s nothing serious despite the cats’ feelings about their situation.
You may remember Thunder, the most outspoken of the kitties who own our human sister and her family. She’s back to offer her tips for surviving the winter as we live through its unending stay.
Hello everyone, Thunder here! To those who may not know, I’m a Michigan kitty, and that means we have yucky, cold weather for a good part of the year. After watching my humans freeze (that lack of fur must suck!), I decided to share some tips on how to stay warm, no matter what the temperature!
Have your human get a bed warmer (and make sure they leave it on)! Mom got one for Christmas, and it’s guaranteed to warm paws and tummies even on the coldest nights. Share your bed with more than one person? Sunbeam makes one with dual sided controls, so everyone can be comfortable!
Curl up on any available fabric. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a 24/7 bed warmer, any fabric will do. This includes blankets, towels, clothing, and the sofa, amongst many other options. While they may not radiate heat, they’ll act as a soft and cozy insulation.
Sit near the heating vent. If it’s on a wall, sit right up against it. If it’s on the floor, lay directly on top of it. This may not be the most comfortable option, so kitties with sensitive furs, be careful if choosing this option. Don’t worry if your human complains at you- how often have they allowed your food dish to run out?
Cuddle up with your humans. Humans heaters have two benefits- they’re extra warm, and in cold weather, they don’t like to move much; this means disturbances should be at a low. Make sure they’re wearing comfortable sweats, or even a blanket for the maximum experience.
Utilize your furry siblings. Much like your humans, your cat (or dog) siblings are a direct heat source- and fur is bound to be more comfortable than skin! However, if your siblings are like mine, and seem to think social distancing applies to cats as well as humans, it’s best to avoid this measure.
Grab any available sun spot. Sun spots may be less common in these months, so if a sun spot appears, grab it (bonus points if the sun spot falls on a nice soft blanket or bed).
Try to spend the majority of your time in the warmest room in the house. Most humans seem to heat one or two rooms more than the others. In our case, it’s the kitchen, and the Human Kitten’s room. Plan your day so you spend most of it in the warmest spot.
Showers may be wet and tedious- but the steam will make a nice warm pocket of air that you can lounge in for a couple of minutes. Just make sure you don’t sit in the actual tub until it’s dry- unless you’re a water loving kitty.
Dryers are warm and rumbly when in use- make sure that your human keeps the top of the drying machine warm, and take a 45 minute nap when it’s in use. It’ll even stay warm for a couple of minutes afterwards, so there won’t be a rush for you to find a new spot right away.
Humans have to cover their paws when they go outside. While these paw covers are great to play in, and possibly even hide your favorite mousie in, they track in all sorts of goop from the (not so) great outdoors. This includes clots of snow and ice. Not only are they cold, but they’re also wet! What a horrible combination! As we all know, humans are a bit clueless, so try to keep their shoe tray clear (an occasional toy or furball is fine). You also may need to put some of your larger, bulkier toys just inside the door frame- when they trip, or jump to avoid them, not only will you get some entertainment, but it’ll also remind your human to remove their gross paw coverings. After all, a warm house starts with a dry house.
Bulk up- the larger you are, the warmer you tend to be. Your humans spend hours away each day, working hard for money. That money is made for you. And what better expenditure than cat food? Eat as much as you desire- any extra winter fluff will fall off when cat TV returns in the spring and you can chase the birds and squirrels again.
Winter is brutal- remember that your happiness is top purrority. Stay inside if at all possible, and stay safe and warm. Nap often, and remember cat approved weather is on the way.
Some humans think it’s a little weird how much we groom ourselves (It can take up 30-50% of our waking lives). They never stop to think about how weird we think it is that they bathe so rarely. Or how disgusting that is. We thought we’d take a few minutes to do a little educating on why we do what we do. Once again, it’s time to teach your human. (Our pictures include examples of why this important task should not be left to humans.)
Grooming helps us cool down – You will notice that, unlike humans, we do not become drippy, smelly messes when it gets hot or we exercise. We sweat through our pads. The drying of the saliva from our grooming also helps us cool down.
We can wash our own backs – Remember last week when we were talking about how cool it was that our collarbones don’t attach to the bones in our bodies (only our front legs)? Not only can we squeeze through small spaces, we can turn our heads around to reach our backs to wash them. Even between the shoulders.
Our grooming may be tied to our general health – Humans don’t need to worry about the amount we groom on a regular basis (we are ultra-clean animals). It’s if we groom more or less than usual. More grooming could mean stress or tension. Less grooming could mean we can’t reach the area anymore or it hurts to groom there. Or it could mean that we got into something yucky.
Our amazing tongues are responsible for hairballs. You know how we have those little hooks that help carry the food and water back into our mouths? They also carry any loose furs back there. We have to swallow those furs. Then we have to hack them up. Voila! Hairball. You can use this information as a weapon if you’d like.
We bond through grooming – No surprise here. We’re not going to let just anyone put their mouth on our precious fur. Besides, our moms showed us they loved us through grooming. As adults, how else are we going to get the new guy in the house to smell decent? It marks us a one of the family.
We only groom the humans we love – Once again, we are bonding like our moms taught us. Why do some humans immediately wash off our love? No clue, but we love them anyway. Even if they do smell like human.
Our furs have muscles – That’s the secret behind how we fluff up when we get scared. The guard hairs use their muscles to stand up. Humans have puny hair compared to us.
Our furs have cuticles that point away from our bodies – It’s kind of like being covered with overlapping shingles. If the shingles are all pointing in the right direction, we’re smooth and silky. If some of the shingles get moved in the wrong direction, we can get rough and spiky. Sometimes humans think it’s funny to pet us in the wrong direction. Then they get offended when we immediately lick the furs back into place. It feels weird with the furs kinked up. We’re not the antisocial ones, they’re the ones messing up the natural order.
Hopefully, we given you some good conversation starters. If you have trouble getting their attention, a hairball usually does the trick.
We found an article with “100 Interesting Facts about Cats.” We didn’t want to just copy it for you. We didn’t really find everything they said to be all that interesting. If you don’t believe us, or want to read it anyway, the link is below. (We know. They must have worked pretty hard to put out a dull cat fact.)
Some of the information was of the “duh” type: Keeping your cat busy all day will help them sleep better at night. Of course it will. We generally sleep 12-16 hours each day. If we can’t sleep when it’s light, we have to sleep when it’s dark. However, we LIKE to sleep during the day. That’s when the sunpuddles are out.
A couple of the others were not as true as they made them seem. They said a cat’s tongue is as rough as sandpaper. Some of us are definitely fine-grain, while others are for the heavy-duty early work. And they say that cats wag their tails (move them back and forth) to show they are angry or irritated. Snoops shows contentment this way when the humans pet her. She’d like to think she’s unique, but she’s not.
Some of the other stuff was kind of interesting:
We are the only felines that meow. We developed the ability so we could talk to humans. Too bad they never learned to listen. (Actually, some of them do try to listen, and a few even have gotten it down.)
Our genes are 95.6% tiger. It definitely explains our swagger and cool. There is also a bit of lion in us. Cats definitely rule for a reason.
Some cats love the smell of chlorine. We met a kitty in the blogosphere who loves bleach, and here it is again! Apparently, there are some chemical similarities with cat urine. It can have psychedelic effects on those kitties. Unfortunately, we just think it stinks.
There is such a thing as a (stray)cat strut. We start walking with both of our right feet followed by both of our left feet. That way we move one side of our body at a time. Giraffes and camels walk this way too, but guess who else? Tigers!
Our collarbones don’t connect to the rest of our bones. They attach to our front legs, but nothing else. So if our head fits through, so do we. (Make sure your human doesn’t make a fat joke here. If they do, please (clawlessly) whap them.)
We are picky about our drinking water. We are creatures of the wild. Stagnant water can be dangerous water. If our bowl water has been standing longer than the toilet water, guess which one is more appealing? Of course, sometimes we just like to drink your water.
Many of us don’t like the smell of lemons and oranges. We kitties have extremely sensitive noses and citrus fruit smells strong! If you must use that lemon air freshener, would you please do it somewhere else?
Some of us see humans as bigger, hairless (clumsy) cats. And some of us think that is an appalling idea. However, we do try to groom you and teach you to hunt because we love you, regardless of what you are. And those thumb are incredibly useful.
It’s that time of year. No more ribbons and paper to play with. Less sun to lie in (at least here in Michigan). Fewer human treats to snack on. Fewer channels on Cat TV. Even the mice sleep more. What’s a bored kitty supposed to do?
Play the arm/face tapping game. Gently tap your human on the face/arm/leg until you get a response. (Pads only, no claws) Count the number of taps. Compare the numbers between when they are sleeping/napping, watching TV, eating, and playing with their computer (the screen with a keyboard that they sometimes talk at).
Sit on a perch and jump on the dog. Pick a perch only slightly higher than your target. You want to startle the dog, not scare/hurt it. Do not try this if the dog is smaller than you. If you try this trick on a fellow feline, the odds are much higher that you will cause a chase game.
Cry loudly and stare at the wall (or into space). Eventually your human will try to figure out what is going on. See whether the reaction is “there must be something in the wall,” “she must sense something,” or “all cats are crazy.”
Hide something you know the human will need shortly. Good candidates are keys, a shoe, an important paper, or some item of personal hygiene. Sit back and watch them go crazy. If they get too distressed, casually “find” the object for them. Do not try this option if your human is one of those who are always late. It could cause them too much stress. You want to have fun, not be mean.
Cook with them. You can supervise, but it’s a lot more fun to actually help. After they get a spoon dirty, lick it clean so they can use it again. Push the ingredients they are finished with off the counter so they don’t put them in twice and ruin the meal.
Exercise with them. You can sit on them while they exercise, but that’s common. It’s a lot better to sit in front of them to offer inspiration. Cats excel at yoga and stretching exercises. Be sure to offer tips on flexibility. Try to imitate the funny faces they make. Yowling with laughter is also fun.
These are our best tips. If you have other ideas, please be sure to offer them below. Before we know it, the birds will be back and we can return to our regular level of human interaction (alternating between extreme affection and totally ignoring them).
We are very excited to be working with the Maritime/Maine affiliate of the Cat Broadcasting Network to bring you The Real House Cats of Crabapple Cove. These are the hardworking kitties who keep the village on its toes and ensure it’s a great place to live. We will be bringing you their stories on a monthly basis, but we wanted to introduce them to you today.
Hi, I’m Miki. I work with support cats. Most of the time, you can find me at one of the two clinics in the village. My group is well known for keeping the patients calm and less stressed. We work mainly with humans, but have been known to help other species when we can.
At home, I have two kittens who need help with schoolwork and cat skill training. I love my life and am happy to be able to share it with you.
Daphne here. I work on the docks helping to keep the vermin down on the fishing boats. I was recently appointed crew chief and am in the process of learning my new responsibilities.
In my spare time, I teach mousing from my home. It’s amazing how many kittens aren’t learning the proper techniques at home.
I’m Bella. I work part-time at the library. I love helping the patrons with the computers. I have my own bed by one of the sunny windows, but love to curl up by the heaters too. It’s cold here in the winter.
I also run a part-time daycare for kittens whose mothers are working. I really like seeing them running around and playing. And they’re all so cute!
Hello all. I’m Fluffy, and I don’t work outside my home. I’m in charge of most of the social activities in the village. I’ve known the other ladies since we were kittens, and we’ve stayed friends. I wouldn’t be able to do my events without their help. I try to help them too, but I don’t really understand what they do.
We hope you’ll join us the second Saturday of each month as we get together with the ladies and catch up on their activities. If you are in northeast Maine, you can also listen to their podcast.
Hello fellow felines. The weather here has been pretty gloomy, and Cat TV has been temporarily cancelled. So we’ve been thinking. There are some questions that we never seem to get answers to. Maybe you’ve gotten an answer from your human and can share it with the rest of us.
Why does the cat food that is “good for you” always taste worse than what you were eating?
Why do humans always say they’ll only be gone a little while? It would be much more useful to use a cat measurement. Like one nap or two. The length of a typical mouse hunt. Until the sun puddles disappear.
Who decides that cat litter smells pleasant? We can smell some of that stuff from the next room.
Why is it so much easier to get fish-flavored treats than other kinds? We have friends who don’t like fish. The only place we could find decent treats was online. It was Christmas, and we didn’t have time to go mousing.
Why does our human say, “Here, kitty kitty”? Did she suddenly forget our names?
Why do humans complain about mice running around the house, but also complain if we show them that we killed it?
Why is it OK for the humans to put their stuff on our cat trees, but not OK for us to lie on their papers?
Why do they tell us we have beautiful fur then complain when we share it with them?
Why do they leave boxes lying around if they don’t want us to use them? (Same question for clothes and other stuff they leave out.)
Why do humans think they get to decide when we cuddle or play?
Whether you’re a party kitty or a more quiet feline, we’re at the point in the holidays where everyone can use a little stress relief. Especially those of you with stressed-out humans. We have some tips for relaxing below:
Get away from it all. Take a break from the festivities and just be comfortable.
Do some yoga. Find your inner peace.
Spend quiet time with friends. Just hang out and enjoy each others’ company.
Go to the spa. Let someone pamper you and feel your muscles relax.
Take a break from the red dot. Sure it’s fun to chase it, but have you ever caught it? After a while, it just gets frustrating.
Drink lots of water. All that party food is making you feel bloated and slow. You need to keep your sleek body and dance moves ready for New Year’s Eve.
Get ready to party. 2020 is finally ending. You don’t want to miss the big celebration.
Greeting furry felines (and their non-furry companions). We have a special treat for you. We want to introduce you to two of our newest friends, Twilight and Sushi. They are the owners of the blog How to Train Your Humans. We’d like to nominate that for the best blog title ever! The blog is cat-tastic too, so head over to take a look.
The interview starts with an introduction, then moves on to questions.
Twilight: I’m Twilight, and I was born in the Can Opener’s back yard while Shrimp was still alive. For the first 6 months I was still feral- living in the back yard with the rest of the litter and my human was taking care of us. She looked after us and tried to keep us warm in the cold, wet, winters and cool and fed the rest of the time. When we were weaned from our Mother, she found homes for my 3 sisters – (one Siamese like me, but not as cute), and two solid black kitties)- but I had wandered off and couldn’t be found when the person came to take my sisters home. Shrimp had already been the established queen of the house, and she used to hiss at me when I came to the back door with my mom to eat. My human would gently tell her to leave us alone and she made sure Shrimp never got the pleasure of shredding me. My mom was still so feral, at that time, my human had to put food down and disappear before mom would go near the back door to eat- and if anyone was there she would watch warily from under a bush until the coast was clear. The human had called a TNR cat rescue place and they trapped Mom and got her checked out by the vet, spayed, and gave her shots- and they tried for a month to find her a home. But Mom wouldn’t have it. So they brought her back to our yard and my human still takes care of her. Now, she will sit on the back porch, and let my human put a dish down in front of her (within inches of her) and then she eats and no longer runs away. But she still won’t come inside- even though its always wet and cold out. But while we were still baby kittens nursing, when my mom would go hunting – the human used to pick me up and clean out my eyes because they were all icky- so I learned not to be afraid of her. So when my sisters were adopted and I was gone, I came back about a week later because there was a bad rainstorm and it was freezing outside and dark, and there had been inches of rain nonstop for those several days, I was so wet and cold and my fur was pink from the bloody flea bites. A neighbor saw me and brought me to the human, and she thanked him and brought me inside (Shrimp protesting constantly)- Shrimp was really mad at the human, but she told Shrimp she wasn’t going to put “this poor baby” back out in the rain and cold. Then she clipped my claws and bathed me in warm water with flea shampoo and rubbed me with coconut oil and declared me part of the family. I haven’t spent a night outside since. I instantly became spoiled and pampered even though Shrimp objected. Shrimp eventually got used to me (she was pampered too)- and we even got to be friends. But one morning Shrimp woke up and wouldn’t eat. And she wasn’t breathing right. We took her to the vet hospital, but there wasnt’ anything they could do to save her. Our human was heart broken- I’d never seen her cry before and I thought she’d never stop crying. I had to do something to help. So I put a call out on ‘Catbook’ to find another tortoiseshell kitty for my human. She had always said she loved Torties because of their cattitude and quirkiness, so I thought if I could find her another Tortie, it would be like giving her Shrimp back and then she’d stop crying. Then I heard about Sushi so I made sure the human’s grown critters found out about her because I knew I’d need their help to bring her here.
Sushi: Hi! I’m Sushi! I’m so happy! I was once very happy as a kitten, but when I got older, my previous human didn’t want me anymore. She wanted to travel to far away places and I was often left alone for a really, really long time- or, left with people who didn’t really want me there and didn’t talk to me or play with me or cuddle me. I was the only kitty, so I didn’t even have sisters or brothers, or furry friends to keep me company. And, you know, you can only get so much entertainment out of a stuffed mouse and empty toilet paper roll, and bored spiders. One day I heard my human talking with a family member and she was saying she didn’t want me anymore and was going to have me put down! I wanted to LIVE! I’m a good kitty, and I’m not sick or anything (but I am old)- I just wanted a place to feel loved and safe and wanted… And then the family member my previous owner had talked to decided she couldn’t just let me get put down. She took me to her house and tried her best for 8 months to find me a home. Nobody wanted to take me because I’m not a kitten- and I’m old. But right when I had lost all hope, the phone rang – and excitement rose in my cute little kitty heart as I heard the end of the conversation that said…”Oh! She WANTS HER? Great! I’ll get her and her things together and meet you after work!” The next thing I knew, I was being put in a carrier (which actually scared me a little)- and put in a car, and after a log trip, I heard a very friendly voice comforting me- it was the daughter of the woman who wanted to keep me! I only know her as “The Critters’ Mom” (that’s what Twilight calls her)- but Twilight had explained to me that she had heard about me and wanted me to meet her Can Opener so she set the whole thing up and then the Can Opener’s Grown Critter brought me to her house. Ever since I got here, I’ve been so happy and pampered! I’m not afraid and lonely any more!! And by the way, this November I turned 13 years old! Now I spend my nights cuddled up next to the Can Opener, all tucked in and warm instead of by myself. In the mornings, I’m the Can Opener’s lap kitty while she has her coffee and prays- then I play with Twilight and the little Critters until they go home and I’m brushed and pampered!
Is there an alpha cat or are you guys more “Live and let live”? Sushi: We both are typically very easy going cats. Twilight would rather play than fight, so she isn’t a challenger by any means. She just wants to get love and play. She’ll hide if she feels threatened. But since coming here, I’ve become an Alpha Cat! It has taken me 13 years to get this happy, and NOBODY is going to steal my human’s affection or take my place!
Sushi, does it bother you being named after a food?
Sushie No, it doesn’t make me nervous being named after food- I LOVE FOOD!!! (I’m 16.9 lbs of lovable cattitude).
Do you go outside or is it strictly Cat TV? Twilight: Oh, no cat tv for me! I’d much rather be out hunting mice, chasing ducks and squirrels and fishing in the stream behind my house! I also love gardening in the neighborhood flower beds, annoying birds, and harraasing the psycho kitty next door.
Sushi: CAT TV, BABY! By the time the grand-critters go home, I’m all played out! (popcorn, please).
Have your humans been driving you nuts since the lockdown?
Sushi: Are you kidding me? I’ve had so much cuddles and attention now, I’m going to hold them “Locked down” forever!
Twilight: Oh, my Can Opener’s cuddling gets a little annoying after 18 hours of following me around with a camera- but as long as she remembers how to open the cans and the back door, I’m good.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Twilight: Present the human with freshly caught mice. I just love her reaction- she loves it so much, she just can’t contain herself. Especially when I present them to her for breakfast in bed!
Sushi: My favorite thing to do is cuddle in the human’s lap in the mornings when she has coffee and prays. It’s a pawsome way to fall asleep (my next favorite thing to do)!
Do you have any favorite Human food?
Twilight: Yes! I love REDI WHIP and egg, and salmon!
Sushi: Tuna!! and Chicken- and CHEESE!!
How do you stay warm in the winter?
Twilight: Well, I got used to being cold when I was feral- I don’t like it, but I just go out and conquer the world anyway, then come inside and cuddle up on my bed (which is conveniently placed in a nook on the human’s desk right under the heater)!
Sushi: I go out and sit in the sunbeams until I use the neighbor’s fence post for a scratcher, then snack on a few bugs, then come in and snuggle up on the couch with the Can Opener. And if she tries to get up before I’m ready, I growl and hiss at her!
We heard you are related to Shrimp (of Hairball Express fame). Does it bug you that humans seem to find that important?
Twilight: Oh no- not at all- Shrimp wasn’t happy when I first came along, but we (secretly) became friends. And now, it’s all about cute little ME -(Okay, Sushi too).
Sushi: Oh no, it doesn’t bother me. It’s very flattering to know that Twilight and the humans sought me out because I would be another kitty like her! She was the model of the purrfect Tortie- in fact, The Can Opener says since I’ve come here, it’s like Shrimp came back from Heaven- only now (she’s a “JUMBO SHRIMP!’ Mol!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Twilight: Yes,would you open the door?
Sushi: Yes, I’m hungry. It’s been a whole 15 MINUTES since I ate!
Hope you enjoyed it.
Editorial Note: Sincere apologies for being late. We had many technical difficulties with the several-month-old Chromebook. The last issue was with WordPress magically turning our classically edited post into a block edited post when we added the pictures. It looks OK at our end. Hopefully it gets to you in the same condition.
Since so many humans are on limited budgets this year, we decided to make an exception to our usual listing of gifts we deserve and give you a list of unique gifts. We got them from Etsy, so they are a little different from the usual offerings.
Fur and wood. What more could a cat ask for in a tree? Get a manicure then take a nap.
If you don’t see anything you like, there are about a million (Mom says that’s what you say when you didn’t count them but there’s a lot) catnip toys and kickers in different shapes. If you still don’t like anything, you can ask Mr. Google for “Gifts for the Pampered Cat.” That’s where the really good stuff is.
All product pictures courtesy of Etsy and the pages referenced. All cat pictures courtesy of Google Images. We have not tried any of these products.