Sunday, July 26, 2015

One for Sorrow, Two for Mirth...

Lynn Title writes, "Magpie was adopted in 2003 from the D'arcy Street Prince George's County, Maryland, shelter, the same place we got Tilde and Zeli from. That would make her 12-years-old. We think from her color and mannerisms that she is part Burmese as she is actually dark brown, not black. As an adult, she is still very curious and playful and steals small shiny objects at every chance; and she talks all the time, though not in a Siamese voice. Her name was an obvious choice, given the above. 

"She also helps my husband, Richard, with plumbing repairs... picking through his toolbox and stealing the ratchets one by one. Fortunately we know where her stashes are and comb through them whenever anything important goes missing."

And if you are wondering about the name of this post, counting sightings of magpies or crows has a long tradition. See more on that folklore here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Gentle Giant

Daryl Pulis of America's Home Grown Veggies weekly radio show writes: "Alex first showed up a few years ago wanting nothing but food. He gradually decided that we were okay and I was able to get him into a crate, checked for a chip (none) and get him vetted. He wanted no part of being inside, despite our best efforts. Even when he was drugged after neutering, he tried to dig out of the greenhouse. A couple of years ago, he decided that sleeping on our screened porch in bad weather was okay -- as long as we didn't close the screen door. When the door was closed, he tore through a screen and jumped 8-feet or so to the ground to escape. We learned to keep the door open.  
   "We made him a specially insulated box and put a heating pad in it for him for the winter before last, and that was ok. He was content to sleep on the porch with the open door and he eventually followed me in and out of the utility room when I was washing clothes and gardening out front.
   "This past winter in Georgia, it was just too cold, with temps below zero. I brought him and his bedding into the utility room and we toughed it out. He hated having the doors closed. He tore the curtains, shredded the carpeting by the doors and otherwise expressed his disapproval . It was rough on both of us, but he came back in every night if coaxed. 
   "There's more to the saga, but the big news is that he likes it here with us and is getting used to the other cats (he's number 9) and no longer considers them an automatic threat. It took a couple of years, but now Alex is now happy to be inside and snuggle."
    Daryl adds: "He always listens to me when I record America's Home Grown Veggies. He's the only one who doesn't try to get in front of my monitor or bounce a (loud) ball to get my attention as some of the other cats do. He waits quietly until I'm done and then makes a beeline for my desk for a cuddle. It was certainly worth the work it took to tame him."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Life of Riley

Margaret Koogle of Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, MD, USA, writes:

"Our cat, Riley, enjoys our pond as much as we do! How about at your house? Do you have a pet that enjoys your pond? Love to hear and see! We think he especially loved what was swimming in the pond."

"Riley was a stray cat my daughters found at Lilypons. They found him as a kitten and tamed him by feeding him. He loved the outdoors!" (We are sad to note that Riley passed away in 2010.)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Welcome to my Catio

Reader John Looser lives on a busy highway—making it downright scary for him to let his cats outside. So he decided to build an outdoor cage so they can go out whenever they want. The cage is built right in front of a busted-out basement window, so his feline friends can come and go whenever they please.

Apparently, "Catios" are a thing now. A Catio is basically a screened-in area where cats can experience the outdoors and still be safe indoors. (In other words, a cat's patio.) I wonder though why you would build such a retreat just for your cats and not also for you and your fellow humans to enjoy as well?

One of the first addition I put on my house when I moved in almost 15 years ago was a screened-in sun room. It is unheated, so I only open up the kitchen door to it when the weather gets about 60 degrees -- usually from about April to October. I don't use air-conditioning, so the sun room's open windows are a vital part of my house's air-flow in the heat of summer. It is also where I hang my laundry to dry each week -- a very convenient way to have fresh, crisp towels and sheets in the city and not have them out in the elements or letting my undergarments be exposed to my neighborhoods' prying eyes. The sun room is also where I collect, dry, and save seeds from my garden as well cure my garden harvests such as garlic and sweet potatoes. Of course, I also use it for relaxing on a summer evening free from annoying mosquitoes and a place for having guests over to chat and relax.

For my cats though, it is Xanadu. They run to the door out to the sun room when I come down to make breakfast in the morning and they spend practically the whole day in there watching my water garden out one side window and all the rest of the gardens through the other two sides of the sun room. It provides a panoramic view on an endless parade of bird visitors, flying insects, and other wildlife that keeps them absorbed all day. Before I go to bed each night, I have to kick the cats out of this paradise and lock up. They don't object too badly, but occasionally, Santino, my big Maine Coon, throws a fit and refuses to come "in." If I let him, he'd live out there 24-7 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Do you have an indoor/outdoor area that you and your cats enjoy together?

Here is the Country Living article on the catios trend:

(Image from -- uncredited -- source being sought.)