Photo Friday: Classic Flash and Alex


Here is a photo of Flash and Alex. It was taken October 16, 2005, a few months after we adopted Flash and Tigger as kittens.

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Our New Cat Scratcher


We were finally able to catch Floki last week to bring him to the groomer to get his nails trimmed. Our last two attempts ended in Failure. With Floki, if you try to catch him and fail, his guard is up for the rest of the day, or longer.

After the second failed attempt we decided to order a new cat scratcher to help keep his nails from getting too long between groomer visits. The sisal scratchers seem to be more useful in directing scratching activity away from furniture but I have always questioned their ability to actually keep nails short.

About five years ago, maybe more, I read about an all wood scratcher that interested me. I knew it might work because several years earlier, our cat Vinny would get on top of my son’s guinea pig cage and scratch the wood. There was one spot with large gouges in the wood from Vinny’s scratching.

At the time I thought I would just save money and build it myself. It seemed simple enough. I thought I might even try angling it or making it horizontal since Vinny used a horizontal piece of wood to scratch on. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem I didn’t anticipate.

I didn’t want to use chemically treated wood, which could be bad for the cats if they ingest any of it. I also wanted a soft wood like cedar that would allow them to dig into it a little. My feeling was that a wood that was too hard would interest them as much as a steel scratching post. The problem I ran into was that you can’t go into a local hardware store and buy a 4×4 piece of wood that is soft or untreated. I did find a place online but I would have had to buy an entire pallet which I didn’t want to do. So instead of just buying the scratcher at the time, I just forgot about the whole thing until Floki reminded me that we needed something for him since getting his nails trimmed is way too much trouble.

I found the same product on Amazon that I saw years before. The price went up five dollars but considering the time that has passed I would say that is less than inflation. The product is a Natural Scratch 32″ Scratching Post. It should be noted that this is an affiliate link so if you buy a scratcher I will get a little over two dollars and will be able to retire early. Thanks in advance.

When it arrived, our cats were more interested in the box then they were anything else.

Putting it together is pretty simple. The two base pieces have cutouts that allow them to fit together like an “X.” All the pieces have predrilled holes so you just use the included screws and screw the base to the post.

There were two minor things that I didn’t like about it. First, there should have been a recess in the base so the screws would not stick out and scratch the floor. I compensated by screwing them in tight so they dug into the wood far enough to not be an issue but some people might not think about that. I suppose that could have been in the instructions but I’m sure I am not the only one who doesn’t read those things.

The other issue was that I thought two screws were not enough to hold the pieces together properly. I considered drilling two more holes and putting in two additional screws but decided to see how it held up with two screws. So far it seems fine.

The scratcher comes with a “mouse hole” at the top where you can put treats, catnip or toys. I chose to put catnip in the hole for the introduction.

It also comes with a cord that they call an antenna. It is something to encourage your cats to reach up and play.

Of our three cats, only Frankie used the scratcher as a scratcher. He seemed to understand what it was for right away while Chris, and to a lesser degree Floki, were more interested in the catnip that fell on the floor.

It has been a week since I put it together and Frankie continues to use it on a regular basis. I must admit that the instructions had advice for getting your cats to use it but that accidently ended up in the trash before I could read it. I have seen Floki use it a couple of times but not regularly. I have not seen Chris use it at all.

So far I would only rate this as a partial success but I think it takes time for the cats to get used to it and learn what it is for. I blame myself for not putting in the time to train our cats, or at least show them that they have an alternative to their other scratching posts. I also think that even though we bought this mostly for Floki, Frankie’s use of it has had unexpected benefits. Frankie is our resident sofa scratcher and I have not seen him scratch the sofa since I introduced the new scratching post. Hopefully that behavior will continue.

What do you think? Does anyone have a natural wood scratcher? Does it work for you?

Our 1000th Post


This is it. The big one zero zero zero. I never thought I would make it this far. Of course, it took me over seven years. Other blogs that I read accomplished that in far less time but, at the same time, many more blogs stopped far short of 1000 posts or seven years so I do feel like I have accomplished something.

The main thing that has kept my blog posts to less that three a week, besides my job, is that I have never participated in any regular blog hops. Not because I think there is anything wrong with them, but because I don’t want to make any commitments that I can’t keep. I do a Photo Friday every week and sometimes I feel rushed to do that. I am an absent-minded, fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy and I just don’t do well with schedules or things that require organization.

I thought I would share some of the stats from my last 1000 posts. Actually, it would be from my last 998 posts since I am writing this Thursday evening.

Total words written: 202990

Average number of words per post: 203

Followers: WordPress (608), Email(25), Facebook (2586), Twitter (956), Instagram (133). YouTube (104), I don’t have information on other blog readers.

Best day: February 14, 2017. WordPress does not give the total number of views for some reason. I posted this post for Valentine’s day. I didn’t think this post was anything out of the ordinary and am not sure why it was so popular. I suppose it is also possible that another previous post was being viewed that day but WordPress does not give that information either.

Happy valentine's day

Most viewed post:Are Ginger Cats Friendlier?” This was published August 9, 2013 and has 14,318 views.

Second Most Viewed Post:Feral Cat Ear Notching” published September 21, 2014. It has 6684 views.

Pumpkin the cat

The following are posts that I personally think are best for one reason or another.

Best Bad Cat Chris story: The Great Escape,” posted June 19, 2012.

Best Adventure Story: Surviving Hurricane Irma With Cats – Part One and Part Two.

Best Example of Chris’s “Badness”: Bad Cat Chris Versus Spray Bottle published August 14, 2012.

Bad Cat Chris and Chuck

Best Review Post: Kitty Kick Stix Review published August 22, 2017. I’m not saying this is the best product, although it is good, but the cats did their best to be cute and funny.

kitty kick stix

Most Useful Post: Basic Photography for Bloggers Published July 16, 2018. This is probably not useful to everyone but I think people unfamiliar with photography should read this.

High ISO shot of Cat Chris

Cutest Photo: This was a tough choice considering I have about 2500 photos, many of which are very cute. I chose this one of Frankie because it is the first one I think of when I think of cute cat photos. This photo was used in the post “Photo Friday: Under the Dresser” published on August 8, 2014.

Our cat Frankie under the dressor

Best Group Photo: This was taken on May 7, 2010 while we were still in Myrtle Beach. Alex is on the top and Tigger and Abbey were enjoying the second shelf together until Chris joined them. The photo was included in the post “What Goes Around, Comes Around” published on November 28, 2012.

Funniest Photo: This photo was taken April 4, 2010 and was used on the post “Everybody Loves Chris” published June 26, 2012.

Best All-Around Photo: I think this photo of Chris jumping down from a high window is my favorite for many reasons, not the least of which is perfect timing. This was included in “Chris’s Springboard” published January 1, 2013.

Chris jumping down from Window

What do you think? Do you have a favorite post or photo that you can remember?

Photo Friday: That Face


Frankie has got to be the cutest cat in the world.

I know that everyone out there who has a cat thinks that their cat is the cutest but the truth is, you are all wrong. It’s Frankie.

Okay! Okay! I was just kidding. Every cat is cute. I just happen to think that Frankie is the most photogenic of our three cats and would probably be even more photogenic if his lazy dad would clean off the eye boogers.

Frankie Versus Chris – The Microbiome Showdown


I recently received Frankie’s microbiome report from NomNomNow and thought I would compare his report to Chris’s. I wrote about Chris’s report here so if you haven’t seen it, it might be better if you look at that first. I don’t want to repeat it here but simply talk about the differences between the two reports I have so far. Floki’s report is not yet completed. As I mentioned before, I was given these test kits in exchange for an honest review.

I did not yet look at Frankie’s report except to take screen shots for this post so I will comment on each section individually as I compare the reports.

It looks like Chris scored a little better on Composition and Diversity getting 9 out of 17 and 2 out of three respectively but they both scored in the normal range. I did mention on Chris’s report that it was unclear what the numbers 17 and 3 represented but I didn’t mention that it is also unclear what the difference between composition and diversity is. I would think a good composition score means a high diversity.

Chris’s gut bacteria was dominated by one specific type, Bacteroides (73%), while Frankie’s is dominated by two types, Bacteroides (46%) and unclassified bacteria in Enterobacteriaceae family (29%). Normally I would say having two dominant bacteria is better than one but the Enterobacteriaceae family include pathogens such as Salmonella and E-coli. It also includes benign varieties as well so there is not enough evidence to make a judgement here.

Frankie scored in the low but normal range in the Firmicutes family. Chris scored higher but still relatively low.

Frankie and Chris both scored low in the Actinobacteria family. Since this bacteria is associated with weight loss, I made the comment that this might contribute to Chris’s weight gain but since Frankie is skinny I don’t know what to think.

Both Frankie’s and Chris’s level of Fusobacteria is high but there is little information about it. so there is no point in speculating about weather this is good or bad.

Frankie and Chris are both low in Prevotella and High in Bacteroides, with Chris being a little higher than Frankie in Bacteroides. Since they seem to help digest carbs and since both Chris and Frankie eat a fair amount of dry food, perhaps they are necessary. It should be noted that Frankie eats more wet food than Chris but he also tends to puke after eating wet food which then makes him eat more dry food because he is hungry.

Frankie scored a bit higher in the richness category than Chris did but they were about the same in evenness. Their overall diversity score was almost identical.

I see now that making this a competition was pointless for a couple of reasons. There is still a lot that is unknown about gut bacteria in pets and there are variables such as genetics and diet that may influence the level of benefit from each species of bacteria. If I had to pick a winner I would say that Chris’s microbiome seems slightly better than Frankie’s but they both could use improvement.

I still believe this test is useful since a lot is know about gut health and more is being learned everyday. The test also gives us a general sense of our pets overall gut health. For example, The dominance of one or two bacteria tells me I should supplement my cat’s diet with probiotics to help even that out. I mentioned before that I wanted to do that but delayed buying anything until after I sent Floki’s sample in.

I am interested to see Floki’s report. I think he eats (and keeps down) a higher percentage of wet to dry food and I wonder if that will make a difference on his report. I guess we will see.

Photo Friday: Dynamic Trio


Here is an old photo of Flash, Tigger and Alex from January 2, 2006. Flash and Tigger lost their mother at a very young age and because of that, I assume, Tigger developed a need to suck on Flash’s belly like he was nursing. Sometimes when Tigger did that Flash would lick himself on the chest at the same time. Here, Alex joined in on the fun.

As they got older, Flash became increasingly irritated with Tigger and eventually put an end to the belly sucking.

Ginger Cat Appreciation Day


Today is Ginger Cat Appreciation Day and we have loved and appreciated all of our ginger cats, starting with Tigger who we adopted in 2005.

After Tigger we adopted Chris in 2009 and you all know how that turned out.

2014 brought us Frankie who is both affectionate and naughty, like Chris only maybe not quite at Chris’s level.

Our cat Frankie on roof

I don’t think there is a need for Ginger Cat Appreciation Day since, I am sure, all of you with ginger cats already appreciate them.

Photo Friday: Classic Princess


Since I didn’t do a post for Rainbow Bridge Remembrance day, I thought I would post a photo of Princess taken in 2003. Here she is posing with my son’s pet guinea pig, Furball.

I actually have a lot of photos of Princess and Furball. You would think her instincts would make her want to eat him but she was more fascinated by him than hungry.

Meet Finnegan


After her beloved cat, Pumpkin, died, my mother-in-law decided to open her home to another cat in need. This is Finnegan.

He is another ginger boy like Pumpkin but he is also not like Pumpkin. Just like all cats, he has his own personality.

I expected him to be shy around strangers and thought I would have to go look for him under the bed but I didn’t. Instead he came out to greet us. He is a very sociable cat but he is not a lap cat, at least not now. Perhaps when he is more comfortable he will be.

We visited twice since she adopted him. The second time I found him napping on the bed so he certainly feels right at home.

He is also not shy about blocking the doorway.

We brought him one of Floki’s mice to play with. I bought a bag of ten mice and still had a few left so we thought he might want one. He was mildly interested for about five seconds and then not so much.

Finnegan, or Finn for short, got his name because he looks like an Irish redhead. He is about three years old and was once a stray that was brought in after someone alerted the organization that he appeared injured or “beat up.” I don’t know all the details but he is far too friendly to be feral.

Another interesting thing is that he has no white on him anywhere. The tip of his tail is very light but not quite white. I don’t recall seeing a ginger cat with no white. I wonder how common that is? What do you think about Finn or about ginger cats with no white?