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Photo Friday: Contentment

A cat who displays his or her belly is showing that they are content and that they have total trust in you since this is a very vulnerable position. Frankie spends much of his nap time this way.

cat showing belly


Our New Catio Has It’s Drawbacks

Last week we had an incident that I can’t really explain. We had the door open to the new catio just enough for a cat to get through. Chris was lying inside looking out the door and growling. It was that growl that you sometimes hear when a cat encounters an unknown cat. I looked out to see what the problem was and saw he was directing that growl at Frankie. When Frankie saw me he tried to come inside and Chris attacked him. I had to break it up and for a long time afterward, we had to keep them separated.

Rose thought an outside cat had sprayed Frankie through the screen but I never heard of a cat spraying another cat. Besides, there was no sign of a wet spot on the screens. I assumed he got into something that made him smell different but a quick inspection of the catio revealed nothing unusual.

What was unusual was that his ears were twitching and he was scratching himself. Rose checked him for fleas but nothing was obvious so I brought her the flea comb and she tried again. This time she combed out at least three live fleas.

Since they were due for their flea medication we put it on Frankie and on Floki, which wasn’t easy, at least for Floki. Chris had a three-month flea med put on him a couple of months ago so he wasn’t due yet. Rose also said she didn’t want them going outside anymore, but that didn’t last.

20180313_cats on patio_Frankie and Chris14520180313_cats on patio_Frankie135

The next morning Chris and Frankie were getting along and nobody was scratching themselves. I put some diatomaceous earth down in the house to help control any stray fleas and I plan on getting a flea spray to put around the perimeter of the house. I am told there are environmentally friendly sprays out there so I will be looking for that today.

As far as what happened to Frankie that got Chris so upset, I still don’t have a clue.

One other issue I noticed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, is that everyone seems to have a hard time deciding on what side of the door they want to be on.

20180313_cats on patio_1137

When they do make a decision, they change their minds as soon as the door is closed.

A New Level of Badness

Here is a story of false accusations for Throwback Thursday. It was July of 2015 and someone pooped on the new sofa. It was the beginning of Puck’s pooping problem that later turned into a peeing problem as well, but on this day we blamed Chris because he was the only cat in the house that would do something that bad . . . or so we thought.

Bad Cat Chris

“If this behavior continues, I will take that cat to the animal shelter so fast your head will spin!” Yes, those words actually came out of Rose’s mouth on Thursday morning. She wouldn’t really do that but she was very angry, and rightfully so.

To explain, I need to back up this story to last weekend when we got new furniture for our patio. We got a sofa/sleeper along with a baker’s rack and a dinette set. The sofa came with a sign in cat language that said, “SCRATCH ME,” so Chris and Frankie complied.

our new patio furniture

I covered it with a blanket and a couple of towels over the arms, not just because of the scratching but also to keep it clean and free of cat hair. When guests would come for a visit, we could remove the covers and they could wonder how we keep it so clean with three cats.

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Early Morning Drama

For Throwback Thursday here is a post from July 2015. This was a constant problem before we had the catio built.

Bad Cat Chris

Chris was being very annoying this morning, crying at the door to go outside. Rose asked me to let him out for a few minutes so she could have some peace while she got ready for work. I complied, since I had things to do outside anyway and then brought him back in after a few minutes of him eating grass.

Bad Cat Chris outsideBad Cat Chris outsideBad Cat Chris outside

While he was out, Frankie was very upset that Chris was out and he wasn’t, so when I got back inside Rose said I should put Frankie’s harness on and take him for a walk. I didn’t really feel like doing that but I got his harness and my camera (just in case there was something worth sharing) and opened the door to let him out.

Frankie was a little nervous at first, for some unknown reason, but he soon was on his way. Within two minutes of being outside…

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Our New Catio

We recently had a new screened patio/catio built under our carport. I wanted to write about this last week but, after losing Puck, it was not a priority. The main reason we wanted it built was that trying to get in and out of our house was a nightmare with Chris and Frankie always ready to bust out the door. The screened room would allow a buffer zone. If they escaped as we were leaving we could catch them and put them back inside. If they escaped while we were coming in we could just leave them out there. It is really nice when I have bags of groceries. I can now bring them into the catio and then open the door to the house.

The men came on the first Sunday of February to do the job. We were assured that it was a one day job and they would be finished that day but they got a late start and we had a very heavy rain that started early in the afternoon and lasted all day. They did what they could under the shelter but they couldn’t finish while it was raining.

They came back the following Saturday and finished the work.


Introducing the cats went about as expected. Chris and Frankie took the lead with Puck and Floki following more hesitantly. Puck got over his fear relatively quickly but Floki took a little longer. The following video is the last video ever taken of Puck.

You can see in this photo Floki is still nervous but Chris has forgotten all about the new catio and is more interested in smelling Puck’s butt.

Floki hangs out close to the door so he can run inside at the slightest commotion.

Puck was interested in what was under the house. Perhaps a rabbit.

Rose, of course, wanted it to be a human patio as much as a catio and that required furniture and rugs and a ceiling fan that the guys already installed for us. So the next day we bought some rugs and two wicker chairs, a wicker ottoman and a matching table. We cringed when the salesman said it was packed in small boxes and needed assembly but he said it was easy, just a few screws.

Apparently, on his planet, easy means difficult as hell and a few screws mean slightly less than a hundred. I spent well over an hour Sunday evening putting together the first chair. Fortunately, I had helpers or it might have been done quicker.

We put the rugs down first and Chris and Frankie loved them.

I then started on the first chair

The boxes were a bit of a distraction for Chris and Frankie.

cat Chris in boxcats in box

Finally, by Monday, I had everything put together.

Now that they have a nice catio so they can finally spend time safely outside, guess what Chris does when someone is around to see him?

Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat Review

I recently got an email from Art of Paws asking if I would give an honest review of their Heated Pet Mat in exchange for the product. I was reluctant at first because our weather was warm but I figured it was the first half of February so there were probably a few cold days ahead. I was wrong. I received the product a few days ago and opened it yesterday after checking the 10-day forecast. It showed mostly highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.

Since I had no option to wait for a cold day I opened it yesterday afternoon and plugged it into the outlet inside the sofa armrest and waited. I might have encouraged the boys a bit by calling them and holding it up. Floki was the first to check it out.

Art of Paws Heated Pet MatArt of Paws Heated Pet MatThen he was distracted by Chris and Frankie who discovered the box it came in.

cats and box

I put it on the floor and soon after they all realized they couldn’t fit in the box, Chris discovered the mat.

Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat
He liked it immediately and soon plopped himself down on top of it.Art of Paws Heated Pet MatArt of Paws Heated Pet Mat

I became involved in other things and stopped paying attention but when I looked again, Chris was gone and Floki was lying on it.

cat on Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat

Later, my wife sat down because we were about to watch a tv show together. She noticed the plug had become a bit hot so she unplugged it. Since the outlet is located inside of the sofa armrest where no air is allowed to circulate, I made a mental note not to plug it in there again.

When I was ready to sit down, Chris was back on the mat again. This time it wasn’t plugged in but he didn’t care. He remained on that mat until we got up to go to bed.

I plugged the mat in again this morning and felt the plug after some time. It was warm, but not hot so I don’t think that is an issue.

I also tried to interest Frankie in the mat this morning but he was a bit wound up at the time and couldn’t be bothered with it.

cat on Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat

I was impressed with the quality. It seems to be put together quite nicely and the zipper opens very smoothly so the cover can be removed for washing.

Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat

Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat

It also has a long, six and a half foot cord, of which more than four and a half feet are covered in a bite-proof wrapping.

Art of Paws Heated Pet Mat

It has a fairly thick pad and it measures 23 inches by 17 inches, which I think is large enough for a medium size dog or two cats if they like to snuggle. It also uses only 10 watts of electricity and has a three-year guarantee.

It is not as warm as I expected. I don’t have a thermometer but I would guess it is somewhere between room temperature and a heating pad on low. Perhaps 90 degrees Fahrenheit. At first, I thought that was bad but then realized that a heating pad is for temporary use and shouldn’t be used for more than 20 minutes. At this lower temperature, I would guess that it could be used much longer or indefinitely. I picture a bunch of scientists in lab coats over at Art of Paws trying to figure out the perfect temperature. For more information about this product, you can visit

One last note. As I was writing this post I plugged the mat in and left it on the floor. After I uploaded the photos I got up to get a drink of water and saw this:

I think when the hot weather is here to stay I will remove the heating element and let them use it as a regular mat until next winter. I think it is nice that I have that option. What do you think?


Remembering Puck

Our sudden loss of Puck on Thursday made me think about all the happy times we had with him. Sure, the pooping and peeing we had to deal with lately was not pleasant but that was nothing more than a symptom of his illness and perhaps some territorial disputes that were not Puck’s fault.  Even during those “bad” times, he remained a good cat.  I think he might have even become more affectionate. Puck was the first cat that we introduced to the family after I started this blog so I have a good resource to look back on his life.

Puck was a rescue kitten that My sister-in-law, Felice, bottle fed when he was very young. We visited Felice a couple of weeks before we adopted him (with no intentions of adopting a kitten at the time) and I took photos of a couple of kittens she was taking care of. The following photos are the first pictures of Puck that I have. These were taken on September 1, 2012.

One of our cats, Abbey, was sick at the time of liver failure and passed away a week or so later. Puck just happened to reach the age when it was safe for him to be adopted at the same time. It seemed a bit insensitive to replace Abbey before we had time to mourn her but Puck, who was nicknamed Chowman at the time because of his love for food, needed a home and we had one to give.

We introduced Puck in exactly the way you are not supposed to introduce a new cat, but we have always been bad about that. Fortunately, Tigger didn’t pay much attention and Chris was happy to have someone new in the house.

Puck hid under the bed but was easily lured out with food.

Chris greets Puck as he comes out for food.

Puck soon proved himself to be capable of handling Chris’s domineering playfulness and Chris learned that what goes around, comes around.

Puck also would play fetch when he was young.

And he enjoyed a good game of solitare.

He turned out to be the best behaved cat we ever had (not counting his litter box issues lately). He never bothered anyone or scratched where he shouldnt or tear up the blinds or anything like that, although he would sometimes follow Chris into the land of trouble.

Bad Cat Chris and Puck on top of the Cabinets


Cats in drawer

I would say Chris and Puck were best friends but I think it was more like a father and son relationship. I think Chris took Puck under his wing when Puck was a kitten and that relationship continued until the end.

Our cats, Chris and Puck, napping together


Bad Cat Chris and Puck outside.


Bad Cat Chris and Puck

Our cats Chris and Puck napping together.

Cats Chris and Puck lying together


Puck and Chris did fight occasionally but it was always playful fighting. They were our only two cats that never fought each other to the point of hissing, growling and fur flying. In fact, the last couple of years I don’t recall them in any kind of fight.

Puck never tried to escape but he did love going outside. Unfortunatly, when we moved into our current home he needed to wear a harness. The first time I put it on him and opened the door, a car drove by and freaked him out and he never wanted to go out again. He did get to experience our new catio for a few days (which I still need to write about).

Puck had some favorite spots in the house, among them was on top of the cabinet where he needed my help to reach. He would stand on the kitchen cart (or whatever it is called) and look at me in a certain way while he opened his mouth to let out the quietest of meows. I knew what he wanted and leaned over so he could jump on my sholders. I then walked a coulpe of paces to the china cabinet where he jumped off. He liked it up there because sometimes he just didn’t want to be bothered. I made the mistake of helping Floki up there once or twice and Puck was not happy about it.

The last year or so he found himself at the vet quite a bit. First it was excessive licking. He actually licked off a large portion of his fur.

After at least three vet visits it finally cleared up after changing his flea medication. Appearently he had fleas even though nobody ever saw any on him.

After that is when his bladder problems started and he ended up at the vet six times for the same problem. He did not like the vet and would often hide behind me while we were in the exam room waiting for the vet.

Puck was not happy to be there and wouldn't come out of his carrier.

Now that Puck is gone, we wonder how the other cats feel about it. He left the house without any of the cats even knowing there was a problem and he never returned. I don’t think Frankie and Floki care too much but I did see Chris wondering around the house Thursday evening. He would stop every few paces and look around. I felt so bad for him. I haven’t seen him do that lately so maybe he has accepted that he is gone.