Vacation is Over


Here is a post from October 2014 for Throwback Thursday. Apparently, that is the year Chris started gaining weight. Since then, I have cut way back on the amount of kibble I give him but he has still gained weight. I guess cats are just like people when they age.

Bad Cat Chris

We just returned from a week-long cruise on Saturday. We were supposed to go to the Virgin Islands but a hurricane forced us to different ports, but that is another story. By the time the cruise was over, we were more than ready to get home to see our boys.

We had no phone service for a week so we had to trust that our cats were being taken care of. Service returned Saturday morning when we arrived at Port Canaveral but we had no messages from the cat sitter. After we finally left the ship, Rose got a text from our backup cat sitter with a photo of each of the cats but no real explanation as to why she was there. At least we knew they were okay, that is all we cared about. We learned later that our cat-sitter had to go out of town that morning…

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Frankie Versus Chris


I was looking through videos and came across one from December and thought that it was a perfect example of what happens around here just about every day. Usually Frankie and Chris get along pretty well but then, all of a sudden, there is a cat fight. This fight usually, but not always, has Frankie as the agressor while Chris defends himself while lying down.

I’m not sure how this lying down defense makes much practical sense but I am not an expert at cat fighting.

Cat Grass Fever


I used to think cat grass was a perineal, like regular grass, and that I was just somehow terrible at keeping it growing. Now I realize that it is not like regular grass and will always die after a few weeks. I don’t know for sure but knowing how everything centers around money in America, I assume the seeds are picked less for the cat’s benefit and more for the benefit of the company’s bottom line.

After my last batch of cat grass died I just left the pot outside for several months. I had no desire to try again but I was cleaning out my shed and noticed a half-used bag of cat grass seeds and decided to give it another go. I knew it wouldn’t last but I still thought it would be worth it for the cats’ sake.

After a week or two the grass was tall enough to bring in for the cats.

As expected, Chris was the king of the grass-eating with Frankie a close second. Floki seemed to show just a mild curiosity. I guess I need to accept the realty and just replant the cat grass every so often.

What about you? Do your cats like cat grass?

Photo Friday: Classic Flying Holly


I dug into the archives and found a couple of photos I took nine years ago yesterday. This is Holly who lives with my sister-in-law, Felice. Holly is the original bad cat and my wife and I always wanted to take her home when we would go there to visit. That was before we got Chris and found out how much work a naughty cat can be.

Holly loved jumping and catching pieces of paper or toy mice.

I have not visited in a while but I believe Holly is still doing well. She is several years older than Chris but she did not put on the weight like Chris did.

I featured Holly several times on my blog, Just Fur Laughs. Click here for an example of one of my favorites.

Our Empty Cat Shelter


I returned to volunteering at the SPCA three Fridays ago and was pleased that the number of cats had not increased since before I went to West Virginia. Indeed, it may have even decreased.

When I first started volunteering, about a year and a half ago, the shelter was close to full. There are eight pods designed for eight cats each and all the pods usually had between five and eight cats. In addition there are two more rooms that often house either a group of kittens or special needs cats, such as FIV positive cats. Then there is a room that contains about eight to ten individual cages. They call that room “Shoreline” for a reason I am unfamiliar with. There is also another room with about eight more similar cages. These usually house cats that are fresh out of surgery, cats that are on a special diet, or cats that don’t play well with others. I would estimate that there was a consistent number of between 50 and 75 cats at all times.

Then COVID hit and I feared that the number would go up because of restrictions on visitors and people’s general fear of going out. I was wrong. People stepped up and adopted like never before. By the time we left for West Virginia in November there were probably around twenty cats up for adoption.

When I returned there were cats in two of the eight pods and a few in the Shoreline cages. I was mostly happy that the shelter was low on cats but part of me was perhaps a little sefishly glad there were still a few there because I missed being able to interact with these cats.

The following week most of the cats were gone but were replaced by new cats.

I think the only holdover was this orange and white cat.

Yesterday there was a total of five cats when I came it for my shift. I did not get a photo of the tortie but here are the other four. The first two were adopted together while I was there.

While the woman was getting her adoption paperwork finalized someone from medical brought back two more cats that were now ready for adoption. One of them was six-year-old male ginger with the best name ever, “Lasagna.”

The other was a three-year-old female Bengal cat named “Phoenix.”

I was given the heads up about Phoenix and Lasagna before she brought them back so, knowing my wife wanted a Bengal cat, I texted her that a girl Bengal cat was coming. I told her if she wanted her she needed to come to see her right away and bring a carrier. She was excited at first and then was worried that four cats would be too difficult to bring to our other home. She also worried that she might disrupt the harmony in our house.

Indeed, she did some growling and hissing when she first arrived and when I opened the cage to see if I could calm her down she bolted and escaped. It took some effort to catch up to her and bring her back and she did not go back willingly.

Before I left, someone from medical came and brought back Lasagna. I’m not sure why but apparently he was not supposed to come out for adoption yet. When I left there were only four cats up for adoption, the lowest number I have seen since starting there.

This morning my wife changed her mind and decided she wanted to go see the Bengal cat. She asked me if I thought she would still be there and I said, “I doubt it but I will check.” I looked on the SPCA website and saw there were only two cats left and neither one was Pheonix. I checked again now, at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and there are now zero cats up for adoption. This really is good news but now I wonder if I will be needed next week.

Photo Friday: The Spot Stealer


Before we went to our new house in West Virginia, Floki would often nap on the bed in the spare bedroom. We brought that bed with us so when we came back there was no bed there for Floki. That changed last weekend when we bought a new bed for that room. Now Floki is happy.

Notice Floki has his mouse with him.

I should say he was happy until Chris stole his spot yesterday.

After I took this Photo Floki got down and then he jumped back up and hissed at Chris. He didn’t get his spot back but he did make sure his voice was heard.

The Lizard Dilemma


Chris used to be a great lizard catcher. For throwback Thursday here is a fun little video from 2014. Well, maybe not fun for the lizard.

Bad Cat Chris

The other day Chris was outside and caught another lizard. That is bad enough but he has this irresistible urge to bring his catch into the house and doesn’t know what to do with it when he can’t get in.

I’m not sure why he has to bring it inside. At first I thought it was instinctual but then I realized that lions don’t kill a gazelle and then drag it back to the den to eat it. Maybe he just wants to show it off to Puck and Frankie.

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Photo Friday: The Weight is Over


Yesterday morning Frankie was sleeping on the sofa and I saw Chris flop the full weight of his upper body on top of him. I knew Chris was too heavy for Frankie and this wouldn’t last long so I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped this photo.

Three seconds later, Frankie wiggled himself free and got down. Chris then went to take a nap in his cat bed and Frankie returned to the same spot on the sofa.

Topeakmart Cat Tree Review


I was contacted by a company called Topeakmart to do a review of one of their cat trees. I missed it at the time but noticed it as I was cleaning my inbox. Normally I ignore unsolicited review requests but after checking out their website I thought their products looked appealing. In addition, we brought a couple of cat perches to our West Virginia home so I thought the cats would appreciate another one.

I was allowed to choose which product I wanted to review so I decided on the 51″ Cat Tree Condo. I could have gone with the 79″ Cat Tree Condo but I didn’t want to be greedy. Plus, I liked the 51″ tree because it had a ladder that I thought would be perfect for Chris. He is getting up there in age (and weight) and that ladder will probably be a big help in allowing him to get on it, especially in the future when he is even older and hopefully not heavier.

I should mention that I did get this cat tree for free in exchange for an honest review. They did not try to influence my review in any way but they did offer my readers a 15% discount (use code: chris15). If you choose to take advantage of the discount, I will not be compensated.

The cat tree arrived on Monday and I was surprised by how efficiently the box was packed. It was like stuffing 25 people in a phone booth.

Cat tree packed in box

I pulled out the instructions first to see what kind of project lay ahead of me. You may remember me writing a couple of months ago about putting a bed frame together as well as a desk for my wife. Both items were unbelievably complicated and I didn’t want another one of those. This one didn’t look too bad. I was disappointed at first that it was only illustrations and no written description but it seemed pretty straightforward.

I set up my GoPro camera and I put a clock in view to record how long the assembly process was, although it was difficult to see the clock in the final video. I set the video for two frames per second and got to work. As you can see, it went pretty well but I was delayed a bit by Frankie who had to get inside one of the pieces I was assembling. I also separated the screws at the beginning but still managed to get them mixed up and used the wrong screw on two separate occasions. I also screwed one of the posts into the wrong hole but that was because I jumped ahead without reading the directions.

It took me about 40 minutes to assemble the cat tree. I probably wasted about ten minutes with my careless mistakes and with stopping to deal with Frankie or take pictures. I estimate that a normal person without distractions could put it together in 30 minutes or less. If you have already seen it done, like in the video, perhaps twenty minutes is reasonable.

Frankie was the first to investigate the cat tree. As soon as I started putting it together he had to check it out.

Floki was next.

Frankie was also first to get on it when it was finished.

He seemed to like the cubby and ended up taking a nap there.

Later, Frankie checked out the upper part of the cat tree.

I’m not sure why but the cats seemed to think that this is a one at a time cat tree. As soon as Frankie got down Floki got up on it.

He had to check out every nook and cranny to make sure it met with his approval.

Chris was sleeping in his cat bed when I finished but as soon as he woke up he had to check it out too. I was in the kitchen making dinner so I did not see Chris take over the tree from Floki but I hope it was a peaceful transfer.

I left and came back a little later and Chris had moved to the bottom.

It seems a waste of a good cat tree to hang out at the very bottom but perhaps he was just enjoying the velvety softness of the carpet. It is amazingly soft compared to the carpet on our other cat tree.

So far they have not yet discovered the hammock that hangs near the bottom or the toy that hangs from the top perch but that just means more surprises for them in the future.

Overall I think this is a great cat tree that is well made and a practical design. It has one downside that I can see. The upper two posts are adequate for an average-sized cat but maybe not for a heavy cat like Chris. Of course, Chris would probably not attempt to jump up there, so I don’t see it as an issue. They have a blog post on their website called “4 Best Cat Trees for Large Cats in 2021 from Topeakmart” which I probably should have read before choosing a cat tree, but I think the one I picked is still a good choice for our cats.

Tell me you think? Would your cat’s enjoy a cat tree like this?