Tag Archives: cat

Photo Friday: Frankie


Here is Frankie on one of his walks. Taking Frankie for a walk is less common these days because he escapes so often a walk on his harness is almost unnecessary.

The Most Annoying Cat in the World


The Most Annoying Cat in the World is a bold statement and I have no real evidence to support that there is not another cat more annoying than Chris but, in my mind at least, I can’t imagine anyone could beat him at the annoyance game.

Here are just two examples of how annoying Chris can be. Keep in mind that he is also the most affectionate cat in the world, according to me, so that tends to cancel out the annoying factor.

Here are more videos that I have shown before but are worth repeating.

What do you think? Do you have an annoying cat?

What is A Hero?


A hero does not have to wear a mask and cape or be a firefighter or soldier. According to Google, a hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” I was thinking about that on Thursday when I was volunteering at the SPCA.

I had recently changed jobs and moved into a cat counselor position because the 4-7 shift on Thursdays opened up. Previously, I worked on Mondays or Tuesdays when the shelter was closed but now I have the opportunity to interact with people who are looking to adopt. While I was there, a couple adopted a cat that was about ten years old. I told one of the other volunteers that I thought people who adopt older cats are heroes in my book because they could just as easily adopt a kitten, or young cat, that would be with them for many more years but instead they choose to give a cat (or dog) a loving home to live out their remaining life. That is an attitude that I admire greatly and said that I would love to do that but it is hard because we are already over our one pet limit.

That got us talking about an eleven year old cat named Jezebel that was at the shelter but in a cage by herself instead of in a pod with other cats.

I opened the cage and started petting her and she loved it. She was starving for attention and just seemed so sweet. I looked at her chart which said that she had been there since October 23rd. That was almost four months stuck in a small cage by herself. I asked if anyone knew why she was isolated from other cats but nobody knew for sure. Her chart said she was aggressive with another cat which was why she was surrendered.

I thought maybe it was just one cat that she was aggressive toward and maybe that particular cat was the problem and not her. “Did anyone try to put her in a pod with other cats before isolating her?” I asked.

Nobody knew so I went to the adoption office and asked them but they did not have specific records and it sounded like they just assumed she was an aggressive cat and stuck her in a box by herself. I feel bad for her and part of me wants to go back and adopt her but another part of me worries that we might be bringing trouble into our home.

What do you think? Any advice for me?

Update: My wife and I went to see Jezebel Saturday afternoon. She let me hold her for a long time while I listened to an employee tell me that she was the aggressor. I decided to put her to the test and walked over to a cage with a cat that wasn’t sleeping. The two cats sniffed each other for a few seconds and then Jesebel let loose with a few rapid-fire whaps at the unsuspecting kitty. That pretty much ended her chance of coming home with us which is really too bad because she is such a friendly cat otherwise.

Flash Alternative for Pet Photography


One of my most used Christmas presents this year is a Viltrox LED Light Panel. I picked it out after my wife said that my stepson was looking for something to buy for me. I am very hard to buy for because I don’t need much and if I do find something that I want it is too expensive for me or anyone else. So you can imagine how hard it was to come up with a good suggestion. I was very happy that it actually was a good suggestion because this light has proved to be quite useful.

I typically hate using a flash for photographing our cats, or anything else. About the only thing a flash is good for, in my opinion, is in photographing receipts. I hate the harsh shadows it creates and you just can’t avoid those laser eyes.

This light panel is not better than natural light but it does improve on the flash that comes on your camera in five significant ways.

  1. It has a much larger surface area than a flash so it does not produce the single direction light that causes harsh shadows. Of course, it is not as diffused as the large studio lights in a portrait studio but it is much more portable and less expensive.
  2. The color temperature can be changed to match the lighting conditions. If you are outdoors and need a fill light, you can set it to a higher color temperature to match the natural light. If you are indoors and want the warmer light that you get from incandescent bulbs or candle, you can turn down the color temperature to a warmer level.
  3. The brightness level can be set between 20% and 100% intensity. Sometimes I just need a little fill light and I don’t want my subjects to squint when I take their photo so I turn the level down to 40% or less.
  4. The light does not need to be attached to the camera so you can get extra light from whatever angle you need it to come from.
  5. By being constantly on, it gives the eyes a chance to dilate, thus reducing red eye or “laser eyes.”

I took the two photos below with the light attached to my camera. The first one of Chris sleeping on the sofa is a good example of how the light does not produce harsh shadows. I wish I had taken another photo using the camera’s flash but I did not think of it at the time.

This photo of Chris does have some obvious shadows, which were unavoidable given the content, but I have shot photos like this using a flash and they are almost always unusable. Pay no attention to Chris’s eye boogers. That has always been a constant problem with his eyes.

What do you think? Do you have any other lighting tips you would like to share?

Floki Versus the Turbo Scratcher


I think the one cat toy in our house that has really stood the test of time is the Turbo Scratcher. The one we have now is one of two that we bought well over fifteen years ago (I don’t know what happened to the other one). It has not only lasted for years, it has also remained one of the most played with toys in the house.

Not all of our cats have been interested in it. Some have ignored it completely while others played with it occasionally, but there has always been one cat that goes back to it again and again. When Chris was young, he was the one. Then it was Puck and now Floki loves the Turbo Scratcher.

I often hear the sound of Floki playing with it but I never have a camera around. When I do go and get my camera or phone, as soon as I come back he is done playing. I was lucky to get the above video before Christmas and then promply forgot I had it until now.

Do you have any pet toys that have stood the test of time? I would love to hear about them.

More Tests for Chris


Chris was back at the vet on Monday to get the blood test that he did not let them get when we were there last. This time my wife went with me to make sure I didn’t let them charge me $700 like the last vet did.

It was not easy getting him into the cat carrier and I felt bad doing it to him again.

There is a scale near the reception desk so I put Chris on it. After deducting the weight of the carrier I came up with 17.2 pounds, about three pounds less than a couple of months ago. I was both glad and concerned that he lost weight.

After they took him in the back, we waited for a very long time and then we heard the blood curdling screams. It was very distressing knowing that Chris was going through such a terrible trauma while we sat and listened. I know having a little blood taken is not that bad, but Chris was a confused cat being held down by strangers while someone poked him with something sharp. I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I wish they would have let me go back and help hold him. That might have been a little less stressful for both of us.

The vet offered anti-diarrhea medication which my wife, who was there to prevent me from overspending, gladly accepted. I was reluctant because I had just ordered probiotics from Amazon and preferred to try to correct the problem naturally and without drugs. We were able to get one of those pills down Chris’s throat once and then we gave up.

They also gave a a poop-kit. I have been instructed to collect Chris’s poop and bring it in. Since we have three cats, I need to see him poop and by now, Thursday morning, that has not happened yet.

I got a call from the vet on Tuesday. She said Chris’s bloodwork was mostly normal. She mentioned two or three of tests that were a little high but she also said the vomiting and stress might have caused the tests to be high and not the other way around. In a nutshell, it is unknown what caused the vomiting but it seems, at least from the bloodwork, that Chris is okay.

We were happy to hear that Chris is okay and hope we won’t have to bring him back anytime soon.

Chris’s Unresolved Medical Problems


Chris has always been our healthiest cat. Sure, he did have minor issues, but we never had to bring him to the vet for an illness until he was about seven and a half years old and he got an eye infection that really wasn’t his fault. Both he and Frankie caught it from Floki when we adopted Floki. Then, a couple of years later, the flood gates opened.

First it was an infection in his mouth about a year ago that resulted in the loss of eight teeth. Then in June his ear polyps, which he had since he was a kitten, worsened and became infected. You can read that story here. The vet gave us a price of almost $600 to remove the polyps but when we were ready to proceed he changed his mind and said it was too complicated to do in their office and recommeded a specialist.

We went to the specialist twice (here and here). The first visit I talked to a surgeon who wanted to remove his ear canals and make him deaf. I didn’t want to do that and asked for other options. She consulted the dermatologist who had them test the infection and then they compounded a medication for it with instructions to see the dermatologist when the medicine was gone.

A few weeks later we saw the dermatologist who said they needed to take a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t cancer. He said it would be about two weeks to get the results. They also gave me more medicine. That visit cost me $701. The first visit was about $250. This is all before a treatment plan.

While I was waiting for the results, Chris started puking so I had to bring him back to his regular vet (read about it here). By now he is very weary and does not want to cooperate. The vet gave him a shot for nausea but Chris struggled too much and they were not able to get a blood test to determine what was wrong.

He seemed to get better and we went to St. Augustine for a few days for my wife’s birthday at the end of December. When we returned he still seemed okay so I assumed he was better.

Last week the dermatologist called and said Chris’s results came back, finally, but they were inconclusive. He wanted to do the test again, at no charge, and try to dig out a deeper sample but I did not want to put Chris through any more trauma. I tried to talk to him about it but the connection was very bad and lost him. He didn’t call back so I called the office and was diverted to an answering machine. I left a message saying I was cut off but never got a return call. I put it out of my mind but then called them back last week and talked to someone in the office.

I asked the person on the phone, “What’s the worst that could happen if we assume it is not cancer?” I told her he had polyps his whole life and if they were cancerous we would have known by now.

She agreed that it was unlikely but possible so I asked what would happen if it was cancer? “They would probably remove his ear canals but that would not guarantee that it would not spread,” she said.

I said, “If we assume that it is not cancer what would you do?”

“Well, with the polyps as extensive as they are in Chris’s ears, they would need to be cut out with a laser,” she said, “and that is an expensive procedure and only a few places around here, like universities, have lasers.

“So why am I wasting my time and money with you if you can’t do anything?” I didn’t say that but I thought it.

At about the same time I talked to that vet, Chris started puking again. It also became very obvious that he has diarrhea too. I called his regular vet on Friday and asked if I could bring him in for the blood test that they couldn’t take last time but they couldn’t get me in until late this coming Monday.

In the meantime, I am watching him closely. He is puking two to three times a day and as I was writing about his diarrhea, I was also witnessing it first hand.

Frankie pukes almost every day but I don’t worry too much about him because that is what he does. Chris, on the other hand, is not a puker so I do worry about him.

I have noticed some interesting differences between Chris and Frankie. Frankie seems to seek out carpets or other hard to clean places before he pukes but Chris tries to puke in the litter box. I would say at least half of all his pukes are contained in the litter box. This morning he missed the boxed but puked just outside of it. He then reached in the box and pulled out enough litter to bury it.

Another thing Chris does lately is lie in the litter box. I don’t know if he feels like he has to puke and wants to be ready, or if he is just getting weird in his old age.

I let Chris out on Friday to eat some grass. Cats eat grass when they are sick so we thought that might help him.

Normally, Frankie goes out on a leash first and then Chris goes out, but this time Chris went out first and Frankie was not happy about it.

When I brought Chris inside, I planned on getting Frankie’s harness but Frankie had other ideas and bolted out the door. He then hid under a car where I couldn’t catch him.

So now all we can do is wait for Monday and hope the blood test is okay. As far as his ears go, I think we will just try to keep the infection under control for now and we will see what happens.

Chris Goes Back to the Vet Again


Early this week, perhaps Sunday, my wife and I came home and saw puke all over the kitchen table. There was a mixed bouquet of flowers on the table and I saw some green specs in the puke so I assumed someone was chewing on the flowers and got sick. I immediatly threw away the flowers but I probably should have photographed them first to determine if any were toxic to cats.

It wasn’t long before we realized it was Chris who was puking because he continued to puke bile the rest of the day. He seemed otherwise okay and he was eating and drinking so I decided to just keep an eye on him.

Throughout the week he would give me cause for concern but then he would be extremely annoying which made me happy because that was normal behavior for him. By Friday he was still puking occasionally and I was concerned because we are leaving for St. Augustine this morning for a few days for my wife’s birthday and I didn’t want to have to worry about him while I was away, so I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for Friday afternoon.

When we got to the vet, the vet tech took him into the other room to weigh him. He was still a student and had a lot to learn about handling cats. When he brought him back he told me he weighed 19.5 pounds which is one pound less then his last vet visit.

When the vet came it to check on Chris, he resisted and had a death grip on the edge of the table. The vet tech could not move his paws away so I had to step in to help. The tech then tried to hold him down after the vet was done checking his stomach, which I didn’t understand. I stepped in and said, “Hold on!” I then looked at the vet and said, “Can I take him?” With a nod from the vet I picked him up and put him on my lap.

The story of the flowers came up and the vet said toxic plants could have affected his kidney and liver. I asked if it would still affect him so many days later and he said it could. He wanted to get a blood test to be sure and so they took Chris back in the other room for a very long time.

When they returned, the vet said they were able to give him a shot for nausea but were not able to get a blood sample because Chris was being extremely uncooperative. So we left without knowing anything for sure.

I was told to keep an eye on him for loss of appetite and lethargy. So far he seems okay. We talked about him with our neighbor who will be watching the cats while we are away. We also gave her a credit card and emergency vet information just in case. Hopefully nothing will happen while we are gone, or even after we return. I don’t like worrying about Chris and it is especially hard knowing we will be away during a troubling time.

Patches Has a New Name


On my last post I talked about Patches who was abandoned at one of my wife’s apartment complexes and then taken in by a resident who helps out there. I visited them yesterday and learned that he is doing very well and they both seem happy with each other.

I tried to get a good photo of Patches but he was too busy playing. I should also remember to call him by his new name “Patch” because “Patches” does not sound manly enough.

Whatever name he goes by I am just glad he is doing well. His new gaurdian calls him “respectful.” I’m not entirely clear what that means but I think it is a way of calling him a good boy.

Cat Left Behind with no Food or Water


My wife is vice president for a company that owns several apartment communities in Florida, Virginia and West Virginia. A small, 20-unit apartment in Tampa used to be part of a group of three apartment complexes but two of them sold last month leaving it with no full-time staff to watch over it. Instead, a resident helps out by keeping it clean and by doing light maintenance when needed and the manager comes by once a week to check on it.

While the manager was there on Thursday morning, she checked on an apartment that someone had recently moved out of and found a cat left behind with no food or water. It is scary to think what would have happened if she didn’t show up until Monday.

The resident that helps out said he recognized the cat and knew his name was Patches. He agreed to keep him in his apartment until they could figure out what to do with him.

His finances were tight and couldn’t really afford to keep a pet but agreed to do that after Rose told him she would keep him supplied with food and litter. This would come from her, not the company.

So as we were out for breakfast Thursday morning, Rose got online and ordered wet and dry food, treats, litter, a litter box, a scoop and some catnip toys, which all arrived the next day except for the toys.

It seems like Patches’ new guardian has become exited about having Patches as a companion and I think Patches has found a better home then the one he left. Anyone who is coldhearted enough to leave a cat behind like that must be horrible to live with.

That brings me to a question I have been wondering for a long time. Why do people who care so little about animals get pets? Why would someone just abandon a pet that has been part of the family? Why do people get dogs and then leave them tied up in the back yard? Or beat them for behaving like a dog?

Shortly after Rose placed that order for Patches, we left the restaurant and drove through the parking lot until we reached Petsmart where Rose stopped to let people walk by. I turned away for a second but my attention was brought back to the front when Rose beeped the horn. “Did you see that!?” she yelled. “What the hell is wrong with people?”

All I saw was a young man walking a small dog and two other people. As we drove by Rose opened my window and yelled some words at the man that I won’t repeat here. He then yelled unrepeatable words back. When I asked what happened, Rose told me the guy was pulling the dog’s leash so hard that the dog was flying through the air. Again, why get a pet if you care so little about animals?

Sometimes I am embarrassed to be human. My hope is that scientists will find out that these people belong to some subspecies of humans so I don’t have to be related to them.