Tag Archives: Cats

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?

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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.

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?

Chris’s Microbiome Report


Recently I was given microbiome test kits, called Insights, from the company NomNomNow in exchange for an honest review. The first test kit I sent back was for Chris and I just received his results. If you would like you can go back and read my first and second post about this subject.

As I said before, the microbiome is a collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live inside our gut and are essential for human and animal life. The composition and quantity of these microbes determines gut health and gut health is largely responsible for our overall health.

According to the NomNomNow website, the microbiome of humans has been studied much more intensively than that of cats and dogs. Nevertheless, I would assume that we are similar but not exactly the same.

I would like to go through this report and give you my thoughts but it is fairly long so if you need to use the bathroom, go now. I’ll wait.

Are you ready? Here we go.

When you send in the sample you can enter your pet’s description on their website and connect it with the sample number. When you get your report, it is personalized for your pet.

I must say that these first numbers are a bit unclear to me, even after reading the report. For instance, I don’t know what the number 17 represents. Chris has 9 out of 17 what? Chris has 2 out of 3 what? I suppose I should be content knowing he is in the average range but I do like specific details probably more than the average person.

This next section is the meat and potatoes of the report.

This shows that Chris has an over abundance of one type of bacteria. If we click on the green section we get more information.

According to the report, Chris has an abundance of Bacteroides, which I will discuss later. The rest of his microbiome seems relatively normal but because there are too many of one bacteria, the rest are equally diminished, with some exceptions.

The report lists the main groups of microbes followed by sub-groups. Below it talks about Firmicutes.

Chris is in the normal range for this group but at the lower end of normal for all of them.

Actinobacteria is the next group.

It says that “Increased abundances have also been associated with weight loss.” Since Chris is overweight, I wonder if his decreased amount of these bacteria is partly to blame.

Next up is Fusobacteria.

Chris’s level of this one is high although there seems to be little information about it. Wikipedia classifies it as a pathogen but that is for humans and it seems to be more related to oral health. Plus, there are different strains so there seems to be no point in speculating about this without more information.

Bacteroidetes are next and one in the group Chris has collected like a squirrel collects nuts.

The description says that “some members of this group metabolize sources of complex carbohydrates.” This may be elevated because Chris is a dry food junkie. In some ways this could be a good thing. Since Chris is so stubborn about eating his wet food, this bacteria may be necessary to help him digest the dry food, which has more carbohydrates. Of course, this is just speculation.

The last one is Proteobacteria.

No report was given for Chris on this microbe. I don’t know if that is because Chris does not have it in his system or if they don’t test for it at this time. It could also be a flaw in the reporting software. I don’t know.

I went through the bar graph at the top, one at a time, looking for Proteobacteria but couldn’t find it. That probably means it is not tested for but it does bring up a problem with the way the report is presented. The upper bars become very small and it is difficult to click on every one. I understand they want to present the information in an easy to understand way but they should also provide something like a spreadsheet that lists all the results in a format that is easy to see.

The report then shows Chris’s Microbiome Diversity.

The diversity is how many different types of bacteria are present. Generally, a diverse variety is a good thing and Chris is about average here although his evenness score is a bit off, probably because of the too many Bacteroides in his system. The good news is his overall diversity is in the normal range.

I am generally encouraged by the report but since I want the best health possible for Chris and all my cats I need to change a few things.

First, I need to somehow get Chris to eat more wet food. It’s not easy. Sometimes I have to scoop up his food in my finger and let him lick it off. This sometimes works but usually only for a few fingers full. It also falls apart when Frankie sees what I am doing and comes over to investigate.

Second, I should feed them more vegetables. Not much, though, Since cats are carnivores there natural diet would only consists of the vegetables found in the stomachs of their prey. Even so, I give them a raw meat diet that only has meat and a pre-mix supplement. I was feeding them both the raw and the NomNomNow meals which contain vegetables but stopped when they suddenly became bored with it. I might start up again and give it to them once every two or three days to keep them interested. I also started adding pumpkin to their raw food. This is a good source of fiber (as are most vegetables) and fiber feeds the good bacteria. This bacteria food is also known as a prebiotic.

Third, I plan on purchasing a probiotic that I can add to their food. I did this in the past and want to start giving it to them again. This time I think I will buy the NomNomNow brand. They seem like a good, trustworthy company and I like that their probiotics are specifically for cats or dogs, not both. I always wondered how effective a one size fits all probiotic could be.

I know it is a lot of information to digest but what do you think? Would you consider testing your pets microbiome?

Our Cats are a Work of Art


After getting an illustration of Chris, I decided I needed one of Frankie and Floki too. Actually I wanted at least three versions of each. I again ordered from alicialucdesign on Fiverr and she came through with some awesome illustrations.

I want to change the header image and I decided to play around with a few ideas. I mostly did this for fun while I was looking for inspiration.

These are just some of the images. There are actually a total of twelve, four poses of three cats. I love the images and I am impressed that she made Floki slightly cross-eyed even though I said nothing about that to her.

So far I am still thinking about the header. What do you think?

Beware of Shopping Bags


My wife bought some gifts Saturday evening and was given a large shopping bag to carry them in. When we got home Frankie was immediately interested in getting inside the bag. So much so that I had to move the bag to the bedroom where he couldn’t get to it.

I don’t know what happened after that. I’m sure Rose probably went through the bag and took out whatever was not meant as a gift. Whatever she did, she moved the bag and set it on the floor next to her closet.

We went out for lunch today and shortly after we returned we heard a commotion in the bedroom. It sounded like Frankie knocked the bag off the dresser, where I thought it still was, but the noise didn’t stop. Soon we saw Floki racing down the hallway with a large bag attached to him.

He ran up onto the table and then down under the table and then into the living room. We tried to stop him but he was completely freaked out. At one point the bag ripped and most of it fell away but there remained a large piece still attached to him. He jumped onto the coffee table and then up onto the sofa where he ran across the back of it and then back down. He then ran into the Florida room. I followed him out there and closed the door. He stopped on one of the cat perches and I tried to get the bag off him but the handle was around his neck and under his right armpit. I couldn’t pull it off.

I called out to Rose, “Can you give me the scissors?!” She immediately got them and brought them too me. Unfortunately, As soon as I tried to cut the handle the scissors broke. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep Floki calm for very much longer but then I remembered I had another pair of scissors nearby so I grabbed those and cut the handle off.

Below is a video of the last part of this drama. There might be some mild cursing so turn the volume down if that offends you.

Floki immediately jumped down and went into the cubby hole at the bottom of one of the perches. There we could see that he had a large amount of drool coming from his mouth. I assumed that is what happens after spending a long two minutes frightened out of your wits.

Fortunatly he seemed to recover quick and was napping next to me not long after the incidence.

Bag handles are very dangerous for cats. I have known this for a long time. Probably since Chris was young and almost got stuck in a bag handle.

At the time I thought it was funny but if it happens when nobody is around it could be life threatening, especially if the cat freaks out like Floki did. If we were not around and if that was a canvas bag it would not have ripped and would have eventually hooked on something and with Floki in a state of panic he might have been strangled. It is a scary thought.

Most of the time I do a good job keeping bag handles away from the cats when I am not around. I fold the canvas bags so they are not an enticement and I cut the handles off the paper bags I get at whole foods if they don’t go to the trash or recycling right away. Sometimes I do let them play but only if I am there watching.

On a side note, you may be wondering about the video. I saw this camera on Amazon on sale for under $20 so I thought I would buy it. I wanted something I could leave on so I can check up on the cats when we go to Germany as well as something I can use for security. The camera I bought takes relatively good quality videos for the price but it has issues that make it a bad buy.

It not only saves the videos in a format that my computer does not recognize but it puts every little clip in a separate folder. I can only view them using my phone and if I want to save it I can’t just download it I have to play it and hit the record button while playing. It then saves an mp4 file that has the audio and video out of sync. You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had getting them back in sync before uploading to YouTube. After uploading I noticed the end is further out of sync than the beginning. Lately I haven’t been using the camera but fortunately I decided to plug it in before we went to lunch.