Tag Archives: Pets

We are Evacuating


When Hurricane Irma’s projected path shifted west on Thursday, we decided we should leave. A mandatory evacuation order helped that decision. Some friends said we could stay with them but this morning they told us they decided to evacuate themselves and are heading north, out of the state.

That left us with few options. My wife’s sister Felice’s house is in Evacuation Zone C, which is better than I thought. When Rose told me her sister’s house was in a flood zone, she was referring to her other sister’s house. Nevertheless, Felice has several cats and her mother will also be staying there with her cat which will make things quite uncomfortable if we come with our four cats. Who knows, some kind of cat gang war could erupt.

Instead, Rose got an idea from our Governor and looked into Airbnb. She found a one bedroom duplex in St. Petersburg’s Historic District. It is also in Evacuation Zone C, not perfect but better than Zone A where we are.

airbnb house rental

From Google Street View

As of now (Friday, 5:45 p.m.) my cat carrier has not arrived. If it doesn’t show up, we will have to bring one cat without a carrier because there are no carriers to be found around here. That brings me to my main concern; losing a cat.  If a cat got out the door here, we are pretty sure they would know where home is, but in a strange place, who knows. None of them are microchipped, which I have been wanting to do but never got around to it, and I have no collars with name tags. Actually, I have one collar and a name tag for Frankie IF I can find it. We are just going to have to be very careful when opening the door at the new place.

It looks like the storm will be at its worst around Sunday evening here so we decided to wait until Saturday morning to leave. We probably could wait until the afternoon but there seems no point in delaying further.

I think we will return when things die down a little, possibly Monday afternoon, I don’t know. I am almost afraid to come home because I don’t know what we will find. Everything could be fine or there could be minor damage or even major damage. Looting is also possible in a neighborhood where everyone is gone. Fortunately, we don’t have much that people would want.

I will try to post again from my phone if I can. If I can’t I may update you on Chris’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Thank you all for your concern and wish us luck.

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Cold Weekend, Warm Bed


We don’t get cold weather very often in the Tampa Bay area, but when we do, it’s during the weekend. Saturday morning started out at 70 degrees but dropped all day until Sunday morning when it was 36. It was cold Sunday too and currently, at 8 a.m. Monday morning, it is 41 degrees, but it will improve throughout the work week, of course.

We have an old heater and don’t trust it so we leave it off at night, which means our bed has extra blankets on it to keep us warm. That does not go unnoticed by our cats who congregated there most of the weekend.

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Where do your pets go on a cold day?

Photo Friday: Three’s a Crowd


I was sitting at the computer the other day when I felt a cat jump on my chair behind me. I was busy writing so I didn’t bother to look to see who it was, I just scooted up a bit and continued writing. A short time later I felt like I was being pushed off my chair, so I got up to see what was going on and this is what I saw.

cats Chris and Floki on my computer chair

In case you can’t tell by the backside, that’s Chris with his face in the sunbeam and, of course, that is Floki behind him. Does anyone else have pets that take over their chairs?

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day


Today  is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day so I thought I would remember the pets that have come before.

This is our St. Bernard, Bruno, and I believe that is me in the chair. My parents gave Bruno away when I was very young. I remember being very sad when the station wagon drove away with him. Years later I was told they worried about having him around small children but, what they didn’t know, was that my sister and I would get on his back like a horse and he didn’t seem to mind. Although, being 2 years old, perhaps I wasn’t seeing it correctly.

Bruno the St. Bernard

Our next dog was a Basset Hound named Caesar. He was a great dog but he would howl during the day when nobody was home. One day, shortly after moving to a new house, the police showed up at our door because of a complaint from a neighbor. So we had to say goodbye to another pet. Cesar went to live with my grandparents. We also had another Basset Hound named Samantha. Her and Cesar escaped one day while we were not home. Cesar came back but Samantha did not.

Basset Hound Cesar

Around 1976, a friend of my dad’s had a stray Doberman hanging around his neighborhood. They captured her and Dad brought her home. I’m not sure who named her Natasha but we just called her Tasha. She took to me right away and was with me for ten years before she died. She was the best dog ever.

This is not a good picture of her but it is the oldest. Check out the ancient microwave.

Tasha the doberman

 

Tasha was all about the food as this next picture (from around 1982) shows in more than one way.

Doberman Tasha

 

When I met my wife, Rose, in 1999, her son, Nick, had a cat named Sneakers. He got his name because he was found behind a bar called Sneakers. He loved Nick but he could be “bipolar” when it came to other people.

cat Sneakers

 

Vinny was a stray that came looking for food around Thanksgiving. It was unusually cold at that time so we decided to take him in. Except for Chris, Vinny was the friendlies cat ever. He was known for lying on the feet of strangers.

cat vinny

 

Princess was a feral kitten around 2002. Her mother disappeared, and a neighbor of my mother-in-law had all these kittens they were trying to home. My wife felt bad for for the kitten that was missing most of her tail, so we adopted her along with about a hundred fleas.

cat Princess

 

Abbey and Alex came to us in 2005. We adopted them from Petsmart. We chose Alex but couldn’t leave his sister Abbey behind. I’m glad we took both. Alex was very friendly and Abbey was shy but very affection to me.

Abbey

Abbey

cat Alex

Alex

Tigger was adopted by my Mother-in-law in 2006 but the shelter wanted him back because his brother was too dependent on him. We tried to talk her into taking his brother but she was not ready for two cats at that time. We took them both instead.

Tigger was another very friendly cat. His brother, Flash, was the opposite. He wasn’t mean but he was very shy. He would come to me for attention, and surprisingly my mother too when she came to visit, but he was not very people friendly. When we first got them, Tigger would suck on Flash’s belly like he was nursing. After awhile, Flash put a stop to it.

cats Tigger and Flash

Tigger and brother Flash

cats on bed

Princess, Tigger, Abbey and Flash, Jan 28, 2007

Clockwise from left: Abbey, Flash, Alex and Tigger

Clockwise from left: Abbey, Flash, Alex and Tigger

We miss all of them but at least we have happy memories.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this day was started by  Deborah Barnes from The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey in memory her Mr. Jazz.  

International Homeless Animals’ Day


Feral Cat Collage

The International Society for Animal Rights, according to their website, “conceived and began International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD) in 1992… Animal protection organizations and concerned individuals from around the world come together on the third Saturday of August each year to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic.”

I have volunteered at three animal shelters and fed several feral cats at my last place of employment. I see so many good people who work hard to get animals fixed and to take care of the ones living, whether in a shelter or a colony. These people are helping to keep the problem from getting worse, but to really help make sure that all domestic animals are taken care of, many more like-minded people are needed to either volunteer or contribute financially.

Forget Cat Food, We Want Steak


At dinnertime in our house, Chris is, surprisingly, our best behaved cat. Last night I was cooking steak and they all lined up waiting for it to be done because they know I am a sucker and will give them some.

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Frankie is the worst. He will just steal a big chunk of meat off my plate and eat it with no remorse.

cats eating steakcats eating steak

Puck is a little better than Frankie but Puck is all about food, always has been. That is part of the reason we named him Puck. Think Wolfgang.

Chris, and to some degree Puck, are dainty eaters when it comes to meat. They don’t like large chunks so I have to make sure they have little pieces. It is like I am feeding babies instead of full-grown carnivores.

Frankie could live in the wild and probably did. He has no trouble scarfing down big chunks of steak.

3 cats eating steak

Yes, we have spoiled our pets and created beggars and thieves, but why not? We don’t have to worry about them going to college and getting a good job or a nice woman. They are only with us for a short time so why not spoil them?

Can Earthing Benefit Your Pets?


I believe the concept of Earthing was introduced in a book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! I have not yet read the book but I read several articles about the subject and watched a documentary called Grounded. As best as I understand it, when we are disconnected from the Earth, like we are in our homes or while wearing most shoes, we build up free radicals in our bodies that cause inflammation. That leads to a long list of other health problems. By taking our shoes off and touching the Earth for 30 to 60 minutes a day, we allow a free exchange of electrons that can neutralize these free radicals and restore health. Even just standing on unpainted concrete, like a driveway or sidewalk, will allow an exchange of electrons.

I had been wearing minimalist shoes for over a year but decided I needed to get as close to barefoot as possible. The best option I could find was a pair of traditional moccasins that only had a single layer of leather for the sole.  The leather, once worn in, conducts electricity and is the perfect compromise between shoes and barefoot walking. Plus, they are very light and allow my feet to move freely in them. The only problem was that I had to learn to walk like humans are supposed to, by landing each step less on the heel and more toward the balls of my feet. Striking the heel on a hard surface like I was used to with sneakers, or even the minimalist shoes, was somewhat painful.

Since moving a few months ago I have not been walking on the Earth much and lately I have been thinking about ways that I could get out more. Suddenly I realised that our cats get outside to touch the Earth even less than I do. I have always felt it was good for pets to get outside where they could run around and breathe fresh air and now I have another reason to get them out. I am sure that if connecting to the Earth can help people it could help pets too, perhaps even more so for inside only cats that never have contact with the ground.

Unfortunately, getting my cats outside has always been difficult. Busy traffic near our last home and rules against outside cats where I live now keep our pets inside. It also doesn’t help that Frankie is a runner and I fear he will go to far and get lost if let out without his harness, but finding time to “walk” all of our cats is difficult.

Bad Cat Chris outside

Cat Frankie outside

Going forward I will try let Frankie and Puck outside more often for walks on the harness. That will help me get out more too. Hopefully Puck can get over his nervousness because I want him to get outside as well. Chris doesn’t need a harness but I plan to spend more time letting him eat grass before making him go inside. In addition, I may pick up an earthing mat to use in the home. It is a mat that connects to the grounding plug in your home or to a wire that leads outside into the ground. It might be helpful when I sit at the computer with all the EMF radiation around me, then the cats could lay on it when I am not using it. I read that pets are naturally attracted to it.

What do you think? Does anyone have any experience with Earthing?

A Gift Arrives


We adopted Chris in late 2009 from a shelter named Sav-R-Cats in Surfside, South Carolina (near Myrtle Beach). I met Chris while I was volunteering for Sav-R-Cats and worked with Shirley and Linda who are not only still there, but still keep up with Chris and his shenanigans. They decided to send Chris, Frankie and Puck a gift which arrived the other day.

Cats inspecting packageFrankie and Puck were interested right away, Chris was off doing his own thing and was not aware something new was in the house. As soon as I opened it, the two of them were inspecting the contents.

Cats inspecting package

Soon Chris sensed something was up and was there in an instant to lend a paw in the inspection process.
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Even the box itself was thoroughly checked out.Cats inspecting package

Inside the box were some lovely, handmade blankets, two with a gold cat and one with a black cat. One each for Chris, Frankie and Puck.cat blankets

But there was something else in the box.20150212_Cats_0960

Cats inspecting package

The blankets were already a great gift but there were also toys in the box.

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Some of the toys were labeled “Loony Loops” and “Springs.” There was a toy called a “Hexbug,” which looked interesting but I decided to save that for later. The first one I took out was a spring which Chris immediately started chasing around the house.

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They loved the blankets too.

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There was also an envelope.EnvelopeInside was a nice card and note from Shirley, Linda and the cats at the shelter.

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Sadly, many of the cats on the note were Chris’s shelter mates in 2009 and are still there. There is Ace, Ralph, Jack, Jerry and Yoda, Cole, Carter, Sarah and Alinda. I took Pictures back then for Petfinder and remember some of those names, like Jerry and Yoda.

cats Yoda and Jerry

Yoda and Jerry at Sav-r-Cats, dated October 3, 2009.

These two cats are best friends and must be adopted together, which may have made it more difficult for them. They have lived a good part of their lives in a shelter (Jerry since 2006) and could possibly die there without ever knowing a good home. Of course, they are treated well at the shelter but I would love to see these two and the other “old timers” find a loving home to live out their remaining days.

Another cat that I remember on the card is Sarah. It seems the males are more likely to be long-timers at a shelter but not always.

Sarah, Sav-r-cats

Sarah, dated November 11, 2009

There is also Jack, who reminds me of our departed cat Tigger.

Jack, photo taken October 3, 2009.

Jack, photo taken October 3, 2009.

Not on the card is Hope, who I photographed in early 2010.

Hope, dated February 11, 2010.

Hope, dated February 11, 2010.

If anyone lives near Myrtle Beach, or know someone who does, and would like to help a cat or two that have been in a shelter too long, please contact Sav-R.Cats.com or check out their Petfinder page.

Update: It turns out that Hope was adopted so that is good news.

The Bird Tormentor


The following was meant to be published last August so it is out of sequence. I just happened to notice today that it was marked as a draft. Oops

Bad Cat Chris laying in sunshine

Chris enjoying sunshine while looking out window

Considering that cats tend to nap most of the day away, Chris is no ordinary cat. He is usually looking for trouble to get into while Abbey and Tigger are snoozing. That being said, there are times when he will relax. When we lived in the condo, he would often lay on the spare bed and look out the window. This was a favorite spot for all the cats.

Mocking bird finds Bad Cat Chris

Mocking bird finds Bad Cat Chris

One day a mockingbird spotted Chris in the window and started hovering just outside, trying to intimidate him to leave. This of course just caused him to become more interested in the bird.

Bad Cat Chris tries to catch bird

Chris tries to catch bird – notice wings on left

This went on for a couple of weeks, sometimes several times a day. A few times I had the window open a few inches and Chris would slide his body between the glass and the screen in a vain attempt to get the bird. I had to keep the window shut because I was afraid he would push the screen out and fall from the third floor.

The funniest part of all that was the bird only picked on Chris. When Tigger and Abbey were laying there, the bird was nowhere in sight. I suppose this might have been a mother bird protecting a nearby nest and to her, Chris just looked like trouble. Only Chris could cause problems by looking out the window.

Mocking Bird Tormentor comes back

Mockingbird Tormentor returns

I do know that mocking birds can be pretty mean for their size. I have regularly seen them chasing larger crows and even an Osprey. Rose said when she was young she had an outside cat that lived in fear because a mockingbird would attack it every chance it could. She thought it was payback for something bad that the cat did but I think the cat’s territory just overlapped with the bird’s.

Eventually the bird stopped bothering Chris. It was around June so I suppose it was nesting season and once the young birds were out of the nest, there was no reason to protect it.

Chris’s Door


After moving into our townhome, the cats were very happy to be able to go out on the patio again.This patio was even better because it was on the ground floor where they could better see the ducks, squirrels, lizards, dogs, people and whatever else walked, crawled, slithered or flew by.

There was a couple of problems however. First, there is a saying that “no matter what side of a door a cat is on, he will always want to be on the other side.” This is true for our cats and it was somewhat annoying having to let them out and back in all the time. Chris was especially annoying because he was very vocal about wanting to change sides.

The other problem was that we had to keep them inside at night because there was no food, water or a litter box outside. This meant that Chris was upstairs annoying us for half the night while we were trying to sleep. Then one day the solution just appeared.

Our new cat door
Our new cat door

We ran across someone selling a cat door that attaches to a sliding glass door, so we decided to buy it. We had one in South Carolina but it would not fit the tracks. It did fit the track for the screen however so we put it on that track. This worked but did not allow us to lock the door so the cats had to stay in at night and when we were not home.

Now we actually had a cat door that worked the way it was supposed to. Chris, of course, had no problem zipping in and out through the door. Abbey and Tigger were a few weeks behind getting the hang of it.

Chris and Tigger enjoying the patio
Chris and Tigger enjoying the patio.

The best part about the cat door was that it cut down on the amount of time that Chris was upstairs keeping us awake. After a short time I decided to try closing the bedroom door again. As usual I put the plastic runner under the door and put an object on each side in hopes of preventing Chris from digging up the carpet. This did not work before but now it seemed worth another shot.

Miraculously, we were finally able to get a good night’s sleep. Sure, Chris would come up at 4:30 in the morning and cry and scratch at the door, but we would just ignore him and eventually he would quit and go away. I think this worked because he had somewhere better he could be.

But alas, he would not truly earn his name Bad Cat Chris if this was the end of the story. When it comes to Chris, any solution is only temporary until he can find a new way to cause trouble. I’ll save that story for another time.

On another note, Bad Cat Chris now has his own Facebook page. There is a button on the side bar if you would like to “Like” him or you can check out the page at facebook.com/badcatchris.