Sued51's Blog











{March 28, 2015}   The Things We Do For Our Pets

Homemade Cat Toy

A Close-up of Zoee’s New Toy

I have written before about making toys for my cats. They always seem to like them better than the ones I buy. My latest creation was a modified version of a toy I read about in the January/February Humane Society magazine, “allanimals.”

The article by Emily Smith suggested that you glue toilet paper rolls together in a “wall or pyramid.” It also suggested you could cover them with non-toxic paint or fabric (which seemed like too much time and work to me when I didn’t know if they would like it). I modified the suggestion; I collected some toilet paper rolls and put a rubber band around them. Then, Emily instructed, use tissue paper to close some of the tubes with treats inside. I checked around my apartment and found a piece of tissue paper from a breakable item I had bought at the store. Hmmm…a friend had recently given me a small gift buried in shredded paper…maybe that would work too?

Oh-oh. This is what my living room floor looked like when I came home one day.

cat toys

Cats…Pick up your Toys!

And then I managed to make it worse by tracking the shredded paper around the house. And this toy has to be remade every time you use it! (Translation: reloaded with treats and paper.) I don’t know about this…

But she played with it! That’s a success!

So…I went around and gathered up my paper shreds to stuff them back in and loaded in some treats…and I watched her. Smart Zoee…She flipped it over on its ends to see if the treats would just “fall” out — less work. Hmm…the shredded paper didn’t hold the treats in that well. It might have appealed to her mischievous nature, but wasn’t practical.

I decided maybe it would be better to go out and buy some tissue paper…and let Zoee do her own shredding. Maybe it would keep her busy for just a little bit longer…:-)

 



{May 17, 2014}   Daily Post: First Sight

Just this morning I was telling my beautiful cat, Aimee “her” story, then this prompt came through and I said, “Well…that would be Aimee’s story, of course!”

All the cats that have shared my life were adopted in some way: whether they turned up on the doorstep like my first cat, Breeze, or “formally” adopted like my present cats, Aimee and Zoee. In every situation, I felt an instant bond with them, that it was somehow meant to be. But with Aimee, I would have to say, I fell in love.

I love looking at the cats for adoption every time I visit PetSmart; I love to read their stories and simply look at them. On one of our trips my husband and I thought we saw the double for the wonderful cat we knew we were going to lose soon (you can read about Simone here). She looked just like our baby from behind, but when she turned around, she had a completely different face. We thought her beautiful, but we weren’t ready to adopt yet.  After a  few more visits to the store, the beautiful calico was gone.

A couple of months later, when we knew we were going to lose our beloved Simone any day, we went to the local PetSmart to look at the cats for adoption to cheer ourselves up. We were amazed to find the beautiful calico back! We read the notes on her…she had been to a foster home because she had an allergy to the cat litter being used in the shelter and had developed red eyes that made her unadoptable. But she was back with a note that she needed special cat litter. That didn’t bother us.

We had decided though, that this time we would get two cats. We had somewhere to be, so we decided to come back the next day.

As we walked across the store to the adoption area the next day, I saw her. The cutest tiger kitten I had ever seen (in my opinion of course). I exclaimed out loud, “Look at the little tiger!” The moment I saw her, I knew I had to have her in my life. The final test was for us each to hold the two cats and make sure they liked us. They were both loving and purred when each of us held them, so we filled out the adoption papers.

Turns out, someone else asked for our little tiger an hour after we filled out the papers. When we came back to get the cats a couple of days later, the people were there trying to convince us to take another cat. Nope…it was love at first sight…something about the big ears and the black nose…

Happy Kitties

Happy Kitties



{April 7, 2014}   Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

This daily prompt could be answered by some of the same things that I listed in the Singing the Blues post. But because it is spring, and I love to hear the birds sing…here’s a cheery song for today that makes me smile:

In case that doesn’t work,  how could I NOT smile looking at my relaxed and trusting kitty??

cat sleeping

Relaxed and Content Cat




Though ABANDONED  was the topic of the Weekly PHOTO Challenge, I thought it was a good topic for my writing blog.

When I was a child, we never had to buy pets; they just showed up. Strays and abandoned cats and dogs seemed to see an invisible sign on our door that said, “welcome.”  Some stayed with us, some were found homes elsewhere, and some unfortunately did not survive the crazy busy street we lived on. I have written previously about my cat, Breeze, who just showed up one cold November morning and after some manipulation on the part of my brother and I, in cahoots with my father, became part of the family.

But today I wanted to write about a couple of abandoned dogs that were found: Trash and Freebie. I think their names tell you how they were acquired. 🙂

boy with puppy

Trash

Please excuse the quality of this scanned photo; it’s quite old and the only photo I could find of a dog who didn’t live with us for very long.  The little boy in the picture is my youngest brother.

My father worked at the town dump and recycling center for a time between jobs. One day he noticed that one of the trash bags dropped off seemed to be moving and making a noise. With further investigation, he found an adorable puppy. The puppy came home with him that night, and my father dubbed her, “Trash.” Not a particularly flattering name, but believe me, my father had a heart of gold and wasn’t trying to give the puppy psychological problems. Unfortunately at the time we already two dogs and a cat, too many children and not a lot of money. My mother said Trash couldn’t stay. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for my father to find “Trash” a home with someone down the street. I never knew what her new name became or saw her again, but I was happy that she was saved and had a home.

Years later my father found another puppy that he dubbed with an unequally unflattering name who ended up living with our family and becoming a beloved pet. Freebie’s story began this way: my father was working temporarily out in California; my mother and younger brothers were living out there with him. One day my father came across a German Shepherd-mix puppy tied to a pole on a street in California. The dog was thin, but friendly. My father checked around; no one knew who she belonged to or where she came from. As my parents and brother were due to drive back home to Massachusetts within a week and they couldn’t find her owner, they decided to take the puppy with them. My father’s thinking was that someone who would leave her tied to a pole on a hot day in the city didn’t deserve her.

puppy,

And so she was dubbed “Freebie” and traveled across the country from California to Massachusetts. She initially was my brother’s dog, but as he was in his late teens, he soon moved out, unable to take Freebie with him. But he still paid for her food and visited with her. Freebie contracted heartworm when she was only 3 years old, but my brother, managed to scrape up a few hundred dollars to save her life.

Meanwhile she had become very attached to my father. My father would go for walks on the acres of land that he owned at the time and be gone for a while, but my mother knew how to get my father to come home. She would say, “Freebie, where’s Earl?” Then she would let Freebie out to go and find my father. Whenever she showed up, he knew it was time to go home.




I recently spent some money on the cats to help them adjust to their new surroundings: a new cat tower, new scratching refill, and new toys. I was gratified that they have been using them. But…the favorite toy of the moment is once again a homemade toy. (See my blog about the first homemade toy here.)

A couple of years ago, my husband and I made chocolate lollipops at Christmas time. We had some leftover candy sticks; I find leftover crafting items perfect cat toy components. In this case, I figured if the sticks are safe for humans to chew on, they would likely be safe for the cats. I tied some leftover ribbon on a candy stick and —  VOILA! — a new toy. My cats are very interactive and they definitely prefer toys that bring them in close contact with me. So I sit on the floor and dangle the toys for them. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures in this post…it’s hard to play with the cat with one hand and take decent pictures at the same time!)

cat play

Aimee watching her favorite toy

They like to grab the ribbons, but also they LOVE to chew on the stick!

closeup cat toy

We LOVE to chew on the stick…

The downside is that the ribbons slide right off and I have to keep putting them back on. To the cats — that’s part of the fun (Off–On–Off–On…). To glue the ribbons would be spoiling part of the game (for them). Sometimes they run off with ribbons streaming from their mouths. (I wish I caught a picture of THAT!)

Anyway, I recommend the local craft store as a go-to place for cat toys. 🙂

cat playing

Aimee playing with her present favorite toy




What was your favorite toy as a child? Was it a teddy bear? Not me — I had a stuffed donkey given to me by my godmother and godfather. I loved “Donken-in” as I called him and told him all my secrets. Unfortunately, the family dogs got a hold of him several times, and my mother was forced to repair him to assuage my tears. By the time I outgrew him, his ear was sewed back on; his tail was sewed back on; every one of his feet were a mass of stitches. But that never mattered to me; I loved him no matter what.

My cats have favorite toys too. And I repair them and repair them and repair them.

At Christmas time I wrote a blog about homemade toys.  Here’s a picture of the toy right after I made it.

Home-made cat toy

This toy has become a favorite to my tiger cat, Aimee. She plays with it everyday. The other morning I woke up and the toy was on the floor by my bed. 🙂 Take a look at this pitiful thing now.

cat toy

6-months later: the taped toy

Every time Aimee tears a piece of foil off, I tape it back on. I swear the more tape that is on it, the more she loves it!

cat playing

Aimee playing with her favorite toy

My other cat, Zoee, on the other hand, loves this store-bought catnip toy.  It used to have feathers on it, which are now gone. The string has been knotted over and over. I have had to tape the end because she kept pulling it off the stick.

repaired cat toy

A close-up of the repairs to Zoee’s toy

But I keep repairing it…she loves it and wants to play with it every day. She will sometimes carry it in her mouth, dragging the stick behind (today we’re being lazy and just batting at it).

cat playing

Zoee’s “lazy” play

They have a ton of other toys, practically brand-new — because they don’t want to play with them. They want to play with these. So I guess until these toys are out of favor or abandoned, I will repair, repair, repair…



{November 7, 2012}   Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pets

I don’t need much encouragement to post pictures of my pets, but this week I have a good excuse. One of the blogs I follow, Cee’s Life Photography has a photo challenge on pets this week!

I just posted photos of my old cat Simone in response to Jake’s Sunday Post Challenge: Wonderful. So now Zoee and Aimee get their turn. When they were kittens they were always together.

Zoee and Aimee as kittens

Zoee and Aimee as kittens

Now that they are older, they don’t hang out together as much so I take more pictures of them alone. I love Zoee’s goatee.

Zoee

Aimee is a mixture of silver tabby and brown tabby. I love her brown nose.

Aimee




I recognize that some people have a problem with animals in public places, either because they have allergies or they just don’t like animals. If you are one of those people, read no further. I’m not going to talk about that side of the issue; I have loved animals my whole life and can’t imagine not being around them. A house is not a home without a pet.

My mother gave me the book, “Dewey” for Christmas in 2009; I just now finished reading it. That Christmas was just a couple of months after we lost our beloved 20-year-old cat, and I just wasn’t up to reading it at the time. I felt like I had just lost the most “special” cat in the world — how could there be another?

After gaining some perspective (as well as adding two 3-year-old kitties to our family), I picked up the book and really enjoyed it. I wish I had had the opportunity to visit that library while Dewey was there. It got me thinking about places I have visited with resident cats. The first place that came to mind was  The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. When my husband and I checked in, a resident cat and dog greeted us — a great first impression for me. What we didn’t know was that Morris the cat had lived thereThere was a portrait in the lobby with a poem about Morris and a grave on the grounds.  We were told that most of the cats in Eureka Springs were related to Morris (I guess he was a real “Tom”). The bed we slept in was uncomfortable, and I didn’t get much sleep due to the ghost tours, but the resident cat and dog spent time with me as I sat in the lobby and helped me feel comfortable there.

The other place I remembered was an inn in NH that we stayed at several times: The Notchland Inn. During our first visit, it was run by a husband and wife: she was a fabulous cook and he was the tour guide/entertainment/social director. They had a golden retriever that would greet the guests, as well as llamas and other animals on the grounds. The second and third time we stayed there it was run by two men. Food still great…but I don’t remember the animals.

Yet another place I stayed with a resident cat was the Dew Drop Inn in South Paris, Maine. My husband was in town on business and the business suggested the place. I was the only person staying there at the time. The owner, an elderly woman, sat with me while I had a cup of tea and told me a wonderful story about how she adopted in the calico cat in residence from a Wal-Mart parking lot. They also had a cow that took a shine to my husband!

I’ve never forgotten any of these places, not only because they were interesting or lovely places to stay, but because of the resident pets that made me feel at home.



{February 11, 2012}   Inexpensive Tips for Happy Kitties

Like most pet owners, I enjoy spoiling my kitties. They have countless toys, several beds and a kitty tower. Every time I go to the pet store I am tempted to buy them something else they don’t need. I have discovered two things they really like that are relatively inexpensive, and I thought I would share it with other pet owners.

I know there are some cats that like “free” stuff like paper bags or bread ties; mine are not that easy. I have spent countless dollars on toys that they have played with once or twice, which then end up in their “toy box” covered with dust.

Through trial and error, my husband and I discovered that their favorite toy is silk string. We bought a 3-pack at a craft store for under $4.00; it is supposed to be for jewelry-making. The kitties seem to like the feel of the string between their toes and in their mouths. They go crazy when we take it out!! Be sure to tie knots in the ends of the string to keep it from fraying completely and don’t leave the string around when you are not home to supervise.

My kitties also love flannel and polartec material for bedding. The large chain pet stores charge $10 to $20 for animal blankets. Some people use old towels; animal shelters are always looking for those. My mother used to get old baby blankets at the local Thrift stores for her dachshunds, which is fairly inexpensive, but I have found it cheaper to go to the fabric store and get remnants for less than $2. The kitties love the material. When we bought our cat “tree” they didn’t use it until I put a piece of flannel on the top platform. Now one of the kitties sleeps there all the time!

Lovin' my flannel blanket



{November 8, 2010}   Is It Really a Calico Thing?

Zoee

Simone

Our vet in Tennessee told us that calicos were the “divas of the cat world.”

When our beloved calico, Simone, passed away a year ago, we adopted another calico, Zoee.  If you read my previous blog, A New Year’s Wish, you know that we felt Simone was a very special cat.  She chased hockey players on the TV, stopped our cuckoo clock, and had a special game she played with me when I changed the sheets on our bed.  It seemed Zoee had a lot to live up to.

Right after we adopted her, Zoee picked the same spot in the bed to sleep with us.  I explained that by saying she must smell where Simone liked to sleep. But Zoee took things a lot further.

She loves the cuckoo clock; she comes running when the clock strikes, and sometimes even anticipates it, waiting on the table near it for the cuckoo to sing.  Our tiger cat, Aimee, could care less about it and shows no interest.

When I make the bed, there’s Zoee, hiding under the blankets, just the way Simone used to.  She will go under each layer of sheet and blanket as I go along–no sign of Aimee.

Last, but not least, she reacts to the TV like Simone did; only her sport t is golf (see my previous blog, My Cat Likes Golf?!).  She gets up on the TV stand, stands up on her hind paws and chases the ball on the screen.

It makes us wonder: is Simone still with us in spirit, through Zoee?  Or is it a calico thing?

P.S. No disrespect to Aimee; she has her own cute behavioral quirks and we adore her, but they aren’t the same.



et cetera
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