Friday, July 30, 2010

15 Years of Cat-sitting & still intrigued with Cats.

I am now 15 years caring for cats while owners travel. My service was called 'Comfy Cats' years back and then as time went on I starting caring for dogs also. That part of the business was passed on 5 years ago to another caring, dog-lover and then I changed the name of my business to Just Cats which pretty much says it all. I am busier now than ever and caring for cats is what I do best.
These are a few pictures I dug up from years back. I still remember how each and everyone of these cats sounded when they purred and the feel of their soft coats. They have all passed on now and I am that much older but I have wonderful memories of them all.
Herman - 1999

Mookie at Christmas


You would think I would know everything there is to know about cats but that will never happen. I learn more every day about the makeup of these amazing felines. I love to watch them and study their behaviour.

This is Mookie, the cat that started it all. He would hug me as I carried him around and could never get enough attention from humans .He was both an indoor/outdoor cat and would spend many hours out by the water, hunting and lazing about. He was very special. "Thanks Mook for being such a good boy and giving me the courage to build a business that I would love for years to come. I will always picture you sleeping in your bowl on the table. Love You."

A Carleton Greeting Card

A Hallmark Greeting Card

The little things that mean a lot.

We all have them. Those little things that you would grab along with the pets if your house was on fire. My photographs have always been the 'other' thing I would want to save but how do you grab 50 photo-albums?  I still want photos in albums so I guess I'm old-fashioned that way. I should have all my photos on cd's but that will be a big project for the winter months ahead.

This piece of jewellery is one of those 'little things'. It was the last gift from my mother and will always be a treasure to me.

So, the little things. For me its a special gift, my photographs and of course, the little cats. There are two big eyes looking at me right now so I must add one more thing, my dog.
Wishing you all a wonderful long-weekend full of sunshine & fun. Don't forget to eat some blueberries.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I LOVE LUCY & Baker Bob's Cookies

I was Almonte bound this morning to visit Lucy. "I Love Lucy" who is an 18 year old Siamese. I found her snoozing in 'her room' on her bed in the sunlight. She lives in an older home that has many unexpected rooms and this little room is just perfect for an aging cat.  She opened her eyes and politely stood up to give me this look. Ain't she a peach? I was asked by Lucy's family to place food on the back deck for 2 cats that are feral and living under the deck since Spring. They are not sure what to do with them but plan to make a decision once they are back from holidays. They may try to tame them and keep them. Fingers crossed.
There is that 'feral look' I am so used to. "Hi sweetie, I am your best friend for 3 weeks so you'd better get used to me"
After talking to it you could see the fear lessen and the hope for a meal take over.
"There ya go." Kitten chow is given since this cat is still quite young. Beautiful markings on this one. I didn't see the other cat but I was told one is more frightened than the other so she probably came out once I left.
After kitty-sitting I headed over to the town of Almonte.

Why is it I can never pass by this place?

Here's one reason. Bob sells our biscuits so I check to see if they are low. Looks like some kids got ahold of them and messed up the bows. I fixed them......then bought cookies for humans. :)

Lucy's owner told me to help myself to tomatoes from her garden so back home I had a first-rate lunch. Spinach & tomato sandwich and Baker Bob's oatmeal cookie. Just one, I'm dieting *wink *wink

"Hey, I could use a cookie too instead of this dirt"

After an early lunch headed over to see Bud & Chase.

They were hugged a hundred times....last visit.

Off to see Bailey next.

Please remember to send out good thoughts for Gwen from Country Cat Rescue and if you are able she would so appreciate a donation to help feed the many homeless cats that have arrived at her sanctuary over the years. Gwen has never refused a cat and NOT ONCE has she euthanized a cat because NO ONE WANTED IT.  They are given as long as it takes to find a loving home. If no-one wants them, Gwen will love them for the rest of their life. Right now, times are tough and she needs help. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cat-rescue groups are a hardy bunch.

Two winters ago I was asked to help with a round-up of feral cats that had been left in a barn that had been owned by a man who had recently passed away.
This barn was an hour west of Carleton Place.There were approximately 30 cats and they would only come near the owner of the barn because he would throw some food around for them. These 30 cats were underfed, some had upper-respiratory disease, some were pregnant and all were frightened of people. The property was going to be put up for sale and these cats were not wanted. They had to go. If the local shelter had rounded them up they would have all been euthanized as it was already full and the cats were not friendly.

One of Ottawa's rescue groups (The Ottawa Cat Rescue Network)  got involved along with Gwen from Country Cat Rescue in Kemptville, Ont. It was hoped that they would be rounded up and the less feral ones could go into foster homes. So in we went with live traps, cages and food and lots of guts. The traps were set here and there with stinky food like tuna and sardines. The cats ranged from 6 months to approximately 5 years.  There were people there that were willing to take home one or two each to work with them and give them a chance to become adoptable. One couple had enough cages ready to take 7 cats.

Gwen was the main trapper and after many years of rescuing her skills were very much appreciated at this barn. She was amazing and fearless and so confident. Once the cats were trapped the trap was covered with a blanket to try to calm the cat. Day 1 - 14 cats were trapped and taken to foster homes to be assessed and then vet checked. Day 2 - 7 cats. Day 3 - the remainders. This was over the course of 3 weekends. In the meantime the cats were kept fed and watered at the barn.

Here are some photos from the rescue.
The cows were also taken out by locals

Ice conditions made walking difficult and it was filthy dirty in every building. It was also freezing temperatures and there were many trips to Tim Horton's for hot coffee. The cats would hide out in all these buildings.

Louise from the Ottawa Cat Rescue Network & Lynn (volunteer)

Lynn, Gwen & me (frozen solid)

So, of course you want to know how it all ended up. Well, almost all of the cats were put into foster. They were all skin & bones. 2 were pregnant and 2 needed surgery. One cat had to be euthanized because of illness but at least she spent her last few hours with someone who cared and didn't die in a freezing barn. The couple who were waiting with cages to take 7 cats actually took more than 7 and spent hours upon hours working with them and they were adopted eventually. This guy in the last photo was the patriarch of the group and God love him he tried so hard not to be trapped. On the 3rd day of trapping he just couldn't resist the food and was trapped. He turned out to be adoptable.

So that is just one rescue that some of these rescue groups get involved in. Almost 30 cats to find homes for. Cat lovers are a hardy bunch and this is proof.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cat-like Concentration+ Cat-tip-for-the-day =^..^=Just a reminder

I have returned to my post to ask if there is anyone who would like to send a donation to a very special place in Kemptville, Ontario called Country Cat Rescue as they are in desperate need for cat food at this time. Her website is  I personally know Gwen who runs the rescue and I know that this woman only asks for help when she is desperate and worried. There have been far too many cats dumped on Gwen this summer and her food is limited. She is a wonderful rescue person and deserves help at this time. I know that there are many rescues and they are all struggling. We must stay positive and hope that sanctuaries continue to help those cats that are homeless.Please take a moment to look at her site. Thanks.

Now as far as Just Cats (where all cats have wonderful, loving homes (lucky little furballs) we drop in to see Bud & Chase....
Don't you love the concentration of cats? Bud & Chase spent the whole time I was leaving an up-to-date log of my daily visits watching and waiting for the right moment to pounce on this unsuspecting bug.

It made me think of how I wish I could concentrate better. By that, I mean to live in the moment. I have read enough 'Better Yourself' books to know that living in the moment is good for our health and happiness. I have a hard time doing that. I am always thinking of the next thing on my schedule. Even after a full day and I'm tired I tend to veg out for awhile but my mind is always going. 
I used to meditate when I was in my 20's. And I think why can't I learn from my past experiences? I figure in my 20's I may not have had so many responsibilities so it was easier to clear my mind of all daily trivia and just relax.
How do you relax? I know for a fact that when I do take time to rest I like to have a cat on my lap. That is relaxing for me. Do you practice 'living in the moment' every day?

These two (Bud & Chase who I am cat-sitting) do everything the same and at the same time. These are their favorite toys to play with after lunch. I throw them up and down the stairs and they have a ball.:)

Here's Bailey. He is a wonderful cat and already loves to see me arrive with my cat bag of goodies.
Next visit I plan to take him out on a leash in his yard.

Look how handsome he is.

                                                It is so hot & muggy here. I'm trying to lose a little weight so like everyone else I am eating more salads and fruit. Today I bought strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, spinach and I think I am going to juice some of it up and have a big, cold drink. I'm also juicing for the dog biscuits (that's right, I put real juice in the carrot crunchies). I have some news on the business coming soon.

 Did you have your blueberries today?

Cat tip for the day - to freshen up your litter-boxes, after cleaning add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the litter. Mix it through. This can be done every other day, especially in the summer. The baking soda absorbs odours and will, along with scooping,  keep your litter box odour-free for a few days. 

Orchid Queen I am, I am

Orchid Queen

I love orchids and my daughter brought me home one to get me started. I look so happy and sure of myself in this picture but I am actually thinking "I give it a month". I sat it in the window and the breeze knocked it on the floor and it lost a flower. ("Bwaaaaaa"..that's me crying)
It was promptly put on the table. I added a baby died.

I brought the remaining bits of the orchid into the kitchen and Gary knocked it with something (maybe his head) and off went another flower. ("GRRRRRR" I'm mad)

"I didn't do it."

I bought this one this summer. It doesn't look like this anymore. Half of it died. Committed suicide right in front of me. I even played James Taylor for it.  I need help. How do you grow orchids? Do they grow better in clay pots, plastic pots, wire hangers, ceramic pots, wicker baskets, tea-cups, emptied out coconut shells,  what!  Do they like music, blues, jazz, country, please.. not rap. Did I love them too much? Water them too little? Do they not mix well with cats?

Is there anyone out there that is amazing with orchids? I am pathetic!

Off to kitty-sit. Thanks for listening....Orchid Queen
OMgosh - I almost forgot something very special today. Kane turns 10. Must take him out for ice-cream tonight. "Happy Birthday, little buddy"

We have loved you for 9 years. Happy Birthday, little Buddy

Monday, July 26, 2010

Shy Bailey throws caution to the wind & My cats need a job.

This morning I started with Bailey. He is a shy fella and did not come near me when I arrived to meet him and his family. All I managed out of him that day was a questioning stare. So, I did not expect much today. When I arrived I said "hello Bailey, whatcha doing?" That's all I said and then promptly started the duties of fixing his lunch. Ever feel like someone is watching you? Someone about a foot tall with beautiful gold eyes and his head cocked to one side. I turned around and put my hand out and he walked right over to me and did a figure 8 between my ankles. Then I proceeded to pet him up. Oh, he is just fine. We are going to have a good week and I will photograph him tomorrow.

Chase & Buddy are wild ones and I am really having fun with them.

My Ginny was off to the vet today for her yearly checkup. I was concerned about her sight as she has a condition that has affected her seeing clearly for years. I expected her eyes were getting worse and I was right. She lives on our 2nd floor and sleeps 20 hours a day and gets along with all humans and cats and 1 dog so her life is pretty comfortable. She is waited on hand and foot and her purr can turn heads from any room in the house. She only eats one type of VERY EXPENSIVE food and everything else she throws up, on the rug about an inch from the wood floor. "Thanks Gin"
She also has a subscription to Geriatric Cat Fancy Magazine that costs plenty but then again she may not be reading much anymore. Dr. Ann says she is blind now but has learned to cope well so not to change anything. Everything else looks great. So now I live with a blind cat. She will be 24 years old in November.

Kitty cupboard was looking rather empty this morning so I filled it to the brim. They just love me at our local pet store and if you remember the show Cheers when Norm would come in and they would all call out his name, I get that at the pet store. It's like my moment of fame. Then I'm broke.
I tried cooking for my cats but I stopped when I noticed the dog was getting fatter and the cats were still yelling all the time. One of my more expressive cats tried to cover the bowl with imaginary litter and then walked away in a huff. I can't win.
                              "Hey, who's the bloody cook around here and where did my Q-tip toys go"

"I'm reporting you to the authorities if you don't put away that blender and make some use of our can-opener."   This book started it all. Cali had her photo taken and then ripped it to shreds. So, that didn't work and I think by the looks of my bill the gourmet, free-range chicken based, vitamins added, no fillers, yam-packed for digestion and fibre cat food that these divas request has gone up again. Makes me wonder how many cats it would take to pull a wagon and deliver the morning paper for a minimum wage? Oh I suppose there is an age requirement and over 80 (human years) is just a tad too old. (sigh)

So I won't be going to Italy for awhile. DID I MENTION I LOVE MY CATS?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kitties, Cabinets, Car & Cat-tip

(taken summer 2009)
Friday's always fly by. I just met some of the most adorable cats that I will be caring for starting tomorrow. Stopped off at the pet store to fill up the ol' cat bag with kitty delights. I have also made some cat toys so I am well-equiped to keep everyone happy & well-exercised. I will be caring for Lucy again who I have a very soft spot for as she is over 20 years now. Oh how I love the old cats. She is a Siamese and reminds me so much of my Ginny. I will be caring for her for 3 weeks and plan to spend a lot of time with her. When cats are alone while being cared for it is always nice to bring along a book and spend extra time with them on your lap. The cats love it when you read out loud. It really relaxes them. The cat-sitter might even snooze.
Do you remember when I posted caring for Smudge and how much she loved it when I read out loud. She would  wak! me when I would stop so I read a whole book in a couple of days while caring for her. The Cat Who books are fun to read.

  These little scalliwags are lots of fun. Bud & Chase will be under my care for a week and they will need lots of toys to keep them busy. Their favorite is the ping-pong ball.

                        This hangs in my kitchen. Probably the only award my home will ever get. :(
 See my happy dog. He's been feeling great since he had his ears cleaned out and checked by the vet again. I hope we can find a cure for his ear problems. Other than that he's 100%.

Cat-tip-for-the-day=^..^=Love your cat. They make us crazy but no mistake about it, they make us better people.

Here it is the weekend. I'll be kitty-sittin' & cabinet huntin' & we now have another car. Yippee! I hope I soon have another dish cabinet because I was out again this week adopting homeless dishes. I couldn't walk by them.What if they never got a home? What would become of them?

Happy Weekend, my friends.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Conversation with a clever lady

Love these old black & whites.

My grandmother with three of her daughters. My mom is on far-right. 1960

My mom

My grandmother lived on a farm in Manotick, Ontario. She was a widow, a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 20 when I would spend 2 weeks of my summer with her .  I loved it there. I was a 'city kid' and going there spelled 'FREEDOM' & home-made everything. I could write a book about my grandmother but since this is just a 'post' I will say that we were kindred spirits where cats were concerned. Now, we are going back awhile and at that time it was not the thing to 'spay' your barn cats so there were always many to feed. Granny had 1 house cat named Maggie. She was a short, stocky, brown tabby and she was usually nursing kittens when I would arrive with my suitcase. One morning, I may have been 7, I was sitting in the summer kitchen having coffee around the wood-stove (my grandmother let me drink coffee in a tea-cup unbeknownst to my parents) as I watched my grandmother fill a large tin bowl with meat scrappings, vegetables from the garden, bread and then gravy & milk over top. This was going to the barn for the cats, I found out. I learned something that morning.

"Granny, why do you feed the barn cats when they have mice to eat?" I asked between slurps.

"Well, if I do this they will catch more mice." she said never looking up.


"Think of it, wouldn't you go faster and think clearer if you had energy from good food. The barn cats need energy so that they don't make mistakes while hunting. If they are really hungry they don't wait for the opportune time to get the mouse, they do stupid things and don't use their brains. They jump out too soon and the mouse takes off. This way they wait and wait and wait.......and then they get 'em. I have not seen a mouse since I have been feeding the cats every morning. My cats use them for snacks & my barn is mouse-free."

I never forgot that. I can still hear her voice telling me this. She was so clever, I thought. She loved her cats and carried them around as she did her gardening and tending the hens. They were very lucky barn cats & not a fat one in the bunch.
Porch cats

My greeting cat

A fridge photo

Found this one in a magazine. It is in my kitchen.

A painting of my cat, Charity

                 A photograph taken by well-known photographer Susan Fisher of Carleton Place.This is on my staircase.

Cat-tip-for-the-Day - Feed your barn cats. They will catch more mice...guaranteed.