Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cat brushing

Everyone who owns a long haired cat knows that brushing is important. Not only does regular brushing keep the hair beautiful, it also prevents the fur from matting and the cat ingesting some of the hair while grooming.

Unfortunately, some cats don’t like being brushed. Or as Diane Q. put it

The groomer just left after an hour or wrestling, growling, snipping and brushing”

No, some cats don’t like the brush and use everything they have to fight being groomed.

Gabriel isn’t one of those cats. Quite the reverse actually. When he sees the brush he rolls on his back in a gesture of ... take me, I’m yours.

Brushing him is as easy as pie. I can get to his chest, his belly and his “armpits” without any problems.

The trouble starts when I proceed to Gabriel’s back and sides. As soon as I’ve scooped him up and put him on his feet, he flops down and rolls over for some more belly brushing. It usually takes a couple of tries to get him on his feet and have him remain in that position.

Smart as he is, he soon catches on that standing on all fours does not mean the end of brushing, but rather a continuation. And then Gabriel is all for it.

He enjoys having his cheeks brushed, he loves having his head seen to and he adores the brush gliding over his back and sides.

He gets a little nervous when I get to his pantaloons, turning this and that way to see what I’m doing back there but settles after a firm “Gabriel, stand still”.

For a finale his tail, by which time he’s flat on his back again, hoping for some more chest and belly brushing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Toronto Cat Rescue - Bowl-a-ton

Eight years ago, the Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR) hosted its first Bowl-a-ton to raise money for the city’s abandoned cats.  A few people showed up, all of them having done their very best to get some donations here and there.

Over the years the event became more popular and grew in size.   Cat lovers from all over the city put their best “paw” forward to raise money and did so very successfully.  Thousands of dollars came pouring in, providing much needed food and money for vet bills.

The Toronto Cat Rescue is an organization with a difference.  Rather than being a shelter for cats, TCR comprises of a number of private homes.  No cat is turned down, no cat is put down.  They receive love and attention while prospective adoption homes are carefully examined.

On Saturday, May 26th it will be that time again.  After weeks of active fundraising, cat lovers will troop to Playtime bowling alley to hand over what they collected, bowl and exchange stories.  No need to wonder what they will be talking about … cats, cats and more cats.

I never grow tired of telling folks about how I adopted Chanel.  I was scared of going to a cat shelter, seeing so many cats who needed a home and only be able to help one.  How would I choose?
As it turned out my choice was easy … I went for the scruffiest kitten in the place.  The one who had the least change of being adopted.  Today, twelve years later, Chanel has grown into a beautiful cat, with a unique personality.  



I can only hope that more people will adopt shelter cats and give the pet a loving home.  In the meantime, I hope that our upcoming Bowl-a-ton will be as successful as it was last year. 

If you can spare a few dollars, please contact me at  Donations over $20 receive a tax receipt upon request. 

I will donate … will you?

In the meantime, if you’re thinking of adopting but are not quite sure, the following might help you in your decision:

A cat's cry for help.

Please don't turn your back on me
Look into my eyes
How can you walk away?
And not listen to my cries

This shelter is noisy and crowded
So far away from home
Doesn't anybody want me?
I'm scared and all alone

Locked in a cage, I'm waiting
Will someone come in time?
Please, please help me!
Or a needle might end this life of mine

So many kittens, so many cats
All waiting for someone to say
"Come here cute pussycat."
I want to take you away

But will that pussycat be loved?
Or suffer a fate worse than death
Will it beg for mercy?
With his last dying breath

It doesn't have to be that way
It's all up to you
There can be an end to this suffering
Depending on what you do

Be responsible, and care
Spay or neuter your pet
Sooner rather than later
Make an appointment with the vet!

Monday, March 5, 2012

At times my bedroom sees more traffic than Grand Central Station

Imagine if you will four cats.  Mickey, Charlotte and Gabriel get along with each other, but Chanel gets bullied by Gabriel.  So, to prevent a fight I came up with the plan of separating them.  Some nights Chanel gets to sleep with me, other nights Gabriel gets to share my bed.  When I’m ready to turn in I close my door.  And that’s when it starts …

No sooner am I in bed or there is scratching at the door.  I know that scratch, only one cat scratches … Mickey.  So I get up and let him in. 

Within minutes I will hear a throaty meow.  I know that meow, only Charlotte sounds like an old coffee grinder.  So once again I get up and let her in.

It’s not long before Mickey decides he wants to go out.  I try to make him change his mind by calling him to bed or tempting him with a nice soft basket.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  So I have to get up again to let Mick out.

While I’m up I turn to Charlotte … “Do you want to go out too?”  Charlotte isn’t moving, she seems quite happy where she is at the time.  Of course, that doesn’t last long.  Sooner or later she decides she wants a change of scenery.  So, up again to now let Charlotte out.

When I hear Mickey scratching and Charlotte meowing again I decide to ignore them.  If I let them in I’ll only have to get up again to let them out.  “No Mickey,” I call, “go to sleep.”  My call gets answered by more scratching and meowing, but I stand (or rather lie) firm, I’m not letting them in.

That’s when Gabriel raises his head with a face like “Can’t you hear there’s someone at the door?”  Now I have to content with a cat looking at me, waiting to answer his friends’ call.  I’m not falling for it, he can look at me until the cows come home, I’m in bed and I’m staying put.

That is until Gabriel keeps looking at me, now adding a soft “Meeeee” to get his message across.  “Oh all right, I’ll let them in,” I tell him.  “But they better go to sleep or ….”  Or what? 

In the wee hours of the morning I wake up from a pitiful cry.  Now Gabriel wants to go out. 
“Gabriel, no, come back to bed.”
“No, come, go back to sleep.”
“Mee eee”
If I ignore his meow (or what has to pass for one) it just gets longer and more urgent.  Like an opera singer launching into an area of Tosca.  “Meeeee eeeee eeeee”.
Oh for goodness sake okay, I’m coming.

I wonder what Mickey, Charlotte and Gabriel are saying when they get together.   She falls for it every time?

On the nights that I let Chanel sleep with me, that’s no picnic either.  She curls up with me and doesn’t ask to be let out, but she keeps me awake in other ways … first purring and then snoring.

Jeez but that cat can snore.  At times I’ve asked her if she can turn the volume down a bit, which results in a sound an octave higher than before.  Not to mention that she likes to lie close to me, ticking my face with her whiskers. 

Now that I’m up everyone is sound asleep.  Nobody wants to go out, nobody wants to come in.  Nobody purrs, nobody snores.  For some reason I feel like playing music … really loud.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cat language

Does your cat meow?  Mine don’t.  None of them.  They each produce a sound that is supposed to pass for a meow, but doesn’t even come close.

We’ll start with the youngest, Gabriel.  Not only was he not paying attention when his mother gave him speech lessons, he wasn’t even in the room.  When he opens his cute little mouth he says “mee”.  Sometimes it’s short, sometimes he stretches out the “meeeeeee” like he’s singing a song. 
It sounds so sad, so utterly pitiful.  Whether he’s crying for food, to get a head rub or to be let into the bathroom, his mournful plea cannot be ignored. 

Next up, Mickey, another one who never learned how to speak cat language properly.  He doesn’t even try.  When Mickey tries to say something he doesn’t get any further than “Eh” or “Ei”.  It’s quite cute, but completely useless.  Not that he’s much of a talker to begin with, he only makes an effort when he wants to play with his laser light.  Once play is over, that’s it for the talking.
He might make an effort to get into the bathroom, but Mick prefers to scratch the door.

Then there’s Charlotte.  Charlotte has a deep, raspy voice, making her meow sounds like “meih”.  Her cry reminds me of a shy old sheep.  Charlotte knows how to purr though, something Gabriel nor Mickey have quite mastered.  Oh they purr, but very, very softly.  Charlotte on the other hand has quite an engine.

Last but not least, Chanel.  Chanel is the talker of the family. She has a whole repertoire of sounds but a proper “meow” isn’t one of them.  Whenever we talk to her, she politely answers, ranging from “mei”, “meei”, “eeeeh” to “mooow”.  Most comical is when she says “now”.  When we ask her “When do you want your food?” she replies with “now”.  When asked again “Do you want your food now?” she’ll confirm that she wants it now.

As for purring … nobody purrs like Chanel.  Whoever she curls up with in bed can forget about sleeping.  She purr so enthusiastically that she sounds like a low flying helicopter.

Cat language … not the easiest language to understand, yet Gabriel, Mickey, Charlotte and Chanel seem to have no problem understanding me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A visitor from Rainbow Bridge

This goes out to Glory, in memory of Zebrina.


Owners of beloved pets, believe that when the pet passes away he moves to Rainbow Bridge.  Some question the truth in that.  Is there a heaven for pets?  As Linda put it … “What kind of a place would heaven be without pets?

Some claim that, after their pet passed away, they felt, heard or even seen the animal.  Far fetched?  Wishful thinking?  Let me put in my two cents (100% true).

In September 2006, Kitty died.  A few months weeks I went to visit my parents in Belgium.  My folks had no pets at the time.

In the second week of my visit, my mom had given me a particular hard time and I felt rather low.  I’d looked forward to this visit, I had flown thousands of miles, and now everything went horribly wrong.

That night when I was in bed I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned and finally settled on my right side.  I just started to drift off when I felt “something” jump on the bed.  I was instantly wide awake. 

The something approached me from the left side of the bed, walked over to me and nestled behind my knees.  I couldn’t see a thing, the room was too dark, but I knew it was Kitty.  Whenever he slept with me, he always curled up in the crook of my knees.

 Kitty with Strike

Having had other ghostly experiences, which scared the pants off me, this encounter didn’t scare me at all.  I felt the weight and the warmth of Kitty, but no fear.

The next day I couldn’t wait to tell Dieter about my visitor.  My call had to wait though.  With a six hour time difference, 10:00 a.m. in Belgium meant that it was only 4:00 a.m. in Canada and I doubted Dieter would appreciate being woken up at that time.

I patiently waited a few hours until I was sure Dieter would be up.  As soon as I told him about my experience of the night before, he said “Funny you should say that.  I saw Kitty by the door of my room last night.  I only saw him out of the corner of my eye, but I swear he was there.”

I didn’t doubt it for a moment. 

What’s for dinner?

On the menu tonight is chicken in broth, with pumpkin and wild rice. 
Yesterday was mixed seafood in broth, with peas and wild rice.
For tomorrow, salmon and chicken, with carrots and wild rice.
Sounds good he.  Is that what I’m eating?  No, the cats.  I recently switched them from regular cat food to holistic food and they love it.
All except Chanel.  Chanel still prefers Fancy Feast above all. 

Speaking of dinner, I think Mickey has an alarm clock in his stomach.  One moment he will be sleeping peacefully, but when 6:45 p.m. comes around he wakes up to find me.  Dinner time!

While I scoop the food out of the containers, he’s either on the floor waiting patiently, sits on the table anxious for the plate to appear, or with me on the kitchen counter keeping an eye on things.

Once the plate is on the cat table, he’s the first one there and starts munching. 
Charlotte occasionally makes an appearance, but more of than not, I have to go and find her.  “Charlotte, foodie time!” 
She will come and either jump on the cat table, or wait for me to pick her up.

As for Gabriel, I have to wake him up, or pick him up.  Occasionally he will jump on the cat table, but most of the time he will fail miserably.  He will sit on the floor, calculating his jump … one… two … three … no. 
A little later he will try again … I think I can, I think I can … no. 
Maybe third time lucky … I think I can I can … I think I can … I’m kidding myself.

That’s when I pick him up and just put him on the cat table.  Remember the movie “White men can’t jump”?  Well, apparently neither can some cats.
This attempting to jump reminds me of a scene of the TV series “227”, where Mary said “Conceive it, believe it, achieve it” and Lester replied “Can’t get it, regret it, forget it”.  That line was written for Gabriel.

And Chanel you might wonder.  Chanel eats alone, on top of the fridge.  With a bully like Gabriel around I have to feed her separately.

While the cat family is eating, all has to stay dead quiet in the kitchen.  The slightest noise and Charlotte and Gabriel will go running. 
And Mickey … no not Mickey, WWIII can start for all he cares, he’s not moving. 
I can just picture that cat during WWII … “Mickey, came down to the shelter, bombs are falling!”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there in a minute.”

Okay, it's past 7:00 p.m. … time for dinner.