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Like you, and most of your readers, I always pick my babies from the shelter. Other than reading the notes on their cages, is there any somewhat reliable way to determine personality? I’m not a kitten person but would be looking to adopt a couple of youngsters – two – that get along together and can entertain each other. I want cats with personalities that like to talk and snuggle and lap sit but can be left for a time with daily visits from my loving neighbors. Trying to get a feel for a cat at the shelter is a crapshoot as they’re completely freaked out by all the strangers and acting in ways that may be completely unrelated to their normal personality. Any insights or advice?

I think that your best resource for figuring out which kittens are the best fit for you is to talk to the people who work at the shelter. They deal with the cats regularly, not only in the cleaning of the cages, but I’m sure they play and snuggle them when time permits.

How about the rest of you jump in here – it’s hard for me to think of suggestions on how to determine which cat would be the best for Lori, because except for Spanky and Miz Poo (well, and Maxi and Newt, but they weren’t really so much a choice on our part as a “Hi, we belong to you!” on their part) all our cats started out as fosters.

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I don’t know if that was George or Gracie with the rueful look, but it reminds me of Colombo.

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Ha! Yeah, I see the resemblance. And that’s Gracie. I think. I can’t always tell myself, so those of you who can’t tell George and Gracie apart, don’t feel bad!

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Are the ducks going into the pond more on their own now that it is more full?

We haven’t actually seen them going into the pond on their own yet. Fred saw them headed out that way earlier this week, but they veered off and went behind Dirt Mountain at the last moment, then circled back to the coop area. They seem more comfortable in that area of the back forty than they’ve been in the past, and it’s a lot easier getting them out to the pond, so I think it’s just a matter of time. Once the pond is full and once we get some bushes planted out there and perhaps some greenery in the pond itself, maybe they’ll prefer to be out there than around the coop. Especially if we stop filling up their pool! (Oh, but then they’ll just sit in the water bowls. Silly ducks.)

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Out of all your animals, I think I love the pups the most. Please don’t tell my cats. I don’t think they’d like me anymore. Well, not that they really like me much these days anyways because I don’t see them much because of work and exhaustion. If they knew I loved your pups the most it would be the end of me. I think I like Loony Jake and Elwood the second most. Maybe. I don’t know. The ducks are funny. I like funny animals. Oh my, too many animals to rank like that. Just know that I think I love the pups the most. I would like to sneergle up with them and kiss their pretty faces. Yes, I would.

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“You tell dat lady she gots excellent taste. Also, Georgie like a good sneergle.”

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Look what’s mentioned on Apartment Therapy! I had no idea your beautiful white Silkies were hiding something!

Yeah, Silkies have black flesh – they’re considered a delicacy in (I think) China. We have only eaten one Silkie thus far – actually, he was half Silkie, but still had black flesh – and they don’t taste any different than regular chicken, but I had to use the meat in a casserole to disguise the grayish color, because it just looked WRONG.

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Has feathery leg rooster ever had chicks with rockstar chicken or Madame featherhead or even angry muppet? Because I bet they would look freaky but cool!

Not that particular rooster, he’s too young to have fathered (roostered?) any chicks yet, he was born in the late Summer or early Fall. We’ve had lots of chicks with feathered legs, though – a big part of the flock is half Light Brahma, which is a feathered-leg breed. I would definitely like to see a half Rockstar/ half Light Brahma chick, though, that would either be the most gorgeous chicken ever, or the ugliest!

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I’ve been thinking about asking this for a while: How on earth did Sugarbutt, Miz Poo, Stinkerbelle, Mr Boogers, and Spanky get their names? Are those the names you gave them in the first place? I know Sugarbutt and Mr Boogers had different names to begin with, but what about Miz Poo? Were they just nicknames that stuck?

Baby Spanky, late 1996 or early 1997. Back before digital cameras!!!

I’ll start with the oldest cat first. When we got Spanky, we wanted to come up with a name that started with “S” so that it would go well with “Spot.” At the time, we only had Spot and Danielle’s cat-of-many-names (I think she was calling her Katie at that point), and Danielle’s cat wanted nothing to do with Spanky, so Spanky kind of glommed on to Spot and followed him around and wanted to be his best friend. We tossed around a lot of names before settling on Spanky, and he’s been Spanky ever since. We occasionally call him “Skittyboo”, because he tends to be skittish (though less skittish in his old age than he used to be), but he’s most often Spanky.

Baby Miz Poo, late 1999.

I truly, honestly do not remember how Miz Poo got her name. When we first got her, we were still on the “S” naming kick. So after much discussion (I wanted to name her Molly), we named her Scrappy. So she was Scrappy or the kitten for a long time, and then… I don’t know. It’s been 12 years! I think I was calling her “Pootie-Pie” for a while, and then “Poo” and then “Miz Poo”, and that one stuck. Actually, Fred used to have a cat (before I moved here) named Miss Poot, so maybe he was calling her Poot and I picked it up from him. (Aside: my friend Liz tends to call her “Mrs. Poo”, and it gets me all irate, and I always say “SHE HAS NEVER BEEN MARRIED!” and Liz laughs at me.) She’s still listed as Scrappy in the vet’s records.

Mister Boogers, late 2003.

Mister Boogers was originally named Stanley – which, I’m sorry, isn’t that ridiculous? Not that there’s anything wrong with the name Stanley, but he was SO not a Stanley. But we were still on the “S” naming thing, and Fred wouldn’t agree to name him Stumpy, so we named him Stanley. Then I tried to mutate his name over to Stanley-Bean (He’s a Stanley-Beanie-Bean!), but it wasn’t happening. After some time, we started to notice that in the Spring and Fall, he had a bit of an allergy issue, and his eyes would water and he’d walk around with eye boogers. So he became Boogers and then Mister Boogers, and that was just the most perfect name for him, so it stuck!

Sugarbutt, 6 1/2 years ago.

Sugarbutt came to me as a foster with the name Sad Eyes. He also had what we thought was a prolapsed rectum, and I was beside myself with no idea what to do for this poor kitten with the swollen back end that was protruding at least an inch. I asked the shelter manager for suggestions, and she said that she’d heard that holding a damp cloth with sugar on it might help with the swelling. I gave it a try, and it actually did help a little, but as it turned out, he had impacted anal glands rather than a prolapsed rectum. The vet expressed them, and he’s never had a problem again. But that made it pretty easy to name him, and he’s been Sugarbutt (or Suggie) ever since.

Young Stinkerbelle, 4 1/2 years ago.

Stinkerbelle was originally named Maryanne – she and her litter were given Gilligan’s Island-themed names. Well, actually, there was Maryanne and Gilligan, but Ginger had been used so we used Tina Louise (which was the name of the actress who played Ginger, as I’m sure you know because EVERYONE loves Gilligan’s Island). I don’t know why on earth we didn’t use Thurston or Professor for the last member of the litter, but he looked like our Spanky, so we named him Spanky. ANYWAY. Stinkerbelle was originally Maryanne, and Fred fell in love with her because she’s so beautiful and he’s a sucker for blue eyes. She went to Petsmart for one night, and I made the mistake of telling him, after I’d cleaned and scooped at Petsmart the next morning, that it looked like she’d spent the night trying to dig her way out of the cage. Well, that was it, it was all over, he was getting his half-feral crazy blue-eyed girl OUT of there, and there was no talking him out of it. He stopped on the way home and got her. That night, we were trying to think of a suitable name for her, and tossed around ideas, then he said, out of the blue, “Stinkerbelle!” and that was it, she’s been Stinkerbelle (or very occasionally “Miss Stinky”) ever since. I know that some people don’t approve of giving a beautiful girl a name like that, but well – ya can’t please everyone, right?

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Has Spanky lost weight? He’s looking rather svelte!

He’s lost a little weight in the past year or so; they seem to always thin out a little when they reach the elderly stage. We’ve added an extra snack to his daily rotation, which he appreciates and eats every morsel of. We have to put him in the bathroom to eat it so that Jake doesn’t elbow him out of the way, and he rather enjoys being able to eat his snack at his own pace without having to worry about the whippersnappers!

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For an inexpensive alternative to an uncovered litter box, but with high sides… the box my kitty boys prefer is actually a Rubbermaid container without the lid. My husband cut a hole in the narrow side to make the door. We stumbled upon this idea when one kitty’s marvelous aim kept going through the seam between the box and the cover (and ending up on the floor outside). They have high walls to keep everything inside (and maintain their privacy) and no cover over their heads. This “litter box” cost us $5, is their absolute favorite, and is by far the easiest one that I’ve ever had to clean. And the containers come in a variety of colors, which makes it look a bit more fun too.

All of our litter boxes are made from what I think are called “Party buckets” from Lowe’s. They look like this:


and they work really well for us. We had to have something with high sides (they’re about 18 inches tall) because we were having the same issue with the cats peeing on the seam of the covered litter boxes we had (or over the side of the uncovered ones). Two thumbs up for the DIY litter boxes!

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I’m posting this for a friend. She rescued a Boston Terrier Puppy, who went blind due to a kid opening his eyes when he was 2 weeks old. He needs surgery, and they can’t afford it. Here’s the full post, including more information, a picture and a place to donate.

Meet Opie.

What a sweet boy – y’all go read about Opie, check out his pictures, and help if you can!

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I am worried, Robyn. In that one picture, I just don’t think that the kittens have enough toys. I only count seventy-eleventy there. LOL…. you have the luckiest kittens in the world, there, I do believe!

Honest to god, it’s an illness. I do not possess the ability to pass up a display of on-sale cat toys. Half the reason I send a bag of toys with each foster is because if I don’t, I’ll end up on Hoarders: The Cat Toy Edition, buried under cat toys and saying “But no, it’s perfectly good! The cats love this toy!” while Matt Paxton (who Fred and I refer to as Cranky Matt because he invariably gets seriously annoyed during the show, which I LOVE) tells the camera about how I’ve been pooping in a bucket because the toilet is filled with cat toys.

Perhaps one day, while I’m walking around the house with the camera, I’ll take a picture of all the cat toys I have – the UNUSED ones as well as the used ones – so y’all can gasp in horror.

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I join his brothers in asking: Is it just me, or does Jax have a super-long tail for a (beautiful) boy his age?

I think it’s average size, actually, it’s just that it’s always so UP THERE that it seems longer than it really is.

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Around here we call it “chunky”, as in “my, *insert chunky cat’s name*, you sure do love your crunchies…the vet’s gonna be all over your chunky ass because of it”.

We used to call Tubby “Chubby-Tubbs,” and lately we’ve been calling Elwood “Tubby,” just because, well. (whisper) He’s a tiny bit chubby, you probably haven’t noticed.(/whisper)

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Simba sympathizes. My 7th grader has an English exam today that includes grammar and appositives. The example he is using to remember that an appositive is a noun that renames the noun right next to it? “My fat cat Simba”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This reminds me of when Danielle was in, I don’t know, 6th grade or so, and she brought home a paper she’d completed at school, that said, in part:

If I were an animal, I would be a cat because they are nice and fat.

If I were a cat, I would be fancy because I like to be fancy.

We used to refer to Mr. Fancypants as “being fancy” when he pranced across the room with his long hairs blowing in the breeze. He was also “fancy” when he rolled onto his back and curled his front paws under his chin, asking for a belly rub.

I’m sure the teacher read that paper and was like “What planet is this child from?”

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Yesterday afternoon, I made a last-minute decision to take the Sons to Petsmart and drop them off and bring Everett, Sally, and Lucy home instead of waiting until Friday morning. So I packed up the Sons and their bags of toys, and headed for Petsmart. They are quiet little travelers, those Sons, and I only heard a couple of peeps from them.

Long story short, Everett, Sally and Lucy were freaked out by, I don’t know, the carriers or the kittens or me, and I swear that they acted like they were feral. I had to actually use a blanket to grab Sally and herd her into a carrier, and all three of them were seriously freaked out by the carriers. I got the Sons settled and got to say a quick hello to Charlie and Patty (who just looked at me like they’d never seen me before), and the Peppers howled all the way home. I left them alone in the foster room for a little while, and then went in to see them. They were nervous and skittish and not up for being petted, but as the evening went on they calmed down a bit.

They seem mostly to be fascinated by the idea that they can leave each others sight – when one of them walks into the closet (where the litter boxes are), the other two get all interested and watch her walk away, then have to go see what she’s doing. Hopefully they’ll adjust in a few more days, and we can see about letting them have a little more room to roam!

PS: I’ve always taken kittens to Petsmart before the store opens; after yesterday, when the constant stream of people by the windows were NOT helping to calm the Peppers down as I was trying to get hold of them and put them in the carriers, I’m definitely going to go back to the way I was doing it before.

First, pictures of the Sons.

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Jax and Tig in the sun.

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“What?” (Clay, Jax, Opie, Tig)

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This picture cracks me up so much – they look like they’re doing a dance lift.

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Jax has gotta DANCE.

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Clay’s eyes are just gorgeous, aren’t they?

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And now, a couple of Peppers pics.

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I had forgotten what gorgeous eyes Everett has.

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Pretty boy.

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Lucy, about to jump after Everett, who’s on the blue cat tree.

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Everett, checking out the cat tree.

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Annnnd Everett, being petted by Fred.

I guess I didn’t get any good pictures of Sally, who tends to run into the closet at this point. Hopefully I’ll get more pictures of Sally and Lucy before Monday.

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Hey, look! It’s Corbie!

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I don’t know what nasty thing he found out there, but he was rubbing his face on it…

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Then he rolled around on it…

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Then he looked guilty.

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Look at that boy. Is he not beautiful?

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I lurve my Corbie.


2011: โ€œWell, well, well. Now that those little brats are gone, I guess youโ€™re stuck taking pictures of ME, lady. WOE IS YOU.โ€
2010: I think they just like to mess with me.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



1-20-12 — 15 Comments

  1. Aw Corbie…

    I love Hoarders. LOVE. (Except for those cat hoarders…oh, and rat dude from last season). ‘specially love me some Corey Chalmers.

  2. We had a cat once who would get elevator butt every time he used the litter box. We got a covered litter box only to find it go down the side. Then I found a tip in Cat Fancy magazine that worked for us. Turn the litter box upside down so the lid is now the base. The urine then becomes trapped in the channel. You had to be careful removing the top but it was easier to clean up [also it gave you higher sides]. Now we have a cat who doesn’t turn around when she goes in the litter box and sometimes shoots stuff out the door.

  3. What a wealth of wonderful photos today — and I loved seeing the the baby photos and reading the naming stories. But now to advice for the seeker of a great pair: get a couple of adolescents — how about two of the Peppers?! — or an older duo who are closely bonded. Kittens can change, whereas with cats what you see is more likely what you get. The adoption counselors and shelter volunteers should so be able to point out the cats who they hope will be adopted together. I hope you’ll share the new members of your family with Robyn once they’re home.

  4. I volunteer at my city’s local ACPS as a kitty cuddler. Here is what I recommend to your reader. Spend the day there. Take the cat/kitten you are interested in into the interaction room. Sit on the FLOOR!!! Snuggle, play with and pet the cat. It will take some time for them to investigate the smells and sounds…but will soon settle in a bit. This is what I do with them. You will see who is interested in you, pets, play etc. Please realize that if they are kittens that they will probably run around like maniacs due to all that kitten energy and finally getting out of those small cages. So play with them and let it burn off some. You will see which one or two is for you. My Lola was the purfect addition to my already 2 cat household. Pick via personality, not looks. Lola’s sister was jaw dropping gorgeous but WAY too shy for my household. However, Lola is beautiful and irreplaceable….because I love her! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Oh, also kittens from the same litter or cats from the same home are usually caged together. That is a good way to get a pair.

  6. picking kittens.. that is a tough one. There are a lot of factors involved. If the staff doesn’t know anything about them, short of spending several hours on the floor with the kittens, there really isn’t much else. And even that isn’t always a certain. Because kittens in stressful situations often act differently then kittens in a home. Finding kittens that were fostered and talking to the foster parents will give you the best insight, but then again, the personality of the kitten is not always the personality of the adult cat. My Ollie was a friendly little kitten, and a very sullen grumpy old man cat. Now granted, we didn’t neuter him until after sexual maturity, but I’ve heard a lot of cats don’t have the same personality as they did as kittens.

    While the kitten does have an inherent personality, there is also a LOT you can do once you get kittens. Want a kitten that likes to cuddle, hold the kitten as much as you can. Impose, but do not force. Pick it up, coo over it, but once the kitten wants to get down, put it down. Don’t let it jump, don’t let go until all four paws are safe on the ground. This will establish trust on several different levels, letting the kitten know you respect it’s wishes, and will keep it safe. Play with paws, play with the tail, open the mouth, touch the ears, all often and in fun. Want the kitten to travel well? travel with it as a kitten. Want it to like dogs and kids, etc. again, impose, not force. Bring new things into your kitten’s world, but if they don’t like it, respect it. Just try it again later.

    and most importantly (well to me anyway) introduce it to a wide variety of foods – types, textures, flavors, etc. some dry, some canned, raw if you can stand it.. Cats stop wanting to try new foods once they are mature, so to keep it’s palette open and it’s digestive system capable of handling food changes, you need to do it now.

    Some kittens get over their “DON’T HOLD ME!!” some don’t. Even those that don’t like to be held can be convinced that a warm lap is a great thing to be on or near.

  7. We had a nice covered cat litter box with a clear plastic flap and my geourgeous big ginger rag doll cross breed couldnt understand cat flaps ,we literally shoved him through it to demonstrate and he just sat inside looking out at us! We had to rescue him and take the door flap off.

  8. simple answer for the kitty-seeker: GET THEM FROM ROBYN!!
    I know, must be a distance issue!

  9. Einstein’s original vet absolutely insisted on calling her Mrs. Einstein which made me so irrationally irritable because she had never been married (they laughed at me too when I objected and then they wrote the “Mrs.” on her chart which sent me over the edge… )

    How to pick a new cat? Very timely topic considering I spent two hours at the shelter today “interviewing” potential housemates. Missing the late, great Einstein too much lately. The house is hardly empty with 3 kids, 1 large dog, 2 cats (1 permanent resident and 1 foster), and a husband, but the dynamic is off. Trying to find the missing piece is harder than I thought. My heart is leaning towards the senior citizens… an elderly black gentleman or a little old torbie lady? Going back tomorrow to hang out with them a bit more.

    Hoping it’s okay to pass along information here about the Pets for Patriots program that gives military members and veterans a low cost way to adopt shelter animals. Military families that adopt an adult or special needs animal from network shelters get a significant discount on adoption fees, 10% discount at participating vet clinics, and a $150 Petco/Petsmart gift card (and another gift card annually for as long as they have the pet!) Because my husband is active duty, our new shelter kitty will cost ten whole dollars and come home with everything he or she needs ๐Ÿ™‚ For information, you can check out Petsforpatriots.org

  10. I love that “dance lift” picture — it really does look like Jax is lifting Clay! (??? is that Clay???)

    And I’m glad I”m not the only one who can’t tell George and Gracie apart….

  11. You mean they’re not doing a dance lift? Could have sworn i saw that particular move on ‘so you think you can dance’…