1-3-14

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These three absolutely adorable kittens are in the Austin, TX area, and need a home! Reader Trudy rescued them off the street, tamed them and loved them, and helped them grow into the beautiful boys you see here. Now it’s time for them to find their forever home! Please click on the picture (or this link right here) to learn more about them.

Please spread the word!!!

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Paulie Walnuts got adopted last night! It’s about time – hopefully he won’t be the last Soprano to go home this weekend!

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What a year!! I will always remember being the one who suggested Lilybet and the Royals that became Kate and the Royals! so many kittens. Is this a record number??

I thought for sure that this had to be a record year, it seemed like we had a million kittens go through here, but when I read the “2012 in review” post from a year ago, I found that we’d also had 38 cats and kittens move through here in 2012.

I expect that our numbers will be smaller in 2014, due to the loss of one of the foster rooms, but we’ll see!

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BTW, Bunnie’s coloring makes me think of chocolate-caramel swirl ice cream.

Oh, I love that description, it’s perfect!

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Robyn, your Christmas card has just arrived in Szczecin, Poland. Thank You! I wonder to how many countries (continents?) You have sent cards this yearโ€ฆ Is Poland the most distant destination? Anyway, thank You for everything You do for the kitties and for me. Love and Hisses is my happy place ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year to You, Yours and all the L&H readers!

Happy New Year!

I actually kept track of where I sent cards this year, and here’s the list:

Date I began sending out cards: December 2nd.
Number of cards sent: 242
States that received 10 or more cards: California (16), Texas (16), Alabama (13), and Maryland (10).
States where no one requested cards BECAUSE THEY HATE SWEET FLUFFY KITTENS (hmph!) : Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.
L&H cards went to these other countries: Canada (21), United Kingdom (2), Germany (2), Ireland (2), New Zealand (1), Australia (1), Sweden (1), Estonia (1), Finland (1), South Africa (1), Taiwan (1), and Poland (that’s you!)(1).

Next year I’m doing post cards rather than regular cards, and I’m ordering a ton of them, so it’ll be up to YOU GUYS to make sure that I’m not left with a ton of postcards at the end of the year!

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I just saw The Blues Brothers for the first time a couple days ago. Quite a fun film!

After I got done watching it, I had an “A-ha!” moment and realized that Loony Jake and Elwood (RIP) were named after the titular characters in that movie because they were brothers, and because (I’m guessing) of their blue coats. I’ve been reading this blog for years and I don’t know how I missed that!

Also, the 2009 archive link for today had such a great pic of Elwood and Tommy. Tommy’s all, “Fine, you can clean my ears IF YOU MUST.”

2009-12-31-09

Oh, that Elwood. He sure did love Tommy with a bright, burning, squeaky passion!

Yes, Jake and Elwood were named after the Blues Brothers. We considered a lot of names for those boys. I really liked Loki and Bart, but Fred did not. I was very enamored of the names Ham and Egg, but Fred was not. He wanted Remus and Romulus, but I nixed that right quick. I thought we should just give them the same name, or similar names that could have the same nickname, because I couldn’t tell the two of them apart when they were little. He suggested Greyโ€™s Anatomy names, then said we could name one of them McDreamy, and I said we could name the other McSteamy and call them both โ€œMick.” I also really liked Bubba and Gump, but Fred didnโ€™t (odd, since thatโ€™s his favorite movie). I suggested George and Lenny (Of Mice and Men), Stu and Larry (The Stand), Fred suggested Javert and Valjean (Les Mis) or Jesus and Judas (heh).

He suggested Frick and Frack, which I kinda liked. Lisa suggested Thing 1 and Thing 2, which I liked a LOT, but Fred did not.

What I really really REALLY liked, was that Samuel and Jackson would be EXCELLENT names. Sam and Jack! How perfect is that?

But then Fred came to me, after we’d spent several days dithering over their names and said “They’re blue. They’re brothers. They’re Jake and Elwood!” Definitely the perfect names for them!

Also, I adore this picture of baby Jake. Such a loon.

2009-08-31-2

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I’ve probably asked you this before, but how in God’s name do you get such great cat pictures? I guess you’re not using a cell phone? Are you usually using a flash or natural light? I’m asking because I think I take the worst cat pictures in the world.

I use a big ol’ Sony DSLR camera (a Sony SLT-A55V, to be exact). The number one rule for Takin’ Pitchers Like Robyn is that you have to be willing to (a) take a LOT of pictures, and (b) spend a lot of time deleting blurry or otherwise terrible pictures. I use natural light whenever possible (I take the majority of my kitten pictures on sunny days – the foster room gets a lot of afternoon sunlight, which is perfect for taking pictures), and avoid using the flash because the light tends to be so harsh. In the rooms where I do the majority of my picture taking (the foster room, Fred’s bedroom, and the computer room), I replaced the regular lights in the ceiling fans with Ottlite bulbs, which are bright and don’t give off a yellowish light.

I mess with the settings on my camera a lot, and will be honest with you – I rarely have any idea what I’m doing, so I’ll change a setting, take some pictures, change another setting, take some pictures, and fiddle around with them until I like what I see.

I don’t do a lot of processing of my pictures other than cropping and lightening them, because I’d rather toss the picture than spend time processing it so much that it doesn’t look real.

But again really, for me it all comes down to taking a LOT of pictures. Last week I took about 300 pictures, trying to get a good one for next year’s Christmas card (I have a Groupon for VistaPrint that I need to use by January 7th – so yes, I’m thinking ahead!). Of the 300 I got, 20 were decent and 10 were good ones. In the course of a week I usually take 800 – 1,000 pictures, and end up sharing 60 – 75 here on the blog. I’ve gotten pretty fast about going through and deleting the unusable (or boring) ones, it might take me half an hour or so to go through them.

So, long story short: get a decent camera, mess with the settings, take a lot of pictures, and you can be fancy like me. Disclaimer: I yam not a professional photographer and am not trying to be, I think we all know that. A real professional would probably not NEED to take 1,000 pictures to get 75 decent ones, so I highly recommend a look around Pinterest, where people often share articles about good picture-takin’ techniques and knowledge and such.

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I know this is mainly a cats place, but have you seen this naughty-dogs-acts page?

Yes, and I love it. I especially love the hedgehog who chases the dog around because the dog is scared of him now!

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At our house, we’ve “converted” a Rubbermade Storage box to a litterbox. Not the clear ones – one of the 35 gallon (dimensions are 32x20x19.6) solid colored ones that come with a latching lid (that we promptly threw away because our cats’ heads are taller than the box when they “assume the position”). We bought the largest one that would fit in the space we had for it.
These containers are made of a tough plastic, so I let hubby do the cutting. Over the years, he’s found that a set of tin snips is the easiest, safest way to cut these boxes. Handsaws and box cutters have been tried and are dangerous and lack the control to cut a nice opening – tin snips are more like using scissors ๐Ÿ™‚ Make this opening as big as you want – just make sure the bottom sill allows enough depth for your litter plus several inches.

We’ve used these for years – and I’ve yet to find a traditional litter box that works as well. They’re less expensive than a traditional litter box and the boxes are available in much larger sizes than traditional litter boxes. The sides are deep enough the cats can’t do their business over the sides or up the wall. “Litter kicking” stays in the box (cats don’t tend to turn their backs on the entrance, so it very seldom goes out the door). And while they can look out over the sides, they still have some privacy while doing their “business”.

That’s a great idea! Also, tin snips are a great suggestion – I know that with a box cutter, I was never able to get a decent looking opening. When my Target litter boxes need to be replaced, I’m going to give the Rubbermaid containers and tin snips a try!

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OMG, seriously, how on earth did you get that second to last kitten/light photo where they all were just sitting there?? A Christmas miracle!

It was just sheer luck – they were still for a mere moment, and then they were on the move again!

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Hi! I have two of those Target litter boxes. I got them about six months ago in two different Targets, then couldn’t find any more even though I kept checking about four or five stores. Last week the Target closest to me got THREE in at once! Woot! There’s hope.

The box is Boots and Barkley’s “High-Sided Extra Large Cat Pan,” SKU 90830 20176 if you want to just call around. (This is from my old label, I’m sure it didn’t change.)

Be careful if you take the lid – make sure you really want it. It costs like $13 separately!

Thanks for the info! And you’re not kidding about that lid!

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What program do you use for the collages of the kitties?

PicMonkey! That site is a lot of fun to play with.

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Hey did you know the story of Khaleesi and her kittens made the list of Love Meow’s Heart Warming Cat Stories of 2013?

I did! Isn’t that neat? I love Love Meow!

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Today, the last two Sopranos collages. First, Silvio.

And wee Tony!

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I’ve said it before, I’m sayin’ it again: I love the way his eyes match his fur!


“Everything looks so different from up here!”


Tricki noms the feathers on the feather teaser (which is why the feather teaser cannot be left unsupervised with kittens!)


Tricki checks out the view from atop the food container (while John Smith checks out the food!)


Bunnie, chillin’.


“Is snack time?”


Oh, those eyes. They kill me!


“Feather teaser, patch of sunlight… does life GET any better?”


SMUG.

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Oh Corbie, you grumpy, sleepy, BEAUTIFUL boy!

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Previously
2013: โ€œI WASNโ€™T SLEEPINโ€™!โ€
2012: Chuckles and Patty, stressing out as usual.
2011: Someone looks super guilty here, am I right?
2010: โ€œIf you call her my โ€˜little girlfriendโ€™ one more time, Iโ€™m going to cut you.โ€
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: (I myself suffer from Shut-Up-And-Go-Away-itis)
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

Comments

Comments

1-3-14 — 43 Comments

  1. I believe Laurie of Itty Bitty Kitty Committie does the same thing – hundreds and hundreds of photos for a few good ones. And get down on their level so you’re not just shooting from above – both Robin and Laurie do that! Experiment with what backgrounds work best for your cat – my gray Phoebe was a challenge as she tended to blend in with almost everything! And have fun experimenting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ good luck!

    • I love that the title is “you won’t believe what they did” – because OH YES I’ll believe it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Oooh ooh photography! Photography is one of my hobbies; I’m not a professional, but I do the posing for a professional photographer who does wedding pictures and action shots (sports and stuff). I’ve picked up a lot of tips from her over the years.

    Lighting – Light bulbs come in different colors, notated by the K label on the light bulb package. Without boring you with the math – look up “color temperature” on Wikipedia if you’re curious – quick rundown (numbers are approximate)–

    Warmest
    2700K – soft white – yellow tint
    2800K – warm white – yellow tint (less of it)
    3000K – CFL or studio lamps (I’ll tell you in a minute how they’re different)
    5000K – natural daylight bulbs
    5800K (roughly) – the Sun
    6500K-10000K – LCD screens
    15000+ – clear blue sky
    Coolest

    I personally haaaaaaate shooting under any type of fluorescent. It flickers even at full power (I won’t bore you with why) and it has this evil color spike that turns people’s skin green. Not everyone can see the flicker in a fluorescent lamp, but I can (I think it’s hereditary, my grandfather had the same problem and he WAS a professional photographer with his own shop). Fluorescent is evil. ๐Ÿ˜›

    My recommendation? Natural daylight LED bulbs. Yes, they run $15-$20 a pop, but they are dimmable, they give more light for less power than a CFL, they are completely non-toxic (no hazmat crap like with CFL’s), they don’t heat up or become fragile like halogens, and they last for ten years on average. They don’t go out when they start to die, they just fade. LED bulbs >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> CFL all day and twice before breakfast.

      • Hehe, it certainly is! Thanks for the comment, Warriorinside, I suspect it’s going to come in very handy. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Oh, I forgot to mention. Changing the temperature of the light will change the color tones in the room to a degree. The same paint will look different.

              • They’re actually green and they don’t give off as much light as a LED does. I was surprised when I first found that out. They give me a headache.

      • Anytime, glad to give something back! If you get SAD, consider putting natural daylight bulbs in your house, they’re supposed to help. I use them in my bathroom for makeup.

        As far as shooting pictures of kittens goes – for action shots, get as much light as you can, jack your ISO as high as you can, and go with a high aperture and fast shutter. Consider going shutter priority (the Tv symbol on your camera’s setting dial) for action shots, then set the shutter as fast as you can. The camera will tell you if you don’t have enough light.

        For quieter and softer shots, sometimes warm light helps, but it’s tough to get enough unless you’re holding the camera still.

        Note: High ISO (800 or 1600) will go grainy if you don’t have enough light, but modern DSLR’s will take care of that for you as much as they can.

  3. found 2 of the target boxes but may move on to rubbermaid – love the tin snips idea!!

    LOVE the baby Jake photo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to admit the blues brothers that I fostered were named at the suggestion of Kelly and I didn’t put it together that you had a pair until after the fact. similar colorings, similar “charming” personalities…I had to laugh.

      • I showed that picture to Fred last night (to point out the fangs) and he said that even back then, the Loon was strong with that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I actually couldn’t tell Jake and Elwood apart when we first got them, but now I look at the baby pictures of them and have no problem knowing who’s who.

    • And here I thought you would know for certain that I was suggesting the name after the Crooked Acres Jake and Elwood. It wasn’t long after dear sweet Elwood’s passing so he was on my mind (and your boys were so much like them!)

  4. Awww, how could Paulie not get adopted? He is such a love. Some family is in for a lot of fun and love.

    Silvio, with his Hulk-paws, how adorable. I don’t want to see him get angry!

    How cute was little Jake. And so loony at a young age!

    Love Fred’s description of the Blues Brothers. Perfect for those little munchkins.

  5. We love your kitties in Utah! We just apparently can’t type and sent the request e-mail to someone else. I blame it on the cat who was most likely trying to get between me and the computer screen and stepping on the keyboard.

    Love to all your kitties from mine.

    • It wouldn’t work for me personally (I know for sure that the urine would soak between the “seams”), but I bet it’s the perfect litter box for someone! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I have one of these, and I’m less pleased with it now than I was initially. I have the problem of the urine leaking out the seams. Also, the bottom piece has more than four corners (that is, the front part has “bumpouts” — if that makes sense) which make it just a tad hard to scoop, especially if you have clumping litter. I got mine on Amazon, and it was very reasonably priced, which was the main concern at the time. But as far as the search for the “perfect litter box,” this wouldn’t quite make the cut, in my estimation.

  6. BTW I was googling this site when I discovered there was a movie titled “Love and Hisses” made in 1937 !! and starring Walter Winchell and Bert Lahr. I doubt I’ll ever watch it as there doesn’t seem to be any cats in it ๐Ÿ™

  7. Here’s another Utah kitty lover! Even though you say not to worry about sending one back, I do. I only send a handful of cards out myself and feel stressed enough about those ones. Plus I figure it’s eco-friendly and saves money if I wait to see it digitally.

    • I can understand that – I suspect that it won’t be too many years before everyone’s doing it digitally (we’re certainly moving in that direction), but addressing and signing the cards is the thing that always gets me in the Christmas spirit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I once adopted two orange stripey brother kitties and couldn’t tell them apart (until they were around 1 year old, when one of them ended up a bit bigger than the other). I named them Uno and Dos.

  9. Although you sent my card to where I live in Ohio, I was born in Vermont and raised in New Hampshire and have many fluffy-kitty lovin’ friends and family back home. They tend to be Luddites, however, and don’t really get “the blog thing.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, that John Smith could be brother to my Fergus, with the eyes-match-the-fur thing going on:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjoblues/8378795124/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjoblues/8574809235/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjoblues/7228481048/

    (I also shoot with a Sony DSLR.)

  10. Um, I don’t mean to be rude or judgmental but that John Smith sure is… round. and adorable and precious and if I lived within driving distance I would be unable to keep my husband from adopting him. But is he just floofier than he seems or does he perhaps need some diet kibble?

    • No, he could lose a few, and probably does need to be on a diet. I just transitioned all four of them over to adult food (they were on kitten food), so hopefully that will help. Also, having space to run around should help, too. He was in a cage at Petsmart for a couple of months, so the confinement probably didn’t help.

  11. Wow, Love and Hisses indeed have conquered the world! Readers on all continents but Antarctida (cos there is no human population do far south, apparently) ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’ve been spoiled! I was hoping there was going to be a Saturday post… Instead, I’ve been coming back to the Friday one all weekend!

    I just came across this great deal: https://local.amazon.com/national/B00HNCVXZY
    I don’t know if that link will work for everyone since it came to me as an Amazon Local deal… but worth a try. It’s a service that gives you 25% off vet bills at participating vet clinics (there are some other benefits too). Happily, mine is one of the participating clinics. And for my multi-pet household, I just pay $39 with this deal with Pet Assure, and all my vet bills for one year will enjoy 25% off. There are also rates for a single cat or a single dog. Even if all you do is take your pet in for one annual exam, you’ll more than make back the cost of signing up. Unfortunately, I JUST last week took my dog in for his annual checkup and had a small skin tag removed, setting me back more than $600. If I had waited a week, I’d have saved myself $200 using Pet Assure! arrggghh.

    Now, if you’ll allow me a shameless plug: there’s a special going on now for the Pet Protector flea & tick repellent discs of Buy 2 Get 1 Free, which works out to 97 cents per month per pet to keep them free of all external parasites for the next FOUR years. And now that it is the dead of winter and most places are not dealing with fleas, this is the perfect time to get the discs on your cats and dogs while they are free of all those blasted bugs. (BTW, these discs also keep mosquitoes away — and I wear one myself for that reason because I’ve been a lifelong mosquito magnet). http://www.petprotector.org/?ID=18451