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From Charlene:

I’ve posted here about my dabbling in t-shirt design and gotten good feedback, so here’s one more idea I’d love to get your collective thoughts on …

There are these “name t-shirts” that are popular that say “It’s a [insert name] thing. You wouldn’t understand”. For instance, It’s a Jean thing. You wouldn’t understand.”

So my question is, would it even make sense to do a t-shirt that says “It’s a Tortie-tude thing. You wouldn’t understand”? Would all you tortie-lovers out there be interested in such a shirt? Would you buy something that says that?

Thanks a bunch for weighing in!


I’ve never noticed this. Does Jake’s tail have rings????

It does, though they’re very faint, and they only show up in the right light. Here’s a picture from last January:

And a closer look:


Your use of the term “crazy eyes” gave me an idea for a new name theme: Orange is the New Black. The show has mostly female characters but there are a few male characters. Do you watch it?

We do watch it! We need a large litter of girl kittens for that naming theme. πŸ™‚


I know many of you use Gerber’s baby food to entice ailing kitties to eat or, as in my case, to help the medicine go down. So my question is, what do you do with all the empty glass bottles?

They’re such nice bottles that I can’t bear to throw them out, even to put them in the glass recycle bin. I’ve reused a bunch of them at home, but they’re really piling them up.

I’m thinking maybe grammar schools can use them for some art-y/craft-y thing, maybe?

Hoping to get some re-purpose/re-use ideas from others. Thanks!

Depending on my mood, I’ll either save them or recycle them. I’ve mailed out boxes full of them to readers in the past (a reader had an elementary-school-age child who used them for something crafty at school; I don’t remember what the other readers used their jars for.) I’ve been recycling them lately, but I think that you could post something on Craigslist offering them up, and would likely find a taker. I think that offering them to local schools would work, too.

How about it, y’all? Suggestions on what to do with a bunch of empty baby food jars?


I was like wait, who is Bandit??? Then I saw the hashtag: CatInLaw. Ahhh… Thanksgiving. Lol.


Also thought you snuck another cat in there for a moment. Bandit has zee French daddy, no?

Bandit lives with Fred’s mother and stepfather. He’s around 13 now, and he’s a gorgeous boy. He was super interested in my purse and spent a lot of time sniffing it.

Fred’s sister’s husband is the French Daddy you’re thinking of, and they have Kintaro, who stayed with us for a couple of weeks last year.


Oh btw, have we not seen the ducks lately?

Yeah, I haven’t been out there with the camera in a couple of months. I’ll see if I can’t get out there at some point this weekend so y’all can remember what the chickens, ducks, and George and Gracie look like!


HEY!! I’d like to hear more about Archie! Y U NO SHARE?

Because I was ignoring the situation, of course. πŸ™‚

For those of you who aren’t Facebook friends with Fred, you have no idea who Archie is. This is Archie:

He started showing up at the feeding station a couple of weeks ago. At first, he’d run off immediately if either of us went out there, but eventually he came around. He was an unneutered male and seemed thin, so we gave him lots of canned food to fatten him up. He happened to show up on Monday just as Fred was taking Jake to the vet for his yearly exam, so he went to the vet, too. He was combo tested, neutered, and got all his shots. The vet estimates that he’s about 2 years old.

We ran out of Happy Days names (well, we haven’t used Malph yet, but both think that should go to an orange cat), so switched to another ’70s sitcom, All in the Family, and named him Archie.

He hangs out on the side stoop for a good part of the day, and happily curls up in this shelter nearby at night.

I KNOW you guys want me to bring him inside. That isn’t going to happen; we’re still swimming in a tsunami of cat spray caused by bringing Dennis in as a permanent resident and I’m not adding to the permanent residents’ stress.

If you should happen to know of someone who’d like to give this sweet, friendly, gorgeous boy a home, let me know and I’ll do what I can to make it happen!


Meet Lizzy.

Yes, she’s the last kitten, reunited with her brothers and sister! She’s named after the band Thin Lizzy, but her “legal” name is simply Lizzy. I had about given up on them being able to trap her, but we were watching TV Wednesday night, the phone rang, and half an hour later Winnie and Kathie had delivered this sweet girl to me.

She’s scared (which is to be expected) and hisses if you reach for her. She hides in that condo most of the time, but has been out to check out the foster room, and has eaten and used the litter box (thank god for the camera in that room; otherwise I’d think she hadn’t been out at all!)

The other kittens are curious about her, but they’re mostly ignoring her, and I haven’t heard any hissing between them. I’ve petted her a few times, and Fred reported that he pulled her out of the condo a couple of times to hold and pet her, and she tolerated that. So we’ll see how it goes!

Edited to add: They’re planning to TNR the Mom and auntie, but haven’t been able to get hold of them yet. For the time being, there’s a really nice feral shelter on the patio where they’ve been coming around – when it gets cold, they can go inside and stay nice and warm.

Gorgeous boy.

Molly certainly does like to balance on things.


He’s such a sweet little teddy bear.

Jethro always looks mildly surprised.

“I know you’re over there!”
“But you can’t see me!”


Keeping an eye on me.

“You gonna pet me or what, lady?”

I love how her eyes still have a little blue-green around the edges.

His too!


Smugly loontastic.


2013: The Sopranos, 3 months old.
2012: Dandelion went off to her new home just fine.
2011: SO stressed.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Every time I look at him, I want to squeeze the stuffing out of him.
2007: β€œWe should do Stinky,” Fred said.
2006: I’m telling y’all, this is the MOST mellow cat I’ve ever seen in my life.
2005: No entry.



12-5-14 — 34 Comments

  1. I was wondering if the shape of markings is inherited; Lizzy has an orange face marking in the same shape as her sister’s but Molly’s is black. My cat is tabby and white and his mum was black and white, with the white bits being very much the same on both. Mum had a pink nose with a black spot over the right nostril and son’s pink nose grew a black spot at about 4-5 months old and it’s just the same position, shape and size as her’s (we have a photo of her).

      • Certain things about torties are inherited, but most are random. Right left symmetry of regions is usual. But what happens is at some point each cell flips a coin and decides to be red or black. If this cell becomes a whole leg then that leg will be one color. If the choice is early, you get few, large regions. Calico. If later, a tortie. So even if you cloned a tortie it would look different.

        White spotting is similar..the degree is inherited, but the boundaries are randomized depending on what cells have color turned off.

    • They’re planning to TNR them, but haven’t been able to get hold of them yet. For the time being, there’s a really nice feral shelter on the patio where they’ve been coming around – when it gets cold, they can go inside and stay nice and warm. (I thought I had mentioned that in the post, but apparently forgot. I’m going to go add it now!)

  2. Hey everybody, guess who gets to visit with Von and Winn Dixie this weekend. Can you guess??? Yep, that would be ME!!! I have it on good authority (Mommy Cathy) that “These are the softest kitties, especially Von, in the history of the world” Woo Hoo. Cannot wait. There may be pictures…

  3. I know you probably have naming themes up the wazoo,but another one I would love,is an Orphan Black one.And the collective name could even be The Orphans,which is really appropriate.

  4. Thanks for taking care of very handsome Archie — and I’m very sorry to learn about all the post-Dennis spray-o-rama. Looking forward to following Lizzy’s progress!

  5. Oh that lovely Lizzy! I hope she’ll lose her scaredy-cat-ness soon. I’m sure Fred can charm her πŸ™‚

    And that Archie! My goodness, if I didn’t already have four (up from 3 since October–long story) and wasn’t so far away (Canada), I’d totally give that big lunk a home. He’s super handsome. πŸ™‚

  6. Re the Tshirt – for me, I would be included to have it say “It’s a tortie thing – you wouldn’t understand”. Then it’s really an inside joke for crazy cat people!

    Re the baby food jars – do you have freecycle where you live? It’s a website for people who are looking to give or get items for free, to keep them out of landfills mostly. OR if you look on pinterest you’ll probably find an insane number of creative ways to use them.

    Poor little Lizzy – she looks so scared. I’m sure she will be better soon.

    • I second Freecycle! I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff that people actually wanted and were happy to come get.

    • Teughcats, not sure if you’ll see this, but just wanted to try to let you know that I took your suggestion and threw this design together, based on my previous tortie t-shirt design: http://teespring.com/tortietthing

      If you see this, let me know what you think!

  7. I’m so glad that we were able to get Lizzy with her siblings, even if she’s got some l/t memory loss about them. And that we’re still working on Auntie and Mom. Mom is so dainty and gorgeous.

    Archie is not. He has literally the biggest paws I’ve ever seen on a domestic cat. I have a feeling that he’s still a growing boy.

    And is that a scratch across his nose? To complete his “bad boy” sheen? So glad that he’s been to the vet’s. I don’t know how Fred got him to the vet but he does seem to have the touch with kitties.

    I’m wondering if we could change the Petsmart section to Petsmart/Challenger’s House or something as we unfortunately have a number of returnees.

    Hate that they’re back but very grateful that they were returned where they’ll be cared for. Do they rotate through Petsmart if they’re in the shelter?

    • It is a scratch across his nose – and he had a lot of scabs on his body, too. I’m not sure how he was living before he showed up here, but I think it must have included lots of fighting. Newt doesn’t care for him (well, I should say that Newt didn’t care for him before he was neutered – Newt might change his mind now that Archie’s been neutered), but Newt is a hisser and growler, not a fighter.

      I’m planning to put up a section for the former fosters who are at the shelter, I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. πŸ™‚

      They do rotate through Petsmart, but the problem with Terry and Sookie is that they both need drops in their eyes daily, which means they need to stay at the shelter so Susan can do it (or make sure that it’s done.) I need to get some really good pictures of them both, so I can do a post about them, and hopefully help to find them a home!

  8. My dad kept nuts and bolts and screws and little nails in baby food jars.. I often wondered when I was growing up if they were jars I ate out as a baby or not, but never bothered to ask. I’m guessing they were. But craft supplies, I bet pinterest is full of things.

    I also remember going to craft fairs and seeing them done up like santa and in the jar was christmas colored candy..

    • I was just coming here to say the same thing–baby food (and other jars, like those for pickles and olives) being used for nuts and bolts and the like. I’ve even seen them used where the lids were nailed to the underside of a shelf, and the jars could just be screwed in and unscrewed as needed. It was a good use of a small space–kept them off the workbench and out of the way. (I guess this must have impressed me, as it had to be 20+ years ago I saw it and still think its a good idea!)

  9. Love Archie’s toes, and you certainly did a great job chubbing him up before winter — he looks good & solid. I really hope someone steps forward to adopt him because, as much as we all want him to live at Crooked Acres, we don’t want to upset the applecart any more than Dennis did! hahaha… we just like to think that your place is the REAL “happiest place on earth” where everyone (cat) gets along and is welcome! πŸ˜€

    • Well, you know, sometimes it’s the happiest place on earth, just not always. Just… not close to always. Occasionally it’s the happiest place on earth, I guess, which makes it worth getting through the not-so-happy times. πŸ™‚

  10. Lizzy is just gorgeous!

    Archie looks HUGE. It is so sad that people just dump animals to have them fend for themselves. Thank you for caring for him.

    All in the Family theme…will the next cat be Meathead?

  11. “taking Jake to the vet, so Archie went too” Only at your house could it be so easy. Pls toss a bit of that magic toward central CA. We spend hours & hours sitting in cars staring at traps, waiting, waiting, waiting. Our next great adventure will be sitting in PetSmart parking lot. Some fool dropped kittens outside the store’s front door.

    • Sending lots of good thoughts your way!!

      The funny thing is that it was harder for Fred to catch Jake and get him in the carrier than Archie. Jake somehow always knows when the carrier is out for him, and will hide as far back under the couch as possible.

  12. Thanks to everyone who wrote with suggestions for the baby bottles, and the suggestion for the tortie t-shirt. I was the one who asked both questions. Freecycle & Craigslist are good ideas for the baby bottles. Duh, don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself…

    So so so happy to see Lizzy…

    And thank you, Robyn, for clearing up the reference to Archie. I went back and looked at that post twice that day that the comment about Archie came up and thought I was losing my mind because I couldn’t find where you’d mentioned Archie. Wonderful that he found your porch and feeding station. Best thing that could have happened to him, for sure!

  13. I use small jars to store small quantities of creams or body butters. It makes it so easy to just chuck a little jar of homemade hand cream in my purse, or fill a jar with body butter for moisturizing after-shower skin while traveling.