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The awesome Kelly, who adopted the 10 year-old (is that right, Kelly, he’s 10?) black cat has this update for us:

New little old man kitty is making a phenomenal transition. He is the sweetest, gentlest, most smooshable kitty ever… loves to be held, purrs all of the time, and is far more playful than I expected an 11 year old cat to be (He can chase his tail at light speed when high on catnip). Today was his first adventure out of the master suite and into general population. He spent the first hour in the sink of the half-bath off the kitchen so he could watch undetected, but so far not a single hiss, growl, or complaint from him or either of the other two cats. I’m thinking we can call this a successful house panther adoption. The biggest issue is that I can’t find him in the dark.

I’m amazed at how calm this house is. The other two cats aren’t thrilled, but their only “lashing out” comes in the form of eating all of his food.

We’ve named our house panther “Norman”. He generally prefers the full formal name, but to tell you the truth he’d be somewhat disappointed if you didn’t call out “NORM!” as he enters the room.

Okay, I might have laughed out loud upon reading that the other two cats “lash out” by eating all of Norman’s food. They’re like “::chomp::chomp::chomp:: THAT’S RIGHT, NORMAN! TAKE THAT! ::chomp::chomp::chomp::”

I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who greets their cats. As I move through the house, if a cat is laying somewhere (there’s always a cat laying SOMEwhere, of course) and looks up at me, I greet them by name.

Also, Kelly – among others – mentioned that it’s not easy to get good pictures of black cats. That is SO true, and the only advice I have on the topic is to get pictures of them near a sunny window whenever possible. Natural light is always best (though I read someone’s opinion recently wherein she stated that pictures taken in direct sunlight are “harsh”. I don’t agree with that, some of (a lot of) my best pictures are taken in sunlight or on bright and sunny days. But then, I am NOT a professional photographer, nor am I someone who’s handy with Photoshop, so what do I know?) Also, if you can snap a million pictures, surely SOME of them have to come out – that’s my favorite way of doing it. Just keep snappin’ ’til something comes out!

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How do you make your seed blocks?

Like this!

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re: interactive kittens.. have you seen this?

That is so neat! They really do think of everything, don’t they?

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So, the picture of the Peppers and Tommy makes me think of how my husband and I have become convinced that all black cats belong to a secret black cat society, networked across the country, kind of like the Masons. Or clones. We started this because we used to have a wonderful black cat (he lived to be 18!) and when we were out and about we would keep running into black cats who looked just. like. him. Like, exactly the same – so we decided they all had to be connected, like a hivemind of black cats. They identify each other by number, and have annual meetings at which they gather and agree with everything everyone says (“Excellent point, number 237!” “Indubitably, number 17!” “I concur, number 802!”).

Okay, so maybe we get a little too into our cats’ fantasy lives…

I love this idea so very, very, VERY much!

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Pepsi is so gorgeous! Could you explain what you mean when you say that she’s “intense”? I’d describe my Rebus as intense too, but I’m not sure if our definitions match… By the way, he also does that sniffing-every-millimetre-of-my-hands thing when I’ve been petting another cat — it’s hilarious!

What I mostly mean by “intense” is that it seemed like Pepsi was going to snap at any moment and take me down. A little too free with the claws, that girl. The first time I stupidly let her out into the cat room at Petsmart with the kittens, she was a bit of a whirling dervish, hissing and smacking at any kitten within reach, and I ultimately had to kind of herd her back into her cage with the dustpan.

(Don’t give me that horrified look, I wasn’t beating her with it, I was just kind of guiding her with it so she wouldn’t flay me open with her sharp, sharp claws.)

When I let her out of her cage the next time I cleaned, I let her out to run around and play first, and she was much better, though still kind of looked like she wanted to snap. I’m sure that part of her attitude was due to her being at Petsmart for a long time before she was adopted. Hopefully in her new home, she’ll calm down after a bit – though as I said, the fact that she smacked at the people who were interested in adopting her didn’t stop them from adopting her. They wanted a cat with sass – they got her!

PS: I adore this picture of her so very much, perhaps I’ve mentioned?

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You are lucky you have that little bumper along the bottoms of the cages! In our PetSmart cat room, there is a space under there that the cats love to go hide in, and which is really hard to get them out of. It even has a teeny gap all along the other side where passers-by can put their fingers or their doggy noses into. I wish we could block up that area!


Oh, clever, looks like you have a storage drawer taking up the space beneath the cages. One of the centers we rotate through has that cage type with the space underneath, and it can be a bit of trouble to get shy cats out from under the cages if they decide to take refuge there. A drawer would both give more storage space (which is lacking) and remove the problems of kitties hiding out of reach under the cage.

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Back when I very first started volunteering for Challenger’s House, there was nothing blocking under those cages. We weren’t able to let the cats run around and play because they could slip under the cages and out into the store. Eventually, an awesome Challenger’s House volunteer (I think) made those bumpers that fit under the cages. They’re not actually drawers, they just look like it. Each one is basically three pieces of wood nailed (maybe screwed or glued – I haven’t looked that closely at them, actually) together, and they slide into place to block the under cage area, making it possible for us to let the cats out to run around and not have to worry about them escaping. It’s really, really nice to be able to let them do that!

By the way, I was out running errands yesterday morning, and I stopped by Petsmart to peek in on Clay. He was flopped out across the bed in his cage, sound asleep. Such a little cutie pie.

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This one just makes me laugh and laugh. I think of it any time little ones go off for the snip snip. Have you see it?

Ha – no, I had not seen it, that is awesome!

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I might need an estimate for shipping a black cat or three up to Michigan. Since we already have a black cat, my husband will never notice an extra few. They just have to promise to take turns being in the same room with him. “What’s that dear? Norman’s whiskers turned white? How fabulous!” or maybe “Now honey, there’s no way that Norman has become a girl. Is it time for your yearly eye exam?” (Kidding, kidding… he’d never be that perceptive.)

Five bucks says you could make him think he’s nuts. “I’m sorry, you’re saying you see… two black cats? Over there? I… there’s only Norman. Are you feeling okay?” Ha!

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Robyn, I’m so frustrated with my lazy (YOUNG!) Barney-cat – this dude will NOT jump for Da Bird no matter HOW we try to get him to do so! What are your tricks for motivating lazy cats (or don’t you have any lazy cats)??

Andrea answered this one pretty much the same way I would have:

Wendy, some kitties are birders and some are mousers, try dragging da bird, maybe your kitty’s more a ground attack agent. Star always was until Leo came along. I think his leaping inspired her. She still prefers things that run (fast!) along the floor to anything in the air, but she tries!

I do have cats who prefer to chase things on the ground instead of jumping for things. Jake and Elwood and Sugarbutt are our jumpers, but most of the others prefer to just watch the other cats jump, and then run after toys that are dragged along the floor.

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Please please please tell me you and Fred double team to get those great da bird shots! I just cannot swing da bird AND get pictures that you can actually tell what’s going on in by myself. I gotta either get someone else to take the pictures or do da bird or I get nothing! And you get some AMAZING shots! So if you tell me you did that all by yourself, I’m gonna have to hang up my camera and leave the field!

Oh, definitely – Fred runs da bird, I run da camera. 🙂 I can’t imagine trying to get those shots with one hand while waving da bird with the other. It would never work!

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How do you stay so serene when the kitties are hissing and smacking each other? When my little monster bella is picking fights with the big kitties I just about come out of my skin. I know cat tiffs are 90% noise, but I can’t stop myself from breaking it up.

I handle it better some times than others, actually. Most of the time I’m used to the occasional hissing, and like in the pictures of Sugarbutt and Sally, there was never any contact, just smacking in the general direction of each other, and then Sugarbutt stomping around posturing and hissing. As long as there’s not contact between cats, I let them work it out. If there’s light contact between them (one cat smacking another once or twice), I’ll keep an eye on them, and usually that’s about the worst that it gets, a couple of smacks and someone stomping off. Anything more serious than that, and I break it up and make one of them go off to another room.

Honestly, sometimes even the light hissing and smacking gets on my nerves, depending on my mood, and I’ll break it up and make one of them go to the other end of the house, even if it’s not all that serious.

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What “style” of puppy are George and Gracie? I would love one!! They look so floofy and soft, and any animal that likes kisses is my type of animal.

They are Great Pyrenees, a breed which is meant to be livestock guardians. Their job is to protect the chickens, which they do wonderfully.

This is what they looked like when we brought them home three years ago. They were about five months old, and at the time I thought “These guys are HUGE!” Ha. Now I look at the pictures of them and think “They were so tiny!”




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Everett sure does like to use his claws when he’s jumping for da bird. (Sally, jumping at the same time, shows her claws as well.)

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Corbie, giving it a try.

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Moving to the other side of the front room, more kitties decide to get involved.

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Smilin’ Corbie, smacking at da bird.

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And here goes Elwood…

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He can jump high for a fat cat, no?

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Oh my god! Corbie! WATCH OUT! HE’LL CRUSH YOU! Corrrrrrrrrrbieeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Oh. Or maybe he’ll just land next to you. Okay, then.

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“I saw my life flash before my eyes, and MY GOODNESS am I gorgeous.”

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I call this one “invisible urinal.”

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Sometimes a kitty’s just gotta dance.

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It looks like Elwood’s got a bit of the loony going on himself! (Corbie’s face in the background, all “What the – ?” cracks me up too!)

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“I am Lucy Peppers, and I disapprove of this nonsense.”

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Corbie and Elwood resting while keeping watch on da bird.

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Annnnnnd smack!

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I know, you saw pictures of Corbie up there, but. Um. What’s your point? Are you saying you don’t want to see more Corbie? You know you do!

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It’s a Corbie in a basket!

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Da Corbs.


2011: I hereby officially give up. Corbie and Reacher will not be making the journey to Petsmart again.
2010: For the first few days, the cats were literally standing in line to lay on the Ham-Mick.
2009: Rumba likes to drag the feather toy around, while Samba chases the end of the stick.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



2-3-12 — 20 Comments

  1. Am I the only one who thinks cat paws are just the cutest?? Yes? The Corb Man’s little feets in that 2nd to last shot? Cute, or what!

    Of course, my guys are all “oh man, she won’t leave my paws alone will someone please get her a profile up on eHarmony…man…” after the 702nd time I pet their itty bitty widdle pawsies.


    • Oh, there is nothing more awesome than kitty paws. The cats see me coming, they tuck their paws underneath them ’cause otherwise they know I’ll be messing with them. 🙂

  2. Elphaba is a jumper cat too and it amazes me because she’s also a fat cat . She loves her seagull on a stick very much. She has a little stuffed bird that chirps but she just likes to bite and bunny kick it. Elwood DOES look Looney like Jake-must be in the blood. Invisible Urinal made me roar!

    Lucy has the cutest eyes ever >3

    • Who, Corbie? He’s just another brown tabby, isn’t he? (HEE – Fred said that about Jax, that he’s just a plain ol’ brown tabby and I actually gasped in horror!)

  3. Pepsi makes me think of my Frankie,who is a beautiful,sleek black and white boy,who is ‘intense’ alright.Not exactly in her way (he won’t actively scratch you or anything).But oh boy,don’t try to pick him up or keep him inside the house if he wants OUT – then he turns into a bit of a demon.

    He’s my special boy,because he will only sleep next to me on the couch,and is our only cat that adores being brushed every day – he goes absolutely gaga for the brush!

    PS.George and Gracie are adorable still,but those puppy pics are just to die for!

  4. love love love that photo of Everett and Sally jumping. Looks like something out of the matrix and it is just one kitty 🙂

  5. I love that bottom pic of Corbie. Makes me want to snatch him up and kiss that little chin.He’s kind of good looking I’m thinking.

    So glad Pepsi has a family who knows that she’s a real character and will still love her!

  6. Love the Peppers, and all your cats and other animals really.

    So yesterday, as a work-avoidance technique, I was roaming through your archives and I noticed you started blogging in 2005 (an early adopter!), but there is a gap between September 2005 and April 2008. Being the curious person that I am, whassup with that? If you want to share of course.

    Thank you so much for brightening my every morning!

    • There’s no interesting story there – the posts exist, I just have to cut and paste them into the WordPress site, and I’ve been lazy. 🙂

  7. I love to watch jumpy kitties! Everett has some of the best moves, though I was amazed at Elwood’s today! I call my Jinx my “big jumpy boy” because of his acrobatic jumps after the rubber balls he loves (not to mention the jumps to the top of doors, the china hutch, the refrigerator, etc.). I’d love to be able to catch him on camera, but you’re right about that being a two person job.

    So everytime I see “da Corbs”, I end up saying it like the SNL skit “da Bears”! 🙂

  8. Funny black cat story – at one time we had two young, black barn cats that were hard to tell apart. Our family joke was that if a third one turned up we wouldn’t notice for days…one day we went out to feed and, you guessed it there was a third and identical black cat that had joined the family! She was mostly feral though, but the only way we could tell it was her was because she seldom came down from the roof until we exited the food dish area.

    So, there really is only one-black cat in the world, it just keeps morphing to confuse everyone! lol

  9. Oh. My. Gosh! And I thought G&G were adorable NOW! Those puppy pictures are cute enough to make every head in the country explode! They look like fuzzy little lambs! I am not a dog person and I just want to grab them and snorgle my face in their fur!
    Elwood… I still think he and Jake have the opposite names. Especially since it’s the pudgy one, (Jake) who has all the moves! I love me some Elwood! He’s far too awesome!
    Corbie? Is there a pretty kitty named Corbie? I hadn’t noticed… But that brown tabby! Stunning!

  10. I may or may not have returned to your website several times to laugh loudly at “invisible urinal”.

    You go, Elwood. Get down with your fat self! Amazing photo sequence… and I’m so glad that Corbie avoided being flattened like the proverbial pancake! I will now make it my life’s mission to make tubby Simba leap off the ground. His normal is to do the Macarena like Sugarbutt did the other day. Come to think of it, he looks remarkably like Suggie. Perhaps dancing is in the orange tabby genes?

    If I ever get a job that’s grown-up enough to require business cards, I will refer to myself as “The awesome Kelly, Panther Wrangler”. I shall continue with my scheming to gaslight my husband and bring home all of the black cats I can. (As soon as my foster goes home this summer… he’s ballooning in size since we brought Norman home. Someone’s going on a diet… )

  11. It’s a good, good thing I can’t read your blog at work. My coworkers would think I’d finally lost it, especially with the “invisible urinal” picture…

    Now to clean off my computer. Thanks! ;P

  12. Pepsi is such a sweet looking little psychopathic kitty – you go girl! she kinda reminds me of my zorro but he doesn’t look that manic. and i love the black cat stories. i think they must be true, too. just one black cat kept busy every minute of every day – across all international date lines.

  13. “Robyn, I’m so frustrated with my lazy (YOUNG!) Barney-cat – this dude will NOT jump for Da Bird no matter HOW we try to get him to do so! What are your tricks for motivating lazy cats (or don’t you have any lazy cats)??”

    Yep, I call them either ground hunters or air hunters. For your ground hunters (oh, they love lizards so), get a little wooden dowl from your local hardward store, tie thin twine around the end and a plastic lizard onto the other end. Drag Mr. Lizard along the floor (hard flooring works best). I have even ran around the house dragging it with kitties flying behind me. My eldest was happy with just a knot tied at the end of the twine to chase. That way, when she caught it with her paw, she could hold onto the knot with her fist. 🙂