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In case you read yesterday’s post early, here’s the picture of Jake that I somehow failed to include. I just wanted to be sure that everyone saw it!

Jake (right) and Elwood, the day they showed up on our side stoop in 2009.


OK…as Robyn has brought up the topic of litter feet… My 20 year old torti Cagney (her birthday’s today!) has arthritis and often as she gets out of the litter box, one of her paws lands in the wet litter. I try to clean it off whenever I see it (which she hates). Sometimes I don’t get to it before it dries and hardens. Any thoughts, other than having her wear galoshes, on how to prevent it? Or which kind/brand of litter might be the least problematical? I’ve tried both clumping and non clumping. Non-clay litter is not an option. While I prefer Tidy Cat overall, it seems to make the hardest clumps on her feet.

(Boy, if ever there was a word that looked like what it was, it’s ‘clumps’)

I had no helpful advice for Webbthistle, but maybe someone out there does? Please chime in! (There were a few suggestions in the comments that day, you can see ’em here.)


I need some advice on dealing with bullying/aggression between my 2 tom cats. I have Sammy, who is almost 3, he was plucked out of a tree at the mall when he was about 8 weeks old and was wild for several weeks before he decided being a part-time house cat was the way to go. He has 2 older sisters and for the most part, they get along pretty well. The problem started when my aunt passed away and I brought her 2 cats, Sophie and Thomas Irvin, home with me. They are both 10+ and exclusively outdoors. Sammy used to be bullied by a neighbor’s cat and he has found out that he can bully both Sophie and Thomas Irvin. Most of the bullying is directed at Tom. We go for periods when it’s not too bad and then something seems to set Sammy off and he stalks Tom, there are physical fights and I’m concerned about Tom’s safety and well being. I can’t keep Sammy in the house, he would tear it down. Any suggestions as to how to tone down the aggression?

They have been with me since late September. I fed them at my aunt’s house every day from the time she got sick in December of 2012 until the house was sold in September of last year. They were both very skittish, it was a full 6 months before I ever actually touched Sophie. Thomas Irvin came around more quickly but he would run and hide at the slightest provocation.

Thomas Irvin.

What makes this hard is that Thomas Irvin is an outside cat and Sammy is an indoor/outdoor. If they were both indoor cats, I’d suggest trying to figure out a way to keep them separate, but that’s not really an option here.

The only thing I can think of (and I’ve been thinking all week, trying to come up with a solution) is to recommend maybe checking out Jackson Galaxy’s Spirit Essences – poke around and see if any of them fit the situation.

Readers? Chime in, please please please?


Not sure if you’ve seen this advert from the UK… omi. Prepare for cuteness overload.

YouTube link.



I have a similar problem with my male cat. He will tip over any unattended container with water and he drags his water dishes around the kitchen.
Also, very recently, my long-haired female has taken to dipping her paws into the water dish (the vet thinks to see where the level is) but then when she uses the litterbox, the litter clumps like concrete onto her feet (just had to have the vet remove it yesterday).

The vet recommended I get them an extra large water bottle, the kind used in rabbit cages. I am unsure if this would be cruel or not as those bottles dispense very little in one go, and it would take forever for a cat to get its fill.

Any advice on this, dear readers?

I have honestly never heard of using a rabbit water bottle for cats! Anyone have experience with this?


Dennis’ little face is starting to remind me of Corbie.

Dennis reminds me a lot of Baby Beans, the way he was always the quiet observer of the litter. Dennis does the same thing, but at heart he’s a sweet snugglebug, like Baby Beans.


Speaking of discouraging cats….

I laughed (guiltily) at that!


So the ducks haven’t made any baby ducks? Or have you been collecting the eggs?

We’ve been collecting the eggs. I have no desire to have more ducks out there – I think 4 is more than enough!


Do the dogs swim in the pond? George looked like he might have been thinking about it to get to you….

They don’t swim in the pond, but they’ll wade around in the edge, up to their “knees”. Just enough to get muddy paws, which then of course they’ll wipe on me.


I think I’ve been mixing up Alice Mo and Stinkerbelle in my head–like they’re one & the same calico kitty. Alice Mo loves her daddy, yo, Stinkerbelle loves her Tommy, no? (ha, I rhyme) But isn’t Stinkerbelle also crazy about Fred?

Stinkerbelle and Alice Mo both love love LOVE Fred. The difference is that Fred’s never worried that he’s going to lose his hand to Alice Mo, whereas Stinkerbelle will allow petting until she’s done allowing it, whereupon she turns around and swipes at him without warning. Stinkerbelle makes him nervous; Alice Mo does not. (Also, Alice Mo has no special connection to Tommy, which is good because I’m pretty sure Stinkerbelle would kill her in her sleep if she ever tried to snuggle with him.)


I’m shocked that Stinkerbelle is so white, did she grow into her colors or is it because we’re seeing mostly belly and her colors are on her back?

Stinkerbelle has gotten much darker as she’s aged, her colors were very faint when we first got her.

Abigail added: The colors on Siamese and related cats (Himalayans, mixes, so on) are temperature sensitive, so kittens are very often white (kittens tend to both run warm and be kept sheltered more) and only get colors as they get bigger and large enough to have extremities. So you’ll see dark colors on the ears, tails, and toes more often than on the core of the body. In fact, if your Siamese-type cat has to get shaved for any reason during cold weather, the new hair will likely grow in dark because that part of the body is colder until the new hair grows in.

Is it wrong that now I’d like to have Stinkerbelle shaved? I mean, I wouldn’t (I value my life), but it would certainly be interesting!


Does Angry Muppet know that Lady Gaga has stolen her look? (Angry Muppet wears it better, in my opinion.)

Angry Muppet is flattered by Lady Gaga’s attempts at emulation, but is fully aware that a true fashionista knows how to properly accessorize.

Angry Muppet and babies, 2009.


Someone shared this video from America’s Funniest Video on Facebook. I watched it, of course, and was thrilled to see that the very last video used was one I submitted to them years and years ago.

First, the AFV video compilation:

YouTube link.

And my original video:

YouTube link.

That was Maddy, who had taken up sleeping on the printer. I shared a picture of her curled up, asleep, and someone said “What happens when you need to print something?” I hadn’t tried printing something while she was laying there, so I took the opportunity to set up the camera and find out.

Poor Maddy – she never slept on that printer again! (That white and black cat in the background is Spot.)


New Simon’s Cat!

YouTube link.

Reminds me of Alice lately – she has about 10 minutes in the morning where she’s racing around, jumping on toys, running out back, and then suddenly she’s out cold.


Regarding the cats-playing-with-water (and making a mess), Janna mentioned in last week’s comments the idea of leaving a little standing water in the bottom of the bathtub so that cats could indulge their need for splashing about. Along that line, I’m suggesting the possibility of keeping a water bowl in the tub when you’re not actually using it. That way, if they splash water, it’ll stay in the tub, where water belongs!


I love the feet, sticking up in the air.

And how it looks like Mariette isn’t sure why her feet are doing that.

Angelo, about to suck his toe. Little weirdo.

Dennis, watching.

Time for another round of “SEE? MY BUTT!”

Dennis’s face is KILLING me.

Angelo’s tail as a blindfold. One tail, many uses!

I love how Angelo is 100% sure that his presence on the bed is desired, and Dennis’s face tells another story.

“I did not poke him until he ran away crying. I’d NEVER.”

Dennis in my lap. Apparently I have a flavor.

Silly boy.


Corbie, having Deep Thoughts.


2013: “I wish I hadn’t looked.”
2012: Also, they like to bite… everything.
2011: It’s exhausting to be a wee bebbeh kitten, is what I’m saying.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: The chicks react to worms by grabbing one of them and then running wildly around the pen so that the other chicks think she’s got something really good and start chasing her around to get it from her.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



4-4-14 — 53 Comments

  1. For the cats playing in water thing: When I used to have a medium sized dog, my two cats would prefer to drink out of the dog bowl and play in their water bowl. The dog water bowl was on one of those holders that was ~12 inches off of the ground, so the cats would have to be standing on their back feet, but holding on to the dish (it was sort of a wrought iron thing, rather than a platform). Cats seemed to prefer this as their drinking water, and would still do the ‘pawing’ at the water thing before drinking.

    • A fountain that doesn’t have an open bowl might be a solution to a water dipper cat. They can drink from the trickle.

      I know of a family that had a cat that played in water and they had a tupperware container in the tub for the cat to splash in.

  2. Fpor Webbthistle, I had an elder statesmen who had the same type of issue. I found getting a lower sided litter box and putting it in a location where the cat can walk into the box and then keep walking forward to leave after using the box helped. This way the cat does not have to back out of the box or turn around. This really helped with the litter feet.

    • Thanks, Elaine – We have a low-side box, but I never thought of positioning it as you described. Will see what happens!

      • Would you report back once you’ve had a chance to give it a try, Webbthistle? I’ll be interested to see if it works! (And thanks for the suggestion, Elaine.)

        • You betcha, I’ll report back. With luck, no more litterpaw for Cagney!

          And Dennis cracks me UP!

      • I’ll try this to, I have an elder statesman with litter feet problems.

    • One of my kittens has concrete feet these days. Most of the boxes are high sided, but I think the reason with her is that she goes in to clean up after her brother, who only digs a foot above the level of the sand.

  3. Ah, the biscuit advert. It’s the best reason to watch tv. I even bought some of the biscuits in case that happened for me! It didn’t. I made cheesecake with the biscuits so I could crush them out of disappointment.

  4. Thanks so much for posting my question, Robyn! Unfortunately, I think it was misunderstood. I’m looking for a way to AVOID kitty foot contact with water, not encourage it. I have already started closing the bathroom door after showering to stop Ms. Furrytoes from going in the tub and getting her feet wet but I don’t know what to do about her dipping them in the water dish.

    When her feet get wet & then she uses the litterbox, the litter clumps like concrete onto her feet. She won’t let me touch her feet so I had to have the vet do it & she had to be sedated (I’d like to avoid it happening again because she’s 19 1/2 yrs old).

    In order to stop her from dipping her feet in the water bowl, the vet suggested a water bottle, the kind used in rabbit cages. My question was more about whether or not this would be a good solution. Has anyone ever given their cats water in this format? It kinda worries me but I’m not sure how to stop the cat from wetting her paws.

    (I have tried many non-clumping litters (clay & organic) and they have all been somewhat problematic in one way or another, which is why I use clumping litter. It’s never been an issue, until now – this problem with her making her feet wet is very recent.)

    Has anyone else experienced this before? or is she on a whole new level of cat weirdness? lol

    • You know, I understood the question when I read it, but then apparently my brain went on vacation when I was answering it! Sorry about that.

      I’ve not heard of using a rabbit water bottle before, but I’m going to go edit the post to make it clear that that’s what the question is!

      You know, if it’s a matter of her not being able to tell where the surface of the water is, I wonder if putting something in the water bowl would help with that? My parents used to cut up a straw in inch-long pieces and put several pieces in the water bowl when their dog was having a hard time seeing where the water began. (It’s entirely possible you’ve tried something like that, just thought I’d mention it.)

      • Heehee, that’s okay, you get a lot of questions so I appreciate that you even included it!

        And that’s a great idea! I’m going to try it right away, thank you!

    • One of my cats often stuck a paw in the water bowl. I eventually figured out what bowl I used made a difference as to whether she could see the water level.

      • I have run the gamut with dishes as well! I only use ceramic or stainless steel as plastic gets yucky, but again, she does it with every dish I’ve put down regardless of color or diameter or depth. I will still continue to try other dishes as I find them, though I’m building up quite a collection!

  5. Angelo and that tail. I hope it always has a mind of it’s own.

    Thomas Irving is stunning.

  6. Oh wow, that look on Angelo’s face before he goes a-toe-sucking is priceless!
    “How YOU doin’, lady?”

  7. Bully cat: I’d put a bell on Sammy for starters. That would allow handsome Thomas to know his nemesis is around. I assume both these cats are neutered? Does your yard have elevated areas where the cats can survey their turf? Elevated perches inside help indoor cats quit bullying–maybe it will work outside, too(?)

  8. Both of the boys are neutered. I hadn’t thought of a bell but I will try that. There are lots of trees in the yard and various other perches. Thomas spends a lot of time right now in the seat of the lawn mower peering over the back of it. Sammy likes to get on the roofs of vehicles.

    • We tried bells on our cats. They laughed and learned to move/stalk/kill without making a noise.

      Then you only the bell when THEY wanted you to hear it. Like the soundtrack to Jaws.

      Ninja’s must study cats.

      • Oh, Sammy will probably run like a scalded monkey when I put a collar on him because he’s never worn one but I’m willing to give it a try.

        • I put Christmas collars (with jingle bells around it) on my cats one year. Josh tried to run from it…as he ran it jingled faster and louder. He ran faster thinking it was chasing him. It jingled even louder and faster. I practically had to tackle him and peel the collar off. I immediately cut off all the jingle bells. Poor panicked little man.

  9. I have a question and hope the wealth of cat knowledge of your readers will help me solve it. My 11 year old male cat Jethro recently passed away. He was definitely the alpha of my family, particularly over me. He had me trained well. (I miss him desperately but that’s an aside). My other kitty was the older one. She’s 12 and is a tiny calico( and like many calico….she’s ….. Special). She is really bonded to me but has not much use for other people. She also drags my clothes all over the house to knead when I’m not home. SUUPER annoying. Only mine. Not boyfriends, or guests. Just mine. She and Jethro weren’t terribly bonded. They spent most of their time fighting over who got to sleep closest to me. But for 11 years it’s been just the three of us. As I work a lot, they kept each other company.

    My heart breaks thinking of poor Janey by herself so much. Even though I know full well she sleeps under the bed all day. But I also don’t necessarily want to bring a new cat in since she’s not really a cat lover and she’s so so so beta. She’s jumpy, and quirky, and deferential.

    Should I just let it be and have a one cat family for her remaining years? How do I know if she’s lonely. I really wish they could talk. It would save me so much heart ache and worry.

    • I’m sorry for your loss. Jethro sounds like a special boy and he certainly had a good long life.

      But if he was very alpha and Janey has been very beta her whole life, she may somewhat welcome some peace, at least for a while. I would just keep an eye on her and watch her eating and grooming habits. And of course give her lots of love and snuggles, it will help you both.

      At some point you may both be ready to add to your household, and maybe then adding two cats may be a thought. But don’t be in a hurry for either of you.

    • Cats are pretty social creatures. Perhaps she might be a bit depressed sleeping under the bed, since she is alone for so much time. I had a similar situation, and adopted a three-legged cat as a buddy to an older Calico. Trey was not quite the terror that a kitten would be, but was another creature for company. When you decide it’s time, perhaps a younger, less dominate male might be a good match since cats live in a matriarchal society. Janey might find her superiority 🙂

      Another option is a CH kitty as a mate: http://lifewithchcats.com/what-is-cerebellar-hypoplasia/ Sweet and gentle, and definetly non threatening.

      • Cats are actually not social creatures; they can live in groups (such as stray/feral cat colonies) for survival but are generally a solitary species. I think that’s why shelters work so hard to “socialize” cats, so that there is more liklihood of adoption into households where a cat may already exist. (It was important at the shelter I used to volunteer at.) I have met many cats who prefer not to interact with other cats (even when they’ve come from multi-cat homes), and only want the attention of their humans!

    • That was my Emma. She was the bottom of the totem pole. But when she was the only cat, she blossomed. I felt sorry for her (being all alone), and got her Sidney (a kitten). I thought she would rule over any kitten…but Sidney bosses her around. It made her retreat even more than before. Unless you can find another beta cat…more beta than her…I would leave well enough alone. I love love love my Sidney…but I feel that I did Emma an injustice.

    • If she’s been used to the company of another cat it would certainly be worth trying to add a new cat to the household. Perhaps on a trial basis, to see whether their personalities are compatible?
      I have a very shy, underconfident male cat who I thought could use some younger company, so I took in a female rescue kitten as “foster-to-adopt”, in case it didn’t work out – and now they’re like this:

    • I had two cats, Tig and Em. When I brought Em home, she tried to nurse on Tig and he NEVER forgave her for it.. they had a stalemate when he disappeared (he was an in/out kitty when I adopted him)

      Em HATED other cats… HATED them. she actually flew across a room defying the laws of gravity and nature to attack a neighbor kitten who came to visit once. I really can not express how much she HATED other cats..

      We were given the opportunity to adopt a ‘maine coon’ kitten (I use quotes because they so weren’t, but we were ready to adopt anyway and were there and fell in love) and we took him home with the condition if we couldn’t make it work he would go back. With proper introductions and an abundance of resources that cats find important she only took a day to get over herself. I didn’t officially introduce them for another day, and she just accepted his annoyingly kitteny self.

      How can you tell if your cat is unhappy?? I’m pretty sure you’d know. Either hiding from you, not eating much or being overly clingy or eating a lot.. aka changes in behavior, changes in weight, changes in health.

      Cats can be social. Cats can be loners.. but what is far far more important to a cat is the availability of resources. If there is an abundance of food and sleeping spots then you will have more cats in the area.. if there is a lack of these things then you will find that the area will not calmly house that many cats and fights will break out.. (Yup, I’m about to cut and paste this into the our cats aren’t getting along bit of advice)

      if you want another kitty, get one from someone who has spent a great deal of time with the kitties.. who knows their personalities, knows if they are going to be a pest, if they have a high play drive, if they are alphas or betas or omegas (my favorite personally) Kittens generally transition into a household easier than an adult cat because of the whole hierarchy and their complete inability to be the alpha.

  10. Sorry to be late, but I’ve been reflecting on the Thomas Irvin / Sammy thing. Spirit Essences are a vehicle for hope, so aren’t likely to work (Seriously. They’re mostly water and marketing). You also call them tom cats. If they’re not neutered, you need to get them neutered!

    What is most likely to work is to find a way to give each male cat his own territory. Female cats can share territories, but male cats only share when they’ve known each other forever. Thomas and Sammy will keep fighting until one of them loses unless you separate them (and we’re talking about the real possibility of bad injury).

    Is it possible to only fence a bit of the outdoors for Sammy and only let him out into that area? Whether it be a catio or side yard with an electric fence or someplace, if he has a place of his own he’ll leave Thomas alone. You can feed and interact with Thomas and Sophie through another door, preferably keeping them out of sight of Sammy.

    Another way to do it would be to find another place for Thomas and Sophie to live (since they get along, they can help each other through the transition). Many rescue groups have barn cat programs which might work for Thomas and Sophie.

    Another possibility would be to make Sammy an indoor only cat, which can be done through behavior modification and substitution. For example, distract Sammy when he hangs out near the door. Reward him with treats and play when he leaves the area near the door. Play with him a LOT! Keep doing this until he associates being inside all the time with good stuff. You can let Sammy get outdoor smells through an open window (and reward him for staying in the window and not going to the door), etc. Prepare yourself for the possibility that he’ll spray to defend his indoor territory from Thomas (especially the area near the door). If you can make Sammy an indoor cat, his territory will be the inside and Thomas’s will be the outside. No more fights.

    The only other way I can think to get them to share territory is just like introducing two cats to each other inside (one in his own room, gradually getting them used to each other’s smells, gradually introducing them to each other…). How you would do that outdoors is beyond me. Cages, maybe?

    I know none of these suggestions are easy, but until you give each of the male cats his own territory somehow or reintroduce them to each other slowly, they will fight. They’ll also be very frustrated and unhappy. You will be, too.

    • I’ve used spirit essences and found they worked wonders when you can match the product up with the problem. I’ve used ‘safe spaces’ with fearful kittens and you can see them get so annoyed that you put it on them, but then they ‘mysteriously’ calm down and feel slightly more trusting and open to things.. I used the feral one and did not have the same reactions.. I’ve used bach’s flower essences with cats and had the same reactions.. when I am able to properly read the situation and pick the right essence for the issue, it works wonders, but when I don’t understand things fully and pick wrong, it doesn’t. I mean if you take an antihistamine for your headache it isn’t going to work, that doesn’t mean the antihistamine is just a pill of hope, it just means that you need to take it for the appropriate issue.

      • The ‘mystery’ is that you think they’ll work, so they work. There’s a wealth of unconscious signals we put out which cats pick up on — even body odor. So, when we think something’s going to work, we relax or are less fearful or are more assertive or whatever and voila! The cat relaxes or becomes less aggressive or less fearful or whatever.

        That’s most likely what you are experiencing. In medicine, that faith is called the placebo effect and it’s very powerful. Clinical trials of new treatments have to be very carefully designed to account for it. Doctors will even prescribe placebos when a problem is due to a patient’s mental state (the good ones will even rule out any physical problems first!)

        You might want to try faith in your experience and judgement instead — it could save you a lot of money.

  11. Sammy / Tom It always stinks when you bring new cats into a household and things do not work out..

    Some cats do have PTSD and will take forever to get used to new cats, but on the whole if you provide enough resources for everyone then they will generally put up with each other and with even more time might come to respect each other.

    Have you noticed that there are issues in a particular area? is it always by some place they sleep? or sit around and view the territory? See if you can eek out a pattern and add more of what ever resource causes the problem. Over feed for a while, which will help keep them calmer (hungry cats are more active) and that won’t be a stressor for them. see if you can place new places for them to perch in similar type of situations.. height, in a tree or bush, etc.. adding cozy spots for snoozing, etc..

    for a pricier solution, you could install a catio or cat room which will allow your indoor/outdoor kitty to continue to visit the great outdoors but keep him separated from those that remain outdoor..

  12. DENNIS!! you know, I really liked him before this post, but I just fell for him completely.. *blows kisses*

  13. One (or more) of our cats like to take his paw and scoop the water from the bowl all over the floor. I ended up buying a water fountain: this one (my html is rusty, I hope I got that right). It’s designed so a shallow layer of water goes over the top and the sides stay clear so the cat doesn’t/can’t stick his paws in there (it’s also elevated a little which may help too). This has fixed my problem 100%.