7-17-20 Friday

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JUST A REMINDER: The raffle for the Fancy Sofa ends tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 pm Central Time. Go to the auction page to see how to enter, or if you prefer not to do the Facebook thing, go to Monday’s Love & Hisses post for instructions.


At the beginning of 2019, I had 4 cats. Sister (almost 20) passed away on Jan 14th. Dunkin (almost 15) was having several health issues and within a span of 4 days declined so much that he passed on Feb 12th. At this point I had Joey (15 years) and Gracie (7 years). Joey would try to play with Gracie, and she did not care for that at all. He started ambushing her. Anyway Joey passed away on Feb 7th of this year. Gracie has gotten neurotic and needy. She has always been a lap cat, and I love that about her, but she has gotten so skiddish, and I wonder if she is ok being by herself. I am not sure about getting another cat, as she never really cuddled with anyone except Dunkin, and then he got old and cranky. How do I know if she wants a companion? I am really worried about her. She likes to spend a lot of time in the garage, and it is quite hot here right now, so I worry about that. I don’t like being gone, because she is so needy. Does anyone have any advice?

I’m posting this in case anyone out there has advice – I am leery to suggest that you get another cat since she wasn’t really friends with the ones who passed, but I’ve also seen it work out well, so it’s hard to know what to recommend. Hopefully someone out there has dealt with this and has some advice. Suggestions, anyone?


My initial gigantic soft spot is for calico sweetheart momcat Alexandra, though. Poor baby has clearly been through lord only knows what. I want to cuddle her! Is she as wonderful to humans as she is to kittens? I’m going to guess yes.

She is very friendly to humans – so far what she does is either come and stand next to me until I notice her, or flops down next to me… until I notice her. In other words, she’s friendly but not pushy, and really likes to be petted.


I have a question. Why are tabbies more common than tuxedos? My former biology teacher says that tabbies are better camouflaged in the wild than tuxedos. This is also the reason why they are so common. But tuxies can also camouflage themselves in dark places. What do you say?

I haven’t got a clue, but Joy (thank you, Joy!) said: TL;DNR – tabby is the basic, dominant color and pattern, and will always be the most common in random bred litters.

I’ve always been fascinated by feline color genetics, but am completely an interested amateur. But I’ve read a lot. Though I don’t recall every seeing/reading what I think is the answer (I might have), which is tabby (actually, the agouti gene) is the default, the basic pattern & color, if you will.

Everything else in “color variety” is a modification of the basic color. Add into that the variations in how the agouti gene is expressed, i.e. whether as a mackerel/stripey tabby, a classic/bulls-eye tabby, or a ticked tabby, or not expressed at all, in which case, you get a solid colored cat. A “brown tabby” actually has the base color of black (dominant color), but with the expression of the dominant agouti gene, the cat looks brown and has tabby markings. On a brown tabby with no white on the feet, look at the bottoms of their feet. Black.

Then there is the dilution factor. Using Jake as an example, his appearance is due to having black color expressed as gray because he has the dilution gene. And no tabby stripes because he lacks the expression of the agouti gene. Khal is non-agouti, but no dilution, so he’s black. Red (orange) cats have a modification of the color gene (and orange very often has sex linked properties, a whole ball of wax I’m going to ignore!). They too show varying expression of the agouti gene. Look at Newt, he doesn’t look much patterned at all. I’m not sure if he’s ticked or solid colored. He also has the dilution factor going on, so he’s a buff or cream color. If you remember Frankie, he was more of a “standard” orange tabby, and is little man Athos and Mr. Clyde.

Speaking of Mr. Clyde, he also has a lot of white. Well, that’s due to yet another gene, the white spotting gene. Which varies a lot in expression, from a few white hairs or a locket, to all-over white (I had one of those), and everything in between. Clyde has heavy expression of the white spotting gene. So the white amount and positioning to produce a “tuxedo” cat is very specific (think of other black & white kitties, like the ones termed “cow kitties”). That right there explains why tuxedos are fewer than brown tabbies (with or without white), more gene combinations have to line up just right.

With random bred cats, you never know what genetic colors and patterns lurk, waiting for expression on the off-spring. I could natter on a lot longer, but I will shut up now.


Alexandra is a wonderful mama to take on 4 more kittens! What’s makes y’all think she may have vision or hearing issues, other than location of her injury?

That’s just what I was told – sometimes when she’s walking across the floor she tilts her head in such a way that it makes me wonder, but she’s very surefooted. As far as hearing, she doesn’t really respond to any noises other than the kittens crying, which is unusual to me (after Isabella and Bunny, who would growl and investigate any little noise they heard.)


I know you’ve mentioned this, but my lock-down-addled brain can’t remember for squat these days – but how did [Bunny] get the wound in the first place? How she was able to eat with that bit of ick, and bake kittens at the same time is miraculous.

She was so badly matted, especially under her chin, that they think she was so desperate to release the mat there that she went overboard scratching, and caused that wound.


So Bunny’s hair still has a way to go? Does she like being brushed? She always looks slightly mussed, but I know some cats just have coats that look that way.

The few times I brushed her she didn’t seem to mind it, just was more puzzled than anything. Her fur definitely has a way to go yet!


Yay! I’m glad everyone got adopted and there are new kittens. Because I know you need a question or two for Friday, since 2013 (when I started following you) which batch has been with you the shortest and also the longest time? I know some have gotten adopted “right from home” and some have not. Not counting the returners btw.

This is going to have to go on my lengthy list of information I’ll be interested to compile at some point in the future; 2020 Robyn wishes that 2005-2019 Robyn had thought to keep track of that information in a spreadsheet!


Do the Uncles ever poof up at the sight of the Fosters? I know they’re probably all “…seriously Little Dude…” and just walk away chuckling.

They don’t poof up, they just look kind of puzzled, like “Why is that kitten trying to scare me? Alls I want is my treat.”


Archie is scary, but I’m betting that he’s never hissed or swatted at a kitten.

Actually, if there’s more than one kitten, and they get too close to him, he’ll hiss and swat. One kitten is not scary – several poofed up kittens giving him the Eyes of You Go to Heck requires self-defense.


Clyde and Cutey checking out the morning sunshine.

I moved this cat tree from the foster room to the guest bedroom, in front of the window, and Clyde loves to sit and look out the window.

So does Cutey!


Winter does a sneak.

Porthos considers his next move.

When she needs a break, Alexandra jumps up and hangs out in the pie plate. Winter’s the only one who can get up there with her.

I set up the crate, figuring that they’d never hang out in there since they’re so mobile. But Alexandra lures them into the crate, lets them fall asleep at the milk bar, and then leaves them. Here they are (all except Winter) realizing that the milk bar deserted them.

Porthos is a climber. I’ve walked into the room several times to find him on top of the crate. The first 75 times I lifted him carefully down into the crate, only to find him back up there. I guess once Cutey and Clyde go home, I need to move the cat tree back into the room!

Winter discovered the Fruitasan and found it intriguing.

Rochefort’s sweet little face reminds me of Amelie. Look, here’s Amelie from last June:


That’s a crate full. Know what a full crate like that needs?

That’s right.

One more kitten! Say hello to Anne.

Anne and her litter were dropped off at a vet’s office. The rest of the litter was adopted out. Luckily for Anne, Forgotten Felines of Huntsville foster mom Gwen spotted her and knew she was way too little to be adopted out, and took her. Anne is skin and bones and can use some attention from a good mama like Alexandra, so she came here. Alexandra took one look, gave her a quick bath, the other kittens gave her a good sniff-over, and Anne is now one of the gang. (She’s still trying to figure out what’s going on, but I think she’ll be playing and snuggling before long.)

Anne is about two months old and weighed 11.5 ounces when she came to me, which is pretty underweight (the guideline for kittens is generally 1 pound per month.) Luckily, she eats well on her own, and is getting frequent meals of formula mixed with canned kitten food (and all the kibble she wants to eat.) I expect it won’t be long before she’s packing on the weight.

Rochefort comes to see the new girl. That spot on Anne’s back isn’t actually as heart-shaped as it looks here. She does, however, appear to have a set of wings on her shoulder blades.

Rochefort says “I’ll be your friend, Anne. We’re both tiny; let’s team up and kick butt together!”


Archie doesn’t mind a kitten or two, but he’s pretty sure we’re going overboard now, and he does not approve.


2019: I took one of the scratchers into the kitten room, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s a hit.
2018: He is such a Muppety little Moop.
2017: “She’s little, but she’s sassy!”
2016: No entry.
2015: Roundup: Gilda
2014: Throw Back Thursday: Everett Peppers.
2013: “There’s something right behind me, isn’t there?”
2012: Guest Post, by Stompers.
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Kaylee will not be deterred.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



7-17-20 Friday — 34 Comments

  1. Oh poor Anne, that breaks my heart a little to see her separated from her mum so small! So glad you hear you’ve got her now and she’s back into a group of cuddly kittens and a loving mama. 😀

  2. Anne is so adorable! Have you had her long enough to know her personality?

    I adopted such a kitten decades ago (too small for their age) and he almost died since he was adopted to a family with 3 young kids and his fear stopped him from eating. They returned him when they couldn’t wake him up. He had the most keen hearing, I personally think that was part of his sensitivity. I whispered when I spoke with him. What a love he turned out to be. I named him Calvin since I couldn’t bear to name him Alvin (of the Chipmunks). You know that guy who would always yell ALVIN! That’s what I would be doing since he would get into everything. Memories…

  3. I’m completely fascinated by the white spotting gene since learning the cells expressing the gene start at the neural groove and spread out as far away as they can go from that point. Cats with small amounts get a tuft of white on their chest or white toes. More white is more of that expressing gene. It’s fairly symmetrical but as we all know from our cats that’s not 100%. Needless to say I got into asking about symmetry in humans and that leads down the rabbit hole of identical twins and the vageries of gene expression depending on the point at which the division happens.
    I also love the sense of humour that comes up in gene names like “sonic” which is a critic gene in embryonic development.
    You can be certain that in the gene library there will be names celebrating the pets of various geneticists.

    • That is info I have not read about the white spotting gene, so thanks for sharing.

      My white cat, Katrina (gone on, sniffle), arrived with majority white, but two small solid gray spots on her head (MomCat was solid gray), and her brother and sister were also all white except for a couple of gray spots. The vet told me Katrina would probably lose those gray spots, and she did. At about 1-1.5 years, I could still find a few gray hairs on her head, after that, solid white, though genetically a gray cat. So fascinating! I did not have follow up on her sibs, but I bet they went white also.

    • Have y’all checked out the site called messybeast.com ? Very interesting lots of info and talks about genetics. Breeders on the Tonkinese or Snowshoe groups talked about genetics and I loved learning from the likes of Linda Vousden, wrote the Tonkinese book and a follow up book. She’s from England and is an expert on genetics. Snowshoes are similar to tuxedos but are seal &, blue primarily, but like tuxies are never alike due to the white spotting gene…that’s why we say they are like snowflakes because no two are ever alike . I was fortunate to be owned by Boogalu/Boogie & Princess Hula Sunshine 2 Snowshoe sisters from a litter of 10! Yes, all lived, 6 boys 4 girls, and most lived an excellent life long life. My girls were the longest lived of the 10, having passed last year in March & July at 17.5 yrs. l miss them so much
      There is no book about them, although there are several experts who belonged to the Snowshoe group that had wanted to write on, just hadn’t had time to write one.
      I also have/had 2 Tonks, sadly my youngest Tallulah Rose died in November 2018 at 5 yrs from what we never knew other than it caused pancreatitis and kidney failure. But, it broke my Nico’s heart as she was his favorite girl, even though he was 9 yrs old when she came to live with us. They were always snuggled together. Tallulah loved all 3 of her siblings, she loved everyone, her dog, she love to tease our chihuahua Mr. Chico by batting at his tail while hidden by a jacket . She loved everyone that walked in the door so much I called her my door greeter!
      But I adopted 2 kittens from FF last July just a week or two before Hula died, I had hoped she could love them long enough to teach them more about being cats, sadly she just didn’t have enough time…Boogie must have been calling her home to the rest of their litter in Heaven. Nico has tried to educate them, but they aren’t listening and are like monkeys or Jedi aka Stefan from FF German litter, is. His sister CaTrina aka Teresa from same litter, is much more relaxed and only runs when Jedi goes looking for her to play before nap time. I keep waiting on Jedi to mature maybe he will soon, as they’ll be 2 in Dec. I love them they are so sweet, he with his stripes & twitter instead of a meow, she with her beautiful floof.

  4. Anne is almost two months old?? Wow, I’d have never guessed that because of her size, plus I thought her eyes looked like they were just changing. I’m glad she has a good appetite – hopefully she’ll put some weight on quickly with your love and attention.

  5. Adding this comment from Penny, who posted it on Facebook:

    In terms of getting another cat: It’s possible the old girl has feline dementia. I’m pretty sure my 17 yr old girl is getting it. So not sure another cat would help, but IF she wants another cat, maybe an older more settled cat would work. And even then, there’s no guarantee that she even wants company. Just my two cents’ worth.

  6. I’d consider a similar-aged mellow orange tabby male for Gracie. I’m in a similar situation, too. One of mine is 18 years old; the other one is 4 years old. The two ignore each other at best. I fear the young one will drive me nuts when she no longer has another cat around.

  7. The face of disappointment on the tabby after Alexandra left them in the crate is killing me!

  8. A comment for Gracie’s person – we’ve had good luck in recent rounds of losing/gaining cats by adding TWO younger cats, rather than just one. That has allowed for all the excess energy to be between the two new kittens/younger cats and the older one has been able to be on the periphery and only involved as much as she wanted. In our case, one of the older cats opted in to the new clowder, and another one (in an earlier cycle) didn’t. But I think the one that didn’t still benefited from the energy of having the two kittens in the household environment. In case it matters, we’re two adults in a 1800 sq ft house.

    As for this crew, I am so taken by Alexandra’s generosity as a mother. What a sweetheart!

  9. Alexandra is such a wonderful mama! (I may have said that yesterday, too!) And the picture of Anne and Rochefort sitting next to each other is just the cutest thing!

  10. Okay now I need both Clyde and Anne!!! I loved tis lengthy “catch up”. Thank you Robyn

  11. Does you know about current availability & contact info for the Ham-Mick? I wanted to reorder but haven’t gotten any response from the sbcglobal address. I can measure my existing one & make more, but I’d buy if they’re available!

    • Unfortunately, the sbcglobal address is the only address I have. Maybe try emailing a second time, if you haven’t already?

  12. AWWWW hi Anne! You’ve landed in a wonderful place, sweet little tinycat (tabby?)

    Oh my goodness, Alexandra is a sweetheart. <3 *pets her a bunch* As for the sweet to humans thing, I'm now totally picturing a person sitting/standing somewhere and randomly hearing purring off to one side, then realizing… oh, hi kitty! XD It is utterly delightful and quite touching to hear that sound nearby and realize that a cat's purring at you.

    Aha, I'm not the only one who thought of Richelieu! Except I can't spell, ah-hem. If there's a ninth, now we know. My other thought was Musichetta (Les Mis book canon), but then we'd need a Bahorel, and a Fuelly, and a Comdeferre, and a…

    Rochefort looks like Amélie? Squee! *snuggles* And I forever put the accent mark in that name even though I know the kitten name wasn't generally written that way, sorry, Robyn. Too much Miraculous Ladybug has me hyperattuned to accent marks in French. And the mental image of tinies Rochefort and Anne teaming up is just. the. squee! 😀

    • Anne is a cow kitty, with spots on her back that look like black angel wings. She is a teeny tiny little thing, although Rochefort is just a hair smaller – both of them are little scraps of kittens.

  13. Oh, my. Little wings for a little angel. And speaking of angels, Alexandra most definitely is one – gorgeous and sweet, both.

  14. About adopting another cat: I used to volunteer in a cat shelter. If you can visit one, or talk with them, they could probably advise you. Over time we became very familiar with the different cats’ personalities. We could definitely advise people about which cats would suit their needs. Some kitties are naturally friendly, low-key, non-neurotic, and chummy. Such a cat might be able to befriend Gracie. I always felt that orange males were the most mellow fellows!l

  15. My suggestion to Gracies people is to become a foster if possible. It gives you a chance to gauge Gracies reaction to other cats and also helps a rescue tremendously! Then along the way, if you find one that Gracie seems to bond with, adopt that kitty.

  16. I like your blog and I have been a reader for almost a year and a half. It´s just, as a European, I always get confused about weights in American measures. Here where I live, a pound (“Pfund”) means half a kilogram. But in America, it means around 400 grams, I guess. I also do not what an ounce is (sorry).

    But like I said, your blog is amazing. Anne is one adorable kitten. She is one of the cutest kittens I have ever seen. I am also happy that Clyde and Cutey are going home tomorrow or Sunday.

    • Lou, in the U.S. a pound is about 450 grams. There are 16 ounces in a pound, so there are about 28 grams in an ounce. I hope that helps! (Note: we also use “ounce” as a measure of liquid, so it’s very confusing to the rest of the world. I wish we would go metric, too!)

      Also, the new kittens are precious! And Alexandra is a super sweet mama to take on SO many more babies!

      • Thank you, Laura 47! It helped me a lot. I wish the USA would go metric too, it would have been much easier for not just us Europeans, but for the rest of the world. Greetings from Germany!

        • Americans are so stubborn about switching. It’s ridiculous! Scientists all work in metric, and reading blogs from other countries helps me to get a better sense of lengths and weights and temperature. I do better on lengths and weights, though, because I knit and it’s a very international community.

          Maybe Robyn can start reading the metric part of her scale, too, when she weighs the kittens. All our scales and tape measures have metric markings, too. It’s hard to switch at my age, but it’s a good mental exercise!

          Also, 11.5 oz is 326 grams. Very, very tiny for a kitten her age!

          And greetings back to you from Florida!

          • I agree with you about switching to the metric system. Just doing this little thing (I mean switching to metrics) could change the world for the better. 15 years ago, or so, NASA had a project about a robot on Mars or the moon. One team used the metric system and the other team used American measures. Guess what, the data in the robot got mixed up and the robot started malfunctioning. This is the reason why switching is so important.

            (If I said something wrong about the NASA robot, please correct me in the replies down below.)

            I would be happy too if Robyn started reading the metric part. It would be a lot easier for me and the other European readers.

            326 grams?! That´s very very very tiny. My brother´s friend has a cat. His cat had a year ago twin kittens. I visited them when they were about a month old. I bet that both of them (more likely the boy) weighted twice than Anne. She is just tiny…

            I am glad that Alexandra took her in, otherwise, she may haven´t made it.

            Also, I saw on the news that the coronavirus hits Florida very hard. I wish you and your loved ones good health. Wash your hands regularly and keep a 1,50 m (talking about the metric system 😉 ) distance from other people.

            Stay safe from Germany

            • Don’t worry, we are very, very careful right now. The only time we leave the house is to get food! Our idiotic state governor has done absolutely nothing to help out; fortunately, the local government in our area has been quite strict about mask wearing and social distancing. And almost all the businesses are happy to have rules to follow. But I’m afraid we’ll have a mess in the U.S. until a vaccine is available. I did read recently that several are in later stages of testing, so that’s very good news.

              I think it wasn’t a NASA robot which was messed up by different measurement systems, but the lens in the Hubble Space Telescope. Eek! Which meant a repair trip for the shuttle, and a LOT of embarrassment for the people who made the error! But the U.S. will be the last country in the world to switch — if we ever do. Sigh…

              You can see how tiny Anne is compared to the other kittens. I think Winter is even bigger than her, and she’s nearly twice Winter’s age! It is very lucky that Robyn took her in, and of course Alexandra is the sweetest mom at ever. So now we get the happiness of watching her grow to a more normal size.

              I an constantly envious of Robyn, to have so many tiny kittens to enjoy, but I suspect we have no idea just how much work they take. Even with a mama cat to feed them, she still has dishes, laundry, litterbox, cleaning, etc., etc. I don’t think I have what it takes to foster kittens! I have enormous respect for those who do, though.

              Best wishes to you and yours in Germany!

              • That is good to know that you are very careful right now. We are also careful. Luckily, the coronavirus is here more under control.

                Also, thank you for the correction about the Hubble space telescope. It helped me to understand this better. The repairs had to be expensive (sigh). Wait, wasn’t one of Mercury´s kittens called Hubble?

                I also think that the USA will be the last county to switch. But other countries also do not use the metric system. For example, Liberia: Liberia belongs to the only three countries that were never colonized or conquered, but it uses American measures. I think Liberia is going to switch soon too.

                I am sad that Anne passed away. But she could not be saved anymore. At least she died warm and loved…

                I agree with you again. I have a fish tank with discus fish and scalar fish at home. Many people say that you just have to feed the fish and you are done. But there is a lot more than just feeding itself, for example, you have to clean the filter; see if the pH level is right; entertain the fish in your tank (yes, fish can get bored too); check if one fish is sick and if, you have to buy medication and put him or her into a quarantine tank, so he or she does not make the others sick; if your fish have laid eggs you have to take special care of them; and so on. You see, taking care of fish is much more complicated than most of us (non-fishowners) may think.

                Best health to you and your loved ones in Florida!

  17. About Gracie, the now-only kitty: Online friends are reporting success with some calming chews (and all the cats seem to like them, though there are always exceptions, aren’t there?). Possibly you can get them elsewhere, but Chewy’s has them (also a larger quantity than the link):


    I want to try them on my sassy Cassia. She hates the older cat (he was here before her), and they have to live separately. Right now, she can’t have any “extras” because she is participating in a food study for gut biome health, but as soon as that is done (five weeks), I’m trying them. She also kind of gets carried away with playing, like it’s play, but there’s the added aggression factor. I’ve had cats attack and play with stuffed animals, but she means business when she does it, she is MAD and very aggressive, like she doesn’t know they aren’t really alive. I have high hopes for the chews.

    And if anyone else tries them, report back, I guess.

  18. Archie is clearly thrilled. Ecstatic.

    Hi Baby Anne! Look at that face… Speaking of wee faces, that photo of Rochefort looking up at that camera also reminds me of a photo of Lucy’s Roseanne (pretty sure it was her), also sitting pretty and looking up at the camera with her little round face.

    • Roseanne was my personal favorite from that litter! She was (and still is) very beautiful and graceful. I bet she got that beautiful tabby stripes from her Ma.