8-14-15 Friday

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Question for Robyn and the commentariat: any recommendations from personal experience for a comfortable, sturdy, and preferably budget-friendly cat carrier for long-distance travelling? We are moving from Ireland to the UK and will probably take our cat with us on the ferry rather than plane–she would have to spend the entire journey in her carrier in the car, so I want her to feel as comfortable as possible. It’s ok if the carrier is only available in the US–I have people coming over soon who could bring it with them. Anybody have a great experience with one?

I have no suggestions, but I’m sure someone out there does. Y’all, chime in, please!


Ok, don’t kill me for not knowing which kitten it is in the bottom picture of the first Squashbugs get their turn, but it looks like someone has a heart and a Mickey Mouse (with one slightly detached ear) on their back! Or am I seeing things that aren’t there?

That’s Calabash, and she DOES have an upside-down heart near her tail – but it’s more obvious in pictures than in person, so I forget that it’s there! I’ve been trying to decide what the other thing looks like – it doesn’t quite look like Mickey Mouse to me, but I don’t know of a better comparison than that.

Here’s a better shot of the heart near her tail:


If you make calendars for us to buy this year, Robyn, you could make one with your most popular banners! If so, I’d like to nominate Sugarbutt’s, Norbie’s, and Rickles’ hug banners.

I like the idea, but I’ll have to think about how to make that happen – the banners are rectangular, and the calendar pictures are more square, so either I’d have to have dark bars at the top and bottom of the page, or I’d have to just re-edit the picture to fit. The latter sounds like it would work better.


I like the theme, but in my head I’m calling them Mike, Greg, Mark and Dara. I don’t think they’ll mind. 😉


I think human names on kittens is hilarious for some reason (did I mention I work at a bank?!).


All my cats have human names: Emma, Lola, Sidney and Laney 🙂

I like humans names for cats, but I like non-human names, too (ie, Sugarbutt, Mister Boogers). I realized recently that with the exception of Stinkerbelle, all our cats have human names now. How did that happen?!


I could NOT stand the crying baybees… It would make me cry that I couldn’t feed them all at the same time and that any were crying! Breaks my heart even when I logically know they’re not dying!

I get used to it (though I’ll admit, I might listen to a podcast when I’m feeding them so that I can kind of tune out the worst of their cries), but what’s worse is that EVERYTHING sounds like a crying kitten to me – birds, chickens, even the dryer occasionally makes a squeaking sound that sounds like a kitten crying. It drives me a little crazy!


I’m thinking your 8/11/11 list of things you like would make a handy reference if it was in the list of favorite posts.

I think I need to put a “recommended” page together, so I can add to it when I need to. I check my search stats about once a week (when I think of it), so I can see that a lot of people search for stuff I’ve recommended (Liqui-Tinic especially), and it would be nice to have all that stuff in one place, wouldn’t it?


Speaking of the awesomeness of Fred, last night I was cruising the “Previously” links on yesterday’s post, and I came across this great tidbit Robyn posted on 8/8/11 (bolding mine):

…Fred loves cats as much as I do. I don’t know that he’d necessarily choose to have so many fosters at once, but I ALWAYS ask him before I take a second litter of fosters and I ALWAYS tell him “You can say ‘no’, and I won’t be mad!”, but nine times out of ten he doesn’t even hesitate before he says it’s okay with him. He said once that when we have a lot of fosters in the house, he feels like Scrooge McDuck, only instead of gold coins falling through his fingers, he’s got kittens.

That always makes me smile!


BTW, I know that they’re kittens and haven’t figured out a lot of things but why wouldn’t they move to higher ground if the puddle level was rising? Are they part domestic turkey?

I think it was a combination of being chilled from the rain, and that kittens at that age, when scared, will freeze in place rather than try to get out of the situation. I saw an excellent illustration of that (the freezing in place) about an hour ago when I went into their room with a garbage bag to empty their litter box. The sound of the bag opening scared them, and they froze where they were!

(By the way, I was going to be all “Turkeys aren’t that dumb! They’re quite intelligent birds!” Except that we actually raised turkeys one year, and I always say that after God created chickens, He said “I wonder if I could make something.. EVEN DUMBER. Is that even POSSIBLE?!”, and that’s how turkeys came to be. They are just the dumbest of the dumb. They don’t even have marshmallow fluff for brains – they have NOTHING there. There’s just air. If you wanted to eat a big dish of turkey brains for dinner, it would be an empty plate.)


I’m going to ask instead of googling, why do you need one rooster?

In case we want to let the hens hatch their own eggs (which isn’t going to happen this year), we need the rooster to fertilize the eggs.


by litter tray you mean buffet right?

Would you believe I actually haven’t seen any kittens eating litter yet? I mean, that’s not to say that it’s not happening, but I haven’t seen it!


Robyn, the permanent cats – especially the indoors inclined ones – NEED this. Be sure to follow on to the guy’s website where he details how to click-train your cats how to do this.

That is SO cool!


There is Sugarbutt merchandise??!!? Where can I get it?

Here it is! I thought I’d added it to the sidebar, but hadn’t. I’ll do that in the next day or so, I promise.

By the way, I bought the iPhone case for my phone, and I’m actually kind of impressed at how nice it is, and how good the picture is. Not bad at all for a picture I took with my phone! I’m adding more stuff to the store (iPad sleeves and phone cases), it’s just taking me a little while, because I have to edit the picture down to the correct dimensions for each product. So if you’re looking for a case for your phone and don’t see it, check back. I should get everything done by next week.


Maybe I missed it, but have the Swimmers met the Squash Bugs yet? I so very much want to see a tiny kitten scrum! (Also, I love that the Squashes’ {sp?} ears have popped while the Swimmers’ haven’t!)

They haven’t met yet! None of them have been tested yet, so I want to get that done first. They’re scheduled for their combo tests next Tuesday, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before the first visit. There will definitely be many pictures when they are introduced!


Jake carrying his toy reminds me of my own Oreo. She carries toys and cries (I believe it is called keening). That is the only time she is “noisy”.

That’s the only time you ever hear Jake, is when he’s carrying a toy around. Fred reported that when I was gone on vacation last month, Jake didn’t do it at ALL. I wonder why that is?


That Jake video got me thinking about which of the Permanent Residents might be considered the “smartest”. Jake doesn’t look like much is going on in his head there…

I like to think that there are hidden depths there, but no. I’d say Jake’s a few tablespoons short in the marshmallow fluff area (but he makes up for it with his good heart). I think Tommy’s the brains of the operation – though of course maybe I’m blinded by his House Panther good looks, his elder statesman status, and his gentle nature.



Pattypan reads about how to properly eat a lobster.

“I can has a snuggle?”

This one right here, Calabash? She’s gonna be trouble, that one.

The girls, considering their next move.

Still considering.

Pattypan just loves to sit in my lap. Such a little snugglebug!

Calabash haz a skeptical.

Yesterday, I left the door to the cage open (after I set up litter boxes in every possible location) for a few hours. Every time I peeked in on the Squash Bugs, they were curled up asleep in the cage. Freedom is a little scary, I think. They’re still not 100% on the litter box, so I’m hesitant to leave the door open all the time, but given another week, I think they’ll be good.


Snuggly Swimmers.

Torres keeps an eye on her brothers.

Spitz and Phelps hangin’ out, doin’ the bro thang.

Spitz considers the fact that there is ALWAYS someone’s butt in his face.

With a full belly and an empty bladder, Louganis is just about down for the count.


Alice Mo would like you all to know that her dental cleaning on Tuesday went just fine, and she’s got perfectly sparkling pearly whites now.

YouTube link.


2014: Orlando and those expressive ears.
2013: The Floofening.
2012: I would give my kingdom for a solid poop from any of those kittens!
2011: Do you remember Starsky and Hutch?
2010: No entry.
2009: So, that’s what’s going on with these kittens and their eyes.
2008: Kara lets her Southern roots shine through.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-14-15 Friday — 53 Comments

  1. We have taken cats back and forth from the UK to Ireland many times (we live in Ireland) and also taken rescues to the UK.

    There is no “really cheap” solution, but what you do need is a good sized cat carrier (one for a larger cat/small dog does not have to be huge) one that fill fit a tiny litter tray (it is a long ride). If the carrier does not come with food and water attachments you can make them cheap by buying the Christmas pudding steamer bowels they have here at Tesco all year and the Euro Store most of the time.

    Punch two or three holes on the sides of the bowels . Attach bowels to the INSIDE of the front of the carrier with strong wires so kitty can’t pull them off easily. The bowels should be left open (without the lids).

    Put an old t-shirt or towel in that smells like you under the main floor of the cat carrier; with a favorite small toy or other comfy (just no string or anything easily tangled.

    Now, once kitty is snug in carrier you can put a bit of food and water in the dishes (we carry a water bottle for refills). Make sure kitty has a safety collar on and harness if she is used to it just in case of escape – tag and microchip information on the cat and on your person.

    A harness and leash will let you take kitty out for breaks relatively safely during the drive or if there is a long and unexpected lay over (like a delayed sailing).

    Finally check with the FERRY! Some of the newer Ireland to UK ferries have On-Board KENNELS! You need to book a space but kitty may be happier (and safer) up with you than in the car. She may still be in her carrier or you may be able to open the carrier inside the larger kennel cage so she can roam around a bit.

    It is much more comfortable for the cat (or dog) and again in case of a situation (which can happen) when do to a storm or breakdown your stuck at sea for 20 hours (it has happened to us) you can feed, pet and talk to kitty and she won’t be trapped in the car in the hold.

    Although honestly, we have never had a problem with a cat in the car; husband says the new kennel arrangements are a vast improvement.

    But whatever you do, if you have the money to move; don’t try to do this without a real cat carrier. Do not use a cardboard box or even the card board carriers vets use here sometimes for short trips.

    You can look around and may find cheaper prices on-line than at the vet – but investing in a proper travel carrier is a must (and a lot less heartbreaking and cheaper than posting all those “lost cat” signs if kitty escapes).

    Get your cat used to her carrier by leaving it around open at home during the packing because it will become her “safe” kitty cave; if she reacts very badly to a few short trips in the car – see your vet about “kitty meds” just for the trip – not total knock out drops usually but just something to make her a little calm and sleepy.

    Good luck, this isn’t nearly as hard as flying with cats, and all going well is usually a pretty short trip; the harder part may be the time in the car between Ireland and your ultimate new home in the UK.

    • Great information!

      Am I allowed to tease here? Only cuz it can make a few of us giggle due to a tiny typo. Ok…here goes:
      “The bowel is the last portion of your digestive tract and is sometimes called the large intestine or colon.” 🙂 There is fun in reading this! 🙂
      Now, I could be dense and that is just how you very cool Irish folk (with the BEST ACCENTS EVER) spell it.

    • Thanks for all that, Melodi. I’m glad to hear from someone who’s done this a few times.
      I did notice that Irish Ferries has on-board kennels. However, they’re also located on the car deck, and I understand you would still need to ask permission to go visit them during the journey; and I kind of wondered if being near other animals would actually be more stressful for a cat than being in the familiar environment of the car.

      Also, what I meant by budget-friendly was that I can’t really afford to shell out close to $200 for the amazing Sleepypod or similar, not that I’m not willing to pay for a proper carrier! I wouldn’t dream of putting her in cardboard. We already have a standard carrier we’ve used to take her to the vet, but it’s hardly comfy, and she certainly has no love for it. I want to get something she’ll enjoy hanging out in even at home, that is sturdy and can be secured safely with a seatbelt, and that gives her enough room–and air–to make a long journey as comfortable as possible. This is my current favourite option, though I would be sure to use twisty ties or zipper clips to secure the openings in case we have a Houdini on our hands.

  2. Oh Pattypan, I do feel sorry for you. Why don’t you come here and let Auntie G. snuggle you and kiss the boo-boo away!

  3. The best thing I have discovered is travel carriers that have a false floor. This floor has lots of holes in it so when kitty has an “accident” all the liquid drains through and he is not standing in it.

        • That is really nice. I like the water funnel, too!!! I would zip tie my door shut. I don’t trust people…

          I always put a plush towel down in the bottom of mine (comfort and pee)…but the holes are a great idea.

          • I put a towel or fleece in, but the liquid drips through. I can then just quickly replace the towel. I suppose you could put a dog pee pad on the floor. Anything to help keep kitteh from having to sit in mess. If you get a large size you fit a small litter tray in the end – or put litter in the base under the floor so that it soaks up anything that drips through and reduces smell and possible spillage. geez I didn’t know I was full of so many ideas.

            • How about a towel with a pee pad on top? Keeps the towel clean and the pee pad gets the wet! 🙂 – This is for those of us with out the false bottom carriers.

  4. a couple of traveling options. I have a small wire crate I use when I drive distances with kittens (my adults don’t travel unless to the vet – there are rules about stuff like that). Another option is this pop up one from Target http://www.target.com/p/boots-barkley-large-pop-open-dog-kennel/-/A-10521588#prodSlot=medium_1_7 I used to have one in my car. Not indestructible, but so long as you aren’t taking it in and out all the time, it would work to get you from one place to another and has enough space for laying down and a small litter box.

    • Here is a question. I see a lot of soft sided carriers with mesh screens. I have always feared that my kitty could chew through the screen and get out. Has this ever happened to anyone?

      Story: A friend and I were taking kitties from the shelter to PetSmart for adoption. One of the kitties chewed a hole through the cardboard carrier (that the shelter provides). Fortunately, she was a super sweet kitty and she just walked to the front of the Jeep and curled up in my friend’s lap as she was driving! Yes, she got adopted rather quickly. She was a lovely cat (her name was Sweetie…quite fitting).

      • I had soft sided carriers and the larger one started to collapse as it aged (I was always going to make some sort of CPVC structure to keep it “inflated” so the cat wasn’t squashed but never did). The smaller one held up better but our old cat had a freak out in it one day and caught her claw on the mesh and wound up dislocating the joint trying to pull it out. The mesh was a little stretched but remarkably whole after her flip-out. I’ve never had a cat chew through the soft carrier though. We decided to go back to hard sided carriers after the claw incident.

      • I’ve never had that problem but I did have a cat that managed to unzip the zipper and climb out once. I was driving to my parent’s house and on the phone with my mother when all of a sudden the cat was in my lap. Had to end the phone call quickly and find a freeway exit!

      • My cat Figaro absolutely HATES being in a carrier for any length of time. I thought a soft-sided carrier would be good for him, but he spent an entire trip pushing his nose up against the mesh and corners of the the carrier, and rubbed his little nose raw. So he doesn’t get to use that carrier anymore. For my last trip to my parents’ house, I actually used this: http://cat-in-the-bag.com/. He still didn’t love it, but I think having his head out in the open helped him to not feel so confined. Not nearly as much panicked caterwauling. Plus he sat in the front seat next to me and I was able to give him reassuring pets from time to time. 🙂

    • I moved five cats from Texas to Oklahoma with two of those pop-up kennels in the back of an SUV. Not the same as Ireland to England, I know, but I can vouch that they work great, are safe for the cats and have space for a small litter box and food & water. They come in different sizes as well, so you can go for the largest that will fit in your vehicle. Good luck! 🙂

  5. The photo of the girls considering their next move reminds me so much of the meme “You and I are more than friends, we’re like a really small gang.” Love it. If I were at all photoshoppically inclined I’d make it. Use your imagination!

  6. In that one photo of Pattypan, she has the “big eyes” that remind me of that movie, “Big Eyes.” Recommended, if you haven’t seen it.

  7. I LOVE the idea of a “recommendations page”. I’m wholeheartedly behind that suggestion!! You know – in all your spare time. 😉

    these baybees are going to be the death of me. seriously – two batches of bottle baybees at once is just doing me in with the cute. but Spitz, round, serious, solid colored little Spitz (with the perfect name for a kitten) – is my hands down, biggest problem. (if you understand that by biggest problem I mean hardest to resist hopping in the car and driving to get him RIGHT NOW and take a month long sabbatical so that I can bottle feed him and love him and nurture him RIGHT NOW!)

    • I am having that same problem with Calabash. I am normally immune to the wiles of kittens, at least in the sense of wanting to actually bring one home and try to convince the three divas to accept it, but Calabash is really getting to me.

  8. Boy does Alice Mo have gorgeous eyes.

    I’ve seen wild turkeys who are very smart (otherwise they wouldn’t survive) but when humans domesticated them we made them dumb and dumber maybe so they wouldn’t realize their ultimate fate and fight against it 🙁

  9. Robyn & Fred: I just saw on FB about Tommy. I’m so very very sorry for your loss. I’m absolutely heartbroken and just think that this has been a truly sucky year for you guys. You’re in my prayers.

    • OMG!! WT….
      TOMMY!!!! I am sooo incredibly saddened! 2015 has been such a cruel cruel year…. Sending you all so much love and so many hugs. My heart is breaking for you two…and dear sweet Alice.

      • Took the words right out of my mouth. No one deserves a year like this. Robyn and Fred, I’m sobbing at my desk here with you. My coworkers are looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. Screw ’em all, I’d rather have the company of cats…even if it hurts like hell sometimes. My love to you both.

    • No, not Tommy! I am seriously shocked by this.

      He was so amazing.

      I can’t imagine how you and Fred are doing. Let alone the other permanent residents, he was so adored.

  10. I have to agree, Tommy is probably the brains of the operation. I suspect that he has the charms/charima/cunning that could convince any of his ladies/fans to do his bidding.

    That sounds Manson-ish, but I suspect his world domination plans apply only to the birds/squirrels in your backyard. I hope.

    I know that it’s hard to take pictures of Zuke with his dark fur but boy, he’s adorable with those saucer eyes and comma of a tail.

  11. Robyn & Fred, and all the perm residents, esp Alice — my heart is breaking with yours. I’m so sorry about Tommy. And I’m with all your other friends/fans in voting 2015 as The Suckiest Year. Enough already! Sending love and hugs from me and my crew. So, so sad for you guys.

    • You may remember Queen Elizabeth at the end of 1992 saying in a speech:
      1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis.
      Seems like Crooked Acres is having its own Annus Horribilis, and crud on a cracker, it’s only August. Come on, January!

  12. Oh Robyn and Fred. This just sux so badly. I know we are just bunch of strangers who comment every now and then, but please know you both have my deepest sympathy. This year has just been tough all around.

  13. I googled Saddle Thrombosis. Holy Mother of God….I am horrified.
    I have tears in my eyes…..and have said many bad words….

  14. Robyn & Fred, I’m speechless about Tommy. I don’t even want to go over to FB to read the news. I’m commenting just based on what others have already written. I can’t begin to imagine how hard this must be, following so closely on the losses of Corbie, Sugarbutt, Miz Poo…(hope I didn’t forget anyone…). I am just so sorry, so very sorry. Yes, 2015 is the Suckiest Year Ever. I have no other words…

  15. I cannot even express how shocked, saddened, and sorry I am myself, let alone what you and Fred are going through. It is amazing what you do and the lives (world wide!)that your work and your menagerie touch. I am here, many, MANY miles away shedding tears for Tommy, you, Fred, AliceMo… A spectacular house panther specimen who lived an extraordinarily spectacular life.. for the latter, I thank you and Fred. My sincerest condolences.

    PS: This has got to stop… NOW (although “now” doesn’t really seem soon enough).

  16. Robyn, I am so very sorry about Tom Cullen. You guys have had it so rough this year. M-O-O-N, that spells sad.

  17. Oh no, I just came here for my afternoon check of the comments and saw the news about Tommy. Words can’t express how sad I am for you all. Love and tears from Michigan.

  18. Please Universe. Enough.
    Robyn and Fred, my heart is breaking for you, and I’m weeping here in my office.
    I’m sending hugs and much love.

  19. I’m so sorry Robyn and Fred. I cried the last three times and am crying again. Internet hugs are probably not very comforting, but I extend them to you and your kitties.

  20. Robyn and Fred-this is truly awful, I can’t believe it. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  21. You always described him as so and so’s BELOVED Tommy or say that so and so was giving the EYES OF LOVE for their BELOVED Tommy.

    Not to mention the kittens he’d not only tolderate but come to nurture over the years.

    He was so special.

  22. Oh man. You know I had never heard of Black Cat Appreciation Day until yesterday. Apparently that day is this coming Monday. Who did I think of first? Tommy. I’m so sorry for all of you. This is too much. Hugs to you and everyone there and know that Tom Cullen was appreciated even without a special day for it.

  23. Robyn and Fred, my heart aches for you and at the same time, I am so grateful for all that you do for both the fosters and the permanent residents. No cat could ask for a better life than to be in your care.

    Tommy seemed like a wonderfully sweet fellow and I always enjoyed seeing his pictures. What happened was awful and I know he will be greatly missed. Somehow though, oddly, I can’t help but think that some Sugarbutt got a message to his brother and now they’re both frolicking around some new sunny spot.

    My deepest condolences and best wishes to you both.

  24. Oh Robyn, how utterly heartbreaking. You have had to endure so many losses this year and it’s just not fair. I am glad you and Fred could be with Tommy at the end; you gave him such a beautiful life. I hope he’s romping with Suggie, Miz Poo and Corbie in a sun-dappled field somewhere, free of any earthly pains and hurts.

    Sending love and hugs to you and Fred (and Stinkerbelle and Jake and the other Permanent Residents). What a beautiful boy he was, and so loving and beloved. xxx

  25. M-O-O-N, that spells Tom Cullen. Crooked Acres won’t be the same without that handsome lad.

    I am so very sorry.

  26. Robyn,
    I am so sorry. I lost Dusty to this, and it is so sudden. I cannot begin to fathom your loss this year. Just know my heart breaks with yours and Fred’s and I weep with you. Hugs and purrs to you. Ya’ll are in my prayers.