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A question for L&H readers: my dear friends over at Cult of Otis just found out that beloved Otis has degenerative muscle weakness (pretty much muscular dystrophy in cats). They have been to neurologists and specialty vets and it seems they are at the end of the road and out of options. I wondered if any of your wise readers had any advice or recommendations for the Guardians. They are amazing people, caring for their own cats as well as the 10+ “shadow” cats that hang around in their neighborhood. If anyone deserves a miracle, it’s these two. Surely someone out there in the L&H nation has had experience with this.

I honestly had no idea that cats could get muscular dystrophy. If anyone out there has any experience/thoughts/suggestions, please chime in!

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Robyn! I need the Tubby Meh picture and I can’t find it! Where’s Tubby’s pictures?

OK – I guess I can’t IM the picture to my co-worker as a response to her Meh reply. Tubby may be gone, but he’s never forgotten.

Good ol’ Tubby. In January he’ll have been gone for 10 years, and there are people who still remember him. I think that is really awesome!

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Can we get details on the tube things in Selena’s videos? I’m thinking my cats would either love or hate them – it could go either way, but it’s worth a shot…

Sherri said: That is the ToyShoppe Pop-up Play Tunnel and Cube. I have the tunnel and a cube on each end. My 5 & 6 month old kittens love it. My boyfriend teases me that we’ll have to buy a new house if we keep adding to that tunnel (there are velcro fasteners on all ends, so that you can add multiple tunnels). They are on sale at PetSmart right now!

Thanks, Sherri!

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So I have to ask, what did Scorch do to get evicted besides general hissiness and an excess of drama? The last update we get is that he goes into the closet with Jon Snow and then next thing you know, he’s out of the foster room. Inquiring minds want to know!

He was sniffing around the litter boxes, and I thought he should go use one of the numerous litter boxes in the rest of the house instead of befouling the litter boxes of those wee babies. Usually only two things get an older kitten kicked out of the room of a smaller kitten: if they get too wound up and need some time to calm down, and if they start acting like they’re going to use the litter box. There’s no need for that rudeness!

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Is it just me or is Ember about the same size as the Starks? Scorch seemed significantly bigger but not Ember. And is Ember softer/sleeker than the Starks, or is that just me too? 🙂

Ember weighed in at 3 pounds, 4 ounces a couple of days ago, and the largest of the Starks (Jon Snow) is 2 pounds, 9 ounces as of yesterday. So there’s not much of a size difference between them – Ember’s bigger, but she’s all ears and legs and she’s not THAT much bigger to start with.

All of the Dragons have very soft, sleek, silky fur, whereas the Starks are kind of rumpled and have cottony fur.

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OK so Robyn, you might think I have better things to do with my life than demo the “Yoda?/Bunny!” game, but I do not. Here it is!

YouTube link.

The boys look like they’re having a blast. Don’t they? DON’T THEY?? 🙂

Thought you might like it and after all the videos you share with us, I figured I could go outside my comfort zone and share my voice…

I LOVE it! Those poor boys, they’re so abused. 😉

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I missed it, when did Stefan become an indoor cat? I thought he was still doing the mysterious loner who comes and goes by his own agenda?

Oh, it’s been a few months. I initially said (in the comments) that it was a slow process, but actually it really wasn’t. Once he let Fred pet him, he must have decided we were okay, because within a couple of weeks he was rushing the door, obviously very much wanting to come inside. Fred let him in, and once he checked out the house, he’s been coming inside pretty much ever since. At this point, if he wants inside and we aren’t quick enough to open the door, he climbs the fence into the back yard and comes into the house through the cat door. He still occasionally wants to go out and hang out in the side yard, and he hasn’t spent the night inside, but I think that he’s going to end up being like Newt: more inside than out, and happy with that.

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Thought I might ask here – but does anyone have a cat that does or has done this? I have a female cat – she either has to be on me, or if she can’t be on me she will jump from the floor to the top of a door and then balance on the door. The problem is she falls asleep on top of the door, forgets she’s on a door and falls off – she then scrambles to catch herself – which she’s gotten pretty good at. I am just waiting for her to land on her head or injure herself though but I’m not sure how to break her of it.

This is a really good question, and I have no helpful advice! If she was jumping to the top of a door from the top of a dresser or a chair or something, then you could figure a way to stop her from doing that (move the furniture or put a training mat on the furniture to keep her off), but since she’s jumping from the floor, that’s not an option. And I’m assuming that keeping the doors closed isn’t an option either, of course.

I’m at a loss on this one – readers! I know someone out there has a really good suggestion that will make me think to myself “Wow, that’s a good suggestion!” Don’t keep it to yourself, please share!

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OMG Robyn, you have totally got to get one of these slides!!!

Too cute! Isn’t it kind of amazing, how much stuff that’s meant for human babies are also great toys for kittens too? (You can find an elephant slide on Amazon, for the record, and I suspect that stores like Toys R Us and Target would have them, too.)

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So, is that a cat bed or does Fred’s chair have a purple with black kitties cushion on it just for him??

That is a cat bed. I don’t remember how it ended up there, but Fred reports that it makes his chair more comfortable. And when it isn’t making the chair more comfortable for his butt, it’s making it more comfortable for whichever cat or kitten decides to hang out there!

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A little fun Feline Pine is having… look who’s on the front of the bag.

How funny! (But come on. Nothin’ can control Hodor!)

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I wanted to comment/ask about the diatomaceous earth. You mentioned it about a week ago when you used it to get rid of some ants. I am owned by several cats and I’m trying to battle a mild summer flea infestation. I have and will use chemical treatments rather than let them suffer, but I would love to find greener ways to combat the pests. Through a lot of internet research, it seems that food grade DTE is a good way to keep the pests down. I’ve read that you can brush it into your carpet and even dust the cats with it to kill the fleas. Apparently, you can even put a little into your cat’s food on a daily basis to help kill worms.

I am always cautious with my beloved furballs, and from everything I’ve read this seems like judicious use in the house could be a great long term way to keep the fleas from ever getting too bad. I am curious if anyone in the community has tried it and if so, how did it work? The one drawback I have read about putting it into the cats’ fur is that it can dry their skin, but for short term relief, I am still tempted. I recently moved from Florida to Pennsylvania and the fleas up here are making some of the cats have small hot spots/bald patches. Also, both for combating the dry skin in this scenario and just for improving their skin condition overall, I’ve been trying to look into feeding them fish oils and/or brewer’s yeast. If anyone has advice, I’d love to hear it. Thanks!

Kelly said: I have used DE in the past in an attempt to deal with a flea issue that my fosters brought into the house. It was not exceptionally successful in eradicating the whole problem. It seemed dirtier than I was willing to put up with for the slight benefit I might have received from it. But then again, perhaps the conditions weren’t right in my house at the time either. It’s certainly worth a try (and safe, if you’re worried).

Connie said: There is also concern that DE is harmful to lungs if perchance it is inhaled.

Before I say anything about Diatomaceous Earth, let me make sure that everyone reading knows to ALWAYS use FOOD-GRADE Diatomaceous Earth.

I’ll be honest that I don’t know that I’d use DE for fleas. It is really very drying, and like Connie said, there’s a possibility that if your kitties inhale it, it could cause issues. I don’t usually sprinkle it around the baseboards in the kitten room, but decided to give it a try this time for the ants who were finding their way into the room and across the floor to the bowls of kitten food. It worked for the ants, but there weren’t that many ants and they were coming in from outside rather than existing in the house already.

You can read more about using DE for fleas at the Wolf Creek Ranch page (which is where I first read about DE). And anyone who has used DE for fleas, please chime in!

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I had used a commercial orange spray when Oreo peed on the loveseats a while back but had never heard of lemon juice. I would be afraid it would bleach fabric though. Anyway, I also ended up using a mixture of diluted vinegar (water) and just a drop or two of BLUE Dawn dish soap. That stuff apparently cleans EVERYTHING (even lice out of hair but that’s another story). So as a cheap alternative your readers may want to use it. The orange cleaner did not work very well for me really.

The blue (original) Dawn is just THE BOMB!

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The question crossed my mind as to what do they put as eye color on the drivers license for people with different colored eyes….?

Now, THAT is a really good question!!!

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Fred said:

Corbie in that picture:

Gotta love that Emo Corbs!

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Oh, that Hodor. I swear I could spend all day every day kissing his sweet little face.

Was I waving something over their heads so they’d look up, you think?

The curved whiskers kill me dead.

Sleepy girl. After being washed several times, that basket just refuses to sit up straight. Not that the kittens care; they still hang out in it and play on it.

Who is the sweetest, friendliest, least fearful kitten ever? Why, that would be little Arya, who ain’t skeered o’ nothin’.

I love that blotch of color under her chin.

“Hey, Jon Snow! I climbed the wall before you even knew it was a wall! Ha! Ha!”

Hodor, keepin’ it clean.


I shoved a bunch of flattened boxes into a bigger box, intending to carry the whole shebang out to the garage. But then the kittens discovered it and thought it was AWESOME. What’m I gonna do? I can’t take the best toy ever away! Ember likes to play King of the Mountain. She’s checking to make sure that Miz Poo knows how amazing she is.

Arya, exploring. Ember, watching.

Norbie, watchin’ birds.


Here’s a fun fact about Norbert: when you pick him up, he twists his body around so that he’s facing you. He LOVES to be held on his back like a baby. All the Dragons like it, but Norbie loves it the most.

Scorch and Brandon, eyeballing each other.

Hodor (on the stairs) and Brandon (over there to the left, in the bathroom doorway), watching Norbert play with a toy mouse.

Arya, in the bedroom doorway, also watching.

Arya couldn’t help herself, she ran out and swatted at the mouse, too. Norbie was like “Sure, you can play. The more, the merrier!”

Dragons, stretched out on my desk.

I love how you can see just the tip of her tongue. Silly girl.

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Oh, Corbs. THE most beautiful kitty EVER.


2012: “Where our snack, George? Where it at? It not on the ground.”
2011: Harlan gets his butt kicked while the Kong bird looks on, unconcerned.
2010: Miz Poo’s all “Do you SEE what I have to put up with?!”
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-16-13 — 26 Comments

  1. The reader with the door problem could try double-stick tape on top of the door. Cats hate anything sticky on their paws.

    • I was thinking sticky tape (if the door’s not too close a fit) or aluminum foil. The issue with either of those would be that the bounce-back reaction she might have to them could cause the very injury you’re fearing!

  2. I still have my Tubby long-sleeved T-shirt and I wear it on Sundays in the winter. 🙂

  3. Upside down duck tape on the top of the door. Or aluminum foil. That will make her not want to go to the top of the door. However! It sounds like she’s a tree cat as opposed to a bush cat so how about a tall thin cat tree scratchy post thing?

  4. DE is awesome for fleas! I had a horrid flea problem in two houses a couple years back (think the cat that went outside one time started it all, but it could have been a dog visitor as well.) We frontlined all 14 cats involved. Sprayed with Zodiac spray (don’t forget to spray your car when battling fleas), my friends set off zodiac bombs. Nothing was working, better yes, flea free no. I picked up insect dust (food grade DE from St Gabriel’s) at work. Friends applied it generously to their kittens’ room, stairs where vacuuming was difficult and more sparingly to rest of their house. I DOUSED my house with the stuff (frustration – I just took the bag like a cannon and poured huge amounts of the stuff everywhere lol), couches, beds, carpets, hardwoods, you name it. I took the bedding all off my bed, poured DE all over the mattress, put clean bedding back on and went to bed. With the DE still in the bed. Never noticed. I’m sure the cats slept in the stuff all over the house, no problems for them. I left it down for a long time, probably over a week or more. I had to treat twice (next time I was more judicious about it) and we have had NO fleas since! This year I haven’t had to use any DE or frontline and we’re still flea free (knock wood.) I live in a pine forest with a sand driveway and work in pet retail. Our flea risk is significant.

  5. Our Abyssinian is a crazy Up-cat and found the top of the door pretty quickly. In general, Abbys are more graceful than not and he seemed to be perfectly at home on top of the door. Our Devon Rex recently decided that she too is cool enough to hang on the top of the door and Devons are not blessed with feline agility. TinyCat has fallen off the top of the door more times than I can count but we have one of those over the door hanging hook deelies that we hang shirts/pants/towels off of. This gives Tiny more stability if she should get wobbly or something to grab onto as she flail-paws her way to the floor. The reader might want to either make the door safer (hanging stuff or put a shelf near the top of the door that the cat can climb to because Up wins) or put the sticky tape on top of the door to discourage the cat.

    BTW – one of the funniest things I’ve seen TinyCat do is fall off the door and get stuck in a pair of hanging jeans on the way down.

  6. Love the picture of Arya and Ember together. I’ve been thinking for sometime now that they would make a cute pair. Mouthy and probably more than a little pushy, but still cute! 🙂 And, if you’re a real Game of Thrones fan, you could change Ember’s name to “Sansa”….she is the “big sister” and is a redhead, to boot! (I spend entirely too much time thinking about these kittens!

    On another note, it is just sooooo unfair that Robyn has eight–EIGHT!–kittens running around her house and we have zero kittens at our house! I know, I know….this could be easily remedied, but we are currently at “cat”pacity–five cats in a five room house. So, I live vicariously through this website.

  7. I just have to say… Oh, Norbie!!! I am in lurve…. and to Corbie (and Fred!) I loves me my Linkin Park!! (whaaaat?) BTW, that little Hodor is chipping away at my heart too… they’re all so freakin’ cute.. I don’t know how you do it, I would just be a puddle of goo all day every day!

  8. Speaking of Blue Dawn, it is great to use to give the kitties a little bath in order to get rid of a few fleas.

  9. I am so glad that I don’t live near you Robyn, otherwise I’d sneak over and catnap those Snow’s and Dragon’s.

  10. I have a foster cat problem! She’s about 8 years old and is very overweight, that’s why she’s in foster care instead of an adoption center. We are making good progress on the weight and as she gets lighter she wants to play (GOOD RIGHT?).

    That is where the problem starts. She doesn’t seem to have any idea what other cats are “saying”. She will get in my Man Cat’s space and corner him. He growls and hisses and poofs up to try to get her to back up and let him out, she doesn’t act aggressive… she just sits there with the “ok that’s nice hissing we play now?” face. Any advice? I feel bad for my permanent residents… because of her size (17 lbs) she can bully them but she doesn’t seem like she means to be a bully. Her body language makes me think she has NO IDEA what the other cat is saying.

    As long as she isn’t cornering them my cats seem to like her and willingly go to her area to hang out so I know it’s not just that they hate each other.

    • One suggestion, I don’t know if you could but for some reason, sticking paws underneath the door for pattycakes seems to be a univerally recognized ploy. Also, her size would not be a factor as they couldn’t “see” her.

      Perhaps by watching the other cats she’ll pick up on gentler behavior and ways to approach for play.

    • She’s just completely non-confrontational. It’s not a problem! I have a couple like that 🙂

  11. I’ve used cinnamon in the past for ants with very good results. Should you really be using Dawn around kittens? It has toxic chemicals in it. Petsmart has a cleaner with enzymes in it that I use and it works very well, even for the spills I make (^*.*^) I’d look it up but I have to leave to go to my mom’s.

    • My vet recommended using Dawn to give kittens who are infested with fleas a bath. It kills the fleas immediately; I’ve used it many times with no bad side effects.

  12. For those who live in areas where fleas are a problem, but who have managed to achieve flea-free status and want to keep their pets (cats, dogs, pigs — really any mammal) flea-free, there’s a new product that’s only been available in North America since Feb. 2012. It is a disc that you hang on your pet and it keeps away all external parasites for four years! There are a few other similar products out there that I’ve seen sold at PetCo and online, but this one is the most effective and lasts the longest. It is so amazing that I became a distributor because I live in an area with lots of ticks and this thing keeps ticks away too. In fact, it keep mosquitoes away too, and I wear one around my neck now and have had only ONE mosquito bite all summer. You can go here to learn more about it and to purchase: http://www.petprotector.org/?ID=18451

    Don’t want to appear to be using this as advertising space, so if anyone wants more info or has questions, please e-mail me directly charlenelinfu (at) gmail.com. I have an amazing testimony from my first customer that I would love to share.

  13. Thanks so much for answering my question about Ember’s size and sleekness!

    My cat does the exact same thing with her tongue as Ember does!

  14. It can’t POSSIBLY be 10 years since Tubby died. I remember sitting at work, crying my eyes out.

    10 years.

    Just wow.

  15. I know nothing about muscular dystrophy in cats, but my husband was diagnosed with MD, just before he turned 40 (12 years ago). well after a time the doctor suggested he add Creatine Monohydrate to his diet. when he doesn’t use it he becomes a bit more unsteady. it helps support muscle health.it comes in powder form and hubby mixes it with milk, but you could mix it in anything. it is something to ask the vet about.

  16. I’m late to the party (just got back from vacation), but I thought I’d answer the differently colored eyes question. My middle daughter has one brown and one blue/green hazel eye. She chose hazel as the color on her driver’s license figuring that it would cover all the colors. 🙂

  17. I am totally glad I wasn’t the only one who did a double take “Ten years since Tubby died?! No way!!!” Time sure flies….