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Chip & Dip Time

I picked up an easy dinner at Costco this week–things like chip & dip, spinach salad and pasta salad. I set the table with part of the meal and disappeared into the kitchen to complete the preparations. When I returned, Lexie Lee was stationed in my chair with her eyes on the chips.

When you are going to open the dip? I’m hungry!

Warm Purrs!

A Helping Paw

When I arrived at the family farm I covered the dining room table with unwrapped gifts, paper, ribbon, and package decorations. Within minutes, the resident kitties came to investigate this exciting change of events. As you can see, Bootsie was my Christmas helper. His mom, Rose supervised to make sure we got the ribbon just right. What fun we had!!

Warm Purrs!

Who doesn’t love a happy ending to a cat story? My guest today is Anna Trusky who has an incredible tale to share about Ginger.

Please tell us about Ginger and how long she lived with you.
Ginger is the second kitty I adopted after Punkin. I wanted to get another cat, and I was sitting at my computer working one November day when I got on and checked to see who was available at some of the local shelters. I wanted to get a young cat because I’d heard it was easier for them to adjust to a household with multiple pets and dogs. The only shelter that appeared to have kittens was a place called Yesterday’s Kittens in Deep River, Connecticut, about 45 minutes away. I called, and they said I could come right over, so I jumped in the car.

When I was there, this little orange and white furball was racing around, and I fell in love with her immediately. Her name at the time was Lark. She was between three and four months old, but undersized. They told me she probably wouldn’t live very long. She was one of seven kittens who had been rescued in Vernon, Conn. Several of her siblings had died, and she had almost been put down because she had been very ill. The vet thought she had a liver shunt and did not give her a good prognosis. I held her and was totally enchanted by her chubby little cheeks and beautiful green eyes.

I left and tried not to think about her. I went to other shelters and looked at other kitties. But I could not get her out of my mind. I was convinced that I was meant to be her mom. Finally, I went back there and offered to pay for her to have an ultrasound to really get to the bottom of the liver issue. The test was performed, and the vet thought that there was, indeed, a liver shunt. But I was in love, and I took her anyway, deciding that I would give her the best life possible for as long as possible. I brought her home on December 27. When she was a little older kitten, I had my vet order another ultrasound, and this one showed that she did have an unusual vein around her liver, but did not have a liver shunt after all!

When did she disappear?
She disappeared on July 3. Our Sheltie puppy had chewed on the corner of the screen on the sliding glass door so it flipped up, and Ginger apparently got out through the little hole. We NEVER let our cats out, but we definitely should have been more careful on this day. I did not realize she was gone until the next morning. It was very hot, and the kitties often go the basement where it’s cool, so we don’t always see all of them at the same time. (We had four.) We went out for a bite with a friend, and came home and went right to sleep. The heat was unbearable.

The next morning, I fed all the “kids.” Ginger did not show up for breakfast, which was not like her. Suddenly, I panicked. I ran all over the house, calling her. I woke up my husband and we walked all around the yard, the neighbors’ yards, and the neighborhood, calling and calling. For the next several days, I took walks and drives all over, looking and calling. I figured she’d gone into the woods, and was beside myself because there are a lot of coyotes, foxes, and fisher cats around.

How else did you look for Ginger?
I put an ad in the local paper, signs up in the neighborhood, and ads on Craigslist, PetFinder, and another Pets Lost and Found site. I even consulted with three psychics. The first one told me she immediately saw Ginger in spirit form. She said Ginger showed her a fox. She concluded that Ginger had been killed by a fox. The second one said Ginger was near the water, and was confused.(She later said Ginger was being taken care of by someone and was “in good hands.”) The third said she had been taken in by an older woman who lived in a nearby neighborhood, and I should distribute flyers there, which I did.

How were you reunited with Ginger?
It’s amazing — miraculous, really! Six weeks later, on August 15, I was working in my garden when I heard what sounded like a cat meowing. I thought maybe it was my neighbor’s cat, who is an outdoor cat, and that maybe he had gotten stuck in one of the tall trees that border the property behind us and the house next door to us. I walked around the fence and through the adjoining yards, looking all around, but I didn’t see or hear anything, so I went home.

Then I heard it again. I said to my husband, “Do you hear that? And he did.” I said, “I’m going back out there. You never know!” I walked back over to the next-door neighbor’s yard, calling “Kitty kitty kitty,” and this time I was answered with an anguished meowing. I really didn’t expect to find my girl, I thought it was probably the neighbor’s cat or a stray. Finally I traced the sound to a woodpile next to the next-door-neighbor’s house, which is only about 10 feet from our fence. I crouched down, and was astonished to see my Ginger’s little head pop out! I could not believe my eyes. I said “Ginger, let Mommy get you, okay?” and she did. I scooped her up in my arms and ran back to my house, yelling for my husband at the top of my lungs. He ran down the stairs and opened the door, and I got our little girl safely inside. “I just kept saying, ‘Oh, my God! It’s Ginger, It’s Ginger!'” Then I collapsed, sobbing.

What condition was Ginger in when you found her?
She was emaciated and dehydrated, but did not have a scratch or a bug on her.

How did you keep up hope that she would be found?
I just kept reminding myself that miracles happen. But I really thought that with all the predators around, the odds were that we would not see her again.

What was the hardest part for you?
Everything — feeling that I would never see her again, missing her beautiful presence among us, petting and loving her, feeling responsible for her getting out, and fearing that she had suffered and met a terrible fate.

What advice do you have for those who lose a cat?
Do everything you can and don’t lose hope — miracles really do happen!

How is Ginger doing now that she is home?
She’s still weak and traumatized, but gradually building up her strength. She’s eating and drinking, and her body seems to be functioning fine. There is still some hissing going on because the other cats are leery of her right now. Interestingly, she was much happier to see the dogs than the other cats! She greeted the dogs with a rub and her tail straight up! Also, we adopted a kitten from a shelter when we thought we would not see her again, and she’s not real happy about that! But he is a total love, and so wants to be friends with her. I hope the day will come when all the kitties will be playing together and happily coexisting once more!

Ginger’s incredible return brings tears to my eyes. I hope she continues to settle back into her former home life. She is so lucky to have you. You have shown that unwavering diligence in looking for Ginger paid off. Thank you Anna for sharing Ginger with us today.

The article How to find a lost cat includes valuable tips, many of which Anna used to help find Ginger.

Bountiful Blessings!

I am blessed with a backyard haven for animals. My dining room is where I enjoy my animal kingdom. I start and end each day here with Lexie Lee in my lap. By day, this light-spilling Florida sunroom offers a panoramic view of my outside world and of my personal paradise.The open and airy room has five sets of colonial windows on the northern and eastern side as well as French doors. I appreciate light and revere nature from this room.

I watch the screeching blue jays take their morning bath. The neighbor’s rabbit hops across the patio and disappears into shrubbery in search of breakfast. A squirrel captures my attention as it scurries successfully along the utility lines. Later my bushy tailed friend performs acrobatics from the arbor much to my delight. A stray cat passes through to drink out of the swimming pool. A chameleon sunbathes on the back of a patio chair. Vibrant orange flowers punctuate the lush tropical vegetation.

At night the room becomes enchanted. Hundreds of white lights illuminate the courtyard, gazebo and patio. Landscape lighting showcases fluttering palm trees around the kidney-shaped pool. A sun dial magically reflects and dances in the pool. The night creatures, such as raccoons and opossums, visit. A soft breeze blows through the room, and I hear wind chimes lightly striking on the patio. I turn off all the interior lights and just sit there in awe and listen to the fascinating and calming sound of nature emanating from my blessed backyard sanctuary. I am blessed with a backyard haven for animals. Without fail, this room feeds and centers my soul by connecting me to God’s sacred animals.

Bountiful Blessings!

Last October, I wrote about the Iams Home 4 the Holidays program. Over the past decade IH4TH has helped over 3 million animals find homes. This past year more than 1.3 animals were adopted when the campaign officially ended on January 4.

Now you have the opportunity to learn about the top five animal stories and the amazing journeys to finding a forever home. “These stories all have happy endings but for some of them it was a long, hard battle. Some make you cry, others make you laugh,” said Mike Arms, president of Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and the creator of the Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign. “We need help from animal lovers worldwide to select the most heart-warming and most successful pet adoption story from the past holiday season.”

So I hope you will read each one—Caitlin, Black Jack, Baby Hope, Misha and Kaylie. I did (with tissue in hand)! But the endings are joyful! There is still time to vote on your favorite by March 1. The animal shelter or rescue group that submitted the winning entry will receive a $500 donation from Helen Woodward Animal Center.

To read the stories and vote, visit Animal Center

Bountiful Blessings!

You Caught Me

You Caught Me

Superstitions have long been associated with black cats. In the Middle Ages in Scotland, a black cat that entered a house was seen as a harbinger of good luck. Cats in Japan have historically been revered as objects of beauty and black cats in particular considered good luck.

Black cats have also been the objects of fear and hatred. Witches and black cats have been inseparable in history. Anna Winkelzipfel’s witch trial in 1586 found her guilty of disguising herself in black cat skins and entering Jacques Porter’s room with the intention of doing him harm. There are superstitions about cats turning into witches and witches turning into cats. Some people believe that if a black cat crosses their path, it might be a witch in the guise of a cat.

As Halloween approaches, black cats may face danger. Sadly, I have heard too many malicious stories about the torture of black cats. Your indoor/outdoor cat should be kept inside for several days before and after Halloween. No exceptions! If you are planning a party or greeting trick or treaters, place your cats (of any color) in a safe room for the evening. You will not have to worry about your fur babies escaping through an open door or getting spooked by a scary costume. 

I Feel Lucky Today

I Feel Lucky Today

Black cats are less likely to be adopted because of being associated with evil and of bringing bad luck. According to Kathy Covey, public relations and marketing manager for the Cat Adoption Team no-kill shelter in Oregon, “black cats are the last to find homes.” The shelter has creative Black Cat Adopt-A-Thons such as Black Cat Friday after Thanksgiving and Black by Tax Day in April! How about celebrating Halloween differently this year and adopting a black cat from your local shelter? Shelters usually restrict black cat adoptions around Halloween, so plan to adopt in November. 

I Can Fit In

I Can Fit In


Dear friends of mine have a household filled with amazing black cats. Not one, not two, but three!! You have already meet the adorable duo: Athena and Ares. Everyone was having so much good luck they just could not resist adding their third baby–Apollo! Can’t you see why?

I welcome your black cat stories.

Bountiful Blessings!

Good Housekeeping is sponsoring the Third Annual Halloween Pet Costume Contest. All you have to do is upload a photo of your pet in costume by October 31, 2009. Entries will be judged on:

  • Creativity 25%
  • Attention to Detail 25%
  • Best Representation of Character 25%
  • Cuteness 25%

The grand prize is airfare for four and a five-night stay at Seattle’s Hotel Vintage Park plus $2,000 in cash. The hotel was recently named to Travel & Leisure’s Best 500 Hotels in the world. And yes, the hotel stay includes taking your pet there as well! Full details of prizes and submission are available at

I once purchased a Santa hat and jacket for Lexie Lee. But she did not stay in the costume long enough for a photo shoot! All she liked to do later was drag the hat around by the end of the white pompom. So although I love contests, this will be one that I will just vote for my favorite.

Bountiful Blessings!

My beloved mother loved animals. Last August and September, I wrote a series of blogs about Packer following his passing. My mother passed away this summer, just shy of her 91st birthday. In her honor, I am repeating The Guardian.

Packer and my mother had a lot in common.  They depended on each other and were each other’s best friends and guardians.  He depended on her to get up every morning, open the back door, greet him in the garage and feed him. I know she looked forward to seeing him, and his presence gave her a reason to get up each day.  He depended on her in the evening to prepare his food and put it on the back step and to call for him in the backyard. My mother walks with the help of a walker and suffers with arthritis. Packer developed arthritis in later years and walked with a limp. My mother walks slowly, and I noticed Packer did the same over the years. He rested more, slept more and stayed in the garage more. In earlier years, he could run so fast across the field.  Likewise in younger years, my mother chased me around the farm!

My mother grows beautiful flowers in the summer and for several summers I have gone home in early June and helped her with the planting. Packer always left the garage and moved to the front yard along the walkway near where we worked. Mother said he always watched out for her whenever she was outside tending the flowers or coming and going in the car. In fact, the morning before I found Packer collapsed in the garage, my mother and I were admiring the flowers. Packer was in another part of the yard and saw us. I watched as he slowly made his way to us. He walked up to my side and looked up with those big brown eyes and waited for me to speak to him and rub his head. Then he walked over to my mother and waited for her to respond to him in kind.

 I also observed how intently his eyes followed her every movement whenever she went up and down the back steps. She has a routine to follow in order to get in and out of the house safely. After opening the back door, she walks out on a landing that is wide enough for her walker. She drops the walker to the concrete at the bottom of two steps. Then she hangs onto the railing and steps down until she reaches the walker.  It takes her a few minutes to accomplish this task. This is repeated in reverse when she enters the house. Sometimes, I felt that Packer’s guardian eyes kept her safe each and every time she went up and down the backdoor steps. I always told her, he was watching over her. She often said that she did not know what he would do if she fell.  I told her he would figure something out. She could be sure he would stay by her side until help came.

Mother always tooted the car horn three times for Packer’s benefit when she left and tooted three times when she came back up the hill. She always reminded me to toot when I drove. What an endearing gesture between them I thought!

With the help of my brother, Packer always gave mother greeting cards (with a dog on the front of course!) for major holidays and her birthday. Sometimes, there would even be some scratch off lottery tickets or cash tucked inside. Mother always joked she didn’t know where Packer shopped.

In 1999, my mother fell inside the house and broke a hip. I know one of the hardest parts of her recovery in the hospital and nursing home was being separated from her beloved dogs, Packer and Lucky. As she progressed with her rehabilitation, she was allowed to leave the nursing home for short drives, and my brother took her to the farm to see the dogs. I know they missed her as well. Many years later Lucky passed away with kidney failure. Packer grieved for the loss of his companion for months—waiting and watching for his beloved to come running up the hill or over the field.

Sometimes, Packer was a finicky eater. My mother had quite a collection of dog food for him. When I was home in June, we tried a different food called Cesar, and he absolutely devoured it and continued to enjoy it up to the last day he ate. When he lost his appetite, he would usually eat raw hamburger. He also loved cheeseburgers and French fries from McDonalds! He did not have them often, but we treated him to this menu on my last visit when he disappeared. I probably will never be able to think of McDonald’s without recalling the last day we brought the cheeseburger and French fries home to him. He had so much fun eating them.

Now I can only imagine what it is like for my 90-year-old mother to open the back door every morning and look out and not see her beloved Packer. Or to look out the kitchen window and not see him sleeping under the pussy willow tree.  Or to pull into the driveway and not toot for him out of habit. It must be heartbreaking. I pray that Packer Boy’s spiritual eyes are watching over my dear mother as she comes and goes, as she tends her flowers or as she gets the mail. May he be with her in every movement and keep her safe as he did for so many years. May the heartbreak and void in her life be filled instead with Packer’s loving spirit.

Postscript: August 30, 2009–I now understand why Packer Boy left first. I know he was on Rainbow Bridge waiting to greet my mother when her journey ended.

Bountiful Blessings!

Summer time and traveling with your pet by car can spell disaster without proper planning. These tips will make it easier for you and your cat during the car trip.

First, the cat should be confined in a plastic or wire pet carrier while in the car. A cardboard carrier can be chewed through quickly, so invest in a proper carrier for the long trip. Sometimes, you feel guilty about the cat being in a carrier for 8-12 hours until the destination is reached. But I don’t advise letting the cat out in the car as the cat will crawl under the seat or the foot pedals. The cat may get its head caught in a window trying to escape. Actually, the cat will feel safer and be safer in a small crate.

About 30 years ago, I was traveling in a car with my cat, Noelle, on my lap in the passenger seat. I had taken her out of the carrier because she was meowing loudly. But once in my lap she really did not want to be held for long, and she suddenly sprang from my lap, jumping across the driver and heading to a partially opened window. Due to the quick response of my companion, Noelle was saved from landing in the midst of three lanes of traffic.

Secondly, I recommend placing the carrier on a seat next to you if possible. You may need to level a slanted seat to make the cat more comfortable. I avoid putting the cat on the floor because car noises are scary, and I turn the radio down low.  The air conditioning vents are positioned so the cat gets cooled, but not blasted with cold air.

Thirdly, I always travel with my cat’s food and water. Don’t depend on your cat eating your sister’s cat food or drinking her water for convenience. If you can create a familiar situation, the cat will be less bewildered. Your plan should include feeding your cat at the end rather than the beginning of the journey. You also need litter, a pan, a scoop and disposal bags.  Cats are temperamental about their litter and even if you are visiting a house with cats, bring your cat’s litter.

Finally, I emphasize to never leave your cat in an unattended car—especially in the summer. A cat can overheat quickly often resulting in death.  Finding a drive-through restaurant or packing your lunch will remove the temptation to stop at a sit-down restaurant—even if just for a short time.

Do you have a tip for traveling with your cat by car?

Bountiful Blessings!

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” Jean Cocteau

I love quotations as you learned last week. One of my popular blog postings for Seattle Post-Intelligencer last year was cat quotations. So since I am on vacation in the peaceful Missouri countryside, here is the post.  A favorite cat book on my shelf is Cat Tales—Snippets on Life from Our Favorite Felines by Charles Wysocki. The book features charming pictures and stories about cats that Wysocki painted during his lifetime.

Who can resist reading about Dudley Wadsworth Catsinbags, Elmer and Loretta, Ethel the Gourmet, Frederick the Literate, Mabel the Stowaway, Maggie the Messmaker, Max in the Adirondacks, and Remington the Horticulturist? What wonderful names for cats!

Besides the “make you smile” stories, the book is chock-full of cat quotations like the one that opened this blog. The following are some of my favorites:

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”  Charles Dickens

“A cat pours his body on the floor like water. It is restful just to see him.”  William Lyon Phelps

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.”  Tay Hohoff

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” Leonardo Da Vinci

And finally this poem, author unknown:

“Gentle eyes that see so much,

paws that have the quiet touch,

Purrs to signal “all is well”

and show more love than words could tell.

Graceful movements touched with pride,

a calming presence by our side

A friendship that takes time to grow

small wonder why we love them so.”

Later a couple of my readers responded with these quotes:  Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.

What is your favorite cat quotation?

Bountiful Blessings!

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