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I fit in the shoe box. Really I do! My fur hangs over.

I fit in the shoe box. Really I do! My fur hangs over.

So I get to my office and the keys are not in my bag to unlock the door. Flashback to the evening before………

I am relaxing on the living room couch. All of a sudden pandemonium erupts. Chauncey sprints into the dining room from the kitchen, circles around the dining table and knocks over a small tilt-top table. A metal tray crashes to the hardwood floor. Princess Grace and Lexie Lee bolt for the upstairs level. Chauncey is on their heels. I still can’t comprehend what is happening. The noise level is incredible. As Chauncey speeds by, I see a plastic tote bag attached to him. What? It looks like a parachute has just opened behind him! Minutes before I placed the bag on the kitchen table when I returned from work. I removed the water bottle and left the bag standing upright.

I leap off the couch and run up the stairs after Chauncey. He is under the bed for a split second, but reappears in my sight. I grab him. By now the bag is flattened and is hanging together on one side, but the handle is tight around his belly. He is frightened and fighting to get away from me. A fleeting thought is to cut the bag off, but I am not close to a pair of scissors. Probably just as well! With one hand I push Chauncey into the soft comforter, and he calms down slightly.

“Give me a minute Chauncey and I’ll get this thing off you. How did you get into this mess? I’ve got to get the handle around your front legs. Oh my, let me do this!”

As I continue to talk to Chauncey, he relaxes. I ease the handle around the right front leg and then over his head, and he is freed. I chuckle as I am left holding my tattered Live, Laugh and Love bag. Well, I’ve had my laugh for today!

Later that evening as I’m putting the house back together, I find the top to my lipstick tube under the dining table. It does not occur to me that the office keys were in the bag as well. A day later I find the keys in a corner of the dining room. The lipstick is still missing!

Warm Purrs!

Lexie Lee

Mom Linda tricked me into going to the vet, and I am ticked at her! Every so often I am put into a carrier. But this time I was on to Mom’s agenda. Oh, the morning started out nice with getting a bowl of my favorite crunchy food. I was nibbling away wondering how much better life could get. But I heard a familiar sound coming from downstairs—the sound of the cage being lifted out of the closet. Chauncey and Princess Grace heard the high alert too. We took off like rockets shooting for the bedroom and hid under the bed. All was quiet for a long time. Chauncey left to go check out the surroundings. But he did not return. So Princess Grace and I stayed under the bed just in case Mom Linda was waiting to grab each one us. She’s been known to do so. There’s this spot near the middle of the bed where we are untouchable. Sometimes Mom Linda lies on the floor and tries to reach us, but her arm is not long enough.

I was looking forward to a leisurely day eating and sleeping and hanging out with Mom Linda on her day off. I didn’t like being stuck under the bed. And I sure was hungry! But I decided she’s not going to get me today. Last time this happened she had to reschedule the vet appointment two times before she got me! I drifted off for a quick snooze and was disturbed by Mom Linda’s footsteps. She was talking to Chauncey and moving around in the bedroom and closet. Then she left the room, and it got quiet again. But not for long. She came back and I heard my favorite familiar sound—crunchy food dropping into my food bowl. Princess Grace and I crawled out from under the bed, and I chowed down. Mom Linda did not let my brother or sister eat any of the food. “That’s for Lexie Lee. She missed breakfast,” she said so sweetly. Finally she was on my side. Oh, the day was looking up!

But suddenly, without warning I am scooped up and taken downstairs. Before I can put up a tussle I am crammed into that dreaded cage. Cat curses—tricked with my favorite food! I must find a way to hide food under the bed, so I am never lured out again.

Well, the vet visit was not so bad after all. My ears looked great when this thing was stuck in me. But it did not hurt, and the vet told me how sweet I am. Mom Linda made over me all the way home and turned the air conditioner on extra cold. My favorite part of being in the cage was when she set me inside the house, and Chauncey came to greet me. I was freed and finally got to finish breakfast.

Five Paws Up!

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!

The stores are filled with beautiful Easter lilies this time of the year. Many people are purchasing potted or cut lilies to decorate their homes or to give as hostess gifts on Easter weekend. Although lilies are one of my favorite flowers, I do not have any in my house with Lexie Lee, Chauncey and Grace. Many varieties of lilies can be deadly to cats.

According to Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Veterinary Toxicologist at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, “Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum), Rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum), Japanese show lily (Lilium lancifolium) and some species of the Day lily (Hemerocallis species) can cause kidney failure in cats. Unfortunately, all parts of the lily plant are considered toxic to cats and consuming even small amounts can be life threatening.” Asian and stargazer lilies are also fatal to cats.

If a cat ingests any part of the plant such as biting into a leaf or petal or licking lily pollen from his paws or drinking water from a vase with lilies, the cat is poisoned. Within thirty minutes, the cat may vomit, become lethargic, or have a lack of appetite. These symptoms will worsen without immediate treatment by a veterinarian, and the cat may develop kidney failure in 36 to 72 hours. It is imperative to get your cat to an emergency clinic immediately to have a better chance at saving the cat.

If you receive a lily and have cats in the house, be sure to remove the flower from their access. Keep in mind cats are climbers and setting the lily on a high shelf can be just as dangerous as having the bouquet on the dining room table. The cat will likely get to it—wherever it is. Even placing the flowers in a closed off room may not be safe if you have company in the house and someone leaves a door open unintentionally. An outdoor patio is not recommended either since stray cats may be tempted to munch on the plant. If you are purchasing flowers for an Easter gift for a cat family (dogs are not sensitive to lilies), Easter orchids, Easter cactus, Easter daisies, or violets are safer selections. Then there’s always an Easter basket filled with colored eggs!

Have a safe Easter with your family and cats.

Warm Purrs!

Sweet Pea by Linda A. Mohr

The Boca Branch of the National League of American Pen Women Art Show is open to the public at the Sopra Centre at 110 E. Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida. The juried multi-media show is exhibited March 3 through 30. I am pleased to have five photography submissions of cats and architecture in my first show. The Sweet Pea photo was taken of Bootsie exploring the flowers.

The opening reception and awards were held on March 6. The first place award winner in the painting category was Rhoda Hollander for her mixed media collage, Paris. The Red Door by Katherine Berndes won first place for photography.

If you are in the Delray area, I hope you will stop by.

Warm Purrs!

A multitude of small delights constitutes happiness.

~Charles Baudelaire

Today I exhaled and enjoyed small delights! I’ve had a whirlwind of activity for over a month. Lots of fun and exhilarating events such as my sister visiting, doing some house redecorating, getting ready for my first photography exhibit, entering two essay contests and going to gourmet dinner club. And oh, did I mention some really big projects at the campus?

Now I live with master teachers, Lexie Lee, Chauncey and Princess Grace to remind me daily that small delights constitute happiness. The temperature dropped over night. So when I opened the dining room windows this morning, the three masters headed to the windowsills to check out the cool breezes.  Later Chauncey was entertained by draping over the top of the refrigerator and poking his head in the freezer when I opened it. Princess Grace had fun rearranging a stack of magazines all over the living room floor. Lexie Lee disappeared under the bed for a few more hours of peace and quiet after breakfast.

Mid Sunday afternoon and still in my sleepwear, I decided to mirror the masters. Chauncey was high on the perch, Princess Grace was in her pink velour bed, and Lexie Lee had resurfaced on the coffee table—all in the snooze mode. I flopped down on the couch within a few feet of them and took a long nap.

Connecting with a friend, reading a Country Living magazine and eating a piece or two of delectable chocolate are some of the small delights that made me happy today. But most of all, staying home to spend time with my fur babies was the happiness key.

What small delights bring you happiness?

Happy Purrs!

Circle of Love

Where does Chauncey end and Gracie begin?

I found one of Lexie Lee’s whiskers on the floor recently. I sat and studied the fascinating whisker. Then a couple of days later, I saw Lexie Lee approach a long narrow box that a shipment had come in. The box had a six-inch square opening on each end of the five-foot box. I left the box on the floor speculating it would make a great play tunnel for Lexie Lee. But she has determined she will not fit into the box—thanks to her whiskers. She stuck her head inside the opening, stayed there a few seconds and then pulled out.

A cat’s whiskers are long thickened hairs that grow on the whisker pad, the puffy area between the top corners of the mouth and outer edges of the nose. Generally, eight to twelve whiskers protrude from each side. I tried to count Lexie Lee’s whiskers. I think she has nine, but they are a little tricky to count! Cats shed whiskers, but not all at the same time. The whiskers grow back in two to three months. The whiskers are sensors on the head, surrounded by nerve endings that transmit information about the environment back to the cat. Therefore, whiskers should never be cut off or trimmed nor should they be pulled on due to their sensitivity. Whiskers serve several purposes for the cat’s benefit and safety. Cats depend on whiskers for a measuring device, for navigating around especially at night, and for showing their mood.

Just as a dollar bill can be used to measure six inches, whiskers help a cat determine space on either side. Whiskers extend about the width of the cat’s shoulders. If the whiskers touch the edges of the opening—like the edges of the box that Lexie Lee was investigating, she will retreat knowing she will likely get stuck. Lexie Lee has not attempted to go back into the box. Otherwise, if the head and shoulders fit in the opening, the body will be able to follow.

Whiskers guide the cat in the dark, so they don’t run into objects or knock things over. Because the whiskers sense changes in air currents, the cat knows a piece of furniture is nearby and turns away. Some experts suggest that whiskers warn cats about a storm due to air changes.

Whiskers are also clues to moods since the cat will alter the position of the whiskers depending on what is happening. For example, if the cat is happy and content, the whiskers are more relaxed and pushed forward. When the cat is eating, the whiskers are held close to keep them out of the food. When walking, the cat moves the whiskers as far out as they will go. But if frightened, the cat flattens the whiskers back against the face to keep them out of danger.

How many whiskers does your cat have?

Bountiful Blessings!

Today is a special day for Catnip Connection. This is the one-year anniversary weekend for the launch of this blog as well as my birthday. Some 52 columns later here I am—still writing and loving every minute of it. I want to thank all who have taken the time to read Catnip Connection as well as those who have shared comments. One of the best parts about writing is connecting with my readers. I am also grateful to Tatianna’s Team of Meowleaders, Chatty Cats and Feisty Felines who helped with promotion throughout the year.

My anniversary/birthday present is to send you a complimentary autographed soft-cover Tatianna book. Please email with your name and mailing address by January 31, 2009. If you already own the book, I can autograph to whoever you please.

During my birthday week, my ritual is to reflect on all the blessings, opportunities and accomplishments of the past year. There have been many including blogging for the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, joining Cat Writers’ Association, being inducted into Daughters of the  American Revolution, receiving the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award at the Cat Writers’ Convention, having my Tatianna book honored with seven awards, syndicating six animal articles, completing a major home renovation, celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday, co-writing a surprise cookbook for my mother, doing a hometown book tour, being a college professor, and vacationing at my mother’s house during Packer’s last days and getting to tell him good-bye.

My biggest blessing is my muse, dear sweet Lexie Lee. She is my source of inspiration day in and day out as she lounges across my lap or lies nearby on a window sill. She listens to me as I read my drafts out loud, and her meows tell me to keep writing about kitties! That I intend to do. If you have any topics you would like to read about this year, please personally email me or leave a comment on this blog. I would love to hear from you.

Bountiful Blessings!

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