Sunday, 26 February 2012

Adoption Profile: Lionheart **ADOPTED!!**

 When I entered the Niagara Falls Humane Society's Adoption Centre in Niagara Square, it was difficult to not get lost in the mews and purrs of a dozen or so lovely and unique felines. But I was on a mission.
I approached one of the volunteers and told them I was looking for a very specific cat. "Please show me the cat that has been here the longest," I asked, "the one who deserves a home so much but just hasn't caught a break."
The woman caught eyes with another volunteer and smiled.

"Lionheart" they both said in unison.
I was lead to an area known as the "Scaredy Cat" room, where cats go to escape their shelter-mates and have some peace and quiet. There, on a recycled ottoman, an orange cat lay sleeping.
"Lionheart" the woman called softly.

The orange mound shook and cooed and rolled over, revealing a handsome groggy smile.

I could hardly keep myself from snatching him up, but the "no picking up the cats" policy forced me to simply have a seat on the floor beside him and squeal.

"Don't be fooled by his being in this room" said the woman, "he's no scaredy-cat. He just likes the ottoman."

Lionheart wiggled around, eventually getting to his feet. It was then I realized how round and tubby he was, and let loose another squeal. I LOVE fat cats. There we sat smiling at each other until he lunged forward and butt my face with his. How lovely.

We sat for a good long while, just rubbing faces, while the volunteer told me what little they knew about this sweet old man-cat. Lionheart came from the streets some time in November, and has become fat and happy while waiting for someone to take him home. I found it so boggling that this cat had been at the shelter for nearly 4 months and not been adopted. His temperament was absolutely heart-melting.

If you're interested visiting this gentle giant, pop over to the Adoption Center at Niagara Square, located at 7555 Montrose Rd in Niagara Falls. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Auto litter boxes: helpful or hostile?

Hello Kittens,
This week, I’m doing something a little different. My mother’s birthday is coming up, and seeing as she is a major Katzendame like me, I’m considering a cat-related gift.
Upon searching, I came across a self-cleaning litterbox. Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever seen one of these things in action, but it’s a pretty neat concept. There seem to be a few different models, each baring a different pricetag. 

Cat Genie - $250 to $340
Litter Robot - $280 to $340
Scoop Free - $130 to $180 ($60 manual model as well)
Simply Clean -  $99
Smart Scoop - $129
Litter Maid - $99 to $200
Litterloo - Still in demo process

In a purrrrrfect world, this mechanical miracle would do exactly what it claims and leave you with one less chore to do, right?

Potentially yes... or, you could encounter something like this.

But aside from the fact that there seem to be homemade videos of each of these models failing miserably, my concern is more to do with the cats themselves. In my search for truth and knowledge of these robo-rakers, I came across multiple videos of cats freaking out over these intruders.

I find the idea of making my cat uncomfortable far more troublesome than the price tag on these things, but in understand that many people are squeamish and would do practically anything to eliminate the whole procedure from their lives. My questions is this though: should we invest so much money in a thing that has our cats on edge, just because we want one less thing to do? Or should we accept that scooping is part of the responsibility of having a cat, and allow them to continue pooping freely without the fear of their litter box eating them? I understand that some cats warm up to the box and it is not an issue, but why should we even put them through that process? Cats don't ask for much in this world, just food in the bowl and litter in the box and a trip to the vet should they require it, and after all the love and joy they bring to our lives, isn't scooping a little poop the least we can do?

I'm curious to know your thoughts!

Until next time, purr on kittens.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Bunna Came Back

"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” – Elisabeth Foley

This is Bunnalinkyla.

She is our 16-year-old Siamese, and as far as anyone is concerned, a mean old biddy.

Her deep-blue eyes are frosted with cataracts and her graceful and agile dance has deteriorated to a clumsy, cautious shuffle. She bumps into walls, howls at the ceiling fan, and generally bumbles about with the dexterity of a newborn.

But Bunna was once the boss.

She’s always done exactly what she wanted. Why, about 10 years ago, Bunna decided she didn’t want to live with us and our (at the time) 7 other cats. Who could blame her? A feline as regal as she deserved the attention and praise of a thousand humans, just as her Egyptian predecessors had. So, one day, Bunna moved down the road to live with Fritz, an elderly German bachelor with a modest peach orchard and a penchant for loose cigarettes. For a decade, these two unlikely friends were inseparable. Even into his 90’s Fritz could be seen tending to his land, Bunna somewhere within earshot, howling freely. At night, Fritz would sit smoking his cigarettes and watching his shows, and Bunna would be perched on his lap in a cloud of smoke, smiling through her spider-leg whiskers.

When Fritz died, a good friend of his showed up at our door, asking if we`d like our cat back. “He’d always said to just put her down when he passed- I mean, who wants a loud-mouthed, mostly-blind senior Siamese cat?”

So, needless to say, Bunna is back.

Older, grayer, and a little less graceful, but in so many ways, exactly as I remember her.

Now, you may be saying, "Yah yah, you got your geriatric cat back, lucky you. What's your point?"

I drove past Fritz’s farm house nearly every day, and I would always slow down and watch for Bunna, even call for her sometimes. Despite how I missed her, I was not intending to snatch her up and take her back home. I knew she and Fritz needed each other, and I would never want to rob them of happiness. My intention was just to make sure she was alright, and give her anything she needed.

Always have an open door for your loved ones. Be open, be supportive, and live with a sincere wish in your heart that the ones you love will find their place, even if it's not with you. They may travel far, (or perhaps just down the lane), and they may be gone for a long time. They may return old and gray, weathered and downtrodden, blind and cranky. But, the ones you love should always feel they have a place in your life, no matter where their’s may lead them. 

Open the door, Kittens.

And until next time, purr on.

- Katzendame

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Scrambles, the stress-less mess.

Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.
-          Natalie Goldberg

Scrambles, chillin.
For the last hour, Scrambles has been switching back and forth between napping and cleaning himself. Because he is quite fat, he tends to miss some spots. I see him rolling and flopping around like a beached fish, struggling to get his little pink tongue to reach those spots. Then, with a resounding sigh of “meh”, he plops back down and takes a nap.

Scrambles doesn’t stress; he knows that in time, everything will get clean, even if he has to get Liono or Little Cat to help him. Everything that needs to be done will be. Now, this doesn’t mean that Scrams is lazy; he’s always bookin’ it around the neighbourhood, keeping a watchful eye on Pleasant Ave. However, he also understands that things take time, and taking time for himself is just as important.

In watching this mildly hilarious flopping routine, I came to the realization that lately I’ve been allowing myself to get heavy with my troubles, and denying myself time for reflection.

So, I have decided that today, I say “NO” to stress.

Of course, many of you are saying “HAH! If only it was that easy...”

But, in reality, it is.

We are faced with countless choices every day: what we wear, what we eat, how much money we spend and on what, what people we surround ourselves with, whether we go to work or school or stay home, whether to skip town and join the circus or steer our cars into the opposing lane and end it all...

We may think of these choices as obvious because they are innate and subconscious, but they still shape your lives. So why then, can we not make saying no to stress another one of these obvious choices? Can we not train ourselves- just as I, a lactose intolerant-ee, have trained myself to avoid dairy products- to denounce stress from our lives? Of course, I tend to fall off the wagon sometimes, and scarf a bowl of ice cream, but I never feel good afterwards. The same can be said about stress. We have been conditioned by society to think that it is just a natural part of the human experience, and we just have to learn to deal with it, but do we ever feel any rewards from it?

The masters of relaxation.
I believe that while we most certainly will all encounter stressful situations and relationships in our lives, allowing stress to permeate your mind is a choice, and how deeply and how long we allow it to affect us is completely our decision.

Scrambles could roll around all day, getting frustrated at the areas he can’t reach and the vastness of his rotund belly. He could get worked up and feel down about himself, looking at the other cats and seeing how effortlessly they clean themselves, and allow himself to feel inferior and stressed. Or, he could just take a nap, and go on loving himself. He knows that we will certainly continue loving him regardless.

So now, I think I’ll have a bowl of dairy-free ice cream, let my belly hang out, and take a nap with Scrams. And I won’t feel guilty for doing it.

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non essentials.
     -          Lin Yutang

Until next time,
Purr on, kittens.

 -  Katzendame

P.S. Need some inspiration or just a chuckle? Check this out.