Walk Through The Web Wednesday 8/2

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Hello Friends, Furry, Feathered and Otherwise,
It’s Alberto with my Wednesday feline news. I have my purrsonal assistant purrr-use the web to bring you what I feel are the most interesting stories of the week. Without further ado, here they are, enjoy!

Siamese cat with blue eyes

Black and White cat rings bell for service in this kitty restaurantA Restaurant Just for Cats – Animals4.com

I’m sure many of you have seen the viral video of the cats ringing a bell for food but this video takes it to the next level.  Watch this fastidious feline select and order his favorite menu items. I am waiting for such an establishment to open in my community!

veterinarian plays his guitar for post surgery gray cat  Vet has Unique Approach to Soothing Post Surgery Feline – Animals4.com

Now I am not a fan of the place of the white coats, although our place is set up to make us fearless and to actually enjoy the experience. (The Tribe of Five all visited and blogged about their experiences.) If any felines find themselves in this place, I hope they have a vet as kind and innovative as Dr. Ross Henderson!

Matilda the retired Algonquin Cat

Matilda, the former Algonquin Cat

The Algonquin Hotel, NY Hires A Fabulous New Feline – New York Post

Those of you who wander with me on Wednesdays know how much I like to feature working cats. This story is purrrticularily interesting to me. Matilda, the Algonquin Cat has retired after seven  years with the hotel. Matilda first came to the notice of The Tribe of Five as she resembles our very own Alpha, Tucker.  Take a look and let what you think.  But.  I digress.

Siamese cat with cross eyes on chair
Tucker, Alpha of The Tribe of Five

About a month ago, an orange tabby, about a year old, was sighted in a feral colony, scrounging for food. He was immediately selected as Matilda’s replacement and now plays with toy mice, receives love from his human “staff” and visitors and has been officially hired as the newest Algonquin cat.

He has been dubbed Hamlet and his is the epitome of the rags to riches tale. Hamlet is the 12th Algonquin cat and its first male mascot in  Orange and white tabby at the Algonquin hotelmore than 40 years.

Hamlet, the handsome marmalade tabby will make his official debut tomorrow (August 3) at the hotel’s annual Cat Fashion Show which is a fund raiser for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. My only questions is, “Hey Algonquin, where is my invitation??!!”

Ricky, the Distillery Cat – 89.3 WFPL (Ashlie Stevens)

Orange and white tabby in blue striped tieI’ve reported on cats who work in breweries, hardware stores, for police and fire fighters and even Russian cats who work in a museum but this is my first report of a cat working in a distillery.  Ricky often greets visitors in a baby blue tie. Brett Connors, the distillery’s brand ambassador, adopted Ricky when he learned that the feline had FIV — feline immunodeficiency virus — which resulted in folks passing up adopting him as they were concerned about his medical costs.

Ricky’s initial job was to be security but he is so friendly and outgoing, he managed to write his own new, job description as head of hospitality.

Hiring cats for distillery work has a long tradition, as these businesses have a lot of grain on site and where there’s grain, there are mice.

Ricky is so successful in his hospitality role that the distillery is planning on hiring a few other felines, all with Ricky’s medical condition. Not only will they have more feline ambassadors but they’ll provide a home to cats that otherwise would not find a forever place to live. Bravo to Castle and Keys Distillery! I have requested the humans to try the product from this feline friendly company and they were quite happy to oblige!

Tabby cat in the Swiss ArmyCat Draws Pension Without Lifting a Paw – SwissInfo.ch by Susan Misicka

I have wondered about all the working cats I write about, what do they do when they retire? Is there a retirement for them? We know that Matilda the Algonquin cat has retired but nothing is said about what kind of retirement she received. In this story, we find out what retirement is like for a Swiss Army cat.

This feline began hanging around the military base in Lyss in 2004. She was a bored house cat and wanted to find excitement that only life in the military could provide.

The soldiers in the barracks provided her snacks between meals and dubbed her “Broccoli” after the tabby ate some of the green vegetable when a soldier offered it to her.

Despite the fact that Broccoli had a home, she preferred hanging out with the soldiers and was added to the official roster of army animals about three years ago. This roster includes search and rescue and guard dogs, 57 riding horses and 200 pack horses but until Broccoli, no felines.

The feline’s owner and the military came to an agreement that she could enlist. The soldiers contribute to a fund so that she can have healthy meals. She shares an office with Werner Holzer who says she’s a polite and curious office mate.  Since she is an official army animal she receives medical treatment from the army vet.

Now that Broccoli is 14, she is officially retired with the rank of Brigadier but lest you think sh’e is unique, she isn’t the only Swiss animal  getting a pension from public funds.
You can view a video of Broccoli on the original article or check out her own Facebook page  

Walk Through The Web Wednesday 1/18/17

siamese cat in black and white with blue eyes, Alberto, Feline Opines

Hello Friends,
Alberto here. It’s time for me to share my favorite feline tidbits-enjoy!

The Expanse” Season One Re-cat,  The Verge

cat with sci fi costume onSurely you all know by now that cats rule the internet. We pop up in some of the most unusual places and, in this case felines are featured in a season recat of the Sci Fi Series, The Verge.  Disclaimer, if you start watching season 2, you will not see Julie Meow or some of the other characters depicted in this re-cat.

 

Sparkle Cat – Summer’s Wardrobe 

sparklecatoutfitsOk, I admit it, I am a HUGE fan of Summer the Somali cat (also known as Sparkle Cat). I’m not usually a fan boy but I mean, look at her, she’s GORGEOUS!  The female human even got to meet her at BlogPaws last May. I am in the process of launching a campaign for the female human to take me to BlogPaws this May but she says it’s much to far from our far north home. Anyway, as much as I hate when the humans dress me up, Summer is one of those fantastic felines who like dress up and who look purrrrrfectly beautiful. Meows and waves to Summer (and this fan boy would love a purrrsonalized photo from his favorite star)

The Life of a Service Cat – Deziz World

ragdoll service catI have some good feline buddies on the World Wide Web. Two that I correspond with frequently are Dezi and Raena from Deziz World. Now we’ve discussed many things but one thing my friends never told me was that they are service cats. There are many cats with jobs but Dezi and Raena work 24/7. My friends are very talented and they feature great information about service cats, how to find them, train them, etc. Stroll on over there and when you do, tell them “Hi” from their buddy Alberto!

 

Career Cats Hold Jobs – The Virginia Gazette
black and white cat has a job at a feed storeIf you are a regular reader of my weekly mewsings, you know I love featuring articles about cats with jobs. It’s not just that I want the world to know how smart and capable we are, I love the humans who have figured out that cats who are not as fortunate as The Tribe of Five and others can still find safety, a home, regular meals and important work.  There are some wonderful humans at the Heritage Humane Society who founded the Career Cat Program. You can read about Spike who was hired at Jamestown Feed and Seed and about this great feline employment program. I sure wish the female human would look into starting a feline employment agency where we live!

Amelia’s Story-Part 3

Judgments Made
It was about a week after Amelia was at the shelter that I saw a Facebook post that sent me into a tailspin. There was that beautiful Tabby face that I loved and a story of a “heartless

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Amelia being silly

person who adopted her and callously brought her back to the shelter”. The write up said, “I thought I had a forever home…”

My throat closed up, tears flowed and I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. I had enough guilt as it was. I had done everything I could to help Amelia find her perfect home and yet, I trusted that with the letter I wrote, the shelter would write that she was a wonderful, loving feline who would do best in a one cat family.

Misunderstandings Resolved
Fortunately I know the folks at the shelter and I often volunteer there. I sent an email to the shelter director and received an immediate call back. To make a long story short, the individual who posted the information about Amelia had not read the letter I sent, nor did they have any of the backstory. They had fallen in love with Amelia and went into “protector mode” making an erroneous judgment about her return.

I fully understand the passion and compassion of the wonderful folks at our shelter and I didn’t want to know who wrote the post, I just wanted to ensure that Amelia’s story was known so that the chances of finding her a suitable forever home were increased.

Our shelter director (one of the best in the country) is passionate in her stance that people should not judge these situations without all the facts.  She was wonderful and the situation was sorted in the best manner for Amelia.

Happy Endings
It was several weeks later that I learned that Amelia had been adopted. I felt as though a ten ton weight had been taken away from my chest. I cried (again) but this time they were tears of thankfulness and joy.

The Emotional After Effects
I cannot tell you the emotional baggage that comes with returning an animal to the

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Oliver

shelter. Last summer we fostered two kittens and when we decided we wanted to bring

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Alberto

them into our home, it was hard filling out the forms and checking
the box that asks, “Have you ever returned an animal to the shelter?” Even though I know and work with the folks at our shelter
even though we received nothing but love and encouragement from the shelter,  I still felt like a pariah, a horrible person who didn’t deserve to adopt cats-ever.

Lesson Learned: The Shelter is Your Friend
I pray that no one ever finds themselves in the same situation we had with Amelia. If you do, and have employed every resource available, think of your shelter as your ally, not your enemy. I mentioned that we have a top class shelter and I do not exaggerate.  I would never have taken Amelia back to the shelter if they were not a “no-kill” facility and if they weren’t dedicated to see animals in their care find appropriate forever homes.  At the end of the day, it’s about the animal and any fear or pride or anguish we felt in the decision to return her was for her best interest and the best interest of our fur kids at home.

I am pleased to tell you that our shelter has recently implemented a program called “Home to Home” and it’s specific purpose is to give people who can no longer keep their pets the opportunity to find new, loving homes without having to drop pets off at the shelter. Pets go from one home into another.  Had this been in place when we had Amelia, I could have been a part of helping her find a new home.

Lesson Learned: Closure is Important
That brings me to another point.  Although I am thrilled that Amelia has a new home, I have no idea where she went. I don’t know if her new family received the letter and health records I sent with her. I will never rid myself completely of the sadness of losing Amelia but I believe, had I known where she went and that she’s happy I could completely put those feelings to rest.

Final Thoughts
As you can see, the happy ending I promised did happen. We still miss Amelia but I choose to believe she is happy and enjoying her new home. We still deal with the repercussions of

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Jasmine

that experience. Jasmine has not fully integrated back into the household but having the kittens come and “visit” her has helped resocialize her. We are also working regularly to bring Lily together with Jasmine.

I will be doing the happy dance the day we open the bedroom door and Jasmine struts down the hallway and enjoys the company of the other felines and all the places she used to love to sit and sleep and play.

Amelia’s story changed us.  Before we fostered, we felt we didn’t have the right to adopt anymore and the fear of finding ourselves in another “Amelia” situation terrified us. I still continue to assess what happened with Amelia, watching episodes of “My Cat From Hell” and wondering, “Would that have worked with Amelia?, Should we have done that with Amelia?” I doubt I’ll ever stop trying to figure out what happened and how we might have been able to fix it and keep Amelia in our home.

I wanted to tell you Amelia’s story because I know we are not the only people who have found ourselves in this painful situation. I wanted to tell you Amelia’s story to offer hope to those who have been or will be in our situation. Returning an animal to the shelter does not make you a horrible person, nor does it make the animal horrible. Returning an animal to the shelter is a “dirty little secret” that many are afraid to share. In fact, some shelters and rescue organizations will not allow you adopt if you have ever returned an animal. All too often, people are too quick to judge and censure those in these situations. Granted, there are far too many people who treat animals like possessions, tossing them away when they “don’t fit, people who are not willing to invest the time, money and heart it takes to help an animal fit into their household. But for those of us who have moved heaven and earth to keep an animal in our homes, we beat ourselves up enough, we don’t need any help.

imageWe bring animals into our homes with the intent of offering them love and a forever home.  Love isn’t always enough and forever isn’t always forever. Despite the heartache of Amelia’s story, we believe that the journey of love and adoption of an animal is a risk we will always be willing to take.

 

Follow Up To Amelia’s Story

Amelia’s Story Part 2- The Right Thing is Often the Hardest Thing

Our house was a feline war zone. Pheromone plug ins graced every outlet on both floors, other “behavior modification” products were purchased, air cans placed to keep Amelia away from strategic areas, barricades set up, new toys to distract her and a multitude of other items.

Her unhappiness and frustration did not abate with the products or the extra time we spent assuring her that she was loved and had a special place in our feline family.

She continued to act out and bully the other cats.  I reached a point where I hated walking out of the bedroom in the morning. My husband would provide a report of the places Amelia had peed, what she had destroyed and who she had terroriized. He was running out of patience and I couldn’t blame him. I worked harder to ensure that everything in the house was pristine and any damage was repaired in an attempt to mitigate his frustration.

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Amelia

I still loved this little Tabby with all my heart. She would sit with me when I came home from work. All the petting , attention and loving had no effect on her behavior.

We live in a rurual area in the Inland Northwest, about two hours from a major city which made the search for a cat behaviorist impossible. I would have driven the two hours if I could have found a behaviorist in that city but there was no one. My vets are amazing but after they exhausted all the medial tests and tricks they knew, they were at a loss to help us. I found a few folks online who offered to speak to me over the phone for $75.00 an hour but I know enough about cat behavior that this remote chat session would do nothing to help us without them meeting Amelia and understanding her surroundings.

In desperation, I wrote the one person in the world that I knew could help us, Jackson Galaxy..  I can’t tell you how often I corresponded with Jackson Galaxy’s company, begging them to film an episode of “My Cat from Hell” in our area. I tried to lure him with tales of the beauty of our town (we were named one of the most beautiful small towns in America by Rand McNally). I offered him and his wife our guest room, told him of our desperate situation. I would have driven to LA and chauffered him back here but it was not to be. I received a few canned responses, “Thank you for contacting us but…”    In retrospect, I’m just thankful that Jackson Galaxy didn’t take out a restraining order against me. I would like to go on record here: I am not a certifiable crazy cat lady and, if Jackson Galaxy every chooses to visit our beautiful little town, I promise I will not stalk him.

If I couldn’t get the man himself here, I figured I could learn from him so I spent hours watching episodes of My Cat from Hell, looking for similar situations and inspiration. I ordered several of the Spirit Essences from his company and, although the Bully Remedy seemed to have no effect on Amelia, the Safe Space for Cats and Self Esteem did seem to calm Jasmine.

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Amelia

Still, the day came when, we knew we had to do something about our situation.  With broken hearts, and tear-stained faces we were forced to admit that it was clear Amelia could no longer live with us.  What a horrible day that was. I was a sobbing, blubbering mess so my husband went to the shelter to talk to them about our dilemma. We are blessed to have a wonderful shelter in our town, not only is it no-kill but the people there are fiercely dedicated to the dogs and cats in our community and they will always take an animal back that was adopted from there. Who adopts an animal and falls in love with it thinking, “I can always take her back if it doesn’t work?” We certainly didn’t. We’d spent our entire married life rescuing cats and blending  them successfully into our feline family. Had someone told me we would be returning a cat to the shelter I would have told them they were insane.

I will be ever grateful to Mary at our shelter who listened to my husband’s story, asked him important questions and then suggested that we bring Amelia back to the shelter. She didn’t judge, she showed empathy and soothed our broken hearts when she told him, “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out”.  Those six words were the most important words she could have uttered.

The shelter had reached its maximum cat allotment so we couldn’t bring Amelia that day. Mary put us on a waiting list, saying the shelter would call when there was room for her.

I am a person of action and the waiting was killing me so I sat at the computer and wrote a three page letter about Amelia’s story for the shelter and for her new family. I explained how loved she was, that she was a good cat in a bad situation and that in the right house (where she is the only cat) she would be the best pet anyone could want. I talked about how I had bonded with her, how my heart was breaking and that my prayer was she would find a home where she was loved as much as I loved her.  I went to the vet, got all her records and included them with the letter so Amelia would have a better chance on finding a new family. I included our contact information stating that I would be happy to answer any questions they might have.

A few days later, when I came home from work, I could tell by my husband’s face that He had taken Amelia to the shelter. It was another tear-filled evening.

I felt lower than pond scum, returning my beloved cat to the shelter. Had Jackson Galaxy called me any time after she was back at the shelter and told me he would help us work through the problem in our feline family I would have run to the shelter to bring her homed.

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Jasmine

The only thing that helped me through those dark days was the immediate release of tension in the house.  Although Jasmine was still living in our bedroom, she became calmer, less fearful and the other cats were more relaxed as well and so were the humans.

I kept in touch with the shelter. I wanted to do everything I could for Amelia but knew that visiting her would not be a good idea so I purchased her special food, took treats and toys in and checked daily to see how she was doing. A friend of mine worked at the shelter at the time and she was an angel, letting me pester her daily for Amelia updates.

Every night I said a little prayer that Amelia would find the forever home she deserved and every time I came across one of her toys or a photo of her, the tears flowed. I was an emotional mess.

I reflected repeatedly on our failure with Amelia. I was riddled with guilt and sadness. It hovered over me like a fog every day. One internal dialogue looped through my head constantly, “Who returns animals back to the shelter?  Horrible people, that’s who” “Who gives up on a fur kid?  Losers that’s who, people who don’t deserve to care for animals! People who don’t deserve to adopt any more cats, ever again.”

Next Time, Misunderstandings, Judgments , Lessons Learned and Most Importantly, Happy Endings -Amelia’s Story Part 3 

Amelia’s Story-Part 1

Hello,
As my regular readers know, the felines are the voice of this blog but the felines have graciously allowed me to write this story because it’s very important, not just for felines but for the humans who love them.  

There are two things you need to know before you begin reading this piece.  First, this is one of the hardest articles I’ve ever written.  I still can’t write it without shedding tears.  Second, and most important, this story has a happy ending and hopefully a lesson and comfort for those who have been in the same situation, so please stay the course. Amelia’s story sparked my passion for the fear free movement and all the benefits it brings to our fur kids.  

Anita

Meeting Lily

I attended a gala shopper’s evening at our local shelter’s thrift store.  As I admired all the displays and fantastic prices, one of the shelter Board members approached me and said,  “You have to meet a kitten.” I never say no to making a new feline friend so before you could say “meow” I was in the kitten room looking at the most unusual, sweet little round-eyed kitten.

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Lily as a kitten

It took about 10 minutes for me to be completely smitten. My husband and I had been discussing bringing a kitten into our feline tribe and so I quickly snapped the photo you see on the left and texted him, “I found our kitten.”

 Kittens Must Always Come in Pairs

It took several days of conversation before my husband agreed that we could adopt Lily, with one caveat; we had to adopt another kitten as well. He had a good point as integrating a kitten into a household of one seventeen-year old cat and two ten-year old cats might be hard for a single kitten. Two kittens would have each other to play and bond with and the older guys would be spared some of the kitten shenanigans. I agreed and we set off to bring our new fur kids home.

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Amelia

We came home with two fur babies that afternoon. Lily and a spunky little Tabby we named Amelia after Amelia Earhart because she fearlessly flew all over the house and ended up in the highest places.

As much as I loved Lily, it was Amelia who bonded with me the most. Wherever I was, she was there, keeping me company on a stool in the kitchen while I cooked, always near, always interested in what I was doing, always seeking me out.

Both kittens bonded well, with each other, the rest of the cats and with us. Amelia’s, smart and sassy personality and her eyes that seemed to speak to me inspired the writing of this blog. I never tired of watching her exhibit her own brand of catitude. And, as a fiction writer, I could just imagine what this little character was thinking.

Happy Kittens, Happy Feline Family

As Amelia’s  distinctive personality inspired me I created the blog, “Amelia’s World”. She  shared her opinion about visiting the vet, her life with the other felines and anything else that captured her interest.  Lily was content to live a more private life away from public view.

The feline “elders” were happy to engage with the kittens on their own terms and pleased that the little ones had each other to play with. All was well with our feline tribe.

Our Sorrow

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Miss P.

Fast forward one year. Our beloved Miss P., Alpha of the tribe, died at the age of 18. We were inconsolable. She was our first fur kid, the first year of our marriage.

Her death changed the dynamic of our feline tribe. Our now ten-year old male, Tucker, slipped into the role of Alpha. He was the only male and although he’s  an easy-going, no drama kind of guy, his sixteen pounds helped him secure the position with little effort on his part.

Tucker’s sibling, Jasmine took it all in stride. As long as she could come out on the upstairs deck with us, sit on a chair and watch the birds, her life was complete.  Lily had no leadership aspirations but it was a completely different situation with Amelia.

Our Struggle

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Tucker

No matter how hard Amelia fought to take control,  and fight she did, Tucker wasn’t having it. He quickly let Amelia know that he was now the Boss Cat.  We watched helplessly as our previously harmonious house became a battle field.

Amelia’s frustration exhibited itself in numerous ways. One was aggression toward the other cats.  Tucker was too big to bully. Lily stood up to Amelia and refused to back down.  Poor Jasmine however, was too timid to stand her ground. She had never been bullied before and  her sweet, shy nature made her a perfect target. Her response to Amelia’s aggression was to run from  and hide. The  decision to run emboldened Amelia, who quickly realized that Jasmine was the best target for her frustration.

The battles became louder and more horrific and created an untenable situation for Jasmine, who retreated to our bedroom and ultimately took up residence there.

IMAG0004Without access to Jasmine, Amelia’s frustration grew. She went from my sweet, funny and mischievous little cat to an upset and angry cat. She exhibited her unhappiness by peeing all over the house. Each morning and evening became a black light excursion with long cleaning sessions. We spent hundreds of dollars on pheromone plug-ins, air cans, moving furniture, buying new area rungs and even new furniture. We spent extra time with Amelia, playing with her and loving her, attempting to calm  her aggression. We also made numerous visits to the vet to ensure there were no underlying health issues.

We loved this smart, sassy Tabby and despite the situation we now found ourselves in, we were committed to do whatever it took to remedy the situation. Almost a year and hundreds of dollars later, nothing had changed. We were all, human and feline, living in a continual state of  stress and fear.

Next time: the Right thing Is Often the Hardest Thing -Amelia’s Story Part 2 

Pawsitively Honored

Hello All,
Many thanks to https://peanutfreemigrainemom.wordpress.com/ for nominating us for the Liebster Award.   The felines are otherwise engaged so they have asked their human assistant to do this posting.

The Liebster Award is a new-comer award given by bloggers to other bloggers.  It creates a great platform for new blogs to be discovered and build communications. The best thing about this award is that it creates a lot of encouragement and support within our blogging community.

The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Thank your nominator.
  • Share the award on your blog.
  • Answer 10 questions asked to you.
  • Ask 10 questions to 10 new nominees (who have fewer than 300 followers).
  • Notify them via social media.

My responses to the 10 questions asked of me are:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
    I’ve been blogging for quite a while but when I discovered pet blogging, I never looked back (nor do I update my other blogs as often as I should because I enjoy writing this one so much)
  2. How did you decide on your blog name?
    My blog is written from the point of view of my felines. I absolutely believe that if my cats could write (or speak) they would have some interesting and funny things to say. And I can assure you that even though they can’t speak or write, they “opine” on just about everything.
  3. What is your favorite blog post on your site?
    It’s hard to say but The True Adventures of a Flying Kitten is a good choice. It has all the things a good story requires, drama, suspense, adventure and some heart stopping action.
  4. What is your best advice to anyone considering blogging?
    Blog about what you love and blog often.
  5. What is your favorite blog to read (besides your own)?
    Phew, that’s a hard one. As a member of the BlogPaws Influencer group I have so many to choose from. This week’s favorite is Stunning Keisha.  Keisha is a ghetto cat who shares her view of the world.
  6. How did you celebrate your last Birthday?
    In my kayak on a lake, couldn’t invite our feline bloggers as they have issues with      water.
  7. Do you prefer winter, spring, summer or fall? Why?
    Fall is my favorite time of the year. The colors are beautiful where I live and the feline bloggers and I enjoy sitting on the upstairs deck enjoying the fall weather.
  8. What is your favorite home cooked meal?
    Paleo Shepherds Pie
  9. If you could be any type of animal, which would be? Why?
    A feline of course, because they are fabulous!
  10. What makes you smile?
    Watching our kittens play together.

Liebster

The new blogs I am nominating are:

These are the 10 questions I have for my nominees (notice the animal theme)

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. How did you decide on your blog name?
  3. What is your favorite blog post on your site
  4. What one piece of advice would you give to other bloggers?
  5. What new blog have you discovered lately and why do you like it?
  6. What is the best thing about animal/pet blogging?
  7. Is your blog purely an act of love or does it also bring in income?
  8. Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? Why (and how) or why not?
  9. What is the one thing you would do for your local rescue or shelter if you had unlimited funds?
  10. What is your fur child (children’s) favorite toy?

I hope you all participate, this is a wonderful way to meet new bloggers and get your blog out there!
Regards,
Anita,
the Human Lackey and servant to Five Fabulous Felines.