Walk Through The Web Wednesday 5/23

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hi There Furiends,
Alberto here. I’m walking again and took my actual first walk of the season with the Female Human. We had a discussion about my need for a slightly larger and comfortale halter, a guy grows in a year! But I digress.

Here are my Wednesday web wanderings, enjoy!
Purrs & Head Bonks,

Siamese cat with blue eyes

5 Destinations For The Obsessive Cat Lover In Your Life- awol.junkee.com

CatTravel

I’ve covered cat cafe’s and cat islands so this may be a bit of a red-do but it is a nice list for travelling feline lovers.  Now I want to find out about that museum for internet cats, how do I and the rest of The Tribe of Five get in there?

5 Tips for Training Your Cat That Actually Work – Bustle

training cats

What’s with the number 5 this week? But I digress. The Female Human has had cat training on the brain lately as she’s writing a mystery that includes a sniffer dog and two felines that help solve a crime. Purrsonally, the entire training thing bores me but I am a smart feline and know that if I learn certain things, I get great rewards so maybe I shouldn’t be too hasty!

The Million Cat Challenge Reaches Goal of Savings Cats One Year Early – USMagazine.com

million cat challenge

Did you humans know there was a million cat challenge? Did you know that more than 1,000 animal shelters in North America purrticipated?  Did you know the campaign began four years ago and as of December 31, 2017 all those shelters saved 1,148,129 cats?

There’s nothing better than saving feline lives and this group has accomplished that big time. Two paws up!

I Photograph Men With Their Cats And The Result Is Cuteness Overload! – Bored Panda

men and their cats

The Female Human always says that, “Real men love cats”. We know this to be true in our house because The Male Human is a cat lover. This photographer immortalizes the love of male humans and their cats and the photos are pawsitively wonderful!

8 Tips For Bonding With Your Cat The First Week You Get One – Bustle

tips for bonding with your new cat

Well, looks like we broke the “5 things” trend. I bet the million folks who adopted those felines from the previous article were wondering how to make their kitty feel at home in their new abode. These tips are very good and work well whether you’re bringing a kitten or an older kitty into your home and heart. We felines adapt well into new surroundings, all we ask is that you have a little patience and a little care as we get used to you and the new place.

 

 

 

 

The Female Human Opines

Hi There Folks.,
Alberto here. As you know, the name of this blog is “FELINE Opines” but once in a while we allow the Human to opine on something we think is important. This post she did for KatzenWorld is a very important subject and highlights a new program called Home to Home  (created and implemented in our own local shelter, (Panhandle Animal Shelter) where Oliver and I and Lily came from.

We think this is an important message and we hope you do too.
Purrs & Head Bonks,
Siamese cat with blue eyes

WhenForeverIsntForevber

Click here for the story

 

 

So, You’re Visiting Our Humans…

allguestsapproved

Tucker Opines

cross eyed Siamese catTucker here. The home of the Tribe of Five has been the destination for a number of visitors this year. We normally live a fairly quiet life, doing what we want, when we want, pretty much where we want. The arrival of human visitors always puts a bit of a crimp in our lifestyle.

There are a number of pre-guest things that happen in our house that we felines find objectionable. There is the copious use of the vacuum monster, the aggressive mop and the fact that some spaces, normally available to us are suddenly restricted.

The female human is a bit obsessive about cleaning  and boy does she ramp up when people are coming to stay at our house. There’s a lot of toothbrush around the moldings, edges of the shower, etc. Really, in all my thirteen  years, I have never seen a visiting human bend down to inspect the moldings in our house. I think the female human needs to chill.

This flurry of activity is the first indication that guests will be arriving.  And then comes phase two, the guests arrive!

Each member of the Tribe of Five have certain requests of any interlopers….errr…guests that come to our home.

First, please remember that there are specific areas we have designated as our own personal rest spots. For me, it’s on top of the down cushion on the big red chair. When  sitting in my chair, please do not lean too hard against the cushion in order not to disturb me.

You may want to bring your own personal sticky, roller thing. Although the female human has many around the house…in a house of five felines cat hair is the gift that keeps on giving.

Please be respectful of our schedule. The male human prepares our wet food dinner at approximately 4:00pm each day. If you have plans for the humans, I ask that you honor our dinner schedule. What you do after that is of no consequence to us.

Alberto Opines

Siamese Cat Sitting on suitcaseAlberto here. The humans have this wonderful room with a big, comfy bed, lots of soft quilts and a perfect view of the trees,  waterfall and forest below. This is one of my favorite nap places. When you arrive, the humans will escort you to this room, and then tell you that it is perfectly fine for you to keep the door closed. Do not believe them. It is not perfectly fine; it is in fact, quite rude in my estimation.

How am I supposed to get a nap when you shut my only access to this wonderful place? You visiting humans bring interesting smells on your shoes and luggage and we felines need a chance to come in and do a thorough sniffing observation. How can we know where you’ve been and what animals you have petted when you deny us access to this room?

When you sleep, it is particularly nice for us to be able to come in and walk across your face and sit on your chest so please, when our humans say, “You’ll probably want to keep the bedroom door closed” accept this for the lie that it is.

Oliver Opines

black and white cat with a heart over his eyeOliver here. When Alberto and I were first brought to our home as fosters, we were very tiny and the humans used the large guest bathroom as our nursery.  This is why I have a purrrticular fondness for this room.

In addition, the female human has the room decorated in black and white and I feel that it shows off my own beautiful coloring to it’s best advantage (and, if I sit very still, it works as fairly good camouflage).

One of my favorite games is “sneak in the bathroom, hide in the shower and then jump out” when the guest humans are sitting on the white, throne thing. I derive great delight in this although I must confess, some of the guest humans let out little scream sounds and act like they’re upset. Really, have you seen me? I’m a cute little guy with a black heart over my eye, how scary can I be?

The humans will use the same line regarding the guest bathroom door as they do with the guest bedroom door, giving guest humans full purrrmission to lock us out. Do not believe their lies. And for those guest humans who do choose to keep the door closed. Alberto and I will position ourselves in front of it and wait for you to come out so we can rush in.

Lily Opines

cat in windowLily here. I am extremely shy and human guests send me into a state of absolute terror. If you want to start out on the right paw with me, I BEG you, do NOT ring the doorbell! A soft knock on the door freaks me out as it is, but the horrible door bell will send me down the stairs in a panic and you may never see me again during your stay.

Because I am a scaredy-cat and none too sociable, I will probably remain downstairs during the length of your stay. If you insist on coming downstairs into my territory, I ask you to be extremely careful before you sit on the sofa.  That lump you see under the couch cover is probably me.

If you go into the female human’s office downstairs, please observe the rules. It is expected that I will accompany you but none of the other felines are allowed. This is a contract I have had with the human for quite a while. It works well for us and I expect you to honor it.

Some of us are referred to as “darters” and when the humans tell you to make sure we don’t get out, they are very serious. We live in a woodsy area and there are a number of woodland creatures who show up and stare into the downstairs sliders.  The upstairs deck is not so safe either. Tucker has fallen off the balcony twice into the ravine and Oliver launched himself downstairs when he was just a kitten. If you want our company outside, the humans will show you where they keep the pop up tent catio that allows us to be outside and stay safe.

If you are going to sit on a stool at the counter, you may not want to leave any meat items you are eating unattended. This goes for glasses of water as well. We probably won’t drink it but there’s a good chance it will end up on the floor.

Finally, when the female human does her nightly feeding of the mama raccoon, house rules state that I am to have a little of the cat food she gives them. It’s our little ritual.

That about covers it but remember, you may go your entire stay without ever meeting me.

Jasmine Opines

Siamese cat on fur throwI am the “invisible” feline, Tucker’s 13-year old sister who was bullied severely and now lives in the human’s bedroom . The female human wrote about this.  I am happy to say, things are progressing. Since the kittens Alberto and Oliver came to live with us, they visit me regularly. Lily comes in for a while every evening and the female human takes me for regular visits to the rest of the house. She says that one of her happiest days will be when the bedroom door is open and I roam the house again.

My tips are simple, please don’t ask to meet me, it might freak me out. Please don’t keep my humans up too late as bedtime is “me” time with my humans.

I am the least affected by company but I do know how much the humans enjoy those who come to visit so I say, come and visit, enjoy the view from the guest room and be sure and bring light colors and clothes that cat hair won’t cling to. And for heaven’s sake, leave your canines at home!

P.S. Don’t forget to check your luggage before you leave, Alberto is fast, sneaky and loves to hide in suitcases.

Walk Through the Web Wednesday

Hello,
siamese cat in black and white with blue eyes, Alberto, Feline OpinesAlberto here. It’s my favorite day of the week (well, except maybe for Caturday). I have pawed through all the listings my minion…errr assistant presented to me and have chosen my top five blog posts. Without furrrrr-ther ado, I present them to you now. Enjoy and may all your days be purrry.
Your Friend,
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The first post comes from 15 and Meowing…..“Are You A Good Mouser?”

Jacke the tabby cat sitting in catnip in the gardenThe humans at our house are always grumbling about the money they spend on the Tribe of Five and often threaten to find us jobs. Well, my feline friends, here’s a chance to prove your worth to the humans in cold, hard cash! $500.00 cash for the top cat mouser! Just have the humans take a video of you mouse hunting but hurry, contest deadline is Sept. 15. We think our cousin Jake (photo at left) should enter. Our aunt calls him a “weapon of mouse destruction”. I would suggest,Cuz, that you spend a little less time in the catnip and a little more time honing  your craft.

Chirpy Cats has a great post about multiple cat dynamics….The Scent of Harmony, The Grooming Cat. 

ChirpyCatsThe Tribe of Five has some grooming rituals but we never realized there was intention in the way that happens. And, with a Tribe of Five, sometimes there’s a little issue with the harmony so this article was very helpful!  Chirpy Cats say that “In every multi-cat household there is that one cat that unwittingly performs a very important task – sharing and maintaining the communal scent of the whole group through grooming.” Now the humans are watching us like hawks trying to figure out who that designated feline is in our Tribe!

Three Chatty Cats has a wonderful story about the human-feline bond entitled, A Tale of Two Kitties by Jacques Bouchard
2016-08-31_jacquesbouchard_01

I’m a sucker for a good, heartwarming story and this one is just that. If you ever had any doubt that we felines can impact the lives of you humans in a big way, this story will convince you. I know how much our humans have learned from the felines who went before us and I like to hear them speak fondly of Miss. P and Buster. We kitties have an important part to play in the lives of our humans!

 

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat ‘s new discussion, They’ve Landed is kinda’ scary

BearCatMomma Kat and Bear Cat are always having conversations about all kinds of stuff. This one was a little freaky as Bear is insistent that there are aliens in the house and their home base is the dishwasher. Now Oliver and I have often wondered if some of those loud machines in our house are alien habitats so as soon as the human finished reading this to me I did a complete alien sweep of the house! (Suggest you do the same.)

Traveling Cats has an amazing tale of The Cat From Gimmelwald (Switzerland)

gimmelwald_switzerland_mountainsNow, I am great with leading my humans down the stairs, up the stairs and into the bathroom but this cat gives leading a whole new meaning. She’s a local mountain guide cat and she recently made world-wide news when she guided a lost hiker down the mountain. Wow, you go little tapfere Katze. (the female human says this means brave cat in German)

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

AmeliaYells+_Flowers

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

IllieKitten_1

Oliver

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

AlKitten_1

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

JazCloseUp_LR

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 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.

LilyKitten

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.

Amelia

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

PRoses

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

BigFootTuck

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 

Moving Past The Great Barricade

JazonFur

Hello Felines and Friends of Felines,
Jasmine here. My friend (or more accurately “frenimy”), Lily posted about the “Great Barricade” and I thought I would give you an update. (If you haven’t read the reason for the barricade or my self-imposed exile, you can learn about it here.

I began to feel safer and the humans opened the gate (of The Great Barricade) in the mornings. I manged several forays through the house, sat in the kitchen window and munched some wheatgrass, headed downstairs and inspected the TV room and the human’s office space. Those were a glorious few days but then Lily began to figure out my schedule and she’d wait around the corner for me to step out of the bedroom and she’d chase me back in the room.

The humans are quite distraught about this (especially the female human). I heard them talking about something called “space switching” not sure that is and not sure if I will like it.

IMG_1351[1]There has been one interesting development. The humans have added two shelter kittens to our family. They are very tiny. One is named Alberto (Contador) after the famous Spanish cyclist because he races around the house like he’s competing in the Tour de France.  Alberto (or Al) is a pretty good guy (as far as kittens are concerned). The other one, Oliver (Twist) is named because his main focus in life is eating and, if he spoke English, he’d hold out his cat bowl and say, “More cat food please”. He’s also fairly congenial as well.  The interesting thing about these kittens are that they are brothers. Evidently this is something the humans understand but I find quite perplexing.OliverUnderTable

The female human has introduced both these little whippersnappers to me and after the obligatory hissing conversations, I believe they have acknowledged my place as Alpha female and I think we just might be friends (or benevolent ruler and subjects).   As you can see from the photo below, Oliver and I are sharing some morning conversation in my domain.
JazAndOliver

So dear friends (human and feline), although we’ve had some setbacks, the “Great Barrier” has proven to be a good thing as I can now look into the hallway and hear the sounds of every day life in the household. I (and the humans) are hoping that Lily will become so intrigued by the kittens that she will forget all about me and I will, one day soon, be sashaying around the house like the good old days.

Jasmine.