Connecting cats and their people

We are ten chirpy felines sharing our space with two humans who adore us. We share tips on connecting cats and their people, as well as ideas on cat environment enrichment and other fun stuff. We have lots to talk about as our name suggests and we love sharing our feline stories to all who care to hear. We offer advice to newbie cat lovers as well as seasoned ailurophiles and show you how to listen to your cat's chirp!

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1
Marvellous Monday Haiku with Jimmy
2
How to make an outdoor bed in three easy steps.
3
Caturday Art: Cats among the Catmint
4
Sprint to the finish line
5
Sunday Selfie: Pansy Buffet for Ollie
6
Caturday Art: Summer mane in bloom
7
Wordless Wednesday – Battle of the Tunnels
8
How Charlie found his forever home
9
It’s Canada Day! But what does that mean for our furry friends?
10
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Cat Moms!
11
12 Tips for keeping your senior cat comfortable
12
Why we decided to stop declawing cats – Interview with two no-declaw clinics
13
Declawing – why it needs to stop
14
The Cat Garden
15
Happy St. Patrick’s day, with Love

Marvellous Monday Haiku with Jimmy

Happy Monday all! I’m Jimmy the polydactyl cat and I’d like to introduce you to our new Weekly Chirp called Marvellous Monday Haiku. Why Monday? Well, Monday is the day the big lady cat finds incredibly hard to ease into, especially after spending the weekend with us Chirpy Cats. So a bunch of us have decided that we will be writing some inspiring and uplifting haiku to help her get going and uplift her spirits, in addition to her morning coffee. And what’s so ‘marvellous’ about Monday? Well, nothing really, after all, she has to go back to work and leave us. See, we could have named it Melancholic Monday or Mediocre Monday, and while it might be true, that would be defeating the whole purpose. Besides, that’s just plain depressing. So, why haiku? Well, if cats could speak, we would pretty much communicate in haiku, no beating about the bush: “My bowl is empty, Feed me now my human slave, Next time be quicker” you get my drift. Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry which follows the pattern 5-7-5, meaning the first line contains five syllables, second line, 7 and the last line has five.

I’m kicking off with just a gallery of three photos for my haiku debut. See below and let’s hope that this little corner will start her day on the right footing and hopefully, brighten yours too.

  • Cat in the tunnelMorning seeks the sun, Follow me my whiskers kiss, All your woes goodbye.
  • Cat lies on his backBelly up for you, I promise it's not a trap, I want to hug you.
  • Jimmy the cat near plantsThreadbare swaying in winds, The lush green songs of summer, Fading into Fall?

Do you like Mondays? What do you do to get going in the mornings? Let’s hear it from the kitties and their humans in the comments below.

How to make an outdoor bed in three easy steps.

Hello furriends! I’m Sly Pie (nickname: Bobotie) and I would like to show you a bed that I have made for myself out in the catio. Well, I didn’t exactly make it myself, the big lady cat put it in there and I have modified it to suit my needs. It’s very different from my inside beds because it has these soft juicy chewy leaves that I can munch on before I go for a morning nap.

To make my bed:

  1. Climb into pot, balancing on the edge. Make sure all obstacles such as spikes or silly ornaments are pushed aside.
  2. Move to the centre of pot, lay down and flatten foliage by wriggling on your back.
  3. Leave outside perimeter of chewy leaves to hide behind or to nibble on if you so wish. Voilà! Your bed is made!

I’m not sure if the big lady cat wanted to keep this bed looking all pretty because she’s added all sorts of deterrents like wooden spikes and even this silly bird thing. But I managed to get that out of the way. I think she doesn’t seem to mind my little modification to her plant. What does she use it for anyway? See, she even takes pictures of me in it.

Cat sleeps in pot plant

All comfy now, ready for my afternoon nap.

What is Japanese Forest grass?

Forest grass (Hakonechloa Macra) is a great addition to your cat’s salad bar. It’s a slow-growing perennial (I plant it as an annual) which normally grows in a large clump but as you can see, Sly Pie stopped it in its tracks. It is often used for ground cover in shady areas and they come in a lovely chartreuse colour, but this year I could only find the variegated green. Of course, Sly is right, I don’t mind him making his bed with it. That is the idea after all, a bed of grass for kitties to lie in. Well, Sly happened to be the lucky cat who claimed it. Because it is slow-growing, I wait a month for the foliage to flourish before offering it as a snacking bed for the kitties. It looks a bit ratty in the end but that’s okay, I have other smaller pots that I plan to bring inside for their salad bar in the Autumn. For more on cat safe plants visit The Cat Garden

We have joined the Sunday Selfie Blog Hop hosted by The Cat on My Head where you can ready about Swizzle, the beautiful senior kitty looking for her forever home and other stories.

Caturday Art: Cats among the Catmint

Cats walking among the catmint plants

Mr Jack, the leader of the pack.

Happy Caturday Furriends! It’s Mr Jack here, and today I feature in our Caturday Doodle blog hop, hosted by Athena Cat Goddess. Well, it features Baggy too, the brown tabby on the left, and Jimmy Fancy Feet on the right, but as you can see I’m the centre of attention. All my pals follow my lead, somewhat. You see, Baggy thinks he’s the leader, as he always powder puffs my other housemates when they’re in his path. He tried that once with me and never again! I’m also known as the social facilitator because I like to groom my friends and spread the communal scent. It’s all about keeping the peace and spreading the love. Sometimes.

Like most cats, we love catnip, but we also like sniffing the catmint plant and watching the bees and butterflies as they circle around the purple flowers. Our big lady cat likes to plant this around our tunnel too, because it looks pretty and we like to watch those fuzzy black and yellow flying things. They have a strange purr. But the catmint that we really go crazy for is the one with the white flowers. The big lady cat explains below.

So what’s the difference between catnip and catmint?

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) is the most popular variety of catmint among catlovers the world over. Nepetalactone is the organic compound found in catnip that sends our furry friends into a euphoric frenzy. I wish I could find a way to extract this oil and bottle it, but for now, I will keep harvesting the plant for kitties enjoyment throughout the winter. It has a more bushy, weedy appearance but redeems itself with pleasant looking white flowers. Bees and butterflies are also attracted to this plant. It is a perennial and comes back each year but I prefer to plant fresh ones in hanging baskets in the main catio.

Catmint (Nepeta Faassenii) is a pleasant looking mint variety with beautiful lavender flowers that attracts bumblebees and butterflies. It’s a perennial ornamental and comes back each year with very little care as they are super drought tolerant. Just a nice shearing after the first blooms and they keep blooming into late Autumn. Some cats are attracted to this variety too, but not with the same fervour and excitement as they are to it’s catnip cousin.

Cat among the catmint and catnip

What is that strange purring flying thing?

I will be posting more on catnip and how to grow and harvest it so that your kitties can enjoy their own home grow supply!

Caturday Art blog hop is hosted by Athena Cat Goddess, so please hop over there to see some quirky and crazy entries. Join the fun!

Art was drawn on iPad using a stylus called Pencil.

Caturday Art blog hop with Athena Cat Goddess

 

Sprint to the finish line

Cat running through tunnel

I’m not quite ready to quit just yet.

Fifteen year old Ninhsy Earl Grey, also known as Puma boy, has seen some interesting things in his life. He has even been to the beautiful Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, his country of birth and has travelled in three different countries with his pal Sarabi. These days he takes it slowly and loves spending time atop his favourite perch or just teaching his humans that patience is a virtue and that every moment with loved ones is priceless.

In May he was diagnosed with CKD (chronic kidney disease) and we’re doing all we can to make him feel good and enable him to enjoy the Autumn years of his life. Below are some photos of him having a ‘sprint’ in the tunnel, in his moment of sunset ‘zoomies’. Puma Boy has never been known for speed. Even in his youth he did things in his stride. He surprised us with quite a display of athleticism that we haven’t seen in a while, as if to say “I’m not ready to give up just yet.”

 

Senior cat running

Ready steady go! Like a bolt out of the blue, here I come!

 

Senior cat running

I won’t break any records but this sprint feels good!

 

Senior cat in tunnel

Made it to the finish line! I’m loving life.

 

Resting cat in tunnel

Perfect spot for a rest.

 

A fifteen second video where he shows that all is good on a Caturday morning in May.

Read Earl Grey’s debut post where he laments about Pi day

I am still learning lots about CKD and would love to hear people’s stories in the comments below.

Sunday Selfie: Pansy Buffet for Ollie

Hello everyone! I’m Ollie and I’m happy to be featuring in our first Sunday Selfie ever, hosted by The Cat on my Head – Kitties Blue. This is a momentous event for me so I will be putting my best paw forward. So in keeping with selfie culture on the inter-webs I have a few great angled shots and I think I have found my ‘good’ side.  But here’s the thing, I absolutely love pansies and when faced with a bunch, I have to shove my head right in and start masticating like a cow. Those beautiful petals are wonderful to behold, but tastes pretty darn awesome too. Now before you go thinking that I am being a naughty boy, I can assure you that our big lady cat plants them especially for us cats! It’s safe for us to eat and guess, what? It’s so irresistible that the big lady cat herself uses it in summer salads and ice cubes. Now let’s get right to my photo shoot…

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Caturday Art: Summer mane in bloom

Happy Caturday furriends! We are joining the Caturday art  blog hop, presented by Athena Cat Goddess. Jimmy is the subject of today’s Caturday Doodle, wearing a sunflower hat and like most cats, Jimmy doesn’t like wearing hats. For our Canada Day post photo shoot, his hat lasted a mere six seconds on his head! We also have one of those lion hats for cats and no way was that going onto his head. So I thought I would be sneaky and draw him wearing a sunflower mane. There are quite a few outdoor cats around our area sporting their summer ‘lion cut’ and this is as close to a lion cut that Jimmy will get. So this gets me wondering, do your cats like wearing hats?

Jimmy the cat, cat wearing sunflower hat

“As long as the furless lady cat doesn’t put anything on my head, I approve this drawing” (Jimmy)

What’s so special about sunflowers anyway?

Everything! It’s almost the end of summer and there’s a whole lot of activity in the catio garden. Bees are pollinating, birds sing and those garden bandits, the beloved squirrels, are waiting in line for some ripe sunflower seeds. We like to plant giant sunflowers each summer, where they grow on the perimeter of the catio, creating shade for kitties on a hot summer’s day, as well as gracing us with their smiling bright faces. There is something so childlike and innocent about the modest sunflower, yet something so powerful and majestic at the same time. As we enjoy the garden with the kitties, the giant sunflower blooms are not shy with their showy bright petals as they follow the sun until sunset, making their cheery presence known. Sunflowers are incredibly easy to grow and just need some staking as they climb their way up very rapidly. They are non-toxic to cats and most animals, so plant away!

Sunflowers

Smiling sunflowers put on a cheery show all day long for the cats and the humans.

Artwork created using an iPad and drawing stylus called Pencil.

 

Wordless Wednesday – Battle of the Tunnels

We’re finally joining the Wordless Wednesday Blogpaws hop for some hump day fun. Today features Sly at his ‘pretend’ ticket booth at the entrance to the ground tunnel and he takes his job quite seriously. Anyone who tries to pass without paying the fee gets a powder puff.

Catio tunnel entrance

“If you’d like to pass, tunnel toll is five bags of catnip please.”

 

Kitty walk

“Okay, let’s see who is trying to sneak in from the south entrance. All looks clear”

But the tables are turned on the bridge tunnel. Will Sly be allowed to pass?

Kitty walk tunel

George is on the other side, I wonder if he will let me in.”

 

Two cats meet at the tunnel

Sly: “Please Sir George, can I pass through?” George: “Condo”s taken kiddo, move along now son”

 

Two cats meet in tunnel

“Um, what do you think folks, should I let the little guy pass?

 

All cats have their favourite spots that they take ownership of at certain times of the day. What’s your favourite kitty spots and where do they like to hang out for some ‘me’ time?

How Charlie found his forever home

Charlie loves his garden and likes his picture taken next to the flower pots.

Charlie loves his garden and likes his picture taken next to the flower pots.

As we have highlighted in our Canada Day post, we bring you another ‘moving day’ rescue story of how Charlie joined the Chirpy Cats crew. It was December 2014 when I received a text from my husband with a photo of a cat behind bars with large alert eyes and a confident stare. The text read “Our new cat, see his big head”. He must be joking. I thought our Chirpy Cats clan of five was just the right number, you know, like the “Big Five”, in fact, we called them our “Little Big Five” and now he decides to adopt another. That was not on the memo, that was not the plan! He was supposed to just take two of our cats to the vet for their yearly checkup and vaccines, not to be looking at adopting more cats. But what struck me was the reason for abandonment, he was a July 1st cat or as I call them, ‘moving day’ cats, yet another of the many that are abandoned on ‘moving day’ in Quebec. Once my husband had his mind made up about something, he follows through with it all the way, so I knew Charlie was coming to stay and that was that. He wasn’t joking. Below, Charlie speaks his heart out about his brief brush with homelessness and how he spent five months in a shelter before coming to stay with us.

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It’s Canada Day! But what does that mean for our furry friends?

Canada Day with the Chirpycats

Canada day is also “moving day” in the province of Quebec, Canada, where leases expire and there is a mass exodus of people moving to their new apartments. Great news if your new lease allows you to bring your pet with you. But not so great if you are faced with the gut-wrenching decision of having to give up your cat or dog due to a no-pet clause. This is common in Quebec where only 4.2% of landlords accept dogs and pet-friendly accommodation is very hard to come by.

According to the Montreal SPCA, during the months surrounding moving day, July 1st, the number of animals abandoned at The SPCA nearly triples, from around 600 a month to approximately 1600.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the Cat Moms!

Cat Mom

Cat Mom and her thinking cat

Celebrate that special bond

It’s Mother’s day and us cat moms deserve a place at the table. Let’s embrace our cool cat lady-ness and relegate that mythical creature, The Crazy Cat Lady, to the history books. We should proudly celebrate the special bond we share with our feline friends because we have almost come full circle where cats are earning their rightful place as cherished members of our families. They have reclaimed their ‘cool’ badge courtesy of the Internet, the dog park for kitty lovers. Cats have been in vogue for a while now with the likes of celebrity cat ladies, Taylor swift and Katy Purry Perry flaunting their furry felines on social media. There’s a Grumpy cat meme for every situation and who doesn’t like cats in bowties? But more importantly there are more scientific studies being carried out on cat-human relationships and us humans are delving deeper into understanding cats better in order to live in harmony with them. Hooray for the kitties and their humans!

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12 Tips for keeping your senior cat comfortable

Senior cat's birthday

It’s Caturday and it’s my Birthday!

 

Hello friends! Today is Caturday, the day when I get to spend extra long morning snuggles with my humans. But what’s different about this Caturday is that I am officially a geriatric cat. Today is my birthday and I am 15 years old in human years which means I am actually 76 years old in cat years. Although I have slowed down in recent years I am still King of my castle. Being the oldest of the bunch certainly has its perks like having access to my favourite sun puddles and getting extra supplements for my old bones. I would like to share a few tips that my humans do to make the latter part of my years as comfortable for me as possible and to keep me young and healthy at heart.

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Why we decided to stop declawing cats – Interview with two no-declaw clinics

 

Cat with toy

There are a few veterinary clinics in Montreal who have decided to take a solid no-declaw stance and have stopped performing declaws. The Pierrefonds Animal Hospital and the Centre Vétérinaire Riv Sud are two such veterinary clinics. I have reached out to them for an insider view of declawing and why they have taken this major step to stop practicing it. The good news is that both clinics report a growing awareness among their clients about what declawing is. These clients are very willing to accept the many humane alternatives. However, there still seems to be that tiny percentage who will insist, but they now happily decline them. Eventually with persistence and education, hopefully these requests will be a thing of the past. Below is my interview with Anita Cuisinier DVM and Susan Brown DVM.

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Declawing – why it needs to stop

cat showing claws

Scout proudly displaying her claws and feeling confident, the tortie way.

 

Declawing in North America is a controversial topic. I had never heard of declawing before, until I moved to Canada. I knew that North American cats, for the most part, lived an indoor pampered life of luxury and comfort and that of course, like everywhere else, are valued members of their families. What I didn’t know was that there existed a culture of declawing for reasons none other than to spare the couch from damage. Roughly 31% of these pampered North American cats are missing a vital part of their anatomy, their toes. Try as I may, I could not come to grips with the fact that it is done purely for the convenience of the owners with zero benefit to the cat. As someone who has had the honour to have been owned by many clawed cats all her life, the idea of declawing is not only cruel but totally absurd. Why remove a body part that is as vital to them for their functioning and well-being, as our limbs are to us? As many as 28 countries all agree that there is nothing controversial or debatable about the amputation of cats’ toes, it’s just outright inhumane and shouldn’t be practiced.

March 29 is National Declaw Awareness Day. The goal is to create awareness around this heated topic, educate cat guardians about what declawing entails and help put an end to this unnecessary procedure which is still very much rife in North America. But what exactly is declawing and why is it still practiced here?

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The Cat Garden

cat snacking on grass

Mr Jack snacks on some Blue Oat grass

 

Let’s face it, all cats need in terms of greens is a patch of grass and perhaps some catnip to keep the them happy. But what about a kitty jungle to provide dappled shade and fragrant scents, some hiding/stalking spots from which to launch a ninja attack, or just for a simple snack or two from kitty’s very own all-you-can-eat-garden buffet! Below is a list of non-toxic plants and flowers that I have grown in their catio. Not only is it safe for them to munch on, but they provide the closest thing to a natural outdoor setting, where they can fall asleep on a thick patch of grass, or just ‘hide’ behind some foliage while stalking bugs. They also love to smell the flowers even if the plant is not necessarily on the snack menu. A simple to navigate website called Pethelpful lists popular plants which are toxic to cats. Also have a look at the ASPCA website which has an exhaustive list of toxic and non-toxic plants. I found this site really errs on the side of caution as it lists plants that may only cause slight stomach discomfort but nothing serious. Still, better to be safe than sorry, especially if you know your furry friend is indiscriminate and loves his greens, as well as, all cats may react differently to the same plant.

Cats are essentially obligate carnivores, so why do they chew on grass? One explanation for cats eating grass is that it helps to bring up hair balls and offers relief from an upset tummy. Cats in the wild eat every part of their prey, including indigestible parts like bones and feather. Eating grass is like fibre with no significant nutritional value for cats, but helps to expel undigested matter. For your spoiled little Miss Diva cat who doesn’t hunt, this undigested matter is her hair ball. Some cats are more prone to throwing up than others so don’t be alarmed if you see evidence of grass-infused hair balls on your carpet. Below is a list of container plants which are all safe for your furry friends.
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Happy St. Patrick’s day, with Love

St. Patricks's Day kitties
What’s the craic, my friends? I’m excited to be wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have many good memories of my home country of Ireland, where I stayed with my HuMom in green and hilly Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. My friend, Sarabi and I, used to go for long walks on the nearby beaches, climbing over boulders and savouring the sand between our paws. Those were the good old days of my youth.

leash walking cats

Walking on a beach near Letterkenny, Ireland, 2002

 

I’m a retired show cat who was born in County Cork, Ireland and I used to travel all over to strut my stuff and show off my good looks and temperament in shows around Ireland and once in England too. I got to travel on a ferry! I am an Asian Blue Ticked Tabby, originating from the silky Burmese breed and we come in all colour types. I don’t get too caught up in titles but I have earned a few. My full name is Coomakista Ninh and I am also a Supreme Premier and Tara Grand Premier. I am also the first Asian cat to hold these titles and to have three Best of Varieties at Irish Supreme Shows. Despite my grand titles I’m a very mellow and down to earth old chap, preferring these days, to rest in my catio condo and watch birds. Although I have a calm demeanour I am not a pushover and when the young punks need some training on proper kitty etiquette and basic house rules I’m always showing them the ropes with a firm paw.
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