When I visited the community cat colonies living at the UWC campus in Cape Town this year, it warmed my heart to witness the dedication of the volunteers and staff of TUCAT (The University Feral cat Project). That Spring, the University got caught up in student protests on campus and as always, it’s the innocent animals that suffer the consequences that follow. Some cats went missing or were displaced, and with the student holidays and skeleton staff, it was a challenge trying to track them down and ensure that all the cat colonies were fed. But with the help of everyone from the volunteers, campus caretakers, and the security guards, the cats never missed a meal. The TUFCAT campus cats call this university their home and are loved by many!
It was October 2016 when I first came across TockTober hashtags and wondered what all the fuss was about. There were tocks of all kinds, shapes, sizes, and floofiness and we were amazed. This year we didn’t want to miss out on the fun so we gave you a little sneak preview of Jimmy’s tocks, walking down the catio catwalk. Read More
October 16 is Global Cat Day, initiated by Alley Cat Allies since 2001 is intended to rally people around the world to take a pledge to show compassion and kindness to our community cats everywhere. I love that they have renamed it Global Cat Day to expand their reach and message with the realization that community cats all over the world are faced with the same obstacles: local laws advocating the removal or killing of community cats from their natural habitats, in many cases using inhumane and cruel practices such as shooting and poisoning. Luckily there are individuals and dedicated guardian angels working against all odds to protect and improve the lives of feral cats around the world. Earlier this year I have had the pleasure to have met up with one such cat guardian angel, sociologist and lecturer, Sharyn Spicer at the University of Western Cape, South Africa.
“Lost our old black cat since Tuesday. Last seen on our front porch.”
Whenever I see these lost cat posters stuck on our mail box I feel sad for the owners and their cats. But this one stopped me in my tracks. I knew the cat in this poster. Cachou is a regular visitor to our backyard, but strange, I had not seen him in weeks.
Have you ever been asked, “Have you been drinking from the fountain of youth? You look so young!” Age in human years is such a taboo topic, we don’t like displaying it proudly as a badge of honor. Don’t ask a lady her age, it’s bad social etiquette. But there’s one lady in the Chirpy Cat’s house who carries her age well and doesn’t mind being asked her age. This is one gal who does not look a day older than “kitten” and has the confidence and poise of a leopard in the wild. She is none other than Sarabi, our brown spotted Bengal cat who today celebrates her 15th birthday. Sarabi is the same weight today that she was when she was younger. She’s lithe and sleek, a great jumper, agile and light-footed. Her vocals, once activated through conversation, will always want the last say.
The aftermath of Canada day, July 1st brings with it, a different reality for cats and dogs. No, it’s not the fireworks, or revelry of celebrations. It’s the sad situation of cats and dogs being left behind when their owners move house.
In the province of Quebec, where housing leases expire on the same day every year, this just means a mass exodus of people moving on the same day. Consequently, there is a larger number of abandoned pets due to new rental leases not allowing pets. A few of the Chirpies are “July 1 cats” as I call them and last year we shared brofurs Ollie and Baggy’s story about being abandoned in an apartment. Our local veterinary hospital is overrun every year with mostly cats that were left behind like unwanted goods, either found in an apartment or let out to roam the streets. But after July 1 there is a significant spike in the number of cats and dogs who are abandoned in Quebec. Speaking to my vet recently, there might be a flicker of hope. Generally, there is a greater awareness of the problem and more responsible owners. They are seeing a reduction in abandoned cats over the years but still, a lot has to be done in terms of educating prospective pet owners about responsible pet ownership and promoting the idea that your cat is not just an “until cat” but a “forever part of the family cat.”
The cats are sleeping, the house is quiet. Oh, I forgot, it’s noon and it’s sleepy kitty time, that explains the absence of paws over my keyboard. Either that or perhaps the Chirpies are sleeping off the effects of the impromptu catnip pawty that happened upon my return from the BlogPaws conference in Myrtle Beach yesterday. As soon as I unzipped my suitcase, cats came rushing from all corners to investigate.
Mr. Jack, (CCSF) Chief Chirpy Social Facilitator, was the first to grab hold of the catnip banana and catnip ball still in the packaging. This catnip candy was the bee’s knees and all the cats got into something or other, seemingly forgiving me for leaving them for a few days.
“If this is what you bring home Lady Cat, then you have our approval to attend in the future!”
The Lady Cat is off to the BlogPaws Conference and we had fun while she was scurrying around like a mad hatter; sorting, packing, rearranging, re-sorting and repacking her suitcase. Through it all, we had lots of places to hide, sniff, gallop and stare in amusement. There was nothing odd about this situation, except that she kept shooshing us out of the suitcase, muttering words like “no cat hair please!” and “not on these clothes!”
“Hello girlfriend, you’re the queen of cat hair, so what’s up?”
Hello, friends! It’s me Sly Pie. You might be wondering why I’m sitting here in the catnip basket. Well, my friend Ollie told me that if I sit in the basket long enough, I will incubate the catnip seeds so that it will sprout quickly! I’m not quite sure about that but it’s worth a try. I’ll do anything for catnip!
Easter time is exciting for us because we know that very soon we will have our colorful kitty jungle in the catio. The Big Lady Cat always talks about cat environment enrichment but let me tell you, I can sum that up in two beautiful words: Nepeta Cataria. Catnip lifts me up into a euphoric frenzy that I cannot explain, it feels so good! I wish you could try it but I heard that catnip has more of a sedative and calming effect on humans. Catnip tea anyone?
He goes by many names, each suited to his build and demeanor. In the early days, he was Ninhsy, Fat Boy Slim, then just Slim. His confidence earned him the nicknames ‘Lion King’ and ‘Puma Boy’ for his gorgeous silver ‘eyeliner’. These days he is Earl Grey. The latter, not just because of coat coloring, but because if he could, he would be sipping tea, reading the Catnip Times through thick-rimmed spectacles. And he would even call it that.
But today is his 16th Birthday and the cat with many names wears his crown with pride.
I came to know about BlogPaws in early 2016 through their Social Learning Community and I have met so many like-minded pet people that “just get it”. We have virtually met and made friends with pet bloggers from around the world. From the most wonderfully wacky, incredibly cute, to the zaniest and adventurous, haughtily snarky, and just plain hilarious; we have crossed paths and paws, and befriended many. To know that we are not alone in this fun pet blogging journey and that there is a supportive platform from which to learn, to grow and to collaborate, makes it all worthwhile.
I lay here, unable to move, barely able to stretch my legs for fear of waking a sleeping pile of purring fur at my legs. My neck feels contorted, head shoved off the pillow, and then I open my eyes staring nose to nose at my oldest cat, me graciously accepting a raspy tongue for a second or two. Well wasn’t that a good night’s sleep?!
Our cats are always hogging our space, wanting to be with us, everywhere. Like many cat people, we practice an open door policy for the bathroom. There’s one cat asleep on the mat next to the shower, there’s another looking curiously from his ‘basin bed.’ I have accepted that cat hair, like invisible floating snowflakes, will always mysteriously land on my mascara wand when applying makeup. This is the complete cat package, one that we would never give up for the world.
‘A Catio for all Seasons’ Cat Calendar
Us cats love nothing more than to cavort in our little catio jungle, come rain, hail or snow. There is always something interesting to do; basking in a sun puddle, watching the birds from the highway ramps or ambushing my friend George as he exits the tunnel. We like sharing our activities with everyone and we are pleased to announce our new 2017 cat wall calendar ‘A Catio for all Seasons’ which is now available for sale. There are many delightful photos of us, capturing our charming purrsonalities and mischievous antics, but above all, it’s also peppered with sprinklings of our Haiku poetry that is sure to keep you on the good path of Zen. Here at Chirpy Cats it’s all about less stress and more Zen.
The Chirpy Cats crew hail from different situations, but our backgrounds all have a common thread: abandonment by humans for various reasons. We were lucky to end up with our humans, but we know that many others are not so lucky. That is why our big Lady Cat has decided to donate all proceeds from this calendar to a TNR program in South Africa called TUFCAT (The UWC feral Cat Project) a rescue group based in Cape Town, South Africa, who takes care of a colony of ferals located on the University premises. Read More
Can you feel it? Can you hear it? The crisp cool air, the captivating frisson of colour everywhere and the crispy crunch of ‘leaf Fall’. But the bugs are leaving and Mr Spider is about to pack his bags goodbye so what’s a kitty to do? Well, perhaps spend more time at the indoor watering hole or do more laptop time. But if you’re an outdoorsy kind of cat that also loves silver vine (Actinidia Kolomikta), then you’d be wise to spend your mornings claiming your spot. What’s so special about the silver vine plant during the Fall? The twigs are exposed when the leaves fall making them more attractive and accessible to kitty noses. Not a cat goes by without stopping in their tracks and rubbing against the vine, spreading a cheekful of pure vine goodness on their fur.
Old grandpa Earl Grey Ninhsy and Scout get their share of vine loving at the vine corner of the catio.
Hello, it’s Ollie here and I’d like to kick off another edition of Marvelous Monday Haiku to shake off that Monday blues. We spent all weekend trying our best to stay cool. It seems the heat and humidity are back for a brief period just to remind us that we’re still very much in a transitional phase when temperatures are all over the place. Some of us spent time inside, lying on our backs, belly up under the fans, and some of us who like the heat just chilled in our catio as usual. The African Daisies are still in bloom and the bees are hard at work. We like this slow transition, we’re not is a hurry for anything to change. Let nature take its course and we will follow along. In today’s gallery, I invite you into our world and hope this week’s haiku picks will inspire you to stop and savor the moment. Do not let that mountain of work overwhelm you, just sort through it one by one and reach out for help when you need it. My paws have the healing magic touch, just so you know.
How do you deal with your Monday workload? Do the shorter days affect your mood? Grab your first-morning coffee and tell us in the comments below.
Hello, my name is Scout, the Tortie and I present this week’s Marvelous Monday Haiku. Summer is the season favoured by most of my pals and until we see the first hint of yellow or red leaves in our catio, in the coming weeks we will be highlighting some of the best times we had this summer. The humans had extended our catio with some extra tunnels this year and we had plenty of zoomie sessions chasing each other in there. My favourite season is Fall because I am known to ‘decorate’ the house with all sorts of pretty leaves and I collect the best ones for the Big Man Cat which he loves, I think.
Happy Monday and welcome to our second edition of Marvelous Monday Haiku with me, Mr. Jack. Let’s face it, Mondays are a little ‘meh’ and doesn’t score very well in the inspirational department but I have something up my fur sleeves for you. Now, I’m no Einstein (and my humans can attest to that, in fact, I’m the class clown) but I invite you to stoically follow your path, even if it seems a little daunting at first. Abandon those cobwebs of procrastination and reap the rewards of determination. Yes, you read that right, us cats have a lot on our minds. Contrary to exaggerated urban legend and tired old cat stereotypes, we are constantly having to make calculated decisions and challenging our game, like “Do I give chase now or three milliseconds later?” or “How high do I have to jump to get into the food cupboard?” Our brains are constantly on the alert for potential threats and our reflexes are designed to react in a heartbeat, even in our sleep. So as you browse through my gallery of haiku I hope that the parallels you see between our universe and your’s will take the ‘meh’ out of your Monday.
How about you? Are you a procrastinator or do you take the mouse by the whiskers? We’d love to hear from the humans and their kitties below.
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:
- Climb into pot, balancing on the edge. Make sure all obstacles such as spikes or silly ornaments are pushed aside.
- Move to the centre of pot, lay down and flatten foliage by wriggling on your back.
- 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.
What is Japanese Forest grass?
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 in 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.