Friday, June 29, 2012


Whenever I watch an episode of “My Cat From Hell”, in which Jackson Galaxy goes to houses with troubled cats, I’m surprised at how people who call themselves cat lovers know absolutely nothing about cats.
What often strikes me is that a lot of these people, who have so-called troubled cats, don’t have any cat toys in the house and never really play with them.
It is such a misconception that cats do their own thing and don’t need a lot of attention. Indoor cats in particular need plenty of playtime. Playtime replaces the hunt. Get toys that you can drag along. Feather boas on a string and other dangly toys. Let them stalk and run after the toys and then catch them. Hide the end behind a corner or under a chair. Play with them for at least 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. A good routine would be: playtime, food, sleep. It is the most logical sequence. Cats sleep a lot during the day but in between they hunt and eat. So get them used to regular meal times and don’t leave food out all day and play (hunt) before meals.
Toys don’t have to be expensive. Have a look at Only a few Euros for a feather boa and there are often special offers with toys. Don’t throw out the boa once all the feathers have been ripped off. The fast moving plastic bit moves even faster and they will hunt that too. You can also attach a bit of cardboard or some grass at the end. One of Cato’s favourite toys was a shoestring. He loved to chase it and then sit down and chew on it.
Tina and Charlie’s favourites from Zooplus at the moment are:
The cat dangler pole feather boa (package of two for € 4.99). These don’t live that long but even without the feathers you can still play with them.
The cat dangler pole bird (at the moment of writing € 2.39). This is a long pole with a string and real feathers at the end. When you move it through the air, the feathers turn and make it look like a small bird.
Leather tassel dangler pole. This one is a bit more expensive at € 8.99, but it is also a lot sturdier than the other ones. It took the two a little while to get used to it but now they love it.

Also get a few toys that they can play with on their own. Bouncy balls (1 Euro or less in a discount store), fabric mice filled with catnip, a roundabout cat toy (€ 3.99 at Zooplus at the time of writing) or simply a cardboard box. Tina and Charlie are having great fun tearing at a cardboard box and jumping in and out while chasing each other. Don’t assume that two cats are fine playing together all the time. Cats are solitary hunters so give them some personal hunting time.
Playing doesn’t just replace the hunt; it also makes cats feel secure in their surroundings and is a great way of bonding with them.
Toys that are not such a great idea are laser pointers. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They love chasing the light but it is very frustrating as there is nothing to catch. You also have to be very careful not to shine it in their eyes.
Laser pointers do have their uses as they can be used to distract cats that are in a fight or get a cat to go back to a food bowl or into a carrier. Make sure though you give a reward after the cat is in the carrier (a little snack will do). You can make your own toys as well. All you need is a stick, some string and material that will dangle at the end. It could be anything like feathers, some fabric from an old shirt, a little strip of cardboard etc. Oh, and simply move a piece of paper under a door or between the hinges. They love it. Variation is the word.
Cats who get plenty of playtime are happy cats. They are less likely to become obese and are more confident in their surroundings.

Click on a photo to see a bigger version.

 Tina chasing a ball.

 Charlie playing with the left overs of a dangling toy.

 Tina fascinated by the roundabout toy.

 Charlie going for the ball in the roundabout toy.

 Tina sticking her paw through the hole she created and Charlie thinking of attacking her. :)

 Tina looking through the hole in the box, she created herself.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Battle scars.

Ever been in a scrap with a more or less domesticated feral cat? Well, today I got myself beat up by Tina. She escaped and was outside for over an hour. Then finally I saw her and lured her towards me with a toy. She tried to pull the toy into the bushes and when that didn't work, she ran again. Then she came back to the toy and I was able to grab her. She doesn't like to be carried so she fought like a wild cat. Got bitten quite hard a few times and scratched all over my hands and on my arms as well.

But I got her back inside. I rinsed out the wounds straight away and washed my hands and arms with anti-bacterial hand soap. Then I put antiseptic Sudo healing cream on the wounds and scratches. It'll be fine.

As soon as I had that done I gave Tina her dinner and after she'd finished went into the sitting room and played with her for a while. She was back to normal in no time and was rubbing my leg and hands while looking at me as if to say: "who in the name of the great feline mother did that to you?"

I really hope that when we let her out in a few weeks, she will come back to us. It's always a bit of a gamble but I would hate to see her stuck indoors for the rest of her life. We have to take the chance at some stage. The same with Charlie. He's a lot more easy-going though, and doesn't mind being carried around and often cuddles up to me on my lap. He’s a different feline personality altogether.

 Tina, the wild girl.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Litter matters.

Some people train their cats in using the toilet like humans do. This is not a great idea as it goes against the natural way cats like to bury their pee and poo and for other reasons that will be mentioned later.
An uncovered or covered litter box should do the job nicely (I use covered ones myself). Cats who have access to a garden will do most of their business outside, but some of it still inside.
Pet shops sell various types of litter: scented, clumpy, biodegradable, silicone, wood, etc. So what kind of litter is the right kind to use? In my opinion you should stay away from clumpy clay litter. The dust is bad for cats’ lungs and can cause cancer in cats as well as humans. There is no such thing as dust-free clay litter, even when it says so on the bag.
Don’t go for scented either. A lot of cats don’t like it and there is another reason that I will mention later. Just burn some incense or a smelly candle in the room where the litter box is if your cat stinks the place up.
My choice is wood litter. It is biodegradable and it won’t harm cats when they clean themselves afterwards. You don’t want them to lick any clumpy clay litter traces and get that in their stomachs. Now, in the animal welfare sanctuary where Orla and I help out on Sundays, they use wood litter but they gave us a great tip to save money.
In DIY or builder provider shops you can buy Brites wood pellets. These are wood pellets that are meant for burning as fuel in biomass boilers. They look and feel the same as the wood litter pellets and also absorb in the same way. The difference is the price. We just bought ten bags and the guy in the shop gave us a discount, so instead of €4.40 per 10kg bag, we paid €3.81 per 10 kg bag.
It smells of pine which is nice anyway.  In pet shops you pay about €10 for a 12 kg bag. So count your blessings and go for the Brites pellets.

Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy (the brilliant cat guy from the Animal Planet programme “My Cat From Hell”) is against cleaning the litter box too excessively with disinfectants.  He explains in one of his videos on youtube that cats use poo and pee for marking their territory as well. That’s why cats on the toilet is not a good idea either, as they can’t mark their territory.
You can just simply scoop the poop and the pee, but don’t remove the subtle smell markers that will be still there for cats to smell but not for humans. He says that he only disinfects his litter boxes maybe once every 6 months. It makes sense. Just scoop, if necessary clean out any smears with some kitchen towel and replace scooped out litter. 

I earlier mentioned that scented litter isn’t a great idea. Cats often don’t like it but it will also be in the way of their scent markers. Another reason is the fact that poo and pee can be indicators for if there is something wrong with cats and they need to see a vet. When urine smells stronger than normal it can be an indication that there’s trouble with the kidneys. Scented litter is therefore not a good idea as you are less likely to notice the change in smell.
It's also another reason not to toilet train your cat. Just let your cat be a cat. A litter box is already compromise enough.

 photo from:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cats and water.

Mikkie, my first cat, loved sitting on the countertop, playing with the water coming out of the tap. She would even stand in the sink, playing with the water, not being bothered one bit by getting wet.
Cato didn’t like water. Whenever a few drops landed on him when he was in the kitchen, he would run.
Charlie loves running water: playing with it and drinking it straight from the tap or licking it off his paw. Tina likes running water too, but is not as keen on it as Charlie is.
Cats are not great drinkers. That’s why wet food and raw meat like chicken fillet is way better for them than dry food which also often contains a lot of grain fillers which a cat can’t process. Wet food has about 78 percentage of water in it and dry food only about 8. Still, even on a wet diet, it is a good thing when a cat drinks a bit too. When cats drink a lot, you might be in trouble. On a diet with a lot of fillers, cats can develop diabetes. When they start losing weight and drink a lot then you better see your vet as soon as possible. First get them off the food with all the fillers and get them on a grain-free, wet diet. Grau does tinned food without grains and Applaws do dry food without grains (you can buy these at
Now, back to Charlie and Tina and the water. Because they both like running water I decided to give a drinking fountain a try. The lucky kitty drinking fountain consists of a ceramic bowl with ceramic top. It comes with a little electric pump and a tube. One end of the tube is connected to the pump. The rubber feet of the pump are then pressed in place inside the bowl and you fill the bowl with water. You connect the other end of the tube to the outlet of the ceramic top and place the top over the bowl. Your fountain is ready for use. It makes a slight humming noise but you can hardly hear it and the water slowly streams from the top down into an opening at the bottom where it goes back in the bowl again.
You clean the bowl and top every few days and the pump about once a week. I would recommend using filtered water as it filters out most of the lime so your pump is less likely to clog up with lime deposit.
We use one of these jug water filters for our own drinking water and for the cats.
After installing the fountain, Charlie was the first to give it a go. It was fun watching him play with the water and licking it off the rippled surface.
Tina went at it as well and seemed to like it straight away.
It’s been working away now for a few days and Orla observed them going for it a couple of times. I also saw them drink from it a few times and play with the water as well. All in all, a good buy, I think. The nice thing about this fountain is that it is sturdy, made of dishwasher-proof ceramics. It is quite heavy so cats won’t knock it over or move it around. The pump is quiet and can be replaced. A replacement pump costs 10 Euro. If the tube ever needs to be replaced, you can probably get it in a DIY shop. There are no filters in it that need to be replaced.
Tina and Charlie seem happy with it and when my cats are happy, I’m happy.

 Charlie playing with the fountain.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A nightly snack.

This morning I got up to clean the litter box. Orla was going to feed them. When I opened the bedroom door, I saw all these little brownish specks on the floor in the hall. When I went closer to examine it, I also saw a little bag and then it dawned on me. The two little feckers had pulled down the little bag of treats (dried chicken stomachs) I had up on a shelf with some other cat stuff. I had already used it a few times and sealed the bag after use. They found their own way in though. There was a big hole in the front of it. I couldn’t help but laugh. Not much good in giving out about it. They’re hunters and they had done a good job on finding the snack and gaining access to it. Just a little reminder not to have food I don’t want them to get at, anywhere where they can reach it. Hell, I have cans on that shelf as well. In my mind I can already see Tina flipping out a bionic nail I don’t know of, and using it as a can opener during the night (I watched and read X men and am thinking of Wolverine). The two of them would be lying on their backs in the morning, surrounded by opened cans, with round bellies, letting out a big burp when they see me. Ah, I think I will be alright leaving the tins up there.
I can't even imagine how they got at the bag anyway. I had it hidden behind the tins,  and wedged in between some other stuff. They removed it with surgical precision, not disturbing anything else on the shelf. Mission Impossible springs to mind, only Charlie and Tina are probably taller than Tom Cruise and certainly better looking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

We're past the first week.

It is so much fun watching cats settle in to a new house and making it their own.
It is also a lot of fun getting to know their feline personalities.
This is the first time for me having two felines in the family. I grew up with one cat in the house and Cato was on his own as well. It is interesting to watch the dynamics between the two and the subtleties in communication.
Charlie is a real boy. He wants to be part of everything and when Tina has something, he wants it. The other day I was playing with Tina when Charlie, who had heard her running around chasing the toy, came in. Tina, who was chewing on the toy, got up, moved away from the toy and sat there patiently while Charlie had a sniff of it. When he saw it was no big deal and not all that interesting for him, he went back to the kitchen and Tina gave me a look as if to say: “ok, the boy is gone. Can we continue now?”
Every now and then they claw and/or hiss at each other when a boundary is crossed.
Tina gave Charlie a few slaps on the nose when he try to take her toy the other day and Charlie started a little fight when she came to close on the couch when he was lying down there. Five seconds of snapping and clawing without any sound and Tina decided she’d go and sit somewhere else. Orla told me that during the day, when I’m at work and she is doing her translation work, the two are often chasing each other in play so at least they get on pretty well.
Charlie is very affectionate and likes some personal cuddle time every now and then. He slept on my lap for a while last night. He often sits on my lap and even crept under the Aran sweater I was wearing, while I was sitting at the computer. Every time my hands moved on the keyboard he tried to catch them, which left me with some nice nail marks on my hands. Then he fell asleep on my lap under the sweater and slept until he heard Orla in the kitchen. He forgot he was under the sweater and wanted to jump up and then couldn’t find the way out. He started moving around and all of a sudden his head appeared in front of me as he poked it out of the neck of my sweater.  It looked really funny.

Tina was very nervous at first and would run and hide a lot but that is slowly changing. She is now ok with being picked up to be moved but won’t sit on your arm. When I put her on my lap she sometimes stays for a bit and allows me to pet her. Orla had Tina on her lap the night before last. She didn’t lie down but stayed standing on her lap for a few minutes to be stroked and really enjoyed it. She also enjoys a good brushing session, but won’t lie down for it.
Tina is a smart girl. She knows exactly how to deal with Charlie’s clumsy macho behaviour. She likes to do her own thing but also really enjoys one-on-one playtime and attention. So every day, we make some time and have Charlie in the kitchen and Tina in the sitting room or the other way around and we close the doors and give them both a bit of personal time.
They are both used to regular meal times now. Just after 7 am: breakfast, 12.30 pm: lunch, 5.30 pm: dinner and after 10pm: their night feed. The wet food isn’t a problem at all anymore. Toilet visits are regular and what comes out looks healthy. We’re still getting to know each other, which takes time but I think we’ve already achieved quite a lot in a good week-and-a-half.
The two of them are only about a year old and I’m really looking forward to seeing them develop. I so hope they will have a long and healthy life with us and not end up like poor Cato who we still miss every day.

 When can we go outside?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cat the baker? (kneading)

Ever had a cat on your lap who started kneading your leg? Like kneading dough? Or seen one do it to an old sweater, the couch or a cat bed? What’s with that?
Cats already start kneading as newborn kittens before their eyes open. It stimulates the milk flow from the mother. It is not known why cats continue to knead when they are older. Some say it is because they have been taken away from the mother too soon. But that doesn’t hold up as cats who haven’t been taken from their mothers at a young age knead as well. It is also suggested that it is the memory of that warm, secure and happy feeling that makes them knead. It brings them back to that state of happiness and contentment that they felt when they were little kittens. Others say that it is just a way of making the place where they want to lie down more comfortable like humans do with shaking up cushions and bedding, but why do they then sometimes do it on a human chest when they can’t really lie down comfortably? Another theory is that they are simply putting their mark on the area where they are kneading with the scent glands in their paws, that passing their own smell on to the surface makes them feel comfortable. Whatever the reasons, everybody agrees on the fact that cats knead when they feel safe and happy. It sometimes brings them almost in a trance-like mindset. Some even drool when they knead.
A cat kneading on your lap can be a painful affair as they often use their nails in the process. I find catupuncture quite relaxing. It doesn’t bother me to get purfurated. If you have a problem with a cat kneading while sitting on your lap, simply put a folded towel on your lap and let the cat sit on the towel. The extra layer will protect your legs. Never punish cats for kneading, as it’s their way of letting you know they’re happy and that they feel safe around you. It’s about the biggest compliment you can get.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pressing matters (about claws)

Cats have claws for different reasons. It’s their first line of defence and they use them for balance and climbing. Cats also communicate through scratching, to let other cats know they were there. They even do it when there are no other cats around.
Cats have scent glands in their paws and will go back to scratch the same places over and over again to renew the scent and the visual markers. They also keep their nails in good shape by scratching.
I noticed Charlie scratching the floor beside his food bowl and the wall behind it. The first time I was puzzled but when he did it more often at the same places, the penny dropped. He was marking the spots, communicating with Tina or any other feline that would come across it. Outside, when two cats live in an area, they probably have overlapping territories. That’s no problem. They mark the boundaries and know by the strength of the smell when the other cat was there. They then will avoid being there at the same time, as they are solitary hunters.

Cats will scratch furniture if there are no better options. Scratch posts will help to avoid or at least reduce damage to furniture. Scratch posts and panels can be made (use google for info) or bought in pet shops. They are also integrated into cat trees, which are poles with platforms, dens and sometimes little hammocks. I bought a panel that folds around the corner of a wall in Maxi Zoo. It is put to a height that they can stretch themselves fully while scratching. I bought some cat trees in the web shop. They arrived with An Post about a week later as they had to come from Germany. The ceiling cat tree is brilliant as the two can really climb it and stretch themselves fully while doing so. It has platforms, one den and a hammock.

Like I said: cats need their claws. The practise of declawing is banned in Europe and in a lot of countries outside of Europe. Strangely enough, the United States and Canada still allow this cruel practice.
Declawing is mutilation. It is like cutting fingers off to the knuckle with humans. It is excruciatingly painful for the cat and he/she might suffer from phantom pains after, even when done with more modern means like laser surgery. And it doesn’t make any difference if it has been done at a young age. The first line of defence has been taken away, making the cat more vulnerable. The cat can suffer from all sorts of behavioural problems afterwards. Ok, you probably got the message: it’s animal cruelty. There is absolutely no reason and no excuse for declawing. When a cat has been declawed it might start biting out of insecurity. What’s next? Pulling their teeth out?
If you don’t want an animal with claws, don’t get a cat. If the cat is very aggressive, you have to address the reason for the aggression, which is often insecurity (see TV series: "my cat from hell"). Declawing will only cause more problems.
You can clip a cat’s nails if necessary every now and then, with special clippers you can buy at the pet store or the vet’s. Cats’ nails are layered and when you don’t use the right clippers the ends will crush instead of coming off. When you look at a cat’s nails you will see a red area going through it. Stay a good bit away from that. Only clip the tips. There are videos on youtube on how to clip a cat’s nails.
Cat owners will get scratched every now and then but that’s no biggie. It often happens during play and mostly because your first reaction is to pull back after being purrrfurated by their claws. The cat might also scratch when it is held in a wrong position. Don’t try to hold cats like babies, with the belly exposed. It makes them feel vulnerable. Let them sit on your arm so they can jump off whenever they want to.
Some cats just don’t like to be picked up. Respect that or suffer the consequences.
When cats feel loved and comfortable, they might even jump on your lap or back and give you a kneading massage combined with catupuncture. Once you get accustomed to that sensation, you’ll be a cat servant forever.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Little victories come at a price.

This afternoon I came home for lunch. Orla hadn't fed the two yet and Charlie seemed to be really hungry. So I put down the wet food for Tina first and was going to mix in the kibbles in Charlie's bowl, only to see Charlie going for Tina's bowl, munching down the wet food. So I put Charlie's bowl with the wet food in his usual spot and brought him over to it and he started eating his wet food over there. I added to Tina's bowl and she started eating as well. She's more of a picker and left quite a bit behind. When Charlie was finished with his bowl he went over and started eating Tina's food. You can't win, hahaha. At least Charlie is going for the wet food now which is good. Just have to watch him from now on. I don't want him to eat too much and Tina not getting enough. Might have to bring them in individually for their grub. Anyway, I'm delighted that they both now have no problems with the canned food and that they both also love the raw chicken, which I will give them every now and then.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Sunday morning in the sanctuary (10-06-2012)

Orla and I went back to Kilfinane this morning to help out with the cats.
There are two cat units in the building and we take care of one. It means cleaning litter boxes, giving them food and clean water, brushing and mopping the floors and cleaning or changing their blankets. After that we also try and get some play and cuddle time in with some of them.

There are so many lovely cats there waiting for a good home. If I could, I would take them all. Two is all we can manage at the moment and I’m glad we got Tina and Charlie from there, so there’s more space to house other cats.
One cat who’s still in there is Rosie. She’s actually Charlie’s sister. She was in with them for a while but then she got diarrhoea and had to be separated.
She’s very much a feral cat who hisses and growls when anyone comes near. On her door it says “do not handle”, just to warn people.  I wanted to change her blankets in her box though and she was sitting on one of them. So I sat down with her, while she was growling at me and gave her lots of blinky eyes, while talking to her gently. She then relaxed a bit and I carefully rubbed her on the head with one finger. She tolerated that so I rubbed her cheek. She was ok with that too so I petted her on the head and neck. I then gently grabbed her by the skin of her neck (like mother cats do with their kittens) and moved her to the other side of her box. Hooray. No scratching or biting. She was fine.

After the cleaning was done I went in with her for a bit and it started all over again with the hissing and growling. Because of earlier, I had more confidence now and while speaking to her gently, I started petting her again. I got her as far as lying flat out with her belly a bit exposed and was able to pet her paws as well without her minding it. She even started to purr.
She’s a beautiful black and white cat and I really feel for her because she’s so stressed.
She will be ok with other cats though, as she was in with two before but she needs someone who has a lot of patience and can invest a lot of time in her to win her trust.
And no, I’m not going to take more cats in the house. Two is enough for us, at least at the moment. No, REALLY!!

Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to be a cat lover to go to the sanctuary. There are plenty of dogs out there who’d love to be taken for a walk. The grounds are lovely. Go visit and see for yourself. There’s a link to the Limerick Animal Welfare website on the right hand side of the blog page in the links section.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Charlie and Tina day 5 (small surprises).

The two are settling in more and more. In the morning they wait patiently outside the bedroom door and give our legs a good rubbing when we come out. Tina still runs when Orla or I meet her in the hall or walk into a room where she is. But as soon as we sit down she will come back and play or sit beside us. She really surprised me by being the first to climb up all the way to the top in the ceiling cat tree. She spends quite a bit of time on one of the platforms, watching the world outside.
She got herself into trouble twice when she accidentally pulled down the net curtain on top of her while trying to catch a fly on the glass that was actually on the outside. Surprisingly enough she didn’t panic but let me free her from the curtain, walking off, head and tail high as if nothing happened.
Charles came into the computer room while I was doing some work. I let him in because he was sitting in the hall on a mat, looking at me with his big eyes and giving me the sad meow when I was getting myself a cup of coffee. He surprised me as well by wanting to sit on my lap and being all affectionate. He kept head-butting my arm whenever I tried to type, which wasn’t really helpful but after a while he calmed down and lay on my lap so I could continue on working. After a while he got off, went exploring a bit and then lay down on the floor on the exact spot as where Cato used to lie. That brought tears to my eyes.
Tina has really taken to the wet food but picks, as she is used to a constant supply of dry food. Charlie still needs kibbles mixed through the wet food to make him eat it. Tina doesn’t care for cat milk. Charlie loves it. Both love their grooming sessions. They are slowly getting used to living with us. Next week will be different as I will be out of the house during the day.  I was off last week but back to work next week. We’ll slowly get them into a routine with meal times, playing, grooming etc. It’s good to have cats in the house. I do miss Cato terribly though.


Tina and Charlie looking out into the back garden from the ceiling cat tree.

Real cats who became an inspiration (books)

Cats touch our lives in many ways and sometimes have such an impact on a human’s live that the person writes a book about their incredible feline.
Here is a selection of cat books I found on and I must admit that these are book I haven’t read myself yet, but some of them I certainly will read over time. Amazon might also have Kindle e-book versions. An internet shop that is cheap and good is: They deliver for free. For epub e-books, try They do have Dewey and Homer's odyssee.
 Some books might be out of print or in the process of being reprinted. Oh, and I refer to cats as "who" instead of "that" deliberately, because to me they are feline persons.

A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets by James Bowen.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (15 Mar 2012) ISBN-13: 978-1444737097

Big Ginger: The Life of a Remarkable Cat by Sylvia Murphy.
Publisher: S A Greenland (1 Nov 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0955051258

Buckley’s story by Ingrid King.
Publisher: iUniverse Publishing (September 28, 2009) ISBN-13: 978-1440166242

Casper the commuting cat by Susan Finden.
The True Story of the Cat Who Rode the Bus and Stole Our Hearts
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (9 Jun 2011). ISBN-13: 978-1849831758

Cleo: the cat who mended a family.
How a cat helped a family through difficult times.
Publisher: Citadel Press (August 31, 2010) ISBN-13: 978-0806533032

Dewey: The Small-town Library-cat Who Touched the World by Vicky Myron with Brett Witter.
Hodder Paperbacks; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0340953952
The only thing I didn’t like about Dewey’s story is that they got him declawed. That’s one of the cruellest things you can do to a cat. It’s like cutting off the fingertips of a human. I will write a special blog about it. I already have a link up to

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, by Gwen Cooper.
Publisher: Bantam (6 Jan 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0553825152

Norton trilogy:
The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers.
Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 6, 1992) ISBN-13: 978-0449907634
Before Peter Gethers met Norton, the publisher, screenwriter, and author was a confirmed cat-hater. Then everything changed. Peter opened his heart to the Scottish Fold kitten and their adventures to Paris, Fire Island, and in the subways of Manhattan took on the color of legend and mutual love. THE CAT WHO WENT TO PARIS proves that sometimes all it takes is paws and personality to change a life.

For the Love of Norton: The Cat who Taught his Human How to Live.
Publisher: Ebury Press (18 Mar 2010) 978-0091933319
The second book in a trilogy about Norton the cat.

The Cat Who'll Live Forever by Peter Gethers: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human
Publisher: Broadway (October 8, 2002) ISBN-13: 978-0767909037
The third and last book in this trilogy about Norton the cat.

Making the Rounds with Oscar: The Inspirational Story of a Doctor, His Patients and a Very Special Cat by Dr. David Dosa.
Publisher: Headline Review (3 Mar 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0755318131

The cat who came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory.
The heart-warming and often hilarious story of Polar Bear, an abandoned white cat - and the man he owned.
Publisher: Corgi (27 Oct 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0552164108

Rainbow Bridge: A True Story About Rescue Cats by Susan Cilyk
Susan writes about the rescue cats who shared her life.
Publisher: Athena Press (June 24, 2004) ISBN-13: 978-1844012701

Scarlett (who saved her kittens out of a burning building):
Scarlett saves her family by Jane Martin and J.C. Suarès
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 6, 1997) ISBN-13: 978-0684842882 (
This story is also available as a book for children:
The Bravest Cat! The True Story of Scarlett by Laura Driscoll.
Publisher: Demco Media (Oct 2004) ISBN-13: 978-0606326162

A Cat Named Squeeky by Vic Reskovic
Publisher: Crow Canyon Publishing (1 Sep 2007) ISBN-13: 978-0980023503
(A Cat Named Squeeky is a true story of a stray cat. Creative, humorous, informative, and emotionally moving, A Cat Named Squeeky celebrates animal companionship, and underscores the love and respect all animals deserve.)

Tyfoon's Tale: The True Story of a Seafaring Cat by Sylvia Murphy
Publisher: S A Greenland; First Edition edition (1 July 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0955051234

A snowflake in my hand by Samantha Mooney.
A book about cats in an animal hospital in the cancer ward.
Publisher: Delta; 3rd edition (April 1, 1989)
ISBN-13: 978-0385297219

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sometimes you forget

Wednesday evening, the doorbell rang. Orla, my girlfriend had gone out and the door was locked. I didn’t have my keys in my pockets so I ran into the bedroom for my keys. Not there. Of course I had forgotten to close the door behind me so Tina had come in and was hiding under the bed. Charlie was poking his nose in the wardrobe so he was easily removed. I had come out of the computer room and of course left that door open as well. Charlie had gone in and was having a nose around there. I decided then to just close both doors as at least I knew where the two were and open a window to talk to whoever was at the door. When I looked, however, those people were gone. I hope to god that they didn’t see me running around as they must have thought I was crazy.
Had a bit of a job getting Tina out of the bedroom but managed as she is easily spooked and will run to where she finds it safest. Charlie was no trouble. I just picked him up and carried him out.
They will be allowed to go into these rooms eventually. We just want to get them used to the kitchen and sitting room as their main living areas.
Oh, and the keys: Orla had used my keys to lock the shed earlier and left them in the utility room, where I wouldn’t have looked in the first place anyway, but they were hidden under a bag as well. So no wonder I couldn’t find them.

Charlie and Tina, day 3.

Woke up early and checked on the pair. Of course they had been on the countertop that they’re not supposed to go on. If they had a middle finger…. But they were grand. Tina is taking to the wet food easier than Charlie. So I mixed it with some kibble again and he ate it. Then gave them playtime. When they were finished playing I had my breakfast and spent time doing my own stuff. Charlie and Tina don’t really play together. They don’t chase each other around. They both prefer different toys too. Every now and then Charlie will jump on Tina’s toy and the other way around, as if to say “I can do this too”. They do lie together on a chair sometimes and when one goes to investigate, the other might follow.
They’re both so different though. Charlie is easy going and a real boy. Tina is a bit nervous but also very clever and…. feckin’ hell she’s fast. The way she chases that toy, I feel sorry for little critters once she’s out and about. We’ll keep them in the house for a few weeks and then let them go outside as well. I’m already nervous thinking about it. Don’t want them to end up like poor Cato but don’t want to restrict them to an inside life either. This afternoon the missus and myself were watching a film and the cats joined us in the sitting room. Nice and relaxed. Well, for a bit anyway. We had to give them some playtime during the film as well. And every now and then they demanded some luv and attention.
Fed them some chicken fillet again at around 10pm and I also managed to get a vinegar treatment of the thin hair spots in with both of them.
Their poo has solidified more so that’s a good sign.

Charlie on one of the cat trees.

 Tina chasing a ball.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Limerick Animal Welfare

Besides my regular work in healthcare, I also work as a photographer for It was through that I came in contact with the people who work for Limerick Animal Welfare.
They have a shelter called the L.A.W sanctuary in Kilfinane, county Limerick and two shops in Limerick City.
I’ve been to both shops and there’s great stuff for sale. Please visit and buy there. And if you have any non-electrical goods you don’t need anymore, consider donating it to them. The opening hours are:
Parnell Street Opening hours 09:30am - 16:30 pm
Roche's Street Opening hours 10.00am - 17:00 pm
The sanctuary is situated outside Kilfinane in the beautiful countryside. The dog kennels are beside the main building and the cat units are quite far removed from them so the cats won’t get stressed.
There are still buildings not completed and money is needed to finish the building projects.
Please help out if you can. There’s so much good work done there. L.A.W has a no kill policy and the animals are all well cared for.
You can help by donating money, attending fundraisers, adopting cats or dogs from the sanctuary, helping out as volunteers in the shops or sanctuary or donate goods to the shops.
L.A.W has a website and you can also find them on Facebook
The Roche's street outlet has it's own Facebook page.