Saturday, July 28, 2012

Help Limerick Animal Welfare

Just want to pass on this link. If you have any money to spare, please donate to Limerick Animal Welfare. They would love to get the building finished so they can house more animals. They're getting a bit overcrowded and have a no-kill policy. It doesn't matter where you live. PayPall will work. :) It's a worthy cause. It would be so great if people from all over the world donate to get the project finished. Whatever you can spare.
Just click on the Limerick Animal Welfare link below to get to the donation page. Every little bit will help.

Limerick Animal Welfare: Limerick Animal Welfare are still striving to complete the next stage of our building - all donations to assist us would be greatly appreciated - we are a no kill sanctuary

Friday, July 27, 2012

Broadening horizons.

After 5 and a half weeks, Tina and Charlie were well settled in and we had established a feeding routine of morning feed, early afternoon, evening and night. They had also made the house their own. It was now time to let them go outside. I am still freaked out from Cato’s accident so I was really nervous letting them go explore.
Orla went away to Dublin for the Thursday and Friday night. I was going to attend the opening of a fashion atelier in Limerick City Saturday evening and meet Orla there on her way back. So we decided to let the two out on Sunday the 15th of July.
We reckoned that the best time to let them go outside would be an hour before their lunch.
When we opened the door, Charlie cautiously stepped out the back door, the muscles on his back shivering, and stayed very close to the wall. He was obviously nervous and shot back inside after a few minutes. Tina only looked on from the kitchen door. She didn’t want to go at all. It was a bit of an anti-climax. We all went back inside and opened the door half an hour later again. This time Charlie went a bit further and away from the walls. Tina only sat outside the back door for a while. Charlie was outside for about 20 minutes when it was lunch time. We got him back inside and the two had lunch. A few hours later we opened the door again and the two of them went outside. Tina only went a bit alongside the wall and Charlie disappeared into the hedge. He was calling but we couldn’t see him. Eventually he came back out and went exploring in the back garden while calling out every so often to make sure we were still there. He was outside for another 30 minutes while Tina went back in after about 10 minutes. We let them out a few more times and Tina eventually went on the grass and started climbing the trees in our back garden. Charlie followed lead. They were also running around chasing each other and chasing bees and flies. For the rest of the evening they were passed out on their favourite sleeping spots.
The next few days Orla let them out a few times a day, weather permitting, and went out with them, as Charlie was calling on a regular basis to make sure someone was there. Both felines stayed in the garden for about half an hour per session. When I got home for lunch they were often resting from their morning adventure and a good lunch and when I came back from work they had just been outside as well. Because of their time in the garden, they don’t need to play in the house as much.
Last weekend the weather was beautiful so Orla was working away in the garden. I was cutting the grass of the front lawn and the two felines were outside exploring. Whenever we went inside, Charlie would come looking for us after a while. He seems to like it when we’re outside with him. It is also reassuring for us because, for now at least, they don’t wander off too far. And why would they. They have about half an acre to explore with trees to climb, hedgerows full of creepy crawlies and grass to run on. Let’s hope the weather will hold for another while. They’re having so much fun outside.

Click on a photo to see a bigger version.

Tina looking from inside the door while Charlie goes out during the first day.

Charlie hiding in the long grass, under a tree.

Tina, 5 days later, on one of the raised beds, looking out over the back garden. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jackson Galaxy.

 “How is it that you know so much about cats”, is a question I get every now and then.
Well, I grew up with a cat in the house and kept an interest in felines ever since, even though I have lived without feline company for many years. On the telly I watch programmes about cats and I read about cats too.
Since Cato came into our lives, I’ve been doing a lot of research into all things feline. Basically I see adopting cats as a big responsibility and want to give them the best care possible. So I started reading up on food, as it is a basic need and very important, but also on other feline related issues.
Jackson Galaxy’s TV programme “My Cat From Hell” really helped me to understand feline behaviour and the holistic approach. Food, play, and environment: they all work together to keep felines happy and healthy.
The first time I saw his programme on Animal Planet, I was surprised. This big bald fella with sideburns, a fashionable beard and tattoos all over his arms, looked more like a rock star. Well, it turned out to be true. He’s a rock musician by night and a cat ambassador by day. I like to call him that: a cat ambassador, because in most cases the so-called troubled cats are fine. They’re just misunderstood by the humans who adopted them.
Jackson Galaxy goes into a house to educate the humans about the cat’s needs. By doing this he’s helping the humans understand that so-called troubled cats are sending out a message: “please provide me with the right living conditions so I can feel safe and secure and can be myself.”  Once that’s done, the cats often don’t seem to be all that much trouble.
The programme is very educational and a pleasure to watch also because of Jackson Galaxy’s personality, his soft spoken, pleasant voice and his determination to make it work. He’s inspiring. He makes you realise that bringing felines into your life is a big responsibility and that you will have to learn their language, rituals and habits to be able to make it work. Again: that’s why I prefer to call him ambassador instead of cat whisperer or therapist.
When I read that Jackson Galaxy had written a book about himself and how he became involved with cats, I was curious to read it. I bought it at because they don’t charge any postage and they had it in stock.
It is a book about Jackson Galaxy’s struggle with life just as much as about the cats in his life. It is inspiring to read his story about how working with cats also helped him to turn his life around from chaos to a more stable and healthier lifestyle. He throws in some helpful tips about how to handle specific problems with cats and provides insight into feline behaviour in this book as well.
The book is called “Cat Daddy”.
You can also find Jackson Galaxy on his own website,, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
On YouTube he answers questions and gives helpful information about living with felines.
I would love the chance to meet the man in person and have a drink and a chat with him but until then, his book and the TV programme will do.

Friday, July 6, 2012

One month with Tina and Charlie.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been one month since Charlie and Tina came to live with us. Having the two in the house has surely helped with the grieving process over Cato. We miss Cato a lot. I still have Cato moments every now and then where I get teary-eyed thinking about him. He was such a special tomcat and will always be in our hearts. Cats become family very quickly and Cato is part of our family, even though he’s no longer with us.
Although they’re settling in fine, we’ve decided to keep Charlie and Tina in the house for a bit longer before letting them out into our garden, and most likely beyond, as they will go and explore further afield.
We’re getting them into a nice routine with regular meals and playtime and it’s doing them the world of good.
I often wake up at around 6 am, read for half an hour and at around 6.30 I open the bedroom door to let the two in. They jump onto the bed for a little good morning scent rubbing ritual and play with my feet through the duvet while I read for a bit longer. At around 6.50 I put away the book and give them some proper playtime. Orla joins in if she’s awake. Just after 7, I get washed and dressed and we give the two their breakfast and Orla or I clean the litter box. While they eat I get my breakfast ready. Tina often only eats a small part of her breakfast and goes into the sitting room with me to get a few minutes personal playtime while Charlie is still eating. That’s her idea by the way. She just stops eating, walks into the hall while looking back at me and into the sitting room where she waits. When I enter, she looks at her favourite toy and gets right into it as soon as I pick it up. I give her about ten minutes after which she goes back to continue her breakfast. Charlie gets some personal playtime as well from Orla or me.
Orla works from home and is with the two during the morning while I’m away. They rest and play together while Orla works and Orla gives them playtime during her breaks.
Around 12.30 they get their lunch and I often come home for lunch and give them a good ten minutes playtime during my break.
After work, around 5 pm I often sit down to watch the Dutch news and current affairs while playing with the two. In between 5.30 and 6 pm they get their dinner and around 10.30 pm the last food after some playtime. Once every few days I give them a good grooming session, which they both enjoy. Their coats are beautiful and shiny. They give us a bit of grooming every now and then too, which is nice.

Charlie often comes to me when I’m sitting behind the computer to sit on my lap and cuddle up to me. He then often sleeps on my lap for half an hour. He also lies down for belly rubs from Orla or me. Charlie is very easy going, curious, very trusting and not easily scared. That worries me a bit as it might get him into trouble when he’s outside. For the rest he didn’t change that much from when he first came.
The biggest change we see in Tina. She used to run whenever she came across one of us and would hide a lot. Now she lies on the floor with her belly exposed. She also lies down on the couch at times, sometimes even up against one of us. She actually comes looking for our company. I’m so happy to see that she shows trust in us now. I was afraid that the episode where she ran off and I grabbed her to get her back inside while she fought like a wild cat had set us back but it’s almost as if it has intensified the bond. I do pick her up from time to time, just to get her used to being handled so I will be able to give her a flea treatment, etc., without her getting spooked. I want her to know that when we pick her up, it’s not going to hurt her. She’s quite the character. She is very cautious but she is the wilder one in terms of hunting and energy. She’s also the more daring one where it comes to jumping and climbing. Tina also mothers over Charlie a little bit, showing him how to do things and grooming him. She’s definitely the smarter one of the two.
Both of them seem to drink less but pee more. The benefits of a wet diet: plenty of moisture in their food. I do see them visit the water fountain at times. They love the running water.
It’s so much fun getting to know their personalities and watching them develop. Let’s hope we will have many happy years together. I’m still freaked out by Cato’s accident, but know at the same time that I have to give these two the opportunity to explore outside as well.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Modern design for cats.

Ok, let this be said: cats don’t give a damn about what their cat trees, cat beds, litter boxes and food bowls look like. Cato had plenty of choice but choose a cardboard box over cat beds. Humans who live with cats don’t always like the regular stuff in pet shops. And let’s face it: some of that stuff with all the frills, the pinks and purples and the cat paw prints, etc. wouldn’t look all that good in a more trendy household.
Even for the most critical modern design lover, however, there’s no excuse for  keeping cat furniture out the door. There are plenty of options to buy cat furniture that goes well with your Noguchi table or your Costes Style Lounge Chairs.
Some of the modern design for cat owners actually comes from my country: The Netherlands. The company name is Kenzi. Have a look at their website . There’s an option to view the product information in Dutch, English and French.
A website where you can see a lot of different cat design products is
Who says that all cat furniture has to look the same? Cats don’t mind as long as they think it’s comfortable to use and safe.
Linked to is moderncat studio.
They design their own cat products. Pretty cool stuff.
I will let you look at the different websites yourself as I won’t be putting any photos up myself because I don’t own any of their products and don’t want to infringe on any copyrights with other people’s photos.
Have a look. You can’t buy products from directly. When you click on the manufacturers’ links you can buy directly from them. Not all of the American manufacturers might ship to Europe but that might change in the near future too if there’s a demand.