Category Archives: Cats

Nothing but cats

Let sleeping cats lie

Cats

The first time I ever got scratched by a cat was in 1966 when I saw one sleeping in the alley by our trash cans in Kingsville TX.

I went to pet it.

Nope.

My wise old grandmother told me as she poured hydrogen peroxide on the wounds:

“Let sleeping cats lie.”

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

All pictures by Russel Ray Photos at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Cats—Where we are now

Cats

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat & Zoey the Cool CatOn March 20, 2018, Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat came to stay with us, staying until April 12. She was the fattest cat I had ever seen. Zoey the Cool Cat (ZCC) and Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat didn’t really like each other. Both had been queens of their respective houses for a decade, so getting those two queens to tolerate each other was a chore.

After Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat went back to her home, ZCC’s personality changed. Zoey the Cool Cat and her red ringShe no longer played fetch in the morning with her red rings, no longer jumped up on the beds and chairs, no longer came into the office to visit me. She no longer enjoyed her favorite sleeping spots in the house, preferring to spend about 23 hours a day lying on the floor in front of the refrigerator, which made it difficult to get anything out of the refrigerator.Zoey the Cool Cat plopped in front of the refrigerator

I thought she simply was sad that Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat had left, notwithstanding what I thought was their intense dislike of each other.

When ZCC’s previous demeanor didn’t return, and she gained six pounds in six weeks, I started getting worried. Jim and I thought she felt bloated.

She didn’t like to be picked up anymore, even hissing at me several times as I was picking her up. It was as if she was trying to tell me that she hurt when I picked her up. No longer jumping up onto beds and chairs…. Perhaps more hurting?

Zoey the Cool CatZCC also was excessively licking her rearmost four nipples, so much so that there is no fur around them anymore. Her tummy was bare. I took her to a vet and he diagnosed her with psychogenic alopecia…. overgrooming or psychological baldness due to stress, and that she would probably work her way out of it. She didn’t.

I took her a vet hospital and didn’t really get any additional information, yet her conditions remained.

I began to wonder if Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat had something that ZCC had caught. Perhaps FIV or FELV.

I asked a Realtor friend with whom I had been doing business as a home inspector for 15 years where she took her pets and all her foster dogs. She recommended a vet hospital near her, and I took ZCC there. They took x-rays and ultrasounds, as well as blood, poop, and pee samples, and called me a couple of days later with a preliminary diagnoses: borderline diabetic. The x-rays and ultrasounds showed a significant layer of fat, which made her feel bloated.

The vet told me about diet change, weekly blood lettings, and daily insulin shots that might be required. I told her that neither Jim nor I were equipped mentally or physically to take weekly blood samples from ZCC or give her daily insulin shots, and that if she needed those, we would have to surrender her to long-term care or end her life.

The vet wanted another blood sample to ensure that the preliminary diagnoses was accurate and not a result of ZCC being stressed from simply visiting a new vet.

A couple of days after the second visit, the vet called to confirm the preliminary diagnoses. ZCC was borderline diabetic. The vet thought that since the condition was borderline, we could control it with a change in diet. No more Friskies dry or canned food, and no more Temptations treats. ZCC was going on a Hill’s W/D prescription diet. It’s expensive, about $10 a pound for dry food and $6 a pound for canned food. Lobster isn’t that expensive!

ZCC started her new diet on August 20. Fortunately, she didn’t turn up her nose at the new food, so I gave all her old food to Friends of Cats where I had just started volunteering on August 18.

Have I noticed any difference in ZCC’s demeanor or weight? Indeed I have! And it’s good!

After just two days on the diabetic diet, ZCC came into the bedroom at 3:00 a.m. (cats!), jumped up on the bed, plumped herself down on the pillow by my head, and proceeded to wake me up with her loud purring. She had not done that in four months!

Eventually she left but came in again at dawn (yep, still a cat), jumped up on the bed again, and proceeded to wash my hair for me. Again, something she had not done in the previous four months!

And her fur is growing back on her tummy!

Zoey the Cool CatZCC is making use of all her previous sleeping spots, including jumping up on chairs and sofas. Slowly but surely, she is losing weight, down to 16.2 pounds as of this post. She does not feel as bloated as she once did, and I can even feel the bones in her rear legs again. Her personality has perked up, and yesterday she even ran down the hallway with me chasing after her. We have not done that in the past four months.

She seems to be happier, and doesn’t cry or hiss at me when I pick her up.

Her happiness means that Jim and I are happy.

I am a fan of this new diet, notwithstanding its cost.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Cats—How it started

Cats

Early in the morning on Thanksgiving day in 2006, a female black cat stopped by our house. She did not have on a collar so I just presumed that Sophie the Black Catshe was a feral cat. I set out some human canned tuna and water. She ate and drank, and took off. I figured that would be the last I would see of her.

Late in the afternoon on Christmas eve in 2006, a female black cat stopped by our house. I was pretty sure it was the same black cat from Thanksgiving. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “a cat that knows human holidays….” I set out some human canned tuna and water. She ate and drank, and stayed……………. Jim named her Sophie.

Sophie on fence

At the time, we lived in the southeast San Diego County boondocks where the roads were all black asphalt and there were street lights every mile or so. Sophie had the run of the indoors and outdoors, but she remained pretty much an outdoor cat.

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

In May 2007, we moved back towards civilization; it was dark and lonely out in the southeast San Diego County boondocks. We determined to take Sophie with us, and she didn’t seem to have any problem with that. However, civilization meant more significant car traffic, and we worried about Sophie.

We tried to make her into a 100% indoor cat, but when the sun went down, she would howl like a wolf until we let her out. She would go exploring, returning at dawn to be let in…. indoor cat by day, outdoor cat by night.

Sadly, on September 20, 2007, Sophie didn’t return at dawn like she always did. I suspected the worst, and my suspicion was confirmed when I got a call a couple of hours later telling me that Sophie had been hit and killed by a car a couple of blocks over. The caller told me that Sophie’s little body had been placed up on the curb under the bushes, and a towel had been placed over the body. She gave me the address.

I went and got the body and gave her a proper burial, out at the home where she had adopted us since we still owned it at that time. I should never had looked at Sophie’s body under that towel. It’s an image that haunts me to this day. I should just have picked her up under that towel and buried her and the towel.

I was quite despondent, and when Jim got up, I told him what had happened. We cried and hugged each other, and determined to get another cat. Jim always had been a cat person but I considered myself a dog person. Sophie made me a cat person.

We went down to the El Cajon Animal Shelter that afternoon and found Zoey. She had just been turned into the Shelter, so she wasn’t adoptable until the next day. The next day we were in front of the Shelter ten minutes before it opened. As soon as those doors were unlocked, we rushed in and adopted Zoey. Three hours after we got home with her, I snapped this picture of her in my office share:

After taking that picture, I add to Zoey’s name, and she became Zoey the cool Cat. That picture pretty much told me that she kind of liked our place and was intent on becoming Queen.

Since mid-April, Zoey the Cool Cat has not been herself. I took her to a nearby vet. Was not happy with him, so I took her to a nearby vet hospital. Wasn’t really happy with them, either, so I took her to a vet hospital recommended by a long-time Realtor friend whom I had done business with for 15 years as a home inspector.

Hospitals are more expensive than stand-alone vets. Much more expensive.

The second vet hospital took blood, poop, and pee samples, and called me a few days later to tell me the results of the tests. They asked me to bring her back in for another blood sample to determine whether her condition was temporary for that one day or appeared to be long-term. It was long-term.

Last Monday, she went on a special anti-diabetes prescription diet. Dry food is about $10 per pound, and wet food is about $6 per pound. Holy smokes. It’s more expensive than a ribeye steak or Maine lobster!

Is she worth it?

In my next post, I’ll tell you how whether or not the prescription diet appears to be working….

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (8-20-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

A short video starring the furry felines at the Friends of Cats from my 2½ hours volunteering on August 19, 2018.

SNIPPET 2

I will be volunteering at Friends of Cats for 2½ hours each day, Sunday through Thursday. Yesterday I spent most of my time letting the FIV cats know that they have not been forgotten. They really enjoyed having me with them. Except this one. I wasn’t fooled. I saw him watching me.

Cat eye

SNIPPET 3

I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from Texas A&M University. So I do, uh, kinda like trees. However, treeless mountains also can be quite beautiful, like these over near Death Valley National Monument in California.

Treeless mountains

SNIPPET 4

Now, along with alternative facts and fake news, we have Rudy Giuliani telling us that “Truth isn’t truth.” Zoey the Cool Cat agrees, I think. Maybe not. Maybe she’s just being sarcastic.

Truth isn't truth!

SNIPPET 5

While volunteering at Friends of Cats for National Clear the Shelters Day on Saturday, I met my first heterochromia cat. Previously all I had seen were pictures. Now I have my own picture.

White cat with heterochromia

Heterochromia can occur in humans and dogs as well as cats. With cats, it occurs mostly in white cats. One eye almost always is blue in humans, dogs, and cats.

SNIPPET 6

When I came home Saturday after 8 hours volunteering for Friends of Cats, I went to hug Zoey the Cool Cat. She smelled me and gave me a look that said, “Dude! You’ve been cheating on me!” A video of many of the little furry ones that I had the pleasure to cheat with on my first day of volunteering

SNIPPET 7

While I was roaming the country a few weeks ago, I made it a point to visit all the great railroad spots, such as the historic California railroad yards in Barstow and Yermo. Here’s a video of a Union Pacific freight train heading west into the Barstow yard. From there it will go either to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego.

SNIPPET 8

This little guy’s name is Chuckie. He lives at the Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. He is a finicky eater, preferring only whole chicken from Costco.

Chuckie

SNIPPET 9

Got the official diagnosis Saturday on Zoey the Cool Cat’s blood, poop, and pee analysis. She’s diabetic, although not severe enough to require daily insulin shots. The vet wants to give her a significant change of diet.

Zoey the Cool Cat book

SNIPPET 10

It is often said that you don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you. I saw that on Saturday while volunteering all day at Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California. It was very moving.

A teen boy came in with his mom. They sat on the floor and were petting cats. A black cat (yeah black cats!) named Ace, a “problem cat” that had been in the shelter for several years, came up to him, flopped on the floor, and proceeded to let the boy rub his tummy and head, and even pick him up. Ace wanted to snuggle and generally told this boy that he was the one. The boy took him home.

Staff was astounded because Ace had never done such before.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Dude! You’ve been cheating on me!

Cats

Yesterday was National Clear the Shelters Day. I spent eight hours volunteering for the Friends of Cats shelter in El Cajon, California, just five miles from where I live.

When I came home, covered in cat hair and all sorts of cat smells, I went to give Zoey the Cool Cat a hug. She smelled me and gave me a look that said, “Dude! You’ve been cheating on me!”

Here’s a 4:31 video of many of the little ones that I was cheating with:

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (4/8/18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I joined the Internet as soon as it was available because previously I had been connected from Texas A&M University to co-workers at other universities like Wisconsin, LSU, Georgia, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State through the ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.

Although ARPANET was run by the United States Department of Defense, it wasn’t so much a defense network per sé as it was a way for researchers throughout the nation to connect with each other in writing without relying on the U.S. Mail.

With ARPANET, though, to the best of my knowledge after forty years, we had a little privacy. Such is not true with today’s Internet. Searches using Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are great examples.

If I ever thought that my little ol’ blog here was just an out-of-the-limelight set of musings, I realized very early after starting to blog in July 2007 that such was not the case. It got to the point in 2015 where I could publish a blog post and, within just a couple of minutes, my post would be indexed by Google and Yahoo. Because I don’t publish as often, it will take over an hour for this post to be indexed.

And now we have Facebook. If, after the Facebook fiasco, anyone thinks their information is private, well, I have news for you. I’m thinking that there needs to be a sequel to the 2010 movie, “The Social Network.”

SNIPPET 2

I have always loved pictures of raindrops on plants but I never was happy with my own pictures. That was the purpose of me buying the Tamron 90mm Macro lens several months ago. I just wasn’t happy with the raindrops pictures I was getting with my Tamron 18-300mm lens, which didn’t completely surprise me because it’s not a macro lens.

My gardens have had over 13 inches of rain in 2018, and that has allowed me plenty of opportunities to get pictures of raindrops on plants. Here are five of my favorites:

#1 — Raindrops on Sprenger asparagus fern (not a true fern)Raindrops

#2 — Raindrops on Aloe flower
Raindrops

#3 — Raindrops on a succulent flower stalk
Raindrops

#4 — Raindrops on leaves of Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Raindrops

#5 — Raindrops on a Graptopetalum leaf
(Might be in the NSFW category)
Raindrops

SNIPPET 3

I have been working tirelessly on getting a good inventory of Designer Pots for my new company, A+R POTTERY. There are about 50 completed pots, some of which will be kept as display pots to provide inspiration for those looking to buy but wondering what to do with such a small pot. Remember that my tagline is Designer Pots For Your Small Cactus And Succulents.

I shall be selling at cactus & succulent shows throughout Southern California. There are 15 such shows through August 12, although I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate in all of them. I sure would like to.

In order to be a vendor at a show, though, there usually are two basic requirements: (1) One has to be a member of the Cactus & Succulent Society that is hosting the show, and (2) One has to enter anywhere from two to eight entries into the show. They don’t have to be competitive entries, but obviously a show has to have plants in the show in order to have a show. Makes sense.

Of course, members and even the general public can enter plants into the show, but of vendors, it is a requirement. Here are five of my Designer Pots with plants for entering shows:

#1
These plants are stonecrops, so I call this my Stonecrop Swimming Pool.
Stonecrop Swimming Pool

#2
The larger plant at the back is Graptoveria olivia.
I bought it from a person on Facebook that I met
in the Cactus & Succulents Marketplace group.
Show pot & plants

#3
Many shows have auctions with the proceeds going to scholarships,
libraries, or special functions. It’s a great way to get publicity.
This one will be donated to the Benefit Auction on April 14
for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society,
which benefits their scholarship fund.
Benefit Auction Designer Pot & plant

#4
Many people don’t like “scraggly” plants. I’m a big fan of them.
They look so cool hanging over the edge of one of my Designer Pots.
Designer Pot with scraggly plant

#5
This is Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda).
This one will be entered into show competitions.
Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda)

#6
These five plants are Aloe varieties.
I call this Aloe Avenue.
It will be for inspiration only display.
Aloe Avenue

#7
I call this one Cactus Condominiums.
It also will be for inspiration only display.
Cactus Condominiums

#8
Lastly, I like this one so much
that I will be making more of them today and tomorrow.
San Diego Designer Pot by A+R Pottery

Each Designer Pot is different and numbered, so even if I make more starting with the same San Diego tile, the glass pot and frame on each one will be different, making each pot unique.

SNIPPET 4

Jim’s brother, Steve, had a stroke on March 19 and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and rehab after successful surgery. Steve has a cat named Ninja. Since he lives just 120 miles from us, the Jim & Russel Rescue Service sprang into action and took Ninja in to care for her and love her while her daddy is recovering. Ninja will be returning to her daddy this coming Friday. Ninja is an older cat, and quite large. I call her Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat. She and Zoey the Cool Cat don’t really like each other but they do tolerate each other.

Here are a few pictures of Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat:

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

It took a little while for Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat
to get comfortable in her new home.
She did that by creating bed tunnels
to hide in while she was acclimating.
Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Eventually they were able to get pretty close to each other
without growling and hissing.
Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post