Updated Cat Photo Gallery & Intro Page

I updated the cat gallery to include some more recent photos, as well as pictures of Michael.

I've also updated the introduction paragraph on the main page with their ages. I can't believe the kittens are already 7 years old! Glad we have Mike Wazowski! to add some energy to The Clowder. I'll be doing a profile of my little Strawberry Blonde Monster soon. 

The Clowder is all doing very well. Everyone gets along with Michael except Whisket (of course...she gets along with no one) and Miles (though they tolerate each other 98% of the the time). Dixee had a little blip with a kidney episode, but recovered quickly. She is full of life and energy for an elderly cat. Miles is losing weight slowly the the metabolic food and active feeder, but we are still struggling with Melody. We are now limiting her access to food by having her spend the day with Mike Wazowski! and Dixee.

Conclusion to the "A Cat Named Mike" series...

Several months later, I'm finally going to tell you what happened with "A Cat Named Mike". My apologies for not doing it sooner...life got in the way, and for awhile I wasn't blogging. 

 Michael in his temporary basement room.

Michael in his temporary basement room.

Anyway.....We got Michael to the vet, and his liver values were high. For a few weeks, we kept Michael isolated from the other kitties. His liver values could indicate a chronic liver condition, bad food from the outdoors, or an infection.

 Mike Wazowski!

Mike Wazowski!

Michael also had fleas and ear mites. We took care of those two through the normal means. His limp was likely caused by a misshapen growth plate when he was very little (and being kept in a confined outdoor area with his mother). 

We put him on a stable diet...no luck with the liver values. So, we tried antibiotics...


He is now happy and healthy, and officially part of our Clowder some seven months later. He's a wonderful, well-behaved and adorable cat. He's just over a year old.

Sorry to keep you all waiting! :)

A Cat Named Mike: Part 5

Start from the Beginning: Part 1

I spent the entire next day worried about Mr. Wazowski. My labmates were sympathetic and also concerned about his welfare. In fact, I was told to text them that night with an update (an example of why these people are so awesome).

When we returned from work that night...Mike was sitting on the stairs, like always, awaiting our arrival.

Grateful to find him safe, we moved him into his new room immediately. He was nervous for all of about 15 minutes, before settling in. He immediately adopted the grateful-to-be-rescued stray personality I've encountered twice before. He was loving and so affectionate.

The following morning I called my vet, and scheduled an appointment.

A Cat Named Mike: Part 4

Part 1

Mike held out for our return, and was there Monday night waiting for us after our long weekend trip. He helped us unload the car, and then we went inside to greet our cats and have some dinner. After dinner, I fed Mike some wet food and when he was done, I took his dish inside (to avoid raccoons) and went inside to unpack and get ready for work the next day.

Several minutes later, we heard a cat fight on our porch. A big, gray long-haired cat had come on to our porch and was fighting with Mike. We yelled out the door, and the cat ran off.

It happened AGAIN just a few minutes later. This time, I chased the cat out of our yard, while Mike stayed on the porch. I promised Mike we'd get him inside that night.

Jimmy and I immediately set to work with a plan to get Mike Wazowski inside.

We set up our guest room with food, water, a litter box and a cat bed. We covered the gap between the guest room door and the rest of the basement with towels (to prevent under the door fighting). Jimmy removed the screen from the window, and the plan was to pass Mike through the window (so none of other cats would see).

I went outside to pickup Mike for the handoff and he was gone. I called for him and searched the yard. He was nowhere to be found.

I checked several more times that night, until it was time for bed.

A Cat Named Mike: Part 3

Part 1

Before I tell you whether or not the cat was there when we returned from our trip, I'm going to tell you about his name.

The Monday after the cat began residing on our porch, I told my coworkers about this. One of them happens to be a huge fan of cats, so he was very interested in the welfare of the cat.

Later that day, for work-related reasons (and if you know my job, email me and I tell you the specifics), the movie Monsters, Inc was brought up. Specifically, Boo (the most adorable cartoon toddler ever) saying "Mike Wazowski!". Boo saying "Mike Wazowski" is actually the noise my phone makes when Jimmy texts me, because we both adore the movie (and the Disney attraction!).  The movie was discussed for quite some time.

Before I left that evening, my coworker who loves cats (and Monsters, Inc) suggested I name the cat Mike Wazowski because the enthusiasm Boo has when she says that is the same enthusiasm you get when see such an adorable kitty.

That evening, we started calling him Mike. I liked my coworker's reasoning. Also, the cat was bold, charismatic, and VERY talkative. He is always in a good mood, and is very silly. He's also tiny. On top of that, Mike fits well with the other names...Miles, Fred, Meredith....we tend to name cats people names, not standard pet names.

The name stuck.

When we got home from our trip, Mike Wazowski was waiting for us on the porch.

A Cat Named Mike: Part 2

Part 1

This adorable orange visitor continued to hang out on my porch during the following days. He'd be waiting for me, looking impatient, on the stairs when I arrived home from work. He spent his evenings on the door mat in front of my front door waiting for a visit from me. And every morning when I awoke, he was there on my porch for breakfast.

The nights were getting cold, so I put out a box with some old t-shirts in it, as well as a t-shirt in the corner of the porch where he liked to sleep. He used both areas, and piled up leaves on the corner t-shirt to make a bit of a nest.

He constantly tried to get into our house anytime we opened the door. He remained skittish to noises, or quick movements. However, everyday he became increasingly more trusting and affectionate towards me....he was downright cuddly. He let me hold him for brief periods of time, and sat on my lap once.

I took some photos as best I could. It was challenging because he wanted me to snuggle with him, not photograph him. And I posted these photos on our local NextDoor to see if he was lost.

We took great care to wash our hands after every encounter with him, and he used the human dishes, not the kitty dishes, so that we prevented accidental contamination. We also made sure our cats were up to do date on flea prevention.

We continued on like this for a week, until it was time for us to leave for a long weekend trip. We thought this would be a good test...if he didn't need us during the four days we were gone, he'd move on to another home. If he was there when we returned, we'd consider adoption.

A Cat Named Mike: Part 1

Several weeks ago Jimmy and I noticed a small orange kitty had begun hanging out in our neighborhood. This isn't unusual. Outdoor cats are abundant in our rural neighborhood, and I'm sure strays are too, sadly.

At one point, we noticed the cat walked with a bit of a limp...a stiffness in one of its back legs. We felt bad for the kitty, and Jimmy suggested we take it in, only half-jokingly. I admonished him...we already have too many cats, and we're still trying to pick ourselves up from the recent rough year we've had. Besides, Lefty had had a limp...but had a loving home. It was probably just an old injury that hadn't healed properly. We moved on, not dwelling on it much.

Two weeks ago, I was outside on the porch (possibly putting a pumpkin on it). I turned towards the stairs (the main floor is a flight up), and halfway up them was that orange cat. Up close, he was smaller than I had thought, and looked quite young. He cautiously meowed at me...several times.

I slowly crouched down, and called to him. He immediately came up the stairs and begged for attention.

He spent the rest of the night on our porch. I fed him a can of wet food, and he ate the entire plate. I later followed it up with some dry food...and he ate a bit of that too. He was very skittish...flinching at the slightest movement or noise...whether it be made by me, a passing car, or squirrel in a tree.

When I woke up that morning, he was still on my porch.



Our First KitNip Box!

We ordered our first KitNip box! KitNip is a monthly subscription box for kitties. It comes with toys and treats. 

At first, I was skeptical of the value of the box. I ordered the multi-cat box, and I wasn't sure if there'd be enough in the box to justify the price. 

I'm very happy to report that I am very satisfied with the value of the box! It contained more than I was expecting.

We have a lot of old and gross cat toys that need to be tossed, and this is my motivation for that. These toys are meant to replace our current stash, not add to it!

Fred and Melody helped me open the box and were immediately playing with the items.

I will review each of the items individually as my cats play with them!

If you want your own KitNip box, you can use this referral link to get 15% off your first box! https://kitnipbox.com/referral/PR3HPB

The Love of a Cat

Warning: A little sad

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
—Charles Dickens

As every cat owner knows, each cat has a distinct personality. I love each of my cats with all my heart. My relationship with each of them is different...some are better at snuggling, some are better at playing, some are better at showing affection and some I can have conversations with.They each have their preferred places to be pet and favorite spots to sleep. Dixee sleeps with me every night. Miles helps me in the kitchen. Melody watches tv with me. Whisket reads with me. Fred lays at my computer while I play games. And Meredith likes to eat potato chips with me.



Harree's place was by my side. Harree followed me from room to room. He was always there nudging the other cats away so he could be closer to me. It always seemed like he wanted to be near me all the time as much as possible. I feel like some of my other cats "need" me...particularly Fred...sometimes he just has to be picked up by me right now. But Harree always wanted me. He was one of my dearest friends. He comforted me when I was sad and laid with me when I was sick.



I adored Lefty. Lefty was a very good cat. He led an interesting life and had quite the number of fans. However, Lefty spent his days sleeping. Even before he got old, our interactions were not constant. He enjoyed hanging out in the room with everyone, liked the occasional pets, and was always around to lick the popcorn bowl when I was finished. I miss Lefty, but now that time has passed, I only think of Lefty when I eat popcorn or cheez-its, or stack dice, or put the groceries on the floor in the kitchen. The moments are very discreet and fleeting. 



For this reason, Harree's absence I feel more acutely. Particularly because I've experienced a lot of negative emotions recently and Harree was very good at comforting me. Everything reminds me of Harree. I still cry at least once or twice a week, but this is an improvement from several weeks ago. He will always be my special baby, and I'll always miss him.

Cat Product Recommendation: Feline Fiber Response Food

For over a year, Whisket struggled with chronic minor constipation. She would be able to go, but her stool was extra large, dry, and it would sometimes require a bit of straining. The vet recommended we add a capsule of Metamucil to her wet food, which definitely helped, but it didn't get rid of the problem.

Whisket is a very challenging cat to take to the vet. I'm a huge proponent of annual vet checkups and taking kitties to the vet the moment anything seems amiss. The rest of our cats go to the vet's office very often (at least twice a year for checkups, plus anytime there's a sign of illness), and my vet knows me very well. This should tell you what I mean by "challenging"...this isn't because she might bite, or does a bit of hissing...it is because she goes BAT-SH*T-INSANE. Seriously. My vet recommends NOT bringing her back except when necessary because it clearly stresses her out way too much. It's not just the vet...Whisket can't travel or be around other animals. She's one of the happiest, most affectionate, sweetest cats I have ever had the pleasure of knowing...until she is removed from her "safe" environment. She needs an area to call her own, that she is very familiar with. Once removed from that area, she makes indescribable noises that are mix of growling, yowling and hissing, and very loud; and attempts to lunge at anything nearby for a full-on attack with claws swinging.

In fairness to her, she has never actually hurt me...even during our most recent vet visit when I had to hold her while the vet checked her out. However, she scares me when she is like this...and angry cats usually don't scare me. I've administered plenty of medicine, subq fluids, tended wounds for outdoor cats...I'm never without a cat scratch somewhere on my body (though the cause was usually accidental). 

Anyway, several weeks ago she had an actual bout of constipation. She started eating very little. I was very worried, and took her to the vet. The experience was pretty awful, and I felt bad for my vet (though she was a total champ, and completely awesome about it). She got a clean bill of health, some laxative, and a prescription for a new diet.


I HIGHLY recommend this diet. If you have a cat with chronic constipation, I cannot recommend this diet enough. I'm sad we didn't put her on this sooner. I hardly had to use any laxative. A couple days on this diet and it was like magic...normal-sized, normal-shaped, very regular stool! She had also been having some litterbox issues...the issues completely stopped. 

Whisket is a very picky eater. For example, she loves the classic Salmon Fancy Feast, but dislikes the Salmon with Gravy (texture issues), the Flaked Tuna (also texture) and the classic Roasted Chicken (taste). If she doesn't like, she just won't eat it. She LOVES this food. Sadly, they do not have a wet food. We tried the gastrointestinal high energy wet food (vet recommendation), and she did not like it. She now eats the Fiber Response dry food with one can of regular wet food a day.

Several weeks later and her issues are still completely resolved. No new issues or complications. She is more consistently happy these days, which makes me happy too.

Inspector Lefty Approves of your Groceries

When we come home from grocery shopping, we place the groceries on the floor next to the fridge.

Until this moment, Lefty (the 22 yr. old) can be found in one of three places...his bed (most of the time), at the water or food dishes, or the litterbox. He cares little for the other happenings of the house, he only cares about eating, sleeping and pooping...except for the return from the grocery store.

Less than a minute after we put the groceries down, Lefty is up. He joins me at the bags and supervises the entire process of putting the groceries away. 

I have no idea why...we don't buy anything for the cats at the grocery store, he gets no treats at this time, and I'm too busy to pet him. Still...every week...he watches the groceries get put away.

Dixee's Okay!

A couple weeks ago, Dixee gave us a bit of a fright. On Tuesday, she was perfectly normal, but Wednesday evening- she wasn't eating. :(

She normally has quite the appetite, and it's not like her to skip a meal. She was also acting lethargic. I called the vet and scheduled a drop-off appointment for the following day. Dixee didn't eat at all Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

Her blood work was great (even in the kidney department!) She had a little bit of an upper respiratory infection (a chronic, and unfortunately common, condition with her). She has had a mass in her abdomen since we've had her, which has previously been tested and proven to be composed of fat cells that was of no concern. However, the mass continues to grow, so it was a suspect in the cause of her not eating. After some x-rays and additional testing, it was determined that the cause of her loss of appetite was a small blockage in her nose from her respiratory infection, and perhaps just a general unwell feeling from the infection. She was treated with antibiotics, but we needed to monitor her defecation- just in case it was an abdominal problem.

She began eating Thursday night. We kept her isolated in the bedroom, which she LOVED (seriously), so we could monitor all her bodily functions. Her energy levels, appetite, happiness, water-drinking and urination were all back on track by Friday evening. 

She didn't defecate between coming home from the vet on Thursday and Monday morning. So, I called the vet for a drop-off appointment on Tuesday. 

Of course, when we got home Monday night- there was a poop in her box! She still had to go to the vet, though. The vet said she saw no signs of discomfort and gave her the all clear with us continuing to monitor her.

Thankfully, the next poop spotting was only two days later, and then the following day...so it looks like we are back to normal. Thank goodness!