1
How to Make Holiday Cat Garland
2
Gift Guide: Best Cat Bowls for Food
3
Missing Cats While Away…
4
Wednesday Chit Chat – How Are You?
5
Weak Arms and Cat Litter
6
Honesty With Me and FiFi Bofinkles
7
Help Me, My Cats Want Food
8
A Look Into My Office, Trying to Work at Home With Cats
9
Cats and Reed + Rader
10
Painting With Cats
11
How To Get Your Sick Pets Healthy and Back to Wrestling!
12
How to Pill a Cat (Without Bleeding)
13
How’s Baby Bofinkles Doing? She’s living the Goodlife!
14
Happy Birthday Grumpy Cat!
15
Introducing our new baby, Goblin!
16
Get Better Baby Bofinkles
17
A Goodbye Love Letter to Essy
18
FiFi Bofinkles Is My Girl
19
I’m In Love With Brother Bear
20
Tea for Cats

How to Make Holiday Cat Garland

Step by step craft instructions on how to make cute cat garland, perfect for decorating for the holidays!

Hello my lovely cat ladies, you look purrfect today.
Do you have any cat stories to share this holiday season?  Is your cat knocking over your tree? Is your cat catching those lights?  Is your cat cozy sleeping under the tree?  Is your cat knocking over every ornament you have?    

It’s Goblin’s first Christmas and he treats everyday like it’s the best day ever.  I am pretty sure he thinks every ornament is a toy that we gave him.  He just doesn’t understand when we tell him we can’t knock them down.  I know he’s thinking.. “Give me toys so I can look at? No, Goblin must play!”.  What else does Goblin love.. garland! Hours of entertainment when there’s string involved!  To step up my cat lady game though, I decided this would be the year of cat garland. 
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Garland is so much fun for any day of the year, but especially around the holidays.  It’s great for trees, walls, front door and parties!  The great thing about making your own garland is customizing it to whatever color or pattern you want. 
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Gift Guide: Best Cat Bowls for Food

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Triad Retail Media for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
 

Choosing the right bowl means knowing your cat. It also means making sure the bowl is full of the cat’s favorite food. Because trust me, your cat will let you know. Your cat will also let you know if it’s bowl is moved, the bowl is not the right shape or they want the bowl emptied so they can climb in.

First can we talk food?  If your FiFi Bofinkles you want to talk food all the time.  That girl loves to eat, especially off a plate.  Especially people food.  Especially any type of food. She loves it all.  She takes after her Mama.

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Missing Cats While Away…

Hi friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family.  Matthew and I surprised his Mother and family by showing up for dinner a few minutes beforehand.  Only his brother knew we were coming back so it was organized well.  Thankfully someone recorded a video of Matthew walking in the front door and it’s the sweetest reaction his mom could make – crying and yelling.  It was really special coming back to Cleveland for a few days to see his (my) family.

We had such a ordeal getting to Cleveland though.  This is how the schedule went:
Wednesday 12:00PM – Say goodbye to our kitties and make them all kiss me.  4 times.
Wednesday- got to airport with plenty of time to spare as everyone says the busiest day at the airport is the day before Thanksgiving. There were no lines. Spent 2 hours waiting watching Tudors.  
Wednesday 2:30PM – supposed to start boarding plane right now.
Wednesday 3:00PM – started to board the plane.
Wednesday 4:00PM – still sitting on the runway. Pilot comes on and tells us the plane is having mechanical issues.
Wednesday 4:30PM – we’re back sitting inside the airport now. They say they are bring in parts from another airport.  This doesn’t seem good. But they say don’t panic, we’ll be fine.
Wednesday 5:00PM – Don’t panic, you’ll be fine, American Airlines says.
Wednesday 6:00PM – Don’t panic, you’ll be fine, American Airlines says.
Wednesday 7:00PM – Don’t panic, you’ll be fine, American Airlines says.
Wednesday 8:30PM – Panic, the flight is cancelled.
Wednesday 8:31PM – Passengers are either angry or crying because they can’t find any other flights for Thursday morning.
Wednesday 9:00PM – America Airlines tells us that they found Matthew and I a flight with another carrier in the morning, we should be ok. They pay for a cab to go back home to sleep for the night.  Cats are confused why we’re back because their party was just beginning.
Wednesday 11:00PM – Call American Airlines because the flight they said we are now on is actually booked and it’s stating online that we are wait-listed.   Other airline confirms the flight is booked.  American Airlines is confused. They have no idea what to do with us.
Wednesday 11:30PM – After 4 calls back and forth, they get us a flight for the morning. We have to fly New York to Chicago to Cleveland with a 2 hour layover, but whatever, we’ll take it!
Thursday 3:00PM – Finally get to Cleveland!

Whew, that was a bit stressful.. but we made it!

Now back to the topic.. missing kitties!
Whenever we travel I miss my little baby dolls so much.  I even travel with a Polaroid of each of them so I can wake up in the morning and see them:
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Wednesday Chit Chat – How Are You?

I used to love these weekly “how are you posts” but I fell off the wagon a bit.  But now I’m back and I’m ready to chat.  So how are you doing? How’s your family? How’s your cats? How’s your job?  How’s the weather?  Are you looking forward to the holidays?

I know, that’s lots of questions.  Take your time answering them.

I guess I’ll answer them too.

How am I doing?  
I’m caught a bug. No, not a cute little garden bug.  This is a sneezy, sniffly, ear ringing (I sound like a commercial) bug.  We’ve had a long week of working and as sometimes happens the day after nonstop work the body needs to crash.  My body crashed straight into bed.  I’ve been sniffling so much I’m sure I annoy everyone in our office (I’m sorry!).  Also I can’t really eat anything so I’ve been living on tea, juice and broth (but sometimes that grosses me out too).   Whenever anyone eats in front of me I have to go to the other room.  The smells! AGH!    Hopefully this will clear up in a few days… until then I’ll be moping around.

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Weak Arms and Cat Litter

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme Litter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hi y’all.

I have weak arms.  We’re talking totally weak arms.  We’re talking you might think I’m joking when I tell you it’s hard for me to drain a pot of noodles because the pot weighs so much.  I’m trying to get stronger though by lifting 2 pound weights.  Hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Weak arms + lots of cats sometimes equals a problem.  No, not picking the cats up, that’s easy, I just get magical powers when it comes to lifting up all my babies, even if they don’t like it. 🙂
Brother being ok with this picture, Goblin trying to kiss Xanadu, Xanadu shouting out not to kiss her, Bofinkles on the floor beacause she did not want to participate in this family photo. #cats #cat #catlady #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluff

 

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Honesty With Me and FiFi Bofinkles

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Triad Retail Media. All opinions are 100% mine.

My FiFi Bofinkles trusts me.  And only me.

Try to touch her belly and you’ll get snapped at.

Try to rub her head and you’ll get snapped at.

Try to rub her toes.. oh goodness, don’t you dare.

But me? I get full access to my FiFi Bofinkles 24/7.  Sometimes she literally serves her belly on a platter for me (ok maybe not literally). But she gives me it.  

My Bofinkles Baby and I trust each other.

The story of FiFi Bofinkles is a funny one.  Got a minute to listen?

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Help Me, My Cats Want Food

I heart my cats, they are a wild bunch that love me too, especially when I feed them. That’s why I was thrilled at the opportunity to try out Fancy Feast® Broths as a part of this sponsored post program.  Now they love me even more!

Hey Mom.  
Do you see us?
What is your in hand?
We know it’s food.  
We saw you go in the food cabinet.
Mom, we know you see us.
Mom, we’re meowing.  So now you can see us and hear us.
Can you put the food down already?
Come on Mom, stop tormenting us.
Give us the food already.
Come on.
Feed us.
Ok, let us rub your ankles and purr.
See, we love you?
We also love soft food.
Feed us.

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A Look Into My Office, Trying to Work at Home With Cats

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #StaplesBTS http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Hi everyone, I thought I’d take today to do a little post to show you where the blog takes place.  You know, not in cyber space, but in reality.  The place where I write the blog posts, take photos of recipes and pin brownies in my pajamas at 2AM because I can’t sleep.  The last one is never a good idea, trust me.

I’m always interested in where other bloggers are inspired by.  Are you writing your recipes as you cook on  your laptop in the kitchen?  Are you doing posts in bed late at night because there’s not enough hours in day?  Or do you have a dedicated work area in your home?

We’ve had a separate studio space for our  R+R work for over a year now and it was a great choice.  We decided to get this space to try to separate work from life.  I’m going to be honest and say it’s hard to separate life, love and work when  your creative partner is also your husband.   Lately I’ve been trying to set up a strong rule that we aren’t allowed to discuss work at home, we can’t work that late and we have to take off 1 day a week.    I break all these rules as does Matthew (he’s worse I promise you).    None of these rules really come into effect with Brooklyn Farm Girl.  As the blog continues to grow, I sometimes find myself overloaded with new posts, sponsored posts and reviews.  Suddenly on top of my day job of being an artist, there’s blog deadlines and blog advertisers to please.   It’s complicated and it’s long hours, but it’s also exciting and I’m a proud mama bear of BFG.    Lately I’ve been trying to split my time in half – half at the studio, half at home with the blog.   The problem here is that the blog is at home which means it’s always on.   I really wish I could have a strict schedule and kick myself off the computer during the evening but I have no self will.   Is anyone else work obsessed?

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Cats and Reed + Rader

I’m totally going to shock you here… but I love cats! Ok maybe that’s not shocking at all, but it was reason to just yell out “I love cats!”.  I love the entire population of cats! 

We were shooting the entire past weekend and unfortunately there was no cats on set.  You know how much this breaks my heart but don’t worry, there was plenty of cat gushing with friends that we work with!   The shoot was a fashion project we’re working on and that got me thinking about cats in fashion.  You all know I’m already obsessed with cat clothes, but how about we go a step further and investigate cats that roam fashion sets and end up in the final pictures?

Matthew and my own work  features plenty of cats! We’ve done plenty of gifs, videos and interactive projects that put our cat love on full display. Here’s just a few that I’d love to show you guys!  Being inspired by cats is totally my daily fancy!

The most known one is a video we made for Vice Magazine.  The film is called “I Hate Kitties” but don’t get the idea that we hate kitties, that’s not true at all.  The video was done in good spirits but expresses that feeling when cats wake you up at 6AM with a meow to be fed, you get out of bed and run into the wall while stubbing your toe, feed your cat and then head back to bed. Then the cat appears on your belly with a look that says “I didn’t want food. Sucker.”.  

Last year we were approached by the fine folks at Snapple to create a video about cats.  The video was based on their under the lid facts. The fact for our project was Snapple Real Fact #685: Dogs can make about 10 sounds, cats make about 100.  So we decided to go right in and show how brilliant cats are with our spelling bee.    

Don’t you love a behind the scenes look at our Snapple video too featuring Brother Bear?
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For Christmas we did a GIF story for Flair Magazine. One of the shots included a grumpy cat lady.
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Then we did a V MAN / Marc Jacobs story that featured some cat rubbing. Don’t be terrified, the cats are happy.
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For a interactive piece last year we projection mapped colors on a 3D cat that we created.  The final result was a installation piece called CAT GOD. Meow.  Here’s a look at it during the day when it’s not lit up.. with me on Matthew’s shoulders (he made me do it, I was scared!).
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Finally, even a talk we gave in Toronto in April had cats in the title.  Cats, Cats, Cats! Love, Love, Love.
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And what would be a post with our projects be without some snapshots of our cats behind the scenes?  Being loved on set is their daily fancy.  Kitties love lots of attention… especially Xanadu! I really love all the models who have shown Xanadu love over the years…. she tends to always want to jump into the shots!
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Hope you guys liked taking a look behind the scenes of our cat happy work! 
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What’s your daily fancy? Follow Fancy Feast’s new Tumblr to read the #DailyFancies of fancy cats and passionate cat owners. I’m really loving the interviews they are doing with cat loving bloggers so check it out!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about painting with cats!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

Painting With Cats

Have you ever tried to paint a wall alongside a cat? How about 4 cats? So the journey begins..

For the past few years we have had a wall unpainted that sits behind my desk. It’s called the bike wall as it houses the bikes on it.  The wall was supposed to be painted right after construction but for some reason that never happened so I have just been looking at a ugly wall for quite some time.  Because I could not put up with it anymore I told myself in May that wall would be painted!  I was pretty excited to do this and thought it would be simple.. but then some furry critters entered the painting day.

First up I wanted to tell you about the paint I chose.  I’ve heard great things about BEHR’s Marquee Interior Paint and Primer as it’s a one coat color that gets results quickly.  It’s paint + primer in one so it means no waiting around.. quick quick quick! What’s even more quicker? It has low VOC in it that allows the paint to dry faster which means you could paint and entertain a room in the same weekend.  Because I knew this was the bike wall I needed a paint that would be able to handle mud and wet stains that bike tires could cause.  With this paint it’s scrubbable which is perfect for the project at hand.  This paint was found at my local Home Depot and you can check your store availability here if you’re interested.  There’s 372 colors to pick from so they pretty much have every shade you are looking for.  We went with Siberian Ice Eggshell which is a icy blue shade.  I have to say that it was pretty dead on perfect with the swatch which is a great positive.  Did you ever buy a paint and it looks nothing like the swatch?  Terrible, I know.  A gallon retails at around $40 which I do find pricey for normal paint but since it has the primer mixed in and is quick drying, the results pay for themselves.  If you don’t need a gallon they also have 8 oz samples.  The paints come in matte, eggshame enamel and semi-gloss enamel.  What I’m saying is this paint rules!  Do-it-yourselfers can visit behr.com/marquee to learn more about the product and access robust how-to information.  

So now on to painting with the cats!
This was the wall to begin with.  It’s color was “natural” as it was never painted. Also I know the Grumpy Cat poster is a great touch.
Painting With Cats

In the same afternoon with only one coat of paint I was able to have a already transformed looking wall!
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I really love that color is subtle and not overwhelming.  With my purple wall I wanted something that wouldn’t outdo it.  As the day goes on the shadows get darker in our loft the color gets slightly darker making the icy blue stand out.
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I also painted a canvas with this color to see how it would work with crafts.  We used this canvas for a backdrop for a upcoming project and the color really stuck well to the canvas.   Canvas really soaks up paint so it goes quicker in this way but the color was spot on.
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Now on to the painting…

The afternoon started with some paint and a roller.  I thought everything was going to be great…
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Then I got the ladder out and I knew this was going to be a adventure.  Hi Goblin.. one cat shows up.
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And then once the cats realized there was plastic on the floor Wrestlemania began with the boys.  In this picture Brother and Goblin are both on the plastic while Xanadu lives on her ladder as the referee.  The boys love to roll around and wrestle on the plastic. It’s madness.   They also love seeing how their nails can rip the plastic.  It’s great fun for everyone except me.
Planned on painting but I have bad helpers.  1 wont get off the ladder and the other 2 are wrapped in plastic. #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram  #siamesecat #mainecoon #home #diy #painting #design

Finally I got them to calm down a bit and they napped on a box.
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Then Xanadu decided that while the paint was drying she was going to head back to the top of the ladder again.  Xanadu has always been a fan of ladders.  She often sleeps on top of them when they are out.
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In the past few weeks Goblin has really been investigating Xanadu’s methods of play.  Xanadu is very active and smart and generally gets into everything so Goblin is very curious about how she does it.  When the moment came where I saw Goblin thinking about climbing the ladder I knew this was going to go bad.  She was teaching him all her tricks.
Xany Goblin

So after a bit of figuring out how to get on top of the ladder, Goblin climbed slowly to the top.  Xanadu was not pleased at all and tried to bite his ear off.  After all, it is her ladder.
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But finally Xanadu gave up because Goblin would just not let go of the ladder.  She jumped down and Goblin stayed hanging onto the ladder for the next 3 hours because he has no idea how to get down.  Eventually we had to save him.  Good job Goblin.
Congrats Goblin, you finally climbed to the top of the ladder… but how are you going to get down?  #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram #ilovemycat #grey

Are your cats curious too?  Tell me stories in the comments!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about cats in our work!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

How To Get Your Sick Pets Healthy and Back to Wrestling!

collectivebias

I hope everyone found some help in my 4 Ways to Pill a Cat Post I made last week. If you haven’t checked it out, go ahead.  I hope one of the methods work great for you!
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I know how difficult it is dealing with a sick pet, so below I wanted to share some tips for taking care of  a pet who has a strict medicine schedule.    If you have multiple pets on medicines I know how hard it can be to keep track of who took what and when.  So here’s some things I do to make sure all our furry critters get their pills.

Each of our cats right now take 1 Fluconazole pill a day.  Because they are different sizes in weight some of them have different MG in terms of size.  That means that I have to be extra careful when grabbing their pill bottle to make sure that take the right pill.  That means that I have to make sure I physically give them the right pill and that also means I have to be sure that if I’m giving it to them in soft food, that they eat it… and someone doesn’t come up next to them and steal it.  Have you ever had to feed 4 cats at the same time?  Imagine being the most popular girl in the world, it’s a great feeling.
Easter Dinner.  #cats #cat #easter #dinner #catlady #family #kitty #persiancat #mainecoon #siamese #calico

To keep track of the pill bottle situation, we always mark the top of the bottles with the letter of their first name.   So when I go into the medicine cabinet I don’t have to spend a minute reading everyone’s bottle to find who’s who is who, this makes it quick and easy.   Making names on the bottles bigger is great for pet sitters as well. Right now I’m out of town so we have a pet sitter stopping by daily to give them their pills.   I’m always nervous when someone else has to give our cats pills so this makes me at ease more.  Since we need to make sure everyone takes their pill we always make a chart on the chalkboard too.  Every single time someone gets their pill we mark it down.

Since the cats get their pills at different times of the day as they have different schedules this makes it easy to remember that yes, Goblin got his at 10AM, but Brother did not get his and it’s now 8PM.  Time to track Brother down and give him that pill.
Brother Magestic Man

One easy thing that I found out is that lots of my cats prescriptions can actually be filled at my local Walgreens, which is the same pharmacy I use.  Doctors and veterinarians commonly prescribe the same medications for people and animals so Walgreens pharmacists can actually fill human-analogous pet prescriptions.  How much easier does it get to be able to pick up your own prescription and your pets at the same time?  Our vet is not that close so that makes a immediate refill not the easiest thing to get, but Walgreens is 3 blocks a way which means I just have to throw my shoes on, grab my wallet and keys and go.  Also I noticed another bonus at refilling your pets prescriptions at Walgreens pharmacy and that it’s sometimes cheaper than your veterinarian office.   This is because the markups are higher and there’s usually a dispensing fee.  Along with using your Balance Rewards card this is a great way to save because we all know a trip to the vet is not a cheap event.
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Because I manage all my own personal prescriptions and refills online I also love that Walgreens Online Prescription Management allows me to add my pets right on the online portal. That means that I’m 2 clicks away from adding each pet to  my account.  
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Also if you don’t want to use the online portal Walgreens has a mobile app where you can track all prescriptions there too.  Walgreens is great with monthly reminders to refill so this makes sure I always have their medicine on hand when they need it, with plenty of time to spare in case the pharmacy is out of stock and has to order it.   The way I do this is by getting email reminders that I can hit reply and send directly to the pharmacy.

So go on and get your pets healthy! With healthy cats that means they can get back to enjoying their nap and play time.. or in our house that means plenty of wrestling time!

 Boys… they all love to wrestle!  
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 #WalgreensRx #CollectiveBias 

How to Pill a Cat (Without Bleeding)

You’re standing at the vet and they tell you that your cats need to go on medicine.  Ok, no big deal, I’ll just mix it in their food.  Then they tell you the medicine only comes in pill form.  Big deal, you start falling to the floor, sobbing and crying “I’m going to die!”.    For anyone who’s ever had to pill a cat,  this is probably a situation you can relate to.   It’s very rare that a cat will take a pill willingly with a smile,  so sometimes you have to figure out Plan B… and then Plan C, Plan D, Plan E when everything else fails.

Many of you guys expressed how hard pilling was for you in the Bofinkles post so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about techniques I use for all our critters.   We have 4 cats and every single one of them needs to be pilled a different way. I’m not lying.    So with that, I have done so much research,  so many trials, so much crying to find what works for each of them.   Down below I’m going to discuss all 4 ways we use in hopes that one of them will relate to your cat and help you.

First, some news.   For some of you that follow me on Instagam you might have seen there have been a few trips to the Vet in the last few weeks. All these trips started when Goblin arrived. Right away we noticed Goblin was a bit itchy to the point of where he was scratching himself causing cuts.  Because Brother had ringworm year ago when we brought him home, we had a feeling Goblin did too, but upon the first Vet visit they didn’t recommend this at all so I didn’t want to step on anyones toes.  So then Bofinkles got sick.  And then Goblin started to lose a little hair around his ears and continued to itch.  Then I got ringworm on my leg (I call it a love mark).  Then I took Goblin back to the vet and I said to them “I think it’s Ringworm!”.  They did a black light test but didn’t see anything but I knew the scabs on his ear were totally ringworm as they were the exact same scabs that Brother had.  So  then they took a skin culture and we had to wait 2 weeks.  Well not even 1 week in the vet called and confirmed, Goblin had ringworm. 

When we had Brother we quarantined him for 45 days in our bedroom.  It was quite a ordeal because we had to protect Essy who was a senior and not let Xanadu into the room who is the most curious cat in the world.  Instead of doing the whole quarantine situation the vet recommended that we just give all the cats 1 month of ringworm medicine to both treat Goblin while making sure the other cats don’t get it.  This will allow them to all live together, continue their wrestling and just be normal… while receiving 1 pill a day.

Ringworm is a bit of a bummer in terms of you have to work to defeat it, but it’s something that’s totally treatable so if your cat ever gets it, don’t worry.  For example, Goblin has ringworm but you would not tell in terms of eating or personality. He eats like a hungry man and plays like a crazy man.   And and he’s a giant cuddle bug.. I’m in love!
Goblin Floor

Ringworm spores are common at shelters so don’t freak out if you bring home a cat and you find out weeks later it has ringworm. This  happened to us with both Goblin and Brother, but 1-2 months of treatment is worth the world in terms of making your cat healthy, loving it and growing old with it.  

So with 4 cats that now needed to take their daily Fluconazole pill, let’s get to pilling them!

First, take a deep breath. It’s totally going to be ok.  I know at first it might suck and you might get defeated, but you’ll figure it out.  Even when your cat scratches you, bites you, makes a meow like it is dying (its not) just know you have to work hard to get that pill into your cat, it’s important, so don’t give up.  Once you figure out what technique works for your cat then you’ll be smooth sailing (ok, maybe not smooth, but you’ll be calmer.. and your cat too).

The 4 ways that we have to do to pill our cats:
Goblin, hiding in soft food.  EASY.
Bofinkles, hiding in a treat with pill pocket.  EASY.
Brother, turning pill into powder and rubbing on fur.  MEDIUM, BUT PERFECT FOR THE MOST DIFFICULT CAT.
Xanadu, inserting pill into mouth by hand. MEDIUM-DIFFICULT.

So let’s start with the easy ways.  These are both sneaky and if your cat can fall for them I’m so happy for you!

#1:  HIDING PILL IN SOFT FOOD
If a cat sees or smells a pill, it might be stubborn to eat the food, even when it’s laid on top of yummy soft food.   But if a cat really loves wet food and you can hide it in some strong smelling wet food then you’re likely to succeed.
So just throw your pill (or pills) whole in some soft food, then put a little bit of the food on top to hide it.
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Your cat will eat it right up and be licking it’s lips for minutes after.  And even better, it will think that you are really nice by giving it soft food which will result in kisses.
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 #2 HIDING PILL IN PILL POCKET WITH TREATS
Many people have had success with Pill Pockets but our cats think they are gross.  Have you ever smelled a Pill Pocket? It smells pretty bad and nothing like food, so one sniff of it and your cat might be like “No thanks”.   Miss FiFi Bofinkles loves treats, she will ravish you for treats, she will knock other cats out of the way for treats, so going the pill pocket/treat route totally works for her.  And even after she eats the horrible tasting pill pocket, she still looks at me and says “Can I have another treat mom?”
So what you need: Feline Pill Pockets, delicious treats (like Friskies) and your pill.
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First step, put it in the pill pocket.  It doesn’t look appetizing, does it?
Second step, because the pill pocket is soft and sticky, push treats into the top of it.   Bofinkles usually picks one treat up which results in the entire pocket being lifted up, so she just eats one giant treat and loves every minute of it.
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If your cat loves treats, this might be the best way for you.  FiFi Bofinkles approves after eating her big “boat treat” (What I named it).
Ways to Pill A Cat_5

#3 TURN PILL INTO POWDER AND RUB INTO FUR
Let’s first talk Brother, he’s a big Maine coon, with giant claws and abs of steel.  He’s made multiple vets bleed, thrown their needles across the room, to the point of noone can clip his claws.   With all that aside, Brother Bear is a giant sweetheart, a gentle giant, but he just doesn’t like to be forced to do things and he hates the vet.  Really hates it.  When he was a baby we had to wrap him up in the blanket method to get him to take a pill, but he was really pissed off and we would get scratched and bitten so bad.  It’s really amazing how strong a cat can be when it’s angry. So now years later and  many workout sessions to get stronger, we knew the blanket method was just not going to work.  During the first night I thought Matthew could hold him and I could open his mouth with my hands and insert the pill straight into his mouth.   Hahahaha, I was so wrong.  While trying to get the pill into his mouth he bit down on my thumb so hard, bruising the entire nail making my thumb unusable for days. This is how it looks a week later,  what a love bite, right?
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So enter the powder + rubbing on fur method.  This is hands down the messiest method, but for us it’s the only way we can pill Brother.  By crushing your pills up into powder (make sure your vet says this is ok) then you have a easier base to work with.    Even when we crush his pills up and put it into soft food, he can smell it and will turn away, so you have to be really sneaky with this trick.     
First step, crush up a pill with the bottom of a spoon. I know this picture looks like we live in a drug den, but Officer I swear this is for my cat!
Ways to Pill A Cat

Step 2, dip your finger in some Vaseline, then rub into the pill powder.  Depending on how many pills you are giving, or the size, you might have to do this a few times. I also tried dipping my finger in cat food gravy and butter, but the Vaseline sticks better.   Vaseline is often used for hairballs, so it’s safe to use for your cats, but only use a small amount for getting the powder to stick. 
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Then find your cat, you want it to be standing up preferably.   With your dipped finger, wipe the sticky mixture onto their leg/paw.  Often I will have to do this a few times as once you do the first smear your cat will know what’s up. Almost immediately your cat will be disgusted by the mess on it’s leg and will clean it up.  If you have more powder to swipe on then smear it on the opposite leg while they are cleaning their other one.   You’ll receive some glares but your cat will be sure to clean the other mess up right away too.  
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And just like that, your difficult cat will take it’s medicine.  Once it’s done cleaning, there will be no real mess left on it.
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#4 INSERTING PILL BY HAND INTO MOUTH
For this method, you need your cat to trust you.  Also after the first time you surprise your cat with this, every time you pick up your cat to do this again it will know what’s up, so  expect a chase once the pills come out.  Xanadu is our Siamese and she’s paranoid about the world and incredibly cautious, so we have to do this manually by hand.  I’ve given Xanadu liquid medicines by hand so I have it down pretty solid on how to open her mouth and get it done. In fact, I do this to Xanadu by myself, so there’s a lot of trust built up between us… but she still hates it every single time.
Step 1, get your pill.  You can put the pill in your hand but I find using a pill gun so much easier as it’s skinny to fit into your cats mouth and then shoot it into the back of the throat.  This means no fiddling around with the pill in the front of the cat’s mouth.   I bought this at my local pet store for $4 and it’s worth millions in tears.
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Step 2.  Get your cat and hold it tight between your legs.  I do this by myself, so while holding her between my thighs, I reach around with one hand to open the mouth while holding the pill gun with the other.  
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Then I open her mouth wide, keeping my finger there to make sure it stays open.  With the pill gun, I stick it into her mouth and shoot the pill into the back of her throat.
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Immediately after the pill is shot in, I drop the gun onto the floor and close her mouth.   While holding her head up (to swallow), I blow on her nose softly while rubbing her throat with  my fingers.  Both the blowing and the rubbing will cause your cat to swallow, causing the pill to go down with it.  
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You can see your cat swallow by it’s neck, so after 2 swallows I release her knowing the pill went down and we’re safe.
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Then I reward her in kisses, hugs and treats and tell her we’ll never do that again (I lie, I’m a horrible Mother I know).

So that’s how we pill our 4 cats! I hope this helps you some in the future!

Do you have any pilling stories with your pets?

How’s Baby Bofinkles Doing? She’s living the Goodlife!

collectivebias

I have a shocker for you.  Are you ready?  I’m a cat lady! I know, you’re surprised and totally weren’t expecting it! I mean the cat nails, the cat clothing, the cat section on BFG, the cats in my banner up top, how my Instagram is full of our furry babies, how I really don’t want to talk politics at a dinner party but instead tell you the cutest thing that Brother Bear did last week , and how I’d love to talk brownies and cat food at the same time weren’t a giveaway to you, right?

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes on Baby Bofinkles a few weeks ago when she was feeling under the weather.   After a few days, she still wasn’t feeling that great, but then the Vet gave us a appetite stimulant and another G/I pill and she was back to being her fine bodacious bikini wearing self again.   Want to know a quick story? Ok, you do.  When Bofinkles was sick and wasn’t eating, I was pretty distraught.  She just would not eat anything and I started getting nervous.  After a rough phone call with her vet, I sat on the floor and cried pretty hard because I was frustrated and beyond worried as it was 3 whole days with no food.  As soon as I started crying, Bofinkles hopped down, rushed over to me, put her head on my shoulder and gave me the sweetest head butts.  Then she pushed my arm over and layed down in the nook where we stayed for a while after.  It was pretty heart warming as I think she understood how worried I was and she was saying “I’m Ok Mom”.  She was also probably saying “Get this lady to stop crying, I’m trying to sleep”.

This is a great place to talk about pilling your cats, have you ever tried?  Well you’re reading this so you’ve lived through it, but what a struggle right?  Xanadu is easy to do anything to, but Bofinkles and Brother… they are another story.  After many failed attempts, me crying on the floor begging for Bofinkles to take her pill, her running away from me every single time, we finally worked out a technique.  They sell pill poppers for pets, which is just a little pill gun, where you open their mouth and it shoots into the back the of their mouth.  After you shoot it in, then close their mouth, gently blow on their nose and gently rub their throat.  The air from the blowing and the soft caress from your throat rubs will cause them to swallow the pill.  Then tell them you love them, you’ll never pill them again, and then prepare yourself to do it again 12 or 24 hours later.  Bofinkles is a real Mama’s girl and is keen on biting Matthew so I actually pilled Bofinkles myself which I was pretty impressed by because the little lady from the South sure has got some spice in that attitude.  

I told FiFi Bofinkles how many people were sending her good wishes and asking about her.  I asked her if she could thank you guys and show you that she’s better.  This is how the conversation went.

Baby Bofinkles Update
Hey Bofinkles, you should tell everyone how you’re feeling and thank your new friends.

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“What? Is it time for kiss?”

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No Bofinkles, I want you to type something up.

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Bofinkles, that’s not how you type.

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Ok, Bofinkles that is not how you type either.

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Ok, Bofinkles I’ll type it up. No Bofinkles, my hand is there to type, not support your head for the next 45 minutes.

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Ok Bofinkles, one quick belly rub and then you have to type something up.

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Oh Bofinkles.. you’re being silly and trying to get out of doing work aren’t you?

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No Bofinkles, it’s not time for a treat, sit back down.  

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No, not lay down and go to sleep.  Bofinkles, we really have to write something up.

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Good girl, thank you! Now let me take a look at what you wrote.

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Bofinkles! That is not what I was thinking…

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“Just write it mom.  I’m tired!”.

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And when you’re done writing, let me taste that pretzel you have in your hand.  Bring it a little closer.

Bofinks Mama Girl
What a girl Bofinkles.. What a girl.

Anyways, Bofinkles wanted me to tell you THANK YOU! She’s feeling much much better! 

One that that is really important to me is keeping our cats healthy.   This year has been pretty rough with losing Essy, and then multiple trips to the Vet for sicknesses, but it’s all worth it knowing your cat is going to be ok.   If you ever fear your cat is sick, take it to the vet and double check.   You’re the best person who knows when your cat is acting different and I’m sure your kitty means the world to you, so always be safe!  Another thing is important (almost the most!)  is keeping the cats on a good diet,  including a food that is good for them.  That’s why I want to introduce GOODLIFE™ cat food to you guys (and your cats!).

Take a look at this chart comparing GOODLIFE™ food to the other top brands.  Their #1 ingredient is chicken or salmon (strong muscles!) and includes a no corn, no soy, no wheat recipe.  
Goodlife-Comparison-Chart

Oh and the taste… it’s delicious.  Don’t trust me on this, just shake a bag and watch the kitties run over! Thanks to #goodlifepet and #CollectiveBias for the introduction to this!
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You can find GOODLIFE™ cat food at Walmart and make sure to print out the $1 coupon!  Mine was on the top shelf so make sure you look for it there if you can’t find it.  Then get your muscles ready to lift a bag down! 
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Tell me..
Does your cat ever sleep on your keyboard and you just give in, do no work, eat a brownie and just watch them sleep? 

Happy Birthday Grumpy Cat!

Do you guys love Grumpy Cat as much as me? I mean how can’t you just see this face and smile?

grumpycat Grumpy Cat, aka Tardar Sauce, is a cute kitty girl who took the Internet’s heart when she was born with a permanent frown.   She is a elite Internet cat now, with tons of memes and followers, but can you blame her? She’s a real cutie.  

This month Grumpy Cat is having a birthday, she’s turning 2 years old!  And she’s here to make this the most grumpy birthday ever!

On April 29, Friskies®  Party Mix is hosting a very grumpy Grumpy Cat’s Birthday Party in New York City!   And you could win a trip to the “Super Terrible 2” birthday party if you upload a picture of your cat’s grumpiest frown.  So get making your cat grumpy, trust me, it isn’t very hard at all.

Friskies® and Grumpy Cat was nice enough to send me a party pack for me to get the party started with my own furry critters. Inside we received tons of goodies which had me trying to dress up our cats which resulted in pure grump mode. What turned their grumpy frowns upside down though? Friskies®  Party Mix treats!
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Have you ever shook a treats bag and all of a sudden there’s a earthquake of kitties running after you? It’s pretty much the best feeling in the world. If you have a Walmart near you, stop by and pick up your own party mix and get that bag shaking! Here kitty kitty….

Now let’s get this party started!  Grumpiness ahead…

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I am not pleased with this hat.

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Goblin turns into a grumpy bear.  That belly…. it’s magic.

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“Grumpy Cat, this is no fun”.  “I agree”. 

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This grumpy frown is delicious to eat though.

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Back to being grumpy at this party.

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Partying while napping.

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Bofinkles knows how to party happily.  Or totally not.

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This is as happy as Bofinkles looks.

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Xanadu telling the hat what she really thinks of it, grumpy mode.

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But wait guys.. the party’s beginning now.. I’m serious… TREATS!

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This was their favorite part of the party, of course.  

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Happy Birthday Grumpy Cat! 

 

Introducing our new baby, Goblin!

Hi, my name is Goblin, I am really sweet and soft and I’d like to be your friend.  
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Many of you know that we had a 4 cat family for a very  long time, there was Essy Francis, Xanadu Pluto, FiFi Bofinkles and Brother Bear.  During the last few months we increasingly discussed getting a 5th cat because we knew Essy was getting older.   Taking care of a senior cat though is very hard work so we decided to hold off and just see where the future would lead us.    When Essy died in January, we were pretty distraught and heart broken.  I have to be honest with you and say every few days I will turn my head and think I see her walking towards me or laying on the table. I will walk in the door, see a shadow on our table and immediately think it’s her, but then it will hit me that she’s gone.  A few days ago I defrosted some turkey in the freezer and immediately I thought “Where is Essy?”.  Essy is very special to us, and holds a giant space in our hearts that won’t ever be replaced, and we’re always going to recall Essy memories with fondness.

A few weeks ago, we were pondering the idea of adding a 4th cat into the family.  Some time went by with Essy and we know the cats were sad about it too, so we wanted to bring some energy back into our home to start the next generation of the Meowza Family.  The ages of our cats are 13 (FiFi Bofinkles), 7 (Xanadu) and 4 (Brother).   We wanted a kitten, someone that could get the gang back on their toes.    Xanadu is a Siamese cat who is extremely (!) active, intelligent and constantly wants to play.  FiFi Bofinkles and Xanadu are both girls and just straight out, they don’t like each other, at all.  They both fight for my attention and sometimes it becomes a hair pulling type of fight.    Brother Bear, who is a sweet and gentle giant will occasionally play with Xanadu but for the most part he’s pretty relaxed and calm.   For this reason we decided we were going to get a boy, a brother for Brother you might say.   Girls are all drama, you know? 😉

We also really wanted a Maine Coon or a Persian.  We both have a love for the extra furry, and I won’t bore you with a long story but the 3rd cat was supposed to be a Persian, but then Bofinkles and Brother won our hearts, so we never got one.  Brother is a Maine Coon and we love his attitude and soft personality.  He’s a real big guy, made of muscle (honestly, feel his stomach, it’s insane, he works out) who could easily be the boss of the  family but instead is a real sweet heart who’s scared of thunder and has a soft spot for sleeping in my underwear drawer.  So we set out looking online to adopt a furry critter, we scoured Craigslist and Shelters.   Then we came across this beautiful Gray Persian boy kitten.  We contacted the owners and they said we could stop by the next day to see him, so I asked for their address.  They never responded.  I was heart broken, this wasn’t happening.  Then I contacted them again the following day and they told me the kitten was already adopted, I was really heart broken.  Then the next day I saw the listing was still up online so because I’m crazy I contacted them again and she said she thought I was talking about another kitten and he was available, and if we wanted him, we could come that same day to get him.  Matthew and I hugged, we shouted, we threw Xanadu in the air (she loved it) and then thought “What did we just do?”.

So we made our way to Queens to meet this little gray guy.  I had the kitty carrier all ready to go!
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As soon we we met him, it was a done deal. This gray guy was ours.  On the way home I sat with him in the back seat and talked to him like a baby while he thought to himself “Who is this crazy woman?”.  
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When we got home we took him into the bathroom to slowly introduce him to the other cats and his new home.  When he came out of the carrier he was slightly timid, and afraid of anyone over the height of 5 feet.  
Gray Little Guy

But with some cheek rubs he quickly started to warm up with us.  This was just a few minutes after and he’s already purring in my arms.   6tag_030314-185646.jpg

The cats all knew something was up.  I opened the  bathroom door and Brother Bear was already on duty wondering what was happening on the other side of the door.
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Almost immediately this new kitten and Brother got along.  As soon as they met, this new baby kitten walked up to Brother and tried to kiss him.   For the next few days the new kitten would be Brother Bear’s shadow.  I’m pretty certain he either thought Brother was his father or wanted to just be his best friend because wherever Brother Bear was the kitten was nearby watching.  And if Brother got up, the new guy would be right alongside of him still begging for kisses.
Goblin's First Few Days_3

A few days in we wanted to start him off to become comfortable with us caring for him.  We learned with Xanadu that if you teach them things from when they are a baby, they will be more acceptable of it.  We got Xanadu when she was 3 months old and are now able to cut her nails with one hand while she yawns of boredom.  We wanted the same type of attitude for this kitten.  With being a persian, he needs quite a bit of grooming and upkeep and unfortunately at his prior home he didn’t get it. He was a bit stinnky and had quite a bunch of mats.  So we decided to do something we never did before, give a cat a real bath.  I’m talking in the sink, water, shampoo, a sprayer and lots of squeals (mostly from me).  When we first put in into the sink he was not pleased by this and for the first few minutes we were pretty sure this was not going to work out. Water was splashing everywhere, I already had to take off my slippers and Matthew’s sweatshirt was wet.   But after we kept slowly introducing him to the water, we were able to get him settled to handle his first bath.  I would not say he enjoyed it (haha) but he accepted it had to be done. So we got him wet, shampooed him, rinsed him, cleaned his ears, cleaned his eyes and squeezed all the water out of his massive tail when we were done.  Also, I should note we clipped his nails prior to his first bath, something I’d recommend to prevent bleeding to death.   By the way, nail clipping is not easy on a super furry kitty. I spend 12 minutes trying to find the nails and 2 seconds clipping.
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After the bath, we had to get him dry and brush out those mats, so we sat him down on a few towels and used a hair dryer on a low setting to dry him.  I was pretty shocked and amazed he was this trusting just a few days in.  Also, he’s not scared of any loud sounds, so a blow dryer doesn’t do anything to him.  He’s pretty much not scared of anything, which is a great and horrible thing at the same time. 😉
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At this time he didn’t have a name.  We were calling him Little Guy, Gray Guy and Little Brother.  Then one day we called him “Goblin” and it was just a match with his personality.  A few weeks later we both agree it’s a perfect fit.  His official nickname is Sweety Man, also called Sweety or Mister Sweets.  He’s a real sweetheart, so he’s often called this too.  Does your cat have multiple names too?
Goblin

Here’s some things we learned about Goblin over the next few weeks.

He’s got one heck of a furry belly.
Mom and Dad and Baby.

And his tail is even more fluffier and is larger than his actual body.  His tail is also a dust collector.
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Which means he has to be brushed daily. During this time he lays there and doesn’t move, hoping it will be over as soon as possible.
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I can’t get any work done when Goblin is nearby. I tell him he’s gorgeous a million times a day and kiss him all much to his response of “Mom..”.
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He’s extremely mischievous, don’t let his sweety man look fool you.  He’s 5 months old so he’s interested in everything.  
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Mischievous like pulling giant stuffed toys under a table and then pretend it wasn’t him. Note: I saw him on the chair a few minutes later trying to push the stuffed Rhino’s head under the chair.     He reminds us alot of Xanadu in figuring things out quickly.
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Speaking of Xanadu, she was very unsure of him the first few days.  Whenever any new cat has been introduced to the family Xanadu doesn’t like them for at least 3 days straight and will ignore them at all costs, including not leaving her spot unless you pick her up.    During the first few days she would find him on things that were “hers” which displeased her.  Goblin pretty much fell in love with thinking Xanadu could be his playmate as he would watch her do laps and do wild 360 spin jumps.  Then he would attempt to do these things and fail miserably.  Weeks later, Xanadu has found her match.  Goblin will chase her all over, and he’s starting to pick up speed.  When he is able to jump as high as her, then she is in very big trouble.  We like to say that Goblin was sent here by Essy to tease and torment Xanadu.  When we adopted Xanadu she was 3 months old and bugged Essy all the time.  It’s nice to see Xanadu getting a touch of this with a new kitten, but now she’s on the opposite side.  At night they play nonstop and repeat the same things over and over and over and over and…
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And Brother?  Well Goblin is still in love with him.  Goblin desperately wants Brother to clean him, or at least let him nestle on his belly.   Here’s the problem.  Goblin is 4 pounds.  Brother is 14 pounds.   Goblin doesn’t understand the weight difference and doesn’t fear anything.  That means he will walk up to Brother, stick his head under Brother Bear’s chin for Brother Bear to love him.  Brother Bear will then put his mouth around Goblin’s neck.    They are in the stage of wrestling now, where Goblin will attempt to push Brother around and Brother Bear just pulls him down with one little tap. Then they will repeat this because Goblin still thinks he can win.  Eventually Brother Bear becomes fed up and will retreat to a blanket to sleep while Goblin begs to be taken down one more time.    This weekend we saw them wrestle multiple times in a row all while holding our breath.   Goblin is definitely trying to stand his ground and show that he’s strong too (lol) but during the stare down Brother Bear made one move and Goblin flinched.  Brother Bear 1, Goblin 0.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Goblin gets bigger.
Brother and Goblin have started to play wrestle.  Goblin forgets that Brother is 10 pounds of muscle heavier than him but still loves every minute of it.  #cats #allfluff #brothers

Where there’s a Brother, there’s a Goblin.  Brother caved the box in immediately and Goblin was so happy to be in the box when it happened.
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Goblin begging Brother to wrestle him.
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Most of the time Goblin will just show up where Brother is sleeping and try to hang out with him.
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I like to think of this as their band cover image if they ever started a band.
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And Bofinkles doesn’t really care about him to be honest.  She will hiss if he comes close, but she will do that to Xanadu too.  The only things that matter to Bofinkles are food, kisses, food, food and me.  Nothing else really interests her.   I will say she puts up with him more than Xanadu but don’t expect best friend necklaces to be exchanged. 
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He loves to sleep during the afternoon.  He will stay in the upside down position from about 11AM-5PM, then he will wake up with so much energy you’ll get tired from just watching him.
How he sleeps. #furball #cats

Eyes open, but not time to wake up yet.
Goblin Fluff

Once he wakes up, he will look for someone to play with, preferably Xanadu.  Goblin has a wild meow which can be described as a soft squeak that is very quick. I am hoping this meow stays forever as it’s adorable.  Once he wakes up, he will start squeaking to find someone.  Eventually he might find Xanadu which upsets and excites her all at once.  Xanadu is the known boss Deputy of the family, but I think Goblin could be trained to be a Deputy Sheriff in time.  Here they are playing the very exciting game of let’s look at each other over the bag and then one of us will run by, the other one will be stunned and run after and then we can repeat this until someone becomes bored or it’s time to eat.
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Goblin is starting to learn how pretty he is.  I find him looking in the mirror in the bathroom at least once a day. He likes so place his face against the mirror and just admire himself.
Someone discovered how pretty he is. #cats #persian #fluffball

He really likes boxes, of course.  He also really likes jumping on boxes but because he’s a Persian and a kitten, his jumping ability is slightly limited but that doesn’t stop him in thinking he can do it and then falling gracefully (or usually not gracefully).  
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If he sees one of our arms out, he will immediately place his head on it and fall asleep.   Like I said, he’s a real sweet heart.
Goblin fell asleep on my arm while watching #cosmos.  I bet he's dreaming of space.

He loves being near us and will often push his way into our arms or legs demading you rub his face all over.  He also is really into belly rubs.  As soon as you touch him he will purr, very loudly.  If he sees your hands coming towards him, he will begin to purr.  He’s a real cuddle bug.   He gets so excited when you wake up either during the night or in the morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night last night, he ran into the bathroom after me (with his squeak), then he followed me back to bed, jumped on the bed and then I played with him in the dark for 15 minutes.    Every single morning when I wake up, he will appear under the bathroom sink with a big “Good Morning, let’s play!”.  

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His tail will do what it wants too.
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My photo table has basically become his new bed.  That means he will squeeze between whatever props he wants, knocking most of them on the floor.  
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When I have to take pictures for recipes he will show up right away in front of the camera.
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As soon as the lights are turned on, Goblin will be there ready for his picture.  That means that pretty much all my recipe photos will have a furry tail in them from now on, sorry!That's right Goblin. I set up lights and baked oatcakes for you.  #cats #persian #fluffball #fluffy #cake #catsofinstagram

That’s Goblin!  We’re so happy he’s now part of our Meowza family.  We really couldn’t have asked for a better fit.  He’s a real sweet heart who is playful and loving and is a great brother to Xanadu, Brother and Bofinkles.  We really love him, welcome to the family Sweety Man! 6tag_250314-192402.jpg

 

Get Better Baby Bofinkles

Oh, our furry critters, they’re just so special to us.

Our beloved feisty FiFi Bofinkles is feeling under the weather right now and it’s breaking my heart.   When our pets are sick we just want to take care of them. We want to tell them to tell us what hurts, if they know what caused it, and they really need to eat because it’s important.  Most of the time they just stare at you.

Here’s how it went down:
Saturday night around 8PM: FiFi Bofinkles threw up.  It was clear liquid and I didn’t think much of it as cats throw up.  
Saturday night: She went into the litter box, peed and then got out of there quick.  This was a big warning sign as 1) Bofinkles is a crazy litter box cleaner, she leaves no litter piece untouched.  2) I was in the shower and she always stays in the bathroom with me.
Saturday late night: I came into the bedroom and she was already in her sleeping spot right above my pillow.  This was the biggest warning sign to me as Bofinkles never comes to bed before me, ever.  I lay down and then a few minutes later she will walk into the bedroom, I’ll call her name, she’ll lick my hand, jump up, push my Kindle out of my hand and then demand 8 thousand kisses before finally laying down. 

When I finally came to sleep I nuzzled up to her ready for our nightly bedtime kisses, but she didn’t react.  I rubbed behind her neck where she loves it and always does a big stretch for me to then get her belly, but she didn’t react.    I called Matthew in right away and told him she didn’t seem right.  He said she seemed fine, I told him she wasn’t fine and that she never ever ignores me.   It’s pretty amazing how close we are that I picked up her feeling sick so quickly.  It’s like she knew all the signs to give me and I was there to receive them.  Then we noticed she kept opening and closing her mouth, licking her lips, whipping her tail.  Matthew then agreed that she definitely was not ok.    We laid with her and I begun to worry about her, like a cat Mom does.  As many of you guys know, we lost Essy almost 2 months to the day so I began to quickly fear for the worse even though it was uncalled for.  It was just the way she was moving her mouth was what Essy did when she was saying goodbye to us, and it just all hit me so hard.   We slept that night, with me cuddled up to her, getting not much sleep as I constantly woke up, rubbed up and checked on her. 

Sunday morning came and Bofinkles was still the same.  The last time anyone saw her eating was Friday night so it was a full 24 hours without food or water. I called the Vet as soon as they opened.  They said they had no open appointments but I could walk in, there would probably just be a wait.  Ok, that’s fine, off into a cab I went with Bofinkles.
Have you heard the sounds of a cat mixed with cab dispatching?  It’s quite a remix.

So we got to the vet and as soon as we arrived a vet nurse came out to help.  No wait, you aren’t no nurse…..
Also want to note here that Bofinkles did not hiss at this cat, she only hisses at her sister Xanadu. 🙂
Nurse inspecting Bofinkles.

I only had to wait about 30 minutes which was nice, even though the vet office was popping with sick walk-ins that morning.   After a quick examination (she never likes the temperature part) they couldn’t really spot anything physically wrong with her. I did notice she was a few ounces lighter than a few months ago though and the vet commented she seemed a bit light in the back (bodacious Bofinkles glares in response).    Bofinkles was dehydrated though so they did give her IV fluids and just to be blunt, she was pissed off.  Her Southern Belle (she’s from the South) attitude really shined here, growls and hisses and everything we love about her.
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Because Bofinkles is 13 years old they then ran a series of blood and urine tests on her, which meant more pointy things in her body, which again, did not please her.  Her test results would be back in 24 hours.  This series of tests is a Senior Screening and checks things like Blood Count, White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells, Kidney and Liver values, blood sugar, URI inflammation, Cancerous cells, etc.     You know, all the most terrifying things. 
RESULTS: AS I WAS WRITING THIS POST HER VET CALLED, ALL THINGS LOOK GREAT AND NORMAL. THANK GOODNESS! *KISSES BOFINKLES A MILLION TIMES*

Which leaves us with… what is wrong with her?

It’s now been 48 hours with no food or water. I have tried to tempt her with every type of food and treat possible. Her favorite sandwich, a bowl of noodles, cheese, every type of soft food she loves, greenie treats, etc… all a failure.  She seems to want to sniff the food now, but won’t eat it. I have a tea cup full of water and a plate of bread crumbs (a favorite) next to her, just in case she gets hungry.  The vet is leaving me a appetite stimulant to pick up from the office later today.

Then the Vet asked me if we had a kitten, which big news that I didn’t announce yet, WE DO. His name is Goblin and he is glorious but more about that later.    She said that perhaps his fecal matter could have caused Bofinkles to be sick which would be a reason why she had very wet stool this morning, but then I reminded the vet that we took the kitten to them last week for a check up exam and fecal test and everything came back negative.  So she suggested I bring a fecal sample of every single cat in, which is just going to be a adventure to get.  I guess I’ll be on bathroom duty for the next 24 hours.

I set up a little Bohemian blanket spot for Bofinkles and me to lay, but every time I leave I find Brother Bear checking on her.  He’s just the sweetest boy ever, honestly.
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A positive is that this afternoon she seems more responsive to talking to her.  If I call her name, she will look, if I kiss her she will raise her head.  She also appeared down by my desk, so I put her on my lap and there she gave me a handful of sweet head butt kisses which is what we do together and that basically warmed my heart with happiness.
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So right now she lays behind my laptop,  that’s her spot.  I’m hoping by the end of the night we can get some food in her… wish her luck!

I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on her, I just want a healthy Bofinkles back!
Put Hello Kitty glasses on her to block the sun.  #cats #hellokitty

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A Goodbye Love Letter to Essy

This is a love letter to one of the most important ladies that ever entered my life, my big mom, Essy Francis.
Essy was born in 1994 and died on Thursday January 16 2014 at 11:08 AM.  I got to hold her hand as she took her last breaths of air as her toes twitched and she ran off to chase those turkeys.

Our hearts are broken and I didn’t know crying this much was possible.   Essy was more than a pet, she was part of our family, the family we created together.   Essy was with us from the beginning and went through every experience, adventure and obstacle Matthew and I have shared together.   Essy was one of my best friends and she is the sole reason for my love affair with cats. She changed my life.   She loved me, I loved her, she took care of me and I took care of her, all in our own ways of showing.    I really can’t possibly imagine a life without waking up to her every single morning, seeing her lay in the sunshine during the summer afternoons and watching her whip past her sisters and brother to get to the cat food first in the evening.    Her soft food is in the closet, her plate and bowl are there too, her Crinkles frog is in her bed but she’s not here with us anymore.  I can’t rub her big fluffy cheeks, I can’t pick her up to dance, I can’t swing Xanadu in front of her to sniff, I can’t bug her while she’s sleeping to cause her to grumble at me.    I miss her so much.   We miss her so much.    It’s hard to put into exact words what she meant to us, but I’m just going to say she meant everything to us.   We will miss her terribly forever.  She will forever be our Big Mom, our Essy Francis, our Chocolate Bear.  I’m so lucky to have loved her and  been able to share her last seconds with her.  She will always be my Meowza.  I love you so much Essy.  

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In the times of saying goodbye, I found myself going back to documenting everything.  Taking pictures,  breaking out the 4×5 and medium format cameras to take one last Polaroid of Essy, and crying my way through many videos.  I wanted to document her departure,  it allowed me to talk to her, reminisce stories with Matthew and keep her spirit with us forever.   This was one of the last videos I made, we knew it was close to the end.

Warning: Post is long, picture heavy, emotional and graphic towards end. 

The Story of Essy

I met Essy in 2003 when Matthew and I started dating. The first time I met her was back in Ohio, under a kitchen table. I reached out my hand for her to come over to sniff it. I knew she was eyeing me up, after all Matthew was hers (always will be). You see, Essy and Matthew have been together since 1994. Matthew got Essy when she was a few months old from a shelter, he was 10 years old and in 5th grade. Essy wasn’t always named Essy, her first name was Snuggles which quickly changed when everyone realized she wasn’t interested in snuggling. Then her name changed to “S”, short for Snuggles, then finally it became Essy. That one stuck. So there I was on a kitchen floor, asking her to come over and give me a chance. Shocking to all, she came over, rubbed against me and let me pet her. We were friends instantly.

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(us meeting for the first time in 2003)

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Months later Matthew and I moved in together in downtown Pittsburgh. 2 weeks into our first apartment, Essy took the drive from Ohio and Pennsylvania to join our family. Prior to Essy I never had a cat of my own so I was pretty worried. After all, I wanted her to love me because I was already in love with her. I remember the morning before she arrived, I rushed to a pharmacy down the street to buy her treats and a toy mouse. Was I trying to bribe her? Sure. But really I just wanted to spoil her and for her to know she was welcomed. Essy finally arrived that day, she ate the treats, she ignored the mouse. This would be something she would do many more times in our life. She always liked to play hard to please. We loved her because of it.

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So there we were, our 3 person family (with plenty of stuffed animals) living on the 18th floor in Downtown Pittsburgh.   We spent the days with her building mazes made out of boxes,  having her chase lasers and always sharing the deli turkey.    You’ll learn later about Essy’s intense love for turkey.      Eventually we got the offer to move up one story to the 19th floor to a even bigger apartment with the most amazing views of Pittsburgh.  The apartment was right across the river from PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium.   Because we were literally right across from it with nothing but a river in between, this would lead to plenty of nights full of fireworks right in our front window.   A barge would come onto the river and blow the sky with neon colors almost a few times a week during baseball season.    Essy hated these fireworks.   She growled, hit the floor and ran.  She never learned to love fireworks after living there.   Outside of running away from fireworks, she continued her days looking at the windows at the city below her.  She had a pretty comfortable life, full of love and soft food. What more could you ask for?

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A side story. Essy has eaten soft food forever, literally since the beginning.   When she came home from the shelter in 1994 Matthew’s family tried to give her hard food.  Essy glanced at the bowl and walked away. After negotiations were made (aka: hunger strike) they tried soft food.  It was a hit.   Essy would for the rest of her life would only eat soft food.   When she lived in Ohio and heard the can opener, she ran for it.   Later on in life I would tap on a can and she would round the corner.   Her favorite brands varied, as long as it was shredded or diced she was ok (no pate).  Later in life she got very picky and needed variety, she liked to keep us on our toes and would like for us to change the brand whenever she wanted.  Did it matter that we just stocked up and bought 100 cans? No, it didn’t matter at all.   Did it matter her weekly food bill was up there in the unbelievable category? Not at all.  Just keep feeding her the good stuff and you’d stay on her good side.  And the good stuff better have gravy and lots of it.   Occasionally early on if we had to go on a trip and leave her alone for a few days we would leave her hard and soft food.  What did she do? Pick the soft food out. She would not touch the hard food.  She was spoiled.  We were later learn in life how hard it was to separate Essy with her Queen eating habits with 3 other cats who wanted the same diet.  Eventually Essy ate in a different room.  Yes, her own private dining room with her own private food.    Hook, line and sinker.

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 We needed to make a professional change so we took a big chance and rented a U-Haul.  We were moving to New York City.  We left Pittsburgh late one night with memorable experiences of the U-Haul not turning on while our entire life is packed in the back.   Essy, in a dog sized crate, was tucked between us on the front seat.   We made the drive from Pittsburgh to New York, with a pit stop at my childhood home.   I’m really happy I got to show her where I grew up, and I think she really liked it.   She ran up and down those stairs in my house, darted down the carpeted hallway and owned the recliner in the living room.  She made my home, her own.    Now it was back on the road and time to cross the Verrazano Bridge, we were in  Brooklyn  A new chapter began.

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 We moved into a blank loft space.  It was ours to create our new home.  As soon as the couch was unpacked, Essy jumped up on to the arm of it, a favorite place of hers.    This couch arm would many years down the road, completely sink in due to the amount of cat loving it got.  Essy loved the couch arm, and she loved furring it up.   This home would be the place that Essy would die in.   The couch was gone, it was replaced with soft rugs and plenty of cat beds.  I remember fondly when learned about heated cat cabins.  Essy was ecstatic.  I don’t think she came out of it for a few months, except for food of course.

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Over the next few years we would bring more furry cats into our life.  In 2006, Xanadu Pluto entered.    Essy spent the first 12 years of her life being the Queen, and now we bring in a Siamese who won’t stop meowing?  And why is she so active?  And why won’t she stop trying to clean me?  These were all Essy’s thoughts, but she learned to love her.    She was never a snuggler with the other cats but she tolerated Xanadu unlike Brother Bear and FiFi Bofinkles where she never quite got their appeal.   Even though she didn’t welcome Brother or FiFi with open paws, they knew she was the queen of the house.  The watched over her. Instead of stealing her food in front of her, they would form a line at dinner waiting behind her.  Eventually Essy would look up from the food bowl and see a much larger than her Brother Bear waiting dangerously close behind her and dart out of there.  

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But it was the thought that counts,  everyone respected her.    Towards the end in the last months and at the very end, Essy and Xanadu became friends, something that Xanadu desperately wanted her entire life.    All those years of trying to knead her cheeks, attempting to clean her head when she wasn’t looking, and those days of watching Essy walk by her and trying to jump on her to ride her paid off.   Essy was finally ok with Xanadu.   She got the big Essy stamp of approval.   Essy would tolerate Xanadu sniffing her head while she slept.   At the very end, Xanadu stayed next to her, on the same blanket, watching over her.  At one time she even tried to climb on top of her to sleep on her.  And then there’s the moment where Xanadu head bumped Essy’s body to say “I’m here, it’s ok” which broke Matthew and I both into hysterical tears.  

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Through the years, we shared so many great memories so I just wanted to share a few of the ones that really stick out.

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Essy loved deli meat, I think she lived for it.   When she was able to, she would jump on the kitchen island and steal that piece of turkey right off your sandwich.   As soon as she heard the refrigerator door, she would prepare herself.  We would rip off pieces and she would stand on tip toes to get to them.

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Thanksgiving was Essy’s favorite holiday.    It was all about turkey.   We used to say all during the year that we had to fatten Essy up as she was our Thanksgiving turkey.    The night before Thanksgiving, we would usually brine our turkey, and Essy smelled that raw turkey right out of the package.  She would start to pace, licking her lips, the time was near.   During Thanksgiving dinner she would always have her own plate.  Over the next few days she kept a serious eye on the leftovers.  4AM snack sessions with leftover turkey slices were had.   

 Essy was known as not much of a people person.  If you weren’t her family she really didn’t want to bother with you, which made people love her even more.  I think she knew this trick and played it up.  Often when people visited she went into the bathroom to get away which would end up a uncomfortable situation when said stranger had to use the bathroom.   They would often finish up in the bathroom then tell me “Your cat watched me pee”.  Yes, she did, and she judged you every minute of it.

I loved to bug Essy.

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In one of the first years I knew her I wanted to get her something real special for Christmas.   I ended up buying her what I thought was a extremely large cat tunnel that she could run in and play.   On Christmas morning when we opened the present with her I realized this big cat tunnel was actually incredibly tiny, maybe made for a guinea pig.  Essy eyed it up with disappointment, she was not going to play with this.   On that Christmas she did go into the tunnel once (well like half of the way in), stood still so I could take a picture and then eased her way out looking up at me “Are you happy now?  I did it once, never again.”.  We still get a good laugh about how sad that cat tunnel was.

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Once while Xanadu was bugging Essy to play with her, we picked up Xanadu so Essy could sniff her.  Instead of just sniffing, Essy took a big bite (not hurtful) out of Xanadu’s leg hoping this would send the message.  Xanadu loved it and practically begged Essy over the next few years to nibble on her.  

Xanadu really liked to bug Essy too.  

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Whenever there was sunshine on the floor, Essy would lay in it, sprawled out on her back with her paws curving up.  She loved the sunshine.  She would roll to each side in happiness as her belly got sun.

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During the winter months Essy loved the heater.  She would walk right up a heater on full blast and lay there, enjoying every minute of it.  Eventually she became so hot we had to move her away from the heater.  She would walk right back to it.

We tried gardening inside one year with some window planters.  There were a few small plants, bu they lasted about 2 months until one day we came home and Essy was sprawled out in the window box, with the wooden sticks that held up the plants now knocked down.   We moved the garden to the roof.

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Essy was crazy over catnip.  Anytime she got a sniff the next few minutes were the greatest time of her life.  She would roll around in the nip, her belly would be covered, a mess would be made on the floor or table.   All we had to do was shake the bag of nip and she came running.  We would always celebrate Essy’s birthday on January 31.  One birthday at midnight where we sang her happy birthday and gave her gifts we gave her a long blue cat toy that catnip inside.  We never saw her acted so wild.  She kicked, bit, and destroyed that cat toy with all the love she could muster.  She was on a catnip high, she was feeling good.  We would try catnip tea a few years later which left her in a Dora Explorer discussion ecstasy, I posted about it here

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Besides catnip, Essy loved Cat grass.  I would often go to the farmers market to buy some and then when I got home she saw what was in my hands and ran ran over to it.  She especially loved when you sprinkled water on it so she could lick the moist drops.  We would sometimes grow our own cat grass, Essy was usually spotted guarding that grass waiting for it to come up.

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Essy has had some nicknames, but none stuck better than “Mom” or “Big Mom”.  She was not a big cat, but she was full of feist and spirit and that’s what made her big.  We called her Mom because she was in charge of us and the other cats.  She told us what to do and we aimed to please her quickly.   Many friends referred to her as “Mom”.     On the bottom of our front door written in chalk it says “Hi Big Mom”, I put it there years ago so she could see it when she walked by.  It’s still there.

 We lived on Essy’s time schedule.  Just because we were sleeping didn’t mean she was, she wanted food, even at 3AM or 5AM.    Eventually she figured there was a spot on a wall which was hollow, which if she stood on 2 legs and banged, the wall, closet and everything on that side of the room would shake, waking us up.   She did this for nights for years until we finally fixed the spot in the wall.  Boy, was she mad.  So she did what she had to do, she started to come to the bedroom door and banged on that.  We couldn’t stop that.  Outside our bedroom door there is a desk where she would sit on and howl (I called it singing) to incredible pitches during the night to get food.  She would just go on and on until someone came out the door and tended to her.   Most of the time I was the gullible one and I would walk from the bedroom, still drowsy from sleep and she would quickly stop meowing before I would open the door.  She would look up at me and say “Oh, you’re up? I wonder what caused that.” and then immediately jump down and lead me to her bowl. 

 When Essy lived in Ohio she escaped into the woods for a few days, everyone thought she was gone forever.  Then one day she showed back up at the house.  She wanted food immediately.    She learned she liked the luxurious inside life a whole lot better.

 Whenever a big truck went down the street and you heard it’s engine for a block long, we would say that was Essy in the truck as she was known for her loud belly rumbles.

We made up a story (or was it real?) that Essy was a successful graphic designer in Honolulu, Hawaii where she owned her own design firm.   We always told her we were so proud of her.

Because of her successful business, we always said Essy was very wealthy.  We had a dollar bill that sat next to her bowl that everyone would ask us “What is that dollar?”. We would always respond “That’s Essy’s money.”  Sadly someone one day took that dollar.  We replaced it with another dollar.  Someone took that one.  Essy was furious that someone stole her 2 dollars.

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Essy would eat anything that was “real people food”.  She absolutely loved white bread, I would sit there and rip off little pieces and she would eat it out of my hand like a little bird.  She loved eggs, she loved noodles (she stole noodles from my soup bowl), she loved any type of meat or shrimp.  She would eat a potato chip if she could.

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This song was Essy’s soundtrack.  Whenever we played this song we would pick her up and dance with her.   Her perfectly describes her sass.

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The Last Few Days

What I’m about to share below is what we thought was best for Essy.  The discussion of what to do when your pet’s life is near the end has endless arguments, but I really believe it’s a personal decision and you will know what’s right for your furry loved one.   Being with Essy up until the very end, paw in hand, being in her home, surrounded by her family, feeling loved and safe, seeing her die naturally was how she would have wanted it.    All I can say is, do what you think is right.  Only you honestly knows your pet and what they would want.    Looking back on it, I was worried I would be full of regrets but I have none.  I’m so happy and honored to have been with the Essy until the end. 

I wanted to share this section incase you are reading this and are experiencing the same thing.   So many people became Internet Friends over Essy’s last few days without knowing it.  I relied on posts and videos for information and what to expect.  I found myself in one of the last few nights, sitting with Essy knowing it was the end while rubbing her paw with one hand and scrolling through blog comments with another.  Reading through each comment I found myself feeling like these people were here with me.  They were writing the same things I was experiencing or soon would be.  It’s really beautiful that people can share their experiences, no matter how sad, it’s a a great feeling to let it out and put it into words.  For all those strangers out there that helped me through it, you’ll never know it, but I thank you forever.

We’ve known for quite some time it was nearing the end.  As the years went on, Essy got slower and lost weight, but she was still pretty active.  To be honest, up to just a few days before her death, she was jumping on tables and doing wild 4 feet horizontal jumps which made us cringe every time (she loved that).  She would land a jump and look at us saying “Did you see that? I hope you did.”.   If we had to travel for business, a cat sitter would be here everyday and they were given the sad details that Essy was old and not to freak out if anything happened.  But she kept on trucking (in her Mom Bear rumble belly spirit)….

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On Sunday January 12, Essy was up to no good, attacking her Dad in the kitchen for whatever food he was making (honestly, any type of food).   Just that day she did one of those horizontal jumps that left all the other cats in awe.   She was just being herself, but we still knew she was getting older.  I weighed her and she was 4.3 pounds.  Just a few months ago she was 5 pounds.  A few years ago she was a healthy 8.  For dinner that night she sat at the table with us trying to steal our food, she always got her way. 

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On Monday January 13 I noticed Essy increasingly being in the bathroom while we were here which was odd.  She really only went into the bathroom when strangers were here so she couldn’t be bothered.   I tried to find her before I left and after becoming very worried that I couldn’t find her, I found her sitting in the corner in the shower.   I carried her out and gave her some food.   I had a can of Thanksgiving Day Turkey left in the closet kept there as a real treat so I gave that to her.  She ate it quickly and enjoyed it.   Later on Monday night I was about to get a shower and Essy went into the shower while the water was on, not scared at all.  It became apparent to us that she wanted to be on the cool floor in the bathroom.  Later that night she got a big can of some gourmet tuna (looked like people food)  that she enjoyed (as did the other cats).  

On Tuesday January 14 Essy continued to be in and around the bathroom while laying on the floor, but she still walked around the house and jumped up on her table.    While I was at the dentist  Matthew texted me to tell me that Essy would not eat deli turkey.   This was the first time ever.  Something was very wrong.     When I came home I found Essy in the bathroom on the floor again.     I rubbed her cheeks, gave her kisses, bothered her so much and I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.    I knew there sitting in the bathroom this was it.   Essy looked at me and told me.    Matthew and I sat on the floor with her, she got up and walked over to Matthew’s lap and hopped on it.   She always loved his lap more than mine even though I begged her everyday to be  my lap cat.  This was always her way of saying she was Matthew’s #1, too bad.    While sitting on her lap, Xanadu jumped up too and head butted Essy’s belly, something that she never does, and Essy allowed her.  Matthew and I started to cry.   Xanadu knew too.    Essy got down, walked to her water bowl, rubbed her toes in it and took a drink.  This would be the last food or drink she ever ate.  Then she walked over to the front door and plopped down in front of it.   After she was done laying here, she walked over to her table, jumped from the chair to the top and laid down.  We would soon learn that this would be the last time she ever jumped up to her table or was able to stand up without help.    We stayed with her that night, talking to her, telling her we loved her. We broke out the 4×5 camera to document her while she slept next to her Crinkles Frog.    We went to bed, but then I heard her meow so I ran out and stayed with her until very late AM.  I started this blog post then, read other blog posts about people and cats going through the same situation and just loved her.    Xanadu sat by her side almost through it all.

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Love.

Saying our goodbyes.  Essy's last hours.

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On Wednesday January 15 I sat with her while Matthew had to go teach the first day of class this semester.    We already talked (cried) a plan in case Essy died while he was gone.  Basically all I did that morning and afternoon was sit with her.  I played ambient space music (always thought she was a space cat) while telling her so many stories.  I cried a million times. I rubbed her paw between my fingers even more.  I made videos of her.  I sung to her (sorry Essy).  I brought over a ham sandwich to give her some happiness from the smells. When I tried to feed her a piece of a nibble of bread, she completely ignored it. I cried more.    Around this time Essy tried to stand up and she just just fell down.   We knew it the end, but I tried to be hopeful about the whole situation and lie to myself saying she would get better.  It’s funny how at moments like this you look for some type of miracle, even though I’m not religious.  It’s incredibly selfish, I know, but I just wanted her to be around forever.   When she fell down, I picked her up and put her back on her bed.   From here out, Essy’s only real movement would be head lifts and trying to get comfortable by moving her front paws.   Occasionally her tail would still have a mind of it’s own too.  When Matthew got home, we just stayed with her for the rest of the night.  We were pretty sure she would die any hour now so she just wanted her to be comfortable.  Her paws started to get increasingly cold so we put her blanket on top of her.  Crinkles Frog was always next to her giving her kisses (with us on the other side kissing the heck out of her).   Her breathing started to change, by this time we watched her belly breathe to know if she was still here.    A long inhale was a long moment to watch.   We thought it was going to happen during the night so we took her into the bedroom with us which was a bit silly because the bedroom was one room she never went into.   While Matthew carried her into the bedroom, Essy didn’t meow or struggle, she just laid there.   We put her next to the bed where we continued to talk to her, rub her paws more and cry.  I know I’ve mentioned crying alot but I just want to say it’s good to cry. Cry your heart out.    We cried so many times during these days that at times it almost felt like we couldn’t cry anymore (which wasn’t true, we cried more).   Get your emotions out.  We wanted Essy to know how much we loved her.  We know she was probably thinking “Tell these people to stop crying”.  That was our Essy, our feisty bear.    During that night Essy just stared straight ahead.  To be honest Essy’s eyes pretty much remained open completely since Tuesday night. Her eyes would never close again.    But that night, they didn’t dart around, they just stared straight ahead.    There was one moment though where Xanadu walked up to her and sniffed her head and Essy’s eyes moved to her.    It was beautiful, I’m really happy Essy was around her sisters and brother.     So we tucked her in.  Told more stories.   And then gave her a kiss goodnight.  That was the only night where all 4 of our cats would sleep in the bedroom with us.   We were a full happy family.

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During the very early hours on Thursday January 16 Essy would let out a little soft sound every now and again.  We (and Xanadu) cared for her every time she did that.  Sleep was on and off that night, most of it was just laying in bed while thinking aimlessly.  We crawled back down to the floor with Essy at 10AM that morning to start a new day.   I got dressed and then sat down next to her, paw in hand.   Because I read so many articles about the dying process, when I heard Essy start to move her mouth in and out gasping for little breaths of air, I really knew it was it.   Essy would be gone very soon.  I looked at Matthew and told him this was it.   We both continued to kiss her, tell her how much we loved her, how good of a girl she was and we loved her forever.   I moved her blanket off her to monitor her breathing belly.   For the next few minutes her mouth would open and close.   I told her to chase those turkeys while seeing her tongue dart out every now and again.  I imagined her seeing turkeys further away and licking her lips waiting to get closer to them.  I just kept whispering to her, rubbing her paw in my hand.  Her back legs started to shake, I rubbed them with the other hand.     Then while I had her paw in my hand, she took her last breath.  Her belly never rose again.   For the next few minutes, her muscles twitched one last time. She was gone.  I rested my head on her belly and bawled.  I picked her up and held her like a baby. Matthew did the same thing.  That Essy sure was a special girl.

Essy Love

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We let the cats all say their goodbyes to her as we thought it was right to do.   Some people say pets don’t know, some people say they do know when a friend has died, either way we wanted them to know.   In cat fashion, they each said their goodbyes in their own personality driven ways.  Xanadu sniffed her curiously.  Brother Bear, always soft and sweet tried to lay on top of her. FiFi Bofinkles hissed at her.  You might think the hiss was mean, but in all honestly it was nice.  Essy and FiFi were never friends, they were both the old ladies of the house.  It was nice to know that even though Essy was no longer there with us, FiFi was still intimidated by the Queen Bee Essy.   She would have been proud.

We brought Essy out into the other room and gave her a few more hugs and kisses.  I held her like a baby again.   I couldn’t stop.  Essy was never big on holding so it was a bit of a moment when I finally got to do it.   We laid her in her blanket and covered her up. We called for a car and headed to the Vet.

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We really couldn’t have asked for a better Vet experience.   We went to VERG in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn and as soon as we walked through the door and told them why we were there, they immediately rushed us into our own room.  They were kind, one nurse even cried with us while Matthew told her he had her since he was 10 years old.   A few more nurses came in and we went over the paperwork (it was short, they understood).    We knew we wanted Essy privately cremated.  Another nurse came in and said when we were ready she would take Essy away.   We kissed her, said our final goodbyes, but said we would see her again.  We would see her everyday, she would always live in our hearts.  Always.    A nurse came back, took Essy in her blanket and said to wait a few more minutes.   When the nurse came back she gave us a a clay ceramic plaque that had Essy’s name, paw prints and date on it.  Goodness, that was beautiful.  We were going to be able to feel her toes forever.   The amount of times we rubbed those toes over the next few days were many. 

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Then we walked home holding hands.  Matthew was pretty quiet while I just continued to talk nonstop reminiscing Essy stories.  On the way home  I passed a dog and that dog looked at me with the saddest eyes and continued to follow me down the street.  In some way, this felt right, I felt like Essy was that special that even the dog knew it.

I looked for her this morning and she wasn't there.  The vet gave us this yesterday so we always have her toes nearby to touch.

 

Dealing With Essy Not Being Here

This blog entry has come a long way, I started writing it while Essy was still here with us and now it ends with Essy not here.  It’s been quite a heart breaking journey.  

After we came home from the Vet and walked in the door, we just cried.  We cried a whole lot the last few days.   We will cry when we walk in the door and Essy is not waiting for us.  We cry when we eat dinner and she’s not in between us at the table.  I cried when washing the dishes and seeing her spoons I used to scoop her food with, I had to put them away for the first time.  Often when I woke up during the middle of the night I would tip toe to and from the bathroom not to wake Essy up, because that would mean I would be up at 5AM feeding her for 10 minutes.   Somehow that never worked and as soon as I thought I was safe and was going to be able to creep back into bed, Essy would burst through the bathroom door saying “Oh, no you dont”.  I miss that so much, I’m begging a cat to keep me up.    The day after Essy died we both woke up and looked for her to be on her table but she wasn’t there.   We had to remove her food bowl and mat which broke our heart.  Brother Bear still goes to the place where her food used to be in hopes of being able to steal a bite. 

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If you’ve read all this, I thank you for sticking with me.   Essy was the closest person to me that I ever lost and it’s been a emotional journey. Matthew and I and our kitty family just really want everyone to know how much of a special girl she was.   She was beautiful, caring, sweet, brave and incredibly full of good ol fashioned Essy Bear attitude.

Thank you to every single person who has shown love to us and our family through real life hugging it out, email, texts, phone calls and comments (on all social media).  Just hearing your caring words has really helped us through this.  

We love you Essy.

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Now go on and hug your furry critter for me. 

FiFi Bofinkles Is My Girl

As I’m beginning to write this, FiFi Bofinkles  is at my feet.  She’s circling me, she’s rubbing up against my ankles, every now and then 2 paws appear on my knee caps and she begins to rub them.  Her green eyes meet my blue ones,  I fall in love all over again.

FiFi came to us in 2009 and to say she has stole my heart is a big understatement.  The story of her arrival though wasn’t expected.  

In 2009 we went to a cat show here in New York called “Meet the Breeds”.  It’s basically a show where you can walk around and pet and baby talk every single breed of cat.  For those obsessed with cats, this is basically the greatest day of the year.  There Matthew and I met a white Persian cat named Georgia.  Matthew fell in love.  He took pictures with her, snuggled in her fur, and then on the subway ride home it was all about Georgia.  At that time we “only” had 2 cats, Xanadu and Essy, but were thinking about adding a 3rd.  So we set off on a online journey to visit all the shelters and Craigslist to see if we could find and rescue a Persian cat.  After a few days we came across a Persian named Chloe.  She was beautiful.  We sent a email and a few days later we had a interview to meet Chloe in Brooklyn Heights.  There we met Chloe and hoped we would all get along.  There was another cat there in the apartment that the owners were looking for a home for too, but we didn’t pay much attention to her as our attention was on Chloe.  A few days later we received a disappointing email saying they decided to go with another family for Chloe, someone who was more familiar with the grooming process with Persians.  Then the email went on to say that their other cat, the ordinary one that noone paid much attention to next to Princess Chloe, still needed a home and she seemed to fall in love with Matthew during the visit – did we want to adopt her?  My heart was broken. How could we say no to this innocent kitty?  The next day I was picking FiFi up in a cab with a catnip banana.  FiFi came with her own stroller too – I’m not kidding – but that explains basically everything about her.  The owners told me that FiFi was born in the South, sold in a pet store looking very sickly where her original owner bought her out of worry.  Eventually she moved from the South to New York City.  She’s 100% Southern Belle. 

On the cab ride home she cried, I rubbed her cheeks through the cat carrier.  Then we got home and she was pretty terrified of her new surroundings so she hid under the couch for the next few days.  I was heart broken again, I wanted her to feel safe.  So for the next few days while she hid under the couch, I set up  my work station on the floor in front of the couch.  I worked on my laptop, read, ate lunch on that floor.  FiFi came closer to me everytime I put my hand under the couch to try to talk her out.  Eventually she came out, head first, belly next, finally her entire body.  There she rubbed her head all over my lips again and again and again.  FiFi we learned quickly had alot of love to give.  There the name FiFi Bofinkles was created as it randomly came out of  my mouth.  

Years later – FiFi Bofinkles adopted me to the role of her best friend and protector.   She is everywhere where I am.   If I’m sleeping, she’s on my pillow.  If I’m on my computer, she’s on my desk.  If I’m working out, she’s stretched out in Yoga like positions on my mat, if I’m in the shower, she’s outside of it pawing to get in, if I’m washing dishes she’s on the counter between me and the sink, if I’m trying to entertain a friend she’s on my lap wondering why I’m not paying her full attention.   My FiFi Bofinkles, she’s everywhere.  And no matter where she is, she’s demanding kisses.  I’ve often said we could get her a kissing booth and she would become a billionaire.  She loves kissing.  Everyday she requests somewhere between 600 to 8,000 kisses.  And if you make the first move and kiss her, instinct kicks in and the next hour her head will be planted your lips.  She’s my kissing machine.

She came to us unexpected, and I ended up getting a best friend out of the deal.  I couldn’t imagine my life without this cat.  She cheers me up when I’m sad, she tells me I’m special in her own way, she loves me.   I’m spoiled by such a special girl.

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So let’s meet FiFi Bofinkles, she’s quite a character….

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FiFi Bofinkles, can you wake up?  I want to introduce you to some friends. 

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Yes, you.  Can you wake up?

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I’m sorry that I woke you.

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No, don’t fall back sleep again.

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Ok, Ok, I get it. You are tired.

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Ok, go back to sleep….

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Let’s try it again.  Can I talk to you for a few minutes?

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“Yes?”

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Let me put my hand on your head.  No FiFi Bofinkles, don’t fall down and go to sleep again..

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Look, if you let me introduce you then we can kiss later.  I thought that would get your attention.

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I wanted to show everyone how cuddly you were and how you push yourself under my blanket.

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I wanted to show everyone how you jump in my lap, put your paws over my arm, demand my hands as a pillow and fall asleep.

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Oh man, I lost your attention again..

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I know you aren’t sleeping, you were just awake.

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Again, with the yawns..

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I wanted to show everyone how cute your little wet pink nose is.  Can I do that?

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What do you think?

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Ok, itch your head and think about it..

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Or fall back asleep.

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Thanks for your attention FiFi Bofinkles.

I’m In Love With Brother Bear

Brother Bear is our very special cat.   He gets lots of special attention for many reasons:

-He’s the only boy.

-He’s the baby.

-He’s very fluffy.

-He has the softest meow in the world.

-He is scared of thunder.

-He loves kisses.

-He just wants to hang out, he’s our bodyguard cat.

-When we first got him, he was going through tough times with different illnesses.  After many trips to the vet, operation, quarantine, we gained his trust for always being there and telling him it was going to be ok.  It wasn’t easy in the beginning.

Brother is a Maine Coon, also known as the breed of gentle giants, and that is what he is.  He’s 15 pounds of strong body, but has the gentlest baby like personality.    

We’re in love with him.  I just wanted to tell you.  You can totally be in love with him too.  He is a good guy.

Below is one morning with him..

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When I wake up I can usually find him in this blue bed during the Spring time mornings. He has the best yawns.

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He has the fluffiest “wings”.

 

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Then he jumped down onto a box and put his head down.  This is his preferred way of laying.

 

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He can stay like this for hours, and does.
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So I like to crawl under him and rub his chin.

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Every now and then he will let me touch his toes.

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But not much.  “Don’t touch the toes Mom”.

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Then Xanadu showed up and plopped herself on my belly.  But back to the Brother show..
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He will follow airplanes in the sky…
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His paws are always stretched out in the most elegant manner.
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When he looks up at you with those eyes – Oh man, I melt.  After I took this picture I just picked him up and kissed him all over.

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And when you call for him, he runs.  He’s happy, he’s excited.  It’s the best feeling in the world to get home and see Brother Bear run for you, just to rub his cheeks all over your ankles.

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So that is what we did.  We rubbed, we cuddled.  

I love Brother Bear.

Tea for Cats

My good pals William and Lia brought us back us back some goodies from Japan (aka, my dream destination).  In this bag of goodies were a couple satchels of this cat tea.  Not being able to read Japanese, I wondered, is this tea for a cat? Is it for me? Is it for both of us? What is this?  I mean there’s a cat on the front who looks like they are drinking some tea – really? What kind of tea is this?
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So a quick text sent to my friend Saya who is from Japan confirmed this is in fact tea for your cat.  Not any type of tea – this is CATNIP TEA.  I know, take a second to think about this..
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So I opened up the package and inside was just one tea bag – very catnip smelling by the way. How catnip smelling? FiFi Bofinkles showed up to smell it.  Then I confirmed with Saya the amount of water (16 ounces), temperature (hot or cold would work) and then I made it.
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I used 8 ounces cold, 8 ounces warm water. I let it cool down to room temperature.
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You can see it turned a slight yellow/green color while steeping.  Omg guys, I’m steeping tea for my cats.  I question my sanity.
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Then I put it into a bowl because I thought a tea cup might cross the line for me….
And I waited.
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FiFi Bofinkles showed up first.  She wasn’t interested.  She knew the smell but in liquid form? Not having it. She moved away to a food bowl and ate instead.
The real girl I was waiting for was Essy.  Essy is catnip obsessed, I’m sure some would say she needs to rehabilitated or needs a detox.  Girl likes her nip.  She’s 19.. she does what she wants.
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I left the bowl for a few minutes and Matthew called out “Is Essy ok?”  I walked over and Essy was laying on the ground rolling around, rubbing her paws into her cheeks.  “She’s all wet” Matthew said feeling her face.  ESSY HAS A TEA FACE.  That sneaky girl.  So Essy was really feeling the magic of the catnip tea.  She was doing her stretches and rolling movements when she’s under the influence.  Then I played with her and she bit my finger because she probably thought it was a dinosaur.   She felt good.
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I waited until she went back to the tea and she did.  Where she then slid her cheeks all over the bowl, inside the bowl, dipped her chin.  Basically she bobbed for tea.   After rubbing her cheeks in the tea some more, she just stood there and stared at her Dora the Explorer plate.  I wish I could know what was going through her head during those 36 minutes of non movement.  Was Dora talking to her?  Was she plotting to hurt Dora? Was she living in a animated rainbow? Who knows.
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20 minutes later, she was still here.  I rubbed her face and she was soaked.  I’m pretty sure she just put her head in it, so in fear of Essy drowning in catnip tea, I removed it.  The tea bowl was full of Essy fur.

If you can get this, I would try it.  I have a few more teabags that I will let Brother and Xanadu try.  Just watch out for Essy!

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