Friday, June 29, 2012

Rules for the Cat

The cat is NOT allowed on the furniture.

You've got an issue with furry pillows??  What's YOUR problem??

Surely, you couldn't mean me.  I'm just sitting here looking beautiful.

Doll furniture is still okay, right?  The doll doesn't care if I get fur on HER pillow.  She told me so.

OK, I'll just sit here in the sink instead.  Ewwww.... Someone SPIT in here!!  I think it was that red-headed kid.

OK, the cat can go on the furniture, but NOT on the kitchen counter.

That sounds like discrimination to me.

I told you I didn't touch your stupid Oreos.  Look... they're right over there where you left them.

Alright, the cat can go on the kitchen counter too, just not when I'm preparing food.  Deal?


Fine... The cat can go wherever it wants, whenever it wants, as long as it doesn't swat me in the face at 5:30 in the morning demanding to be fed.

(((tap, tap, tap)))      Hey lady... You up? 

The cat will now be fed at 5:30 in the morning.

Special thanks to my new blogosphere friend Holly Waterfall for bringing this lovely bit of truth to my attention (and to my dear friend Kirsten who posted it in her Facebook feed the following day!) I do not know the true author for attribution.  If you have that information, please let me know so I can credit them accordingly.

Have a great weekend everyone!

PS--- I've been hearing about commenting issues and (as a blog newbie) was clueless at first how to make it right.  Did some clicking around in the comment settings yesterday and I think you should find everything fixed for you.  Just click the drop down menu, choose "Name" (You don't have to include a URL and can leave it blank) or "Anonymous" and comment away!  If you have any more problems, message me either on the  Facebook page or at teenytinytabbies (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll get right on it.  Thanks!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nap Time with Norman

It's been a bit of a stressful week here in Teeny Tiny Tabby Town.  Norman decided we would all feel better if we all just took a nap.

Tommy and Simba set up Camp Cardboard in the kitchen, but they were too busy fighting over the sleeping bag to actually go to sleep.

Charlie laid in bed with his woobie but refused to sleep lest the cat think he's in charge.

Norman simply sighed, stretched, moved to a new spot, and went back to sleep.

"Duckie can't go to sleep before he's had his bath," said Simba.

Tommy declared, "I can't possibly go to sleep without a cup of milk!"

Norman simply sighed, stretched, moved to a new spot, and went back to sleep.

"I'm really not tired," protested Tommy as he laid down in a bed.

"Maybe I'll just close my eyes and pretend to sleep instead,"  Penny said.

Norman simply sighed, stretched, moved to a new spot, and went back to sleep.

Simba got a little carried away at story time and decided to act out "The Prince and the Pea" with the cushions from the patio chairs,

... and tested each and every sunbeam

... before falling asleep with a friend.

Charlie had other ideas.

Tommy needed just one more hug before drifting off to dreamland.

"Finally!" thought Norman, as he sighed, stretched, moved to a new spot, and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Penny from Heaven

Full Name: Penelope Jean

Nicknames: Penny, Penny Lane, Penny Pants, Mrs. Pants, Mama (Not!)

Age: 2 years old

In Residence Since: May 25, 2012

Favorite Activities: Watching birds.  Purring.  Stalking, leaping, and otherwise attacking feather wands.  Leg rubbing.  Relaxing in the litter box.  Hissing at boy kitties.  Being a finicky eater.  Faking pregnancy.

Status: Foster

Miss Penelope came to us from a county animal control in northern Michigan.  Because of its rural location, this shelter is lucky to adopt out 20 cats per year.  Penny had reached the end of her allotted time with them and needed to find a way out.  And so began Mission Phantom Pregnancy.  A shelter worker was convinced our girl was in a family way and started to reach out to rescues in order to save Penny and her kittens.  I got the call that we were getting a beautiful calico mama (squeeeeeee!!!!!!) and we moved her into the front room in order to await the birth of her kittens.

Penny climbed up the cat tree and made herself at home in front of the window while we waited....

And she birdwatched while we waited....

And she napped while we waited...

The vet didn't think Penny was pregnant, but she advised waiting some more (just in case)...

So Penny chillaxed in the litter box while we waited....

And glared at the boy kitties outside her door while we waited...

And she caught up on her Phinneas and Ferb while we waited to see if Penny was pregnant.

"WHAT?????!!!!???  You thought I was what??????"

Hmmph!  I'm a good girl!

We waited for four whole weeks after Penny's arrival for her kittens to come.  Occasionally I would feel a lump in her belly while petting her and squeal with delight at finally getting "proof" of the wee little babies.  Yeah, her wee little babies were also known as Kidney #1 and Kidney #2 (or perhaps it was Gall Bladder, Liver, or Pancreas... all #1, by the way).  If anything, our girl got smaller instead of bigger during our four week wait.  I'm no veterinarian, but I'm declaring her officially "not pregnant".


Penny was able to pull off the con of the century.  It got her out of the shelter.  It quite literally saved her life. I could not possibly be more thrilled.  All cats are special.  This one is extra-special.  Take exhibit A:

The gorgeous markings... absolutely perfect, even if someone did "miss" a spot

Exhibit B:

The amazing tufts of fur on the tips of her ears... Orange on the left ear...

And white on her right.

And don't forget about Exhibits C and D... her exquisite eyeliner and fabulous nose splotch!

Because Penny's vaccination history is unknown (and we didn't want to vaccinate a "pregnant" cat), she has been quarantined from the other cats in the house this entire time.  She has been in the same room with Norman briefly but has never really "met" him.  She moves to the corner of the room as he enters and hisses softly until he leaves.  

Penny gets liberated from the confines of the foster room a couple times per day.  She hangs out upstairs with the kids while they play and watch television in the family room.  She isn't much of a snuggler, but she loves to watch you and  purr.  She loves toys on sticks and prefers to hide under tables and chairs while stalking them for the best "surprise factor".   My son has already asked to keep her a time or twelve, but it's not happening.  Penelope is without a doubt the sweetest, gentlest, mellowest, mildest lover of a cat that I have ever met.  This girl won't be with us long once she's made available for adoption.

Penny's on the spay schedule for next week.  We're celebrating her independence from the shelter and from motherhood forever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Experimental Foster

Full Name: Tommy

Nicknames:  TomCat, Tommers, Tomas

In Residence Since: September 3, 2011

Status:  Foster (Kind of)

Favorite Activities:  Investigating the high spaces in the house. Checking the windows and doors for escape routes. Throwing dolls out of doll beds. Twanging the doorstop on older daughter's door. Snuggling with younger daughter.

Two years ago, I discovered the idea of foster pets.  I had lost Grizzly and Einstein in pretty quick succession.  My house was on the market in preparation for our move 4.5 hours away.  My job was winding down.  My kids were a mess because of the impending move.  I knew it was a rotten time to adopt again and had no intention of doing so.  When I wasn't looking at houses online, I was looking at adoptable animals and began to hatch a plan for fostering those who needed me the most.

The topic of fostering became one of intense debate around my house.  Let's be clear that I am the one driving all of this, while my husband merely puts up with it and indulges me.  Don't get me wrong... he likes animals, but would prefer to not be known as "that crazy cat dude".  He likes his clothes fur-free, his counters cat-free, and the ease of being able to come and go as he pleases without worrying about the omnipresent question "Who will take care of the animals??"  Which is good attitude to have when you're a Lt. Colonel in the military who is a workaholic and constantly away from home while serving your country.  His resistance was more than a yearning for simple, easy living though.  He was absolutely convinced that once these animals moved into our house I would never let them go, regardless of whether or not I called them "foster".

That's where Tommy came in.  Tommy is our "experimental foster".  He's a foster who's not really a foster, if that makes sense.  You see, our Tommy has a family who loves him very much... a mom, dad, and three kids who want him back desperately.  Friends of ours are spending a year on a fabulous adventure in New Zealand, where the quarantine laws made it difficult to bring dear Tommy along.  So he's bunking with us.  It's the perfect situation, really: Tommy has a safe place to stay; I get to prove myself through fostering; and my husband knows that I absolutely, positively have to give him back when the year is up.

Tommy is our explorer who has personally investigated every high perch in the house.  Old man Norman and tubby Simba choose to stay off the higher window ledges, the tops of the kitchen cabinets, and the fireplace mantel.  Tom takes it as a challenge.  He flies through the air with effortless grace.  I am waiting for the time that my blinds come crashing down.

Tommy's favorite person is my younger daughter, which I suppose is only fair because he's known her longest.  His little girl is one of my little girl's best friends.  His preferred napping spot is in the doll beds in her room.  This particular bed used to be the resting spot of an American Girl doll named Ruthie.  Every day after Meg would leave for school, Tom would toss the doll out of the bed, onto the floor, and help himself to her space.  In her exasperation once, my brilliant daughter exclaimed, "That cat is ruthless! ((dramatic pause))  And the bed is Ruthless too!"

Tom delights in proving his people wrong.  "Oh, he's no bother!"  ((OK, they were actually right about that one))  "Tommy doesn't like people food."  ((Um... then who is that cat sticking his head in my cereal bowl in the morning?))  "Tommy won't eat canned food." ((Tell that to Tommy!))

Mmmmmmm.  Fancy Feast!

The experiment has been a smashing success... Well, except for the time he crashed through a window screen and disappeared for 24 hours.  And the time he went ninja on my leather dining room chairs.  Both issues are repairable (after he moves out) and taught me my first valuable fostering lesson:

My second valuable fostering lesson: Your heart loves the fosters, but stores that love in a different spot than your love for the permanent residents.  I was a teacher before my kids were born.  I loved my students and would have done anything for them, but when June came my claim on them was over.  It was time for them to move on to their next adventure.  Hopefully, I've given something to them in the meantime that helps them along their way.  I feel the same way about my fosters.

The experiment worked so well that when I started making noises about fostering for real this spring, my husband relented.  You'll meet the first "real" foster if you come back tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The New Old Guy... or is it The Old New Guy?

Full Name: Norman Jasper (We were on a very British "Downton Abbey" naming kick this winter.  He nearly ended up as The Right Honorable Norman Jasper Crawley, Viscount Grantham.  But we thought it might go to his head, so we asked the Queen to skip the title and she was kind enough to oblige.)

Nicknames: Normie, NORM!, Normie Noodles, Ninja Cat, Grover, Muppet Man

Birthdate: 2001-ish (making him roughly 11 years old)

"Gotcha" Day:  January 23, 2012

Favorite Activities: Eating!!  Serving as a feline alarm clock.  Eating!!  Watching birds.  Eating!!  Sleeping in boxes.  Eating!!  Sitting close by but not snuggling (NOT snuggling!)  Telling me his food bowl is empty.  Taking every cat toy out of the basket and laying down in the middle of them without playing with a single one.  Singing for his supper.

Profession:  Ambassador of  Teeny Tiny Tabby Town

Old man Norman came to us via the Michigan Humane Society.  I was convinced we were looking for a senior girl... a calico or tortie girl to fill the Madame Einstein-shaped hole in my life.  I hadn't slept right since she passed.  17 years of a furry someone sleeping behind your knees is a hard habit to break.  So we went to the shelter and interviewed every possible option.  We talked to old ladies.  Met the middle age beauties.  But something just wasn't right.  After discussing my wish list with the caregivers at the shelter, they brought me a black cat.  "I know he's not a girl, but spend some time with him."  I had met "Martin" in earlier volunteer visits to the shelter and knew him to be the ultimate love bug, but I never thought he was right for us.  After all, he wasn't a girl. This time around... I knew he was mine within the first 2 minutes.

Bringing Norman home might not have been possible without the help and encouragement we received along the way.  He had bounced around the various MHS outposts for three months in search of his forever home.  Besides being old and black (two HUGE strikes in a shelter environment), Norm needed some pretty significant dental work and the cost was scaring off potential adopters.  An absolute angel who fell in love with Norman but couldn't adopt him herself paid his entire $400 veterinary bill to make it easier for him to find a home.  The organization Pets for Patriots (which facilitates low cost shelter adoptions for military members and veterans) worked with MHS to get us a discounted, nearly-free adoption.  Robyn over at Love & Hisses kept pushing those photos and stories of the amazing Peppers Gang like it was crack on a street corner.   Sometimes, it really does take a village.  Our village got Norman a forever home.... Thank you!!!!   And if you're in the market for a cat....

My new little old man kitty is a bit rough around the edges.  He has a scruffy, rumpled look that makes him resemble a well-loved stuffed animal.  I tend to think of him as a Muppet.  He has a small slice in one of his ears and a few scars on his muzzle and a leg.  But they're hardly noticeable... just a reminder that life hasn't always been kind to him.  Seeing them makes me all the more grateful that he found his way here (where he inflicts the scars instead of receiving them... just ask Charlie how the only declawed cat in the house left a scar on his nose!)

Thanks to Norman, I have no need for an alarm clock.  He starts singing for breakfast around 5:30 every morning.  If I ignore him, he wakes up the dog.  It's pretty hard to ignore an 85-pound dog bouncing tennis balls off your body.  Good thing I love them both.

Norman's favorite pastime is eating.  For a skinny old man, he can put away the calories.  I imagine he was a stray at one point in his life (or at the very least, he was neglected and had to fend for himself).  There is a desperation to him at mealtime that breaks my heart.  He has perfect table manners, but if you leave the kitchen all food is fair game.  He will try anything at least once.  Needless to say, Norm is training us to guard our food a bit better.

This was younger daughter's 11th birthday cake.  Norman was unsure of the tie-dye appearance, so he decided to taste test it for us to make sure it was okay for consumption. 

Turns out the Norman LOVES paczkis.  He celebrated Fat Tuesday with a raspberry filled one.

And who among us doesn't enjoy a tasty chip from time to time?

Kind of reminds me of someone else.  :-)

Norman's not much of a "player", but he is fond of emptying out the toy basket just to see what's there.  He might roll in the toys a time or two and then he moves on to something else.   He's not much of a snuggler either, but he's never far away.  If I'm on the sofa, he's on the cushion behind me or on the arm next to me... purring the entire time with a paw resting somewhere on my body.  Bedtime is the only time he snuggles.  He's right in the crook of my knees most nights.  Just like someone else I used to know. 

We've dubbed Norman the Ambassador here at Teeny Tiny Tabby Town.  He's friendly and loves to meet anyone new... human or feline.  He lets the kids scoop him up and carry him around like a baby, even when he's not feeling it.   So when Penny (our foster in the front room) was a bit lonely, we let Norman in for a quick visit.  He completely ignored Penny, but he sat in her bed, sniffed out her litter box, emptied out her toy basket, climbed her cat tree, and bellied up to the food bowl.

What should we have expected?  Now Norman begs to be let into the foster room whenever I pass by.  A guy's got to eat!

Princess Penelope was less than amused.

Norman is anxiously awaiting your comments and questions.