Cat on the Keyboard

Author Christine Church's Musings, Books and Stuff…

Binx came home

Written By: chriscat65 - Jul• 06•13

After two and a half weeks of major stress and worry, I was finally able to trap Binx. He was injured slightly above his left eye, but a vet visit and time have healed all. We are so grateful to have him home! I bought him a huge cat tree with multiple platforms and all of the cats absolutely love it. But, the top “bunk” is for Binx. He sleeps up there often where he can still see out despite the air conditioner in that window. Binx has definitely decided he prefers to look out, rather than to be out!

My Indoor Cat is Missing; Diary of Binx

Written By: chriscat65 - May• 23•13

Binx is missing

Binx is missing.

Day One, Friday, May 17th 2013: I woke up late because I had to drive a long distance and spend three days doing a horse show photo shoot. When I awoke, my mother came in my room and told me she “saw a cat who looks just like Binx” on the porch and then up by the fireplace in the back yard. It was then she informed me she couldn’t find Binx in the house. I got up and we searched. The back door would, if not closed properly, not latch all the way. The cat she saw was Binx, not a cat who looked like him.

Now we had a major problem. Not only was Binx an indoor-only cat his entire adult life (three and a half years), he was born a feral kitten who had had no contact with humans in the first 8 weeks of his life. A cat who has not had that contact never fully accepts humans. Binx accepted us, as he lived in our house and let us pet him, slept on my bed and would even rub against my leg. However, if even I–the person he most trusted–made a move he found suspicious, he would always run. “Can I really trust you?” lived forever in his eyes, as it does with all cats born feral.

I searched the woods behind our house, the neighbor’s yards, up trees, everywhere I could. No sign of him. As a volunteer for a cat shelter, I was able to borrow a cat trap, which I baited and set on the porch in case Binx came home during the night looking for food. I also brushed Binx’s best cat friend, Jake, and placed his fur around the parameter of the yard.

I slept on the sofa on the porch, hoping my scent would help, or at least I would spot him.

Day Two, Saturday, May 18th: Had to do the photo shoot, so I spent most of the day away. Caught nothing in the trap. I borrowed a second trap to put up in the back near the woods. I needed to expand my search. I also made up a bunch of flyers and went door to door in the areas that surrounded the woods, talking to people and asking if they would contact me if they saw Binx. Everyone was very nice. But no one had seen him.

Binx’s un-trusting nature towards humans, I knew, would make this much more difficult than a trusting house pet. I slept on the porch again. At the very least it helped keep the raccoons away from my trap.

Day Three, Sunday, May 19th: Expanded my search area and tried to spread my scent to lead Binx back home. He had to be getting hungry. Still nothing in the traps. I made more flyers, including a large one for telephone poles, and brought the files to be professionally printed at Staples. I had the large ones laminated so they would be waterproof. It rained, which made me wonder how Binx was handling this, as he had not seen rain in his entire adult life. The rain did not frighten me, however, the thunder did. It would scare Binx. Would he run farther away?

Day Four, Monday, May 20th: Caught a raccoon in the trap nearest the house, but no cat. I reset the trap. The rain just didn’t want to stop! Thunderstorms, heat and humidity every day. Ninety one degrees!

I am still having trouble eating, my stomach is in so many knots. I walked all around the woods within a mile of my house. But the woods are dense and vast. He could be anywhere. I passed out more flyers. I tacked a bunch of the big laminated flyers on telephone poles at every intersection within a two mile radius.

Day Five, Tuesday, May 21st: More of the same today. Cooler temperatures, but still rainy and thunderstorms. As I had done daily, I walked the woods when it wasn’t raining, talked to people, passed out flyers and put lost cat ads on the internet and in papers.

Day Six, Wednesday, May 22nd: Continued looking through the woods and adding flyers to my search area. It was rainy today so I didn’t get as much searching done through the woods, but I did walk up back and look under a few porches and sheds of neighboring properties. By now, people are pretty used to seeing me searching through their yards.

Both traps were tripped, food was gone from one, yet nothing was inside. The neighbor’s cat (Tigger) is a tiny little girl, so I am assuming it was her. Later in the day, I was proven correct when I came home and a neighbor drove by with his ATV to tell me there was a grey cat in the trap behind his house. I asked him “Dark grey or light grey?” When he said light grey, I knew it was Tigger. She was scared, I let her go.

Got a call from a lady who lives about 5 miles away, swearing she saw Binx. She said she would try to feed and lure the cat in. I have big doubts Binx would be that far in the opposite direction that he had gone, plus he would have had to cross a highway and several roads to get there. Not that I am dismissing any lead. I told her to call me if she sees the cat again.

I started a Facebook page to raise awareness of Binx in hopes more people will keep their eyes open for him, regardless where they live. I just want my Binx home!

Day Seven, Thursday, May 23rd: 7am, my mother wakes me to tell me there’s a raccoon in the trap closest to the woods. She can’t climb the fence to get out there, so I went out, in the rain, in my PJs, climbed the fence, and had to pick up the trap and dump the frightened raccoon out. He scrambled up a tree.

Seriously thinking about hiring a pet detective to help me find Binx. The problem is that I am poor and not sure I can afford one. I looked up quite a few online today. I just want my baby home. I don’t know how long I can handle this stress, fear and anguish.

Five Tips for a Happy New Kitten

Written By: chriscat65 - May• 08•13
Kittens need friends

Kittens

When you adopt or acquire a new kitten, you become responsible for an innocent life that fully relies on you for its utmost and thorough care, for the animals’ ENTIRE life, however long that may be. Use the guidelines below to make your kitten’s life a good one and so he/she will grow to be a happy and healthy cat.

  1. Introductions: Whether or not you have other pets in your home, introduce your new kitten(s) to your home or pets slowly. Keep the little tyke confined to one room if possible, for the first day. Make sure he/she has fresh, cool water and plenty of kitten food. Know what your kitten was eating before you acquired it, so you can match the diet, at least temporarily. If you will be switching foods, mix the old with the new over time until the kitten’s digestive system is accustomed to the new food. (generally, with kittens, you will feed 3 times a day up until 6 months of age and then down to twice a day). You can keep dry food down at all times as a snack and feed small amounts of canned food if you wish. This is recommended, as kittens have enough energy to burn fat fast and one or the other can cause a skinny kitten. Though, like any of us, each kitten’s metabolism varies, so keep an eye on your kitten’s weight. Introduce everything very slowly and be patient. Make sure you pet knows where the litter box, food and water is located at all times. And make sure your kitten has LOTS of love and attention. He/she will be very frightened in this new environment, especially is adopted alone. It is fine to carry your kitten around the house in your arms to see the sights, making sure other animals do not come into direct contact, not right away. Acclimate slowly using scent, as cats are very scent oriented. Give your new kitten a cozy fleece blanket or a soft towel to sleep on and get his/her scent all over. Do the same with your resident pet(s). Switch after a day or two. Get them used to one another’s scent. Please take your time. It will be worth it in the long run and could prevent bad experiences that might lead a lifetime of trouble. You can try feeding them near one another when you are ready, providing your resident pet is not food dominant!! A dog, particularly, might snap at a cat that is near its food. So, please use utmost caution. Even a small dog can cause a little kitten harm….

READ THE REST >>> http://www.examiner.com/article/five-tips-for-a-happy-new-kitten

Cat Products in Live Auction

Written By: chriscat65 - Nov• 30•12

Fantastic Live Online Auction… Have fun while finishing your holiday shopping. Great deals… http://tophatter.com/auctions/10068

Cyber Cat Monday

Written By: chriscat65 - Nov• 24•12

Join your cat online for a great online auction every Monday and Friday nights featuring animal gifts and products at low prices

It’s Black Friday Weekend (and Cyber Monday) and I still don’t know why it’s called Black Friday! Perhaps because the stores “wake up” in the middle of the night so people can shop in the dark?

In any event, Black Friday is the start of the holiday shopping season… ie, hectic! So, save your gas and save time. Shop online. For your cat!

Cyber Monday is also Cyber Cat Day! This is the day you can go to an online auction (yep, a LIVE online auction), bid on extremely nice products at super low prices and get all your shopping done for your animal loving friends and pets at the Animal Lovers 6 Auction, Monday night at 9PM EST.

Some of the great items you will find there? Hand made cat toys, as well as great interactive toys like the original Cat Dancer (activity helps keep cats from becoming obese). You will find fantastic gift items for your animal loving people too. Items so unique you will not find them in a store. Fantastic for that hard-to-buy-for person! Such items include dancing cat picture frames, kids animal winter accessories, beautiful jewelry depicting animals of every kind, pet t-shirts and so much more!

You will also find the one-of-a-kind art of extremely talented wildlife artist Lucie Theroux from Quebec, who will be offering a gift of a custom painting! Imagine the glee on an animal lover’s face when they see a painting custom made by hand in water color from one of the most talented artists on this planet!

So, mark your calendars for EVERY Monday and Friday nights at 9PM for the Animal Lovers auctions!

Cat Agility: The New American Sport

Written By: chriscat65 - Sep• 06•12

Back in the 1980’s, I used to train and show my Doberman pinscher in obedience. Agility was on the high end of the obedience scale, and we never got that far due to my dog’s back issues, but it was always fun to watch.

Though I love all animals, I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person, and now I can enjoy watching cats in agility, which, in my opinion, they are much more suited for than most dogs. Cats are lithe and flexible in ways that dogs are not. This makes them absolutely amazing in running obstacles and flying about in agility competitions.

Cat agility is becoming more and more popular at cat shows around the country. One such cat agility trainer is Anthony Hutcherson, who trains the Bagel cats he breeds in Maryland.

Modeled after canine agility competitions, the tournaments feature a ring in which cat owners — some of whom have trained their pets from kittenhood — brandish a feather or sparkly wand to try to coax a cat to climb stairs, weave around poles and leap through hoops in as little time as possible.

“You have to get the cat to focus on the toy,” said Hutcherson, who raises his cats in Port Tobacco, Md., and whose oldest cat, Justin, has run the course in nine seconds. “Cats will pretty much chase a feather on a string anywhere.” [source]

Cats are reputed to be un-trainable, but this is untrue. Cats are simply not trained in the same manner as dogs. Cats do not respond to a simple pat on the head as a reward. Usually, food is used as an enticement and fun interactive toys such a feathers.

Cats love to jump high, play hard and run fast. I have a feeling cat agility is the sport of the future. Please click here for Photos and slideshows of  cats in action!

Doctor’s Hero Cat Rescued from Fire

Written By: chriscat65 - Jul• 26•12

Satin was one cat rescued from a large Missouri apartment building fire

An apartment fire in St. Louis took the lives of many pets, but for Dr. Elizabeth Schmidt, relief came four days later when her rescued, one-eyed cat named Satin was reunited with her thanks to the Humane Society of Missouri.

The fire broke out Tuesday night at the four-story, 197-unit apartment complex on Lindell Boulevard in the city’s Central West End. No residents were injured but two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire has not been determined. The building has been deemed a total loss. [source]
Schmidt was coming home from dinner with friend last Tuesday night when she saw the fire. Many animals, particularly cats, were trapped inside the building and unfortunately many did not make it, some are still missing. A memorial outside the building told the sad tale of the unlucky ones.

Toto the Tornado Kitten

Written By: chriscat65 - Jun• 13•12

Toto is aptly named. Rescued after being taken by a tornado last year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, Toto was rescued and adopted and now has his own book. You can read about Toto and see his photos here. http://www.examiner.com/article/toto-the-tornado-kitten

Toto

Toto, who survived a tornado, tells his tale in his book.

Keep Free Roaming Cats off the Streets

Written By: chriscat65 - May• 10•12

When I wrote my book, House Cat, How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound, it was the mid-1990’s and the movement to keep cats indoors was not completely new (believe it or not, people have been keeping indoor cats since the beginning of the domestication of cats), but was spreading throughout the world.

My book at the time was innovative. The whole point was to create an environment perfect to the cat’s needs based on the cat’s nature, thinking and desires.

Since the publication of the first book (the Revised Edition came out in 2005), keeping cats indoors has become extremely popular, and those who believed cats needed free roam have become the minority. This is good for cats, as there are less disasters from outdoor dangers.

But what many “outdoor cat” advocates do not realize is that this is good for humans as well. Back in 2009, I wrote an article about cats being “mini ecological disasters.” This was simply one observation based on a few words quoted by a TV chanracter, however the truth behind it is astonishing.

Read the Rest: http://www.examiner.com/article/keep-free-roaming-cats-off-the-street

Yes, They Really Did Race Cats

Written By: chriscat65 - Apr• 03•12

In my Hartford Horses Examiner column, I often discuss horse racing and the problems associated with racing horses, a sport that has grown in a multi-billion dollar industry. But, what about cat racing? Never heard of it? Well, at one time it was a reality.

Cat race

At one time, cats were raced.

In the latter half of the 1800’s, cat racing took place both in England and Belgium. In June 16, 1860, author Harrison Weir wrote in his book “The Pictorial Times”: “Cat-racing is a sport which stands high in popular favour. In one of the suburbs of Liège it is an affair of annual observance during carnival time… The cats are tied up in sacks, and as soon as the clock strikes the solemn hour of midnight the sacks are unfastened, the cats let loose, and the race begins. The winner is the cat which first reaches home, and the prize awarded to its owner is sometimes a ham, sometimes a silver spoon. On the occasion of the last competition the prize was won by a blind cat.”

As a cat lover and cat care specialist, I cannot claim to like the idea of cats tied up in sacks. Today, such a cruel and torturous act would be shut down before it even began.

But cat racing did not end there with the coming of the 20th century. In 1936 at Portisham in Dorset, England,  a cat race track was built. It resembled a greyhound race track and ran about 220 yards long. An electric mouse was provided for the cats to chase.

After that failed attempt, cat racing seems to have died out.  The last recorded attempt to race cats was in Kent, England in 1949.

Apparently cat racers were not aware of the cat’s aloof nature and their drive for food or else they would have put cat food at the finish line rather than an electronic mouse.  It is no wonder cat racing has never caught on as a competitive sport.

Perhaps in the future a cat will RUN for President.