Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Darwin's Binky

Darwin's new toy (or "Binky") is actually a plush dog bone. No feathery thingys on a stick for him! He's just too rough and would rip the thing apart in seconds! Darwin needed somthing he can "Hug And Bite", and I got sick of being "it".

So I went to my local Rite Aid and saw these dog toys on sale for a buck each. I bought two, opened the seam on one, stuffed a bit of catnip into it, and stitched it back up. I gave it to Darwin and he did the typical things catnip addled cats do. He sniffed and licked and rolled, and most importantly, bit it and clawed it. 

Binky has been his official diversion from biting moi. So anytime he's in the mood to play and bite somthing or someone (not Shadow), I wave Binky at him and he grabs it and goes to town! 

I'm not saying he doesn't get me every once in a while. He also loves to grab and chomp on my bright pink imitation Croc clogs, while my feet are in them!  But, that's another story and another photo for another post. 
Dawn Skyy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Royal Beat Down!

Remember not two months ago I had complained that Shadow was intimidating Darwin?  Poor Darwin had come into my home and didn't know what to expect.  He certainly didn't expect to be bullied by Shadow who happened to have already lived at my apartment for just a one WEEK! 

In that week's time Shadow had decided that my pad was going to be HIS stomping ground and belong to no other but Him! So when Darwin showed up, he was treated like a serf! He had not right to anything!  No food, no litterbox, no hanging out with human mommy...... nothing! 

Well, the tables have officially turned! For the past few days I've watch Darwin literally beat Shadows butt down into the mat! Remember how I complained that Shadow used to constantly "mount" Darwin as a feline show of dominance?  Well Darwin has been doing that to Shadow! In the feline version of "whatsoever you do to others shall be done unto you". Shadow gloried in the fact that he was the top cat in the house. Now the tables have been turned!

Its even has gotten to the point where Shadow must seek Darwin's permission to sleep with me, if Darwin says no, by fighting and throwing him out, then the answer is "no".

Shadow has been forced to retreat to the FLOOR (gasp!) or finds another place to sleep, toilet lid, tub, kitchen floor....

If only Darwin will fight for his share of food during feeding time..........

I should wait for it, because I know it's eventually coming, right?

Okay, I wait.........

Dawn Skyy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Personal Contact Cat

Darwin wouldn't have it any other way. He will not sleep next to me unless one of his pawsies is resting on my leg. I don't know if he does that to make sure I'm still there, or just likes personal contact while he sleeps.

I shouldn't find this strange, after having a cat who insisted upon stretching out on my chest and cuddling like a baby when we slept. That was my Spiral during his last 3 months of life.

So, I guess Darwin's no different.

Dawn Skyy

A New Trend

I've noticed a new trend with Darwin while he's hanging out with me on my bed.  Latelly he's been challenging Shadow, fighting him then either chasing him out, or tossing out, period.  Funny, I thought Shadow was the official Top Cat in this house.

I guess not, anymore.

Dawn Skyy

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Great Mystery Solved

When I got home from work yesterday morning I was met by a welcoming committee of one cat. Just Shadow. I was immediately on alert because Darwin always met me at the door like an enthusiastic dog. Yet he was nowhere to be found.

I put aside my groceries,  and went to my bedroom to put down my purse, knapsack and jacket. All the while I was calling him. It must have been the tenth time I called him when Darwin showed up. When I turned to the kitchen, both cats ran ahead of me, leaping over each other. I wasn't gonna feed them just yet, because I had groceries to put away. I just happened to look in the night snack bowl and noted it was almost empty. That was a good thing, right?

I put up the groceries and noted the litter needed to be changed. I like to do this before the cats eat so they have fresh litter to poo and pee in after eating. I changed the box in the bathroom and was on my way to change the one in the living room when I slipped in a pool of cat puke, and nearly broke my face.

"I wonder who did this? "  I thought, as I cleaned it up.

I went finally back to the kitchen to feed them both. I  divided a can of wet food between them. I put the food down and as usual Shadow went at his portion with his usual gusto (a feline version of a shop vac). Darwin, he just sat there and looked at me pitiful.

"Eat, Darwin." I told him.

Sometimes I have to encourage him to eat because he gets distracted. This time, instead of eatting, he strolled right out of the kitchen!  I caught him, brought him back and sat him before his bowl. He walked away again.

Aha! I had my culprit!  Obviously, Darwin was the pig who ate all of the dry kibble, then sicked it all up in the living room. Now he had no appetite. And that was also why Darwin had originally hidden from me, he knew what he had done (casting up accounts upon the parlor floor) was wrong. Poor baby!

Not to mention, Shadow was overjoyed because he got two portions that morning!

I hope Darwin learned his lesson. As for me, I'm gonna have to rethink the midnight munchie bowl idea.  I've never had this problem with my cats in the past.

Sad, both of my cats are greedy pigs..........

::Face palm::

Dawn Skyy

Undercover Feeding

How many times a day do you feed your cats, and how much?

I feed Shadow and Darwin twice a day. I divide one can of wet food between the two, twice a day. As usual Shadow sucks all of his food up like a Hoover vacume cleaner on less than a minute and tries to steal Darwin's food. Darwin on the other hand is very happy with his half and as long as he is allowed to eat his portion without being harassed by you know who, he's okay.

Last week I did an experiment. I gave both cats each one whole can of food each. As predicted Shadow Hoovered all of his down and went after Darwin's portion. Darwin was unable to finish his and walked away. I took the rest away before Shadow could eat it, because I felt that far too much for him to eat. At that point Shadow was just being greedy.

My new problem was I would leave what I call a night feeding for them before I leave for work, overmight. Instead of noshing on it during the night, Shadow would chomp it all down before I even left the house, leaving nothing at all to eat for poor Darwin. As a result both cats beseige me before I can even get in the door when I return from work in the mornings.

So, I tried a little experiment. I put the dry kibble in a bowl and left it on top of the washing machine. Why did I do that? Because I knew Darwin was smart enough to know it's there and would jump up there to get it. Where as lazybones Shadow would not. And Darwin did just that. I told you he was very smart....

As for Shadow, he needs to go a serious diet, becauae he's starting to look like Buddha.  That's if Buddha was a fat black cat........

Dawn Skyy 

Cat UnAttract

I don't mean to disparage the product, but Cat Attract Litter does NOT work for my cat Darwin. They say that there are some cats that catnip doesn't affect. Well Darwin is not impressed by this well known litter.

The story begins thus. I had over half of the bag left from my unfortunate purchase and use of the product. So I decided to mix half Cat Attract with the Feline Pine litter that I regularly use for Shadow and Darwin. Shadow had no problem with the mixture. However, Darwin started pooping and peeing on the floor again, much to my chagrin. After he'd been such a good boy and had been using the box.

Why was he doing this? He was clearly expressing his displeasure with the addition of Cat Attract to the litter mix. Perhaps he can't stand the smell of it or he can't stand the fact that it is a clump type litter. Whatever it is, he is officially boycotting the litter box untill I change it out.

Oh my, what a touchy fellow Darwin is .....

Dawn Skyy

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No Purrs?

Yep, you heard right, or read right. No purrs. Although my two fur babies are very vocal, they don't purr. I've had previous cats who purred loudly enough for me (who suffers from tinnitus - chronic ringing sound in the ears) to hear them. Isn't funny how cats know things like that?

But Shadow and Darwin don't purr.  If they do they don't purr very loudly. I'm guessing since Darwin was a stray and loner for so long he never learned typical cat ettiqute. How to properly use the litterbox, how to meow, how to use the scratch pole, etc. I guess purring is on his list to learn next. As for Shadow, the only way I know his is purring is when I stroke him and feel the vibrations.

Perhaps one day they will bless me with purrs. For now, they are my cuddle bunnies.....  =^^=

Dawn Skyy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lick a Drip Cat

I was wondering why my cats haven't been drinking water from their water bowl. My previous cats, Biscuit and Spiral used to lick drips from the tub faucet. But those two used to like water also.

I had no clue my new cats were like this until I witnessed this a few minutes ago. Good thing I had my cellphone handy......

Dawn Skyy

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stopwatch Cats

I really find some way to resolve Shadow and Darwin's mealtime issues. It has gotten to the point that I know that when I put both bowls of food down, Shadow will finish his portion in less than a minute then immediately go after Darwin's. I don't even meed a stopwatch to time him.

If I'm not there to stop there to stop Shadow, he will either shoulder Darwin away from his food dish and take over, or stick one of his paws into the bowl and scoop a portion out, or he will snatch up a portion with his mouth and dash off to consume his ill-gotten booty.

Late at night before I go to sleep, or go to work, I fill a bowl with dry kibble to tide them over till I get back home the next day. Last week I put the bowl down and I had to look for something in the fridge. While there I kept hearing the bowl scrape back and forward across the kitchen floor.

I look up and Shadow is using one of his paws to pull the bowl away from Darwin. Not to be out done, Darwin used his paw to pull it back to himself. A food bowl tug of war!  When I shouted for them to stop, they both looked at me..... you know that look cats give you when you catch them in the act.....

The I'm not doin'nuthin' Mom, look.

What am I gonna do with these two furry miscreants?

Dawn Skyy

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Darwinism Feline Style

According to Darwin's Animal Control Certificate his temperment is described as being withdrawn. That  meant he shied away from those taking care if him in the shelter. Reason, he was a stray cat and was unused to being around people. However, he hasn't been like that with me, however he is still very shy in certain areas.

Take mealtimes, he lets Shadow bully him and steal food out of his dish while he is eating. For once I wish he would give Shadow a couple of good, solid whacks on the nose. That  would certainlly teach Shadow to leave his food alone.

In the beginning, Darwin was so intimidated by Shadow that he was too distracted to eat. He would constantly glance over his shoulder after every bite. So much so that I had to admonish him to eat. It got so that he would leave a portion of his food for Shadow. It was almost as if poor Darwin was leaving a tribute for a tyrant.

But, lately Darwin has been leaving nothing but the empty bowl for Shadow to lick. That's a good sign. However, I still have to be the Lunchroom Monitor.

Another fact is Darwin diametrically opposed to Shadow when it comes to petting, cuddling, etc. Shadow loves to be petted, stroked, scratched and even brushed. In short, Shadow is a total attention whore. Darwin?  Hah! I have to test the water every single time I want to pet him.

I've found out through trial and error that the best times to pat or scratch him are when he is sleepy or while he is eating. Any other time he'll give me a lighting quick swipe with one of his paws with claws out. Yes, I've gotten a couple of good licks and scratches from him. Or he will do the hug and bite thingy. That's where he would grab my hand with his two front paws, pull it to his mouth and will bite the heck out of me. For that he gets a tap on the nose from me.

I'm not your enemy, Bro......

I have also noticed Darwin plays very rough with Shadow, and he winds up streaking away to hide. Funny, I thought Shadow was the leader of the pack in the house. I guess there's a new sheriff in town that I don't know about.....  Perhaps it's payback for stealing his food.....

And forget about trying to groom Darwin! On a whim I got out the grooming brush one day and tried to give him a few gentle strokes. What did I get for my efforts? He bit the brush multiple times! Thank heavens I didn't use the grooming glove! He would've bitten right through that puppy....

Last but not least, I was mopping the kitchen floor recently and here came both cats to watch what their human mommy was doing. Apparently Darwin didn't like the mop, so sprang at it, gave it a couple of Bruce Lee-like whacks, and strode away with his tail held high.

I guess he told that bad old mop!

Now, if only Darwin would do this to Shadow when he's trying to steal his food.....

I guess that will come in due time. 

Dawn Skyy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fed up With Poop!

I had officially given up on Darwin. I spent six weeks trying to essentially litter train a cat that refused to be trained. I had come to the end of my wits and there were only two options left.

I paid a visit to Social Tees and had a talk with Robert. I'd consulted the Internet and found out that CAGING a litter reluctant cat would help. He suggested I could do that but I'd have to call him in advance and make prior arrangements for a cage. It was either that or returning Darwin in exchange for another cat.

I thought about it long and hard and decided to take Darwin back and get another cat. This decision did not come lightly, because I really loved the little boogger and Shadow liked him too. The two often slept curled together and had mutual grooming sessions. Shadow still swiped food from Darwin but that's another story......

So I called Robert back and told him I would be bringing Darwin back for an exchange. The day before I was supposed to do it I had back spasms and was rendered practically immobile from the pain. It was a tremendous effort for me to get out of bed let alone pack up and carry Darwin back to Social Tees.

Guess who kept me company while I lay upon my bed of affliction?  Yep, good old Darwin. He lay right next to me and kept a paw touching my one of my legs at all times.

Moving on.......

When I finally managed to get up and hobble around the house and go to the doctor (who prescribed muscle relaxers) I totally forgot about Darwin's poops. One morning I noted there wasn't a surprise left on the living room floor. I panicked and started checking all of the corners to make he didn't find a new toilet somewhere. To my surprise, there were none!  Could it be?

Darwin confirmed my suspicions one day when I was using the privy. He came right in and used the litter box to poo! Like a child proudly showing a parent they'd used the potty....

I've had no problems with Darwin since then.

God surely works in mysterious ways. Had I not been laid up with back issues, I would've taken my sweet kitty baby back.....

Darwin is definately here to stay!

Dawn Skyy

Some Facts About Darwin

Firstly, as I mentioned in a previous post Darwin trilled instead of meowing. So it sounded like he was always asking me a question. I found this to be very endearing.

Second, he is a very intelligent cat and almost dog like in the way he attached himself to me and followed me from room to room. Not to say that Shadow didn't love me or follow me, but Darwin was different. That's kind of why I named him that moniker.

Third, I found out quite by accident that Darwin is a fetch cat. Apparently the carrier I brought him home in had a small catnip toy in it. He found it and was having a ball playing with it. He brought it into my bedroom and onto my bed and left it for me while I was writing. I took one look at the ratty thing and tossed it out of the open door. To my surprise he flew off the bed, chased it down and brought it back for me to toss again. This continued for nearly 45 minutes untill he became bored. Meanwhile, Shadow just lay there and watched as if to say, "Don't expect ME to do that."

Again, I went to the Internet and found a page which told me that there are 10 breeds of cats who have dog like charactoristics. One of the ones mentioned is a Chartreux which is a breed of BLUE cats that happen to look like Darwin. So there was a distinct possibility I have a purebreed cat!

Check out the following link, and pay special attention to number 5.

On the bad side. Darwin is a year younger than Shadow but was ferrel/wilder longer than him. So he does not have the social graces most hand raised cats have. Number one on the list, either he didn't know how to or just plain refused to use the litter box. This meant coming home from work and finding a poo pile in the middle of my living room.

This was dispite the fact I had a large communal litter box in the bathroom which Shadow was happily using.

This problem continued for weeks and I did a plethora of things to break him out that nasty habit. On the advise of a friend I put down contact paper sticky side up. Reportedly cats don't the sticky feel on their paws. So I covered the entire living room floor, to the extent that I couldn't use the roomfor weeks. The result was a giant fail. One day, I watched Darwin skip across the contact paper and poop on the very edge of the paper. Apparently the stickiness didn't bother him. I told you he was named appropriately ......

I ripped up all the contact paper and put down news paper. I figured if hes going to poop on the floor, at least wanted him to do it on paper that I could pick up easily and dispose of his waste. No dice, that didn't work either.

Next I went to K-Mart and bought those puppy wee-wee pads. I thought that perhaps this would work in conjunction with another litter box I'd set up in the living room. He didn't use any of them.

Desparate, I again consulted the Internet about the problem. One suggestion was to change the litter to sand or potting soil. Apparently ferral cats prefer to use either or both of those elements to relieve themselves. So I went to the local hardware store and bought a 50 pound bag of sand. Shadow hated it but used it. With Darwin it was a no go.

The next product recommended by the Internet was "Cat Attract Litter". So again I went off on a quest and hauled home a 30 pound bag of of what I consider the most expensive litter I've ever bought in my life. According to the Internet specs it was invented by  Doctor Elsey and was guaranteed to work. Supposedly special ingredients in it attracted your kitten or cat to the litter box........

What another big FAIL!  I still have three thirds of the bag sitting in my hallway! I'm not denigrating the product but, perhaps Cat Attract is only affective with only certain cats. It did not help attract Darwin.

I was seriously wondering if I should invest in a pooper scooper.  Do they still make those things?


Dawn Skyy

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Feeding Time at The Zoo

Another aspect in cat dynamics I wasn't used to was the feeding time mayhem. All of my previous cats got along famously during meal times. I served them their meals out of two large dog bowls as a matter of fact. They either politely ate together or one ate while the other waited. But never this.....

The first time I fed Shadow and the new cat (who I temporally named Darwin) together was a failure with a capitol F. Shadow growled and hissed at Darwin, keeping him away while aforementioned tried to quickly snarf down every bite. Well, Shadow would have done so if I had not taken the bowl away.

I wound up dividing the food up into two bowls. I also had to stand watch with a fly swatter in hand. Why? Because Shadow would finish his food, growl and go after Darwin's food. Darwin being a timid cat would run away leaving everything for Shadow and go hungry.

So starting over, I divided the food into two separate dishes and watched as they ate. When Shadow finished his, he automatically went after Darwin's food,  but I was ready! I tapped him on the nose with the fly swatter and shouted "No!". It took several tries but Shadow backed off. However, I had to stay and watch Darwin eat his food, because if I didn't Shadow would pounce on him.

I went back to the cat expert site and found out that in cases where there is meal time aggression they suggest you separate and feed your cats in different rooms. I have no room to do that in my small domicile,  so I'm going to teach them meal time etiquette.

The very next day I went to K-Mart and bought two smaller bowls, and retired the dog dishes.

Wonderful, I'm now a Feline Lunch Room Monitor ........

Dawn Skyy

A Not so Welcome Home

Give them time to get used to each other." Robert advised as I left Social Tees with my newest acquisition. I hadn't a clue what he meant until I arrived home.

As soon as I put the carrier down my formerly sweet tempered and loving Shadow turned into a monster! Growling and hissing up a storm at the new Kitty before I even opened the carrier! It reminded me how Moses went after Biscuit back in the day. Like Robert said, they would have to get used to one another. In the meantime, I had a very frightened gray Kitty hiding out in my bedroom.

Shadow was not content in leaving the new Kitty alone. He hunted and hounded him and when he got him,  he would ( please excuse the term) hump him. I was both shocked and flabbergasted! I thought that both cats were male! Robert assured me so,  plus I looked. So why was Shadow.......

So I went to my favorite source when I have perplexing questions. I found a cat expert site which explained that Shadow was merely expressing his dominence over the new cat. Like the alpha wolf in the wolf pack, Shadow was showing who was boss. Once this issue was settled the two of them started being friends.

I was assured of this fact when they started having mutual grooming sessions. So, I kept hope alive........

Dawn Skyy

A Companion For Shadow

Percisely one week later,  I visited Social Tees to check out a possible companion for Shadow. Robert had just had an adotption event so there were not as many cats and kittens available as there were last week.

The one cat I was interested in was not ready to be adopted yet because he hadn't been spayed. I was about to leave when I noticed a grey (or BLUE as its known in proffessional feline breeding circles) roaming around freely and going about his business. What really got my attention was the fact that he was trilling to himself. I asked Robert about it and he confirmed what I heard. It a sort of whirring sound like he was both humming and purring at the same time. I've heard this is one of the sounds Mommy cats use to communicate with their kittens. Right there I decided that I wanted him.

Being that cats are very sensitive the grey cat chose that very minute to scat and hide. Robert had to tempt him out of said hiding place with a can of food. As soon as the cat popped out, Robert grabbed him and put him into one of those cardboard carriers. But he wasn't having none of that! He busted right out of that cheap box and ran for the hills!

Plan B immediately went into action. Robert had a standard carrier I could borrow. We waited the Kitty out, grabbed him and stuffed him into the more secure carrier. I was then sent home with Roberts blessings.

Dawn Skyy

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shadow Settles In

Shadow and I got along famously and I discovered some interesting facts about him.

Number one, I didn't have to teach him to use the litter box. He tracked it down all by his lonesome and used it like a pro.

He also insisted on snuggling with me when I slept. There was no such thing as shutting him out of my bedroom while I cut my zzzzzzs. He would loudly protest and scratch at my bedroom door if I did.

He was a glutton for attention and loved to be scratched, rubbed and petted. He was docile enough to allow me to clip his claws with a human nail clipper (yes, I know how to do that).

He sucked up his food like a Dust Buster!  I attributed this to the fact that he'd been a stray and was forced to fend for himself. Not knowing when he would get his next meal, he developed the habit of eating quickly and dashing off. This was a habit I hoped Shadow would dispense with once he became more comfortable with the fact he was being fed regularly.

Last but not least, Shadow was another loud mouthed cat! I'd already had a taste of that when I brought him home on the bus. So, I should've know what I was in for, eh?

What I didn't expect was for him to cry at the door when I left for work. Oh no, a reincarnation of Biscuit! The last thing I needed was my neighbors complaining to my complex's mangement, that my cat was disturbing the peace at so-called ungodly hours.

This meant another trip to Social Tees, to get him a companion.... 


Dawn Skyy

Cat Shopping

After a couple of weeks of dithering I finally was able to vist Social Tees. They had just moved to this new location (which formerly a vintage record shop - vinyl records) and I caught Robert (the owner) as he'd just opened for the afternoon.

There were many cats and kittens present. Some were in cages, others were in a play area in the window and yet others were roaming around free. When I explained what type of cat I was looking for, Robert had me sit down and fill out a Social Tees application. While I was filling out said application, several cats came to check me out. However one cat in particular jumped up on the table and laid himself down on the paper and gazed at me with knowing green eyes.

"Oh, that's Angel." Robert said.

I remember thinking "That's a strange name for a cat who's black as sin." 

He proceeded to tell me how Angel had taken care of and nursed a little kitten back to health like he (Angel) was the kittens mom.

Robert also told me that no one wanted Angel because he was black. Unfortunately, even in this day and age people are still superstitious about black cats. To me Angel was handsome, very friendly, and outgoing. I was sold.

We negotiated the price.  Robert packed Angel up and I took him home in a cardboard carrier. He wailed all the way home on the bus, so folks automatically knew what I had in the box even though the couldn't see him.

Once home, Angel immediately leaped out of the box settled in like he owned the place. I also changed his name. Angel was the temparary name the shelter had given him to identify him on his Animal Control Certificate. His name is now Shadow.

Dawn Skyy