Monday, March 31, 2014

You can't measure cuddle time

"Here Father, I'll hang onto your watch.
No need to be checking the time or anything..."

"I'll just be taking care of that."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Smackypaw!

In 3...2...

Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Kitykins

"Hi there!
OK, so the first thing you're wondering about is that crazy contraption on my head!
Not very attractive, is it?"

"Hey, you should see it from the inside! Even worse!

I can't really say exactly what happened before I got to Great Plains SPCA. I was in pretty bad shape though, very badly injured.

Thank goodness the med team here is so awesome. They saved my life and put me all back together again!

I'm almost healed now. And in a few more days, I'll even be getting rid of that crazy contraption on my head -whewwwww.

Through it all, I've been a real trooper - everyone here says what a brave kitty I am and what a joyful spirit I have. Even when I was feeling my worst in the kitty hospital, being poked and prodded by strangers, I always showed everyone just how gentle and loving and grateful for their help I am.

The bad times are behind me now and I'm feeling great! There's nothing but smooth sailing ahead. All I need is to find someone who will sail away with me through this wonderful life. Someone who will spend time with me and share all this love I have inside. Someone who will keep me safe so I never have to worry about being lost and hurt again.

And someone who needs a very best friend as much as I do. Let's not wait any longer to find one another, okay? Please come down to Great Plains to meet me. I can't wait to begin our great new life together!

Love, Kitykins"

Kitykins is available at the Independence Campus of Great Plains SPCA.
Stop by and see this sweet guy today!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Photohunt and Art Hop

We three have been patiently watching all winter for birds to come feed at our window.
(Can you tell that's the photohunt word?)

Maybe now that spring is here, it will happen!

Heeeere, birdy, birdy, birdy.... 

For more Photohunters, please click this link here and join in the fun!

 Caturday Art Hop

Last week (or was it the week before?) Sparkle asked if we'd show the 'before' shot as well as the 'after' shot once it was color-corrected. So for this week's art hop, here they both are!

I used luminance, color balance, desaturation, brightness and contrast levels in Photoshop to go from what you see above to what you see below.

Color temperatures play a huge role in my day job, where the location you're filming might even have a mix of light sources.

Here, I wanted to take the temperature from tungsten (which is around 2800K) to daylight (which is around 6500K).

What's with the numbers - 2800K and 6500K?

When filming, movie cameras are "shaded" (you are allowed to remap their color values) so that you change how the lens sees the scene. Some of this is done in camera, and some of this is done by physically gelling the light with either a blue or orange film, called a CTO ("color temperature orange") or a CTB ("color temperature blue").

What I did in Photoshop simulates the exact same thing. I took it from a more orange tint to a more blue tint!

(uh, and I also used the clone stamp to de-fur the chair - ha!)

For more Cat Art Hop fun, visit its host, Athena, at this link here!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Fashion Faux Paws

A timely one, for the fashionable gardener - since spring planting is just around the corner:

The cultured girlcat only nibbles on French tarragon.
Be sure your human doesn't fall for that tacky Pretender, Texas tarragon.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Bell the Cat

Belling the cat is an idiom for asking someone to do a risky, impossibly difficult job:
"who's willing to bell that cat?"

Its origin is a fable known by a couple of different names: The Bell and the Cat, and The Mice in Council.

Gustav Dore's illustration of the fable,
c. 1868.  Public Domain.
Many often mistakenly cite its origin as one of the original fables of Aesop, but its first documented appearance only dates back to the Middle Ages.

Since Aesop lived from 620-564 BCE and there's no record of the tale until the late 12th century, it's highly doubtful this phrase dates back that far.

Odo of Cheriton, a 12th century English preacher, is credited as the first person to capture this fable in print. It's included in his work, Parabolæ, dated around 1200, CE.

There is some speculation that the fable originated from an earlier Middle Ages author or perhaps a contemporary of Odo's, but there is no documentation to substantiate this.

Possibly one of the most interesting uses of "bell the cat" comes by way of a nickname.

In 1482, a group of noblemen were bitterly opposed to King James III's friendship with a low-born mason, a man by the name of Robert Cochrane. It appeared King James' friendship with Cochrane was so strong that they feared James' monarchy was actually a puppet regime, with Cochrane as its master.

As the story goes, the noblemen met to discuss how they could rid themselves of Cochrane. One of the noblemen, a Lord Gray, asked, "Tis well said, but wha daur bell the cat?"

Pieter Bruegel's illustration, c. 1559. Public Domain.

Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus, led the charge that ultimately ended in Cochrane's death at Lauder Bridge.  From that point on, Douglas inherited the nickname, "Archie Bell-the-cat."

This tale has met with some recent opposition by one historian who claims the story is revisionist history written by those in the following century. Regardless, it makes for fascinating reading!

We know of one kitty Allie would like to see "belled" - she'd like an Early Warning System please!


Odo (of Cheriton),Syracuse University Press, 1985, page 129.
The Proverbs of Scotland, Alexander Hislop, Edinburgh: Alexander Hislop & Co, 1868.
Wikipedia on Odo of Cheriton
Wikipedia on Robert Cochrane
James III: A Political Study, Norman Macdougall, Edinburgh: John Donald, 1982.
Wikipedia on Archibald Douglas

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kitty Throwdown!

Faraday: I challenge you, Maxie, to a game of skill and dexterity.
And we'll let all our visitors determine the winner! Are you IN?

Maxwell: Dood! Bring it!

Maxwell bats the Flipper down the hall, then brings a swift right hook into play...

Oh no! Faraday's going for the ever-so-difficult kick around the obstacle!
Who wins?

No, really guys. Who wins?  ;-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

'Toon Tuesdays: WANTED

Faraday thinks his name should be on that wanted poster, since he's racked up the most crinkle-toy kills. Just meowing.


Toon Tuesdays feature animal (and sometimes human) humor created by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, March 24, 2014's SPRING. Isn't it?

So we're all ready for Spring to, uh, spring over here - but take a look at what's happening right this minute outside our window:

Yes, that's right - snow. (at least it's not sticking. But seriouslies - it's COLD here, today, too!)

You think if I asked nicely, Spring would come back?

This isn't like being good for Hannukah Harry, is it? it?

~ Faraday

Winn Feline Reports Thiamine Deficiency in Cat Food

Our friend Julie over at Cats Herd You pointed this out to us a few days ago, and we felt it was important information to pass along:

Last Monday, the Winn Feline Foundation published an article on cat food and low thiamine levels.

In it, they revealed something that Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine discovered while researching feline nutrition. They found a pattern in the FDA's published listings of cat food recalls: specifically, over the past 5 years, SIX cat foods have been recalled for low levels of thiamine. They wondered if this was a growing trend, so they sampled various canned cat foods for thiamine levels.

Their sampling included 90 cans, covering 45 different brands.

What they found was that over 13% of these cans did not meet the minimum requirement set by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).  That's 12 cans out of 90.

What's more, over 15% of them missed the minimum requirement set by the National Research Council. That's 14 our of 90 cans.

Within these trends, it appeared that pate-style foods were bigger offenders, as were smaller, non-national name brand companies.

It's the recommendation from the Tufts research team that pet food companies be more careful to measure the thiamine not just prior to but after processing, as sometimes significant thiamine loss can occur during the canning process.

So what is thiamine anyway,
and why do cats need it?

The National Institutes of Health tell us that thaimine (also known as B1) helps the body's cells change carbohydrates into energy. Thiamin also plays a role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals.

So what would thiamine deficiency look like in cats? The Tufts group recommended that veterinarians consider testing for thiamine deficiency in any cat presenting acute neurological dysfunction, especially if it's accompanied by gastrointestinal issues.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Staving off the Spring Chill

The calendar says it's spring, but it sure doesn't feel like it.
Today's high will be 40 degrees!

Stoke that fireplace for us, Mommy, please!


Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Nova

"Hey there! I'm Nova, one of the friendliest, happiest guys you'll ever meet.
 Why I'm happy just to be alive! And lucky, too!

You see, a while back I somehow got separated from my people.And while I was trying to make my way in the world all alone, I got hit by a car."

"I have to tell you, I thought it might be curtains for me.

And that's when my luck kicked in--I was brought to Great Plains SPCA. They've been wonderful to me here.

They've got great vets who fixed me all up. My leg was hurt pretty badly, but it's all better now. And I've got lots of people who love me here.

They say I melt their hearts. Well, I sure try to show them how grateful I am by spreading my love around. I'm a sweet, loving guy by nature and I especially like to love and cuddle.

I'm also a very playful guy. I love wand toys the best. And I love to play explorer! I'm very curious and I like to check everything out.

I've got lots of energy. And well, I've only got nine lives, you know. I've got to seize the day!!!

Now, I should tell you that my run in with the car has left me with a slight tilt to my head. Sometimes I'm a little unsteady on my feet. And I have the strangest meow. (Not sure whether that's from the accident, or if I just come by it naturally.)

But I don't let any of this slow me down, no siree! Seize the day, remember?

So now that I'm healed up, I'm looking for a forever home. I'd like a place where I can stay indoors so I can be safe. I've had more than enough adventures on the street for all nine of my lives.

And I'd like to find an owner who likes to play with me, and also likes to cuddle and love me. Maybe a nice sunny window to nap away the days. And a warm place to cuddle up with my human at night.

If you've got a home like that and a place in your heart for a guy with a little bit of a head tilt, then please won't you come see me? I'm awfully anxious to get on to my next life--the one I'm going to share with you!


Nova's available at the Merriam campus of Great Plains SPCA. Come meet him!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is this thing on. . .?

Maxwell helps Momma focus the camera on his big beautiful baby blues!


Today's Photohunt theme is "focus" - can you tell?
For more Photohunt fun, click here!

Friday, March 21, 2014


"You turned the water off!" 

We almost named this post:


So, what do you think Faraday's thinking, in this photo? 

"Crazy brother, sitting in the sink, singing at the top of his lungs. 
Glad the neighbors can't see this. . . ." 

Oh, and -- Happy Fangs on Friday
We think this is our best one yet!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Dogtrot or Foxtrot?

Well, I have to admit, when I heard the phrase “dog trot,” my brain immediately did a mental substitution.

I kept expecting to find it defined as a type of dance – but nothing of the sort came up in my research.

Of course by now, you’ve already guessed that I had transposed “foxtrot” and “dog trot”.

A foxtrot is a dance that debuted in 1914 and almost exclusively was performed to ragtime music. It was the first dance to combine both quick and slow steps, allowing for greater versatility on the dance floor.

Foxtrot illustration: Creative Commons,
by Helena Perez Garcia

According to musician and songwriter W.C. Handy, the foxtrot was created by a husband-and-wife duo named Vernon & Irene Castle.

Handy claimed the Castles originally named the dance the ”Bunny Hug” but had a mid-voyage change of heart while traveling abroad, wiring back the news that it was now to be called the “Foxtrot.”

As interesting as this tale may be, the vast majority of dance history buffs argue that the dance was created by early-1900’s Vaudeville entertainer Harry Fox, thus its name.

Despite its murky origin, there is one point on which all dance historians agree: the foxtrot made a powerful impact on ballroom dancing and many argued it even influenced the music written during the early twentieth century.

On the other hand – or should we say paw? – “dog trot” simply meant “a slow trot, as that of a dog.” (well, duh.)

And lest we leave you thinking that the fox has upstaged the dog in this week’s trivia, we would like to point out that “dog trot” has an interesting alternate meaning, one that those living in the Deep South may recognize.

Dogtrot house, Dubach, LA, via Billy Hathorn
A dog trot is an architectural element found in many homes in the rural south. This open (but covered) breezeway connects two separate but enclosed structures under one roof.

It allowed for more air circulation and cooler temperatures during hot summer days.

(In fact, Apple may have learned a thing or two from these 19th century southern architects in their new Mac Pro design – it has a breezeway running right through its center, too. Not that we would know – we don’t make enough kibble over here between the three of us kitties to get one for ourselves!)

At any rate, the dog trot predated the foxtrot by almost a century!

Too bad Harry Fox wasn’t named Harry…Dog?
W.C. Handy's version of the origin
Wise Geek – What is a Dogtrot 
Omnilexica Online: Dogtrot 
The history of the foxtrot Foxtrot dance history history of the foxtrot
The Mac Pro
Definition of a Dogtrot house
Dog trot house, Dubach, LA courtesy Billy Hathorn, via Creative Commons 3.0

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednedsay: Power Napping Edition


Wednesday's Waif: Tinker!

"Hello future forever friend!

My name is Tinker and I am so thankful that you took the time to read a little more about me! I am a female red, brown, white torbie that is declawed on my front paws.

I am a very affectionate and curious lady who has appetite for life! One of the first things you may notice about me is the fact that my hunger for life also goes for food...."

"I am a lady that has a heart as big as my stomach. I will always be there to listen to you, help you when you are feeling down, and a make a good day a GREAT day. My felineality is leader of the band; which means that I do everything in a BIG way!

You will find me leading the parade, not following behind. I am also very affectionate, and I will love snuggling with you. I will always be there right next to you whether we are doing chores around the house, or just having a quite night on the couch.

I will always make sure you know how much you mean to me with my amazing head butts, hand rubs, and my one of kind meows, and purrs! Along with my tons of affection I have to give I also enjoy playtime.

When I play I sometimes forget that I am a larger kitty and if there are small dogs in the home I can be a little to much for them. In my previous home I did live with small dogs and they would sometimes be a little afraid of me when I wanted to play.

I am a large and in charge feline! I came to Wayside because my previous person, who loved me so very much, was a little worried that I was not getting the attention that I deserve, so they did the most kind, brave thing they could and brought me here to Wayside so I could find my new forever home.

I am hoping that home will be with you! I would love to meet you, so please come down. I know that we will go together like cake and ice cream!

Love, Tinker"

Tinker is available at Allie's Alma Mater, and has a very fun and special video made just for her:

Come meet Tinker in the fur, at Wayside Waifs!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Toon Tuesdays: SPEAK!


Toon Tuesdays feature animal (and sometimes human) humor created by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, March 17, 2014

National Poison Prevention Week

As this is National Poison Prevention Week, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the many household items that can be deadly to your pet - both indoors and out.

We've written several times over the past few years about common food ingredients that are harmful to pets. The danger varies depending on the type of item ingested, as well as the amount. In some cases, it can just be a worrisome irritant. In others, it can be deadly.

Here's a list of dangers we've highlighted or written about.
Click on the links to view more information:
Onions: one common food item
that can be dangerous to pets

(For a more complete list, check out the Pet Poison Helpline's list of poisons, here


As the Polar Vortex finally (finally!) exits, more and more people are pursuing outdoor activities. In many cases, this can include cleaning off all the winter gunk from your cars, and replenishing things like washer fluids and antifreeze.

First, that gunk clinging to the bottom of your cars that you wash off this time of year? It varies from city to city but can include sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and ferrocyanide salts - and these are harmful both to the environment and to wildlife. So when you hose that car down, don't let your dog or cat lap at the water runoff.

(And if you have a silly girl-cat like we have, don't allow her to roll around on your driveway. What's the first thing cats do when their fur is all dirty? Groom themselves. That's just another way they can ingest that harmful road gunk!)

Second, antifreeze. Antifreeze is one of the deadliest of substances to small animals (and children, too). A shockingly small amount can kill (read more about it here).

Another commonly used outdoor item at this time of year is especially hazardous to cats: insecticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

Specifically, I'm referring to a chemical pyrethroid ingredient called permethrin.

Permethrin is a deadly nerve toxin that impacts cats - and less often, dogs. It's actually an active ingredient in dog flea/tick collars, which is why you must never, ever put a dog flea collar on a cat.

Odd-eyed Lily by Jason Farmer
You will find permethrin in countless lawn and garden products, too, as it is commonly used for pest control.

If you use a product with permethrin in it, know that any small mammal that walks across your lawn before the chemical dries will end up with permethrin in its system - either by being soaked up through paw pads, or by ingestion as the animal cleans its paws and fur.

You can find countless stories online of grieving pet parents who lost a beloved family member because they were not told this. Please be aware of this serious danger!

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention one other hazard to both dogs and cats - and that's the choking hazard. If you're not in the habit of checking out the toys you buy for your pet before you give them, this article may change your mind!

We know we've sent you in a lot of different directions in today's post with its link-fest of topics, but we hope that this provides you with a resource to turn to if you have any questions.

Monday Medical Disclaimer: 
I am not a veterinarian, and the information provided here is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional veterinary care. Nor should it be used to self-diagnose for your pet. This information is for educational purposes and to provide you with reputable documentation you can use to pose informed questions of your own to the veterinarian of your choice.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

There once was a kitty named...

Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Ringo

"All you need is love!"

That's what my namesake and his mates sang, and I know for sure that it's oh so true. You see, I'm a super-loving guy myself, and I have also been very lucky recently to have the love and kindness of strangers.

I can't tell you how I got separated from the people who raised me, but I somehow found myself alone on the streets of Independence.

And that's when it happened.... I was hit by a car."

"Unfortunately, the car dislocated my hind hip. It was very painful and I had a hard time walking on it. But that's when the love and kindness took over!!!

A wonderful Good Samaritan shared his love by bringing me to Great Plains. The vets here also have a lot of love and kindness to share. They did an operation on me, and put everything back where it's supposed to be.

Wow!!! I feel so much better!!! I can walk normally again!!!

And now they say I'm ready to start increasing my activity level and building muscle mass.

And do you know what that means????

 It means I'm all ready to look for my new forever home now!!! Oh, I can't wait!!! I've been dreaming of this for so long!!!

Like I said, I'm an awfully loving boy. I love to be petted and cuddle and spend time with you. I'm the kind of kitty who wants to be right by your side, a part of all you do.

Mostly, I just want to love someone and to be loved by someone. Doesn't everyone? So if you're looking for someone to love, then please come on down to Great Plains and say "hi".

All you need is love, you know. And together, we can make sure there is plenty of that in both our lives.


Ringo's available at the Merriam campus of Great Plains SPCA!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Caturwauling, and Cat Art

Maxwell: Some days, being hearing-impaired can be a blessing....

As you can see, our entry into the Cat Art Hop is a simple one this week, but sometimes less is more, and the addition of a small graphic or accent can help tell the story best.

We just grabbed a few free clipart images and layered them on top, in Photoshop.
The other "art" part isn't so apparent, but there was quite a bit of color corrections going on.  We had two strong light sources - one yellow and one blue. We did our best to isolate certain areas and "normalize" them, using hue, saturation and color balance tools, also found in Photoshop!

For more Cat Art fun, visit the blog hop here!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Fangs on Friday

A new series of photos for 2014, inspired by our Fearless Feline, Maxwell. 

Faraday argues that fangs from below are pretty impressive, too. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Glamour Puss

Aside from the fact that Allie considers herself to be the very definition of the phrase, a Glamour-Puss was 1940’s slang for a woman who was considered glamorously beautiful.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the phrase is American in origin, and its first known use dates back to 1941.

We had to do a little digging, but we did find the original 1941 reference.
Or so we thought.

It was in an Ohio newspaper, The Sandusky Register. Page six of its October 8th issue was entitled “Society Events of City and Vicinity.” Listed there was a schedule for the Modern Priscilla Club’s upcoming events, including a review of a short story by Paul Gallico in The Saturday Evening Post.

Ah-HAH. So this short story was the culprit!

Our very own Glamour Puss, Miss Allie.

But before we found this, we simply had to know: what was a Modern Priscilla?

Modern Priscilla clubs were evidently quite the rage back in the day. The name crashed together two different concepts:
1) The "old," embodied in a well-known Victorian miss, Priscilla Mullins, who came over on the Mayflower, and
2) The "new," the 1920’s Modern Woman.

That settled, we went on to look at The Saturday Evening Post story reviewed by the Modern Priscillas. We didn’t have to go far to find the first use of glamour-puss. It was right in the title: “the Sub-Deb and the Glamour-Puss," published July 14, 1941.

(Okay, confession time: then we had to go find out what ‘Sub-Deb’ meant. Turns out this references a debutante before her coming-out party. Wow, we’re finding loads of words no longer in use in today’s post!)

Sadly, you’ll have to go to your local library to read this tale. We found no free copies of The Saturday Evening Post to share with you on the internet.

As far as the inspiration behind the phrase Paul Gallico coined? We assume the “puss” part comes from the same origin we discovered while researching Sourpuss back in November: it’s slang for "face" or "mouth" in many different languages.

(By the way, if you haven’t read “Sourpuss” - boy, are you in for a fun surprise!)

Gallico’s new phrase caught on like wildfire, and was a popular phrase used by American soldiers in World War II. There was even a military aircraft that used the phrase as its nose art. But if you google it, be prepared to be scandalized. The modern versions are a bit more revealing than the original, seen in a photo here (you'll need to scroll down & biggify to see).

The most famous woman to be labeled a “Glamour-Puss”? According to our search, that would be Ginger Rogers.

So now you know!

Mayflower History: Priscilla Mullins
University of West Florida's e-newsstand
The Sandusky Register October 8, 1941 
 “The Subdeb and the Glamourpuss” by Paul Gallico published in Saturday Evening Post, June 14, 1941 (page 22)
The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: A-I By Eric Partridge
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of glamour-puss
Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang edited by John Ayto, John Simpson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

"Someone's been visiting our bush, Mommy!!!"

Wednesday's Waif: Feist!

"Hello! My name is Feist, and I'm a big, beautiful orange tabby boy."

"My previous person was very sad to give me up, but she had to move overseas and could not take me along. So she did a wonderful thing by bringing me here to Wayside, where I have another chance at finding my forever person or people.

My previous person said I'm an energetic, independent, affectionate lap cat. I have a lot of energy and can be rambunctious when I play, so it would be best if I go to a home without children under age 10.

I'm really hoping to be adopted by a cat-savvy person who can help me understand that hands and fingers aren't toys. I'm a smart, curious cat. My previous person said I could even do tricks for treats!

My Felineality is Leader of the Band. That means I'm a bold, confident cat who loves people and loves adventure. What are you waiting for? Come to Wayside and ask for Feist!


Just take a look at this fun-loving, energetic boy:


Feist is available for adoption at Allie's Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs!