Wednesday, April 30, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday


Allie:  Well, with Faraday off snoozing in the kitchen window, someone has to be the Responsible one around here, and stand guard ...!

Wednesday's Waif: Baby Noir

My heart goes out to this guy. He came to Wayside because his owner passed away.
He and his sister (you may remember her from a few weeks ago - Rita Delight) are still looking for someone to find room in their hearts for them.

I'll let Baby Noir tell you all about himself:

"Thanks for clicking on my picture!

I'm Baby Noir, a very handsome black and white tuxedo kitty with a manx (bobbed) tail and beautiful, expressive green eyes.

I came to Wayside because my previous person passed away. I'm a bit sad, but thankful to be here, where I have a second chance at finding a wonderful person or people to love who will love me, too.

At 9 years of age, I'm right in my prime. I'm past all the silly kitten stuff and I'm ready to be a mature, loyal companion. Here at Wayside I'm becoming known as an affectionate, sweet, low-key kitty who loves attention and likes to roll around.

I'm shy at first, but I warm up quickly. I like being held, and I will let you know by purring and maybe even giving you a kiss!

My Felineality is Sidekick. That means I'm a moderately brave cat who loves people. Most of the time, I will want to be right by your side, keeping you company. But I'm also capable of entertaining myself.

Let's see ... I'm a sweet, affectionate mature guy who's also a sharp dresser -- what are you waiting for? I can't wait to meet you!

Baby Noir"

Baby Noir is available today at Allie's Alma Mater:  Wayside Waifs.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lists: Because you're a mom

Just 12 days until Mother's Day :-) 


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, April 28, 2014

Pet First Aid Awareness

The month of April is Pet First Aid Awareness month and we didn't want it to pass without acknowledging the importance of this.

Having a basic knowledge of first aid might mean the difference in life or death for your 4-legged family member.

Did you know that many Red Cross chapters in the U.S. offer Pet First Aid classes?  Animal Aiders offers the same for those of you in the U.K.  PetTech provides such a course for the folks Down Under, and St. John's Ambulance offers pet first aid courses in many areas of Canada.

There's an 
app for that!

Four companies in particular - the American Red Cross, PVE, PetTech and - have commissioned apps for Android and iPhone that just might help you save a life.

The American Red Cross' app is called Pet First Aid, and will set you back a mere 99¢.

It's available for both Android and iPhone users. offers an app, also named Pet First Aid, for both Android and iPhone users.

It's $2.99 for Android users and $3.99 for iTunes peeps.

And the folks Down Under just entered the market this year with an app from Perth Vet Emergency.

Also titled Pet First Aid, this app can be downloaded for free with both platforms: iPhone and Android.

Finally, PetTech's PetSaver app. It's $1.99 in iTunes (although the company's main web site indicated the iTunes price may be going up). It's $4.99 in the Android market. And - good news for you Windows phone users out there! This app is also available for you.

It provides pet CPR, first aid and care information for both cats and  dogs.

Finally, if you're not certain it's an emergency, and you're under a budget, consider PetMD's Symptom Checker.

It's free - again for Android and iPhones.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Snoozing

There's nothing better than a good sunpuddle for a napping spot.

Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Eliza

"My name is Eliza!

Yes, like the Eliza Doolittle character in "My Fair Lady."

I'll bet you know that story, where a Cockney flower girl gets a totally awesome makeover and is transformed into a elegant young lady. Well, I've been feeling a bit like Eliza Doolittle lately."

"You see, awhile back, I somehow found myself alone on the streets. OK, they were the streets of Lenexa, not London, but still, pretty scary for a little cutie like me!

And just like Eliza Doolittle, I was trying to get by as best I could, but it wasn't easy. Then, fortune struck! I was rescued and brought to Great Plains SPCA.

Wow, you should see this place! It's like a palace--warm cushy beds, yummy treats, toys galore! Then one day as I was playing with my new friends here (have I mentioned how much I LOVE to play?), I jumped down from a high counter and hurt my leg.

The vets took a look at it and, lo and behold, I had something called a chronic fracture. That leg was just never going to heal right and would always give me lots of pain. The best thing to do was to amputate--so now I am a three-legged cat. Quite a transformation, wouldn't you agree?

Well, believe me, it's all for the best! Now I can run and jump and play without pain just like all the other kitties.

I'm a young girl, and I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to play!

I'm also very friendly and funny, too. I'm energetic and a bit of a clown (or so they say). To tell you the truth, I feel quite elegant now, just like Eliza Doolittle.

I have beautiful silky black fur, gorgeous eyes and a sweet, loving purr-sonality! But most of all, just like Eliza Doolittle, I have a huge heart filled with love.

Now all I need is my happily ever after ending---a true forever home to call my own. I just know there's someone out there who could love a friendly, frisky, little black cat like me even though I do just have three legs.

And when that special someone finally finds me, I'm going to "dance, dance, daaaaance all night " ... with joy!

Love, Eliza"

The adorable Miss Doolittle is available at the Merriam Campus of Great Plains SPCA. Come meet Eliza today!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Caturday Blogging. (and Photohunt?)

Who uses INK any more when they can keyboard it?

(Anyone notice how distinctly miffed Allie is in this photo? We're thinking a certain someone has interfered with her web surfing plans for the afternoon.)


Friday, April 25, 2014

Our FAB New Look

Why yes, yes this is a new look for me.
*pats coiffure*
How kind of you to notice!  Do you like it?

But seriouslies. That photo does not highlight my finest assets.
I decided I need to *BOOP* Mommy one for that.
(Actually, Mommy says Glogirly chose it.
Waffles, dood!
What's up with that?)

Gratuitous photo of me BOOP-ing Mommy

So, uh, yeah. In case you haven't already guessed...
Glogirly gave our blog a new makeover.
(Not that the old one wasn't great, because, well - she kinda did that one too!)
But Allie says we must keep up with the Times.

At least it's not the Joneses. I'm thinking it might be kind of hard to keep up with them, especially since we don't know any.

Our Facebook header is new, too.

Seriouslies! Enough with that photo already!

Another gratuitous shot of Moi, looking seriously adorable.

Mother even has some classy new business cards, so if you're planning to be at the BlogPaws conference next week, be sure to look her up!
I promise to have personally pawtographed a limited number of these FAB collectibles!


We thank Glogirly for our new look - didn't she do a wonderful job?
Our dad took one look, comparing the old to the new and gave it Two Opposable Thumbs WAY up!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Horse of a Different Color

Dorothy & Toto, 1939
Publicity photo, public domain
Guardian of the Emerald City: State your business!

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Lion & Tin Man: We want to see the Wizard!

Guardian: *gasps* The Wizard? But nobody can see the Great Oz! Nobody's ever seen the Great Oz!
Even I've never seen him!

Dorothy: Oh, please! Please, sir! I've got to see the Wizard! The Good Witch of the North sent me!

Guardian: Well, bust my buttons! Why didn't you say that in the first place?  
That's a horse of a different color! Come on in!

You probably all know where this dialog came from: the classic tale, The Wizard of Oz.
(Did you know this year marks the 75th anniversary of the movie?)

And you may have already guessed this wasn't the first use of today's phrase - though it may be one of its most famous.

First: what exactly does "a horse of a different color" mean?

As you may have inferred from the Guardian's comment, this idiom is another way of saying "oh, that's another matter entirely!" In other words, the topic or issue at hand wasn't at all what you had originally thought it was.

We can trace the phrase back 1601, though no doubt it existed earlier. Its first use in print came in a roundabout way by the great Bard, William Shakespeare.

In his play, Twelfth Night, we see a trio of characters scheming against a much maligned Malvolio. Poor Malvolio, a man of puritanical values who has fallen hard for Olivia - and our trio knows it!

Our nefarious trio:

SIR TOBY: He shall think, by the letters that thou wilt drop, that they come from my niece, and that she’s in love with him.
MARIA: My purpose is, indeed, a horse of that color.
SIR ANDREW: And your horse now would make him an ass.
MARIA: Ass, I doubt not.
SIR ANDREW: Oh, ’twill be admirable!

Poor Malvolio!

But wait - Maria did not exactly invoke our phrase, word for word. True. Shakespeare took an idiom of that time and inverted it. This type of play on words was a technique he was fond of using.

No one knows for certain but word historians suspect the phrase's origin came from the sport of jousting in tournaments (which turned from actual war practice in the 11th century to a spectator sport in the 13th).

The horse would wear its knights colors, and one could choose which color you backed to win. If the horse and knight team favored as most likely to win did not, then the tourney went to a horse of a different color!

Bavarian tournament engraving from the 1400s. Public Domain.

By the way, in the Wizard of Oz movie, there really were horses of a different color. To achieve this feat of movie magic, set designers put a paste of jell-o on the horses. The scenes had to be shot quickly before the horses could lick the coloring off.

(And yes, the production crew consulted with the ASPCA prior to landing on jell-o as their go-to coloring source. But please do not try to do this to your pet at home!)


IMDb's Wizard of Oz page of quotations 
IMDb Trivia

MIT's Complete Works of Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
John Fricke, Jacy Scarfone, William Stillman. The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History. Warner Books, 1989.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's Waif: Navan

My heart goes out to this guy.

He clearly falls into the "less adoptable" category on more than one count:

First: he's a black cat. Did you know they're five times more likely to be euthanized in a shelter environment, simply because of their color?

Second, he's blind in one eye.

Third, he's ear-tipped. Yes, some people don't want a scarred cat - and others are wary of what they consider to be a "street cat".

But let me tell you about this lovable guy.
Or rather, I'll let him tell you about himself:

"Thanks for taking a moment to read about me!

My name is Navan, and I'm a handsome shorthaired black kitty with a patch of white on my belly.

I came to Wayside as a stray. I must have had a rough life out there, fending for myself, because I was in pretty bad shape when I got here.

I have multiple scars due to fighting, and my right eye is badly damaged and I can't see out of it. But that hasn't gotten me down at all.

In fact, here at Wayside, I'm becoming known for having one of the best purrs of all the cats here. I enjoy being petted. I will let you know how much, of course, by purring!

And at 6 years of age, I still have lots of playfulness left in me. My favorite toy is a feather wand -- so much fun!

When I had my Felineality test, they said I'm a Leader of the Band! That means I'm a bold, confident kitty who loves people and loves adventure.

Do I sound like the purr-fect boy for you? Come to Wayside and ask for Navan.

Love, Navan"

Navan is available today at Allie's Alma Mater:  Wayside Waifs.


Faraday: Who are these guys, and what are they doing on our blog, Maxie?
Maxwell: This is what is known as foreshadowing in the literary world.

Allie: Foreshadowing, my pink paw! These were the creatures who came up and said hello to Mother the other day.

Faraday: Yes, but why are they here instead of me?!?
Allie: It's not always about you, Brat.
Faraday: Uh, yes it is.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'Toon Tuesdays: a little literary humor


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, April 21, 2014

Our Pets, Their Health, and The Environment: #PawNatural

How does our view of the world influence how we care for our pets?
Since tomorrow is Earth Day, it seemed an appropriate topic.


I come from a culture and faith that takes stewardship of the earth very seriously. We have a saying: tikkun olam, "repair the world." And though its full meaning goes far beyond just the physical world in which we live (it has deep spiritual connotations), there is an inherent respect for the planet we inhabit, and the animals who are in our care. 

Faraday likes to explore the yard in his harness. I am mindful of
pesticides and fertilizers, and keep his explorations confined to our yard.

The items associated with the proper care of a pet not only have an impact on the animal itself; they can also have an impact on the environment.

Natural litters that are biodegradable are kinder to the earth. They don’t add to landfills, and they're flushable, too. (yay!)

Pet foods free of chemicals, hormones, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives aren’t just better for your pet. These types of foods frequently use ingredients that are raised and harvested in sustainable ways – and this, too, is better for the environment.

It took us months to nurse Maxwell back to health when we adopted him.
And that gave us a completely new appreciation for products that promote wellness!

Some may question whether or not the type and quality of ingredients really matter all that much.
Perhaps the following story will help clarify:

About five years ago, a friend of ours suddenly became my husband's patient. Trust me when I say you do not want to become a patient of my husband – he treats people stricken with cancer.

Because it was a close friend, I immersed myself in my husband's world.

I researched. I traveled with him that year to ASTRO (the American Society for Radiation Oncology).

I listened to lectures and read white papers.

While we were there I heard an M.D. from Johns Hopkins present a paper on a study that changed the way I view food.

At the time, not that many people were talking about the effects that additives and chemicals can have on the food we eat, nor how ingredient choices could impact our health. But this doctor did.

This might sound unremarkable to you now, but at the time it was radical talk: Cancer feeds on sugar. Sugar depresses the immune system. Phytochemicals and carotenoids have cancer-fighting properties.

Today, a simple search will get you to mainstream sites like WebMD that say these same things.
Can foods positively or negatively impact our health? Modern medicine now unequivocally says YES.

If that’s true for humans, it’s true for our pets as well.

Feeding our glam girl an all-natural cat food may make
a difference in her health over time.

Personally, I believe in the long run that feeding a healthier diet - free of added chemicals and with ingredients that promote a stronger immune system - will result in fewer illnesses, thus fewer vet bills.

I equate it to the difference between paying incrementally more over time vs. being hit with a several hundred dollar vet bill all at once. In a way, it's a form of insurance.

But wait – is it really that much more expensive?

When Only Natural Pet approached and asked if I’d review their products, I did a cost comparison. I looked at their dehydrated cat food and compared it to a very well-known non-premium canned cat food and one of the oldest brands of dry kibble on the market.

The canned food was slightly more expensive (≈30₵/lb) and the kibble was slightly less (≈50₵/lb). Please note that’s per pound and not per ounce.

Would you consider changing to a healthier food for your pet, if it meant a nominal increase to your monthly grocery bill?

(The Tonk's Tail Test Laboratory is about to launch, and in a few weeks I'll be back one last time to give you firsthand - err, paw - opinions on food, litter and supplements from Only Natural Pet.)

This post is sponsored by Only Natural Pet on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Only Natural Pet, but A Tonk's Tail only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Only Natural Pet is not responsible for the content of this article.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Sentinel

Maxwell is on guard to ensure no intruders breach the family room.

Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: the Totally FAB #Shay!

"Hi, I'm Shay, and I'm sure hoping my forever purr-son will come and fall in love with me real soon.

You see I've been at Great Plains for a year, and frankly I don't understand what's taking so long for one of you humans to see what a fabulous find I am!"

"I'm four, frisky and fun.

I'm also a fashionista - just look at how I'm rocking my pretty teal collar!

The staff and volunteers here fell for me a long time ago. They know what a happy, frisky, energetic girl I am. Though I'm a petite little girl, I've got a big, big purr-sonality and a huge heart of gold!!! I LOVE to play!!!

I love all kinds of toys, but especially wand toys with feathers on the end of a string! You should see how fast I can run and how high I can jump to "catch the birdie".

And once I've had a chance to work off some of that energy, I'm up for some petting and a quick cuddle or two. Now, if you're looking for a calm, quiet kitty who'll sit on your lap all day, I'm not your girl. But if you're looking for a kitty who's active and playful and in search of the next adventure, I'm the one!

I have to admit that all this energy can be a bit hard for me to control sometimes. I can start playing kind of rough, or can act like a hissy little missy if I'm overstimulated. Maybe a new kitty comes along and he doesn't give me the proper respect.

A lady such as myself holds good manners in high regard, so I might have to give him a gentle correction such as hiss or wave my paw at him. I'm not really bossy: I prefer to think of it as having leadership qualities. Somebody's got to be in charge here, and I think it should be moi. I'm doing much better all the time.

My friends think if I get into a home where I feel safe and have plenty of outlets for my energy and curiosity, I'll do just fine. If you come down to the shelter, you'll probably find me out running around the cattery stirring up excitement. Hey, it's my job and I'm very good at it!

What do you say? Are you up for a game of catch the birdie?
How about a lifetime of fun and games?
And love?

Then I'm just waiting for you!!!

TaTa for Now, (oh and you have GOT to see my FAB, totally FAB video!!)

Shay is totes cray about a new fam! Are you the one?

She's at the Merriam Campus of Great Plains SPCA!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Making of a Reporter: Cat Art Hop

How did we create last Sunday's "Faraday the Intrepid Reporter," anyway?

It's a technique known as compositing.

The first thing we did was search for a fedora on Flickr that had a Creative Commons 3.0 license with permission to alter the photo. We did this by using Flickr's advanced search option, scrolling down to the bottom and selecting this:

Once we had our hat (yeah, some guy was wearing it), we cut it out using Photoshop's lasso tool. Then we had to find a photo of Faraday that looked like it was shot from a similar angle as the guy wearing the hat.


Then - yeah, you guessed it - we cut Faraday out. Now we have Faraday in one layer and the Fedora in another.

We created the PRESS card by freeforming a white card (lasso+fill) into a new layer and using the "create warped text" option in Photoshop's type tool:

The pencil and his notepad (made same as the press card) went into their own layers.

For the background, we searched google for free clipart of the U.S. then used a woodgrain image to create the paneled walls and shaded rectangles of various shades of blue to create the news desk behind him.

(If it looks familiar, that's because we used SNL's Weekend Update set as our inspiration!)

One way to add a bit more believability and depth to a composite image like this one is to add shadows. Here, Faraday's hat has its own shadow, as do the notepad and pencil.

In all, the Photoshop file ended up 11 layers deep.  Whewwwwww!

To view more Cat Art fun, join the Cat Art Hop at this link here!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Fangs on Friday

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



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday's Waif: Rita Delight

But wait - it's Thursday.
You caught us.

With all the craziness going on, we were unable to make Rita's post happen before now.
And she so deserves the exposure - and a forever home!

Please read on to hear about this lovely girl's story:

"Hello my future forever family! My name is Rita Delight, and I am so happy you took the time to read a little more about me.

I am a medium haired grey and buff female kitty who is declawed on my front paws. I came here to Wayside because my previous person passed away. I have really enjoyed my time here at Wayside but I am ready to find my new forever home, and I am hoping that home will be with you.

I am a very gentle, sweet, shy lady who is looking for a calm, quiet, stress free home. My felineality is Executive, which means that I am a busy girl who loves to check everything out.

I love to look out the windows at the birds, explore closets, and - like most cats - I do love a good nap!

I am also very affectionate and will always be thinking of new ways to show you how much I love you.

I have been described as being a very clean kitty (I do prefer to have two litter-boxes that are cleaned daily, I'm kind of fastidious that way) and I will make sure that I clean up after myself as much as I can!

I would love the chance to meet you so please come down to Wayside. I know once we meet you will see what a Delight I truly am to have around!

Rita Delight "

(please excuse the fact our human titled the video Rita Divine - although we think she's that, too!)

Miss Delight is waiting for her forever family at Allie's Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs.

Thursday Trivia: Gone to the Dogs

You could say today’s phrase is one of Biblical proportions!

First, the definition:  To say a person or place has really "gone to the dogs" means they've really let themselves go, or the place just isn't what it used to be.

In truth, the basis for the concept of “gone to the dogs” did originate in the Torah, specifically from the following verse:
"…you shall not eat flesh of an animal that was torn in the field; to the dog shall you throw it." [Exodus, 22:30-31].

"Stray dog on calle Santa Catalina" by mcgmatt

So how did we get from a literal guideline on food safety, written somewhere between the 16th and the 12th centuries BCE, to today's more figurative expression?

It's a safe bet that the term morphed throughout the ages from its literal meaning to today's more figurative one. A search uncovered hints of the phrase being used in various cultures throughout antiquity. But every attempt to track down and verify those claims proved fruitless.

Dog Statue in Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon City, Hong Kong
Wikimedia (GNU Free License)
One Stop English relates one such instance where "gone to the dogs" may have been in use back in China two to three thousand years ago, where dogs weren’t permitted inside the city walls.

Instead, they roamed in packs, often subsisting on rubbish thrown over the wall by those who lived inside. According to this source, when criminals were expelled or banished from the city they were said to have “gone to the dogs.”

But to hear the All-Words site tell it, the origin might be traceable back to an ancient Egyptian belief that a pair of dogs guarded the gates to the underworld, instead.

Though it's plausible that either of these tales might truly be where the phrase originated, there is no source material that we can find to corroborate them.

So much of history has been passed down orally, and countless written texts lost to antiquity that it shouldn’t surprise us (yet it does) that the very earliest use of “gone to the dogs” in print dates only back to the mid-16th century of our current era.

The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first known use of the figurative term to be in 1556, in the book, A Short Treatise on Political Power, by Patrick S. Poole:

“Away with these deceivers of my people to the dogs of Hell, you were masters, and not ministers…”


All Words
One Stop English
Oxford English Dictionary
Poole's A Short Treatise on Political Power
The Japan Times

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Something fishy's going on around here today.

Maxwell: Chag sameach, everyone!

Passover began Monday evening.