Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cat Art Hop: The Making of a Hazmat Cat

We had tons of fun with Thursday's post on our fave Father's Day gifts.
So today we thought we'd use the Cat Art Hop to show you what we did to make it all happen. (Other than buying the radioactive salt shaker, that is!)

Remember this photo of Allie?

Here's what went into the making of it:

First, we found a photo of a hazmat suite we could legally use and alter, using a Creative Commons search on Flickr. We found this photo by Mathew Ursua:

We cut out the suit only, using the lasso tool in Photoshop, then did the same with a photo we had of Allie. Below, you see all the layers we used and how we used them.

We highlighted the blue/green gloves and used the Hue tool to change them to Allie-Pink. 
We did the same with the yellow suit. And then we grabbed the background from the photo of Faraday sniffing the (empty) shielded container (see Thursday's post).

(In case you were wondering, yes it was a real container but nothing had been in it for months, rendering it totally safe. [P 103 has a half life of 16.99 days.] But even when it did, the sources inside were shielded as well. Honest - no kitties were harmed in the taking of these photos!)

The layer I think that makes this image the most "believable" is the one that contains the highlights & reflections for the plastic face shield. 

To achieve this, I created a brand new layer, sandwiched beneath the hazmat suit but above Allie.

Then I free-traced long bars that met up with the reflections in the plastic. Before I used the fill function, I feathered the edges by 2 points. After filling the selection with white, I changed the opacity to 35% until it looked transparent.

Fun, huh?

For more way cool Cat Art, hook up with the Cat Art Hop at Athena's blog here!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Fashion Faux Paws

Allie: When engaging in boxing as a pastime, be sure to select a box that accents your coloring.

Here, you see me setting aside my own impeccable taste for the moment, to illustrate my point:

Orange does nothing for my grey fur coat, and clashes terribly with my mani/pedi.

Kitties! Don't try this at home!


Two chances to win!  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Father's Day... #Fail?

So we were recently contacted by the Dollar Shave Club peeps, and I was all over the idea of test-driving one of their razors for them. I mean, seriouslies. A promotion like that has my name written all over it, don't you think?

Especially when considering the type of High Art I might be able to achieve in my endeavors.
(looks pointedly at Allie)

Yet my dreams of artistic expression were ruthlessly crushed when the Dollar Shave Club lady told us what she really wanted:

Share your fave
Father's Day gift!

Well.... Having a physicist for a human dad does mean unusual gifts. So I set aside my tattered ambitions for the greater good. (I'm noble that way.)

Will someone please check on Allie? She sounds like she's choking. 
But I digress.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Unique and special gifts. Like a salt shaker glazed in depleted uranium.

Radioactive Red. We kid you not.

We scoff at cuff links.
Golf balls? Puh-leez.


Nah, it's far more fun to give a radioisotope instead!

Lead-lined container? Check! Geiger counter? Yup. Doesn't every kitchen have one?

Allie: oh please. You boys wouldn't know a radioisotope if it bit you in the butt.
Move aside and let a real girlcat handle this gift. 

Maxwell: uh, Allie. That hazmat suit's not gonna protect you against gamma rays. You need something in lead.

Allie: Oh Maxie, reeeeallly. Prada does not do lead. Besides, I only wear PINK.

Faraday: Oh Dollar Shave Club lady? We reeeally need you to rethink that razor test drive.

Seriouslies: Allie with a reverse mohawk.

I rest my case.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday's Waif: Decker

Wayside's site is down today, so you'll have to make do with video of this handsome guy.

Meet Decker. He was transferred to Wayside from a shelter in Kansas because he's FIV+. And Kansas is the only state in the nation that does not allow shelters to adopt these guys into forever homes.

So Wayside does what it can to transfer as many FIV+ kitties out of Kansas shelters as we can!

(And we're advocating on behalf of FIV+ cats, to help get Kansas laws changed!)

Decker's a wonderfully sweet guy and he's waiting for his forever family to show up and discover him - at Allie's Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs.


Handyman Cat.

Maxwell: Unplugged? That's no good.

Looks like Momma could use a helping paw....


Enter Here!

Two chances to win!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Toon Tuesdays: haiku

Oh we don't know any dogs like this, do you?

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!


Enter Here!

Two chances to win!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Clay Litter: bad for Kitties, Good for Nuclear Waste.

Burst container at the Waste Isolation
Pilot Plant, Carlsbad, NM
photo courtesy U.S. DOE
On Valentine's Day, a U.S. Department of Energy location in New Mexico had what's known as a 'radionuclide release event.'

In other words, a canister of radioactive waste burst.

Why? Kitty litter.

You see, what's bad for kitties is good for radioactive waste.  Old-fashioned clay litter, made from bentonite clay, is considered to be biologically inert. And it can absorb many, many times its mass.

So, while it makes a not-so-good repository for kitty waste (read why we don't recommend it here), it makes a great insulator for radioactive waste.

And it's been used for years to do exactly that: insulate canisters filled with waste like the one pictured at left.

But in 2013, someone decided to "go green" and use a biodegradable corn or wheat litter to pack around that stuff, instead.

Oops. Can you say "hot mess"?

You do know why corn litter is called biodegradable, don't you? Because it's not inert. It actually breaks down into compost.
And we suspect that may be what occurred here.

Compost can easily reach temperatures over a hundred degrees,
as you can see here. Photo: Scot Nelson

Anyone who has ever composted knows that heat is generated through the process.
Cornell University has a good explanation of it in their composting physics article:

"Compost heat is produced as a by-product of the microbial breakdown of organic material. The heat production depends on the size of the pile, its moisture content, aeration, and carbon/nitrogen ratio." (carbon stuff is usually brown, like dry leaves, whereas nitrogen stuff is green, like grass clippings)

So what happens when corn litter is packed in a barrel of radioactive waste containing nitrate salts?

Heat damage. Photo courtesy U.S. DOE.

So the moral of this story is that it's not always a good idea to go green.

And here's a budget-saving tip for the DOE: clay litter's a bit cheaper than corn, too.  ;-)

On May 20, the State of New Mexico's Environment Department issued the following statement from MNED Secretary Ryan Flynn:

"Based on the May 15th visual inspection, the Department of Energy (DOE) has indicated that the radiological release in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underground did, in fact, originate from one of two transuranic (TRU) mixed waste containers. The containers in question contain nitrate salts, which DOE postulated may have been the source of the release.

As soon as DOE suspected that a container with nitrate salt mixed with organic kitty litter may have been the source of the release, the Environment Department required DOE to take immediate action to isolate and secure all nitrate salt bearing waste containers at WIPP, LANL and WCS.

Following the receipt of the most recent evidence from DOE, NMED issued an Administrative Order to DOE / Los Alamos National Security (LANS) yesterday to ensure implementation and documentation of all protective measures being taken to secure nitrate salt-bearing waste containers at LANL.

NMED issued this second order today to WIPP to ensure that DOE / NWP submits an action plan to sufficiently secure nitrate salt-bearing waste containers by expediting the closure of portions of the WIPP underground including Panel 6, which contains 313 nitrate salt-bearing waste containers and Panel 7, Room 7 which contains 55 nitrate salt-bearing waste containers."

New Mexico Environmental Department Order to U.S. DOE 
New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Issues Document
Cornell University Compost Physics

WIPP Recovery Photos
Compost Temperatures 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday's Shelter Sweetheart: Martina

Did you know? I am one very sweet kitty. I like people a whole lot and get along pretty well with most other cats while out roaming around the cattery here at Great Plains SPCA in Merriam.

That's good, because it is in my nature to do a lot of walking around and checking everything out. You may come in and find me overseeing everyone else's activity - not interfering with it, mind you. Just satisfying my curiosity and getting some free entertainment till my new family comes for me."

 "Now one of the first things you may notice about me is some fur missing around my face.

It is because of an allergy, and it has gotten much better since I came here. Tests have shown it is most likely something to do with food, and they have me on a special diet here to test that out.

It doesn't affect my great attitude and I am glad it is not anything someone else can catch!

It would be my pleasure to welcome you to the cattery here, and to share my loving nature with you. We may find that we are just meant to be lifelong friends in our own little household.

Martina Marvelkit"

Martina is available for immediate relocation to your home, and she's waiting for you at the Merriam Campus of Great Plains SPCA!

Birthday Presents!

Faraday: Lookit what we got for Mommy's birfday a few weeks ago.

 Way cool toys...
And Allie got a new pink necklace, made especially for her
by our Aunt Connie over at Tails from the Foster Kittens!

 Thanks, Aunt Connie!

(oh and by the way, if you haven't seen our Doppelgangers yet, head on over and take a look at Baby Allie, Baby Maxwell and Baby Faraday

Here's a little preview for you (*squeee!* )

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Just Another Caturday...


Friday, May 23, 2014

BlogPaws Giveaway - times TWO!

The companies who shared their wares with us at BlogPaws were exceedingly generous, and we want to pass this on to you.

So we're giving away two sets of toys, food and other delectables.

AND we're throwing in a few extras - from bloggers and friends we want you to know, because we looove their stuff.

In addition to the samples and goodies from companies at BlogPaws, each gift set winner will also receive:
• a bar of handmade goat's milk soap from Happy Goats Soap
         (hint: that's the Publicist over at The Maa of Pricilla)
• and two leather knot toys from our friends Bosco & Jett over at Sukiroo Cat Toys!

BlogPaws Gift Set Giveaway #1

This package contains: a daily vitamin for cats from Only Natural Pet; a bag of Kong Crunchy Treats; Natural Balance Chicken flavor Perfect Bites (no corn, soy or wheat); a free sample of Prowl cat food from The Honest Kitchen plus an Honest Kitchen grocery tote; a luggage tag from Petfinder; pet wipes from Halo; a pink toy mousie from Zanies; Pill Paste to hide the icky taste of medication; and a spool toy and tribble rabbit fur toy specially chosen for you by Faraday.  (Of course, you also get the goat's milk soap and leather knot toys, too!)

BlogPaws Gift Set Giveaway #2

This package contains: an official BlogPaws 2014 t-shirt (size: M); a daily vitamin for cats from Only Natural Pet; a bag of Hill's Grain Free Crunchy Treats; a free sample of Grace cat food from The Honest Kitchen; a travel container of bandages from Vetericyn; pet wipes and a sample of Spot's Stew kibble from Halo; a toy ball from Zanies; Allergease herbal supplement; and a rainbow mousie and tribble rabbit fur toy specially chosen for you by Faraday. (Of course, you also get the goat's milk soap and leather knot toys, too!)

Tell us in comments which gift set you'd like to win by midnight, Friday May 30, and we'll let pick the winner for us

Winners will be announced on Sunday, June1!


FTC Disclaimer: We were given samples of pet products when we attended the BlogPaws conference, but were not compensated in any way personally for this review, nor were we asked to host a giveaway. All opinions are our own.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


One of the reasons we have decided to forgive our mom for abandoning us last week is due to the abundance of cool things she brought back with her from BlogPaws.

Not all of it was from the conference, either! Today we're showing off the swag we scored, thanks to two fabulous fellow bloggers, Teri & the gang from Curls & Swirls, and Trish & the crew from Katnip Lounge (yep, they're the ones you got to feast your eyes upon for yesterday's Almost Wordless Wednesday!).

What's this? Swag from Teri?
COOLIO! Don't mind if I do!
Toys...okay, even a thing or 2 for Mom... WAIT.
You forgot to add THIS to the photo, Mommy.
Here, I'll help you.
Of course, the Pop Rocks in the photo remind our mom of the time when she was in grade school and her aunt paid her to mix pop rocks into her uncle's chewing tobacco....

And then there was the awesome bag of deliciousness from Trish, which contained organic Valerian and Silvervine. Allie learned how to unzip a suitcase in order to get her paws on this treat! (And did we mention pipe cleaners absolutely ROCK?)

We thank Teri ever so much for her generosity and The Katnip Lounge humans for their generosity and hospitality.

Don't Miss Tomorrow:



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: the Katnip Lounge

The Baby, snoozing on a cool, rustic cat tree

Rupert, hanging out up high

Sweet Kona Kitty, snoozing in a heated bed (get a look at those gorgeous green eyes!)

Maui, just hangin' around. More gorgeous green eyes....

Salem.  (Can we get away with saying "large and in charge"...?  ;-)

Tiny Johnson, in Katnip Dad's arms. Wow, emerald green eyes!

And we love this peekaboo photo of Kona :-)

Tour Guide Trish in the middle, surrounded by envious cat ladies.
This is soooome catio - see for yourself in the video below!