Cat Playtime Part 2: What to Do When Kitty Won’t Play

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Part 1 of Cat Playtime was about why and how you should play with your kitty.  If you haven’t read that post, please do so, then return.  If you’ve already read it, then you know how long to play, how to make your own toys, and what the secret ingredient to a successful playtime is.  You now know the basics of playtime.

But sometimes, the basics are not enough.  Sometimes, you’ve done everything right, and Mittens still won’t join in.  She just watches you wave toys around, with a bored look on her face.

Well, there are 9 possible reasons for this, so let’s go over them.

  1. You are using the wrong type of toy. Every cat is different, and each one has his or her own favorite toy.  Garfield prefers spiders.  Hugh the cat’s toy of choice was a laser pointer (Hugh was the inspiration behind Simon’s cat).  Grumpy Cat hates all playthings equally.  It’s up to you, the owner, to determine which toy suits your kitty best.  There are thousands of toys out there, but they all boil down to a few basic types—toys that act as fake snakes, or fake mice, or fake birds.  Buy one of each, and you are well on your way to figuring out your cat’s preferences.
  2. The toy is too close to her face. It seems counter intuitive, but cats are less likely to play when you stuff the toy right up in their faces.  Cats are farsighted, which means they have trouble seeing things up close, but objects far away are clear.  This makes sense if we consider the house cat’s wild ancestors.  In the wild, no prey would throw itself into the lion’s mouth.  Prey always stays as far away as possible.  Therefore, cats spot their target at a distance, then ambush it.  So move the toy away from Mittens most of the time.
  3. Your patterns are too predictable. If you drag a string from side to side, and that’s all you do, then your cat will be bored.  James Harriot once said that “cats are connoisseurs of comfort” and I would argue that they are also connoisseurs of mental stimulation.  So be creative.  Run the toy not just left and right, but also up and down, over and under objects, behind and in front of furniture.  Try varying the speed that you move the toy.
  4. You make it impossible for her to “win”.  Number 3 is due to not quite knowing how to play with a cat.  Yet this reason, number 4, is due to being too good at kitty playtime.  Whenever Mittens jumps at the toy, you always have it escape.  While this works good at first, Mittens eventually learns that there’s no hope in catching this prey.  Cats are smart.  When they know they’re out matched, they quit, saving their energy to hunt prey they can actually eat.  So it’s important for you to let your cat win sometimes.  Once Mittens has “killed” one toy, move to the next if she still seems playful.
  5. It’s the wrong time of day for play. This is strange, I know, but it’s absolutely the truth for my cat Autumn.  She will only play when she is in the magical mood, usually early afternoon or late at night.
  6. Your cat prefers playing in spurts, not constantly.  Again, this is the case for Autumn.  She will never play for the recommended 15 minutes straight.  She might play for a few minutes, then rest, then play a bit more.  She is like a sprinter, not a long distance runner.  You will need to puzzle out which type your own cat is.
  7. She is food-motivated.  Once more, let’s think about how big cats hunt in the wild.  Cats hunt because they need meat to eat.  So a great way to inspire your kitty to play is to feed her afterwards.  If this still doesn’t help, you might need to use an actual treat.  After letting her sniff the treat, have Mittens chase the treat through tunnels, upstairs, and on and off of tables.  Remember to give her the treat at the end, and this could be a great workout, for both human and feline.
  8. She has a medical problem. This may seem extreme, but lethargy could be a sign of an illness, especially if your cat always used to be energetic.  Like when you have the flu, and all you feel like doing is lying in bed, so too might your Fluffy lie around.  Of course, a cat who is growing older is a possible exception to this rule.  Thus, it’s important to look for other symptoms, but when in doubt, go to the vet.
  9. Last of all, your cat might just be lazy.  Thinking this about your cat should be a last possible resort.  For if this is true, then there’s almost nothing you can do to fix the problem.  Perhaps the only thing that might help is catnip.  Try buying toys stuffed with the plant, or buy a pouch of catnip and put an old toy in it.  Leave the toy in there several days before taking it out and hopefully playing with your lazy kitty.  However, I would recommend not using catnip very often; no more than once every few weeks.  After all, it is a drug of sorts. 

     

    There.  Hopefully this cat “troubleshooting” has helped you get your cat moving.  

    If not, let me know in the comments, and I shall do my best to lend a hand.

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Cat Playtime Part 1: Why and How to Play

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Your kitty may be a domestic cat, but all felines still carry the instincts of their wild ancestors.  No matter how adorable she may look to you, kitty sees herself as a fearsome hunter.

So if your cat lives outdoors, she will kill the occasional, unfortunate bird or chipmunk.

If your cat is indoors, then they will find other ways to satisfy their instincts and vent their energy.  Usually, they will do this in ways that you won’t like, such as curtain-climbing or racing around the house meowing at 3 A.M.

To prevent this, (and to have the added bonus of bonding), you should play with your cat every day.  

While opinions vary, most experts agree that playtime should last at least 15 minutes.  Maybe longer, if you own a high-energy cat or a young one.

Furthermore, the time of day for activity varies from cat to cat.  For my cat Autumn, she is often playful in the early afternoon & late at night.  Figure out what works best for you and your cat.

One more step before you can play: toys.  There are swarms of toy available at the supermarket, and even more online.  Many of these are great, but you don’t have to buy any toys.  You can make your own at home.  An old feather duster could become a flying bird.  A little cloth pouch stuffed with cotton balls might serve as a mouse.  A piece of string or yarn will be the “snake”.  Laser pointers and little plastic balls also make good playthings.

A few words of caution, however.  Don’t leave string sitting around.  Most felines will eat it, which could cause serious problems as it tangles up inside their intestines.  Also, never let your cat play with cords; they could be electrocuted.  And of course, don’t shine the laser pointer in anyone’s eyes, kitty or no.

Now back to what I said earlier– you can either buy toys or make your own– it’s up to you.

But whatever you do, remember this key fact: play like you are a prey animal.  You can be a snake slithering across the floor, you can be a mouse darting along the baseboard, or you can be a bird fluttering through the air.  Whatever you do, make quick, little movements like you are prey that’s scared of getting eaten.  This means, when your cat zooms towards the toy, you make it “run” away.  Or if your cat catches the toy in its claws, have the toy struggle for a minute, trying to escape, before the cat bites and “kills” it.

After you are done playing, give your cats some treats, or feed her a meal if the time is right.  This mimics how cats behave in the wild.  They hunt their prey, kill it, then feast on its meat.  Your kitty will thank you for respecting her hunter preferences.

So there you have it– the basics of feline playtime.  Come back next week for part 2, where I’ll discuss more tips, including how to get your cat to play when she refuses to join in.

See you then!

The Jeans of the Eternal Dye: My Misadventures with Clothes, Colors, & Catastrophes

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As any women knows, finding the perfect pair of jeans is hard.  The fit, the shape, the color—everything has to be just right.

I haven’t mentioned this before, but I love jeans.  I love the fit, the color, the durability, all of it.  In fact, they’re the only pants I’ll wear (or the only shorts I’ll wear, if it’s summer).

This is not the case for my sister.  She hates jeans, says that they’re ugly and uncomfortable.  This is one of our many differences.

Which is why I was surprised when she can back from shopping one day with a dark-blue pair in her bag.

When I asked why, she said that these were an exception to the rule; they were made from a softer material, and she liked how they were dyed so very, very dark, almost black.

It’s the color which started it all.

You see, the jeans had so much dye in them, that the factory hadn’t gotten all the excess dye washed out of it.

So one day, my sister walked up to me and announced: “My legs are blue. 

“What?!”  I said.

She replied that the jeans’ excess dye must have caused it.

“Ready to audition for the Blue Man Group?”  I joked.

She laughed.

But as the days passed, things grew worse, and the frustration started building.

Her hands turned blue.  Her socks turned blue.  Her favorite chair turned blue.

Clearly, I decided, this must be stopped.  I would wash the jeans and get that excess dye out!

Well, I washed them.

And the jeans still leaked dye.

And my white washer turned blue.

Now, I wasn’t angry at this.  In fact, it made me laugh, and still does!  This, I thought, This is what great memories are made of!  It was so absurd!

At any rate, I had lost the battle, but not the war, and I didn’t intend on losing.  “Jeans, prepare to be vanquished!” 

So I washed them.  Repeatedly.

And they still leaked.

Undeterred, I planned my next move.  The previous summer, I had made some tye-dye shirts with friends, and I remembered how we had let the shirts soak in salt water to help keep the dye in.  I knew what I should try next.

I prepared a 5-gallon bucket, full of boiling-hot water.  After pouring in a big scoop of salt, I plunged the jeans in.  Using a heavy stick to hold the jeans down under the surface, I left the pants soaking overnight.

The next day, I washed them, several times.

And they still, still, leaked dye. 

So, bravely, I gave up.

My sister just can’t use those jeans.  They will forever spread their dye over everything in sight—the jeans of the eternal dye.

But I don’t mind, because without them, I wouldn’t be telling you this awesome story.

So until next time, remember: stay fuzzy, my friends.

Why Does My Cat Rub Against My Legs?

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My cat Autumn

Is Autumn trying to trip me?

Well, no.  Unlike in the cartoons, your cat is not planning to make you fall on your face by wrapping around your legs the instant you walk in the door with an arm load of groceries.

Yet the cartoon has some truth in it.  Autumn may rub up against you when you walk in the door.

The reason she does this is because she is marking her territory.  When we think of animals marking their territory, we usually think of dogs spraying the fire hydrant.  But in reality, most animals like to mark their territory—including your cat.

Neutered cats don’t do it as much as untreated cats, but they still do it, and here’s how: Your cat has a gland at the base of her tail that contains her scent.  Other cats notice this aroma, but don’t worry; per my knowledge, no human can smell this scent.

When Autumn rubs up against you, your pants get her smell on them.  This smell marks you as her territory.

Cats may also rub up against walls, furniture, and everything in between for the same reason—marking their territory.  “Cats have scent glands located in their cheeks, forehead, chins, and at the base of their tail”, according to Dr. Jill E. Sackman, senior medical director for BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ in the Michigan Region (quote from PetMD.com).  So that is why they rub their faces, as well as their tails, against objects.

So let us return to the “just entering the door with groceries” example.  Autumn is thinking: what better time to re-mark her human then when you’ve come back from shopping covered in foreign smells?

It’s like she’s saying: “You’re my human slave.  Mine, and no one else’s!”  Personally, I find this selfish, but in an extremely cute way.  X3

6 Daily Steps to Cure Your Eczema

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Today is the first day in National Eczema Awareness Week; therefore, I thought it would be fitting to share my struggle with the disease.

In short, eczema is a skin condition where your skin gets really dry really easily.  Symptoms can include itching and scarlet patches.  Your skin may feel stiff with tiny cuts, or your skin can get rough and dry, or it can get all weird and bubbly.

I would know, because I suffer from eczema in my hands.  It’s worse in the wintertime.  The winter of 2016 was a bad one for my eczema—my whole hand turned red.

Then, in about 2 months, my hands were almost cured.  The photo you see at the top of this blog was taken in the spring of 2017.  And yes, that is my hand.  Isn’t it nice and natural-looking?

You, too, can have smooth, normal skin, without going to the doctor.

But how?

The short answer is: lotion.  A sea of lotion.  Swimming in lotion. 

The long answer is my mom saw how bad my hands were, and so she took it upon herself to smear lotion on my hands whenever she saw me.

Personally, I thought it was kinda hopeless, so I didn’t really bother to apply lotion.

But eventually, her determination wore off on me.  I started applying lotion on my own, every chance I got.  While talking to friends, while writing, while watching TV—essentially, every time I wasn’t eating.  I even smeared it on before showering.  This prevented the water from washing off what little natural oils I had.  After each shower, I put more lotion on to lock the moisture in.

I purchased some special lotions, but in my opinion, they only helped, they didn’t cure my hands.  The sheer quantity, the sheer oceans that I put on—that’s what cured it.

 

So here’s my advice:

  1. Buy yourself several varieties of lotion that is specifically meant for eczema.
  2. Place these bottles throughout your house, at least one per floor.
  3. Perhaps most critically, place another bottle where you spend most of your time. For me, that’s at my desk.
  4. Use gloves as much as possible. Whenever you are outside in cold weather, even if it’s only for a short time, protect your hands with gloves.  Wear gloves whenever you wash dishes.
  5. Wash your hands as little as possible (while still staying healthy, of course). After all, every time you wash, you are rinsing off precious oils.
  6. During the day, apply lotion just to the backs of your hands, that way your fingers are still free to do stuff.  I do this all the time, including before typing up this blog.  Remember, however, that you must apply lotion to all of your hand at night.  If you don’t, you will have smooth skin on the backs of your hands and rough, red skin on your fingers, as I unfortunately discovered.

 

So that is my recommendation.  Yet, naturally, if your doctor disagrees, go with your doctor.

If you suffer from eczema, then I wish you good luck.  You can read more about eczema here: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment.

If you do not suffer from eczema, and you just suffered through this blog in the false hope that it would be interesting, then maybe you have a friend or relative who suffers from this condition.  Perhaps you can pass this blog along.

Either way, this is a one-time thing, and I’ll be back to writing about animals next week.

See you then!

Lazarus the Luckless Tortoise

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I listen to the Brant and Sherri Oddcast (Podcast).  Personally, I think it’s hilarious.   In fact, I enjoy it so much that I’ve listened to every single episode.

This story is a zany classic from 2015.

A woman listener called in with this hysterical story.  Brant or Sherri must have forgotten to include her name in the clip, because I listened to the whole thing, and I never heard her name.  So let’s just call her “Jane”.

Jane owned a pet tortoise.

Once the tortoise got lost.  They tried everything, but they couldn’t find him.  Finally, Jane was forced to hire a “pet detective dog”, as she called him.  I assume she meant a bloodhound.  Whatever the type of dog was, it sniffed around until it found the tortoise, half a mile from home.  Now, as everyone knows, tortoises move painfully slowly.  The maximum speed ever recorded, according to Wikipedia, is 5 mph.  It’s like watching paint dry.  So considering this, a tortoise walking half a mile is like a human walking to another state, Brant Hansen said.

At any rate, Jane brought him home to safety.

Another time, Jane came home from work, and she spotted her tortoise at the bottom of her pool.  He wasn’t moving.  Without hesitation, she dove into the water, fully dressed in her work clothes.  She plunged to the bottom, grabbed him, and swam upward.  Her shoes fell off.  She broke the surface and placed him on the edge of the pool.

He wasn’t moving, wasn’t breathing—he was dead.  But Jane gave him CPR anyway, and he awoke!

He lived!

And so, they named him “Lazarus”.

Now, most people would have reacted to this story with laughter and talking about how unlucky that tortoise is.

But not Brant Hansen.

He did laugh, but after that, he hesitatingly suggested a different perspective on the events (I’m going to paraphrase here).

Brant: So the tortoise leaves your home, escapes from your backyard, and gets as far away as he can before you finally catch him with a dog.

Next, he throws himself in the pool, trying to drown himself.  And just as he thinks it’s all over, that it worked—he awakes, on his back, to you giving him CPR.

Between laughs, Sherri asks: “What are you implying?”

Brant starts to back-track, saying: “I-I don’t know—”  (At this point, I pictured him holding up his hands in surrender.)

“Yeah?!”  Demands Jane.  “What is your question?!”

Brant and Sherri burst into peals of laughter, and so did I.

Really, just the part about the tortoise getting CPR was funny enough by itself.  But couple that with the Great Escape story, and Brant’s suspicion of, uh, other motives, made a hilarious story that I just had to share.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

And if not, remember that humor is mainly in the delivery, and so you might enjoy the actual podcast more.  If you are interested in going to the source, it was the podcast for August 6th, 2015 (http://branthansen.com/2015/08/07/august-6th-podcast/), and the actual story lasted from 4:50 to 6:30.

So until next time, remember: stay fuzzy, my friends.

 

Photo Credit

Photo by Dawn Hudson.  Image is in the public domain.  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=133692&picture=tortoise

How Did Houston’s Animals Survive Hurricane Harvey?

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In the aftermath of this devastating storm, stories of tragedy, but also tales of heroism and hope are pouring in.  Obviously, there are more than I could ever possibly cover, but here is the overview.

Some pets were taken with humans when they evacuated, while some were left behind in the chaos.  As the flood waters rose, human heroes helped most of those animals escape.  But others had to save themselves.  This was often the case for large animals like horses.  Hoping they would find higher ground, their owners released them.  Now volunteers, firefighters, and policemen are rounding them up.  (1)

Among the first responders are rescue dogs, and one rescue dog is a Border collie mix named Rocket.  Rocket was a former shelter dog who was deemed “too energetic” to be adopted.  Now, however, he is harnessing that energy in a tireless effort to sniff out and save people.  This brave dog and his handler, Mike Stornetta make an amazing team.  Yet they are just one of 15 rescue dog/handler pairs currently deployed in the Houston area.  And all of them are lending a helping hand– er, paw.  (2)

One animal that needed saving was Penny the pig.  Her owners were told they would be safe where they lived, but the flood waters rushed in more violently than expected.  Penny’s family, including 2 kids with Downs Syndrome, was fearfully wondering what to do when firefighters swam up, shouting that they needed to leave now.  Lisa Eicher, the mother, informed the firefighters that she wasn’t leaving without Penny and their 3-legged dog.  They had owned Penny ever since she was 8 weeks old.  Like true heroes, the firefighters took it all in stride, never once suggesting that they leave Penny behind.  After putting everyone else on the raft, the firefighters swam Penny over on a flotation device.  “You[‘d] better be getting this on video,” one of them said to Lisa.  And she was.  Later, when Lisa, Penny, and the family were safe at a gas station, people gave Lisa blankets, food, and encouragement.  Everyone they met loved Penny’s story, taking photos with her.  “My only regret is that I didn’t charge people for selfies with Penny….” Lisa laughed. (3)

That pet pig had a touchingly happy ending, but it’s not just pets that are in trouble.  Wildlife in all its forms are fleeing the hurricane.  Snakes are swimming in the water, deer are running, and rafts of fire ants are floating along on the currents (yes, that’s a real thing).  And 9 times out of 10, it’s best to simply ignore these animals; otherwise, the scared and confused creatures might attack.  (4)

However, that was not the case for cab driver William Bruso.  Incredibly, he and a hawk survived the storm together.  Bruso drove his cab to the grocery store to purchase supplies.  Somehow, when he came back, a cooper hawk flew into his cab.  It was scared and hurt.  Being a nature-lover, Bruso took it home and fed it.  Later, a local wildlife service was able to take the hawk and give him the medical treatment he needed.  The last video posted on the hawk shows him recovering and getting back to his feisty self.  (5)

All these stories broke a few days ago, but even today, animals are pouring into shelters near Houston, and those centers need our help.  Please consider donating.  And let us continue to pray for those hurt by the storm, animal or human.  Thanks.

 

References

  1. “The 4-legged survivors of Hurricane Harvey” by Mary Jo Dilonardo.  August 31, 2017.  Mother Nature Network.com. https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/blogs/animal-photos-hurricane-harvey.
  2. “Dog deemed ‘too energetic’ to be adopted is helping rescuers after Hurricane Harvey” by Mary Jo Dilonardo.  August 30, 2017.  Mother Nature Network.com.  https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/shelter-dog-rocket-too-energetic-now-helping-first-responders-after-hurricane-harvey
  3. “Family Fleeing Hurricane Refuses To Leave Pet Pig Behind” by Sarah V. Schweig.  August 30, 2017.  The Dodo.com.  https://www.thedodo.com/on-the-farm/hurricane-harvey-pig-rescue?utm_content=buffer6bb44&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=dodo
  4. “Wild animals flee Texas floodwaters” by Michael D’estries. August 29, 2017. Mother Nature Network.com.  https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/how-wild-animals-are-coping-hurricane-harvey-flooding
  5. “Cab driver and Cooper’s hawk ride out Hurricane Harvey together” by Noel Kirkpatrick. August 28, 2017. Mother Nature Network.com.  https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/cab-driver-and-hawk-become-buds-during-hurricane-harvey

What Breed of Dog Should I Adopt?

I have had 2 dogs in my life.  One was a mutt named Buddy, while the other was a black lab/Chow Chow stray that someone just dumped in our pastor’s backyard.  She was only a puppy when she was abandoned.  Our pastor asked if we wanted her, and we said “yes”.  Once we brought her home, we soon discovered that the little black puppy loved to zoom around like a stick of dynamite.  And so she was named “Dyna”.

Sadly, Dyna passed away 5 years ago, and I haven’t had another dog since.  And honestly, for 4 years, I never even thought about getting a new dog.

But that changed last fall.

In September 2016, I went to an outdoor event, and there were dogs everywhere.  Every time I passed one, I felt this urge to pet them and hug them.  I resisted, of course, until I met a splendid Golden Retriever (Golden Retrievers are one of my favorite breeds).  Then, after asking the owner’s permission, I petted him.  It was nice, and the dog behaved, but I felt like something was missing.

I realize now what was missing: that gleam in your dog’s eyes when he looks at you, his owner, his all.  That special bond of unconditional love between a dog and his owner—that’s what was missing.  And I started craving that.

So now I’ve decided to get another dog.  Not to replace Dyna in my heart—no dog could ever do that—but to fill the dog-shaped hole in my heart.

Of course, which dog I get depends on what my local shelter has, and the personality of each dog.  Also, considering that both of my previous dogs were mutts, I am not opposed to getting another one of those.

Nevertheless, here are my favorite dog breeds.

1. Golden Retrievers
A dog in one of my novels, The Fuzzy Feud, is a Golden Retriever, and I hope you can see why I choose that typeDon’t you just love the long, silky fur, and especially the fluffy, flag-like tail?

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2. Bernese Mountain dogs/Australian Shepherd dogs
Both breeds have tan, black, and white fur—a perfect combo, in my opinion.  Perhaps the best part is that patch of tan fur above the eyes; it looks like eyebrows!  It just seems to give so much personality to the face.

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3. Serbian Huskies
Isn’t it amazing how much like wolves these dogs look?  Like wolves, I assume they are beautiful, powerful, and free at heart.  To me, they perfectly spell The Call of the Wild. 

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So that’s my list of favorite breeds.

Are there any other breeds of similar size and shape that I should consider?

Additionally, do you own any of these types?  If so, comment below and let me know of any special traits the breed has.  I would love to hear from you.

Why Do Cat Eyes Glow in the Dark?

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I’m sure we’ve all done this.  Your cat is in an adorable pose, maybe curled up on your bed, maybe stretched out on her back.  Whatever the pose is, you love it and want a picture.  So, hurrying before Mittens decides to walk away, you run and grab your phone or camera.  You get back, and—yes!  She hasn’t moved yet.  You snap what you think is the perfect picture.  Until the image appears on the screen and you see Mitten’s eyes; they’re glowing like she’s possessed.  The perfect picture is ruined!

Well, I can certainly relate.  Plenty of my pictures of my cat Autumn have met this fate.  This got me thinking: why does this happen?  Why, when the light is dim enough, your cat gets The Creepy Eyes?  Humans don’t have that.

Turns out, humans don’t get glow-in-the-dark eyes because we don’t have a certain membrane that cats do.  And it’s not just cats; most mammals have this membrane.  It’s called the tapetum lucidum.

The tapetum lucidum is located at the back of the eye, behind the retina.  Its color is a mixture of green and yellow.  When light beams hit it correctly, the light reflects and you see the green-yellow color.  So the eyes don’t actually glow-in-the-dark; they just reflect the light really well.

This attribute of reflecting the light well is actually the purpose of the tapetum lucidum.  According to the ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats by James Richards, once light has entered the eye and passed through the retina, the tapetum lucidum reflects the light back into the retina.  This stimulates the retina for the second time, which improves the cat’s night vision (Richards).

This is one of the reasons that cats can see so well in the dark.

The other reason is that cats can widen their pupils further than humans can, letting in more light.  Remember the giant orbs of Puss in Boots from Shrek?  Those weren’t exaggerated; cat eyes can really do that.

Despite these advantages, however, it is a myth that cats can see in pure, pitch-darkness.  For more cat myths, consider reading my blog “7 Lies You’ve Been Told About Cats”.

As for your ruined picture, don’t delete it.  You can Photoshop it, use it for Halloween, or maybe just keep it to remind yourself of how very special the eyes of a feline are.

 

References

  • ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats by James Richards. Page 205.
  • 101 Questions Your Cat Would Ask: What’s bothering your cat and how to solve its problems. By Honor Head. Page 94.

E. B. White’s Farm Is for Sale

e.b. white's farm
Mark Fleming, Yankee Magazine

You can buy the farm owned by the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little!

That is, if you happen to have a cool 3.7 million dollars just lying around somewhere.

E. B. White, the author of dearly beloved books for children, spent 48 years of his life living on this beautiful farm in Maine.  No wonder it was the inspiration behind perhaps his most famous book, Charlotte’s Web.  If you visit the farm today, you can still see the entrance to the barn where Charlotte wrote those messages, like “some pig”, about Wilbur.

Charlotte'sWebBarn
Mark Fleming, Yankee Magazine

White moved to this farm in 1933 with his wife, Katharine.

After White died in 1985, Robert & Mary Gallant purchased the place.  They have maintained it well for 30 years, and now are presumably ready to retire from that job, so to speak.  Whatever the reason, the couple placed the farm up for sale in early August.

If you can meet the 3.7 million price-tag, you’ll get 44 acres with a farmhouse, which was, amazingly, built in 1795.  Stepping inside the farmhouse, you can still see a wood stove and an “ice box” (old-fashioned refrigerator) that White used to own.  Of the 6 fireplaces, a few still work and can help with the cold Maine winters.  There are 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths.

Outside, water dominates the landscape.  You will enjoy 2,000 ft of ocean front on the picturesque Maine coast, as well as a pond.

Near the coast is an old boathouse where White did his writing.  You can even sit on the wooden bench where he wrote Charlotte’s Web, while sea breezes blow softly through the open window.

e.b. white's work bench
Mark Fleming, Yankee Magazine

E. B. White kept the location of his home secret during his lifetime.  He was a quiet, private man.  When people came to his office to see him, rather than meet and greet them, he would sneak out the fire escape.  It would seem that introverts will be introverts, no matter what century they live in.

But back to the present.  Regardless of whether you are rich or not, you can still visit this National Historic Site, and stroll along the quiet paths walked by the man who loved animals.

Make plans today.  (https://www.facebook.com/pages/E-B-White-House/103761349662037)

 

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