Cats: Expectation vs Reality

Do you have a cat?  I do, and when I brought her home, I had certain expectations.  I’d gathered these ideas from reliable sources, such as comic strips and urban legend.  So naturally, my cat took my expectations, and shredded them like a new couch!  

(Please note that the “expectation” picture will be on the left, while the photo of harsh reality will be on the right.)  

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into my shattered dreams!  

Playtime

cat play expectation vs reality

Expectation

Me: “Is it too much to expect wild abandon over a stationary ball of yarn?”  

Reality

My cat: “Yes, yes it is.  You have 5 seconds of my time, and then I’m going back to sleep.”  

Toys

Expectation

Whenever I went shopping, I would often head over to the cat aisle and painstakingly pick out a new toy for my cat, Queen Autumn the 1st.  I would smile at all the excited cats on the packaging.  There were always studio photos of excited cats jumping and running after the toy in question.  Perfect!  I thought to myself.  Autumn will love these!  

Reality

But in actuality, Autumn did not care.  She would sniff the toy, then walk away and sit down inside the box the toy came in, and go to sleep.  The only jumping she might do would be to get in the box.  It took me a year or two before I finally wised up and stopped buying her toys.  There are only 3 things that she actually will play with: grass seed heads, rubber bands, and string.  You’ll notice how none of these cost me $19.95 plus shipping!  Oh well…  

Grace

cat graceful expectation vs reality

Left Photo Credit: https://imgur.com/gallery/gJU0I.   Right Photo Credit: Unknown

Expectation

I used to believe that cats were nothing if not graceful.  The way they swagger inspired the Egyptians to worship them.  The fashion catwalk is named for them.  They can walk along fences, tiny ledges, and thin, swaying branches with fearless confidence.  So cats are graceful… right?  

Reality

Wrong.  Cats are decidedly not graceful, and the whole Internet is proof of this.  Cats fall into full bath tubs; cats miss jumps; cats get their heads stuck in cardboard boxes; cats get their whole bodies stuck between couch cushions.   Cats are hilariously un-graceful, and we can’t get enough of laughing at it!  

Spending Time Together 

cat sleeping expectations vs reality
Reality: “I would rather sleep on this hard, smelly shoe than with you.”

Expectation

Before I got my own cat, I thought I knew cats loved beds.  In many of the books that I had read, little girls would always go to sleep with a furry little kitten on her bed.  I thought: “Awww, how cute that must be!”  

Plus, I just assumed that all felines spent hours on their owners’ laps.  I wondered: what it would be like to spend a relaxing evening reading (or watching TV) with a soft, live teddy bear curled up on my lap?  

Reality

Well, I’m still wondering.  Autumn is not a lap cat — oh, how far from it!  The only time she has ever willingly touched a lap was on her first car ride as we brought her home.  Weakened by sickness and fear, Autumn sought refuge on the nearest lap.  Fortunately, those dark times have passed, and so has her need for human companionship, apparently.  

Indeed, Autumn has never of her own accord sat on my lap.  Back in her one moment of weakness during that car ride, she sat on my sister’s lap, not mine.  As a crazy cat lady, this is a little disappointing to me.  

Autumn’s aversion to human contact extends to beds, as well.  In the past, Autumn used to spend the night with me, but that was many bags of kitty litter ago.  On the bright side, Autumn will stop by for the occasional nap; still, it’s obvious that she prefers the old couch in the basement.  I guess they just don’t make them like they used to…  

Hairballs

Expectation

Truth can come from unlikely sources, and here is the truth about owning a cat: hairballs are unavoidable.   Never mind that I’d learned this truth from comic strips; that’s beside the point.  I knew that hairballs were a disgusting, inevitable, perhaps even daily horror.   

Reality

But reality doesn’t have to be like Garfield.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a little cat grass goes a long way.  Outdoor cats will naturally chew some grass from time to time, to act as roughage.  It clears out their system.  However, indoor cats don’t have access to such delicacies, and so, er, things end up on the carpet.  Cat grass fixes this problem.  I am happy to report that I have never seen a real hairball in my life.  

As you can clearly see, my cat is nothing like I expected her to be!  

But please don’t misunderstand — I do actually love my cat very much.  I call her my queen, I cater to her every whim, and I spend over an hour each day in her loyal service.  And Autumn loves me to, in her own, subtle way.  She rubs up against my legs, she kneads my shirt when I hold her, and she comes running to meet me (even when there is no food involved).  

Yes, despite our differences, we do indeed love each other.  In fact, I love her more than I ever expected to.  And that makes for a truly beautiful reality.  

~***~

If you are interested in reading more about Queen Autumn the 1st, here’s a post with 5 more of her weird habits.  Enjoy!  

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/my-cat-is-an-alien/

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A Beginner’s Guide to Speaking with Horses

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Uma.  Caballo.  Horse.  Three very different words from three very different languages, yet all with the same meaning.  For those of you out there who are bilingual, you know that learning a foreign language is hard.  But it’s also richly rewarding.  I myself am currently studying two new languages aside from my native English — Japanese and Spanish.  (My Japanese is pretty terrible right now, but I’m working on it.)  And if we count animal communication as a “language” of sorts, then I also speak “cat”, “dog”, and “horse”.  

As you may already know, the language of horses is a non-verbal one since horses rarely make a sound.  Yet their movements speak volumes.  

If you are new to horses, this guide to basic horse emotions could prove invaluable to you. 

But if you are already familiar with horses, then feel free to point out any mistakes I may have made.  

So let’s begin!  

Happy/Relaxed

A horse is happiest when he is relaxed, so those two emotions are really one and the same in horses.  Now, here’s what you need to look for: a straight or “lowered” neck, ears turned out to the side that don’t move much, and snorting.  Indeed, horses don’t often vocalize their feelings, but if you do happen to hear a sort of deep, contented grunt, take it as a good sign.  Another place to read for signs is the mouth.  Licking and chewing are positive actions.  Loose lips — with the bottom one sagging out farther than the top one — mean that all is well.  If you see these indicators, your horse is essentially telling you: “I’m happy.  I like this place, and I feel comfortable around you.”  

Angry

Now let’s take a complete 180° and talk about horses that are very far from happy.  Of course, I’m talking about angry horses.  An angry horse might not be mad at you, but it’s best not to take that chance; if you see these five signs, keep your distance.  Naturally, the most obvious sign of rage is when the ears are pinned back, but did you know that excessive tail swishing can also indicate anger?  However, tail twitching often just means there are a lot of flies in the barn, so it’s important to take in the whole picture before making a call.  An angry horse will tighten his muscles.  In addition, watch his neck.  A horse who is annoyed might suddenly raise his head up high.  (I saw many a horse perform that move whenever I tightened the girth!)  And a horse who is truly furious might lower his head and snake it back and forth, baring his teeth.  That is usually the last warning before a bite, so watch out!  

Scared 

Here’s what to look for in a nervous horse: both ears will be locked forward, focusing in on the fearful object.  The legs and feet will be poised to run away; as in, all four will be on the ground.  (In contrast, one hoof cocked and resting on the grass indicates a relaxed horse.)  Now for the tail.  A scared horse may clamp his tail, like how a dog tucks its tail, or he may raise his tail an instant before bolting.  Frightened equines often lift their heads and flash the whites of their eyes.  If you are grooming or riding the horse at the time, you may feel that the horse is holding himself tightly. 

Unfortunately, horses give very little warning before bolting.  They are flight animals who have survived for thousands of years by fleeing at the first sign of danger — no questions asked.  Therefore, it’s important to stay alert even around a relaxed horse.  Try to keep an eye out for anything unusual that may frighten your horse, and hopefully you can take action before he does.  

Of course, horses have a greater range of emotions than what I am able to cover here.  So if you found this helpful, leave a comment and let me know; maybe I can make a part 2 sometime.  

But for now, here’s a quick preview for next week’s post… 

“Do you have a cat?  I do, and when I brought her home, I had certain expectations.  I’d gathered these ideas from reliable sources, such as comic strips and urban legend.  So naturally, my cat took my expectations, and shredded them like a new couch!”  

“Cats: Expectation vs Reality” — that’s next time. 

But until then, always remember: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

10 Ways to Exercise Your Dog when You’re Exhausted

Here’s some good news for dog owners everywhere: if you’re tired or sick, you don’t have to walk the dog!  There are plenty of other ways for dogs to stay active; many of which don’t require you to even leave the couch!  

Katrin provides us with some excellent advice in this post, and if you enjoy it, you should check out her new blog at: https://www.maplewooddog.com/blog/

maplewoodblog

Whether you live with a chronic condition that causes fatigue as I do or you are exhausted after a busy day at work, your dog still needs exercise. Many people think exercise the dog = walk the dog. Well when you’re exhausted and walking the dog means making your tired brain and body move off the couch, yea don’t know about you but not likely.

I spend a lot of my time on the couch, sitting in a chair or leaning against a wall, tree or fence. And have come up with lots of ways to exercise my dogs from those stations.  Now this doesn’t mean I don’t also get my dogs out in the world, I do.  I go for a walk with them nearly every day.  But for many dogs (mine included) that isn’t enough.  And when I have days where I can’t get out, these types of…

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How to Avoid Killing Your Co-author

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“Don’t do this, it’ll ruin the relationship.”  

That’s what everyone told me and my friend Maria when we decided to write a book together.  

But they were wrong.  

After a few years of co-authoring, our friendship has not only survived, but thrived.  We are still great friends to this day, despite the fact that we live far apart and can rarely see each other face-to-face.  

So how did we do it?

Well, I have condensed what I’ve learned over the years down into 8 helpful tips.  

So if you want you and your co-author to avoid the fiery demise of most partnerships, read on…  

1. Open Communication.  Ideally, you would have 2 or 3 means of contacting your co-author.  If you are an introvert, you might have to push yourself to reach out to your co-author more often.  If you are an extrovert, then you might have to restrain yourself from barraging your poor co-author with 50 messages a day.  But generally speaking, too much communication is better than too little.  

2. Don’t Pet the Sweaty Stuff.  Or as normal people say: “don’t sweat the petty stuff”.  But for me, “don’t pet the sweaty stuff” is something of a family tradition.  It all started one time when my dad tried to hug my sister after an intense workout.  He was drenched in sweat.  

Like most girls would be, my sister was grossed out.  “Ewww!  No thanks!”  She pulled away.  

“Aw, c’mon,” my dad replied.  “Don’t worry ’bout little stuff like that.  Don’t sweat the petty stuff.”  

“And as I always say,” my sister retorted, “don’t pet the sweaty stuff!”  

We all laughed.  

So that’s how the tradition started. 

Now, if there was one thing that I would change about my time co-authoring with Maria, it would be this: when we first started writing together, we were both immature, and we spent far too long arguing about verb tenses and sentence arrangements and silly things like that.  (Thankfully, we out-grew this toxic habit later.)  

So learn from my mistakes — don’t do this.  Don’t pet the sweaty stuff.  

3. Learn How to Argue Well.  There is plenty involved in arguing well, but here are the basics…  

a. Stay calm.  

b. Don’t use fallacies.  Fallacies are leaps in logic that we all unconsciously use.  If you want to get started in clearer reasoning, then I highly recommend The Fallacy Detective by Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn.  Arguing well is a skill that will make your whole life easier — at least, it did for me.  (#NotSponsored #PleaseSponsorMe)  

4. Give and Compromise.  This is another skill that you can use throughout your lifetime.  When problems arise between you and someone else, practice having each of you give up a little of what you want so that both of you can be happy with the result.  Unfortunately, compromise is a massive topic that cannot possibly be covered here.  

5. Agree upon Realistic Goals.  In the excitement of starting a new book, it can be easy to set goals that you can’t possibly reach.  For example: “let’s write every day!”  Wait.  Take a moment, calm down, and set realistic timelines.  Remember to add in some extra time for when unexpected things come up.  If you do this, you’ll dodge frustration and take hold of the satisfaction which comes from completing what you had set out to do.  

6. Assume Nothing and Talk about Everything.  Never assume anything, no matter how small it is and no matter how well you know your co-author.  Never change anything without your co-author’s approval.  If you do, it’s a sure way to instantly anger her and damage the bond of trust between you two.  

Also, never assume that your co-author knows what you want her to do.  Always tell her what you want done.  Then it can be helpful to remind her or ask her to write it down.  We humans are surprisingly forgetful.  

7. Wear the Other Person’s Shoes.  It’s a cliche, but it’s still true: imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes.  If you had 3 kids, would you be able to work on a book every few days?  Probably not.  And if someone was constantly arguing with you about chapter titles, would you be able to resist yelling?  Probably not.  

It’s hard, but try to be patient with your co-author.  Try to treat them the way you would like to be treated.  

8. 50/50 Split?  Let’s be honest with ourselves: we all enter into a partnership like co-authoring expecting things to be 50/50.  But that’s not always the case.  One of you may have a stressful job, have kids, or have a ton of friends.  He or she might be going through a particularly busy life stage, like marriage or college.  Or maybe one of you is a procrastinator.  A million things can lead to an uneven workload.  

If this happens to you, then 9 times out of 10 you should just try to relax about it; but if you feel that you must do something, then nicely encourage your co-author to pick it up some. 

In my opinion, a 40/60 split is very reasonable.  Even a 30/70 split might be acceptable, depending on how amazing your co-author’s contributions are.  

Carefully consider how much you are willing to compromise.  

***

So, is having a co-author worth it? 

Well, here’s the worst-case scenario: missed deadlines, hurt feelings, and a broken friendship (or, horror of horrors — a legal battle over the rights to the book).  

On the other hand, you might have none of those issues.  Co-authorship might be an amazing experience for you.  You might have someone who will lighten the load, someone who will inspire you when you grow disheartened, and someone who will provide amazing insights that you would never have thought of.  That’s what I have, and I know how lucky I am.  

So again: is it worth it? 

In truth, only you can answer that.  For many people, it is not worth it.  

But for the few that struggle through until the end, they will find themselves richly rewarded, not only with a beautiful book, but also with a beautiful friendship.  

Whichever path you choose, I wish you the best of luck.  

Happy writing!  

the-end-1464766805nhp

By the way, if you are interesting in hearing more about the book Maria and I are writing, it’s called The Fuzzy Feud, and you can read the first chapter here:

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/exclusive-sneak-peak-at-my-new-book/

20 of the Cutest Kittens on the Internet

All baby animals are adorable, but kittens just might be the cutest of all.  With their big eyes and soft fur, they melt hearts wherever they go.  Even non-cat-lovers feel the appeal.  So without further ado, let’s plunge into this fluffy pile of cuteness!  

1. 

baby cat

This sweet kitty’s name is Luna.  She was adopted by photographer Kitty Schaub way back in 2017.  Kitty’s daughter, Amelie, adored the new kitten as any girl would.  Her mom was happy about this, but didn’t think anything more of it until one night she was cleaning newborn baby props after a photoshoot.  

Then Kitty’s eye fell upon Luna.  An idea struck her.  Why not give this fuzzy baby a photoshoot too?  

Kitty wrapped Luna in a blanket, and set up everything just like she would for a newborn child.  Luna slept through the whole thing. 

As you can clearly see, the results are adorable.  If you want to check out the rest of Kitty’s photos (and I recommend you do), the link is below.  

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/newborn-photoshoot-kitten_n_590cc154e4b0e7021e977d90

2. 

cute-kittens-2048x1463-adorable-hd-5655
Credit: Unknown

3. 

kitten wine
Credit: cuteoverload.com (now extinct)

 If I fits, I sits!  

4. 

shoe
Credit: Unknown

Stand aside, “snug as a bug in a rug”.  Make way for “snug as a baby in a Bearpaw boot”!  

5. 

kit and pup
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/53887959@N07/4985392932/

6. 

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Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/kitten-sleep-dreams-210441/

Like most baby animals, kittens need almost constant sleep.  So although we may be tempted to snap a million photos of them, that’s not a good idea.  They need their rest. 

7. 

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Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/cat-kitten-animals-animal-3019090/

This one is probably my favorite.  

8. 

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Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/kitten-cat-fluffy-cat-cute-animals-227009/

9. 

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Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/white-cat-kitten-animal-feed-2562255/

A Mother’s Love.  This feels almost too pure for this earth…  

10. 

fluff
Credit: https://imgur.com/gallery/NBCYSSh

Here we have another example of a mother’s love.  This is an extremely devoted mom guarding her first and only baby.  But the love might be a bit too strong.  One commentator perfectly captured what the kitten is probably thinking: “Mooom…  I can’t breathe!  Mooom…”

11. 

purrito
Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsDznBbBQ0C/

This little guy was named “King Rey” by his care-giver, Hannah Shaw, aka “the Kitten Lady”.  The Kitten Lady has rescued hundreds of kittens, and she specializes in saving extremely young kittens.  For example, a kitten that is only a few days old and without a mother; most would expect such a tiny, weak kitten to not survive, but the Kitten Lady finds a way!  One of her numerous methods is to wrap the little one in a baby blanket, forming a “purrito”.  Because it makes them feel warm and safe, the kittens love this.  

12. 

rose
Credit: https://twitter.com/iamthecatphotog/status/1075488154251976704

For your viewing pleasure, another Kitten Lady kitten.  Her name is Rosalita.  The Kitten Lady rescued her the day she was born (at 0 days old), and as of this writing, she is about 2 months old.  Despite no mother, despite being tiny and weak, even despite a mental disability, Rosalita is growing up into a healthy, sweet kitten.  If you want to watch her adorable journey, consider following the Kitten Lady on Instagram. 

(https://www.instagram.com/kittenxlady/

13. 

heart cat
Credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsEImoenxnF/

This precious kitten with the heart on her chest is named Zoë.  Her human owner is Joanne.  Surprisingly, Joanne never meant to have Zoë.  She originally intended to take home only Zoë’s sister, Izzy.  But then Joanne saw how adorable Zoë was, plus how clearly close the two kitten sisters were, and so Joanne decided to take them both home together.  (And it’s a good thing too, because everyone knows you should never separate two sisters.)  

14. 

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Credit: Unknown

15. 

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Credit: http://kit10lover.tumblr.com/post/43450318725

After kittens are born, they live off of their mother’s milk for a few weeks.  At approximately 4 weeks, they can start eating mushy foods.  Finally, once they reach 6 or 7 weeks of age, they will eat solid food like an adult cat.  (Note: Tables are not on the AAFCO’s list of foods recommended for cats.)

16. 

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Credit: Unknown

As the meme says: “When you are trying to be a hunter, but you are just too cute”!  

17. 

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Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/cat-flower-kitten-stone-pet-2536662/

 

18. 

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Credit: https://imgur.com/gallery/EIQrS9V

The caption should be: “Catzilla — No World Is Safe.  And No Heart.”  

19. 

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Credit: https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/videos/adorable-stray-kitten-climbs-wildlife-photographer

The lucky human in this photo is Mitsuaki Iwagō, a Japanese photographer.  He was out filming feral cats in Japan for a documentary when he was approached by this not-so-feral kitten. 

The little guy boldly climbed over Mitsuaki’s leg and curled up next to his thigh.   Later, the kitten climbed up his back and perched adorably on his head!  The whole time, Mitsuaki never lost focus and continued his work.  But whenever the kitten meowed, Mitsuaki grunted in response.  

No word on whether or not Mitsuaki adopted the little guy; but as the Japanese are largely a cat-loving nation, the chances are high. 

So as the Japanese say whenever they spot something cute: “Kawaiii!”

20. 

jelly bean
Credit: i.imgur.com/TtTxyJ9.jpg

Maybe it’s just a crazy cat lady thing, but I think cat paw pads are cute.  They’re so small, so soft, and such a bright pink.  In cat-lovers circles, we call them jelly beans.  If I saw this kitty in a shelter, I wouldn’t stand a chance against his cuteness.  I would be forced to adopt him.  Instantly.  

And that’s the list.  I don’t know about you, but my heart is fit to burst with cuteness!  Now I can go and face the day with a smile.  

But enough about me, what about you?  Do you have any cute cat photos?  Feel free to leave a link to them in the comments; we can gush over them together!  

And again, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out Kitty’s newborn-style photoshoot of her kitten.  It is absolutely adorable.  Enjoy!    

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/newborn-photoshoot-kitten_n_590cc154e4b0e7021e977d90

10 Crazy Animals Who Defy the Laws of Nature

The truth is stranger than fiction, and these animals are here to prove it.  Today I’ll show you 10 normal animals (like cats and dogs) who acted in ways that are anything but normal.  At best, they are just a bit weird.  At worst, these stunts are crazy and dangerous.  (But don’t worry, nature-lovers; all of the animals survived.)  

So let’s dig in, shall we?  

1. Dog Loves the Vet.  

As one Facebook user so accurately commented: 

“The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber,
Their bottoms are made out of springs!”

The song goes on:

“They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fuuun!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is I’m the only one!”

Well, not anymore, Tigger!  This dog could easily give you a run for your money!  

2. Dog and Dolphin are Best Buddies.  

Please excuse the poor quality, but I think you’ll find this video pretty amazing.  

Talk about an unlikely friendship!  But the more I look around, the more common this appears to be.  There are friendships between all kinds of animals, even ones who are natural enemies.  The Dodo (a popular site for animal-lovers) has an entire series of videos dedicated to “Odd Couples”.  You can check it out here: 

https://www.thedodo.com/series/odd-couples

3. Cats Who Like Water.  

There are certain facts that everyone knows — the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the cat hates water.  So why in the world do these two enjoy it?  Well, it turns out that not all cats despise the liquid.  According to Animal Planet, even a few whole breeds such as the Turkish Van like a good swim (although these kitties are not Turkish Vans).  The black one is named Sirius, and the one with the orange streak on her face is called Samoa.  Aren’t they cute?  

4. Cat Enjoys Being Vacuumed.  

This stereotype is lesser-known among the general public, but it is burned into the brains of every cat owner alive: cats utterly loath vacuum cleaners.  Whenever I turn on the vacuum around my cat, her eyes get huge, her whole body stiffens, and she backs away slowly.  Maybe it’s the roaring noise; maybe it’s the snake-like chord; or maybe it’s because everything the vacuum cleaner touches vanishes into the eternal void; but whatever the cause, the fact remains that cats hate vacuums — most cats, that is.  

5. Rat Chases a Cat.  

Amazingly, it seems that we were all wrong: cats don’t eat rats. 

Rats are too big and aggressive for cats.  According to a study conducted in New York City, cats and rats just ignore each other the vast majority of the time.  A feral cat will sometimes take a stab at a rat, but felines much prefer mice, birds, and other smaller animals.  

(Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/09/cats-vs-rats-new-york/571414/)

6. Chicken Rides a Horse.  

 

7. Cow Plays Fetch.  

I knew cows loved music, but I’ve never heard of this one before!  Naturally, predators like dogs would chase things that move, but why would a prey animal like a cow?  Is it just natural curiosity?  But if that’s so, then why does the cow bring the ball back?! 

If anyone has a theory as to why a cow would do this, please leave a comment.  

8. Goats Climb a Tree.  

Yes, this is actually real.  These weird goats actually exist.  They live in Morocco and climb argan trees to get at the fruit.  Inside the fruit is a nut that these goats cannot digest, so it, er, passes out the exhaust port.  Inside the nut are seeds.  These seeds can be pressed into argan oil, which is a very valuable oil for cooking and cosmetics.  You can probably see where this is going.  Moroccans look through goat dung to get the seeds, and they turn the seeds into an oil people eat.  Yup, it’s weird.  

9. Raccoon Climbs a Skyscraper.  

raccoon 4

You can read the whole story here: 

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/raccoon-climbs-skyscraper/

But here’s the short version.  On June 12th, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota, a raccoon was spotted on a 25-story skyscraper.  For reasons unknown, the raccoon had decided to climb a building that day. 

Animal control was baffled.  Any attempt to rescue her might scare her and cause her to fall.  They had no choice but to set some traps on the roof and then let the situation play out, hoping she would make it to the top without falling.  

The raccoon scaled up 20 stories as the world breathlessly watched.  Then audiences groaned as she decided to climb down a few stories, further exhausting herself.  

But this animal was tough.  After going down, she climbed right back up again.  

Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, she made it to the roof.  Animal-lovers everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.  

The raccoon entered one of the baited traps on the roof and was caught.  Later, animal control took her to her new home: the safe suburbs.  So this little daredevil got a happy ending after all.  

10. Rabbits Defeated Napoleon.  

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I kid you not, this actually happened.  The year was 1807.  Napoleon had just ended his war with Russia, and he wanted to celebrate.  Napoleon told his subordinate to arrange a big rabbit-hunting party.  Because there is clearly no better way to celebrate a cease-fire than with more shooting! 

The subordinate did as he was told and gathered a ton of rabbits.  Historians disagree on the exact number of rabbits gathered, but it was somewhere between several hundred and a few thousand.  The subordinate also invited some of the top leaders in the French army.  

When the big day arrived, Napoleon gave the command, and the bunnies were released.  

But the bunnies didn’t run away.  On the contrary, they ran straight for Napoleon.  

The rabbits were tame ones from a nearby farm, so they saw humans as food sources, not fearsome hunters.  

The bunnies started swarming up Napoleon, probably biting and scratching as they went.  Napoleon and his men tried to knock the rabbits away, but there were just too many of them.   

Napoleon gave up and bravely rushed back to his carriage.  

Incredibly, the bunnies followed him; they split into 2 ranks, flowing around the carriage and trying to surround it.  

Somehow, Napoleon the Great broke through their lines and lived to tell the tale.  (Or more likely: lived to execute anyone who tried to tell the tale.)  

Indeed, there is now no question in my mind; the truth is totally stranger than fiction.  It isn’t even a competition.  

And there you have it: 10 normal animals who did insane things.  Which one surprised you the most?  Leave a comment and let me know!  

So until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

15 Hilarious Animal Memes to Make Your Christmas Merry

Has this Christmas season been stressful for you?  If so, you’re not alone.  Between attending awkward holiday parties, buying gifts for everyone on the planet, and stringing your house with enough lights to cause sunburn on passing pedestrians, the holidays can certainly be tough on anyone.  

Fortunately, these memes are here to help.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy the laughs!  

1. 

christmas-trees-christmas-cats

This meme is dangerously close to reality for me. 

2. 

cat in tree

Has your cat destroyed your Christmas tree yet?  No?  Well, never fear, there’s still time.  

3. 

just pull

4. 

cat angel

5. 

i'm the star

“In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

– Terry Pratchett

6. 

santa's village

Great.  I will now be running from Catzilla in my nightmares tonight.  

7. 

Grumpy cat

8. 

perfect gift

This is a tough lesson that cats teach each new cat-lover.  They don’t want the toy; they want the box it came in.  

9. 

fat cat

The gift that stays with you — whether you want it to or not.

10. 

santa_ate_the_cookies_large

Nice try, but the hair clumps were a dead give-away.  

11. 

dog snacks

12. 

vcgbx-dog-tree-funny

When that excuse didn’t work, the dog then tried to blame it on the neighbor’s cat…

13. 

a whole tree

14

dogs hate clothes

But…  It was so cute…

15. 

dog-shame.jpg

And there you have it!  15 memes of animals ruining Christmas in the funniest ways possible.  

So which one was your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Personally, the meme that made me laugh the hardest was probably number 6, the “Catzilla” one.  

Finally, I hope that these memes have lifted your mood a little. 

Merry Christmas, my friends!  And as Tiny Tim said: “God bless us, everyone!”  

 

Read More

In the mood for more?  Then maybe you would enjoy the touching tale of how Brazilian newlyweds saved a stray dog from his life of wandering the streets.  

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/stray-dog-crashes-wedding-and-then-crashes-into-hearts/

How to Groom a Horse

horse grooming 4 blog
Photo Credit: https://bit.ly/2EaIqoW

Have you just started riding lessons for the first time?  Or maybe you just got a pony or a horse?  Then congratulations!  Welcome to the wonderful world of horses!  One of the first things you should know is how to groom (clean) a horse, which is easier than you might think.  

Horses need to be groomed every day, as well as before and after every ride.  Grooming isn’t only for looks; it also keeps your horse healthy.  Cleanliness = healthiness, of course, but there’s more to it than that.  Grooming is also a good time for you to examine your horse.  Try to keep an eye out for anything unusual.  You might catch a health problem before it becomes serious.  

With that in mind, let’s get started.  Here’s what you’ll need: 

A rubber or plastic currycomb (never metal!)

A brush with stiff bristles (sometimes called a body brush)

A brush with soft bristles

A hoof-pick

A metal comb (optional)

2 sponges (optional)

Step 1

First, the currycomb.  After you’ve greeted the horse (let’s call him Star), and he’s sniffed you, it’s time to start grooming.  You’ll want to stand on the horse’s side.  Behind the horse is very dangerous — you could easily get kicked; and in front makes the horse uncomfortable, because he can’t see you very well.  Besides, it is easiest to reach everything from the side anyway.  So, staying on the side, take the curry comb and rub it over Star in a circular motion.  You’ll want to do this over his neck, sides, back, rump, and upper legs.  (Leave the stomach and lower legs alone; we’ll do those later.)  If the curry comb gets full of hair, tap it against the floor or wall to empty it.  

Step 2

Next, you’ll need the stiff brush.  Following the direction of the hair, sweep the brush backwards and downwards, towards Star’s rump.  Never brush the other way.  Not only would that mess up the horse’s hair, it would also flick painful dust particles into his eyes.  Go over the same areas you curry combed in step 1; but once again, leave the lower legs and stomach alone.  

Step 3

Now it’s time for the soft brush.  In this step, you’ll be brushing the horse’s sensitive areas, so go gently and slowly.  Start by moving closer to the horse’s head.  Let Star sniff the brush you’re holding; then carefully raise the brush and slide it down his face.  If he jerks his head away, gently tug a few times on the cross-ties, asking him to lower his head, and try again.  If he still won’t cooperate, a reassuring rub on the forehead can help.  Once the face is clean, you can move on to the lower legs and stomach.  Brush them lightly.  

Step 4 

So far, we’ve cleaned the horse’s body, but now let’s do the feet.  The hooves can be a bit tricky, but once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second-nature.  Here’s what to do: Stand at Star’s left shoulder, facing his rump.  Your right hand should hold the hoof-pick, and your left hand should be empty.  Bend over and lean your left shoulder against Star’s shoulder, which shifts his weight off of that foot.  Slid your hand down the back of his leg and gently pinch the tendon above the hoof.  If he doesn’t raise his foot, say “Up!” or try making clicking noises with your mouth.  Once he lifts up, move your left hand to grasp his hoof by the tip of the toe.  The surface of the hoof should be facing straight up.  (Trust me, this is easier than it sounds.) 

Unless you are a horse expert, it is best to let the horse dictate how he wants to hold up his leg.  If you try to pull the leg forward or back or up, you could upset his balance.  

Clean everything out — whether it’s grass or straw, pebbles or manure — paying especial attention to that “V” area.  By the way, you may notice a small slit in between the “V”.  This is called the “cleft of the frog”.  Never try to pick this area out, but you can run the brush end of the pick over it.  

Now that the hoof is free from debris, you can release it and Star will lower his leg back down.  

Repeat this same pattern for all four feet.  

Step 5  (optional)

This step and step 6 don’t need to be done everyday if you own the horse in question.  If you are taking riding lessons, then you probably won’t ever need to do these two steps.  Feel free to skip to the end.  But if you plan on showing your horse, then you’ll need to know how to comb his mane and tail.  Begin combing at the tips of the hair, and slowly work your way up.  Hold the hair above where you are working so it doesn’t sting as much when you pull on the hair.  Only comb small segments at a time.  (Girls with long hair will be familiar with this strategy already.)  

When it’s time for the tail, pull it over to the side to work on it.  Don’t stand behind Star!  That’s too risky.  

Step 6  (optional)

The final tool you will need is: sponges.  Find two sponges of different colors.  Take one and dip it in a bucket of warm water.  Wring it out.  Now use it to gently wipe out Star’s nostrils and the corners of both eyes.  The other sponge is for occasionally cleaning the horse’s, er, privates.  Have an expert show you how to do this; or, better yet, have that same expert just do the job for you.  

And now you’re finished!  Well done!  

Of course, there are as many ways to groom a horse as there are makeup tutorials on YouTube, so you must naturally use your own judgement. 

Still, after reading this, you are off to a good start.  

Now, if you are new to horses, I recommend you read Safe Horse, Safe Rider: A Young Rider’s Guide to Responsible Horsekeeping by Jessie Haas (not sponsored).  This is the book I wish I had owned back when I started riding lessons.  It holds everything you need to know, lots of pictures, and nothing irrelevant or confusing.  

Anyway, I hope you found this post helpful.  If you still have questions after reading it, leave a comment; I might be able to help you.  

Happy trails!