My Cat Is Famous!

Queen Autumn cat famous

Well, a little.  Allow me to explain.  So you’ve heard of Grumpy Cat, right?  Grumpy Cat was a huge cat celebrity, and many other cats have followed in her paw-steps.  If you spend time on social media, then you probably know about Cole and Marmalade, Street Cat Bob, and Venus the 2-faced cat.  You may also have heard of Curious Zelda. 

If not, here’s a brief explanation: Curious Zelda is a famous tuxedo cat with big eyes and a permanently shocked expression.  Curious Zelda often posts funny, cat-themed poems on her page, and people love them.  (On a side note, Curious Zelda is not only funny, but also adorable and very nice to the fans, so you should go follow her.)  

Now back to the story.  I’ve been a fan of Curious Zelda for quite some time.  I love her poems, and recently I wanted to try my hand at writing my own.  

When I was a kid, I used to write poems all the time.  But that was a long time ago, so I wasn’t sure how this would go.  Would I be able to come up with anything good?  I wasn’t totally confident, but I decided to give it a try anyway.  

The idea was to write a “love poem” like a guy might write to his girlfriend or his wife, but with a twist: it’s actually about my lovely kitty, Queen Autumn the 1st.  

cat love

So here’s the poem I came up with: 

“She is cute

She is smart

She eats bugs

She has my heart.”  

With the line ‘she eats bugs’, I was trying to add a little humor to the post.  But I’m not naturally funny, so I don’t think the joke landed.  Because of that, I decided to refine the poem a bit before I published it on Facebook.  I wrote:  

“She is cute

She is smart

She is funny

She has my heart.”  

This way I kept up the serious-yet-sweet tone of the poem the whole time.  Since this version doesn’t contain any awkward attempts at being funny, I like it better.  

But the Internet disagrees with me.  While my Facebook post only got 1 like from a friend, the tweet did much better.  It was retweeted by Curious Zelda herself, and thanks to that, my humble little poem ended up in front of thousands.  

It exploded.  

Cat lovers everywhere were liking, retweeting, and commenting on my post.  They loved it!  I was sleeping while all of this was happening, but when I woke up, I was shocked by what I saw.  

famous tweet dark

9 comments, 91 retweets, and 1,600 likes!  Even better, analytics told me that people had interacted with my post 5,716 times.  But the best was yet to come.  People saw this tweet a stunning 94, 905 times!  I was thrilled.  

Suddenly, I had to set aside a slab of time to reply to comments, reply to the replies, follow new people, and so on.  It took me a few hours, but I eventually got back to almost everyone.  And by the end of it, 8 new people decided to follow me!  What an honor.  

Now, to some people, 1.6K likes may not seem like that much.  Perhaps you get that many for everything you post.  In that case: congratulations!  You are obviously doing something right; keep up the good work!  But to put things in perspective, my average tweet gets between 0 and 1 likes, which makes this a big deal for me.  

There we have it — my brush with fame.  And yes, I know fame doesn’t last, especially the “fame” of 1 tweet.  It might last for a week, at max.  But for now, I’m just having fun and basking in the sun.  

So what do you think of all this, dear reader?  Which poem do you like better: the Twitter one or the Facebook one?  Would it be a good idea for me to write an occasional poem for this blog?  Let me know in the comments below!  

And until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

 

 

You Might Also Like…

“Curious Zelda Tweets that Are Comedy Gold”

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/funny-curious-zelda-tweets/

10 Breathtaking Horse Photos That Will Make You Believe in Magic

You came here for the photos, not the commentary, so let’s dive right in!  

1. 

Icelandic Horses
Credit: Drew Doggett

This magical moment was captured by New York-based photographer Drew Doggett.  Drew traveled to Iceland so he could photograph the Icelandic horses in their harsh, yet beautiful world — black sand beaches, freezing winds and water, deep snow and towering waterfalls.  He appropriately called this project “In the Realm of Legends”.  You can see more of his photos, and even a video about the project, on his website.  

https://drewdoggett.com/collection/in-the-realm-of-legends/

2. 

iceland-horses-4649468_1920
Credit: Susanne Stöckli

Icelandic horses make the most epic photos.

3. 

horse-743474_1280
Credit: agnesliinnea on Pixabay.com

“The softness of a horse’s eye is enough to warm even the coldest of hearts.” 

Whoever said this was a genius.  Horse eyes are like a pool of amber, so warm, so kind…  It’s hard to describe, but if you are a fellow horse lover, then you know what I’m talking about.  

4. 

black pony jump
Credit: Kajsa Dahl

Ponies can be so feisty!  I experienced bucking for the first time on a pony.  (And in case you were wondering: no, he did not unseat me!)  

5. 

Sweden horse water
Credit: Eliane van Schaik

This one is straight out of a fairy tale!  The lady behind the camera is Elaine van Schaik, a Dutch horse photographer.  Her website is in a language I don’t understand, so it was hard for me to learn anything about her.  But I do know one thing for sure: her pictures are stunning!  Her Facebook page has hundreds of gorgeous photos, and it took me nearly an hour to decide which ones to use for this list.  You should go follow her on Facebook.  Believe me, you won’t regret it!  

https://www.facebook.com/elianevanschaikphotography/

6. 

spotted horse and dog
Credit: Minh Dan Vu

I saw this photo circling around the Internet and thanks to the watermark, it was easy to track down.  Minh Dan Vu is another Dutch horse photographer, who clearly has a talent for this profession.  Not only do the animals match, but also I love how playful they look.

7. 

buckskin horse in desert

For this photo, I had a hard time figuring out who took it.  My research turned up no answers, so I can only go by the watermark.  It appears to read: Claudia Paulweiss.  Claudia, if you are reading this, your photo is lovely!  Of course, the pose is dramatic.  But what I really cannot get over is how monochromatic the picture is; it’s like this noble steed came to life by just springing up out of the sand…  

8. 

64383040_1113585395510649_3798185793424457728_o
Credit: Eliane van Schaik

What is more beautiful than a girl and her horse?

9.

woman-wearing-pink-dress-standing-next-to-brown-horse-1090408
Credit: Jennifer Murray on Pexels.com

I’ve been wanting to share this photo with you guys for a long time, but it never made sense in any of my posts — until now.  I found it about a year ago on a website that all bloggers should be aware of: Pexels.com.  If you are looking for royalty-free pictures for your posts, that is the place to go.

10.  

Haflinger Storm
Credit: Eliane van Schaik

This stunning, Rapunzel-like horse is a Haflinger named Storm.  The lucky lady on the left is Naomi Beckers, the happy owner of Storm.  Together, they are magic.  

***

And there we have it — 10 beautiful horse photos.  Which one was your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know!  As for me, my favorites are probably the first photo and the last.  

So until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

When You’re Too Tired to Walk the Dog…

dog-1639436_1280

People say you need to walk the dog every day.  This isn’t true.  Yes, you should walk your dog often, but it doesn’t have to be every day.  Maybe it’s too hot or cold for a walk; maybe it’s raining; or maybe you’re just plain exhausted.  Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of alternatives to walking Max around the block.  

So without further ado, here they are.  

1. Treadmill  

Before your treadmill is fit for doggy exercise, you’ll first need to get your dog used to it.  Start by having Max sit beside the treadmill and get him accustomed to the noise and motion.  Next, you can place him on the treadmill and turn it on slow.  Most dogs will need occasional treats to keep them motivated.  Gradually increase the speed.  Once Max gets used to the treadmill, it may be tempting to walk off, but please don’t.  He could get hurt while you’re away.  But with proper precautions, the treadmill makes an excellent substitute for the classic walk.  

2. Fetch

You probably guessed this one would be on the list.  Despite being cliché, fetch is still a wonderful way for Fido to burn 200 calories while you use only 2!  This game is best played outside, where you won’t endanger any fine china; but if the weather is bad, then a spacious room could do the trick.  Remember, you don’t need tennis balls to play fetch.  Almost any type of medium-sized ball will work.  Or if you don’t have that, then Max will also enjoy a Frisbee or a stick.  If you have a particularly energetic dog, you can still tire him out this way.  Just move the game of fetch over to a staircase and have him run up and down until he is good and tired.  

3. Tug-of-War  

“In one corner, we have an 80-pound Golden Retriever, World Slobbering Champion!  And in the other corner, we have a 180-pound woman, Netflix Bingeing Champion of America!  Rrready?  Now fight!” 

But seriously, tug-of-war is a great game that doesn’t even require you to leave the couch. 

Even so, a word of caution before you begin: this game should only be played if you and Max get along well.  If your dog is aggressive or doesn’t obey your commands, then this playtime could turn into a struggle for dominance.  So keep that in mind.  

4. Treat Toss  

This option might be the easiest one on the whole list.  Simply sit on the couch and toss treats about the room.  

5. Hide and Seek  

If you have kids (or if your relatives/friends with kids are visiting), then it’s time for a game!  While you rest your aching back on the couch, have Max come over and sit on the floor next to you.  Now everyone hides.  Once the hiders are hidden, have them call to Max.  Most dogs won’t need any more encouragement.  Instinctively, dogs will go to their humans, especially when called.  

However, if you live alone, then you can still play.  Try taking your dog’s favorite toy or bone and hiding it.  Practice making Max sit while you go and hide the toy.  Of course, if he can see what you are doing, then the game’s already over.  Ideally, you would walk around the house for this, but if that’s not in the cards right now, then hide the item in as many different places as you can reach without standing up.  

6. Puzzle Toys  

Puzzle toys are perfect for exercising Max’s mind as well as body.  There is an impressive variety of puzzle toys available, so you should definitely shop around.  

But perhaps you are more of the DIY type.  In that case, you still have plenty of options, (too many to name here, in fact); but here are a few ideas to get you started.  If you have an old shaggy rug you wouldn’t mind damaging, you could hide treats in it, and Max would have to scrape them out with his paws before eating.  Alternatively, you use an empty 2 liter soda bottle.  Once it’s been cleaned, cut holes in it, insert some treats, and presto!  It’s finished.  Your dog is in for hours of fun pushing the bottle around with his nose and munching on the treats.  One last suggestion: this one needs a retired muffin tin.  Take the tin, place a few treats in each indent, and cover each indent with a tennis ball.  Max will have to remove the balls so he can get at the treats.  

7. Tricks/Commands  

Again, this is about exercising both the body and mind.  From the comfort of your couch, you can teach Max commands, such as “sit”, “stay”, “drop it”, and more.  As for tricks, you could practice shaking hands; you might want to have him jump over or crawl under your legs; you could teach him the names of his toys, and ask him to fetch a certain one.  Try to think creatively.  Your dog will thank you.  

8. Obstacle Course

Does your dog have agility training?  Obviously, if he does, then you already know a great way to exercise him.  But if he does not, then no problem!  You can still set up barriers for him to jump over, or tunnels for him to crawl through.  You can use almost anything for this  — boxes, crates, chairs, couch cushions, and more.  You could even try making a maze.  Whatever you do, always remember to reward Max with treats at the end.  

9. Dog-Friendly Places  

Consider driving Max to a dog-friendly place, taking him off the leash, and letting him have fun!  Possible places to go include a dog park or a neighbor’s empty fenced-in field.  Even dog pools are a real thing.  Although there aren’t that many in the U.S. yet, you might still be able to find one near you.  For that matter, if you have a friend with a pool, perhaps you could bring Max over for a swim.  

10. Other  

If you know in advance that you will be exhausted this week, try setting up a play date with one of your friends and her dog.  The dogs can play with each other while the humans relax and chat.  Or, if all else fails, you can always hire a dog walker.  

And there you have it — 10 alternatives to walking the dog.  

Before I wrap up this post, I have to give credit where credit is due.  Many of the suggestions in this post were inspired by an article from dog trainer and fellow blogger, Katrin.  And she had even more ideas than I!  If you want to check out the original post, then here it is:  

https://maplewoodblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/10-ways-to-exercise-your-dog-when-youre-exhausted/

So until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

10 Hilarious Animals Acting Like Humans

Animals are smart.  With enough patience and skill, almost any creature can be taught to perform almost any trick.  However, for this list, I chose animals who appear to be acting of their own free will.  That makes it more funny and fascinating, don’t you think?  

But enough chit-chat; let’s get to the list!  

1. Cat Sitting Upright.  

cat sitting like a human

My own cat, Queen Autumn the 1st, sits like this sometimes.  It’s usually when she’s — er — licking her privates…  

2. Dog Walking on 2 Legs.  

3. Dog Walking Horse.  

This video is quite the powerful testimony to how docile horses are.  Equines are gentle giants.  They are usually perfectly willing to let someone else be the boss — even a tiny dog.  

4. Houdini Horse Escaping.  

This troublemaker is a beautiful Friesian named Mariska.  She lives on a farm in Midland, Michigan, owned by the pitiable Bonems.  Opening your own stall door?  Pshaw!  That’s for amateurs!  Mariska, better know as the Houdini Horse, isn’t content with such trifles.  Once out of her own stall or pasture, Mariska then proceeds to free the entire stable.  It’s a jailbreak! 

And invariably, it always ends in a hunt for food.  Mariska’s owners used to store grain in an old freezer.  Not anymore!  Mariska figured out how to shove the freezer open with her nose.  Next, the humans moved the grain to an empty stall, which, of course, posed no problem for Mariska.  Silly humans, they never learn!  Last we heard, the humans were trying a new system of pins, and that was holding.  For now…

Source: https://dailym.ai/2p8gwVo

5. Sheep Jumping on Bales of Hay.  

Animals love hay bales.  I’ve seen dogs and baby goats jumping from bale to bale.  I’ve seen a horse pawing at a bale and yanking it around with his teeth.  I’ve watched as a bear wrestled one across the ice.  I’ve seen cows rolling hay bales along the field, and then unraveling the human’s hard work!  You would not believe the things I’ve seen!  

6. Goat Climbing Tree.  

But…  But…  Don’t they need hands for that?!  

7. Cows Loving Music.  

8. Pigs Swimming.  

So it turns out that pigs and humans have a lot in common.  Both like swimming in the tropics.  Both have ears.  Both have legs.  We’re practically identical!  

9. Duck Feeding Fish.  

10. Rat Showering.  

This video was filmed by Peruvian DJ Jose Correa.  He was about to shower himself when he saw the little guy in the corner.  Amazed, Jose filmed the rat for a bit, then the rat ran off.  When people started expressing concern for the rat, Jose declared: “I care a lot about animals….  I would never want to hurt him. So I just filmed him and let him go.”  

Some people claim that this video was staged.  Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know.  All I know for sure is: “Reepicheep!  You came back!”  

And there you have it — 10 animals behaving like people.  Did any of these surprise you?  Which one was your favorite?  More importantly, have you noticed any animal act like a human in real life?  Leave your weird and wacky stories in the comments below!  

So until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

7 Things You THINK Your Cat Needs that She Really Does NOT

cat bed ban

If you read my post last week, “15 Tips to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly”, then you know that cats are a lot of work!  They have strong likes and dislikes, and won’t accept any substitutes.  But this week I wanted to show the opposite side of the coin.  Some things that we think cats need they really do not.  I don’t know how these misconceptions were started, but today we’re going to set them straight.  

Let’s begin, shall we?  

1. Cat Bed

Most cats don’t want a cat bed.  Instead, they prefer to share the bed or the sofa with you.  Sometimes Fluffy will sleep on the carpet.  Incredibly, you might even find her snoozing on a wood table.  This makes no sense to us humans — tables are hard!  Then again, such is the enigma of the cat.  

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t buy a bed; it just might be a waste of money to do so.  

2. Catnip

Everyone knows cats love catnip, but no one knows why.  (Believe me, I’ve researched it).  We have a vague idea that it has something to do with pheromones, but that’s all we know.  And until we know more about this substance we are giving our cats, I would urge restraint.  I don’t have any studies to back this up, but common sense says that you don’t need to soak every toy in catnip, don’t need to pass out catnip to Fluffy every day, etc.  All I’m saying is this: let catnip be an occasional treat, not a daily staple.  

3. Hiding places 

For the post I wrote last week, I did some research, and in my reading, I discovered a disturbing trend.  Many sites recommend that you give your cat a hiding place.  Why would you want your cat to hide?  I thought.  Cats only hide when they are scared. 

Indeed, if your cat spends most of her time under the bed or hidden in the closet, then you have a problem on your hands.  This type of cat certainly doesn’t need more hiding places!  You must challenge this type of cat, or else she will never improve.  Gradually block off her hiding spots.  Next you can build up her confidence by supplying high perches and a vigorous playtime.  Finally, give her a few new places to hide in the form of cat cubes or cat tents; place them in busy rooms, such as the kitchen or the living room. 

The goal is this: your cat will feel the need to hide less.  And when she does hide, it will only be for a short time while she builds up her confidence.  Then, she re-emerges, ready to engage the world once more!  

4. A Friend  

Does Fluffy need a companion?  Another cat to keep her from getting lonely while the humans are off at work or school?  The answer might surprise you: she probably does not.  Although some cats suffer from separation anxiety, most do not, and certainly not to the extent that dogs do.  Granted, some cats are more social than others; but in general, cats are independent creatures.  They don’t mind being alone from 9 to 5.  That’s when they sleep anyway.  If you give Fluffy attention in the morning before you leave for work, and if you provide her with some more attention in the evening before you go to sleep, then she will probably be content.  Working long hours or having to travel often are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, cats don’t need a friend.  

In fact, bringing another cat home frequently leads to fights and increased stress for Fluffy.  Yes, 2 cats can learn to get along, but it will take extra work on your part.  Cats are territorial by nature, so sharing isn’t easy for them.  It must be taught.  

Basically, if you want to get another cat, that’s fine.  But be honest with yourself; you probably want another cat more than Fluffy does.  

5. Milk

Most adult cats do like milk, but it doesn’t like them.   The majority of felines lose the ability to digest the sugars in milk as they grow up.  Once kittens are weaned off their mother’s milk, their bodies stop producing the enzyme needed to digest milk.  So milk can actually give cats stomach aches, bloating and diarrhea.  

6. Cat Door

If your kitty is an indoor-outdoor cat, then a cat door is the perfect solution!  Right?  Well, not quite.  Cat doors cause felines a lot of anxiety.  As previously mentioned, cats are territorial creatures.  Furthermore, anything can come through a cat door — another cat could slip inside, as could a possum or a little dog, and a big dog could jam his head through.  In short, cats hate cat doors because any invader could come barging in at any time.  And I’m sure humans aren’t excited by the idea of entering the kitchen for a midnight snack… and spotting a possum on the linoleum!  

Perhaps a cat door is a necessary evil for households with indoor-outdoor cats.  Or perhaps not.  If a member of your family is home often, then consider having him (or her) just open the door for the cat.  In an ideal world, that’s exactly what you would do.  

7. Outdoor Access  

Now, this is a controversial topic among cat lovers, so I’ll try to handle this delicately.  Many people believe that cats need to be allowed outside.  Allowing them the freedom to explore makes cats happy, they say.  Respectfully, I disagree.  The outdoors is fraught with dangers — cars, dogs, coyotes, other cats, diseases, parasites, and more.  I prefer to keep my cat indoors, where she won’t get hurt.  

This is almost like the classic ‘freedom vs safety’ debate that many adult children must hash out with their aging parents.  

“Dad, I don’t think you should drive anymore.  It’s not safe.”  

“How dare you!  I’m not giving up my freedom!”  

Fortunately, with cats, there is a way to satisfy both requirements.  You can keep Fluffy both happy and safe.  Not letting her roam free will keep her safe.  As for keeping her happy, you can do 1 of 3 things (or all 3, if possible):

1. You can take your cat on walks.  Yes, this is actually possible.  No, it’s not easy to leash train your cat, but the results will be incredibly rewarding for the both of you. 

2. You can build a cat-safe enclosure in your backyard. 

3. You can enrich her indoor environment.  For example, you could build her a cat super highway.  You could play with her every day, or let her try out new toys and food.  Try rearranging the furniture and letting her explore her “new” environment.  

So why not give it a try?  My indoor-only cat, Queen Autumn the 1st, couldn’t be happier.  

That said, I have many friends and relatives who let their cats outside.  And while I don’t agree with their decision, I respect it.  After all, in the end, every one of us is doing the exact same thing: trying our best to make our cats happy.  

So until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends! 

~*~

You might also like to read the twin sister to this post — “15 Tips to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly”.  Enjoy!  

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/make-home-cat-friendly/

15 Tips to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

cat sleeping

You already know that cats need a scratching post, a litter box, plus food and water.  But these other 15 things might surprise you.  Personally, I had never heard of them before I brought home my cat, Queen Autumn the 1st.  Between owning a cat and researching cats, I’ve learned quite a bit, and I’d like to share some of it with you.  

Now, you may be wondering if these are really necessary.  After all, 15 things is a lot, and Fluffy already has the aforementioned scratching post, litter box, etc…  Isn’t that enough?  

Well, yes and no.  Those things are enough to live on, certainly.  But your cat won’t be happy with just those bare essentials.  Let’s put this in human terms.  You could just live in a cabin in the woods, eating wild game and drinking from a brook; but hardly anyone wants to live that way, and cats are the same.  In addition, if you provide these extra things, you’ll be stopping many feline behavior problems before they even start.  

So, without further ado: here are 15 steps you can take to turn your house into Cat Heaven!  

1. A Panther in the Trees

Do you know why cats climb trees?  It’s because felines love to get up into high places.  From their high perch, they can survey their domain.  Inside the house, there obviously aren’t any trees, but your cat will still feel the urge to get up high.  The more you can cater to this instinct, the happier Fluffy will be.  So here’s the practical application: try to string together as many high places as you can; cat expert Jackson Galaxy calls this the “cat super highway”.  Maybe you can create a “staircase” up to the top of your kitchen cabinets using shelves.  Maybe you can form a walkway by stringing together the cat tree, the mantle, the back of the couch, and the window sill.  Try to get creative.  Your cat will thank you.  

2. Lock Up the Monster.

Cats hate vacuum cleaners.  Cats think of them as some sort of roaring monster, into whose jaws things disappear, never to be seen again.  Of course, vacuuming is unavoidable, but do Fluffy a favor: when you’re done vacuuming, put the monster in a closet and shut the door.

3. Open the Gates!

With the single exception of the vacuum cleaner’s closet, try to leave doors open as much as possible.  Cats are curious creatures, so they don’t like closed doors.  That’s why many insist on coming into the bathroom with you.  (Fortunately, my Autumn doesn’t.)  It’s up to you whether or not you let your kitty into the john, but you really should let her explore every room in the house.  If you don’t let her into a certain room, chances are that Fluffy will meow outside the door for hours.  So why not leave it open?  Remember, it’s not just your home anymore; now it’s her home too.  

4. What’s that Stench?  

Ideally, you would avoid using scented candles, perfumes, or chemicals with a powerful smell.  Cats dislike strong smells (unless, of course, it’s tuna), and often won’t enter a room that stinks.  After all, their nose is 14 times stronger than ours.  So what might seem like a pleasant aroma to you is probably an overwhelming odor to Fluffy.  If the idea of avoiding perfumes is appalling to you, then at least avoid citrus smells.  Cats hate those most of all!  

cats and fan

5. “Sun is Out, Wind in My Face…  Absolutely Awful.”  

– Grumpy Cat Meme

Speaking of things cats hate, felines dislike wind.  It’s true.  If I turn on the fan, Autumn will get up and leave the room.  While I don’t have any studies to back up this claim, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.  

6. Paper or Plastic?  Both, Actually.  

For some unknown reason, cats love things that crinkle.  Felines delight in sitting on objects like paper or plastic that make a crinkling, crunching sound.  The upshot is this: making your cat’s day is easy.  Just drop a grocery bag or a piece of paper on the floor.

7. “Snakes.  Why Does It Always Have to Be Snakes?”

Remove anything that resembles a snake from the floor.  This includes string, yarn, rubber bands, and sometimes electric cords.  If you don’t pick it up, Fluffy will probably try to play with and then eat the “snake”, sending both of you racing to the vet.  And no one wants that.  

cat-1154593_1280

8. Don’t Put that in Your Mouth!  

It is vital that you know which houseplants are toxic to cats.  Here is a complete list of plants that are poisonous to cats, via the ASPCA.  

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Now suppose you find that you already own a plant that is dangerous for cats.  As a  plant lover myself, I’m not going to say ‘throw it out’.  Just remove it to a very high self where your cat cannot access it (keep in mind that cats in their prime can jump 6 to 8 feet).  At the same time, you can satisfy Fluffy’s need for greens by growing her some cat grass.  

9. Strength in Numbers

Do you have multiple cats?  Then multiple litter boxes is a must; 2 cats need 3 boxes.  Even if you only have 1 cat, then you still need 2 boxes.  My kitty, Queen Autumn the 1st, insists on having 2 boxes.  If you only provide 1 box, then there is a good chance that Fluffy will be using the floor or the tub at some point.  

10. “Don’t Cross the Streams!”  

Since we are on the topic of litter boxes, here’s another tip: don’t put the litter box and the food bowl anywhere near each other.  In the wild, a cat would never eat and dump in the same place.  Cats are tidy creatures, and would never even think of such abominations!  For that matter, don’t put the food bowl and the water dish in the same room.  The wild cat would eat its prey, then walk some distance to the nearest body of water for a drink.  ‘Nuff said.  

11. A Feast for the Beast

For food and water bowls, it would be best if you used wide, flat dishes.  Cat whiskers are highly sensitive, so most cats don’t enjoy when a deep bowl pushes against their whiskers.  It’s uncomfortable for them.  Also, the bowls should be made of a heavy material (like ceramic) that won’t slide around.  Seeing your cat chasing her bowl around the kitchen may seem funny or cute to you, but your cat will hate it.  

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12. “Let There Be Light.”  

If you’re anything like me, sometimes I’m home on a nice, lazy weekend, and I don’t feel like doing much of anything, not even opening the curtains.  But that would be a mistake.  When they aren’t sleeping, cats spend most of their time staring out the window.  Felines are a curious species, remember?  Thus, Fluffy delights in watching all of the activity outdoors — passing cars, people, animals, etc…  Furthermore, cats enjoy basking in sunbeams for hours.  So let there be light!  

13. “Set Phasers to Stun!”  

I said that cats enjoy seeing other animals outside their window.  And they do like watching birds, squirrels, and other animals such as that; but if Fluffy spots a dog, or a raccoon, she will hate it!  Cats are territorial, so another animal trespassing in her backyard is traumatizing.  And the worst-case scenario is coming nose to nose with another cat on the other side of the glass!  Territorial fears like this lead to all kinds of bad behavior, such as aggression and peeing outside the litter box.  Fortunately, the solution is simple: place air blasters around the outside of your home.  You can buy these motion-activated defenses from all kinds of places, including Amazon, Chewy.com, and Jacksongalaxy.com.  (#NotSponsored But Would Totally Like to Be!)

14. Cheese Shredder 

Because cats are such territorial creatures, they like to mark their ownership by clawing things.  Therefore, even with only 1 cat, you will still need multiple scratching posts.  If you want to save your couch from looking like it was attacked by a cheese shredder, then place the scratching posts where Fluffy wants them, not where you want them.  Sorry, interior decorators, but you’ll thank me later!  

And now, here’s the final tip…

15. Put on your Lab Coat, We’re Going Out

Perhaps the most critical thing you can do for your cat is experiment.  Present her with different foods and see what she likes; buy various toys and play with her in different ways; that sort of thing.  Eventually you will discover what Fluffy likes.  And if you keep experimenting, that will make her life much more fascinating.  For the indoor-only cat, this is essential.  

~*~

As you can see, cats are a lot of work! 

That said, in some ways, cats need less than you might imagine.  This will be the topic of next week’s post — things you think your cat needs that she really doesn’t.  For instance, did you know that most cats don’t need cat beds?  

Anyway, that’s all for this week.  I hope to see you back here again next time, but until then: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

Dogs Make the World a Better Place, and These 9 Clips Prove It

You may have seen on the news recently a study about how dog owners live longer.  If you haven’t, then here’s a quick summary: a journal reviewed by the American Heart Association recently released a study about the correlation between having a dog and a healthy heart.  Obviously, if you own a dog, then you need to walk them every day.  That vastly improves your health. 

As a dog person myself, I would also add that dogs help humans stay mentally positive, keeping us healthy in that way too.  Their antics make us laugh, and their unconditional love makes us smile, even on the worst days.  

So this week, my blog post is all about celebrating dogs.  I’ve collected 9 gifs and short videos that showcase the best in man’s best friend.  By the end, I think we’ll agree: it’s not an exaggeration to say that dogs make the world a better place.   

The phrase “fighting like cats and dogs” certainly does not apply here!  The grey-and-white cat was feeling threatened by the orange-and-white cat, and a fight was imminent.  Fortunately, a golden retriever with a heart of gold stepped in and broke it up.  

Of course, we can’t actually know what the dog was thinking, but I assume it was something like this: “Please don’t fight!  Let’s all just be friends!”  

Wow, dogs can work together better than humans.  The big dog’s name is Big Ben, and the little guy is called (appropriately) Tiny Tim.  Big Ben is part Pyrenees, part Lab.  Tiny Tim is all Chihuahua.  The lake they are swimming in is actually a dogs-only lake that their owners rent out every summer.   Seems like a match made in dog Heaven!  

It may not be obvious why I included this video of a dog seeing snow for the first time.  I guess I just wanted to celebrate how dogs help us stop and appreciate the simple joys in life.  Dogs teach us not to wait for something in the future to make us happy; we should be happy in the present, enjoying the little things each moment brings: a pretty flower, some tasty coffee, a smile from a stranger — that kind of thing.  Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now…  

Dogs are such amazing, accepting creatures.  They accept animals of all species, including ones that would naturally be their dinner (like birds).  

Awww, that’s so sweet!  Like this girl, I was blessed to grow up around dogs.  They are fun to play with, they protect, and perhaps most importantly, they love unconditionally.  As writer Josh Billings once penned: “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  

Warning: this next video is a tear-jerker.  

Everyone knows that service dogs can lead the blind, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for man’s best friend!  In addition to carrying things like in the video, some canines have been trained to sense when their human is about to have a seizure.  Other dogs can tell when a diabetic human’s blood pressure is too high or too low.  A few dogs have even been known to detect cancer.  Yes, it’s true.   

Sasha saves the day!  So you’ve probably heard stories of dogs warning their humans when natural disasters are approaching, so in that respect this video isn’t ground-breaking.  Yet I was still shocked by how Sasha not only warned her humans, but she also tried to physically drag the baby to safety.  Isn’t that incredible?!

Don’t worry, the dog was fine.  With that out of the way, here’s the story.  A black bear in New Jersey entered a man’s backyard in search of food.  It was starting to enjoy the seed from a bird feeder when the neighbor’s dog charges in.  The dog slams into the bear.  The bear immediately lumbers off, and the brave dog runs him out of town.  

According to Fox News, the dog’s name is Riley.   Incredibly, this isn’t his first time chasing bears!  But this lion also has a soft side.  When kids are in the pool, he keeps an eye on them, ensuring they are safe.  

For his bravery, this dog has been rewarded with a steak dinner!   What a good boy!  

On a lighter note, dogs also make our lives better because they put up with all of our antics.  They fall for all of our pranks; they tolerate being dressed up in silly costumes; they are just the best.  

If you liked this post, then you might want to read also “15 Hilarious Dog Memes to Brighten Your Day”.  It’s one of my most popular posts, and it’s pretty funny, if I do say so myself.  Enjoy!  

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/15-hilarious-dog-memes/

And until next time: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

From Rags to Riches: How My Cat Went from a Beggar to a Benevolent Dictator

Queen Autumn I

All hail the queen!  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I am owned by a cat, named Queen Autumn the First.  Today, I thought I would share her story.  

The first time we met was years ago on my Grandma’s farm.  It was love at first sight.  I was outside feeding Grandma’s cats, when a cat I’d never seen before walked out of the woods, meowing.  I told my sister to stay back, because I didn’t want her scaring the kitty away.  Shuffling forward, I murmured reassuring words to the newcomer.  But it turns out I didn’t need to. 

The cat marched right up to me, not scared at all, meowing the whole time.  Abruptly, she reached up and scratched my leg like a scratching post.  I was surprised, but since I was wearing thick jeans, I let her.  (Later I learned that cats scratch to mark their territory.  So from our first meeting, she had already claimed me as her own.  Adorable!)  Anyway, I petted her for a while, then I placed some dry cat kibble on the ground for her to eat.  After she finished, I hurried inside to tell the rest of the family all about it.  

Over the coming days, I looked out for her.  The other cats disliked this newcomer.  Since the other cats didn’t want to share their food bowls, I always carried kibble over to where Autumn sat, apart from the group.  I always took time to pet her.  One time I even had to break up a fight!  

My sister also loved the new cat, and she was the one who picked out the name Autumn, dubbing the kitty after the season in which we met her.  It was perfect.  

Later, with my parent’s permission, I took Autumn home.  I set the cat carrier in front of her, and she just walked right in!  (Although that was the last time she ever did so…)  

On the car ride home, Autumn meowed desperately for hours.  Nothing we said or did comforted her.  Near the end of our trip, we let her out of the carrier.  Weakened by exhaustion and fear, she curled up in my sister’s lap and slept.  I was kinda jealous, but mainly I was relieved to see her finally relax.  

Shortly after we got Autumn home, we drove her to the vet.  She was ill with an ear infection, and she carried a respiratory infection.  Poor kitty!  It turns out that she was also FIV positive.  Feline Immunodeficiency Virus actually isn’t as scary as it sounds.  It just means that her immune system is weak, so she needs us to slip some medicine into her food every night.  

We fed her the medicine religiously, but we made a lot of mistakes in other areas.  We had only ever owned canines before, so we treated Autumn like a small dog.  We expected her to walk on a leash — nope.  We expected her to sleep at night — nope.  It was a rough start, but we eventually figured out what she needed.  

Speaking of dogs, my beloved dog Dyna was reaching the end of her life about the time we brought Autumn home.  So even though it had been love at first sight with Autumn, we drifted apart.  There were 2 reasons for this.  First, I had to spend most of my free time caring for my dear Dyna as her health failed.  And secondly, my sister sorta hogged Autumn, because she was so smitten by the fluffy feline.  They were together every day.  

However, over time, I started to like Autumn again.  In response to this, my sister and I developed a fake jealousy game.  We would pretend to turn green with envy whenever Autumn would favor the other with her presence.  “Why is she on YOUR bed?!”  It was great fun. 

But nothing lasts forever.  As my sister grew older, her love of cats faded.  Ironically, as their relationship grew colder, I was falling more and more in love with Autumn.  She was such a sweet, fuzzy kitty!  Gradually, I took over Autumn’s care; I started to spend long periods of time with her.  Then one day I realized: “Autumn is my cat now.”  What a happy day!  

cat love

In addition, I started researching cats for a book I was writing, and my research helped me understand Autumn better.  For example, when I tried to pet her and she walked away, that wasn’t her being cold.  She just wasn’t in the mood right then.  Autumn has never been a lap cat, but she is very affectionate in the mornings and evenings.  If I pet her during those times, she will purr like an outboard motor.  But if I try to pet her during the afternoon or night, she won’t like it; afternoons are for sleeping, and nights are for playing and prowling.  Once I understood this and respected her routines, we got along perfectly.  

Autumn’s quirks used to bother me.  Like how she would love a certain toy one day and utterly shun it the next; or how in her mind turkey, chicken, and beef are all manna from Heaven, but salmon is the poison that killed Socrates.  These things used to annoy me, but now I just look at them as part of her charm.  She certainly keeps things interesting!  

These days, I am quite the crazy cat lady.  My life has been adjusted to fit Autumn’s.  This might sound weird to some, but Autumn has made my life so much better in so many ways.  She inspires me with ideas for this blog; her purring relaxes me; she makes me laugh with her playful antics.  If all she asks in return is a stable routine, I’ll gladly do it!  

And there you have it: how Autumn went from a beggar to a benevolent dictator.  

Thanks for reading this long post, dear reader, and I hope to see you here again next week.  So until then, stay fuzzy, my friends.  And ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!  

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8 Secrets Only Horse People Know

cowgirl thoughts
Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/cowgirl-hat-country-western-ranch-4190437/

1. Windy Days Give Riders Anxiety.  If you have never ridden a horse before, then you might not understand why windy days cause riders anxiety.  But if you are a rider, then you get it completely.  Windy days are scary because they provide nearly constant opportunities for your horse to spook.  It might be an object moving in a terrifying way, like a bag blowing in the wind, or a tumbleweed taking flight, or a leaf scuttling across the ground.  The sights are frightening enough, but the sounds might be even worse to your equine.  With the wind blowing, a horse cannot hear the approach of predators as he normally would; so on windy days, he will be hyper-vigilant.  That’s why he might bolt at the slightest sound.  It’s possible he will spook at something you cannot hear, and you probably won’t have any warning.  This is how horses have survived for thousands of years, and there isn’t much we can do about that.  Just use the indoor ring and take it slow…  

2. Riding Bareback is Easy.  Indeed, you might think that riding without a saddle is difficult.  I did too.  When my riding instructor first removed my saddle, I was nervous.  But as my horse walked on, I was surprised by how comfortable I was.  Without stirrups to use, my legs hung long and gripped the horse securely.  Plus, gravity was my friend; even during the bouncy trot, I felt pretty safe.  If my horse had bolted (which he didn’t), then there was always the mane to grab onto.  In short, bareback riding is easier than you think.  

Now, this isn’t to say that beginners should ride bareback.  If you don’t have an instructor around, or if your mount is temperamental, then don’t risk it!  Better safe than sorry, right?  

3. Going Fast is Easy.  Again, riding fast is easier than you might think.  If you ever had a pony ride as a kid, then you might remember how bouncy the trot was.  Perhaps you thought: “Yikes!  I can barely stay seated at this slow pace.  I wonder how they do it at a gallop?”  

Actually, it’s not that hard.  Cantering, the next speed up from trotting, is smooth as silk.  It feels like flying.  Galloping is a little rougher, but still smoother than trotting.  

So if your instructor tells you to canter for the first time, don’t worry.  It’s time to fly!  

4. Leather and Water do Mix.  One time, the owner of the barn where I took lessons asked me to use a moist rag to clean a bridle.  I was horrified, like she had just asked me to commit a crime. 

“But water ruins leather!”  I protested. 

“A little bit won’t hurt it.”  She replied.  “And water is just what we need to remove that dried-on grass.”  

I was still hesitant, but she insisted.  So, with much fear and trembling, I tried it.  The bridle was fine!  

It was oddly liberating to know that I could use water on leather.  After that, whenever mowed grass or mud got stuck to my boots, I applied a damp cloth, and presto!  All clean.  

5. Saddles Creak Constantly.  Books about horses may describe the thud of hoof beats, but they never mention the squeaking of the saddle.  And believe me, saddles squeak constantly.  Below is a video of my friend Anne Leueen riding her horse Biasini.  Just turn your volume up, and you’ll hear what I mean about the noise.  

5. Horse Eyes Adjust Slowly.  Horses are used to living outdoors.  In nature, light changes slowly; the sun gradually sinks below the horizon over a period of hours.  So their eyes adjust slowly to light changes.  This works fine in the wild, but horses who live in stables can have a problem.  When you lead your horse out of the barn and into blinding sunlight, your eyes probably get used to it within a handful of seconds.  Horse eyes, however, can take up to 20 minutes to adjust.  So for newbie riders, here’s a pro tip: when entering or exiting a dark stable, stop for a few minutes and let those beautiful equine eyes adjust.  Your horse will thank you.  

6. Your Horse Wants Your Beer.  Surprisingly, many horses throughout the ages have enjoyed a cold one.  A horse named Comanche, who was the only confirmed survivor of Custer’s Last Stand, enjoyed beer.  Another famous equine, Sargent Reckless, earned 2 Purple Hearts during the Korean War.  She also acquired a taste for alcohol.  In addition, I’ve heard of a horse who would only take his supplements if half a bottle of Guinness was added first.  

So why do horses like beer?  Well, I don’t have any scientific evidence for this, but my theory is that horses enjoy the taste of the beer’s barley.  As you may already know, horses are not just fed hay — they also eat grains, such as oats and (you guessed it) barley.  

7. Dirt Makes a Great Spray-Tan Substitute.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  

8. The Mysterious Horse-Human Bond.  This is hard to describe if you’ve never felt it before.  Really, only horse people truly understand this, but I’ll do my best to describe it.  It’s something about that feeling of freedom as you gallop through a field, that feeling of accomplishment as you soar over a jump you never could before, that feeling of warmth when your horse comes running after you call him.  Furthermore, the horse-human bond is special because it should never work.  Horses are prey animals, while humans are predators.  As Anne once put it: “We are their natural enemies, yet they choose to work with us.”  Isn’t that amazing?  

So did any of these surprise you?  How many did you already know?  Leave a comment to let the world know!  

And until next week: stay fuzzy, my friends!  

 

You May Also Enjoy…

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/10-weird-facts-about-horses/

Guest Post: Why Do Horses Eat Weird Stuff?

Today we have a special guest post by Katherine Blocksdorf, a speaker, writer, and — most importantly — horse lover.  Equines have been a part of Katherine’s entire life.  She grew up around horses, she has trained horses, rescued horses, shown horses, and more.  (I’m not jealous, you are!)  In short, Katherine is the perfect person to answer this thorny question: Why do horses eat weird things?  

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You probably know that a horse’s natural diet is grass and other lush plants. We add hay, grain and other supplements because our pastures might not provide enough nutrition, or because our horse works very hard and needs extra rations for energy. But sometimes horses eat other things–things we wouldn’t expect them to. Here’s why.

 

Curiosity

If you’re standing beside your horse with an egg salad sandwich in your hand and your horse is used to getting treats, it may be curious about that thing you’re munching on. Especially if your food is salty, your horse might think your sandwich is pretty tasty. A bite or two of a sandwich, hot dog, burger, pizza or other ‘human’ food probably won’t hurt your horse. Just don’t go overboard. A horse’s digestive system is really only designed to digest grass and some plants, and you don’t want to cause an upset that could lead to colic. 

Foals are very curious and may try to taste many things as they explore their new world. As long as they are nursing from their mother and have lots of good grass and other proper horse food, this is natural and not harmful. Also, there are horses that stay curious throughout their lives, and like to have little tasters of whatever it can get its lips on. These are the ones that might be nippy too, so hand feeding treats might be a bad idea. 

 

Hunger

A hungry horse will eat almost anything to stay alive. They may eat tree leaves, twigs, bark, roots or any other vaguely edible plant material to keep from starving. They might chew their stall boards, any type of bedding, jute ropes or burlap bags, spoiled hay or grain. Not only will these things not provide good nutrition, they can also cause blockages and damage to the digestive system. 

 

Boredom

Horses spend about two-thirds of their time looking for food and grazing. But the way we keep horses can interfere with that natural pattern. You might have heard of ‘pica’. This is when a human or an animal develops the habit of eating or tasting something that has no nutritional value. People used to think that it was caused by a mineral imbalance or malnutrition. But, research suggests this is not the case. Boredom is likely to cause pica. So horses chew and eat the wood of their stalls, fences or trees in their pasture to satisfy their need to graze. They might lick rocks or concrete, or eat other strange things to satisfy their instinctive need to graze. They might chew other horses’ manes and tails. A horse that has lots of outdoor time to graze, or lots of small meals indoors in their stall is less likely to eat weird things. 

 

Coprophagy 

Coprophagy or manure eating definitely tops the list of ‘ewww’ things a horse could eat. But in foals, this might be perfectly normal, despite how distasteful it is to us. Horse nutritionists speculate that foals eat mature horses’ manure to help establish gut flora. Adult horses rarely eat manure and if they do, it could be because they are starving. Ensuring they have either good pasture or good quality hay will provide most horses with the nutrition and chewing time they need. 

***

Did you enjoy Katherine’s article, dear reader?  If so, maybe you’d like to leave a comment.  And if you can’t think of what to say, then use my question of the week: what is the weirdest thing that your pet has ever eaten?  These stories don’t have to be about horses; it could be about your dog, or cat, or whatever. 

As for me, my dog once ate some mole poison.  Don’t worry, she was perfectly fine (but my nerves weren’t!)  Anyway, feel free to leave your own story in the comments below.  

Next week, we will return to your regularly scheduled programming — articles by yours truly.  My next post will be another equine one, called “8 Secrets Only Horse People Know”.  Here’s a sneak-peak at one of the secrets: “In a pinch, a great spray-tan substitute is… dirt.”  

 

UPDATE: Here is the finished article, “8 Secrets Only Horse People Know”.  Enjoy!  

https://fuzzyfanaticblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/25/8-secrets-horse-people-know/