Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The difference between our cats and our dogs

Three Shelties playing on the couch - with the new big boy waiting his turn to join in.  This is a typical scene in the house - at any time a dog pile could start if anyone is in the mood to play.

Contrast this with most views of our cats - lazily curled up in a warm place anywhere in the house.  If any of the cats happen to be in close proximity to another, this is by coincidence rather than by design.  Playing with another cat...not a chance!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Equilibrium is Re-established

It has been a while since the last post and during that time the equilibirum in our household shifted significantly.  My father passed away in the middle of September and we took in his beloved dog as part of our family. Max is an 11 year old large German Shepherd with a touch of Husky. He towers over all of the Shelties and has been busy learning how to negotiate our house layout, which isn't ideal for such a large dog.

Max's initial introduction to the household resulted in a frenzy of barking little Shelties and a quick exit on the part of the cats.  Surprisingly he was quickly accepted by the Shelties and sometimes even tries to play with them. We knew he "tolerated" cats so we assumed he would leave the cats alone but we found out quite quickly that his curiosity was aroused when they would come near. He will often follow Sadie whenever she walks by - she is not as co-ordinated as the other cats so often is down on ground level instead of jumping from chair to table to bookcase.Spike and Angel are quite comfortable around the other dogs so after their initial apprehension about the "giant" in their midst, they decided he was harmless.  At worst, they would occasionally feel a wet nose being pushed into their fur but more often Max would simply watch them as they moved around the house.

Molly, on the other hand, is constantly trying to chase the cats if they are on the floor or poke at them with her paw if they are within reach on a table or chair.  In the photo above, Molly is trying to get Angel's attention and is being watched intently by Max.  Spike is just behind Angel and is giving a quick tail flick to show he is nto impressed with the tableau unfolding in front of him.

No harm, no foul...the cats are faster than the dogs and when they get fed up they simply run away and jump up to a higher spot that is not dog accessible. Sebastian has no interest in any of the dogs and stays well out of reach, always keeping vigilant in case he needs to hiss at an interloper.

So after 2 months  the equilibirum has been re-established. The daily routines have been adjusted to include Max and all animals have either accpeted each other or have an unspoken agreement not to get too close.  Max has found a place where he can plop down that big body of his and the other dogs have shifted a little to accommodate him.  Since he cannot easily get up the stairs to the second floor, he stays on the main floor at night to sleep.  This makes Sophie happy since we now let her stay downstairs with him (she prefers to sleep on the couch in the living room but we rarely have let her stay downstairs by herself.  Of course, the cats have free roam and go wherever they like anyway!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cat TV

Usually the cats have no interest in what show is on TV and simply walk straight past...or sneak by very quickly if there is a dog on one of the three dog beds. However, this one time we saw Sadie stop and turn towards the TV.  Being deaf, it certainly wasn't the sound that attracted her she must have seen something which caught her interest enough to watch for few minutes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Leg Warmers

Last week hubby posted a photo on facebook labelled "leg warmers".  Probably a welcome warmth in winter but a bit hot in summer.  Sadie on the left (I recognize those "space ears"!) and Angel on the right.  Seumas is on the floor,wondering why this is worth taking a photo of!

Often, one of these kitties will climb up onto hubby's lap or sit on the arm of the chair beside him.  If I didn't know better, I would think it was due to the prime TV viewing that the occupant of this chair enjoys.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Molly joins the family

On July 31st, we added a new member to our family.  Due to an unfortunate circumstances in Molly's first home, she was looking for a new forever home. We had a large hole in our hearts from the loss of two beloved dogs within the past 14 months so we were very happy to have the opportunity to love another sweet girl. Molly, who is almost a year old, has fit in well with our family.  She loves to tussle with older "brother" Seumas and she has quickly recognized that the cats are not little sheep to be herded. Sometimes she does follow them when they walk around the living room but most times she is content to simply sit beside them.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cat Tray #2


I do so enjoy visiting Winners and Home Sense!  I went to Winners the other day to pick up a decorative birdhouse for the garden  and saw this tray. It has a heavy wood base with iron handles and looked like it would hold the weight of a cat jumping in without sliding off the table.  I had a round cat bed from a few years ago that Spike occasionally curled up in so I thought this would be a good match with the tray.

Within 24 hours of cat bed being inserted in the tray, Spike decided to test it out.  He just barely squishes that large body into the bed and his paws are actually tucked through the iron circle (top of circle is between his paws and his chin).  Since the test, he has been a regular occupant!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Relaxing on Sunday

A typical Sunday at home...4 cats perched in various places, at safe distances from the dogs, who lay claim to the floor.

First in sight was Sadie, stretched out comfortably on the couch, with not a care in the world.   Spike, who rearranged himself on the chair several times within 5 minutes, doesn't realize he is too large to fit in this chair. Angel tucked himself into the corner of the couch, asleep almost instantly once he was in place.

And then there is Sebastian.  Ever wary...ever watchful.  He has been venturing out into the living room, which for him is very brave when there are dogs in here. In an effort to catch him still on the chair it had to be a quick shot ...hence the lack of focus and the unplanned flash.  You can see his right paw is not relaxed - rather he is always ready to flee at a second's notice.  He will push himself off this paw and be out of the room in a flash.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

IKEA shopping - but I didn't see this in the store

We were at Ikea the other day (one of my favorite shopping places!) and picked up some plastic storage boxes, among other things.  I left them in our dining room for just a few minutes when I went to unload groceries in the kitchen and came back to this sight.  There was very little available room in the box but somehow Angel managed to wiggle his way in, although he didn't have enough room to sit down. The fuzzy head just barely visible in the foreground belongs to a curious sheltie, trying to see what the appeal of the box is. I must say, I was puzzled too.  Cardboard boxes...attractive to all our cats.  Plastic boxes - very rarely.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pepperoni..or cat..on your pizza?

On Wednesday, hubby decided it was time to have a pizza dinner which did not come from our freezer.  There is a local pizza joint which makes a good pepperoni pizza and it is very convenient for me to stop there on my way home from work.

I brought home our usual order and put it on the counter for a few minutes while I went upstairs.  This was the sight that met me when I came back into the kitchen.  Sadie must have thought she found a nice, heated sitting spot which would also be great for sleeping (probably would have been snoozing if I had come back into the kitchen just a little later).  Needless to say, I removed her very quickly ..but not until I had a couple of photos for the blog!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Curious Cat

This is our occasional guest, Champ,getting his bearings in his new home. I laughed when I saw this photo, seeing all that curiosity oozing out of those big green eyes.  When he stayed with us, I would spend some time in the evening with him, sitting on a chair in the guest room.  I would be in the midst of reading my book, when I would feel his gaze on me. When I turned my head to look over at him, I would invariably find him sitting still as a mouse, watching me intently.
And here is that curiosity again, his head rising up over the foot of the bed, looking to see what is going on.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Soccer fan

Hubby is a supporter of the German soccer team whereas I, of course, support the Socceroos (Aussie team). Earlier this week he had his German soccer shirt out on the coffee table waiting for the game.  Sadie decided it would make a great cat blanket and she curled up right on top of it. As is usual with Sadie, she chooses something that isn't quite large enough for her  whole body, even if she sticks her little nose as far into her chest as she can!

I guess, in her own way, she was keeping me company as I waited for the game to start.  I was on the chair right beside her so she could have had much more room if she sat in my lap :-) but Sadie always marches to her own drummer.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Carbon copy kitties

A most unusual scene in our house ..where we have no bonded pairs of kitties ...just 4 very independent souls who really don't have any interest in others unless someone is in chase mode.  In fact, yesterday was the proverbial den of snakes where we kept hearing hissing in various parts of the house. Angel is often on the receiving end of a chase so the hissing will come from his end.  Sadie's first response when she sees a cat or dog coming her way is to hiss at the offender until she finally turns tail and runs away.

Hubby saw this "book end" tableau play out earlier this week. Sadie had curled herself up on the chair and was fast asleep.  Angel carefully made his way into the empty space she had left and tucked his little body into the opening. Within minutes we had two sleeping kitties sharing one space (and no hissing anywhere!)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spike keeping me company

Spike looks so peaceful when he sleeps.  His big paws hang over his cat bed and the tufts of fur stick out like "bed head".  He is generally a laid back cat, not too concerned about the busy activity of humans or dogs.  In fact, he often wanders by the dog water dishes and helps himself to a quick lick on his way by.

These days, it seems that we see the cats more often in the living room when we are sitting here.Spike continues to hold siege to the cat bed on the table and has coerced two cats so far to move out of his way when he has decided it is time to lay down (cat bed seems to be even better if it is pre-warmed for him!)  Sebastian is wandering through the room more often now, enjoying some prime time window viewing.

It has been three weeks since Dakota has left us  - and while the cats have adjusted quickly, it still brings tears to my eyes when I look down and I no longer see my little black and white girl sleeping by the front window.  You never really think about it ahead of time ..but those little creatures work their way into one's daily habits and one's heart during their time here with us.

Thank you all for your kind comments and sympathy on our loss of Dakota.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Goodbye to Dakota

This past Saturday was a sad day for us.  We had to say goodbye to Dakota, our 15 year rescue sheltie. She had been struggling lately, finding it very difficult to sit down and even more so to get up.  We found out on Friday that she had an adrenal gland tumor when she went for her ultrasound and we knew that at her age, we could do nothing more for her. She had been stumbling and falling down on her way to her water bowl so we made the difficult decision to say goodbye to her on Saturday.  My husband held her close until her last breath and I hope she knew how much we loved her in in her short 3 years with us.

She did not care for our cats and when they came too close she would bare her teeth to warn them off. We did worry a little when we first brought her home but realized that our cats were smart enough to keep their distance and certainly were not interested in getting to know her better. Towards the end Dakota tolerated the cats and would let them share the coveted front window space with her.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spike enjoys sitting on our coffee table when we are watching TV - very sociable when it is on his terms.  We had placed a cat cushion on the table for his comfort but after seeing it slide onto the floor a few times when a heavy cat body launched himself onto it we knew we had to find a better solution. We were at Winners the other day...walking around and "window shopping" inside the store - when we saw a large tray. The edge looked high enough to contain the cushion and it seemed like it would be large enough. But...this wouldn't have been the first time that my eye was a poor substitute for a tape measure so I reluctantly left the tray.

When we measured at home and then went back to the store I was relieved to see it was still there.  We have learned there is a a rule of thumb when shopping at both Winners and Costco...if you like something you see, buy it right then since it probably won't be there the next time you are back.

We stuffed the cat cushion into the tray and waited.  Before long we had a couple of sniffers coming by to check out the latest acquisition. Although hard to see in the photo, the tray has a faux snake finish so maybe they thought we had a new pet!  Apparently the new snoozing option has been met with favour since we now have two regular occupants - Spike and Angel.  Of course, if Angel is occupying the cushion and Spike comes by, it is just a matter of minutes before Spike moves in. As is his usual practice, Spike starts off with an innocent sniff at Angel's ear which is quickly followed by a soft paw to the face or backside. Grudgingly, Angel gets up and looks for another Spike-free spot.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A handsome guest

Imagine you are driving through the city at night, heading over a bridge, when out of the corner of your eye you see what looks like a little rabbit.  Curious, you stop and get out to look a little more closely. Then you realize it is a little black kitten who has been hit by a car and whose tail has been run over.

Fast forward 12 years, and you are holding a sleek, warm, loving cat who looks up at you with the most amazing green eyes. The little stub of a tail that has been left after the vet amputated the balance of the damage is wiggling back and forth, showing the love and affection this cat has for you.

That is the story of Lynn and Champ.  Champ's name comes from the Champlain Bridge where he was rescued by Lynn.

We have been fortunate to have Champ visit with us for almost two weeks and we have grown to love the little purring machine during his time here.  He had his own room, with cat beds, cat tent, bookcase set up by the window for cat TV and a dark, quiet cupboard for him to go in whenever he felt the need for safety.  He could hear and smell the other cats in the household and often he would see a little white paw reaching under the door from the other side.   He met the two younger dogs, both of whom desperately wanted to stick their heads through the bedroom door and have a sniff.  He has his own Sheltie companion at home so exhibited no concern about the little wet black noses sniffing at his face.

It took him a day to get used to me. At first  he would either head into his travelling cat bag or into the cupboard. Within a few minutes his little face would peek out, and he would watch me intently with those beautiful green eyes of his.   Not my first cat I knew just to sit patiently and keep talking to him. Of course, a cat treat or two always helps!

Once he was used to me, I would come in to visit with my coffee and book.  Sometimes he would sit on the desk just behind my shoulder and purr, sometimes he would roll on the carpet and sharpen a claw or two (on the carpet...not on me!) When he wasn't getting enough attention (read: scratching ear, rubbing side of face, patting back) he would jump up on my lap and push his head against my hand or arm.  He has the sweetest soft little meow and he always knew when I was walking by the other side of the door since it would be quiet until I was almost by the door then I would hear than plaintive call for attention. The song of the siren..which would call to both my younger son and myself.  Hard to say no ...and I must admit I was a little late to work one day since I just had to pop in to give him just a few more head scratches before I left!

He is now back home and the guest room is sadly empty. Aaah...if only all guests were such a delight!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Fever

I have just been in Calgary for a little over a week, in an animal free house. It has been very quiet, not hearing the bark of a dog excited about noises outside or the insistent meow of a cat looking for an evening snack. No snoring doggies on the floor at the foot of the bed, no warm kitties all curled up beside me on the bed.

Now I am back home, in front of the TV, with a dog lying on my foot and a second on the couch. Cats are quiet now since they have been fed and have now slunk away into the night to find cozy sleeping places.

Early in the day, though, there is usually a lot of activity in the house.  The front window is prime real estate, especially now that the huge mound of snow blocking the view has now melted right down.  Busy little squirrels are running back and forth in front of the window (a tree on each side of the window seems to hold a lot of appeal for them) and even the rabbits run by at least once a day on their way to the feeder in our neighbour's yard.

Dakota, who has no love for any of our cats, is glaring across at Spike and Sebastian who have dared invade her personal space. They are smart enough to leave enough distance that they have some warning when Dakota summons enough energy to get up and chase them, although lately it has been tough for her to easily get up.  Often she just gives them the snarl and lets them stay where they are.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A new hiding place for Spike

So this is what happens when I am away at work!  Hubby was sitting on the couch, which is right beside the bookcase, when he saw Spike casually walk by, look at the open space at the back of the shelf, and climb right in.

Other than having a prime view of hubby on the couch, I am not sure what else makes this an appealing spot. Underneath Spike is one of my work binders which can't be that comfortable.  And now there is some "floof" wafting around which I will have to capture and dispose of.  Oh well...maybe tomorrow!  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spike is in a sharing mood

This is a follow up to the February 16th photos of Spike and Seumas with their own personal space staked out on the couch.  This time they are close enough that Seumas' ear is actually right on top of Spike's neck.  We know that these two are not scared of each other but they rarely get close.

Seumas is quite boisterous since he is still in puppy mode and often knocks Spike over when he gets excited, running over to get a dog treat.  Spike is usually smart enough to keep his distance when walking around the house but he has been caught in the puppy tornado a few times.

When Seumas is asleep on the dog bed in the living room, it is not unusual  to see Spike walk up to the tail end of Seumas and have a sniff. Spike then walks away with his mouth open, and a look of distaste!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do I hear spring out there? Is that a bird or 2?

When I walked by youngest son's room earlier this week I saw Sebastian reaching up onto the window blind as if there was something exciting within reach.  Of course, as I tried to sneak into the room to see what caught his interest he sat back on his haunches, but with his gaze fixed firmly outside.  I heard a few bird cheeps, then some shadows of small objects moving right to left.  Sebastian's gaze quickly followed the same flight path until he realized how close I was. Annoyed at being observed at such close quarters, he quickly jumped off the side table and made a beeline out the bedroom door.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Meerkat Impersonator

Spike has a good sense of balance and often rises onto his back legs into an upright position, with his front paws hanging down.  We call him the "meerkat" when he does this and we see it often.  He can hold this pose for many seconds if his interest is caught by some fascinating object that is just a little out of his reach. He is not quite in position in the first shot above, hastily taken on my cell phone camera. By the time I had lined him up for a second photo I realized why he was so interested.

My hubby usually takes some dog treats in his pocket when he takes the dogs for their day walks.  There must have been some enticing residual doggy treat smell in the pocket because Spike's interest was focused on hubby's jacket.  Spike spent a few minutes pawing at the coat pocket but couldn't quite get his nose (and mouth!) in position so eventually gave up!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy ..and then not happy!

Angel was comfortably resting on the cat pad on the coffee table, watching what was going in the living room.  I thought it would be a good time for a cuddle and picked him up.  The photo below shows the split second before he dug his back claws into my arm and took off.  Apparently he was not happy with being disturbed!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sebastian - ever watchful

There is a theme related to our leather chairs and couch .....they are all covered with throws designed to keep nasty cat claws from scratching up the leather. This is my chair, just inside the front door and with a prime view out of the front window.  The small rectangle of pink to the right is actually the edge of a yoga mat we have in front of the window for Dakota, the eldest dog.  She loves to sit by the front window but she cannot get up by herself on the wood floor so needs the yoga mat for traction. And if she is by the window, it is very unlikely that any cat will venture too close.

Sebastian has ventured onto my chair but he is very aware that there is a grouchy old dog just down below.   He wants to look out the window but he also wants to be in a position to make a quick getaway, hence the orientation of his front paws.

Below....what Sebastian can see from his vantage point and why he stays well out of reach!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spike..Cat or Dog?

Spike's size probably enables him to be more confident around the dogs and he doesn't willingly give up a sleeping spot.  He will long as he has established his space first ..and the dog is willing to leave some personal space between. Spike has found that the back of the couch is a good fit for a rather large kitty ...and is not perturbed that Seumas and Sophie also find the couch appealing for a quick nap.

It almost looks like Spike is trying to poke Sophie but he is simply stretching out his big paw.

Seumas loves to sneak up to the back of the couch...regardless of whether any human or animal is around. He can sleep soundly here until he hears the sound of a treat bag opening!  He had opened one sleepy eye here to look at Spike but with nothing else going on to catch his attention, he went back to sleep very quickly.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another Strange Place to Sleep

I was just filing some photos from last year when I came across this one of Sadie crammed into my leather basket.  I use it to keep the spare blankets in and it really isn't very large.  I didn't even realize she was in there at first and must have walked by the basket a few times before I caught a glimpse of white fur out of the corner of my eye. I am really surprised she didn't tip it over when she was crawling in since it is sitting precariously on the edge of the coffee table.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Angel and Sebastian Getting Settled in the Living Room

Angel is very comfortable finding himself a spot in the living room, even if he does get rousted out occasionally by Spike.  One of his favorite areas is the cat cushion on the coffee table (we now enjoy our coffee on the side tables!) although a few times he has landed the wrong way and the cushion has almost skidded off the table.  We never intended for this to be a permanent location for the cat cushion but left it there one day and within an hour we found Angel curled up in it.  " cute"...I said and left the cushion there for a few more days. Then...the days turned into a month ....with at least three of our cats laying claim to it at various times. So I just gave in and left it there.

Sebastian has decided he likes the leather footstools we now have stacked beside the coffee table.  He will come out later at night when the dogs are asleep and sit there for a short amount of time. The other night he was perched upon one of the stools when Angel jumped up on the table.  After a quick look to make sure it was a cat and not a dog, Sebastian turned his gaze back towards the front window.  He has an unobstructed view from a safe distance (as long as there are no dogs sitting by the window) so is becoming a regular visitor.  

At the moment the balance has shifted and there is a ratio of 3 dogs to 1 cat in the living room. The 1 cat is Spike, sitting on that same cushion, busy cleaning those big paws of his. I heard some scuffling in the hallway so I expect that Sadie has crawled into some small hiding space to sleep in peace. A nice, peaceful background while I sit here with my tea!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Before and after does not take long before a photo opportunity changes quickly to another view.

Before (awake) :
After (asleep):

Before  (Sadie and Angel):
After (Sadie and Spike):

I am fascinated by the attraction of this chair.  Right now I see Angel's green eyes looking at me as he sits on the red cushion facing me.  I expect it will not be long before Spike decides it is time to move back in (yes...a true poacher of pre-warmed spaces).  The only cat who has not curled up on any part of the chair is Sebastian..probably because he cannot easily launch himself at a moment's notice from the soft innards of the chair.