Pet People Connections – Relationships that Sustain Us When Family and Friends Fail Us

This photo reminds my of my favorite tabby, our Penelope.

The kitty who goes on car trips with us. Who’s been with us a  bit over ten years, but who looks young for her age, and has very beautiful skin, both according to her veterinarian.

Tabbies have a reputation of being easy going, and that’s been my experience, from the ones we lived with, over our lifetime. Penelope has been the only “in the house cat” for years. Now she is having to put up with Vanna, another type of tabby.

Vanna has unique markings, including one leg that’s an orange tabby pattern. Maybe it’s that orange cat in her that gives her a bit of spunk. Though they don’t actually fight, she and Penelope are sorting out their relationship with staredowns and gentle punches.

We treasure them both, as we have all of our pets. They give us solace, when humans fail us.

Much research has been done on the benefits of the pet-people bond. But we don’t need studies to feel the love of our cats, dogs, whatever type of creature with whom we share our lives.


Are Cozy Mysteries Your Cup of Tea?

There’s no better way to while away a winter day than to settle in with a cup of tea or coffee, as it may be.

Taking ourselves out of our own reality for an hour or an afternoon, makes stress easier to bear.

Kathryn Gerwig’s story, “The Martens and the Murder Attempt” appears in the fun anthology titled A Murder of Crows. It’s a collection of fun crime stories each featuring multiples of a familiar or a unique creature.

No animals come to harm in any of the tales, so its safe for pet and nature lovers.

Never heard of a marten? Get acquainted with these cute northern creatures and enjoy the many other wonderful stories in this excellent title from Darkhouse Books, easily ordered from Amazon.


Poinsettias and Pets – Are These Prettiest of Christmas Plants Safe?

A Personal Tradition

I used to get one for my mother every year. She would baby it along all winter, keeping it from drafts and doing her best not to over water it. One year she even kept it going all summer then put it in darkness according to a schedule, to stimulate bloom the next Christmas.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Pets?

For many years I avoided bringing poinsetias into my own home, as I heard a rumor that they are quite poisonous to pets.

It seems I’ve deprived myself of the beauty of these pink, red, and white flowers unnnecessarily. According to the Pet Poison Helpline they are only very mildly toxic, and pets who do have issues with them rarely need medical treatment.

As with any houseplant, care should be taken to place them in a spot where they’re not an obvious attraction to pets, and the reaction of each pet should be observed when the new plant is placed in a room. If an individual shows a desire to ingest the flowers and leaves, the plant should be removed.

Should you think your pet is having a reaction to a poinsettia plant, observe him or her for the symptoms listed in the Pet Poison Helpline article referenced above and phone your veterinarian if the symptoms are severe or persistent.

But it’s great to learn, after all these years that poinsettias apparently aren’t the deadly to pets plant some of us had grown to believe. With proper prudence, we pet lovers can enjoy the velvety blooms and deep green foliage of this lovely tradtional Christmas flower.

How Did Poinsettias Become a Christmas Plant

Legend says that a little Mexican girl named Pepita picked a bouquet of weeds to take to a Christmas Eve service as a gift for Jesus. The weeds turned into beautiful flowers – poinsettias.

Joel Roberts Poinset the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico brought the plants to the United States in the early 1800s. The entrepreneurial Ecke family popularized the plants a century later.

Read more details at Readers Digest.


The lovely parts of the poinsettia we think of as petals are actually leaves.

Travels With Penelope – Cats and Car Trips

How many readers have cats who love car rides? Our tabby enjoys drives every Sunday – to the lake or just around the local countryside.

She visits drive-thrus with us for dinner, appreciates views of woods, fields, and Christmas lights in season.

So many cats have anxiety attacks when driving to the vet. I wonder if they would have a different reaction if they were taken on pleasure trips too.

Introducing kittens to trips in motor vehicles early may be the key to lifelong relaxing travels with felines. Or, perhaps some cats are just born with a calmer demeanor.

A friend I know is leaving this week for Florida with her kitty. She’s done it before, and says he settles down and sleeps after initially showing a touch of anxiety.

When planning a trip with your cat, make sure he or she is on a leash or inside a secure carrier when the car door is open. A stretchable, break free collar with ID is a good idea for extra security. (Penelope wears a harness and a safety collar, both with ID) Cats can be immensely more difficult to catch than dogs, should they inadvertenetly slip away.

With proper preparation and safety procedures, your cats may learn to enjoy car trips, as much as Penelope.

Feel free to share your own experiences of traveling with felines in the comments section.

Kittens Anyone?

Here’s a picture of Mom . . .

These five lovely diminutive felines are scheduled for spay and neuter soon (4 girls 1 boy). They’ll soon be ready for new homes.

Their mother, a very intelligent and unique kitty, was a stray who came to our home. Her babies all have personality plus.

Girls: 2 black with white markings, 1 white with black markings, 1 calico

Boy: white with black markings

If interested, please leave a note in the comments section or email me through form.

Cardinal as Kitten Sitter?

I’ve mentioned earlier, the rooftop cat family.

This cardinal, I’ve noticed, perches above the feline nursery, seemingly watching over the kittens whenever the mother takes a break, or even while she is on the roof nursing them.

Perhaps Kitty Carlisle and the cardinal have come to an agreement in spite of their traditional differences.

Kittens on a Hot Tin Roof

Another shot of the two black kittens, carried by their mother to the roof over a storage area. The tree that grew over the roof offers shelter. There are also a calico and two mostly white, spotted with black.

They are social with humans, not feral, but getting them used to handling is a challenge as they remain out of reach.

Cats on a Hot Tin Roof?

Earlier, I posted a picture of Kitty Carlisle during her early summer pregnancy. She had five kittens, in a cozy nest in the tall grass of a nearby field. (Yes we did try to catch her and have her spayed, resulting in a doctor visit for my husband.)

She later moved them to the roof over an old storage area. A tree that has grown to encompass much of the rooftop serves as their shelter.

A friend mentioned the old movie, when I expressed the fact that I had never seen a cat take kittens onto a roof.

How we will deal with this problem remains to be seen. We can’t reach the kittens to tame them, the roof is much too fragile for humans to crawl onto. But something must be done.

Memories of Maxwell – and All the Dogs of My Life

I used to be a dog person. In recent years, I’ve gone to the cats.  Never thought it would happen to me, but cats are simply an easier fit with the style of my life these days.

I miss training and showing in obedience trials. The shelties were so intuitive, the beagles great fun to work with too, in spite of their distractable demeanor. But I must admit, winter is easier with felines. They don’t have to be taken outside into the snow three or more times per day.

Pictured is Maxwell, who loved the lake like I do. I remember this beautiful day in September though I can’t immediately recall the year. The little town on the lake held a delightful festival, centered upon canines and other four legged friends.

Max would have made a wonderful therapy dog. He loved all creatures except for horses. And everyone except those who rode bicycles. A wonderful find from a local shelter, Max completed the first two levels of obedience titles with ease, and filled our lives with love and lighthearted moments for sixteen and a half years.



Lolling in the Sun Before Labor

Our stray kitty – the one we can’t catch to spay or take for preventative shots is staggering with the weight of kittens. She rests in the sun this bright morning, awaiting the adventure of bringing more felines into the world.

Tame as can be for petting, she becomes violent at the threat of capture, and she’s too savvy to trap. So we continue to assist her as we can, hoping one day she will trust us completely.