A Very Classical Cat

I’ll look at anything with a cat in it; I just accept that I’m not terribly discriminating where cat things are concerned. Cat videos on YouTube, though, are usually off-limits because they are typically 1) blurry beyond recognition, 2) the audio and video have nothing to do with each other, and 3) probably they’re really funny when they were filmed but by the time they get to YouTube they’ve lost their sparkle.

And though I admit that any interaction any of my cats had with a musical instrument I would think was 1) beautiful, 2) clever and highly intuitive, I would also think it was 3) interesting to no one but me.

This particular feline musician is so unique and the music so lovely that I have to post the link. Nora the cat both pats the piano keys and rubs her face and shoulders on them, and the classical chamber piece that accompanies her is gentle and moving. It’s just a few minutes long. You’ll find sequels, too.

Nora is not on stage, she is in her home at her own piano, a gray tabby with an orange and white tabby and a dark tabby with white paws as her audience. It could be that they remind me of a long ago trio who shared my life in Moses, Allegro and Stanley.

I first saw this on Bogeysblogshpere–make sure you stop by and visit Bogey of My Three Cats & Company, Inc. Many thanks also to Mike Friese of the Cat Writer’s Association for posting this to our group. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeoT66v4EHg

And I discovered there is a website for this Lithuanian composer at www.catcerto.com.

A New Portrait: Madison

Madison, first proof

Madison, first proof

Yes, he’s really in the sink! I’m so pleased with this pose. When I work with a customer for a portrait, I ask them what comes to mind when they think about their animal companion. I advise them to choose a pose and setting as close to that visual as we can devise, using my own portraits as examples. It’s nice to have a formal setting where we can see every stripe and spot and whisker and sometimes this is entirely appropriate depending on the subject’s personality, but if they had a cute or quirky habit that can be illustrated into a portrait, we should do it! This is the first proof and it’s not quite his face yet, and of course the sink is just blocked in with some color, so there will be more finished views to come.

Madison’s person is the person I grew up next door to, but haven’t seen in years after she moved away for employment and then my mother moved out of her house and I sold it. Of all things, another person who grew up in our neighborhood but lives across the country found her on FaceBook and sent an e-mail, and we managed to get together when she visited her mother. How wonderful to find out she’s just as much an “animal person” as me, but sad to discover she had lost Madison at the age of only eight years old to diabetes.

I always let my customer make the decisions for the portrait, but if I see a good photo I’ll put in my vote without hesitation. He looked so natural in the sink and I loved his expression. “Oh, he was always in that sink!” she remarked. So here he is.

I’ll be posting updated views soon, but I’m getting ready merchandise for a festival this coming weekend and I may not update until after that.

Why is June Adopt-a-Cat Month?

Cats don't belong in a cage.

Cats don't belong in a cage.

June is “Adopt-a-Cat month”. Not that people likely to adopt need a reason or a season, but because, in June, shelters are overrun with kittens from unspayed female cats, and often the mother cats themselves. It is at this time that “no-kill shelters” have to close their doors and turn cats away, and when, horribly, “open-door shelters” have to start reducing their population of cats to make room for the new arrivals.

It’s easy to point the finger at the shelter and say they shouldn’t do that, but that’s not where the fault lies and everyone knows it. The shelters have a limit by law and they can’t exceed that, plus staff are already overextended. People bring in new animals and some of the ones who’ve been around the longest have to move aside. I’ll stop dancing around it—some cats will be euthanized to make room for the new arrivals. Cats lose their lives because too many others aren’t responsible enough and decide to toss the burden onto the shelter.

The shelter needs to serve all the animals that come through its door, and must make a decision to put its limited efforts into cats that are most adoptable, usually the younger, healthier, cuter kittens. You can visit the website of any shelter to see the figures and find out how they decide which cats will go. Usually, they are older, they may have chr0nic health problems or chronic attitude problems or both, something that keeps them from going to a forever home with a loving family. Before you condemn the shelter for making that decision, imagine the people at the shelter who have to actually carry out the task. No one works at a shelter just because it’s a job. Most people work there because they love animals. And they are the ones who have to choose the cats and euthanize them.

Imagine if that was you. I had to stop volunteering years ago because I cried every time I showed up. I foster at home, where I’m not overwhelmed by the scope of it.

There is no reason for an unspayed cat unless she is a show cat, and these are few and far between. Responsible breeders take names of interested persons, and each kitten has a home before it’s born.

How can you help to stop this? Just spay every female cat you can. None of this “kids need to witness the miracle of birth” or “it’s good for a cat to have one litter” or “I just can’t catch her in between” or “she likes to have kittens”. The deaths of 2,000 cats in the Pittsburgh area every year directly related to overpopulated shelters makes any of those excuses a very poor choice.

And, in fact, recent studies show it’s very bad for a cat to have a litter, or even reach her first heat because of the risk of breast cancer. In a study done in Philadelphia, 91% of the cats who developed breast cancer had been spayed after age 1, 80% after age 6 months, 2% prior to their first heat.

Spaying is not cheap, but specialty clinics and programs are available in every major city. Around the Pittsburgh area, you can get a cat spayed for under $50. A visit to the website of any shelter will give you a list of low cost spay and neuter programs in your area, one that is up to date for hours and rates. It may not be convenient, but you only have to do it once. And you don’t have to take the risk of waiting until the cat is six months old as we used to, when some cats have already gone into heat once or even twice, possibly even conceived if they’ve been around an unneutered male.

Shelters around Pittsburgh never have puppies because local laws have required people to keep their dogs contained. We can do that for cats, too. Let’s help those who choose to work in shelters spend their time taking care of animals and helping them be adopted, not choosing which ones live and die.

Kitty Fingers

Giuseppe Stretches up the Wall

Giuseppe Stretches up the Wall

Read my blog entry—on another blog?! I’ve written a little “snippet” about how cats use their claws…

I’ve been working with My Three Cats & Co., Inc. for a little over 10 years in design, writing and marketing. When they added the shopping cart functionality I left their page design to someone else and now I just write articles and design print and electronic advertisements, which is really the fun part, anyway! They just set up a blog, so I’m going to send you there to read my entries at Bogey’s Blog Sphere and to check out their site, www.MyThreeCats.com. You may want to be prepared to do some shopping because they carry some choice tidbits for both cats and their people. I don’t let my kitties look when I visit the site because they’ll want every toy they see!

Make sure you check out “Cat Chat”, too, a catalog of four years’ worth of articles I’ve written for MyThreeCats.com.

I’ve also placed the URL for their blog at the bottom of the right-hand column on my blog, as well as the addresses to others’ blogs you might find interesting. Happy reading!