Miss Penny Teakettle
Join the FAN CLUB
a blog for Simon Teakettle Ink
This blog began in 2006, after the adoption of
Penny took over in February, 2015, and that blog is HERE.
December 29, 2018:
Bobbi and I watched a holiday music special on PBS
this week, which featured Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Of course I enjoyed my stocking, as you can see below.
December 22, 2018:
Tomorrow is Bobbi's birthday, so we're posting a
bit early this week. It's time for Simon Teakettle's famous Twelve
Days of Christmas.
December 15, 2018:
Bobbi filled and hung my stocking this week, and I've promised not to touch it until she gives it to me on Christmas Eve. But it certainly looks as if it contains lots of fun things to play with!
She also sent out our Christmas card, which she
created using a free program, photofunia.com.
This is the first time they included animation, and it came through
on some computers but not others. Have no idea why. I also helped
making sure the Santa boot was filled with candy canes, and one of my
teddies wearing a Christmas sweater. My tiny teddy prefers the Santa hat.
December 7, 2018:
Did you hear about the two cats in Japan, who kept trying to get past the guards at a museum so they could go inside? They wanted to view the current exhibit, which was, of course, cat art! See the video at: https://tinyurl.com/yafhs6k
Bobbi and I watched a PBS special on cats recently, and I discovered that there are 400 species of cats, 33 of which are "small cats" not much bigger than your average house cat.
Another special we watched the same evening revealed that there are 300 species of squirrels, incluging flying, ground, and tree squirrels, prairie dogs and chipmunks. My squirrel friend and I watch each other every day through the window in the office, where he nibbles from seed that falls out of the feeder. He's the same size as my favorite toy, a sweet little hamster the size of a newborn kitten. If he happens to end up in another room, I bring him back into the den during the night.
December 1, 2018:
I'm very excited that Christmas is coming. There are lots of lights outside, on our house and also on the houses across the street, which I can see from the front windows. Bobbi has just brought up some inside decorations, and a mysterious bag I'm not allowed to touch. I'm sure my gifts are in there, but I'm a Very Obedient kitty, so will wait until she lets me see them.
Meanwhile, our friend, Zach, has a wonderful line of Christmas cards he's selling from his website. I love all his original designs, but especially those featuring birds:
I hope you'll order some of these, to support and
encourage a wonderful young adult with ASD (Autism Spectrum
Disorder), which means he has
November 24, 2018:
This is Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., but we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in October, which makes more sense because that's harvest time, when the fall leaves are most colorful.
Since the snow came early this year, and has stayed on the ground, I'm happy to curl up in a warm spot. Here are two of our pals doing the same. Stanley Haskins lost one eye to cancer several years ago, but still enjoys life fully with the creator of Theatre Talk.
The lovely Bombay is Luna Grant, who is used to warmer weather in Victoria, B.C. She's in Gatineau for a year while her humans, Paula Shaw and Peter Grant take care of some business here.
November 17, 2018:
Although I'll be five years old in February, I still get excited at the first snowfall. Bobbi was surprised, as we usually don't have a heavy snowfall this early in November, but I love watching the flakes fall. I also like to see how the squirrels react, and often run from the front window all the way to the back, to see if that's where they go.
Last year we had snowshoe rabbits in our back yard! Don found their tracks in the snow.
I'm not afraid of anything, so often sit in the window to watch the nice guy who brings his huge truck to plow the driveway. He was here this morning, and as soon as I heard him, I raced to the living room window to watch.
This is how I get my exercise!
November 13, 2018:
Sorry I failed to post to this blog over the weekend. I don't understand how computers work, but certainly recognized Bobbi's distress when this computer wouldn't turn on. She has another computer, but couldn't use this program on that machine. Why? I have no idea. Finally, our wonderful former neighbor, Paul, came over yesterday and fixed everything.
I'm going to try to help Bobbi figure out how to let me update the website and this blog on the newer computer, in case this happens again.
Meanwhile, we're sharing another wonderful new book featuring a cat, written by Bobbi's friend, Clea Simon, whose cat was in Terzo's MEWSical Society. Clea writes what are called "cozy" mysteries, meaning they have a lot of intrigue but not gory details. And all her mystery series feature cats as important characters. See her latest book on our Recommended Books page.
Back to our regular Saturday schedule on the weekend!
November 3, 2018:
November is an important month for pets. Not only is it Pet Awareness Month (whatever that means!), but it's National Senior Pet Month and Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Then next week is Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.
All this is important to me because Bobbi found me at a local shelter, and since there's no actual definition for what is a "senior pet," a one-year old stray, as I was, might have been considered a more "senior" pet. Most shelters have a kitten room, but I was in with all the "older" cats.
There were many dogs there as well, and as a former stray and shelter resident, I was used to having dogs around.
But we have the best possible dog living in our
house. Chummy doesn't bark or drool, and nobody has to walk or feed
him. Here he is, sitting beside me in the front door. And the other
photo is the one I mentioned last week, of Sadie Fry deciding that
the new bed bought for Tux ought to be hers, instead. Tux took over
the dog bed instead, waiting until Sadie moves out.
October 27, 2018:
If you visit this website regularly, you know that Bobbi is continually adding new things to the FACTS pages. She actually had to rearrange some of these and create new sub-pages under the Culture category, so there are now separate pages for Language and Literature, Music and Art, and Theatre and Film.
But there are also pages for Inventions, Historical Facts, and Facts about Food. Since Hallowe'en is next week, she's added a bunch of information about the origins of candy corn, candy apples, and other treats associated with this holiday.
I, of course, are more interested in the Cat Facts page. But I'm also happy to see more names added to the page listing celebrities who live iwth cats. When possible, Bobbi includes the name and breed of each cats. These are in alphabetical order, so you can scroll down and find out about famous people you may follow. That page is called Celebrity Cats.
October 19, 2018:
It's been a busy week, with National Feral Cat Day on Oct. 16, and National Cat Day coming on Oct. 29. I'm not technically a feral, because we don't know if I was born in a home and became a stray later, or if I was part of a feral colony. But Tiki was born to a wild barn cat, which led to Bobbi learning so much about ferals that she was able to speak about it to Steve Dale on his radio show, where she was a guest in 2007.
Last Tuesday Bobbi went to the OIW meeting, and brought home copies of the new anthology, Twenty in Eighteen, which contains 20 short stories, one of them by Bobbi. This is the third OIW anthology she's contributed to in the past three years.
I wrote last week about not liking to dress up. I
also don't like to have any kind of blanket over me. So I was
surprised to see this picture, which looks very much like I'm under a blanket.
October 12, 2018:
Yesterday was International Day of the Girl. Bobbi decided to make yet another attempt to get me to dress up, but I hate that idea!
I know Terzo loved to dress up in his band uniform, a pumpkin vest for Hallowe'en, and a Santa jacket. I have no idea why he was willing to do this, but just because I'm female doesn't mean I want to wear anything but my collar!
I did let her add a blue scarf to my collar, but
balked at the denim vest. You'll see the scowl on my face as she
placed in in front of me. But Princess was happy to put it on. Of
course she's a toy, not a real cat, so couldn't protest!
October 6, 2018:
This week we celebrated World
Animal Day, an international day of action for animal rights and
welfare celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day of Francis of
Assisi, the patron saint of animals. We'll be looking for the
BBC documentary about this, when it appears on TV.
Although this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, I see that Bobbi is breaking with tradition and won't be eating any turkey. That's because she didn't get to the store when she usually buys a stuffed turkey breast. It doesn't matter to me, because I don't eat "people food," no matter how tempting. I only eat Friskies pate, seafood flavor, and a few different dry foods, including Zoes, which is my favorite.
I always watch very carefully when she refills the containers, hoping that a few pieces will spill and I can nibble those.
Did I tell you Bobbi is teaching me sign language? It's not the kind used for people, but rather gestures she's developed to say "Hi," "Good girl," "Stay," "Don't touch," etc. I've always responded to the word "Sit," but now she's just pointing to the spot without saying anything. I figured that out just this week. She's always used a finger either touching or pointing to my nose to mean "Stay," and recently she's been wiggling her fingers at me when she passed by the place where I'm curled up, just to say "Hi."
It's fun! I already touch a treat with my paw when she asks me to, but she told someone recently that she's going to teach me to understand the difference between a ball, a spring, and a straw (my three favorite toys). Evidently Terzo had learned how to do that, so now I have another opportunity to prove that I'm as smart as he was!
September 29, 2018:
It turns out there were SIX tornadoes, plus three
"microbursts" that hit this area last Friday! I'm still a
So for the first time, I'm repeating something in
this blog that neither Bobbi or I wrote ourselves. But it's too
clever not to
We discovered this in the U.K. Mewsletter who
carried a lovely long feature about Simon Teakettle Ink last year.
September 21, 2018:
Fall arrives this weekend, but we didn't expect it
to sweep in on the tail of a tornado! Like many animals, I can sense
She made sure she had a flashlight and water ready
to take into the bathroom, if the high winds and heavy rain took
But we were lucky. There was just a brief power
outage, and no trees down in our neighborhood.
However, there tornados did extensive damage in a
town just west of Ottawa, in an area in Ottawa where a major
Like most pets, I'm disturbed when anything
deviates from our normal routine. So I stayed close to Bobbi until things
Now I can take my nap!
September 15, 2018:
This is Happy Cat Month, and also the start of the fall theatre season.
kicks off its season with The Last Five Years,
Meanwhile, GCTC is
presenting the second in Kate Hennig's trilogy about the first Queen
Elizabeth. The Virgin Trial
If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know we are great supporters of both of these local theatre organizations.
September 8, 2018:
I mentioned last week that today there are many marches to draw attention to climate change. But September also marks the return to school, which always brings out the teacher in Bobbi. She doesn't let me rest on my laurels, but is always trying to teach me something new.
But I also have new tricks to show her! For example, when I first arrived, I took no interest in catnip, ignoring not only catnip toys that had been favorites of Terzo's, but also giving a faint sniff followed by disdain for the herb when Bobbi sprinkled a bit on the carpet.
Terzo used to make a fuss every time Bobbi opened the door to the hall closet where the catnip was stored. Even though it was in a tightly-closed container, he could smell it.
But then our dear friend,
June Coxon, gave me a catnip toy as one of my Christmas
presents. I showed a bit of interest, and Bobbi decided to buy a
small package of catnip, pour some into one of my favorite socks, and
I tumbled head over heels:
September 1, 2018:
September is Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. Both Bobbi and I are writers, and she is also my editor, both for this blog, all my other correspondence, and the website pages I manage. She helps me add information to the Cat Facts page, the Celebrity Cats page, and, of course, the Fan Club.
We added a bunch of new species this week, thanks to our friend, Barbara, who lives in Montreal, but is always packing her bags for a new adventure! She was at Disney World in Florida this summer, and send us great photos of cheetahs, a zebra, a rhino, a group of swimming hippos, and several exotic species we needed to have Steve Pitt identify for us!
These include two gnu, also known as wildebeest, as well as a pair of addax and a species of cattle called ankole-Wattusi
Steve also send a photo of a pair of grackles, one of whom is albino. Wow, am I learned a lot about animals from all this!
Keep in mind that some of the more than 140 species (from six continents!) in the Fan Club are endangered. So we'll be celebrating all the marches on September 8th, expressing concern about climate change.
August 25, 2018:
I spend a lot of time looking out various windows, but my favorite perch is my carpeted shelf in the office, where I can watch the birds at the feeder. I always sit very quietly, so I don't scare them away. I also have several squirrel friends who sit on the windowsill to catch any seed that falls. One tiny one was quite fearless, seeming to understand that a pane of glass separated us so I posed no threat. It's really hard to see him in this photo, but if you look carefully, you'll see his back end.
And although I've mentioned before that I don't like to dress up, I did let Bobbi tie this pretty bow around my neck last week.
August 18, 2018:
International Homeless Cat Day is next week. I'm really concerned about this, because I was without a home of my own for some time before I ended up at the Alymer SPCA. That building was destroyed by fire this spring (hit by lightning in one of the several storms we had this spring) so cats they would have normally taken in have to be taken elsewhere.
The Ottawa Humane Society keeps telling the public that they're overwhelmed with kittens and cats ready for adoption. Some are in foster homes, and others in pet stores to relieve the overflow conditions at the shelter. But a cage in a busy pet shop is not the best place for a cat! It's a confined space, noisy, and lonely at night.
I continue to be grateful that Bobbi found me when I was just a year old. That's why I try to be such a Good Kitty, coming when she calls me and sitting on command, especially beside my food dishes. I don't get fed it I don't "sit nicely"!
I suspect she bought me a new toy yesterday, but can't get her to admit it or show it to me. But she returned from the dollar store with a bag that jingled, and she only took out a few things, leaving the others out of my reach. Is she gathering presents for my Christmas stocking already?
August 11, 2018:
August 8th was World Cat Day. And earlier this month the resident feline at the famed Algonquin Hotel in New York was featured in a 1920's themed fashion show, to celebrate one of the hotel's most famous long-term residents, Dorothy Parker. We have lots of information about all the cats who have lived at the Algonquin over the years, beginning with Billy, who was followed by a stray named Rusty, whose name was changed to Hamlet by the famous actor John Barrymore, who lived at the hotel. The current Hamlet is the 12th resident cat (all of whom have been rescues), and the 8th Hamlet. He has his own treehouse at the front desk, and is treated royally by staff, including the chef!
You can read more about Hamlet on the Cat Facts page. One thing we want to note is that the fashion show raised a significant amount of money for the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, which helps support more than 150 animal shelters and rescues in New York.
As I've mentioned before, I don't like to dress up. But Terzo did. Here he is in his band uniform, his Halloween big, and the ribbons he loved.
August 4, 2018:
I made a new friend last week. Matthew is 10, and he came over with his dad to pick up some books Bobbi wanted to give the family. They all love history and are avid readers, so Bobbi was delighted that they wanted four cartons of books on various historical topics that she had collected over the years.
I had never met Matthew before, and was delighted to have him pet me and play with me. As I lay on my back and grabbed his hand, he asked Bobbi if I would scratch or bite him. She reassured him that I NEVER bite or scratch anyone, reserving those actions for toy mice and my wonderful scratching tunnel.
There weren't here long, or Bobbi would have brought my treats in from the den and showed Matthew how I sit on command, give one paw and then the other, and even "kiss" when she asks me to. I don't actually kiss her, but rather lift my head to her face so she can kiss my forehead. It's our regular morning ritual.
July 28, 2018:
One of Bobbi's mentoring clients is involved in finding solutions for climate change. Go to his website, Restco.ca, to see the latest information he's posted. We're always shocked to hear about anyone who still thinks climate change isn't real. I haven't lived a long time, but even I have noticed that we're having more extreme weather.
On Wednesday, for example, we had so much rain in such a short time that it not only set records in the Ottawa area, but closed several roads just east of here. Don phoned to tell Bobbi he'd be late because he had to take a detour, and big trucks and busses were having difficulty navigating the sharp turns on the "old" road. One of the roads closed because of flooding is a main highway between here and Montreal. There's a bigger superhighway north of here, but it curves far north along the way, so doesn't save much time to anyone traveling between these two major cities.
Meanwhile, I was not only watching sheets of rain pelting down, but noticed we had the start of a little creek in our bakc yard, where our back fence meets the property behind us.
I'm glad to be able to stay inside! We had another heavy downpour early this afternoon, but it didn't last long. The long drought has ruined our raspberry crop. I don't eat fruit, but Bobbi is sad because she always likes to have a handful of raspberries with her lunch every day.
Here's how I protect my little hamster when there's threatening weather. I tuck him into my bed with me, check to make sure he's okay, then look at Bobbi as the camera flashes, which shows how green my eyes are, with their gold pupils!
July 20. 2018:
Did you know that some cats don't react to catnip? I happen to one of those, although I was intrigued the other day by a small packet of catnip that turned up inside a toy my friend June gave me for Christmas. I grabbed it in my paws and rolled around on the rug for a long time. So Bobbi decided to ask our favorite pet store, when she went to stock up on Smart Cat Litter, if he could give her a sample of catnip to test on me.
Guess what? I loved it! There's key information about catnip on the Cat Facts page, including that only 50% of cats react to catnip, and it shouldn't be given more than every few weeks.
We added a snapping turtle to the Fan Club this week. Steve Pitt watched as he lounged on a rock, then reached down to see what was in the water. He also captured a pair of blue jays as the male performed to impress the female.
July 13, 2018:
Here we are with another Friday the 13th, officially named Blame Someone Else Day. I wonder if the ginger cat who climbed on the Polish professor's head while he was making a speech on TV is blaming him for forgetting to feed him before the interview. I must point out that Bobbi advises, in the chapter on radio & TV interviews in Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, that you prepare for an interview from home by shutting all pets out of the room!
In another case of Blame Someone Else Day, prepare to see President Trump utilize this strategy if anything goes wrong when he meets the Queen.
July 7, 2018:
We love fireworks, so watched both the show from New York on the Fourth of July, as well as Capital Fourth, from Washington, D.C. It's disappointing that none of the Canadian networks broadcasts the complete fireworks show from Parliament Hill on Canada Day. Seeing just a few at the very end, above the credits, isn't fair to all those fans who can't get out to see them in person.
I didn't expect Bobbi to go out at all because we had an intense heat wave, and every human with any sense stayed indoors with the air-conditioning running! I enjoy sitting on Bobbi's lap when she's in the recliner, because there's a tower fan that helps distribute the air-conditioned air in the room. After all, I wear a fur coat year-round, so need to stay cool!
I also cool off by laying on my back. Don finds this amusing, but he also knows that it's my invitation for him to rub my tummy and maybe brush me. He usually does this when he comes over to help with things in the house.
June 30, 2018:
This is the start of a long weekend for both Canada and the U.S. Bobbi loves fireworks, so we'll be watching the TV display from Parliament Hill on Sunday, and then shows from New York and Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Fireworks on the Fourth of July became a tradition after John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, that he thought fireworks should be used to celebrate Americas independence from England. That letter was written on July 3, 1776.
Another thing I found out recently is that only 2% of humans have green eyes. That makes Bobbi on of those exceptional ones! A lot of cats have green eyes, of course, including Yours Truly, but most cats have eyes in the gold, yellow-gold, and greenish gold range. The exception are "pointed" cats, like Siamese, who have blue eyes. All kittens are born with blue eyes, and the pointed varieties have a gene mutation that doesn't allow their eyes to change at maturity.
When I came here, in February on 2015, I had just turned one year old, so I was technically still a kitten. I still act that way, chasing balls and springs (my favorite toys), grabbing fat plastic straws in my paws to wrestle with, and running back and forth from front to back windows to watch squirrels at play.
But I've discovered two new things, much to Bobbi's surprise. When I was younger, I didn't react to catnip, although most cats just love it. But Bobbi recently bought a small toy with catnip inside, and I went crazy! I grab it, hug it, lick it, and toss it into the air!
And although I've had a fountain beside my food tray since I first arrived, I completely ignored it until last week, when I drank so much Bobbi was able to grab the camera and take a few photos.
June 23, 2018:
Tomorrow is Cat World Domination Day. It's also the end of the school year, so since it's wise to always keep learning, be sure to check out our Facts pages. Bobbi adds to these almost every week. My favorite pages are the Cat Facts and Animals pages, but there are others related to History, Food, and Culture & Language.
Next week Bobbi will be attending Angels' Night at Orpheus, representing Simon Teakettle, who has been a patron of this musical theatre group for 40 years! I had to give her PURRmission to attend in my place.
June 16, 2018:
Next Tuesday is the final meeting of the season for Ottawa Independent Writers. This is always a special evening featuring short readings by members and special refreshments. Bobbi will be reading "Grow Your Own Fur Coat," one of everyone's favorite pieces from Mewsings/Musings. If was first published in CATS magazine, and describes how cats are puzzled by how humans take care of their bodies.
I finally understand the tooth-brushing thing, because I brush my teeth, too (although Bobbi has to hold the bursh for me) but I'm still puzzled by the shower. Sometimes, after she's finished, I go in there to check it out.
Bobbi's mentoring client, Susan Taylor-Davidson, will also be reading from her first book, To Pluck a Crow.
Meanwhile, I've been spending my time relaxing on the couch in the living room, and playing with my tunnel toy.
June 9, 2018:
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that we're fascinating by other animals. We now have more than 130 species from 55 countries on six continents in our Fan Club (all photos taken by people we know, not lifted from the internet) but we also add fascinating facts about animals (including birds and insects) to the Animals page on this site. This page is one of several containing information Bobbi has gathered about culture & language, food, inventions, and history.
That page contains more specific historical information than the general Facts page.
One thing that always amazes Bobbi is how smart animals are. This week we're adding new information about a clever raven that outsmarted the researcher studying her, and bees that understand higher math!
Meanwhile, scientists add about 18,000 new species every year, but some of these are tiny insects and many are flowers orother plants. We do have a few insects in the Fan Club, but have focused, instead, on animal species. We've learned a lot since the Fan Club began. For example, who knew that there are 17 species of penguins and 18 species of seals?
One new species I'd like to meet is the rose-tinted katydid.
June 2, 2018:
June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and next Monday is International Hug Your Cat Day. Actually, cats don't like to be hugged, just petted, with scratching around the neck and ears. We prefer to do the hugging, on our own terms!
May 26, 2018:
Our tulips, trilliums, Lily of the Valley and lilacs are all blooming. I love seeing all the flowers from my various window perches, as well as robins and yellow finches who are bathing daily in the little pool/fountain in our back yard. I guess they aren't able to wash without water.
Everybody's favorite piece from Mewsings/Musings is "Grow Your Own Fur Coat," Simon Teakettle's comments on how foolish humans are to waste so much time washing with soap and water, putting on and taking off clothes, which also then have to be washed, etc.
Bobbi will be reading that at the June OIW meeting, where readings from members is a special feature of the last meeting before the summer. She'll also pick up a copy of Sue Taylor-Davidson's new book, To Pluck a Crow, will be launched this week. Bobbi mentored Sue through revisions of this book, the book proposal, and contract negotiations with the publisher.
We'll have the cover and a photo of the launch in next week's blog.
May 18, 2018:
It's a long weekend here, as Canada celebrates Victoria Day a week earlier than the American Memorial Day. It's also the weekend of the much-anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There's a Canadian connection, as Meghan has been working in Toronto for many years (starring on "Suits") and one of her close friends is the daughter-in-law of a former Prime Minister. His son, Ben Mulroney, hosts a popular morning TV show, and Ben and Jessica have three children who will be in the wedding party.
I'd be happy to watch this live on TV, because getting up at 4am is no problem for me. But Bobbi won't turn on the TV until after 9am, so we'll have to watch the recording.
She told me I ought to wear a "fascinator" for the occasion, but I dislike costumes, especially hats, so that is definitely not happening!
May 12, 2018:
May is Be Kind to Animals Month, and also the month to Chip Your Pet. Microchipping is really important for all pets who go outdoors. I don't have a chip, but I do wear a collar with my Gatineau license and a tag with my name and phone number on it.
May 15 is Hug Your Cat Day. I don't like to be picked up, but do appreciate being cuddled and petted. When our handyman comes in, I always greet him, rub against his legs, and then fall on the floor so he can rub my tummy. He taught me the command "Roll over," so he can give me a good rub-down and brush me.
Bobbi, of course, pets me, rubs my ears and scratches my neck under my collar whenever I'm on her lap. I let her clean my ears and clip my front claws, but my back claws are off limits! I also don't like her to brush my teeth. Instead, I do that myself, chomping down on the brush head when she gives it to me to hold.
May 5, 2018:
I don't like it when Bobbi goes out in the afternoon and doesn't come back until well after dark. But I never mind when she goes to see a play at Great Canadian Theatre Company, because our company, Simon Teakettle Ink, has been a supporter of GCTC for a very long time. In fact, Bobbi first began to write about GCTC 40 years ago, before they movedinto their first theatre, a converted garage.
Over the years, she's seen many wonderful shows, and her support has included a seat with Simon Teakettle Ink's name on the back, and contributions to the fund that built the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, GCTC's new home. She's been quoted in season brochures, contributed an article to the newsletter, and delivered posters from Yours Truly to the box office which they post on their bulletin board.
She came home last Saturday raving about the wonderful show that caps the current season. Gracie tells the story of a young girl growing up in a polygamous society (I had to look up that word!) and features a fabulous performance by Erica Anderson, who spends 90 minutes all alone on a clever multi-level set.
Director Eric Coates tells us that his cat, Mr. Carl Perkins, helped him block out the action. Carl is a young tuxedo, and we explained to Eric that tuxedos are known for being extremely helpful. I reminded him that I'm a Blue Smoke Tuxedo, which has led to our online friendship.
April 27, 2018:
Yesterday was Take Your Child to Work Day. Like many pets, I go to work with Bobbi every day! I often sit on my carpeted window seat in the office window, and sometimes under the cart in front of the door. That's my favorite spot to keep watch for intruders, as I can see all the way down the hall. Nobody comes inside except Don, who has a key, and I love his visits because he cleans my litter boxes, gives me fresh water, and brushes me!
But I don't like the vacuum cleaner, which he uses far too often that I think is necessary. My spot under the cart keeps me safe from that awful machine.
Monday is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. If you've been reading this blog, you already know how important that is to me.
April 21, 2018:
Three important things to celebrate this week. It's Pet ID Week, which is especially important for cat-owners, who often fail to provide collars with tags for their pets. Even a cat who doesn't go outdoors (like Yours Truly) needs to wear a collar. Mine has a star-shaped tag (of course!) with my name and phone number, as well as my Gatineau SPCA license tag.
Tomorrow is Earth Day. We have a good friend whose website contains a wealth of information about climate change and protecting the environment. Go to Restco.ca to follow all the links.
April 13, 2018:
It's Friday the 13th, so I hope you're not
superstitious. We're expected a big snowstorm this weekend, which one doesn't
We mentioned the ruffled grouse on Steve Pitt's property last week, and he sent us yet another photo of this magnificent bird in full strut.
April 6, 2018:
Just read that the first Friday of each month is Blame Someone Else Day. So I'm taking advantage of that to remove all blame from Yours Truly for a cascade of problems over the past week that caused a glitch with email, then with the power supply to the desktop computer and printer, and even with a toy that doesn't belong in the office being found under the desk.
All is well now, so I'm claiming Immunity to Prosecution.
Meanwhile, Steve Pitt sent us some great pics of the ruffled grouse on his property as well as of a chickdee flying off after snatching a peanut from Steve's palm.
I may have forgotten to tell you that we added several new species to the Fan Club, as well as another country, after Juliana Najak brought us photos from their trip to India. Check out our first bat, chital (a form of spotted deer only found in India and southeast Asia), and some exotic fish, including a stingray. There are also the usual elephants, cows, a giraffe, a lion and a tiger.
We don't make political comments in this blog, but I recently noted that Donald Trump is the first president in roughly 150 years not to have a pet while in office.
March 31, 2018:
Tomorrow is not only Easter Sunday, but also April Fool's Day. Wonder if anyone will make a mess when they try to remove the shell from what they think is a hard-boiled egg to find out it's still raw? Or will jelly beans spill out of chocolate bunnies?
I've always thought that bunnies were tricksters, which is why I didn't want to wear the bunny ears Bobbi tried to get me to pose with.
This is a good time to promote a new humor book by a friend of ours. Allia Zobel Nolan. We have many of her books in our living room for guests to pick up when they visit. And she has a cat, Fiona Colleen Nolan, who could be my twin!
March 23, 2018:
Today is World Water Day. It seems that many people around the world don't have access to clean drinking water, which is really terrible. Like humans, cats can survive several days without food (not happily!) but all mammals require water every day.
My water bowl is on the tray next to my bowl of dry food, and I also have a bubbling fountain beside my dish in the kitchen, where Bobbi gives me a small portion of Friskies canned food (seafood flavor!) every day. She has never seen me drink out of the fountain, so I'm not going to reveal here whether or not I have actually done that!
Because I lived outside when I was very young, I learned to "test" water before I drink it. I still do that sometimes, putting my paw into my water dish to make sure it's safe to drink.
March 17, 2018:
We don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day in this household, thank goodness. Unlike Terzo, I don't like to dress up, and wouldn't want to have to put on a silly green hat to pose for pictures.
I'd much rather talk about the current play at GCTC, which Bobbi saw Saturday and told me was wonderful. While she was there, she delivered a note from me to my boyfriend, Mr. Carl Perkins, who lives with GCTC's Artistic Director, Eric Coates. Carl is younger than I am, and hasn't yet come to appreciate some of the toys I send him. I enclosed two new, fat straws with this message, but Eric tells us Carl hasn't figured out what to do with them.
March 10, 2018:
I just found out that this is the weekend we "spring forward" and change to Daylight Savings Time. I don't understand why we have to do this, and find it very disrupting. Last fall, when we "fell back" an hour, it took me a long time to adjust. Like most pets, I'm used to being fed at the same time every day, and to adapt to Bobbi's schedule. So everything is disrupted when the clocks change.
Meanwhile, she's trying to get me to wear those
silly bunny ears again. I'd much rather play with my toys.
March 3, 2018:
This is If Cats Had Opposable Thumbs Day. Huh? I don't need opposable thumbs; I have claws, and even though I let Bobbi clip off the sharp points every week, I can still use them to pick up things more effectively than she can! I especially like the little white practice golf balls she buys for me at the dollar store, because I can use my claws to grab them by the little holes.
Many animals use their paws very effectively. It's not just monkeys who can use tools or pick up things with their paws. On our Animal Facts page, there are wonderful examples members of the crow family, who use tools to accomplish amazing tasks.
We're adding an item there this week about a female lion who grew a mane, as well as trio of cats our friend, Barbar Bunce-Demeules saw on the street near Madrid. Barbara, one of the contributors to Prose to Go: Tales from a Private List, also sent us great photos of Barbary Apes, the only species of macaque living outside of Asia.
Here's a sneak peek:
February 24: 2018:
Bobbi just came across this poster, and I think it's a good time to remind everyone about this. The black cat is Bastet, who was revered in Egypt. We have several little statues of him around the house, one of which is a replica of the one in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It's the one on the right in the photo below.
The logo for Simon Teakettle Ink has always been a black cat, in honor of Cat Superiority we claim from our Egyptian ancestors.
February 16, 2018:
What a busy week! Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and the Chinese New Year all in the same week. This is the year of the Wood Dog, and since Bobbi was born in a Wood Dog year, she will be reminding me about that for the next 12 months!
We have a dog in our living room. He looks a lot like Chummy, the Norweigian Elkhound Bobbi had as a teenager, and every so often I knock him over to remind him who's boss. Here we are, looking out the front door last summer. Then there's a photo of me celebrating Valentine's Day, and one of me wearing my Mardi Gras beads.
February 10, 2018:
This is Cat Health Month. Don't know how we're supposed to celebrate that, as those of us who live in the north don't venture out for our annual vet visit until the weather is MUCH warmer!
Bobbi was wondering why I look out the front windows so intently late in the evening, just before we go to bed. She just discovered why. We have at least one snowshoe hare who crosses our front yard en route to the woods and creek behind out cul de sac.
Our pal Don took this photo. It's hard to see, but you ought to be able to notice the unusual paw pattern in the snow. No tracks in the back yard, so I guess this visitor doesn't want to jump fences! We're debating whether animal tracks qualify for inclusion in the Fan Club.
February 3, 2018:
I hope you aren't distracted this week by the Super Blue Blood Moon, and tomorrow's Super Bowl. But today is My Fourth Birthday!
Here is the tuna & lobster feast in my special Simon Teakettle bowl (handmade by a local potter for the first Simon Teakettle), which was one of my gifts from June Coxon. And then Bobbi used the bowl as a background for my Favorite Toys.
January 27, 2018:
Another really cold week in the Ottawa area. As I approach my 4th birthday, I wonder how my mom, siblings and I survived our first winter. Were we born in a home or a barn? If so, how did I end up a stray, 8 months later, asking for shelter in an Alymer home, and ending up at the shelter where Bobbi found me three years ago?
I hope visitors to this page will check the charities we support here and on the Fan Club page, as many of them rescue and re-home feral and stray cats.
January 20, 2018:
Yesterday was National Popcorn Day. I love when Bobbi eats popcorn. I always ask for a piece to grab in my paws and then chase around the room.
This coming week we celebrate Answer Your Cat's Question Day. Some people think cats don't have questions, but we certainly do! Among the ones I ask Bobbi frequently are "Why are you taking so long to put more food in my dish?" and "Why can't I sit on the desk when you're working at the computer?"
Maybe seeing these in the blog will prompt her to offer some answers. Or maybe not...
We just added two more states to the Fan Club. Fran Shaw, a past president of the Cat Writers' Association, saw a monk seal sleeping on the beach outside her hotel room in Kauai, which allowed us to add Hawaii to the list, and Bobbi's old friend in D.C. added that location when he sent us a photo of a white-tail deer in his backyard.
January 13, 2018:
We're having strange weather, sometimes so cold the windows get frosted over and I can't see outside! Then we have a thaw, followed by freezing rain, then more snow. It makes me happy I'm an inside cat, although it's very boring when I can't watch birds, squirrels and the kids across the street getting off the school bus.
Here's a sample of our kitchen window, frosted over. You can see a bit of the rainbow decoration that hangs outside, as well as the outdoor thermometer. Then I thought I'd show you some of the delightful gifts June Coxon gave us for Bobbi's birthday and for both of us for Christmas. It's hard to see the pretty cat notes because the plastic packaging reflects the light.
January 6, 2018:
In the past we've started a new blog at the beginning of each new year, but as long as this page continues to load quickly, we're not going to bother doing that this year.
This is Walk Your Pet Month, which must have been invented by someone who lived far south of here! Nobody is going out in the record-breaking cold temperatures that have swept North America in the past week, and I assume dogs are donning warm coats (and perhaps booties) to do a quick run close to the back door and then rushing back inside.
December 30, 2017:
What a Christmas we had! Here's a photo of all the gifts I received, and one of me playing with my new Big Toy. You can see how the ball is lit up.
I also decided to commandeer a gift our former neighbor, Line, made for Bobbi. It's a square blue mat with a cat knitted into the centre. Very classy! And I decided it was perfect for cuddling.
December 23, 2017:
This is Bobbi's birthday, but she decided to put my special Christmas present together a few days early, and I'm thrilled to have yet another ball to chase! The green ball lights up when you touch either the ball or the track that curves around. I can reach in from the top or the side, and Bobbi will take photos of me playing with it next week.
Meanwhile, I wanted to show everyone all the cat-themed birthday cards Bobbi has received.
Next week, pics of all my gifts (and perhaps a few of hers, too).
December 16, 2017:
I often receive compliments on my eyes, which are green. But our friend, Harvey, has eyes that are two different colors! Shannon Lee Mannion, who is the photographer who took professional photos of Terzo, sent us this photo she took last week of Harvey.
December 9, 2017:
This is Bobbi's birthday month, and she began to celebrate this week at a dinner with two close friends who brought a cake to the restaurant where they meet for these occasions. I thought I'd share a photo of the cake, along with one of Carl Perkins in a less agitated mood than pictured a two weeks ago.
When Bobbi went to see Blind Date at GCTC, she delivered a present for Carl from me, and Eric tells us he was impressed. He certainly looks content on his perch after playing with the little green sock toy.
December 2, 2017:
This has been quite a week for the Fan Club. Our friend in Egypt just added two new cats to the Cats & Dogs page, and Bobbi's grand-niece added a cat and a magpie from South Korea and a dog from Vietnam, bringing the number of countries to 52!
The Acrocats have a new little tuxedo named Dixie. The troupe will be spending Christmas in New Orleans, where Dixie was adopted as a kitten a year ago.
November 25, 2017:
The Great Canadian Theatre Company is busy
rehearsing their next show. It's called Blind Date,
Carl sat in on a rehearsal, and was alarmed to report that it involves a member of the audience enlisted to go onstage - with no advance warning and no rehearsal!
November 18, 2017:
It's American Thanksgiving next week, so how appropriate that we have photos of wild turkeys on the Fan Club page, just in time to celebrate that holiday! Don Duquette spotted these as he was driving in Gatineau, and stopped the car to snap a few photos.
We're getting ready for winter, with the first snow expected this weekend. I've been thinking about what I ought to do to pass the long, dark afternoons, when there are few birds and squirrels to watch from my window perches, and decided I should learn a few yoga poses, using the calendar John Friedman (who just celebrated his 50th reunion at the Latin School of Chicago) sent us a few years ago.
November 11, 2017:
This past week was Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. I've mentioned before about how grateful I was to be adopted from a local no-kill shelter, where Bobbi found me after visiting a shelter closer to her several times without finding a suitable kitty to bring home.
She didn't know at the time that I was a Blue Smoke Tuxedo. All she saw was a cat that appeared to be white with very uneven grey patches. But what I saw was someone I could charm into giving me a home of My Very Own.
The shelter had already named me Penny, but I wouldn't have minded if she changed that. I answer to Miss Penny, Miss Penny Teakettle, Q.T. (which sounds like Cutie), Sweetheart, and Bobbi's Girl.
Most cats and dogs don't care what you call them, as long as you give them lots of love, good food, a safe and comfy place to sleep, and a few toys. They also need to be brushed, have their nails clipped, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed, and to see a veterinarian once a year.
November 4, 2017:
The first Simon Teakettle earned his reputation by writing columns for our local paper containing his wry observations on human behavior. These came to the attention of the CBC Ottawa radio station, after which he became a regular contributor to several CBC radio national programs.
Some of those columns were adapted into articles for CATS Magazine, and were later included in the award-winning Mewsings/Musings.
I was reviewing some of those old columns recently, to try to understand this thing humans do that puzzles me. Twice a year, they change their clocks, which throws everybody off schedule. This means I get my main meal of the day (canned Friskies Seafood Supreme pate) either an hour earlier or an hour later than usual, my nap time and our bedtime are off, as is everything else.
It also means Bobbi has to change all the clocks and timers, so the coffee brews at the right time and the lights turn on and off when they're supposed to.
If anyone can explain this to me, I'd love to hear some justification for this crazy idea.
October 28, 2017:
Bobbi's cousins in Kentucky have a lovely new cat, a Siamese/tabby cross called Misty. She has a ringed tail, which you can see clearly in this photo. We've added her to the Fan Club, but have begun to move most of the cats and dogs from the Fan Club page to a page of their own, because the main page was too slow to load. It must be the elephants and the grizzly bears!
October 21, 2017:
I'm trying to decide what to do about Hallowe'en. I
really like the pretty ribbons Bobbi suggested, and although I'm not
fond of wearing hats, this is certainly a classy sombrero. Meanwhile,
I have this giant purple spider to add to the decorations. And then,
there's always the feather boa:
October 13, 2017:
We don't often experience a Friday the 13th in October, just two weeks before Hallowe'en. That brings up all the myths about black cats being bad luck. How this silly idea originated is explained on our Cat Facts page.
In addition to adding facts to the various facts pages, we keep adding species to the Fan Club. In the past few weeks we've added butterflies, moose, and ibex, and a snow goose. Those who visit the page can learn about species they've never seen, as well as many they've never heard about. Do you know what a capybara looks like? How about a bat-eared fox or a cotton-topped tamarin?
October 7, 2017:
We're celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving here, enjoying such a long Indian summer that most of the leaves haven't turned yet.
Since it's a time for gratitude, I want to mention how happy I am to have a loving home, after having lived for a time outdoors as a stray. One of the charities we support is Alley Cat Rescue, who just posted this on their site: Cats are the number one companion animal. Unfortunately, nearly 2 million cats enter shelters every year and only 30% will make it out alive. This is why it is crucial for veterinarians to become involved in lowering the number of free-roaming cats. Our May Spay Challenge resulted in 30,000 cats getting fixed by over 1,200 veterinarians in 45 US states, Croatia, Canada and South Africa. ACR would love for even more veterinarians to become involved. Contact your veterinarian and ask them to offer free or low-cost surgeries for free-roaming cats.
September 30, 2017:
We're ending Happy Cat Month on a high. We've added the state of Utah to the Fan Club (only 8 states to go before we have all 50), as well as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Italy!
Several of our most faithful contributors, Steve Pitt, Barbara Demoules, and Neven Humphrey, have helped us achieve this, along with Jennifer Pulling from the U.K. who helps to rescue strays in Sicily. To cap Happy Cat Month, we're featuring a very relaxed Carl Perkins as he welcomes Eric Coates home from GCTC, along with a content ginger cat in Amsterdam, waiting for his ride!
September 23, 2017:
Our fans suggest we give equal billing to dogs! So here's Rocky Russo, who cuddles with his new pal, Toby. They live in Panama City, Florida, and Helen Maris Russo often sends us photos for the Fan Club when she and her family vacation in Montana.
And since this is reunion weekens at the Latin
School of Chicago, it's appropriate to include Scruffy,
who lives with Susan Page Harrington Grove. She's part of the class
of 1967, who are celebrating their 50th this year. I stay in touch
with many from this class, and attended their 40th.
September 16, 2017:
Continuing the theme of Happy Cat Month, we want to welcome an adorable tiny tuxedo to the Fan Club. Mr. Carl Perkins was adopted by Eric Coates, Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company, who named the kitten after the late, great rockabilly songwriter. Simon Teakettle has supported GCTC for more than 40 years. Simon III (Terzo) was a classic tuxedo, and I'm what's known as a Blue Smoke Tuxedo.
Below, you'll see Carl on the left, who has the typical tuxedo white paws and belly, but no white on his face or back. Terzo, on the right, has much more white, on his forepaws and his face.
September 8, 2017:
This is Happy Cat Month, so we're sharing a couple
of new photos we received from our cat pals.
September 2, 2017:
I keep hearing that it's Labor Day, but like most holidays, I have no idea what that means. The only holidays I understand are Hallowe'en, because the kids from across the street come over, all dressed up, and Bobbi gives them candy.
And of course I love Christmas, because I get new toys in my stocking, and sometimes in packages friends deliver. My favorite toys are still the two green round things with balls inside. I got the big one for Christmas last year, and the smaller one for my birthday in February. But I love them both!
August 26, 2017:
Did you react to the eclipse last Monday? It was clear in the Ottawa area, but I wasn't aware of any shadow of even partial darkness, so slept right through the event, although Bobbi watched it on TV.
This is Homeless Animal Week, and since I fell into that unfortunate category just a few years ago, before I was taken in by a family and turned over to a local shelter, I have a soft spot for all those cats and kittens who don't have loving homes.
One of the members of our MEWSical Society, the famous Acro-Cats, takes in orphaned kittens and trains them to join the troupe of performers! Buffy and Sookie were found abandoned under different porches in Samantha's hometown of Princeton, Illinois. They were both just three weeks old, so had to be bottle-fed.
Since they were raised and trained together, it's natural that they became best buddies.
Buffy's greatest talent lies in ball balancing.
Sookie is known for playing chimes. Both cats are recognized for
their focus on the task at hand and professionalism on stage,
although Sookie has been spotted taking an impromptu audience
look-see during a purr-formance every once in a while.
August 19, 2017:
Next Tuesday is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, so I'm repeating some of the post I wrote after my annual wellness check-up last month.
I don't usually go outside, so was a bit apprehensive when she put me into my stroller. But I soon settled down and when we arrived, I remembered the location and settled into my favorite spot on the examining table: the scale! The vet was pleased with how healthy I am, how I let Bobbi clean my ears, clip my claws, and brush my teeth, but said I gained weight since last year, so should eat a bit less.
It's really important to take a cat to the vet once a year for a check-up. Too many humans seem to think that if a cat stays indoors, and doesn't need flea treatment or vaccines, they also don't need to see a vet regularly. But it's good to know that everything checks out okay!
Here I am letting Bobbi brush my teeth, and sharing both of my toothbrushes with Little Purple Mouse and Baby Hamster:
August 12, 2017:
The Simon Teakettle logo is an all-black cat, because the first Simon Teakettle was totally black, without even a tiny spot of white on his fur. The second Simon, called Simon the Younger and nicknamed Tiki, had a tiny white locket. And the third Simon, Terzo, was a tuxedo.
So I'm the first spokescat for the company who isn't black! I may look grey and white, but experts in cat coloring tell us that I'm "blue and cream." One of the charts Bobbi consulted said that I could be a Blue Smoke Tuxedo, which looks like a tuxedo but with grey rather that black fur, and a lot of white on the belly, paws and face. That certainly describes me, don't you think?
My eyes are green, one of the most common cat eye colors. Check our Cat Facts page for detailed info about cat breeds and colors.
We're thinking about this because next week is Black Cat Week. We'll be thinking about my wonderful predessors. I think they would be proud of how I've carried on representing the company, and have grown the Fan Club!
August 5, 2017:
August 8 is World Cat Day. My friend, Sunny, one of two kittens adopted a year ago by poet Sylvia Adams, will celebrate, as she does every day, by stretching out, full length, across Sylvia's bed. Her littermate, Sylphie, prefers the top of the bookcase.
I prefer the living room couch, where I was demonstrating tooth-brushing techniques to my purple mouse and the baby hamster who usually share that napping spot with me.
I love both of them dearly, frequently playing with them during the night, and often cuddling or washing the hamster.
July 29, 2017:
Cats observe everything, and get to know the daily routines of everyone around them.
I know, for example, that when Bobbi goes into the bathroom and puts stuff on her face, it means she's going out. If she tunes the radio to the station where a lot of people talk all the time, I know she'll only be gone a short time.
But if she puts on the station with lots of music, it means she won't be home for supper.
CBC radio is where the first Simon Teakettle began his career. You can read all about that on his page. Then, when Simon Teakettle II (Tiki) arrived, he moved on to co-authoring MEWSings/Musings, promoting that by appearing on Animal Planet as well as in many magazines.
We're still in touch with David Lennick, the host of the CBC program who first put Simon on the air. He and Bobbi only met once, when the program ended, but they had a delightful reunion in 2011, when Bobbi was attending a wedding close to where David and his wife live.
July 22, 2017:
We love parrots at Simon Teakettle Ink. It was a parrot, Mrs. Doyle, who inspired the forming of the Fan Club. She was born the same week as Terzo, and when Terzo and his pal, Jazz, decided to form a virtual musical combo, Jazz offered to play the piano, Terzo already loved Bobbi's collection of percussion instruments, and they invited Mrs. Doyle to be "the girl singer."
But Mrs. Doyle refused to sing! She does talk - a lot - and likes to drum on her water dish, but there was nobody to carry the melody! A bunch of feline friends soon offered to help, and the MEWSical Society was formed.
After Bobbi decided it should be limited at 33 cats (and a parrot), from nine countries, other cats clamored to join. Then dogs and other parrots wanted in, and so the Fan Club was born.
Our latest parrot is Crackers, who adds Jamaica to our list of Fan Club countries.
July 15, 2017:
Bobbi has an old friend, Mark Kearney, who lives in London, Ontario, but whose writing partner, Randy Ray, lives in Ottawa. Mark is a contributor to Prose to Go, and Randy and Bobbi have presented workshops together.
They're The Trivia Guys, who have just produced their 10th book, containing conversations with Canada's folk, pop and rock pioneers.
Mark and his wife have just returned from Poland where they were touring with their concert band. Mark is a prof at Western University as well as a writer, but playing music is his hobby.
He managed to add both another country to the Fan Club, as well as two more species, a jackdaw and pigeons.
July 8, 2017:
Bobbi took me for my annual "wellness check" at the vet this week. I don't usually go outside, so was a bit apprehensive when she put me into my stroller. But I soon settled down and when we arrived, I remembered the location and settled into my favorite spot on the examining table: the scale! The vet was pleased with how healthy I am, how I let Bobbi clean my ears, clip my claws, and brush my teeth, but said I gained weight since last year, so should eat a bit less.
It's really important to take a cat to the vet once a year for a check-up. Too many humans seem to think that if a cat stays indoors, and doesn't need flea treatment or vaccines, they also don't need to see a vet regularly. But it's good to know that everything checks out okay!
As a reward for being such a Good Kitty, Bobbi gave me a little cat purse, which I really like. I wanted to put some treats inside, but she wouldn't allow that.
July 1, 2017:
Happy Canada Day! We celebrate both the Canadian and American holidays this long weekend, because I was born in Canada (and Bobbi has lived here for 50 years) but she's an American citizen and I have lots of American cousins.
There are many dogs: Rocky & Balboa Russo in Florida, Raina & Symphony Russo in South Carolina, Beau Buchanan in Alabama, Pippa Luby in Connecticut, and Nell Florio in Montana. Griffin Jones lives in Hong Kong, but will be moving to New York soon.
Then there are my special cat cousins: Pumpkin Grava in Chicago, as well as Milo Russo (and his outdoor pals) in Panama City, Florida.
Here I am in my red beads, preparing to watch Canadian festivities on Saturday, and A Capital Fourth on PBS Tuesday evening.
June 24, 2017:
This is the start of two weeks of celebration here. It begins with St. John Baptiste Day, celebrating the patron saint of Quebec, and then the entire country will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation. Ottawa is already in full prep mode, with barricades ready to close off the downtown area to vehicles, and massive crowds expected on Parliament Hill and all the other venues where concerts and fireworks will take place.
We'll be watching on TV, and will hear the fireworks (although tall trees keep us from seeing any from the house). Meanwhile, we have a new routine with my two favorite toys. Bobbi keeps my red mouse were I can't reach it (unless I choose to be Very Naughty!) so we don't lose it under the couch. But she takes it out for me to hold and play with:
My other favorite toy is a soft hamster, the size of a newborn kitten. I've "adopted" this baby, and cuddle with it sometimes on the couch, but recently have been bringing it into the hall or the den during the night. Bobbi says Tiki used to do this with Bear.
June 17, 2017:
The third week of June is Take Your Pet to Work Week. Of course I spend some time every week in the office I share with Bobbi, supervising articles she writes, as well as writing this blog and keeping the website up to date. Today, for example, we just added an adorable family of Canada geese, which Steve Pitt was able to capture with his camera near his home in Rutherglen, Ontario. Steve's house is close to Lake Talon, and this family group seemed very much at home there.
Bobbi spent several days writing two full-page articles (1000 words each) for Freelance Writer's Report. The first one will appear in the July issue of this monthly newsletter that goes only to members of the Writers-Editors Network. Bobbi has been contributed to this newletter since the mid-1980s.
I've also begun to supervise another type of work Bobbi does. Every Wednesday evening, Paul Quesnel comes across the street for a piano lesson. I know all Paul's children, but this is my first chance to get to know Paul a bit better. Before, when he's been here, he worked on our computers. He played the piano as a child, but never learned theory or to read music, so he's starting with the basics.
Because of this, I may just learn to play the piano, too! Haven't tried that yet, but I may just jump on the piano bench when Bobbi is gone to see if I've learned anything as I observe the lessons.
June 10, 2017:
I couldn't resist sharing this wonderful story from the New York Times about how many of its foreign correspondents have adopted local street cats.
Michael Slackman, The Timess international editor, took on two Egyptian strays during a five-year stint as bureau chief in Cairo: Yodarella and Spunky.
"Jack Healy, a correspondent in Baghdad from 2010 to 2012, repatriated to a post in Denver with an Iraqi feral, Malicki, in tow. And Walt Baranger, who circled the globe many times over as a news technology editor for The Times, returned from helping establish a bureau in Kabul in 2001 with a stray named Purdah.
"To date, Dionne Searcey, the West Africa bureau chief, has adopted two cats: Muus (which means cat in Wolof, the lingua franca in Senegal) and Spotty/Dotty. Muus spends his days roaming the top of the walls that enclose the bureau, gingerly navigating the broken glass, set into mortar, thats meant to deter would-be intruders. Mostly theyre here to help our three kids feel comfortable, said Ms. Searcey, who described the streets in Dakar as littered with strays. But adopting the cats has also, in part, been a response to a nagging sense of powerlessness, she said. At least I can make one little difference for a street cat.
June 3, 2017:
We just added three more bird species to the Fan Club, thanks to Steve Pitt. He snapped a bald eagle in flight, a flock of chimney sweeps, and a sharpskinned hawk sitting calmly near the bird feeder, waiting for Steve to fill it with seed.
We also added a tiny baby groundhog named Griffin, after the town in Georgia where the Acro-Cats are relocating. He will start training and join the troupe soon.
Prolific award-winning author Clea Simon has just released her latest mystery featuring cats who assist female private investigators. As Dark As My Fur pairs Blackie, who is pictured on the cover, with novice sleuth Care. We have the full description on our Favorite Cat Books page.
Did you know that this is Pet Appreciation Week?
May 27, 2017:
In Dublin, Ireland, the Just Cats Veterinary Clinic & Cattery has posted a job for a Cat Cuddler. This paying position calls for the employee to help calm felines and their owners to make the visit to the vet more pleasant for everyone.
The word for kitten in many different languages was recently posted on FlipBoard. Among these are Hirra (Arabic), Yavru kedi (Turkish), and Kassipoeg (Estonian).
Iceland, where they call kittens Kettlingur, has a live web show called Keeping Up With The Kattarshians which follows the day-to-day lives of four rescue kittens, Guoni, Stubbur, Briet and Ronja. The show was made to promote cat adoption and is funded by the Icelandic Cat Protection Society. The kittens live in a large dollhouse with lots of cameras so viewers can watch 24 hours a day.
May 20, 2017:
Bobbi has been trying to teach me how to play Scrabble. She set up the board with our company name, the title of our book, and my name, but my little red mouse interfered!
May 13, 2017:
It's Mother's Day on Sunday, and Monday, May 15, is Hug Your Cat Day. Actually, many cats and dogs don't like to be hugged, and often don't enjoy being picked up. What we want is to come to you on our own terms, sit on your lap or cuddle up beside you, and accept your patting and scratching.
But Bobbi has taught me a different form of affection. This is a head-butt I give her when she asks for a "kiss." Then I give her my left paw, followed by my right paw, after which I usually get a treat. Although sometimes, I have to touch a toy or a pen with each paw first!
Humans vary in the kind of affection they prefer, too. All six members of the family who live across the street from us greet Bobbi with a hug, as do several other close friends. I also expect to be acknowledged and petting when someone comes into the house.
Don, our terrific handyman, always comes to find me (if I'm not already waiting for him by the door) to give me a long tummy-rub. I sometimes follow him around as he's working, but retreat to my bed in the corner of the office when he gets out the vacuum!
Here I am, curled up in my bed, and, on the right, playing with my favorite new toy.
May 6, 2017:
We'll be watching the Kentucky Derby this afternoon, although we won't be placing any bets. I just love all animals, which is why I enjoy adding new species to my Fan Club.
In addition to all types of cats, Bobbi particularly loves giraffes and elephants. They were one of the main reasons why she always enjoyed going to the circus. So it's sad to mark the passing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
A few interesting tidbits. Stephen Colbert just revealed that in the basement of the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where his Late Show originates, has huge pillars under the stage called "the elephant columns." They were added to support the stage when Ed Sullivan had circus elephants perform for his show!
The Circus Kings is an autobiography of Henry Ringling North with the assistance of popular biographer Alden Hatch, whom Bobbi knew when she lived in New York. The book offers a fascinating behind the scenes look at The Greatest Show on Earth.
April 29, 2017:
We don't always mention special days, although we certainly support Earth Day and others that grab news attention. But there are a few that are Really Important. One is Shakespeare's birthday (April 23) because Bobbi has strong connections to the Bard. Check out the Florio page, and also Bobbi's mentoring client whose book, To Pluck a Crow, is about Shakespeare.
Of course we have to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, which occurs this weekend. I still remember my time in a cage at the animal shelter before Bobbi found me, but even more, the months I spent outdoors, as a stray. I love looking out the window, but have no desire to venture outside. Been there; done that!
April 22, 2017:
Bobbi loves to collect interesting facts of all kinds, but especially about cats. For example, she recently found out that in 2013 Monopoly fans from more than 120 countries voted to add a cat token to the game. It replaced the iron. It was the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to eliminate.
It seems that cats prefer one paw over the other, with most male cats favoring their left paw, and most female cats, the right. But I always use extend my left paw first when touching something, and that's the one I life first when asked to give my paw.
And the mayor of the capital of Latvia shares his office with three cats, named Dumka, Kuzju, and Muri.
Then there's this clever ad claiming a conspiracy among cat owners who sell their cat's poop for profit: http://tinyurl.com/m855e2n.
April 15, 2017:
It's Easter weekend, but many of our friends are also celebrating Passover, and April is also National Poetry Month. Simon Teakettle II (Tiki) was the poet in the family, and several of his poem are in Mewsings/Musings, including the popular Bye, Bye Office, which chronicles his bad habit of jumping on the desk and sitting on top of the printer.
Last week, our pal June Coxon gave Bobbi a charming little book she brought back from B.C. I Could Pee On This, Too, is the second volume in a series of poems by Very Naughty Cats, who sleep in laundry baskets, knock things off counters, and plan to take over the world! There's an entire section called Our Rules, which begins with the statement: The first eight years are for practice; the ninth is for revenge.
We're going to write to the author, Francesco Marciuliano, who writes the syndicated comic strip, Sally Forth, and has written for many magazines and other media. He may live with a cat who will join our Fan Club.
April 8, 2017:
Last year Bobbi got me to pose with bunny ears for
Easter (see my page for those embarrassing
photos) but this year I convinced her to feature these cute magnets
showing cats wearing Easter hats. And since it's spring, here's my balloon!
April 1, 2017:
We don't celebrate April Fool's Day in this household, because I think it's a Really Stupid Idea, and so does Bobbi. Instead, we're spending our time waiting for spring, hoping to see more birds at the feeder in the front, and more squirrels scampering up and down the maple tree in the back.
Our pal, Steve Pitt, who contributes to many wonderful photos to our Fan Club, lures chickadees with peanuts, which they eat of his hand. He thinks they ought to have been named Canada's official bird. He writes: "They land, pause, look you in the eye and cock their heads as if they feel at least obliged to make small talk in return for a free lunch. Then, when the conversation is clearly stalling, they politely pick up their peanut and gently fly off with no sense of worry or haste."
There are also many red squirrels on Steve's
property facing Lake Talon in Rutherglen, Ontario. The Latin name for
squirrel is sciurus, borrowed from the Greek word skiouros,
meaning "critter living in the shadow of its tail."
March 25, 2017:
Animal Planet recently ran the segment of Cats 101 which included our pal, Steve Dale, talking about how to select, handle and socialize kittens. I watched from Bobbi's lap, fascinated to see all these squirming fur balls, noticing that they had some of the same toys that are my favorites.
Bobbi and Tiki were on a segment of the Canadian
version of Animal Planet in 2002.
In 2007, when Bobbi was in Chicago to attend a Latin School reunion, she appeared on Steve's Sunday night radio show, talking about the challenge of raising a feral cat.
March 17, 2017:
People keep wishing us Happy St. Patrick's Day, although I have no idea why. There seems to be a Day for just about everything, and I only pay attention to the ones that celebrate cats.
However, Easter is coming, and I decided to inspect this little pink bird to see if it belongs with our Easter decorations. I've also asked Bobbi to put a series of photos of me grabbing and catching my favorite red mouse on my page.
March 11, 2017:
March is a strange month. Spring is supposed to be on its way, but we're still having nights that are way below zero, some freezing rain and the promise of more snow.
Yet there is this odd tradition of changing the clocks! I don't understand what this means, because as a cat I have my own innate sense of time, but I do know Bobbi is very annoyed that she has to change clocks and timers all over the house.
We're jealous of friends who escaped some of this year's awful winter in the south. Bobbi's friend, Lorri, sent us photos of cats from Cuba, where she, her husband, and her son, Zach (who is my special pal) had a great vacation. The resort where they stayed had a colony of cats who hung around the dining room at mealtimes to beg for handouts.
I wonder if they have to sit, as I do, before someone feeds them? Not only do I have to perform tricks for treats, but I have to sit beside my tray before Bobbi will put my wet food dish down, or fill the dry food.
March 4, 2017:
It's been reported that once a cat reaches maturity, they sleep most of the time. But that's not my routine. I wake up with Bobbi in the morning, race around to check the view from all the windows while she has breakfast, then jump on her lap for my first treat of the day. I have to give her a "kiss" and then each paw in turn in order to earn that.
I then alternate playing with my toys with looking out different windows. Between 11 and 12 I remind Bobbi that it's time for my main meal of the day, a quarter of a can of Friskies pate. The rest of the day I munch on dry food (Performatrin Ultra and Iams Oral Care).
Of course I have a Big Bath after eating, then settle in for my first nap, often on the living room couch, where I sometimes cuddle up to my pal Princess. After a few hours, I play some more, go into the office to help Bobbi work on the website or articles she's writing.
Late in the afternoon, I sometimes curl up in my bed in the office, then have some playtime in the kitchen while Bobbi prepares her supper. After she has her coffee, we have some cuddle time in the den, I play a bit more, and beg for a few more treats.
I know when it's bedtime, and encourage her to shut off the TV, put the iPad away, and get ready for bed. I climb in beside her, and stay for most of the night, although I usually get up several times to nibble on dry food, have a drink, and play with a few toys.
Check out my page to see more photos of me at work and at play.
February 25, 2017:
Our Fan Club continues to grow. We just added The Maldives to bring the total of countries to 39. Bobbi's grand-niece lives in Hong Kong, and she and her husband took photos of a skatefish close to shore, and some sharks at a safe distance!
Meanwhile, Bobbi's cousin, Tony Florio, sent us a beautiful grackle he photographed in Vermont. Tony retired as a Delaware Wildlife Section administrator with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, where he also contributed his art to calendars and the agency's magazine, and the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area was renamed in his honor last year.
February 18, 2017:
February 20th is National Cat Day, and there's been a lot of news recently about the proliferation of feline hotels and other special places dedicated to cats that are opening all over the world.
The second cat cafe has just opened in Ottawa. It will offer sandwiches, salads, soups and sweet treats, along with coffee and other beverages. Feline Cafe will have a separate room where cats up for adoption are free to roam. Owner Josee Cyr sees this as an ideal spot for anyone who can't own a cat, for some reason, as well as for those looking to add a feline to their household.
February 10, 2017:
I received my Very First Birthday Card sent Just to Me by a Elizabeth Atherton, a member of our MEWSical Society. She mailed it all the way from Edmonton, and Bobbi took a photo of me inspecting it.
Since we're also celebrating Valentine's Day next Tuesday, we're recycling a Valentine photo from last year.
February 3, 2017:
Happy Birthday to Me!
We're celebrating with my Brand New Instagram account. See many recent photos of Yours Truly, along with the cover of Mewsings.
Tomorrow we continue the celebrations because it's the second anniversary of my adoption from the Aylmer SPCA, where Bobbi found me after searching for several months for a new companion after losing Terzo.
I was just a year old, but learned very quickly that I was inheriting a Great Responsiblity. I had to take over this blog as well as the Fan Club.
I also took control of the Facebook Simon Teakettle page.
Bobbi says I already have Too Many Toys, so instead of presents she's giving me Lot of Petting and extra playtime this weekend.
January 27, 2017:
Today is Family Literacy Day in Canada. Last night Bobbi attended the Ottawa Independent Writers' meeting, where her close friend, Benoit Chartier, showed her a book he just purchased. It's a reprint of a 17th century encyclopedia of mythical Japanese spirits called Yokai. They manisfested themselves as supernatural monsters, demons and imps in Japanese folklore, some quite benign and mischievous. One described in the book is a cat, which supposedly, if it gets old enough, develops a forked tail, walks on its hind legs, and speaks.
While she was gone, I read an article in Lonely Planet about a wonderful cat village in Antalya, Turkey. Built by the founder of the Street Animals Protection Association, the village has 15 small cat houses and a number of bigger ones. Fifteen small cat houses and a number of bigger ones have different designs and varied colors, and there are benches, hammocks and playgrounds designed exclusively for approximately 100 street cats. The houses are heated, a natural spring provides fresh water, and the local village offers veterinary care.
January 21, 2017:
Now that the holidays are over, the next Big Thing in this household will be my 3rd birthday. Bobbi is having a hard time deciding what kind of present to give me, because it will be impossible to top the green tower with three balls inside, which I play with at least twice a day.
I had just turned one year old when Bobbi found me at the Aylmer SPCA, so I've only had one "real" birthday, and I don't even remember how we celebrated last year.
Since Bobbi's birthday is December 23rd, her birthday cards are still decorating the kitchen door. I'm hoping I'll receive enough cards to replace most of those.
Hint, hint! If you don't know our mailing address,
email Bobbi and she'll send it to you.
January 14, 2017:
Yesterday was Friday the 13th, but since Simon Teakettle's logo has always been a black cat, we aren't superstitious! Still, I thought we should acknowledge that there are only two times this year that that the 13th falls on a Friday. The next one isn't until October, just in time for the superstitious to prepare for Hallowe'en.
Don't know what the weather has been like in your part of the world, but we've had lots of snow, and severe enough cold to frost over the windows. That means Bobbi has been staying indoors, monopolizing the office computer, and I've had to use the iPad Mini.
When there are no birds and squirrels to watch outside, I play with my toys, including a neat game on the iPad that lets me chase a mouse across the screen. Here I am, playing that game, and also playing with the new red mouse I can actually catch!
January 7, 2017:
We always begin the new blog with a recap of the last two months of the year, in case you want to catch up.
The Big News this year is that we've finally
reached what we thought was
This fall he added many birds, including hummingbirds, a goshawk, and a Palm warbler, as well as an otter, loons, wood ducks, deer, and a wolf.
Helen Maris Russo lives in Panama City Beach, Florida, but they also have a home in Montana, close to Yellowstone, where Helen has photographed bighorn sheep, bison, elk, and a coyote, as well as goats, a very pregnant cow and geese on neighboring farms.
Fan Club members come from 37 countries on six continents, but we hope some of our friends who travel abroad will add more countries this year.
December 31, 2016:
My second Christmas in this house was absolutely wonderful! Bobbi gave me this neat new toy, which has three tiers with balls inside each one. Every time I play with it, I get so tired chasing the balls and running around the circle to see where they've gone, that I then have to take a nap.
December 24, 2016:
I was supposed to be a "domestic
shorthair," but my grey and white fur is actually
That requires some help from various brushes, which Bobbi faithfully employs every weekend. It's become a Sunday night ritual, which I love so much I've been known to find the long thin brush I like best and knock it on thte floor to remind her!
Last year, a close friend gave Bobbi a wonderful book for her birthday. Sylvia Adams, whose cat, Tulip, is a member of our MEWSical Society (and whose two kittens have joined the Fan Club), presented Bobbi with Crafting with Cat Hair.
So I've watched closely how she combs the hair out of the brushes and collects it in a plastic bag. There's quite a lot, and it's primarily grey, so I expect her to figure out how to make something lovely this winter. The book shows how to make a hat for your cat, but I don't like to wear hats, so I hope she makes a pin to wear when she goes out, she can take me with her!
December 17, 2016:
When the first Simon Teakettle became famous from
his comments sent to CBC
Bobbi stayed in touch with Art, although they never met, and you can see a few of his books promoted on this website, at http://SimonTeakettle.com/humor.htm.
December 10, 2016:
I'm getting excited about Christmas. There's a silver basket in the living room under the coffee table, where Bobbi puts Christmas cards as they arrive, and a big red stocking with lots of ribbons is on top. I think it's for me, but know I'm not supposed to explore it yet. I have touched the ribbons (very carefully!) but not when Bobbi's watching!
Bobbi is very strict about my not touching things
until she gives me permission. I finally figured out that it's okay
to take toys out of the baskets in the den, after she pointed out
that they belong to me. I love to be petted and called "Good
Girl," so I don't want to get
I did watch her put a tiny present into the
stocking when she came home Tuesday night,
Meanwhile, I'm helping her with Christmas cards. A few get delivered in person, but most of our friends receive a special holiday poster sent via email. This year, because Hannukah begins on Christmas Eve, and the The Prophet Muhammed's birthday is also this month, we're wishing everyone Season's Greetings.
December 3, 2016:
We just renewed my license with the City of Gatineau, which means I'll be receiving a new tag in a new color. The 2016 tag was light purple, which matches my special dressy collar Bobbi bought for me for Hallowe'en. It has tiny spiders, which are barely noticeable, so I think I can wear it at any time of year. Do you agree?
November 26, 2016:
We're approaching my second Christmas living in this wonderful house with Bobbi. It's so much fun to sit in the front windows and see the lights not just on our house and porch, but the colored lights along the roof of the house across the street. They added an extra circle of lights around the tree on their front lawn this year as well.
We had our first snow last week, and I had to check the windows in the back as well as in the front, to make sure it was falling in both places. It's one of those things I don't understand, although I'm doing my best to learn as much as I can by listening to the TV, and to conversations Bobbi has with people who visit us.
I'm more sociable than any of the cats who lived in this house before me. When we have visitors, I not only come out to greet them, but usually sit on the rug in the living room as they chat. One recent visitor was surprised that I don't fall asleep while people are here, but Bobbi pointed out that I enjoy listening to human voices.
Recent research reveals that dogs, cats, and many other animals understand more language that humans realize. So be careful what you say about us!
November 19, 2016:
Canada has just named the gray jay, or whiskey jack, as its National Bird. It was a surprise to many, who felt the loon or the Canada goose were more likely choices. But the experts who made the final decision pointed out that the gray jay is found all across Canada, doesn't go south in the winter, is friendly to humans, and is very smart. It's a distinct species (as is the bluejay), but both are members of the crow family, the most clever of all birds.
November 12, 2016:
Our Fan Club continues to
grow, and we just added a Japanese raccoon dog, a
Our aim is to reach 100 species from 40 countries in 2017.
November 3, 2016:
November is Pet Awareness Month, Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and National Senior Pet Month. In addition, Nov. 6-12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. The reason for all these special occasions is to remind the public about the plight of animals who are either living outdoors as winter approaches, or waiting in shelter for adoption.
Many people go to shelters looking for kittens or puppies, but older animals need homes, too, and can be excellent choices for busy families or older singles who don't want the hassle of training a puppy or kitten.
At just a year old, I was not only litter-box trained and socialized, but had just been spayed and had all my shots. Still technically a kitten, I didn't pose any of the problems often seen in younger kittens: climbing drapes, jumping onto counters or tables, scratching furniture, or racing out of open doors.
My exceptional manners (which everybody notices!) are a result of Bobbi's careful training (see the top right of this page for a link to her article) as well as my realization that following her instructions would make me very happy. Shelter cats are wise. We know we were in peril and are grateful to have been rescued. We repay our humans by coming when we're called, obeying their rules, and lavishing them with affection.
2018, Simon Teakettle Ink
WE SUPPORT SELECTED CHARITIES
& RESCUE GROUPS, including: intsikelelo.org
Click on the The Animal Rescue Site to give food to an animal in a shelter.
Aragon, model and TV star
Lily Fry, reading the paper