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.
2017, 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