This blog began in 2006, after the adoption of
HERE for Bobbi's
Resources, tips, facts about cats
The Fan Club
Copyright 2020, Simon Teakettle Ink
July 11, 2020:
We were updating our award-winning article on training cats and checked out the link for Sticky Paws, only to find that it was purchased by Pioneer Pets, who are the great folks who make my favorite litter. Go to https://pioneerpet.com/ and look for both Smart Cat Litter and Sticky Paws.
I don't need Sticky Paws, because I don't scratch furniture! It also helps that I let Bobbi clip my claws, so if I "happen" to stretch on the couch (perfectly innocently, of course!) my claws don't grab anything.
Do any of you remember Carl Perkins, my tuxedo boyfriend? His human, Eric Coates, is the Artistic Director for Great Canadian Theatre Company, and he and Bobbi are friends. I remember sending pics of him when he was a baby, but Eric just sent us this current one, of Carl hanging out (literally!) in Stratford, where he and Eric have moved for the summer. The middle pic is an earlier one. I like to lie on my back in the summer, too!
July 4, 2020:
We're celebrating two holidays this week, as I'm a Canadian, and Bobbi, although a long-time Canadian resident, is still an American. That means we're watching a lot of musical performances and fireworks on TV. Some cats are afraid of fireworks, but I'm not afraid of ANYTHING!
Did you know that it was President John Adams who decided that July 4, should be celebrated by fieworks? That was back in 1776, so they have been a tradition in the United States, since its beginning.
Another tradition you may not have known apart is that on July 1, 1908, "SOS" became the international signal for distress. These are among the fascinating facts we keep adding to this website.
We may have some new photos to share next weekend. Bobbi has one of those clever phone things that takes pictures, and I expect she'll be pointing it at me!
And we have a new photo of my boyfriend, Carl Perkins, who recently relocated from Ottawa to Stratford for the summer. More about him next week.
June 27, 2020:
There's a beautiful Blue Smoke Tuxedo with lovel y long hair who lives at a bookstore in Edisto, South Carolina. Her name is Emily Grace, and she just arrived one day, having decided that a book store was her ideal new home. She greets both customers and authors who go there to sign their books, including C. Hope Clark, who publishesFundsforWriters, one of the Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. The is the author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries. You'll see Emily Grace helping her at a recent book signing.
June 20, 2020:
Tomorrow is Father's Day. Most cats have no idea who their fathers are, except in those rare cases when a cat family remains intact, in the same household.
But there are a few notable examples of male cats who aren't as "tomcatty" as one would think. For example, if a Siamese female doesn't have a Siamese male to mate with, her second choice is a black male. That's why many black cats are a bit smaller, with several characteristics of Siamese cats.
Tiki (Simon Teakettle II) happened to one of these.
His mom was a grey tabby, and he had several black siblings, as well as a grey tabby and a mostly white with black spots. Bobbi selected him from the litter for a couple of reasons. One was that, although the kitttens were still too young to be adopted, he was the only one curious enough to allow Bobbi to pick him up, and he responded to her rather than wriggling to return to mom.
He was also the most black of the litter, with just a tiny white locket. Since he was to fill the Very Big Paws of the first Simon, whose mug shot was already in many magazines and had established a reputation as "the classy cat in the black fur tuxedo" on CBC radio, he was ideal.
What Bobbi didn't realize until she got him home was how very clever he was. After a couple of years of wondering why he had retained the pointed face and sleek body of a Siamese instead of filling out as he grew, Bobbi did some investigation. Evidently, Tiki had a Siamese grandmother and a black grandfather. His grey tabby mom might have also mated with a black cat who had a Siamese mother, explaining why Tiki even sounded like a Siamese.
He left even bigger paws to fill than the first Simon did! Both Terzo and I had to scramble to match Tiki's cleverness and ability to understand complex commands.
Daddy cats often have little to do with their offspring, even if they happen to live in the same household. But there are examples of a male who fills in for a sick mama cat, washing and cuddling the little ones when mom is too ill to take care of them.
And Bobbi once read a charming story about a black male (could he have been part Siamese?) who came to the back door of a lady almost every day. He would come in for an hour or two, enjoy a meal, and then leave. But one very cold night she heard scratching at the door. and he had a tiny black kitten in his mouth. She realized immediatel that he was bringing the kitten to her to care for. But he also remained in the house for weeks on end, washing the kitten, making sure it ate, and only left (never to be seen again) when the kitten was old enough to care for itself. The woman adopted the kitten, of course.
June 13, 2020:
There is actually a day called Cat World Dominance Day. It's June 24, but all cats know that this is a Really Stupid Idea.
First of all, as the magnet on our microwave says: Dogs Have Owners; Cats Have Staff. In other words, we don't need a single day to dominate the world!
Cats are more popular as pets than dogs, and have a number of other advantages over their canine counterparts. For example, Cats are better at problem solving than dogs, and have a better capacity for visual learning than dogs. The giraffe, the camel and the cat are the only animals to move forward by moving both their right feet, then both their left feet. This way of walking lets cats move with grace and agility in perfect silence.
We have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten. Different meows vary in pitch, rhythm, tone, volume, and pronunication. The number of sounds a cat makes depends on the situation. If the cat communicates primarily with humans, they tend to have a wider "vocabulary" because they've learned that humans respond more to sounds than to body language. They quickly learn which sounds elicit the reaction they're looking for. If a cat howls for food and the human ignores that and doesn't put food down until the cat performs some other behavior, the cat will stop howling. Both Tiki and Terzo learned that food didn't appear until they sat quietly beside the food tray, and that's one of the first things I learned when I arrived in this household. A cat will almost never meow at another cat. Cats use this sound for humans.
Among the most notable is that Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Hitler were apparently terrified of cats. So we don't need a special day to dominate!
June 6, 2020:
June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, which is very important because so many kittens are born in the spring, and tend to be turned over to shelters if the owner of the mother cat hasn't arranged for them to be adopted. This is also Pet Appreciation Week, and was Hug Your Cat Day.
I thought I'd share an interesting site Bobbi found: https://catdogwelfare.wixsite.com/catfaces/cat-faces-interactive-quiz. You can take a quiz to see if you can figure out what your cat is thinking by the expression on his or her face. Fascinating!
Of course we can figure out what another cat thinks
by their body language. The way a cat holds its tail, moves its
whiskers or its ears, or curls a lip all indicate how he or she feels
about the current situation. Our friends at Alley Cat Alleys
(one of the charities our Fan Club supports) provide this handy guide:
Notice the photos on this page, including those down the right side of the page, to see how I express myself.
May 30, 2020:
We're finally having some lovely weather here. The lilacs are in full bloom, trilliums surround the lamp post on the front lawn, and Don (our helper, whom I really like because he brushes me every week) planted red petunias in the tubs along the driveway and front walk.
Yesterday Don brought a huge bag of dry food, and gave me a few bites to nibble as he transferred some to the bin in the kitchen. I've learned to obey him just as I follow the directions Bobbi gives me, because he won't reward me unless I sit and give my paw, come when I'm called, and roll over as he brushes me.
Humans underestimate how well cats understand language. In fact, they don't realize how smart many animals are. We just added a few facts about pigeons to the Animals page this week. Did you know what they can recognize human faces, and count to nine?
And on the Fan page, we've added a mother goose and her goslings, enjoying spilled seed from the feeders on Steve Pitt's property.
May 23, 2020:
The need for "social distancing" during this pandemic, has revealed how many celebrities live with cats. We've seen Kate McKinnon's grey and white cat (who looks a lot like Yours Truly!) frolicking with her during Saturday Night Live sketches, have watched Kate Beckingsale play with her cats, Clive (grey & white longhair) and Willow (white), and Anthony Hopkins's grey tabby in the background during an interview. Even former Australian PM Kevin Rudd was interviewed with his cat in the background.
We have a very long list of celebrities who live with cats linked to this page, which includes some humans and cats who have left us after we posted their names. The list is alphabetized, so you can easily find anyone who interests you.
Expect us to continue to add to this list as lockdowns continue with people still working from home.
May 16, 2020:
May is Be Kind to Animals Month, and May 15 is Hug Your Cat Day. Whoever came up with this idea probably didn't have a cat, as we don't like to be hugged. We prefer to cuddle our own way, on our own terms.
We added an item this week to the Animals page about how otters play (find it by searching for "otters"). It seems these delightful creatures like to juggle! Trainers are presenting the otters with food puzzles. I received a food puzzle for my Christmas this year, and love it, as you can see in the photos Bobbi took of my sniffing for the dry food nibbles, then using my paw to retrieve them. The silver ribbon in these shots was added by Bobbi to get my attention. But it didn't take long for me to figure out the concept. There are little plastic bubbles on each side, which I have to move to one side to get at the nibble hidden underneath. Fun!
May 9, 2020:
Happy Mother's Day tomorrow, to all moms, especially human and feline ones. I don't remember my mom, and was spayed before I could have a litter of my own. But my maternal instincts kick in with my tiny teddy and my other favorite love child, Hammy. This little hamster was given to me when I first arrived here, and I immediately adopted it. I have to know where he is at all times, and often carry him from one room to another at night before we go to bed.
May 2, 2020:
May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. We missed Autism Awareness Day last month, so I want to recognize this by showcasing special cards to send for birthday, anniversary or graduations, where you can write a personal message. These were created by Zach Reisman, an exceptional young man who has exploited the artistic talent which is common in those on the high end of the austism spectrum. It was at Zach's urging that I became a fan of The Big Bang Theory, although usually avoid sit-coms. These cards would also be most appropriate to send to those grieving the loss of a family member or close friend, or to send get-well wishes to a recovering patient. Go to http://www.zachdesigns.ca/\
April 25, 2020:
This week the holy month of Ramadan began, which will be difficult this year because the faithful will not be able to gather for prayers or with family and friends to break the daily feast after sundown. Ramadan is the month that the Quran or Koran - the holy book of Islam - was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad by Allah (God). We have very close friends who are Ismaili Muslims, the peace-loving followers of the Aga Khan, who support his worldwide philanthropy and many charities.
Have you noticed how clear the skies are now that there's so little air pollution? Wouldn't it be great if we could extend that clean air after the quarantine is lifted? Most of the pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, so maybe it's time to consider an electric vehicle or more use of bicycles.
Bobbi has been helping her mentoring client research facts and links for his daily blog on COVID-18. Read it at https://www.econogics.com/blog.htm
And in case you're wondering how I'm spending my
time, here I am on the den floor, holding onto one of my favorite
catnip toys. It's old and ragged,
April 18, 2020:
I haven't written about the fact that Bobbi has only left the house twice since the first of the year. I love having her home so much, but finally decided I should pay attention to the TV news (which seems to be on all the time) and find out what's going on.
Somebody just reminded us that people are now acting more like cats: staying indoors, sleeping a lot, washing all the time, and avoiding strangers.
I can't help but feel this is connected to Earth Day, which is celebrated all this week. Would this virus have spread so quickly and so widely if it hadn't been for many of the effects of climate change? And a warming planet will combine with changes in the weather to increase the spread of all diseases, insects, wildfires, flooding, the rise in ocean levels, and other natural disasters.
Cats don't worry. But I hope enough people wake up and understand what's really at the root of this pandemic.
April 11, 2020:
The year's biggest and brightest moon is visible this month. I do look out our windows at night, but not to watch the moon, but rather look for any animals. We have had snowshoe hares again this winter, and now that it's spring, the squirrels are very active. Bobbi and I are hoping another local bird builds a nest outside our living room window, like they did last year. It was fun to watch the parents fly back and forth to feed the babies after they hatched!
These Easter photos aren't new, but still worth
sharing. Those are balls, not Easter eggs in my basket. And I won't
wear the bunny ears, so put them on this little cat purse instead. At
the far right are Easter bonnets on cats, a set of adorable magnets
Bobbi put on the side of the stereo in the kitchen.
April 3, 2020:
We're looking for distractions in this difficult time, and were happy to receive these pics from members of Bobbi's Private List. Luna is the dog who guards the llamas on the Katz-Couvrette farm in the NWT. And one the young deer on Steve Pitt's property greets the squirrels.
March 28, 2020:
This is Earth Day, which we shouldn't ignore despite the focus on the pandemic. Bobbi's friend and client, whose weekly blog and newsletter is usually devoted to environmental issues, is now publishing daily compilations of information on the virus. Bobbi contributes to this effort, at http://www.econogics.com/blog.htm
Darryl's newsletter recently recommended this blog as a diversion for those experiencing information overload!
Meanwhile, our friends Bob & Janet Barclay, have just arrived home from Australia, the last stop on a world tour. We've taken many of the great photos from their travel blog for the Fan page, allowing us to add several new species including a platypus, a Masked Lapwing, rainbow lorrikeets, and a kookaburra.
March 21, 2020:
The past week has been really crazy. I've picked up on Bobbi's anxiety as she checked in on family and friends to make sure everyone is okay. So far, so good.
Bob & Janet are still in Australia, and can't come home before their scheduled April return because there are no flights available. So they're taking precautions there, avoiding tourist areas they had planned to visit, and trying to enjoy the rest of their holiday in a modified form.
But last week they sent us some wonderful photos from Melbourne and the King Valley. This includes our first platypus. This semi-aquatic mammal indigenous to the eastern coast of Australia, it belongs to a small group of mammals called monotremes, of which there are only three species.
They also sent us more kangaroos, dingos, koalas and exotic parrots.
March 13, 2020:
It's the first Friday the 13th of the year, and even though we don't believe in bad luck, the coronavirus has everybody worried. But we should take heart. In 1665, the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to the Bubonic plague. Isaac Newton had to work from home, where he used that time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.
This month's supermoon will be about 13 percent brighter and bigger than average.
Thanks to Bob & Janet Barlcay, we continue add new species to the Fan Club. They sent us a monitor lizard from India, and emus from Alice Springs, Australia.
March 7, 2020:
I'm very annoyed that we have to change the clocks this weekend. I've ranted about this before, but humans don't pay attention to cats who Know Better than to change things like feeding times!
Fortunately, we have more important things to discuss this week. There was an interesting article about inter-species adoption recently, which puzzled me because we all know cats and dogs that have adopted each other's offspring, as well as dogs who have made friends with horses, goats, ducks, and even an owl. But this article mentioned how unusual it is for a wild animal to raise another species. So here's the lion mom with her adorable leopard cub, along with our pal, Channing (who lives not far from here) with his playmate, Titi, a blue parakeet:
February 29, 2020:
It's Leap Day, which means nothing to me. Cats don't understand calendars, clocks, or numbers. We do have a thorough concept of time, seasons, the weather, when the sun is on the bed or our favorite spot on the rug, when it's time to enjoy our daily dish of canned cat food, and whether there are enough pieces of dry food in our new puzzle feeder!
I'm also aware of which days things occur here, and when it's time for our friend Don to arrive. I often wait for him by the kitchen door, as sometimes he brings bags of things, including cat food! He's also the one who refills the jars of dry food from big bins or bags, cleans my litter boxes and refills them (I have two) with fresh or extra litter, and brushes me once a week.
Of course I know Bobbi's routine very well. I also know when she's going out, because she sits in front of the mirror on the bathroom counter and puts stuff on her face. She only does this if she's leaving the house! Once of the most-requested pieces in Mewsings/Musings is "Grow Your Own Fur Coat," which describes all the strange things humans do from the cat's perspective.
Speaking of writing, Bobbi has an article in the winter issue of Latin Magazine, as well as in writers' publications she contributes to regularly. And Barnard Magazine has just accepted one of her pieces for their spring issue.
I have to take some credit for all this activity, because if I didn't let her spend so much time in the office, she wouldn't be able to accomplish this. Some cats (or so I've heard) jump on desks and even computer keyboards, meow incessantly, and otherwise disturb writers at work.
February 22, 2020:
Last week was Hug Your Pet Day, but many humans don't realize that cats don't like to be hugged. We like to be patted, scratched (especially behind the ears!), and brushed, and even occasionally kissed, but we'd rather not be held tightly. I do, however, like to hug my "babies," which I carry around, usually at night. This blog has featured Hammy the Hamster quite often, as he's my favorite, but Bobbi recently filled a little tiger with catnip, so I've started to carry him around as well.
This week is also the celebration of the Hindu New Year, and next Tuesday is the end of Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday" the day before Ash Wednesday).
I've been thinking a lot about Indian culture since our friends, Bob & Janet Barclay, have been sending us wonderful photos from their visit in that country, as we mentioned last week.
Meanwhile, I received a wonderful Valentine last week, right after I uploaded the blog. It's from Bobbi's former student, Susan Haskins, whose fabulous website, TheatreTalk.org, contains archived interviews from her Emmy-Award-winning program. I was astounded when Bobbi pressed the top of the card and the cats began to sing! The other two photos show me with Hammy in my bed, and washing one of my rear paws.
February 15, 2020:
We celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday, along with some great new additions to the Fan page. Our friends, Bob & Janet Barclay, are on a world tour, and have sent us several great pics from places like Singapore and India. Bob has edited all the recent OIW anthologies, and will be working on the 2020 book as soon as they return from their trip.
This week's Fan page additions include a Himalayan goral, a cross between a goat and an antelope, an Indian muntjac, also called a barking deer, and two bharal. also called Himalayan blue sheep.
They also photographed this monk with a cat on his
lap at a temple they visited. The Black Hat Buddhists from
Tibet brought all their ceremonial materials and raised money to
build this monastery, the biggest one in the state of Sikkim.
February 8, 2020:
I wanted to show you all my favorite birthday cards, some of which were for Bobbi's birthday in December, but featured cats in my honor! You'll see that my pal, Hammy, is watching over them, as well as over my other birthday present, a little bunny whose tummy is filled with catnip.
The middle photo shows me trying to see through the frost on the office window, and to the far right shows me being brushed.
February 1, 2020:
This is my birthday weekend, and I'm spending some time fishing munchies out of my new Puzzle Feeder. It's my primary birthday gift, although there's also a catnip-filled bunny I'm also enjoying. Photos of that will be comng next week, but I wanted you to see the bright green Puzzle Feeder, as it's a very clever design. Because cats won't poke their faces much deeper than their whiskers will fit, this is designed to that it's not easy to just pick up a munchie to eat. You have to use your paw first, to flip it out of the feeder, or nudge into a place where you can reach it with your tongue. Very clever! There are also little holes around the edges with covers that can be moved out of the way to reach the munchie. These are colored, but clear enough to see what's inside. By the way, my munchies are Iam's Oral Care Dry Cat Food, not treats!
January 25, 2020:
The Chinese year 4717 begins today, marking the first day of the New Year on the Chinese calendar. The Lunar New Year is celebrated during the second new moon after the winter solstice, usually between January 21 and February 20 on the Gregorian calendar. Lunar New Year festivities begin on the first day of the first lunar month on the Chinese calendar and continue until the 15th of the lunar month, when the moon is full.
Chinese legend holds that Buddha asked all the
animals to meet him on New Year's Day and named a year after each of
the twelve animals that came.
2020 is the Year of the Rat. I am Wood Horse, which pairs well with a Wood Dog, which is Bobbi's sign. The Wood Horse is full of imagination, looks at everything froma unique perspective and always want to express her ideas. We are also emotionally sensitive. Horses are usually popular, mentally alert, good workers, straight forward and honest. They seek the challenge and strive for success. They do not tire easily. That explains why my favorite toys are balls, springs, straws, and mice (not real ones!)
As those of you who read this blog faithfully know, I am a Blue Smoke Tuxedo. I have green eyes (Bobbi does, too).
My birthday this year comes just a week after the start of the Lunar New Year, and falls within the 15 day period of celebrations. So stay tuned for photos!
January 18, 2020:
A.A. Milne said, Some people talk to animals. Not many listen, though. That's the problem. Indeed! So it's appropriate to mention that January 22ns is Answer your Cat's Question Day.
My current question is about a mysterious item that arrived in a box from Amazon this week. Bobbi won't let me inspect it, and given that my birthday is coming, I suspect it's my present. Of course I'll post a few photos and tell you all about it in two weeks. I turn six on Feb. 3, which also marks the fifth anniversary of when Bobbi found me at the no-kill animal shelter in Aylmer, Quebec.
We awoke to a fairly heavy blanket of snow, with more on the way. I watched the squirrels in the back yard, who seem to have brought pine cones from the front to wherever they stash them for the winter. And I looked for fresh tracks from the snowshoe hares we think live under our front porch, as that's where the tracks seem to begin and end.
They feed on buds, twigs, bark, and evergreens. We also have lots of food for birds in our yard, with berries on the burning bushes in the front and on the types of ivy that produce berries. We also keep the bird feeder outside our office window filled.
January 11, 2020:
January is Walk Your Pet Month. Huh? Whoever came up with that idea didn't live in the northern U.S. or Canada! We haven't had much snow yet this winter, but we expecting freezing rain overnight, and a nasty few days when being outside is going to be difficult for humans and animals. Glad I can stay indoors and use a litterbox when necessary!
As you can see, I often curl up in my favorite "fur" bed with my hamster. He's a "love child" that I often move around the house when I'm anxious or bored. Bobbi often finds Hammy in the hall in the morning, although she had put him to bed in the living room the previous evening.
Sometimes I sleep on the couch with Princess, who
was here when I arrived, the only grey cat among all the black
stuffed cats in the living room.
The last picture is a bit embarrassing. Bobbi caught me in a huge yawn as Hammy and I settled down on the couch.
January 4, 2020:
We always start the new year with a new blog, adding the last few posts from the end of December to the bottom. As we begin a new decade, it might be a good idea to mention how this blog began. It was Terzo's idea, and he began the blog in 2006, continuing until his untimely death.
I then took over, but accepted the responsibility to adhere to Simon Teakettle Ink standards. That means we promote responsible cat ownership, recommend Bobbi's article on training, and provide free information and links to anyone who cares for or about cats.
We maintain the Fan Club, which currently has photos of more than 180 species from 57 countries, all taken by real people that we know, not lifted from internet sites. This is our way to promote the preservation of endangered species as well as working animals and pets who offer love and comfort to the public.
Do check out the links, including the one to Cat Facts. We also maintain many other pages of fascinating facts about history, inventions, culture, and even food. Start at the main Facts page and click on links from there.
As I write this, it's snowing, and as soon as I turn this over to Bobbi to do whatever she does to put it on the web (I'm not tech-savvy!), I'll go back to my nap. After all, this blog is called "Between Naps."
December 28, 2019:
This is our last post for this year, and for the decade! I've only been doing this for almost five years, but Terzo started this blog in 2006. It's been lots of fun to add new members to the Fan Club, pose for photos, and add lots of facts to our ever-expanding Facts pages. Just added new items to the Culture, Music, and general Facts pages this week.
Here are a few photos from Christmas, along with one of a deer snitching peanuts out of the chickadee feeder on Steve Pitt's property.
December 21, 2019:
Bobbi and I are eager to see the CATS movie. We love the T.S. Eliot poems (which Bobbi often reads aloud to me), and Bobbi saw the show on stage in New York, London, and Toronto.
We just heard that Jennifer Hudson, star of the new movie, named her two cats Grizabella and Macavity. You can see a very long list of cats belonging to celebrities on this website. See the link in the block just to the right, above the book logo and copyright statement.
I've been taking my afternoon nap in the living room, to keep an eye on my Christmas stocking. Bobbi has some of the special birthday cards she's been receiving on the piano, and a few gifts under the coffee table for her to open on her birthday (Monday, Dec. 23) and Christmas Day.
December 13, 2019:
It's Friday the 13th again. the last of four this year. But, as I've mentioned before, although our logo is a black cat (the first and second Simon Teakettles), we aren't superstitious. In fact, we think that black cats bring good luck.
It's time to share Simon Teakettle's version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which appears in Mewsings/Musings. The poem was read by Arthur Black on his popular CBC radio show, Basic Black, and inspired one of his neighbors to create a fabulous needlepoint wall hanging. Here are the list of things in the poem, along with a photo of the wall hanging.