Pets Feed

Happy 5th Birthday, Archie & Ollie!

Archie and ollie in sink

Hello my friends, and Happy Monday! This is my favorite picture of our cats - they were so little then!

It's hard to believe our kitties are five years old ... boy, has time flown! I hear it is also "National Pet Day" so this is a great time to talk about pets ...

Do you have any? Are you a cat or dog person? What kinds of pets did you have growing up?

I like to say I grew up with dogs, never realizing I was actually a cat person! But the truth is, I love all animals. I really do. When I was very young, like four or five maybe, we had a large tankful of fish and then I got a pretty green and yellow budgee at Grant's Department Store ("Gypsy" I named her). And as a pre-teen I had a couple of hamsters, "Cuddles" and "Pumpkin" ... fluffy little things who each lived a scant year or more.

But when I was seven my folks took my brother and I into Boston one Sunday afternoon, to a breeder of Cairn Terriers, and that was where we got our first dog, "Duncan" - or, Sir Duncan of Cork, as was his official name. ;) He was a sweet little dog, if a bit of a curmudgeon at times ... and boy, did he think he was about 20 sizes bigger than he actually was! My mother had grown up with Cairn Terriers (Penny and Pat were still alive when I was a baby) so it was kind of a nice family tradition. Several years later, when I was in 7th grade, we adopted another dog from a local rescue shelter. This was Natasha (or Tasha as we called her) and she was a small/medium-size, black-and-white terrier mix of some sort - a mutt, or so we thought. Years later we found out she was actually a Portuguese Water Dog! (Though perhaps not purebred.) What was funny was Tasha LOVED water. We would visit my aunt and uncle's Maine camp in the summer and Tasha would run into the water, leap onto the dock to shake and then jump right back into the lake. She was a dear little dog, a real "nana," always taking care of us. :)

Duncan passed away when I was in college and then Tasha several years later when Bookworm was a baby. Aside from a stray pit bull ("Annie") we took care of for a short time, they were the only dogs I ever owned, and I remember them both so fondly. 

So cats didn't come into the picture until 1990! My folks found a newborn kitten left behind by a stray mother cat and decided to keep him. He was named "Timothy" and was a gorgeous cream-colored cat with taupe and brown markings and pretty blue eyes. Timmy definitely had a little Siamese in him! And he was very much my dad's cat. This happened while I was away at school and it all seemed a bit surreal to me! We were a dog-and-cat family now? Wow! A year or so later, my folks were throwing a graduation party for my brother and me (he from high school, me from college) when we came to discover the aforementioned stray mother cat had delivered yet another litter of kittens - this time, beneath our family room addition!

Fast forward a bit - we kept all the kittens and the mother cat because, A. it was hard to find them good homes and B. we kinda fell in love with them. And because Mama Kitty did NOT get along with Timmy (and vice versa), when Bill and I married, we took the small feline family with us to our tiny 1-bedroom house in the woods. I jokingly called them my "dowry!" 

Early readers of my blog (going 10 years back) might remember our original cats - Mama, Midget, Smokey, Penny and Patty - because I blogged about them a lot. They were mostly black and white, though Penny was calico. They all lived good long lives and were wonderful pets. I enjoyed them so much and at some point though the years I came to realize, I was in fact, a cat person! When our last cat, Smokey, passed away at 20 years old in 2011, we thought we might take a little break from pet ownership ... but that idea didn't last long!

In August of 2011, we found ourselves ready - eager! - to adopt new cats, and this time I wanted orange cats or "marmalades" as they are sometimes called. Mostly because they would look quite different from our original cats. Well, after a brief search - keeping track of available rescue kittens online, orange cats are fairly rare - we found two gorgeous marmalades at a nearby feline rescue organization. They were four months old and had been part of a litter of nine abandoned kittens found in an alley. One visit was all it took - Archibald (nee "Jerry") and Oliver (nee "Josh") were absolutely endearing. Archie was all over us, a real little fireball ... whereas Ollie was quieter, laying happily in our arms. They've stayed pretty true to their original impressions these five years later!

Archie and Ollie 5 Years Old

Oliver (in the foreground) is still our "gentle giant" ... he's a marshmallow, just so sweet and quiet. A bit shy, he tends to stick to out-of-the-way corners during the day, but you can always find him somewhere near Crackerjack. He is very much CJ's cat. :) Archie, on the other hand, is what we call our "alpha" ... he definitely thinks he is in charge around here! And he is very much "Mama's cat." He can be found wherever I am through the day - right in the mix of things - and he sleeps at my feet every night.

They are such good cats - absolute loves - and we are looking forward to many more happy years with these fellas. So on this special day, I'd like to say:


Treats twice today and lots of belly rubs ear scratches!

Thanks so much for joining me today, friends and indulging me in this little bit of pet nostalgia! I know I've been very slow at blogging lately, but that's just how I need to roll at the moment. (Could I beg a few prayers if you have a moment? I'd appreciate it so much and please know I think of you all and pray for you, too!)

I am defintely not giving up on my space here - though I am fairly active over on Facebook and now Instagram, too. I do have lots of post ideas and drafts in queue and when I have time I will be sharing my thoughts and discoveries and queries with you all here. But for now, I will wish you all a lovely evening and hope to see you here again sometime soon!

My New (Desktop) Wallpaper


And since I have your attention ...



(It just doesn't get old.)

I hope you all don't mind me indulging my need to share so many pictures of our new kittens. We're a bit obsessed, I'm afraid. ;)

For the record, the boys would like me to announce the cats' full names:

~ Archibald Fred (Archie) and Oliver James (Ollie) ~ 

Archie is named for that ginger-haired comics icon (the boys are avid fans/collectors) as well as the tragically fallen Weasley brother. Oliver is simply named for my favorite chef, Jamie Oliver. (We watch Jamie at Home every night, almost without fail.)

Needless to say, we are smitten with our kittens ... and happily, they seem to be settling in quite well.




Ok, I've escaped to a secure location where I should be able to use my computer in relative peace. The kittens are such little scamps! But they are doing really well and we are so thrilled to have them. Oliver actually has/had an upper respiratory infection so he's already been to the vet and is currently on eye drops and an antibiotic. We're also mixing Lysine into their daily 1/2 can of food. He's responding well to the treatment so hopefully the infection will be knocked out completely very soon. Thankfully, Archie has not shown any symptoms ... and they are both as playful and active as ever. They have particular times of day when they are extremely rambunctious (right about bedtime, natch) and their favorite pastime seems to be brawling - i.e. charging at and mauling each other. Fortunately, they seem to be on equal footing and nobody actually gets hurt. But they are just too funny to watch! We call them our kittens rampant ...

You know, as in, lion rampant, lol:

Lion rampant

(Bookworm took some video - I'll try to post a link.)

In other happy news, I finally finished the end of year school reports! Mailed them off early yesterday morning ... but oh my goodness, I have never been so late getting our reports in! It feels really good to be done with that particular project - now I can concentrate on ordering our fall materials and outlining Earlybird's goals for the new year. Also, I can focus on preparing the learning spaces, which, as you know, are undergoing a bit of "transformation" right now. Today I've started a "back to (home)school" list of supplies - and I will post about that too, very soon.

Well, I must be off ... I just wanted to stop in quickly and let you all know I'm still here, and working on all kinds of stuff. I'll post again just as soon as I can ...

Enjoy your day, my friends!


Our Two New Little Loves ...

 Please say hello to "Archie" and "Oliver," our 4 month old kittens!


We are officially "a cat home" again - and it just feels so good!

So, as I've been hinting, for the past month or so I've been quietly researching kitten adoptions. We had a short list of criteria: we wanted shelter kittens (i.e. rescued felines) and we knew we wanted a pair of male siblings, if possible. We also hoped to find orange cats - mainly because, A. I have a soft spot for marmalades and calicos and, B. we wanted cats that looked entirely different from our late kitties.

So here's what happened ... (and because I can't help myself, I will post pictures of Archie and Ollie throughout my ramblings). 


(Archie, front - Oliver, back)

I had been perusing local shelter "adoptable" kittens online, when a couple of young marmalades caught my eye. They were found abandoned in the next town over, this past April, as part of a large litter with no mother nearby. I called to see if they were still available, not feeling too hopeful - most sites warn that the kittens shown online could very well be no longer available - but the woman I spoke with, a volunteer for a local feline rescue organization, assured me they were still up for adoption. Hooray! We immediately made arrangements to visit the kittens at a nearby Petsmart.



Now, we entered Petsmart this past Thursday morning knowing we would most likely be leaving with adoption papers in hand. Because honestly, how can you go visit kittens and NOT want to adopt them?



Needless to say, we were completely enamored. Not only were they friendly and playful, but they were affectionate, too. I held each of them and they just melted into my arms. We asked lots of questions and learned more about their backstory. Between April and July they were fostered by another rescue volunteer. Bottle-fed, held and nurtured, they are completely people-friendy cats. In July, they were brought in to Petsmart for adoption and very surprisingly they were not snapped up until we came along. (It was obviously meant to be ...)



So we made arrangements to pick up our new kittens - pending adoption approval - on Saturday morning - Crackerjack's twelfth birthday.

And that's just what we did. :)



We were advised to keep the kittens sequestered in a separate room for a few days before introducing them to the rest of the house. We chose the older boys' room which was given a top-to-bottom overhaul in preparation. And both Bookworm and Crackerjack assured me the kittens' nighttime antics (sounds, smells and activity) would not bother them a bit. 


(Archie, top; Oliver, bottom)

They have food, water, a litter box, a tower (seen above) and a snuggly bed as well as a few different toys. And of course, they have each other.

But tonight ... well, tonight they discovered the window:


(Archie, left; Oliver, right)

You might be wondering how we can tell them apart ... well, Archie is slightly smaller and leaner (he's also more rambunctious and interactive). Oliver has more white and his orange fur is more "buff" than the yellow-orange of Archie's.


(Oliver, left; Archie, right)

Bill is working on closing up the staircase to the downstairs. Once that area is secure, probably in a day or two, we will let these two hooligans kittens out into the rest of the house.

And THAT should be quite an adventure!

At this very moment as I wrap up this post, the kittens are vying for space on the window ledge, mercilessly hunting moths. They are also eyeing the door *and* Crackerjack's top bunk.

The little scamps ...


(Oliver, left; Archie, right)

So as you can imagine - between the room renovation, Crackerjack's birthday (and back-to-back parties) AND the new kittens this has been quite a crazy few days! I wanted to mention also, that Bill's eyes are doing better - his dermatologist said he has exzema, and an underlying allergic reaction which will be determined once he can undergo further testing. (Early this fall.) Thank you again, for your prayers and concern - we appreciate each thought and suggestion. 

So "Good Day" then, my friends and thank you so much for stopping by. See you again sometime soon!


The house seems so empty.


Friends, it is with a very heavy heart that I write this post ... yesterday we had to have our dear Smokey put to sleep.

As I posted last month, Smokey has slowed down quite a bit recently, but has also seemed healthy and most of all, happy. He was such a wonderful cat - so affectionate and always up and about, making his presence known with his chatter ... curling up near us wherever we were, curious about whatever we were doing. He was gentle and frisky and fun ... and he truly relished the comforts of his home, especially the attentions of his family. And we all relished him just the same.

In the past 10 years, we've gone from a house filled with five cats, to now, a house with none. It just doesn't feel right here this morning ....

Goodbye, Sweet Smokey. We miss you so much.


"I love cats because I love my home, and after a while they become its visible soul." 
- Jean Cocteau

Happy Birthday, Smokey!


(The likeness is uncanny, isn't it?)

As I mentioned earlier this week, our dear little cat turned 20 this week! Yesterday, in fact, was his birthday. I'm happy to report, he had a very nice day - lots of extra loving, a second can of food, long naps by the fireplace and a wee bit of catnip to boot. For our Friday baking, Earlybird and I made little lamb cupcakes - but I tinted a small amount of the frosting with a few teaspoons of cocoa powder and made one of the cupcakes look a little (a very little, lol) like Smokey.

Now, if you've followed my blog for any length of time you know that I'm a huge animal lover. I might have grown up with dogs (and birds, fish and hamsters) but after 20 years and five cats, I am now a truly confirmed cat person. It's hard to believe we only have one cat now, when we once had five ... yes, five! The story of how we came to own five cats is described in this long-ago post, a tribute to our first cat to pass, Mama Kitty. 

To be honest, Smokey is definitely slowing down. Having gone through four kitty deaths already I'm starting to recognize the signs - he's very thin, a little disoriented at times, and he's walking a bit lame. But he's also eating regularly, using his box, still jumping up on our beds, etc. He's basically doing pretty well, but I know our time with him is nearing its end. Whether we have months or even another year, it will never be quite enough. But I'm very grateful we've had him in our life - that he's lived so long and so well.


Well, thanks so much for stopping by today, ... I'm off now to get this day rolling. We have a busy Saturday ahead - lots to do, errands to run, a family gathering to prepare for ... 

Have a great weekend, everyone ~ I will see you all again very soon.


Cat Break

Good afternoon, dear readers ...

I am currently working on a file folder post but I'm afraid I won't have it done today ... I've also made up a holiday planner, but that too isn't quite "postable" yet ... so in the meantime, I thought I'd put up this picture of our cat, Smokey. Actually the boys insisted, claiming it's been too long since I've posted about the pets. ;)


He's a grizzled old thing, but so gentle and sweet. He consistently forgets he's been fed ... he meows uncontrollably at 4 a.m. everyday ... and he's never caught a mouse in his very long feline life. 

He also loves to nap in my magazine basket, enjoying the sunshine and a bit of a breeze ... 

Do you own a cat? :)