Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Week for Cupid under the Tree

It is one of the smallest Christmas Trees I have had for years, based on finances and other practical considerations, but at least it is safe from Puttikins mischief, perched high above the floor.

Cupid has become very lethargic lately and spends most of his time when he is in the kitchen idling on one of the chairs. He even learned how to avoid total disaster when he uses the broken chair. At first, he would send the entire seat crashing to the ground as it no longer is affixed at all to the base. Now, however, he is able to land very lightly on it and he appears to prefer it to the others.

Meanwhile, the two photographs above that of Cupid are of St. Nick in his new home in Texas, where he is pampered by all. Here you see him introducing himself to the bird in the family... (He may not be able to spend too much time in close companionship with the budgie ultimately. Although my Puttikins tend to be the most awful cowards, a potential hunter could lurk somewhere within every cat's breast.)

Many thanks to Cherie and her family for giving St. Nick a home and for sharing the photographs with me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Puttikins, Plastic and Paper

What is the extraordinary attraction that plastic has for cats? All the Puttkins without exception love to chew on plastic bags. If the bags are hidden, which is the way I keep them now, they unearth them somehow, with unerring ability, so that they can chew on them. Plastic being inedible and indestructable, the result always is a nasty little mess that they chuck up in a corner somewhere.

Keep plastic bags away from your cats! There has to be some awful chemical in the plastic that attracts felines.

The other irresistable items for the Puttikins are paper hankies, paper towels, toilet tissue and anything else that falls into the general category of disposable paper products. They love to pull them out of my pockets and spirit them away. They will tear any paper hankie into tiny strips and wisps, but whatever they eat inadvertently in the process does not have any ill effects ordinarily, unlike plastic.

Finally, a temporary toy that always gives them delight is any little piece of cardboard taken from a box. Cereal boxes are perfect. If I cut or tear a tab from the top, any and all Puttikins will be ecstatic. They love to chase these little bits of cardboard across the floor or spin them. Lighter than an ordinary cardboard box, a piece of cardboard from a food product box is the perfect light weight for feline entertainment. Although I have bought them countless real toys, a tab from a cardboard box remains a special treat!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Puttikin's Grand Adventure, a Yuletide Miracle

Yesterday, one of my Flame Point Himalayans flew to his new home in Texas, accompanied by the husband of a very dear Harvest Moon friend of mine. This turn of events is almost a Miracle.

Many Harvest Moon/Rune Factory players are aware of the fact that I have Himalayan Kittens in need of good homes. My good friend Cherie remarked that she wished she could take one. What I expected to be nothing more than a fantasy became fact when her husband took a business trip here and pronounced that he was willing to take a Putti home with him!

He came bearing Yuletide Gifts from Cherie and we bought a beautiful little carrier for the Putti, complete with all mod cons, including an aromatherapy compartment that could be filled with a scent that allegedly would calm any cat. His ticket was issued by Delta Airlines and they declared that they would accept a cat onboard in a carrier that would fit under a human passenger's seat. The cost was less actually than shipping the cat in the cargo hold! I had hesitated to send a cat anywhere in the cold cargo hold of an aeroplane and was thrilled to discover that Delta would allow onboard flight for the kitten.

Cherie's husband truly is a prince among men. Whatever he had thought of this plan initially, he was more than willing to make his own wishes subordinate to the needs of the little Putti. He had purchased the carrier on the day prior to his departure, so I placed it with my Cats overnight. They appeared to enjoy their explorations of the new carrier. Ironically, it was only Leo II, the kitten who was destined to travel in it, who did not appear that intersted in it!

At 2.00 p.m. yesterday, I bade my little Leo II farewell, praying fervently for a safe, uneventful trip that would not distress or traumatise either the feline or his human guardian.

Cherie's husband rang me from the aeroport to tell me that they had passed through security without any dramatic escape by the Puttikins. (He had to be removed temporarily from the carrier and we both were a bit anxious about that.) Cherie conveyed a message from the next leg of the journey to the effect that:

Puttikins is people watching and the people watching the cat walk away with smiles. And Dave? "yeh, yeh, this is my cat."

That message put a smile on my face as well... but the best communication ultimately was a telephone call from Cherie in the wee hours of the morning to let me know that both Putti and Dave had arrived home safely.

When Beauty had her first litter last Yuletide, it was a magical, blessed event. I was as excited as she was to see each new little life emerge and I showered as much love and attention upon them as she did. She was a natural mother, and although I have had a lot of experience with Cats and their offspring, I never knew a Queen who was more suited to her role.

Unfortunately, to my shock and horror, she became pregnant while still nursing her first litter and to my consternation, I presided at another delivery as the May flowers were blooming...

The first litter had been christened collectively as The Puttikins. There were four boys. Three of them were Flame Points but one was pure Flame like their Mum. Her second litter consisted of FIVE kittens, three males and two female. Two of the three Males were Flame Points and the third was Flame. The two females both were Tortoiseshell Persians, very unusual and striking in their colouring, and a throwback to one of their grandparents.

Poor Beauty had not recovered physically from the first litter, however, and within ten days, I found myself assuming all the duties of a Mother. I used KMR and feeding syringes to keep the second litter alive. Beauty simply hadn't the strength. In fact, I had to coax her to drink KMR regularly as well.

Consequently, I developed a very special bond with the second litter. They were known quite simply at that point as 'The Tiny Babies'. I did not wish to name them or become too attached to ANY OF THEM, because I had all the Puttikins still as well as the original Father and Mother of the Tribe. I had not even attempted to find homes for any of the Puttikins, incidentally, because it was impossible to single out one for export to another home.

The care of the Tiny Babies was extremely exhausting. With five of them, I spent most of my time feeding some one. They all responded to me instantly, though, and would expect their sustenance from me rather than going to their Mother for nursing during this period.

It was only after a fortnight at least that Beauty began to show an interest in nursing again. From that point, we shared the duty.

Lest any one think that I did absolutely nothing in terms of finding homes for the Tinies, this was NOT the case. A friend of mine told me that her neighbour wanted two boys, so I knew that at least two of the three had homes when they were weaned.
Unfortunately, my friend's father became seriously ill and the prospective parents adopted two kittens from a local shelter unbeknownst to me.

The Tiny Babies began to grow larger and I began to realise that my situation was utterly impossible. I could not keep ALL of them!

Each of my cats is special and unique but with the same two parents, there are physical similarities between the Puttikins and the Tiny Babies, now not Tiny in any sense of the word. Of the two Tiny Baby Flame Points, one resembled Leo and the other looked quite a lot like Cupid. I did not wish to name them as I knew he needed and deserved another home, but my little traveler was known here often as Leo II.

Leo II is a wonderful boy. He is extremely responsive emotionally and would groom me almost every day. He loved to be cradled like a baby in my arms and would lick my face affectionately and nuzzle me beneath the neck. He loved it when I unzipped my old down vest because he could burrow inside it while being held.

Some cats are either playful or affectionate but Leo II is both. He can play very energetically by himself, although he usually would persuade his siblings to join him. Unfortunately, they live in rather a small space and practically would bounce from wall to wall chasing a ball or scrap of paper. The most amusing part of Leo II's antics was the vocal commentary that would accompany his games. I never heard a cat TALK with such animation and enthusiasm during a game. He has dozens of different 'words' as well.

Dear little Putti, I miss you and your family misses you, but we are delighted to know that you belong now to a wonderful family who will adore you and treat you like the little Prince that you are.

For Cherie:

My care of my Himalayans includes:

A comb with very narrow teeth. Although my cats definitely do NOT have fleas, I like to use a flea comb, because they are small and the teeth are narrow. At this time of year, I comb each of them at least once each week, because they are going through the transition from their summer coats of fur to their winter coats and combing helps to minimise shedding. Moreover, they never cough up furballs because I keep them combed. When they groom themselves, they do not have to deal with handfuls of loose fur!

Himalayans and Persians often have sensitive eyes and need to have their eyes wiped or cleared a little. You can use a damp cotton swab or hanky or you can use your finger, if you are very careful. It is not necessary to do this, but they don't like having little sleep sand in the corners of their eyes and they are more beautiful without it. It is the white cats or colourpoints who show it the most. My tortoiseshell females and the Flame Persians do not have as much trouble as the Flame Points with their silky white fur and crystal blue eyes.


I use a type of litter that is completely natural. It is made from corn husks by a firm named Arm & Hammer (famed for their baking soda I believe). It smells wonderful and does not cause the sort of breathing problems and allergies that sand, chemical litter or other 'clumping litter' causes. I believe the name of this litter is Essentials. You should be able to find it at any decent supermarket. It is more costly than sand, BUT it lasts far longer. If you clean the box daily, you should be able to use a single bag of the litter for at least a month unless you have more than two cats. If I had two cats, I would reserve some of the litter when I first fill the box, and then 'freshen' it each week with a little more litter, even if no more were needed, simply to release some of the scent into the air again.

None of my cats ever failed to use their litter box. No nasty accidents anywhere... but they do expect to use a CLEAN box! I have spoiled them a little in that respect.


I have dry food out all the time and feed the tinned food once each day. Little Leo II in particular is an avid drinker of water. I give them bottled water because the water here has lead in it. If you have decent source of water, the bottled water is not needed.

What always amused me about Leo II was the way he drank water. He laps at it furiously, almost like a DOG. It's very entertaining.

Last but not least, Love and Affection:

Leo II is accustomed to being held and loves it. He will watch the telly with me, quite content to snuggle into my arms. He will sit on my knees as well if I am in a chair, but his favourite position, I believe, is to be cradled like a baby. He loves to be petted and he loves to have his ears and neck scratched. When he stretches out, you can pet his tummy as well.

I cut his nails the day before yesterday so that they would not resemble razor blades. He should be given a decent scratching post or scratching pad if you are not good at clipping the nails. I've been doing it forever, and I use a simple nail clipper that works for felines and humans alike.