It’s Time to Be Amazing (cats!)!

Call for artists! The Amazing Cat Show IV is on the horizon.

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The Amazing Cat Show III

Last year, I actually contributed pieces to The Amazing Cat Show III because attending my first show  Amazing II was… amazing! The first one I attended was such an entertaining collection of art from the ridiculous to serious compositions, viewed by an equally diverse shoulder to shoulder crowd. Clearly I needed to have my hand in this.

Before you get too  invested in your vision of me as a great artist, please understand: They. Take. Art. From. ANY-ONE. There were moms submitting their kid’s art because it would be a cool surprise for the kid to see it in a show. (My own MomBert was secretly poised to buy my art if it didn’t sell.) It’s non juried, anybody is welcome. The goal is money for Colony Cats and Dogs.

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Unfortunately, last year’s show got into a fight with a unicorn. A snow storm  headed our way on the day of the show with such bad forecasts that my school dismissed by noon. As in “teachers, seriously get the hell out. Do not stay at your desks to work. Leave.” That’s a unicorn, people.

The show was cancelled as much of the surrounding area shut down. I can’t definitively say that my contributions were cursed, but these things happen sometimes.

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Cloud Cats in the Garden

The show was re-scheduled, but there’s nothing like mid-Ohio cold, slush, ice, and dark to make you question your life choices or ever leaving the house again.IMG_4057

While the show was still fun and filled with the broadly silly and serious, the crowd was not as robust as the previous year.

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Yes, the purple triangle has cat hair in it.

Happily, both of my pieces sold and I was able to contribute to the shelter. I did not initially understand that this was a 50/50 show, part going to the artist so I turned my check around into cat shelter supplies and donations. After the bills were paid, Colony Cats made $1863. I suspect that they did better in previous years and would have fared better without the snow-pocalypse.

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Shadow Cat in the Garden

I’ll probably only have time for one piece this year. Being really good at procrastination tends to get in my way, as does making “artistic” decisions.August20183

Almost literally pouring cats and dogs at least in underground piping!

It’s been a busy week for one of my favorite shelters, Colony Cats and Dogs.

Monday, they helped to initiate the rescue of a dog trapped underground in a sewer pipe. They speculate that the dog was chasing critters into the pipe and got lost then trapped.

Tuesday led to more underground drama…with another happy ending which is a good thing or I think I would be a mess.

At about 11:30, I saw that the shelter had posted a video of their surveillance footage on their Facebook page. (Follow the link for videos) Around 4 am that morning, someone had left three very spry and curious kittens at the shelter’s door without containment. The kittens jump up to interact with the big cats behind the glass then, according to the volunteers, one stayed behind and the other two set off to the right of what is essentially a strip mall and giant parking lot full of businesses.

For once, for whatever reason, I decided to respond to the call for volunteers who could come search for the two wanderers who had  a 7 hour head start. I checked in with a volunteer who was cleaning the still closed shelter. She was a little hesitant as I’m not an official volunteer, but I’m familiar enough with the shelter and have adopted from there plus I was a warm body willing to aimlessly walk around in the rain looking for something the size of a softball.

She showed me the one kitten they had, a hissy little ball of fluff in the back of a giant carrier, and sent me on my way. I decided to walk around even though she suggested driving and said others had been driving around the area stopping at dumpsters, hoping food smells would attract the kittens.

I more or less decided to take a lap around the shopping center, checking out landscaping as I went. This plaza has an open courtyard midway with large hostas and dense shrubs which seemed like a good place to check out. I worked my way along the plant bed, and had  success when I bumped into some rain-soaked hostas. Two little bodies shot out from under the hostas, through a clear patch and under a shrub.

HOLY. SHIT.

Brain went into panic mode. What to do? I pulled up Facebook and called the shelter where, of course, no one answered the phone. I tried a mother cat calling kittens video, but I only got sad little squeaks in return. It was an awkward spot and I was afraid that my flailing attempts to grab them would send one or both of the kittens shooting out into a busy parking lot next to an even busier road.

So I ran. I don’t run. I joke that I only run if bears or killers with chainsaws or bears with chainsaws are chasing me, but that I would eventually give up. Fortunately, the volunteer I had talked to and another woman saw me coming and frantically waving. Yes, I had found the kittens!

I followed them through the back alleyways behind all the shops as a quicker way back to the courtyard where we formed a human perimeter around the shrubs. I could see the little gray and white kitten crouched at the base of a shrub across from me. The volunteer scrambled down, grabbed it, and handed the squalling, soaked kitten to me.  I, of course, was ready to go full Lenny, tuck that kitten into my bosom and love it, until they directed me to put it in the carrier. The carrier, that was probably the more responsible route.

Mysteriously the black kitten was no longer there. In a matter of minutes, it had pulled a vanishing act. I was even second guessing what I had seen as people started to question me about finding BOTH the kittens there. But I remembered noticing its mittens as it scurried behind its sibling, an intrepid tuxie. When you’re permanently dressed like James Bond, you tend to also act like him.

Of all the kittens, it had to be least noticeable black one. Of all the weather  conditions, it had to be raining wavering back and forth from mild to pouring. As more volunteers arrived, we spent the next two hours repeatedly combing through the same bushes, crawling through mulch and grass, sure that the kitten was hidden in plain sight. (The dead mummified duck in the second set of bushes surprised me every time.)Crawling under larger bushes, dumpsters, and a concrete thing that I don’t know what it was for but there was A LOT of shit, including a cat bed, down in it. A volunteer with a heat sensor showed up and ran it over the dense bushes. We did expanding laps around the shopping center, and reconvened to theorize on kitten logic. Plates of smelly food were put out, live traps were discussed, but no one was really sure how to proceed. The rain made all of the open downspouts in the area an obvious and  horrifying possibility as to where the kitten could have gone to in such a short time.

I trudged back around to the shelter with the group feeling like a quitter, but completely unsure of what to do next. I was soaked from shoes to underwear and on the verge of  publicly crying if I stood there talking to people much longer. No matter how miserable I felt, that lost, wet, hungry, scared little furball wherever it was hiding was worse.

Home again, I took an extremely hot shower, put on dry clothes and tried to occupy myself while checking the Facebook thread every few minutes. Should I go back? What could I do? I resolved to go back in an hour if nothing had changed. Basically, my mind would be able to only contain one kitten and nothing else for the rest of the day. Then one of the searchers I had talked to, posted that they had heard some meowing in the courtyard area. Yes, I would go back! Except that they were now sure it was coming from a drain pipe. I was among the frantic back seat drivers, commenting and questioning what could be done!

For the second time in two days, a local fire station stepped in with Colony Cats to save a furry life. I watched video from a conveniently dry and unheroic spot in my house as the rescue was made. I am certain I recognized the boots of one of the early searchers who crawled around on the ground with me, and who, I’m pretty sure, said she was supposed to go to work that day. I know she was as soaked as I was when I last saw her; I don’t think she made it in to work.

I’m so grateful to have been able to help a bit and incredibly grateful that this worked out and that Piper, Pearl and Puck who have their own Facebook page now are safe and already have people clamoring to adopt them. Could time and resources have been saved if I had made a grab for two kittens on my own? I can’t know. Could the person who dropped them off have done so more responsibly? Ab-so-frickin-lutely!

Cole and Marmalade posted a story about the kitten rescue and the dog rescue the day before! They’re kind of a big deal in dorky cat obsessing worlds 🙂 If you’ve made it all the way through my picture-less ramblings, reward yourself with their article which has all the adorable rescued kitten pictures and associated videos your heart can handle.

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Stuff like this makes me hug my warm, dry, VERY well-fed “kittens” extra hard.

Kitten Season

Tis the season for litters of kittens. (Which technically doesn’t end until early fall.)

April showers of kittens bring May clowders?

To help cope with the influx of tiny furballs, my local shelters hold open houses and kitten showers. Just like for human babies only better because…kittens!

I wasn’t able to stop by the shower scheduled for Saturday, so Bird and I spent Saturday evening cutting up fleece kitty blankets which was one of the shower wish list items. All that fabulous hat project fleece will now be snuggling kitty tooshies.IMG_E5697

Again like your basic human baby shower, the shelters put out wish lists and often create them on places like Amazon for easy donations. Common items might be things like:

  • KMR milk replacer formula
  • Unscented non-clumping clay litter
  • Kitten dry and wet food
  • Fleece blankets (Got it!)
  • Toys
  • And, of course, fur-ever homes

So if you haven’t caught my drift yet, I’m suggesting that YOUR local shelter might also have a wish list. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

Of course, putting together a donation is just an excuse for me to go pet strange heads. I topped off the blankies with some kitten food and headed over.

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For as well rounded as this beauty was, he or she had the shortest squat tail.

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So many flavors.

This was the tiniest kitty I could find. Either the kitten shower/adoption event was really successful or the clouds are getting ready to burst.

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A Caturday Cattoo

In the name of my cats and their shelters, I’ve bought t-shirts, catnip pillows, spent ridiculous amounts on yearly calendars, dropped off donations ,and petted strange heads. All pretty mild mannered ways to support the kitties.

However last weekend I was offered a bolder option: cattoos!

I really like tattoos and I love cats so…yea…this sounded like the best combination fundraiser ever. (Based on the profit, I’d even propose it for my high school publication if my audience wasn’t 1500 under-aged students.)
Colony Cats & Dogs, former shelter to Sookie and Olivia Wigglebothum, and local tattoo shop Envy teamed up for an amazing fundraiser. All profits went to the shelter; the shop got tips and foot traffic, essentially donating materials and labor. The shop prepared nine flash options-small tattoos that can be applied quickly without variations-at $60 a pop. I was in the chair maybe 10 minutes and most of that time was the artist prepping his station. A couple of lines later and I was on my merry way.img_2948

Miles says it doesn’t look like him, “That cat could be ANYONE.” His classic cat disdain pretty much mirrors Bella’s impression of my back piece which was inspired by her and some artwork purchased on a 17 day road trip. If there aren’t treats, nobody cares.

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While the cats may not have been impressed, the shelter reported an impressive $2600 in the four hours that the fundraiser lasted. The artists cranked out 40 cattoos (there were also a few dog options), and the shelter set up a table in the lobby with pet related jewelry, magnets, stickers, and, of course, catnip pillows.

You know what I bought for the fur kids.

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Kitten Therapy 

The Kitten Room at the shelter is not much bigger than my bathroom; but like the Tardis, the Kitten Room’s power is way bigger on the inside.

In the Kitten Room I am a benevolent tree, an Ent if you will, being climbed by a horde of tiny, squirming creatures, all vying for cuddles. One rooted leg is assailed by a miniature black panther who gives up around my knee. The other leg supports a tiger who may have hit the weight limit for climbing jeans, as his needle-sharp claws dig deep into my hip. Meanwhile a tinier, wiggly tiger is running laps around my neck and periodically sticking his nose in my ear to demonstrate purr potential.

While the slightly larger tiger makes sleepy eyes at me from the crook of my arm, tinier tiger keeps zooming. He stops once in each lap to settle on the convenient shelf my chest makes and nose boop the calmer tiger. Then back to zooming.

Whenever I manage to sit down or bend over, a black and white, cow-spotted kitten gives me “soft pets,”patting at my face with insistent paws. This tears me up a bit as it immediately reminds me of Bella Luna’s possessive paw to my cheek when we first met at her shelter. Cow kitten then hangs out on the elevated foot of my crossed leg.

Forty-five minutes later, I’m covered in strange cat hair and strange smells. I will have to leave my shoes and clothes in the garage when I get home. Windowless, attached garages are essential for extended shelter cat petting. My cats will know I’ve been cheating on them with younger, more enthusiastic versions of themselves. 

Forgiven.

Since I didn’t fall madly in love and bring home a fifth,- this is the miracle of the day– they’ll forgive me.

Cats, Coffee, Quiet

We finally got a cat cafe!!! We’re the coolest!!

It took almost a year for them to get everything in order, but Eat, Purr, Love is now up and running! Knowing that I would eventually want to check it out, I donated to their Kickstarter campaign. My “purrks” were a free hour with kitties, a beverage and treat, a spot on the mural wall and a sweet t-shirt.

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The Bird is unimpressed as per usual.

I visited on a dreary day that we had off from school. I definitely needed some perking up because, ironically, I was not feeling great due to a cat bite (more on that to come). The cafe is in the funky neighborhood of Clintonville. Its block has everything from a small antique store to a barbershop, tattoo parlor,and the best movie theater ever.

The cafe is simply a store front with big front windows to let in plenty of natural light and an enticing view of cat paradise.

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MilesLuvsSookie on the mural!

The lobby entrance has lots of cat products from local shelters and businesses; I bought a catnip toy so my kids would forgive me for cheating on them. There is some seating in the lobby where one can enjoy coffee and a snack or choose to head in through the “airlock” double-doored entrance to the larger portion where the cats are hanging out.

Maybe I’m too easily impressed by people who seem to know how to stylishly, effortlessly decorate a room, but the cat portion was magazine ready. The cat portion featured two levels, all with clean, shining wood floors. The upper portion had squishy human seating, books and games, while the bigger lower portion featured work tables, artwork, and  cat toys and contraptions EVERYWHERE. These cats have options! If I had thought this through, I would have brought my grading with me and camped out.

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As anyone who has ever read this blog knows, I have four cats at home to pet and waller. I have tons of natural light, artwork, and squishy human seating areas as well. I got in to the cafe for free this time, but why pay $10 an hour to go back when I can sit around petting cats for free? Or to even visit for the first time?

Reasons why:

  • I hate grading and will even clean toilets to procrastinate. My house has a myriad of distractions. Sometimes the white noise of coffee shop is what I need to focus. Plus coffee shops won’t let me clean. Eat, Purr, Love provides such an environment plus …cats.
  • Coffee and pastries.
  • If you sit long enough, working on something, a cat will eventually come cuddle on you. That’s just how it is.
  • I would think nothing of spending way more than $10 on food or supplies to donate to a shelter. The $10 for the hour goes towards the care and maintenance of the cats and cafe. Same, same.
  • If I had a first date here, he would get so much…pussycat love.
  • YOGA! They are scheduling “yogato” (yoga with cats) events. I am so in!
  • I love visiting my shelter for free to “pet strange heads” and will continue to do so, but there are an overwhelming number of cats there, many of whom are stressed out, and it smells like they all peed at once plus bleach. I’m used to that smell, but the cafe did NOT smell like cats, and there were only 9 maybe 10 cats in residence when I visited. This was a much more relaxed environment and would be very good for someone to fall in love with a particular kitty.
  • At the time I visited, they had successfully adopted out 20 cats with two adoptions pending. Pretty good odds for a place that just opened in September.The cats are brought to the cafe through The Capital Area Humane Society.
  • With falling in love in mind, I got to see this love match happening. Worth it!
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Sadly the tortie did not tolerate the love and walked away. However, by the time I left, the black and white cat had found a huge tuxedo cat who let her snuggle up.

Check out the Eat, Purr, Love Facebook page for daily adorableness.

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Miles can’t help but get involved in putting his two cents out there. If he’s not underfoot, then his cat butt is in your face (that’s a sign of affection by the way). He approves Mommy’s new t-shirt from ResQthreads. The company designs fun animal adoption themed apparel, helps shelters do fundraisers, and donates part of each sale to the shelter of your choice. Miles further approved a donation to Colony Cats & Dogs (http://www.colonycats.org/)  former shelter of his sweet girl Sookie. He says we look gooooooooood. Check out ResQthreads on Facebook or their website: http://resqthreads.com/

Panther approved.

Panther approved.