Saturday, April 30, 2011
Welcome back for another edition of Caturday, where we get to know some of my readers fantastic felines! This week we have a kitty that's all thumbs - literally! I'm so excited to introduce you to Sunny, "The Sundance Kid," a true polydactyl cat with big, beautiful paws!
Sunny's owner, Louise writes in to say, "He was abandoned or thrown out at about 6-months-old, and just turned up and stayed with me. His previous owners never came forward - I think his big funny feet put some one off - but you should see him climb trees now!"
Gimme dat pen!
Louise is hoping to raise the profile of polydactyl cats, and show that they are not disadvantaged in any way. Sunny was even a contestant in Cravendale's "Cats with Thumbs" contest, where they searched the UK for the top cat with extra digits. You might remember the milk company's fantastic commercial from a few months ago, where they showed cats with thumbs ready to take over the world!
Sunny wears his own real life kitten mittens!
Lousie also says, "Here is Sunny "The Sundance Kid" proving what a fantastically agile poly cat he is, climbing high up into the willow tree in split seconds - I call him "The fastest claw in the Willow West!", and that's him balancing halfway up the apple tree where you can really see he uses his little feet like little hands as the thumbs come round to grip and steady him."
What a refined looking tuxedo cat! I love that big ol' white chin!
Before sweet Sunny came into her life, Louise also had another cat who was very near and dear to her heart, and she asked if I would feature his story as well.
She writes, "I remembered it is approaching the two year anniversary since I lost Hobo. He came to me as a rescued feral cat, recovering from injuries, he turned into a "one off," a prince amongst cats. I would not have swapped him for ten beautiful pedigree cats, his beauty was his nature; and I only wish I had more than five years of this remarkable animals treasured company. He was such an inspirational creature, who more than deserved the happy life I helped to give him, his is a story worth the telling."
Hobo was Louise's little "Mewli Mew," who came into her life when he was two years old, and recovering from a broken leg and nose, possibly from some kind of accident. He had a bad skin condition, and "frankly, a bad attitude, but he was a wild boy after all."
I'll let her tell you the rest..
"Gradually I won his trust, and he turned into a prince amongst cats. It was a turn of 360 degrees, and it would have been hard for anyone to guess, and I'm sure people did not believe his difficult beginning in life; scavenging and living off vermin as a feral boy. This creature was full of love and hope and he actually just decided all by himself that he loved people, and would sit and flirt with any passerby he invited/was welcomed into at least 2 people's house that I knew of; He was just so devastatingly charming, where did he learn that? The answer is that is was just in him, waiting for the right circumstances to nurture his beautiful nature.
He grew himself a beautiful thick coat, and I was flattered one day when an elderly gentleman asked if I wasn't worried that "Someone may steal him? Because he was so beautiful and friendly, he looked like a very expensive cat!" It just shows that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder - well bless him for saying that. I am sure if Hobo could've understood, he'd have thought he was the Cat's Whiskas. But, yes he did turn into a very bonnie boy, my little Mewli Mew.
"You can see in the photo of him on the bin, "his viewing position," and his little raggedy ears. He spent approximately the first two years of his life feral, and had the fighting scars to prove it."
Hobo loved company. I know he got lonely when I was at work and made new friends, and he learned to communicate very well. He had about 15 cat words, for example his "Hello" was different to "Hello, I know you." He would sit on the bin outside for a good vantage point and talking mostly to himself, he would call in recognition, a very distinctive chirrup as some one he knew as a friend was coming up the road, then he would wait for them in the front gate to be greeted and petted by that person. I never had a cat that did that. I think he began to think his full name was Hello Hobo, because he became so used to people talking to him.
He was intelligent, responsive, and polite - which is really saying a lot for a cat; He waited for a word and signal to jump on your knee, and understood and responded to the signal to get down if you wanted to move. Any one new coming to the house he would do his "hello" and quietly waited for the signal to approach them. If someone didn't want his overtures, they only had to hold up their hand and say quietly "No," and he always respected that and just stayed the distance.
Like lots of cats he waited for me coming home, and recognized the sound of the cat, he came out to meet me, even if it was pouring down and I had to dry him afterwards, he liked that. He always came when called, with the exception that he couldn't hear me because he was snuggled up one someone's knee in their house. But he knew I was his Cat Mama, and I know he loved me the most. I didn't think I would be able to have another cat after Hobo, because it was such a shock to lose him so young, but I had the pleasure of this fantastic creature in my life for five years.
Then out of the blue, a small polydactyl cat turned up in my garden in June of last year, as if fallen from the sky. No one knew where he came from, no one came to claim him, perhaps the spirits in the great cat world beyond sent this lost and lonely boy to me. So I adopted him, life goes on and here was another little waif with funny big feet that needed my attention - Sunny, the Sundance Kid."
Thank you to Louise, for giving us a look at her beautiful black cats this week! It's clear that she shares such a special connection with both of them, and I feel incredibly honored to have read her touching remembrance of Hobo.
I hope that Louise and Sunny enjoy long and beautiful life together, and have a feeling that if cats with thumbs do end up taking over the world, this little "Sundance Kid" will end up leading the pack!
Reminder! Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a custom drawing by Steve Gadlin of I Want To Draw A Cat For You! Click here for all the details!
Want to see your cat(s) on Catsparella? I'm always taking submissions for my weekly Caturday post! Email your best kitty pics to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include your cat's name and anything else you'd like to share! I can't wait to hear from you!
Friday, April 29, 2011
I talk an awful lot about my cat Priscilla, but there's also another kitty in my life that's just as close to my heart, and his name is Charlie! He's been a part of our family for nearly five years now, but he could be considered a black sheep of sorts. I don't want to say that Prissy HATES him, but sometimes I think that if she spontaneously developed the ability talk, her strong dislike towards him might be the first topic of discussion. Oh, sure..there's nose (and butt) sniffs here and there, and they generally cohabitate in harmony, but I'm not sure a day has gone by without a hiss and/or swat to remind him who's really the boss!
It's a pity for her though, because Charlie is one of the sweetest cats you'll ever meet. He's extremely affectionate (a nice way of saying clingy) and devoted. He loves following people around (he's no stranger to getting tripped over), and being the center of attention. He's not really like any other cat I've ever encountered, and in fact, sometimes I think he's more like a dog (or an alien).
He lacks the grace and poise of Priscilla, and I wonder if that's part of the reason why she looks at him with such disdain. He's clumsy and overly curious; This is a cat who routinely sneaks into rooms and gets locked in them for several hours, once took a spin in the dryer (he was fine), and even singed some fur on his back leg the time he accidentally turned on the stove.
From Rags to Riches
That being said, I don't think I've ever heard him hiss in his life (Priscilla is fondly referred to as "the airbag"), and I call him a "Beanie Baby" because he's long and lanky, and you can throw him over your shoulder, rub his belly, and squeeze his toes, and he won't even bat an eyelash.
He came into our lives during a hot summer five years ago when our dog, Teddy, discovered him living in the sewer down the street. He would spend his days there, sometimes emerging, but quickly retreating when a person or strange truck would drive by. We'd find him napping with his head on a hard rock, and every day for about a week or two, we'd lure him out with food and water. He was so friendly, we quickly determined there was no way he was feral, and must either be lost or abandoned. We put signs up all around the neighborhood proclaiming, "Lost Cat!" and checked with the local shelter to see if anyone had been looking for him, but secretly hoped they hadn't.
Last day outside!
I'll never forget the day we lured him to our house with a cat toy that looked like a computer mouse. He would walk (it's more of a waddle) a few steps and sit down again, and then repeat, over and over until we finally made it to the front porch. He camped out there for a few days, sleeping on an old kitchen chair cushion under a bench, before we were able to take him to the vet.
Once there, we found out that he was around a year old, not micro-chipped, healthy, and had already been fixed. Since no one stepped forward to claim him, we officially decided to bring him home and make him an indoor cat. Priscilla may not have been happy about it, but I'd say he acclimated to his new lifestyle pretty quickly.
Happy Sixth(ish) Birthday, Little Charles! I love you!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
A few weeks ago, I posed a question to everyone on my Facebook page, asking what their favorite cat video was (this was my contribution!). Everyone made solid recommendations, and a lot of you posted clips I've never seen before, and was happy to discover.
One of my favorite finds was from Marcia of Just Cats Boutique, who pointed me in the direction of the YouTube Channel of tomomama3. The videos on the channel document the life of Shirobu, a six-year-old Flame Point Himalayan cat from Japan. I'd seen a few of his videos before in passing, such as this classic birthday clip:
And this one, where he's sitting at a table eating dumplings like he's people, but I didn't realize that there was a WHOLE channel of videos (78 to be exact) dedicated to this larger than life glamourpuss. Mesmerized, I couldn't stop watching his cat-ventures, ranging from riding around in a stroller wearing a bunny hat, to dressing up like Marilyn Monroe, and drove my friend Alison bananas sending her my favorite screen shots from his epic videos.
Hmm. Yeah, I don't know.
"Happy Birthday, Mr. Purr-esident!"
Tiny furniture!!! (You can hear him snoring!)
Seal vs. Shiboru
This one is supposed to be about vampires.
The bottom line is, if this fluffball with a penchant for wearing wigs doesn't make you smile, I can't help you.
More Shirobu videos this way!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Armed with a brilliant idea, an infectious video (good luck getting this jingle out of your head), and some Sharpies, Steve Gadlin has turned his small business, I Want To Draw A Cat For You, into a surprise internet sensation! His cats have appeared everywhere from Groupon to the Huffington Post, and the Chicago-based artist, who has a day job as Web Developer, has drawn a staggering 920 cats to date!
The idea is so simple, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first. For $9.95, Steve will hand draw you a signed and numbered cat drawing of your choice, and then send it to you in the mail. These aren't elaborate, professional renderings either, rather charmingly simple stick-figure cats with human like bodies. You can order online at anytime, and the options are limitless!
Browsing his previous work, you'll see that the requests Steve receives range from silly:
Francis GIFTED a cat to Tony. He wanted a cat wearing a #3 jersey in the process of slam dunking a basketball into a hoop. He's jumping over a table full of Italian specialties, saying, "Air Meow!" A cat named Dustin is in the background, watching in awe.
To simply sweet!
I recently bought a drawing for myself, but now the problem is, I can't decide what I want! So, that dear readers is where you come in. I want YOU to pick what kind of cat Steve should draw for ME!
But wait..there's more!
Enter to win!
As a thank you from me for helping pick out my cat, and because Steve is super-duper awesome, he has generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader a custom cat drawing of their own!
To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name and some way to contact you (email, link back to your blog or profile, twitter, etc.), plus a suggestion about what kind of cat you want Steve to draw for me!
The contest is open to everyone, so our international friends can participate too! Please one entry per person, only. The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 3:00PM EST.
(If you have any trouble entering a comment, please email me at email@example.com.)
[Comments now closed.]
Bass Shoes is running a new cat-themed campaign for their ultra-cute collaboration with designer Rachel Antonoff. Sadly, none of the shoes have cats on them, but on their website, you can follow the story of a white kitten named Marshmallow, and his stylish owner Tennessee, as they set up a lemonade stand in hopes of generating enough funds for a new apartment.
Are they successful in their quest? Check out some of my favorite images below, and click here to see how the whole story ends!
Barney's New York did a similar storybook campaign back in September for their Fall 2010 catalog, "The Cat," which you can see here.
Girl Holding Kitten by Bruce Davidson
Do you know this girl? In 1960, American documentary photographer Bruce Davidson was traveling in London, and captured this haunting image of a young woman holding a small kitten. Although 50 years have passed, the subject of the impromptu shot has held his curiosity ever since.
Recently, Davidson was in the UK to accept an award, and spoke to The Guardian about the genesis of the photograph.
He says: "She was with two friends and they were on their way to a concert which, as I remember it, took place on an island. I hung around them for a few hours. The girl with the kitten, the bedroll and the beautifully innocent, hopeful, mysterious face has stayed with me ever since."
"If she is still alive, I'd love to know what she is doing now, what her story is. I never even wrote down her first name. I know it's 50 odd years ago, but someone out there must know who she is, surely."
Via The Guardian
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This week we have a kitty cake extravaganza from Pink Cake Box in Denville, NJ! The bakery specializes in custom wedding cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, and are responsible for some of the most amazing cat-themed baked goods I've ever seen!
Some of their favorite projects have been for a couple who celebrate the birthday of their two cats every year with a unique cake. In 2008, the bakery created this pizza cake for the pair of fortunate felines, to match the theme of their birthday party.
Cat Birthday Cupcakes
The following year, they created this glittery set of cat themed cupcakes.
And last year, they whipped up this marble with vanilla buttercream creation, topped with the birthday kitties, surrounded by some of their favorite toys!
In addition to the birthday cakes, Pink Cake Box is also responsible for this one-of-a-kind groom's cake. According to the site, "This sculpted cake was fashioned after the groom's cat. The cake is complete with its own "I Love Dad" t-shirt and bright blue eyes. Sitting at the base of the cake is the cat's favorite toy - a golf ball. The cake flavors included red velvet with vanilla buttercream." Yum!
Check out this video to get a better look at the size, and see the incredible amount of detail that went into this custom creation. I guess this is one way to have your *cat* and eat it too!
Have you created or spotted any kitty-themed baked goods lately? If so, please submit your sweet tips for Cat Cupcake Tuesdays to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Monday, April 25, 2011
I love when friends or readers send cool kitty finds my way, and that's exactly what happened a few weeks ago when my friends from Squaredy Cats sent me a link to PloesiePoesies, a Dutch website that makes amazing kitty look-a-like dolls.
Of course, I immediately fell in love with the unique creations, and contacted the artist, Luna, telling her I was interested in doing a feature, and seeing if she would be willing to answer some of my questions. She quickly responded yes, and to my great surprise, also offered to make me two PloesiePoesies of my own for free! I was completely shocked, honored, and excited by her generous gesture, and from that point on, I came down with a serious case of Ploesie-fever.
Luna has been making PloesiesPoesies, which are , for several years, and while mine were in transit to the U.S., I asked her some questions about the unique dolls that look just like your own kitty!
Read on for more!
My Ploesie haul!
Priscilla loved her Ploesie right away.
I can't tell you how many hours went into this photo until he finally decided to give up and sit down so I could get the shot.
I was expecting the dolls to be awesome, but was totally blown away by how amazing they are in person! She really got all of the details, including the tiny white spot under Prissy's nose, and the few white hairs on Charlie's chest. The Ploesies are sturdy and well-made, and come numbered (mine are 722 and 723). They also arrive with customized tags with your cat's picture on the front, and a message on the back declaring, "This is the original look-a-like PloesiePoesie of: (cat's name). Handmade by Electric Luna."
Another happy customer!
Luna is one busy lady, and in addition to the look-a-like dolls, she also hand designs and sells retro PloesiePoesies, Deluxe PloesiePoesies, blankets with a matching fabric cat, buttons, refrigerator magnets, catnip toys, brooches, mirrors, and postcards! (all of which you can find in her shop, here). And if all that weren't enough, in her spare time she also has a really cute cat blog, too!
I love my PloesiePoesies, and think they're probably the nicest thing anyone has ever made for me! They're beautiful, one-of-a-kind reminders of my kitty-babies, and I will treasure them forever!
Special thanks to Luna for taking the time to answer my questions, and for making me PloesiePoesies of my very own! If you want to learn more, click here to visit her website (English ordering information here), or email her directly at luna (at) ploesiepoesie.nl. You can also see more examples her of her work here, and on Flickr.
(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, except in the form of the PloesiePoesies. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!)
I'm a big fan of SweetFurr, the furry family of cats and dogs that have charmed the world through their hugely popular YouTube Channel. I was lucky enough to interview their owners back in February, and they couldn't have been nicer! They love their pets very much, and would do anything for them.
Hyper Kitten Climbs Tree
Kitten Traces Reflection in Glassy Tub
Sweet Kitten Massages Human
Hyper Kitten Climbs Tree
Last Wednesday, SweetFurr posted a plea to pray for Choco Ball, their 9-month-old Exotic Shorthair kitten who was suddenly hospitalized for liver problems. News that the youngest member of their family had fallen seriously ill was shocking, and was met with an outpouring of support from the online community. The family did everything they could to save her, but sadly, she passed away on Friday from what they believe was FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), a fatal incurable disease in cats.
Kitten Traces Reflection in Glassy Tub
Instead of creating this post in sadness, I wish it to be a celebration of Choco's life, and of all the happiness she brought to her family, and to the thousands of people who enjoyed her videos.
Choco Ball, you were truly special, and will never be forgotten by those who loved you. You brightened many lives with your sweetness and cute antics, and we feel fortunate that your family shared so many of your adorable moments with us. May you rest in peace, and be chasing butterflies in kitty heaven!
Sweet Kitten Massages Human
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Welcome back for another edition of Caturday, where we get to know some of my readers fantastic felines! It's been all lady kitties the past few weeks, but get ready, because today is all about the manly ManCats! That's right, today we have three handsome fellows to introduce you to: Meet Champion, Mr. B, and Odin!
Getting some lovin' from Mommy!
My name is Champion and I am so loved and spoiled! I dip my paws into my water dish and make my Mommy laugh!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Hippity-hop! It's almost Easter, and these cute kitties are none too pleased! In fact, they're downright disapproving, and ready to leave you some chocolate eggs of their own!