Saturday, December 31, 2011
Welcome back for another edition of Caturday, where we catch up on the week's latest cat news, and get to meet some of your amazing kitties!
Before we get into this week's stories, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2011 and give thanks to all of my family, friends, and readers - who are all quite possibly the same two people (Hi Mom and Dad!) - that have supported me throughout the past year by regularly stopping by and reading my posts, or leaving much appreciated comments of feedback and support.
As I sit here listening to the Smashing Pumpkins cover of the Missing Persons song "Destination Unknown" (sample lyric: Life is so strange / Destination unknown / When you don't know / Your destination / Something can change / It's unknown / Then you won't know / Destination unknown), I can't help but think that some of the best things that happened to me over the past 12 months (going to L.A. for the Fancy Feast commercial shoot, winning a Petties award, etc.) were things I couldn't have even dreamed of for myself. So, then why is it during this time of year we spend so much time focusing on setting restrictive goals for ourselves, when there's a whole world of unlimited possibilities ahead, better than anything we could have even planned or imagined?
In the second season of Mad Men (Episode 5), Bobbie Barrett delivered the line, "This is America. Pick a job and become the person that does it." I remember pausing the TV after hearing her say it, empowered by the revelatory nature of the statement. The quotation really resonated with me during a time of professional uncertainty in my life, when I felt my current job wasn't right for me, but was still unsure of exactly what I was "supposed" to be doing. I'm not sure that anyone, myself included, just wakes up one day and decides to become a cat blogger, but this is what it is, and 1,159 posts later, my resolution for 2012 is to just keep going with it to the best of my ability.
On to the week's cat news..
This was an abbreviated posting week due to the holidays, but I still managed to round up some items I really loved, including one about an angry kitty in a wig, one ugly cat necklace, a cat Christmas gift round-up, and a profile on Steve Madden, the feline fashionisto™ who went from rags to consignment shop kitty riches. Elsewhere, Russell Brand filed for divorce from his wife/kitty mama Katy Perry yesterday, and as bummed out as we all were by the news, my thoughts immediately turned to the couple's three cats, Kitty Purry, Morrissey, and Krusty. Kitty will surely stay with Katy, and Morrissey will remain with Russell - but what of their sole joint offspring, Krusty the kitten? Even her name (a mash-up of Katy and Rusty) is a reminder of their damned union, and I'm not trying to make light of this heartbreaking situation, but won't someone please think of the cats?
My "Best of 2011" posts also came to their thrilling conclusion this week, with the final entries devoted to my 20 favorite cat videos of the year, and a compilation of the best Maru moments of 2011 (pssst if you missed any of my "best of" posts which also included entries on cat news, commercials, and fashion, you still have plenty of time to catch up on them here).
This week's featured feline is a recently rescued cat named Honey, and I must admit that her journey from abandonment to beloved pet made me choke up a little bit. That being said, her tale is a thoroughly happy one, and feels like the purrfect way to end this, the final Caturday of the year.
"We rescued Honey a few weeks ago when a friend of ours found her in a box on the side of the road, and thought about us for a good home for her. We wanted to adopt a kitty for the longest while, so we went for a visit and felt the connection right away.
I don't understand why someone would do this to her, she is the sweetest little thing (that's one of the reasons for her name). She is calm, doesn't make any mess around the house, purrs like a little tiger, and she's so affectionate. We can tell how grateful she is just by the loving look in her eyes. My husband and I are already so in love with her. She sure found her home in our hearts!!"
Special thanks to Sonya for sharing Honey's story with us this week! We'll never know who left this beautiful girl on the side of the road that fateful day, but I wonder if they could've imagined it would end up being the best thing that ever happened to her. Congratulations to Sonya and her family on their new addition, and here's to wishing them a long, wonderful lifetime together, with days filled with the sweetest of Honey.
Alright, everyone. Have fun, and make sure to give your cat a big kiss at midnight tonight.
See you next year!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Maru's popularity continued to skyrocket in 2011, a year that saw the Japanese Scottish Fold survive his country's devastating earthquake, release his first English language book, and continue to break YouTube records (we're talking about a cat who has the distinction of holding the 7th most subscribed YouTube channel of ALL TIME in Japan).
In case you don't have time to scroll through an entire year's worth of the charismatic kitty's hijinks, here's my own carefully curated list of a year of the life of the internet's most beloved cat. Can't get enough? Visit Maru's blog and YouTube channel for even more images and videos of the world famous feline.
Shortly after the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, mugumogu posted this image, confirming that she and Maru were safe.
May was perhaps the most prolific month of the year for Maru. He not only received his third YouTube trophy, this time for 2010's "Many Too Small Boxes And Maru," but also celebrated his 4th birthday on May 24th. To commemorate the event, mugumogu created a retrospective of his third year, titled "I Am Maru 3," which went on to become his most popular video of 2011, with over 2.6 million views to date.
In July, Apple released OS X Lion, but Twitter user Kookizu had a better idea for their next operating system upgrade.
Maru released his first English language book, I Am Maru by mugumogu, on August 23, 2011.
Like any good cat fashion blogger, I prefer my Kate Spade with a side of kitty (or my Fendi with a side of feline - natch!), which is why I was so excited to read the tale of shop kitty Steve Madden in The Westerly Sun. Steve lives at Pennywise, an upscale consignment store in Mystic, Conn., and his story is what you might call one of from rags to... rich rags?
Steve's journey began in 2006, when he was rescued from an abandoned building after being trapped inside for an extended period of time. The experience left his immune system severely damaged, causing him to suffer from asthma and severe airborne and food-related allergies, and leaving him in desperate need of adopters who were willing to accommodate his medical needs.
Five months after being found, and during what the Pennywise site refers to "his last days there," Donna Madden, who owns Pennywise, along with her daughter Lorell, went to visit him at the animal shelter at the urging of the dog warden. The family, who were still heartbroken over the recent loss of their cat Alex to cancer at the age of 16, decided to take a chance on the lucky kitty, making him the third cat to call Pennywise home (in addition to Alex, a cat named Rusty also lived at the shop until the ripe old age of 22). Steve, who is now 8 or 9-years-old, was christened "Steve Madden" in honor of the family's last name, and in keeping with the tradition of his deep seeded fashion roots.
Steve's skin conditions are managed with daily medication and a prescription diet, leaving him healthy enough to fulfill his shopkeeper duties, which range from inspecting new consignments and giving fashion advice, to greeting his adoring fans. The Pennywise website even has an entire page devoted to the feline called "Steve's Corner," where he showcases his latest picks (as seen above), and posts pictures of his furry friends, who are encouraged to come by the shop for a visit.
If you're ever in Connecticut and would like to stop by, Pennywise is located at 22 Greenmanville Ave., near Mystic Seaport. You can also visit their website at pennywisemystic.com, or check out their latest updates (Steve related, and otherwise) on Facebook and Twitter.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
King's Court Necklace - $38.00
I want to live in an Anthropologie catalog as much as the next girl, which makes it all the more frustrating that they haven't sold one cat-related item in the past year (that I know of) that I can 100% get behind. First it was some questionable cat earrings in the spring, followed by the surrealist feline fedora over the summer, and now we have the King's Court Necklace, based on an idea that probably sounded alright in the planning stages (we'll make a cat necklace! with sparkly things on it!), but is lacking a bit of the refined feline elegance I'd expect, in production.
At first glance, the charm looks like a blinged out rubber cat figurine (the kind you'd get at say, Michael's, or in a natural history museum gift shop), wrapped in a chenille sweater, with a ruby soccer ball on its back, and a bejeweled cupcake on its head (or as the Anthro site refers to it as, "a silly critter with a bead-topped hat.") That being said, I'm vaguely attracted to the mish mash quality of the thing, and would probably still wear it if it found its way into my jewelry box. THOUGHTS?
It may not have been the scratching post she was hoping for, but one lucky cat got the surprise of nine lifetimes on Christmas morning in the form of miniature cotton candy colored hairpiece.
From the video description: "My sister gave us a cat wig for Christmas. So naturally, we had to try to put it on our cat. It turns out that Emma, or "Beans" as we call her, likes it :)"
The murderous expression on Beans' face really says it all, and there's still no word on the fate of the good humored couple, who went to bed shortly after the video was taken.
If you're interested in giving your cat a similar Glamourpuss inspired makeover, you can purchase the Pink Passion kitty wig, along with Bashful Blonde, Electric Blue, or Silver Fox model, over at kittywigs.com.
"Who's the prettiest cat?"
Cat Doll Print
I'm really into the small, yet colorful genre of cats illustrated with human bodies modeling people clothing (see: here, here, and here to start), and this fine selection by UK-based artist James Ward (aka JIMBOBART) does not disappoint. Whether you're delighted by this black feline's whimsical knee-socks and flouncy skirt set, or smitten with Miss Pickles' cozy cardigan and UGG boots combo, these beautifully produced prints will leave you and your kitty longing for the day that Nordstrom and Anthropologie have entire sections of their store devoted to whimsical, cat sized fashions.
(Also, unrelated, but who doesn't want Ward's equally charming "Mr. Racoon Loves A Macaroon" plate?)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
2012 is right around the corner, and what better way to get the new year off to a great start than by advertising your online shop, product, blog, or website on Catsparella this January!
By sponsoring Catsparella, you're getting premium ad space on an award winning cat blog that updates six days a week, with an extremely focused audience, and visitor and page view counts that continue to rise every month! In fact, we're currently wrapping up our best month ever, with over 70,000 page views so far, and I'm already working on some exciting new opportunities that will continue to encourage our growth in the new year.
Selecting the "best" cat videos of the year included a number of factors that included more than just views. While obvious choices such as the mega-popular (and culturally significant) "Nyan Cat" and "Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten" made the list, I also opted to include some of my lesser viewed favorites that you may have forgotten about over the past year. The picks you'll find here are all entertaining, creative, or informative in some way, and I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I enjoyed compiling them. (p.s. If you're looking for the best cat commercials of the year, you can view that post here).
The simple act of a mother cat hugging her kitten after it had a nightmare was enough to melt the iciest of hearts, and even warranted scientific analysis by National Geographic.
This interspecies lovefest between Shiloh the dolphin and Thunder the cat was unlike anything we'd ever seen before, making it one of the most surprising, and fascinating videos of the year.
The day after Oskar was adopted at 8-weeks-old, his owners gave him some toys to play with. Watch as the extraordinary little cat, who was born without formed eyeballs, tosses around jingle balls for the first time, using only his sense of sound.
If cats and dogs can work out their differences, maybe there's still hope for the rest of us.
The quintessential cat video of 2011 has to be Nyan Cat, the internet phenomenon consisting of a poptart cat with a rainbow coming out of its butt. Created by Chris Torres (aka prguitarman), and inspired by his Russian Blue cat named Marty, the video has received over 55 million (yes, million!) views to date.
The most popular, and also the best, Simon's Cat video of the year was this hilarious clip, where Simon's troublemaking moggy finally met his match in the form of a kittenish new housemate.
I'm not sure what spooked this cat so much that it felt the need to do its best Michael Jackson impression and exit stage left, but I hope it wasn't anything too traumatic, so I don't feel as bad when I keep watching this video over and over again.
There's nothing I love more than kitty kisses, which is why I fell in love with this epic show of cuteness starring Prince Gomolvilas, and his beloved kitty, Porkchop. (Check out my exclusive interview with Prince on the making of the video here.)
Jane is 29, single, and has a bit of a problem keeping a man in her life. Is it her love of cats that's causing the problem, or is it the other way around? Watch as Mr. Socks hilariously schemes to keep his mistress all to himself.
Over 18 million people tuned into Debbie's fake dating video bio, where she unraveled into a cat obsessed, blubbering mess.
The epic battle between good and evil..or at least good and apples, has begun.
This emotional video chronicles the story of a cat who sustained severe facial injuries, and his path to a jaw-dropping recovery. Make sure you have tissues handy before pressing play.
In a stroke of marketing genius, pop indie darlings Best Coast teamed up with The Cheeseburger Network for the video of their new song, "Crazy For You." The clip was not only directed by a cat (otherwise known as "Teh Director"), but also features a kitten driven craft services truck. As a word of caution, this video may not be suitable for young kitties, as it sadly includes a brief scene of catnip abuse.
Another case of adorably unexpected interspecies friendship, this time between a black cat named Fum and an owl named Gebra.
Cats are natural yoga practitioners with built-in flexibility and meditative mindsets, but this feline teacher takes it to the next level, painstakingly overseeing every aspect of his student's mat routine.
I'm a huge fan of British comedian Chris Cohen's ongoing series of animal translation videos, and this clip of two arguing kitties was my favorite of 2011, with Bully Cat and the Box - The Translation coming in a close second.
This short, nature style documentary took a look inside the world of New York City's bodega cats, who dutifully guard the city's corner grocery shops against unwanted pests.
Ever wonder what your cats are really looking at when they stare into space? I'd be cool with having an imaginary visitor stopping by from time to time, but please, no smoking! They have enough bad habits as it is.
Stephen Colbert welcomed a new Senior Correspondent to his show in February, a diplomatic cat named Christiane Aman-purr. The real Christiane was so taken with her feline counterpart, that she stopped by the program a few weeks later to deliver a special gift.
Men and cats were a super hot trend in 2011, and Funny or Die got in on the action by inviting television hunks Sam Tramwell (True Blood), Romany Malco (Weeds/No Ordinary Family), Mark Valley (a million different shows), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), and more, to star in this titillating display of cute overload.
Maneki Neko, also known as the beckoning cat or lucky cat is a Japanese symbol, usually seen in sculpture, that is believed to bring good luck to its owner. Going into 2012, I'm sure most of us could probably use a little extra good fortune, and if gobbling up these glittery creations will help, then I'm all for it!
Kate tells me that these cat cupcakes come from Auntie Loo's Treats, a 100% vegan bakery located in Ottawa, ON.
Monday, December 26, 2011
I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season so far! Yesterday I took the opportunity to unplug for a bit, and spent the day stuffing my face, playing Wii, and watching movies with my family. My cats already have more amusements than they know what to do with, so their holiday haul consisted of lots of extra attention in the form of hugs, kisses, grooming, playtime, and treats.
Technically, this is a Cat Hanukkah gift round-up for me, but having that as the title of this post didn't sound quite as snappy. I want to know what cool gifts my fellow cats lovers received (or gave to their kitties!), and also share some of the sweet presents I was given, below!
Gift: The Cat's Pajamas: 101 Of The World's Cutest Cats by Rachael Hale
This beautiful coffee table book features gorgeous, full page photographs of 101 cats, along with the history, appearance, and color of each breed. A super cute way to help me on my quest of identifying every kind of cat by appearance, and way more fun than a plain ol' cat encyclopedia!
From: Donka, my friend and former roommate
Gift: Original etching of "Marilyn Monroe" Hemingway Home Cat by Isabel Cohen
While visiting Key West, Florida a few months ago, my friend visited the Hemingway Home & Museum, which is renowned for housing nearly 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. This thoughtful souvenir from the historical landmark features a colorful depiction of former feline resident, Marilyn Monroe, who resided at the house from 1986 - 2004. (True to her movie star moniker, she's also famous for making an appearance in the 1989 James Bond film, License To Kill.) I'm totally in love with this original print, and can't wait to hang it in a place of honor over my desk!
From: Alison, my friend and the graphic design guru behind the Catsparella logo
Gift: 2012 Kitten Calendar
For the past few years, I've been able to look forward to my aunt giving me my yearly dose of cuteness through a kitten calendar, and this year she certainly did not disappoint! The calendar comes with a "mini" version too, so I can make sure I'm constantly surrounded by precious kittens, wherever I'm working from.
From: My Aunt Elaine!
Gift: Handmade cat hair necklace, produced out of "beads" of my cat Priscilla's hair
Last month, one of my readers named Jennifer, who runs the blog The Gracie and Peanut Diaries, offered to make me a necklace out of the fur of one of my cats. While it may sound strange to some, it was an offer I couldn't refuse, so I sent a Ziploc bag of Priscilla's hair off to her, and excitedly waited for my new jewelry to arrive. It came in the mail late last week, and I could hardly contain my excitement as I opened the package to find this beautiful piece, made out of a nickel chain, glass pearls, and cat hair! I can't wait to wear it out on the town, and will treasure it forever, as it contains an everlasting reminder of my first cat, who is also the inspiration behind this blog.
I should also mention that Jennifer has an Etsy shop, Miu Miu Wear, where you can purchase other pre-made cat hair related creations, or you can message her about making a custom piece of your own (I'm thinking about commissioning a pair of earrings to match my necklace!)
Extreme cat hair close-up!
Special thanks to Jennifer, and the rest of my friends and family for making this one fur-filled holiday season I'll never forget! Please share your favorite feline related gifts that you received this year in the comments below!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Grab some eggnog, and join us for a special ~*Christmas Eve*~ edition edition of Caturday, where we catch up on the week's latest cat news, and get to meet some of your amazing kitties!
This week, we laughed at silly screaming cats, met a heroic firefighter who adopted the kitties he helped rescue, fell in love with Mimo Le Chat, hired a soothing feline babysitter, experienced some retro cool cat cupcakes, hated on Charlize Theron for dissing Hello Kitty, found out what would happen if Dexter got a cat, put together some fancy feline inspired fashion sets, investigated the world of cats wearing snuggies, celebrated Kitmas with The Kitten Covers, turned 2.5 pounds of cat hair into $325 worth of Christmas cheer, and reviewed some of the biggest cat news stories of 2011!
Bella getting in the Christmas spirit!
This week's featured feline comes to us from Karen, who sent in some festive pictures of her beautiful cat Bella, "just chill-laxin" and celebrating her 1st birthday earlier this year.
Special thanks to Karen for sharing her little party animal with us this week! I hope Miss Bella got plenty of rest, because between Caturday, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's, the celebrations have only just begun!
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Friday, December 23, 2011
A Tennessee veterinary hospital was able to make the lives of several area families brighter this holiday season with a little help from one of my favorite renewable resources: Cat hair!
The staff at Jonesborough Animal Hospital collected the hair to sell to Greer Laboratories in Lenoir, N.C., who purchases bags of healthy fluff from veterinary clinics for use in formulating allergy injections for cats. It took hospital staffers nearly a year to gather 2.5 pounds of "assorted colored" fur to donate, which they sent in for a $325 pay-out.
After some debate over what to do with the funds, the big-hearted bunch decided to put the money towards helping those less fortunate than themselves. 20 employees made additional contributions to the collection, which left them with enough cash to adopt three Angel Tree children from area elementary schools, buy stocking stuffers for a school, and purchase food for a family of eight.
The kitty hair came from healthy cats who had procedures done at the hospital, as well as cats whose owners had them shaved. The clinic hopes to continue the tradition in the future and have already begun collecting hair for their next donation; However, since the laboratory typically prefers 5-pound bags, they're storing the hair in a freezer until they reach their hairy goal.