Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's Caturday!

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!

This week: "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba debuted her new cat rescue series, The New Yorker took us behind the scenes of a feline photo shoot, Hello Kitty landed at Ladurée, Maggie shared memories from Petunia's first birthday party, we discovered les chats de Audrey Jeanne, Street Cat Bob invaded the BBC, ModCloth cornered the market on adorable kitty themed tea sets, Martha Stewart inspired some DIY cat adoption announcement cards, we went inside the cat actor's studio with Vito Vincent, Fresh Step introduced organic bacon scented cat litter, and around the world in 80 cats landed in Spain, where I discovered some of the most beautiful feline photography yet!

Also, don't forget to stop by to enter for your chance to win a $100 American Express Gift Card from our friends at Apartment Guide! A hundred bucks could buy a whole lot of cat food (and cupcake mix) so you're probably gonna want to get in on this one...just sayin'!

Spencer and Benny

This week's featured felines come to us from Karolee, who is very excited to share her furry family with us this week! She tells me that she's never seen two cats as close as Spencer and Benny - who not only curl up and nap together (seriously how cute is the pic of them cuddling?!) - but also play together non-stop!

In addition to being little love-bugs, the precious pair have also provided her with an amazing emotional support system. When Karolee unexpectedly lost her husband and two pets within a very short period of time, the two kitties stepped up to help brighten her life through the darkness of her grief.

Karolee writes:

A few years ago, my sweet husband passed away. He was only 58 years old, and had a massive heart attack. We were married for 39 years (no kids) and had been dating since we were 16. A year later my darling Lhasa Apso, Niko, passed away at 16. Three weeks after that, my most precious and beloved Himalayan, Sammy, who was only 9 years old unexpectedly had a tummy obstruction and also passed. Sammy was my very special darling angel. It was a terribly sad time in my life. My darling SPENCER was just bereft without his good friend Sammy and would wander the house searching for him. Oh, it was just heartbreaking. So I got him dear little BENNY who did not hesitate to brighten BOTH of our sad lives. SO we are a family of THREE, and the two of them are EVERYTHING to their momma! They are MY DARLING BOYS!


My stunning Spencer is just so beautiful and regal. He is a bit more reserved (shall we say..) than BENNY. He walks around the house as though he OWNS everything in his path. He adores being covered with blankets when he sleeps. At night when we are all in bed, he won't go to sleep until he feels the warmth of my hand on his (15 lbs!) body. Actually that puts us BOTH to sleep! Even if BENNY is curled around him, he still needs his momma's hand on him in the night time.

He also just LOVES being brushed! All I have to do is hold up the brush and call his name, and he comes a-runnin'. He will sit and be brushed FOREVER. If it were up to him, THAT'S how his momma should spend her days! He is my big boy.


BENNY, on the other hand, is quite the character! His favorite thing to do is take my socks or his mousies and DROP them into his GIGANTIC water bowl. WHY? I have NO CLUE! Pretending he's doing a laundry? Thinks his mice need a bath? I have NO IDEA! BENNY also will jump from the floor up to my shoulders and plops down and starts purring. He ADORES being up high. Once he went from my shoulders to the top of my grandfather clock! How did I ever get him down? It wasn't easy! Believe me!

I mentioned the GIGANTIC WATER BOWL. I had to get a BIG DOGGIE-SIZED water bowl because he likes to MOVE his water bowls, and I'm sure that you can imagine the total MESS this makes! He is constantly dragging blankets or cat beds from UPSTAIRS to DOWNSTAIRS and vice versa!!! He is only 7 lbs and I have no idea how he can lift these things in that little mouth! He constantly has me in stitches, but he is so precious, he is definitely my wild one!

Special thanks to Karolee for sharing her emotional story with us this week! It's always devastating to suffer one loss, but to have several fall so close together is just unimaginable. Kudos to Karolee for her inspirational strength, and thank you to Spencer and Benny for providing comfort to their momma during a time when she needed them the most!

p.s. Looking for even more Catsparella? Check out my weekly columns over on Catster!

This week:

Want to see your cat(s) on Catsparella? I'm always taking submissions for my weekly Caturday post! Just email your best kitty pics to, and include your cat's name and anything else you'd like to share! I can't wait to hear from you!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Around The World In 80 Cats #5: Spain

Cat in Ainsa

I don't know much about Spain except that it's the birthplace of Antonio Banderas and Pedro Almodóvar films (ok, I probably know a little more than that) - but I've heard it's quite a lovely place to visit. While I wasn't able to uncover any top secret cat-themed tourist destinations (besides The Cat Fountain in Barcelona and the cat graffiti that lines the streets of Granada and beyond), I unearthed a treasure trove of gorgeous photos featuring the many felines who call the Mediterranean country their home.

Boy with cats in Altea

Cat in the Wall, Granada

Cat pile in Toledo

Relaxed Cat in Tarragona (apparently this guy gets around!)

Out for a stroll at The Buen Retiro Park, Madrid

Black Cat Graffiti, Granada

Cadiz Cat

Know of any cat-themed travel destinations or have some cool kitty vacation pics you'd like to share? Email me at!


Fresh Step Ushers In April Fools' Day By Announcing Organic Bacon Scented Cat Litter

Mashable just let the cat out of the bag on Fresh Step's April Fools' Day plans, by unveiling a fictitious (yet frighteningly realistic) news report announcing their latest product: Organic Bacon Scented Cat Litter.

To take the joke even one step further, the litter-makers even dedicated a page of their website to the product, which promises "powerful odor control with a dash of salted meat." While it wouldn't surprise me if something like this actually DID exist, for now it remains just a well done parody of popular culture. The cat-activated clay that provides a "pleasing sizzle sound" is available only - you guessed it - "wherever pigs fly."


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Inside The Cat Actor's Studio: Vito Vincent's Path To Feline Fame

Vito Vincent (Image credit:

Sometimes I get asked about how to break into the world of cat acting and modeling, but admittedly it's a topic I don't really know that much about. A fascinating article in the Los Angeles Times called "A star isn't born - yet" recently shed some light on the mysterious world of cat casting, specifically focusing on Vito Vincent, an ambitious orange tabby who relocated with his owner to Los Angeles after finding some success in New York City.

As Middle East Expert Christianne Aman-purr on "The Colbert Report"

Vito, now five, may look familiar to some. His most famous role to date has been on "The Colbert Report," where he hilariously played the role of Senior Correspondent Christianne Aman-purr.

His owner, Michael LeCrichia, got the idea of getting his cat involved in the entertainment industry after reading a story in the New York Post about local pet talent agencies. After initially being turned away (much like any aspiring human starlet, he was told to lose weight and expand his repertoire), Vito eventually shed the lbs. and started landing gigs. Despite his mounting success, LeCrichia, who calls the cat "my son" and "my world," decided to take the plunge and move the pair out to Los Angeles. "I knew Hollywood was the place where he would have the best chance to go from being a working actor to being a star," he says. "Like Lassie."

The popular adage of "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" hasn't proved to be true in Vito's case. It's now been nearly a year since the move, but the former rescue who is also a certified therapy cat, hasn't booked a gig since. Unlike in NYC, where agencies don't have the space to house their charges, Hollywood consists of a small handful of companies where studios go when they need an animal actor. They're not as likely to turn to a private owner, especially for a tabby cat, and one agent notes that if they need something they don't have, they just turn to someone they know. (As an interesting aside, Debbie Pearl, owner of Paws for Effect, relates that she thought of a friend's pet when "Glee" wanted a fat cat to play Lord Tubbington).

These days, Michael and Vito spend their days at Hollywood spots such as The Grove, in hopes that Vito will be discovered all over again. You have to wonder if the dream of stardom belongs to LeCrichria or to his cat, but for all of their efforts one hopes that the extra exposure from the article will lead to new opportunities for the pair, who show us that the path to feline superstardom isn't as easy as it looks.

Click here to check out the Los Angeles Times article for the full story, along with a video showing Vito Vincent and Michael LeCrichia in action. Fans (and potential employers) can also visit Vito's official website at


Martha Stewart DIY Cat Adoption Announcement Cards

Have you recently added a new kitty to your brood, and are looking for a unique way to share the joyful news with the world?

I recently stumbled across an adorable DIY idea from to create your own Pet-Adoption Announcement cards to distribute to family and friends. The site offers a free template to cut out, and step-by-step instructions on how to craft the purrfect card.

No one has ever sent me an an official declaration upon the arrival of a new cat, but I know I'd be tickled fifty shades of pink to receive one. Handmade announcements are a really sweet and unexpected way to acknowledge your new pet, and hey, you might even get some cool kitty-warming gifts out of it, too. After all, if I have to buy you a present every time you get married or have a baby, the least you can do is buy me a catnip mouse when I adopt my next cat!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ModCloth Corners The Market On Cat Themed Tea Sets

One kitty teapot is a happy occurrence, but six amazingly adorable cat inspired tea time accessories equals a full on trend! ModCloth is currently offering an unprecedented array of feline-themed tea sets and mugs that are changing the look of stuffy old tea time furrever.

Whether you opt to keep it classic with English Breakfast, or are happier sippin' on some chamomile, any brew is guaran-tea-d to taste yummier when it's served up with a side o' cats.

4. Get in Fe-line Mug :// $20.99


James Bowen and Street Cat Bob Charm Viewers On "BBC Breakfast"

Update: The original March 2012 interview referenced in this post has been removed from YouTube, but you can watch James and Bob's Feb 2013 appearance on Breakfast TV here.

Just when I thought we couldn't love Street Cat Bob any more than we already do, Bob and his owner James Bowen took to the airwaves earlier this week for a charming on-air chat with "BBC Breakfast."

The street performer and his kitty were making the rounds to promote their book,"A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets," which was released earlier this month. Bowen, who once struggled with drug addiction and still lives in support housing, told hosts Susanna Reid and Bill Turnbull: "(Bob has) taken care of me, given me unconditional love, and changed my perspective on life." He hopes that the popularity of the book will result in more opportunities for himself and the well trained cat, who he says never expects anything more than "love and a couple of biscuits."

James and Bob were joined on the set by literary agent Mary Pachnos, who explained how it took her a week to work up the nerve to talk to them outside the Angel tube station. Pachnos says that in the short time it has been out, Bob's book has already been released in eight different languages, and there are even hopes that Hollywood will come calling. Turnbull joked that Bowen would be played by "Marley & Me" star Owen Wilson in a film adaptation of the feline tale, but personally I'd prefer to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role of the cat-loving busker with a heart of gold!

"A Street Cat Named Bob" is on sale now through Amazon UK, and also available for pre-order in the US.

Thanks to John (@enigmachine) for the tip!


A Feline Affair To Remember: Petunia Turns One!

Priscilla's 11th birthday is coming up this Sunday, which has left me frantically planning on how we are going to celebrate.

As luck would have it, our friend Maggie recently sent over some pictures of her cat Petunia's first birthday gathering for inspiration. If you remember, Petunia (or "Tuny" for short), is a Maine Coon who was featured in a recent Caturday post. Maggie rescued her from a family who didn't want her anymore and left the poor girl in solitary confinement, where her only means of human contact was during meals and litter box cleanings. Naturally, Tuny's first birthday in her new home inspired a very special celebration, and Maggie was more than happy to share the details of the wonderful day.

Petunia the party princess

Maggie writes:

We invited two close kitty cat friends, whom we knew would love the company. Petunia wore her birthday tutu. She's often referred to as the "Princess" of the house, so we thought her dress was perfect for the occasion. Since Petunia was dressed up, we brought out all of her dress up clothes and costumes for her other friends. Winston is the little guy in the grape costume. Sebastian, however, decided to have none of that and refused any clothing.



Some birthday treats were provided for the kitties and humans. I made some strawberry cupcakes and tubed some whipped frosting, and added strawberries and sprinkles for the humans. The kitty cats enjoyed their own kitty cat birthday cake, purchased from a pet treat store. We all sang (or meowed) "Happy Birthday" to the little birthday girl and munched on our goodies.

Kitty cake

Strawberry cupcakes for the humans, yum!

There are a few candid shots of the kitties in a few images. In one, Sebastian was feeling a little too close for comfort and attempted to protect himself against Mr. Winston. In another, Winston and Petunia share a sweet moment...

Unruly party guests

A tender moment...

Overall, the party went pretty well, the cats got along (mostly) and we distributed little goody bags filled with kitty and human goodies. Some of these included kitty treats, kitty catnip, kitty toys, and chocolates (for the humans, of course!). We also decorated the apartment in Hello Kitty items, taped pink crepe paper all over the living room, and ran "Garfield" on repeat...

Gimme that frosting!

Goody bags for all!

Special thanks to Maggie for sharing Petunia's first birthday party memories with us! Do you have any kitty party pics you'd like to share? Drop me a line at!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Confectionately Yours: Hello Kitty x Ladurée

I try not to post two sweet items in one day (cuz ughh), but when I read about Sanrio's latest collaboration with Parisian luxury cake and pastry purveyor Ladurée, my head nearly exploded from excitement!

Ladurée, of course, are world famous for their macarons - the light, meringue-based confections that are as pleasing to the taste buds as they are to the eye (not to be confused with MACAROONS, the coconut clusters reserved for Passover). Hello Kitty always has her paws on the pulse of what's hot, so I suppose it's only natural that she would align herself with the hip treat that's surged in popularity over the past few years. In addition to the multi-colored macarons, Ladurée announced on Facebook that the dainty collection will also include Hello Kitty branded chocolates, and even non-edible accessories like gift boxes, cutesy stickers, and jewelry (but let's be honest here, I just want the macarons).

Of course, like any covetous kitty creation, these items are going to be tough to get a hold of. Reports say the limited edition line will be available in "Hello Kitty stores and Ladurée Secrets boutiques," but I have a feeling we'll be stuck admiring them from afar, much like a favorited Pinterest recipe that never comes to pass.


Behind The Scenes At A Feline Photo Shoot For The New Yorker

(Click here to watch if video doesn't load)

Ever wonder what goes into an amazing kitty photo shoot? You know, the ones where the cat is looking squarely at the camera with their eyes open wide and their paws are perfectly placed? If you've tried to orchestrate a feline photo op of your own, I'm sure you already know the complexities of getting cats to cooperate, in that they generally don't.

A recent story by Antonya Nelson for The New Yorker called "Chaper Two" required the help of some professional cat models to illustrate its ominous opening passage, which reads: “She was known in the neighborhood for being a character—some composite of Miss Havisham, Norma Desmond, and Scarlett O’Hara—her ancient family manse, with its aspect of ruined wedding cake, fenced off as if to contain inmates, its fetid kidney-shaped pool, by which her multiple orange cats congregated.”

In order to recreate the crazy cat lady-esque scene for the mag, photographer Emily Shur hired six ginger kitties, who came complete with a staff of four feline trainers. During the four and a half hour shoot, handlers used string tethers and food to coax the cats, but in the end, Shur contended it was best to let them be their furry selves.

She wrote of the experience on her blog: "This was a lengthy game of waiting for something exciting and spontaneous to happen. Instead of exciting and spontaneous I got quiet and calculated. I accepted the cats for who they were and just tried to be ready when they were.

Sometimes challenging shoots are challenging in all the wrong ways. The ways that make it pretty much impossible to produce a good picture. Other times the challenge is presented in all the right ways, and it makes you want to rise to the occasion that much more."

If there's anything else this behind the scenes video of the poolside photo session has taught me, it's that cat trainer or not - the only tried and true way to get a cat's attention is by making silly noises and shaking a bag of treats.


Cat Cupcake Tuesdays

Stephanie from The Little Cake Stand created these fabulous kitty cupcakes for a very special cat lover on her birthday. The rosette piping and extra long whiskers really make them really stand out, and the paw print and "Purr" accents are just the icing (er, fondant?) on the cake!

Have you created or spotted any kitty-themed baked goods (or other foods) lately? If so, please submit your sweet tips for Cat Cupcake Tuesdays to!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Get Your Kitty Supercharged For Spring + $100 AmEx Gift Card Giveaway!

I've partnered with Apartment Guide to serve as an Official Apartment Guide Pet Blogger! As an official blogger, I will be sharing articles filled with tips for living on a budget.

It's springtime, and I'm officially done being cooped up inside - or at least ready to make time to step out for a few minutes and get some fresh air. But what about your indoor cats? It's not like they have the pleasure of visiting cat parks, and many only leave the house once or twice a year to go to the dreaded vet. Since my Apartment Guide posts are about living on a budget and keeping your cat happy and healthy in any space, I was inspired to offer of a few ideas on how to keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated this season, no matter what kind of environment you live in.

Charlie on-the-go!

Exploring the outdoors is a no-no for many indoor cats, but what if it can be done in a safe and comfortable way? Taking your cat for a walk on a harness and leash is a great way to help them burn energy and socialize, while also keeping them (and you) in tip top shape. Cat behaviorist and "My Cat From Hell" star Jackson Galaxy extolls the virtues of leash training, although he warns it may require some behavior modification on behalf of the owner and the cat. Last year, Galaxy worked with New York Times writer Stephanie Clifford to leash train her cat Mac, and also offered some tips on how to get started in the process. Before you set off on your journey, make sure you have the right gear, and choose a safe area away from free-roaming dogs. You'll also want to keep a close eye on your cat to make sure they don't attempt to climb any trees, or chew or ingest anything they shouldn't when they're out on the prowl.

For the cat who's not quite as active, a stroller is another possible way to give them the taste of the outdoors without really putting paw to concrete. Once again, it really depends on the personality of your cat, and what they feel comfortable with. My cat Charlie enjoys a short jaunt around the block where he can catch the breezes and check out the birds, but will start to fuss once the stroller stops moving. I've heard stories of other cats who are able to attend different events like parades and festivals in their strollers, and others still who don't tolerate the experience at all. Listen to your kitty (and your gut) to see what works for you, and prepare to have some fun with the neighbors when they ask to see your fur "baby"!

Sure your cat has a million and one toys, but are they the right ones? Out of the zillions of options in my house, Charlie's favorite (and cheapest) toy is still a plain old plastic spring. I wrote a post about how the original green coil took a permanent vacation a few months back, but since then a new package has been purchased, the contents of which are usually half missing. He literally plays with these things for hours on end, but I'm still not sure who gets more of a workout: Him running around and batting them all over the house, or me fetching them from under the furniture.

On the other hand, Priscilla doesn't touch them at all, and prefers to get her rocks off with a furry mouse that brings her immeasurable joy. The point I'm making is, if your cat's toys aren't driving them to pounce around like a kitten again, maybe it's time to do some experimenting to find out what does the trick. Try out different brands of catnip, get a wand (it will also give your arm a nice workout!), or invest in an electronic toy to rev up your cat's predatory instinct. Just like little kids, not all cats like playing with the same toys, so mix it up and open up a whole new world of fitness for your finicky feline.

Enter to Win!

Throughout the Apartment Guide How-To Guide for Living on a Budget series, I've given ideas on cool kitty decor (for cats and humans), offered ways to get your kitty cat craft on, suggested tips on moving with cats (presented by kitties in boxes, natch), and even fashioned Charlie his own DIY cat palace using little more than a discarded peanut box from Costo and some scrapbooking paper.

As a thank you for following the series, and to give you the chance to splurge on some goodies of your own, Apartment Guide has generously offered one lucky Catsparella reader the chance to win a $100 American Express gift card!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name and some way for me to contact you if you win (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc.). The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Monday, April 2nd at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents aged 18 and up only. One entry per person, please.


Whether you're living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for making the most of a space for you and your pet on a budget on and

If you’re ready for a whole new space or are looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect pet-friendly apartment community.

Like Apartment Guide on Facebook at, follow them on Twitter @AptGuide, and "circle" them on Google+ for real-time tips and updates on making the most of your space and living on a budget.

Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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"Dancing with the Stars" Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Debuts Web Series Dedicated To Helping Shelter Cats Find Homes

You may know "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba for her passionate critiques on the dance floor, but did you also know she's a devoted pet owner and animal welfare advocate?

When the success of "Dancing with the Stars" left her feeling unfulfilled, Inaba, who owns six cats and a dog, was inspired by her passion for animals. She resolved to use her fame to further the plight of homeless pets, and teamed up with digital entertainment network Petsami to produce a weekly web series called Crib Cat, which premiered today on the website's YouTube channel.

Inaba recently told OK! Magazine: “My pets have changed my life in countless ways. I guess the biggest way is they just teach you how to be loving and accepting, no matter what, because that’s how they are. Animals are so sweet — they’re all rescues, all my cats, and they know they’re rescued. The way they show their gratitude, by always being there — they’re just the most amazing thing in my life.”

Instead of telling a cat's story through the written word, Crib Cat aims to create a connection with potential adopters through a lighthearted video, narrated by a feline "host" named Kit (voiced by Inaba). Kit introduces herself as a 9th generation matchmaker (watch out, Patti Stanger!) trying to get shelter cats a "crib" of their own. The first episode of the show profiles a handsome long-haired boy named Blizzard, who lost his home after his owner passed away. At 7, Blizzard suffers from FIV+ and megacolon, which Kit explains are chronic, yet easily managed conditions.

Paws up to Carrie Ann for using her celebrity status to give a voice to homeless kitties! On and off the dance floor, I give this reality star a purrfect 10, and am confident that her efforts will result in a tremendous outcome in the lives of the cats she touches.

Check out the debut episode of Crib Cat above, and find out more about adopting Blizzard at


Les Chats De Audrey Jeanne

I recently discovered Audrey Jeanne, a French artist who expresses her creativity through mixed-media creations, often featuring cute animals and of course, cats. My favorite pieces include pretty colors and furry textures, or her sweet retro kitties in cat-eye glasses.

In addition to her portfolio of illustrations, Audrey also has an online shop where she sells a cat lady tote bag, "miaou" badge, and other cool accessories. Check out some of my favorite pieces below, and visit her website for more!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's Caturday!

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!

This week, the producers of "My Cat From Hell" sent out a casting alert for season 3 of the show, a real life Tom and Jerry match broke out in the UK, Roboto Neko Amigo brought purrs on earth, we learned the perils of acquiring kitty kisses, featured cheesy goldfish cupcakes made just for cats, discovered magical cat paw revealing marshmallows from Japan, and decided that today is the finally catch that red dot!

Elsewhere, Kitten Kong took London, cats took over the streets of Reykjavik, FluffPo trumped old media, and we met Sadie, the cat in residence at the New York Transit Museum!


This week's featured feline was just days old when he was rescued as a wee lass, but grew into a strong and healthy kitty thanks to the love and care of his wonderful owner!

Yuliya writes:

His name is Lutik, which means "buttercup" in Russian, Luke for short. He was found in NJ almost a year ago after a building was demolished. He was about a day old at the time, the cat mom abandoned the site and all his litter mates were dead. I bottle fed him for about two months (days and nights), and he turned out to be a gorgeous and intelligent cat.

Lutik enjoying a Dog Show

Special thanks to Yuliya for sharing Lutik's amazing story with us this week! It's so fortunate that she found him just in the nick of time and nursed him back to the picture purrfect vision of kitty health (and cuteness!)

p.s. Looking for even more Catsparella? Check out my weekly columns over on Catster!

This week:

Want to see your cat(s) on Catsparella? I'm always taking submissions for my weekly Caturday post! Just email your best kitty pics to, and include your cat's name and anything else you'd like to share! I can't wait to hear from you!



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