Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bucky Cat Tribute Tattoo + Bonus Book Giveaway

This post originally appeared on May 24, 2011, and is being republished today with an all-new giveaway to win a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life: 101 Stories about All the Ages and Stages of Our Feline Family Members."

Catsparella reader Natalie recently shared photos of her gorgeous new cat tattoo with me, along with the story of the incredible kitty behind it. Bucky was less than a year old when he succumbed to FIP, a fatal and incurable disease in cats. Despite his short time on Earth, Bucky made a lifelong impact on Natalie that she'll never forget. Their story, in her own words, is below.


Bucky was a sweet kitten that I got at about five weeks of age when he was dropped off at a local pet shop. He was extremely ill and chunks of dog food had swelled in his esophagus from the back of his throat to his stomach, making it impossible for him to swallow or breathe properly. We extracted most of it endoscopically and he was treated for aspiration pneumonia immediately afterward. I fell in love with him instantly.

He was the sweetest, most lovable kitten in the world. He loved to play fetch with his green soccer ball, gladly wore a sweater/shirt combo to see Santa and sprawled all over my manuscript while I was writing. He was with me when I had a breakdown and when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even when he was diagnosed with asthma and required a daily inhaler treatment, people always wanted to take him home.

When he was about ten months old he became very ill and was in and out of the hospital for two weeks, before needing the last third of his colon removed due to a blockage that was then biopsied, and his mystery illness was confirmed to be FIP. I don't know how much you know about it, but FIP is always fatal and untreatable. All I could do was keep him comfortable, and as long as he was happy and cheerful, money was no object. Together we fought, medicated and kept each others' spirits up as long as possible until one day he lost his battle in my arms while I played him some soft music.

The tattoo is of him surrounded by harebells, butterfly weed, Carolina jasmine, peonies, geraniums and periwinkles. Each flower has a specific meaning tied to love, loss, grief, and healing. The words, "Skin and Claw" are from a song by Ra Ra Riot, and the full quote is "skin and claw, made to leave you." I thought it was appropriate. Because Bucky was there for me when I wrote my first novel, the tattoo is on my writing arm because he is my muse. The book is even dedicated to him!

Apparently the "Chicken Soup" people were as touched by his story as everyone else because it was chosen to be in their latest collection, "My Cat's Life." Everyone knows how special Bucky was!

"Skin and Claw"

Thank you so much to Natalie for sharing her touching tale of love and loss with us. Her story, along with countless others is included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life: 101 Stories about All the Ages and Stages of Our Feline Family Members," on sale now.

Enter To Win!

Natalie has generously offered to send one lucky Catsparella reader a signed copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life: 101 Stories about All the Ages and Stages of Our Feline Family Members," so that everyone can read about Bucky and other special kitties like him!

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name and some way for me to contact you (email, link back to your blog or profile, Twitter, etc.). The winner be will chosen in a random drawing next Thursday, June 7th at 5:00PM EST. This giveaway is open to everyone, so our international friends can participate too! One entry per person, please.

(If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email me at

[Comments are now closed. Thanks for entering!]


Around The World In 80 Cats #14: Catskill, New York

Catskill Cats - "Krazy Quilt Cat" by Cheryl Lickona

Purrhaps it comes as no surprise that a town called Catskill in Upstate New York would have an annual celebration honoring felines with custom cat statues displayed around the city. Now in its sixth year, the unique attraction (which gained national attention after appearing on an episode of "Must Love Cats" last year), has helped revitalize the local economy, by notably boosting tourism in the downtown area.

Cat-n-Around 2012 got underway last week, with local artists lending their skills to a litter of 43 all-new kitty statues. Every year the cats are completely different, and according to a recent article in the Daily Freeman, this year's designs include a cat that resembles a rooster, one that looks like an old-fashioned soda vending machine, and another that looks like a stack of jack-o’-lanterns.

The fiberglass felines will be on display on Main Street and surrounding areas until mid-September, when they will be auctioned off at a gala event to raise money for charity. Since its inception in 2007, Cat-n-Around has hosted over 300 one-of-a-kind pieces of feline art, while also raising thousands of dollars for local organizations.

Catskill Cats - "A Starry Night in Catskill" by N.J. Wheelock

Catskill Cats - "Katzenjammer Kittens" by Karl Anis

Catskill Cats - "Blue Jeans Cat" by Kenny Rich

Catskill Cats - "Jean Claude Kitty" by David Slutsky

Catskill Cats - "Those Magnificent Cats and Their Flying Machines" by Bror Karlsson

Do you know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have some cool kitty vacation pics you'd like to share? Drop me a line at!


Charlie Goes Mobile With The Apartment Guide iPhone App

I have partnered with Apartment Guide to serve as an Official Apartment Guide Pet Blogger! As an official blogger, I will be sharing articles and ideas for exploring your space, city and style.

Remember a few months ago when Charlie's pad got an Extreme Makeover: Cardboard Box Edition? Well, being the mover and shaker that he is, Chuck is already thinking about moving up and out, which is why he agreed to help me review the Apartment Guide iPhone app to check out other box apartment rentals in the area.

Incorrect way to search

He needed a little extra help with the free download since he has no thumbs - plus, there was NO way I was going to give him my password after what happened the last time.

Correct way to search

The app offers the ability to do a simple search, or a nearby search based on your current location, which I think could be very useful if you are apartment hunting on-the-go. I also encouraged him to try out of the advanced search option, where he was able to select amenities such as "Pets" and "Fitness Center." ("But you don't even work out!" I said.)

In one example of just how easy the app is to use, Charlie's paws kept wandering across the touchscreen during out photo shoot, in which he initiated a nearby search that yielded results for a rental property (hilariously) called "The Mews." In fact, he was so adept at running searches, I think they should seriously consider changing their tagline to: Apartment Guide Mobile Apps: So easy, even a cat could use them™.

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 at

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.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tiny Confessions 8x10 Cat Print Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the "Tiny Confessions 8x10 Cat Print Giveaway"!

I used to determine the winner, and it selected comment #39, belonging to Clarissa who chose the "I am embarrassed by what I may have done under the influence of catnip" print!

In case you missed out, make sure to check out the Tiny Confessions Etsy shop for more hilarious pet prints. And for those of you who shop on, Chris announced on Facebook today that they're having a sale on the site starting tomorrow (5/30) at 11am!


Great Moments In Feline Cinema History: "The Sick Kitten" (1903)

I recently came across a cool short film from 1903 called "The Sick Kitten," which once again proves that cat videos were popular way before the internet came along. In the clip, directed by G.A. Smith, a boy playing a doctor brings over a bottle of fish medicine, which a girl then administers to a sick kitten, who hungrily laps it off a spoon.

One of the most interesting tidbits I came across about the 35 second clip, is that it's possibly the first example of a close-up being used to focus on action, rather than to simulate the view through a magnifying glass or microscope. According to BFI Screenonline, "Smith believed that his audience would have grown more sophisticated and would be able to tell the difference between a medium shot and close-up without prompting."

Another fun factoid? Despite its short length, a continuity blooper appears around midway through the film. If you look closely, you'll notice that the aforementioned close-up reveals that the girl is not wearing the same pinafore she had on in the full shot!


Cat Cupcake Tuesdays

Tom's 30th birthday cake, featuring Philip and Leela decorations

This week's kitty themed baked good is a custom made birthday cake featuring fondant figures inspired by two real life felines!

MJ writes:

I had this cake made last year to celebrate my husband's 30th birthday. The theme of the cake were all of his favorite things: his teddy bear, tools, and our two kitties. We rescued brother and sister tuxedo cats Philip and Leela, and they are the joy of our lives!


Philip in fondant


Leela in fondant

Special thanks to MJ for sharing her cake and kitties with us this week! The cake came out great, and I want to catnap Philip and Leela! They are so cute!

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, May 28, 2012

From Pakistan To Princeton: Cat Ladies Unite!

Priscilla and Charlie posing with our new art!

Khizra lives in Pakistan and is the Creative Director at Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy Films. I live in Princeton, New Jersey, and blog about cats. She first contacted me a little over a year ago to share share a wonderful piece she wrote about being a "Crazy Cat Young Woman," and shortly after, contributed a Caturday post about her five kitties, Laddu, Bhondu, Rano, Laali, and Gabru (sadly, Gabru has since passed away). Despite being born and raised in different parts of the world, in very different cultures, it was ultimately a mutual admiration for felines that brought us both together.

Priscilla checks out Khizra's thoughtful note

A few weeks ago, Khiz asked for my address to send me something, "obviously cat related." To my consternation (in the eternal words of Jay Z, "I got no passion, no patience, and I hate waiting"), she refused to spoil the surprise by providing any hints. I'd just have to wait for it to arrive, which it finally did on Friday.

As I anxiously tore into the box (after carefully considering if there was anything alive inside), I was shocked to find four beautiful, digital kitty prints that Khizra created as part of an alumni exhibit. The gift was meaningful because she made it herself, but also because of the long journey it took from Pakistan to New Jersey, by way of my little cat blog. Every time I admire my awesome new art, I'll not only think about my friendship with Khizra, but also about much I treasure the wonderful connection I share with all of you because of our universal love for cats.

Thank you, Khiz!!


Eva Longoria Stars In Sexy New Sheba Cat Food Commercial

New SHEBA "Follow Your Passion" TV Commercial featuring Eva Longoria

Shortly after hanging up her heels at Wisteria Lane, "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria has already picked up a cuddly new co-star to get cozy with. The actress has been tapped in a new ad campaign for Sheba cat food, that's all about following your passion in life. In a recently released commercial, the sizzling star kicks off her stilettos, seductively sashays around the house, and guzzles down a jug of milk, because that is just what passionate cat lovers do.

Ahead of the clip's release, the brand also shared a behind-the-scenes video where Longoria revealed that her feline co-star, a Russian Blue named Nick, was the most "cute, cuddly, and loving" acting partner she's ever had. With stars like Cee Lo Green (who recently signed a deal with Meow Mix), and other celebs more publicly proclaiming their love for felines, does this signal the start of a new trend in celebrity pet food endorsements?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Caturday!

Welcome back for a special holiday weekend 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, Maru turned five, Matilda made her triumphant return to the Algonquin Hotel, Friskies rallied to end Cat Boredom, "A Cat in Paris" landed in the U.S., and we got crafty for a cause with the Pet Postcard Project, to help feed the kitties of Stray Cat Alliance.

Elsewhere, we learned the heartwarming tale of how good samaritans and social media came to the aid of a kitten named Jade, cats and dogs partied together for the sake of a fruity UK beverage, we went behind the viral video with Oscar and his chicks, and the lucky number thirteenth (!) edition of "Around the World in 80 Cats" took us to a famous cemetery in Buenos Aires, that also happens to house a large colony of feral felines.

And finally, don't forget to stop by to enter for your chance to win your choice of a hilarious cat print by Tiny Confessions! I'm drawing the lucky winner this coming Tuesday, 5/29!

(Image credit: Emily Greene - Citizenkat Sphynx)

This week's featured feline is a beautiful six-month-old Sphynx, who instantly charmed her owner... who wasn't even looking for a cat!

Katherine writes:

Meisje (Dutch for 'Girl') wandered into our lives completely by accident one weekend when we went with our best friends to visit their future kitten at Citizenkat Sphynx cattery. While I am not typically an animal enthusiast, there is something about a kitten that can melt a heart of stone: especially when the kitten climbs into your arms, tucks its head into the crook of your elbow, and promptly falls asleep!

We were planning a move, and I spent the weeks leading up to her arrival packing our house, collecting kitten supplies, and preparing for our relocation from Pennsylvania to Kansas.

It was on a cold January morning when I picked up Meisje and we began our 1,400 mile journey to our new home together. We stopped and saw the sights and at night she slept curled under my chin, not much bigger than a mouse. She took our rest stops perched on my shoulder like a parrot and observed this big new world of hers. There were points on the road where the only living thing in any direction was the little kitten curled up in the seat next to me.

Trip & Meisje

When we arrived in Wichita, Meisje set out to explore the house and make friends with her Doggy brother and quickly established her little tiny self as the resident princess. Her hobbies include chasing anything that moves, modeling clothes, and talking up a storm about anything and everything. She also loves to spend time in the window, commenting on the world going by, or going outside in her harness and leash to play in the flowers and chase bugs.

Down for the count!

Three months later, she has adapted to her new home and is fearless. Once she has decided to hunt something, it is as good as eaten. She practices on her toys most of the time, setting them up for an ambush and then pouncing on them from a hidden location. She plays fetch and has regular video playdates with her sister in Pennsylvania. She is our little part-monkey-part dog-part-cat-part-child. She is never happier than when she is curled up on someone We feel very lucky that she picked us!

Special thanks to Katherine for sharing Meisje with us this week! I am fascinated by these little hairless cats, and hope that the world will start seeing them for the sweet kitties they really are, and not just as evil movie villains like Mr. Bigglesworth and Kitty Galore!

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, May 25, 2012

Academy Award Nominated Cat Flick Hits U.S. Theaters This Summer

I've been wanting to see the French animated comedy, "A Cat in Paris," ever since it was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Feature. While the film, which is about a cat named Dino who leads a double life as a child's pet and a dangerous thief, ultimately lost out to Johnny Depp playing an animated chameleon named "Rango," cat culture addicts like myself still held out hope that the accolades it received would lead to a stateside release.

Luckily for us, indie film distributor GKIDS recently announced plans to bring the movie to the U.S, with an all-star cast of actors such as Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston, and Matthew Modine lending their vocal talents to the English dub.

"A Cat in Paris" will be released in New York and Los Angeles on June 1, with additional dates in other major cities scheduled to follow throughout August. Now, all that's left to do is perfect your cat hairdo and save up your popcorn money, after checking out the movie's official Facebook page for the list of updated theaters and details.

Via Hitfix


The Cat Came Back! Matilda Returns To The Algonquin Hotel After A 5-Month Absence

After a five-month absence, Matilda the cat has reclaimed her rightful title as Directfurr of Guest Relations at The Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The hotel, which has hosted ten resident felines since 1932, shuttered its doors on Jan. 1 for an $18 million renovation.

The cat's road back to the hotel has not been an easy one. Controversy erupted in November when a complaint to the New York City Department of Health yielded new regulations against the 4-year-old Ragdoll, who formerly had a full run of the fancy lobby. She was reportedly leashed behind the front desk for a day, before being fitted with a vibrating collar to keep her out of food-related areas. Word has it that the Algonqueen isn't too happy with the new arrangement, but hotel staffers, including her executive assistant, Alice de Almeida, are confident that she will adjust.

Matilda, who has lived at the historic hotel since being rescued from the North Shore Animal League in 2010, spent her well-deserved time off in Queens with de Almeida, her husband, and their three cats, Spitz, Buffy and Skipper. The diva didn't exactly get along with her feline housemates, although de Almeida tells The Post, "But she was given the best room in the house. It overlooked the garden.”

Welcome back, Matilda!


Your Homemade Postcards Can Help Benefit Stray Cat Alliance!

The Pet Postcard Project is doing it again... for the kitties! A year after their last cat related initiative, the craft project for a cause is campaigning to raise food and flea and tick prevention products for Stray Cat Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the feral cat crisis in the Los Angeles county area.

As I've written in the past, The Pet Postcard Project is the brainchild of animal expert Nikki Moustaki, who started it as a way to help raise awareness and food for homeless animals. The way it works is that people send in their handmade pet postcards featuring confessions, advice, wishes, and more (sort of like a PostSecret for the pussy & pooch set), and pet food companies pledge a certain amount of food to different rescue organizations based on how many cards come in.

Here are the details of the current campaign:

For the month of May/June, ( and Halo Purely for Pets are donating 10,000 meals of Halo Spot's Stew for Cats to The Stray Cat Alliance in Los Angeles, CA! All you have to do is send in your handmade, homemade postcards of your own pets -- just 2500 postcards triggers the donation!

But wait, there's more! The ever philanthropic Pet Armor, a generic version of Frontline Top Spot, is donating $1500 of their cat flea and tick prevention product to The Stray Cat Alliance when the 2500 card goal is reached as well!

And that's not all! and Halo have also decided to donate an ADDITIONAL 1000 meals for every 1000 postcards that come in over the 2500 postcard goal (up to 15,000 meals). Wow! Postcards can be of ANY kind of pet.

To help launch the campaign, cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy is giving away two signed copies of his new book to two people who send in the most heartwarming handmade postcard of their own cat or dog. Furthermore, the person who sends in the best homemade postcard of a cat during the campaign will win a phone call with the Cat Daddy himself!

My favorite thing about the project is that it's a free, easy way to get involved with animal rescue, and gives me you a good excuse to bust out the crafting supplies and get busy! I had a hard time of coming up with an idea for my postcard, so I recruited my ever so humble and laid back cat, Priscilla, to lend a paw in creating a confession of her own.

The deadline for sending in postcards to benefit Stray Cat Alliance is the end of June, so get your scissors out, and start spreading the word! Click HERE for all of the details on how to craft the purrfect submission, and like The Pet Postcard Project on Facebook to keep up with all of their latest campaigns!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Around The World In 80 Cats #13: Argentina

It's not something I had planned out, but perhaps it is no accident that the thirteenth installment of "Around the World in 80 Cats" takes us to a cemetery, of all places.

La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is the final resting place of some of Argentina's most notable residents, such as President Raúl Alfonsín and former First Lady Eva Perón. For the past 20 years, the popular tourist destination has also become home to a large population of feral cats, who spend their days napping amongst the tombs.

The colony of 40-80 cats are cared for by a dedicated group of women who feed them twice a day (10am and 4pm), which is said to be the best time to see them as they gather in anticipation. In addition to covering food expenses, the volunteers also provide medical care for the kitties (they are all spayed/neutered), but also accept donations to help defray the cost of their work.

Do you know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have some cool kitty vacation pics you'd like to share? Drop me a line at!


Maru Turns Five!

He's growing up so fast! It's hard to believe that Maru, who has been sharing his life with us since 2007, is turning five years old today! In keeping with tradition, his owner mugumogu put together a video montage highlighting some of his most memorable moments from the last twelve months. It was another box heavy year for the squishy Scottish Fold, whose fame seems to grow in direct proportion to his roundness.

Happy Birthday, Maru!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Behind The Viral Video: Oscar And His Chicks

Back in February, a 49 second clip of a blasé kitty named Oscar hit the net, featuring a tiny chick who managed to foil the tubby tabby by camouflaging itself in his floofy belly fur. Since then, views on Oscar's YouTube channel, tubbytubbytubtubs, have skyrocketed into the hundreds of thousands, bolstered by fans who can't get enough of the cat's unusual penchant for poultry.

Oscar, who has gone on to release several more titles, including "Chick and Cat Have an Argument," "Baby Chick Falls Asleep on Cats," and the seminal "Chick Swallowed by Cat's Belly," lives in the UK with his owner Jack, who recently gave me the inside scoop on the senior kitty who stars in the internet's latest interspecies lovefest.

Read on for more!

Can you spot the chick in this picture?

Can you please tell us a little more about Oscar?
Oscar is 11 years old, his birthday was last week. We got him as a kitten.

How did you first find out that he didn't mind the chicks?
I regularly hatch chicks and they are kept in the house for the first six weeks of their lives. I first found out that Oscar didn't mind hanging out with the chicks when one escaped and Oscar was in the same room -- this was when "Camouflaged Chick" was filmed.

When did you decide to start posting these encounters on You Tube? Are you surprised by how popular they've become?
It started when I decided to film a quail that was sitting on Oscar's head. I put it on YouTube for friends and family to see, the video rapidly climbed in views which I was astonished by.

Anything else you'd like to share?
A cartoonist is currently designing a new background for the channel so keep an eye out in the next few weeks; it will feature Oscar, Rosie and the chicks. Oscar's new Twitter account is @_OscarTheCat_.

Special thanks to Jack for taking time out of his chick hatching schedule to chat with us! Keep up with Oscar's latest adventures on Twitter, or subscribe to his YouTube channel for full coverage on the feline and his feathered friends.


Catify Your Smartphone With Kitten Themed Wallpaper By Michael Kloth Photography

As someone who has spent countless hours trying to photograph my own cats, I have nothing but the utmost respect for professional pet photographers like Michael Kloth, who manage to make the art of capturing the perfect feline pose look easy.

Kloth, whose graduate work centered around photographing local adoptable animals, continues to volunteer his skills to raise awareness for shelter pets, by exposing their unique personalities and stories through his captivating images.

In 2010 he released "Shelter Cats," a book highlighting some of the cats and kittens available for adoption from Benton-Franklin Humane Society, Woodford Humane Society, and Tri-Cities Animal Shelter. Michael sells limited edition prints and gallery wrapped canvases of selected images from the book online, but what really caught my attention were his beautifully shot kitten-themed wallpapers, that will give any smartphone an added dose of "aww!"

Cat Collection Smart Phone Wallpapers, $1.50 - $5.00, Michael Kloth Photography


Cats And Dogs Party Together In UK Soft Drink Commercial

J2O is a fruity beverage manufactured in the UK that caters to the club crowd, and consists of a mix of two flavors, hence the tagline, "A Bottleful of Togetherness."

To help illustrate this point, the brand created a commercial featuring a pack of human-bodied hipster pups crashing a cat party (with the help of a case of the drink), which inevitably leads to a night of dancing, soft drink swilling, and one very passionate interspecies smooch!

Thanks for the tip, Freya & Teego!



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