Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bonded Cats

Finding one single cat to love is hard (because you want to love them all), finding two cats to love can be harder, HOWEVER if you want to get two, consider a "bonded pair". No, I'm not talking about Siamese twin cats!

Bonded cats are cats that have attached themselves to other cats, kind of like people picking a soul mate. Kittens form bonds with their mother very young, and then as they grow older and they form bonds with other cats. There are emotional bonds between litter mates but there are bonds between cats that have taken care of each other as strays or ones that come from the same shelter with the same experiences.


When we went looking to get a cat, we weren't sure exactly what we were looking for except we knew we didn't want kittens. Two adult cats picked us! We ended up getting Vicktor and Ginger from the same place at the same time, so they smelled the same. The adjustment was easy even though they weren't necessarily a "bonded" pair. I can assure you now, I don't know what they would do without each other! Ginger was having some eye problems last year and she had to stay over night at the vet, when she came back you could tell that Vicktor was happy she was home. He kept following her around, sitting on her, and grooming her.


Vicktor snuggling with Ginger and Ginger not having it.


Vicktor giving me the stink eye for taking of photo of them.

Without each other, bonded cats are stressed and can revert back to being anti-social. Just like people, they can get separation anexity, depressed, and sick ~ yes, sick! ~ grieving for their buddy. But with each other, they have companionship and comfort. Sadly shelters are tasked with trying to find homes for bonded pairs, and so many people don't want two cats. Next time I go looking for cats, I plan to seek out two bonded cats. Bonded cats means no iffy introduction period! So what are you waiting for? Bring TWICE the love into your home!


Here's a bonded pair up for adoption at the SPCA Serving Erie County right meow! 
Adopt these cuties here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shirley Jackson & Her Hill House

Andrew, my hubs, recently renewed his library card and asked if there was anything I would like out from the library, I said, "See if they have anything by Shirley Jackson." Her name kept popping up in my readings on women and horror, Rue Morgue Magazine did a feature on her in their September 2016 issue, and the same article was included in Rue Morgue's Women with Guts Magazine that was in the May 2017 Horror Block Box.

She is known for writing about psychological suspense and the limits that are placed on women, she casually practiced witchcraft, AND she lived an hour away from me in Rochester, NY! This is my type of lady.


I haven't read anything by Jackson, so (as usual) I'm way past due in catching up! The library had The Haunting of Hill House. It was written in 1959 and is considered one of the best ghost stories written in the 20th century. The physical copy of this book looks like it's seen a ghost! The book is covered in paper, held together by a shoelace string and some pages are falling out. No, I'm not joking (see pictures). It seems a billion people have taken this book out before me! Man, I really feel behind. (p.s. I'm using my handy bat bookmark from the May 2017 Glamour Ghoul Box.)



I have to say it's a quick and timeless haunted house read. It follows 4 people ~ one professor of the paranormal, one man set to inherit the house, one bohemian psychic, and one girl on the verge of loosing her mind named Eleanor. What I enjoyed about Hill House, is that it goes into the mind of Eleanor and you find out what she's thinking. She's seems a bit "off" and in her own fantasy world to begin with. I won't give the whole plot away, but the house is a character unto itself and I understand why this book is so popular.

There's even two movie adaptations of it, both called The Haunting, but make sure you watch the one from 1963, the 1999 one tries too hard. There's even a rumour that The Haunting of Hill House might be turned into a series for Netflix! But if you can't wait for the series, try delving into more haunted house madness with The Changling or The Legend of Hell House, both have a haunted house that builds up tension until the end, and just remember to have a flashlight handy because you never know what's lurking around the corner...muhahahaha....





Monday, June 26, 2017

Cat Introductions 101

So you just got a new cat, but you're worried your old cat won't like it. The key is plenty of patience (and treats)! The initial introduction is very important. If both cats are hostile, they'll go into survival mode aka fight or flight, so plan your introductions wisely, it will take time.

My Ginger & Vicktor snuggling.

Steps to introducing a Cat to Another Cat and things to think about...

1. Look at both cats personalities and type of cat. A playful kitten and old grumpy cat don't always mesh well. A very active cat and a cat set in their lazy ways won't work well either, and may cause the older cat lots of anxiety.  Don't get a cat that is an "only child" cat, look for ones that are used to being around people and other animals.

2. Once home, place the new cat in a room and keep both cats isolated so that they cannot see one another, preferably with a solid door between them. To make them comfortable, make sure each cat has their own food, water, litter box, scratching post, bed, and window if possible. You can even leave cardboard boxes for both cats with blankets or towels in them.

3. Cats have a very strong sense of smell and scent transfer is a great way to begin introductions. Wipe one cat's face and fur with a t-shirt or washcloth and leave it in the other cat's space to sniff and vice versa. Do this everyday until they don't have a reaction to it. Don't be surprised if they hiss to begin with.

4. Start to let them sniff each other from under the closed door. Always reward them with treats if they stay calm and don't get aggressive.

5. If possible use a baby gate with a cover over it between the doors, or slightly prop open the door a sliver so they can see each other. You can use a door stop. Be very careful because they can jump over the gate or push the door open. If they can peek at each other without hissing or being aggressive again be sure to reward them with a treat.

6. Begin to move their dish closer to the door that separates them, so they associate the other one with comfort and food.

7. Switch the spaces of each cat after 2 or 3 days. Put the old one in the new ones room and vice versa for a few hours. You may have to do this for a couple of weeks until they are comfortable in the other one's space. Don't forget the reward. If you have the time you can even repeat this activity a few times each day. If the cats are not reacting to each other’s presence, you can gradually increase the amount of time they see one another through the door slot or baby gate.

8. Don't forget to play with both cats in their separate spaces. You can use the same toy, so they get used to the smell. Or if you can play with them through the door with a wand toy, that would work too. Always reward them with treats!


9. Once both cats are calm when they see each other and in each others spaces, slowy allow them to be in the same room. Always supervised to begin with! Make sure they have a place to escape to. If it doesn't work out and they hiss and attack each other, you may have to back track to step 3 and start over. NEVER pick up a cat that's fighting, distract it by clapping or throwing something on the floor, then keep them away from each other for 24 hours to calm down.

If you want two cats and don't have any to start with, I suggest getting ones from the same litter, or a bonded pair, or even get them from the same place at the same time. Having two is great because they can entertain each other when you're not around and will get along without introductions. Introducing cats is no joke!


Introducing a Cat to a Dog is very similar as a Cat to Another Cat....

1. Again double check for a personality match. Puppies and older cats may not get along. Look at their energy levels and try to match them.

2. Dogs/ puppies should know the commands "sit" and "stay" before being introduced. Look at the size of the animals too. A kittens neck can be easily broken playing with a large dog and vice versa. Believe it or not kittens and small puppies can be very delicate.

3. You can use the same techniques as listed above in steps 2, 3 & 4.

4. If you have a dog, it's likely you have a metal dog crate. You can switch out their spaces by putting the cat in the crate and keep the dog on a leash. Always make sure it's supervised and give them a treat reward for being good. 

5. Once the cat and dog don't react to one another while the cat is in the crate and the dog is leashed, you can let the cat out while the dog is still leashed.

6. Then you can let them roam around supervised, then finally unsupervised.


Use patience in the early stages of introductions, it will increase your chances of success!

Monday, June 19, 2017

When "Everyday is Halloween" Fashion

Recently I was chatting with a gal dressed in all black, covered in tattoos, with a shaved head. She said "Everyday is Halloween". I was wearing a pastel dress covered in teacups and I said, "Yes, everyday is Halloween for me too." I don't always wear black, but I DO dress in costume nearly everyday. When I'm not dressed in theme....wait....I'm always dressed in theme. I've never been very good at art, but I feel like getting dressed is a way to express myself. I hope that when people see me they smile and I hope to be an old lady covered in leopard print someday. Screw fashion rules.

Why just since the beginning of the year...

Goth night.

 Going to see Wonder Woman.

 Tea Party.

 Twin Peaks.

 Taco Tuesday.

 Lost Boys.

Tiki night.

Since I work at Cats Like Us, I wear lots of clothes with a rockabilly vibe that have cats on them and I mean lots. It's basically a uniform, but I'm not complaining. Here's a small sampling of those outfits...




Halloween has always played a big part in my life, I was married on Halloween before it was cool and I even have a Halloween room in my house. I love classic monsters and pictures with Trick or Treaters on them. Do you feel like Halloween is everyday? How do you show it?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thinking Inside the Box

Cats can be a little goofy at times and often do things that are unexpected ~ like sit in boxes. Whether big or small, cats find a way to squeeze into them. There's lots of speculations on why boxes and cats are best friends and I've come across some interesting explanations...

Vicktor claimed my Horror Block Box.

The main reason is instinct.  Cats will look for safety and retreat to a space where they can observe, but be hidden. It gives them a sense of security and therefore reduces stress. There have even been tests among shelter cats concerning boxes. Some were given boxes and others were not. The cats who had boxes adapted better and got used to their surroundings faster. Boxes are a coping mechanism for stress! So if you've moved with your kitty or your kitty is nervous, place a box on the ground for them to sit in, maybe with a towel, a favorite toy, or one of your T shirts for them to snuggle in. This safe spot will help them keep their sanity.

Another guess is that boxes are insulation. Small confined boxes help your cat curl up into a ball and stay warm. A bigger box can help them stay cool and spread out. don't forget a cat's body temperature is about 20 degrees more than yours so I'm never surprised when our Vicktor Frankenstein finds the only sunny spot on the floor and lays there until the sun moves.

 Vicktor recharging in the sun.

Vicktor in a shallow box.

Handsome Vicktor in another box.

Of course cats love to explore and boxes can be exciting and new, plus corrugated cardboard is great for scratching too! Always remove staples, tape, handles, and clean the box out first, now make that Home Sweet Home for your cat!




Friday, June 9, 2017

My Third Horror Block!

The May Horror Block Box came a little late this time around, but it was worth it.  I think it's the best one so far, better than March and April. I hope you enjoy the video, Vicktor Frankenstein makes many appearances!
Included in this box is...

1. A Lost Boys T shirt! I really love their Ts, the graphics are well thought out and this one is no exception! I wrote about The Lost Boys a few months ago, you can read it here.

2. An exclusive Carrie Blood Splatter umbrella. I love useful things and you can't go wrong with an umbrella.

Before

After (I pulled this picture from the Horror Block facebook page, so you can see the color changing design.)

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street print. The stock paper that this print is on is a nice thick quality and the print is made it look like an old mover poster. I'm going to frame it for our Halloween room.


4. Blood Bag. It is not soap, I repeat it is NOT SOAP! It's a freezer pack. How funny to keep this in a refrigerator.

5. Rue Morgue: Women with Guts Magazine. I'm SO happy that women are finally being recognized for their contributions to the horror genre. And SURPRISE women like horror too. (duh)

6. Burn the Rabbit download and autographed card. I think this is a cool idea. Burn the Rabbit is a sequel to the Rabbit in Red book by Joe Chianakas which I need to check out. I've only heard really good things about it.

7. Penny Dreadful comic book. I'm looking forward to continuing the story of Vanessa Ives.

8. Nerd Block Box Magazine. I enjoyed the letter from the Lead Buyer of Horror Block, Jenna Myers. In my past life ~ working in the arts ~ one of my jobs was product development. It's really hard to predict what you think will be popular. Horror Block Box has lots of exclusives that I imagine are created by the buyers. They do a great job providing unique products to horror fans.

Overall I think this month's box was a complete winner!


p.s. I'm wearing my new Filigree Bat Necklace from Murderous Jewels and lipstick from Spoiled Lips in "Charmed"  that was included in the May Glamour Ghoul Box. The necklace is a nice quality and very lightweight, the lipstick is matte and a little dry, but it stays on all day! I put it on at 9am and it was about 8:30pm when we filmed the video.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kitty (G)Litter

I always joked that if I was a burlesque dancer my name would be Kitty Glitter and after my performance I would throw glitter on everyone because I'm obnoxious. But seriously ~ let's talk cat litter!

A few blogs ago I wrote about The "Business" of Litter Boxes, but now you'll need to figure out what kind of litter to use. There's a big variety out there and usually it's your cat's behavior that will tell you which one works for them. The best one is the one that they use!

The most popular type of litter is clumping clay. So when your kitty does their business, you'll see where, because it will be absorbed by the clay and clump. The clumps make it easy to scoop out. If you can scoop it, then you don't have to throw out all the litter in the box. You can scoop and add more new litter.
Tidy Cats Clumping Litter is what our cats prefer. The bucket is pretty heavy, but you can use it for a ton of things once it's empty ~ mop bucket, storage bin, flip it over for a step stool, use your imagination! I have a stack of them in my basement. It also come in a smaller size, but it's less upcycle-able.

The non-clumping clay litter is exactly what it sounds like. It's litter cats can go in that doesn't clump. The cats will still bury their waste but it won't be a clump. It can be a little harder to scoop because you have to dig to find it. I've read that this is the kind that cats prefer. I'm going to stick to the Tidy Cats clumping simply because it works for me and my kitties. Many brands make non-clumping, Tidy Cats and Fresh Step come to mind.

Crystal litter seems a little odd. I've never used it for my cats. It's made of silicone that absorbs the pee for up to a month, but you still have to scoop poop out of the box. Once the crystals are done absorbing, pee can pool at the bottom of the box. That just sounds gross to me.

The most popular crystal brand is Fresh Step.

They make a recycled paper type of cat litter that's very eco-friendly and dust free. You can buy it as pellets like Yesterday's News brand or DIY newspaper litter yourself! We tried a brand called Okocat, but it didn't work for Ginger. When we started using it, she stopped eating in protest. Once we switched back she went back to eating again. Rest assured, cats will tell you through their behavior if something isn't right.

There's a pine litter that's made of pressed wood pulp. It comes in clumping and non-clumping vaieties and can be flushed. It's a natural alternative and typically makes less dust. It's usually more expensive and harder to find.  (But check your local county, in Erie County you can't flush animal feces.)
The most popular pine brand is Feline Pine.

sWheat Scoop litter is made of wheat, yes wheat. It's biodgradeable, absorbs, and is flushable. Had I known about this before my cats decided on Tidy Cats, I would have tried it.

The Blue Naturally Fresh kind is made from walnut shells. It absorbs and clumps just like regular litter. the only downside I've heard it that it's dark brown, so a little harder to see the soiled litter. Huh, who knew walnut shells?

I'd stay away from the corn based ones simply because corn and moisture don't mix well and could create mold leading to aflatoxin.

There's a newly developed - within the past three years - health aware cat litter called Pretty Litter . When your cat does it's business in the silicone litter, it will change color to indicate if your cat has health problems. I don't think the litter would be too "pretty" if my cat wasn't feeling well.

Bag of Pretty Litter.

How much litter should you place in the box? Rule of thumb is at least two inches. Make sure to scoop it at least once a day and "dump" the old litter about every two weeks. (pun intended) If the box consistently stinks it's time to wash it out and clean it. Make sure if your kitty is new to your environment, you introduce it to the litter box. Take your cat to where the box is located, so they can find it later when they have to go.

Now that you have a box and litter, do you want a litter mat for the outside of the litter box?  I always think it's a good idea, I would recommend a rubber or plastic one that's easier to clean. Just like a doormat it can reduce the amount of kitty g-litter or dirt that gets tracked around the house.

Found the litter your kitty likes? STICK WITH IT otherwise it could get messy ~ litter-ally.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Movie: The Stranger (2014)

So yes, I did it! I finally watched The Stranger, the Eli Roth DVD and Blu Ray combo from My First Horror Block Box! I have to say the story was interesting and needed a little more explanation and more story, but it was filmed with a focus on small town realism and underlying corruption which kept my attention throughout.


***Warning: Semi-Spoiler***

Long story VERY short, it's about a drifter (aka the stranger) with a blood disease that comes back to a small town in search of his also infected wife, but he ends up getting beaten up by a gang of thugs lead by the police Lieutenant's delinquent son. Then a string of events take place where you learn more about him and his wife through flashbacks, but what you don't find out is how they ended up with a blood disease? Where did it come from? Are they vampires? How can he use blood to save people, but they don't get infected from it? There's reference to a symbol that's branded on his skin that's never explained. I wanted more.

One of the brightest parts of the movie ~ near the end.

Caution: The Stranger kills a fluffy black kitty named Eva. The kitty (of course) is shown lapping up milk and shortly after it's shown dead on the floor in a pool of blood. A kitty drinking milk such a stereotype. Couldn't he just have killed a rat or something? Gah. At the very end there's a dead dog too, but it looks like he still breathing just covered in a little blood.

A lot of it is dubbed, which can be slightly distracting, So I'd say this movie is about average for a horror movie and rate it 3/5 fangs.

Here's the trailer...


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The "Business" of Litter Boxes

Got a kitty? You're going to need a litter box so they can do their business! Believe it or not, there's a lot that goes into choosing a litter box, so how do you choose?

You should have as many litter boxes as cats, plus one. This is a preventative measure to keep your cats from doing their business elsewhere. We have two cats, so we have three litter boxes. Two in the basement and we recently had to move one to a corner in the upstairs bathroom. We noticed little Ginger was pooping in the downstairs bathtub. (Which is thoughtful of her to poop there and not on the carpet.) We haven't figured out why, but we've come to the conclusion that she's getting older and it's hard for her to climb down two flights of stairs to the basement to poop if she's upstairs. So now she has a small one conveniently located. Since we moved it, there's been no accidents!


The location, location, location of the litter box is very important and can encourage good litter box habits. Ideally it should be away from activity and noise.  Otherwise it will stress out your kitties. Plus they won't poop where they eat and drink, so it should be in a remote area of the house. Cats want privacy and they also want to feel safe. Make sure it's not in a closet or a room that's too small where they can feel trapped. Once you figure out the placement, look and see what size you might need.

Litter boxes come in different colors and sizes and some have covers to match your decor. They make a variety of planter litter boxes that seem fun too. You can see those here. It should be big enough for your cat to walk around in. Don't forget kitties will go potty and scratch the litter to cover up it's smell ~ it could get messy. I always preferred a covered one to keep the litter contained, but make sure the cover comes off easily for cleaning.

The shape can be a round dome or rectangular pan, and most cats are used to the rectangular size, especially if they came from a shelter. That's the shape they've been using all along. That being said, just because you found the perfect box for your house doesn't mean it's the perfect one for your cat. If for any reason they are going outside the box, you should first experiment with different litters, depths of the litter, and always keep it clean. Pooper scoop at least once a day. It will avoid poop and pee getting tracked around your house and in the end (pun intended) it's easier to keep up with. If this still doesn't work and it's not behavioral, it could be an underlying health problem, such as paw sensitivity from declawing. See my declawing blog here.



No surprise that there is such a thing as an automatic litter box that sifts the litter out and removes the waste. Then all you have to do is clean the one part. I've heard good and bad things about these boxes, so you'll just have to see for yourself.


The disposable litter boxes are used if your cat ownership is a temporary situation, you're travelling with your kitty, you need one in a kitty kennel, or if you want stupid easy clean up. Most disposable litter trays are made of recycled paper and are biodegradable. You can take the whole thing and throw it out, which substantially helps odor control or you can also use it like a regular litter box and scoop the waste out, but it should be replaced after 3-4 weeks.


I've even heard of owners making their own from Rubbermaid totes. Get an 18 gallon size with a lid and cut a 10 inch hole in the top, add litter and you're done! Personally I don't think my kitties would want to climb through the top, but you can cut a hole on the side instead. If you make your own, be sure the bottom doesn't have too many grooves that would make it hard to scoop and clean.

You may ask, do I need litter box liners? The answer is no! In theory they make cleaning up dirty litter boxes easy, but a plastic liner with cats that scratch to cover their business, just make holes in the liner, and what you think will be easy clean up turns into a big mess.

The last option would be to teach you cat to go the the bathroom in your bathroom. Yes, it can be done. Cats can be trained to use the toilet, but you always have to keep the lid up and they don't flush (duh). Here's the How to. But be careful, not all cats can learn this trick. I had a friend that taught her cat to go in the toilet and when she moved it went in the floor heater vents. So I'd say this is an iffy training technique.

I hope this helps you choose a perfect litter box and Happy Pooper Scooping!