Recently in Cats Category

Checking in on the pack


Julia has been asking me to post about my pets. I don't know why I don't post about them very often anymore. I think it may have something to do with Leo. I still miss him more than I can properly articulate.

But the rest of the crew is doing well! Atticus' autoimmune disorder is so far easily manageable with low-dose steroids, and we're hoping that will continue to be the case. it is amazing what sickness has done to his personality--he's a whole different cat than he used to be. He's very cuddly and spends the best part of most evenings on either my lap or Mark's, where he seems content. Esme continues to be the most cat-like of our cats, showing us affection only occasionally and only on her terms, but she sleeps on our bed every night, which I like (and Mark hates). Illy is as odd as ever, and is still refusing to be brushed and developing new dreads that will likely result in another shaving before too long. Which I don't mind--I thought she was adorable shaved. She's still jumpy and I think she'll always be just a little bit feral, but she's calmed down a lot. I'm still struck fairly regularly at what a pretty cat she is.

And then there's Ata. Ata confounds me more every year. He is more and more than canine version of Mark, with piles of odd behaviors and neuroses. He loves walks, behaves nearly perfectly almost all the time, and spends most of the time laying around. He's more food motivated than he used to be, which would be good if we were trying to train him, but we've been too lazy to do much, given his natural state of good behavior. He still won't let you pet him with your feet--it's undignified.

This is what they're looking like these days:

Grace and Ata

Ata with the Christmas hedgehog

Atticus and Mark

Atticus and Esme

Esme and Atticus

Grace and Esme

Mark with kitties!

Illy with gingerbread toy

Illy in the new cat house


Yay! furry creatures. I love the photos.

Ata forever looks mistrusting or worried around a camera. His eyes were glancing at your arm like he knew you were holding him still for a picture!

And I love the one of mark getting groomed. Which kitty is that?

But Ata is soulful.

Oh the cuteness!! It's almost unbearable!

When I think of what Ata looked like when you and Mark brought him home ... you have done such a great job with him. Love seeing the kitties, too--esp. Miss Esme. I am so grateful to you and Mark for giving her a wonderful home.

But is Ata frightened of unusual doors? ;)
I'm glad Atticus is feeling better. And I hear you on missing Leo -- I still regularly forget that Cinzi is gone and look for her.

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Everybody hurts sometimes (or, cats grieve too)


Never let it be said that cats and dogs don't have feelings for each other, and don't miss each other when they are apart.

On our mantle, we have two sets of photographs, leashes, and collars. One is Chance's, one is Leo's.

Atticus is only interested in one of them.


Awww. Poor Atticus. He loved his Leo.

Awww! Poor baby misses his buddy!

I don't know if you remember the comment I posted on oct 29th but basically I was desperate to find a good home for my two dogs and I thought that home was yours. I am happy to tell you I was wrong... they were in the right home all along. We kept them and everybody is adjusted and happy. Thanks for letting me vent on your blog that night. I really needed a space in the universe to put that out there.

Mike (you don't know me) from Cleveland Hts. oh

awwww...that's sweet and sad all wrapped up into one bundle. :(

That is too sweet. Sniffles.

I don't think I've ever seen anything so sweet. When I lost my poodle, one of my dachshunds looked for her for two weeks. Broke my heart.

Oh my goodness. That's too much cute/sad all in one photo set. Poor sweet kitty.

Oh my, I'm sitting here crying...

This is so totally: 'I can smellz you, but where is you?'

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Love Thursday: The Feline Edition


IllyI'm so focused on my dogs, it's probably easy for WINOW readers to forget that we have cats. If I'm being honest, sometimes I forget myself. Cats are such self-confident creatures, so much less needy than dogs. I'm not proud of it, but because my cats demand so much less of me than my dogs (or now, dog), I do sometimes overlook them.

Lately, though, I've been so glad to have them. All three cats, though Atticus in particular, have been particularly loving and helpful since Leo died. Atticus often spends all day on the couch with me as I work, and Illy sleeps with us most nights. Esme remains reserved, but she's more present than she used to be for sure. They may not need us, but they know we need them, and they're doing their best to help us through. I love them for that.


I'm betting they miss Leo, too, so they are getting as much comfort from you as you are from them. Animals are amazing sometimes.

I just caught up on your blog and read about Leo. So sorry.

Is Illy a ragdoll/mix? Such a pretty cat!

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My life in a box


What's going on at my house?

Let Atticus give you a hint:

Yep. We're packing. It's part of a a multi-step pack-renovate-pack-show-pack-sell-pack-move process.

Why yes, I AM in hell!

I don't think of myself as being overly attached to my stuff, but I realized today, when faced with not seeing my craft supplies until September, that I am. And I am putting off packing up all of the non-necessities in my bathroom. Two months plus with no changes in soap??

Seriously. I'm going to try to keep blogging regularly (my laptop, needless to say, will not be packed until the very last moment), but things are getting extremely hectic around here, so if there is some radio silence, it's probably because I'm up to my ears in boxes and tape.

Pity me.


I do feel for you!! I moved last November and I STILL haven't found/unpacked my crafting supplies--very frustrating! Packing/moving/unpacking is never fun. Hang in there!

I hope that the move/showing/renovations go so smoothly for you, Grace.

Where are you moving?

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Pet pictures


Haven't you missed them?

Leo got a sock monkey at the bins tonight:

Leo with sock monkey

Atticus cuddles with his dog buddies:

Sphinx kitties:

Sphinx kitties


Awww…I always forget how HUGE the dogs are. Is Leo ok? I saw he had a shaved patch on his leg.

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Love Thursday


This is what love looks like to me.

sleeping huey


Delicious picture!

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NaBloPoMo #27: Love Thursday


I don't think Huey realizes this is the same creature he spends half of his waking hours chasing after and howling.

huey and atticus

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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Party at my house


At about 9pm last night, I looked around at my companions and found that I must be very boring company indeed.

curled up ata 2

sleeping huey

belle on bed 2

sleeping illy 2

Were it not for Leo, I may have gotten lonely.

leo on the couch


How funny. My dog does that too, he saves his excitement for my kid and snoozes whenever he's around me.

Those are beautiful pets, even sleeping.

I love it when they curl up in a circle like the first photo.

You are an extremely soothing presence.

Lol, how funny! And that lovely Leo, he's too cute! Must be his name. ;-)


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NaBloPoMo #1: Show Me Saturday


Since this is my first post this year, and I am hopeful that I have a few new readers (maybe some of you from the contest stuck around?), I thought it might be a good use of my first Show Me Saturday post to introduce you to the players here in the What If No One's Watching saga.

First, there's me. I'm Grace, and I'll be your host. I'm a 29 year old Oregon native, transplanted in Austin, Texas by reason of education. My Austin-education is over (Masters in Public Affairs that I plan to never use), and my partner's is nearly completed, so we'll be moving on here within the year. I work as a University number cruncher, which is not my passion but does me just fine for now. My actual intellectual passion is U.S. history, and I'm still playing with the idea of getting a Ph.D. in that field some day. My non-work passions are dog rescue (more on that in a minute), reading, movies, crafting, thrifting, and, recently, the English Premiere League (football).

cranky mark drinks wineNext up is Mark, my partner. Mark and I have been together for seven years, and we were friends for four years before that, so we've known each other pretty much our entire adult lives. He's a fantastic human being, even if he doesn't think so. He's a Ph.D. student in neuroscience, and he's very, very smart. He's also truly good-hearted, which he sometimes tries to hide. He's into gourmet cooking and home repair, as well as sharing my passions for dogs and soccer.

Leo close upThe next eldest member of our family is Leo. Leo is a rescue dog. Mark and I adopted him in August of 2005 (read about it here). At that time, we thought he was between 6 and 8. Three plus years later, it's clear he was definitely closer to 6 than 8, because there is no way he's 11 now. 9, maybe. We don't know what Leo's mix is, though we're always game to hear a guess. The current best-guess is Pyr/Old English Sheepdog.

Leo is basically my soul mate in dog form. I loved our previous dog, Chance, whom we lost way way too soon, but Leo...Leo is something else. He truly makes me believe in miracles.

fat atticus 2Our next addition was tabby cat Atticus, in September 2005. We adopted Atticus from a PetSmart, where they were housing cats that had been moved out of shelters to make room for animals orphaned by Hurricane Katrina. It took me a bit to sell Mark on the cat idea, but I really wanted one, and then I met Atticus. His name was Sam then, and he was about 4 months old. All of the the other cats were mellow and friendly. Sam jumped out of my lap and made a mad escape into the store. Yep, that's the one I want. He continues to be alternatively cranky and affectionate, and to love Mark and only barely tolerate me. (You can read Atticus' story here.)

Ata likes to read 2 1-1-2003In January of 2006, we added our second dog, Atakan (pronounced Ah-tah-kahn, called Ata). Ata is another rescue, this time from the next county over's county shelter (read his adoption story here). He was a pathetic case when we adopted him, but has grown into an absolutely beautiful Anatolian Shepherd. With a kind of strange personality. Honestly, if Leo is my dog soul mate, Ata is Mark's. He's socially phobic, yet sort of outgoing. He's a guardian breed with a fear of thunderstorms. He's weird, and atypical and totally awesome.

At this point, with our two dogs and our cat, we thought we were done. The perfect pack. But things happen...

Comfy EsmeWe inherited our tortie cat, Esme, when our good friends moved to Europe. They wanted to take Esme, who they'd adopted not that long before they learned of their move, with them, but they were moving into a small apartment with their two big dogs, and poor Ez wouldn't have had a good place to escape the dogginess. So, in October 2006, she came to us (read that story here). And I will tell you absolutely unequivocably, Esme is my favorite cat. She's our most low-maintenance animal, spending most of her time chilling on or under our bed and in our bathroom, but she's extremely cuddly once she gets to know you (unlike Atticus, she doesn't make a game of showing you her claws). Give her something soft to stretch out in a sunbeam on and let her drink from the faucet when you brush your teeth and she's a happy, happy cat. I adore her.

After Esme, with two of each, we really were done. We were fostering dogs (all of whom have great stories, spread out over the last couple of years--click on the "Dogs" category on the sidebar if you want to read those), and we had a full house. But thing still happen...

kittens playing with illy 4The thing that happened next was Illy. In October 2007, this incredibly scrawny, sick-looking Siamese mix cat showed up in our neighbor's yard. Said neighbors have two great dogs who are not cat friendly, so they brought the scrawny cat over here to ask for our advice/help, since they knew we have cats and do animal rescue. And we said we'd take her (read about it here). We made a cursory effort at finding her people, but she had pretty clearly been stray quite a while, and nothing came of it.

Come to find out, a couple weeks later, that the cat, who we'd dubbed Illy after the espresso company, was pregnant. It was impossible to believe--she was SO little--but there you have it. So we took care of her, she thrived (all she really needed was to be fed, she was already pretty friendly), and in December, she had four healthy kittens (read about them here). She was a great mama, the kittens did wonderfully, and we adopted them all out by Valentine's Day. But kept Illy, who has since grown extremely fat and rules the roost here at our house with an iron paw.

That wraps up our permanent crew. But we do have two long-term temps right now, so I should probably introduce you to them as well. We have been fostering with a local organization called Hound Rescue (see that button on the side bar? Click it to give HR a chance to win some cash!) for a couple of years now. We typically only have one dog at a time, and we often have larger dogs, rather than beagles, but this time we have two beagles.

belle in basketBelle came to us in June, from the city pound, where she had been owner surrender (read about that here). She's one of the nicest and most well-mannered dogs I've ever met. She won't get on furniture, even with an invitation, even though the rest of our crew goes where they want when they want. She's not loud. She's gentle and calm and just fantastic. Plus she's Leo's BFF--they play non-stop, which is wonderful to see in a dog Leo's age. Belle has clearly had a hard road, and she has some scars to prove it (most significantly some pretty advanced cherry eye, which isn't bothering her, but doesn't look so great), but she's come out an incredible dog. She's one of those foster dogs I'd be happy to keep.

huey 2Our more recent addition is Huey P. Long, who came our way in September. Initially we were only supposed to have Huey for a few days before another foster would take him, but the rescue is overrun right now (hard economic times will do that), so we've needed to hang on to him. Huey is very, very fat (he weighted 62.5 lbs on the day we picked him up, hence the name I bestowed him with the minute I saw him). He's also old (9 or 10 is the best guess) and has a host of medical problems (a horrible ear infection when we got him, bad teeth, various lumps and bumps, some skin conditions, arthritis, and most recently a torn ACL which will have to be repaired surgically). Despite all of that, he's a joy. He's active, friendly, and seems to have no idea he's old or sick. He's probably a long-term boarder, given his host of issues, and honestly, that's fine. He can be a bit of pain (likes to bark at the cats), but he's a super sweet dog, and we're enjoying having him.

Whew. How's that for a first post of the month novel? Hope you got through it OK, and now that you've been introduced to the players, you will know who I am talking about when I write my posts for the rest of the month. Welcome to NaBloPoMo at What If No One's Watching. Happy to have you!


I loved reading everything about you and your family! How cool you're a foster home to those dogs. I'd like to do that one day, once the kids are bigger and we have more space. I love dogs. And you're 29! You spring chicken. ;-)


Greetings from the blogosphere. I'm also participating in NaBloPoMo, as I have done for the past 2-3 years. In addition to writing my own blogpost each day, I try to leave a comment on someone else's blog. Curiously enough, I start at the end of the alphabet and work my way up. At any rate, your blog title intrigued me, so here I am. Stop by The Zone sometime and say hello!

Love the menagerie you have there!

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Empty nest


Yesterday, the final kitten was adopted. There is no more constant bell sound in our house, and no more need to watch your feet whenever you walk anywhere, as they are open to attack from a 2 lb black and white fur ball. It's very sad.

That being said, having these kittens has been a wonderful experience. Being able to see them through Illy's entire pregnancy and then their first 8-10 weeks of life was a true blessing. Were I not so afraid to seem sentimental and trite, I'd possibly use the word miracle.

On a more practical note, rescue/fostering cats, at least based on this experience, is somewhere around a million times easier and less stressful than dogs. When we had the puppies there was a constant feeling of barely-maintained sanity. We had them for less total time, but they were way way more work. I'm sure some of that has to do with not having their mom with them, but puppies are just harder--more into things, louder, and entail a world more excretion clean up. Plus puppies are way more expensive. We ended up asking for a $50 adoption fee for each kitten, and while that didn't pay for everything (Illy's vet care while pregnant, food, litter, etc.) it made a sizable dent.

So this has been an overall great experience, and something I'd like to do again. Since both our dogs and our cats react pretty well to new cats, I think we could definitely take in another pregnant stray sometime in the future.

In the meantime, we're still deciding whether or not to try to find a home for Illy. She's fine here, and we really like her, but a third cat was never intended, and it would certainly be easier to foster again without three permanent feline residents. We'll see.


This is a really great site! I love hearing all your wonderfully detailed descriptions of everything. And it's so cool that you have a cat named it short for Esmerelda? I have a cat named Esmerelda and I nickname her Esme (other nicknames include Ezzie, Ez ,Little Ezziesweetiepie, And Esme Girl) i'll keep up with your posts....Sophia

Cute site! I Luv the kyoot littyl kittens!

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Impossible not to love them

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Check out this idyllic scene from my house last night.

Atticus and Yuel sleeping next to each other in the same position


Aw, peace in the kingdom. I love your dog - looks a bit like mine. In other words, gorgeous.

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Happy Valentine's Day from Atticus and Esme


Atty and Ez remind us that it's not just the kittens and their mama who are cute.



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Indoor/outdoor debate, for Amanda


In a nutshell.

Reasons cats should be allowed outdoors:

  • They need fresh air.

  • It is mean to keep them trapped inside.

  • They need to hunt.

Reasons cats should not be allowed outdoors:

  • They harm native bird species.

  • It statistically shortens their lifespans, via accident, predators, and/or disease.

  • it is irresponsible to allow your pet to defecate somewhere you can't clean it up.

  • It is irresponsible to allow your pet free access to other people's property.




I wish people in my country thought like you. Most of our native birds are flightless, and cats have wiped out huge numbers of them. But over there, almost no one has an indoors-only cat.

Pet cats on the prowl are responsible for millions of killed birds every year. Billions really, I suppose, but my knowledge of the stats is only for the U.S. They do not stop hunting when not hungry either.

I really do understand the wish to let cats outside, I've had cats when my family lived in the country and they were indoor/outdoor cats and possibly happier for that. They also had much shorter lives. And their impact on the bird population, and the bird population's key place in the overall ecology really can't and shouldn't be ignored.

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I make no bones about it--Yuel is my favorite of the kittens. I'd love to keep him (her?). Yuel is the slowest, cuddliest, shyest, sweetest. Also, to my eye, the cutest. So I thought I'd share.

yuel on scratching post.jpg

yuel on scratching post close-up.jpg

yuel on scratching post 2.jpg

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A kitten frustration


A week ago, we had adopters lined up for all of the kittens.

This afternoon, the last of those adopters backed out, for various reasons (and some without reasons). We are now back to square one, with four nearly eight-week old kittens and nary an adopter in sight.

I have a post up at Craigslist about them, as well as on Petfinder. I've gotten quite a few initial emails, but so far nobody is willing to pay an (IMO small) adoption fee or sign a contract guaranteeing they kitten won't be declawed, will be spayed/neutered, and will be indoor. Those are all non-negotiable for us. We would rather turn them over to the Humane Society than adopt them to homes that can't or won't agree to those stipulations. we are. They aren't hurting anything and are fun to have around, so it's not that big a deal if we need to keep them for a week or three more, but I'm still frustrated with the adopters all bailing at the last minute. And concerned...are we doing something to alienate them?

To make me feel better, I took some pictures of Feliz and Noel.

feliz and noel.jpg

feliz and noel 2.jpg

noel attacking camera string.jpg


I think it's fairly likely that your terms for adoption would be "alienating" to some potential adopters, but if they're non-negotiable terms, then you can't worry about that.

The kitties are so adorable.

Hi, long-time lurker here!

Your contract doesn't sound unreasonable at all, but maybe people are wary of leaving a cat with claws indoors all day, the combination of the two? I hope you find all of them homes soon!

And Noel's eyes are gorgeous-- so blue!

While your terms are totally reasonable, I think I'd have a hard time with an individual putting stipulations on my pet ownership. It's not the same as when going to an organization and adopting from them. It makes me get my defences up, even though I'd never declaw or let my cat out unattended (we leash trained ours), and I believe strongly in spaying and neutering.

I guess I just don't believe strongly in being told to do so by someone else.

They are stunningly cute.

I am right there with you on the declawing but I can't do the indoor thing. It feels too much like prison. My cats loved the outside world too much and I'm glad they got to experience it. I know most of my shelter volunteer friends were on the "indoor only" bandwagon, too, but I spent 6 weeks indoor only when I was hospitalized, and I could not do that to another being.

Hmm...maybe I should be more clear. These people who have bailed? They all knew about these stipulations to begin with. So unless they thought about them and then decided they couldn't/wouldn't comply, it can't be these things that have caused them to bail.

That being said, I have been treating these adoption of these kittens just the same way I'd treat dog adoption via rescue. I don't see what difference it makes if I'm an individual or a rescuer. I mean, breeders regularly have the people who BUY pets from them sign similar contracts. It is (IMO) part of responsible change in guardianship.

As for the indoor/outdoor debate, I'm not going to touch it. I know I won't convince anyone, nor will by mind be changed, so best not to stir the wasp's nest. :)

Can I ask what you think you'll accomplish with a contract? Are you going to follow up to ensure the terms are met? Would you take legal action if they are not? Or is this just to prove a point? I'm a little befuddled by that.

I'm all for screening and ensuring that adopters have the same pet-family values, but I'm not sure of the how/why with a contract.

Basically, the point of the contract is to have people make a commitment to treating the pet in the ways we've laid out. Again, it's really standard practice--I've never heard of a shelter or rescue that didn't use a contract, besides the city pound. Even if it doesn't end up being legally enforceable, it at least gets people to promise to do certain things, and is a way to gauge their commitment (are they willing to make those promises?).

I've never heard the indoor/outdoor debate. Am curious. But too lazy to think of what it might be.

Grace - thank you for answering all my nosey questions.

I wouldn't sign a contract with an individual from whom I was adopting an animal. Organizations, if they're reputable like the ASPCA, have some constraints on them that make "crazy person stalking me and bringing a lawsuit b/c they can't give up their animals" a lot less likely.

And, you're not an adoption agency. You're a person with cats. People can get cats from the ASPCA with fewer limitations. Why would they sign a contract with you? They don't know you from Adam, why would they sign a contract that would keep you in their life for the life of the cat?

Why don't you hook up with an actual adoption organization? Keep the kittens at your house as fosters but put them up for adoption through the ASPCA or a private agency and let them handle the paperwork? That might get you, and potential adopters, everything you want and provide the reassurance of an arm's length transaction.

We tried that, Char. The ASPCA will take them, but they won't allow us to foster them--they only allow us to pay them a per-kitten fee and give them to them, to be kept in their facility until they are adopted. This doesn't seem to be in their best interests, as compared to being fostered in a home with their mother. Private agencies have been unresponsive. So we listed them through the agency with whom we foster dogs, and they require us to use an application, require an adoption fee, and get a contract.

Also, re: breeders, they run businesses. So, again, assurance that you're not dealing with random over-involved and crazy pet lovers.

Keep this in mind: it takes very expensive litigation to determine that a contract is, in fact, not enforceable. It's very risky to enter into contracts with unknown quantities, which is what you are.

I applaud your desire to find good and loving homes for these kittens. I think that you're more likely to be able to do that through a reputable third party handling the adoption details.

"So we listed them through the agency with whom we foster dogs, and they require us to use an application, require an adoption fee, and get a contract."

So, why am I under the impression that the contract is with you and not the agency? Am I incorrect?

I still think a contract with YOU is an imposition to most people. With an agency, I don't have any idea. Maybe you could just chat folks up and get an idea about them and not ask them to sign a contract. Why have people sign a contract you wouldn't, and think you couldn't, enforce anyway?

your second attempt at a collaged table top looks fabulous.

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How can anyone resist them?

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So we have kitten trouble.

Or, rather, we still have kittens, which is trouble. A few days ago, we thought we were on easy street, with three adopters lined up, one of whom was going to take two of the kitties. In the last 24 hours, two of those adopters have backed out, including the one who was going to take a pair. So, as of now, we have three nearly eight-week old kittens with no homes lined up for them.

I'm sure we'll find someone soon, but I'm frustrated. We always have the Humane Society as a back-up, of course, but I'd rather not do that if we don't have to.

In case you forgot, here's how cute they are:

kittens on scratch post

yuel and feliz on scratch post

noel licking his lips


Squee! How could you back away from that adorableness? Sigh... my Josie-love does not tolerate competition in the cute department.

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Kittens with toys


I've been asked for more kitten pictures, and who am I to deny their fan base? The kittens are all scheduled to go to their new homes this coming weekend (just before their 8 week birthday), so I guess we'd better get the cute in while we can.

Last night when I got home, I opened a package from the mail my cats were VERY interested in. A bunch of new felted wool toys, packed in catnip! What could be better?

First, mama got in on the toy action.

illy with toy

illy with toy 2

She wouldn't let Atticus have a turn at all.

Then I tossed a felted mouse into the cat room, and Feliz instantly monopolized it.

feliz with toy

feliz with toy 2

The other kittens didn't get much of a chance, but I did get some cute pictures of Noel and Holly anyway.



And finally, one more of Feliz, post-nip.


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Kitten weigh-in, 6 weeks


The babies are six weeks old tonight/early tomorrow morning, so we weighed them in tonight. They're not as compliant as they used to be, so we have to use restraining measures.

Noel is still the biggest, at 1 lb 9.0 oz.

noel 6 wk weigh-in

Feliz is next, weighing 1 lb 6.0 oz.

feliz 6 wk weigh-in

Yuel, who was the least excited about being weighed, is almost as big as Feliz, weighing 1 lb 5.2 oz.

yuel 6 wk weigh-in

And finally, Holly is still the baby (though she clearly has no idea that's the case) at 1 lb 3.2 oz.

holly 6 wk weigh-in

And yes, I am aware that Yuel and Noel somehow switched names at some point. Now that the kittens are big enough to definitely tell apart, their names are set, but early on I did mix them up. So, for edification, the one with the black nose is Yuel, the big one with the fewest markings is Noel.


Why is it Yuel and not Yule?

Because my spelling is poor.

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Kittens cubed

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So yesterday I thrifted a couple of brand new pop-up cat cubes (like this) for our pride of cats. The adult cats played with theirs for about 15 minutes (mostly hiding in it in order to ambush one another) and then they were done. The kittens, however, LOVE the cube. Love it so much that I made them a bed in there. And y'all, the cute is almost killing me.

kittens in cube 4

kittens in cube 3

kittens in cube 2

kittens in cube 1


These photos make me talk in a high pitched voice "Kiiiiitttttieeees!"

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Today's featured kitty is Noel. Noel can be distinguished by having the black and white face with the fewest markings, as well as by being the biggest of the kittens.


Previously a bit shy, Noel is now the only kitten besides the camera-hogging tabby Feliz, who likes to have her picture taken. She enjoys being allowed out of the kitten room, eating as much soft food as she can get (she's partial to venison & green pea grain-free food), and playing the occasional game of "scratch-post king of the mountain" or "let's pop each other from under the door." Noel is among the more serious of the kittens, as shown in contrast to Holly and Feliz.

holly, noel, feliz<

All in all, Noel is a wonderful cat who would make a fine companion to anyone who has enough spare cash to keep her in high-quality kibble. I feel that Noel will likely turn out to be quite large, so if you need a cat for protection, she's your girl. Does Noel sound like the cat for you?


A cat for protection. Snort.

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Daily dose of kitty

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Can't help it...

This one is Holly with Leo.

leo and holly

And this is me with Noel. You can't tell in the picture, but he was just about to rip off my nipple with his tiny sharp kitten claws.

grace with noel


That photo of Holly with Leo is AWESOME.

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Kitten Update, Day 37


It's been a while. I thought maybe you all were missing the kittens.

These first two pictures are rare glimpses of all four kittens, holding fairly still, in the same frame. From left to right you see Holly, Feliz, Noel, and Yuel.

4 kittens, day 37

all 4 kittens, day 37

This picture just shows three of the kittens, Feliz, Yuel, and Noel, but it was too cute not to show you.

feliz, yuel, noel, day 37.jpg

This next one is close-up of Noel, who is still the biggest of the lot--fat little thing.

noel day 37

The next two funny pictures are of my baby tabby, Feliz. In the first, he's showing his mean face, in the second, his table manners.

feliz day 37

feliz's table manners

Finally, here's one of Mama. She's looking a lot better these days--weaning is probably a smart move at this point--the little ones are half her size by now.



Are you keeping Feliz?

Nope. Not going to keep any of them, sadly. Three cats is plenty.

OMG, I want Holly! Why must you live so far away?

At what age will they go to their new homes?

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Kitten Update, Day 29

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OK, weigh-in time!

Noel is still the biggest of the bunch. Her Day 19 weight was 12.6 oz, today she's at 1 lb 4 oz.

Feliz is next. He was 11.6 oz at Day 19, 15.2 oz today.

Yule is still after Feliz: Day 19 weight was 11.4 oz, today he is 14 oz.

And Holly is still a teeny little thing. She was 9.8oz, today she is 12.4 oz.

In the past few days, they have learned to play. It's hysterical to watch. Less funny for Illy, I think, as she tries to nurse them or just lie down where they can get to her and they all jump on her head.

We are letting them have free run in the bathroom for as much time as we can now, so they'll be able to play and so Illy can teach them to use the box when she's ready. The picture shows three of them running around in there, with Mom. The fourth was there too, but hiding behind the box. Once again, Feliz seems to be the least camera-shy of the group.

illy and kittens running loose

When she's not minding the young'uns, Illy has discovered she likes to spoon with Atticus. I think she might be going into heat. Wonder if she knows he's fixed?

illy and atty spooning


Aw they are turning into little cats!

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Kitten Update, Day 19


I know you were wondering! Everyone is still happy and healthy and growing, and they are beginning to get a bit friskier and more playful. Updated pictures:

Noel and Feliz
Noel and Feliz are still the big guys, but Noel has overtaken Feliz. She weighed 12.6 oz today, to Feliz's 11.6.

Yuel is just slightly smaller, at 11.4 oz.

At 9.8 oz, Holly is still the runt. But she's healthy, she's growing, and look how cute she is!

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So much to tell you!


I missed you!

I'd love to regale you with stories about how wonderful my Christmas in Oregon was, and I do have lots of those stories, but damn it's late and I spent all day traveling, so I'm gonna to keep it to the essentials. New kitten pictures, now with NAMES!

The tabby is now called Feliz. As in Feliz Navidad. He weighed in today, Day 12, at 9.6 oz.
feliz day 12

One of the black and white kittens, now called Noel, has gained even more quickly and is the same weight as Feliz!
Noel Day 12

The next biggest kitty, Yule, weighed in at 8.6 oz.
Yule Day 12

Finally, there is itty bitty little Holly, who only weighs 7.2 oz. But she's growing!
Holly Day 12

All of the kittens surprised us when we got home today with how big they are and how much more they look like little cats than they did when we left. Their eyes are open and they are starting to explore their box a little bit. Mama is a little bit skinny, so we're redoubling our efforts to pump calories into her, but she looks good too and is obviously taking excellent care of the babies.

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Day 6 weigh-in


Finally, individual kitten pictures! Keep in mind that when these guys went to the vet on Monday (Day 1), the biggest of them (the tabby) weighed just about 3 oz. So they've grown quite bit.

tabby on scale
The tabby weighed in at 6.2 oz.

blk whi 3 on scale
The largest black and white kitten at 5.6 oz.
blkwht 1 on scale
The medium black and white kitten at 5.0 oz.

blkwhi 2 on scale
And the littlest kitten at 4.4 oz.

(The four pictures each show a kitten on a postal scale.)


It's amazing how much cats start out looking like little rats. But cute little rats.

The cute. It's overwhelming!

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I am cool with the lion bedding down the lamb and all that, but do they have to do it on my bed?

ata and cats on bed

(The photo is of a large white dog, Ata, stretched out on the bed, along with two cats, the tabby, Atty, and the tortie, Esme.)

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More kitten pictures

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No reason me feeling crappy should deprive you of this.

illy with kittens

kittens day 3

(The top picture shows the mama cat, Illy, who looks kind of like a Siamese with tabby points, and her four kittens. The bottom shows just the kittens, nestled together against her stomach. There are three black and white kittens and one brown/gray tabby kitten.)


Oooh my goodness!!!!! Kitten cuteness! So sweet! Love kitties. Big smiles : )

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Last word for the night

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The vet gave everybody a clean bill of health, and Illy's milk has come in. Everyone is currently nursing. Looks like we have three boys and a girl (though that's mostly a guess at this point). The largest kitty (the tabby) is 3 oz., the other slightly smaller. I will try to get individual pictures in the next couple of days.

Several sets of names are under consideration. My current favorite plan is to name them after EPL football teams--Arsenal, Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea. We'll see.


I'd worry about Arsenal getting a nickname...

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A few more details

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Sometime between 3am and 6:30am this morning, Illy gave birth, unassisted, to four kittens. Sexes are currently unknown. Three of the kittens are black and white, one seems to be gray/brown tabby. All are healthy so far, though Illy doesn't yet have any milk in and the whole lot of them are going to the vet this afternoon to get that checked out.

Currently mom and babes are residing in a box in our spare room, decked out with old sheets and towels and a warm heating pad to make sure everyone is cozy. Several hours post-birth, Mom enjoyed a hearty meal of Wellness chicken and herring soft food.

More news as it is available.

pile of kittens


That brown/black tabby looks an awful lot like Kissa did as a kitten, less Kissa's white chest and belly.

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Day 60

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Illy plus four

illy with kittens

illy with kittens 2


awwwww :) Congrats!

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Feline belly picture


Illy, day 1, 4 lbs, 12 oz.

illy day 1
(The photo shows a very thin cat.)

Illy, day 53, 7 lbs, 8 oz.

pregnant illy
(The photo shows the same cat, much fatter.)

Cats gestate for approx. 63 days. She's been inside for 53 days. We should have kittens within the next ten days.



Go Illy!

Oh how I wish humans only gestated for 63 days. You'd find out you were pregnant and give birth a month later -- perfect!

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Where are the cats?


When you can't find Atticus and Esme, it turns out they might be making out in the linen closet. I remember the days when these two hated each other. Ah, young love.

Atticus and Esme in the closet
(The photo is of two cats, Atticus and Esme, curled up together on a shelf of folded sheets and blankets in a linen closet.)

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Illy update


So as I mentioned yesterday, we found out Monday night that Illy is pregnant. She is, in fact, very pregnant--the vet thinks she will give birth in 2-3 weeks (cats gestate for 63 days). This was, to put it mildly, a surprise. I had noticed her growing belly, but she was so very skinny when she came to us, I just thought she was kind of gaining weight funny and/or bloated. We knew she wasn't spayed, but the idea that she could have gotten pregnant before she showed up at our neighbors' house (which is, clearly, what happened) never even occurred to us.

But we're making the best of it. It has been suggested to me by several people (in the rescue community, even) that we get her spayed now--i.e. get her aborted. I can't do that. Maybe if she was just a wee bit pregnant, but I saw heartbeats on the ultrasound at the vet's office, and there is no way I could be responsible for ending those lives. Maybe that's goopy of me, but there you have it. So we're going to be having kittens.

I've contactIed a lot of local rescues and have a few lined up already who are willing to help us place the babies once they are old enough to be weaned. So we just have to deal with her having them and keeping everybody safe and happy for the first 6-8 weeks. Which we can do. It means canceling the vacation we were going to take over Thanksgiving (we can't leave her alone, as she might deliver), but that's not that big a thing. For Christmas, the babies will be 3-4 weeks old and everything should be stabilized enough that the our pet sitter can take care of her and the kittens.

In the meantime, we've prepared a whelping box, we have her on high calorie kitten food, and we wait. When she seems close, we're going to sequester her in our guest bedroom to keep the other cats and dogs out of her way, and hopefully everything will go well. If it doesn't, we have an emergency vet close by and we'll do whatever we can to make it OK.

There are people in my life who think this is stupid. They think that we should have just taken her to the pound when she showed up, and we certainly should now. But that's not the commitment we've made. She came to us, she clearly needed our help, and we're going to help her. It's that simple.

It's not something I would have chosen, but it's something we can deal with, and since we are, I'm actually kind of excited about it, now that the shock has worn off. I've never seen a small animal give birth (just cows...), and kittens are going to be so sweet.


We had so many litters of farm cats I can't even count them all... I just want to warn you that although you've prepared a lovely whelping box for her, she may very well choose whatever damn place she wants to give birth in--when I was little, one time our cat chose Nathan's bed. And she may move the kittens shortly after birth if she feels threatened or disturbed (or just for the hell of it). But I'm so excited for you!! I love watching births, and kittens are just the cutest things in the entire world.

I just want to say that I think you're awesome. You didn't choose this, but your going help Illy out.

Post lots of pictures of the kittens. So cute.

I want to play with your (upcoming) kittens SO BAD. Kittens are heavenly.

And of COURSE you can't just give up a pregnant cat to the pound. Can't believe anyone would say that. Sometimes animals come to us randomly, I think, because that's where they need to be. Good for you for taking care of her.

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Guess who's having a baby?


God, no, not me!


So probably at least three babies.

Yeah. The new sure-we-can-take-one-more stray cat is pregnant. Due in 2-3 weeks. Isn't life...entertaining?


Grace, please email me with your email address re: proofreading. :)


Oh dear. What's the game plan? I'm assuming you didn't ask Santa for twice as many cats this holiday season...

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We have a name!


Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our pack/pride, Illy. Yes, like the espresso company. The competition was fierce, with Mark pulling for Indigo, on account of her blue-eyedness, but I won out in the end.

illy 1

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What we find, and what finds us


When I was a kid, I used to tell people I was going to travel the world and get pregnant in different countries and end up with a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic brood of kids. As I got older and understood adoption, I decided I'd do it that way. I had in mind a family that looked a bit like Brad and Angelina's, actually. I loved the idea that I would have a family that had all come from different places, at different ages, and had different life experiences. In my biological family, people tend to resemble each other quite a bit physically, talk in similar ways, and live in similar conditions. I wanted something more exotic (remember, this is when I was a kid, please, and no flames for what I now recognize as a pretty obnoxious thought patterns). A mixed bag.

As an adult, I have no plans to adopt an international brood. Or, really, to adopt even one child (at anytime soon, anyway). But it occurred to me today that my motley passel of canines and felines in some ways fits the dream I had all that time back, without the nasty using-kids-as-accessories undertone. The folks who came to visit Eugene the other day asked us where our dogs had come from, and this started us down a path of explaining it to them, and in doing so, I realized that the stories are pretty funny. We haven't gotten a pet from a breeder, but we've gone just about every other route.

Our first dog, Chance, came to us from Blue Dog Rescue, a local multi-breed rescue organization. Chance had been a puppy at the city pound who was adopted for a year and then given back to the pound, where the rescue picked him up.

After Chance died, we adopted Leo from another multi-breed rescue organization, this one several hours away. Leo was found living alone on a farm in the middle of nowhere, pretty clearly abandoned. More than any of our other pets, Leo was "shopped" for, only really, it was just that the pictures of him drew me in and I couldn't not go get him.

After we'd had Leo a few months, we adopted Atticus. Atty was a kitten born at the county shelter the next county over, but I found him at Petsmart, where they were displaying local shelter animals in the hopes of clearing the shelters out to make more room for animals after Hurricane Katrina.

A few months later, we added Atakan. Ata was our first true pound puppy, rescued off doggie death row at the county kill-shelter with fleas, mange, a horrible ear infection, and nearly starved to death. He'd been picked up as a stray. He was our biggest risk, with clear health issues, no temperament testing, and no sure way to even tell his breed. We had no idea what we were getting into.

About a year later, we added another cat, Esme. Essy came to us from our good friends when they moved to Norway to a small apartment where she wouldn't have an easy way to stay away from their dogs, who are friendly but not much for respecting kitty peace and privacy. She was born a barn cat in Oklahoma and came to our friend by way of her parents.

Now, finally, we have our new kitty (still no name), who is your basic off-the-street stray, found by our next door neighbors and brought to us because we now have a reputation as people who will help animals in need.

Twenty years ago, or even ten, this wasn't what I pictured. Pets, beyond perhaps a fish, were never my intention, and certainly I didn't think of myself spending my future living in what is quickly turning into a menagerie of lost or discarded animals. Each new addition has been sure to be the last for a while, and yet the more of them there are, the easier it becomes to open our arms one more time, make a little more space on the couch and in the budget. And the more sure I am that the offensive crap about multi-colored babies I spouted as a child was, in fact, coming from somewhere inside me, something I knew I was meant to do. I just didn't know then that the babies would be of the furry and four legged variety, or that I could get them all within a few square miles and still have them be so different and have come so far.

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In which we are aquired by another cat


Situation: A very thin, not great looking cat shows up in neighbor's yard. Neighbors are great folks who happen to have a dog that is not and will never be cat friendly. Neighbors are at a loss as to what to do with cat after they have gone around the neighborhood and made sure it doesn't belong to anybody they can find.

Solution: New cat at my house, naturally.

We are as yet unsure as to the cat's age, gender, or health status, besides damn skinny and pretty clearly Siamese mix. S/he will see our vet tomorrow and we'll know more then. We will, of course, try to find his/her home, but needles, haystacks, etc. If we end up with cat number three...well, worse things could happen, right?

Poor skinny baby:
new cat 1


Sweet kitty, though she reminds me of a kitty-Ata, weight-wise. How are Atticus and Esme taking the new arrival?


Thanks! I can't believe how much her coloring reminds me of your Mason, though she's about 1/3 of his size.

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Making Monday easier


If you are having that cranky Monday feeling this morning, I suggest taking a trip over to the American Humane website, where they have posted the winners and finalists of their pet photo contest.

Not as good as another hour's sleep, maybe, but it'll do.

P.S. This one is my favorite, hands down.

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Life in the multi-pet household


A perennial favorite question: how many cats do you need to have to be the crazy cat lady? Alternatively, how many dogs do you need to have to be the crazy dog lady? What if you mix it up and have both?

The current size of our menagerie is four: two feline, two canine. For some people this would clearly be too many. I respect that. Four pets is a lot of work, a lot of expense, a lot of poop scooping and litter box cleaning and lugging bags of dog food and a million other not wholly enjoyable things. We always have vet bills. We always spend a lot at the pet store. We always have hair on our clothes, on our furniture, and often between our teeth. We spend a ton of time grooming and feeding and medicating and walking and playing. Our pets are our number one priority, the first place we direct our money and time. For many, probably most, people, there is little appeal to this lifestyle.

For Mark and I, though, it simply can't be any other way.

We're only stopped at four due to constraint of space and money. We want a bigger brood. In my perfect world, I'll have a big house with a big yard, rundown is fine, so that I can be surrounded by a whole herd of ambling big dogs and sleek, tempermental cats.

The question, then, is whether that makes me a crazy cat/dog lady.

I'm pretty sure it does. And I'm OK with that. My quality of life has increased exponentially with each pet we've adopted. The extra work is easily overshadowed by the extra love and extra joy each new animal brings.

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As you can see, our newest member has made herself nice and comfortable.




What a cute kitty!

Also want to say that
I'm loving your women's poster series - thanks!

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Especially if you happen to be a shoe...

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Atticus playing with a shoe

Apparently all that shoe fighting is very tiring.

Atticus crashed out

Atticus sleeping

Atticus sleeping


Awee! My kitty loves playing with shoes too : )

Your kitty is so,so cute! My daughter has 3..of course she now has her own home, my beast of dog would not do well with kitties in the house. I wish he did, we have many a mice out here.

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Atticus: the name, the man


In the comments to my original post about Atticus, Scand asked me to speak about why I have all-male pets, as feminist. She also asked why I gave Atticus the name I did. So I thought I'd answer those things:

The all-male pet thing has been almost purely coincidental. We were looking for a female dog, and I was skeptical about getting a male dog, when we got Chance. However, I loved Chance on site, so I got over my gender preference. The rescue person from whom we adopted Chance also told us that male dogs are harder to get adopted out than are female dogs, so for me, that's one more reason to consider male dogs. With Leo, we were attracted to him due to his breed makeup and personality, his gender was really an afterthought. Also, both Chance and Leo were altered when we got them, which I guess effects the "maleness" of the personality. In Leo's case, I doubt it made much difference, I'd wager that he was always gentle. In Chance's case, he may have been a real problem had he not been neutered (and I believe he was neutered early on). In any case, I wouldn't consider having a non-altered male dog (but I wouldn't consider having any non-altered pet, so I guess that's sort of neither here nor there).

With Atticus, I didn't even know what his gender was until after I'd decided to adopt him. The tag just said his name was "Sam," which could have gone either way, and you can't tell by looking at him (at least not without a closer inspection than I was willing to perform in Petsmart). I've heard male cats are actually more friendly and less mean-spirited than female cats, but at Atticus' age, I doubt there would be any difference even if that were true. So again, it was pretty much a coincidence that I found a cat that I was draw to and that cat happened to be male.

Mostly, the truth of it is that I don't really think of my pets as gendered at all. It just doesn't really occur to me.

The bigger question, I think, and one that I will try to remember to address here at some point, is why I, as a feminist, am so attracted to "aggressive," stereotypically male breeds of dogs. But that is a whole other discussion.

Atticus is named after Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I decided a couple of years back, after watching a dog show, that I wanted to get a beagle and name it Atticus Finch. It just seemed like a great beagle name. However, I then learned a bit about beagles and realized that I will never get one (they have a totally wrong personality for my type of lifestyle, and it's sort of mean to get just one, as they are quintessential pack dogs). So I decided I'd hold on to the name for a cat, since it has the added benefit of working with the nickname "Atticus Catticus," which I think is hysterical (I also named a stray neighborhood cat in our old neighborhood Purrsephone, so you see how my tiny brain works here). Mark doesn't like the name much, but he'll live with it.

Incidentally, I also really like Atticus for a child's name, but it's one of those names I like but wouldn't ever actually saddle a kid with, so it's perfect for the cat.


Yay, i was right about where the name came from! :) Funny how it is male dogs and female cats that are harder to rehome, though - especially since the usual stereotypes of the animals in question are linked to those genders. I think the choice is just about our personalities - i like female cats, with all the stroppiness and so on that this entails, but then i also admire women who have some of those characteristics more than i should.

PS i used to know some people who called their cat 'Oedipuss', so you're in good company.

I love Atticus Catticus. That's too great. Now I want a kitten. Again.

My dad-in-law speaks fondly of a cat that a college dormmate illegally owned called "Entropy". I think that name is hilarious for a cat.

Oh, yeah, and thanks for responding to my questions in such detail. A whole post, even!

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