This is a long overdue post about my cats. Which is really a post about my new camera. Someone pretty awesome (Sweetie) remembered me mentioning that I’d really like to own a good camera by the time we have the baby. And so, on my recent birthday, he surprised me with a snazzy Canon Rebel T3i. (I really have no idea what the random letters/numbers after the “Rebel” part mean, but thought I’d better include that info too, just in case that stuff is important.)
The verdict? I love my new camera. LOVE IT! I feel very grown up having options to change aperture and focus and f-stops and such (although I don’t really understand what any of those words actually mean), and knowing that if I want to go all rogue I can switch off of auto mode and (gasp!) manually take charge of my settings (although, honestly, automatic mode seems to be working pretty well for me at the moment.)
And (most importantly) my snazzy new camera takes awesome pictures of the cats.
Which, I’m guessing, means that it’ll likely also take rather fantastic pictures of the baby.
Who could ask for anything more than that? :)
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So I’m always that last person to send Christmas cards out. I love the act of sending cards – I love writing happy little messages inside and putting stamps on envelopes and trekking out through the snow to the nearest post office to mail out my stack of holiday cheer. But I truly suck at doing all of this well in advance of the holidays. The mad scramble to get my cards out each year has become part of my Christmas tradition, and a ritual I’d really like to change. Yep, this year I’m vowing to have my cards out by mid-December. At the latest. I hope.
Dear friends and family: for the first time ever, you’ll get your cards BEFORE Christmas. No more Happy Belated Christmas cards from me!
But first I need to choose the cards I’ll be sending out. As I mentioned last year in THIS post, I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my cards. They must be cute. They must be on the smaller size (to avoid needlessly long-winded handwritten Christmas greetings for the sake of filling up blank space.) And they must involve cats somehow (it’s true – I’m a bit of a weirdo like that.)
So, because Christmas is quickly (really quickly!) approaching, I toured Etsy last night, and here are a few of my favourites…
There’s this simple (but super cute!) cat and mouse card from DeanPenn:
And this fun card (from LizzyClara) made me smile:
Then there’s this printable cat card design, courtesy of adoridesigns:
I would use my favourite ever photo of Irwin for the front of the card:
Adorable? Oui! I think he’d make an awesome little Christmas card cover cat. :)
But, my three favourite Etsy-card-findings (shockingly!) didn’t include cats at all. (Gasp! – I know!)
This simple (but lovely!) card from stationaryboutique:
These super cheerful holiday cards from DeLorenzoArt:
And, lastly (but certainly not leastly!) these adorable cards from Whimsipost:
Extreme (strangely non-cat-related) cuteness? You betcha!
So could there be a break in my Christmas cat-card tradition? Perhaps. I do adore all three of the non-kitty-centric cards above. And, if having particularly adorable cards helps me (in some weird unknown way) to get the cards out sooner (ie: on time and before Christmas), then I may consider those options.
Just don’t tell Erik and Irwin (they’re pretty sure cats are at the absolute centre of my universe) (which they sorta are) (except for maybe this one time.) (Shhhhhh…)
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Our family is missing a very very special set of orange paws.
We lost Jacob last week.
It wasn’t entirely unexpected. A few weeks back we brought our beloved orange cat into our vet for a checkup having noticed that he’d lost a bit of weight. With the move and all, I guessed it was stress. Worst case scenario, I figured, his tapazole dose maybe needed tweaking (since we already knew that our happy kitty had a rather hyper thyroid.)
Sadly, it wasn’t either of these (relatively easily fixed) problems.
Jacob was whiskers-deep in kidney failure.
I cried when our vet told us the news. I knew what this all meant. Many years ago Sweetie and I had lost another cat, Harry, to chronic renal failure and it was awful and heart wrenching watching the disease progress and gradually eat away at our furbabe. But, with frequent sub-q fluids and a special diet and a little extra care, Harry had lived a relatively normal and quite happy cat life for several months following his diagnosis.
With Jacob, however, there was no gradual-ness to the disease. Jacob was dying. Rapidly. His kidneys had almost entirely stopped functioning. In a little over three weeks, we watched our amazing, outgoing, vocal, beloved Jacob waste away to fur and bones. Fluids didn’t slow the progression of the disease at all. He was a brave little orange cat – he tolerated twice daily meds and patiently let us poke and prod him – but we could tell he was quickly getting sicker and sicker despite all of the pills, all of the fluids, and all of our love. He stopped being our playful awesome orange cat. He stopped eating. He became withdrawn and quiet. And he smacked his lips constantly – a sign we knew meant that he felt nauseous.
So we made a heartbreaking decision.
Jacob is no longer sick.
One lazy Sunday morning, a long long time ago, when Jacob was a very new addition to our family (having been recently rescued from the evil neighbour across the street – aka “Bubba” – who [much to our delight] suddenly up and moved one day, but [much to our horror] left his adorable and outgoing orange cat behind to fend for himself), Sweetie and I were listening to the CBC and a song by local artist Norm Hacking played. It went like this…
Best friends can come
In lots of shapes and sizes.
That’s why they’re always
Such wonderful surprises.
Mine has four legs
And a lot of orange fur.
He tells me life is great
With the world’s loudest purr
His name is Syd
And when his owner moved away
He came a-knocking
At my door one day.
He said “I sure need a home
Oh, won’t you let me in?”
‘Cause orange cats
Make the very best friends.
Well, they’re not in it for the food
Not in it for the money.
Just give their chin a scratch,
Let them sleep where it’s sunny.
You don’t need a turtle
Or a gerbil or a bunny
‘Cause orange cats
They make the very best friends
It’s been nearly 20 years
Since he came to stay.
He’s been my best friend
In so many ways.
From a handsome young mouser
To a wise old man,
Syd, the orange cat,
He’s been my very best friend
Over the past eleven orange fur-filled years, I’ve sung the line “Orange cats make the very best friends” often to my Jacob (I wanted to make sure he knew just how much he was loved.) On Tuesday I whispered this same line to him as I said goodbye.
Orange cats really do make the very best friends.
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So three cats go into a car (and that’s it. No punchline. Just three cats in a car. With me and Sweetie. All weekend.)
With the house finally (fiiiiiiinally) on the market (yay!), the showings and open houses have begun. This past weekend was, in fact, completely devoted to open houses. As in the entire weekend. Two open houses on Saturday, two on Sunday. For a total of five hours each day. Yep. It was a lot and (in all honesty) seemed a little like open house overkill to me. But in the rather tricky world of real estate, this was probably the equivalent of our go-big-or-go-home moment. And our agent was quite enthusiastic about this strategy (and, well, he’s the expert!) so we gave him the official thumbs up on his plan.
The problem with being both a home seller and a cat owner? The two don’t mix particularly well. I like my cats. Sweetie likes our cats. Lots of people love our cats. And as they should – our three fur-babes are pretty darn awesome and friendly and adorable, if you ask me. :) But, sadly, home seekers aren’t necessarily kitty-friendly. There’s the smell-stigma (“ohhhh… honey, look… they have cats… let’s try really really hard to find some sort of cat smell somewhere in this house… it must be here somewhere…”) There’s the distraction (afterall, the kitties are indeed ridiculously cute.) And there’s the terrifying possibility that during all of the open house comings-and-goings one sneaky little fur-ball could weasel its way through the front door.
So what do we do?
We go on field trips! All of us. Sweetie, me, and the three cats, all in one car together.
When we sold our last home, we quickly discovered that the easiest way to create home selling harmony was to pack the cats up in their individual carriers and bring them for a mini roadtrip during house showings. During open houses, they’d get treated to a full-blown field trip to a local park for a couple of hours.
And so, in keeping with house-selling tradition, Jacob, Irwin, Erik, me and Sweetie all hung out at the park for most of the weekend while random strangers wandered through our home. Were the cats excited? No. But did they survive? Absolutely. After about thirty minutes of initial panic, they all settled down and spent the remaining four-ish hours exploring the car/looking out the window/napping.
Until the house sells (hopefully soon!), we’ll likely keep the car set up like a big rolling kitty crate. There’s a litterbox in the back, and a food bowl and water, and some puppy training pads and lots of old towels too just in case of accidents. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional. And if it helps make these outings a little less stressful for the kitties, so be it.
That said, if you need to carpool with someone, I’m likely not your best choice right now. Unless you like a whole lotta cat fur on your clothes.
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Cats don’t understand decorative objects.
Cats don’t understand that wicker balls are pretty, not playthings. And that these pretty wicker balls belong in the lovely white bowl on the dining room table, not on the floor.
Cats also apparently think that it’s ok to get up on the dining room table when mom isn’t watching.
Yep. Lessons learned.
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(Yes. I just went THERE. Couldn’t help myself!)
With October almost over, I can’t help but notice that Christmas is just around the corner. And to that I say (rather enthusiastically): “YAY!” There’s something so warm and fuzzy about Christmas – it’s like the holiday equivalent of a big ginormous hug (you know, if a hug could be all glittery and smell like cedar and cinnamon.)
Despite that I am more often than not the very last person on earth to get my Christmas cards in the mail (I was furiously throwing stamps on envelopes on December 24th last year), I adore the tradition of sending Christmas cards. I love getting cards, and there’s something so lovely about sending them too. A real live handwritten holiday greeting trumps a facebook message or an e-card (including those of the elf-yourself variety, btw – dear friends: that is not a replacement for an actual piece of holiday stationary) big time, if you ask me.
So, then, as can be expected, I start planning for holiday card-sending months in advance. And, being
ridiculously ever-so-slightly OCD, I become obsessed with finding the perfect Christmas cards.
Wait. Let me rephrase that… I become obsessed with finding the perfect Christmas cards THAT FEATURE CATS.
Yup. My inner crazy cat lady takes over when it comes to Christmas cards. I’ve never been one to go out and willy-nilly-ly select a random box of standard Christmas cards off the Hallmark shelf. Nope. I view Christmas cards as an expression of who I am. And I am mom to three fantastic cats. So cats WILL be on my Christmas cards.
The problem? Cat Christmas cards can sometimes be a little hard to find. I took a quick stroll through Etsy-ville this morning, and cat cards (cute ones, at least) were a bit challenging to find – I’m not gonna lie. But, here are a few contenders that I stumbled upon.
Dear friends and family: consider this your sneak peek at what may be arriving in your mailbox in a few weeks’ time. :)
This card, from MadOldCatLady, makes me smile…
…and I love this retro-esque card designed by Vincent Desjardins Illustrator…
An understated yet lovely brocade kitty card from RiverDogPrints…
And these next two, from ASliceInTime, are collective-awwwwwwww-worthy…
Awwwww… Yep, that, right there, is a whole lot of cuteness.
These cards, from OnCupcakeMoon are both cute and customizable…
And my one, non-Etsy entry into this cat-Christmas-card collection is this card from PaperCards…
Sigh. Adorableness! Like a tiny little Jacob (but one who tolerates hats. Jacob doesn’t like hats. We’ve tried.)
Yep. There are quite a few options… Which route will I go? There’s the ever popular cute-route, but the retro-way is super fun, or the illustrated options are lovely too. Ugh. Decisions, decisions…
Or maybe I’ll just look for a card that says “Joy.” That seems way easier…
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