Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lots of Amazing New Stuff

Whew! My feet are killing me, my back aches, and I have blisters on my hands from carrying my tote bag around the expo floor for a couple of days...but the Global Pet Expo was phenomenal! Met a ton of great people who have wonderful products that will soon be featured on Food, litter & litterboxes, cat trees, cat beds, catwear, travel supplies, show cages, nutritional supplements, hydration systems...even music, just for the cats. You name it, if it could be made for pets, it was at this expo.

I also got lots of great samples to try, and will be reviewing those products here over the next several weeks. New products should start showing up on the retail site within the next week. More new ones will be added over probably the next couple of months or so. Yes, that's'll take me that long to get through them all! There's a stack of product literature at least a foot tall that has to be sorted, notes deciphered, distributor relationships established, product images & descriptions downloaded, and items added to the site itself. But you're SO going to love the new stuff! There are so many innovative products out there to help us spoil our kitties and keep them happy and healthy.

Stay tuned. Lots more coming soon!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Stuff's Coming Soon!

Always on the lookout for new stuff for our kitties, we'll be attending the Global Pet Expo next weekend in Orlando. Pre-show publicity says that over 800 new products will be debuting there! Granted, not all are for cats, but we'll be telling you about every one of the new cat products we find, and hopefully will also be able to feature many of them on Stay tuned for all the news!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm a Meeeeean Mama!

Older cats don't groom themselves like they did when they were younger, so they need help. Now that the worst of the winter is past us, Vixen is shedding her winter coat. I've found clumps of hair all over the house, so I try to give her a good brushing every day to remove some of that loose hair.

Here, you see today's pile of hair from her morning brushing, along with the very angry tortoiseshell from which it came. You see, Vixen doesn't like to be groomed. She especially hates having her stomach touched. But lots of excess hair builds up there, forming into lumpy mats that eventually need to be cut out. So I endure the hissing, scratching and biting, and even got the "demon growl" this morning while grooming her. She kept that up for pretty much the whole grooming session! So with this pile of hair now in the trash can, she's finally calmed down a little and will soon be asking for her lunch!

Now, here's my shameless self-promotion: if you need a new comb or brush to help your cat shed her winter coat, Old Maid Cat Lady has pretty much every size, shape and design. We've just added some new "people products" too, including some lovely fountains and statues for your spring garden.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vixen is 22...or Thereabout

Twenty-one years ago this month, a feisty little tortoiseshell came to join my household. She'd been a feral cat in the apartments where I lived, one who'd lurk in the hedges and swipe a spotted paw out at you when you passed. I'd see her following along behind the maintenance men, playing with whatever tool belt or electrical cord was dangling behind them. On sunny afternoons, people doing laundry would have to step over her as she sprawled right across the middle of the laundry room floor in the afternoon sun streaming through the westward window. She had big-time attitude.

My other cat had noticed her, too. That was mainly because she'd climb the tree right outside our living room windows and flirt with him. He was a very clingy cat who suffered terrible separation anxiety when I left him to go to work, or anywhere else, for that matter. He was mesmerized by this wild little thing who seemed to take pleasure in taunting him. I toyed with the idea of taking in the odd-looking little cat, who reminded me of an owl with her prominent lynx tips and vivid yellow stripe down the nose. Wily and cantankerous, her personality was most fox-like, thus earning her the name given to female foxes. She seemed to know her name and respond to it from the very beginning. As near as I could figure, she seemed to be about a year old.

Just as tigers have striped skin, Vixen also has sections of black and pink skin; two pink toes with all the rest black, for example. There are even black spots on the inside of her mouth. Her ears look like someone flicked orange paint off a paintbrush onto them, both inside and out. She could be easily spotted from a great distance by that yellow chest, which glowed like a beacon when I spied her sitting in a drainage pipe beside the duck pond one afternoon. I stepped outside and called to her; she gave a little cry and came running straight over to me, circled around and came up beside me, where she let me pick her up and carry her inside. And that was that.

When the time came to move into another apartment, I took both cats to the vet for baths and de-fleaing (this was in the days before the back-of-the-neck treatments we have today), then over to the new place. Vixen was still pretty feisty and didn't like to be touched or picked up. But she was smart as a whip! The cats loved going out onto our 3rd-floor balcony, but were showing a troubling tendency to stand with their front feet on the outside of the lower rail, peering over onto the balcony below. With a fear that they'd jump down there, I kept a close eye on them and stopped them, admonishing, "No back feet on the railing!" Vixen took this to heart. A few months later, I was standing on my balcony talking to a friend, who casually propped her foot on the railing. Vixen pranced over to her and started swatting my friend's foot, claws sheathed, as a reminder of "No back feet on the railing!"

Vixen loved being out on the balcony and would often chew off the tips of my aloe plant. Loved it, that is, until the weather turned hot and humid. As soon as that hot air would hit her in the face when the door slid open, she'd pull back, turn around, and head back into the air conditioning. Smart girl. She loved playing with tennis balls, which she'd grab with her claws and sort of throw for herself. My other cat was another story; she hated him. When he'd stand at the door and yowl to go outside, she'd get an annoyed look on her face. After a few minutes, when she'd had enough, she'd go over and swat him in the face a few times, then sprint across the room. He was always too shocked to chase her. Many was the time I'd find a chunk of his fur on the floor where she'd gotten him good with her claws.

When we moved to Atlanta in the mid-90s, we had a southwesterly facing sunroom. She'd spend every afternoon there, basking in the warmth of the sun. I swear, it made the orange spots in her coat more vivid. Little by little, she got more comfortable sleeping on the bed with me, although it was always at the foot and not near my other cat on the opposite pillow. She also became more accustomed to being held and petted, and even came to enjoy a good brushing...but not for long. When she'd had enough, she'd walk away, and woe be unto the one who tried to stop her. Out would come claws and teeth, and that old feral personality would emerge again.

After my other cat died, I worried that she was growing bored alone all day while I was at work, so I took to leaving the TV on for her...on Animal Planet, of course! She paid attention to it, too, because she changed the way she bit after watching shows on there. Before, she'd grab your hand with her claws and pull it toward her, then sink her teeth into it so she had you trapped. But after watching a fair number of snake shows on TV, she began striking and pulling back, just like a snake would do. It was fascinating...albeit no less painful!

These days, she's become a grand old lady. Her hips give her a little trouble, and sometimes she loses her balance when she first stands up. The brilliant colors in her coat have become slightly duller, more faded with age. She no longer jumps up on any furniture, including the bed. There's no more batting of tennis balls or clawing the sofa. She still enjoys combing her face on the little arched brush I gave her one Christmas; I think it's her favorite gift she's ever received. She loves her canned food meals, and has become accustomed to getting them at least three times a day. But she also still loves her "crunchies", which she swallows whole since her teeth aren't what they used to be. She stands in her litter box and whizzes over the side, a behavior I've addressed before in this blog. For the most part, she's healthy as can be and can often be found curled up and sleeping in her bed underneath my desk. That's where she is now, in fact.

So raise a glass with me to toast 21 years together with my best girl ever, my little Vixen! May she go on for many more years to come.