Tag Archives: Catios

Cat Shack Fever

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Cat by a snowy window

Maybe I’ll go out.

A cats sits at the window by the cat shack ramp, contemplating the blowing snow. I was certain that if the pathway was clear, she might venture into the shelter to explore the wintry scene. I shoveled.

Person shoveling a short deck.

Fluffy snow and 17° F. Still, I hoped my efforts would free the cats from the house.

Back inside, I open the window, and a rush of cold whooshes in. I steel myself for the chilly air entering my kitchen. A cat sits and thinks, declines the offer, and waits for spring.

Gray tabby kitty on a sofa

Full of ennui from lack of daylight and little exercise.

5 Things I Love About Cats

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5 Things I Love About Cats

Why DO people like cats soooo much? Cats claw your stuff, vomit on the rug, and track litter all over the house. They wake you up at four in the morning by walking on your face. They deposit cat hair everywhere, and never like riding in the car. And, yet, they are adored. My cats are so revered that I will pay to put my cat-allergic guests up in a hotel when they come to visit than oust my felines.

Cat in a box. Cats playing with toys.

Predictable, curious cats make playtime fun.

Here are a few things I love about cats:

  1. They’re entertaining. From excited reactions to catnip and laser pointers, to the predictable occupation of a cardboard box, cats provide hours of distracting fun.
  2. They’re aesthetically pleasing. Graceful, always thoughtful about the placement of their paws, there’s something about the presence of a cat that makes a space more habitable, more beautiful.

    Cat asleep in the sun.

    So beautiful! There’s something peaceful about a kitty in a sun puddle.

  3. Cats are snuggly. In varying degrees, my cats like to get pets and scruffs from the humans. Vera is the flopper who waits until I am perfectly settled before plopping over on me. Lucy just likes to be in my vicinity. Bean wants the full on lap experience. As in, “Please do not move. Ever. Or I will bite you.”

    Cats with their people.

    My cats love to be with the humans.

  4. Cat politics. Who gets to perch on the highest part of the cat tree? Who comes and goes through the window to the catio first? There are places in the house that clearly belong to one cat and other places that are comfortable, communal property.

    Cats in cat tree. Cat in a pod.

    From cat tree hierarchy, to pod sleepers, cats work out their own territory.

  5. Cats are a good reason to come home. Seriously. I love my home and life, but the thing that convinces me to return from any vacation that my cats are waiting for me. I say this with all sincerity, yet remain dubious regarding cats actually missing me.

Do you love cats? What is it that you find so appealing about cats? Why do you put up with all of the cattiness and furballs? Share your story!

Soft, Yet Sometimes Evil

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Soft, Yet Sometimes Evil

Intelligent, impertinent, and sometimes snuggly, Miss Bean exudes personality. At nine years, she is the old lady of our cats.

Kitten and Cat

On the left is little Miss Bean just a few days after I rescued her. On the right is Miss Bean now. She still likes to look out the window.

A stray on the campus of the private school where I taught in San Antonio, she was pulled from the rosemary bushes by the maintenance staff in 2006. The school policy on cats was to call animal control, so I asked the guys to hand over the kitten to me. She was so tiny that she needed to be bottle fed, so, for weeks, she came to school with me, at first just sleeping and eating in a crate in my office. As she became more mobile, she pounced around the art room, posed as a model for drawing, and sometimes, caused chaos.

Kitty on table

The wee Miss Bean was a daily fixture in the art room when she was a kitten.

At home, she never really socialized properly with the other cats. There was a time when she was being catified by Cleo, one of my older calicos, but Cleo became ill and passed away, leaving Bean without a mentor.

Cat laying on person

Miss Bean positions herself where she is the most comfortable.

Occasionally, Bean still has difficulties relating to the other beings. I understand that bottle fed kittens are notorious for bad behavior. Bean has her moments, but under patient direction, constant reassurance and training, she has become a wise, mellow, somewhat snuggly friend. Bean especially likes to spend her down time perched on my husband.

Cat in a catio.

On the shelf in the Tabby Shack surveying the neighbors.

I am really bonded with Bean, I guess because of bottle feeding, and the extra special care she’s always needed. She has exquisite, multi-colored fur, a white kisser, and black, black feet bottoms.  Bean can really be a sweet cat once you know to be gentle, and watch for her communication. I can’t believe I’ve lived with Miss Bean for nine years already! She’s definitely been worth the trouble.

I Love Lucy

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I Love Lucy

I’m talking about my cat, Lucy, of course!

Ginger cat close up

Hello, I am Lucy. You will pet me now.

She spends her time surveying the neighborhood from the Tabby Shack, napping on the sofa, and blocking the stairs so that none shall pass.  Playful ginger cat

I’ve never met such a laid-back cat. She is all about comfort, friendliness, string chasing, belly rubs, and the food dish. Ginger cat. Cat belly.Lucy has been with us less than a year, and my life has been so enriched by her silly loveliness.

Life in a Culvert

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I should have named my cats Lucky, Fortunate, and Charmed. All three were rescued from stray-dom, and now live a dry, protected, well-fed, and healthy existence. They receive regular scruffing and head pets if they so choose. There is no chance that, as they lay in a sun puddle by the window, anything dire will happen.  My cats even have an outdoor room built just for them so they can go out to watch the birds and roll in the dirt, despite the sideways looks from some of my neighbors.

Cat at a gas station.

Hello! I live in a drainage culvert.

So, when I encounter stray cats like this sweet, little black kitty, I feel sadness and shame. Sadness because I can tell she’s not getting the health care she needs, or the best nutrition, or shelter from the heat or rain. As far as I know, she’s the only kitty who lives in this culvert, at this gas station, in this wealthy, gated neighborhood area in San Antonio, Texas. Shame because my cats live the feline equivalent life of the 1%.

Black kitty could be considered lucky among the feral and stray cats. I asked the gas station attendant who tended to her, and was told that she gets plenty of food and water from the kind people who work there, and from people in the nearby neighborhood. That’s good. There are many, many people who care about animals. This black kitty is a true feral. She would not respond with purring to a scruff on the head, even if you could approach any closer than about 8 feet.

I can’t possibly help every kitty in the world.  I understand that change comes one kitty at a time. I also know that this black kitty’s story plays out in thousands of culverts, parking lots and abandoned buildings all over the country, and that not every kitty is faring as well as this San Antonio gas station kitty. I try not to be overwhelmed, and give my support where I can.

Here’s a scruff for all kitties, everywhere.

Mostly Lazy, Somewhat Curious, Always Adorable

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Cats in catio.

Sometimes, there’s a wait to get into the Tabby Shack.

Such is life in the Tabby Shack. Bean, Vera, and Lucy spend their days lounging about, spying on the neighbors, and enjoying the summer weather.

Cat with ears back.

I hear lawn equipment!

Cat on a shelf.

Vera in repose on the upper pedestal.

Cat rolling in dirt.

Bean likes a good roll in the dirt.

Cat on a shelf.

Vera watches the antics on the ground.

Caturday in the Tabby Shack

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It’s finally feline ready! The Tabby Shack! Our catio features a walk-out gangway from the dining room window, comfortable territory, and lots of shelves, platforms, and levels for jumping, traversing, and resting. So far, we are still getting used to the idea of coming and going through the window, and understanding that it’s safe in our Tabby Shack, but every time we go out, it gets more awesome! Here are some pictures of Lucy, Vera, and Bean, checking out the new digs. Don’t mind the dust, as we still have to plant the catnip and put in the corner sandbox. There’s even going to be some camouflage-type landscaping to help us feel even more safe, and to beautify our neighborhood just in time to enjoy the early spring weather. Viva la Tabby Shack!Tabby Shack.pages