Beautiful Sunrises and Cawing Crows

Curie and I have a new morning routine. As I hold her in my arms, she gazes intently towards the skies and chatters her teeth with the typical feline excitement of seeing birds flying overhead. You can’t see them in here, but it’s usually a large and noisy murder of crows as they leave their nests and head into the city. I thought the sunrise captured in this photograph had rather beautiful colors subhaan’Allah, and it made for some even better quality time with my kitten (I don’t think she really cared much for the pretty colors though, just the black crows).

Sunset with CR

Curie’s Quirks (A Mega-List)

  • She gallops loudly like a horse when in playful mood; you’ll be able to hear her through the ceiling when downstairs
  • After a night of doing nobody-knows-what, you’ll always find the toy mouse in her food dish (I leave it upstairs, the food/water bowls are downstairs
  • When she’s extremely happy (usually in the mornings once her favorite people her finally awake or while playing and jumping around), her purring gets louder and louder until it sounds more like squeaking; when the purring does come to an end, it does so with a huge sigh of contentment
  • The first day she came to our home after adoption, she was purring non-stop for at least 6 hours!
  • When she’s feeling sleepy, one of her eyes will start winking
  • She loves giving “kitty kisses”; whenever I blink slowly at her, she returns the affectionate gesture, no matter how many times I do it
  • She emits loud and scary growls while playing, that you’d never imagine coming from a sweet, feminine, little cat; some of them last even 5 whole seconds as she dashes up and down the stairs and pounces upon crinkly bags
  • She responds so well to clicker training; but one thing I’ve not managed to teach her so far is how to fetch (despite hearing about so many cats that do this!)
  • The tippy-tappy sound of my laptop keyboard entices her, and she feels that she must join in and walk across the keyboard when I’m typing up a blog post
  • She loves trying to communicate with me, and whilst giving her training commands, she lets out a soft mew before doing said action
  • She’s incredibly smart and has already learn “sit”, “high-five/touch”, “spin”, and “inside” (to get into her carrier) via clicker training
  • She loves chasing kibbles of food, pouncing upon them as if they’re prey; and if she sees that I’m about to throw another one, she’ll stop chewing midway and stare at that piece with such intense concentration
  • She’s got some pretty strong kneading power; she’ll lie down on her side whilst in your lap, and give a good massage (especially useful after a day of intense kayaking!)
  • She’s unusually calm during nail-clippings and can’t get enough of being groomed; once she sees her brush, the purring engine revs up
  • Whenever we pass by her bed while she’s half-asleep, she’ll twist on her back and snuggle into a cuter, irresistible pose that’s surely to get herself a good stroking
  • She’s great at being quiet and entertaining herself during the nighttime; she understands that as soon as the upper-level’s hallway light is off, everyone is off to bed and she must wait until tomorrow morning for more cuddles and play-times
  • She’ll try to climb up on your back if you’re sitting (Curie just sneaked up on me and did this, only 2 minutes after I wrote this line!)
  • She can climb 6 feet up a bubble-wrapped piece of furniture
  • She’s the gentlest of cats; her claws are never out when playing with us
  • She runs down the stairs to greet me by the front door, all the while chirping in her cute, kitten-y way
  • She likes to dab her white paws in the water bowl
  • She knows that doors are opened by turning their knobs, and she tries to jump up and reach them to do the same
  • She loves hiding in crinkly bags; and she thinks hiding effectively only consists of covering up her head with something while the rest of her body sticks out… she thinks that as long as she can’t see us, we can’t see her!
  • “Where’s Curieeee?” would get her running off to find a place to hide; she loves this game
  • She likes lying down next to me and taking up half of the chair when I’m studying
  • When she’s happy or excited (i.e. after seeing one of us after hours of being away at school or work), she tends to go and use her scratching post
  • Sometimes during a long cuddling session (typically in the mornings), she’s reminded of her hungry stomach and scurries down the stairs to eat a bit of kibble that’s left out; I once peered over the stairs to see what she was up to, and (this is one of the cutest things she’s ever done) every time she picked up a new piece of kibble, she’d look up while hurriedly chewing to make sure that I was still there waiting for her (she did run up afterwards, mewing)
  • She’s got a superpower: making everyone (even those that say they don’t like cats) smile

Out Hunting

Supplies are running low on Curie’s current brand of (canned) cat food, and it’s time to begin research on whether I’d like to continue feeding her what she is on right now, or if there’s a better alternative out there. This means literally spending an hour or so comparing different brands, long (and often scary) lists of ingredients, guaranteed analyses, and prices per weight; on top of ensuring that it’s something she wouldn’t turn up her nose at. Curie LOVES salmon, whitefish, and tuna (it’s advised not to have solely a seafood diet however because of mercury concentrations and bio-accumulation) but doesn’t care much for grilled chicken. And I’ll also admit that I try to find foods that I would personally feel comfortable handling (some of the stuff stinks! and oozes with gooey fat!)

When it comes to making sure Curie is well and healthy, has the silkiest and softest coat ever, and bundles of energy and love… the time and money is worth it.

 

Canned Food Screenshot

Daily Prompt: A Bird, A Plane, Me!

While having the power to travel through time sounds like it would be a phenomenal experience, I’m blessed to be here today, right where I am. Like any other average person, I admit having some faults and missteps in the past that I wish I could go back to erase and change; but without having them, I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today… improved and wiser. So if I were to choose a superpower, it would be the ability to speak and understand any language… including “cat-speak”!

I’ve always found it incredibly fascinating that a Prophet in Islam, Suleiman alayhi salam, was able to communicate with all creatures of the Earth, from the tiniest ant to the majestic lion. Imagine being able to hear their stories and understand their feelings.

I’m finding that my own kitten has a keen sense of emotion (all cats, in fact, are said to be able to quickly pick up on whether their family members are stressed or not); if I’m sitting somewhere feeling a bit down, she’ll trot up to me and try to climb onto my back, or just come up close and look at me affectionately. Although I try my best to fulfill her needs (which consist of mostly love, attention, and play), I feel it would be so much easier to give her exactly what she wants, exactly when she wants it, if I could just speak to her. I also wouldn’t mind being able to understand all the mews of different pitches, when she’s in a talkative mood; perhaps she’s a talented cat-comedian sharing jokes!

As for the ability to speak and understand any language (within the “human world”), I’d love to be able to have a conversation with anyone from anywhere; remove the barrier of language and understand and help one another.

IMG_4848

Imagine being able to hold a conversation with this pretty kitty.

In response to WordPress Daily Prompt: A Bird, A Plane, You!

A New Year Update

I realize that the last time I posted was last year… in 2015. Time’s been flying, and with my university studies having resumed in the new year, along with having to keep a feisty kitty entertained, I’e been quite busy! Most of Curie’s winter was spent sleeping the cold days away, I was a bit disappointed that there hadn’t been any snow for her to witness for the first time in life, but that’s alright… We had plenty of rest and fun indoors.

Curie has been growing so quickly these past few weeks, and becoming quite a fine feline, if I do say so myself. She’s getting this beautifully soft and silky fur behind her ears, and on her chest; it’s probably the “mane” (she’s a domestic medium hair) that’s coming in. We visited PetSmart (Curie got to see goldfish!) recently to purchase a new carrier (her original SPCA one is too small for her now!) and all the nice ladies working there commented on how big she is for her age; I bet it’s got a lot to do with the fact that she’s becoming increasingly fluffier!

I’m looking forward to celebrating Curie’s first birthday this summer, and just seeing how she continues to develop a delightful personality and funny little quirks (more on them later!) day by day, for the rest of this year and beyond, insha’Allah.

 

A Lakeside Trail

A picturesque trail leading up to and around a lake in summertime.

A picturesque trail leading up to and around a lake, taken in early autumn.

Marbles, Bells, and Balls… And Mice!

IMG_5069Curie loves anything that rolls! But she also insisted that I add in the furry mouse because, even though it’s not a ball, she loves the way it squeaks. In fact, in the early days when she wasn’t quite as accustomed to her name as she is now, we could squeeze the mouse to make it squeak and that was a surefire way to get her attention. She’d come bounding over from wherever she was (usually hiding behind the bed-skirt so she could pounce on our feet) to play!

Discovering her fascination with marbles was completely by chance. I keep a close eye on her when she’s playing with one to make sure she doesn’t try picking it up with her mouth, but so far that’s never happened. She’s intrigued by the constant vibrating noise marbles make on the tile floor and can follow one around for at least a full half hour or more! I’ve read about some owners having cats that dropped marbles into the bath tub and watched them whisk up and around the edges – they claim it sounded like there was a construction crew working upstairs…

Gathering at Shelters. Searching for Homes.

SPCA CollageThis collage symbolizes the enormous pet overpopulation problem, particularly with cats. These are only six out of the thousands of cats gathering and accumulating at animal shelters across the country. BC SPCA alone takes in more than 28,000 animals each year, in additional to thousands more being cared for by other rescue groups and animal control agencies.

To curb overpopulation and ensure that all cats have happy homes to go to rather than dwelling in cold, metallic cages or even being put down, ensure that your pet cat is spayed or neutered. Some municipalities have even started to provide funds to complete the procedure for low-income residents.

Featured in this collage (clockwise from top left) is:

  • Mal (5 mo. old female, at the Kamloops, BC shelter)
  • Socks (11 wk. old female, at the Okanagan/Similkameen, BC shelter)
  • Taco (2 yr. old male, at the Chilliwack, BC shelter)
  • Blitzen (1 yr. old male, at the Kamloops, BC shelter)
  • Kat (5 yr. old female, at the Vancouver, BC shelter)
  • Clark (1 yr. old male, at the Cowichan & District, BC shelter)

Be sure to make the SPCA “your first adoption option” (© 2015 BC SPCA).

In response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering.

On Baths and Mindful Pet Ownership

Adoring a pet cat does not always equate to being mindful about both her physical and psychological well-being. Doing the former is a lot easier than the latter. That’s because mindfulness involves realizing that you’re living with a member from another species, and that by agreeing to adopt a cat, whether it be from the pet store, rescue, or animal shelter, you have also agreed to live with that cat’s unchangeable feline nature.

Some individuals wrongfully, or perhaps ignorantly as happens in the absence of mindfulness, expect a cat to be like a (well-behaved) human toddler. To always listen, to contentedly be picked up without warning, to be taught manners like not jumping onto the table or counters or couches, to naturally understand that fingers are not to be bitten, to not protest when a particular rule or routine changes once in a while, to be okay with regular bathing.

Pet owners who have responsibly taken the initiative to read about cat care-giving, rather than acting upon their human whims and expectations, would know that you cannot make a cat become “accustomed” to something that is against the very way they were created to be, or the way they’ve evolved from ancestors. Some people justify actions that visibly upset a cat by saying, “Oh, she’ll get used to it.”

For example, unless you have a specific breed that enjoys playing in water, such as the Bengal or Turkish Van, most cats hate water. This often does not come down to personal preference, but their inborn nature. Although they will swim if they need to, cats being as dignified as they are, don’t like feeling trapped or helpless. Their fur absorbs rather than reflecting off water, and cats know this. Hence, having waterlogged fur weighs them down, hinders their ability to move as quickly as they usually would, and makes them feel vulnerable; many pet parents would acknowledge that they’ve witnessed their cats shivering long after bath-time is over. I’ve recently read on VetInfo along with Pet MD that drenching your cat in water can indeed be a traumatizing experience; whether you shower gently with a shower head or pour water from a mug, the end result is the same. So, unless you have a way of exchanging a cat’s natural, soft, and beautiful coat with synthetic fur, there’s no way of having a cat “get used to” taking bathes.

It’s understandable that some people later discover they are, to some degree, allergic to their beloved family cat. In such cases, allergists advise that the relief of symptoms would only come from either getting rid of the allergen source (in other words, saying good-bye to your cat), or bathing them very often to get rid of any dander (although new research shows that it’s actually particulates in cat saliva that we’re allergic to). Allergists aren’t veterinarians, so they are not aware of what regular bathing would entail when it comes to the health of the cat. Aside from the psychological trauma described above, bathing day after day removes a cat’s natural oils too soon for them to regenerate, thereby gradually drying skin to the point where it becomes flaky and irritable. As some pet parents would attest, treating such conditions (in addition to the heartbreak that comes along with seeing your cat constantly scratching themselves, developing scaly patches, biting off their own fur, and in general suffering) is expensive as you would have to administer vet-prescribed ointments as well as change your pet’s diet (i.e. Hill’s Science Diet for Cats with Sensitive Skin). Perhaps what’s worst is that these same individuals, whom are willing to put their cat through the stress of bathing, are not mindful enough to at first make changes to their own lives; rather than distancing themselves from cats (easy especially when you are not the primary care-giver in charge of the litterbox, grooming, etc.), they continue to engage in hugging the cat, overlook distancing their face from the cat’s fur, or even eliminating other sources of allergens such as a dusty bookcase right by their bed. The complaints of sneezing or wheezing then, are unjustified. What’s ironic is that neglecting their own health, and not taking the necessary and possible precautions, then results in harming the cat’s health as well.

Unless your cat is the type of breed that enjoys water (definitely not the domestic medium or long-haired breeds), is visibly soiled, or has gotten something on herself that would be dangerous for her to lick off (i.e. cats that end up rubbing against wet paint), it’s not worth it to put your cat through bathing. Thinking that your cat will become accustomed to having weekly waterlogged fur, is as bad as thinking that declawing (a procedure banned in many regions, as it not only surgically removes the cat’s claws, but toes as well – that would be like having the stubs of your fingers chopped off) is normal – both go against the cat’s inborn nature, the way it was created to be.

If you’ve made a covenant with your cat to love and cherish them for all their life, please also be mindful of the type of species that they are. Do not mindlessly reason and force your cat to “get used to” a fear of theirs that can never go away no matter how often they encounter it – whether it be the giant vacuum cleaner or being drenched in water.

 

 

A Midday Siesta