Monday, February 28, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 9

I have to admit I didn't do too much in the way of decluttering this past weekend.  Or maybe I did, but just not in the "cross another task off my list" sort of way. It was more of a "did a bunch of little things in different areas that all add up to a tidier home" kind of weekend.

Remember this photo from a few weeks ago?

My biggest recent accomplishment in the decluttering department was to change the view in my office/guest bedroom.  Every day, when I walk into my apartment, I could see directly into this room and see that huge pile on the bed. I didn't like it.  When the kittenz arrived, I anticipated that they would eventually have the run of the apartment and so I quickly started to disperse this pile, in case any little furry being was tempted to climb all over this stuff and possibly do some injury to itself.  I certainly wouldn't want that.  Sadly, the kittenz didn't stay long enough to explore further than my bedroom but I kept tidying anyway and now the view looks like this:
I am amazed at how much better I feel about this mentally.  As you can see, there are still piles of paper on the bed and I'm okay with that.  I could do an instant clean-up and sweep them all into a box but hey, that's how I ended up with all those boxes of "miscellaneous paper" in the first place!!  Plus the piles are sorted, I don't want to have to organize them again.  I just need a little bit more time to get them put away where they belong.  I hope to finish off that job this week. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Doll-A-Mania - Class 1

Yesterday was Laura Haviland's first paper doll class at Bizzy B.  As you may recall, she taught a "make and take" session at the store back in January, which I blogged about here but this was the first official class.  (The next one is scheduled for April 2nd and yes, I have already reserved my spot!)

Laura provided each student with a beautifully decorated folder and envelope containing all the items we needed to make one paper doll, including instructions and a special gift from Catherine Moore of  Character Constructions, a selection of stamps from the French Laundry collection (thank you, Catherine!).
Then we practiced colouring in faces.  Here's a photo of the face I coloured, on the left (taken just before I ruined it by adding blush to the cheek.  The watercolour pencil crayons I used weren't suitable for this task and totally botched the look so now my doll face looks more like Bozo the Clown applied her makeup) with the face on the right as coloured by my neighbour Anne, who did an amazing job with the eye on her doll face:
After that exercise, we started cutting out and colouring our doll's body parts.  We all sat around the table and chatted while we worked, although from time to time, everything got really quiet while we all concentrated on what we were doing.  I love taking classes right in the store, it's great to be able to get up and purchase the exact supplies you need while you're working on a project, as compared to being at home and realizing you don't have quite the right thing to finish something.  Thanks also to Bizzy B for providing the delicious treats for us to snack on!
Here's a picture of Laura and me, and of me, Laura and Marilyn during the class:

I'm still working on putting my doll together, so you'll have to wait until later in the week to see the finished product (I bought myself some new pencil crayons at Michaels on the way home from the class but they need to be sharpened, so I can't finish colouring until I take them in to the office to use the electic sharpener.  Yes, I could do it by hand but there are 36 of them!)  In the meantime, here's a peek at the top and bottom halves of Laura's beautiful creation, entitled "Begin Where You Are":
Thanks for a great class, Laura!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

P.S. I Love You

I have lost track of how many times I have seen this movie but here it is, Saturday night, and I am watching it again.  And enjoying it just as much as every other time I have watched it.   Gerard Butler is lovely, as is Harry Connick Jr. and most gorgeous of all, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  Yum.

Besides the handsome men, one of my favourite reasons for watching this movie is to see the scenes in their gorgeous apartment.  Hilary Swank's character is always complaining about it being too small but I love the way it is decorated.  I love the bird pillows in the living room and the matching his and hers dressers, especially the way the white dresser is painted.

Photos found here (apparently, I'm not the first one to love this apartment or blog about it!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Organizing the Bookcase

As I contemplate which decluttering task I might do this weekend, I thought I'd share this YouTube video which my friend Amanda passed along via Facebook.

I love the way this is done.  Ever since I watched it, I've been humming the music and wondering how it was filmed.  Do they move books and piece together single frames? Is it computer generated?  How? How did they do it?  And I love the way they list of books at the end. So entertaining!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've always wondered about that expression.  Why do they say an animal has been "fixed"?  It's not like they were broken, is it? 

Katrina went to the vet today to be spayed.  That expression is odd too.  According to the Internet, it comes from a french word that means "to cut with a sword".  Which doesn't quite explain how it got to be associated with removing a cat's uterus and ovaries, but never mind.  No more kittens for her.  I hope she understands we did it for her own good.  She had five little darlings, that seems like a good number at which to stop.

She is really a lovely little cat.  She is getting to be more comfortable with me and her surroundings.  Last night, she even jumped up on the bed for the first time, just after I turned off the light.  Of course, I had to turn the light back on immediately so I could see her. They say all cats look grey in the dark but I am here to tell you that a black cat just looks blacker!

She wasn't allowed any food or water last night after 10 p.m., in preparation for today's surgery.  She was rather vocal about it this morning, rubbing against my legs and meowing in the quiet way she has, as if she couldn't understand why I wasn't feeding her.  Perhaps I had forgotten?  She even laid herself across the empty placemat on the floor where her food and water bowls usually sit, as if to tell me, "something is missing here!"

I had no trouble getting her into the cat carrier but as soon as she was in there, she crouched down and got very quiet.  I don't think cat carriers have a very good association for her.  But she seems fine now that we are back home and she is in familiar territory again.  She dashed out of the carrier and immediately headed back under the bed, but came right out again when I came back with food.  She gobbled up the little bit of wet food I gave her, the vet said only a small meal tonight.  Hopefully she won't hurt herself if she decides to jump up on the bed tonight.  I'm just glad it's all over and we can spend more time getting to know each other.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alex!

My niece Alexandria turns 13 today.  It's hard to believe that this little darling could be that old already, where does the time go?
This picture was taken on her first trip to the Calgary Stampede, in the summer of 1998.  I'm not sure she'll thank me for posting this but I have always thought it was soooo cute!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Covenant House

The company I work for arranged for about twenty of us to volunteer today at Covenant House in downtown Toronto.  They are a shelter for homeless youth, offering 24/7 services to kids from 16 to 24 years of age. 

We arrived at 10:30 this morning and were given a tour of the facility.  They have beds for 94 people, and offer health services, meals, employment counselling and even high school classes right on the premises.  It's an amazing facility. I've walked by this building many times over the years and never realized how big a space they have.  There are two buildings side by side on Gerrard Street and a few years ago, they purchased what used to be the McGill Women's Club on McGill Street and expanded into that space, which not only gave them more space but also the added bonus of a gymnasium.  I'm told the Gerrard Street buildings are actually designated as heritage buildings, they are full of beautiful woodwork and staircases, stained glass and high ceilings.

photo from the Internet
After our tour, we watched a short video and then headed downstairs to help serve lunch to the kids.  Four of us, myself included, suited up with hairnets, gloves and aprons and started dishing out food to some very hungry guests.  Today's menu was burgers and lentil soup.  My all important task was to offer packages of ketchup and mayonnaise to go with the burgers.  Okay, maybe that wasn't the most crucial part of the meal but it did give me a chance to say hello to each of the kids, which I enjoyed very much.

We got to eat after the kids were served and sit at the tables with them.  I met a young man named Rodrigo who is staying at Covenant House while looking for a job.  He's hoping to eventually get accepted into the military, where he'll spend a few years before moving back into the civilian work force. He said he was looking forward it, that it would be much better than the life he used to have.  I hope so, for his sake. 

After lunch, our group split up to help with various tasks.  My boss and I spent a couple of hours putting pamphlet packages together, to be handed out when Covenant House counsellors go to high schools to speak to students about their options if they are thinking of leaving or running away from home.  Others helped to organize clothing donations, serve lunch at the drop in centre (which feeds kids off the street, as compared to those currently living at CH that we fed), organize the kitchen pantry and clean out a supply room.  Basically, we were there to provide extra pairs of hands for whatever needed doing.

I first heard about Covenant House more than 10 years ago when the niece of a woman I worked with stayed there when she ran away from home.  In that case, it was a teenager and her mom who just weren't getting along (they eventually patched things up and the daughter/niece moved back home) but many of the kids that end up at CH have much more difficult stories than that - histories that involve abuse (sexual, physical or emotional), problems at school such as bullying, drug or alcohol addiction, neglect.  We even heard about kids who arrive from overseas, having lost their entire families in a war torn country or been sent by their families in a desperate bid to keep the child safe and with the hope that some day, the rest of the family might follow.  CH offers all of these kids somewhere to go where they will be safe and where they can work with the counsellors there to make a plan for themselves and their future and hopefully avoid a life on the streets.

I was glad to be able to do just a little bit to help out this worthy cause. It's one thing to put a cheque in an envelope and mail it in and quite another to actually hang out on their premises for a day and see how things work. It was the kind of day that once again made me realize how very lucky I was to have the upbringing and opportunities that I did (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and to see firsthand people taking positive steps to help others do what it takes to change their life and create opportunities for their future.  It was very inspiring.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 8

I had been looking forward to this 3 day weekend for a while, thinking I would get a lot done on the decluttering project.  As usual, my expectations were much higher than reality and now that the 3 days are over, I don't feel I got nearly enough completed.  Which is not true but unfortunately, because I can't see it as easily, it's harder to grasp that I did get a lot done.  But I do I have a box filled with goodies to donate, I threw out two large bags full of recycling, shredded copious amounts of paper and filed away many pieces of paper. 

My first task (on Saturday) was to tidy up my four drawer filing cabinet.  It was filled to capacity and every time I wanted to file something, I had to push and shove to make room.  Things are much more orderly and slightly more spacious now.  I wanted to make room so I could start going through the boxes of "miscellaneous paper" that I knew were lurking in the closet in my guest room, which was the project I tackled for the rest of the weekend.

As I have often found since I started this project, I was once again amazed at some of the things I have been holding on to.  For example, this closet was pretty much filled to capacity when I started, or so it seemed:
But in reality, several of the boxes were empty and one box was full of smaller boxes, in case I might need them to mail something to someone some day.  Puhleeze.  Then there's the gym bag that I never use, with a combination lock attached to it for which I can't find or remember the combination.  Donate!  Clearing out those sorts of items is easy and instantly frees up a lot of space. 

There were also the aforementioned boxes of "miscellaneous paper" - that's always a scary scenario.  I cleaned out one of them but it took a while.  Still, it feels good when it's done.

For some of the items, I haven't yet got whatever it takes to let them go, even though I'm not sure why I am hanging on to them.  Such as the box full of old issues of LIFE magazine from the 80's and 90's, when I used to have a subscription.  Or my box of Blue Jay memorabilia from the late 80's and early 90's, back in the glory days when the team won two World Series back to back.  Or the big box containing the turntable record player I got for Xmas in the late 70's.  Not entirely sure what I am saving that for.  I have another turntable in my dining room which I do use but rarely.  I could let the one go, especially since it's a big box, taking up a lot of room, but so far, I'm not quite able to do so. 

Things are tidier in my closet now. 

I've moved some clothes over from my bedroom, since that closet is currently where I'm keeping the litter box for Katrina.  Not the ideal location but I don't want to unnerve her by moving it just yet.  That closet may end up being a temporary home for more kittens in the next few weeks (I have been told by the Abbey Cats people that "kitten season" is fast approaching), so I may need to move the rest of my clothes over as well.  We'll see how it goes.

As you can see, there is a big empty space on the right hand side of the closet.  Partly because there are still some boxes to be sorted that are scattered about the floor of my office/guest room that I hope to continue sorting through this week.

I was most excited to be able to take down the post-it I've had stuck to the side of my filing cabinet for over a year now, reminding me that I had misplaced my 2008 tax assessment form.  Today, that missing form was found (in a "miscellaneous" box!) and filed where it belongs.  :)

Katrina update: she is still spending most of her time under the bed but comes out much quicker when I go in to visit.  She is making a little conversation now, meowing at me when she first comes out from under, as if to say hello.  She doesn't like it when I am standing, that seems to make her nervous and want to go back under the bed, but if I sit or lie on the floor, she's quite happy to come out and be petted or eat a bit.  I even picked her up today but that only lasted a second or two before she got squirmy.  Then I picked her up and shut her in the closet while I vacuumed the bedroom, which I had put off as long as I possibly could.  She didn't like that and immediately tucked herself back on top of the shoe shelves and as soon as the door was opened again, she went back under the bed.  Hard to explain that the vacuuming was a necessary evil but she seems to have forgiven me already.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

She Eats, She Purrs!

I had told myself today's post would not be about cats but I had to reverse that decision in order to tell you the big new - I finally got to pet Katrina today! 

I had been asked to find out if her nipples were engorged, i.e. if she was still producing milk, in order to decide whether she was ready to be spayed or not.  We'd like to have her fixed sooner than later so that she doesn't go into heat.  Of course, it was hard for me to find that out when she was spending 99% of her time tucked under my bed.  I thought we were making progress earlier today when she was willing to show this much of herself:
So I figured luck might be with me today if I bribed her to come out with water squeezed from a tuna can.  I had discovered she liked that last week, when I was trying to get her to eat anything. Tuna water was the only thing I actually saw her eat while those kittens were around and she gobbled it up like she couldn't get enough of it.  This didn't surprise me, as both my cats used to go c-r-a-z-y over tuna water.  All I had to do was pull the can opener out of the drawer and they would both come running from wherever they were and start meowing and standing up on the kitchen cupboard door like they hadn't seen food for days.  How they knew that the sealed can contained tuna, I never did figure out, but they did because if I was planning to open a can of peas, there would be no reaction whatsoever.  It's not like they could smell the tuna, they literally came running before the can opener got anywhere near the can itself.  Don't let anybody tell you cats aren't smart!!

I put out a small dish of tuna water this afternoon and sat down near the dish. I didn't have long to wait.  Within a few minutes, she came out from under the bedskirt, gave me a wary glance and started to drink.  I tried petting her and she let me so I kept doing it.  When she finished the water, she wanted more attention so I kept on petting her and checked out her belly.  I'm not entirely sure what the engorged nipples of a nursing cat would feel like but hers felt reasonably normal, so presumably she is not producing milk any more. I've since been told that it would be very obvious if she was, so we're good to go.

She seemed to love the petting and even started purring.  I almost cried, I was so glad to see her reaction. She lay down beside me and showed me a bit of her belly, enough to see she has a little patch of white on her lower abdomen, so she is not all black after all.  She wasn't quite ready to let me rub her tummy but the fact that she showed it to me is a good sign that she has some trust for me.  She checked out the empty tuna dish a few more times, just to make sure it was really empty and eventually headed back under the bed.

Tonight, I sat near her food and after she ate, she came over to be petted again.  For the second time, she seemed quite eager for the attention, purred and did the head butt thing, which means "keep going, I haven't had enough yet".  Both times, in petting her, I realized how very thin she is.  I can feel her individual ribs.  Her sleek black coat is deceptive, as her fur is thick so it makes her look fuller than she actually is.  But now that I've seen her up close, I can see how her body curves in.  I don't know if all nursing cats are that thin or whether she ate anything while she was in the shelter, and of course, we have no information about her life before she and her kittens were rescued from that shelter. 

She also eats like she isn't sure where her next meal will be coming from.  If a kibble drops on the ground, she carefully picks it up and eats it, not wasting anything (unlike my darling Max, who used to routinely and carelessly spit out several kibbles during most meals and leave them scattered around the dish.)  Any morsel of wet food gets the same treatment.  She also goes back and forth between the dishes of wet and dry food, as if she is afraid one or the other will be taken away if she isn't careful.  Hopefully she will soon realize that regular, healthy meals are going to be part of her daily routine for as long as I've got anything to do with it.

Here's a couple of pictures of her, you can see what I mean about her being long and lean:
So there you have it, the latest update on Katrina.  She eats, she purrs!  I feel a little bit like a hockey annoucer when I say that ("he shoots, he scores!") but no matter, it is definitely good news.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Coaxing Katrina

The snow is melting here in Toronto, as evidenced by this picture out my window:
The situation with Katrina is slowing thawing as well.  Since the kittens left, I have walked into the bedroom to find her out from under the bed.  She will immediately freeze and watch me, waiting to see what I will do.  I speak softly to her but if I move, she makes her way back under the bed - not panicked fast but quickly with purpose.  I have been lifting the bedskirt periodically to talk to her, while lying on the floor beside where she is sitting. Her posture is quite relaxed, she watches me with her big eyes and occasionally slowing blinks.  She doesn't seem to mind me being there, as long as I don't make any sudden moves.

I read on the Internet that I should hang out on the floor of the bedroom and ignore her, not make eye contact, let her come to me.  So last night I watched TV for an hour while sitting on the floor.  After about 45 minutes, I noticed she was half out and half under the bedskirt, with one paw stretched out in front of her, very relaxed but very aware of me.  About 10 minutes later, she started to eat and drink, occasionally stopping to look over to see what I was doing.  I stayed where I was and didn't let her see me looking at her.  After she was fed, she stretched out on the floor between her food dish and where I was sitting.  About 10 minutes later, she made her way into the closet to use the litter box.  When she came out, she stretched out on the floor behind the scratching pad and reclined there, only 3 feet away from me, for several minutes before eventually making her way back under the bed.

This morning, I lay on the bedroom floor in practically the same spot and read a magazine for a while.  She went through the same routine only this time she had to pass much closer to me to get to the litter box.  Again, she moved quickly and was clearly ready to dash if the situation required it but I stayed still and just let her make her way past.  These pictures are from this morning, I kind of like the way the flash makes it look like her eyes are glowing:
Half in and half out

Having something to eat
Moving fast after the litter box visit
Last night was the first time I had seen her standing up. I can't believe how tall she is and how long and lean she is as well.  Perhaps because I have always had longhaired cats, so I didn't see that much detail of their body or legs.  She reminds me of a panther, except her face is much more triangular shaped.  If Katrina was human, she would definitely be a tall, slender super model, she is so beautiful! Minus the eating disorder, of course, as she clearly has a healthy appetite! ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Bay Street Walk

I was downtown late this afternoon getting my hair cut and afterwards, I decided to walk up Bay Street for a while to get some fresh air.  I didn't walk as far as I might have if it weren't so darned windy - close to 70 km per hour, according to the radio when I got home, no wonder I had trouble keeping my hood up!

Nevertheless, it was shortly before the sun set and the light was just right for shadows and reflections.  I always enjoy the combination of old and new architecture in the Toronto skyline.  I didn't have my camera with me so I used my cell phone to take these photos near the corner of Queen and Bay:

Legislative Buildings
City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square
Marriot Hotel courtyard
This picture was my favourite.  I wasn't sure what caught my eye first, the reflection in the window or the pair of skates! (only in Canada, eh?)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Missing the Kittenz

I can't believe how worn out I feel today, both emotionally and physically.  One of the adoption ladies called me last night after the kittens were gone and asked if I felt bereft, and that's exactly the right word for how I feel.  The whole kitten experience went by so fast, just six short days of getting to cuddle and play with those sweet little kittens.  It was so intense, so joyful and fun and yet worrisome and stressful at the same time - are they eating, drinking, using the litter box? Are they happy, safe, comfortable, hungry?

I also know part of the reason I am feeling so drained today is because I did not a good night's sleep while they were here and after several days in a row of that, one is bound to be worn out.  The first night, they stayed in the closet with the door closed and I worried about what was happening in there the whole time.  After that, I slept with the closet door open, which meant that I usually had several if not all of the kittens on the bed with me at all times.  By Tuesday, I figured out that if I wanted to get a full night of undisturbed sleep, I needed to move into the second bedroom and leave the kittens on their own in the master bedroom.

As much as I loved waking up with five soft little balls of fur scattered around me in bed (totally the best part of my day!), there were also disadvantages. The first couple of nights, they only woke up once during the night and would sleep for three to four hours at a stretch.  I'd get up, feed them, let them play for a bit and then we'd all go back to sleep for the second half of the night.  Monday night, after being wide awake and playfully active until 11 p.m., they only slept until 1:30 a.m., then woke up again just after 3 a.m. and then again at 5:30 a.m. (at which point, I got up for good). I was starting to understand the sleep-deprived world of a parent with a newborn!!  Tuesday night, when they still hadn't settled down by 11 p.m., I did move into the spare room and ended up getting a good solid six hours or so of sleep, I just didn't realize it would be the last night they would be here. :(

Last night, I slept in my own bed again but it was still a restless sleep, as I was worried about Katrina.  I was excited when I woke up around 3 a.m. to check on her and discovered she had had something to eat and used the litter box, and even more thrilled when I woke up at 6:30 to find she had moved to a new hiding spot under the bed!  She seems calmer now that the kittens have left.  Hopefully it won't be too long before she feels comfortable enough to sit out in the open.

Don't get me wrong, those kittens were so adorable and so much fun, it was hard to mind when they woke me up with a gentle tap of a soft little paw on the face or a gentle purring in my ear. Although just as often, it was more likely to be one kitten or another pouncing on a hand or a foot moving under the covers or on another kitten, perhaps the one who just happened to be sleeping on my chest (they were so tiny, I barely knew they were there.  At one point, I had 3 sleepy kittens curled up on my chest at the same time, it was just so darned cute.)  When that sudden pounce or tiny scratch of a kitten's claw comes when you're sound asleep, it's a bit more of a shock to your already overtired system. Of course, when one kitten wakes up, you have about 10 seconds of quiet cuddling before the others start to stir. It's like a chain reaction, as one after the other wakes up. It seems no one wants to be the one to sleep through any of the fun!

Luckily, I had time to take lots of photos while they were here and a few videos, so I will have something to remember them by.  Here's a video I took last night, just before the first two got picked up by their new family. I thought you might enjoy seeing their playfulness first hand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gone, Baby, Gone

You may be surprised to hear that my foster kittens are now ALL GONE!! I am feeling a little shocked myself and more than a little sad.  Knowing they have gone to loving homes makes it much easier to bear but I will still miss them.  Kittens can't help but steal a little piece of your heart and these ones were so totally adorable, of course I had fallen in love with them right away.

We had scheduled two appointments for tonight for people to come look at the kittens but when I got home from work at 6 p.m., there was a message on my phone saying that since the kittens weren't feeding from their mom any more, it was okay to let them be taken away tonight rather than have the adopters have to wait any longer.  They will just continue to do what I have been doing since last Friday, make sure they have lots of wet food and water on hand.

Jan and Jon from the other night arrived first, to pick up the two kittens they had on hold, Storm and Tornado.  They were here for about an hour and there was a little bit of second guessing as to whether they had made the right choice, only because they had more time with all 5 kittens and each one is just as adorable as the next. 

Here's Jan having a bonding moment with Tempest (staring lovingly into each other's eyes) while Jon played with Cyclone (out of frame):

How does anyone decide? But they stuck with their original choice and I know they will all be very happy together.

Next came Sean, with his wife Micky and their son, Hedo (it was a Japanese name, not sure I am spelling it right), who would be about 8, I'm guessing.  They have a 12 week old kitten at home and wanted a playmate for it.  Micki fell in love with Tempest immediately although Hedo wasn't sure if he wanted Tsunami or Cyclone but in the end, they chose Tempest.

They had no sooner left than Jamie and Netta arrived.  Netta immediately fell in love with both Cyclone and Tsunami and Jamie wasn't far behind her!  They already have two cats at home, a 3 year old and a 1.5 year old, so that will be nice for the kittens to be part of a group again.

Katrina is still here with me and I shall be interested to see how soon she comes out of the closet now that the rambunctious kittens are gone.  Hopefully she will feel comfortable enough to make herself at home.

But I am sure going to miss these cute little faces:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The DeClutter Project Report - Week 7

The need to declutter my living space took on a more urgent aspect last week when I suddenly found myself the foster parent of five sweet little furballs and their momma.  Then it became not so much decluttering as kitten-proofing!

First I had to clear out the floor of the walk-in closet in my bedroom in order to provide them with a small, contained space in which to hang out for the first little while.  Having never entertained a litter of kittens before, I didn't realize that the excitement of hanging out in the closet would only last a few hours before it was time to explore the bigger world of the adjoining bedroom.  Which of course meant moving certain things in that room as well.

As a result, my guest bedroom/office is now filled with a lot more stuff, most of which was hastily piled on the bed.  All of this past weekend's decluttering was done in more of an "instant cleanup, just get stuff cleared out and off" sort of fashion as compared to a long term, permanent storage and/or disposal way.  Then again, circumstances required it to be that way.  No doubt, I can focus more time on doing it properly this coming long weekend.  In between play sessions with the furballs.  And naps.

I also spent some time cleaning up part of the dining room, for the time when the kittens might move out into the rest of the apartment.  The photos below show the before and after of one corner of my dining room.  Clear surfaces for jumping upon.  Although I look at the second photo and think, yikes, better move that glass vase full of big chewable fake flowers!! 

The reality is, the kittenz seem quite content in the bedroom and the way things are going, they won't be here for more than another week or so. :(  That's right, the adoption process has begun!  A lovely young couple came by last night and picked out two kittens for their family, Storm and Tornado.  They are now "on hold" until next week, as we'd like to give all the kittens a bit more time together as a family before they go to their forever homes.

There are two more appointments scheduled for tomorrow night.  One person has a 12 week old kitten that needs a playmate, and the other person will take the remaining two if they like who's left (and really, how could they not???).  It will be so hard to let these little angels go when the time comes but if the rest of the people are like the two last night, who were almost as cute as the kittens themselves, I know it will all be for the best.

Mom Katrina is doing better in a barely noticeable to anyone but me sort of way.  She is still in her hiding spot but has eaten a little bit, didn't have diarrhea last time she used the litter box (which she finally did after, I swear, at least 24 hours without, even though it meant she had to leave the hiding spot long enough to do her business, which she did at 2 a.m. this morning, just after the rest of us bedded down again after the 1:30 a.m. playtime.  I knew it was her because I had five fuzzies on the bed with me!).  She also changed positions once, so that her head was placed at the edge of the bookshelf, peeking out, rather than tucked in against the wall.  All in all, this spells progress to me, one baby step at a time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

May you spend at least part of today with those you love.  I'll be cuddling five little adorable kittens and trying to coax their momma out of hiding.
Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Naming the Cats

The Abbey Cats Adoption people have a tradition of naming cat families based on a theme, like the "Gone with the Wind Cats".  Jan tells me that after nine years of being involved in the adoption process, having a theme makes it easier to remember the particular group.  She liked the idea of me naming the momma cat Katrina so the theme for these kittens is The Weather Cats.  In this case, we decided to name them after major weather events.

Here they are: 
Cyclone (Cassidy)
This little guy is a real sweetheart.  His storm name is Cyclone so I call him Cyclone Cassidy in honour of Kyle and City Kitties in Philadelphia.  This kitten came up beside me the first night when I was sitting in the closet with them and put his paw on my leg to get my attention, then started purring away when I pet him.  How could anyone resist?  All the kittens except one are black and brown tabbies but he is the darkest of all them, more black than brown.  He has stripes on his tummy and a big peach patch on the bottom half of his stomach.  When I come in the room to visit the kittens, he and his sister Tempest will both come quickly over to greet me, they are the most social of the kittens, although they are all quite approachable and like to be petted.
Tempest(uous Kate)
Tempest is the easiest kitten to recognize because she is all black in colour.  She was originally the most adventurous and outspoken of the group, she stood in the cat carrier in front of her two sisters and meowed at me when I first saw her at the vet's office.  I call her Tempestuous Kate, after my friend Kate McKinnon, who sometimes reminds me of Shakespeare's Kate in Taming of the Shrew except that she is never a shrew, merely a strong and forthright human being who is willing to speak up and speak out for a worthy cause that she believes in.  Since Shakespeare also wrote The Tempest, it seemed appropriate to mix the two names.

Tsunami Sue is the next easiest cat to recognize because she has just a little bit of white on each one of her paws, as if she dipped her toes in a wave of white paint.  Her right front paw has the most white.
If you can see her feet, you can tell her apart from her siblings.  If not, she looks exactly like 3 of the others!  Sometimes she acts a little skittish but other times, she is totally open and friendly, such as when I took this photo of her showing me her belly.
Tsunami (Sue)
Tornado Tom is the other brother (according to the vet's assistant - not sure we can be 100% positive on their sexes as yet).  He looks a lot like Cyclone, just a little bit lighter, a little less black in colour.  I took this sweet photo of him yesterday after interrupting his nap.  He was tucked up on the scratch board and sat patiently while I took the photo.
Tornado (Tom)
Last but not least is Storm.  Or Stormy, as I call her.  I was thinking of calling her Fanny Storm after the Fantastic Four but I'm not sure.  She has a lot of light brown stripes, more so than the others, which helps to identify her if you see her from the side.  She has a very gentle demeanour but also likes to rough and tumble quite a bit (as they all do).
It's hard to tell any of them apart looking down from above, they are much too similar from that angle!

Here's the only picture I have of Katrina so far:
Momma Katrina
She's still keeping to herself, tucked into a corner on top of a short bookshelf full of shoes, behind a purse, taking cover under the clothes hanging above. She has beautiful eyes and a sleek black coat, that's all I can see of her.  She's all black, like Tempest.  She had a touch of diarrhea yesterday, no doubt from all the stress of being moved from place to place and possibly from the deworming medication. She hasn't paid any attention to the kittens, which I find quite worrisome, although the kittens themselves don't seem to be upset about it. As far as I can tell, she hasn't had much if anything to eat or drink.  I'm not sure how to get her out of that corner without upsetting her, I'd rather let her come out on her own time.  Maybe she'll come out tomorrow when I'm at work.

Notwithstanding their hazardous sounding names, these kittens have been nothing but wonderful since they arrived. I did have to lay in extra supplies (like cat litter, some toys and a scratching post) but I didn't need to board up my windows or hide in the storm cellar.  I have been moving a few things to higher ground though, as they explore and climb things you hadn't considered to be doable for such a tiny creature. 

Normally when a storm is coming, you dread its arrival and can't wait for it to be over.  Not so with these "weather cats".  Their arrival was the easy part, letting them go will be harder.  But at least when they go to their forever homes, they will be going to live with people who will love them even more than I already do in this short time and that can only be a good thing. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The First Night

The kittens and their mom and I all made it through the first night.  They were all fine.  Me? I had a very restless sleep, worried about what was or wasn't going on on the other side of the closet door.

I'd gone in to say goodnight around 10.  Three of the five kittens woke up and came to say hello. Two of them stayed sleeping and at the time, I didn't think anything of it. Mom was still tucked into her secret corner - I always say hello to her, hoping she'll get used to my voice, and then leave her alone.  I made sure everything was okay, closed the door on the little cat family and went to bed.  About an hour later, after a not very deep sleep, I woke up worried that maybe the two that hadn't woken up earlier were ill.  Lethargy is one of the symptoms you are to look for in a sick kitten, according to Jean, the foster care coordinator who had stopped by for a visit yesterday afternoon.  I couldn't go back to sleep, I had to get up and check.  Luckily, and of course, they were fine. 

4 out of 5 sleepy kittenz
 That was about 11 p.m. and what followed was a kitten free-for-all.  All five kittens woke up as soon as I opened the closet door and came out into the bedroom for a rousing session of what I like to call "battle of the bedskirt".  They take turns running in and out from under the bed, hiding behind the bedskirt and jumping out at one another.  It is hilarious to watch.  After about twenty minutes of carousing, I tucked them all back in the closet (not easy to do) and once they settled down again, we all went to sleep.

Around 2:30 a.m., there was a crash in the closet and I knew that the ceramic cereal bowl I had used to feed them had broken.  I'm guessing someone stepped on it.  Sure enough, when I opened the door, it was neatly broken in two.  There were 5 sleepy kittens looking at me, so I wondered if it was the momma cat who might have done it but she was back in her hiding place.  No worries, I cleaned everything up, sent the now awake kittens out into the bedroom to play while I swept the floor (just in case there were any little shards of ceramic that might injure a tiny little padded paw - definitely wouldn't want that), emptied the litter box, put fresh water in their water bowl and brought in a bit more food.  (Late night note to self - buy metal bowls tomorrow.  The ones I have are too deep for a little kitten's neck to reach down.  The supplies I have are for adult cats.)  The kittens played another equally energetic game of bedskirt battle while I did all this, didn't pay any attention to what I was up to.

Afterwards, back into the closet until morning when I woke them up around 7.  They all seem to be totally healthy and happy, thank goodness.  No side effects from being transported here and there yesterday.  The momma cat is still hiding, which worries me, but I know she has used the litter box and I hope she has been eating and drinking.  Hopefully she will feel safe enough to come out and make friends soon, I'd really like to be able to pet her and tell her everything is going to be okay.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I haven't had a kitten in my home for about 18 years now, since I first brought Carly home. It's funny how you forget and then quickly remember how inquisitive they are, bold one minute and skittish and easily spooked the next, friendly and yet aggressive in a teeny, tiny adorable way.  Oh my, these little darlings are sooo sweet!

I picked them up around noon and brought them back to my place.  I have them tucked into my walk-in closet at the moment and they seem to be enjoying it.  The kittens couldn't wait to get out of the cat carriers and explore every nook and cranny that they can reach.  Next thing I know, the blanket on top of the wicker chest is on the floor, the water bowl has spilled and has litter in it, one cat has climbed up to the top of the shoe shelves and another is dangling off the bottom of a long shirt because its claw is stuck in the fabric. Yikes! 

These kittenz are smart.  They have already learned that the litter box is not just the bathroom, it's a toy - jump in, dig around, jump out.  Wait, can I fit into this oh so narrow opening? Yes, I can. Oh, I forgot, I want to go over here instead but there's a water bowl in the way - why go around when I can climb through it? Oops, that spilled. But, hmm, while I'm here, I'm thirsty.  Oh good, you brought more food, I'm starving!  Hey, look, I can do a somersault.  Can I eat your tail?

It's hilarious to watch them play.  They have such short attention spans sometimes and other times, they are totally focused on what they're doing.  I sit in the doorway and every few minutes, one or the other will try to climb over me and out into the bedroom, ready to explore new horizons.

As I type this, I am sitting at my desk on the other side of the closet wall.  For a while after my last visit, there were all sorts of scrambling noises to be heard, nails on the walls, things banging around.  But now, all is quiet.  I assume they are sleeping.  I'd like to peek at what they're doing but last time I did that, I woke up all but one of them, who then proceeded to rough and tumble over, around, beside and on top of the one left sleeping.
Poor little mom (and she is tiny) has remained in the cat carrier so far.  I'll let her get used to being here and learn to trust me.  No doubt she will come out in her own time, when she feels safe.  It's cute how the kittens take turns going in and out to say hello to her. I am thinking of the mom cat as Katrina. She's a little bit like New Orleans - she's been through an ordeal and needs some time to heal and be safe.

The vet's assistant told me there are 3 girls and 2 boys.  The black one and the one with a lighter right front paw are girls.  The other 3 look so much alike, I may never know which is which.  The black one is very adventurous and was very friendly and chatty when I first arrived and we were moving them into my cat carriers.  I think I'll call her Katie after my friend Kate who led me to these kittens, who is also the friendly and adventurous sort.  I'm thinking I might call the boys Kyle and Philly, as a tribute to those doing good cat works in Philadelphia (see yesterday's post), who also served as inspiration for me to take these kittens in. Maybe I should name one after Gabrielle Giffords, another inspirational survivor.  I like Arizona as a name too.

Sorry some of these photos are out of focus. It's hard to photograph kittenz on the move, one minute they're there, the next minute, all that's left in the frame is a peek at their tail!