Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

Happy Ginger Cat Appreciation Day! Did you know that all orange cats are tabbies and 80% of them are male? I was fortunate enough to have raised and loved a bicolor orange tabby girl, Nala, who has since passed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2017.

As you can see here, Nala was mostly white but had orange tabby splotches on her head, back, hind legs, and tail. Her orange fur seemed to grow browner with age.

Nala believed that sinks were her personal beds. She loved water!

Other cool facts about orange cats:

  • Famous orange cats include the animated Garfield, Tango (Winston Churchill’s cat), and Marmalade (of Cole and Marmalade fame)!
  • Tabbies are not a breed but rather a type of coat marking. Orange tabbies can be Maine Coons, American Bobtails, British Shorthairs, Persians, Abyssinians, Munchkin cats, and Persians.
  • There are four tabby patterns: mackerel (the most common), classic (aka blotched or marbled), spotted, and ticked.

Photo courtesy of Pexels. This cute little fuzzball is an orange mackerel tabby.

Photo courtesy of Silver Short Hairs. This gorgeous cat is a long-haired classic tabby. Garrus, though not orange, is a classic tabby, though the black markings on his back smudge the distinctive swirl on his sides.

Photo courtesy of Feral Front. These two are lovely spotted tabbies! Charlie, though not a ginger cat, is another example of a spotted tabby.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. This is an orange ticked tabby (and a Maine Coon to boot–check out that magnificent tail!)

Do love orange cats too? Give them an extra helping of love today. Please share stories and photos of your ginger cats in the comments!

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Losing a pet is the saddest part of pet ownership. Mourning the loss of a pet and dealing with grief is indeed a process, sometimes a very painful one. Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day is a way to cherish and celebrate the memory of the beloved pets we’ve lost and to continue healing.

Queen Boudicca Mata Hari Sophia (circa May 2000-May 25, 2018). For 18 years, she was my cat-dog, googly girl, reading buddy, and dedicated office supurrviser. I miss my darling Queen B.

Princess Nala Artemis Fae (circa April 2001-January 21, 2017). She was my bottle baby and windfall kitten. In the last few years of her life, Nala ultimately chose Aaron as her Chosen person (in her mind he became HER boyfriend) and, accordingly (in her eyes), I was demoted to pet status .

This is Pelota. My parents opened their home to this lovely Ragamuffin rescue in 2010. Her original name was Trixie but we quickly renamed her Pelota (Spanish for “ball”). She was incredibly docile and a thoroughly sweet, affectionate cat. Her soft belly was never a trap! Sadly, in 2012 she passed away at the age of 10 from a rare condition, a spinal cord embolism.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day:

  1. Take time to enjoy memories of your late pet. Look through pictures and videos.
  2. Talk about your pets, both current and past. Remember the little things that made you smile. Record them in a journal or on social media if you wish.
  3. Thinking about getting a new pet after losing one? Consider a visit to your local animal shelter or animal rescue group if you feel ready. Volunteering or fostering may help you adjust.
  4. Use #RainbowBridgeRemembranceDay to share on social media.

How do you remember your pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge? Share your stories in the comments.

Knowing When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

The hardest part about being a responsible pet owner is when your pet passes away or, due to illness or pain, prompts you to make the excruciating decision to put your beloved pet down. I had to make that decision in January 2017 with Nala. Today, I have to make that same choice on behalf of my beloved Boudicca.

But how do you know when it’s time? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Daily joy. Think of five things that your pet loves to do. When your pet stops doing three of those things, the pet’s quality of life has been impacted enough that it’s probably time. My vet, Dr. R, told me about this and reminded me to keep this in mind with regard to Queen B.
  2. Good days vs bad days. Keeping track of your pet’s behavior and noticing if the condition is getting worse. For example, if your pet is experiencing nausea, obvious discomfort or pain, and having trouble eating or eliminating properly for three days out of the week, that’s no way to live. This concept came up in conversations that I had with Dr. R about Boudicca. It is unpleasant to think about but absolutely necessary.
  3. Debilitating pain or arthritis. These conditions can have significant impacts on other areas of life. In Nala’s case, her arthritis severely limited her mobility so she could not easily get to the food or water bowl or litter box. Boudicca had arthritis as well as neuropathy, and the latter not only affected her gait but led to her incontinence.
  4. Difficulty breathing. If your pet has issues breathing, this will leave your pet feeling exhausted, cannot get comfortable, and anxious.
  5. Not eating or drinking. Appetite changes and weight loss are indicators of suffering. In Boudicca’s case, her hyperthyroidism made her metabolism go into overdrive so she was always hungry but she kept losing weight. She dropped from nearly 8 lbs in January to 5.6 lbs in May.
  6. Vomiting and/or diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration and/or significant weight loss. We kept Boudicca’s nausea in check with an anti-nausea/anti-inflammatory, but we noticed that it became less effective over time. Because of her bowel disease, she had loose stool.
  7. Eliminating issues. If your pet find it increasingly difficult to urinate and/or defecate in the appropriate place, that can lead to a rapid decline in quality of life. Incontinence is a serious issue that must be addressed with a veterinarian. This was the case with Boudicca, who toward the end of her life had accidents outside of the Cat Genie every day. She also struggled when she did make it to the Cat Genie.
  8. Difficulty standing. If your pet has issues standing, hobbles when walking, or falls when trying to move around, that pet is suffering.
  9. Difficulty or no longer grooming. This may due to mobility issues, pain, lack of interest, laziness, or simply feeling unwell. We noticed that both Nala and Boudicca stopped grooming themselves as their illnesses progressed. We bathed them as necessary, usually after a mess was involved, and brushed them.
  10. Depression and weakness. A pet in chronic pain or dealing with serious illness may not have the energy, interest, or ability to do the things they want to do or used to do.
  11. Chronic pain. When pain cannot be controlled with medication, then it’s time. It’s not fair to your pet to live the rest of its life in severe pain.
  12. HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale. Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene, Mobility, and More. Dr. Alice Villalobos rates these on a scale of 1-10.

There are many factors to consider. You can reflect on important questions to determine the best course to proceed. Speak with your vet about the procedure and what to expect. Know that grieving a pet is a process, it will hurt, and it will take time. Ultimately, as a responsible pet owner, you must do what is best for your pet because you love them and they love you.

Silly Cat and Dog Poses

Happy World Sleep Day! Cats and dogs, just like children, sleep in the weirdest positions. I often ask myself, “How on earth can they find that position comfortable?” Evidently they can…Hence the running theory that cats, at least, are part liquid…

Here Boudicca demonstrates the classic pinwheel sleep position with the half chin twist and her hind paws perfectly posed together. She may have started to purr in her sleep while I took this photo. Adorability Score: High

Charlie flaunts his spotted tummy while he sunbathes and flirts for attention. He also demonstrates marvelous neck and core strength by not sliding off the edge despite repeatedly wiggling and shimmying all over the platform. Great demonstration of multitasking: high level of cuteness, very loud purring and squeaking, successful eliciting of belly rubs, and prompting human caretaker to squee. Adorability Score: Very high

Here Sir Garrus demonstrates a variant pinwheel with the semi-held curled tail and paws hiding the face. Normally I can see his fang peeking out. Adorability Score: High

Here is Chiquita executing a classic “I’m a good, pretty girl. Please give me a belly rub” roll. Of course she gets them in spades because she is indeed a good girl and she is SO SOFT with highly pettable ears. Look at that face! Adorability score: TKO

Garrus appropriated the topmost cat tower platform and snuggled inside. It looks a bit cramped to me but I thought he looked cute hiding his face and holding his tail like this. Adorability Score: High

“Look, Mom! I found a hammock!” “Charlie, that is not a hammock!” “But…it’s made of warm…” Adorability Score: Moderate. It’s cute yes but I don’t want him to get in the habit of lounging in the freshly sanitized Cat Genie.

I have no idea how Charlie doesn’t get a crick in his neck when he sleeps in the cubby like this. But he likes it anyway. Adorability Score: Pretty Cute

Here is Nala, may she rest in peace. She LOVED boxes, and did not care if they were far too small for her. She crammed herself into small boxes, especially those with crinkly paper inside, and snoozed very happily inside! Her happiness level went up if said box was in Aaron’s office. This photo was taken in May 2015 when Nala was 14 years old. Adorability Score: Nostalgic High

A very rare Yin-Yang display (shown with Boudicca and Nala) in 2015! They very rarely slept so close together. Clearly they were in between napping and belly rub appointments. Adorability Score: Squee!


Chiquita asks, very subtly, for a belly rub. Isn’t she adorable?


Do you find your cats or dogs in cute poses, especially in sleep? Do they sleep in uncomfortable-looking positions? Feel free to share in the comments!

Lovey Time

Are your cats more affectionate at certain times of the day or are they all-day love sponges? What do they do to elicit your attention? Where do you they like being pet the most?

In my adult life I have had four cats and each one has his or her own “lovey time”. This lovey time is not necessarily tied with feeding time so it’s interesting to note the differences. Each cat has his or her unique preferences too.


Particularly before we got the boys, Boudicca starts off her day by greeting us and asking for a visit. If she thinks she can get away with it, she flops between us, purring away and acting as though she owns the place. She loves long strokes from her head to the end of her tail, scritches on her cheeks, thumb rubs on the top of her head…any form of affection, really.

Garrus lately has demonstrated that he too is a morning cat. Once he realizes that we’re awake, he usually swaggers into the bedroom with his tail high in the hair. Occasionally he’ll jump on the bed and receive a visit before or after breakfast but often he gives us walk-by tail hugs once we get into the kitchen. His favorite visiting spot is the ottoman in the living room. For some reason he seems more comfortable when we sit there, allowing him to approach us if he wants and receive back strokes and neck scritches. He likes it most when we scritch the side of his neck and chest simultaneously. Garrus also gives head bunts, particularly if he is on the bed.

Charlie is a busy, kittenish boy and, like Garrus, is still settling into life in our house. When we wake up and have breakfast, he is usually snoozing in one of his tower spots (either the penthouse kitty condo or the platform directly above it). If we give him pets while he’s up there, he opens his eyes and often flips onto his side or completely upside down to expose his belly, allowing us to give him belly rubs and remind him how handsome he is. But, like a sleepy kid who doesn’t want to get up for school, he generally doesn’t really wake up and want to engage with us until at least an hour later. When he’s up, he’s raring to go–squeaking, trotting around the house, looking for toys to play with, and eagerly greeting Garrus. Sometimes he’ll have a morning scamper session, sometimes not.

Somewhere between ten minutes and over an hour after Aaron has left for work, Charlie tends to trot over to my office for a pit stop visit (frequently squeaking his arrival) and start his morning bird-watching session. (Keep in mind that, according to The Fur Person by May Sarton, a cat sitting on the window sill or seat is doing the feline equivalent of reading the morning newspaper.) When he’s on the window seat in my office, he happily flops over for a belly rub or bunts my hand and squeaks at me. Sometimes Garrus joins him, sometimes not; a few times Charlie has managed to sneak up onto the window seat and share it with Boudicca, apparently without her knowledge. Of course, Charlie is just as likely to receive exactly two pets from me before he darts off to fish his latest favorite toy from under furniture or convince Garrus to join him some shenanigans.


Boudicca is happy to receive adoration at any time of the day. She loves it when she gets brushed and will purr enthusiastically and pirouettes as she walks back and forth so I can brush each side equally. Although she is doing this less as she gets older, Boudicca does like to follow me around the house and complains when I leave her (sleeping) presence without her permission. She is absolutely elated when she gets spontaneous lap time when, say, I decide to read on the couch. (I can’t very well read unaccompanied by my dedicated reading buddy.) Boudicca is a pleasant napping companion and offers purring comfort if I am dealing with a migraine. She’s such a sweetheart.

During the day, Garrus is generally more interested in snoozing, playing with Charlie, and sunbathing in the afternoon. It’s a mixed bag whether another lovey time fits into his schedule during the day. If he’s been able to sunbathe for a while and feels particularly relaxed, he has been known to be amenable to unofficial afternoon lovey time. Charlie divides his time between sleeping and scampering, but he does seem to enjoy brief visits while he lazes in his spot on the cat tower. He is also a fan of pit stop visits in my office, where he announces himself (squeaking), approaches me at my desk, and allows between two and eight pets before moving off. If he has the window seat for himself, he may roll onto his back and enjoy a belly rub, but he’s still fairly wiggly.


Boudicca used to habitually race to the bedroom and jump on the bed when Aaron returned from work, talking all the while until he flopped on the bed to visit her. (If someone babbles at her during a visit, she would feel obligated to contribute to the conversation.) Post-work visits have occurred less consistently since the boys fully transitioned out of Aaron’s office and have free reign of the house, but if the bed is unoccupied by the boys, she purrs contentedly as Aaron talks to and pets her. Boudicca also enjoys receiving a post-dinner visit on the bed, especially if the boys do not get on the bed and thus interrupt her visit. If I pick her up to love on her, she generally purrs, goes limp, and halfheartedly makes air biscuits (periodically spreading and curling her toes). It’s pretty cute.

The other highlight of Boudicca’s day is her regularly scheduled lap time in the evening as we sit on the couch and watch a TV show or play video games. Keep in mind, when Boudicca gets into my lap, she can sprawl from nearly my knees to my chest. Lap time means a partially or totally liquid and boneless cat with a throaty purr immobilizes my legs until she decides to get up and try to steal the boys’ food. (About five minutes later, after we’ve prevented her from eating Garrus’ food, she comes back and asks to be invited up or placed into my lap.) Throughout lap time Boudicca expects pets and occasional smooches right between her ears. (She’s not spoiled at all.)

In the evening, the Downton Tabbies seem to be more interested in playing than having a visit, but they will occasionally pause for scritches. Lately we have been working on introducing the boys to lap time and encouraging them to engage with us through shameless bribery with treats. With and without the enticement of treats, Charlie has sporadically jumped up onto our laps, much to our joy. Garrus has ventured onto the back or the arm of the couch but not our laps…yet.


Nala also had morning and evening lovey times. She didn’t want to get onto the bed with us, or did so rarely, but for several years we’d find her sitting patiently next to the cabinet by the fridge. Aaron stands there to grind coffee and Nala felt it was her duty to (A) greet him enthusiastically with her bratty-sounding meow, (B) sit nearly on top of his feet as he ground coffee, and (C) wait for Aaron (her Chosen Person/boyfriend) to give her the adoration she wanted. This was one of the cutest habits she did.

During her morning lovey time Nala felt obligated to polish everyone’s ankles thoroughly by rubbing on them and then tickling us with tail hugs. She was also insistent that Aaron give her a second visit before he left for work. Whenever Aaron gave her attention Nala habitually purred and snuffled as a way to express her joy. (When I say snuffle, imagine a combination of a raspy purr, a tiger’s chuff, and loud exhalations. She primarily made this noise in Aaron’s presence and it was both odd and adorable.)

While Nala enjoyed getting pets and belly rubs from me as well, she was clearly less excited about my visits after she totally defected to Aaron. When Aaron came home from work, she was quite assertive about how eager she was in receiving a visit on our bed or at one of her favorite spots (her bed, a box, etc.). She also liked to sit on or between his feet as he washed dishes or loaded/unloaded the dishwasher. She was quite effective at getting in the way while simultaneously being really cute about it!

In the evening Nala generally hung around in her latest favorite spot in the living room and waited for additional visits from Aaron or, oh joy, lap time with her Chosen Person. (Sometimes the girls competed for available laps. Boudicca and Nala generally did not like to be on our laps at the same time but would sometimes tolerate it if they were facing different directions and had adequate space between them.) During lap time Nala typically became exuberantly content and snuffled loudly as she kneaded on the crocheted blanket or towel on our laps. When Nala kneaded, 85% of the time her face resembled that of a stoned Yoda and then she drooled in slow motion. It was gross but also amusing and incredibly endearing at the same time.

On the weekends, Nala liked to lounge in whatever box Aaron had in his office and periodically pester him for affection as he played video games. Occasionally she convinced him to let her up into his lap, upon which she would snuffle rather raspily along the lines of “My human is paying attention to me! I love my Chosen Person so much! He’s mine, mine, mine!”. I’m fairly certain that in Nala’s mind, she was Aaron’s girlfriend and I was demoted to their pet!