Archive for the ‘cats’ Category


Spring Break

April 8, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

white blossoming tree

Normally we travel during spring break. We had planned to stay in Shanghai and explore some more of the many historical sites here. However, there was a death in the family that necessitated DaddyBird taking a flight to the states. I would have gone, too, had it not been for the fact I was in the midst of food poisoning. I stayed home to recover and to cat-sit.

white cat and tabby cat

Cat sitting can involve the neighborhood strays, too.

a white cat and an orange tabby

This is Smudge and Zippy. I usually feed them on my way to work each morning.


This is Scamp. I usually run into her on the way home. She doesn’t care much for being petted. Last time, she didn’t seem very hungry or interested in eating, but she rolled over to show me her tummy. However, she didn’t want it rubbed much. She is a tease.

a beige corgy mix dog

This is The Dog. I don’t know what it’s name is. It belongs to a member of the apartment staff. It runs around the compound unattended and is the bane of my existence. It wants to play with the stray cats, or chase them if they will run, but the cats are not too excited about that. I suppose it is cute, for a dog, but I have never been a dog person.

My big adventure this week was going to the US Consulate to renew my passport. The website has all the information and forms one needs and if one reads all the instructions and has everything prepared, it goes quickly and easily. It is a bit astonishing to witness people who did not read those instructions, whether it is the guy at the door that did not make an appointment and cannot get in or the guy who did not bring a photo or does not know his China address. He, of course, is in a big hurry and is stressed out.

I encountered this fun statue in a pleasant little park.

historical building combining Western and Chinese style

A quick photo taken out the rainy taxi window of the Chinese YMCA building, one of my favorites. It was built in 1934 and combines Western and Chinese style.


Chinese New Year!

January 31, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Our experience of Chinese New Year in Shanghai (2015) involved an amazing amount of fireworks. It started about a week or so before the actual date and kept right on going for another week or so after. The actual eve of the New Year the fireworks sounded like a war zone and went on for at least an hour. Fireworks were invented in China, as you may know, and they are  integral to Chinese culture. Fireworks are used to celebrate everything, all year round. It is not like it is in the States where there are very limited types of fireworks that are available to the public and they are only sold for a limited time prior to the 4th of July. The fireworks sold to the Chinese public are big ones that shoot up into the air and make a great deal of noise.

Click here for video from 2015 (Be forewarned, it is loud.)

Unfortunately, during the Gregorian calendar New Year’s celebration 2016, many people were killed and injured in a crowd incident. As a result, fireworks are now banned in most of Shanghai, even for New Year. It has been a very quiet year. Therefore, this year we traveled up to Jaiding which is outside the banned zone to see some fireworks.

There is another tradition, a very long television show. I do not know exactly what time the show starts, but it runs right up to midnight. We watched several hours of it. It involves a variety of performances – singing, dancing, comedians, and skits. Some of the grander performances are done on location in various cities – Harbing, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. It was quite spectacular and interesting even though we do not understand a word.

The next morning we went into the center of old town Jaiding to the Daoist temple and Quixia ancient garden. We arrived in the afternoon. It appeared that we missed the crowds who had been there earlier to make prayers and offerings to start the year off right.

We spent a little time in the garden and checked on the kittens we had seen four months ago on our previous visit.

Not a lot has changed except size.

One of the greatest features of Chinese gardens, in my opinion, are the cave structures. I am very jealous of the kids who grew up in playing in these gardens and caves.

I made Daddybird watch my bag while I walked through. A young family with a little boy came along and debated whether to go through. The boy wanted to do it, but was unsure, so Daddybird encouraged them to go. Carpe diem! The boy came back by and said “thank you.”

We called it a day, took the bus to the metro station and then home.

To see all pictures, click here. To review our previous visit to the garden to compare foliage and cats, click here.


Oliver the Loud, Eater of Steel Wool

November 16, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

You may have noticed that there has been a nearly month long gap in posting to this blog. One reason is that we were a bit preoccupied with our dear cat Oliver who had major surgery. He is quirky, funny, loving, charming, and loud, but he is not the smartest penny in the coin purse when it comes to aluminum foil. He thinks it is tasty, so we endeavor to keep it out of reach. This has worked for over five years.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a steel wool scrubber lurking under the kitchen cupboard, left by a previous tenant. Oliver found this one day, proceeded to play with it quietly in the kitchen, tear it apart and eat some of it. Long story short, this resulted in a three inch piece of steel wool becoming lodged in his intestine. The answer to that was major surgery to remove it.

white cat with plastic cone and belly suture

Surgery always carries the possibility of not making it through, so we worried a bit. After surgery, there was the possibility of infection, so more worry about that. There was also the ridiculous number of pills we were supposed to shove down his throat. If you haven’t tried to administer pills to a cat, count yourself lucky. By the second week, he became complacent enough to swallow them without too much fuss.

As with his experience in quarantine, Oliver was majorly stressed just by being in the vet clinic, so they resorted to giving him Valium just so he would relax enough to eat food. Once he was home again, he was much happier.

man with white cat laying on his shoulders

DaddyBird had to play nursemaid for two weeks – minding feedings, litter box activities, medications, and supervised “baths”.

Happily, it all worked out and Oliver is back to his old self. He was in the vet clinic for five days. The interesting by product was seeing how lost Bert was without him. We have always assumed that Bert puts up with Oliver, but he was very lonesome without his buddy. Everything is back to normal now, for both.


Reading with Cats

September 26, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

In continuing World Animal Remembrance Month, I must say that I am a cat person. I have been from the beginning. We lived on a small farm and had cats to help control the mouse population. Tommy was a big grey tabby whose domain was the barn. He would allow me to pet him a bit, but otherwise he was all independent and businesslike. Near the house, we had Momma Kitty, a short haired calico and her daughter, Rusty Dusty, a long haired calico. The area around the house, garage and the woodshed were their domain.

Before I came along, cats had always been outdoor animals. That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted companionship, not just mouse hunting. Kittens were soon smuggled into the house for supervised visits. Eventually, my mother’s resolve was eroded and the “no cats in the house rule” subsided. Then Manix came to live with us. He was rescued from the street by my sister, who then brought him home to the farm because she couldn’t have pets in her apartment. His tail had met with an unfortunate accident. He was a black long hair. He ended up being “the house cat.” My father was not big on pets, but Manix was big on sitting on Dad’s lap while Dad tried to read the newspaper. Sometimes Manix sat on the newspaper.

Over the years, I’ve shared space with many cats. Mittens (left in search of his own male territory, too much competition on the farm), Ashley (died young on a busy street), Tigger (after 3 years fell prey to the same busy street), Maggie (nearly killed by the vet who spade her, turned into a real kick-ass cat), Peanut (too stupid not to get massive injuries in cat fights), and George (gave me 8 years of companionship and ran my life). After George, there was a long hiatus. I had to euthanize George because I couldn’t afford the surgery he needed. I swore I wouldn’t have another cat until I had a cat surgery savings account set aside. This ban on cats held until a mother cat moved her three kittens into our backyard. I had forgotten how therapeutic cats are and I needed a bit of therapy.

teen sitting with long haired calico cat in lap while reading

I would come home from school, grab a dill pickle for a snack, and sit down to read or watch TV. Maggie would plant herself in my lap and ask to share my snack. Yes, she ate dill pickles. She would eat everything except citrus fruit. When she wasn’t chasing the neighbor’s little dog out of HER yard or tearing a grocery bag apart with her wicked claws, she could be sweet. Just don’t cross her.

George, as I said, ran my life for 8 years. I didn’t like the name George, but it had been given to him before he came to live with me AND he answered to it, so it stuck. George’s deep belief was that I was put on the planet to make a lap for him to sit in. If I wanted to read while doing that, fine, as long as it didn’t interfere.

grey, long haired cat

No post about the cats of my life would be complete without Earl. We already had three cats (the kittens deposited in our backyard). These three were interesting with very different personalities and amusing antics, but they only saw us as providers of the kibble and scoopers of the litter. We were their housekeepers. One evening, a skinny little grey kitten sneaked in through the cat door and helped himself to some kibble. Each night at the same time, he came for dinner. He was very skittish, so it took several days to get close enough to touch him. After a bit of petting, he decided to move in. The poor thing was so undernourished, that we thought he was a short hair. After a few weeks of steady meals, he turned out to be a long hair. He would meet us at the door to talk to us about our day. He would jump into my lap before I hit the chair. He recognized my bedtime routine and would curl up next to me and we would go off to sleep together. Unfortunately, we only had 6 months with Earl. He was hit on the street. Saint Earl set a benchmark against which we will always measure the cats in our life.

brown tabby and white cat

Currently, our companions are Oliver and Bert. We’ve had four years with them and expect many more. Oliver has the dubious honor of being both the worst and second best cat we have ever had. It is a good thing he is beautiful, funny, and plays fetch better than most dogs. Bert lives in Oliver’s shadow, but is a sweet, mostly well behaved cat.


Petra Cats

April 9, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

You knew it would happen, right? A post about stray cats during our vacation is traditional.

orange tabby laying on top of a garbage can

We saw this tom three times on our trips up and down the siq (canyon). He clearly has a territory that is his niche. There is a patch of bamboo and a large crack going away from the path area, so there is probably a whole ecosystem that provides for his needs.

Since we were walking out on the second day, we could stop to have a little chat with him.

bearded man petting cat

He was very sweet and very clean (except for his dusty paws). It would appear that he has a pretty cushy life just sitting around, licking himself, and watching the tourists go by.

man petting orange tabby

The cats in this region aren’t Arabian Maus, like our own Oliver and Bert. These cats have shorter legs, shorter spines, and rounder faces. They are very nicely proportioned, medium sized cats.

cat on man's shoulders

He even made himself right at home on DaddyBird’s shoulders.

We tore ourselves away and went further up the trail. This little female came running with her tail in the air when she saw us.

orange tabby with tail in the air

She also was happy to get some attention.

man petting orange tabby

Until the dog came…

cat at the base of a tree

And she had to take defensive measures.

cat in the tree, dog at the base of the tree

All the stray cats we’ve encountered in town have been very skittish and defensive. It was nice to encounter these two, who have it pretty good and can afford to be friendly.

If you would like to see all the pictures from our second day at Petra (222 of them) click here.


Passive Aggressive Cat

February 8, 2013

Posted by Kanga.


Bert is generally a normal cat, but he has a few quirks. One is that he comes into the bedroom anytime from 3:30 to 5:30 a.m. to insist on getting under the bedcovers. It would be okay, if he just got under the covers, curled up and went to sleep. Instead he insists on being between DaddyBird and I, which means I have to roll over to make room for him. He then dilly dallies about getting under the covers and fusses about being positioned just right. He often goes in, curls up, waits a beat, and then exits just to turn around and want back in. Even if he does curl up quickly and settle in, then he wants to bite any hand or elbow that might be within reach. If he can’t bite, he’ll settle for kneading and clawing human flesh.

I’m skilled at sleeping, but cannot sleep through all of this. He manages to fuss around long enough to make sure I am completely awake and will not get back to sleep before the alarm goes off.

Thursday evening I had a little chat with Bert. I told him he was free to come in at any time and fuss around all he wanted about getting under the covers, because I was going to be able to go back to sleep no matter how long it took as this is the weekend.

Magically, Bert did not come at all. I’m sure he’ll be back around 3:30 am Sunday morning to ensure that I am sleep deprived for the beginning of my work week.


Groceries, Always So Fun

January 29, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

bottles of all purpose sauce on the store shelf

Apparently, this is sauce you can put on everything.

two cats sitting on their haunches watching the door

We had more grocery bags than we could carry in one trip, so DaddyBird went back down to the parking lot to get the rest. The cats sat patiently and watched for his return.

white cat eating celery leaves

When DaddyBird did return, Oliver smelled something delicious and began to freak out. It was the celery.

two cats eating celery leaves

Even Bert had to get in on the celery snacking.