Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Feline road trip

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Happy New Year! One of the last things we did as a family last year was take a road trip with the cats. This was the first time we took both cats in the car and it was quite an adventure.

At the hotel, Smokey quickly found a place to hide in the blanket. She never goes in there!

Soon the cats discovered the top of the curtain.

Smokey’s sweaty little paws left some marks on the dash.

Missy somehow thought the litter box would be a good bed.

Smokey moved around a lot and eventually settled on my bag.

Missy was cold, so I wrapped her up in a towel and she slept.

Almost home!

They got so excited when we got in the garage. Freedom!

Striking sisters

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Missy and Smokey are certainly acting like sisters now, playing and fighting pretty much on a daily basis. At times I can’t tell if it’s fun or too aggressive, but I guess we’ll chalk it up to sibling rivalry. This is an improvement from the times that Smokey would hiss at her new sister!

cats playing through door crack from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cats playing under door from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cats fighting under door from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat rearing back to pounce from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

My cats love plants

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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To sniff and eat them, that is. Not just catnip either, though I do have that for them. Missy’s more interested in grass most of the time.

My new plants have been growing in a planter I got this summer. I have catnip, various wildflowers, poppies, and a smattering of other flowering type plants. I hope they make it through the colder weather coming up! I’ll have to find a place inside the home to place them later in fall. I recently planted tomato seeds and Panda saved pepper seeds from the last pepper we ate. I’d love to have my own little garden someday, though for now I don’t have a yard so my options are certainly limited.

cat laying on porch sniffing catnip plant in planter cat standing on planter eating plant

Cat vs pizza box

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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We don’t get pizza much, but when we do it’s almost guaranteed that our food will be crushed by the cat. She also happens to enjoy destroying the box… #lifewithcats

cat crushing pizza box from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat ripping cardboard with teeth from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Smokey’s adventures

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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It’s been a busy night, so I’ll share a quick set of videos with you of life with our cat Smokey. She’s a finicky girl with some adorable quirks! First she enjoys climbing in one drawer and popping out another, second she tries to escape the scary sound of a dog after surgery on her tooth, and third she tries to walk off the anesthesia from the vet visit.

cat hiding in drawer from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat hiding from dog in kennel from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat walking off anesthesia from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Sleeping positions

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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How do you like to sleep?

Since Panda sleeps much earlier and I sit in bed on my computer, I’ve noticed some strange sleeping habits and positions that he’ll get into. He loves to be tightly tucked in under the blanket, complete with a tight tuck under his chin. It shuts in the hot air so much that he’ll sweat at night and I recently observed a drop of sweat making its way down his face and neck (ick). I prefer more air flow and will sometimes lay on top of the thick blanket with a light blanket or have various body parts sticking out of the blanket (typically my feet or one leg). I also like to have one leg bent up and one straight out. Since I leave a low light on, Panda will sometimes find creative ways to block the light – usually he’ll crook his elbow over his eyes, but I’ve found him with my nightgown wrapped around his head like a turban before.

There are some commonalities we share though – for one, we both like to sleep with our arms laying next to our heads, elbows bent. Perhaps we like airing out our armpits? We also like to take up a lot of space. For me, this generally means spreading out and draping my leg over him if necessary (he hates that). For him, it’s usually some strange contortion he managed to get into while twisting in his sleep. I’ve had to provide photo evidence of his transgressions to prove how he overran the bed and left me no space!

cat sleeping on bed with body twisted in strange positionI also like to keep things fresh by changing where we sleep in the bed. At first we’d swap sides every now and then. A few times we oriented our heads and feet the opposite way. Most recently we are sleeping sideways, parallel to the wall that the bed is against. Each time we change, Panda complains and hates the idea, but I’ve found that if I keep pushing, he tries it out and ends up enjoying it. Then that new spot is the default and the next change is another little battle (it’s like he forgot he didn’t want his “spot” the last time we changed either).

Even the cats have their funny sleeping preferences, like Smokey’s “happy nap” where she lays on her back in the middle of the floor, belly up and all paws facing the ceiling. As soon as she notices someone trying to take a picture of that, she quickly rolls over and runs off. When she’s in boxes, she loves to prop her chin and one paw over the edge. Meanwhile Missy is a huge fan of crawling in under the covers to snuggle up next to you. Or, if she’s on top of the blanket she’ll often end up belly up, chest to the side, and head twisted back. That’s when you know she’s really sleeping well. 🙂

So do you also have your own sleeping quirks?

My pet Hawaiian shrimp

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Back when we were in Hawaii, I finally got myself a little Hawaiian red shrimp ecosphere. While I’d seen the crazy expensive closed systems before, I liked that the one I found includes a lid that opens. Just in case I need to feed them or change the water, right? So I happily bought the travel set, which included the jar with sand and a fake little plant plus a separate plastic bottle with the shrimp and some blue pellets (food, I presume). All I had to do was put it in my checked bag for transport back home!

I also decided to get a set of snails to add to my new little ecosystem, just to help clean the water. While in Hawaii, I kept them in the bottle together and spent hours watching them. The snails liked to hide up on the lid, out of the water. Whenever they did go down, the shrimp would immediately gravitate towards them and pick at their shells. They must have some tasty algae growing on those shells! When it came time to travel, I carefully wrapped the bottle in paper towels and put it in a box, just in case anything leaked. I then wrapped the box in some of my clothes to try to offer the best buffer between potential jolts and coldness.

Upon arrival many hours later (and a good 30-degree drop in temperature too), I gingerly opened everything and found minimal leakage of water. The shrimp and snails were just fine. I then set about setting up their habitat and enjoyed a beautiful jar to put on the counter or table. Check out the pictures below to show you what has happened since…

hawaiian red shrimp habitat in store

The original habitat I saw at the store! I couldn’t leave without my own.

hawaiian red shrimp eating off black snail shell

The shrimp, snails, and blue pellets in the travel bottle. Those shrimp loved following the snails around!

cat sniffing glass jar with sand and fake plant

Smokey sniffed at this mysterious new jar while I was putting it together.

hawaiian red shrimp and snails ecosphere self-sustaining ecosystem

I loved sitting and watching them. I mostly kept them on the coffee table or the island in the kitchen.

nerite snail eating in glass jar

After awhile, some shrimp and my snails died. The water began to get murky, so I got a nerite snail from the local pet store.


hawaiian shrimp and nerite snail timelapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

I did a timelapse video of the super active new snail and its four little shrimp friends! Little did I know what was about to happen…

spilled water and sand on hardwood floor

The very next day, disaster struck. Smokey clumsily jumped on the counter, but slid and took the entire box and the jar with her.

tools used for shrimp habitat spill cleanup

We painstakingly got the shrimp back in (one was already dead) and sucked the water back in the jar.

It was too much trauma and the water sucked back in was gross with dust and cat hair. Another one died promptly and I was so upset, until I realized that both my two remaining shrimp and snail are used to not just brackish water, but fresh water and salt water. They’re pretty good at adjusting to different levels of salinity, so I decided to clean out the jar and give them fresh water for awhile. Except I had no idea what sort of fresh water to use, so I used a water bottle. By the next morning, that seemed to kill the other two shrimp (or maybe they were already beyond help 🙁 ). And so it was just my poor little snail. Even it gave me a scare a few days later when I thought it had died. Thankfully, by that night it was climbing up the glass again.

After this happened, I immediately decided I needed to order some shrimp to replace the ones I lost and found Shrimp Mart after some searching. I felt they had really reasonable prices, especially when it came to shipping, so I opted for their 20 Opae Ula selection. I wanted to get their live Angel Hair Moss too, but they were out of stock at the time. Too bad! Maybe another time, or hopefully I can get some locally.

naughty cat laying in cage

Smokey was in a time out during our recovery and cleanup period.

packaging for mailed hawaiian red shrimps

The new shrimp arrived in the mail about a week later.

plastic bag with twenty-plus hawaiian red shrimp

Very well packaged! All shrimp were alive and they gave well over 20 (I think I counted 27, but with so many it’s hard to say).

I’m not sure what the pink thing is, but it seems to be a food source. I think it just allows algae growth on it and is just a sort of sponge that the shrimp wouldn’t eat. I carefully transferred the shrimp into the jar and the amount of water they came in was just perfect! I then noticed a strange thing squirming around, which I figured it couldn’t be parasitic or dangerous since it’d been in the bag with all the shrimp on the trip and they were fine.

hawaiian red shrimp larva in spoon

The strange worm-like thing jerking around turned out to be a larva!

over two dozen hawaiian red shrimp in jar with nerite snail

And now they’re happily settled in their new home. I’m thinking about splitting them into two for more space.

I need to make sure I get the right kind of brackish water for them before I use another container for some of them. I hope they don’t feel too crowded in this jar. I’ve since put the pink thing in with them, so they have a place to hide and eat from. And yes, I am much more paranoid about where I place the jar now. No place feels safe, even the ground!

hawaiian shrimp eating

Check out the video of them settled in their home!

Smokey’s calming collar

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Sometimes, Missy and Smokey will get into wrestling matches. I can’t quite tell who is instigating it and who is causing more damage, but Smokey is larger, so just putting her weight on Missy is potentially dangerous. For a long time, I’d just make a loud noise when the fighting appeared to get aggressive. One day, Panda suggested we put collar back on so she can’t sneak up on Missy. We decided to give it a try and we found a surprising result: Smokey appeared to be much nicer overall with the collar on!

smokey cat sleeping on body pillow with red collar on

Look at how angelic she is! She’ll even touch my leg when she’s sleeping.

Not only did she and Missy fight less, but she was less aloof and more tolerant of being held or picked up. It seems that she became more docile, as if it exerted control over her and kept her bad behavior at bay. What a curious effect. It ended up being far more effective than we’d imagined, so now whenever she acts up, we put her collar on. She’ll sit there frozen as we strap it in and then calmly strut around, not looking for trouble. When she sleeps, she actually looks happy. Not alert, or wary, or downright uncomfortable/unhappy. It’s like she’s finally at peace.

This usually works for 2-3 days and then I start to feel bad because she can’t hide from Missy and I also notice her starting to kick at it. So by and by, I remove it and let her be free (but perhaps more prone to attitude too). At least we’ve found something simple that can help curb her issues if they escalate again! Overall she’s getting better at letting us pet her and even hold her at times. I’ll retrain her yet!

Caulking those cracks

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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For awhile now, Panda’s been talking about caulking the cracks we’ve been seeing. The builders left us with a tube of it, which we have been meaning to use. So two weekends ago, we went shopping and got a caulking gun. We opened up the caulk tube and got to work in the coldest part of the home – the stairway leading up to our unit. It turns out that I’m far better at it than he, so I ended up doing a lot of the work. I even had to fix some of the caulking he did (what would he do without me? ;)). The cats were also super fascinated by this activity, so they sat around watching. Panda was a bit worried that they may try to sniff and then lick the stuff, but they didn’t seem that interested in it.

Have you caulked your home before? We still have plenty to go and I keep putting it off. Would you hire someone for jobs like this or do it yourself like us?

crack by stairs of home prior to caulking

These were the cracks that we tackled.

caulk gun poking hole into caulk tube for use

We poked a hole to let the caulk get squeezed out, but eventually it clogged and came out the back end so I just scooped it out with my finger from the other end.

midway through caulking process with globs of caulk covering crack

Putting the caulk on in all its globby goodness. We tried smoothing it with a plastic card, but I found it easier and faster with my finger.

two cats sitting on stairs watching caulking project

The cats love to oversee our home improvement projects.

crack by stairs of home concealed after caulking job

Finished product! Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

When sisters meet

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , ,
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It’s been long enough now that Smokey and Missy are getting along pretty well. They still have some spats, but they mostly keep it civil. Here’s what it was like the first night Missy arrived after her trip. Smokey spent a lot of time stalking her and staring her down. She’d then hiss (I’ve only ever heard her hiss once prior to this) and sometimes run off. I was concerned about them both, so I kept a close eye for hours into the night. Panda and I ended up sleeping in separate rooms so both cats would have someone with them.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Missy first emerged into a brand new home.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Eventually Smokey came by to smell what all the commotion was about.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

Missy took to the stairs nearby as her hiding spot.

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn't even know they got so close!

At some point she found a box to hide in and Smokey didn’t even know they got so close!

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Most of the night was spent monitoring Smokey as she stared at Missy from afar.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Missy hid under the couch a bit and only emerged with coaxing.

Eventually we settled in for bed around 3, though Missy decided hiding under the bed felt more safe than being in it. Maybe she didn’t know that Smokey was stuck on the other side of the door.

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