cats

5 Years Old and Cancer Free

Panther on her 5th birthday with her new toy. Photo by Kara Hartz

From her adoption paperwork, we learned that Panther was handed in over the counter at the shelter as a neonate that required a foster to bottle feed her. So while we don’t know her exact birthdate, we know our guess is probably within a week of the real date. We picked Aug 8th in the window of likely dates for her because it is also International Cat Day.

In bigger news: when she started chemo back at the beginning of the pandemic, her oncologist said that if she survived 2 years without a recurrence, then she was cured. We assume that meant 2 years from finishing chemo, not the start. Either way, she is officially over 2 years cancer free, so it’s time to party!

books · cats

I have a new book logo

Broken Snowshoe Logo designed by Anna Hartz

My oldest just finished their first year at college and she’s still kind of searching for what she wants to be doing after school. So far, the classes they are enjoying the most are of the graphic design variety.

Years ago she drew a little logo for me to use when publishing my books. Neither of us was very tech savvy back then, so I had a cute ink drawing on paper, and just took a photo of it to use. Obviously, the quality of this technique wasn’t the best. For my birthday, they redid the logo, made it even cuter, and made it digital so it will look better and be more versatile online.

I call my own publications “Broken Snowshoe” after my cat Bob. He was a love, but had a broken spine and an amputated tail. Now, just look at it! The best.

cats

Cat Update (with bonus guinea pig)

Meeko and Panther hold hands
Panther sleeps in the towels
Pumba is extra cute today

Haven’t given a cat update in awhile because all is well and normal, and noting noteworthy has happened. Still. I believe the internet cannot have too many cute cat pictures, and I have been remiss in adding mine.

Plus I took this photo of Pumba a few days ago and it’s just adorable. You’re welcome.

cats

Experimenting with my cats

Panther in the pretend square

So I recently read this study: If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) by Gabriella E.Smith, Philippe A.Chouinard, and Sarah-ElizabethByosiere. And since I think only the summery is freely available now, here is another article about it: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/if-i-fits-i-sits-experiment-shows-felines-also-sit-illusory-boxes-180977681/

Naturally, I wanted to try it out on my own cats, because this is partly why we have cats, right? For example, my cats couldn’t care less about zucchini, and they will happily sit in a square drawn with tape on the ground. Panther is faster to get into the fake boxes than Meeko, even though they both love a real 3-dimesional box. So I printed out the little pac-man shapes, and while I was arranging them and trying to decide if I was happy with the spacing, Panther came along. . . and the above picture happened before I had a chance to tape them in place.

Meeko had wandered over and sniffed at them, interested in what I was doing, but he generally has better manners than Panther and doesn’t interrupt what I’m working on. Although, in terms of the published study, I was doing this all wrong in that the cats should not have had access to the square as I was placing it. They should have been in a different room and only allowed in when I was ready for them. I never claimed to be rigorous in my home cat experiments, I’m just having fun. If you are interested in learning more about how cats perceive things like optical illusions, read the linked articles. They are interesting!

P.S. Shortly after this photo, Panther began batting the pieces around the floor because I never bothered taping them.

books · cats · crafty things · crochet

The Crafty Kids Have Leveled Up

Black Cat with magical book pipe cleaner art by A. Hartz

My Mother’s Day gifts from the kiddos this year really blew me away. The teen who makes pipe cleaner art created this wonderful cat touching a book with their paw and magical swirls coming out. So amazing. I don’t think photographs really do justice to her sculptures. Even the tiny ears have the perfect kitty shape and bend to them if you feel them. The book pages can turn, and the paw can move.

Amigurumi llama by R. Hartz

Child, the younger, has discovered amigurumi. In the past weeks she has made a ton of cute little bees. Then, in secret, she learned to read a pattern and made this llama for me. All on her own.

I’m a proud Mama Llama today.

cats

Meeko enjoying the Springtime

Meeko enjoying the springtime

For some time (years?) we’ve been trying to leash train Panther because she was young and we thought that would work best. She has remained skittish and unhappy on leash no matter how many reassuring pets and treats she gets. While decluttering I stumbled onto a larger harness I’d forgotten we had. Wouldn’t it be funny we said to each other if we took Meeko out to the back yard as well.

Turns out the joke was on us. He loves it. He rolls around and soaks up the sun and he actually hissed at my daughter when she tried to bring him back inside. While that kind of sass wasn’t and won’t be tolerated, I’ve taken him out several more times to sit with me as I write or crochet in the afternoons. Who knew the old man would like it so much. Even big truck driving past the wall that separates our patio from the stores on the other side didn’t bother him. A dart toward a passing squirrel just means he won’t ever be trusted off leash. We adopted him from the pound at 8 months old and he’s turning 10 this year. He has been indoors all that time. There might be a reason that saying wasn’t about teaching things to old cats.

cats

They Stay With Us

My sweet Bob

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking about my Bob lately. He passed away 2 years, 8 months ago. It doesn’t feel like he’s been gone that long. It’s tempting at this point to write about how great Bob was. He was a great cat. But what prompted this post today is more my thinking about why and how I think about him.

Most of the time I don’t know what bring him to mind. Other times, something happened that reminds me of something he did, or a time we had together and it’s more clear. While the memories also remind me how much I miss him, time has done its work to some degree in that I am mostly happy to think about and remember him.

Then sometimes, my mind will continue on, remembering other cats I’ve shared my life with:

Shindy – the first cat I got after moving out on my own

Magic – the only cat I’ve had that I knew his actual birthday because he was born under my best friend’s bed when they took in a pregnant stray

Sheba – the trouble-making tiny Bengal with the huge voice

and my childhood cats Patches – the barn cat who knew she was really a princess and Charley – the silly calico who acted like a puppy.

Hansom Bob

I know what these cats have meant to me. Working as an RVT for over twenty years now, I’ve seen the bonds people share with their pets. They add so much to our lives. I actually get sad for the ‘it’s just a dog/cat/pet’ people. They’re missing out on so much by limiting who their hearts can hold dear. I’ve been present while so many people said goodbye to their fluffy family members. Or while they stood by their side to fight through an uncertain recovery. These are not frivolous emotions or values. They are important.

And our memories are precious.