Cat Condo


L-R: me, hubs, Trixie, Wolfie, and Sammy.

stockings, L-R: me, hubs, Trixie, Wolfie, and Sammy.



Just a quick “Meowy Christmas” to everyone from our furry feline family:


Trixie enjoying the warmth of the fire

Wolfie and his spiffy homemade cat collar (which he soon "lost" in 2 days).

Wolfie and his spiffy homemade cat collar (which he soon “lost” in 2 days).

Sammy, so precious...sometimes...

Sammy, all snuggled down for a long winter’s nap.

Be sure to check out Cinnamon at 23 Paws to see what Guiness, Chloe, and other 23 Paw-ers are up to for the holidays.

Have a great holiday, everyone! :)


It’s another month for 23 Paws, thanks to Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri!

Cats staying warm in winter! image source:

Those chilly kitties are seeking warmth wherever they can find it, even if it means sitting on light bulbs! Our housecats have more of a wintry advantage by choosing to stay indoors. Here are some ways they like to stay warm:

The Fireplace – it’s cozy, romantic, mesmerizing:

Trixie, caught in the allure of the flames.

Solar Heating – energy-efficient and cost-efficient, but prime locations are limited:

Down Comforter – cozy and comfortable, especially when flanked by two warm bodies:

Wolfie, off to dreamland. :)

Electric Heating Pad – Sammy’s nighttime retreat to warm his old bones:

Cat cube sits on heating pad, which sits on a piece of cardboard.

What are some ways your house pets like to stay warm? My sister’s German shorthair (she still calls him a puppy) takes up most of her bed and sleeps like a rock!

What about hibernating pets??

Welcome to 23 Paws, a monthly blog post where animal lovers can come and share their animal stories, animal photos, animal jokes—anything pet or animal related (and animal-friendly) is welcome! Thanks to Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri for hosting yet another fun-filled meet-up. :)

Are there any cat owners out there? How about cat owners who are tired of dealing with a stinky litter box? If that is the case, maybe this post might help, and it doesn’t have to do with switching your litter—it has to do with going to the source!

Even kept in a cabinet, the cats’ litter box smelled pretty bad.

My sister and I went to a local pet shop called Creature Comforts to get more seed for her birds. I didn’t really need anything but decided to check out their cat food selection and prices. A really nice, friendly, knowledgeable lady named Mary ended up answering a ton of questions that came forth after she told me they stopped carrying my brand of cat food two years ago.

With so many products on the shelf it’s really hard to decide what’s best for your cat, especially with all the pretty packaging and “vet recommended” labels that can easily make me believe that it’s gotta be the best food for our cats. After listening to Mary school me on cat food, cat food companies, vets and mystery ingredients, I learned a lot of things. Most importantly, it’s best to ask questions until you’re satisfied!

I’ve tried several kinds of cat food brands and felt I did a good amount of research that led me to Hill’s Science Diet, but with one cat having constipation and another cat diarrhea and everyone having a bottomless stomach, I think the information I got from Mary that day was pretty helpful. The one thing she mentioned that especially got my attention was how certain cat food fillers–such as corn–can make their poo stinky. “YES, that’s exactly right!” I nearly screamed. I was so excited to hear that it’s not Wolfie’s fault for having stinky poo–but the food! Mary mentioned cats can’t digest the corn so the result is a litter box nobody loves (we even have it in a cabinet, and that doesn’t help to contain the smell.)

She suggested a couple of brands, and I picked up some FELIDAE canned and dry food to test it out.

Felidae vs. Science Diet

The first ingredient listed on the Felidae wet food can was ‘chicken’. Science Diet had ‘water’.

Felidae (left) was much less mushy.

I mixed about 1/3 of the new dry food into the old dry and went half and half with the wet food. Wolfie was the hardest to please. He doesn’t like the new wet food, though he’ll eat some if it’s mashed with the old food, but is okay with the dry kibble. Sam and Trixie ate all their wet food and left a little bit of kibble left (they usually have some leftovers).

Lip-smackin’ good!

After two days I noticed a significant difference: their litter box didn’t stink! What a difference a diet can make, huh? :) Even though the new cat food was better for their digestion, Wolfie was still finicky and hardly ate his food, even though I mushed it up good with the old one. I was worried that he would lose too much weight, but after a week he started eating a little more. Not as much as he used to, but enough to keep me from getting worried.

Besides, he’s been eating mice.

Trixie, impressed with Wolfie’s two captures (I think the other thing is a leaf.)

A content cat.

With Hallowe’en around the corner and Disney movies coming soon to a theater near you, my friend Squigly Digly took advantage of my lovely pet pics on Facebook and Frankenweenie-fied them:

My turn to Frankenweenie-fy Trixie:

Want to have some fun, too? Here’s the facebook link:

Check out what other pet-lovin’ people are up to right here, hope you can join in on the fun! :D

Welcome to this month’s 23 Paws, brought to you by Cinnamon of Eat, Pray, Tri!

Every 23rd of the month pet lovers everywhere are welcome to link up their blogs to share stories about their pet. Don’t have a pet but love animals? No problem! All animal lovers are welcome, so come on and link up!

We have three cats and I love them all, but you can’t really feel true love for your pet unless you experience the frustrations that come with animal ownership…even more so with cat ownership. And our cats have been a bit buggy lately.

Wolfie has been waking up extra-early to make sure we get up in time to feed him. About 5:30 am he starts racing in and out of the bedroom, tearing up the carpet and chasing imaginary chipmunks back and forth, back and forth. When I finally come down to the kitchen and settle down in front of my laptop, he’s in my face reminding me about his breakfast:

feed meee…..

But despite their regular meals and occasional snacks, we’ve been finding some “leftover dinner” on the kitchen floor, living room floor, and in our bedroom. I don’t know if it’s because they’re more antsy and fighty lately, or if they are not liking the food as much as they used to. The only difference in their diet has been the addition of tuna fish cat food, but I swear they love the stuff!

They call that stuff tuna?! Bleeechh!!!

But most of the time they’re nice and quiet, and just hang around doing cat stuff, like napping:

Trixie getting comfy

Hiding in the flowers:

You don’t see me!

Making shadow puppets:

You don’t see me–again!

And ignoring potentially dangerous pests:

Sorry, I don’t do rubber roaches!

But no matter how independent they are, we will always find a way to have fun with them:

How to embarrass your cat: wear him as a hat.

See you at the next 23 Paws!

Normally Mondays are when  I share a new Flavor of the Week, but this weekend was once again filled with home renovation projects that took up more of my time than I anticipated, so it’ll be postponed until next Monday. Today’s post is a mix of home renovations and a very fun and frolicky episode of 23 Paws, sponsored by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri! I’ll start with the serious business of home renovations first. :)

It all began on Saturday with my husband opening up a wall panel out on the porch and discovering an infestation of these picnic crashers in a corner post which has supported this lovely house for over 200 years (I made the picture small in case anyone doesn’t care for bugs/insect pics, click on the picture to see a larger view):

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants! The closet on the porch had some water damage. After opening up the wall panel, we realized how extensive the damage really was. These carpenter ants are eating away at one of the main posts of the house. It seems their nest has been exposed, but we’re definitely having an exterminator come over to get rid of them once and for all!

After seeing this damage, I got really upset…more like mad…more like pee-ohed! I felt invaded by these tiny creatures, and the added expense getting rid of them just pushes back other projects we had planned. There was nothing I could do about these ants, or about the rotting pillar, and I needed to take my anger out on something…ah, the kitchen floor!

Before: cracked and water-damaged vinyl tiles made the kitchen floor uneven, dirty, and our chairs always got caught up on the curled-up edges of the tile.

After: the bare wood floors are nice and even, no water damage.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to remove all the nailed-down sheets of tile, and the thousands of nails that were used excessively to hold them down. The next day, my plan was to move out the stove and a section of cabinets to remove the rest of the old tile. The cabinets were nailed to the floor as well as the walls, but my husband and I were able to pry and saw it free! After that, I decided to start painting.

Still had enough anger the next day to prime some of the cabinets, part of the wall, and spray paint the handles shiny silver.

All in all, it took about 5 1/2 hours to pry the cabinets from the floor & walls, get rid of the tile underneath, and paint just this section. Still lots more to go, and if it weren’t for the discover of the ants, I would have never been motivated to get started. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?

Okay, now to the fun part of today’s post: it’s 23 Paws, hosted by Cinnamon at Eat, Pray, Tri23 Paws is a monthly meet-up for bloggers showing off pictures of their favorite animals in action. Since the first half of my post was all serious and a bit stressful, here are some not-so-serious and very relaxing photos of my cats enjoying their favorite plant: catnip!

Here’s Sammy hogging the catnip shortly after I planted it. I thought that plant wouldn’t make it through the week, but it’s pretty resilient.

That catnip plant that used to be picked on grew like the weed that it is! Sammy is going nuts over a freshly crumpled leaf. That’s his drool that he’s lying in. :)

Awww…Wolfie had a whole branch of catnip and Trixie cautiously looked on.

Trixie, unabashedly giving herself to the allure of the catnip.

Do you have any catnip for your cats? How do they react to it? :D

As fun as it is to load up my Pinterest board with ideas for a dream kitchen or dream outdoor kitchen, I realized (after watching my husband do all the dirty work,) that nothing is more important than taking care of the basics: electrical and plumbing.

Last Sunday he started ripping out parts of our kitchen floor to replace some old pipes and wiring that ran from the basement to the kitchen. He installed a new line and electrical for our washer and dryer that’s now located outside on the porch:

You can see the box he installed behind the washer. All new pipes & electric.

It was pretty difficult because he couldn’t access the pipes from under the kitchen floor; there is the stone foundation directly underneath so he had to rerun the lines the same way as the old ones by going horizontal about 10-12 feet amidst the laid-up foundation and wooden beams supporting the kitchen. It wasn’t a straight shot and the space was pretty snug, but thanks to fish tape and an assistant with smallish hands, he was able to get the new pipes and electrical through.

Then the next difficult part was soldering elbow pieces to fit the small spaces, then to solder them together in tight spots, like under the sink and within the wall. After he made sure the water lines were leakproof, he moved out the washer and we now have an empty corner in the kitchen for our future bathroom!

Not sure how we’ll do it, but we’ll get a bathroom down here.

With all the stuff going on inside, the garden outside is growing. Despite my parents raising tomatoes and roses commercially, I didn’t inherit their green thumb. This is my first time having a garden and I love seeing new growth every day:

cucumber tendril

I planted chamomile where I could see the flowers from the kitchen.

Sammy by the squash. He is the most camera shy out of the three cats.

A gray and rainy morning giving our plants a good soak.

Salamander enjoying the much needed rain.

I hope your Friday morning is off to a good start. I’ll be back tomorrow with a light lunch recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux!

I have an interesting story today, and maybe some of you can relate. The other morning I woke up to what I thought was a starling flying into our bedroom, hitting the window, then flying out. A couple seconds later the same thing happens: little creature flies in, hit the window, flies back out. Our cats weren’t around, probably waiting in the kitchen to be fed, otherwise they’d be waiting for that right moment to snatch it out of the air.

I walked out of the bedroom and saw a little creature on the floor at the end of the hall: a BAT! I looked up at the gaping hole in our ceiling so knew it had to come from somewhere. I had to keep this creature from flying away, so I took my shirt and threw it over the little bat. Though it didn’t fly away, it was able to crawl away, so I went looking for a container of some kind and found a plastic bin, emptied it, turned it over on the bat and trapped it that way. Then I went to put on another shirt.

Bats are so tiny, and this one (I read it was a “little brown bat”) is common across the US. Its wingspan would be the length of my forearm and it weighs only as much as a couple of chocolate chip cookies! Despite its small stature as well as its unusual cuteness, these brown bats have a LOT of tiny sharp teeth, perfect for catching and holding onto insects on the fly (pun intended.)


NOTE: Below are pictures of bats and I shrunk them down a bit, just in case you don’t like them. But if you do, you can click on them to see a bigger photo:


This bat would easily fit in the palm of your hand.

Such shiny, silky hair…what a contrast against it’s wrinkly hairless wings.

This being my first bat encounter, I called my sister up and asked her what I should do with it. She came over (her girls wanted to see it) and we took it to the upper slope of our property where the blueberries are struggling to grow. Wolfie, now having been fed breakfast, followed us in the hopes of chasing whatever it was that made all that scratching noises. My sister suggested to put it somewhere that it would be safe. With Wolfie being securely held back, I put it on a log with some big nooks and crannies for it to crawl into and sleep the day away. The only predators around here would be woodchucks and cats, so the bat had no worries about being attacked again.

And that’s the end of my bat story!

So, now that my story is done, I need to think of a way to segue into my Flavor of the Week recipe, but there’s nothing that comes to mind which can connect bats to oranges. Unless I was talking about a fruit bat, then maybe I would have an opening there.

Anyway, here is a super easy recipe that is extremely versatile, and you have the option of using orange or ginger, as well as agave or honey. I used it in my orange-shoyu sauce to make a nice glaze for chicken, use it as a topping for cake, in your tea, on peanut butter, or even on ribs like my friend Jan did with some ginger agave syrup (olive oil, lemon, syrup…yum!) Any way you have it, you will enjoy it.

The zest will taste like candied orange peel.

Orange Agave Syrup / Ginger Agave Syrup (inspired by

4 oz light agave syrup or honey (for ginger syrup use dark amber agave)
zest from 1 orange (or 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, sliced thinly)

In a small saucepan combine agave or honey and zest or ginger. Bring to low simmer over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in airtight glass jar.

Orange agave syrup. Compare this to the orange honey syrup below. See the difference?

Orange honey syrup is more cloudy than the orange agave syrup with tiny air bubbles stuck at the surface. The smell reminds me of flavored wheat beers.

Ginger agave syrup: great as a topping for carrot cake or your favorite barbecue ribs.

Has any of you had any “wild animal” encounters in your home? How did you handle it? (only happy endings, please!)

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