Saturday, July 30, 2011

Melly and Her Buddy

Melly likes to hang out with my sister, who is always ready with snuggles and scritches. I found Melly snoozing contentedly on sister's back, but as soon as Melly heard the camera noises, she woke up and started wriggling and posing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

An Eventful Evening

Last night, I noticed that there was something in Melly's fur under her tail. She wouldn't let me get close enough to examine it, but it looked like a mat. Since Melly is my first cat with longish hair, mats are a new thing for me; I posted about it on Facebook and asked for advice on removing it. Diane was kind enough to answer, and I resolved to ambush Melly and get rid of the mat at the earliest opportunity.

After a couple of attempts, it became clear that Melly wasn't going to let me get close enough to get rid of the mat myself. So, when my sister happened to call me on her way home, I sweet-talked her into promising to help. When she arrived later, sister grabbed Melly and yelled over to me, "This isn't a mat, it's POO!"


Well, a promise is a promise, so I ushered sister, who was holding Melly, into the bathroom and filled the tub up with a few inches of water. After about five minutes of vigorously swooshing Melly's bottom around in the water, all the poo finally came loose. It was thoroughly disgusting. After changing out the water, we bathed the rest of Melly.

I always feel bad for causing the kitties discomfort, but there is something pathetically hilarious about a sopping wet cat.

Melly behaved surprisingly well throughout her ordeal, but she could not wait to get out of the tub and shake off.

When I went back into the bathroom after grabbing the camera, Scarlett came in too. She was very interested in the soggy Melly, and gave her a thorough nose-to-tail sniffing. It was funny to see how small Melly was with all her fur slicked down, and I think Scarlett enjoyed being the bigger-looking cat for a time.

Melly spent the rest of the evening alternately seeking attention and restoring order to her mussed fur. Despite the trauma of bath time, I think Melly is glad to have the poo gone!

ETA: Thanks, Marlene, for reminding me that it was Diane who responded to my Facebook plea for advice. I fixed it in the text above. Sorry, Diane! Don't know what I was thinking.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Melly was "helping" me fold laundry, and eventually conked out from all the exertion.

Chores are exhausting. Melly has a tough life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sleepy Scarlett

It's exhausting keeping an eye on a tuxie interloper.

Especially when one is also trying to keep an eye on the great outdoors as well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A New Perch

After I do laundry, I hang a lot of the clothes up to air dry. In the absence of a drying rack, I use the ironing board.

On Saturday, laundry day, Melly claimed the ironing board for her own.

I couldn't figure out what the appeal was of snoozing on wet socks and shorts, but perhaps it had something to do with the excellent view of a certain cranky tabby.

On Sunday, Melly continued to hang out in her new favorite spot:

And here she is on Monday, still hanging out there. Most of the clothes are dry now so I'm going to have to put the ironing board away; I hope Melly isn't too heartbroken!

In a couple of the pictures above, you can sort of see the problem area at the inner corner of Melly's left eye. I've been flushing it out with saline several times a day, which Melly hates, but it really seems to be helping. There is a lot less discharge and the puffiness seems to be decreasing. Such a relief!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Proper and ladylike...

...Melly is not.

Those splayed back paws just kill me. She's something, this one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Catnip Toys, Part II

I love the way Scarlett pulls all the toys out and just wallows in them. She becomes so kitteny on catnip.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Catnip Toys, Part I

Whenever I vacuum, I gather up all the cats' toys from around the apartment, put them on the shelf in the entryway, and spray them liberally with catnip. This is the result:

Part II will be posted tomorrow.

In other news, Melly has been a little off her game lately and I'm debating whether a trip to the vet is in order or whether I'm being an alarmist. She hasn't been quite as active as usual, although to be honest, I haven't been home as much lately to keep an eye on her routines. She also has a bit of an eye situation: the inner corner is swollen and has an unusual level of discharge. The eyeball itself looks completely fine, but that oozy corner is worrisome. I've been using a cotton ball dampened with warm water to wipe away the discharge, and am flushing out the eye with saline solution periodically. We'll see how that goes.

ETA: I got out da bird to test Melly's energy level and she seems fine. She tore a feather off the toy and is now prancing proudly about the apartment with her prize in her mouth. Nut.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Layer Cake

Two years ago, I made a lemon layer cake for Geoff's daughter's birthday. I discovered lemon curd because of that cake - hurrah! - but the cake itself was a disaster. It didn't rise, the frosting refused to solidify... it was all rather traumatic. And yet, in a momentary lapse of sanity, I volunteered to make Colleen's birthday cake again this year.

Fortunately, I had my sister to help, and the ever-fantastic Smitten Kitchen blog. There, I found a recipe for double chocolate layer cake, as well as a list of tips for making a successful layer cake.

We followed Deb's recipe almost exactly, and used most of her layer cake tips. The resulting cake turned out perfectly! (Sister and I danced victoriously. And fist-bumped. Ok, the dancing was just me.) I won't re-print the recipe here since I barely modified it, but if you ever have need of a chocolate cake recipe, I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen's Double Chocolate Layer Cake!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scarlett and the Hair Band

This video was taken the same evening as the pictures of Scarlett laying on my sister's stomach (seen here). Scarlett had discovered that the hair band on my sister's wrist was an exciting toy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Proper Cat Behavior

Sometimes, when Scarlett and Melly are together on the couch like this, Scarlett will squint at Melly and stare at her for a while. I like to think that she is disapproving of Melly's distinctly un-dignified manner of napping, and also hoping that her continued demonstrations of proper napping technique will eventually rub off on the floofy upstart.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Scarlett and the Chives

On his deck, Geoff has a small herb garden planted in a ceramic pot. When we were over there, Scarlett spent a lot of time sniffing the garden, giving the chives special attention. Eventually, this happened:

As you can hear in the video, Geoff was somewhat less than thrilled that this chives were being nibbled. Scarlett's startled look at the end of the video is due to Geoff coming at her with the Spray Bottle O'Discipline, which was enough to get her to back away from the chives.

Temporarily. They're delicious, after all.

ETA: Thank you to Anju, who pointed out that chives are toxic to cats. Fortunately, Scarlett was fine after this video was taken as she didn't actually ingest much. I'll make sure to keep her away from the chives in the future, though!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Odor-No-More

About a month ago, Odor-No-More contacted me and asked if I would review their cat litter additive in exchange for a sample of the product. I was initially hesitant, but with two cats - one of whom is prone to digestive problems - in a smallish apartment with bad ventilation, the litter box could use all the help it can get.

In the litter box, I use a combination of cedar shavings and wood pellets, both of which I get at a feed store. It's very inexpensive and doesn't irritate the lungs like clay litter does, and the wood actually smells pretty good when the box is freshly changed. The downside is that the level of absorption with the wood is not nearly as high as with clay litter, which can lead to some odor problems if I don't stay on top of things.

The day that the Odor-No-More arrived, I changed out the litter box contents and added a tablespoon of the litter box additive as instructed on the packaging. I usually put a lot of baking soda into the box as well, but I skipped that during my trial of Odor-No-More.

Melly cannot resist a clean litter box, so she was in it in a flash.

She seemed to notice that something was different, as she spent quite a while sniffing around.

On day two, I came home to a very gross and smelly litter box, which was due to two unburied and fresh messes, and someone having left a puddle next to the box. It was hard to tell if the Odor-No-More had done anything, so I changed out the box and started again. After a week or so, I fell into a routine of changing the box about every three days and using a very generous sprinkling of Odor-No-More. Since the recommended one tablespoon didn't seem to have any effect, I used about three or four.

In addition to controlling the smell, Odor-No-More is supposed to cut down on moisture in the litter box. It did seem to do that, but the wood pellets that I use fall apart when moisture hits them, which means that even the litter is drier, it still needs to be changed as frequently. That's not an issue, though, particularly since Odor-No-More has significantly reduced the litter box odor in my apartment. Previously, whenever I entered my apartment, I could smell the litter box. It wasn't really a bad smell, just a sort of damp wood scent. And, if I'd neglected the box for a day or two, there were definitely cat smells. Now, both the damp wood scent and the cat smells are gone!

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this review, but I did receive two bags of Odor-No-More litter box additive in exchange for my review.

Friday, July 15, 2011


And here we have another prime example of Melly's awareness of the camera. She is such a ham.

I had a couple questions the other day on Melly's size, since she tends to look rather little in pictures. As the last few visitors to see Melly have all exclaimed at how big she is, I suppose the answer is: she's probably a bit bigger than you think.

The Mellybean weighs in at about 11 pounds these days, and she's only a smidge overweight so most of her roundness is due to floof. Scarlett, on the other hand, weighs about 12 pounds but needs to lose over two pounds, so she is a much smaller-framed cat than Melly is. I'm really curious to see how the power balance (such as it is) between these two will be affected when both cats are at healthy weights.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camouflage Kitty

I think Scarlett was trying to hide among the books, or perhaps she's trying to absorb the literature by osmosis. She definitely wasn't there for the view since the shelf is only about 2 feet off the ground.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Adorable Fuzzball

I think this is my current favorite picture of Melly. Doesn't she look so innocent and kitten-y?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reading Companion

As I mentioned, Scarlett was in a much friendlier mood when we were at Geoff's. Case in point:

That's my sister, who was reading on the bed when Scarlett decided to join her. Scarlett even submitted to pets (growls or swats are the norm).

Sister was thrilled. Also, in this picture, you can see her freshly painted and extremely festive 4th of July manicure.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Content Kitty

When we go to Geoff's condo, with its fresh air and many windows, Scarlett's mood visibly lifts. She is less snarly toward Melly, less likely to snap and jab at humans, and seems to actually have a spring in her step. I think she really misses being an outdoor cat and this gives her a taste of that old life. It's always really tough to get her back into her carrier when we leave, and I feel terrible bringing her back to my basement cave apartment.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Don't let the grumpy look fool you: this is one happy kitty!

Happy weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Further Explorations

Scarlett spent some time on the balcony unsupervised, but when I was able to go out and keep watch, I let Melly out too. Scarlett was interested in the birds that flew by, but she seemed mostly to care about the plants and miscellaneous stuff on the patio; Melly, on the other hand, was only interested in what was outside the railing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The kitties, my mom, my sister, and I all piled into our little borrowed pickup truck and headed up to Geoff's condo for 4th of July weekend. We ended up spending a fair amount of time at the condo, which meant lots of balcony time for the kitties. Nothing has been rearranged since the last time they were out there, but of course, thorough investigation of every square inch was required.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I was experimenting with some settings on my camera and took these pictures of Melly to test them out. I'm not wild about the settings but Melly is, as always, adorable.