Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Whiffs of the Great Outdoors

The kitties and I spent a recent weekend at Geoff's, and the cats spent most of it with their faces plastered against the screen door, sniffing the wonderful outdoor smells.

These pictures are also helpful in showing the size difference between Scarlett and Melly. Even taking into account Melly's floof and the teeny bit of forced perspective from the camera angle, you can see that Melly is both taller and broader.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Sniffing and Sneaking

Melly is usually either dozing or asleep when she is on her back, but this time, I think she was just enjoying seeing the world from a different angle.

I received a few more questions, so here are the answers:

The Lounge Kats asked: Is your Mom a kitty-sniffer? Ours smells us all the time, 'specially when she's eating our ears...*sigh*
I have a wonky sense of smell and can't detect most aromas unless they're very strong. This means that I can smell, say, Melly's litter box deposits (blech), but I can't smell Melly herself even with my nose buried in her belly floof. So, to answer your question: no, I am not a kitty-sniffer, but not by choice.

Mark's Mews asked: Who weighs more?
Melly currently weighs about a pound more than Scarlett. They're both overweight, but even if I get them both down to healthier weights, Melly will still weigh more than Scarlett.

Who can jump higher?
Scarlett is all about economy of movement and takes longer routes if it means she can avoid long leaps. I know that she can jump very high since she once got onto the shelf in the walk-in closet (about six feet off the ground), but since that is not an ability she demonstrates on a regular basis, I have to say that Melly is the higher jumper. She regularly leaps several feet into the air in pursuit of da bird, and she, unlike Scarlett, will jump straight up to things instead of trying to find an easier route.

Who is sneakiest?
I went back and forth on this one and finally ended up asking Geoff, who said that it's definitely Scarlett. When I asked why, he said that Scarlett is always skulking about, while Melly gallops around crazily. He also said that when Scarlett is in pursuit of prey, like the laser pointer, she stalks it for a while before making a move whereas Melly just attacks willy-nilly.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Blinds and Being Irresistible

This is the last Q&A post (unless you ask more questions, of course). Thank you for your questions - I've enjoyed answering them, and it's been fun to get more interaction with you all!

Tracy asked: Why won't you open your blinds more?? This drives me bonkers!! I bet it drives the kitties bonkers too!?!?
My window sills are at ground level, so if my blinds are open, people can see right in. Most of the pictures on the blog are taken in the evenings when the place looks pretty cave-like, but the way the blinds are angled does let in quite a bit of indirect sunlight during the day. Two of the windows in the apartment are a little farther away from the sidewalk, so I leave those blinds raised about 8-10" for the cats. They really aren't shy about poking their heads through the blinds on the other windows if they want to look out, though.

Cynthia asked:
For Scarlett: Is Melly really that irresistible? If so, how do you manage to resist her?
Says Scarlett: "She is only irresistible to you opposably thumbed types. I see right through her cuteness and charm and find her to be a pesky little (ok, not so little) interloper who prevents me from getting 100% of my human's attention. On the plus side, the food and toy situation did improve after she got here, so that's something."

For Melly: Do you have to try to be irresistible, or does it just come naturally?
Says Melly: "My appeal seems to be based on my adorably floofy appearance and enchanting personality, both of which I come by naturally. I have been told that everything I do somehow manages to be cute (seriously, I was just cooed at for yawning), so really, the problem is turning off the charm. I find that biting helps."

For Natalie: No question --- just thanks so much for sharing these girls with us. :) And for what it’s worth, I suspect that Scarlett’s life has been greatly enriched by the presence of the irrepressible Melly. Scarlett won’t admit it, but I bet it’s true!
It is my pleasure! And I really think you're right about Scarlett.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Habits, Floof, Interactions

First, a video. Geoff had hung his name badge for work on the door knob, exactly at Melly-height.

Now, on to the questions:

Tabitha asked: Do they have any bad habits? My cats bite their nails in the middle of the night and sit on the stove when the oven is on. Do they do any strange things?

Oh, do they ever. Melly's main bad habit is peeing on bath bats, which started when she was a kitten and didn't like the litter in her jail cell the bathroom. After thoroughly spraying down the bathroom with enzyme cleaner and going through two more bath mats, I broke her of the habit at my house. However, if I forget to put away the bath mat at Geoff's condo, she still does it there.

Scarlett and Melly share another bad habit, which is biting. Scarlett does little love-nips which occasionally get slightly vicious, and Melly sometimes snaps if she doesn't like how she's being pet - on the side of her chin instead of under it, for instance. I am working on breaking them both of the habit, but it's slow going.

As for strange things, I think the strangest is Scarlett and her sock. Nearly every night, she retrieves a blue sock with purple flowers from the bedroom (it is there for exactly this purpose), carries it into the hallway, and howls until someone says, "Good job, Scarlett. Way to kill that sock!" Then, the sock must be thrown back into the bedroom so she can repeat the exercise the next night.

Anonymous asked:
Is the texture of Melly's white fur different than her black fur- it looks like it is softer and plusher?

Melly's white fur is indeed a little bit thicker and more fluffy than her black fur. The white fur does look softer, I think because the contours and little points of floof are more visible, but I haven't noticed a difference in the feel of it, perhaps because Melly is so incredibly soft all over. Have you ever touched something that was so silky-soft that you almost couldn't feel it? That's how Melly's fur is.

Do Melly and Scarlet ever groom each other now that they've lived together a while?
I've never seen Melly groom Scarlett, but Scarlett periodically gives Melly's head a thorough once-over. She's actually been doing that for a while, but she's less grumpy about it these days (when Melly first arrived, Scarlett would growl as she licked). Melly has limited patience for the grooming, and after about five minutes of having her head buffeted this way and that by Scarlett's tongue, Melly will duck her head out of the way and whap at Scarlett.

Has Scarlet ever caught any live prey?
She once brought a young bird into my apartment and left it on the living room floor. You can read the full story here, but here's the bird:

Because the bird was completely unscathed - just a little traumatized - and because Scarlett hasn't caught anything before or since, I've been wondering lately if Scarlett actually did catch the bird. Since the sliding door was wide open, it's entirely possible that the bird just wandered in and froze when it saw Scarlett.

Has anyone else tried to find their cat's belly button under all that fluff?
I haven't, but you've made me really curious!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: More Treats, Sister, and Nocturnal Habits

It's a multi-part post today, folks! I'll start by addressing some follow-up questions on yesterday's post, then show some pictures, then answer a couple more questions.

Part I

Cat asked: What brand of treats are those?
They are PureBites Freeze-Dried Chicken Breast, and they're actually marketed for dogs, oddly enough. If I remember correctly, the bag I had was sent to us by Cat (not the same one who asked this question) in her Paw it Forward package. As I don't often venture into the doggy section of the pet store, I don't think I would have found these treats otherwise, so thanks, Cat!

FuzzyTales asked: But of course the question here is whether or not Melly eventually chewed her way into the bag.
I have no doubt that if I'd let her keep going, she would have. I eventually took pity on her and gave her and Scarlett the remaining treats, then dumped the chicken dust onto the floor for them to lick up. My hall floor was very shiny for a while after that.

Rene asked: Have you tried the freeze dried shrimp or cod?
Not yet, but I bet they'd like those! Also, I discovered today that PureBites makes freeze-dried duck, which I bet Scarlett and Melly would love.

Note: PureBites has no idea who I am and did not pay or otherwise compensate me to say nice things about their freeze-dried chicken. My kitties just like their stuff.

Part II

I picked up my stuff from the pottery studio the other day, and Melly decided that the box made an excellent place to relax.


And as I am very much a ceramics amateur, there are no pictures of pottery to share. I recommend heading over to Marlene's blog to check out the good stuff :)

Part III

Sparkle asked: Does Melly miss your sister?
You know, it's hard to tell. She does seem ever-so-slightly droopy sometimes, but it's possible that I'm just imagining it. I have been giving her extra snuggles to try and make up for the ones she was getting from my sister, so maybe that's helping.

Abby asked: We want to know if the girls have nocturnal habits?
Scarlett's nighttime routine is pretty dependable: shortly before bed, she spends about 20 minutes going bananas over one of her toys, usually a crinkly one. Then, when I go to bed, she hops up on the left side of the bed and snuggles up next to me. She's always there if I wake up during the night, so I think she stays there all night. Melly's nighttime habits are a lot less predictable. She still has kitteny moments in which she wakes me up at 3am by galloping across the bed and over my head, and sometimes I hear her banging around the apartment. Other nights, she spends all night curled up at my right shoulder and trying to mooch a bit of pillow space. And on yet other nights, she sleeps under the covers down by my feet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Treats

Rene asked: What are the girls' favorite treats? What do they dislike the most (brushing, nail clipping, etc)?

I'll start with what they dislike. I'd say that, for both cats, having their teeth brushed is at the top of the "most loathed activities" list. There is squirming, flailing, biting, and occasionally growling. It is miserable for everyone involved.

It's funny you should ask about the treats, since I just finished putting together a post about Melly's deep and abiding love for freeze-dried chicken. Scarlett never cared one way or another about treats until she saw how much Melly liked them, but she seems to prefer the freeze-dried chicken too. And since we're on the subject, here's the post about Melly and her beloved chicken:

Because of Melly's obsession with freeze-dried chicken, the bag of treats is normally kept hidden, but recently, I got it out to give Melly a reward for some especially good sitting. After I was done, I put the treats in the bowl on top of the hall shelf, and Melly took it upon herself to retrieve them.

And then she spent about 5 minutes trying to open the bag while Scarlett unhelpfully sat nearby and watched.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ask Scarlett and Melly: Spay Tattoos

I was going to put the answers to all of the questions in one post, but it got to be about a mile long, so I'm splitting them up.

There have been a few follow-up questions on the spay tattoo post. To better show what I'm talking about, here is an old picture of Melly in which her belly is still shaved, thus allowing an excellent view of her tattoo (it's the dark dash on the lower portion of her stomach).

I did a bit of reading yesterday on the subject of spay tattoos, and it turns out that many, but not all, veterinarians that spay and neuter cats use tattoos to show that a cat has been "fixed." It's more common with organizations like animal shelters and rescues than with private veterinarians. Apparently the practice started with feral cats: vets would notch or clip an ear tip so that neutered cats were readily identifiable and would not be put through the trauma of being re-trapped. Some vets actually clip the ear of non-feral cats too (ack!), but tattooing the belly, the inside of an ear, or both is more common. Since not all spay/neuter operations result in visible scars, the idea is that a vet about to perform a surgery will see the tattoo and stop before opening the cat up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Window Cats

It was dark out and the blinds were closed, so I'm not sure what the cats were so intently watching, but whatever it was, they were fascinated with it.

And to answer the questions on yesterday's post:

1) Mark: Doesn't she at least get to nap on the lower platform when Melly is on the top one?
No, she doesn't. I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a rule that only one cat can be on the tree at a time.

2) Abby: Is she keeping an eye out for Melly?
Probably. Being ambushed by tuxie is a strong possibility around here.

On a related subject, I have been enjoying the Q&A posts that a few other bloggers have been doing, and thought it might be fun to be on the other side of that. So... anybody have any questions? :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scarlett and the Cat Tree

Melly has monopolized the cat tree almost since her arrival, but occasionally she allows Scarlett a turn. Scarlett, however, doesn't seem to know what to do with her precious moments on the cat tree.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Melly decided that it's been too long since we've had belly floof on the blog.

In this picture, you can see Melly's spay tattoo. I didn't know until Melly that spayed cats had tattoos, although I suppose it does makes sense. I have tried to see if Scarlett has a tattoo, but since she doesn't particularly appreciate me poking around in her belly floof, I'm not sure if she does.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Elaboration on the Previous Post

Since there have been a couple of questions, I thought I'd give a rundown of the kitties' diet. I have tried feeding them separate portions, but since they end up trading bowls anyway, they now just share a dish. They eat mostly canned food, and I keep a few different types on rotation (all grain-free): Wellness chicken paté, EVO chicken paté, Nature's Variety Instinct duck paté, and Nature's Variety Instinct rabbit paté. I usually mix two different kinds together, which the cats prefer, and which keeps them from getting bored. The cats share about 1.75 ounces of their canned food mixture in the morning and in the evening (the measurement isn’t precise – I just portion out the big cans as accurately as I can). The cats also have a bowl of the grain-free Nature’s Variety dry food (chicken, I think) that is refilled in the morning and left out all day. I do measure that pretty precisely: they get 1/3 cup every day, although they rarely eat more than 1/4 cup. Any excess is measured back in with the next day’s food. As much as I would like to feed the cats canned food only, my schedule isn’t always very regular and I need to be able to leave some food out. I have fiddled with the portions of canned vs. dry, but the cats refuse to eat more than 1.75 ounces; any excess is left in the dish until it’s dry, at which point it is ignored.

I have looked into the recommended portions of the various foods, and used to feed the cats exactly that amount. However, that resulted in an alarming weight gain, so I slowly decreased the portions and am now feeding them considerably less. This is working well for Scarlett, obviously, as she has lost over a pound in the last three months. She is also a lot more active and plays more with her toys than I’ve ever seen her do before. I doubt I can get Scarlett down to nine pounds again since she was a young outdoor cat the last time she was that slim, but it’s something to aim for.

As for Melly, she’s been a lot less active lately, which could either be a function or a result of her weight gain. I think that engaging her in play to bring her activity level back up will be really helpful. She is a bigger cat than Scarlett is, so I think 10.5 pounds is an appropriate goal weight for her, although at this point, I’d be thrilled if I could get her to lose any weight. I think it’s time to finally get that big digital kitchen scale I’ve been eyeing so I can monitor this!

And also, camelama, that video is hilarious.

Scarlett and the Shredder

Scarlett was marginally more interested in the shredder than Melly was, and kept sniffing at the shredded paper. She ended up blowing the little pieces all over the floor, and their motion confused her greatly.

A couple of updates:

I will try to get the kitties and their tricks on video. I have tried to video Melly sitting on command before, but she develops a sudden obstinacy and lack of interest in treats the moment a video camera is pointed in her direction. It is most unhelpful.

Melly's eye ooze started getting worse again, so we took her to the vet yesterday, where she was diagnosed with an eye infection. It's no big deal, but I do have to put antibiotic ointment into her eyes three times daily. Fun times are being had by all.

Melly had her yearly checkup three months ago, and weighed 11.55 pounds. We managed to get Scarlett weighed at that appointment as well, and she was at a ghastly 12.20 pounds (for comparison, she weighed 9 pounds when I got her). We brought Scarlett to Melly's appointment yesterday, and managed to get her out of her carrier and onto the scale with very little fuss (the vet tech was astonished); she weighed 11.05 pounds! Huzzah! Well, as it turns out, Melly found the pound that Scarlett lost and now weighs 12.35 pounds. Sigh. I don't think I can safely cut their food ration much further, so more exercise for Melly is called for.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A New Toy

A new toy for me, that is. A couple of days ago, I decided to reorganize my files and started by getting a paper shredder. Unsurprisingly, Melly's favorite part of the shredder was the cardboard packing pieces from the box it came in:

I expected Melly to be interested in the piles of minced paper, but she was completely unfazed.

In other news, Scarlett has learned a trick! A bit of backstory: Scarlett never used to show much interest in treats, which was frustrating since she wouldn't let me brush her teeth and I wanted her to eat the teeth-cleaning treats. However, after watching Melly drool over, attack, and generally go crazy over treats, Scarlett finally decided to show some interest too. Early on, I trained Melly to sit, and in order to get a treat, she had to sit. In the interest of fairness, every time Melly sat, Scarlett got a treat too. I'd tried teaching Scarlett to sit over the years, but she refused, probably due to lack of motivation.

I've been working on some more tricks with Melly, like speaking (so far not very successful) and jumping. Yesterday evening, Melly and I were practicing her tricks, and I randomly told Scarlett to sit, using the same gesture I use for Melly. Scarlett sat! I figured it must be a fluke, and tried again. She sat again! And again! It would seem that Scarlett has learned by watching Melly and has been pretending not to know all this time. Sneaky, smart girl!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Drunk Melly

A couple of minutes before I snapped this picture, Melly jumped up onto the stereo from the couch, knocking several CD cases off it in the process. They fell to the floor with a loud clatter, which startled both Scarlett and me but left Melly unfazed. I realized by her slightly clumsy flop onto the speakers and the plethora of catnip toys on the floor nearby that my dear Mellybean was one plastered kitten.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Enjoying the Sun

She has the cutest profile.

Melly has been extra affectionate the past few days, perhaps because she is missing my sister and is looking for more attention. Yesterday morning, I woke up to find myself nose-to-nose with Melly, who was sleeping above my head with her chin resting on my pillow a couple of inches from my face. She does normally sleep with me, but usually stays off to the side a bit or goes down by my feet.

Although Melly usually puts up with all my belly snorgles and cuddles, she generally prefers to keep to herself. She likes to be near the humans and will sometimes sit on an available lap and demand chin scritches, but she is usually restrained in her affections (unlike Scarlett, who wants to be in almost constant physical contact with me). At any rate, when Melly decides to come and head-butt me and nuzzle, purring, into the crook of my elbow, it's kind of a big deal. It feels pretty darn special, too.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adorable Sleeper

I love how she was sleeping with her leg in the air.

She put it down immediately after I snapped the photo above.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Cutest

When I saw Scarlett sleeping like this, I backed sloooowly out of the bedroom to get the camera. I then tiptoed back and zoomed in to get these shots without waking her up. Her little white paws over her nose are so cute!

My sister is leaving this morning to go back to school. Scarlett never really took to her, but Melly just adored my sister and I know she'll really miss having her around. It's going to be hard for all of us to get used to her absence!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Melly has been spending a lot of time snoozing in her little house, and it's highly amusing to watch her try to sleep in her usual ridiculous positions while in a confined space. Usually, things spill out.

Don't mind her. She's just busy being the most adorable kitty on the face of the planet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Poor Ignored Kitty

"I am being ignored. How could someone ignore me?"

"Ooh, better!"


"Well, fine. I'll go bestow my adorableness upon someone else."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scarlett's Hideout

At my old apartment, this shelf was one of Scarlett's favorite places to snooze. At my current apartment, it ended up in a higher-traffic area and I started storing the cats' toys and cans of food there, so there wasn't really room for a cat, nor was it a peaceful place to nap.

I moved the cat food cans, and eventually Scarlett discovered she could just sit on the toys. The shelf provides a nice sheltered area in which she can keep an eye on the apartment, not to mention avoid being ambushed by a certain tuxie.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Innocent Victim

Poor Mellybean. She is always being accosted by the camera.

Well, that's what she gets for being so darn cute.

"Are you seriously taking a picture of my paws? Crazy lady.

Can I go back to sleep now?"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Playing Footsie

Melly was dozing on the loveseat in her usual belly-up position, and my sister just couldn't resist petting all that floof. With her foot.

Melly thought this was great fun, as sister's foot is perfect to wrestle with. And also gnaw on.

As Melly has many sharp pointy parts, sister eventually had to take her foot away, at which point Melly sulked.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Window Melly

She is so cute and silly, even when she's just sitting there.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Melly's Best Pal

"This is mom's sister. She is my Person."

"Please observe how I have conquered her lap and how she scritches my noggin."

"I love her."

"Mom tells me that my Person is abandoning us soon in pursuit of higher education.

I am sad."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A New Friend

My dad left yesterday after visiting for a week, and he and Melly got along swimmingly. At first she wasn't entirely sure what to make of him...

...but she eventually decided he was ok. Apparently, she visited Dad every night around midnight, sitting on his chest and staring at him until he woke up and scratched her ears.

On the last night Dad was here, Scarlett grudgingly gave him the seal of approval.