Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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To help bring 2017 to a close Let’s Talk About Your Cat features three famous internet cats and my friend Laura Kicey of Olive & Rye Cat Art. Laura currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her partner Michael and her three cats Olive, Rye and newest addition Fig. When she isn’t busy being the social media manager for her feline trio, Laura works as a freelance graphic designer, photographer and illustrator. In addition she is also the creative force behind Kittydelphia, an annual cat-themed pop-up shop event in Philly.

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Left to right: Olive, Fig and Rye

How did Olive & Rye Cat Art come about?

It really started to develop not long after I made an Instagram account for Olive and Rye, in October 2014, about two months after we adopted them. I just wanted to post photos of them and not overwhelm friends who followed my other (non-cat) photography work. Their account following took off pretty quickly and by June 2015 we had 10k followers. I was also building my business as a cat portrait artist around their account and meeting clients through other cat accounts on Instagram. It grew over the years and I attended many cat-centric events and met lots of fellow cat enthusiasts as well as people who were also in the “cat biz” who became great friends.

I was meeting people and drawing their cats for fun and other people saw them on Instagram and asked me to draw their cats as well. It was getting a bit overwhelming so I decided to open an Etsy shop to accommodate the requests and it took off. I’ve probably drawn around 350 cats since I started and, though it is a bit hard on my heart sometimes I still find it very special to be able to do memorial portraits. Making something that moves people, especially through a shared love of kitties is pretty awesome. In addition to custom portraits I make other cat art and housewares, apparel, and accessories featuring my art.

Tell us about your cats

Our oldest cat Olive is about 4 to 5 years old. We suspect she was raised by dogs or maybe by possums because she doesn’t know how to be a cat or even meow. Olive is very gentle, rather awkward, a bit nervous and bewildered by everything. She is also extremely lazy except for an hour per day when she is activated, during that time she is a complete maniac, galloping around the house, attacking rugs and waving her paws around dramatically. She doesn’t really like being held but she is very into sitting on laps, in particular my lap, and receiving belly rubs.

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Olive is a small calico alien although she is often described as a domestic shorthair, but she is definitely mostly alien.”

Our middle child cat Rye is about 3 and a half years old now. Rye is a tortoiseshell domestic shorthair and the biggest of all our cats at the moment. Of all the cats I have ever had in my life, she is the most “normal” and also is incredibly sweet, chatty, and gentle.

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“She loves being held and hugged and riding on shoulders.”

Our newest and youngest Fig, is about 7 months old now. Fig is also a tortie domestic shorthair and looks like she is aiming to be gigantic as she is already 8lbs 8oz.  She is obsessed with water and loves to watch me in the shower from the edge of the tub or from between the shower liner and curtain. She will jump in the tub when I am done to play with the water dripping and puddles, then she enjoys getting a blow-dry. She is completely fearless and very chatty – always has something important on her mind she needs to share.
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“For a still-kitteny-cat, Fig is pretty calm and loves to cuddle, but it turns out she is a huge drama queen. She has the biggest mouth and is always chatting and whining – such a little showboat!”

How did your cats come into your life?

I had my first cat, Maggie, for 14 years when she died at age 17 back in 2014. I adopted another cat, Hazel, right after losing Maggie, but sadly Hazel died from cancer six months after we adopted her. It had been a very bad year and while it was extremely difficult, I still wanted to have a cat in my life. We started looking at adoptable cats online and I was hoping to find a cat around 3 to 4 years old. Michael showed me a photo of Olive (then Minnie) on the Philly PAWS site and I was taken, but we saw some others that we thought were cute too. I applied to adopt through PAWS and planned on keeping an open mind.

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“I had always been very drawn to calico cats, my previous cats Hazel and Maggs both were calicoes, and Olive was just so unique looking with her huge green eyes.”

Olive was estimated at 1 to 2 years old when we met her, she was napping and very calm. Michael had been wandering around looking at other cats when he was literally grabbed by a little tortie from between the bars of her cage, he begged me to take her to the back room so we could meet her. Even though Rye (then Nittnay) was only 6 to 8 months old, she was also pretty calm but still playful. Michael suggested we take both of them and, when they met each other briefly at PAWS Rye was a bit hissy but we decided to take the plunge. They had to be kept apart for several weeks while we treated Olive’s URI and herpes-related eye issues but they couldn’t stop tickling each others paws under the door. When we finally introduced them, they took to each other straight away.

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“They were both a bit younger than I was looking for but they were both irresistible.”

Inspired by the cat centered events I had attended, I decided to make a local event for cat lovers last year and Kittydelphia was born. I invited Philly area cat-stuff makers to be vendors, I also sold my own work and merchandise there. There were also guest celebricats and daily raffles. I named PAWS as the recipient of all donations from the event and they had adoptable cats available throughout the weekend as well as kittens in foster. On the last day of Kittydelphia, I had gone into the back room and saw Michael holding a tiny tortie kitten from the foster litter attending the event. He put her in my arms as I walked by and I was done. As I was holding her, I said, this is a Fig if ever I met one! After some discussion we applied to adopt her, her foster mom had said no one else had been interested in adopting her, and were accepted. We had to wait a few weeks until after her spay to bring her home but she fit in straight away.

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“Rye especially took to her and now they are quite inseparable.”

What is your first memory or experience with cats?
 
Besides college I don’t think I have gone more than a few weeks without having a cat in my life. When I was very young, my mother had a big ginger tabby named Pistachio, Pooh for short. I have little memory of him but I have seen photos of us together. My main childhood cat was May, a 6lb ginger tabby girl who was my best buddy growing up. We never had multiple cats in the house so having this crew was all new for me and I love it. I’m not sure I could go back to being a one-cat girl.

Anything else people should know?

I intend to do Kittydelphia again in 2018 and I am really looking forward to growing the concept a bit. I am waiting until 2018 to make any major planning moves on that though! I am always adding things to my Etsy shop, whenever I finish up a new piece of cat art. I am really hoping to complete the alphabet cats series I started in 2017 as well!

If you would like to have your cat/s featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, feel free to contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com
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Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

The first Let’s Talk About Your Cat of 2017 is sure to help get your new year started off on the right paw. It features one of Purr and Roar’s followers, and fellow blogger’s, cats from San Diego, California. Thanks to Lisa for sharing the story and photo’s of her beautiful cats Dimitri and Milo!

Dimitri is a 4 years old, classic tabby and white Norwegian Forest Cat and, Milo is a 4 years old, black and white Norwegian Forest Cat.

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Dimitri (left) and Milo (right) hanging out on the kitchen counter

Describe your cats personalities

Milo is Dimitri’s “brother from another mother”—literally! They have two different moms, born 3 months apart, but they have the same father. Milo looks just like their dad. Norwegian Forest Cats are a naturally large breed, and Dimitri is a perfect example of this at 15 pounds.

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Milo (top) with his paw on Dimitri (bottom)

Milo is a little more petite and dainty at 12 pounds. My husband and I forget how big they appear to people (especially Dimitri) because we are so used to their size after living with them for 4 years. The other day at the vet the parents of a little Shih Tzu couldn’t believe the size of Dimitri…he was way bigger than their dog! We’ve also noticed that “regular” cats seem very small to us now. I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to all that fur…especially when they “molt” their winter coats in the spring!

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Dimitri in full winter coat

In addition to their size differences, they definitely have different personalities. Both are very sweet and gentle, but while Dimitri is more independent, Milo is very people-oriented. Dimitri is content to go off and sleep in a quiet spot for hours. He always wakes up in a happy mood and comes looking for rubs and pets. He carries his fluffy tail high like a plume when he walks around. He also likes to sleep flat on his back and curl his paws. All that fluffy white belly fur is pretty irresistible, but he’s likely to flip over and go “brrr” if you try to pet it.

While Dimitri is a cat’s cat, Milo is more like a puppy. He’s very vocal and affectionate…if you talk to him he’s likely to talk back, and if you pet him he’ll start purring. He loves getting pets while he eats his food, and jumping onto laps for a cuddle session…whether it’s a good time for us or not. He’s not shy around strangers, and many workmen who have come to the house have been totally charmed by Milo. He will follow them around, lie on their stuff, and just generally make a cat person out of everyone he meets.

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Milo relaxing in his chair

We live in a warm climate and have a sun room at the back of our house (renamed “the cat room”) where we put their cat trees and a toy basket. They love to sit in the tops of their trees and enjoy the breeze from all the windows. Our back yard is home to lots of little lizards and we’ve planted flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so they keep busy watching the wildlife all year-round. San Diego is not exactly Norway, but they seem to enjoy the Southern California lifestyle!

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Dimitri (top) and Milo (bottom) checking out the view from the “cat room”

How did your cats come into your life?

All of my previous cats have been rescues, but Norwegian Forest Cats have been my “dream cat” ever since I first learned about them many years ago. I was fascinated by their story…an old, natural breed literally from the forests of Norway. They were always somewhat rare and in danger of vanishing due to interbreeding with domestic short hairs in their surroundings. Cat lovers in Norway began making a concerted effort to save the breed from disappearing, beginning in the 1970s. They’ve been around for centuries (they’re said to have traveled the world with the Vikings on their boats…maybe even to North America, becoming the Maine Coon) but have been an officially recognized breed for only a relatively short time.

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Dimitri as a kitten

It’s very hard to find a rescued Norwegian. They’re rare to begin with and many breeders ask that owners return the cats to them if they can no longer care for them. As much as I admired them, I never thought I’d ever actually have one. After my last rescue kitty passed away, I began looking into the feasibility of getting one…or as it turned out, two. Careful research led me to a highly regarded breeder who was just as discriminating as I was. We flew cross-country so she could meet us and—just as importantly—we could see her home and meet her cats. Then we got on the kitten waiting list. Then we flew cross-country again two more times to pick up each kitten in person (many reputable breeders won’t ship). Getting our boys was definitely a labor of love. It pays to do your research, be patient, and yes, spend a bit of money to work with someone you’re comfortable with and get the cats you want. You kind of have to be a little obsessed to go this route, and while it’s not for everyone, the stars really did align for us.

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Milo as a kitten, with Hello Kitty

What is your first memory or experience with cats?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crazy about cats. I’ve loved them ever since I could remember. When I was around 5, some of the neighborhood kids came around asking if my family would take in a little kitten. They said his mother had been hit by a car and he was by her side when they found him. I begged my parents to keep him but they said no. The kitten ended up at another house down the street and my mom and I saw him in the yard one day, looking even scruffier than before (I think he had some bubble gum and grease stuck in his fur). He looked pathetic enough for my mother to change her mind and agree to take him in. He was our only family pet and my close companion all through my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. I’d do my homework on my bedroom floor and he’d always sit on my books and papers…or if I was lying on my stomach, perch on my back. He passed away not long after I graduated from college, as if his death marked both an ending and a beginning.

Anything else people should know? 

I proudly admit to being a cat person, and those “I like cats more than people” t-shirts were definitely made for me! Talk about stereotypes, I was even an academic librarian for many years before switching to freelance writing. Cozying up with a good book and a cat or two is my idea of heaven.  I do love all animals though, and have been known to act like an excited kid when I see a cute dog out for a walk or pass by the hamsters at the local pet store. I’ve volunteered for several animal welfare organizations over the years, some that worked with all animals and some that were specific to cats.

Cat rescue work is important but I’ve taken a bit of a break from it as I have to admit I find it emotionally draining sometimes. I used to work at a small cat shelter and found myself getting a little too upset at some of the things I saw, mostly related to what people are capable of doing to innocent animals.

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Dimitri looking handsome

A move from Colorado to California two years ago offered the opportunity for a fresh start. I heard about a local non-profit called the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) which provides financial assistance to pet owners who are unable to pay for all or part of their animal’s emergency or critical veterinary care. Urinary blockages are among the most common feline health problems that FACE helps people with. I’ve been writing the FACE Foundation blog on a volunteer basis for a couple of years now…just a small way of contributing to such a worthy cause.

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One of Lisa’s favorite pictures of Milo

Having faced an expensive kitty health crisis or two in my own life—including the dreaded urinary blockage—I can certainly appreciate how overwhelming costly veterinary bills can be while you are in the middle of making very important decisions about your pet’s medical care.

If you would like to have your cat/s featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, feel free to contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com

Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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Let’s Talk About Your Cat is back and features two ‘little Lions’ from Toronto. Thanks to Kay for sharing her story and beautiful photos!

Q What are your cats/names/age/color/breed

K The last name of the boys is ‘Singh’ which is derived from the Sanskrit for “Lion”. It’s widely used in various parts of India and for my particular family ancestry it’s the last name given to males in the Sikh religion.

Sahib-Puppy Singh, or Sahib, is a 6-year-old domestic short hair. He is all black with some white spots and green eyes.

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Sahib-Puppy Singh means ‘Sir Puppy Lion’

Niku-Monster Singh, or Niku is a 4-year-old domestic short hair. He is also black with some white spots and yellow eyes.

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Niku-Monster Singh means ‘Little Monster Lion’

They are “Two Singhs from Toronto” aka Two Lions from Toronto!

Q Describe your cats personalities

K Sahib is my big boy, a conversationalist, a hide-n-seek player who likes to tell me how his day is going and what he wants and when he wants it. For example when its time for me to open the door and let him roam the building corridor and visit the neighbor or, when he would like dinner to be served. He also has a cuddle schedule whereby around 7:30pm each night he walks out of the bedroom and announces his arrival into the living room and proceeds to sit on my lap positioning himself such that his head is tucked into the crook of my left arm. During daylight savings it takes a few week to adjust his schedule to the new 7:30pm but it does happen. Sahib prefers to eat spider plants over cat grass and patiently waits for me to bring home each new spider plant for my coffee table or shelf decoration and then he requests it for his dietary enjoyment instead of my aesthetic needs.

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Sahib requests about 15 mins of a neck massage while he drools onto my arm. If I stop short of the 15 minutes he lifts his head up and lets me know we aren’t done with a short chirp.

K Niku is a funny little guy with a funny way of doing just about everything. He opens the door of the bedroom closet and hides when someone buzzes my apartment, he bathes his face and front paws in the water dish, he sleeps under blankets and in boxes, he stands up on his hind legs for tricks and treats, he chases reflections of light up and down walls and will go from restful nap to 60 mph in 2 seconds for the right bright light reflection.  Niku must sit inside every gym bag, suitcase, laundry basket, tote bag that enters and leaves my home. Although Niku prefers to not be lifted off the ground or picked up in general, he does like to always be near me and frequently sits next to me and extends one leg so his paw is lightly resting on my leg or shoulder or foot.  When its time for Niku-Monster’s cuddles it’s a fun performance, he comes over to me and puts his face into mine and I scratch his chin and cheeks and around his ears, then he stumbles away from me and goes to his big brother Sahib and gets some brotherly face grooming for a minute or two. Then he staggers back to me for more scratches around his neck and then back to his brother again for more. This goes on for a few minutes until eventually he topples over into a drunken stupor of purring and mouth breathing cuteness.

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Niku the vampire kitty his top canines stick out just a tiny bit and can be seen over his bottom lip when his mouth is fully closed.

Q How did your cats come into your life?

K Sahib was a feral cat from a rescue agency and Niku is from my next door neighbor. I did an enormous about of research before I adopted Sahib to ensure my lifestyle was suitable for a pet and also so I knew how to be prepared.  Everyone around me knew I was researching.  At my office my coworkers and bosses acknowledged my cat adoption alongside other employee family child births and child adoptions which was really fun and nice.

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Cat research!

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Sahib on adoption day

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First day meeting Niku

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

K I grew up on a farm and had a few cats as pets. Because it was farm life I wasn’t able to form much of a bond with them and was always afraid of getting scratched as a child.  Then in primary school I had friends with cats but unfortunately learned only negative superstitious ramblings about black cats. As an adult I learned from a Temple Grandin book that black cats actually tend to have the mildest and friendliest of temperaments among the domestic cat breeds. I cannot remember the exact details except there was some evolutionary theory behind it supported by black cat population patterns and domesticity research.

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Niku left, Sahib Right

Q Anything else people should know? 

K I held a birthday party for my cats one year which turned into the best indulgence for a cat owner. It was heaven for me, I designed all the games, and I used prizes and treats for the humans to keep them interested!

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Birthday celebrations an afternoon of cat talk, cat trivia and a cat slide show.

K Adopting cats and living with animals increased my already sensitive nature to a new level. I had to use more intuition and grow a sense of ‘felt knowing’ with my two cats to understand their needs and requests. I learned, adjusted and became even more aware of non verbal temperament and tonality not only in them, but also in the others around me. It’s hard to explain, some will understand this and others might laugh at it, but this is what happened and as a result I think much more deeply about the effects of my actions and behaviors because I’ve seen how little it takes to impact others in my environment.

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Sahib Top, Niku Bottom

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Sahib left, Niku right

Sahib the conversationalist, has a short discussion with mom 

If you would like to have your cat featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com

Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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Today, Let’s Talk About Your Cat features a 3 year old Bengal Cat formerly named Milow that had been surrendered by his owners to a veterinary clinic after being found injured. After receiving lots of love and care from the clinic he got a new name and found his forever home with my friend Angela.

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 Jenko (fka Milow), is one photogenic cat!

Q How did Jenko come into your life?

A Jenko came into the clinic where I work as an emergency case when he had been shot with an air rifle. The owners surrendered him to our clinic when they were unable to raise the necessary funds to pay for his care. While he was in the clinic, I would visit with him daily and give him hugs and scratches under his chin. Once he was fully recovered, I was fortunate enough to adopt him. His story was one of the inspirations of our Vets Animal Charity which was set up to assist owners with financial constraints in an emergency situation.

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The pellet that was removed from Jenko

Q How did you come up with the name Jenko

A Jenko was named after Channing Tatums character, who also got shot, from the movie 21 Jump street.

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Jenko stays close to mom

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One content cat

Q Describe Jenko’s personality

A Jenko is a very sweet boy, and is usually found right next to me.  He follows me into the kitchen where I think he would eat all day if I let him, and he loves water! He jumps up on the counter when I turn the tap on in the kitchen or when I am brushing my teeth in the bathroom. Sometimes I will fill the kitchen sink up a bit and put something in the water and he’ll play for ages, even standing with one foot in the water. He is very interested in the shower as well, and I think he may eventually go right in it. He also loves heat and sits directly on or in front of the heating vents in the house.

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Jenko has perfected his yoga moves

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

A When I was in high school we moved and I was very sad to leave my friends and the school that I attended. My parents bought me a cat to keep me company and to help with the loneliness. She was a long-haired tabby and absolutely adorable. That was the first cat that owned me and I have had cats in my life ever since.

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The perfect spotted belly

Q Anything else people should know?

A We also have a dog named Gertie that came to us from a rescue in California. We originally took Jenko home on a trial basis only to see if they would get along, and he never left. Within the first 24 hours, they were lying next to each other on the couch and Jenko was licking Gertie’s head. Now it’s almost like having two dogs, they run around the house like maniacs and greet us together when we come home. I can’t imagine life without them now!

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Jenko and Gertie fast friends

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Who is the boss?

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Jenko and Gertie a perfect match

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Napping buddies in their favorite spot

If you would like to have your cat featured in Let’s Talk About Your Cat, leave a message or contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com 🐱

 

Let’s Talk About Your Cat! Special Edition

I am very excited to feature a cat named Xander for this extended and special edition of Let’s Talk About Your Cat.

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

A huge thank you goes out to Xander’s pet mom Rachel Gruen for allowing me to share his inspiring story with others.

Q What are your cats/names/age/color/breed

Joey male buff tabby 3 years old; Delilah female tortoiseshell calico 5 years old; Xander male black 4 years old; and Skyler male gray tabby 2 years old – all domestic short hairs.

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Delilah, Joey, Skyler and Xander – a family portrait

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

RG My family had cats throughout my young childhood, then had to stop because I developed a cat allergy. Fortunately I just take allergy medicine now to manage it, and I’m fine!

Q Describe your cats personalities

RG  Joey is Xander’s mentor, he looks to him for everything and is his shadow! Delilah is Joey’s biological mom and the adoptive mom of the other two. Xander spent his first three years in a research lab, he has been free since January 2014 and is so resilient and such a love. Skylar was the first one to make friends with Xander, his best friend and main play-wrestling opponent.

Xander looks out an open window for the first time

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Q How did your cats come into your life?

RG  In 2011 I finally got an apartment where I could have cats! I walked around the cat room at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT) open-intake shelter, and Delilah was there with Joey. Skyler was a feral kitten who got trapped on my sunken-in patio in fall 2012, he was terrified of people but the vet I took him to taught me how to wrap him in a towel to make him feel safe. I found Xander when I was on a vegetarian recipe site and saw a link to Beagle Freedom Project’s (BFP) most recent beagle rescue. I was not looking for another cat, but when I saw that this rescue was five cats, which is VERY unusual, I just had to click the story.

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Once I saw Xander’s handsome black fur and yellow eyes, I just fell in love with him. I filled out an adoption application, and even though they have rescues all over the country, he happened to be just two hours away! It was fate. I met him at his foster home in March 2014, and he climbed onto my lap, the only time he has ever done that…he chose me too.

Q How was it to watch the video of Xander taking his first steps of freedom after the lab?

RG Honestly, watching that video and seeing him slink out of the carrier, nervous and unsure, is what really grabbed my heart. I just knew that I was meant to be his mom and ensure that he never had to be scared like that again. Xander was named Jax, but I changed it to Xander because it means “defender of all,” and I consider him a defender of all lab animals. It made me more determined to make every second of his free life the best that it can be.

Xander and his foster-sister Shira, another BFP rescue from his lab. Very sadly, Shira passed away in the summer from a sudden and unexpected seizure

Q What if any issues does Xander have as a result of his former life?

RG When Xander first came home with me, I noticed that he spent a lot of time staring into his water dish and at blank spaces on the wall. He also cocked his head in this adorable but very un-cat-like way whenever I came into the room—like a puppy putting its head to the side, which I have never seen a cat do before. Because of these behaviors, I think he may have been used for neurological research. However, it is also possible that those are just some unique mannerisms that he picked up because he lived for three years in a restrictive lab environment. Interestingly, both of those behaviors have since greatly decreased, so either his brain has recovered from the trauma done to it or he has learned that he does not have to act that way and can just be a normal, calm house cat in a very safe place.

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“Thousands of lab animals lives mirror Xander’s life, minus the happy ending, tragically most cats are euthanized after experimentation.”

He also did not wash his face after he ate—a sign that he was taken away from his mom when he was too young, fortunately he has an awesome cat family that taught him about normal cat hygiene, and he was a very quick study! Also, his paw pads became cracked after a few days, and I had to find a cruelty-free paw butter to use which worked like magic. This could be a result of what was done to him in the lab or because he was not used to running and playing so much, and his paws had to toughen up…I think it’s probably the latter. Fortunately he has great house cat paw pads now. 🙂

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Q What have been some of the best moments with Xander?

RG Honestly, the best moments are the little ones—when I first held him in my arms, and then the first time that he pushed away from me to be put down…I know that might sound strange, but he was so used to being manhandled and used for experimentation that at first he was not a normal cat, as he would just go limp in my arms as if resigned to whatever was going to happen to him. The first time he told me that he was ready to be put down, I was THRILLED! It has been amazing to see his true independent cat streak emerge. I love how playful he is—he is kittenish even though he turned four; he has a lot of time to make up for! I adore when we are having a quiet night at home and he is snuggling with his brothers, grooming them, and/or play-fighting with them. I also love walking around the house, just cuddling him, hearing his purrs, being SO thankful that he is free and that he is mine. He has truly brought so much to all of our lives.

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Q After all Xander has been through, to see him trust a human shows the capacity that animals have to forgive. What have these qualities taught you?

RG I am so humbled by it. The fact that for his entire life he was used and abused by humans for their own means, never given a choice in the matter, and yet he is still the most loving of all of my cats toward visitors to the house…it truly shows how intelligent, resilient, and good-natured cats are, especially him. He also teaches me to be present in each moment, because he is—he does not even think about his bad days, he is so focused on his good life now. I have also learned in running his Facebook page that there are SO many compassionate people in the world. It truly restores your faith in humanity!

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Q If people reading this only take two things away from Xander’s story what would you like them to be? 

RG To always choose education and awareness over ignorance, particularly when it comes to animal testing. Buying cruelty-free items and sharing Xander’s story really does make a true and genuine difference. I have always loved all animals, not just cats, which is a big part of why I have been a vegetarian for a decade and vegan since this summer. Deciding to live a completely humane and compassionate lifestyle has been a great choice for me.

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Xander asks you to choose Cruelty Free products

Finally, the depths of forgiveness, gentleness, love, curiosity, and hope that I have seen in Xander and learned from him have been astounding. He never looks back, I know that he does not live with regret, fear, or pain, even when he remembers what happened to him in the lab. That only makes him appreciate his free life more. He is a survivor in the truest sense of the word, and not only that, he is thriving in his new life, enriching the lives of his cat family, me, and everyone whose heart he touches with his story.

For more Xander be sure to follow Xander the Rescued Lab Cat on Facebook

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“Knowledge is power – everyone can make a difference”

Xander’s story is not unique, it is estimated that between “20,000 and 25,000 cats are used in research labs in the US every year.” Source American Anit-Vivisection Society

In 2011 in Canada it is estimated that “6,220 cats were reported used in research”  Source Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC)

Suggested resources on the  topic

Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

Today, Let’s Talk About Your Cat features a trio of rescue felines who found their home with Toronto artist Melanie Lowe.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her story and her adorable cats!

Q What are your cats/names/age/color/breed

Tobias – 4 years old, cream tabby, domestic short hair

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Tobias, aka the goof, you can see why. That’s his sister Sid he is sitting on.

Sid – 2.5 years old, all black, domestic short hair

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Sid aka the sweetie, aka Tobias’s pillow

 Poppy – 1 year old, tuxedo, domestic medium hair

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Poppy aka the shy guy

Q Describe your cats personalities

ML Tobias is a quirky cat. He is pretty hilarious at times and very particular about certain things. Sometimes he can be a little bossy with the other cats. He has become very chatty and will ask you to turn on the shower for him, even though he has fresh water in his dish.

Sid is the sweetest cat I’ve ever met. She has a sleek black coat and loves to play fetch with a little pink ball. If you don’t throw it when she wants you to, she’ll tell you. Quite often she will carry her toys upstairs and onto the bed on the middle of the night for play time.

Poppy adores Tobias…he looks up to him like a big brother. They play together all the time and snuggle in their favorite chair for hours. He is still sometimes kind of shy, but he is coming out of his shell. We named him Poppy because he looks like a small old man with his long white whiskers and ear tufts.

Q How did your cats come into your life?

ML All adopted. Tobias is from Toronto Animal Services. Sid and Poppy are both from Toronto Cat Rescue. Adopt, don’t shop!

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The cat cave

Q What made you choose each cat?

ML Hmm, I think it most cases, the cat chooses you, but there has to be something that draws you to them. There is always something in the interaction when you first meet, like they fall asleep in your arms.

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

ML I can’t be sure as I have always lived with at least one cat!

Lets Talk about your cat, cats, Orange tabby, cat adoption, Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Cat Rescue, Melanie Lowe, They Choose You, Cats as artists muse, cats in art

Tobias with Poppy for some quality snuggle time

Melanie will be combining her love of cats and art for a project called They Choose You which aims to help homeless felines get adopted. The show runs at Artscape Youngplace November 22-23.

🐱 If you would like to have your cat featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, share a story some pictures and the cat love, contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com

Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

For the first post of Let’s Talk About Your Cat  I am very excited to feature a cool kitty that I cat sat for a few weeks back, a cat that before our meeting was “cat-napped”, returned home and became a local celebrity in the process!

Thanks to pet mom Tamara S. for sharing!

Q What is your cats name/age/color/breed

A Margaret, Male (but I didn’t know that when I named him), 8yrs, black, medium/long-haired domestic.

Cats, Black cats, Catnapped, Lets talk about your cat, cat stories, rescue, stray cats, adoption, Toronto

Handsome Margaret the cat who came in for Christmas

Q Describe your cats personality

A Friendly but street smart, Margaret has a legion of fans at the senior’s apartment building up the road. He is an indoor/outdoor cat since he came to me from outdoors.

Q How did your cat come into your life?

A Margaret belonged to one of the seniors in the apartment building up the road. I’m not sure whether his person died, or went into care but Margaret was left out in the parkette across the street from my home where he lived for a summer. Apparently a couple of different people tried to adopt him, taking him away to their homes, but Margaret was all about location and would return to the parkette after each adventure. In the fall of that year, as the weather grew colder, Margaret started coming to visit me in my place. At first he would come in just for a snack and leave again or sometimes he’d stay for a nap. Finally on a cold snowy Christmas eve, Margaret came in and stayed for 36 hours straight and the rest as they say, is history. Obviously, he chose the house, I just came in the bargain.

Cats, Black cats, Catnapped, Lets talk about your cat, cat stories, rescue, stray cats, adoption, Toronto

Looking dapper

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

A I grew up with dogs, and was terribly allergic to them. The advice was always that if you’re allergic to dogs you’re going to be twice as allergic to cats so I always stayed away from cats. Until I finally spent some time around one and found my allergy wasn’t nearly as bad as my dog allergy. So a cat was sort of compromise animal. I’m still allergic but manage-ably so, and I get all this love!! It’s a good deal.

Q Anything else people should know? 

A Recently Margaret failed to return home one night and while it is unusual for him to not show up at the back door at bedtime, it is not utterly unheard of. However when he didn’t return the next day either I started to worry calling all the shelters and rescue organizations and posting on facebook. I began walking up and down my alley calling for him and asking if anyone had seen him eventually running in to a neighbor who said she’d seen the strangest thing, a man and a woman had been chasing an animal nearby, trapping it in a cage and taking it away.

The neighbor said at first she’d though it was a squirrel but then began to realize that it was my cat, she then proceeded to tell them that there were other cats around and maybe they were taking the wrong one, but the “cat-nappers” told her that it was the cat they were looking for. So poor Margaret had been cat-napped!! Later with the help of a friend I made up a series of “Missing cat” posters and put them up all up and down my alley and on the main street nearby. They generated a lot of attention but no Margaret. It was now Saturday and Margaret had been missing for 5 days. This was serious.

I tried to imagine what the people had been thinking. Were they trying to be helpful? Had they thought Margaret was a stray? But he has a tattoo as well as a microchip. Surely if they’d been well-meaning cat rescuers they would have found that out by now and returned him. Did they take him just because he is so beautiful and they wanted him for themselves? Or for some nefarious purpose? This was just too terrible to contemplate.

Cats, Black cats, Catnapped, Lets talk about your cat, cat stories, rescue, stray cats, adoption, Toronto

Please Bring Back My Cat – A case of mistaken identity

I decided to go big. I spent the weekend cutting out giant letters. A stencil that I intended to paint across the entire side of my building. And up I got on a ladder to tape up the big paper stencil. It read “PLEASE BRING BACK MY CAT”.

Anyone who had a heart wouldn’t be able to resist I reasoned. And no sooner had I taped the giant letters up for all the world to see, then a man walked up to me and said “I’m the man who took your cat”. He told me that Margaret bore a striking resemblance to a cat that a friend had fostered several years before, so he had purloined my feline and “returned” him to the person he believed to be the rightful owner.

I told him I was so relieved and that I hadn’t slept for days, both true, and he told me Margaret would be brought back that afternoon. The cat-napper also said that poor Margaret was so scared he had been hiding under the lazy boy for five days and that it had been uncertain as to whether this was their missing cat? No kidding, It wasn’t her cat!!! And so Margaret was returned, a little skinny from his ordeal but otherwise none the worse for wear. A happy ending to a very stressful adventure!

Cats, Black cats, Catnapped, Lets talk about your cat, cat stories, rescue, stray cats, adoption, Toronto

Returned from his adventure looking a little thin

 More pictures of Margaret, after the incident, can be seen here.

🐱 If you would like to have your cat featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, share a story some pictures and the cat love, contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com