addressing an older cat

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Talking to an older cat

My cat Toby is an older gent. Come October (2017) he’ll be thirteen years old. I heard myself saying to him “Good boy,” after he did something sweet, as he frequently does.

Addressing an older cat

I calculate 1 cat year equals 5 human years, which means for Toby, when he celebrates his birthday, he’ll be 65 years old in human years.  So is iit appropriate to address him as “boy”?

I think not.

Hence, I now refer to him as “cat-man”.

addressing an o,dear cat

photo by shari smith dunaif © 2017

So now I say “Toby, you’re a good cat-man.”

Brutus the supermarket cat honored

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Beloved supermarket cat

Here’s one for a cat who decided to be a supermarket’s greeter, or mascot, or just a guy who liked to hang around and see people smile. Which the customers at Morrison’s supermarket certainly did. This story “Brutus the supermarket cat honored” made us smile too.

Brutus the supermarket cat honored

photo by Dale Miles

Brutus began visiting a supermarket across the street from his home in Saltney, UK. He started visiting the site before the market was built in 2009, but once Morrison’s opened in 2011, he became a big part of the supermarket’s customer service. Shoppers not only got their groceries, they usually also left with a smile any time Brutus was lounging in shopping carts,   Or wandering in the aisles.

Brutus the supermarket cat

Brutus lounging on Morrison’s supermarket


Brutus checking cat food supplies

Brutus checks on cat food supplies
                                                                                               photo by maxinekeira

As a kitten, Brutus was a stray living in the street. Until Claire Owens, a veterinarian nurse, met Brutus when he was brought to the Knutsfod, UK practice where she worked. “Brutus” Ms. Owens said “having been found being kicked about by some horrible kids in the street.” He was only six months old.
Since no one claimed him after seven days, Claire and husband Adam adopted him. A happy arrangement for all three. Brutus spent the next several years visiting Morrison’s supermarket.
On January, 2017, Brutus died from kidney disease. The staff at Morrison’s supermarket, and thousands of customers, were heartbroken. Especially effected were Claire and Adam Owens; they decided to honor Brutus, who provided so much joy to so many.
Claire and Adam set up a crowdfunding appeal and raised £1,000 ($1288.35) in less than 24 hours, which increased during the next serval months totaling to nearly £5000 ($6441.75). The Morrisons also contributed over £1,000 toward the memorial, which is a bronze sculpture of Brutus, made by Jane Robbins Sculpture Limited and Castle Fine Arts Foundry Ltd. Brutus memorial statueThe remaining funded money will be donated to local animal charities Chester Kitty Cat Rescue and Ark Angels Rescue.

“Brutus is finally finished!” Claire said. “This week I went to Liverpool to check out the almost finished masterpiece – all he needed was a bit of buffing in places to make his lighter patches show up and then the final coat of wax applied to make him shine.” She continued,
“When I saw him just before he was due to have the finishing touches applied, it was as if he was actually sitting there and it made me feel quite emotional. I miss him so much, we all do, and still can’t believe he’s not here anymore.”

Brutus the cat

photo by Dale Miles, taken around September last year

Claire added: “He’ll get a shiny head in no time after all the strokes he’s going to get! If it wasn’t for all the kind donations from not just his local fans, but fans from around the country and even some from around the world…his statue wouldn’t have been possible. So thank you all.”

information provided by Carmella De Lucia

Can I teach my cat to be held?

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can I teach my cat to be held?

can my cat learn to be held photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Shelter kitten likes to be held
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Ever gone to a shelter and picked up a cat, and the cat instantly relaxes? Some do, but not all cats will – some just don’t like it. They don’t like being picked up, and certainly don’t want to be held.

What if your cat doesn’t like being held?

Have you said to yourself (and your cat) Can I teach my cat to be held? 

My cat use to hate being held. I’d scoop her up, and she’d immediately start squirming. Sometimes she’d unintenitionally scratch me as she jumped out of my arms. Her name is Marnie, and she’s a rescue. She was three when she joined our family. I don’t know how she was treated by her previous family, but she definitely was neglected: she was skittish and emaciated. And if I were to venture a guess, she may never have been held as a sign of affection. It’s likely she’s been grabbed, swatted at, but held with love? Probably not. I wondered: can I teach my cat to be held? So I thought about how to let Marnie feel comfortable being picked up and held.

can my cat learn to be held?

Can my cat learn to be held?
photo by s.dunaif ©2017

cat learning to be held

Marnie learning to be being held
photo by s.dunaif ©2017

So I started very gradually.

  • I’d simply pick her up and release her – immediately. It was important to let Marnie get use to being picked up.

I wanted her to associate being picked up as non threatening. After a few weeks, she seemed to be less nervous when I picked her up. She was ready for the next step.


  • I’d keep her in my arms for a few seconds, then let her go – before she became squirmy

This was to help her gain trust while being in my grasp; we did that for a few weeks. Then, once Marnie was ready to be held a little longer, we added more time.

  • I held her, releasing her as soon as she got fidgety.

This was to let Marnie feel in control of how long she wanted to be held.

Finally, she let me hold her and purrs.

  • Marnie was relaxed enough to enjoy being held – most of the time!


cat learns to be held - and likes it

Marnie learned to be held – and likes it
photo by s. dunaif©2017




After nearly 18 months, Marnie knows she is loved.




What my cat’s meow means

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A cat meows for lots of reasons

Like everybody everywhere, some cats are quite chatty, while others not so much, but at one time or another, your cat will look at you and meow. And? Chances are, your cat wants or needs something. What my cat’s meow means? Often it’s food or attention.

cat eats

Toby eats
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016

Or, maybe they’re trying to tell you something else. One morning my cat Toby, a cat of few words, leapt onto the bed I hadn’t gotten out of yet and looked at me while he was meowing. He had food, so it must be something else. I petted him behind his ear, which he loves – makes him smile. But not this time, no he looked me in the eye and meowed again. Toby had never done this before. Maybe he was saying something about the litter boxes.
I always clean their boxes every morning and if necessary, at night too. But he needed to use the litter box, and someone else had used both boxes and he wanted his litter cleaned NOW!

why cats meow

“Scratch my ears. Please.”
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016



Other times, Toby meows because he does want his ear scratched. I love seeing Toby smile.


Or when you get home from work or taking care of errands, or whatever happens beyond your cat’s world – which is irrelevant and insignificant to your cat, you are back. Maybe, your cat greets you with a happy Meow!
Our wonderful and talkative cat Little Bear (we miss her so much) would meow every time we’d sneeze. Every time – I sneeze a lot because I’m allergic to cats, it was like she was saying “I know you love me!”

Introvert or extrovert, cats certainly communicate. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’ve heard that cats only meow to their human companions. Either way, cats do meow as one of several ways they communicate with us.

♥     ♥     ♥

what is a polydactyl cat?

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is my cat polydactyl?

The typical domestic cat has 5 toes on their front paws, and 4 toes on their hind paws. That is, unless they have more. In which case, it is a Polydactyl cat: a cat with more than the normal amount of toes. What is a polydactyl cat?

what is a polydactyl cat

polydactyl cat


Polydactyl cats are not a particular breed, and the trait can appear in any breed: Calicos, Tabbies, white, black, etc. So what is a polydactyl cat?

what is a polydactyl cat

mitten paws





A version of polydactyl is “mitten paws,” it occurs when the extra toes are attached on the medial side, the “thumb” side of the paw. These polydactyl cats look like they have opposable thumbs, and some act like they do. With increased dexterity, they are enable to open clasps and windows.

snowshoe paws


Cats that have multiple toes that aren’t “mitten paws” just appear to have big feet, which are called “snowshoe paws” or “pancake feet.”

canadian lynx

Canadian lyxn






These type of polydactyl paws are similar to the Canadian lynx, who have very large paws, enabling them to walk on top of snow.

Mariners valued polydactyl cats.They were traditionally seen on sailing ships when sail boats were used for trade. Sailors saw that polydactyl cats had extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities, useful for controlling rodents. Perhaps that’s why they considered polydactyl cats good luck on a ship.

Quentin Roosevelt and Slippers

Polydactyl cats have been popular for a while. President Theodore Roosevelt brought Slippers, who’s right paw had six toes,  to the white house, around 1906. Photo is of his son Quentin, with Slippers.

Polydactyls were made even more popular by writer Ernest Hemingway. In the 1930’s, sea captain Stanley Dexter gave Hemingway a six-toed cat named Snowball. Hemingway’s home in Key West, Florida is now a museum where around sixty cats live. At least half of the cats are polydacts, most likely the decendents of Hemingway’s cat Snowball.

what is a polydactyl cat

Hemingway and polydactyl cat