New Resource To Help Find Lost Cats

We have been following the career of Henry and his person Kim Freeman as they reunite more and more lost cats with their humans.

I hope we never need to hire Henry and Kim to find anybody Do you hear that, Colby!?! Colby’s the only one of us who has gone out into the big world for a long time. Reggie, Karma and I have all gone out but not recently. Actually, now that we have a well built catio, no one is particularly interested in even looking out the doors the humans use.

Nevertheless, I am glad Kim is nearby to help if we ever need her. She and Henry found some cats for the cat sanctuary in Dripping Springs this summer and another couple of cats who were lost in Austin. That got Oscar and Kim on the TV news!

Kim has a lot of advice to start a search for a lost kitty. Just recently, she issued a downloadable book, How to Find a Lost Cat,  to read right away. The book is an immediate download, so you won’t make some of the mistakes that humans often do when looking for lost kitties.

Karma-shelf-smlIf your cat is lost, first look in every conceivable place – and the inconceivable ones, too – INSIDE your house. WITH A FLASHLIGHT.

(See how well Karma blends in on the shelf with all of Robin’s stuff?)

My name is Cheshire Kitten because I have a super-developed ability to disappear. I used to scare Robin all the time by hiding. Now, she knows I’ll come out when I’m ready. She also knows to look in the cabinet for the water heaters, in the rafters, behind the enormous, orange thermos….


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Caturday at Our House



U.H. to Lexie: Why is one of your eyes smaller than the rest of them?


Lexie: *blinks*


Robin: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Wait. I wonder if someone whacked her?

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More Sewing

meg-bleu-sewing-smlMom wanted me to help her sew this morning, but I was BUSY and had to train Bleu. Besides, I helped her make the big pad with the horses on it and the Cheeses REALLY have to start doing something useful.

bleu-cutting-board-smlFirst, I taught Bleu about measuring. Mom and U.H. have a green mat with lines on it.  They put material down on it and we have to lie down on the material to make sure the pieces are the right size and shape. Mom had some of the zafu put together — somehow I missed her cutting circles and strips and making PLEATS yesterday. But Mom messed up without my help and made a circle that had a weak place in the fabric running across it. Since she is going to SIT on this cushion, I had to show Bleu how to help her make a new circle.

He really wanted to help with the cutting, which meant that I had to monitor the situation CAREFULLY. I told hime it’s DANGEROUS to get your feet near the cutter. Or your nose. The last thing I want is for one of these Cheeses to get MORE ATTENTION by needing an emergency vet visit.

Next, Mom had to sew the long strip with the pleats onto the two circles. The strip makes the sides, and once we stuff the zafu the pleats will pooch out. Mom said it will look like my belly.

Mom thinks pooching out is cute. That means I’M cuter than Bleu.

bleu-sits-sews-smlMom uses a machine to make most of her stitches. We usually wait on the cutting table while she does that. The machine is kind of loud, and Mom won’t let us touch her pins.

Pins would be SO MUCH FUN!

Mom wants me to tell you that she used directions from Buddhamind to make the zafu. The circles are 12 1/4″ in diameter. The strip for the side is 9″ wide and after pleating, it’s about 35″ long. She turned under the ends of the strip (which is not in the directions) to have a finished edge once the cushion is stuffed.

The mat (zabuton) we made last week has a panel by Laurel Burch and striped fabric from U.H.’s quilting cabinet. The finished mat is about 36″ on all sides. Inside the layers Mom put six layers of cotton batting from cutting up one queen-sized cotton batt. Mom tied the batt layers before putting them into the fabric envelope. The back of the mat is the same fabric as the zafu. Green, to match MY eyes.

Mom ordered kapok for stuffing from Carolina Morning Body Friendly Furniture. They say it takes two and a half pounds, so Mom ordered five pounds.

Bleu and Mom got the zafu all sewed together. It will be SO FUN to stuff it when the kapok comes in the mail! I will definitely help with stuffing. I can’t leave that to the amateurs.




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Kitties and Contemplative Practice

cheddar-meditation-matRobin and Nutmeggy made this meditation mat, or zabuton. Robin says the sewing itself is a contemplative practice. Meggy says it’s fun to pounce on cotton batting!

Everyone, except Belle, helped a little bit to make the mat. I helped cut batting to the correct size.

The Cheeses helped slip stitch the end.

Robin has pretty green fabric to make a zafu, which is a meditation cushion, for Robin to sit on on top of the mat. She says the mat helps her ankles feel more comfy while she sits on the floor.

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Take a Chance

ollie-robin-smlRobin is about halfway through the Tellington TTouch practitioner training. She Ttouches us, does case studies with other dogs and cats, and makes stuff to help her in her practice. One thing she made is called a thinking cap, and since she made it for one of the dogs in the prison training program, our neighbor dog helped her get the design right.

Chance-bandageTTouch uses a lot of wraps. To make wraps, they usually adapt elastic bandages to wrap around dogs, cats, horses, humans… You name the creature, a TTouch practitioner has probably wrapped one! Mostly, Robin wraps dogs. She has a lot of standard elastic bandages that are about two inches wide, and she cut some in half for the smaller dogs. Like Chance.

Chance is also in Paws in Prison. He’s coming to Thunderpaws for grooming and staying overnight with his groomer to practice being somewhere other than prison. Chance is a bit nervous about grooming tools and having people touch his feet. He used to be even more nervous. Robin met Chance at Thunderpaws for a TTouch session last week to establish that good things could happen at the groomer. He didn’t get a haircut until this week, but he did get wrapped. The other humans said he looked like a World War I veteran returning from battle in his head wrap and half body wrap. (They do have a point!)

The TTouch founders are concerned about animals looking like they are injured or being embarrassed about their wraps. They encourage students and practitioners to dye the wraps nice colors. Robin met a practitioner who has alpacas, and she crochets wraps from the alpaca yarn. Robin decided to try knitting wraps, especially for the really big dogs and the little dogs. Like Chance.

Chance-knitThis week, she went to the groomer when Chance was part-way done with his cut and style. Our groomer is really kind and good and had been getting him used to the tools, but Chance got a bit weary of that. When dogs started arriving for training class, he said he was done being styled. Robin wrapped his body and his head again. This time, she tried out a knitted head wrap in peacock blue. Chance looked quite a bit more stylish.

Robin knitted a very long, wide wrap in multicolor yarn. Now she’s doing a wrap in the same peacock blue for a bigger dog. She even has a friend knitting wraps for the animals!

P.S. If you are interested in adopting Chance or one of the other Paws in Prison dogs, let us know! You can check them out on their website.

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Mousa Lisa from the art museum

Robin brought us a toy she found in the gift shop at the Blanton Museum. Moody Pet makes six Funhouse Mouse characters. We got Mousa Lisa. Robin caught the Cheeses’ initial introduction to Mousa Lisa on video. You can see for yourself!

(Mousa Lisa and the Cheeses)

And just in case you missed Bleu’s skateboarding videos, here’s chapter 1 and chapter 2.


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In the Company of Cats and Dogs in Austin, Texas

Bast_Egypte_louvre_058Robin and U.H. spent a few hours in Austin today to look at an art exhibit called In the Company of Cats and Dogs at the Blanton Museum of Art. The exhibit spanned human history from Bast to Henri.

The first part of the exhibit introduced the ancient view of dogs helping humans deal with death and cats providing protection for the human’s food. The works came from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia and Mesoamerica. Next came myth and religion, which was mostly art from medieval Christian culture. Boy, did they not trust us cats! Dogs came off a bit better but not too much. The text of the exhibit states cats are not mentioned in the Bible at all. Dogs are mentioned a few dozen times, “only one of them kindly.”

Two rooms look at dogs and cats hunting and one presents ethical issues about hunting with dogs. Robin was especially drawn to a painting of otterhounds by John Sargent Noble. Luckily, just the dogs in the landscape. One dog is just about to shake, which Robin thought was cool. A section on herding also featured working dogs.

Scenes of abandonment were featured in one section. Another dealt with aggression, mostly of dogs both for protection of their people and otherwise. Morality was another theme. Robin particularly enjoyed a photo of a white cat in the window of a lingerie shop in France by Henri Cartier-Bresson and a Japanese geisha snuggling with her cat.

cinderellaAnother section of the exhibit presented domestic scenes. Lots of lap dogs, as you might imagine when the exhibit drew on a collection that favors European art up to 1900. A huge painting presented Cinderella and her cat on the hearth in the foreground while the evil stepsisters got all gussied up in the distance.

dogs-link-paradiseIn the room for kids to be actively engaged with the art, they had some of the panels from Boogie the Boston terrier trying to teach humans how to speak dog, some paper for kids to draw and a couple of great quotes. The quote from Milan Kundera in the photograph of the wall shows that dogs have changed position from guides to the underworld in ancient times to helping humans remember what it was like before they got thrown out of paradise (if you believe the Christian stories).

On another wall they quoted Albert Schweitzer saying “There are two means of refuge from the madness of life, music and cats.”

Robin missed some pictures in one room because she was overwhelmed by a huge painting of a cowboy. She couldn’t even tell us if the cowboy was with a dog or a cat. I suspect a dog!

The museum human showed some cool cat videos, including Henri and Nora as well as Japanese cats with fruit and flowers on their heads. U.H. thought one of the kitties in that video looked like a Cheese.

Sadly, Robin was counting on buying a catalog of the exhibit but found out in the gift shop that the museum didn’t make one for this show. (This means she will likely be going back before “Cats and Dogs” closes on Sept. 21!) She did find some neat toys for kids, dogs and cats in the shop. She brought one home for us, and tomorrow I’ll show you video of the Cheeses and the new toy. I guarantee you’ll laugh!

This isn’t the same ancient Egyptian statue of Bast that Robin saw. This one was photographed by Guillaume Blanchard (Guillaume Blanchard) [CC-BY-SA-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Skateboard Lessons

The Cheeses are making the most of Kitten School. Bleu has started learning to skateboard.

I wish I had started training when I was a youngster.

Anyway, U.H. made a video of one of the morning skateboard lessons. I’ll let Robin tell you about what they are doing after you watch a little of the video.


Bleu and I started working with the skateboard in mid-August when that cool video of  Didga the cat was circulating on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of our friends sent the video to us and challenged the Cheeses and me to get on the skateboard too. I read that it took Didga and his trainer about a year and a half to put together the cool ride we see in the video.

This piece of information also gave me a lot of satisfaction about how far Bleu progressed on the board in the first week of training!

We worked with a training technique called shaping. I put the skateboard in the middle of the room, and clicked (reinforced) Bleu every time he interacted with the board. On the first day he got up on it and sat down. Woo Hoo!!! The next day, he pushed off and rolled the board — woo hoo NOT — and scared himself. He got clicked for pushing off and ate the treat when he came back in the room… I wondered if Bleu would go on the board next time I got it out or if he was done because it moved (he didn’t much like it that the roomba moved, so I had a precedent.)

Next day, he got right back on. Yay!

We are a couple of weeks into training and establishing voice and hand cues for the things Bleu does with and on the board. I learned a lot about my training technique by watching the video. For example, I realized with this video session that I’m saying, “let’s skate” both when I’d like him to get on the board and when he starts moving. I’m going to switch to “let’s roll” for the moment the skateboard is going to roll. He needs one voice cue for each behavior. If he doesn’t know what I really mean, he will get confused. At least I would.

We are having a lot of fun with the skateboard. I think Bleu is already a better skater than I am!


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Chilling with Karma



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Bleu finds his sport

Bleu-Briebutt-board-smlBleu gave up the roomba lessons and has taken up skateboard. He likes skateboarding. U.H. likes to see Bleu on the board much more than she enjoyed knowing he was sitting on Bruce, her roomba.

Skateboarding is Bleu’s top subject in Kitten School. Brie got on the board a couple of times when Robin first brought it home, so he’ll be next to focus on this track in the curriculum. Cheddar is still working on riding in the pouch. Colby is sweet and shakes his paw when Robin invites him to “shake.”

Bleu can get the skateboard rolling on his own, and he also rides when RBleu-on-board-smlobin pulls the board along. We have told Robin that our Cuddle Family needs video proof of Bleu’s progress, but she says she has to wait until Laura comes over because she can click, treat, pull the skateboard and take video all at the same time.

We told her to get over herself because Bleu deserves a good video.


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