Friday, August 9, 2019


Ragdolls were mainly bred from long-haired, Persian cats.  This means a lot of problems.  Mainly, they are usually medium to long haired. Like the Maine Coon, the males often have a spectacular mane as well. 
Maine coon and ragdoll with mane
ragdoll with mane

Ragdoll with mane

Gus's mane came in thick and beautiful.  He's very handsome.  
Gus and his mane

However, longer haired cats have grooming requirements beyond their own tongues.  They need to be brushed quite often.  I brush Gus daily. It's probably fine to do it every other day, but he likes to lay in my arms and have me brush him, so I'm not going to say no!  Brushing him also turns his fur from a cottony texture to a silky one.  His type of fur doesn't mat very easy, and I've never had to cut or pick a mat out, but I don't want him to have to suffer mats anyway!  

The secret to a beautiful silky coat is this:

The right brush. That's right, the brush matters!  This type is generally referred to as a slicker brush.  I found out about them years ago. I had a Samoyed (actually I had two, in a row). 

Samoyeds are a wonderful dog breed, but their coats are a chore.  They were originally bred as Siberian sled dogs. They have a very thick and luxurious undercoat that they shed twice a year, and it requires a lot of work to get it out of the longer guard hairs.  A groomer showed me the secret.  You take the slicker brush, part the hair and start down at the skin.  The brush collects all that fluffy undercoat and you save yourself a hundred dollar grooming bill!  

So, I've been a slicker brush fan for a long time.  I got cat-sized versions for Oberon, one of my past long haired kitties, and I used it on all of the cats I've had since.  They love it (long or short).  It's like having a metal cat tongue.  The brush tines are bent so they grab the hair and smooth it like a wool carding brush. Plus, it helps keep shedding to a minimum.  It's the only way to go for grooming, and a definite for a long-haired baby!

Brushing your kitty has several benefits.  You get to spend one on one time with them building your bond, it makes their coats silky and soft to the touch, it decreases the amount hair that they shed on your clothing, furniture and carpet, but the best reason is it decreases the amount of their own hair that they consume through grooming keeping their digestive systems healthier!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Being silly

My friend Deb came over the other day.  She is Socks's mom.  Anyway, I was half heartily playing with Gus because he wanted too, but we were visiting so I wasn't paying much attention.  He was in his tree.  I've tied several things on the tree.  One is his old chickadee on a string, then this fuzzy ball thing that used to be on a stick, but it broke.  So he was playing with these and I was swinging his feathers on a stick up there so he could get them too.

At one point he had a paw on all three things.  To do this, he laid across two bars on his tree and hung his head and arms through it.

We were laughing because he is so weird.

Next, he discovered that he needed extra attention.  I was folding laundry, and that appeared to be fun.  So he plunked himself in the basket I was filling.

Of course, he is big enough that I couldn't get anymore clothes in.  Then he proceeded to stare me down.  Ugh! So to finish folding the laundry, I had to stop and pay him some attention. 
Luckily, I wanted all of my clean clothing to come with a fine layer of creamy cat hair!  He refused to leave the basket until he grew bored and let me finish!

Do you have a fresh laundry cat?  Jinx and sometimes Raz would never let me finish making a bed with fresh sheets.  I don't know if it was the fresh smell, or getting my undivided attention, but I always ended with a cat shaped lump in the bed!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Daddy's boy

I've been gone a lot this summer, and I feel bad for Gus.  He's my baby and has bonded with me.  Chad, my husband, has always been a little sad that Gus didn't bond with him as strongly.  After I was gone for a week in Anchorage for surgery, Gus bonded a little with Chad, but he was still not as close as he is with me. 
Gus asleep in my arms
For example, he'll sleep in my arms.  He'll come up to me or I'll scoop him up and he totally relaxes and goes to sleep like a baby.  He'll also let me brush him when he is in this position. He won't do this with his daddy.

So this past week, I was gone for almost another week.  During this time, Chad was also home the full time I was gone.  Something happened.  They finally bonded more.  He came up to be held once.  He followed Chad around.  He hung out on the couch by him.  

One day I get this text.  "Help." I was worried and got ready to call, then I get this pic and text. 
Gus in Chad's underwear,
"I'm being attacked.  Gus is rolling around and hanging on to my underwear (Chad was on the toilet).  Right before this pic, he had all four legs in my underwear and he was standing in them, I tried to get a pic but I wasn't fast enough.  For a moment, he and I were literally wearing my underwear." I laughed.

No emergency vehicles required.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cat Show Gus

I haven't written for a while, because I abandoned Gus for a week.  I had surgery in Anchorage and the doctors made me stay down there in a hotel for a week before they'd clear me to come back home.  I wanted to take Gus, but the hotel we like doesn't allow pets. I had to leave him in care of the neighbor boy.  I think we might have psychologically damaged him because he gets a little weird when he sees suitcases now.

Chad and I were sitting on the couch this morning playing with our boy.  He was enjoying playing with his feathers and using his daddy as a cave (Chad had a blanket over his lap).  Chad turns to me and says, "You know we are grown adults playing with a cat. " I said, "Yes, so?" He smiles and says that we should probably take stock of our lives.  We look around and the entire house is dedicated to Gus.

Gus has a fancy watermelon bed, although he sleeps all over our house.

He has a seven foot tree. 
He has toys enough for several cats. Although he prefers to shred his daddy's documents to playing with most of them...

He has his own treat bowl on our very small counter top.
And today, his daddy made him a fish pond. We have these little fish that when you put them in water, they swim.  I had forgotten about them, but Chad found them in the junk drawer.

So Chad says, "The only thing we don't do are cat shows.  We need to get a cat trailer, and all the gear and start going."  (I used to be into horses, and we had a horse trailer and all the gear for horse shows, so...)

What do you think?  Could this mug win a show?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hot Mess

It's hot today.  Uncharacteristically.  Usually in the summer, the highs may reach the 50s. Today, it was 70.  It won't last, and it was gorgeous outside, but inside it is another story.  The buildings here are overheated all year round.  They have to be, even in the summer.  So, they are heated today, and it is smoking hot inside with no real way to cool them down.  I have a fan in every window, and we are still sweating. 

Gus is also suffering.  Since he is sporting a thick coat, he's really hot. After we came back from his big adventure, he played hard, knocked stuff off of shelves, dragged around one of Chad's socks and killed it repeatedly, then he crashed.  The only problem was, he likes to sleep by us. We are on the couch. The couch is leather.  It's cool at first, then it warms up as you stay in one place.  So Gus has migrated from the back of each section of couch every  10-15 min.  as he tries to nap. 

Proof below!
1st position

2nd position

3rd position

Up close since he's so cute

4th position
He just switched again, but believe it or not, I'm tired of taking the little slacker's picture--not really.  I'm just hot.

Gus's Big Adventure

Socks's daddy picked him up the other day, and since then Gus has been a little depressed, or bored.  So today I decided to take him on an adventure. There's not much you can do around here if your a kitty -- outside that is-- it's not safe.  There are lots of dogs roaming, there are owls, and foxes. Not that I'd let him outside anyway.

I took the four wheeler to the beach yesterday and it was so beautiful that I thought Gus might enjoy it.  I put him in his airplane carrier, because it's a little more comfortable than the hard plastic one, and strapped him to the front of the wheeler.
Gus in his carrier at the beach.
We rode down the beach a ways, but it was sort of bouncy, and I didn't want to jar the juices out of him!  He watched out of the screened sides and front, and I could see he was quiet and calm.  We didn't go for very long, but he was so good for his first outing (that wasn't to the vet)!

Before this, we went to his daddy's office.  Because, why not? I figured he could get out in a safe place where he was limited so he wouldn't get lost or hurt.  He was excited to be in a new place and explored like a mad kitty. His sniffer was going fast and he was flehmen at all the new scents. He explored daddy's toys, and didn't break anything, although he made sure to dust the entire desk.
Chad letting Gus out of the box.

No idea what he is doing.  Maybe trying to fit between plane and bottom of cabinets?

Cleaning behind the computers.

Trying to go on a plane ride?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Most Spoiled

Gus, although he doesn't know it, lives the life of the rich and famous.  According to my husband, who really is funny but don't tell him it goes to his head, he's a million dollar cat.  Most of the lifestyle he enjoys has been provided by my niece, yes, the same one that convinced us to get him.

She's the one that bought his monstrous 7 ft tall cat tree.
Socks and Gus in tree
Yesterday, she told me to come over because she bought him a cat bed.  Before I show you the cuteness, one thing about Gus is he loves his comfort. This is strange to me.  Jinx always loved hard, cold surfaces.  He'd ignore a cushion for the tile floor.  Raz liked a lap. Even if a cushion was available, he'd be on your lap.  Gus loves pillow and blankies.  I keep a soft fuzzy blue blanky on the couch for him.  
Gus on his blue blanky

He loves to get on my couch pillows especially if there is a fuzzy blanket over them.  The problem is, they keep getting moved around.  This makes him sad.  
Gus on blanky over couch pillow
Don't get me wrong, he loves to be held, and sometimes that's what he wants, but when he wants to crash, he likes his royal arse on a plump, purple cushion.  Thus, the lovely watermelon bed.  I kid you not.  She bought him a watermelon.

Ready for a nap

How dare you take my picture
He loves it. He's sleeping the afternoon away right now inside of a watermelon.  Oy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Crusty Gus

After school got out, I left Gus for a week to go to Utah to see my mom.  When I got back, he had a terrible crusty little chin.
Gus's crusty chin

I had no idea what was wrong.  When I felt it or examined it up close, it didn't look like an injury, it looked like a burn.  The problem was that the hair was still in it, so it wasn't a physical heat burn.  I took him to the vet.  

Apparently, he has something called, kitty chin acne.  Great, my baby was a teenager!  Not really, it's not caused by puberty or anything, but a type of allergic reaction.  The vet said the most common cause was plastic food bowls.

Gus has mainly stainless steel bowls.  However, my sister gave me this cute little blue plastic bowl, after I was discussing an article about food bowls-- regarding her dog who is food shy.  Apparently, a lot of animals struggle to eat in traditional shaped bowls because they jar their whiskers.  So the article was describing shallow low-rimmed bowls that wouldn't hit the whiskers but could still contain food or water.  Therefore, the cute plastic bowl.
Of course, it was Gus's favorite bowl.  Since I was going to Anchorage for a minute for a doctor's appointment, I found some similar shaped stainless steel bowls to replace the cute one. They are utilitarian and ugly, but low and non-whisker jarring.  

His chin is slowly clearing up. It's gross though, I have to scrap it and treat it with medicated wipes.  He hates it.  Ugh, off to do it again now!

Gus and Socks

I live in a native village.  This puts things into a unique perspective.  First, white people are definitely not first class citizens, maybe 3rd or 4th class.  Next, most school teachers, like me, only stay up here when school is in session, because their homes and often their families are somewhere in the lower 48. They leave for Christmas break, and they leave for summer break. 

I don't leave.  My family is scattered, I don't have another home, and my sister and niece live up here with me so Barrow, AK is my home year round. This puts me in a unique position for some of my friends.  My neighbor has me watering her plants and picking up her mail, and my very dear friend (she works with me and we are in the same church) left me her cat for a part of the summer. 

I might have mentioned Socks before in a previous post.  Socks helped us decide to get Gus.  We love Socks.
This is Socks playing with Gus's electronic mouse toy.

Socks is a very different personality from Gus.  He's very shy.  I don't think he's lived around another kitty before, but I'd have to run that by my friend!  Anyway, he struggled for about 3 days when he came to stay with us this time (the first time took him a week or more).  He wasn't really shy of us after a day, but he was terrified of Gus.

Now, if you knew Gus, you know that is the funniest statement ever.  Gus is a cottonball.  He looks and feels like one, and there isn't a mean bone in his body (his daddy even calls him the giant q-tip among other things).  He was confused by Socks.  Gus lived in a household with other cats, and we have long surmised that he may be lonely for another one.  He followed Socks around a little, curious, but wary (since Socks growled at him), but he wanted to make a friend.

Socks was so afraid, that he hid under our bed.  He went to the litter box, but he was afraid to get in it (maybe that he'd be ambushed? Unknown.) He was so afraid, he held it for two days, then exploded with pee all over my bed.  (I'm sorry I didn't tell you Deb, but everything is fine now Socks is good... no worries, I have pets and I have a very expensive mattress cover that protects the bed from everything!)

I felt terrible.  I cleaned up and put a new litter box under the bed for Socks, so he'd feel more welcome.  (I should have thought that through in advance, but Socks had spent time here before so I didn't think it would be a big deal).

Well, you guessed it. You can't separate cats.  Gus started using that litter box and Socks started using the old one in the utility room.  So, problem solved. After a week I put both litter boxes in there and there hasn't been a single accident or complaint since. 

Socks didn't eat for a couple of days either. I'd get him to eat a few treats if I put them under his face, but he was too nervous.  Then Gus started eating his food (the grass is always greener, you know) and Socks started eating Gus's food.  So I didn't have a righteous set of diarrhea to clean up, I had to start mixing their foods together. 

That progressed to tandem treat time.  Sorry Deb, but we have the bad habit of giving Gus his treats on the kitchen counter.  Raz trained us to do that, and we taught Gus.  Gus taught Socks. 
Gus and Socks eating treats on our kitchen counter.

Then, they started playing together.  First it was chase, you know, one cat would chase another down the hall and they'd reverse and come back. Then it was tandem running (Chad said they ran like a mule team up and down the hall shoulder to shoulder), and now it's full on wrestling. 
These two are now fast friends. They sleep on the bed together, with or without us. They play together.  They still don't eat together; they like to eat out of each other's bowls though.  They are buddies!
Sorry it's so dark, but both boys on bed.

Gus and Socks playing

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Jingle balls down

I've written about how much Gus loves jingle balls.  By that I mean the little cage like balls with a bell inside that jingle when you touch them.  Up until recently, if you touched or accidentally jingle jangled a ball, Gus would come running, quickly assuming the position behind a barrier so he could pounce. 

One of us would stand at each end of the hall to throw jingles for him to run after, swat, and pounce on.  It was a joyful time for Gus. 

Then, disaster struck.  Right on his nose.  He got smacked two times in a row right in the schnoz.  Now, he is terrified of jingle balls. 

You can only imagine how many jingle balls my tiny apartment currently holds.  It feels like hundreds.  Now, I can't even jingle one without Gus looking around and slinking behind the couch.  It breaks my heart. 

He still loves his feathers though.  With his new bird obsession, at least he has a feather he can catch!  I'm afraid of the day a bird does come around.  If a jingle ball to the nose is all it takes, I can't imagine what a beak to his nose would do! 

He still has his catnip toys I guess.  I can't imagine what those could do to his nose!

swatting feathers

leaping towards feathers

Healthy boy

So my husband and I were looking through the pics of Gus when I first brought him home. We noticed something.  Gus looks healthier now.  Here is a pic of him the day I picked him up.  He is in his carrier sitting at the airport.  Look at his color and the condition of his coat. Even his brilliant violet blue eyes look faded.

His color is almost brown.  He is most definitely lavender pointed.  Now after four months of premium cat food and regular brushing, he looks like this:

I guess we are doing something right.  He even feels healthy. He eats a lot, and his body feels muscular.  You can feel the ridge of the edge of his ribs, but it is covered with muscle and his stomach is firm.  Of course he runs through our house like he is being chased by cheetahs.  Often.

Besides playing hard, he loves to sleep hard.  He likes to do it stretched out with his feet up.  I'm not kidding. 


Ragdolls were mainly bred from long-haired, Persian cats.  This means a lot of problems.  Mainly, they are usually medium to long haired. Li...