Sunday, February 22, 2009


Sister and brother Suboo and Toobu are household words on this blog now, and you can follow their evolution as love bugs starting at age about 7 weeks if you click at the bottom of the blog on "Older Posts." Suboo's favorite food is potato chips, which we understand provides excellent nutrition for cats as well as humans. Their male co-caretaker regularly gives them what he calls just a "small amount," and indeed it is a small amount for a human 30 times their size. The yellow cast in this photo is from all the sunflower oil in the chips. If you know of a chip that uses whiter oil so that our photos will look better, please write to us.


Suboo and Toobu have been practicing this act for three months, and it looks ready to roll, except that Suboo, the girl on the bottom, says she can't keep her eyes open with Toobu on her head. Well, unless we've walked a mile in her shoes, who's to criticize?


Love bugs Suboo and Toobu sleeping sweetly as usual in this photo, one of 5,000 shots of them lying side by side. Suboo, the girl at top, is the agressor here, a bit of an alpha cat whose arch enemy is Gypsy for reasons known only to them, if that.

C O P Y C A T S These are the famous fraternal twins from our "Boo" Series: Suboo girl, top, and Toobu boy, bottom. We charge a nominal $5 a foot to look at them. Although there are only three legs showing, they do have the standard eight legs between them. Stay tuned for release of our Boo II Series, featuring Muboo and Foobu.

Yes and no. The photo illustrates Dolby girl in the "no" mode. The statue of this village god in South India makes a perfect vantage point. There is no reason to think he would not appreciate a cat headdress. He seems a bit surprise to suddenly find a cat on his head, but that's only natural. This form of god is found on the outskirts of villages in small wayside shrines, often without the cat hat. Our cook put the pottu on his forehead and the eyeballs one day when we were out. I retaliated by adding the gold ornaments from candy wrappers, which the cats subsequently redesigned. Dolby, by the way, is mentioned in a previous post as the cat who was spayed inadequately. She went in four days ago for a second operation by another vet ... who found that the first had not only left in the one ovary he first admitted to forgetting, then later denied, but both! And still had the gall to charge for the operation! Incredible INDIA!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


INSTEAD OF HANDCUFFS, Dolby girl innovates the footcuffs, cleverly using her tail in a wrap that conserves heat in the traditional belly-up pose. Same-color, all-white, and black cats shouldn't waste their time with this, from a graphics standpoint. Dolby has real fashion sense.


GYPSY is a sweetheart with a tiny birdlike meow, a scaredy cat who picks fights with anyone who looks a little too long at her. People can stare at her as long as they like. She was found standing over the body of her white sibling on a garbage pile on a Cochin back street, staring off into the distance, wondering what to do. An easy pick-up, whisked off into a cushy future ... but what to do about the scaredy side? Now she has a time-out guestroom where she can chill when needed ... and her "opponents" can alternatively be parked for variety. Note her remarkable ability to sleep with her tail up. Can you do that?
Who is this charming couple? Tuboo and Soobu (bro and sister) have a lot to say about loving. (They are shown tiny at the chronological beginning page of this blog.) When they first emerge from our cat nursery and were ready to join our greater cat world, they still retained an enormous attachment for one another's heads, arranging them in an endless varied of positions. Even though they have grown into the adult cats' ability to be easily distracted, when they encounter one another again at night on the main sofa, they slip easily back into their heads-cuddling enjoyment of sleeping close.
TUBOO & SOOBU are two fine heads in love, pictured when they were tiny at the beginning of this blog (click on "Older Posts" at bottom of page). This photo shows just one of thousands of positions they sleep in to show they care. (Tuboo is the boy, below.) Soobu usually instigates the love fest on the sofa at night, and can be fairly insistent. It's "Cuddle or else," but Tuboo likes the hairy pillow effect, too. Tuboo is part Borzoi, which readers may find hard to believe, as this photo does not show up his pedigree as much as the hundreds I've taken of him, but eventually we'll post irrefutable proof of his Asian canine connection.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Dolby, The Feline Amplifier (top, girl), and Uppali, Everyone's Role Model, are caught here in typical poses. Dolby, by following Uppali's every move, learned how to door-knob hang and thereby attract a lot of human attention as an escapist. Her even louder meows at breeding time, which seems about every other weekend, were not dampened by spaying as the vet, chief surgeon at the local gov vet hospital, left in one ovary. He first said he did it so there would not be "a sudden drop" in hormones, and that gradually she would stop coming into heat. Four heats later, he denied leaving it in at all when asked "What next?" She is still a Screaming Mimi in desperate need (ours) of a better pet vet. Meanwhile she has met over the Interscreen on the window "monitors" a lot of cute guys.

The search goes on for a vet that might be able to find the component that is causing us to lose sleep and want to park her in the oven when she's in season. (UPDATE: Dr. Sunil Kumar, who operates on elephants and cats, unzipped her and showed me that TWO ovaries were left in her. Unless she had three ovaries to start with, Dr. Giggins, her original spayologist, was being modest about saying he "intentionally" left one in there.)

In contrast to Dolby, with or without ovaries, Uppali boy only emits a small sound used sparingly to encourage us to take him for a walk to eat grass, which every day he delicately throws up in a slime on the living room floor. He is known variously as St. Uppali, Mr. Mischief, and Oopser (the later a reference to errors he makes in repeatedly trying to open locked doors and sliding off in disarray). This silver tabby, a U.S. citizen and former resident of the Santa Isabel Indian Reservation in California, has never met a human he didn't like to rub up against, although sadly not all humans reciprocate.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009


The tiny orange kitten was terribly thin and trying to scrape a flattened old frog off the road. We pulled over and I got out, moving behind the little one who was desperately pulling at a small piece of the dessicated frog. I grabbed it and as I lifted it up ... eeee-yeow!!! It bit me deeply and I reflexively shook it off. The baby bounded into the roadside shrubbery, where I tried to locate it, knowing all the time it would be impossible to find. Not a bright move on my part. This would have been a case for a blanket pick-up, but I acted too hastily. As a result, I had to go get a rabies series of shots, which wound up bungled by a trip to Sri Lanka before they were over. Thought I could continue the series there, but no hospital had the same brand of medicine. Doctors thought it would be okay that the next shot was a few days late, so when I returned to India I continued the shots. Felt at least the experience resulted in my being more protected for future rescues, but I'll never forget the desperation of that kitten as it dug futilely at the sun-dried remnants of that much run-over frog.


1. The tiny containers homeopathic medicines come in. Be sure to have a few pills inside for their "rattle."
2. Water bottle tops, preferably blue.
3. Sprung springs.
4. Pen caps.
5. Small manuscript clasps in colors.
6. Gold and silver candy wrappers; cellophane candy wrappers.
7. Small pencil.
8. Small Christmas ornament or marble.
9. Boot.
10. A cardboard box. FAVORITE PLAYTHING OF ALL!
11. Long green bean.
12. Ping pong ball.
13. Roll of paper towels or toilet paper (not cost effective).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Soobu and Tuboo (about 7 weeks old)

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This is Soobu and Tuboo, sister and brother, found one following behind the other, happily scampering down a busy roadside in Cochin, Kerala, where the life expectancy for six-weeks' old kittens is zero. They were optimistically following a man who was oblivious of them but was swinging a package in his hand they must have thought was fish or some fun food. We passed the clueless trio, summed up the situation and made a U-turn, hoping they'd still be on track. Our driver rushed out of the car and caught each (of the cats) in turn from behind, a proven kitty-snatching technique that guarantees they'll be living off the fat of the land in no time. After the compulsory couple of weeks in our bedroom-kitten nursery, they joined their new six step-siblings.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Here in the Third World, we don't have access to fancy-shmancy cat supplements, artificial cat play environments, self-flushing litter, or any of the wonders consumer society cats enjoy. So we use natural cat litter in the form of wood shavings. This can be mixed with sawdust, too, but we find sawdust-only too smelly and soggy when wet. We cat caretakers think a lot about what our dears urinate and defecate on. That's one way we are different from other people. Here in India we don't yet demand imported cat litter, and there are no domestic litter manufacturers because hardly three people keep indoor cats and hardly five have ever heard of the concept of trying to keep a cat safe. Cats are supposed to die young, as in "Only the good die young." If that is true, then I want only bad cats (as though there could be such a thing)! Soil is impossibly messy but what works for us are these wood shavings, which come in various grades, according to the mill. Our local sawmills love to sell this useless (here) by-product of illegally cut giant trees to obviously mentally challenged people like us. At 20 cents (figuring in U.S. dollars) for a waist-high bag, we're happy. Now we can buy two grades: fine powder and short curly shavings which we once used to top-off the powder. We changed to all-shavings, and change it every three days. No odor problem because we remove and flush the solids daily with a long handled kitchen implement used to fry vegetables (no longer). However, some people who have too few or too-small pans for the number of cats they have, or who do not have adequate natural ventilation in their homes, or whose lives require them to spend time within a foot or so of the litter box will notice a NATURAL whiff of urine now and then, UNLESS they have discovered the wonder chemical VINEGAR. We use artificial vinegar to save money. IT IS AS GOOD AS ANY FANCY, EXPENSIVE CAT ODOR ELIMINATOR!  We use it full strength in a spray bottle, although you might experiment with dilutions. You can spray it on top of the litter, and it will eliminate odors. Maybe eight squirts will be enough. If you put it under a fan, it will dry quicker, but the instant it touches the wet litter, the neutralizing takes effect. And, if you have a spraying cat, no matter what it sprays on, from beds to doors, vinegar will neutralize it like magic. Doesn't destroy cloth and completely removes the smell instantly. Another tip: a shallow plastic tray, EMPTY, is very attractive to some of our cats. They won't leave droppings in it, but some will urinate in it, and what a litter-saver that is! Just flush it away and rinse clean.