SPCA Tampa Bay Facebook Photo Contest!

Is your pet the Best-Dressed pup in town?

 

Have you and your pet fallen prey to that bizarre phenomenon of looking alike? Do you have the absolute best-dressed animal around? SPCA Tampa Bay wants to see some proof of that for a good cause!  As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m the Social Media consultant for the shelter, and starting next week, we’re launching our first of two Facebook photo contests to promote the 3K Pet Walk event coming up on October 16th. 

Pets on parade at 3K Pet Walk

 

If you’ve never taken part in 3K Pet Walk, I highly recommend it and not just because I work with the great people at SPCA Tampa Bay.  This year features a beautiful 3K course through North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The beauty of this walk is that it really has no rules; you can bring your four-legged friend to walk with you, you can walk with just your human friends, you can walk  in honor of your cats, rats, snakes or birds, whatever you want. As long as you walk and raise money for the animals in desperate need of medical care in our community, we’re happy! (Sign up to walk here if you haven’t done so yet.) 

'Hotdog' anyone??

 

Among the many cool activities that people look forward to every year at 3K Pet Walk are the Best-Dressed Pet and Pet Look-a-like contests. Pet owners go all out and prepare weeks in advance to take part in these contests and as a former judge, let me tell you, the competition is fierce. I’ve seen wiener dogs (and Collies as seen in the pic to the left,) dressed up as, well, wieners with matching mustard and ketchup to boot. I’ve seen cowboy Weimaraners and princess Poodles and ladybug Pugs with wings.     

'Um, what are you?'

 

In a particular stroke of genius, I’ve seen a mohawked owner and his similarly tressed Chinese Crested draw huge applause with matching blue hairstyles in the Look-a-like competition. The point? I know many of you have some highly creative and hilarious pictures from past contests, Halloweens, etc…that you’re just dying to show off!   

You’ll get your chance to do that starting on Tuesday, September 7th. That’s when we’ll launch the Pet Look-a-like photo contest on SPCA Tampa Bay’s facebook page.  Whether you and your pet are dead ringers for each other or you’re sporting coordinated outfits, we want to see your pics. The look-a-like contest will run from the 7th until Tuesday, September 14th, then all the entries will be judged by the 3K Pet Walk Volunteer Recruitment Committee and a winner will be announced. The winning picture will serve as SPCA Tampa Bay’s facebook profile picture for a month and the winner will also receive a gift card.      

My animals aressed in a Chrismtas theme, with Louie as Santa...

 

Our second photo contest, the Best Dressed competition, will start on Monday, September 20th and run through Monday, September 27th   

...and Maho as Rudolph!

 

 Entries can include pets in any kind of costume or their finest clothing.  The same prizes will be awarded to the winner and the winning photo.  There are no limits on how many entries you can submit to either contest so start picking through those old photo albums or digging through all your digital pics to find that perfect, winning photo! To submit them, visit SPCA Tampa Bay’s facebook page and post your pictures on our page’s wall. I can’t wait to see them!    

   

   

   

 

Rare Pairs

I heard one of the funniest stories about crazy animal pairings last week, right up there with that infamous elephant and dog story. (If you haven’t seen this, finish reading this blog first, of course, then grab a hanky and get ready to laugh and cry.)  The story I heard was also spawned by a rare pair such as that.      

Unusual BFF's-Simon and Cottontail

 

Every Wednesday, I take the SPCA Tampa Bay Pet/s of the Week on WQYK and WILD radio stations and on the Studio 10 daytime program to help get them adopted.  Last Wednesday I brought Cottontail the rabbit and Simon the guinea pig and their back story is seriously precious. This unusual pair was brought up together and are best friends. They live and travel in the same cage and in the first 15 minutes I spent with them I watched Simon burrow his tiny furry head into Cottontail’s side and fall asleep, THEN Cottontail used her teeth to pull a blanket over Simon like she was keeping him warm. I about died from the adorableness. (Is that even a word? If not, it totally should be.)   

So while the totally awesome twosome and I were hanging out in the radio station’s lobby, one of the employees approached me and when she heard about Cottontail and Simon’s rare friendship she told me she had an even crazier tale to tell.  She has an 8 month old Doberman puppy and his best friend is, (drumroll please)…a frog. How hilarious is that??        

Could this be your dog's next best friend??

 

 She told me it started a few months ago when she woke up to find her puppy had a new addition in his crate in the form of a sleeping frog. Thinking the  reptile had seriously wandered off course from her backyard, through the open sliding glass doors and through the crate’s bars, (and had gotten seriously lucky that he hadn’t become breakfast for the Doberman,) she shooed the little guy back into the yard and didn’t give it another thought.   

 That is, until the next morning when she discovered the same strange scene. This continued for a couple of weeks.  She’d put the frog outside each day but he’d unfailingly show back up each morning, either in the crate, in the dog’s food dish, and once, even on the landing of the staircase like he was headed up to their bedroom for a little snuggle. At first, she was just puzzled and a little amused, then she remembered hearing about some kind of toad that was poisonous to dogs, and she got pretty freaked out.   

 That’s when she got serious about the relocation process and had her husband take the frog several yards down to drop him off. Can you guess what happened next?  They then took the frog a whole block away, (do you know just how far that distance is for a frog??) but that persistent little bugger still found his way back somehow and was waiting next to his best friend to greet them the next day. At that point, she gave in. She did some research and determined the frog wasn’t the poisonous kind and considering the lengths he was willing to go to be with her puppy, she figured what was the harm? Sometimes there’s just no standing in the way of BFF’s.   

So cute! Sweetie grooms his buddy Louie

 

That story got me thinking about the various pairings-up of my animals. Unfortunately, none of my pets are BFF’s or really even FF’s. They basically just all tolerate each other, but occasionally I’m happily surprised to see two of them chumming around.  The cutest coupling is Louie and Sweetie.  Since he spent his first few years as a feral cat with very little interaction or affection, Sweetie takes forever to warm up to anyone, two-legged or four-legged. So the first time I  stumbled upon Sweetie purring contentedly while Louie licked and groomed his head, I freaked out and took about a hundred pictures. I took double that number when I discovered the tables had turned and Sweetie was the one doing the grooming on Louie. They don’t do it very often, and sometimes it devolves into a catfight, but it still thrills me every time I catch them cuddling up.   

Louie's cleaning fetish means he sleeps in the sink!

Louie must be a stickler for cleanliness because another pairing I’ll run across from time to time is Louie and our dog Maho.  When they’re not chasing each other for fun or struggling for the second in command position of power in the house, (Rhett being, of course, the long-running, undisputed head of the household,) Maho will suddenly decide that Louie’s crazy long hair needs to be tamed by her doggie tongue. Louie will lay there for a good minute, meowing sweetly while Maho laps at him like he’s a peanut butter bone.  But after that first minute, Louie’s tolerance takes a nosedive and his meows get increasingly more annoyed until they become more of a warning signal that he’s about to unleash his paws of fury.  Maho usually takes no notice at all and keeps right on licking until the inevitable happens and she takes an actual ‘lickin” from Louie.    

Rhett rarely pairs up with anyone...

 

...but he'd befriend Ally to take on a shared enemy.

 

And finally, even though Rhett rarely hangs out with any of his fellow animals, he would sometimes deign to pair up with his late sister Ally to take on a bigger enemy: The dog. None of the cats were thrilled when we brought Maho home as a 10 week old puppy, but as the two oldest and most set in their way of the bunch, Rhett and Ally were the most up in arms.  Sometimes it wasn’t enough for them to take her on one on one, so they’d gang up on her just to make sure she was well aware of their disdain.  It was quite comical to see Maho go flying by and a second later, Rhett and Ally running in tandem after her, hissing and howling and generally raising heck. 

  If you have any crazy animal couple tales to tell, we’d love to hear about them on the Adopt-a-human facebook page.  The page promotes the adoption of shelter cats and the more friends and interaction on the site, the more animals’ lives we can save!

Missing ‘the Kids’

Giving kisses to my oldest 'kid' Rhett

Let me say right up front that I don’t have any children and I don’t presume to know just how rewarding, amazing and challenging raising a child must be.  What I do know is that my five animals are like kids to me and the love I feel for them is pretty overwhelming itself.  And when it comes to having to leave them for an extended amount of time, I turn into a neurotic, annoying, mess.

Grandma (our babysitter) with one of her kitties, Isabella

My husband and I just got back from our annual summer vacation in the islands and as usual, it was amazing. What wasn’t amazing was the realization about six weeks before we left that our usual babysitter would be out-of-town the same week as us.  Our babysitter is my mom, or ‘grandma’ as she’s known to the animals. (Well, mostly the dog, who freaks out with joy when she hears that word. The cats, as they’re wont to do, tend to not react at all.)  Anyway, grandma only lives 10 minutes away and when we’re gone, Maho the dog gets to go live with her for a week and the cats get a visit from her every day.  Even though we miss them like crazy, it takes a lot of worry off our minds knowing that our babies are in such good hands when we’re gone.

Cut to six weeks ago when I told my mom the week we’d chosen to go on vacation and her dropping the bomb that she had scheduled a vacation that same week.  Both of us had already paid for plane tickets and such so there was nothing we could do.  Immediately, I started stressing.  I know there are many great kennels and ‘animal spas’ out there nowadays but A.) None of my animals have ever stayed in one before and B.) many of my cats are have special needs, including a formerly feral one who would have to be tranquilized just to get him out of the house.  So we scratched a kennel off the list right away.

Maho looks chill but she's high maintenance

Many of our cats, like Sweetie, have special needs

That left finding someone else to take Maho in and come check on the cats throughout the week.  I have a lot of friends who are big animal lovers so you’d think that would have been a pretty easy task. But my husband and I approached picking that person out like we were choosing a god parent or something.  The checklist was almost comically long: Had they met Maho already and did she like them? Did they have a secure, fenced backyard so Maho couldn’t get out? Did they not have any other dogs in their house since Maho is kind of a big scaredy-dog when it comes to other canines? Did they live close by so they could check on the cats often? Had they met Rhett and understand that even though he’s blind now, he may still attack them?   Did they know about all our cats’ various medical issues and could they handle them?  Did they mind having to clean out four, yes, four litter boxes? (Wow, reading that back over I realize what a high maintenance crew of animals we have.)

Even in these amazing surroundings I couldn't stop thinking about the animals

Anyway, after spending a whole evening offering up names of our various friends, then running them through our checklist, my husband and I finally agreed on the same person, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve read about this cool chick before.  She’s my friend from my old TV station that spent a night climbing fences, ripping her shirt, then getting her hand ripped up as we tried to catch Sweetie (the feral cat) when he showed up badly injured.  Thankfully, she was more than happy to take on the big job of babysitter and we took off for vacation with our minds thoroughly eased.

Louie looks as sad as I feel when I'm away from my animals

Now, that’s not to say we didn’t spend stupid amounts of time wondering how they were doing, talking about how much we missed them, postulating what they were doing at that exact moment, etc…  I even called and texted my friend almost every day just to ‘check in’, (I’m sure she loved that,)  and to say hi to Maho. And the moment we got on the plane to come home, all I could think about was opening that door and seeing the cats come running and hearing Maho’s shrieks of joy. If that’s how I feel about my animals, I can’t imagine what it must be like for all you real parents out there. How do you ever even leave the house?? :)

I’d love to hear about your animal love on the Adopt-a-human Facebook page.  It’s dedicated to spreading the word about getting shelter cats adopted into good homes and the more people who participate, the more animals’ lives that we’ll save. Thank you!

Nighttime Shenanigans

They look peaceful on the bed, but they raise heck at night!

Anyone who has more than one animal in their house knows the scene I’m about to describe all too well. You’re sound asleep, deep in a delicious dream about your latest movie star obsession (who, of course, is in love with you and juuuust about ready to kiss you,) when suddenly you’re rudely snatched out of your sweet slumber by the punch of a paw in your face or the sound of hissing, screeching, or barking.  I call it nighttime shenanigans and it happens at my house ALL the time.

The most common cacophony that erupts in our household at night is courtesy of our four cats.  Even with two stories and four bedrooms to roam through, inevitably they all want to settle on the bed with me and my husband and that leads to a turf war.  Quiet hissing turns to slapping, then tussling and next thing you know, two or more of them are involved in a high-speed chase through the house.  And even though they’re small creatures, let me tell you, it sounds like a herd of horses is galloping through the halls.  That will wake you up in a hurry.

High speed cat chase through the halls!

Another nighttime nuisance is the Lucy Jane yowl. I’ve mentioned before how she’s capable of bringing down walls with her wailing since she’s deaf and isn’t aware of how ear-splitting her cry is. Well, she saves her best (or should I say worst,) for the witching hours.  We still haven’t figured out what she’s trying to tell us with her yowling. It’s just apparently random and really, really loud. And it will wake you up, I don’t care how deep of a sleeper you are.  I’m actually considering researching cat ambien on the internet black market. That’s not cat abuse, is it??

Ally says 'feed me now, Dad!!'

Our dear Ally, who recently passed away, also took part in the shenanigans, though thankfully, she only targeted my  husband, Nick.  Ally was a very early riser and immediately wanted to be fed when she got up at the crack of dawn.  Since she was originally Nick’s cat, she determined that he was the one who needed to wake up RIGHT NOW to do the feeding.  How she achieved that was a thing of beauty, let me tell you.  I called it the ‘swan dive.’  She would get as close to one side of his head as she could, then leap in a perfect dive over his face and land on the other side. Then almost immediately, she would do it again. And again. And again.  As his pillow got jostled all around by Ally’s diving, Nick would start wildly waving his hand around his head as if shooing away a cloud of mosquitoes, but Ally would not be deterred.  The swan diving would continue until Nick finally succumbed. Which he eventually always did.

DON'T close a door on Rhett

And what would one of my blogs be without a story about our oldest cat Rhett?  His favorite nighttime game to play is ‘knock knock.’  Rhett hates being locked out of any room.  It’s like a personal affront to him to have a door closed in his face.  So, if we close the bedroom door at night, Rhett will make sure we hear about it.  Somehow he knows when we’ve fallen asleep, then he starts the knocking. He gets up on his hind legs and starts banging on the door with his front paws. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. relentlessly, until one of us finally gets out of bed and flings open the door. And here’s the kicker. He’ll look at us, then not even come in and walk away.  That will teach us to close the door, huh?

So what goes on in your house at night? Please tell us your animal stories on Adopt-a-human’s facebook page and you’ll get a cool toy from the SPCA Tampa Bay Pet Boutique. Plus, by taking part, you’ll help spread the word of the Adopt-a-human campaign which promotes the joys of adopting shelter cats and helps save their lives.  Thank you!

Scavenger Hunt!

I’ve had the pleasure of writing these animal blogs for about two months now and I hope *you’ve* found some pleasure, (and many laughs) while reading them.   But whether you’re well versed in my animals and their antics at my house or this is the first time you’ve read this blog, everyone can take part in my monthly blog Scavenger Hunt!  

Win a cool prize from our Pet Boutique by taking part in the Scavenger Hunt!

 

SPCA Tampa Bay and Adopt-a-human are offering up a great prize from our Pet Boutique to the person who posts all the correct answers on the Adopt-a-human facebook page, in the quickest amount of time.  I’m going to post ten questions at the end of each month and you can find the answers by going back through my four blogs that month.  Since this is the first one, you’ll have to do a little extra digging through my first nine blogs, but hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun during the digging process! 

So here goes: 

1.  What was the name  of my Persian when I was growing up? (Here’s a hint: he could throw up on demand on my mom’s favorite rug.) 

Lucy Jane covers her eyes to keep the light out, but she's not blind. What is her disability?

 

2. What disability does Lucy Jane have? 

3. What two cat tricks did Rhett do when he was a kitten? (And then promptly stopped doing when he grew up?) 

Louie and Ally hanging out with Sweetie hiding in the background.

 

4. Who did I name Ally after? Even though I find it totally embarrassing. :) 

5. What items do I HAVE to bring downstairs whenever someone cat-sits for me to ensure that Rhett doesn’t attack? 

6. Name two of the bizarre nicknames I’ve bestowed upon Louie.  

7. Where did I find Sweetie? 

The cats chowing down.

 

8. What do my cats do when they’re eating that drives me CRAZY??? 

9.  Who gave me Rhett and why? 

What is this sweet doggy's name?

 

10. This will determine if you’ve really been paying attention: What is my dog’s name? 

Good luck to all of you and I can’t wait to see your answers on Adopt-a-human’s facebook page.  Don’t forget, there’s a cool prize at stake here!

Cat Olympics

kamona

Adoptable cats like Kamona will amaze you at the Cat Olympics!

The Winter Olympics may have come and gone, but fear not sports fans.  The most majestic of all games are upon us: the Cat Olympics!  Held at SPCA Tampa Bay this Saturday, June 19th, they showcase the finest feline athletes around as they do battle for the ultimate prize…a forever home. 

Watch in amazement as our top notch adoptable cats take on the Tunnel of Tuna, jump into the Leap of Faith, totter across the Cat Walk Tightrope and blaze their way through the Cat’s Meow Obstacle Course. All of that just to get the attention of a new mom or dad!  Plus, you’ll get a chance to show off your cat knowledge during our Cat Jeopardy challenge and win fabulous prizes. (I feel like Vanna White.)  Read more about this Saturday’s festivities here and we hope you join us!

Louie giving 'high ten'

Now, my cats may not be able to pull off a Cat Walk tightrope, but some of them do have some serious skills and tricks up their sleeves.  Louie the Lump, so named by my  Mother-in-Law, will shake off his lumpiness once in awhile and decide he wants to high five me.  This started not long after he grew out of kittenhood and could actually focus on one thing for more than 20 seconds. 

I was putting on my make up in the bathroom and as usual, Louie was keeping me company by lazily hanging out in the sink. But what was unusual this time, he actually got up, ambled over to me, sat up on his hind legs and started pawing at me with one furry foot.  He obviously just wanted some attention, (Louie the Persian wanting attention?? Color me shocked!) But it looked like he was high fiving me, so I said, “Louie, give me high five,’ and smacked his foot with my hand.  If a cat can look delighted by something, Louie certainly did.

But you have to trick Louie to high five outside the bathroom

It has since become a ‘thing’ I can get him to do on command.  I just have to put up my hand, snap my finger and say ‘High five, Louie!”  Nine times out of ten, he’s right there, smacking my hand, and as a bonus, sometimes I even get a high ten!   But here’s the rub.  He will only do this cat trick in the bathroom. I’ve tried in vain to get him to do it in any other room in the house, but he flat out refuses unless you ‘trick’ him by holding a cat toy up in the air.  So it’s not so much a parlor trick as a bathroom trick.  And that kind of takes the coolness factor out of it, no?

My oldest cat Rhett is also my smartest cat and it’s no surprise to me that he’s pulled off a cat trick or two in his long lifetime.  His need to show off showed up early on when he displayed the decidedly dog-like attributes of fetch and catch.  I was a young, pretty poor college kid (weren’t we all?) and using a balled up piece of paper to amuse my new kitten.  I tossed it and suddenly he reared up and snatched it right out of the air mid-toss.  I had grown up with all kinds of cats and had never seen anything like it before.  I spent the next 30 minutes throwing that ball, and Rhett never missed it once.  It was like having a puppy in a kitten’s body. 

Rhett used to do cat tricks to please me...now he pleases only himself.

The next time I went to play with Rhett, I discovered another of his talents.  I threw the paper ball, waiting for him to snatch it out of the air, but he just watched it sail by him.  I was disappointed, but only briefly.  Rhett waited for it to land, then briskly trotted to where it had landed, picked it up in his mouth, ran over to me, and deposited right at my feet, looking up at me expectantly.  I threw it again and Rhett repeated himself.  My baby had added fetch to his repertoire and I couldn’t have been more proud!  This fun, carefree period of cat tricks and pleasing mom lasted, oh, about six months and then Rhett determined he had to please NO ONE but himself and I’ve never seen him perform those tricks again.  But at least I know he’s capable. Sigh.

Lucy Jane waits until you're asleep, THEN screeches!

As for the rest of the cats I’ve had in my life, it’s a bit of a stretch to say they can do tricks.  Sweetie, my feral cat, has the ability to ‘disappear’ if he even senses someone other than me is about to enter our house.  Our deaf cat Lucy Jane does this just awesome trick where she knows exactly when we fall asleep and then lets loose with her insanely loud yowling.  And I had another Persian growing up named Alexander who could vomit on command, always on my mom’s favorite, very expensive Oriental rug, whenever he got mad.  Talented bunch, wouldn’t you say?

If you’ve got a cat with fierce capabilities, we want to hear about them. Leave your cat ‘tails’ on our Adopt-a-human Facebook page and you’ll be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of June!  Remember, the more people who know about the Adopt-a-human campaign and take part, the more cat’s lives we can save. Thank you!

Cat ‘Tales’

rhett

Rhett, with his 'I dare ya' look.

 

As you can probably tell by now, I love writing about the crazy animal circus that is my home.  But I know I’m not the only one with hilarious and cute cat ‘tales’ to tell.  To  promote June’s Adopt a Shelter Cat campaign, we’re offering a prize drawing for everyone who reads this blog on Adopt-a-human’s facebook page and then leaves a story of their own about their kitties.  You can submit them directly to the facebook page or just leave them in the comments section, then we’ll pick a winning name at the end of June and give you a fantastic prize for you and your felines.   Now, how’s that for a deal?? Prizes for doing what all us animal lovers like to do in the first place: Brag about out critters!  

maho

Maho's bark is bad, but Rhett's bite is worse!

 

Today I’m going to brag about my attack cat Rhett.  Yes, you read right.  We may have a big ol’ Chow/Malamute mix dog that guards our house, but before she came along, we relied on Rhett to keep the riff-raff away.  I’ve filled you in on Rhett’s, shall we say, unique personality in previous blogs, but this story takes the cake.  Or the cat food. Whatever.  

My husband and I both come from a media background and it’s not always easy to get those jobs in the same market.  We spent five and a half years in a long distance relationship and even got married while he lived here in Tampa and I lived in Flint, Michigan.  

Rhett, looking dashing and annoyed in his 'tux.'

 

Anyway, we got married in Clearwater, so even though Rhett had his tuxedo already on him, I had to leave him behind for a week.  My matron of honor worked with me in Flint but was flying back right after the wedding so she volunteered to check in on Rhett while I was honeymooning. Since he’d already met her and not scratched her face off, I agreed.  

Cut to day two of our honeymoon and I get a frantic call from her.  My first reaction was panic that something had happened to Rhett, my ‘only child’ at that point.  Turns out, I should have been worried about my friend’s well being.   

rhett

Rhett likes to guard our bed...

 

In Flint, I rented this beautiful two story condo with two bedrooms and an office upstairs.  Also upstairs?  Rhett’s food, water and litter box.   I listened with growing concern, and a tad bit of silent laughter I must admit, as my friend explained the dire circumstances she was currently facing at my house.   She had made it inside alright, with a minimum of hissing and paw boxing from Rhett, but then things turned ugly.  

As she tried to go upstairs to check on his food/water situation, Rhett apparently turned into the tasmanian devil, speeding past her up the stairs, and standing at the top with his hair puffed up to twice his size and maniacal yellow eyes glaring. (I think that last detail she added was a bit stress-induced, but hey, she was freaking out. That practically demands exaggeration.)   She told me she tried to approach him slowly with reassuring whispers but as she got almost to the top step, BOOM, Rhett attacked!  

rhett

...and the upstairs, even from other cats!

 

Now, thankfully his front paws are declawed or I may have had to pay for a new pair of jeans, and some pricey medical bills.  But he still managed to fight her back downstairs, boxing furiously at her legs and feet and even trying to bite them.   I was really shocked by this behavior, since he’d met her many times before without resorting to extreme violence.  Then it dawned on me that she’d never been upstairs before and certainly not when I wasn’t home.  Rhett was being the man of the house, protecting my second floor lair.  

Feeling very proud of him but also understanding of my friend’s perilous plight, I talked her into running the gauntlet again with the promise that she could forget the litter box and just  grab his dishes, then dash back downstairs.  I stayed on the phone with her as moral support and though there were a few screams from both parties, she completed her journey unscathed.  

rhett

Rhett even likes to guard the upstairs on the cat hotel.

 

I give her mad props for ever coming back to that house, but she did, and everything was fine after that.  As long as she stayed downstairs Rhett kept his complaining down to a few suspicious growls.  And my husband and I learned an important lesson for future cat caregivers of ours: keep the bowls and litter boxes downstairs.  (Though I will admit I did forget once to bring the litter box down and another friend faced a Rhett-rage.  Sorry Doug!! You’re the best!)       

Do any of you have a cat attack story to tell or any other cute tales?  Please share them with your fellow animal lovers on the A-A-H facebook page throughout the month of June.  Can’t wait to read them!  Also, make sure you become a face of our SPCA Tampa Bay facebook page so we can spread the word about all our awesome adoptable animals there.

Hug-your-Cat Day Winners!

Wow!  I’m well aware of what a crazy cat lady I am.  But I had no clue how many others are out there!  And crazy cat dudes too.  Hee.  Now, I’m just kidding when I call you crazy, but I’m totally sincere when I say I was so overwhelmed at how many awesome cat owners took part in our Hug-your-Cat day photo contest on our Adopt-a-human facebook page.  We had more than 60 submissions, all of them totally hilarious, outrageously cute or super sweet.  

And our cat owners’ friends came through in a big way, to vote and ‘like’ their favorites to get them to the top ten for final judging and the big prize.  In fact, we had more than 1000 hits in just four days as people got a good laugh and kick out of the funny felines you all submitted to our contest.  Our big thanks to Holley Sinn and Jerome Ritchey at Studio 10 who had the seriously tough job of picking the top three pictures and the ultimate winner.  (So send your cat hate mail to them. ha!)  Without further ado, here are the top three winners: 

beckett

Beckett in bed

 

One of my personal faves came in at #3 and falls in the totally hilarious category.  Beckett apparently needs a bit of a bigger bed because his current one is having a tough time containing his bulk.  At 27 pounds, Beckett is giving his mom, Kaaren Kane Page the evil eye in this pic, as if to say, ‘Really??? This is a bed for those anorexic size 0 cats! Not a big boned beauty like me.  Get with the program woman!”   At the very least Beckett, your mom won you a basket full of goodies from the SPCA Tampa Bay boutique and yes, we’ll make sure there are plenty of food goodies in there. Feel better? 

pirate

Pirate and Teddy

 

Coming in at second place, and at a very young age for such a big honor, Pirate the kitten!  Oh, and we must give props to Pirate’s teddy bear as well, since he sorta makes the pic, no?  We’re told by Pirate’s foster mom and the very skilled photographer of this shoot, Stephanie Monti, that Pirate wuv’ed his teddy so much and hated to be separated from him.  You can see the love in those amazing big blue eyes of his can’t you?  I’d say this totally falls into the outrageously cute category and it also won Stephanie and Pirate a cat basket of goodies. 

mama cat

mama cat and baby

 

And finally, (drumroll please) we have our winning photo, ‘Mama cat and baby.’  I can hear the oooohs and awwwwws already.  There’s just something so super sweet about the love in a mama cat’s eyes for their baby kittens.  And that kitty is soooooo tiny!  Rich Marker is the proud winner of this picture and this mama cat, and if he’s anything like me, (super softie) he’s also still the owner of that kitten.  

You’ll get to meet Rich and mama cat next Wednesday on Studio 10.  As part of top prize pack, Rich gets to show off his picture and his cat with me and Holley and Jerome, plus receive a SUPER size cat goodie basket from our SPCA Tampa Bay boutique.  Congratulations to Rich and to all our winners!  And thanks to everyone for taking part.  If you’d like to see all the pictures head to our Adopt-a-human Facebook page. The more people who become fans of Adopt-a-human and SPCA Tampa Bay, interact with us and spread our message, the more shelters cats that are adopted and saved.  You CAN make a difference.

Happy Hug-your-Cat Day!

isabella

Have a super cute cat pic like this one? Enter it in our Hug-your-cat Day photo contest!

 

 It’s a holiday weekend, time to celebrate!  No, I’m not talking about Memorial Day.  This is much bigger.  And slightly more dangerous.  For all you feline neophytes, today is Hug-your-cat Day and the folks at SPCA Tampa Bay want to see who you’re hugging.  As part of their Adopt-a-human campaign promoting shelter cat adoptions, they’re holding a Cutest Cat Photo contest.       

 Think your kitty is the coolest thing in town?  Head over to Adopt-a-human’s Facebook page and submit your cutest/silliest cat pictures and be sure to spread the word to all your friends.  The top 10 photos that receive the most positive comments and likes on their photo status will then be forwarded to our judges: WTSP Studio 10’s hosts, Holley Sinn and Jerome Ritchey.        

 They’ll announce the top three photo winners on Studio 10 on June 2nd between 10am-11am.  And get this: the top winner and their photogenic feline will go live on Studio 10 with me, Holley and Jerome on June 9th to showcase your winning photo.  You’ll also get a special Cat Basket from the SPCA Tampa Bay Boutique filled with cat toys and accessories.   So start digging up those adorable cat pics.  (But, of course, finish reading my blog first!)          

louie

Louie likes a good cuddle, even from a box!

 

 Now, it’s only fair that I show you who I’m hugging today. I’ll be giving out four big embraces with varying degrees of success. Cat owners know, it’s not always the easiest thing to do to wrap your kitty in a big hug. Dogs? Sure. Most of them would accept a hug from anyone, even the mailman. Cats? Not so much, depending on the cat’s personality, mood and motivation. The easiest one by far for me, will be Louie.    

 If given a choice, I think Louie would opt for a lifetime-long hug. In fact, many times, I have to pry him off me, foot by fluffy foot, just to get things done. My mother-in-law calls him ‘Louie the Lump’ and for good reason. As soon as he senses me sitting down somewhere, he’s there like a flash, (those short little legs are deceptively fast,) climbing up into my lap and stubbornly settling in for the long haul. It’s very cute and sweet. For about the first three hours. Then, even this crazy cat lady has had enough.      

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have Sweetie.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s incredibly affectionate and quick to hand out a lick and a purr.  That is, when he’s on the ground.  Once he’s airborne, he turns into a wriggling, windmilling, wailing mess.   Since he spent his first few years living the feral life, he never got used to someone picking him up and no matter how much headway I make with him in the trust department, being held remains firmly on his no-no list.  I guess he’ll just have to do with a mental hug instead.  It saves him a lot of stress and me, a lot of scratches.     

rhett

Rhett has mellowed with age.

 

  My oldest cat hasn’t ever been much of a hugger either, though Rhett’s hands-off rule stems more from macho cat-itude than fear.  When he was younger he’d suffer through a short cuddle, sighing loudly to make sure you knew just how darn annoyed he was at this terrible indignity.   But maybe Rhett has mellowed with age because now I can hold, kiss and cuddle on him and feel totally confident, (well, mostly,) that he’s not leveling a crazy cat-voodoo curse on me.   If I suddenly turn into a toad, I guess we’ll know I was wrong.     

lucy jane

Don't sneak up on Lucy Jane when she's sleeping unless you want a slap in the face!

 

 My last hug will be handed out to Lucy Jane, the little stray who is deaf.   Lucy has no problem with the hugging itself since she craves affection at an almost Louie-like level.  I just have to carefully consider how to deliver the hug.   If I ‘sneak’ up on her, she’ll be hanging from the ceiling before I can even get my arms around her.   

 I often forget about Lucy Jane’s disability and her aversion to surprises and end up scaring her to death by approaching her from behind or when she’s asleep.  Word to the wise if you ever visit my home: unless you want to incite a flurry of punching paws accompanied by ear-piercing yowls, make sure Lucy Jane sees you well before you touch her.  

You have until May 30th to submit the pictures of who *you’re* hugging to Adopt-a-human’s Facebook page.  We already have close to 50 submissions so be sure to get yours in on time and spread the word to your family and friends to vote for you.  Good luck!

The Name Game

maho

She's named after a beach so Maho loves to surf!

What’s in a name?  Well, when it comes to our pets, a lot. Most of us put a lot of thought and time into picking out just the right name for our animal. Unlike with our children, it’s our chance to let our creative freak flag fly without fear of them one day being traumatized by the playground bully. Name your child something weird or silly and they’ll be paying for it for years to come. Name your dog or cat something off the wall and their playmates couldn’t care less. (Now, put them in sweaters or bows, and that’s a different story.) But as much work as we put into picking those names, have you noticed that many of us promptly stop using them in favor of crazy nicknames or even downright gibberish? I’ll give you an example. Actually, I’ll give you six of them. 

rhett

He's as dashing and debonair as the real Rhett Butler, no?

 The first cat I ever owned as an adult is Rhett. If you’re a ‘Gone with the Wind’ fan you know where that moniker came from. I had just discovered the dangerous, dashing character of Rhett Butler thanks to a boyfriend addicted to old movies. I was completely swept away by the rocky romance of Rhett and Scarlett and couldn’t wait to bestow that name on my cat. (On a side note, I was so enamored of the movie that I also named my hamster Scarlett. Unfortunately she passed away many years ago, and no, it wasn’t at the hands of Rhett.) But as much as I love that name, I found myself calling him almost anything but Rhett. It started with ‘Boots,’ thanks to his little white feet. Somehow that degenerated into ‘Booter’, then, ‘Bud’, then ‘Budrow’ and finally into ‘Bubba lou.’ Try following that chain of thought.

That trend continued when we got our second cat, Ally. I’m not ashamed to admit we named her after the character Ally McBeal. (Come on, it was a huge hit and you KNOW that dancing baby was hilarious!) Anyway, since she was such a sweet girly cat, so dainty and petite, I almost immediately started calling her ‘Girls.’ Then I added princess to it, as in ‘Princess Girls.’ She was also known to respond to ‘Princess feet’ or ‘Girly cat.’ Yeah, I know, clever nicknames are not my forte.

louie

Louie, the Heavyweight Champion!

Now, those of you who know me from my time in television news may not believe this next one, but my third cat was named in honor of a boxing champion.  I know I don’t look like the typical boxing fan, but trust me, put me in a bar with 100 men watching two men duke it out and I’ll be the one screaming for blood the loudest.  Just about the time my favorite heavyweight, Lennox Lewis, was enjoying huge success, we got our Persian kitten and I decided to pay homage to the heavyweight great by naming the new kitty after him.   I thought Lewis was a tad formal for the kitten’s silly, smushed face, so I shortened it a bit and voila! We had Louie.   Over the years, Louie has turned into ‘Lou Lou’, ‘Lulu-belle’, Boo, Booie, Boozer and Booher.  I’m just assuming that’s how they’re spelled since, as far as I know, gibberish cat nicknames are not included in a dictionary.     

  Next came Sweetie, who I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t actually name.  One of my fellow crazy cat ladies at work named him that when she discovered him living in the woods behind the TV station.  Since he was used to it and would actually respond to it when we’d call him, the name stuck.   It turns out, it fits his sweet and loving personality perfectly.  Even so, it wasn’t long after I took him home that I started in with the nicknames.   ‘Sweets’ came first, then “Tweeter”, “Tweetie” and finally, just plain “Tweets.”  (I’m wondering if I can claim some naming rights money from Twitter since I came up with that, like, six years ago??)     

lucy

Lucy Jane with her ugly yellow cast.

By the time I found our soon to be fifth cat, injured in a CVS parking lot, I was running a little low on creative name juice.  But as I sat with her in our ‘cat rehab’ room while she recuperated from surgery on her foot, a light went off.  I should skip a step and give her a name that’s already a nickname. My dad, who passed away many years ago, always called me ‘Lucy Jane’ when I was growing up, so I figured I would pass along my childhood moniker in his honor.   Now, occasionally, I’ll call her ‘Lucy-cat’ or ‘Little girl’, but since her name means so much to me, I mostly stick to calling her Lucy Jane.  (Ironically, the ONE cat I call by their given name the most is the deaf one, and can’t even hear her name!)      

maho bay

Maho Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I.-our dog's namesake

As for our dog, I gave her naming honors to my husband, and I must say he did quite well.  He named her Maho, after our favorite little beach on the Caribbean island of St. John where we hope to retire someday.  Not that it really matters, since I started calling her crazy nicknames right off the bat.  Maho is, at various times, known by Mee-maw,  Meems, Mi-mi and Mims.  And like the good dog that she is, she responds to all of them.  Especially when there’s cheese involved.      

I know I’m not alone in my nickname-itis.   What silly, bizarre nicknames have you bestowed upon your animals?  I’d love to hear them and share them with our fans on SPCA Tampa Bay’s Adopt-a-human facebook page.  Head over to our facebook page and leave us your thoughts in the comments section under the blog.   And be sure to check back with my blog next week, when I’ll have details about how you and your animals can win some cool prizes and even a chance to strut your stuff on TV!

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