Cat Meets Dolphins

Here’s an extreme example of the curious cat… and dolphin! Thank you to the family who filmed this and shared it on Youtube.

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Best Cat Toy Ever: The Cat Tent

It’s a loftly claim, I know, because old standby’s like the paper bag and ball of yarn have been standard cat toys forever. I don’t generally find store bought toys to be at all superior to the average household object. An empty box (aka ‘cat trap’) keeps my girls entertained for hours and sometimes days. But then this cat tent came into our lives and changed everything.

I’m tempted to call this a Kitty PupTent, but that sounds like a mixed metaphor. Whatever its name, it’s hands down the best toy my cats have ever had. This one, orange with a camouflage pattern of cats, birds, and rabbits, is from Ikea and was a gift from my friend Deirdre (fellow cat lover).

Camouflage cat tent

Serenity claims squatters rights on the tent

The instant I put the cat tent together Serenity, our classic silver Mau, made it her own. She never gave her sister a chance to even try it out. It has been her home base and her safety spot ever since.  She sits in it, she sleeps in it, and occasionally, well, she does this:

We’ve had this tent for a couple of years now and it shows little sign of destruction despite it’s obvious abuse. It never comes apart either. Paws up to whoever made this thing. You’ve made my cat very happy.

Why adopt a cat?
Why my cat is hungry every two hours. 

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The ‘I Want’ Ad by The Animal Humane Society

I don’t know how I missed this wonderful PSA for the Animal Humane Society when it was posted last year, but maybe you missed it, too. In that case, please check it out.

Ok, so if you’re a Negative Nelly you might say it’s wrong to personify cats as people by having them talk, and that it’s too manipulative. To that I’d say, you’re cats don’t talk to you??

And so what if this commercial is manipulative. That’s what good advertising is supposed to do; make you take action. And the Animal Humane Society has so many wonderful little four-legged souls that really do need their nails done and someone to love. I hope this commercial inspires you or someone you pass it on to. I already have two little souls in my house, so when I see this ad – especially the part about needing a warm belly to sleep on – I go grab my cat Serenity, and teary-eyed, I give her a big hug. Because she loves a warm belly and it’s good for me to remember how much we need each other.

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Why My Cat is Hungry Every Two Hours

My Egyptian Mau Serenity is always hungry. Not just the ‘she could eat if you gave her something’ kind of hungry, but begging to be fed, dancing around my legs meowing kind of hungry. I’ve never had a cat that wanted to eat as much as she does. And this got me to wondering why she is so hungry all the time. The answer, in the form of a drawing, came to me pretty quickly after observing her for a day.

cat stomach

Serenity is a bit like a goat and eats everything; cat toys, stuff on the floor, dried flowers and plants, carpet fuzz (that she’s dug up with her own claws), and bugs. As a result, I estimate (see drawing above) that she only has one quarter of the capacity of her little feline stomach left for actual food. The other three quarters is full of junk she’s eaten that’s not exactly food.

Anyone know how to vacuum out a cat’s stomach?

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What My Cats and NASCAR Have in Common

Serenity shows off  her racing stripes

Serenity shows off her racing stripes.

 Brought to you by the
Egyptian Mau Racing Team

My cats don’t eat; they refuel. A quick pit stop for salmon treats and they’re right back out on the track, ready to race and bring home the trophy.

Serenity, or silver classic Mau, even has racing stripes on her back. She’s just one pile of freeze dried salmon treats and a few sponsors away from joining NASCAR!

Let me share two important facts about Egyptian Mau cats:

  1. They are the fastest domestic cat, clocked at over 30 miles an hour.
  2.  They are greatly energized immediately after eating.

I’ve watched Persian cats get so sleepy over a meal that they practically fell into the bowl. But Maus not only leave the meal feeling awake, they burn rubber. For at least an hour they race around the house, chasing each other and jockeying for lead position. What they need is an oval track, a pit crew, and a crowd of adoring fans. Or maybe less of those salmon treats.

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Mau versus Maus

The Egyptian word for cat is Mau, which is where my ‘Maus in the House’ blog title comes from. Egyptian Mau cats are often called ‘maus’ by us cat lovers. After my last post, I got a comment from @peter_berlich that maus in German means ‘mouse’. Pretty ironic, right? Cat and mouse. Even more ironic is that my maus are terrible at catching mice! Or any critter. Here’s a typical scene in our house…

One morning, in the wee hours before daylight, I could hear my cats playing. Thumping paws, tails and bodies smacking on the floors and against the walls aren’t unusual during one of their feline smack downs, but after awhile I could still hear them. A good smack down ends after a few minutes (to allow for ruffled fur to be tended to) so I began to suspect/dread what was really going on.

I rolled over on my back to listen some more. Quiet. Then thumping into the closet. Quiet. More thumping out of the closet and toward the bathroom door. More thumping back into the closet.

They had a bug. And they were torturing the poor thing by not really killing it, just chasing it all around and trying to figure out what to do about it.

Serenity stalking (from the bug's perspective)

After about 20 minutes (yes, I lay there pretending ignorance), it was Serenity, our silver classic Mau, who knew just what to do. She thumped onto my chest and touched her cold little terra cotta colored nose to mine. I opened one eye. “What?”

“Meeeeeew!” She looked very worried and it was clear from her cry that she thought the matter was urgent.

“What’s that Timmy? Someone’s fallen down the well?”

“Meeeeeew! Meeeeeew!” She never appreciates my Lassie jokes. Wrong species, I guess.

So, at o’dark-thirty I drag myself out of bed, identified the intruder (a June bug, nerves frazzled), grabbed a heavy shoe from the closet, and squished it.

Now, a note for those who don’t approve of killing things. If I scoop the critter up and take it outside the cats are confused and continue to look for it, mew pathetically, and sulk FOR HOURS. So, I kill it and then leave it on the floor for a few minutes so they think they’ve killed it themselves. It gives them time to circle it, realize the threat has been neutralized, and feel some feline pride about the whole thing.

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10 Things My Cats Don’t Want Me to Know

Egyptian Maus Smoke and Silver Marbled

There's something we've been hiding...

10. When you’re gone, we go through your stuff and read your journal (some of the stuff you write about is just so adorable).

9. Hemingway’s cats wrote all his books.

8. At night, we mess with the thermostat. We like it warmer, thank you.

7. Stop buying the felt mice. Seriously. We are just playing with them to humor you. We are not that gullible.

6. We get a big laugh out of staring at the wall like we can see ‘something’ there that you can’t. It’s funny when you’re eyes go wide and your hair stands on end.

5. We do climb on your chest and try to steal your breath at night, we just haven’t perfected it yet. Someday, though, someday.

4. We wish you’d watch more NASCAR. We love watching those brightly colored mice go around and around.

3. Those aren’t hang up phone calls; we posted an ad on Craig’s List for a barrel of fresh Salmon (Wild Alaskan, please. King Salmon if at all possible. Top Dollar. Do you accept Diner’s Club?)

2. As kittens we all attend human behavior and psychology classes that teach us how to work with you and shape your behavior. (We’re still having trouble teaching you that the bed is OURS, however.)

1. Most of us posses intelligence that is superior to humans, know multiple languages, and we could run the world. But napping all day and watching the squirrels is WAAAAAAAY more fun!

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Maus Make Lousy Executive Admins

I work from home, but like the typical office worker, I’m finding that a good assistant is hard to come by. I need someone who will listen, take the initiative, and follow through on important projects.

My assistant is named Serenity. She’s a four year old silver marbled Egyptian Mau cat.  The funny thing is that I don’t really remember interviewing her or hiring her for the job. She’s self-appointed, I guess. Here’s a typical exchange between us:

While I’ve tried everything I know to make it work, she’s just not working out as an assistant.

  • I tried getting her a new chair. Her sister took that over.
  • I’ve tried giving her the day off. She doesn’t take the hint. Apparently, she has nothing better to do than to try to ‘help’ me work.
  • I’ve tried locking her out of the office completely, but she sits outside the door and wails as if her heart has been torn out.

When I shared my dilemma with friends on Facebook recently, it was my friend Patrick who shed light on the problem: Cats can’t be assistants; they’re born CEOs!

Patrick is right. It was never going to work with me bossing Serenity around. So now I let her call the shots around the office. We’re not making any money, of course, but we do snack and nap a lot. And really, that’s kinda cool too.

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Adopting Egyptian Mau Kittens

Finding the Right Kitten

I’m a big believer in adopting the right pet for your home. It’s not like picking out socks, people. Cats are not ‘all alike’. Far from it. Different breeds have different personalities, needs, and health issues. It’s best for both of you if it’s the right match (like dating, but maybe more serious) so you’ll get along and enjoy each other.

Egyptian Mau kitten, smoke color

Neit, our smoke Egyptian Mau kitten, tries to interfere with the camera strap.

 

Researching Cat Breeds and Breeders

My husband did his usual guerilla reseach technique on the web, looking for information about various breeds and breeders and printing everything out for my review. We narrowed our interest to Siberians, Egyptian Maus, and Singaporas.  Having both admired Egyptian Maus at cat shows we’d attended, we favored that breed but what we read scared us a little. Intelligent -great! Active – hmmm…. could be a problem. My husband worked from home at the time and wondered if a Mau would be disruptive. Egyptian Maus are known to strongly bond with their owners. Would he have a full-time leech, a needy toddler, or a contented co-worker? We’d had older persians for years, so could we handle an active, attention-seeking kitten? Could we hand any kitten at all? It had been 14 years since we’d had tiny, furry feet in the house! Panic started to set in… 

Despite our reservations, we gravitated toward the Egyptian Mau and luckily found a breeder just a few hours away. After emailing and reviewing the breeders website, we were impressed. She required we fill out a lengthy questionnaire about our motives, knowledge of cats, experience etc. It seemed this breeder wasn’t giving out kittens to the first person in line and we really appreciated that approach. It matched our own sensitivity about finding the right new family member.

The Maus Found Us

One Saturday we noticed a cat show in our area and decided to go to scout out the kittens, the breeders, and the breeds. And there was the Egyptian Mau breeder we’d been emailing! She was a last minute entry to the show. In fact, also spur of the moment, she’d decided to bring some of the kittens she had for sale.

We talked with the breeder for over an hour and observed the kittens. After awhile we came up with a plan; adopt two instead of one. They would be company for each other and possibly less likely to bug my husband. And it was so much fun to watch them play together. We’d never had siblings before, so it was an intriguing idea for us.

We picked out our kittens and went home to prepare for them, agreeing to pick them up the next day at the show. More on preparations in my next post…

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Maus in the House Blog Launches

Mau is Egyptian for Cat

Dot waved us off with “Have fun! They’ll change your life!”

Egyptian Mau Kittens -classic mau and smoke

Serenity and Neit at 4 months.

Those words from our Egyptian Mau kitten’s breeder still ring in my ears today. We were caring off our two female kittens – one silver marbled and one smoke – in their new cat carrier. We had already picked out their names the night before: Serenity for the silver and Neit (Egyptian for ‘huntress) for the smoke. My husband and I have had many cats over the years; cute and puffy Persians (3), a Russian Blue mix, and a Main Coon mix. Eyptian Maus were new to us and were thrilled to have found the exotic breed we’d admired and read about it.

Indeed they have changed our lives, as Dot predicted. At least, they’ve changed my life enough that here I am blogging about life with them. Maus really are a different breed and we were somewhat unprepared for how different and how classically ‘cat like’ they really are. We’d gotten off easy with Persians. We just didn’t know it yet.

Their kittenhood was more like the terrible two’s of squirrels on crack. I’m not sure how we survived it. They are smart, highly energetic, and athletic – and it took a lot of creativity and patience on our part to deal with some of their feline shenanigans.

Now adults, they continue to amuse, educate, and challenge us daily. They are an absolute joy in our lives.

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