Allegra’s World: The Muffin Tin Game

Allegra window perch

Mom has been kind of sad and upset a lot the last few days. I was really worried about her, she’s usually so calm and happy. I want her to be happy! I tried everything to make her smile! I couldn’t understand why she was so sad. Mom explained that something really bad happened in a place called Japan. She said lots of people and animals were hurt, and lots died, and lots more are still missing. When she explained it to me, I got sad, too. I asked Mom whether there was anything we could do to help, especially to help the animals there. Would they have food to eat? Who would pet them and play with them and hold them and love them if they were lost and scared?

Mom said she wrote about how people can help the animals, but I said want to help, too! I told Mom I’d only eat half of my breakfast and dinner, and we could send the rest to the lost and scared kitties in Japan! Mom said that was very generous of me, but that it doesn’t work that way. She said the best we can do right now, in addition to praying for everyone there, is to donate money to groups that are going there to help find the lost animals and reunite them with their families. Those poor animals! I can’t imagine being separated from Mom. They must be so scared!

Mom said it would be nice if I wrote one of my columns. She said it might cheer people up to read about something happy, since so much of what they read right now is bad news. I can do that! So here’s what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on my window perches in the sun since I last wrote, and it seems like it’s light out a lot longer than it used to be. I like it! Smart kitten that I am, I have now figured out exactly where the first sunny spot in the house shows up each day, and I follow the sunny spots around for much of the day. Well, that is when I’m not busy doing other things. And there’s always something to do – I’m a very busy kitten!

When I’m not writing here, I keep an eye on the backyard, patrol the house to make sure all my toys are still in the right places (and if they’re not, I make sure to move them around), and help Mom work. I also like to look out our front windows and watch people walk their dogs. I kind of pity the dogs – they all walk on these long rope-like things that are attached to their humans. It doesn’t look like much fun to me. I wonder whether they have to wear the ropes inside their houses, too? I couldn’t imagine that. like running all through the house, free like the wind! Wee!!!

Do you know that I have the coolest Mom ever? The other day, she created a new game for me! She got the idea from one of her colleages over on PetConnection.com whose dog played the game, and Mom thought I might enjoy it, too. She says it’s called The Muffin Tin Game. Huh?

Anyway, she dug around in the kitchen cabinets and pulled out something from way far in the back that looked like a metal square with a bunch of holes in it. Mom said it’s called a muffin tin, and it’s used for baking. I wouldn’t know what baking is, I sure haven’t ever seen Mom do it! Next thing I hear is the treat bag coming out of the fridge. Hmmm… this was getting interesting. But Mom didn’t give me any treats – what was up with that? Instead, she put them in the holes of the muffin tin. Then she took a bunch of my toys out of the toy  basked and covered the treats. What – did she think I wasn’t going to find them???

When she put the whole thing on the floor, I immediately went to check it out, and got to work. Unlike Archer the dog, who managed to empty the whole muffin tin in less than 30 seconds, I took my time. I planned my strategy. I deliberated. I did not act until I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I don’t have to tell you that we cats are way smarter than dogs!

You can watch me play the game here:

httpv://youtu.be/1q8KXz4Yvbc

And yes, I did get that last one out! I just had to take a nice long bath before I tackled it. What’s the hurry? I guess Mom got bored watching me, because she stopped filming.

And now you’ll have to excuse me, I need to practice my acceptance speech for the Acatemy Awards.

Allegra’s World: Waiting for Spring

Allegra waking from her morning nap

I’m learning lots of interesting things about this thing Mom calls weather! The last time I wrote on here, I told you about all that white stuff that was falling from the sky, and how I didn’t like it at all. I also don’t like days when my sunny spots don’t appear (and I still don’t get why Mom can’t just make them appear, she can do so many other amazing things!). But last week, we had a really cool thing happen: sunny spots, and open windows! It was so warm, Mom left the windows open all day, and I could sit on my perches and sniff the breeze. It was so nice!

I could also tell that Mom was really happy when it got warm. Like mother, like daughter, I guess – she loves sunny spots, and she doesn’t like the white stuff, either. She said the white stuff is called snow, but I’ve heard her use some other words when she talks about it that she says aren’t fit to mention here on my blog. Oops, I mean Mom’s blog.

We got some more of the white stuff the other day – not a lot, but enough to make Mom mad because it messed up one of her book signings. It also messed with my kitten head again, because I’d already forgotten that it changes how everything looks when I look outside, and it scared me a little bit when I woke up and saw that things were white again outside.

Mom said soon it will be warm all the time, and we can have the windows open a lot. She says it’s called spring. I like spring – not just because it’s warm, but because it was spring a year ago when I came to live with Mom!

The other thing that happened since I last wrote was that Mom went away again. This time, I knew it wasn’t good when the black box came out. Yup, Mom left me again. She went to a Pet Writing Conference. I think she should have taken me with her. I am a pet writer, aren’t I? I’m a pet, and I write! At least this time, it was only for one night, and I had plenty of company; both Ronnie and Renee came to visit a couple of times, and, more importantly, to feed me! And this time, I knew that just because Mom went away, it didn’t mean it was going to be forever. I’m a big girl now, and I’m not as afraid of being abandoned as I was when I was little.

That’s all my news. Now I’m going to see if I can entice Mom to play with me and my current favorite toy, the Neko Flies. You can see me play with it here:

httpv://youtu.be/7t2f0Bxl6lM

Allegra’s World: Losing Power

We’ve had some excitement around here since I last wrote!  I was just going about my business yesterday when all of a sudden, there was this loud noise against the windows, roof, and side of the house.  I know what heavy rain sounds like, and I don’t like it at all, but this was worse!  Mom said it was sleet, she said it’s what happens when it gets so cold that the rain freezes.  I don’t know what freezing is, but I do know that that noise scared me, and I hid under the sofa.  As if that wasn’t enough, there was thunder, too!

But that wasn’t all.  When I finally came out from under the sofa and looked out the window, there was white stuff falling from the sky!  A lot of it.  Mom said it’s called snow.  I watched it fall, and everything outside changed really fast.  All I could see was white!   Lots of big white flaky things swirling around!   I tried to catch them, but my paw kept bumping against the window, so after a while, it stopped being fun.

And then, all of a sudden, just after I had finished my dinner, our whole house went dark, and very very quiet.  It was really strange.  This was a different kind of dark from how it gets dark when Mom and I go to bed.  Mom brought out a flashlight.  Oh, it was a new game!  I love flashlights!  I love chasing the dot of light!  Wee!!!  But she didn’t seem in a mood to play with me at all.  I didn’t understand, and chased the flashlight dot anyway, but it wasn’t as much fun because Mom wasn’t having fun.

Mom said that we lost our power.  I don’t know what this power is, but it seemed to upset Mom that it was gone.  She said there was nothing else to do but go to bed.  Silly Mom.  It was too early to go to bed!  I went back into the living room to look out the big window.  It was getting whiter and whiter out there.  All of a sudden, there was a really loud crack that sent me running for cover.  It got Mom out of bed, too.  I was wondering whether she would come hide under the sofa with me, but after she looked out the window, she said it was just a pine branch that broke off the tree outside.  She said I shouldn’t worry, we were purrfectly safe inside.  I decided to stay under the sofa just a big longer anyway.  Just to make sure.

Meanwhile, the house was getting colder and colder, and I went to join Mom in bed.  I figured she was probably cold, too, and maybe I could help warm her up a little.  I know she loves when I sleep right next to her, so I snuggled up with her.

A few hours later, Mom and I woke up to the sound of the heat coming on.  I felt Mom relax, and we both went back to sleep.  Then a horrible scraping noise outside woke me up – it sounded like the big scary trucks that come by our house a lot, only a hundred times worse!  Mom said it was a snow plow, and that it was moving some of the white stuff out of the way, and that I didn’t need to be afraid, but I wasn’t having any of it and I hid under the bed for a while.

Eventually, I jumped back on the bed to be with Mom.  When it started getting light out, we got up, and everything looked different!  So much white!  It almost hurt my eyes, it was so bright.  Mom said she had to go outside and shovel so that she could go away in her car.  I don’t like when she goes away in her car, so I told her she should just stay inside with me, but she went outside anyway.  When she came back inside, she was really tired, and mumbled something about being so over winter.  I don’t know what that means, but I was glad she was back inside with me.

But the best part of this white stuff so far has been that there are way more birds at our birdfeeder than ever before.  I’m having so much fun watching them!  I wish I could figure out how to catch them!  But that would mean I’d have to go outside, and I’m too smart for that.  I know that I’m a lucky kitty because I don’t have to be out in the snow and cold like those birds.

So that’s what was happening at my house.  Did any of you get that white stuff at your house, too?

Allegra’s World: Helping Mom Wake up on Time

Things have been kind of quiet around here since I last wrote, but Mom said I could write something if I wanted to, so here I am.  To tell you the truth, I think she just couldn’t come up with something new and interesting herself, so I’m here to save the day!  That’s what a good little kitten daughter does, she helps her Mom.

One of the things I’ve been particularly helpful with lately is making sure that Mom gets up on time.  Sometimes I think Mom doesn’t really appreciate how nice it is to have a kitten like me who can tell time as well as I can.  If it wasn’t for me, she’d have to set what humans call an alarm clock.  I know Mom has one, but she rarely uses it (because she has me!).  The few times she’s used it, it scared me!  It makes awful noises, and Mom doesn’t seem very happy when it wakes her up.  So I’ve found much more effective ways to wake her up, and I’m pretty creative and always come up with new, fun ones.

For example, I like to attack the headboard of Mom’s bed.  It makes a very satisfying noise when it bangs against the wall.  Unfortunately, after a while, Mom got used to the sound, and it didn’t really bother her enough to fully wake up, so I had to come up with something else.

It didn’t take me long.  Mom has  picture frames made of clear plastic sitting on her nightstand.  One morning,  I decided it might be fun to chew on the edges of the frames.  Hmm, tasty.  And fun!  It made a very satisfying, crunchy noise – and sure enough, it woke Mom right up!  She told me “no,” and even gently shoved me away from the picture frames, but of course, that required her to wake up all the way.  Ha!  Mission accomplished!  However, instead of being grateful that I found another way to wake her up, she simply put the picture frames away in a drawer from then on.  Humans are such spoilsports!

Not to be deterred, I quickly thought of another way to wake her up, and promptly tested it on her the next morning.  I jumped up on top of the dresser, and launched myself off of it and onto the bed.  Wee!!!  Very satisfying bounce, especially when I landed right on top of Mom!  Excellent!  I’m thinking short of moving the dresser out of the bedroom, she’s not going to be able to stop me from doing that!  Mom keeps explaining to me that she really doesn’t need help waking up, and that she wishes I’d quietly wait for her to be ready, or go play somewhere else in the house, but I think secretely she’s happy that I’m so good at this important task.

Other than purrfecting my skills as a feline alarm clock, I’ve been settling into a nice daily routine.  After I finally get Mom out of bed, I eat breakfast, then Mom plays with me, and then I watch the birds at the feeder on our deck.  It gets really busy out there!  Then I help Mom work by settling in for a morning nap next to her desk.  At lunch time, I remind Mom that it’s time for me to be brushed and then I get treats for being such a good girl.  I love being brushed now, but when I first came here, I wouldn’t even let her touch me with the brush, so she started giving me treats after brushing me.  Hey, I’m a smart kitten – it didn’t take me long to catch on that brushing was a good thing.  And now, in addition to getting treats, I actually like how being brushed feels.

After lunch, it’s time for a little more birdwatching, and then another nap.  By that time, on sunny days, the sun is right on Mom’s bed, and I usually spend the rest of the afternoon taking my nap there.  It feels so good to lie in the sun.  I really don’t like days when the sun doesn’t come out.  I’ve complained to Mom, but she says there’s nothing she can do about it.  I don’t know if I really believe that, because Mom is so powerful and can do so many things to make my life so nice, but so far, she’s not budging on this one.

So that’s it from me.  Life is good.  And now, it’s time for another nap!

Mom says my wake up tactics remind her of a Simon’s Cat video, and she thought you all might enjoy it.  After watching this, all I can say is Mom should consider herself very very lucky…..

httpv://youtu.be/w0ffwDYo00Q

Pet Bloggers Challenge

The Pet Bloggers Challenge was initiated by two members of the pet blogging community, Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me? and Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly.  I thought it would be a nice opportunity for some of you to learn a little bit more about why I blog and what my future plans are for The Conscious Cat.  So, I’m taking the challenge, along with other bloggers such as Romeo the Cat and Lorie Huston, DVM  at the Pet Health Care Gazette.  (Psst:  I was supposed to post this yesterday, but they’ve extended it until 11:59pm tonight, so I’m still good!).

So, without further ado:

1.  When did you begin your blog?

I started blogging on March 1, 2009 – we’ll soon be celebrating our 2nd anniversary!

2.  What was the original purpose for starting a blog?

The Conscious Cat was inspired by Amber, and my vision was for it to become a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health and happiness for cats and their humans.  I was already publishing my bi-monthly newsletter News for You and Your Pets, and I was in the process of writing Buckley’s Story.  Starting the blog gave me an opportunity to reach an ever growing audience of cat lovers who are as passionate about their cats and their health and happiness as I am.

3.  Is your current purpose the same?

Yes, absolutely.

4.  Do you blog on schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I usually blog three times a week:  Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.  I keep an editorial calendar, but it’s very flexible.

5.  Are you generating income from your blog?

Yes.  The Conscious Cat Store features products hand-picked by me (and some are even approved by Allegra!).  I receive some income from carefully selected companies who advertise on my blog.  I only advertise products and services that I’ve either personally used, or that I believe will be of interest to my readers.

6.  What do you like most about blogging in general and about your blog in particular (bragging is good)?

I love to write!  I’m passionate about educating cat owners about feline health and nutrition, and blogging gives me an easy way to reach a wide audience.  I love the community blogging builds – from fellow pet bloggers to my readers, I’ve “met” so many wonderful people through this blog.  One absolutely amazing “by-product” of this site has been the community of tortie lovers created by my post Tortitude – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats.  I wrote the post in August of 2009, and it’s generated more than 1400 comments as of this writing!  The thread has become a place for afficionados of cats with this particular coloring to gather and exchange stories about their cats, and the friendships that have formed as a result are something I never expected when I started this site.

7.  What do you like least?

The days when inspiration is slow to come.  Coming up with original content on an ongoing basis, and meeting my own high standards for that content, can sometimes be a challenge.

8.  How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?

I’m hoping that the rapid growth I’ve seen over the past year will continue (and I wouldn’t complain if it magically went viral overnight, either!).    I’ll continue to expand the topics I’m presenting.  I’m looking forward to hosting exciting guest bloggers.   I have some great giveaways planned.  And most of all, I’m looking forward to all the comments I get from my readers each and every day.

Allegra’s World: Allegra’s First Christmas

There’s been so much cool stuff happening around here, I don’t even know where to start!  For the past week, Mom has been bringing out lots of fun toys:  big rolls of paper, crinkly tissue paper, and, best of all, bows and ribbons!  I actually don’t think she brought them out for me, because she put them on the dining room table, and I don’t usually play up there.  And Mom doesn’t usually play unless it’s with me, but she started playing with those toys, so I, being the good kitten daughter that I am, had to go help her.  Mom said what she was doing is called wrapping gifts.  Whatever – it was great fun!  I grabbed some of the bows and took off with them, making Mom chase after me.   Things got even more interesting when Mom got ready to put some ribbon on one of the gifts she was wrapping.  I tried to help by batting at the ribbon and chewing on the ends, and I couldn’t understand why she kept telling me no (I also don’t think she was all that serious about the “no,” because she kept laughing).   I think eventually  Mom decided that her presents wouldn’t have any ribbons on them.   She said it’s called “the path of least resistence.”  I think those are just big words for spoiling my fun.

But the best thing happened this past weekend.  All of a sudden, there were all these packages under our Christmas tree.  Where did they come from?  Mom said Santa brought them.  I don’t know who this Santa is, but Mom explained that he brings presents to good little kittens, and that on Christmas, we’d be opening the packages together.  Wee!!!  That sounded like fun.  I like this Santa!  I helped Mom open the first package.   It was for me!  It was a really fun toy that looked like a giant piece of cheese.  I love cheese!  And there were little things inside the big cheese, so I had to immediately try to get them out.  I still haven’t quite figured out how yet, but I’ll  keep working at it.

But that wasn’t all.  There were so many other packages!  Since I was happily playing with my big cheese, Mom opened some of her packages without my help.  The stuff in them wasn’t very interesting, but the growing pile of wrapping paper was, so I stopped playing with my big cheese and went to check it out.  I crawled under the paper, rustled around in it, and pounced on it.  Way cool!  After letting me have some fun with the pile, Mom said there were more packages for me, so I helped her open them.  So many fun toys!  I didn’t even know what to play with first.  In fact, to be totally honest, I got a little overwhelmed with everything.  I didn’t know it was possible for a kitten to be so loved and to get so many gifts.  How lucky am I!

After we had opened all the packages, Mom started gathering the pile of paper and the bows and ribbons.  I asked her whether we could just keep them out since they were so much fun to play in, but she nixed that idea.  Humans – they can be such spoil sports.  But I didn’t mind too much since I have all these fun new toys to play with.

After all this excitement, I needed a long nap – and I took it in Mom’s lap, while she was sitting by the Christmas tree.  Mom listened to some music, and I slept.

I love Christmas!

Allegra’s World: Allegra Goes to the Vet’s

Since so much has happened around here in just the last week, Mom is letting me write here again so soon!  Yay!!!

Last Friday, there was a lot of commotion around our house.  Mom was moving some furniture around, and then she brought this big box up from the basement.  It was huge!  Much bigger than me!  It was a little scary, actually.  Then she took all these green things out of the box.  They looked like the branches on the tree right outside our window.  There were so many of them, I really felt outnumbered, so I did what any self-respecting cat would do:  I puffed myself up and hissed at them.  When that didn’t seem to bother them, I attacked!  But they just laid there, not doing much of anything, so I got bored and went to check out what Mom was doing.  She had put a little table in one corner of our living room, and it was covered with a red cloth that went all the way down to the floor.  Now this was interesting!  I went to investigate, and crawled under the table.  It was like my own private tent!  Very fun.   So I stayed under there for a while.

When I came out, the branches were no longer on the living room floor, but there was a tree on top of the little table.  Huh.  How’d that happen?  My Mom can make magic!  Then all of a sudden, there were all these twinkly lights on the tree.  More magic!  Then Mom hung things from it.  Some looked like little cats made out of wood, and glass, and plastic.  Interesting.  But I liked the little tent under the tree so much, I didn’t even bother to check out the tree all that much.  I sort of get a sense that Mom likes it that way, so I’m going to try and be a good girl.  But it is rather interesting…..hmm….  If I could just maybe bat at some of the little cats hanging from the tree…I wonder what would happen….

But that’s not all.  There was more excitement around here.  On Monday, I had just settled in for a nice long nap on my sunny window perch, when Mom gently woke me up, and picked me up.  She never does that, she always leaves me alone when I sleep, so I wasn’t sure what that was all about.  Next thing I know, I’m inside this big pink bag!  Hello!  How’d that happen?  Now, the pink bag had been sitting in our family room for a while, and I even nap in it sometimes, but this time, Mom zipped up the front, and I was kind of stuck in there.  Very odd.  I wasn’t sure what to think.

You know how I told you last time that when Mom leaves the house, she always takes a purple bag with her?  Well, this time she left the house with the pink bag, and me in it!  What was going on?  The only time I’d ever been outside the house was when Mom picked me up from the animal hospital where I lived for a while to bring me home.  Uh oh.  Animal hospital?

Yup.  Sure enough, after a short time in the car (I remembered the car from when Mom brought me home.  It was a little scary when it first started moving, but then, it was okay), Mom carried me into – oh yes, I remembered this place!  I remembered the smells, but I also remembered that the people there were really nice to me, so I started to get kind of curious about what this might be about.  A few minutes later, Mom unzipped the front of the bag.   I wasn’t sure about coming out, so Mom reached in and pulled me out.  I was a little scared, and I think Mom could tell, because she hugged me and held me close, and that felt really good.  Then a woman came in the room, and she petted me and told me I was beautiful.   Then she took out this weird looking stick thing and asked whether she could take my temperature.  I don’t know what this temperature is, but the woman was really nice, so I figured it would be okay.  Yikes!!!  It so was not okay!!!  I won’t tell you where she put that stick thing, but I will tell you that I didn’t know that woman nearly well enough to let her do that to me!

A short while later, another woman came into the room.  She was really nice, too.  She even took some treats out of her pocket and offered them to me, but after the incident with the stick thing, I wasn’t going to trust anyone there!  God knows what they were going to do next!   After talking to me softly and petting me, the second woman looked into mouth.  Hello?  What did she do that for?  Then she put her hands all over me and squeezed in places that shouldn’t be squeezed if you ask me, but then, nobody asked me!  Then she took this round disk thing and put it on my chest.  It was all very strange, but none of it hurt, so I didn’t put up too much of a fuss – but believe me, I thought about it!

The next part was so not fun!  One of the women held me down, while the other one came at me with something really sharp and poked a hole in my leg with it.  It hurt!  And I started bleeding!  I got really scared.  You’d think they would have panicked, too, but instead of doing something to stop the bleeding, the woman  collected my blood in this tube thing!   What was up with that?  Finally, after what seemed like forever, the woman pulled the sharp thing out of my leg.  What a relief!  Surely, they couldn’t possibly do anything else to me, right?  But oh, no!  Next, she came at me with another sharp thing, and she  stuck it in my hip!  Okay, enough was enough.  I whipped my head around, ready to show them with my sharp little teeth that the woman had admired earlier just what I thought of the way they were treating me!  But they were quicker than I was (which is pretty darn impressive, if you ask me, because I’m fast!).    Thankfully, just when I was getting really mad, the pink bag reappeared, and I ran into it.  I figured they wouldn’t drag me out a second time, and I was right.

Mom says what happened was my annual check up.  It’s to make sure that I’m healthy.  Whatever!  I don’t care how nice the people there were to me, this is not a place I want to have to go back to more than once a year (no offense, nice people).

So that’s all the excitement from me.  I think I’ll go take a nice long tap in my special tent now.

Pretty Litter