A Street Cat Named Bob

About a month ago a friend lent me a really heartwarming book.  I blew through it in a weekend.  I’ve never done a book review for the Pets blog before, but this seems appropriate.  The book is called “A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets,” by James Bowen.  Don’t worry: this isn’t a real tear-jerker of a book.  It’s a sweet, inspirational story of how a very special cat inspired a lost man to take control of his own life. James Bowen was a recovering drug addict in London.  He’d just … Continue reading

Killer Cats on the Loose

One of the most popular news stories to break last week was a new estimation of the deaths attributed to domesticated house cats.  We’re not talking people deaths, but the deaths of small birds and mammals; that might seem insignificant, but the number is in the billions.  Researchers from the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that although the worst offenders are feral and stray cats, one in three domesticated cats also kills animals in its neighborhood.  Those cats average two kills a week. When it’s well-fed, domesticated cats doing the killing, they’re not usually keeping these … Continue reading

Unusual Pet Products

On a recent MSN list of “unusual ways to make a buck,” 5 of the 21 items on the list were about pets.  That doesn’t seem like that many, but it’s the largest single category on the list.  The pet inventions are Pet Rocks, Doggles, Petite Amande, Pet Butler, and Neuticles.  Given the age of that first item, it doesn’t require much explanation; we all know what it is. Let’s look at the other pet products on the list in increasing order of ridiculousness.  That means Pet Butler is up next.  It might seem crazy – a butler for your … Continue reading

Why Cats Do Weird Things: Pawing Around Water

We know why cats play with their water: they paw it and lick it from their paws, to try to make their water ripple and thus seem fresher.  Cats love fresh water.  But I’ve noticed Cole sometimes do something a bit stranger than that: he paws around his water bowl.  He doesn’t actually dip his paws in, but he scratches at the floor around the water bowl.  Why is he doing that? There isn’t a clear answer as to why; a lot of cat behavior is mysterious to us.  But there are a few educated guesses out there.  The first is … Continue reading

What To Do about Neighbor Cats

I keep going back and forth on whether or not to let my cats outside.  Cole doesn’t have much interest, but Chrestomanci certainly does.  I know he’d be happiest as an indoor-outdoor cat, but I don’t know that I’d be happiest with him as one, and I don’t know that it’s worth the stress.  One day in the summer when we let him out with us, he wandered off.  He came back a few hours later, just as my husband said he would, but by then it was dark and I was very upset until he showed up again. Another … Continue reading

Why Pets Aren’t Good Presents

This goes without saying, but you can never say it too often because it happens every year: don’t give pets as presents.  If you’re thinking about gifting a pet to someone you love this year, consider very carefully.  Pets are lifelong commitments and responsibilities, not fun presents. Now, I can think of one context in which it could be OK to give a pet for a present: if the person receiving asked for it, knew that’s what they were getting, and understood the responsibilities involved.  That means in most cases, it’s not appropriate to get pets as gifts for children: … Continue reading

Common Pet Myths: True or Untrue?

Many of the “facts” we grew up hearing about pets are false.  For example: who hasn’t seen countless images of a content cat licking cream out of a saucer?  When I got a cat in my childhood I remembered that image, and left out a bowl of milk for him.  He sniffed it and threw up.  This happened nearly every time I tried to give him milk; even if he didn’t spit up, he never touched the stuff. Because it turns out, not all cats can drink milk.  Some of them can, but lactose intolerance is as prevalent among cats … Continue reading

Have You Created Fantasy Portraits?

Now that the Christmas shopping season is officially underway, it’s time to start thinking about gifts to give family and friends. What better way for an avid shutterbug to make the most of his picture-taking talents than to create photo gifts to give out in the coming weeks? I’m over photo books and the plethora of other boring photo gift ideas, including totes, magnets, mouse pads and t-shirts. This year I am toying with the idea of creating my own fantasy portraits and giving them out as gifts. Fantasy portraits, magic portraits, prop portraits; they are referred to by several … Continue reading

The Freedom That Comes with Digital Photography

Does anyone still use a traditional film camera these days? I’m sure some professional shooters and a few die-hards cling tightly to their trusty picture-taking tools, but for the most part, the industry has gone digital and most of us have followed without complaint. Personally, I don’t have a single complaint, especially since I was never fond of toting around dozens of rolls of extra film for my bulky point-and-shoot that never quite fit into my pocket or purse. I also dreaded waiting days to find out if the photos I snapped were worth saving. According to a new study, … Continue reading

Tips for Organizing Your Photos

There was a time when I enjoyed designing our family’s annual Christmas photo card. Back then all I had to do was find a single stunner, place it on the card and BAM!–done. These days, though, some card designs allow you to feature six or more different pictures. So many choices, so little time. This time of year I typically kick myself for not being as organized. I have a semi-method behind my madness, but it’s nothing to brag about. Whether you’re trying to get vacation, birthday, or wedding shots in order, it’s important to have a system that makes … Continue reading