Of mice, men, and me…well, actually, it’s all about the cat


Tiger Lily

Well, my friends, spending the first half of December in the grips of a never-ending cold was definitely not on my radar. I’d planned to get at least 3-4 posts off the ground before the end of the year, and now it looks like I will be lucky to eke out 1-2. And, of course, there’s always so much else to do at Christmas time: cookies to bake, shopping to do, gifts to wrap, carols to sing, etc. But so far, I’m not getting to any of that! Instead, I’ve turned into little more than our adolescent cat’s playmate… Little Miss Tiger Lily loves to play a never-ending game of fetch; to ensure that she always has at least one mouse that can be found at any given time, we invested $2 in a 12-pack of faux Mus musculus. She brings one to me no matter where I am, and plunks it down beside me. Yes, you can play fetch with a cat from a supine, bed-ridden position. As long as your wrist can move, they’re happy. I’m starting to think Tiger Lily may have engineered all this—holding me captive in bed just so I can play endless games of fetch with her. But if she did, she is keeping it to herself. 😉



Let the games begin!

Categories: Cats, Miscellaneous, Pets | 12 Comments

New York Times, 15 August 1881: “The true purpose of cats revealed” — lightening rods?!


Our new little charge, Tiger Lily, is growing up fast; her name has proved to be very apt—at times she’s a ‘tiger’ and at times, she’s a “lily” (it’s that “Jekyll and Hyde” thing cats have going on). Fortunately for us she is mostly a “lily,” and when she is in “tiger mode,” she can be extremely entertaining. Had she been around in 1881, it sounds like she would have been one of MANY alley cats festooning the fence tops of backyards throughout the land. Read on for a curious cat-related start to your Monday (courtesy of a free New York Times archives article dated August 15, 1881).

Has anyone ever seen a cat(s) on roof tops or fence tops during a lightening storm?!!! Perhaps, 19th-century cats were made of tougher stuff.

Categories: Cats, Miscellaneous, Science and technology | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Kitty, kitty, little star…

TAIKO Ah, yes, the “perils” of living in a ground floor flat when spring’s kitten season has come and gone… and left behind all sorts of wee ones wandering about looking for homes before they wind up as some animal’s dinner… No room at the inn for these little ones at the local animal shelters and rescue groups; there are too many to take in :-(.

About ten days ago, this little lassie turned up at our door, quite literally.

If she had been tall enough, she would have rung the bell.

How could we say no? She’s turned out to be a sweet little munchkin with a very endearing personality! 😉

After trying out numerous names, we have settled on

Tiger Lily


Categories: Pets | 15 Comments

RIP “Luigi” – Our sweet angel (1996 – 10/23/15)


Past post: We love our dogs

Categories: Pets | 6 Comments

Henry & Polly: Savannah’s singing parrots—1896

Quiet Corner, John Wesley Baxter house, Dublin and Hill Roads, Greenwich, Connecticut. Macaws on terrace in summer. Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952); Created 1920 (Library of Congress Catalog Number 2007686343)

Quiet Corner, John Wesley Baxter house, Dublin and Hill Roads, Greenwich, Connecticut. Macaws on terrace in summer. Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952); Created 1920 (Library of Congress Catalog Number 2007686343)

I imagine the article featured in this post caught the eye and captured the imaginations of many of our ancestors who read it when it appeared back in 1896. Who isn’t fascinated by talking birds, let alone singing ones? And the fact that these birds—Polly & Henry—had numerous songs in their repertoire was truly extraordinary. Are there any birds today doing such remarkable things?

I chanced upon the article, dated 20 November 1896, in The Livonia Gazette (NY), while trolling though some search results on the Fulton History site. The Chicago Times-Herald is credited at the end with originating the story. The Wave, a Long Island newspaper carrying the article, included the additional detail that apart from Suwanee River and Say Au Revoir but not Good-bye, Polly and Harry also sang Maggie Murphy’s Home and Fifteen Dollars in My Inside Pocket. I found music and/or lyrics for these popular old songs  and have located them at the end of this post.

So, Happy Saturday. I hope you will enjoy this little slice of life from 1896.





I Had Fifteen Dollars in My Inside Pocket

Copyright, 1885, by Will H. Kennedy.
Words and Music by Harry Kennedy.

I’m an Irishman, now don’t mind that.
For you can’t play tag with Paddy Flynn,
In the Fourteenth Ward I claim my how’ld,
But the gang they play’d me for a skin;
They said that they’d make me Alderman,
Then they took me ’round to see Red Bill,
We were drinking rye-and-rock, till four o’clock,
And they made me pony up for all the swill.

I had fifteen dollars in my inside pocket,
Don’t you see, to me it is a warning;
Saturday night I made a call oh a friend of Tarn’ny Hall
And the divil a cent I had on Sunday morning.

Oh, the gang they hung around the bar,
Like a swarm of educated mice;
Oh, they made me drink a “clarinette “punch
And a whiskey “Sangaree “on ice;
They stood me on my head, when my wealth gave out,
Then they hung me on a fence to dry,
In the early morning light, for’ninst Judge White,
These words to him I plaintively did cry:-Chorus.


Categories: Georgia, Miscellaneous, Nature, Pets | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

We love our dogs

The Evening Telegram - New York, Monday, 15 September 1912 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

The Evening Telegram – New York, Monday, 15 September 1912 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

We humans sure love our dogs. Take a look at the above 1912 headline about “Mike” who went missing from 70 West 57th St. in Manhattan nearly 103 years ago. Even private detectives were put on the trail. I’m sure the article helped sell some papers, and hopefully it, and all the hoopla surrounding his disappearance, got him found. I know I’d be as grief-stricken as this poor lady if any dog (or cat) of mine went missing.  Not long ago, I watched PBS’s fascinating NOVA show “Dogs Decoded” which really helps explain our remarkable 10,000+-year-old bond with Canis familiaris. As life goes on, I’ve discovered that it’s hard to have a really bad day when you have a dog.



I was going to post last week about my own little Pomeranian dog, Luigi, who’s marking an anniversary this month, but then I thought it would be better not to mix the blog anniversary post with his story. And now that over a week has gone by, I’ve decided to give you the very abbreviated version, since all that really matters is that he is still alive and doing well.

We’ve been blessed to have Luigi since 2006. He came to us as a toothless rescue dog who’d been abandoned by a breeder who had no more use for him. He is in his 19th year and was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when hospitalized two years ago for acute pneumonia. At that time, the options were to put him down straight away or put him on medication (Sildenafil & Vetmedin) and see how long he’d last. The doctor gave him 6 months and said to monitor for seizures, fainting, or any other clearly alarming development. With TLC, Luigi slowly rebounded. Six months came and went. Then a year. Then 18 months. And just about now, we are at the two-year mark. A week ago Friday, we thought we’d hit the final bump in the road with him, and almost had him put to sleep. But, thank heavens, it was a false alarm, and we are back to sailing calm waters again.

Luigi enjoying an Atlantic beach, 2011

Luigi enjoying an Atlantic beach, 2011

So, this month we’re marking his two-year anniversary of surviving with pulmonary hypertension—an anniversary we never expected to see. When his time does come, it will be too difficult to talk about it—you’ll probably just see a brief RIP here—so let this post speak to how much this little guy is loved and cherished.

“Why Every Man Should Own a Dog” by Jim Thornton for Men’s Health dot com
“Man’s Best Friend” in the Economist online
“Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend Thanks to Bonding Hormone” in the Guardian (UK) online

Categories: Manhattan, Miscellaneous, New York City, Pets | 10 Comments

Some feline chips off the old block…

If you’re a fan of vintage cartoons, check out the amusing seven-minute-long Chips Off the Old Block from 1942 on DailyMotion (click here).

Some 1967 chips off the old block

1967 – some new chips off the old block appeared at our house

It reminded me of lots of the kittens who appeared at our old farmhouse 40-50 years ago. I dug out this old slide of two little 1967 chips. We never discovered who their ‘dad’ was.

Somewhere we have a handwritten ‘cat family tree tree’ that my mom started but abandoned after documenting the first few generations of barnyard cats, realizing that it was a losing battle. If I find her chart again, I’ll add it to this post. It’s very amusing. Our all-time favorite cat from that era was a Tabby cat named ‘Jeff’ who disappeared one fall and was gone for six months. We assumed he’d been eaten by something, but he eventually returned—one leg almost completely severed. The vet amputated it, and miraculously Jeff survived to a pretty ripe old age.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Pets | 2 Comments

More “Prized Pets”

Rosie, our adopted stray, trying to get a bit of shut-eye

Rosie, our adopted stray, trying to get a bit of shut-eye

Poor Rosie—I sympathize with her. I can’t sleep unless the room I am in is pitch black and so quiet you can’t hear a pin drop. Here she is waiting for us to turn the lights out one recent January night.

This photo really makes me smile, especially when I remember how Rosie once looked so sad, skinny, and desperate wandering the grounds of our community in search of the occasional hand-out. And now she’s comfy, pleasantly plump, and evidently very content (apart from that darn light that needs to go out NOW!).

She reminded me that I had some more ‘pet photos’ from ages past to add to the Gallery I started long ago. To view the updated (5 new photos added) ‘Prized Pets’ Gallery, please click here. OK, Rosie—Relax! Lights going out now!

Categories: Miscellaneous, Pets | 8 Comments

Rosie the cat and our backyard wildlife

The Rosie pose

The Rosie pose

This post features family cat, Rosie, whose photograph appeared a long time ago in a post on prized family pets through the decades.

Here in SW Florida, we see a variety of wildlife out our back lanai, especially in winter. But today, I was amazed to see a bobcat. I noticed him because Rosie, a stray we took in several years ago, was in the unique, highly attentive pose she goes into whenever she spots something intriguing. The bobcat was across the ditch which is filled with rainwater (we’ve had a ton of rain lately); it did not see Rosie, but it did see something else. I had no idea what — until I spotted a big old coyote walking through the backyard on this side of the ditch (kind of too close for comfort). And then, moments later, Mr. Bobcat went off in that direction. No idea if he and Mr. Coyote met, but no doubt this is a day that Rosie (and I) will not soon forget!

Rosie in her glory days several years ago; she was 0 to 60 in seconds.

Rosie in her glory days several years ago; she was 0 to 60 in seconds.

PS: People often ask me how we manage to contain a cat who was once a stray (quite feral, actually), hunting food and dashing about in the great outdoors — well, these cats are so grateful for a home once they manage to get one, you can’t get them to leave! An open door or window is no enticement. They simply won’t budge. And Rosie is a real sweetie. She’s skittish and will always be, but on her terms will happily be petted and cuddled. She has never tried to scratch or bite anyone. The lanai is her “entertainment center” where she happily spends many hours of the day.

Categories: Nature, Pets | 4 Comments

1930s Interior / Mystery Photo

Here is a photo taken in 1936, but the individuals were not identified, and we have no idea who they are.  I love that cat. He looks so fat and happy sitting there with his/her mom and dad. I’ve enlarged the photo a number of times to try to see whose photos are on the mantle. I don’t have a clue as to who those folks are. The photo was in a Trewin family album so there must be a connection there. Anyone with an idea, please let me know!

A 1936 Interior: Occupants Unknown

One happy cat!

Categories: Pets, Trewin | Leave a comment

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