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Wanting to show off her crazy jumps…  Lucia really flies after her teasers…

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I swear Lucia thinks she’s a rabbit…  she loves their toys more than they do…

Today was a bit of an adventure for everyone. First, I invented a new cat teaser since the cat likes variety and I have a craft room. Yay for foot long narrow leather triangles (like an inch or less at base) hot glued on the tip of a stick. Lucia literally ran til she was breathless, and 5 mins later was STILL panting. She’s been acting bored with the first lot of toys, mostly 1 boa teaser and several similar kinds of balls. This was to keep her entertained, because I promised the bunnies a DAY OFF FROM CATS. Why you ask? Oh its bunny torture day… they didn’t know that part of the deal…

After a first attempt at clipping black bunny claws (you try seeing a pale red line thru a dark black claw on a kicking bunny foot…) I have swore off the activity for life, even on the relatively docile Dash. So for official bunny torture day, we were off to Pet Food Express for claw clipping, in order to avoid any actual maiming of bunnies. Turns out they don’t have a grooming salon, what they have is Kat, an employee who clips claws in the bathroom for $10. After resolving that confusion, we were good to go. Dash as usual hopped out first, and I got to learn the EASY way to clip claws. He, of course, was no trouble. Apparently you snuggle the bunny to your chest, their back to you, kind of in a standing up pose, holding firmly to the chest just below the upper paws, and FIRMLY to the lower paws, supporting them and holding them still. The buns actually didn’t struggle with this hold at all, and Kat just clipped away. Dashy was so easy she even gave me a 2 for 1 deal on the buns. Clipsy was the big surprise – she LET ME PICK HER UP and actually didn’t twitch a muscle once I got her held. Kat also got to meet her first black clawed critter (she insisted that claws aren’t black, I laughed…), and used the snip-off-bit-by-bit approach to clipping without hitting the quick. I also think she spotted it visually but still went for the little at a time clipping. Apparently Clipsy keeps her own claws short digging so damned much. So in less time than I spend clipping 1 of Clipsy’s paws, we were all clipped with no muss and fuss. We hopped back into our carrier (Dash avoided this, he likes exploring, Clipsy hates newness so went right in), we said hi to the cat adoption folks (Dashy came out for pets) then went SHOPPING.

Yes, I’m in a pet store, I HAVE to shop for toys.

Our main goal was to get the kitten more variety since she was acting bored with all her toys yesterday, AND to cure her of that nice little habit of clawing the stairs. We got a spray bottle of some no-$cratch $tuff that I really hope works… a laser pointer (highly cat approved) a squeeky mouse on a string (again, high cat approval rating but $urely not worth the pri¢e… too cute to resist tho) and our new favorite self-stimulating toy, carpet-block-with-ball-on-a-spring! She bats it, she claws the block, she loved it for about an hour straight:

We also totally raided the cheap holiday toy bins for 25¢ sisal mice with feathers (YAY!) and leather mice (total reject, oh well) and much to my surprise, a resounding approval for rattly felt balls (all other noisy balls have been ignored) I guess rattles are better than jingles?

Happy 2009 everyone! May 2008 soon be but a long lost memory (at least in some worldly/USAian government and economic senses and such). 2008 wasn’t such a bad year really for me and Suzi’s Knits. I managed to solidify my new active lifestyle, and completed my marathon (raising nearly $3000 for AIDS treatment) and 2 half marathons, I was published twice in Knitty (and got some really AWESOME yarn samples from Crystal Palace, they do make the best sock yarn… hey Mini Mochi isn’t out anywhere near me yet… beg beg beg) and I acquired 3 new furballs. The theme for this years blog (aside from knitting of course!) will likely be split between me doing my best to stick with the running and fitness (may drag Peter out for the Silicon Valley Marathon…), and of course ongoing commentary on the buns and cat, since they are terminally cute.

Felt Cat ToysToday’s update from fuzzball land is that I made some felt cat toys, they are hideously easy to make. Lucia’s favorite toys are those hard foam cat balls (she dislikes catnip and bells) but of course she’s EXCELLENT at losing them so I was hunting a cheaper alternative. She still likes the store bought ones better than mine, but she WAS witnessed to play with mine, and even CAUGHT one in her mouth, ran upstairs, and dropped it at my feet like a dead mouse gift. Very cute. Anyhow, directions for the balls are best found elsewhere online. I didn’t bother to needle felt them into rounder shape (or rather I tried and failed) but I did make 2 variations. On some I wound some yarn around before I felted them in the wash for funky designs, and on others I needle felted yarn designs on them after (WAYYYY too much like work for all the cat does not care) My only caveat on the directions I linked to is, they come out the shape they come out. Make sure you wedge them in the nylons tight, and make sure they go in as round as possible. They make quick, cheap cat-approved toys. And if you don’t have spare stuff out there for felting… (I wonder how you found my blog? 😉 ) there’s tons of cheap wool on ebay. Nice colored stuff on etsy too. And you can also just toss a ball of wool yarn with tucked in ends into the washer…

Pardon my obsession for all you readers out there who are not cat fans… I can’t knit, the kitten eats the yarn. I’m wondering if our cat is the only furball out there that does this. I’ve been sick since the day after xmas, and moping about the house drinking lots of fluids and of course, doing lots of that which one must do after drinking lots of fluids. Lucia, being an extremely social cat has been following me around the house like a furry shadow (with no small amount of encouragement from me of course). Naturally, being a cat and having no manners, this means she follows me into the bathroom too. Where, for some bizarre reason (tiled floors?) her humans just happen to have set up her litter boxes. She will watch me sit on the pot, primly wait til I’m done, then hop into her box, scratch about for a bit and do her thing as well, glancing up to me for an immediate cleaning (which, for the moment, dutiful slave that I am, I do – best way to avoid the stench is to get rid of it now!). I’ve been rather amused by this routine, the copy-cat thing is surely entertaining…

Oh yes and I also meant to mention… all over Lolcats there are these images of cats captioned to imply they are horrified by the sight of their humans naked. I can attest to you firsthand that this is not so. I give you all 3 guesses what actually happens…

Lucia has been settling well into our home. At last update she was making friends with bunnies (this has progressed nicely, despite her wanting to play with them as if they were also kittens… water spray bottle helps end that) and has even been witnessed gently grooming their faces with big wet sloppy meat breath kisses (the buns LIKE this?!?!?). So on xmas eve, I FINALLY got enough tidying and cat-proofing done to let her out in the house. And we have since discovered something… The silly thing LOVES to watch TV. We had friends over for Xmas dinner, Rob and Erika, and somehow it devolved into u-tube. She hopped up on the TV stand to get a closer look at Two Hot girls in The Shower, was practically drooling at some images of parakeets (Erika and Rob are going tog et some so we you-tubed them too) and last night started transfixed at the Muppets. All that color and movement! She really sat with eyes fixed rigidly on the screen, and was barely distracted by her favorite toy, feather-boa-onastick!

Lucia&boaNew tasks for the Anvin household have been to populate our house with cat toys so she claws at them, not the furniture. I made one scratch post in “her” space by cable tying a woven grass welcome ma around a post. She loves it and even climbs it like a tree… I also got a cute little cat shelf thingy, which got a few cursory sniffs and then a thorough ignoring. So I decided to find a cheap way to make it more interesting. I ran off to Michael’s for supplies (mostly a $2 feather boa and some loose colorful feathers) and blinged up the cat tree. She LOVES it. She’s been rolling around it for pretty much most of the time I’ve been typing. I also made a smaller dangle out of some leather cut into strips and hot glued around some loose feathers (you can see it under her shelf at the left, or here) Both have been highly successful – she was witnessed to somersault over the edge of the lower shelf, rolling to attach the leather-and-feather dangle.

BTW the darned things are easy to make. What you will need is a half a dozen or so feathers about 4+ inches long, a thin strip of leather for the cord, and a small piece of leather about 2X4 for the fringe, and a hot glue gun. Hot glue is just plastic, its pretty darned safe once it cools. Cut your 2X4 leather scrap into fringe by cutting 3.5 inch slits along the length of the piece, leaving an uncut end. Put a dab of hot glue at the center of this on the rough/inside of the leather, and glue the leather cord down. Then at the right side (or left) start gluing down the feathers, one by one on top of each other, with a little stripe of glue for each feather. Put a nice glob of hot glue on top of the feathers and start rolling them into the leather fringe. The glue should spread as you roll, but if you need more to glue all the leather around the feathers, add it. Let it cool, and then nail it to the underside of your ignored cat scratch post (or if it has no shelf, nail it into the side!) I also highly recommend just plain boas. You can unravel proof the ends with a bit of fabric or leather hot glued and wrapped around right where you want to cut, and then when the glue cools, slice thru that wrapped part. From one $2 6 inch boa you can get 3 2-inch cat teasers… Yes, you can use the leather/fabric and hot glue trick to attach them to the end of a stick too!

Today on a whim (to spite the etherbunners that told me my 6 month old kitten will maim my buns) we started working on rabbit-cat introductions. This isn’t too hard it turns out – Lucia is VERY social for a cat, and both species are incurably curious. We have 3 personalities. Lucia is acting the perfect kitten – scared of the bigger buns yet smelling something yummy, she’s torn between run away and attack and curiosity. Mostly she’s just nervous and curious tho. Dash, the more submissive of the pair, is taking the upper hand in diplomacy. He LOVES being allowed to hop into the bathroom, usually an off-limits room, and is, as usual, unafraid of anything. He’ll hop right up to the kitten and sniff her, even if she’s cringing and hissing. Lucia sometimes freaks out, and VERY appropriately, taps him with a closed claw paw while hissing. He backs off, and seconds later hops right up again. Clipsy, being the bos of this entire house, simply cannot let Dash outdo her – if HE is going to hop into the bathroom and see this horrid smelling predator type, she must too. Her first forrays into the bathroom were tentative and paranoid. She’d spot the kitten, it would twitch so much as a whisker, and she’d run off and THUMP. This scared the kitten and everyone would hide. Over time with Dash coming in and out with no problems, Clipsy has warmed up and doesn’t thump but has yet to approach the kitten. Mostly by now the buns are cautiously ignoring Lucia, and she’s still deathly curious and afraid of them at the same time. I started letting her into bun space and out of the bathroom, but not fully independent – she got too into exploring and I was afraid she’d end up in their cage. She mostly retreats to her room though after short forays out to sniff bunnies. At one point, Dash had flopped contentedly outside her door, so I gently nudged her out to meet him, and got them (with some huge amount of moving the cat) to lie side by side while I petted them both. As of this writing, everyone has declared a stalemate and retreated to their own quarters. Clipsy is contentedly washing her face and hanging out in bunspace, Dash is stuffing his face with hay, and the kitten has settled in for a nap on her bed. I think the first encounters are going well and give Dash 4 paws up in Diplomacy!

So Lucia moved to the bedroom last night – her litter habits are impeccable and we thought she had earned some more space and could use a room with some natural light. Meanwhile we still have some cleanup and catproofing to do in the rest of the house. There were a few adventures that were blog-worthy…

Lucia’s first task was to explore every nook and cranny of the room… but then I notes, she looked UP on the bed, but didn’t hop there. Now I KNOW she can jump that high, so I was puzzled, tapped the bed, and up she jumped, purring and nuzzling. Without much thought I moved the stuffed animals off the bed – bear to a new corner since her bed is in his usual spot, and tiger to the floor by the closet. She took off to explore more, or so I thought… Til I engaged her in a round of my new favorite game, “Love my scratching post” (this game is played by rolling favorite toys down the very sloped post for her to grab with her claws, enticing her to scratch it) and she looked behind me midgame, puffed up her tail and ran under the bed to hide. I followed her gaze and saw… GiantStuffedTiger! He was STARING right at her, and, being a stuffed tiger, WASN’T BLINKING! I foolishly tried to pull her out from under the bed to show her he was just stuffed and smells nothing like a tiger, but she turned into a vicious ball of terrified claws and ran back under the bed whimpering. Half an hour later, with no movement from the cat, I gave in and removed her first nemesis, GiantStuffedTiger from the room. (He’s just outside, facing the doorway just in case she makes a break for the door… :-P)

So our cat slowly returns to normal, cuddles a bit, then goes back to exploring, when she meets her SECOND nemesis, a worthy opponent and in every way her equal, MirrorCat… Yup, our bedroom closet has mirrored doors and there is another cat in them! He hisses when she hisses, he rolls over and plays submissive just when she does, he lunges for attack when she does… Its hilarious, she hides safely in the spot between the 2 sets of doors, and peers around, hissing. Or she’ll bend low and begin to roll up a submissive belly, only to see her reflection do the same thing so turn to hiss and attack mid roll… To date she’s still deeply afraid of him, and will hide behind her scratching post, or sleep in her sheltered bed. She’ll play if she forgets he’s watching her, and them stop cold when she catches a glance of the mirror… She’s totally at an impasse with MirrorCat and cannot convince me to take him away like I did GiantStuffedTiger! Poor Lucia… its hard to be a kitten in a weird people world!

Some time back we decided it was time for a new pet, and adopted Clipsy and her partner in crime, Dash. We had been showing up the the shelter just to decide what species to take home, and well… couldn’t leave without fuzz in a box. We had discussed adopting a cat for years, but just didn’t want too much newness all at once. Well, Clipsy and Dash are well and happy settled in so… we went back to the shelter for a cat on Dec 13 (for those of you non-swedes, that’s Lucia Day the REAL start of the xmas holidays). After interviewing several kittens, we came home with our own little Julklapp (its a Swedish pun, the word means Xmas present), a complete cuddle cat, Lucia. She also likes to play and even deigned to touch a pet store toy! Anyhow, we set her up in the bathroom so she could settle in with less over-stimulation and we could check out her potty habits (so far impeccable) and then hit a crisis. A friend was over to eat our fresh baked lussekatter (saffron buns baked for Lucia day, named after cats of course) and she just… DISAPEARED. After frantic HOURS of searching while the dough rose, we gave up knowing she was SOMEWHERE in the house. When the guys were out getting takeout and I was moping, I heard a scratching sound… apparently they ran out of wood when making the cupboards, and there is a tiny 3X3 hole that lets, oh, a kitten sized critter, get into a little crawl space under the bathroom sinks. She emerged with a gigantic SNEEZE and a “what, why do you look worried?” expression and popped right into the litterbox without even a momentary dash for the door. Yup, she’s gonna be trouble…

I swear, this is just how they think…

SF AIDS Marathon 2008

On August 3, myself and about 500 other runners will complete the San Francisco marathon in an effort to raise $1,000,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of lifestyle changes and weight loss for me, and a chance for me to use my new-found energy and fitness to give back to my community. I hope you will join me in this effort by reading and offering your support through my blog. If you are able, I also welcome your contribution to the cause! Thanks and keep on running!

Progress Bar:


Marathon time: 5:40:22
Total Raised: $2,815.70

My Sponsors

I'd like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the SF AIDS Foundation!



Dianne Whitfield of the Bunny Hay Loft


Ulf Anvin
Rob Millner
Scott Lamb
Jeff Barlow
Erika Duplantis
Nick and Carol Esser
Kathryn Mercer
Nicole Pauls
Kathryn Coll
Timothy Berger
Susan Druding
Jenny Forman
Kathryn Mulgrew
Jamie Piperberg
Lucia Sanchez
Fran Taillon
Douglas Leeder
Barbara Kirsch
Ellen Atkinson
Valerie Esser
Peter McCourt
Carla Schroder
Sandra Spicher
Matthew Wilson
Valorie Zimmerman
Kathryn Kramer
Roxanne Seabright
Gayathri Swaminathan
Jason Spiro
Dianne Schoenberg

Thank you so very much for your support!

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