[Best of the Box] All The Kitties Go Crazy for the KitNipBox

As it turns out, securing my little IPSY Subscription Box with makeup goodies and samples fun enough to make any makeup maven ‘Oooh’ and ‘Ahhh’ was just the tip of the iceberg and it seems I’ve created a monthly box monster of sorts.  After two months of drooling over my IPSY goodies, I added a Birchbox Beauty subscription to the mix and just so I didn’t feel like a completely spoiled brat, I decided that it might be time to branch out; and with all these fantastic monthly boxes out there, I couldn’t just keep my subscription secret to myself – so, I figured I’d give the kitties a run for their money.

I spent some time debating between MeowBox and KitNipBox but after reading the reviews for multicat households, I knew KitNip would be a winner. One of my favorite things about the box is there are always ample toys for the cats (and when you have four kitties, this is incredibly important) – plus the treats have been on point for their first two boxes; it’s so refreshing that treats all of the cats like actually exist!

Until KitNip, I was convinced that Stella only likes the generic store bought treats, Daisy preferred fish flakes, Loki only loved high end cat food and Marley, well…Marley likes it all, but they all love the treats in the subscription box like a full size portion Waggers’ My Little Lion ‘Totally Tuna’ Cat Treats that disappeared almost immediately.  Not to mention, Last time Danny and I rearranged our living room furniture – we found over a dozen toys tucked away in the crevasses of the couch and having a hearty pile of them helps.  My personal favorites are the ‘Keep Calm and Purr On’ pillow and the plush catnip stuffed Elephant stuffed toy.

I’m a sucker for giving back to the community, and in my opinion one of the best parts of purchasing a KitNipBox is that the team  lend their charity, proceeds and products to over 100 different organizations like shelters and rescues across the country including the Paw Project and San Francisco SPCA to the Stray Animal Adoption Program and Kit Tea SF, San Francisco’s premiere cat cafe.

For More about KitNipBox
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Just Take My Money + Sign Me Up

Do you have a subscription box perfect for pets or one that you’ve simply been itching to get your paws on?

 Let me know in the comments below!

[Oh, Snap] Project Survival’s Cat Haven: Lions, and Tigers, and Cheetahs – Oh, My!

When I was three years old, I baffled my parents when I started mumbling the phrase ‘fully textured for cats’, when I was in 5th grade I did a report on the history of cats, I used to have grandiose dreams of owning a Bengal Tiger a la Jasmine from Aladdin, and yes, in fact, I have been to a cat show.  If you’ve been privy to this blog for more than a few months, then you most likely have seen the multiple barrages of adorable kitty pictures and know that I’m currently a proud owner of four little fur babies – Stella, Daisy, Loki and Marley.  Cat lady supreme? It’s debatable, but yes – big or small, young or old, fluffy, puffy, plush and everything in between – I definitely have love for all the kitties. So, when my fiance told me there was a large cat sanctuary near where we were vacationing this past weekend, I couldn’t help but squeal like a little school girl.

On Saturday morning – or as I prefer: Caturday morning – we packed our bags and hit the road to the gorgeous and awe inspiring Sequoia National Forest but before we did we made a special pit stop in a sleepy town called Dunlap to prowl around Project Survival’s Cat Haven.  Sitting on 100 acres of sprawling wilderness, the PS Cat Haven has been working diligently towards large cat conservation and education since 1993. Founded by Dale Anderson, the site is host to a wide variety of cats – from Lions, Lynx, Amur Tigers, Cheetahs, Bobcats, Servals, Lions and a stunning White Bengal Tiger

If you feel anything like I do about Seaworld and most Zoos, than you’ll understand that in the beginning it might be hard to see the animals in the size of cages that they’re in. But, please know the cages are held to regulation and there were several decommissioned areas based on the same principal.  Not only that, but the animals receive daily enrichment – a fancy word for boxes, treats and toys – hunks of meat and have an outdoor playpen to roam around in, and for a few of the litters of animals – potentially even a playmate.Now, I wasn’t able to get too close to get a picture (and rightfully so, with the cages and barriers), but these are some of the beauties that I fell whiskers over paws for.

Rose and Samba were a pair of Jaguar sisters, and completely playful and adorable – their only competition was Nacho and Libre, who turned out to be their brothers for a little a few years later! And of course, I loved the White Bengal tiger!

For being a tried and true cat lover, I actually learned a lot – but there were two fun feline facts that stood out to me…

For all us cat lovers that sit there and talk to our cats, did you know: cats that purr can’t roar, and cats that roar can’t purr.  Your felines vocal proclivities are driven by a bone at the back of their throat, the more rigid the bone – the more of a Roar!

Secondly, the Panther is a misnomer – Panthers are melanistic leopards and jaguars. Melanism is a recessive genetic phenotype that occurs in a small variety of animals, and is why we get the elusive black flamingo, black wolves, black snakes and black squirrels and ‘black panthers’.  In most cases, this was an adaptive trait to help the species survive over time.

In large cats, this happens within the ‘Agouti Gene’ and results in various species – like leopards, bobcats, servals, and jaguars – presenting with darker pigment in the normally orange areas.Though they look black from afar, the result is that deliciously chocolate brown coat with even darker markings that “Black Panthers” are known for.   On the flip side, this gene doesn’t present in domestic cats – meaning your elegant black house cat really is black.

For more about Project Survival Cat Haven, head to their website or socials:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Yelp

To Donate to their cause, head here! | Adopt a Cat from PS Cat Haven

Happy Caturday: Introducing, Loki!


It’s been a good while since I’ve posted about Caturday, but for an excellent reason – for the past month, we’ve been running rampant around Southern California in the passionate pursuit of music. After Coachella, we were hit with the most difficult of blows – Sake was sick with Lymphoma; we didn’t catch it in time but I did get to spend a lot of his last few weeks at home with him.

Lymphoma is one of the biggest silent killers in the cat world; it’s a heartbreaking way to go and I truly hope that no one else has to experience what we did. The silver lining is now were aware of early warning signs like loss of appetite, change in behavior, acting depressed and lethargy.

From the old, comes the new – and right before Lightning in a Bottle, one of my best friends reached out to me with wonderful news. Her boss had adopted an adorable kitten from a liter found underneath a home, but couldn’t keep it – would I be interested? WOULD I EVER ❤️

So, without further ado – world, meet Loki! Aptly named after the Norse God of mischief, he’s been running rampant for the past month, warming our hearts, and enriching our lives. I can’t wait to share his life with you guys – and of course some kitten tricks and tips!

For those of you that have only raised a cat since adulthood, or have only had indoor cats – there’s a whole other think coming. Outdoor cats are exposed to more of the elements and the unpredictable nature of, well, nature, adding formidable human years to their age. Kittens, on the other hand, seem to age exponentially – reaching 15 human years by the time they’re done with one!

        

                                    





[Self Discovery] Life Lessons From My Cats

Before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things;
feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.

Naomi Shihab Nye

There’s beauty in my breakdown. The past few weeks have been a lesson, an equal lesson in patience, love and loss.   Over the last few days I’ve thrown myself into fits of frustration and I’ve made myself laugh within the same moment, in an instant memory recall of the last eight years with Sake. What’s been the most important to understand is that my deep love, in turn – my deep sadness, is a selfish, albeit human, emotion because I couldn’t have him here to watch over me.  Our best memories were every day memories, morning kisses and pouncing on my head, late night cuddle sessions and secret treats. Sake brought friendship and love into my life in the best ways, always curling up in the most deserving of laps with a gregarious smile fixed to his furry face.

I remember one night back in 2008, I’d just gotten back from an all night party in Santa Barbara and was trying to pass out – albeit at 2pm.  Sake strutted into the room like he owned the place and perched next to me.  Slowly, as I watched him – a small figure floated above his head, a little pudgy with an orange glow and solemn stare, legs and arms crossed while it gazed into infinity.  From that moment on, I considered Sake my little Buddha kitty and realized that as much as I was Sake’s owner, he was perpetually my teacher. So, I’d like to bestow a few life lessons that I’ve proudly learned from my little man.  May his legacy live on.

When in doubt, take a nap.

Be comfortable

There is always more time for cuddling

If you can play with it, it’s a toy

  

Make an entrance

If you can sleep on it, it’s a bed

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Life is more fun with friends

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Stop and smell the flowers

Morning kisses are the best

Hug more

Give yourself a break

Look cute, people are watching

When you’re happy, announce it to the world. 

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

[Albert Schweitzer]

  

Saying Goodbye to Sake

 Over the past few weeks, my heart has been slowly breaking. It’s been trying, difficult and frustrating to wrap my fingers around the idea that a piece of my life is missing; there’s a definitive void – not just within me, but surrounding me. Words have failed me, and at every turn I feel like I’m going to crumble to the ground, overcome by emotion and struck by reality.


Back in college, I was going through a transitionary period. Becoming a fifth year senior isn’t usually commendable but at an institution like UCSB – it also wasn’t uncommon. It was the Summer of 2007 and I had just moved out of Isla Vista to the Mesa – a wonderful area near downtown Santa Barbara, surrounded by a stunning almost 360 view of the Pacific Ocean. My best friend at the time, a wonderful, warmhearted gal with an affinity for furry friends, moved in with me and between the five housemates we had two cats – Ssleman, a beautiful grey and white cat with a warm heart and a little black kitty that hid every chance it could; and then there was Roxy, a Golden Retriever / Yellow Lab puppy with more energy than I’d ever seen. After living there for a few months and going through a few mental moments of manifest destiny, I decided it was time – time for me to get a cat. I needed something to love beyond myself, to remind me that I was worthy of love; I needed to care about something to remind myself of the circular motion of life.


Arriving at the shelter, I gallivanted into the cat room and immediately felt at home. Throughout middle school and high school, I’d volunteered at cat shelters and there’s nothing like some kitty cuddles to brighten your mood and cultivate altruism. I glanced at an 8 month old Siamese that I immediately wanted to bring home, and a litter of orange tabby kittens not more than 2 weeks old. After getting to know me a bit, the young man working this room had a visceral lightbulb moment…“There’s a cat over here that I think will be perfect for you; he’s a little trickster and a lover.”  As we walked over to the carrier, a beautiful blue-grey cat sat poised in the back of the cage. “No…” I mused “…what about the playful girl next to him?” The man smiled back “Why don’t you guys go into the play room, and if it’s not a good fit we can keep looking.”

As Maguro was plucked from his perching position and was handed to me, his front paws reached out around my neck and he looked at me like I was home.  From the moment we were in the play area, he flopped and stretched ten ways to Sunday, purring, prancing and pawing at me. Looking up with a glimmer of gratitude in my eyes, I laughed “Ok, you guys got me…I’ll take him!”

As it turned out, I couldn’t bring him home immediately – upper respiratory infections are incredibly common in shelter cats and he’d just come down with one. Instead of bringing him home, I played with his sister – Saba – and it felt like she knew I was taking her brother away. I whispered that I would take good care of him and she purred in response.

Eight years later, I can say that without a doubt – he’s actually taken care of me.  From Santa Barbara to now four different homes in Los Angeles, Sake has been my confidant, my best friend, my furry little man and the light of my life. He’s gotten me through heartbreak and deaths, losing friends and losing my mind. 

 

My little Sake bomb. Sir Saks a Lot. He was the most playful, loving creature I’ve ever known. He would wake me up by pouncing on my chest and announcing his hunger with a miniature roar, he would zoom around the apartment with gusto and cuddle-hug you like he was a person. Sake converted friends that had sworn they were solely dog people, and made cat lovers rejoice. He was the best thing that has happened to me in my 30 years of existence. And now, he’s gone.

We only noticed the symptoms a few weeks ago and it wrenches my soul to think if we could’ve saved him. The last two weekends were full of friends that I consider family, doting their love and happiness on him and he loved back in kind – curling up and lapping up attention like it was his job. But in the back of my mind, I was scared, sad and confused. It felt like just yesterday, he was running around in the Santa Barbara sunshine, lounging in the flowers and running to my car from down the street whenever I returned from campus. And now, I was feeding him by hand, cradling him like he was my child, wishing for a better tomorrow. But that better tomorrow never came.

Yesterday, Sake lost his battle against lymphoma. The last thing he ever did in his life was jump into my arms, almost in parallel to the way he came in. We held his paws, wiped his eyes and sang with him until his final curtain call. I’ve never been so conflicted and overrun with emotion; I don’t know if I’ve even ever been this uncontrollably sad. I miss my dapper little man but I know he’s in a better place, cathartically chasing mice and lapping up love in the great beyond.

Because of Sake, I know what it means to love, to care, to be a friend and just listen; I know the true meaning of life, to love and be loved. When you get home tonight, hug your pets…hug your loved ones, life is too short to be anything but blissful. RIP Sake, I only hope that I can have half the effect on the world that you did.

              

[The Caturday Corner] Spring Coat Care for Cats

Over the past few years I’ve more than cemented a name for myself as the Cat Lady of my social circle (and, my social media circles as well) but for an excellent reason – I own two (three now that my fiancee and I live together), take care of the four cats in my apartment and have spent a good amount of time volunteering at cat shelters and on the board for LA’s own Kitty Bungalow. Plus there’s the whole thing where I kind of act like a cat, but let’s save that story for another time 😉 Now that Spring has sprung, I’ve noticed – as you invariably will –  that so has the pet fur around your pad; especially if you have black clothing, dark carpets or richly colored sofas and seats. With a shift in the weather, comes a shift in the actual coats your cats wear .

Until recently, I thought my older cat Sake had hairballs because he’d been going to town on himself; now that I’m using the Furminator brush on Stella and Daisy, our other two cats, I realize that they’re the actual cuplrits!  Low and behold, the big bristled brush that I’d been using on Sake’s medium coat simply wasn’t cutting it for short haired kittens. Depending on what breed of cat you own, or rather – the breed of cat that owns you – you could very well have your work cut out for you.  Long haired (furred?) cat breeds need to be brushed every three days, if not every other day; short haired and medium haired cats should be brushed at least once a week.For cats of all shapes, sizes and fur lengths – I completely recommend The FurMinator – not only is it a fantastic comb that literally gets all of the loose fur, but it’s a deshedder, too; and great for warmer weather! Plus, wouldn’t you like to wear a color other than ‘cat fur’ this season?