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Readers respond to my diary and comment on the cathouse and sometimes I respond back. If you'd like, you can send me a message via my mailform.

March 23, 2003


I like to make afghans in my spare time for the Project Linus children's charity. I really like the pattern of the afghan that you have in the office (the one that's 'checkered' with light and dark blue plus white, though I think the color values on my monitor are off).

Did you find that pattern on the internet or find it in a book?

Thanks for your help

Gwen from Texas

What a wonderful thing that you do! Mary P uses leftover yarn to make large granny squares for her local shelter's cats to sleep on. If I ever get organized (which seems to be slowly happening) I'd like to do something like this. Although I should really finish what I've already started. *grin*

As for the design on the afghan you're talking about, I found it in a book, "Quick 'N Easy Crocheting". Well, it's more a bunch of cards, like recipe cards and this is in the section for textured stitches. It's a very quick pattern. I'll try to describe it here.

This takes three colors. First, chain, in color A, as long as you want the afghan to be, in a multiple of 4. Turn, double crochet the entire line. Then, Chain 2 and skip the next two doubles. Work 1 double in each of the next 2 doubles, continue (Chain 2, DC 2) until the end of the row. You'll have little windows where you've chained 2.

Turn the work, leave A at the side of the work. Carry it up the side until it is needed again. Using B, chain 2. Skip the first two doubles and then work a double in each of the next 2 stitches skipped on the first row, placing the hook in front of the chain-2 horizontal bar so that the stitch is worked over it. Continue to work chain 2 over the 2 doubles and a double in ech of the skipped stitches in the previous row, to the end of the row, working in front of the chain-2 bar each time. Complete the row with chain 2, working a slip stitch in the top of the turning chain at the end of the row.

Introduce the third color (C) by drawing a loop of yarn through the slip stitch. Turn and leave B at the side. Carry it up the side until it is needed again. Chain 3 to count as the first double. Work a double in the 2nd stitch in the first pattern row, in front of the chain-2 bar made in the previous row. Continue working chain 2 over the 2 doubles and 2 doubles in each of the 2 skipped stitches worked in the previous row.

Complete the the row by working working a double in the last stitch and a double in the turning chain skipped in the first pattern now. Rejoin A, leaving C at the side. This should get you started.

I finish it off by adding a row of double crochet in color A, then use one of the colors and do two rows of double crochet around the entire afghan, then a row of shells. I've used this pattern for Christmas gifts for afghans and matching pillows. For the pillows, I use a solid color on one side, then the patterned on the other, and finish that with the two double crocheted rows and the shell stitch. Like I said, it goes pretty quickly. The only problem I've encountered is not watching the yarn when I turn the piece and the yarn can get tangled up, since I'm working with three colors at the same time. Oh, yeah, and the cats grabbing the yarn as I'm working with it. That can be annoying, too. Spitty yarn doesn't slide through the fingers as easily as dry. I hope this has helped you.

March 22, 2003

Do you know if it is possible to get baby gates with a cat door installed in it? My baby is now crawling and we need to put a gate at the top of the stairs, but I don't want to restrict my cats. One of my cats is old and pretty fat and I don't think he will be able to manage jumping over the gate. I also wanted to say thanks on your article about kids and cats. I found it very helpful and plan to give it a shot.
Thank you,
Wendy from MA

I've never seen one, but that doesn't mean there isn't one out there. We've used baby gates in the past, but as a way to keep the dog out of certain areas. If you're handy or know someone who is, you might try cutting out an area of a gate for your kitty to fit through. I just looked at one of our gates and it looks doable. It might take a little time, but I think it should be fairly easy.
If anyone reading this knows of a gate such as Wendy is looking for, just let me know and I'll post the information.

September 30, 1999

M.S. of North Dakota writes:

I absolutely love cats so I randomly visit sites. The music is insufferable. Your website is awsome but lose the music.

For the very few people who write letting me know that they don't care for the music, I suggest that they go to http://www.liveupdate.com and download the free version of Crescendo. This will give you the capability of not having any music play on any site unless you so desire. Then, you won't have to write to webmasters asking them to remove the music any longer. *smile*

No longer will you have to "suffer".

September 22, 1999

A number of years ago I surfed upon your site. I saved them name Lisaviolet for one of my very special Ragdolls. What a great name. Here she is Lisaviolet a blue Lynx Ragdoll.
Purrfect Dolls Cattery

What a nice thing to do!! It *is* a nice name. Thank you. Lisa's name came from Lisa Simpson, of the Simpsons (we already had a Maggie and a Bart) and Violet after my mother, who gave her to us.

RE: entry September 1, 1999..the music...

September 2, 1999

Jackie is beautiful!!!!!!
Like this music. Montego (?) Bay was good, but I like this, calmer for this little old 57 year old lady!

Welcome to the music of the Material Girl, otherwise known as Madonna. The song is "Take A Bow" from her "Bedtime Stories" album.

RE: entry August 28, 1999..obsessions....

August 30, 1999

Hello fellow cat lover,

A friend and I have been visiting your site for about 9 months now. We cried for Bobby and have now cheered for Jackie. The visit with your friend who declawed her cat, however, is what has finally compelled me to email. I have a friend who declawed his pet. It is something that has never been done in my family so I'd never seen it before. I found out it had been done when I went to his house for a visit and his poor kitten (6 months) was laying there, awake, with a blank stare on her face. A 6 month old kitten who is awake seldom just lays there, so I asked him what was wrong and he told me what he had done. It was a very emotional day for us. Due to our rather heated arguement, he thinks I'm an "overprotective freak" and told me I need to "have kids quick". He knows I think he is a selfish jerk who loves furniture too much. He also knows I think he's lazy for not being willing to spend the time to "convince" the kitty to scratch elsewhere. We are able to remain friends of sorts, but my respect for him is lost and we don't exchange pet stories anymore.

I'm sorry this has turned out to be a rather lengthy email. I just want you to know there are others of us out here who strive to meet our responsibility to care for our pets in the best way possible. We are just people who love animals and are grateful to be loved in return. It's not an obsession - It's an obligation.

August 30, 1999

You go girl!! If you're obsessed than so are millions of people! Because of you I feed the strays in my neighborhood and even bought a shelter for $150.00 for them. Because of you I have 5 cats instead of 2 and the new 3 are all strays. Because of you my new 3 are not declawed. Because of you I can't wait to get to work and log on to read your diary and look at the catcam.

Obsessed? You're darn right I am! My Hannah who is the newest is a stray I trapped to spay and release. But she has an enlarged heart, ear mites which have deformed her ears and she's skinny as a rail. Let her go? IN A PIG'S EYE! She has a home forever and thank God my husband is as wonderful as yours. He puts up with an awful lot and I'm sure you feel your hubby does too. You know why? Because they love us and want us to be happy. Luckily I found the man of my dreams too.

Women who love their cats and husbands (not necessarily in that order) unite. Most won't say how much they love their spouses and their cats. Am I obsessed? Yes and proud of it!

Kitty kisses to all.

August 31, 1999

I just read your Aug. 30 entry - it was right on. I think many people are obsessed with not caring. I work for the county, for the local DA, our building is out in the middle of nowhere, very near the county 'animal shelter' or as I call it the county 'animal death center'. Anyway sometimes a cat or dog escapes and camps out by the employee entrance of our building. This happened two days ago, a siamese mix, goregeous young female, very friendly and passive. Apparently just a starved lost thing animal control picked up. Of course I started feeding her etc. and trying to find her a home, but the comments from some people make me so angry - ie: don't feed it it will go away (sure let it starve), or just take it back to the shelter (that's certain death) and then the usual comments about how I have a cat problem (we only have 6) and how they couldn't tolerate a cat getting on their furniture (you'll pay for your attitude someday). One of the paralegals took the sweet kitty home to see if she would maybe get along with their siamese, this cat is so passive it would get along with anything, and she did, so she has a home and I'm sure everyone is glad I'll stop with my "attitude". I just felt like throwing things at people today. I go read your diary to remind me there are other normal people in the world...

RE: entry August 28, 1999..and the entry way....

Your front entry looks great. Is your husband a handyman? From your diary I get the impression that he is. Well, he and you did a great job! I just have one question...from the looks of it, you have a "skylight" (minus the glass) in your entryway. When it rains, doesn't the water just pour into there? I'm so sorry to read about your friend. Somehow or another, I got the feeling that she was a fairly good friend, but after reading your diary, it sounds like maybe this has changed. It's too bad friendships can't remain "status quo", but life just isn't like that. I agree with your definition of "obsessed"..."passionate" really defines it so much better. I'm going to have to remember that. I come nowhere near as "passionate" as you about cats (in reference to numbers anyway!), and am just amazed at everyone on the bb who has multi-cat households! How in the world do you keep your house clean??? Do you have all hardwood floors? I just can't figure it out - which is why 2 is great plenty for me!!!

Yes, it is an open area at the top and we do have a skylight that fits. Right now, the skylight is off because Brian didn't want it getting paint on it. It's so big that he can't move it by himself and his brother had to come over and help. Even with the skylight, if the rain pours down, it can splash over the rain gutters. Rest assured, before the rains come, the skylight will be back in place.

RE: entry August 26, 1999..catching Jackie....


I'm glad you caught the little stinker. I really think that this is meant to be. You lost two black cats, and one showed up at your door, out of NOWHERE? If thats not a sign, I dunno what is!

Jacqui is Beautiful!! Don't know how you put up with the "friend & her dog"- you are very nice! This is my GizzyGirl. I had her Momma and Daddy as youngsters, but had him "fixed," evidently he decided to go for it anyway. Gizzy is the result.

RE: entry July 17, 1999..Bobby's medicine..

July 18, 1999

I have been visiting your site for some time now and am continually astounded at the quality and quantity. It's been since last fall since I looked at your diary... (I don't think I could put my life out there for everyone to read - but I'm glad you do.)
Anyway - I just wanted you to know I will be thinking about you and Bobby and hope that his illness resolves and that he has bunches of more quality time with you.
If you ever want more info on some of the prescriptions, I can possibly help, since I have pharmacy background. For example, the loperamide that the vet gave you for Bobby is the same as the primary ingredient in Immodium (which is for people, over the counter). It works by inhibiting muscle activity in the intestinal wall. Fecal matter then spends more time in the gut, where more water can be removed, and stool can "firm up" better. The most reported side effects are abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. I'm not surprised that he puked it up. The metronidazole is Flagyl which is, as you mentioned what Gracie was put on, too. I hope that it kills whatever bug is making him runny. Unfortunately, it can also destroy regular gut flora, as well as cause an overgrowth of Candida.
I have not read enough of your diary to know if you give your cats yogurt...but I suspect that some yogurt with live acidophillus culture (it will specify on the label) might help as the Flagyl wipes out the infective bugs inside of Bobby. Instead of yogurt you can get (at a healthfood store) some powdered "pro-biotics" to sprinkle on food (There are MANY brands, and some are in liquid form in the health food store refrigerator.) . Lots of holistic people say to add this powder/liquid when humans are on antibiotics to help the gut return to normalcy. I put acidophillus powder on my cats' food intermittently.
These are just things to consider, and maybe try - I discern that you (like me) will go and learn everything you can, and buy everything you can if it will in any way benefit a cat. :)

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