Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Purrfect 10: Fascinating Facts About Tabbies

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.

My best friend and childhood companion for the first 15 years of my life was an orange tabby named Patch. I guess you could say he was the one who kick started my passion for all things feline from my days in the crib, and to this day I have such fond memories of the little guy.

In honor of National Tabby Day, here are some fascinating facts about these beloved cats...

1) Just like with tortoiseshell cats, tabbies are not a breed but a coat pattern. It's the most common of all feline coat patterns. In fact, regardless of a cat's colors or markings, they all have the tabby cat gene (agouti) even if the patterns are hidden. Solid color kittens sometimes show their underlying tabby pattern before shedding their kitten coat and growing their adult one, and in solid color adult cats you can sometimes faintly see the tabby pattern in bright sunlight.

2) There are four tabby coat patterns: classic, mackerel, spotted, and ticked. A fifth includes tabby as part of another basic color pattern. The "patched" tabby is a calico or tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches (the latter is called a "torbie").

3) One thing you will never encounter is a solid red, orange or cream cat without tabby markings. That's because the gene that makes a cat those particular colors also makes the tabby markings visible.

4) Orange tabbies, also fondly referred to as "gingers" and "marmalades" in England, have a predominance of a pigment known as pheomelanin—the same pigment that produces red hair in humans.

5) Orange tabby cats are about 80/20 percent male to female because of the X chromosome that is responsible for the orange coloring. Females possess two Xs and males possess XY, so male cats only need the orange gene from their mother whereas females need it from both parents.

6) Unique to all tabbies is the distinctive “M” on their forehead. One legend states that Baby Jesus wouldn’t stop crying until a cat climbed into the manger and started to purr, sending him off to sleep. In gratitude, the Virgin Mary marked the cat’s face with the first letter of her name. Islam legend has it that the Prophet Muhammad loved cats. One day Muhammad was sitting with his favorite cat Muezza on his lap. He heard the call to prayer but didn't want to wake his sleeping cat so he took out his knife and cut off the part of the robe kitty was sleeping on. Others believe the "M" is for Mau, the word for cat in ancient Egypt.

7) The origin of the word “tabby” is believed to have come from attabi, which is a type of silk taffeta with an irregular wavy finish that was manufactured in the Attabiya district of Baghdad. English speakers modified the word to tabby in the early 1600s. Within a few decades of the adoption of the word tabby, the word was also being used to describe the markings on the coats of some cats. By the late 1700s, the word was being used to describe the cats themselves as well.

8) Tabbies have long been pop culture favorites. Two of the most famous cats in the world are tabbies: Morris and Garfield! Many major pet brands use both grey and orange tabbies in their brand advertising: Friskies has an orange tabby and so does Meow Mix, Arm and Hammer cat litter and Fresh Step. Tabby stars of the small and silver screen include Crookshanks (from Harry Potter), Milo (from Milo and Otis), Jones (from Alien), Orangey (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Puss in Boots (from Shrek 2), Spot (from Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Orion (from Men in Black). And let's not forget real-life superstars such as Lil Bub and Bob the Cat (from A Street Cat Named Bob.)

9) One of the first mass-produced stuffed toys, the Ithaca Kitty, was inspired by a tabby cat. The toy was based on a gray tabby named Caesar Grimalkin, whose owners had his likeness painted onto a pattern. The design was sold for one cent a yard to Arnold Print Works, which then sold the printed pattern as "The Tabby Cat" on half a yard of muslin for ten cents each in late 1892. Nearly 200,000 were sold that first holiday season! The toy made appearances at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and in the windows of Wanamaker's Department Store in Philadelphia. The Ithaca Kitty was reportedly so lifelike that it was used by farmers to scare away birds and the Central Park police to frighten mice!

10) A tabby was once even the mayor of a town! Stubbs was the honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska from 1997 until his death in 2017.

Tell us about the special tabbies in your life!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Review: I Am Not A Skunk by Ellen Pilch

I Am Not a Skunk is Ellen Pilch's second picture book. It is about a homeless kitty excited to find a family, but must first convince them she is not a skunk. It is loosely based on how the author's cat, Emmy came to live with her. You can read more about Emmy and her family on the blog, 15andmeowing.com.

Regular readers of the 15 and Meowing blog can't help but fall in love with Emmy, so I was very happy to learn she would be the subject of blogger Ellen Pilch's second book. I Am Not a Skunk tells the story of how homeless Emmy, tired and hungry, happens upon a house with a little girl and her aunt working outside. They want to feed the poor kitty but the girl's uncle won't let her, thinking the animal is a skunk. Emmy is quite offended...after all, she bathes regularly! Luckily the ladies of the house manage to find a creative way to prove the uncle wrong, leading Emmy to find her forever home.

Cat lovers of all ages will be charmed by this story and the darling illustrations that accompany it. I know I would've loved to have read it back in the day when I was a cat-obsessed little girl, but I enjoyed it just as much as a cat-obsessed grown woman! 

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Return of the Magic White Tortie Whisker #SundaySelfies

Meows from Mudpie!

Do you see it? Do you see it? Hang on, I'll turn my head a bit so you can see it better.

That white whisker over my left finally finally came back after falling out early last year. I was SO proud of it (all my other whiskers are black) but after my last one disappeared it's taken forever for a new one to sprout! Mommy says it's a little devil horn for when I'm being naughty.

Silly Mommy...it's a magic white tortie whisker!!!

We're joining our friends at The Cat On My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Caturday Art

Visit more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs...

Mommy's answers:

1. I got my first cell phone in 2011. It seems like I'm always the last to get the latest technology and my first "smart" phone was far from smart. It was bare bones to say the least. Earlier this year I upgraded and I can't believe I waited so long to do so.

2. Today's music make(s) me feel old. In so many ways I prefer to live in the past, and music is at the top of the list.

Mudpie's answers:

3. I wish the word "no" could be removed from the English language. It's not like it has any meaning for us cats anyways!

4. I'll never outgrow being a Mommy's girl.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Compromising #PetPhotoFails

Meows from Mudpie!

Thank you for joining us for another edition of the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop!

Our bloopers this month were taken at the same time as the picture we posted last week of me by the jukebox. Some of you thought maybe I was in trouble and looked like I was being chastised for being somewhere I shouldn't be. I would say it was more my "what are you gonna do about it?" face.

The truth is, I never paid any attention to this bureau until Mommy cleared it off to make room to display more of her Conway collection. Now it's one of my favorite spots to explore which doesn't make her very happy because a lot of her stuff is quite fragile.

We've reached a compromise - for the time being she's letting me hang out there, hoping the novelty will wear off and eventually she'll be able to use it for its intended purpose. She's slowly adding a piece here and there and I'm being a good girl and sharing the space with her junk collectibles. I guess you could say we're compromising about my being in a compromising position...


Have your humans learned to choose their battles with you? 

Do you think I've made the right decision in sharing the bureau with Mommy's stuff or should I go ahead and break something?

Will I be able to move in with you if I break something and get kicked out of the house? 
Mommy's collection is pretty important to her...

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Blog Tour/Book Review: Drewsilla the Shelter Puppy by Karen Carew Oakes

DREWSILLA THE SHELTER PUPPY by Karen Carew Oakes, Children's Picture Book, 22 pp., $16.64 (paperback) $3.03 (Kindle)

Author: Karen Carew Oakes
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Pages: 22
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


When Drewsilla and her siblings are tiny puppies, an accident steals their mother away. A kind stranger rescues them and takes them to a shelter, where the staff works around the clock to care for the pack of newborns. Soon, her brothers and sisters begin to thrive. Drewsilla has a beautiful black coat, intelligent eyes, and ears that stand straight up.

Drewsilla, though, is scared. She seems afraid of everyone and everything and hides in the back of her cage when families come to visit. As her friendly siblings each get adopted, lonely Drewsilla remains. The staff even worries that she might never find a home. Then, one day, something amazing happens.

The Johnsons come to the shelter to look at another dog and see Drewsilla, who miraculously finds the courage to stop hiding and say hello. All shelter dogs deserve the chance to find a loving family, and this is the true story of Drewsilla — how she overcomes her fears, finds her family, and gets a second chance at a happy life.

This is such a darling little book with heartwarming illustrations! I can see it being used as a learning tool in schools to teach the importance of caring for animals and how adoption should always be the first option when families decide to bring a new pet into their lives. Even going a step further, to give special consideration to the animals who might be overlooked because they're fearful or have special needs. There's no greater joy in life than adopting a cat or dog, and this book depicts that joy just perfectly! My heart broke for little Drewsilla when she felt she'd been left behind because the family couldn't bring her home right away. Thank goodness for happy endings!

Then one day, the Johnsons came to the shelter. They had

looked on the shelter website for available dogs they wanted to see.  Drewsilla, was not one of them. It just so

happened that they would have to pass directly in front of Drewsilla’s cage. As

they passed something amazing happened. Drewsilla came to the front, stood on

her hind legs, poked her nose out of the bars, and begged for attention. Mrs.

Johnson bent over to see her. It was love at first sight. The Johnsons asked to

open the cage so they could see her.

Meet the Author: 

Karen Carew Oakes, has been writing for many years and her articles have been included in the Lutheran Advent, as well as an article in several magazines. She is a mother and grandmother. She lives in Helotes, Texas with her two schnauzers Ella and Mackenzie. Her stories are based on true experiences her children encountered growing up.

Visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/karencarewoakes.


Monday, April 22, 2019

April Retro Country Rewind #MewsicMovesMe

Because my favorite music is the 70s and 80s country I grew up with, Mudpie and I decided it might be fun to use a freebie week in the Mewsic Moves Me blog hop each month to look back at favorite songs that hit #1 during that month from 30, 35, 40 plus years ago. (30 years back is probably as recent as we'll get because in my opinion the 90s is when country music changed - not for the better - and it hasn't been the same since.)

This might mean (gasp!) some weeks without Conway, but I'm really looking forward to upcoming months this year because 1979 saw 3 of my all-time favorite songs of his hit #1, including one next month.

30 Years Ago - 1989, Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye, George Strait 
(Always one of my favorite Strait songs.)

35 Years Ago - 1984, Don't Make It Easy for Me, Earl Thomas Conley 
(Sadly ETC just passed away a couple weeks ago. He had such a unique voice.)

40 Years Ago - 1979, Where Do I Put Her Memory?, Charlie Pride

45 Years Ago - 1974, A Very Special Love Song, Charlie Rich
(If Conway didn't already own my heart, this guy just might be next in line. He recorded the same kind of heart melting country love songs as Conway did that I'm such a sucker for.)

50 Years Ago - 1969, Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone), Loretta Lynn

We hope you enjoy our new feature, and let us know if you have a favorite this month!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Art & Selfies

Meows from Mudpie!

This week we created two pieces of Easter art and I couldn't decide which I liked better, so we're going to use them both to cover both my Caturday Art and Sunday Selfie for the week!

And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs...

Mommy's answers:

1. An Easter memory that I have is Easter egg hunts in school.

2. I hope to purchase more cat and Conway collectibles this year. Pretty much everything I buy is one or the other.

Mudpie's answers:

3. When the days are warm, I nap in sun puddles.

4. If the Easter Bunny visited my house, he'd better bring lots of treats with him!

Hope everyone has a purrfect Easter, and we'll see you on Monday!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for Cat Moms from Etsy

Meows from Mudpie!

Can you believe Mother's Day is only 3 weeks away??? It seems like Easter is so late this year that Mother's Day is going to be forgotten about. While browing Etsy for the purrfect gift for Mommy, I found several things that any cat mom would love to receive on her special day.

Which is your favorite? I think everything here would be a hit with Mommy, but I just may go with the cell phone stand. She's addicted to her new smartphone and wishes she had upgraded a long time ago. She needs a cute way to prop it up on her desk at work (not to mention all that video watching she's been doing).

I hope you enjoy my picks, and don't forget, if you find something here you like and make a purchase using our affiliate links, I get a little money for my piggy bank! I might even spend it on Mommy's gift!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Review: Mr Bigelow Smells a Rat (A Curious Cat Mystery Book 1)

There's a new cat detective in town....

No one is safe when MR. BIGELOW SMELLS A RAT.
When Penelope inherits the estate of her Great-Aunt Agnes, she thinks her life is going to be a piece of cake. Little does she realize that Agnes's cat, Mr. Bigelow, comes as part of the deal.
When Penelope meets a handsome guy at the pet store, she's smitten, but Mr. Bigelow senses danger. He must figure out what's going on, and stop Penelope before she falls prey to the purrfect crime!

In fewer than 100 pages Mr. Bigelow has stolen my heart!!! In a story with alternating points of view between the cat and his new owner Penelope, Mr. Bigelow pawsitively leaps of the pages as he attempts to warn Penelope about her new beau and lead her to buried treasure that will change her life forever. Two scenes involving Mr. Bigelow and a scrawny homeless cat gave me an "AWWW" moment unlike any I've had in a long time in a book. For these moments alone we give this story four paws way up, and the mystery is lots of fun too, even though it's an unusual one not revolving around a murder.

I can only hope this is the first of many adventures for this exciting new duo because Mr. Bigelow is a superstar in the making!

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Let's Get Instrumental #MewsicMovesMe

The theme of this week's Mewsic Moves Me blog hop is "songs where a particular instrument has moved you". Three Conway songs immediately came to mind, I didn't even need to look any further, so let's get instrumental!

Instrument #1: Steel Guitar

In my humble opinion the steel guitar produces the most beautiful sound of any instrument. Conway's long-time steel player was the legendary John Hughey, who is credited with developing a unique style of playing that focused on the instrument's high tones, resulting in a distinctive "crying sound." His solo towards the end of this song just may be the best steel guitar solo ever...

Instrument #2: Electric Guitar

Originally performed by the Bee Gees, Conway's cover of Rest Your Love On Me became his 25th #1 song as a solo artist in 1981. It's an exceptionally beautiful song as it is, but the guitar solo at the end is just chilling...(this video has nearly 5 million views on YouTube!!!)

Instrument #3: Keyboard

Throughout my elementary and high school years my best friend's name was Julia. I was always SO jealous that her name was the title of a song by my favorite singer. I have a number of Conway's concerts on DVD, and I love watching his keyboard player play two keyboards on this one...this is classic, sophisticated 1980s "countrypolitan" music. LOVE this song...

Let us know if you have a favorite among our choices today, and do you have a favorite instrument yourself?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Selfies & Friendly Fill Ins

We're joining our friends at The Cat On My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop!

And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and Four-Legged Furballs!

Mommy's answers:

1. I used to be able to roller skate, but I no longer can. Well, I can't say for sure that I no longer can, but I would almost be afraid to try, especially at the speeds I used to go!

2. I'm notorious for burning kitchen utensils in the oven. I've done it 4 times in the past couple years, the last just a few weeks ago, and a plastic bowl too.

Mudpie's answers:

3. I just can't seem to convince Mommy that she should be a full time cat mom.

4. There's no use crying over spilled kibble. I'll clean it up for you!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

National Record Store Day #CaturdayArt

Today we decided to bring back one of most popular Caturday Art pieces from the past in order to celebrate National Record Store Day.

I was never a fan of records growing up when my parents had them playing. It seems they were always griping about the records skipping and I had to wonder why they even bothered with the aggravation. When cassettes and then CDs came along I was quick to make the transition. Little did I know all these years later they would become such an important part of my Conway collection, although in all honesty I collect them primarily for the cover art. I digitize everything that isn't already on CD.

This box is filled with his US catalog (both rock & country). I'm missing only 3 or 4 to have a complete collection.

I'm in need of a second box because this stack is his foreign releases, radio shows that he was featured on and/or co-hosted, and autographed records. I have a rather lofty goal of collecting a second complete set of his albums all autographed. So far I have 17 - don't even ask how many more I need to find!

Lastly, this box is filled with his 45s and extended play (EP) records...SO many more to be found!

No, I do not own a single non-Conway record. Where would I put them?!?!?!

Just this week I found out about 2 record stores here in my area that I wasn't aware of. Maybe today would be a good day to stop in and hunt for some buried treasure!

Any other record collectors out there? 
Or maybe you have fond memories of when vinyl was king?

Friday, April 12, 2019

Unboxing April's CatLadyBox

The theme of April's CatLadyBox was "Spring Kittens"...here's what was inside!

Featured Cat Lady Artist: Illustrator Roseanna Hanson's black and white cat is named Humbug. As a Christmas Carol fanatic, that's going on my list of future cat names!

Kitten Pawty Shirt: Advocate for spay and neuter during the height of kitten season with this adorable shirt! Check out the "spring break" flyer style design...so fun and eye-catching!!!

Cat Toothbrush Holder Set: I didn't know my bathroom needed this until I got it, yet I haven't started to use it yet because I'm so afraid of knocking it into the sink (maybe with a little help from Mudpie paws) and breaking it!

Raining Cats Raincoat: How have I never had a cat raincoat before? This is definitely a welcome addition to my feline wardrobe. Love the color too, Pantone's Spring 2019 color, "Living Coral!"

Flying Butterfly Toy: This is probably Mudpie's favorite CLB toy ever. She started hitting the butterfly before I even put the batteries in and was instantly obsessed with it. When it's not turned on she hits the butterfly as a hint for me to stop what I'm doing and put it on for her (thankfully it only takes one battery!) I promise to get video of her playing with it soon.

Bunny Ball Catnip Toy: Purrfect little puffballs like this are Mudpie's favorite kind of catnip toy to bat around. I'm surprised she hasn't lost it by now.


Not a subscriber yet? Visit CatLadyBox today!

Interested in purchasing individual items from past boxes? You can do that too!

Disclosure: I receive a discount on my CatLadyBox subscription as a thank you for my monthly review. Regardless of compensation received, we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thankful Thursday: Finally a Cat Cafe in Vermont?!?!?!

If my scream registered a slight tremor on the Richter scale Monday night around 6PM it's because one of the lead stories on our evening news was that Vermont might finally be getting its very first cat cafe this summer!!!

That's the good news. The bad news is it isn't going to be super close by to me but about an hour away in the central part of the state. Still easily within driving distance though. The lady hoping to open the Kitty Korner Cafe is also the owner of a flower shop with two lovely feline mascots, Paisley and Maisey. You can meet them here.

If you'd like to make a pledge and help make this project a reality there's currently a Kickstarter campaign underway. In just a few days they're nearly halfway towards meeting their goal! I guess that shows us Vermonters really want our own cat cafe, and for that I'm very thankful!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mopping Mudpie

Mudpie's side of the story: Isn't this a fine kettle of fish? Once a week Mommy makes me dust mop the floors since she says I'm the one who leaves tortie-colored dust bunnies all over the place. I get so tired from pushing it around I have to stop and take a break. Aren't there tortie labor laws? Call the ASPCA!!!

Mommy's side of the story: My little angel decided she needed the bathroom window open in 40 degree weather, then when she got cold she came to find out what I was doing and decided to cuddle up against the mop I'd been using to warm up.

Whose "tail" do you believe?