Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SUNDAY CAT BLOGGING....Many, many thanks to all of you who either left comments or sent email about Jasmine. They are very much appreciated. I also got a few questions along with the condolences, so for all you cataholics out there, here are your questions answered:

What happened?
I don't know. However, a vet (in comments) tells me that cats don't get heart attacks and that Jasmine most likely suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. More details here.

How is Inkblot doing?
We're keeping an eye on him, of course, but the short answer seems to be: fine. In fact, we're learning the upside of having a doofus cat who never really cared much for company in the first place. As near as I can tell, Inkblot barely even notices that Jasmine is gone. As far as he's concerned, she just nipped out to the store for a can of cat food a couple of days ago and hasn't gotten back yet.

This morning he was on the fence watching the Orange County marathon runners go by our house. You can see him in his usual majestic pose below, in a picture taken a couple of hours ago.

Are you going to get another cat?
Yes indeed. Inkblot thinks that he's plenty of cat all by himself, but we're accustomed to being a two cat family. We haven't decided whether to get a kitten or a grown cat yet, but we'll start looking around soon.

Kevin Drum 1:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

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I have recently adopted two young girl kitties (sisters) from a shelter. Life has been so fun with them in the house.

Good luck.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wait two months longer than when you think you're ready for a new cat. Then you can fall in love with the new cat, not fall in love with falling in love with the new cat.

Posted by: bdr on January 7, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies for this off topic but,



sometimes I just wish the middle east would just go away...

(but not THIS way)

Posted by: F--K! on January 7, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot probably assumes that Jasmine was offed by a predator.

A friend once told me that cats think that about anyone who's gone longer than 30 minutes.

Posted by: billyjoe on January 7, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Independent says plans are in hand to give Western companies access to Iraqi oil fields for up to 30 years.

Wait a minute, I thought it wasn't about oil...

Posted by: F--K! on January 7, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

watching the Orange County marathon runners go by our house

That would freak our cats out. We took them through a large airport a while back, but I think prior to that experience they thought there were only 150 people in the world tops.

And what are all those people running from?

Posted by: toast on January 7, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, hope everything's going fine right now with your cat situation. You have my deepest sympathies. Egbert and American Hawk also send their condolences but they said they're having problems posting under your new software so they sent me a e-mail to relay their message to you.

Posted by: Da Al on January 7, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

My guess? Beckham.

Posted by: jerry on January 7, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

a new kitty will pick you Kevin - My guess? Either you or Marian will be walking out of Albertson's, and someone will have a box of kittens. One of those kittens will steal your heart in a love-at-first-sight kind of way.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 7, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

So will you get a cat on consignment - just to see if the new one is compatible with Inkblot?

My sister just had to put down her cat, Balboa. It's easier I think not to have that responsibility. You get so damned attached to them.

Posted by: ml on January 7, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot looks like he OWNS that fence. What a great-looking cat.

Posted by: Sandy-LA 90034 on January 7, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Pet Psychic says that you should let your cat's replacement find you. Apparently the spirit of your deceased cat will linger around your area and be born again (not necessarily as a cat) and seek you out. Be on the lookout for pets born around the same time Jasmine died. And no, I'm not serious, but a few weeks after our beautiful Shelty died a kitten started showing up around my yard. Any time we opened the door she would rush into the house. One day we let her stay. She's now taking a nap in a basket full of clean laundry. Best cat I ever had.

Posted by: Gabriel on January 7, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK


Let me offer my condolences on the loss of your Jasmine. I lost my feline pal, Pee-Wee, under similar circumstances last April, though not quite as suddenly. He was 10 and a half, and on a Thursday, I was fully expecting him to stick around at least another 5-7 years, and on Saturday he was gone.

A previous commenter said that a new kitty will find you, and that's certainly been the case for me. When I visited a shelter, Slugger came right up to the front of his cage and practically begged me to take him home, which I did even though I'd originally been looking for a kitten. (He was a young adult, later estimated by the vet to be about a year old.) Slugger has turned out to be a very affectionate and chatty little guy.

Interestingly enough, Pee-Wee had very similar markings as your Jasmine, with maybe slightly less white, while Slugger is a dead-ringer for Inkblot, right down to the black patch over just one eye. Sort of gives him a pirate look.

Even though I adopted Slugger only two weeks after Pee-Wee passed away, I do suggest that you wait until a cat picks you. In my case it just seemed to happen more quickly than I expected.

Posted by: monchie b. monchum on January 7, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Inkblot would take more kindly to a kitten. Whatever you decide to do, Kevin, I hope it comforts and brings you happiness.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 7, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

The only problem with a kitten is that sometimes older cats dislike kittens and sometimes try to chase them off the premises particular when the kitten gets almost grown, being that older cats are territorial and don't like sharing their space with unknown others.

With Inkblot being a big tomcat, even if he's fixed, you might want to try and find another fearless Jasmine sort.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 7, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

The other day someone said that when the cat hears you say his name he thinks it's your name or the family name.

Is there any kind of brain research that localizes where names are stored and if there may be a distinction between personal names and family or group names?

Posted by: cld on January 7, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I understand the best way to introduce a new cat to an older cat is not to introduce them at all, but just let the new one appear around the house.

Posted by: cld on January 7, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm in big trouble. My daughter brought her cat home from school for the holidays (a whole month). I've fallen hopelessly in love with it.
Our family cat, Spice, has had a miserable holiday, a week of growling at the visitor, followed now by pretending that our visitor doesn't exist. The visitor wants to be friends but Spice will have nothing of that. I'm torn between feeling sorry for Spice and falling in love with the new one. And how can I let my new sweetie go? AAAAARRRRGH!

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

This is somewhat lame, but when I decided I wanted a cat a few years back, I wanted to name him Hep Cat. (I'm a bad jazz musician, which explains a lot.)

So I went through the cats at the county shelter, saying "Hep?" "Hep?" "Hep?" until one looked up.

I still have that cat.

I agree with the above poster - let the next Drum kitty find you.


Posted by: Wes F. in North Adams on January 7, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Our vet recommends bying cheap perfume and patting some on the backs of the necks of all cats you are trying to acclimate: your house may be stinky for a few days, but it does make the intro process go more smoothly:we,ve done it twice now with great success!

Posted by: beth on January 7, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Three years after our scare with Datsa we're still not sure how long he'll last (he's 14+ now), so I'm constantly thinking towards the future and whether we'll adopt another cat after his time has passed. Amy's pretty independent but I prefer us being a 2-cat family. In the end it'll probably be up to my husband, who works at home and has thus become the primary cat-caregiver.

Posted by: Elayne Riggs on January 7, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I would just like to add my condolences to all those you have already received. Jasmine was a lovely animal and clearly just superbly cared for. My own cat was not at all lovely, either in appearance or personality, but after 21 years I still miss her with a deep grief that catches me at odd moments, like this one.
As for Inkblot, males are not territorial; my strong hunch is that he'll do just fine, and a kitten would help keep him young.

Posted by: Grandma on January 7, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I understand the best way to introduce a new cat to an older cat is not to introduce them at all, but just let the new one appear around the house."


When our visitor (see above 3:56 PM) arrived we simply let him loose around Spice. A lot of scary growling, hissing and aggressive posturing ensued, particularly on Spice's part. I got on the web for advice on bringing a new cat into the family and found that the most common advice is to keep the cats separated for at least a week and let them sniff each other's living quarters so that they become accustomed to each other's scent. We did that for a week. The aggression between the two did not recur after a week but as I described, hurt feelings are still abundant.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

We say something close to "Hep! Hep!" to stop the cat from scratching the couch. Staccato is generally good for cat communication.

Posted by: rewolfrats on January 7, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry to be offthread but this is important. Looks like Iraq will be a success - for oil companies. This is what the US was after all the time.

Spoils of War

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta: Great minds think alike! I linked to that very article today when I posted about that topic.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 7, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Cats are remarkably callous, aren't they. When my Phil snuck outside one night (and promptly hid under the neighbour's porch for two days in near-freezing temps because he has no outside territory), his loving sister Izzy meowed for him the next morning and then quickly proceeded to elevate her house status from co-habiting Princess to lone cat Queen. When Phil was coaxed back in, she growled at him for two hours...some say it's because he smelled different, but I know it's because she couldn't believe her rotten luck at having to share the treats and attention again.

Good luck in your next kitty acquisition...and if you do get a kitty, be prepared for all that frenetic activity and leg-climbing action that you've forgotten. Inkblot will be so disgusted...

Posted by: JaneFinch on January 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK


From one "cataholic" to another:

I, too, am used to having more than one cat. But(whatever your surviving cat Inkblot thinks), don't be in a rush to get another cat. Allow yourself a little space for fillilng the hole. That way, when the right cat presents itself(and you'll know), it will be able to worm its way into your affections forthwith. It may take a while, but believe me, you'll know when you find the right one.
From one "blue" cat person to another,
Anne G

Posted by: Anne Gilbert on January 7, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

So sorry to read about your loss, Kevin, but I must admit, I hope when I go, it's quick like that. I know you're grieving, but just to let you know how I was able to integrate my late sister's two cats with my two cats and two dogs. As someone mentioned earlier, I closed them up in a room of their own for over a week. They sniffed each other under the door. Once I opened the door, the prior animals knew that the new animals had been adopted, and the new ones accepted that they had a new home, and so they became part of our family. Unfortunately, my sister had a big male who still stalks my oldest and dominant female cat (who runs from him whenever she sees him.) Only occasionally, though, is there any real run-in, and no injuries, so it's okay. Good luck and same to Marian.

Posted by: Ann in AZ on January 7, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. Pretty much all my animals came from finding them homeless on the street. Abandonment seems to make them somewhat more appreciative of your kindness when you take them in. Before that, I always got my animals from shelters like the Humane Society. Hope you'll go one of those routes and not feed the breeders.

Posted by: Ann in AZ on January 7, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think blasting them both with cheap perfume is ingenious. They'll be so annoyed with the pervading stink they'll be compatriots in dealing with the insanity of the modern human.

Posted by: cld on January 7, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

In the end, I think all cats like being only cats. My two are litter mates and get along better than any two I have had in the past, which includes a mother and son. It seems mother totally forgot he was her son. However, I think two keep each other company when I am gone and it makes me feel better. I would opt for a kitten as I think the only thing better than a cat is a kitten. But, as I have gotten older when I have kittens, I become eternally grateful they don't stay kittens. I think bringing a kitten in is easier than an older cat because the kitten doesn't understand or doesn't care (don't know which) that it is unwelcome by the other cat.

Putting a bit of vanilla on the noses of each cat helps them get along better because all they smell is the vanilla. I think that is better than cheap perfume.

Posted by: Mazurka on January 7, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry about Jasmine Kevin. She was an adorable critter.

Have you thought about a Maine Coon? They're not lap cats exactly (they like being around people rather than sitting on them; they weigh a great deal), but they're very smart, and very friendly. They were bred to hunt mice in 17th century New England, and like to be (or more like have to be) outdoors at least part of the time.

Posted by: Linus on January 7, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot is teh sexy! And that's a sweet pic of Jasmine. My Rocky likes to roll around like that on the asphalt driveway when he gets outside.

So sorry again about Jasmine, but at least you have Mr. Suave, Inkblot, to console you and Marion.

Posted by: kc on January 7, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks so much for the update, Kevin--I've been wondering how everyone was doing. It sounds like: remarkably well, under the circumstances, and I'm so glad.

When you do get a new cat, here's what's worked for us (our current feline "family" is 5, arriving as 1+3+1 in a mix of ages and sexes over a couple of years, and they all get along fine):

At first, keep they new guy/gal shut in one room for several days to a week. Let them sniff each other under the door, but no face-to-face. Then introduce them absolutely nonchalantly: just open the door when Inkblot is somewhere else, and let them encounter each other naturally. Meanwhile, give extra fuss and attention to Inkblot, and ignore the new guy/gal in his presence until they are used to each other.

Some hissing and chasing and tussling is normal and to be expected. But unless there's consistent terrorism (someone stays cowering under the bed and won't come out) or bloodshed (and I don't mean the occasional scratch), don't intervene--they'll work it out.

Good luck! And do let us legions of "cataholics" know when the big day arrives--we'll be thinking of you.

Posted by: Leaves on the Current on January 7, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

How about a dog?

When my cat dies I will excitedly go get a Corgi. Just waitin' the li'l bastard out right now.... 7 more years to go.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 7, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

My never-too-thrilled to be owning cats husband wants to know if you want a matching set for Inkblot.

Woody comes with a laundry basket...


...and a Texas roadmap:


Snorkel comes with...a healthy appetite and a pallet of St. Augustine grass:


Posted by: san antone rose on January 7, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

As a single male oilfield truck driver, a cat is about all I can have. Salem, an all black cat, adopted me right after I moved in. He was just a kitten who showed up on moving day and never left.

That was three years ago. So I guess I am an official cat person, but I regularly get taken to the woodshed over the name of my blog.

You just can't judge a book by the cover.

Posted by: Oilfieldguy on January 7, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin sounds like a pretty flexible cat owner. When he's ready, though, he might find this "Feline-ality" quiz used by an animal shelter in the Portland, Maine area of interest (http://www.arlgp.org/adopt/cats/).

Its objective is to guide prospective cat owners to cats they will find appealing. Evidently many of the unsuccessful cat adoptions involve neither bad cats nor bad owners, but mismatches in personality between one and the other. Obviously a program like this is probably most useful for people looking to adopt adult cats.

Posted by: Zathras on January 7, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Glue the dead cat to the ceiling, it will dry out and look really cool.

I hate it when idiots say stuff like this. As if it was their idea in the first place. Hey, Matt did you even bother to look at the accompanying pictures? Kevin put the Jasmines photo in upside down, but if put your ass where your head is you'll see that he is way ahead of you. And yes, Jasmine looks real cool.

Posted by: American Buzzard on January 7, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I've got 15 cats. Why stop at two?

Posted by: Maldoror on January 7, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

thanks for the followup, Kevin. Hang in there.

Posted by: Librul on January 7, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

For your new Cat PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to the SPCA or Animal Control. Not the Pet Shop. Those cats will usually always find a home. The SPCA and especially Animal Control cats aren't so lucky.

Posted by: DA on January 7, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for the update. Another cat is a good thing, and I'm sure the cat will "find" you. However, that doesn't meant that he/she will not need a little help. After we lost Yoda we were going to wait a few months, but after about six weeks couldn't stand it.

I called one of the techs at the vets - looking for a cat similiar but not the same as Yoda. Got the name of breeder and called her wanting a different color - but she only had one male kitten, brown like Yoda. My hubby said he knew that was the end of looking, it was meant to be.

I have heard that it is better to introduce a new cat slowly, and keep the new one in a separate room for a few days. (Partly for health reasons - a friend got a cat from rescue and it turned out to be very sick and died in a couple of days.) The new one should go to the vet immediately to be checked out health wise, they get upper respiratory problems in the pound and can pass it on to your other cat. This is less of a problem if you get one from a breeder.

I love the Burmese, they have a special kind of personality.

Good luck in your search - and please let us have pictures of the new one.

Posted by: JWC on January 7, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I recommend staying away from the bengal breed.

They're lovely to look at, but noisy, skittish, and generally nuts.

Posted by: Linus on January 7, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Get a kitten, not a grown cat. That way you can change your mind in six months or so.

Posted by: Bob Munck on January 7, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Cats, unlike people, do not think other cats are cute. But they're better off not being the only cat. As long as Inkblot gets to be assured in his position as senior cat, you're better off with two.

Posted by: Simon on January 7, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

My best friend is involved at the local humane society, sends me a fund-raiser for $350 including dinner tickets, once again time for fundraising... Please join us for a gourmet meal. An avid cook myself, I say, eeegadds--no problem, and send it in. Have a heart, I say. Hubby is supportive. Loves cats.
Poor Eli Manning of the NY Giants--I am better off than he is right now.
I always had big dogs and interesting cats before I had nicer furniture...although she is bringing me a tiny calico kitty as we speak. I 'm ready. OK...

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Linus that Maine Coons are lovely and friendly, but if you get one, be prepared to brush it every single day. They are not just long-haired, they've got a winter undercoat that mats on the least provocation (you'll have to acquire something call a rake to get it in order--regular brush won't do it). They also tend to have very sturdy bodies--mine feels more like picking up a dog--so if one of the things you like about cats is how they go all liquid and boneless on you, a Maine Coon would be disappointing.

That said, my Zoe is quite lovely and loving, and you certainly can hear her around the house--sounds like an elephant when she jumps off the bed and thumps down the stairs.

Posted by: lahke on January 7, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK


Kitten. Female. From the local shelter.

Posted by: bigcat on January 7, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm glad he's coping OK. Thanks to our 1970s experiences with Siege and Spider (see above), I can vouch for the fact that cats can form EXTREMELY close emotional ties and be very badly traumatized when one of them dies or disappears. (Since then, we've had another almost equally close cat-cat friendship, and we've had a couple of looser but definite cat-dog friendships -- as did our next-door neighbor.)

A recent article in "Science News" quoted animal psychologists as now concluding that domestic cats are "semi-social" -- that is, they don't form flat-out packs like canines, but they ARE capable of forming loose semi-societies unlike most other members of the cat family. (Female cats in particular are noted for forming communal nurseries to help raise and protect each other's kittens, and even engage in something very like midwife behavior.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on January 7, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

When you do have another fur friend in the family, give them both pages at www.catster.com and we can all have our cats be friends!

Posted by: arteclectic on January 7, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

I have never owned a cat, but my local newspaper (The Oregonian) had a memorable article about adopting cats last month (12/12/06).

The writer, Deborah Wood, said that “adult cats are grateful in a way that kittens can’t fathom.” They will say “thank you” to you every day. Also, they have “shown their stripes” by showing what kind of a cat they will be. High energy? Snuggle bunny?

One animal shelter director (www.animalaidpdx.org) quoted in the article suggests that you sit on a chair or the floor and let the cat pick out you. In one case a woman came in to get a black cat, but an orange cat kept pushing all of the other cats off of the woman’s lap. She finally gave in and adopted the black cat. It turned out to be a perfect match.

One shelter worker said that she has given up trying to predict which cat will select a new owner. She explained, “I am always wrong.”

Posted by: emmarose on January 7, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

OOPS! I should have said that the ORANGE cat was adopted.

Posted by: emmarose on January 7, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Do I like cats?

Is the Pope cataholic?

Posted by: floopmeister on January 7, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

My experience tells me cats "get" death in some kind of instinctual way that I can't understand as a human. I once had the intense experience of holding Zoe, the dearest little runt cat you can imagine, for three hours as she breathed her way out of life. The two other cats in our house - the female of whom had virtually adopted her when she was a kitten and always protected her - came to the bed and sat very calmly watching this - silent, peaceful witnesses. The minute Zoe gave her last breath, the other two got up and left the bed. I mean immediately. Although all three had been a unified gang, the two surviving cats were totally cool about her departure. I was the wreck. They were extremely attentive to my emotions for the next few weeks.

Posted by: Victoria on January 7, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I am pleased to see you're thinking of getting a new cat and fairly soon. I've told people that when my dear little cat...well, you know...that I'd get a new cat pretty quickly because I'd be so inconsolable that only a little kitten could take my mind off my sorrow. And typically, the response is "no! you'll need time!" or "but that would be such an insult to your current cat's memory and the new pet!"

And yet...that is precisely what I would do. It wouldn't mean I'd love the new kitty or my old kitty any less. It would just mean that my heart wouldn't break in as many pieces.

My condolences to you. Your pictures are wonderful and have been from the earliest cat blogging days.

Posted by: Cattyinqueens on January 7, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Either you or Marian will be walking out of Albertson's, and someone will have a box of kittens.

If you get them in the freezer pack, they are much cheaper.

Posted by: craigie on January 8, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Hi Craigie. So far you are way ahead of me in the smartass sweepstakes for 007. You have been smokin' with the witty reparte.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 8, 2007 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

You are too kind.

Now watch this drive...

Posted by: craigie on January 8, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

I don't even get credit for calling it 007 - that was my son, who is a comic freakin' genius in all his languages.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 8, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Cats are the greatest gift of God...

I tend to play the "I hate cats" angle for comic effect around here. I do prefer dogs but own a cat and enjoy time with it... but the statement I quoted above by Richard (DVM) honestly surprised me. I understand that cats and pets in general can be a very important part of someone's life but this, this... cat hagiography has to stop!

There are limits people and I think we just hurtled over the line!

Posted by: MNPundit on January 8, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Get a grown cat! You'll never know what kittens will be like when they grow up, while a grown cat's personality is established. Also, adult cats often can't find homes and are euthanized because so many people only want kittens. Save a life and get an adult cat from a shelter.

Posted by: BobR on January 8, 2007 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

I think you must still be somewhat traumatized by events. I know I would. It's not every day one sees their beloved pet of 9 years drop dead before one's eyes.

As for the replacement, I think it's up to you guys to decide what's best for you and Inkblot.

Posted by: Michele on January 8, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

From a natural selection standpoint adult shelter cats in rough neighborhoods are probably the best bet.

Breeders can keep any mutant alive especially for a short time, so 25-toed inbred kitten mill kittens are probably the weakest link. Hell, they're probably prone to developing some nerve problem that causes them to chew their tails off or have a growth hormone problem that'll keep them kitten sized till they're tipped over by their normal sized left ears.

What you want is a 20-toed disease-free one-eyed cat from south central. If it's still alive, you know it's the fittest of the fittest and can outrun or outsmart packs of rabid pitbulls. Make sure it's from a large economically depressed area so that it's ancestors had access to a large gene pool.

Think twice before getting that shelter cat that you didn't notice for the first 20 minutes because it was hiding under rug. It's a survivor for sure, but such habits are hard to break and you might only see it at feeding time or when the thermostat is set below the "must sit on lap" line.

Posted by: B on January 8, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Condolences from a 32-cat waitress.
My New-Cat-In-The-House experience is below (this is only my opinion, others will differ):
Boy cat with boy kitten, neutered asap, should work once boy kitten gets slapped several times for chomping on boy cat's tail.
Boy cat with girl kitten causes lots of consternation with boy cat because girl kitten will take over the house, eventually he gets used to it and life resumes normalcy.
Girl cat with girl kitten causes the greatest amount of consternation with all concerned, sometimes the territorial ruckus never calms down and life never resumes normalcy. Thank heavens you have a boy cat.
One girl kitten free to a good home?
Best to you!!

Posted by: Fat Old Grump on January 8, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I got an email that the Huntington Beach humane society is shutting down and will euthanize all pets not adopted in the next two days.

21632 Newland Street
Huntington Beach , CA 92646
Phone: 714-536-8480
Fax: 714-536-4541

Posted by: ml on January 8, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

One goes out looking for kitties to adopt? Hmmmm. In my case the cat just showed up.....

Posted by: ET on January 8, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

The comment about the Huntington Beach Humane Society is wrong, they are remodeling and are not going to euthanize their animals. Sorry about your loss but when you do decide to get a new member of the family I would suggest checking out the National Cat Protection Society (NATCAT). It is on PCH in Newport Beach right by the Santa Ana River. Please consider adopting a grown cat, I am told that they are far harder to place because everyone wants kittens.

Posted by: HBMIKE on January 8, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

We lost our beloved Opus almost the same way, in October. A sublimely funny ragdoll, she just went to sleep and never woke up. We thought "heart attack", too, so I guess we're all too anthromorphic. Got a wonderfully smart and athletic kitten at the Main St. (SM) animal adoption place about a month and a half later, and she's been a splendid--not replacement, but compensation.

Posted by: Harry Shearer on January 8, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

My deepest condolences on the death of Jasmine. I have 3 (lost a great one back in 2005, sigh). I try to love on them every day, as you never know when they might pass on. Hope you get a 'pound' cat.

Posted by: Paul in KY on January 8, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Beware the kitten! In particular, beware choosing a kitten from a litter. There will be one that climbs up your pants, plunks itself down in your lap, and starts purring to beat the band. Then there will be a second one that climbs up, briefly wrestles the first one, and then settles down with it in an adorable yin/yang bundle with harmonic purring. This is how we came to have 5 cats.

Posted by: Lucia on January 8, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

My late cat Fang, a Maine Coon, also had hypertropic cardipmyopathy, as I learned after having an autopsy done. Fang was 17 and was being treated successfully for a variety of age-related ailments, but one day he started to go downhill very quickly; he stopped eating, would only sip water occasionally, and stayed in a crouch most of the time as though his tummy hurt. I placed water dishes all over the house so he wouldn't have to walk far if he got thirsty. After a couple of days, I took him to the vet, who determined that Fang wasn't going to come out of this, so I sadly had him euthanized. It is always hard to say goodbye, but your fond memories of Jasmine and delightful photos of her will bring you comfort. I eventually found room in my heart for two new kitties, and I'm sure you will, too.

Posted by: Margy on January 8, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Also, I recommend staying away from the bengal breed.

They're lovely to look at, but noisy, skittish, and generally nuts."

My Bengal, Miss Marbelletta, known as Fancy, is noisy, skittish and used to be nuts. She was a legacy, given to my brother-in-law by his best friend. The friend had developed a fatal disease and wanted his cats to be properly cared for, so BiL got himself a cat. His other cats wouldn't even let the little devil eat without attacking her so we ended up with her.

She was totally silent for the first two years. Now she won't shut up. I wanted a lap cat, and she wouldn't let you touch her. Now she sleeps in my lap!

Bengals can be wonderful.

All these great cat stories make me want to go home and let Fancy curl up next to me.

Posted by: zak822 on January 8, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, lost a cat to cardiomyopathy. He was just a year old and a recent adoptee. He would occasionally seem to cough after a workout with my other cat, but he seemed otherwise fine and never triggered any alarm bells on vet visits. He died in his sleep one evening. We found him under a kitchen table where he had gone to nap. Our other cat looked for him for days. I had his vet do a post-mortem and learned the cause of death was cardiomyopathy, a condition I did not even know existed in cats. At least he enjoyed a good home for awhile after being semi-feral for the first part of his short life.

Posted by: Wallace Ward on January 8, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine how difficult it will be when I lose my Clifford (who despite his name is a cat and not a dog), so you have my sincerest sympathies.

Posted by: jmg on January 8, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

One thing to try and avoid is anything closely related to a farm cat. They'll never stop decimating the local wildlife and will get all sorts of parasites and may be out on safari for weeks at a time.

Posted by: cld on January 8, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I echo the farm cat comment. Since your cats go outside, I'd recommend a shelter cat who hasn't been outside. They love it, but they think that real living takes place indoors, so the yard will never be more than an expedition and an adventure -- at least, that turned out to be true for my two beasts.

Also if you want a breed there are rescue groups for every breed, no need to go to a pet store.

Posted by: Diana on January 8, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I have been reading your blog everyday for quite a while and enjoy it immensely, but I just learned that you are also our neighbor here in Irvine. We live in Woodbridge near the intersection of the 405 and Culver. Don't know how close we are.

I was very saddened to hear about the death of your Jasmine. I mentioned it to my wife Pat, and she pointed out that, whenever you're ready, the Irvine Animal Shelter always has a particularly good selection of cats--and also dogs-- for adoption.

Except that we already have three Jack Russell Terriers, we would probably adopt a cat ourselves. As animal lovers though, we truly sympathize with the shock and grief that you and your family must feel at suddenly losing a wonderful pet, and we wish you the very best.

Sincerely, Rich and Pat Vinet, Irvine, CA

Posted by: richard vinet on January 8, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: austin on January 9, 2007 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

adopt any animal because all animals have their own personnality. witch makes them great!

Posted by: austin Sandavol on January 9, 2007 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, our Oliver had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that was diagnosed, and we were able to give him about 3/4 of a good year. He also had congestive heart failure, so we were giving him Cardizem for the HTC and Lasix for the CHF. As it turned out, the Lasix was too hard on his kidneys, and it was his kidneys that gave out before his heart did. It's always hard to lose one of your cat-children. I recommend bringing in an adult cat of 2-3 years of age. They're past that dumb/bad kitten phase, you know their temperaments, and they still have many good years ahead of them.

Posted by: Jill on January 9, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK



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