joanna irl

Saturday Caturday: Leena approves of the porch furniture

Leena cat on the porch

She is enjoying BIRD WATCHING (since I don’t allow any of her preferred passtimes of BIRD CATCHING and BIRD MANGLING) in this picture. She’s always been the more adventurous of the two kitties (Caspian is sitting on the other side of the sliding door where he can “safely” watch the outside without having to, y’know, actually go outside) and likes to participate in whatever I’m doing.

The only thing that bugs me about her going outside is that she’s got so much white fur… and she also enjoys rolling in whatever dirt she can find. So I wind up with a dirty cat that looks DINGY on top of everything else. But I love how she sits with her feet all together and looks so dainty, even if she isn’t really.

joanna irl

Saturday Caturday: unicorn-cats… unicats?

Caspian the traumatized unicorn cat

Recently I picked up a product that I’d only seen online but found in a random little shop I was exploring… Inflatable unicorn horn FOR CATS. Because who doesn’t want a pet unicorn?

Leena the disgruntled unicorn

The horn had to be duct-taped twice, once for each cat to wear, because each one figured out how to hook a claw into it and pull it off of the head. They got a HUGE PILE of cat-cookies for this, dear reader, in case you are concerned for them.

With my pet unicorn-cat

This does lead me to wonder… is a unicorn-cat a unicat? A caticorn? I’m not sure, but either way it’s a really awesome little thing. For me, that is.

joanna irl

Saturday Caturday: loving the camera?


So, Leena is apparently into my camera the way Caspian is into shoes.  See? What Caspian does with my shoes, Leena has started doing with my camera.


I first noticed it when I was sitting here writing for a previous day’s post, and I kept hearing a scraping noise behind me. It didn’t sound terribly important (remember, I live with Caspian who is OCD about paw-cleanliness so there is scraping happening all the time) but I finally turned around and saw… that.


I don’t think she appreciated me taking pictures of her loving my camera, though. Maybe she figured if she claimed the camera, I’d quit pointing it in her face. Too bad I have MULTIPLES, Leena! Ha.

(Isn’t she cute?)

joanna irl

BEDA day 3: Saturday Caturday with the “invisible tigers” at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Well, today got away from me but it’s still before midnight so this counts!

Today I went to the SD Safari Park with some friends from Orange County who came down for the day. The thing about the Safari Park is that I go on a fairly regular basis, so I notice when things change. I also know when and where to see various animals. And I know what times of day are better than others for seeing certain things. Like tigers.

I’ve heard several people say that the tiger exhibit is the Park’s joke on its guests, because there are no tigers. This is completely untrue! There are FOUR tigers at the Safari Park. I know because I asked. But people hardly ever see them and assume they are not on exhibit.


Well, there are some Things to know about tigers. The first Thing is that they are basically solitary. Sometimes in captivity they are in pairs, but usually they like to be alone.

The next Thing you need to know about tigers is that they sleep about SIXTEEN to TWENTY HOURS a day. I am not exaggerating. Only about four to eight hours are spent actively doing stuff, from hunting to walking territory to breeding.

The last Thing you need to know is that tigers are ambush hunters. In other words, they are VERY GOOD at hiding. They have excellent camouflage and feel safer when tucked away a little out of sight.

Put all of these Things together, along with an old fashioned exhibit design, and you get magically invisible tigers!

What’s actually happening is that the tigers are only put out in the big yard one at a time, except for a pair that go out together. They romp and explore for the first, oh, half an hour in the morning (so around 9am) and then they retreat to a particular spot in the back of the exhibit. It’s got a cement stoop and looks back into the night quarters and is in the shade. SO they have a cool cement slab to lie on and watch their keepers, and then sleep away the day, almost completely hidden from view.

If you know where to look, you can almost always spot them from the viewing platform. But the best view? It’s further down, before you ever reach the platform. Stop when you’re even with the rocks and look down and just past said rocks and I can almost guarantee you’ll see TIGER.

You’re welcome.

joanna irl

Just another cat video: Caspian chasing his tail

Yeah, I know the internet doesn’t NEED another cat video, but surely the internet WANTS another cat video, right?

Caspian does this ALL THE TIME and no one ever gets to see, even when I try to cleverly flip a video-chat camera around. Tuesday I finally caught him on camera, so here you go. He’s been doing this his whole life, but now there are wood floors which make for better SPINNING.

joanna irl

Living Room, at last

Over the weekend, J and I finally (FINALLY!) got rid of the last of our “extra” stuff. We donated the vast majority of it (including the last of our free furniture from when we were first married) to a local group that runs three thrift stores that benefit disabled veterans– Disabled American Veteran Thrift Stores. If you happen upon this and are in San Diego, I recommend them. They were easy to contact (there’s a form online to fill out), they come pick up your donations, and will take anything, including old TVs.

At any rate, we have been climbing over things ever since we first took delivery of our belongings back in October. True, we’ve only really been here for about two months, but it’s been a long, slow process to unpack and organize. The square footage (in terms of actual living space) is about the same as our house in Hawaii; the bedrooms are even a little bigger, I think. The difference is that we no longer have our own garage, and we don’t have storage space, except the two bedroom closets. So bear in mind: we lost a garage (which held all of the camping and outdoor gear), a large storage closet (we also had one in Virginia and it held all of the seasonal decor, including my plethora of Christmas stuff), a backyard storage closet (for all of the gardening and yard equipment), and (this is a bigger one than you might think), a staircase with hallway. So all of those thing I listed had to either go away, or find a home inside our condo.

Losing a hallway and staircase is having a bigger impact that we expected. There is no separation between anything, and the bedrooms open off of the living room. You would think that might increase the living space, and it probably does a bit, but there’s something visually about having two separate floors, or at least having the bedrooms in their own part of the house. Here everything feels on top of everything else.

The good thing that came out of all of this is that J and I have had to be smart in our downsizing. We finally had a reason to get rid of the “just in case” and streamline. We also got the push to pass on the things passed to us (like an end table from a neighbor in Virginia) that we don’t have use for anymore. And we discovered what was important to us, because we worked REALLY hard to find a way to keep certain things (like our saddleback bar stools that I love but don’t have a breakfast bar for them at the moment). We talked about renting a storage unit, but the cost (and the effort of having stuff in another place) was really more than we wanted.

At the end of it all, we wound up becoming extremely organized, moreso than either of us is naturally, and fit quite a bit. I’d say we gave away about 25% of our things when it was all said and done, which feels good now but was exhausting at the time.

So now, without further rambling, here’s the (finally put together and mostly organized) condo!

Continue reading “Living Room, at last”

joanna irl

United Against a Common Enemy: the vacuum

Not often to the kitties sit together on any piece of furniture, let alone the cat climber. But sometimes they STAND UNITED against a COMMON ENEMY: the VACUUM.

Kitties on the cat climber

(Neither is actually afraid of the vacuum, but it is noisy and tends to be cleaning places they usually sit, so retreating to the cat climber is only logical.)

(Also, this isn’t a “real” post, but I think it still counts toward BEDA. After all, I have to, y’know, POST it.)

joanna irl

Fat Cat, Skinny Cat: How I got my overweight cat to lose weight

For years now, I’ve had a problem: one of my cats was too big.

Caspian's chub

Caspian’s always been a big guy, and has really large paws (mitts, really) and is tall and long… but he’s also bad about clearing his food dish AND the other cat’s if she doesn’t eat quickly enough and I’ve never been able to get him to lose weight. We tried everything, from prescription diet food (in four varieties, no less) to restricting food intake (which led to grouchy kitties) to free feeding (he’ll get full eventually and learn to just walk away, right? WRONG), and nothing worked. Leena was getting to be pretty big, too, and I really wanted to get them to lose weight.

82/365 Leena's soccer ball

Why is a chubby cat a problem? Surely there’s just more to love, right? Well, the problems increase the older they get, from joint problems to diabetes, which can be expensive to treat in cats, not to mention once they are over fifteen pounds (which Caspian was), the flea and tick medicine (and any other medications they need) increase in cost. So it’s unhealthy and can be expensive. With the cats approaching seven years old this spring, I needed help.

Finally I met a vet who suggested something obvious, and yet still outside the box for most people. She suggested simulating a “wild” diet.

Now, that doesn’t mean I started buying frozen mice, but the idea is similar: in the “wild” (i.e. for feral cats), one mouse a day and then a bit of something else is about what they need for basic caloric intake. Non-sedentary cats (so actual feral cats) need more, but mine really don’t. They get what fiber they need from the guts of their prey, and they don’t eat nearly as much as their indoor counterparts.

So this, then, is what we did: Every evening, the cats each got a “mouse sized” scoop of wet cat food. That’s about 25g, or about 1/4 of a large can of wet cat food. Then in the morning they each got about 1/8 cup of dry kibble, to keep their teeth clean and give them the fiber they need.

I added to this a scheduled playtime of at least fifteen continuous minutes of playtime, right before bed. This not only got them to move, but wore them out so they’d let me sleep all night.

After six months, I took them to the vet and had them weighed… Lo and behold! They’d lost weight. After three years of everything else not working, the “wild” diet did!

Caspian has hips!

Check out the HIPS on that kitty cat! Caspian went from 15.3 lbs to 13.4, which is right in his range (like I said, he’s a big guy). Leena went from 13 to 10.8, which is also about right for her.

Leena and her sleek self

So sleek! (She’s fluffy so her fur makes her look a little bigger.) I’m very happy with the results and wanted to share them in case you, too, are having trouble with an overweight animal. My guess is that if you work with your vet, you can find a similar diet for dogs or any overweight animal.

Caspian is normal sized

Bigger kitties might have more to love, but hopefully my kitties will now be around that much longer for me to love. ^_^

joanna irl

A couple of random photos from my new camera

I got a new point and shoot camera for Christmas (sometimes it’s nice to just have one with you, so you don’t have to lug around a full size camera bag; this one fits nicely in my purse!), and pulled a few photos off of it. First, seeing The Hobbit in 3D with my sister:

J and E see The Hobbit movie

We were both a little excited..

The next one is of a really good Mexican dinner I had the other night. If you come to visit me, I’ll take you to this place.

Mexican food

And lastly, Caspian has been very whiny lately, and I haven’t been able to figure out why. He stands over my shoulder, or at my feet, or wherever and yells nonstop. Finally he leaped onto the back of my desk chair and clung there, and I realized at least one of the things he wanted: he likes to “koala” on the chair while I type (hang onto the chair back, while I sit backwards in the desk chair, so he’s kind of in my lap and watching the computer screen). So here he is. ^_^

Caspian koala cat

Happy kitty. Of course, it makes it hard to type… which is why you should appreciate these posts all the more because half of the time they are written around the cat. ~_^