Please Visit the New Playful Kitty Site!

Hello everyone! I just realized that I am still getting a lot of responses on this account. Sorry for the delay in responding. I don’t really check this account very often anymore.

Please Visit the New Playful Kitty!

The new web address is :

http://www.playfulkitty.net

You can still follow Playful Kitty with your WordPress.com reader, but you will need to go to the new website and click the little blue button on the sidebar.  I would love for you to continue following :) I will always follow back with my new account.

Thank you to everyone who already has visited and/or followed the new site!

Funny Cat Picture: Devious Manna

Manna is our little troublemaker. There has got to be one in every crowd I think. One of Manna’s favorite tricks is to sneak up to Cinco when he is least expecting it and bite him on the scruff of his neck. I have a feeling that she was about to do just that when I snuck up on her with the camera (Cinco is the one that is sleeping). What do you think, is that a devious face?

Manna planing something devious

Playful Kitty Puzzle: Cats of the Victorian Era

Cat Lovers Unite!

This Caturday we are celebrating the era that made house cats who the pampered pets they are today! During Queen Victoria’s reign in Great Britain, the treatment of domestic animals became a concern, the first Cat Show (or Cat Fancy) was held, and cat lovers all around the world made their fascination with cats known. Persian cats were considered quite fashionable as Queen Victoria herself owned 2 of them.  Now, around 150 years later, cats are one of the most common pets in the world!

To play choose one of these options:

  1. Click on the image of the puzzle and print it from your browser.
  2. Right click on the image. Select “Save As” and save the image to your computer. Print as an image or place it onto a word document to print it.
  3. Download the PDF version of the puzzle and print from Adobe Acrobat. Click the following link to use the PDF version: Cats of the Victorian Era Word Search.pdf

Want the Answers?

Just send us an email at robinsplayfulkittles@hotmail.com with the subject line “Cats of the Victorian Era” and we’ll send you the answer key.  :)

Cats of the Victorian Era Word Search

Thoughts on Cat Photography

Part of making a really cool cat blog is taking (and sharing) great pictures of cats. I am by no means a professional photographer; I have hand tremors and  I use an out-of-date little point-and-shoot camera that is in desperate need of replacing. However,  I have found some things that really work for me and some things that don’t.  Perhaps some of the pawsome photographers out there can add to this conversation (by all means do), but here are some of my discoveries:

Lighting makes all the difference in the world.

Cat Photography Manna Sitting Pretty

Digitally brightened photo of Manna with fixed “red-eye”.

I find that if I can take a photo of the cats with natural light, that  photo will turn out better than one taken with the the lamps in my apartment doing the lighting.  If natural light isn’t available, the lights have to be as bright as possible (without being blinding).  Photo editing programs can help to brighten a photo, but there is definitely a difference between a well-lit photo and a photo brightened by editing.  Good lighting also helps because  then you don’t need to use the flash.  Whenever I have to use the flash I spend tons of time editing “red eye” and/or sorting through photos to find one with the cats’ eyes open.

Cat Photography Manna Lying on Balcony

Naturally lit photo of Manna, no lighting or eye corrections.

Try to see the cat’s point of view.

Cat Photography Cinco with fuzzy ball

Cinco not realizing that I had placed a milk ring and a fuzzy ball on his head.

When I’m taking photos, I’m usually on my knees or crawling around on the ground to get as close to their eye-level as possible. Not too many interesting photos happen when I’m hovering over their heads. Photos that are taken straight on at the cats are a lot easier to use with an article if you ask me.

Get in the action.

Cat Photography  Manna and the candy cane

Manna playing with a catnip candy cane.

Action shots are adorable! They make the cats look alive and playful – it gives them personality. Many times when I do a photo shoot with my cats, I am playing with them with one hand and taking photos with the other hand. Lucky for me, my little camera has a setting for taking action photos so they don’t look too blurry. I use this setting all the time because of my hand tremors (if I don’t it will look like a took my photos during an earthquake).

Take lots of photos.

Cat Photography Manna Selfie Fail

A Manna selfie fail. Try, try, again.

It is rare that I get the photos I want in the first few shots. I just keep taking photos until either the cats have had enough or I’m just sick of taking photos. For my Wordless Wednesday shoots it is not unusual for me to take 100 photos. Then I just choose around 5 of them that turned out well to use. The more photos you take, the more likely you will get a few really good ones.

Add your own interpretation.

Cat Photography Manna Vs Jack Nicholson

I knew I’d seen that expression somewhere before…

Cats don’t pose. No matter what great idea you have for your photo shoot, expect it to go awry. I just add a few elements to my “scene” and I see what the cats decide to do with them. I don’t force anything. The cats will do whatever the cats want to do. If some scene elements are not getting a good response, I replace them and try again. Adding catnip is helpful, but then they may just get busy licking the cat nip and refuse to look at the camera.

After the photo shoot, I add my own interpretation to the photos. This is a creative process. I look at what I’ve got and I say something like  “hey, Cinco and Manna look like crime-fighting super heros” or ” This is like  one of those slow, dark film noir scenes” or “hey! Manna looks just like Jack Nicholson in this photo.” Some interpretations are more creative and some are more reality based.

Cat photography Cinco film noir

Cinco starring in Niptoon Noir.

Cat Photography Super Cinco Taunting the Red Dot (tagged)

Super Cinco attacks the Red Dot with his Super Raspberry.

A question for you: What qualities do you think make a great pet photo?

Cat Breed: Persian

Persians are the most popular cat breed in the world.  Something about that long, luxurious fur or those flattened facial features has captured the hearts of humanity.  Maybe their secret is in that soft, melodic meow.

A Bit of Fuzzy History

Persian Cats 1894 Richard Lydekker

Persian/Angora from 1894. “The Royal Natural History Vol 1″ by Richard Lydekker.
Image is in Public Domain

The interaction of the Persian breed with Europeans began in the 1600′s.  European explorers visiting the Middle East and India smuggled the cats back to Europe with their other treasures. One such explorer was Pietro della Valle of Italy, who described Persian cats as having gray, long, silky fur. They called them “Persian” cats because they found them in Persia (modern day  Iran).

Persian cats became popular in France before they became popular in England. For awhile, Persian cats were referred to as “French cats” because of their popularity in France.  By the reign of Queen Victoria (who owned 2 Persian cats), the popularity of Persian cats (and cats in general) skyrocketed in England. During the late 1800′s the Persian cats were exported to the U.S. and quickly became the most popular breed in the world.

Persian Breed Today

The look of Persian cats has changed a bit over the course of their breeding. There are now 150 different variations of the breed. In the US, we classify these cats as one breed called Persian. In England, these cats are known as “Long-Hairs” and each color variation is its own breed.  Many modern cat breeders choose the cats with the flattest facial features, known as Extreme Persian, to be their show cats. Persian cats with more protruding features are considered to be “Traditional Persian” or “Doll-Faced Persian.”

Bringing a Persian Cat Home

Persian Cats Lion Cut

Persian cat with lion’s cut.
Photo credit: Liz West

Regular grooming is a necessary part of having a Persian cat. They have both a thick overcoat and a thick undercoat. Without being combed daily, knots and mats can easily form in that beautiful fur. These cats will also need to be bathed regularly.  Many Persian owners opt to have the majority of the fur shaved off (called a Lion’s cut) to keep grooming needs to a minimum.

Unfortunately there are a few health problems common to this breed. Around 40% of Persian cats are affected by Polycystic Kidney Disease, in which the kidneys become covered in cysts and the kidney’s healthy tissue gets destroyed. These cats may need regular ultrasounds of their kidneys to keep an eye on the progress of the disease. Upper respiratory problems and runny eyes are also common.

Persian cats are stereotyped as being lazy, but that isn’t entirely true. They do love to lounge, but they also love to play. These cats prefer to have their feet on the ground and don’t like to jump or climb. While Persian cats adapt easily to any environment, they prefer an environment that is peaceful and secure. They are good with children and other animals.  All in all, they make terrific pets that can live 15 – 20 years!

Persian Cat Cream CFA

Image courtesy of http://www.cfainc.org

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles!!!

What could be more fun than bubbles?! My homemade bubble wand and bubbles didn’t work out as well as I would have liked, but Cinco and Manna loved it. This week, rather than my usual trick of playing with the cats with one hand while simultaneously taking pictures of them with the other hand, Dave (my husband) took the pictures.

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna and Cinco 2

Manna could barely wait for the bubbles to leave the wand before she attacked them.

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna 1

Get those bubbles Manna!

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna and Cinco 1

Cinco felt that the bubbles were a dirty nasty trick. He sniffed one and it popped, squirting him with soapy water. “These things are not to be trusted.” – Cinco

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna and Cinco 4

“Where did it go? It was here a second ago…”

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna 4

“I will get you, you strange magical orb!” – Manna

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna 3

Manna getting ready to pounce the bubbles.

Wordless Wednesday Bubbles Manna 2

“I wonder if I can catch it on my paw…” – Manna

Did you hear that we’re moving?

Wordless Wednesday Cinco and Manna ConstructionPlayful Kitty is moving to self-hosting! I’ve been very busy designing the new site at http://www.playfulkitty.net . It is coming along great and we should be ready to completely transfer over by next week.  Playful Kitty’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ accounts will not be changing. You will need to visit the new site to subscribe to the new Playful Kitty by WordPress reader, Bloglovin’, or email. All of those subscribe buttons are already functioning on the new site if you want to subscribe now (excuse my mess if you do visit).

This is a Blog Hop!

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Constructing on the New Playful Kitty

Cinco and Manna Construction

Construction has begun on the new Playful Kitty website! We’re going self-hosted! I’ve been talking about it for a while, but now it is actually happening. If your blog is on WordPress.com, you may have already received the notice that I am now following your blog through a new account.

I apologize to everyone that I haven’t been getting around to your blogs for the last few days. Designing the new site has been very time consuming (but I’m really enjoying it).  I haven’t been trying to ignore you! Very soon I will be getting around to everyone.

What will be different?

From the readers point of view, it will not be a big shocking change. The format is slightly different and while I’m keeping the same basic headers and icons, I’m updating them a little bit. The type of content is not changing except that it may include more product reviews (got to pay for all of this somehow).

The reason I’m making the move is to give myself more flexibility. WordPress.com has been a wonderful host, but I wanted out from underneath its restrictions. Now I’m free to add Javascript content and to make money using my blog. I’m really excited!:)

Following the New Playful Kitty

You will have to re-subscribe/ re-follow Playful Kitty, but I am making it as easy as I can for you. All of the same options for following us will be available.  Playful Kitty’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ accounts will not be changing at all.

The new website will be found at http://www.playfulkitty.net . Should you choose to visit now, please excuse my dust as I am still getting everything set on the site. All of the buttons for following Playful Kitty are active on the site if you want to update your subscriptions now.  You can follow via one of the social media sites listed above, email, WordPress.com, or bloglovin’.  Please let me know if I’m missing a preferred way to follow! 

You don’t have to visit the new site to follow on Bloglovin’, just use the links below.

Follow on Bloglovin

When Will the Move Be Complete?

More than likely I will be ready to completely switch over by next week. I’m pretty technologically savvy so everything is going really smoothly. When I’ve completed everything I will make more announcements.  The cats are so happy about the move that Manna is planning to release a brand new song for our first real post on the new site. :)

Manna warming up her vocal cords for her performance.

Manna warming up her vocal cords for her performance.

Cats In History: The Victorian Era

Victorian era cats - prize winners 1871

The prize winners from the first cat show in 1871.
Image courtesy of http://www.harrisonweir.com

Chances are, if you are reading this, you like cats.  You may even have a cat or two (or three, or four, or…) living with you.  When you think of domestic cats you probably imagine small, furry creatures who are supposed to live in people’s houses and be treated as a member of the family. You might even think that the idea of a cat living outdoors, on the streets is sad or somehow wrong.

People haven’t always thought that way about cats. From the Middle Ages until the Victorian Era, cats were viewed as “useful animals”, but not widely viewed as pets. Humans kept cats around to control rodent populations and that is pretty much it. Cats were expected to live outside and wander the streets, fending for themselves. During these times, people had little regard for animals in general, treating them more like things than living, breathing, valuable creatures.

Treat Me Like A Queen

Victorian era cats - Queen Victoria's Cat

One of Queen Victoria’s cats.
Image courtesy of http://www.Eurofancy.de

The Victorian Era changed everything for cats. Queen Victoria had been very isolated during her childhood due to the schemes of her mother. Animals and dolls were the only companions that she had. Perhaps this is why Queen Victoria would become an avid animal lover and advocate for animal rights. She concerned with the treatment of domestic animals.  Queen Victoria funded school prizes for essays written about kindness to animals. She spoke out publicly against the practice of vivisection (doing experiments on live animals) calling it “a disgrace to a civilized country.”  In 1840, she gave her official patronage to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (thus it is “royal”).  However, she did show a bit of hypocrisy with her love of hunting sports.

Queen Victoria owned many pets (she especially loved her dogs). Most notably, she owned 2 blue Persian cats that she was fascinated with. Some say this was because of a work put out by Charles Darwin regarding his observations of the different types of cats he had seen. He had noted that most of the cats he observed looked very similar (other than different coloring) with the exception of Persians and Manx.

The British people followed the Queen’s lead and fell in love with cats. Discovering different breeds of cat soon became of great public interest. Having pet cats that were lavished with affection caught on like wildfire. Some people began to personify cats so much that they would clothe them to keep them from being immodest.

Showing It All Off

Victorian era cats - 1st Cat Show

The 1st Cat Show in 1871.
Image courtesy of http://www.Squidoo.com

Artist, illustrator, and animal lover, Harrison Weir, organized the first ever cat show in 1871. This was an affair for the upper class and aristocrats to show off their beloved cats and compete for a prize. The allowed breeds included: Black, White, Tabby, and Longhairs. The public couldn’t wait to see all the different types of cats. The show would have 170 entrants and more than 20,000 visitors! A second show was created to include the cats of the “working class.” “Cat Fancys” as the shows were known quickly spread around the globe.  The first Cat Fancy in the U.S. was at Madison Square Garden in 1895.

Harrison Weir had been considered very knowledgeable about breeding animals. In 1892 he published a book called Our Cats and All About Them. The book talks about the different breeds he has identified, caring for cats, cat shows, and some humor. The entire book can be read online for free and there is also a free audio book version. To view them click Our Cats book online or Our Cats audio book.

Other Victorian Cat Lovers

There were a number of famous cat lovers throughout the Victorian Era that helped our view of cats to become what it is today.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Louis Wain – An artist and cat lover that drew anthropomorphic cats (standing up right and behaving as humans) .
  • Louis Carroll - Author of Alice In Wonderland.
  • Beatrix Potter – Author of Peter Rabbit
  • Thomas Hardy – English novelist and poet
  • Mark Twain – American author and humorist
  • Henry James – American/British author
  • Alfred Tennyson – Poet Laureate of Great Britan and Ireland during Queen Victoria’s reign
  • John Keats – English romantic poet
Victorian era cats - 2nd Cat Show

2nd Cat Show 1871
Image courtesy of http://www.harrisonweir.com

Funny Cat Pictures: Cinco Sings for Joy

This week we got a package in the mail. The package happened to come in a decent sized box. When Cinco discovered the box, he just couldn’t help himself. He burst out singing his “New Box Song” at the top of his  lung. It is good to see a happy cat. :) What has made your cat happy this week?Cinco Sings