It’s starting to look like a real movie! With Zombie Cats!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was working as the cat handler for a movie called Zombie Cats From Mars.  I’ve had four long days of shooting with cats (all from Furry Friends, who can now add “movie star celebricat” to their resumes), with one more to go (tomorrow).  It has been a LOT of fun…stressful at times, dangerous at others (to me, not the cats, mind you, who are armed with claws and teeth) and I was very curious to see how things would turn out on film.  Well, the first trailer has arrived!  You can watch it below, and as an added bonus, I’m including some shots from filming.

The movie will be released in March, and Furry Friends will receive half of the proceeds that are earned from three screenings in Southwest Washington!  I’m so excited to see the final product! 🙂

A few of my favorite things (zombie cats included)

Oh dear. I’ve neglected you, faithful Fuzzy Undertones readers, and I am so sorry.  But I’m getting into the holiday spirit, and I’m going to write a post that shares with you some of my very favorite things.  Perhaps you will do the same!

  • To-Do lists, specifically marking things completed (“post for Fuzzy Undertones – check!”)
  • Completing my certification for Feline Behavior and Training through the Animal Behavior Institute.  Three classes since March, over 100 hours of field work, and I only have one final left!
  • Launching my website for Feline Behavior Solutions and becoming a first-time business owner (the website will be launched very soon – just a couple of minor glitches to fix).
  • Fixing minor website glitches.
  • Getting away for Thanksgiving.  It’s never been one of my favorite holidays, but Chris and I headed up to Seattle to have lunch with his family, then we spent three nights at the Tulalip casino/resort.  It was a much needed mini-vacation, and I am grateful for having such an awesome husby!
  • Cats to come home to.
  • Furry Friends.  My work with them has been so rewarding and I feel like I’ve actually been doing good, useful and productive things with them.  They are so generous and kind, and a constant reminder to me that there are good people in this world.
  • The relief that comes with finding that the people for whom you’d like to purchase Christmas gifts have up-to-date Amazon Wish Lists (HINT HINT – GET ON IT, PEOPLE!!!).
  • Zombie Cats from Mars!  Have I told you that I’m going to be the cat handler for the feature film, Zombie Cats from Mars?  It’s true.  I’m not making this up.  It’s for real.  And the zombie cats are coming.  You can help the invasion spread by visiting their kickstarter campaign (there’s a short film about the movie there).  And if you want, you can watch this “behind the scenes video” that the producers made about the cats and, well, me.  Full disclosure:  a) I do not know what was wrong with my hair that day so ignore that, and b) I didn’t know that I would be doing any sort of interview, much less be photographed, so please ignore my general slovenly appearance and most of the words that come out of my mouth.  I’ll let you decide which ones.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great holiday season.  I’m pretty busy these days, with trying to get my business launched and avoid having my brain eaten by marauding zombie cats and all.  But as you can see, I’m checking things off my to-do list, getting things done, TCB.  I’ll get there eventually!  And I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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Good Things on the Horizon

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

I know I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  But that’s actually a good sign, because it means that I’m busy with some really great things right now.  I can’t reveal all at this time, but suffice it to say, I’m thinking about my blogging community (you!) and am missing all the reading and writing that comes with being a part of it.

There’s a new chapter I’m working on right now, and it is taking time to form and shape.  But it is moving forward.  I’m nearly done with my classes and field hours.  I’m scheming and making things more and more solid.  With the help from a few folks I’m actually getting things done and checking things off my list.

January 1st, folks…I hope to be in business January 1, 2015.  It has been a long time coming.  Thanks for your support, and forgiveness for being so vague.  Muah!  ❤

Meet Locket: It Won’t Take Long to Find Her Close to Your Heart!

Locket loves watching the world go by from the catio!

Locket loves watching the world go by from the catio!

It has been a great summer for adoptions at Furry Friends!  If you’ve been following my blog or Furry Friends on Facebook, you’ll know that both Bandit and Penny have been adopted and are doing great in their new forever homes.  Hooray!

Now I’d like to introduce you to Locket.  Locket is a beautiful gray and white petite girl who has worked hard to overcome the challenges that life has tossed her way in the short time she’s been alive.  Back in February 2012, Locket showed up in a crate left on a disabled woman’s doorstep.  Unfortunately, the woman was not able to care for Locket, who surrendered her to Furry Friends shortly after.  So Locket has been with Furry Friends for about two and a half years now.  Why hasn’t this beautiful girl been adopted yet?

Like I said, Locket has been working on overcoming the challenges she’s been given.  We can only guess at her circumstances prior to showing up  on a stranger’s doorstep.  We do know that she was about a year old when she came to Furry Friends (so she’s probably about 3 and a half now), and she was initially very distrustful of people.  She was very shy, very quick to defend herself.

Locket also has a playful side!

Locket also has a playful side!

However, I never knew this version of Locket.  I started volunteering for Furry Friends in April 2014.  She was not one of the first cats I got to know, remaining in the background, just observing me as I did my chores.  I’d see her walking around the house or lounging in the catio (she LOVES watching the world go by from the catio!) but it was a while before she specifically started coming to me to investigate who I was.  She would let me give her some brief pets on her head and around her ears, slowly getting to know me over the weeks.

One day, I was in the Furry Friends kitchen and Locket hopped up onto the counter where I was.  She walked over to where I was standing.  I gave her a couple of scritches on her head, and then she did the most amazing thing ever:  Locket sat right in front of me, then put her two front paws up on my shoulder so that she was standing up against me.  I started petting her down her back, and she actually lifted up her back foot and placed it on my arm, literally climbing up so that I would hold her.  She was purring and nuzzled my chin.  I’ve NEVER had a cat do this before.  And then it happened – I fell in love with Locket.

Locket is not like this with me every time I see her, but if she knows that I have some time to spend with her, she will hop into my lap and hang out for some petting (like in the above couple of pictures…I just sat in the lounger and she bounced right up, nestling herself into my chest).  She can be such an affectionate and loving cat!  She is spayed (of course) and is ready for a forever home.  I think she would be best off being an only-cat, but I have never seen her get into kerfuffles with other cats; she largely ignores them and does her own thing. The only thing Locket truly needs, I think, is a human that she can depend upon to always be there for her.  She was first abandoned, and is now cared for by plenty of people who come and go during the week, but some consistency in her life would make her one happy cat!

Like many cats, Locket might need some time to warm up to a new situation.  However, if you are willing to be a little patient and give Locket the space she needs to get to know you, I promise that you will be rewarded with a loving and affectionate kitty.  If you are interested in finding out more about Locket, you can ask me any question with a comment below, visit the Furry Friends website, and/or see Locket’s listing on  Or, share this post – you might have a friend who needs a furry companion like Locket.  She’s a lovely little soul and I can’t wait for her to find her forever home!

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Fine Art Felines Friday: Paris Through the Window by Marc Chagall

Paris Through the Window (1913)

Paris Through the Window (1913)

Today’s short and sweet Fine Art Felines post features the painting “Paris Through the Window” by the Russian (and later French) Jewish artist Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985).   Painted in 1913 after Chagall moved to Paris, this painting portrays the draw of Paris to all types of artists who flocked to the city in the early 1900’s.  Chagall was an “early modernist”, and in this piece experiments with a cubist style.  What I really love about this painting is the color juxtaposition: a rainbow of colors on the window frame that produces an almost prismatic effect upon the city amidst an otherwise brown and drab landscape.  I like to think that perhaps Chagall, in looking out his window at the city, was able to imagine all the possibilities that were in front of him – kind of like looking at the world through “rose-colored glasses”.  And of course, having a colorful cat to help you dream is an integral part of that visualization!  I’m not sure what is up with the human face on the cat, but if Chagall was anything like many of the cat lovers I know (including myself), we often anthropomorphize our kitties, giving them very human-like personalities layered upon their feline souls.

Regardless, this painting makes me happy.  How lucky would we be if we could all see such color outside our own windows of reality?

When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is”. — Pablo Picasso

Find a Penny, Pick Her Up…(You Know the Rest, Right?)

Penny has dazzling green eyes, and is looking for her forever home!

Penny has dazzling green eyes, and is looking for her forever home!

As you may know, I’ve been trying to promote adoptions for some fantastic cats that I know through Fuzzy Undertones.  I like to think of it as a kind of “cat adoption hit-list”, if you will.  Last month, I posted about my favorite tuxedoed polydactyl cat, Bandit, who is up for adoption at Furry Friends, a no-kill cat rescue organization here in Vancouver, WA.  I’m hoping that we’ve got something in the works for Bandit and one of his admirers, so keep your fingers crossed (Bandit is keeping several of his bonus-toes crossed as well).  I will keep you updated on any adoption activity with Bandit, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, this month I’d like to share with you a lovely cat by the name of Penny.  She’s about six years old (born June 2008) and lived as an indoor cat with an elderly woman for the past four years.  Unfortunately, her human companion had to go into a medical facility, and her neighbor took responsibility for Penny.  Also unfortunately, the apartment complex told the neighbor that he could not keep Penny, so she was brought to Furry Friends so that they could help her find a forever home.  And since I volunteer with Furry Friends, I thought I’d offer my assistance by sharing with you some wonderful things about Penny.

Interesting facts about Penny

  • Penny is an orange tabby!  There are four orange male tabbies for every female, so this makes Penny somewhat rare and special.
  • There are a lot of famous orange cats, and I’d like to make Penny Internet-famous too!  Some famous ginger cats are: Garfield, Morris the Cat, Jones from the movie “Alien”, and Orangey, who starred with Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” in 1961.  Can you think of any others?
  • Penny loves to perch up on high shelves and observe the world from above, but she will come down when tempted with petting and scritches from her beloved human friends!
Penny really does love hugs and affection!

Penny really does love hugs and affection!

You can tell that Penny was mighty attached to her long-time human companion.  Penny is eager to receive petting and brushing, and will demand to sit in your lap for full-body pets (in fact, when I was sitting down on the floor today taking pictures of her she jumped into my lap and immediately started making muffins (aka “happy paws”) on my tummy.  I know I’m soft, but hey…).  She is quick to purr, and gets along well with the other kitties that she is currently rooming with.  She’s current on her shots, doesn’t have any special medical needs, and is ready to fit into a home with anyone who can give her lots of love and affection!  Take a look at that sweet sweet face – you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t benefit from having this lovely girl in your life!  If you are interested in finding out more about Penny, you can ask me any question with a comment below, visit the Furry Friends website, and/or see Penny’s listing on  Or, share this post – you might have a friend who needs a furry companion like Penny! ❤ ❤ ❤


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~~~~~~~~ Update!!! ~~~~~~~~

Penny has been adopted!  She went to her new Forever Home on September 6, and I’m sure that she is making a lovely companion for her new guardians.  If I receive any updates, I will post them here – I am so happy for Penny and her new guardians!  ❤

~~~~~~~~ Update 2!!! ~~~~~~~~

Rebecca, Penny’s new guardian, sent us a quick update.  Penny is doing great, and Rebecca reports that she is a super sweet, special kitty!  I am so happy that Penny is in a loving family with a guardian who recognizes the wonderful being that Penny is ❤

Penny, comfortable and cozy in her new home!

Penny, comfortable and cozy in her new home!

Meet Bandit: He wants to steal your heart!

Bandit is looking for his forever home!

Bandit is looking for his forever home!

I haven’t written much about the volunteer work that I do, but since I’ve gotten to know the cats and people at Furry Friends, I’ve decided to let the cat out of the proverbial bag.  Furry Friends is a no-kill non-profit cat rescue organization in Vancouver, WA, that houses and fosters cats that need to be adopted.  I volunteer every Sunday morning, helping to clean up the “halfway house” and socializing with the cats.  Some of the cats have been at the halfway house for a long time, but they are all looking for their forever homes.  I’ve decided (and I hope with the blessing of Furry Friends) to occasionally highlight some of the current halfway house residents to help these sweet kitties find the human companions that they need and deserve.

With that, today’s lucky kitty is BANDIT!  Bandit will run away with your heart if you let him, because this little tuxedo is a charmer.  I chose to highlight Bandit because he is such a sweetie and he needs to be adopted by someone who loves to give and receive affection.  A couple of things about Bandit: first, he has been in the halfway house since March of 2014.  He is neutered, and was born in December of 2007, which makes him almost 7 years old.  He does have a limp in his front left leg caused by arthritis, for which he is taking cosequin (a joint supplement).  Here are a few PAWESOME things about Bandit:

  • Bandit is polydactyl and has bonus toes!

    Bandit is polydactyl and has bonus toes!

    Bandit is POLYDACTYL!  That means that he has bonus toes on all of his feet.  Ernest Hemingway had so many polydactyl cats at his house (which are still there, btw) that sometimes polydactyl cats are known as Hemingway cats.  They are also said to be good luck at sea!  You can read more about the amazingness of polydactyl cats here.

  • Bandit was relinquished to Furry Friends because his former companion became ill and could no longer take care of him and his siblings.  He has always been an indoor cat.
  • Bandit loves to snuggle in your lap!  He will hop up in your lap and insta-purrrrrr, and especially loves to be scritched behind the ears.
  • Bandit loves to play, but really just wants a companion to give affection to, and who wants to return the attention.  He’s super mellow and snuggly!

Here are some more pictures of Bandit that I took this morning.  If you are in the Vancouver/Portland area and would like further information on meeting Bandit, please let me know, or contact Furry Friends!  They would love to hear from you, and I’m sure Bandit would just love to meet you, too!

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~~~~~~~~ Update!!! ~~~~~~~~

Bandit was adopted!  On Sunday, August 24, Bandit went home with his new mom, Cynthia.  He’ll have an older feline brother, Taz, and will be very loved.  And the best part is that since Cynthia is my mother-in-law, I’ll get to see him occasionally!  Win-win-win!  Thanks, everyone, for your support and efforts to get this little guy his forever home!

Cynthia and Bandit

Cynthia and Bandit

Fine Art Felines Friday: Electric Cat by Louis Wain

An Electric Cat painted by Louis Wain.

An Electric Cat painted by Louis Wain.

Happy Independence Day!  I chose today’s painting by Louis Wain because it almost looks like this cat is erupting into fireworks, which is appropriate for my current blogging soundtrack (hint: it’s just before sunset and people in my neighborhood are getting amped up on beer and whiskey and are ready to light things on fire and watch them explode already!).  I could not find a title or a date for this piece, but that’s not too surprising, since Wain painted a lot of cat pictures like this in his later years, many of which were untitled and undated.  But let me back up.

I can’t believe, that as a person who loves cats and who loves art, and even more loves art featuring cats, I’d never heard of Louis Wain.  Seriously.  Just do an image google for “Louis Wain cats” and you’ll see what I mean – what a prolific painter!  He was born all the way back in 1860 in London, and led an unusual life, it seems to me.  He was the oldest of six children; none of his five sisters were ever married, but lived with their mother; all except for the youngest sister, who was declared insane and was admitted to an asylum.  Strangely enough, Wain, who had a cleft lip, did not attend regular school as a child, but achieved modest success as a free-lance artist with his illustrations of animals and the English countryside.  At the age of 23, he married Emily, who succumbed to breast cancer a mere 3 years into their marriage.  However, it was during her time of sickness that Emily and Louis rescued a black and white kitten that they named Peter, who did much to comfort Emily while she was ill.  Louis produced many sketches and paintings of Peter, who changed the course of his art for the rest of Louis’ life.

While Louis’ early work was more realistic, Louis’ intermediate works were anthropomorphized versions of cats, wearing the latest fashions, having parties, and doing other things that humans might do.  During this time, Louis was actively involved with several animal charities such as the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League, the Society for the Protection of Cats, and the Anti-Vivisection Society. He was also active in the National Cat Club, acting as President and Chairman of the committee at times.  You gotta love a man who loves cats this much, right???

Sadly, during his later years, Louis was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was institutionalized until someone publicized his plight (he was quite a popular artist for his time, although poorly managed his money).  His new doctor diagnosed him instead with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, and Louis was moved to a hospital that had a garden and colony of cats, which Louis enjoyed for the last 15 years of his life.  It was during this time that his paintings became more abstract, using bright colors and complex patterns.  Louis died on July 4, 1939, making today the 75th anniversary of his death (seriously, I did not plan this).

H.G. Wells (who wrote The War of the Worlds and many other works of science fiction) said of Louis Wain:

He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”

If you missed the AcroCats, YOU MISSED OUT!!!

AcroCats and Rock Cats!I just don’t know how to describe the amazing talents of the AcroCats.  It…it was as if a big jar of awesome spilled all over a sparkly purple stage filled with incredible cats.  It was…it was perfectly imperfect, because after all, we were watching cats performing, and they are CATS.  It was incredibly surprising because…because the show did not devolve into a chaotic pandemonium of cats fleeing into the audience and causing a massive storm of attacks on ankles and allergic outbreaks…no no no!  These cats, THESE cats, were simply mindblowing.

And not just cats, but a chicken (named Cluck Norris), groundhog and three rats all BROUGHT IT!  All the animals were clicker-trained using positive reinforcement, which led me to two conclusions: 1) HOLY SHIT YOU CAN TRAIN CATS, and 2) WHY DO MY CATS SUCK SO MUCH???  Seriously.  They don’t do anything except know when to come running when I open up a can of anything.  The AcroCats performed all sorts of tricks, leaping through hoops, jumping obstacles, BOWLING, running around in a non-random order, and jeeze – they even ran INTO their individual crates when a whistle sounded.  My cats, on the other hand, sleep, eat, dirty their litter boxes at an alarming rate, and require a front-end loader to get them into their travel crates.  The AcroCats and Rock Cats:  play actual musical instruments, recognize visual commands, and don’t necessarily seek to cause panic and alarm (except for Tuna, who possibly has plans for world domination, but I’m not sure).  My cats:  play with the horizontal blinds in our bedroom at 2 in the morning, decide that demons are chasing them in the wee hours of the night, and are plotting a biological attack on the world starting with me by weakening my immune system to the point of giving me crippling allergies to these sneaky, plotting kitties.  I’M ON TO YOU, THOUGH!!!  I will not succumb to your evil plotting!

Anyway…how about some pictures of the show?  It was magical, and I hope that you get the opportunity to see them some day.  Go to to learn more, and see if the AcroCats and Rock Cats are coming to a theater near you!!!  Grab yo’ cat ears and yo’ cat leggings and yo’ cat shirts and see these amazing kitties…it’s totally worth it!!!

This just happened.  Gritty Cat meets the Rock Cats!

This just happened. Gritty Cat meets the Rock Cats!

Related Posts:  At Least I’m Not Allergic to Lucky Charms, Bu bu bum! Bu bu bum! Bu bu bu bum…CAT SHOW!!!, Cats cats cats cats cats!

Writing 101: Lori The Llama Lady

Napoleon and me at the seniors' expoI met Lori at a seniors’ expo in downtown Vancouver.  I’m not sure what was more odd – me being at a seniors’ expo on a Saturday afternoon, or seeing Lori at her booth connected by a short lead to Napoleon, a cream-colored alpaca wearing a red hat and sparkly accessories gazing serenely at the seniors gathered around him.  I was at the expo volunteering for Columbia River Pet Partners, an organization that matches people and their pets (usually dogs) up with various programs that bring therapy animals to people in need – folks in retirement and rehab centers, kids in hospitals, reading programs in libraries, and similar groups.  Lori was at the expo promoting her non-profit organization, Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas.  I’m in the process of getting a couple of certificates, one in Animal Assisted Therapy (more about that in a future post), and had never heard of llamas or alpacas being used as therapy animals, so after chatting with her a bit, Lori invited me to come along with her to visit a rehabilitation center a few weeks later.

I took an afternoon off from work (hmmm…sitting at my computer, or playing with llamas?  Sitting at my computer, or playing with llamas?  It wasn’t a hard decision, honestly) and drove out to Lori’s home and small farm on a hot, dry day.  Lori met me at her door and immediately gave me a hug as she hurriedly went around back to finish preparing Rojo for our visit to the rehab center.  I followed her to a shed behind her house where Rojo, a 12 year old llama who even has his own Facebook page, waited patiently for Lori to finish grooming him.  Rojo towered over me, with a long furry neck and very fluffy legs, resembling a camel wearing pantaloons.  Lori explained to me that llamas and alpacas are more related to camels than anything else, which makes sense when you look at them.  Rojo didn’t seem to mind that I was there as Lori finished brushing his coat, making it soft, smooth and shiny.  He was so very calm and proud, and didn’t even seem to care that I was there.

I was wondering how we were going to get Rojo to the rehab center, when Lori opened the sliding door on a minivan behind the shed and Rojo jumped right in the back and sat down.  Well, ok!  I’d never ridden in a minivan with a llama before, but there’s a first for everything, I suppose.  On the way down, Lori carefully navigated the highway drive into Portland while chatting about her experience using llamas and alpacas as therapy animals.  She’s had Rojo since he was six months old, and has been using him as a therapy animal since he was four.  Her shoulder-length blond hair blew in the air-conditioned breeze from the minivan’s vents…it was hot in the car, and Rojo was probably warm underneath all that hair.  An extrovert, I can see why Lori makes a good facilitator for interactions with her animals and clients – she explained the ins and outs of her business with me, and was very candid about some of the challenges she’s had to overcome.  But she passionately explained that alpacas and llamas are great as therapy animals because the are so patient, calm, large and sturdy, and can take petting and touching from people who aren’t necessarily very coordinated due to age or physical ailments.  They generally aren’t shaken up by noises, activities around them, and are easily maneuverable around equipment and furniture.  I learned a lot from Lori during that car ride, and Rojo listened as well, patiently as ever.

I even got to lead Rojo into the rehab facility!

I even got to lead Rojo into the rehab facility!

During our visit to the rehabilitation center, Lori confidently steered Rojo to every single resident of the rehab center, which also seemed to be a nursing home for many older residents.  She engaged with each and every single person, asking questions, and even guiding hands over fur for those clients who couldn’t see or move to touch Rojo themselves.  I was the carrot girl, doling out short slices of carrots to everyone to feed to Rojo, who will never have a vitamin A deficiency, I’m sure.  Some of the

Even the staff looks forward to Rojo's visits.

Even the staff looks forward to Rojo’s visits.

residents were even brave enough to put a piece of carrot between their lips and get a kiss from Rojo!  I was enamored by the caring and gentle way that both Lori and Rojo interacted with each person.  Lori explained that for some of the residents, visits from her animals are sometimes the only visits they receive.  Lori is able to visit this particular center every month or two, but you can see the recognition and happiness that these visits bring.  It was almost magical, the effect that Lori and Rojo had on the people at the rehab center, including the staff, who spend their days caring for the people living there.

I was so fortunate to spend the afternoon with Lori and Rojo – Lori taught me a lot about the healing power of therapy animals, and was a great example of how to interact with this very special group of people who need all the love they can get.  It was an honor to observe their work, and I hope to get to do it again sometime soon…I’d even be willing to take another afternoon off of work!

This is Day 6 of Writing 101.  Today’s assignment was to answer this question:  Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?  And the twist:  Turn your post into a character study.

I know I’m a little behind in the writing assignments, but I had to write about my experience with the therapy llama.  I realize that I chose to write about *both* Lori and Rojo, who are *both* very interesting, and I hope I gave you at least a small picture of who they are and what they do.  I’m so glad I got to meet both of these unique individuals!