Monday, January 29, 2018

CAT BOOK: CATICONS:4,000 Years of Art Imitating Cats by Sandy Lerner

"cat·i·con [kat ́-ī-kän]; n. A tangible representation of the feline form of a purely decorative order, i.e., an object with no functional purpose; an objet d’art created in the image of a feline."

"Caticons is a book containing the private collection of Sandy Lerner; a collection that documents 4,000 years of humans and their love of all things feline."

Imagine a sumptuous banquet, a banquet the likes of which you have never seen. You sit in awe of the courses as they appear one by one before you. You savor the many layers of pleasure that each course provides. You linger for hours, insatiably devouring all that is placed before you. That’s Caticons by Sandy Lerner.  A sumptuous banquet of art, history, literature, memorabilia and more,  that will delight the senses and soul of every cat  lover. A treasure they will return to throughout ALL of their nine lives.

"This book documents a very personal collection, one originally began as a catholicon for my congenital need to live with cats, during a catless hiatus caused by living instead with my new husband, an individual highly allergic to the entire family of Mammalia, and that’s just for starters. In time, this pursuit would evolve into an end in itself. I am well aware of my good fortune: the opportunity to live with such beautiful objects is a luxury in which only a very few can afford to indulge. Unlike some collectors who either follow trends or believe they are prophets in the art market, I have collected simply on the catholicity of (1) is it a cat, and (2) do I like it? Therefore, there are no images of unhappy cats, unlucky cats, or even unsociable cats. “My cats” are happy, healthy, and loved, in life and in art." 

Sandy Lerner
Virginia and Catcombe Mill, 2016

After being presented with Caticons by Sandy Lerner, I can state rather definitively that I seriously doubt that I will EVER have the pleasure of perusing a book of this quality and magnitude again. It is ENORMOUS. Enormous in reference to the amount of content, photographs and the size of the book.  It is simply magnificent. This is NOT a book that one can sit with during two nights of a weekend (as I tried to do) and think they are going to be able to finish it. It will NOT happen.

Over 300 pages, it is immediately evident to any who have the pleasure of reading and owning Caticons, that it is a TRUE labor of love. The enormity of Sandy Lerner's collection is mind-boggling.

The sections presented in Caticons are:

  • Preface
  • I. Introduction
  • II. Early Cats
  • III. Cats of the East
  • IV. Chronological Cats
  • V. Cats by Artists
  • VI. Special Cats
  • VII. Cats in Books & Entertainment
  • VIII. Cats in the Home
  • IX. Women and Cats & Men and Cats
  • X. Cats and Children
  • XI. Cats and Music
  • XII. Cats and Others
  • XIII. Cats and Cats
  • XIV. Cats and Prey
  • XV. Cats and Kittens
  • XVI. Cats Just Being Cats
  • XVII. Cat Bling
  • The Cat Conundrum:How Many Cats?

Remember when I referred to Caticons as being a sumptuous banquet above? Sit back because I am going to present some appetizers to you.
Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner
Persian Cats, Persian, late-19C/20C

From the section entitled "Early Cats" the above is an opaque watercolor on paper that measures 8 and a half by 13 inches. The description is: "White Persian cats peer intently from their green perch engulfed in a warm ochre backdrop. Their beautiful expressive faces are delicately detailed hair by hair in smoky tones contrasting with bright emerald eyes."
Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner
Carving of a Standing Cat, Faberge', Russian, c.1890
Green Hardstone, tiger's eye and gold, 5 inches long
From the 19th Century section of Caticons the above is one of my favorites because green is my favorite color! The description is: "This green hardstone cat modeled arched in warning, ready to strike, was created by Fabrege' and belonged to the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, a member of the Russian Imperial Family and cousin of the Czar. The super artistry and fine craftsmanship for which Faberge' is known can be seen in the way the artist used changes in the stone's surface to provide mottling over the cat's body while adding tiny details like the gold piquet-point whiskers."
Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner
Musical Cat Carousel, Austrian, early 20C
metal, 9 and a half inches high

From the Cats and Music Section the description is as follows: "The introduction of steam power in the mid-19th Century added excitement and novelty to carousels, leading to their widespread popularity. Produced during the golden age of carousel rides (ca. 1860-1930), this music box, which plays "Weiner Blut" by Johann Strauss, features six detachable cats, each enjoying the thrill of musical, mechanized action. Steam power dramatically changed the pace of transportation, manufacturing, and even leisure, making this miniature an exciting reference to the latest amusements of the day."

Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner
Carousel Cat, Manner of Gustav Dentzel
Kreuznach, Germany 1844-1909
Philadelphia, flourished 1890-1906
mid-20C, wood and brass, 53 inches high
Also from the Cats and Music section,  and on the same page as the carousel featured above, we have the Carousel Cat. " Carousels were popular amusement rides at fairs beginning in the 19th Century. Gustav Dentzel, a German carver, was famous for his well-executed realistic menagerie, like this carousel cat. Although posed in a very similar jumping position, his cats typically feature a fish rather than a ribbon in the cat's mouth. Three of Dentzel's cats still provide rides today at the Ontario Beach Park Carousel in Rochester, New York, where they continue to be one of the most popular animals on the carousel." (No surprise to me!)

Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner
"Chat", Leonard-Tsuguharu Foujita
(Tokyo 1886-1968 Zurich), 1926
watercolor and ink on silk 17 3/8 by 13 inches
From the Cats by Artists section as a result of my adoration of all things tabby and that the word "Chat" is part of our blog title, I chose to feature the above gorgeous piece of art last.  "Chat" illustrates Foujita's distinct style of combining ink with watercolors to create a portrait of a cat. In this work, silk rather than paper serves as the canvas. The cat's face is detailed with a  pink nose and rimmed hypnotic eyes somewhat like Foujita's own round glasses, which later became his trademark accessory."


I am a quote collector from way back. Before ending this review it is important to me to mention that throughout Caticons you will find some of the most wonderful cat quotes you will ever read. I have read MANY (as I am sure most of you have too), but quite a large number of the quotes were new to me!  Here is a sampling of some of my favorites:

"When you're special to a cat, you're special indeed...she brings to you the gift of her preference of you, the sight of you, the sound of your voice, the touch of your hand." Leonore Fleischer (Hudson, New York 1932-2009) journalist and author.

"It is believed in some circles, that when one of our pets goes on ahead and after they feel we have had enough time to mourn them, they will send another life for us to save and love. It is their spiritual legacy to us." Vancat Onlion (American Contemporary) writer and animal advocate.

"A cat pours his body on the floor like water. It is restful just to see him." William Lyon Phelps (New Haven Connecticut 1865-1943) author, critic and educator.

"Cat people are different, to the extent that they generally are not conformists. How can they be, with a cat running their lives?" Dr. Louis Camuti (Parma, Italy 1893-1981 New York City) veterinarian and author.

"When moving to a new house, always put the cat through a window instead of the door. That way it will not leave." American Aphorism.

If you think I have even begun to scratch (pun intended!) the surface of Caticons with this review, think again. It would take me longer than the over three hours I have spent writing this review. Much, much longer. To be completely candid, the book is so enormous that I will be going back into it myself, because there is no way that this beautiful book can be appropriately absorbed and enjoyed in a mere two sittings of a few hours each. The final quote I am going to present to you is actually a quote that accompanies the stone cat sculpture that is shown on the cover of Caticons:

Cover Photo Courtesy of Sandy Lerner

"The beautiful cat which endures, and endures."
 Stela of Nebra, 16th Century BC

The enjoyment you will experience when you purchase Caticons will also "endure and endure". This is a book that MUST have a home on your coffee table, ready and waiting for you to "paw" through  it again and again. Gift one to your favorite cat lover, more importantly, gift one to YOURSELF.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sandy Lerner (alias Ava Farmer) has a truly cluttered past and specializes in being awkward and petting cats. While possibly best-known for founding Urban Decay,  co-founding cisco Systems, and promoting animal welfare, she has returned to her roots (pun intended), having established an organic, humane, and predator-friendly agricultural enterprise, Ayrshire Farm, and its retail division, Gentle Harvest, to promote sustainable, anti-factory farming and endangered heritage breed livestock.

In full disclosure: I was sent a copy of Caticons in exchange for my always honest review. I received no other compensation.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Best Tips for Keeping Your Cat and Dog Happy and Healthy Around One Another

Having multiple pets is a great way to have a fun and fulfilling household. However, it can be challenging to have pets of different types especially if those pets are a dog and a cat. If you have a dog and a cat at home, fear not. While dogs and cats may not naturally be the easiest of friends, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your furry buddies get along okay, and that they stay safe, healthy and happy around one another. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your dog and cat in great shape under the same roof.

Introduce them Slowly and Safely

The first step to ensuring that your cat and dog live okay in the same space is the introduction. Introduce your cat and dog in a safe, slow and calm way. Make sure your dog is in a space that he cannot escape from, then allow your cat to see, smell and investigate your dog from a separate room. You can allow your cat to go into the dog's space and investigate him, but you should allow your cat an easy escape if he or she feels threatened or overwhelmed by the dog. This can ensure that he or she doesn't experience undue anxiety, and that if your dog gets too worked up, it's easy to de-escalate the situation and calm him or her down.

Hang Out Together With Your Dog on the Leash

After the introduction goes okay, if you're still uncertain how your dog will react to the cat, spend some time hanging out with the both of them in the same room -- but with your dog on a leash. That way, you can control where he or she goes and what he or she can physically do, but he or she can enjoy being in the same space as the cat without a barrier.

Keep the Cat's Food and Litter Box

 Somewhere Separate and Safe

Cats are territorial about their food and their litter box. Keep it somewhere where the dog can't access to ensure your cat  feels like he or she has an escape and that he or she can be safe when eating and going to the bathroom. Consider making a space for your cat that is separated by a baby gate that a dog can't get over. This isn't only in your cat's interest, but your dog's too. You can stop your dog from eating your cat's food, which isn't good for him or her -- or from getting into your cat's litter box and consuming things that can hurt his or her stomach.

Having a dog and cat is a fun way to add love to your family. However, if your dog and cat don't naturally get along, or you're worried that there might be tension, fear not. There are some simple steps you can take to protect both animals, and make sure that they help keep your house a place that is thriving, calm, and loving. If you have a particularly challenging animal or you're worried about how one of your animals might react to a new one being brought into the house, consult your vet during a regular visit -- like when to get flea or tick treatment or for heart disease treatment with Vetmedin. If you’re looking for an additional resource that can assist you in heart disease treatment for your dog,  Allivet pet pharmacy can provide more affordable pet medication. Your vet can give you tips about how to best introduce your animals plus you can get more info here for what is normal to expect when they meet a new furry friend.

This sponsored post was written by Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It's NOT You, It's Feedburner



Well, furiends, the same thing that happened to us back in October  has happened again. For the past few weeks ALL of the blogs that use Feedburner to deliver their blogs to us via email HAVE STOPPED COMING TO OUR INBOX.

When this happened in October it lasted about a month and then BOOM, one day they magically started appearing. Cody and I hope that happens again...SOON!

We are trying to keep up with you via BlogLovin' (when we have time, Mom and I don't like readers because they take too long), and we are also clicking on your blogs when you leave a comment, (when we are able to.) Because things have been extremely crazy since mid December   we are not always able to do that. We are doing our best to keep up with everyone but we follow A LOT of blogs and it appears that A LOT of blogs have been affected by this.

Please know that if we are not commenting as much as we would like to it is primarily due to Feedburner.  Because they SUCK.

Cody and I hope you will forgive us!!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Answer Your Cat's Questions Day

Hi all, it's Cody and today is  Answer Your Cat's Questions Day. Seriously? You are kidding, right? 

I'm going to ask YOU, a mere human for answers to questions?

Think again.

Let me put it to you this way dear humans, YOU find me an ANSWER as to why there are so many cats who are homeless and YOU find a SOLUTION to the problem, and then....MAYBE....JUST THEN....I will trust your "wisdom" enough to even bother asking YOU questions.

In the meantime, don't waste my time........or that of my fellow felines.

Allow us to just be the sagacious beings that we are,  without bothering us, thank you very much.

Sagaciously Yours,


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Love me some SQUIRRELS!!

I LOVE CATS.  That being said there are a few other animals that I am somewhat obsessed with, and Squirrels would be on that list! In honor of today being Squirrel Appreciation Day I just had to show them a little love!! (No worries, there are cat photos here too!)
Saved to my Pinterest Board
Original from

I could watch squirrels for hours, scurrying here and there, striking hilarious poses, committing acts of thievery.  In my eyes squirrels are ingenious, always busy, always planning, but I often wonder, do they truly REMEMBER where they put their nuts when they bury them in the ground?

Pinned to my Pinterest Board
Original Pin came from
As a child, I used to look at trees with "tree holes" and imagine that when the squirrels would go inside they would sit on the teeniest wooden chairs and eat their meals out of hollowed out acorns. Ok, I will confess, I STILL believe that!

Pinned to my Pinterest Board
Original Pin Came From

My Angel Bobo had the luxury of living in a first floor apartment  that was situated next to the woods. His window had a window seat as well. Bobo used to spend HOURS in that window chittering at birds and crouching down low to "play attack" the squirrels. The squirrels seemed to relish  cavorting and teasing him knowing they were kept safe by a pane of glass. The photo below (and I apologize for the quality, but I had to take a photo of a photo hanging on the wall in order to share this with you), was taken at my first apartment in Michigan, when Bobo and I moved here together in 2001. That apartment was on the second floor but had the type of balcony where it was still convenient for Bobo to watch his beloved squirrels).

 Poor Cody doesn't have that luxury because while I am still in a second floor unit, I am in a different complex, and  this unit  doesn't lend itself well to "squirrel viewing." Instead, I have chosen to let a couple of MY squirrels infringe on Cody's space. Poor Cody, he isn't loving the intrusion at all.

At one point I was actively feeding the squirrels and got in trouble because what started as two quickly grew to over 10 eating at one time. A number of them took up residence in the "attic" or storage area above some units. They were freaking out a neighbor across the hall because they were running around late at night. Needless to say I was ordered to stop feeding the squirrels.

Oh to live in a cabin in the woods where I can feed them to my heart's content and sit, like a cat and watch them for hours!

Now, my squirrels can just hang out in Cody's cat tree when he isn't around.

I am pretty pleased with how this turned out. I am a fan of using gel pens much more than I enjoy using colored pencils, so that is what I used to color the squirrel. The only editing I used was a brightener to make it show up better on the blog. 

And now, I would like to leave you with a little "Squirrely Advice"

Pinned from my Pinterest Board
Original Pin found here

Friday, January 19, 2018

It's Popcorn Time!!

Hi everyone it's Cody!! While pawing through our cat calendar Mom and I noticed that today is National Popcorn Day!  National Popcorn Day is celebrated at the end of January, although its exact date is often debated.

Did you know that even I get to taste a bit of popcorn when Mom makes it? Now, don't worry, Mom bites into a piece and gives Dakota a bit and then she breaks off a teeny-tiny piece for me too and I LOVE IT! (Mom never, EVER gives Dakota or me a whole piece because it could get stuck in our throat and we could choke!! The pieces she gives us are super tiny!) 

My Mom and my Sheltie brother are popcorn fanatics! Mom makes popcorn at least twice a week. Some of you have seen this crazy video a few times on Dakota's blog, but for those who were lucky enough to have NEVER seen it, your luck has just run out!!! Here is Mom teasing Dakota incessantly by singing her crazy popcorn song to him and getting him all worked up. (That's because Shelties can spell!!! I can too, but I don't get all worked up about things the way Dakota does!) Please excuse Mom's awful voice, it's sooo embarrassing! 

Even Dakota had enough and exited stage left! 

Mom's likes to use REAL KERNELS when she makes popcorn, (not that microwave junk in the bag with all of the chemicals). She puts it in a microwave safe bowl (you can also put it in a paper lunch bag and make it that way too.). Mom doesn't use oil, she just covers it and pops it. Then, when it comes out, Mom drizzles it with olive oil and sprinkles on some parmesan cheese.When Mom isn't planning on sharing with us she will add garlic powder to the popcorn and other spices, but she will be the first to admit that she hasn't made it that way in a long time because she knows she always ends up sharing it with us.

There are many ways to celebrate National Popcorn Day  , but the best way to celebrate  is to make some! Have you ever tasted popcorn? Do you like it? What do YOUR humans like to put on theirs? Do tell!!   

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Welcome to our Blog about Nothing #Nationalnothingday

"Everybody's doing SOMETHING, we'll do NOTHING!!!"

While others are busy posting their goals/challenges for 2018, we are proud to say that we are doing nothing!!!!!!

You want NOTHING? You have come to the right place!!

Due to life getting in the way, we have been doing some serious reflection (that's always a dangerous thing for us). As a result,  we have thrown worrying about stats/numbers to the wind,  we don't have a plan, a goal, have no desire to promote ourselves, we are simply here when we are here to share whatever flips our switches! Our "plan", (if you can call it one), is to return to the reason that we began blogging to begin with. We are returning to our roots, we want to blog simply because we LOVE CATS....THAT'S IT plain and simple. No more chasing our tails, and feeling as if we are on a perpetual hamster wheel. Just articulating it makes us feel as if a choke collar has been removed from our necks! Our new mantra? "Let the kibble fall where it may!" 

You know the "elevator pitches" that are strongly urged that we create? Ours is "welcome to our blog about NOTHING!!!" 

 We  are going to continue to do what we do BEST.....NOTHING!!!!!!

Hey, it worked for Seinfeld!

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 Is Record Year for Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit )with 1,915 Animal Adoptions

Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit
 Begins 25th Anniversary Year Celebration!

During a busy year when Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit (FAMD) broke ground for its new shelter, the organization also saw a record number of dog and cat adoptions: 1,915.  This is 194 more than last year’s record high of 1,721.

The last adoption of 2017 was a dog named Mimi (pictured above).  She was brought into the shelter on Christmas Eve as a stray dog. After a bath and some trimming to remove the burrs from her fur, her personality began to show through. Mimi found her forever home with Mary from Ann Arbor the day she became available.

To start the New Year, the first adoption of 2018 was Kass, a sweet lost cat.  She went home with Caeley Nau from Taylor.

“2017 saw the need in our community increase to record levels,” said Elaine Greene, executive director, FAMD.  “I give a lot of credit to staff and volunteers for the hard work and creativity they approach our work with every day.  We’ve got another big year ahead with the construction and opening of our new shelter later in 2018.”

The Animal Adoption & Education Center (AAEC) will be located at the former Amtrak station in Dearborn at 16121 Reckinger Road, just off Michigan Avenue near the Henry Ford Centennial Library.  The land was donated to FAMD by the City of Dearborn.

The AAEC will be a new, state-of-the-art animal shelter that provides homeless animals a refuge in an environmentally-friendly facility. It will replace the current shelter at 2661 Greenfield Road, which is almost 40 years old, overcrowded and no longer suitable for the animals or the people who care for them.

To donate to the new Dearborn Shelter capital campaign, visit

About FAMD
After 25 years of nurturing more than 50,000 animals, the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit has embarked on the public phase of their “Our Animals Need A Home” capital campaign to construct a new Animal Adoption & Education Center at the site of the former Dearborn Amtrak station on Michigan Avenue. For more information about FAMD, visit

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Go Make A Difference, Touch a Heart"

When I looked through my pet blogging calendar and noticed that today is Play God Day, I will admit that at first I was a bit taken aback. "Play God Day?" I was bothered because I started to think "who am I to think that I would have the audacity to behave as if I were God?" I couldn't have been more wrong.

Play God Day seeks to get past those self-centered tendencies and calls us to extend out beyond the confines of our own desires and encourage or touch another person’s day. If you were god how would you change the world? If you had the place of the higher being you could set right all the wrongs you see in the world and that is the theme and purpose for this day.
History of Play God Day

Humans have always imagined what they might do if they were in the place of god and even those not given to such beliefs will often speak in terms of what they think a god ought to do. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were considered gods and would act as such and many other ancient texts reference men seeking to become gods or to take the place of a god.

In recent culture films such as Bruce Almighty explore the idea of what it means to play god and what those powers should entail. The discussion of “playing god” has become more prominent even as technology advances and humans delve into new areas of biology and other fields.

Celebrating Play God Day

The purpose of Play God Day is to perform some kind act for another person, or just generally contribute to the well-being of the world as a whole. There are many ways to go about this, if you’re so inclined.

Reaching out to help or encourage a co-worker or family member is an excellent way to start observing the day.  Instead of rushing past the car stranded on the side of the road you might stop and offer assistance, even if it’s just a phone call to a local gas station or towing service.

Ask yourself, “If I were god, what would I change about the current state of affairs?” and then see how many of those things you’re already capable of contributing to in your situation at home or at work. You might be surprised at the various ways in which a simple change might bring about the effect you want.

My husband, myself and my immediate family have been going through some intense trials since mid December in reference to the health of one of our family, which is the majority of the reason I have not been around for a while and why my blogging/visiting has been, and might continue to be sporadic, (along with it appears that Feedburner might be acting up again because I noticed in the past few days some blogs that I subscribed to have stopped coming to my inbox again). Along with the health issues of our family member, this past week we lost an elderly uncle who was blessed to live to be 94 years young. I say "young" because he ALWAYS lived his life as if he were 30. He was extremely active, drove right up until a year ago and bowled. May we all be so lucky!

  In reference to the health of our family member who is experiencing some intense trials, the next few weeks we will be receiving some definitive answers  which will better help to guide us.

For now, I have faith that whatever God thinks SHOULD be, WILL be and we will make the best of it no matter how it turns out. May we all be of comfort today and always to those fighting battles that we might not be aware of. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome 2018! Happy "Mew" Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Safe, Blessed, Healthy and Wonderful New Year!
Thank you for your visits, for your comments, for your friendship!
We love you all!!!
Cody  and Caren