Sunday, December 2, 2012

CrazyKittyChick has a new Dyson vacuum!

I love my new Dyson vacuum cleaner. It's a DC24 multi-floor, and I bought on Black Friday.

I have used it at least four times since then. Now, you have to understand, CrazyKittyChick is not crazy about housework, so plugging in the vacuum four times in 10 days is probably a record for me.

Dyson, how do I love thee?

The DC24 is not just a vacuum cleaner. It's a transformer. The view you see at left is when the vacuum is at rest. The handle extends a couple of feet to make it easy to maneuver. You can also unplug the handle, flip it around, and hook it onto a flexi-tube that allows you to get under furniture, and behind things. It also allows you to reach the ceiling to clean the corners and the ceiling fans. It has a brushy attachment, that is also a sort of "scoop" attachment on its other setting.

It doesn't use bags; you just empty the canister. It's a small canister, so I have to empty it quite frequently, but that's just because up to now, I haven't vacuumed very often. I think that if and when I ever get caught up, like the entire house is finally clean, the maintenance wouldn't be so bad.

Also, it has two filters that can be washed and reused over and over again. Amazing!

"Years ago," eh?

My husband looked at the Dyson display in one of the stores over the weekend, and he spotted a Dyson DC33, which has a canister probably three times the size of the DC24, and the retail price on both is the same.

"Why didn't you get the one with the bigger canister?" he asked.

"A couple of stores did have the DC33 on sale Black Friday," I said, "But I went to the Dyson website and asked which vacuums are recommended for pets and allergies. The DC24 came up; the DC33 did not."

Now, upon review, the DC24 has two models - the Animal, which comes with special attachments for getting pet hair out of upholstery; and the Multi-Floor, which is the same vacuum, but without the special attachment. I have the latter.

Still, the DC24 being smaller is really easy to maneuver, and it's not too big a pain to empty the canister every few minutes.

If you hate vacuuming, try a Dyson. It may change your mind.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Poor Remy is a Frankenkitty

Last Friday morning, I was giving Remy and Trickster their pills and morning snack when I noticed two wounds on Remy's back foot. Tim said he'd been fine the night before; Remy always sits on the arm of the couch next to Tim while he watches a DVD. I hadn't noticed anything on Thursday night either; I got in from work about 11:30pm and gave everyone some dry food. We have storage tubs stair-stepped around their room, and Remy had jumped up to the top level - pretty much my eye level, so I'm sure I would have noticed a bloody wound.

Conveniently, I was on the night shift again Friday, so I bundled Remy into a carrier and took him to the vet. He confirmed that Remy appeared to have caught his foot on something sharp, and he said it was bad enough that he needed stitches. When I got home, I looked everywhere I could think of, around all his favorite spots, thinking I would see a bit of skin or hair, or spots of blood, or something to indicate how he'd hurt himself.

Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

Tim picked him up when he got off work at 5pm, and he looked around some more. Then we both moved things around and looked on Saturday. Now it's Monday, and we still haven't figured it out. ::sigh:: We'd both feel better if we knew the hazard was taken care of.

"Great. Now she's taking pictures, too."

On Friday, as soon as Tim got home, he dressed Remy in the Bloody Wound Hat. You know, the plastic cone that's supposed to keep a cat or dog from picking at stitches or over-cleaning wounds. On Saturday morning, I saw that our cone was too short, and indeed Remy was able to reach his foot. Darn it! So, while I kept an eye on Remy and stopped him every time he reached for his foot, Tim went to at least four stores looking for a bigger E-collar.

Aside: Do you know why those plastic cones are called E-collars? It's short for Elizabethan collar, because it calls to mind the wide, stiff lace ruffs worn around the neck in the time of the first Queen Elizabeth.

Tim said the raw area looked larger on Saturday evening than he remembered from Friday. If Remy was licking it all night, then he probably took off some of the hair around it, which was short anyway, because they shaved the area before stitching him up.

Saturday night it looked very raw.
We talked about me taking him back to the vet this morning, just to have it checked out, but I think we have done this every time someone has had to have stitches for something, and it's always fine. Even when Mah-mah started sloughing off skin after her cancer surgery, it wasn't in the first couple of days and it was pretty obvious something was wrong.

I took new photos today, and asked Tim to come look at them side by side on the computer, but he declined. He said if it looked better to me, that's fine. I'm just concerned about dragging Remy into the vet for nothing.

How it looks on Monday.
He's been resting all morning, which is best. At least he'll only have to be alone for three or four hours today. Tomorrow, I'm back to my normal shift, but at least I can come home at lunch and check on him for a few minutes.

The stitches should be able to come out in about two weeks, so he may not have to be a Frankenkitty or an Elizabethan noble for Halloween, just the sweet kitty he is.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review: The Big Kitty (Mystery)

I haven't read many mysteries, but I had the chance to review The Big Kitty by Claire Donally, and how could I resist? It has a clever cat, a winning lottery ticket, a crazy cat lady, and a journalist.

A former journalist agrees to help an elderly woman find her lost lottery ticket, but her mission changes when she finds the woman dead. With one of the woman's many cats as a sidekick, Sunny sets out to solve the murder.

I really enjoyed this book. It's serious, but it's not dark. I especially liked the way Donally captured Shadow the cat's personality.

My full review is posted at Fresh Fiction. I'm thrilled to be one of their newest reviewers. They work with the publishers and send me free books to read, and all I have to do is tell people what I think of them. Sweet!

I have another cat mystery on my bedside table and a couple of others are in the mail. I'll continue to post mini-reviews here with links to the full reviews on

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adorable Big-Eared Kittens!

Look at these babies!

They are sand cats, born at a zoo in Tel Aviv.

They've been extinct in Israel for years; the kittens are the result of a European breeding program.

The sand cats' big ears help them dispense heat, and they can live on very little water.

Aren't they adorable?

You can see more photos and watch a video about the Sand Cats at Mother Nature Network.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EasyCanvasPrints Winner!

***UPDATE*** I never heard from Stephanie, so we have a new winner, comment #12 TAMAR, who plans to put a family photo in the family room. Tamar left her email address, so I have contacted her to confirm the win. Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Congratulations to STEPHANIE who posted, "I would put a picture of my son on it and I would put in on the fireplace." She won a free 8"x10" print from Stephanie, your email address wasn't in your post or on your blogger profile. Please contact me by 10:00 p.m. central time on August 19, or I will have to choose another winner.

CrazyKittyChick chose to print a photo of her cat Kali.
EasyCanvasPrints puts photos on canvas, so that they look like fine works of art. The company provided me with a complimentary print to review, and it looks really good. It turns an ordinary snapshot into an heirloom piece, something you can be really proud to display.

Stephanie, I'm sure your son's picture is going to look fantastic over your fireplace!

If you are looking for a nice gift or something to hang on the wall at your home or office, look through your photos and find one you can turn into a beautiful piece of art at EasyCanvasPrints. The company also prints business signs and banners through its sister site So, pretty or practical, if you have large-format printing needs, please check out what one of those sites can do for you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Easy Canvas Prints

***UPDATE*** Congratulations to STEPHANIE who posted, "I would put a picture of my son on it and I would put in on the fireplace." She won a free 8"x10" print from Stephanie, your email address wasn't in your post or on your blogger profile. Please contact me by 10:00 p.m. central time on August 19, or I will have to choose another winner.

Parents aren’t supposed to love one child more than another, but I’ll admit, I have a very special fondness for one of our youngest. In 2008, I found a little black kitten on the edge of a busy intersection in Kentucky. I named her Kali after the Hindu Goddess whose name means “the dark one” (although I pronounce it Callie.) Because she was a particularly terrible toddler, I gave her a middle name, so I could do that parental thing of saying sternly (when she was being bad), “Kali Malicious!” Like any doting parent, I’ve taken tons of pictures of her, but my favorite is a very artsy extreme close up.

When Easy Canvas Prints offered me the opportunity to review their service of printing photos on canvas, and they sent me a code for a free 8” x 10” print, that picture is the first one that came to mind. Trying to be fair to the others, I went through all the other cat photos on my hard drive, the more recent ones that I knew were really high resolution, and I picked out a few good ones and asked my husband for his opinion. You can read about the choices in my previous post. In the end, we both agreed to send in my favorite Kali picture for the Easy Canvas Prints treatment.

A few days later, I received the print back, and it is beautiful. It’s a very nice reproduction of what could have been a difficult photo to print clearly. I do find it a little bit glossy; the shininess of the print is not something you can choose. I probably noticed it more because of the flash bouncing off when I was photographing the picture. 

I don’t have photos printed very often, so I don’t know how Easy Canvas Prints’ prices are in comparison to anyplace else that offers a similar service. Their price is nearly $45 for an 8” x 10” picture. That said, they have a sale on as I type this, and you can find coupon codes online fairly easily.

I love my photo and I wish I could afford to have portraits of all my cats done up like this. It turns a nice digital snapshot into a beautiful keepsake portrait. You could use a photo retouching program to make it really look like it was painted on canvas. I can see family portraits or scenic photography being turned into fabulous art pieces for your own home, family gifts, or your office (speaking of which, Easy Canvas Prints is a division of Build a Sign, which prints signs, banners, and other promotional items.

Now comes the fun part. One of you is going to win the same thing I received, a free 8” x 10” photo on canvas. Shipping is included as long as you have a mailing address in what we call the lower 48 (sorry Alaska and Hawaii).  You have four chances to enter (limit four entries per household).

First entry (mandatory): Comment here with what kind of photo you’d have printed on canvas AND where you’d display it.  Is it a family portrait to display in your living room? A special picture of you for your mom’s “wall of glory”? A gorgeous landscape for your dining room? Post here and be sure that you either leave your email address within your post or it’s readily available on the website or blog you link to in this form. 

Nose to nose - Kali checks out her portrait.
Bonus Entries (leave one comment for each):
  • Follow CrazyKittyChick on Twitter.
  • Join CrazyKittyChick on Google Friend Connect.
  • Subscribe to the Rhyme Schemes and Daydreams RSS feed.

Deadline for entries: August 14, 11:59 p.m. CT.

I'd like to offer special thanks to Easy Canvas Prints for the opportunity to try their service at no cost to myself, and for providing this giveaway opportunity at no cost to me or the winner (except possibly shipping as explained).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Art Print from My Photo

A couple of weeks ago, offered me a chance to try their service for free so I could review it on the blog. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I've read about their printing service on other blogs and have been wondering how it looks.

The hard part was choosing the photo.

I have to admit, this artsy one of Kali is the first picture that came to mind. I didn't crop it; this is the whole photo the way I took it. I think it's beautiful, but I was worried it might be too dark. I kept coming back to it over and over.

But, I decided to look through the photo albums and see what else we had that might be a more "normal" photo.

Presto takes a nice photo, but a lot of the ones I have of him are dark, and trying to brighten them up in Photoshop, they end up looking washed out or grainy. I brought my husband in to review my "finalist" pics, and he said Presto looks fat in this picture (which he is) but also the way the light is shining in his eyes makes them look washed out.

Petra always takes a good picture, and she loves to give us a "centerfold" kind of pose. I don't think the colors are particularly good in this one; maybe it's something about the lighting or the camera settings, but the pose was cute.

She's daddy's girl, so I thought he might go for this one, but he said it looked kind of "snapshotty."

Finally, I looked through the pics that I have of multiple cats. This is Misha (on the right) with her little brother Remy (they have the same mother). It's a cute picture, but as with the others, it doesn't really capture any fine detail.

I have a great one from several years ago when all of our cats at the time had curled up on the couch for a nap. Unfortunately, it was taken with our first digital camera and isn't high enough resolution to think it would look good blown up and printed on canvas.

So in the end, I went with my first choice. Tim looked at it, knowing that I was concerned about it being too dark, but after looking at it carefully, we both decided that it has enough highlights and detail in that shot that it should look good.

The ordering process was very quick and easy. I uploaded the print, made a couple of choices about size and border, and in minutes, I had my confirmation number.

When EasyCanvasPrints sends it in a few days, I'll let you know how it turned out and give you a chance to win a free print of your own!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trickster's Thyroid Adventure

A few weeks ago, Trickster started hassling more when he would run around and play. He's also lost a little weight, and because he drinks a lot of water, I thought he might be developing kidney problems.


The test results came back on Wednesday, and he has a hyperactive thyroid. We're very familiar with the ramifications, because my husband had the same thing.

Hubby took a radioactive pill that killed his thyroid. The cats and I had to move in with my mom for a few days, because hubby was radioactive right after he took the pill. It would be a difficult option for a "normal" human family because no one could get close to care for the cat after he had the treatment. In our case, though, Tim would be able to be around him without much risk. We asked about that as an option for Trickster, but the vet said it's very expensive because you have to have someone who's certified for dealing with radioactive meds give him the pill. I'm sure the pill itself is not cheap either.

We also asked about surgery, but the vet said he didn't like to do it unless the gland was very swollen. He felt Tricky's throat when we had him in for the blood test but didn't remark on it feeling particularly enlarged. Doc said the throat has so many important features that make surgery there difficult.

So, our option is to give him Tapazole, a medication that helps suppress thyroid output. I believe hubby was on that for a few months when he was first diagnosed.

The Good - it's non-invasive.

The Bad - risks of side effects; twice a day dosing of a cat that doesn't like pills; and $400 to $800 annual cost, depending on the dose.

I think we're going to try it for a while, though. We're not ready to say goodbye to Trickster. He's a little punk, but we love him.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Horrifying Claymation Cats

Remember those cute little animated shorts "[Title] in 30 Seconds with Bunnies"?

The Claycats films are like that, but with Claymation instead of animation and lots and lots of gore.

Still from Claycat's THE RAID
Good guy tuxedo cats infiltrate an illegal catnip grow operation
The one I watched is inspired by a foreign film called "The Raid." In the Claycat version, a SWAT team goes into an apartment building to stop a vicious killer and his illicit catnip operation. All the characters except two are cats.

The cats kill and are killed. Heads are chopped off, they're shot, they're stabbed, they're blown up. It's horrific, really.

View at your own risk. The little clay cats are cute until they start blowing each others' heads off.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Creative Kitty Condo: The CAT-AT

It's a good friend who'll surprise you with a fancy kitty condo, especially if you're a Star Wars fan and the condo is designed to look like an Imperial Walker AKA an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport).

You can read all about it on Reddit, and you'll even find a link to a photo gallery. And wait until you see what's inside. It's not exactly like the ones on Hoth.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tribute to Trickster

The first time I saw the scrawny yellow kitten, a "teenager" really, walking near the edge of the woods, I thought of this painting, very popular in the 1970s.

Even though my husband had issued an edict that we wouldn't be feeding any more strays, I could resist taking him a little something. After all, our three spoiled-rotten cats demanded fresh dry food three times a day, so the leftovers that were just a few hours old would go in the trash. At least he'd have a little something in his stomach to help him through the cool autumn night.

A couple of days later, my husband admitted it.

"I took some food out to that kitten," he said sheepishly.

"So did I."

Of course, we adopted him.

It took a long time to gain his trust. The first time I fed him, I just poured the food on the grass (so as not to leave any evidence behind that others might see). Once the secret was out, we take it out in an old aluminum pie pan. He'd see us coming and run a few feet away, and he'd wait until we were back in the house before coming over. Soon, we didn't even have to get around the corner. Another few days and he stopped running, as long as we didn't try to touch him. Eventually, we could pet him, just a little, while he ate.

Finally, he realized that he liked petting. He'd purr and flop on his side and wriggle around.

Then, he attacked. He'd grab and hand or an ankle, all teeth and claws. That's how he earned his name: Trickster. He couldn't be trusted.

I wanted to give up on him, many times, but my husband felt particular sympathy for him. They both have really bad allergy issues.

Today, Trickster is fairly well adjusted, though he's still somewhat of a punk. He still has allergies, and his gums are bad, possibly because of living in the wild as a youngster. He usually doesn't scratch and claw when we're holding him, and he does like to be held. He was the first one to welcome Kali and play with her when we brought her home, and he chases little Petra around the house, too.

He's just one of our "feral cat" success stories. We have no idea if he'd ever had human contact before or how he was treated. Living with him hasn't always been easy, but it definitely has its rewards.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Coming Soon - Crazy Kitty Chick Gallery

Feline-inspired artwork and functional art products are coming soon to Crazy Kitty Chick!

The Crazy Kitty Guy is a talented artist and designer, and he's getting ready to open his own online gallery as well as offering a variety of cat-related art pieces, jewelry, and other unique items here on Crazy Kitty Chick under the Gallery tab.

We'll continue to offer an expanding line of products at Café Press under its own unique tab.

The new products will be announced in Summer 2012!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Memoir for a Cat

Lately I've been thinking a lot about a book I read years ago. Make that decades ago. It was probably written in the 1970s, and I would have read it in the late '70s or possibly the early '80s. Anyway, I'm sure the book is probably still in my bedroom at my mom's house -- somewhere -- but rather than go dig through all my stuff and my mom's stuff that's stuffed into that room, I decided to turn to the internet.

First, I tried random Google searches and then I turned to Amazon. Of course, I'm not having any luck. I mean, even if the book is still in print, if the cover's changed, I'm not going to recognize it, and I'm not sure I'll recognize the title. Although I might. I do remember (some) things from decades ago better than I recall what I ate for lunch yesterday.

Hmmm. What did I eat for lunch yesterday? Oh right, it was Easter, and my mom brought over some turkey. Whew.

So, I'm going to tell you what I remember about this book and see if any of you remember it.

It's a pocket-sized paperback book. Non-fiction. It's kind of a memoir about this couple and their cat. I think the cat was black-and-white. I have no idea why I think that, and I could be completely wrong.

I remember that the author kept the cat's favorite "hairball goop" in a kitchen cabinet with a door that clicked when it was opened and closed. When the cat got lost, she went around the neighborhood mimicking the clicking sound, trying to get the cat to respond.

She had an old man neighbor, I think he had a poodle, and he complained about the cat getting into his ranunculus. Or maybe it was frangipani. Or both.

That's pretty much all I remember.

So, does it ring any bells with you?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kittywood - a behind-the-scenes look at making successful cat videos

Have you ever wondered what - or who- is behind all the cat videos on the internet? All your questions are answered in this behind-the-scenes look at Kittywood Studios.

Even though this short film is focused more on the people at Kittywood Studios, it's still all about the cats and what it takes to get millions of hits with a cat-focused video.

Seriously, this is hilarious. And in case you're not sure, yes, it's a spoof.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hairball or Respiratory Problem?

My furry cat Presto has had a hacking cough the past few weeks. It's the kind of cough he usually has for a few days, right before he yacks up a big hairball.

No matter how much Laxatone or how many hairball treats he has, we haven't seen one of these usual hairballs.

His hairballs are hard to miss.

Let's just say that Presto usually projectile-ejects 5- or 6-inch-long missiles, the diameter of a man's finger. He's been known to swoon immediately following the ejection.

We began to worry, and we've had him in to the vet twice (our regular vet was out of the office the first visit). Neither vet detected any back-up of hairballs when listening to his lungs or poking around his belly. In fact, the temporary vet said his lungs sounded fine. Dr. Burnett (the regular vet) gave him an injection, I believe cortisone. I don't think he coughed once in the next couple of weeks. When the shot wore off, he started coughing again.

Presto is overweight, but he is still active and will run and play (sometimes). He has a plastic allergy that manifests as a swollen chin when he decides to chew on something plastic. And he loves to chew on plastic.

We're not sure what could be causing him to cough more than usual, unless it's the same proliferation of allergens that are giving us all stuffy noses this year.

And I'm still concerned that I haven't seen (or stepped in) one of his usual projectile hairballs.

Has your cat ever had a hacking cough that sounded like a hairball cough, but wasn't?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Commercials That Remind Me of My Cat Kali

In the past week or so, I've seen two TV commercials that remind me of my cat Kali Malicious. I should mention that Kali can be kind of vicious sometimes (hence her middle name), and she's also very creative and artistic.

The first TV ad I saw that reminded me of Kali was this one, for a new clothing line at Target from designer Jason Wu. This black cat runs around the art studio, tearing things up and knocking things around, and leaving beautiful and clever creations in her wake. That is so like Kali!

Just this morning, I spotted this Geico commercial, featuring a big black cat that seems to be hungry. I could see Kali Malicious looking at me like this. I typically find Geico commercials to be stupid and pointless. In a way, I suppose this one is, too, because after I saw it, I couldn't remember what product it was for. When I told people about it, I said I thought it was for A.D.T. Home Security.

Dark, mysterious, funny and talented. That's my Kali Malicious, to a T.