Sunday, December 24, 2017


It's getting close to 7:30 Christmas Eve morning. I've been up more than an hour after enduring 30 minutes of Handsome walking all over my person, rubbing his face all over mine and Orphee staring at me. Such is the life of a cat owner.

So it was up and at 'em which in this case means prepare breakfast and latrine duty (cleaning litter boxes). After torturing me while I served their meal, a round of play was started by Handsome lying in wait to pounce on Orphee. This continued with them dashing throughout the house running over the living room furniture and my bed Annie could not stand it any longer. My poor girl gave up heading for her bed in the living room after relinquishing her warm spot on mine.

I'm looking forward to a day 'on the fly' planning be damned we will decide on the spur of the moment what to do. This is a big deal actually since Artie is off from work for both the Eve and Christmas Day, an unusual occurrence since he works for a commercial real estate company whose major property happens to be both a NYC and national landmark. Most likely we will stay home, listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, play with the babies but most of all cook and eat!

Actually my cooking for both days started yesterday with 16 Bean Mushroom Soup with Kale, a salad, multi-grain rice and Hanover Beets. Tonight I'll make our main meal of  Linguine with White Clam Sauce and other fish for the Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes. I do my best to adhere to a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet but I lapse on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

So I don't really know what's in store for today but for now I'm going to listen to some Christmas music, read a book and cuddle with Annie and the boys. It doesn't get much better than that!💖🎄🎅


Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Halloween is over so is the NYC Marathon and flea season.  We survived again this year learning a few new tricks along the way.

We generally comb our babies multiple times a day with a flea comb to catch the critters drowning them in water. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. We discovered adding a drop of Dawn Dishwashing liquid to the water created a film the fleas could not penetrate resulting in all the fleas remaining underwater with no chance of escape.

Vacuuming daily is essential. I discovered apple cider vinegar soothed Annie's bites as did a dab of coconut oil rubbed into her belly. While I personally do not advocate using any commercial flea remedies, cutting a flea collar into pieces then adding a section to each new vacuum cleaner bag helps kill any fleas you vacuum up. Also frequent washing of  pet bedding
helps to eliminate eggs.

Most likely because Belle was still an outside cat this year the problem was worse than usual. We solved that issue by putting half a dose of Paradyne on both Belle and Handsome. Because of Annie's cancer and Orphée’s FIV+ status we did not use any on them.

The colder weather is here, the fleas are a thing of the past (at least until next summer) and I'm hoping and praying no 2018 infestations are in our future since Belle is now inside. We can look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and the end of the year without thinking about fleas.


Sunday, October 29, 2017


What happened to the year?  It seems we've just about finished with flea season and wouldn't you know it Halloween is just days away.

We're ready for it - Belle is in (a story for another day). This year I won't have to worry about her safety. Handsome is living with me on a permanent basis only to be confined to the inner hallway when I'm out for a long stretch of time. He's a cat after all, he will never learn the dangers of climbing certain places so this restriction is for his safety as well as that of Annie, Orphée, my belongings and the house in general. Orphée on the other hand is a couch potato. The highest vantage point he enjoys is the back of the recliner. As far as Belle is concerned, she's confined to 2 rooms and a long hallway so there's no way of knowing how much climbing she will do until she's integrated into the family.

As I've mentioned in years past, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I guess dress-up was the most attractive part of it, getting to be someone or something you could never be. Plus all the goodies you could have that you couldn't have if it wasn't Halloween, the imaginative decorations and the whole trick or treating thing.

This year we will do our usual - make comfort food, listen to Halloween songs and watch a few scary movies as we relax with Annie, the boys and Belle.

Enjoy the holiday but don't forget to keep your furry family members safe and secure. To brush up on the best way to keep your pets safe just search my website using the word "Halloween" then read my previous years' posts on this subject.

This year I found a great post on "Money Talks News". Follow the link to read up on their suggestions for a stress-free Halloween:

Monday, July 3, 2017


The day after my last post was the worst ever!  Poor Annie was scratching up a storm. Pink, itchy and terribly uncomfortable, Artie kept combing the flea comb through her fur catching a couple of fleas in the process. 

I applied cold compresses to her belly and inside of her legs where I could see little red marks and rashes on her skin. Later on I rubbed some coconut oil into her skin which seemed to ease the itching making Annie comfortable again.

For good measure Artie combed the boys finding two more fleas. 

After our last walk of the day I decided to wipe Annie's coat down with a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar which I purchased after reading an article about natural flea remedies. As soon as I finished Artie went over her coat with the flea comb snagging yet another flea. I guess the apple cider vinegar doesn't bother them as the article I read claimed it would. However, Annie found it refreshing so I've continued to wipe her down with the mixture and Artie continues to find the occasional flea but Annie is back to being her happy, bite-free, rash-free self.

I know the constant vacuuming is helping too. Today I'm going to try saltwater mopping as the article suggested; that might work better than the apple cider vinegar and water rub.

Thanks Mom, the compresses, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar rub feels so good.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


It seems everyone is itching and scratching - we have fleas!  A fact of life during the summer months in Brooklyn with only one or two summers in memory where we avoided them completely.

Since we try to handle this summer scourge naturally we spend our time vacuuming daily and constantly grooming Annie and the boys with a flea comb to capture the little buggers. We grab any fleas that turn up in the teeth of the comb between our fingers immediately putting them in a bowl of water to flush into oblivion at the end of the grooming session. Weekly baths for Annie are part of our regimen.  I use an olive oil soap on her which is very soothing.

The battle will be ongoing because Belle who is still living outside will not let us handle her so I'm sure she is the major source of  fleas.

Annie gets some garlic in her food which will discourage most of the fleas from bothering her but garlic is dangerous to cats so we have to be very careful to confine Handsome when she's eating then clean her bowl thoroughly before releasing him from his carrier. Handsome is an opportunist always on the hunt for someone else's meal or treats to eat and that includes human meals and desserts! Definitely great survival instincts he developed during his years on the streets not appropriate behavior as part of a family of 4 pets and 2 humans. On the other hand, Orphee is never interested in anything Annie is eating but is definitely interested in anything Handsome, Artie or I have.

Recently I read using salt water to wash the floors, sprinkling salt on the carpets before vacuuming and misting the cats with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water will deter fleas. I'll be testing those remedies out this summer for sure.

Sorry about the fleas, Mom but there's a lot of them out here!

Monday, June 19, 2017


I can't believe I haven't posted since last September but so much has gone on since then. We are a more cohesive family now.

For the past three weeks Handsome has become more serene, is now wearing a collar and has been spending 24 hours a day at my place with Annie and Orphee. Prior to this development, I had to leave him at Artie's for long periods of time when I cooked (just couldn't trust him to stay off the stove) or when I needed to go out.  Handsome has (or rather had) a nasty habit of 'attacking' Orphee when I wasn't looking. I know that sounds bad. In reality he just wanted to play but with his tendency to play rough the end result would be I'd hear Orphee squealing and off I'd go to referee. Handsome's finally realized he needed to put the brakes on really rough play and Orphee learned to defend himself resulting in normal play time.

Handsome loves Annie. He head butts her, rubs up against her and smells her paws when she's sleeping. She is less wary of him than when he first came to live with us. All of this took more than a year but miraculously everything just fell into place.

For the first time in a long time I can plan to bring Belle in to live permanently. That too was delayed more than a year because of the need to keep Handsome separated when he couldn't be supervised. I'm hoping to have Belle indoors in a month's time at the earliest; at the latest before fall sets in.

Belle "I'm on the outside looking in."
Finally getting along.

Annie catching up on her beauty sleep.