Feline Lifestyle

Kittywood Studios: Behind the scenes of the most popular cat videos on the internet

 cat with camera

Cat videos are taking over the internet. According to some statistics, 30% of all videos on YouTube are cat videos. You’ve probably seen some of them: Surprised Kitty (52 million views), The Two Talking Cats (44 million views), or Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten (32 million views),  just to name a few.

Did you ever wonder how these viral videos are created? You’ll be surprised to find out that it takes a lot more than a camera and some cute cats. Watch and find out what purrportedly goes on behind the scenes at the filming of cat videos.


Related reading:

Feline casting call: your cat could be on TV

Pet photography: an interview with Megan Lee of Paws and Claws Photography

The ultimate cat house

The Cats' House Japan 

Most of us consider our homes cat friendly. We provide scratching posts, cat trees, and lots of toys to keep our feline family members happy and entertained. But how many of us have an entire house that was designed specifically for cats?

A family in Japan does. The Cats’ House was designed by the Japanese architectural firm Fauna+DeSIGN for an avid cat lover.

The house, owned by a family with 16 cats and 5 dogs, features beautifully designed modern furniture and various structures that were created especially for cats: shelves and platforms with rounded corners, bookcases that work like stairs, hidden tunnels and passageways, catwalks on the ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling scratching post and all kinds of other goodies meant for discovering, climbing, playing and of course sleeping. The architecture is very open and invites a lot of natural light to every room.

Be sure to visit The Cats’ House website and look around. I don’t know Japanese, but the page headers are in English, and it’s well worth clicking around for more images of this stunning house.

Here’s a video to give you an idea about what this amazing house looks like:


A musical journey to The Cat House on the Kings

Cat House on the Kings cat sanctuary

Last Saturday, NatGeo Wild ran a special titled “The Lady with 700 Cats” about Cat House on the Kings, the largest cat sanctuary in the world. Did you watch it? Unfortunately, my cable system doesn’t offer NatGeo Wild, so I missed it. Hopefully, it will eventually be available for viewing online.

I did, however, come across this stunningly beautiful music video titled “Vanishing” by Scott Ryan, and I just had to share it with you. The video chronicles the cathartic journey of a mysterious loner to The Cat House on the Kings. Enjoy!


Photo ©National Geographic

Roadrunner, the long distance running cat

Roadrunner Michael Greenblatt running cat

We’ve all heard of dogs who love to run with their owners. We’ve also heard of some cat owners who train their cats to walk on a leash – walk being the operative word. But a cat who runs with her owner? Now that’s unusual!

Meet Roadrunner and his human, Michael Greenblatt.

Michael Greenblatt is a fitness trainer who trains high profile athletes and celebrities. He lives in West Long Branch, NJ.  One day, three years ago, he went on his morning run like he does every other morning. But that day was going to be different, and little did Michael know at the time how the encounter with the little black kitten would change his life. He noticed the small black cat with the golden eyes sitting on a hill across the street from his house. She reminded him of his black childhood cat Nubbs.

Michael had been a runner for many years, and he was used to cats taking off at the sound of his feet. Not this little kitten. She would just sit and stare at him as he ran by. After about three weeks, he asked the woman who had clearly been feeding the kitten whether she belonged to someone. The woman told him that she was just feeding her, and that he could take the kitten if he wanted her. A few moments later, the kitten came up to Michael and rubbed up against his legs. It was as if she’d understood what he was asking.

The following morning, when Michael went for his run, an amazing thing happened. The kitten was waiting for him in the usual spot, but unlike all the other times, when she just watched Michael run past, that day, she started running with Michael! She ran all the way down the block with him, but thankfully, she stopped when traffic increased. When he returned, the kitten came charging down the streeet to greet him, and accompanied him on his cool down walk back to his house.

After three weeks of this, Michael decided that this kitten was going to be his. He named her Roadrunner – as if there really was another choice for a name!

He has been training Roadrunner for almost two years now. She runs on the sidewalk to the end of Michael’s cul-de-sac, and back. She particularly enjoys running on the Long Branch beach. Running up and down the jetty is one of her favorite tricks. Not surprisingly, she stretches before and after her runs.

When Roadrunner is not running, she likes to “help” Michael when he’s on his laptop computer. That help involves head butting, and biting and swiping at his fingers so he can’t type. She also likes to sit on his cell phone so he can’t find it. At night, she likes to sleep on his stomach with her head on his chest and her paws around his neck.

You can learn more about Roadrunner on her website. She also has her own Facebook page.

Watch Roadrunner in action:


Allegra and Ruby watched this video with great interest, but they’ve both decided that the only running they’ll do will be when they chase each other through the house.

The lady with 700 Cats

The lady with 700 cats National Geographic NatGeo Wild

All Lynea Lattanzio wanted as a little girl was a cat, but her mother wouldn’t allow it. “I bet she’s sorry now,” says Lattanzio, who now lives with more than 700 cats as the founder and owner of the largest no-kill, no-cage cat sanctuary in the world.

Cat House on the King is a 503 (c) non-profit organization whose mission it is to place rescued cats and kittens into loving, permanent homes; to provide a safe, happy and healthy home for unwanted cats and kittens in a unique, no-cage facility; to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering; and to educate the public about responsible pet ownership.

And on Saturday, July 30, at 10pm, the sanctuary will be featured on the new National Geographic Special “The Lady with 700 Cats.” The special will focus on Lattanzio’s and her staff’s passionate work to provide a safe haven for cats and find permanent homes for them.

Watch Lynea Lattanzio talk about how it all started:


For more information about Cat House on the Kings, please visit their website – and don’t forget to watch or set your DVR’s to record the special this coming Saturday!

You may also enjoy reading:

A visit to a very special cat sanctuary

Kitten Associates: the new breed of cat rescue

Help feed shelter cats with Jackson Galaxy and the Pet Postcard Project (Cat House on the Kings is one of the beneficiaries)

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Don’t Call Me a Crazy Cat Lady

crazy cat lady

I really dislike the term “crazy cat lady.”  It diminishes those of us who love cats for the unique and wonderful creatures that they are by assigning a label that usually has a somewhat derogatory connotation, even if it’s used with humorous self-deprecation. I don’t really care for the term “cat guy,” either, which has recently become popular. But notice how there’s never a “crazy” put in front of “cat guy?”

According to Wikipedia, a cat lady is defined as “a single woman who dotes upon her cat, or multiple cats. The term is considered pejorative.” Wikipedia adds “In the West, single women who own cats have long been associated with the concept of  spinsterhood. In more recent decades, the concept of a cat lady has been associated with “romance-challenged (often career-oriented) women who can’t find a man.” Is there anything in this definition that is not insulting to women? So why do we keep using this term, even in jest?

It’s a stereotype. Stereotypes are oversimplified definitions, and they’re based on assumptions, not facts. They’re rarely accurate. I know a lot of “cat ladies,” and none of them are crazy. They just simply love cats as much, and sometimes maybe even more, than I do.

Yes, I love cats. Allegra and Ruby are my family. I put their needs ahead of just about everything else in my life. Let me rephrase that: their needs come first. I don’t think that makes me a crazy cat lady.

My house is decorated with lots of cat things. I have a gorgeous original cat painting in my living room. I have an equally beautiful limited edition cat print in my bedroom. I have photos of my cats in just about every room of my house. I derive constant pleasure from looking at cats, whether it’s cat art, cat figurines, cat photos, or the real thing. I don’t think that makes me a crazy cat lady.

I delight in looking at cat themed merchandise in stores and online. Well, at most of it, anyway –  let’s face it, some cat-related merchandise is awful. I buy my fair share of cat themed products. I don’t think that makes me a crazy cat lady.

I write about cats. I’m passionate about educating others about cat health, cat nutrition, and everything else cat. I really don’t think that makes me a crazy cat lady.

I’d like to see the term “crazy cat lady” disappear from being used altogether. It doesn’t tell us anything about the woman it’s being applied to. The next time you’re getting ready to call someone a crazy cat lady, or us the term, even jokingly, to describe yourself, I’d encourage you to think twice.

I would especially like to encourage cat writers and cat bloggers to think twice before using the term. I think we have an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to stop perpetuating the stereotype by ceasing to use this disparaging term altogether.

So don’t call me a crazy cat lady. And don’t call anyone else a crazy cat lady, either. Let’s just all be who we really are: people who love cats.

Amara found her forever home during Adopt-a-Cat Month

Amara cat sleeping on sofa

June was designated as Adopt-a-Cat Month by the American Humane Association, and I featured some adoptable cats looking for their forever homes in previous posts (click here and here to see the cats). I also asked readers to contact me if they had adopted any cats during the month of June.

Amara was one of hopefully many lucky cats who were adopted in June. Conscious Cat reader Gail found the now 3 1/2 month old kitten at the Quincy Humane Society in Quincy, IL. She was looking for a companion for her 2-year-old cat Wilson, also a rescue cat.

Gail said that after deciding to add another cat to her home, she researched what would be the best fit. She decided a younger, female cat would be the best match for Wilson, and Gail began looking. She made several trips to the local shelter and spent hours on Petfinder.com, where she found Amara.  She was described as playful and laid back, which has proven to be true.

Wilson and Amara Quincy Humane Society

And, as you can see in the photo above, she turned out to be the purrfect companion for Wilson. Within 24 hours of meeting for the first time she and Wilson were playing together. A week later, as you can see from the photo above, they were best friends.

Congratulations on your forever home, little Amara!

Related Reading:

Help 15,0000 pets find homes this weekend

Help 15,000 pets find homes this weekend

Petfinder.com 15th birthday

This weekend, from July 15-17, 2011, over 1,500 shelters and rescue groups are holding what could be the largest adoption event in history to help celebrate Petfinder.com’s 15th birthday. More than 17 million pets have been adopted through Petfinder since 1996. Petfinder’s goal is to help 15,000 pets find homes this weekend.

For more information, and to find a  participating shelter or rescue group near you, visit their 15th Birthday Page.

What can you do to help them reach their goal?  Aside from the obvious, you can help spread the word. Petfinder offers customizable flyers on their website to help with announcing your rescue group’s adoption events. You can donate your Facebook status this weekend and feature adoptable pets. You can make a donation to the Petfinder Foundation to help homeless pets.

Here are three cats who are available for adoption from participating organizations. If you’re planning to adopt a cat this weekend, look for an adoption event in your area.

Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation Stevie and Brit

Stevie and Britt are fostered through Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in Northern Virginia. These two stunning kittens enjoy playing with each other and will enjoy playing with you. Stevie, the girl, is a little more outgoing than her brother Brit. These two kittens have been in a home with other cats and do well with a playful buddy. They need a home where their new family will take the time to help them acclimate since they are still quite shy around new people.

Kitten Associates Phil adoptable cat


Phil is being fostered through Kitten Associates, a Connecticut based rescue founded by Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair fame. This 5 year old Ragdoll mix is a blue-eyed love muffin who loves to purr and hang out and gets along great with his family and other cats. He’s a big cat, so there’s a lot of him to love, but at 15 pounds, he’s not fat. His fur is plush and thick and he likes to be brushed, too.


2011 Petties Best Cat Blog Best Overall Pet Blog


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Cats in charge: Phoebe’s Story

 Phoebe in charge

Guest post by Phoebe Banks

My original people – I don’t like to talk about them much – dumped me on a farm when they discovered I was pregnant, and I had my kittens in the barn. As soon as I was able to, I went out foraging for food so that I’d have enough milk for them. There was an antiques shop right next to the shop, and they hired me on the spot as their official greeter, paying me in snacks. Still, there was the daycare issue: when my kittens were old enough, I brought them with me. They trotted around after me as I showed the customers around. I think we were very good for business.

I tried very hard to keep my kittens safe, but, one by one, they disappeared – cars, coyotes, distemper. That was a very sad time for me. The women at the shop were kind to me, but it wasn’t as though I belonged to them. Or to anyone.

Then the Older Human stopped by the shop and was very taken with me. (I was, I have to admit, looking very pretty and fluffy that day, even though I had a bad case of worms.) She brought me home with her, and suddenly, I did belong to someone. I was warm, well-fed, worm-less – and spayed. The Older and Younger Humans looked after me. And I had friends. There were cats here, too, same as at the barn; but they were all fixed and didn’t have the gaunt faces or bloated bellies that the barn cats had had.

Circe, the Blue Aby, became my first friend: she was very young and really needed someone to play with. I was only a year older – I’d had my kittens very young – so this suited me perfectly. I felt as though I was getting my kittenhood back. We climbed cat trees together and chased each other around the house. Once, I got so into one of our chases, I actually reared up on my hind legs and walked on them. Just like a human. And, speaking of which, you should’ve seen the Older Human’s face. It was, as they say, enough to make a cat laugh. Well, at least this one.

I settled in pretty quickly. The other cats more or less followed Circe’s suit, and Keisha, the Chief Cat, gave me her seal of approval. I eventually adopted three abandoned kittens — Derv Jr. (Keisha had told me about the first Derv, a fine upstanding cat who had lived to be almost 20-years-old), Cheshire, and Magwitch – and got the chance to really enjoy raising them that I had never really had with my own babies. And – this touched me to the quick – the Younger Human even ran a “Phoebe for President” campaign in 2008, complete with t-shirts. Of course, I didn’t win, but I did receive a lot of the popular vote.

Then Keisha died. It was very unexpected, and she hadn’t had time to groom a successor. I was worried. Strong leadership is, you know, very important in a multi-cat household. Then I thought, wait a sec – I could do it. Not only did I have a certain amount of political know-how (I had, after all, run a very perky campaign), but I also had had a lot of Life Experience that the others hadn’t. So I took up where Keisha had left off – keeping the Siamese in line and monitoring the rivalries between various cats. It hasn’t been easy, but I feel I’m doing a pretty good job on the whole.

And one morning, while I was eating breakfast, Keisha shimmered into the room. Her eyes were free from the pain of her brief illness, and she let me know how pleased she was with the job I’d done. She was only there for a moment…a gentle, fleeting moment…but I know that the Older Human saw her, too.

Phoebe’s human is T. J. Banks, the author of A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Souleiado, and Houdini, a novel for young adults which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. A Contributing Editor to laJoie, she has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self. Her writing has been widely anthologized, and she has worked as a columnist, a stringer for the Associated Press, and an instructor for the Writer’s Digest School. She is currently writing a blog called “Sketch People,” a  series of interviews with people who have stories worth telling. You can learn more about T.J. Banks on her blog, and through this interview.

You may also enjoy reading:

Book review: Derv & Co.: A Life Among Felines by T.J. Banks

Book review: Catsong by T.J. Banks

Book review: Houdini by T.J. Banks

2011 Petties Best Cat Blog Best Overall Pet Blog

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Win a personalized reading with animal communicator Sonya Fitzpatrick

Sonya Fitzpatrick with cat Temptations contest

No matter how much you are in tune with your cats, don’t you sometimes wonder what they’re really thinking? An animal communicator may be able to help, and here’s your chance to win a reading with one of the best in the business, Sonya Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick and Temptations® Treats for Cats have teamed up for the “What Do Cats Really Think Contest.” All you need to do is “Like”  Temptations on Facebook between July 7, 2011 and August 3, 2011 and upload a photograph of your cat. 250 winners will be selected to receive results from a personalized reading of that photograph by Fitzpatrick, who is widely regarded as the most experienced and trusted animal communicator in the world. One lucky entrant and their cat will also win the Grand Prize: An opportunity to speak directly with Fitzpatrick via a 30 minute private phone reading. 

Plus, if you’re a winner, you could be part of history. The results from Fitzpatrick’s readings of the 250 winning photographs will be compiled to form what will be a first-of-its kind cat survey that will finally provide insight into what cats really think about topics, including their favorite things to do around the house and with their human companions.
People often think of animal communicators as “Dr. Dolittle,” or worse, a sort of psychic who sits in a dark room with a crystal ball. The reality of how animal communicators work is actually based in science. While viewed as controversial by some, research by scientists such as biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake has suggested evidence of telepathic communication. If we accept that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings, it is not much of a leap to accept the concept of interspecies communication.
Communicating with species other than human is not a new idea. It is an integral part of the culture of many of the worlds’ tribal communities. Individuals such as St. Francis ofAssisi and Jane Goodall have demonstrated animal communication in various ways. We all have this telepathic ability, especially as children. It is often expressed through imaginary friends or by reporting what the family pet “said.” Sadly, as we grow up and are told by our parents and society that these abilities are not normal, we tend to block out this natural way of being. Animal communicators have either never lost this natural ability or have trained themselves to recover it. They connect with the animal’s unique energy and may receive information in pictures or simply as a sense of intuitive knowing. They can then “translate” what they receive into words the animal’s owner can understand.
For more information and to enter the sweepstakes, visit http://www.Facebook.com/Temptations. You can learn more about Sonya Fitzpatrick by visiting her website.


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Are two cats better than one?

cats looking out the window

Until Buckley came into my life in 2006, I’d been an “only cat” person. 

I didn’t get my first cat until I was in my twenties. Feebee was a grey tabby cat who was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to a cat named Blue, who belonged to a childhood friend of my former husband. We were living in Germany at the time, but knew we would be moving back to the Washington, DC area shortly, so Walt’s friend saved one of the kittens in Blue’s litter for us. Meeting Feebee was love at first sight for me. We took him home as soon as we had moved into our new house in Northern Virginia, and for the next fifteen and a half years, Feebee was the one and only feline love of my life.

After Feebee passed away following a lengthy battle with lymphoma, Amber came into my life. She was a stray who was brought to the animal hospital I worked at with her five kittens. I did not think I was ready for another cat yet. The wound from Feebee’s passing was still very fresh and raw, but coming home to an empty house was becoming increasingly difficult, so I took Amber home, “just for the weekend.” I really liked having her quiet, gentle energy around, and decided I was going to foster her. She became the classic “failed foster,” and for almost ten years, her gentle, loving, wise presence, not to mention her almost constant purr, brought love and affection into my life until she passed away after a sudden illness last May.

With both Feebee and Amber, I had occasionally thought about bringing another cat home with me. I worked at various animal hospitals, so there were always a cats that needed homes, and some touched my heart more than others. But I held off. I intuitively knew Feebee was the classic “only cat.”

And then Buckley came into my life in the spring of 2005. Those of you who’ve read Buckley’s Story already know this story, but for those of you who haven’t, here’s the abbreviated version. She was brought to the animal hospital I managed after being rescued from a farm in Southwestern Virginia. I took one look at her and fell in love. Hard. And fast. She became my office cat at the animal hospital. In 2006, I left the animal hospital to start my own business, and the thought of leaving Buckley behind was more than I could bear.

Everybody said I was crazy to try to introduce two adult tortoiseshell cats to each other. If you know anything about torties, you know about “tortitude.” They’re known to have some pretty distinct personality traits, and they’re not always known for getting along with other cats. I won’t go into the details of what I went through to introduce Buckley to Amber, but I also won’t spoil the book for you if you haven’t read it yet, because it’s no secret that they ended up getting along beautifully.

For the first time in my life, I had more than one cat – and I really loved it. A year and a half after Buckley died in November of 2008, I adopted Allegra to join Amber and me. Sadly, Amber passed away suddenly only five short weeks after Allegra joined our family, and it took another year before I had worked through my grief and was ready to add another cat to our family. Ruby joined us in April of this year.

I’ve been lucky. Amber and Buckley got along very quickly. Amber initially wasn’t too thrilled when Allegra joined us. She was twelve years old at the time, Allegra was seven months old. On paper, that’s not a great match. It’s usually better to match up cats who are close in age and temperament. Amber and Allegra were neither. But Amber was laid back and mellow enough to accept the rambunctious newcomer after just a few days.

Allegra and Ruby were a perfect match. They were well matched on paper, they’re about a year apart in age and have similar temperaments. I knew all along that Allegra needed a companion – she came to me with some behavior issues, and even though I worked with her successfully on my own, we would probably have made faster progress if I had added another kitten to our family sooner.

Even when the match sounds good in theory, you still never know until you get the two cats together whether things will work out. With Allegra and Ruby, it was magic. I went on gut instinct and against all the traditional recommendations of how to introduce two cats to each other, and within a few hours, the two of them were comfortably hanging out in the living room together. They bonded incredibly fast. They love to play with each other, chase each other around the house, and they both sleep with me at night.

The biggest benefit of having two cats, in the case of Allegra and Ruby, has been for Allegra. She has blossomed since Ruby’s arrival. She’s become more confident, her behavioral problems have all but disappeared, and while she certainly wasn’t an unhappy cat before, now she’s far more relaxed and content.

As for me, I can no longer imagine not having two cats. It’s been such a joy to watch Allegra come into her own, and to watch Ruby and Allegra together. Do I regret not getting another cat sooner? Sometimes I do. But if I hadn’t waited, I wouldn’t have Ruby, and if the past two months are any indication, Allegra and Ruby are truly a match made in heaven.

So are two cats better than one? When they get along, absolutely. But like so many things with cats, it’s an individual decision. What may be right for one cat or one person may not be right for the next one. By doing your homework, knowing your existing cat, and learning as much as you can about the cat you’re thinking about adding to your family, you’ll make sure that you get the best possible match. And if that’s the case, then two cats are, indeed, better than one.

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. The Pets Add Live campaign spreads the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership. Visit PAL’s Facebook Page, post pictures of your pets, and join the conversation!


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You may also enjoy reading:

New cat introductions: breaking all the rules

Keeping your single cat happy

The joys of adopting an older cat