Feline Lifestyle

Steeler the cat, accidental (and unofficial) team mascot

I’m not a football fan, and the only reason I occasionally watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials.  But this year, I’ll be cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it’s all because of a friend’s tortoiseshell cat named Steeler.

I first met Steeler when her human, Bernie, discovered my post “Tortitude” – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats here on The Conscious Cat.  The post has received more than 2000 comments since I first wrote it in August of 2009, and has resulted in a small community of tortie lovers who enjoy sharing stories about their special cats.  In the process, Bernie, and many of the others who frequently comment on the thread, became friends. 

Bernie found the abandoned tortoiseshell cat crying at her backdoor in rural Pennsylvania. She had never had a cat before, and knew nothing about cats.  The little cat wanted in, and Bernie did not want a cat.  When it became colder, and no shelter would take her, Bernie decided that any cat that wanted a home that badly could stay.  She called her Steeler, because she stole her heart, and because she’s a big Pittsburgh Steeler fan.  And because, like all tortoiseshell cats, Steeler proudly wears the gold and black not just on game day, but every day.

Steeler became a comfort to Bernie’s husband, who was becoming increasingly debilitated from Alzheimer’s.  After he was hospitalized, Steeler continued to provide love and support to Bernie.  As she got to know Steeler better, she also became familiar with “tortitude.”  Torties tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human.  Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable.  They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.  They can be a little unpredictable, and if they were football players, they’d probably be playing defense.

On game day, Steeler watches the games with Bernie.   And she appears to be turning into somewhat of a lucky charm – after all, the Steelers are going to play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl this Sunday.  When a Pittsburgh television station asked viewers to post photos of their pets in Steeler gear on their website, Bernie posted Steeler’s photo, proudly showing off  her team colors, and even wearing a little Steeler hat.  As of this writing, Steeler’s photo has received almost 50,000 views.

There are plenty of tigers, cougars and wildcats who are team mascots.  Perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers should consider making a feisty tortoiseshell cat named Steeler their mascot.  So far, she has brought them good luck.  With apologies to my readers who are Packers fans, I hope that streak of luck continues on Sunday.

Connie Bowen paints portraits of love

Connie Bowen doesn’t just paint pet portraits.  She captures the unique spirit of each pet in each painting, turning the finished work into a lasting treasure for the recipient – a portrait of love.

Connie began drawing at an early age and majored in art at Washington State University. She then completed training and worked for 23 years as a freelance court reporter. Since retiring from court reporting in 1997, she has devoted all her time to the loves of her life: her family, her art, and the expression of Truth.

I’m so pleased to introduce you to this wonderful artist today.

When did you first begin painting pets?

I first began painting pets in May of 2003.

Your pet portraits really capture the unique essence of each animal.  What is the creative process for a pet portrait like for you? 

When I first meet the animal, or view their photo via e-mail, I am immediately drawn to the personality of the animal and the expression on their face. The emotion I feel from them is what I portray in their portrait. Animals have the most expressive eyes and that is the place where I start with each portrait. After the animals’ eyes are painted in, I definitely feel their spirit is with me as I paint.

One time I was working on a challenging cat painting because I was working from a photo that wasn’t very clear. Sometimes when an animal has already passed on, I’m working from cherished photos from long ago and the detail can be lost. I simply asked out loud for help from this particular cat. I went on painting and as I swiveled in my chair, the squeak made an unmistakable spine-chilling “Meow” sound! I have lots of stories like that – of animals coming to my aid as I’m painting.

While pets are featured prominently in your artwork, you also paint other subjects.  What is more challenging – capturing pets, or capturing other images?

For me, capturing pets is my pure joy. The other images are painted more impressionistically. I use the background and other images simply to support the star of the painting – the pet. I take more time capturing the essence of the pet, but time seems to stand still as I do so.

To illustrate my point, one afternoon while I was painting, my husband kissed me good-bye as he left to catch a movie. It seemed like it had been only 20 minutes when he returned. I asked him if he had missed the movie. He surprisingly told me that he had not only seen the movie, but it had been at least two hours that he’d been gone!

The only real challenge for me is when I’m asked to add a person into the painting with the pet. This happens quite a bit with horse paintings. It always takes me twice as long to capture the likeness of the person as for any other subject.

Where does your inspiration come from?

From the photos of the animals, themselves. People e-mail me with the most interesting and adorable photos! I remember one photo in particular had two kitties resting on the bed surrounded by their stuffed animals. I couldn’t wait to start on that painting!

Another photo I received was taken with a phone and the whole image had a lovely peachy tone to it. The pet parent and I decided to leave the colors as they were and the whole painting was done in those colors.  I’m always amazed and inspired by my clients and the creativity that emerges from working together.

Tell us about your own pets, and how they inspire your work.

I have a 10-year old Australian shepherd named Jesse and two cats named Brock and Carma. Brock is a large black male with a little bit of white under his chin. Carma is a small-boned little tabby with huge green eyes. I’ve done quite a few paintings of Brock. He is especially inspiring as he has golden eyes and seems very magical in his poses. It’s hard to find Carma quiet and still. She loves to race around the house, up the cat tree and everything she does is filled with energy. When Carma sees me in my office ready to begin painting and hears the lovely music I am playing, she comes in to sleep in her soft kitty bed and keep me company. She sleeps right by my arm. I love to listen to her purring and kiss her softly and let her know I appreciate her company.

I rescued both cats when they were just weaned. They were both very ill and it took quite a lot of antiseptic baths and all kinds of medicine to get them on the road to health.

My pets inspire my work by being a continual source of positive, loving energy. I delight in their presence.

 

You’re also an author of several inspirational books – tell us a little bit more about them.

My most popular book is the children’s affirmation book, I Believe In Me.  It has sold over 51,000 copies, including the Spanish edition. It won the national Athena Award for book-as-mentor in the category of spirituality. A copy has been donated to each Ronald McDonald House nationally.  I wrote this book for my son when he was one year old. It was published when he was three years old. He’s now in college, and the book is still going strong simply by word-of-mouth.

My second book, I Turn To The Light, is a collection of healing affirmations. This book is meant more for adults, but has reached an audience of children and teenagers.

I illustrated The Sunbeam and the Wave, and also two of author Susan Chernak’s books, Heart In The Wild and All My Relations: Living with Animals as Teachers and Healers. I used pen and ink for Susan’s books. All of my other books were done in ink plus colored pencil.

You can find more information about Connie and her art, along with a huge selection of her stunning paintings, on her website.

All images of paintings © Connie Bowen, used by permission.

Why Do cats Do That?

I’m always tempted to answer this question with “because they can” – after all, they’re cats, and most cats think, or rather know, that they rule the world.  However, there are “real” answers to some of these questions, and here’s a sampling.

Why do cats knead with their paws?

We’ve all seen them do it.  It’s also known as “making biscuits.”  The most common explanation is that it reminds them of when they were kittens and pawed at their mother’s teats to stimulate milk secretion.  It’s why cats seem to be so content, and almost go into a trance, when they knead – kneading takes them back to one of their earliest happy memories.  Most cats purr while they knead, and some will even drool.

Why do cats like to weave through and rub up against their human’s legs?

Most people think they do this to show affection, although perhaps, if that’s what it is, cats should find a better way to show that they care than by trying to trip the human who fills their food bowl.  What they’re actually doing is marking you with their scent.  Cats have scent glands on the side of their face and on the tip of their tail.  These glands produce pheromones, and by rubbing up against your legs multiple times, they’re mingling their scent with yours.  You now belong to them, as it should be.

Why do cats inevitably find the one person in a room who doesn’t like cats?

Unless your cat is the most gregarious and social cat on the planet, he’ll be a little uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers who are all cooing or staring at him, so he’ll zero in on the one person who is completely ignoring his presence, perceiving that person as less intimidating.

What makes a cat purr?

Scientists are not sure about the exact mechanism behind purring, but the most common explanation is that the cat’s brain sends a signal to the laryngeal muscles to vibrate.  At the same time, the cat is inhaling and exhaling, and the stream of air is causing the vocal chords to vibrate.  Even though most people assume that cats purr when they’re happy and content, purring can also be a sign of stress, such as during a visit to the veterinarian, or after an injury.  The purr is thought to comfort the cat in these situations.

Why do cats race around the house like crazy without warning?

Even though they live in our homes and eat from a bowl, cats are natural hunters, and they’re designed for the speed of the hunt, especially when they’re young.  In an environment where there’s nothing much to hunt, chasing imaginary prey through the house may be a way for them to release pent up energy.

What do your cats do that you’ve always wondered about?

National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day

When I first saw that tomorrow is National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day, I chuckled, and thought it was a joke.  But sure enough, the folks at PetCentric have designated January 22 as a “holiday of feline understanding.”

And the premise is actually a wonderful idea.  According to PetCentric, “the proper way to participate in National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day is to be aware of your cat on a more conscious level, and notice when your cat is trying to ask you something. Your job is to stop what you’re doing and try to figure out what your cat is asking, and do your best to answer the question.”  You can read the rest of PetCentric’s description of the holiday here.

How many times are we mystified by something our feline companions do?  How many times do we wish that they could speak human, or we could be better at understanding feline?   Cats’ behavior may not make sense to us, but it always makes purrfect sense to them.  The more we try to understand why they do the things they do,  the better our relationship will be for both cat and human.  

And part of understanding our cats is to take the time to listen to them.  Cats express themselves in a variety of ways, through body language, vocalization (you’ll be familiar with this aspect especially if you are owned by a tortoiseshell cat!), and habits.  In order to truly understand them, we have to try and think like a cat. 

PetCentric offers a number of examples of cat’s questions, from the cat’s point of view, along with the human’s answer and the cat’s rebuttal (you knew there’d be a rebuttal, didn’t you?), such as:

“Cat’s Question: Why do you bring strangers into our home? Person’s Answer: They’re my friends. And they love cats. There’s no need to hide when they come over. Cat’s Rebuttal: Oh yeah? I didn’t invite them over! They scare me. They always want to pick me up. If they’d just leave me alone and let me sneak up and investigate them, I could decide if they are my friends too, and then I might be ok with them petting me.”

For more cat Q&A, click here.

What are some of the questions your cats will be asking you, and what will your answers be?

You may also enjoy:

How to keep your indoor cat happy

Safe toys for your cat

Make Christmas a little brighter for shelter cats

Our cats are lucky.  They get spoiled all year long, and especially this time of the year.  They live in nice warm homes, sleep in soft beds, and get plenty of love, attention, and toys.   Quite a contrast to the life cats in shelters lead.  While more and more shelters are doing the best they can to enrich the environment for shelter cats, funds are low everywhere, and the cats in these shelters need your help.

Yesterday, Robin Olson posted a wonderful suggestion on how to help shelter cats on her blog, Covered in Cat Hair, titled A Christmas Wish for Shelter Cats, and I loved the idea so much that I decided to share it here with you.

Says Robin:  “Life behind bars for any shelter cat is usually flat out miserable. The poor creatures just sit there and wait around, bored, angry, frustrated. Studies show that cats who are active in a cage are much more likely to be adopted than cats who sit there glumly passing time.

Enrichment for cats can also help de-stress the animal, keeping it healthy longer. This is a very important thing to keep in mind. If fewer cats get sick, fewer of them are euthanized. It doesn’t take much to make their lives better, but with budgets cut and donations dwindling, how can shelters afford the “luxury” of enrichment for the cats when they can’t afford food or litter?”

This is where Stretch and Scratch comes in.   These cage-size scratchers keep cats exercised and entertained.   They’re a simple and inexpensive way to bring a little holiday joy to shelter cats, and there’s still time to some to have some sent directly to your favorite shelter in time to bring some holiday joy to shelter cats.

The scratchers are $45 for a half case, and $75 for a full case.  They’re good quality, sturdy scratchers.   For more information and to order, click here.

To read Robin’s full post about the program, along with some wonderful photos of cats enjoying the scratchers Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia (and the adorable cats in the photos are all available for adoption!), click here.

Robin Olson is the creator of Covered in Cat Hair.  She is a writer, art director, copywriter, and photographer.  Robin is the founder of Kitten Associates, a Connecticut based cat rescue.  You can learn more about Robin on her blog, and on Covered in Cat Hair’s Facebook page.

A Cat Day on Earth

Today’s post is a little different from our usual fare.  When Janiss Garza, the human behind Sparkle, the award winning author, premiere feline advice columnist and feline supermodel, showed me the video she produced for the One Day on Earth project, I knew I wanted to share it with you. 

The project was meant to capture one 24-hour period,  October 10, 2010, or 10-10-10, that documented the human experience all over the world.  Janiss and Sparkle decided to document a 24 hour period of feline life.   It’s a video about the feline experience, but it’s also about the human experience, because, as Sparkle says in her blog, “it is humans who can make a difference.”  So without further ado, here is A Cat Day on Earth:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1OKBRej20Y

Want to see more of Sparkle?  Check out her books, Dear Sparkle – Advice from One Cat to Another and Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World’s Foremost Feline ColumnistYou can also purchase her award winning calendar featuring stunning photos of the beautiful Sparkle.

An interview with Susan Faye, artist, designer and cat lover

Susan Faye loves to create whimsical portraits of cats and their humans.   She lives in the Great Pacific Northwest on the banks of Willamina Creek with a cat or two and a room full of really great art supplies. She has been a professional artist for most of her adult life, and in addition to painting cat ladies, she enjoys painting traditional watercolors and nature studies, and designing hand-crafted giftware and jewelry. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, birdwatching, and photography.

Welcome to The Conscious Cat, Susan.

Thanks Ingrid, I am delighted to be here (in that mysterious and magical cyberspace sort of way!)

How do your cats inspire your art?

I’ve always been enchanted by cats — I love their shiny bright eyes, their beautiful markings and soft fur, their quirky personalities and their apparent ongoing inner battle between devotion and detachment. I’ve always had at least one cat in my life since about the age of 7, so there has been quite a LONG parade of personalities that have inspired me. I must say, however, that I am an equal-opportunity pet lover and have just as much affection for the dogs, guinea pigs, gold fish, parakeets, and the one Bearded Dragon lizard who have shared my home over the years!

While cats are featured prominently in your artwork, you also paint other subjects. What is more challenging – capturing cats, or capturing other images?

On custom portraits, the cats are pretty easy as long as I have a good photo of their markings– the real challenge is to capture the cat lady or feline fella. Unlike photography, which always seems to add 20 lbs, I tend to eliminate about 20 lbs on my subjects when I draw them. The funny thing is, I’ve had at least three different cat ladies ask for me to “fluff them up” a bit to be more representative of their beautiful curves!

I do love drawing and painting cats and cat ladies in an illustrative, whimsical illustration style, but my other true love is painting more traditional watercolor paintings of nature, including birds and botanicals. These paintings are definitely more challenging for me– the ultimate goal is to “capture light” in the painting and maintain a translucence in the color, always a new challenge with each painting!

What is the creative process like for you?

An over-abundance of creative energy seems to always be surging through my veins (almost to the point of obsession, and to the detriment of any reasonable attempt at housekeeping!) which probably came from growing up in a household where building, making, sewing, and decorating things was always going on. My best ideas seem to pop into my head out of nowhere, and I’ve found that the trick is to learn how to “empty out” the analytical, linear, practical left side of your brain so that the creative, intuitive, spatial right side of your brain can just fill up.  If you TRY to fill it up, it won’t happen. If you just “let go”, it will fill up to the point of spilling over.

Once I have an idea, I’ll work on pencil sketches and small studies to work out composition and colors, then transfer the design to watercolor paper with light pencil lines. Then I start filling in sections, layering, and blending with color. It’s a lot like a construction process–you have to think about your foundation and then building up different layers in a certain order. That’s where the analytical side of my brain gets to have some input and feel really useful!

Tell us a little about your feline family members.

I currently have one indoor cat, Buttonwillow, and two semi-feral cuties who live in my carport: Sweet Pea and Mr. Smokey. Buttonwillow was born to Sweet Pea under my house soon after I moved in, but renounced her feral status when she got a taste of the good life indoors. All have since been spayed and neutered. You can find out more about Buttonwillow on my blog– recently she put together a great physical fitness routine for couch potatoes.

You can find more information about Susan’s art on her website, and you can also find many of her wonderful creations on her Etsy page. Susan also hosts a wonderful blog titled 365 Cat Ladies, where she showcases her wonderful creations, including stories about the cat ladies and other animal lovers that she‘s had the pleasure of painting.

Susan is offering a giveaway of one of her beautiful pendants – the winner gets to choose which one.  To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post.  Share the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and leave the link in a separate comment for another chance to win.  This giveaway ends December 22.

Help bring Christmas joy to shelter animals

Guest post by Dorian Wagner

Our pets at home are lucky. They get showered with gifts, love and attention for the holidays. We wrap their gifts, unwrap them with them and watch how happy they are to play with a new toy. Yes, they have it good, and they know it.

But what about shelter animals? They deserve a little holiday joy, too! They deserve catnip mice and squeaky toys and tuna-flavored treats and pull toys! They deserve to know someone cares about them. And that’s where Santa Paws Drive comes in.

Santa Paws Drive started as just an idea by myself to create a program similar to the U.S. Marines’ “Toys for Tots” program, but for animals. They collect toys and distribute them to needy children – and I wanted to do the same, but for needy cats and dogs in shelters. But I didn’t want to just donate a few toys to my local shelter, I wanted to make a bigger difference for more animals… all over the world.

And so I reached out to a few good friends who are well-known in the pet-blogging and Twitter world: Salina Gannon of NipandBones.com (her expertise helped create the “store” and donation process, Lynn Haigh of Pawpawty.com (her dog tweets as @frugaldougal and has raised thousands of dollars through Pawpawties!) and Kerri Schlack of TheKittenCrew.com (who raises foster kittens and, she and her husband are web design experts).

And somehow, what seemed like a crazy idea became a reality! We created SantaPawsDrive.com and the first-ever “virtual toy drive” was officially set into motion! Last year, we raised over $7,000 in cash and toy donations, and now, for our second year, our goal is to raise even more!

To pick our six Santa Paws Drive shelters, we took nominations and made our choices based on need, location and nomination note. All the shelters are no-kill, non-profit organizations. We also tried to choose smaller shelters who don’t have much opportunity for larger-scale funding. Three are located in the U.S., one is in Canada, one is in the UK and the other is on the island of Tenerife, off the coast of Africa.

We truly wish each of these shelter animals could find their forever homes for Christmas, but if they can’t, we at least want to make their holiday and merry as can be. If you can spare a few dollars to help put a smile on a dog or cat’s face, we’d truly appreciate your donation!

To help support Santa Paws Drive, you can simply visit SantaPawsDrive.com and choose to donate either money or toys and treats. Every single dollar helps! You can also place the widget or a badge on your blog to help spread the word (and please do!).

Help us make this Christmas as happy as can be for shelter animals!

Dorian Wagner is the creator of Your Daily Cute.

The top 7 things about older cats

Guest Post by Dorian Wagner

Pimp is taking the spotlight because he has taught me some very important things through the years about why older cats are fabulous. (Don’t tell him I called him “old!” He’s not old yet, just a little bit on his way…) 

Pimp is 11, and every single year he gets better and better. The longer he’s with me, the more love he shows and the more grateful I am that I have him. He’s taught me a lot in his 11 years — a lot of it recently. 

I have always adopted kittens, but I’m starting to see why older cats deserve to be adopted, too, and maybe even more. They have so much love left to give. And so without further ado… 

The Top 7 Things Pimp Wants You to Know About Older Cats

1. Old men are not dirty.
You know the stereotype about dirty old men? Doesn’t apply to older cats. He knows where his litter box is, and doesn’t need to be taught. He doesn’t raid the garbage can like rambunctious kittens and doesn’t knock over my red wine glass in a fit of flying kitten fur. 

2. A little gray is sexy.
Don’t you dare tell Pimp his gray whiskers aren’t sexy. He’s one good lookin’ older dude! Maybe he’s not quite as shiny as he used to be, but he’s just as soft as ever… and just as cute. 

3. Good food is one of the most important things in life.
(And so is good wine, but that’s for me, not Pimp. Ahem.) It’s crucial to feed your older cat good food, because their tummies are more sensitive. But seeing how much different food affects Pimp has taught me that even younger cats need good food. You are what you eat… and you want your cat to be good, right?

 4. It’s not picky, it’s “particular.”
You don’t need every toy in the world. Just because some new gadget comes out or there’s some fancy new model, it doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t perfectly fine. Some of Pimp’s favorite toys are older than his brother, Moo, and he’d rather play with them than anything new and flashy I get him. He doesn’t ask for much.

5. A comfy bed is better than any flashy toy.
Adding to #4, older cats realize that there are more important things than how many toys are in your toy basket. I used to get Pimp mice every year for his birthday, and he loved them, but lately I’ve gotten him things to make him comfy — and he uses them way more than all his toys combined! Soft beds = 20 hours a day. Fun toys = 30 minutes. (Don’t worry, he still gets tons of toys!) 

6. Peace and quiet is underrated.
Pimpy says relax. Older cats are content to just lie around, lounge and not create too much ruckus. You don’t have to entertain them (or else lose your nice curtains or favorite vase) and you don’t have to babysit them like kittens. They are easy and content to “just be”… so you can just be, too.

7. Love never stops growing.
Sure, your older cat may be done growing, and may actually be shrinking a little instead, but their heart somehow keeps expanding with more and more love. When Pimp looks at me, it’s with such love and adoration, and such happiness and sweetness. He knows he’s loved and he’ll always be taken good care of. He knows I’ll do whatever I can for him, for as long as he needs it. And he knows how lucky he is.

Older cats are extremely special. They often easily adjust to your home and don’t cause much trouble. If you have the room in your home and your heart, why not take a look at some of the senior pets in your area that need homes and go adopt one today. (Or tomorrow, Cute knows you may need a day to get their comfy bed and good food ready…)

Sure, they may need some extra care as they age (For the record – Pimp is going to live forever. I’ve already informed him of this.), but the love you’ll get in return and the fulfilling, incredible feeling you’ll get from taking care of them will give you a ton of joy.

Think of your grandma or grandpa — you would want them to be happy and comfortable in their sunset years, right? Older pets should have the same luxury!

Dorian Wagner is the creator of Your Daily Cute.

Carmina the Cathedral Cat

There are probably any number of cats who live and work in churches and cathedrals around the world, but only one cat can call Washington National Cathedral home – and she’s a tortoiseshell cat.

Her name is Carmina.  She is about eighteen months old, and was rescued by the Washington Humane Society, along with her litter of week-old kittens, from a deserted parking lot in Southeast Washington D.C.  The kittens had all found new homes after being fostered, but Carmina was going to be returned to the shelter, facing an uncertain future.   Cathedral Choral Society staffer Victoria Chamberlin did not want to see this happen, and led the charge for the Choral Society to adopt Carmina during its audience sing-a-long of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Carmina initially came to the cathedral for a one-month-trial period.  She turned out to be friendly and independent, and was ultimately chosen for her personality and her mouse-catching skills, which, Chamberlin says, are impeccable.  Carmina succeeds Catherine of Tarragon, a tuxedo cat who was adopted by the cathedral as a kitten 16 years ago to catch mice in the cathedral’s green house.  Catherine recently retired and now lives out her golden years in a private residence in Georgetown.  She summers in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Carmina leads a busy life.  She welcomes cathedral staff to work in the morning and usually wanders from office to office for petting, treats, and some play time.  In the afternoons, she likes to be outside to hunt mice before coming back inside for a nap and a snack.  She enjoys climbing trees, walking along pipes in the ceiling, and chasing her toy mice.  She doesn’t like having her ears cleaned, and she loves anything with turkey flavor.

Her favorite places are her bed at the top of the stairs, the window sill in the library, or the slate walkway in front of the library.  She is a lap cat and distributes her attention equally among staff members.  All of the Cathedral Choral Society staff take turns feeding and caring for her.

I asked Chamberlin whether Carmina attends services.  While Carmina is friendly, she tends to avoid crowds, so Chamberlin thinks she will probably  be sleeping in on Sundays.  The only service she has attended to date was the Blessing of the Animals.

If you’re in the Washington DC area, or are coming for a visit, Washington Cathedral is well worth adding to your list of places to see.  And you just might get to meet Carmina the Cathedral Cat.

Photos by Washington National Cathedral, Craig W. Stapert, photographer, used with permission.