Giveaways

Anniversary giveaway winner

Congratulations, Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger!
You’re the winner of our Anniversary Gift Basket!

Thank you to everyone for the congratulations and good wishes, but it’s really you we need to thank. Without you reading, sharing and commenting, The Conscious Cat would not be what it is today. We’re looking forward to bringing you another year of the latest in conscious living, health, and happiness for cats and their humans.

Thank you again to Whimsy Cats for creating the basket.

It’s our second blog anniversary – and we have a giveaway to thank you!

Today is our second blog anniversary! We wouldn’t have gotten to this point without you, our wonderful readers – thank you for reading, commenting, and adding to the discussions!

To celebrate, and to thank all of you for reading, we’re giving away a fantastic goody basket filled with fun things for you and your cats, including an autographed copy of Buckley’s Story. Look below for details on how to enter the drawing.

When I started this blog two years ago, I was looking for a way to share my passion for feline health and nutrition with a wider audience. I was also finishing writing Buckley’s Story, and I wanted to get word about the book out to cat lovers around the world.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the incredible journey this blog (and the book) has taken me on since then.

Amber was the inspiration behind this blog. She was the original Conscious Cat, a wise old soul in a feline body. Those of you who have been reading for a while will remember  her contributions to the blog in her Amber’s Mewsings columns. When she passed away suddenly in May of last year, I was devastated, and I still miss her each and every day.

Allegra joined our family in April of last year, and quickly became a regular contributor by sharing her life as a not-quite-kitten-anymore in her popular column Allegra’s World. Her posts frequently get more views than my own!

One of the things I love best about blogging is the community it creates.  I love connecting with other bloggers (you’ll find a list of my favorites in the Blogroll in the left sidebar), and I treasure the friendships that have formed as a result of these connections. I’m looking forward to making many more connections when I attend BlogPaws later this year.

When it comes to connections, one of the most amazing examples of this is a post I wrote in August of 2009 titled Tortitude – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. The post has generated almost 2800 comments as of this writing and has turned into the online home of a community of lovers of this particular kind of cat. What began with exchanging stories about the torties that share our lives has evolved into some real life frienships that will hopefully turn into a real life meeting in the near future.

This just goes to show – you never know what might happen when you start blogging. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

To enter the drawing for our anniversary basket, please leave a comment below and tell us how you first found The Conscious Cat. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and post the link in a separate comment for an additional chance to win. This giveaway ends Tuesday, March 15.

Disclaimer: Allegra does not come with the basket!

Thank you to Whimsy Cats for creating the beautiful basket. Whimsy Cats brings you peace of mind by providing specialized in home visits and cat sitting for your cat’s special needs in Northern Virginia.  Whether you want them to administer medications or fluids, conduct general wellness check-ins or stop by after surgeries or medical events, they offer daily or occasional visits depending upon the needs of you and your cat.

Book Review and Giveaway: First Person Cat by Jacque Heebner

When I came across First Person Cat, I was immediately intrigued.  A murder mystery featuring a tortoiseshell cat – I had to read this one! 

Tiffany, a tortoiseshell Persian is living the good life in Beverly Hills, CA when her human mother, a former rock star, is found murdered in her home.  Even though Tiffany didn’t witness the murder, she is sure she knows who killed her mother.  Highly intuitive and with an uncanny (or maybe catty?) ability to read minds, Tiffany wants to make sure the right person is caught and justice prevails.  As the murder investigation progresses, she charms a handsome detective on the Beverly Hills police force, who just happens to be a cat lover.  As the story unfolds, Tiffany uses every feline wile at her disposal to direct the detective’s attention toward the person she believes killed her mother.  In the process of her feline sleuthing, she even manages to prevent a second murder.

As the title suggests, the book is written from Tiffany’s perspective.  Set in glitzy Beverly Hills, and filled with plenty of designer name dropping (the cat on the book’s cover is wearing a David Webb diamond necklace), the book is highly engaging, and you’ll find yourself cheering Tiffany on as she attempts to communicate what she knows to the sometimes frustratingly (for her) slow humans.   

The author’s celebrity friends readily endorsed the book:

“Tiffany the cat is a cute and very enjoyable read . I love cat Tiffany and her point of view with humans and their flaws” – Lou and Carla Ferrigno, actors and body builders

“The beautiful Beverly Hills Tiffany, Tiff to select few, will guide you through a most fascinating, page flipping murder mystery. It deals with the rich, the conniving, the rock and film stars, the devious and then ever clever detectives. However, none is more clever than the magnificent Tiffany in solving the crime, with its intriguing cast of celebratory characters. By the way, Tiffany is a hot tortoise-shell Persian Cat!” – Tippi Hedren, actress and founder of Shambala Preserves for Big Cats & Exotic Animals

I enjoyed this book, especially the passages when Tiffany is trying to communicate with the humans around her.  Heebner’s love for and knowledge of cats comes through loud and clear.  The book leaves a little to be desired when it comes to human character development, but this is more than made up for by Tiffany’s endearing personality.  A delightful, entertaining read.

I requested this book from the author’s publicist.

Jacque Heebner is a former Daily News journalist, animal rights activist, and owner of Jacque Designs Presents.  For more about Jacque and First Person Cat, please visit her website.

 
   

I’m offering one copy of this book for one lucky winner.  To enter the drawing, leave a comment here.  For an additional chance to win, share this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter and post the link in a separate comment.  This giveaway ends Friday, March 18.

 

Product review and giveaway: Sunny Seat cat bed

Sunny Seat cat bed, as seen on tv

When the folks at Sunny Seat™ asked me whether I would like to review their product, I jumped at the chance. I had actually planned to have Allegra write this review. She loves the window seats we have, so I thought she’d be excited about having yet another one – after all, everyone likes a little variety, right?  Oddly enough, though, she completely ignored the Sunny Seat™.  It may have been due to the fact that she already has all the window seats she needs, or because there’s already a piece of furniture or window sills wide enough for her to sit on in front of all of our windows. 

I still liked this product a lot, and, with Allegra’s permission, I’m offering it as a giveaway for one lucky kitty.  After all, one cat’s reject could be another cat’s treasure, right?

Sunny Seat cat bed, as seen on tvThe Sunny Seat™ cat bed is designed to attach directly to the window with four giant suction cups – no hardware or tools needed.  I’ll admit, I was skeptical whether something that attaches with suction cups would be secure enough to hold the weight of a cat.  The perch is designed to hold a maximum weight of 40 pounds.  In order to test the sturdiness of the seat, since Allegra wasn’t cooperating (and weighing in at only 8 pounds, she wouldn’t have been a good test subject for this part of the review anyway), I set an 18 pound bag of cat litter on it.  I even bounced the bag to simulate a cat jumping on the seat.  The Sunny Seat™ stayed firmly attached to the window. 

One thing to note, especially if you’re someone like me, who tends to not to read instructions:  it is important that you start with a clean glass surface.  When I mounted the seat the first time, I ignored that part of the instructions, and sure enough, within seconds, the seat detached.  Once I cleaned the window, it stayed securely attached.

The seat is covered with a sturdy cloth cover, which can be easily removed  and is machine washable.  The cover material is not particularly soft, but you can purchase a fleecy seat cushion separately, or you could just put a soft pad or cushion you already have on top.

If visually appealing design matters to you, this may not be the window perch for you – it’s pretty plain looking. Despite that, I think it’s a clever product, and a great solution if your window sills aren’t wide enough to mount some of the other perches on the market, or if you don’t want to damage window sills or walls with mounting strips or hardware.  And at $19.99, the price is right.

The Sunny Seat™ cat bed, as seen on tv:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZAfYVE39gc

For more information and to purchase, visit the Sunny Seat™ website.

To enter the giveway, leave a comment on this post and let me know why you think your cats would like the Sunny Seat™.  Tweet about the giveaway or share on Facebook and post the link in a separate comment for an additional chance to win. 

***

This giveaway ended March 11. You may be able to find additional contests to win a Sunny Seat Cat Bed on the Sunny Seat Facebook page.

This product was sent to me by the company.  I received no compensation for this review.

Cat scratching solutions, and a giveaway to help

You just got a new sofa, and your cat has decided that it makes a wonderful scratching post.  The new carpet in your family room is already showing claw marks.   You’re frustrated, you’ve shooed your cat away, you’ve yelled at her, and she just looks at you as if you’ve gone crazy.  “What’s your problem, human?  I’m just doing what nature intended for me to do!”

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, and none of them have anything to do with intentionally ruining your furniture and carpeting. Scratching is natural behavior.  Cats scratch to groom their claws, the scratching motion helps remove dead sheaths from their front claws (they usually chew them off their back claws).    They scratch to mark their territory.  Their front paws contain scent glands, and scratching leaves behind their unique signature on the object being scratched.  They scratch for exercise; scratching stretches the muscles in the front legs and all along the back.  And they scratch simply because it feels good.

So what can you do to let your cat be a cat, and still protect your furniture?

Provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts.   Both the type of material the scratching surface is made out of as well as the horizontal or vertical orientation of it matter.  Some cats prefer corrugated cardboard, others prefer carpeted surfaces or sisal.   Generally, sisal seems to be the most popular with cats, and it allows them to really go to town on shredding the material to pieces.  Don’t throw out a scratching post when it’s all tattered and shredded, because to your cat, that probably means it’s finally perfectly broken in.  Until you know your cat’s preference, it’s best to have a mixture of horizontal and vertical scratchers with different surfaces.    Most cats seem to prefer vertical scratchers, and they should be tall enough to allow the cat to fully stretch her body.   Regardless of your cat’s preference, you should have multiple scratchers throughout the house.

Make the scratching post appealing to your cat.  Place it in an area where your cat likes to spend time.  Sprinkle some catnip on it to attract the cat to it.  Place treats on or near the post.  Praise your cat when she uses the post (and use treats to reinforce the praise).

Discourage your cat from scratching furniture.  Never punish your cat – punishment simply leads to increased anxiety and more unwanted behavior.  Apply tape to the parts of furniture that are attractive to your cat.  Double-sided Sticky Paws® tape works well (and it’s clear, so it won’t ruin your decor), as does tinfoil.  Apply Feliway® spray to the areas you don’t want your cat to scratch – studies have shown that it can reduce scratching behavior.  Gently, without yelling at your cat, redirect her to a nearby scratching post.

Keep your cat’s nails trimmed.  While this won’t eliminate scratching, trimmed nails can’t do as much damage.  For more on how to trim your cat’s nails, click here.

Soft Paws© Nail Caps.  These soft vinyl tips are glued onto the cat’s claws so they can’t do any damage when the cat scratches.  You can do this yourself, or have it done at your veterinary clinic.  However, I’m not a fan of these nail caps.  The cat’s paws will still have to be handled to apply the caps, and nails have to be trimmed prior to application, so if you’re able to do that, then why not just trim the cat’s nails, period.  Additionally, once the caps are on, cats won’t be able to retract their claws, and I can’t imagine that feels very good to them.

Declawing should never be an option.  When a cat is declawed, it is essentially maimed.  Declawing is a surgical procedure that involves amputating the top join of the cat’s toes.  The Paw Project provides extensive information on this topic.

*** This giveaway is closed ***

Thanks to the folks at StickyPaws, I’m able to offer you a fantastic giveway to help with your cat scratching challenges!  Win a BusyPaws™ Scratch-n-Relax Pad, StickyPaws® Furniture and Carpet Strips, and a Scratch This™ corrugated coardboard scratcher.  To enter, leave a comment sharing either a scratching challenge or a solution that has worked for you.  Share this post and giveaway on Facebook and Twitter and post the link in a separate comment for an additional chance to win.  This giveaway will end on January 21.

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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.