Tag Archives: cats

Adopting a New Cat: 10 Tips for Newbies

[fr] Quelques conseils et tuyaux pour les personnes peu familières avec les chats.

Not everybody is familiar with cats. Here are some tips and advice for those of you who might find themselves a little at loss with their first adopted cat (or first “real” cat you have the full responsibility of).

Cats (2013 11) -- Mon petit panier de légumes

1. Cat psychology

The main thing to understand about cats is that they are naturally shy animals. They like sheltered places (under then bed) rather than big empty spaces (in the middle of the living room).

If your cat is spooked, leave it alone. It will end up exploring and coming to you, even though it might take weeks. The worst thing you can do is chase after a spooked cat to try and make friends with it. It’s said that cats like those who don’t like them, and there is some truth in there: people who don’t like cats leave them alone.

Cats don’t either like loud noises or brusque movements. To make yourself cat-friendly, avoid speaking too loudly and making scary noises. Move gently. (This is why cats often have trouble with children, who traditionally make a lot of noise and tear about the place ;-) )

2. Cat language

Some cats are talkative and meow, others don’t. Meowing is a way of communicating with humans, so if a cat is meowing, chances are it wants something. Usually one of:

  • food
  • water
  • litter
  • to be let out of where they are
  • reassurance (which might not necessarily mean being scooped up and carried, but maybe just visual contact and hearing your voice)

Sushi en septembre 2

Cat body-language is unlike the dog’s: tail flapping is usually sign of annoyance or discontent (again, some cats have more wavy tails than others and might whip their tail around even when purring — but generally less tail movement = better). Ears backwards is fear. Big dilated pupils too. (Or anger.) Purring is usually good, growling and hissing isn’t.

3. How a cat explores

Most cats will explore only at the speed they’re comfortable. They might spend a lot of time exploring with their eyes/ears/nose first before coming out of their hidey-place. They’ll explore a little and then retreat to safety.

Cuisery 24

You and other humans are part of the territory to explore. If you’re away during the day, be sure the cat is making good use of that time to explore — or sleep!

4. Food, drink, and litter

At the beginning make sure that food, drink, and litter are close at hand for the cat. You don’t want it to go days without food because it’s scared (cats actually don’t do well without food for anything more than 24 hours). If the cat is not eating try and tempt him with something specially tasty.

Keep the litter tray as far as possible from the food and water. The cat might take a while to use it (they’re champions at “holding it in”, specially the “big business”, for what might be days). If you’re worried about time passing by and not enough going in or out of the cat, call a vet for advice with the specifics, they’ll be able to tell you if the cat needs medical attention or just a bit more time.

Most cats don’t like their water near their food. More than one water bowl is a good idea (I spread them around the flat). Avoid plastic for food/water bowls as many cats are allergic and develop acne on their chins.

Keep the litter tray very clean (remove whatever the cat does in it as soon as you see it). Open litter trays are more appreciated than covered ones. A few drops of bleach in the litter will encourage the cat to use it. (Remember, what smells nice to you doesn’t smell nice to the cat, so go gently on those litter deodorants or perfumed litter.)

5. Petting and carrying your cat

Cats usually like to be petted once they’re comfortable (and it can reassure them). Not all cats like to be carried. Scratching under the chin, on the head, stroking on the shoulders is usually safe. Scratching the lower back can be either much appreciated or set the cat off. Bellies are best avoided until you know for sure the cat wants it (rolling and showing you its belly does not always imply it wants you to touch it).

When you carry a cat, make sure you support its behind with one hand. Cats have their habits, so maybe your cat has been used to being carried a certain way. Try and see what your cat does when you pick it up and listen to its body-language, it might give you hints.

If your cat hits you or bites you when you pet it, it might mean

  • that it’s not comfortable enough with you yet (specially if it’s at the beginning and it’s still scared)
  • that it’s “over-stimulated” — there is a fine line between pleasant contact and contact that feels like an agression. In that case, learn to stop petting before it becomes unpleasant for the cat. Watch out for flicking tail, ears backwards, dilated pupils. With time (months/years) you will learn to know when to stop, and the cat will gently stretch out its comfort zone.

Max et Lilly à Saint-Prex -- Max

6. Approaching your cat

If your cat is shy, and even if it isn’t, avoid standing full height when you first approach it. Also avoid looking at it directly (staring is an agressive attitude). Look at the cat, look away, look at the cat, blink, look away, etc. Gently stretch an arm forward as far as you can and point your index finger at cat-height in direction of your cat — as if your finger was another cat’s nose.

Cats greet each other by touching noses, and you can mimic that with a finger. Approach your cat with your finger, very gently, and let it do the last bit (don’t ram your finger in its nose, leave your finger a few centimetres away and let your cat do the last bit). If your cat is scared and retreats, retreat too and try again later. Speak gently/softly when you do this.

Once the cat has touched your finger it will probably retreat a bit, or come and rub its head against your hand. Let it do it a bit, and then see if you can pet it a bit with a finger or scratch head or cheeks!

7. Enrichment: toys, outdoors, cat tree

Cats are hunters. They sleep a lot (upto 16 hours a day, mostly when you’re not around). If your cat is an indoor cat you are going to have to play with it every day. Here’s an article (in French) about how to care properly for an indoor cat. Expensive toys are not necessary (they bring more pleasure to you than the cat, so spend wisely). A piece of string or a rolled ball of paper you can throw are fine. Corks on a string and ping-pong balls are great. Fishing-rod style toys are good as they really help you be active with your cat. Clicker training is also something you might consider, as it’s a nice cat-human activity, and it can do wonders in getting a shy/less-sociable cat to bond with you.

An indoor cat absolutely needs a scratching post. It should be really sturdy and tall enough for the cat to stretch out completely when scratching (that can be over 1m high for a big cat!)

If your cat is going outdoors, wait at least 3 weeks to a month before letting it out. More if the cat is still not comfortable with you, doesn’t come when called, or is not quite at ease indoors. Here is an article (in French) that explains how I proceed for letting my cats outdoors.

A cat is going to be happier in a cluttered environment than in a place full of open spaces. It doesn’t mean you need to live in a mess, but particularly at the beginning if you can leave paper bags and cardboard boxes lying around, or a chair in the hallway, etc., it will make it easier on the cat (you’re creating hiding-places). It’s also important that the cat has somewhere to look outside. They’ll spend a lot of time “virtually hunting” just by observing the outside world.

Max et Lilly à Saint-Prex -- Attentive

You can create more “space” for your cat inside by thinking in 3D: where can the cat climb? This adds surface to its territory.

And indoor cat should have access to “cat grass” (usually wheat). You can get it in supermarkets or pet stores depending on your area or plant it yourself. They use it to purge themselves of the fur they ingest while grooming.

8. Education

The golden rule of education is: be firm and consistent. Imitate a mother cat with her kittens: if you decide your cat is not allowed on the kitchen table, a sharp “no!” and swift removal of the cat should work (just pick it up and put it on the floor, or if it’s skittish enough, chase it off with your hand — or it might just jump off as you approach). I usually continue saying “no!” in a stern tone until the cat is back in “permitted” territory. (Be reasonable though: a cat needs to be allowed on the furniture in general!)

It’s usually unnecessary (just sayin’!) to hit your cat. If you have a specially stubborn cat like my Tounsi you might have to swat it on the top of the head with two fingers (imitate a cat paw coming down sharply) but use this with care and circumspection.

What works better for cats who insist on getting into trouble (destroying your houseplants for example) is to run/walk fast towards them, yell or make a huge hissing sound when you get near (like an angry cat), and when they move, chase them away by running after them. This is really imitating what another cat would do.

This technique can also be used for a cat who does not know play limits and bites or scratches you. Stop interacting immediately, hiss and chase the cat away. Then ignore it.

Clicker training can also be a very useful tool for education. (Watch videos on YouTube if you don’t know what it can do.) It can help replace unwanted behaviours by wanted behaviours. Not to mention it can help with useful things like getting a cat into a carrier or having it let you examine its paws.

Quintus has no shame, comfort before everything 1

9. Safety

Open windows and unsecured balconies. Cats do fall from windows and balconies and injure themselves (the cat never getting hurt by a fall is a myth). Tilt open windows are dangerous for cats as they might try and get out through them and get caught in the crack (and die).

Some plants are toxic to cats (famously, lilies — Google will serve you umpteen lists). Antifreeze is very attractive to them, and deadly.

Be careful with power cords (risk of electric shock) and electric/ceramic cookers (burns). Don’t let them swallow string or ribbons (risk of intestinal occlusion).

Chocolate is toxic to cats. So are tomatoes and a whole lot of other human food that doesn’t agree with them well. Cats don’t digest milk, it gives them diarrhoea. They are strict carnivores and should normally not eat anything besides high-quality cat food. (Ask your vet for advice. Supermarket cat-food is usually suboptimal but some brands are good.)

Permethrin, which is found in some insecticides (including dog anti-flea products) is deadly for cats.

A cat which has not eaten for 24 hours is a medical emergency (risk of hepatic lipidosis).

10. Vet and carrier box

If you can, make sure you can get your cat into the carrier box before you need it (but don’t over-spook an already spooked cat by doing it unnecessarily). Leave the carrier outside for a few days instead of taking it out of wherever it is just when you use it. Lure the cat inside with treats. Let it come back out. Put a treat in the back of the carrier, close the door, give a treat, open the door again to let it out. With a bit of practice chances are you’ll have a cat that runs into its carrier to get a treat.

Ask your cat friends for a vet recommendation before you need one. If your cat seems to be settling ok, it can be a good thing to take it to the vet for an initial check-up. Like that the vet gets to meet the cat when it’s in good health and doesn’t need to be tortured too much ;-)

Safran aime mon jardin palette 3

Eye issues shouldn’t wait before seeing a vet. Cats are fragile with colds, so a coughing, sneezing, or sniffling cat should see a vet quickly. Cats hide pain very well, so often the first sign you will notice of a cat not being well is that it’s more quiet, doesn’t want to play, isn’t eating much — or simply doesn’t follow its usual habits. If you notice such changes in behaviour, call your vet for advice and probably a check-up. It’s better to catch something minor early than wait too long and end up with a dead cat (sorry to be dramatic but these things happen).

Have fun with your cat!

There, I think I’ve covered the essentials. If you have any questions, use the comments. And have fun with your new cat :-)

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Posted in Animals | Tagged adopting, adult cat, advice, behaviour, cats, new cat, newbie | 2 Comments

Fiddling With Video: Lightroom, YouTube, and iMovie

[fr] Je m'amuse avec iMovie. Ça donne une vidéo de chats, bien sûr.

In November, I had Thierry Weber come and give my SAWI students a short practical course about YouTube and online video. It gave me a kick in the pants to (1) accept that YouTube has grown up a lot since its early days and is now a nice platform and (2) decide to put more video material out there.

I still have issues with video: either you edit heavily, and it takes hours of work to get a few minutes out of the door, or you share raw, unedited clips and it takes a long time to consume, requiring the viewer’s undivided attention. Also, like audio, there is no way to really speed through video: if it’s an hour long, that’s the time it’ll take you to watch it. You have way less freedom than with text regarding which bits you skip, pay attention to, go back to, or pay little attention to.

I have hours of video shot in India in 2004 that I have not yet done anything with. And that’s just one example.

So, between the kick in the pants, the HD iPhone always at hands, and cats (the primary source of all online content), I’ve been doing more video these last months. Some of them have ended up on my YouTube channel, but not many (can you imagine I actually have the username “steph” on YouTube? yeah.) But most of them are sitting on my hard drive due to logistical difficulties in turning them into something. (Ugly sentence, sorry.)

Today I had made enough progress sorting my photographs that I felt it was time to tackle my videos. Here’s a peek at how I’m doing things.

  • Firstly, I import all videos into Lightroom with my photos, be they from the iPhone or my proper camera.
  • I use Lightroom to organise them in a separate folder than the photos (per month) and topical subfolders if needed. This means that in my 2013/03/ photos folder, in addition to the various photos subfolders I may have (2013/03/Cats at the chalet or 2013/03/Mountains) I will have a folder named 2013/03/videos 03.2013 which might contain 2013/03/videos 03.2013/Cats in chalet garden and a few others, feline-themed or not.
  • If anything needs trashing, I do it in Lightroom, ditto for renaming. Clips can also be trimmed in Lightroom if I haven’t done it before on my iPhone (oh, a note about that: a clip trimmed on the iPhone isn’t recognised for import by Lightroom; it seems that restarting the phone gets rid of the issue.) If I’m going to upload individual clips to YouTube I keyword them “YouTube” and upload them directly to YouTube from the website.
  • For stuff I want to edit: I import the clips I need into iMovie (hopefully I will have collected the clips needed for one project into one single directory in Lightroom, like 2013/01/videos 01.2013/India snippets and keyword them with “iMovie” in Lightroom. This means they exist twice on my hard drive, but I don’t think there is a good way to avoid that (except maybe trash the Lightroom versions, which I’m loathe to do because I like the idea of having all my video stuff organised somewhere, and I like the way Lightroom does it better than iMovie).
  • My video editing skills are extremely limited: today I figured out (without access to iMovie help, which is online!) how to add a title and credits to my little series of clips stuck together end-to-end to create a mini-movie. Head over to YouTube to see my cats explore the big outdoors are the chalet for the first time.

There we go, more cat videos on the internets from my part!

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Posted in Animals, Tools | Tagged auchalet, cats, imovie, iPhone, lightroom, organisation, upload, video, youtube | Leave a comment

Samedi soir fatigué

[en] Tired Saturday evening post.

Après quatre jours de SAWI (module 4), je suis raide, mais contente. C’est surtout aux étudiants qu’il faut le demander, mais je crois que ce module s’est vraiment bien passé.

Je voulais aller au cinéma hier soir mais je n’ai pas eu le courage de m’extraire de chez moi. Aujourd’hui, par contre, je m’y tiens. J’ai besoin d’aérer mon cerveau avant que la semaine prochaine démarre (une demi-journée de consulting, une conférence, une demi-journée d’enseignement: je vais encore bosser samedi).

J’ai sorti les chats et fait une vidéo de Tounsi, qui est fort câlin ces temps. Période des chaleurs? Possible. Quintus et lui sont de plus en plus “copains”, si on peut dire. Sommeil “en contact” (ils aiment visiblement les deux assez un coin particulier sur le canapé pour tolérer la proximité de l’autre afin d’y être), un peu de judo, courses-poursuites dehors… Contente aussi.

Cats in Contact

En passant, j’ai remarqué la forte viralité des photos de Tounsi sur Facebook. Quintus est moins populaire, peut-être parce qu’il est moins comique que Tounsi, juste très très cute.

Tounsi Facebook screenshot

Quintus Facebook screenshot

Premier panier de légumes du jardin potagerPour la deuxième fois, je suis allée chercher jeudi mon panier de légumes du jardin potager. J’adore. C’est juste en face de chez moi. Je vous en dirai plus long dans un autre article.

Encore contente: #back2blog fonctionne bien cette fois aussi, et mon groupe Going Solo pour indépendants également. Tout baigne. J’ai juste un peu trop de pain sur la planche d’ici fin avril.

2ème Back to Blogging Challenge, jour 6. Bloguent aussi: Nathalie Hamidi(@nathaliehamidi), Evren Kiefer (@evrenk), Claude Vedovini (@cvedovini), Luca Palli (@lpalli), Fleur Marty (@flaoua), Xavier Borderie (@xibe), Rémy Bigot (@remybigot),Jean-François Genoud (@jfgpro), Sally O’Brien (@swissingaround), Marie-Aude Koiransky (@mezgarne), Anne Pastori Zumbach (@anna_zap), Martin Röll (@martinroell), Gabriela Avram (@gabig58), Manuel Schmalstieg (@16kbit), Jan Van Mol (@janvanmol), Gaëtan Fragnière (@gaetanfragniere), Jean-François Jobin (@gieff). Hashtag:#back2blog.

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Posted in Animals, Food, Personal | Tagged back2blog, cats, lejardinpotager, quintus, sawi, tired, tounsi | 2 Comments

CatBlock Fills Your Internets With Cats

[fr] CatBlock vous montre qu'internet est fait de chats. Miaou!

The other day, Anna told me I should blog about CatBlock for Chrome. Here we go.

You knew the internet was made of cats, right? Well, instead of simply hiding ads like AdBlock, CatBlock reveals all the hidden cats inside them.

Since I’ve been using it, it has greatly helped me get my daily cat fix. Yes, with CatBlock, my work is no longer interrupted by a sudden urge to run off and look at cat pictures on Tumblr or I Can Has Cheezburger. (Or wherever the cute cats are hiding nowadays.)

See it in action:

Blog with CatBlock

Blog with Cat (CatBlock

Une Nuit au Sahara -- catblock

catblock -- rencontre sérieuse

You can even send in photos of your own cats if you like. Did you spot Safran?

And if you’re not that into cats, you can tell CatBlock to display pretty much anything: unicorns, dogs, or even motorbikes.

Go download AdBlock/CatBlock, which started off as an April Fools’ joke. You’ll have to pay a small monthly fee but it’s a great way to support the developer of AdBlock.

Meow!

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Posted in Tools | Tagged adblock, ads, catblock, cats, chrome, extension | 1 Comment

Cats Online: Quintus and Tounsi

[fr] Photos et vidéos de chats :-)

Being a proper cat lady and an expert in social media I of course make sure my cats’ online presence is at least decent. Twitter doesn’t work too well because we only have one phone for the three of us, and I get to use it most of the time. On Facebook, I have thankfully (for my friends) joined a francophone “cat people” group where I post most of the kitty photos I take. Quintus and Tounsi do have their own presence on Facebook, though it’s spotty at best. (Do please like them, it’s good for their egos.)

During the last module of the social media and online communities course I direct, Thierry Weber came to give a couple of hours of training on YouTube and online video. I “played student” for the occasion, which inspired me to tinker a bit more with video in the future. I actually did some “videoblogging” early on, and was a rabid user of the initial Seesmic, but never really got into YouTube. Probably because I joined it early on (my username is “steph“, that should tell you) when it was still really crappy. (Which is why I used to post more to DailyMotion or Viddler.) I’ve also always found messing around with video formats and codecs and upload size a real nightmare, but now it’s much easier. With an iPhone and a programme like iExplorer to get the videos off it (warning: you have to pay), I’m actually looking forward to making some videos while I’m in India next month. Oh yeah: video editing… not so much for me. I shoot short sequences, throw them online, and that’s it.

So, without further ado, cat photos (Tounsi and Quintus) and videos from the last days.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Animals | Tagged cats, photos, quintus, reminiscing, seesmic, tounsi, video | Leave a comment

How Was 2012 So Far?

[fr] 2012, année chaotique, mais qui se termine avec un retour vers la stabilité. 2013 s'annonce plutôt bien.

A conversation last night had me thinking back about the last few years. This morning, I stumbled upon this post that I wrote end 2009.

2009 was a good year. I felt like I was getting my act together. Everything came crumbling down in 2010, my “shit year“, and 2011 was largely a year of grieving. Healthy grieving, I’d like to add. Not easy to go through, but a hugely empowering life experience.

What about 2012? Well, it’s not quite finished, though I have two weeks of Lausanne life to go before heading off to India for my annual vacation. So I might as well look back now.

2012 has been chaotic. It’s been a year of changes and uncertainty, both personal and professional. You know how at times you feel like your life or a relationship has not reached its point of equilibrium? That it’s in flux, going somewhere, but not there yet? That’s what 2012 has felt like. On a very practical day-to-day level (the most important one, actually!) I adopted two cats, lost one two months later, and brought another one back from the UK just about a month and a half after that. It may seem like nothing, but for somebody who sometimes finds day-to-day life a bit of a challenge, it was quite a disruption in my life, and whatever was left of the routines and habits I’d formed the previous years kind of flew out the window. To give just one example, I climbed back on my exercise bike for what is possibly the first time in 2012… yesterday.

Tounsi & Quintus à l'eclau, proximité 3

In addition to that 2012 came with its lot of work changes and uncertainty: the end of a long-standing gig, two other important sources of work and revenue left hanging for quite a few months, growing dissatisfaction with the social media industry and figuring out where I want to go these next years…

All this shuffling around was taking me somewhere, and I think that with the year wrapping up, I’m pretty much there. Things are stabilizing. (Proof if needed: In addition to climbing back on my bike, I cleaned the dust webs off my ceiling again this week-end, something I’d been doing regularly in 2009 but that disappeared sometime between now and then.)

2013 is looking good — and exciting.

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Posted in Personal | Tagged 2012, bilan, cats, chaos, habits, life, routine, summary | Leave a comment

Cockerel, Anybody?

[fr] Plein de nouvelles!

So, what’s up?

I’m in the UK. I’m helping Aleika find a new home for one of her cockerels, Hercule Poirot. He’s a super-good-looking guy, and he takes his job with the hens very seriously.

Hercule Poirot Head Shots 4

Do you know anybody in the UK who has chickens (hens!) and would like a stunning rooster to look over them? Do let me know.

I have had a week of holiday planned here for months, and in between Safran’s death and Somak’s appointment as Professor of Physics at Presidency University, Kolkata (so… back to India for the three of them!), we decided I would be taking Quintus back with me.

Quintus in Birmingham 6

Do you know any good people in Calcutta/Kolkata? I’m particularly interested in getting in touch with

  • people who are into organic farming/gardening in the area
  • expats who have done the move from the UK sometime during the last three years or so (moving companies! shipping! organisation!)

For those who may not know, Bagha was also initially Aleika’s cat, and I adopted him when they moved from India to the UK, coming back home from India with him in my luggage. So, a little sense of déjà vu here ;-)

On the work front, the OrangeCinema Official Bloggers project is underway. I spent a few days grading final reports for the course on social media and online communities I co-direct in Lausanne (some excellent, I have to say) and we’re preparing to welcome students for the third year of the course in September. I am looking for more writers for the ebookers.ch travel blog, and eclau is looking forward to everyone in Lausanne hearing more about coworking through the opening of a second space there, La Muse (which started out in Geneva). I will by the way be attending the Coworking Europe Conference 2012 in Paris (and probably speaking, will confirm in a couple of weeks). I have rekindled my enthusiasm for organising Bloggy Friday meetups (please do come to the next one, July 6th!) There’s more to say, but this is becoming a long paragraph ;-)

What else should I tell you? I’m reading Drive, by Dan Pink, a fascinating book on motivation — and you should too, whether you’re interested in how your own motivation works, or in how to keep other people motivated (I’m thinking of taking a Sagmeister). I’ve started a group on Facebook for people in and around my area (and a bit further out) who like growing stuff on their balcony and elsewhere. I’m in the process of figuring out how to continue juggling judo, sailing, and singing (answer: be super organized). On the way to Birmingham, I stopped by for a day to stay with Steph and meet Emile The Cat.

Emile The Cat 1

I might not have told you, but Steph is my organisation inspiration (amongst many other things, which include being a very good friend!) and so I seized the occasion to face my calendar head-on and get a few holiday/travel dates sorted out. Short version: I don’t have a week-end available until June 2013 (don’t panic for me: it includes week-ends I have blocked out as “must stay at home and relax”).

I’ve also been realizing what a long way I’ve come regarding my organisational and time-management skills. Oh, I still fall in the pit every now and again, but a few discussions lately with people who seem to share the same core issues I have (had?) with time management, procrastination, perfectionism made me realize how far I have traveled.

I’m sure there was other stuff I wanted to say/blog about, but that’s the lovely thing about a blog, right? I can just write about it tomorrow, or the day after, or when I think of it. “Just.”

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Posted in Bloggy Friday, Coworking, India, My work, Personal | Tagged Animals, bagha, birmingham, calendar, cats, cockerel, emile, hercule poirot, holidays, My work, organisation, quintus, time management | 1 Comment

Having Cats

[fr] Avoir des chats, c'est aussi: des interactions sociales avec voisinage, amis, et connaissances; des pauses jeu, câlins, sorties; un encouragement à prendre soin de moi, en prenant soin d'eux; des balades dans le voisinage, pour les accompagner ou les trouver; un espace coworking muni de chats!

You might remember, when I was grieving Bagha, that I tried to sort through what pain was associated with not having a cat anymore, and what was of the loss of one particular cat I had loved, Bagha.

With my new cats, I am remembering there is a bunch of nice things about having cats (aside from them making your travels slightly more complicated) — whoever they are.

  • They help me connect to people socially. There are people in the neighbourhood I had pretty much not spoken to since Bagha’s death, and that I have spoken to again during these last weeks, because pretty much all we can easily socially connect on is cats. I find myself wanting to invite people over more (“come and see the cats” is a great pretext and easier than “I’d enjoy spending time with you” — I probably need to work on that, though ;-) )
  • They encourage me to take downtime. Whether it’s watching them in the garden, playing with them, or petting sessions, I’ve been “stopping” more.
  • I have to care for them on a daily basis, and I’ve found that in a strange way, taking care of something/someone else encourages me to take care of myself too.
  • I walk around my neighbourhood, either to accompany them, or to look for them :-)
  • I again manage a coworking space featuring kitty company, entertainment, and relaxation!

Er... Can you get down, please?

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Posted in Personal | Tagged cats, lifestyle, safran, tounsi | Leave a comment

Trucs en vrac

[en] A bunch of tips: kitty litter in the bathtub and how to clean the litter box properly and easily, deactivate 3G for better phone call quality, kill all your iPhone app "history" to improve battery life, think about your motivating end objective to find the courage to tackle the unexciting task at hand, keep ginger/garlic paste and other fresh spices in the freezer for Indian cooking, and use the Google Calendar web interface to add tasks to your days - with checkboxes!

Je pourrais faire un article pour chacun, mais non, allez, en vrac.

  • désactiver le 3G sur son smartphone pour que ses appels passent par le 2G, bien moins chargé (données!) — meilleure qualité sonore et moins d’appels coupés
  • pour se motiver, ne pas penser à la tâche à faire mais à l’objectif plus large vers lequel il nous amène (réserver les billets d’avion pour l’Inde… bleh… par contre, je me réjouis d’aller en Inde, et pour ça il faut des billets d’avion!)
  • la caisse des chats dans la baignoire pour diminuer la quantité de litière qui se balade dans la salle de bains (et dans l’appart); bonus, on nettoie sa baignoire chaque jour avant la douche (c’est vite fait)
  • pour vider la caisse, ma technique, inspirée par la vidéo en bas de cette page (super informative) sur tout ce qui touche à la litière pour chats:
    1. utiliser de la litière “clumping” (vous aimeriez gratter dans un bac de sable imbibé de pipi, vous?)
    2. soulever la caisse et l’agiter de droite à gauche comme un tamis: les divers “blocs” remontent à la surface
    3. mettre avec la pellette tout ce qui est visible dans un petit sachet plastique que vous nouerez une fois l’opération terminée et stockerez “quelque part” en attendant la prochaine sortie poubelles (balcon/rebord de fenêtre en hiver, ou boîte hermétique)
    4. taper une ou deux fois la boîte au sol (attention les voisins de dessous!) pour décoller ce qui serait resté coller, agiter, ramasser…
    5. faire un dernier “tour de bac” systématique, en raclant le sable d’un côté à l’autre, pour être sûr qu’on a rien oublié et ramasser les petits bouts qui trainent!
    Répéter 2-3 fois par jour (suivant le nombre de chats et de caisses), et dès qu’il y a des petits îlots dans la caisse :-) . En passant, le nombre de caisses idéal c’est “nombre de chats +1″ (cf. détention convenable du chat d’appartement)
  • pour la cuisine indienne, garder au congél dans des sachets ziploc feuilles de curry, blocs de pâte au gingembre et à l’ail, feuilles de coriandre, piments…
  • utiliser l’interface web de Google Calendar qui permet d’ajouter facilement des tâches à un jour donné (avec la petite case à cocher, s’il vous plaît!); on peut les glisser-déplacer d’un jour à l’autre, les créer directement sur la bonne journée (cliquer le lien “Task” quand on crée un événement), ne pas leur attribuer de date au départ et en attribuer une en faisant “monter” la tâche dans la liste classée chronologiquement. Reste à synchroniser avec iCal (si ça peut), mais c’est pour plus tard. (voir mon calendrier idéal)
  • [Edit 09.05.12: attention, il semblerait que ceci soit de l'intox! cf. commentaires] tuer tout “l’historique” des tâches sur votre iPhone pour récupérer une autonomie de batterie respectable (je crois que c’est ça qui m’a fait passer de “bon sang, 20% restants à 14h” à “bon sang, 76% restants à 21h!”): double-clic sur le bouton pour faire apparaître la liste, appuyer longuement sur une des applications pour faire afficher les petits boutons “kill” en haut à gauche de chaque icône, puis s’en donner à coeur joie; confirmez-moi si ça marche!

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Posted in Life Improvement | Tagged 3g, battery, battery life, calendar, cats, cellphone, litterbox, motivation, phone quality, tasks, tips | 3 Comments

Three Weeks With My New Cats, Tounsi and Safran

[fr] Photos et nouvelles de mes nouveaux chats, Tounsi et Safran. Ils sortent depuis vendredi, allez voir les photos!

Gosh, three weeks already. I thought I was going to update you more regularly (well, if you’re subscribed to me on Facebook, you will have got many photographic updates — see also on Flickr) but time just flew by.

Where to start? Well, first, they have names. They had shelter names when I adopted them, of course: El Tunis and Brando. Now they have their real names: Tounsi and Safran.

Tounsi all set to go out Safran all set to go out

Here they are at eclau, ready to go outside. They don’t normally wear collars, but I got some elastic ones that are easy to slip on and off and made some name tags for them. They’ll wear them when they go out while they get acquainted with their new territory and the humans which inhabit it. This was after their first day out, back home (they have their “spots” on the couch:

Copycats

They have pretty different characters.

Tounsi is not that interested in humans to begin with, but he loves being petted and cuddled. He’s the dominant one of the two, independant, and a hunter. I have banned catnip mice from the flat (this video will show you why). He has round eyes, his lips are always slightly parted (and that’s when he doesn’t forget to close his mouth!), and his elbows stick out a bit — added to the fact he is very alert and tends to trot around to whatever interesting is going on, it gives him a bit of a comical look. He’s very soft, and always very hungry (he’s lost a bit of his paunch since I have him, but it’s been a struggle for me to figure out how to feed them).

Safran is very very cute. He looks like a cuddly soft toy. He’s a flirt: he always comes up to new humans, and if you crouch down, he’ll put his front paws on your knee or even on your shoulder and give you kitty-kisses in the ear (or lick it!). Very cute. But beware! He’s in fact quite shy, and his tolerance for petting is quickly reached. He lets you know that with teeth and claws (more often the former). That means that it’s fine to pet and cuddle him (carefully!) when he comes to you, but he’s better left alone if he’s napping in a corner. Same goes with carrying: when in the mood, he’ll try and climb on your shoulders and settle there, but if you pick him up to carry him you’ll be greeted with bites, hisses and growls (depending on the situation). I sense some learned helplessness here: he doesn’t even struggle to jump down (even when he’s free to just hop down!) but hisses and bites.

They are both splendidly litter-trained (not a single accident, fingers crossed!), and have mostly given up on trying to eat my plants and shred my tatamis and yucca with their claws since I got them kitty grass and a proper scratching post (this is only their third day with access to the outside). Look at the equipment:

New Cats 44.jpg

We do everything together

(Litter box in bathtub: less litter all over the bathroom and flat, and I clean my bathtub every day — it’s never been so clean!)

New Cats 223.jpg

The first week with Tounsi and Safran was not that easy. Not their fault, but I had a very hard time naming them, I didn’t love them yet (I’m starting to), and I had a sudden backlash of grief (expected) about Bagha. The fact that Tounsi looks and behaves more like Bagha than I initially thought was particularly painful. I mean, look at these two photos, and tell me if they don’t remind you of somebody:

Tounsi Channeling Bagha

New Cats 95.jpg

Well, the hardest is past, they have been introduced to eclau and are starting to feel comfortable there, and they’ve been going outside (supervised most of the time) since Friday. I’m so happy for them! As for me, I’m starting to settle down and get used to having them around. I’m even starting to like them!

Head over to the rest of the photos.

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Posted in Personal | Tagged Animals, bagha, cats, safran, tounsi | 3 Comments