Saturday, June 24, 2017

Conscious Cat Sunday: A (Mostly) Unplugged Weekend


There’s no doubt that technology is awesome.I wouldn’t want to imagine my life without it. From connecting with friends near and far via email and social media to shopping, technology has become as much a part of my every day life as breathing and eating. But of course, as with so many things in life, there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. And while it sounds easy to say “I’m going to unplug for the weekend,” the reality, at least for me, has been that no matter how much I try, I find it quite challenging.

I love being self-employed, and I happily pay the price for the freedom being my own boss brings, which is that you essentially never get a day off. I love what I do, so for me, work and non-work often blends together. But more and more, I’m also realizing that I need to step back from everything on a regular basis. Even when I’m not working, it’s just too tempting to “check Facebook just for a minute.” Next thing I know, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and it’s an hour later. That’s not good for my mental health.

So when friends invited me to their lovely weekend house this past weekend, I was determined to unplug. My friends’ house is surrounded by trees, with a view of the river. The only sounds you hear there are the wind in the trees and the sounds of birds and other wild critters. There is cell phone reception, but no Wifi.

It was weird to pack without taking my laptop, iPad and assorted chargers. I only took my phone, and my Kindle.

I checked my email once on Friday evening. I woke up just before sunrise Saturday morning, and briefly checked email. I started to check in on Facebook, and then realized how crazy that was. There was a beautiful sunrise outside, just waiting to be appreciated. What was I doing staring at my phone? I grabbed a cup of coffee (my hosts were still sleeping, but had thoughtfully primed the coffee maker for their early riser guest) and headed outside. I spent the next hour on the patio, watching the sun rise over the river between the trees. I marveled at the way the light changed from one minute to the next. Assorted critters stopped by to forage for their breakfast. I felt a sense of peace unlike anything I’ve felt in a long time.


For the rest of the weekend, I didn’t touch my phone except to read the texts from my cat sitter, letting me know how the girls were doing, or to take photos. I didn’t check email, I didn’t check Facebook, I didn’t even check comments here on the site (my apologies to anyone whose comments weren’t answered until Monday morning.) I admit I felt a little twitchy at times throughout the day on Saturday at the thought of what might be happening online that I might be missing, but by Sunday, I didn’t give being unplugged another thought and just enjoyed my time with my friends, the beautiful scenery, and the joy of doing absolutely nothing.


“You’re not my mom!” My cat sitter texted me this slightly blurry photo of Ruby expressing her displeasure at me being gone for the weekend.

I came home Sunday evening, refreshed and relaxed. I was tempted to check on everything online that evening, but decided that everything could wait until Monday morning. I spent the evening snuggling with Allegra and Ruby, who were happy to have me home.

And you know what? Everything was still there. My business hadn’t imploded. World news was still bad (one of the best things about the weekend was that I never once checked any news sites.) I don’t think I missed anything important on Facebook, and if I did, I’m sure I’ll eventually find out about it.

I’m going to make a real effort to find a way to unplug more even when I’m home, in my normal routine. Maybe I won’t unplug every weekend, but maybe unplugging for an entire day on Sunday might not be such a bad idea.

How about you? Do you unplug on a regular basis, or do you find it difficult?

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Mews and Nips: Cats Took Over the World Long Before the Internet

Old Gold in my Life- 3 Before and After

I never intended to adopt senior dogs. Never planned to have my heart broken over and over again. But then again, I wasn't prepared for the amazing joys either. I never sought out senior dogs. But they keep finding me.

First there was Brooks. He was 11 yrs old when we adopted him. Someone had apparently dumped the old guy and left him to survive on his own.
This was sad Brooks before we rescued him:

Brooks Before
This was Brooks a few months later, after a little love:

Brooks After

I thought I could never love a dog, or be loved by a dog, the way it was with Brooks. Then came Ike. Here's goofy Ike in the rescue group's photo:

Ike Before
  Here's Ike after we got him, and he became a certified therapy dog. He was so loving.

Ike After
 Recently my husband and I decided to rescue a younger dog. But a month ago Ernest found us. He's 8 1/2 years old. Here he is the day we adopted him. He was scared.

Ernest Before

And here he is one month later. He's happy, relaxed, full of energy and nonstop love.

Ernest After

Why do I love senior goldens? They fit my lifestyle. They're pretty mellow most of the time. And mostly, there is a gentle wisdom about senior dogs. They've learned about life, sometimes the hard way, and they understand what they need. Mostly, my senior goldens have just wanted to be loved. 

Other dogs may come into our life. But we'll always have a place for senior dogs. My husband told me recently that when he retires, he'd like to open a retirement home for senior goldens. I can't think of a better way to spend our golden years.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Where’s Kitty? Dot-to-Dot


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Do you remember connect the dots puzzles? I used to love them as a child. There was something magical about a page full of dots revealing an actual image. Where’s Kitty? Dot-to-Dot is putting a feline spin on this concept.

I was excited to take a trip down memory lane to give some of the thirty puzzles in the book a try, but alas, my eye sight clearly isn’t what it was as a child. Even with reading glasses, I found that my eyes became strained pretty quickly, and while the time I did spend on one puzzle immediately brought back wonderful memories of doing these puzzles on the table in my mom’s kitchen while she prepared meals, I just couldn’t stick with it long enough to finish an image.

Each puzzle features more than 500 numbered dots, and you’ll find Kitty in each of the images featuring famous locations from around the world, including the Empire State Building, Taj Mahal, and Big Ben. A reviewer on Amazon, who had the same issues with the size of the numbers as I did, posted images of completed puzzles that led me back to her blog, Feeling Fictional, including the one below.


I love the idea of this book – I only wish the dots and numbers weren’t quite so small.

Where’s Kitty? Dot-to-Dot is available from Amazon.

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FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Common Feline Eye Problems


While cats don’t have as many eye problems as dogs, feline eye issues tend to be chronic and frequently require a lifetime of care. Detecting problems early can make treatment more effective.

Healthy cat eyes should be clear and bright. The pupils should be of equal size, and the area around the eyeball should be white. Any changes in the eye’s appearance or the area around the eye can be an indicator of a health problem.

If you notice any of the following signs, take your cat to your veterinarian.

Blinking or squinting

Frequent blinking or squinting is always a sign of discomfort. Causes may include an infection, a foreign body in the eye, or a scratch or break in the cornea. Corneal ulceration is one of the most common eye problems in cats.

Discharge, watering or crusty gunk in the corner of the eyes

Discharge from the eyes can range from clear and watery to thick and yellow or greenish. Some cats with chronic viral infections may have occasional or permanent discharge. Frequently, eye discharge will accumulate as a crusty substance in the corners of the eyes.

Visible third eyelid

Cats have an extra eyelid at the inner corner of their eyes. Also known as the nictating membrane, it can protrude as a result of pain or infection. It looks like a whitish or translucent film that moves over the surface of the eyeball.

Red or swollen eyes

Redness and/or swelling in one or both eyes can be a sign of conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye,” a contagious inflammation or infection of the eye. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, exposure to chemicals or allergens, or trauma. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

Cloudiness of change in eye color

If your cat’s eyes appear cloudy, it may be the result of an inner eye or corneal problem. Cloudiness can also be an indicator of cataracts, although they are rare in cats. A dramatic change in eye color in an adult cat can be a sign of a serious medical problem.

Caring for your cat’s eyes

Cats do a pretty good job of grooming themselves and keeping their eyes clean, but sometimes, they may require some assistance. If your cat has frequent eye discharge, use a soft tissue moistened with warm water to wipe the area clean.

Some cats have long hairs around their eyes that may bend toward the eye and scratch the cornea. Even tiny scratches on the cornea can be painful, and lead to serious problems if left untreated. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can trim these hairs back, but be very careful!

Never use eye products designed for humans on your cats.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father’s Day


Whether your kids are human or furry, enjoy your special day!

Father’s Day can be bittersweet for those of us whose fathers are no longer with us. My dad passed away 13 years ago, but I still get a little sad when friends talk about what they’re going to do to celebrate, or when I see Father’s Day cards pop up in stores.

If you still have your father, tell him that you love him today. If you are a father, enjoy your special day!

Ingrid King with her father

Dad and me, during our last visit together

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Mews and Nips: Yoga With Cats


Photo credit: Vincent Tullo for the New York Times

I have to admit, it was quite a thrill to see my name in last week’s New York Times. I was quoted for an article on Yoga With Cats – the article appeared in the online edition last Thursday, and in the print edition this past Sunday. Visit the New York Times to read the entire article (my quote is at the end.)

If you missed any of the stories featured on the Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap: on Monday, Dr. Kris answered your questions from last month, on Tuesday, we featured a cat bed that looks like a slice of toast, on Wednesday, I told you about my visit with Samantha Martin and her Amazing Acro-Cats, and on Friday, we reviewed Cat Tales: True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a Jackson Galaxy Space Station from Petmate!

I love this video of a cat playing on the beach – she’s having so much fun!

Have a great weekend!

Photo by Vincent Tullo for the New York Times, used with permission from Jennifer A. Kingston

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