Spring means kitten season is in full swing! Catch up with The Critter Room and TinyKittens.

the_critter_room_note_cards_pk_of_10-horzGoodness, kitten season has kicked off in a big way as seen through the live cams of The Critter Room and TinyKittens.

“What are live kitten cams,” you say?

Foster Dad John Bartlett with Spock
Foster Dad John Bartlett with Spock

It’s a real world view of kittens being fostered by people dedicated to their welfare. The cams come complete with chat rooms so you can get to know your fellow cat lovers. It’s a great stress reliever, community builder and kitten classroom where viewers can learn all about the ups and downs of fostering kittens. Continue reading “Spring means kitten season is in full swing! Catch up with The Critter Room and TinyKittens.”

Faced with denying your pet medical care because of the cost? Now help is available through Four Paws Lifeline

four-paws-and-31-talesUPDATE: Four Paws Lifeline has released a book of pet stories, told from the point of view of the pet. This lovely book will help raise funds for this organization which provides help for vet expenses. Four Paws and 31 Tales is available from Amazon for only $10 — pick up your copy today and support this wonderful organization.

My guilty pleasure is my love of cats. I have two that I spoil (Jenny and Rameses); I also spend time watching live kitten cams and chatting with other cat lovers. I grew up with dogs and love them too.

jenny and rameses

Along with the pleasure of their company is the responsibility for their well-being. What happens when your beloved pet is struck with a catastrophic medical emergency? What do you do if the lifesaving procedure your pet needs costs more than you can afford? Continue reading “Faced with denying your pet medical care because of the cost? Now help is available through Four Paws Lifeline”

Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people

This is my latest monthly column for The Catholic Free Press.
I have now admitted in print that I am a crazy cat lady! 🙂

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a crazy cat lady. There, I said it.

While I have two cats of my own, that’s only the beginning. I also follow live kitten cams online and chat regularly with the many viewers. My main reason for visiting Facebook is to follow the lives of foster kittens after they have been adopted. Continue reading “Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people”

From Kitten Cam to Granny Cam: The beauty of seniors

Picking up Peaches from Purrfect Pals (from The Critter Room)
Picking up Peaches from Purrfect Pals (from The Critter Room)

Foster Dad John has a new foster—meet Peaches Chutney. She is not a kitten but a beautiful elder calico. At thirteen she (along with four other older cats) was surrendered to a shelter. All five cats have hyperthyroidism, a common condition for older cats that requires treatment.

Lady Peaches Chutney (from The Critter Room)
Lady Peaches Chutney (from The Critter Room)

Adopted by a community

Foster Dad John’s shelter, Purrfect Pals, rescued these five seniors from being euthanized as the other shelter could no longer keep them. Members of the Kitten Cam community raised over three thousand dollars in just a few days to secure medical treatment for these cats.

And now Peaches Chutney (aka “Granny”) has won the kitty jackpot being placed in the home of Foster Dad John. John has a special affection for seniors as several of his own cats fit into this category.

 As you can see, cat and human have fallen in love:

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Do cats really sleep 16 hours per day?

It’s funny watching the chat that goes along with the live Granny cam: “O! She moved.” “Cute meow!” Obviously not a lot of action from a senior. Cats are reported to sleep some sixteen hours a day. We’re getting a first hand look with Lady Peaches.

Growing mellow with age

me-with-noah1Peaches is a cat that I instantly want to scoop up into my arms. Senior cats can be so loving and affectionate. I remember my Noah, standoffish and grouchy most of his life until he hit fifteen; then he turned into a total love. Bacci was a senior I adopted from my late mother’s nursing home and I lost my heart to him the day he tapped me on the arm with his giant mitten paw.

Old is good.

Calling for John
Calling for John

And I love how Foster Dad John’s “Granny cam” brings that point home. This Granny cam is such a wonderful way to promote the idea of adopting senior pets. They have a lot of love to give and want all the love you can give in return.

Old is scary.

Old is good but old is also scary. You take risks getting attached to seniors. They have health problems. They suffer and sometimes they get crabby because they hurt. And they pass away and break the heart you gave so freely to them.

Taking a chance with the heart

me and jackieElderly cats. Elderly people. My best friend just turned eighty and I am fifty-nine. Jackie is deep, gentle, loving, funny and empathetic. I can’t imagine my life without her but I know that time will be coming sooner rather than later. I know it’s risky to give my heart away so totally to her but I can’t help it. It’s worth my heart being busted to pieces just so I can be a part of Jackie’s life, even for a short time.

John and Peaches. Me and Jackie.

Yeah. Old is good.

Check out the Granny Cam on Livestream and see Peaches in action (though likely she will be sleeping :-)).

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Give a gift of kittens to your friends while supporting a no-kill cat shelter – 20% Off on The Critter Room Memory Book!

Wondering what to give your cat-loving friend?

How about giving twice with just one purchase?

640 critter room memory book banner1For a limited time during this holiday season, The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One is being offered at a 20% discount – now just $15.95 for this 68 page book chock full of:

  • tons of color photos from Foster Dad John, “Mr  Ripley” (James Petts) and Tam Woods  including closeups of your favorite kittens and mama cats. Lots of Facebook screen shots.
  • an interview with Foster Dad John by Connie of “Tails of Foster Kittens”
  • fan art by Cazul R, “Thorn” and Sandra Andreasen
  • kitten collages by Nicoya Grobman
  • fan fiction by Jill Pickford and Annie Staats
  • remembrances of Peter and Honey

Purrfect Pals, the fabulous no-kill cat shelter that sponsors The Critter Room receives $7.15 for each book sold.

Check out these sample pages:

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Ruth Ludlam recently reviewed The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One  on Amazon:

I have been watching the Foster Kitten Cam and share the experience of the community described in this book. It seems to me that different people understand the kitten cam in different ways. Some just enjoy seeing cute kittens. Others learn about cats and fostering. Susan Hoyle Bailey shares my perception of the kitten cam as a force for the good in the lives of all involved. The experience brings out empathy, altruism, and generosity in the viewers, and we learn these qualities from Foster Dad John and from each other. I watch for more than just loving the kittens and cats; I watch because I know this is a community with a positive impact on the world. I would like to think that the goodness shared in the community ripples out and touches the lives of others, even those who really don’t get why we watch and care so much.

Thank you for expressing the goodness of the kitten cam community so clearly, and sharing your thoughts with the world.

Introduce your friends to the wonderful work done by Purrfect Pals including their Foster-Prison program which is now socializing two of Foster Dad John’s kittens, Ellen and Luna.

Get The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One for the cat-lover in your life or treat yourself to a copy.

Another way to give to Purrfect Pals is to buy copies for them to sell in their store–they receive the donation from your purchase plus the sale of the book in their store. You can send your books to:

Purrfect Pals
230 McRae Rd NE
Arlington, WA 98223

Thank you for your support of Purrfect Pals.

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The reviews are in! Update on the success of The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One

Thanks to all of you who have ordered The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One – so far we’ve raised over $900 for the Purrfect Pals no-kill cat shelter (exact figures – 102 books sold, $910.68 USD; £17.20 GBP; €17.28 EUR).

Here are reviews from Amazon, :

5 star graphic
I just wanted to let you know that I received my book today. All I can say is….. MARVELOUS!!! This book is a wonderful reminder of all the work and effort John puts into all his fosters. I laughed, I cried. I remembered. The only John left out in his interview is how Dorian flirts with each Momcat. LOL This is great fundraiser for Purrfect Pals. I can’t wait for the next volume. Well done to everyone who was a big part of the creation of this book.
A lovely book! Perfect for any fan of The Critter Room or, really, anyone who loves cats and kittens. Looking forward to Volume 2!
Received my book yesterday and had to look it over on the spot. In a word: PAWSOME! Even if you are not a follower of The Critter Room, the stories about these kitty families, coupled with the tireless efforts Foster Dad John and Purrfect Pals, is absolutely heart warming. I love the fact that you have their early days chronicled in front of you and can the follow them on Facebook to see where they are today. Can’t wait for Volume 2!
What a wonderful book. Foster Dad John and Purrfect Pals will touch your heart.

Double the Donation!

How about buying two or three extra books to send directly to Purrfect Pals so they can sell them in the store?  That doubles the donation and exposes more people to the book. Contact Connie Gabelein on the Purrfect Pals website to let her know of your intention and to find out the shelter’s address.

What inspired me to make the book

1. Two kittens – Ray and Arthur (now Ace) – I wanted high quality prints of these two adorable guys:

ray and arthur

2. All the wonder fan art:

L- Honey welcome Peter by Cazul R; R - Sheba reads to Honey and Peter by Sandra Sarah Bjødstrup Andreasen
L- Honey welcome Peter by Cazul R; R – Sheba reads to Honey and Peter by Sandra Sarah Bjødstrup Andreasen

 3. The fan fiction by Jill Pickford and Annie Staats which includes “Over the Bridge” and Ray’s letter to Trillian.

Now I have my scrapbook of memories and many of you do as well. Grab your copy of The Critter Room Memory Book Volume One if you don’t have one yet, donate copies to Purrfect Pals or give some as gifts – Christmas is coming … 🙂

Thanks for all your support of Purrfect Pals!

It’s here! A scrapbook of your favorite kitten cam memories

box artI am pleased to present The Critter Room Memory Book  Volume One packed with all kinds of goodies! Within its 68 full color pages you will find:

  • tons of color photos from Foster Dad John, “Mr  Ripley” (James Petts) and Tam Woods  including closeups of your favorite kittens and mama cats. Lots of Facebook screen shots.
  • an interview with Foster Dad John by Connie of “Tails of Foster Kittens”
  • fan art by Cazul R, “Thorn” and Sandra Andreasen
  • kitten collages by Nicoya Grobman
  • fan fiction by Jill Pickford and Annie Staats
  • remembrances of Peter and Honey

This volume includes the following litters:

  • Hitchhiker Fosters
  • Ghostbuster Kittens
  • Pixar Fosters
  • AI Fosters

640 critter room memory book banner1

There is something here for everyone, including Purrfect Pals.

purrfect palsPurrfect Pals, located in Arlington, WA is the no-kill cat shelter that sponsors The Critter Room. Your purchases will help Purrfect Pals find homes for deserving cats and kittens, including cats with medical conditions. Foster Dad John volunteers for the shelter; they provide him with the food, litter and veterinary care needed for each of his litters.

Purrfect Pals receives the entire royalty;
for every book sold, they receive $10.25.

With that in mind, consider what would happen if we were able to sell 1000 books. Think about that for a moment …

Purchase your copy here.

Meanwhile …

Just what is The Critter Room?

Are you a cat lover but have never heard of The Critter Room or Foster Dad John? Check out the live kitten cam on Livestream – I dare you to tear yourself away. Then check out The Critter Room Facebook page for more information on all the good work being done by Foster Dad John (John Barlett).

Then rush right back here and place your order!

People are benefiting from The Critter Room as much as cats and kittens.
Here are some examples:

640 critter room memory book banner1

Take up the challenge!

Let’s look at the numbers …

With over 37,00 followers on Facebook and over 42,000 followers on Livestream, we should easily be able to sell 1000 books by October 1st, giving Purrfect Pals a donation of $10,350.

We depend upon you to spread the word.

Issuing the 1K / 10K Challenge

1000 books sold = $10,000 for Purrfect Pals. Let’s sell 1000 copies by October 1!
You can purchase your copy here.

If you prefer to purchase through Amazon and would like to donate extra to Purrfect Pals to make up the difference, here are the royalty payments from Amazon:

  • Amazon.com $6.36
  • Amazon Europe – For books printed in Great Britain £3.44
  • Amazon Europe – For books printed in continental Europe €4.32

Purrfect Pals accepts donations at bookkeeper@purrfectpals.org

My thanks to John Bartlett, the photographers, screen shot shooters, artists, writers, my proofreader and Connie Gabelein, Executive Director of Purrfect Pals for making this book possible and for making it a joy to put together. I have personally wanted a book I could pull out with my favorite kittens inside and now it is here!

Enjoy!

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Reconsidering the purpose of my Be As One blog: from Me to You

Eighteen months ago I started Be As One with the idea of chronicling my life in my attempt to pull all the various pieces together and live as a whole and integrated person. It has occurred to me that I used a flawed approach. As a result what I see is a random collection of posts about things I am interested in but that are not connected to each other in any obvious way.

I am wondering if you see that too.

I thought I was doing the work by sharing these various posts but in fact I was asking you to do the work:

  • I expected you to know what was going on in my head.
  • I expected you to do the work of connecting all these random pieces together.
  • I expected you to put aside what you care about in deference to what I care about.
from tap4him.blogspot.com
from tap4him.blogspot.com

In the end, I have a blog that may not be terribly hospitable to you.

If I want to demonstrate living life in a single flow rather than in a bunch of fragments or compartments, then I need to show connections.

  • Connections between the civilized world and the natural world
  • Connections between the earth below and heaven above
  • Connections to what is outside of us and what is inside of us
  • Connections between each of us

rainbow over 2 churches

My last post about the little kitten’s demise and the foster dad who tried to save him went viral. Obviously I wrote that post for a community I love and the community is active and large. Posts about pets are bound to do well.

For me, this post was an eye-opener about the necessity of stepping outside of myself and writing about what I see around me. Writing about you. Making you feel welcome in my little corner of the virtual world. Considering things that both you and I feel are important.

I won’t hit the mark every time, I am sure. I hope you will let me know when I have hit it or not. This blog has been evolving and will continue to evolve. But I want you to know that I will consider you every time I write a post. This will no longer be a dumping ground for things that concern just me.

I’ve changed my tag line from “Living life in a single flow …” to “It’s all about connections.” Because it is! We are not meant to live as little islands; we are created to be social beings. This, coming from a notorious introvert who jealously guards her solitude. But I understand the need to stay connected even as I pursue my solitary interests.

from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

People are important. You are important. Be As One will no longer just be about me. It will be about you, too.

Click to Tweet & Share: Reconsidering the purpose of my Be As One blog: from Me to You http://wp.me/p2D9hg-Bt

Would you like to learn along with Susan how to live your life
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Send an email to susanwbailey@gmail.com
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Reconsidering the purpose of my Be As One blog: from Me to You

Eighteen months ago I started Be As One with the idea of chronicling my life in my attempt to pull all the various pieces together and live as a whole and integrated person. It has occurred to me that I used a flawed approach. As a result what I see is a random collection of posts about things I am interested in but that are not connected to each other in any obvious way.

I am wondering if you see that too.

I thought I was doing the work by sharing these various posts but in fact I was asking you to do the work:

  • I expected you to know what was going on in my head.
  • I expected you to do the work of connecting all these random pieces together.
  • I expected you to put aside what you care about in deference to what I care about.
from tap4him.blogspot.com
from tap4him.blogspot.com

In the end, I have a blog that may not be terribly hospitable to you.

If I want to demonstrate living life in a single flow rather than in a bunch of fragments or compartments, then I need to show connections.

  • Connections between the civilized world and the natural world
  • Connections between the earth below and heaven above
  • Connections to what is outside of us and what is inside of us
  • Connections between each of us

rainbow over 2 churches

My last post about the little kitten’s demise and the foster dad who tried to save him went viral. Obviously I wrote that post for a community I love and the community is active and large. Posts about pets are bound to do well.

For me, this post was an eye-opener about the necessity of stepping outside of myself and writing about what I see around me. Writing about you. Making you feel welcome in my little corner of the virtual world. Considering things that both you and I feel are important.

I won’t hit the mark every time, I am sure. I hope you will let me know when I have hit it or not. This blog has been evolving and will continue to evolve. But I want you to know that I will consider you every time I write a post. This will no longer be a dumping ground for things that concern just me.

I’ve changed my tag line from “Living life in a single flow …” to “It’s all about connections.” Because it is! We are not meant to live as little islands; we are created to be social beings. This, coming from a notorious introvert who jealously guards her solitude. But I understand the need to stay connected even as I pursue my solitary interests.

from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

People are important. You are important. Be As One will no longer just be about me. It will be about you, too.

Click to Tweet & Share: Reconsidering the purpose of my Be As One blog: from Me to You http://wp.me/p2D9hg-Bt

Would you like to learn along with Susan how to live your life
in single flow?
Send an email to susanwbailey@gmail.com
to subscribe, and never miss a post!
Follow Susan on Facebook and Twitter
Listen to Susan’s music Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

The rich legacy of a deceased 4-day old kitten, and the foster dad who tried to save him

I never realized how powerful a virtual community can be. Thousands of strangers pulling together because of a single passion.

I never dreamed that one person’s willingness to be generous with his gifts could have such an impact. This weekend I was privy to something extraordinary which made me proud to be a part of this community.

Over a year ago I was introduced by a friend to kitten cams. Any time of the day or night I could indulge in my love of kittens. I’ve watched them being born, nursed, bathed by their mother (we regulars call it “baffing”) and snuggled. They race around the room (aka “zoomies”) and tumble over wrestling with each other. I’ve laughed out loud at their antics, fallen in love and gushed over them with fellow chatters. I’ve cried on adoption day because of all the wonderful people who take them to their hearts. Many of the new owners post Facebook pages with pictures, videos and updates so we can all keep in touch. All have large followings.

from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
Happy parents of Critter Room kittens
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

There is nothing on television that beats it because this is real life, playing out uncensored. In the course of nine litters I have witnessed beautiful stories of generosity, healing and friendship, not just towards kittens but towards humans as well. I have witnessed an outpouring of stunning creative efforts from drawings, paintings, photography and anime to quilts to original stories and poetry (even some a la Dr. Seuss!).

It began with the 7kittens cam; when those kittens were adopted I was referred to The Critter Room by chatters on 7kittens (see previous post). It’s been a love affair ever since.

John Bartlett, aka “Foster Dad John” runs the Critter Room and is a volunteer for Purrfect Pals in Arlington, WA. He has fostered an extraordinary forty-one litters, adding some fun by having themes attached to litters (such as names of scientists, Mythbusters characters and now, the Ghostbusters in honor of the late Harold Ramis).

Various litters from the Critter Room from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
Various litters from the Critter Room
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

It may all seem to be sweetness and light watching adorable kittens nurse, mew, wrestle, zoom around and play. But as I discovered this weekend (and as Foster Dad John has warned in the past), a 24/7 view is uncensored; you get the bad along with the good.

The Ghostbuster kittens were born on February 25 at the shelter after the mother, Janine, was rescued off the streets. Critter Room fans were delighted to see three creamy white siamese kittens dubbed Ray, Egon and Peter.

Peter in particular was very active for a newborn, taking trips around the kennel cage and being quite vocal about it. He immediately won the hearts of the over one thousand people who tuned in daily to the cam. There were concerns however that he was burning off all the calories he gained because of his constant motion. John was supplementing him with a bottle and created a box for the nest of kittens as a means of confining Peter and keeping him close to his mother.

Janine with her boys from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
Janine with her boys
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

This past Saturday I tuned in for a peak and saw Peter escape from box. His cry was loud as he moved rapidly around the cage. At first it seemed funny, just another Peter antic and most of us did not suspect any trouble. Janine went to retrieve him and held him close; his cries subsided and we began to relax.

John had been monitoring the situation and came in to feed him. After he removed Peter from the nest he did something unusual: he reset the cam. This would, in effect, wipe out the last twenty four hours of footage. We would soon know the reason.

Several minutes passed and we assumed Peter was nursing from the bottle until John, in his steady quiet voice, announced some bad news: Peter passed away in his hand. The chat room went wild, comments flashing by. Was this a joke?  John’s subsequent reaction to Peter’s death confirmed that this was no joke. Normally calm and self-possessed, this man wept over the death of this little kitten that he tried so hard to save. He knew the little fellow was in trouble the minute he picked him up which was why he reset the cam. Peter’s romp around the cage and his cries had been because he had taken milk into his lungs and was dying.

640 ghostbusters cropped mom and peter
Janine cuddling Peter
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

John was fortunately not seen on the cam but he remained with Peter for a long time. We could hear him softly weeping, hoping against hope that Peter would move. He commented that Peter’s ears had started to darken. He eventually encouraged Janine to come out and sniff the body so that she would know the awful truth.

Over a thousand of us witnessed the episode and we were beside ourselves. I was sobbing, first over the death of this sweet and funny kitten, and then over John’s reaction. This was a man who has been totally professional from the get go. He has never bought into the adulation from his fans; he was there to do a job, saving cats and kittens and giving them good homes. His cam is meant not just to entertain but to educate. He rarely showed overt emotion or favoritism towards particular kittens. And now he was openly weeping.

The outpouring from the community of over 35,000 followers of The Critter Room was immediate and overwhelming. Posts on Facebook appeared in record numbers offering sympathy to John and gratitude for everything he had done. Donations to Purrfect Pals in the memory of Peter poured in. We consoled each other, sharing memories of little Peter and stories of special cats in our lives. Many of the creative people in the community contributed original stories, poetry and paintings.

Later in the day John came back on the cam to explain what had happened to Peter. He and the Purrfect Pals staff had known Peter was at risk, possibly because he was born prematurely and did not have mature lungs (explaining why he aspirated on his mother’s milk). His frantic behavior most likely was a demonstration of his trouble (although John commented that Peter was one of the most vibrant and energetic kittens he had ever seen, making his passing all the more inexplicable). John went on to say that he and the staff don’t always share their concerns with the viewers to prevent needless worry and speculation. Out of forty-one litters, Peter was the first kitten John ever lost.

His calm voice and clear explanations were like a balm on the community. We knew he was okay. Nature had to take her course but not before Peter left his indelible mark on the hearts of thousands around the world. As did his foster dad.

I mourned with this community, haunted by what I had seen. I also shared in the comfort provided by the foster dad who, although he was hurting the most, maintained the courage to share his grief with strangers. The time he gave in explaining Peter’s passing and the risks of fostering gave me great solace as I am sure it did for many others.

Foster Dad John Bartlett from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom
Foster Dad John Bartlett
from https://www.facebook.com/TheCritterRoom

John is a wonderful example of generosity. People balk at the idea of spending so much time saving animals, thinking that perhaps the efforts and monies raised should go towards people. I have witnessed the effects of John’s gifts of time, wisdom and love on members who are sick, homebound, out of work, or who have lost loved ones. Many have lost their own beloved cats and find comfort in the antics of growing kittens, and in the caring community. Members comment that their faith in people has been restored through being a part of the kitten cams.

The chatters’ humorous reactions to the kittens and their antics have brought much needed laughter into my life. I start each morning at the crack of dawn checking Facebook updates, smiling at the posts from owners of Critter Room alumnae. I sneak peaks at the cam during my work day. I think of a volunteer out in Arlington, WA who because he dared to share his gift with the world, has brought joy, solace, profoundly moving moments and a slice of real life to the virtual world.

We should all be that daring. Think of the world would be like if we were.

Join Susan Bailey’s Email List (special surprises just for you!)
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Listen to Susan’s music Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion