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Baby maybe

Good lord — who knew it would be this hard to find a ginger tom? I’ve been kitten shopping daily for two weeks now with nothing to show for it.

I can find plenty of pedigree cats — especially bengals and birmans — for hundreds of pounds each. For some reason, there are scores of little white, little black and little black and white kittens to be had out there. And tabbies (sorely tempted — I do love me a tabby). Any gingers were either too white or too fluffy (hey, it’s an illustrator thing) or way, way out of our neighborhood.

So, anyway, I think I’ve found a litter of gingers just inside our comfortable day-trip range. One is perfect, one is a little pale, one is a little fluffy and one is a girl. I can’t seem to get a clear answer which one is available, so — FIELD TRIP! I’ll let you know.

Good weekend, all!


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 20, 2013, 10:11 pm

‘Tis the season of the semi annual mouse invasion, and last year, when one of the noxious little vermin ran across my bare feet as I sit here at the computer, convinced me that I need a CAT or two.

Well, not being one who rushes into things, it’s now a year later, and the mice are killing themselves on the stove top again; don’t even need to bait the traps. (There is a suspicious mouse sized lump of carbon in the oven.)

So if anyone can tell me how to prevent domestic cats from shredding furniture, or scent marking the place, I would be thankful for the input.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 20, 2013, 10:22 pm

None of my cats have been furniture shredders or scent markers, but I don’t know what you do if they are.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 20, 2013, 10:40 pm

None of my cats have been furniture shredders or scent markers, but I don’t know what you do if they are.

All of our cats (when I was growing up) were barnyard cats, and we never declawed them. The scent marking might be a glandular condition, so ‘fixing’ the gland problem might solve that, but I want killer cats, who hunt.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 20, 2013, 11:11 pm

Our current cat is an absolute cracking mouser. We have no idea how many she catches, because we usually spot the poor little bastards just as a tail is disappearing into her mouth. None of this “bring this to the owners” for her.

She’s a ten year old spayed female, but she was feral as a tiny baby. I don’t know if that made her more of a killer.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 20, 2013, 11:30 pm

I have a ginger tom for you. His name is Sandy, which is short for Say Florida Sandy, which is the name of a racehorse whose career I used to follow. Sandy’s a big-ass guy. 16 pounds–or just over a stone, if you’re in England. He’s friendly and smart and has black speckles on his nose and lips. He talks every time he moves: yak, yak, yak. Chirp, pert, bert…he knows lots of words. He was born in 2004, so his original name at the vet clinic where they were offering him for adoption was Nemo. You know: after Finding Nemo, which came out in ’04.

Comment from Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Time: September 20, 2013, 11:40 pm

Take at least two. They will keep each other company when you’re away.

Comment from Frit
Time: September 20, 2013, 11:48 pm

Skandia Recluse:“So if anyone can tell me how to prevent domestic cats from shredding furniture, or scent marking the place, I would be thankful for the input.”

Kittens learn from their mother. If the mother is a mouser/ratter, then the kitten will (usually) also be one.

All my cats have been good about leaving furniture alone, and not scent marking the house. (One was a feral tom that adopted me, and when I moved to a tiny place that didn’t have room for him to live outside, he became an indoor kitty. I did have him fixed shortly after he adopted me, and when he became an indoor kitty several years later, never sprayed.)

That being said, scent marking is usually done if the feline is marking territory to warn off another cat. If you only have one cat, or if you adopt kittens together so they grow up with each other, spraying is unlikely. It does help if the felines are all spayed/neutered, tho. They are more territorial when ‘intact’.

Something you can look into for getting your felines to consider your house a comfortable and welcoming place to be is this:
Or the spray bottle version. (I used both to prep my apartment for my once-feral neutered tomcat, and never had a problem with him, even tho the previous residents had a cat that did spray the carpet.)

Providing the cats with clean litter boxes, and a scratching post wrapped in hemp or sisal rope, will help a lot! (Best to not have scratching posts that have similar texture to your carpet or furniture. It’s easier to teach them what is ok to scratch and what not when they aren’t getting confused by ‘why is it ok to scratch the upright carpet but not the flat one?’.

Hope this helps!

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 20, 2013, 11:51 pm

I’ve had 10 cats in the last 13 years, with 8 currently remaining, and none has ever offered to claw the furniture. The key is to offer plenty of alternative scratching posts–and the good tall tree kind, not those pantywaist tipsy little two-foot high affairs. A water pistol or squirt bottle helps train anybody who tries the furniture, but I’ve only had to resort to that twice in all these years. They learn “no” really quickly with the bottle, and with the trees the furniture usually doesn’t tempt them in the first place. As for spraying, you want to adopt your two cats at the same time, and preferably siblings or at least a pair that’s young enough to bond with each other. It’s when new cats get introduced into an existing group that you get insecurity, territoriality, and marking. Make sure there’s one more litter box than there are cats, and locate them in appealing or at least not unappealing places. They need to feel secure and safe when they use the box, and not think that they might get ambushed. Next to something loud, like the washing machine, usually isn’t cool with them, either.

Comment from AliceH
Time: September 21, 2013, 1:29 am

Wow – lucky cat people. Mine loves scratching the couch, easy chairs, rugs and, every now and then, one of the zillion scratching posts. I know I’ve reinforced that behavior to some degree, because she knows she gets a rise out of me (literally) just by clawing away at the end of whatever I’m sitting on. At this point, I’ve pretty much given up.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 21, 2013, 1:34 am

Frit, yes it did help. Thank you.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 21, 2013, 1:47 am

. . and Paula, thank you also.
I’ve not had to share living space with any other sentient creatures for so long that it’s going to be a difficult adjustment, a commitment that I’m reluctant to make.

Comment from AliceH
Time: September 21, 2013, 2:10 am

I should note, my cat does have 6 confirmed kills, so she’s got that going for her.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 21, 2013, 2:39 am

One of mine used to like to scratch the corner of a sofa when excited about my coming home, but putting a post right there had him switch right off.

Another likes scratching at carpet, but she doesn’t hurt it any in so doing. If she did, I’d just put a small piece above it to dig at. She also likes a carpeted scratch post.

Now I used to had one that liked to bite metal blinds in order to clear a hole to sit in the window.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 21, 2013, 2:47 am

I have a few hunter cats, fixing them really doesn’t change things and they hunt even if they are fed properly. You can often tell by how interested they are in toys and such when little. Brash kittens over the cute shy ones. Although my two lady cats both hunted well, even declawed.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 21, 2013, 2:51 am

Skandia –

Well if you avoid the kitten stage, most cats won’t be too needy and loud, but rather a good roommate that will hang out with you as well as scare off some mice, and be content with a friendly conversation and a pat on the head.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 21, 2013, 3:04 am

Everybody’s giving great advice for you, Skandia. I thought of one other thing: the more you put into cats, the more they’ll give back to you. People think they just lay around looking insolent, but if you talk to them, stop to give them a pat when you walk by, find out how they like to be brushed and patted, that kind of thing, you might be surprised at how interactive they can be. If I sit down somewhere to read it’s just about guaranteed that at least four of the five who have the run of the place will shortly be lounging around near or on me for as long as I stay there. They’re my peeps.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 21, 2013, 4:00 am

Burmese cat cafe … youtube

And not the inferior inbred American defective Burmese … they have a sonic Hedgehog ciliopathy – avoid … kittens born without parts of their brains and faces to suit some Hick AMerican breeder is just sick.

Only English Burmese Will Do.

Comment from GIL
Time: September 21, 2013, 9:08 am

Okay, so I’m a noodge. I always thought gingers were ginger toms–no such thing as a red girl. Can somebody learn me?

Comment from GIL
Time: September 21, 2013, 9:12 am

>None of my cats have been furniture shredders or scent markers, but I don’t know what you do if they are.

I had a psychiatrist friend who had an impressive technique, one which delighted all present in the room. When the cat would start, she’d swoop and take a theatrical intake gasp of air while half shrieking. Everyone in the room would instinctively genuflect and reach for the phone to dial 911. She’d clap and act like she was going to explode. The cat would flee, and it worked. It does the same when I do it, and I still do. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECLapCLaPcLap!!!!!!!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 21, 2013, 10:12 am

I think the ratio is, one in five gingers is a girl. I read an explanation of how the ginger gene gets passed once, but I forgot it. It’s something like females need two copies of the ginger gene to be ginger, but males need only one.

I’ve run across three or four ginger girls in my search. People think they’re rarer than they are, though, so one lady was trying to get £150 for hers.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 21, 2013, 10:16 am


Fallout in Australia and New Zealand from Fukushima is becoming an issue:


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 21, 2013, 10:36 am

O! You ain’t dead!

Comment from Armybrat
Time: September 21, 2013, 10:59 am

GIL, my beautiful 15 year old ginger is a princess. Very rare I’m told by all her vets.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 21, 2013, 11:26 am

The clawing thing can be a problem. I have an expensive (new) Afghan rug rolled up and hidden away because ours took a liking to it. Or maybe it was hatred.

At the sound of ripping fibres, Her Stoatliness used to shrug and get back to her computer game, while I danced around the room screaming, shouting and waving my arms.

Damn shame I could never interest the cat in one of her banjos…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 21, 2013, 11:35 am

That’s the one! That’s the cat I want, Armybrat! (I took the liberty of dropping your photo inline; I keep meaning to find a plugin that’ll let you guys post pictures).

Answer me this…everyone who’s had a ginger talks about the ginger personality. Smart, friendly, strong, loves people (though often hates other animals). I read an article recently about how a ginger tends to stare into his human’s face (my old ginger tom did this, and he’d often poke me to get my attention).

As we’ve seen several girl gingers come up, we’ve wondered if they have the same ginger personality as the boys, or whether gender was a component.

Man, that’s a beautiful ginger, anyhoo.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 21, 2013, 11:46 am

Ah. Here we go.

The ginger colour in moggy cat coats is caused by the O gene that changes the darker coat colour present to a red colour. It is called a sex-linked gene as it is carried on the X chromosome. A male cat (XY) only needs to inherit one O gene to be a ginger cat (XoY). A female cat (XX) must inherit two O genes to be ginger (XoXo). And this explains (remembering those genetics lessons in biology classes) why three-quarters of ginger cats are male and one-quarter are female.

Comment from armybrat
Time: September 21, 2013, 6:26 pm

stoaty, my princess is the most loving cat ever! she actually will come up to people in the house and paw at them to get their attention. she is quite the talker and will let us know if we aren’t loving her up to her standards! She knows her name and will come when we call her. And no, she never did take a liking to the dogs when we had them. She is an old girl now, lots of grey in that coat. I just love her to pieces!

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 21, 2013, 6:36 pm

I finally had to research ginger cats. What y’all are calling a “ginger” cat is what I call a marmalade cat. I didn’t know the females were outnumbered by the males though. Maybe gingers and marmalade are not the same thing? You may recall that Paul Gallico’s book “Thomasina” was about a female ginger/marmalade.

We took in a youngster street cat, who had very good manners. He never sprayed and he never scratched the furniture, but Husband gave him a nice barky hunk of firewood to scratch on, and he was the happiest cat ever.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 21, 2013, 7:08 pm

The reason female gingers are rare is that the gene that gives a ginger is on the sex chromosome X. This gene replaces the normal black pigment with an orange one. The “On” version isn’t that common. Female Oranges are rarer because they need an “On” gene on both of their Xs. If they have one of each, they have both orange parts and black parts and are a tortoiseshell or calico cat.

This comes from a process called X inactivation where in a female, at some point in development parts of the body choose one of the X to use and turn off the other. So genetically, every female is a mix of two different genetic patterns.

Ginger/Marmalade/Orange/Red/Yellow are all names for the same color cat Deborah.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 21, 2013, 8:36 pm

Just get any ol’ cat, & dye it orange.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: September 21, 2013, 9:26 pm

Our cats have thoroughly trained The Husband. The older one informs him which Treat Of The Day he’ll be having by pawing at the bags.He does this annoying upside down flip in front of you, landing on your feet (which is hazardous to health, when you don’t know he’s there). I call it, “the Tesla coil,” as his name is Tesla. He loves having his belly rubbed and attempts to ninja crawl into your lap. It works. I’ve found myself petting him, without even realizing it. Tesla also knows his name and comes when called. He’s black and white with green eyes.

The younger female is named Herschel and is still learning the ropes. She’s gorgeous and has bronze-colored eyes like a friggin’ owl. She’s also dumb as a post.

They both came from a shelter, and will have nothing to do with the dogs, unless it is to steal their beds.

Comment from Frit
Time: September 22, 2013, 12:53 am

You’re welcome, Skandia Recluse:, happy to help.

I forgot to mention earlier; it’s the felines who adopt the humans, not the other way around.

To prepare yourself for that, I suggest playing with a bit of quantum physics. Figure out ahead of time just what you want in a feline companion. Successful hunter with excellent manners regarding furniture and your personal property seems to be your top priority, so keep that in mind. The next things to determine are; do you have a gender preference? Colour or size preference? (I’ve known excellent hunters in all sizes and both genders, so don’t let that deter you. A friend once had a dainty little female cat – probably weighed in under 6 pounds (3 kilos), and she would bring home the heads of rabbits she killed, because the body was too big for her to drag!) What kind of personality would you be most comfortable with? (Aloof, friendly, affectionate, or attention hog?) Do you want a lap-cat? One that will sleep with you? Or one that likes to be in the same room, but not necessarily within arms reach? Something in between? Talkative? Occasionally vocal? Or quiet?

Once you have your ideal feline in your head, go out to places where felines are available, and see what happens. You may need to visit a few places before you get adopted, so don’t get discouraged if nothing happens the first place or two. (Mr. Dragon & I went to 3 places before we got adopted!) Many felines at adoption places will casually want attention, but not really want to adopt you. The feline who adopts you will make it pretty obvious in some manner. They may simply stick with you as you walk around, or constantly rub against you, asking for attention, or to be picked up. If you sit down, they may jump into your lap, or even stand up to head-rub your cheek. (A lot will depend on the personality you desire, that you have set in your mind ahead of time. I wanted an affectionate lap cat, so when I got adopted, I sat down, and the feline who wanted me was suddenly in my lap, front paws on my shoulder, purring like crazy, and head-rubbing my cheek. Mr. Dragon wanted something a bit more aloof, so what he got was one who wound about his ankles, encouraged pettings by leaning her head into his hand, but not asking to be picked up and not offering to get into his lap at all. Even more proof that the quantum physics works; Mr. Dragon had mentioned he preferred females, and ‘wouldn’t it be cool to get one all white and one all black?’ – so the pair who adopted us were one white, one black, both females, and were set up to be adopted as a pair!) 🙂

Have everything you need for your feline ahead of time; litter box & litter, with cleaning tools, and a small whisk broom and dust pan for getting any litter that scatters outside the pan; food & water bowls; tall scratching post, and a carrier. You can have some food available ahead of time, but there is some wisdom in waiting to see what the feline you come home with has been eating already, and getting more of that. (If you have a specific food you’d prefer to get for your cat, include that in your ‘preferences’ when you go cat shopping. Same with type of litter.)

Best of luck in getting yourself adopted by just the right feline! 🙂

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: September 22, 2013, 1:53 am

Stark –

This is the Weasel. She can Photoshop the cat to be orange.

Comment from Nina
Time: September 22, 2013, 2:30 am

We’ve got a ginger girl, although she’s what we call a strawberry blonde–on the light side of the marmalade spectrum. A real cutie, though. A friend found her in a puddle of water in her backyard three or four years ago. On my birthday, which is why I ended up with her. Took several weeks with a bottle and a few vet visits to get her out of danger, but she’s curled right up next to me on my bed on a rainy evening, which is a win all around as far as I’m concerned.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: September 22, 2013, 1:35 pm

Frit has pretty well covered everything a cat owner needs to know, but I always like to pile on after the hard work has been done.

We use scoopable litter and Mrs. Vegetable keeps the scoop in a little covered trash can next to the litter box. She buys paper lunch bags and scoops the ahem,’used litter bits’ into them and carries them directly to the dedicated covered little trash can outside to wait for trash day. Using a dedicated diaper-pail set-up outside keeps your house odor free and keeping them separated sealed-up from the regular trash keeps the trash from becoming fragrant in the Texas heat. We also keep the covered litter box on small carpet to collect the litter splash and blew $29 on a cheap canister vacuum to suck up the stray litter every time it’s cleaned. Keeps the litter tracking down.

Now that the messy part is dealt with, our indoors only kitty is 8 but requires more toys than you would ever think appropriate for an adult. Mrs Vegetable say she takes after me that way.
We taught our in/out cats to come home at bedtime by calling them and flashing the backdoor porch light (for the deaf cat). We were kind of amazed.

Finally, if you have never had a cat, you should view this video as a warning about the kind of personality you’re adding to the family:

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 22, 2013, 2:43 pm

I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far, with this crowd, without anyone linking to the Engineers Guide to Cats:

Comment from Nina
Time: September 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

No litter box in this house. I hate the things. No Toxo for me!

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: September 22, 2013, 4:16 pm

Here is our Tika. I’m allergic to cats but she was David’s and I wouldn’t allow him to get rid of her. I just didn’t touch her and all was fine. BUT she had other plans, she made me her person. Where ever I was, she would be. She knew I wouldn’t touch her, didn’t matter, she just had to be near me. Sadly she’s no longer with us. We miss her every day. I must admit, I did occasionally pet her lightly and then run and wash my hands!!!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 22, 2013, 4:28 pm

Gosh, another beautiful ginger girl. What are the odds?

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 22, 2013, 5:02 pm

For cheap and popular toys, try pipe cleaners. My entire clowder loves them. I take contrasting, bright colors and braid three together, then fold over the ends so the wires don’t poke them. They crowd around while I’m making them to the point where they interfere with the process. If you “accidentally” leave the bag lying around so they can steal their own individual cleaners, that’s even more fun, because it’s illicit. Those “da bird” toys are also very popular, but everyone here likes them a lot better when there’s no bird at the end of the string, so you could easily make your own with just a stick with a string tied to the end.

Comment from Frit
Time: September 23, 2013, 12:21 am

Cat toys! I’ve had cats that love catnip, others that just think it’s another pile of debris on the floor. I’ve also had cats that think boxes are the best invention ever, others who ignore them. Same with store bought toy mice and balls. The feral tom who adopted me got plush toys made for dogs, as I had seen him eating mice whole, and didn’t want to chance him doing the same with a toy mouse. He loved ‘killing’ the hedgehog that was bigger than his head! Our current felines ignore store bought toys, but when I made a tassel from leather thong and attached it to a thong ‘leash’, they treated it like prey, ‘killing’ it and then carrying it while yowling to let us know they’d made a kill. They also like when we drag strings or leather thongs about for them to attack. The black will attack the red dot from the laser pointer, the white ignores it completely.

Each cat will have a different idea what it likes to play with. I’d suggest starting with the inexpensive home made toys first, then move up to store bought if needed. Just be careful all toys are safe, and won’t be accidentally swallowed.

Comment from pupster
Time: September 23, 2013, 12:31 am


Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 23, 2013, 5:25 pm

I’ve had three red tabbies. The first, Rusty by name, looked like Armybrat’s, above, but with more white. Very smart. No. 2 was a girl, one Mitzi, not the sharpest cat, but sweet. No. 3 was my long-time roommate, Arizona, who converted me to longhaired cats.

Stoaty, if you’re not set on a red tabby, black cats (as I’m sure you know) tend to be quite sociable and adaptable.

As for having two at once, I’ve done it, and never had trouble. Maybe I’ve been lucky. The current pair of male thugs I introduced two years ago, when one was 3 and the other, the newcomer, was a little over a year old. No hissings or growlings. Within an hour they were sitting in the window — together — watching birds. Now they play roughly, like human brothers, and are often seen grooming each other’s fur. I tell people I’m going to come home one night and find them braiding each other’s tails and watching “Glee”!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: September 23, 2013, 5:36 pm

Answer me this…everyone who’s had a ginger talks about the ginger personality. Smart, friendly, strong, loves people (though often hates other animals). I read an article recently about how a ginger tends to stare into his human’s face . . .
In my experience, smart and strong, yes; friendly depends on other factors. Wife No. 1’s cat, Mitzi, was fine with people. Rusty, whom we adopted when I was 12, was frightened of strange people, as long as they were older than I was. But he adjusted over the years; he didn’t stay stuck on age 12 as an acceptable line. Then when we adopted a little calico kitten, he changed — stayed out when strange people of any age came over, while the kitten vanished under the bed — almost as if he thought, “I’m the male; I have to be brave.”

Arizona, the third red tabby, could be prickly. If he’d been human, I’d say he was defensive about his territory and his person. He was fine with most women visitors; always was a bit nervous around men, except me. Not really a lap cat, he’d occasionally sit on me and look up into my face, blinking sleepily.

So I guess it depends on the cat.

Comment from ed
Time: September 23, 2013, 6:25 pm

Actually the best cat treat I’ve ever found was asian style dried squid (called ‘Ika’, Japanese for squid).

Cats go nuts over this stuff and will pester you for it. If you store it in a ziplock bag expect that -every- time you open a ziplock bag they’ll think it’s squid for them. Though it’s dried I’d recommend storing it in a ziplock bag and then in a sealed plastic container (to contain the unique smell) to maintain freshness and then only give out about 1 teaspoon of finely shredded dried squid at any one time. And even then only once per week.

Since it’s almost pure protein while most cat food is an amalgamation of protein and fillers/binders the change in diet might affect your cat’s digestive system. So a little bit as a treat works well. And since it’s almost pure protein it’s great for kittens who are still growing and need the protein anyways.

edit: you can buy it from Amazon.com or from any asian grocery store. just ask for dried “ika” or find the snack aisle.

Comment from BJM
Time: September 23, 2013, 10:31 pm

A bit of evil fun…flip a thin dark colored leather belt onto the floor or bed, the tapered end first and move it in an undulating manner…like a sidewinder…into a sleeping cat’s space. They go bonkers “killing” it.

Or you can artfully coil it up in the corner of a supermarket paper bag.

Keeps the little buggers on their toes.

Our current cat posse were indoor cats for their first five years due to living on a busy street. We moved to the country where they are allowed to roam during the day.

Belt joke karma payback was a bitch.

I was working on my computer when the oldest dropped a dead garter snake on my bare feet. I swear she LOL.

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