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Author Topic: Curbing A Meowing Cat
Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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A week and a half ago, the SO and I got a new kitty friend from our local MSPCA, a three year old female that we named Phoebe. She's a very sweet cat, super affectionate and frisky, even though she's a little bit high strung and startles easily. Since last weekend, she's relaxed dramatically and has stopped running under the bed at every strange sound she hears, and she is much more at ease in the house. We're very happy to see her settling in, but it has come at a price.

Now she has taken up meowing and clawing the carpet a bit outside our bedroom door when we go to bed in the evenings because she wants to be with us. Unfortunately we can't leave the door open for her to let her come and go as she wants, because she's quite an active cat, and I am a very light sleeper. I wouldn't get a wink of sleep with her hopping on and off the bed (we tried it one night).

Luckily she's not too bad with the evenings and after a couple of minutes of plaintive meowing, she gets the picture and leaves us in relative peace throughout the night. However, it always starts up again at around 6:25 every morning, and the SO and I don't need to wake up until 7:00, so although we love her, it is a bit aggravating. She'll basically just sit outside the bedroom door, meowing, and batting at the door and sometimes clawing a bit at the carpet, as if to say, "Hey! Wake up! C'mon, I'm lonesome!"

We know she's doing it not because she's hungry or uncomfortable, but simply because she has become attached to us and wants to be with us. She follows the both of us around the house like a puppy throughout the day, so we're fairly certain that she just likes our company.

This morning's meow-fest was especially long and loud so we're wondering what we can do to curb this habit? I wish that taking her aside and just telling her that she's welcome to meow all she wants after 7:00, but unfortunately I doubt that would sink in. [Wink] We try to spend as much time as we can each day playing with her, petting with her and paying attention to her, so I don't think she is lacking in stimulation.

Any ideas or suggestions from other cat owners would be most appreciated. [Big Grin] We love our Phoebe but geez we'd be happy to have her keep quiet until 7:00. [Razz]

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Watch that carpet-scratching business -- my daughter's cat, when shut out of her room for similar reasons, ripped through the carpet to the subfloor! [Eek!]

Is her food left out so she can eat on demand, or is it possible she just wants her breakfast?

Other than that, since she's already getting plenty of attention, the only thing I can think of is to get her a kitten to keep her company. [Big Grin]

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Kal
I Saw Three Shipments


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Isn't there a room you could put her in at nights by herself? We got a kitten recently who does much the same thing (and wakes up the 4 year-old in the process) but we just moved her into the kitchen at nights and shut the doors. She still meows, but if you can't hear it, it doesn't count. [Smile]

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Lydia Oh Lydia
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My suggestion is to open the door and get one of those sound machines to cover the noise of Phoebe running around at night. That might calm her down a bit. And, maybe it will decrease the frequency of the early morning wake up calls. But, it might not. Our bedroom door is always open and we still (sometimes) get the wake up meows. They are earlier in the summer than in the winter. I've tried: ignoring them, squirting them with water, rattling a can of coins. Nothing has worked. Honestly, I'll take 6:25 am over 3:30 am any day.

BTW, congrats on your new (vocal) kitty!

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Just outstubborn her, eventually she'll understand that it doesn't work. Just be happy cats don't bark.

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/Troberg

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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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She's definitely not doing it because she's whining for food. Each time this has happened after going downstairs to give her her morning scoop of Science Diet, she's always had food still in her bowl from the previous evening. So it's not hunger that she's complaining about.

Unfortunately a noise machine wouldn't help, the reason we can't give her access to the room is that she's a jumper and would jump on and off the bed all night. She's just too active to be a "sleep at the end of the bed" cat.

Luckily we seemed to have curbed the carpet clawing tendencies by putting down carpet runners on the areas where she would claw, that combined with her finally getting the hang of her scratching post has limited the scratching. It's just the meowing now that really is the problem.

We've been trying the outstubborning routine, but I worry that since eventually I always do have to open the door to get ready for work at around 7:00, her kitty brain might interpret this as her meowing finally got me to pay attention to her.

Shutting her up in a room also isn't an option because her litterbox is in the basement, and her food is in the kitchen, and the kitchen is completely open to the front hall, the dining room and the living room, with no doors to shut.

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Kitten in the rain
Jingle Bell Hock


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Our cats do that. On one hand, I think it's sweet, because they miss us while we're sleeping and want us to wake up so that we can pay attention to them. On the other hand, I'd love to get a full night's sleep. [Razz]

The best way to curb the behavior is to "reward" it with an unwelcome responce. I suggest locking her in the bathroom and going back to bed. A half hour locked up won't kill her, but it might teach her to wait 'till you get up before demanding attention.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Also remember that she is new in the house and you are her safety blanket. She wants to know where you are. Something that smells like you, like some unwashed laundry, might fool her. I've seen it work on puppies. It also works great if you are visiting someone and your kitten/puppy feels a bit lost in the new surroundings with new people and unfamiliar activities.

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/Troberg

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daisyslegs
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Syllavus, we must have twin kitties. [Smile]

We leave our door open and our kitty sleeps with us and settles in just fine right next to me... until about 15 minutes before the alarm goes off.

I am not a morning person, and being woke by gentle swipes/pats on the lips before the alarm goes off is highly annoying. Annoying probably doesn't cover it.

Pipes (our Kitty's name. Actually Straight Pipes [lol] ) will keep up the lip patting until you push him away. That means you are now awake and it's time to act like he's on kitty crank.

He will spring all over our room and bathroom, battling with anything and everything, knocking against the door and walls, fishing tp rolls out of the trash can to play with, attacking feet, etc.

I get highly annoyed (ok, pissed off) and toss the cat outside the room where he promptly acts like your cat. Loudly. Very.

We have done the squirt bottle thing and the ignoring thing. When you find something that works, I really need to know. Really. Before I try the duct tape thing, ok?

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glass papaya
Jingle Bell Hock


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I evenutally gave up and decided that my cat operates on a 23.5 hour day. [Wink]

My cat will also use the bed as a trampoline all night long, so letting her in was not an option. She would cry and scratch at the door, but we wouldn't give any indication that we heard her.

Finally, after a year or so (I know that seems like a ridiculously long time) she gave it up. Now she just sits patiently in front of the door until we come out. She still operates on a 23.5 hour day. [Smile]

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Do you have any toys available for her outside? Cats are morning people, and she probably gets up at 3 am, and gets bored by 6. Maybe if you keep her favorite toy with her, she will spend some time playing with it.

Our older cat, Nico used to get bored in the morning, and he would start walking all over us in the morning. After I got up, he would try to nip at my heels until I played with him for a bit. He stopped after we got Sasha. Both of them play with each other in the morning, and leave us alone

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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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She has all of her cat toys available to her while we're sleeping. We don't keep any of her stuff in the bedroom, so she has the free run of a three story house (if you include the basement) and all her toys throughout the night.

*sigh* It's looking more and more like this is just something we'll have to deal with. Ah well, maybe she'll mellow as she gets older. [Big Grin]

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Para
Deck the Malls


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If Phoebe likes to watch birds, maybe a cat-accessible perch by a window would satisfy her early-morning boredom? (Works with mine!)

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mags
Jingle Bell Hock


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When we first got our kitten, she would wake me up in the morning by digging her needle sharp claws into my scalp. I didn't get a lot of sleep those first couple weeks (I ended up napping with her on the couch later in the day), but eventually she got tired of getting put on the floor each time she did that.

It was not fun in the meantime. The only time I kicked her out of the bedroom, she got so scared spending the night alone, she peed on the afghan she was sleeping on. That was the only time she peed anywhere other than her box as a kitten.

I think you will have more luck training the cat off the bed than out of the bedroom. Our cats don't tend to cause too much trouble any more, but the surest way to make sure a cat is interested in being where you are is to shut the door. They ignore me in the bathroom, if I leave the door cracked open. If I shut it entirely, a minute later one is scratching and meowing at the door. I think a closed door between yourself and a cat is offensive to the cat's sensibilities. They should be able to come and go as they please within their territory (the house).

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Wild.Otaku
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Neko did that when we first got her as well. We ended up having to lay down plastic covers that went from one bedroom to another so she couldn't claw at the carpeting. We also got a static sheet that would give a little zap when she did try to claw. After a couple of weeks it stopped.

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Syllavus:
She has all of her cat toys available to her while we're sleeping. We don't keep any of her stuff in the bedroom, so she has the free run of a three story house (if you include the basement) and all her toys throughout the night.

[lol] Same here with Nico. Despite having the entire three story house to himself with a cat tree and 2 sofas, he needs half of our bed, and DW and me have to be content with the other half.

Looks like you might have to either outstubborn her or train her to stop jumping on your bed. If you cannot, having another cat might help. However, I would keep that as a last option (unless you do want another cat). Cats make great cat-toys

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Nico Sasha
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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Is she allowed in that room durring the day? If so, my suggestion involves you stop letting her. Get one of those cans of air that is used for cleaning computers. Don't let her see you squirting it. You want her to hear the noise but not completely associate it with you. Cats seem to hear it as being scolded by an alpha cat.

Go into the bedroom and leave her outside. When she starts meowing, give a quick squirt. Repeat as needed until she learns.

It even works on older cats. Alpine (14 1/2) was still scratching at the furniture until last summer when I discovered this trick by mistake. My Dad, Sis and Mom have all had luck with it as well.

Good luck.

ETA: Hubby suggested ductape but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Barbara
Layaway in a Manger


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How about setting up the vacuum cleaner just inside the bedroom door and firing up that puppy for a few seconds every morning when she starts her yowling? If you plug its cord into a cord switch you can turn the vacuum cleaner on and off from the warmth of your bed.

Barbara "cats are convinced vacuum cleaners will eat them" Mikkelson

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rocksong
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Syllavus:

Shutting her up in a room also isn't an option because her litterbox is in the basement, and her food is in the kitchen, and the kitchen is completely open to the front hall, the dining room and the living room, with no doors to shut.

We've always settled on the "shut the cat in a room at night, with its food and litter tray" option. Why can't you just shut her and her food in the basement? If there's a reason why not (e.g. no basement door), find a room with a door and shut her in ther.
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Mosherette
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
Just outstubborn her, eventually she'll understand that it doesn't work. Just be happy cats don't bark.

[lol] is all I can say to that! You've never met my Cleo. ETA: I mean the stubborn bit. She's not barking (yet).

My mum's cat - also called Phoebe* - does the same thing. With her, it's just that she wants to go outside to wee, because she refuses to use the tray my mum keeps inside the house [Roll Eyes]

I don't know what to suggest I'm afraid. My Cleo was so stubborn that she used to headbutt any door that closed off access to me and the ex - she does like to be in our company - and in our case it was either open the door or allow the cat to brain herself every night. You do get used to the constant on-off bed hopping, but it takes a few bleary-eyed weeks, I can tell you.

*Phoebe is a female ginger, which I'm led to believe is quite unusual. Is this true?

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blucanary
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Phoebe is a female ginger, which I'm led to believe is quite unusual. Is this true?
The gene for the ginger color is linked to the X chormosone so a female has to have two copies to get the ginger color. If she only has one she's a tortie, or ginger and black. Therefore it's about 3 times as likely for a male, who only needs one ginger gene, to be red.

I know it may be annoying but after a few days with the door open she probably won't jump up and down as much. She just getting use to it. Otherwise you have to keep her out of the bedroom all day.

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Kitten in the rain
Jingle Bell Hock


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When we first got Cordelia, she was a little MONSTER at night. She'd pounce us in bed with her little needle sharp claws, yowl, knock things off of dressers (she ruined my PDA with a lot of school-related info on it by knocking a glass of water on it) and generally raise hell. She had a thing she'd do where she'd get going really fast down the hall, shoot through the bedroom, and SLAM into the floor to ceiling window right next to the bed. Over and over and over again, all night long.

We took to using a laser pointer to tire her out right before bedtime, but that didn't buy more than a couple of hours of relief.

Eventually, she grew out of it, though. She still wakes us up way too early to demand food, but we lock her in the bathroom and that's that.

Oddly, don Francisco, kitty #2, was much quieter and more sedate. He'd crawl between me and Boyfriend in the Rain and conk out for the whole night, especially if Cordelia was sleeping at the foot of the bed. He'd do about anything to be near her.

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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Just want to thank tribrats for the canned air suggestion! We started triggering the canned air everytime she would meow at the door, or claw, and after a few days she seemed to get the message and we haven't had a problem with the meowing or clawing for quite a few days now. [Smile] She'll still wait for me outside the bedroom door, but she's nice and quiet and waits until I'm up and out the door to start meowing for attention. It's actually kind of cute seeing her sitting there so patiently in the mornings. [Big Grin]

Many thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

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"That would be really dangerous, you know. Indiscriminately extricating someone from the petrified corpse of a supernatural creature." - My Husband

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daisyslegs
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'll try it. [Smile] Glad you're making progress.

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~tough as nails yet nice as pie~
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - and sometimes a scar.
"and don't threaten anyone with your pants today!" - Frog_Feathers
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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Glad it worked for you! I found it by mistake but I've been recommending it a lot and its been working.

I noticed the cats didn't like it when I cleaned the keyboard and out of desparation, I grabbed the can the next time one clawed at Hubby's chair. It was funny, if they thought I made the sound they would hiss back at me but if they didn't know where it came from, it worked.

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Kitten in the rain
Jingle Bell Hock


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Seconding the thanks to Tribats for the canned air.

I've been having trouble teaching Cordelia not to scratch the matress of the bed when she's hungry or otherwise wants us to get out of bed for any reason, including her random whim. We toss her out when she does it, but this hasn't been a deterrant. I don't like having to put the cats out, since I sleep better if one of them settles down on my feet.

A couple of spritzes of canned air when she's scratched at the bed, and she's gotten WAY more timid about doing it. No more of this 'I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I don't give a crap' stuff from her. And one blast stops her for pretty much the rest of the night.

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Bach_girl
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Be careful w/ the canned air. If it is not upright- or if it malfunctions, it will freeze your kitty.

Some smartass I used to work w/ decided it would be a good idea to spray another guy in the crotch w/ some of that stuff and he left in a stretcher. Apparently his balls were frozen stiff.

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Instead of canned air, my mom uses a little water pistol with our cats. They learned to behave (and to run from the little green gun) pretty fast.

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daisyslegs
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Bach_girl:
Be careful w/ the canned air. If it is not upright- or if it malfunctions, it will freeze your kitty.

Some smartass I used to work w/ decided it would be a good idea to spray another guy in the crotch w/ some of that stuff and he left in a stretcher. Apparently his balls were frozen stiff.

Bach_girl, you should know better! It may be very very cold if the can is upside down, but I can't see anyone except a serious drama queen allowing for "ball damage" so bad as to require a stretcher.

In fact, I have a really bad planters wart on the bottom of my left foot and once I realized that it was so cold (upside down) I tried to use it to freeze the area. Nope. Not good enough.

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For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - and sometimes a scar.
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Fuzzy Bug
Boxed Choy


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One trick that I've had some luck with is to use the vacuum cleaner. Leave it outside your door - turned on, but unplugged. Run the plug under your door, and when the meowing starts in the morning, reach over and plug in the vac. Any pet worth its salt is scared to death of a running vacuum cleaner, and will high-tail it away from the devil machine.

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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I hold the can behind my back or at my side so they can't tell where its coming from. It won't work with mine if they see it. They think its me and will hiss back.

I didn't really think of how cold it can get. I use quick squirts. I was more concerned with them breathing it. I don't know what they use but it has a definite chemical smell (No, I didn't intentionally inhale it!).

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Posts: 2448 | From: New Hampshire | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Oh no worries, we never squirt it anywhere near her. We just use it so she can hear the sound, but she never gets into contact with the spray, in fact we only use it when there's a closed door and several feet between us.

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"That would be really dangerous, you know. Indiscriminately extricating someone from the petrified corpse of a supernatural creature." - My Husband

Posts: 4308 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dear Babby
Deck the Malls


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Wasn't it you folks whose cat just recently passed away? and you had drawn a portrait? Anyway, it's great that you are trying again with a new kitty.
Posts: 326 | From: Hawaii | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Yes Babby, we had to put our cat Zoe down at the beginning of May. She was old and very ill with kidney disease. After about a month of grieving we decided we were ready to go to the MSPCA and look into adopting another cat. My fiance had gotten Zoe from the same MSPCA, and she'd have been euthanized the next day if he hadn't adopted her. We figured we could honor Zoe's memory by saving another cat in the same way. There were lots of sweet cats at the MSPCA, but Phoebe let us know right away that she wanted to come home with us. She's settled in nicely now and is a real sweetheart. She's got her own personality and quirks, and we're happy with her, and knowing that we were able to give her a good home. [Smile]

ETA: It's not the best picture of her, but it's the only one I have so far of Phoebe. I'm especially fond of her pink nose and paw pads. [Big Grin]

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"That would be really dangerous, you know. Indiscriminately extricating someone from the petrified corpse of a supernatural creature." - My Husband

Posts: 4308 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kitten in the rain
Jingle Bell Hock


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OMG CUTE KITTY!

I had a little melty moment when I saw that picture. She's adorable!

Posts: 533 | From: Davis, CA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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