Monthly Archives: October 2011

Black Cats are Enchanting!

Sharpietoo is looking for his forever home. Black cats are a very popular motif during the Halloween season, but in real life, black cats have a harder time finding a home.

During the Halloween season, black cats are so, so popular — or so you’d think since they are everywhere in decorations and designs. However, being part of the scary Halloween motif perhaps isn’t such a bonus for black cats because they have a harder time being adopted year-round than any other color. The same is true for dogs.

Sharpietoo, featured here in three photographs, (Isn’t he gorgeous?) doesn’t know he has that strike against him. He’s extremely friendly, and not only that, he does tricks. He was one of the easiest cats I’ve ever photographed at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. He would stand or sit with the wave of my hand. Sharpietoo has a short, shiny coat and a patch of white at his throat. He’s a sweet, muscular cat of about 12 pounds, sleek like a jaguar. He’ll find a way to fit on your lap.

Sharpietoo poses. Isn't he adorable!

Sharpietoo has another strike against him. He tested positive for FIV, a virus that weakens a cat’s immune system. This doesn’t need to be a problem, even though an FIV positive cat won’t be able to get rid of the virus. An FIV positive cat can lead a long, healthy life if he is kept indoors, fed a healthy diet and gets regular vet check-ups. FIV can be spread to other cats through bites and scratches, so an FIV positive cat should be an only cat or live with other FIV positive cats. FIV is a weak virus that doesn’t live outside the body. Only cats can get FIV, so dogs, other animals and people won’t be infected.

Sharpietoo’s Felineality type is Personal Assistant, which means that he likes people and wants to hang out. Felineality is a feline personality assessment. People can meet their feline match by taking their own assessment. Check out the “Meet Your Match” survey here.

Sharpietoo was found as a stray, and was originally named Sharpie when he arrived because of his dark inky color.  But wouldn’t you know, another cat in the shelter was already named Sharpie. What are the odds?

To learn more about Sharpietoo and other cats and kittens (and dogs and puppies) available for adoption, click on Wayside Waifs.  Wayside Waifs, a no-kill shelter, regularly has about 300 animals available for adoption and places more than 5,000 animals a year in forever homes.

Sharpietoo shows off his sleek Jaguar-like physique.

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Filed under Cats

Ouch! That Hurts!

White and Yellow Rose with Honeybee Postcard postcard
Here’s one of the roses I was photographing  in Texas when I was stung by fire ants. 

Birdwatchers have a life list of birds they want to see. I, unfortunately, am ticking off a list of different type — arthropods that have bitten me. So far, I’ve been bitten or stung by ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, chiggers, a wasp, a bee, a horsefly and now fire ants. Please no more bug bites! When I was a kid, one of the scariest movies I saw was “The Naked Jungle,” about an attack of army ants on a South American plantation.

Recently, I was photographing roses in a Texas rose garden in when my sandal-clad feet started to itch. I looked down and saw tiny ants milling over my feet. I brushed them off, did some scratching and thought that was the end of it. Most ants rush to protect their queen when an invader (me, in this case) appears, but fire ants, an invader to North America, attack.  They inject a toxin when they sting.

Here's where a fire ant stung me on my toe. I have several of these, they hurt, and they haven't improved in ten days.

My brother-in-law, whose legs are peppered with the tiny scars of fire ant bites, told me that fire ant bites produce pustules. I looked at my toes. No sign of any damage. But then three days later, the pustules appeared. They are more ugly than painful, although they do hurt and itch. There goes my career as a foot model.

Now I know why Texans wear cowboy boots, even if they never get near a horse or cow.  About Fire Ants.

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Filed under Entomology, Photography