Monday, 21 September 2015

RIP, @PixelDoggy

There are many tears being shed in the anipal community today at the news that one of the best-loved of anipals, @PixelDoggy, is making the journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Pixel has not been well for some time, and as it became clear that she would not recover her family have made the painful decision to let her join her sisfur Angel @JinJinDoggy at the Bridge.  

Ahoy there!: @PixelDoggy
takes to the water
Along with Angel Jinny and younger brother @OtisDoggy Pixel has been a loyal and long-serving Barktender at #NipClub, as well as providing a lot of enjoyment to the many pals that she befriended at #LakeWithPetie, and her unfailing kindness and sense of fun have always made her immensely popular. She's joined enthusiastically in lots of crazy adventures, and it's good to see that today's floods of tears as the news has spread across the anipal community are being sweetened by a lot of reminiscences of the laughter she has brought to many anipals. 

Cheerleading: @PixelDoggy raises
the roof for Green Bay Packers
Today at 6pm EDT (11pm in the UK) @danapixie will be reciting Kaddish for Pixel on the #Kaddish4Pixel hashtag. For those unfamiliar with Kaddish it's a beautiful prayer, and you can read the words here. If you're following on a smartphone and can't keep an eye on the translation as well as the Twitter timeline, you can still join in by reading through the prayer first, then watching Twitter and tweeting Amen when others do. By doing so you'll bring a lot of comfort to Pixel's family, and it will show them how much we appreciate her.

Although today is a sad one for all who love Pixel, it's also an occasion to be thankful to her family for the years they've shared her with us. We have loved every moment of her company, and we want to share that love with her family as she is reunited with her beloved sisfur Angel Jinny at the Bridge. 

That's why my belated Thankful Thursday post this week is dedicated to a very special anipal, dear @PixelDoggy. 
Classic entrance: @PixelDoggy and
sisfur Angel @JinJinDoggy arrive in
style at NipClub in their Chevvy

"The pipes are calling": @PixelDoggie
joins in NipClub Bagpipe Boogie

Pals in pink: @PixelDoggy and brofer
@OtisDoggy take part in a Paintball contest
Reunited: @PixelDoggy and
sisfur Angel @JinJinDoggy

Saturday, 8 August 2015

A Meow Of Explanation

As you may know, I have the responsibility of selecting the charities that we support at #NipClub. It's a great privilege as well as a big responsibility, and something I take very seriously indeed.

Recently there have been some problems with charity selection for a purely technical reason. For reasons of security and transparency we always arrange for donations to be made through PayPal, but since the introduction of the Patriot Act we have been required to provide the PayPal email address used by the charity before we can set up our donation widget. That's a very understandable precaution, but it's made things a little difficult for us because we used to be able to set it up simply by using the URL of the PayPal page on the Donate button link, and not all charities make their PayPal email readily available.

Some actually show it on their PayPal page, which is great - others won't provide it even when I ask and explain just what I need it for. I imagine that they think I'm phishing, but I can assure anyone who's concerned about it that there's no way that would give me access to their account even if I wanted it. I simply need to know where YouCaring ought to send the money that's donated.

There are two reasons why I'm sharing this with you right now:- 

  1. Because I'm hoping that if you want to recommend a charity for NipClub to support you may, as an individual possibly already known to them, have more influence than I have as the head of an organization that they probably have never heard of in persuading them to supply the email that they use for PayPal and convince them that it's absolutely necessary if we're going to be able to collect donations for them; and 

  2. Because as none of the doggy rescues I have asked to let me have their PayPal email have replied I've chosen another kitty rescue for this month. I normally try to alternate them and from time to time put in a general shelter or rescue or one that helps another species, but although I've waited till the last minute in the hope of getting a response from a doggy one I've eventually had no choice but go with another charity for which I do already have a PayPal email, and it happens to be a kitty one. I promise that over the year as a whole our doggy pals will not miss out, and I hope you'll understand why it's been necessary. 
Thanks for your understanding, and I hope everyone will have a pawesome time at #NCAGC this weekend!    

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Anipal Times

One of the things I'm thankful for is my job as the Social Events Correspondent for the Anipal Times. It's terrific fun, especially as I get to go to lots of cool events and make a lot of great new friends!

If you're not a regular AT reader I can tell you that the paper's a good read, with useful information, product recall notices, Anipal Shops, cartoons and a lot of other features as well as a weekly account of the (usually riotous!) social events of the week

Recently some anipals have asked me why their social event didn't get a write-up in the AT. That's a real shame, as all of us at AT love to give events the best publicity we can, but we really need the organizers to work with us to help us to do that so I thought it might be useful to explain what an event organizer needs to do if they want their event to make the news.

  • First, and most importantly - tell me that it's happening! I can't report on an event that isn't scheduled, and it doesn't make the schedule unless I know about it. Just like an off-line newspaper, AT doesn't go out looking for a wedding or a pawty to report on. We're all volunteers on the paper, and we simply don't have time for that. So, the first step in getting your event a mention is to... 

  • Put it on the Calendar. The Events Calendar is run by AT and curated by the Social Events Correspondent, so you need to check out the Calendar and choose a date and time for your event. Please note, you normally can't schedule an event on the Calendar if the time-slot is already booked. On very rare occasions that might work for two events that are completely different in nature and clearly wouldn't attract the same audience, but in general the rule is that if someone else has booked the date it's theirs. There's nothing to stop you going ahead with your event anyway, of course, but it won't be on the Calendar, appear in AT Upcoming Events or be written about in AT afterwards. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but experience has shown that competing events lead to bad feeling between the organizers, especially if the one already booked is a charity fundraiser, and AT isn't going to be caught in the middle of the fall-out. It's strictly "first come, first served", so if a particular date is important to you it's a good idea to book it early, before someone else does! Please also make sure you let me know at least the approximate time you plan for your event to happen. I've sometimes had an organizer ask me to reserve a full Saturday because they haven't yet decided on the best time to start a pawty that's intended to last 3 hours. That is just not fair to others who might be planning an event for earlier in the day or later in the evening, and it isn't going to happen. 

  • When you've decided on your date and time, your next step is to email me at shaynacatATanipaltimesDOTcom, or DM me on Twitter at @ShaynaCat. Simply tweeting me is not reliable. I love getting as many tweets as I do, but I have so much incoming that I can't guarantee to see them all. Also, it's important that you let me know at least two weeks ahead of the event, if possible. I try to fit in late notifications if I can, but it doesn't always work. Like any other newspaper AT has set times for editing and publication and can only include the information that's available at the time. There have been occasions when someone has been disappointed that an event has not been previewed or reported on after they'd notified me within a week of when it was intended to take place and my article had already been submitted. That disappoints me too, because I know how much work goes into these occasions, but the Pawties and Events column does end every week with a reminder of how and when to get the details to me, and there really is a reason why that's necessary. 
  • Please include some details of your event. The things I need to know are the event's name and hashtag, date and time you want to reserve on the Calendar, the Twitter name(s) of the organizer(s), what the event is about (e.g. an engagement, a wedding, a pawty, a fundraiser, etc), and a link to a blog post, Tweetvite or whatever else you're using to publicize the event. I'll also need a picture, but assuming that there is one at the link you give me I can normally use that. Please note there does have to be a site or page of some kind for AT to link back to, though!  
  • If there's any change in the arrangements, please let me know as soon as possible so I can at least amend the Calendar. It doesn't often happen, but it's a bit embarrassing if something is called off and people are asking me what happened to it! :D 

Once you've done all that, here's what you can expect:- 

  • A mention in the Events Calendar, showing date, time, hashtag, link and organizer(s) of the event. The Calendar has the facility for anyone with a Google account to click on the event and have it added to their own Calendar automatically, so it really is quite useful; 
  • A mention in the Upcoming Events section of the weekly AT Pawties and Events page, also showing the above information and including a picture and a link direct to the event's page;  
  • Promotional tweets about the Pawties and Events page, which will help to publicize your upcoming event; and  
  • A write-up of your event in the Pawties and Events page. That's usually in the edition that comes out on the Tuesday following your event, but sometimes if it's been a very busy week some events may be held over till the following week. Usually the earliest events get written about first, but just occasionally if one has a lot of detail that deserves a bit more time than is available that week it will be held over so that I can do it justice next time. In no circumstances is there ever any favouritism involved - writing and editorial decisions are always made in what's believed to be the best interests of all concerned. 

Everyone at AT wants to help you make the most of your event, because not only do we want you to have a great and memorable time but we also want to inform and entertain our readers. That means you can be sure we'll do our utmost to give your event the showcase it deserves, so we really hope you'll understand how important it is that you take the steps I've outlined so that you can help us to help you to do that. 
Happy organizing!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Calling All Kitties: How To Be A Cat Scout!

I got into a new adventure last night - I discovered Cat Scouts

I followed a link from the #ThankfulThursday Blog Hop, and next thing I knew I was talking to some very interesting cats indeed. They're very much like human Scouts, except way cooler, of course. They have a Cat Scout Law, and a Pawbook, and lots of Merit Badges you can win. They do a lot of service to the community, both on- and off-line, but in case that sounds too serious I can assure you they have plenty of fun, too, with pawties and adventures and trips to all sorts of pawesome places. There's a Sea Cat adventure happening tomorrow, for example, and a trip to the Grand Canyon due to take place shortly. Oh, and you can win badges for taking an interest in astronomy and botany and all kinds of fascinating things! 

You start off as a Tenderpaw, and after a while you do a test about your knowledge of the Cat Scout Law. If you pass you get to be a Bobcat, and that sounds exciting! The first Merit Badge is for Friendship, and it's easy to win - you just introduce yourself around the Campfire and tell everyone what kind of noms you most enjoy on an adventure. You get to wear a very snazzy uniform (I'm being fitted for mine shortly!), and I'm very proud to be one of the Worldwide Wildcats Troop and a member of the Wolverine Patrol. 

I'll report back in due course on how the Sea Cat adventure goes, but better yet, why not come and check it out yourself? I'm sure that you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thankful Thursday - For All Who Work At #NipClub

One of NipClub's first DJs:
Club Manager
This #ThankfulThursday I want to give a huge meow-out to all the anipals who work at NipClub, the online nightclub which does double duty as an entertainment for anipals and also as a fundraiser for small no-kill rescues and animal shelters. Most of our customers very understandably have no idea at all of how much work goes on behind the scenes as well on the timeline, but the fact it takes me around 30 minutes at the end of every weekend pawty to post my thanks to all of them should make the point - especially as I generally thank around 6 pals in each one of those tweets! And apart from those who do their work in public and whose names you recognise even THAT is generally limited to the leaders of the teams who work so hard and loyally behind the scenes, 'cos if I listed absolutely everyone who helps I'd need to start mid-morning with some hours still to go. 

High paws to pals:
joint NipClub Manager
You probably know a lot of our front-of-house folks already - our DJs, Barktenders, Quizzers and Sekurity staff work right where you can see and interact with them. They'd be the first to admit, though, that they're actually just the tip of NipClub's iceberg, and hard though they work the club would not be running long without our back-room folks. 

We have pals who think up themes, devise the entertainments, vet suggested charities to make sure they meet the club's criteria, co-ordinate and schedule the shifts for all the club staff that you see online, produce the pawesome graphics, update the blogs, source prizes, and work each day and every day to publicize events and make sure patrons know what's going on at NipClub... and the best of all is, they are great fun, enthusiastic and a total joy to work with!

So, on behalf of all the charities that NipClub helps, and all the anipals we entertain, I'm very thankful for the great team that I have the honor to be leader of. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

NipClub Gatecrasher Alert

I've heard some hashtags have been having problems today with norty ladies and other uninvited guests, so it seems like a good idea to mention it in case we run into any difficulties tonight with Christmas in July, or at the weekend with #NCGYM. The whole reason why we started using individual hashtags for our weekend pawties instead of sticking to our usual #NipClub one was because over the weekend there were so many of them found us and started posting some very inappropriate messages that it was decided to use a one-off name in future for each weekend pawty. I wasn't here when NipClub started, but I've been told that it never occurred to those who founded it that nip could be taken to mean anything other than catnip, and I have to say that it would never have occurred to me, either. However, it has unfortunately occurred to a number of unwanted visitors since then, so we decided a long while back that we needed to be at least one step ahead of them.

We haven't usually had much difficulty with our Thursday pawties but we do have a procedure that we fall back on when it's necessary. Because it's been a while since it's been needed it's very likely that a lot of our newer members may be unaware of it, so it seems like a good moment to go through it. It's very simple - if you start seeing stuff on the #NipClub hashtag which shouldn't be there (typically norty ladies, but can also be people inviting you to buy Twitter followers, or assorted other stuff that doesn't belong at a #NipClub pawty) please use the Block and Report facility immediately. 

Different apps and Twitter clients do this slightly differently, but it usually involves finding a Settings-type icon (probably looks a bit like a wheel) somewhere close to the Follow button. If you click the icon (NOT the Follow button :D) you will see a Menu which will include the facility to block or report. The best thing to do is click on Report, then when you're given a choice of reasons for reporting click the one that mentions s p a m. That's all there is to it!

If you want to alert others (you may be the first one to see the offending message(s) or you may want to encourage others to report, as well), it's best to say something like "Blocking intruders" - please DON'T us the word s p a m, unless with spaces between the letters, as believe it or not it's one of the triggers these folks use to find an active hashtag they can post on! 

If enough of us use the block/report facility within a short time these folks are usually kicked out by Twitter fairly quickly, so that's often quite enough to get rid of them. Sometimes an attack can last around 10 minutes and it seems like hours, but then it usually ends as quickly as it started. There have been occasions, though, when pawties (fortunately not our Thursday ones so far!) have been disrupted so severely that the only thing to do has been to leave the hashtag altogether and move the pawty to another one. 

If we need to, one of NipClub Management will give you another hashtag and ask you to move on to it. In that case to prevent these bots (they're only rarely human) from following it you'll notice that it won't be written with the # sign - the message will say something like "#NipClub pals. pls switch to XYZ". That would mean the pawty would continue using #XYZ, not #NipClub. If that happens, please do NOT use the new hashtag to say #XYZ and #NipClub in the same tweet. Hopefully the gatecrashers won't have a clue what's happened and will go on happily tweeting only to each other and themselves.

If absolutely necessary we can make that switch as many times as we need to, though hopefully it won't ever come to that :-) 

Oh, and if you're wondering what happens if you get there after the pawty has moved on, don't worry - one of NipClub Management (whoever happens to be around at the time!) will be monitoring the #NipClub hashtag for any genuine pawty-goers and directing them to the right place. 

Hopefully the norty ladies and the other gatecrashers will stay away, but even if they don't, at #NipClub we always do our best to pawty on! 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Man Who Brought The Cat In From The Cold

In the boss's chair: one of up to
96,000,000 cats in USA
Never let it be meowed that human TV is useless - well, not entirely, anyway. Every now and again among the game shows and the soap operas they have something of real interest to cats, and tonight is one of those occasions. 

Did you know that in the 1940s cats were not as well appreciated as we are today? I know - it's truly shocking, but it's a fact. Back then most people preferred to have a dog as a companion 'cos they could train a dog to go outside to answer calls of nature, while cats... Well, you know as well as I do, we train humans, not the other way around. Those cats who did have staff prepared to work for them found their services came at a price - the cats were generally expected to spend the night outside. Now, granted, lots of cats are fine with that, but not all. Speaking personally, I would truly hate it. 

Those who couldn't bear to leave their cats outside on a cold winter's night would use a pile of ashes, dirt or sand. It worked, but it had a major drawback - the ashes, dirt or sand would cling to the cat's paws and end up being trailed all over the apartment or the house. Staff didn't like it. 

Staff appraisal: feline employer
assesses human servant 
One day a lady in Michigan approached her neighbour, Ed Lowe, a businessman who sold sand, and asked if he had some that she could use in her cat box instead of ashes. He had a large quantity of Fuller's Earth, a kind of clay which is full of highly absorbent minerals, which he was eager to get rid of, so he gave her some of that instead. The clay worked way better than anything she'd used before, which as it can absorb its own weight in water was not surprising. She told her friends, and they came around for Fuller's Earth, too. 

An astute and innovative businessman, Ed Lowe realized he was on a winner and he made a fortune - but here's the spin-off for us cats. Humans began to realize that applying for a job as servant to a cat didn't have to mean constantly cleaning up after us or putting us outside. Once that problem was out of the way, there was no longer any barrier to giving us our rightful place as the boss of choice of millions of humans who need an anipal employer. There are now believed to be 74-96,000,000 cats with staff in the USA alone, with 30-37% of households headed by a cat. 

So, Mr Lowe, on behalf of indoor kitties everywhere, thank you for being exactly what the TV documentary called you - the man who brought the cat in from the cold! 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Sepia Saturday

I've just discovered a Blog Hop hosted by Ruckus the Eskie and Earl's World. Called Sepia Saturday, it features pics (not necessarily pet-related) in the lovely warm retro shades of sepia, and I couldn't resist having a go... 

If you'd like to try your paw at sepia effects (there are lots of desktop and smart-phone apps that will help you to achieve them!), you can find the Blog Hop link on its own Page on this blog - go on, try it! They're great fun :D 

Happy Independence Day!

"Sweet land of Liberty":
Happy Birthday, USA!
Happy July 4 to all my pals in the USA, and to all those everywhere who believe in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! It's only humans who need to have these rights spelled out for them, of course - all kitties know instinctively they are our birthright and it's the duty of our humans to do all that's necessary to uphold them. A few of my furriends like the idea of changing those stirring words to life, liberty and the pursuit of mousies, but personally I prefer the original 'cos in my view it includes the concept of pursuing treats, red dots, cuddles and nip toys, too. 

"The flag of the brave and the free:
Three cheers for the red, white and blue!"
The day began here with fireworks, all right - we had yet another succession of spectacular lightning flashes and some very noisy thunderstorms, which woke us up in the middle of the night! I took my pal @DylCat1's advice and snuggled Mom in case she might get scared, but after the loudest thunder-boomer I felt obliged to jump out of bed and meow loudly at it to frighten it away. For some reason Mom did not seem to appreciate this, and muttered something about there being quite enough racket going on without all that meowing, which I thought was thoroughly ungrateful of her. Fortunately she was a little better-tempered later in the day, and despite having never yet set foot in the USA she's intending to celebrate in style. I'm sure Zac Brown would be delighted to hear we're having Chicken Fried for dinner, along with herb potatoes, fried tomatoes... and Green Onions. Seriously. Mom's going to make a salad with yellow, green and red peppers, lettuce, cucumber and chopped spring onions. She's also apparently planning a red, white and blue dessert, with strawberries, blueberries and cream. She always leaves some cream in the pot for me, so the menu has my full approval. I'm standing by to quality-check the chicken for her, and judging by the delicious smell coming from the kitchen I think I could be needed very shortly. Wonder if I can persuade her to put some nip leaves in the salad... 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Anyone For Tennis?

You cannot be serious:
just serve the cream!
Hope everyone enjoyed NipClub's Independence Day pawty last night! As always @TinyPearlCat did a pawesome job with her firework display. It was a spectacular and colourful sight, and you can read all about it in the Anipal Times on Tuesday. In the meantime if you'd like to catch up on last week's NipClub shenanigans, the Opening Ceremony of the #TeddyOlympics and #TheAviators' exhilarating steampunk space adventure led by @oliviackcs, you can find them here

Purrworthy: strawberries
and cream
It's almost the end of the first week of Wimbledon, and so far I'm enjoying it very much. Unlike my friend @Doggymolly I'm not an expert on tennis, but I've discovered two great benefits to watching Wimbledon that I hadn't previously thought of. One is that I've found a great new way of grabbing Mom's attention. The trick is to sit beside her on the couch while she's watching, and just as someone has set point, pounce on the remote. That changes the channel or switches the TV off. so she has to try to grab it back to get back on to Wimbledon. The other is that along with Wimbledon come strawberries and cream. She's quite welcome to the strawberries, but the cream on top is fabulous and I always get a decent helping of it. So, never mind if chalk flew up or not, Mom - serve the cream, and I'll keep purring!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

#ThankfulThursday - Rain

Welcome sight:
rain, but no hailstones!
This was the view from the windowsill yesterday, and it was very welcome! We're not really used to so much heat here, so we don't have air-conditioning - unless you count the desk-fan that's been working hard for several days now! We just had lots of heavy rain, which cooled the atmosphere for a little while, but within just a few miles of here it was a different story. Houses were struck by lightning, 57,000 people lost their power, and there were hailstones literally the size of golf-balls that did thousands of pounds worth of damage. We saw the lightning here (cloud-to-cloud sheet lightning, that lit the room like daylight!) and we sure could hear a lot of thunder, but thankfully it didn't come too close. So, today I'm very thankful we got off so lightly, and in particular I'm thankful that I'm an indoor kitty and I wasn't out in that!  

What are you thankful for?
That brings me very conveniently to @PepiSmartDog's #ThankfulThursday Blog Hop. Every week Pepi offers anipal bloggers the chance to write a post about something that they're thankful for and link it to his blog. Even if you don't have a blog yourself you might want to go take a look at what pals are thankful for this week - some of the stories are very inspirational, and I guarantee you'll LOVE the story of the Wallaby who's fostering a baby Kangaroo! I know we all have days that make us want to yowl, but gratitude's a very powerful thing that can focus us on good things that can make us feel a whole lot better. And after all, with human staff to deal with, there are times we need it! 

See you all at #NipClub - we're heading off to Philadelphia tonight, so do come join us!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

@BabyPatches' Blow-Out Sale

Coral Cuties: Silverline fish toys
for the kitty in your life
This isn't the post I'd planned to write to write today - I was going to tell you all about my new Blog Hop, but this one is more urgent.

I've just had a message from my good friend @BabyPatches, and she told me that she's trying to help her human over a rough patch. Her human's name's Salina, and she runs a business called Nip and Bones. A lot of pals have bought stuff from her before, and she's been very generous with Gift Cards from her store for quiz prizes at NipClub.

Waiting for your doggy to play
with him: Purple Dragon
Sadly, things have not been going well for Salina. She has been ill for some time with migraines, hypertension (high blood pressure) and a severe vitamin B12 deficiency. As any owner of a one-person business knows, a prolonged spell of ill-health makes working very difficult if not impossible. 

Thankfully Salina's health has improved recently and she is able to work again, but the business has suffered greatly in the meantime. To try to get things back on track she's having a huge  4th of July Blow-Out Sale, with 50 items all selling at up to 60% off. There are also a couple of special items calls Mystery Boxes, with one kind full of toys for kitties and the other packed with doggy toys! 

The sale lasts only till July 6 or until the discounted items are sold out, whichever happens first, so if you're interested in any Nip and Bones products at discounted prices it would be a really good idea to get there fast! 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Bad Boyz And Pink Angels

Tribute Rider: @PillsterCat
Today's the day to polish up my motorbike, check the engine, fill the tank and make sure everything is ready for tonight's Bad Boyz of Twitter (#BBOT) and Pink Angels (#PA) #TributeRide

Run by @FreshOtis and @MickeyShortTail, it takes place on the last Tuesday of every month at 4pm EDT (that's 9pm in the UK). I like to be there a little early if I can, to chat to pals I don't always get the chance to meow with during the rest of the month and to get into formation ready to move off. 

It's always a stirring sight to see the Bad Boyz' and the Angels' banners fluttering in the breeze, carrying the names of pals being commemorated, and it's an emotional experience to hear the names of pals being called out as a tribute as we ride. There are always tears, of course, but there's laughter, too, as precious memories are recalled and shared. 

Pawesome poodle: @FreshOtis is
one of the #TributeRide organizers
The ride generally lasts for an hour, sometimes a little more, and the organizers ask us all to clear our schedules for that small amount of time each month. This is to respect the pals who are being commemorated and especially their families, and it really isn't much to ask - we can easily catch up with tweets about other events or on other subjects once the ride is over. 

We ride towards the Lake, where we set little lanterns afloat in pals' memory. We spend a little time in quiet contemplation, then we quietly ride home. Hopefully we have by then honored RB pals, given comfort to their families and strengthened the anipal community.

Would you like to join us? 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Joining The Team

Showing support: #TeamTiggy avi
If you've been around the anipal community for any length of time it's very likely that you know my good friend @TiggyBean. He's a popular Barktender at #NipClub, he runs #TiggysTavern, he's the inventor of the #TiggyTrot, and he's a wonderful anipal who's much loved by his many friends. 

Tiggy hasn't always enjoyed the best of health, and recently we've had a huge scare and thought we were going to lose our pal. He had a bad reaction to the meds that he was taking for a serious heart condition and needed to spend some time at the emergency vet's. People quickly gathered on #TiggysPorch to purray for him and wait for news.

Much-loved pal: @TiggyBean
Thankfully the news was good. Tiggy had rallied, and is now at home. 

His underlying heart condition hasn't changed, though. Tiggy is still very sick, and needs all the love and support that he can get. His anxious family need that, too, and they are glad so many pals are here for him. 

Gradually the spontaneous outpouring of love and support has crystallised into #TeamTiggy, with a number of his pals adding the #TeamTiggy hashtag to their tweets and even to their Twitter profiles. There is now also a #TeamTiggy avatar, designed by @RealFakeGator and available for all of us to use. 

If you know Tiggy and would like to join the team, you might like to do one or more of the following things:-
  1. Download the #TeamTiggy avatar above and use it as your profile pic or tweet it on your timeline;
  2. Add the tag #TeamTiggy to your Twitter name, e.g. my Twitter handle's @ShaynaCat & my name is currently shown as Shayna #TeamTiggy; 
  3. Tweet good wishes to @TiggyBean & include the hashtag #TeamTiggy; and
  4. Spend a few moments saying a purrayer for him and his family, or send good thoughts & vibes to them.
Any encouragement that you can give to Tiggy will mean a great deal to a very kind and lovely anipal and to his anguished family. Thank you.  

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Very Social Sunday

Happy #SnuggleSunday, everyone! 

Were you at the Opening Ceremony of the #TeddyOlympics last night? As always it was spectacular, and I especially loved the Kung-Fu display. There'll be more about it in the Anipal Times on Tuesday, so for now I'll just say that from all the training that's been going on it looks like these Games might be the best ones yet! 

Purring for peace:
Angel @ChloeToby & fur-sibs
If you have the chance, I hope you'll come to #Purrs4Peace today at 3pm EDT (8pm in the UK). In case it's something that you you haven't been to yet, I should tell you that it doesn't matter if you don't actually purr - any gentle sound you make will do just fine. "Peace" also has a very broad definition - we purr for all sorts of things, from shelter anipals finding their forever home to anipals and humans caught up in natural disasters. It's a beautiful tradition that was started by @ConfuciusCat and it's now led by my fellow #Purrkateers @LilyLuWhoT and @ChloeToby. In theory it only takes 3 minutes, but it usually takes a little longer to get all our purrs, woofs, chirps, neighs, etc in. It's a lovely thing to be a part of and all species are very welcome, including the occasional human!

Refreshments at #FBjam: Menu by
@HRHDuchessII & @TweetingTruman
Tonight is also time for #FBjam, and @Feral_Beast will be taking the stage from 6-9pm EDT (that's 11pm-2am in the UK). We play every Sunday night except the second Sunday in each month, because most pals are just about pawtied-out after that weekend's #NipClub monthly! This week's theme is honoring our pals at the RB, and it's a chance to show that we remember them with love. As always, top chefs @TweetingTruman and @HRHDuchessII will have a pawesome Menu for you to enjoy while you're watching the band, and there's plenty of room for you to dance. 

P.S. If you haven't got your copy of @SquirtTheCat's hilarious Reservoir Cats book yet, please remember that the free offer ends today, so you might want to head on over to Amazon and snag your copy before it disappears. It's very funny, and you won't be disappointed!   

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Live And Let Purr

I love the smell of coffee in the morning - it means that only a few feet away there is a human, awake, alert (well, kinda, anyway) and going about a human's proper business of serving cats. 

In harmony: Ivory and Ebony
This morning was slightly different, though. Instead of caterwauling her way through any of her favourite songs, as usual, Mom was stomping around the kitchen muttering things about people planning an attack on London. Today's Armed Forces Day, and there was a pile of newspapers on the kitchen table. The headlines were about the foiling of an alleged plot to bomb the nation's capital, and as London (just outside it, anyway) is where my Mom was born she takes that very personally. To put it mildly, she was mad.

Spaniel pal: Barney
As a kitty, of course, I don't think much of human politics. They're far too divisive for my liking, and too few politicians address the important things, like insisting we're entitled to at least a minimum amount of noms, treats, toys and cuddle time. What I do wonder about, though, is how a species that imagines it's intelligent can feel the need to kill other members of its species just 'cos they have different beliefs, or why some think that others are inferior 'cos of their gender, age, orientation, whatever that is, or the color of their skin. I can't imagine falling out with any of my tuxie, Russian Blue or panfur pals just 'cos they're not tabbies, and there are two doggies nearby that I get on fine with, too, so how is it that the supposedly most important critters on the planet can't do the equivalent? 

I guess it's just 'cos even at their best they're only human...  

Friday, 26 June 2015

Sand In My Fur

Bichons and Buddies
NipClub Beach Pawty was a lot of fun last night - I think it was around 3am our time when I finally fell asleep, so I was very glad of @TinyPearlCat kindly covering me up with a warm and fluffy blankie till the morning! If you missed @GeorgeTheDuck's spectacular wipeout, by the way, you can read all about it in the Anipal Times on Tuesday... :D

Today, though, having groomed as much as possible of last night's sand out of my fur, I'm busy with one of the more serious aspects of my work at NipClub. It's time to start setting up the monthly charity for July, and as a lot of pals have asked me how that works it seems like a good idea to tell you all about it, and to show you a few examples of the charities we've helped out recently. 

Ngo 9 Lives
The first thing to do is obviously to pick some likely causes to check out. We do have a list of possible ones to help, and also suggestions that are waiting to be looked at, but this is also a time for combing Twitter, Facebook and the search engines to find the ones we can best help.

What I'm looking for is a rescue or a small shelter that is no-kill and registered as a non-profit organization. We don't help individual cases because there's no way that we can verify their bona fides. NipClub staff often help or even run appeals for cases where they know the pal concerned, and that's just fine, but what we don't do is put NipClub's name behind that.

German Shepherd Dog
Rescue Of Georgia
The reason why the charities are always small ones is to choose the ones who can most benefit from NipClub's help. 

No-kill doesn't mean they never humanely put to sleep an animal in constant and untreatable pain, or who has no realistic quality of life - it means that euthanasia is not seen as a convenient alternative to making room for animals or finding them a home. 

Registered as a non-profit means they have a 501(c)(3) certificate, or its equivalent in countries outside the USA, confirming that the tax authorities are satisfied that's what they are. The advantage of this from NipClub's point of view is that a registered non-profit has to publish its accounts, so we can (and do!) check that it isn't receiving government or local subsidies, or paying out a lot of money in administration, fund-raising and staff salaries (typically, our charities are fully staffed by volunteers). 

Assuming that the charity gets past those checks (most do, but quite a few do not), the next step is to check the day-to-day stuff.

  1. Is the charity viable? That doesn't mean ruling out every charity in temporary financial difficulties. An unexpected bill for building repairs or vet care can be enough to cause a serious problem to a small charity, and that's just the sort of thing NipClub can help with. Unfortunately, though, a lot of charities are started by well-meaning folks who have no clue whatever about funding them, and it's sometimes all too clear that they're in financial free-fall from the get-go. No matter how much any of us here might sympathize, asking NipClub members to contribute to something which clearly has no future is just not acceptable. Fortunately the need for non-profit registration tends to weed out most of those, but it's still something that needs checking;
  2. Does it have a good web and/or social media presence? That doesn't mean it needs to look as if it's spent a fortune on design - that wouldn't be a plus point! It does need to have some effective kind of online presence, though. By now, anything that doesn't make at least some use of a blog, a website or some social media accounts is out of touch and more than likely heading for oblivion, and we don't want it taking any of our members' donations with it! Typically, our charities will have a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook page, all updated by devoted volunteers;
  3. Is it PayPal-friendly? There was a time we could use all sorts of donation procedures to get funds to a charity, but the demise of Chip-In and the arrival of the Patriot Act changed that. There are now few ways of actually arranging for donations to be collected and transferred directly to the charity which are acceptable both to the IRS and to our members. For example, we don't help any charity which requires the input of credit card details, because so many of our members have told us they don't trust any site that asks them to do that. Likewise, we don't feature any charity which insists on donors joining mailing lists or submitting personal information. To comply with the provisions of the Patriot Act without compromising the security and convenience of all concerned we channel all payments to our featured charity through PayPal. That means we need a PayPal email for the charity, which we found out the hard way isn't necessarily the same thing as the one they use for correspondence! We can't set up our YouCaring widget without a PayPal email, so any charity that doesn't have one is ruled out; and 
  4. Is it run by activists who post distressing pictures? This is quite a new consideration, which raised its head recently because a charity we've helped before and that was scheduled to be featured again changed its policy to involve putting pictures of tortured animals in its Facebook posts, and in answer to the distressed protests of some of its supporters responded that this was a necessary part of its recently-adopted rĂ´le in activism and supporters could expect to see more of such material in future. The question of whether or not this is helpful in preventing abuse of animals is a valid one, but there's no question it does not belong at NipClub, which is purely an entertainment and a fundraiser. Our aims are to entertain anipals and to support rescues and small shelters, and we cannot feature distressing pictures or descriptions without violating the first of those aims and thereby endangering the second. So, if the charity believes its mission involves those things, they may well have a point, but they simply don't belong at NipClub.
Black Cat Rescue
If you'd like to help by suggesting a charity for NipClub to feature, please check it has a non-profit registration (it should say in its About page or its bio if it has) and post a comment here with its name and web or social media address and I'll look into it. 

P.S. You can DM me if you'd rather, but please don't just post such important information as a tweet - I very much appreciate the huge number of tweets I get, but the downside is I miss some, and I can end up unknowingly offending someone that I've not replied to 'cos I didn't see their message!  

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Flame Of Friendship

Anyone got any tips for drying out a soaking-wet human? It was sunny when mine left the house, and then the heavens opened... I've packed her off to get a shower and promised to lend her my fur-dryer, so while she's out of the way I'm going to get on with my blog.

Something very exciting happened yesterday, and I can't wait to tell you all about it - I saw @SophiaFuzzy with the #TeddyOlympics flame! 

Golden Flame:
carries the
#TeddyOlympics torch
I'd heard there was a chance it might come this way, so I piled some treats up on the window-sill so that I could sit here and watch out for it. I'd waited quite a while and was beginning to wonder if I might perhaps have got the wrong day, or something, when I heard the sound of cheering in the distance and saw the first of the motorcycle outriders passing by. Mom had told me about those when she went to see the flame for the human Olympics held in London back in 2012 so I knew straight away what they meant - the flame was on its way! 

The cheering got louder and louder, and pals came out of lots of houses hoping to see the flame, then I saw a little figure in the distance coming closer. I was so excited that I started to cheer, too, and then suddenly Sophia was right outside, the #TeddyOlympics torch held proudly in her paw!   

I called out to her and waved my paw, and she turned around and smiled right at me and waved back! The flame looked beautiful in its golden torch, and I was so pleased to see Sophia wearing her Arsenal top, as of course they're my team, too. 

Striking a pose: @OllyTed
demonstrates one of the events
at #TeddyOlympics
In case you're not aware of the #TeddyOlympics, they're one of the big highlights of the anipal year. They're run by @SpencerTeddy and @OllyTed, and there are lots of pawesome events for you to enter, or just watch if you prefer. They aren't just for teddies - they're open to all anipals, and events include Hugs, Naps, Pose, Spawts, Treats, and Woogling. 

The Opening Ceremony this year is on Saturday June 27 at 2pm EDT (that's 7pm in the UK), and everyfur is welcome. There will be noms, drinks and dancing in Gilbert's Ice Bar, and you are guaranteed to have a pawesome time! In the meantime, don't forget to look out for the Olympic Flame, and if you see it please tweet @OllyTed and tell him which town or city you were in at the time 'cos he would love to add it to his map. All the torchbearers would love you to look out for them and give them a paw-wave and a shout-out - it's a real proud moment for them, and they'd love to share it with you! 

Hope to see you all on Saturday! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Welcome to my windowsill!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to my windowsill! It's quite large, so there's plenty of room to hang out and enjoy the sun-puddles. The window faces south, so there's usually a lot of sun, but today it's been heavy mist and rain all day. The room's quite warm, though, so it doesn't really matter, and the upside is that a couple of forlorn sounding meows always get me a few extra treats.

It's interesting watching passers-by, too. The Bermuda shorts and sun-glasses that people were sporting yesterday have morphed back into anoraks and hoods, and I saw several dogs earlier having to be practically dragged on walkies! 

On #DalekPatrol: @SquirtTheCat
At the other side of the room there sits a female human reading a book by one of my great furriends, @SquirtTheCat. I've meowed her into reading it, 'cos I'm the first kitty who has owned her and she still has a tremendous lot to learn. It's called Reservoir Cats, and it's about Squirt himself, and his life and his adventures. He's a remarkable kitty, and his book begins with how he used his intellect to make sure he got the home he wanted. I can promise you, the book is brilliant! 

I first met Squirt when he joined Snick's Sekurity, the company which pawtekts and serves during #NipClub pawty weekends. He's as brave as he's resourceful, and there's a story doing the rounds that he's not even afraid of the vacuum-cleaner and sits immoveable in the middle of the room while his Staff move the machine around him! 

Free this week from Amazon:
Reservoir Cats
Anyway, the book's a pawesome read and the great news is, it's absolutely free! From now till Sunday you can download it from Amazon for nothing, so do go give yourself and your humans a treat by getting it - you won't be disappointed!

Don't worry if you don't have a Kindle, by the way, 'cos there are other ways of reading it. If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone 7 or a Blackberry you can get an app to let you read it, and there's something similar for Mac and Windows laptops and PCs, too. 

Oh, human is stirring, so there may be a possibility of treats! See you later...

PS Not sure that link is showing up very clearly, so in case you didn't notice it all you have to do is click on the word Amazon above and it will take you straight to Reservoir Cats - enjoy!
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