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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