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Poisoned Kittie

Everything fun and exciting that happened this week was overshadowed by the fact that our beloved cat, Little Girl, ate rat poison.

She is going to make it. That is only because of a series of fortunate events.

Little Girl

We saw her on Tuesday acting weird but were unable to catch her. Wednesday was extremely hot and she hid all day. It wasn’t until Wednesday night when we called for her with a can of wet food that she came and let us pick her up and take her inside. She was completely limp, wouldn’t eat or drink or respond to touch. We knew we had to take her to the emergency vet.

After a long, scary night of tests and uncertainty it was determined that her blood was not clotting at all and the probable cause was poisoning. Rat poisons are anticoagulants and that is exactly how they work to kill rodents. The animal bleeds from the inside and sometimes outside for seemingly no reason.

Little Girl was admitted to the hospital where she spent three days. She was given a transfusion and Vitamin K, which is the best treatment to introduce healthy platelets that make the blood coagulate again.

Little Girl was very lucky.

Unfortunately, this is a common experience and not all animals survive this occurrence. Children are affected by this every year, too. It is likely that Little Girl ate a few rats that had ingested the poison (she is a true huntress) or even ate the poison herself, as they try to make it tasty to animals.

We need to work together to help stop the spread of unnecessary poison in our communities.

What we can all do:

  • Do no use ingestion style poisons. (See alternatives below)
  • Talk to friends family and neighbors about the harm these poisons cause.
  • Do not create habitat for mice/rats around your home. Clean out garages, barns, wood piles and brush and do not leave food/trash around.
  • Value the neighborhood cat’s hunting abilities (or your own cat’s)
  • Adopt a barn cat (cool program in Sonoma County, CA and likely elsewhere)

Alternative Traps to Poison

  • Humane traps- a plastic or wire cage that holds bait and triggers when the animal enters. You can then take the animal out of the house or drive it away from your property.
  • Sticky traps- not so humane but not as harmful to pets.
  • Old fashioned snap trap (kills on contact)
  • Electronic trap- a plastic house that has voltage inside (not as humane if it fails)

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned:

  • Call your veterinarian, the nearest animal hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline at at 1-855-213-6680, especially if you notice your cat is bleeding.
  • If you can find the container or label for the poison, bring it with you to the veterinarian.

Remember, if a poison can kill a rodent it can kill a pet.


Sea Otter Hoop Dreams

Eddie the sea otter plays basketball to help with his arthritis.


View my previous post which has more about sea otters.

Oh, to be a Sea Otter.

I love sea otters.

Ever since a 6th grade science report I have been hooked by their cuteness, curiosity, and their ability to just have fun. They also love to nap. And I appreciate anyone who likes a good nap.

Sea Otters Holding Hands

As you may know, the California sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is an endangered species.

Since they were nearly hunted to extinction for their fur from 1741-1911 they have had trouble recovering their once large numbers. Through a ban on hunting, conservation efforts and a surrogate reintroduction program spearheaded by the Monterey Bay Aquarium their numbers are steady, but not numerous.

Unfortunately, by law they have been restricted to a small portion of our coast for many years. If otters were found living outside this human created line, or the “otter free zone” stretching from Point Conception to the Mexican boarder, they would be relocated. But in December of 2012, it was decided that this ban would be lifted and the otters can return to their full native swimming grounds.

Sea Otter at Vancouver Aquarium

 One of the best places to see sea otters up close and better appreciate their adorable playfulness is at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. The sea otter exhibit just went under a retrofit and reopened. They have many new otters who have joined the group. Some will be on display and some will be used in their surrogate program (SORAC) where orphaned pups are brought to the center and a surrogate mom teaches them all things otter.

There is even an Otter Web Cam where you can watch the fun from home. 7am-7pm PST (If the camera says ‘off air’ in the bottom right corner click that, it should go live. )

Many groups are working to keep the sea otter population strong and healthy.

How can you help?

  • Learn more about the sea otter and share with others.
  • Visit the Monterrey Bay Aquarium
  • It’s almost tax day, did you know you can donate money right on your tax form? In 2012, Californians donated $351,037 to the program. So far, the program has raised over 1.7 million dollars since it was created. We need your help to keep this program alive!
  • Adopt a sea otter here or here (I’m not kidding!)

                              Sea Otter Wave 

  Some of my favorite facts about sea otters:

  • They help fight climate change! By eating animals such as urchins that eat kelp forests they keep these carbon sequestering forests healthy and alive.
  • They are the only marine mammal that uses a tool. (to open hard shellfish)
  • Otter fur is soft and dense, they have 1 million hairs per square inch.
  • Otters can eat so many sea urchins in a lifetime that their teeth and bones can be stained purple.
  • Otters only have one pup.
  • Otters have retractable claws like a cat.

Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in Pictures

This last week I took a trip to Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen. Quarry Hill is a world renowned Asian themed garden that was all started from wild seed. It’s a great and unique collection. This is a slideshow of my photos from the trip. Lots of macro shots.

Belly Flops

What does a food manufacturer do when their product is the wrong shape, color or taste? Normally, they go into the trash (or compost I could only hope). But in the case of Jelly Belly, the makers of ‘the original gourmet jelly bean,” they are repackaged into 1 pound bags and sold as Belly Flops. 


According to the package, Belly Flops are “special beans that taste great but don’t quite meet all of our demanding standards for size, color, shape and flavor.”

As a long time Jelly Belly fan I have also, over the years, come to appreciate Belly Flops for certain reasons:

1. No two bags are ever alike.

2. The shapes are always entertaining.

3. You can get some wild tastes you would never expect.

They are almost always delicious tastes. I’ve had super tropical fruits, extra buttery popcorn, rich coffee, creamy cheesecake and some other flavors I can’t even describe. It was only today while preparing for this blog post that I had to spit out a bean. It was the spiciest cinnamon/paprika taste I have ever experienced from a candy. I spit it out immediately and honestly, I’m a little afraid to eat the rest of the red beans in this package. But, in all my packages of flops over the years this is a first.

4. Flops are cheaper than regular beans.

Jelly Belly beans are not cheap. The best deal I have ever seen is at Costco where you can get 4 lbs (64oz) container for under $20, I think… But if you buy them at the grocery store or candy store they can be as much as $6.99/ quarter pound.

Flops, depending where you find them, can be as little as $2.99/lb.

I hear Flops are available for purchase at the end of the official Jelly Belly Factory tour in Fairfield, CA. I have yet to make that trek, but it is on the list.

If you’re a long time Jelly Belly fan, like me, you will appreciate the change of pace that is the Belly Flop. If you’re a casual jelly bean consumer you will enjoy the novelty.

What’s in Bloom This Week?

Here we are in the fourth week of March (seriously, how did that happen?) and many more blooms are coming out to play. This unusually warm weather coupled with a few showers didn’t hurt things at all.

1. Non-Fruiting Plum


2. Wild White Lily

Found on a California hillside


3. Daffodils

Have been blooming for weeks now.


4. Tulips


5. Christmas Cactus

No joke, it seems to be confused. Beautiful nonetheless.


Indoors, bright light, well watered.

Have Your Irish Cream on a Cupcake!

True to the name of the blog, here is my first post about cupcakes!

It has been awhile since I baked up a good home made batch of my cupcakes, as I have been trying to cut out processed foods and sugar from my diet, but tonight I relented.

I made vanilla cake cupcakes with a Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. Just in time to get in the mood for St. Patty’s Day.

This stuff is so dangerous I can really only do it once a year. (You have been warned.)

Want to make some of your own?

The frosting recipe I followed called for: (next to it is how I modified)

1 lb powdered sugar ( I started with this amount but added more, see below)

5 1/2 tablespoons butter (I used more like 4 1/2 – 5)

1/4 C milk (this was too much and made the recipe too watery so I added more powered sugar to compensate & I used coconut milk)

1/4 teaspoon salt (just a pinch)

2 Tablespoons Irish Cream (perfect!)

Once I got the frosting all mixed up and to a consistency I liked, it got dangerous and I had to keep testing it on each new batch of cakes as they came out of the oven (just to make sure…)

Cupcakes in the oven

For the Vanilla cake I used a box mix *gasp*, but an organic variety.  Dr. Oetker’s Organics Vanilla Cake Mix. I can pronounce every ingredient and I think the scariest sounding one is organic locust bean gum. Then, organic cane sugar. But more on that later….

For now, Enjoy!

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