Another year of foster kittens! Not as many this year, explanation to follow.

We work with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter to provide foster care for kittens that are not yet old enough to be adopted out. The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house. Then in general they go back to the shelter and get adopted immediately if not sooner.

Our first batch of 2017 were the Z3: Zane, Zack, and Zoë. Zane, of course is the gray tuxedo; Zack is the lynx point in the front, and Zoë is the black-and-white cow cat.

These guys came to us all the way back in January… a rare winter litter. From these photos it looks like all they did was take life easy, but Zane will show you his pouncy side.

Next we had the C3. Hilarious! These were their intake pictures from the shelter. So tiny!

Left to right are Courtney, Chauncey, and Casey.

This is how 3 kittens can share a small cat bed.

Some friends were enchanted with Courtney on my husband’s Facebook and came over for a visit. Chauncey crawled into the guy’s lap and did not leave the entire visit, so he got himself a home too!

In the windowsill of their forever home, they are now Simone and Garfunkel.

Next were what my husband called the Gasoline Alley Gang.

They were two singletons that I took together into foster. The one on the left was called Forklift. Sigh. A guy found her under a forklift and decided to call her Forklift. He made noises about coming back to adopt her so they kept the name. The other cutie had the loudest, readiest purr, so I called her Purr Motor.

They became fast foster friends.

Next up were Cassie, Kirby, and Parker.

I called Parker “Lord Buffington Crankypants of FluffyCat Manor” because he was a very grumpy, growly little man. Come to find out, it was because he didn’t feel well.

We then entered into one of the scary scenarios that every foster home takes on as a risk. Parker was acting ill and tested positive for panleukopenia. That’s a bad disease for kittens to get and honestly it’s often fatal.

BUT my boy was kind to me, the little dear, and SURVIVED.

Panleukopenia is a strong virus with no cure, only supportive care. Once he made it through the first night, the shelter vet and I nursed Parker back to health, and when he recovered he was the sweetest, most affectionate and loving little kitten ever! Maybe it was all that syringe feeding in my lap…

The other two never got sick at all, thank goodness! Here are Cassie and Kirby, with their I’ve-never-seen-that-before-in-my-life eyes on.

Once Parker was fully recovered, they could all go back to the shelter (after a quick bath) for regular adoption. There are no long-term effects from the disease, in fact now he has a built-in lifetime immunity!

Cassie had caught the eye of another friend via Facebook, and home she went to live with a couple of our former graduates!

I’m flyyyying!

However, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines was then out of commission. Panleukopenia is highly contagious and lives in the environment for a long time. Some serious measures were going to have to be taken before we could receive kittens again. It was quite a process. Let’s just say, I either threw it out or bleached the living daylights out of it. :)

Finally, months later, we were once again kitten-approved, and I brought home one very shy snowshoe singleton and two completely social tabby kitties from another litter to be her friends.

Marshmallow, the snowshoe Siamese mix, had been alone at the shelter for a period of time before coming into foster care. She was scared and undersocialized, both towards people and other kittens.

Scurry and Chase, on the other hand, were completely relaxed and friendly. They were from a litter of five so they were used to being around other kittens, and did not think anything of it when Marshmallow acted all grumpy and growly the first day. By the second day, she started to play with them. By the third day, she had forgotten all about it and was part of the crowd, playing and tussling as if she’d known them all her life. It was both hilarious and very touching to watch the transition.

In addition to learning how to be a kitten, Marshmallow learned that humans are pretty okay too. She was flighty, but it got so that we could go right up to her when she was relaxing, pet her, and be rewarded with a loud purr. She never quite overcame her flight reflex when she was up and about, though, so I had the shelter put an advisory in her record that her adopters would need to be patient. It didn’t take long before both she and Scurry had forever homes.

Chase has a different story. I noticed the first time he was let out of the kitty hotel that he went right up to Daisy and made friends. Did you know that kitten ears are delicious? Chase had the cleanest ears in town.

I texted the photo to one of the shelter’s vet techs, who was in the market for a kitten for her daughter. “That’s a dog-lovin’ one, just sayin,” was the caption. They have two big, sweet dogs in their family and also a couple cats.

It just so happened that Chase made friends with our large resident cat as well!

My dastardly plan worked! Chase is now a part of their family, He fits in like peanut butter and jelly, and they are completely in love with him.

Which brings us to our current foster, Chantelle. She came into the shelter with a broken leg but you would never know it now. After several weeks of rest the vet sent her home with me for some further recuperation time. Now she runs, jumps, plays… she is a busy kitten!

One does occasionally have to charge up one’s batteries.

Another volunteer originally named her Chantrelle, but I was like, who would name a cat after a mushroom? So they took the R out. Chantelle started to sound more and more familiar… then I remembered! Ricky Tims’ Chantelle Tulips! If I recall the story somewhat correctly, he was teaching in England and one of the students mistook his American southern accented “Show and Tell” for Chantelle! Ever since then he has called his “Caveman Style” tulips Chantelle Tulips.

And Chantelle is starting to be more and more of a “caveman kitty!” As her confidence grows, so does her feistiness! She loves the Christmas tree… taking the ornaments off, climbing the branches, lurking underneath to jump out on Daisy or Max. She’ll be with us for a couple more days, then back to the shelter where someone will give themselves a furry post-Christmas gift!

Very happy holidays to you and yours!

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

Once we discovered last year that Daisy loves kittens, 2016 saw the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines back in full swing once again! It’s been a banner season of 25, with our latest enrollees still with us until the end of the year.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house. All have been promptly adopted upon their return to the shelter.

Our first batch, all the way back in April, were Emmie, Cedric, and Benjamin.

Emmie and Cedric do their very best to look cute at the top of the cat condo.

Emmie and Cedric doing their best poses at the top of the cat condo.

Benjamin at the other end.

Benjamin at the other end.

Next we had two siblings, Abby and Avery, and an additional singleton for good measure, Bobbie Sox.

Abby and Avery, little sweethearts the both of them.

Abby and Avery, little sweethearts the both of them.

Avery coming, Bobbie Sox going. Or is it the other way around?

Avery coming, Bobbie Sox going. Or is it the other way around…

Group nap.

Group nap.

The next batch were a group of thee brothers. The DH named them when I was out of town at a quilt show. Ace, Jack, and King. Yes, named after the playing cards. I thought King was more for a horse, or a German shepherd, so we came up with Kingsley.

Their shelter intake photos were hilarious.

Their shelter intake photos were pretty hilarious.

They were teeny tiny when I got them, and pretty messy.

Ace's first day in foster.

Ace’s first day in foster.

I got them cleaned up, and they soon began to prosper being warm, fed, and cared for. They grew to sturdy little kittens and got snatched up by happy adopters.

Jack in the hobbit house.

Jack in the hobbit house.

Kingsley deciding if he wants to pounce on one of his brothers.

Kingsley deciding if he wants to pounce on one of his brothers.

Usually three at a time is our limit, but maybe once a year I agree to take a batch of four. That’s how we got Winifred, Moo, Cooper, and Tab Hunter.


Tab Hunter was Daisy's BFFF (Best Feline Friend Forever).

Tab Hunter was Daisy’s BFFF (Best Feline Friend Forever).

Next up were some kittens from a larger litter. One of them was a runt, and the staff at the shelter asked me if I wanted to try. I said I would give it a whirl, so home they came with me.

You can see that Kip, in the front, is much smaller than the others.

You can see that Kip, in the front, is much smaller than the others.

Kittens can be runty for any number of reasons, and Kip gave us some worry at the beginning. He was not a good eater, and not very social either. He just acted like he didn’t feel good and didn’t want to be bothered. If you petted him, he wouldn’t object, but pretty soon he would just get up and move away. I fed him diluted wet food through a wide syringe like the shelter vet taught me, but still he was acting pretty puny. Finally we opened a can of low-sodium tuna in water, and that did the trick! He found his stomach, and learned that eating was good! After a couple cans of tuna, we transitioned him back to a regular kitten diet (tuna does not provide complete nutrition so it can only be a temporary thing).


Jinjur, in the front, was a torbie.. that is, tortie and tabby. Jasper, back left, was a brown tabby, as was Kip. All fuzzy.

Jasper and Kip.

Jasper and Kip.

Because they were with us during warm weather, they could hang out on the cat-proofed back patio!

Because they were with us during warm weather, they could hang out on the cat-proofed back patio!

Eventually, as Kip felt better and better, he started to become more social, and got to the point where he would seek out my lap, enjoy being petted, and purr. That was a tremendous relief for me. Now for a shock.. I hate it when this happens… I took them in for their booster shots and was informed that Kip was a girl! Oy vey, he was given to me as a boy, and I never even checked!

When Kip was adopted, I believe the little girl named her Aria. :)

Next we had a brother-sister duo, two sweet brown mackerel tabbies.

Nikolai and Natasha.

Nikolai and Natasha.

The DH speaks Russian, and if you know your Russian literature you’ll remember that Nikolai and Natasha were brother and sister in War and Peace.

They enjoyed rollicking on the patio in a kitty conga line.

They enjoyed rollicking on the patio in a kitty conga line.

Cat Toy.. glasses... DirecTV remote... same thing.

Cat Toy.. glasses… DirecTV remote… same thing.

There was a whole lot of grooming going on with these two.

Daisy thinks kitten ears taste delicious.

Daisy thinks kitten ears taste delicious.

Even Max got in on the act.

Even Max got in on the act.

The next enrollees were two kittens from different litters, both smaller than their respective siblings and in need of a little foster time.

Maggie and Misty on leaf patrol!

Maggie and Misty on leaf patrol!

Shy little Misty was the smallest in a litter of 8 (that’s right, eight) pastel torties. Maggie was exactly the same size, a black-and-white “cow cat.” These girls got along instantly.

We sleeepy.

We sleeepy.

All tucked up.

All tucked up in minkee.

Bathrobes are gud.

Bathrobes are gud.

Big cat, little cat.

Big cat, little cat.

Once Misty and Maggie went back, kitten season was starting to wind down. The only kitty they had in need of foster was a scrappy little singleton. Usually I prefer to have 2 or 3, but in this case I took the little guy home with me.

eddie 1

There’s a whole syndrome named after single kittens. What it boils down to is that when they don’t have other kittens around to tussle with and learn limits from, they tend to treat human hands like other kittens… bite, chomp, thrash, etc., without the benefit of the other kittens letting them know when they’re playing too hard. Eddie wasn’t such a hard case, and he learned to rein in his teeth after a few well-timed puffs of air in his face. He was a super cute little dude, full of personality, and we enjoyed him immensely. Eddie stayed with us a good 3 weeks as the only kitten. He loved Daisy to pieces.

Fun to play with like a kitten.

Fun to play with like a kitten.

Snuggles gud like other kittens.

Snuggles gud like other kittens.

Don't ask.

Don’t ask.

Finally another single kitten came in and I was able to bring her home to join Eddie in foster.

Kitty Bella.

Kitty Bella.

Bella was a fancy mostly-white calico. She was a sweet marshmallow of a girl, but when I brought her home, it was pretty hilarious. At first, Eddie in particular was none too happy to be introduced, and acted like it was a mortal affront that this other creature was breathing his air. I wasn’t worried, because I’ve seen this before. Within 3 days they totally got over it and you’d never guess they hadn’t known each other all their lives. Bella also took to Daisy.

Let's dream together...

Let’s dream together…

Last but not least, I took three from a litter of six.


One of them had a rather rotund shape, which earned her the name Muffin. The black one, Pepper, has a coat that is actually what they call a black smoke… black at the ends and light gray underneath. The third one looks almost exactly like Muffin, except more slender. We call her Josie.

Daisy welcomes one of the tabbies.

Daisy welcomes one of the tabbies.

These three are still with us, spreading Christmas tree pine needles throughout the living room with gusto. They have been a delight to have… friendly, healthy lap cats. Two of them have already found a home! A family friend of one of the staff members at the shelter was looking to adopt two kittens. Kittens aren’t that common this time of year, so it was a perfect match! Pepper and Muffin will go to their new home just in time for the new year. I have no doubt that Josie will be snapped up immediately once she appears in Adoptables at the shelter.

Josie auditioning for calendar kitten.

Josie auditioning for calendar kitten.

Meowy Cwismis from Pepper and Muffin!

Meowy Cwismis from Pepper and Muffin!

'N loads of sisterly luv!

‘N loads of sisterly luv!

Happy holidays to you and yours,
By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

Due to the acquisition of a new canine mascot, The Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors quite late in the season.

daisy carrot
Daisy and her carrot. The carrot has, alas, now gone the way of all dog toys that are in any way destructible.

When playtime is over, this is one cuddly snuggle-pup.

It wasn’t until September that we brought home our first batch of foster kittens. The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.

Our first group of cute blue-eyed Snowshoe kitties were Lila, Lucinda, and Ellison.

lila 3Lila enjoys the patio.

lucinda-2Lucinda appreciates a comfy cat bed.

ellisonEllison chases his sister’s tail.

It turns out that Daisy loves, LOVES kittens, in fact she was likely to love them to pieces, so close supervision was necessary at all times. These kitties weren’t the least bit shy, and didn’t bat a whisker at a pushy puppy licking their ears and chewing them up all over. In fact they purred and tussled back in a sort of very fun baby-animal Fight Club.

playing in boxLila was Daisy’s favorite tussle partner.

kittens dreamEllison got his licks in too. :)

threes a crowdCo-drinking.

vending machineKitten vending machine.

Everyone survived the foster period, these three went back to the shelter in fine fettle, and were snatched up by adopters at once.

The second batch consisted of three fuzzy tabby sisters: Mamie, Sadie, and Paisley.

tabby-breakfastBreakfast time!

she did itShe did it. (Mamie and Paisley.)

mislabeledSadie is shocked at the egregious mistake in the labeling.

Unlike the Siamese, these tabby girls weren’t so sure at first about the whole dog thing. They established boundaries that were a valuable part of Daisy’s education. After just a few days they got over it, the Fight Club resumed, and a splendid time was had by all.

sadie daisyIn between rounds, Daisy and Sadie enjoy the afternoon sun on the front porch.

When they first came in, these girls were a tad bit shy. It didn’t take them long to figure out that humans, big cats, and dogs were okay, and to become friendly kitties. Mamie was the friendliest of them all, in fact I took to calling her “Mamie the Everpresent,” because she was just always there.

mamie 4She liked to be upside down, and was Daisy’s favorite tabby tussle partner.

kitty-nirvanaDH Dana calls this one “Kitty Nirvana.”

dishwashersWe have a drought in California, you know. To save water, we have our kittens wash our dishes.

The tabbies went back to the shelter for adoption and were snapped up in no time.

Since then, I’ve had a weather eye out for more kittens, but so far there haven’t been any that were in the appropriate age group for the foster program. Still checking daily!

Happy holidays to you and yours!

By Kay Mackenzie
Kay’s Etsy Shop

Greetings gentle quilters, here’s wishing that the new year treats you well!

The delightful Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs is launching a new free-pattern-every-month that she’s calling the Snow Happy Hearts Club. It’s a series of ornaments, one a month that you can make featuring Anne’s super adorable designs. Check it out!

Myself I’ve been working hard on a couple of projects over the holidays… one is a super secret piecing project (that’s right, I said piecing believe it or not) that I will be able to reveal soon. The other is a new appliqué pattern featuring an animal that popped into my head one day and wouldn’t leave :) Stay tuned. also coming soon.

Update to Kitten Cavalcade:

Giselle, now called Corkie, has gone to live with Minnie! That’s right, Helen decided to get her kitten a kitten, and these buddies are now lifelong companions.

Gunther was adopted the same day by a nice family that I was lucky enough to meet down at the shelter. He’s now known as Milo.

We thought we were done for the season and packed everything up. However, on new Year’s Eve I received a call from the shelter that there was one more, very late little kitten that needed foster. I couldn’t get her off my mind, so the next day I went down there to see if they had found anyone yet. They had not, so I brought the tiny little black thing home with me.

It’s hard to get a photo of Molly… she’s a kitten in motion, a spunky, feisty little mighty mite.

Dana got this shot of her in a moment of repose.

Single kittens tend to treat human hands like other kittens and treat them accordingly, but we’re working on it and she is learning to be an exceedingly sweet kitty. She’s a total lap cat, and sleeps on our heads at night.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Merry Christmas to all!!

Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Fifth Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In the spring, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Dana and I had the joy and privilege of taking care of a total of 10 groups of cute baby kittens for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from sometimes shy, teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy confident pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.

The first batch consisted of two solid gray fuzzballs and one gray tabby fuzzball, all boys. They were so much fun.

Linus and Niles taking their first steps into the house.

Norbert, showing off his stripes.

Linus and Norbert

Norbert and Niles, feeling their kibble.

Breakfast at Mackenzie’s

The next batch were Donovan, Duncan, and Desirée.

Upon arrival, in the Kitty Hotel.

These guys were scrawny and didn’t display much of an appetite. After a week of no weight gain, I hauled them in to see the shelter vet, who recommended syringe feeding. That’s where you water down canned food so that it will squirt through a wide syringe, and feed them like baby birds! I had never done this, but I was determined to make it work, and Dana says I have nurse’s hands.

Desirée says, most of it went down!

This protocol was a huge success. After less than three days, they found their stomachs and started eating like there was no tomorrow. Nom nom nom, no problem!

As you can see from this naptime photo of Donovan and Duncan, they soon became plump and sturdy.

Water cooler talk.

When we get a new batch, Max is always very curious and wants to check them out. Big (and I mean big) guy that he is, it’s a tight squeeze to take a peek.

The wee ones that he was peering at were Arlo, a darling gray tuxedo, and Marigold, a rather rare orange girl.

Arlo, resting up after a patio romp.

Marigold among the impatiens.

When these guys went back, I told the foster coordinator that I had a two-week window should any kittens come in needing that relatively short amount of time. I hadn’t even gotten home yet before she had called and spoken with Dana. Another foster family had to go out of town and had brought back two that needed… guess what… two weeks! I sent Dana down to pick them up while I prepped the house for a new batch.

Lucky me! Mellie and Chelsea were sweet, sweet girls.

Mellie, a pastel tortie, and Chelsea, a black cutie with a white locket.

Mellie takes in the afternoon air on the escape-proof patio.

Chelsea surveys the living room.

Max takes the girls to see just how bright their futures are.

Would you like to see how Max gets downstairs each morning?

Morning Transport

The next group, you have seen before if you’ve been reading this blog. Mimi and Maddie caused the Stash Cat-Astrophe that I wrote about in July.

Who us?

These girls went back after their colds had improved, and got adopted one by one.

Next we had three boys. We gave them British prep-school names: Oliver, Digby, and Poindexter.

Oliver says, pleased to meet you!

Poindexter had extreme of the cute.

Poindexter knew what do do when receiving a bath from a big cat.

Digby makes sure all the litter has been used up, while Oliver supervises.

You could tell the tuxedos apart because Digby had one white front leg.

Max and Digby rest up.

Following the three boys, we had three girls. These were all single stray kittens who came into the shelter at about the same time, and were about the same size, so we formed a tabby sisterhood.

Meet Brandy, Buttercup, and April!

All three were different types of tabbies. Brandy was a gorgeous classic tabby, April an exceedingly cute mackerel tabby, and Buttercup was actually a torbie… a combination tabby and tortie.

Brandy, April and yellowy Buttercup enjoying the cat condo.

April gets a bath.

April (top), Brandy, and Buttercup staged themselves perfectly for this group portrait.

As soon as Max wakes up he's going to call the shelter for another batch.

More tabbies! I named them Penny and Paige, which if you watched Desperate Housewives you’ll know were the names of Lynette’s daughters.

Penny, a ticked tabby, and Paige, a mackerel tabby.

Ooh! A bouncy ride!

That was a lot of excitement.

Paige catches some rays.

These girls cast long shadows.

Except that… oops. One day when they were playing in the sunshine, rolling around and having a high old time, I noticed something. I told Dana, “I think Penny is a boy.”

Dang, the shelter had released him to me as a girl, and now we had to rename him LOL. The first thing that popped into my head was Penrose. Okay, to be fair I am married to a mathematician, a geometer in fact, and Penrose Tiling is very famous in our house. The kitten formerly known as Penny became Penrose.

Next up: more tabbies! What’s going on here? We’ve got a tabby streak going here. Two more singles ready for foster.

Hermione and Obie

Obie is short for Oberon, King of the Fairies. That’s right, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My husband thought it would be brilliant to open the dictionary to a random page to look for a name.

Hermione was one of the nicest, most mild-mannered and affectionate little cats we have ever had. Here she is hangin’ out in Dana’s hoodie while he works.

Obie, on the other hand, was terrified when he first came to us. They were unrelated, and obviously had had widely differing experiences in their young lives. In the photo above, you can see the slightly backward-pointing ear that indicates he’s still a little worried.

It’s a testament to the wonders of foster care that this little man got over his fear and his shyness in a matter of days, and became a happy cat. He worshipped the ground that Max walked on and followed him everywhere.

Sleeping in the homespun section.

That peach cowboy fabric had been set aside for my guild’s Ugly Fabric Contest, but then we didn’t have it this year.

For a long time, an old friend of mine, Helen, was in the market for a cat. I invited her over to meet Hermione, and sure enough, that kitty put her best paw forward. She climbed up and gave Helen a head butt, purred loudly, and settled down in her arms. The deal was sealed. As soon as Hermione was big enough, she was spayed and adopted through the shelter, and home she went with Helen!

Obie was smaller, so stayed with us for a couple weeks longer. He turned into a one-cat party! Seriously, when he wasn’t sleeping, he was playing.

Pop-Up Kitty

When Obie was ready to go back to the shelter, I stayed with him for awhile to see if he would revert back to his shy ways. At first he was nervous, but within an hour he had climbed up into the windowsill of the get-acquainted room and was watching the world go by. The kitten who hid for the first two days in foster now immediately jumped into anybody’s lap, for all the world as though he was seeking comfort in this new environment. Obie was adopted very quickly.

Sigh. What a difference fostering can make.

The same day that I brought Obie back, the foster care coordinator asked me if I wanted some more. Yes! I love having kittens for Christmas. There were two at the south-county location. I was going that way the next day, so I swung by and picked them up.

Giselle is a darling little tortie. I have a string of alliterative names going for the torties… let’s see if I can recap them all… Gypsy, Gigi, Georgie, Genevieve, Gingersnap, Giselle. (Mellie came with her name already.)

Here’s her brother Gunther, a sturdy gray tabby.

Gunther enjoys the warm air in front of the fridge.

Like our Christmas kitty Sparrow last year, Giselle made it her personal mission to get to the ornament on the Charlie Brown tree.

Sparrow, December 2013.

Giselle, December 2014.

By this time, Max was starting to be a little bit over the babies underfoot thing, so we hired a nanny. Our recent graduate Hermione, now named Minnie, came back to stay with us for a week while Helen went on a family trip.

Minnie is growing into an exceedingly lovely young lady.

The little kittens LOVE her and she is having a blast playing with them.

Group tussle.

Group nap.

As of today, Minnie, Gunther, and Giselle are still here with us. It won’t be long before they all go their ways, and then the Finishing School will close its doors for about five months.

The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends!

Until next year,
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. If you didn’t see Peanut’s video, here’s a link: Doggie Skedaddles

Christmas Day marks the annual Cavalcade of Kittens. But this year, we stared off with a D-O-G! So here’s a little canine Christmas Eve.

In February, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter called to ask if we would be interested in taking care of a little one-year-old dog who had come into the shelter hit by car. The owners weren’t able to care for him financially so had surrendered him. This little guy needed several weeks of rest to heal a fractured pelvis.

You may know that despite all the kittens, we are total dog people. Dana went right down and picked him up.

A little Corgi mix, sore from his accident.

I called him Peanut.

Peanut had been an outdoor dog his whole life, and he quickly learned that he loved being a house dog. At first he was stiff and sore, but every day he improved a little more. He could go on short walks, but was not to run or climb stairs.

Shopping for kibble at PetPals.

As he started to feel better, his impish personality came through. As a part Corgi, he was a herding dog, and all toys were taken back to home base. And everything he could get his teeth on and carry away was considered a toy.

Home base got chewed up, so I got him a durable plastic nest. One day I opened the closet to get the broom, and the next thing I knew, Peanut had dragged out a plastic bag of packing peanuts, opened the bag, and dumped them into his nest.

How did he do that!!?

I so proud of myself :)

Peanut improved so much that it grew increasingly difficult to keep him down on the farm. After about five weeks, the vet approved him to run around the house and it’s a good thing, ’cause just look at him go!

Peanut went back to the shelter not long after that, and was quickly adopted into a happy family who had another small dog. What a lucky dog he was that he lived in a place with a caring, open-door shelter that would take him in and see to his recovery. Happy ending.

Peanut's shelter portrait.

Merry Christmas Eve! Tomorrow: the 5th Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

Until then,

Normally my stash looks about like this.

It’s an inelegant stash, but it’s my inelegant stash.

The other morning I wandered into the studio with my mug o’ coffee, only to witness this scene.

Not even the large mug of coffee could counteract the early morning shock at the pillage and devastation.


Yes, it was these girls. Oh sure, they look all sweet and innocent now.

Mimi and Maddie are older than our usual fosters, at an age we call “kitteens.” They were staying at our house to get over kitty colds that they just couldn’t kick at the shelter. They improved a whole lot in just a week and a half, and have gone back to the shelter for adoption. They’re total love-machine sweethearts.

Now to pick up the stash. More coffee.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Merry Christmas to all!!

Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Fourth Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In the spring, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Dana and I had the joy and privilege of taking care of 24 little balls of fur for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from teensy little klutzes with short stubby legs to sturdy pre-teens who sprout legs and run thumping and banging around the house.

When Stormy came into the shelter as a stray kitten in a cardboard carrier, everyone knew about it! This tiny kid had a set of lungs on him! Two visitors who were there to look at kittens took a liking to his spirit right away. I was able to follow up with them throughout Stormy’s foster period, and they adopted him just as soon as he was ready.

Stormy, complete with ring-around-the nose from enthusiastic Fancy Feast eating.

His first trip up the stairs.

A little more grown up, and with a cleaner nose.

Max is very sensitive about his magnificent tail, but allowed Stormy to use it for a pillow.

Normally three at a time is our limit, but once in awhile it bears breaking the rules when there’s an irresistible batch of three that can come home to join the one that you’ve already got. (Plus the giant.)


Kiki, checking out the tomatoes and parsley with Max.

Stormy (left) and Nick (right).

Kitty Dreamland.

Next we had a batch of three, one girl and two boys. They came from behind a tire shop so they were a little greasy. I had to give them baths with a drop of Dawn.

Trixie, enduring well.

All recovered and feeling clean and happy.

Baxter, the orange boy.

Moxie with his one gray toe.

Trixie thinks Baxter makes the best pillow.

That’s a lot of legs.

Our next batch of three were what we call “cow cats.” Three darling black and white kitties just home from the shelter. In the front are Pickles and Scooter Bug. Shy guy Blake holds up the rear.

I put on a bird video to see how they would like it.

After all that excitement, everyone was ready for a nap.

Blake was Pet of the Week at the shelter. What a handsome guy he grew into!

After that we had three torties. Now torties are sometimes known for having “tortietude,” but these three girls were sweet as sugar.

Genevieve, Georgie, and Gingersnap.

Dana called them the “pod kitties” because they moved as a group, whatever they did.

They inducted Max into their pod.

Georgie, with her little-old-man eyebrows.

Bootsie makes a good chin rest.

Gingersnap, the pastel tortie of the group.

Max gives Gingersnap a lesson in herbology.

Then came two of the funniest little cats we’ve ever had. Austin and Andrew were two orange medium-hair boys.

See that dove there that got knocked over? We didn’t do that.

Austin, on toy overload. They liked to sleep upside down.

These guys were on the shy side. In fact, they could be downright reclusive. They went to ground probably more than any other kitties we’ve had. After three years of doing this, I know all the hiding places, but I was still stumped! Finally we found them tucked away in a partially open drawer.

Did I mention that they liked to sleep upside down?

Then one day, we couldn’t find them, again! At last Dana heard rustling. They had gone behind that drawer, down to the drawer underneath, and were sleeping peacefully on Dana’s magazine archive.

Dana posted photos of them on Facebook, and a friend of his who was in the market for kittens fell in love with them. As soon as they were ready, they were adopted together into a loving family that dotes on them. They named them Thor and Loki.

Happy in their new home, still upside down, dreaming of soaring through the air with Thor’s hammer.

The next three that we had all came as singles, but overlapped one another.

Cindy Lou was a beyond-adorable torbie, that is, combination tortie and tabby. This little cutie had something strange going on in that she ate clay litter and licked concrete. She was transferred to a wonderful rescue organization who took on her issues, resolved them, and successfully adopted her out within a day of making her available. Thank you, AFRP!

Our next little guy was a brown tiger who charmed the entire staff at the shelter with his antics. I could hardly get to his kennel to take him home for all the people crowded around cooing over him! He certainly was a gem, full of personality and a joy to have around.

Jeffty in a patch of sunlight.

We do try to instill table manners in our kittens, but Jeffty considered any etiquette he had learned to be irrelevant where Gizdich Ranch pie was concerned.

Next came Jeremy, a little black fellow with a white locket on his throat. He was a bit nervous, totally people-friendly but not at all sure about “that other kitten.”

Within a day, affable Jeffty had won him over and they were BFF.

We named Jeffty after a famous short story by Harlan Ellison. I was at the shelter when he was adopted, and I could hardly believe it when the family not only recognized the name, but turned out to be personal friends of the author!

At that point, there were exactly two weeks before our U.K. trip, so I let the staff know that I had a short window. I didn’t even make it home that day before Dana took a call that some kittens had come back when another foster family had to go out of town, and needed two weeks! Lucky me!

Fuzz and Casanova.

Casanova so named because he was a lover boy, a champion snuggler.

After we got back from Scotland, I thought we were pretty much done for the season. However, winter kittens, though rare, are not unheard of, so I kept my radar up. Sure enough, I was able to pick up a brother and sister last week, so we’ve got kittens for Christmas!

Meet Sparrow and Squidge.

Some kittens just name themselves. Squidge, with his milk-chocolate rabbit fur, roly-poly shape, and short little legs, reminds me alternatively of a hedgehog, a dusty snowball, and a Cocoa Puff. Before I could even think of a good name, “Squidgy” came out of my mouth.

Sparrow is a self-assured little mighty mite with a big voice. She weighs in at just over a pound, but makes up for lack of size with heart and spunk as big as Texas. These guys are so fun, so easy, I feel like they’re a holiday gift.

All settled in, with little halos around their heads.

The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends! I leave you with this final video showcasing Kitten Mixed Martial Arts.

Until next year,
By Kay Mackenzie

Merry Christmas!!

Usual Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Third Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In April, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Through late November, Dana and I took care of 10 consecutive groups of underage foster kittens for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 27 little balls of fur all told.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from teensy little klutzes to sturdy healthy pre-teens who run thumping and banging around the house.

I’ll let you know right now, so that you don’t wonder or worry, that each and every one of the kittens you are about to see has gone back to the shelter, been found by someone who fell in love with them, and adopted into a forever home.

Our cat Max, who came to us as a foster just about a year ago, did fantastic with the little ones. He has grown into 13 pounds of all-cat-no-fat and he’s about five times the size of the kittens, but he’s very gentle with them. He always comes to inspect the new arrivals, and once they’re grown and sturdy enough he tackles them, then hugs them and licks them all over.

When the very first litter came into the shelter, I was so eager that I took home four! Usually our limit is three at a time but I just couldn’t help myself. Dugan, Owen, Patrick, and Priscilla, all black-and-white “cow” cats.

Patrick, cute as could be but terribly shy of hands reaching for him. Once I got ahold of him, he’d sleep on my lap for hours, but then the next time we’d go through the whole song and dance again. He did get better, and Dana was at the shelter when he was adopted together with another kitty friend. We’ve heard that he’s grown into a “zen” cat, the kind to look before he leaps, and he’s a very happy and contented boy.

He LOVED his Uncle Max.

Priscilla, Dugan, and Owen.

It seemed to be the year of the black-and-white cat. Our next group were Phillip, Freddie, and Percy.

Newly arrived from the shelter.

Percy and the impatiens.

Percy and Max.

Nobody here but us stuffies.

Freddie snoozes the afternoon away. Now that’s a relaxed kitty. This was our Christmas card this year. It says, “While visions of catnip mice danced in his head… May your dreams be just as sweet.”

Breaking the black-and-white streak, next came Gypsy, Duffy, and Charlie.

Gyspy was a tortie, Duffy a pastel tortie, and Charlie was a handsome gray-and-white boy. They were all three sweet and friendly, a joy to have around.

Hangin’ with the big cat.

Next we had a brother and sister, Gigi and Bodie.

Smushed into the sofa cushions.

Bodie was our 49th foster so we named him after a California Gold Rush town.

Bodie’s first step into the house.

We named the girl Gigi because she looked like Gypsy, so we were thinking. G2, GG… Gigi!

Bodie was especially photogenic.

And loved to hang out with his Uncle Max.

Max was very patient with the little ones, even where food issues were concerned. He was of course interested in their tasty kitten kibble and the occasional dollops of wet food that they got, but he would patiently wait until they were finished and then perform a good cleanup. Even when they ate out of his dish, he would just hunker down and wait until they were done.

We share.

Gigi watches Bodie on the iMovie.

Then came a couple of extremely stripey little tabby cats, Cordelia and Bob Cat. Well, we mostly called him Bob.

Uncle Max is a good pillow.

They came during the summer Olympics and we called them our Olympic kitties because one was silver and one was gold. Cordelia loved her DirecTV. She was a big field hockey fan.

Last year Willie’s friend Toby wrote to say, “We are delighted that someone has moved into that big space left when your loved ones departed. Max just looks so happy! We really miss Willie’s dog blog. Any chance that Max might have one?”

I was the one who mostly helped Willie with his dogblog, and now Dana has taken over helping Max with his YouTube channel. If you’d like to keep up with Max’s video exploits, you can always visit Featuring Max as Max.

Here’s one to get you started. Pushy kitties!

After the stripesters we had another brother-sister combo.

Lacey was a torbie… that is, a combination tabby and tortie. Ping looked just like a classic seal-point Siamese (though you don’t find too many of them pure-bred coming in as strays). These two were quite shy in the kennel at the shelter but once I got them home for a few days they got the whole “human” thing.

Comfy on the bed.

Ol’ blue eyes.

Lacey got shortchanged in the tail department.

Not the head too!!

Ping got a great home ’cause of the interwebs! Dana put his photo up on Facebook, an old college friend saw it and told a friend of hers who wanted a Siamese kitten! The lady drove all the way down from Berkeley to get Ping, who made fast friends with her older seal-point, and the two are now joined at the hip.

There are often numerous kittens at the shelter at a time who need to go out for foster. There was a litter of four and there was a tiny little single. With the permission of the staff, I took two of the litter and put them together with the single to see how they would get along. No problem! I took this blended group of three home with me.

The little guy who had come in alone weighed in at a whopping 12 ounces, covered in fleas and with a broken tail, but he didn’t let any of that slow him down. He had a spirit as big as he was small, and knew that humans would be the ones to help him overcome his sketchy start in life. Dana named him Smidgen.

In this picture you can’t tell, but Smidgie was about half the size of the others.

Devon snuggles up to Max.

Daphne was Max’s favorite to give a bath to. She was medium-haired, so her coat was an “interesting texture.”

The bathing is very soothing to the kittens, just like momma used to do.

Off to sleepy-land, with Max as a down pillow. They’re on my ironing board, testing out the fabrics I was pulling for a project.

Grooming lessons!

One coming, one going.

Smidgen’s tail improved and he seemed to have full function of it, with just a little “personality” kink at the base.

Here’s Devon’s official shelter glamour shot. We have a fantastic volunteer photography team who take beautiful pictures for the website adoption listings.

While I was at the shelter making arrangements to bring the three grays back for adoption, one of the animal care staff told me about a single kitten needing foster down at the south-county branch. She said this kitty was beyond cute. I told her I would try to swing it. Once the grays were back, I drove down to Watsonville, picked up the baby, brought her back to Santa Cruz, and introduced her to a pair. Like peas and carrots! Another blended group came home with me.

Isabel, cute as a button.

The other two were Amber and Elliott. Amber had a gorgeous striking gold-and-black classic tabby coat.

Elliott (left in the photo below) looked like Isabel from the front but was mostly white in the back.

I often drive down to the south-county facility to pick up fosters. This saves the staff the trouble of arranging for transport, and it’s just about 20 minutes down the coast. Next I motored down to Watsonville and met two kittens who were both singles, Lewis and Grover.

Lewis is the buff tiger and Grover is the charcoal gray boy.

These were the first batch to not graduate from the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines. They were both cuddly, affectionate sweethearts but Grover had had a very sketch start in life and the poor little thing was plagued with a variety of maladies. All treatable, thank goodness! The pair went back to the shelter for a course of treatment and then went into another foster home that was better equipped to keep them separate from resident cats until they were all better.

These sweet guys were adopted together. The family named then Dawn and Dusk. I was like, wait a minute… Dawn? He’s a boy! But they didn’t care about that, the kids were just so excited to have them. Happy ending for some darling kittens.

The last batch of 2012 were three gray fuzzybritches.

Dorian Gray, Dobie Gray, and Macy Gray. A lot of the shy kittens find the secret hiding place under the easy chair.

The next day, they’re sleeping out in the open. Goal Number One: Check!

And pretty soon they’re over it and chillin’.

Here are their adoption photos.

Two were adopted together and the third went shortly after that.

Sigh, no more kittens until next spring. For now it’s just me, Dana, and our wonderful Max. Would you like to see his whisker excercises?

He’s been the best uncle I could have hoped for.

The very best to you and yours, including all your furry friends!
By Kay Mackenzie

Bonus video: Kitty Fails!

The reader who came up the winner of Needleturn Appliqué: The Basics and Beyond is… No. 63, Judy G.! Congratulations! Judy says that she is very excited, both at receiving the book and because she never wins anything. Now you did! You will find a wealth of information about hand appliqué within the pages of this gorgeous book. Enjoy.

Thank you so much to everyone who included nice words about my own books and appliqué instructions. That gave me smiles.

For me, August was a time to regroup. I had no shows on my schedule and no major project to be pushing ahead with. I made a list as long as my arm of things to catch up on and get done during this window of opportunity, and I whittled away at it all month. Here are just a few of the more major items on the list.

• Reprinted Teapots 2 to Appliqué. Yay, its 4th printing!
• Caught up on Show & Tells. If you like teapots, cats, or dolls, be sure to go see the recent spate of lovely projects over at Kay’s Show & Tell Center.
• Sewed curtains for my sewing room, shabby chic ones made from a beloved old floral sheet that doesn’t fit our new bed. According to Dana, Max had “taken down” the old ones.
• Made pillowcases out of the leftover sheet fabric using Quiltmaker’s free pillowcase pattern.
• Did a major revamp on our back patio.
• Printed a bazillion patterns and ordered plenty of stock for upcoming shows.
• Prepped about a year’s worth of door prizes.
• Updated the Events pages on my website and here on the blog.
• Booked hotels for upcoming shows. There are a lot of them.
• Played with foster kittens.

Cordelia and Bob Cat

Ping and Lacey

Daphne, Devon, and Smidgen

It was a good thing I had August “off,” because September to early October is going to be a bear. A warm fuzzy bear, but a big old bear just the same. I have shows four weekends in a row. Here’s where I’ll be in the next little while.

Sept 15-16, 2012
Sierra Quilt Guild Show
I had a lovely time last year at this show in historic Sonora, California, and I’m looking forward to my return visit! All the details are at

Sept 20-22, 2012
Northwest Quilting Expo
I’m not even coming home in between, but heading straight up to Portland, Oregon for my first time at this big show. Hope to see you there! All the details are at

Sept 29-30, 2012
Quilting by the Bay
I’ll be home for a few days, then I won’t have far to travel to this show put on by the Peninsula Quilters Guild in San Mateo, California. The guild has lots of fun activities planned, including a kids’ treasure hunt, demonstrations, and raffle basket opportunities. All the details are at

Oct 6-7, 2012
Simi Valley Quilt Guild Show
Back to southern California! The theme of this year’s show, held in Simi Valley, is “Celebrate.” The guild website is

I’m ready… I think… let me just go check that list…


Thank you so much to all 268 readers who entered the 100 Blocks drawing! That was a party!

I appreciate all the nice words about my cat-in-basket block, even from self-proclaimed non-cat people. Guess what? I’m really a dog person myself! However, we have the most incredible young cat right now that we are over the moon about.

Our cat Max, eight months old, giving a bath to foster kitten Priscilla, two months old.

The winner of a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Volume 5, is #106, Jocelyn. The reader who won a copy of my book Growing Hearts to Appliqué is #52, Cecilia. Congratulations to the both of you!

The contests are still going on, through the end of the week. Hurry on over to Quiltmaker for all the details.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Heather came up the winner in the draw for Pennies From Heaven. Congratulations Heather! She says she is particularly attracted to the valance since she has been toying with the idea of making one. Enjoy the book!

Every year the DH Dana puts some fat quarters in my stocking. (Yes, he’s a very good quilt husband.) This year, as I mentioned, he was in Oslo on a business trip in mid-December, so what should I pull out of my stocking but these beautiful things!



The apple fabric turned out to be an Alexander Henry, which he was bitterly disappointed to learn is a California fabric company LOL! I didn’t care, I love it!

He did better on the other two. I consulted Dr. Google and found that the Tilda fabric is designed by adorable Oslo native Tone Finnanger. Isn’t it gorgeous? Tone has a whole line of things that she has designed and it’s all to drool over.

Dana didn’t remember the name of the shop where he found the fabric, describing it as “sort of a craft store.” Luckily the label on the fabric enabled me to track it down to being Panduro Hobby in downtown Oslo.

And here’s what else I got for Christmas. You remember the Cavalcade of Kittens? And how I said there was a followup? You remember the very last batch, the ones with the sneezy noses?


A few days before Christmas I started getting a queasy feeling… queasy because I was terrified by it but still it was there… of thinking that maybe Max would stay. (He’s the one in the middle with the smush-face.) I brought it up with Dana and he was delighted! He was all for it, but understood my fear of commitment. After losing Willie and before that, three aged cats one by one, I felt like a widow enjoying the dating scene but not ready for a long-term relationship.

But truly, Max had all the qualities we would want in a cat, so I kept thinking about it. On Christmas Eve we turned out the lights at about 11:30 p.m. and Max came and draped himself purring over my neck and laid his face on my cheek for a pillow, and suddenly my heart opened up and the fear washed away, and I knew that he was a keeper. It had to be about midnight on Christmas morning.

Dana named him for his favorite childhood TV character Maxwell Smart. Max is a velvety soft, squishy, floppy five-month-old who loves to be picked up, held, hugged, kissed, turned upside down, draped over the shoulder, etc., purring all the while. He’s ours now, all officially adopted through the shelter, and fits in here like peas and carrots.

This cat knows how to relax.

This cat knows how to relax.

Did I mention that he's floppy?

Did I mention that he's floppy?

Under my ironing board.

Under my ironing board.

Willie used to sleep at the base of my stash.


Max has chosen his spot, about four feet higher.

Face plant in the batiks.

Face plant in the batiks.

To quote Dr. Seuss (and Anne Sutton, who recently told us the heartwarming story of Bitsy Button Sutton), “It came without ribbons.” I didn’t want a kitty for Christmas, but it’s the very best present I got.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. BTW the other two kitties recovered well from their colds and I took them back to the shelter. Within 10 minutes of getting them set up and settled in the adoptable area, one of them was already requested for a meet-and-greet. Out the door he went with his new family. About 45 minutes later, the other one went! That’s gotta be a new world’s record, even for the Kitten Flipper (as they call me at the shelter)!

Merry Christmas!!

Disclaimer: What you are about to see contains images of cute fluffy kitties. It has nothing to do with appliqué, so be warned if you must. Welcome to the Second Annual Cavalcade of Kittens!

In May, the Mackenzie Finishing School for Felines opened its doors for the season. Through mid-December, Dana and I took care of seven consecutive groups of underage foster kittens for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 19 little balls of fur all told.

The kitties we take in are big enough to eat on their own, generally five to six weeks old, and we keep them until they’re at least eight weeks, two pounds, and in good body condition. It’s so much fun, and so rewarding to watch them grow from teensy little klutzes to sturdy healthy pre-teens who run thumping and banging around the house.

I’ll let you know right now, so that you don’t wonder or worry, that each and every one of the kittens you are about to see has gone back to the shelter, been found by someone who fell in love with them, and adopted into a forever home.

fleasOur first batch of the year. Three black ones just like the first group last year. They were pretty scrappy looking the day they arrived.

Three more fleas.Velvet, Cricket, and Bennett. They got along fine with Willie, in fact they even invaded his crate.


Cricket was an especially friendly and snuggly kitty. She liked Willie.

Watch the personal space dude

She even helped me sew.

I help you sew that.

The second group were Bailey, Kelly, and Sweet Pea.

New Klingons on the block.

Willie tried to give them lessons on back-of-the-sofa protocol, but Bailey wasn’t paying attention in class that day.

The Klingon-eating sofa.

I'm sinking!

Watching them play and fight is hilarious, and the poses we find them in make us laugh. Had the baby kitty wars actually done Bailey in? Kelly says, ‘I didn’t do it.’

I didn't do it.

Sweet Pea loves her DirecTV.


And now, gentle readers, it is with great sadness that I must tell you that it was at this point that our darling Willie, aged 16 years and 10 months, left us to go to doggie heaven. Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that he was my heart. Despite all this kitten business, I’m really a dog person and it was Willie who made me that way. Dana too. He enriched our lives for many long years and never had a bad mood in his life. We loved him more than words can say.

Bertram Wilberforce Woofster Mackenzie, 1994 - 2011

Bertram Wilberforce Woofster Mackenzie, 1994 - 2011

It actually helped having kittens around, because the house was not completely empty. If you’d like to learn more about our Willie and his long and wonderful life, please visit his dogblog to read all of his stories.

We called our next group of little cats “The Hooligans” due to their spectacular brash athleticism and fondness for body climbing.


Grady, Teddy and Finley. Sure, they look all sweet now LOL!

Grady was the Head Hooligan.


Finley was Grady’s little Mini Me.


Teddy was much more of a sweetie pie. Here he is whispering kitty nothings into Dana’s ear.


Again with the comical poses. You just never know what you’re going to find.

The Cat On The Hat.


Head plant!


The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.


Next came two single kittens who were put together for foster. Mookie was an absolute love, a calm, pure, sweet old soul in a little body with big ears.


Buff Daddy (that name courtesy of Dana).


This little buff tiger was not at all certain that he was pleased to be put with another kitten. Mookie was very patient with him, and within a couple days Daddy had forgotten all about it, and it was as if they had known each other all their lives.


The next batch was a litter of four fuzzballs. Two looked like seal-point Himalayan mixes and the other two were long-haired brown tigers.


The Himmies are Cuddles and Petunia, the tigers Button and Rupert. There was never a dull moment with this crew around.

Button and Petunia liked to help me in my studio Here’s Button pointing out a needed edit in my Scrap-Appliqué Playground page proofs, while Petunia prepares for a rear attack.


Petunia and Cuddles both have those gorgeous blue Himalayan eyes.


After the Fab Four came the S’s: Shelby, Spike, and Spencer.


Spencer and Spike were tuxedo cats, Shelby a lynx-point Siamese mix. They were all wonderfully nice little guys… sweet, affectionate, and so happy to be at our home.



By this time, kitten season was starting to wind down, but there were still a couple of singles who could go to foster together. First we got Sassy. She hopped out of the carrier and hopped around the living room like she didn’t have a care in the world. A super confident, friendly, and exceedingly cute little girl full of “tortietude.”

Making sure Dana stays in his chair and does his work.


One informal measure of how big our fosters are getting is whether they can squeeze under the dresser. Sassy still fits!


The next day I picked up Jamie, a black/brown smoke kitty who was full of purrs for people, but unsure of the big wide world. You can see it in his face.


The first time he saw Sassy, you should have seen the stank face! Spit, hiss, oh what a pill he was being! Sweet Sassy kept working on him little by little, and by the time three days had gone by he had totally thawed out, and they were chasing, playing, and hanging out together with ease.

This is the first time Jamie came to settle down by Sassy.


They helped us put up our Christmas tree.


By the time they went back to the shelter, Jamie had blossomed into a playful, friendly, very good-natured little man. He had an instant-on purr motor upon being petted, and this also turned him into a talky cat! He did great at the shelter meeting lots of new friends. Just shows you what foster care can do.

I packed up all the kitten gear and put it away for the season. Sad face. It’ll be a long time until May. But then… what should I discover during my regular shift at the shelter last week, but… three kittens in the hospital ward with sneezy noses! The shelter staff gladly sent them home with me to complete their recuperation from their kitty colds.

I’m back in business! I’m so glad, because otherwise it would have been the first Christmas in 23 years without any animals in the house.


Meet Max, Wylie, and Cullen, our current crew. I don’t know if you can tell, but Wylie is about half the size of the other two. Nobody knows quite why. These guys were dumped off in boxes at a pet store. We don’t know if they’re from the same litter, but it matters not, because they all love each other, everyone, and everything. They’re about the nicest cats EVER.

Little Wylie and big Cullen.


The biggest, Max, with his giant white paws.


These guys are still with us now, helping us open our presents. Thank you so much for putting up with my catblogging. I vow to keep it to once a year! Happiest of holidays to you and yours.

By Kay Mackenzie

Warning, this is totally off-topic. It has nothing to do with appliqué, and if you read this you will be subject to photos of fluffy little kitties.

I may have mentioned before that In May I started fostering kittens for the animal shelter. These are kitties that come into the shelter too young to be adopted out, who need some time being reared in a home until they’re ready. Over the summer and fall we had five different batches.

The first three were all black. They look alike in this picture but actually there were subtle differences in their coat color and texture, so we could mostly tell them apart. Starbuck (because he drank my coffee) and Thing 1 and Thing 2 (thanks Dana).

BTW in the last post, somebody thought Dana was my son. No, he’s my husband with the Look of Eternal Youth.

You gonna finish that?

You gonna finish that?

Willie was very gentlemanly with all of the little ones.



Batch 2, Riley and Tiger, came in shy and would run and play the livelong day, but as soon as any human moved, bam! they ducked for cover.

Sofas are good.

Sofas are good.

They gradually got over that. I’ll never forget the first time that Tiger nerved himself to lie down with 30% of him touching my leg. By the time they were ready to go back to the shelter he was crawling into my lap.


Batch 3 came to us with a case of URI (upper respiratory infection, like a cold for kitties).

We don't feel that gud.

We don't feel that gud.

Bunny is the tiny tortie, who weighed a pound and looked like and felt like a dust bunny, which is why I named her that. The orange boys Buzz and Rufus were much more sturdy.


Buzz was a champion snuggler and would come plop into my lap and purr like a buzzsaw.


Rufus was more shy, but eventually he came around too.

Nobody here but us tomatoes.

Nobody here but us tomatoes.

Bunny was our great success story and probably the one closest to our hearts. She really had us worried there for a few weeks, so tiny and frail, but she ate everything that wasn’t nailed down and finally one day she turned the corner and started to play and grow. She was adopted by a friend, and just look at her now!!!


She is one gorgeous creature, with soft rabbit fur and a fluffy tail.

Batch 4 was one spotted tabby, Charlotte, and two tuxedo boys, Milo and Bentley.


Charlotte was the boss.

Charlotte was the boss.


Bentley and Milo were always dressed and ready for an elegant party. Milo was the runt of the litter but by the time they were all about 8 weeks he had just about caught up.

Pearl Grey came to us as a single kitty. She has a set of lungs on her like you wouldn’t believe, and a bit too much “catitude.” Here she is in typical fashion, spouting off about something or other.

Pearl Grey

Pearl Grey

Dewey was sent home with us a week later to keep her company and teach her some kitty manners. He’s a buff tiger boy with a heart of gold.



It worked beautifully. At first she was a beast to him but after three days they were BFF, joined at the hip, where one went the other went too. Dewey calmed her down beautifully.


That’s the roundup! All have been adopted, and kitten season is over for now. Thank you for allowing me to show you my fosters. I loved having them. I leave you with a couple of amusing videos of Pearl Grey and the Tail of Dewey.

Happy holidays to you and yours,
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie