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!

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