Category Archives: Julia Williams

Llamas and Alpacas as Therapy Animals? Why Not!

Rojo-HiResFloralBy Julia Williams

First there were therapy dogs. Then came therapy cats. More recently, the list of therapy animals has expanded to include horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, potbellied pigs…even llamas and alpacas! It seems people have finally begun to realize what I have known for most of my life – that virtually any animal has the capability to help our seniors, special needs children, hospital patients, rehabilitation facility residents and others who need cheering up.

When it comes to therapy animals, size doesn’t matter because animals are so pure of heart and willing to lend a paw (or a hoof) to spread cheer. Case in point: a big, shaggy-haired llama named Rojo and an equally hairy alpaca named Napoleon can bring on the smiles every bit as much as a fluffy little dog can!

Admittedly, llamas and alpacas might not be the first species that comes to mind when you think of therapy animals. However, the Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas don’t let this stop them from visiting schools, hospitals, senior communities and rehab facilities throughout Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. Offering friendship and a warm hug, these very special therapy animals help alleviate loneliness and reduce stress, and their presence brings a sense of normalcy to institutional settings.

rojoreading revMountain Peaks, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, offers therapy teams that have successfully completed the Animal-Assisted Therapy Certification process. Rojo was their first therapy animal; this unusually people-friendly llama received his Certification in 2007. Since then, the Mountain Peaks menagerie – Rojo, Smokey, Beni and Little Chap (llamas), and Napoleon, Jean-Pierre and Andre (alpacas), have completed more than 900 therapeutic visits. Mountain Peaks also provides theme-decorated llamas and alpacas for birthday parties, BBQs, weddings and other private and corporate events.

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What Do Dreams about Cats Mean?

dreams_torbakhopper revBy Julia Williams

I’ve long been fascinated by dreams, and even underwent a serious attempt at dream analysis years ago. I read countless books on dream interpretation and dream symbols. Each morning, I recorded what I could recall of my dreams, not an easy feat considering that most dreams evaporate quickly upon waking. (A tape recorder saves valuable time and is less jarring than reaching for a pen and paper and turning on the light to write).

What I eventually realized is that I could spend my entire life studying these nocturnal visions, and still not understand what they were trying to tell me. Do I believe that my dreams are an attempt to transfer valuable information from my subconscious to my conscious mind? Yes. Would understanding the messages help in my waking life? Yes again…but decoding the messages is the hard part.

The biggest problem with dream analysis is that it’s so subjective. There is no “one size fits all” interpretation, unfortunately. Dream symbols can mean different things to men versus women; symbols can also mean different things depending upon how you personally feel about them in your waking life. Adding to the difficulty is that dream symbols can have multiple supposed meanings. Whose interpretation is correct? It’s impossible to say. Nevertheless, I will offer here some interpretations about cats in dreams, mostly for your entertainment.

Cat Symbolism in Dreams

Some say that cats in dreams are a symbol for your intuition, and that the health of the cat indicates whether you are heeding or ignoring your intuition. A dream about a sick cat, then, might mean that you need to listen to your intuition more and rely less on intellect.

Other interpretations claim that cats in dreams symbolize femininity, softness, an independent spirit, creativity, power, misfortune, vulnerability, bad luck, deceit and falseness (see what I mean about multiple supposed meanings?).

dream_denise_chan revAn aggressive cat might suggest difficulty with the feminine aspect of yourself. Being afraid of the dream cat implies there is some fear associated with your femininity. A dream feline may be a symbol for someone in your life who is “catty” or malicious. Being scratched by a cat in a dream suggests that you feel threatened.

Dreaming that you cannot find your cat is a metaphor for your independent spirit, and that you feel someone or something is holding you back from being free. Saving a dream cat’s life suggests that you are reclaiming your independence and power.

To see a frisky cat playing in your dream suggests a need to be more carefree and playful in your own life. Cats in your dream can reflect your need to feel loved, or your fear that you’re being untrue to others so they will love you. A house full of cats in a dream represents excessive illusions or things that you believe to be untrue.

Dreams about a wild cat may indicate that a neighbor could be dangerous or that you will have some sort of dispute with them. Dreaming about fighting with a cat could be a warning that you’ll be robbed or cheated in some way, whereas cuddling with a cat in a dream suggests that your enemies can be “tamed.” A cat biting you in a dream symbolizes the loss of something, typically relating to those closest to you.

Dreams about Kittens

Although adult cats are usually associated with independence and self-reliance, kittens are seen as helpless beings. Dreaming about kittens, then, could indicate that you are feeling vulnerable, scared or need help.

dreams_Lucie revWomen Dreaming of Cats

When women dream about cats, the felines are thought to be a symbol of how she views herself. This includes not only her physical body but also her intuition, independence, creativity and her relationships with men.

Men Dreaming of Cats

When a man dreams about cats, the felines are said to symbolize his attitude towards women, or how he thinks women perceive him. A purring cat means the man thinks women find him attractive and he feels comfortable around women. A hissing cat suggests that he feels rejected by women or that there are problems in his relationship.

Have you had any intriguing dreams about cats lately? Now that you know a little something about the symbolism of cats in dreams, you can start to analyze what wisdom these wise felines might be trying to impart.

Top photo by torbakhopper/Flickr
Middle photo by Denise Chan/Flickr
Bottom photo by Lucie Provencher/Flickr

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Great Quotes about Cats

cat-quotes-by-Gangster-Car-DriverBy Julia Williams

There is certainly no shortage of famous sayings about cats. Some are witty, some are wise, and some are just plain wrong. What I mean by wrong is that the saying presents a cat’s character in a way that is completely opposite from what any cat lover would say about their feline friend. When I read quotes like that, I wonder if the person ever spent so much as a day – an hour even – in the company of cats. It would seem not.

I’m not fond of those types of quotes because they perpetuate the myths that cats are antisocial, unloving and undeserving of our affection. I hate to think that someone who’d never spent time with a cat and didn’t know their true capability for bonding with humans, would judge them based on some negative saying.

I have no doubt there are many cats in the world that would’ve had a forever home, if not for some untrue saying. This might seem farfetched, but the reality is that a great many people will just believe what they read without substantiating it with personal experience.

Thankfully, there are lots of other quotes out there that paint cats with an accurate brush. It’s those cat quotes that I will share with you today. Perhaps my favorite cat quote of all time is by the French novelist Colette who said “Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Here are some others I like:
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Funny Cat Videos That Will Make You Meow Out Loud

By Julia Williams

It’s no secret that watching cat videos on the internet is a favorite pastime for many. Remember, this entertaining time waster is so popular nowadays that hordes of feline fanatics flock to internet cat video screenings across the U.S. to watch the videos together, on a big screen (cat attire optional). But thankfully, you don’t need vacation days or travel plans to watch funny cat videos from home on your own computer.

Since Facebook is a virtual water cooler for work-at-home people like me, I see my fair share of funny cat videos. OK, more than my fair share. There are worse ways to take a “comic relief” break from work, right? Plus, laughter is good for the soul. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Here are some of my favorite, recently viewed YouTube videos of cats doing funny things. Enjoy!

Cat plays peek a boo

Cat imitates boxers on TV

This kitten just wants to play – why does he get the cold shoulder?

A compilation of epic jumping fails

Cat drinks from water cooler (this could get expensive)

Cats versus the mirror, vacuum cleaner, an aquarium, their own tail, a lizard and more

A game of one potato, two potato gone wrong

Three cats watch tennis on TV

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Have You Ever Had “Just a Pet?”

just a pet mclemoreBy Julia Williams

Not long ago, an interesting bit of writing popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. It was a short piece titled Just a Dog – not really a poem but not a “story” either. It was, however, a very moving tribute to man’s best friend.  I really wanted to share it with you, but there was no author listed, nor any indication where it came from. I’m no stranger to the copyright law, and I’d never post it here (or anywhere) without permission from the copyright owner.

So, I did a little digging. I found Just a Dog on hundreds of other websites and blogs, and some had even taken artistic license and changed it to Just a Cat. A few had the supposed author’s name – Richard A. Biby – but I couldn’t find the man or where the piece was originally published. It’s definitely worth a read, though, so I would encourage you to Google it. Just not before you finish reading my post. LOL.

just a cat sheila sundThe poignant piece brought to mind the times in my own life where people have said things like, “It’s just a cat. How can you spend that kind of money on a cat?” “It’s just a cat, it doesn’t love you like a human child can.” Or the very worst of all, after a beloved cat had died, “It’s just a cat. You can always get another one.”

You’ve probably had similar things said to you about your own dog or cat, because the world is filled with unfortunate people who have never bonded with a pet. They can’t possibly comprehend the depth of your love for “just a dog.” They don’t understand why you would consider “just a cat” to be a beloved family member that you’d do anything to keep safe, healthy and happy. The non-pet crowd often trivializes our relationships with our furry friends, because they don’t get that our pets will never be “just” anything.

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What’s On Your Cat’s Bucket List?

By Rocky Williams, feline guest blogger

Hey there! It’s your favorite furry beast, Rocky! It’s been awhile since I’ve been allowed to put my paws to the keyboard for the purpose of entertaining you. The Warden said it’s because “A little Rocky goes a looooong way.” Harumph. I don’t know what she’s talking about. Most people say they can’t get enough of me! Well, technically I haven’t ever heard anyone say that, but I’m sure they MUST be thinking it.

Yesterday I was enjoying a fabulous sun-puddle siesta when I was jolted awake by that rude Suck Monster. After it noisily ate everything on the floor and went off to digest its meal, I couldn’t go back to sleep because my Bucket List kept running through my head.

I just had a birthday – I’m 11 now! – so I’ve been pondering that ginormous list and wondering how I’ll ever cross off all the impawtent things I want to do before… before…well, you know. The Warden assures me I’m in tip-top shape and will have plenty of time to get ‘er done…but I’d rather zip through that list now, just in case. Besides, it’s not like I have more pressing matters. Catnaps can wait.

I know you’re curious as a three-legged rhino to know what’s on my Bucket List, and I’m only too happy to share. Mind you, this is only a partial list, because I’ve been given a word limit here.

A Cat’s Bucket List

1. Go on a date with a cool famous cat, like the pleasingly plump Pusheen. Oh wait…she’s not a real cat! Scratch that.

venus2. Make out with Venus the split faced kitty. (Her two-toned face is amazing and yes, she IS a real cat, not photoshopped as some people believe!).

3. Eat a corn dog at the County Fair. (What cat wouldn’t love to eat a dog? MOL).

4. Defeat the evil Suck Monster once and for all. (This, I firmly believe, is every cat’s dream).

5. Sharpen my claws on every square inch of the Warden’s carpet. (DONE!).

6. Have a “Stinky Goodness” pawty with ALL 17 flavors of CANIDAE cat food lined up for me to sample one right after the other. (I predict a Stinky Goodness coma afterwards, but it’d be worth it).

7. See Luna the Fashion Kitty “in the fur” (i.e., she won’t be wearing one of her infamous tutus, wink wink).

8. Rub noses with “Tara the Hero Cat” who courageously went after a dog that was attacking her 4-year-old human brother. I’d like to think my strapping ManCat self would be as brave as Tara if someone attacked my Warden, but something tells me she’d be left to fend for herself while I hid under the bed.

9. Go 24 hours without having to endure the Warden’s sloppy kisses and groping hugs. Just one measly day without her fawning all over me – is that too much to ask?

10. Meet my crush, Meg Ryan. Now SHE could womanhandle me as much as she liked!

Some of my feline friends wanted to share their bucket list too.

Janiss Garza:  Sparkle wants to make the cover of Cat Fancy.

Dean McCaughan:  A hairball in every room. And catch the red dot.
bucket list alisha vargas
Lori J.: Cory wants access to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a night. And free access to a whole roasted Costco chicken. No sharing!

Peggy McNamara: Laila would like to go to Costco to pick out her own box.

Debbie Glovatsky: Waffles hopes that someday KFC will sponsor our blog.

Julie Church Cat Mackenzie: Chopin would like to walk across piano keys. Tinker, since I call him my little teddy bear, would like to visit a human toy store; Anastasia says, “Bucket list, Schmucket list. I’m still waiting for my personalized tiara.”

Sue Grybel Doute: Mine have never had the opportunity to hunt a real live mouse… I know this would be on Wally and Ernie’s bucket list.

Rene Schweitzer: Having recently lost a cat, I compiled a bucket list for him. He only got to complete one item: eating raw corn on the cob. Other items were eating grass and pizza cheese.

Nora Peluso: Buddy would like to stay out all day in the horse field eating as much grass as he wants…then come inside for stinky goodness!

Cathy Keisha: I wanna walk on the ceiling or actually touch the ceiling which is 16 ft. high. All our furniture is too short.

Marjorie Dawson: I wanna fly and reach the birds! Sienna

Lori  J.: Figaro wants to be able to fly with the butterflies.

Top photo by Julia Williams
Middle photo courtesy of Venus the Amazing Chimera Cat
Bottom photo by Alisha Vargas

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