Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Letter

From the desk of Rachel Shubin

December 2012
Dear Blogging Friends & Family,

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

What a year 2012 has been! It has certainly been a year packed full with many wonderful memories, good friends and fantastic events.

The beginning of January 2012 was such an exciting time – getting to interview Jackson Galaxy before his premiere of My Cat from Hell Season 2 was such a privilege for me, only a high school senior! And in May, I was able to review a copy of Jackson’s book – Cat Daddy- before it was available to the public. Needless to say, my high school journalism dreams felt like they had hit the big time.

On March 13, 2012, Piper and I celebrated our one year blogging anniversary! It was hard to believe the pregnant teen mom Sandpiper had gone from losing her five kittens, to being a robust, healthy and happy member of our family. 
Robust and healthy!

Another great month for us was June– I graduated from high school and jetted off to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the BlogPaws blogging conference! There, I got to visit my blog friends, meet new ones, and introduce everyone to my mom, Julie. Perhaps my favorite part of the trip (and no, it was definitely not the plane rides) was getting to meet Moki the Wobbly Cat and his mom Crystal! I got to learn all about Moki’s condition and pass on the word about how Moki is changing the word disabled, to differently abled.

Holding Moki at BlogPaws

 In August, I wrote a tribute to our cat May, who we lost to kidney failure. The whole thing happened very quickly, and showed me that it was important to put aside time to spend with all of my cats; since the Shubin 7 was now the Shubin 6. August was also the month that I started at the local community college (with plans to transfer to local George Mason University in spring 2013 and focus on my communications career).

During September, I reviewed Moo Kitty Finds a Home by Valerie Lee Veltre.  Moo Kitty is a children’s book that I wish I had read as a child.  In October and November I was hard at work in school.

In November, Gwen Cooper featured me as the first inaugural Homer’s Hero on Gwen’s new website!  A Homer’s Hero is a favorite volunteer or rescue worker that Homer & Gwen select from nominations.

I am wrapping up 2012, as a far more accomplished blogger than I ever thought I would be. I have been very lucky that I am able to do book reviews, product reviews and giveaways. My blog has become a wondrous experience!
I love this little face.

Best wishes to all my friends and family for happy holidays and a healthy new year!
Rachel and Piper 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway -Paws to Reflect: 365 Devotions for the Animal Lover's Soul

I love to snuggle up with Brooke, and read books!

Today's post is a review of Paws to Reflect: 365 Devotions For the Animal Lover's Soul by Devon O'Day and Kim McLean.

Paws to Reflect is a beautiful hard cover book, that is 370 pages of beautifully written essays. Each day begins with a title, a quote from the New Testament and a short essay.

My favorite essay was from December 30 (my birthday). The essay is about people cleaning up their decorations at the pet supply store, and how everything was left in disarray from the holidays. A man comes in and asks about the pets that haven't been adopted, and the clerk tells them that they are all the had left.

The point of this essay was that there are so many animal shelters that are in need of a good home, and that "God never leaves leftover angels hanging without hope."

If you win a copy of Paws to Reflect you will have a devotion to read for each day of the 2013 New Year! This book would make a great gift for one of your loved ones for Christmas.

I am giving away TWO copies of Paws to Reflect.

Please just leave a comment with your email to be entered! I will choose the winner on Sunday December 16 at 12 AM so I will have enough time to mail the book to you before Christmas!

US ONLY please!

I received a copy of this book from the book’s publicist. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient Can Review/Giveaway

Giveaway is closed!

Hi everyone! I have another great giveaway for you today! It will go to the first five people to comment on this post!

I recently reviewed Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost Kibble, a few months ago (read that post here). Today I am reviewing and giving away Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient Cat Diet cans.

Limited Ingredient Cans are great for cats- especially with food sensitive or allergies.  They’re made with simple ingredients.  You can read online about the cat food here. Here’s the ingredients for them:

Turkey formula
Nature’s Variety® Instinct® Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey Formula for cats is formulated to meet the
nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Peas, Pea Protein, Montmorillonite Clay, Flaxseed Oil, Potassium Chloride,
Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate,
Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Salt, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, L‐Ascorbyl‐2‐Polyphosphate, Vitamin
E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d‐Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,
Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin
B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude protein (min): 10.5%
Crude fat (min): 7.5%
Crude fiber (max): 2.0%
Moisture (max): 75.0%
Calcium (min): 0.25%

The first five people to respond will get 5 cans each! Please make sure that you leave your email in the comments, so I have a way to contact you, if you win. If you don't leave your email, you will not be entered. Good luck! I will post when all the cans have been claimed. US ONLY please!

Below are pictures of my cat food testers (Feral cats Annie and Catnan) enjoying their feast of Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient cat cans as well as their dry food - the instinct raw boost kibble!

Catnan in the bushes

Annie chowing down

Annie loves her new snack!

the dry food kibble!

Catnan is a lady in waiting!

Catnan comes to check out the food

Catnan and Annie, eating!

Cattoo Tattoo Review & Giveaway!

I'm baaaack! Sorry I have been on a blogging hiatus. I was finishing up (well, still am) my first semester at community college. My life has been so busy, that blogging took a back seat. But with good reason! I'm trying to transfer to our local university, so I've poured every ounce of my being into my school work. The results are paying off!

My friend Kate, Benjamin, owner of Modern Cat  and Cattoo Design gave me an opportunity to review and giveaway her latest cattoos, designs by Sebastien Millon! I reviewed Kate's first Cattoos back in October 2011, which you can read here. He and Kate made a great duo - ask you can see from the cute designs.

"I know Sebastien from the Downtown Phoenix small business and arts community. He and I became friends and we knew we wanted to collaborate on a project. The tattoos are our first collaboration," said Kate.

You can purchase the Cattos by Sebastien here.

The cattoos are easy to apply. You press them against the skin, hold down for 30 seconds and voila!

*The winner of this giveaway will win the three of Sebastien's cattoos: Identity Crisis, Cat with fish and lion. They each have two tattoos to the pack. Please enter by  Thursday December 20, 2012 by 12 AM EST. Winner will be contacted by email - so please leave your email! I can't enter you, if you don't leave me your contact information! US ONLY please!

Good luck!

I chose Identity Crisis and Kitty With Fish.

Kitty with fish on my wrist.

I love this!

This one gets me every time, the cow entendre!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gwen Cooper's New Website/Homer's Heroes

My good friend, Gwen Cooper just revamped her website,! Gwen is the best selling author of Homer's Odyssey, about Homer, the blind black wondercat! I have previously interviewed Gwen in a post you can read here.

I finally met Gwen in purr-son this September :)
A new section of Gwen's website is called "Homer's Heroes" - in which each month, Gwen and Homer highlight their favorite volunteers and rescue workers! You can nominate your own Homer's Hero on Gwen's website here.

My mom, Julie Shubin of the blog Helitzer Blouse Girl, nominated me when Gwen and Homer were looking for the first inaugural Homer's Hero!

Reading the post my mom wrote about me was so amazing, she totally wrote from the heart and shared about my passion for animal rescue. I really liked how she mentioned that part of the reason I really didn't want to go far away from home for college was so I could still stay involved with my rescue work. Thank you so much for nominating me, mom! I love you!

And thank you ever so much to Gwen and Homer! I'm so glad to call you my friends >^..^<

So please check out Gwen's updated website, the Homer Heroes section and the post about me as Homer's first Hero!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winter Cat Fashion

I love watching the fall trends fade into winter. Even though I don't anticipate a career in fashion, I love partaking in the event of up-to-date fashion. The color hunter green, wool plaid purses, thick/cowl-knit sweaters and cat print items, are among my favorite winter 2012 fashions.

In a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago, I published my first fashion post, with a fun cat shirt I found at American Eagle. The moment I saw it, I was like a kid on Christmas morning - jumping up and down (not really, I'd look like a crazy person!). I was excited to see cats featured on clothing -- more likely I am able to find cute dog clothing that I like, but don't want because I'm generally not a dog person.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was shopping in Ann Taylor LOFT and saw this kitten print cardigan...

"Done in a purrfectly cute kitten print, we think this sweet must-have is the cat’s meow. Crew neck. Long sleeves. Button front. Ribbed neckline, cuffs and hem." -Loft

Close up of the print!

Anything with a cat on it, has Rachel written all over it! The sweater retails for $54.50 and can be purchased online here, as well as in stores (featured in petite sizing as well). I have never seen anything like this sweater, in Loft or elsewhere! It is new, but is being snatched up quickly by cat lovers everywhere!

Retail $12
The other cat related item I rushed to pick up on November 2nd, was the new Vera Bradley Kitty Keychain in Ribbons - the Breast Cancer Color. This retails for $12 online and in Vera Bradley stores (can purchase online here). It comes in the pattern Ribbons (featured above) as well as in the color Dogwood!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First Fashion Post

I really like shopping and buying new clothes. Even better? If the clothes have cats on them! So naturally, when I saw this shirt in American Eagle Outfitters tonight, I had to buy it!

This shirt retails for $19.99.

I just had to share this awesome graphic cat tee with you! I can't wait to wear this out and show my cat pride.

And if you like foxes...check out this shirt (I also like foxes - and they're definitely related to cats, right?!)

This shirt retails for $19.99. There is a current promotion for buy one tee, get the other 50% off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nature's Variety Instict Raw Boost Kibble Review & Giveaway!

Today I have a cool giveaway for FOUR lucky winners! Nature's Variety let me review their new Instinct Raw Boost kibble in their chicken meal formula. According to their website, the food is grain and gluten free, helps with maintaining cat weight, has freeze dried raw coating for great taste and nutrition, formulated for rotation feeding and is perfectly acceptable for all life stages and all breeds!

"Proving “a little boost can make a big difference,” Instinct Raw Boost is a revolutionary pet food that integrates Instinct’s unique freeze-dried raw formulas with its premium, grain-free kibble. This first-ever combination allows pet owners to provide their pet the nutrition and taste of raw food  in the convenient and familiar dry kibble form.  The kibble is low-carb, and the freeze-dried raw pieces contain natural enzymes for digestive health.  Instinct Raw Boost diets are available in three protein formulas for dogs – chicken, duck, and venison. For cats, two protein formulas are available – chicken and duck. Instinct Raw Boost can be found at independent pet food retailers nationwide as well as select PETCO locations." -Nature's Variety

For my review testers, I fed the kibble to the feral cats at our local university. My mom and I help feed them, and we thought that this kibble would be a delicious treat for them.

Annie (front) and Catnan (behind) chowing down.


Nom nom nom. Slurp!

Annie enjoying the sun!

The kibble in Annie and Catnan's bowl.

Verdict? Annie and Catnan think this food is very nommy and they can't wait to get another taste again!

Thank you all for entering! The four bags have been claimed. Thank you to my readers for helping make this giveaway be successful!
For the giveaway, the first FOUR people who comment will get a FREE bag of the Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost kibble! GO! 
Please leave your email, or your entry will not be counted.
I will post when the giveaway is closed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Feral Cat Day October 16, 2012

Today is the second blog post of the day, and the second year I have celebrated National Feral Cat Day! I wrote a short post last year, about NFCD on October 16, 2011.

Alley Cat Allies.  is a great organization that, according to their website, is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. 

NFCD was created ten years ago by Alley Cat Allies, to promote care for feral cats.

Vickie on 10/12/12 in my closet.

I know exactly how I will be celebrated NFCD! By cuddling with my former feral cat, Vickie. Vickie is special because she came to our rescue after having five kittens. For seven years, we had her daughter May with us (May recently went to the rainbow bridge, and we miss her very much). We adopted Vickie -- after fostering her for three months and barely being able to coax her out of the basement. She was so feral and so scared! Now she will hang out with us, sleep with us, sit on our laps, open bathroom doors and even sleep in my closet!
Vickie on 10/11/12 in my closet.

She came so far from being loved my family. And even though she needed to have her teeth removed because of her bad gum disease, she is still able to eat dry food and treats! Though her favorite treat of all is being brushed by my mom.

So you know how I am celebrating National Feral Cat Day? How are you? Leave me a comment and tell me!

Blog The Change: October 15 (oops 16)

This post is coming to you about fifteen minutes late - it has just been one of those days. I could make up lots of excuses (trust me, I do have some) but I'll just get on with my post, because Piper would not approve me elaborating  >^..^< silly cat!

Like in my past April and July posts for Blog the Change, animal rescue is something I hold near and dear to my heart. If I hear someone having a discussion with with a person, and they are talking about their cats having kittens, incorrect facts about cats, not having a spayed/neutered cat, declawing, etc, I feel obligated to interrupt and give them my opinion.

Getting a headbutt from a spayed kitty, looking for a home - (this is either Chrissie or Norbie)

Why? It's because I'm hardwired that way. My passion for animals goes above and beyond saving lives -- I want people to be educated about HOW the shelters are overflowing with cats because people can't seem to get the simple idea of spaying/neutering. Today's post is to share that I want people to understand why it is necessary to spay and neuter their pets.

"In addition to the many health benefits, spaying or neutering your cat ensures that he or she won’t contribute to the feline overpopulation problem. Even a cat who lives indoors may escape and produce kittens if not sterilized. Each year, millions of homeless cats are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes." -ASPCA

"Millions of beautiful cats and kittens are exterminated each year by animal shelters who can't find enough homes for them. The famous artist Leonardo da Vinci once said "even the smallest feline is a masterpiece." Cat owners can help make sure that each precious fur covered work of art has a happy home. The best way to accomplish this goal is through responsible spaying and neutering." -Catster

Anytime you educate someone about spaying and neutering, YOU send the message on. YOU are making a difference is saving animals. YOU are the change that is needed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmy Red Carpet Cat Tour - Tiny Tiger Tote GIVEAWAY!

As puuurfect as it was to watch the Emmy's last night (and really, the fashion), I have something even more fabulous to giveaway!

Sophia Vergara - left, had my favorite dress of the night.

Coming to you from the Emmy Red Carpet Cat Blog Tour 2012, a fully stuffed, Tiniest Tiger Tote full over swag from a whole bunch of sponsors! This bag of swag was given away to celebrities in Beverly Hills, on the real red carpet. And I have one to giveaway to YOU, my readers!

Lauren Potter, Becky on Glee, with Flat Gracey on the Red Carpet.

 It includes a Sandpiper Cat business card & postcard from me, as well as a bottle of Stress Stopper Spirit Essences (I highly recommend!), an adorable Iams hat, lots of coupons, a Bissell Stomp 'n Go pad, a Gracie Shaker, a Tipsy Nip Tickle Pickle, are just some among many really cool swag in the bag!

The bag itself is really fun! Triple T Studios products (click to check out products) are wonderful.
"This one of a kind tote features the Tiniest Tiger's feline finesse quilted into the fabric creating a subtle yet cool cat appearance. The sleek black color is sure to complement all of your favorite fashions. The Tote is perfect for transporting your laptop and all your other essentials. There is an inside zipper pouch to keep your small items ready for easy access. The tote features a magnetic snap closure for security. The interior features a sturdy base, removable for washing. The bag is machine washable and can be tumbled dry. The bag is made in the USA."

To enter the giveaway:

Please leave a comment telling me you would like a chance to win. Please leave your email - so I have a way to contact you. If you do not leave your email, you will not be entered to win. Please enter by Monday October 1st at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be announced ASAP.

*If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email me to be entered: 

Please note, Gracey will ship the full loaded tote bag to the USA, but tote bag ONLY to Canada, Europe and Australia. This event is open to everyone!

Special thanks to Joanne and Gracey for a wonderful giveaway! Stop by The Tiniest Tiger's Conservation Cub Club to thank them!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Less Adoptable Pet Week Sept. 17-23, 2012

What is the same about all of these things:

Black cats. Blind cats. Feral cats. FIV+ cats. Senior cats. Deaf cats. 

If you answered that the commonality is that these cats are harder to adopt out, you are correct! Less adoptable, means that these cats take longer to find forever homes than a spunky little kitten.

Petfinder's Less Adoptable Pet Week is a wonderful week that celebrates those pets that are harder to adopt.

One of my cats, Victoria, was a less adoptable cat. She was the mother of one of our kittens, so we took her in as a foster - hoping we could find her a good home. She hid in behind a cabinet, in the dry wall in our basement for three days. We slid food in and out of the small hole in between the wall and the cabinet, like she was a prisoner in solitary confinement. It took months for her to come out of the basement, and even peer her head around the basement door. If she got sppoked, she ran back downstairs. It was her zone of comfort. Seven years later, today, our little Vickie is as friendly as can be. She keeps us company while we watch TV, read the newspaper, sleep on the bed next to my parents and even come to the bathroom with us (shh, don't tell my mom I told you!). It took a long time for her to be comfortable around us, and had we not kept her, she would've been next to impossible to adopt out. Here are two shots of Vickie today, enjoying a patch of sun on our screened in porch.

"Please don't pet me while I'm vulnerable, or I'll swat you!" says Vickie.

Trust me, I'm not asking for a belly rub - I will swat you if you try!

Petfinder asks you to look for rescues and shelters that may have a less adoptable pet, waiting for you! For example, take a look at two cats in Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation's care. Daffy and Dancer, who both are having a harder time getting adopted.

The Black Ones:
Daffy, who is sweet and a little daffy, even if she's dark and hard to photograph.
Photo/quote courtesy of Cat Volunteer Coordinator Email.

The Ones with "Issues"
Dancer...I love to be petted, but if you don't stop when I tell you I've had enough, I'll swat you!
Photo/quote courtesy of Cat Volunteer Coordinator Email. 

So please, the next time you decide to bring a new furry friend into your home, adopt a less adoptable pet! They need you more than you know.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: Moo Kitty Finds A Home

I couldn’t stop. Everything I was reading was so touching, so moving, that I felt like I was experiencing it too. Books don’t always make you feel like you’re the main character, and few do when it is a children’s book. Moo Kitty Finds a Home by Valerie Lee Veltre, is a perfect example of a children’s book that puts you in the shoes of the main character, in this case is a cat named Moo!

The story of Moo Kitty is true, and it certainly will resonate with readers, children and parents alike. Moo Kitty enjoys his life with his human, until she goes to heaven. Then Moo is all alone. Dazed and confused at being left outside, three Angel kitties visit him and tell them they will help him.

When I read Moo Kitty Finds a Home for the first time, I had just lost my cat May. Reading that one of the angel cats was named Maybelle made me smile.

While Moo is in the shelter, he is often overlooked by people because he is older and not as cute as the rambunctious kittens. Moo feels sad as all the other cats and animals leave the shelter before him.  Kittens are often picked before the adult cats, meaning the older cats spend a longer time at the shelter. They too, become sad like Moo. But every cat has their day…read Moo Kitty Finds a Home to find out what happens to Moo!

Moo Kitty hit home for me, because I volunteer at a cat rescue, and often wonder where the cats came from before they were in the rescue. Were they once loved and left behind? Did they get out and get lost?

Veltre was inspired to write Moo Kitty, based on a personal experience.

In the back of the book, there are many wonderful pages with tips about the Benefits of Adopting an Adult Pet, Tips for Adopting an Adult Pet and information for selection and settling the new pet in. More information can be found online, as well as purchasing Moo Kitty at 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cat Haters Gon Hate

Can I just start by saying: URRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! People really do some crappy things sometimes...

The mailbox & I in 2009 - don't ask about the picture...I was a goofy kid.
I went out this morning about 8:15 am to go do my pet sitting jobs, and as I was walking to my car, I abruptly stopped because I noticed our mail box was on the drive away. Being as tired as I was, I'm not sure if I really realized why it was there, other than it must have fallen off, or possibly someone ran their car into the mail post and it fell off (I had forgotten about the cat on the top of the'll read about that soon).

In the garage - you can see the wood on the bottom of the box.

So I put the mail box into the garage and went to do my pet sitting jobs. I came back and ran upstairs to tell my dad about the mail box. This isn't the first time our mail box has been vandalized, this  vandal act brought it up to a total of three times  - the most recent having been ~ 10 years ago when I was 10.

Empty post.

My dad figured it must have been vandalized, though I thought that it was a possibility it was something else, since whoever did it, had left the mail box and not taken it. Well, my suspicions changed when we looked at the cat topper from the mailbox, which had been left on our front steps.

Not only had the cat been defaced with sharpies, the vandal left us a lovely note..."F*ck Cat Lover's. Love the Cat Snatcher." Lovely. After closer examination, the cat not only now sported facial hair, but female and male genitalia (someone didn't go to health class!). Plus leaving the cat for us, isn't technically snatching. Clearly this was the work of a petulant child.

We knew from the note what their motive was - being a cat hater.

Overall, despite now having to get a new mail box - this one was at the end of its life, though - we have to cancel the mail. But in the long run, at least the vandal didn't damage our cars, seeing as they are all decked out with the cat family and lots of cat rescue stickers & other pro-cat decorations.

The empty post. Completely empty as 10 years ago!
But the thing about the act of vandalism that bothers me is that not only did this person get away (so far), but that this was just a cat hating mail box crime, what would happen if this person was to come across a real cat? And unfortunately, this person will probably get away with what they did. As unfair as their childish act was, all I can hope is that they got the vandalism out of their system and are out of business.

Henry bared his teeth at the note!

So we duct taped the mailbox to the post (we have to order a new one & get it installed) and left a note for the "cat snatcher"....