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This is an unique CondoMadness feature; a monthly advice and news column by our very own cool condo cat.

Have mice, no problem
Tips for a new director
Tiny units
Removing the president
Tiny condo has defects, call Tarion
Electing a cat
YouTube is for cats
Cats & balconies
Getting high in a condo
Disabled woman fighting condo’s one-cat-only rule
Black cat becomes surprise star of Sharks' Game 1
A City Place condo wants to ban all pets
New York's paw patrol
The ongoing condo war against pets
Cat alerts Tennessee man to Gatlinburg fires
Two firefighters; one rescued cat
Hundric started her own rescue shelter in her family's La Habra condo
Resumés for dogs? Why not?
Cat condos
Cats can be trained to use the toilet
Cat from Caifornia found in Guelph 4 years later
Firefighters treat people, pet cat after condo fire
A new male in your life

Have mice, no problem
I live on the ground floor of a condo building and mice are trying to get into my apartment. What should I do?

In the autumn, it starts getting cold outside so mice and rats will try to stay warm for the winter by finding nice warm places to spend the winter.

Start by cleaning up your outside terrace so there are no hiding places close to your outer walls and no potting soil, old cushions, piles of leaves or papers that can be used by the mice to make a cozy home.

Some people hire pest exterminators but that is expensive and the poison is not always effective.

So what's the answer?

A face that would terrify any mouse.

Use a natural solution that humans discovered thousands of years ago. Go to the animal shelter and buy a cat. Not only do you stay rodent-free but you will have a lovely pet.

If you don't want to own a cat, then borrow one from a relative or a friend in early October for a couple of months. The mice will be scared away by the cat and by the end of November they will have found a safer home somewhere else; maybe next door at your neighbour's.

All this typing has made me tired so I am going to take a nap now.



Tips for a new director
I am a new director on a condo board. I beat an incumbent and the other directors aren't happy that I was elected. Any advice for me?
Newly elected—Mississauga

Think of what a condo cat would do in your place. Show up at the meetings, be polite but don't worry of they are not friendly. Since when has a cat cared about what humans want?

Listen to every thing that is being said, listen for what is not being said; observe everything but don't say much.

Keep all your negative thoughts to yourself. Don't gossip about the others. Ever hear a cat gossip about anyone? Never!

Learn as much as you can and, if it is in the best interests of the owners, get other candidates elected at the next AGM.

Finally, after a hard evening sitting at the board table, go up to your unit, have a snack and a drink then have a good night's sleep.



Downtown condo units are tiny
If you are buying a pre-construction condo off of floor plans, it may be hard for you to visualize what you are buying. So I will help new buyers envision what condo life is like in tiny condos.

Here I am in a bachelor suite in a typical downtown Toronto condo. It looks like I will have to sleep standing up.

We know that one-bedroom condos in downtown Toronto are small, but just how small are they?

This is what living in a tiny 380 square foot one-bedroom condo can feel like. No room to turn around. Where do you put the scratching post?

Still what else can you buy for under $400,000 in downtown Toronto today?

Now this is what a larger one-bedroom with a den would feel like. At a far, far higher price, there is enough room to stretch out a little.

I hope there the condo's amenities include a gym. I could lose a few pounds.



Removing the president
October 2016

The directors decided to replace the president with me but she got very upset and started yelling and screaming. So I yelled back.

Was that the right thing to do?
President—North York

That problem has existed for thousands and thousands of years. Whenever a new alpha male challenges the existing big boss, conflict breaks out.

This is how you handle a defeated politician.

A couple of years ago, two cats had to stay at my home for a couple of weeks. The other alpha male did not like it as he wanted to remain being the boss.

See how I handled myself. I sat there calmly, held my ground and let the defeated alpha male act silly with his howling and hissing until he tired of it.

I never said a word.

Within a few days, we all got along well enough.



Butterball's condo has defects, call Tarion
November 2015

This is awful. My new studio downtown Toronto condo was poorly constructed. Will Tarion pay to have it repaired?



Barsik the cat a frontrunner in Siberian city election
19 December 2015
Hundreds of Barnaul residents say they would rather vote for a cat than for the six other candidates
Barnaul, a Siberian city of 650,000 people, which lies 2,900 kilometres (1,800 miles) east of Moscow, will elect a new mayor next week. A commission made up of the city council and the regional governor are to choose the next city manager from among six candidates.
An informal online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a cat named Barsik showed the feline nabbing more than 90 per cent of the vote.

 Barsik has attracted much amused attention in the Russian news media. Still, some local politicians understand there's a more serious message coming from the people of Barnaul, which like many Russian cities has been riddled with alleged corruption.
"The conclusion has been made that there's absolutely no trust among voters for any of the candidates," said local Communist Party official, Ivan Karpov.
Should you vote for a cat be elected to be a director of your condo corporation? If you want to return the contempt that your directors may have for you owners on its head, why not?
Even if the cat could not legally get elected, a cat as a write-in candidate on the ballots and proxies would send a message to your condo directors that they are not as well-thought of as they think they are. (The board will have to accept the proxies just so they can meet quorum.)
After all, a cat will not spend the owners’ money on expensive lobby renovations. A cat will not lie to, steal from, or gossip about the owners. A cat will not care if the owners want to examine the corporation’s documents.
The cat may not do anything to help but at least he will do the owners no harm. If the owners have complaints, I promise that the cat will listen. Isn't that more than what what your present directors are doing for you?

Of course there needs to be a campaign. Volunteers will have to write election pamphlets, wear buttons and collect proxies. The cat can make political appearances at owner’s homes where coffee and tuna sandwiches may be served. (For the cat’s sandwich, hold the mayonnaise, the butter and the bread.)
Imagine the winning candidate making a victory speech after she gets far less votes than the cat? It would be priceless.



I need my own computer
January 2016
I didn't know that there were YouTube videos that were produced for condo cats to enjoy. Look at what I have been missing!

I can watch and listen to birds and squirrels for hours whenever I want. Watching computer screens and TVs are not just for humans.

Watching my favourite videos is so relaxing that I soon fall asleep.

I want my owners to buy a unit in a condo that has a theatre as an amenity; one equipped with a huge screen, surround-sound, a snack bar and a litter box.



Cats and balconies
March 2016
Cats love the outdoors. We look out of the windows whenever we see or hear birds, squirrels, butterflies and insects.

However please don't let your cat out on the balcony unless they are in a cage or are wearing a good quality harness.

Far too many cats accidentally fall off balconies as they don't know that it is too dangerous to jump up on the balcony rail.

Far safer to get a heavy-duty screen on the balcony door like we have and keep your cat(s) inside.

Getting high in condos
Everyone knows that condo cats are too smart to have anything to do with alcohol and we refuse to smoke cigarettes. But does that mean we don't enjoy getting high? Of course not!

A little bit of catnip once a week is something Little One and I just love. I eat and roll around in my stash on the floor.

Little One enjoys having her catnip on the scratching post.

Oh, what a buzz.

Oh, what a high.

A little catnip is a wonderful treat. No bad odours, no complaints from the neighbours and it is completely legal.


Disabled woman fighting condo’s one-cat-only rule

Elizabeth Colaianni with her two cats, Rocky and Mickey.    Photo: Victor Alcorn

A Long Island condo board is upset that a disabled old lady went to the Human Rights Tribunal to get a handicap ramp installed for her home.

So to get even, the Leisure Village Association is forcing her to get rid of one of her two elderly black and white cats.

Colainanni’s lawyer, Karen Copeland, said Colaianni had a doctor’s note saying the 9-year-old cats served as “emotional support animals” and called the demand that she keep only one “unthinkable and heartless.”

Ms. Colainanni  has filed discrimination complaints with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If one of the black cats has to go to an animal shelter, it will most likely be killed as black cats are hard to adopt; elderly cats even more so.

Little One and I wish the three of them the justice they deserve.

Black cat becomes surprise star of Sharks' Game
May 2016

Imagine my surprise to see a black cat on the San Jose Sharks' ice rink. He must of thought that where there are Sharks there must be tuna and the ice was to keep the fish fresh.

I am so happy that the team is taking good care of the cat. I hope he goes to a good home.

I now have a favourite NHL team. Go Sharks go!


A City Place condo wants to ban all pets
September 2016
The board of directors at 3 Navy Wharf and 5 Mariner Terrace have announced that they are banning all new pets from the condominium corporation.

I can understand why they want to ban dogs. They can be noisy, may bite, may pee and poop on the carpets and may try to have sex on your leg in the elevator. Large dogs may try to sniff your crotch. The owners may not pick up after them on the outside sidewalks and grass. All so gross.

But why ban all pets? What's wrong with cats?

We stay indoors, don't make a mess in the hallways, don't attack people, are very quiet and we are not a nuisance to anyone. We are invisible pets.

The city is swarming with people, yet there are many lonely people who have no one to go home to. Cats fill an important role is these people's lives.

The directors are being very cold hearted in trying to take that away from people. I hope the owners overturn that rule.


Paw patrol: Feral felines deployed in NYC’s war on rats
CTV News
October 2016

Sylvester, a feral cat, sits in a loading dock at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AP / Verena Dobnik)

NEW YORK -- Multitudes of feral cats roam New York City's concrete jungle, and some now have a practical purpose: They're helping curb the city's rat population.

A group of volunteers trained by the NYC Feral Cat Initiative traps wild cat colonies that have become a nuisance or been threatened by construction, then spays or neuters and vaccinates them. The goal is to return them to their home territory, but some end up in areas rife with rats.

Feline rat patrols keep watch over city delis and bodegas, car dealerships and the grounds of a Greenwich Village church. Four cats roam the loading dock at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where food deliveries and garbage have drawn rodents for years.

"We used to hire exterminators, but nature has a better solution," said Rebecca Marshall, the sustainability manager at the 1.8-million-square-foot centre. "And cats don't cost anything."

About 6,000 volunteers have completed workshops where they've learned proper ways to trap cats.

The program is run through the privately funded Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters. It estimates as many as half a million feral and stray cats roam New York's five boroughs.

The Javits Center's quartet of cats -- Sylvester, Alfreda, Mama Cat and Ginger -- were lured to its 56 loading docks about two years ago with pet food brought by animal-loving employees. On a recent fall morning, Sylvester stationed himself next to a commercial truck, ready to pounce if needed.
The cats are predators but don't necessarily kill rats. Instead, experts say the feline scent and droppings repel the rodents.

"A mother rat will never give birth near a predator because the cats would eat the babies," said Jane Hoffman, president of the mayor's alliance.
The cat population is controlled through spaying and neutering, provided free of charge by the Humane Society of New York and the ASPCA. In most cases, adoption is out of the question for feral cats because they are just too wild to be domesticated.

Thanks to the volunteers, says Marshall, "we're protecting wildlife in the city, and the cats get a second chance at life."


The ongoing condo war against pets
The Toronto Star
November 2016

This is part of the ongoing war condo boards wage against pets. This condo want mug shots of all the pets that live in the building. However, you never see photos of the manager or the directors, do you?

Well, if you want my photo, here you are.


Cat alerts Tennessee man to Gatlinburg fires
USA Today
Lynda J Edwards
05 December 2016

Photo: Lynda J Edwards, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel

"I never did get the evacuation alert and Monday the fire seemed far enough away from downtown and the condos on hillsides nearby that I thought it was likely it would be contained before it threatened the city," Mark Burger recalled.

He owns a gift shop called Peace Frogs downtown that sells T-shirts, jewelry and other mementos. He was confident enough that the fire was far away that he didn't take away any merchandise for storage elsewhere. He didn't have a go-bag packed in his condo, which is at the end of a winding road on a mountain ridge.

But Tiger sensed something was terribly wrong a bit after 8 p.m. The normally calm cat stood staring at the curtained windows, then paced back and forth in front of the door. Tiger would run up to Burger and try to attract his attention, then race back to the door.

"I figured I might as well take out the trash and take a look to see if an animal like a raccoon might be making Tiger nervous," Burger said. "When I got across the lot, I could see the flames all over the mountains across from my condo."

Burger hurried inside, grabbed some clean shirts, his heart medicine and Tiger and jumped in the car. He rushed down the mountain, wondering how fast the fire would move.

At least 14 people were killed in the fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The National Park Service said Sunday that an 81-year-old woman died as a result of a multiple vehicle accident while trying to flee the fire.

Officials estimate 1,684 homes, businesses and other structures were damaged or destroyed by the firestorm.

At least 134 people have been treated for fire-related injuries.

Burger waited more than four hours in a long line of cars Friday to get into Gatlinburg, along with other residents and business owners. His condo and his store survived, intact. His insurance agent has a mobile unit in the town ready to make sure the store would be cleaned of any smoke smell.

"He's a pretty great cat," Burger said.


Top news photos of 2016
Ravell Call, Deseret News

One firefighter carries a rescued cat as another doesn't want anything to do with the cat at the scene of a condominium fire in Salt Lake City, Monday, June 6, 2016.


Orange County Most Influential 2016: Rebekah Hundric started her own rescue shelter in her family's La Habra condo
January 2017

Hundric at age 12 founded Rebekah’s Foster Farm in her family’s La Habra condo. Her mom first set an eight-cat limit, but Hundric built a fenced-in “catio” on her balcony and soon began taking in more rescues. In 2016, the eighth-grader at Capistrano Connections Academy expanded her rescue to include dogs and rabbits.


You may need a resumé for your pet to rent in Toronto
February 2017

I hope that only dogs need pet resumés. Doesn't make much sense to have resumés for cats, birds and gold fish.

Dogs, and their owners need interviews too. Is the dog fixed? Will it make love to the people's legs in the elevators? Will it bark when people walk by your unit? Will you leave it outside on the balcony? Has it ever bit anyone? Does it growl at people?

However if they want to interview me, I am ready. I love belly rubs, warm laps and eating tuna, I do not bark or growl. I do not play loud music or host drunken parties or throw cigarette butts off the balcony so I too am a much better resident than many people.


Cat condos
February 2017
There is a company selling cat condos for over $1,000. Well as for me and my sister Little One, all we need is a regular scratching post and a couple of cardboard boxes.

We love new cardboard boxes. They are a good places to hide and make cozy places to have an afternoon nap. When we tire of them, into the recycling bin they go.


You can train your cat to use the toilet. Just don't expect it to flush
March 2017

I am not sure if Little One and I are ready for this. However, never having a dirty litter box sounds good. Still, I'll let Little One be trained first.


Cat from Caifornia found in Guelph 4 years later
April 2017
BooBoo the cat is shown in a handout photo.
The Canadian Press/Handout/Ashley Aleman

A woman in California says her cat, that went missing four years ago, has been found in Ontario.

Ashley Aleman from Watsonville, Calif., says her mother received a call from a southern Ontario animal shelter two weeks ago, notifying them that BooBoo, their brown Tabby, was alive and well.

The 21-year-old says staff at the humane society in Guelph did a routine microchip scan when BooBoo was brought into the shelter earlier this month and found the cat had been missing from Northern California since 2013.

Aleman says BooBoo was an outdoor cat and it wasn’t unusual for her to be roaming around outside for about a day. But when the cat did not come back home after two days, Aleman said her family knew the animal had gone missing.

Aleman says someone from the Guelph Humane Society is expected to drive the cat to Buffalo, N.Y., to hand the animal over to her mother.

When BooBoo gets home, Aleman says, “she’ll definitely be an indoor cat this time.”


Firefighters treat people, pet cat after condo fire
KUSA 9 News
Will Swope
24 April 2017

A cat was treated by firefighters after a condo fire in Westminster (Photo: Westminster Fire)

Several people will need to find a new place to stay after a fire damaged several condos Monday afternoon in Westminster.

The fire started on the stove of a unit on the second floor of a building at west 121st avenue and Melody Drive.

One person had to be rescued from a balcony after being trapped briefly by the flames. Two people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

A family cat also had trouble breathing after the fire and was given oxygen by firefighters.

There's no indication how long the people in the damaged condos may be out of their homes.


A new male in your life
Dec 2017