Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year 2014

Hello everyone, Rino, Frog Prince, and I wanted to wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year!

Here's Rino, "whining like a horse" for his red envelope.  Get it?  Because it's the year of the Horse! 

"Where's my red envelope???"

For those of you who may not be familiar with the holiday, it is essentially a celebration of the new year according to the lunar calendar (which is based on cycles of the moon).  For the chinese, we also have 12 animal signs that represent each lunar year which is why I made that horse joke...

Anyways, there are various versions of the legend on how the zodiacs came about but the essence of the story is that a higher being decided to call all animals to a race.  The order in which they finished the race would become the order of the chinese zodiac.  It has been rumored that there would be 13 animal signs if the rat hadn't purposely let the cat sleep in and miss the race.  [See Rino?  That's what you get for sleeping so much!]

So the order of the zodiac is Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.  And since last year was the year of the Snake, this year, it is the year of the Horse.

Each of these zodiacs also determine a person's characteristics based on the animal and how they finished the race.  If you want to learn more about these characteristics, feel free to buy yourself a chinese zodiac calendar or search the internets. =]

Now, the reason Rino is whining about his red envelope is that it's always been a cultural tradition that elders (or those who are married) pass out long red envelopes filled with money to the younger generation.  It is their way of wishing good luck and happiness to the future.  Rino is getting his first one ever today so he's super excited.

How do you and your pets celebrate Chinese New Year or your special holiday?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!  Happy Chinese New Year!
- Awkward Penguin

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Ping Pong Playa

One of Rino's favorite past times. =]

How do you bond with your pets?  What's their favorite past time? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!
- Awkward Penguin

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - I Called This Spot!

Got a better caption?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!
- Awkward Penguin

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Did You Hear That?!

Got a better caption?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!
- Awkward Penguin

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Calendar Contest

Exciting news!  

The Irvine Animal Care Center recently held a photo contest for their 2014 calendar and of course I couldn't resist sending in photos of Rino.

Although Rino wasn't one of the featured winners, his photo entries were still displayed as one of the many runner-ups throughout the calendar which is just as great as a win!  We are very grateful to get the opportunity to participate and be presented among all these great pets!

Here are Rino's original entries:

And here they are featured in the calendar:

If you are in the southern california area and would like a calendar of your own, be sure to visit them at 6443 Oak Canyon, Irvine, CA 92618.  They are currently sold at only $7 each!  It's a great quality calendar and the photos are beyond precious.  Just another little thing to brighten up your day!

Also check out The Irvine Animal Care Center facebook page here!

Tell me readers, what do you think of Rino's photo entries?

Thanks for reading!
- Awkward Penguin

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Toy! - Original Hagen Catit Design Senses Play Circuit Review

Happy 2014!!!  This is Rino's first time ringing in the New Year!

For the new year, Frog Prince and I finally decided to splurge on some new toys for him in the hopes that he will spend less time wandering around the kitchen counter when we're not looking...

Being heavy Amazon users, we naturally gravitated there as the first place to shop.  This particular toy caught my eye because of the amplitude of good reviews and the hilarious thumbnail photo (those kittens looked BEYOND excited and I couldn't help but wish Rino the same joy).

I thought this toy was perrrrfect for satisfying Rino's passion of chasing ping pong balls around until they just eventually all disappeared under the couch.  So we decided to take a gamble and here is what we thought about the product so far (on a scale of 5):

  • Price Point - 4 out of 5
    • Amazon sold it for $10.99.  Good price for the quality but could be slightly cheaper for simple plastic and a non-automatic toy. 

  • Packaging - 4.5 out of 5
    • The product itself was only 1.4 pounds which was great, easy to handle.  The box was very easy to open yet felt very durable.  All the pieces were organized well and easy to find within the box.  I loved the visuals and descriptions about the product as they were detailed yet straightforward.  An assembly manual was also included.  The only minor thing was that the number of different language translations cluttered the box and the manual a bit.  


  • Design - 5 out of 5
    • The plastic material felt fairly sturdy and it didn't have the strong plastic toy smell.  The little ball was the perfect size and the colors used were designed for a cat.  It rolled around the tracks very smoothly but occasionally it would get stuck in the tunnel and stop.  Not sure if that was intended but the ball stopping actually stimulated Rino more as he only attacks his prey when it's at a complete stand-still...  The sound the toy made when the ball was rolling around wasn't too noisy - just enough to get Rino's attention. The fact that there are small rubber stoppers on the bottom was also a plus so the toy didn't move around and scratch up my hardwood floors.  The material also seems easy to clean which is always good.

  • Assembly and Safety - 4.5 out of 5
    • The toy was very easy to assemble (didn't need to look at the manual).  I loved the safety mechanisms - each piece had locks on both sides to keep the tracks connected and each tunnel cover slides to lock in place.  Some pieces were slightly more difficult to slide together and lock but they didn't feel breakable when adding more force.  The locks were also fairly easy to unlock for disassembling.  The flexibility to assemble the track in a variety of ways was innovative - it feels like a different toy with a different assembly and can conform to my cat's playing style.  Not to mention it can be expanded simply by adding another set of tracks.

  • Cat-likeability - 4 out of 5
    • Rino fell in love at first sight.  It kept him stimulated and very active.  The only disappointment so far was that it didn't grab Rino's attention as much as I would've liked it to.  He really only gets interested when I move the ball around to spark his curiosity.  Although, personally, I was looking for a more independent toy for Rino to exhaust his energy when I'm not around so the rating is slightly skewed based on that.  I'm optimistic that he'll gain a liking and eventually play with it on his own as well.

  • Durability - 5 out of 5
    • Based on the way Rino played with it, I am quite impressed with the durability so far.  He is now about 11 pounds at 9 months and plays pretty aggressively.  He pounced at the ball, scratched the tunnels, occasionally clawed and hooked onto the tunnel resulting in the entire track being lifted and dropped back onto the ground, bit at the ball, and sat on the tracks to stalk the ball.  After all that, I inspected the toy and it was barely scuffed up.  Not once was I nervous that the tracks or tunnel covers would come apart neither.  

Overall we give this product a 4.5 out of 5!  Rino is crossing his paws that he'll get another set for his birthday in April so his play circuit can get expanded for more fun!

Hopefully you found this review helpful.  Share with me, what is your pet's favorite new toy for the new year?

Thanks for reading,
- Awkward Penguin

As a reference, here's a video of Rino playing with the toy!  Sorry for the poor quality...