I’ll be the first to admit that I have gone to bed early only to spend more time laying there watching cat videos, and not sleeping. Sometimes it’s a video I’ve seen before, but I watch it again and laugh hysterically. From cats climbing and falling, to howling at each other, and then running up and down a hallway, cat videos are responsible for lots of entertainment and distraction. Why are these silly videos so mesmerizing?
Cats have been domesticated over the centuries (or so they let us think). We see them as sleek and regal creatures, so watching them jump and miss a cat tree makes us burst into laughter. The bottom line is that cats are wild creatures just like their larger relatives, so it’s fun witnessing the contrast of being a bit more domesticated, and goofy, inside our homes. Their naturally wild nature captures our attention, so much so that people who don’t own cats, or particularly care for them, also enjoy watching cat videos!
Cats also don’t care that they’re being watched. The innocence and inhibition of quirky felines shows that they simply do what they want, when they want, with no mind to the consequences. Sometimes humans dream of being so uninhibited, and maybe watching cats do it successfully helps relieve some of our stress over the matter.
While there tends to be more internet searches for dogs rather than cats, the videos for cats outnumber dogs. Perhaps it is because the US has more internet usage than other countries, and we tend to favor cats. It could also be because trying to get a cat to like you is tough, while dogs usually beg for human attention. You have to earn a cat's love and attention; they can be a tough audience.
While they are domesticated animals, we tend to put our human behavior into cats’ actions. We see them trying to make friends, be sneaky, and outsmart one another. Anthropomorphizing cats lets us believe that cats think like us, even though they definitely don’t.
Laughing out loud, and distracting yourself from a moment of anxiety or stress can be therapeutic. Pet therapy can happen in many forms, but with the rise of cell phones and social media, we don’t always need to be with the animal itself to reap the benefits. Even my brother, who is allergic to cats, has been known to watch some funny cat videos and have a good laugh! Studies have also shown that there is a rise in productivity after watching some hilarious cat antics.
The next time you find yourself laughing at a cat on a vacuum, or swatting at a football on the TV, relax and enjoy, and know you’ll probably sleep better because of it.
(Today’s funny cat video is a favorite around here).
Years ago, my sister and I were in a mall walking by a pet store, and there was the most unique looking cat in the window. My sister explained it was a Scottish Fold, but I had never seen or heard of one! Now that a certain high-profile singer/celebrity owns a few of these kitties, the breed is in the headlines like never before. Here at Rock The Cat Spa we have been lucky enough to have multiple Scottish Fold guests stay with us! We instantly fell in love with the breed, and we think you will too. As with many other breeds, there are several factors to consider before adopting, and there is some controversy over their folded ears.
History of the Scottish Fold
This breed started in Scotland, with a white barn cat named Susie, in 1961. She was the first cat with folded ears, and her kittens also developed the signature folded ears because it is a dominant gene. Someone adopted one of the kittens, started breeding them, and registered the breed as Scottish Fold. By the early 1970s, Scottish Folds could be found in the United States, however many countries will not allow their breeding, and have now banned the sale of them. Scotland is among the countries who no longer allow Scottish Folds to be bred or sold, and many cat registries have stopped recognizing the breed.
Osteochondrodysplasia, also known as “Scottish Fold Disease,” is an inheritable disorder characterized by skeletal deformities, and the reason so many countries don’t support the breed. Not only can the ears be affected, but any cartilage throughout the body and tail may be susceptible to discomfort or pain due to arthritis. The affected cats may show lameness, a reluctance to jump, or stiffness walking.
Along with the osteochondrodysplasia, Scottish Folds are prone to heart and kidney issues, and have a tendency to be overweight. This could add to the joint issues they’re predisposed to, so being aware of weight and activity is very important.
If you do decide to adopt a Scottish Fold, their ears will not develop for the first month, and they do not all fold. You may end up with a “Scottish Straight” instead! There is roughly a 50/50 chance of a Scottish Fold’s ears folding. If they do, the folded ears add to an owl-like appearance, because this breed is very round all over.
More Breed Characteristics
Scottish Folds can have fur of every length, every color, and are not hypoallergenic. The short haired varieties have thick, dense coats, while the longer hair kitties tend to be thicker coated on the back legs, tails and thighs. You will also sometimes see them with two different eye colors! Scottish Folds are typically medium-to-large sized, and are healthy up to 13 pounds. Their average life span is 15 years.
The Scottish Fold personality is calm and sweet, and they make for a great family cat. They tend to attach to their owners, so be aware if you plan to leave them home alone often; they do not like that. They are very neat cats, and really like a tidy space and litter box. Many also like to sleep on their backs!
There are a lot of factors to consider about the Scottish Fold, and talking to your vet or another Scottish Fold owner is very important before deciding to adopt one. They are a financial investment not only in their potential veterinary need, but they also cost up to $2,000 per kitten. While they are cute and super unique, a lifetime of potential health issues is a serious matter when it comes to your furry friend. If you’re lucky enough to have Scottish Fold in your life though, you’ll have a house full of love!
(Today’s photo features our gorgeous Scottish Fold friend Remington!)
My cat, Daphne Louise, is the first cat I have ever owned who has a tail that tells me everything I need to know. All of my previous cats were Siamese, and a bit more relaxed, but Daphne is an expressive former stray that lets her tail do the talking. The slightest bump or sound can make her tail go from a sleek shiny point to a huge, fluffy, bottle brush! Doing so much boarding and grooming, we have seen tons of cat’s tails, and now it’s time to tell the tale of the tails!
There are some outliers, like the Japanese Bobtail and the Manx, who are born with no tails. But, unless the cat has been injured, most other breeds have a tail, whether it’s short or long. In fact, a cat's tail is usually half the length of its body!
The Biological Makeup of a Cat Tail
The average cat has 230 bones, and the tail comprises about 10% of those bones. The tail is an extension of a cat's spine, and has those same bodily materials: discs, muscles, nerves, vertebrae, and lots of cartilage to give it that amazing flexibility. As with a human, the spine includes the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral areas, but felines also have a caudal vertebrae. These vertebrae get smaller towards the tip, and have up to seven sets of nerves before reaching the very end. The fur at the very end of the tail is similar to their facial whiskers, and can help a cat feel its way around its surroundings.
How does a tail assist a cat?
Tails are very important to cats in many ways, including:
Balance- Watch closely when a cat runs full speed, and you will see their tail is up as a guide, and to help with the agility! Or, watch a cat walk on a narrow ledge and you’ll see their tail becomes a counterweight; moving from side to side for balance. Even in water, their tail acts as a rudder, and will direct the cat where it wants to go.
Communication- We can tell a kitty is spicy when they arrive at the spa because their tail will furiously switch side to side. This is a warning to stay away! When we see their tail in an upside-down “U” shape, then we know we have a friendly kitty. Watching a cat's tail is a clear and easy way to understand how they’re feeling. It is an important part of feline body language. While cats can control their tail movement, there are some involuntary reactions as well. For example, Daphne will be sitting by a window, and if I suddenly drop something, her tail will involuntarily puff up, as a reaction to stress.
Bathroom Breaks- Since all the muscles and connective tissues join together from the body of a cat into the base of their tail, the tail has a lot to do with potty time. A tail injury can cause constipation or incontinence.
Scenting- The base of a cat’s tail has scent glands in it, which can release friendly pheromones to “chat” with other cats, or to mark their territory. Male cats are more apt to use these scent glands than females.
Understanding Their Language
To learn more about the language of the tail, there are lots of informational pictures of cats' tails with descriptions of what each position means, like the one below.
The tail is an interesting part of any cat from an anatomy standpoint, but is also a relationship building block. Keep watching your cat's tail and you’ll understand them and their world a little bit more.
(Today’s photo features our happy friend Elliott!)
Happy 2024! We hope that you have had a wonderful holiday season, and are ready to get started on a feline-filled new year. Every two weeks we will be discussing breeds, cat behavior, health, and more. We love researching topics, and learning more about these fascinating creatures so keep following along to learn more. Our photos will primarily feature our hotel guests here at Rock The Cat Spa, and we also love to share them on social media, so follow us on Facebook @rockthecatspa and Instagram @officialrockthecatspa for lots of photos and stories of the amazing cats that visit us.
This month, we are discussing the Japanese Bobtail, and this is one of the few breeds that has never stayed with us! (Fingers crossed that will change this year). Studying up on them was fascinating, and we would love to meet one soon.
History of Bobtails
Japanese Bobtails have been in Japan since the 8th Century, after being introduced as a gift from the Emperor of China. They are referred to as “maneki-neko” which translates to “beckoning cat.” Images and statues of these cats, with one paw raised, are common in Japan and considered good luck.
In the medieval ages mice and rodents were destroying silkworms, devastating the silk industry, so Bobtail cats were sent in to conquer them. They did a fantastic job, causing this breed to become very common and well regarded.
In the late 1960s, Japanese Bobtails made the journey to the US, and The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the short-hair bobtail as an official breed in 1976, and the long-hair breed was added in the early 1990s. While they are not a common breed in the US, they are even less popular in Europe. Because of this, prices can range upwards of $2,000 per cat, so consider this when looking to purchase; and a breeder may be tough to find in your area.
Why does a bobbed tail make these cats so unique? Unlike the attributes of other purebred cats (like the Scottish Fold or Manx), Bobtails are not due to any genetic mutation. The kink in their tails is a dominant gene, and their tails may range from one to four inches; they look similar to a bunny tail! Sometimes these cats even hop!
Another interesting feature of Bobtails is their eyes, which can be two different colors, also known as “heterochromia.” They can be blue, green, yellow, or a combination of two colors! Their coats come in all different shades and patterns; you never know what to expect, and each bobtail is as unique as a snowflake. The fur is hypoallergenic, but they do shed, so allergy sufferers beware.
Japanese Bobtail cats are very smart and need another cat, preferably another Japanese Bobtail, to keep them company and out of trouble. They love to climb, love water, and may be destructive if left alone or bored too long. These cats are great for a family because they’re very sweet, but they prefer to be the center of attention. If you want to train a cat, this is the perfect breed! They’re very intelligent, and like to learn and interact with you.
Even though they are always moving, they love to eat and can easily become obese. Their smaller body size can show weight easily. They should stay around ten pounds to be considered healthy, so be aware of extra snacks. A long life of 15-18 years is common for Japanese Bobtails.
We really hope to be graced by a Japanese Bobtail in 2024, and keep watch of our social media so you know when it happens! Happy New Year!
Happy 2024! New Year’s resolutions are fresh on our minds, and on many lists there may be a goal to lose weight and exercise more. Our feline friends can also suffer from weight gain, and carrying only a few extra pounds can really affect them. Since cats are dependent on us for their food and activity levels, we become responsible for maintaining their healthy weight.
A note: preventing weight gain in your cat is easier than working to take off the weight. Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet, portion control, and exercise is all easier said than done, but being aware of your cat’s health, and the factors involved in their weight should be top of mind.
Is Your Cat Gaining Weight?
My sweet Daphne is an indoor/outdoor lady, and come winter time, if it is below 50 degrees, she stays inside all warm and cozy. Unfortunately, here in Syracuse, winter can last months, meaning she may not be out prowling from November until March. Her “winter layer” really starts to show after six weeks of sitting indoors, and her stomach and hips go from concave to bulging. I can also tell she is gaining weight because her belly starts to droop lower below her. Once temperatures start to rise, and she is ready to head back out, within weeks her weight starts to drop and she is back to her usual size.
Looking down at your cat from above is an easy way to tell if their hips and stomach have expanded and rounded. Or, you can simply put them on a scale.
How Much is Too Much?
We also have to consider that Daphne, like many cats, is a big cat: she is tall and long, so any extra weight is evenly distributed, and she is still healthy. Knowing your cat’s body type is a key part of managing realistic expectations, and knowing if weight loss or weight gain is necessary, achievable and sustainable.
Why is Weight Gain a Big Deal?
Excess weight gain in cats significantly impacts their health and life expectancy. As with humans, extra weight can contribute to serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and bowel and urinary complications.
Grooming can also really be affected also when your cat is too large to bend and reach, which can contribute to a number of coat issues like excessive dander and mats. Grooming is essential to the well being of a cat, and not being able to do so can impact their physical and mental health.
My Cat is Overweight; What Do I Do?
Talk to your veterinarian and come up with a weight-loss plan. Your vet can discuss any health risks you and your cat should be worried about. It’s important to remember that rapid weight loss can be very detrimental to the health of your cat, so slow and steady is the best approach to getting their health back, using a combination of diet and exercise.
Suggestions to add to your daily routine to help get your feline lean and healthy can include:
Eating right and staying active is a process, but is a lifestyle that should include your animals as well. You want your fur babies around as long as possible, and fewer health issues and vet visits equal a happier you and a happier cat. Let’s do our best to keep these health-conscious New Year’s resolutions!
(Today’s photo features our big, fluffy friend Mr. Bing!)
Each Christmas, my mom used to get my cat a stocking, and fill it full of little gifts for her to play with and snacks to eat. It was always the least expensive, most simple items that would keep my kitty busy. In a time when our options are limitless, here are some great gift ideas for your furry feline this holiday season.
My cat Daphne likes to snooze in a window while snuggled into a comfy cat bed that I got for her years ago. The bed has seen better days, and there are many new styles to consider now. There are rectangular beds, round high-sided beds, covered beds, and deep beds for them to sink into. You can also choose fluffy beds or memory foam beds, or a bed that attaches to a window! (Memory foam in particular is good if your animal has arthritis because it will help relieve pressure from their joints). Whatever style you think is best for you feline friend, we are sure they will love and appreciate it!
Hint: Check the dog aisle! There are several styles for small dogs that would fit your kitty purrfectly.
Food & Water Dishes
Most automatic feeders are reasonably priced, and very handy if portion control is a concern for your indoor cat. You can find some with cameras on them, too, so you’re able to watch kitty dine while you’re away from home. Slow feeders are another good choice if your cat likes to scarf their meals!
Or, a new set of bowls works just as well, but remember to consider a wide opening because some cats have whisker sensitivity. My mom bought Daphne an adorable crystal bowl years ago, and she loves eating out of it.
Hint: The dog aisle has some larger bowls which are good for free feeding, or multi-cat households.
Snacks & Treats
Speaking of food; options are endless for treats! We see a wide variety of treats from Cat Spa guests. From store-bought brands to gourmet dried minnows, your cat can have a delicious snack without spoiling meal time. Stop by the treat section sometime, and get a variety for them to try. You may be surprised at what your cat really fancies.
The selection of cat trees ranges from small and simple to super tall, multi levels with hammocks and scratch pads. Online retailers have some great fun styles, and so do several discount stores. We’ve seen some that are hard surface, which makes cleaning a breeze, and some with plush carpeting that gives kitty the ultimate comfort. Remember that not every cat is a fan of cat trees, so consider your cats’ jumping and climbing style, as well as their age and activity levels before purchasing.
We all know cats love to scratch! A great way to keep them from clawing furniture and flooring, while keeping them happy and healthy, is to treat them to a new scratcher. All cats have different preferences, so watch to see how your cat likes to scratch. Some like to stretch upwards, which means a tall, sisal scratching post would likely be a favorite. Other cats like to stretch forward on the ground, so a flat scratcher would be best. One of our cats is really tricky, and only wants to claw carpet, so a flat, carpeted-base scratcher is her go-to.
There are so many toy options! You can choose an interactive toy for independent play, or toys that they need your time and attention to use. Battery operated options like spinning feathers, or activity sets are great for energetic and intelligent cats. Most cats have a favorite toy, so try a few first! For example, try a small, inexpensive laser pointer first before investing in a larger laser spinning tower. At the end of the day, the most simple string toys or toy mice can entertain the wildest of cats for longer than you can dream of. (And they will almost always prefer to play with their humans than alone).
Your pets are family too, so getting them a cute stocking stuffer or gift is a fun way of including them in the holiday season. There are a wide range of options and price points to choose from, so sky’s the limit for cat gifting! Happy Holidays to you and your feline friends!
(Today’s photo features our festive friend Luna!)
What is a Domestic Shorthair?
When a new customer calls to board their kitty here at Rock The Cat Spa, we ask a number of questions to ensure a good fit for both the customer and for us. One of those questions is about the breed of their cat, but I can’t tell you how many times a customer says, ”Ummm, he/she’s a generic cat?” I immediately know that they have a Domestic Shorthair (DSH for short) or American Shorthair. (More on the American shorthair later on). Let’s learn more about this very common house cat!
A Range of Personality
With dogs, we hear the term “mutt,” and this could really be used for a Domestic Shorthair, because these cats don’t belong to one specific breed. Like a “mutt”, they are a mix of many different breeds. Because of this breed mix, their personalities, growth, coat, and medical needs can vary widely. It is always best to get to know your potential kitty before adopting one, but even more important with these variations in DSH. We have seen the entire spectrum of personality traits in Shorthairs: they can be timid and shy, friendly and playful, or aggressive and intimidating. Take these possibilities into consideration when adopting your DSH into a home with any children, older family members, or other pets. While they’re a wonderful breed, and we love having them, make sure you pick a personality that is right for your needs.
Short Fur Coats
Domestic Shorthairs have a wide variety of eye colors and coat colors, but in any color or pattern, their short, soft coats are low maintenance, and they require very little grooming. This breed is a great option for owners who don’t have time to brush their furry friend every day. If you can manage a quick brushing a couple of times a week, a DSH is perfect. Since the short coat is easy to handle, they don’t shed a lot, however all cats have dander, which can contribute to allergies.
Happy, Healthy Cats
Domestic Shorthairs typically have a smaller frame, and weight between 6-12 lbs on average. Of course, as with any cat, they can overeat and become overweight easily. While extra weight can cause health issues, Domestic Shorthairs can be a very healthy, and long lived cat. Some live up to 20 years! These kitties will bring you years of happiness and fun memories, so consider adopting one if you are looking for a good, short haired cat!
(Today's photo features our bright-eyed friend Honey Bee!)
The festive holiday times are upon us, and memories of my dad cooking the turkey and giving our cat the giblets is something I will always remember. Over the years, each one of our cats has loved this treat, but was it really healthy for them? What else is healthy or should be avoided this holiday season? We’ve compiled a list of easy food do and don’ts for our feline friends.
Turkey or Chicken
Kitties can absolutely enjoy some plain, lean poultry (white or dark meat) and be just fine, but avoid giving them any pieces with seasoning, and avoid giving any of the skin. You also should not give kitty anything with gravy.
Definitely don’t give your cat gravy! Rich fatty foods such as gravy can cause diarrhea, and the super high fat content can cause worse problems, too.
Heart & liver gizzards are full of minerals and B vitamins, which is something kitties can always benefit from. Raw or boiled gizzards are safe ways to serve them, and a good meal for a cat. Again, just keep them free of seasonings or gravy!
My dad used to boil this and cut out the meat for our cat, but if you do this, be very careful of any bones. Any raw or cooked bones can break up and splinter, causing injury in the mouth and throat, or get stuck in the GI tract. We recommend avoiding feeding them this part altogether.
Sometimes that shrimp cocktail platter is calling your cat's name! Shrimp is safe as long as it is cooked. No dipping sauce either!
Chicken and turkey are the most safe deli meat options for cats, and you should avoid giving them the super processed meats such as salami or bologna. Even ham should be on the no list.
Cats should not have milk. Ever. Plain and simple. The idea that they can have it is an old wives tale. Cats simply cannot digest milk properly, and the lactose can cause big-time stomach upset. Forget the cute stories of cats drinking milk from saucers, and avoid it.
Unlike in dogs, cats gain no nutritional value from rice, and they most likely won’t eat it anyway. Rice won’t do any harm, but it won’t give them any benefits either.
I have the biggest sweet tooth, but by no means should we ever share it with our feline friends! The caffeine and sugar can be detrimental to a cat; even life threatening. If your cat eats chocolate, call your veterinarian.
The caveat with pumpkin is that it must be raw pumpkin, and not canned pumpkin pie filling, because it’s way too rich. Raw pumpkin is high in fiber, and my vet recommends it when my kitty gets a hairball and needs a gentle push to get it through.
As with humans, everything should be consumed in moderation. We humans may gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving Day, then take a nap, but don’t do that with your kitty. You may end up cleaning up a big mess, or end up at an emergency vet clinic. Both are easily avoidable if you don’t give them table food, or give it to them with caution. If you have questions about sharing your food, always check with your veterinarian. And if you feel your cat has eaten something potentially dangerous to them, you can call the Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
We wish you and your cats a healthy and happy holiday season!
(Today's photo features one of our cute regulars, with a great appetite: Skippy!)
What Is a Nebelung Cat?
One of our earliest customers here at Rock the Cat Spa was a stunning kitty from Amarillo, Texas. Kimber quickly became a regular guest, and she is as pretty as ever with her silky, silver-gray fur and green eyes. We decided to learn more about her breed, and here’s what we found out…
The name of this breed, Nebelung, has an interesting meaning to it. It is a German name, from the word Nebel, which means fog or mist. Nebelung literally translates to “creature of the mist;” very exotic and spooky!
What Do Nebelungs Look Like?
This breed is sometimes confused with the Russian Blue, however that breed is short hair only, while Nebelung fur tends to be longer on the tail vs the rest of the body. They are sometimes known as the long-haired Russian Blue. While the two breeds are not related, we definitely understand why they’re lumped together, based on the coat colors of each breed. The Nebelung’s silver-tipped double coat is super silky, and the female cats usually have a collar, or ruff, around their necks. Because of their long, gorgeous fur, frequent brushing is needed!
These pretty kitties typically range from 7-15 lbs, and live an average lifespan of 11-16 years. They reach full size around 2 years old. As we mentioned about Kimber, some Nebelung’s have stunning green eyes, but some of them have a yellow-green eye color instead. Either way, it is a striking combination with their dark fur.
Is a Nebelung Right for Me?
This breed tends to be good for families, and is typically good around kids. They bond with their owners, and would do very well with another cat in the house. Having them with another cat early on is best in order to socialize them well. As great lap cats, Nebelungs are happy to have a quiet space to snuggle up and relax. As with any cat, they would be best kept indoors, and this breed in particular are not known to be hunters.
We just love Kimber, and are so happy to see her each time she visits us. We can’t resist running our fingers through her uniquely silky coat. Nebelungs are a great cat to consider if you think this rare breed would be a good fit for your home and lifestyle. You won’t be disappointed!
Halloween is all about dressing up in costumes and carving pumpkins, but add a black cat and you kick up the spooky factor.
Black Cat Breeds
We’re excited every time we get a new reservation for a black cat at Rock the Cat Spa because we have found that these guys and gals are the friendliest, goofiest, and most chill cats ever. We have spent time with black cats of several breeds: Domestic Shorthair and Longhair, Maine Coon, Munchkin, and Bombay, but there are plenty more breeds with a black variety. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) officially recognizes 22 breeds of solid black cats.
Black Cat Genetics
Earlier this month in the blog, we explained the genetics of orange cats and their tabby markings. Solid black coats also come down to the genes; solid cats have a recessive gene which prevents any stripes or markings. Having the recessive gene is not always the case, however, and we have seen black cats with dark gray stripes. Black cat coats also come in a variety of shades, such as jet black, brownish black, and tones of grayish black. We once met a black cat who had white roots on his black fur! That particular variation is called “black smoke,” and is very unique.
Most black cats are male and may have gorgeous yellow, golden, or green colored eyes. They come in a range of sizes: short, tall, big, or small, and we have seen all varieties! (Including one who was 24lbs of love).
A Spooky History
Due to some unusual beliefs, black cats are considered a bad omen or bad luck by some people. In the 1600s the idea that witches had black cats developed, and they were thought to be bad, so black cats were not welcome. Unfortunately, these beliefs and superstitions followed them, and still today shelters tend to hold more black cats than others, and they usually stay there longer. Most shelters also do not allow black cat adoptions in October, out of concern for superstitious adopters, but some have “Black Friday” specials, or host adoption events, to show how amazing and adoptable these little panthers are!
While the Pilgrims of the 1600s believed black cats to be bad luck, in other countries, they are considered good luck. In Scotland, for example, money is on your way if a black cat is on your doorstep. A single woman is looked at as more attractive if she has a black cat in Japan, and contrary to US superstitions, Germans believe that if a black cat crosses your path, it is good luck. We love these positive black cat beliefs!
A Day of their Own
Sinbad was a black cat, who was beloved by his owner. He was the catalyst for the creation of National Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17th. The day reminds us of the excellence and importance of black cats, continues to rid them of prejudice, and encourages people to make room in their lives and homes for them.
We think they should be celebrated every day, and there should be no bad beliefs against these sweet, loving, elegant kitties!
(Today’s blog features our silly, energetic friend Raven!)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.