Your caption for the above says: "This is my mail cat, Shinji." Do you mean that this is the cat who has been tasked to get the daily mail? :)
WARNING: External flashes are generally more powerful than the onboard ones. Therefore, it may be a bad idea to use them head-on on small animals, especially baby animals. A professional photographer warned me about this when I was taking a photo of her kitten, and this was with an onboard flash. However, by the time she said that, I had already decided that it would be safer to go from an angle, from above, waiting until the kitten wasn't looking directly at me. If you use an external flash, but still want head-on shots of baby animals, you might want to get a flash handle, so that you can hold the flash away from you, for instance, from above and slightly behind the animal's head.
Speaking of taking photos in near-total darkness, you didn't answer my question from 10/26:http://www.livejournal.com/users/tyrven/297588.html?thread=5858676#t5858676
However, despite your TOTAL lack of attention to my problem, I did manage to come up with a solution. It turns out that digital cameras have an IR filter attached directly to the CCD. You take apart the camera, remove the IR filter, and replace it with a visible light filter, which can simply be a completely-exposed (all-black) 35mm negative. Put the camera back together, and turn off the onboard flash.
To finish off, you need an intense source of IR light. One way to do this is to take apart an ordinary flashlight, and replace the lamp with a large, IR LED from Radio Shack. To accommodate the idiosyncrasies of LEDs, you may need to add some components and/or redo the wiring a bit. Additionally, if the one isn't enough, you may need to add more, as in the form of a ring of LEDs, with holes drilled into the reflective surface around the hole where the original bulb was. I don't know all the details for an optimal solution here, as I didn't research this part too much.
Anyway, even the IR source from an ordinary TV remote will suffice for closeup photos. With such a modified camera, and a simple remote control, you could take some IR photos of sleeping Katie without actually waking her up.
This is only one solution I found. Another was to use night vision with a B&W filter, but that's hard to attach to an actual camera. I'd still like to know if you know of any better solutions.