Tag Archives: pets

The New Kids on the Block

When I was a kid, I remember traveling vagrants left marks on the fences of houses that were good for a handout. If you felt a smidgen of sympathy and gave a gaunt, sunken-eyed bum a sandwich, it wouldn’t be long before more vagrants were knocking at the door. The cure to your problem was to paint your fence. I am beginning to suspect that someone has marked my fence, or perhaps I have the word “sucker” tattooed to my forehead in invisible ink? Anyway, if someone dumps a stray cat in our neighborhood, it inevitably ends up at my door. Gent was the last to be taken in of our local feral cat colony. We were free of outside cats for a few months, but….

Meet the new kids on the block.

Skitty

Skitty

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Princess

Princess

The big one, with the fur coat that would see her through an Alaskan winter, is Skitty. (Named that because she was one skittish kitty) She has grown extremely loving in a very short period of time, and walking to the garden without tripping over her has become quite a chore. The orange one is Pumpkin. You may pull his tail or touch his nose, but petting him is out of the question. The little fluff ball is Princess. She is very delicate, very feminine, and a non-stop chatterbox. We really don’t mind their company, and someone has expressed interest in Skitty and Princess. I’ve already decided to keep Pumpkin as an outdoor cat. (We have plenty of warm shelter for the winter, and finding a home for a cat you can’t touch is difficult.)

But how? How do these cats know that out of all of the houses in the neighborhood this is the one to come to? How do they know which person will run into the house to get them a plate of cat food and a bowl of milk? I think perhaps it’s time to paint my fence, or maybe apply a little makeup?

Sue

 

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When a Cat Mourns

Kitty in MourningSometimes in life, things are just hard. Today was one of those days. At one o’clock this afternoon, we buried my dad. As humans, we were devastated, but deep in our hearts, we knew this day was coming. No, that doesn’t lessen the pain, and every time I walk past his chair, I experience the sharp stab of grief as I realize he is no longer there, but even though death was an unwelcome visitor to our home, his presence was not unexpected. But to Dad’s dedicated and loving companion cat this death was an incredible blow. The Elderly Gent had walked into our home and given his whole heart away to my father, and in a moment, that big feline heart was crushed.

The night Dad passed away, Gent forced himself beneath the china cabinet and refused to come out, except for a brief moment to have an accident upon the article nearest to his cave of exile. We swiftly found that the exterior of my brother’s suitcase was not waterproof. (or urine proof for that matter) A disposable pad I placed in front of the cabinet became a makeshift litter box. Food and water were placed nearby, but Gent showed no interest.

That night, I slept in my mother’s room, and the big tomcat slept at her feet. Aside from two hours of endless washing, Gent seemed to be making progress, but the next day when we came home from making arrangements, we walked into my Mom and Dad’s room to find a cat owner’s nightmare. Loose bowel accidents covered Dad’s pillow, the bed on which he died, and Dad’s favorite chair. Messy footprints, trailed across the furniture, and blood-tinged urine soaked the pale yellow embroidered quilt that a friend  had made for me. And though I didn’t scold him when I discovered his crimes, Gent shot back under the china cabinet. When he isn’t in hiding, this loving, old cat who prefers to look at nature from the inside out, has also been trying his best to get out the door. He doesn’t want to be held, and runs at the slightest noise. The Elderly Gent appears to be in mourning.

This is a first for  me. My cat Grenny mourned when her brother Pudge died, but Gent stepped in and cared for her, and though Grenny has attempted to comfort Gent, her cuddling seems to have very little affect upon his mood. I purchased a calming collar and put it on him this evening. This seems to have helped somewhat, but I was wondering if any one else has experienced this with their cat, and what methods they have tried to help the animal through this.

Thanks for reading,

Sue

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Tonight he’s sleeping in Dad’s wheel chair

(Note: because of his past health problems, blood will sometimes appear in Gent’s urine during times of stress. A dose of medicine and some cranberry juice usually straightens him out.)

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The Last Wildcat

102_9805I almost gasped as the cat stuck his head out around the wheel of my son’s motorcycle. This animal wasn’t supposed to be here. Not this close!  The old cat meowed then ran to my feet and waited for a response. Instinctively, I backed away. This wasn’t right. Everyone knows that uncharacteristic behavior from a wild animal is a sign of rabies.  The elderly cat had skirted the edge of our yard and avoided human contact for over four years. You could call him. He wouldn’t come. A sideways glance would send him running into the woods. He hated humans.  Why was he standing at my feet?  Cocking his head to the side the cat looked up into my face and meowed again as if to say, “Hi. It’s me. I’ve come home.” He rubbed against my leg and I rubbed my eyes. I had fallen asleep the night before in the real world and it appeared that I had awaken in the Twilight Zone.

“A rabid animal will not drink,” I quoted to myself as I stepped backwards towards the door. Milk seemed to be the answer. If he drank the milk I could relax, but if he began to froth at the mouth like something from the Exorcist, I could…

“I could what?” I asked myself. ” Shoot him? Me, shoot a cat? I don’t think so.”

“Milk first,” I decided “Panic later.”

The cat waited patiently as I slipped into the house and got him something to drink. I placed the bowl in front of him, but rather than lap at the milk, the hungry, old cat checked out my offering, then looked up as me as though he were asking permission.

“This looks pretty good,” he seemed to say. “Are you sure you don’t want it?”

“Drink, Kitty,” I coaxed, and the cat lowered his head and obeyed.

People who know of him have often said that the elderly Gent, as we call him, came to me that day asking for help. I can see their reasoning. When Gent came to us, his health was failing. Life in the wild had not been kind. His broken nose is the first thing that greets you when he lunges onto your lap. As he snuggles close, you will immediately notice his raspy breathing. When you first caress his long, soft fur, your fingers will recoil as they trail across with his crushed ribcage. These were merely the beginning of the old cat’s problems. His sides were missing huge patches of fur and splotched with chemical burns. His fur was full of nits and he was crawling with lice. Deer ticks circled his neck like a collar, and he had the absolutely worse case of fleas I have seen in my entire life. But this too was only the beginning. His ears were blackened with mites, tape worm segments were clinging to his privates, and he was vomiting round worms. And finally (yes, these really do exist.) his urinary tract was infested with worms. The poor cat was passing things that looked like baby night crawlers. I suppose if I tried really hard I could make myself believe that Gent came to us that morning looking for help, but I think I would always doubt. You see, I believe the old cat is a miracle.

He came to me the morning after I buried Puff. I had no desire to face that pain again, so I had staunchly determined that I didn’t want another cat, but often times what we want and what we need are entirely different things. I needed Gent. I just didn’t know it. In the months to follow my family would have to face the loss of two more pets, the failing health of my parents, and too many other problems to list without becoming severely depressed. Through it all, Gent has been like a gift from God. This old wildcat gave up his life in the out of doors and moved flawlessly into our home. He is not neutered. We would never consider having him put under anesthesia. Yet he does not spray. Within a day’s time he stepped from the role of wildcat into that of therapy cat. Yes, we have provided him with medical care, but the care he has given us is so much more.

Calm and attentive, Gent has an uncanny ability to detect feelings and to decipher needs. He knows when someone is sick. He knows when someone is hurting, and he knows when someone needs to feel special. He saw Grenny through the deaths of Kitsten and her brother, faithfully staying by her side until she was ready to face the world on her own. When my elderly parents came to live with us, he took it upon himself to welcome them and provide activity to keep their minds and hearts alive. His fur has been cried upon, his ears have listened to plans, failures and heartaches. He glues himself to the sides of those who are sick and spends hours upon the laps of those who are depressed. The list goes on and on. This old cat has made us his purpose in life.

I have no idea how long we will be able to keep Gent. He is a very old cat. His lungs are bad. His heart beats too fast. His kidneys are almost shot, but we will keep him as long as we can, and I will face the pain when the time comes. because this old cat is our gift from God, and he is worth it.

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The Peasants are Revolting!!!

the tortie queenGrenny is howling, Pudge is growling and hissing, Kitsten has exiled herself to the upstairs, and even gentle natured Abby is a little disturbed with my irrational behavior. They are all positive that I am over reacting and that my newest remodeling project is merely the product of kittenish desire to assert my dominance. After all, it was only a sausage. I love my cats. I really do, but their behavior in the last six months has become atrocious. They can sleep on my clean laundry, and I’ll grumble as I smooth out the wrinkles and brush at the cat hair. They can barf up hairballs in the entry, and I’ll growl while I clean it up, but make excuses for them later. (Poor sick kitty couldn’t help it, he just couldn’t make it to the litter box in time.) But— jumping up on the kitchen counter and stealing a sausage right out of the skillet is pushing bad behavior beyond the limits of my tolerance. Though I am assured that many people accept certain pet behaviors as normal, there are some acts that I cannot tolerate. Cat feet (that have been in the litter box) do not belong on the same surfaces as my food. My stove and kitchen counters are off limits. More and more I have been finding signs of a cat’s presence in these sacred “No Cat’s Lands”.  Houseplants have been pushed from the kitchen window, wet kitty foot prints have painted the counter by the sink, and the smell of burning cat hair has been wafting from the toaster. I must admit  that I haven’t been around as much, but my cats know better. (Abby has a valid excuse, but she stays down. Getting on the counter would take too much energy.)

The new cat barrier

The new cat barrier

So today, I solved our little problem. I installed a wooden screen door between my kitchen and the rest of the house. The cats are appalled.  Pudge got his butt smacked and is now sitting in the kennel because of his overly aggressive objections to my building project, and Grenny is glaring at me with evil eyes as she stages a sit in  beside the new barrier and considers filing a complaint with the local Humane Society. She is sure there is a law prohibiting human servants from committing such outlandish acts of rebellion. If she can find where I hid the telephone I might really be in trouble.

Sue

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Kitsten in No Cats Land

Kitsten No Cats Land 1Ever notice how a cat gives you that “Ask me if I care?” look when you catch it someplace it’s not allowed to be? I found this troublesome, little furball sitting with my antique books. I told her to get down. She told me to get lost. Oh, the joys of owning a cat … Correction: Oh, the joys of being owned by a cat!Kitsten No Cats Land 2

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A Monster in the Bathroom!

There was a monster in my bathroom this morning. It was growling, snarling,  wearing blood, and dripping with drool, but that is the end of this story, let me start at the beginning—

 Activity begins in our home well before dawn . My husband jumps out of bed, eager to meet the day and slaps the alarm clock without giving it a chance to ring. He greets me with a cheerful “Good Morning!”

Having at the most five hours of sleep at this unhealthy hour, I grunt a barely audible “Sure”, then roll over and cover my head before this enthusiastic early riser decides to give me a cheerful, good morning kiss.

Remember to close that lousy door,” I groan as I review in my mind that morning consists of sunlight and songbird serenades, not barely penetrable darkness and the haunting cries of a screech owl.

If it is truly a good morning, my husband remembers to close the bedroom door and our cats Grendel and Kitsten stand outside in the hall squalling and screaming, in an effort to attract the attention of the nearest animal control officer so they can plead their case of cruelty and neglect. I cover my head with the pillow, and slip into a disturbed sleep, filled with dark, savage dreams of being torn to bits by the monsters just outside my bedroom door. But at least I managed to get back to sleep.

A bad morning starts with an open bedroom door.

Just as conscious thought began to falter and the world about me began to fade, Kitsten stealthy crept into the room. She carefully placed her mousie on the floor by the bed, hopped onto the television stand and from there lunged onto my hip, where with the purr of a Harley Davison she began her morning constitution. Five or ten minutes later, Grendel, the queen of the house, realized that someone was awake and came tearing up the stairs to demand her morning devotion and to remind her human subject that the food dish was empty. Jumping on my shoulder, she began clawing at the blanket expecting me to grant her admittance to my dark and once peaceful world. I strove in vain to ignore her, but when those urgent, borrowing claws began to draw blood, I reluctantly lifted the covers to permit this excessive drooler to share the warmth of my blankets.

Unfortunately, breathing recirculated cat breath in the wee hours before dawn became so unappealing that I threw back the blankets choking for air. It was then that Pudge, “The Big Guy” bounced onto my side, forcing the breath from my lungs and waking the queen. Pudge will share a box, a laundry basket, or a spot in the sun with Grendel, but he refuses to share his people! He hissed. She growled quietly to remind him of his place. He growled. She rose to her feet to confront him. He hissed again. She threatened to rearrange his face. Kitsten came forward just to see what the commotion was about. Pudge swatted Kitsten’s nose to remind the kid that he found her curiosity annoying. Inches from my face, a slapping match ensued. Grendel now bored with this petty squabbling shook her head violently, whipping drool in every direction. With her subjects occupied, the queen settled back down to sleep.  I, on the other hand, was wide awake. I carefully nudged the fighting cats to the floor, and headed to the bathroom.

Yes, there was a monster in my bathroom this morning. It was growling, snarling,  wearing blood, and dripping with drool. That monster was me, and if you will forgive this monster, she is going to feed the cats, close that door, and go back to bed. (Now where did I put those earplugs?)

Sue

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The Cat is Clean, Now Could Someone Call the Paramedics?

I suppose I should have taken note of Pudge’s demeanor before I decided to place my life in his paws.

A wise dog once said that the safest way to give a cat a bath begins with thoroughly cleaning the toilet… 

I was in a panic. Pudge had fleas. I know, all cats get fleas, but before you begin to chuckle about my paranoia, I must tell you that Pudge is allergic to flea collars, flea powder, flea spray, and all of the one spot flea treatments. Use any of these treatments, and within days, Pudge’s hair will fall out, and he will be covered by a rash consisting of tiny, itchy lumps and large oozing sores. Unfortunately, Pudge is also allergic to fleas. 

In our old house in town, we never had much of a problem with fleas, but here on the edge of the forest, with a three-legged opossum living somewhere in our dungeon of a basement, and mice attempting to convert the attic into a country club, things are quite different. We kill the fleas. They come back. We kill them again. They come back, and Pudge is always the one to suffer. In spite of daily flea combings, he was beginning to rash up and his beautiful black coat was starting to thin. Pudge needed a flea bath. 

I was not new to the idea of bathing cats. Years ago, I had a Persian mix that was a notorious bed wetter. (The cat would actually wet him self while napping.) We made him sleep on a plastic mat that saved our furniture, but often I had to place the sopping wet cat into the sink where he would sit patiently as I gave him a good scrubbing. Later I had a huge, old Tabby that refused to wash himself. I would gently lower him into a tub of warm water, and he would purr as I washed him clean. Even Pudge’s sister seems to enjoy an occasional bath. 

So innocently assuming all was well, I took Pudge into the bathroom, ran about eight inches of warm water into the tub, and lowered him in. 

It took me less than two seconds to realize that a lean, muscular, seventeen-pound cat can triple in size, strength, and agility when dropped into a tub of warm water. As I struggled to keep him in the tub with one hand, and use a cup to get him wet with the other, I felt blessed by the fact that he had bad teeth. Unfortunately, he felt blessed by the fact that he had very healthy claws. Less than fifteen seconds after being lowered into the tub, he managed to fight his way free and went up over the side of the tub, over the toilet and into the corner. From there he gave me his black panther, “Touch me and you die!” scowl. Planning my moves cautiously to prevent loss of my fingers or eyes, I lunged forward, clamped my hands firmly behind his front legs, and rushed him back to the tub. Working at breakneck speed, I soaked him thoroughly, then grabbed the flea shampoo, and lathered him up. It was then that I learned my second important lesson. A seventeen-pound cat with a bad attitude becomes very slippery when covered with shampoo. (A special note here: a T-shirt is not appropriate attire when bathing a cat. Consider investing in kevlar or chain mail.) 

Seven minutes later, looking as though someone had pushed me into the river, I allowed Pudge to escape from the tub for the tenth time. Water was dripping from the vanity and from the toilet. It ran in tiny paths from far up the bathroom walls. The six towels I had laid out to dry the cat with were unsuccessfully sopping up the water that covered the entire floor. Again, Pudge sat in the corner, his yellow eyes dancing with insane anger. Knowing that I would never get him to submit to a towel dry, much less a few moments with the blow dryer, I opened the door and set him free. 

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a spitting mad tomcat certainly gave this old woman an education. 

Deciding that I must have done something wrong, last night I combed the Internet in search of videos entitled “How to Bathe Your Cat.” Repeatedly I watched as placid animals, seated in the tub or sink, patiently accepted their owner’s attention, but none of the videos told me where to contact a lion tamer or when to call the paramedics. This was the only video clip that came close to Pudge’s bath experience. (Note: I don’t believe that they used a real cat for all of these shots.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9QwK5EHSmg

I did find, however, that the Chinese have developed an automatic, cat washing machine. I kid you not. Pour in the shampoo, drop in the cat, slam the lid shut, and press start. In about twenty minutes, you have a clean cat. No scratches, no biting, no flooded bathroom. Hmmm…

Sue

Auto cat wash machine

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/327228998/auto_cat_wash_machine_PWF50_11.html

The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye, The Squirrel’s Eye

Pets, Bathing a Cat, Washing a Cat, Cat, Cats, Humor

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