Tag Archives: pets

A Weekend of Broken Stuff

Rusty B-61 Mack Truck in Farmington, Georgia

Rusty B-61 Mack Truck in Farmington, Georgia (Photo credit: UGArdener)

Easter weekend and the end of Passover: it should have been nice and peaceful and calm.

Instead, it turned into the Weekend of Broken Stuff at my house. The wine fridge quit, the spare printer ran out of toner and the kitty water fountain started making noises like a Mack truck going uphill in the wrong gear. Oh, The Husband’s favorite chair is on its final last legs, but I don’t count that as an issue, since I never get to sit in it. It’s always occupied by him, his cat or the two of them.

Notice I said “his cat,” not “our cat.” This is the kitty belonged to my mother, and we took her in after mom passed away. Turns out that even though I’m the caretaker, she’s very much a one-man feline, and definitely prefers him over me. She’ll cuddle and snuggle with him on his chair, or sit there alone, but leaves in a puffy huff if I even look like I might sit there.

As for the busted belongings, the printer needs a toner insert (cost is about $50-$60, depending on where it’s purchased; even Amazon.com isn’t a cheap alternative here), the fridge compressor is over and done (the electrics work, but there’s no cooling taking place) and the kitty fountain just needs to have about a pound or so of cat hair removed from the motor, and all will be well. I’m thinking of donating the printer to a good cause and letting said good cause deal with getting a new toner cartridge, since the printer still works just fine; a new printer would bring me into the twenty-first century with faxing, scanning and other cool capabilities. And as for the wine fridge, it only held twelve bottles, and I wanted one with a twenty-four bottle capacity, at least.

And as for The Husband’s chair? He’s going to have to figure that out. Whatever he picks, it needs to go with the living room furniture we have, and accommodate both his hindquarters and that of Miss SpoiledFurryButt. Beyond that, it just needs to be comfortable, in case I do get the opportunity to tempt the cat away long enough to try sitting in it.

I’m thinking a bag of catnip-dipped, tuna-scented kitty treats ought to do it.

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If Only My Cats Understood The End of DST

Blue alarm clock

Blue alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In most of the United States, we turned the clocks back one hour this morning. OK, most of us took care of it Saturday night.

Some places in this country don’t bother to follow the tick of the Daylight Savings Time clock. They just let their watches be.

I find the whole twice-a-year change annoying at this point. Decades ago, in a mostly agrarian society, it served the purpose of providing farmers with more daylight during the growing season, when they needed it the most. And not to put down any farmer (hey, I like to eat, too), but modern methods of agriculture plus food imports have probably all but eliminated the need to keep fiddling with Father Time.

And my cats hate the time change. They demand to be fed when they deem their bellies to be empty. The position of the big and the little hand or the digital readout on the buzzing bedside annoyance (AKA alarm clock) has no meaning to them, despite my attempts to teach them that as far as their human feeding machine is concerned, the hour of the day is indeed relevant to my mental well-being. To the felines in our household, an empty bowl at any hour is a sign of neglect. To put kibble in the bowl means doesn’t mean I love them; it just means I am doing my job as their slave.

This morning’s wake-up call came at about 4 a.m., a full hour earlier than the normal bed-thud leap onto the mattress, followed by  their cold, wet noses on my left eyeball, followed by either an insistent push on my left elbow or a sharp nibble on my right big toe. It never ceases to amaze me how coordinated these two are when it comes to a predawn plan of attack. Only Seal Team 6 was this good, maybe.

Of course I got up and fed them. I’m well-trained, after all. Then went out on a bike ride. It was a beautiful morning to get going and get things done. And after all, I do have an extra hour to use up.

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Senior Citizen Kitty Farewell

Inky, the senior citizen kitty, making sure all was well in the front yard

The end came slowly, but not unexpectedly, for Inky, our four-legged senior citizen (The Husband is the two-legged senior).

In recent weeks, her walk had slowed, her appetite lessened and her ability to jump to places higher than the floor was compromised.

But the hardest part was the look on her face; not so much one of pain, but seeing the light slowly die in her green-gold eyes. Those black-lined Cleopatra eyes, always her best feature, were going sad and resolute. They were telling us the end was coming, and asking us to let go, before the end moved from sluggish to hideous.

And so we brought her to our vet, and spent time with her, petting and talking to her, telling her that the pain would soon be over. The vet did his tests, and confirmed that her body was shutting down. We wanted to close her life while she still had pride and dignity and beauty and some control over herself. The process made me think of my mother, who made her decision about when to end treatment, but only after pain and disease had completely obliterated any hope of recovery and had rendered her physical condition a sight no one would want to behold. I couldn’t help but wonder why there was no means available to help my mother end her life peacefully, when there is such a method to help our beloved pets end theirs.

As we said our final goodbyes to Inky, we talked about the fun stuff. How she came onto the bed in the morning and sat on my head when it was feeding time. Her preference for sitting between your knees when you were stretched out snoozing on the couch. The way she liked to test the water in the kitty drinking fountain, using her paw, to make sure it met her standards (she liked ice in her water). Her odd-sounding meow, with the accent on the second syllable – it sounded like “me-YA’OOW”. And her favorite spot on the patio – the half-moon rug near the door. She could observe all comings and goings from there.

Our senior citizen kitty, our queen of the house, is gone. Our other two cats miss her, and still look for her. We know how they feel.

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Two Cats Plus One Cat Somehow Equals Four

At our house, we recently went from being owned by a pair of cats to being under the paws of a feline foursome.

But we officially adopted one additional cat. The fourth one stopped by for a meal, and never left. Similar to a lazy, broke relative with a practiced eye for a nice place to rest and a belly full of free food. 

We adopted mom’s kitty, because the idea of turning her over to a shelter was something neither of us could handle. She’s a sweet but shy kitty, somewhat traumatized by being alone so much while mom was sick. A very good petsitter was taking care of her, but it’s not the same as having your owner around all the time to hand out stinky kitty treats and provide hours of petting every day. So she is with us now, isolated at first in the home office, but getting out more and more each day. I have to say that Kitty is not afraid to stand her feline ground with our other two, and let them know that they aren’t all that. Or course, the fact that Kitty is a long-haired domestic makes a difference. She looks like the product of an encounter between a Persian and a Maine Coon: very fluffy, with big paws and long whiskers.

And then there is Big Red, a neighborhood bully-turned-softie who begged for food one day, and because we’re a pair of weak sisters, we gave him some of the good stuff (the specialty kibble from the vet that costs big bucks for a tiny bag). And now he has no reason to leave. The four-legged freeloader is quite happy to snooze under the garage window shutter, on a nice little towel bed we made for him that is hidden behind a low hedge.

It’s not the first time a local stray has adopted us. Two years ago, a black cat named Boo thought we were an easy mark, and of course we were. So Boo became a member of the family for quite a while.

I think the herd of cats we have is a blessing. It’s a way to keep busy by taking care of animals who need us. I’m just hoping The Husband and I don’t become known as “the crazy cat people” on the street. It might bring the nice folks from The Discovery Channel to our door. I can hear it now: “We’d like to film you for one of our shows. It’s about people who really love animals. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive by Cat Hair’…”

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Kitty’s Sick, The World Stops…And That Costs How Much?

The hubby and I have spent $1,400 at the vet for one of our cats. So far.

Believe me when I tell you, I would never willingly spend that much on myself at the doctor.

Kitty was in obvious distress yesterday; we thought it was nothing more than a major-league hairball she could not eject. But when she was clearly showing other signs of physical struggle, hubby got the cat carrier and Kitty got stuffed into it for a ride. And I do mean “stuffed.” She’s a bit of a tubby feline, though I have to say she can run and jump very well, given that she’s ten years old and leads something of a charmed and lazy life.

Vet Dr. Brian took her in for tests right away, discovered a lower intestinal fecal blockage (that’s constipation in simple terms), changed her food and gave her a shot. We took her home, but the call came this afternoon, when the blood tests came back. Bring her back in; there’s trouble. Kidney and renal issues; she needs a flush and fluids and possible antibiotics. No sign of infection, probably nothing  extremely serious, and this procedure can certainly help her. Yes, she will need meds for the rest of her life. No, we never considered not doing it. I came home early from work, stuffed poor Kitty back into cat carrier for yet another trip, and Vet Dr. Brian took it from there. “She’ll be staying with me tonight,” he said. “Don’t worry, we’ve done this before.”

Poor Kitty gave me such a look as the vet took her out of the waiting room. It was a look that said “traitor.”

Sitting here hours after leaving her, I wonder if we are exactly that. Traitors in terms of putting her through this, even though she is relatively young. Are we doing it for her, or for us? I know many pet owners struggle with this, and Vet Dr. Brian was honest about it. He was for it, because her chances are excellent. And we can do it, because we always have emergency money put aside for just such an event.

It’s a privilege to have the life of a beloved animal in your keeping, no matter how long or short that time may be. It can be a crapshoot to know for absolute certain whether you’ve done exactly the right thing all the time for that creature. I guess I’ll find out more over the next few days.

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