Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

Pictures from the past two weeks

May 24, 2012

Flowers are popping out all over our development. Most of the rhododendrons are a fuscia pink but then you come around the corner and one bush has the most delicate pink flowers. I love this color!

A few weeks ago, we noticed that a morning dove had made a nest in the bushes outside our kitchen window. She placed the nest very well because there were days you couldn’t really tell if she was in it or not. Then, the other day, Helen said she was pretty sure the babies had hatched.

You can only see one here with the mom but there were two little chicks in the nest. However, they didn’t stay long. This morning, they were gone. I’m so glad I got a picture before they left.

While she was sitting on the eggs, another baby bird fell out of a nest close by. We left him alone knowing that his mom wouldn’t help him if we touched him, but he didn’t make it through the night. I wonder if the morning dove was tempted to go help him, but couldn’t leave her nest? Do birds feel the need to come to someone’s aid like humans do?

Dru doesn’t go into the full corgi position very often which is too bad because I love it when she lies this way. She brought me her buddah ball and wanted me to throw it for her. The fact that I had just gotten out of the shower was of little consequence to her. I was present and should therefore be playing with her!

Picture compliments of my sister-in-law

And then everything stops while I admire the rolls on my nephew’s legs! And the smile.

These are the nursemaids who sat vigil over the baby birds. That’s Tabitha on the left and Dudley on the right and the bush below is where the nest was. It reminds me very much of another older cat taking the baby under his wing, only we won’t go there because I’m at work and I can’t cry here.

I am repurposing my mouse candle holder as a staff for making bracelets that I’ve volunteered to make for Red Bank’s Girls Night Out event. A mother came into the store and was showing it to her daughter calling him the mouse king from the Nutcracker. I never thought of him coming from the Nutcracker. To me, he’s the crown prince from a far off land, not necessarily attached to any one piece of literature. My imagination is a bit more active than many other people’s.

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NEW YEAR, NEW POST

January 3, 2011

It’s been so long since I posted that I’m almost afraid to come back. Is there anyone out there reading my blog anymore? Luckily, followers have never been the motivation behind my writing. As with so many other things, falling out of a writing routine was much easier than doing it every day.

Ideas have been percolating in my mind but putting them on paper, as it were, has become difficult. There are so many excuses – finding the time, words not coming the way I want them to, etc. etc. etc.  But this is a new year and excuses won’t cut it anymore. I miss my blog and I’m going to try to visit more often.

As I wrote on Spike and Dru’s blog , we discovered a mass by my cat George’s tail in mid-December. We took him to the emergency vet that night, then to our regular vet the following week. On New Years Eve, we saw the surgeon who told us it should come out as soon as possible. Due to its placement, she thought she could get it out without having to remove the tail, but if the mass grew any bigger, the tail would be in danger. Since George is a dapper fellow and quite fond of his tail, we arranged to have the surgery yesterday (1/2/11). In doing some preliminary x-rays, another mass was seen in his chest and the vet recommended having a cardiologist do an echo-cardiogram and aspirate  the mass (remove cells using a needle) while George was under anesthesia for the surgery.

We dutifully dropped poor George off yesterday morning. After having a quick chat with the surgeon and leaving a large amount of money as deposit, we went home to wait. This is the first time I’ve had to leave an animal for a surgery that doesn’t involve routine removal of reproductive organs, and I came very close to getting sick on the way out. But Helen was there to pick up the pieces and fill me full of Dunkin Donuts.

The surgery went very well. The echo-cardiogram and the aspiration of the chest mass were inconclusive so the vet will be sending the cells to the pathologist for evaluation, along with the mass she removed from the tail. We’ll know the outcome of those in about a week. But she was so happy with the way everything went that George got to come home last night instead of today as we originally planned. A portion of his back and tail are shaved and he’s on pain medication, but he’s home where he belongs.

Since getting the dogs a year ago, they have taken the majority of my attention. Being so self-sufficient, the cats moved more into the background. They are always there but they don’t NEED as much of me. However, I didn’t realize how much I notice them, albeit subconsciously. I missed George and not because I was thinking of his surgery. He is always at the door waiting for us when we come in. He is the self-nominated food ambassador, reminding us to feed everyone – starting about two hours before their scheduled meals. He is the random rub as he passes me to get to his food bowl.  He is the orange in a sea of black and white (and grey)! I missed him so much yesterday and I am so glad to have him back.

 

THE MOUSE CHRONICLES

July 23, 2010

It would seem we have a mouse problem at our house. This shouldn’t shock me since a) we live on the river and b) we encourage the wildlife (birds, squirrels, etc) to frequent our backyard by putting out seed and nuts and stuff. The only thing that might deter the rodents from entering our abode would be this …

or this ….

or maybe this …

or, god forbid, this …

There are four, count them 4!, of them. I checked, they are indeed cats! And all of them, at one time or another, have run into mice and come out victorious. But now, nothing.

Every morning, we pull out the drawers and clean out more droppings. We’ve moved all the treats (human & feline) to other places, including many to the garbage because the bags have been breached. Not even the loss of their beloved Whiska’s Treats can goad them into action.

The cats claim they are on strike. I counter with “this isn’t a union job – step up or go home!” To which they explain that they are home and I might want to get some sleep since I’m obviously befuddled. So, we went to the store and got mouse traps.

After a Laurel & Hardy routine in which I almost lost a finger trying to get the traps set, we put them in the drawers and tried very hard NOT to think about them. It goes against everything I believe to kill any animal, however certain animals are indoor pets and others are flea & disease infested creatures that belong outside. We looked at humane traps but neither of us could face trying to empty the trap should it catch something. I’m sorry, I just can’t. Mice are right up there with snakes for me.

Yesterday, we checked the traps and the top drawer had caught one. The mouse was huge! Helen tried to stand up for the cats saying she wouldn’t want to face that thing alone either. I called them worthless reprobates. Then I held the bag as Helen used our special “Mouse Trap” tongs (ones that will never go near food EVER AGAIN!) and dropped the mess, trap and all, into the bag. Then we both had an attack of the shakes and the cats sneered and called us wusses.

Their newest excuse is that since we brought these two hell beasts

into the house, the kitchen is now off limits to them and therefore, they should not be responsible for anything that happens or infiltrates said room. I would just like to point out that these overly sensitive feelings get tossed to the curb when dinner is being prepared or when their food is being dished out. Then, there are no picket lines to cross.

PS, I LOVE YOU by Cecelia Ahern

March 6, 2010

I just finished reading PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern and I’m torn. I liked the story and, while I didn’t always like the characters, they were well thought out and very realistic. But the writing was … the only description that comes to mind is immature. The book would have benefited from some judicious editing because, among other things, there were a lot of repetitions. Ahern described the girls’ favorite eatery several times, using almost identical language each time. Really, I don’t need it more than once. Sloppy writing frustrates me to no end.

I thought about trying another of Cecelia Ahern’s novels, to see if the writing had matured at all. As with many books, this volume included several chapters from one of her upcoming books. Again, the premise was interesting, but it took her five chapters to get to the point and I found myself mumbling “edit, edit, edit!” to myself.

I wonder, am I being too bitchy? Am I just in a foul mood and taking it out on the book I’m reading at the time? Or, more realistically, am I just too tired to appreciate it? And then I started reading this book

The Thirteenth Tale

and I can physically feel the words wrapping themselves around me as I fall in love with good writing all over again!

GRATUITOUS CAT PICTURE!

March 3, 2010

Several of the felines have pointed out to me that nowhere in the name of the blog does the word dog appear and that it might be a good idea to start showing some of them again, since they haven’t been featured for quite a while. So throughout the month of March, expect gratuitous shots of cats scattered through my posts.

Just in case you’ve forgotten who they are(hah!), the reigning quartet in our house are as follows:

Gentleman George

male, orange, knows just what buttons to push!

Gretel

the only female in a sea of males – the grey diva.

Andrew Eugene

truly one of the greatest cats that ever was!

And the baby of the bunch – Dudley

whom we worried would not make it through the night, let alone 1.5 years later. As you can see, he usually is where he doesn’t belong … but then he’s a cat.

ONE OF A KIND

December 1, 2009

We often talk about how Andrew is the kind of cat that you get once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky.


It’s not that he’s so patient with the demon Dudley or that he puts up with all our foibles.

It’s not even that he’s one of the most RELAXED creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

It’s that he is such a comfort. I was holding him this morning, in his preferred pose – draped over my shoulder and relaxing into my arm – that I realized he was calming me down just with his purring. As he burrowed into my neck, I noticed that subconsciously, my breathing was matching his. This is why I cannot hold him for any extended period of time – I would be comatose, I’d be so relaxed.

That or my arm would fall off. That’s 20 pounds of pure muscle right there. Nothing fluffy about this one!

There’s a reason he earned the title of “Greatest Cat That Ever Lived!”

November 11, 2009
The cat just walked across my keyboard and the entire screen went black. I pressed a few buttons, including the on/off switch, but nothing happened. I was going to tweet and beg for an answer, but – oh, yeah! MY SCREEN IS BLACK!!!! After a few minutes of complete & utter panic – how do you feel when the tried and true method of “turn it off and back on again” doesn’t work! – I realized that she had stepped on the dimmer key and just turned off all the lights to the screen. When I found the antidote, kindly depicted by Apple as a brighter sun, I fixed the problem with the computer. However, the cat is determined to get me away from the machine and reading my book! Enough of this “work crap!” It is a federal holiday, after all.

IT TURNS OUT, I DO HAVE A BIOLOGICAL CLOCK

August 24, 2009
Recently, I’ve felt the need to adopt … cats that is. There was the one at PetCo, then the two from the shelter, and this past weekend, I met the two three strays that are hanging out in my mother’s yard at the beach. The middle one looks just like Dudley – we figure she must be his sister. Then there’s her kitten who is quickly approaching cat-hood. He/She is such a cutie pie. And occasionally, Old Deuteronomy shows up. We’re not sure if she/he is the grandparent to the kitten or a great-grandparent? But he/she is evidently part of the family structure because she/he showed up and lay down by the kitten and mom disappeared. It seemed to be the changing of the guard.

For some reason, going from four cats to six cats is not that big a jump in my mind. However, going from six to seven is a HUGE deal! It makes no sense. While my head is saying that four cats is a very nice number and is working well, thank you very much, my heart is saying let’s round ’em all up and bring ’em home. My heart really needs a time out.

If I had been given the choice at any moment this weekend, I would have already brought them all to the vet and have them home by now. But luckily for my head, they’re not ready to just jump into my arms (stupid cats) and are a little leery of humans in general. Which gives us time to get away from the cuteness and think clearly. We cannot afford to take them, period. Given the time, my head will explain all this to my heart, which tends to be a little stubborn.

I’m beginning to wonder if my heart is speaking for my biological clock. I’ve never regretted the choice not to have kids. I see toddlers and think they’re cute and funny, but I don’t want to take them home with me. I enjoy watching kids learn things, especially when they finally get what you’ve been talking about for the past few weeks. That light bulb moment! But again, that’s as far as my interest goes. It may be different with blood relations, but since none of my siblings have had any children, I don’t know yet.

But I’m getting to the point where the body’s saying “last call” and is this desire to round up poor, unwanted cats my body’s way of compensating for not having kids? It would certainly be in keeping with me to have a biological clock that sported a furry coat!

MISTAKES I HAVE MADE

August 16, 2009
I don’t like myself very much right now. This weekend has been miserable and Helen & I wound up making a decision we hate, but the reasoning behind it is sound.

Friday night we were at Petco when we saw Tigger in one of the cages put there by the SPCA to snag unsuspecting shoppers.

This is Tigger. I don’t know what it was about her, but something just tugged at me. Maybe the fact that she was 6 years old and in amongst cages filled with really cute kittens. I wasn’t planning on getting a cat – we’ve got 4 already and we don’t need more. But she stayed with me after we left so I called Petco to see if anyone could let me hold her and talk to me about her. They said we had to get in touch with the SPCA, who in turn said we could come in the next day and talk to an adoption counselor, fill out paperwork, etc. and see her.

Saturday we went to the SPCA and answered all their questions. I told them we had 4 cats at home who were very happy and healthy and pampered beyond belief. But, the most important question to them was whether the cats were up-to-date on their shots. Which they’re not. Our cats NEVER go outside. They are never in contact with other cats outside of family pets who have all been tested and been with us for years. If we go away, family members take care of them for us so they have NEVER been to a kennel or anyone else’s house. Dud’s the youngest at 1, then Andrew who is 6, and George & Gretel who are around 11. None of them have been sick, ever. So I believe they are a healthy bunch and am comfortable not toting them back and forth to the vet every year. I see no reason to put them through that misery when it is unnecessary. I realize not everyone is going to agree with my view point and that is fine – I support your right to disagree. However, these are my cats and this is the way I choose to raise them.

That being said, I understand the SPCA’s decision not to let me take Tigger home. God, of course I understand – it’s the first question we’re asking them because are desperately careful not to bring in anything that might harm our cats. But they don’t know our cats and how happy they are. They don’t know us and that we treat the cats better than some people we know. And understanding didn’t make hearing the decision any easier – I was a mess when we left. Helen drove us to the Humane Society where we decided to be less than honest about whether there were any other cats in the household. And because we decided to lie, fate proceeded to bite us in the a$$.

When we went into the open room where they let some of the cats roam free, we were met at the door by Ed. He was a love – all black except for a few (5 or 6) white hairs on his chest. He rubbed up against our legs and purred.
This is Ed. Then Helen came up to me holding another all black cat who had only three legs. At first I thought he was the one that met us at the door, but no – this was Ralph.

He’s Ed’s brother. Both of them are 10 years old and were surrendered by their owner. We don’t know why but they had both been in the shelter since March of this year. They were both neutered and up-to-date on shots and healthy, as far as the Humane Society knew. Those cats read us for suckers the minute we walked into the room. They walked beside us and just looked generally pitiful. So we did what we had to do and walked out with both of them, because you know – you can’t split up the pair.

When we got them home, they were a little timid at first but they soon started exploring the house. George and Andrew were a little stand-offish and Gretel played her usual role of DIVA. Dudley, however, hated them. Last night was the first time we’ve ever heard him growl and hiss. But there were no fights and they all ate together and things seemed to be okay. Both Ed and Ralph, after getting over the shock of getting treats, came upstairs at bedtime and found places to bed down for the night.

This morning, as I was getting ready to take a shower, Ed came in and sprayed the shower curtain. This is a problem. We can deal with cats scratching the furniture – we don’t have new and expensive furniture for that reason. We can even deal with fur balls and occasional vomiting. And we’ve worked with George to get him to stop peeing outside the cat box the summer the feral cat kept coming around the yard. But all our cats were fixed early so we could catch them before they could start spraying because once they start, it’s almost impossible to stop them. And the smell is ungodly. By allowing Ed to spray around the house might start the other males, and then we might as well just dynamite the house.

Helen researched it and the main reason behind a cat spraying is marking their territory because of other cats. There is no way Ed was going to be the dominant male in this house – the other three have been here longer. So we had to make the decision to take Ed and Ralph back this morning. We went back and forth because we’d already fallen for them but we don’t own the house and we couldn’t do that to our landlords. And besides, I don’t want to live in a house that smells of cat spray. We may not be the best housekeepers, but our house is not filthy. We do have some standards, however low they may be. And spraying crosses the line.

I just hate myself for even bringing Ed and Ralph home. For allowing them to think, even for a day, that they had found a better place to be.

THE MOSQUITO DIARIES

July 21, 2009
If you are a mosquito lover or you voted for one in the last election, you might want to bypass this post. I live in NJ – mosquitoes are our state bird (no, not really) – however, that doesn’t mean I have to like the little buggers (snort!)
The other night, I woke to the high pitched whine hum that can mean only one thing – there’s a mosquito loose in the room. It happened at 4:15 in the morning and with my finely tuned sense of hearing, managed to poke myself in both eyes trying to kill it. What?! It’s still dark at 4:15 you know!
I finally snor(t)ed the bug as I was falling back asleep and I think I may have gotten a little buzz from doing it. Is this the new party drug in college? Kids getting tiny little highs from sniffing mosquitoes? I can see them – sniff, high for approximately 2.3 seconds, then crashing. Not unlike twitching.
I kept thinking “I hope it doesn’t survive the snort” because I really don’t want mosquito bites on my brain. They’d be a bitch to scratch! Besides this week is crazy enough without the added pressure of itchy brain.
The thing is, I can’t figure out how a mosquito managed to make it into my fortress of solitude.
I swear, the cats are trying to kill me … either that or keep me continuously high cause I’m a pushover when I’m drugged!