Visitors

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In Loving Memory

If you don’t believe in the supernatural, you may want to skip this post. If you’re interested, keep reading to find out who I think visits us and how they make their presence known.

You may know that we lost our cats Annie and Ozzy to natural causes in 2015 and 2016. However, there are times when I have sworn that they were in the house, which of course is impossible because they have been gone for a few years. I can’t be sure which of the two I think visits, but it’s easy to assume that it is Ozzy, because he was more social than Annie. That being said, Annie could feel more comfortable now that she crossed over, able to wander the house without the current pets bothering her. Perhaps both are visiting.

One day I was perched on the ottoman in the family room, scrolling through my phone, when I distinctly felt a cat rub against my leg. I reached down to pet the friendly feline, but my hand was met with air. There were no cats in that room.

Another visit came one morning when I was wide awake. Tiki sleeps with me more often than not, and sometimes Vlad jumps up on the bed in the morning for snuggles. I was laying on my left side, leg bent, when I felt something jump on my knee. I glanced down expecting to see my cuddly black cat, but there was nothing there. Tiki was curled up by my head, with Vlad and the other cats nowhere to be found.

Cat parents know that kitties have their own distinctive voices. I can tell which cat is vocalizing by their sound, even if they are in another room. On another morning I was sitting on the edge of the bed when I heard Ozzy’s meow. It startled me and I even answered him back with a tentative, “Ozzy?” I expected no reply, but if it was my boy, I wanted him to know that I heard him loud and clear.

Barnabas has a sudden interest in the top of the fridge, where Annie’s urn rests. She still lounges in her bed, surrounded by her bowl and toys. This was her domain when she was alive, and if she were still with us, Barney would not be welcome there.

Another place Annie frequented was behind the television stand in our bedroom. It’s another odd place Barney goes where the others do not.

Sometimes I see a shadow throughout the house. It’s usually something small and dark, moving fast out of the corner of my eye. Whatever it is disappears as soon as I focus on it. These shadows can’t all be our black cat Vlad, can they? Maybe this is all my imagination, just wanting so much to still have them around. However, my better half has had his own experiences. At any rate, if Annie and Ozzy are visiting, they will always be welcome home.

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Annie

Cat Toy Tears

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Cat Toy

Have you ever been somewhere and saw something that triggers a strong emotional response? Maybe it was something that brought back a memory, either good or bad. This happened to me a couple weeks ago. What caused me to break down in an aisle of a pet supply store?

I was volunteering for the rescue, which adopts cats and kittens from inside a local pet supply retailer, when I took a quick break to search for a new cat toy. Tiger has been destroying his toy mice of late, carrying them around while loudly announcing his latest “kill.” I discarded a couple disemboweled bodies, who suffered the indignity of their stuffing still hanging from the jaws of their killer, the orange tabby cat. Tiger was running low on stuffed mice, so I thought I might buy him a few more.

I knew they would have what I needed. I prefer plain mice, with few details that I have to remove for safety’s sake. Perusing the items for sale, I saw a toy on the bottom shelf that flooded my brain with memories. It was a simple plastic barbell, with balls with bells inside on each end.

Flashback to many years ago when we were only a two-cat household. Annie and Ozzy were young and playful, and they had a toy that they just loved to bat around. It resembled the plastic barbell that I just found. These toys weren’t exactly the same; I believe the original barbell had fuzz on the ends, and not plastic. However, the plastic toy was similar to the well-loved toy that eventually came apart.

I tried to find it everywhere with no luck. I wanted to replace it so badly for them, but none could be found. Wherever I was, I checked every pet supply place to find it. One day in February 2003 I went into a chain pet shop (now out of business), still on the hunt for the elusive barbell. They didn’t have it, but you know what they did have? My Moose!

I always say I went into that store for a cat toy and came out with a puppy, but that is not entirely accurate. Moose wasn’t an impulse purchase; I did go home and research Italian greyhounds long into the night to be sure the breed would be a good fit for our home. Bleary-eyed but excited, we returned to the store the following day. (Please note that this was before I knew about puppy mills).

I remember the store associate handing him to me for the first time, all soft and wiggly with that new puppy smell. I was instantly in love, as he stuck his needle nose in my ear.

It took me 16 years to find that cat toy, but sadly too late for Annie and Ozzy to enjoy it again. Tears fell the day I found that barbell, a lot of mixed emotions bubbling to the surface. I thought of the lives and loss of my beloved kitties, and the joy of bringing home the canine love of my life, who I wouldn’t have found if I wasn’t looking for that toy.

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Annie and Ozzy

Senior Pup Update

 

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Red

I mentioned earlier that Moose and Red were due for their annual checkups at the vet. Their bloodwork has always been unremarkable, but we know that changes come with age. Were their results again picture perfect?

I wish I could say otherwise, but their streak of stellar bloodwork ended this year. However, there were only slight changes for both pups, what a relief! Red’s results were just a tad better than Moose’s. Red’s blood showed only one slight issue, which is nothing terribly unusual for a dog of approximately 15 years old. The elevated number requires no intervention at this time.

As for Moose, he had a couple numbers out of whack, but also nothing too out of the ordinary for a dog at the age of sweet 16. Nothing contained in the results requires any further treatment or testing at this time.

So, the bloodwork wasn’t anything really bad at all, and I know it could have been far worse. We’re lucky that things have been going so well for so long. I am grateful for the results that we received for such little old men.

Their physical exams also went well for their ages. Moose’s heart issue was evident during his exam, and he will see his cardiologist next month. He suffers from degenerative valve disease, and he is being treated for it with medication, with the hope that it will slow down the progression of the disease. All of Red’s parts that are supposed to be functioning well continue to do so, so we are thankful for that.

The bottom line is that both guys are doing well for their ages, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Well, except for more time with them, there’s always that. I wish I could freeze them in their present state, so that they could never age or deteriorate beyond what they are right now. Moose doesn’t see well, and Red is all but deaf, but they will always be perfect to me.

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Moose

 

New Year, New Pet?

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Happy New Year! I try to add content to this site on a consistent basis, but the second half of 2018 wasn’t kind to me and caused me to deviate from my plan. Don’t you just hate it when life sometimes gets in the way of what you want to do? Suffice it to say that I am hoping for a kinder, gentler 2019 for me and my family. We would all appreciate it!

Last year saw us welcome Bugs the bunny into our home, after I insisted that I no longer wanted anything else living in the basement. I have to admit that I missed having a rabbit, so when the opportunity arose to bring in another, I took it. If anyone asks me if I contemplate adding a new furry family member this year, I would have to say no.

I think we have reached our capacity. Of course, I’ve been known to say that and then do something else. I heard that more greyhound tracks will be closing. That means that there will be even more dogs available for adoption, and I am super tempted since I’ve always wanted to rescue a retired racing greyhound, even before we got our Italian Greyhounds.

Of course, as much as I would love one, I have to think of the other critters in the house. First and foremost are Moose and Red. Last year they celebrated their 16th and 15th birthdays respectively, and my little old men deserve to live out their golden years in peace. Introducing a new dog to the dynamic wouldn’t be fair to them, especially a much bigger, younger dog.

There’s also the cats to consider. They’ve never been around a dog that wasn’t close to their size. A couple of them are double digits in age or near it, so I doubt that they would appreciate a boisterous newcomer. In fact, I’m sure of it.

In light of all that, I think our family won’t increase in number this year, and that is fine. The current residents get along well the majority of the time, and thinking that it’s best not to rock the boat, I believe keeping the status quo works for us. I will still see new faces as I continue to volunteer for the cat rescue.

2018 was great in that we said hello to Bugs, and we didn’t have to say goodbye to anyone. (We lost Annie in 2015 and Ozzy in 2016, both on June 2). None of the fur kids developed any new ailments, and existing conditions did not worsen. We seem to have Moose’s occasional tummy trouble remedied with prescription food and a probiotic. He and Red have their yearly checkup next week, and I hope our seniors are in the best possible shape. Red continues to receive aquapuncture treatments and still responds well to it.

Do you plan to acquire a new pet this year? I wish you and yours nothing but the best in 2019 and beyond.

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Bunny

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Bugs Ready for His Close Up

Bunny habitats have evolved over the years. From wood hutches to wire-constructed cages, nothing can compare to today’s rabbit castles. My current rabbit is one lucky boy.

While none of my animals were ever kept outside, I knew people who housed rabbits in wood and chicken wire hutches, and the animals did just fine. My first bunnies lived in my parents’ basement, in wire cages purchased through a catalog. They had solid metal trays that slid out beneath the wire floor, lined with newspaper to collect waste. However, wire floors could hurt bunny feet, especially the large breeds. To help prevent this, I had resting boards, which were slabs of hard plastic with holes for any messes to fall through. That seemed to be a better surface (at that time) for the bunny to sit on.

I later switched from wire cages with pans to cages with deep plastic bottoms, which could be filled with a variety of bedding material. These enclosures needed frequent changing, as the pet lived directly on the material that they would eventually soil, unless the bun was litter box trained.

It wasn’t until Bugs came home that I discovered the joys of litter box trained buns and roomy living quarters. I’m not sure how he was taught, but Bugs eliminates in a dishpan-turned-litter box filled with absorbent bedding. This makes keeping his house clean a snap. His enclosure is constructed from wire storage cubes, and has no top or bottom. The wire cubes sit on foam puzzle pieces easily found in stores or online. This gives him a cushy place to hop, instead of sitting the cage directly on the concrete basement floor.

He has a roomy, soft area to move around, filled with things to make a bunny happy. Bugs has a combination pellet/hay rack, which I only use to hold pellets now that I discovered that the divider holding the hay in place is missing. Because of this, he has a separate hay rack hanging from the wire cube, above his litter box. Bugs also has a separate dish for his salads, and right now he enjoys parsley and cilantro. He has two blankets that lay atop the foam floor. There’s a large igloo hideout when he wants to feel hidden. Bugs has two chew toys that hang from his enclosure, and he has a variety of toys to keep himself entertained. He has two balls, one that can be rolled and another that can be chewed. There are three chew sticks in his house, in addition to a lava block and bunny rattle that can be tossed.

Every morning I do some light housekeeping. I change his litter box, and sweep up any loose hay, fur, or runaway droppings. I refresh his water, hay, and pellets as needed. When he sees me come down the stairs, he hops to the front of his enclosure and stands up on his hind legs for petting. I really love this little guy. Rabbits do make wonderful additions to your family.

You've Come a Long Way, Bunny

Bugs Enjoying Floor Time

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2018

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Appreciated Every Day of Every Year

August 17 was Black Cat Appreciation Day. It’s been two years since I adopted my black kitty Vlad, and if you’ve never been owned by one, you’re really missing out.

Cats with onyx-colored fur are often overlooked in shelters, and they are among the last to be adopted of the cats looking for new homes. I’m not sure why this is, as they are really awesome. In fact, I have a friend who once owned five black cats at the same time.

As someone who loves Halloween more than any other day of the year, people were surprised that I didn’t have a black cat. When our kitty population was sadly reduced to just two, we decided to adopt two new cats, and I specifically wanted a black kitty. If you want to read more about how our boy joined the family, please read Welcome Vlad.

Of course I’m biased, but I think my guy is wonderful. There’s no doubt in my mind that my beloved Ozzy (2001-2016) had a paw in sending him our way. So, why do I appreciate Vlad?

I appreciate how lovable he is. I’ve never seen a cat respond to kisses with kisses of his own. It just takes one smooch on his furry head, and out comes his little sandpaper tongue to kiss the tip of your nose. It’s the cutest thing, and it never gets old. My day isn’t complete if I don’t receive one of his kisses, but on occasion he can get stingy with them, and maybe turn his head rather than indulge me. I notice that he does this when he wants to eat and after nail trims. I can’t say that I blame him.

I appreciate his ability to protect me from vicious insects. Should I ever be attacked by a horde of angry crickets or grasshoppers, I know Vlad will save the day. I witnessed him kill and eat a bug that infiltrated the family room. In light of that, maybe I should be turning down his kisses, instead of the other way around.

I appreciate his companionship. He’s a lap cat, and doesn’t take no for an answer. It doesn’t matter if I’m on the couch with a lap desk, or at the table on the computer. If Vlad wants attention, he demands it, with no regard to what you might be doing. It’s all part of his charm.

Black Cat Appreciation Day may have just passed for this year, but it’s never too late to add a black cat to your family. I’ve heard that they can be some of the most loveable felines, and judging by Vlad, I would have to agree.

I would like to draw your attention to the photo below. Vlad plays with this toy alone at night in the dark. I like to think that’s when Ozzy visits to play with the brother he never met.

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Playing With Ozzy?

 

Introducing Bugs

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Our Newest Addition Bugs

I’m happy to announce that we expanded our family by one fur kid a week ago. This brings our menagerie to 2 dogs, 4 cats, 1 parakeet, and now 1 rabbit. Please welcome our newest addition Bugs.

I wasn’t planning to get another rabbit after our French Lop Rambo suddenly crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Well, the little guy needed a new home, and we decided to become his forever family.

It’s anyone’s guess what breed or breeds he might be, but he’s a cutie nonetheless. I was told that he’s four years old. Bunnies can live past 10 years, so I hope Bugs and I have several years together. I’m sure he will appear in future posts once he gets settled in.

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Somebunny New to Love