Meal Time Mayhem

Meal Time Mayhem (2)

Pantry Shelf Meal Prep

I mentioned in a previous post that feeding time is a production in my house. We have two dogs and four cats, not to mention the bunny. Here’s why keeping them all alive can be a bit time consuming.

Breakfast is served at 6:00 a.m. during the week. Sometimes it’s the same time on the weekends, and other times it may be an hour or two late. The dogs are at an age where they would rather sleep than eat, but the cats remind us when it’s past feeding time.

I gather the six bowls and line them up on one of the pantry shelves. I don’t try to get everything together on the counter because I think I will be bombarded with cats, although hubby does this with no problem. They are content to gather at my feet during meal preparation. I start with the cats. I open one large can of wet food and distribute it among four bowls. Dry food is then mixed in with the wet food. Done! The cats are easy. No one is on medication.

The dogs’ meal prep is more involved. Each dog gets wet food, because Moose and Red no longer eat dry food. Not only have they started refusing it in their old age, but Moose has 14 teeth and Red has 12 teeth. (Dogs should have 42 teeth). I figure that they have made it this far, so I am not going to force the issue. I’m just thankful that they still have good appetites. Since they eat exclusively dry food, I put a teaspoon of canned pumpkin on top to help prevent loose stools. Following the pumpkin begins the med distribution.

I cut up one chondroitin/glucosamine chew into quarters, and each dog bowl gets a quarter, saving the other two quarters for the next day. Moose has a probiotic capsule that I open and sprinkle onto his food for his frequent tummy grumbles. Red gets a quarter of a pill for his nervousness and Moose gets a tablet for his heart. Whew!

After all the food prep, it’s time to eat! The dogs eat first, in their separate crates. Moose was food aggressive when he was younger, so we learned early on that eating apart from Red was best. I give Red his bowl first, which sits atop paper towels, because he is a slob who will get the concoction all over the crate floor. Next comes Moose, no paper towels required.

By now the cats have zero patience. Vlad gets shuffled into the laundry room, Tiki gets her bowl on the counter, Tiger eats in the bathroom, and Barnabas gets his food in our room. I would love to just feed them all together, but I doubt that would be possible. Vlad in particular is a chow hound; he is always trolling for any leftovers from his brothers and sister. This method works well for keeping track of who is eating and who may not be at any given time. I don’t free feed, meaning I do not leave dry food out during the day for the cats to graze. Our beloved Ozzy was on a strict food regimen, so we’re not used to leaving food out anyway.

After breakfast the dogs go outdoors, come in and snooze on the couch. The cats are sometimes seen but not heard from until it’s time for dinner. They are grateful for all the food prep, right?

Meal Time Mayhem (1)

Tiki Seems to Have an Opinion on the Cuisine We Serve

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

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2018

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2018 (2)

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.

Black Cat Appreciation Day 2018 (1)

Playing With Ozzy?

 

Welcome Vlad

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First Night at Home

People often ask me why I don’t have a black cat. As much as I love Halloween and Salem, Massachusetts, you would think one of my kitties would be a traditional Halloween cat. It just didn’t work out that way.  Until recently, the right black cat never crossed my path.

You may have read my post about adopting Barnabas Collins. When we adopted him, I was actively searching for a black cat, but not just any black cat. Since I’ve wanted one for a long time, and we had only one spot left for a new addition, he or she had to be a perfect fit.

Keeping that in mind, I didn’t adopt the first black cat that I saw. One kitty at age 10 was a bit older than I wanted. (This cat was later adopted). Another was great until he started biting. One boy just didn’t like other cats, and still one more was a little shy. He was friendly, but our existing menagerie at home may have been too much for him.

I had been checking Petfinder weekly to see the available black cats and had gone to the shelter that evening to see a four year old female who was no longer available when we got there.

When we were in the room of cats up for adoption, I recognized another cat from the website trying to get our attention. As much as he wanted to get out, he was the shy cat once we got to meet him. I saw a black cat not on the website, in cage #9, Bubba. He was stretched out in the front of his cage and squeaked out a sound when I said hello.

The volunteers were taking the shy cat away from the acquaintance room, and 10 minutes before closing, they asked if we wanted to see anyone else. I saw the only black cat that was listed on Petfinder, but I remembered Bubba in cage #9.

Within those last 10 minutes, we fell in love with Bubba. He was going to be my spooky kitty. He was eager to jump in our laps for petting, rewarding us with purrs. He even gave me kisses on my fingers. We couldn’t take him home that night because he wasn’t yet neutered or vaccinated. He had been at the shelter about a month recovering from an upper respiratory infection. He was two years old, brought to the shelter because his owner had too many cats. I noticed that they let him go outside and that he never had any veterinary care. His luck was about to change. My cats are strictly indoor and have pet insurance.

Two days later I had my Halloween kitty. Unlike Barnabas, Bubba was parasite-free. I thought I would have a bunch of great names for my black cat when I finally found him or her but I didn’t have any until it came to me on the drive home from the shelter following our initial meeting. Since our other cat had a vampire name, I renamed Bubba Vlad. I guess I could have gone with Bram, but Vlad sounds more bad ass. Of course, he is anything but a bad ass. He’s a 10 pound gentleman. I hope we have many more years together.

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Handsome Guy