Not my cat!

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One summer day, my cat ran away…

He never ran away before and he hasn’t run away since..

He didn’t even take a suitcase.

There was a bad storm.

He didn’t come back.

It was getting to the point that I was debating whether or not to throw out his litter box and donate his food.

Nothing brings a cat back faster than giving all of his things away…

He had been gone for several days…

I kept an eye out for him when my friend Lisa and I went running around the neighborhood.

That day, Lisa spotted something orange in the ditch…an orange cat was floating in the water of a flooded ditch.

Lisa found a stick and tried to get it out of the water unsuccessfully.

Did I finally find my lost cat?

I was pretty convinced..

A missing orange cat…an orange cat in the ditch…two women wet and muddy trying to pull a dead orange cat out of the flooded ditch…sweaty….possibly crying..

I had my husband bring a shovel to the ditch to carry out the cat for a proper burial..

When we got home, my orange cat was sitting by the back door innocently like none of this ever happened..

I wish I could hear his side of the story…

I also wished things turned out better for his stunt double…

Remember that time we were out running and you thought you saw your cat dead in the ditch??

Lisa reminded me of the story a few weeks back..

How could I forget??

It was one of the strangest things that happened while out running…

15. If I were an animal…

Day 15: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

If I were an animal, I would be a cat.

I have often heard from non cat lovers that cats are unteachable, temperamental, independent, and disobedient. But those of you who are cat lovers know that is simply not true. If a cat has a good master, a cat can be just as loyal as a dog. My cat is more obedient than my kids. He always comes when I call him, not just when it is time to eat. He misses me when I am gone. A cat chooses his master carefully.

I like to think that I am like a cat in this way. I am very independent, but have a strong loyalty to the select people I choose to trust.

My friend Cindy taught her cat to use the toilet. Sometimes he leaves the seat up and doesn’t flush. No different from her kids, I guess..

If I was a cat, I would be a fierce hunter. My family would get excited and shriek when I bring mice inside the house for supper…I know I would get sick of only drinking water and dried up old cat food, so I’d catch my own.

I would perch in high places and observe others. I wouldn’t have to talk, I just get to watch.

Other people could pick up my crap for me.

I could take more time to laze in the sun.

I would keep my coat shiny and clean. Someone else could brush my hair and vacuum up my clumps of fur.

I would be satisfied to spend my day curled up in your lap. I would purr to let you know how much I care.

I won’t have to worry about presidential elections, raising teenagers, or work.

I think it is time to take a two hour nap…

Oh wait, I’m not really a cat..

 

Best friends fur ever 

   

 I have known many dog owners that sigh in relief after the 4th of July firework festivities are over. My brother Luke’s Boston Terrier is so terrified of fireworks that they have to medicate her to calm her down. Maybe she should be called a Boston Terrified. It probably didn’t help that their kids were afraid too when they were little. 

I have had a couple of pet emergencies over the 4th but they had nothing to do with fireworks. In fact, my dog loves fireworks. He gets excited and barks while we cheer. I can tell he likes it because he wags his tail and smiles.  

 
My cat and dog are best friends. I catch them snuggling together, grooming each other, and being playful even now in their old age. Heck, they get along better than my kids!

Our first problem on the 4th happened after we went up north for a couple of weekends. We took the dog with us and left our cat at home alone. How can I put this delicately?? Our cat started urinating blood one 4th. I took him into the animal ER. We ended up finding out that he had separation anxiety. He couldn’t handle being home alone, especially when we took his best friend with us. He would cry pitifully after we returned home, sometimes in the middle of the night. Now we try to find a pet sitter so they can be together when we are gone. Or if the dog comes with, I turn the radio on.

 

Look how sad and pitiful they look when we leave!

A few years after the first ER trip on the 4th of July, we had another problem. The extended family was up north with us at the cabin for fireworks. Our dog ended up getting into ant poison. He tore up an ant house like he hadn’t eaten in years. I was so angry. Normally in stressful situations I shut down, but this time I totally freaked out. I screamed, hollered, and cried. I accused my parents of trying to kill my dog by leaving poison out that he could get into.

I didn’t know what to do. We were several hours away from the animal ER. Not to mention that it was in the middle of the night on a holiday. This was back in the day before I could get on my phone and Google answers. I just didn’t know if it would be harmful or not. But my dog lived without even a symptom. Maybe it was because the ant traps expired in1982. Or maybe I should just disregard warning labels. It certainly didn’t do much for the ant problem either. 

One thing I know for sure. My pets sure seem to love their life with us. They love each other. I didn’t know if it would be like that. When we first got our dog as a puppy, we had another cat that was 15 years old. She could not stand our dog. The age separation was too great. Then one day my neighbor called. She asked if we had a white cat because if so she found it floating in her swimming pool. We were very sad. There were rumors being spread that it was self inflicted.

After almost a year past, we decided to take our chances and get another cat. This cat was a year older than our dog. After a short period of dislike, they became best friends. Now they are inseparable. 

Best friends fur ever!

Mouse house

I remember as a little girl whenever someone in my family got a big box, they brought it over for me to play in. My grandma called the box a mouse house. I colored my little house and grandma would cut holes in the box to make windows and doors to peak out of. For a brief period in my adult life, I had a real life mouse house.

Last month my son participated in his first science fair at the high school. He presented a project on the different types of bombs. You might think that this would be an interesting project, but it wasn’t. I mean, he couldn’t make a project and test it at the school like other kids did. His project consisted of magazine picture cut outs and a lot of writing. Other kids had projects that included experiments with sound waves, catapults, ice cream made out of different ingredients, the effects of caffeine on sport performance, etc..

On a side note, my personal favorite this year was the one that tested the effectiveness of acid reflux products on reducing stomach acid. The girl said that the least effective products were harmless and that the most effective were harmful. She said that the most effective products cause organ failure. She said that if you suffer from acid reflux, it will kill you. Great! Another thing to worry about. I never imagined that my stomach acid would get me in the end. Lol. I really hope that girl doesn’t decide to become a doctor.

The science fair brought back memories of Angel’s first couple of science fairs. For her second year, Angel did an experiment on 3 white mice. She started to bring her mice home on weekends. She didn’t want them to end up being snake food after the science fair. She wanted to keep them as pets.

Now the science classroom housed the mice and one more animal, a 3 legged cat. One weekend the door to the room that contained the mice was not shut tight. By Monday, there was an all out mouse massacre. Angel’s mice were the only mice to survive for the science fair since she brought them home. After the science fair was over, she convinced us to keep the mice. She was going to keep them in a cage in her room so our cat would not get them.

I would like to say that she never had a mouse in her room before, but she did. A few years previous there was a tear on the bottom of our screen door. When another dog came into our yard, our dog totally tore through our screen door leaving a big gap. If we left the sliding door open, we had ourselves a redneck pet door. It worked well for awhile with the pets letting themselves in and out as they pleased, until the day our cat brought a live mouse in our house. We screamed as our cat ran with the mouse into the girls bedroom and dropped it there. Eventually Paul was able to catch and release the mouse outdoors. That was the end of our pet door.

Right after Angel brought the mice home, two of them died. The last mouse lived a couple more months. I called him Roady which was short for rodent. He didn’t care for me that much at first. He bit my finger a couple of times until I decided that I was going to try to win him over. I started hand feeding him wax worms and other little delicacies to the point that he was happy to see me.

We ended up buying him a little hamster ball so he could explore the house. He did escape his cage a couple of times. We found him bundled up in Angel’s basket of yarn. He liked the yarn so much that we put it near his cage so he could pull it in and make a little nest. That little mouse made a sweet pet. It really changed my viewpoint on the less desirable creatures of creation.

Travel woes, the mess we returned to

The first 24 hours upon our return from Orlando was such an emotional roller coaster ride that it rivaled some of the roller coasters that we were on during our vacation. While we were gone, we had icy roads. School was delayed. On the way to work, our employee hit a patch of black ice propelling her into the ditch. It wasn’t her first accident, she was so upset that she could barely work. On our way home, we saw a car in the ditch. Disoriented people were wandering around outside of their car in the middle of the highway. We faced the prospect of having to shovel 5 inches of heavy icy snow when we got home that evening.

While we were gone, we hired my daughter’s 17 year old friend to pet sit. She has been our pet sitter for the past two years without any issues. That being said, we were not prepared for the mess that was waiting for us. When we got home, our pet sitter was stuck in our unshoveled driveway. Our garbage bin was lying in the ditch tipped over spewing out garbage that was put out too late to be picked up. We parked our car on the road, running into the house quickly getting hit with blowing snow while jumping over snow banks. When we got inside, there were piles of dog crap everywhere along with rings of piss and puke in multiple locations all over our living room carpet. The floors were filthy, there was dog shit caked on our toilet seat. 

Our pet sitter started crying saying that she got a second job and asked her mom to help her with the pets. Her mother is absolutely crazy. She is the woman that the neighbor’s called the cops on because she would speed around the school bus while its stop sign was out. She also overfed her own dog from her hand. She somehow thinks that people don’t feed their dogs enough. It seemed as if she overfed our dog without letting him out. There were 4 piles of puke which contained a total of about 2 cups of food, our dogs total daily food allowance. Our dog seemed sick when we got home and threw up again during the night. I started cleaning up the mess while our pet sitter cried hysterically. Paul was able to get her out of the driveway and start on the shoveling. After our pet sitter went home, she got into a huge fight with her mother where things were broken and thrown. 

While I was cleaning up, I noticed a couple of wet stinky towels bunched up underneath the rest of the towels. It looked like someone was cleaning up a mess but trying to hide it. Then the kids and I noticed that some of our things in our bedrooms were out of place. Someone went through all of our personal belongings. I have never felt so violated and sickened in my life. I cried thinking of how my pets were not cared for properly. The house was absolutely trashed. Paul and I were finally were able to get to bed around midnight. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered more poorly cleaned up piss rings on the carpet. We ending up spending as much money renting a carpet cleaner that we did paying our house sitter. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the mess we returned to.

The next day I headed back to work. I was so busy catching up from the time that I spent away that I didn’t have time to do any more cleaning. To make matters worse, my in-laws were coming over that night for supper. My mother-in-law was going to be in the area because she needed a PET scan. Back in November, the doctors found a tumor in her stomach and lungs. They did a biopsy on the tumor in her stomach because that was less invasive. They found that the tumor in her stomach was highly treatable, so we decided to go ahead with our vacation plans. In December, the doctors decided to do a biopsy on my mother-in-law’s lungs. She had a collapsed lung and pneumonia which they treated with heavy duty antibiotics. But what was troubling was the finding that the cancer in her lungs was a different kind of cancer that was in her stomach. They are afraid it may be in other organs. She had breast cancer 15 years ago, now 2 different cancers in 2 different organs. Monday we will get the test results.

When I got home from work on Thursday night, my mother-in-law was sitting in the recliner wrapped in a blanket. She did not feel good enough to go out to eat so we ordered food instead. She was so frail, weak, and sickly looking. It was hard to see her like that. When she left she spoke in a hoarse strained voice. She told us all that she loved us. She told Angel that she would like to see the college that she picked out someday. This is the point that Angel ran into the other room crying. My mother-in-law said good bye to me. She thanked me for being a great wife to her son. It seemed so final. I went in the other room to cry and comfort Angel. 

The beginning and end of our vacation was very rough. I am glad that we were able to get away for a couple of days of fun. I am afraid that the next couple months will be very difficult. I guess we will find out for sure on Monday. 

Christmas (pet) lover

Many, many ages ago when I first met Paul, he performed a quick thinking pet rescue. Christmas time can offer new dangers for pets.

Paul has always been a dog lover. When I met him he had a dog. I have always been a cat lover. When I met him I had two cats. If I didn’t marry him, I may have been destined to be the crazy old cat lady. So we struck up a compromise after marriage, he has one dog and I have one cat. It is a good arrangement and with 3 kids we do not have any more openings for pets or people.

During the Christmas of 1995, Paul and I were in his apartment when across the hall we heard cries for help. There was a desperate pounding on the door of his apartment followed by hysterical screams from the neighbor lady. She was crying and shaking as she grabbed us into her apartment. Her little dog was wrapped in the Christmas tree lights. He was trying to free himself but was becoming more and more tangled in the process. The cord wrapped tightly around his neck.

Everything was happening so fast that I too began to panic. Paul, however, ran back to his apartment to grab his scissors. He held the struggling dog down while he cut the cord that was wrapped around his neck. Time and time again, Paul has acted in situations where most people freeze. This makes me feel safe because I know I can’t seem to control my inaction during those times.

On that winter day, my Christmas lover became a hero in my eyes. Paul the Pet Rescuer. I knew that I had to keep this guy.

 

A game of cat and bird

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I admit, this picture is not award winning. But it is one in a million. How often are you in the kitchen with your cat when a bird decides to peek in? Plus have the opportunity to take a picture before the moment passes. I have always been a bird magnet which causes conflicting polarity since cats have always been drawn to me as well. Or perhaps the bird was looking in hopes to find our neighbor that moved away. His massive gardens and bird feeders long gone.

A few days later, I was sitting on my deck listening to the old Pink Floyd song Cirrus Minor. The song begins with the melodic singing of birds. My new friend came over by me again. I think he must be lonely. I would recommend other Pink Floyd songs to him if he could get past The Wall, that is. He may relate to the raw feelings of loneliness in The Final Cut. Or like the sounds of clocks and bells, even the little sounds of bicycle bells that may honk at him. He may also like the sounds of other animals such as pigs, sheep, dogs, insects, or cows in other songs. Or the lonely seagulls cry in Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun. He may think some of the old songs are just too creepy. Some are, but if you dig far enough into the “Relics” there are a few hidden gems like Cymbaline, Julia Dream, and See Saw. Or “our song” which has always been Fat Old Sun, not Fat Old Son as my husband jokes. 

I have seen evidence of you, little bird, when I was gone. Little streaks of bird poop on my clothes drying on the line. I didn’t appreciate this, but I know I have to take the good with the bad. You do tolerate my cat. I might miss you when you decide to fly away. Some day I too will be alone when my little birds decide to leave the nest.