29 September, 2013

Chuck and his Cocoon

Chuck loves this gray-colored cat bed, but it's like he would rather have 1/2 of his body hanging out of it.  My arms and shoulders hurt just looking at him like that, but he can do it for hours.  We call it his cocoon, as if he's a butterfly trying to leave his former self behind!

26 September, 2013

Sammy 3 Me 2

 Sammy this evening
Drop trap

When Sammy first showed up in our yard in 2010, he hung back and hid from humans, but if there was a meal to be had…he found a way to get it!  I used my handy drop trap (see above) to capture him, and he was neutered in May 2010.  Some months later he was suffering from an injury to his front leg, and I drop trapped his furry self again.  I cried on my way to the vet’s office, and cried in the waiting room, and cried when I put the Sammy-loaded trap on the table.  I thought they would tell me to euthanize him.  Instead, they said he had a bite wound, and $95 for the knock-out shot, plus $95 for the antibiotic shot, and we were on our way again.  Whew!

I’ve been concerned about Sammy’s health for awhile.  First it was the huge patch of itchy, yucky furr-less skin on his back, then his general demeanor of quiet suffering.  His teeth maybe?  Can’t tell.  His bloated stomach, or the way he always manages to pee on his leg?  No telling.  So over this year I’ve tried three times to trap him, to get him thoroughly examined by the veterinarian.  Now that Autumn is here, the idea of him toughing out the cold makes me sad.  The first time I tried trapping was in the late spring, and I stood out in the sleet waiting for him to get close enough to the trap.  He never did.  The second time I set the trap up for days, hoping he’d get bored with being afraid and get in there.  Nope.

So today, I tried a different approach.  I grabbed an old sheet, and a cat carrier.  The idea: throw sheet over cat, scoop up and drop into carrier.  So I set the carrier on end so the door was open and then pretended that everything was just fine as I approached the deck.  Mama Mia started eating, Patty started eating, and Sammy did too after a moment of looking at the cat carrier and the sheet.  After a beat, I slowly picked up the sheet in my hands…and Sammy hit reverse and backed away.  I put my hands down, and Sammy came back to the bowl.  I waited a little while, then I pounced.  That slow, tired Sammy got the drop on me, and he wriggled and shot out from under the sheet, sending food bowls flying and Patty and Mama too.  But then Sammy came back!  Miraculously, he gingerly stepped up and tried to eat again.  What did I tell you about Sammy always finding a meal?  But one twitch from me sent him flying again, and then there were no cats, one overturned kibble bowl, and a defeated (for now) human. 

Maybe the vet can prescribe knock-out drops, so I can slip Sammy a Mickey and gather him up in my arms while he sleeps.  Or maybe this isn’t a choice that I make; he’s the one who obviously has plenty of fight and vigor.  Perhaps Mother Nature and NOT fuss-budget me is making the decisions around my deck full of cats. 

But here’s the really funny part!  When I pulled the carrier out from the closet, Chucky took one look and he simply vanished.  He did not come out for his usual lunch snack.  He did not come out when I rattled the kibble bowl (he’s in love with kibble, but we limit his access due his urinary tract issues).  I finally found him hidden inside the clothes basket of freshly-laundered socks.  Poor Chuck thought he was taking a ride to the vet’s himself, and he was having NO PART of that!  Ha ha ha!

25 September, 2013

Reprint: Vanishing Cats

Have you ever seen the movie "Field of Dreams"?  It stars Kevin Costner, as he portrays a man who conjures old baseball players back from the beyond.  One of the nifty effects of the movie is when the ballplayers walk into a field a tall corn plants.  As they move deeper into the stalks, they magically disappear into thin air.  Wow!

Now here's the thing: I've witnessed the same thing in real life!  Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, all of our yard plants are blooming and growing, and the three outside cats love snoozing in the shade.  While I watch, the cats walk across the lawn and straight into the plants, then disappear!  Vanished!

One time, I managed to grab my camera, and then followed Mama Mia as she headed for the greenery.   You can just make out her black head and gold-green eyes as she waits for me to do my own disappearing act, so she can completely duck under and begin her afternoon siesta.  She's in a bank of tiger lily leaves, up against the house.  One would think a black cat would be easy to spot, but not our vanishing outdoor cats!

24 September, 2013

Nine Years

We brought Chuck and Angel, litter mates, home in a box.  They were six weeks old, and we had no idea then that we had simply no idea on how to raise kittens.  Sure, we had a litter box and a few cat-rearing tips collected from here and there, but when those little fur balls entered the house, truly, ours lives changed.  First off, they were covered in fleas and had worms.  We tried to bathe them, but were horrified by the rawness of their raw, scratched skin.  I rushed to the local pet supply store, only to find that our new cats were too young for any of the products available.  A co-worker recommended her veterinarian, and soon our problems were solved.  However, at the time I refused to let the cats onto the bed, for fear of getting bugs on me!  It's been over nine flea-and-worm-free years, and Angel still won't stay more than a few seconds on the bed; Chuck will take a nap alone once in awhile.  From that first 'no', I've never had a kitty to snuggle with at night.  We just didn't know any better (plus they were too young to leave their mama too).  These days, there are cat books and cat TV shows, and cat videos on YouTube that help a clueless cat owner, but just those few years ago...we thought we could figure it out with intellect or instinct.  Yep, Angel and Chuck changed our lives by expanding our family with furry love and silliness, and yet I still mourn that first 'no' to keep them off the bed.

23 September, 2013

Photobomber Patty

Patty cannot resist getting into my photos.  Every time I pull out either my camera or my phone, Patty O'Malley gets in every shot I take.  He just wants to be the star, I guess.  These four are just a sample of Patty and the art of photobomb.

By the way, Patty has beautiful whiskers.  They are black nearest his face, then turn pure white on the ends.  "Of course", he'd say; "I'm beautiful!  Take more photos of me!"

22 September, 2013

Parking Lot Cat

Yesterday, I watched a husband-and-wife team attempt to walk both their dog (on a leash) and their cat (held in a towel) into the nearby pet supplies store.  However, as the dog started barking, the howling cat managed to escape the arms of his person, and hide under a car.  I had been climbing into MY car, so I quickly slammed the door and went to help.  The terrified cat wasn't moving an inch, and the man used the towel that once was a poor cat transportation device, to lay on to try to reach the cat.  I couldn't reach the cat either, but somehow the man was able to coax the cat out.  That's when I suggested they cover the cat entirely with the towel; having the world blotted out would calm her.  He did as I suggested, and I got back in my car to drive away.  The couple said that they were flea bombing the house, so the dog and cat needed baths, and this pet store has do-it-yourself washing tubs.  I certainly hope they were successful with that, but there's a lesson; ALWAYS properly restrain your cat in a cat carrier or trap or box.  That parking lot was full of people and moving cars, and a loose cat would have no chance if left out there.  I didn't take a photo, but I'll never forget the fear on that kitty's face.