First of all, Charlotte's veterinary news: she got a clean bill of health! (Well, as clean as someone who is on daily medication can get.) Her lungs are clear, chest x-ray looks good, her vitals are still good. In fact, the vets can see no deterioration since her last appointment, in April. So... yay! I guess the coughing spell was a one-time occurrence that had nothing to do with fluid build-up. Maybe she's heard ME coughing so much that she decided that it was what we queens of the household did. I guess all of that worry was for nothing.
But we WERE told that she needed to lose weight. Sigh. I actually need to put all cats on a diet except for Bit, who I think could stand to gain some. So that should be a fun dynamic. Cat people: how do you put your cats on a diet? (The well duh answer is to reduce their food intake, but I am looking for something a little more specific than that!)
Maera had a second melt-down when we left her in her crate on Monday. I came home from work and she'd pulled a blanket that had been draped over her crate to shield her from the cats THROUGH the ceiling of her crate, along with a small stack of clean laundry that I'd folded but gotten distracted from putting away, and had things twisted in every which direction. The bottom of the crate was knocked somewhat askew, and it looked like she had been trying to dig her way out.
So. I don't think we're going to be able to crate her for anything besides night time sleeping. (That I still insist on, to avoid dog v. cat conflict/misunderstandings/shenanigans.) Today my husband worked from home, which normally means both dogs sack out on beds in the study while he works on the computer. But this time we baby-gated both dogs into the dining room. They each had a bed, fresh water, toys, and kongs to keep them occupied. And there they stayed all day. It went pretty well as far as we know. We don't think anyone tried to jump the gate... so tomorrow I think we'll gate them in there again; this time left alone in the house. We'll see how it goes. I take some comfort in knowing that if they DO jump the gate, all we're likely to find is that they went into the living room and took over the couch. (Too bad it isn't practical to drag the couch into the dining room; they'd NEVER want to leave!)
I'm trying my best to keep all of these hooligans healthy and happy. I feel like I've been pretty good at keeping it all moving along - even though they've definitely been trying to challenge me this month!