Saturday, August 28, 2010

How Much is Too Much

Because of Romeo's bladder issues, we've spent a nice chunk of money at the vet's office this week.  (Incidentally, he is all better now.  Three more days of the antibiotics, and we can put this behind us.)

Which made me start thinking about vet costs.  I would of course rather NOT have to spend lots of money at the vet's office, but that first day that we brought home pets, I knew that we were going to sometimes have to do it, and that it was for the health of our animals, and that it was just going to be part of life.  It's part of the price-tag for having our furry companions and it's one that I'm willing to pay.

However, I've had several discussions with others, and we've all seen articles discussing the cost of vet care, enough to know that not everyone views these expenses in the same way.  I don't believe that most people think it's excessive to take your cat or dog or rabbit or whatever to the vet for vaccinations, and for the occasional sick visit (like Romeo's bladder infection, for example.)  It sounds to me like the disagreements come in when the expenses go higher - you have an animal that has cancer, a heart condition, diabetes, etc.

I'm in a position to know.  I have mentioned several times on this blog that I have a cat with congestive heart failure.  We manage it with daily medicine, though in theory it has drastically shortened her life.  To GET to this point, we had to spend thousands of dollars at the vet.  Oh, it didn't all get presented to us at once, or I may have passed out cold on the floor, but it is expensive to diagnose something like this.  (Ironically enough, treatment is far less expensive than diagnosis was, though I am NOT complaining!)

First, there was a trip to the emergency vet in the middle of the night, with a cat who was undoubtedly dying - she was gasping for air and not able to get enough oxygen.  If we'd not taken her in that night, she would have died before morning, I'm sure of it.  Then there was a three night hospital stay for her, in which she was on oxygen, and getting numerous tests done.  There were x-rays.  There were echo cardiograms.  There was a lung wash procedure.  (At this time, they were leaning towards heart trouble, but hadn't completely ruled out pneumonia either, because she had that as a secondary issue.)  After she finally got to come home, there were prescription drugs, and follow-up visits, and a trip to an animal cardiologist up in Akron, Ohio.

I have had several people imply, or outright tell me, that I was foolish to spend that much money on a cat.  Especially one who was "just a shelter cat."  (As if it would be any different to spend the money on a purebreed?)  I've seen news articles that question how much is too much, and when it is responsible to make the decision for "economic euthanasia."  I've seen the comments made by readers to these articles (someday I'm going to learn not to read the comments.  It never takes me to a happy place.)  Many, many people feel that it is irresponsible to spend large sums of money on an animal.

And this is where I am going to have to disagree, with one caveat.  If you've ever had to make a decision for economic euthanasia, I DO NOT JUDGE YOU.  I refuse to second-guess someone's decisions, because I was there.  That first night that Charlotte was hospitalized, I came VERY close to making that decision.  I think it all comes down to your financial situation at the time.  At the time, my husband and I decided that we could afford it; yes it was painful, but it was not going to put us in the poorhouse or force us to seek out government assistance to survive.  We were lucky and it is not my place to judge anyone who is in a different situation.

 BUT.  Back to my disagreement.  I think that the argument that irritates me the most is the stupid statement that you shouldn't spend large amounts of money on an animal, that it is irresponsible, and that the money would be better spent on charity.  There's so many things wrong with that attitude.  Let me count the ways.

1.  It is my money.  I'm the one that busts my butt at work to earn that money.  I'm the only one that gets to determine how to spend it.  I choose to spend it on my animals, not shoving it down some stripper's drawers or buying the latest gosh-wows.  Does this make me a bad person?  I think not.

2.  That animal is my responsibility.  It is not irresponsible to get them vet treatment, in fact, it is the very opposite.

3.  That money isn't going to charity anyway; if I'm not spending it at the vet's office, I'm spending it on something else to benefit me or my household.   Yes, I make donations to charity, but the amount of my donations and the frequency at which I make them is no one's business but my own.

4.  I'll bet that the person suggesting that I would be better donating the money to charity spends money on non-charitable causes too.  It's easy for them to fall back on the "you should donate your money to charity" argument because it sounds good.  It sounds much better than "I am a judgmental prick who thinks that I have some kind of say in how you spend your money, and am going to try to make you feel guilty for spending it in a way that I disapprove of."  I only have two words to say to someone like that, and it's far from appropriate on a mostly (sometimes?) family-friendly blog, so I will just leave it to your imagination.

The decision that I am comfortable with is that whenever possible, I will preserve life.  We are probably going to come to the point for many of our animals, that we will be forced to choose to put them to sleep.  I would like to think that it is because the animal is incurably ill, or  that we have no reasonable expectation that they will have a good quality of life, even after treatment.   I do not ever want to be put into a position that I have to make that choice for economic reasons.  God willing, I will never have to.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


First things first:  I believe that Romeo is starting to feel better.  He's not 100% yet, but we're hoping that he'll be there in a couple of days tops.  He's demanding food again, and once again sleeping on the bed with us.  (He always does this by choice, and when he stopped doing it, I KNEW that he wasn't feeling well.)

Romi-Wan Kenobi
The rest of the household, I believe, is doing fine.  The "girls" (Charlotte, Annie, Bit) are fine, though sometimes I think they're a little upset that they can't come into our bedroom.  That will come again, but not until Romeo is healed up completely, and when we can be reasonably certain that we're not going to wake up to cats fighting on top of us.  (Don't think that it hasn't happened.  They're psychos.)

Argos is keeping a good attitude, but I do think that he's getting tired of Romeo getting so much of the attention!  We may need to take him to the dog park this weekend to make him feel special again.

Did someone say "dog park?"
So... now that I've given the status of the house, I have a question to ask:  "WTH, Mary Bale?"  (Warning, brief rant coming up)

I was flabbergasted when I first saw the footage of her dropping the cat into the trash bin.  I was even more stunned when they finally interviewed her, and all she had to say for herself was that she thought it would be funny to drop a cat in the trash, and that it was "just a cat" and she couldn't figure out what everyone was so up in arms about.

To which I would have to say, if you are that callous towards a living creature, then I don't like you, and I never want to know you because you will be a complete waste of my time and energy.  Just a cat.  Just a cat indeed.   Did you ever stop to think about the consequences to dropping a cat into a trash bin?  That it was going to be a hot, sweltering day?  That she might perish from heat exhaustion?  Or was that part of the funny ha-ha joke?  Did you even try to empathize with her, thinking about how terrified she must be, trapped inside of a hot, smelly garbage can, unable to get back to her family, not knowing when or if she was going to be found and rescued?  Did you ever stop to try to empathize with her family, who cared for her and was worried sick?  That she was a rescue who already had trust issues with humans?  (Gee, I wonder why animals would have ANY trust issues, with people like YOU running around.)

No, I 'm thinking that you did none of these things because you strike me as the type of person who is incapable of that level of self-reflection or empathy for others.

I am not condoning violence against this woman in any way.  But I do heartily applaud the fact that this story, and her name, was so widely publicized.  She NEEDS to be shamed, to be villified, because you know what?  At least on that day, when she dropped a cat named Lola into the trash, she WAS a villain.
And maybe this public shaming will show other villains that it's harder to get away with wanton cruelty in this day and age.

I could probably rant on for hours and hours, but I will spare everyone that.  Stories like this just make me so angry that I could just spit.  So anyway, rant off.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Drama

More Romeo drama, even.  The poor boy just cannot get a break this year.  As it turns out, he probably has a bladder infection now.  We caught it early - that is, I suppose, one benefit to letting him "hide out" in our bedroom at night to keep him away from his nemesis, Bit, and that is that we hear how many times he uses the litter box.  And when he is in the litter box every twenty minutes, scratching away, I tend to investigate.

I almost had a pet cat die when I was a child because we didn't catch the infection early - he was partially an outdoor cat and usually did his business outside.  And Jeff used to work at a vet's office, so we both were very motivated to get him to the vet as soon as we realized that there was a problem..  which unfortunately was the wee hours of the morning on Sunday.  Most of you will probably be able to identify with this - most vet's offices do not appear to be open on Sunday at ALL, including ours.

After some fast and furious internet searching, we did find a cat clinic that was open on Sunday, but it didn't open until 9:00 AM.  When Romeo started biting at himself in pain, we decided that it couldn't wait that long (it probably could have, in hindsight, but better safe than sorry.)  Jeff took him to the emergency vet at 5:00 in the morning.  I stayed home, but only because someone was going to have to take care of Argos shortly, and as we have learned from hard-won experience, sometimes the wait at an emergency vet's office can be long, just like the human ER.

They found that his urinary troubles were probably only caused by stress, gave us some pain killers for him, and sent him home.  They said that if he wasn't back to normal in a day, to take him back to a vet.

Well, this morning, he was still having trouble.  So Jeff took him to our regular vet's office as soon as they opened.  THEY found traces of infection, so gave us some antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory to give him.

We haven't seen much of a change yet, but the drugs haven't even been in his system for 24 hours.  So please keep your fingers crossed for us...  poor Romeo really needs to have a nice, calm week, and I'm sure that the pain of a bladder infection is NOT helping.

Oh, and the vet said that stress would not help with the situation, even if it was ultimately an infection.  So what could Romeo possibly be stressed out about?  Well, let's see...

For six years, he was in a home.  This year, suddenly, there is a human baby, which wails loudly all hours of night and day, and suddenly no one seems to have time for him anymore.  Overnight, he goes from "favored" status to "mere pet" status, and he doesn't like it.

He tries to show how upset he is by not using his litter box.  Instead of taking the hint and starting to adore him again, this only makes the humans yell at him, and is the cause of much shouting and tears.  And then they pack him up and take him somewhere... and abandon him.  At this place, there are dozens, hundreds of other animals, dozens of unknown humans, and he is forced to stay in a cage.  All around him he can smell these strange animals, and can smell their fear.  He doesn't stay in the shelter for terribly long before being packed off to a PETCO, where by day he is put into an enclosure with other cats, and at night has to go back into a cage that is too small for him.

He gets sick, and suddenly the humans want to start forcing him to take medicine every day.

Two people come and put him in a carrier and drive him clear across town to take him to a house that smells like other cats and dogs.  He does get his own room for awhile, but then he's forced to share a litter box with these strange cats.  One particular cat really has it in for him, and attacks him every chance she gets.

Oh, and his food is changed, and then lessened as he is forced into a diet.

Yeah, I think Romeo has had a craptastic year.  If only he could know that this really is a "soft place to land" if we can just get him past that initial hump.

To end this post on a more positive note, I do think he's feeling a bit better tonight.  He isn't in the litter box constantly, for one, and he seemed brighter and more alert when I went in to see him when I got home from work.  Last night, I could tell he didn't feel well, because he really only reacted to us if we had something that he wanted, like food.  He didn't even sleep in the bed with us, like he usually does.    So I'm cautiously allowing myself to think that he's improving.

No pictures today.  It just seems wrong to take pictures of him when he's feeling poorly, and as this post is about him and not the others, posting pictures of them seems inappropriate as well.   So... more to come later!

Friday, August 20, 2010

What a week...

It's been a decent week, I guess, but oh so tiring!  We have finally gotten Romeo completely over his stomach issues.  He's also on a diet, since he is about 4 pounds overweight.

Jeff spoke to the vet about the issue while we had him there about the stomach upset...  and we learned something new!  Contrary to what we've always believed, the vet reported that cats just do not lose weight on a diet of dried cat food.  Huh.  So her recommendation was Fancy Feast canned food, but only the kinds that are gluten-free.  This diet is also on the Web, which means that we were probably the last to know about this.

The diet seems to agree with him, though I think he would be a bit happier if there was a bit MORE food.  Anyway, I think that he's already lost a tiny bit of weight, and looks very handsome.  Pictures later this weekend, as he was absolutely refusing to pose for them tonight!  (By running into dark corners that the flash on my iPhone can't penetrate.)

Argos has learned that people food is way better than his dried food, and goes to great lengths to get it.

One of the ways that we indulge Charlotte is that after she gets her medication, she gets a small saucer of milk.  Yes, you're not supposed to give your cats milk; it's not healthy for them, it makes them fat, and sometimes they have a hard time digesting it.  But Char doesn't seem to have any digestion issues with it, and is terminally ill with congestive heart failure.  So she gets all of the milk that she wants because I simply do not have it in me to tell her "no."  SO... justifications aside, she gets milk a couple of times a day.  Argos is too much of a gentleman to chase Charlotte away from her milk; he has learned the "No Kitty" rule very well.  However, he is NOT above looming over her and watching her drink it.  If he looms long enough, and drools on her back a little, she will get indignant and leave.  And you can't blame a boy for drinking a saucer of milk if it doesn't belong to anyone, right?  RIGHT?

Argos, looking innocent.  He'd never steal milk from a sick cat.  Really.

And then this morning, I was making sandwiches for Jeff and I...  I'd just gotten out the bread and he darted in, grabbed the heel of the loaf from beneath my elbow, and had it gone and into the living room and eaten before I could have even thought to take it away from him.  Now THAT behavior is going to have to be nipped in the bud, though I admit that I did nothing to help the training process this morning by dissolving into fits of giggles.

That's most of the drama for the week.  I think that Annie is starting to calm down a LITTLE.  (Those of you who were reading my blog back when we first got Romeo might remember that she was extremely clingy, demanding my attention all hours night and day.)  She's still somewhat demanding, and is thrilled if she can get me to pet her, but at least she's not slapping me with clawed feet to get my attention anymore.
Not the most current picture, but I like it.  I call it  "Annie Loaf."
Bit is still herself, which means that she is sweet as pie, until Romeo enters the picture, and then she becomes part demon.  We're going to work with them together some more this weekend.  I sometimes feel guilty, and think that they would probably get along a lot better if we were able to be home more and do these supervised "sessions" more often.  But, one does have to work to pay the mortgage and feed all of these creatures.

Bit, looking regal.  And fluffy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Now Versus Then

It seems to me that we do things MUCH differently with pets than we used to, back when I was a kid...  I don't know if it was different all around, or it was just different for me because I was out in the country, surrounded by farm families...

1.  Vaccinations -  I do not remember having as many vaccinations for our animals.  Sure, there were shots for rabies and distemper, but I don't remember anything for parvo, kennel cough, and I certainly don't remember ever giving our dogs heartworm preventative every month

Of course the way that we do it now is MUCH better.  Heart worm preventative is an awesome thing, since I've now read blogs that describe what happens when a dog gets heartworms.  So much better to keep it from happening altogether!  Fortunately for all concerned, our childhood dogs never got them.

2.  Vet trips - We simply did not take an animal to the vet unless it was an absolute necessity, and sometimes not even then.  I can remember my brother's dog getting hit by a car.  We found her in the ditch, and brought her home and carried her to my brother's room to sleep through the night.  I know that none of us were entirely certain that she would survive.  Now, I would not hesitate to take her to the all night emergency vet.  Then...  the all night emergency vet was 60 miles away, and no doubt was an expense that we couldn't afford at that time.  She got better, being a hardy little thing, but that was all due to God and nature, and her devotion to my brother, and not due to any medical attention.

3.  We kept that cats outside, and did not let them in.  No matter that we generally had one a year disappear, probably due to being eaten by coyotes.  That's just the way that things were done out there in the country; cats lived fast and died young.  I was always saddened when one disappeared, but I didn't grieve deeply over it.

Contrast that with the way that I am with my cats NOW.  They never ever go outside, since we're in a busy neighborhood.  If one of them disappeared, I would spare no expense or effort in trying to find her (or him) and would be devastated if one was lost forever.

4.  Dogs were allowed to roam.  Mostly this was because we were seriously out in the middle of nowhere, on a dirt road that was off of a gravel road.  It's not like it was a common occurrence for us to have enough traffic to risk them getting hit by a car (ignoring the fact that it did happen once, as mentioned above.)  Even my Pekingese was allowed to roam outside all day without supervision (though if we left the house, I insisted that he be put inside.)  The dogs were happy with this, though it wasn't without some danger to them.  I would frequently look outside and spy my Peke out in the horse pasture, snuffling in the ground in between two half-ton horses.  And after I'd gone off to college,  my Peke died because a neighbor's much larger dog came up into our yard and killed him...

Now, Argos is never left outside to roam.   Some of that is because I'm in the city, but he will never be left unattended at all, even after we get our fence (two more weeks and counting.)  Maybe less freedom for him, but it will certainly contribute to his longevity.

5.  Ways of dealing with nuisance animals.  I remember, after we first moved to the country when I was eleven years old, an old farmer looking at my Pekingese and nodding thoughtfully.  "You know," he told me, "There's a danger when dogs start runnin' in packs.  They get MEAN when they run in packs, and they do bad things.  They do bad things like chasing cattle and eating people's chickens."  He nodded sagely, as if he'd gotten Wicket's measure.  "You know how we deal with dogs that start packin' up?"  I shook my head, no doubt wide-eyed.  "We shoot em'," he said.  "So you watch out for your dog. Don't let em' run in packs."

While I'm fairly certain that there was NEVER any danger of Wicket the Pekingese joining up with a wild biker gang of half-feral dogs, the farmer was not lying.  Dogs that interfered with a farmer's animals were shot.  Oh, the farmer MIGHT call the owners the first time it happened, if he knew who the dog belonged to. But that kind of behavior wasn't tolerated.

I can not even imagine having a neighbor threaten to shoot my dog now.  Sure, they might call Animal Control on us if we were somehow causing a nuisance, but there would be no shooting.  And if there was, it would be such an extraordinary event that it would make all of the local papers.

I would say, on the whole, that I prefer the way that things are done NOW.  Many of those farmers, I'm positive, would accuse me of coddling my animals and treating them better than some people treat their human children.  And I would have to agree with them.  I DO coddle my animals, and am completely and utterly unrepentent about it.  And I probably do treat them better than some people treat their children, though that to me doesn't say anything bad about me, rather about some parents.

So what do you think?  Is it a Now versus Then thing, or is it more a City versus Country thing?
I won an award!  That's awesome!
My new friends at Kirbypuppy: Life with an AussieScratch My Belly:  A Closer Look at the Wonderful Dogs of Paws,  I Still Want More Puppies, and Arwen's Pack awarded me with this.  Thank you so much!  If you haven't already, you should check out the links to their blogs! 

So the award requires that thank those that awarded me, done above!  And also that I tell you 7 things about myself (and I'm assuming, by extension, my animals.)  So... here goes.

1.  I have had animals for most of my life... most of them dogs and cats, but I've also had horses, ducks, a goat, and even two bottle-fed pigs, runts of the litter.    My husband and I did have to go through about a decade with no animals, as it was difficult to get a pet-friendly apartment, but neither one of us wants to go back to that arrangement, EVER.

2.  My cat Charlotte drew blood on me when I tried to pet her at the shelter the day that I rescued her.  Obviously, I took her home anyway, but I have to admit that I felt some trepidation and hoped that I wasn't making a mistake.

3.  When we went to meet Argos for the first time (then named Willie) I was 99% certain that we were not going to adopt him.  That evaporated away within minutes of meeting him.

4.  Argos has a "thing" for objects or animals that are white.  I would never get a white cat with him in the same house, though he's perfectly cat-safe otherwise.  But he'll want to chase white poodles when we see them out and about, and he likes white socks, washcloths, stuffed animals...

5.  I have a tough time saying "no" to the animals.  Which is probably why they come to ME demanding/asking for treats.  If I ever got a dog that needed a firm hand to keep it in line, I would have a LOT of work on myself to do.

6.  I would rather stay home with my husband and the animals than do nearly anything else.  It makes me feel whole and content.

7.  I have dreams of helping animals find homes, but am not entirely certain of what to do about it yet.  For now, I donate money whenever possible to groups that DO know what they're doing, and I volunteer some of my time for Steel City Greyhounds when they need someone to do public meet & greet type events.

Okay, there's my 7 things.  Now I'm to pass the award on to 15 blogger friends.  There are so many good ones to choose from!  I've conveniently linked them all below for easy browsing.  If you're one of my awardees (both brand new and not so new) I know that I don't say much on your blogs (I am somewhat shy, despite the irony of being a blogger) but  please do know that I thoroughly enjoy your writing. 

Tales and Tails:
Greyhounds CAN Sit:
24 Paws of Love:  (that's a lot of paws!)
Bocci's Beefs:
Whippet Tales: 
Diary of an Adopted Dog:
Hound Girl:
A Blog From the Dog House:
I Still Want More Puppies:
The Army of Four Digest:
The Portuguese Water Blog:
Margs Pets:
Arwen's Pack:
Just Cats - Professional In-Home Cat Sitting Service:

Everyone enjoy the rest of your weekends!  I'm off to accomplish Part 4 of the award acceptance, which is to inform my 15 choices about their awards...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quick Romeo Update

I will make a longer update tomorrow on the state of the carnivores, but did want to hop on to report that Romeo is doing much better.

I believe he passed his hairball Thursday night, because after that, his symptoms went away and he seems to be feeling MUCH better.  In fact, he seems to be doing better than I've ever seen him.  My guess is that he was already dealing with this problem when we got him at the end of May.  He had diarrhea then too, but the shelter vet gave us some anti-diarrheal and that was the end of that.  But if he's had too much hair in his intestines all along... poor guy.  No wonder he's been grumpy.

He's more alert, more active, and more interested in his surroundings.  He's still not certain of what to do with Bit, but she seemed a little less willing to attack him for no reason at all.  Maybe she senses that he's feeling better and may be more likely to wallop her?  I hate to wish violence upon her, but I almost wish that he would, to teach her some manners!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Alas, Romeo is very sick this week.  He's thrown up every night for the past three nights, and has bad diarrhea a few times a day.  I can hear the chorus of voices now, "Get thee to a vet, get thee to a vet right NOW."  Never fear, gentle readers, we've already taken that step, Monday evening,  in fact.  One night of being up with him cleaning up vomit and diarrhea was enough to convince me that we needed help, NOW!

We were told that he PROBABLY is trying very hard to dislodge a very large hairball, or a lot of hair is agitating his intestines.  Yuck?  I find that very distressing - especially since we've been pretty good about making sure that all of the cats except Annie get Petromalt twice a week.   (And the only reason that Annie doesn't get it is that she refuses to even consider eating Petromalt.  Ah well, she's very short-haired anyway.)  Romeo is still eating and drinking food, and is alert, so the vet is not particularly concerned.

But he threw up again last night, and has had diarrhea a couple of times today.  If these symptoms have not started to abate by tomorrow morning, then we're going to call the vet a second time, to at least inquire...  is it NORMAL for a cat to be this sick over a hairball for this many days?  Do any of you know?

I'm very worried about him.  I've had cats for most of my life, and they've all had hairballs from time to time, but I've never seen anything like this before.  I don't want for him to get too dehydrated - though he is an enthusiastic water-drinker, which I'm sure will help with that.

Poor Romeo!  I'll keep you posted on what the vet tells us, but for now we're just trying to keep him in plenty of cool, clean water, and have food in front of him whenever he wants it.  He's been staying in our bedroom, in the air-conditioning to at least spare him this miserable heat and humidity.  Also to spare him the wrath of his sister Bit.  :)

I think he's actually quite smug that he has the best room in the house, and he's greatly enjoying sleeping at our feet on the bed.  Now, if we can just have a night where he does NOT jump down and start puking on the floor, I will feel that everything is improving...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Help, the Cats are Driving me Crazy!

Well, that's not entirely fair.  It's mostly Bit and Romeo that are responsible for getting on my nerves this weekend.  That is nothing new, unfortunately...

We got Romeo over Memorial Day weekend, and he and Bit have STILL not managed to work out a truce  between themselves.  Charlotte and Annie, while not best friends with him, can at least be relied upon to not actively try to  upset him.  I've been told by many people that these things sometimes take a little more time, particularly if you have strong-willed cats, and that it may be a year or a little more before they start to get along.  Dear God.  I think that I will have completely lost my sanity before a year is up...

Truth be told, they're doing marginally better with one another MOST of the time.  But then violence will erupt from seemingly nowhere.  This morning, Jeff and I went racing upstairs when we heard loud noises to find them fighting in the litter box, and Romeo's bowl of food had been knocked out of the window and kibble had been scattered everywhere.  What the heck, cats?

We separated them so that they would cool down... which basically meant carting Bit out of our bedroom and shutting Romeo in there by himself.  (And no, that wasn't punishing Romeo; he enjoys hanging out in our bedroom and gazing out the window, and really gets affectionate with us when the door is shut and none of the other cats are around.)

So the schedule that we've been keeping lately is that Romeo is either shut into our bedroom or the guest room alone if we have to leave the house.  When we're home, I try to open the door, because he simply must learn to socialize with other cats if he is going to be completely happy here.  I'm not someone who believes in getting RID of a cat because there isn't harmony in the house, but I do hope that someday we'll be able to let them all out together without worrying about whether someone is going to eat someone else's face off.   It will also be nice to no longer have a litter box in our bedroom  - it's something that I always swore that we wouldn't do, but it does seem to be the best way right now.  Sigh. So I'll endure.  I just don't want to be one of those "cat ladies" that goes out in public smelling like stinky cat litter!

I'm reminded of the days when we, perhaps momentarily insane from signing the paperwork to buy our first house, got three cats in the first week that we moved in.  Annie and Bit got along amazingly well:  Bit was still a kitten and therefore adaptable, and Annie was only a year old, so little more than a kit herself.  She was always very gentle with Bit, and they're fast friends to this day.  Charlotte, on the other hand, hated having to share a house with other cats.  She never wasted an opportunity to be nasty to the others, especially Annie, to whom she had taken a particular dislike.  I remember despairing at the time, worried that they wouldn't get along EVER, and that to restore peace to the house we would be forced to find a new home for one of them.  Well, they still aren't the best of friends, but tolerate each other very well, and can even be on the same bed with one another without hissing and fighting.

And then it took over three months for Bit to even want to be in the same room as Argos, she was so terrified of him.  I can remember despairing then too, thinking that it was horrible that she was so frightened most of the time, and OMG DID I MAKE A MISTAKE IN GETTING A DOG?    Just the other day I glanced over and saw her sitting next to sleeping Argo's head, looking down at him with curiousity.  And she definitely is in the same room with him every day, and has lost her fear of him (though maintained an appropriate wariness.)

So there's hope for Bit and Romeo.  I know this, but sometimes when you're in the middle of Kitty WWIII, it's hard to remember that.

Oh, and a footnote to all of that, because it has nothing to do with Bit versus Romeo, but is just about Bit herself...  she woke me up a little after 3:00 this morning, yowling out in the hall and scratching at the door.   I was in the bedroom alone, because Jeff had slept on the couch that night... because he'd had to report to work at 3:30 AM and didn't want to disturb me when it was time for him to go. I realized that he'd probably already left for work, maybe just minutes before.  I shambled out into the hallway sleepily, only to have Bit, crying constantly, escort me downstairs to show me the empty couch.  Yep, Jeff had left for work. Poor thing, she had no idea of why her Daddy got up in the middle of the night and left without telling anyone.  I guess that she just wanted me to know about it!  She calmed down after I snuggled her for awhile, and allowed me to go back upstairs and catch a couple more hours of sleep...

Tell me why having animals is not like having kids?  Because I'm seeing a lot of similarities.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Animal Nicknames

Does everyone else have 10 billion nicknames for their animals, or is it just us?  You would think that it would be confusing for them, but really, it doesn't seem to phase them at all.  The only one that seems to get annoyed about it is Charlotte, but that could just be because she seems annoyed about oh-so-many things.  So here are the nicknames that have grown over time, and yes, I do know that some of them are ridiculous.  Note:  most of these are NOT my fault.  They are my husband's!

Gummy (due to the fact that she looks like a gumdrop when sitting.)

Annie Sue
Annie Sue-Noodle
The Noodle
Noo-noo butt

Bittles and skits
Bit-butt (do you see a trend here?)
Princess Pretty Pants
Pretty Pretty Princess

The 'Gos
Greyhound boy

Big Love

So as you can see, Argos and Romeo are getting "slighted" in the nickname department.  I don't imagine that will last for long... remember that we had "the girls" for over a year before we got these two.  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Walking in the Park

The weekend wasn't ALL renovation (thank God, I say.)  Sunday morning, I woke up and decided that this was the day that I was going to take Argos to Frick Park, which boasts a fenced in off-leash area.  (This is a somewhat new development, I believe.  Last year everyone kept telling us that it was only fenced on three sides, which is worthless with a sighthound.)

It didn't disappoint!  You do have to walk on the main trail for a bit before you get to it, which means that some dogs (those without stamina, like Mr. Argos, for example) are tired before you even get to the part where you're allowed to take off the leash.

Another view of the park...  Pennsylvania forests are so pretty.  Here I used to think that it was nothing but coal and steel...

The off-leash area itself isn't quite as scenic,  but that's probably because it is beaten down by dogs running across it constantly.

As it turns out, dog owners in Pittsburgh are slackers (just kidding) because at 8:00 Sunday morning, we were the ONLY ones there.  Though I did start to see more being brought in as we were leaving.  I think Argos was a little weirded out by being alone there. He was much more clingy than he usually is when he realized that he can run.

Argos ran the fenceline, and then seemed like he was tired, so I decided that it was time to go.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the cats were exercising too... really, they were.

Romeo decided to sleep on his side for awhile...

And then on his back...

Meanwhile, Charlotte claimed the guest bed.

While Annie engaged in good grooming habits...

And Bit dozed on the stairs.  

They seemed so puzzled when they saw that Argos and I were up and active!  What manner of strange demented creature would want to do that?