My husband wants a ferret. He’s not getting a ferret. Why? For six reasons: 1) Unfixed Calico Persian who is in heat right now (he claims he’s getting her fixed soon); 2) Fixed teenage Tabby who we’re catsitting while her owner is away at school, she’ll probably be with us until he graduates; 3) 8 week old Calico kitten, need I say more?; 4) 2 year old Blue Heeler; 5) 3 year old Shih Tzu; 6) 4 month old Shih Tzu. Top those reasons off with us having a small house–it’s even smaller with the animals–and him working 10-12 hours a day meaning I’m the primary caregiver of the animals, I’ve put my foot down. No ferret. Now I need to tell him that…again.
I’ve raised puppies and kittens before, and I didn’t think that adding a puppy and kitten would make a big difference. I mean, what’s one more dog and cat? There is a big difference between now and then. I forgot that puppies and kittens need constant supervision. Fortunately I have two older dogs who are more than willing to supervise the puppy, but the kitten is a different story and with her ability to disappear in a split second, I’m not always able to keep up with her (translation: I don’t want to chase a kitten around the house).
I don’t mean to sound like I’m bitter or overwhelmed. I really enjoy having the animals around. I guess sometimes I wish that there was someone else here to hang out with. Another pair of eyes when a kitten is around is very helpful. Perhaps I need to go out and make friends. Who knows, maybe I’ll make a friend if/when I begin working at Petsmart.
I have learned a lot from interacting with the animals, especially the dogs. I thought I knew a lot about dog behavior and perhaps compared to the average person I do know a lot, but I’ve realized that I know very little about dog behavior. Like yesterday, Shelby (Blue Heeler) got onto Molly (Shih Tzu puppy) for something. Molly screamed bloody-murder and I got onto Shelby. A little while later I looked the information and what I found made me feel so guilty. When an older dog disciplines a younger dog, one isn’t supposed to interfere with it unless the puppy’s life is threatened–which is extremely rare. The puppy makes it sound like the older dog is killing it, but most of the time the older dog just rolled the puppy over on its back. Basically the advice was that the puppy needs to learn to respect the older dog(s). So now I know that though I need to monitor to make sure Shelby isn’t hurting Molly, but I need to allow Shelby to discipline Molly because that’s the way she’ll learn the rules.
As for the kitten, well we’re working on using the litterbox consistently and not our blankets on the bed. We’re slowly getting there, but we’ve learned that until she uses the litterbox consistently, she needs to be put in the carrier at night rather than sleeping with us (she’s had several accidents where she confused the blankets with litter).
Holly (Persian) sometimes drives me nuts, especially when she’s in heat. She fancies herself the queen of the house. She has no qualms about eating the other animals’ food whether it is one of the cats or one of the dogs. I can’t leave dog food bags out or she’ll tear into them and eat the food. Sometimes I want to slap that smug Persian look off her face. Despite our love-hate relationship, I usually pet her whenever our paths cross. If she rolls on her back, I’ll rub her tummy. I’ll sometimes brush her if I don’t have anything else to do. What can I say? She’s adorable.
As for Muddy (Tabby), she is cool. She’s a true cat. She does her own thing and doesn’t care about what anyone else is doing. With the exception of her jumping on my dresser, Muddy and I get along quite well. She likes to jump in my lap and go to sleep. I don’t mind…much. The only problem is she’s heavy and likes to apply all of her weight on my bladder or hip.
Shelby is my Houdini dog and has the ability to squeeze out of her crate. After she got out and tore up the carpet in our spare bedroom (I refuse to believe she has separation anxiety even though her behavior says differently) I’ve learned to wire the cage door shut. I have learned that if I wear her out, I have no problems out of her. I’ll make sure that when I get my work schedule, I take her for a run before going to work.
I think I’ve rambled on enough about living with my animals. It’s an adventure. I wouldn’t change anything, except the age of the kitten. I sure wish she were a couple months older. Other than that, I really enjoy being a pet parent to six animals. It can be chaotic, frustrating, and noisy, but I have to say the rewards–good and bad–are endless.
Look for my Pet Parent memoir within the next few years because I’m positive that I’m going to write one.
Until next time…purr like someone is petting you and drool like no one is watching.