Tag Archives: Cats

Feeling Guilty about Not Feeling Guilty

Buddy got loose earlier and took off around the neighborhood. The young men living across the street helped chase him down. He originally was just marking the neighborhood when he startled a group of kittens. One of the kittens was too slow and he pounced on it. I don’t remember shouting at him, although I’m sure I did. All I remember thinking was, I’ve got to get the cat out of his mouth. I already had his collar, so I reached around and plugged his nostrils. A couple seconds later he dropped the cat and I was able to leash him and pull him away.

The kitten was injured, but it was difficult to tell how much of it was injury and how much was shock. It was barely moving it’s back legs. The young men examined it, but we couldn’t tell the damage. There were some puncture wounds and some blood, but I didn’t get a good look because I was keeping Buddy back. By that time he had calmed down and was sitting politely.

I made a show of lecturing him. I knew he didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. He did what was natural–it ran so he chased. I felt a bit guilty that he attacked a cat that could belong to someone, but not necessarily that he attacked a cat. I don’t really actually know about cat property laws. I know the momma cat had a collar, so I suppose the kittens are thereby owned. However, the property of that the cats were on was not actually their home.

Anyway, we left the kitten when its mom started walking back toward us. I knew the determined look in her eyes and I also knew that we needed to go before the momma cat jumped the fence and tagged us. We backed away and walked home.

I kept saying that I felt bad. The young men kind of shrugged it off. He’s a dog and he chases cats. Some people have cat killers. In fact I think one of them said that he might have a cat killer. These things happen.

I did feel guilty, but it was because I didn’t feel guilty. Even though I said that I felt bad, I really didn’t. I silently agreed with the guys and I felt so bad that I didn’t feel bad.

I know now what he’s capable of and I’m going to make sure that this doesn’t happen again in the future. I’m going to make sure the front door is shut at all times and we’re going to work on recall. That’s the best that I can do.

Still, I feel like I need to be lectured, yelled at, maybe someone demand money from me. I feel like I need to be punished for being a negligent owner, for not watching my dog more closely. I suppose though that the worst punishment that I could ever get is the punishment that I’ve already given myself.

I don’t know if this blog post made any sense. I’m still trying to make sense of it. Or rather I’m trying to make sense of my feelings, my lack of remorse. I guess I’m also surprised that Buddy, despite being focused on killing the kitten, did not turn around and try to bite me. Once I had him under control, he was under control. He never tried to get back to the cat. It was weird.

I wonder if maybe my reaction, or lack thereof, could have been why he calmed down so quickly. I stayed calm, focused on what I needed to do, and did it. This is kind of a feat for someone who suffers from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and worrying fits.

I don’t know…

I normally don’t ask for comments, but this time I am. Feel free to lecture me or whatever. What would you have done in this situation? Have you been in this situation? Let me know.

Until next time, don’t chase any cats.

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All Wrong?

I probably have explored this thought in the past on this blog, but I want to explore it again and that’s how dogs view us vs how cats view us. Current opinion believes that dogs see us as pack members and some even go as far as to say that dogs see us as their Alphas. Cats, on the other hand, see humans as lesser beings; their servants. Sometimes I believe this, but other times I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong.

Cats scorn humans. If the cat doesn’t like you, the cat won’t come to you…if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, cats will scratch you. Think about it though, cats don’t just do that to humans, they do that to other cats as well. Cats exhibit an elegant disdain for…well everyone.  Human beings are not special. Cats treat humans the same way they treat their own kind.

The event that made me realize that cats might not see humans beings as lesser/different creatures is when my husband’s cat used to go into heat. If scratched just right, she would present her bum to just about anyone be it a human male, human female, other cat, or a four month old Shih Tzu puppy. She was indiscriminate. A female dog, on the other hand, only presents her bum to dogs.

Dogs are supposedly man’s best friend. They’re also woman’s best friend and a single person’s wingdog. Thanks to human intervention, they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Basically, there is a type/breed of dog no matter who you are.

The interesting thing about this human-dog relationship is that, unlike cats, it is not based on equality. Dogs do NOT see us as other dogs. I mean, they even invented a language in order for us to be able to understand them. Yeah, dogs bark at each other, but wolves howl at each other to show unity and to warn off other wolves. Most of the time, though, communication between dog-dog or wolf-wolf is primarily based on body language. Not so between human-dog.

Dogs bark at us to convey a bunch of things. A certain bark means “I want to go outside” while another bark means, “I want to cuddle with you” or “Pay attention to me.” Those who live with dogs know the difference between these barks. In fact, those who don’t live with dogs can tell the difference between some barks.

Those who live with multiple dogs will also know that housemate dogs rarely “speak” to each other. My dogs will growl when playing or when another dog gets near the place she has hidden all of the toys, and occasionally two will get into a barking match, but for the most part, they rarely ever make audible noises. That’s usually reserved for me.

Now, I’m not trying to start a debate between which is better: Dogs or Cats. I mean, it’s obviously dogs… JUST KIDDING. Don’t hurt me. I have no qualms with cats. It’s just that I spent a year and a half living with up to four cats which meant that their hair clogged all of the air filters and in turn clogged my ability to breathe. It left a bitter spot in my mind that I’m still trying to get over with. But, I still love cats. I just don’t want one.

Anyway, I digress.

The purpose of this entry was to make us reexamine our relationship with our cats and dogs, especially our viewpoint of cats. To dogs, we are another species and that called for a vocal language. To cats, we just might be funny-looking, two legged cats. So next time, when a cat scorns you, don’t take it personally. The cat would do that to another cat. As for dogs, they may actually be the ones who are plotting to take over the world.

Until next time, see how many barks you can decipher and let me know.

 

P.S. I should give credit where credit is due. I got some of this information from: Dogs Decoded, The Wonder of Dogs, And Man Created Dogs, Why We Love Cats and Dogs, The Science of Dogs, Dogs, and many other wonderful documentaries. Also The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Social Life of Dogs both by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. There are many others that I don’t remember and one of these days I’ll compile a bibliography of everything.


My Thoughts on Rescued Animals

*Disclaimer: I was a child in the early nineties, so my perception may or may not have been the actual perception of the adult world.*

Back in the early nineties, I never heard much about animal overpopulation. Yeah, there was talk about spaying and neutering, but I remember it being an expensive procedure and often female dogs in heat were just kept separate from the rest of the animals. Generally a female was spayed only in an emergency and males weren’t spayed. It was a fact of life that unaltered males roamed.

Generally pets were acquired from friends, or there was a sign in front of someone’s house announcing “Free Puppies” or “Free Kittens,” or people adopted strays. Those with money (definitely not my family) got dogs from breeders, those that didn’t have money, but still wanted purebred dogs got them from “breeders” (or puppy mills or backyard breeders as we call them today). Those with “Pedigree” dogs did have the bragging rights and those with mutts just shrugged and hoped that their dog was better than the pedigrees.

This is where my family got our dogs: from family friends, as strays, from oops litters of our own and others, and from breeders. Despite their origin, our dogs were family and were treated as such. We didn’t think about the fact that taking in a stray was considered a “rescue” or was “saving a life.” We just saw a dog with physical and personality characteristics that we liked and the dog became ours.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I was feeling the pressure to “rescue” because my family had never rescued animals in the past. Then as I read more and more literature, I realized that the term “rescue” is a broad term. The accepted term is used when someone adopts from a shelter or rescue, but I’ve seen people refer to animals they’ve taken in off the street, or those adopted off of Craigslist, or those taken in from a bad neighbor or former tenant.

That made me think about all the animals in the past and some of them could be deemed as “rescues.” Cujo, our Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix. He, along with a few other feral dogs, lived on a housing development construction site. My dad and the other workers fed this group of dogs to keep them from starving. Cujo, being a puppy, came home with my dad. Aztec and Muffin, brother and sister cats that we got from the shelter during the shelter’s kitten boom period. Penny, a rat terrier adopted from a shelter in OKC. I also got numerous rats from the same shelter I got Penny from. Zip and Bella, two Blue Heelers that probably got lost, but no one came looking for them. Others were Shaffer, Ares, a couple male rats that were abandoned at Petsmart, and so on. All of these animals can be deemed rescues…

But you know what? I never considered them rescues. They’ve always just been family members. When we adopted Ares we got a packet with coupons and on the packet it thanked us for saving a life. Saving a life? I never thought I was actually saving a life. In fact, Ares came from a no-kill shelter. So how could we save his life if he was in no danger of losing it? I realize that if I think too hard then my brain will explode.

I guess I have a different view on bringing animals into my home. They’re my family. I don’t like to look at where I got them from. I don’t want to know about their past. Their past doesn’t matter to me; only their future…with me.

To be honest, I hate the pressure that society puts on us pet owners to rescue animals because if you don’t you’re a heartless person. They don’t say that, but it is implied. Really, it is. Next time you watch those adoption commercials, pay close attention to what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.

I love my animals equally and I don’t feel that my rescued animals love me more or less than those I got from breeders. I can’t speak for everyone, though.

I apologize if this was a rambling mess. I just wanted to write out my thoughts. I also apologize for my long period of silence. I was ill for three weeks and in bed for most of the time I was sick.

So, until next time save a life and rescue a human. They will love you for it.


My Lovely Allergy

I thought I only had a mild allergy to cats, but I realize now that it’s not so mild. In fact, I found out that a person’s allergy to cats only gets worse the more they’re exposed to cats. There are four cats in our house right now. Yep, I’m kind of miserable.

Now, I can’t even pick up a cat without starting to sneeze. My eyes sting. My throat hurts.

Getting rid of the cats isn’t an option. That’s what my husband told me. The only thing he’s willing to do is let the two cats we’re taking care of go back to their owners. As for our two cats…let’s hope that I don’t become any more allergic to them. I don’t want it to become a “it’s me or the cats” thing.

That’s all I have to write now. My head hurts and my eyes are stinging. Sigh. Stupid allergies.

Until next time, keep the tissues and allergy medicine nearby.


A Few Reason Why I Don’t Like Cats

I used to like cats. Perhaps I only say that because the only cats I’ve owned were outdoor cats. They came around at mealtime and when they wanted attention, but for the most part they would find a sunny spot somewhere around our house and sleep the day away. Thanks to living with indoor cats, I’ve been able to observe their quirky behavior, and I’m beginning to not like them as much.

Currently I live with four cats. For those of you who have read about them before, I apologize. There’s Holly who is an unfixed Calico Persian; she’s about six or seven. Muddy is a fixed brown, gold, and red domestic short hair; she’s about fourteen or fifteen. Surami is a Calico kitten who is about four or five months. Finally, our foster cat Ashe, is a six or seven year old dilute Tortoiseshell cat; she’s also fixed.

The reason why I specified which cats are fixed and which ones aren’t brings me to the first reason why I don’t like cats. Unfixed female cats are annoying. They yowl all the time and they present their behinds to whatever creature passes by be it a male cat, male human, female human, or female puppy. After Holly tried to get my then four month old puppy to mate with her, I called Holly a Pup-o-phile. It was just disturbing. I think I ended up putting her in one of the bedrooms–the cat, not the puppy.

Nothing is safe with cats around. We can’t even put our take-out on the table because the cats will jump up there and get into the bags. Yeah, my dogs have been known to get into bags of food, but two of my dogs are too small to reach the table and my other dog doesn’t counter-surf. Last month when we were cat-sitting, the cat we were looking after jumped up on the table and pulled off some pizza and hotwings my husband brought home. She proceeded to open one of the personal pizza boxes and eat the pizza. Yeah, she got into big trouble.

Lately, Holly has been allowing Surami to nurse. Holly used to be a breeder, but she hasn’t had kittens in several years. When we got Surami, she was eight weeks old. Now, had she started nursing on Holly right away I would have understood. Nope. She waits until she’s half grown. It’s disturbing to watch. It’s disturbing to see Holly encourage this kitten that is almost as big as her to nurse from her. Since the kitten has her adult teeth, she is very rough with Holly’s nipples, to the point that they’re sensitive. However, Holly won’t discourage the kitten. We have to separate them, but somehow they always find each other. They’re like opposite ends of magnets.

My husband and I would love to get a love seat or couch, but can’t because the cats will scratch on it. One of my chairs has battle scars from the cats constantly scratching on it. Once Holly looked directly at me and started scratching on the chair. Yep, she got into big trouble. It’s just really annoying because I want nice things, but as of yet I can’t have them.

Kittens have lots of energy and get into everything. Sometimes it’s really cute, like when my mom put Surami in a box and she and my puppy played together. Surami would pop her head out, bat the puppy on the head, and then duck back in the box. It was so adorable. Other times it’s annoying like when she runs all around the house like something is chasing her. I’ve nicknamed her Spazzrami.

I could go on and on, but I think the above sums up my life with our cats. Yeah, I say I don’t like cats and it’s true, but every now and then one of the cats will do something so sweet or so adorable that my heart melts and I realize that my life wouldn’t be as interesting without them. Besides, they provide great ammunition for starting conversations with my husband, people at work, and random people who even seem to be interested.

Until next time…pull that food off the counter and blame it on the cat


Pet Parenthood

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.


Confession: We Have the Potential for Becoming Animal Hoarders

Yikes,

Right now living with us are two dogs and two cats soon to be three dogs and three cats. I’m the one who likes the dogs and my husband is the one who likes cats. Together we are two people who will probably be on TV one day for animal hoarding.

On our way to the animal shelter my husband and I talked about this. He said that neither one of us had a terrible experience to make us become “hoarders.” Though I’ve never had a traumatic childhood experience, dogs have always been there for me. They help me get out of bed when I’m having a major depression episode. They chill with me since now I’ve become a temporary house wife…and so on.

Honestly, I feel that if we’re able to afford these two new additions (which we are, I’ve already figured them into our budget) then I don’t think we’re animal hoarders yet. Besides, the city we live in has pet limits within the city limits and we’re not going to go over the limit…by much. 🙂

On a lighter note, my shy Blue Heeler had a breakthrough today. She and my Shih Tzu almost played today. She’s never even attempted to play with one of my other dogs before today. It was cute watching them play bow to each other…then they became dignified again and went about their business.

Sorry this is a short post. I’m a bit distracted. We’re watching a youtube video about how to make homemade apple cider. It’s a little late to think about apple cider. For the most part, the days here in central Oklahoma are getting warmer. Of course the evenings are still kind of cool…but I need to finish up my cider pouches before I even begin to decide to make homemade cider…not that I really want to appear that domestic, but it would sure be fun when winter rolls around again. Until then, I think I’ll make some ice tea, or lemonade, or…any other favored summer beverage.