Monday, June 30, 2008

Mean kitty

When I was in high school, I had two adorable Siamese cats. They were litter mates and the best of friends. They played together, slept together, licked each other, and were overall just adorable. Most of the pictures I have of them are of the two of them and not one or the other.

Since then I have been a strong advocate in the benefits of having two cats! I don't think I'd ever purposefully go back to one cat. So, when I finally graduated from college and was able to get some cats again, I decided to get two. And thus entered Lewis and Ebony. They are litter mates, but NOT the best of friends.

Lewis is the sweetest, most cuddly cat - with humans. With his sister, though, he's a little bully. They never, ever play together. He's more interested in chasing her and we often hear hissing. Perhaps they are playing together, but not in the same way that Koko and Yum Yum played.

One thing that Lewis does: a lot of times, when Ebony is laying somewhere asleep (for example, on the bed), Lewis will jump up and start attacking her until she gets up and leaves. He then curls in her spot. Sometimes he doesn't do the last part - it's like he just wants her to be displaced. So basically, he's a brother!

I don't like how he treats her, but I'm not sure how to "fix" it. I usually leave them alone because I want Ebony to learn to fight back, but she never fights back. I don't know if I should interfere or not. Sigh.

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Hang ten, doggy!

What do you do when you love to surf, and you also love your dog? Why take your pooch surfing with you!

I didn't know dogs could surf, but apparently this Saturday they proved me wrong. It was the 3rd annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition. Looks like everyone had a good time - about 60 dogs participated. There was even a heat/race (whatever you call it) with dogs and their owners on the same board at the same time! Now that's impressive.

According to the website, "All proceeds are being donated by Loews Coronado Bay Resort to its Good Neighbor Partner, Modest Needs Foundation, an inspirational organization that aims to prevent poverty before it begins."

I've never taken a dog to the ocean, but we did take Jera up to the Indiana Dunes last summer. I was really excited to run with her on the beach, play in the waves, etc. But, she had other ideas. She was a little scared of the water, and was just content to sit on the sand and enjoy people watching. Oh well!

Jera watching the waves

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Puppy mill rescue

I read this cool article tonight:

150 puppy mill survivors coming to Atlanta for adoption

I have talked about puppy mills a little bit before, and how bad they are for the animals. An excerpt from the article:
Video on the national organization's Web site showed dogs packed as many as 20 each into dog crates, or running loose throughout the building.

"There was a great deal of suffering," Haisley said. "Starvation. Dead animals. Animals that were shot. Bullets in the animals. Animals living in tiny cages on top of their own feces, and burns on their skin from urine and feces."

Puppy mills typically produce puppies at an industrial pace, linking mother and father together to breed in an endless cycle, eschewing humane care for the animals.

The Atlanta Humane Society is getting ready for all the puppies, making sure they are healthy enough to be adopted, and that they have good temperaments. So if you're in the Atlanta area and are looking for a puppy, definitely check out the Atlanta Humane Society!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008


A week or two ago, we got a phone call from someone up in the Nashville area. She had found a beagle, and was curious if it was Jera. She said they had tried to trap the beagle, but it succeeded in getting out again, but she was sure it would be back because she had been leaving food out for it.

My husband took the call and talked with her. He explained to her a little about what Jera looked like, including giving her a link to my Flickr pictures, and the lady promised to call back that evening. My husband also told the lady that she should take the beagle to a vet or shelter where they could scan for a microchip. We always tell people that when they find a lost dog, because we know that our information will show up if someone ever scans Jera.

Long story short, we never heard back from the lady. We called her the next day and left a message, but decided to leave it at that. No news is bad news in this case, we figured.

In the meantime, though, my mind was swirling over the possibilities. I didn't actually let myself believe it was Jera. It's been almost a year now, and I just can't believe that Jera will ever come home to us at this point. If she is still alive, then she has new owners now most likely.

But I did let myself wonder what would happen if it WAS Jera. How would that change our lives? The reasons we had for finding a new home for Zoey are still valid. We're still in an apartment, we're still intending to have kids sometime in the future, and we still want to be on one income which makes it harder to support a dog. However, Jera is our baby - we wouldn't turn her out to the cold. She would be 2 years old this summer, making some of our puppy issues no longer a concern. Some of the financial concerns with Zoey were one-time things (like spaying).

I don't know. In some ways, while I'd love to have Jera back and know what happened to her, I wonder if it's better that she's wherever she is and not here. I almost hope we never have to make that decision. Am I horrible for saying that? I just want what's best for her. Though I also just want my sweet baby back.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

On dogs and cats

I got this as an email forward and thought I'd share:

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years and canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:
Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:
  1. They live here. You don’t.
  2. If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That’s why they call it “fur”niture.)
  3. I like my pets a lot better than most people.
  4. To you, it’s an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn’t speak clearly.

Dogs and cats are better than kids…they eat less, don’t ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don’t hangout with drug-using friends, don’t smoke or drink, don’t worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don’t wear your clothes, and don’t need a gazillion dollars for college - and if they get pregnant, you can sell the children.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cats in heat

The comic I posted earlier today made me think of my cat Autumn, from my freshman year of high school. I remember it was the middle of summer, and Autumn was acting really strange. She was crying for no reason, rubbing up against things.

We figured out that Autumn was in heat. She had not yet been spayed, and we had waited too long. We then spent the next week locking her up in various rooms of the house. It was particularly hot that summer thanks to El Nino, and our house didn't have air conditioner. We had to keep all the doors and windows shut in the particular room where she was in order to keep her from escaping. I would try and spend as much time as I could with her, without going crazy being cooped up in a hot room! I remember at one time being in my parents' bedroom with her, and I was playing with her and trying to distract her from what her raging hormones were screaming. It was so hot, so I opened the window just a little. The bedroom was on the second story, and there wasn't anything handy to jump on, so I thought I was okay. A little while later, I left to use the bathroom, forgetting about the window. I came back and Autumn was nowhere to be found. About half an hour later we discovered her outside! We couldn't believe she had jumped from a second story window.

What is heat, exactly? It's part of the feline reproductive cycle in female cats where they are ready to mate. This happens for the first time around 4 or 6 months of age. It's pretty easy to tell if your cat's in heat. Some of the signs:
  • unusually affectionate
  • excessive time licking her genital area
  • loud vocalizations or "calling"
  • mating position: head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters and the tail raised and held to the side of the body
  • may also spray vertical surfaces with a strongly scented fluid

If your cat goes into heat, like Autumn did, here are the things you can do:
  • try to calm your cat; devote extra physical attention to her (petting, brushing, cuddling)
  • keep the cat busy; play with her and get her new toys (especially ones that will get her active, running and jumping)
  • a veterinarian can inject your cat with hormones or other medication that can help
  • if you let your cat out she will probably mate with a roaming or feral cat in the neighborhood

Of course, I have to say it. The best, best way to deal with a cat in heat is to get her spayed before she goes into heat! :-)

And what happened to Autumn? Well all our struggles were for naught. About two months later, she graced us with four precious kittens. And that is another story for another time.

We have never procrastinated getting our animals spayed and neutered again. :-)

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Dog saves boy

I love animals-rescuing-humans stories. :-) Here is one I saw today:

Dog Plucks Boy From Platte - KETV Omaha

An excerpt from the story:
A Labrador retriever lived up to its name Friday when he plucked his 12-year-old owner out of the Platte River, near North Bend...

"I was saying, 'Help, help,' and I saw him jump in, and then my head went under, and when I came up, he was right here by me," Tony said.

Tony said the dog swam out next to him and he grabbed the dog's neck. The dog swam back to shore with the boy in tow.

"It's something that I wouldn't have expected him to do -- to have the brains to do, I guess," said Tony's mother, Diane.

Diane Bailey said Jake isn't usually the smartest dog.

And the story even ended good for Jake the lab:
Jake got a very big bone for efforts and was forgiven for every hole he dug and all the mud he tracked into the house, the Baileys said.

See? Having animals is good for your health!

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To make you smile

Two comics for today:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

William Wordsworth on kittens

I hate that I am just posting poems, but I'm horribly overdue and I just got back from camping this weekend and I need to get to bed. Hopefully I can pump two more interesting posts out tomorrow. :-)

Anyways, here is another of my favorite cat poems. I'm only including part of it in this post; you can read the whole poem here.

--But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts;
First at one and then it's fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now--now one--
Now they stop; and there are none--
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian Conjuror;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics play'd in the eye
Of a thousand Standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the Crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Animal social network: ZooToo

So recently I signed up for ZooToo, a social network online for pets and their owners. I've been having a lot of fun with the site! I made a profile for myself and for each of my pets (Lewis, Ebony, and Zeke the fish).

The site is pretty cool. You can write reviews of pet products and people who offer services. I'm hoping to write some reviews for the cat food I've tried. I wrote a review about my vet, whom I love. (And are you looking for a good vet in your area? Might be a good place to check for one!) I also noticed that people can write reviews for trainers, pet-sitters, groomers, boarders, etc. I think this is all valuable stuff for pet owners.

As you write reviews and do other things (like invite people to join), you get points which raises your status and earns you benefits like free samples. It's a whole community of pet owners and lovers - so basically a Facebook for animals. I am excited to have a profile there, and I'd encourage other people who like social networking to check it out too! I wish I had discovered this back when I still had a dog because I feel like I could have found it valuable to meet other local dog owners and even beagle owners.

I haven't gotten a chance to explore every area, but I look forward to writing reviews, uploading pics, and swapping information with other pet lovers. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you an invite! Or check out ZooToo yourself. I highly recommend it. :-)

Feline facts

A few days ago, I got a book called "Cat-a-Logue: A Curiosity of Feline Facts" by Deborah Robertson. It is a fun little book, and I look forward to reading the rest of the book. In the meantime, here are some things I read that you might not have known:

Cats can see in very little light, but not complete darkness. They have reflective tissue at the back of their eyes to increase the amount of light reaching the retina. This helps it see, and it also makes the cat's eyes "glow" when light is flashed on them.

Cats can hear 5 times better than humans, and even better than dogs - though dogs can detect a greater range of pitch than cats. Cats can hear high-pitched sounds better than dogs (like, say, a squeak of a mouse). They can also hear the ultrasonic sounds that precede a noisy event which can result in them "forecasting" an event like an earthquake.

Cats have a fully developed sense of smell at birth, and a newborn kitten can tell its mother's nipple from another cats' by the scent. Cats have a better sense of smell than humans, but not better than dogs.

All of the adult cat's 30 teeth are designed to shred meat. The large "fangs" are used to break the necks of their prey. Cats chop their food instead of chewing it.

I'll try to post other cat tidbits as I come across them. I think they're interesting!

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