Animal Rights Awareness Week

In 1999, In Defense of Animals, an animal rights group, designated the third full week of June as Animal Rights Awareness Week. The goal is twofold:

  1. Help raise awareness of animal rights by educating the public about the basic needs of animals around the world
  2. Advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

The focus of Purry Home Companion is mostly on pets, especially cats. However, Animal Rights Awareness Week includes animals beyond pets: wildlife (highlighting the need for conservation), farm animals, puppy mills, zoos, circuses, animals used for medical research, and any other place where animals can be found. The point of Animal Rights Awareness Week (and hopefully this post) is to get you thinking and acting. Yes, it might be uncomfortable but ultimately worthwhile. Here are some “big picture” questions to consider:

  • What rights do animals have, legally speaking?
  • How can animals, including those slaughtered for meat, be treated ethically?
  • Does animal rights extend to only certain types of animals? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about animals used for entertainment purposes, such as in circuses and Sea World?
  • What is mankind’s effect on the environment, including the effect on animals?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

There has been a lot of discussion about the treatment of animals in circuses and amusement parks. Ringling Bros. retired its elephant and big cat acts shortly before the circus itself closed after 150 years of show business. The documentary Blackfish dressed down SeaWorld for its treatment of captive orcas. We are learning that animals have emotional, social, and psychological lives much more than we thought.

Here are a few more questions to think about:

  • Do you use pesticides that harm beneficial insects like honeybees?
  • Do the plants and animals in your garden negatively impact other wildlife? For example, if you have an outdoor cat, how does your cat’s hunting ability affect local bird populations?
  • How do you feel about testing cosmetics on animals? Do you wear cosmetics that have been tested on animals? Do you know what companies practice animal testing? Would you instead prefer to wear cruelty-free products?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

There are countless ways to raise awareness on behalf of animals. Remember to use your powers for good!

Adopt a Cat Month

Kitten season is here and so is Adopt a Cat Month! Did you know that more than 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters annually? Did you know that 860,000 cats are euthanized? Animals being euthanized due to lack of space and overpopulation makes me very sad, since this is a preventable problem. Spaying/neutering pets and catch-neuter/spay-release programs dramatically impact animal overpopulation issues in communities. If you want to add a fur person to your family, please, please consider checking out your local animal shelter or rescue group first. There are so many lovable cats (and dogs!) that deserve wonderful homes.

Moreover, this is Father’s Day weekend! Some shelters may run Father’s Day specials (read: discounts!) as well so be sure to ask about those too!

I’m so happy we adopted these two boys! I think they are quite handsome but I’m probably biased.

Cat-Dog Remembered

I wrote this anecdote one year ago. I want to continue sharing these stories about Boudicca and Nala as a way of remembering and celebrating their lives.

Whenever I come home, this is the reception I get:

Boudicca: *previously sound asleep the entire time I was gone, wakes up when I come in through the door* Mama! Mama! Why did you leave me? Mama! Love me, pet me, pick me up! Feed me! Is it lap time yet?

Me: No, Boudicca. It’s time to put away groceries.

Boudicca: Mama! Why are you not in your office? I’m quite concerned when you are in a different room than me. Is it lap time yet?

Me: *picks up 10 lb Slinky cat* Forgive me now?

Boudicca: Oh my person loves me. PURR. PURR. PURR. *goes googly and kneads in the air*

Two minutes later, Boudicca has passed out again. She has such a hard life, obviously.

Boudicca has still not realized that she is not a dog.

National Best Friends Day

Happy National Best Friends Day!

Take some time today to let your best friend and all your friends know how much they mean to you and that you appreciate and cherish their friendship! While you’re at it, pass along such warm regards to your pet friends too!

Ten months ago, Aaron and I fostered Garrus and Charlie. They had been introduced to one another at the shelter and immediately hit it off. We did not want to split them up and adopted them both. I might be biased but they really do have the cutest bromance under the sun. If one of them is at the vet or in another room, the other will search for his buddy (Charlie squeaks as he does this). They play games of chase, hide and seek, pounce, and batting toys around the house. Frequently we find them grooming or snuggling together, and it’s always adorable.

You can see why I bought them a dog bed. They need the extra room!

Googly Cat Remembered

I shared this little anecdote on Facebook one year ago, a few months before I started Purry Home Companion. It’s been three weeks since I said goodbye to Boudicca but she will always be my beloved Queen B in my heart.

This exchange happens nearly every time I open the sliding laundry doors…

Boudicca: Mama, whatcha doing? Can I help? I must be involved in every activity you do!

Me: Moving laundry.

Boudicca: I must explore this place for the 4,638th time! *sneaks in as I close the doors*…Um, Mama? Why is it dark in here? Mama? OMG I’ve been abandoned and imprisoned forever! I am now INCREDIBLY CONCERNED. Meow. Meow. Mreow. MROW.

Me: Boudicca, you’ve been in there for 2.3 seconds. Calm down. *I open the doors*

Boudicca: I must make epic prison break! I am FREE AT LAST! *darts out of laundry closet and proceeds with highly googly zoomies around the house*

In seventeen years, Boudicca hasn’t learned much and it’s still hilarious.

Garrus’ Follow Up Vet Visit

As you may remember, Garrus (aka Gentleman Cat) underwent extensive dental surgery two weeks ago. Dr R wanted to check how his mouth was healing and determine the next steps needed to make Garrus a healthy and happy cat.

Aaron and I were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get Garrus into the carrier in under 10 minutes and with remarkably minimal fuss. He wasn’t too happy about it and there was at least one pitiful meow saying “I want to lodge a complaint with the management about this!”. He didn’t meow at all in the car but let me know he was quite alarmed when we were in the vet office lobby. “Excuse me but there are dogs in here and I do not like this at all!” he seemed to say. Thankfully we were put in a room lickedy-split and instantly the complaints stopped.

When a tech came in to ask me questions, I told her that he has been eating, hasn’t displayed any lethargy, and has not vomited or had any diarrhea. In general he eats about 1 can of wet food a day but frequently when we offer him more food during the day, he faffs about and seems anxious. While he expresses gratitude by being affectionate and sweet, he won’t always eat the food we offer him. We’ve experimented with how we present the food (finely chopped, at room temperature instead of right-out-of-the-fridge cold) and ensure that Charlie doesn’t come in and make him nervous. I reported that Garrus sometimes appears ill at ease around Charlie, who, in his desperation for a playmate, will occasionally get most persistent and end up pestering Garrus.

The tech took him in the back, where she weighed him and took his temperature, and brought him back to the room, where Dr R examined him. I was pleased to learn that Garrus gained 0.6 lbs in two weeks! Most of the sutures dissolved on their own but she noted that there is still some inflammation (stomatitis) in his mouth. The treatment for this is steroid therapy, and she wants to see him again in three weeks to monitor his progress. In response to the anxious behavior I reported, Dr R thought that Zylkene, a natural supplement that helps pets manage stress, might be useful. We had given the boys this when we first adopted them to help them acclimate to the house and overcome shelter shock. I hope that these treatments help Garrus feel better all around.

Dr R reported that Garrus behaved exceptionally well and acted rather calm, huge improvements from how withdrawn and skittish he was when we adopted him 10 months ago. Cat parent achievement unlocked! He didn’t fuss at all while being weighed or getting his temperature taken, and, while not happy about getting his mouth examined, did not freak out. We had no issue getting him back into the carrier either. On the car ride back I repeatedly told him that he was such a good boy. (Yes, cats need to be told this too, not just dogs.)

About an hour after I let him out, I found Garrus investigating the carrier on his own.

He moved his head up as I snapped this photo, showing me his vampy teeth.

“I am pleased to report that the carrier is clear of any dangers, madam. Thank you for your cooperation.”

This is one of his favorite sunning spots. Sometimes after he finishes a lounge like this, he comes into my office for a visit. I love petting his soft, sun-warmed fur.

Hug Your Cat Day

Last night a storm blew through our area, filling the night with lots of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. It knocked the power out for a few hours too. The storm’s noise and emergency weather alerts woke us up. Aaron went into the living room to get his phone and found Garrus lounging unperturbed on the ottoman. Charlie, however, was ill at ease and sought us out. It was a pleasant surprise to find, while partly asleep, Charlie eagerly searching for my hands and purring loudly when I started petting him. I sleepily hugged Charlie and he settled in my arms for about a minute, kneading, before leaving to investigate what rubs Aaron had to offer.

This morning I had an ottoman visit with Garrus. I was able to place him on my lap and give him neck and chest scritches, which he loves, as well as stroking his back and kissing his head. Cue the warm fuzzies when I heard him purring.

Hug Your Cat Day is a fun excuse to give your feline companion a little extra love. If your cat is not a cuddler or into being held, respect that. Instead try a play session, tasty treats, back strokes, and/or quality bonding time together.