Animal Care and Control Appreciation

Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week occurs every year during the second full week in April. This effort was created by the National Animal Care and Control Association to recognize and promote professionalism in the field of animal care and control. Agencies and individuals that provide these valuable community services should be commended for all their hard work.

When I see shelter employees out and about, whether I see them at the vet’s office, shelter, adoption event, library, or somewhere in town, I usually try to say hi and express my gratitude for all that they do.

What can you do today on behalf of your animal care and control agencies? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Express your thanks.
  2. Recognize and celebrate their accomplishments and, if warranted, nominate individuals and shelters for awards.
  3. Become involved in a Friends of the Animal Shelter or rescue organization.
  4. Donate.
  5. Volunteer.
  6. Foster.
  7. Adopt.
  8. Spread the word about the wonderful services your shelter and animal control agencies provide to your community.
  9. Raise awareness about the importance of and educate others how to be responsible pet owners.

Photo credits courtesy of Pexels

National Pet Day

Happy National Pet Day!

In 2006, Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and pet lifestyle expert, founded National Pet Day to celebrate pets (of all kinds) and the sheer joy they bring into our homes and lives. As with many pet-themed holidays, this holiday is also intended to shine a spotlight on animals in shelters all over the world.

Garrus and Charlie are former shelter cats. Note the sun-soaked snuggle in progress.

Do you have a cat, dog, rabbit, bird, hamster, rat, mouse, lizard, turtle, fish, or other type of pet? (Approximately 80 million households in the US have a pet. There are nearly 80 million dogs and 86 million cats kept as pets.) How can you celebrate National Pet Day? Here are a few ideas!

  1. Love. Give your pet extra smooches, belly rubs, a thorough brushing, lap time, snuggles, and assorted displays of affection.
  2. Play. Indulge your inner child and play with your pet. Get out all the toys and toss them around or invent a game to play with your pet. (Hide and seek? Bottle cap soccer? Chase?) Get your dog (or cat!) to fetch. Go for a walk. Go to the dog park. Arrange a playdate.
  3. Take pictures of your pet. If you are so inclined, share them on social media using the hashtag #NationalPetDay.
  4. Be grateful. Pets enhance our lives and they teach us lessons about joy, laughter, love, cuddling, playtime, and appreciating the little things in life. What do you appreciate most about your pet(s)? What lessons have they taught you? Have they brought you joy today?

Googly cat sequence initiated. (Boudicca loves to be brushed.) Cue PURR PURR PURR FLOP.

Love Me, Pet Me, Feed Me!

I am pleased to report that Queen B is doing very well! She responded swimmingly to her vitamin B-12 injections (not that she particularly enjoyed getting the shots). Afterward, she’d be perky, her appetite would go up, and she would digest her food better. Since she would swing between constipation and diarrhea (never pleasant) due to her small bowel disease, it took us some time to strike a perfect balance in terms of the right Miralax dosage. She started grooming herself more, hanging out in my office with me (I’ve enjoyed having my office supurrviser “helping” me work), seeking us out for attention, greeting me at the door, and being very assertive (read: meower mouth and underfoot) about regularly scheduled feeding time. She is decidedly not a fan of Daylight Savings Time. When she says it’s food o’clock, there’s no dissuading her!

This is how my office supurrviser takes a well-deserved break. Her schedule is packed: begging for food, getting fed, napping, being ridiculously cute, birdwatching, sprawling, being brushed, purring, being underfoot, talking to her humans, giving tail hugs, being a reading buddy, and snuggling.

Because she’s been rather hungry and we want her to gain some weight, we’ve been adding feedings. Twice a day she gets medication mixed into her food (breakfast and dinner) and just simple wet food at lunchtime and late afternoon. Sometimes if she did not eat all the food from an earlier meal, we will offer her a small portion before bedtime. Of course, this means that Boudicca now thinks that she will get food when either of us is in the kitchen. (Cue begging.) At present she only likes Friskies© Paté (any of the seafood varieties) and Blue Buffalo kitten kibble (ahem, Queen B is most persnickety). Essentially Boudicca is eating like a feline Hobbit!

Of course, Garrus and Charlie are intensely interested in the food that materializes around Boudicca at regular intervals. Charlie’s motive isn’t solely about food; since he’s a busybody, he just wants to be involved with whatever is going on. Garrus, on the other hand, alternates between pleading and determinedly attempting to sneak past me and, in the most genteel way possible, pilfer Boudicca’s leftovers. (I’m serious. He slinks on his belly and acts like he’s invisible. He thinks he’s such a smooth criminal, even when I catch him mid-pussyfoot.) I’ve even caught the boys loitering around my office, apparently guarding Boudicca and waiting for their human (me) to bring forth sustenance.

“You do not have food for me? How…disappointing.”

I gave Dr. R an update on Boudicca’s progress, to which she was quite pleased. She encouraged me to feed her what she wants as much as she wants, with the hopes she will put on some weight and be a happy old kitty. Dr. R explained that this guarding behavior I noted with the boys is somewhat normal in cats. Since Garrus and Charlie have not been aggressive toward Queen B (every day Charlie tries to make friends with and/or play with her), Dr. R told me that this healthy cats do this around a sick or injured cat. Hooray for a peaceful multi-cat household! She approved the idea of giving the boys a tablespoon or so of wet food, especially if it helped distract the boys and made them happy while Boudicca ate her meals. Garrus could use the extra calories while Charlie does not (he’s at a healthy weight), so I could give him half a tablespoon. I’m also happy that all three cats like their new dental treats (also vet approved, yay!).

“Hi Mom! You found me in my new spot!”

All in all it’s a pretty nice day when I get sequential visits and affection from each of the cats. I have ensured that each has been properly smooched. Don’t worry. They are only slightly over-loved in this house.

Siamese Pretty Please

Happy National Siamese Cat Day!

Do you share living space with fur people of the Siamese variety? Do you enjoy their talkativeness? Do their blue eyes enchant you?

Siamese Cats 101

  • They are an Asian or Oriental cat with point coloration, i.e. a light body with darker markings on the face, ears, legs, and tail.
  • These point colors come in a number of varieties including Chocolate, Seal, Lilac, Blue, Red, and Cream. There are also Lynx (striped), Tortie, and Tortie Lynx Points.
  • They also have two body types: the Traditional (Old-Style, Classic) and Modern (Show). The latter sports a slim body, small wedge-shaped head, long straight nose, huge ears, and a whiplike tail.
  • Behaviorally, Siamese cats are intelligent, busy, doglike, highly communicative (they will give you a highly opinionated commentary about everything!), and extroverted. They love attention!
  • Siamese cats are chatterboxes with a distinctive loud, low-pitched meow! They caterwaul too and do not like to be quiet.

Modern or Show-Style Seal Point Siamese Cat

Traditional Lilac Point Siamese Cat

I’ve had some exposure to Siamese cats. In middle school, I briefly had a half-Siamese cat but she did not inherit the color-point markings of her mother, a splendid Balinese or long-haired Siamese. Instead Misdemeanor was ink-black without a speck of white anywhere on her. She did, however, inherit the characteristic vocalness and intense inquisitiveness; she had to be into everything, especially all the mischief (hence her name).

Another Siamese cat I knew was a shelter kitten appropriately named Miao. He was feisty (attack all the toys!), demanding, charming, and a handful (he was a kitten, after all, so that was his job). I helped match him to an outgoing family whom he would likely keep on their toes with his antics.

If you have a Siamese cat in your life, be sure to give him or her an extra dose of love and perhaps a treat or new toy today! I’m sure your kitty will thank you vociferously!

Photo credits: Pexel and Pinterest

These splendid fur people are not my own.

Happy Easter!

I hope that you and your loved one–including your pets–have a happy Easter weekend! As with many holidays, there are a few things to keep in mind so that your pet stays healthy and safe:

  1. Chocolate is highly toxic to pets, as it contains high concentrations of methylxanthines, such as theobromine and caffeine. You can have a chocolate Easter bunny but to your dog or cat, it’s poison. Seek veterinary care immediately.
  2. Plastic grass used to fill Easter baskets and decorations can easily be eaten by curious pets but can cause lots of gastrointestinal problems.
  3. Plastic eggs and toys are tempting targets for a pet to mouth. This can be a bad combination since the pet can choke on an item or get sick from eating candy or chocolate inside.
  4. Foil wrappings, if eaten, can cause obstructions and upset your pet’s digestive system.
  5. Food coloring can cause an adverse medical reaction. Make sure that any dyes you wish to use are non-toxic before you purchase them.
  6. Xylitol, a sweetener which can found in certain candies and foods (including peanut butter), can be lethal to dogs.
  7. Fatty foods, such as ham or lamb, may make your pet have a very upset tummy or even pancreatitis. Don’t let your pet have helpings of your Easter dinner!
  8. Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks (members of the allium family) are toxic to both cats and dogs and may cause hemolytic anemia and gastroenteritis.
  9. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, wobbliness, tremors, and joint stiffness.
  10. Alcohol is a big no-no for pets of any persuasion. Keep booze well out of pets’ reach!
  11. Lilies, while beautiful, are extremely toxic to cats. This includes several varieties (Easter, Stargazer, and Asiatic) as well all parts of the plant: the leaves, petals, pollen, and water in which cut lilies are placed. A cat chewing on or ingesting a lily may experience kidney failure or even die! Seek veterinary care immediately.

Something Else to Consider: Rabbits

Bunnies are cute, yes. Bunnies can be great pets, yes. But rabbits are not for everyone! I strongly advise people against from getting a rabbit as an Easter present without doing research first and being REALLY sure that a rabbit is the pet you want. Taking care of a rabbit is not the same as taking care of a dog or cat or fish. Keep in mind that rabbits are one of the most abandoned pets in the US.

Cute Alert

Lately all three cats have been doing little things that are just inordinately adorable. This is one of the many things that I appreciate about my pets: daily doses of cute! Here is a collection of some of the endearing things they’ve been doing…

Recently Charlie has been hanging out on the couch more whenever Boudicca hangs out in my office. Apparently he realized that the couch is indeed comfortable. Earlier this week I caught him in the act: chilling out and flaunting all of his belly spots.

“What? I found a new spot, Mom…By the way, this tummy won’t rub itself!”

This week Garrus has been more adventurous by lounging on the back of the couch while we sit. I was able to read with Garrus hanging out with me. He even came onto the bed twice this week for a half-snuggle! While he is often inscrutable, he does seem more relaxed and is becoming more assertive in asking for visits. (Because, unlike Charlie and Boudicca, he is not a chatty cat, he expresses himself entirely through body language. He also bunts and tail hugs to get attention. I know he wants to visit if he trots over to the bed in a particularly jaunty way.) Of course, he decides to ask for visits on his schedule. He is a cat, after all!

Egads! Boudicca deigned to share the couch with Charlie without a kerfuffle! Of course, Charlie seemed most pleased with himself, as if it was all his doing…

Occasionally Charlie makes overtures of friendship to Boudicca by bringing her toys on the couch. (Maybe he thinks that bringing a toy is the equivalent of a toll to get on the couch?) While his enthusiasm and persistence is admirable, he is nevertheless perplexed by Boudicca won’t play with him. He also leaves toys next to Garrus wherever he is sleeping and brings me toys on the bed. I think in the latter case he likes to show off his latest prize!

“Joy! Dad found all the springs I had knocked under the oven! Now I can lose them in hard to reach places again!”

Not pictured: Garrus plays with surprising zeal with the springs and, to my delight, carried one of them in his mouth earlier this week! It’s been gratifying to see that some of Charlie’s childlike playfulness has seemingly rubbed off on Garrus and encouraged him to branch out and play with all the toys with gusto.

The boys’ newest hobby is bug-hunting through the window. Sometimes Charlie chatters at the bugs (to what end, I don’t know). Much tail-twitching follows. Other times their reflections catch the light oddly so they look like creatures from a Stephen King novel.

Behold, Queen Boudicca in repose! I have always been quite partial to her ski slope nose. This week she has been very vocal about getting lots of pets, kisses between the ears, brushings, cuddles (including lying on my chest while I sleep and being picked up), and, of course, food. When I come home, I nearly trip over her because she plants herself on the inside of the door, meowing all the while in effusive greeting (complete with tail hugs). She still has not yet figured out that she is in fact not a dog.

International Happiness Day

Today is International Happiness Day! Who knew, right? I think it is most appropriate. Every day we are deluged by negativity in a variety of ways. It’s hard to stay positive and happy. Creating this blog was one way for me to give myself, and hopefully others, a small dose of joy. My cats bring me happiness and make me laugh every day. I hope yours do too!

Lately Charlie has been EXTRA cute. He has been very chatty lately–so many chirps, trills, and squeaks–both directed at me and just when he’s moving around: jump on the bed (chirp), look out the window (trill), see Garrus (squeak), talk back to me (chirp, squeak, trill, squeak, squeak, chatter). He’s been rather lovey and snuggly, especially in the morning and at bedtime, and he has demonstrated that he in fact knows how to knead! It only took him eight months to show me that he does knead when he is sufficiently relaxed and googly. When he does, he shows me all of his toes and purrs most rhythmically.

Charlie is teaching me how to be simply happy. Finding joy in the little things. Wonder in every day activities. Greeting loved ones enthusiastically. (I admire his persistence in trying to make friends with Boudicca. Lately he has been adding to his overtures of friendship by bringing her toys on the couch.) Playing. Looking outside. Happiness indeed.