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.
Cats, being the superior and irrepressibly clever beings they are, have their own version of New Year’s Day. The holiday of Happy Mew Year for Cats Day (yes, on January 2 rather on January 1) was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of wellcat.com to celebrate felines in all their wondrousness.
Many pet-related holidays are created in the spirit of fun but many of these festivities raise awareness about the millions of shelter animals as well as the numerous aspects involved in pet ownership. How can you best celebrate Happy Mew Year Day? Here are suggestions that I’m sure my little pounce of cats would approve of:
- Love your pets. Give them scritches behind their ears or wherever they like to be pet most. Snuggle with them. Tell them how handsome (or pretty), good, adorable, and loved they are. Boudicca loves it when humans babble at her. I routinely give all three of my cats kisses on their foreheads; Boudicca now presents her head for smooches during lap time.
- Play with your pets. Some pets are self-entertaining and content that way, but regularly engaging with your pet in a hearty play session keeps their paws and mind active. Get creative! Yesterday Charlie, in his eternal quest for a playmate, ended up pestering Garrus, Boudicca, and me all day. With Aaron’s help, Charlie chased the elusive red dot and batted around his favorite fuzzy toys. Much frisky squeaking abounded! We had to tire him out so he wouldn’t drive Boudicca bonkers.
- Ensure that your pets have a healthy diet. This goes such a long way in terms of their dental and overall health. Occasional treats, of course, are greatly appreciated.
- Groom your pets. Yes, this includes trimming their nails (a tricky task with some cats), checking their teeth, and other maintenance. Boudicca loves it when we brush her, which is a good thing, since she needs to be brushed regularly. (Her fine fur sheds easily.) Garrus doesn’t seem to mind being brushed and Charlie likes it because it’s a form of attention.
- Adopt or foster a pet. Looking to add a furry companion to your household? Rather than shopping for one from a breeder, considering looking at a shelter or animal rescue group first. If you are looking for a particular breed, that breed might well be there! Giving a loving furever home to a cat (or dog, ferret, rabbit, guinea pig, or whichever pet you choose) is a commendable act of generosity and kindness!
Happy Mew Year Day!
Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy this holiday season with your family, friends, and, of course, your pets!
While I have three cats, I also love dogs. Growing up, the family pets were Miniature Schnauzers. For a several years, Boudicca and (the late) Nala grew from kittenhood to adult cathood and shared living space with our last two Schnauzers, Rabita and Dottie. These two dogs taught Boudicca how to employ the famous Schnauzer Mind Meld (“you will give me the delicious morsel in your hand”).
Rabita and Dottie have since passed over the Rainbow Bridge, having lived to ripe old ages of 17 and 15, respectively. My parents now have two very different rescue dogs, a Tibetan Spaniel and a Kooikerhondje. The former was originally named Holly but was quickly renamed Chiya (Puerto Rican Spanish slang for “crier” due to her distinctive shrill bark). Here she is (believe it or not, she does have a sassy plume of a tail):
The Kooikerhondje’s given name is Chiquita, often shortened to Chica. I’ve been known to refer to the pups collectively as the ChiChis. Chica also responds to Pretty Girl (to which she will wag her tail and look quite pleased with herself) and, among other nicknames, Kida or Kidagakash (a name I’ve appropriated from the heroine of the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire). Here she is being absolutely cute:
Aren’t they adorable? Whenever I visit my parents, I get my puppy fix and love on these two.
The Human Society of the United States annually observes National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week during the first full week of November. This is a means of honoring and celebrating the immense importance and service that animal shelters–and their dedicated staff and volunteers–provide on behalf of the animal population in their communities.
Animal shelters are crucial resources for the communities (human and animal) they serve. In addition to providing a haven for animals (lost pets, strays, abandoned, and surrendered animals as well as sick or wounded wildlife), shelters also provide services such as reuniting lost pets with their families, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, teaching people to care about and for animals, and promoting spaying/neutering pets to reduce overpopulation.
Have you been to your municipal or county animal shelter? Now is a great opportunity to do so! Here is a short list of how else you can help your local animal shelter:
- Adopt your next pet from a shelter. Adopt, don’t shop! Interested in a particular breed or type of pet (personality, short-haired vs. long-haired, energy level, etc.)? All kinds of animals wind up in shelters and that includes both purebreds and mixed breeds. Shelter animals deserve loving homes. Even cats that wouldn’t be able to go into a typical home environment may be best suited in a barn cat colony; those animals need to be adopted too!
- Foster a shelter animal. By fostering, you can free up much needed space in a shelter, especially if it is prone to overcrowding. Being in a shelter is incredibly stressful and even traumatizing for many animals, and having the opportunity to go to someone’s loving home, even temporarily, is a welcome respite. Fostered animals get much needed socialization and love, which in turn makes them more highly adoptable.
- Become a fan of your local shelter on social media. Share their posts. Seriously! Use social media for the benefit of others. Shelter animals need all the help they can get to find their furever homes.
- Promote your shelter’s efforts on social media and by word of mouth. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that their community has an animal shelter nearby.
- Volunteer. You can lend your services in a number of ways, such as (but not limited to) helping out adoption events, socializing and loving on animals, walking dogs, playing with cats, bottle feeding kittens or puppies, and photographing shelter animals. Volunteering is an immensely rewarding experience, an exceptional act of kindness, and a commendable way to give back to your community.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Spay/neuter your pets and make sure they are wearing proper ID. Ask your vet and your local animal shelter what else you can do to be a great pet owner (or pet parent, if you prefer)!
- Donate supplies. Do you have pet toys that your pet doesn’t use? Do you have old towels and blankets that you don’t need anymore? Consider giving these items to the animal shelter. Check with your local shelter to see specifically what they need.
- Join your local Animal Shelter Friends chapter. Friends chapters raise critical funding for shelters, including valuable resources to ensure the animals in their care are healthy and get the veterinary care they need. This medical care also includes foster animals. For example, when I fostered Garrus, the Friends paid for his much-needed dental surgery so he could eat without pain and become healthy again.
- Get the word out in your community. Do you have friends, family members, and/or colleagues who would be interested in becoming involved in or donating to a shelter? You can also team up with a school, camp, library, church, organization, or nonprofit to organize an animal shelter drive.
- Personally thank the incredible people who work at animal shelters. They work exceptionally hard. Appreciating what they do is one small way you can recognize that and give back to your community.
Here is a round-up of pet-related holidays for November!
- ASPCA’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month
- National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
- National Pet Diabetes Month
- National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (5-11, first full week of November starting with a Sunday)
Are you thinking about adopting a pet? Have you considered giving a senior pet a loving home? They need homes just as much as younger pets do!
Did you know that there was such a holiday? Now you do. That’s one of the services I offer here at Purry Home Companion!
One special thing you can do for your furry friend is make sure their diet is meeting their needs. Have you checked with your vet to assure that your pet’s diet is healthy? Is your pet at a healthy weight? If your pet is very young or a senior, they may benefit from age-appropriate vitamins and other nutrients. Read the ingredients list on the bag of your pet’s food. Is it made with mostly fillers and by-products? Do some research and ask your vet if you’re considering transitioning your pet to a different type of food.
If you do cook a meal for your pet, do research first as there are a number of items that are healthy for humans but can spell disaster for pets. A few of these are chocolate, caffeine, onions, avocados, dairy, garlic, tomato leaves and stems, fat trimmings, grapes, macadamias, mushrooms, persimmons, raw eggs, raw meat, sugary foods, and yeast dough. Ask your vet!
Whether your consider your pet to be part of the family or this weird roommate that sheds all over everything, take care of your fur people. (Keep in mind that dogs have masters while cats have staff.) Pets give us so much love, amusement, snuggles, and joy. The least you can do is give them a (healthy) treat!