Necessary Hassle Part Two

After we bring our cats home from the vet, it’s normal for them to want to decompress and sleep. It’s also somewhat expected for them to feel a bit “off,” especially if they’ve been prodded or poked with needles, as they were when they were given their vaccines.

After we brought them home from the vet, their usual post-vet routine was thrown off. Since Monday was a holiday and Aaron had time off from work, we had scheduled our back door to be replaced. (We also scheduled the vet appointment for earlier that morning so that both Aaron and I would be available to usher cats into carriers.) We anticipated that the work would be noisy and, since the entire door would come out, we needed to confine the cats for their safety. We put Boudicca in my office with a litter box, food, water, and her comfy box bed. We put Charlie in our bedroom with access to food, water, and the Cat Genies in the master bathroom.

Our original plan was to confine Garrus along with Charlie since we knew that the boys enjoy one another’s company. We tried different tactics to catch Garrus or convince him to go into the bedroom but he was not having any of it. He planted himself in the lower cat condo on the tower and refused to budge. Rather than causing further stress by having to pry him out of there, we simply hung out next to the cat tower and made sure he did not venture out while the work was being done. Once the noise started, Garrus might have regretted not going into the bedroom. He gave us a mildly displeased face with some side-eye, but he gives us this same expression whenever his nap is interrupted.

Thankfully, the door was replaced in two hours. However, during that two hours, we realized that something was up with Charlie. We periodically checked on both Boudicca and Charlie and offered them comfort and love. Boudicca, although not happy about being confined in my office, was fine. Charlie, on the other hand, was on the bed giving me anxious, sad eyes. I checked in the bathroom and saw that there was a big mess to clean up. Charlie was definitely feeling gunky.

At first we thought it was a stress reaction in response to being at the vet and perhaps also by the noise from the door being replaced. As the day progressed, we noticed that Charlie was not acting like his normal happy-go-lucky self. He was noticeably subdued, quiet, and appeared to be ill at ease. It was also evident that his appetite had decreased. When he tried to eat in the afternoon, he threw up again. The next morning, we woke up to hear him crying in a Cat Genie, followed by an unpleasant squirting sound. He had diarrhea. More cleaning up and TLC applied to kitty.

I got worried. I had never seen this type of reaction in a cat following getting a vaccine. I did look it up and found that cats can have adverse reactions to vaccines. Sometimes it manifests as itching or sneezing. Other times there is swelling at the injection site. Still other cats react by vomiting or with diarrhea. This is what appeared to have happened to Charlie.

Compounding my worry is that on Tuesday, much of Central Texas was effectively immobilized by a strong cold front that resulted in sleet, ice, and, in some areas, hail. The storm began on Monday night. We had been strongly advised to stay off the roads. Schools from San Antonio to Houston were closed on Tuesday, as were many businesses and city departments. My vet’s office was open, however. As they always do after an appointment, a tech makes a follow-up call to check on the pet or pets seen at the office the previous day. While I was happy to report that Boudicca was fine, I described Charlie’s symptoms and the tech agreed that it was likely a reaction to the vaccine. She offered me two options: I could bring him into the office or I would wait and monitor him at home.

I, for one, did not want to venture out onto icy roads. I also did not want to submit Charlie to further stress by taking him back to the vet unless it was absolutely necessary. I decided to monitor him at home. He was not constantly vomiting nor was his diarrhea severe. We had seen him have a drink of water at least once. If he was not eating or drinking at all, or his vomiting or diarrhea was much worse, I would have reconsidered.

Charlie was quite happy to be reunited with his buddy after the construction on the back door ceased. Garrus did not seem willing to give up his spot in the condo so Charlie made do beside him.

Throughout this whole experience, Garrus often paced and seemed anxious. He kept giving me this reproachful looks, as though saying, “Excuse me, human parental units. There seems to be something amiss with my companion. Could you attend to his needs, please?” Since Charlie was not hanging out in his usual spot, Garrus apparently took it upon himself to save it for him and superintend things from his perch on the uppermost platform on the cat tower.

Garrus always sits so tall and regally but I felt here, especially in his expression, that he gave off a hint of sarcasm as well.

“Madam, why are you taking my photograph? I have important business to attend to while I am up here. I must get on.” –Garrus

I could not resist taking this photo because Garrus was being SO CUTE.

Later Charlie moved from the chair in the living room to our bed. We found Garrus being very sweet with him, grooming Charlie occasionally and snuggling with his buddy for hours. This seemed to help Charlie relax and feel better. We, of course, visited both boys and gave them love but we also wanted to let Charlie get enough sleep. The boys’ routine had been thrown off by Charlie being sick. Only Boudicca, who remained Miss Oblivious throughout this affair, was perfectly content to camp out on the couch and snooze without concern.

Observe Boudicca demonstrating the feline pinwheel position. Score: 10.0

The boys made a heart shape while cuddling. Cue the Aww factor.

Late Tuesday afternoon Charlie seemed to perk up a bit. He ate a little of his kibble and kept it down. That evening, when Aaron and I sat on the couch, I had Boudicca in my lap. This is our routine. Charlie asked if he could come up and sit on the pillow beside me. Of course I let him, and we had a lovely visit that involved many pets, polite snuggles, and much purring. I was quite pleased by this since I had not heard him purr all day. Garrus came up on the back of the couch for a bit then later enticed Charlie to play with him for a short while. We noticed that this play session wasn’t as vigorous as usual and did not involve much chasing or scampering. Garrus, who generally does not roughhouse, was being quite gentle but definitely persistent in inviting Charlie to move and play. This seemed to do Charlie some good. The boys did turn in early and resume their snuggling as they napped. Charlie slept at the foot of the bed for most of the night.

This morning the ice had melted and Central Texas started moving again. Both Charlie and Garrus wanted to visit us in bed and both purred loud. Not too long afterward, this is how I found the boys…

Look how cute they are. BEHOLD THE CUTENESS.

The vet’s office called to check on Charlie as well. He has been able to eat and hasn’t vomited or had any diarrhea in a day. (Of course I’ll keep monitoring him to ensure he’s completely out of the woods.) He’s perked up, chirpy, and noticeably relaxed. He is clearly happy to snuggle with Garrus and apparently finds his buddy to be the perfect pillow.

What have I learned from this experience? Cats and dogs alike can have adverse reactions to vaccines, and these reactions can vary widely. Getting your pet vaccinated in necessary and in many states required by law. However, if your pet appears to feel gunky after getting a shot, contact your vet. Do the right thing. The right thing may in fact involve a snuggle, as Charlie and Garrus frequently demonstrate.

Happy Cuddle Up Day!

Happy Cuddle Up Day! Especially in the cold heart of winter, don’t you think that’s an appropriate holiday to celebrate?

I just learned about a most apt idiom: a “three dog night,” where a night is so cold it requires three dogs snuggling close to keep warm. (I would imagine cuddling with three Newfoundlands would be a most different experience than say, three Chinese crested dogs. In my house, if it got cold enough, it would definitely be called a “three cat night”.)

Although it’s warming up where I live, I am always game for a cuddle, and I am fortunate to have Boudicca, who is definitely my cuddliest cat and demands regularly scheduled lap time every evening. Charlie and Garrus absolutely love to cuddle with one another and freely use each other as pillows. That’s one of the reasons why we could not bear to separate them and adopted them together.

Grammar Geek Alert!: What’s the difference between cuddle and snuggle?

In English we use these terms interchangeably. Cuddle [noun] is defined as an affectionate embrace, often given to family members and close friends. [I would argue this applies to fur people.] Snuggle [noun] is sometimes defined as an affectionate hug. There the words are nearly identical but the given definition for snuggle is not always correct. The connotation for the word snuggle usually implies lying closely and comfortably, as in a nest. As verbs, however, the two words have more distinct definitions.

  1. Cuddle [verb]: to embrace affectionately, to lie together snugly; to cradle in one’s arms so as to give comfort or warmth; to lie close or snug; to crouch; to nestle.
  2. Snuggle [verb]: to lie close to another person or thing, hugging or being cozy; to move or arrange oneself in a comfortable or cozy position

I could dig into etymologies but that would be a tangent…In any case, now you know the difference between the two words! However, they are clearly synonyms.

Whether you prefer to cuddle, snuggle, lie under the covers, lounge on the couch binge watching Netflix, or simply be in the general vicinity of your pet (and human companions, if you feel so inclined), there are all kinds of benefits for doing this! Here are a few suggested activities for Cuddle Up Day:

  1. Building trust. This is a crucial element of any relationship between human and pet. A pet that does not trust its human and vice versa will not have a very stable or healthy working relationship. Both humans and pet need to develop trust in the other, and that does need hard work, time, and patience in both parties. Personally speaking, Aaron and I have worked hard to build Garrus and Charlie’s trust (and vice versa) since we fostered and adopted them. It’s been very rewarding and the boys are so much happier for it.
  2. Warmth. It’s January–it’s cold. Enough said!
  3. Affection. One of the reasons humans keep pets is to give spontaneous displays of affection. Or maybe that’s just me. Once in a while Garrus gives me his vampy smile after I kiss his head, and all three cats slow blink at me when they feel particularly relaxed.
  4. Oxytocin. If you engage in serious cuddling (yay!), there’s a chemical reaction at work, and it’s called oxytocin. Basically it’s the warm fuzzies. It is also the same hormone that causes mothers to bond with their newborn infants. For humans, oxytocin has a number of health benefits such as reducing heart disease, reducing blood pressure, dulling pain and muscle aches, lowering stress and anxiety, mitigating depression, and boosting the immune system. Studies have indicated that trust [between humans] develops as a result of the release of oxytocin, so it could very well develop in between owners and pets. In short, everyone feels the benefits of this happy-making hormone. Expect purring and tail-wagging.
  5. Cuddle party. Have a bash. Stay in your PJs or go all out and invite your friends, humans, canine, and/or feline alike. (For all you rodent, ferret, and bird fans, please enjoy yourselves too. I believe that all critters should be loved equally.) Strategically place pets on or around you and get cozy. Watch movies. Make pet-friendly treats. Distribute belly rubs freely. Have fun!

NB: Not all pets will be comfortable cuddling close. Some pets have larger personal bubbles of space and will not move closer no matter how much you entice them. Do not force your pets to do anything they genuinely do not wish to do.

If your pet needs extra space, respect that need. Provide them cozy bedding and toys. Don’t ignore your reserved or shy pet; give them attention and affection (especially if there are other pets in the house), talk to them, and periodically and invite your pet to join you if they wish. If your pet has a fearful reaction when picked up (for example, if you’ve adopted a former stray that had minimal handling), talk to your pet about this behavior. This may be something that you will need to work on to lessen your pet’s anxiety, or it may indicate a medical issue.

Garrus, for example, can be affectionate but he is completely unaccustomed to being picked up. This is most inconvenient when we need to trim his nails. While he may never be a cuddly cat and I can respect that, I do not want him to be fearful when we trim his nails or when the vet examines him. We are acclimating him to being handled.

How are you going to celebrate Cuddle Up Day?

Cold Weather Safety

Whether you have indoor, outdoor, or indoor/outdoor pets, you must take seasonal precautions, especially during temperature extremes. Even Texas and South Florida had cold weather snaps that cannot be simply brushed off. If it’s cold for humans, it’s definitely cold for animals! (There have even been reports of iguanas and sharks freezing in Florida and Massachusetts. There have also been heartbreaking stories of dogs being rescued from the elements. Not all of them make it.)

Excuse me while I get onto my soapbox: Do I need to reiterate that it is inhumane to leave pets out in the cold? Two words: animal cruelty. Some states are changing their laws about it. It’s a big deal. Take it seriously. OK. End of rant.

What should responsible pet owners do to keep their pets happy, safe, and healthy over the long winter months? There are a number of things (head’s up–this is a long post). I have compiled several of them…

Things to Consider: Outside with Your Pet

  1. Be observant, and if need be, advocate.
    1. Let’s say you notice a dog left in your neighbor’s backyard for several hours. It’s cold and snowing. You’re worried but aren’t sure what to do.
    2. Politely let them know you are concerned about their dog’s welfare. Perhaps your neighbor did not think about the risks the cold weather posed, assuming that the dog will be fine because it has fur.
    3. If your neighbor responds to your suggestions (e.g. brings the dog inside, limits the dog’s outdoor exposure afterward, etc.), the problem is solved.
    4. If your neighbor ignores you, or you suspect neglect or abuse, follow the Humane Society’s detailed advice.
    5. If you have concerns about a stray or loose animal’s welfare, also consult the aforementioned link.
  2. Strays. If you are concerned about feral or stray cats in your neighborhood, here is out you can make a DIY winter shelter for them. Getting them off the streets in very cold weather, though, is preferable.
  3. Bang on your car hood. Cats are hidey creatures and excellent at finding the best warm spots (often stealing yours). Small wildlife will also be desperate for warmth too.
    1. When it’s cold out, they may sneak under the hood, seeking the engine’s warmth, and you may never see them do it.
    2. If you bang on the hood, it may scare the cat out so it won’t get trapped in the fan or engine when you start the car.
    3. Another good place to check is the tire well.
    4. You can also honk the horn to rouse the feline squatters.
    5. Alternative: park your car in the garage (if possible) so (A) you won’t have this issue and (B) you won’t have to dig your car out of ice and snow.
  4. Use pet-friendly ice melts. Since dogs are more likely to pick up rock salt when out on a walk, they can be at a risk for salt poisoning if they lick it from their paws. Even if you don’t have pets, use these products on your sidewalks and driveways. Store de-icing salt in a safe place afterward. Think of it paying it forward for the environment at large. The pet owners in your neighborhood will be grateful to you!
  5. Coolant and antifreeze. These products taste sweet and both are deadly to pets. If you are performing vehicular maintenance, thoroughly clean up any leaks or spills and store these products in a secured place where animals cannot access them. Brownie points: consider using products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
  6. Poisons. If you suspect that a pet ingested coolant, antifreeze, rock salt, a de-icing agent, or any other noxious chemical, contact a veterinarian immediately. You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: 888-426-4435.
  7. Bring pets inside. If left outside in the elements, pets can become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured, or killed. NB: Don’t leave pets unattended in a cold car. In cold weather, a car can act like a refrigerator and hold in all that frosty air. In any case, freezing to death is a horrible way to die.
  8. Outdoor shelters. If pets must stay outside for some periods of the day, ensure that their shelter is warm enough and sufficiently insulated. Their shelter should be dry and free of drafts. It should be small enough to retain body heat but roomy enough to allow the animal to move comfortably. The floor should be a couple inches above the ground and covered with straw, cedar shaving, or other appropriate bedding. Cover the doorway with heavy plastic or waterproof burlap.
  9. More food. If your pet spends more time outdoors, they’ll need more calories because trying to keep warm depletes energy source reserves. Check with your vet to ensure your pet is getting enough fat and protein and their diet to complement their outdoor lifestyle. Ensure that your pet’s water if fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls instead of metal, as when the temperature dips below freezing, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  10. Ice. Watch out for frozen ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. Heavy loads of ice can shift without warning and slide off roofs, making pancakes out of cars (I’m serious). Also, ice is slippery! If out walking your pet, stay away from these areas and use utmost caution after freezing rain on sidewalks. Another thing about frozen ponds and lakes: You won’t be able to know if these will be able to hold your dog’s weight, let alone yours, and if the ice breaks, you have a disaster on your hands. Avoid it entirely.

Things to Consider: Inside with Your Pet

  1. ID. Ensure that your pet is outfitted with proper identification (e.g. well-fitting collar, ID tags, and microchip with current information and registration). Pets can easily become lost in the winter because snow, ice, and wind may mask recognizable scents that may usually guide your pet back home.
  2. Too cold. Sometimes, it can be so cold that it can be unsafe to take your pet outside for a walk or exercise for very long. This page has a handy chart for guidance.
  3. Windchill. Just like humans, pets have exposed skin, and those parts lose heat the fastest. In cases of pets, these areas are primarily are on their noses, ears, paw pads, underbellies, and genitals.
    1. When exposed to cold temperatures for long periods, pets can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. For example, some hypothermia signs to look out for in dogs include constant shivering, weakness, slow and shallow breathing, muscle stiffness, blank stare, and torpor.
    2. For more information, go here and here for dogs and here and here for cats. Very scary but good information to know in case of an emergency.
  4. Emergency plans. In case of the likes of city-paralyzing blizzards and power outages, prepare an emergency kit and include your pet in your preparations. Have sufficient food, water, and medications (which should include prescriptions, heartworm and flea/tick/mosquito preventives) on hand to get at least through 5 days. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a crate, as your pet would presumably go inside it. If your pet is very large and/or a crate is not feasible, have leads of different lengths on hand. In an emergency, you may need to move your pet fast and you do not want to lose them.
  5. Diet. Don’t overfeed your pet during the winter. Instead keep your pet at a healthy weight year-round. Only outdoor pets require extra calories to generate sufficient body heat and energy stores.
  6. Grooming. If you have an issue with clinging ice, snowballs, salt, mud, or other detritus, consider giving your pet a thorough grooming before getting out the trimmer. A light trim may be necessary, yes, but remember that your pet needs the long coat for warmth and insulation. Long-haired pets often have tufts of fur in between their paws, and these provide traction as well as insulation; don’t forget these when grooming. If you don’t feel confident or comfortable taming your pet’s wind-tossed coiffeur, seek the assistance of a professional groomer.
  7. Practical apparel. If your pet is short-haired, consider a completely durable sweater that provides full coverage to the base of the tail. A high collar or turtleneck will help provide more insulation (think of it as the pet equivalent of a scarf) and ensure the belly is covered. This last part is important: the belly and genitals are an especially vulnerable area as they have much finer hair there. Have more than one sweater available so you can use a dry sweater each time your pet goes outside. Wet sweaters can actually make your pet colder and therefore at risk for getting sick.
  8. Bedding and sleep. Pets take sleeping very seriously, so naturally they are invested in their beds too.
    1. Give your pet comfy sleeping options that allow them to vary their sleeping spots based on their needs for more or less warmth.
    2. You may notice that your pet’s favorite sleeping spot changes in the winter or that you now have a Velcro-kitty because he wants the warmth of your lap. (There are worse problems to have.)
    3. Example 1: Garrus lolls next to our master bathroom window in order to sunbathe; that’s the only spot he does that. Otherwise he likes snoozing on our bed or the ottoman.
    4. Example 2: Boudicca normally camps out in my office but in the winter she switches to the living room couch but insists that a crocheted blanket be laid out first.
    5. Example 3: I have friends in the Midwest who use heated pet beds, and they have very happy cats and dogs.
    6. Although this varies, pets may sleep more in the winter due to the decreased amount of light during the day. They might also might feel less energetic or bored. It is possible for pets to feel depressed.
  9. Pet-proofing. See #4, #5, and #6.
    1. Prevent access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods (grapes, onions, xylitol, chocolate, alcohol, etc.), and poisonous plants such as lilies and poinsettias.
    2. Make sure that doors, windows, and gates latch properly so prevent pets from inadvertently getting loose and lost.
    3. Install and regularly check the batteries for the carbon monoxide and fire alarm detectors in your home.
    4. Space heaters and heat lamps can burn pets, and they can be knocked over, possibly starting a fire.
    5. Inspect your furnace to ensure that it is working properly.
    6. Use heated pet beds with caution as they are still capable of causing burns.
    7. Do not leave pets unattended near open flames.
    8. If you have a pet bird, double check to ensure that its cage is away from drafts.
  10. Medical issues. This is a many-faceted topic. Disclaimer: I’m not a vet and I’m only conditionally omniscient.
    1. A pet’s coat, overall health, body fat, activity level, age, and breed will influence how it tolerates the cold (and heat).
    2. Larger breeds, especially those with longer, thicker coats, will generally tolerate cold better than smaller breeds. Some pets do not seem bothered much by the winter. Others look pitiful all season long and need TLC until spring returns.
    3. If your pet is elderly or unwell, you may need to shorten your walks and keep an eye on your pet, as these pets may be prone to falling or slipping on ice.
    4. Arthritis, for example, may flare up in winter and make your pet very uncomfortable. This will require additional veterinary attention.
    5. Pets with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature.
    6. Senior pets, puppies, kittens, and ill pets will also be sensitive to extreme temperatures or have trouble regulating their body temperature.

 Things to Consider: Skin and Paw Care

Just like humans’ skin can dry out in the winter, pets can have itchy, flaky skin and chapped paws! Skin and paw issues can flare up by repeatedly leaving the frigid temperatures outside and entering the dry heat of your home. (A humidifier inside the house may help.) Dogs are likely to get all kinds of gunk in their paws from going outside or on walks, and this outdoor exposure can aggravate dermatological troubles.

  1. Fresh water. In the winter months there tends to be a drop in humidity, and this accounts for the dryness. Ensuring your pet stays sufficiently hydrated will help lessen skin problems as well as improve overall health.
  2. Bathing. Too much time in the tub can remove essential oils and increase the likelihood of your pet developing the chance of dry, flaky, irritated skin. If your pet stinks to high heaven, ask your vet for a recommendation for a quality moisturizing shampoo or rinse. (Also, keep your pet away from skunks!)
  3. Remove ice, salt, and chemicals.Depending on how messy your pet gets outside, it may be a multi-step process. (Be prepared for resistance. Zoomies may occur.)
    1. Using a damp towel, thoroughly wipe the crud off your pet’s feet, legs, belly, and, if necessary, face and tail as soon as they come inside. Do this so they don’t lick off any of the aforementioned noxious stuff and get sick.
    2. Be meticulous about drying off the feet and in between the toes, as this is where moisture can build up. Remove any snow and ice from the paw pads. Cleaning the paws will also prevent them from stinging or getting irritated, especially if you took your pet on a long walk. Proceed to #26 if paws are clean.
    3. If need be, use warm water to thoroughly clean your pet’s feet. When paws are clean, proceed to #26.
    4. Thoroughly towel dry afterward.
    5. Feel free to give praise, kisses, scritches and other displays of affection to your pet during at time of this process.
    6. NB:If you towel off your pet, said pet won’t leave clumps of snow and wet spots all over the place. Bonus: your home will be cleaner and less slippery! Win!
  4. Protectants. Massaging petroleum jelly into the paws prior to a jaunt outside may prevent further irritations from salt, sand, and other substances.
    1. Petroleum jelly also may also prevent cracking by providing some moisture.
    2. Clean your pet’s paws once your pet is back inside.
    3. This trick is also useful in the summer time to help prevent paw pads from becoming burned by hot asphalt.
    4. If your pet has persistent paw troubles, consult with your vet.
  5. Paw wellness. Check your pet’s paws for any cracks, redness, swelling, bleeding, evidence of pain or discomfort, sudden lameness, or if your pet doesn’t want to stand. If you notice anything amiss, contact your vet.
  6. Booties. Seriously.
    1. When taking your pet out for a walk, put these on your pet just like you put on your shoes before going outside.
    2. You may have to train your pet to get used to them and not all pets will tolerate them.
    3. Booties keep your pets’ paws warm and also protect them from becoming irritated by salt and from all kinds of toxic chemicals on the ground (i.e. antifreeze and deicing agents).
    4. Make sure they fit properly.
    5. Service dogs, for example, wear booties and other kinds of gear regularly to protect themselves and therefore be able to perform their best work. And service dogs are awesome.

Writer’s Note: I must admit that I found researching and writing this post enlightening. I hope others find it useful as well.

Just a December Evening Around Here

Egads! It’s actually snowing! The temperature is at freezing. The weather has been gloppy, cold, blustery, and grey before the snow started. The cats, Garrus in particular, have not been happy about the conspicuous absence of sunspots in which to bathe. On the bright side, they have been extra snuggly. On Wednesday night, Charlie came up onto the couch next to me (Boudicca was in my lap) and lazed on the pillow, receiving lots of rubs and purring away very happily. For her part, Boudicca had no idea he was there because she was upside down asleep.

What have my cats been doing to occupy themselves during this spate of wintry weather? Sleeping. Surprise! They are cats, after all. The boys, with Garrus coming to us first with those big mournful eyes of his, politely wait for us to lay out the crocheted blankets over the couch so they can snuggle up all cozy together. Boudicca has been happy snoozing in her pink beds, although occasionally she has stolen a spot on the couch when the boys head off for their own bed or the tower for a nap.

Curiously, all three cats have been intermittently poky, frisky, and attention-hungry this evening.

  • Boudicca turned into a moderate Meower Mouth and pestered me until I picked her up. She seemed both thoroughly confused and pleased as I held her in my lap/against my chest as I sat at my desk. (She normally gets lap time when I sit on the couch.) Much purring occurred.
  • Charlie breaks out in sporadic squeaks and came over for a few pit stop visits. He kept pestering Garrus and Boudicca to play with him and, of course, Boudicca was not having any of it!
  • Garrus has been unusually frisky, complete with scampers (without Charlie instigating scampering session) and poofy tail. And he’s decided to new game (Bug Boudicca) while trying to get her to play with him (tag from the looks of it). I think he’s won every round. Boudicca is decidedly unamused by this turn of events.

Boudicca: Mama! It’s cold outside! And the boys are bothering me! Make it stop! If I hide behind you, they won’t follow me, right?

Me: Queen B, I can’t change the weather. Boys, leave Boudicca alone.

Garrus: *looking directly at me, touches Boudicca’s tail with his tail then darts away*

Boudicca: Mama! He’s touching me!

Charlie: *looking innocent* Play?

Boudicca: No, I won’t, you plebeian! Go away!

Me: Children…