Monday, April 25, 2011

Molly and Lucy: The Adventure Continues

If you've been around for a while, you know that Lilo (now Molly) and Lucy's mom has quite a talent for relating the amusing anecdote. If you haven't, or if you need a reminder, go here for a prime example. Then read the following.

Dang, she's clever. I'm sure you'll agree.

Adventures in Cat Parenting, Part Two

Every time I visit, my beloved neighborhood pet store sends home samples with me so my two little gourmands can expand their culinary universe.

Sunday, they gave me some raw patties made of pork and venison (IIRC). Tonight, I came home and figured I'd have the girls try them. I put them in their kitty bowls and stood back to watch.

Molly sniffed hers, then looked at me in confusion. Lucy attempted to bury hers, then sat down in front of me and inquired as to what was for dinner. I directed their attention back to their bowls. Lucy politely sniffed hers, then went back toward the food cabinet and chirped encouragingly at me. We repeated this for a while, and then I told them I needed to go to Walgreens and they should enjoy their dinner.

They both recognize, at this point, what my putting on my shoes and grabbing my purse means: I'm leaving.

Molly looked at her bowl and then began to howl: the hollow, full-throated cry of a soul in torment. I stared at her in astonishment, and 15 seconds or so later, the unrelenting howling broke Lucy. She stalked over to Molly and began repeatedly hitting her in the face. It went something like this:






LUCY: Why don't you make her STOP?


Faced with the prospect of two cats having psychotic breaks -- one at the idea of having a dinner she didn't like; the other in a sort of autistic freak-out at unpleasant noise -- I decided that the best thing to do was to go to Walgreens immediately. After all, these are creatures with brains the size of walnuts, right? By the time I got back they'd have forgotten whatever they were thinking about when I left, right?

I headed for the door.

As I opened it, something hit my back. Claws dug into my skin.

Lucy had decided that I. Would. Not. Be. Allowed. To. Leave. Her. In. This. Situation.

If I were going to dislodge her, she was going to take a large amount of skin with her. I staggered around clumsily, trying to grab her, begging her to pull her claws out of my shoulderblades, and meanwhile:


Finally, exhausted, I sat down on the floor. Lucy alighted from my back, ran over to her dish, grabbed a patty, and dropped it at my feet. She then proceeded, with great theatricality, to pretend to bury it, just in case I hadn't gotten the hint the first time.

Molly continued to provide the evening's soundtrack, until I grabbed her roughly, producing something that sounded something like:


She then stared at me in silent reproach.

Lucy took the silence as a sign to deliver a few more swats to make sure Mollly had learned her lesson.

I shoved my two little drama queens in the bathroom, cleaned up Lucy's patty, and then prepared the girls' second dinner attempt of the night: raw goatsmilk, sweetened with honey and a bit of cinnamon, chicken in crab consomme, a crumbled duck & goose raw patty, and a bit of pureed pumpkin.

They ate with an air of aggrieved vindication.

Jessica also has an amazing talent for photographing her girls. The following are posted with her permission.

Do you think she loves them? I think she does.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Alvin On the Mend!

Oh, he's so much better. The issue with his little digestive tract has finally resolved and his ridiculously adorable personality is making a full-blown appearance. Maureen couldn't be happier to finally have someone her own size to pick on, and Alvin is learning to hold his own with her. They're quite a team, those two.

Alvin's no worse for wear except for the baldness on his little back end. Sometimes when diarrhea is particularly stubborn - like his surely was - it can result in skin irritation to the point of hair loss.

The under side of his tail, his sweet back legs, and even part of his belly are pretty much devoid of floof. Add that to the fact that the dude's a bit bow legged and you get a darn cute image of him walking away. But he's getting regular slatherings of soothing ointment and is no longer sore and sensitive. It's just a matter of time before the hair grows back.

Welcome to the world, Alvin. It's all a bed of roses from here out. I'll see to that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Thank You For Your Support"

The following is intended for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finally! As Requested..

Here are the instructions for the kitty beds I've referred to making for the shelter. They're actually more like little mats than beds, and super simple to make.

Please keep in mind that no matter what form they take or what the dimensions, your local shelter will be so grateful to receive them. Don't spend too much time making them 'perfect' or fancy. You'll just frustrate yourself and wind up getting discouraged. At least I know I would.

Do whatever suits your fancy. Create your own design. Try different sizes. Make them your own!

These instructions are for the beds I initially made for the cattery. They are roughly 12"x18" which allowed just enough space for a litter box along side and food and water dishes as well. While we still have some of these kennels, we have since upgraded to some larger, 'double-deckers' and also have several black wire kennels in our lobby area, so just about any size will suit our needs.

For the fabric, my preference is polyester fleece and polyester batting. It holds up well after multiple washings and dries quickly. We have other staff and volunteers who use plain cotton or flannel. They make great little blankets as well. Use whatever you like. Mix it up!

For this bed I used a Martha Stewart blanket I found at a thrift store. She's a renowned animal lover. I think she'd approve.

Cut a piece of fabric that will fold in half to 1-2 inches larger in width and length than your completed size. This piece is about 26"x19". No need to be exact.

If you don't have a piece large enough to fold in half, cut two separate pieces. They needn't be the same fabric. Mix and match!

With right sides facing, start at the fold and stitch down one short side, then the long side leaving a space about 4-5 inches in the center, then the other short side.

Clip excess fabric from the corners to eliminate bulk once it's turned right side in.

Using the 4-5" opening, turn blanket right side out.

Lay the blanket on top of the batting and cut around it. I find this is easier than measuring as you don't need to use exact sizes.

Depending on what you're using, you may want to use more than one layer of batting. Experiment.

Insert the batting through the opening making sure it lies flat. Pin each corner and once along each side to hold batting in place.

Machine stitch the opening closed. You could also do this by hand, but why? The kitties don't care and it's barely noticeable in the finished product.

Top stitch a border 1-2" from the edge. You will also need to stitch within the border to hold the batting in place. What I decided to do is..

Fold the blanket in half lengthwise and mark the center with a pin on each long side.

Starting on any corner of the border, stitch to the center pin on the opposite side, then to the other corner on the same long side, creating a 'V'.

Repeat on the other side, creating a double-x pattern and you're done!

It's even better when you find a coordinating stuffed animal.

These are also great for sending home in the crate when cats are adopted. It's nice for the kitties and the PR for the shelter doesn't hurt either.

I hope this gets your creative juices flowing! I'd love to see what you come up with. Send me some pix and I'll share them here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh YAY Baby!!

So... Yesterday I bundled up little Alvin and took him to the shelter for a 'professional' bath. In spite of my efforts, I hadn't been able to get him completely clean, and I knew that critter bathers extraordinaire, Lois and Margo, could gently and lovingly get through all the poo. I also knew that he'd be messy again very soon, but at least he could start over with a clean little bod.

Sure enough when I went to collect him, he was shiny clean, slathered in soothing ointment, wrapped in a warm blanket and already starting to leak again. Sigh..

We came home with another anti-diarrheal and he took a long nap. He's had such a rough time and has been so tolerant through it all. Lois reported that he even purred during his bath.

A bit later Jean called to ask if she could come by and meet him. I suggested she wear her haz-mat suit, but sure! Come on over.

She wrapped him in a soft blanket, plopped herself cross legged on the floor and she and Alvin spent some very high quality time.

It wasn't long before we both realized that he seemed to be feeling better! He purred a lot and freely swatted at that orange girl who insisted on being so darn annoying!

Yes, our lad has turned the corner! He even toyed with a toy last night! I think you'll agree it was well worth the wait.

There are a few videos here, but they total only about 3 minutes. One day I'll see if I can figure out how to merge them into one. In the meantime..

I feel compelled to explain that the paint splotches on the floor in the third video were under the carpet recently pulled up in anticipation of refinishing. Perfect for a messy kitten room.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Love and Love

Volunteering/working at the shelter has brought me so much more than the satisfaction of making a difference for homeless animals - as huge as that is. That would have been more than enough. But it has also brought countless loving, like-minded people into my life that I dearly love and for whom I am so grateful.

Monica spends virtually all of her time working one of her two jobs - assistant at both a vet clinic and our local low-cost spay/neuter clinic - or volunteering with the adult cats at the shelter.

I met her years ago when we were both getting started volunteering and were pretty emotional as a result. We've both come a long way and she's been in my heart ever since.

During Alvin's visit to see the doc last week, Monica insisted on giving him his 4th bath of the day. I was happy to oblige. She was so loving and gentle with him. I sure do love that girl.

Luckily for Alvin and I, it was also Shana's day to be at the shelter. She's a former cattery staff member who has become a dear and valued friend. She now spends her time sitting for lots and lots of very fortunate pets, and volunteering at our local zoo. A more dedicated animal lover you will simply not find.

She comes to the shelter as a volunteer on Tuesdays to spend some time with the adult cats and discuss with staff which would be candidates for The Humane Society's Comcast show. This is a local cable project that features shelter animals - cats, dogs, bunnies, whatever - who are available for adoption. The filming is done on Thursdays and Shana is one of our stars. She's perfect for the job and I know without a doubt that her sweet smiling face has lured many an adopter our way.

This day she spent some time loving on dear little Alvin. Shana's husband is allergic to kitties, so she gets her quota of lovings from the shelter cats. Not to worry, there are two beloved and very spoiled dogs, two chinchillas and a bunny at chez Shana and Jim.

These two dear people and many more have enriched my life way beyond what I could have anticipated. An unexpected and priceless bonus of my decision to volunteer. Thank you all. Each and every one.

Credit for both photos goes to Monica.

As for little Alvin, there has been some progress, but he's got a ways to go yet before he's ready for the camera. With all the love he's getting both here, at the shelter, and from cyberspace there's just no way he won't come around. We'll just give him the time he needs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Been Shopping, Mom?

"Yes, Maureen. I've been to the thrift store for fabric. I'm going to make more beds for the kitties at the shelter."

Really? They'll like that.

Speaking as a kitty, I don't care if it's fancy. As long as it's soft. Makes me feel special and loved.

"Oh you are, Maureen. You are."