Trying to Pill a Cat

Pilling a cat by yourself

is a practice in

Patience.

Holding a cat

That is wrapped like

A toweled burrito

In one arm

Pill popper in

The other hand.

Trying to wrangle

Him into opening

His mouth.

This morning’s

Double pill dispensing

Took almost

An hour

And left us both

Exhausted.

But my stubbornness

Is greater than his

And I know the importance

Of these meds.

I also know that

Success will be

A victory for us both.

I Wish Cats Could Talk

I wish cats could talk. Saturday night, I went to bed with my cat Patches appearing to be acting normally. When I woke up on Sunday and came downstairs, I found him hiding behind the chair in my mom’s bedroom. Immediately I knew something was wrong. Throughout the day, my concern only grew when he refused any food or water. I put a folded rug in the corner where he was so he wouldn’t have to lie on the floor and slid dry food, wet food, and plain water under the chair, so he only had to come out to use the litter box. I did this on purpose so I could monitor his urinary output. He did come out, for that purpose, several times during the day and evening. The most disturbing symptom he displayed was a kind of a moan he made when he exhaled. I watched him as closely as I could, while leaving him alone as well, and felt like he wasn’t in respiratory distress and decided to wait until this morning to take him to the vet. It was a long day and night yesterday because, at almost 17 years of age, I realize he doesn’t have much time left. But the idea of losing him so soon after my mom died was unbearable to my heart.

When I woke up this morning, my anxiety level immediately pegged out at a 10, and I went downstairs not quite knowing what I’d find. Luckily, Patches was still breathing, although the sound was now gone, and his eyes appeared brighter. Calling the vet, I wasn’t sure when I’d be going in. Luckily they were able to squeeze me in at 10 AM. So, off we went. Long story short, and this is why I wish cats could talk, my poor cat has a severe urinary tract infection, hyperthyroidism, and he is borderline diabetic. I had no idea he was so sick, and I feel horrible that, if there were signs, I had missed them. He has to take medication several times a day, and the vet seemed to be hopeful we could turn it all around. When we got home, I looked up hyperthyroidism in cats and was blown away. Weight loss, check. Increased appetite, check. Excessive thirst, looking back on it, check. Unkempt appearance, check. Vomiting, check. Many of his symptoms I just chalked up to him being an older cat and didn’t really think about it. So, that’s what my last couple of days have been about. Cats are stoic by nature and hide any symptoms when they don’t feel good. Patches has proved to be a master of this ability because, like I said, I had no clue he was so ill and I can only hope that the medications he has been put on will provide the relief and recovery he needs. He’s the elder statesman of my little household, and I’m just not ready for his presence to be gone from my life.

Attack Mode

He sneaks up on his prey

In the yard.

Tail wagging.

It has fallen during the storm

And now lies

Unnoticing of the danger

Lurking behind.

Without warning,

My golden retriever

Poodle

Beaver (?) mix

Hurls himself at the unsuspecting

Branch

And proceeds to

Tear it into pieces.

His ferocity knows

No bounds until

The branch lies in

Tiny fragments of

Its former self.

Then he looks to me

As if to say,

“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”

Summer Storm

The rumble started in the distance

Deep, long, and low.

Thunder approached, rain and hail

And lightning’s unholy glow

The wind tossed the treetops

And blew grass

Until it bent.

My dog sat glued

To my lap ‘til the tempest’s

Power had been spent.

Only then, did my dog

Bravely lift his head

And placed a kiss

On my cheek

As if “Thank you” he had said.

Thank you for comforting me

In the circle of your arms.

When I’m with you

I know I’m safe

And free from any harm.

Then he jumped down

To the floor, and yawned

His mouth gaped wide.

And all he wanted to do

As the sun came back out

Was go and play outside.

Peace Among Pets

WatsonPatches

The other night I had shifted from my spot on the sofa to the middle cushion to accommodate the needs of my overly jealous dog Watson and my territory-grabbing cat Patches. So, I had Watson settled on my left side, he had his head draped over my lap he was dozing and happy. Then Patches entered the scene so I patted the completely empty cushion to my right and coaxed him to hop up which he did. He turned around on the cushion and I was ready for him to curl up against me when he decided to cross over my lap and over Watson’s head and shoulders to move to the left cushion. Now, you have to understand that Watson and Patches have the quintessential love/hate relationship. Watson respectfully loves Patches, whereas Patches pretty much tolerates Watson on a good day. So I knew exactly what Watson was thinking when he looked at me unsure of what to do. Watson was currently occupying about 90% of the left cushion with his 40 pounds of fluffy red fur. I really wasn’t sure what to do either so I just waited and watched the scene unfold. Patches maneuvered himself into the remaining space and curled up against Watson’s rear end and went to sleep. After a minute of not knowing what Patches might do to him if he moved a muscle, Watson put his head back down and went back to sleep himself. I just sat there looking at these two animals seemingly happily “snuggled” up and felt my heart fill even more with love for my two boys who I am so grateful to have in my life. Of course, 5 minutes later Patches went from sound asleep to literally springing off the couch in one fluid movement, which startled Watson who nearly fell off the couch in the process and I had to catch him so he didn’t land on his head.  But hey, at least I had five minutes of peace.

Tookie Versus the Snowbank

Many years ago I had a Tibetan terrier named Tookie. His name means “crazy” in Swedish and he lived up to his name many times. He was a small black and white dog but in his mind he thought he was a Great Dane. This was never more evident than in the winter time when there was a lot of snow on the ground. After snowstorms, I would go out and walk around the yard and make paths for him to walk in when the snow was too deep for him. Slogging through the snow in random directions and circles I’d wonder what the neighbors would think if they were watching me. After I’d go in to thaw out, I’d take Tookie outside so he could “do his business.” Usually he would stay in the pathways but one day something possessed him to climb onto the snowbank. I stood there watching his back legs working away trying to get up onto the snow. He finally made it and he stood there for a moment on top of the snow looking like he was the King of the mountain. His head was held up high and his tail was like a banner moving behind him in the wind. Then he took a step and immediately his front leg sank into the snow and he couldn’t move. The snow was too soft for him to push himself back up on top. He was stuck. Slowly he turned his head back towards me with a look in his eyes that just screamed, “Stop laughing and help me!” Yes, I was laughing at him, I was a bad doggy mommy I’ll admit it. But only for a few seconds. Then I picked him up and put him back onto the path. He wanted to get back in the house pretty quickly after that. He was cold and so was I. He never did leave a path in the snow again though. I guess he learned his lesson the first time.

Scheming Cats

Cats are the greatest schemers in the animal kingdom. I have two cats, Patches and Felix and I have seen the most amazing thinking go on in their brains. When Patches was an outdoor cat, he would go out on rainy days but want to come in a short time later. I would dry him off and put him down and he would go to another door wanting to go out. I always assumed his thinking was that sure it was raining outside the other door but maybe it won’t be raining outside this door. I’d eventually open the other door, he’d stick his head out and then retreat to my bed after deciding it was, indeed, nicer inside than outside. Needless to say, I always found hilarious to watch.

Another time Patches got stuck in our barn overnight. My mom and I had no idea he was in there but the next morning I saw him sitting in the barn’s upstairs window where he knew someone would see him. It blew our minds that he could realize that if he sat there the probability of him being seen was pretty good. I went out and opened the barn door and he came trotting out and into the house where he meowed loudly for his breakfast.

It wasn’t until we got our second cat Felix that I bore witness to just how much of a schemer Patches was. I give my cats a few treats in the evening. One night Patches wanted more than his share and I told him “No.” He went upstairs and I thought the matter was settled. A few minutes later though, he comes back downstairs with Felix in tow. The little goober figured that if Felix was downstairs he would get treats so then Patches would get a few more too, which he did.

I could tell stories for hours about my boys, who continue to surprise me with the way they are able to think things through and scheme to get their way on such a continuous basis.

He Chose Us

I was sitting on the sofa this afternoon writing when my older cat came in the room and hopped up beside me and plunked himself down and went to sleep. Watching him, I had a moment of awe. My mom and I took him in about 12 years ago. When we brought him into our family he was almost feral. He would bite us, swipe at us, and scratch us. He was not a friendly cat at all, but for some reason he saw something in us and chose us as his forever home. We think he is now about 16 years old and with time and patience (a lot of patience) he has become such a love bug. But he also runs the household like a boss. His sense of time borders on paranormal. I feed him dinner at 5:30 and if I’m not in the kitchen preparing his food at that moment he will come find me and alert me with his croaky meow. We got a dog a couple of years ago and he made sure to know who was in charge pretty quickly. All this in a nine pound bundle of fur. My favorite memory I have with him was the night my dad passed away and I had gone to bed and was crying. He came upstairs into my room and hopped up on my bed and stayed with me until I fell asleep. Even now that memory brings tears to my eyes. That’s why I love having animals. They are such companions, such true friends. They never judge you, never criticize you, they just love you. So, sitting there watching him sleep, running my fingers along his fur I just felt so blessed to have him. I feel that way because he chose us to be his home and I wonder what exactly he did see in the glimpses he had of us before he made his decision. Whatever he did see, I’m glad he did.