• Life,  Pets

    Caturday: This Is Morris

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    This is Morris:

    And this is the third in a widely-scattered series of posts about my current feline overlords. Morris is a rescue cat who spent a few months in the shelter system winding up with the unlikely name of Pumpkin but, obviously, had to become Morris. Something about old television commercials and orange tabbies.
    We’re fairly certain he was a barn cat or semi-feral, used to people being around, but not super affectionate. He didn’t mind a little attention, but couldn’t really stand being held for more than a few seconds and had no real interest in sitting next to you in the chair or on the sofa.
    When we brought him home, he looked like this:

    But he has no impulse control, and ballooned quickly:

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-700x525.png

    Well, not too quickly, but too far. He’s on a calorie-restricted diet right now. Hopefully, it doesn’t take too much more time to slim him down than it did to fatten him up. Except it will because it is. Because he has no impulse control, steals dog food, pushes other cats (well, Cyrus) out of their bowls when he can get away with it, and isn’t above thieving some things.

    He’s come a long way in the almost three years we’ve had him. He can handle being held for several minutes at a time, will get into bed with you for reasons other than biting your toes, and is fairly demanding of attention if you walk by, pushing up off the floor to headbutt a hand descending to scratch him.

    He came home to live with us on 07 November 2015, not even six months after Morgana joined us. The introduction was less gradual this time, making an immediate friend of Cyrus and receiving a few hisses and swats from Morgana to teach him his place in the local feline hierarchy.
    These days, he has a preference for dog beds, backpacks left on the floor, and the spare bed in the basement. Oh, and windows. Windows are fun. When we adopted him, the given age was two, making him five now and the youngest feline of the local overlords.
    And again, a shelter cat. Happy ending for a shelter cat.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life,  Pets

    A Year of Cat

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherCyrus came to live with us a year ago today. A year ago today, at the local shelter, he stepped into a little plastic carrier, endured the short ride to our home, and started following us around.

    Cyrus at home.
    Cyrus at home.

    Almost exactly a year before that, Leo left us. 17 years old, plus a little, we’d had Leo since just before our first anniversary, since long before we had the kids. And he outlived his sister Xena by less than three months. We brought them home as a pair, inheriting them from a co-worker of my wife’s, when they were just a year old. So they were about the same age as our marriage. And as far as the kids were concerned, Leo and Xena had always been there.

    I still miss them both.

    Cyrus is been a welcome addition to our family. He did not fill the slowly shrinking hole left by Leo and Xena. That wasn’t his job. It still isn’t his job. He’s not Leo or Xena, and other than being a cat, he’s not all that much like either of them. He is his own completely separate individual, aggressively affectionate, constantly underfoot, slow destroyer of furniture. At least certain pieces of it. Lactose intolerant, dumpster diver, non-explorer, and possessor of more nicknames than Leo and Xena had combined.

    Bubbles. Fluffy the Hutt. The House Wookie. The World’s Largest Tribble. Rigel. Cousin Itt. Yes, most of these are geek inspired nicknames and make note of either the volume of hair, or the volume of his stomach.

    Cyrus was three when we got him, and had spent at least one, and probably two, of those years as a stray. He at least licks every item potentially classifiable as food that hits the floor, and he’s still not above occasionally checking the garbage to see if someone has throw out something that he thinks is appetizing. I have teenagers, so that happens regularly in garbage cans he can easily access. The kids are slowly being trained.

    When the shelter took him in, he weighed 8 pounds. When we got him, he might have reached ten. After we’d had him for three months, it was clearly time to stop free feeding and establish fixed meal times with fixed quantities, because he was almost 15 and a half. Trying to control his food intake since, I think he’s just a little over 14, or was the last time we weighed him. It’s still hard to tell with all of the fur, but I think he probably should be about 11.5 or 12 pounds.

    But as long as he’s happy, healthy, and gets around okay (because he’s got some arthritis in at least one hip/back leg, legacy of an accident he suffered as a stray that didn’t heal quite properly, whatever it might have been—and he has a funky toe on the back foot that goes with it), I’m okay with him carrying an extra pound or two. It’s kind of like me carrying an extra 20 or so.

    But it was a year ago today that we brought home a bedraggled, pathetic, scrawny little feline. He’s built his own place in our lives and seems quite comfortable there. We’re happy to have him.

    Celebrating a year of cat.

    Bring me Solo and a cookie.
    Bring me Solo and a cookie.

    02 Cyrus
    See how viciously tired I am?

    03 Cyrus
    Since I can’t reach the toy, it must be time for a nap.
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  • Life,  Pets

    Support Your Local SPCA/Humane Society

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherThis is Cyrus: 

    A.K.A. Fluffball, Tribble, Cybacca, Bubbles.
    A.K.A. Fluffball, Tribble, Cybacca, Bubbles

    He’s been living with us for just a touch over six months now.

    These are Peach (centre, hiding) and Pepper (right):

    The Three Ps.
    The Three Ps.

    joining their sister by adoption Peanut (right) not long before Christmas. (Yes, three P’s in a pod. It’s cute.)

    Cyrus, Peach, and Pepper have several things in common.

    1. They’re all mammals.
    2. They all have fur.
    3. They all came from the Lennox & Addington OSPCA

    I have nothing against pet stores. Very useful places for supplies, advice, and information. But for livestock, check the SPCA first. We live in a small town and aside from cats and dogs, they’ve had guinea pigs, chinchilla, and rabbits in the last several months, dropped off at the front door or transferred from another site in hopes of adoption.

    There’s probably an SPCA or Humane Society or other animal shelter somewhere near you. When there’s a pet-shaped hole in your life, drop by.

    Go inside, fall in love, create a better existence for another creature.

    Later on, go back and tell them about it. Take a picture. And a few cans of food. And a bag of cat litter.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Life,  Pets

    The Family Grows

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherYou might remember that last year, we lost both of our ancient cats and less than three months apart. If you don’t, I blogged about it here and here.

    The OSPCA had an adoptathon in July where they farm out rescue animals to pet stores and reduce adoption fees in hopes of greater exposure. I think it works.

    On a trip into the local pet store for crickets (my son has a Leopard Gecko), a scrawny long-haired grey tabby got my youngest daughter’s attention. He’d spent at least one winter as a stray and his weight showed it. His coat also showed it. A rough time in the wilds, I think, as they’d had no luck trying to comb the knots out of his back half and eventually. But, with the unlikely name of Cyrus, he was affectionate, attentive, and interactive, and my daughter fell in love with him. So much that she convinced me to bring her sister back to the store with us so she’d have someone else to help argue with their mom. When we left the store the first time, she looked at me and said, “He will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine.” (No, I don’t think she’s ever seen Wayne’s World.)

    Cyrus in the pet store.
    Cyrus in the pet store.

    Let’s be clear: I’m the softie of the parenting team. Yes, I can enforce rules; yes, I can determine sanctions for inappropriate activity or behaviour; yes, I do the disappointed dad routine very effectively. But they all know that I’m the one to convince first.

    And it had been a year, almost, since I said goodbye to Leo. More than that since Xena. I was ready for a new little furball. And, scraggly looking little rat he might have been, he was still pretty cute.

    I took a few days for the girls to convince my wife. We didn’t get to bring him home for a week after that as the shelter had elected to treat the feline equivalent of kennel cough (basically a cat cold) with antibiotics and, according to their rules, once they start, they have to finish to know he’s had the full course.

    We visited him in the shelter a couple of days before we could take him home. He was perky, interested, interactive, and vocal. There was no doubt.

    When he came home, he rode in a small borrowed carrier between my daughters in the back seat. They didn’t quite fight about which direction he should be facing.

    And he adapted immediately, following us around for a couple of minutes before being satisfied that the house was far larger than the cage he’d been in and letting himself be a lap cat for as long as anyone wanted to hold still.

    All was well.

    Until the next morning when he crapped on the couch before everyone got up.

    Really. Okay. We clean, we decide his stress level is high, and we deodorize. No problem, as long as it’s a one shot deal.

    It isn’t because he does it again the next morning.

    There are concerns. I decide that it’s barely possible that he can still smell Leo and Xena and he’s attempting to mark his territory against unseen intruders, or maybe his stress level is still high from the various moves, or maybe it’s something we can’t even began to figure out, but it can’t go on. We must take steps.

    So we clean, we deodorize, we cover the couch in aluminum foil, we spray everything nearby with stuff designed to discourage them from doing anything to the furniture, and we get a plug in device that fills the air with synthetic cat pheromones.

    A day goes by. Two. Three. Five. The foil comes off, but we leave the plug in plugged in.

    All seems well, and we haven’t had an issue since.

    Oh, he’s got other issue though. While he’s affectionate and loveable and his fur is growing in so he’s not quite so scraggly looking, he’s very definitely nuts.

    He has some separation issues. He gets anxious if everyone leaves the house at the same time and is right there to scold you when you get home. It’s not so bad if everyone’s asleep because he can go check to make sure you’re there. And he does. If you’re the only one awake, he’s with you. And while he has favourite spots already, he’s only in them if someone’s nearby. This cat does not like to be alone.

    Part dog, doing the whole turn around thing before he can lay down but when he stopped to knead first, it’s with all four feet and a twitchy tail.

    Part pig, as evidenced by the way he eats. I understand, since he was a stray, he’s still being in survival mode, but he’ll try to lick plates as you’re loading the dishwasher. A couple of mornings ago he jumped up on the counter as I was spooning some canned food out for him. No patience, our Cyrus. And he’ll try for anything that hits the floor, including tortilla chips.

    He’s vocal, especially when you’ve just arrived home or you’re trying to feed him, but doesn’t really purr all that much.

    The girls decided he should get to keep his shelter-given name of Cyrus. My wife, therefore, calls him Billy or Billy Ray. My son has decided that he should be named Bubbles. I prefer to think of him as my house wookie.

    Perhaps Cybacca.

    Be well, everyone.

    Cyrus at home.
    Cyrus at home.
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