Thursday, December 27, 2012

Playing It Safe

Safety is the first priority when you have a human child. So why shouldn’t it be when you have a fur child as well? Lately I’m seeing a disturbing trend of horrific pet deaths due to safety issues. In the last two weeks alone I’ve seen two cats in forums die due to being stuck inside a clothes drier. Leaving the doors open to appliances is asking for trouble as cats are always looking for a little hideaway spot. If your cats have access to your washer and/or dryer, always check inside before turning them on.

Believe it or not, your cat climbing the curtains is not just bad for the curtain; it can be deadly for your cat. In one forum I read of a cat yanking down the curtains while the mom was in another room. Unfortunately that kitty was hit very hard on the head with the curtain rod and didn’t make it. If you have a cat or kitten that likes to climb curtains, try to break them of the habit by getting a kitty condo or high cat tree for them to climb instead. If this is not enough of a deterrent, think about getting shorter curtains, tying them back so they cannot easily be ripped down, or hanging only valances at the top so they can’t be reached. Don’t forget about blind cords as well. It doesn’t take much for a cat to want to play with a stringy blind cord; I don’t want to think of what could happen if they get tangled in it.

Don’t forget about electrical wires. Pets love chewing on wires so it’s best to hide them as much as possible. You can use some bitter spray they sell especially for pets as well as a plastic cord cover. You can get those at any Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, etc. While we’re talking about chewing things make sure to keep people foods out of their reach as so many of them are either toxic or unsafe. Dogs are likely to grab anything they can get their mitts on and cats are forever curious and can jump up on the counters doing the old snatch, grab and run.

Be sure to use safe cleaning products as most things we use are highly toxic to them and their livers are not capable of filtering those toxins out. I only clean with vinegar and water now; it kills germs just as well as bleach and is non-toxic. As far as my furniture goes, I wash them down with a soapy sponge and dry with a microfiber cloth afterwards. I don’t trust furniture polish getting on their paws and coats, especially when they’ll lick it all off. Make sure if your cat likes to jump on the counter tops and especially the stove tops when you aren’t around that the burners are shut off and cooled down if you’ve recently used it. If your cat is indoor/outdoor, don't use pesticides in your garden or lawn. Try using something organic instead, there are plenty of websites with ideas on what to use.

Just like having a baby around you need to understand that your pet does not know the difference between safe and dangerous. It’s a big responsibility having a pet and one that should not be taken lightly. They are like children and need us to guide them and keep them safe. Always be aware of that, no matter what you’re doing. Being extra careful could save the life of your pet. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Every Day Gifts

I know I talk a lot about how they drive me crazy and what I can’t do and have because of them. But I’d like to take some time to talk about what I do have because my cats are in my life; laughter, sheer joy, unconditional love, companionship to name a few. There are countless ways they give these things to me. And as we’re now in the season for giving and are approaching the Christmas holiday, I think about the things I’m grateful for and how my kitties are my every day gifts.

When they’re sleeping and I kiss them, they curl their toes…one of my favorites. When I’m sleeping on my bed they bookend me and keep me warm, sometimes purring in my ear. I love how they get crazy before or during a storm. They’re both nuts and not one bit afraid of thunder or lightning. When a storm gets really bad I actually have to close the windows, otherwise they’d stay in the windowsill and get completely drenched if I’d let them. I love how they wrestle and run around the house, their feet sliding on the floor and their nails clicking as they round a corner.

Lacey loves it when I have music on. I pick her up in my arms and dance around the house with her. She loves dancing and there’s certain music she loves the most like Michael Jackson or Lady Gaga, she goes running through the house singing along with it. You’d think she wouldn’t like it since she hardly likes to be held. Other than dancing, she’s so squirmy she’s like Houdini in a straight jacket. They love going downstairs to visit my parents, they think it’s a treat. Mostly they’re adventure is to go sniffing around each and every room, the heck with visiting; it’s a whole new world down there. There are a lot of things they used to do that I miss (and a lot that I don’t, LOL). They used to love to go nuts playing with a ping pong ball in the bathtub. It kept them amused for at least a half an hour at a time and completely wore them out. They used to go racing around the apartment until I thought one of them would surely pass out. Sometimes they still play so hard if I happen to be downstairs, it sounds just like they’re moving furniture.

Lacey used to do back flips when I’d throw a ball or a toy, jumping at least four feet in the air. I love how Lacey will be chattering at me and suddenly have to yawn in the middle of it. While she’s yawning her ears go back and her eyes roll all over the place like a cartoon. She’s my little cuckoo and a lot of her actions resemble a cartoon. Speaking of cartoons, Finnegan loves to watch them and will sit in front of the TV with his head following each movement across the screen; up, down, back and forth. Finney is a big boy (Maine Coon, 17 lbs), but has the tiniest meow. He tries so hard to meow loudly and he’s unfortunately getting better at it, LOL. If I’m sad for any reason and maybe shedding some tears, he’ll come over, cozy up with me and lick my face as if to say “It’s okay mommy, I’m here”. Those are the moments I treasure so much with them. They are my comic relief, my entertainment, my pride and joy and my most of all they are the loves of my life. They give me daily headbonks, they are my purring machines and cuddle monsters, they are my every day gifts and I cherish each and every thing about them. During this holiday season when I am opening my presents, in the back of my mind I’ll think “I’ve already got the best presents in the world, the love of my cats”.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Tree-LESS

Yes it’s true. I am without a Christmas tree for the fourth year in a row. When Alex was alive she was such a good girl I could put up a tree, and even hang tinsel on it; she wouldn’t touch it if I told her no. Finnegan and Lacey are a whole other ball game. Long drapes – check! Climbs them. Loose TV or computer wires – check! Plays with them. Toilet paper – check! Plays with it and eats it. Finney even got constipated once after eating it, I had to take him to the vet. I have to keep the toilet paper in an enclosed trash can next to the toilet.

Most of the time I don’t mind too much that it’s not really my house or my things anymore. Because as every cat owner knows; we don’t own them, they own us. So it stands to reason that they also own everything in the house. Especially since they fully believe they do anyway. Christmas is the one time I wish I could have what I want for a change. I’d love to put up even my small, artificial tree, have some lights, pretty decorations, glittery garland, etc. But I can see it now. All day and all night I’d be fighting the inevitable; the chewing on the wires (absolutely too dangerous), the eating of the tinsel (also dangerous), the batting around and breaking of the ornaments, and so on.

In my mind I can see the tree being knocked over several times a day. I can see them ever so cleverly pretend they don’t care about it anymore only to wait until I’m sleeping or not home for the real fun to start. I can see my tree-top angel being mangled to bits and feathers flung, half eaten, all over the floor. I do manage to put up some decorations as long as they’re completely out of reach (which is not easy with cats). Even then it’s unbelievably compelling and they spend a good amount of time staring and thinking of ways to get at them. I also have some ceramic decorations but those also have to be kept out of reach in fear of Lacey’s paw of doom! You know that paw; the one that acts like they are just inspecting the object only to take a sudden swipe at it and before you know it…CRASH! I suppose I could put up a fiber optic tree but that still would not allow me to hang my ornaments and pretty decorations. And it goes without saying that there is absolutely no way I could ever leave presents out. That would be a complete waste of wrapping paper. For now (and maybe forever) that tree will have to stay in the basement all by itself, as if it’s the Charlie Brown Christmas tree; so lonely. Bah…humbug. And I will remain always and forever…tree-less.

If anyone has found a way to put up a tree and not have it torn down and ruined, I’d love to hear it so please leave comments. I’m sure others would love to figure this one out as well. OR if you have your own Christmas tree disaster stories, please also leave comments. I’d love to hear them. I’m sure we’d all love to hear some Catmus disaster stories.