Origins: Tulip

“I’m the Queen, I’m the Queen. Bow down, bow down…”

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Today’s post will be on fur baby #5. As I mentioned in my previous Origins article, Tulip was adopted at the same time as Muffin in December 2016. I specifically went to the shelter to get a black cat, because if you don’t already know I love black cats. I think they are beautiful creatures, especially if they are completely black with no other markings.  The Fort Worth Animal Control Center just happened to be hosting an adoption event that specifically waived the adoption fee for black cats and dogs. Score!

Tulip and Muffin Christmas 2016
You there, Muffin. Do my bidding!

I initially saw Tulip in her cage alongside other cats of various ages. She was cute, but her white socks and whiskers were a superficial deal breaker, pushing me to continue my search for the black cat I wanted. The only other black kittens available were in quarantine status for sulfur Lyme dip treatments that would last until the upcoming week. I didn’t want to wait, and so I Tulip became my new black cat.

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Tulip, Clover, Tiger

She’s known as Queen Tulip, not only for her aristocratic behavior “Out of my way peasant!”, but because of her regal beauty as well. Her lean black body is dressed in white socks front and back. The white whiskers on her face are long and white, giving them a butterfly appearance. Her face is narrow and her yellow eyes are sharp and discerning (judging?). She looks like a miniature version of Tiger.

 

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“Uncle Tiger” and Tulip

From day one she proved to be a kitten of importance.  Jordi my husky-labrador came home with us that same day. The kittens were boxed up in a cardboard cat carrier. Once I let them out Tulip began staking her claim to the house immediately. Although Honey gave her customary stranger danger hiss and swat at the new arrivals, Tulip showed confidence and poise as she walked instead of ran away from her cat elders.

Meeting Jordi, a creature that was ten times her size equally unfazed her. Jordi sniffed at her curiously while she brazenly stood her ground, eventually sniffing back at him before strolling off to explore another part of the house as if to say “I’m bored of this giant beast, what else you got?”. This show of bravado sealed the bond between the two and debuted her as the cat with sass.  Its almost as if she is saying “I’m the queen, I’m the queen. Bow down, bow down.”

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“You there dog, do my bidding!”

Tulip’s bravery has teetered towards recklessness on many occasions. Like many cats, she naughtily jumps on tables, knocks over random items to her own amusement, and tries to slip out the front door when someone arrives or leaves. She is also the reason we do not leave our snack plates or beverages unsupervised, and how the dogs have gotten access to items high on shelves to destroy (Tulip!!!)

Did I mention she’s a spider cat? I discovered the need for super-duty curtain rods after her climbing up and bringing down three different curtains, bending and ruining the aluminum curtain rods.  She loves to climb. She climbs the cat condo, the couches, the high shoulders of the wingback chair, and somehow even manages to scale the top my walk-in shower. She isn’t afraid of anything.

She’s never been particularly affectionate. Although she tolerates appreciates being pet, she’s not into cuddles or patronizing us to allow herself to be carried like a baby (like Honey, PJ, Muffin, and Clover have). She’s quick to shut down any bothersome handling with a dainty “mew” and a swipe from those equally dainty, but razor-sharp claws.

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I can see my kingdom from here!

Aside from Tiger, who takes mess from nobody, Tulip regulates whatever space she’s in.  She hogs the food dish from the other kittens, has taken Honey’s favorite resting spot and refuses to move when Honey approaches and is the first on the scene to instigate any smells of food, sounds of snacks.

But as troublesome as she can be, she is still royalty. She has a lady-like trot when she walks fast. And when she’s ready to rest she doesn’t just lay down, she lounges gracefully. She is a kitty diva and she knows it. Her mew is soft but assertive.

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You there Clover, lick my royal ears!

Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading another Origins article about my pets. We are more than halfway through with the introductions. Keep up with us on my YouTube channel CatsDogsHarmony for more animal stories. Until next time, Keep the harmony.

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Will it Pinterest? Cat project #1

Disclaimer: This is a DIY project I did on my own and any attempt to replicate it is at your own risk. Do research and ask for help if you need it. I am not responsible for any damage or injury from any project you attempt to build.
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I love my cats and I love Pinterest. But just how practical are some of those cool ideas seen on the famous idea sharing site? I’m going to try to recreate one of the ideas I’ve seen Pinterest. Basically its recycling or reusing dresser drawers to use as shelves or cubbies for the cats to climb in and on. I’ve been wanting to try it for a couple of months and I think I finally have the materials to make it happen! Check me out.

Once upon a time I actually bought a set of cat furniture from a company called CatWallz(sp?). They were very high quality, durable upholstered pieces that had a “floating” effect on the wall. There were two shelves and sort of a tube-like thing that the casts could crawl through and peek out of.

 

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Very similar to this, although I can no longer find the company I used online…

 

I loved this furniture. They loved it. It was very cool and very expensive. I believe each piece was close to $100 each. And when I took moved from my apartment, the takedown did damage to both the walls and the units. The next time, I thought, I’ll do something cheaper and less destructive.

Pinterest actually came out about 3-4 years after and the plethora of ideas sprouting from that site put me in DIY heaven. I’ve got a long page of pinned ideas that I’ve yet to get around to trying, so this is the first. Most of those ideas require purchasing specialty materials or being lucky enough to come across them for free (wooden pallets, sisal rope, fallen tree pieces…). The dresser idea seemed practical since I regularly saw odd pieces of furniture being thrown out throughout the neighborhood. How hard could it be to come across a few dresser drawers?

Pretty hard actually. Over the past two months, I’ve collected a few tossed out dressers, but the ones I did bring home were too heavy or bulky to use. Then my neighbors threw out the perfect item. The dresser originally had six drawers but one was missing. These drawers were small enough for an adult cat to lay down inside and not too heavy to lift and maneuver while securing to a wall.

I ended up using only five of the drawers since the remaining one was damaged. I needed the boxes to be in good condition if I was going to rely on them to support the weight of my kitties several feet off the ground.  To keep the boxes on the wall, I’d also need to make sure I secured through the studs behind the drywall. Finally, I’d need some brackets to give some extra hold to the drawers against the wall.

The materials I used were:

  • Wooden/particle board dressers
  • Medium duty shelf brackets
  • 3 inch coarse drywall screws
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Power drill/cordless screwdriver
  • pencil
  • level piece of wood
  • ladder (optional)
  • carpet (optional)

There are several types of screws to choose from, I just chose what I thought was most suitable. The most important thing about the screws is that they are long enough to go an inch or two into the stud to hold the piece in place. Depending on the width of the drawer and the distance between the studs, only one stud line may be hit, but one is a minimum! Unless the drawers will be stacked on top each other in a way that will have extra support, the weight of a cat will not be supported by putting the drawers through drywall only!

First I used my stud finder to locate the studs and a pencil to mark their location. Next, I used a scrap piece of wood and level to mark a long line across to represent the top of where the drawer would go. When I go to attach the brackets to the wall, I make sure each bracket is flush with this line. This way, I know my drawer will be even when I hang it.

Holding the brackets in place, I take a pencil and mark both an outline and the screw holes of the bracket. Then I use my power drill to make holes on those hole marks. The holes I make should line up with the holes in the brackets. I’m not sure of the drill bit size, I have several sizes and I just pick the one closest to the diameter of the screw I’m using. The drill bit width should be equal to or less than the screw width being used. Once I have all my holes pre-drilled, it’s easy for the screws to be secured into place later.

With my brackets firmly on the wall, I carefully place a drawer on one set.  I want to secure the drawer to the wall, not just on the brackets, so I pre-drill holes in the back of the drawer as well and then screw them into place. These screws are also through a stud. Now, even though only one side of my drawer is secured through studs, there are at least four studs holding it. For the other side that is drywall only, anchors can be used in conjunction with the screws.

A small screw can be used to attach the bottom of the drawer to the top of the bracket to prevent any wiggle room, but for the most part, the dresser should be good and tight against the wall.

I used an extendable aluminum ladder for this project. I got it for $45 at a flea market. I thought it was a good price, but for the length of time I had to spend up on the ladder, my feet were uncomfortable. The risers were only about two inches wide. So the majority of my weight was focused on two inches of my foot creating a very painful pressure point. This made me need to shift around a lot while I was on the ladder, which is not something I want to be doing while balancing that high up.

One other difficulty I had was in finding a consistent distance of studs. The area I used was the wall behind my front door in the foyer. I think this small space may have used irregular spacing both horizontally and vertically. I also hit something that wasn’t a wooden stud as some points and had to go back in with a masonry bit to make sure my screws would go down flush to the wall.

Start to finish, I think this took me two hours and maybe fifteen minutes. That includes the times I had to climb down for a foot break, get the masonry bit when my regular one wasn’t enough, measuring and re-measuring for studs, and readjusting my ladder for the drawers I put higher up on the wall.

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Will it Pinterest? Yes! Was it worth it? The jury is still out on that one. The dresser drawers were free, but I spent more than $80 in supplies and two uncomfortable hours on a poorly designed ladder.

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Does it look cool? Darn tootin! I am very satisfied with the results and I think the cats appreciate my effort. I have one finishing touch, that is also optional. I have some scrap carpet that I am going to line the drawers with for some extra kitty comfort. I suppose if these drawers were visible from the ground I might put in attractive looking pillows that would complement the decor of my sitting room. Initially, I also wanted to spray paint the drawers to give them that extra “oomph”, but I will leave well enough alone and be content with a job well done.

 

A video of this is available in two parts on  my

YouTube channel catsdogsharmony “Will it Pinterest

This DIY was incorporated with the kitty condos I already had on hand, and I think they look quite good together. What do you think? Have you tried this Pinterest? How did it turn out? Was it as easy as you thought? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, Keep the Harmony.

 

Origins: Muffin the Miracle Cat

I know I just didn’t see what I think I saw?!…I did. I jerked the car in park, still halfway in and halfway out of the parking spot. I jumped out of the car and just caught a glimpse of a dirty, furry white cat cowering near the entrance of the movie theater. IT WAS MUFFIN!

Muffin, muffin, muffin!

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In my YouTube video “Meet my 6 Cats“, I introduce my kitty clan one by one, giving each cat’s nickname and describing some of their personality and temperament.  Muffin was given the moniker “Miracle Baby”, but I didn’t go into details. The time has come to give the backstory to this mysterious kitten.

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I’m not mysterious, I’m just very private.

Muffin was adopted December of 2016 during the Fort Worth Animal Shelter’s “Black Friday” event. Black cats and dogs are featured as adoptable pets and the fees are waived. The term is a play off of the biggest shopping year in the U.S., but also it’s a way to give a second chance to black animals that, because of stigma or superstition, are supposedly harder to adopt.

 

Where does Muffin fit into this you might ask? Well, I went to the shelter specifically to get a black cat. If I haven’t’ mentioned it before, I think black cats are gorgeous. So I went to find one. Tulip, my miniature girl version of Tiger was a pretty little black kitten housed in a cage with a fluffy little white cat with gray markings. I didn’t really want that fluffy white ball of cuteness, but I felt bad for leaving him behind.

So when I told the shelter staff to box up Tulip to come home with us, I told her to put in the white cat too. “But the Black Friday fees won’t be waived for the white one.”, she told me. I knew this, but my sentimental heart finalized my decision. I didn’t want to adopt one and leave the other. Good marketing strategy FWAS, very good marketing strategy…

So that’s miracle #1, or rather Muffins’ good fortune. In the end, I was happy that I adopted him with Tulip anyways because having a kitten and adult cat before (Honey and Tiger), I knew that transitioning into a house of adult cats would be a challenge for a new kitten. Now the two littermates(?) had each other for company if the older cats didn’t want to be bothered.

Since day one, Muffin has been nervous, skittish, cautious, and overall a scaredy-cat. He and Tulip hid under the bed the first night. After several weeks, Muffin was still hiding under the bed. He eventually graduated from hiding under the bed to hiding under the lazy boy chair, behind the couch, and behind another chair in the sitting room. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked for him, thinking he had somehow gotten out.

This March he did just that but in a very unorthodox way. I have an attached garage that I was rearranging and left the door open between the house and garage. Jordi and the cats were meandering in and out, sniffing about and generally being curious.

When I was done, I ushered everyone back inside the house and shut the garage door. The next morning I loaded up the cats’ breakfast dishes and did my customary headcount. Muffin wasn’t present. I did my usual house search, but to no avail. I went to work and came back, and the next day the same scenario: no Muffin.

He was hiding in a really good spot this time, or had he somehow escaped?   I’d just have to wait patiently. I let my mind ease up and went out for some light shopping and a movie. I actually went several places this particular day, with the movie being my final stop. I was pulling out of my parking space at the theater and checking my rear view mirrors when I saw a flash of white and gray fur!

I know I just didn’t see what I think I saw?!…I did. I jerked the car in park, still halfway in and halfway out of the parking spot. I jumped out of the car and just caught a glimpse of a dirty, furry white cat cowering near the entrance of the movie theater. IT WAS MUFFIN!

 

Somehow this kitten had managed to crawl up under my car and ride along with me for several hours (including the freeway!). He had stayed there through various stops and waited for long amounts of time at each location, never coming out. He stayed under there during a full-length movie and just so happened to come out at a time when I was looking in my rearview mirror! If that’s not a miracle (or good timing) I don’t know what is.

I was shocked and speechless when I picked him up. He was sooty scruffy and looked pretty dazed himself. He looked ok, and when I got him home I cleaned him up with some pet wipes and left him alone to reacclimate himself in peace.

About a week later I noticed a small scabby spot on his tummy. Apparently, he had gotten burned by something under my car. I kept the area clean and kept an eye on him. The spot got uglier before it got better, and about 2 weeks later he had a scab on his belly about 3 square inches in diameter. Ok, he’s got a battle scar, I thought to myself. No problem. But then I notice he wasn’t peeing…

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I don’t normally watch my animals pee, but I had noticed several times that he would go and squat and stay there for a long time with nothing happening. I took him to the vet and to my horror, I was told that the scabbing had covered his little penis. If he didn’t get it operated on soon, he’d basically die from not being able to go. I squeezed every last dime out of my American Express and paid the $1200 for the procedure.

So another couple weeks later and Muffin is doing great. I’m very careful to keep the garage house door closed now and I’m sure he’s learned not to go under there anymore…

muffin head

Who am I kidding? For whatever reason he found the underbody of my car to be a safe space before, he still thinks it is. Here’s part 2 of Miracle Baby:

Last night I let Jordi out back to go potty. The kittens aren’t allowed outside, but they do like to hang out around the glass storm door to look outdoors. Well, both Clover and Muffin had a headstart on me and Jordi and as soon as that storm door they were out! I grabbed Clover and tossed him back inside, but Muffin was just out of reach. I had barely got my hands on him when Jordi decided it was time to play chase the cat.

They ran left and right and left again. Then Muffin ran up. Straight up a tree into one of the tallest trees in my backyard. These aren’t climbable trees (for humans anyway). They are about 3 feet around, thin and tall. And Muffin was somewhere at the top where I couldn’t see in the darkness of night. It was after midnight and I didn’t want to wake the neighbors calling him down, so I left him for the night.

 

I went back out this morning and saw that he had made it down. I called out for him in the front and backyard, but not answer. I posted a missing pet message on the NextDoor app and went about my day. Then when I went to feed the cats there supper I went back out to check on Muffin, taking a dish and scooper full of food with me. The idea is to make the sound of food being served by pouring the kibble back and forth from the scoop to the bowl. It only took one pour into the bowl to hear a response.

Point Blur_Oct152017_074550.jpgIt almost sounded like he was inside the garage, but that couldn’t be. I’m still using the garage as an isolation tool between the dogs until they can get along, and I know for a fact I haven’t let any cats in there. My car is parked in the driveway and as I’m looking at it I’m having a flashback. I run back inside for a flashlight. Sure enough, the mews are coming from my car. I lay on the ground and point my flashlight under my car, and who should I see emerging? Muffin.

 

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Are you ok Muffin?
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Looking like Bert from Mary Poppins
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Making sure his little pee-pee didn’t get hurt again

 

Muffin the Miracle Baby is born again from the bowels of my Chevy’s underhood and chassis. Looking like Bert from Mary Poppins. I’m hoping he just crawled under there while my car has been cooling off. If he’s been under there all day including the drive to Mansfield and back for Jordi’s emergency, that will be another miracle ride for him.

Muffin continues to be nervous and fearful, but he’s a sweet cat once he warms up to you. I’ve said a mouthful on him already.

Check out my youtube channel CatsDogsHarmony for the full video on this caper as well as other videos on the other guys. Until next time, keep the harmony.

Origins: PJ (Pepper Junior)

“He followed me home ma, really!” This is the jist of what my son told me about the mystery cat I randomly met in my living room one day.

“He followed me home ma, really!” This is pretty much what my son told me about the mystery cat I randomly met in my living room one day.20161118_082823

Imagine, you walk into your living room after a long day’s work. There’s a stray cat peacefully sprawled over the top of your recliner. This is how I met PJ. He looked so comfortable and relaxed, as if he really belonged there. I approached him and asked who he was (because this of course is a perfectly normal thing to do when you meet someone new, even if that someone is a cat). He meowed back confidently, and it was love at first sight.

PJ aka Sticker aka Pepper Junior aka Fat cat is hands down (or paws down) the most affectionate cat I’ve ever had. Well there, was Pepper…

Ok, I really don’t like to talk about it but there has to be some history given, so I’ll make it quick:

Pepper was Honey’s litter-mate. He was the most affectionate cat I’d met before. He would head butt for attention, leap into your lap, then literally stretch his paws one each over your shoulder while resting his chin on your shoulder. He was the best. Pepper began urinating uncontrollably all over the place, including our clothes and I didn’t know what to do about it. I should’ve taken him to the vet, but instead I dropped him off at the shelter. Its the most regrettable thing I’ve done, and I fell very sad every time I think about it. I should have tried to help. I only hope he found a loving home that was able to give him the care he needed. Now that my dirty secret is out, I hope to never speak of it again. Back on to the story of Pepper Junior…
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I’m sorry Pepper. I miss you.

Now that the truth has been told, lets get back to PJ. PJ came to us in 2012. If I had to guess, I’d say he was 3-6 months old, still a kitten but old enough to have survived on the streets for however long he was out there.

I took PJ to the vet after being with us for a week and one of the first things they check for at these exams are microchips. PJ had none, so if he did have an owner, he wasn’t registered to any. PJ got his nip-and-tuck (my cheeky way of calling a spay/nueter procedure), all his shots and vaccines and was officially ours.

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Unlike Tiger, PJ has never really been interested in going outside. I mean, if I leave the door wide open for any period of time, he’ll probably meander over and find his way out the door. He’s never been an escape artist though. Actually, when I lived in my former apartments, the few times he did get out he got confused and went to the wrong door. My neighbors would call the number on his tag and I’d have to go get him. I thought cats could smell their way home?

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I don’t know you guys. It doesn’t seem safe out there…

PJ went through some of the same initiation as Tiger, with the hissing and claw bearing. But PJ is more introverted and mild mannered, so even though Tiger was compelled to show he was the Alpha-cat with some minor bullying, PJ settled in fairly quickly.

Being my son Jason’s cat, PJ would mostly sleep in his room. This in itself was an act of love, because if you saw how gross my son kept his room back then…well, I digress.

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That son of mine, being the teenager he was began spending more and more time out with his friends. He played with PJ and showed him attention, but when my son wasn’t around PJ looked lonely. I mean he actually looked like he missed my son. When my son moved out years later, PJ began to get weepy eyes. Now all cats will have some tearing of the eye ducts, but PJ’s seemed to be more emotional. When my son comes to visit, there is a look of recognition in PJ’s eyes as he smells his boy. And when Jason leaves, PJ walks around meowing for him and the wetness in his eyes begin again.

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Jason, is that…you?

Now that my son has been living away from PJ for a couple of years, PJ has taken the kittens under his paw for mentoring and companionship. When he’s in the mood, he’ll play with them. He gives and receives baths from them. He and Muffin have been seen snuggled up often. They have the same quiet and intentional demeanor. And of course when he wants close human companionship, he volunteers to be Keiko’s sleep buddy.

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You comfy Keiko?

PJ friendliness is appreciated by all. Even Honey doesn’t mind him hanging around. He isn’t super pushy with the leg rubs and lap jumps, but when he senses a good vibe about someone, he’ll give them a chance to make the first move. If all is well, he just might just get comfortable with them.

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PJ is my only adult cat that is comfortable around the dogs. He’s cautious, but courageous. With personalities like his, ,it makes it easier to achieve a sense of harmony in the house.

PJ Trivia:

  • He doesn’t like table scraps or even cat treats
  • His favorite wet food is Friskies Shreds, Beef in Gravy
  • Cat nip has no affect on him
  • He is the loudest of all the cats
  • He once got stuck on the roof of our duplex

That’s all for now. This completes my Adult cat biographies. I’m going in order from oldest/ most residence to youngest/least residence. Can you guess who will be the subject of my next Origins?

Thank you for reading my blog. Please consider subscribing, and sharing. Stay tuned for my next blog update.

Check out my YouTube channel, Instagram, and twitter: catsdogsharmony,

Until next time, try to keep the harmony.

PJ
PJ! (Pepper Jr.)

Inquiring minds want to know…

…Are you a cat person, or a dog person?

Since starting my blog, I’ve become more open to talking about my pets and asking other people about theirs. A typical icebreaker question I start with is whether or not they are a cat person or a dog person.

This is a very important question, because rambling on about the latest cute or funny thing one of my fur babies has done can either be endearing to a fellow animal lover, or irrelevant to the person who just isn’t into them.

In today’s post, I’d like to discover what makes a cat person a cat person; a dog person a dog person; and how its possible (perish the thought!) that some people just aren’t as animated about animals as I am. So, are you a cat person or a dog person?

(image found at Threadless.com)

When I was a little girl I loved dogs. My mom told me I would approach any dog, big or small and try to make friends. I thought having a dog was the ultimate prize. We had a puppy for about a week when I was about 5, but I think someone at our apartments stole him. (I still think about you Reggie!) I had a beautiful white and brown Papillon when I was in junior high, but he was struck and killed by a car during a potty break. (Gizmo!) Between losing him and Reggie I never thought about getting another dog.

By the time I was in my late teens, I was ambivalent about dogs. If someone I knew had a dog I would pet it to be friendly, then forget about it the moment it was gone. By my early twenties I avoided dogs. The yipping and yapping, the barking and yarking, the licking and slobbery muzzles, the pawing and jumping up on me. It was just too much. And the smell…ugh. No dogs! No thank you!

“Ew!, Dog breath!”(image from www.humanima.co.uk/)

Well if you’ve followed my humble blog thus far, you know that much has changed since then.  I got a cat, and then some more and became a cat lover. Cats were the superior species in my opinion. Now my motto is “cats rule, dogs drool…but they’re still pretty cool.” Over the last several months of owning both cats and dogs, I’ve realized that each of these species effect me in a very different way.

I’ve mostly thought of myself as a cat person because of my laid back personality. Although I can be quite sociable and hyper at work,  I’m really an introvert who is more at ease being at home doing quiet things and pondering the meaning of life. The laissez faire attitude of a feline laying about mirrors this mood and maintains my sense of happy solitude.

(image from http://vibeke.holtskog.no/katten-i-klosteret/)

The warm vibration of a kitten’s body purring on my lap is relaxing in a way that is subtle, yet visceral. The kneading of their little paws on my leg took some getting used to, but with thick enough clothing its actually quite pleasurable, albeit awkward (is he having flashbacks of kneading for milk from its mother?).

(image from giphy.com,Looney Tunes Marc Antony and Pussyfoot)

Since Jordi came to stay, my bump-on-a-log modus operandi has taken a back seat. I’m more liable to want to do some yard work just to be outdoors and watch him and the other pups run around.  I’ve just become more active. This change has helped me both physically and emotionally. (One day I’ll share my depression story, and how my animals are helping me manage it.)

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Pure love and affection

The “always ready to go” energy from my dogs amazes me. Whether its day or night, when my dogs see me move, they are right there in tow. Something about that makes me feel special. That I would be that important for them to follow me  wherever I go, and the frenetic “welcome home!” wiggles and jiggles they do when I return home from an outing always puts a grin on my face.

Since adopting the dogs, my leadership skills have grown a bit. The need to be the alpha has guided me into presenting myself in a stronger way. I’m very self aware of how my posture, body language, tone of voice and volume affects the behavior of my dogs. A pack leader presence  is essential to maintain the respect of one’s dog, and is conducive to how I maintain the harmony I speak of in my site’s name. Some people do this quite naturally and I think that draws them being a dog owner. I’ve had to work on it, and I’m still learning how to be a better alpha.

“Either you lead, or I will lady!” ( image from  http://www.orgsites.com/az/mcl-tsn-007/_pgg6.php3 , Devil Dogs)

So its official, now I’m a cat and dog person. Although I felt a tinge of guilt in the beginning of my transition (I swear the cats all stared at me in silent judgment when I brought Jordi home) I am now completely accepting of my new cat-dog love.

(image property of Nickelodeon animation studios)

Yep, I love all pets. Although…I’m still squeamish when it comes to reptiles, arachnids, and snakes “it’ll bite me!”, birds “they’ll peck my eyes out!”, and little critters like hamsters, mice, and gerbils “they’re too small and quick, and they’ll bite me!”. But in general I can appreciate just about any creature big or small found in nature. Although butterflies have always freaked me out since I was a kid “it’ll flutter me to death!”

“Ah! There in my eyes again!”
(image property of Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe[the most awesome show ever created, go watch it])

Thanks again for letting me share my blog with you. If you want to stay current on other posts about cat people, dog people, or my brood in general please consider subscribing. Also check out my Twitter feed, Instagram, and YouTube channel all under the name  Catsdogsharmony. Until next time, keep the harmony!

KJandPJ

 Personally, I think PJ could make a cat person out of anybody.
(PJ, Keiko, and Jason)

 

 

 

 

Origins: Tiger

If I had to make guesses of Tiger’s adventures and mishaps, I’d say he’s gotten into a few cat fights, possibly got stuck crawling through a fence, and encountered at least one a dog.

This post is the second in my Origins series and is about my second oldest kitty Tiger. He is a black cat with a white goatee, a white patch on his chest, and white socks. Because of his high energy and amazing acrobatics, I was originally going to call him Jackie Chan (that guy is awesome!) I ended up naming him Tiger for less obvious reasons. In sunlight the black fur that seems solid reveals a pattern of tiger-like stripes. Later on I would discover that this name would also fit his personality.

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I adopted Tiger in the spring of 2006 from the Bedford Animal Shelter. As I mentioned in my previous post, Honey had recently become a solo cat. I didn’t want her to be alone after having a sibling for so long, so I decided get another kitten. I was pregnant with my daughter Keiko at the time.040

After she was born Tiger took to her like she was another kitten. He loved to sniff her and lick her head and would sleep snuggled up beside her in the crib regardless of how many times I shoo’d him away. Because of this I like to joke with Keiko that Tiger was her crib-mate. My mother stayed with me for a week after Keiko was born and was terrified that he was going to accidentally smother her, from trying to “get the milk from her”. He may have been attracted to her baby fresh skin and milky smell, but Tiger never even caused so much as a cat scratch in all the time he hung out with her in her crib. This behavior lasted well into her toddlerhood.

Being the the new kitten, Tiger was given the customary initiation by Honey. This involved about six weeks of hissing, growling, and head boops. Being a playful kitten, Tiger didn’t always get the hint and continued to approach Honey until he finally won her over.

Eventually I would catch the two play-fighting or chasing each other around the house. In quieter moments Tiger would be on the receiving end of a bath via Honey’s tongue, or Honey would be relaxed and still while Tiger kneeded on her stomach as she lay down. For the most part they got along, but Honey’s anti-social personality kept him at a distance with consistent growls and hisses.

tiger and honey

In the beginning I tried to keep my cats indoors. Really I did. But cats can be quick and it doesn’t take much for them to slip out. The first few times Tiger got out, I’d catch him and bring him right back indoors. But the taste of freedom encouraged him to make a dash for the door whenever it opened. Eventually I just let him go out whenever you wanted. [Disclosure: in most cities it is unlawful to let your pet roam. If caught, you will be fined and your pet will be taken into custody] Tiger was caught and bailed out of kitty jail once.

Most of his escapades have been without incident but occasional bumps, bruises, and scratches suggested mishaps. I’d say he’s probably gotten into a few cat fights, possibly got stuck crawling through a fence, and encountered at least one a dog.

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One injury he brought home wasn’t accidental. I’m not sure if it was a young kid playing around, or a cat-hating adult, but someone thought it was okay to shoot him with a BB gun. When I let him in the first thing I noticed was a dime-size pink, fleshy hole in his left cheek. He hadn’t been home in a day or two and the wound had matted around the edges and there where yellow tinges of infected skin. MY BABY! It took a month of cleaning and dressing his wound to get it to heal properly.SDC11442 I upgraded my vigilance to keep him indoors for a while. He developed a nervous tic that lasted six months and licked his entire belly bald. Eventually he started slipping out again, and I got complacent and let him go.

That was five years ago. All was well until this spring when I noticed Tiger’s mouth drooling a lot and quivering. There was also a horrible smell coming from his mouth. I did some online searches and only came up with results for mouth cancers and tumors. “Oh no!”

The vet put my mind at ease after a preliminary exam. There was a lesion in his mouth that according to her “looked like a burn mark. He probably chewed through an electrical cord”. He ended up getting some minor oral surgery and was sent home with medicated mouth rinse, painkillers, and antibiotics. After two weeks he was good to go.

Despite the dangers of the world, Tiger’s personality remains outgoing and he is very social with people. Close neighbors who observed his comings and goings liked him and labeled him a “cool cat”. He comes to anyone when called and will rub against their leg before rolling on ground in front of them. He casually hangs out in other people’s yards, patios, porches,an even right on their welcome mat as if he owned the place.

The only time I have ever seen Tiger remotely scared is when we moved to our new house. After two days of bringing items into the new house Tiger went missing. I was so worried he had somehow gotten out that I cried on my commute to work. Normally I had faith in his abilities to take care of himself outdoors, but after moving 15 miles away from anything familiar to him I was dreading the worse

The next day I carefully rechecked every nook and cranny and finally found him wide-eyed and cowering under the guest bathroom sink. He was curled around himself so tight and so far back into the cabinet that I hadn’t noticed his furry black body in the shadows. He was safe! He was just unsure of his surroundings and had found a secret safe space from the perceived danger. It helped once he saw PJ and Honey getting comfortable, and he finally got back to his macho self.

I was in my current home for only a few months before deciding the cats needed a new playmate. The plan was to only get 1 kitten, but we all know how that turned out. Now that we have other the animals in the house Tiger has two distinct opinions concerning his social interactions:

To the kittens: “NO!”

To the dogs: “OH, HELL NO!”

Unlike the kittens Tulip, Muffin, and Clover who are very chummy with the dogs, or even PJ my other adult cat who tolerates them for a while, Tiger has never and probably will never feel comfortable around dogs of any age, size, or breed. As far as the kittens, he only beats them up every once in a while keeps them in check.

Tiger is 11 now, just like my daughter. He’s considered a senior cat and although you cant’ tell by his active lifestyle, his tired looking eyes tell a story of many days in the street. He’s not as affectionate as he used to be, but every blue moon he will jump on my lap and head bump me until I give him the satisfaction of petting him. I tell him what a handsome kitty he is,and remind him that he IS a house cat, no matter how rebellious he wants to be. He will purr for a little while, look into my eyes as if to say “thanks ma, I needed to here that”, then vault down scampering away, lest one of the kittens see his softer side.

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Thank you for letting me share another story with you from my Origins series. If you want to stay current on posts about the rest of the gang please consider subscribing. Also check out my Twitter feed, Instagram, and YouTube channel all under the name Catsdogsharmony. Until next time, keep the harmony!