“Shh!…Don’t talk about it: the taboo of Pitbull fights”

About two weeks ago, I shared a story about my pit bull Biscuit. He and my husky-lab Jordi got into a really bad fight.  Since coming home in August of this year, the two have had snipped and strutted around each other occasionally before in an effort to determine alpha status. There were only a few micro incidents that quickly dissolved in response to my chiding them.

What happened that week was different. It was serious, violent, and bloody. I still can’t put my finger on the trigger of this event, so I’ve kept them separated both inside and outside. One hangs out in the garage while the other is either in-house with Koba, or in the backyard and vice versa.

I shared the incident with my mother, but haven’t talked to the rest of my family about it. Mostly to avoid the “I told you so’s”. You see, my family like many people already have a negative opinion of the breed that is known as the pit bull.

Upon hearing that one of my three dogs was a pit bull mix( the other two are husky-lab, and german shepard mix), one of my aunts stepped on her soap box, and grilled me through the telephone on why I would bring “something like that” into my home, and around my daughter at that?

She retold me many accounts of dog attacks she had seen on the news and asked if I knew that “these kinds of dogs turn all the time?” Well, I didn’t. Because I choose not to watch the news (I may blog about the reason why another time), my mind hadn’t been inundated with scores of gruesome stories of dogs attacking owners, children, and babies.

I didn’t think, and still don’t think that Biscuit is a threat to either my daughter or to me. But I am starting to think his preference is to be around an only dog, and particularly not around other male dogs. I make this distinction because of Koba, my female German Shepard.  His interactions with her are very different than how he behaves with Jordi, a male. Also if I could do it again, I probably wouldn’t have adopted him into a house full of cats.

Full disclosure: he bit my oldest cat on the paw while following me to the front door to take out the trash.  He had been in my home for barely a month then, and I hadn’t established many house rules for him then. A week later he cornered her in a room that I had left open for her and bit her paw again.

Now, he and the other dogs are trained to stay in the back of the house and out of “Kitty City”.  This helps the anxiety in the cats and the “instincts” he may be harboring. Biscuit has calmed down considerably around the cats and is nearly nonchalant when I’m in the same room with them. But I don’t think I’ll ever leave him alone with the cats. I am not naïve to think he can fully accept them as not being prey, but I am hopeful that as time goes by he gains more self-discipline and accepts them as part of his pack.

So this is it, me talking about a Pitbull/Bully breed in an unfavorable light. This is an issue that I am only now realizing is a very controversial and sensitive topic.  I question my own intentions from time to time as to why I haven’t returned him to the shelter, which would be an easy solution for me but a likely death sentence for him.

Am I out to prove a point that he can be trusted to be a safe and loving animal in my home? If so, to whom am I trying to convince: others, or myself? There are concerns that I have still, but none that influence me to “get rid of the problem” that is Biscuit.

I will continue to practice methods that will both protect my other animals, and hopefully, retain him to become a trusted and cooperative part of my family. I will update on progress and regress. Keeping my fingers crossed, I encourage you to keep the harmony.

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Hidden wounds

I have so much confidence in my own abilities to manage issues that arise with my pets that I often times do not seek outside opinions or help.

*Disclaimer, there is a disturbing picture of a medical procedure included this article. Proceed with caution.

The title of this article talks about hidden wounds. They can be worse than those seen, because you can’t take care of something if you don’t know its a problem.

Last week I posted an article and video on the unfortunate dogfight that happened between my 2-year-old shelter dogs Jordi; my Husky-Lab and Biscuit; my Bully -mix. I’ve taken care to keep them separated for the week and I’ve been reintroducing them and allowing them to share space little by little in order to reestablish their relationship.

Initially, when the fight happened, Biscuits injuries were the most obvious of the two. Being a short-haired dog, Biscuit’s bites and were more prominent and as such, I took to nursing his wounds first.

I should say, I only nursed Biscuit’s wounds. Although I gave Jordi a once over, I naively concluded that his thick fur buffered him against being mauled.  I patted him on the head with a “good doggy” and told him he was okay. But he wasn’t.

PSA: take your dog to the vet after a dogfight.

A week and two days have gone by. Jordi has looked and behaved as normal. He’s eating and drinking well, running and playing just fine. Saturday morning I even decided to record some video of the dogs for an upcoming youtube video. I was literally rolling around on the floor with them and hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Later on, with Jordi sitting on the floor, and my daughter sitting on the bed next to him she pointed to a spot on his chest. “Mom, what’s that?” she asked me. There was a fist size protrusion sticking out of his chest! Looking at him straight on it was barely noticeable under his fur, but from the angle we were both sitting it was a very disturbing sight.

I gingerly touch his chest. The lump was soft and spongy and filled  my cupped hand. Jordi didn’t react to being touched, which made me think maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked (it looked bad).  I was only now noticing him lightly panting. Had he been panting all day? Was he panting from thirst, or exertion, or pain?

I called the vet immediately (in hindsight, I should have called the vet right after the fight from last week). It was 2pm and my local clinic has just closed an hour earlier. I got the number for the nearest emergency clinic in Mansfield, about 20 minutes away.

The whole time I was driving there I was speculating what the lump was. Naively I thought his poor little heart was enlarged and pushing out of his chest. Or maybe it was a tumor? Or a reaction to a tick burrowed deep into his skin. Or was it a nasty toxic infection, leaving him with only hours to live? My mind did this for the entire ride.

A quick intake at the clinic and a retelling of the previous week’s intake concluded that it was more than likely an abscess, or what they call a seroma. The bite-hold-and-shake trauma that is common in dogfights not only punctured Jordi’s skin, but ripped apart the layers of tissue to muscle under the skin, leaving an open void underneath to close without proper healing.

Jordi at the Vet
Jording heading back for the procedure

A simple solution was to put in drains to allow the built-up inflammation and blood to be released. The procedure itself took about 10-15 minutes. Jordi had to have his fur shaved at the site to get access for the drains to be placed. He also had to get a leg shaved to place a butterfly catheter for anesthesia.

According to the doctors notes: Jordi got an IV for pain, a clip and cleaning of the wound site, another IV for the anesthesia, drainage and lavage of serosanguinous fluid from the wound, a penrose drain and sutures, and a prescription for painkillers to take at home.

The clinic sent Jordi home with the standard e-collar, to keep him from licking at the drains sticking out of his chest. He also got a prescription for a painkiller and antibiotic. In 3-5 days he’ll be returning to the clinic to get them removed. In the meantime, he’s on the doggy version of bedrest: no excessive activities and to stay in a calm quiet environment.  That will be easy enough since for the past week I’ve been rotating him and Biscuit out of the garage for isolation purposes.

Then there’s the issue of the constant trickle of blood draining from the plugs in his chest. In order for the inflammation to go do and to encourage his wound to heal, it has to drip. Dressing him in an old t-shirt is a solution to allowing the drains to do what they must while keeping my carpet from looking like a crime scene.

Now Jordi is visibly miserable. The area on his chest has fresh pain. The leftover drugs in his system have him out of sorts. The gigantic e-collar around his neck has him bumping into places he normally eases in and out of. And it’s awkward for him to eat and drink. I hand fed him his supper, before helping him onto the bed so he could try to rest.

So it’s official. Jordi got worst of it from the fight. His continued happy-go-lucky demeanor and invisible scars hid the fact that he was in need of just as much care an attention as Biscuit. Fortunately, he was able to get some today, albeit much later.

 

It’s also official that I am a terrible pet parent. Or at least that’s what I feel like right now. I have so much confidence in my own abilities to manage issues that arise with my pets that I often times do not seek outside opinions or help.

This makes me challenge my thoughts on the blog and how it may be affecting my care of the cats and dogs. Blogging and vlogging have proved to be a very satisfying endeavor for me. It’s fun to write about and record the pets doing wacky pet things. But it takes a lot of time to actually put the content up in a way that is enjoyable to others.

Have I been spending too much time on the talking about how I take care of my fur babies, and not enough time actually taking care of them? I’ll be contemplating this more as time goes on.  Ironically, I will be posting a video documenting Jordi’s injury on my YouTube channel catsdogsharmony.

Jordi post dogfight
I’m sorry Jordi

My gratitude and appreciation go out to Animal Emergency Hospital of Mansfield, for taking care of my baby and giving me the extra information I needed to document and share Jordi’s visit.

Until next time, I’ll try to keep the harmony. You do the same.

The gang’s all here!

Although I go into detail about their personalities in their Origins posts I can give you a quick summary of their alter egos now.

Things are moving right along with my new blog. So far I’ve given the background story of my three adult kitties, interviewed a fellow Pit-bull owner, and posed one of the age-old questions about acts vs. dogs.

Before I get too far along I thought I’d do a summary of all my fur babies at once. I’ve made references to several of the kitties and puppies so far and you’ve probably seen them all in various pictures.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make a plushie out of your pet?

check out my Petsies affiliate link to find out how…

Now I’ll introduce everyone and give a few quick details about them! In my previous posts I showcased Honey my 14 year old tabby and Tiger my 11 year old black shorthair. There is also PJ another shorthair who is 6; and the kittens: Tulip and Muffin, who are 1 year old litter mates(?) and Clover, my 9 month old black baby.

 

 

The doggie crew is made up of Jordi, a 2 year old Husky/Labrador mix; Biscuit, a 2 year old  Pit Bull mix; and Koba (rhymes with boba!) She is a 1 year old German Shepherd mix.

 

 

Although I go into detail about their personalities in their Origins posts I can give you a quick summary of their alter egos now.

Honey: The Matriarch

Tiger: The Rogue

PJ: The Teddy Bear

Tulip: The Queen

Muffin: The Scaredy-Cat

Clover: My Baby

Jordi: The Goofball

Biscuit: The Big Baby

Koba: Nervous Nelly

Well this is a quick run down of my babies. Subscribe to keep up to date on more of their stories.

I look forward to your comments and I hope you check me out on my other social media platforms. YouTube. Instagram. Twitter. All under the name Catsdogsharmony.

Until Next time, try to keep the harmony!

 

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!

Interview with a Pit Bull Owner (IWAPBO #1)

Be mindful of the environment you’re bringing your dog into. Know your dog, his likes and dislikes, triggers. Know your place as an owner.

This blog will mostly revolve around my cats, my dogs, and my experiences. But since becoming a pit bull/ bully breed (BB) owner to Biscuit and getting mixed opinions from my family and others, I’ve started talking to other BB owners to get some insight and advice.

I’ll be presenting some of that insight here in the form of Q&As from interviews with current or former PB owners. Welcome to my Interview with a Pit Owner (IWAPBO).

*I frequently interchange PB/Pit Bull and BB/Bully Breed to represent either a mix or purebred dog.

In this first interview, I am speaking to DeAndria G. from Flower Mound, TX.

This is Chaos, a 9 yr old Pitbull and his brother.

 

CatsDogsHarmony:  How many Pitbulls (PB) do you have? Names? Girl/Boy? Breed-type?

Deandria G.: One. He is a boy and his name is Chaos. He is a purebred PB and he is grey in color.

CDH: How old is he and how long have you had him?

DG: He’s 9. I’ve had him since he was a puppy.

CDH: Have you always liked PBs? If not, what changed your mind?

DG: Yes, I’ve always liked them.

CDH: What made you decide to adopt/raise/breed your PB?

DG: I saw him at the shelter and I fell in love. When I saw him it was like he said “Take me home.”

CDH: What is your dog’s personality?

DG: Goofy.

CDH: What’s the funniest thing he’s done? Most embarrassing?

DG: Chaos is scared of bugs. Once he was sniffing the ground at a bug and when it moved he jumped back about 3 feet in the air! Most embarrassing thing was when he met a new neighbor’s dog. He went to sniff its butt and the other dog wasn’t in the mood. It swung around and bit him.  There  happened to be a police officer nearby and we didn’t want him to think anything serious was going on so we tried to play it off.  (Both dogs were ok).

CDH: What brand of dog food does Chaos eat? How often? Do you give him table scraps?

DG: We buy Pure Balance, Bison flavor. He eats 3 times a day. 2 cups a serving. No scraps.

CDH: What kind of toys does Chaos like? Is he a chewer ?(serial/destructive)

DG: He loves stuffed animals. Also squeaky toys. Yes he is a chewer.

CDH: Is he and inside or outside dog? Is he allowed on the furniture? The bed?

DG: He’s an inside and outside dog. Not supposed to be on the furniture or bed..

CDH: Have you personally ever had any bad experiences with a PB?

DG: No.

CDH: Have you had any negative experiences or opinions from other people about your PB?

DG: I once had a neighbor who was an older lady. She didn’t like PB/BBs. She threatened to shoot my dog. Other than that, most people I encounter are friendly towards him.

CDH: If you could speculate on the stories where a PB/BB has reacted badly (attacked or bit someone) what would you say was the cause?

DG: When it was towards an adult I’d say it was from not staying the alpha (leader, top dog in charge). Some people stay on the same level as their dog [CDH offers an example of a parent trying to be their child’s friend instead of the parent and ultimately losing respect]. You have to be the one in charge.

CDH: But what about cases where a baby or little kid got hurt?

DG: It could have been a kid pulling its tail or doing something it didn’t like. With babies…there’s that noise factor. The crying. The jerky unpredictable movement. It can make dogs nervous. Some dogs just don’t like certain noises. They react badly.

CDH: Any advice for a new PB/BB owner?

DG: Be mindful of the environment you’re bringing your dog into. Know your dog, his likes and dislikes, triggers. Know your place as an owner.

END INTERVIEW

I appreciate the time DeAndria took to talk with me. I agree with her insight on knowing your dog, which is good advice for owners of any dog breed. Individual dogs have individual personalities and individual needs. Even dogs with so-called mild temperaments can have environmental triggers or social situations that can make them nervous, scared, or annoyed resulting in reactions from withdrawal, growling, or biting.

I hope you enjoyed this post. There will be more interviews to come in my IWAPBO 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!

Origins: Honey

Honey’s personality can be described as either introvert or antisocial.

I promised to post a litter box cleaning tutorial next, but in the middle of recording my phone battery dropped to 5%  so I couldn’t finish it. I’ll make another attempt another day when my battery is full. In the meantime  I thought I’d post an origins series giving a little background info on each of my animals…

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I’m starting with Honey, who is the oldest. Honey aka Honeybun aka HoneyBunny is a multi-colored short hair tabby mix. She is mostly orange with browns, tans, and blacks throughout her fur. She has yellow eyes. She is 14 yrs old. I adopted her from the Michigan Humane Society back in  2004. I had just separated from my son’s father and divorce was eminent. There were other things going on at that time and I was very depressed. I had heard that pets can ease loneliness and depression, so I decided to get one.

My mom had actually adopted a kitten for my younger sister several months earlier (Chewy!) and she was very sweet and lovable.  Cats are much lower maintenance than dogs, so I thought a cat would be a good choice for me.

Honey’s shelter name was Wendy. She was caged with her litter mate (Peter Pan), who I ended up adopting alongside her. I personally think pets should be adopted in pairs so as not to be lonely, and to have someone to play with.  I wouldn’t, however, suggest adopting more animals that you know you can take care of. Honey and Pepper were best of friends and got along very well. For reasons I won’t go into here, Pepper was ultimately taken back to the shelter several years later. Honey was alone for less than a year before I adopted Tiger. She has adapted fairly well to the other additions to the family.

Honey’s personality can be described as either introvert or antisocial. She doesn’t really like people or other cats. She prefers solitude over being out in the open. She likes affection and purrs and drools when being pet, but is annoyed at being picked up. Even as a kitten Honey would hiss and spit at attempts at being handled.  She has bit me only a few times, and it was usually associated with being scared (around a loud noise or commotion) or being bathed.

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Honey tolerates being around Tiger and PJ,who are adult cats like her, but is easily vexed by the kittens. She will hiss at them or bop them on the head for good measure as if to say “Get outta my face you whipper-snappers”.Since getting my raised multi-feeders she has to eat in close proximity with the other cats and has no problems.

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She mostly avoids my daughter who at the age of 11 is still sometimes very loud and rambunctious, but will snuggle with her when she is asleep. Honey also likes to sleep with me from time to time. Honey tolerates the dogs from a distance, but hisses when they get too close.

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Scratches from Honey are common, but only because her claws are perpetually out. She has been skittish since kitten-hood and doesn’t trust being picked up, so she tends to scramble against the person picking her up with claws spread in attempts to hold on. Even when she jumps on laps her claws are passively out to keep from slipping.  Cats normally extend their claws  only when climbing, scratching(therapeutically) or fighting. The worst scratches I’ve received from Honey were during bath time  . She does NOT like being bathed.

As a senior cat Honey’s mews have become softer and softer. Now when she opens her mouth her “meows” are virtually silent. Her mouth opens, but nothing comes out.  The only time you really hear Honey is when she is locked in a room and wants to be let out, or is locked outside and wants to be let in. She is also pretty vocal at breakfast and dinner where her voice can be distinguished among the many mews in the kitty choir. as the food dishes are being set down. Because she is so skittish, Honey also makes “self-motivational” mews  and chirps before jumping on the bed or sofa as if to tell herself “I can make it! I can make it!”

Over the years Honey has lived up to my expectations. She has given me her own brand of love and affection and emotional support. She makes me a happy cat mom. She has been with me through many changes in my life. I’ve know her through 2 states, 2 marriages, many jobs and residences, and the birth of my daughter.

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I hope you enjoy the pics of Honey.  I also have pics of her as a kitten on another device that I will post when I can.  Until next time, may there be as much harmony in your life as possible.

A Typical Morning

Fresh water sources are a MUST.  Pets have to stay hydrated for health just the same as us. I keep several bowls on tap  just for the dogs…

A regular routine of feedings, watering, and nature breaks not only help facilitate easier pet management for the owner, but also offers structure and comfort to the fur babies as well.

Before the dogs came, I had my kitties on a fairly simple feeding schedule of breakfast and supper. Playtime was and still is sporadic. The older cats appreciate their quiet and space, and the kittens are more social and proactive about their playtime.

Now that the pups are a part of the family, my feeding and play schedule has become more uniform. This predictability lets the pups know what to expect from me and keeps everybody at ease. Hungry pets are not happy pets. (I know how that feels!)

Here is a breakdown of the morning routine:

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I keep my dry cat food in an airtight bucket with a screw-top lid. Keeps it fresh and pest free. I think I got this one at the pet store, but they also sell them at places like Home Depot and Lowes.  I find this much more durable than the food storage containers that are actually marketed for pet food.  I purchased the scoop separately in the pet food aisle.

On lean days (when I’m out of canned wet food), each cat gets 1/2 cup dry food for breakfast, and again later for supper. On feast days I typically split 1 can of wet in half and add to each cat’s dry dish.  3 cans stretch for 6 cats making a satisfying serving with little leftover.  The few bites left are nibbled on throughout the day by the kittens (or sometimes a naughty dog). The raised feeders I use for my cats are great for my cats posture, and make it very convenient to multi-feed.

While the cats are getting served breakfast, the doggies are out back for the their morning nature call and a run around the yard.   I also do doggie duty around this time before bringing them in to eat. Normally the dogs each get about 1 cup dry kibble and 1/2 cup canned food, unless I’m out of it, then they get about 2 cups dry.  Sometimes I add a little low sodium broth as a flavorful treat. This week on a whim I got a 2 lb package of hamburger meat to doctor up the kibble.  I have a goal to fatten up my newest rescue dog Biscuit who was very underweight when I adopted him last month. (I could see his ribs).  I don’t actually want him fat, but I want to get him in a healthy weight range for his breed. He’s a bully mix.  He got about 1/3 lb hamburger as his portion between yesterday and today.

An associate at Pet Smart recommended feeding him puppy chow since it has a higher fat content. Supposedly dogs can eat puppy food up to 3 years without it affecting their weight adversely.  I’m also using a supplement called Missing Link , Ultimate Canine Skin and Coat. I’m hoping this will help with bald spots that he has. The recommended serving of this is 3 Tbs. As you can see in the living room (aka Pupplyand)  I like to keep the dog’s food bowls somewhat distant  from each other to minimize food-survival-aggression and I never feed them unsupervised.

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Fresh water sources are a MUST.  Pets have to stay hydrated for health just the same as us. I keep several bowls on tap  just for the dogs, a couple to share with the cats, and I have a filtered fountain just for the cats. I keep the cats water out of reach of the dogs since they don’t drink as “pretty” as the cats do and tend to leave dirt and food debris in the water bowls. I top off the water bowls and fountain daily and disinfect it with bleach at least every 2 weeks, and I switch out the filters every other month. Carrying a pitcher to each bowl is much easier than trying to balance a bowl full of water across the room. I read somewhere that cats/dogs don’t actually like their water source near their food source so I keep designated water bowls away from where they eat. I think that would irk me to smell my food every time I wanted drink of water too.

The whole morning process takes about 30 minutes, unless I’m preparing a  feast for the dogs that require cooking or heating up water. (I’m trying out a new product from Wholesome Homemade that is a “just add water” freeze dried type meal that takes about 10 minutes to re-hydrate. I plan on doing a review on this sometime in the future.

Find the review here:

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That’s it! That’s how I keep the harmony in the morning with my kitties and puppies.  Questions? Comments? Concerns? Constructive criticism? Please let me know and share this blog if you like my content.

NEXT POST… THE ART OF CLEANING THE CAT BOX (its a nasty job, but somebody’s gotta do it…sadly its usually me.)

First blog post

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Hello world! This is Kenya the rescue mom coming to you with my very first blog post. Yay! I am a cat mom of 6 and a dog mom of 3 (and kid mom of 2). The purpose of this blog is to share my life raising my fur babies together and to find ways to balance the harmony in a household of felines, canines, and humans.

I would ultimately like to include anecdotes and advocating, entertainment and experiences, and tips and advice on how I affordably manage and care for my pets.

I’m not a professional in any way, shape, or form. I’m not a trainer or animal behaviorist. I don’t have a vet degree or training in caring for animals.  I’m a regular layperson that LOVES her cats and dogs and am here to share what has worked (or hasn’t) for me.

Thanks for reading my blog and I look forward to seeing you for the next  edition.