The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meet the Pets!

A semi-occasional feature where I respond to comments about my last post about my pets. (Or maybe I’ll let the pets respond — after all, it’s about time they didn’t something to help out around here.)

1. Reader Tony noted that ”you have broken the first rule of pets, which is: never have more animals in a house than humans. It is your own damn fault!”

Too true, Tony. I think it all started to go wrong when I was thinking how nice my semi-feral kittens Zigra and Tibby had turned out, and how rewarding and noble it would be to take in a dog that nobody wanted, and give it a good home, and take it for walks and stuff.

And so I got Yodie, who was way more than I could handle, and so I got Flossie, to help me manage his energy. The kittens Torgo and Bix were an accident.

So, while it is all my own fault, I think Tibby and Zigra must also share some of the blame.

2. CS Lewis Jr. quipped ”Clearly you need a Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure. “

It’s sad how much that figurine resembles me. Thanks, CS, for showing me how pathetic my life has become. (Just joking, CS — I already knew).

3. Anntichrist S. Coulter (who, btw, has a new blog called Mark Of The Beast — CHECK IT OUT OR BE SQUARE) said:
If I could have cats in my current shoebox, I’d have adopted every feral in the neighborhood, which would not only make me the official Crazy Cat Lady for the entire PARISH, but would ensure that I would be able to teach myself how to make yarn & knit sweaters from pet hair.
Thanks, AC, for the kind thoughts. And you know, I’ve always thought that there must be something constructive I could do with all the cat hair. Maybe use it for insulation or something. I wonder if the Bush administration would give me a grant to determine if it could be used as a faith-based energy alternative.

4. Ciocia sympathized and indicated that:
In the last year, I’ve ponied up for: hyperthyroidism, tooth extractions, chronic irritable intestinal syndrome, festered wounds (like Zigra gets), allergies and chronic renal failure in my cats. It’s nice to know that veterinarian’s kids can get a decent shot at attending an Ivy League school.
With what I’ve been paying lately, my vets (who are married to each other) will be able to endow a whole new library at Harvard, to help their kids get admitted. (I think it should be called the “Zigra Festering Neck Wound Library and Blogging Center.”)

5. Doghouse Riley, who runs the blog preferred by 4 out of 5 cats) advised, “You’re probably okay treating the abscesses yourself.”

I had thought about skipping the vet’s visit this time, but since this wound was on an artery and was about the size of a plum, I thought I’d better go the vet route, so that Ziggy could get some antibiotics. And while the vet didn’t seem too impressed by it, since it’s still draining and still pretty large (and it’s been almost a week now since it burst), I may be taking him back on Monday — especially since follow up checks are free, and I want to get my money’s worth from this infection, damn it!

Mr. Riley added:
It’s sexual fights that cause real damage.
Hmm, like BeginningToWonder said, ”No shit. Oh, you were talking about cats?”

But, yeah, I don’t know why Ziggy keeps getting bit on the throat I’d think the dogs were doing it, since they’re the ones I always see mouthing the cats there, but the vet said the wound didn’t look like it was made by dog teeth. So, maybe it was a vampire.

6. Marq said:
Hopefully, the doglets will outgrow the chewing phase. […] Try to keep as much destroyable stuff as you can out of their reach. It’s a pain, but it reduces temptation.
Thanks for the commiseration, and for the advice. I do want to note, however, that the CDs WERE out of the dogs’ reach, so I suspect one of the cats (most probably Jet Jaguar) knocked one down for the dogs to destroy. It’s like the al Qaeda/Saddam terrorism connection.

7. D. Sidhe said.
I sympathize completely. In the last couple of months, my thirteen year old has lost six pounds while not apparently dieting and not apparently barfing. […] So we drag her into the vet Saturday, and they take some blood, and suggest it could be diabetes. […] Then they start going on about rapid weight loss and fat migrating into her liver, and I pretty much freak out, which I’m still doing. I suck, and I should have noticed her losing weight faster, and I damned well should have gotten her to the vet faster, and I just want her to be okay.
Aw, I’m so sorry that you are having to go through this, D. That’s very similar to the situation I faced with the first cat I ever lost, the sainted George. His problem turned out to be a tumor in his throat that was keeping him from eating. But before the x-rays revealed this, I worried about tons of stuff, and read those same scary websites, and beat my self up for not noticing anything sooner (I still do).

But the bottom line is that George didn’t suffer, loved me no matter my failings, and had a pretty darned good life during the 15 years that he shared with me. And it does help me to remember that I my best for him as soon as I knew there was a problem.

So, I wish you all the best, D. — please feel free to vent here whenever you want, and know that all of our thoughts and good wishes are with you and your cat.

8. Charlotte Smith Says:
I, for one, love the animal stories. Assuming your animals don’t come up with witty bon mots like the Gurdon kids, which would undoubtedly earn them many, many swirlies if they were not homeschooled.
Thanks, Charlotte. And while my pets frequently do say the wittiest, cutest, most politically apt things in the whole, wide, world, I respect their privacy enough not to repeat them.

9. Cynthia asked:
What’s this about leaving food everywhere? One dog training book (The Dog Listener) that I’ve read says that you shouldn’t do that. As the pack leader you’re supposed to pretend to eat first to show the dogs who’s boss, then feed them. Seems to work with our dogs.
The advice to have lots of small bowls of kibble is supposed to help Flossie learn that she can’t control the entire world’s food supply, and so she will relax and just eat her own damned food, and not worry about everybody else.

I have been doing the “pack leader eats first” thing ever since I got the dogs, and while I don’t know that it helps them to respect mah authoritay, it does mean that I always have their full attention for a few minutes each day, since they are always hoping I’ll choke to death on my pizza so they can finish it for me.
However, the cat’s a different story. We feed him whenever he decides he needs food because otherwise he’ll trip us and bite our ankles. We bow to our Cat Overlord.
I am happy to recognize another member of the cult! My cats always have bowls of dry food available, but out of the reach of the dogs, but somehow I fell into the trap of giving them canned food twice a day also. This catalicism is a harsh religion sometimes!

10. David in NYC said:
I don’t know about 100x, but it is true that cats shed much more when stressed (as in a trip to the vet). According to my vet, it’s actually a defense mechanism similar to a porcupine dropping quills.
Hey, now it all makes sense! See, after the cat releases a couple of inches of cat hair onto my black clothes, it seems to disappear into the background, leaving it free to make its escape. (”Dr. Smith, I don’t know what happened to Ziggy — he was here a minute ago, but now I can’t find him. Um, I guess you won’t be able to give him his injections today.”)

11. Dalton Periphery said:
And dear D.Sidhe (another love) when i have to give one of the cats (The Boys) a pill or two, i crush the pill, mix it with water and draw it up into a (needle-less) syringe, then wrap the little guy in a thick towel with just his head poking out, and squirt the pill-water into his mouth- they always get enough of the medecine to make a difference, and i don’t need stitches.
That sounds like good advice. Thanks! After much practice and many scratches, I am able to pop a pill down a cat’s throat fairly effectively, but Ziggy’s current medication is a liquid, and I end up getting about half of it on my clothes (which, sadly, aren’t Pepto-Bismal pink, to match the antibiotic). So, I’ll have to try your method.

12. rimone said:
One thing i’ve learnt about my kitties: never, but never feed ‘em wet food in the morning. i dig sleeping late and them being accustomed to their fave wet food first thing in the AM just ruins my sleeping w/the constant wails of ‘feed me! NOW!’ (despite the dry food always in the bowls but totally disdained in the morning).
Tell me about it! I think I started when I had to give somebody medicine twice a day, and the only way to get them to show up for it was to get out the canned food. That was probably three years ago.

Having to hand-feed the kittens only made things worse, since the older cats were willing to wait for the canned food until I got up, while the kittens insist on being fed as soon as they are hungry, which seems to be at sunrise. I’ve tried to teach them how to work the pop-off can lids themselves, but to no avail. (I’ve also tried to teach them to develop opposable thumbs, but they just won’t listen!)

Anyway, thanks, everyone, for all your comments, advice, sympathy, and pet stories of your own. Please join us again in a while for another edition of “Meet the Pets.”

17 Responses to “Meet the Pets!”

Our little(okay. quite big, really) cat Hobbes got an infection of some kind in July. The vet kept trying to do an upsell on me (we have to hydrate him 3 times a day via tube and we have a special counter he needs to lie on, and it will cost….One….MILLION dollars. I, being broke, had to tearfully refuse, instead requesting the liquid anti-biotic and opting for further treatment later on if that didn’t work.
The anti-biotic did it’s thing and he’s healthy and self hydrating once again. The thing is, the anti-biotic–it was BANANA flavored.
Hobbes was not amused. I, on the other hand, got kinda hungry every time I gave him some.
I used to give my cats wet food until I got the kitten last winter. The little bugger wouldn’t eat her kitten food so I decided no more canned. Of course, she also preferred the dry senior cat food to the kitten and the older cats liked the kitten. The vet suggested mixing the two which has worked out well.
I vote for hamster news next time. The cats are great, but we shouldn’t make the hamster feel like a second-class pet.
I’ve been watching The Dog Whisperer lately, mostly because it comes on between stuff I’m interested in watching and I’m too lazy to find out of anything else is on. I can’t imagine what possesses you people to have pets that you have to dominate all the time. Dog parenting seems like a *ton* of work.
The antibiotics my vet hands out always seem to be cherry flavored. Cats, I understand, do not have the ability to taste sweet things very well, so I have to wonder what the point is.
The thing about small bowls of food isn’t a bad idea. I wish I’d known that years ago. My older cat (the one who’s currently having problems) has been basically bulemic all her life because once we got the other cat, she became convinced she had to eat the food or lose out. So she’d eat too much and barf it all up again.
At the moment, she’s doing better, I suppose, as far as I can tell without further tests. She wasn’t, it turns out, eating nearly enough to keep her from losing even more weight and liberating more fat which would settle in her organs (though it turns out the other cat eats very little, too, so I have no idea why they’re both overweight. Maybe they’ve found a stash of bugs in the closet).
So now she has prescription canned food, and an appetite stimulant she has to take three times a day. If I can get the pills in the back of her throat, she’ll swallow. If they go in the cheeks, she’s spitting it out as soon as I let go.
But she will eat canned food, quite eagerly, and then we’re back to the barfing. It went everywhere. Now I’ve figured out I need to give her a couple spoonfuls several times a day.
If this doesn’t get resolved by mid-November, my partner’s going to end up taking the housemate to Hawaii and pretending she’s me to the in-laws.
the vet said the wound didn’t look like it was made by dog teeth. So, maybe it was a vampire.
Or it may be the work of El Chupacabra’s shorter, finickier cousin, El Chupagato.
My lab just had a possum treed in the back. He was leaping, straight up, six feet into the air. Since our yard isn’t fenced, and is near a major road, we have a trolly line type thing set up for him, but his leaping detatched him from it. Fortunately, he was so intent on the possum that he didn’t run off, ’cause black dog + night = invisible, for all practical intents and purposes. This kinda thing’s gonna be going on for a month or so, as the critters are attracted by the ample supply of ripening cherries being produced by four trees near the house. The dog likes the cherries, too–he swallows ‘em, stone and all, gulp gulp. I’m convinced he can swallow anything this side of a leg o’ ham whole, thus that possum was in real danger.
Oh, man.
I had to have Pyewacket put to sleep, after we’d been together for twelve years, because (although she was, at that point, as a result of the diabetes, Kobe cat, worth up to $800/lb when you figured in medical expenses) she had tumors in her lungs which would have had to be drained weekly so she wouldn’t drown, and the doctors were recommending hospital care and chemotherapy which they didn’t think would help.
I cried for three days.
D. Sidhe, my beloved: I can’t really add much to the vast amounts that you already know about cats, but I have a couple of small suggestions:
Canned pumpkin. Aids in digestion, helps process hairballs, and lubricates the digestive tract. Cod liver oil also helps if they’re not eating. My cats get snotty and won’t eat anything but their hairball treats sometimes, and the pumpkin is the only other thing they’ll do. Then they get over it and go back to their kitty heroin, Meow Mix, like nothing ever happened. Have I mentioned that my cats are pathological?
Also, when doing the forced-pill/medicine/food things with a cat: Not only is the towel your best line of defense, but if she’s doing that “tuck-it-under-the-tongue-or-in-the-cheek” thing, tickle her nose. Hold her mouth closed, and tickle her nose. She’ll automatically want to lick her nose to get the feel of your tickling off, and when she moves her tongue, she’ll swallow it. And then gently massage her throat, as soon as you feel her move her tongue, and she won’t be able to resist the impulse to swallow.
And yes, I realize that the above paragraph sounds like coaching tips for porno directors, but *sigh*, well, there you have it. I hope that your babies are all going to be wonderfully healthy and live forever.
Now, I need dwarf hamster advice (and yes, they are an entirely different pathology from regular hamsters): My killer hamster Uma (yes, named after watching Kill Bill 1 & 2, and yes, she really is a killer, because she used to have a roommate and she murdered her), a Campbell’s dwarf (and NOT a Siberian Winter White as PetSmart said — purposeful false advertising because Campbells are KNOWN to be vicious biters {which I didn’t know until it was too late for Aretha, her roommate, a Black Russian} and they are NOT sociable with other dwarf hamsters or anything, really, but they’re cheaper for PetSmart to acquire and sell as Winter Whites) — all of that to say this: She’s always been nuts, but the other day, she wigged out on me, as she was doing her “Climb Mount Mommy” thing when I sit in the recliner & watch TV. Normally, she just runs, runs, runs, up and down my legs, arms, torso, neck {also where she likes to snuggle under my chins and occasionally sneak a whiz on Mommy’s neck}, stopping every so often to stand up & search for predators (very Meerkat Manor), groom herself, or squeeze a hamster bullet out. Well, she doesn’t even really pause for that, she just drops ‘em and keeps going.
So, I’m watching TV, about to go to bed, and all of a sudden, Uma just WIGGED OUT, and started biting me like she was GOING FOR MEAT — and not how she bites when you just stick a finger into the cage, either — it was probably 30 or 40 bites in the span of 30-45 seconds. And she’s SO FUCKING FAST, I could barely get control of the little she-beast. She’s only 2.5-3 inches long (depending on her posture at any given moment) and weighs MAYBE 4 or 5 ounces, but she is SO FAST, it was really hard to get a grip on her without losing more blood.
Eventually, I grabbed the scruff of her neck, she settled down, and I put her back into the Hamster Condo. And, having the attention span/memory of your average gnat on crack, she’s acted just fine ever since, as if it never happened. Still her same old ornery self, but hasn’t attempted the same thing again.
Now, she has sustained some rather heart-attack-inducing (for me) head injuries, because she likes being on high-off-the-floor surfaces, and then just BAILING OFF sometimes. Sometimes it’s just her clumsiness, and my slow movement that fails to catch her, sometimes I think that she’s doing it on purpose. So, I figure that the attack last night was just some neurological glitch, and hopefully it won’t happen again, but what should I do if it does? And is she trying to kill herself, like “Rags” on “Spin City,” the world’s oldest, most suicidal dog?
And just in case I drop off of the planet again, it won’t be because of the now-gone sucky (ex)boyfriend, it’ll be because she snuck out of the Condo and severed my jugular.
She’s not ALWAYS mean, sometimes she acts like she really likes me and likes being held and petted, like when she sits up on her hind legs and gives me whisker kisses. But I know that there’s something evil brewing in that tiny little head, I just know it.
but the vet said the wound didn’t look like it was made by dog teeth. So, maybe it was a vampire.
or Bill o’Lielly
Hamsters, what fun. I had a mouse that used to do that bi-polar biting thing. He was originally called Raichu, but after he displayed this tendency, we started calling him Voltorb. (If you don’t know Pokemon, don’t worry about it. In my defense, Marsh and Cope *both* turned out to be pregnant females, and we had thirty odd baby mice to name within about three days.)
I never figured out what the deal was, I think I eventually put it down to demons.
I will give both the pumpkin thing and the nose-tickling thing a try–as the month wears on, she’s going to get a lot better at spitting them out, and my learning curve isn’t as sharp as hers, sadly. Frankly, after seeing and smelling the food they’re expected to eat, I’ve never understood how any cat could be overweight.
I called the vet, btw, and freaked out at the assistant, but she says there’s “virtually no chance” this is cancer because her blood tests would be funny, high white blood cell count and some other stuff. They’re all convinced I’m insane. On the other hand, I gave them a pile of animal-patterned paper cranes a while back, and since we have the vet insurance they probably figure we’re likely to pay whatever they ask for anything they say. (True enough. We’ve been shelling out three hundred bucks a year for insurance for six years now, and never filed a claim.) So they kind of put up with me, and graciously refrain from doing the “crazy” gestures until I’ve left the office.
I’m just trying not to think about that point where we’ll have to start making hard decisions. I know it’ll happen sooner or later, though they keep trying to reassure me it won’t be over this.
But, God, you wish they could talk.
El Chupagato
That. Was *hilarious*.
Julia, I almost named Cypress Pyewackett, but my partners objected. My first cat, when I was young-young was called Snoopy. And, man, you never stop missing them, do you.
But I named the other cat Iala-Tamtra, which the vet also hates me for.
“Just call her Brownie.”
“She’s black and white.”
“Well, brownie like leprechauns, not like baking.”
They seem to have largely settled on “Yowl-ah”, which is close enough and apt enough, though I got a filthy look from some other pet owner last year when they called her “Allah”.
“Look, lady, *your* cat is named ‘Muffin’. Lay off.” It won me no friends.
I love your animal stories. I read everything on your blog, but really look forward to the stories about your pets. It makes me laugh. Thanks for the humorous insight. I too am raising a puppy who turned out to be a much larger version of what we thought we were getting. It’s really a Marmaduke!
But, God, you wish they could talk.
Not knowing from cats, I suspect that with dogs that thiswould indeed come in handy when they’re ill, but most of the time, they’d be lik talkative four-year-olds with one thing on their minds:
“I’m hungry.”
“You gonna eat all of that?”
“Is it dinner time yet?”
“Just one biscuit? Pleasepleaseplease?”
“Food. Food, food, food! …Fooooooood!!1!”
“Look, I know that you’ve got a doughnut; I can smell it, hairless ape!”
“I gotta whiz.”
“Why are we having this conversation when you could be preparing me some food?”
“Cookies! Oooh, cookies! I lurves me some cookies!”
“You know, it’s been three-and-a-half minutes since you’ve taken a bit of that sandwich, I was timing it. Does this mean you’ve given up on eating it, and if so, can I have it?”
“Scratch my belly! Yeah. Yeah. That’s it-ooh! That reminds me, I’m hungry!”
“Look, if I had opposable thumbs, I’d pop the top off the kibble bin and help myself, but I don’t. Have. Opposable. Thumbs. So, get a move on, monkey-boy!”
Etc., etc., ad-infinitum. I expect that one would eventually learn to tune most of it out, so that the constant whining would just become part of the background drone.
from my experiences:
doggie: ‘oooh, you’re eating! gimme!’
kitty: ‘i’m sensing your’re having some turkey (or fish or whatever). i think i’ll casually stroll over and cuddle up to you and turn into Purry-Boy. no, i’m not /that/ hungry…but i’ll have some, thank you.’
nb: i have huge doggy envy cause i cannot have one here.
ps, i stiil miss Peter who died from cancer in march 05 (age 14). we got Hunter a few weeks later and he’s a darling, but still.
My little dog is worth approximately $200 a pound now. She wouldn’t stop jumping after we got her fixed and she ended up with an infection. Then she got a spider bite that turned into a horrible infection – she still has a little crease in her chest from the scar. Then this summer she got giardia. This on top of the regular shots and checkups and she’s not even three yet. I expect she will be the canine equivalent of pure platinum by the time she’s 12 or 13.
D., punkin’, I can totally empathize. And you’re not crazy. I am, but you’re not.
And anybody who doesn’t take your love and concern for your hairy quadriped chirren seriously ought to be booted in the snatch.
I don’t care how wonderful the quality of care may be, a huge chunk of their job is to sympathize (if they are not capable of empathy) with your concern for this critter who holds your heart in its furry little paws.
Just know that your critters know that you love them, you obey their masterful will whenever possible, and that you’d kneecap somebody who wanted to harm them. You go above and beyond, and they know that, even if they resent the actual process of being taken-care-of, to dangle a hyphenated participle.
Me, the chirrens, and the bloodfang hamster are all hoping good things for you and yours.
And speaking of Uma The Destroyer — the only good piece of furniture that I still have, my grandmother’s secretary desk (mahogany), has now been “marked” by Uma as her turf. Oh, the bullets are easy to clean up, don’t even leave a scent. But the pee is taking the finish off of the wood.
I may have to rethink some things about the hamster… like maybe we don’t need to spend time together when I’m online, and she doesn’t need to ever set foot on this desk again, I don’t care HOW much she enjoys the cubbyholes.
And yes, I know that her brain is about the same size as a pencil eraser, IF that big, and she doesn’t remember anything past the last 3 seconds, but still. Even if she learns nothing from desk-deprival, at least my desk will still have (most of) its finish.
Anntichrist S Coulter: ‘And anybody who doesn’t take your love and concern for your hairy quadriped chirren seriously ought to be booted in the snatch.’
or the dick. let’s start w/the Dominionist fuckwits.
Your vets want you to get a lethal white guinea pig. How can you resist this cute little face? Or the opportunity to help your vets afford that 6-person hot tub they’ve been wanting?
More about lethal white guinea pigs.
Very true, Rimone. Very true. But since I don’t know what sex D.’s vet is, or wasn’t paying attention, I generally go with the generic female, as the generic male has fucked-up the language long enough.
And A, that was the most depressing thing that I’ve read in a long damned time.

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