Friday, January 27, 2012

Watching The Squirrel Channel

I went into our bedroom to change into some sweatpants, and noticed Punkin' and Pwincess in the window. They both were in the ready-to-attack-my-prey position, eyes firmly focused on something. They were so occupied by something outside, that neither noticed me creep around to see what the excitement was about.

I saw a bushy squirrel tail flicking around, with the squirrel looking at the window, then turn around and flick his tail. This went on for almost 15 minutes, and I was giggling the whole time. Even though I was giggling out loud, they were completely oblivious to my presence. If the window shade wasn't down, I could've gotten a great picture! Ah well, the image will forever live in my memory.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

At My Feet (Actually, On My Feet)

I had a wonderful snuggle session last night. After cleaning up the kitchen, I decided to watch a few things on Netflix. I turned out all the lights, save the one over the range top, arranged myself on the futon, and proceeded to watch TV. After about 20 minutes, I noticed my feet felt like a ton of bricks had been dumped there. I carefully turned my head to the side, and discovered why: all four of our beloved meows were piled up, schnoogled with each other, on my feet. If only I had a camera that could take night pictures!

Eventually, I had to pry my feet out so I could go to bed. As usual, I was given the "Why'd you move? I was comfy!!" look. If I could sleep well on the futon, I would have done so (damn you CPAP!). It was one of the most enjoyable TV watching experiences I've had in a long time. And, I look forward to more.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Patiently Waiting

Jelly Bean and Pwincess adore getting petted. However, they are very quiet in making this request. They will sit patiently next to the person they want attention from, just waiting for you to look down and see them.

Pwincess is very much Daddy's girl. She sits on the floor to his left, patiently waiting to be noticed. She doesn't even emit her little chirpy "'Meow!" to let him know she's there. She just sits there. Once she's noticed, she rubs all over his hand to her hearts content.

Jelly Bean is much the same way. He will sit on the floor to my right, looking up at me until I notice him. While Pwincess tends to hide in your blind spot, Bean is out far enough to spot him in your peripheral vision. I'll reach down to pet him, and he rubs his cheek all over my hand. Then he wants a head-to-tail stroke a few times, with a booty-scratch or two thrown in for good measure. Ultimately, he will lie on his back for tummy rubs. As I glide my hand over his tummy, he looks at me with contentment in his eyes. I can't help but smile and do the baby-talk thing during this whole process.

This simple request for affection always amazes me. Many human beings feel the need for complicated ways of requesting - and showing - affection, whether it's affection due to love, or affection due to selfish desires. But, our meows know how to keep it simple. Touch is probably the most intense way of outwardly showing love, especially when the requester is fearful in doing so. The trust required to engage in the exchange of touch, no matter how brief, is breathtaking.

To see Pwincess openly request affection is doubly amazing. When compared to the terrified ball of fur that arrived here in April 2010, she is not the same cat. She may never be as affectionate with me as she is with Alan (I'm the evil person who must round everyone one up to be put in carriers for vet trips, after all!), she does let me pet her. It's very brief, but she does. But, one brief touch a day means as much to me as if I had her in my lap all day. Trust is not easily given, no matter the species; when her trust is shown to me, I don't abuse it by pushing for more than she's willing to give.

I was the first one that Jelly Bean showed his tummy to. I woke up one morning, after he and Kirby had been with us for about three weeks. I was treated to a very relaxed Bean curled up in my lap. After a verbal "Good Morning!" to him, he rolled over and showed his belly. I was *so* happy, and engaged in the first of many tummy rubs. He has asked Alan for them, but he tends to favor me (I guess we know who Momma's boy is, hee hee!).

Simple showings of affection. They are what make my day, and rock my world. Whether it be from God, my husband, or my meows, it is one of the best gifts to receive.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meet Punkin'!

Punkin' came to us thanks to an error by my husband. An upstairs neighbor came knocking at the back door one October morning, asking if we had lost a black cat. Alan, in a state of panic, rushed outside and upstairs to fetch our 'missing' cat. His fear was that Pwincess had somehow gotten outside! I had just gotten out of bed when he came down the hall, holding a little black cat. Worried, he said, "Honey, Pwincess got out!" He put the kitty down, and a quick look told me that it was *not* our Pwincess! I said, "Honey, that's not Pwincess. The kitty is too skinny, and Pwincess would have never let you pick her up!" After a brief "DUH" moment, we went about figuring out what to do with this little black furball. The kitty was quite sociable, but didn't want the boys coming near. Pwincess was curious, but didn't want to come near.

Alan decided we would name the kitty Punkin', after a black cat that his Oma and Opa had at one time. After calling Cindy at Virtually Home Chicago, we cordoned off Punkin' in the spare bedroom - to reduce the chance of spreading worms and/or fleas to the others - and left a litter box, some food and some water. Punkin' was quite vocal about being left alone, so we took turns every couple of hours to check up on, and spend some time with Punkin'. Each time we went in, all Punkin' wanted was to be held. To lie on your chest or lap, and just snooze, was all Punkin' wanted. Talk about your SQUEE! Punkin' wasn't eating a whole lot, but seemed ok, so we didn't worry too much. At this point, we didn't know if Punkin' was a boy or a girl, but we were to find out later on that night.

After dark, I went in to check on Punkin' and got a scare: there was a pool of blood on the floor near the window! In a panic, I called Cindy again, asking what to do. Punkin' was clearly still a kitten, but now we had to consider the possibility of needing to make an emergency vet trip. We agreed that Alan and I would keep a very close watch on Punkin', and if we saw anymore bleeding, and where it was coming from, we could then decide the next step. Less than 5 minutes after I hung up, Punkin' gave us our answer: Punkin' was a girl, and was bleeding because she was pregnant, and losing her babies. As I saw the first one pass, my heart sank. I immediately called Cindy back, and said, "Punkin' is a girl". I then explained what was happening. Based on the state of development, I estimated that she was in the human-equivalent of the first trimester.

Fortunately, there was an AETC (Animal Emergency Treatment Center) location one block east of us. So, we packed Punkin' in a carrier, and took her to AETC. The vet examined her, to make sure she wasn't under any stress. While we were there, another kitten passed. The vet estimated Punkin' to be somewhere between six and ten months. Still a baby, but having babies. Since Punkin' had no fever, and seemed to be fine, the vet simply gave her a saline injection (to prevent dehydration), and told us to keep her comfortable in her room. She advised us to remove any other kittens that passed, and that she most likely would need an emergency spay the next day, so no more food or water. In total, three kittens were passed. Both Alan and I were heartbroken.

The following morning, Cindy came by to take Punkin' to Mid North Animal Hospital, so they could give her a more thorough exam, and schedule her spay. Since everything checked out normal, her spay was scheduled for the following day. When we got the spay results, we realized just how lucky little Punkin' was that we took her in. The placenta from each of the three miscarried kittens had not passed, and was becoming necrotic. Had we not taken her in, she would have died shortly after miscarrying.

Since the day she arrived, Punkin' had us both wrapped around her little paw. So naturally, we added her to our furry family. To this day, she still wants lots of attention. Whether it be fetching some of her favorite toys (yes, she plays fetch!), stretching out for belly rubs, or just snoozing in your lap or arms, Punkin' continues to bring much joy to our home, even if she persists in wanting attention at inopportune moments (like making dinner). In fact, the busier you are, the more she wants your attention! We call her our little siren, because she sounds like one when trying to get your attention!

Punkin's story has a happy ending. Unfortunately, for many animals that are not spayed or neutered, the story doesn't have a happy ending. Punkin' is a shining example of why all pets should be spayed or neutered.