Blog post #26 – April 30, 2017 Storms and Weather

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Did you ever have those moments as a child when you were afraid of thunderstorms or have experience with other serious weather? I remember one summer (I think the summer of ’79), when our area had several days or weeks of serious thunderstorms. The storms were so bad that historic trees were up-ended and fell on porches, cars, and houses.

In college I remember an approaching tornado during finals week at the end of sophomore year that sent all of us down to the basement. At first, the noise shocked us “city folk.” We had no idea what it was, then quickly ran outside to take a look (silly college students). Yep! It was a tornado! Then, we spent hours in the basement of the dorm playing fun camp-like games to pass the time.

I went from being pretty frightened of storms as a child, to being fascinated by storms as I grew up. Too bad our fur babies don’t grow out of being afraid of storms. My grandparents’ had a dot that would shiver at thunderstorms that were miles and miles away. Her humans couldn’t hear the storms, and barely see the storms approaching on the radar, but she sure could those storms and was scared. Sometimes my cats with jump when it thunders, or will become a little less active on a rainy or stormy day. It’s too bad that dogs get so afraid of storms. It’s because of their hearing, right? Their ears are pretty sensitive to sounds and vibrations like thunder, correct?

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Reggie sleeping on a rainy day (after he played with his string for 10 minutes).

It’s nice to have a day where you can use a “rainy day” as an excuse to relax, read, and “cuddle” on the couch with your fur babies. Hopefully they can relax, too, and not be afraid of the storms.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #25 – April 23, 2017 Miracles Can Happen!

Good morning, Cuddlers!

First of all, I hope everyone who celebrates Easter, had a wonderful Easter last week. My intention was to post this blog post last week, but I was slowly (very slowly) recovering from getting all four of my wisdom teeth extracted earlier that week. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

I’m super excited to share some wonderful news with everyone. April 7th I took Striker to the vet for a follow-up with his kidney level test and other blood work. He had been doing better the previous few weeks and I was hoping that the test would show what I knew in my heart. It was obvious to me that Striker gained a little weight and had a little more pep in his step. I prayed that the kidneys showed improvement, even though the vet warned me that it is extremely rare to have a cat improve from kidney failure.

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Striker – right around the time when he was under 7 pounds and very weak.

On Monday, April 10th, I got the call from the vet with the absolute best news. Striker’s kidney level went from a dangerous level of 8 (back when I asked for prayers and happy thoughts), to a 2.4 (normal/mild)! The vet has never seen that in all of her years practicing veterinary medicine. All of Striker’s other levels are normal, and he gained a little over a pound in the matter of 6 weeks! The vet asked what I thought “did the trick.” I told her that the fluids helped, and the appetite enhancer pills may have helped a little (maybe, because Striker only managed to get about 3-4 of them down without spitting them up). But, what helped Striker the most were all of the prayers and happy thoughts sent his way, and feeding him shrimp (Thank you, Aunt Karen, for the suggestion!).

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Striker – right after hearing the great news about his health from the vet.
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Striker – taking a “happy nap” after the great news from the vet.
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Striker cuddling with me the day after his clean bill of health, and after eating some shrimp.

There was a solid week where I would hold Striker, pray for his improved health, and cry tons of tears because he sure looked like other cats I’ve had in the final days of their life. Striker is quite the fighter and definitely has a strong will to live. In fact, he just had his 5th birthday a few days ago. Now, he is not only his “old self,” but he’s playing like he used to play a few years ago. His expressions are priceless, his adorable meows melt my heart, and his goal to sit on my lap and purr have new meaning to my day.

Otis, Reggie, and Abby are also happy again, too. Abby and Striker often have a 20-minute game of tag in the morning (which was fun to watch as I recovered from my wisdom teeth surgery). And, Reggie and Otis seem to be more relaxed knowing that Striker is healthy.

My wish for my “cuddlers” is that you all have an experience of some type of miracle in your life. And, I can’t thank you all enough for sending well wishes our way for Striker’s health. If Striker could, he would sit on everyone’s lap, purr, and ask for more shrimp.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #24 – April 9, 2017 Open Space

Do you like getting outside, especially when the weather gets warmer? Check out this week’s blog post about open spaces, and claiming your space. #sundaymorningcuddle #sundaymorningcuddlewordpress

Blog post #24 – April 9, 2017

Open Space

Good morning, Cuddlers!

As the weather starts to warm up again here in the Midwest, people and pets are re-discovering the joy of being outside. I love seeing the dogs running around in the park near my apartment. Their body language says it all – “Yay! I get to run around and see my friends!” No more of the quick walks because it’s 20-below outside. The dogs and their humans definitely enjoy the chance to run around in the park. Sometimes, it seems, like the dogs want to get chased by their human just so they can stay in the park a little longer.

The other day I bought a new area rug. It took a while to get the living room back together again because the cats kept playing on the new rug like it was a toy. They were “attacking” the little colored spots, rolling on their back, and looking at me with gratitude for the new toy and open space. Reggie and Abby had a game of tag going as they ran around the living room, but the middle of the area rug seemed to be home base. It was funny, but I had to warn them that the coffee table was going to be returned to the space.

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The cats “playing” with the new rug. (Striker just jumped out of the shot as I took the picture.)
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Otis claimed his spot on the new area rug.
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Abby was busy playing with the rug and the bumps in the rug.
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Reggie, after playing tag with Abby for about 20 minutes.

Between the dogs running in the park, and my cats claiming the space of the new rug, it made me miss being at my grandparents’ house during spring break. All growing up, we spent our spring break at grandma and grandpa’s house in the country. I, of course, loved visiting my grandparents, but I also loved getting out of the city for a week and having the feeling of space and freedom. It was nice to walk outside and only see tall trees instead of tall buildings. Or, at night seeing the light of the moon and a million stars, rather than the street lights and maybe one or two stars. I just love that feeling of stretching out and having a lot of space.

Sometimes I’ll go over to Lake Michigan and pretend that there aren’t a ton of high-rises behind me with a million + residents vying for space. I love city living, but I sure do love those moments when I get to claim some open space…even if it’s just for a moment.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #23 – April 2, 2017 Jokes and Games

Good morning, Cuddlers!

So, I know April Fool’s was yesterday, but I can’t stop thinking about practical jokes from our human friends and fur babies.

On Friday I gave my students a spelling test of fake words. I saw it posted on Facebook; a teacher gave this test to his middle school students. My students kept saying they thought the words were fake, but I convinced them otherwise. When I revealed the answer to #11 to be April Fool’s, the students broke out into laughter and gave me props for a good April Fool’s joke. It was a nice way to end the week as we approach a week of upcoming standardized tests.

This made me think of the “jokes” our furry friends play on their humans. I’ve played with many dogs in my time and have had it happen to me when they’re about to give me their toy to throw, and they decide to hold onto it or run away with their toy instead. I remember watching this dog and his human on an early-morning run…the human was trying to leave the beach, but the dog was having none of it. The adorable dog would go next to his human and act like he would accept getting hooked up to the leash, and at the last second, would run off wanting his human to play another game of chase. It was so funny! If dogs could laugh, that cute dog was definitely in hysterics!

If you were part of a April Fool’s joke, hopefully it was as innocent as being asked to spell Rol-Aska-Tox or Tangeteen. Or, maybe your fur baby decided to play a joke on you. Either way, I hope you made it through the day with a lot of laughs, and are taking this morning to relax…and cuddle.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #22 – March 19, 2017

Blog post #22 – March 19, 2017

The Look

Good morning, Cuddlers!

All week I’ve been hearing myself scold my high school students, “Don’t give me that look!” With our state’s high-stakes testing coming up in about 3 weeks, the pressure is on for test review, which isn’t the most interesting. I’ll admit that it hit me this week and I’m feeling the pressure for them to do well. I’ve tried to make the review process creative, but there’s only so much creativity when you’re talking test-prep. By the end of the week I just had to laugh inside when my students would roll their eyes at me. I feel ya’! These tests make my eyes roll, too.

Tuesday evening Otis was kind of messing with Striker. I came around the corner to see what the fuss was about and I saw Otis half-meowing and half-hissing at Strike. (I guess Striker was in his space.) When I said something to Otis, I swear he gave me a “look” with his gorgeous eyes. A few days later Abby kept giving me a look, but I never figured out what she was saying. The only thing I could think of was that she wondered why I wasn’t giving her a ton of attention.

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Otis wouldn’t look at me after I scolded him for hissing at Striker. Soon after, he let me rub his belly.
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Abby has a “look” like she wants more attention.

 

Do you have a certain look you give people or in certain situation? I’ve been told that I have a certain look on my face when I get annoyed. I wish I could see what it looks like, because I really don’t realize I’m doing it. I do know that I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I’m not always aware of my various looks.

I’m excited about the week ahead. I’ll be attending the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute with a fellow writing friend. Last year this conference inspired me to start this blog and offered some great ideas for my writing, in general. I imagine that my look all next weekend will be of joy. Here’s to a week of giving and getting good looks!

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #21 – March 12, 2017 Daylight Savings Time

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Daylight Savings Time. Humph. I don’t know about you, but this is the tough one for me. Losing the hour of sleep when we

jump ahead an hour, really has an impact on my mood. I have a feeling that it’s more mental than anything. The idea that I’ll lose an hour of sleep is only resolved in the fall when we gain that hour back. Still, it’s a tough couple of days getting used to losing this hour.

When I was younger our cats ate every day at 5pm, so the time change really messed up their schedule both times. In the fall they started meowing in desperate at my mom because they were convinced that she forgot how to tell time. “Mom! It’s 5:00! Feed us!” Misty and Peanut didn’t understand that it was only 4:00. Then, the first week of Daylight Savings Time was such a treat because it was as if they were getting fed an hour early.

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Misty and Peanut sleeping on their usual spot on top of the refrigerator. (mid-1970’s)
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Misty playing outside. (mid-1970’s)

I remember seeing a report on the news about how the time change also impacts farm animals. The farmers in the story spoke about their strict schedule, and how the time change was upsetting to some of their animals. The story brought up the question about why we continue to have the time change twice a year since we aren’t the agrarian society we once were. Who knows if this will change in the near future? All I know is that I will be struggling a bit this week, and the cats will be really confused with the morning alarm and feeding times this week, too.

Quick Striker update: A few weeks ago I honestly thought (and so did the vet) that Striker only had weeks to live. Well, it appears that he has bounced back a bit. You wouldn’t believe how much he is eating, drinking, purring and jumping around. Striker definitely seems like his old self and is a happy cat. He did develop some allergies, which has caused excess scratching. I took Striker to the vet for a follow-up and a shot for his allergies. He gained an ounce, but his kidney levels are still high. Regardless, I feel like the prayers and happy thoughts have given me more time with my sweet little Striker. We appreciate it very much!

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Striker relaxing and purring.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #20 – March 5, 2017 Bedtime Routine

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Around 9:30pm I start the bedtime routine. And, around 9:30pm every night Abby gets into “chase me” mode. It took me a few days to figure this out, but she will come to the door of the bedroom and twist her body a certain way as if to say, “Come on…chase me!” So, I chase her, she hides, and I always pretend I don’t see her. Then, I go back into the bedroom and she does this all over again. We do this for about ten minutes, which is a great way for Abby to work out her pre-bedtime energy.

My parents’ cat is busy every night with trying to get them to bed. Lola has a routine of first getting my dad to bed, and then a few hours later, she meows at my mom to go to bed. She walks them upstairs and can finally have a restful sleep on her spot when they’re both asleep.

What is your routine? Do you have a cat or dog that knows when it’s time for bed? On Facebook, a friend of mine often posts pictures of her two dogs sprawled out on the bed with no room for her. It’s funny that our pets are insistent about bedtime (sometimes), but then might be in the habit of taking over our bed. I often think that my cats don’t realize that I can’t curl up into a tiny ball like they can.

When you fall asleep tonight, I hope it’s restful and might include a cuddle from a cute cat or dog.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Striker in his favorite cuddled-up sleep position.
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Striker and Abby taking an afternoon nap.
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Otis and Reggie taking an afternoon nap.