Blog post #30 – May 28, 2017 Happy Memorial Day

Blog post #30 – May 28, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Allow me to say thank you and to take a minute to honor our nation’s military and our nation’s heroes. I’m especially honored to have my father, grandfather, and several aunts and uncles who served in the US military or served in war. I can’t thank my relatives enough for their service. I do think of them often, especially at times like Memorial Day.

While I don’t know any service dogs, I love seeing reports of the service dogs that served in Afghanistan or Iraq. Yes, I do get a little teary-eyed, but the stories of the soldier who are reunited with their service dogs are so touching. It’s so touching to see that the dogs are honored for their service. It also makes me want to learn a bit more about what they do while serving in the armed forces.

As a child, I also remember Memorial Day weekend as including a day when my mom was glued to the TV to watch the Indy 500. If we tried to ask her a question or tell her something that wasn’t even possible. We learned to not bother mom or join in on watching the race. As I got older, Memorial Day Weekend involved spending the weekend with my grandparents and still enjoying the Indy 500.

My cats may have moments of running around the apartment looking like the Indy cars racing around the track. As long as there are no big crashes, I’m okay with that. “Doggies and kitties…start your engines!”

img_6942
Striker relaxing and purring.

Next weekend I’ll be at a writing conference in Michigan. I’ll take next Sunday off from the blog and will return on June 11th. I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day Weekend.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #29 – May 21, 2017 Taking Care

 

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Earlier this week I was called upon to take care of my aunt’s 14-year old Persian cat. My aunt had to go in the hospital, and needed me to take her cat for a while. I told my four kitties that we would have a visitor for, and they needed to be nice. Otis, Reggie, Striker and Abby seem to understand English except when I’m telling them something they don’t want to hear. It seemed like they weren’t happy about having another cat in our home (or, maybe they didn’t like the sight of the cat carrier in my hand).

Triscuit is 14-years old, and is moving a bit slow these days. She is such a sweet cat, loves pets, and is definitely able to hold her own. She took to the bedroom right away and the second day I opened the door to introduce the cats. The normal hissing happened, but my cats never tried to go after Triscuit or showed any aggression. Instead, my cats seemed a little afraid of Triscuit. I wondered if they sensed that she was older. The whole time Triscuit was hanging out with us my cats watched her every move. Otis seemed worried about her, Striker was confused about the puff on the end of her tail, and Reggie and Abby ran away from Triscuit most of the time. Meanwhile, Triscuit seemed very comfortable and found her own little spots to nap.

IMG_7643
Triscuit kind of took over the pink sleeping bag.
IMG_7645
Triscuit liked the soft arm of the couch.
IMG_7644
Reggie kept a close eye on Triscuit while she stayed with us.

Memories of being young (maybe 9 or 10) and going to a nursing home, or being around an elderly relative, came back when I saw my cats a bit wary of Triscuit. I remember not knowing what to say and being careful with my hugs (I didn’t want to hurt them). I remember feeling like I needed to be gentle, and I also remember worrying about them falling or getting hurt, for example. Little kids around toddler age, though, seem to be a bit more innocent and unaware of the differences between a 3-year old and a 93-year old.

My job was to make Triscuit feel welcome and to take good care of her, the way the doctors were taking good care of my aunt. Triscuit wasn’t at home which I’m sure had to be a bit scary. Plus, opening the door with 4 new cat faces staring at her had to have been strange. I loved how she would look at one of the cats for a good minute, then look up at me as if to say, “I love Otis…and I love you…okay, pet me now.” That’s the magic word, isn’t it? Love. As long as that universal language is spoken between cats or humans, it seems like that’s a good place to start to take care of one another.

By the way, after I got back from returning Triscuit back to her mom, Otis was meowing and looking for Triscuit.

Enjoy the cuddle!

IMG_7646
Triscuit was happy to be home.
IMG_7647
Otis zonked out after meowing at me that he couldn’t find Triscuit.

Blog post #28 – May 14, 2017 Happy Mother’s Day

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Just in case the “cuddlers” are preparing for a busy day, I’ll make this one quick.

Happy Mother’s Day! I day to celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step-moms, foster-moms, and of course, “fur moms.” It seemed that this week I stumbled across various news stories and TV shows that were focused on moms from the animal kingdom. At a Chicago zoo, the sea otter pups are now available for the public to see. Of course, the news showed the pups with their moms. I happened to catch (and watch) Jack Hanna’s show, Into the Wild, where cheetah, elephant, black bear, and rhinoceros moms and babies were highlighted. It was so cute to see the animal moms and their babies cuddling up close or playing near their mom.

Human moms and animal moms sure have big jobs in keeping their offspring safe until they’re ready to go out in the world. It sometimes seems that words can’t even describe the “job” of a mother. So, may all of the moms, of all kinds, have a beautiful day and feel the love.

Enjoy the cuddle!

img_6189
Abby sends Mother’s Day greetings to everyone.

Blog post #27 – May 6, 2017 Weather – Part 2

Good morning, Cuddlers!

It’s been a bit unseasonable cold around Chicago this past week. I know it’s only the first week of May, but in my mind, the weather should be warmer than 40-degrees in the morning and 50-degrees in the afternoon. The rain has also offered a spring chill and the feeling that Mother Nature is a little mad about something. Everyone at work has been dragging a little bit and we’re all blaming it on the weather. The heat in the school building isn’t on, so the classrooms and library have had an extra chill. I’ve had a few days where I never even took off my jacket. My hands have been cold and all I can think about is getting home to my cozy couch and cuddling with the cats.

I’m convinced that a full moon has influences on cats’ behavior, but I’m still observing my cats and weather. It seems that they are in-tune with the fact that it is a little chilly out. I don’t have the window open for the cats to hang out in, it’s a little chilly, and I’m using the cats for lap warmers. I don’t want to turn on the heat because then it gets too warm in my apartment. The cats seem to be cuddling with each other and me a little more this week. Maybe it’s my mood, maybe it’s their mood, or maybe it really is this spring chill and rainy weather.

This is a funny thing that my friend and her mom (or her dad – can’t remember) were talking about…50-degrees on a spring day, when you expect it to be in the 70’s, is much different than 50-degrees in the fall. She was also comparing watching a baseball game in the 50’s vs. watching a football game in the 50’s. Our perception and expectation of the weather definitely comes into play here. Thanks for the tidbit, Karen!

On a side note…I feel sorry for some of the delicate plants and flowers that sprouted a few weeks ago when it was mid-70’s. This week the flowers, especially the tulips, have been a bit disappointed with the weather. I swear some of the tulips have a sad-face-look about them. I feel like telling the beautiful plants and flowers to just hang on for a week…the weather has got to change pretty soon.

Well, I hope everyone has a week of good weather and has a chance to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air! And, of course, don’t forget to cuddle with your fur babies.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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?

smc-nov-6-world-series-sleeping-reggie
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.

IMG_7332
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!).

IMG_7334 (2)
Striker – right after hearing the great news about his health from the vet.
IMG_7333
Striker – taking a “happy nap” after the great news from the vet.
IMG_7335
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.

IMG_7261
The cats “playing” with the new rug. (Striker just jumped out of the shot as I took the picture.)
IMG_7262
Otis claimed his spot on the new area rug.
IMG_7263
Abby was busy playing with the rug and the bumps in the rug.
IMG_7264
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!