Blog post #33 – June 25, 2017 Little Surprises

Good morning, Cuddlers!

This week my cats kept me laughing for all of their little, silly moments. Otis was playing with one of the toy mice that Abby usually plays with. Did he learn something from his little sister? Striker initiated a game of tag with Reggie and Abby, which hasn’t happened in a long time. One day this week, Reggie came back into the apartment on his own after playing in the hall. I thought for sure that was a joke…Reggie never comes back on his own. And, I kept catching all of the cats in sleeping positions or sleeping places they don’t normally sleep. I found myself repeating the phrase, “You guys are cracking me up!”

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Reggie, what are you doing to Otis! HAHA!
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Reggie and Striker love sleeping on the warm towels. How can I put the linens away now?
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Abby hasn’t slept on the purple chair in months. This is a usual spot for Otis – you can see by the white cat hair.
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Otis was sleeping up next to the window. He was snoring and looked so relaxed.

Sometime in the middle of the week – perhaps in light of the Summer Solstice – I was a little more aware of the little surprises in my own life. I guess the biggest surprise (which wasn’t little at all) was my mixed emotions on the last day of school. I have a new teaching job for the fall, and after 15 years at John Hope HS, I was leaving the building for the last time. I’m excited for the new adventure, but was caught in a mix of strange emotions from 15 years of memories.

Again, as the cats kept surprising me, I was taking note of the list of little surprises in my week. The strangest little surprise was a $25 check from a physical therapist’s office from an overpayment on my last PT appointment. Okay, maybe not such a little surprise, but this appointment was two years ago! In the six months that followed my 7 sessions of PT, I had to resolve a few things with the insurance company about a miscoded PT appointment (which was an error on their part). Well, that was FINALLY resolved which is why I received the $25 check. So, maybe that should fall under the category of “bizarre surprises.”

As I’m writing this I can’t help but notice Abby snoring and looking so peaceful. She is recovering from an ear infection and she seems to be 100% better. It’s nice to see her looking so peaceful and happy. This was another one of my little surprises, Abby feeling and acting better. I hope we all have a week of “little surprises!” All good surprises, of course.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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!

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Abby sends Mother’s Day greetings to everyone.

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 #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.

Blog post #17 – Love is in the air…

February 12, 2017

Good morning, cuddlers!

What are things that you love to do? Do you have a sweat heart? Yesterday, I participated in something that I love to do…judging for the Illinois Drill Team Association State Championship. I’ve been judging for IDTA the last 18 years and have judged the State Championships the last 16 years. What a joy to see teams from around the state pouring their heart out in their respective dance routines. There are some routines that are so memorable and some leave the judges with the chills.

You know what I also enjoy? I love hearing stories about what our fur babies love to do. My cat meows at me to go to bed at the same time every night. My dog loves to go for walks while carrying his stuffed animal in his mouth. My guinea pig loves when I wake up in the morning and starts talking to her. These fun stories are what make our pets unique and what make us love them even more.

Speaking of dance. Have I told you how much Abby loves her cat dancer toy? It’s a thin wire with four pieces of cardboard at the end of the wire. She loves her favorite mouse toy, but she also loves playing with the cat dancer. Our routine in the morning is to play with the cat dancer after I dry my hair. As soon as I turn off the hair dryer, Abby meows a certain meow and gets me to follow her into the living room. She pretends to hide and waits for me to start playing with the cat dancer. Even though we only play for about 5 minutes in the morning, she loves that morning routine and loves her cat dancer.

I hope this is a week where you can enjoy the things or people you love, and your fur babies get or give some extra love, too.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #16 – February 5, 2017 Hugs and Cuddles

Good morning, Cuddlers!
It has been a bit cold and dreary in Chicago the last couple of weeks. In fact, this January was the second least sunny January on record. The lack of sun has a lot of people feeling this rough patch of winter blahs. So, last week I decided to take a walk with a friend to the Lincoln Park Zoo!

For those who don’t know, Lincoln Park Zoo is a free zoo about two miles north of Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile. It’s in the heart of Lincoln Park and right near Lake Michigan.

My friend wanted to see what the new polar bear was up to since the last time she went, the polar bear was inside the whole time. We were lucky enough to see this gorgeous creature having a blast playing with his blue tub. He was splashing in the water and playing with his tub for a good 15 minutes. Whenever he would come up to the glass to push off, it made me want to pet him. Can you imagine giving a polar bear a hug? (Of course, without the threat of dying.)

Then, we ventured over to see what the family of Japanese Macaque’s were doing on this cloudy and cold Chicago day. They are snow monkeys after all, so I imagined they were enjoying this weather. Soon after we walked to their enclosure we saw the cutest thing happen. One of the moms, with baby on her back, ran over to the male (perhaps the dad) that was sitting near the glass. As soon as she reached the male they embraced with the baby snow monkey in the middle of them. They were hugging for a good 3-4 minutes with the baby cuddling in between them the whole time. The mom and baby were alternating grabbing the dad in an affectionate manner, as if to offer a calming-type of massage. It was the cutest thing I’ve seen, especially because the baby was nestled in between them. My friend and I couldn’t get enough of how adorable it was that they were hugging for so long. We were sure it was to stay warm, but it also seemed to be very much a sign of affection. (To be honest, we also thought they were about to get intimate.)

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The snow monkeys at Lincoln Park Zoo cuddling with baby in the middle.

When we were walking away from the monkeys we both said that their hugging reminded us of when someone you care about gives you the best hug ever. Or, those moments when someone you care about gives you a hug because you must have that “I need a hug” look on your face. Aren’t those the best?! After seeing the polar bear “hugging” his giant blue tub and the snow monkeys giving each other the most adorable hug, I couldn’t stop thinking about just how sweet a hug can be from those you love. Maybe we can all claim this as “give a hug week.”

Enjoy the cuddle!