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.

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Triscuit kind of took over the pink sleeping bag.
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Triscuit liked the soft arm of the couch.
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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!

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

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 #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 #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 #19 – February 26, 2017 Eating Habits

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a picky eater. Over the years I have found that my eating habits have become a point of conversation and something to joke about. I have also become aware of the fact that I don’t add much flavor to my food. Flavorful food is a good thing, and I’m sure eating a variety of food is also a good thing, too. So, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I had a BLT every night for dinner this week!

As much as I was enjoying my daily BLT sandwich for dinner, I was noticing that the cats have not been eating much lately. I know there is a lot of stress among Otis, Reggie and Abby worrying about Striker’s health, which is most likely the reason.

Poor little Striker is really only licking the gravy from the can food and has enjoyed a little bit of the gravy/bisque food found in the pouches (Please continue to keep Striker in your happy thoughts, by the way). Abby and Otis have turned their noses up at the Science Diet can food, except for the pate chicken. Abby doesn’t really eat the Friskies that I sometimes give them for dessert. She meows like she wants it, maybe takes one bite, and then walks away. Reggie wants what Striker is having, but I need Striker to have as much of the bisque as possible.

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Striker “covering up” the dry food. (Photo taken in January when he still ate the dry food.)
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Abby, Reggie, and Otis when they are interested in their food.

I know when we’re not feeling well we don’t have much of an appetite. The decision on what to make for dinner is based on either what we feel like eating or perhaps what food is in the house (or…what delivery service sounds good on a particular day). It doesn’t always bother me knowing that I’ll have a week of BLT’s for dinner. I don’t have to think and my stomach knows what to expect. With our fur babies, though, it sure isn’t easy sometimes. They can’t tell us what they want to eat.

Did you already eat breakfast or are you going to eat breakfast after reading this morning’s cuddle? Well, either way, I hope your breakfast was flavorful and fulfilling. And, here’s to everyone having a week of healthy meals and being thankful that your daily breakfast and dinner doesn’t come out of a can.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #18 – February 19, 2017 Request for Happy Thoughts

Request for Happy Thoughts

Good morning, Cuddlers!

{Warning: This blog may have you shedding a few tears.}

One phrase I’m not a fan of – Quality of life. The words alone are fine: quality – who doesn’t love a quality day or something of quality; of – a hard-working preposition; life – millions of books have been talking about the meaning of life for hundreds of years. But, when you hear the phrase – Quality of life. –  you know it’s not referencing something good.

This week I ask for happy thoughts as I nurse my sweet little Striker. He’s been losing weight and the result is that his kidneys are failing. About a year ago we discovered that Striker had underdeveloped kidneys and a heart murmur. (By the way, I’m still not sure why this didn’t show up until he was 3 ½.) Apparently, he was born with this kidney problem and I was informed he wouldn’t live a long life. In my mind, though, I was thinking about 10 years rather than the 16 – 19 years I was used to with my lifetime of being owned by cats.

At this point, the vet said the most I can do is give Striker fluids on a daily basis, get him to eat a mashed potato-margarine-special cat food recipe, and cuddle with him as much as possible. It’s been quite difficult to see my sweet little Striker struggling with these problems at only 4 ½ years old.

It got me to thinking of anyone in our life that is either born with a medical defect of some kind or develops a life-changing disease. We go to several doctors for medical advice, pray, meditate, relax, fight, and the list goes on, to help our family members pull through (or pull through ourselves, if we are the ones inflicted). As the vet said to me, “Please don’t ever feel guilty in this process…you’re doing everything you can to help Striker. Kidneys are tough.” I hear ya’. Kidneys are tough. And, I’m not sure where we are on kidney transplants for cats, dogs, and other animals. Until then, I’m going to do what I can to give Striker a good “quality of life.”

As I ask for happy thoughts for Striker, I’m posting this blog entry with happy thoughts to the many cuddlers around the world who may need a little extra love for your fur babies, or your human family.

Enjoy the cuddle!