Monday, January 14, 2019

Getting Ready!

Today has been a whirlwind of re-homing plants, gathering bowls, filling litter boxes, and trying to scrutinize the sunroom from the perspective of three rambunctious five-month old kittens. They'll be living in the sunroom for at least the first week, while they get acclimated to their new surroundings.


What in this room could be chewed, scratched, tasted, or played with? Pretty much everything. So it's been a busy day. I decided that yes, they probably would try to climb the plant stands, possibly getting their little legs stuck in the narrow openings in the process. After envisioning the emergency trip to the vet, I carefully covered each shelf with a combination of vinyl placemats and spare towels. Aesthetics has been put aside in favor of practicality and safety.

And the cat tree from arrived today! Unfortunately, it arrived in many pieces. Guess we missed that line "some assembly required."

But now it is almost 11 pm, and everything - *I think* - is ready. The cat tree is put together (it's amazing!), everything scratch-able is covered (I knew there was a reason I kept all those old dog towels and blankets), and even their three little bowls are ready for them...

So cute! :)

Yes, I know that their water bowl says "good dog." But it's a great ceramic bowl, it's the one that Lady, Lucky, Katie, and Lucy used to share. Seemed a shame to buy a new one, when this one is perfectly good. Fortunately, we also had a placemat tucked away with the old pet supplies that helps to clarify things.


I even found Lucy's Christmas present from last year in a plastic bin in the garage. She hated it, despite my repeated efforts to show her how much fun it was. The lighted ball freaked her out. I hope the kittens like it!

Tomorrow is the big day. So exciting! I hope I can sleep tonight!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

And Suddenly, It's 5 Years Later

I can't believe it's been almost five years since I've posted to A Scratch Behind the Ears. And probably almost that long since I've gotten on here and read posts from the blogs I follow! I got burned out, and I think the aging of my four-legged kids dampened my enthusiasm for blogging. They were all getting older, developing the issues and challenges that face all of us if we live long enough.

Love these sweet, white-haired, wise old faces!

And one by one I began losing them. Frankly, that part of being a pet parent sucks. Managing arthritis and chronic age-related medical conditions just didn't provide a whole lot of inspiration for blog posts. So gradually I stopped posting as frequently. Then, just once every few months. And eventually, not at all. I never wrote a "Goodbye" post though, because I always figured I'd get back to it.

Lady, Lucky, Katie, and Lucy are all gone now, leaving in their wake the lasting imprint of love and lives well lived. Each of them was fortunate to live good, long pampered lives, and each passed away from issues that arose from old age. Lucy the Bowtie Wonder Kitty outlived them all! She was an eight pound force of nature who tapped into every one of her "9 lives" during her nineteen years on this earth.

She left us in May of 2018, and that was a hard goodbye. Since that time, the house has been quiet. Some people, upon losing a pet, will immediately seek out a new furry family member to fill the hole left behind. I am not one of those people.

The house has been quiet, and almost freakishly clean. No dog or cat hair, no nose prints, no muddy paw prints anywhere. For the first time in years, there's been no need to keep an eye on the clock when we're out, because no one at home is waiting on dinner, or companionship. And that's been okay. Nice actually. Until lately.

Something happened over Christmas. I'm not sure exactly when or how it started. But I can say, it started innocently enough. Awww-ing over a niece's new kitten (Spencer, so cute!). Another family member's new Australian Shepherd rescue with the adorable name ("Callie O'Malley!"). Then, there was one of those quizzes. Where you fill out the traits that matter most to you, and the website generates your perfect breed of dog or cat. No harm in doing that! It's just for fun.

Next thing I know, it's New Year's Day, and we're driving three hours to meet a trio of American Bobtail kittens! Crazy, right? I've never even heard of the breed "American Bobtail." But American and Japanese Bobtails, and Manx, kept coming up as a good match for all the boxes I checked on that quiz - "friendly, intelligent, affectionate, dog-like." Some of the stories talked about these cats accompanying long haul truckers in their cabs, and enjoying traveling cross-county in RVs. :-) And well, just look at these faces...

 Guess who's coming to their new home on Tuesday??? :-D  Stay tuned...

"Me and My Shadow"

(Upon returning from an almost five year hiatus, I discovered this post still sitting as a draft in my edit window. It was apparently one I started but never finished. The story seems complete though, so I guess I'd intended to add pics and then publish. When I read it today, it made me smile, and brought back fond memories of these two sweet and quirky girls. Decided to go ahead and hit "publish." :-)

Katie has itchy paws, and this makes Lady anxious. That's my fault. It wasn't intentional, but I created a Licking Phobia in Lady. This is how it happened...

A year or so ago, Katie was having trouble with allergies, and when she was itchy she would lick, lick, lick. Benadryl helped, and eventually the season changed and her allergies lessened. But when she was licking, geesh, it would drive me crazy. I'd try not to say anything...telling myself, she's itchy, and the only way she has to scratch the itch is to lick.

But inevitably, it'd get to the point where I couldn't stand it. I'd say "Katie! No lick!" I'd have to say this loud, because Katie can't hear. More often than not, she still wouldn't hear me. So from my desk I'd crumple up a piece of paper and toss it at her to get her attention. Or, I'd walk over and rub her back, do something to distract her.

Lady came to associate Katie's licking with my reaction. I know, now you're thinking that I was yelling hysterically or throwing magazines at her or something. Not true! Most of the time I would just get up from my chair, go over and rub her back and say "'re driving me crazy sweetie."

Nonetheless, Lady began to associate Katie's licking with my unease, which then became her unease. When Katie began licking her paws, Lady would jump up and leave the area. It's like she didn't want to be in the vicinity of "wrongdoing."

But this quirky situation has become even more amusing this year. Katie is now completely deaf, and has adopted Lady as her Hearing Ear Dog. She keeps one eye on Lady, and takes her cues about what's going on in the environment from how Lady reacts. For instance, if Lady hears the food bowls clink, she knows it's time for dinner and jumps up from her bed and hurries to the kitchen. Katie doesn't know what has happened, but she jumps up and follows Lady to the kitchen.

Needless to say, this makes Lady's attempts to get away from Katie's licking "challenging.". Katie licks, Lady jumps up to get away. Katie jumps up and follows, close on Lady's heels. I wish I could take a photo of this, so that you could see the look on Lady's face as the licking Katie shadows her around the house. I've tried to reassure Lady that it's okay when Katie starts licking, and I pet them both, but it doesn't seem to help her unease.

Poor Lady. Funny dogs.