Wednesday 27 April 2016

Well Isn't that Just the Cat's Ass?

I am the proud owner of three different kinds of kitty litter. This free cat has cost me some money. This free cat was on his last chance. Allow me to explain.

He would not use the litter box, or shall I say either litter box. We purchased two of them, just in case a larger one with turn around capabilities for a small cat with a large fluffy tail was required. A different kind of litter was put in each. Every day he would poop about five inches away from the litter box, and urinate on the floor, right by the baseboard, where it could seep in and really set in a good, lingering odor. I also bought a special odour eliminating enzyme spray.

My husband thought we should just eliminate the litter box altogether and just keep making the newspaper landing pad smaller and smaller until we just put a piece of newspaper into a litter box. I was game. I am also, however, the first one up, whether it is a work day or a weekend. This means that I am the one to discover the rank little present left for me in the mudroom, and I then must dispose of it, open a window, spray some enzymes, and curse the cat (although not directly at him, because you should not shame them, it could create a bad situation) (as opposed to the one I was already in).

A couple of mornings ago, it was my turn to do the early morning soccer practice run for the sixteen year old. As I went out through the mudroom to go outside and start the car, I smelled that familiar reminder that the cat had no irregularity problems. I did not have time to deal with it, and I was just turning around and coming back home to continue putting on my face and making some breakfast for myself. My husband was in the shower.

When I came back a few minutes later I was greeted by a scene of such carnage and disgust and I almost couldn't believe it. The fluffy little ba&t@rd had not only ignored the newspaper, but obviously had an issue that morning whereby he was trying to rid himself of his "refuse". He has an incredibly fluffy bottom, so he retained a great deal of what he had attempted to eliminate. There were drag marks in not one, but three rooms of my house. It was like a sick twisted scene from a horror story. That would have been bad enough, but he decided to go upstairs and continued skidding his way down the carpeted (it is an UGLY carpet, but that's beside the point). I ran around with a giant roll of paper towel and a spray bottle of bleach cleanser, spraying and wiping and swearing over and over. I also took the time to yell at my husband to get out of the shower because he was going to have to help me wash the cat's ass.

It is not fun washing a crappy, stinky, yowling, long haired devil that is trying to slice you with all of his claws, especially since I still didn't have a stitch of make up on, and although food was the last thing on my mind, I would have to eat some form of breakfast before work. I didn't even have time to deal with the ugly rug upstairs and decided it would have to wait until I got home from work.

All day at work I couldn't get the image of cat poop skid marks out of my mind (and before the animal lovers out there tell me he has worms, and maybe he's sick, and I probably fed the the wrong food...he's fine, he's been checked over by a vet, and he gets freaking Iams Kitten Food, although I suspect he has had a sneaky bite of the big guy's adult cat food from time to time). I probably washed my hands a dozen times, not including the bleach I probably soaked into my skin from the cleanser I was squirting on my floor.

When I returned from work, I was just thrilled to see a couple more gifts on the mudroom floor (about an inch from the newspaper), and yes, I think he was having intestinal issues. I dealt with that, and then went crazy with a mop, bucket and more floor cleanser. I also dealt with the upstairs carpet. While I was doing all of this, my husband and daughter gave the cat a very thorough wash because this morning's once over wasn't enough, and quite frankly he had "soiled" himself a bit more. My daughter is sporting some serious bandaids from the war wounds she suffered.

I was so upset, saying, "This is not what I bargained for when we got another cat. We only did this for the stressed out older cat, and his fur likely would have just grown in eventually anyway. I have had so many cats over the years and I've never had a cat that didn't know how to use the litter box!" I was ready to pack him up and take him to the no-kill cat shelter with my letter of proof from the vet that he had already received his first round of shots. Somebody would adopt him and love him (before they realized he wasn't litter trained). I felt like the worst mother ever, telling my son that we likely weren't going to keep this cat either (refer to my earlier kitten story).

Then out of desperation and because I am just as stubborn as this cat is, I asked my husband to call the local pet supply place and see if they had some sort of magical kitty litter. Well, indeed they did! It comes with a money back guarantee if your cat does not use it. Off we went, all four of us, like some delightful family outing to buy the special kitty litter. It had some special scent that a cat just can't resist doing its business in.

We took it home, ate take out pizza (there was NO WAY I was making supper after cleaning my whole house, again), then my husband filled up a litter box with the magical kitty litter. It was ignored. My daughter and I even took his favourite shoe lace and enticed him with it, dangling it in the middle of the litter box. He would run toward the box, get close to it, stop, meow sorrowfully and turn tail. All we managed to get him to do was balance on the edge of the litter box and slowly but bravely reach forward with one paw to try and retrieve the end of the shoelace.

Oh dear lord, we had a cat that was afraid of kitty litter.

He WOULD NOT put more than one paw on or in that litter. It had no magical powers at all. Maybe the old man who we got him from had punished him for mistakes by holding in at the litter box and giving him a swat? Maybe he was like an autistic child who dislikes certain textures? But there was no way that Scooter was going to be caught dead doing anything in kitty litter.

In a last ditch effort, I thought about the newspaper. He was often successful going to the bathroom on just newspaper. Maybe he was o.k. with that texture. So I emptied out the second litter box and cut up a bunch of newspaper into strips and put them into that litter box. That evening, he was closed up in the mudroom with two options. He could try the magical (and apparently terrifying) kitty litter  or he could try out the newspaper in the box.

The next morning the angels sang. Mr. Shitty Pants, as my husband deemed him, used the shredded newspaper. I praised him up and down (the cat, not my husband) and promised I would buy him cat treats, which I did.

The end.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Happenings - April 23

Just an updating post... today we head to the city in which our daughter lived and attended university this past year. Her father had retrieved her a few days ago with a vehicle full of boxes, bags, clothes on hangers, pillows... Today, however is the cube van day in which we bring home a single bed frame, a mattress, a desk, a kitchen table and four (although not all are completely intact anymore) chairs, a small coffee table, boxes of kitchen items, her remaining food, and whatever else is still at the little house she shared with three other girls. In addition, the cube van will make an extra stop to pick up some of my husband's aging mother's furniture. We will "keep" it for her due to her living with his sister and eventually requiring further care as her dementia progresses.

Now people, we live in a relatively big, old century plus home, but we have managed to fill it (overfill it) just fine on our own. I have NO IDEA where to put all of this extra furniture. Our daughter will not be needing any of it this coming school year, as she will be a Don at university and will have furniture already in her dorm room. As to how long we will be required to keep and honour my mother-in-law's items, I don't know the time frame on that one.

I am not the neatest human around. Nor will I win any "House Beautiful" awards any time soon, but clutter and having things where they shouldn't be drives me bonkers, so this will be a test of strength.

Last night I had my second massage therapy appointment with a fantastic young lady who is also a champion martial arts competitor. I have been having excrutiating lower back pain which radiates into my hips making consistent sleep a thing of the past for months now. I've tried chiropractor, stretching, increased movement, saw my dr. and had half my weight in blood drawn, as well as a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate scary possibilities. I was on my way to finding out who had placed the pins in a voodoo doll bearing my resemblance, when I decided to try massage. I used to have massage for back pain when the kids were little and lifting them in and out of car seats did me in.

Please do not imagine dim lights, soft music and a sense of euphoria. This is massage which involves stripping the fascia and working on months old pressure points. At times I am doing my "having a baby breathing" or gripping onto the edge of the massage table. Last night was an a-ha moment when she pinpointed very thick and tight i. t. bands (iliotibia -  no doubt I have bastardized that spelling) which run from the side of knee up the side of your leg to your hip. She figures my muscles in my lower back have been compensating. Now that we know, I can do foam rollering at home as well as continuing with the massage. I am looking forward to sleeping on my back, something I haven't done for so long I can't remember. This young lady is fantastic, and so passionate and knowledgeable about her work.

Scooter, the crazy loud fluffy cat, is coming along well. The two cats get on in the sense that Scooter LOVES Sampson and desperately wants him to play and be his best friend. Sammy tolerates him and has only given an exasperated hiss a couple of times. There have yet to be any curl up together and groom each other moments, but that would involve Scooter actually slowing down. He loves to play and has numerous toys, his favourite still being a long shoe lace which he carries in his mouth, trailing it around the house.

He still hasn't got the whole litter box thing figured out, but at least he goes in the same spot everyday and uses newspaper as his landing pad. My husband is trying a method much like you would use to train a puppy, where the area of newspaper gets diminished over time and eventually the newspaper will end up in a litter box (minus any litter), then slowly litter will be introduced. This is one thing that is really bugging me because I have never had a cat that doesn't use litter without a problem. Silly little boy!

My husband and I are both five years away from retirement and we have begun to attend retirement workshops so we know how to prepare our insurance, money, and most importantly, dental work!! Yup, get all your dental work done before you retire because it is crazy expensive when you don't have your usual coverage and it costs a lot more to have a new plan.

Lastly, I LOVED Prince. I had the Purple Rain album and played certain songs over and over and over. The odd time I get on the treadmill, I still find that Kiss is one of the best songs to move to . I know it is none of our business how he died, just as it wasn't any of our business how Michael Jackson died, but when someone is a part of one's life and their songs define certain moments and memories, it is difficult not to be curious.

That has been my week. I will post again from underneath a pile of mismatched things later.

Sunday 17 April 2016

burning on a beautiful spring day

Yesterday and today, I was out ripping, cracking, and cutting off dead perennials tops that I hadn't cleaned up in the fall. I gathered three wheel barrows yesterday, and two more wheel barrows today, as well as some fallen branches and pine cones. I created a pile in my vegetable garden which is currently bare, except for strawberries growing on one side. I was planning on having a burn which is a good way to get rid of excess dry plant material, and quite frankly, was a shorter distance than carting it down to the big burn pile at the edge of our property.

So, all was going well. It was a small enough pile that once the initial flare up occurred , it was a nice little fire that wasn't going anywhere. I was standing guard with my trusty rake and a garden hose was within distance if necessary. (This is a whole different mentality than my husband who burns on a much larger scale and is of the opinion that "everything burns").

So, I was a little scared when I heard the sirens. They firehall is opposite the main road. I can see it from my house. It is, however, the fire hall for the neighbouring municipality, not the one I live in. I am sure that if fires are big and bad enough that fire departments come from any number of municipalities, regardless of where the fire is. Still, I thought, "Oh, good lord, someone overreacted to seeing my flames and called it in!" Even worse, instead of zooming down the main road, the trucks turned in my direction. I was starting to plan what I would say, rake in hand. But thankfully, the trucks continued on their way (well, not that thankful for whoever was involved in the actual incident, but at least it wasn't a false alarm caused by me).

After breathing a bit of a sigh of relief, I continued to rake bits of material that hadn't burned on the edges toward the middle, and grabbed at a few dead tomato stems in the garden. In this process, I must have unearthed a toad. It was the colour of the soil and I almost didn't see him. I'm glad he moved and "announced" his presence. I've been surprised by many toads over the years. I like them. They are good to have in my gardens. I just don't fancy picking them up. This particular toad seemed determined to hop towards my fire. Even the ground around it must have been hot and I kept trying to deter him by putting my shoe in the way, or the rake. Silly, confused toad. Once the pile was just a smoldering tiny heap, I left it to start supper. What the toad decides to do is now up to him.

Did anyone else spend the weekend raking and bending and burning?

Saturday 16 April 2016

meet our new little guy

We made a kitten decision. I'm still hoping this was  the right  decision. We answered another ad but these people were nice and normal. The woman who posted the ad did so on behalf of her elderly  neighbour for whom she does household work. We had a choice of three cats. They were not tiny little  kittens, but instead  they  were  a few  months  old. The two calico females were  both  very  skittish and did not  want me to even touch them. There was a male, born in October, so approximately six months old. He had  long fur and let my husband  and I pet him and  pick him up. He was not a tabby or orange, but  was black and  white  with an enormous tail. He also looked much bigger than the little  females  and the older gentleman  told us his father was a big cat. We were keen to have another big cat because we enjoyed our Boots so much. He was more like a dog than a cat.

So we took the plunge and adopted him. We have had him for not quite three days. So far the positives are that he interacts with us sometimes, letting us pet him and pick him up. He's eating  fine. We are  keeping the  two cats separate but  Sampson has seen him and they have heard each other. I have read that  it is important  for your resident cat to get to used to a new cat's scent, so while Sampson  is outside we let the little guy walk around and explore  the den. Normally we keep the new kitty out in the mudroom because there is no carpet or furniture to scratch. The floor is tile and easy to clean up which is good because up until now  he has  yet to actually use either of his two litter boxes!! Yes, two. Each is a different size, colour, and has different  litter in it. He gets close, but won't actually do his job right in the box. He doesn't even like it when I put him in the box and scratch his paw around. I am hoping he is just still  a little  stressed  and will come around soon.

He tends to hide quite a bit but we can retrieve him and pet him. He has a good purr, but it will stop abruptly if a noise scares him. Again, I have to remind myself that he hasn't even been with us for three full days and everywhere he goes he smells Sampson  which must be freaking him out. Wish us luck.

May I introduce...Scooter.

Look at that tail. He has been cleaning my floors!

Action shot playing with crumpled paper tied to a shoelace (high tech toys!)

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Were You a Soap Opera Watcher?

As I was watching Ellen last night, I laughed at her campy soap opera she created to advertise for a mattress company. It got me thinking about my childhood and how ingrained soap operas were in our lives back then. My mother watched a soap opera called "The Edge of Night", as well as "Days of Our Lives". I can still see that hour glass opening and the words, "Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives." But the one that I believe was her favourite, and therefore, mine was "Another World".

I watched with my mother. I probably was far too young to understand some of the story lines. However, I do still remember some of the characters. For example, from  "Another World" came Mackenzie Corey and his wife, Rachel. I also recall Marlena, Bo, Hope, and some guy named Patch from "Days of our Lives". I honestly don't remember any characters from "The Edge of Night". ( I do recall thinking it was a creepy title, as a kid).

When I went to university, EVERYONE watched "The Young and the Restless". Of course, there was no DVR back then, so hopefully your classes were scheduled so you could catch some episodes throughout the week. I think it was also shown on tvs in various lounges around campus.

I do not watch any American soap operas now. I did not get into any of the evening "soap operas" such as "Dallas", "Knots Landing", or "Dynasty". However, I do admit a slight addiction to "Coronation Street". I've been watching for many years now. I like the fact that it is only a half hour long and doesn't require a big time commitment. Also, I have it set to record every day, so I can just watch when I want. There have been some story lines that I have loved, and others that bug me so much that I fast forward through those segments. What I really like is there are characters who have been on the show for many years. I also like the way they act a bit more like real people, for example, they actually eat. Nobody ever ate on other soap operas. They also looked perfect all the time. Not on "Coronation Street". They might be in a bathrobe, or just hanging out on their couch watching tv. In American soap operas, they all stood while talking and were perfectly made up and coiffed.

Any other watchers out there? Did you watch with your mom when you were younger? Or do you despise them altogether?

Sunday 10 April 2016

My kitten Mistake (Get Ready for a Story)

I have learned a valuable lesson this weekend. Don't judge a book by its cover, and listen to your intuition.

As you may know, we have been wanting to get a "friend" for Sampson because he is "stressed". After visiting two animal shelters we still hadn't found just the right cat or kitten. When my husband first asked me what I was specifically looking for, I had told him that the colour of the cat didn't really matter (although I don't like white), but the cat should be affectionate, should have a good purr, and should have a personality. The more we looked, the more I thought I wanted a kitten to enjoy those crazy moments of play, ripping up something important with tiny claws, and having it fall asleep in your lap. I thought it would also bring a little entertainment into Sampson's life and get him to be a little more playful at nine years of age. I also realized that I would really like a long haired kitten, much like our beloved Boots that we had when we were first married. We thought he had some Maine Coon in him and he was wonderful. He fetched toys, he was pretty verbal and said something which we swore sounded like "Mama", and he got along very well with Kitty who was a little older than him.

On Friday (2 days ago) I was looking on Kijiji which is an online sight where people sell everything from used cars to used appliances and so on. People also sell animals. I found a posting for kittens and cats for free. The picture showed a long-haired orange and white tabby kitten. There were also other kittens from this litter: tortoiseshell, pale orange, calico. But the long-haired orange tabby tugged at my heart. The reason for parting with these kittens was something along the line of they had rescued the mother, she had kittens, and the woman had COPD and allergies and couldn't keep them.
This is a Google image of what the kitten looked like. 

We called the number after 6:00 as requested and ended up speaking to the man, for a long time, who proclaimed his love of animals and how important it was to him to find exactly the right home for these kittens. He and his partner were not home at the time, but would be later in the evening and he said there were many people enquiring about the same kitten and it was so important to make sure the people were genuine and would give it a good home. He said our story (stressed cat) really resonated with him and I guess we won. We were the chosen. We passed his test. (Spidey Sense is mildly tingling at this point. Inner voice is saying, "This guy is kinda weird.")

It was not until much later that same evening that he called back and gave directions to my husband. We put the cat cage in the vehicle, asked son if he wanted to come (he did), and off we went. The guy instructed us to call him on our cell phone when we pulled up to the house. (?) (Spidey Sense still tingling. Inner voice trying to reassure me, "Oh maybe they have a dog that they want to shut up somewhere so it doesn't scare us...") Upon pulling up to this small farm house with sheets tacked up in the windows ("Maybe they recently moved in and don't have curtains yet?"), we called both numbers and nobody answered. A face had moved one of the sheets aside and peeked out at us. (Tingle, tingle, tingle...) ("Abort, abort, abort")

Then a woman appeared around the corner. Keep in mind it is dark out now. My husband even said, "I'm going to keep the car running." We got out and the woman seemed o.k., said hi, and took us around to a back door into a back room which was filled with this and that and boasted a huge amount of monster film posters. Each to their own. The aroma of cat urine was strong. They had a cardboard box up on its side with the kitten in it and the mother cat was in the room as well. Mother cat was very affectionate, rubbing and allowing me to pet her. You could tell one of her ears had been damaged by frostbite, but she looked healthy and happy. The kitten was pressed up against the back of the box, not really willing to let me pet him. When I tried to pick him up he let a terrified yowl. The guy was busy asking us questions. These were skill-testing questions, apparently. Did we know such and such a director? Have we seen such and such movie? He also told us all about himself. His entire life history it seemed. He made himself out to be acquainted with all kinds of famous individuals and declared that his partner (wife??) was related to Frank Sinatra (maybe, but I don't care anyway). (Inner voice: "Shut up. I don't believe you. Just let us take the kitten and go.") He picked up the kitten and set it on top of some flat surface in this cluttered room and it naturally jumped down and started exploring. Now of course we couldn't reach the kitten. It would involve moving any number of things out of the way. The guy seemed to be making an attempt to get the kitten for us, as he continued to quiz us and readily admitted that he was testing us out, making sure we were the right ones. (Spidey Sense on full tingle at this point. Inner voice thinking, "If this is a test, YOU sir have failed. " ) Unfortunately, he had chosen the wrong test because my husband is, in fact, a real movie buff and it was like a sparing match between movie nerds, each out-identifying the director and star of old monster movies. The guy admitted that he really liked my husband, too bad I'm married to him, he'd marry him, himself. (Seriously?)

As he was telling his tales of which stars he knows and who he is getting together with soon.. ("You're NOT inviting them HERE, are you??") he is getting no closer to capturing this kitten. I just want to get out of there and start to get impatient with his diatribe. Finally he caught it (We had moved items out of the way and partner had also helped) and the kitten was put in the carrier and we tried to make our escape. The man actually felt he had to carry the cage to our vehicle, but then handed it over to me as we got closer. Eventually, after more movie talk outside in the cold with husband, we left.

When we get home, we had one room set up with a litter box, food, water, comfy places to sleep, etc for this new addition, away from Sampson because we wanted to introduce them properly, bit by bit, so the relationship worked. It was sooo late at this point that we just wanted to go to sleep. When we let the kitten out of the cat carrier, it immediately ran under a chair out of our reach. We tried talking softly, enticing it with treats, but nothing would bring it out from hiding. Oh well, it would warm up to us soon. We all went to bed. But not before the guy had called our house to make sure everything was o.k. and if it wasn't working, we could always bring the kitten back. My husband reassured him we had a spot all set up and everything was fine.

I woke up first yesterday morning and went downstairs to see how the kitten was doing in the room we set up for it. It was in our livingroom (which we call the red room) where there is a couch, two side chairs, two big book cases, and a recliner wing back. When I went in, I saw that it had eaten most of the food and had been in the litter box. That's good. At first glance, I could not see the kitten, but figured it was tucked up some place private due to being in new surroundings. I kept looking, getting down to look under objects, looking behind book shelves (which sit out a bit from the wall due to old, thick baseboards), even looked on the bottom shelves of the book cases, in case the kitten wedged itself in a space between books of differing sizes. When my husband got up, I still hadn't found the kitten. This was getting weird. And no amount of calling or food shaking made it appear. Husband even speculated that it could cram itself through the opening under the closed door (Old house, doors have been messed with over the years...) and then panicked that it is somewhere in the house, so he went around with a flashlight looking in corners and behind things, even in the basement.

I had one last thought, is there any space under the reclining wingback chair? So we tipped it up onto the back legs of the chair and husband had a look and said, "Hello!" We had found the kitten which had climbed up under the chair and burrowed in the tucked in recliner foot rest part. It would not come out and my husband reached in to get it out, it hissed and then got away from him, only to hide under a different chair. Later, when I placed a couple of pieces of cat food in order to entice it, so I could see it a bit better, it backed farther away and hissed again.
We found the kitten wedged up under the reclining foot rest.

Also, when I went to get my cell phone out of my purse which had been hanging in the mudroom, I saw that the guy had texted us a lengthy text last night as well as trying to call and leave a voice mail twice (I don't pay for that service, so it just notified me of it, but he wasn't able to leave a message). At this point both my Spidey Sense and my inner voice were screaming at me. If we kept this kitten the guy was never going to leave us along. He would be calling to check up on it and to tell us more stories (true or not). As well, this was most definitely NOT an affectionate cat with a purr and a personality. This was a kitten that had not been socialized with people and would take days, if not weeks or months, to trust me or any of us. It would likely be skittish with strangers. I read a lot on the internet about how to socialize a kitten like this and I was disheartened.

This was not what I wanted. I had pictured myself with a kitten playing with a shoelace by now. Even as a child sitting on the hay in a box stall, barn kittens were more accepting of me than this. Of the three kittens we had started with at various times, each one of them was holdable, pettable, approachable. After a talk with my husband, we agreed that he would call the guy and explain it wasn't working out. We would not bother to add that it was more like a feral kitten and that we were concerned that the kitten also came with an ongoing attachment to him. I was very thankful that my husband said he would take it back that morning (I did NOT want to see that guy again), so we tipped up another chair, husband got hold of scared, hissing kitten, and we placed it back in the cat carrier.

Because the guy said he had MANY MANY ENQUIRIES about this kitten, we felt someone else would adopt it, maybe someone who would be home all day, everyday, who could work with it over time and gain its trust.

So, I learned that although the kitten LOOKED like something I wanted, I rushed through the initial meeting where I should have realized that it was NOT a happy, easy going animal that was used to being handled. And because I didn't listen to my inner voice, I found myself in an awkward, uncomfortable situation.

We will find a new kitten / cat, but this time it won't be about the outer looks, it will be about the personality. Don't judge a book by its cover.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

spaghetti squash supper

I am trying to eat much more healthfully in the hopes of reducing my extra late 40's weight. The concept is to put protein with complex carbs (veggies, whole grains, fruit) with each meal. I bought a spaghetti squash when I went shopping this past weekend and went looking for recipe ideas. Tonight I decided to create a "Greek" ensemble. I baked the two halves of the squash for about an hour, then scooped out the shredded squash into a baking dish. On top of that I added Greek seasoning, tomato, spinach, black olives, feta cheese, onion, and some cooked chicken breast that I had left over from another meal.

It is under a tent of tinfoil right now and I'll see if it was a success in a little while.
Out of the oven

The verdict was mixed. My husband and I liked it but I think I would add more of everything My son wasn't all that fond of it. He's not a big fan of  squash. Will I make it again? Probably not.

On a different note, it snowed like crazy today. (Eye roll)

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Whatever the weather, we'll weather the weather...

The title of this post is not my own. It comes from a poem, but I do not know who the poet is. We have had such weather... I am expecting frogs or locusts soon. First, everything melted and we got rain. A lot of rain. And yes, there is a big industrial size blue hose snaking its way out of our basement window out onto the lawn where water gushes when husband goes down and turns on the pump.

I pulled over and took pictures of some of the flooding on my way home from work last week. Nobody is in danger, here, but any low lying area, or river is currently flooded.

Next, we got snow. Everything froze up and was covered by snow. It came down gently, it came down thick(ly?), it came down sideways when the wind blew. I took some pictures this morning.

Thankfully the sun came out and some of the snow has begun to melt. I do not know what we have in store for the next few days. I am not naïve to think that we won't get more snow. I do know what a Canadian April is like. I remember my daughter's birthday at the beginning of May to have snow. In fact, I remember Mother's Day snow (usually 2nd Sunday in May) (which kind of squashed my thoughts of going to a garden centre and buying hanging pots).

What's the latest snow you remember?

Saturday 2 April 2016

searching for a new friend

Yesterday after work we went looking for a new friend. We didn't find one.

This is all about stress. Our cat has bald legs, because he is stressed. That is what the vet told my husband when he took the cat to the vet a couple of months ago. He had been losing the hair on his legs. The cat, not my husband. First I thought it was some weird allergy, or maybe he was wearing it off because he is an outdoor cat and spends a lot of time making his way through undergrowth. But actually the vet said he is stressed. My husband had told the vet that we had to put our old cat to sleep a while ago and the vet explained that Sampson (stressed out bald cat) had been used to having another cat around for his entire life. My husband also told the vet that Sampson and Nelly were never the closest comrads. In fact, Nelly hated him a lot of the time. They never curled up together or groomed each other. She ruled with an iron fist (paw).  The vet said it didn't matter the nature of the relationship, it was just the presence of another cat.
A bald patch on his back leg

So, we finally decided we should look for a new friend. We went to an animal shelter in a town close by. There were unsuitable candidates for a variety of reasons. I really felt sorry for the ones that we left behind. The girl who was working there told us that they really all do get adopted eventually. I asked about the chunky messed up tabby with the ears damaged from frostbite. She said that there are people who actually like the quirky ones and that he, too, will likely get adopted. There was one spunky little orange guy that my husband thought might be o.k., in the end, there was no moment where we knew we had found "the one".

Then, this morning we went to different place (also a shelter). This place had a "cat room" where the cats roamed freely and you could interact with them and see what they were like a little better than the first place. We met a few tortoise shell cats who, although they were very pretty, did not have the easy going personality they would need if they were going to be a new friend. There was one large grey and white who simply couldn't leave my husband and son alone. He was so demanding of attention that he would lick, and then bite, their fingers. So he failed that test. I will not having a biting cat. There was also a black and white fellow who was quite affectionate, played with the fake mouse, and seemed pretty laid back. But again, there just wasn't that moment of "we have to have this one!!"

But there was something that happened at this particular shelter. I'm still weirded out by it. There was one individual, mostly white with some greyish tabby type splotched on its head. The lady who was telling us about the cats (who volunteers her time - thank you kind lady) referenced that one by saying, "Well, it's a cabbit". Pardon? What did you call it? And she went on to say it was a cross between a cat and a rabbit and it is called a cabbit.

I'm going to let you ponder that for a moment.....

So, this little animal had a definite cat face and cat body, but no tail and it sat in a funny way, but it was FRIENDLY. It kept coming up to us, even went on it haunches and tapped at our legs with its front paws. It was called "Jack".

I couldn't let this go, and said to the lady that it sounded like some kind of urban myth like a jackalope. She insisted it was real and that it was rescued from her property. Even her two jack russels shied away from it. Now, I looked at this little beastie with aversion and curiosity. I perceived it as a little mutant. Unfortunately, I just couldn't warm up to it because I thought the whole thing was freaky. My son, however, thought it was really cool.

In the end, we did not leave that shelter with a cat (or cabbit) either. When we got home, I googled the mysterious cabbit and indeed, it is a myth. Perhaps it is just some misnamed or evolved Manx. But animals of completely different species cannot mate and reproduce. (Dogs and wolves, both canines, for example, could. But not rabbits and cats).

We are still going to keep looking. If I am being truthful with myself, I think I want a younger cat. Not one that is already 3 or 4 years old with bad habits to break. I would rescue a kitten. We do not intend to go to a breeder or anything like that, but undoubtedly with spring around the corner (though you wouldn't know it with today's wintry weather and snow on the ground) there will be more cats to choose from.

I just hope whatever friend we choose, that Sampson will eventually like it. He's a pretty laid back cool cat. But he is older now and maybe he won't take kindly to an infiltrator. Maybe it will cause him more stress and pretty soon he will be completely bald. (Then we can tell people he is a cross between a cat and a naked mole rat).