Dogs Versus Cats

The Things We Do In The Name Of Family

I was never around cats as a kid. Dad was terribly allergic which severely limited the selection of animals we were able to open our home to. I grew up with dogs.

But through an unfortunate series of events, my first pet as an adult living on my own was a cat. She came to me by way of a tweeked-out ex who was flying home for Christmas and couldn’t be bothered to bring her indoors while he was gone. That’s how Sasha came into my home.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until about three months later—well past the point where I’d ever give her up—that I developed a horrible cat allergy and ended up spending the next two years living on antihistamines and rescue inhalers until I moved to a no-pet apartment building and she went to live out her days with Mom.

The cat allergy has never really gone away. I can spend very brief periods around them without medication, and even being doped up on Benadryl I can last about an hour or so before my eyes turn red and I start sneezing.

All these years I’ve fancied myself a cat person, in spite of the allergy, but after having dogs for the past three years, that’s not so true any more.

This past week I’ve been tending to my sister’s cat herd (she has seven of the beasts) while she and her husband are out of town. I wasn’t going to turn down $200 if it meant taking a few Benadryl now and then—and because she was loading them up with self-watering/feeding bowls I could get away with looking in on them only every other day.

The first day (the day after they left) wasn’t bad. The seven litter boxes (yes, seven) were mostly empty and I was able to scoop out everything and put it in a single grocery bag to be deposited in the trash. I’d pre-medicated and didn’t seem to suffer much.

Last night, however, was an entirely different story. Every litter box was full, and I ended up using four grocery bags to haul the mess out to the trash. One bowl (the recirculating water bowl) had gone empty and one feeder was also bare. I figured since I was in and out so quickly the last time with no lasting repercussions, I could afford to stay a little longer last night and really make sure everything was done completely.

One of her cats (the newest member of the family) is very affectionate. And very talkative. Another one, an older white female who lives in the sink in the guest bath makes it quite clear she doesn’t want to be touched in any way. The remainder are friendly but aloof, with one only being found deep under a bed and who has steadfastly refused to come out when I’m around.

After being at her place about 45 minutes last night (despite pre-medicating again) I went on a sneezing fit that seemed to last forever. I’m not surprised. My sister’s house is clutter central; she has knick-knacks and doo-dads everywhere (it makes me want to come home and start tossing stuff out) and from the looks of it the majority of them haven’t been dusted in ages. Add to the usual stuff are holiday decorations of every size and shape. In other words, it’s a dander-trap. By the time I left fifteen minutes later the areas where Simba (their newest) brushed against me had broken out in hives and my eyes were red and watering. As I locked up after finishing with the task at hand I was ready to tell my sister, “Please don’t ever ask me to do this again.”

I came home, ripped my contact lenses out and doused my eyes with anti-allergy drops. I took a couple puffs from my rescue inhaler and after about 30 minutes I felt more or less back to normal.

This morning, however, I have a scratchy throat and my eyes are itching again.

Thankfully my sister is back home midday Saturday so I won’t have to go over there again before they get back…

Shower Thoughts

Owning a pet is (usually) only a fraction of a human’s life. In contrast, to that pet, you are, and always will be the whole world to them.

The Joys of Furry Friends

No, not those kind of furry friends. (Although I will readily admit I’ve had many of those over the course of my life.) I’m talking about the four-legged variety.

So once again I found myself wide awake at 4 am this morning. This time however, it is not from worry about Trump’s bombastic pronouncements to Korea; it was from a dog with diarrhea.

Bobo, our little pirate (so called because he has only one eye) came to live with us a couple years ago via Ben’s mom (a story any longtime reader of this blog is well aware of).

He has a crack habit.

His crack is the canned, wet version of Natural Balance Duck & Potato dog food.

We initially started purchasing this as a means of delivering a daily medication in a balled-up teaspoon of the stuff to Sammy, our other dog, since I’d read that peanut butter (our prior delivery system of choice) really isn’t all that great for dogs. Of course, we can’t give something to one without giving it also to the other, so that’s how it started.

More recently Bobo’s turned into quite the picky eater (it’s allowed, he’s an old man at 11 years). We discovered that mixing a bit of this wet food in with his kibble in the morning ensures that he eats it all before Sammy swoops in and finishes off what ever Bobo’s left. (According to Ben, Bobo has always been a grazer, eating when he wanted to and not being forced to wolf down the entire bowl at a single sitting. Living with Sammy, however, has forced him to “eat it or lose it” when it’s put down.

Well, occasionally as a treat we’ve been giving both dogs just the wet food for dinner. It’s literally gone in 30 seconds, even when Bobo’s portion goes into one of those special slow-eatin’ bowls.

We’d been giving each of the critters about an ounce and a half of the wet food; the same amount of the chopped log variety we normally give them in the evening. Upon reading the can, however, it was recommended for dogs of their size, they be given an entire can plus.

Ah, no. That isn’t going to happen. Last night, however I did give them each half a can. BIG mistake. All was well and good until sometime in the middle of the night I was aware of Bobo trying to get back on the bed. The poor lil’ guy doesn’t have the strength in his back legs that he used to, so most of the time he has to be picked up. I didn’t think too much of it; he gets down occasionally to go relieve himself (finally trained to use the puppy mats we have put down), but the fourth time he got down I figured I better get up and see what was going on.

As I headed down the hall in the dark in my bare feet (you know where this is going, right?) I stepped in it. Twice. I turned on the light and saw a string of deposits leading to the den door. It was obvious the way Bobo was dancing around that he needed to relieve himself again, so I turned off the alarm and he rushed outside while I cleaned up the mess (and Ben slept blissfully on).

Now anything that comes out of Bobo has never been particularly aromatic, but this…I almost hurled. When he came back in, we went back to bed and I slept—fitfully—until I heard him jump down again around 6. This is the normal time they get me up so I let them both out. Ten minutes after coming back inside Bobo started doing his “I have to go outside NOW” dance in the den. Let’s just say I still didn’t get him back outside quickly enough.

After cleaning that mess up it was then that I discovered his initial middle-of-the-night deposit on the new living room rug…because of course where else would he do it?

I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day.