Monday, December 31, 2007

My Cat's New Year's Resolutions

My cat, Meeko, wanted to share her New Year's resolutions with you:

Improve stalking technique - humans have caught on to my toe-nipping ways

Exercise more - try out that new cat toy the human was so excited about

Stop trying to catch the chipmunk through the protective glass shield

Don't automatically respond to the can opener when it's used - sometimes it's just tomatoes

Don't tease neighbour's dog through fence

Eat food from the bowl, not from the floor

Make sure my butt is inside the box when I use the litter

Stop staring down stairs to the dark basement with tail puffed up (especially when female human is home alone)

Stop batting small, shiny objects under fridge and stove

Don't climb Christmas tree or eat tinsel

Find out where humans hide the catnip

Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year! Happy Mew Year

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Warning: This Post is Not About Animals

Before I begin my rant, I want to apologize for blogging about something other than animals. I have only one excuse:

I'm a bit peeved.

This is a story about a customer (me) and a car maker (Honda) and a complaint:

I recently replaced my 2001 Honda Accord with a 2008 model. In fact, I bought the '08 as soon as the car came out. Within a couple of weeks, Honda Canada offered a $4000 rebate to customers buying the new Accord. I applied for the rebate, but was declined as I'd purchased before the rebate offer was announced. In other words, because of my eagerness to own the new model, Honda is penalizing me.

I explained (sincerely) in a second letter to them that because they chose to deny me the rebate, I would never purchase another Honda, and I would tell my friends and family how the company treats their customers. Well, I received a letter from them today with their final decision, and now I'm passing on the message:

If you want good customer service and a company that rewards loyalty, then don't buy a Honda.

Okay, I'm done whining. I may eventually delete this post, but today, I just had to get it out of my system. And I want to note that I've never had a problem with the maintenance and service Honda gave on my 2001 Accord--it was always top notch.

Now, back our regular program.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Gift

Readers of this blog have shared stories and memories of their own pets, plus their thoughts and concerns for the other animals around them. I think it's safe to say we all have a healthy respect and love for our furry friends. But there are many who consider an animal something to be conquered, abused and/or abandoned.

Why the difference? Is it a case of nature versus nurture? Are some of us born with an innate ability to open our hearts to animals, while others lack that special gene? Were we taught to care about them when others may have skipped that particular class? Perhaps a bit of both.

When I was a kid, we had a dog named Tammy, a friendly and affectionate Samoyed. My sister and I were there for the birth of her two litters of fluffy, white puppies, and given the responsibility to care for them. It was a wonderful experience. My parents gave us the tools to look after the puppies, and showed us how to use them. The love just came naturally.

My dad's fondness for wildlife is, amongst family and friends, quite renowned. Along with Christmas lights, my parents' home is strung with bird feeders. Screened trays are set out for the squirrels, and a heated bath welcomes the frost-nipped birds. About ten years ago, my mom saved a six week old white kitten she found in a parking lot. Today, that cat shares my parent's home and their love.

I believe I've passed on to my daughter the lessons my parents taught me. She cares about animals, and is as dismayed by any cruelty just as much as I am. Or perhaps she was born with that extra love in her heart. Whichever, it doesn't matter. Respect for animals is a gift--the kind of gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks to all for sharing your own stories of beloved pets. I look forward to reading more of them in the New Year.

What Makes Me Smile?

Fuzzy Logic tagged me for seven things that annoy me and seven things that make me smile. It was difficult coming up with stuff that bothers me--perhaps because this is the season to be jolly. I could only think of one:

1) Lack of common courtesy.

Stuff that makes me smile? That was far easier:

1) My daughter's achievements
2) Sunshine
3) Morning coffee
4) Laughter
5) Dogs wagging their tails
6) Meals--when they're prepared by someone else (I suppose that means cooking annoys me)
7) Spending time with friends and family

Monday, December 17, 2007

All I Want For Christmas: Part II

We can't forget about the cats on our Christmas lists, can we? True, my cat would be more than happy to find a piece of string in her stocking--as long as it came with a promise from me to wave and pull the string for hours on end. Surely, there must be other items out there we can spend our money on to indulge our feline friends:

Cat Crinkle Sack

I've seen these crackling cloth sacks in the store, and wondered if they'd amuse my cat. Would love to know if anyone has purchased one, and whether or not your cat played with the sack.

Cat Vomit Warning Sign

I admit, my cat wouldn't be too excited to find this under the tree, but it works for me. It's amazing how everyone else in my family tip-toes around the vomit until I come home, then they point it out to me upon my arrival. This sign would save them the trouble.

Kingfisher KatKabin

In the comments of my Winterizing Your Pet post, Raggedy Angst asked how to keep an stray cat warm during the cold months. Here's the perfect gift for the cat who won't come in--if you want to spend about $155.00.

Hidden Litter Box

If you live in an apartment, hiding the kitty litter box can be a real problem. I think this litter box in a planter is a great idea. Now, all you have to worry about is where to hide the planter.

Kitty Wigs! Bashful Blonde

We all get gifts that make us wonder, "What the hell were they thinking?" But I figure this little item would make a great toy for your cat to bat around the house.

Merry Christmas to all the critters in (and outside of) your home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All I Want For Christmas: Part I

I've covered useless dog products, so seeing as it's Christmas, I thought I'd check up on the cute, not so useless products out there.

Doggy Smile

At first glance, I thought this was rather gruesome, but it's actually a fetch toy. It's for people who like to laugh at their dog, I suppose.

Dog Raincoat

The other day, I drove by a woman walking her dog in the freezing rain, and I wondered if the dog was cold, and how long it took to dry off once they arrived home. Suddenly, I realized that I was wrong about dogs and clothing, and how they should never come together. Raincoats for dogs makes perfect sense.

Certified 100% biodegradable Dog waste bags and cat pan liners. No Polyethylene, nature knows the difference

I like these--environmentally friendly poop and scoop bags, and cat pan liners.

Slobber-Wick Squeakless Bone Dog Toy

This toy sucks up the slobber, and since I'm now a cat owner and no longer used to drool, this is the perfect hostess gift to bring along when I visit a friend with a playful, drooling dog.

And because there are so many useless products for pets, I had to include at least one:

Sport Dog Swim Trunks - Casual Canine Dog Clothes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not So Wild Kingdom

When I was a kid, about the only wildlife show on television was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Each week, Marlin Perkins and his sidekick, Jim, would bring the world of nature into our living rooms. Not satisfied with merely observing the animals doing their thing, the hosts would get right in there--wrestling alligators or swooping down on an unsuspecting (and terrified) deer.


Wild Kingdom may have opened nature's back door to a generation of viewers, but their tactics were, at best, questionable. Why did they have to get so close to the animals? When I think back on it, one of the hosts was always on screen, and the wildlife merely a backdrop to be manipulated into following a set script. Or maybe I'm just getting more cynical and cranky.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chowder and Me

Long Haired Tabby Cat
In 2001, when my cat, Chowder (pictured), was eleven years old, she was diagnosed with feline diabetes. I'd taken her to the vet because she'd been drinking an excessive amount of water, and urinating frequently. I was devastated when I heard the news. The vet explained that Chowder would require two insulin shots each day--two shots that I would have to give her.

I'm terrified of needles. The sight of one, even on television, is enough to make me cover my eyes and try to think of happy things like rainbows and unicorns. Yes, I was beyond upset that my cat was sick, but the thought that her survival depended upon me administering needles meant, I believed, that she was doomed.

The next day, with an orange in my pocket, my husband, daughter and I went to the vet for shot-giving lessons. Poor Chowder was also brought along so we could experiment on her, after the orange was almost bursting with saline solution. And you know, it was easy. It may have been because her long fur hid the needle as it penetrated her skin, or it could have been because I loved her so much, I'd have done anything for her.

There were ups and downs over the next five years--always having to kennel her at the vet when we vacationed because she seldom let anyone else (other than a determined vet employee) administer the shots; the introduction of a kitten, Meeko, into our home made Chowder even grouchier in her old age; and times when I thought we'd lose her because she no longer seemed to be responding to her insulin. Yet she was just a few days shy of her 17th birthday when I discovered her one morning, weak and unable to eat or drink. She'd vomited all over the kitchen floor--one of the few times she'd not done the deed on the carpets. The vet confirmed what I'd already guessed. Chowder was dying.

My husband was away, but my daughter and I were able to say goodbye to Chowder. When she finally closed her eyes, she looked peaceful, her face relaxed and almost kittenish.

For more information about feline diabetes, check this out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wear Fur, Help the Environment

When I first saw this half-page ad in Canada's Globe and Mail, I thought it was some kind of joke--a Saturday Night Live skit via print media. Apparently, the Fur Council of Canada isn't trying to be funny--they really do believe that trapping or wearing fur is good for the environment. I'll file this one under "Grasping at straws".