Friday, February 19, 2010

time to go...

Our household contains a plethora of animals.

Two dogs, two cats, one hamster, one beta fish, and who knows how many pond fish. I can't count them as they are blissfully in frozen animation under two feet of snow.

I'd add more to the brood, but I'm already up to my ears in care taking duties. I've always had pets. Many times more than one at a time while growing up. But this is about the largest group of animals that I've had in my lifetime thus far.

There have been many throughout the years.

The early years for me included Tuffy, the sixteen pound tabby cat. Puffy, the Shepard mix dog. Poncho-the Chihuahua mix followed by Poncho2, and Rex the 1st.
Rex was a gorgeous dog. Pure white German Shepard with clear blue eyes. Then Puffy led Rex on a hike and Rex never found his way back home. So we ended up with Rex2. Dad called the APL and they had a white German Shepard. My dad figured that it 'had to be him', went and retrieved the dog. Lo and behold, it wasn't. Still a cool dog, but he growled at my brother anytime he went near him. Rex2 holds a special place in my heart. For five years I got away with tormenting Charles' because I had Rex2 for backup.

There was Elliotto Gozaimashita, Norman, Buster and Max. All great cats that thought they were dogs. Then Aarow (Border Collie), Cameron (Golden Retriever) and Ferris (Bouvier) who actually were dogs. I'd count Cameron #1(Golden Retriever), but we only had him for two days before he started with seizures. The vet said it would be best if he just put the puppy down. I cried for another two days. I thought it my fault, I felt responsible. It was so sad.

Puffy lasted the longest of all the animals I've ever owned. Seventeen years. Probably because she never got in any trouble (except her long walks sometimes) and was a medium sized dog. I was at college when my mother put her to sleep. She had a swollen jaw and found out it was mouth cancer. It took my mom three months to tell me. Only forced to do so the day before I came home for winter break.

"Honey.", my mom purred into the phone, "There's something I have to tell you......"

Dead silence.
My mother was a super sweet woman, but as a teacher, she was the strong lead by example type. Lessons were learned in our house. No smoke and mirrors, everything was pretty point blank. My dad was a scientist so everything was just put out there and you dealt with it. We were an open family with no secrets. So to hear the soft, hushed, smooth over tone in her voice...I figured what she had to say must be a biggie.

"What's that, Mom. What's so important?", I replied. "I'm studying for my finals tomorrow and then I'm driving home." I really needed to concentrate. Tomorrows test were huge. This conversation wasn't helping me.

"It has to do with Puffy...." I felt a sigh of relief. At least no one had died, or was in the hospital. I figured she took one of her walks again.

"We had to put her to sleep, honey pie. I'm sorry."

"Mom! When? What happened?"

"Mouth cancer, dear. The vet said it was the best thing to do. She was in pain." my mother explained. "We did it on Monday."

It was Tuesday evening. I thought, 'Geez. Couldn't you have waited until I came home?'
What I didn't know then that I then learned once back home...she wasn't talking about the Monday past, but the Monday past past past past. Like three months prior past. Like the day after I left for school past.

But seventeen years is a long time for a dog to live.

Cameron lived to sixteen. Strangely old for a big 120 lb. dog. And Ferrris was a grand old age of fifteen when he finally went to the playground in the sky.

The number of pets that I have only lowers itself when one passes on. Over the years I've had to put four cats and seven dogs to sleep. It's never easy. Some were harder than others. I've never given one up for adoption. I know all too well how overcrowded the Animal Protective League is with unwanted animals and can't bring myself to add to it. Most adult animals don't have much of a chance for adoption, they end up euthanized.

That being said, over the weekend one of the little furry friends had to find a new home. There's always a first time.
Misty had to go.

Presently the cast of characters in the house is Stuey (American bulldog), Sienna (Labradoodle), Big Maw (whose real name is Little Miss Cutie-blame my daughter when she was 3 for that one) and Little Maw (whose real name is Misty). The hampster is Butterscotch and the beta is Blue. Can you guess their colors? Yup. Go figure.

Our pond fish all are known by name as well. Stealth, Shark, Bubble and Karat are a few. Google and Yahoo are in the pond as well.

I love my pets. All of my pets. Even the ones that don't do much, like the fish. They are an extension of my family unit. But when one doesn't comply with family rules, then you can't stay here.

Little wasn't listening. She wasn't playing by the house rules.
So she had to go....
And go she did. That ultimately was her downfall.

She went on my couch.
Then she went on Boo's bed. Twice.
And Boo's couch. Three times.

Have you ever smelled cat urine?
It's the worst.
It gives me headaches.
Just thinking about it is giving me a headache and the smell is long gone.

I took Little to the vet to see if it she was having a physical problem. Nothing. I replaced the litter boxes with new ones to see if that would help. Nope. I searched the Internet for clues and suggestions of what to do since this was a behavioural problem. Nothing worked.

So I found her a new home.

I felt badly about it. I wasn't positive who was the culprit. It was a 50/50 crapshoot at best. Was it Little or Big that has decided to use our furniture as an toilet? I never saw when it happened or who did it. But I had a good guess.

It's now been two whole weeks and we've not had another urine incident. Our house remains odor free! So I think I was correct in my deduction.
And I have a new cat.

Not a new cat, really, but Big is a whole new cat now that Little is gone.

She's now uber friendly once again. She had started to get quite skittish. As I think about it now, Little would wait and pounce/attack her when she would stroll into a room. She would do the same to me and I didn't like it, so no wonder Big became so testy.

Last night as I sat watching the Olympics with Sienna under one arm and Stuey under the other, Big jumped up and couldn't decide where to settle. She was purring do loudly I had to turn the TVs volume up. She'd curl up with Stuey and then cross to me. Knead me a few minutes and then rub up on Sienna. She was a happy cat. Very happy.

One big, furry, happy family. Once again.

And the bonus?
No cat urine. For over two weeks. And three animals that all get along.

Life is good.
Now where's that lint roller?



  1. k. ew...on the cat pee.

    but? Your mother sounds like she was a great lady to you when you were a child.

  2. animal management is a loving chore, to be sure. My dogs are getting older and one is on bladder control medication. Every day I have with them is a blessing. Two are about 9 or 10 years old and one is a whopping 14. The kitty in residence is around 11 or 12. I'd have to stretch my memory waaaaay back to recall a time without animals. When you're done with that lint roller, pass it my way please?

  3. Awww. I love cat stories. So cute! Sad you had to get rid of one. I hope it doesn't pee all over someone else's house.

  4. I grew up on a farm...I feel your pain.

    And the cat pee. My cats decided that when I was pregnant with my son all those years ago they would boycott and piss all over my house.

    Ruining carpets and furniture.

    Joke I guess was on them when I brought them to the MSPCA to be adopted and they ended up being put down :-(

  5. Impressive menagerie there, Nancy. Cat pee is the reason why I don't have cats... along with kitty litter. Give me good ole dog poop to pick up any day!

  6. Cat pee is just nasty. You made the right decision.

  7. My Puff story is exactly the same as your Puffy story... age, mouth cancer, college and all. Except my Puff was a cat and my parents didn't tell me. I came home after exams and couldn't find the cat and HAD TO ASK!

  8. Yep, no outfit is complete without animal hair!

    You have a remarkable record of pet longevity! Must be all the lovingkindness they get there...

  9. I am cat-sitting right now for 2 of the best cats I've ever encountered. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when they have to go home to their real mamma. I'll be heartbroken and I'm not even an "animal" person. I grew up with a cat, but she wasn't super affectionate. The 2 I have now are super affectionate and I love it. I'm going to be heartbroken when I give them back.

  10. What a touching story. My baby Missy is a flame tip Siamese. She's beeeeeeeeeautiful, but never stops talking. Ever.

    Thanks for the warm fuzzy.

    I'm off to lint roll.

  11. Now I thought I had a lot of pets. I eventually had to put my one cat down because she was sick and peeing and pooping all over the house. You just can't have that. The stains never seem to go away and once they start doing it getting them to stop is nearly impossible. After our last cat goes, I don't think I will get another. I will probably just stick to dogs.

  12. I think it's great you have so many pets. I totally understand the cat pee situation. I once had a cat, Lubang, who would pee on the stove burners, and then when I turned on the stove...well, you can just imagine the stink. She became an outdoor cat and lived a long, happy life. My record for longevity was Boogie Shoes, named by my daughter, who lived to be 22.

  13. How awesome! So many pets....that must be heaven. I love dogs and cats, but dogs are preferred in our house. American bulldog? I'm so jealous!

    Oh well, if she had to go, she had to go. Breaking the rules so many times wasn't going to keep her around.

  14. That is quite a history of pets you've got there! And it's brave of you to admit that one just didn't fit in. Especially when you state the way your other animals are acting, it sounds like that was one kitty that just didn't belong. I had to get rid of a dog once (and I still blame myself) but I refused to take it to the pound. I found a good home for it w/ a nice retired lady. A month later she called to ask me if I WANTED IT BACK! That sucked. I don't know what happened to the dog but she promised me she'd find a home for it like I did and wouldn't take it to the shelter.

    We have a labradoodle too! All Black, named Roscoe. We've thought about finding him a friend but he is SO high maintenance and attached to us I just don't think it would work for him. We petsit for friends dogs a lot instead. :)

  15. Urine in the home is a bad thing. Our Flanders has lost some of her bladder control in her old age. We have some pills that do help, but I think cats can be differet? Never had a cat--always had dogs, rats, snakes...Really. Love them. Animals are hard for me to live without. Only one pooch now.

  16. What a nice reward for making a tough decision. It can't have been easy to have to get rid of the cat.
    as you know we have had our share of animal dramas recently - but I wouldn't be without the animals.

  17. I'm amazed at your memory of all your pets. I could probably name a few of the ones that really stood out, but living on a 57-acre farm, dogs and cats came and went.

    Cat pee is the worst. Male cat pee especially. Eeeeuuuwwww! Have you ever driven through a neighborhood and you KNOW there's a male cat living/roaming there? Gag!

    I had a cat for 10 years. Fred was his name. (yeah, I know) He died shortly after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I just came across his "baby" picture the other day. He was a sweetie!

  18. Pets are such a combination of problems and rewards....

    On the afternoon of her 21st birthday, we had to call our daughter at college to tell her that the cat she had most of her life had just died. I'd have held off a day, but her dad knew she'd want to know, and he was right. Sounds like you did the difficult-but-right thing with your little cat, too.

  19. Wonderful post, Nancy! really DO have a lot of pets! They really do become part of the family, don't they?

    Metro's the only dog I've ever known...and at 9 1/2, he's developing heart issues. I can't even imagine our lives without him...

    I'm glad your kitties are all purr-fectly happy! (Lame)

  20. I once had a cat named Max who liked to pee on my bed. He quickly became an outdoor pet.

  21. Bless ya, it sounds like you've had an "interesting" times with your menagerie. I'm very lucky that I've never had to give any of my animals up and with 2 horses, 2 dogs and 4 cats balancing each character is a juggling act all of its own.

    Strangely the only technical hitch is that fact I keep being given animals, such as the second horse and second dog. And that doesn't mention the ones that just turn up at my house - I opened my front door two weeks ago to find a black puppy had decided to invite himeself round. I wonder if my menagarie throw parties when I'm not home.

  22. That's awesome that you had dogs live to 16 and! We had a cat that lived to be 21! I love my furries, home just wouldn't be complete without them (or the lint brush!).

  23. Sorry you had to get rid of one of your pets Nancy..but cat urine...egads.

    SO lucky your dogs lived so long. When we lost ours early (age 7) it was devastating.

  24. Wow - you sure did have a lot of pets! I love animals, but my husband is not a fan of them! So when I visit my daughter I'm in heaven - not only to see my grand daughter, but also to hang with her pets - 3 cats and 2 dogs!

  25. Cat urine is the Worst!! Sounds like some territorial issue with the cat you had to get rid of. I have 5 cats and, occasionally, urine issues. I discovered Felliway, a very expensive, but (I think) effective way to trick them into theinking they're happy. It's a hormone, i guess. But if I knew which cat it was, I'd find it a new home so fast.....
    I love hearing about all those pets!

  26. WhenI go back to school, I will study genetic engineering, and design a cat that does not shed, and that does not throw up.

    Your pets sound lovely.

  27. Butterscotch is probably the best hamster name known to man.

  28. This post reminds me of my 2nd date with my (now) husband. While drinking Guinness after Guinness, I told him about EVERY GD cat my family ever owned. Even all the litters of kittens that came after I left for college.
    He tries to block it from his memory.

    We have 3 cats now and sadly, its one too many. And I don't have the heart to get rid of the trouble cat.

  29. I can't do cats. I'm allergic to them. I'm glad you've got such a happy little "family" there with you, though. Julia and I would like to get a dog or something, but neither one of us is home enough to take care of it the way it would need to be taken care of. Oh well... maybe one of these days.

  30. Whoa, that's a lot of animals! Wow, your dogs lived a really long time! And that IS unusual for a Golden to live that long... you must have taken very good care of him (her?).

    And ew. Good decision getting rid of the whizzer. There are tons of stray cats roaming around outside my apartment (which is annoying because I'm allergic) and the smell is AWFUL. Yeah yeah, they're cute and all, but can't they... GO somewhere BESIDES on the sidewalk in front of my building?? Ugh.

    Love your blog by the way :)

  31. I'm a cat person.

    I had George for 14 years and Rupert for 17 Years (brothers) and it took me about 7 years before I was ready to get another pet. We recently got Pickles (two months ago), our female tabby cat who I still haven't bonded with.

    She is adorable but I can't seem to let my walls down.

  32. I am so glad you posted this. It makes me kind of feel better. Our Fancie started to pee in different parts of the house. First I thought it was our bedroom "new carpet" then she peed right in front of me on my brand new big ( my mind is blank ..can't think of the name of it ) family room rug. She had to go but where. She is very unfriendly and hisses and bites everyone. The doctor said to put her down. We didn't know what to do. So we put her in a room and then would let her outside some. Now she is a outside cat and has been for about a year. I just couldn't have her peeing all over my new stuf that I had worked so hard for. Plus I was also afraid that she would bite my grandson. She was an SPCA kitty so she really has had a nice life. But I still feel bad that she is outside and she wants to come in.

  33. What a sweet, and warm story. How wonderful, you could have so many furry friends to be around. There could be no greater comfort than unconditional love of another living thing, In those times of need. I had to move away from home, for college a few years ago. My life, hasn't been the same, Something is missing. Ah, yes, no pets. It'd be far too cruel to have a cat, in my little apartment that is so close to a busy street.....I've already seen a furry, little cat who'd been hit some night and lied to die on the side of the road. When I lived, at home in Port Angeles, I swore I had an invisible sign on the side of my house, no one but cats could see. Because, every broken, sad and pitiful cat that needed a home, somehow found it's way to my house. One cat, was rather large, had a broken bent ear, a large abscess growth on it's face, and a gravelly Kim Carnes meow. He was very bossy and insistent, he used to make his way to my porch, stand on his back feet and scratch on the front door...I'd open the door, and tell him, "This isn't your house. I'm not your Momma. You don't live here." He would argue with me, for awhile, and in the end, he stayed..I couldn't convince him otherwise. "Yes. I do live here, this is where I live. I'm your cat. I am." MY daughter called him 'Grissom.' For awhile, in my basement when I went down to wash and dry laundry upon the creeeak and drag of opening the door, I'd hear scratch...scratch dash...and, if I was careful I could come upon a cat...a dainty black calico lady cat....She was very skittish, and sweet. But, if I was slow and careful...and gentle she'd let me pet her. I came home from work one sunny afternoon, to see TWO twin black calico cats...There were two, Not one! Cat 1 and Cat 2 I named them...I had a part time dog, A fully blooded Bloodhound. He was the size of a small horse, but to me he was my 'Baby' He ran away from his home one day, picked up my daughters scent, and went to her catholic school and waited patiently for her to come out....Now, all I have is a plant, whose survival is it's own doing. As, I've not ever had any luck with plants. I am obsessed with Vladimir Nabokov's literature now, and cannot wait for when I get another I could name it Lolita, or Humbert or Nabokov. Ah, someday! God Bless you, in the furry heaven you live in!

  34. Hey Nancy! Good grief, quite the menagerie. I struggle to look after myself and a lion. I sympathiseon the cat piss, it's the worst smell. A friend bought a place and discovered the previous owner had a cat that used to pee in a corner. They had to replace the floorboards to get rid of the smell. Ick. Indigo

  35. ugh, cat pee....the WORST smell. And there is some plant that always smells like that, juniper I think...why the hell would anyone buy a plant that naturally emits that odor? HAHAHA...anyway, glad that the story had a happier ending!!

  36. Cat pee was what did it for me with our last cat - enough is enough:)

  37. You are a girl after my own heart for sure Nancy. My husband says if you can't cut it, you can't stay-that cat just can't cut it. Have had to do the same thing myself, tears me up but is for the best. I have resigned myself to the fact that pet hair IS a fashion accessory. I have found the best lint brush, when I think of the name I'll let you know-has a cover that cleans the hair off and accumulates it so you can pitch the hair-has saved me a ton on those darn roller tape things.

  38. The bonding with a pet is like no other. When my first dog, a little black yorkie, had to be put down after 2 major cancer surgeries I wept and was depressed for days. he was loyal, loving, fun, sweet and intelligent. Thanks for sharing the pet love with us!
    Right now I am in Key West for 3 months and have become foster mom to a kitty with turquoise eyes, carmel coloring and a half grey face. He is well taken care of by someone ( beautiful fur, bright eyes,and healthy weight), but stops by daily for petting and an extra litle dinner. I will miss him when I am gone, but he knows how to work the crowd and will find a new love.
    Love stopping by to see what's on your mind.

  39. It's just amazes me how one animal can upset the balance and harmony of the family. Sorry you had to make her leave, but it was for the best.

    We also have a cat that the other animals don't like. He is the terror of the house, but he's been with us for six years now and we could never make him leave. (Sometimes I dream that he leaves on his own!)

  40. It sounds like you made the right decision.

    That sounds like a busy household. Our cat died a few months ago, and the dog a couple fo years ago, and I am wondering how long it will be before the little kids talk mom into new furry friends. The goldfish and crabs are here to entertain in the meantime.

  41. Great job people, you take a cat in because you want to '"own" a furry little friend' , it pees a couple of times on your oh-so-precious furniture and that turns out to be its "downfall", ends up at the MSPCA, euthanized? i was wondering if you'd do the same to your son if he pees his pants at nursery!
    Look, no offence people, but please don't "pet" an animal because you fancy so, decide on whether or not you want a companion and if you're ready to put up with its non-human behavior. And you're the best judge if the answers aint in affirmative.
    P.S: Am i the only dumb one here to not expect animals to behave like humans?

  42. @ratnabali mukherjee - Thank you for your comment, however...I didn't take Little, the cat, to be euthanized, I found her another home - on a farm - where she could be as she is. A rather ferral cat that likes to hunt, come and go as she pleases and scent anything she likes!
    All of my animals are from the Animal Protective League. I am all about recuing animals and in no way condone humans who abondon their pets.

    That being said, they ARE still pets.
    I exhausted every avenue known to keep this animal from peeing in my house to no avail. With no other option available to me I found her a new home.

    No one expected her to behave a a human. None of my animals do, nor do I think they would. The best pets are treated as pets, not humans. Ask Cesar Milan! That seems tos be the big behavioural problem of most of todays animals.

    I wonder if YOU would keep an animal you've chosen once it started to urinate on everything? After finding out that it's not medical and will not respond to the vetarnarians several courses of action to try to change it's behaviour of peeing everywhere that others (me, the dogs, my daughters) scent is? It's just unacceptable, gross not to mention the health risks it poses.


Do it. Do it NOW!