Saying Goodbye


Twelve years ago a sassy little orange cat forced her way into my friend’s apartment and refused to leave. After a brief flirtation with trying to be a cat person, she gave up and I adopted the feline. I named her Ruby (technically Rubia–because she was blonde). I was 23, and living with two roommates. The Red Sox won the World Series that year, and America re-elected George W. Bush (which is pertinent because I stole a bunch of “Bush Country” balloons from the Republican headquarters I had to cover on election night, then blew them up and left them all over the house to freak out my roommate–Ruby promptly popped a bunch and ate one, which she threw up on the way to the vet).

Today, I had to say goodbye. Continue reading

My New Dog-Proofing Invention

This project wasn’t technically on my To Do List, but I thought it deserved a William Morris shout out. A couple of months ago I embarked on a mission to keep my dog from eating cat food. It hasn’t been easy. Those of you with both canine and feline housemates know that there is nothing tastier to a dog than a bowl of ash-filled cat food. But it isn’t good for them, and it often results in your dog waking you in the wee hours of the morning to take her outside for an emergency potty break. And because one of my cats needs to gain weight (I know…who has that problem?) I can’t have the dog sneaking in and eating her food out from under her. For everyone’s sake, I had to get creative.

I'd do anything for this face.

I’d do anything for this face.

Continue reading

My Cat Has Gallstones. I Am at a Loss.

dsMy cat is sick. It’s a long story that starts with an emergency trip to the vet the day before I left for vacation, and ends…well…it hasn’t ended yet. As it turns out she has stones in her pancreatic and bile ducts. This is very unusual, and could be caused by a range of things from infection (not a big deal) to liver cancer (very big deal). The only way to know for sure what is causing these stones is an expensive and invasive surgery.

I am conflicted, to say the least.

There are meds that can break up the stones, but she reacted badly to them. She had gotten much better on antibiotics, and when the Ursodiol was introduced, she stopped eating again and had loose stools. We quickly discontinued the meds. She’s back to feeling good on her meds, but the stones will continue to present a problem as long as they are in there. They could move and cause other problems and pain. They could also continue to get infected, wreaking havoc every few weeks or months. And of course, we still don’t know what caused them in the first place so there may be underlying issues. Continue reading

Everything I Know About Cats and Urinary Tract Infections

She's not sick, she's just very hot.

She’s not sick, she’s just very hot.

A few years ago one of my cats came down with a urinary tract infection. The first sign of this unpleasant feline problem is an excessive amount of litter tracked around the house from the constant in and out of the litter box. Then you start to notice the poor cat actually going in and out of the box. And then, and this is the weird part, you’ll find them trying to pee in sinks and tubs (or at least my cat did) and wonder, “How does a cat know what a drain is?” And eventually you get to the vet and they tell you that, in the case of male cats, UTI’s can be extremely dangerous if they develop crystals in their urine–the crystals can lead to a blockage.

It’s been a long time but I recently went through the experience again, and over the years I’ve learned a lot about the problems so I thought I’d share my extensive knowledge. This is one of the more frustrating (and annoying) health issues to deal with and I know I wish I’d had all this information 4 years ago.

Originally my cat was put on a prescription food, which was super expensive and had pretty crappy ingredients. So after a few years I decided to do some homework and found out that giving your cat the crappiest wet food is better than giving them the most expensive dry food, at least when it comes to UTI’s. It’s all about the moisture content. Continue reading

Dogs, Bikes, & the Fine Art of Procrastination

It would figure that my busiest time of the year at work happened to coincide with my move. It was…um…hellish.

So I’m sure you can understand that I’ve managed to watch three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix in the matter of a couple weeks. Yes, I’ve used Walter White as a distraction to veg out and keep from finishing unpacking those last few pesky boxes that are filled with God-only-knows what. Where did I get all these Mardi Gras beads, and loose change?

When I’m not busy wondering about the fate of Walter and Jesse, I’ve been trying to ride my bike. My little brother’s freshmen football games are about .7 miles from my house. So I especially like to hop on the trusty old bike and head on over there to watch. Then, a few hours later, I head home.  But these visits to his games make me want a dog.

Specifically, I want this dog:

Wilbur is at a local pound where a friend of mine works. I’ve been to visit him a couple of times and dogs don’t get much sweeter than this guy. They also don’t get much lazier. Apparently no one told Wilbur that Pit Bulls are tough, athletic dogs. (Don’t be fooled by his soccer ball, this guy is not into running.) This guy is a big baby. He loves other dogs, and he looooves the ladies. Wilbur–whose pound is right next to the high school–has made a few trips to the school softball games and he’s a hit!

For the time being, though, I’m working on  getting my scaredy-cat, Jerry, to learn to co-exist with dogs. I’ve volunteered to take my friend’s dog for a few days while she’s on her honeymoon, which will be the longest Jerry’s been around a dog. He can hide under a bed for a day or so, but over the course of a long weekend we’ll learn whether or not he can come to understand, “This dog doesn’t want to eat me.”