Category Archives: Pets

Guardians at the Gate, Grazing Cat

Took Choco out on her harness. She’s an indoor cat, but she does like to get out to graze now and then. Unfortunately the drought this summer resulted in even less grass than our sparse little patch usually gets.

grazing cat

It’s the time of year when lots of spiders festoon themselves around our front door. Entering or exiting requires a careful scan of the situation, and much ducking and, er, weaving, to get through without creating too much disturbance.

spider

Bye-Bye Christmas Tree, I’m Going to Miss You, Meow

Yumi “undressed” the tree nearly two weeks ago, but we were loath to let it go. It still looked and smelled wonderful, but today we finally wrapped it in a canvas drop sheet, and took it down into the garage.

Choco the cat finds the garage spooky, but she sat by the door and cried, so I let her out. She went directly to the tree, sniffed around, meowked a couple of times, and then trotted back to me.

I guess in her own way, she needed a minute.

Lighting the Fire

We don’t use our fireplace much because it’s gas-fueled, and is not very efficient. Most of the heat goes up the stack, with little going into the house. For years we’ve aimed to rectify that, but other reno priorities always win the budgetary battle.

So we light the pilot light for only a couple of weeks each year, from near Christmas to New Year’s.

Here are two of my girls, my wife and cat, enjoying the fireplace. The third girl, the turtle, was under her broad spectrum lamp.

Yumi Choco fireplace

Catgirl Senses a Mouse in the House

I’m wondering if the colder weather has enticed a mouse into the house. The cat’s antsy, and wants to check out all the less used spaces behind closed doors — the storage under the stairs, the utility room, etc.

She rid us of a couple of mice a few years ago that sneaked in from the garage. Didn’t kill them, but caught them and brought them to us, and we released them outdoors.

She’s certainly fixated:

cat in sweatshirt cave

Ensconced in her cat cave, yet vigilant. The door to the under-stairs storage is about three bounds straight ahead, and is slightly ajar for access.

And yes, Daddy’s sweatshirts are great for sleeping on, under, in. . .

So are his outdoor fleeces, if he forgets to hang one up and just tosses it on the chair :  -).  That scenario results in a mass of cat hair matted onto the fleece.

Bobcat Sightings at Deer Lake in Burnaby, BC

I suspect there may be a few folks out there disturbed by reports that a bobcat has been sighted several times at Deer Lake in Burnaby, BC. Deer Lake is one of Burnaby’s beautiful parks, and I find the reports exhilarating and uplifting.

A bobcat seen smack in the center of one of BC’s largest cities. Excellent!

Here’s the Burnaby Newsleader story.

I was also heartened by the response from Burnaby Parks that this was nothing to be afraid of, and that, indeed, the sightings show that we have a relatively healthy environment in our city.

I agree. The more species that can share and thrive in the same space, the healthier the environment you have. In contrast, the loss of species diminishes all of us.

I suspect this cat strayed here from remoter areas, but that’s also a good sign. The fact that wildlife can travel from place to place in an urban/suburban area is a positive indicator that we still have enough green spaces and green corridors to allow for such travel.

It’s been reported that the bobcat runs away when it sees humans, and that’s good. Wild animals should remain wild. It’s when humans interfere by feeding them, and trying to interact with them, that they can become dangerous.

Perhaps domestic cats and small dogs may be enticing to the bobcat, but dogs should be kept close all the time, and leashed much of the time, anyway.

Domestic cats? They have a huge negative impact on small wildlife and birds for they will kill even if they are well fed at home. Try to keep your cat indoors. Our cat is very content, and she’s 99.8% indoor, only going out on a harness from time to time to enjoy the grass.

Many Happiest Moments of My Life Have Involved Cats on Laps

My wife caught Choco the cat curled up on my tummy when I stretched out for a nap before supper. I know it’s getting colder when Choco plants herself on my lap when I’m seated, or on my chest when I’m napping.

When Yumi sent me the photos and I filed them in my “Choco” folder, I found a similar scene from almost exactly ten years ago.

Paul & Choco 3
Here we are before dinner tonight

Paul Choco
And here we are in November 2004. “Whiskers and Whisky” : -)

Choco always looks good, but ten-years-later me could stand to shed a few pounds.

I’ve always loved cuddling with felines. I like dogs, too, just haven’t had as much opportunity to share life with them over the years.

Watching Closely as Midori, Our Turtle, Readies for Winter

I posted this on FB the other day, and it got a positive response from pet and animal lovers, so I’m expanding upon it a bit here. It rings a tad sanctimonious, but really folks, a pet IS for life, and you shouldn’t consider having one if you can’t fulfill that responsibility.

– – – – –

We’re keeping a close eye on Midori, our turtle. It’s getting colder at night, and she’s starting to follow us around, wanting “uppy” for cuddling and warmth. We’ll be putting her on a heated gel pack in a basket overnight soon.

No, we’re not spoiling her, we’re keeping her healthy. If she gets too cold she starts shutting down. Yet on the other hand, she can’t get cold enough in the house to properly hibernate. We’ve discovered over the years that this “not quite here/not quite there” situation over winter is not good for her, as she starts to lose calcium etc.

We had a bad scare a few years ago when her limbs began puffing up during a semi-hibernation. After a costly vet visit, it turned out that in her semi-somnolent state her body was still “consuming” minerals, etc., but since she wasn’t eating anything, her system was sucking the calcium out of her own bones.

So the last few years we’ve kept her warm all winter. It’s a lot of work, but she’s much the better for it.

As I’ve said many times before, we do NOT recommend turtles for pets. Keeping them healthy and happy is a lot of work, and they can live for 40+ years. We didn’t know that when we got her 21 years ago.

But we will never give up the responsibility we took on when we made the (then admittedly uninformed) choice to take a red-eared slider into our lives.

And we will never dump her in a local pond or creek. She doesn’t belong in the Canadian wild. She’s not a native species. And she’s so used to humans that she’d likely follow anyone she saw, begging for food. And we all know that not all members of “our” species are good to other animals, eh?

She is ours, for better or worse, in sickness or in health . And you cannot divorce or just dump a pet, eh?

Choco the Cat Gets Annual Checkup – Declared ‘Senior Citizen’

Choco the Cat had her annual checkup and vaccination today. Here I’ve just scooped her up and am heading for her carrier. She knows what’s coming and gives me a clingy “Daddy don’t put me in there” wriggle.

Choco the cat on way to vet

 

Choco was a Burnaby, BC, SPCA adult female rescue when we got her on August 12, 2005. Wow, that means it’s exactly nine years to the day since she stole our hearts : -). At the time, they thought she was about three  years old, so she’s around 12 now, putting her at the human equivalent of around 64-65.

So the vet greeted her with a cheerful “she’s a senior citizen now!”

She’s still a wonderfully bouncy, active cat, though. Drinks lots of water, eats well, and in nine years of annual checkups, her weight has never varied by more than 1/2 a pound from around 7.5 pounds.

She looks bigger, but most of it is incredibly soft  fur that she’s always kept impeccably clean and smelling wonderful. She’s had only one bath in her life with us, the day we brought her home from the pound, because in her initial stress she’d soiled herself.

She’s an indoor cat, only goes out on a harness for short stints of eating grass. She’s always been a bit afraid of the outdoors, and has never wanted to explore too far. We’ve always spent lots of time playing with her, so she can happily burn energy.

There are lots of photos of Choco and other pets on my old blog in the pets category.