Showdown

Fuzzy George and Sneakers had a show down on my bed the other day. It seems to be their favorite place to wrestle lately. They will go from A to B and back, it’s all very amusing. 

They asked me to share this as a check in. They are progressing so well and are best of friends. It is nice to have something running smoothly in my life. I have been facing some heavy stuff with life, including some ongoing medical issues, this week. As such the blog had to give just a bit. The first picture of my boys, with their ears back and their angry faces on, is sorta a good representation of how I feel towards the world right now. 

Promise to catch up on all the comments and posts soon. In the mean time wishing you all lots of love and purrs.

Microchip Your Cat!

I finally registered Fuzzy George’s microchip today. He was microchipped months ago when I first brought him home, this is one cat who I don’t trust to not run out of the house. His chip wouldn’t have done much good though, since he wasn’t registered. Registering your cat or dog’s microchip means that you put in their details-name, species, breed, maybe even color- and you put in your contact information so the company knows who to call if your cat or dog is lost. Without registering your pet’s microchip the microchip company only knows who they sold the chip to- that might be your veterinarian or it might be a local shelter. Either way it does not directly link your pet with you.

I wasn’t as concerned as perhaps I should have been. Fuzzy George was chipped at the veterinary clinic I work at, so his chip would trace back to there. Since I work there, everyone at work would instantly know if my cat was missing and be able to inform Home Again is they called to find information about his chip.

Microchipping is when you have a tiny microchip inserted under your cat or dog’s skin. It is a relatively painless procedure (just a needle prick).  If your pet gets lost a microchip is the best change of your friend making it home. Any vet’s office or animal shelter can scan your pet if they are found. Shelters in Chicago are required to scan for microchips and attempt to contact the person the chip is registered to. Unfortunately a microchip does not work like a GPS device, so it can’t tell you where your missing pet is. It only helps if the pet is taken in and scanned at a shelter or vet’s office. Still, the ASPCA estimates that 710,000 dogs and cats were reclaimed by their owners versus 649,000 in 2011. This is in part due to an increasing number of pets having microchips. I can’t tell you the number of found cats who are brought into the clinic I work at to be scanned for a microchip. Only one or two have actually been reunited with their owners thanks to microchipping.

I have heard so many stories of cats and dogs being found and reunited with their families because of microchips. Some of them are quick reunions, while others happen years after the pet goes missing.  Here’s a story of a little dog who was reunited with her family three years later! I recently heard of a cat who was found in Chicago and her microchip lead back to her family in Washington D.C.!  When I worked at the shelter, we received several calls of found cats who were chipped to us. Some of them were lost cats whose adopters never updated their information, meaning the cat’s chip was still registered to the shelter. Because we had the owner’s proper contact information we were able to reunite cats and owners. One of those cats was found in Seattle. No one, including her adopter, knows how she got there.

You should microchip your cat even if he doesn’t go outside. Your cat could get lost if there is ever an emergency such as a fire or natural disaster. There is also the risk of cats getting out of the house during parties (all that opening and closing of doors) or if you move. And of course, cats being cats, you never know when someone might decide to run out the door after a squirrel or another cat. I will never  forget the day that Crash, a perfectly contented house cat, ran out the front door. I opened the door to get the mail and he noticed the neighbor’s cat in the front yard. My old man darted out the door faster than I could react. Thankfully for both of us he was old and slow and I was able to quickly direct him back inside. That was when I decided they were all getting microchipped.

Even my feral cats are microchipped. It is part of the law in Cook County that feral cats be chipped. The idea being that if they are ever picked up by animal control they can be reunited with their colony and caretaker. I have heard mixed results with this, but that is a post for another time.

If your cat or dog is already microchipped, make sure the vet checks the chip at your yearly visit. You want to make sure the chip hasn’t migrated (making it difficult for rescuers to find) and that the chip still works.  It is also important to keep your information up to-date. If your pet is registered with an out of date phone number, you will never get the call that Fluffy was found.  If you don’t remember what company your pet’s microchip is through (there are several) a simple scan at your next vet visit can tell you.

Selfie Sunday: Derp Face

Fuzzy George is modeling his Derp Face below.

20170309_193942[1]It was a rare instance of his snuggling on my lap, and I think I caught him just as he woke up. Which is probably very rude of me to share. I know I would be made if someone published a photo of me just after I woke up. However, he is a cat and his sleepy derp face is far more adorable than my sleepy derp face.

Unfortunately for Fuzzy George it is also the closest thing I was able to get to a selfie for “Selfie-Sunday.” Sneakers has a sore pustule forming on his chin again, so he is now fleeing from me every time I approach him directly. He doesn’t like getting his chin cleaned and I think it really stung last night when I cleaned it out. Poor love. So he has told me no selfies for awhile. I am also not allowed to approach him for a while, which will make cleaning his chin difficult. Oh cats.

I’ve noticed the boy snuggling more lately. This morning I caught them sitting on the back of the chair, basking in the sun and grooming each other. How I wish I had my camera! They took turns licking each other, then stopped and looked out the window. Their snuggles are disgustingly adorable. Hopefully I can catch them in the act one of these days!

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Fuzzy Destiny

Do you believe in destiny? I generally don’t. I like to believe that I am free to choose my own path in life, and that my life is not already mapped out ahead of me. I would hate to think that every aspect of my life was decided before I was even born. However, there are some things I feel are meant to be. For example, my cats. The more I learn about Fuzzy George and the situations that brought him to me, the more I feel like this cat was destined to be my cat. And every time I think of Sneaker’s story, I am struck by how clear it is we were meant to be together. 

Many of you know Sneaker’s story, I have shared it before. I found him one day while I was out looking for one of my missing ferals. I came back later that day and trapped him. After trapping him, I decided to try socializing him. I just didn’t get the impression he was feral. The poor cat sat like a petrified cat loaf in a dog crate for two days.  I was on spring break from graduate school and knew that when I went back, I would have even less time to work with him. He wasn’t showing any signs of being friendly, just the opposite actually. I decided to  release him, which also broke my heart. He disappeared and didn’t show up again for almost two years. Then he showed up on Christmas day. Middle of February he looked in the window of my house. I will swear to the day I die there were bald spots on his chest, which he displayed prominently. I had never seen him look in the window before, and I noticed the spots instantly. I trapped him and rushed him to the vet. They found no bald spots on him, and he did not display the behavior of a feral cat. Which is when I knew he was staying inside to be socialized. Shortly after that, I realized he was staying with me for the rest of his life. 

He came to me at two difficult times. The first in graduate school when I was trying to learn to balance myself, trying to grow and trying so hard to find my path. The second time he came to me, I didn’t realize it was a hard time. He came to me just 10 months before Muffin died. He was my transition kitty, my rock as I watched my seniors leave me. He was a comfort on the days when Crash was so sick I didn’t know what to do with myself; a reminder that the world was not ending. He kept me company and kept me from feeling like I was alone after Crash died. Because of Sneakers I still had a cat after the last of my babies died. Sneakers also reminded me what unconditional love is. There is nothing as amazing as coming home to the undying love of a creature who is genuinely excited you exist. 

Fuzzy George now, he has helped me heal. There are many things in my life that make me feel broken. Many aspects that hurt. Working with Fuzzy George, this cat who is broken physically as well as behaviorally, has helped me heal something in myself. Knowing without a doubt that there is something I am good at, working with cats, has been a huge booster to me while everything else seems to fall apart. Showing love and kindness to a creature who needed it, who had seen little, was like a balm to my soul. Fixing this broken cat, showing him a loving home, has fixed part of me. I can’t really explain it. He has made me whole in an odd way. And he has made Sneakers so happy. 

The more I learn though, the more I am struck by how lucky Fuzzy George was to find me. Last week I was speaking to a friend who worked at the shelter Fuzzy George was supposed to be transferred to. She knew the high kill animal control he came from. When I explained his behavior she said it was so unlike them to send a cat with any behavior issues out for other shelters. So first, Fuzzy George was lucky to get transferred out of that animal control facility. He was lucky to have gotten transferred to the shelter he was transferred to, at the time he was transferred. If he had not been sent at that exact time, he would not have come to the clinic I work at. Had he not come there, I would never have met him. And I would never have adopted him. It just seems too coincidental to me for this not to be some kind of fate. 

My boys have been a little antsy the last few days. Family is out of town, and I have worked some long hours, which means Sneakers and Fuzzy George are home alone for long periods of time. They don’t like it. Not one bit. They have gotten used to having someone home with them most of the day. They have also gotten used to eating several times during the day.  When I am gone for close to 12 hours at a time, they get grumpy. It is times like this when I wish Sneakers would use a feeder that opens only for him.

I recently tried to get Sneakers to use a Sure Flap feeder. The feeder reads his microchip cat-eatingand a cover opens over the door, letting him access his food. The goal being that only Sneakers eats Sneakers’ food. And Fuzzy George only eats Fuzzy George’s food. Sadly, after much coaxing and prodding, I gave up on the feeder. Sneakers was afraid of the lid moving when he walked to it, he was also afraid of the noise it made (it was a quiet little hum) when moving.  And finally, he couldn’t figure out that his food was in there. I love that cat, but no one will ever accuse him of being a genius. He would only go over to the feeder if his bowl of kibble was sitting on it. Do you see the gray oval just above his right ear? That’s where the food is SUPPOSED to go. He never even stuck his head in there when the lid was open.

I finally decided that I have to return it. The feeder is a great idea, and I know many homes who use it to successively feed their cats different diets, or just their own food. Fuzzy George certainly figured out the food was under the flap. Would he have used it if I kept it around longer? Possibly. I doubt it. He would sit and beg for food when there was food in front of his face.  I would pick him up to show him his food and he would squeal in terror. Sneakers started eating Fuzzy George’s food, and becoming extra annoying. I finally decided the stress was not worth it for Sneakers or me. And the feeder was too expensive to be a failed experiment.

My next feeding experiment is going to be with Fuzzy George. He has put on a LOT of weight in the time he has been with us. He is a bored eater, and begs for food whenever he gets bored. So they get fed several times a day. He also eats ALL THE FOOD. He has to be locked in a separate room when I feed them wet food. Hopefully I can get him to eat out of puzzle feeders. He likes his food ball, except that he mastered that rather quickly. I need something to try to keep him busy and burn off those calories. I am debating between making my own feeders out of toilet paper rolls, and buying the No Bowl System. The problem being that we will still need to have bowls, because Sneakers.

I am so glad that things like the Sure Flap feeder and the No Bowl System exist, even if they don’t work for my cats. It is great to see people coming up with answers to some of the basic issues plaguing cat owners. No more dogs getting into the cat food, no more cats eating each others food. And with the No Bowl System, cats can engage in their natural instinct to hunt for their food! Talk about keeping kitty happy!