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Multi-pet management

So these days we’re up to four dogs and five cats. This can make it a little bit tricky to make sure everyone’s needs are getting met, and leads to some creative management processes.

Cats have been the biggest area of concern. Rooney Lee has to be kept from eating kibble as it makes him projectile vomit, Braxton Bragg (aka Braximus Maximus Caesar) and the tabby girls (Noodlehead and Emmaline) must be kept from getting fat, and Aida the Small Angry Siamese must be kept from getting too thin. This is all quite an adventure as you might imagine.

The original method was to lock Roo in my room with his food and leave food for the other cats down while I was at work. The advent of Daniel meant that the cat kibble was getting picked up earlier because there is only so much desolate howling from Roo that Daniel can take. But under these methods, Aida kept just barely enough weight on to stay alive, while Braximus Maximus Caesar put on a small squishy gut.

The current method involves locking Roo in the crate we purchased for Juniper, which is still set up in the living room, with his ground raw food. Aida gets her very own bowl of kibble and another bowl with wet food in it and is locked into my room. Brax and the tabby girls get their own bowls of kibble in Daniel’s room, which can be picked up when Roo wakes from his post-breakfast nap and begins to whine to get out of the crate. Aida has been gaining weight at a steady, healthy pace since we started giving her “spa days” by herself, and is licking both bowls clean on a regular basis. Huzzah!

Meanwhile Roo’s food has been an adventure in itself, we recently upped him to 50 grams per meal (100 grams per day) because 45 grams per meal of rabbit made him whine obnoxiously from hunger for hours on end. We’ve also rotated, in the natural course of things, to duck for his food, and on the duck his coat has grown super-soft and extra-wavy. His ears and toes are also cleaner. So we’re thinking that the best thing to do is to eliminate the rabbit, which leaves Roo on a diet of chicken, turkey, pheasant, duck, and goose.

We have dealt before with the very sad situation in which we have to think about home cat euthanizing. It pains me to even talk about it, but it is a reality that we sometimes have to be dealt with. Such is life. When we have had the misfortune of having to make this sort of decision we have turned to this service that helps with euthanizing a cat. They do it in the most painless and humane way possible, and allows us to say our goodbyes. Sometimes thing just don’t turn out how any of us would of liked it and we have to go through with this. It is difficult, but necessary. We of course do everything in our power to avoid this; you may have gathered as much by now from all the extents we go to making sure every one of these cats gets the diet they require. If they live long and healthy lives because of it, then it was all worthwhile and we would have done even more, you can be sure.

In dog news, it’s a struggle to get Sid to eat for some reason. He’s just not enthused about his food, and it worries me since he’s a growing boy. We’ve tried switching brands, garnishing the food with everything from water to an egg, feeding him in a crate, out of a crate, in a different crate, feeding him by hand. We’ve tried four different brands of food to date. Nothing reliably gets the boy to eat, and it drives me absolutely nuts.

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I’m so bad at waiting.

Recently I ordered several dog-related items. One is a new crate for Sid; while the Dobes’ puppy crate is tall enough for him it’s not really long enough, so when he’s trying to eat he hunches his back and it gets to be too short for him. I’ve ordered him the next size up which should do him for a while, I hope!

One of the other things I ordered is a cheesey at-home agility kit, which includes a short tunnel, six weave poles, and a jump. My dogs are going to by-dog have fun with that thing if it kills them. I am kind of frothing at the mouth waiting for it to get here so I can start expecting my dogs to enjoy themselves. Part of the reason I wanted it was Sid, because he often has trouble remembering where his entire body is (in his head, he is still a puppy small enough for me to pick up and snuggle), and another part of it is Tink, who could use some physical confidence what with her wonky vision and all. I expect great shenanigans trying to convince Tink to scuttle through even this brief tunnel. She will probably take one look at weave poles and laugh at me.

In cat-related news, we are trying to keep an eye out for Briar Rose to bring her in. She’s the last of the adult breeding females that I need to wrangle and spay and I’d like to find her a home if I can. We’re at five cats, which is quite enough permanent cats thank you, although if the right home came along for Emmaline I would not tell them no. She needs a quieter place than here, with fewer, quieter dogs, but it has to be someone who realizes that she is slow to warm up and will work with her on her terms and at her speed. Generally speaking, people like that are also at capacity for cats, so Emmaline is more than welcome to stay here forever.

Hopefully this weekend weather will cooperate and I can get out and get chicken pics, Ayinnanku and Bebelina have grown HUGE and I keep thinking they will start laying any. day. now. We’ve had a total of 72 eggs from Matilda and Lorena, and are down to a cost of $11 and some change per egg which isn’t bad considering that not long ago we had $50 eggs once the cost of the chicken facilities was figured in.

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She’s a real Noodlehead

It’s been a while since we brought Noods into the house. After her very, very dramatic first entry months and months ago, where she panicked and tried to climb the bathroom walls to escape, I was expecting a lot more drama. But she’s actually been the easiest integration, once she made up her mind to come inside. She doesn’t pick fights with anyone, she doesn’t attack the dogs, she just does her thing. She’s pretty definite about when she wants to be snuggled and when she wants to be petted and when she does not, and ignoring her when she tells you she does not want contact is a quick way to wind up bleeding, but all things considered, she’s really no trouble at all.

Unlike Emmaline, who is still periodically really, really violent with other cats and even with dogs. Sigh. We’ve come to the conclusion that Emmaline just Does Not Like to Share. Also after much discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that Noodlehead will be staying here. Emms is a question mark, though, with her unpredictably violent episodes she’s not the greatest candidate for life in a busy household like this one. So at some point here I will probably be looking to find her a place where there are, at least, fewer critters she has to share her things with.

It’s hard, these decisions. I try to keep reminding myself that every permanent cat is one fewer rescue slot, and that furthermore Emms would be a lot happier with a quieter, less populated place, but I’m quite fond of the little bugger even if she does go all berserker from time to time.

Meanwhile her sister Noodlehead spends the vast majority of her time on the heated cat bed in my work room, with periodic forays to demand petting and snuggling. She’s even snuggling with dogs, for serious, in the past 24 hours she’s cuddled up to both Tink and Beowulf. Some kitties, I guess, were just meant to be here.

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More info on Juniper, World’s Most Laid-Back Kitten

Juniper went to the vet yesterday for his check up/initial vetting. I am pleased to say that he is FIV and FeLV negative, which clears him for a potential home with other cats! He is also now free of fleas and has been dewormed, as well as receiving his first FVCRP shot. He goes back on the 28th for the booster and we’ll schedule his neuter then, the vet felt that he was only 10 weeks old and thus too young to get his rabies vax or a quick neutering. He weighs about four pounds.

Thus cleared for interaction with the Usual Suspects, I brought him out to spend some time on the futon last night. He was Not Impressed with the dogs. In fact, faced with dogs he achieved such a phenomenal growl from his tiny frame that he established a three foot Canine Exclusion Zone around himself. My dogs are used to much larger cats than tiny Juniper, and were not about to poke their sensitive noses at a cat who was indicating so clearly that he would bite them off, even if he is tiny.

With cats he was much, much better. Roo sniffed him all over, established that he was not a snack, and then went about his business. Juniper did not react, except to politely touch noses. Aida jumped up, and they politely touched noses, and then she hissed in his face. He did not react. Aida was confused. They repeated everything, from nose-touch to hiss, and Juniper still didn’t react. Aida grumbled and went on her way. Emmaline took one look at him and said “Oh hell no I don’t do kittens” and retreated to watch him disapprovingly from the back of the Cat Chair. The only time Juniper showed any cat-oriented hostility was when Braxton Bragg snuck up behind him and patted his butt to see if he would do something interesting; that got a little growl that sent the dogs into whimpering panic.

Gentle reader, you have not lived until you have seen your 75 pound German Shedder and your 75 pound male Doberman reduced to whimpering and clinging to their Daddy because a 4 pound kitten growled, seriously.

Juniper will get more socialization time over the coming days, we’re hoping to work on the growling at dogs thing because, well, it’s too pathetic to see the dogs like that. But he’s doing quite well, and I think we’re on track to have him in a new home come January!

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Cat Update: Emmaline!

When last we saw Emmaline, she was horrifyingly skinny from feeding four little chubby kittens and had just moved into the house, where she was psychotically attacking all the other quadrupeds. I am happy to say that these days she has decided she doesn’t have to kick everyone’s asses just for being in the house with her. She has never stopped being ridiculously purry with people, but Daniel is her favorite. She follows him around and talks to him until he picks her up and tickles her tummy and calls her Daddy’s Girl. It is ridiculously adorable.

Also, Emmaline doesn’t think Awesome Apple Pancakes are a healthy breakfast:
Emmaline, a grey tabby cat with much white on her tummy and a mostly white face, crouches on a Jamie Oliver cookbook that is open to Awesome Apple Pancakes.  She has a look of disapproving concern on her face.

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State Fair!

Daniel and I went down to the Richmondish area yesterday with my parents for the State Fair, in order to feed Daniel fried fair food and look at livestock. We could have had better timing, it was the last incredibly hot day of the summer (probably) with the sun beating down in merciless fashion. Nonetheless, we did manage to have a good time, and also to eat corndogs, funnel cake, and fried oreos (!!!). The fried oreos were really excellent, like little fried chocolate pies as my mother put it.

We also got to meet Calvin and Hobbes, two enormous oxen who were not yet at their full growth. I’m still waiting on Mom or Daniel to send me the pics of me with the oxen, who really were the giantest things ever. We then wandered through the chicken barn and looked at chickens and I am SO SMITTEN with bantams, seriously. I knew they were smaller than regular chickens but not by how much. They were 1/3rd to 1/5th the size of the big breeds of chickens and just amazing! Leetle teeny perfect chickens with bright eyes, watching the world go by. Daniel and I have talked about getting chickens next spring, I am now thinking that what is in order here is one coop with 3-5 big chickens for the provision of tasty eggs, and a coop of leetle bantam guys just for fun and for helping us till the garden and improve the soil on the back acre.

Today will be much less fun, what with involving things like laundry and going to the grocery store. We’re nearly down to the wire on the wedding, and to make it even more fun I have two midterm exams to take this week. We’re still waiting on Briar Rose to bring us her kittens (if she’s going to) and trying to convince Emmaline not to be a habitual violent offender when the other cats are accessible to her. Life goes on.

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Kitten update, again.

Emmett (Astute) and Zeke (Intrepid) go in to get neutered this week, the scarf sale topped off funds enough for it! Yay! There’s still three left if you feel the urge to own one! I drop them off Tuesday night, they get snipped on Wednesday, and I pick them up on Thursday, vax’d and neutered and ready to go. Badger needs to go in to get vax’d, the little bugger can’t get neutered because one testicle hasn’t bothered to descend yet, but his new person has graciously agreed to take him anyway and we will work out the neutering later. Hopefully I can set up times to get the other two boys into their new homes this weekend, too!

This weekend won’t be a moment too soon, I’m really fond of the little hairy buggers, who have gone from being little fearful feral beasties to small cats who purrbomb you the minute you step into the room, seriously. I am so proud of how they’ve come around!

Next up, getting Emmaline spayed and continuing the quest to integrate her into the household, and figuring out how to get a pregnant cat to a friend of mine in Illinois. No rest for the wicked! Oh, and Daniel’s interview is Thursday, and school starts the 19th, so life is about to get really, really exciting on top of the usual cat- and dog-related excitement. Wish me luck!

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Ah, summer.

Apologies for the hiatus, which actually occurred not because my life is insane right now (it is, but not more so than it has been) but because of some very ill-timed thunderstorms which took down my primitive satellite internet connection here at the Manor, I also had an air duct cleaning company coming to my house, so I got pretty busy with them.

Life has otherwise continued apace. Emmaline’s new, more comfy abode is set up (it’s one of these cages) and in Roo’s room, where she can keep him company during the day while not trying to commit felinicide over the food. I hate to keep her locked up but this at least should be better for her than the dog crate, and certainly Zille will be happy to get her crate back. I am hoping this solves some of the problems while I get her fed up to a decent weight and also used to the notion that the food always comes back. I may however be forced to rehome her, or forced to admit she was happier as an outdoor cat. I’d prefer the former to the latter, she is SO incredibly sweet with people. It’s easy to see where her sons got their good nature, you pick her up and she goes limp and starts purring. Possibly there is someone out there who doesn’t want to deal with a kitten but would be good to my sweet Emmaline.

Speaking of Emmaline’s sons, the little goobers are currently charming the Best Mother Ever. It’s a good thing they all have homes lined up because otherwise I think she’d be smuggling a kitten home. The Best Mother Ever is here to fit The Dress and also lend moral support as I was feeling somewhat frazzled. Just today she made 72 cupcakes so we could taste test three different varieties for the wedding. If that isn’t moral support, I don’t know what is.

In dog news, Zille has graduated to collarless living! To qualify for going naked, a dog must know to move out of a person’s way when they say “Excuse me” and also know to get off furniture when asked to “off”. Fabric dining chairs, while are comfortable, they are harder to clean. checkout lafurniturestore. Zille is kind of resistant to the furniture thing but she’s no worse than the Dobermans are, so what the hell. Congratulations, Miss Zille!

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Everybody was Kung Fu fighting…

So the Three Musketeers have been on Clavamox, an antibiotic, for a day and a half, and do they feel better already? I guess they do, to judge from the Epic Kitten Battle that began somewhere in the vicinity of my feet, ranged across the entire bed, and then distinctly alarmed me when it got a little close to my head for my comfort. I’m confident that after 7 days of this miracle drug, they will be all ready to go for neutering and new homes. In the meantime, I think I need sedatives. For me.

Emmaline still wants to start crap with the other three cats, but her new Kitty Prison should arrive in the next couple days, at which point I won’t have to rotate her between Zille’s crate (upsetting Zille) and Roo’s room (upsetting Roo). Although I still haven’t figured out where I’m going to put her cage, I’d like to find it a spot in the kitchen where she won’t feel alone but there’s already the two dog crates in there. Zille really only uses hers for meals these days, but I can’t really move it to the bedroom because kittens.

Meanwhile, school starts in 16 days, Daniel should be here in about 5 weeks, and holy shit, I’m probably getting married (US government willing) in a mere 9 weeks! Life is about to get really crazed, so please bear with me if I miss a day or two here.