R.I.P. Gabby Bradford

 As some of you who follow me on Twitter might know, our cat Gabby was attacked by a dog in our own (fenced) backyard last Thursday. I have no idea how the dog got into our yard, but when I came home with Little Sir and Little Lady from Mother’s Day Out on Thursday I found this small white-and-black terrier wearing a collar attacking Gabby in the backyard. I ran out and yelled at it and lunged at it, but it was NOT afraid of me at all, and kept attacking our cat. I finally took a swing at it with some small sticks and finally it decided to just leave, it squeezed through our back fence.

Since I had both kids, I had to call Christian to come home and take the cat to the vet. After $540 of x-rays and whatever else costs $540 at a vet, they kept her overnight and said they thought she would be OK. They gave us pain pills for her and suggested we keep her in the garage away from stress and the other cat.

She was definitely NOT herself when she came home. She just laid on her quilt, and every time we moved her, there was a pool of drool where her head had been. If you know Gabby, you know that being still and being compliant are not necessarily her strong points in life. Christian gave her a pain pill Friday night but I am not sure if it worked or not.

This morning we left home around 10ish to visit some garage sales and go to the White Rock Festival with friends (post on that later!), and when we returned she had passed away. I am sad that it appears she might have been in some pain. I wish we had known she was in pain, we could have had the vet put her down peacefully rather than the possibility that she might have suffered these last 24-48 hours.

Christian dug a hole in our backyard and buried her. Since we rent this house, I took pictures of the grave because we’ll have to leave it when we eventually move. In the grave I put some twisted-up twist ties, which were her favorite toy.
RIP Gabby Bradford
Also attending her funeral was a squirrel.
Squirrel attending Gabby's funeral
In the last few months, Gabby has ceaselessly pursued this squirrel and its family, who have a nest in one of our trees. She never minded that she has no claws and could not have done anything if she did catch the squirrel (she was not supposed to be getting outside but she was tricky and motivated… that is another story).

When Gabby was lying in the yard after being attacked and I was waiting for Christian to come take her to the vet, this squirrel and it’s partner chattered and yelled at her the whole time. I think they might have been mocking her. But the squirrel must have felt bad about that, so it attended her funeral to pay its respects. {video here}

Rest in peace, Gabby. We are glad you are not in pain anymore.
And I am going to find that dog.

2 cats need a home other than mine

They used to be our 2 fur babies.

When our oldest cat, Samantha, was a kitten I made the mistake of carrying her around with me EVERYWHERE, which formed in her an insatiable desire for attention and adoration. When Christian met her while we were dating, she loved him immediately. He called her his girlfriend and said he came to visit me only to see her. When my other cat passed away, she was very sad so we got Gabby to be Samantha’s friend. Unfortunately, the two of them never bonded. For several years they hated each other, and now they have a mutual tolerance for each other, borne of old age and the necessity to share the comfy spaces available to them in the house.

Yes, they used to get a lot of attention and pampering from us, but not anymore. Now the two REAL babies take up all our time and energy, and these two cats are just fur-shedding, food-vomiting, litterbox-fouling annoyances.
To me, at least.

I want to strangle one or both of them every single day when I go to set down one of the children and find the area covered in cat hair, or when I walk in the door toting a toddler in one arm and an infant car seat in the other, only to startle a cat who leaves a trail of vomit all across the floor of two rooms. Knowing that the reason they vomit is to protest that we tried to change their food from the super expensive organic cat food to more moderately priced versions does not make me sympathetic toward them. What it means is that they are spoiled brats and when I try to cut back, they punish us by vomiting selectively on things that are difficult to clean.

Then, of course, there is the constant yowling outside the toddler’s door in the early morning, waking him up because one of the cats decided she NEEDS to eat RIGHT NOW and not in 10 minutes when the automatic feeder would have fed her. And the hiding under our bed so that they can wake me up during the precious 2-3 consecutive hours of sleep I actually get between infant feedings.

For all of these reasons and many, many more, we need to get rid of these cats.

Apparently it’s not so easy.

You would think that since they are both declawed, fixed, and female it would be easy. At least, I thought it would be. Unfortunately, the fact that they’re declawed means they can’t be outside cats, and I guess most people we know only want partial- to fully-outside cats. Also, they are 5 and 7 years old. They aren’t cute little kittens. They are fat, lazy adult/senior cats.

Samantha, in particular, would be a great companion for an elderly person. Her sole desire in life is to sit around all day being petted.

As much as I personally want to murder them on an hourly basis, I don’t actually want to surrender them to a shelter that might euthanize them. I have contacted all the no-kill shelters in my area but they are all full or do not accept owner surrenders (they only “rescue” animals that are already at kill shelters). I have also contacted several veterinarians who said they don’t know of anyone looking for cats.

I’ve been told that I should NOT list them on Craigslist because people who abuse animals lurk on there to find animals to abuse. However, Craiglist does have an option to list them with a “re-homing fee”, which I tend to think would defer anyone looking for an easy target. I am seriously considering listing them with a $20 re-homing fee.
What do you think? Any ideas?

This cat is fat

I am planning a wondorous post on the difference between “natural” and “organic” but right now I am slow so instead I will leave you with this photo of my fat cat. She has struggled with her weight all her life. I had to share this picture of her fat lapping over Christian’s leg.

Yes, she got this fat eating organic food formulated specially for cats that don’t get much exercise…she had to work hard at not moving to get this way.

Green Kitty Litter FAIL

It was around this time last year that I thought I had finally found a “green” kitty litter that met all the criteria needed. It was biodegradable, the tracking was not bad, it actually contained odor (most “green” litters do not contain odor, I don’t care what their bags or web sites say), and the cats approved….Well, I thought the cats approved.

About 2 months after converting to “World’s Best Cat Litter”, one of the cats began pooping directly in front of the box. Every day. Not anywhere else in the house, only right in front of the box. Right in front of the entrance to the box. Not like “oh, I couldn’t find the box”. This was intentional. Whoever it was peed in the box with no problems, and presumably pooped at least one other time a day inside the box, but always first thing in the morning, right in front of the box.

After 3 months of this we took Gabby to the vet to see if she was sick, we thought for sure it was her (she is always “the bad one” because she can be vengeful). The vet basically said, maybe they don’t like the litter, but he had never heard of this happening and there is nothing wrong with her physically. We paid $70 for there to be nothing wrong with her, which I already knew because she was acting completely normally. I thought, surely not the litter, because she had been using this litter 2 months or more before this problem even came up.

This continued for another 4 months. Sometimes getting better, but most of the time it was consistent – every day, one poop outside the box. When I became pregnant, I couldn’t clean the litter box anymore (something about cat feces is dangerous to unborn fetuses, apparently). Every day I had to call Christian over to pick up the poop, because now I also have this super sense of smell. I can smell the uncovered poop from anywhere in the house. Sometimes Christian was gone and I had to put on gloves and a face mask to remove it myself (he does not want me doing this so I tried not to…but sometimes the smell was so bad!).

One day, a breakthrough – Christian caught Samantha doing it! She was the culprit all along, not Gabby! After that, I caught her a few times too, and we tried disciplining her when she did it. She absolutely did not care and kept it up. She even did it at my parents’ house when they stayed there during our trip to DC. We didn’t take her to the vet because she had recently had her annual physical and there was nothing wrong with her. At this point she’d been doing this for almost a year. If there was something physically wrong with her, she would have shown other signs by this time.

Finally we switched one of the two litter boxes back to the old Arm & Hammer “kill the earth” will-never-biodegrade cat litter. They both completely quit using the “green” litter and resorted to using only the one box with Arm & Hammer. This was not fun because the box needed to be cleaned twice as often. So we had to switch both boxes to the Arm & Hammer.

Now we are back to killing the earth, but the pooping in front of the box has pretty much stopped (there was one relapse during the time when there was one box of each litter).

The moral of this story is that the “green” way, as much as we want it to work, just will not always work. I have now tried every brand of “green” litter in the stores here and none of them both control odor and are acceptable to my cats. “World’s Best Cat Litter” was the best performing, and I stand by that, but the cats would not accept it.

Since I don’t exactly want to be picking up loose poop for the rest of our lives, I am just going to have to accept the conventional clumping litter. Which is too bad, because the conventional litter is so much heavier and the tracking is so much worse than the “green” litter was.

You can leave comments suggesting other brands if you want, but to be honest, I am really not going to try to acclimate the cats to another kind of litter and endure the horrible odor and the pooping everywhere in these last few months of my pregnancy, especially since I can’t clean it up myself.

Sorry, earth 🙁