Monday, June 4, 2007

Pets

Ok, well so a little bit of pet history here. I always had pets growing up, dogs, cats, even gerbils for a few years and one goldfish - well, the fish was my brother's. Oh yes, and I had a pet mouse for a while too. My hubby, Ron, also grew up with pets in the house although I can't tell you exactly what kinds or for how long. When we met, I had 2 cats and he had 1. Well, his family had 1 - he lived with his parents at the time, although technically the cat was his, not his parents'. So, when we moved in together, we tried to merge the pets into a 'yours and ours' situation. This did not go well. Ron's small black cat, Molly, terrorized my 2 cats completely. For the week that we had Molly in our apartment, I don't think that either of my cats, Antigone or Cory, came out from under the bed. We tried, but it just didn't work. Molly went back home to Ron's parents' house.

When we had our first child, things worked out fine with the baby and the 2 cats. We have many cute pictures of the cats sniffing Abby, with expressions of, "hey what is this 'thing' you've brought into our house?" on their kitty faces. All in all though, baby and kitties co-existed peacefully. When I was pregnant with our second child though, I decided that 2 kids and 2 kitties was too much to handle. So we found a good home for Cory before Hannah was born. When we found our current home, the previous owners had (for some obscure reason) decided that white carpeting in the living room and main hallway was a good selling point. That can be debated, but my feeling was the a black kitty (Antigone) and white carpeting was not a good mix. So, Antigone went to live with my mom. The carpet was not the only reason - Antigone is a very lap-friendly kitty who needs a lot of attention (which she was not getting in our home) and since my mom lives alone, it made sense. So that left us pet-free, which didn't hurt my feelings any.

As the kids have gotten older, they have asked for various pets. We did try a guinea pig for a while, but we came to realize that it wasn't the right pet for us, so we gave her to our niece, who had a couple of other guinea pigs to keep her company. Then, we found out that another of our nieces had a cat that had just had kittens (this was July of 2005). The conversation between my husband and myself included taking our (at the time) 2 kids to 'visit' the kittens. Now, I knew that once my girls saw and played with the kittens that the inevitable, 'can we have one?' would come up with an infinite number of pleases and whining involved. So, when we went to 'visit' the kittens, (who were just as adorable as I knew they would be), I caved - but I managed to place several restrictions on my approval of bringing a small fluffy kitten into the house. First of all, my husband would be forever and ever responsible for the litter box (one chore he was always able to ditch before since our previous cats were really 'my' cats and not 'his', at least according to him). Plus, I also got him to agree to vacuum the house (and furniture) OFTEN. So finally, I relented and our kitten, Misty, came home. Our girls were not great with her at first - poor Misty was petted, carried, hugged and placed into a great quantity of objects either of her own free will or that of a preschooler or toddler. But as Misty grew, she and the girls have done well.

Of course, then another niece had a cat who had kittens in March of 2006. And of course, we went to 'visit' the kittens. And of course, the girls decided that Misty needed a friend, so we brought home Peaches. Peaches fared better with the girls who were older now and also used to having a cat around. However, she developed the bad habit of chewing on various items around the house, unfortunately including the interlocking foam square tiles that cover a great portion of our basement floor. Right before Christmas, she got sick, so we took her to the vet. Over $500 and a week later, Peaches came home - the verdict was bowel obstruction. Thankfully for our pocketbook, she managed to pass the piece of foam on her own so the treatment was mainly IV fluids since she was severely dehydrated when we brought her in. She wasn't quite the same, carefree kitty afterwards, and within a few weeks she had also started chewing on foam again. This time, we didn't get her to the vet quick enough and Ron found her body in our bathtub one day. Thankfully the girls and I weren't home at the time. We said our goodbyes to Peaches and the girls learned about death for the first time in their short lives. Misty seemed lonely without her friend but was managing ok on her own.

Well, Ron's mom had kept one of Peaches' siblings (named Muddy Waters for her muddy tan color) and earlier this year informed us that Muddy was expecting kittens. As soon as my girls heard, they decided that Misty needed a new friend. The kittens were born the day after Abby's birthday, so Grandma told Abby that she and Hannah could pick out a new kitty to bring home. Just a few weeks ago, little Snuggly joined the family. After a few days, she and Misty are now getting along well and our older girls are doing great with her. Becca is a slightly different story - at 16 months she thinks that the kitten is a live version of one of her stuffed animals or baby dolls, so the poor kitten gets picked up by whatever body part Becca can get a hold of if she can't manage to get her hands around Snuggly's middle. We're working on that with her. Little Snuggly though, has a habit of getting underfoot, as kittens do, and trying to sneak her way into various cupboards, closets and outside.

So, all of this (loooong - sorry!) background brings me to last Friday. I stopped home at lunchtime after spending the morning helping with Beach Day at Abby's kindergarten class. When I walked into the house, I could hear the kitten crying so began looking for her, thinking she'd gotten shut into a bedroom or closet. I finally found her - in the refrigerator. The poor little thing must've gotten shut in there that morning and had been stuck for hours. She seemed ok, just a bit cold and shaky. After several minutes of snuggling and petting her she was fine. She'd done quite well for herself in there - had helped herself to a portion of a leftover hamburger patty that Ron had put in a plastic baggie in the fridge and also to a cup of milk that one of the girls had placed in there. I'm not sure who shut the refrigerator door without noticing her in there, but I'm sure that it was one of the girls. So I had a bit of a talk with them about watching to make sure there's no kitten in the fridge before they close it, and hopefully they will remember that. I'm just happy that I stopped home at lunch that day!

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2 wonderful people said...:

Karen said...

We've had our share of pets come and go around here too. When it comes down to it, people trump animals. :)
I hope everyone is spaying and neutering their pets now to prevent so many babies. :)

DebMomOf3 said...

Me too! Our older kitty is fixed and this little one will be too as soon as she is old enough. Hopefully my mother-in-law will do the same for hers. Either way, two kitties is enough for this family!