Three Cats and Leftover Chicken

We had the pleasure of watching my furry brothers (cats) for a week while my parents were on vacation.  My mom won’t entrust their care to anyone else, but myself and boyfriend.  She knows that we will take care of them just as she would.

One of my brothers is named Oreo, and is by far the biggest trouble maker of the bunch.  Oreo loves to come and visit his sister because we have special food (canned) twice a day and we pull out the catnip.  Plus he gets a different view of the outside world and gets to destroy…oops I mean be curious in a new house.

Oreo can jump like no other cat I have seen before; from a sitting position or while running.  Oreo is fast!  He loves to play and he will play with anything…string, ball, feather, hair scrunchies, your hand, anyone else’s tail, and well his own tail too.  I think you get the point.  He loves to play.

My other brother is Mason and is the complete opposite of Oreo.  Mason would rather lay on you than play.  Mason second favorite thing to do is eat.  Even though Skip is the oldest (by 2 months on the youngest) and the largest of the boys, Mason weighs the most. Mason is part Ragdoll, so when you pick him up; you can feel how much an 18 pound cat really does weigh because Mason goes completely limp.

Mason is a talker.  If you talk to him, he answers back.  It at least gives you the feeling that he is listening to you.  Mason loves to be touched and prefers both hands to be used.  Boyfriend likes having Mason visit because he has a buddy for the week.  If Boyfriend sits, Mason is there.  Mason is also odd in that he prefers to be covered most of the time.  Once Boyfriend finally gets Mason to lie down next to him and then puts covers over most of Mason.

For the sake of Mason, it is better that Boyfriend be the primary holder.  Skip is very jealous of Mason, so Mommy has to be careful with how much I pet or hold Mason.  Mason used to be my son and since I live in Kentucky it’s ok that he’s now my brother. 😉  Back when Mason lived with me, we had some transferred aggression occur where Mason was the aggressor and Skip was the victim.  Skip has never forgotten and therefore could do without Mason.

But, the boys all get along well enough with Oreo being the glue that holds them together.  Skip will play with Oreo and Oreo will…hmmm…try to play with Mason?  Mason will just go and find the humans to lie on which leaves Oreo and Skip to play.  This is a huge treat for Skip and why he deals with Mason.

The boys immediately got catnip once my parents left the house after dropping the boys off.  This kind of sets the stage for a week without their parents.  PARTY TIME FOR THE KITTIES!!  Given that all 3 boys are 11 years old, they all promptly sacked out after the catnip.  Mason was of course near Boyfriend.

The week goes by and nothing really major happens other than Oreo acting out when he wasn’t allowed canned food due to his nervous stomach.  He just can’t handle it twice a day.  Oh, and by acting out, I mean knocking things over or off of a table.  He does that when he’s mad and our house has not been Oreo proofed.  My brother is a big brat…see I admit it, but of course my mom won’t. 😉  Parents never listen to the child that sees the truth. 🙂

The night before mom and dad are to come back through and pick up their kids, boyfriend had to work late.  He called me and said that he was almost on his way home which take 45 minutes on a good day.  So, I went through the cabinets and decided on a junk food night.  I could have chosen the leftover KFC, but I looked around me and there were 3 cats.  Umm…No, I’m not going there.

Well, boyfriend comes home and asks what I had to see if there were any leftovers.  I said, nope, I went the junk food route.  He went into the kitchen and started to scrounge for food as well, and he came across the leftover KFC.  Boyfriend politely asked if I had plans for it, and I said no, it’s all yours.  I was all smiles.  [Please insert an evil sounding laugh in your head here.]

Boyfriend grabs the chicken and coleslaw and heads to the couch followed by Oreo and Mason.  Skip was lagging a bit (not that he’s allowed any table food which might account for the lag).  Boyfriend sets his coleslaw down on the table and pops open the container with the chicken.

Here was his first mistake; he looked away for a second to answer a question I asked. Did I ask purposely, is the question?  The answer is that I really wanted to know if he wanted to watch Big Brother.  Well, in the split second he turned away, Oreo hit from behind the couch and was up on the table in a flash.

Boyfriend exclaims in a deep primitive voice, “Get away from my coleslaw.” Coleslaw from KFC is Boyfriends favorite. He then proceeds to knock Oreo off the table.  Oreo in a flash is in the front of the couch attacking.  Mason decides on the high route of the back of the couch at the same time.  Boyfriend was literally waving both arms…one in front and one behind to hold off the attack.

Me you ask?  I’m laughing my a** off.  Oreo not to be defeated runs back around to the back of the couch while Mason tries again from the back of the couch.  Oreo jumps towards the table and boyfriend gets him in mid air with the back of hand while exclaiming, “Back off, it’s my chicken.”  Boyfriend has yet to eat a bite.  I’m telling you people, it…was…funny!

So, I see Oreo heading around my side of the couch and feeling sorry for boyfriend; I snatch up Oreo and proceed to hold him.  Boyfriend with a sigh of “Thanks” starts to take a bite with Mason’s head right next to his.  Mason figured that you just never know…Boyfriend might miss his mouth and instead feed Mason.  Boyfriend waves his arm in the air to get Mason Back.

Cue the Skip-ster.  Skippy seeing that Oreo was subdued and Mason was losing the fight, decided to help out.  Skip took the couch seat route, and in laying claim that it’s his Papa proceeds to place to paws on boyfriend leg leaning in to see if he can have some.  Boyfriend is handling these two quite well, and Oreo can’t have that.  In a quick move, he gets away from me.

Ok I admit it; I wasn’t holding him very well.  I want him to remember the fun and not the bad times, so I couldn’t be mean.  I know…Poor Boyfriend.  Oreo taking the floor route heads right into the fray.  Boyfriend is growling like I imagine a bear would when defending his food, but is actually getting food into his mouth.  The boys backed down a level.

Picture if you will, boyfriend leaned over his chicken container with elbows out to prevent an unwanted helper with Oreo sitting on several books on the floor, but right where he can grab if needed, Skip standing with two paws on boyfriends legs leaning in to see if Papa will share, and Mason sitting on the back of the couch hoping for a piece to make its way up there.

Thank the heavens boyfriend didn’t actually share or pandemonium would have erupted.  Our rule in our house (before Skip’s food allergies) were if you don’t push, but sit politely we will share.  If you push, we don’t share.  It’s our way of teaching manners to the cats.

I sent my parents a text message with a picture of Boyfriend trying to eat KFC chicken with three cats.   Mom said that dad couldn’t stop laughing.  And dad’s reply was, “Our boys like chicken!”

And that my friend is the story of Boyfriend trying to eat chicken with 3 cats in the house.  For the record, Boyfriend did indeed finish his chicken and as soon as he got to the coleslaw, the boys slowly left as they realized that chicken was not in the cards for them this night.

OMG Mom, It’s a Spider!!

OK, I don’t like to make fun of Skip, but sometimes he is too funny!

I learned something about Skip back when he was young: he is scared of things that normally a cat likes to play with like spiders.

When Skip sees a spider, he runs away.  Once he is at a safe distance, he will sit and stare at the spider.  What’s really funny to watch is if the spider will start walking Skip’s way.  His tail fluffs and he runs away again.  Such a brave boy!! LOL

So, unlike most cat owners, if I come into the room and see him staring at the floor or wall, I know that this is not the normal cat behavior, but that he sees a spider. Mommy is the one who has to kill it.

When Mason (another kitty that used to be mine…a complete story on it’s own) moved in with Mom and Dad, I thought that maybe Skip needed something to entertain himself with, so I bought some mice.

I put them up on a shelf and thought from Skip’s perch that he could watch them.  Well, that didn’t work out.  Skip was afraid of them.  He wouldn’t lay on his perch any more because it was too close to the mice.  If I cleaned the mouse cage, he would leave the entire downstairs area.

Well, that didn’t work out and now I was taking care of mice.  It wasn’t a big deal as I like mice, it was just more work.  So, I found a new home for the mice.

Skip still seemed to be bored throughout the day.  I determined this because he was craving attention when I got home.  So, I thought Skip likes watching birds outside, I’ll go get some for the inside.

I got some tiny little birds that flew around all the time. They were up on a shelf that Skip couldn’t get on (he’s a klutz…another story).  I thought he could lay on the couch and watch them during the day while I was at work.

Well, like the mice incident, Skip avoided the birds.  He made a huge arc around the bird cage.  Staying as far away from them as possible.  I tried showing him the birds, but they scared him too much.

<sigh> So, I found another home for the birds as I can’t have the big chicken being scared in his own home.  BTW, in both cases I had each for at least 6 months, so it’s not like I only spent a couple of days trying to make it work.  I really tried to get Skip comfortable.  Oh, he still loves to watch the birds outside as long as there is a window separating the two.

So, this morning I got up and went downstairs and of course Skip was right there with me.  I swear he acts more like a dog than a cat.  Anyway I turned on the light in the kitchen and in we went.  I immediately saw the black spider on the white wall.

I started to get some paper towels to kill it (don’t tell me about how bad it is to kill a spider…I personally don’t care) and saw that Skip was approaching it.  I stopped and watched because this was a first.

Well, Skip’s vision must be deteriorating.  He went over and looked it.  Then he put his paw up to knock it down (I guess he thought it was a fly).  Now the fun begins.  Skip realized it was a spider as soon as it started moving.

Next thing I knew he was backing up, really fast with tail fully extended.  He had a scared look on his face and then he jumped up on the counter to get to a position where he thought the spider couldn’t get to him, but he could see it.

The spider is scrambling for cover and I’m laughing at Skip.  Skip looks over at me with a look that said, “OMG Mom!! It was a spider!”

That’s my big, tough boy!

It just goes to show that just because something (a cat) is large and shouldn’t be afraid of things (spiders) that they have irrational fears and feelings just like the rest of us.

Pilling a cat is easy!!! No seriously!!

A little disclaimer…I am not a vet.  I’ve always wanted to be one, but decided to go into the computer field instead.

A little background…I have been pilling cats since I was 9 years old, and I have never ever been scratched or bitten in the process of pilling a cat.  I have always maintained a good relationship with all the cats I have pilled whether they were my cats or someone else’s.  Actually, two cats used to come to me when they were sick.

I currently have a cat, Skip, who has Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy, a heart condition, plus he has hypothyroidism which means he gets lots of pills.  Skip’s pill schedule is 4 pills in the morning and 2 in the evening.

After spending 6 months of giving each pill individually, a vet put me onto pill capsules that you can get at a pharmacy.  I can actually cram 4 pills into the smallest pill capsule.  This means Skip gets one pill capsule in the mornings and one in the evenings.  Skip is so happy with this arrangement that he jumps up on the counter himself to be pilled.

But I digress…it’s my blog…I’m allowed.

So, how do I do it?  Well, I have two ways…before pill capsules and after.  The before pill capsules will be for the majority of people, so I will start with that method.

Here’s how:
1.) Stay calm!!! You cannot be nervous, timid, show fear, be scared or worried when giving a cat a pill.  Cats are very in-tune with our feelings and can sense that you are nervous.  If you cannot calm yourself, find someone who can like a 9 year old. 🙂 That’s what my mom did.

2.) Talk in a normal voice.  Forgive me here, but cats know bull**** when they hear it. When they hear you change octaves in your voice, they know something is up.  So, talk normally. No YELLING.  You don’t like it and the cat doesn’t like it.

If it helps, have someone in the room with you and start talking about the weather or work or whatever it is you talk about or even have them read the steps to you, so you don’t have to stop to read. Just talk like you always talk to this person.  Personally, I talk to Skip and ask him how his day went or how he slept at night.

If you get frustrated, just walk away.  Take a deep breath and get yourself calm again.  Remember you are not hurting your cat, but helping them to get well.

3.) Do NOT make wild movements with your hands.  If you are a talker who moves your hands while talking, you need to stop for the time it takes to pill a cat which for me is normally less than 10 seconds.  Wild hand movements cause cats to go on the defensive.  This will cause kitty to not want to submit to your handling.

4.) OK, now go get the pill and place it where you can reach it on a couch or chair.  Just set it down within reach.

5.) Go find your kitty.  Pick the kitty up normally just like you were bringing the cat downstairs for food.  I talk with Skip, but as he not generally far from me (he follows me like a dog would), I don’t have to talk long.

6.) Sit down on the couch or chair where you placed the accessible pill.

7.) Place one ankle on the opposing knee.  I usually place my left ankle on my right knee because I am right-handed.  This creates a triangle and is where you are going to place kitty.  What is nice is that it gives a nice and secure place for your cat to lay without worrying that you are going to drop them accidentally.

8.) Put your cat on his back in the triangle. This will be the most difficult part if your cat does not fully trust you to not drop them.  It is important to not get nervous or frustrated.  It may take more than one try, but after your cat realizes that you will not drop them, it will become a whole lot easier.

I usually grab Skip under the armpits and then going from my right to my left into the triangle across my body I put him in the triangle.  I let him drag on his side across my body.  This lets him know that he is in contact with the “ground” and won’t fall.  As he is going across on his side as we get close to the triangle, at the last second, I turn him onto his back.  So, he is sitting there like a baby.

9.) Place the pill in your dominant hand (for me, my right) in between your middle finger and your thumb.

10.) KEY POINT!!!! Now With your other hand, starting from the front of the snout go backwards to the end of the jaw.  At the end of the jaw on both sides you will feel a notch.  This should be right in front or inline with the start of the eyes.  I place my middle finger and thumb on each side.  Note: you may want to put the pill down for a second and try this just to feel the notches.  The notches are key because they will help to open the mouth.

Note: The reason for starting at the end of the snout and moving backwards is that you are going with the flow of the whiskers.  Never ever go against the whiskers unless you want your cat to get extremely upset with you.  The whiskers on a cat are extremely sensitive.  By taking care of them, you cat will come to trust you and know that you respect them.

11.) OK, you have pill in dominant hand and the other hand in the jaw notches, so now we open the mouth and pop the pill in.  At the same time, lightly (don’t hurt your kitty) squeeze the notch where the jaw is while using your index finger to open the bottom jaw of the cat’s mouth.  It should be wide open.  Take aim and drop the pill into the back of the jaw.

12.) Mostly close the mouth.  You have to leave a little room for kitty to swallow the pill, but if you give full reign, out will come the pill.

13.) Make sure your cat swallows before allowing to leave your lap.  Cats are notorious for spitting out pills, so making sure that kitty swallows helps.

14.) Treat time!!!!! Praise your cat all the way to the treats.  Give Kitty the absolute favorite treat in the world immediately.  Your cat should have your full attention right now.  No stopping to put dishes away or talk to someone.  There cannot be any pauses on the way to the treats or your cat will not associate the treats with the pill taking…they have short memories.  And let’s face we all love praise. 🙂 Skip loves a good hug as well.

Congratulations!!  You have just pilled your cat.  The first time will be the most difficult as you are getting used to a new process.
Here are the after pill capsule instructions:

This second method is really, really easy. So, if you are having trouble getting pills down, try a pill capsule.  You just place the pill in the capsule and away you go.

We had to go to pill capsules because one of Skip’s pills was real bitter tasting and while he was easy to pill, if I didn’t aim right he had to taste it.  His awesome cardiologist was like, just get pill capsules.  I had no idea I could buy them.

Skip now takes a single pill capsule in the morning and in the evening.  Please feel free to use this method if your cat is taking a capsule.

1.) Perform steps 1 -3 above.  These are mainly about you being calm. 🙂

2.) Get the pill capsule out.

3.) Fill a small bowl with some warm water.  We have found that getting the pill capsule wet first makes it slick and easier for Skip to swallow.  Warm water works really, really well.

4.) Put your cat on the counter.  I know…this is bad to encourage, but other than pill time Skip rarely gets on the counter and we use Clorox wipes after we’re done. Skip will actually voluntarily jump up onto the counter.  When he doesn’t we are teaching him the command “up” and so far he’s responded three times to it.

5.) Apply pressure to your cat’s hind end to get him to sit and tilt the head back.

6.) Dip the pill capsule into the water until it becomes slick.  You’ll feel it.  The pill will become hard to hold without it sliding.

7.) Using the notch method above (Steps 9 – 13), open kitty’s mouth and put the pill in.

Two notes:

a.) if you do use warm water, the pill become really slick and if you hold the capsule just right it will squirt out from your fingers.  With really good aim, it will practically go down kitty’s throat without any trouble.

b.) I don’t have to uses the notches any more.  I just angle Skip’s head up and use my index finger.  He opens his mouth voluntarily. 🙂  He’s a good boy, but we’ve been doing this method for 3 months now and he definitely prefers it.

Also, if you miss aim and the capsule goes to the side, let your cat spit the pill out.  Skip will put his paws on my hands to tell me I missed and he needs a little time.  He is literally just holding my hands.  Once he gets the pill out, I immediately pop it back in.  If it doesn’t feel slick, I might dip it into the water.

8.) Wait for kitty to swallow.  Skip does this immediately because the capsule is wet, so he swallows because of the water.

9.) Praise…praise…praise…treat…treat…treat. This must happen immediately.  Skip is on a restricted diet, but what he gets is canned food after each pill.  He absolutely will do anything for canned food.

Such an Honest Kitty!

I have to laugh at this!  I even called my mom and told her the story. 🙂

As you may know, I live with a boyfriend and a very lovable cat named Skip who is 11.  Skip has a heart condition called Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy that we were very fortunate enough to catch early.  Skip is a huge cat and I don’t mean fat.  He is very tall and long and beefy.  Skip is a gem and a very good boy.

So, last night boyfriend and I are downstairs watching CSI on TiVo.  Everyone had finished dinner including Skip and dishes were completed.  Time to rest. We hear Skip go upstairs. And yes you can hear him go up the stairs.  Ever since he was a kitten, he has walked noisily.

Skip’s litter is upstairs and sometimes he also goes to bed without us, so we didn’t think anything of it.

The next thing we know, Skip is upstairs hollering his head off.  It wasn’t a cry of pain, and those with cats know that there is a difference.  It was more of a come up here now type of yell.  Well, he does this sometimes to get us to go to bed with him, so we didn’t think anything of it.

I did think it was a little different, but didn’t go to investigate because all of a sudden Skip comes running downstairs.  He jumps up on my lap and looks at me like did you hear me.  I told him it was OK and he could go to sleep on me instead of upstairs.

Fast forward to time to go to bed.  I head upstairs and go into the laundry room which is also where the litter box is.  I see something on the floor and realize what Skip was yelling about.

He had accidentally tossed a pooh turd onto the floor when covering up and was upset about it.  That’s why he was hollering for me to come upstairs.  LOL So honest about his mistake.  🙂

Note: His litter box had just been cleaned, so it wasn’t like it was full.  He just made an honest mistake when covering up.

I turned around and there he was sitting there with a look that said, “See I told you something was wrong.” 🙂  I praised him for letting me know and apologized for not coming upstairs earlier.  I got the scooper out and put it back into the litter plus I helped by covering it up for him.

After checking that all was good with his potty and satisfied that the issue had been fixed, Skip turned around went into the bedroom and flopped down on the bed.  He had stayed up to ensure that the problem was resolved before going to sleep for the night. 🙂

You gotta love cats!!