April 2, 2023 · 9:32 am
Back in 2015, a few days after I adopted Ivy the Wonder Cat, it was time for my weekly housecleaning.
When I turned on the vacuum cleaner, it was like a scene from a feline version of “The Exorcist”. My adorable little kitten turned into the devil’s child, hissing at the vacuum cleaner and at me for the horrendous ordeal that was underway.
In a house with wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s not like I could avoid the vacuum cleaner, just to keep Miss Ivy from turning into a horror movie villainess. When it came to cleaning, the show must go on.
She eventually learned to cope by disappearing to a quiet corner of the house until the vacuuming was finished and the vacuum cleaner was put away.
Despite the advice of online pet psychologists suggesting that some cats eventually make peace with vacuum cleaners, unfortunately, this wasn’t meant to be in my household. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, stories
Tagged as cat, Cats, clean, cleaner, cleaning, dander, dust, hair, home, house, maintenance, management, pet, Roomba, time, vacuum
January 29, 2023 · 10:01 am
After living in the country for more than two years, I can say with absolute certainty that I like it here.
The peace and tranquility I feel, away from daily doses of traffic jams, chronic noise pollution and a higher concentration of people with an innate talent for exasperating others, have been worth the time, the energy and the price of admission.
Despite this having been a truly joyful experience, there has been one inescapable irritant: Asian lady beetles.
For those who might not have had the pleasure (or displeasure) of meeting them, they look very much like lady bugs, but with a more orange-coloured outer shell.
While I am told that they aren’t destructive to property, one could be inclined to just ignore them… but it’s impossible. The problem is the numbers… on a crisp, sunny fall morning, my partner and I could be squishing dozens of them as they try to enter the house in search of a warm place for the winter. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Cats, Humour, stories
Tagged as care, cat, childhood, essentials, family, gratitude, hospitality, kindness, memories, necessities, relatives, travel
September 4, 2022 · 7:08 am
Regular readers will recall that in an effort to keep Ivy the Wonder Cat’s weight under control, I take her out for leash walks around our rural property.
Since the beginning of the daily walks, one big adjustment has been to get her on a routine of regular flea and tick medication to ensure she doesn’t pick up any bugs (literally) on her journeys outdoors.
The other big adjustment for me, was to learn about her natural predators and to keep an eye out for them.
Since our arrival in the country, we have spotted all kinds of wildlife. But the ones to watch out for where Ivy was concerned were the fox (that we have seen), the coyote (that we have heard) and the fisher (that has been the subject of town gossip). And then there is always the question of whether there is more than one of them.
Most of the time, Ivy can walk around the property pretty safely. However, I need to be wise to the signs to the contrary.
For example, on any given day, squirrels and chipmunks can be seen frolicking around the property, digging up a variety of treasures.
On the morning I wrote the first draft of this blog post, I couldn’t see any… anywhere. It was eerie. The absence of squirrels and chipmunks is definitely not normal for us. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as cat, Cats, danger, health, instinct, leash, outside, predators, protect, protection, safety, security, supervised, walk, walking, walks
May 23, 2021 · 8:54 am
Last fall, in an effort to try to help keep Ivy the Wonder Cat’s weight under control, as an experiment, I purchased a harness and leash and to see if going out for a walk would be of interest to her. As described in the blog post “Taking the Cat for a Walk”, she surprised me as she really enjoyed it.
Over the winter months, not surprisingly, the walks got shorter and I completely respected that. I never forced the issue with her especially since getting 4 booties on her paws would likely leave me with scratch marks all over my body.
Funny enough, in bad weather, she would still meow to go out for a walk, but because she seemingly didn’t believe me when I told her that the weather outside was frightful, I would put the harness and leash on her anyway, as if we were going for a walk, as per her command. When she looked outside, saw the weather and made a u-turn back into the house, the decision was hers that this wasn’t a good day for a walk and then the meowing stopped.
But after the snow melted, our mud puddle yard dried out and the days got longer, the visits outside became longer and more frequent. In her ritual to announce that it was time for a walk, she would stand by the pet gate and meow a few times, and when I’d join her, she would walk me to where I hang my coat. She is a smart one!
Now, in late spring, the walks are definitely part of our routine. She expects them now.
Her reaction to the harness is strangely irregular. Some days, the sight of it has her running to the pet gate with great enthusiasm. Most days she stands perfectly still and even sticks her head willingly into the right loop. Other days, she puts up a huge fuss, attempting to bite me. When that happens, I learned that I just have to create a diversion to get her attention on something else, and try again one minute later. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as cat, Cats, exercise, harness, health, indoor, leash, outdoor, precautions, supervised, walk, walking
February 28, 2021 · 7:53 am
When we were first instructed to work at home due to Covid-19, for all of us, it meant some adjustments.
Initially, I commented on how interesting it will be to see how Ivy the Wonder Cat copes with her dad (and soon-to-be two dads) always being around. I honestly thought that she would get sick of us encroaching upon her routine, and would become increasingly distant.
The truth is that I underestimated how much attention she really craved.
When I first met Ivy at the pet store, where the local shelter offered cats for adoption, she was the calmest, coolest cat I could imagine.
I didn’t make the connection at first, but she liked having people around. I eventually figured out that because the clerks were in her line of sight from 8 am to 9 pm, in addition to all of the visitors passing by to say hello, this extroverted cat was likely in what was paradise for her.
As much as I was told that cats were pretty independent, little did I know that my pre-Covid work routine might not have been enough attention for her, even though the signs weren’t that obvious to me at first.
I assumed that she slept all day while I was at the office. The evidence showed that at some point she woke up and circulated, as her quota of food was consumed and the litter box was used.
I was under the impression that her world generally revolved around her little basket, with the comfy blanket, overlooking the backyard, supervising the birds, the squirrels and the folks walking their dogs, in between her naps. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, home, Humour
Tagged as adjusting, adjustments, cat, Cats, Covid, Covid-19, feline, home, home office, pandemic, pet, pets, telework, work life, working
January 10, 2021 · 8:12 am
It never ceases to amaze me how a cat can pick up a strange habit, seemingly out-of-the-blue, and we end up having to adjust, whether it makes sense or not.
It could be as innocuous as a different inflection in our cat’s meows, or to find her somewhere she doesn’t usually hang out. Sometimes it’s a favourite toy that is suddenly no longer her favourite.
Sometimes it is a little more challenging to deal with it, like a sudden and complete dislike for a food that was a long-time favourite.
In recent months, Miss Ivy has picked up a strange habit as depicted by the picture. When she is doing it, I just turn around and see her backside, with her face looking in the opposite direction.
It’s not like she has done this once or twice. She started doing this a couple of months ago, and seems to be doing this all the time now to the point that it is a little creepy when I change rooms and she does the same thing.
The question is, why?
It doesn’t matter that she has a cat bed, two perches with a full panoramic view of the yard, and an unlimited supply of comfy throws on practically every horizontal surface in the house. She has suddenly taken to parking herself on the hardwood floor, two or three feet behind me, facing in the opposite direction.
In addition, there are two very willing laps she could sit on, which she does at least once or twice per day, but for the rest of the time, why the hardwood floor?
Is she acting like a sentinel? Is she my private feline security detail? Is she trying to be a guard cat? Continue reading →
November 8, 2020 · 9:10 am
At Ivy the Wonder Cat’s veterinary check-up two years ago, the vet said that she was within an acceptable range for an adult indoor cat, but to ensure that she didn’t take on more weight. At that time, we put in place a few strategies to keep her on track.
Before our move to the country, when things were calm, normal and on a regular routine, her calorie count was pretty consistent without me needing to monitor her intake.
However, there has been so much commotion over the last year between renovations, staging, selling, packing, boarding, relocating, living among boxes, unpacking and more renovations, it was challenging to keep to the structure and certainty that this cat needed to thrive.
Given that she was on the streets for nine months before she was brought to a shelter, it should come as no surprise if this cat eats for survival in times of disruption. So she gained a little.
When the stress of the move had passed and Ivy was feeling more like her usual self, our new vet recommended that we start looking at measures to bring her weight down.
The vet recommended that we moderate and measure her food intake in an effort to reduce her calories, and to switch her to a prescribed food that should make her feel more satiated. Sold!
The part that was a little tricky was the recommendation to play with her more, to give her more exercise. Engaging a six-year-old indoor cat in longer play sessions is easier said than done. I can’t tell you how many times we started playing a game together, only to find myself playing alone when I realized that she had already walked away after approximately 42 seconds.
Over the span of a few weeks, I pulled out every favourite toy that I knew she enjoyed, only to find that she was over it pretty quickly. So much for the exercise part of the program. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as cat, cat care, Cats, control, exercise, fit, fitness, flea, indoor cat, leash, outdoors, pet care, prevention, secure, tick, training, vet, walk, walking, weight
July 19, 2020 · 8:06 am
When we put up Ivy the Wonder Cat at her cat hotel during our recent move, I thought that Miss Ivy might enjoy a little extra attention and pampering during this challenging time. I signed her up for a “spa treatment” in the form of a feline version of a shampoo and blow dry.
When I picked up Ivy, the spa owner advised that Ivy responded well to the bath as she was purring contentedly when it was over. She noted that during the service, a lot of hair came off.
The last comment wasn’t a surprise. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I might brush Miss Ivy, I always seem able to collect enough hair to potentially knit together another kitten.
When I brought Ivy home, I couldn’t get over how fresh she smelled. To be clear, she was never a “smelly cat” like Phoebe Buffay sang about in the TV show “Friends”, but the light fragrance from the shampoo was delightful and stayed with her for more than a week.
What was odd was that after her arrival in our new home, whenever she seemed to be cozy and in a relaxed mood, I would try brushing her, as was always our routine. Maybe it was the stress of the move talking, but she got up and walked away. After five years, I have learned to take signs like that at face value. For some reason she wasn’t interested, so I let it go and tried again another time. However the reaction was the same.
I didn’t worry about it too much as she had been through a huge transition period and some significant changes to the routine and living arrangement.
But about four weeks later, as I woke up one morning, bleary eyed, getting her breakfast bowl ready, I found myself stepping in a puddle in the kitchen. Miss Ivy coughed up a hairball. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, stories
Tagged as bath, care, cat, Cats, cats of wordpress, cleaning, grooming, hair, hair balls, hairballs, pet, shampoo, shower, skin
April 19, 2020 · 8:41 am
I knew that for the duration of the showings and open houses, it would be best for everyone to send Ivy the Wonder Cat to her cat hotel.
Not only would it avoid the need for me to withdraw from my work day and relocate Ivy each time someone wanted to see the house, but for a cat that is so structure-oriented you could set your clock by her nap, meal and treat times, avoiding the change and disruption altogether was likely the best idea.
Given her early signs of discombobulation and confusion from just having some furniture leave the house for the staging process, I contacted her hotel to see if they could take her sooner. I was relieved that they could.
I knew she would get the best of care and attention for the duration of her stay. I’ll never forget the time I went to pick her up after an extended holiday and she jumped out of my arms and ran back into her room. I was heartbroken, but also deeply reassured that Ivy liked it here.
Just the same, letting her go was a challenge. I didn’t foresee that this would be such a difficult part of the home buying and selling process. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, home, Humour, mental health, stories
Tagged as anxiety, boarding, cat, Cats, deciding, decision, difficult, home, house, moving, pets, sale, staging, stress, when
February 9, 2020 · 8:52 am
After almost five years of being a parent to Ivy the Wonder Cat, I’d like to think that we’ve reached a point where we understand each other pretty well.
We both like structure and we both lean toward strong adherence to a schedule, which is already half of the battle when it comes to understanding cats (and humans). In doing so, she has adjusted to my schedule and vice versa.
When Ivy meows about something, the timing and the location from where she meows is all the context I need to know whether it’s related to food, water, treats, litter box, sleep, play, attention or whether she is just making small talk.
While I make a point of regularly ensuring everything is neat, tidy, on time and according to her preferred specifications for all of checklist items above, there are times I may get caught up in the trappings of responsible adulthood and that I might miss one little detail… How foolish and selfish of me.
The rare time she might get up on the dining room table is her form of “escalation” to say that I didn’t respond properly and an identified issue remains outstanding. I don’t get mad at her when she does that. I just slowly walk over and softly ask “Should you be up there?” to which she immediately jumps off and provides another sign of what she wants.
It’s a pretty good system and seems to work… Most of the time.
Then there are those out-of-the-blue days when I have to ask “who are you and what have you done with my cat?” Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour
Tagged as attention, behaviour, body language, cat, cat care, Cats, context, feline, food, funny, health, litter box, meowing, patience, personality, phase, play, random, sleep, structure, treats, vet, veterinarian, water, weird