City dog and adopted cat share sofa

Now, what kind of headline is that? We’ve been together about a month now.

My mom’s finger must be getting sore from snapping all these photos. She’s so thrilled that Pumpkin and I share a couch together.

“Living proof,” she says, “you can adopt a full-grown cat and not have ANY problems.”

Well, Pumpkin IS full-grown. If she’d be any fuller … but I’d better not go there. My mom keeps a watchful eye on my waistline and rations my treats.

Adopted cat is taking over nicely

As the adopted dog of the family, I was here first. Does anybody
remember? Creampuff joined Cathy in 2002 in New Mexico and I came in 2006 in Seattle. Creampuff isn’t the type to dominate; she’s much too ditzy. So it’s just me and this new kitty who’s clearly in takeover mode.

There’s nothing ditzy about Pumpkin. She’s not as needy as Ophelia; she’s much more confident. And she’s not the least bit afraid of me either. She’s taken over the sofa. I’m lucky she allows me to share one cushion at the far end.

My mom thinks we look so cute in this photo. Hah. Notice I am covering my eyes, escaping from the fuss over our newest housemate.

“Curled up like a cat,” my mom said, clicking away.

Should I be insulted? Probably. But I’m hoping to use the situation to guilt my mom into more treats.

Adopted Cat Meets Adopted Dog

That new cat Pumpkin is certainly making herself at home. My mom was so excited.

“My family is all getting along!” she exclaimed, racing for her camera phone. She woke me up from a peaceful nap. Pumpkin, of course, kept on sleeping.

Here’s the truth. Pumpkin likes this spot on the couch. So she’s not just being my new buddy. She’s keeping an eye on the prize – my spot.

My mom is doing her part to keep everybody sleeping. She’s started taking me on 30-minute walks twice a day. This Sunday, she says, we’ll make another trip to the farmers’ market and the dog park.

“If I’d thought of this earlier,” she said, “we could have walked to the market at 9th and Chestnut. That’s only a mile each way. Two miles round trip. Maybe next week!”

I can wait.

Pumpkin is … a pumpkin`

My mom has gotten much better at choosing names for her family. She’s come a long way from naming a cat Kitty, as she once did. She didn’t change Keesha’s name becuase it fit – Keesha was a keeshond mix. She tried to change Ophelia’s name when she took Ophelia to the vet for her “new cat” checkup. The vet’s staff was horrified when Mom wanted to call her “Furball.” Later we were all glad; Ophelia was … well, Ophelia.

I am named after the Great Dane owned by Dan Dye, cofounder of Three Dog Bakery. That dog made her owner rich, my mom reminds me. So far I’ve just brought her vet bills.

But she outdid herself when she named Pumpkin. Just look at these photos.

Animal Cruelty: Not Just About Animals

My mom has begun to enjoy the New York TImes, especially on Sundays, especially in hard copy. But yesterday’s Magazine left both of us feeling sad. My mom read me an article about how animal cruelty is related to human cruelty. You can read it online here.

We were all feeling sad. Apparently kids who feel angry want to take things out on animals. Cats really suffer because they tend to be less obedient.

“Okay,” my mom says, “you guys can be exasperating. It is easy to forget that you don’t think logically. Especially when you – Gracie – eat all kinds of things after I spend a fortune on vet bills and special food.”

Me? I’m the one who should complain about bland tasteless food, not to mention sharing a household with two selfish, self-centered cats.

But I’m glad to hear that law enforcement people are cracking down on animal abuse because, my mom says, people who are mean to animals are just as mean to people. I could have told them that, if I could talk.

The article also said that kids can turn around fast if they learn to care for an animal in a positive way. Yes! Every family should adopt a pet from a shelter. The whole world would be a better place.

Of course, the world would also be better if we all took more naps. I’m off to set a good example.

City Dog Meets Rescued Cat (and loses place in family hierarchy)

Good grief…I was napping away on my favorite spot on my mom’s couch. All of a sudden my mom was running around, grabbing her trusty camera and snapping one photo after another.

“Oh no…that shows too much of the rug,” she said. “And that’s probably blurred. Just one more…hold it!”

What was all the fuss about?

“Gracie and Ophelia, you’re friends!” my mom exclaimed happily as she dashed around capturing our images over and over again.

Sigh. As usual, my mom overreacts. And she doesn’t get dog language.

See, here’s what really happened. I was on the couch, enjoying my peaceful sleep, on my couch cushion. It’s actually one of my mom’s very old pillows that finally gave up. So mom pulled off the pillowcase and gave it to me to protect her couch. It’s my cushion. Before I entered this household, the cats had their own cushion, decorated with paw prints, on top of the couch. We’re very territorial around here.

Well, Ophelia decided she likes my pillow cushion. Ophelia has not caught on to the hierarchy of this household. She arrived in July of 2008. I arrived in January of 2006. I have seniority. This cushion was there for me.

So while I was sleeping, Ophelia crept up and sat near me. She’s not snuggling. See how she’s sitting up straight? She’s sending a message.

Who would’ve thought life would turn out this way? Ophelia was officially declared “skittish” by the cat shrink my mom hired to help her get adjusted. (For the record, my mom got her money back…as well she should.) There was talk of having her “re-homed,” a fancy term for giving up on the old gal.

Well, Ophelia doesn’t lack in self-esteem. My mom wrote an ebook called Bragging101, to help humans who need to get comfortable about selling themselves. Ophelia could have been her co-author.

Who needs the shrink around here?

The cat shrink is coming this afternoon to see if our new housemate, Ophelia, is beyond help. Meanwhile, my mom Cathy got really worried last night. Ophelia dived under the bed and refused to come out all night. Usually she sleeps right next to Cathy’s pillow.

So early this morning Mom got up and poked the box springs cover where Ophelia (literally) hangs out. She installed Ophelia in the laundry room with food, water and a litter box. She cleverly set up a barrier so Ophelia can’t get behind the washing machine and refuse to come out, the way Creampuff does.

I peeked in while Mom was scooping the litter box. Ophelia seemed to be happy. Maybe she’s a seeker of solitude. Maybe she’s part mushroom and she likes small, dark spaces. Hmm…from a certain angle, she does kind of resemble a mushroom. cat in laundry room

Then Mom turned to me with that gleam in her eye. “You know, Gracie, if these behaviorists seem to know what they’re doing, I can hire them to work on your jumping and pulling issues.”

Uh oh. Training. Tugging my leash. Squirt guns. Anyway, what’s wrong with a few jumps now and then? I only jump on people we know or people who seem, well, suspicious. Mom should be thanking me.

Overweight cat contest? Ophelia’s a loser.

Good grief. No sooner did we add a 17-lb. kitty to our household than we heard about a real heavyweight: a 44-lb. cat in New Jersey.

That’s much more than what I weigh. And I am a dog.fat cat

“We’re ignoring that story,” my mom said. “Ophelia is still on a diet. If she’ll ever leave her laundry room hideout, we’ll start her kitty aerobics program.”

No wonder Ophelia wants to hide. My mom’s a terror when she gets fixated on an idea.

Then again, she said, the New Jersey cat, “Princess Chunk,” got all kinds of publicity. Chunk sat in Diane Sawyer’s lap, totally calm. (Diane wore a white skirt that won’t show Chunk’s white hair. Chris Cuomo, wearing a dark suit, edged away).

“Imagine what all this publicity could do for my copywriting business,” Cathy said.

Not much.

Get real, mom. Your cats will always be liabilities. I’m the asset around here.