New housemate settling in nicely

My mom still misses Ophelia but she can’t resist our new housemate. Pumpkin sat on her lap for about an hour today.

Pumpkin’s original name was Kerfluffle, or “Fluff.” But she’s not especially fluffy. The shelter called her “Biggums,” which makes sense – she weighs in at a hefty 14 pounds – but it doesn’t fit. Pumpkin is a very delicate, feminine cat.

My mom calls her Pumpkin because her fur has orange highlights, she’s shaped like a pumpkin and we’ve got Halloween stuff all over the place.

I have to admit, my mom finally chose a winner. Pumpkin is a quiet, sensible, low-maintenance cat. She exchanges respectful sniffs when she sees me. She doesn’t initiate fights with Creampuff. I think she can tell Creampuff is just ditzy – nothing much to worry about there.

Right now Creampuff and Pumpkin are having a quiet staring contest. My mom is trying hard to ignore them.

Cat gets 2 teeth pulled

On Monday the mom took Ophelia to our wonderful vet, Dr. Clare. Our fattest housemate, the queen-sized Ophelia, was diagnosed with rotten molars. No comment. .

“She’ll feel better when these two teeth come out,” the vet said.

Really? Ophelia seems to be feeing just fine, as far as I can tell. She’s totally taken over the household, even though she’s by far the most junior member of our furry family. She grabs the best spot on the couch and the place of honor on my mom’s bed. Now she’s winning the contest we have going: Who can spend most money at the vet? With the expenses of her liver disease, right after she was adopted, and her dental surgery, Ophelia’s racking up the bills.

“It’s not her fault,” the mom said. “Gracie, you get sick bcause you eat junk in the park and on the sidwalk. That’s why we are getting you a muzzle.”

Royal princesses don’t wear muzzles, I tell the mom. She points out that eating the stuff I find in the dog park is not exactly a sign of royal breeding.

Time to change the subject. The vet tech called my mom to ask how Ophelia was doing. “Is she eating?” they wanted to know.

Please. We are talking about Ophelia here. She didn’t get to fifteen pounds by denying herself the good stuff.

Our new housemate is sneaky

Now that Ophelia has recovered from her liver disease, and her ears have gone from yellow back to pink, we are discovering her true personality. I tried to tell my mom: this cat should be shipped off somewhere via FedEx. She’s Difficult.

Alas, Cathy and Ophelia have bonded. “She has so much presence,” my mom says. “She has charisma and charm.”

Yesterday Ophelia turned up her little gray nose when Mom put down a delicious serving of crunchies and a spoonful of canned Avoderm. Yum. If my mom drops her guard for a minute, that plate will be empty. But Ophelia just walked away.

Last night Cathy was awakend to the sound of crunching. She was afraid I had invaded the kitchen (if she’d been awake she would realize I can’t jump off the bed without waking her up). When she turned on the light she saw a small furry object, shaped like an aircraft carrier from above, digging in with gusto.

“Aha!” she cried. “Ophelia is a night eater.”

Ophelia tried to protest but her mouth was too full. She’ll be back to 15 lbs. in no time.

My mom’s birthday

My mom celebrated her birthday this weekend. She discovered she was eligible for a free concert on her birthday so off she went to Benaroya Hall. They featured Sibelius’s 2nd (which she enjoyed immensely, she said, much better thanmusic notes the other Sibelius symphonies). Of course she also went to her exercise class. And we stopped by the dog park on our way home.

Unlike me, my mom did not get a treat for her birthday. She stuck to her lifetime eating plan. I’m so proud of her. I want her to stick around till I get old and cross the bridge. After that, she’s on her own.

My birthday was last month. I got to spend the day in the lounge, which was much more fun than going to a concert. And I got to spend my mom’s birthday there too. I played hard all day and I’m still tired. Gotta rest up: tomorrow’s my day to go to the park with Aunt Sara.

Cathy was hoping our fuzzy housemate Ophelia would give her the ultimate present: eating by herself. But no…Ophelia sniffs at food and says, “No thanks.” How can she turn up her nose at chicken and tuna? Meanwhile, the ditzy Creampuff is in heaven. She’s getting everything Ophelia won’t eat.

Me? I get my usual dry, boring crunchies. No big deal. I’d still rather be a dog.

Can we send Ophelia back where she came from?

My mom took Ophelia back to the vet on Monday. Ophelia’s lab tests show something is going on with her liver, which is why she’s turning yellow. No surprise there.

Mom came home with instructions for force-feeding, sub-Q fluids, and pills. Then she took me to the dog park. Lindsay, the park steward, is always happy to see park with lindsay pating gracie

“The new kitty is sick?” Lindsay said. “Does she come with a return guarantee?”

See why I like Lindsay? That woman has great perspsective.

But she was joking and Cathy would never do that. She vowed Ophelia will never return to that shelter. And who else will be such a dedicated cat nurse?

I don’t really mind. When Cathy’s working on Ophelia, she puts me in my crate with a peanut butter kong toy. Yum. Ophelia’s not such a bad idea after all.

Ophelia gets brave

Wow…Ophelia marched right into the living room and took up a position near the sofa. She tried to jump to the sofa arm but couldn’t quite make it. Then she sat on the floor all evening while Cathy worked on her laptop. She growled when Creampuff seemed interested. Creampuff took off.

My mom was thrilled. Frankly, I think observing our cats is like watching paint dry, but hey…what do I know? I have a dog bed in every room and nobody messes with me.

Tempting the kitty…

Dr Jim the cat shrink told Mom to tempt the cats with delicious treats. Alas, the canned food doesn’t stay tempting for more than a single feeding. I suspect she’ll be heading over to Safeway for some generic version of Fancy Feast and maybe some human food in a lower-cost food in a can

Cathy’s following a diet she downloaded from the Internet. She looks great, but she says, “It ought to be called the Expensive Food diet. Lots of blueberries and salmon and organic produce.”

Alas, I have to go to my crate when Mom tries to tempt the kitties with treats. So far nothing seems to be working. Creampuff seems to have caught on to the game.

“Just a few years ago I was bragging about what great pets I had,” Mom sighs. “And now we’ve got the dog with the delicate tummy and the most neurotic cat on the planet.”

She exaggerates. But not by much.

A visit from the cat shrink

My mom Cathy was eager to hear what the cat shrink would say. “Dr. Jim”turned out to be like Dr. Doolittle. He talks to animals.

He’s awfully smart. He told Cathy more or less what I’ve been saying all along. Ophelia should be living alone with a nice little old lady. Well, he didn’t put it quite like that, but…

An older cat like Ophelia shouldn’t be placed with another cat, he said. But since she’s here, we can try a few tricks. So mom has them in separate rooms as much as possible. She’ll be feeding them delicious treats – but only when they are together. We could give them Prozac. (Prozac?)

No drugs yet, my mom said. She’s going to be rationing out the treats to motivate the relationship.

“After all,” my mom pointed out, “it’s not like Ophelia had a lot of choices. Not many people want a cat who’s 9 years old, overweight, and long-haired. Even little old ladies.”

And what about me? That nice Dr. Jim knows a normal, sane animal when he sees one. He decided I looked like a happy, healthy dog. He complimented me on being so good. Cathy, of course, took all the credit but hey, I can be generous. sleeping dog

Especially since Dr. Jim said I should get more treats.

“When she tries to jump on someone, make her sit and give her a reward. Carry a bag of treats. Give her a treat just for walking right.”

Wow. I love this shrink. He can analyze me anytime.

But I have more important things on my mind. We dogs have our priorities straight.