Cats Turn Into Heating Pads

creampuffcatcaveIt’s been cold! My mom has tried to draft me into service as a heating pad but I have steadily refused. It is beneath my dignity as a dog.

Fortunately the cats have stepped up. Creampuff likes to create a little cat cave under the blankets. She has a true gift for finding the coziest spot in our home.  Pumpkin snuggles under the blankets with my mom. She’s a living, purring heating pad.

Frankly, I don’t get it. But my mom is ecstatic. She doesn’t like to turn on the heat at night and she’s plenty warm with three quilts and the cat. Go figure.

Resident cat has privileges

Creampuff, our ditziest housemate, has established her favorite spot on the printer, right next to my mom’s computer. My mom loves the printer, especially because she got it as a review product through the Vine program.

Creampuff has taken over this spot. “Let that upstart Pumpkin and the household dog have the couch,” she says, giving us The Look. “Besides,” she adds, “I get to look out the window without moving.”

Even Creampuff is too tactful to acknowledge that Pumpkin won’t fit on the printer. Pumpkin is as round as her name and, alas, growing rounder under my mon’s benevolent policy towards felines.

“Tiger lived to be 20,” my mom says. “I had 15 years of veterinary warnings. No more!”

Cat has an eye on the dog’s food

Where does my mom find these cats? First Ophelia liked to drink out of MY water dish on my crate. Now Pumpkin wants to eat my food right out of my dish!

My mom tried to persuade Pumpkin to leave me alone. She picked up Pumpkin, who hates being held, and set her down on the counter, near her own food dish.

Next thing my mom heard was a hiss and a bark. She came running over. I won that round.

Pumpkin won’t give up. She’s hoping I’ll share.

My mom went racing for her camera. So now I have flash bulbs going off and a cat staring intently at my food dish.

Who cares? We went on a long walk today and I’m hungry. I’m finally finished with my upset tummy and hope I won’t see a grain of rice for a long, long time.

RIP Ophelia

My mom was very sad all weekend. We were supposed to say good-by to Ophelia last Thursday. Then, as we wrote in my last post,  Ophelia rose from her nap and walked over to her scratching post and scratched. Well, she’s front paw declawed (by a previous owner) but she tries. She was so enthusiastic my mom said, “She’s not ready.”

So she spent the weekend giving Ophelia fluids and helping Ophelia eat that yucky special food. Ophelia walked around just being Ophelia, Queen of the House.

Ophelia started getting really weak on Sunday. It happened SO fast my mom was in shock.  On Saturday Ophelia was able to move around freely; she even squeezed into a small bookshelf for a cat nap. She curled up in her kitty condo (see picture). She was awake and alert.  But by Sunday evening she couldn’t jump off the bed or the couch. The earliest vet appointment my mom could get was today at 2:30.

Ophelia didn’t wait. She was lying peacefully on my bed, which is big and fuzzy, but she kept having more and more trouble just moving. She would try to get out of the bed and she would stumble. My mom put her back on top of a huge stack of towels.

Around 1 PM Ophelia decided she’d had enough and she headed up to the Great Sandbox in the Sky, soundlessly, while my mom was working just a few feet away. She looked SO peaceful!  It worked out well. She was spared a final visit to the vet and she was ready to go.

My mom and I took Ophelia’s body to the vet for cremation. We took a cab  because my mom wanted me to come along too and I can’t ride buses. Philadelphia is so primitive compared to Seattle, where I was welcomed on all the Metro buses.

My mom realized the cab driver wouldn’t be thrilled if she told him she had a dead cat. So she gently put Ophelia into her big backpack, wrapped securely in an old shirt she wanted to get rid of.  My job was to keep Mom’s mind focused where it should be – on me – and distract her from losing a cat she loved.

I was successful. We walked home in beautiful weather, even stopping at the dog park so I could play for a few minutes.

That’s a two mile walk. I’m totally exhausted.

My mom has decided to get a new cat – a tabby, she says, who will be tougher than Ophelia. She doesn’t want Creampuff to get used to being an Only Cat.
“Ophelia was so special,” she sighs. “But I’ve got lots of love to share with the next kitty, whoever she is.”

Ophelia on her last paws (we think)

My mom has been very sad in the last week. She’s way ahead of schedule when it comes to healing from her fractured arm; she now guides my leash with her left hand, which makes life easier for both of us.

But Ophelia has taken a turn for the worse. It happened so gradually; she was nibbling, then she would eat only canned food, and then my mom took her to the vet. Since then she’s been on a whirlwind of activity, giving Ophelia fluids and drugs.

I’ve always said Ophelia would be trouble. I posted here the day we took Ophelia – all 17 pounds of fur – home from the Seattle Humane Society. But did my mom listen? No. She adored Ophelia from the very beginning.

After awhile I got used to Ophelia, too. Recently we’ve been having long chats about life and our trips – a year apart – from Seattle in the cargo section of a Delta Airlines flight. Last week my mom came home to find us sitting together on the couch. She got so excited she ran to take a photo. Pathetic, isn’t it?

What’s driving my mom totally nuts is that Ophelia gives out mixed signals. She won’t eat. She let’s my mom do “assisted feeding” with a syringe, but she’s not eating on her own or grooming herself.

Ophelia knows where everything is. She walks from one room to the other. She jumps down from the couch or bed – where my mom places her – and goes off to choose her own place. Right now she’s on my favorite bed, which means I get the floor.

Ophelia was headed for the Great Sandbox in the Sky last Thursday. Then she walked over to her scratching post and gave it a few strong swipes. She used the litter box without making a fuss.

“She’s not ready to go,” my mom declared. She called our wonderful vet at Companion Animal Hospital and Ophelia got a reprieve.

Then today Ophelia walked over to my crate and drank the water from my dish, just like she always did. My mom was thrilled but also frustrated.

“I wish I knew what she wants,” she said. “I’m ready to say good-by but only if it’s really the right time.”

Wish I could help, mom, but as always, I’m just the dog. I’ll go along either way – comforting Ophelia while she’s here and comforting my mom throughout the process.

Ophelia ages 4 years

Ophelia has been ailing again. She didn’t want to eat. I offered to help by eating Ophelia’s food but you can imagine what the Mom said.

Ophelia nibbles. My mom keeps coaxing her to eat more. Ophelia stopped purring.

So my mom took her to the vet today.

“I don’t think Ophelia is thirteen,” she told the vet. “I think they lied. She acts like a 17-year-old cat. She’s all bony.”

The vet agreed: Ophelia has taken on the qualities of a very old cat.

“Here’s the thing,” my mom said. “You’ve got an old, fat cat. You want to give it a home. The cat is 11, 12, 13 or more. That sounds OLD. So you mark the cat’s age down to 9. Single digits. Now she’s more adoptable.”

Even so, my mom never tires of saying, Ophelia spent 30 days in a cage in the Seattle SPCA. She was lucky to get adopted at all.

So my mom is back to giving Ophelia fluids and medication. Ophelia’s got that smug look, like, “I’m gonna win this one! No more dry food.”

I’m a neutral observer. Treat, please?

Cat drinking from dog’s crate: should not be allowed!

Look at this impertinence. My crate has been placed in a corner of our living room because my mom can’t figure out where else to put it.

So Ophelia decides she wants to drink from MY water dish. Ophelia has always liked drinking from dishes, glasses and cups that aren’t hers. She drives my mom crazy: she drinks my mom’s ice water, iced tea and even iced coffee. When she doesn’t find anything to drink from my mom, she goes to my crate. She has a perfectly good water dish of her own, right on the floor next to mine.

Ophelia’s shape is a little odd because some of her fur was shaved for her ultrasound. It’s growing back very slowly. She doesn’t seem to notice, but we do.

Ophelia has always been the Queen. I’m just the princess. Life is tough.

More Cat Facts We Don’t Need

My mom just read me this article from the New York Times. Apparently some scientists studied how cats drink water. “Much classier than dogs,” was the conclusion.

Do we need to know? Do we care?

The real question is, why do cats drink water from glasses and cups, turning up their little pink noses when mom pours water into their official water dishes? Now that would be useful.

My mom keeps two full glasses of water on the coffee table at all times. “Does nothing for the living room decor,” she sighs, “but otherwise Ophelia’s whiskers would be digging into my water.”