Friday, November 30, 2012


Artie and I have decided that we can no longer call the Norwegian Forest Cat by that appellation. He (at least we think he's a he) is adorable and oh so friendly. He sits on our front porch patiently waiting for us to bring dinner every evening.

Lately, he's been spending a good part of the day sleeping on our wicker love seat. He's surprisingly affectionate for an outside cat, talking to us, rubbing against our legs and enjoying it when we pet him. I love it when he runs up to me talking away or tries to follow me down the block.

He really doesn't look like a Norwegian Forest Cat. I see some Maine Coon in him and probably some Norwegian Forest Cat with Calico markings on his muzzle. Anyway, he has a beautifully surreal face. When I look at him I see the beast from Jean Cocteau's film Beauty and the Beast. I want to call him Beast or Marais after the actor Jean Marais who played the beast. We tossed around Cutie but abandoned it and we've been calling him Baby but it gets a bit confusing for Annie since I sometimes call her Baby too.

Lately I've been putting his plate of food in our front hall. He's been very reticent about entering the hall until finally the desire for food overrode caution. Yesterday I managed to shut the door without him knowing. It was interesting to see a peculiar look steal over his face when he realized he was in a quiet contained place.

He looked around; realizing the door was closed he leaned up and looked out the glass front door panel. He started to howl so I opened the door and he scooted out on the porch where he finished his meal. I want to bring him inside to protect him from a hard life outdoors. We're both determined to take care of him and give him the life he deserves.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


OK, canine military having to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a topic that never crossed my mind but it stands to reason. Animals have feelings and emotions so why wouldn't they be affected by their military experiences like their human comrades-in-arms?

A short MSN article alerted me to this issue ( and the online New York Times printed and in-depth article addressing the same issue (

Rather than rehash the information here, read the links to understand this emerging canine condition. Curiously, I've known about PTSD in dogs for decades. More than 20 years ago, my dog Buster suffered from this condition. In his case, it was triggered by my Dad's hospitalization for emergency ulcer surgery.

In closing I will mention an item from each article:

  • Canine PTSD will most likely lead to a better understanding of  Human PTSD.
  • Management of the condition will be key since dogs never forget.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


With all the stress of holiday time upon us, we need to remember how important it is to exercise. The kitty in the video stays limber by playing ping pong. A great way to keep trim, rev up the old brain cells, wind down from the stress of the holidays, limber up the body, you get the idea.

Enjoy the holidays and don't forget to relax between the craziness. Take a cue from this furry cutie. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family.

Annie had to stay home. We thought it best since her two feline cousins would not be appreciative of Annie's overenthusiastic response to seeing them. On the other hand, Annie's single mindedness would not be appreciated by her human relatives - pet parents included.

The arrival of the turkey 'doggie bag' smoothed over any hurt feelings as Annie received a doggie-sized share of turkey breast and crispy skin (a small piece because I know she loves it and can tolerate it).

Anyway, our cousins are pet parents to two beautiful cats named Lucky and Athena. Lucky has always been fine with us. She mixes with us, enjoys a few pets and sometimes even sits with us or seeks out our company.

Athena generally disappears when we're around preferring to hide in the master bedroom or scoot down the basement. However, this Thanksgiving we were surprised that our presence didn't bother her all that much. In fact, Athena ignored us and spent a good part of the day curled up on the couch. She is a beautiful, medium grey, long-haired cat with a bushy tail.

Unfortunately, Artie couldn't get a good picture of her since she made sure to hide her face while napping. He had better luck with Lucky!

I see you with that damned camera!  Snap away, this Thanksgiving you're not getting the chair.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


As you all know by now, many pets were separated from their families during the superstorm known as Sandy but for one dog and his family there was a happy ending and I found the story in my backlog of reading material.

The Rockaways were pounded by Sandy (the storm) and during the relentless force of nature, Sandy, an 11 year-old Labrador Retriever and the canine member of the Baron family slipped out of the house when a door was blown open. But Sandy the dog didn't return after Sandy the storm left the tri-state area. The family was heartbroken.

Meanwhile, a police officer took charge of a dog found in the lobby at St. John's Hospital, turning him over to Brooklyn Animal Care & Control. A microchip identified the displaced pooch but the electricity and phone situation in the Rockaways prevented the family from being notified. Animal rescuer Phyllis Taiano stepped in, personally driving Sandy home to his loving family and a happy ending to his escapade.

Some great photos and a detailed account of Sandy's tale are in this Daily News article:

With everyone reunited, I'm sure Sandy and the rest of the Baron family celebrated a Happy Thanksgiving and I'll bet Sandy is one pooch that's looking forward to a Happy and uneventful Hanukkah.

Friday, November 23, 2012


The one day of the year I never step foot in a store is the day after Thanksgiving commonly know as Black Friday.  Cyber Monday is more appealing to me but that bit of information has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

The ASPCA has started something that actually may help all of us view Black Friday a bit more favorably. They've changed the name to Cat Friday and are offering all types of discounts and savings to those who adopt an adult cat today.

A wonderful idea? Certainly! A great incentive for the holiday season? Most definitely! All the details are on the ASPCA blog...

Go to Henry Bergh's place and adopt a cat in need.

Adopt a cat on Cat Friday and let me recuperate from Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's Turkey time again; everyone's favorite holiday for overeating! Dogs and cats are no different. Buddy's 'drug-of-choice' was turkey. Many a Thanksgiving I spent climbing over Annie and Buddy in an attempt to get to the oven to check the turkey. My little man was and my sweet girl is a 'turkey junkie'.

Feeding the pets before company arrives and the meal is served is a good way to minimize begging if you intend to allow your pet to mingle with your guests to begin with. Setting down rules for your human guests concerning no human food for the dog or cat and supplying pet treats is a better approach. If your pet steals food then by all means confine him to solve the problem. After the meal is finished make sure your pet cannot get to leftovers or into the garbage.

Thanksgiving decorations such as candles, cornucopias, gourds, etc. need to be out of a pet's reach. Rich foods, bones, strings can cause medical emergencies. Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, caffeine, avocado, alcohol and artificial sweeteners are toxic to pets. 

Have your veterinarian's number or the number of a 24-hour veterinary emergency service close at hand. Check the internet or with your vet for a list of foods dogs and cats should not eat. Keep the number of an animal poison hotline available.

Re-reading my Halloween post which covers the same issues can't hurt and will provide links to some informative articles/websites.

Also, think about your pet's tolerance for gatherings and people. If your dog or cat is easily upset by anything out of their ordinary routine, it is best to separate them from your company. Keeping them confined to a quiet part of the house will keep them calm and prevent growling, biting, hissing, spitting and scratching.

Follow these suggestions, have a plan and everyone, human, canine or feline will enjoy Thanksgiving. And if your dog or cat likes turkey treat them to boneless, skinless, gravy-free meat!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It's totally amazing what you find when you go through old newspapers. I've been catching up on past reading and came across an article in the Daily News about getting gum disease from your pooch. Now I'm crazy nuts about all my animals but I make it a rule to never, ever kiss Annie or any canine family members (or Buddy who was a real kissy-face kinda guy) on the mouth or lips.

The research results were documented in the Archives of Oral Biology, a dental journal. I guess it's great to have a professional article on such matters but to my mind this is common sense. Do you want a kiss from someone who routinely licks their butt? Not a very appealing thought. 

Buddy was allowed to lick my nose, cheeks and chin. If, by accident, he got my lips or mouth, I would wash my lips or brush my teeth right away. Same for Annie although with Annie it's not a big issue because she is stingy with her kisses. You are lucky to get a quick lick on your cheek. Annie is more into bumping you with her nose. Perhaps she read the same article?

When my furry family members were on the receiving end of a kiss, it would be on the top of the head or by the eyes. Yes, both Annie and Buddy enjoyed a kiss near the eyes. I don't recommend this unless you know your pet won't be spooked by it. Mine were trained to accept that as normal from when they were first with us.

And while we're on the subject of all things dental, it is a good idea to clean your dog or cat's teeth on a regular basis. Good oral hygiene will go a long way especially in your pet's later years. Dental issues must be dealt with using general anesthesia and you will want to avoid having to 'put them under' as they age.

All in all a good article; real food for thought. I wonder what other interesting stories will turn up as I continue reading. And while I'm thinking about it, maybe I should check Annie's teeth. Good word of mouth - pass it on!   

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I was cleaning out some papers today when I came across an absolutely amazing and heartwarming photo of a man cuddling his ailing dog in Lake Superior. The picture appeared in the Daily News this past August and I kept it intending to comment on it here.

Quite a few months have passed and I wondered whatever happened to these lifelong friends? Of course, I searched the internet and found out some interesting facts:

The photo had gone viral on Facebook, was picked up by new services and as a result John Unger, the man in the photo, received donations to care for Schoep, his canine companion. The donations are helping John fund Schoep's medical treatment and Schoep's condition has improved.

The beauty of the human-canine bond at its finest is exhibited in this "one-look-says-it-all" photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. I never tire of looking at it. You can find the photo on Facebook or either of the two links listed below:

Friday, November 16, 2012


Annie's lick granuloma returned a few weeks ago but is almost healed up.  Interesting that it seems to happen when she is stressed or if we allow her to fall off her diet by indulging her taste for bread - especially wheat bread. After a few days of lax eating I will notice her licking her paws and rubbing her muzzle.  My conclusion? A wheat allergy.

It's kinda hard to not feel guilty eating bread in front of Annie since she will sit in front of you giving you her most soulful look but I'm determined not to cave anymore. Her health is more important. Also, it's time to schedule a doctor visit for her. She needs her regular six-month checkup as well as having a few tumors looked at - they appear to have gotten bigger and need to be rechecked. I hope we aren't in for any bad news.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The other 'hot button' issue around Brooklyn is the election. Everyone's still talking and reading up on it and I'm no different. I came across an article in the Huffington Post that proves to me politics had definitely gone to the dogs or in this case the cats.

Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon shelter rescue, ran and placed third in his bid for the state of Virginia's senate seat recently vacated by Jim Webb. Hank ran on the platform "It's OK to vote the humans out" coming in third as a write-in and raising about $60,000 for animal rescue organizations in the process. Truly an impressive campaign.

Word is, Hank is considering a 2016 run. We will have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you want to read about Hank and his campaign experiences, read the following Huffington Post article:

And you can check for Hank's Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Hurricane Sandy continues as the number one topic of conversation here in Brooklyn. Another facet of preparedness for disasters is to provide for your pet in the event something happens to YOU.

That means emergency contact numbers, designated guardian(s) and care funds.  I came across an excellent article on that outlines what to do to prepare for such an event. Please read it and act on it. Don't leave your pet at risk for an uncertain future without you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today is Veteran's Day, a day to honor all those who have served in the military to defend our country, preserve our freedom and our way of life.

Lest we forget, we need to honor the members of our canine military as well. Since this is Adopt A Senior Pet month anyone considering adopting should also consider a canine veteran. Working as scouts, bomb locators and messengers our canine vets were generally left behind when their tour of duty ended. I know this happened during the Vietnam War. It was not uncommon to euthanize canine military until President Clinton signed a bill halting the practice in 2000.

Dogs of war are currently considered military surplus - property but the mindset is slowly turning towards viewing them as canine veterans. If you are thinking about adopting a military dog, please remember our canine vets are special dogs with special training; homes with small children and other pets may not be appropriate.

There are several websites with information about adopting a canine vet or assisting vets with adopting a canine companion:

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It's Saturday, another busy week is over and the situation has changed concerning the Norwegian Forest Cat. He's been hanging around every evening and most days. Midweek I found him lounging on our wicker love seat by 1:30 PM; the next day he showed up as early as 11:30 AM.

He's very friendly, coming up to me, talking to me and walking around me, rubbing against my legs while I put down his food. He interacts with Artie much more than he does me.  Friday evening I came home at 5:30 to find him sitting on our front steps waiting for us. As soon as he saw me, he started talking. Artie showed up as I was serving him a second helping of food. They hung out together for almost an hour. The cat was talking to Artie, allowing himself to be petted and even playing with Artie. Pretty amazing stuff.

It's weird - almost like having Buddy around. Artie and I are convinced he is not a feral but a stray or a house cat whose owners are not being responsible. We have to keep track of his comings and goings so we can determine if he's been abandoned.

Man, that flash is too bright at night!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I just checked my Humane Society calendar and noticed November is 'Adopt A Senior Pet Month'.

What can I say about adopting that I haven't said before? Plenty. All of us are attracted to adorable little puppies and kittens but are all of us up to training, babyhood and what I refer to as juvenile delinquency - that wonderful time right on the heels of puppy-hood and teething into what would be the canine equivalent of the teenage years? I don't think I could go through it again as wonderful as Annie is she definitely was a handful when first adopted at almost 5 months.

I can still smell the potting soil Annie gleefully shook all over my bedroom as she 'killed' a 5 lb. bag I forgot to pick up from the floor. She was pleased with herself; I was beside myself and my bedroom was a disaster area.

Kittens aren't in my experience (Buddy came to us as an adult) unless you count my Aunt's cat Sheba flinging  herself at the drapes and pouncing on my head at night during a weekend visit when she was still a kitten.

The way I see it there are many pros to taking a senior animal:
  • What you see is what you get - the size and personality are set. That takes the guess work out of trying to determine if the puppy's full size will be bigger than what you anticipate.
  • If training is needed - it more than likely will be minimal and easier since older pets are calmer and more focused than younger animals.
  • House-training isn't on the agenda since most seniors have already been through this as little ones. 
  • Older pets while active, have long ago passed the super-active stage of younger animals.
  • A good home with love and companionship goes a long way with a senior dog.
  • With age comes wisdom - older animals are more adaptable to new situations.
  • Senior pets have a harder time getting adopted. If you adopt one you definitely are saving a life since older animals will be euthanized first in order to make room in shelters.
Of course, there are some cons to taking a senior animal:
  • Medical issues. The possibility of chronic illness is all too present but, hey, if you get a young animal as they age the same issues will appear on the horizon.
  • You might have your new companion for only a few years before they pass away. But what will you receive in terms of time spent and memories created with your senior animal? You will know in your heart you made 'the golden years' truly golden for your senior companion.
Consider a senior pet when adopting this month or any month.

Monday, November 5, 2012


The tri-state area is still reeling from super-storm Sandy. Here in the 5 boros we inch closer to normalcy. For some everything has been lost; for others it is the start of the rebuilding and cleaning-up process while some of us rode this through with all our possessions intact. Sadly, some of us lost our lives.

Now is the time for us all to do what we can to help our less fortunate neighbors. Donations of food and clothes are the first needs that come to mind. As people rebuild their lives, home furnishings will be needed. Give blood - I'm sure that is needed as well. Volunteer your time and talents where they will do the most good.

Don't forget children. A book to read, a toy or a coloring book and crayons will go a long way to brightening  the day of a child who is experiencing displacement and loss of their home. This is a very scary time for children. Their world has shifted on its axis; their security shaken.

There are many animals who will need help. Donate food, blankets and toys to displaced pets and shelter animals or volunteer time to help families reconnect with their pets. Foster an animal if you can. My first thoughts are of family pets and shelter animals but others need us as well. The great New York Aquarium in Coney Island has been flooded. Monetary donations can be made through the Wildlife Conservation Society website.

Every little bit helps...

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Since Sandy left the area all the cats with the exception of 1 or 2 have shown up for meals. We seem to be back to our routine. Charcoal Grey turned up Friday evening for her first meal since the storm. Brother came through the backyard earlier today looking for food.

Friday evening, Artie served dinner for me when he returned from work. Afterwards, he happily related that he had his first 'conversation' with the Norwegian Forest Cat. Apparently, while Artie talked to him the cat stayed put and kept answering everything Artie said with a meow. He also ate with his back to Artie as Artie went through the process of changing the water and filling the other food dishes.

A real surprise for the both of us! At least he seems to be getting comfortable with us and what we're doing for him and the others. I'm curious to see what develops...

Friday, November 2, 2012


Another month has come and gone yet there isn't a day I don't think about Buddy. Lately, I've been ruminating on his personality traits. All the little things he did that made him uniquely Buddy and endeared him to my heart.

As I've mentioned many times before, Buddy was an incessant talker. The house was never quiet with him around. He talked constantly about everything. First thing every morning, he would be sitting by my head talking to me, no doubt telling me to get up and feed him breakfast. Whenever you passed him, he would have a meow for you. Never could I ever conceive of getting the last word. Whatever I said to him was met with another meow which would go on forever until I gave up and let him have the last meow.

Somebody once said cats only like what they ate yesterday and that kinda pertained to Buddy. His food of choice was Deli Cat; that was all he ate unless he had an opportunity to snag some turkey or tuna stealing both out of your plate. After his diagnosis of renal failure, his eating habits changed. He preferred wet food, going off dry food completely. He remained picky eating only one kind of renal food fresh from the can but not after it was refrigerated. He ate pouch food and people food. Buddy also craved Chinese roast pork and bok choy gobbling both down with relish. His favorite meals were punctuated by a cacophony of grunts and chomping noises.

Buddy loved to find a comfortable lap to snuggle in at the end of the day. If you had a blanket or throw so much the better. Many an evening Artie or I would watch TV with Buddy on our stomach both of us snuggled under a blanket. Even Annie would find herself a convenient 'cuddle companion' for Buddy if we were busy or not around. On more than one occasion, Buddy would squeeze himself onto the recliner next to Annie. Artie or I would find them together asleep when we returned home.

Mostly I miss his warmheartedness. He loved to be held close to your chest, face-to-face. Sometimes he would reach out with both paws, clasp your cheeks, pull you close and lick your nose. I miss playing tip-your-head. I would say "give me a kiss" Buddy's response would be to lick my nose, then I would say "tip your head" and Buddy would bow his head so I could give him a kiss between his ears. I could cuddle him, cradling his head in my hand, pressing his cheek to mine all the while listening to him purr and purr.

Another month starts without him...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Sandy was THE biggest storm I've ever experienced. The tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) sustained unprecedented damage. Thankfully, loss of life so far is minimal. My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones as well as to those who experienced loss of property.

Our little area of Brooklyn weathered the storm without incident. No flooding or loss of power affected us. We did, however, have 3 downed trees on our block alone. Cleanup is ongoing. 

My cats are starting to re-appear with Silver Grey and baby showing up 2 nights ago. The number climbed to 4 last night with the addition of one of the black cats and the Norwegian Forest Cat. In any event all of the food was gone by late evening yesterday.

Artie took photos yesterday during our cleanup and again early this morning.

First morning after the storm.

Waiting for food.
Early this morning.

I always have to wait.

Where's breakfast?

Can I have my meal, pretty please?