Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Yesterday was a day for some "spring cleaning" of sorts. Annie, Orphée and I spent it sorting through news articles and old magazines.  More to the point, I sorted through news articles and old magazines while Annie and Orphée kept me company.

By the end of the day Orphée was coughing a bit. This morning I woke up with a bit of a headache because old magazines collect dust and I am allergic to dust. Orph must be sensitive to it as well.

Spring is a time of change and renewal; a time for coming out of winter hibernation and it is a time of increased activity for our furry friends. Annie has begun her usual "in again, out again Finnegan" ritual of going in and out to patrol, sit and sun herself on the back porch. This also means longer walks to make up for the restrictions of winter. Especially now, at Annie's age, she needs her exercise. Once summer is here, the schedule will have to change back to shorter, earlier walks to avoid the hottest part of the day.

And with spring come allergies. Annie, I believe, has food allergies but that is another issue entirely. Orphée may have dust allergies so what does that mean? It means a new diligence in keeping the house clean. Also, I will have to be very mindful of his reaction to the environment once the pollen count shows up in our daily weather reports.

What can you do for seasonal allergies? Brush your furry family members everyday to remove pollen, dust, dirt and grime from their coats. Licking and ingestion of pollutants goes hand-in-hand; you want to do whatever you can to prevent it. A bath for my canine sweetie is a good idea; I won't try that with Orphée since cats generally do not take to water. If your pet has real issues such as itching and watery eyes, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. Keep the house cleaner, keep the windows shut during the morning when the pollen count is highest, defer walks until later in the day, continue daily brushing and if the veterinarian prescribes medicine for your pet's allergies, make sure to administer it according to instructions. If you are inclined, checking holistic solutions might be a good course for you to take.

Spring brings the highest pollen levels as grasses start to grow and plants and trees start to flower. Rain drops the pollen levels - I always envision the rain washing the pollen from the air; dry, windy weather exacerbates the problem.  Remember there are plants that pollinate all year long so your pet (or you) might experience year-round allergy symptoms.

Follow some or all of these suggestions and I know you and your furry friends will enjoy an allergy-free spring! 

Friday, April 12, 2013


The work week has gotten away from me as so many of my work weeks do.  There's never enough time for everything that needs to be done or everyone that needs my attention. Grateful as I am that Annie is healthy once again, Orphée is adjusting nicely and the outside gang keeps showing up regularly for meals the reality is tending to all their needs takes up quite a bit of time.

The remainder of my time is taken up with all the other chores one needs to tackle in life - cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, paying bills as well as projects we set for ourselves such as organizing paperwork, eliminating clutter and re-organizing our living space for efficiency's sake. None of these items are easy tasks nor are they accomplished in a short amount of time. So is it any wonder that I generally fall asleep in front of the TV while watching the news or a movie? Or worse yet, while reading a book? Sometimes I yearn for Hermione Granger's Time Turner so I can cram 48 hours into 24.

On the furry front we have had some definite progress. Orphée isn't hissing at Annie anymore nor is he taking any swipes at her. Yesterday evening was a definite milestone. While Annie was sprawled out on the couch, Orphée sniffed her, jumped up, settled down and used her forearm as a pillow. Annie decided to curl up when Orphée got up re-positioning himself by backing his butt into Annie's butt. They both fell asleep in that position. Neither of them pay attention to any food bowls except their own although they do sneak an occasional drink from the other's water.

The biggest breakthrough happened a few days ago when Annie started to play and broke out into a run. She ran right up to Orphée stopping dead in her tracks. Orphée held his ground; they both leaned in to smell each other's noses and that was it! Annie's bursts of energy are no longer an issue for Orphée.

This is great progress although Orphée has a long way to go before he's completely acclimated. There are many strange, unnerving sights and sounds that are part of indoor living. Just when I think we are on an even keel, something unexpected scares poor Orphée and I'm left to wonder what's going on. But those incidents are the subject of another post.

Monday, April 8, 2013


It's a beautiful Monday morning. Brooklyn is experiencing spring! The meteorologist is promising temperatures in the mid-60s and we have a cloudless bright blue sky. Everyone's spirits seem to be uplifted by the wonderful weather.

Annie's energy levels are back in force. She's happy, energetic and playful. For the first time I can see she is back to her old self. Orphée is so adorable. His personality emerges more each day as he becomes accustomed to life as part of an indoor family.

The big surprise of the day occurred when I woke up to find Orphée sprawled out at the foot of my bed. All four paws in the air, belly exposed and looking for all the world like a discarded stuffed toy there he was sound asleep. This is a momentous event as anyone who has taken in a outside cat will attest. Orphée is letting down his guard, becoming more comfortable with both me and Annie.

At the moment the pecking order on Orphée's likability scale is as follows:


Artie is definitely Number 1 in Orphée's estimation. When Artie's around Orphée follows him like a faithful puppy. When Artie comes home from work, Orphée runs to the door to greet him. Me? Forget me, when I approach Orphée to pick him up he runs away. He talks constantly to Artie. When Artie's not here, he talks out the window to the ferals; he doesn't talk to me unless of course it's time to eat or his food dish is empty. At those moments of great concern he will seek me out, talk a bit then sit patiently watching to make sure I do his bidding.

Poor Annie loves Orphée desperately and is doing her best to make friends. She misses Buddy. They were pals playing together, eating together, sharing food and water bowls, sleeping together. Buddy would let her sniff him; Annie would let Buddy lick her face. I know my sweet girl misses him very much. Orphée's having none of this. He eyes her suspiciously, when she runs around he hisses and swipes at her. A few times we thought he was getting ready to chase her in a bid for domination; we broke it up. We've also had to break up the occasional staring match.

So where do we stand? Annie has learned to give Orphée a wide berth, she will change direction instead of trying to get him to move out of her way. I'm not happy with this but for now we're working with it. Both of us will continue to work with Orphée until he learns to tolerate Annie, staying calm when she runs or barks. Don't get me wrong there is a definite improvement in Orphée's behavior since we took him in but we're only half way there and I can't wait until we have a totally normal fully integrated household again whatever that is!

Friday, April 5, 2013


And with that thought in mind, I decided to join the 2013 Ultimate Blog Party hosted for the seventh year in a row by 5 Minutes for blog. A great idea for bloggers and readers-of-blogs to find other sites in the blogosphere to visit, I came across UBP 2013 while reading a post at a blog I follow faithfully.

Let me introduce myself. I'm Barbara - Brooklyn Pet Mom. There are plenty of Moms in the world only some of us have kids with paws and tails. That's what my blog 8 Paws and 2 Tails is all about - my experiences as a pet mom and all the trials, tribulations and unconditional love that come with having pets for kids.

Let me tell you about my kids. When I started blogging it was with the intention to share my experiences caring for my Maine Coon Tabby mix, Buddy, a cat with a chronic disease (renal failure). Since that time the blog has expanded to include my dog Annie's recurring urinary tract infections and her recent cancer surgeries.

Along the way, I've added any news article or information I've found interesting, useful or just plain fun - all animal related of course.  With the loss of Buddy, the blog expanded again to include my experiences with managing Buddy's illness during his terminal stage, dealing with euthanasia, cremation and the stages of grief. 

Currently 8 Paws and 2 Tails chronicles my brother Artie's and my decision to join Neighborhood Cats, become TNR certified, our experiences managing a feral colony of 6 and our decision to rescue one of the colony by making him the newest member of our indoor family. Christened Orphée, this 15-pound Main Coon mix upstart has been diagnosed as FIV+ and we are slowly getting him house, people and Annie-acclimated.

So welcome to my site! If you like what you read, visit with us awhile or better yet follow us! Leave a comment - let me know what you like, what you don't like and what you'd like to read about. And check out the UBP for other great blogs.

Buddy & Annie, definitely not the partying type.

Orphée, happy to join the party!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


As I mentioned in my takeaway blog, Annie's medical issues were by no means over. After much battling, we finished her course of antibiotics and a mere 2 and 1/2 days later there was blood in her urine.

Artie and I were very concerned that a recurrence of her urinary tract infection happened so quickly. Then again, I was concerned the recurrence was an indication of cancer elsewhere in her body. To think Annie went through all she did only to find she wasn't cancer-free was too much to bear.

We called emergency to tell them we were bringing Annie in for a recurrence and to find out  if we could also meet with the Oncologist a week early. If we could get to emergency by 4 PM, the Oncologist would see her for her 3-month visit and another doctor would see her for the blood in the urine recurrence.

Off the 3 of us went. A few hours later, we were home after meeting with 3 doctors, 2 examinations, 3 x-rays, a sonogram, drawing of urine and a 14-day round of a new antibiotic. Now we were very apprehensive - the x-rays turned up several calcifications on Annie's lungs, a sometimes marker of metastatic cancer. Now we had to wait not only for the results of a urine culture but for results from a Radiologist reading of the x-rays.

Easter was about a week away - another holiday spent wondering what was going to happen. In the meantime, life with Orphée was definitely developing in new, interesting directions. The trick was to get through to the diagnosis without undue stress for Annie (or ourselves) and continue to integrate Orphée into the routine of family life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Today is April 2 - one year since Buddy lost his battle with renal failure. With Annie's health issues and Orphée's rescue, neuter and FIV+ status, I neglected to mark Buddy's March anniversary.

It's been an unbelievable year.  Who would have thought a scant 12 months later we would rescue another cat only to have to deal with FIV or that Annie would undergo two cancer surgeries? Did I think I would be taking care of a feral colony or that I would even consider doing so?

Many changes in such a short time. One thing will never change - how much I miss Buddy. I was not a lover of cats before my little man came into my life. He really exhibited the best of feline qualities. I miss conversing with him. For every sentence I uttered he had an answering meow. He was extremely generous with his kisses and he loved to cuddle. Our games of 'Tip-your-head-give-me-a-kiss' I truly miss. Being a cat, he was demanding but in a decidedly non-annoying way.

Of course, I love Orphée but it's not the same. Orphée is not Buddy; he's Orphée a distinct personality and we are still feeling our way towards a relaxed relationship.

So Buddy I mark your one-year anniversary with a sense of loss and sadness but I turn towards the next year with hope that I can do for Annie and Orphée what I did for you; give them both long, healthy lives in spite of their health issues.

Buddy in his favorite spot.