Saturday, November 30, 2013


Lucky and Athena took a break from the festivities to commune with nature on the back deck. Here are the photos from Thanksgiving afternoon.

Athena heading out.

Lucky taking advantage of the sun.

Athena surveying her domain.

Catching a few rays.

Thank you for being a friend...

Friday, November 29, 2013


It's the Friday after Thanksgiving and I still haven't recovered from all the turkey, salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry, cider, the pies and all the noshes.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with our cousins and Aunt. It was time spent in conversation as well as eating and drinking. There was disappointment - Midnight the feral cat did not make an appearance. She's come far in the past year but she's not yet brave enough to venture into a room with people who are guests of her pet parents. Last Thanksgiving she hid from all including her benefactors.

There was delight - Lucky actually sat on Artie's lap and did not smack his hand with her paw for the first time in all the years we know her. Lucky is sixteen now. In years' past she definitely displayed her own brand of cattitude. This year we noticed a distinct mellowing of Lucky's personality. A touch of arthritis in her hind legs has her walking a bit slower with some stiffness. She's more tolerant, actually enjoying cuddling with and getting pets from Artie.

There were even a series of firsts with Athena - she held still for a photo and walked into the family room while we were sitting around talking. She even asked Artie to let her out remembering to hiss at him when he didn't open the door fast enough to suit her. Our day was nothing short of amazing. Upon our return, Annie and Orphée had a great time sniffing the cat smells on our clothes.

Now I'm in a bit of recovery/catch up mode, sated from an excess of turkey and trying desperately to clean up the chores I left undone in order to keep to our holiday travel schedule. The following pictures will introduce everyone to Annie and Orphée's furry cousins.

The Lady Athena allows herself to be photographed.

The adorable Lucky striking a pose.

A more pensive portrait.

Shall we vogue?

Lucky's favorite photo.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


This year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are celebrated on the same day! I don't recall that ever happening before. Hanukkah brings it's own dos and don'ts for keeping our pets safe. Follow my suggestions for a stress and pet emergency free holiday.

Happy Hanukkah!

Image courtesy of digitalart

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Tomorrow is Turkey Day, a day of celebration to get together with family, friends and enjoy good times, good food and drink. It is also a day to be mindful of your furry family members.  I'm repeating my post from last year outlining how to make the day safe for your pets and less stressful for you.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Just because Orphée's eyes are fine now there's always the possibility we will be going through this again at another point in time. I'm reading up on what to look for in order to catch any issues early with Orphée.

Monday, November 25, 2013


There is a strong possibility Annie's eye issues are genetic. Whatever the reason, pet parents need to be aware of eye diseases and diligent in checking their furry family members' eyes. Like us, our pets only have two and isn't it better to do whatever we can to keep their eyes healthy?

Here are some links to get you up to speed on the three eye issues:

You can see the cataract in the eye on the left of the photo.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Friday night Artie and I had a serious discussion about the pros and cons of the various treatment options for Annie's eye issues. After researching her conditions (uveitis, the cataract and lens subluxation) on the internet then talking extensively about everything we decided the best course of action is surgery.

Should the management with eye drops fail we felt the surgery would be inevitable leaving Annie to go through a more complicated surgery when she's older. As a good surgical candidate now with a good chance of recovery with improved eyesight we are willing to opt for the surgery.

I called VERG to schedule a day and time. A return call earlier today confirmed a December 1st date for pretesting and surgery. Annie will stay overnight for monitoring coming home sometime on the 2nd. Recovery will be even more challenging than her cancer surgery. She has to be kept quiet - no running around, no jumping on and off furniture, drops will have to be administered and there will be weekly follow-up visits for I don't know how long.

Crating her was mentioned - we've never done that before but now we need to talk about it. A ramp or steps will be needed to curtail the jumping and of course I'm grounded indefinitely to dispense medicine and keep a strict watch over her.

Strangely enough I'm more concerned about the aftercare than the surgery. So much is riding on keeping Annie quiet. We will face this like we've faced everything else - with determination to do the best we can.

How am I ever going to keep Annie this quiet for weeks?

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The follow-up ophthalmic visit today went better than I anticipated. The inflammation went away almost completely. Annie is doing well. We have to continue with the eye drops but now Artie and I face a decision. Do we continue to pursue a course of medication to treat Annie's eye issues or because of the subluxation and cataract do we put her through surgery.

The doctor feels she is a good candidate for surgery and that she will have a good outcome. The plan is to remove her lens replacing it with an artificial one and anchoring it into place. This will give her improved vision and prevent discomfort and blindness from the lens moving around or pushing forward through the opening in her eye or back into the vitreous of the eye.

If her medical condition is such that it precludes her having an artificial lens, the cataract-clouded lens will be removed leaving her without a lens. This will make her farsighted in one eye. Finally there is always a chance that certain tests will indicate Annie is not a viable candidate for surgery. The doctor assured us this is very rare and most dogs do fine with the surgery. After such surgery there is an increased chance of retinal detachment and glaucoma but the percentage is minimal and the benefits of the surgery far outweigh the risks. Annie's current condition is controlled sufficiently that surgery is not considered an emergency.

We were told to think this over but Artie and I feel there isn't much to think about. The thought of Annie having repeated inflammation and the chance of the lens moving forward or back or detaching completely creating more problems for our little sweetie really leaves us no choice but to opt for surgery now. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Orphee has settled in. Our home is now his home. With the exception of some unacceptable behavior towards Annie the transition from outside to inside cat has been fun to watch.

The first time I ran the vacuum cleaner, Orphee hid under a piece of furniture for four hours. Now he stays put until I vacuum the room he's in moving to another room, no longer hiding under furniture.

My mother's hope chest is a preferred lounging spot. It gives Orphée a clear view of our neighbor's front porch. Often I hear him talking to one of his former outside buddies as they make their way across the porches. And the hope chest is a great place to catch some rays on a sunny day.

A hot pink mouse hangs from a cord in my living room doorway. Orphée spends some time there every day batting that poor mouse around.  The foot of my bed and a section of my couch are covered by his blankets and he knows he is expected to lie on them when he stays on either place.

The funniest thing he does is come running to the kitchen whenever he hears me moving around in that room. He will sit or lounge in the doorway intently watching whatever I'm doing. Sometimes I'm convinced he's going to ask what's cooking or give me instructions on how to complete whatever I'm working on. When it's time to eat he sits by his bowl patiently waiting for his meal.

The sweetest thing he does is lean up to look at you when you're in the recliner waiting for you to tell him it's OK to jump in your lap then Orphée hops up, circles around and makes himself comfortable.

In a little less than a year's time, Orphée has become so comfortable in his new environment. The most amazing thing about all of this is he doesn't look to go out. He goes to the door, sniffs the air at the base then turns around and walks or runs back inside. I guess that's proof positive he's decided he is an outside cat no longer.

This is the life for me!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Everyday I receive a medical ezine from ArcaMax, a news and entertainment website. The following article appeared in my inbox yesterday and I had to include it here. Thank you to King Features Syndicate Inc. for distributing Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen's articles. Also, thank you to ArcaMax for featuring the good doctors articles daily on their website and through emails.

Be as careful in determining what to give your pets as you are determining what to buy for your human family members.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Porch Guy came around to inspect the new front porch and grab a meal. Artie took two photos of him while he walked around checking out the finished job. He's looking pretty good lately. I hope his good health holds through the winter.

I want so much to take him in but with Annie's new health issues and Orphée's quirks and weight problem I'm not sure if it's a wise move. If he takes up winter residence in one of the two shelters at least he will be safer living on our front porch than wherever he's staying now.

One determined tomcat.

He's not fond of the camera flash.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Orphée has been on a diet since his last doctor visit when he weighed in at 16.7 lbs.  He's lost about a pound but it's not enough. We need to weigh him again to determine how he's doing.

Can you believe the amount of weight he's put on in almost a year?

One fat cat!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


No post just some pictures of Orphée.

Waiting for a meal.

Lounging in the sun.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Wednesday morning the entire family was up bright and early. Orphée was the first in the kitchen looking for his breakfast. I fed him to get him out from underfoot then prepared two much-needed cups of coffee to jump-start the systems of our two human family members.

Sleepyhead Annie decided to get up a full 30 minutes after all the activity started. She wandered into the kitchen slowly stretching her legs and torso. Next came the wagging of the tail and her ever sunny expression of anticipation of all good things Annie: her morning romp on the back porch, breakfast, her walk outside. What was unexpected was the blob of peanut butter in a plate (with two pills secreted inside) a definite plus in Annie's opinion and the eye drop in her problem eye (definitely not appreciated).

The day became fun again when Annie realized she was going for a car ride for the second day in a row! Annie loves the car. She spends her time looking for pigeons, babies and other dogs. Her car routine: bark at the pigeons, whine at the babies, bark and whine at other dogs.

We met with the Ophthalmologist discussing all that happened including the previous exam and medications. He explained he needed to redo the tests to make sure there wasn't any change in the pressure in her eyes along with a more in-depth exam. The exam was about the same as a human eye exam. Annie surprised me at how still she sat while the doctor put drops in her eyes then shined a light in them. She became restless when he used a little litmus-like strip with medicine and repeated the test to measure eye pressure but I really couldn't blame her - I barely hold still for that test myself.

Annie has Uveitis, a cataract and lens subluxation of her right eye. Uveitis is inflammation which may be caused by the cataract or the lens subluxation. A systemic cause of the inflammation has not been ruled out but is in the doctor's opinion highly unlikely. As I feared a systemic cause could be metastatic cancer. The eye-drops given the night before were stopped and eye-drops containing a steroid were prescribed. We are to continue with the pain medication. Next Thursday we have a follow-up visit with the Ophthalmologist to determine if the inflammation is under control at which point we will discuss a medical or surgical course of action.

So now I worry about how this will play out. Annie is still Annie, her usual sweet self looking to go out or for more attention, to get cuddles, hugs and pets but giving us a bit of a hard time over the eye-drops.

I'm here! Attention must be paid.

You can see the cataract in Annie's right eye.

All tired out after her busy day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Anyone who reads this post regularly knows I haven't posted for the last two days. Why? Annie had another medical emergency.

Tuesday at suppertime we noticed Annie blinking. Closer examination revealed her eye to be red and tearing with her inner eyelid closed. She was experiencing discomfort. My first thought was that Orphée hit her with his paw getting her in the eye. Maybe Annie managed to get a foreign object such as a hair in her eye or she might have hit her eye while scratching herself. We wasted no time. I called Veterinary Emergency Referral Group to alert them to the problem and that we were on our way. 

Annie is well known there and well liked because of her sweet disposition and Annie loves everyone at VERG. The doctor on call examined her. No cuts or scrapes that ruled out the cat and her scratching. The pressure in both eyes tested normal ruling out Glaucoma. The doctor saw a dark spot in her eye and suggested Annie be examined by an Ophthalmologist. We were given pain medication, eye drops and an appointment for the next day with the specialist along with instructions to put an Elizabethan Collar on Annie as soon as we arrived home.

Artie and I returned home upset and depressed. Lurking in the back of my mind was the thought of a recurrence of the cancer metastasizing to the eyes. Another fear is that whatever is wrong will result in the loss of her eye.

All I know is my sweet, precious girl has been through so much medically enduring it all in stride. It breaks my heart. Annie however weathers it all and still manages to be Annie.

Annie & her Elizabethan Collar. I've lost count of the number of times she's worn it.
Asleep after getting her meds.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Veteran's Day is here once again, our time to honor all who have served their country. Let's remember that also includes canine as well as human veterans.

I'm repeating my previous Veteran and Memorial Day posts in honor of all our brave members of the military.

Have a peaceful Veteran's Day and don't forget to remember those we owe such a debt of gratitude to for defending our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Official poster of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of Orphée doing what cats do best sleeping or just lounging around.  Enjoy the pictures, I do every time I look at them...

My formal portrait.

I'm ready for my closeup.

Gee, Mom's legs make a great bed!

A yoga pose I learned - isn't it great?

Still holding, I'm getting good at this.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I just finished reading Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul: Stories of Feline Affection, Mystery and Charm by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, D.V.M., Carol Kline and Amy D. Shojai.

A box of tissues would have been good to have by my side every time I settled down with this book - inevitably I found some tale to cry over. This book disproves the saying "Dogs have families and cats have staff." and shows how cats in their own mysterious ways wheedle their way into our hearts.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The first week of December will mark Orphée's one year anniversary as a member of this family. My how far we've come!

I'm pinching myself in disbelief. This year passed so quickly. Am I happy we rescued Orphée? Am I happy to have Orphée with us? The answer to both questions is a resounding 'Yes!'  However, I am also a bit sad and disappointed; sad because Buddy is no longer with us; sad that my relationship with Orphée is still shaky. Sometimes he runs away from me. He doesn't talk to me like Buddy did. He only looks for me when he wants food or a lap to sleep in when I'm using the recliner. We’re both disappointed that Annie is still afraid of Orphée and that Orphée tries to bully her, taking the occasional swipe at her. My fervent hope for the next 11 months is for an improvement in their relationship.

Artie and I are contemplating taking in Porch Guy but we're hesitant to add another cat to the mix at this point. Porch Guy likes us. He doesn't run away when we put out food and water or do chores or move about him while he's eating. He will even come and sit next to us but we haven't progressed to touching him or having him come into the front hall. We need to talk about this and decide if we will take this next step adding the additional responsibility of a third inside furry family member. But I digress; for now it appears Orphée is a permanent part of this family. We're thankful to be able to celebrate how far we've come and hopeful for a better rapport in the future.

A beautiful boy owning the recliner (for the moment).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I guess no one was interested in entering the comment contest for a copy of A Dog Named Boo. Not one comment was entered for the post so I've decided to give the copy away. The first copy was mine to keep; the second copy was given to Mar-gray, my first follower. The third copy will be given to a couple I know personally who over the years have rescued cats and given them good lives.

I'll have another contest some time in the future.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Ready for double duty as feral cat bowls.

Caring for an animal can be very expensive. Multiple by 2 and the costs double. Add a feral colony of 5 and you start to look for ways to save money.

I utilize plastic food containers as food and water bowls. This works well for me. Stored in a cabinet in my front hall is a large supply of bowls, trays, lids and utensils all plastic and all ready to be discarded after their contents were consumed.

You can save butter/margarine tubs, takeout containers anything that works. I wash them thoroughly before placing them outside and rinse them everyday using them until I deem them ready to be replaced. This saves some money since I don't have to buy replacement containers or ceramic dishes and I'm getting extra use out of items before they wind up in the recyclable bin.

Clear lids, white & black trays hold food; clear bowl is perfect for water.

Monday, November 4, 2013


This post is long overdue. Annie is now 11 months cancer-free! At this time last year, I never dreamed my precious girl would undergo two major surgeries or we would endure the emotional roller-coaster ride that accompanies a diagnosis of cancer.

As I write this post, Annie is sleeping peacefully in my recliner dreaming whatever dogs dream about. I'm thankful the scare we had last month turned out to be just that - a scare. We're looking forward to a worry-free holiday season and New Year with restored hope that Annie will be with us for many years to come.

I'm dreaming about the doggie cookies you promised to bake for me Mom!

Friday, November 1, 2013


It's late afternoon Friday, the first day of November. The day started out cloudy, windy, dreary and rainy but turned to sunshine as morning became noon. We're into day three of a two-day repair job to our front porch and steps with an incredible mess outside and no end in sight.

October 30th and Halloween night the ferals had to navigate through a mountain of rubble, chopped up wrought iron railings and potted plants to find the set of food and water dishes left out for them. The first to show up was Porch Guy. As soon as the crew knocked off for the day, he was on the hunt for his dinner. Artie just finished setting up the dishes Halloween evening when he showed up so Artie shouted for a special meal of canned food. We both hung out with him awhile with Artie remaining behind while I went in to give Annie and Orphee their evening meals.

Artie called me to check out something Porch Guy did. He was laughing as he pointed out two neatly placed footprints in the middle of the wet cement on our top step. Neatly sidestepping the cement on the way up to dinner, Porch Guy didn't bother to take the long way down the steps when he was done. The next dinner guest to arrive put a second imprint next to the first.

Porch Guy's footprint is on the right.

From a slightly different angle.

We thought this was great! Since we both have a soft spot in our hearts for Porch Guy we decided to leave his footprint in the cement. Artie very carefully smoothed out the second print. His footprint is a great memento for us that adds a nice touch to a house occupied by animal lovers and their furry family members.

Porch Guy enjoying his special meal.

Our new steps.

A work still in progress.