Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pet Detectives Thriving

Interesting piece from the Bay Area about a woman who uses trained dogs to track down missing pets - mainly cats because, as she notes, people notice dogs going by. You ask around the neighborhood and someone saw the dog. But cats are pretty much invisible.

From the Times Herald, Vallejo, California: Bay Area's Ace Pet Detective

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Behavior Evolving... Badly

A growing problem with Leela that I'm not quite sure what to do about. She, as I assume most Bengals, develops new behaviors occasionally, and others fade away. Sometimes this is because we find a way to interrupt them. She used to ping off the walls, leaping up to eye level and sliding down the wall with her claws out. It's great for your security deposit. She stopped that when we got her her tree. Which will get a post of its own soon.

Sometimes these things just stop for no particular reason. She doesn't go off on the toilet paper and unroll a whole roll onto the bathroom floor anymore. (We stopped putting it on the rolls for a while, but we've since started putting it back and she hasn't picked up the habit again.)

But she's just developed something new that's really worrying me. She's started tipping over unattended glasses. Like mostly full glasses. Like mostly full glasses sitting on tables and desks next to important papers and computers.

She's clearly doing it deliberately. The most recent time, I got up and went to the bathroom and she made a beeline for it. I heard the glass go over within seconds. And that's getting perilously close to a dealbreaker for me. So far she hasn't managed to destroy anything important, but that's just luck. And yes, I can try to not leave full glasses sitting around, but sooner or later I, or my wife, or a houseguest, is going to forget. And as I said, this time all I did was go into the bathroom.

I need to do some research because I'm afraid the time is coming where we're going to have to be able to break her of one of her bad habits instead of adjust our own behavior around it. Or else my wife and I are going to have a terrible, terrible fight.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let Sleeping Bengals Lie

From the aptly named Bengal Cats, a gratuitous cat picture worth checking out.

Young Merry snoozes in dignified repose...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Facing Laszlo's Kidney Failure

We had some bad news about Laszlo recently. He was losing weight, and he was drinking and passing water in truly massive amounts. He was obsessed with water, climbing into the shower to lap it up and endlessly yowling at the faucets.

We took him to the vet and the results came back as CRF, or chronic renal failure. Basically, his kidneys were shutting down, which is something that happens with older cats. (Laszlo's about 12 now.)

That was kind of a blow, but thankfully we've been able to manage it so far. The first line of defense was new, low protein food. We worried about a couple of things. Would Laszlo eat it? And would we be able to keep feeding Leela the food she was used to? We were worried we'd have to feed them separately and try to find some way to keep them out of each other's food. Given the way they eat, it would have been next to impossible.

Fortunately, we seem to have lucked out in that regard anyway. Laszlo quickly took to the low protein food and prefers it to what he was getting. Similarly, Leela doesn't seem to want the stuff and sticks to the food she's used to. We just have two little bowls of dry food beside each other now and have never seen any indication of either of them eating out of the wrong bowl. Huge stroke of luck.

The second line of defense is subcutaneous fluids. That was something of a hump for us to get over because it involves sticking Laszlo with a needle. But he needed it, and so we gradually managed to face it down and get it done.

Thankfully, so far at least, it all appears to be working fine. Laszlo hasn't regained the weight he lost, and he's still creating clumps in the litter box the size of coconuts, but he seems to be his regular happy and affectionate self. He doesn't act like a sick cat at all. We have no idea how long that will continue, but for now all is okay.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Catnapped Bengal Recovered Safely

From the Village News in Fallbrook, California, comes this somewhat bizarre story about a local Bengal that briefly ended up on the wrong end of someone's... unique ideas about cat ownership.

Short version: Sheba the Bengal goes missing, owners find her collar in the driveway. The guy who took Sheba apparently took her to a local vet to scan her microchip, then called the owners and demanded a "reward." Negotiations end in an impasse and owners call the Sheriff's department, which gets a warrant and rescues Sheba. This after the guy blows them off when they ask him to just give back the cat. John Feucht now faces charges of theft of an animal for sale or misuse and receiving stolen property.

(What did we learn from this episode children? We learned that telling Sheriff's deputies to "pound sand" is seldom a good idea.)

The strangest part's hard to work out because either Sheriff's department spokesperson Theresa Adams-Hydar expresses herself badly, or the paper mangled the quote. The quote is that Feucht, "basically thought he wasn’t doing anything wrong; he maintained that cats are property, not domesticated animals," Adams-Hydar said. "He knew it was her cat."

I'm not sure how to parse that. If he thought cats are property, then taking someone's property and demanding cash for it is clearly not okay. But I gather what they're driving at is that this guy had it in his head that cats are just kind of there for the taking. I guess a judge will clear that up for him.

(Be sure to click on the photo of Sheba there. It enlarges and she is quite a cat.)


Monday, July 14, 2008

Habits Change. Seldom for the Better

Leela's behavior patterns have shifted as she's matured. She's still a dangerous sociopath. It's just manifesting in different ways.

The most dangerous change that's suddenly appeared is a fascination for tipping over any unattended glasses she finds. Particularly those that are half full and sitting next to things like books and computers.

So far we've been lucky and she hasn't managed to destroy anything important. But we've had to do quite a few rushed cleanups lately. This is an entirely new behavior for her that seems to have just appeared out of nowhere in the last couple months. She always liked glasses with drinks, but until now it's been because of the ice cubes. She loves a game we've taken to calling "objects in water." (We're not all that imaginative.) Basically anything in water, she wants to fish out. This is a pretty standard Bengal thing and we were used to it. This is different. She just walks up and "whack." She hooks the rim with a paw and pulls it right over. She's doing it a lot.

Not sure what to do about it, but something's got to be done or she and I are going to have words.

(oh, hi, by the way)

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