I didn't mean to bring home another cat. Really, I didn't. I just went to the Cat Shoppe to get a bag of Weight Management Cat Food. But, how could I help myself when that tiny orange-gold body twined herself around my leg and then locked on with both claws? I looked down and she gave me the Puss in Boots eyes and before I knew it I was leaving the store with one 15 pound bag of cat food and one 6 pound cat named Crunkers.
Ailurophobia is the fear of cats. As strange as it may seem, some people are actually afraid of those sweet, cuddly little fur-balls. Napoleon, who conquered half of Europe, couldn't bear to be in the room with one and Julius Caesar was said to shy from a whiskered face as well. I've known people who believed having a black cat cross your path was unlucky (or a white one depending on which part of the world from which you hale). And, my Grandmother always told me that finding a cat's whisker was good luck.
Pets can get depressed. I know. I have a sad cat. She's not as sad as she used to be, but she still has periods of depression. She'll lay with her tiny black head resting on her paws and look up at me mournfully as I pass. I can practically hear her sigh. Depression is actually normal in animals, just like it is in humans. It's a normal response to anxiety. No one, I suppose, can be happy all the time. But, prolonged depression can be a sign of illness or can lead to illness itself. But, don't worry, if you do have a sad cat or dog, there are some things you can do to cheer them up.
Morwen was first sad as an adolescent cat. At four months old, she developed mammary hyperplasia and a false pregnancy. The vet recommended that she be spayed immediately and her mammary swelling went down within a few weeks. But, she was sad. Her little body was flooded with hormones that made her highly emotional. She didn't play, she ate less, and she laid listlessly looking out the window. Fortunately, Morwen's unhappiness resolved itself without her having to be given anti-depressants. Once her kitty hormones calmed down, she was back to her usual spider-chasing self. But, I've noticed that she seems to have little bouts of depression. They last a day or so. The vet assures me that there's nothing wrong with her. She's just sad sometimes. If it rains a lot and she can't go out on the deck, if the other cats steal her toys, if I accidentally buy the wrong flavor of cat food, she's liable to plop down on the floor and give me the sad-eyes. She sometimes continues the sad-eyes for a day or two, but then she's okay again. I'm sort of a sad person myself, so I don't fault her for her less than cheerful demeanor.
It all started with a tiny limp. Not much to notice really. I thought she'd bruised her paw pad or twisted her ankle chasing squirrels. Nothing out of the ordinary--nothing that had not happened before. But, the next day, the limp was worse--much worse. Lady had trouble getting out of the cushioned round of her dog-bed. She kept her right back paw practically off the ground when she walked.
I took her to the vet and after a series of x-rays and a thorough examination, the doctor determined she had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. The veterinarian told me that this is an injury common to dogs and that golden retrievers and cocker spaniels, of which Lady is a mix, are especially susceptible to ACL injuries. Rottweilers and cocker spaniels are the most genetically inclined to ACL tears and ruptures. However, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, mastiffs, golden retrievers, miniatures, and toy poodles also are more frequently affected by this injury than other breeds of dogs.
It was a rainy afternoon in mid-March when I first saw her—just a little blackish shape huddled under a bush in my yard. I peered out the window, wondering if she were real or just a bit of foliage pushed down by the rain. "Is that a cat?" my husband asked. "It think it is," I said. But, when I opened the door to investigate, the tiny form ran into the trees at the end of the yard. I called, thinking she might be one of my neighbors' roaming cats, but she never came.
The next day, I set out cat food and water in bowl by the garage. I never saw her, but in the morning the food was gone. Of course, it could've been birds, I thought, or Ryder, my neighbor's fat orange Tom, who reckons any food left standing out belongs to him by right. But, after a week of leaving out food and water, I began to see a pattern. The food was only eaten after 7:00 PM. And, sometimes, later, when I was walking my cocker spaniel Lady, I would see a tiny shape at the end of the yard with big, golden eyes. When Lady and I advanced, she ran into the tree line. Still, I could definitely see that she was a cat and a very small one at that.
It seems that all those years your mother told you, "Be sure to clean your ears!"-- she was right. Clean ears are the key to good hearing health, not just in humans, but in canines as well. Keeping your furry friend's ears clean is just as vital is brushing his teeth or his yearly veterinary check-up. Under normal circumstances, your dog's ears shouldn't have any problems as long as they are kept clean. And, cleaning is, in most cases, quick and easy. True, some dogs resist their weekly ear cleaning. But, in most cases, their reaction is to the stinging that comes from alcohol based cleansers.