Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet the critters

Since moving in with my mom my furry family has increased quite a bit!  Today I wanted to share my furred and feathered family with you ;-)  If you know anything about me I'm sure you've seen my handsome Maine Coone cat, Calcifer.   I love this sweet cat so much.  He's so affectionate and loving and knows just when I need those kitty cuddles!  I know it will take him a while to feel completely comfortable in his new home since he's a bit shy and very sensitive.  Both he and Ginko have their own room (my bedroom) where they can hang out in safety and comfort.  Calcifer still gets nervous when he hears the dogs barking (especially the big German Shepherd that doesn't like cats), but he's much calmer about it than when he first got here.  He has several "safe spots", including his scratching posts (which have little houses on the bottom), the closet, and the one cupboard.  I know it's important for cats to have safe places to hide, both cave-like spots and places where they can be up high.  I positioned the scratching posts so the cats can lookout the window and also easily hop up onto the high shelf in the closet.  It will take time, but eventually I think Calcifer will become more comfortable roaming the rest of the house (with the big dog safely locked up while the cats are out).
Then there's my funny Ginko, who will be a year old in about a month.  Ginko is my little clown, and this is one of my favorite poses from him ;-)  He's much more laid back than Calcifer and seems to be taking things in stride.  He loves lounging on the closet shelf during the day and can look out the window and watch all the insects and animals outside from his high perch.  He's good for Calcifer too, keeping him calm and telling him everything is all right.  Of course Ginko was the first one to venture out of the bedroom and check out the rest of the house, coming back into the room a few times to tell Calcifer about all that he had seen.  And I think Ginko has a bit of a crush on Mother's cat, Miss Kitty. ;-)  He's just fascinated by her, although she wants nothing to do with him and hisses every time she sees him.  He doesn't take it personally though, just gives her a bit of space and watches her intently.  Both my cats are very kind and loving and have no desire to fight with any of the other animals here.  Once Miss Kitty lets her guard down a bit I'm sure all the cats will be friends.
And this is Miss Kitty.  She's a tiny little thing, especially compared to my big boys!  She was wandering around Mother's apartment complex in Phoenix and was quite friendly with everyone.  Of course it was no easy life for her and she constantly had to fight for food and try to avoid the advances of all the tom cats in the area (which is why she doesn't like other cats- none have been very nice to her in the past).  Although several other people in the complex tried to get her to come into their apartments, the only one she would enter was Mother's.  When Mother realized the cat was pregnant she managed to keep her inside so she wouldn't have her kittens outside where they might become prey to the other animals.  Miss Kitty had a litter of 3 adorable kittens a few weeks later and Mother found good homes for all of them once they were weaned.  And Miss Kitty slowly discovered that she liked being a house cat, even though she was quite capable of defending herself outdoors.  Mother brought the cat with her when she moved to the house in Prescott and now Miss Kitty has her own room here, which doubles as my craft room ;-)  In a few months my brother and sister-in-law will be taking her to Roseville CA to live with them.  Sarah is going through critter withdrawal and has already gotten to know and like the cat, so it's a very good solution for everyone.  And Miss Kitty will then have free run of their whole apartment, which she will really enjoy!
Then we've got the dogs.  First there's Reisha, the German Shepherd.  She was a DEA drug dog and had gotten shot while on duty.  Instead of putting her to sleep her owner retired her and kept her as a pet.  Mother first met the officer and Reisha while working for FEMA during the floods in Louisiana.  He was unable to keep her and asked if Mother wanted to take the dog back with her.  Being the soft hearted animal lover that she is, Mother couldn't turn away an animal in need.  Reisha is a wonderful, intelligent, and protective dog (I definitely feel safer with her guarding me and the house!).  The only issues she has are that she doesn't like cats (which is why we keep them separated) and that she's scared of thunderstorms, which is understandable after going through the hurricane.  She is actually much better about thunderstorms here in the new house than she was in Phoenix.  She gets scared, but as long as both Mother and I are within her sight she doesn't seem to totally freak out like she used to.  We think she may feel as though she needs to protect us from the storms.  And we think that she's less stressed in this neighborhood than she was in the apartment.
Next is the Italian Greyhound, Little Beast.  She's another dog that Mother rescued, this time from an abusive home.  Her original owner was a nasty drunk and the poor dog was a neurotic mess when Mother got her.  It took many months before Little Beast could even enjoy being petted, and it was a long time before she would actually play.  Abuse comes in many forms, and it's likely that this dog suffered psychological as well as physical abuse.  She's so much better now, and enjoys playing with Miss Kitty as well as the other dogs (and she actually plays more like a cat than a dog!).  She's very affectionate and just loves going for walks, especially now that I'm here and we can walk both her and Reisha at the same time.  She's very good with cats and I thnk eventually she'll be good friends with Ginko and even my shy Calcifer.  When Miss Kitty had her kittens Little Beast played babysitter while they roamed the house ;-)
And there's the Pit Bull puppy, Puperoni.  She's yet another rescue.  Mother actually helped deliver her and spent 20 minutes trying to get her to breathe.  The pup's mother belonged to a neighbor who really knew nothing about dogs.  He came to Mother all the time for advice on dogs, although he ignored most of it.  He also had a tendency to leave for days at a time and didn't usually leave enough food for the dogs.  Since Puperoni was the runt of the litter she was always the last to eat and rarely got enough food.  Then he left for at least a week one time and when he got back not only was this pup starving, but she was very, very sick.  Turns out she had gotten into some of his drugs and had been poisoned.  This was when Mother simply took the dog.  She certainly would have died if she had stayed with the guy.  It was touch and go for the first several days, but Mother managed to bring the dog back from the brink of death and after a week or so she started putting on some weight.  By the time she moved here (about  1 1/2 months later) Puperoni was a frisky, silly puppy.  Mother had planned to find a good (emphasis on GOOD) home for the pup, but was having trouble finding a reliable shelter or foster program.  She didn't want the dog to end up in a bad home.  Try as I might, I couldn't help falling in love with this dog.  She's calm, and sweet, and friendly, and intelligent (and all the things some people seem to think a pit bull can't be).  So the other day Mother and I decided she'd make a good dog for me.  So after more than 16 years without a dog (the ex wouldn't let me have one), I now have my own  dog again.  And I just adore this gentle little clown :-)
And last but not least we have the cockatoo, Tequila. She ended up being my brother's bird when the family they lived with in Wyoming didn't feel like taking care of her (so essentially another rescue).  She stayed with Mother when my brother moved into an apartment because there wasn't much room and Tequila was pretty happy where she was at.  I don't have any experience with birds, but I am learning how intelligent and funny they can be.  I definitely respect her space and haven't actually touched her yet.  These birds can do a lot of damage with those sharp beaks and claws if they want to.  Tequila accidentally spit Mother's thumb nail when they were playing, and has left a few other scars, all accidents, but clear evidence of the power in that beak.  I would NOT want to make one of these birds angry with me!  I do enjoy interacting with her though.  She's very social and likes it when I talk to her and work in her room (right now that's where we're putting things we still have to organize).  She loves it when I use her spray bottle to mist her feathers, and when I start dancing around she dances too ;-)  When she says she's ready, I'll pet her, but not before then.
So that's the zoo I'm living with now, and I absolutely love it!  Being surrounded by animals is pure Heaven for me :-)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodenss! Surrounded by furbabies (and feathers, too) Now I realize where your tender heart and love for animals came from. God bless your sweet mom! I am so happy for you Michelle. You sound so happy in your new home. You deserve the best, sweetheart.
    God bless you!
    Linda (button)