Sunday, August 26, 2007

Part of the Pack

Hard playing deserves equally hard napping, and Venus has proven that she is no slouch at either.  She puts forth 100 percent when she plays and 100 percent when she naps, and is quite the little CUDDLEBUG then as well!

 

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She has also definitively ingrained herself as part of the family "pack" now, endearing herself to Spyder sufficiently for him to happily play the role of kitten pillow.

 

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She and Andy have also officially bonded now, apparently having become best buddies!

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Kitten Pillow

Kitten Pillow

Cuddlebug

Cuddlebug

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fair Game

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Andy is jumping for joy since Venus has decided she likes him and is ready to play with him now!  The vet's office removed her spay sutures yesterday evening and her incision appears to have completely healed.  She is so happy to have those itchy threads gone (and so are we!) and the two kitties have spent the better part of the evening either playing together with their toys, getting petted by mom and dad, or just lounging around in the beanbag after a hearty meal.  Yeah, LIFE'S GOOD.

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Life is Good

Life is Good

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Itchy and Scratchy

I know from experience that the healing process of sutures is an itchy one, particularly as healing gets closer to completion.  Venus's spay sutures have been no exception and she is now wanting to chew her stitches.  After speaking with my vet's office, I tried the many helpful suggestions they provided to encourage Venus not to chew.  As you can see in many of the PHOTOS, I've tried tee-shirts to cover the incision, "tube" style collars, E-collars, socks with the toe cut out to cover the incision line, etc.  She is growing so fast that the prior E-collar Steve had made her was no longer preventing her from reaching the stitches, and she found ways around the other options - she's quite the clever girl!  So last evening Steve made her a new E-collar from the same comfy packing foam as before, only this time with a bit longer "cone", and this seems to be working beautifully.  Since tomorrow morning will be 10 days post-spay, we plan to call our vet to see if the sutures can go ahead and come out.  Her incision appears to be completely healed at this point, so that really the only way you can even tell it's there is by seeing the suture thread itself.

We have been allowing Venus to come out of her crate at will pretty much anytime we're here to supervise her, and she and Andy have really become best buddies.  They play together, sleep next to one another, and drink together.

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I still have to feed them separately because Andy thinks kitten food is just yummy, but I think once Venus has progressed to the "all life stages" food Andy eats, they will be fine eating together since he is happy to let her sit right next to him while he eats.  Venus also just loves "her" dogs, and they think she's pretty cool, too.

She still enjoys sitting on our laps and being petted, and during one of these petting sessions, I noticed that she has the cutest little light grey "heart" on the back of each ear!  The photo doesn't show them very clearly even though they are quite vivid in person, because my little cheapie camera doesn't do the best job at close-ups, but you can sort of make them out along the outer edges of her ears.

hearts

Heart Ears

Heart Ears

Playing Together

Playing Together

Friday, August 17, 2007

Scratching Post

Scratching Post

Playtime Bonding

Since Venus appears now to have accepted Andy as her buddy, she is being allowed to stay outside the kennel to PLAY for longer periods of time.  In fact, she is allowed out of the kennel most of the time when we're home to supervise her, generally only going back in when we're at work or otherwise away from home or asleep at night (or when she is getting too wild and needs a "break", at least until her sutures are removed next week).

She and Andy actually seem to be becoming true buddies now, playing happily together with their toys.  They both are particularly fond of the "ring" cat toy which seems to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

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She is still figuring out the whole scratching post thing and exactly how that works, but I'm sure she'll get it eventually.  Perhaps Andy will explain that process to her this weekend!

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Andy also has been showing Venus good hiding places from the dogs, as well as bringing her some of his other favorite toys.  They spend a lot of time together, and she looks to him for guidance when faced with things out of the ordinary such as an unfamiliar noise, etc., just like a big brother!  They play chase, "pawing" games (fortunately with no claws out), and "Halloween cat", and Andy even lets Venus play "pounce" on him without getting upset.  She really likes all the toys he's showed her, but one of her favorites remains the "tail"...

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The Tail Game

The Tail Game

Ring Toy

Ring Toy

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Venus and Her Siblings

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 Since Venus has virtually stopped with the grumbling and hissing and has actually even been friendly and happy appearing, we let her come into the kitchen for a bit, under our close supervision of course, to visit with her siblings.  Venus decided that the "big kid" water bowl was just fascinating, and Spyder is perfectly content to dine next to her.  She is completely at ease around the dogs and they have already very easily accepted her into the family "pack" - naturally with such a size difference we continue to monitor all interactions between them though, at least until she is older, bigger and her spay incision has completely healed.

Steve and I continue to have "quality time" petting sessions with her a few times a day, once in the mornings before we leave for work, and then a couple of times in the evenings after we get home and before bed.  She really seems to enjoy those, and lately has even been letting Andy get in on the attention as well, with no growling, hissing or aggressive swatting!

Andy himself has just been the most amazing little gentleman.  He has continued to show absolutely no signs of aggression, resentment, jealousy or anxiety, remaining the calm, sweet, loving little boy he has always been.  In fact, even Venus seems to be coming around to realize just what a special and loving friend he is.  New photos are HERE and the earlier ones remain HERE.

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Venus and Andy

Venus and Andy

Venus and Spyder

Venus and Spyder

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Custom Collar

Custom Collar

Adjustments

Today marks the second full day of Venus living with us.  We have moved her kennel into the living area of our home and changed her kitty litter to the "pearls" type to hopefully stop her from licking her spay incision suture line.  She slept quite well last night, has a good appetite for food and water, and her bowels and bladder appear to be working normally.  She has been playing with her jingly ball toys and even pulled the cloth I had wiped Andy with into her crate and slept with it overnight.  However, she still grumbles and swats at him anytime he gets too near her kennel.  Surprisingly enough, though, she will let Spyder actually touch noses with her and offers absolutely no irritability toward him at all.  I guess that could be perhaps because he is a dog and is much, much larger than her, but she shows no evidence of any fear or or timidity toward him.  Of course, she shows no fear toward anything - she just apparently isn't ready yet for Andy to share any of her personal space.

This morning, she started licking her sutures just a little bit again, so to hopefully distract her until we can get her a surgical collar this afternoon, I placed a hanging scratcher in the corner of her kennel and also hung an elastic swinging feather cat toy from the ceiling bars.  She seems to enjoy the swinging feathers a lot.

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This afternoon, Steve, ever the handyman, made her a surgical collar (complete with a Velcro closure!) from a soft comfortable foam that was used as packing for his bicycle.  It actually appears to be working quite well at keeping her away from her incision line while still allowing her to eat and drink, and she has been surprisingly accepting of it.

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She also continues batting her ball toys around the kennel and really enjoys her petting sessions, but naturally starts to cry just a tiny bit as soon as I close her kennel door afterwards.  This gradually stops after a couple of minutes, but it sure does break my heart to to have to shut her in.  I have to be strong, though, because I know she is not ready to be turned loose in the house yet, with a fresh surgical incision, still being so small in a house with two large, albeit friendly, dogs and a large cat who she is not yet completely tolerating.

We did let her out into the kitchen for a short bit this afternoon while Andy was in the spare bedroom birdwatching from a favorite window, so she could explore just a little and spend some quality time with her new "Mom" and "Dad" (and, of course, the ever-present Spyder), which she seemed to enjoy a lot.  I think it was a nice break for her, and she even went willingly back into her kennel after the brief respite from "captivity".

Andy, though, being the quintessential gentleman and friendly lapcat that he is, still can't understand why she seems to like everyone but him, but fortunately it doesn't seem to have affected his sweet disposition.  He remains as loving toward us and "his" dogs as ever and hasn't demonstrated any evidence of jealousy or resentment toward Venus, the dogs or us.  Poor sweet guy!

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Hopefully Venus will very soon come to appreciate Andy for the absolutely wonderful friend he wants to be for her.  He is trying so hard to convince her that he wants to be her buddy.  He seems to be making a real effort not to appear threatening or intimidating toward her in any way, and he seems genuinely concerned when she cries for more attention after her petting sessions.  I hope that it won't be too long before Venus comes around and decides Andy is worthy of her friendship, because he most definitely is.

Sad Eyes Andy

Sad Eyes Andy

Swinging Feathers

Swinging Feathers

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Next Day

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  Venus awoke this morning around 5:15, climbed on top of her carrier/bed and yowled for a while until I got up to go pet her.  At this point, she was still somewhat groggy and irritable from her surgery and would periodically growl and hiss randomly.  She finally went back to sleep about a half-hour later.  By this afternoon, however, she has been up and summoning petting sessions from both myself and Steve, to which she responds with monstrous purring that belies her tiny size!  She has had a couple of small meals of dry kitten crunchies and some water, and has had a couple of big tinkles as well as a normal looking "poop".  She is using her litter box and playing with some of her toys - she likes the jingly balls the best.  I rubbed Andy with a washcloth and laid it near Venus' bed for her to accustom herself to his scent (that is the green towel you see in the picture just outside her carrier).  She initially was granted the run of our bedroom while Andy, Spyder and Zoe were happily "confined" to the remainder of the house, which was fine with them since the living room is where they spend most of their time anyway.

Andy's former foster mom came by to visit all the animals this evening and of course, it was at this time that Venus decided her litter box was a great place to sleep which prompted itching of her abdominal incision and subsequently some chewing at the sutures.  On Kathy's advice, we moved Venus' kennel into a quiet corner of the living room where she could see and be seen by the other animals but still be protected by the wire cage which would hopefully distract her from her itchy sutures.  Steve also went out and picked up some of the "pearls" type cat litter since she did not like the shredded stuff and we feared the clumping variety might be causing some of the incisional itching (Venus really likes to throw the litter around!).  This seems to be effective, as she has not slept in her litter box or even looked at her incision line since we changed to the "pearls" litter.

So far, things have been pretty calm since the change of scenery for the new kitty, with virtually no growling or hissing at the dogs when they come to see her.  Also, the grumbling and hissing exchanged between her and Andy is diminishing dramatically, with them now spending most of the time either doing their own thing in opposite ends of the room, or just lying down watching each other curiously, with only the very occasional weak hiss.

At present, though, most everyone seems more interested in napping in their respective areas than anything else, especially following a huge open-mouth yawn! 

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Yawn

Yawn

Waking Up

Waking Up

Friday, August 10, 2007

The First Evening

p8100086  Surprisingly enough, the veterinarian who performed Venus' spay procedure this morning released her to come home with us late this afternoon.  She is still quite groggy and wobbly this evening as well as understandably irritable.  She has spent the first couple of hours here sleeping in her travel carrier inside her protective kennel in our quiet bedroom, away from the paws of her curious new brothers and sister, but still within smell.  We have been very careful to be at least, if not more than, as affectionate and attentive to Andy, Spyder and Zoe as usual today to reassure them of their exalted status in the household.  Both dogs have been surprisingly nonchalant about the whole "new kitty" thing, while Andy has been cautiously curious but no one has shown even the slightest hint of aggression - well, except Venus herself who will occasionally hiss if someone stares at her too long or gets too close.  However, I understand that totally in light of her postsurgical/anesthetic haze.  She did look up when I came in to take her picture, but is still really sleepy so I just snapped a couple of quick shots and then left her alone to continue her nap.  We've been checking on her about every hour, just to make sure she is not in great distress and so far she seems about as I would expect after surgery.  Our regular vet is aware of her and has given us her emergency numbers in case we have any questions or need any advice or anything, but I think Venus will be just fine and hopefully back to her usual self within the next couple of days.  I'm glad that our resident animals seem so comfortable with her being here and I think once she recuperates sufficiently to interact with them, it's going to be a lot of fun around here!

Sleeping it off

Sleeping it off.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Countdown to the New Arrival!

After much careful consideration and discussion, we've decided we're ready to adopt another cat from Franklin County Humane Society.  We visited a couple of their rescue kitties, but the one who won our hearts was Benita.  She just doesn't look like a Benita to us, though, so we have renamed her Venus which means love and beauty.  She is going in for her spay procedure tomorrow morning and will probably be ready to come home the following morning after an overnight observation period at the animal hospital.  She's a gorgeous grey tabby who is quite bold and very comfortable with both large dogs and cats, and is just a sweetheart.  To provide her safe refuge during her postsurgical recovery period since she is young and still a bit small, we have set up a kennel for her in our bedroom.  As you can see, Andy is quite interested in this new arrangement and seems completely prepared to be the welcoming committee for his new playmate!

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The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee checks out the kennel.