Thursday, 24 May 2012

Diary of 2 Cats: Kitten Edition (Part 3)

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to do too many cat meet-and-greets in the last few days. Tiger's been sneezing out mucus and is still recovering from an eye infection, so we decided to hold off the meetings until after he's completely better. We didn't want to risk Pepper catching anything from him.

The good news is, Tiger survived his first visit to the vet's office! He meowed a little bit on his way out of the apartment, but by the time we got there, he was pretty relaxed. He nearly fell asleep in his carrier a couple of times. The vet gave us some medication (for his sneezing) and an ointment (for his eye infection). Let me tell you, trying to force feed a kitten his medication, is like playing a game of tug of war twice a day! (Three times, if you include trying to force his eye open, and putting the ointment on it.) It's ridiculous, but it has to be done. I really hope it will pay off in the long run, and he recovers soon enough. I'm waiting for the day my two kitties can come together and coexist.

They still keep playing together through the door crack. It's so cute to watch, and it keeps me hopeful. However, I think I was wrong about Pepper being the dominating cat. Pepper is now just being curious, but the few times we did bring the cats together, Tiger was the one who kept pawing at Pepper every time he walked by. So, the tiny, cute, adorable little kitten could end up being the boss! One of my main concerns was having two male cats in the same house, I didn't want Pepper to start spraying. Thank God, I didn't get any of that. He's behaving, and for the most part, doing his own thing, going about his day, minding his own business.

Tiger is very cuddly. He loves cuddling right up to our faces and sleeping on our chest(s.) I'm a little reluctant to let him do this right now, since he's already sneezed on us a few times. (Gross, I know...)

In a way, we have the best of both worlds. One nice, gentle cat who is not very cuddly and one super cuddly cat who is a bit of a fighter.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Twenty Pounds Down, Twenty To Go.

I gained a lot of weight over the last several years. I always wanted to lose it off, but struggled to do so, until now. In the last six months or so, I managed to lose close to twenty pounds. The heaviest I've ever been was 183 pounds. When I stepped on the scale and saw that number, I thought to myself: I'm just seventeen pounds away from 200, I better do something about it, and I better do it fast.

I've been pretty good overall, and I'm following all the rules. I drink a lot of water through out the day, including a large glass of water before every meal (this technique is supposed to help fill you up, forcing you to eat less. Meanwhile, also keeping you hydrated.) I haven't taken anything out of my diet, I am eating anything and everything, but the trick is portion control. I'm using measuring cups and measuring spoons all day long to make sure I don't go over the recommended serving size. I'm consuming fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I do allow myself to have dessert every now and then. But when I do, I'll only have a little to satisfy my craving. I've replaced drinking fruit juices, with drinking more herbal teas (green teas, fruit teas, etc.) When eating out, I'll have part of my meal, and take the rest home in a doggy bag to eat the next day.

I will say this, as much as I try to work out everyday, I do sometimes get lazy. I'm supposed to go to the gym for a one hour workout everyday, but some days I skip and end up only working out once or twice a week. I do weekly swimming, which I think is also helping.

It took a long time to gain the weight, so I know it will take another several months before I lose the next twenty pounds. I know it will be tough, and I will have to work for it. It's important for me to believe in myself and have will power. Instead of thinking I still have twenty pounds to go, I should remind myself I am already halfway there!

Diary of 2 Cats: Kitten Edition (Part 2)

Pepper and Tiger had their first face-to-face introduction yesterday morning. They've seen each other through the door cracks, but this time we had them both in the same room. We kept Tiger in the carrier, and let Pepper walk around the room and explore. He sniffed around Tiger's toys, litter box, and even stole some food from his bowl! Pepper gave some mild hissing and growling. He especially seemed to growl when he smelled the litter box. I suspect he wasn't too thrilled to smell the urine of another feline. He hung around the room for about five minutes, and then he left on his own. Pepper's very gentle, but my husband and I still supervised the entire meeting. We wanted to make sure he didn't claw the kitten through the carrier. I don't think he would, but we still wanted to be careful. Now that Pepper is the bigger (and older) cat, he is dominating. Besides, this is his apartment, how dare another cat come into his territory.

We're going to try out another meet and greet later today, and do so once everyday for about a week, and take it from there. I know some of my friends and family are saying that having two cats live in the same house can sometimes take up to three months, but I feel like having them in separate rooms can really help the process go a lot quicker.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Diary of 2 Cats: Kitten Edition (Part 1)

In the last few weeks, Pepper has been sneezing a lot, so we took him to the vet a few days ago. I was a bit concerned and thought he might have caught a flu of some sort. The vet said everything is fine, he's healthy, and the sneezing is most likely an environmental thing (dry hair, and such.) Aside from the fact that Pepper was due for his annual check up, another reason I wanted to get him check out was to make sure he would be healthy enough to be around another cat. Even though we had that little fiasco with Blackjack, we were still interested in trying out another cat (with a different personality.) The vet suggested a male kitten would be our best bet, as female cats are surprisingly more territorial, and the male-to-male bond can develop quicker amongst felines.

So, my husband and I went to the shelter to see some cats the next day. There was a gorgeous Siamese cat we wanted, but she did not do well with other cats, so we knew that wouldn't work for us. We went again a couple of days later and saw a cute little kitten available for adoption. I know kittens do tend to get adopted really quickly, so I knew if I wanted him, I needed to take him right away. So here we are again, with two cats. Just as before, the two cats are in completely separate rooms. Pepper is outside in the living room, with some new toys, a new litter box, and new gourmet food. (Just because we got a new kitty, doesn't mean Pepper doesn't deserve to be equally as spoiled.)

The kitten is a brown tabby whom we named Tiger, because he's vicious like a tiger. ;) It's been years since I've been around kittens, lately I've had more experience with adult cats. I thought Pepper was a hyper naughty cat, but he's nothing compared to this new little Tiger! Tiger gave me a hard time sleeping. He kept trying to attack my hands and feet at night and wanted to play. When he gets tired and sleepy, he gets super cuddly. He'll walk all over my legs, tummy, chest, neck, even my face for a little attention. He has the loudest purr, even louder than Pepper's. My husband had his heart set on another noisy cat who meows a lot, but Pepper is still the noisiest, most vocal cat in this apartment.

Tiger keeps sticking his paws out from under the door (wanting to play with Pepper, I think) but, Pepper is getting kind of annoyed. Pepper will smack the tiny kitten paws, then he'll give a little hiss and a growl. As my research indicated, both cats have to be in separate rooms for a week or two before they are introduced face to face, and it will be our responsibility to watch over them and slowly get them used to each other. I feel a bit more confident about Tiger, then I did about Blackjack. Anytime Pepper hisses and growls, Tiger does not respond. I think that will show Pepper that the new kitten is not a threat to him. Keeping my fingers crossed here! I'm being very persistent and stubborn, and not giving up on the idea of having two cats!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

How my Cell Phone Taught me a Valuable Life Lesson

I got a new cell phone a couple of months ago, and I've already dropped it several times. I've been meaning to buy a cover for it since, but just hadn't gotten around to it. So, I finally went looking for one yesterday. I found a phone stall which sold really nice ones. I thought some of them were too expensive, so I decided to keep looking around. I managed to find some at the Dollar Store, so I gave it a try. When I tried to put it on my phone, the holes did not match up with the volume buttons, or the power switch! Plus, the stupid cover managed to put scratches on my brand new phone! I tried to settle for less, and I got burned.

I used to treat life the same way. When things were not going quite the way I wanted, I would give up and just accept life for what it was. But, it didn't have to be that way. Things can go from being unsatisfying to extraordinary, but it's all about ME. If  I want things to go my way and I want to be happy, then I should take the initiative and do something about it. This is not about cell phones, this is about never settling when things just aren't good enough. It is important to know that wanting something my way does not make me selfish. It just means I want to be happy, and why shouldn't I be happy? I deserve happiness just as much as the next person. Settling for less will just get you burned in the end.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Working Vs. "Working"

I've been volunteering at various organizations for years now. (Schools, libraries, large events, etc.) Many people do not understand why I volunteer. People have said things to me like, "Why do you keep volunteering? You should work." or, "You've been volunteering with them for so long now, tell them you demand pay now." and even, "Can't you take the day off once in a while? It's so tedious to always go there. It's not like you're getting paid" As cliche as it sounds, I find the experience of volunteering to be quite rewarding. I used to volunteer at the library for two years. I've always loved reading, writing and any sort of literature. Furthermore, the library is one of my favourite places in the world. Even though I was not an employee, it felt great to know I was contributing to an organization I care so much about.

Growing up, I had two dream jobs:

Dream 1. To be a veterinarian
Dream 2. To be a best selling author

I decided very early on to give up dream 1. As soon as I found out being a vet meant you have to be good at math, and you'll have animals dying on your table, I didn't think I could handle it. (Dream 2 is still in the works). My reasons for wanting to be a vet was because I love animals, and I like to think of myself as an animal activist. I've always wanted to do something to help them. What could be more rewarding then helping someone who is unable to help themselves? Although I never succeed in that dream, I did start volunteering at a local animal shelter a couple of months ago. Our duties as a volunteer are to spend time with the animals, cuddle with them, play with them, and give them companionship. I do not get paid for what I do...I get something better; love from the animals. They show appreciation by cuddling up to you, purring at you, barking at you, and occasionally rubbing all over you. Had I become a a vet my goal would be the same as my goal as an animal shelter volunteer; doing something which benefits the animals.

I think it is important for people to see the bigger picture. Life is not all about money. Sometimes just the experience and knowing you did something good to help someone can be payment enough.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Diary of 2 Black Cats: Part 5 (final)

So, unfortunately it didn't go as great as I had anticipated. I really wanted to give it minimum one full week (seven days) but on the fifth day, Pepper began "marking his territory" by scratching up the bedroom door all day and all night. Although he is neutered, I had read/heard that with 2 male cats being in the same house, that scratching can potentially turn into spraying. I really did not want to risk it, so Blackjack was sent back last night.

I didn't think I'd say this, but I actually missed my first night away from Blackjack. He was only here for five days so I didn't think I'd bonded with him so quickly. But he really liked me, and I guess I returned the love without even knowing it. He followed me around the room, he cuddled up in my lap, and he slept with me. Pepper is very affectionate and friendly, but he is not cuddly. He will not sit/sleep in my lap, so it was nice to have a temporary lap-cat. Pepper is thrilled (to say the least) to have his place back. After Blackjack was gone and I opened up the room again, he sniffed around a bit, and then ran around the apartment creating havoc (as he often does!)

I guess it is for the best. Blackjack and Pepper are both attention seeking cat. I feel like Pepper was willing to share that affection with another cat, but Blackjack was not. Whenever I was giving Blackjack any attention, he was happy. But, when I gave Pepper any attention, all hell broke loose. That is when Blackjack began hissing at Pepper (I think out of jealousy.) Blackjack wanted all the attention all to himself!

Pepper is a very nice, talkative, affectionate cat. He's very playful, and wants to be played with at least two or three times a day. He plays "fetch" with paper balls. He hangs out with us, sleeps on our head at night, follows us around everywhere, and rubs on our legs. He is pretty gentle (for the most part), and is great with children. And by "great with children", I mean he runs away when there are kids around and minds his own business! ;) The only time he'll claw or bite is when he's playing with is, never out of aggression. Our favourite feature about him is that he is a noisy cat. He meows day and night, for absolutely no reason at all. Many people find his meowing annoying, but my husband and I find it endearing. When he's not meowing, we try to force "meows" out of him! The only flaw he has is that he will not sit in my lap.

Blackjack is not much of a meower, he's a quieter cat compared to Pepper. He is very friendly and affectionate (once he gets to know you.) He is a bit more calm and relaxed than Pepper. Although, he also loves to play "fetch" with a rolled up paper ball!  If you want someone you can spend an afternoon with, Blackjack is the perfect lap-cat! He's fallen asleep in my lap for hours, and I found his purrs to be very therapeutic. If you get cold easily, do not fear. He will cuddle up to you and keep you warm at night.

As you can see, both cats have great personalities, they just clashed. Who would have thought cats are just as different from one another as humans!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Diary of 2 Black Cats: Part 4

So, unfortunately, the two cats did not bond as I had hoped. Pepper is very curious, he keeps wanting to go into the room and play with the other kitty. But, Blackjack keeps hissing and growling and wants to be left alone. My theory is that Blackjack feels like he can intimidate Pepper because he's a bigger cat (taller, longer, etc.) I wanted to give it a week, but Blackjack has not been accepting of Pepper. Our ultimate goal was to find a second cat who was a good companion for Pepper, and we want Pepper to feel comfortable and safe in his home. After all, he was here first. This is his house. So, Blackjack will be returned in the next few days.

Blackjack is a nice cat on his own. Whenever I went into the room to spend some time with him, he was very affectionate and friendly. He would give out a meek "mew" every now and then, and rub all over my leg. When I sat down, he would come cuddle in lap and fall asleep. He's been sleeping right next to me at night. Last night he actually slept ON me, on my stomach. He also slept on the pillow for the half the night (which is actually Pepper's spot lol.) He's a good cat, so hopefully he finds a good new home.