Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meet the Cats! (and the other pets...)

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my Blog!  In this entry, I will be introducing you to our furry family. In future posts, you will learn more about their habits, personalities, and adventures in our household. I will also discuss different ways that we make our household "cat friendly".

Jamie is our patriarch cat.  He was adopted by my husband, Zach,  just before he started his first year of veterinary school.  Jamie was what he called a "failed foster"- i.e. a cat that he brought home to be fostered away from the SPCA, but then was never returned because Zach fell in love with him.  Jaime's story was that he was brought to the shelter after living with a family for 4 years.  The family had bought a new puppy, and Jaime's response was to hide under the bed all the time.  The family decided to give up Jaime (so sad!).  At the shelter, Jaime acquired a respiratory infection, so Zach brought him home to help him recover.  Needless to say, Jaime had found a new home.  He travelled with Zach to New Jersey, and when we were married, Jaime had to learn to cope with new pets.  Like most cats, he would prefer to live alone, but he has learned to live with other cats and dogs.  He is still timid, and when he is stressed he has the tendency to urinate where he shouldn't... our bed, the coffee maker, the kitchen counter, the couch, etc.  He is, therefore, a poster child for Fluoxetine (Prozac).  This daily drug, in addition to multiple litter boxes and other environmental enrichment, has helped minimize his emotional problems.   Despite Jaime's timid and stressed nature, he is actually the dominant pet of the household and is the first to appear at the scene to break up the ruckus if the other cats are "play fighting".

Jamie- aka "Jamison McFuzzibutt"

In the summer, Jaime gets a "lion cut" to keep him cool.  He's a little embarrassed...

Nemo is our only female cat.  I adopted her during my last year of veterinary school.  She was a stray picked up by the local SPCA, and she was brought to the veterinary school clinic since her leg did not appear normal.  I was the student physician that day, so I was the first to meet her.  I was taken aback by her bold, yet affectionate, personality.  She was a beautiful young tabby, and she sat on my lap while I we wrote my files that day.  The issue with her leg, as it turned out, was very interesting.  Her right hind leg "bowed" outward and she could not bend it.  After taking X-rays, we realized that she must have fractured her femur as a kitten, and she managed to let it heal on its own.  The result was a crooked leg-- which I called her "lucky fin"-- and thus named her Nemo.  She is confident, sweet, and acts like the eternal kitten.  You will soon see that she is also a daredevil and too smart for her own good. She has been known to steal food off your dinner plate and run away with it!

Nemo is a proud Red Sox fan!

Nemo is an expert at relaxing.

Paulie is very special.  He was found as an outside stray by one of Zach's veterinary colleagues.  The cat was emaciated, jaundiced, anemic, and close to dead.  He had obviously been owned since he was neutered and declawed, so we assume he lost his way in the outside world.  After being nursed back to health, he needed a home, and Zach brought him to our house. I have never met another cat with his personality... he is overly affectionate with no social boundaries. He has no survival instinct, and he is the only cat in the house that needs to be reminded to eat.   He lacks the ability to be aggressive, and he meows so loudly for attention that it can be heard across the veterinary hospital. If one of the other cats play fights with him, his only defense is to lick their head as viciously as possible!

Paulie says, "Can I love you now?"

Paulie is trying to crawl into bed with the dog...

Cosmo is our class clown.  I adopted him as a sick hospital case.  He was brought in because he was dying secondary to a urinary obstruction.  With persistence, extended hospitalization, surgery, and crossed fingers, we nursed him back to health.  He has become a wonderful addition to our family.  He prefers active play rather than sitting on a lap.  He hunts toys, plays lightening tag with Nemo, and wrestles with Paulie.  Cosmo yearns to go outside and eat grass, but he is not permitted to do so.  In rebellion, he has been known  to push out a window screen, go out on midnight patrol, and return inside by morning without us knowing... we figured this out once we found a partially open screen, muddy paw prints on the window sill and a pile of puked up grass on the floor.  Cosmo is strikingly beautiful in his 'tuxedo', and he knows he can get away with anything!

Cosmo is handsome.... and he knows it!

Cosmo likes to beat Paulie at wrestling.

It would be unfair to introduce the cats without introducing our other pets since they have to put up with the felines....

Frisby is my wonderful dog I've had since my first year of veterinary school. She was rescued from a crazy hoarder who had at least 104 dogs trapped in her trailer.  Frisby was brought through the vet school to be spayed.  When she was brought in, she was pregnant, infested with parasites, emaciated, and completely unsocialized.  With a few months of rehabilitation, she blossomed into a beautiful, vibrant dog.  It took several years of socialization, however, to help her recover from her emotional scars. She is obsessed with food, and it was through many, many treats and positive reinforcement that she learned people were OK.  Frisby is a submissive dog, and she is actually a little scared of the cats.  She will steal cat food and climb into the litter boxes to eat special kitty "treats". Despite her sneaky behavior, Frisby is my faithful canine companion and best friend.

Here's Frisby in her younger years-- her face is a little more gray now.
Kitty says, "I love life!  I love the car!"
Frisby says," Kitty- you are disgusting. Get me out of this car."

"Kitty", believe it or not, is also a dog. She is Pomeranian that my husband saved from euthanasia at his veterinary hospital. She is named Kitty because I had previously promised Frisby we would never get another dog while she was still alive.  Therefore, we called her Kitty to fool Frisby into thinking we had just gotten another cat.  Kitty had a severe skin infection when she was rescued, which caused her to become infested with fleas and maggots. To treat her, we had to shave off all her fur, which made her look very funny. After her skin started to heal, we realized that she also had a complicated seizure disorder.  Kitty needs five different medications daily to help decrease her seizures.  These medications, unfortunately, make her ravenous and very thirsty, so she pees all the time and tries to eat her own poop.  To make her even more fun, she has failed to learn to be housebroken.  SO... we have a heavily medicated Pomeranian that needs to wear a diaper all the time.  (Anyone want a FREE Pomeranian???)

Ahh Kitty... our special needs dog.  We can't say she's not happy!

Poor Kitty day 1 of her new life with us...

"Dirt Dog" is a female dwarf rabbit that I also adopted from the veterinary hospital.  She had a bladder stone that required surgery.  As adorable as she looks, she is actually very grumpy.... she likes to scratch me and grunt whenever I clean her cage.  When she runs low on hay or salad, she lets me know by throwing her litter box across the cage.  The cats and dogs are intimidated by this little bunny, and they do not try to antagonize her.
"Evil" has many faces... this is my very own Monty Python scary bunny.

I hope you enjoy my Blog!  New entries are coming soon-- stayed tuned!
- Dr. Schock