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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Attention Cat and Dog Owners

Earlier this evening I saw a post on Facebook of a cat owner announcing that her cat was pregnant. She mentioned to please not post any negative comments. She knew she should have had her cat spayed, but the pregnancy was an accident. Kittens would go to a good home.

A post like that bothers me. How can a pet owner claim the pregnancy was an accident? Anyone with an ounce of responsibility knows that pets should be spayed/neutered at an appropriate age. It’s that simple.

Don’t claim that you don’t have the time. You don’t have to do the procedure yourself, you make an appointment with the vet, hop in your car or call for a taxi, and take the pet to the doctor.

Others claim they don’t have the money for such a procedure. In that case, don’t have a pet. When you adopt a pet, you accept the responsibility for his wellbeing. That means three sets of inoculations and the pet being spayed/neutered.

One shouldn’t just think of the animal, but of the litters that just one cat, or one dog, can produce. If one cat or one dog has 5 litters of 6 kittens or puppies, that’s 30 kittens/puppies. If each of those 30 cats/dogs has 5 litters of 6 kittens/puppies that’s 900 kittens/puppies.

When someone stated that unspayed/unneutered pets should be kept in the house, another replied that it’s cruel to keep a pet indoors.

I remember my father saying much the same, when I told him of my indoor cats. He said that surely they miss walking the neighborhood and feeling the grass under their paws. So I asked him ... “Dad, do you miss climbing Mount Everest and feeling the snow crunching under your feet with every step to reach the summit?” “Of course not,” he said, “I’ve never climbed Everest so how can I ...” And right there and then he understood that it’s not cruel to keep a cat indoors. The animal cannot miss what it never experienced.

Finally I want to address the matter of finding good homes for kittens or puppies. Never assume that when a person shows up to adopt a cat, he or she has the pets’ best interest at heart. Before allowing someone to take a kitten or puppy, you have to screen that person. Pet adoption agencies do it, so why not you? How can you be sure that the little one goes to a loving home?

Adoption agencies almost always rule out homes with young children. When I pointed out that young kids can be cruel to pets, I got a flood of protests. One woman asked if I had kids myself; another said that she found my comment offensive; while others still posted pictures of their children lovingly holding a cat or a dog.

First of all, I said “some” kids and second, the pictures that were posted were of children 6 years and up. I had young kids in mind, toddlers specifically.

Toddlers have no real understanding of right and wrong. By holding a kitten or puppy too tight they can hurt or even kill the little one. That’s the message I was trying to get across.

The point is, if you have a cat or a dog, and you love the animal, have it spayed or neutered. Don’t hide behind lack of time, money or the silly notion that a pet has to be free. Think of the pets’ offspring and what might happen to those hundreds of little ones. Will they find homes, or will they end up in animal shelters where they will be put to death?

The Toronto Cat Rescue is a NO KILL cat shelter. Please pledge your donation today.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why does Easter keep changing

Good Friday is a day I have a problem with. Christians the world over are supposed to remember this day as they day when Jesus Christ died, but when exactly did he die?
This year we remember the tragic event on March 25th, but let’s have a look at other years.

2015 – April 3rd  
2014 – April 18th
2013 – March 29th
2012 – April 6th

How are supposed to properly pay our respects when the date keeps changing?
Yes I know, the date of Easter is based on the lunar calendar. When I looked it up on Google, I got the following explanation:

Unlike a lot of Christian feast days, Easter does not have a fixed date. The feast is based on the lunar calendar, so Easter is scheduled to fall on the Sunday that follows the full moon on or after March 21, also known as the Spring Equinox

While this might be a perfectly rational explanation, to me it makes no sense. How can one remember the most important death in history, but keep moving it around?

Let’s have a look at some other historical figures:

Cleopatra – August 12, 30 BC
Julius Cecar – March 15, 44 BC
Nero June – 9, 68 AD
Augustus – August 19, 14 AD
Leonardo DaVinci – May 2, 1519
Galileo Galilei – January 8, 1642

If someone was able to record these dates for future generations, why mess with Jesus Christ his death? If it was, for instance, April 5th it should always be April 5th, regarding of which day that date happens to fall on.

We are equally wrong when we observe a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m., the time Jesus supposed to have died. To be correct, on the East coast of the United States and Canada, this moment of silence should be observed at 8:00 a.m. as Jerusalem is 7 hours ahead of America’s east coast.

I find it mind boggling that throughout history people have drawn and written what was important to them, but nobody made an accurate notation of the date of Jesus Christ his death. Or did they and was this date conveniently “lost”.

It is generally known that Constantine, together with 300 religious leaders decided what information was included in the Bible, and what was not.

If this type of information was lost, it poses the question what else was hidden from the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The cats' noses are out of joint

The cats’ noses are a little out of joint because they can’t go outside. Quite frankly, my nose is out of joint too.

In the first week of March, the temperature reached 12 and even 14 degrees (that’s 53.6 and 57.2 degrees F) and everyone thought spring had sprang early.

I washed heavy winter jackets, sweaters, scarves and gloves, all to be put away clean, until we needed them again.

While I washed and cleaned, the cats enjoyed a watery sun on the balcony. Yes, it was still a bit chilly, but in their fur coat they seemed comfortable. As the balcony door remained open they could come and go as they pleased.

That’s to say, Charlotte, Mickey and Gabriel came back in when it got too cold for them, but Holly had her own set of rules.
She sat by the door, and meowed when she wanted to come in. When I said “Come on then, the others managed, you will fit too,” she gave no sign of movement.

So I opened the door a little more, enough for a poodle to fit through. Holly remained seated. 
I opened the door wider still, fit for a German Sheppard to come in, still no movement on Holly’s part. So I opened the door so wide that a horse could have galloped in and yes, now Miss Holly daintily stepped over the threshold. Honestly, that cat has illusions of grandeur.

Of course, now that they were used to going outside, they couldn’t understand (when the weather turned colder again) why they couldn’t go on the balcony any longer. Mickey, Charlotte and Gabriel took it in their stride, but Holly kicked up a fuss.

She sat by the sliding door, looked over her shoulder and meowed. When the door didn’t open to her wishes, she meowed louder and more insistent. When I said “It’s too cold Holly,” she stretched out her meow like a concerto in D major.

Eventually, she gave up and slunk off somewhere, but it was clear that she was not happy.

As for me, I’m not exactly happy either. I’d grown used to walking outside without having to bundle up. While I still wear a scarf and gloves when venturing out, I refuse to wear my heavy winter coat again. It’s been cleaned, it’s been put away and it will stay there until December.

Help the homeless kittens and cats with a donation. Any donation no matter how small is appreciated. Thank you. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to freak out a cat

I love my cats dearly, but every now and then, they give me a hard time. They accidentally knock over an ornament, kick their water bowl over, or vomit on the carpet instead of the floor.

I’m equally sure that my cats love me, but every now and then I give them a hard time. Unintentionally of course. Last night was one of those times.

Mickey was on the foot end of the bed, curled up and fast asleep. Holly was next to me, giving herself a wash, but doing so halfheartedly with droopy eyes as she was clearly tired.

Charlotte had claimed the laundry basket to sleep, while Gabriel hadn’t quite decided where he wanted to spend the night. He wandered in and out of my room, checked out the bathroom, took a quick peek in Dieter’s room, only to return to the living room.

Before turning off the light, I scrolled through the newest posts on Facebook, and came across a post that read “This is what pride looks like”. The accompanying picture was one of a white peacock.
I clicked on the play button and soon after, the peacock let a screech before opening his glorious white tail.

To see the beautiful tail I had to watch the video a second time though, because the first time I was too busy looking at the cats.

Mickey’s head jerked up and he looked around with a facial expression of ... What was that? ... I heard something ... Was it a bird? ... Where is it?

Holly jumped on all fours. Her wash could wait, sleeping could wait, she’d heard a bird and she was going to get it come hell or high water.

Charlotte merely poked her head out of the closet where the laundry basket is stored. She didn’t care about the bird, her expression was more one of annoyance that said “Can you keep it down out there!”

As for Gabriel, he came racing into my room and skidded to a halt. He looked around him, clearly confused, couldn’t see what he was looking for, turned around and walked out again.

The whole thing was so funny, I wanted to see a repeat this morning. I called up the video, clicked the play button and let the peacock do his thing. The bird screeched and ... Mickey merely lifted his head from his sleeping place, Holly carried on washing herself, Charlotte didn’t pause eating her nibbles, and Gabriel remained flat on his back.

Okay, so maybe the sound of the video was too low, maybe I should turn it up. I moved the setting from 25% to 75% and let the bird screech again. Still no reaction from Holly, Charlotte or Gabriel, while Mickey looked at me through half open eyes, sending me the message ... enough already.
Maybe you can try it and see what your cats do. 
Me, I had another trick up my sleeve ... an Australian magpie. I selected the video, made sure the sound was on, clicked play and ... nothing, no reaction at all. I moved the volume dial from 75% to 100% but no, still nothing.
Bunch of party poopers.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Have you ever had one of those days ...

Have you ever had one of those days that you should either stay in bed or wrap yourself in bubble wrap? Today was one of those days and believe me, I feel a little worse for wear.

It started this morning when I came into the living room, and on my way to the kitchen I stubbed my toe on a side table. We’ve had this side table for months now, but I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve either bumped my knee on one of the corners, or kicked the legs with one of my feet. It’s a fairly big table, and you would think that I know by now how to navigate around it, but apparently my calculations need some work.
Next I was putting away some laundry, placed T-shirts in a drawer, closed the drawer, but forget to remove my hand. Ouch, my fingers.
All goes well until Dieter came home from work and I went to the kitchen to make coffee. I opened the overhead cabinet where the coffee is kept, bend down to pick up a spoon and ... well, if you have even the slightest imagination you’ll know what happened next. Right, my head banged against the corner of the cabinet door. OMG that hurt!
Was I done now with bad luck? No, not quite.
For dinner I cooked macaroni. I read somewhere that if you place a wooden spoon between the lid and the pot, it prevents the water from boiling over. I tried this and yep, it works.
Twenty minutes later I went to check on the pasta. I removed the lid and the grabbed the wooden spoon to stir. Good heavens, I dropped the spoon with a scream. It was boiling hot! Why did the writer of the article not mention that a wooden spoon between a lid and a pot not only prevents a mess, but gets hot in the process? I know that metal spoons absorb heat, but who would have thought that wooden spoons get hot too?
And if you were to think that with all that bad luck, now I’d had enough, you would be wrong. While doing the dishes I (almost) slipped on a piece of pasta. I managed to stay vertical, but can you imagine if I’d gone down and sprained or broken a wrist, what I would have said to the attending physician ... sorry doctor, I slipped on the macaroni. 
So here I am, with bruised toe, a sore finger, a slightly burned hand, not to mention a headache. Since I can’t stay in bed all day, perhaps I should invest in a few yards of bubble wrap.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chanel 2000 - 2016

On Thursday, March 10th, Chanel passed away at the age of 16. I remember the day we adopted her like it was yesterday.

We had decided to get a cat, but being new to Toronto, we didn’t really know how to go about it. There were plenty of ads in the newspaper stating “Kittens seek a good home”, but without a car it was hard to get around.

When a neighbor told us that Petsmart has animals up for adoption we wasted no time. On the bus I was a little worried though, how was I going to choose a cat? There would be so many there, all with a pleading look in their eyes to pick one of them.

As it turned out, the choice was easy. As soon as we walked into the adoption center of Petsmart, there were these two adorable white kittens playing with each other, and huddled in a corner sat a sad grey kitten.

The kitten looked at us with eyes that said “Nobody wants me, compared to those two, I don’t stand a chance.”

Well, she was wrong, ever the champion of the underdog I decided that this was the kitten for us. I filled out the form, paid the $180 adoption fee and before we even left the store we had decided on a name ... Chanel.
Chanel was like every other kitten: she explored, she played and she got up to no good. As she grew up she developed a unique personality though, she turned out to be a caring cat.

This became most evident when I was diagnosed with pneumonia. During those first three dangerous days, Chanel stayed with me the whole time. She didn’t move except to eat, drink and use her litter box.

When I got a little better and moved from my bed to the couch, she parked herself on the backrest of the chair while I lay and watched TV.
When I made some more progress and was able to get up to use the bathroom or make myself some lunch, Chanel followed.

I could tell a hundred stories about the 16 years Chanel spent with us, but since a picture is worth a 1,000 words, lets rather look at Chanel's life in images.
Last but not least, Chanel inspired me to write "Kitten Diaries". In print and in memory, Chanel will live on.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Office Team - Totally Unprofessional

If ever there was an unprofessional agency, it’s Office Team. Every so often one of their consultants calls me to come to their offices to update my resume.

I have done this no less than five times. Every time the consultant who looks after my file leaves the agency, and I’m handed over to another consultant, I have to go to their offices to be considered for employment.

The consultants don’t listen very well though. Even though I clearly stated in my application that I can only work downtown and uptown Toronto, North York and Scarborough, they called me twice now for a temp assignment in Brampton and Markham.

When I told the consultant that I don’t have a car and the commute as such would take too long, she got rather snooty with me.

Today one of them called me to come and update my file for the sixth time. When I explained that I had been to their office several times, she responded with “You dare to raise you voice to me.” I didn’t raise my voice, I was trying to be heard over a rather bad phone connection.

When I mentioned this conversation to a friend, he nodded in understanding. He is an ex-Office Team consultant, and stated that every consultant has to have a certain number of job seekers on their books, or their own job is in jeopardy.

He stated not to bother with Office Team, as they have the worst reputation, both with clients and with job seekers. The agency has their favorites, who get called again and again for temp assignments and the rest ... they’re just “book fillers”.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Will you help?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The easiest flower to care for

Soon it will be spring and millions of people will make their annual journey to the local nursery to shop for flowers.

If you have your heart set on geraniums, know there are several different kinds.

Geraniums are one of the most popular flowers because they are beautiful, versatile and easy to care for. Whether they are planted in flowerbeds, hanging baskets, balcony containers or window boxes, a geranium will grow without needing much care. Available in a variety of colors, leaf shapes and sizes, get acquainted with the different types of geraniums.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Would you believe .....

Many years ago, we had a cat named Pitoe. 
Pitoe was a hybrid, his mother was a Persian, his father was a gigolo. The result was a very affectionate, white, long-haired cat with blue eyes.

Being an indoor cat, Pitoe was a pampered pussycat. He slept ‘till noon in a soft basket, had lots of toys, and was fed the best food. For exercise, and fresh air, he was walked a few times a week in the yard on a leash. Not that he did much walking. He preferred to roll around in the sun on the driveway, or smell the flowers of his favorite shrub (I think it might have been catnip).

One morning I went to the garage and saw a small mouse sitting on the front tire of my car. I scooped up the little thing and holding it cupped in both hands, I went inside to show Pitoe. Just to show him, mind you, nothing else.

OMG was that a mistake. When I opened my hands so Pitoe could peer inside, he took off like a bat from hell. He literally sprinted from the kitchen, dashed through the living room, only to disappear to my bedroom, where I found him hiding under my bed.

Okay, so Pitoe suffered from musophobia.

If you think that’s bad, it gets better.

Meet Gabriel ...
Gabriel is a ragdoll, and he suffers from ichthyophobia, which is fear of fish. Seriously, we have a hexagon aquarium with ten goldfish, and it sends poor Gabe into a flat spin. While Holly likes to sit on a chair and watch the fishes, Gabriel won’t go near them.

Actually, I must correct myself. Yesterday, for some reason, Gabriel scraped all his courage together and jumped on the chair near the aquarium. His decision to face his fear only lasted seconds. As he sat in front of the glass tank, he did not only look at the fishes, several fishes came to look at him, and that was too much for Gabe. He bolted off the chair and went into hiding.

Finally, meet Holly.
Holly is also a product of a Ragdoll who met a gigolo. She’s a happy go lucky girl, who – although the youngest – rules the roost. She has one weakness though ... she suffers from a severe case of ornithophobia, fear of birds.

You would think that cats are fascinated by birds, love them even, but apparently Holly is the exception.

My neighbors across the hall recently acquired a bird, you see. A little parrot to be more specific. The bird doesn’t talk yet, he peeps, or tweets, whatever you want to call it, and Holly doesn’t like it one single bit.
She’s alright with the calls of the bird while she’s inside, but the other day were walking up and down the corridor – for her daily exercise – when she heard the bird screech and she panicked.

As fast as her little legs would carry her she set a new a new record in the 50 meter dash, pushed open the door of our condo with her head, and went into hiding in the bathroom.

Would you believe that cats can suffer from phobias? You bet they do.