Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Loving Memory of Our Cat Emma


Our sweet little Emma passed away peacefully at home yesterday. She had been under hospice care for the last couple of weeks. We're not sure exactly how old she was but our guess is at least 17. We "officially" adopted her nine years ago when we finally managed to catch her and bring her inside. We had her checked out by a vet along with being spayed, her teeth cleaned and two teeth pulled. We had been feeding her for about a year and a half on our front porch; at first once a day and then twice daily. She was a petite (weighed 8 pounds at her heaviest), scrawny cat with a very thin coat and a back full of scabs. She looked like she had been always living outside and that she had had a rough life. She just appeared one day in our front yard. We weren't sure where she came from but we suspected she came from a house on the next block over that had a lot of cats in the backyard. Those people had moved, the house had been torn down and a new two-story house was taking it's place. We put out some left over can food that our cats didn't finish and she showed up every morning to get fed. Eventually she started showing up in the evening as well so we fed her twice a day. She would only eat the food if we went back inside, out of sight. She was hungry, but she was not trusting of people at all. She would always stay several feet away and if you tried to get closer, she would back away. It took us a year and a half of feeding and talking to her before she let us close enough to pet her. 

Not long after we began feeding Emma, she showed up with a kitten. They didn't stay long and I never saw that kitten again. Then several weeks later in the middle of the night, I swore I heard a cat crying. In the morning I woke up to that sound again. The sound of a cat crying. I jumped up and went outside. I couldn't see a cat, but I could hear it. I couldn't believe no one else was looking for it, it was so loud. So I just followed the sound to across the street in a neighbor's driveway, next to the bushes and there was this tiny little six week old kitten just screaming his head off. I knew the people in this house or in the other houses near by did not have a cat and a kitten this small shouldn't be outside by itself. This is how I found Webster, our cat for 9 years. We believe he was Emma's kitten. He ended up getting adopted before Emma as we still hadn't been able to get close to her yet.

Once Emma recovered from her surgery and got acclimated to being indoors, she got to meet the other six animals; our four dogs and two cats. And although we had seen Webster and Emma together in the front yard more than once (like they knew each other) before we brought her inside, once she was in, Webster was the most upset by her presence. He really got bent out of shape that she was now part of the household. He acted afraid of her & would stay away from her. He did eventually get over it though. Emma was so sweet and passive to not only us but all the other animals. She was so happy and thankful to be safe, inside, and have steady meals. And she loved all the other pets. She never got in anyone's way, stole anyone's food or treats, picked fights or ever did anything wrong. Even if one of the other cats picked on her from time to time, she never fought back. She was happy to be part of a big family and to have a home. She got along with everyone. She was the best cat. She was even easy to litter box train. She didn't understand what the box with cat litter in it was at first, but all I had to do was put some dirt on top and she never, ever went anywhere other than the litter box.

When she was first brought inside and getting acclimated to the house, she was kept in a bedroom at the end of the hall. Once she was allowed access to the rest of the house, she came out into the living room and that's where she stayed for about the next six or seven years. She was always in the living room. She went into the kitchen to eat and drink and she went in the enclosed back porch that's off of the living room to use the litter box. She had a big cat tree that she spent a lot of time on. For whatever reason, she never went down the hallway and into any bedroom for most of her life here. It was almost as if she thought she wasn't allowed in that section of the house. Even though she was first kept in that section. We never gave her any reason to think she couldn't go down the hallway or into the bedrooms. All the other animals did. Most if not all of them slept in the bedroom with us every night. All but Emma. Until one day, for some (again) unknown reason, she went down the hall and started going in each of the bedrooms, looking around! We couldn't believe it! After she checked out all the bedrooms and discovered all the dog and cat beds in them, that's where she started staying. In each and every one of them. There wasn't a cat or dog bed that Emma didn't sleep in. She tried them all and there was a lot of them! She would change beds each time. She loved the variety but her favorite was the dog beds. She adored the dogs and liked to sleep cuddled up to them, if they let her. If she was in one of the dog's beds, they would politely sleep beside it or some where else. Ellie used to sleep with her on the couch a lot and let her snuggle in her long, thick hair. In the last couple of years, her favorite was to sleep in Cali's bed and Cali would sleep beside the bed, happy to give her bed to Emma. (And let it be known: Emma was the only one who could take Cali's bed and get away with it! Cali was the alpha dog.)


Once Emma came into our home, she never wanted to go outside again. She so appreciated having a home and being inside. She was allowed to go out if she wanted, through the cat door. Eventually she did go out for very short periods on the front or back porch with us. She liked laying in the sun for awhile. If we all went in & she was left outside by herself, she would get really upset and cry. She didn't like being alone and she didn't have to be any more. She had a big family and there was always someone around!

She was the only one of our cats who loved raw food. And I mean loved it! The first time I gave her some Rad Cat Raw Diet to try she acted like I had finally given her some appropriate food! She gobbled it down and wanted more. That's what she primarily ate for the last couple years of her life. Webster and Dusty would eat a little of it from time to time but Emma only wanted raw food the majority of the time.

Emma loved everyone and everyone loved Emma. She was the only cat we had that would not only stick around when other people came over but would ask them for pets. She was always patient with everyone, human or animal. She let me cut out the tangles and shave her when she stopped grooming herself. She let me dress her up in costumes. She was good at the vet's office. She never did anything she wasn't supposed to. She was one of the best cats ever. She was our little princess. Our little furry angel. We will miss her. Now she can be together again with one of her favorite dogs, Cali. 

Cali and Emma

Monday, February 11, 2013

The World's First Driving Dog


There is a first for everything, right? Well, here's the world's first driving dog! In a unique strategy aimed at attracting adoptive families, a charity in Auckland, NZ teaches homeless dogs to drive. It’s a process of teaching 10 specific behaviors to the dogs over a 7-week period, and putting the learned gestures together in a sequence. Monty, a giant schnauzer, demonstrates his ability to control the steering wheel, gear shift and brakes.

The best part about this video is that this was organized by the Auckland SPCA to raise awareness about  the number of homeless dogs in SPCA's, city pounds and shelters needing homes and to encourage people to adopt rather than breed or buy. Apparently, the video series started with the trainers going into the shelter and choosing three dogs, each there for a different reason. One was abandoned, one stray and one was relinquished because the owners deemed him to be untrainable! Ironically the latter was the giant schnauzer which turned out to be the best driver of them all!  Let's hope it helped some homeless dogs find new homes!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our 11th Anniversary

2002 - 2013
This month we are celebrating Cozy Critters Pet Sitters' eleventh anniversary! I was still digesting the fact that I've been pet sitting for a decade and now another year has already gone by. Time goes by so fast....

We are so grateful for all of our wonderful clients, both two and four-legged. We love meeting other animal-loving people in our area. We love getting to know each and every pet, caring for them and loving them as if they were our own. So many memories and funny stories are made over the years. But most of all, we love providing a great service: Pet Sitting! Looking forward to making more friends and memories....

Happy Valentine's Day!