OK, well maybe not new tricks, exactly. But there were a few things I learned or relearned in 2016.
After all, what’s one more?
If you go to an adoption fair and the kitten you’re adopting has a littermate in the cage left behind, don’t think twice. Adopt the littermate, too, so they won’t miss out on four months of kittenhood together.
Yes, bonded littermates do remember each other after a months-long separation.
Cat Attract really can resolve pee problems
We had a period during which Reno started peeing on our bed. We took him to the vet; no UTI. We covered the bed with a shower curtain, he just peed on that.
We clean our litter boxes throughout the day (usually after each use), so that wasn’t the problem. We invested in a bunch of Feliway diffusers, no help.
Our vet suggested sprinkling Cat Attract on the litter (or purchasing the Dr Elsey’s litter that’s been laced with Cat Attract). I was skeptical, but it worked. I wish I’d tried it before I had to trash the featherbed and duvet and take the sleeping bag to the dry cleaner.
There’s nuthin’ like a pom pom
My cats have tried every toy imaginable, including the high-tech remote-laser Pet Cube camera.
But Reno’s favorite toy in the universe is a simple pom pom that he bats around like a hockey puck, takes upstairs and downstairs with him, and leaves in his noms dish. It’s the toy he always comes back to, and one he never grows tired of.
You can never have too many heated cat cups.
You CAN have too many cat exercise wheels. Even if you only have one.
Assisted living facilities often accept pets… with caveats.
I got a crash course in Assisted Living this year (thank you, aplaceformom.com!) when I had to move my mom to a facility. It was a decision I had to make in the space of a couple of hours with no advance preparation.
I was surprised to learn that most assisted living facilities are pet friendly. But you’re usually limited to one animal, and there’s a size limit — usually under 20 lbs.
Dogs must be leash trained, must not rush or jump up on people, and cannot bark excessively (cats cannot disturb residents, either). The resident must be fully capable of pet care without assistance from the staff.
These guidelines would have kept my mom from keeping her two dogs with her–they’d never been on a leash or had any training, and a knock on her door always generated five minutes of non-stop barking.
Had I been prescient, I might have arranged for my mom’s dogs to go to obedience school while she was still living alone, and I would have gotten her labrador certified as a therapy dog (by law, facilities cannot prohibit therapy/service animals, no matter what their size.)
As it turns out, her condition made pet ownership at the home inadvisable and we rehomed the dogs.
Plan ahead for your pets. Cuz you never know when you’re gonna go.
Which brings me to the next item on my radar: Be purrpared.
Two years ago, I suffered a brain injury. Hubby was certain I wasn’t going to make it — seeing your spouse unconscious on the sidewalk with blood streaming from her ears will do that to you.
Despite my brush with death (and the pall of Carrie Fisher’s death hanging in the air), I haven’t yet made plans for my brood when the time comes. I don’t know anyone who’d have the capacity to take them in and don’t have the money to set up a trust for their care. This needs to go on my resolutions list.
Maybe yours, too.
Play more. Tweet less.
Get off the damned computer and play with your cat already. Your cat won’t be around forever, either, and they can never get too much attention.
Silvervine can resurrect the kitten in geezer cats like a rabbit out of a hat.
Tripper never really learned how to play. He was born in the wild, and lived there until joining our household at the age of one- or two-ish. Now about 13 or 14 years old and 22 lbs, he’s not exactly a ball of fire. More like a ball of Jello.
He got some Silvervine in his Christmas stocking, and suddenly he’s a kitten again. Helicopter leaps hops, somersaults, playing with the Demonic Duo; you name it. He even climbed to the top of the tall cat tower for the first time ever and considered jumping to the top of the ceiling-high entertainment center.
Cats don’t care who’s president.
I’ve got to figure out how to channel that.