Our sweet cat

Our sweet cat

On Monday the oldest child complained of a headache before school. We did not think much of it and sent her to school anyway. She came home and crashed on the couch falling fast asleep. Tuesday, Wednesday & today she stayed home and she had a fever of 103 at one point. I have not seen her that sick since she had a bad stomach bug when she was three. Thankfully she’s eating and drinking again and feeling somewhat normal.

Our dear sweet cat Salena is tuned to the family’s ailments. This morning my oldest took a very long nap (and her fever finally broke) for three hours and Salena sat on this orange chair the whole entire time looking down at my oldest. My husband said Salena was doing the same thing when my daughter was sleeping on the couch the other day.

About a year and a half ago, I was sick during the night. I was up almost every hour and there was Salena sitting right next me as I threw up in the toilet. Honestly I would rather have her there than an actual person. She also curls up my lap when I’m more emotional than usual.

I know cats can sometimes be a pain–they scratch,they “meow” in the night when you’re trying to sleep, they paw, and their litter box stinks. But I love that our cat looks out for us when we’re at our worst.

C is for Cat Day

There is something about a girl and her cat.  I think our cat, Salena, gets the most love from my youngest daughter.

So we knew when our preschool co-op made it to “C” week we had to do a “Cat Day.”  Here are some of the activities we did.  They could be incorporated into a small preschool, homeschool preschool, or even cat themed birthday party.

We made these “treat holder cats.”  It could be a fun halloween craft!  I used a half circle template I created with a half of lid. I traced the top of the two plates and cut out the half circles.  I painted the plates black with poster paint.  I also did a couple orange ones.  I stapled the two plates together.   Older kids could do this on their own, but we have kids ages 3 – 5.  Then I made triange ears, green circles for eyes, black rounded diamonds for pupils, a small diamond nose, and whiskers.  I had all the kids glue all the parts of the cats on with glue sticks or regular glue.

My youngest insisted on doing all the gluing herself.  She would not let me help at all–not even touch it!  A true work of art.

We read several “cat book.”  I had no problems finding any in the library.  The children section was full of them.  C is for Curious was one of their favorites.  The book is an “abc” book of feelings.  We talked what each feeling meant and when we might have felt that way.  Other great cat books:

The Cat in the Hat

Millions of Cats

Cat’s Night Out

I Love Cats

and one of our family’s absolute favorites:  Cookie’s Week  If anyone has a crazy hat like ours who was stuck under the house for five hours, you will relate to this one!

We did “Show and Tell” cats.  Each child brought a cat stuffed animals or picked one from a pile in my daughter’s bedroom.  They had to come up with a name for their cat, choose if it is a boy or girl, and say one thing they like about it.

I usually sing a few songs with them.  We sang, “If you’re happy you know it.”  We changed some of the verses to “If you’re happy and you know it, pet your cat” and “If you’re happy and you know it jump like a cat.”  You could even do “lick your paws,” “stretch your legs,” “purr,” or “meow.”

I always read a Bible story as a devotinal.  We read the creation story and talked about how God made everything including the vast sky and small things like little cats.

We did not get to it (partially we because ran out of time and also because it was a nice warm morning and I wanted to give the kids some “backyard playtime”) but I had planned on showing some funny cat videos from AFV.  We will have to save that for another time.




When Your Cat Is A Scaredy Cat…

This is our family pet:  a short-haired gray colored female feline named Salena.  We fostered her through our local humane society around this time three years ago. and then adopted her.  People who come to our house comment how easy-going she is–never scratches people, non-aggressive, never nips, and puts up with three very busy children who have been known to use her as a pillow.

She is strictly indoors.

This Saturday we went garage saling as a family.  We returned home and started making lunch for the kids.  I heard this constant “meowing” almost like the cat was trapped inside something.  I opened every single door, cabinet, and closet.  No cat.  The meowing continued.

“She’s in the walls!”  I declared.

So I asked my husband who we should call.  Who do you call when your cat is trapped in the walls? My husband went up in the attic and crawled over the insulation putting his hand in every crevice while I did “a google search.”  Then I remembered we had been on vacation which probably stressed the cat out.  And our yard currently looks like this…

New siding and windows.  Lots of pounding, drilling, and extra noise during the day.  It spooked her.

No success in the attic.  We can’t hear her meowing in the attic but we can hear her downstairs.  Did she slip so far she is embedded in the walls?  The thought of having to put a hole in the wall and retrieve a dead cat while dealing with the smell would probably traumatize our three children…and myself included.

I call the fire department.  The gentlemen on the phone is very sweet, but said there is not much to do.  He suggest leaving food out and says most cats who can get in strange places can find their way out.

My husband goes outside and sees Salena darting across the yard.  She is jittery and spooked and runs away.

The meowing in the house stops.

So now we’re sitting on the patio and we safely assume our cat ran away and is gone forever.  My daughter is sobbing.  I am crying too.  My husband who never had the greatest affection for the cat decides to drive around the neighborhood and look for her.

An hour later we’re sitting in the house and we all hear meowing again.  We’re happy she did not run away but irritated we can’t figure out where she is.  My husband says, “That’s it.  I’m going back in the attic.”

I go into the garage and go into the furnace closet.  The meowing is stronger.  When I yell “Salena!” and bang on the wall, it intensifies.  Then I realize the sound is not coming from the wall, or the ceiling, but the floor.

So now my husband have to wedge this little door open (I only knew it was there because the cable guy had to go under our house about a year ago) and go under our house amidst all these pipes and wires.  I was grateful I was not feeling claustrophobic.  We had to army crawl and we were filthy dirty like we had been working in a cave.

Needless to say it took a couple tries, but we got her.  She would only come to me.  Now she is safe and sound.

We still have no idea how she got in there.  Our best guess is there a little small opening from where the chords from the air conditioner go under the house.  We just got new sliding glass doors and the kids have not been great about shutting them all the way.  We think she got outside and got confused on how to get back in.

My friends at the humane society shared that if your cat is stressed from extra noises from construction, keep him/her in a confined room while the workers are present.  They recommended getting a sedative from the vet if she gets too jittery or paranoid.  Your cat will “act out of character” if she/he is stressed as we experienced firsthand.

It wasn’t the way I wanted to spend a Saturday, but I am glad it had a happy ending.


Frugal Felines

When I was younger, I wanted a dog.  I put it on Christmas lists and dreamed of my own pet puppy under the Christmas tree.  My parents were upfront with me that we were not getting a dog and they had a cazillion reasons why.  Although I grew up in a dogless family, I somehow maintained my love for animals.  I believed my husband and I would get a dog soon after we came home from our honeymoon.

We never did.  Eleven years later we still don’t have a dog.

My brother pointed out to me that it’s ironic that I wanted a dog the most.  Now both he and my oldest sister have dogs.  And we have a cat.

Our main reason for not having a dog (and I’m not saying we’d never get one) is our house is chaotic enough with three little ones.  It also is a financial committment we’re not ready to make.  I know too many people who adopted a dog that became sick or injured and got slammed with vet. bills.  Plus we travel a lot and do not want to pay boarding costs.

We have found cats are affordable.  I know not everyone is “a cat person” but they are nice company.  If you are thinking of bringing a feline friend into your home, here’s some helpful “frugal tips” to keep costs at a minimum.

1)  Figure out where you stand ethically.  If your cat gets hit by a car or get sick, how much money are you willing to put into veterinary costs?  You should NOT feel overly guilty if you choose to put a suffering cat to sleep. Even if people give you a hard time about it.   Most vet. clinics and humane societies have staff members who can offer support and even counseling.  Some humane societies even have pet grief support groups.

2)  Adopt from the Humane SocietySome humane societies offer specials.  Our local humane society occasionally has Free Cat Friday and that is how our cat Salena came to us at no cost.  Plus most cats come home already spayed or neutered with up to date vaccines.  And you’re supporting a great cause.

3)  Foster cats.  We were not even sure we wanted a cat so fostering was the first step for us.  I fostered cats who were suffering from respiratory infections and needed to be quarantined.  Most humane societies and non-profit animal groups have foster programs because sick animals do not recover as quickly in a shelter environment.  They also do not get as much social interaction.  We probably fostered twenty-five different cats (some we loved and some we were happy to see go) before we adopted Salena. Salena was our foster cat for about three weeks before we decided to make her “our full-time cat.”  Our foster program gave us free litter, food, scratching posts, a litter box, and cat toys.  Plus we could call a staff person day or night if we suspected something was wrong with our cat.  Those two years of fostering were fun.

4)  Look for low cost vaccination packages.  Vet bills can be overwhelming!  Good Neighbor Vet is a good resource for finding low-cost vaccination clinics in your area.  Occasionally humane societes and other non-profit animal organizations will offer similar specials.  The more you can learn to do on your own such as grooming and trimming nails will save you even more money.

I like the easy going-ness of a cat and the fact she does need my constant attention or sucks up my bank account.  Someday maybe we’ll add a dog to the mix.  For now I savor the quiet evenings sitting in my living room with Salena curled on my lap.

I’m linking this up with Life As A Mom’s Frugal Friday