June 9, 2005

I want my cat back

I want to keep this blog going, but I can't say for sure if I will. That said, this could be my last entry. If it is, I want it to be honest. And the truth is, I'm not having a good time right now. Pretending that I give a crap about animal news right now is a chore. All I care about is getting my cat back.

She's recently gone into heat, and I fear this fact will keep her from getting back to me sooner, if at all. Her instincts are kicking in and she's probably going to get knocked up in some dark corner, become a single mom who doesn't know how to hunt, and then her and her babies will die. I've got to quit being such a downer.

There is a stray running around (that's eating all the food I leave out for Sophie) and I wish they could make friends and the stray could show Baby Kitty the ropes (Baby Kitty is my nickname for Sophie). In Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco, strays Riley, Delilah, and friends show pets Shadow, Chance, and Sassy the ropes of the owner-less city life. I hope a stray could do this for Baby so that if I never see her again, she can still manage life. In the movie, Chance is smitten with the stray lifestyle, but in the end, he goes home. I hope this happens to Baby more.

Tonight I received two phone calls about my cat. One guy called and said there was a black cat in his window. He said it had a collar, so I knew it wasn't Baby, but I went to check it out anyway. Sure enough, it wasn't my cat. At least I wasn't disappointed, since I already knew it wasn't her. But part of me was making excuses like, "Maybe someone put a collar on her."

The next call came from a girl who said she saw the cat cross the street and into a parking lot. I went to investigate, but had no luck finding any cat.

When I was about to leave again, a girl who had seen us wandering with flashlights came out and told me she saw my cat at 5 a.m. this morning. It was meowing and it woke her up. She went to look and it was a little, black, long-haired kitty... my little black, long-haired kitty. She was in a neighboring parking lot, the one where we saw her by the brush the other day, so the cat was meowing quite loudly (probably seeking a male). The sad thing is that I set my alarm for 4 a.m. and went to search for her. I wish I'd stuck around 'til 5.

This whole thing is a goddamn rollercoaster. If a cat dies, it dies. You are sad, but you know the cat is dead and nothing will change that. You get over it relatively quickly. When a cat disappears, you don't know what's happening. You're in a constant search with ups and downs. Something happens that gets your hopes up, then something happens that smashes them, then you try something else and they're up again, then smashed, then up, then smashed. I can't even count the number of times I've looped this rollercoaster over the past few days. The uncertainty of everything is numbing. I leave out food, and I know that if she's eating it, she'll probably be okay. But I don't know if she's eating it, and therefore I don't know if she's going to be okay.

I try not to get my hopes up about finding her. I can't be disappointed that way. But every time someone calls, every time I think I have a new trick that will bring her back, I can't help but say to myself, "This is going to work." And it never does. Everywhere I look, I see something and I think it's her. A dark block of cement, a knocked-over grill, a shadow of a leaf, anything dark in the corner of my eye forces me to turn my head at lightning speed, sure that it must be her. And of course, it never is. Sure, I am always disappointed, but these things could bring my cat back, and if I didn't try, it's my own fault if I never hold her again.

The most agonizing part of all of this is that I'm moving to the other side of the country. I was supposed to move tomorrow morning, but have now put it off until Monday. Come Monday however, I have to move... whether or not Baby Kitty gets back into my arms. Everyone says, "Oh, she'll be back, just give it some time." But what time do I have? I need results now. I need my cat back.

Posted by ause0007 at 11:16 PM

mile-high pets

From next Wednesday on, airlines must report the tally of deaths, losses, and injuries of household pets on board.

Is it really that dangerous to fly your pet? I decided to take a look at the pet travel options on the big international carriers Northwest, Delta, and United.

All three let you bring animals in the cabin with you for domestic flights, but usually there is a one animal per person, and a two animal per flight rule.

As far as international travel goes, Northwest will allow carry-on to most destinations, with the exception of the U.K., Hong Kong, and Hawaii. Delta only allows carry-on pets in the general North America region, and will not fly any animals in any way (carry-on, checked luggage, or cargo) to the U.K. United Airlines will only fly pets to the U.K. as cargo.

Everyone thinks that you can't bring pets into the U.K. without having to quarantine them, but you can. It just requires completing a long and tedious list of pre-travel tasks, part of the Pet Travel Scheme, such as blood tests, microchip implantations, a series of vaccinations, and the proper passport documentation for the animal. Basically, it's a huge pain in the ass and can take several months to get done. Six months is probably the bare minimum one should allow to get everything done. The blood tests have to be carried out at EU-approved laboratories, of which there are only two in the United States.

I've read a lot about flying your pet as checked baggage and it's not as bad as it seems. It is not at all advised to sedate your pet prior to flight. Most deaths during flight are a result of the animal being put under. It will be scary for animals to be up during the whole thing, but they will make it out okay. Animals do occassionally die during flight, but it is rare, and probably had more to do with the owners than the airline.

There are strict guidelines that airlines must follow, such as not flying any animal as checked baggage or cargo when the temperature anywhere along the flight is above 85 degrees, or above 75 degrees for snub-nosed animals. Certain areas of the world and country are completely banned from flying animals through during the summer months.

Basically, airlines are a lot more concerned than one would think.

Pet travel information:
Northwest Airlines Priority Pet
Delta Airlines Pet Travel Information
United Airlines Pets

Posted by ause0007 at 1:56 PM

June 8, 2005

Baby Kitty

I’m not up for writing about the news right now. But I wish what I had to write about was all over the news. I wish it was broadcast over every television and radio station in the Twin Cities, published in every newspaper, announced over every loudspeaker, plastered across every billboard, inserted into everyone’s mail, and written in the sky with an airplane. I wish everywhere anyone turned they would be confronted with the words “Help find Sarah’s cat.”

I should explain.

One of my cats has gone missing… an indoor cat lost in the outside. Sometime the other night, one of my roommates left the apartment and didn’t see Sophie Jack sneaking out behind her. The cat got trapped in the hallway and after a series of events involving a number of people I don't know, the cat ended up in the stairwell the next morning and when my landlord opened the back door to the outside, out came running my little Sophie Jack. And now she’s lost in a world she’s never known, a loud one filled with cement, traffic, factories, and rail yards.

I'm exhausted. Both my mind and my body are just exhausted. All day yesterday I combed through the neighborhood in the 95-degree weather plastering flyers at every house, apartment, store, and factory in my neighborhood, sticking notes under the door of every resident in my building, and visiting animal shelters in vain hope that someone picked her up and brought her in. I had sweat straight through my clothes several times over, stained my face with tears and dirt, sunburned my skin, and blistered my feet.

We finally saw her late last night and proceeded to dig through an immense patch of brush for hours. About an hour after that I saw her, and was just a few feet away from her. She was at the edge of a parking lot overlooking the brush. She was scared out of her mind though. As soon as I crinkled the toy that is her favorite in the world, she took off at the sound of it and never found her after that. We gave up at 2 a.m.

Here's to hoping tonight produces better results.

Posted by ause0007 at 1:47 PM

June 2, 2005

oh, the irony

There is a celebrity-judged dog show called Nuts For Mutts. I wonder if Neuticles tabled the event.

Posted by ause0007 at 4:26 PM

deextinctifying

Jurassic Park. Remember that movie? Of course you do; Jurassic Park was an awesome movie. In that scene at the beginning where the old guy shows those people how he made dinosaurs, you can't help but think, "Can they really do that? Can you really find a mosquito inside hardened sap, take out the blood and make a dinosaur?" I don't know the answer to that, but I'm guessing not since nobody's gone and done it. Anyhoo, I got to thinking about that because there's an article about some scientists who have sequenced the DNA of some extinct cave bears. I wonder, can you deextinctify a cave bear if you have the DNA? I mean, isn't that what all this cloning business is about? Could you shove some extinct DNA into the egg of, oh say a grizzly or something?

Since these scientists have been successful with the bear DNA sequencing, they are ready to do it to Neanderthals. Could we make a Neanderthal baby?

Posted by ause0007 at 2:31 PM

June 1, 2005

animal urges

Alright, this link here is to an article that is not real, but it is AMAZING, so read it anyway.

Posted by ause0007 at 4:52 PM

May 31, 2005

for a change of pace...

I'm not trying to make people come across as idiots with this blog, they just do that themselves. But so I will also include stories of awesome people, because I know they do exist. It's too bad, but they just don't get as much recognition in the news.

This man is awesome. I have two cats, one of whom has a story much like the one in that link.

Sophie Jack was found in the wheel-well of a city truck. It was parked at a food store and when the workers got back to the truck, they heard her mewing. If they hadn't heard her, had they just gotten back into the truck, my little baby would have been munched up in two seconds flat. She was only three or four weeks old and her mother was nowhere to be found. She got passed around, and ended up in my hands a few days later. Now she's huge and wonderful and amazing.

My other cat and my life's greatest joy, Stella, has quite the story too. She was a wild cat out in the Black Hills who lived at a horse camp. All her brothers and sisters are probably dead now, or running around with diseases and missing limbs. They never came near people. They lived outside and did their own thing. They were wild. But Stella was not like her brothers and sisters. She was friendly. So friendly that she would always hang out in the driveway of this horse camp. Huge trailers were constantly coming in and out and everyone feared she would be run over. My mom's best friend, Sue, decided that Stella was too wonderful to leave out in the driveway to die. Knowing that I was ready to take in a needy cat whenever I came upon one, Sue snatched Stella up and brought her to my mom's. I drove out a few days later and took her home with me.

I knew when I took her that she was a very sick cat and that I would probably have some very large vet bills coming up, but I also knew that she was worth it. She had had chlamydia (which is respiratory in cats, not sexual) pretty badly, which led to a nasty bout of pneumonia, which damaged her lungs, stunted her growth, and led to rhinoinfluenza. She got on several medications once we got back to my apartment (I think she's been on about six or seven), and everything cleared up except she kept snotting. The vets told me that her lungs were now healthy, so the snotting must be in the sinuses. They said it is not totally uncommon for a cat to snot for several years with no explanation. They are healthy cats that just snot constantly.

So Stella was fatter, healthier, and happier. It was during this time that I got Sophie Jack, and they had instantly become the best of friends. Everything was going well, until a few months later, when for seemingly no reason at all, Stella started becoming covered in scabs. The scabs grew plentiful and some quite large. They would eventually take all her surrounding hair with them when they left. Her face started to peel off and she wasn't looking good. She was happy, playful, and wasn't irritated when you touched the skin, but she just looked bad. Sophie Jack never had any of the symptoms Stella did. None of my vets (I have about five that I go to for different reasons) had ever seen anything like these problems. On one's advice, I switched Stella to a sensitive skin food, and we started her on steroids for a few weeks. The scabs went away and didn't come back. But now she's left with dark spots where her hair has grown back. So everything is good with Stella these days, except she still snots, although not as often. They say it's nothing to worry about, so I don't. She's happy and spunky.

Stella's full-grown now, but she only weighs seven pounds. She's a very little cat. Sophie Jack was already surpassing Stella in size by the time she was five months old. Sophie's still not full-grown, so whenever I see a "normal-sized" cat, I think they look like Maine Coons, even though they are just regular sized cats.

Stella and Sophie Jack are basically the best cats in the history of the world.

Posted by ause0007 at 3:22 PM

May 24, 2005

five grand

Q: How do you know you're a bad pet owner?
A: An animal rescue group gives you $5,000 to take custody of your dog away from you.

Posted by ause0007 at 4:19 PM