With Autumn Comes Change

Seeing bits of sand scattered on the bed of my trunk made me stop the mindless loading of cat food and litter I’d just purchased during my lunch break. My mind flashed back to the Saturday before Labor Day, enjoying my first beach-day of the summer, finally, at the end of summer; feet cozy in the gritty warm sand as waves made rhythmic lapping sounds with the incoming and outgoing tide.

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Sitting in my beach chair and gazing at the ocean, I recollected my summer working the Sawdust Festival selling fine jewelry and blown glass, and winding down my subdivision consulting business. I took a sip of my lemon water and slowly inhaled, taking in the scent of Coppertone and sea salt then exhaled all my angst and worry that came from being on the cusp of a major life change.

Soon, my sand covered feet would be crammed into high heels, and my version of corporate casual, cut-off jeans and t-back tank tops would be replaced with sleek skirts and blazers. My commute up the stairs to my home office would convert to a trip across the convenient yet costly toll road, gridlock on the 405 or Coast Highway.

And how would my feline clan fare with my new 8 to 5 schedule away from home?

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More disconcerting thoughts consumed my beach day: No more Friday morning horseback riding lessons or impromptu hikes on my lunch break.

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How would I manage being in Corporate America after living a free spirited lifestyle as a consultant, writer, seller of art and cat sanctuary outreach rep?

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All that resonated with my soul yet didn’t quite pay the bills. The financial burden finally got the best of me and I succumbed to an offer for full-time work, not doing what I loved, but what I knew, and what I knew would get me back on track financially.

As the intense summer sun beat down on my back, I braided my hair to get it off my sticky neck then made a dash for the ocean. The cool salt water soothed my scorched skin and my anxious thoughts.

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I snapped back to the present and finished loading my trunk, made my way back to the office, back to my new life.

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Adjusting has been a challenge, but one positive besides the regular paycheck—the office is close to a Petco, a convenient alternative for those times I can’t get downtown to Coast Pet Supply.

Oh, and how are the cats managing you ask?

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I got your purse–you can’t go to work now…naaa nn na n naaa na!

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It’s finally Saturday and we can finally hang out on the deck, geez!  Lex, paw-lease.  We still got it good here even if we can’t go out when she’s at work.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Autumn, Cat Sanctuary, Domestic Cats, Midlife Changes, Uncategorized, Working | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Topper Tuesday! Tacos or Sardines….

Well, here it is Topper Tuesday and how will my cat crew be celebrating? I know, you are thinking with fish tacos and a hearty whiff of catnip. Not quite…but close! They will be dining on Sardine Meal Feast wet food by Nature’s Logic.

As you can see Topper can barely wait to sink his teeth into the new grub.

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Tacos are out of the question for the cats (too bad–can you just picture their cute little paws wrapped around a taco?), but…they can eat all the sardine pate they want. Another of their preferred choices is the beef feast. I like the food because it’s free of corn, wheat, rice, soy and gluten—all of which are hard for kitties to digest as these ingredients aren’t naturally meant for their digestive systems. It’s also potato free. With Lexington in diabetic remission, I’m on the lookout for food that does not contain potato because of its high glycemic index.

IMG_8181I’m happy that they favor another top-quality food. As we cat lovers all know, healthful food is key to healthy kitties. It looks like I’ll be back to buy more of Nature’s Logic feline feasts.

Feline Feeding Fact: I’ve recently learned that cats get “whisker fatigue” and eating from a deep or narrow bowl, which rubs their whiskers can cause irritation to these sensitive “antennas.” They may stop eating before they are full, appearing to dislike the food. Try feeing them in wide, shallow bowls or plates. I’ve been feeding my cats their wet food on saucers for years, and they eat kibble out of shallow bowls. Also note that plastic plates or bowls emit smells that our feline family find offensive, so stick to ceramic type feeding bowls and plates.

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Hello?  A little more paw-leeeez.

Posted in Cat Behavior, Domestic Cats, FELINE DIABETES, FELINE HEALTH, FELINE NUTRITION, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fridays with Abbey

As a new resident to Laguna Beach back in 2004, I would often do a double take whenever I drove past a little blue and white cottage nestled at the base of the Canyon. Winding my way along Laguna Canyon Road, I would slow down to catch a glimpse of cats lounging by the windows or roaming the enclosed patio. A sign by the side of the road read: The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats. Was it a home for wayward cats—or even better, a home for crazy cat ladies and their cats?

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Fast forward to 2013 after my cat lady curiosity got the best of me, I took a tour of the cat cottage and learned that Blue Bell is a sanctuary for cats whose human companions can no longer care for them, such as when they pass away, a common circumstance for most of the kitties who come to live there. After my tour and spending time with Trixie, Domino and Teddy, a few among the 50 feline residents, I completed a volunteer application.

On my first day as a cat cuddler, I went into the small kitchen off the foyer to wash my hands when a gray ball of fluff standing by my feet caught my attention. I looked down to see giant yellow eyes gazing up at me through pastel gray and peach toned fur. A silent meow came out of her mouth as though she wanted to say, “Welcome!” but it didn’t quite make it past her whiskers.

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“This is Abbey,” said Stephanie, the cat caregiver as she picked up Abbey and gently handed her to me. Abbey snuggled into the crook of my neck, resting her paws on my shoulder. I was instantly smitten with what appeared to be a kitten, although Abbey was not a youngster at the age of 19.

Every Friday that I spent time with Abbey I became more enamored. How could I not fall for a sweet-faced Persian who purposefully marched over to the glass door separating the foyer from the main room when she saw me arrive? I couldn’t complete the sign-in sheet fast enough. Abbey would paw at the door until I opened it then greeted me with a soft, raspy meow. I would tell her about my week as I carried her around. I would eventually put her down so I could visit with the others, but got “evil eye” from Abbey across the room until I walked back over to sit next to her. She would settle in next to me, content to have me all to herself once again.

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One day I had to be on a conference call with a client during the same time as my volunteer shift. I had two choices: a) not go to Blue Bell, or, b) go, and take my work with me.   Of course, I opted for the latter. Abbey, I learned that day was quite industrious as she assisted me in organizing my notes after the call.

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About two years into my volunteer gig, Abbey’s health began to decline and she required more veterinary care. She would bounce back, yet I could see her slowing down. One particular visit I helped the cat caretaker shave a small matt off of Abbey’s tummy, which she tolerated with stoic patience. After we were done, I kissed Abbey’s head, and said good-bye.

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That was the last time I saw Abbey. The following Friday morning, her time had come to leave us.

I have new feline friends at Blue Bell and adore them all. But, as with certain people, we make special, strong connections with certain animals. Among the strongest of my animal connections was with Abbey.

In memory of Abbey, 1994 – May 29, 2015

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Posted in Animal Sanctuary, Cat Behavior, Cat Love, Cat Sanctuary, Senior Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments