Alcohol Cats and the Candy Bar Dog

I’ve mentioned before that my sister has two dachshunds. Instead of being named after alcohol, her dogs are named after candy bars: Snickers and Mars. (“Mars” deriving from the British “Mars Bar,” which was the name of our Great-Aunt’s favorite dachshund. I’ll talk more about her another day.)

Well it just so happens that Mars loves cats. Really, he loves anything that moves. So a few times I’ve brought Mars over to meet the alcohol cats, because one day I want a dog. But more importantly, I want to know that Smirnoff and Bacardi would be okay living with a dog.

Cats will react very differently toward other cats versus dogs. As I found out when I tried to foster a kitten, Smirnoff hates other cats with a passion. Except for Bacardi, of course, who is his best friend/minion. But when another cat enters his view, Smirnoff will hiss and growl and he will take out his unhappiness on me, on Bacardi, and anyone who crosses his path. Even when the cat is in another room. Bacardi, however, was curious about the kitten and would sit side-by-side with it.

Continue reading “Alcohol Cats and the Candy Bar Dog”

Why You Should Double Your Trouble

By now I’ve sent a few shelter cats home with friends of mine. It always makes me a little nervous—what if the cat turns out to be a total nightmare and then I’m the one who helped put it in a home where it’s not working out. But luckily, things have mostly worked out so far.

For instance, last year, I saw a group of kittens at the shelter, including one small gray kitten, and immediately texted his photo to my friend Sonja. She and her (now) husband had one cat, Zola, who they adopted several years ago at the age of about 4 months from a shelter in Arlington, Virginia. Sonja had been wistfully suggesting she wanted a second cat for months, and Sam had finally started agreeing with her. But I was the one who texted that photo to alert Sonja of a new litter of kittens to the Animal Rescue League of Boston. A couple days later, she walked home with Milo, a tabby from the same litter as the gray kitten.

Milo_kitten

Most people think of cats as solitary creatures. But any cat owner with more than one feline knows that cats can be just as social as dogs— in fact, most cats thrive with a companion or two of the same species.

Kittens use their littermates to learn appropriate behaviors, such as how hard they should bite and how rough is too rough during playtime and which social cues (like a hiss, or a meow) mean what. Kittens that are separated from their littermates too young often turn into cats that bite, unless their owner knows how to teach those things, which takes a lot of effort.

Continue reading “Why You Should Double Your Trouble”