Category Archives: Pets

They Grow Up So Fast

Our kittens are almost 5 months and 1 week old today. I never thought they would still be with us after all this time. But they are and we’re truly enjoying every day with them. There’s always something new, a discovery, a new trait one of them develops, something they learn or we teach them. Of course there are also the nights when Naruto decides he wants to climb the mosquito screen door and howl at the moon waiting for one of us to “rescue” him at 4:30AM, while all he wants is to come in and snuggle between us. Here’s how they look today.

Today, Pia brought in Nero and Naruto with her. They are easy to handle as they will obey almost any command you give them. She noticed though they were getting heavy. Lifting Naruto with one hand was getting harder. She weighed him at 3KG last night, he’s probably heavier today!

She puts them both down and Nero was happy to snuggle next to her. It is nap time after all. But Naruto sees me sitting at my desk nearby and jumps up in my lap where he promptly turns on his back and goes to sleep. It takes him a few tosses and turns to find the right spot. Then he’s snoring happily in my lap. He is getting bigger.

They both stay put until Gigi (the mother) sounds the alarm outside. They rush to meet her, and both slide toward her to breastfeed as she licks them clean. Bagheera, their somewhat larger sibling tries to take a turn, and Nero yields his place. He’s full anyway. They had just eaten before Pia brought them in, but who could say no to fresh free milk and a tongue bath?!

That’s Gigi in the middle, between Naruto and the 2 Duponds (Nero and Bagheera). Those pics are from a couple of weeks ago!

Bagheera is already taller than his mother. But Gigi is larger at the shoulders and her neck is thicker. She’s my little pit-bull. Strictly speaking, pound-per-pound I’m sure she’s the toughest animal I’ve ever seen.

We have been taking photos of the little devils for since they were born. I’ll try to compile a few pics below (thanks Paypouy!)

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Cat Training – Sit – First Session

It’s been 4+ months since Gigi stepped into our living room, jumped in my wife’s lap and started giving birth to 4 highly annoying kittens. A week or so later, she moves them out to hide them. And a month after they were born she brings them back again, full of life and jumping up and down all over the yard and between the rocks of the garden wall/fence. They were very cute, and we enjoyed having them around the kitchen begging for food and playing with the mats. But they were growing, and very fast. At 4 months, Bageera is almost as big as his mother. Naruto is a bit smaller but his disctive meawoing is so high it wakes us up from behind closed glass doors and windows. And he know how to get our attention: he climbs the wirescreen of the doors and windows, he opens the sliding windows if there is just a small opening, he jumps up into our laps or behind our backs on the chair when we’re eating, etc. He demands attention and does not back down if doesn’t get it.

So training is not because we don’t have a dog, but merely a necessity. We had dome some research and found plenty of methods with clickers and people training the cats to do tricks and use the toilet. For me however the main issue was for Naruto to behave at meal times. It took just one session, same method used to teach a dog to sit before handing him the food. worked like a charm!

Here’s a video taken on that day, cut short just to make it smaller. Gigi is there, but her camouflage is too hard to film with a phone!

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Why Cats Play With Their Prey Before Eating It?

I woke up from Sunday’s afternoon siesta to very loud screaming. My wife an I ran out to see what’s happening. Mostly we were afraid one of the stray dogs we saw running around in the area was attacking the kittens we left laying around outside in the garden. Continue reading

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First Day with a New Dog

It’s been a while since I started thinking about getting a dog. But since we’re living in an apartment and we already have Gigi (momma cat) and her 4 little carnivores wreaking heavoc on our small terrasse we had some thinking to do. Getting a puppy was out of the question since they need so much time and energy that both my wife and I don’t have (as we want to put them into something more important). So we researched the breeds and weighed the pros and cons of each one. Then we tried to check out the local shelter to see if adopting an abandoned dog is an option. We even spoke with a breeder (who is also a friend) and asked him to reserve one of his upcoming puppies (Labrador retriever) for us when the litter arrives. And then, we got a call from a good friend who knew we were looking for a dog. He said that a couple had a Golden Retriever for a couple of years, but their situation changed and they are no longer able to keep him. Would we like to check him out. And he said that he went and checked out the dog himself and he thought it was the right one for us.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like GRs or at least I thought I didn’t. This one (named by previous owners ‘Tequila’) I loved! He’s affectionate, yet calm and obeys quickly. He will need training, and I’ll be starting that today. But so far he’s been wonderful.
The first day we spent getting him from his previous owners. The lady was crying and the man was obviously very sad to see the dog go. I know it’s not easy! My good friend sat in the back with the dog because they warned us he would be very noisy and might tear the backseat apart. No such thing. We came home, went straight for the balcony and he just sat there. My friend walked him a few minutes around the block and that was it. I had to drop off my friend and was a bit late to return, and my wife felt she had to entertain the dog. But, when I came back we just left him on the balcony and he was pretty content. In the afternoon we played with him for a little bit, then left him again. And at night my wife’s siblings came and they gave him another round of petting. Lastly, I took him outside for a quick jog for about 20 minutes. He came back and slept till morning.
I was expecting he would wake up early and start calling out for food, but that didn’t happen. I went to see him and he woke up, stetched. I took him outside to eliminate. He did that and went back to sit quietly. I’m taking 5 minutes every now and then to check on him. And will probably take him on another walk later. No accidents so far…

Turns out I really don’t like GRs! I simply could not bond with the sweet tequila and took him back to his previous owners after 1 week. Oh well *shrugh*

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Kitten Sitter

Gigi (giselle) the tortoiseshell cat that adopted us a few months ago delivered her load of 4 beautiful kittens a few days ago. She came inside, called out for my wife Pia. When Pia did not reply, she searched for her and climbed on to her lap. After a couple of minutes, Pia was feeling the cat’s belly as we were noticing some movements there the last few days, and she noticed something was starting to ooze out of her. Continue reading

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Feral Felines

There’s always been plenty of cats in our neighborhood. And they all stroll up and down the same trail facing my office window almost daily when the sun is up. But recently they decided to come closer and into our lives. Continue reading

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Bad Chicken Legs

Over the last few years I have learned to trust the instincts of our cat “The Boss”, especially when it comes to food. If he jumps up and down and screams at me to feed him from the pate I’m eating then it must be good. If he leaves a fine piece of ham untouched after quickly smelling it then it must really be inedible (even when it looks ok to the untrained eye!)

For the last couple of months, “The Boss” has been on a strict all chick diet. The problem is that he doesn’t always feel like chicken! It was all ups and downs until we got him a pack of chicken legs “drumsticks” from the supermarked (“Shuman” brand). He ate them all over the period of 2 weeks without any problem. We got another batch (from “Hawa Chicken”) and he ate those too. Great, we thought, at 1 drumstsick a day it’s both easy and not too expensive (in comparison to the hypoallergenic food we got him and he was too much of a snob to even taste it).
I was at another supermarket (“Charcutier Aoun”) when I heard they had a special on chicken legs. I got a 1KG. Back home, I cooked him one of the new drumsticks and he came to check it out as usual. The Boss smells it for a sec, then goes back to his bed. He comes back after an hour or so asking for food, but he never touches the chicken!

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I tried cooking another chicken leg from the old batch and he jumps to it immediately. The same happens on the second day.
I just bought a new batch from “Hawa Chicken” and he happily ate one of those. Honestly, I am afraid to eat from the “Charcutier Aoun” chickens after the boss turned them down. Any thoughts?

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First few days with a new puppy

We brought Bella, our new puppy, home a few days ago. I wanted to start blogging about it the minute we got back from the kennel, but I was too overwhelmed on that night to get anything done!
Let me try and remember how things happened. Pia will go over the post and edit it later 🙂

On the first day, we arrived at the kennel at about 4:30PM. Our friend (the owner) was not there, but he instructed one of the guys to give us the dog. We asked him if he could trim her claws, but he “didn’t have any scissors”.

From there we went to the vet. She’s fine, a bit of scratches and flees, nothing too drastic. We asked about spaying her, as we read that should be done before her first period (6 months). She’s already 5 months, but the vet said we can wait a couple of weeks until she’s gotten used to us and the house.

At home, we discovered that Bella had peed in her travel crate. We took her outside, cleaned her. One of us stayed with her while we cleaned and disinfected the crate (she will be living in that for the next few months).

We spent about 2 hours in the yard with her trying to make her eliminate (poop). Nothing! In the end we were too tired, so we put her in the crate (door closed), in the living room. She was frustrated and made plenty of whining noises. No barking so far (up until this day, I only heard 1 bark out of her when a fly landed on her nose while she was asleep!) I slept that night in the living room, woke up 3 or 4 times to speak with her. I even took her outside a couple of times, she peed once!

The second day, I was so exhausted and so was my wife. She couldn’t sleep either with all the whining and clawing inside the crate. I took Bella outside at about 6:30AM and she immediately chose a place to pee (same as the night before!) I was happy.

Things went easier after that. At noon (after she slept in the crate for a few hours) I took her outside again, and she eliminated almost instantly as soon as we reached “the spot”. Pia and I spent many hours since then teaching her stuff. She now knows her name and answers to it immediately (almost 100%). She will also sit and fetch on demand. Next is “handshaking” (requested by my father) and “down” (essential). Hopefully we’ll have that in the next 24 hours.

Did I mention she’s now going to her crate alone and sitting there beside me all day while I’m working? She will still make some noises after we leave her alone in the room, but will stop after we say “NO” with a firm voice just once. Pia is responsible for the discipline (my voice seems to be too low 🙂 )

We were following the “DogTrust” training videos on YouTube so far. All good, but we need other sources as the 25 videos in the series only cover so much. I will write about the training later. Pia is preparing a blog for “Our Cat and Dog“, further info will probably be posted there.

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Day of the Dog

We’re going to get Bella (our first dog) this afternoon.

I’ve been reading about dog training and handling a lot lately, and I feel like I know nothing! I also downloaded and watched many dog training movies. Here’s one series that seems to be very useful: http://www.youtube.com/user/DogsTrust

We’re going to get the crate and other stuff for the dog on our way to the kennel. The kennel owner is a friend and he recommended a pet shop on our way to his place, so we’re going to stick with that.

We also scheduled an appointment for the vet to checkout the dog on our way back, so we should be covered there.

One of our main concerns at the moment is how will the cat and dog act around each other. Bella is a pitbull puppy with plenty of energy and a feisty terrier attitude. And Boss is a 12 years old cat that does whatever pleases him around the house (mostly sleep). Googling the issue returns plenty of hits and misses, but mostly it’s about slowly introducing the animal to each other and keeping constant watch whenever they’re in the same room. I’ll probably post about our progress in that area later on.

I’m adding a new category here for the Dog.

I’ll update with some pics when we take some. 🙂

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