Showing posts with label pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pets. Show all posts

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kevin update

Haven't posted any Kevin updates lately.

He still eludes being held or touched.

Here's one from the other night that looks promising. :)

The video makes him look huge, but he's really not as big as he may seem.

When I eat breakfast, he hangs on the side of his cage waiting for a taste. It's usually a bran flake from my Raisin Bran. He loves them.

Once I can find a larger table, I plan to connect another cage to his so he has more space to explore.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Kevin loves peanut butter.

Kevin can also bite harder than he has been.

Last night I decided to give Kevin a special treat: peanut butter. I have read that they can eat it, in very tiny amounts. Too much and it can block their airways(?) I guess that makes sense, since it's very sticky.

Anyway, I smeared the tiniest amount on my finger tip and offered it to him. He licked and nibbled at it until it was gone. He then wanted more. I gave him more. This time, he decided to bite my finger. He bit it fairly hard too, although it didn't break skin or leave a mark. This is more inline with what I originally expected. :)

I also tried a few times to pick him up, but he wouldn't have any of that.

Earlier in the week I placed a large rock in his cage for him to climb on, and hopefully wear down his little nails. I noticed they were getting a little long, and since I can't hold him to trim them, this is the best I can do.

He was cautious at first, but now he seems to like it.

His routine now is to climb up to the door and almost immediately he'll climb back down and wait for me to put my hand in the cage and offer him a treat. He knows that I won't give him anything at the door anymore.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It turns out that Kevin doesn't like carrots. I tried to give some as a treat and he completely ignored it and wanted to bite my finger instead.

I got brave and let him take a bite. Or two. Or three. Or ten.

It didn't break the skin or hurt at all. Either he went easy on me or that's the best he can do.

I tried to coax him onto my open hand later, using a few different seeds as bait. He seemed puzzled and bit me a few times. Again, no pain or blood shed, but he was pretty determined to make my hand go away.

I think his biggest problem is that he closes his eyes when he puts his face near my hand. He goes into cautious, defensive mode. I guess he's protecting himself in case I attack? His vision is already bad because he's a mouse, but with his eyes closed he can't see where the seeds are to grab one so he just bites at random with hope that he'll find an edible snack.

Anyway, I think this was a huge step in building trust with him. I wish someone had told me that the bites didn't hurt or draw blood. Is this really normal for a domestic mouse?

When he climbs up at the door, he's starting to look down at the table more often as if he's tempted to jump down. I still try to avoid giving him any treats when he's there, and instead give them to him inside his cage.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Still patient

Kevin is still eluding my attempts to pet him or hold him. He does seem to be getting used to the hand intrusions in his cage though. Even my kids were able to almost pet him yesterday when they were over.

One of these days I'll keep my hand in the cage when he attempts to nip me and see if he'll try it more than once. :)

A Google photos compilation video of a bunch of clips...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Don't touch my stuff

This week I discovered that Kevin doesn't particularly like "the big hand" going inside his cage.

I thought we were making good progress toward him being held, so I attempted to pet him while he was inside his cage. If he ran off, all I had to do was stir up the bedding on the floor of the cage a little and he'd come running back to make me stop.

He tried to nip at me a couple of times as if to say "No, we'll have none of that. Beat it!" No broken or even scratched skin, but they were definitely his teeth that I felt. It was still kind of cute. He was getting a little too excited, so I gave him a few treats and left him alone.

No more of this

Last night i tried a different approach. I've stopped giving him treats by allowing him to climb up to the door and hang out to take them from me, and instead I am now putting my hand inside the cage to give them to him. I think he just needs to get used to having my hand in the cage to build more trust.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kevin, one week later

Kevin is getting better about coming to the cage door for treats. I tried to pet him a few times last night when he climbed up to see if I had anything for him. Needless to say, he dropped back into the cage and scurried off quickly. :)

Kyle and Kaitlyn came over for dinner and had fun giving him treats. We had to coax him down though since he seemed more interested in sleeping.

Later in the evening I tried putting a seed in my open hand and resting it on the cage bottom. He approached very cautiously to smell my hand. He even tried to nip my finger once; I felt his teeth brush against my finger. One thing I noticed, and Kaitlyn also noticed, is that he squints when he's taking food from you. I think that's a sign that he's still a little bit afraid.

Friday, September 30, 2016

More progress

Last night, for the first time, I was able to put my hand inside the cage and give Kevin a couple of treats, as he hid inside the tube to his eating area. He doesn't seem to like the sunflower seeds as much as I expected. I had hamsters when I was younger and they loved them. Pumpkin seeds and, what I think are, watermelon seeds seem to be his fav.

Even when I don't have treats for him, I hold my fingers near the cage so he can get used to me. He doesn't run away as often.

He still fills his water bowl with bedding. I had to clean it twice this morning before I left for work. I need to find something better soon.

I should also mention that Kevin has his own Instagram account:

Yyyyep... why not.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slow progress is still progress

On Tuesday evening, I made my first real attempt to hand-feed Kevin treats through the bars. He accepted them without too much trouble and came back for more many times, but he tends to run off to eat them. He's very quick.
More treats please!
He has a really bad habit of filling his water bowl with bedding and I have to clean it out and refill it. I need to find a small water bottle that will fit through the bars of the cage. Pet Valu didn't have anything suitable.

This evening I hand-fed him more treats through the bars. I feel like he's getting used to me now, but I'm still not confident enough to attempt to pick him up for fear he'll jump out of my hands and get lost in the apartment, or worse, hurt.

Monday, September 26, 2016

2 Days with Kevin

I managed to clean Kevin's cage on Sunday. I waited until he was in another area of the cage, then disconnect the other parts and cleaned them. He's still very skittish. When he smells my fingers or I put my face near the cage, he scampers off to his eating "room". I would too if I was him.

This morning, I left small strips of paper towel in his cage and he used them to "wallpaper" his sleeping quarters. I gave him a full sheet of tissue later in the evening and he managed to figure out how to get it up to his sleeping area; he dragged it backwards up the pipe. Smart little guy.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Meet Kevin

Today I adopted Kevin from the Ottawa Humane Society. He's 6 months old and was born on March 16, according to his papers. He cost me $10 and they included the cage. I picked up some food while I was there for $9.

The adoption process was easy and fairly quick. They had a few other mice to choose from, but I think when they said I'd want Kevin once I saw him it gave him an advantage. :) They said they usually sit his cage on the counter and he's active all day. When I was leaving they asked me if I was going to keep his name and I said I would. It suits him.

I walked to the nearby Pet Valu later in the afternoon and purchased some treats and fresh bedding.

I'm not even going to attempt to pet or pick him up for a while. I've had hamsters and a rat in the past, so I know how to approach the situation, but he's way more skittish and fast than they ever were.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A nice surprise

When I got home today I had received a letter from the University of Guelph. At first I thought it was some kind of junk mail letter.

I opened it and this is what it said:




Dear Paterson Family: 

We were truly sorry to learn of the passing of your beloved cat, Samantha. In recognition of your loving relationship with Samantha, Blair Animal Hospital has given a monetary donation to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Pet Trust. 

The OVC Pet Trust honours the amazing relationship between pets, their people and veterinary caregivers. This kind gift will support learning and lead to advances in our knowledge to improve the health of our companions. I think you will agree this is a wonderful tribute to your special friend. You can find out more about the OVC Pet Trust at 

As veterinarians and animal lovers we understand how painful losing a pet can be. We hope that you derive comfort knowing that this gift in memory of Samantha will help us move veterinary medicine forward. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. 


Dr. Gordon Kirby, DVM, MSc, PhD
Associate Dean, Research and Innovation

The Blair Animal Hospital was Sam's primary vet. When we took Sam to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital, we had to sign forms acknowledging that the Alta Vista Animal Hospital wasn't trying to take us away as clients, etc. and that they had permission to send all of the medical info back to the Blair Animal Hospital.

This really is awesome. Thank-you Blair Animal Hospital.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It'll stop... eventually

I realized on Monday that this is the first time in 18 years that we haven't had a pet in our home. It is also the first time in over 30 years that I haven't had some kind of pet.

We adopted Sam in 1993, the same year we got married. We picked her, and her "brother" Quincy, at the Ottawa Humane Society. I'll be honest and say that she wasn't my first pick. I had seen a solid grey kitten but it turned out that she had ear mites. They said they would give us the drops for them, but because we were getting two kittens, we'd have to buy more to treat the other cat at the same time as a preventative measure. I continued my search and noticed a black and white kitten. She stuck out a little more because she was a little larger than the other kittens. In the end, she was smaller than most cats and I couldn't have chosen a better cat. Or maybe she chose me; that's how it works with cats, isn't it?

We picked the names for Samantha and Quincy while we sat in the car at the Blair Animal Hospital, when we took them for their first visit to get a checkup. I don't remember why I chose "Samantha". Perhaps because it could be shortened.

I had other cats when I was growing up and none lived as long as Sam. We had a famiy dog, Peanut, who also lived to around 18 years old.

I took a break from surfing the web on Monday night and got up to get a cup of water. Without even thinking, I glanced over to where she would normally be lying on the floor, waiting for that familiar little "Mrrr?" as she would get up to follow me. Her floor space was empty.

"Oh yeh... right."

In the kitchen, as I finished filling my cup, I looked down at my feet so I wouldn't step on her if she was sitting behind me, waiting to ask for food.

I then instinctively looked to where her bowls used to sit, to see if she still had food, and they weren't there.

I heard noises, again, later as I was sitting at my computer. Not imaginary noises. I'm sure it's just the house settling, but the first thing I assumed was that it was Sam hopping off the couch or the automan, or playing with a toy... and then I remembered. It gave me goose bumps.

The other evenings this week were more of the same.

I keep replaying Sunday's events in my head. It's like a bad dream. She has a problem with her foot. They'll fix it. We'll pay a big vet bill. We'll all go home. That's how it was supposed play out.

We had canned food and an unopened bag of dry food that we bought from PetSmart a week or two ago. Sandra called them on Monday and they let us return it. I went to the Humane Society web site on Tuesday morning and made a donation.

For such a tiny furball, she sure left a big hole in our home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Samantha (1993-2011)

On Sunday morning Sandra noticed that Sam was walking funny. She said it was if her left rear foot was "inverted", like she was walking on the top of her foot.

I went downstairs and found Sam lying on the kitchen floor. She looked up at me and meowed as if to say "feed me". She didn't appear to be in any pain or discomfort. Her back leg look ok. I got out a bag of cat treats and tossed one in front of her. She got up and limped awkwardly to eat it, just as Sandra described.

At first I thought maybe there's some kind of paralysis on her rear leg. Then I thought that perhaps she had an accident during the night and broke her foot. Regardless, it was painful to watch, despite the fact that she didn't appear to be in any pain. She even hobbled off to the living room and hopped up onto the couch.

We decided to take her to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital Emergency Care.

We woke up Kyle and Kaitlyn and told them we were taking Sam to the vet. They gave her a hug and Kyle loaded her into the carrier.

Sam really dislikes being in the carrier, and being a house cat, the outside stresses her out. She panted for at least half the ride to the animal hospital, which we had never seen her do, and she meowed the entire time — that was normal for her.

The vet was actually more concerned with Sam's breathing, even though this was the first time we had seen her like this. After the assessment, examination, a mild sedative, and chest x-rays, it turned out that the problem she had with her foot (he called it "knuckling") was due to a blood clot in her leg, which was caused by a heart murmur that she had been diagnosed with years ago. The labored breathing was caused by fluid in her lungs, as shown on the x-rays. All of this was leading to eventual congestive heart failure.

Back when she was diagnosed with a heart murmur, it was explained to me that this day could eventually come, but today this was totally unexpected, which makes it more difficult.

Two options were explained to us. The first was treatment which would have been extremely expensive with about a 50/50 chance of recovery, and yet there would always be a chance of more blood clots in her future with potentially worse results. From what I recall, the existing blood clot in her leg would also remain because the repair could do more damage than leaving it. The second option was euthanasia.

Given all of the facts, the decision was pretty clear.

Saying final goodbyes to pets is not new to us. We'd had to make this decision four times in the past. It's never been easy, but for Sam it was really difficult.

Up until a few years ago, Sam had always been the quiet one. Timid and shy. She was always wary of our kids and anyone else who came over. A few years ago, we believe that she lost her hearing. As strange as it sounds, this was probably one of the best things to happen. Without hearing, she was a calmer cat. She didn't startle.

She opened up a lot to Kyle and Kaitlyn. She let them hold her. She actually seemed like a much happier cat. She started approaching them for attention. She hung out in the den with Kyle and I while we used the computer. I have to admit that I was actually a little jealous of Kyle because she would willingly sleep on his lap as he used the computer. She didn't like my lap.

She also became very vocal. She'd often wander around at night talking to herself and anyone who would listen. Thankfully, this happened for only a few minutes at a time.

No matter where she was snoozing at night, which was usually on the floor near the den closet, when I got ready for bed she'd wake up and follow me to the kitchen and ask for food. She sensed it. I'd pour a little bit of dry food in the bowl, add a little water to it, she'd be content until morning.

By the time I was in bed, she'd start meowing in the dark in the living room. Perhaps she was saying good night, like they did on The Waltons.

It's almost sad to think of how much attention she missed out on in her life because she was so timid and shy for most of it. For the last 4 or 5 years of her life, there was certainly no shortage of attention and she enjoyed every minute of it.

Tonight, for the first time in 18 years, our home has no pets.

I keep expecting to see Sam sleeping on the floor when I turn around. Or as I walk into the kitchen to get a drink, she'll meow at me for food.

All there is is silence, and it's eerie.

Rest in peace, Sammy.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 23 - Feeed meee!

Feeed meee! (23/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
I had plenty of photos to choose from for this week, but I figured that seeing pictures of our stairs being stripped of carpet, scraped and sanded wouldn't be too interesting. :)

So, here's our cat, Sam, once again gracing my blog. I bought a 50mm f1.8 lens off a seller on Ebay earlier in the week and it arrived on Friday. While testing it out, Sam decided she wanted to be fed and was quite vocal about it. I couldn't pass on the opportunity to snap a shot or two.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 6 - Zzzz...

Zzzz... (6/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
This is our cat Sam (Samantha). She's about 16 years-old and we think she's either deaf, or extremely hard of hearing now. Maybe that's somewhat of a good thing because she tends to be easily spooked by noises. Now she can sleep without interruptions -- like when I take her picture. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Litter Box

Our cat, Sam, is about 15 years old. While she's still in good health, and fairly active, she does have one flaw; bad aim when it comes to using her litter box.

It doesn't happen every time, but it happens enough that her corner in the basement requires a garbage bag on the floor, with newspaper spread on top of it, and the litter box centered in the middle. And even then, sometimes she goes enough that it has time to flow off the newspaper and onto the floor.

One time while I was in the basement, I was fortunate enough to see exactly why it happens. She stepped into her litter box and began her business. Everything was fine, until she was about half-way done. Her behind started to rise and the stream of urine started shooting over the side of the litter box, onto the newspaper.

She used to have a covered litter box at one time, but it was rather small and difficult to maintain on regular basis. About a year ago, we switched to a standard size litter box. That's pretty much when she started overshooting.

I searched the web for alternative litter boxes. I found that there's even a top-entrance litter box. I can't see my cat going for that.

In my search, I discovered that my cat is not unique with her habit of raising her behind while urinating. It actually seems fairly common, mostly in older cats. As they age, their joints ache and they can't squat in the same position for any length of time, therefore, they straighten their legs as they urinate.

With that, came the obvious suggestion of using a litter box with high sides. My thoughts turned to the covered box, again. But the article also suggested using a large Rubbermaid tote, and cutting an entrance in the side. It has higher sides than most high-sided litter boxes, and doesn't cost any more than a litter box. I did a search just not to try and find the article, and there are many others just like it, all showing how to create your own high-side litter box. :)

My wife picked up a large Rubbermaid tote today. I made some markings on the side where I planned to cut the entrance, and then finished the job with a hacksaw and an exacto knife. After a little sanding of the rough edges, it was done. I almost made the entrance on the short end, but thought that it might not be a good idea since it would be easy to pee out of. This article reaffirms my decision.

I put it in the same location in the basement, but I did add some newspaper underneath it to help me catch any mishaps. There's no way she'll pee over the side, but there is a chance she might accidentally aim out the entrance.

I really hope this solves the problem. After finding all of the other articles from people who did the same, I'm pretty confident that it will.
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(Update 03-15-2010: FYI… this did solve the problem. Zero accidents since.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Quincy Video

It took YouTube a while to publish it, but it is now up. Here's the video I made. Despite the corny sound track, I still love watching it. :)

Monday, March 19, 2007


I'm feeling a little freaked out right now.

I was messing around with YouTube, uploading a small video of our cat, Sam, meowing. (Yeh, I was bored) Since I was digging around in my videos folder, I decided to play a video I made in 2003 as a tribute to our other cat, Quincy, who passed away that year.

Then it dawned on me that it was March of that year that he passed away.

It gets even freakier.

I checked my calendar and it was actually March 19th -- THIS VERY DAY -- back in 2003.


Quincy, also known as "Buddy", "Rug", and "Quin" was a Maine Coone variety of cat. When we got him 1993, along with his "sister" Sam. He was so tiny. He could sleep in my hand.

Sam was the same age, but about twice his size. Quincy grew up fast, outgrowing Sam and became the dominant one. He grew into a BIG cat. And he had a temper, when he didn't get his way.

Yet, he never attempted to hurt our kids. He would hiss occasionally, but that was it. He was so tolerant of them picking him up like a rag doll later in life.

I remember when our son was about a year old. He was lying on the carpet, on a blanket playing with his toys. I was typing away at the computer. I leaned over to check on him.

I nearly freaked.

There he was, on his stomach, face-to-face with Quincy. He had both fists firmly grasping the fur on each side of Quincy's face, pulling Quincy's face close to his own.

Quincy had a look of panic on his face, but didn't even try to pull away or defend himself. Poor cat. I rescued him and off he went.

It was pretty funny after the fact.

Quincy had two incidents of FUS (Feline Urinary Syndrome) in his life. The first time was caught early when he was around 4 years old, purely by chance while I was in the basement at the same time he was using the litter box. I noticed that he seemed to be having some discomfort as he went about his business. I checked the litter when he was done and found a small pool of bloody urine. That cost us a couple of hundred dollars in Vet bills, but he recovered fairly quickly.

The second incident was a couple of years later. Again, we caught it early, but not early enough. $600 later, he was home. We changed cat food this time, switching to Science Diet.

Years passed without any further incidents. Both Sam and Quincy appeared to be aging well.

In March of 2003, I noticed that Quincy was looking a little scruffy. Not his usual self. Not as active. I feared that it was FUS again.

I checked the litter box. I dabbed some paper towel on any wet spots on the litter and it left a pinkish wet mark on the paper towel. Must have been blood.

After some initial tests at the Animal Hospital, we had a brief moment of hope that it wasn't FUS, but quite possibly something else and easily treatable. An hour or so later, our hopes were gone. They confirmed that it was FUS. And fairly advanced. He was completely blocked.

We made a difficult decision that day, and chose to put an end to the misery that kept coming back.

I have to admit that I whimped out. My wife took Quincy to the Animal Hospital that night. I pretty much knew what was coming and couldn't go through that. About 7 years earlier, I brought my family's dog, Peanut, there for the same thing. She was very old and sick. But I stayed right to the end.

I couldn't bear the thought of going through that again with Quincy. When I think back on it now, that's something I regret. I should have been there. I owed that to him.

Anyway, that's the story of Quincy. Once the video gets published on YouTube, I'll post a link.

RIP Buddy. We still miss you.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pet Food Recall

This is pretty scary stuff, if you're a pet owner. The recall is a "precautionary measure".
TORONTO (CP) - One of North America's largest pet-food suppliers said Friday it would recall some of the premium dog and cat food it sells through stores such as Wal-Mart and Safeway at a cost of up to $40 million after several animal deaths in the United States.
One dog and a "small number" of cats in the U.S. are reported to have died from kidney failure after eating the food, Henderson said. There had been no complaints from Canadian pet owners.
The lists for Cat and Dog food are now posted on Menu Foods Income Fund's web site. They're are a lot longer than I expected. It looks like they sell under quite a few different names.

Make sure you download the list for the brand that you buy. It'll be an Excel spreadsheet containing the product code, description and other information. Most, if not all of them, seem to be "cuts'n'gravy" style. If you don't have Excel or a spreadsheet program capable of opening the file, you can download a free one here from Microsoft.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Our cat, Sam, was acting really strange last night.

She usually keeps to herself, unless I'm sitting on the couch watching TV. Then she'll hop onto the arm of the couch and lie down. Last night I was at the computer and she wouldn't stop coming into the den and meowing. Or standing on her hind legs and rubbing her face against the arm of my chair.

I checked to see if she had food. She did. I emptied the bowl and gave her some fresh food and water. That occupied her for about 5 minutes before she returned.

I went looking for her toys in the living room, found 3 of them, and tossed them out into the middle of the room for her to play with. She walked over to them, batted one around for a few seconds and then followed me back into the den.

She eventually hopped onto my lap and draped herself over one of my arms and purred away contentedly. After 10 minutes of that, she hopped down and left.

I'm guessing that she just wanted some attention, but it's not very often that she acts that way. It was rather strange.