My pal, Kristine, over at Rescued Insanity commented on yesterday’s post that she’d never seen Bandit, my mom’s Shih Tzu. It made me think, I’m not sure I’ve introduced everyone to my crazy zoo of critters. So, today I’ll introduce you to all the critters in the house… we’ve got lots of them.
Panther is the matriarch in the house. She’s a 15 year old short-haired, petite cat who was about 8 weeks when I adopted her (okay my mom signed the papers) from the shelter. She tips the scales at all of 7.5lbs soaking wet but is a spit-fire even in her old age. She easily scales our 4ft fence then hops from the fence in between rungs on our deck railing–talk about skill and body awareness. Even better… she will jump onto the counters (about 3.5ft tall), leap onto the top of the fridge (another about 2.5ft leap), and will open up a cupboard and sleep inside on the recipe books. Nothing about her screams old-lady (except her crankiness toward the young’n Jefferson). She’s a such a well socialized cat it’s ridiculous–when we have guests over she’s almost always sitting in their lap within 5 minutes and is instantly rubbing their legs. She doesn’t flinch at the vets, couldn’t care less about car rides (some mewing), loves dogs after an initial tail poof, and follows me around the block when I take the dogs for a walk.
Panther was the first kitty I tried to train and she will sit on cue, go up on her hind legs on cue, and will even hand target with her paw (not reliably anymore). That being said she’s also wickedly naughty. She has learned how to open the toaster oven, open the REAL oven (both when off but we used to put our food in either place to keep her away from it while we ate but it doesn’t work anymore), open the cabinets to get her treats, and has a habit of knocking food items on the ground where the dogs will get at them. She’s just wicked smart and ultra crafty–she’d be like the crazy old lady down the street! I love this crazy cat!
Joey is an 11 year old cat who I adopted 5 years ago. After the passing of my old cat Meeko, our house felt very empty with just one cat so I went to find an older cat at the shelter to adopt as a companion for Panther. Joey has been a really cool cat since I got him… he ended up at the shelter as a product of a divorce. I can absolutely recall the moment I fell in love with him and knew he was the one. At the shelter, there wasn’t any information on whether he was good with other cats (a necessity) so I asked the question. The shelter worker brought a cat whose info said she was good with other cats into the meet-n-greet room and this other cat started hissing, spitting, and swatting at poor Joey. Joe just tilted his head at this cat and walked away… he was perfect! Non-reactive, really relaxed and very chill.
He’s got this amazing technicolor coat which is so unique even though he’s a tabby. Joey is actually not able to meow like most cats… he sort of squeaks and squeals in this very raspy voice. I may make fun of it but it’s really endearing and cute! He is also very dog-like in that he loves to play fetch and will bring me a pom-pom ball to throw and he diligently brings it back each time… then drops it in the water bowl LOL! Though he has a very bad habit of stealing my hair ties, wrist watches (non-metal), small dog collars, and stealing my fleece scraps and scattering them around the house!
Jefferson is a foster failure. He was found living next to the on/off ramp of I-95 in New York, just above NYC (if you are in the area you know how busy that is). My neighbor had seen him a few times over the course of a few weeks and he looked to be getting skinnier and skinnier and she couldn’t just leave him anymore. She’s highly allergic and couldn’t keep him (she broke out just from having him spend one night and had to have her bf catch the cat)–she got him vet checked, up to date on vaccines and neutered but had no one to take this cat. I gave in and said I’d foster him (it was either me or a shelter during kitten season and he was about a year old)… he had some really bad injuries to his paw pads and nails(maybe thrown from a car), some abrasions, and minor lacerations along with being underweight. Once he was healthy and I got a chance to see his personality, I put him up for adoption and advertised through a few local rescues.
He was young, beautiful grey, soft-coated, super friendly, great with the dogs, great with other cats, perfect for busy families, and was a polydactyl cat (hemmingway cat–extra toes kitty)–I figured he’d be adopted quickly. No such luck, after 3 months of not so much a nibble (besides a failed attempt with a co-worker), he officially became mine. He is a true class clown–not a day goes by that Jeffy doesn’t make me howl with laughter about something or other. Although he has all his claws, and even a few extra, he’s never so much as accidentally scratched me while playing. He loves to play and wrestle with Rio, throws his body around like a gymnast, sleeps in funny ways, is spazzy occasionally, and in general is the least graceful cat I’ve ever encountered. Just thinking about him makes me smile… what a great cat (though he has moments of being a bully to poor Panther).
Bandit is my mum’s Shih Tzu who is 8 years old and is, probably, the most sane dog in the house. He’s a pretty typical shih tzu except he has some crazy prey drive for birds and chipmunks–he’s been known to hunt out and catch chipmunks out of wood piles. I will admit he’s not “well trained” in the sense of knowing lots of tricks and behaviors but he has pretty good manners and really is a great family dog. Very few things in the world bother Bandit and he’s really well rounded–he’s a great change from the needy dogs I have. Although he isn’t a star trick dog, there are moments of sheer brilliance–he will often come up when I’m working on a new trick with Shayne and he’ll do the trick just to show me he can and then walk away… it’s crazy cute. He may not be my kind of dog, but he’s a perfect match for my mum.
Bandit’s best friend is Panther… they are constantly snuggling together, sharing a chair together, hanging out on the porch together… it’s so sweet to see them so bonded (Panther tolerates other cats and can enjoy them sometimes but she really IS a dog lover). After we had to put Meeko to sleep (who was Panther’s best buddy and snuggle pal), Bandit seemed to recognize Panther’s loss and he actively sought her out to snuggle with, something that they hadn’t done too much prior. I may make fun of Bandit all the time but he really is a great dog and so well adjusted!
And you all know my two monsters, Shayne and Rio (their bio’s are linked up top).
6 CRAZY critters… yet it is very harmonious and peaceful for the most part!