Ants

This has been an unusually busy week and today was the worst.

Yesterday, my Cat Chloe had to have surgery. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, she’d been losing weight of late and now she’d stopped eating.  When I took her in before, her blood work had not indicated anything grave, other than a typical (for her age) kidney enzyme count or some such, which only required a diet change. However, I could tell she was losing weight and yet hungry all the time.  She liked her canned food, which was soft, but she was no longer going for the dry. Another age thing?

Well, felines have something they are prone to called resorption. It affects their teeth and gum area and can cause them quite a bit of pain. Fortunately only one tooth was involved, so we had it extracted.  She is fine now.

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Doing what she does best – in the daytime anyway.

However, my little gal has to be on pain meds for three days. She was not a happy camper because when she got home, her favorite place to be (outside) was barred.

I couldn’t let her go out because it was now evening and we are known to have coyotes in the neighborhood, so the vet said no. Having been sedated, her reflexes would be subpar for awhile.

So up goes the baby gate and boy did she try to figure that thing out. She was not happy.

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baby gate

But all in all, she did get a pretty bandage.

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In the meantime, I  add some warm water to her dry food per Dr.’s suggestion, which I did last night. She ate.

The downside to that is that this AM what was left over had drawn ANTS!!!  Lot’s of them, with a trail leading outside, down and around the patio to the fence and disappearing heaven knows where.

I know the neighbors have complained of ants, but they’d not been a problem here.

I looked everywhere for any kind of bug spray and found none.  So, I got out the vinegar. Well, it soaked them but it didn’t kill them, so Home Depot, here I come.

Oh dear!  So many choices. Which do I go for?

Well Spectricide was cheapest, Ortho next and the highest was RAID!  So, I used my “rule of thumb” and got the one priced in the middle.  I figured if Raid was that high, almost twice the others, it must have a ton of stuff I don’t want in the house or…near my pets. The cheapest, I reasoned might not do the trick, I don’t know, but I didn’t want to have to go back if it didn’t.  My animals were starving!  And, I wanted to be able to put their food down and feel it wouldn’t be contaminated.

I needn’t have worried. They’ve been sleeping most of the day anyway.

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I woke Ferguson, he looks worried probably wondering what I’m up to now.

In addition to spray I got some of these little “traps”.  It says they’ll take the stuff to the nest and they’ll all be gone. I know how tenacious these little guys can be. I did the tour in Arizona of the Biodome where they had put several species of ants in there and the little guys took over and…eradicated all others!  Nope. I wasn’t taking any chances. These were little guys.

The first go around with vinegar didn’t do much. When I got back from the store, they’d already called in reinforcements. What a mess! I couldn’t think what on earth they could be going for. I don’t have a messy floor. I’d put the food up. What in hell’s name did they want, as one came crawling up my leg and then the other?!

I had to get in all the places I could think of. I laid them by the fence where they’d disappeared to and behind planters next to the doors. Everywhere the trail lead in.

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Ant bait

I made sure to lay them in places where the pets couldn’t get them, not that they would, but just in case.

So…then I had to clean up the mess of ant carcasses and while I was at it, I bathed the dog. Ferguson, our Papillon, although a spaniel derivative,  hates baths but he actually did good this time and I even brushed his teeth without him fussin’ too much.

 

So by the time my two are ready to eat this evening I’m sure things will be fine.

I hope.

Killing ants is a lot of work.

 

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Chloe the Mighty Hunter

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We have a cat. Her name is Chloe. If it moves, watch out!

She has been the matriarch of our household pets for the last ten years even though we’ve had her longer. Up until then it was only her. She traveled well and was low maintenance.

Later, when we moved and lived in Alabama, she would be joined by others.  A hard thing for the “old” gal to accept.

The first of the interlopers, was Thomas the Ally Cat, a small Calico stray kitten we found quaking under the house. He managed to endear himself to her for awhile and the two would romp and bounce around the house. For awhile she got to be a kitten again, that is until we adopted Abby, another stray that found it’s way under my husband’s truck and riding 30 miles under the carriage without getting killed. We resisted adopting her, but she slowly wormed her way into our lives. Abby didn’t mew but made this cute chirping sound as she walked.

Chloe managed to make them tow the line and would whop them if they didn’t. In a way it was sad to see how the relationship changed once Abby came on the scene. Mostly because the two kittens had each other to play with and there was no room for her in their play. The old gal got shut out and Chloe got cranky and at times she’d attack Abby in reprisal.

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Chloe, Abby & Thomas

As if that wasn’t enough, then came cute, bouncy Ferguson, our little “Dog in the Wind”, who landed on our doorstep after a big tornado. The kittens took to him fine until Chloe sauntered in and gave him a big whollop, sending him whimpering and cowering across the room. The other two took that as their cue to follow suit and proceeded to gang up on him. Cat logic? Thankfully, it only happened one other time and that was it.

Eventually things settled and they made peace of sorts.

When we moved to California, my sister Diana kept the two youngun’s and we brought Chloe and Ferg with us.

Just so you know, Chloe hadn’t always been our cat. In fact, she changed hands more than once.

In 2002, or thereabouts my third grandson had just been born.

What possessed my daughter to do this I have no clue, but shortly thereafter, Jack being only two or three months old at the time, she and her sister (my other daughter) had gone to the mall and fell in love with this scrawny little thing. They were told she was six weeks old, but I highly doubted that and here she was.  She barely fit in their cupped hands. Her legs were spindly and still wobbly. She hopped around like most kittens do and then would fall back on her haunches.  She wasn’t a cute kitten and kittens are generally cute. I looked on and shook my head.

In my opinion, my daughter Tina( and her husband) do not do well with pets. She(they) get them and ignore them. They already had this beautiful, imported, enormous German Shepard, they had special ordered and imported from Germany. They spent thousands on this highly trained dog, name Dach that they hardly interacted with and now a kitten?  I know they cared for him, but… Well, this isn’t about Dach.

Chloe and Dach did however, get along beautifully. There were times we’d find the kitten curled up with him, the two of them finding comfort in one another. Smart kitten that she was, she stayed close to Dach because my daughter’s second child, Matt would seek her out and torment her. He was four.

Fortunately for Chloe, that would change a year later at Christmas.

She came to us in a box at Christmas in 2003. I believe it was the following year. The box the kids brought in, held gingerly, was highly suspect. My grandson Matt the tormentor was chomping at the bit.  “Hurry grandma, poppa, open your present, it’s gray and it, it moves!!!” he announced.

The cat’s out of the box.

There she was. We didn’t want another pet, having lost the last one to, I suspect, coyotes.

Never fear. Chloe was unlike her predecessor.

First of all, Chloe is NOT a lap cat, although on rare occasions she’d sit on my sister’s lap or on my husband’s tummy, she was not a cuddler. She also loves to play rough in a nice way and manages to always keeps her claws sheathed.(I stopped declawing cats when I learned how and what they do to them – NEVER again) Her teeth on the other hand, being razor sharp are the only lethal weapons to watch out for, not because she means to hurt you, because she never clamps down hard,  EVER , but because they are sooo vampire sharp.

Over the years she has brought home, lizards, gophers, a sundry of birds, snakes, mice and bugs. She eats giant grasshoppers and palmetto’s (in AL) with relish, so no photos.

 

Chloe is also wise and resourceful and will be celebrating her 14th birthday this fall.

Long ago, we realized she would be fine against any predator and has had carte blanche coming and going. She knows where home is. Truly.

When we gave her to mother a few years back, thinking she would have a good home after her 23 year old cat died and that perhaps she would be good company for her, she disappeared. Mother didn’t even know who she was. She called her Ashes and sometimes the “New Ashes”, her old kitty’s name. When mom’s husband died and the paramedics came, Chloe flew the coop. (Keep in mind that was before we realized how bad mother’s Alzheimer’s was) Two months later as I’m packing mother’s stuff, I hear a scratchin’ and a meowin’ at the front door and there she was. She saunters in like she’d been out on an afternoon stroll. I can only imagine what an adventure she must’ve had.  That was ten years ago.

One day I watched her as she assessed the possibility of her getting into and on the top shelf of a linen closet. The door to the closet was open maybe 1/2 inch if that, when she saw it. She jumped on the edge of the tub to check it out, she looked this way and that, then got back on the floor and looked again, then back to the tub, thoroughly calculating. I really didn’t know what she was about to do, but when she was done, she leaped from the floor, used her paw to fling the door open and landed on the top shelf. This was like a 6 foot jump! It was truly amazing.

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Chloe’s Den

 

I found her in the above self made “den” one day. Fortunately, she has the perfect coat for camouflage.

Chloe is quite enterprising and has traveled across these United States. Twice. She started out in Colorado, flew to Nashville, which didn’t go well. She relieved herself from Grand Junction to Denver, howling all the way, much to the dismay of the passengers, got washed in Denver and did fine the rest of the way. She then moved from Nashville to Alabama and rode like a champ, by car, cross country  to California, visiting several states in between.

She has braved the coyotes and puma’s of Colorado, survived the farm in Alabama with it’s many predators, coyotes, hawks, owls and snakes, not to mention the vicious dogs next door and now in California with more hawks, a lone eagle and coyotes. She knows how to make herself flat and invisible. She can hug the walls of the house and run like hell and howl at our door when danger is present.

Chloe

Today, I take her to the vet. She’s getting very skinny for no apparent reason and losing patches of her coat. She seems fine otherwise, lounging and hunting. But I want to be sure.

Sometimes Russ and I talk about how nice it would be not to have pets to be responsible for, but as soon as one of them isn’t seen for a time, we panic. I took Ferguson (the Papillon) to the vet this morning for his 6 month check, did some shopping and really missed him running to me when I came home. If anything happened to them, we would surely be sad. It’s amazing how they can be so much a part of us.

Isn’t she gorgeous? Her with Al Pacino.

Love you Chloe-bird.

***Update on Chloe: She had lost two pounds. Thyroid and liver function were a little higher than normal but still within range,  for her age she is doing fine. A little change in diet and more wet food which is easier to digest was the recommendation. No meds!!!