Monday, November 10, 2008

Bad Human! Bad, Bad, Bad!

I like animals, especially my animals. Even though I frequently declare that I am moving toward a petfree existence (usually after scooping dog poop, cleaning out the litter box, and picking up rabbit doodoos from the carpet before they become doggy treats), I know in my heart of hearts that my house would not be a home without at least one critter to pretend she cares about me for myself and not because I have opposable thumbs that can open pet food containers.

But I often feel like a less than stellar pet owner. I don't groom them as often as I should (much to Fern's disgust - she is the only one who actually likes to be brushed), I never clean their teeth (that's what vets and anesthesia are for), and they rarely get the exercise they need.

The Indiana House Rabbit Society says house rabbits should get 30-40 hours of cagefree time a week. I don't think I am home 40 hours a week (not counting sleep time). We have Bunny Hour almost every night, though, hence the doodoo duty mentioned above.

The cat is fat. No two ways about it. When Fern first joined our household, she was a bag of bones because she had an upper respiratory infection and nothing smelled like food to her. Once we cleared up the infection, though, she started eating and never stopped. Until recently. I had moved the "cat condo" (an old Sauder computer hutch) out to the new room but had not pushed it all the way up to the wall. Fern accidentally pushed her food dish off one too many times and now will not eat out there. I tried to outwait her - HA! - but broke down and started feeding her out of the dog's dish. During the waiting period, however, Fern actually lost a few pounds. I can tell because she can clean her own butt now. And she plays with her toys more; I found Fishy in my knitting bag one day, the victim of Toss and Pounce, or at least, Toss.

Betsy Beagle had ACL surgery about six weeks ago, so for a while I had an excuse for not exercising her. But she has lost a lot of muscle in her hindquarters, so now I try to get her up and about a couple of times a day. If the weather is crappy, I lure her into walking around the house by leaving a trail of kibble or Cheerios; ten laps around the fireplace takes ten minutes. Since the surgery, her life has gone to shit - just ask her and she will tell you all about it.

1 comment:

flurrious said...

My cat is a little big for butt-cleaning as well, although I find if I put down towels where she's likely to sit after using the litter box, it somewhat alleviates the necessity. Once when she was sick and not grooming herself at all, I gave her a sponge bath which she seemed to like, until I got to her butt. That did not go over well at all. Not at all.