Category Archives: pets

So, You Want to Rent a Cat?

Here’s something that turned up in my inbox:

I saw your post online about renting one of your cats?  Is this actually a reality.  My roommates and I would love to rent a cat for the spring.  If the offer is no longer on the table do you have any idea where we could get a cat for 2 months but then give it back.

It’s been four years since I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about renting my cats out as rodent control contractors, yet I still get occasional comments and emails from people who are interested in the make-believe service.

It’s hard to tell if people are just pulling my leg. Seriously, I don’t know how much stupider I could have made the blog post. For example: “Maeve can be baited to make her more attractive to mice by rubbing cheese or peanut butter on her head. Rodents find these scents irresistible and will walk right into her clutches.”

I find that people sometimes don’t know when I’m kidding. Do you ever get that dead eyed stare at a meeting when you say something you think is funny and it doesn’t seem to register? It could just be people don’t have a sense of humor. Or they think you’re an idiot. Or maybe a little of both.

It’s hard not to think that there may have been something to the cat rental concept. Maybe if I were just a bit more ambitious I could have been the cat rental king, providing a service the public needs, making a nice living and putting some cats to work doing something useful.

Dogs of the Fall

On a recent ambulance call, we took care of a man who tumbled down a few steps after tripping over his dog. He dinged up his shoulder pretty well, but it could have been much worse. I resisted the temptation to ask, “Do you want us to have a look at the dog?” See, I’m getting better!

60% of my household’s pet contingent.

We’ve all read how pet ownership is good for your health, but according to a study by the CDC a few years ago, tripping over your pets poses a significant hazard — and all their toys and crap are trouble, too.

The biggest culprits? Dogs. From the report:

“Nearly 7.5 times as many injuries involved dogs (76,223 [88.0%]) compared with cats (10,130 [11.7%]).”


“The most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a dog (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by a dog (21.2%).”

I’m no stranger to the dangers posed by household pests pets; living in a house teeming with furry animals who scurry about underfoot is risky business.  It’s so bad at our house that when I get out of bed in the middle of the night, I sweep the floor with my foot to check for the presence of animals or sharp-edged bones and toys.

What I’d really like to see is a study of the relationship between stepping on cats and cardiac arrests. There’s nothing more startling than that — and speaking of cats, the study contains this odd tidbit:

“Most falls involving cats occurred at home (85.7%). Approximately 11.7% of injuries occurred while persons were chasing cats.”

To recap, a few safety tips: sweep the floor with your foot, limit the number of animals in your house, and never chase cats.

Al Gore Was Right

There was an inexplicable surge of interest in a 2010 blog post I wrote about renting my cats. By “surge” I mean three comments — in my world, that’s a surge of interest. The tongue-in-cheek piece suggested that I was offering my three cats to people who need to get rid of rodents.

Then on top of that, somebody sent me this email:

Just stumbled across your blog researching how to get rid of mice. I know your post was written in 2010, but are you by any chance still doing the rent-a-cat thing? My roommates and i live in Brooklyn, and the traps don’t seem to be working. I would hate to make them suffer with poison or sticky traps, and I’m not sure we can keep a cat long term. Let me know if you’re still doing this, or if you know of anyone who is!

I wrote back, explaining that no, I’m not still renting cats and that I was just kidding. I also suggested the reader try peanut butter as mouse bait for the traps.

So what the heck is going on? My theory is that climate change may be influencing rodents. It’s possible that there are more mice running around — or some environmental factor is forcing them into residences in greater numbers. What do I know, I’m no scientist!

Anyway, maybe it’s time to rethink this whole cat rental idea?


Advances in veterinary treatments for household pets have raised an ethical question for their owners: how much are you willing to spend to keep your dog or cat healthy?

I went to the vet’s office recently to learn how to give my cat insulin shots. Like Wilford Brimley, Maeve’s got the dye-a-beet-iss — and it looks like she’ll be getting two shots a day, every day, for the rest of her life. This is not as complicated as it sounds. I had images of her wailing in pain and avoiding us like the plague for the rest of her days, coming out only when we were away from the house.

On the contrary, she barely notices when you stick her. It’s not expensive, either. One store gave us a huge box of syringes for free, and at Walmart the insulin cost a third of what CVS charges.

So that’s the new normal, and doing shots has taken on a new meaning. There was a time, not very long ago, that your pet with diabetes would just continue to have diabetes without any treatment. They would start having the side effects that come with the disease, and the downward spiral would begin.

Today pets get orthopedic surgery, cancer treatments, dental work — all sorts of fixes and therapies once reserved for humans. But like everything there is a price, and a decision to make about value, and the stark reality that some pets are blessed with deep pocketed owners, and others are not.

Honestly, I don’t know what my budget is for the pets. Is is the same for the dogs and the cats? There are no easy choices.

Why I Could Not Shave Today

The Clock Will Kill You

Most people did not get what Bill Belichick was doing when he allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to score — hell, even Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t understand until it was too late.

Belichick decided to trade points for time. It was a ballsy thing to do and a calculated risk that did not pay off. And you know what that’s like, don’t you?

So many writers have waxed poetic about baseball, but it’s football that reveals the truth about life. It’s a game of triumph and struggle and tragedy. Pain and glory, winning and losing. It’s a place where perseverence is rewarded — but sometimes it’s just better to be lucky.

And ultimately, as in life, it comes down to the clock.

Now, on to the sideshow. Most of the Super Bowl commercials sucked, but I really liked the Silverado apocalypse commercial, which would have also been interesting with zombies. However, the spot I can’t stop thinking about is the Cat Killing Dorito Dog. The audacity of extending the cat vs. dog trope this far, for the dog to… well watch the commercial:

This made me laugh out loud, the cats storm out of the room, and the dogs give high-fives all around.

The Dog Vote

Dogs can not vote, but that doesn’t stop me from speculating about their politics.

I tend to think of our dogs as libertarians: they oppose any sort of regulation or interference in their personal business. They don’t want anything impinging on their freedom to be dogs, but like many libertarians, they are also full of contradictions. For example, the dogs tend to be in favor of programs that benefit them directly — handouts, if you will — which is just human nature. Or dog nature, I guess.

And I do know this about my dogs: they would never vote for Mitt Romney. Not after hearing the story of Romney strapping his dog to the roof of a car to make a 12 hour vacation trip, like Clark Griswold with an Irish Setter. Just Google Romney dog for the ugly details.

To my dogs this is a sort of a canine Chappaquiddick, absolute proof that Romney can not be trusted to serve.

Don’t get me started on the cats. They are all about receiving services while not contributing much to the household. Not to get into any tired old sterotypes, but they are clearly the entitlement class — and certainly Democrats.

Delicious and Forbidden

Does cat food really taste that much better than dog food?

I’m not about to try it to find out.

Our dogs are so obsessed with the dry cat food that they lurk around while the cats are eating waiting for their chance to swoop in and scarf it up.

The dogs sit and stare. “How do the cats enjoy such wonderful bounty when we must eat the same thing every day?”

When we forget to take the cat food off the floor, it’s like they hit the dog lottery.

Some have suggested that cat food needs to be especially delicious beause of the legendarily finicky nature of felines. The dogs are so enthusiastic about it that we can use it instead of expensive treats. They’re nuts for the stuff.

Have you ever seen your dog dreaming? They get fitful and may whimper a bit, or even growl. I used to think they were off in a world of  balls and squirrels; now I think they may be dreaming of the cat food.

Dogs and Cats Living Together

OK, I hope you’re not having lunch.

It’s no secret that dogs do disgusting things, often involving eating or rolling in vile stuff, but I have recently observed another revolting dog behavior.

Maddy has gotten into the business of feline hygeine and will assist the cats by licking them clean. If she were just helping groom their faces that would be OK. Cleaning their ears? Mildly offputting, but still sort of cute. But no, she’s been licking their asses.

The cats? They seem to enjoy it.

What could possibly explain this horrible behavior? My theory is that she’s acting on her maternal instincts, that she’s keeping the cats tidy in the same way she’d tend to puppies. Or maybe she just likes the way it tastes.

Either way, in case you needed more evidence that dog’s mouths are not really cleaner than ours, there you have it.