Pretty Little Mimi

photo of black cat by door

Little Mimi in the Sun

Little Mimi is just incredibly pretty. In part it’s her petite build, and in a photo it’s hard to get perspective on how tiny she is; unless you have some idea the size of my door, this photo really doesn’t do it.

In other part it’s her quiet nature, her subdued personality. She has tiny, tiny paws and pads soundlessly around the house, fits herself into small spaces and generally doesn’t ask for much, which is why it’s so funny when she suddenly scrabbles for a grip on the floor and races around the house with a tail like a paper clip, or follows me insistently, head-bumping me, rubbing and angling a look up at me as she presses her head against my hip, completely endearing.

Here she sits in the warm sun on a frosty morning, perhaps thinking that in years past she would have been out in that frost instead of basking in the sun by the door.

I’m sure we all have these moments when we look at one of our animal companions and suddenly realize how much we simply love them. I took in Mimi for a logical purpose, to get her off the streets, to help learn more about FIP, to help me with my grief at losing Lucy, and I got Little Mimi in the bargain.

Pet-proofing for the Holidays

cookie in holiday attire

Cookie is ready for the holidays.

It’s kind of like wondering how those of us of a certain age survived our childhoods without seatbelts and bicycle helmets. How did our pets survive before we knew all these cautions about which foods and plants were truly toxic and exactly what a length of curling ribbon could do to their intestines?

Well, a certain number of them didn’t, just as a certain number of children suffered serious or fatal injuries in cars and on bicycles, but we don’t often talk about it.

Before covering the basic warnings, here are a few key points to remember:

1. Animals are not little people. Animals are simply a fraction of our size, so the effect of anything on them will be multiplied in their smaller bodies which don’t metabolize things the same as we do. Consider chocolate and raisins, both of which can be toxic in dogs and cats in smaller amounts than we would eat for fun. Consider aspirin, which a cat’s small body doesn’t metabolize quickly enough to avoid a possible overdose and can be fatal, but can safely be used in reasonable dosages in a dog as a pain reliever.

2. Animals don’t make reasoned decisions in the same way we do. They make decisions based on their own sensibilities as cats and dogs, and because we presume they can’t read or understand warnings about dangers to themselves, these decisions are based on curiosity and adventure and are not always in their own best interest.

3. Don’t ever think your cat or dog “wouldn’t eat that”. They would. Plan on it. Cats are a little more discerning than dogs in choosing what to eat, and even with that, in all the years I’ve had cats they’ve eaten, or attempted to eat, just about anything they could chew and swallow, including such foods as hot peppers, cookies and raw green beans—who would think?!

4. Don’t think your cat or dog “can’t get to it”. They can. They have nothing better to do than to stalk and kill your cheese plate, or the box with the curling ribbon. Confine them if they won’t stay out of something, or get it out of your house.

5. And a special one for the holiday season: Your change in routine will change your pet. Don’t presume you can predict what they will do. Animals are creatures of habit, but this is the one time of the year we intentionally break habits including daily schedules, entertaining guests, and arranging and decorating our space. Our pets may run the spectrum from happily helping to totally freaking out, but the change in plans will have an effect on them and they may not behave in their usual manner, either, making them much less predictable than we are accustomed to.

They can only get into what we leave available for them, so keep them in mind as you prepare. I have links to articles for more information about toxic plants, foods and other dangers at the end of this post.
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