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Pet updates

Walkin'

Pearl was miserable while we were gone to Mexico.
Even though we have Curt and Sue, pet sitters extraordinaire, Pearl still misses her parents, especially Sabra. Adding to her misery, she’d been wearing the cone of shame for nearly a month when we left. It wasn’t too serious, just a small cyst that needed removing on her paw. But she’s a licker, and had to be stopped, so the cone was brought out. As I write this, she’s through the trauma and licking away at, well, let’s just leave it at that.
Meanwhile, our cat Conan, at the age of 12, managed to get feeding privileges from our dining table. Sabra is very strict and austere with feeding the cats and our dog. I agree it’s good for them. It’s probably good for me too, but good luck with that. Obese animals don’t live as long, and feeding them from the table only creates annoying beggars at mealtime.
But Conan stopped eating his regular kibble; a sign that usually means a feline is on its ninth and final life. So Sabra decided to make his last days on earth more comfortable. When the other pets weren’t looking, she’d sneak him some choice treat from her plate.
I got in the act, too.
Normally, our cats are downright aloof when it comes to me. I’m not sure why. I’ve never been mean to them but they still make a wide arc around me on their way to Sabra’s lap.
So I decided to use Conan’s anything goes feeding scheme to ingratiate my way into his heart. I went out my way to find extra-tasty treats like lightly fried in butter, sushi-grade tuna– life is so good in America– and I began luring him closer by offering the delicious tidbits. After several months, he actually jumped up in my lap and stayed around until the food ran out.
Even with all the extra treats, Conan continued to lose weight and we worried the end was near. Sabra and I agree once a pet stops eating the humane thing to do is to put them down and out of their misery. I hope it’s a service offered me if I ever go off my chow. I’m happy to report after our recent trip to the land of the endless buffet (an all-inclusive resort in Mexico) I’m alive and well. The resort might have lost money during my visit, but I’m good.
Anyhow when we came back from our trip, we were surprised to find Conan fat and sassy.
“I just put his regular kibble out every day,” Sue reported, “and he ate it all up.”
I guess we’ll never know what happened, and the cat has gone back to shunning me.
Just before leaving, our flock of chickens dwindled from four to three and it’s been a few seasons since any of the remaining trio enjoyed their spring chicken days.
With every passing, Sabra has grown more practical.
Technically, dear old Henrietta didn’t pass a couple years back. She was obviously sick, though. She’d stopped eating and laying eggs. Her time was near but neither Sabra nor I had the heart to wring her neck. But then Curt, while we were away on another trip, made up a story about relocating her to a home for old hens on an Amish farm. It all sounded plausible and Sabra wanted to believe, so as far as we know the old clucker is together with birds of a feather down Kalona way. Other chickens that died on her watch got buried, but that was then. The one that just croaked, for example, was tossed in the garbage can without ceremony.
No matter how they are interred, our chickens live a pretty good life. Fed an epicurean diet and kept in a spacious fenced in area, they lack for nothing. Their home, I call it the Hen Hilton, is well accoutered with inspirational posters, photos of busty chickens, Buddhist prayer flags, statuary and, as of late, a xylophone screwed to the wall near the feeder. Sabra hoped they would spontaneously learn to entertain each other by pecking out a tune, but to date, no musicians have hatched.
Maybe they’re waiting for sheet music.