These are answers to my previous post. Go here for those questions without answers.
1. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Right now I have three dogs and one cat. The dogs are all mutts of various origins and the cat is what we call and “American Shorthair” AKA — the feline version of a mutt (but they don’t want to admit it). If I were to post a picture of my cat anywhere, I’d get a dozen other cat owners saying, “OMG! My cat looks just like yours!” Yeah, because they’re mutts.
2. How long have you had your current pet(s)? I’ve had my cat, Mister, for about eight years now. We’ve had Brandy, our biggest dog for a little over six. We adopted Cocoa about six months after we adopted Brandy, so roughly five and a half years, and we’ve had Poptart for just over two(?) years now I think. Maybe three. I don’t remember.
3. What’s the longest period of time you’ve lived with a pet? I believe that Mister would be the longest I’ve ever lived with a pet. I mean, damn, it’s been eight years now. I’ve had marriages that have lasted less time than that. ^_^ Back in the year when I first acquired Mister, we lived in a motorhome and traveled to Arizona for a summer job. It was an interesting time, and he was totally chill about it. He didn’t seem to mind the small living space at all. I used to take him for walks on a leash when we moved back to Mississippi for grad school and he was totally cool with that too. He’s not your ordinary cat — and why would he be? I’m not “ordinary” myself. He’s given me a couple of scares over the year with blocked urinary tract, but so far, he’s still going strong. But he’s getting old. After all, he wasn’t a kitten when I got him. We’ve had some times him and I… yeah… me and Mister, we’ve been through a lot.
4. What type of animals do you generally gravitate towards when adopting pets? I’ve gotta admit, I’m a cat and dog person, but that’s because they’re what I know. I really want to get a bird or two some day. I’m just intimidated by the unknown… you know?
5. What type of animal do you think is the easiest to care for as a pet? When it comes to cat/dog… I’ve gotta say that cats are the easier of the two to take care of. I had a friend who had snakes and damn, he had it easy. Fish are pretty low maintenance too.
6. Do any of your pets have annoying habits that you can’t break them of? I really wish I could break Poptart and Brandy of their barking habit, but it’s an uphill battle. Cocoa has also picked up the habit of whining whenever he wants something, but you cannot ask a dog, “What do you want?” and get an answer from him. He just whines more. It’s like asking a baby, “Why are you crying?” You’ve just got to figure it out or let them keep whining/crying until they stop — because sometimes no matter what you do, they just don’t stop.
7. What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about being a pet owner? Pets don’t live as long as we do — unless one gets a tortoise or parrot. There’s no way around that. Eventually, one is going to say good-bye to their pet. That’s a cold, hard truth that pet owners have to deal with. I say, enjoy your pet while you have them and just acknowledge that some day, they will be gone from your life. Like a favorite pair of slippers or a good meal, all things are temporary. I know this… but it’s still hard.
8. Do any of your animals have amusing traits that are particular to them? Poptart, when he gets excited, will burrow his nose in the blankets (or rub it on the floor), then flip on his back and wiggle around. He’ll also back up against something and rub the top of his tail (where it meets his back) on it. I know this is a learned behavior, but it’s still kinda funny. He will also climb up next to someone, burrow under the blankets then growl at whomever he’s next to for invading his space.
Brandy has this weird thing with feet… if anyone sticks their foot out, she will stand over it. It’s so strange. I can tell this is also a learned behavior because she doesn’t look particularly pleased to be doing this, but it’s so ingrained in her that she doesn’t appear to be able to help herself. I’ve seen her stand over the smaller dogs in the same way. But the look on her face is almost like, “Why am I doing this?”
9. Which type of pet do you think requires the most care? My middle child (the younger one) had rats for a while, and while we only had them for a summer — they were the class pets of something — those bad boys were kind of expensive and difficult to “keep”. They required bedding, cages, exercise balls, and constant upkeep. I wouldn’t ever keep rats as a pet on my own, but the middle child-person seemed to enjoy them.
10. Was there a furbaby that you bonded with more closely than any other? None come to mind. I think if I had to pick out of all of them, I’d say Mister. Maybe because I’ve had him the longest. I like to think I bond with all of my pets.
11. Do you spoil your pets? In what way? I tend to overfeed my pets, which I know is a bad thing. I don’t free feed them — always have food in their dish no matter what — because that invites pests into the home. But I do tend to feed my pets too much. As one vet quipped, “No one starves in your house.” and I suppose that’s correct. I know it’s bad for them to be overweight, but I put the recommended amount in Poptart’s dish and I can’t help but think, There’s no way that’s enough food. No way. So I give him a bit more. There’s also pillows and blankets all over the house and pet beds for them to sleep in. Like, everywhere. Our pets never fight over sleeping spaces because there are so many. I’ve seen the cat and the dogs using the same bed — not at the same time without a problem. Hell, the cat sleeps in Cocoa’s kennel a lot of time.
12. How do your pets react to strangers in the yard? at the door? in the house? Poptart and Brandy will bark at cars they see in the cul-de-sac on our security camera. Hell, they’ll bark at cars they see through the trees down the street if they’re feeling froggy. If the cars should happen to come down the driveway — ours or our neighbors, which runs somewhat parallel to ours — they will rush out the door and bark at the miscreants even more. I usually will go out to talk to whomever comes down our driveway, so the dogs can happily bark from behind the fence. The fence is seven feet high, they’re not getting over it. If anyone comes visiting, the dogs will continue to bark and they will sniff the visitor and bark some more. I tell visitors to ignore the dogs completely, which makes the dogs stop barking pretty quickly. Now, individually, Brandy will try to jump on them — a habit I’d broken her of, but she picked it up again due to lack of training. Cocoa will try to jump in anyone’s lap because he is at heart, a lap dog. He will also lick anyone and everyone who comes over. I tell visitors to firmly tell him to “get off” of them, and he will. But his initial excitement over stranger! is difficult to overcome. Poptart, after his initial barking, will ignore strangers for a while, but with all the love and attention that Brandy and Cocoa get, he has to come and get some of his own. Mister usually hides from strangers unless they stay for a while, then he’s like Poptart… can’t have the dogs getting all of the attention.
13. Do you tend to anthropomorphize your animals? If so, how far do you take it? For example: Do you dress them in clothing? For the most part, I do not. While I try to figure out what they’re thinking, and I can only do that in my own headspace… I am always aware that my pets are animals and not human. They are living, feeling beings and I treat them as such, but they are not human. It’s not that I think they are “lesser” beings because they’re not human. But I cannot put human thoughts and feelings onto them. I mean, in the end dogs are dogs, cats are cats, and humans are humans. It’s really as simple as that — for me. The closest I’ve come to putting clothing on my pets, is to put “coats” on them when it’s very cold out or raining — but that’s more for me than them. I don’t want to put up with super wet dogs when they come back inside. Plus dogs like Poptart can get chilled and sick when it’s too cold outside. I’m not overly concerned with Cocoa or Brandy, they have a thick undercoat, but Poptart? Yeah, he has a thin coat and needs that extra layer.
14. Have you ever had what are considered “unusual” or exotic pets? Not really. Unless you count the pet rock I had when I was a kid… I didn’t buy it from anywhere. I found it on the ground and brought it home. I didn’t even put eyes on it. Just called it “Herman” and used it as a doorstop. Had it for years and years. hmmm. I suppose that could count as an easy to care for pet. ^_^
15. How old were you when you (or your family) adopted your first pet? We’ve had pets for as long as I can remember. And it’s always been a mixture of cats and dogs and occasionally birds and fish. You know, the usual. 🙂 They’ve always been family pets, not belonging to anyone. I suppose my very first pet that was all my own would be my cat, Shadow who *ahem* followed me home from school (on the bus, in my backpack). ^_^ I acquired Shadow when we were in high school. He did follow me, for about ten steps. Then I had a bus to catch. So I wasn’t lying… not completely.
16. What’s the most trouble you can remember a pet getting into? For the most part, I’ve had pretty well behaved pets. They haven’t gotten into very serious “trouble” — unless you count the three that died from their getting into trouble (two run over by cars and one that got tangled and hung himself)… There have been a few scraps (fights) here and there, and there are always animals that chew things, scratch things, and dig things up, but honestly I think I’ve been lucky with my pets.
17. There is no question 17. (the cat ate it). Yeah, sorry about that. I have Dyscalculia and get numbers mixed up in my head.
18. What does your relationship with your furbaby mean to you? My pets are like little, furry friends to me. Demanding friends to be sure, but friends nonetheless. I figure that once I adopt a pet, I’m entering into an agreement to take care of that pet to the best of my ability until the end of that pet’s life… or until I, myself, can no longer do so. Of course, right now I have a partner (my husband Doug) to help me with that agreement, and he’s right there with me on that. He loves the furbabies as much as I do. As for what the pets get out of this, well, all of our pets are rescue, and I think they know they’ve found a good home here. Sometimes it takes a while — Poptart still flinches whenever we go to pet him, even after two years, but he’s getting better. Honestly, seeing them go from fearful to happy and just knowing we’ve made their lives better brings me joy.
19. How do your pets react when you sing and/or dance?
20. Have you ever adopted a pet and found out you didn’t get along with them? What did you do? I personally have never adopted a pet that I didn’t get along with. Having said that, I’ve been given pets from friends and family members (or inherited them in various ways) that were not exactly good fits into my home. I usually try to get along with them as best as I can, but eventually I will try to find them a home that is a better fit. I mean, it’s not good for either pet or owner to have a stressful home life just because one feels obligated to care for said pet.
21. Where do your pets sleep in relation to you? Do they have their own bed, or do you allow them to share yours? Cocoa and Poptart sleep on the bed with me. Mister has been kicked out of the bedroom and has the run of the rest of the house. I used to have an open door policy when it came to Mister, but he picked up a rather annoying habit of waking me up at 5:30 am (4:30 am Daylight Savings Time) every morning to demand food. And he decided that the best way to wake me up was to throw everything off of my nightstand. It never worked, but he tried anyway. So now I close my bedroom door at night. The dogs are inside the bedroom with me — because Brandy and Mister will scrap it out on occasion and it’s better to just keep a door between them, and Mister sleeps wherever he likes. Brandy has a bed in my room for her sleeping needs.
22. How do you come up with names for your pets? I dunno, I look at them and think to myself, “That cat looks like a Mister to me.” Voilà! Mister it is. That’s the way it works with all of my pets. I very rarely keep whatever name they come to me with because my mind works differently than most people’s. Animals are smart. They know where their food comes from. Mister, for example, will come when called by name. As will Brandy (née Aurora), Cocoa (né Robbie), and Poptart (né Poco). I don’t remember what Mister’s old name was… Something like El Diablo I think. He’s always been Mister to me. ^_^
23. Putting aside money and sanitary issues — If you could fill your house and property with animals, what type would they be? I would have a menagerie of animals… All kinds of dogs, barn cats all over the place… Oh, and the birds — You don’t even want to know, dear reader, how many birds I’d fill my house and property with… including whatever poultry I could get my hands on. Not to mention goats, horses (maybe, I’m scared of horses), llama, and alpaca. Maybe some pigs… I’ve always wanted pigs. It would be a melody of noise and chaos… My kind of place. But I’m way past the age of being able to take care of such a place. If I’d been doing so all of my life — yeah, I might could still have the stamina, but to start now? with this body? So not gonna happen. It’s a nice dream though.
24. What was the most expensive pet you’ve ever adopted? I’ve mostly adopted pets from the Humane Society or the local pound. I’ve bought a few from newspaper ads whose animals have gotten frisky with their neighbor’s pets. And I’ve bought a few from kids selling pets in front of stores, but I think the most expensive pet I’ve purchased, and I’m not even sure why we did, is Poptart. We drove over an hour to look at him at this “dog farm” we found online where they rescue big dogs, but they had little “Poco” and claimed that they were having trouble adopting him out. So, of course, I had to go look at him. His adoption fee was quite a lot — more than I’ve ever paid — almost twice what we paid for Brandy and Cocoa. The lady at the farm didn’t pressure me to adopt him or anything. She didn’t even have the adoption papers printed up. I think she thought that I wasn’t going to adopt him. But I did. And he was expensive.
It was a rocky start too. He was a biter. He bit both Doug and our tenant in the first month we had him, and he also bit a plumber. He almost bit me one a couple of occasions too. I think that’s why he was considered unadoptable — because he was a biter. People probably kept returning him. But we stuck with him, and he doesn’t bite anymore. He’s calmed down a lot.
25. What, in your opinion, is the best thing about adopting animals into your home? For me, having pets is… calming. It gives me something to focus on besides myself. Pets require our care because we’ve taken them outside of their natural environment and inserted them into ours. They rely on us for their food and essentials. So to have a pet is to have something outside of myself to take care of, and I honestly believe that they are grateful for that. yeah, they are mischievous and chew things up because in the end, they are animals and will behave as, well… animals. But they also cuddle and purr, and nudge for pettings. I like having pets around. You know what they say: