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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

More Ace

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 27, 2015

Well, Ace had his first birthday on Tuesday and it was pretty good. I went to PetSmart and found several brands of chicken flavored pate cat food (that’s all Henry and Ace will eat — they’re so spoiled) and got three for each. I got some treats. And I got some fun toys, including a catnip ball. I wanted to get birthday party hats to put on their heads, but not only didn’t the store have any, but they didn’t even have ANY hats for any pets!!! Last year we went there for Halloween and there were lots of pet hats. I thought they just carried them. I was wrong and very disappointed.

Ace, Henry and I hung out until Gretchen got home. Then it was time to feed them. We chose some new food for each and Gretchen put a birthday candle into Ace’s pate and lit it. I held him close to it as we sang Happy Birthday, which Gretchen video’d. I think the fire actually scared Ace, so then we felt bad, but after we gave them their food, we discovered that I’d gotten good brands because they really dug in and went for it. They can be very picky, so that was good.

After dinner, we broke open the treats and I kind of held my breath. I’ve never had good luck with cat treats. None of my cats have ever cared for them, especially Henry. I can’t remember the name of this brand, but both cats seemed to really like it and they munched out. It made me quite happy.

Then we opened some toys. The catnip ball was a big hit with both, although Ace, the alpha cat, ended up with it for the majority of the evening. He really liked playing with it. And when it ended up underneath our living room sofa, we tried to clean out everything underneath it and discovered a ton of toys under there, so he pretty much OD’d on cat toys. Henry liked it too, but he’s not as into it as Ace. All in all, a pretty successful first birthday. Henry’s tenth birthday will be coming up at Halloween. Boy, that’s hard to believe! I still remember getting him when he was a teeny little kitten. He was so tiny. He’s sure not anymore. Heh. Here are some more recent pictures of Ace.

Ace asleep on Gretchen

Ace asleep on Gretchen











Ace looking cute

Ace looking cute











Ace asleep in Gretchen's arms

Ace asleep in Gretchen’s arms











Ace on his birthday

Ace on his birthday












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Ace’s Birthday

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 24, 2015

Today is our kitten, Ace’s, first birthday. It’s really hard to believe. He’s grown so much. Yet he still behaves like a kitten and still kind of looks like a kitten, especially compared to our older, bigger cat Henry.

Henry has always been “my” cat. He’s always been loyal to me. He likes/loves Gretchen, but after Toby died in February 2014, she really wanted her own pet. At first, she wanted a dog, which I wasn’t in favor of, because at heart she’s a dog person. So last summer and fall, we looked for a dog. We ultimately thought we had found one and she talked me into agreeing to adopt it. A week later, we went to the shelter to get it, only to find it had already been adopted. Gretchen was very disappointed. Finally, last November, on the day after Thanksgiving, the local shelter was having a day where they were giving away free adoptions. Gretchen wanted to go look. Apparently, so did the whole county. Parking was at a premium and the place was packed. We decided to look at cats first. We thought it’d be easier to get another cat, a companion for Henry, and they’re easier to care for. And then Gretchen saw. Ace was a scrawny little kitten in a room with a lot of brothers and sisters. He was a little tabby, just like Toby had been. And she claims she knew. She found an employee and asked to see him, so we were given a private room and were given “Twinkles” to play with. Twinkles is oh so not a little boy cat’s name. He was cute and very affectionate. He was fixed. He had had his shots. I wasn’t completely sold, but Gretchen was, so we filled out the paperwork and stood in line for what seemed like hours before we got him and took him home.

Gretchen wanted a new name. We talked about several possibilities, but she came up with “Ace,” which I thought was the most stupid name I had heard. But that’s what she wanted, so that’s what she got. And I couldn’t remember the cat’s name. I’ve been calling him Toby ever since, because he reminds me of Toby when he was a kitten. We let him out in Henry’s presence and while Henry wasn’t thrilled to have another cat around, they each survived the encounter and soon Gretchen was cuddling with Ace. We took him to our vet, got him some kitten food, which Henry tried to eat, and took lots of pictures. Gretchen wanted to bond with Ace, wanted to make him “her” cat, so she forbade me from bonding with him, much to my amusement. As some of you know, I’m on disability, so I’m home during the day while Gretchen works. Ace we now know is a co-dependent cat and while he was getting a lot of affection from Gretchen while she was home, he’d jump up on my lap during the afternoons and I’d have to kick him off. Very sad. He liked to jump up on our chests and lie right under our chins. It was both very odd and very cute.

Ace was three pounds when we got him. And much to our surprise, we found out he was four months old! His birthday was apparently August 24, 2014. So today is his first birthday. Ace turned into a frisky cat. Very energetic. At first, we worried that Henry, who was fairly alpha with Toby, would beat him up. Boy, we were wrong about that. Within days, our three pound kitten was attacking our 15 pound eight year old Henry, terrorizing him and chasing him around the house, causing him to hiss constantly. Henry didn’t know what to do. Ace was always jumping him no matter where he went. He stalked him. He jumped on his back. He attacked his feet. He bit him, clawed him, went after him. I had had kittens before, most recently Toby, so I knew what to expect, but Gretchen had never had a kitten, so this was all a new experience for her.

I knew Ace would start tearing our furniture up pretty soon. I didn’t count on the drapes too. And he did. Toby ripped the hell out of a nice leather chair I had. He destroyed most of my furniture when he was a kitten. Before I got him de-clawed. I’ve gotten every cat I’ve ever had de-clawed. I know it’s a little controversial now, but all of my cats are indoor cats and I value my furniture and stuff too much, as well as my skin, to allow my cats to retain their front claws. Besides, from all I know about it, when they have it done before six months, it’s not too painful, they recover very quickly, and they don’t really remember it as they age. And they don’t really miss their claws. I couldn’t wait to get Ace de-clawed. But Gretchen was kind of nervous about the topic. She had never had to go through this before. It wasn’t until we got some new furniture that was pretty expensive that he started to sink his claws into, as well as all of the older furniture he was ripping up, that she agreed it needed to be done. So I made an appointment. And then we canceled it. Felt too guilty. Yet two weeks later, we made another. He was just so bad. He was six months old, and the window of opportunity was slipping away. So I took him to the vet. Gretchen was terrified. He was away from us for about four days and Gretchen was in agony the whole time. But I knew he’d be okay. Been there, done that. When he got home, it took about a day before he was back to normal. We had bought him a three story cat condo so he could sit and look out the window and within a day, he was jumping up and down from it. So, good decision and one we’ve never regretted. And Henry’s grateful too.

Christmas was an interesting experience. Everything was new for Ace and it was so cute to see him exploring the tree and the ornaments and the presents. Of course, he tried to demolish everything, so we had to get a big baby gate and put it around the tree, which made it look stupid, but it worked, so everything worked out well.

Ace had to go back to the vet several times for shots. He grew to not like going to the vet. Heh. By this time, he and Gretchen had really bonded and on weekends, he stuck to her like glue. He likes to lie on her all weekend long, on her chest, and she can’t get anything done. She both likes it and it irritates her. I like to remind her this is exactly what she wanted. LOL! And by now, it’s okay for him to get up on me, but he doesn’t usually do it. Normally, in the late afternoons, he’ll come hang out with me for awhile, which is nice, but when Gretchen gets home, he jumps up and goes to the door to wait to see her come in. It’s cute.

Ace used to eat everything. He ate, not only meat, but vegetables too. He loved beans, broccoli, mashed cauliflower, which he still loves, and other things like cheese. He’s gotten more picky recently, which we can’t figure out, but he still likes to sit with us at the table for dinner. Dad never liked that when our pets did this and he’d be rolling over in his grave if he could see this, cause Henry gets up on a chair with us too, but it’s okay. They’re part of the family.

Ace is doing better with Henry lately. He doesn’t attack him as much. Of course, we’ve tried to minimize that. And Henry isn’t hissing as much. In fact, they often sleep on the same bed during the day, which is cute. Ace has really become part of the family. Our only concern is that he’s such a social cat, such a people person, so co-dependent, that we worry that we can’t really go anywhere for any stretch of time. We don’t feel comfortable boarding him. We had a cat sitter come over for a half hour a day when we were on vacation when it was just Henry by himself, but I really don’t think that would work with Ace. Gretchen really misses her family in Maryland and is hoping to get back up there for Thanksgiving and we’ve been talking about options. Obviously, I’d like to join her for travel and to see her family too, but we don’t think Ace could handle it, so I’m probably going to stay home with the cats and take care of them while Gretchen goes by herself. Can you believe it? Isn’t that crazy? Still, it seems like the best and only viable option and unless and until we can break Ace of this co-dependence, I don’t see anyway around it.

I’m going to post some pictures in honor of Ace’s birthday, but they’re old. I have more recent ones, but I can’t post them because I have a new phone and I’ve emailed them to myself at every email address I have and none of them have shown up, for two days. I don’t know what’s wrong with my phone — it appears to be emailing them with no problem — but something’s obviously off. So, here are some older pictures. Ace is now almost 10 pounds. He’s really grown. He’s still cute though. Happy Birthday, Ace!

Ace, 12/24/14

Ace, 12/24/14










Henry and Ace, 3/7/15

Henry and Ace, 3/7/15











Ace, back from the vet, March 2015

Ace, back from the vet, March 2015











Ace 3/21/15

Ace 3/21/15











Ace 3/23/15

Ace 3/23/15












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Animal Reincarnation | SouthernHon

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 28, 2015

Animal Reincarnation | SouthernHon.

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Posted by Scott Holstad on February 18, 2015

Before I launch into today’s post, I want to acknowledge my last post and what happened with that. In my last post, I whined pretty pathetically about not getting comments or likes from my 406 followers. So I was stunned to get tons of comments AND likes on this post, most all of them from people who didn’t follow me! Including my own responses to various comments, there were 73 comments and dozens of likes on this post. And not too many took me to task. Most made the point that I needed to be more interactive in order to gain comments, as in I needed to make the rounds of other blogs and make more comments myself in order to get people to my site. And that’s probably true. So point taken. I shall try to do that. It was also nice to hear from some other ex-Xangans. And instead of offending followers and losing bunches of them, I actually gained some new ones. Bizarre! I wondered how people found my post. Apparently several people found it, somehow, and re-blogged it and people found it that way. I’m not sure why they felt compelled to re-blog it, but there you have it. So that’s the story. Thanks.

OK, so today is our beloved late cat Toby’s one year anniversary of his death. We still sometimes can’t believe he’s gone. We still miss him so much. We still feel like he was cheated out of a good life. You may remember that he was only six. That he died of kidney failure. That we had to have him “put to sleep,” which is a nice way of saying we had him killed. He had been getting sick and we were getting concerned. We took him to the vet as early as the preceding October. She put him on a special diet, but it was too little, too late. He really went downhill his last two weeks. It was really sad to see. During his last 24 hours, I thought he could be saved, as he had perked up a bit, so I took him home from the animal hospital and he seemed better, but that didn’t last long and he was obviously ill again within hours. So the next morning, I took him to the vet and my wife later told me she thought that would be the last time she’d ever see him. I can still remember him looking at me as they took him in his kennel into the back room. When they called me later to recommend euthanasia, I was devastated, but not horribly surprised. We had him cremated. We keep his jar of ashes next to my old cat, Rocky’s, ashes.

Toby used to like water. A lot. He liked to take showers with us. He’d drink out of the bath water with my wife every night. He’d get in the sink and drink out of the faucet every morning. He also used to like to get us up in the morning. It didn’t seem to matter that I have insomnia. He’d hang out with me in the office from 1 or 2 til 4 or 5 and then start wailing at the bedroom door, trying to get my wife up. I’d have to chase him up the hallway to try and quiet him down. He could also sleep with the best of them. Never met a cat that could relax so much. He really loved Gretchen’s Ravens blankie. He made it his own. He also loved shoes and loved sleeping with his face in them. I know — gross. Still, it was cute. He was a big cat — 22 pounds. He was tubby. He loved to eat. We’d put him on diets, but they never worked. Our other cat, Henry, is 15 pounds. Henry always let Toby eat first. Heh.

Toby died the week we were supposed to move. It was very stressful. We were moving from a crime-ridden neighborhood, to a nice peaceful neighborhood where we’d all be happier. We felt cheated that Toby never got to see the new house, never got to run around it, see the new neighborhood. Time went on. Meanwhile, Gretchen wanted a new pet, one to call her own since Henry is sort of my cat. He’s been with me since he was a tiny little kitten and often seems to favor me over others. It’s always been that way. Gretchen wavered between a dog and a cat and we went to adopt a dog one day, only to find it had already been adopted. We took that as a sign, so the day after Thanksgiving, we went to the local shelter and adopted a four month old tabby Gretchen named “Ace,” who’s a real cutie, albeit a crazed little monster who beats up on poor Henry constantly. Gretchen really seems to love him and I’ve even grown somewhat attached to him, although he’ll never take Toby’s place in my heart.

So I guess I’ve said enough. I just wanted to commemorate Toby today. It’s been a year since he died. That was an awful day. A lot has happened since then. We’re in a new house now, Toby. You would like it here. You’re sorely missed. RIP.

Toby and me

Toby and me











Toby on a scale

Toby on a scale











Toby in a scarf

Toby in a scarf












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Posted by Scott Holstad on May 26, 2014

We saw two baby deer on the side of the road near our house last night. Gretchen got some good pictures of one of them. Actually, a hunter friend of mine said they’re only babies if they have spots. These are yearling. Whatever. They were very cute, very pretty and they weren’t scared at all. We were glad to see them.



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Toby’s Losing Weight!

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 25, 2013

Check out Toby, our hefty cat who’s on a diet. Poor thing’s actually losing weight. Isn’t he a cutie? His brother, Henry, is on the same diet and needs to drop a couple of pounds too. Toby’s down to 21.2 pounds now. Keep it up, you little cat!

Toby's losing weight!

Toby’s losing weight!

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Our Uninvited Guest

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 14, 2013

A few nights ago, Gretchen joined our black cat, Henry, to stare out the back window of the den which allows us to peer out at our terraced back yard. I was shocked when she shrieked and yelled, “raccoon!” She swore one was on the terrace wall right outside the window looking in at she and Henry. I went to the window and saw nothing, so I chalked it up to her imagination. Imagine my surprise, then, when yesterday evening around 6 or 7 PM she called out to me in the office, “The raccoon’s back and he’s huge!” I went running out of the office to the den determined to view the varmint. Sure enough, he was on the back patio tormenting Henry, who was going nuts, and my wife as well, who wasn’t much happier than Henry. By the time I got there, he was retreating to the back side of our shed, which is a very long, narrow shed behind our house. I tried to see if he was going to go up the terraced hills, but to our shock, we saw him crawling up the side of the shed and stuffing himself into it through a narrow little gap at the top of the shed between the top of the shed and the roof. He fell inside the shed. Now, this was in broad daylight. How brazen. Frankly, I was worried because I’ve heard for years ago how raccoons often carry rabies and a little research indicated that if they’re wandering around in broad daylight, it’s potentially a bad sign — they might have rabies. I didn’t feel like going outside to open the shed door only to get attacked by a rabid raccoon. We tried to figure out what to do. There are outfits that get rid of such animals, but they’re expensive and it was now night. They probably wouldn’t answer if we called then. We could call animal control, but they claim that they no longer come for just any animal and besides, they only have one or two workers anyway. It could have been hours before they got there and we wanted to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I asked some online friends, and some said to get a trap, but what would we do with it if we trapped it? Others said get a .22 rifle and take it out. Actually that’s a very attractive option. I researched .22s and found that the costs vary wildly. I found a couple that are kind of affordable, but sadly, we’re on a tight budget currently and we don’t have funds allocated for that. I actually have contemplated getting one on a credit card, but hate to do that.

Anyway, as we were hashing things out, the raccoon’s head popped out of the top of the shed and it then appeared that he was hanging from the interior top of the shed with his head out. Gretchen took some pictures of him and emailed them to our fathers. Finally, after he’d been in the shed for maybe an hour, he forced his way out of the opening he went through in originally and scampered up the terraced hill to the woods behind us. Thank goodness, right? I went out this morning and found that a rat trap I’ve got back in the shed with rat poison pellets was empty. He must have eaten them. I wonder if he’ll get sick. This isn’t the first time this has happened to the rat poison. Since we never see rats, I didn’t know what was happening to the disappearing rat poison, but maybe it’s this darn raccoon. We don’t leave food or garbage out and our garbage can is big and heavy. He’d have a hard time getting into it. He must be eating the rat poison. But it’s not killing him. So, what do we do? The last thing I want is to go get the mower out of the shed, open the door and get attacked by a ticked off raccoon, you know? Any ideas? We’re open. We did hear that raccoons don’t like ammonia, so we got some and put it in the shed. Hopefully that’ll do it, but I really think I should try and find funds for the .22. I’d feel safer that way. (It could also serve as home protection, although I know a .22 isn’t that heavy duty of a weapon.) I wish I had a pic to post of the varmint, but I don’t, sorry. It’s actually cute, if you can get past the foraging and possible rabid state of the animal. Hey, that reminds me — remember the little goat we named Abigail who came out of the woods to visit us last fall? Animal control took Abigail. Why not a raccoon? Well, any ideas would be welcome. Cheers!

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9 Rules of Being a Feline: Secret Code of Cat Behavior

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 11, 2013

9 Rules of Being a Feline: Secret Code of Cat Behavior | Pets – Yahoo! Shine.

If you have cats or know anyone who does, you have to read this article. It’s hilarious!

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Our Goat Visitor

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 24, 2012

Yesterday morning, I was on my computer in the office when I heard my fiance call from the bedroom, “There’s a goat out back”! I got up, went to the window and sure enough, a little black goat was making its way down the hill behind our house. He jumped into our fenced in back yard, but we were worried he could get out and get hit by a car, even though we live in a residential neighborhood, so Gretchen went out back to rescue the goat. I followed shortly after.

The goat liked Gretchen. All animals do. The goat was very friendly and so cute. It was tiny too. He (it was a male) let Gretchen pet him before deciding he liked our big HVAC unit and jumped up on top of it so he could be king of his own mountain. He stayed up there for awhile. Meanwhile, we were trying to figure out where the hell he had come from. We live in a city, for Pete’s sake! Well, we didn’t know what to do with him, so I called Animal Control to come get him. Turns out they had one officer working the entire city, so we had to camp out with the goat for nearly two hours before they came to pick him up. Gretchen went and got him some water. He really, really loved our rose bush leaves and ate heartily. Because we didn’t want him jumping the fence and wandering down to the street, we got a rope and lassoed him, trying him to our neighbor’s fence while he munched on the grass. We wanted to keep him. He was adorable. But Animal Control eventually arrived and took him down to their truck, where they put him in a tiny compartment. I felt bad for him. I felt like we were betraying him. It was sad to see him go.

Today we’ve talked about the goat and how we should adopt him, but that’s not a realistic option. We don’t have a very big back yard, the neighbors might not like it, and the city probably wouldn’t like it either. Plus we probably couldn’t afford it. Pity. I decided the (male) goat looked like an “Abigail,” so we named him Abigail. We’ve been watching football today and I’m still watching football, but Gretchen just left to go down to the animal shelter to visit Abigail. He followed her around the yard yesterday. I certainly hope he’s OK and is being treated well. Animal Control said this is the second goat they’ve gotten in the city recently, and they also said they got a monkey out of someone’s yard. That’s bizarre. Following are some pics of Abigail the goat. Enjoy.

Abigail looking cute

Abigail munching leaves

Gretchen petting Abigail

Abigail on the HVAC unit

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Devastating Dog Tale

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 20, 2012

I’ve been reading through the 16 old diaries I found recently, dating from 1984-1992. I came across an entry about a disturbing experience that still haunts me to this day. I’m going to write an excerpt from it.

January 22, 1988

I was supposed to play racquetball with Andy Rice today. As I pulled out onto Gleason Road, I started following a Jeep Cherokee and I noticed two dogs walking on the side of the road. Just as I was approaching Suburban Hills, the second one — a German Shepard puppy — ran out in front of the Jeep. My heart stopped. It was fucking awful! It seemed like it was in slow motion. The Jeep tried to stop, but it hit the dog. He got stuck under the wheels as it dragged him along. They stopped the car, but couldn’t see where he was, so they backed up — right over him! I saw all of this behind them. We stopped and I got out. I’ve never heard screaming like that in my life. It was in mortal agony. Its back legs were crushed, and one looked practically torn off. Parts of its belly were hanging out on the road. I wanted to be sick. The other dog took off. And this dog looked me right in the eye while in such agonizing pain. I wanted to kill myself. Blood was pouring from its mouth. It started dragging itself by its front paws towards the woods at the side of the road and gradually got there, screaming and crying the whole torturous way. I was completely devastated. I couldn’t stop shaking. I thought briefly about going home and getting a shotgun to come back and finish him off, put him out of his misery, but instead I got in the car and got to the nearest pay phone and called Sandi. I stood beside Kingston Pike bawling my eyes out. She tried to console me, but what could she say? Needless to say, I was worthless at racquetball, and when I left, I couldn’t return home the same way. I bawled the entire way. I went to bed and cried so hard I shook. It really doesn’t make much fucking sense. I mean, I never knew this dog, right? But the thought of a poor little dog, laying awake at night wondering where his playmate, his companion, his friend was simply kills me! It’s so totally unfair. It’s not very nice that pets have to die in the first place, but Scamper lived a long, satisfying life — 16 years. This dog didn’t get that chance. I can still see the poor, defenseless little animal crying in sickening agony, not knowing why this had happened, not understanding why his master couldn’t help him. I really wish I didn’t have to see that, but more importantly, I wish it didn’t have to happen….

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