Diary of a SubUrban Housewife

March 12, 2007

But of Course…

Filed under: Family Stuff,The Animals,Zoe — Beth @ 6:16 pm

Zoe on why there are four half-full open cans of cat food in the refrigerator:

Because the cats like variety.

August 16, 2006

Mad Props

Filed under: Fabulous Stuff,My Old Man,The Animals — Beth @ 2:35 pm

OK, first, does anyone actually even say that anymore?

Our Akita, Suki, suffers from a variety of skin issues, and a terrible allergy to fleas. We’ve gotten much better at managing this. Staying on top of the flea situation seems to take care of the other skin issues.

But she’s also got eye issues. Seems the eyelashes in her right eye are inverted (or something completely whack), and her eye is chronically irritated. Oh, and she’s prone to pink eye in that eye.

So we have the goop that we have to put on her eye. We do it when it looks bad. Right now it looks like crap. So here it is, 11:00 p.m. and I was just thinking I need to put some medicine in Suki’s eye.

I’m contemplating the best method for doing this. I know I need to use a Q-tip and then wonder if I should take the medicine to the Q-tip which is in my bathroom at the completely opposite side of the house, thus increasing the possibility of losing her medicine, or do I go get a Q-tip and bring it back to the medicine?

For whatever reason, I think before I start to make any huge life-altering decisions, I’d better just double check that Suki’s medicine is in the closet.

Well, not only is the medicine right ther on the shelf in front at eye level, but immediately in front of her tube of eye goop is a tidy little pile of Q-tips. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. My husband obviously put them there.

He’s brilliant.

June 16, 2006

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Filed under: The Animals — Beth @ 12:42 am

As has been often reported both on these very pages and these, there are no shortage of four legged friends Chez Atkins. In fact, after each and every addition to the brood, one of the grown ups that lives here swears that there will be no further additions to the pet population. Many years ago Chuck talked about the war of addition, contrary to his desire that it be attrition.

Those of you who’ve been around for a while can already guess where this is going.

Yeah, we got another cat. Yeah. That makes 11 pets. Yeah, that’s absurd.

But I swear, we don’t go out looking for these pets. OK, in the matter of The Dude, Chuck kind of did go looking, but not for him, so I don’t think that really counts.

I have a theory… My house issues some sort of signal. This signal is a beacon to lost, lonely, animals that need a home and some tlc. Because I swear they just end up here.

To wit, I give you Ebi (think sushi), the latest addition to our embarassingly large animal population:


Ebi is four or five weeks old, weighs in at a whopping 15 ounces, and Zoe found her yesterday inside Chuck’s motorcycle. Yes, inside. She was literally in the bike, between the saddle bag and the rear tire.

Zoe had heard some mewing outside and thought it was one of our cats. Naturally she went out to investigate and saw a little ball of fluff and went to check it out. It promptly ran away from her. I was summoned to assist in the search. We scoured our yard and the neighbors yard. No kitty. I told Zoe it would come back if it needed something and sure enough about fifteen minutes later Zoe heard the mewing again and went to investigate again. She could hear it but not find it. Then she saw two of the other cats looking curiously at Chuck’s motorcycle. Further investgation revealed a grease-covered fluff ball.

The kitty was extricated and brought inside. Chuck was notified of the discovery. To say that he was less than pleased would be an understatement. Zoe and I had a long talk about the fact that we have far too many pets. We would keep it separate from the other animals until it could be checked out by the vet, and that we might not keep it. I assured her it was so wee and adorable it would be adopted easily. And how fair was it for us to hog all the pets? Maybe there was a little girl out there looking for a kitten. Blah blah blah.

Chuck and I talked about the kitten. Zoe spent every single minute with the kitten. I asked Chuck how much more bonded he wanted his daughter to get before he ripped this absolutely adorable fluffly creature out of her arms. Chuck figured she had to get a little more attached so that it would really be heart-wrenching when he told her that we would not be keeping it.

Yeah. Right.

Over sushi last night Zoe decided that Ebi would be the perfect name for her because she’s so little and shrimpy. So Ebi it is.

And in the immortal words of my husband, “…I am absolutely putting my foot down: NO MORE PETS.”


July 17, 2005

Goodnight and Goodbye

Filed under: The Animals — Beth @ 1:49 pm

At about 1:00 this afternoon we put Gable to sleep.

Goodbye big man. I love you and I’ll miss you.

July 16, 2005

Six Million Dollar Man

Filed under: Family Stuff,The Animals — Beth @ 9:26 pm

Apparently dropping dead a few months ago wasn’t enough drama for my cat Gable. Of course, that was just one more in a series of life and death experiences for him.

Because between the whole near-death thing and living with five other cats, three dogs, and a nine year old, life is really rather hum drum, as you can imagine.

So he decided to get a really nasty ugly cyst on his eye that required surgery (to the tune of $500, thankyewverymuch).

But apparently that wasn’t enough for him either, because when he came home from his surgery he stopped eating and drinking. And then he vanished. He’s been MIA for the last 48 hours. And he was in such a state when he left that Chuck and I were absolutely certain that he’d gone off to die and we were really looking forward to breaking that news to Zoe when she returned home this afternoon from visiting my mother in Florida.

On the way to the airport, between wracking sobs over another cat going away to die and facing the prospect of never finding him again, we agreed that we would wait until we got home from the airport before breaking the news to Zoe. The plan was to tell her that he’d been missing for a few days and would she help us look for him. The entire drive home and throughout lunch it was just under the surface. Every time Zoe said something about being excited to go home and see the animals Chuck and I would look at each other. I was almost dreading getting home.

The minute we pull in the driveway, Zoe bolts out of the car because the kittens are out and about. As she’s off to greet Sparkle she asks why Gable isn’t wearing his collar.

What? Gable?

He was in the bushes in front of the house just laying there. Very dirty and very still. But alive and purring.

We tried to coax him out with his favorite treat–Star Kist solid white albacore tuna in water. But he wouldn’t eat. He hadn’t eaten in days. I reached under the bushes to pet him. I could feel every bone down his back.

Chuck finally got him out and brought him in the house. We tried to get him to drink something but had no luck. After much back and forth we took him to the vet. I was hoping that they’d say he’s just a bit dehydrated and would pump him with IV fluids overnight and pronounce him on the road to recovery (again), but what I really feared was that it was too late and we would have to put him down.

Well our favorite vet was on call–the vet that brought him back to life a few months ago, and the vet that helped Chuck make the decision to do the surgery last week. She examined him and we decided to do some blood work on him to see what was going on before making any decisions. They took him into the back to draw the blood. When our favorite vet tech Laura brought him back she brought from drawing blood she brought a can of cat food with her.

Let’s pause for a moment here to remember that he hasn’t eaten in days and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get him to take a bite of anything.

Laura pops the top on the can of food and what does he do? Yeah, he starts eating. Little nibbles, but eating. Stupid cat.

Well the blood work reveals that he’s a bit anemic and as we know he’s very dehydrated so he needs a blood transfusion ($359, arg) before they can hydrate him without causing other complications, but his prognosis is excellent.

So Gabe is spending the night at the vet but he can come home tomorrow. I’m hopeful but realistic. I figure we only have a few more months to maybe a year with him, but if he’s eating and happy and comfotable I can live with that.

June 21, 2005


Filed under: Photos,The Animals — Beth @ 11:53 pm

Sammy came home today!


You can feel free to tell me how cute she is.

February 5, 2005

Oh The Drama

Filed under: The Animals — Beth @ 10:59 am

Today marks the one week anniversary of my cat Gable dropping dead. And then being brought back to life. Did you know that the cost to resuscitate a cat is $198 US. Well, there’s an interesting bit of feline trivia for you.

I sound so laissez-faire about the whole dead cat thing. But I can only because he is once again alive and back at Casa de Atkins terrorizing all in his wake.

It went a little something like this:

Last Saturday we were all out and about. I came home at about 4:30 and sat down to catch up what was on the TiVO while I had a few minutes of peace and quiet. Gable came into the family room to join me. I noticed he was breathing a bit oddly, but it sounded like he was in the beginning phases of coughing up a fur ball. I gave him some love and he went on his merry way

I mentioned this odd breathing thing to Chuck when he returned home.

At about 7:30 Chuck heard a funny sort of mew noise and went to investigate. Gable was lounging on the living room floor but still doing that weird semi-fur ball breathing thing. A brief discussion ensued about what was going on with him and whether or not a trip to the emergency vet (read $$$$$$$ vet) was warranted. We agreed it was, and off Chuck went with the Big Man.

Well, apparently it was just in the nick of time. The car ride was very stressful for Gable and by the time they arrived at the vet the breathing thing was even worse. The cat was whisked back to the emergency treatment area where he proceeded to “crash”. (Yes, I watch too much ER.)

What followed was three ours of tearful phone calls back and forth between Chuck at the vet and me at home as he kept me up to date on the status of the cat and his prognosis.

It seems that Gable had a pneumothorax: his lung had a hole in it so his chest cavity was filled with air and the lung had collapsed. This resulted in the cat breathing but not actually being able to fill his lungs with air and actually breathe. They inserted a chest tube and drained off the oxygen filling his chest cavity and had him in a kitty oxygen tent (you too can have your cat in an oxygen tent for a mere $110 per day).

While they had brought him back to life once now did we want a DNR on the cat?

We agreed that if Gable died again that would be the end of it. I wanted them to help him, but did not want him suffering any unnecessary indignities or pointless surgeries. He lived with grace, I would let him die the same way. And this, my friends, is a decision you never want to make.

Chuck got home about 10:30 or 11. Gable had been stabilized. They inserted a chest tube so that they could siphon off the oxygen as necessary. He was in the kitty ICU getting the best care possible. That night would be pivotal. We should call first thing in the morning to check on him.

When I called in the morning he had spend a peaceful night and though he was still in ICU, he was resting comfortably. I could come visit if I wanted to.

To make an already long story short, it all worked out in the end. We knew it was going to be fine when we went to visit him Tuesday night and he was back to his usual grouchy self and was hissing at the vet techs. It was just a matter of time before the lung healed up and we could bring him home.

Though we (and he, no doubt) had a very stressful week, Chuck and I brought him home Thursday morning. He’s got a pressure dressing around his middle because they had to stitch him up when they took out the chest tube. He’ll have that removed today.

And everything is once again good here at the ranch.

January 9, 2005

Deep Breaths

Filed under: The Animals — Beth @ 1:06 am

We have an appointment on Monday for all the cats to get spayed/neutered. It’s been a long time coming, but when you have to do four at one time it can get a bit pricey.

You may recall, I tried to get momma Sparkle spayed back in May, but there was a small issue of lactation that had to be dealt with.

Well then May turned into June, into July, blah blah blah, and we never quite got around to getting it done.

Right after Christmas we agreed it needed to be taken care of now and Chuck was on it. He found an even lower-cost spay/neuter clinic, sponsored by the City and dutifully made an appointment. Yup, for Monday, as I’ve mentioned. I even went and bought new carriers today because though we have a couple, we do not have anything sufficient to tote four cats around in simultaneously.

Well Chuck just informed me that he’s fairly certain that Sparkle is pregnant again. Looks like Monday’s procedure just got a little more expensive and complicated.

This is me, taking deep cleansing breaths.

July 5, 2004

Speaking On My Own Behalf

Filed under: My Old Man,The Animals — Beth @ 11:58 pm

While I would be the last person to get involved in, much less start, a flame war, I feel it is in my best interest and a matter of defending my honor to speak up about my husband’s last entry.

1. I did not have some sick Christpher Columbus fetish thing going when choosing kitten names. Nina was very adventurous, and so I felt Nina fit, and when describing the whole adventure name thing I mentioned the other two ships. End of discussion.

2. Knuckles is a stupid name for a cat. I stand by my veto.

3. Zoe named the other two kittens. And we tried to do the whole gender identification thing. But the reality is you can’t tell right away. You can’t tell for at least a week. So oops, our bad. I can live with that.

4. Princess Fluffy Cuteness. Yeah. I was teasing Zoe and Katie. It was comedy. You had to be there. But trust me. It was hys-fucking-terical.

Thank you and goodnight.

June 29, 2004

Bottled at the Source

Filed under: The Animals — Beth @ 2:19 pm

I called the vet’s office to make an appointment for Mamma Sparkle to get spayed. While one batch of kittens has been educational and amusing to say the least, I’m not (and probably more importantly, the old man isn’t) in the market for another batch.

When I called our regular vet’s office, I was told that it would be in the neighborhood of $300. Ouch.

I figured there had to be a low-cost program through the City.

My ever-resourceful husband found a list of low-cost spay and newter clinics and g-mailed them to me.

I called a place on the list that I actually know. They had an appointment available for the exact day I wanted. At the exact time I wanted. This is all going a bit too smoothly.

Then they drop the bomb: Apparently you cannot spay a cat if they still have milk. It takes a couple of weeks for the milk to dry up after the kittens stop nursing. And if these kittens had their way they’d be nursing for the rest of their lives.

Well, I asked, how would I know if her milk had dried up? She doesn’t want to nurse anymore. Any time the babies try she gets up and walks away. And they try at least three times a day (that I see).

The nurse at the vet’s office suggested I go home and “milk” the cat.


I guess I’ll be rescheduling that appointment now.