Thistle is currently my oldest cat. She turned seventeen on June 14 of this year. She was originally a birthday present for my mother. That lasted about two weeks. Mom wasn’t up for kitten-hood. This is exactly why they tell you not to give critters as gifts!
She was an adorable kitten, and was, and still is, just as sweet as she could be….but Thistle has some issues. When she was younger, she got an inner ear infection which left her with a mild head-tilt, and for some reason after that she began sticking her paw in the water bowl and licking the water off her paw instead of just drinking. No one knows if the two are connected, but it is what it is. She used to love to play with the toilet water too. I finally had to tell everyone who came over to put the lid back down because I got tired of the whole bathroom getting doused!
A few years ago she got ‘gotten’ by one of the dogs that comes here for daycare (we didn’t know the magnitude of his prey drive for kitties). Because of that, she has nerve damage which leaves her a little…unsteady. You can only pet the top of her head…anywhere else will send her back legs into a kicking frenzy, then she will shake her head and nearly fall over, because her front feet will slide out from underneath her on a slick surface. It’s sad, yet I admit it can be a little comical at times. If there is one thing this little gal has taught me, it is about overcoming adversity!
I absolutely loved the dog in question, so I told his parents to hold off on daycare for two weeks while I figure out how to keep it from happening again. It began with keeping the cats in my bedroom, but the litter boxes were downstairs in the basement…hmmmm. So, the only logical thing to do was to cut a hole in my closet floor and build cat walks along the basement ceiling and walls so they could have the run on of the basement as well. That’s logical, right???
Pardon the unfinished walls and ceiling, but I had to draw the line somewhere!
Then, that wasn’t enough so I bought a cat door for the basement window, and I fenced off the area immediately around the house and under the deck so that the cats could have their own yard and the dogs couldn’t get to them.
Then, that still wasn’t enough (guilt is an amazing motivator), so I began converting one of the rooms in my basement into a ‘Cat Room’. I laid vinyl flooring, bought several 1×6 boards and 4×4 posts, and cut and covered them with carpet. I then mounted them on the walls to make ramps and shelves for the cats to climb on. A few pieces of cat furniture and some cat beds later, and their cat room/my exercise room was completed!
It may seem crazy to a lot of you…I don’t know, maybe it is. But to me it’s love. I love my clients and I love my critters. If I had to do it all over again, or something even crazier, I would. For every problem there is a solution. You just need to get creative and remember to do it out of love.