Cone of Shame and Other Blunders

Caesar’s in a cone of shame for a week. But I should be wearing it.

Caesar is in a cone because of my neglect. I am in charge of trimming the kitties fingernails and I have done so on the regular, for the past 13 years, in which our cat ownership has ranged from two to, at one point, five cats (one was a foster kitten, Miguel, for whom we found a “forever home.”) After Luna was born and I had to go back to work, I guess I just forgot about Caesar’s nails and yesterday when I tried to trim them, I discovered that several of them were ingrown, that is, they got so long that they GREW INTO his paw pads. Needless to say, I felt so horrible that I flipped out. The vet said we could come in right away, but I was cycling through crippling guilt so Matty had to be the one to take Caesar and receive the poor parenting lecture, which was then relayed to me. Caesar seems to be okay now and mainly relieved that someone finally remembered him.


Eddie Rodriguez, Memorable Running Buddy

Speaking of kittens, I’ve been really missing my old Austin running buddy, Eddie, lately. We used to have these rather insane experiences because we trained at five in the morning and you see some weird stuff at twilight. The scariest incident was catching a glimpse of a NUTRIA on Lavaca Street in downtown Austin and then watching it disappear down a sewer. That image still haunts me. Or there was the time we were speeding up the stairs of a bridge over Town Lake (I’m gonna keep calling it Town Lake, mmmkay?) and we were confronted with giant human feces on the steps. It was really, shockingly large. I suppose it could have come from a mastiff or something, but Eddie and I are convinced that dump was of the human variety.

Our most insane running adventure was the time we were on one of our final training runs before the San Antonio marathon and had to log 20 miles. Nothing memorable happened until we had only four miles to go and we heard the distinct sound of kittens crying from inside some bushes. We stopped to see what was going on, found kittens clearly in distress and no sign of a momma cat, so we somehow lured the kittens to us and withstood clawing to pick them up. We then held them against our bodies — he had two, I had one — and ran, bouncing up and down, WITH CLAWING KITTENS IN OUR ARMS for three miles. I took them home, we called Austin Pets Alive and got them fostered until they were adopted. That was dramatic, man.

I haven’t been to Austin since those four hours I stopped there for Hannah’s baby shower, so when I get back there again, Eddie and I are going on a reunion run for the ages. I hope we do not see nutria.


No Alarms (and No Surprises) Please

OK Computer turned 20. I am really enjoying all the tributes. The New York Times breakdown is the most thorough, but I also liked that NPR dug into its archives for the interview with Radiohead when it came out. During my quarterly existential dread, I play ‘No Surprises‘ in a loop and that’s how spouse Stiles knows that it’s time for my quarterly existential dread. I THINK I’m a cheerful person, but then again, my favorite song is ‘No Surprises’ so maybe I’m actually catatonic. “This is my final fit…”

Today Isabel broke our Obama bobblehead, which I feel like is a really sad metaphor. She ran around the house yelling, “BROKEN, BROKEN!” at the top of her lungs.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We have a male cat named Cheese, one of two remaining cats in the family. Typically at the vet you register your pets with their given names and their humans’ last names. For example, our beagle was Saidee Hu. But instead of registering Cheese as “Cheese Hu-Stiles,” my husband Matty insisted registering him as “The Cheese.” This resulted in Cheese’s official file listing the cat as “CHEESE, THE.” That’s the only way you’ll find his records folder.

Tags: , , , , ,

Fitz Happens

You may recall my cat Fitz from my earlier blogs. Friggin’ Fitz. He’s my orange tabby who likes living on the edge. Most cats live one of two ways: domestically, in which they stay inside or occassionally go outside and stay in the general home area. Or they’re feral, in which nature is their home. My cat Fitz lives in the area in between. He “runs away” for a year or so, and then surprises us by wandering back into the house through the dog door.

He’s back, for now. Last time he was home was spring 2009, if you don’t count the time he popped into the backyard to say hi real quick on Thanksgiving day.

Friggin' Fitz.

In 2008, he came home on Iowa caucus night bleeding from his neck. It sounds bad, but since I was too busy watching the Iowa caucuses and Fitz is perpetually getting into trouble, I just locked him in my room until all the precincts came in. Fitz has almost died numerous times. He’s on his 18th life or so. The last time I did a count of the numerous times he almost died was early ’08, and since then I’ve stopped counting.

9th life: Being born onto the streets of South Dallas. We’re talking the Oak Cliff area. Somehow finding his way to “safety” on the infamous grassy knoll, which happens to be at the mouth of a major interstate. (Hence the name “Fitz”, short for John Fitzgerald Kennedy Hu-St!les)

8th life: Getting taken into the Spartanburg Humane Society, which has one of the highest animal euthanasia rates in the country. He was miraculously rescued because the same day he was brought in, my friend Myra was outside doing a live report. She saw him and had to take him home with her… which is how I wound up with him.

7th life: Accidentally eating ibuprofen. It looks like he took in at least two Advil liquigels, which is toxic to cats. Almost died, stayed in the Emergency Clinic overnight with an IV in his little arm. Had to shoot him with some sort of subcutaneous fluids for two weeks.

6th life: Running away for two weeks. To this day we don’t know where Fitz was during the last half of September, 2007. We thought he was a goner, fer sho. But then he just came strolling back in when October came around.

5th life: Dog bite. How he got away after a dog got him by the neck is still a mystery to me.

I stopped counting, but I can say without question that the vet fees have cost more than my own healthcare.

Tags: , ,