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Aria’s settling in nicely.

The weather has been a bit chilly this week. And this being an old building, I’m sure there is not much insulation in the walls. So I’ve been waking up and turning on this ancient heating device in the living room. It’s gas powered and actually does a very good job. Read More

Clairemont Village Pet Clinic

Time to give credit where credit is due. Dr. Perry Diamond, the vet at Clairemont Village Pet Clinic is AWESOME! I mentioned in a Facebook post the other night that Aria had a bad reaction to her booster shots and I had to rush her back to the Vet so she could get two more shots to cmal the situation down. She stayed at the clinic for a few hours for observation to make sure she had no further reaction to the boosters. All said and done, Wednesday was a rough day for my furball, but she’s quite the trooper.

What I love about this clinic is the caring staff and “old-fashioned” customer service. I received a call today from Dr. Diamond simply asking how Aria was doing. He assured me that her record noted her reaction and that the next time we’ll pre-medicate her for her boosters. While his follow-up is routine for his practice, he is sincere and genuinely concerned for his patients. And I really appreciate that he takes the time to check-in on the health of my pet after she’s had a tough day.

If you are looking for a vet, want to switch or have a friend to refer, I highly recommend Dr. Diamond and his dedicated team. Can’t say enough good things about everyone at the Clairemont Village Pet Clinic. Here’s the website: http://www.clairemontvet.com/
Ok, and one picture of my cutie pie in a typical sleep position:

Happy Birthday Aria!

When she was brought home as a foster kitten from the shelter, she was one in a litter of six and definitely the most outspoken of the group. Trying to get her out of the carrier provoked hissing and growling. Once the group got settled in, she was a bit more friendly. She morphed into the first kitten at the door and the one most eager for food and also affection. She spent many evenings curled up on my legs as I sat with my iPad or laptop on the couch.

Aria is the one on the left. The Tabby with the Jaguar-like markings. Her nickname became “Jag”

That was Aria’s favorite spot to hang out.

Working from home, I would close my door during the day so that I could have privacy and not be distracted by kittens. But she would find her way to my door and cry. She wanted to be with me. And so I fashioned a sling out of an old scarf, a spot that became her favorite, the one where she spent most of her day cuddled against me.

When she and another runt-sized kitten were found to have eye goop, the shelter’s kitty coordinator, Kim, told me that they both might be too congested to give back. I looked at little Jag – her original name – and her tabby swirl markings, her adorable little face, and said to Kim, “I don’t care what happens to the black one, but Jag has got to be OK.” That was the moment I knew that this little kitty had worked her way into my life in the most unexpected way.

Her constant need to be near me and with me, the way she’d look up at me and stare at me, it was as if she was saying, “You’re my buddy. I choose you.”

That’s Aria’s “Hi, Mom!” look.

 My first task was to find a name that suited the little songstress and finally decided on Aria (Phoebe will be reserved for a future dog).  Her name has grown (literally) to represent her character and so her full name is now Aria, Jagalicious, Smarty McTarty, Rolly Polly, Spastastic Bright. The Smarty McTarty was originally Farty McTarty, as it took months to find the right food for her and her sensitive stomach. I never understood how a small creature could make such big smells. I can’t tell you enough how glad I am that the Farty McTarty phase is behind us!

Aria is pretty unaware that she is a cat, I believe. She spends her day only a few feet away from me. She’s so attached, she even sleeps at my feet. She absolutely loves hair ties and has learned to fetch them. Aria initiates these games throughout the day by picking one of the colorful hair ties out of her toy box and dropping it at my feet with a hearty, “MEOW,” and the touch of her paw on my shin.   Sometimes I find hair ties dropped on my pillow on weekend mornings when I just want to sleep a bit longer.

Here’s Aria, with one of her hair ties, ready to play.

She’s got a bit of huntress qualities, as she amazingly spots the smallest of moving objects. Any spider or insect who comes in the house doesn’t stand a chance. When she is on the hunt, she chirps. When she wakes up and wants breakfast, she also chirps. She chirps to get my attention and chirps when she’s fetching hair ties. Chirps usually turn into meows if you don’t take notice. Her chirps are a quick trill and very melodic. They can sound inquisitive, uncertain, disturbed or satisfied. If you speak to her, she usually answers back.

When I’m brewing my second cup of coffee in the morning, I take her outside and just sit for a few moments. She relaxes in my arms and watches birds fly over, chirps at ants on the ground, tries to keep up with the zoom of a humming bird and gazes at the bumble bees. She doesn’t lunge or wiggle or get set to pounce. We just sit there together and enjoy the moment. It’s a favorite of the day.

Aria’s black scarf/sling is now her small throw at the foot of my bed. After she fills her belly, she likes to jump on the bed and uses the scarf to kneed. She takes one little piece into her mouth and by the look on her face, goes into the zone of complete comfort and pleasure. She purrs and kneeds and eventually lays on the scarf with her nose deep in the material, relaxed and sleepy. She often exposes her belly when she sleeps. What a great belly of spots! She greets me by rolling on her back and from side to side, paws up, belly exposed. Complete trust.

There’s Aria with her frog and her scarf. Such a cuddle bug.

Of all of the things that I envisioned for my return to the US, a pet, and certainly a cat, was never in my mind. But I’m glad the outspoken little furball insisted on being a part of my life. It’s been several years since the family dog passed and I forgot how much joy and love a pet can bring into your life. I’m reminded every day how full of love these creatures are. She’s my constant little companion, my dog-cat, my Aria. I adore her and love her so very much.

According to the Vet’s calculations, today is her birthday. Happy first birthday, Aria. Thank you for choosing me.

Fostering Furballs

When I was a little girl, and old enough to walk home from school by myself or with my neighbor (remember those days?), I made sure to pass this one, white house. On the porch would sit an older woman and it seemed she always had kittens in a box.  Of course, my memory may be recalling just one day, but I feel like I passed by her house often and on purpose to see those kittens.

I would often ask my dad if I could bring one home, and the answer would inevitably be, “No.”  We brought home our Golden Retriever, Farrah the Christmas I was in third grade, and while I loved her and was satisfied with a dog as a pet, the idea of a kitten/cat was always appealing.  What little girl doesn’t find kittens adorably cute?

There was one time a stray kitten showed up on our doorstep.  It was a rainy day and I decided to make a bed for the animal and give it some milk out in our outdoor/patio laundry room. My dad came home from work, and while he was reading the paper and my mother was preparing dinner in the kitchen, the kitten had come out of hiding and comfort and planted itself on the back door steps.  There was a loud “meow.”  My father folded down one corner of the paper, looked at me and asked, “Did you feed that cat?”  I confessed.  It took a few days for the cat to go away and find some other neighbor to feed it, but I was quite disappointed that I couldn’t keep it.

Our family dog was put down when I was 19 years old.  And since then, I have never had a pet in my life.  Several of my friends have dogs and/or cats, and I sort of have an auntie relationship with their pets.  The Nelson family has Tank, who I knew when he was a puppy, and who loves to play when I visit and for some reason, remembers my command for “speak.”  My friend Sarah has two cats, both of whom know me well. Ella loves me more than Taluhla, but they both know me as a frequent visitor and friend.

When I moved in with my friend Michelle at the end of August, I was happy to become a second mommy to Bailey and Belle.  They are both senior cats, but appear rather delighted to have me around.  When I arrived, it was well into kitten season.  Michelle is a volunteer for the Humane Society and from May through about November, takes in foster kittens.  Her role is to provide a comfortable home and to socialize them with humans and other animals well so that when they are adopted, they will easily adapt to their new owners and be good pets to have.  I have enjoyed being a part of this process since I moved in.  You have to admit, itty bitty kitties are pretty darn adorable!

About two and a half months ago, we got a litter of six very young and ferrel kittens.  They had been found in a parking lot and were horribly afraid of humans.  They were tiny, maybe just two weeks old (just under a pound).  They hid from us and hissed when we tried to pick them up.  Slowly but surely, they started to warm up to Michelle and I, realizing that we were the ones providing them food and comfort.  Because we already had two other kittens, the whole litter of six became too much to care for, and so we decided to keep two and give the four others to another foster family, leaving us with two older and two younger kitties to care for.  We chose “Wolverine” who we named for his coloring and crazy fur, and “Jag” named her distinguishing swirl/circular marks which distinguished her from the other three identical tabby kittens.  Wolverine was just super cute and Jag was the first to be at my feet when I opened the door to the kitty room. This was a complete turnaround from the hissing and cowering behaviors she displayed when we first got her.  Jag also was very vocal, and with her strong voice, sort of sung her way into my heart.

From the time Jag arrived until now, four of her siblings left, two kitties who were already here were adopted out, Wolverine was sent back for adoption and three orphans joined us for a few weeks so that we could socialize them and prepare them for a new life.  All the while, Jag remained petite, grew slowly and sang for her supper every night.  During TV show viewings, she was more than happy to cuddle on my lap and even grew to enjoy a kitty “sling” I fashioned so that I could hold her and still have my hands free.  In a nutshell, we bonded.

Eventually, “Jag” finally passed the two pound mark and under normal rules, would be ready for adoption.  However, this little kitty, who sings so sweet, cuddles so lovingly and looks and me as though I am her mommy, has found a way into my life that I did not expect.  The thought of giving her up and putting her up for adoption was absolutely inconceivable.  I’ve not had any problems saying farewell to the other kittens. But I could not imagine parting with her.  Sometimes, I truly believe, animals choose you.  And this little angel has chosen me as her caretaker in life.

“Jag” was officially adopted on November 19th.  I have absolutely fallen for this little sweetheart and am so glad she wiggled her way into my life and into my heart. After looking through many possible names, I decided I would call her “Aria” to acknowledge the powerful song which has become her voice.  Once I brought her home from her final visit with the Humane Society, I looked at her and said, “You know, from today, you and I are kind of official….”  And as she typically does, she looked at me, stretched her body and let out a melodic, “meeeeoooooow.”

Here she is sitting in my office chair.  Make no mistake, she runs the show.


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