Celebrates People and Pets
Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Mary Ellen
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist with Miss Wings

Bob's Unplanned ZOO

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Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"©
Nikki adores her newest "free" cat, Zoe. 
Out of protest, Zoe's father, Bob, refused to be in the photo.


This scenario happens frequently in homes around the world!  One spouse is at home, quietly minding their own business, and in through the door walks their mate, with an over-the-top unexpected adorable puppy or kitten.

Quick excuses are given; "It followed me home." or "They were handing them out for "free" at the store." or "Look, what I got you for your birthday!" Or the worst and most dreaded excuse--spoken with just the right amount of dramatic inflection in their voice, "They said they were going to take it to the pound and...." And here they pause for effect, and emphasis, before continuing in a shocked high pitch tone, "have it killed!"

These pleadings come complete with deep-exploring eyes, a sad face--while their hand thrusts the  big-eyed innocent baby at the spouse whose fate now rests in his/her hands.

What can you do?  The baby looks up at you, your heart melts into mush, and that deep-mushy feeling seals the deal. 

But not Bob, he doesn't have a soft spot for his wife's orphan rescues, of which, over the years,  there have been many.  So when Nikki arrived home with a "free" kitten in tow, he put his foot down.

"No! We are not getting another cat! Absolutely not," insisted Bob.

Unfortunately, Bob is seriously handicapped when arguing any point with Nikki.  She is a star actress at the Cottage Theatre and musters up "emotions" faster than he can react to them!

With her "professional" skills, she continued pleading, with a tad bit of her dignity still intact  "But look at her. Isn't she cute?"

Thinking of their already acquired furry-herd Bob answered, "No, we already have 4 cats." 

Like any good mother, Nikki was not about to give up without a fight for her baby, "But she was the last one in the box!"

Undaunted, Bob continued his pet population count, "We also have two dogs.  We are not an animal rescue group. NO!"

"But, but . . ." started Nikki.

"And three chickens," continued counting Bob as if Nikki was listening to him. Then he added, "No way!  No how."

Determined more than ever, trying the next tactic in her kitty arsenal, Nikki gently handed the tiny fur ball to Bob as she said, "Oh look!  She likes you." 

At this point the homeless and now boxless "free" kitten worked herself into a loud purr and curled up in his lap.  "Well, shoot. .  . what's one more cat . . ." quietly said Bob smiling down at his newest cat.

"So now we have a new kitten whose name is OwStopThatGetOffOfThereHEYNoClaws-YouLittleBrat! We call her Zoe for short," explains Bob. "She's a 2 month-old, black and white, Tuxedo-Manx, with olive green eyes. She's very well behaved except when she's awake, at which time she's a complete hellion.  She literally climbs the walls, curtains, the dogs or our legs! It is all about elevation for Zoe.  Zoe is (currently) the only youngster in the house, so everyone gets a dose of her 'kitten crazies.' 

Before Zoe's unexpected arrival I built an outside cat enclosure, thinking it would act as a refuge for the 'old guys.'  But less than 2 weeks after her arrival Zoe discovered its entrance...and that was the end of the old cats respite from her. 

Like any father, I was thrilled with her intelligence, and amused...until I realized the enclosure's lattice-work was sized to contain our older more 'robust' cats, whereas a three inch square posed absolutely no barrier to Zoe.  She shot right through it without even touching the sides. 
So there I am, half awake, way too early on a Sunday morning, before my first cup of coffee, stapling chicken wire onto the lattice to contain Zoe The Zoomer, the newest addition to our household's Zoo."
Today, Zoe's favorite human is Bob. And Bob shyly admits, that out of all his pets...Zoe is his favorite!
Photos and directions on building a cat enclosure

Hot Weather TIPS

“During hot weather, place water outside for thirsty wild life and birds,” suggests Debbie, co-owner of Old Mill Farm Store.  “Rabbits in hutches are especially vulnerable to heat.  Place a cold water bottle in their cages, or a soaked wet towel so they have a cool place to lie on.  If possible keep pets in an air conditioned environment.”

Think about this; if you set your family’s dinner chicken in an oven or slow cooker at 100 degrees  for several hours, it will cook. When the weather is hot, keep all vulnerable pets and livestock cool. 
Hot weather is dangerous. Do not walk dogs on hot pavement once the temperatures are over 80 degrees. Pavement absorbs heat, and it is hotter than the outside temperatures, so it can burn their feet. Test the pavement with your feet, if it burns you, it will burn your dogs feet as well.

Currently, Cottage Grove homes are fostering 45 orphan kittens.  If your kitten is 4 months old, have them neutered or spayed because they can begin to impregnate and become pregnant at 6 months of age!

Spaying and neutering dramatically decreases your pets chances of cancer! Altering pets gives them a safer and healthier life, and you fewer veterinary medical bills.  Unaltered pets have a higher risk of cancer due to their hormones building and stagnating in their bodies.

Dr. Lisa Picconi DVM confirms “The first heat cycle in females increases their chance of mammary gland cancer by more than 50%. Unneutered males are more likely to have prostate problems including cancer than neutered males.” 

It is more cost effective to neuter/spay your pet now, before they add to the world’s pet over population, or develop cancer. 

Cottage Grove's adorable-abandoned kittens info: Humane Society of Cottage Grove, 942 2789. Or go to - type in your zip code and view photos of available cats and kittens.
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