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Column

Pets make life happier

Pets keep life interesting, to say the least. My husband, Tim, and I have two cats, Dora and Marie, and a dog, a dachshund named Letty. They have been a topic in my column in the past, and their antics never fail to entertain so they make for an easy subject.

Dora and Marie are mother and daughter, but they act more like sisters now that Marie is more than a year old. Dora is our fat cat, but she didn’t used to be. Before she had her kittens, she was slim and agile. Tim and I had Dora and Marie spayed at the same time late last fall. Dora’s one and only litter of kittens was completely unexpected, and we didn’t want to repeat the process with either one. Initially after the surgery, Dora seemed to go back to the same cat she was; however, I noticed she was starting to get a little rounder.

From last November until now, Dora has packed on five pounds. It doesn’t sound like a lot; but if you look at then-and-now photos, you can see how Dora turned into “Big Mama.” It didn’t help that we had to move her from Tim’s house to my parent’s house. Tim was getting ready to sell his home so we could find a house together. Dora hates change and isn’t so good with new people, so the stress of it all has added to her weight gain.

Tim and I found our house this spring, and once Dora was used to her new surroundings, she started to make our new house her home. We have a split level home, and the cat’s room is in the basement. We are hoping the extra stair workout will help Dora drop a few pounds. She still has a lot of her agility, which I thought was a good sign — just a little less grace.

We try to play with Dora as much as we can to get her exercise. Marie is a great play partner. She still has all the energy of a kitten. She loves to pounce on Dora when she’s not expecting it. I call Dora’s fighting style, the “roly poly move.” She flops on her back and curls her paws up to jab at Marie as she attacks. It is funny just picturing it.

Marie is the energetic one. She loves the stairs. When she’s in one of her energy spurts, she’ll race up and down the stairs several times with her favorite mouse toy clasped in her jaws. She will come to the center of the room and “body slam” her mouse a few times before scooping it up and racing about the house once more.

She’s definitely the instigator of all of the Marie-Dora tussles. I’ve watched her on several occasions walk over to where Dora is lounging and sit on her for no apparent reason. Marie could sit or lay anywhere else in the room but still decides she wants Dora’s perch instead.

Letty is our needy one. She loves to sit on your lap. She will follow you around until you sit down. It doesn’t matter where, it could be on the floor for a split second and that is still enough time for her to crawl onto your legs and want attention. Not only does Letty like to get in your lap but also right in your face. She puts her front paws on your chest and thrusts her little snout pretty much right up your nose. She hears “Letty, get out of the face” every single day.

Dachshunds are little dogs, but our Letty is a miniature. More than one fellow dachshund owners have said “she’s so tiny.” And it’s true. Letty weighs all of six pounds and is a little less than a footlong. When standing side-by-side with both cats, the cats are both taller and longer than her and outweigh her by several pounds. In my mind, dogs are bigger than cats, so seeing the opposite still makes me do a double take.

Our cats and dog really complete our home. Sometimes we don’t need to flip on the television or turn to our phones for entertainment, we can just watch the show unfold right before our eyes.

Contact Pam Pratt at
pampratt@newtondailynews.com  

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