Sunday, February 19, 2012

Maisy's Brothers

Although I vaguely reference Maisy's “brothers” from time to time, I realized that I've never directly posted about them. This makes sense, of course; the focus of this blog has always been dog-related, and Maisy's brothers are decidedly feline. Still, they are an important part of my life, and Maisy's as well, so I thought today I'd take the time to formally introduce them.

Nicholas J. Cat
Or Nicky for short.

Nicky is an 11 year old orangish-beige tabby cat that I got from the humane society as a kitten. He lived with my parents for awhile when I lived somewhere that didn't allow cats, but he gladly gave up life as a farm cat to return to the city when we bought our house in 2007.

Nicky struggles to get along with Maisy, although I'm not sure whose issue this is. Nicky breaks a lot of Maisy's rules- no staring, no scratching, no jumping on the counter- so their relationship is definitely tense. She snarks at him in situations that she'd completely ignore from her other brother.

Nicky has a recurrent skin issue (eosinophilic granuloma complex), and has had recurrent urinary blockages, requiring major surgery. He spent two years as part of a diet-trial study at the University of Minnesota. That was very interesting, as his food was labeled “Investigational Cat Food- Green.” It was a double-blind study, and neither I nor the researchers know if he was on the placebo or not. I'm looking forward to reading the study when it's completed (the clinical phase will last at least another year).

Nicky is a very friendly kitty. He sleeps on my head most nights, which is terribly uncomfortable for me as he also drools. A lot. I hate waking up with an earful of kitty spit in the middle of the night. I love my Nicky kitty, even if he is kind of a pain.

Malcolm J. Cat
I have no idea why they have the same middle initial.
Photo by Robin Sallie.

Malcolm is somewhere between 5 and 8 years old. We adopted him as an adult from the humane society in 2007, and his age is a guess since he'd been a stray prior to that. He had already been neutered and was in good shape, so he probably escaped (he's an accomplished door-darter) and was never found by his people. I feel kind of bad about that, actually, since he's a really cool cat.

Malcolm is definitely my husband's cat, and I often see him curled up in his lap. Malcolm also gets along with Maisy very well, and although they don't play together as often as they did when they were younger, he can still be seen chasing Maisy through the house. She loves that!

Malcolm, too, has some health problems. During a wellness exam, the vet discovered a heart murmur. Subsequent ultrasound by a kitty cardiologist showed aortic insufficiency- some of the blood slips backwards, and it has to be pumped twice, leaving him at risk of cardiomyopathy.

Malcolm is my clicker cat. Although I haven't spent much time at it, I have done some targeting with him, and successfully shaped him to enter a carrier on his own. It's so different from training with Maisy, but very fun! I would love to teach him some basic obedience stuff and a few tricks, but I never seem to have the time.

Anyway, those are Maisy's brothers. How about all of you? Does your dog have any feline friends?


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Join the cool kids in cat training! AKA the game to make you so very thankful that dogs put up with us.

Crystal Thompson said...

So, so true. But it also has taught me a lot about training!

Joanna said...

I have a 7 and 1/2 year old black and white cat named Jasper Fforde. After Dragon had been with me most of last year, he and Jasper learned how to play together. Before Dragon's eye injury, there was a period of a month or two that they played once or twice every day. I have a video of it!
Dragon stopped playing with Jasper after his injury, but a couple of weeks ago they started playing again, and they've played about four times since then. It makes me so happy! :)

Jasper has had some clicker training. We don't do it very often any more, so he doesn't respond to the cues all that well nowadays. However he learned how to sit, wave with his left paw, sit pretty and wave both paws, target his nose to my finger, target his nose to a "click stick", target a paw to a plastic coaster, and jump (or walk) through a hoop. I have an old training video here:
Sasha the orange cat is lying on a mat on the filing cabinet, and Ira the corgi mix is doing a down-stay while I train Jasper.

And here's a video of me working some b-mod with Jasper:

Also, I have to link to videos of Jasper playing with boxes, because that's what YouTube is for:

Crystal Thompson said...


Joanna, you overachiever you.

Mickey said...

Ringo, our 6yr old orange tabby, has a love affair with our Border Collie Rocket. Rocket is the first one he greets in the morning & the one he snuggles with at night. In between those hours he roughs up our other Border Collie Jack. And usually wins.