So tell me about the fun pet games in your house. I know many folks had to deal with pestering pets over the past many weeks while working from home. Now, some people transition back to the office, leaving dogs and cats—and especially puppies and kittens—to find endless ways to keep themselves entertained in this new normal.
In the best situations, their games entertain you, too, rather than causing damage or worse. Cats play gravity games, and sometimes chase feet, and their pet play can become quite aggressive. Dogs also get into the act, and puppy play has many faces, too. Of course, during hot summer months, pet safety during all the fun and games matters a bunch.
Also I’m feeling a bit nostalgic these days, so forgive the rambling post about Seren-Kitty, Magical-Dawg, and the current fur kids.
My little Siamese wannabe lived almost to celebrate her 22nd birthday. Old cats are special, but she raised hellacious pet fun in her day. When Seren was a kitten, to keep her from laying waste to the entire house, I confined her in my office, especially when leaving the house. Imagine my surprise when she took it upon herself to answer the phone! I’d return from errands to discover missed calls—because she pawed the phone off the hook when it rang but failed to hang the receiver up. I can only guess what folks on the other end of the line thought.
Seren also discovered my fax machine made interesting, fun beeping sounds if she walked across the keyboard. Again, I lost calls/faxes because her dainty kitty tap-dance took the machine offline. She also enjoyed ambushing any paper that emerged from the printer. I’m not joking when I say that every book I wrote contained her teeth marks—literally. It could be considered the kitty version of a paw-tograph, I suppose.
Magic had his own way of finding entertainment. His teeth marks are still in the baseboards in my kitchen–I call them Magic Markers. Now with Bravo-Dawg, wastebaskets remain inside cupboards or on counters out of dog grazing range. Used tissues are a favorite.
Magic also went through a phase of collecting animal droppings (his own or other critters) to play keep-away. Uck! I thought my husband would go through the roof the day Magic brought one of these ‘toys’ inside with him. It’s not unheard of for cats to also play with these unmentionables.
In the tradition of his Magical-Dawg predecessor, Bravo also swipes cat toys—which really hisses off the cat. There’s something ludicrous about a 125-plus-pound Bullmastiff inviting fifteen-pound Karma-Kat to play, by offering a catnip mouse (tail end peeking between his grinning doggy lips).
Magic used to love fetching (and stacking) Frisbees, and hose-tag games made him incredibly happy. Bravo-Dawg could care less about fetch (he prefers keep-away) but also enjoys chasing streams of water from the hose.
Bravo’s favorite game consists of hefting and carrying around a water-filled fifteen-inch “big ball” by the attached rope. He’ll race all over our 13+ acres carrying that, which helps wear him out, so he calms down and rests once back in the house.
Seren used to leap high, hang on door levers, and escape closed rooms. I ended up leaving doors open, as we couldn’t confine her. Bravo-Dawg also opens doors, with no need to leap. He just stands in place and lifts a massive foot, and paws open the lever. Thank goodness, he hasn’t managed to open the pet gates!
Karma used to play “kitty pancake” by sitting on top of the much smaller Seren. Well, now he knows how that feels. Bullmastiffs were bred to tackle and hold people, without hurting them, and Bravo uses the technique wisely. Bravo doesn’t hurt his beloved Karma but thinks nothing of pinning the cat beneath him.
Not to be outdone, Karma loves to chase the dog. He often instigates the chase games, and the pair run laps around the house. Much of that has declined, though, while Bravo goes through chemo and gets used to his new tripawd status.
Karma, the hefty-size man-cat, can’t leap high enough to open the door. Instead, he jumps from the floor to the piano bench, climbs to the top of the piano, and then stretches up the wall to play with picture frames. That, of course, gets me up to chase him before the picture falls.
Because of all the angst recently over Bravo’s health scare, I’ve not posted much about the new pup. Shadow certainly brings new life and energy into this house, when we need it most. He’s not at all like Bravo, and probably a bit closer to Magic in temperament and behavior. Heavens, he wears me out!
The puppy also loves to chase and wrestle Karma-Kat. You’d think Karma would swat him a couple of times and put Shadow in his place, since (at least at first) they were about the same size. But Karma cat loves him, following the pup and teasing him into games of chase.
Many things in the world today worry me. I can’t do anything about most of them. Bravo so far feels well, despite losing a leg to cancer and his ongoing chemo treatments–next treatment on Tuesday July 21st (I’ll post an update next week, hopefully with video!). Karma-Kat got a clean bill of health from the veterinarian this week. And Shadow-Pup will be neutered (don’t tell him!) in another week or so.
Here at Rosemont, life behind our stained glass rose walls has slowed down. I’m *this close* to launching the 5th book in my thriller series HIT AND RUN. Meanwhile, my furry crew brings me much needed smiles.
Keeping the fur kids occupied can be a challenge, especially if the humans must change schedules to accommodate new work-at-home schedules. Finding ways to keep cats and dogs happy during these trying times helps reduce the stress for everyone. Puzzle games for both cats and dogs help. Obedience drills and trick training sessions engage brains in fun rather than angsty worry. Shadow already knows “sit” and “wait.” Once my book goes to the editor, we’ll step up the drills.
And of course, snuggle times when we all need a furry Rx can be priceless. Our animal companions offer comfort and contact we need more than ever in these trying times of social distancing. In the scheme of things, when you share your world with cats and dogs . . .
Life is good. For I wish it to be so!
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!