Posts filed under ‘Pet Stories’

Nine Lives and Counting

There’s no denying that aging should come with a set of privileges not afforded the young and naïve. It’s a notion that we become more attached to as the years go by and one that my eldest cat has recently embraced whole-heartedly.

While he has always been a good-natured and compliant feline, he is now 85 (in cat years) and has taken to all manner of behaviors that are quite uncharacteristic. He sleeps on the dining room table when we’re not in the room, eats off our plates if we turn our backs for a second and, yesterday, I found him using my clinging-to-life fig tree as a litter box. It’s as though, nearing the end of his ninth life, he has decided to throw all caution to the wind and whoop it up. And, because he’s endured countless moves, the birth of two loud children, and the introduction of three dogs, we’re inclined to let him.

If, however, you need to curtail the untoward behavior of your cats, the StayAway is the perfect solution. The StayAway detects motion from up to three feet and emits a harmless blast of compressed air and a warning sound that keeps cats away from protected areas.

September 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm 1 comment

December Photo Contest Winner

Judi B sent us this winning photo of Guido. As the winner of the December “What Makes Your Holidays Happy” contest, Judi has won a Contech product of her choice!

“My holidays are meowvalously happy because my cat Guido and I regularly visit a senior center for persons with Down Syndrome and Autism. It warms my heart and makes Guido purr to mingle and jingle with the endearing people who are maybe not as agile as both Guido and I. But basically we’re all the same creatures and love sharing our Holiday cheer.”

January 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

The Girls Go on a Road Trip

By Bruce Thomson, Director of Forestry Sales

Part One – The Road Trip


For the second time in as many weeks, I was at the vet’s office buying a large bag of ‘special’ food for the Girls. As I handed over my credit card, the vet walked out of his office, “Oh, you’re back. How are the Girls?” He didn’t wait for my answer but continued down the hall, whistling to himself. I noticed what appeared to be a 2010 BMW brochure sticking out of his back pocket. I took my cat food and returned to my 14-year-old car, hoping it wouldn’t break down on the short drive home.

We were taking the Girls on a road trip to their “cousins’” house in Portland, OR. My wife had volunteered us to “babysit” our daughter’s cats while she and her family went on vacation to California for a week. I have made many trips into the US with the Girls and have learned some important lessons about US Customs when crossing the border. Most importantly, be truthful. Customs agents have very little patience for people who are not honest. Keep your responses to their questions to the point. Make sure your pets have all the necessary, up-to-date inoculations and have the requisite paperwork quickly available in case the agent wants to review it. It is not permissible to take an open bag of dry food into the US, hence my trip to the vet before hitting the road.

When travelling in the vehicle, the Girls ride in a large cage complete with a soft pad so that they are comfortable and do not slide around. In warmer weather, we position the cage to take advantage of the air conditioner. Pets can overheat very quickly and must never be left alone in a vehicle. When my wife finds the lure of a shopping mall too difficult to resist, I can be found sitting in the car, under a shady tree with the windows down. I read a book and the Girls sleep. We are sometimes there for a long time.

When the Girls were younger, we had the brilliant idea of buying harnesses and leashes to take them for a walk as a break from riding in the car. At the first rest stop on the I-5, we smugly got out the harnesses and leashes. Everyone was going to be impressed at what great cat owners we were, taking the lovely little cats for a nice walk in the cool grass. After much struggling, scratching and growling (yes, the Girls have a very threatening growl when things are not going their way) the harnesses and leashes were on…we were ready for our walk. As soon as their paws hit the pavement they went to ground. They both lay on their stomachs and would not move despite much cajoling and encouragement. The walk turned into a one inch drag and then back into the car. We quietly left the rest stop nursing our bloody cat-inflicted scratches.

Part Two – A Visit with the Cousins

Upon our arrival in Portland, the first step is to get the Girls settled and near a litter box. At our daughter’s house, we keep the Girls in a wire cage meant for a large dog. I am sure they would be very indignant if they knew they were staying in a dog cage. They have to be in a cage because the three cats that live in the house would prefer that the Canadian Girls do an about-face and head back north.

The Girls’ cage is outfitted with a sleeping platform–complete with blanket–a large litter box, and their food and water dishes. During the summer they have their own fan to keep them cool. Once in the cage, there is the usual hissing and growling. The resident cats take turns walking teasingly close to the Girls and give their greeting hisses. It takes about an hour for everyone to settle down. The usual antisocial position taken by the Girls is their backs to the front of the cage and their faces toward the wall.

A bit of history on my daughter’s cats…They are all ‘rescued’ cats. The oldest one, Pavel (named after an ex-NHL player), is from a San Francisco animal shelter. The middle one, Tanner, was a stray that decided to move in one day. He must have sensed that this would be a great place to live. The youngest one, Ernnie, is named after Ernest Hemingway’s cats. Ernnie is a polydactyl cat–she has an extra toe on both front paws.

While in Portland, the Girls are frequently taken out of the cage for exercise and people contact (although they give the impression that people contact is really unnecessary). Of course, once out of the cage, their only interest is to get back in as quickly as possible, unaware that the others have been sequestered in an upstairs bedroom.

Finally, the time comes to pack up the Girls and head home. After cleaning up the litter box, packing away the cat dishes, fan, and blankets, the Girls are back in the travel cage for the long ride up the I-5. For the return trip they are joined in the back seat by the many ‘bargains’ purchased in and around the Portland area (we always do our part to help the US economy with a generous infusion of Canadian money).

Once home, the Girls are the first out of the car and into the house. They walk out of their cage somewhat indignantly and waddle off down the hallway to their favorite roosts on the arms of the sofa. They give no indication that they are glad to be home, nor do they give me any credit for getting them home safely; they just go back from whence they came seven days ago. As my wife and I see the two grumps lying on the couch we just look at each other and laugh. When it comes to the Girls we often say, “Why do we do this?”

October 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

Zoe and the ScareCrow

Marla sent us some photos of her dog, Zoe, enjoying the scarecrow. She says her veggies have been kept safe, and, “luckily the deer and other critters don’t find the scarecrow quite as entertaining.”





August 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm 2 comments

The Story of Everet – Part II

everet1After much searching and an extreme amount of work–all of which had to happen in less than two months–we bought our first home (or what we call the biggest dog house ever), thanks to Everet. It is 1700 square feet with a big, fenced backyard.

And Everet made himself right at home…munching slippers, hunting and chewing up Tracy’s prized stuffies, and deciding that the children (our children) are really his own. While he loves our new home, he has an independent streak and will run away any time he gets off leash. Let’s just say, I can hardly wait for the PetCompass.

everet2When he decides to stay put, he can be found sleeping on a big pile of dirt he dug from the yard. At night, he takes turns sleeping on the floor next to the kids’ beds and at the front and back doors. If he can’t decide, he arranges himself at the top of the stairs where he can keep an eye on everything all at once.

everet3But having Everet in our lives has not only brought our family closer, it has reminded us that anything can be accomplished if you put the right effort in, and that the greatest love of all is unconditional.

The only thing he asks for in return is to be petted and loved. He loves us no matter what, and sits by our side if he knows we’re upset. He has all the traits and qualities we wish we had most of the time.

– Francesca Murray

August 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

Two’s company…Three’s a crowd

Cole-1Last January, we moved into a friend’s house while she took a leave of absence for a year to live in Costa Rica. We promised to take care of her home, her yard, her tenants, her mail…and her 14-year-old cat, Coleman.

We (my fiancé and his two young boys) are cat lovers – having adopted two kittens (Pablo and Pearl Playful Robertson) – two years earlier. We were excited at the prospect of including Coleman into our family.

Cole-4I should have realized things were not going to go as smoothly as I had envisioned when, while moving in, I was certain that Coleman was giving me evil looks; slanting his yellow eyes and looking ready to attack any time I got too close to him. He’s a very vocal black cat and would “meow” with discontent each time a new box was unpacked. I’m not going to lie to you – I was a little scared of the old guy. He seemed angry and unpredictable. We decided, however, with a little patience (and a lot of love and attention) Coleman would warm up to us.

We also did some research on introducing cats to each other. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound as easy as introducing friends at a cocktail party.

Cole-2Keeping Pablo and Pearl Playful sequestered in a room, while adjusting to their new environment, was the first step. This was supposed to allow time to adjust to Coleman’s scent and their new surroundings.

The second thing was to have the cats meet face-to-face, keeping one of the cats in a cage to avoid a physical confrontation. The first meeting was shocking for me because I had never heard my cute, sweet, adorable, cuddly Pablo hiss!

Cole-5The ‘process of introduction’ is supposed to take about a month – until you feel like the cats will get along happily ever after – cage or no cage. We didn’t have the luxury of time. A week after moving in, we left for a planned vacation to Mexico. We let all the cats loose in the house, and although they continued to hiss at each other if they happened to cross paths, they weren’t biting or scratching.

I was a little apprehensive about the situation but after a couple of margaritas in Mexico, the whole thing seemed amusing. That was until we returned home a week later to find the entire place had been sprayed by “Cole-Monster”. I guess that was his way of letting us know that he does not like us or our cats.

“Cole-Monster” then ran away for a week. Maybe he needed a holiday too. Since then, he has been an outdoor cat. He visits daily for food and attention but he’s mostly a grumpy guy who didn’t appreciate his house being taken over. I do sympathize with him.

Cole-3We tried, maybe a little too quickly, to include him (or have him include us). I’m positive that when we move out, he’ll move right back in and take back what was his.

We are moving again soon and I can’t stop thinking about how great it would be to have another kitten…

Helpful tip: I found the best thing to use for cat spray is pure apple cider vinegar. The scent of vinegar will linger for awhile, but it’s the only product that completely erases the cat spray.

– Sandra Hahlen

July 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Puppies Puppies Puppies!

For the last few weeks, we’ve had some extra staff at Contech–two new additions to make us smile, laugh, and keep our cortisol levels down. Maralyn, our resident Golden Retriever breeder (who also keeps our books straight) has been bringing her puppies, Violet and Christopher Robin, to work. We love having them here each day, and have enjoyed watching them grow up! We thought you might like to watch them grow up too.

Click a photo to view a Smilebox presentation:

At 10 days.

At 10 days.

At 2 weeks.

At 2 weeks.

At 3 1/2 weeks.

At 3 1/2 weeks.

At 4 weeks.

At 4 weeks.

At 5 weeks.

At 5 weeks.

At 7 weeks.

At 7 weeks.

At 8 weeks and going home!

At 8 weeks and going home!

July 9, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

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