Allegra’s World

Allegra’s World: Big Girl

It’s been a while since I last wrote here, and I need to catch you up on what’s been happening in my world.  Yesterday was my almost birthday – I’m eleven months old now!  I’m almost a big girl!  I don’t really know what birthday means, but Mom says next month, when it’s my real birthday, we’ll have a little celebration and there will be presents.  I think I know what presents are – I think it’s the new toys that have been appearing here occasionally.  I can’t believe there might be more!  Wee!!!

Since I am a big girl now, I’ve been trying to act more grown up, too.  Well, maybe not quite grown up, but I am trying to be a good girl.  Mom says I’ve been doing really well with some of the things we’ve been working on together . I didn’t realize we were working on them together, but whatever – let her think that!  I may just be a kitten, but I’m still the one who decides what I do, make no mistake about that!  Anyway, I let her pet me for longer and longer periods of time now, and I don’t nip at her near as much.  I really don’t know why I even still do it, but it’s like I have all this extra energy that needs to be discharged somehow, and nipping is a way for me to do that.  It’s like I don’t really want to do it, it just happens.  I think Mom understands that, and she knows I’m not nipping at her to hurt her.  I love that she gets that.  I love her a lot, and I’d hate for her to think that I’m doing it on purpose.  I also don’t like that she simply walks away from me when I do nip at her, so I’m starting to put two and two together.  I’m a smart kitten!

I’m learning to be brave, too.  When I first came to live here, loud noises, especially the big trash trucks that go by our house every day, would send me running for safety under the sofa.  Now, I just watch them go by from the window – I know they can’t hurt me.  I still don’t like the noise of the lawn mowers that come every other week.  Why do humans need to have their lawns mowed anyway?  Don’t they know it scares little kittens like me?  Last week, I discovered a cool new spot to hide when scary noises happen (I still haven’t been able to make Mom stop what she calls thunderstorms – she keeps explaining to me that she has no control over the weather, but she seems to control so much else in our house, I’m not sure I believe her – after all, she can open cans!).  Anyway, I went behind the shower curtain in the downstairs bathroom.  It was nice and dark and I couldn’t hear the loud noise from the thunder as much down there.  When Mom found me there, she started to cry.  Turns out that this was Amber‘s safe place, too, and I guess seeing me there made her miss Amber a lot right then.

I can tell that Mom still gets sad a lot.  I don’t really know what to do when that happens, I’m just a kitten, but I want to help her!  So sometimes when she’s sad, I curl up next to her and just sit with her, even though that much closeness is still a little bit overwhelming for me, but I do it for my Mom, because I know it makes her feel better.  I know she’d like me to do more of it, and I will, but on my own time.  I love that Mom understands that.

Anyway, that’s all.   It’s time for a nap now, and maybe I’ll dream about this birthday that’s going to happen next month!  More toys!  Wee!!!

Allegra and The Play-n-Squeak Wand

As you know from Allegra’s last post, she is most definitely not lacking for toys.  Nevertheless, I was delighted when the folks at Play-n-Squeak products offered to send us a couple of their new Play Wand toys for Allegra to test.  And Allegra was over the moon with excitement when the toys arrived.

These folks know cats.  The press release announcing these toys was titled “The Tiger Inside:  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hunter” – a clever header for explaining that these toys are designed to encourage indoor cats to exercise their natural hunting instincts.   For our indoor cats, who don’t have to worry about hunting down their dinner, toys take the place of prey, and the best toys are those that mimic prey behavior.  The toys that do this best are interactive, fishing-pole type toys.   They not only make it easy to encourage cats to play, but because they require a human on one end of the toy, they also strengthen the bond between cat and human. 

The Play-n-Squeak wands incorporate everything kitties love in a toy.  We tested the Tiger Teaser©.  It consists of a nice, sturdy handle with an equally sturdy, thick rope attached to it. It has a feathery tuft at the top of the pole and a fuzzy mouse at the dangly end.  Not only is the mouse stuffed with catnip, but it’s got some kind of electronic gadge inside that is motion-activated and meant to mimic the squeak of a real mouse.  Even though it sounded more like a bird to me, it certainly got Allegra’s attention.  The mouse squeaks each time it’s batted, and even when it’s just swung through the air or dragged along the floor and furniture.  Allegra couldn’t decide what she liked better:  the sqeaking mouse, or the feathery tuft at the top of the rod.  I actually managed to exhaust her with this toy – not an easy feat.

When you play with your cat using an interactive toy, whether it’s the Play-n-Squeak or any number of other fishing pole toys on the market, try to imitate the hunt.  Make it interesting for you cat.  Drag the toy across the floor, up and down furniture, around corners, up and down stairs.  Let your cat catch the toy occasionally to keep it fun for her.  When you’re ready to end the play session, don’t stop abruptly, instead, slow the toy down, pretending it’s a wounded animal that is getting tired.  Let your cat catch the toy one last time before you put it away.  Never leave interactive toys out for your cat to play with on her own, they should only be used when you can supervise.  Cats can easily get tangled up in the strings and ropes of these toys if they play on their own.

Allegra’s review:  Weeee!!!!!!  Super fun toy!!!!!  Four paws up!!!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu9HfdBhcYg

The Play-n-Squeak wands toys are available online or at pet retailers near you.

Allegra’s World: Chewing

Things have been really interesting around here!  My mom and I are still getting to know each other, and I love how she wants to make sure I’m happy.  I want her to be happy, too!   But sometimes, I think the things I do to try and make her happy actually aren’t such bright ideas.  I don’t really understand why she doesn’t think it’s totally cool when I stalk her when she walks down the hall and attack her ankles.  I also don’t understand why she doesn’t think it’s fun when I nip at her hands to let her know that I’ve had enough petting.  Doing those things is soooo fun!  But I’m starting to get a clue that maybe it’s not okay to do these things, because when I do, Mom stops talking to me, won’t even look at me, and just walks away from me.  I don’t like that at all!

The other day, I did something so amazingly cool, I couldn’t wait for Mom to see!  I chewed off the edge of the big dresser in the bedroom!  It was so much fun to nibble on it, and it felt really good on my teeth!  Wee!  I worked at it really really hard, and managed to make it look like a work of art, if I do say so myself.  But when Mom saw it, she wasn’t impressed at all.  In fact, she got pretty mad.  I could tell when she said “Oh no, Allegra!” in a voice that didn’t sound loving to me at all – and believe me, I can tell the difference, because Mom sounds loving almost all the time, so when her voice changes like that, I kind of know I’m in trouble.   She told me I shouldn’t be doing that, and then she sprayed some stuff on it that she says is called Bitter Yuck.  She said I might not want to chew on that spot again, or I’d be sorry.  Okay fine, whatever!  Well, I waited a little while before going back to chew on the dresser some more – I’m not stupid, I’m not going to do it right in front of her!  It tasted a bit odd – but the chewing was so much fun, it was worth the weird taste in my mouth.  Mom got really exasperated with me and taped some stuff called Sticky Paws around the corner I’d worked so hard to chew off.  Again, she told me I might not want to chew on it again, as the stuff would stick to my mouth and feel really awful.  Hmmm.  Okay.  Whatever!  Of course I tried again.  Did you really think I wouldn’t?  It was really interesting, I managed to pull the sticky stuff off, spit it out, and then proceded to chew on the wood some more.  I was pretty pleased with the result – but Mom wasn’t ready to give up on making me stop.  You have to give her this – she is persistent.  I watched her rub a lemon on the area I’d chewed so nicely.  Some of the juice dribbled on the floor, so I investigated.  YUCK!!!  Major yuck!!!  I’m sad to say my work of art will not be completed – that stuff just tastes too nasty even for me to persevere.

Then, the other night, Mom was on the phone for a long time.  I heard my name mentioned a lot during that time.  After she got off the phone, she told me that we’d be making some changes to cure me of some of my “undesirable behavior.”  I have no idea what that means. It sounded very grown up and something humans would say when they’re trying to sound important.  I wasn’t too worried about it.  That night, Mom spent a longer than usual time playing with me, and then, she fed me an extra meal just before she went to bed.  How cool was that!  If that’s the kind of change she was talking about, I’m on board with that!  The next day, I got new toys!  Wee!!!  Now mind you, when I first got here, I thought for sure that I had landed in kitty paradise.  There were so many toys!  But now, there are even more!  How lucky can one kitten get!  I got a new play house, and a Kong Kickeroo.  I also saw her stash a bag of stuff in the closet, so I’m thinking there may be more new toys!  And I was right.  Last night, she brought out a really fun toy that has me somewhat puzzled – I just can’t get the little mouse out of it, but I’m going to keep trying!  I know there’s more in that closet, I just know it.  One of these days, I’ll figure out how to open those big closet doors….  but you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go play in my new playhouse now!  Wee!!!

A note from Allegra’s Mom:  I was becoming increasingly frustrated with watching Allegra be a sweet little kitten 80% of the time and then turn into devil kitten the remaining 20%.  She’s a little play aggressive, and she tends to bite when she gets overstimulated.  I knew the basics of how to respond to this type of behavior, but I wasn’t making much headway, so I decided to consult The Cat Coach.  Marilyn Krieger is a nationally recognized and Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and has been successfully solving cat behavior problems since 1990. Offering both on-site and phone consultation sessions, Marilyn’s expert advice solves diverse cat behavior problems.  Marilyn is the resident cat behaviorist for Cat Fancy Magazine and their web site, catchannel.com.  I’m sure Allegra will keep you posted on future developments as a result of Marilyn’s recommendations!

Allegra’s World: Loud Noises

Wee!  Mom is letting me write a blog again!  Mom keeps telling me that I’m a good little kitten, and I guess this is my reward.  I have been very good, if I do say so myself.

I’m continuing to learn stuff about my new home, and I still discover new things every day.  Some are fun – like when I discovered that I can climb on top of the dining room cabinet.  Wee!  That was so cool!  It’s the highest spot in the house (short of the curtain rods – I haven’t figured out how to get up there yet, but I’m not giving up….psst, don’t tell Mom!), and I can see everything from up there.  And the most fun part is that if I lie down and make myself really flat, Mom can’t see me!  One time when I was up there, I heard her calling my name all throughout the  house, but I wasn’t going to move or let her know where I was.  But then her voice got kind of panicky, and I realized that she was worried because she couldn’t find me, and that’s when the game stopped being fun, so I popped my head up to show her where I was.

Some things about my new home are not so fun.  I really don’t like loud noises, and every morning, these big, noisy things go by the house.  Mom says they’re called “trash trucks” and “school buses” – all I know is that they scare me and I run and hide under the sofa when they come.  Sometimes, I’m really brave and just watch them from the top of the stairs through the window – but I’m always ready to run, just in case.  Every other week, there’s an even scarier loud noise.  It sneaks up on me, because at first, all I hear is some rattling in front of our house, and some men talking, and then, all of a sudden, this deafening noise starts!  Mom says it’s called “lawn service” and that it will come every other week all through the summer and fall, and that she hopes I’ll get used to it.  Maybe I will in time, but for now, I’m under the sofa when they come!  Thankfully, they don’t stay very long, but I still won’t come out unless Mom tells me it’s safe.

And then the other night, there was the scariest loud noise of all.  It woke me from a deep sleep on Mom’s bed (I know she loves it when I sleep on the bed with her, and most nights, I try to spend at least part of the night with her.  I know she wished I stayed all night, but there are things a kitten must do in the middle of the night that she couldn’t possibly understand!).  Anyway, that night, these horrible loud noises kept coming, one after the other.  There were also really weird flashing lights along with the noise, and sometimes it felt like the whole house shook.  I was so scared!  Mom tried to calm me down, but even though she talked to me in a quiet, soothing voice, it didn’t help.  I hid under the bed, but it wasn’t any less scary down there, so I decided to run from the noise.  I dashed all over the house trying to find a place where the awful noise wouldn’t follow me, but it was everywhere!  Finally, I ran back under the bed, and that’s where I stayed until after what seemed like forever, it finally stopped.  It took me a while to trust that it was safe to come out from under the bed, though, despite Mom reassuring me that it was over.  Mom said the loud noise was what’s called a “thunderstorm,” and that we’ll have them all summer long.  She said she’ll give me Rescue Remedy from now on whenever they’re in the forecast, and she said it would help calm me down.   She also said to tell you to read her article Thunderstorm Anxiety in Your Pets for more on how you can help your pets during those scary loud things.

Other than that, I’m just loving life.  I know Mom wishes I’d mellow out a little bit more and sit in her lap or let her hold me, but I can’t help being who I am – I’ve got to be me!  I’m not just a kitten, I’m a tortie kitten!  It’s a good thing that Mom understands about “tortitude,” because she says I have it in spades!

Allegra’s World: Amber is Gone

A lot of things have changed around here since I last got to write on here.  It’s been very confusing.  I’m just a kitten, and I’m not sure I understand it all.  I knew my sister Amber wasn’t feeling well.  The way I knew that was that she didn’t hiss and growl at me when I harassed her.  Mom said to leave her alone, but I kept trying – I just wanted her to play with me!   I thought she’d feel better for sure if she would just play with me!

Then one morning, Mom put Amber in a carrier, and took her away.  Mom was gone all day, too, and when she finally came home that evening, Amber wasn’t with her, and Mom was really upset.    I didn’t understand why Amber didn’t come back with her.  Mom said something about Amber being very sick, and having to be in the hospital so she could get better.  I didn’t really understand what any of that meant, I just knew Mom was upset, and I wanted her to be happy.  So I did the best I could to amuse her, doing my usual kitten things, and that night, I stayed in bed with her all night long for the first time.  I think she liked that.

Amber didn’t come back the next day and the next, and I got used to having Mom to myself.  I actually kind of liked it.  Even though it was a little boring not having Amber here to taunt and harass, it was nice to have Mom’s undivided attention.  I showed Mom that I liked it by purring for her, and rolling around on the floor so she’d pet me.  I could tell that it pleased Mom when I did that, for those moments, it seemed like she felt a little better.  But I could tell that most of the time, she was really worried  and scared.  I wish she’d explained more to me what was going on, but I guess it was just too hard for her.  I just tried to be my normal kitten self, and tried to make her smile.

Then Amber finally came home. I was excited!  But something wasn’t right.  Amber wasn’t in a carrier, Mom was just carrying her in a blanket.  I thought Mom would be happy to have Amber home, but she seemed really sad.  I may just be a kitten, but I do pick up on Mom’s energy.  Amber walked around the house a bit, and when she got close enough to me so I could catch a whiff of her scent, I couldn’t believe my nose.  Pew, did she stink!    She didn’t smell like the Amber I remembered!  She had a really weird smell, like she’d been to a place where bad things happen to kitties.  I hissed and growled at her.  That upset Mom so badly that she put me in a separate room with my toys, litter box and water bowl.  I didn’t understand at all.  I hadn’t done anything wrong!  But it was okay, the room had big windows and I spent my time in there watching the birds and squirrels outside.   Even though I’m just a kitten, I knew something was really wrong, or else Mom wouldn’t have locked me away, and so I made the most of it.

When Mom let me out of the room a couple of hours later, Amber was just lying on the loveseat and not moving at all, not even when I bopped her on the head.  Mom was crying.  She said something about Amber being gone, but I didn’t understand what that meant.  I’m just a kitten.  All I knew was that Mom was really really sad, and I hated that.  The next day, Amber disappeared again.  She hasn’t come back, and Mom has been sad ever since.

I guess it’s up to me now to take care of Mom.  That’s a pretty big job for a kitten who still needs to be taken care of herself, but I think I’m up for it.  I’m managing to coax smiles out of her every once in a while.  I like it when Mom smiles!  I’ve heard her say to someone that I’ve become “much more affectionate” since Amber left.  I don’t really know what that means, all I know is that I’m starting to get more comfortable in my new home, and around my Mom, and it’s easier for me to let her pet me for longer periods of time, and to sleep with her in bed all night long.  I think she likes that.

One thing I really love is all the different names Mom has for me.  She calls me Allie, Allegrina, Legra-Girl, Leggy and more.  One name she calls me a lot is “Allegrano.”  Her voice always gets louder than normal when she calls me that.  Whenever she calls me all the other names, she sounds really sweet and loving.  I’m a pretty smart kitten, and I don’t think it’s a good thing when she calls me “Allegrano” in that tone of voice.  It makes no sense to me, though.  I really don’t understand why it’s not okay for me to eat stuff off of Mom’s plate, or to bite her hand when I’ve had enough of her petting me, or to attack her ankles when she walks down the hall.  I’m just being a kitten – those things are fun!  But I’m trying to learn – I want to make Mom happy.  And she’s a really cool Mom – she plays lots of games with me!

Anyway – that’s what’s happening in my world and….oh – sorry, gotta go.  Big squirrel sitting on the deck outside.  BIG squirrel.  Really  huge.  Wow!  I could take him!!!  I know I could!

Allegra’s World: One Month Update

I know you’re all waiting for an update from my big sister Amber on how things are going with the two of us, but Amber is feeling a little under the weather, so my new mom said I could write on this computer.  Weeee – I’m a blogging kitten!  Fun!

My new mom said she introduced me to you in her blog New Family Member.  I’ve been here exactly one month now!  Kittens can’t really tell time, but my new mom said it’s been a month, and since she’s my  mom, I believe her.  I’m just a kitten, I don’t know things like time.

I really like it here.  At first, I wasn’t sure about anything.  My new mom seemed nice enough, but I really didn’t know her, although her energy felt very special – I did notice that from the first moment I met her.  My new big sister Amber didn’t seem too thrilled to have me come live there.  If I so much as I got within a few feet of her, she’d hiss and growl at me.  All I want to do is play – I don’t mean to harass her!  Okay, well, maybe a little….  I heard my new mom say to someone that she’d forgotten about kitten energy.  I guess that means she didn’t remember how playful, energetic, and, okay, crazy, us kittens can get.  Sometimes I just feel so much joy, I have to race through the entire house, tear around corners, jump up and down furniture, and just generally go nuts – it’s the only way I can think of to express this much joy!  I think Amber at least tolerates me now.  We do hang out in the same room together and take our naps together, but on different pieces of furniture.

There are so many things I like about my new home.  One of the best things is that there are lots of windows!  Before I came here, I lived in a cage at an animal hospital.  They were all really nice to me there, but the only way I could look out a window is if I leaned very far toward the front corner of my cage, and even then, I could only catch a glimpse of daylight, but not really see what was going on outside.  Here, I can look out of any given window and see trees.  Trees are fun, especially when the leaves are moving in the wind!  I want to chase them!  I know I could catch them!  I’m fast!  And there’s also birds, and squirrels.  Boy, I’d love to catch me a squirrel – how much fun would that be!

But there are lots of fun things for a kitten like me inside, too.  I have never seen so many toys!  They’re everywhere!  And my new mom is really fun to play with.   She tosses mousies for me to chase, and laughs when I fly across the room after them.  Weeee!  I love making my new mom laugh!  And there are so many other things to play with, but my new mom says they aren’t toys, and sometimes she takes them away from me.  Like the time I pried off the wooden screw on the stairwell.  I worked really hard at it to get it loose, and it made such a cool noise when I batted it around!  But my new mom said I couldn’t keep it to play with and took it away.  Not to worry.  I found another one and pried that loose, too.  Same thing – she took it away.  Oh well.  It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other things to play with.

My new mom is really great.  Even though there are times when she tells me I can’t do something (like when I pounce on my big sister, or go after what my new mom calls people food, or when I bite her hands when she plays with me), mostly, I can tell that she really loves me.  I love being part of a family.  I just wish my big sister would like me more.  I try so hard to make her like me.  I do all kinds of cute kitten things:  I pounce on her if she’s walking by me.  I creep up behind her so she can’t see me coming and then I jump out and startle her.  I particularly like to run after her when she’s going to the litter box and I don’t understand why my new mom gets so upset with me when I do that.  I just want to play and I want Amber to like me.

Earlier this week, though, we had a really special moment, and it felt really nice.  Amber was sitting by the screen door enjoying the spring breeze wafting in and feeling the sun on her fur.  I could sense that she wasn’t feeling well, so I exercised great restraint and just approached her very very slowly.  (I also didn’t want to get hissed at yet again!).  She gave me that look she usually gives me when I annoy her, and I froze.  But there was no hissing this time, so I got brave.  I slowly continued to inch closer, until I was right next to her, and for a while, we both looked out the window together.  It was really nice.  I just wish she’d understand that it’s really hard for me to be that quiet, and that I’d much rather she loosen up a bit and play with me!

Anyway – that’s my world.  My new mom, my big sister Amber, and my new home.  I am one happy kitten.