Tag Archives: pets

Cats, Vets, and Starcraft

I am so proud of my cat! He did really well at the vet, wasn’t scared at all (though he was grumpy about being restrained to get his heartrate, and was absolutely affronted by having his temperature taken). He’s also in great health, so I feel reassured as a cat mom.

He had a little tartar buildup on his teeth, but the vet said we could safely wait until next year for a teeth cleaning, so I have a new goal. See, the vet offers a service where they can clean the teeth without putting the cat under, which would be ideal. But, Mr. Davis isn’t keen on having his mouth handled right now, so he wouldn’t be a candidate for that.

My goal for the next year is to train him to accept handling of his mouth, so that he wouldn’t have to get put under for the cleaning. Can it be done?? Only time, clicks, and a lot of treats will tell.

In other news, I’ve been playing Starcraft II 2v2 and occasionally 3v3 versus the computer with Nick and Nathan, and having a fantastic time. We’ve worked out a way to play that is great fun for me, but I don’t think it’d work very well against human opponents.

I’m not very good about dividing my attention between base management and then microing my units out on the field of battle, so I just give Nick control of the units and churn out dudes and send them his way, whiles’t he lays waste to the opponent with the ever increasing army. I’m like Hydralisk Depot over here, which is fine, because base management is fun for me. When Nathan plays with us, he does his signature move of “build a ton of expansions.”

We rocked the computer’s face for the most part, but after a faulty mouse incident, it was clear that Nathan and I are as defenseless as newborn puppies without Nick leading the forces. Oh well, it’s still a fun time!

Walking Mr. Davis

As most of you know (and occasionally doubt my sanity for), I walk my cat on a regular basis. It only took about a week to train him on the harness, and now we go out pretty much every day.

From Walking Mr. Davis

It’s forced me to learn how to relax my brain in new ways. Before I had Mr. Davis, when I came home from work I would usually crash right away, occasionally sleeping the night through. Now, I have to force myself to stay awake long enough to take him out.

Walking a cat is not like walking a dog. It’s more of an amble, really. The cat just wanders about and sniffs here or there, and you follow along, and if he ever starts to go someplace you don’t want him to (under the hedge, perhaps), you just let the lead go taught.

It gives me a lot of time to still my brain, and I think it’s probably good for me. It’s definitely good for Mr. Davis! I don’t know if it really gives him more exercise, but it certainly gives him more intellectual stimulation. That’s important for cats – a bored cat is generally trouble.

More photos!


General Update

Things are going well in the Lisa-verse! Life is busy but good and generally on the up-and-up, though Derby season always makes me a little homesick for Louisville.

Last night, Nick and Nathan and Ross and I spent the evening playing Arkham Horror, which was my first time playing the game. I liked it quite a bit! I’m a sucker for cooperative board games anyway, but this one had a nice adventure element going on with it. It is very much like playing a one-shot session of D&D without the planning overhead that the DM has to do. Thinking about it in this way made it much easier to stomach the fact that it’s a 5 hour game.

Granted, we all were devoured in the end, but I’d happily devote another evening to it. Next time I play I’ll have a much better understanding of how things work, and make a more educated choice in my character.

Other updates!

1. Mr. Davis is doing really well – he loves the clicker training, goes out on walks with me, and is generally all about affection and snuggles. However, he has recently taken up the habit of climbing up the screen door when he’s riled up and playing, which is problematic. What I need is a long, narrow strip of carpet that I can mount on the wall for him to climb up. Any idea on where to procure such an item?

2. I’m going to Japan in like 2 weeks! SO EXCITED! I’ll be visiting Scott Coffrin, who I haven’t seen in years, so that will be fun. It’s a short, week-long trip, and I’ll be in Osaka for most of it, with a day trip to Kyoto somewhere in there. Can’t wait!

3. I have a boyfriend! That’s old news to most of you, but I know not everyone keeps up with facebook relationship status changes 🙂 We are going out on a fancy-pants date this very evening, in fact.

4. Work remains busy and fun and exciting and awesome.

That’s about it from me for now, I suppose.

Training Mr. Davis

I decided before I ever got my cat that I wanted to do clicker training with him. Mr. Davis is taking to it extremely well! One of the more recent things we were working on was having him jump up onto my wooden cube and wait there as I got his food for him – we’ve probably been at this for a little less than a week – me clicking and treating to get him up there, then clicking for him staying there for longer periods of time, then making the food and stopping to cue him back onto the cube and click and treat whenever he jumped down.

This morning, he meowed, jumped on the cube on his own, and watched me intently (and quietly) completely unprompted. He stayed there the whole time while I got his food, and waited until I said “Okay” to jump down, all without any clicks. I was so proud! It’s super helpful, too, because he was one of those cats who twined around your legs while you were in the kitchen, making food preparation a treacherous occasion.

The biggest trick is figuring out the course of action to take to train him to do something, since it involves shaping tiny steps in the right direction. My current challenge is his morning “is it time to get up yet?” habit, which includes climbing up onto my chest, meowing in my ear, and putting his paw on my face. Since the idea being clicker training is that you reinforce behavior you want, and I can’t very well bring the clicker and handful of treats to bed and spontaneously click when he’s sleeping quietly, I will need a different strategy.

Other clicker skills I’ve taught him are “up” and “down” on cue, and to sit and let me put his harness on. Still working on a reliable “come,” and a way for him to ask for me to play with him (his current strategy is to meow sadly and threaten the couch). Also, I’m teaching him to go into his crate, and to let me handle his paws so that I can clip his nails.

New Kitty

I brought home my new cat from the shelter today! This is my first cat as an independent adult-type-person, and he is wonderful. His shelter name is Mr. Davis, and though he’s been at the shelter for about a year, he doesn’t seem too attached to it, so new names are up for grabs.

We were apparently meant to be, as when I visited him the first time at the shelter he crawled right into my lap, bypassing the finger-sniff-test altogether. Today when I went to pick him up, all the cats were stressed and cranky (they are moving locations, so everything was being packed and shuffled up. Mr. Davis was laying on the ground with a very “don’t touch me” swishy tail, and the shelter people were looking for where they had packed the treats so they could lure him into the carrier. Then, all of a sudden, he stood up and waltzed right into the carrier, and then laid down and made himself comfortable. The shelter volunteers were in awe. Didn’t make a peep the whole ride home.

He was very low key when I brought him home, and after some sniffy exploring, made right in with the purring and the snuggles. He’s quite big, but very sweet. Here are photos!

And no, he doesn’t have a drinking problem, Josh was just using that bottle as a scale clue.


R.I.P Bando

I remember when we first brought Bando home. The whole Bandology team had gone out to shop, and I had resolved to get a fish (after having “given up” bettas several years before). I had him in his cup on the drive home as we pondered a name. “How about Bando,” I said, “after the project.”

When we first got him set up in his tank, he clamped his fins and dashed behind a fake plant to hide. However, his timidity was short-lived. As soon as he caught sight of Joe’s black winter coat hanging up nearby, Bando went on a flaring rampage. He flared at the coat for so long and with such vigor that I was worried he would exhaust himself, and put a piece of paper on that side of the tank so he couldn’t see it anymore. Thus began Bando’s trademark hate of anything the color black. We tried to make him a progressive fish, but it just didn’t work.

Bando was a tough little fish, and unlike previous bettas I have owned, he was not a picky eater at all. He’d gobble up anything dropped into his tank, including a piece of popcorn that fell in there by accident once. He attacked it, ripped off a little piece, and ate it right up! All the same, frozen brine shrimp were probably his favorite treat. I fed them to him out of an eye dropper, and he would bite the end and suck them all out at once!

When I went on my internship at Insomniac, Bando spent his summer at Schell Games, winning the heart of Brian Evans. Bando loved Brian, and frequently did his happy dance every time he approached later in the year.

However, the true love of Bando’s life was Tracy Brown. The first time Bando built a serious bubble nest was for Tracy, and he was all flirting and dancing whenever she approached. That’s another difference between Bando and my previous bettas: he was teeerrrible at building bubble nests! He’d try now and then, but they’d always fall right apart, until there were all kinds of stray bubbles floating about the tank. But for Tracy, he always put in top effort!

Moving from the ETC to Schell Games and back several times, I discovered that Bando was very low-stress about being moved. He just shrugged it off, as well as a fish can shrug. Thus, I was confident that he could make the trip across the country to California. He rode out with Josh and I in a travel mug, sitting in the cup holder of the car, and residing in his one-gallon tank at nights to rest. When he got settled back into his big tank at Insomniac, he was happy to go on patrol and make sure all the decorations in the tank were keeping in line.

My desk at Insomniac was a brighter place with Bando around (both literally and figuratively), and he was happy to swim up to say hello to anyone who approached his tank. He loved that he could see me out of one side of the tank and Josh out of the other, and spent most of his time swimming about, resting in his cave, or defending his territory from the dreaded Mirror Fish.

Bando has been an enriching part of my life, and I will sincerely miss him. I am very sad, but I am happy that his suffering from dropsy is over. Goodbye, Bando, you were a good fish!


I noticed a weird thing that my brain did the other day…

I was at the animal shelter, and went into one of the cat colony rooms to work on cat socialization (read: petting and snuggling). The cat colony rooms are setup to be like a living room of sorts: a couch, coffee table, some tables, and an abundance of cat trees and toys and hidey holes. This is where they keep cats who enjoy being around other cats.

Anyway, as I sat down to join one of the cats lounging on the couch, I noticed my brain processing information in a particular way, and I found it rather interesting.

When I looked at the cat, I realized “that cat has three legs.” But, I noticed that it took me until I sat down beside him for several moments before I’d registered *which* of the three legs he was missing.

I find this kind of bizarre. It wasn’t as though I thought “there is something different about that cat” and then after a bit of observation noticed he was missing a leg. No, my brain processed the fact of his three-leggedness all in one go, but it took extra time to notice the specific of which leg was missing. I recall that I even spent several moments looking at his hind legs to find the missing leg before seeing that it was one of his forelegs.

Is this not a strange ability? Maybe it is similar to reading – how I tend to process text in big chunks at a time before actually seeing their individual components.

Or maybe I just think too much.

As an aside, the three-legged cat was very friendly and snuggly and seemed perfectly at home with only having three legs.


Well, the tumultuous 48 hour dog saga draws to a close. Attempts to get my landlord to meet the dog and negotiate the pet agreement were unsuccessful. I sent him a lengthy email about it and we had a phone conversation, but no such luck. Resounding no.

In thinking it through, the thought of trying to find a sublet for 4 months and move and juggle my stuff would be too stressful for me to create a conducive environment for the dog, so I’m just going to wait it out.

On the bright side, at least I will still get to work with Minnow at the shelter as often as I like , and maybe I *will* get another chance to adopt him after I graduate.

On the flip side, GODDAMMIT!

Thanks to everyone who’s lent advice and support and whatnot.

I feel like I’ve had 3 months worth of drama packed into 2 days!

Brick Wall #1

Internet, you’re so good at giving advice! I’m just going to keep on thinking out loud.

So I’ve hit my first brick wall in the adoption process. I asked my landlord about the process for doing the pet deposit (he’s known there’d be a chance I would adopt a dog since last spring) and he sent me the paperwork.

The pet agreement has a section on specifically prohibited breeds, one of which is the pit bull. It also prohibits any dogs mixed with any of the listed breeds. Drat!

Now, my first course of action is to see if this is negotiable. We’ve had a really good relationship with our landlord since moving to this house (the last time he came in to fix something he emailed us complimenting us and thanking us for keeping the house so nice). I also know that these sorts of blanket statements over stereotyped breeds are only to protect the landlord; if I had an aggressive dog and it bit someone, the landlord could be held responsible as well as me (the other prohibited breeds listed are pretty classic: doberman, rottie, german shepherd, husky, etc.)

The shelter requires me to bring in all of my roommates to meet the dog and make sure everything is square, so I’d like to ask if the breed restriction is negotiable and propose that the landlord come along as well to meet the dog. I also have a few other things working in my favor…

– I’ve volunteered at this shelter and worked with this dog specifically, so I’m already familiar with the dog
– I only have about 4 more months living at this place. Even if I stay in Pittsburgh after I graduate, I’ll be moving to a different place, so it’s a pretty short term to have the dog in the house.
– I would be crate training and keeping the dog limited to the first floor of the house
– The dog is 4 years old, so less fear of puppy-keeping destructive woes.

Even still, I want to word my email to him in the most positive way I can without sounding accusatory or overbearing, so I may need some help looking over drafts.

If, after this, the answer is still a resounding “no,” I have a few options left. One is to find a pit-friendly place to sublet for the rest of my stay in Pittsburgh, which would be a pretty crazy and stressful ordeal. The other is just to hold out and hope that Minnow doesn’t get adopted out from under me, then get him when I graduate.

I’ll cross those bridges when they come, though. As always, any tips on the matter are always welcome!

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and encouragement regarding the dog decision!

I have placed my application and initiated the whole process, so we shall see! I think the only obstacle would be if someone is in line before me to adopt Minnow, but I haven’t seen any “application pending” signs on his kennel.

I’ll keep everyone posted!