Family · Pets

I hate snakes!

Please don’t think poorly of me for that statement. Everyone has something that they irrationally (or rationally) fear or hate and for me it’s snakes. My husband can’t stand spiders and another family member is afraid of clowns. We all our fears and we all have to find a way to live with them which brings me to my story.

The other day I was clearing out my texting history between my husband and I and came across this exchange complete with picture and I just had to share it with you.  Those of you that have been loyally following my blog know that I posted a snake experience that my sister (who also hates snakes) had this spring with baby Copperhead snakes.  Yes, that is not a typo.  I said snakes, plural,  as in not just one.  It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.  But her story is pretty hilarious (at least from a few hundred miles away!).  You loyal followers also know that my dad who was a biologist/ecologist, always tried to teach us that snakes are beneficial (they eat rodents and insects), to treat them with respect, and how to identify the dangerous ones.  Which makes our hatred/fear of snakes even funnier (to everyone but us).  Anyway here’s my story:

Me:  I hate snakes!

Dave:  EWWWW!!!!  WHERE WAS THAT???

Me:  Under Adirondack chairs.  Right next to the pool deck where we had been swimming in peaceful oblivion.

Dave: Oh s#*t!!

Me:  Stinky and Mo were on the case.  Our hound dog and Siamese cat who were trying to catch the snake themselves and play with it.

At this point I didn’t know if it was a dangerous snake or not and I was really worried that one of them was going to get bitten.  Which is the only thing that spurred me into action instead of picking up my kids and running for the hills.

Dave:  Ha!!! Good.  Apparently my husband thought the pets were fully capable of handling this on their own. OR maybe he was hoping to decrease our pet population?! 

Me:  But your girls and I killed it. Didn’t know if it was poisonous or not and were worried about the animals safety

Dave:  Good call. I would have as well.

The girls too?? Wow.

I’m seriously impressed!

Was it as big as it looks in the photo?

Me:   We’re so Brave!!  It was 18″-24″ long. About as big around as your thumb.  But scary to us!

Dave:  Seriously scary!!

Good job everybody!!

M: Presley took the pic then held the snake down after I pinned it with the rake.   Then I chopped its head off with the hoe & a knife (snakes are hard to cut).  My sister was right when she told me that!

D: Tell Presley I’m proud of her!!!

M: She had shoes on. PJ was barefoot and smartly stayed back and kept the animals back.

D: Smart!! Good job everybody!

(Kinda disappointed nobody geared up in boots, knee socks, gloves and BBQ tongs tho).  This is a personal joke in reference to another “lovely” snake encounter we had a few years ago, but that’s another story for another day.

M: I did put on your work gloves.  In retrospect this is entirely ridiculous since I was wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops and therefore had nothing to protect my feet or legs which were much closer to the “vicious beast.”  But I wasn’t going to let it bite my hand!  

Upon closer inspection of Presley’s photo, (we definitely weren’t going to get any closer to that snake, even if it was now in two pieces and buried in the fire pit) we determined that it was a King snake.  The King snake is a constrictor, harmless to us, but great at killing small rodents. So according to my father, I should have “Let it Be,” but I have 5 cats who are capable of keeping my rodent population in check.  Well, 3 cats anyway, the other 2 are 17 years old, declawed (not by me, I would NEVER declaw an animal) and therefore housebound.  It’s not like we’re overrun with rodents in the first place, except moles.  They destroyed half my lawn last year.  Maybe I shouldn’t have killed that snake?  No way!  Did I mention that I hate snakes?

Family · Pets

Love Your Pet Day

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Yesterday was National Love Your Pet Day. Since I was busy posting my menu for the week yesterday, I thought I’d talk about our family’s love of pets today. We recently lost our kitten, GoGo. He got hit by a car, which seems to be the way things go around here lately. We can’t seem to keep a kitten till their first birthday. Heaven knows we have plenty of older cats. That seems to be the “litmus test” for a family pet: survive a year and you’ll be ours F-O-R-E-V-E-R. But no matter what we do lately we can’t seem to keep that curiosity of the kitten from killing the cat.

Perhaps we are a bit too lax in our protection of them at such a young and curious age, perhaps it’s just “bad luck”, or maybe it’s just the nature of cats. We have a cat/dog door and a fenced back yard and 7 (make that 6) pets. So we let them come and go as they please.

With so many pets it’s nearly impossible to make sure they’re all in for the night and then there is the problem of litter boxes. We have 2 OLD (16+ years) cats that once belonged to my aunt and now live in my bedroom/bathroom. They have their own litter box, feeding area, and beds. We have 2 Siamese cats that adopted us and mainly come in only to eat or nap on an especially cold or hot day. They make it especially difficult to have a policy of locking the pets inside at night since they can’t even be counted on to come in at dinnertime.

We also have a female orange tabby that is about 6 years old and has developed a kidney problem in the past year. She has moved herself upstairs into our oldest daughter’s bedroom and expects her meals (a special diet for her kidneys, of course) to be served to her there. She also let it be known that she expected bathroom facilities to be provided. So that’s litter box and separate “catabitat” (cat + habitat, get it?) number two. I guess it could be “catabitat” number 3 if you count the 2 Siamese who live primarily outdoors (at least they don’t require a litter box). And don’t forget the dog, the 60lb dog, for whom the doggie door is a complete necessity or he’d drive us all crazy barking to be let in and out all day (just so he could go out and bark at a passing car, or a neighbor, or a bird, or a cat, or a…).

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GoGo managed to live contentedly within the bounds of all of these separate “catabitats” Or so we thought. Apparently there wasn’t enough excitement around here for him, although that’s hard to imagine with our “zoo”. Or perhaps there wasn’t enough hunting for a young mouser, even though our yard was overrun by moles last year and the cats still haven’t managed to kill half of them (but they do try). Or perhaps it was just that feline curiosity to see the world beyond his fence. We’ll never know.

What we do know is that we miss him terribly and although several friends have offered to “replace” him, we know that is an impossible task. We may be ready for a new kitten someday, but not until we figure out how to be responsible kitten owners on the street where we live. We have to figure out how to give him his freedom to be a cat but still protect him. And, most importantly, we have to finish grieving over GoGo before we can be ready to love a new cat.