random thoughts

What a beautiful, bright day!

We still have snow here and there, but since the daylights savings stuff ending, we get to see much better weather and day outside, I want to walk so badly, hopefully tomorrow.

Tomorrow I am getting my taxes done. I admire those people who do their own taxes. Hats off! I never tried it in Canada, Honestly I am scared that I will do something wrong, and the CRA will get back to me after πŸ™‚ So, I pay over 100 bucks each year for my taxes to be filed. Peace of mind, that is. Hope to get a return and add up to it a little bit more, and make a prepayment next week πŸ™‚ this is so exciting – I am looking forward to it.

I was able to get up around 8 am, and it made my day very productive. I know that getting not later than 8.30 am is a factor in my productivity.. Since we started working from home, my sleep has been really good (sleeping 6-7 hours/night) and since Mona – my foster cat – came to stay with me and I started to take antidepressant medication at around the same time, it even got better. Now I can sleep around 8 hours, without anxiety and negative fears/thoughts filling my mind during the night.

However my morning sleep has also become too sweet, and as such, I love, LOVE sleeping in, an hour or more in the morning. This means I usually get up around 9, 9.30 am. With the morning routine of feeding Mona and cleaning her bowls and litter box/room, that means I do not start the work till at least an hour later. Staring the work around 10 am almost always makes me feel like I am late, and as a result, I feel stress to catch up. Oh well.

So hope to make it a habit to get up around 7.30 – 8 am so that I can feel a lot better, despite cutting from the sweet morning sleep πŸ™‚ Wish me luck πŸ™‚

Anyways, all is well on my, my family’s, and Mona’s side. So there is so much to be grateful of. I am grateful for:

  • sleeping well and getting up relatively early
  • having a productive, calm, and peaceful work day
  • we all being well and healthy
  • eating home made meal and apple
  • getting a highly positive comment from the organizers of an event I participated last week – their note was short but specific to what was amazing about my talk (engaging the audience with my talk during this virtual meeting), so I especially loved it πŸ™‚ Great motivation to keep going, making interactive talks, and knowing that my efforts paid off,
  • beautiful, bright day that gives the impression that Spring is coming
  • resting and relaxing tonite by blogging, surfing on the internet, and watching Netflix

have a great night everyone

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random thoughts

My long-lasting and recent favorite Netflix series ended the other day and I am desperately looking for a series that will keep me occupied with interest. Shout out any suggestions.

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I am having another loooong week, but that is okay. Slowly, many things are progressing and I feel okay with this. Some good news are also coming to my way, too. Just yesterday I got an invitation to speak at a professional meeting and I am delighted. A colleague of mine helped solve an issue this evening, and I could not be happier. He is my partner in a project and he has done his part really well. Respect. This morning I had a 2 hours presentation, the longest I have ever done remotely, and it went so well! Lots to celebrate. Lots to cherish.

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My two hours presentation had concerned me quite a bit until I delivered it. I have yet another one coming in a couple of months. I do not like to just speak, but involve everyone – as much as possible – in the discussion, questions, or comments. In a remote environment, many of these things are quite challenging. Today’s session was a small group, so it was easier to make it interactive. But I have a large one coming, with potentially around 60 attendees. How to manage such a size and make people engaged and attract their attention?

One thing I want to try is to use the poll function. I have tried it myself but was not sure whether it really worked. So I opted out using it today. But with the big presentation, I need to establish it and get experienced with it. The good thing is that I have time to figure this out. I can also ask for IT’s help – but honestly I want to learn and apply it myself so that I can keep doing it independently. So next week or so, I will rush after learning the poll function.

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My foster cat Mona is doing well. Her latest health scare is healing and I could not be happier. The panic I felt was very real. In a couple of days it subsidized. I was able to look at her belly closely and take pics and video clips (to send to rescue organization). The general idea was to “keep an eye on it, and if it gets worse in a couple of days, we will get her to a vet”. Thankfully, it started to heal at that time. Happiness πŸ™‚

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This incidence made me think quite a bit. This is the first time I have someone else in my home since my late 20’s (yes, I treat her like a person..). First time I am closely responsible for helping someone else. The panic I felt – many people felt it so much earlier in life. They got experienced and dealt with such things much successfully while I was living my solo life. Imagine, how late I am in experiencing some of life experiences? πŸ™‚

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Spring is still far away but at least we will have brighter days, starting this weekend (daylight savings). I am not naive to think that Spring will just show up in April – April is often our most turbulent and unpredictable month. End of May is a much better approximate time for the start of Spring. I cannot wait to work in my yard, hug my trees, admire all the life forms, and gaze at the neighbourhood. Ahh, the sweet Spring. Hope you will bring us a much safer and enjoyable days.

Stay safe folks.

having a foster cat – VI

Cats certainly train you.

Scratching the head: They signal when they want a head scratch. They certainly make it clear when it is too much or not done appropriately πŸ™‚

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Attention: They let you know when they want attention. They just sit there with their paws next to each other and look at your eyes. Or, they will walk around your legs, touch your hands, or head-butt. You cannot miss these signs.

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Food: They will let you know which food they like and which they do not. There is nothing to miss here. Mona just sniffs once and decides whether it is good for her royal stomach. The way that they turn their head and start walking the other way makes me feel like a failure, but that is okay πŸ™‚ Sometimes, she is simply not hungry, although she likes her food. I believe these are the times she does that covering act with her paws. I know that she will come back and enjoy her food later. No need to dump the food yet πŸ™‚

Mona is on wet food. I found that there is no one type of food she likes or dislikes for ever. Sometimes she likes shred meal, but mostly patee is her favorite. If your cats does not like a type of food, do not give away the food. I did that at the beginning, now I learnt after a while that she is ready to eat again most food she once rejected.

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Litter and litter box: I have had no litter problem with Mona, so I cannot comment on what they like or not, or why litter box problems occur. I clean the litter 3-4 times a day and dump the entire litter every 2 weeks. I take that she is happy with our litter situation. Whether you would use a closed or open litter box is mostly dependent on you. At first I considered it to contain the smell, but then ruled it out. I prefer to replace the litter box and closed boxes are quite pricey. And there is no way that I am washing those litter boxes.

These being said, I found that the level of litter is somehow important. Initially, I think the litter was shallow. Mona, although she intended to, could not cover her excretions. Sight of a pooh is not pleasant, but after a while I get used to it. Just recently I started to fill the box a little bit higher. This cause litter scattered around the box, but at least Mona seems happier as now she can cover her poops. I also noticed that the bottom of the box stays cleaner longer, and so does the scoop. So I after 3 months appear to have improved our litter situation quite a bit.

Does your cat use the litter box when you are around? A couple of times Mona decided to use the litter box while I was washing my hand in her bathroom. I found it strange – aren’t they supposed to be private animals? Not in our case, it seems.

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Water: Mona is not a fan of water. I think I have seen her drink from the bowl once or twice in the last 3 months. One of my friends suggested adding water to her wet food, which has been working out well, She does not like it if it turns into a soup, but you can try if your cat’s water intake does not seem adequate.

Catnip: We use catnip in toys and sometimes just to let her relax a little bit. Seeing Mona enjoying her time is really fun. Stress gets to the best of them as well, I think every living thing deserves a break.

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Cat grass: Cat grass is something she enjoys as well. Mona is a short hair girl, I regularly groom her, and she never vomited a hairball (I heard that it is not for the faint heart to watch a cat vomit a hairball).. So I try to grow cat grass using kits. She likes eating them. In moderation. I was fascinated to learn that cat grass was not a specific type of plant, but rather the sprouts of oats, barley, wheat, and so on. Easy to sprout and grow at home, especially if using a cat grass kit (all required things come in them, including the soil, seeds, containers, and directions).

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Exercise and play time: Somedays are better for exercise, and some other days are not. I try at least twice to work her body a little bit. Since she is currently over-weight, that seems to be especially important. She likes laser pointer but I need to be careful with it – you may also know that laser if applied directly to eyes can hurt the retina. Please watch it out, for yourself, for your cat, and everyone else around you. I just bought new toys yesterday, so hidden the other toys. I hope that she will get interested in them again once her excitement around the new ones passes.

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It may be true that most cats like boxes, except Mona πŸ™‚ But she enjoys her closed bed (a make-shift carrier turned into a private bed) on top of a chair.

Scratch post and cat towers: A scratch post is essential, but Mona rather uses it as something to sleep on. Her favorite is my stairs’ carpet. I heard that this is common for cats. I have no problem. She sheds tinny nail clips πŸ™‚ She also has a cat tower, but Mona has never been a fan of it – interesting fact. Not all cats like the heights, it seems.

Groomer: I accidentally bought a groomer from a dollar store, and she loved it! We use it abundantly, as Mona asks for it by lying in front of me and rolling on the floor. It massages her and collects the shed hair. Win-win πŸ™‚

Conversations: Mona loves it when I speak to her. She listens to me and I feel like the tone and volume of the words attracts her attention. It is a great bonding activity and a lot of fun for me πŸ™‚

Purring: The best way one cat can indicate their pleasure is those magnetic purrs. Mona is a great purrer πŸ™‚

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Cat behavior fascinates me!!

Happy fostering πŸ™‚

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having a foster cat – V

I bought some interactive toys for Mona today. She still prefers to play with me, though πŸ™‚

I think playing to break boredom, and interacting and bonding with your companion are not the same things for cats. They definitely enjoy socializing and being with you. They also like to play and explore themselves – that is for sure. But thinking that some toys will be enough for them to entertain themselves may not necessarily be correct for these magical creatures.

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Cats are social creatures

They may be independent and selective, but they do need some time with you. Some cats need more than others. Traumatized and scared cats will not let you touch for sometime. Others will just come to your right away. Mona was quite friendly with me from the beginning on. She loves me scratching her head and grooming her fur. But I held her only twice – both to put her in a carrier, and she ended up in my lap only once. I do not force her to come to me and be too close. After 3 months together, yesterday night she slept 30 cm away from me. That was the closest. I was thrilled πŸ™‚

So while she likes petting and playing with me, she does not like to be handled.

I respect her wishes and do not force her in any way. If she wants, I welcome her. I also like this, to be honest. I am not a person who would like to have a clingy cat around. My free space and freedom are also respected by Mona. We are good together.

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While fostering, we do not know which kind of cat we will end up with.

When I had visited the shelter/organization (consisting of a large office space with maybe 9 cats leaving there and tons of supplies for fosters) I was lucky to see and pet two other friendly cats cared for by the organization. I loved them right away. They are obviously very comfortable with humans. I felt great love towards these felines – shamelessly I thought maybe after Mona I will get these two to shelter..

Sometimes the organization is looking for emergency fosters to look after cats who were just rescued from the streets, or have had a surgery. Those who have had a surgery needs an comfortable place to heal. Those who just got our of street need to adopt to indoor life. Nothing is impossible, but some patience or experience may be needed.

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So, if you are new to cat care and fostering, what tips can I give?

  • When I decided to foster a cat, one of my friends asked whether I asked that the cat is litter-trained. Never crossed my mind!! If you do not have time, experience, or interest to go through this training, please feel free to ask (luckily, Mona was trained)
  • Kittens, I heard, are more energetic and have health vulnerabilities different than adult cats, so consider learning more about their care if you decide to foster kittens
  • Whether neutered (for male cats) or spayed (for females) may be another thing you may want to ask – Mona was spayed and I did not have to go through the heat season, but I heard that it may be annoying to some people. Un-neutered makes may mark the house/furniture with their secretions (there is a name for this that I cannot remember now), that – I heard – may be quite annoying to some people. So feel free to ask their status
  • Diseases can be something you can ask about as well. I had not. I am not sure whether there are diseases that pass from cats to human, but I would not be surprised if there are. Also if you have little kids or other animals, or are pregnant, I think there are certain conditions that need to be considered. These all should be talked prior to fostering agreement
  • You can ask whether the vet and medication expenses, as well as litter and food are supplied. In my case, our organization provides them (with I making some contributions voluntarily). Ask just in case to prevent unexpected expenses. The first shelter I contacted required us to bring the fostered animals to vet ourselves. Our organization send volunteers and for someone like me who does not have a car, this is a significant advantage
  • You may also ask for how long the fostering period is. Sometimes it is for short time (a couple of weeks to recuperate from stress or sickness), and sometimes it is until a forever home is found.
  • Age or health of the cat may be something you may consider. There is a difference in care, time, and effort needed for a cat with a condition, and a cat that is just healthy or young.
  • Be prepared to do more cleaning, especially if the cat is shedding. Mona is shedding lightly and grooming her controls it to a degree. But I do more vacuuming and cleaning, especially her litter room (aka my extra bathroom). I often have an extra laundry load as well, for Mona’s blanket and other items

I have not thought, or asked about any of these, except the expense part prior to agreeing to foster Mona, I did not care whether it was a young, healthy, or sick cat.

I just wanted to help.

I am glad I have.

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having a foster cat – IV

The fact that I started taking antidepressants right around the same time as I started fostering Mona makes me question whether I feel better compared to before because of the medication or Mona?

I have no answer to that…..

I am continuing the medication because I am feeling better and it seems to make me take things lighter and have more time for myself. I can handle emotions easier and get stressed less.

Today I am convinced that she is an enormous support to my emotional health. She has been my support pet for the day and possibly many other days.

I am very grateful for Mona and the shelter organization that allows me to foster her.

May she always be safe, loved, cared for, free of accidents and fear, and have the cleanest litter box and finest meals.

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Mona has minor health issues, like constipation or some other small stuff. We are following vet’s recommendations but time to time she gets it again and it worries me. The fact that I love her so much means that her wellness related matters are painful for me. I am scared that I do not understand if she has a serious issue and cannot take the appropriate steps (like contacting the organization for a vet visit), or they will quit on her.

How painful are these thoughts?

Love is meant to be joyful. But pain is also a part of it. I find serenity in making sure that I follow all recommendations and report all issues, even if they seem small. They are experienced and can decide whether it is a serious issue or not. I also find serenity in praying and asking for protection, support, and love for her and improved understanding for myself to help Mona.

I sometimes feel guilty because I am a hard-working professional and especially during the day I cannot pay the attention Mona deserves or asks for. But evenings are ours and so are the nights. We spent quite some time, play, and interact. I love her when she listens to me and falls into sleep. I love her when she wakes me up in the morning when she gets hungry by walking on my pillow.

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Just today, I seriously considered adopting her. Emotions are high πŸ™‚ The hard reality is that I am capable of doing this, but I have to choose between her and my family – the only reason that I am fostering is that when I start traveling for extended period of times, I cannot take her with me. What will happen to her? Where will I leave her to? Fostering helps with this.

These being said, sometimes I think that life is too short to think about such things and we really do not know what the future will bring. Just today Canada announced that they plan to quarantine all Canadians returning from out of country. The moment I thought things were getting better (with the vaccines being administered now), now we have more restrictions for travel. I feel strained because I was hoping to visit my family next year. But who knows what will happen then?

Sometimes, there is no perfect solution that we can come up. Sometimes, life turns in unexpected ways. I will leave it to life to decide…

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having a foster cat – III

My sister just joked that “once Mona finds a forever home and leaves you, you may fill your home with new cats, but none will be like her. So be ready“.

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There is truth to this.

I am emotionally attached to Mona and I believe she and I have a great bond. She trusts me and I trust her in turn. She has never been an issue for me. She did not scare me, bite me, or hiss at me. She did not break anything at home. More importantly, she is not interested in counter tops and stove, so I keep my sanity (stove is the one that I am most scared off. Cannot imagine her or another cat jumping on and hurting their wonderful paws….)

My sleep is much better since she joined my household. I love talking to her at night and being woken up by her in the morning. She is not an early bird, so 7-8 am is our time. I spend around 5-10 minutes petting her and scratching her head, which she loves. Then comes cleaning her water and food bowls, and adding fresh food and water. We have a comfortable routine in the morning that works.

While she asks for attention sometimes during the day, she lets me work. Not even once she interrupted or asked for attention while I was having online meetings. She is not a fan of the computer or the keyboard either. Absolute, golden luck for a busy professional like me.

The love I feel for her is very strong and makes me happy. I always have known that she would leave one day…. But when she leaves, it will hurt. Until then.

It is impossible to have a magical creature like a cat at home and not bonding or being emotionally attached. I am sure I am not the only one who fosters a lovely cat and one day will let her go.

My fear has always been not knowing whether she is sick/uncomfortable or healthy and well. It is hard to know what they feel. What if I miss an otherwise important, silent clue and she gets hurt? Not one thing that I can risk. That is why it is really awesome that the shelter organization is very attentive to my questions and provides me with info and support whenever I need it. Nevertheless, I continue to fear (not in a way that it creates an anxiety., but in away that I keep watching).

Anyways, considering her wonderful character and our bond, my sister indeed made a great point. Since I was so lucky to start fostering by a cat like Mona, do I really think that other foster cats will be as mild, joyful, and non-problematic as Mona?

What about those stories we hear here and there about cats chewing cables; breaking TVs; ruining furniture; being hostile or aggressive; being clingy or too active; and so on?

These are potential experiences as well, with the future cats. Thanks sis, for making me realize things a little bit better.

I also keep in my perspective that it is also possible to foster other cats like Mona in the future, and each cat has many wonderful characteristics that will continue to awe me.

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having a foster cat – II

Some of you may not know the difference between adopting and fostering an animal. I did not know the difference for a very long time.

Simply put, fostering is a temporary care of an animal, in this case, until my foster cat Mona finds a home.

Fostering does not have to cost you anything. The organization that rescued Mona is supplying or covering all vet, medication, food, and litter and other expenses. Supplies are delivered to my home – imagine!.. All other things, including the litter box, scoop, and scratch post as well as blankets or a toy were also provided. Since I am free to donate to the cause, I buy litter sometimes and wet food. I buy toys, catnip, and cat grass kits myself. Since it is my decision to replace the litter box and scoop every two weeks, I supply these myself as well. And, believe me, it is just joyful.

So, if you are interested in, think about this cost-free and highly meaningful experience.

As a foster mom (dad, person, and so on), you have moral and legal obligations. For example, I signed an agreement that I cannot arrange for adoption myself – this needs to go through the organization. If there is any emergency or any unusual health situation, I must give a call to the organization immediately, day or night. Morally, I must take good care of the fostered animal and provide a safe space. I should give the organization a couple of days to bring me supplies and so on. Nothing too much or too demanding. Just making sure that the animal will be cared for.

My relationships with the director of the organization/shelter and the volunteers who take her to vet and bring in supplies are very good. I increasingly become grateful and inspired by their volunteer activities and serving for such a great cause. We also made friends – this is an extra bonus πŸ™‚ Whenever I have a question, I contact them. Together we make sure that Mona is well. It is a great team.

For someone who is meticulous, have a high sense of responsibility, and is kind of naive and un-knowledgeable about cats, their care, or health issues, I had to do a lot of google searches (only reliable resources – I have no time for vegan diet for cats who are natural carnivores and need high levels of protein, or herbal treatments for FIP kind of serious diseases). Many of my virtual friends here and in social media are also great help. My family also provided many useful tips. It is doable, friends – do not be afraid to foster and help an animal.

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Many people are appreciative of fosters, and shower you with gifts and supplies. Do not be surprised by these lovely gestures. I was surprised myself – it is so good to know that there are many individuals out there who share the same interests with you.

It took me maybe 2 months to establish the most practical and easy approach to litter situation. Eventually, I learnt the difference between a litter mat and a regular mat; importance of having a separate litter garbage box in the room (to temporarily store the poop and pees in poop bags); having yet another garbage can (to dispose unconsumed food and food cans); dumping soiled litter every day to keep the room fresh; importance of small, poop bags that are life-savers; the different types of bowls (porcelain is the best in my opinion); not letting Mona eat a wet food after 3 hours of serving (it is cold here but nevertheless the food not only may get spoiled, but also chemically react); mixing water with wet food to increase liquid intake (Mona is not a fan of water); watching the litter box usage to get a sense of her regular bowel movements (constipation is a real issue and can be quite serious after 24 hours), and so on. Now I feel like we have a good system that works for both of us.

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Giving a medication to a cat is a real art. I learnt that some medication can be crushed and mixed with the wet food, but not all of them. Some medications seem to have a protective coat, which, if disrupted, release the medication too fast. Keep this in your mind. Always consult a vet. Some liquid medication can be mixed with the meal, but in my experience if it smells or tastes differently, cat may not be well receptive. If you can, orally administer the medication using a syringe (which I could not, but you should try). Some pills also need to be orally administered. We had difficulty with one pill. I could not do it myself, so I had to find a way to trick Mona. So you can use pill pockets, or if they do not work, you can hide the pill in something soft that your cat likes. For Mona, that was cheese. Some other cats, it may be something else. Get ready for the experimentation πŸ™‚

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Many house plants and human food are toxic or poisonous for cats. Do your search and comply with the recommendations. Mona ate a plant at home, and got sick. It turns out I mis-labelled the plant even though I had checked its toxicity status. It is good to be on the safe side. Interestingly, Mona is okay with drinking milk and eating yogurt – so I take this as she is not lactose intolerant. Moral of the story – you never know what cats can eat or not, and whey eat, what might be the consequences πŸ™‚

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Our shelter/organization does not recommend treats. The way I see there is a lot of information out there for their potential mis-use/over-use, and health effects. Treats, as their name implies, is supposed to be given only every once a while, and they are not necessary. I used it to suppress the smell of a pill. Otherwise we are good with no treat.

The wet food is more expensive than the kibbles (hard or dry food), yet for cats they seem great – their water contents is high and they have generally less carbs than kibbles. Carbs are not so good for cats and can lead to obesity. Too many health problems are associated with obesity/over-weight in cats. Mona has become overweight under my watch, so now she is served less food than before. For her health.

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To be continued

having a foster cat – I

You may remember that since late October I am fostering a cat, Mona.

She has been my first foster cat and I could not be happier.

You may ask why I decided to foster.

I wanted to foster for a very long time, especially after I gave back my cat (whom I adopted a few years back and sadly had to return to shelter after 5 days… I know.. I know.. I am heartless. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. But I was not good enough and could not bear the idea of putting him in a kernel while I have extended trips. Luckily in a couple of weeks, he was adopted. Or, so I was told….).

How did I finally start fostering?

Anyways, my next door neighbour is a big fan of pets and adopting animals as much as she can. So, she encouraged me for years… So did my family… Eventually this Fall, right before I asked my doctor to prescribe me an anti-depressant, I took the step and contacted a shelter. They said they had frozen the program and would open again in a week. My neighbour said – do NOT wait. So I contacted another one. Long story short, I was interviewed in a couple of days, signed agreements, and in a week I had Mona transported to my home πŸ™‚

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Then, she arrived.

It was too soon, but in the meantime, luckily I had prepared my home and removed the sticky bands, secured the cables somehow, and prepared a room for the cat. I was planning to keep her in the room a couple of days until she felt secure. But it did not work that way. The vicious cat needed to be let go off the carrier right away, otherwise she would be hurting herself. That was a good thing indeed – she immediately checked the place and found herself a comfy place (the top of the couch). The fact that she did not display any fear or did not hide tells me that she was okay.

She also was friendly with me and did not hiss or otherwise show any aggressive behavior. I showed her her litter box, gave food and water, and let her be.

The fact that I am not interested in showing big attention to anyone helped.

I remember the next night she placed herself on my bed and groomed herself. I remember petting her (I was afraid!!) lightly and learning right away that there was a limit to how many times you can pet a cat πŸ™‚ (answer is that, you gotta stop after 5-6 times and if she wants, she will signal you to do it. Otherwise, be prepared to face an unhappy and determined cat).

How do I take having someone at home and arrange my life around them?

I never felt disgusted or tired of cleaning her litter box, washing her bowls, and giving her food (all wet food) or water. I continue to dump the litter everyday to keep air fresh at home, and dump the entire litter, litter box, and the scoop every two weeks. I vacuum the carpets and floors, especially the litter room, frequently and wipe with wet wipes (sometimes, but not always, with antibacterial wipes. Too much chemicals..). I play with her at least twice a day, generously scratch her head and groom her body. She often sleeps on the foot area of my bed during the nights, and during the day.

The smell of the litter / pooh made me annoyed once or twice, I had to learn to use a small amount of baking soda with litter and better aerate the house.

I was scared to give liquid medication orally by a syringe, which I could never managed to do.

I was scared when Mona got sick and needed to go to the vet.

Other than these, I am simply grateful that she is in my life. She wakes me up in the morning for meal (thank goodness, and let me pet her. I love my mornings now πŸ™‚ I talk to her, always wishing positive things and telling her the difference she has made in my life. She listens.

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She has a great community of people caring for her. My friends gave her many gifts and often send their love in messages. My family fell in love with her. She is loved, cared, and admired.

Why fostering gave me a huge satisfaction and has a deep meaning?

I started fostering by the idea of having a cat – I admire them – in my life.

But I had never thought how meaningful and satisfactory is to actually help an animal. Mona was a stray cat and had a rough start in life. She is now in a safe place, loved, fed well, and cared for. Fostering her till she is adopted is most certainly helping another cat to be rescued from the streets, or from abusive owners. To be able to contribute to such a great aim is incredible.

  • To be continued

It is Friday

Happy Friday, folks

I have had relax and somehow un-busy two weeks since the start of the year. I kind of find this strange, considering my often quite busy schedule. Perhaps this is a good thing.

For example, this afternoon I was able to clean my home in between meetings. I now partition my cleaning, with vacuuming both floors and cleaning of kitchen and bathrooms happening at different times during the day. Since I am fostering a lovely cat, vacuuming the floors and carpets as well as the floor of the litter room (aka my guest bathroom) has become routine. I also bought an additional vacuum so that I do not carry vacuum in between the storeys. Life is much easier this way and cleaning is not overwhelming so much.

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My foster cat Mona needs some medications and it has been quite a hurdle, to be honest. I got liquid medication to squirt into her mouth, which I could not. I then mixed them with her wet food, which she refused to eat. Then, we got pills for one of them and pill pockets. Again, she refused. Tonite I will be trying to cover the pill with cheese and follow with a treat. I hope for the best. The next solution is likely asking her to be cared by someone else during the next two weeks till her medications are administered completely.

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I gotta read and learn quite a bit about different ways to give medication. Some pills can be crushed, others cannot. The best way seems to be administer orally by syringe or putting the pill behind the tongue, yet that requires someone who has got the confidence. I do not have that. Mona senses that I am tense and gets even more tense, so trying to hold her, opening her mouth and placing the medications seem a very distant dream to me. Perhaps with some sort of help by another person, I could get to learn how to administer medications, but this will have to wait till the end of the pandemic.

How is your pandemic going on, by the way? We are still working from home and we are quite safe where I live – the case load is low and I could not be happier. I still dream for the day that I will get the vaccination, though. And I hope my family will get it soon as well. It is so surreal… This entire ordeal… I now know 3 close relatives or friends who contracted the virus. Most were okay, but one of them needed hospitalization. It is so scary to know and experience this. Please be safe, friends, and keep practicing the public health measures.

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I am looking forward to a fresh day tomorrow when I would like to just chill down. Honestly, un-busy or not, there is so much out there in life to experience and learn that I appreciate any day without the pressure of work. I hope you too will have a great, relaxing Saturday.

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Saturday morning musings

Happy Saturday everyone – hope you all will have a pleasant day, and find a chance to rest and be joyful.

I am excited for today as I am not planning to work. Rather I will be out going for shopping πŸ™‚ I did some shopping this week, thanks to a friend who gave me a ride. But I still have some stuff to purchase and some items to return, so today is a great day to do all of these.

Since I do not have a car, my shopping (in malls) is often restricted to one mall and a few stores in the mall in a given day. Carrying bulky or heavy stuff by hand around is not practical. This is just one restriction of not having a car, while there are so many other benefits of not having one πŸ™‚

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I had a rather less busy week at work, and that allowed me doing the house chores yesterday, leaving today to myself. I am quite grateful for this.

It takes longer to clean the house now, considering I have a foster cat (Mona) under my care. But that is okay. I would rather spent 2x time in cleaning than not having these magical creatures in my home. I feel so lucky and happy to have finally decided to take the step to foster cats. It has been 6 happy weeks πŸ™‚

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While fostering comes with almost no extra expense, I nevertheless supply around 1/4 of the food and litter to help the organization. I also am happy to make other expenses that make my and Mona’s life easier – these include disposable litter boxes and scoops (replaced every 2 weeks), generous use of litter bags (scooping the litter 3-4 times a day) and disposable cleaning clothes and disinfectant wipes. All of these make it much better experience. I also need a second vacuum (maybe a small, hand-held one) to help with the vacuuming (litter and cat hair, mostly). This is better than carrying my bulky vacuum on the two floors of the house everyday.

As someone who is interested in saving money as much as possible, the fact that I am enthusiastic about these extra expenses are a clear indication that I get so much by having Mona at home. Money is not everything, right? Right.

We have a rather warm December. Looks like it is gonna be a warm winter this year, which I am sure is welcomed by open arms. We have had such a tough 2020.

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Are you looking forward to 2021? Honestly, I do not expect much of a change, maybe except for the vaccinations rolling on and mortality from COVID-19 going down. We still need to figure out the economy, the travel, and opportunities lying ahead in the post-pandemic future.

One of these opportunities is more virtual meetings & conferences organized. For professionals like me, this provides a cost-effective and comfortable professional development opportunity. I am really looking forward to these.

I still do not know when I can go visit my family, but summer 2021 does not seem to be an option. Have not talked about this to my family, but I think they already predict that. As long as they are healthy and safe, I am okay with this.

I really am.

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how is my foster momhood going on?

It is going very well πŸ™‚

Mona has been with me almost over a month now.

She changed my life for the better and I certainly feel a positive aurora around the home and pleasant feelings in my mind. Loving, petting, caring for, and talking to Mona have certainly helped me have positive thoughts and emotions. I have tons of good wishes for her and time to time, I tell them to her.

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I got used to clean the bowl each time I give Mona food and cleaning her water bowl every morning. Scooping the litter does not bother me at all, I often clean it at least twice a day. I think Mona likes this dedicated service πŸ™‚

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Cleaning the litter box, however, is another story. At first, I replaced the litter box, scoop, and litter after two weeks of use. Then, somehow she got constipation and I decided to have a second litter box on the other level of the house. I think Mona loved this as well. I liked it too, because I think it helped with limiting contamination of the floors with litter, pee, or pooh pieces (I think while digging the litter, sometimes she steps on her excretions).

The litter box and scoops are from Dolarama, so they are very affordable. I had no reason to bother myself clean them and use again. The only problem is that when last time I visited Dolarama, I found scoops, but not litter boxes. Hence, I had to clean the litter boxes today….

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Boy…

I am not doing this again.

I am lucky that I have an unused bathroom at home and a bath tub, which was helpful in cleaning and disinfecting the boxes. But it was not kind to my back, and I did not enjoy working on two litter boxes for around an hour of washing, rinsing, disinfecting, rinsing and washing again, and drying. Not to talk about disinfecting the bath tub once all were taken care of.

While I am hopeful that I can find litter boxes next time I visit Dolarama, there is no guarantee for that. So, I currently have one litter box for use for Mona. Hope she will be okay with this. If it goes negative, I will set up the second litter box. Then, they will have to be replaced in two weeks. That means this or the next weekend, I will be hunting for litter boxes πŸ™‚

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Mona is an incredibly gentle and easy cat. I think as the first time foster mom, I have been very fortunate. She just is asking for food whenever I eat something πŸ™‚ and started not to like every food I serve her. That is okay, I guess – she has the right to have favorite food types.

While the food, litter, and vet expenses are covered by the organization I volunteer for Mona, I often buy wet food and litter to help the organization, Mona, and myself. It is a pleasure shopping for her with excitement; great to change or add fresh litter frequently; and see her happy and comfortable.

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random thoughts

It has been a week that I am on anti-depressant medication. I think that there is a slight, at least, difference in my thoughts and emotional reactions. I think it is working and the best response is yet to come.

The foster cat Mona has been good, but had an episode of vomiting and constipation. A visit to vet has ensued and today she is fine, but I gotta watch her the next few days to make sure she poops. Yes, you heard right. I am looking forward to seeing her poop. Never thought I would be that interested in poop, but since it is important for Mona, it is important for me.

We have had a bright day today and even though it is chilly, life is good and easy. We will start to get snow soon, and I am excited about it!

random thoughts

Much better day today compared to yesterday, and I could not be happier πŸ™‚

It was a busy day that was filled with itsy bitsy things, all work related. Sometimes our days are filled with little stuff with big hearts. They need to be addressed and they like our attention…sigh…

We have had a rainy, gray day. Looks like it is gonna continue like this for some time. I am okay with this, except that I was planning to go shop (by bus); this will likely not gonna happen as long as it rains.

We are now into 7 months of lock-down. How are you all doing?

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  • I am generally okay, though there are a couple of things that have changed:
  • I visited the thrift stores only once during the pandemic, can you imagine? I used to find great books, clothing and kitchen item, and unique pots for my plants so easily in the thrift stores. This type of excitement has been lacking from my recent life. Maybe that is okay, considering I actually have everything I need
  • I spent more money, now that everything is more expensive. I admit that I spent quite a bit of sum of money to stock up durables (for example, toilet paper, soap, shampoo) and food (for example, canned food, lentils/beans, butter, and so on). On the other hand, I saved money, re; bus fare (small, but significant savings)
  • I drink tea and crave for greens more often
  • I have initially gained some pounds, and then lost a few of them, and am still trying to drop pounds
  • I baked sourdough bread only once during the last 7 months – mostly due to getting even busier with remote work conditions
  • I started fostering cats, with the first one, Mona, being an angel πŸ™‚
  • I have not visited my family this year and I hope that I can do this in the next two years

When I think about the pandemic and see the news, I realize how lucky I am for being here, healthy, and knowing no one who contracted the virus or died from it

Honestly, thinking about future with COVID-19 in my mind is giving me headaches sometime. While certain things have changed for the better, I really do not know how the economy will recover, whether our jobs, salaries, and benefits will be protected, whether I will still be eligible to early retire on time, and whether we will have to deal with this virus even after a successful vaccine is developed and become accessible by everyone around the world.

The likely outcome is that many of us will find ourselves in worse conditions than today. I am grateful for my job, not having my salary or benefits being reduced (not yet), all the savings I have done in the last especially 6 years, and the fact that it could have been much worse… Thinking about the young generations – what awaits them in terms of economy and job opportunities is probably worse than ours.

The economic forecast is possibly the best motivator for me to look into my spendings and see how I can curb it. Maybe I will write about this later…

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random thoughts

The cool fall is upon us. It is very enjoyable. We can expect some snow in mid November. This will change the game to hibernation season πŸ™‚ Our winter is long and we get too much snow dumped. But, life continues and eventually Spring comes.

I have had a busy week. the more I try to focus on important things, the more small, urgent stuff appeared. That meant in some cases I did not get perfectionist and sent my letters/emails at around 90% perfectness. Acceptable, isn’t it?

It is.

I also, for the first time in a very long time, did not fill feedback forms I was supposed to, to help my unit’s assessment and future plans. Rather, I sent a short email with my main points. I will let the administrative staff to use my email to communicate to others.

You may ask yourself “What is the deal with these two examples?“. Well, I used to follow all directions meticulously and put my best mind forward. Sometimes, it is too tiring and requires too much of my time and energy. While I have energy, my time is getting less and less available with each big steps I want to take. So, to save my time for what matters most to me, I had to change things and how I operate.

I am proud of myself. The change and deviation from my usual work practice is little, took me a long time to implement, but I made it eventually.

————————————————-

I have been thinking about love and fear. When I feel dependency or attention, I get scared. I get distant.

I have been extremely interested in my freedom. It works wonders for me and I love this life-style. I do not need to care for someone, or cook. I could not make a mother, to be honest. This is how I feel. But, sometimes, it feels okay to care for something, a cat for example, and provide love & safety. Even though it restricts my freedom. Loving a wonderful creature should not create fear. It should create excitement.

This is how I finally convinced myself and decided to foster a beautiful kitty, Mona, yesterday πŸ™‚

very random thoughts

Today I decided to foster cats.

I emailed a rescue organization. Hopefully I will get some positive reply back. I need to shop, buy stuff, and make sure that the plants I have are not hazardous and my cables are well protected.

I can get anxious like 4-5 years ago when I had adopted a wonderful kitty. 5 days later I had to return him back. My heart still aches because of that decision. I still ask forgiveness by him. And I still hate myself and for being such a coward.

The fact that fostering is a shorter term commitment, I kind of think that I can make it this time. I hope so.

I want to love, care, and protect the foster cat. Maybe cats, even. Who knows?

We have obligations to care for others, including animals and nature. I am not sure how well I am doing my part. I hope this is what it is.

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Winter is coming. This week has been quite cool. I like cool weather and I am fine with it. In a month or so, we can expect some snow. That fluffy, innocent, clean white stuff…..Many people laugh at me when I say I love snow πŸ™‚ I keep saying anyhow.

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You won’t believe what happened.

I met someone who interests me. It is weird to say this. I thought it was just not possible anymore. I was wrong. Interestingly, instead of day dreaming, I keep saying myself “let it go“. I often manage not to think about him as well. Very different behavior than my usual self. I cherish this interest and the new type of behavior I display.

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Logically I do not see any possibility of moving forward with this person (I know myself). I am also tired of male behavior (I really am believing in males from Mars, females from Venus kind of difference in our behaviors) and the confusion they create in my life. So, what is the point of daydreaming anyhow???

The point is that it is a beautiful feeling.

Love is.

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