Tag Archives: Pets

Beware of the Cemetery Rodent


It’s been said that many times truth is stranger than fiction and that was the case today when I spotted an unusual sight on my run.

My usual running route takes me through our small town’s cemetery.  The cemetery is a perfect place to run–it’s quiet, there’s little or no traffic, and it is just an all-round great place for meditation and contemplation while I try to convince my legs that they are NOT dying and can take me one. more. mile.

Marti Iphone Mar 15 2015 092

Today was a perfect running day as spring has sprung here in Kansas and not a moment too soon!  It was sunny and 68 degrees with a slight breeze.  Nirvana!

As I wound my way through town and headed into the cemetery, imagine my surprise when I saw this sitting just inside the cemetery gate:

Marti Iphone Mar 15 2015 091

An empty pet rodent cage.

Apparently someone in our little community decided that Sparky the __________ (insert the rodent of your choice–hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mouse, rat) was not “pet material” and would be better off in the wild.

I admit that I am not a fan of rodents.  I am a dog and cat person.  I could also be a goat person, but Mr. Caffeinated Ginger has nixed that idea.  But rodents?  No, thank you.  However, to take your “pet” from your home and just release it into the wild?  Sounds kind of irresponsible to me.

Then I got to thinking–the only two reasons a person would just release a pet into the wild would be (1) they cannot find another person to which to rehome their pet, or (2) the pet is vicious and cannot live with humans without threat of said humans losing fingers, toes or noses.

My imagination, of course, takes off from there and I start imagining our quiet, peaceful little cemetery being haunted by something like this:

scary rodent

Now THAT is scary.

That being said, I’m not going to change my running route just because there might be a rabid, terror-inducing rodent now living in the cemetery.  I’m much too brave to do that.  However, if you hear screams of horror coming from that part of town one day, please know that it isn’t ghosts that are haunting me, but the reality of the Cemetery Rodent.


An Ode to Oscar


We had to say a final farewell to our cat Oscar.  He recently had become ill the past month.  Even after a couple of trips to the vet and three rounds of medication, his condition rapidly deteriorated.  We were forced to make that trip to the vet that no one wants to make.

Oscar was one cool cat. We hadn’t planned to own Oscar, it was just fate.  When our youngest daughter was a few years old, she was always requesting to get an orange cat named Spot. When we moved into our present home almost 11 years ago and had more room for pets, we decided that we were going to grant her wish.

Mr. Caffeinated Ginger went to the humane society a few days before Christmas to procure an orange cat named Spot.  He found our Spot (who, by the way, has no spots) and as an added bonus, it happened to be Two for Tuesday–you could adopt TWO cats for the price of one.  What a deal! Who can resist anything that is FREE? That is how Oscar also became a beloved member of our household.

I remember the evening that Oscar and Spot came to their forever home.  Oscar just pranced right in like he owned the place. He had no problem settling into his new abode.

Oscar first day

 Oscar’s first night at his forever home.


He was quite adventurous when he was a young cat. It was not unusual to find him on top of the china cabinet or the refrigerator.  We also caught him walking on the top edge of the opened front door a few times.  Sure-footed, he was.

Part of our basement has a drop-down ceiling with panels.  Oscar soon found a secret passageway in the basement bathroom that led from the linen closet into the ceiling. He would walk around the ceiling meowing as if he couldn’t find his way out of the labyrinth.  The first few times this occurred, I thought I had to “save” him, so I removed ceiling panels to reach him and came away with some cat scratches in the process.  It didn’t take me long to learn that what goes up can learn to find its way down on its own.

Oscar was a very loving cat who absolutely adored being petted.  He knew no strangers–if we had visitors in our home, Oscar wasted no time rubbing against their legs in hopes of a petting. He, however, did not like being picked up and held. Pet him all you want, but do not expect a hug and a cuddle.

Nighttime was Oscar-time. Oscar took to sleeping in our bed soon after he came to live with us. His mode of operation would be to jump on the bed and then poke us in the arm with his paw until we petted him, alternating between Mr. CF and myself. He slept at my feet every night and kept them warm whether they needed the extra heat or not.

Oscar loved a good can of tuna. Anytime he heard the can opener, he assumed it was tuna and would come in the kitchen and stare at me. Even when I explained to him that it was only a can of green beans, he wouldn’t believe me until I allowed him a good sniff.

oscar and posse

 Oscar and his posse using their superior smelling skills to detect a can of fresh tuna.


Our house is a little more empty since Oscar is gone.  I keep glancing at all of the usual places where Oscar used to lounge–the couch, the doorway to the family room, my bed.  When I don’t see him, the hurt becomes raw again. It’s funny how a little 12-pound cat can become such a big part of your life and hold such a large piece of your heart.

Oscar, thanks for bringing your quiet gentleness and loving nature to our family.  You are missed.

oscar in window

The Vet’s Office–Not a Place for the Soft-Hearted


Last Friday I had to take Oscar the Cat to the vet as he had been feeling unlike his usual catty self.  I don’t know about you, but taking a cat on a car ride anywhere, much less to the vet’s office, is not my idea of a good time–especially on a Friday afternoon. But I did what had to be done, stuck Oscar in the pet carrier, and proceeded to listen to him howl the entire 10-mile drive to the veterinarian.

Apparently everyone else in the free world decided that Friday afternoon was also a good time to have their pet see the vet.  The office was packed–all kinds of felines and canines were lined up to see the doctor.

As I was waiting, I heard wailing coming from one of the exam rooms.  At first I thought it was a dog howling.  But as it went on, I realized it was coming from a human.  It didn’t take me long to surmise that someone was having to say a final goodbye to their pet. So then I, being a soft-hearted animal-lover, started tearing up myself.  The crying went on and on from inside the exam room.  It was heartbreaking.  Several minutes later, a dad carrying their now deceased dog wrapped in a blanket was followed by his tear-stained teenage son and they left the vet office to go home and bury their furry family member.

After a little while, I was able to compose myself by watching the antics of some of the other pets in the waiting room. However, sadness descended again as a family of four brought in their grey-haired beagle, tears already on their faces as they stepped over the threshold of the vet office’s front door.  Out came my tissues again as I shed some sympathetic tears for their situation.

Saying goodbye to a pet is one the hardest things to do in this life. It doesn’t matter how you lose a pet–illness, accident or old age.  The grieving process is real.  The pain is intense.

If you’ve had a pet, you know that they are a member of your family. In fact, sometimes they are easier to love than your human family members because they love you so unconditionally. Pets forgive easily and are always glad to see you. At least dogs are always glad to see you. Cats, well, it depends on their mood and how hungry they are at the time.

cat happy to see you

Oscar the Cat will be fine, even though he was severely violated by having his temperature taken. He will get his revenge this next week, however, as we have to try to give him medication in pill AND liquid form. I might as well say goodbye to all the skin on my hands and forearms now. Leather gauntlets, anyone?


 Oscar the Cat