Hi, first of all I'd like to thank you all for coming and visiting our page. I hope you will find some useful information on it, and be entertained by the stories and pictures of my wonderful feline duo, Diva & Tiki. They are wonderful animals, and I love them dearly. Thanks Diva & Tiki for giving a little space here to your Mom :-)
Some Background on This Page:
This page started out as nothing really. I had begun maternity leave for my first child (due August 25th, 1998) and really didn't know what to do with myself one day. After doing the 9 to 5 grind for years, to suddenly be at home, without a baby to care for yet, was a little of a shock to the system. Going out wasn't an option (the 9th month exhaustion thing), I don't watch t.v., my craft projects sit in a box half finished years later, so off to the computer it was. One afternoon shortly after Tiki came to stay, I was thinking about how quickly she had gained a place in my heart, and decided to put a page together with a picture of The Duo on it that would load up when I started Netscape.
Well one thing lead to another, Tiki was getting sicker, I needed more and more information, came across more and more sites, so we decided to compile it into a page for all.
My Animal Background:
I have had an animal of one species or another for as long as I can remember. My first pet as a small child was a budgie named Chippie. I think I was only about two or so at the time, so I can't really recall how he got the name Chippie (it seems kind of strange now). My mother tells tales of Chippie and myself, I guess we were quite the pair. I would disappear for hours at a time, only to be found playing in the sunporch, with Chippie on my shoulder or head, the both of us having wonderful conversations (he learned to speak due to all my chatter).
Another small childhood pet was Crockie, a miniature alligator. I don't remember Crockie at all though, I just hear about him through family stories.
My views on pet ownership have changed alot since being a child. I don't believe in that sort of pet, in my opinion they aren't meant to be domestic housepets, they should be left in the wild where they belong. I can't even go to zoos today, I get too upset at seeing the animals behind wire and plexiglass and so far away from their natural habitat. I found that out last summer, after my significant other (and best friend) Glen and I had to leave a zoo because I was getting too upset, specifically at the bird exhibit, watching these beautiful creatures sit on perches when they should have been soaring through the skies in some tropical paradise. So, we've never tried to go to a zoo again, and we don't support them in any way. With the age of technology there are plenty of ways for people to see these animals without caging them - television, videos, books, the internet, cdroms etc. This sort of thing is an ongoing battle between my brother and myself, who enjoys such exotic pets as tarantulas, snakes, herps, etc. Someday I'll win him over to my side :-)
Throughout my adolescent and teenage years, our pets were mainly dogs and cats. There is a link on our site to my family's main page (which is forever "under construction"), which has a page of pics of the animals we've had throughout the years. There are a couple of sad stories to go with those pics, Muffin my cat in my early teen years was hit by a car, and Kitterz , my cat of later teen years died of Feline Leukemia. So, needless to say, I'm now a firm believer in indoor cats, and immunizations. It's sad to think that these animals died due to causes that could have been avoided, and it's a guilt I'll bear forever. If I knew then what I know now...
The Adult Years:
After I moved out of my parents home in 1984, I had a cat within two months - my first very own pet. Actually Sophie was my roommate's acquisition, but when my roommate and I parted company four months later (never move in with your best friend), Sophie came with me at my insistence. My roommate just didn't have the patience for a kitten, and there was no way Sophie was staying with him.
Within six months Sophie had a sister, Simba. It was the first time I had ever had two cats at once, and what a remarkable experience that proved to be. The companionship two cats provide each other is incredible, and the joy of watching them interact is something to behold. I first then really realized how unique cats are, each has their own personality and quirks, and is forever an individual. Those who say a cat is a cat is a cat obviously has never had more than one cat!
Next to arrive was Maxie the dog, in 1990. Maxie wrapped her paws around my heart like no animal ever before. We were inseparable, I termed her "my velcro dog" as she was always velcroed to my side where ever I went.
Sadly in '96 I had to give up all of these beautiful animals who had stolen my heart. My marriage broke up, and the hardest thing I have ever done is to leave behind those animals. They were better off staying with my ex at the time. No matter how badly I wanted them with me, I could not care for them, and had to consider their well being as the top priority, not my wanting them near me. I still find it hard to look at pictures of them without starting to cry, in fact, that has been the hardest thing to deal with over the past two and a half years, leaving my animals. I guess that saying "I like my animals more than some people" applies here. Sophie, Simba, & Maxie are all doing fine and living happy lives today. Sophie and Simba are now fourteen and thirteen years old respectively, and Maxie is eight.
The Arrivals of Diva & Tiki:
For over a year after leaving my other animals behind, I did not have a pet of any sort. I told myself I didn't need that responsibility, landlady wouldn't like it, they cost too much, it's nice having no fur on things, etc etc etc. In reality I hurt too much from losing the other ones and didn't want to get attached to an animal again. I don't know what happened, but one night I just said to Glen, who was over visiting, "I want a cat". He had been trying to get me to get a pet for quite some time, but I always refused.
Always one to jump at opportunities, he herded me out to the car immediately, he knew of people with a litter of kittens. That same night I came home with Diva. She tells quite a story and her recollection of the evening is told here . Diva turned out to be quite a handful. It had been quite a while since I had had a kitten in my life, and this kitten exhausted me! The energy! The antics! The whirlwind of white fur that would go streaking by! It was certainly an experience, by the time I would get home in the evenings, Diva would be fully charged and ready to go. Nothing was sacred, and she soon owned everything. She had a unique method of filing, I stopped trying to keep papers on my desk, they belonged on the floor obviously. To this date, even though she is now full grown and quite a bit calmer, I still have items velcroed to my desk - microphone, speakers, knick-knacks and other things. It serves as a happy reminder to the days of the spazz-kitty :-) She may have been a typhoon in cat's clothing, but she sure did bring a smile to my face at a time when it was really needed.
At the time I got Diva, I did think about getting two cats. But as silly as it sounds, going out and getting her was a big step for me. I guess it meant in my mind that I was really letting go of the other animals I left behind, and it took alot for me to go out and actually bring her home. So one cat it was. For the time being...
As Diva approached one year old, she began to noticably change. She had slowed down, which was to be expected, but for about two months she had been acting rather strangely. Gone was the play kitty and extremely affectionate cat that I had known. Now whenever you wanted to find her, she was laying on the bed, staring out the window at the outside world. She wasn't sick, she ate, she still greeted me at the door, but all evening this was her behaviour. It was as though she was depressed, if that is possible (and I suspect it is), and we had to do something - it was just too sad to watch.
We had spoken a couple of times about possibly getting another cat, but nothing ever became of it. I had gotten away with one cat (we have no lease, but our landlady does frown upon pets) and I felt that getting another cat could quite possibly be pushing it. So we set out to the pet store to buy Diva some goodies instead, some cat grass, maybe a toy, hoping that would cheer her up some. We got there and came to find that they were now showcasing animals from the local shelter. There was a white adult cat there which almost looked like Diva and that started us to thinking. Maybe another cat is the answer, we are good tenants - maybe the landlady wouldn't mind, a shelter adoption is a good thing to do... etc etc. It went from there.
We went home, thought about it and decided to do it. After enquiring the next day we found that the white cat had already been adopted, and the rest there were kittens. We wanted a cat of approximately Diva's age, and frankly I didn't think I could go through that "whirlwind" kitten stage again, not with a new baby expected shortly, so we had definitely decided an adult cat was the way to go. I set out to go to the shelter itself, to see what that was all about - I had never been to a shelter before.
Now this was certainly an eye opening experience. Walls of caged kittens and cats. Fact sheets written up on some of them, with reasons for releasing for adoption such as "new baby", "moving", "never home", "destructive", etc etc etc. Tiki had no fact sheet, nobody there could tell me anything about her, other than she was "about two years old and her kittens are here too". I will never forget seeing her in that cage. Her excitement at somebody coming up to the door, her frail skinny body that looked like it could hardly hold her up, the ears black with mites, the fur dull, coarse and filthy. Even though looking like the most pathetic sickly creature, this cat gave me a heartful of love as soon as I opened the door and I was hooked. I went downstairs and filled in the papers within minutes. Figuring I should tell Glen what I had done, I called him when I got home, intending really to warn him that the cute lovable healthy feline that he was expecting was in fact a skinny, rather pathetic looking waif that stole my heart. Trusting me, he said he knew I knew best, and was looking forward to having her come home. She came home the next day, showered him with so much love that evening, and wrapped him around her paw in no time. Tiki's version of arriving here tells the rest of the story. She took some care, but has turned out to be a wonderful family member.
Some Personal Views:
It seems my views and outlooks are constantly evolving. I've come a long way from the person who had pet birds, outdoor cats and pets from pet stores.
Bringing Tiki into our lives has further opened our eyes. Never again will I "buy" an animal. For every animal that is bought, someone gains profit from it, and another animal is caught or bred to take its place. Since visiting the shelter, any animals in my future will come from a shelter. At one time I didn't even think it was too terribly bad to go and get a kitten from Mr. So & So down the street - that's doing a good thing, right? Wrong, now I look at the situation in which Diva arrived, and wonder what good did I do? Yes, Diva got a well deserved good home and we can't imagine life without her, but a short time later we heard that her mother had another litter of kittens. What good did it do helping take Diva off their hands? If everyone had not taken those kittens, maybe they would have been forced to pay to take them to the shelter. Maybe they would have gotten their cat spayed in order to not have to do that again. For all I know that cat could be having kittens for the rest of her life, her kittens having kittens, some of them dying, some of them living terrible lives, some of them ending up in shelters, we'll never know.
I'm not an animal rights fanatic, but I believe they *do* have rights. We are all intelligent, thinking human beings who should be able to understand what we are doing. How can people sit by and let "Fluffy" churn out litter after litter of kittens? I know of a family who does have an adult unspayed female, as far as I know it has not had kittens - yet. She is not spayed because "it costs too much". I find it really hard to swallow that kind of reasoning while they sit back and play super-nintendo on their expensive machine, with their expensive game cartridges, eating their expensive crap food. Pet ownership is a responsibility that should be well thought out before undertaken, if people can't think ahead about what they are doing, about what responsibilities they need to enact, and behave in a responsible manner, then *we* are the unintelligent species.
We owe it to those who can't help themselves to help them have a better life. Until the day comes that all animals are spayed and neutered, vaccinated, wanted, treated with kindness and have good homes, we can do our part to help - no matter how small a gesture it seems. We've set up a page with ideas on just how exactly we can help, please take a look and enter your suggestions . Also, there are several links to pet health, pet care, and humane issues on this site , take some time and be informed.
Diva & Tiki's Mom