Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Vante is still eating her wet food, which has the glucosomine in it.  She has had another incident, but I don't think that can be avoided completely.  

I'm not sure what stresses her out.  Maybe it's the days that I'm unable to come back to check on her at lunchtime.  I'll just have to pay closer attention and figure it out.  

Tuesday we have another appointment at the vet for her to get her health certificate so we can fly back home to Vegas next weekend.  Yes, I'm worried about the trip, but the good thing is that for Christmas we're staying home.  We'll be able to spend plenty of time with Vante.  Hopefully that will make the transition to being back home (and with her two cat sisters) easier for her.   

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vante does like Tuna!

Great news - Vante seems to like the tuna flavor in her wet food so far.  Keep my fingers crossed that she will continue to like it.
She is going back to the vet on Tuesday to get her health exam and paperwork so she can get her airplane ticket.  I'm going in with a list of questions and will report back on what I learn.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vante has sterile cystitis

Well, the Vante's health saga continues.  She has been urinating on the bed quite a bit.  So I took her to the vet last week and they gave her an antibiotic (thinking she had a UTI) but they did a bacterial culture too.

The culture came back negative -- meaning she didn't have a UTI. 

This means that Vante has Sterile cystitis.  It's a stress/anxiety-related problem where her bladder gets inflamed and she can't control herself and urinates in inappropriate places (like the bed--thank-goodness for piddle pads). 

The antibiotic may have helped with the inflammation but it's not a good long-term fix.  What we decided to try first is glucosomine.  I'm sure there are different types of glucosomine, she mentioned
Glucosamine chondroitin.  It's good for the joints and helps with inflammation. 

I'm picking up some capsules for Vante and I'm supposed to open them up and put it in her wet food once a day.  It's tuna flavored... so I hope she likes tuna!

We're still in Alaska and other than her urinary issues she is doing great.  She's happy, playing a lot, enjoys looking out the window and you would never know that she has any health issues.  I'm very thankful for that blessing.  

I will continue to keep you updated as to how the glucosomine chondroitin works out.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vante's Alaska in Photos

At least once a day we talk to my husband back in Las Vegas.  
 When he came to visit she was very happy - he has a great lap.
Vante enjoyed the fresh snow we tracked in on Thanksgiving night - we got 6 inches of snowfall.
She helped inspect the ornaments before we put them on the tree.  She removed a few too.
Vante was quite pleased with the whole tree decorating experience.
I'll post more details soon but I wanted to share these photos.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vante--the world traveler!

After much inner conflict and going back-and-forth a few times I finally decided to bring Vante with me.  That's right - Vante has left the contiguous U.S.A. and she's now an Alaskan kitty! 

So let's see, Vante's traveling passport now has: Utah, Nevada, California, Minnesota (layover), and Alaska on it!  She was a gem on the plane rides but did meow a bit on the take-offs and landings.  Probably because she didn't know what to think of her ears popping, the noise and slant of the airplane.  She was quite the conversation starter; lots of folks wanted to see her and talk about her. 

So, we've been in Alaska for four nights and she's finally figured out that we're staying here and it'll just be the two of us.  (We're going home the week before Christmas.)  This morning we played a rousing game of 'Bat the Mouse' and she's spent some time looking out the window and feeling the cool air (29 degrees F) on her whiskers.

She's a good cuddler and is making my stay here so much better.  Plus I think she is enjoying being an only cat and all the attention.  So it's a win-win for both of us!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Clicker Training - By George I think she's got it!

Great news - I got Vante to follow me around the house as I was clicking and giving her treats.  I would walk 5-15 feet away, click, put down a treat and she ran over (EVERY TIME).  The thing that really give me hope is that on the last click, Tucker started to paw at his door, she turned her head towards him, then ran over to the treat.  Now that's progress.

Today, by necessity I ran across this little gem - I put them within eyesight of each other and click and give them both a treat.  I did this twice and am going to remain optimistic and continue this line of good things happening in each other's presence.


Friday, September 3, 2010


I know this is Vante's blog but I wanted to share this important household event. My sister-in-law's dog, Ginger, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge Tuesday evening. She's in a much better place and is finally out of pain. Many thanks to our compassionate vet and the staff of Creature Comforts. She is greatly missed. 

Clicker training is going well enough. I'm doing it with all four cats, but as for Vante, I can't do too much training and give her too many treats because of her special diet. So I'm working with what I've got and hope that in a few days if she hears the clicker, that she'll turn her head. Right now she still ignores it.

But patience... I must be like a tortise.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let the Clicker Training Begin!

I bought two training clickers from PetSmart this morning and we're going to do some association exercises this afternoon.  That means that I will get Vante to associate the click with something good - like treats or brushing (which might be a bigger motivator for her than food).

I'm following a handout from the Dumb Friends League, who gave me lots of advise and information about 1-2 months ago, but I was too (I'll be honest and say it) lazy to follow until now.  Here is the jist of what I'll be doing: I click, I give her a treat (or brush her). I click, I give her a treat. I do this 5 times, in different postures, areas and such to mix-it-up but let her know that the click means good things. Then to figure out if it worked, when she's looking away I click and if she looks at me, then it is working, if she ignores me, then I need to keep it up. I'll do this for at least a week to ensure it's 2nd nature for her before I move on to the next step, Shaping.

Don't worry, I'll keep the blog updated with her training - it should provide for an interesting couple of weeks-to-months.  In the meantime, here is a photo of her three new shelves - I took my inspiration from all the shelves Best Friends has.  She loves them!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vante-1 Mouse-0

I woke up this morning to find a dead mouse in Vante's water.  She may be 15 years old but she's still a frisky little kitty. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010


This morning Vante decided to climb into this box, rearrange the newspapers and look a little menacing... like she was going to jump out and 'attack' my husband.  Alas, there was no attacking (I could have used a good laugh).  She enjoyed herself though.

Miss V is up to her usual tricks, napping, eating and telling the other cats that she's in charge.  For the most part they listen but little 2-year-old Tucker just has to be close to her and follow her.  Nobody has been hurt though, so don't worry about either of them.  They're both tough cookies.  There is lots of growling and if looks could kill... but there has not been a physical fight between the two of them.  (All talk.)

I adore Vante.  On a different note, sorry it's been so long since I posted.  I'm working for a month at Nellis and just had two finals and a clinical exam.  I finished my 4th and 5th class to be a Vet Tech and so far so good--straight As and I'm enjoying it. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Today, July 17th, is Vante Day!

Vante Day is the day when Vante left Best Friends and came home to live with me.  So Vante has been with me and my family for a year now and man... does time fly!

To celebrate Vante Day we have already played and chased lasers several times she's gotten lots of scratches and pets.  We took a nap together.  Currently she is napping but we have a full afternoon and evening planned for her to roam the house, nap wherever she wants and lock up the other cats.  This is her day and the house is hers. 
Vante adores cantip, especially those catnip bananas and cigars.  They say on the label that it's the most potent catnip in the world, well I believe it because all our cats just adore their products. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Vante and I hope you and your pet families had a great (and safe) 4th of July celebration!

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance."
-Andrew Jackson    

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vante & Ginger - out and about

Here Vante was playing with some ribbon and I stepped back to take a photo to show that Ginger is only a few feet away napping.  Today was the first day that Vante played outside her room since Ginger arrived.
Vante loves the cat furniture from Angelical Cat Company and so do I.  It's pricey, but I've been told it'll last for 20+ years, it's incredibly sturdy and I have no doubt that it will not fall over.  So it's worth every penny. 

I'm a day late providing photos of Getting and Vante; I apologize.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vante is doing great!

Quick recap: my sister-in-law moved in two weeks ago with her 14-year-old female dog (Ginger) and her 2-year-old male cat (Tucker).

Vante is doing great!  At first she was afraid of Ginger, and refused to come out of her room if she was in sight.  She growled if Ginger got 'too close' and I have to say it was pretty amusing to watch.  Ginger is deaf and Vante just doesn't understand why the dog isn't scared of her; and poor Ginger is absolutely clue-less about Vante's verbal threats.  But apparently Vante is all talk and gives Ginger a wide girth.  However, over time, with a lot of coaxing, love, and patience Vante has gotten used to the dog.  She isn't going to be best friends with her, and is still nervous around her, but she's gotten significantly better. There's still a touch of growling, but we're not worried about them fighting.

Now, we've also been introducing the new cat's smell to Vante.  When I brush Vante I try to bring a towel, or hair clump that smells like Tucker.  Brushing=good thing therefore Tucker=good thing ... that's the connection we're hoping to make.  They've been interacting underneath the door a lot.  Tucker is fascinated with closed doors and I've seen him put his paw under the door more than once.  He's a brave young'un.   

Look for more photos on Monday!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Like a tortise...

Slow and steady wins the race.  That's our motto right now. 
--When we brush Vante we bring some cat hair/smells with us to help her associate her favorite thing (brushing) with the other cats.
--When we let her out of her room, we don't let her run out to search the house for the other cats.  We pick her up, walk around the house and put her down after a minute or two.
--Clicker training will start soon.

My husband held down the fort for two weeks while I went back east to visit family.  He and the girls had fun, although he was probably having more fun in this photo...that's his cell phone on Vante's side and it literally had just started vibrating.
Our new cat tree arrived and Vante has taken up residence on the top.

Ginger (15-year-old dog) and Tucker (2-year-old cat) will be joining our household this evening.  So I'm sure the posts are about to get more exciting!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From Scratch

On Monday we took Amelia & Callie Mae to the vet to get weighed (they are on a diet).  We picked up their food and let Vante explore their room (our bedroom).  Upon our return home we discovered that Miss V urinated on the NEW bench in the bedroom!  Luckily it didn't smell like urine, but urine it was. 

We are rubbing the cats down and putting the towels under their food bowls.  We may wait another two weeks until we let them go into each other's rooms again.  And then we will be supervising Vante's every moment in their room. 

I have more reading to do to fully understand and implement the clicker training.  Keep your fingers crossed and if you pray, please pray for all 5 of us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Advice from Dumb Friends League

I just got off the phone with an animal behavior specialist at Dumb Friends League and here is what I'm going to do:

1-Go back to square one with introductions
2-Rub a towel on the other cat(s) and put it under their food bowl so they'll associate something good (eating) with the other cat
3-Have them change rooms for a few hours, every few days
4-Gradually crack open doors so they can see and smell each other but not touch or feel threatened/threaten others
5-Talk to vet about anti-anxiety medications (we don't want to use medicine at this point in time... so)
6-Over the counter remedies (Feliway and a few other options I'll post more about later when I get the literature in my email)
7-More perching space (they can share space but don't want to be in each other's grill)
8-The shared litterbox is good... I'm going to add a shared drinking station
9-***Clicker training *** (She said they have had really good feedback on cat clicker training - seriously.  She said it's worth the effort and time from the feedback she's gotten.  Apparently it's not just for dogs.)

I was also told (and I already knew this) that with my sister-in-law's cat and dog coming in a few weeks, "Things will get worse before they get better."  However, since at one point many, many months ago we did have Vante, Amelia & Callie Mae integrated, then there is hope that we can make it work again.  It'll just take more effort.  They're worth it though... and I'll keep everybody posted on their progress.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Clean Bill of Health

Happy Mother's Day!  I got my present in the form of a cuddling nap from Vante.  IMMD.

Miss V went to her doctor this morning and got a clean bill of health.  No crystals in her urine, looks, feels and definitely sounds healthy (she was quite talkative had a few opinions to share with her vet).

So we're cleared to proceed with the behavior specialist from Dumb Friends Animal League.  YEAH!

Friday they emailed me some literature to read and one was titled, "Nothing in Life is Free" and it's about making your cat do things to get privileges.  For example, my other two cats have to let me put their collar on them and kiss them before they can go into the back yard.  They have to pay the price to go outside.  I've decided that Vante will have to sit before I let her out of her room.  I'm going to use positive reinforcement and food treats. 

It's never too late to teach an old cat new tricks, right?!  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kitty in the Mirror

I was sewing with a friend this morning and realized I hadn't seen Vante in about an hour.  So, after a search of the house I happened to hear a strange noise in the guest bedroom. 
~not under the bed~
~not under the quilts on the chair~
Then I heard the noise again coming from the closet.  I pull aside some bridesmaid dresses to see Vante staring and growling at herself in the mirror.  She had apparently been at it for a while because she was laying down growling at that annoying cat in the mirror.

I just wanted to laugh, and snuggle with her all at once.  Poor girl, but she did it to herself.  This is a prime example of how much she detests other cats. Don't worry, I removed the 'offending' cat and put it where she can't find it again. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

There's Hope Yet

Vante's former care-giver, Linda, has given me some suggestions to help figure out what is making Vante such a 'hater'. 
1--I've contacted the Dumb Friends League for some behavioral advise.  I should hear back from them soon.
2--I'm going to make a doctor's appointment for Vante next week.  We'll double-check her urine (she's urinated outside the box a few times, so I want to be on the safe side).  Also to make sure she's physically fit.
3--The cat furniture I ordered should be here next week.  Providing vertical space for them to explore. 
4--I've contacted the gentleman who makes the Best Friends cat shelves.  Hopefully his hand is healed and I can place my order.  (If not, I'm contemplating having somebody make cat-shelves for my girls.)

In other news, my sister-in-law, a recent college graduate will be coming to live with us.  Her 3 year old neutered male cat, Tucker, and her 15-year-old dog, Ginger, will be coming to live with us also.  I'm excited but a bit worried.  Things are most likely going to get worse before they get better, but I'm hopefully optimistic. 

If this doesn't work we're getting a Pet Psychic! 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

USPS stamps: Adopt a Shelter Pet

The USPS will release 44cent stamps on April 30th with photos of once-homeless pets with the words, "Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet."

You can pre-order them online at the USPS' web site. 

There are 10 photos of cats and dogs and they're just adorable.  So make sure you buy enough to last the entire year!

Friday, April 9, 2010

I forgot to mention...

I forgot to say it, and I'm so sorry I didn't, but Amelia and Vante were not hurt.  They probably both lost a little fur, they were both upset, but they were fine. 

Late last night Vante inspected two quilts I had just finished.  The pink one (she's sitting on it) is for my 3-year-old niece and the blue one is for my 6-year-old niece. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I've failed

Well, after 10 months I'm giving up.  I'm a failure and certainly not a cat-whisperer.  I can't get Amelia, Callie Mae & Vante to integrate.  They won't even ignore each other peacefully.

Let me rewind to this morning: I've placed screen on my bedroom door where Amelia & Callie are sleeping in the chaise.  Vante and I are lounging, reading and drinking coffee. The coffee must have gone straight through Vante because she goes to her room and I continue reading.  About 5-10 minutes later all Hell breaks out in my guest bedroom/sewing room.  Amelia is on her back, claws unsheathed and Vante is about 6 inches away towering over her.  There is black, white and all sorts of hair on the surrounding floor and also PEE!  And not just your ordinary urine, but pungent, clear-a-room type pee.  It's on both cats, my light box, the carpet and even some new fabric!

It was terrible.  I separated them, cleaned the carpet, light box and  have washed the fabric.  The room still doesn't smell right, so I'm going to get the carpets cleaned and I'm calling it a 'Day' for the integration process.

Unless a cat-whisperer or a cat psychic shows up on our doorstep - I quit.  We'll just keep them separated and they'll have to take turns over who has the run of the house.  I'm going to see about installing some cat shelves in their bedrooms so they have some vertical space and can see out the tiny windows at the tops of our walls.  Hopefully that will keep them mentally stimulated while they're stuck in their room. 

I love all three and had high hopes that I could somehow make this work - I was wrong.  ~Sigh~

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Vante and I want to wish everybody a Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny didn't visit us this year, but I think Vante chased him away.  (She doesn't like chocolate.)  That's OK.  We're celebrating Easter with lots of naps. 
Miss V has been helping me decide on the layout of my latest quilt project and she's provided lots of insight and laughs.  She also helped me through my three finals last week. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Silly Cartoon

Folks, I'm keeping it light today so I hope you enjoy this cartoon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

General Vante

Vante took her first road trip with me to March ARB last week.  She was an excellent traveling companion, although she has a few traveling quirks.  She doesn't like traveling on street roads, all that stopping and going bothers her so she talks quite a bit.  Also, she hates that lady in the GPS who is always bossing me around and telling me where to go.  Everytime after she talked Vante would talk back to her (probably telling her to shut up).  It was quite funny.

 Sunday morning I had to check out of my hotel, so Vante went to work with me that day.  She explored every inch of the office and I think she cleared out a few dust bunnies behind some computers.  After lunch she found a big comfy chair to relax in and she took a nap.  She was quite the moral booster - I think we have a new office mascot.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Vante has been beating up this bag every day since I brought it out.  It's got some catnip in it (under two layers of plastic).  I'm going to try to make some catnip toys for Easter presents for all my girls.
This morning I walked into my bedroom to find this scene.  I surely wasn't expecting this and I guess this is visible proof that we're making progress with the integration process. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Waiting for Spring

Vante, Amelia, Callie Mae and I are just hanging out.  We're all ready for springtime (don't forget to move your clocks forward one hour).  Here are some recent photos of them around the house. 



Vante looking adorable and innocent - don't let her fool you.  She's plotting world domination ~ or at least house domination.  So far she's conquered her room and scared both her sisters...

 Callie Mae exploring the back yard.  She knew I was watching, so she didn't nom the ice plant... she wanted to though.

I had just woken Amelia up from a lovely cat-nap when I snapped this photo.  She was napping on the quilt I'm trying to finish ~ melting my heart.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Vante is definitely living up to her nickname these days.  The integration process has it's good hours and it's incredibly terrible minutes.  I have two stories to tell and I would like some suggestions/feedback because this is all about the cats.

Let me set this up:
Vante - 8.4 pounds, 14-years old, only has her back claws, torbi (tortishell and tabby mix)

Amelia - 14 pounds, 6-years old, fully clawed, black shorthair

Callie Mae - 11 pounds, 6-years old, only has her back claws, dilute calico

TERROR #1-I was cooking, all 3 girls were out and about and had been doing fine for over an hour.  All of a sudden a banshee scream comes out of our living room.  I look over from the stove and there is literally (I'm not exaggerating) a tumbling ball of Vante and Amelia.  I run over and by now they're in the foyer and Amelia has accidentally backed into a crinkly tunnel, which I had just moved.  Amelia is trying to get out of the tunnel while Vante is smacking the tunnel for all she is worth.  At this point I arrive on the scene and break it up.  I put Amelia in her room and Vante in her room.  (Callie Mae was already in her room under the bed, she's quite scared of Vante.)
FYI--all three cats had their claws vigorously trimmed at this point in time.

TERROR #2-After several hours (at least 3 or 4) I am computing and hear the banshee scream once again.  I jump over my husband and make it out in time to see Amelia & Vante hitting each other.  Amelia is backed into a corner (sofa and just-placed there box) and Vante is about 6 inches away.  They're staring at each other so I figured I would let them stare it out.  It took about 3 minutes and Vante slowly walks away.  Amelia goes to her room and I notice that she has urinated on the tile floor where she was cornered.  We clean the area, check on both cats and put them both in their rooms.

What does the urinating mean?

I've been doing some reading and learned that I need to add vertical space to give them more territory.  So, I've ordered a cat tree and if it's good I will order another one.  I'm researching cat shelves too.  (The gentleman who makes and sells the ones they use at Best Friends is injured, so I need to find another source or build them myself.)

Any suggestions? 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Vante helped me make some cookies last night for the guys at my husband's work.  When I was using the hand mixer she became very curious and every few minutes I had to pick her up and show her what I was doing.  At one point she got up on her hind legs and reached as high as she could with her front paws to get my attention.  She just loved me holding her and showing her the cooking.  Vante's my little sous chef!

We didn't do anything special to celebrate Valentine's Day - just hung out.  Vante got her normal dose of lap, pets, food and kisses.

The integration process is going well.  All three cats were out and about for 2 hours and there was mostly just a lot of staring and of course growling and a few hisses.  Overall it was quite tame compared to what I've seen in the past.  I'm pleased.  We'll continue with this process, working up to several hours at a time.  I still think that I will keep all 3 girls completely separated during feeding time.  With Vante's special dietary need I can't chance her eating the regular food.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vante's Teeth Cleaning

Vante had her teeth cleaned yesterday and it went very well.  She didn't have any cavities or issues, so no extractions were necessary.  They checked her urine and the prescription diet is helping - no more crystals in her urine!

Now, Miss V threw around some not nice meows on her way to and from the doctor.  She's not a fan of car rides or cat carriers (or as she calls them Kitty Prisons).  I tried to calm her during the drive but I don't think she appreciated my singing or trying to explain that this was in her best interest.  I think she called me a liar. 

Oh well.  She's good for another 6 months.  :)

FYI--my article about the trip to Haiti, and a few photos, are up on the March ARB website.  Check it out!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiti Evacuees

Yesterday we flew into Haiti and spent several hours on the ground. 

We unloaded 38,000 tons of cargs (to include 10 shower units).  We, the media and another Public Affairs guru, met up with the Air Force PAs staying at the airport and arranged a few minutes outside the airport.  While we were there we saw a group of orphans being carried by aid workers to try to get on an airplane. We talked with one worker who was carrying what seemed to be an infant and turned out to be a 3-year-old. He was just so tiny (and adorable).

We also arranged an interview with an Aerial Porter.  This guy was on the first USAF jet that landed after the quake.  They have been working so hard to unload supplies and get airplanes out of there (space on the tarmac is limited).  When they landed they not only had to unload their own airplane, but they also had to set up their own tents - anything they needed, they had to make or set up themself.  Now that's intense.

Then we loaded 177 Haitians onto our plane.  This was quite a process because they first put the elderly or disabled folks in the seats that were on the side of the airplane.  Then the folks who didn't have physical problems had to sit on the floor of the aircraft and they were about 8 to a row with cargo straps across their laps.  I'm sure it wasn't comfortable but they were so happy to be getting back to the US.  They were all US citizens or legal aliens (meaning they had a visa).

Right now we're in Charleston, SC and waiting to get our marching orders as to when and where we're going.  We hope to get one more mission to Haiti.