A little while back I wrote about my current separation with my spouse. Since then, all of the steps have been made in order to file for divorce. The whole process was not easy and I can definitely say that it has been quite a learning experience. When I got married 10 years ago, I never imagined being in this position. Life sometimes throws you things that are unexpected. The past few months have not been easy and the cats and I had no alternative other than to live in a toxic environment until we were able to leave. The type of work that I do does not make life easy financially, therefore I had to continue living with my spouse under the same roof while making arrangements to move out. When all of this first began in January, I was heartbroken and I felt betrayed. I was not sure how I was going to get through this. As time went by, I realized that the person I had been with for 10 years was a complete stranger. Part of being married is promising to be honest and not to keep secrets. Meanwhile a secret had been kept from me for many years.
Of course, there are two people in a marriage and I don't deny that I did some things I am not proud of. Once inside of this huge tower of terror, I realized the reasons behind how I acted in certain situations. It all boiled down to the fact that I was angry. I was angry about a lot of things that happened throughout the years of our relationship. There were countless times where I felt unimportant. Friends and material things were always put above me. No matter how hard I tried to discuss these issues with my spouse at the time, defensiveness and temper tantrums always resulted from it. For some reason, I would always find myself apologizing in the end for something that I didn't even do. I realize now that I was very easily made to feel guilty. Things like jealousy, dishonesty, lies and temper were always the instigator and I just allowed myself to accept them as though they were just a normal part of a relationship. Obviously they are not and my conscience took it's toll. I've never been so angry at someone for so many things. Sometimes that anger would fuel me to nag causing further upsets in the relationship. Regardless of the anger, I can honestly say that I always made an effort. Marriage was always something that was important to me. It means family and it means that you work together at solving your problems. I always did my best regardless of the situation to be open minded and willing to work to solve whatever issues arised. Even after my spouse told me he wanted a divorce, I did my best to try to see if we could resolve it.
My efforts were not lost as I learned a lot about myself through that process and I have become a genuinely happier person. Doing the work made me realize that I am important too and that I deserve to be happy. I can't force someone else to love me and I can't force someone else to work at something if they've already checked out years ago. All of these stepping stones helped to make me a stronger person.
So as of today, my new life begins. I've moved with Oreo, Onyx and Sunshine. I have to say that driving away yesterday and leaving the mess of anger behind felt very liberating. The cats seem to be settling in fine already! Sunshine surprised me the most! She was up and about as soon as I opened her taxi door. She began exploring rooms and window ledges and she's eating really well! Oreo checked out the balcony right away and he showed me his appreciation by stretching out belly up in the sun. Onyx is the only one who is having a little trouble adjusting. Although I can understand with all the hustle and bustle that it must be frightening for her. She's been hiding under the bed covers since last evening. Oreo has coaxed her out a few times to come and explore. She seems happy regardless, she will just take a little longer to get use to it. I am a little concerned about Sunshine as I found a lump between her neck and her chest a couple of weeks ago. As many of us well know, lumps and bumps are never a good sign. I was unsure of what to do but once I spoke with my vet, I feel I am doing the right thing. My vet reassured me that at her age (18 years old), lumps and bumps will appear. At this point, what is most important is that she is happy and that she is enjoying her everyday, which she is! They told me to just keep her with me as long as she is happy and not to stress her out with biopsies and treatments and whatnot. So that's what I am doing. I am very lucky that she is here with me and as long as she is happy that's what matters.
This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I am looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I can honestly say that I am content with my life just the way that it is at this moment. I am grateful and lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive family and to have a place that I can now call my own. Sometimes we have to live through the bad to find the good. Out of all of the heap of anger and discouragement came Oreo and Onyx. They are two of the best things that have ever happened to me and I would do it all over again just for them.
Here's to new beginnings...
I have had quite an interest in this machine for some time. A few of my close friends, who are cat owners, have a Litter-Robot and I’ve heard nothing but good reviews on the product. Needless to say, I was excited to test it out myself. We’ve had the unit for about 2 weeks and so far I have nothing but good commentary.
I have to admit that I was a little concerned at the beginning as to how my cats would react to this mighty beast of a machine, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The Litter-Robot was a cinch to set up and Oreo approached the machine almost immediately to investigate. Within 30 minutes he had already used it. Onyx followed shortly after. The instructions recommend that you place it next to your current litter box and allow your cats to some time to get use to the unit. Sit with your cat(s) while the cleaning cycle is in motion and allow them to see it while gently talking to them so that they begin to get comfortable with the sound the Litter-Robot makes. It is not at all a loud sound and my cats were not afraid to watch as the Litter-Robot did a full spin cycle cleaning the used litter clumps. Once your cat(s) have used the Litter-Robot a few times, you can turn the timer on allowing it to automatically sift at a specific timed setting after each use. Once your cats are comfortable with the unit, you can remove the old litter box and begin your scoop-free days.
The whole process took my cats about 3 days, however a longer grace period is recommended. I was really pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they got with the Litter-Robot so quickly.
How it works:
Timed settings: There are three different timed settings available before the globe starts rotating. 3 minutes, 7 minutes and 15 minutes. The timer will go off as soon as your cat steps into the Litter-Robot. A sensor will detect a shift in weight inside of the globe and set the timer off to the setting you’ve chosen. If you have multiple cats, a lower setting may be more efficient as to eliminate odors as much as possible.
LED night-light: The globe automatically lights up at night with a soft blue light allowing your cats to see the unit in the dark.
8 hour sleep mode: You can set the unit so that it stops operating at night and continue operating the next day. The sleep mode will repeat each night.
Connect: The connect feature uses an app (presently only available in the US) that gives you the ability to check your cat’s Litter-Robot usage in real-time. This feature provides graphs and daily, weekly or monthly reports regarding usage. You can check the waster drawer in real-time and get a history of cleaning cycles. The connect app also allows you to trigger a cleaning cycle directly from your iphone or ipad. You can control multiple units with the connect app.
Money-Back Guarantee & Warrantee: The Litter-Robot Open Air comes with a 90 day money back guarantee and an 18 month warrantee.
In addition to these great features, a battery back-up option is also available as a separate accessory. This allows the unit to work during a power outage.
So what is my verdict on this machine? I LOVE IT! Within just a few days of using it, you will see a HUGE decrease in litter usage. This makes me very happy as it saves money on litter. The Litter Robot Open Air is a must-have for any cat owner. It makes life easy-breazy!
My only con about the unit is the physical size. If you are limited on space, it could be an issue. However when you think of how many litter boxes it can eliminate, things pretty much balance out!
For more information about The Litter-Robot Open Air please visit: https://www.litter-robot.com/ca/en/
I never thought I would write a blog post on this subject, let alone the fact that the post be about my personal experience. If you are someone who believes strongly in marriage and family, like me, divorce is something that is unimaginable. When I got married 10 years ago, I never imagined my spouse asking me for a divorce. I thought that being married meant that come what may we get over the hurdles and mountains together and keep going. However, things don't always work out as we imagined they would.
I met my spouse at my workplace at the time. He was actually my boss on a project and was in the midst of purchasing a home with his then long-time girlfriend. I was single and we became friends quite quickly while working together. One evening during an after work cocktail party, he hugged and gently told me in my ear as I was leaving the bar, that he liked me. I was in shock and didn't know what to say, I think I told him he smelled nice. On my way home I didn't know how to place my thoughts in regards to his proclamation. He had a girlfriend, what about her? Did I like him back? The next morning I woke up to an email from him explaining that he is in a happy relationship and he is not sure how these feelings for me came about, but they are there and he is not sure what to do with them. I told him I was not sure what to make of all of it and that he needs to figure out things in his head. I was single after all, with no responsibility, but he had a responsibility to be truthful to his then partner.
As time went by, we became pretty good friends and one day he came into work pretty upset. He pulled me aside and told me that he left his girlfriend and he wanted to try to pursue a relationship with me. Again, I was in shock. Wow, he must really have strong feelings to make that decision, I thought. So, I accepted and we started seeing one another. Low and behold a year later, we decided to get married. I moved into his home a year before our wedding. Things from the beginning were sometimes rocky and his temper would often fly off the handle quite easily. I became uncertain many times about the union, but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt. Knowing that in his heart, he was a kind and generous man. His friends would also always reassure me.
As our years of marriage went on we both changed quite a bit. We got older and started to like different things. We began to argue more often about frivolities. We decided that perhaps solidifying our relationship by having a child would help us. We didn't realize at the time, that kids don't solidify relationships. We underwent 2 in-vitro treatments in the hopes of conceiving, but both were unsuccessful. The time spent together during the second treatment really tore us apart in a big way. Both of us said some things and did some things that really left a mark on the other person. As a result, we both began to bottle up our anger. Mine would come out in nagging sessions and his would either explode in temper tantrums or do the complete opposite and make him extremely distant. At this point I lost my job on top of everything. I was, unfortunately, part of a massive layoff and I was pretty devastated. Luckily, I had a year's severance pay and so I decided to start working as a freelancer. My spouse was very supportive agreed to let me try working from home and so I began getting contracts.
Enter Oreo. Oreo came into our lives during my period of Employment Insurance. Little did I know the effects he would have on my freelancing career. Oreo slowly became part of everything I do and working with him made me so happy. Things with my spouse were still up and down quite a bit and bottled up anger still flew around in different ways. After a few terrible outbursts, I decided to ask my spouse to go and see a marriage counselor. The counseling sessions were difficult at the beginning and he didn't really want to go, but in the end he did a lot of talking which I think was good for him. We decided to work on things as best we could. On my end, things seemed to start getting better. We were arguing less and I was putting more time on my work than ever.
Even though we were arguing less, something else was different. As time went by we got further and further apart. Neither of us wanted to make the first move in approaching the other one and so we just became more distant. The more distant you get, the less you talk, so of course there are no arguments. He had his things, I had mine and we both did things separately. After a while it sort of felt like we were just roommates. In my head, I just kept telling myself "It's a phase, we are married and things will get better when they are meant to get better." I now wish I had looked at things differently.
When the words "I don't love you anymore" were spoken (or texted in our case), my heart exploded. I had so many feelings rushing through myself and I didn't know how to control any of them. I blamed myself for everything and slowly my whole world came crashing down on top of me. At first, I tried to talk with my spouse and ask why he is no longer in love with me. The responses were difficult to hear. I asked if we could work on things and he just kept saying "I don't know". I didn't know what to do. I didn't want a divorce. Days went by with the "I don't know" answer until finally he said the words "I want a divorce". I could see he was not happy but I didn't understand why. I though it was just a phase, the distance between us. For him it was something else. I did a lot of thinking after this and I read some information online. I was determined at the beginning to fix things. I got a book called "Mend The Marriage", and read it hoping to find some strategies. This book blew my mind. Reading that book really helped me to realize all of the mistakes I made during the 10 years we have been together. It made me realize that I need to be a better person. I had been so angry for so many reasons that I kept hidden inside. They would come out in nagging sessions that really hurt my spouse. Regardless of what he did that made me angry, it was my decision to behave in the ways that I did and I needed to take responsibility for that. So that's where I am now.
These past few weeks have been very hard. I am scared. At my age finding a new job that will support me will be extremely difficult. Where will I go? What will I do? I have cried so many tears that I have none left. After it all I take a look around me and I see my pets, my cats. They are my rock, they are my strength. It's amazing how they can sense things. Since this whole ordeal began they have been by my side every moment of the day. They have helped comfort me in so many ways. My cat Onyx has been sleeping in the guest room for the past week or so. It's almost as though she knew I was going to move in there, and I have. Yes, it's so sad and yes, it's so scary but with my pets here with me it seems to take a bit of the hurt away. When I get into bed at night the cats all pile into the room. It's like a big warm hug telling me things will be OK. Yes, I still have hope that maybe my spouse will change his mind, but even if he does not I will be OK.
Unlike humans, pets can show an enormous amount of unconditional love. No matter what we go through in our lives our pets are always there to comfort us and let us know we are loved. They can make even the toughest situations all that much easier to get through. I don't know what will happen in the coming months but I do know that my pets being there will help to give me the strength to get through anything.
For anyone going through something similar, it's important to stop blaming yourself. Putting blame on yourself or your spouse won't help the situation. Nasty hurtful words may fly during this time that are out of sheer anger. Don't allow those things to put you in a stagnant place. Keep moving and keep pushing ahead. LOVE YOURSELF during this time. Let yourself know that it's OK to make mistakes, be responsible for those mistakes and make changes in a positive way for your future. And if you have pets... let them love you!
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - Serenity Prayer - Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
During the holiday season, things can get busy. Visits with family and friends are on our daily to-do list and being away from home can be stressful for pet owners. The Arf Pets automatic feeder helps alleviate some of the holiday stress by allowing pet owners to program up to 4 set meals per day.
Dispensing from 2 tbsp to 1 cup per feeding, the Arf Pets automatic feeder is an idea solution for pets of all sizes. Featuring customizable portion control, a 1.4 gallon food capacity and and lcd clock and display, the feeder is easy to program. Additional features include a magnetic lock, keeping paws out of the food and a the ability to record a personal greeting for feeding time.
The Arf Pets automatic feeder runs on batteries or power and is for dry pet food only.
Great for pet parents who are on the go, or for pets who have a tendency of disrupting sleep patterns as a result of searching for food during the night.
The Arf Pets automatic feeder is available through these online retailers:
Also available at Walmart.
*This post has been sponsored by www.camarketing.com
It's the most wonderful time of the year! But what about our pets? Who's to say that they don't have a Holiday wish list too! If your pet could write their own letter to Santa, what would it say? We've imagined what Oreo's letter to Santa would look like!
Dear Santa Claws,
For Christmas I would like toys, a little food dish just for me and FRISKIES treats! I would also like you to give my Mom some FRISKIES treats, because she was a very good girl this year.
P.S. Say "Hi" to Rudolf
Our pets are an important part of our family and they deserve some treats this Holiday season! Whatever their favorites may be, show them some love by offering them something special!
*This post has been sponsored by Purina Canada
Coming from an Italian household, I grew up with Holiday dinners consisting of Lasagna, gnocchi, stuffed pasta and other Italian treats. My husband grew up in a French Canadian (Québecois) household where the staple holiday meals consisted of dishes based from meat and potatoes like Pâté Chinois, Ragout de boulettes and Tourtière. This year I decided to marry the two cultures and create my very own Italian style Pâté Chinois. Keeping the 3 layers of meat, vegetables and a starch, I’ve replaced the traditional ingredients with those of my Italian heritage. With help from Italpasta TOTAL pasta we can guarantee great taste plus all the benefits of high fibre!
400g of lean ground beef
400g of lean ground pork
400g of lean ground veal
4 medium sized bell peppers
1 can (796ml) of Italpasta whole peeled tomatoes
1 jar (540ml) of Italpasta Tomato Basil pasta sauce
1 cup of corn niblets
2 tbsp of Italpasta Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil
6 cups of water
1 tbsp of salt
2 cups of Italpasta Total Elbows pasta
2 tbsp of spaghetti sauce seasoning
2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
Peppers: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F). Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds. Place the peppers into an oven safe baking dish and drizzle with the 2 tbsp of Olive Oil. Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes (or until peppers are tender).
Meat: In a large pan on medium heat, brown the ground beef, veal and pork. Once evenly browned, add the spaghetti sauce spice and mix well. Using a hand blender, blend the canned tomatoes until they have a smooth texture. Add the tomatoes to the meat mixture. Mix well, turn down the heat and let the meat mixture simmer for 20 minutes. Add the corn niblets and mix well.
Pasta: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the tbsp of salt. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain the pasta and mix in 1 cup of the prepared Tomato Basil pasta sauce. Set aside.
In a large oven safe baking dish, line the bottom of the dish with the meat mixture. Add the roasted peppers on top of the meat. Add the Total elbow pasta on top of the peppers. Top with remaining Tomato Basil pasta sauce and garnish with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees (F) for 20 minutes (or until cheese is lightly golden).
This recipe has been brought to you by The Oreo Cat® and ItalPasta. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
With 40% of the daily reccomended intake of fibre per 85g serving, Italpasta TOTAL pasta has the same great taste you expect from white pasta but with the benefits of high fibre!
*recipe for human consumption only
*This post has been sponsored by Italpasta
This past weekend Oreo had the opportunity to attend a cat festival here in Montreal! A great place for cat lovers of all kinds, Le Salon des artistochats is an annual event in Montreal. Located at the Centre Pierre Charbonneau, this event houses all sort of artisans from in and around the Montreal area. A great place to find the purrfect gift for any cat lover, it is a must see event!
The one and only Salon des Artistochats offers a unique chance to discover a lot of extremely talented local artists and crazy cat lovers. This event houses over 50 artisans selling hundreds of cat-themed goodies made in Quebec: jewelry, clothing, accessories, artwork, pet products and so much more. Oreo was glad to be able to meet and greet with other local feline celebrities and indulge in some cat themed activities. Complete with an appearance by the world famous Atchoum The Cat and his human who held a small conference to speak about Atchoum's condition, hypertrichosis, this weekend was one Oreo will always remember!
Felines in this video include:
Retardo, Emma la maine coon, Alaric, The Oreo Cat
Be sure to join us next year!
For more information please visit: www.artistochats.com
Pets don’t just make life better. They make it bigger. Together, we can do the same for them while helping to improve their lives, even as they age.
Many of us feel anxious as we think about our pets getting older. Age can bring many factors such as Arthritis and ill health. As our pets get older they become more susceptible to health issues and require more visits to the vet. There are many things we as owners can do to help our pets age gracefully.
Just because your cat is a senior, does not mean they are no longer interested in playing. In fact, playtime is even more important in older cats as it helps cardiovascular health. Keeping you senior cat active can help eliminate things like obesity and depression. Taking time daily to play with your pets, regardless of their age is one of the most important steps in keeping a happy and healthy pet. Health checkups should be done on a regular basis to ensure your senior cat has the best quality of life given their age. Feeding older pets the right foods for their age group is also another important part of keeping them healthy and fit. Keeping our older pets happy and healthy is also important for our younger pets! Ensuring they're playmates and role models are with them for as long as possible.
October is Pet Wellness Month. It is the time for us as owners to be reminded that preventative care is the easiest way to help our pets live longer and healthier lives. This month, Purina wants to celebrate the everyday moments and milestones pet owners have with their older pets and help empower them with information and the advanced nutrition they need to improve the lives of their pets.
* This post has been sponsored by Purina Canada
One of the things I dislike most about leaving home is not being around my cats. Whenever I have to be away for work, on family visits or other occasions that take me away from home, all I can think about are my feline family. When Pawbo contacted me to do a review, I was excited to try their product for these very reasons. Pawbo is an interactive pet camera that includes 720p HD live video, 130° wide-angle lens, and 4x digital zoom. These features help to capture and record your pets directly from your mobile device. Pawbo also includes a microphone feature that allows you to talk to your pets through the speakers included on the device. A handy treat dispenser allows you to treat your pets to tasty morcels with the touch of a button. Pawbo also includes a playground feature that uses various interactive toys as well as a laser feature.
The Pawbo device comes neatly packed in a stylish box that doubles as a stand for the device once plugged in. Activating the Pawbo is easy. Once you download and install the free Pawbo plus app from the app store, it will prompt you with steps to connect the Pawbo to your mobile device. You can connect up to 5 mobile devices to the Pawbo.
Using the Pawbo app is easy even if you are not tech savvy! Within seconds of installation, the fun begins!
Pawbo's integrated treat dispenser includes a rotating treat dish with 9 individual compartments for treats. This is obviously Oreo's favorite feature. It only took moments for him to try and eat the device after realizing that the Pawbo held treats. Both Oreo and Onyx reacted instantly to my voice through the device. They walked right up to it wondering where I was. Again, once I dispensed treats, the two of them sat directly in front of the Pawbo for the next half hour waiting for more!
I did try out the laser feature, but I was a little bit concerned at the fact that both Oreo and Onyx seemed more interested in looking directly at the laser than the spot it makes on the floor. As a result, I decided to avoid this feature. I had stationed my Pawbo low to the ground as I thought it cute to see Oreo and Onyx walk right up to the camera. If you are going to be using the laser feature often, I would suggest stationing the Pawbo high up and away from your pet's eye level. There were a few times where the talk feature as well as the treat dispenser did not work when prompted through the app. This may or may not have been due to a Network connection. All in all however, the features work very well. I really enjoy the fact that you can record video and take snapshots directly from the Pawbo. Once recorded, you can save video and photo directly to your camera roll to share via Social Media.
I also want to mention that having this device in the house while you are away is a great security feature. You can see what is going on in your home with the touch of a button. My husband and I really appreciate the fact that our home feels safer with the Pawbo.
To sum up my review, I give Pawbo 4.5 stars (leaving out a .5 for the laser which I am not crazy about). For anyone who works long hours away from their pets, this device is a must! It is a proven fact that pets help to alleviate stress. Being able to take time out of your work day to interact with your pets, even from a mobile device, can definitely help eliminate a certain amount of stress. The price point for the device is fair ($199) considering the superior quality of the design. All in all, I would definitely recommend the Pawbo to anyone who misses their pets when they are away!
Pawbo website: www.pawbo.com
Buy Pawbo on Amazon
This post has been sponsored by Pawbo
On August 25th, 2013 Oreo stepped into my life, or rather into my house! Brought through the door Inside of a cardboard box large enough to be his mansion, Oreo was no bigger than the palm of my hand. I have to admit that I was a little nervous as I has never seen a cat so small and disheveled. Along with Oreo came his sister, Patches. The two were complete opposites. Oreo was quiet and shy and Patches was feisty, vocal and very affectionate. The plan had been to bring the two for care at my local shelter. We have an amazing shelter in our City that does wonderful work and has a beautiful space for all the animals they care for. Once I laid eyes on the two of them however, I could not allow myself to bring them to the shelter, no matter how great a place it was. That's where the journey began.
We decided the best thing to do was to foster the two babies until we could find them a forever home. Neither I nor my husband had ever cared for kittens so young, so we had a lot to learn very fast. Even with the lack of immediate knowledge, it was easy to see that the kittens had a parasite. Their bellies were swollen and the amount of waste that came out of them was enough to boggle the mind. The cutest part of all this was feeding time. If you've ever fed a baby kitten with a bottle, you'll know what I mean! It's the cutest thing ever! At first there was no alarm in regards to the kids having a parasite. It's pretty common in stray kittens and is generally easily treatable. Luckily they had no other ailments and seemed otherwise healthy. Patches got over the parasite in no time. She was really tough for such a tiny thing and she steamrollered over everything in her path. At first, Oreo seemed to be doing alright but one morning he took a turn for the worse and shook us up more than we've ever been shook in our whole lives.
One morning when I got up to feed the kittens, Oreo was passed out. My heart sank like never before in my life. Listening carefully through his baby fluff, I could hear a little heartbeat. I knew that I had to do something then and there to help him. So I decided to use my own breath to help him start breathing again. After a few tries, Oreo snorted and then let out a tiny meow. He was breathing again! Once I got him breathing again I packed up the two babies and we headed to the vet. Thankfully, even though it was not yet opening hours, a nurse let us in and immediately began caring for Oreo. Patches and I waited the whole day as the technicians and doctors got Oreo back up on his feet again. Safely back home, we decided Oreo was no longer a foster kitten. He was our kitten and we were his humans. We spent the next 4 weeks caring for him around the clock while he faught the parasite that was ailing him.
During this time, Patches took it upon herself to groom Oreo and became quite the little mother figure. With all of us working together, Oreo got better and started becoming his wacky little self. After six weeks, Patches was adopted by a family friend who fell completely in love with her photo on Facebook. She went to a great home and is still living a happy, loving and healthy life! As for Oreo, you all know what came next!
Oreo has changed my life forever. From the moment he was brought through the door in his box mansion to this very moment today, he makes everyday a new adventure. Oreo is my fluffy son and my best friend. I want to thank him for filling my life with importance, happiness and love. Happy Birthday Oreo!
Tina Modugno is a children’s illustrator from Canada. Tina loves all animals, kids books and cartoons! She currently resides in Quebec with her husband and four cats!