Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trips to Disneyland and Animal Anxiety

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I are I guess what you people. Since we've been married, we've always had cats, a dog, even a rabbit named Thumper. They can be a handful sometimes, but they are part of the family. Currently, we have three cats, George, Kona, and Herbie (sleeping on the left on the above picture). We also have a fairly recent addition to our family, Jasmine, an American Eskimo dog that just recently turned a year old. What does all this have to do with Disneyland?

On our last trip back in March, about half way through our week's stay, we got a call from The Boy back at home saying that George, the oldest cat (not sure how old - older than 10, probably less than 15), stopped eating wasn't looking good. A bit of panic started to set in with us knowing when a cat stops eating and taking care of itself, they can go downhill rapidly. We've gone through this before. This call came at night. Gathering to compose ourselves, we tell The Boy to keep the cat with him at all times - bring his food and water to him and to just pet him and keep contact with him. We would check back in the morning. The cat responded well to the instructions but still wasn't really moving around a whole let and wasn't really steady on his feet. We gave further instructions that unless The Boy was going to work, he needed to have George constantly with him at home and keep us posted. We would be home in about 3 days at this point.

George was suffering from separation anxiety. Even though The Boy was around, he was mostly attached to me. George is rather a demanding cat usually wanting his can of breakfast around 2:00 a.m. in the morning. As long as we have had him, that has always been the case. So I feed him. He appreciates it. As long he's fed, petted, and has a nice place to sleep, he's a fine old guy. Apparently on this trip, he couldn't handle the disruption.

But this episode with George got me thinking about the timing of some of our other trips to Disneyland. When we went last September, we returned, and order seemed to be restored in the household in a few days. But a about a week later, Sasha our lab mix (also in the picture above) suddenly over a weekend took a sudden turn for the worst. Now granted, she was 13 years old, a large dog, and nearing the end of her life anyway but she just couldn't recover and had to be put down. This all could have been coincidence but with us gone, could separation anxiety contributed to her quick failing?

And then there was Bud, another cat. Although she was 17, I seem to recall her failing health came shortly after we returned from Disneyland. And Thumper the rabbit, he was around 7 (about the normal lifespan of a rabbit), I'm thinking he passed away shortly after we returned from a trip.

Now I'm not sure about some of the dates, our trips to Disneyland, and how they corresponded with the passing of a pet. It seems like they were relatively close. Now all the pets we have had that have passed away were at the end of their lifespans. We had one cat, Brownie, that passed away at 13, which is kind of young, but the rest were all "typical" in terms of how long they were supposed to live. But its disturbing just enough to think about this pet separation anxiety thing. Maybe we just need to make shorter trips. I don't know.

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