Up until the last couple days, the month of December has been unreasonably cold here. So we’ve been running the wood stove in addition to our regular heating. This year, we got a new wood stove, which is large and puts out a phenomenal amount of heat.
The good news about the wood stove is that it does what it’s supposed to do and puts out about a gazillion BTUs when we need it. The bad news is that the animals in the household haven’t seemed to clue in that when the thing is on, it’s really hot.
The first thing we noticed was that our cat Troi kept lifting up her right paw. She’s always had a bit of an affectation about her paws, so we didn’t really think much of it for a while. Eventually, we picked her up, flipped her over and discovered that she must have jumped up on the wood stove when it was on. Her feet are healing, but it must have been a mighty bad day for the Fat Cat when that happened.
The second wood stove incident was quite a bit more scary, although again, no one saw it. I had just loaded a log into the wood stove and turned around to go get some of those stupid credit card mailers you get that need to be burned or shredded.
When I headed back toward the wood stove, I noticed a big black smear on the front glass. And a horrible, horrible smell. I realized it was hair and looked over at the black dog. Leia looked back at me as if to say "huh?"
So I looked around at the other dogs and found a singed tail. At some point, while my back was turned, Cami (not Leia) had been standing too close to the wood stove. Normally her tail curves over her back. Apparently, as she lowered her tail down, it got too close to the wood stove and was burned on the glass. There was a big mass of blackened fur on the end of her lovely white tail. The damage had obviously stopped before it got to her skin, but she still looked pretty alarmed by the hideous smell.
I got some scissors and chopped off the burned fur, which seemed to make her feel better. Intellectually, I know all that tail fur will grow back, but every time I look at her stubby and less fluffy tail tip, I think about what could have happened if she’d actually caught fire.
In any case, the next day we went and got one of those portable cages and put it around the wood stove to keep all critters away when we run it. For reasons unknown, the cage wire doesn’t even get hot and it works great.
Here’s hoping all of you have a safe holiday season. And if you heat with wood, be especially careful!