30 November 2008

The end of an era.

Usually when one of the pets is ill I share information about their disease so others can learn or stay informed about what's going on. But with Felix's intestinal cancer it was too difficult to think about losing him and the era of Indulged Furry Felines coming to an end. So I decided to focus on spending time with him, taking care of his needs, and sharing information only with those who were helping me with his care and supporting us along this very difficult journey. Taking time away from him to write about the process didn't seem appropriate.
Felix has been gone for almost a month now, and it's still difficult at times. I tried writing his memorial page, but I just can't find the words to express what he meant to me. Words alone may never do him justice, and that's probably one of the best tributes I can give him. He changed the very nature of my soul, and that may be the best tribute I can ever give him.

01 August 2008

Fewer Plastic Bags For Pet Poop

It's been a few months since I purchased several Baggu reusable shopping bags and I've gotten in the habit of using them at almost every store. The number of plastic bags we bring home has decreased considerably, although a few still make it home with us.

Because so few plastic bags are coming in, I was concerned I'd run out of bags for collecting dog waste from the back yard. But I've been using "bags" you may not normally think to use. Empty potato chip bags, bread bags, the bag inside the cereal box all work well for this purpose. Even old plastic food storage bags that are no longer suitable for use in the kitchen do the trick.

One you give it a little thought, it isn't difficult to find alternative methods of replacing your plastic bag habits.

20 April 2008

The most pricey and appreciated kitty poop ever

Felix can relax now...After 2-1/2 days in the hospital receiving i.v. fluids, x-rays, an emergency ultrasound, and multiple enemas, Felix produced the most expensive poop ever. And he didn't even produce it in his hospital cage so they'd have to clean up, he waited just 5 extra minutes until he was in the carrier on our way home to do it. Great Timing! My poor kitty gave the most pitiful, loud meow I've ever heard, followed by the Swooosh of a productive bowel movement. Never before have I been so relieved to see poop! The medical term for Felix's condition is a 'fecolith'. For some reason his stool formed a large, solid mass and was not moving along the intestines normally.

Luckily, we got through this problem without surgery. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the beginning of Felix's diagnosis with intestinal cancer. After the ultrasound in February, we knew his intestines were not perfectly healthy, but did not yet have cause to do any invasive tests. We were to observe him closely for 6 months, then do another ultrasound. But the bowel obstruction just 2 months later was the evidence that something serious was going on and the only way to know what it was and what treatment options we might have was to perform an endoscopy and biopsy.

Unfortunately, Felix was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma. Fortunately, we think we caught it fairly early. This is a common cancer in older cats, and there is hope we can manage his disease with medications given at home.

It's the beginning of another journey with a senior pet. All pet lovers know the journey in their senior years can be bumpy, so the goal now is for our Indulged Kitty to travel this road with everything he needs to be happy and comfortable for as long as possible.

18 February 2008

The Shaved Tummy Club gets another member

Felix finally became a member of the Shaved Tummy Club. All the other Indulged Furries have been indoctrinated into this club, and he's been holding out on joining. But today he needed an ultrasound to complete some medical tests and there was no escaping the clippers.

My concerns about how squirmy Felix would be and how hard the vet staff would have to work were so great that I brought homemade brownies for the staff. But Felix was a cooperative patient and it wasn't an ordeal for anyone. Of course I should not have been surprised. After all, the Sacred Paws were left untouched so there was no reason for him to put up much of a fuss. He wasn't even upset by the tummy bath and blow-dry he got at home to get the goopy ultrasound gel out of his remaining fur.

We're looking forward to giving him tummy rubs as his fur is growing back. It's a fun fuzzy texture that's as much fun to rub as a kitten belly!

13 February 2008

How to be 'Green' with pet waste.

I've been reading various articles about the eco-friendly way to dispose of pet waste. With one indoor cat and a Golden Retriever, we have plenty of poop around here!

Currently, I scoop the dog waste and toss it in the trash. Sometimes in a container I'm already going to toss, sometimes loose. One article I read expressed concerns about microorganisms contaminating landfills and leaching to ground water, but I have a hard time believing that is an issue. I'm not even remotely concerned with microorganisms in the landfil, and landfills have liners don't they? We're not talking radioactive waste here, so even leaching doesn't concern me. So, that article's recommendation about double-bagging in plastic to prevent contamination seems to me to cause more harm than good because then you've forever sealed your biodegradable pet waste in non-degradable plastic!

Burrying is an option, but a Golden Retriever generates quite a bit of waste (even on high quality food) and we'd need a large hole, or several holes. We garden quite a bit, and with a moderately sized yard it would be difficult to avoid pet waste burrial sites. The "yuck" factor of having latrine holes in the backyard is a big negative to this option.

Flushing pet waste in the toilet seems reasonable, as it gets treated just like human waste at the local sewage treatment facility. But carrying the dog waste into the house to flush it seems a bit unsanitary to me. The cat's litter box is in the bathroom and I use a flushable corn-based litter, so flushing is an easy option.

For now we'll stick with scooping & tossing the dog poop and flushing or tossing the cat waste.

Changing Habits - Plastic bags

I'm not yet in the habit of remembering I have my Baggu shopping bag in my purse, and forgot to use it during recent trip to Target. We managed to leave the store with only one bag, but only after repeatedly telling the clerk that we did not need our single cleaning product placed in it's own bag separate from our other items, which included food. It was remarkably difficult to convince the clerk a separate bag wasn't necessary, to the point where I was almost forced to take the item out of it's own bag because she was not going to do it.

Granted, the clerks are probably snapped at by customers who can't bear to think that their bottle of dish soap might come in contact with their box of cereal. But it's not like I was buying rat poison and asking it be put next to my loaf of bread!

The other thing that dismayed me was that she said the bag was "biodegradable". A plastic Target shopping bag is NOT biodegradable! Maybe one day they will be, and if that happens, I'm sure they will be putting as many items as possible in each bag due to the cost of each bag. But it was late, I could tell she just wanted her evening to be over, and I wasn't interested in correcting her.

I decided it was enough progress for one day that everything went into ONE bag.

02 February 2008

Going Green - Baggu reusable bags.

I've decided to try to eliminate bringing home any more plastic shopping bags. Sure, they can be used as a trash bag or recycled, but they're not eco-friendly and don't biodegrade, so I've decided to avoid them whenever possible.

I've been using 6 sturdy canvas bags for grocery shopping. They work great but one drawback is that they're a bit bulky, even when folded. I sometimes forget to put the empty bags back in the car so I have them for the next trip, then arrive at the store only to think "oh, I left the canvas bags at home". I try to forgo a bag, but if I need one, I choose paper. At least it can be tossed in with the newspapers for recycling.

I ran across Baggu bags on the web and decided to get some. They're a little pricey ($38 for 6 bags + pouch), but you can choose fun colors, they're generously sized, easy to carry, and made of durable rip-stop nylon. The feature that attracted me is that they fold into a very small pouch you can keep in your purse or throw in the glove compartment. Today I tossed one in my purse and one in the glove compartment before we headed out to do our weekend running around. Lunch, hardware store (purchased bags needed), but then we ended up at the grocery store. Voila! I had my Baggu in my purse. We filled our hand-held shopping basket, plus a 6-pack of beer. The Baggu held almost everything, and we hand-carried the beer and big bag of chips. Had it not been for the dim-witted clerk who snuck my tomatoes into a plastic bag without my catching it, we would have made it home from the store bag free!

I still need to find a good alternative for those thin plastic bags in the produce department. I've combined different items that don't need to be weighed in one bag and the checkers are ok with that, but the baggers seem a bit perplexed on what to do with produce that isn't "contained" in a plastic bag.