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28 August 2009

Fur Control

Fur control is serious business in the Indulged Furries' home. We love our pets, but it comes with the never-ending battle to control fur. This is especially important since the Indulged Furries' dad is allergic to cats! I purchased the Scotch Fur Fighter a while ago and have been using it to clean the carpeted cat perches. It does an excellent job and it's a product I will continue to use. I have the "car interior" version (I didn't realize there were different versions when I bought it). It's about 1-1/2 times the size of a computer mouse with stiff rubber fur-loosening teeth on a fat end and a sheet of microgripper teeth that wraps around a tapered end and onto the bottom. The rubber teeth do an excellent job at loosening and gathering the majority of fur from the perches. After using the rubber teeth, I switch to the microgripper paper and that does a very good job at snagging up the remaining fur. If there's a generous coating of fur in the gripper teeth, it can be pulled off several times before you need to replace the sheet. The tapered end works well for getting in the crevices of the perches. After cleaning up as much fur as possible with the Fur Fighter, I run a sticky-tape lint roller all over the perches to remove the few remaining hairs and the lint.

26 August 2009

Could a grain-free diet fix my problems?

Ever since we adopted Sammi 8 months ago she has had intermittent loose stool and diarrhea. And there was no mistaking her stools from Raven's because 1) they were runny and 2) they smelled worse than any cat poop I've ever smelled. She's been treated for intestinal parasites and given a course of antibiotics in case her intestinal flora were out of balance due to the medications she had been given after her amputation. She was also rechecked (negative) for fecal parasites. We were past the point of thinking new-home stress could be factor and had tried several different foods - all with varying degrees of success.

When we adopted them, we started the cats on Blue Buffalo Spa select (both the salmon and chicken versions), but that didn't work for Sammi. We knew that anytime she ate Raven's favorite dry food (Castor & Pollux Ultramix) she got terrible diarrhea. Even the ultra-premium, organic, and minimal ingredients canned foods gave her diarrhea. The Blue Buffalo Longevity adult dry food seemed to work best for her, but she was still having problems. I tried mixing in some of the new Wellness CORE grain-free dry food, and that seemed to help, but then she'd have diarrhea again.

Based on all the different foods we've tried and the tiny specks of stuff that looked like finely-milled grain in her stool, I thougth maybe the rice or barley were giving her problems. But that was just a hunch because I have no idea what those little specks were and maybe it was just a result of everything going through her system so quickly.

We were at our wits end with different foods, cleaning the bathroom floor because she often avoided the litter box when she had diarrhea, and cleaning Sammi's bottom (even her clippered hair was still getting soiled). And she was tired of it too! I sure she doesn't feel great when the best her system can produce is something the consistency of a gummy worm. Usually she was producing something akin to pancake batter. Besides being unpleasant, it isn't good for her fluid balance to be losing so much water in her stool, and I can't imagine she's absorbing all the nutrients properly.

So we called our vet to get his suggestions or make an appointment to start some testing. The vet said it was ok to try Hills z/d to see if a low-allergan formula would help her. Boy was that a mistake! Her diarrhea was the worst it's ever been and we could tell she didn't feel well. That feeding trial lasted only 3 days. The z/d ingredients of hydrolyzed chicken protein and rice gave me the best indication that rice, and maybe other grains are something Sammi's digestive system can't process.

We're transitioning her to a grain-free diet and seeing positive results. We're slowly mixing the Blue Buffalo Longevity out of her diet and switching to Wellness CORE grain-free dry food. She's also eating about 2 tablespoons Wellness grain-free canned food (chicken) twice a day. Her stools aren't perfect, but they're mostly formed, and the best they've been since we adopted her. Another wonderful benefit is that she's using the litter box consistently.

We're hoping a grain-free diet is the solution, otherwise we're in for some vet visits and probably some expensive diagnositc work. Within a few days she should be on a 100% grain-free diet and hopefully after a few weeks of letting her intestines calm down she will have firm, normal stools.

I'm also monitoring another of Sammi's "issue", and that's the amount of dark goop her eyes produce. Every day I wipe gunk from her eyes, and I'm wondering if that's possibly related to her digestive issues. A mom can hope!

I think all the foods we've tried are excellent cat foods that I would be happy to feed my cats. They just don't appear to agree with Sammi's digestive system.

Keep your fingers (and paws) crossed that a grain-free diet is the solution to Sammi's problem.

25 August 2009

Thriving on Three Legs


I'm finally getting some much overdue attention.

Being a kitty with only 3 legs isn't all fun and games, but in the Indulged Furry House, it's a pretty darn good life. You can read what's easy for me, what's difficult, and how my caretakers have made my life easier by visiting my Cat with Three Legs information page

24 August 2009

Counerfeit Advantage and Frontline

I hadn't heard anything about this in the news until I ran across a blog article about it today. Owners should be on the look-out for counterfeit Advantage and Frontline flea & tick control products. Usually the counterfeit products are from non-veterinary suppliers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control due to recent increases in the number of reported adverse reactions in pets treated with these products. Read more at...
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/flea-tick-control.html

Specific info on counterfeit Advantage and Frontline for dogs and cats is at
http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/petproduct.htm#whyaction
Has some info & photos on how to identify potentially counterfeit products.

Raven earned her Naughty Kitty badge.

Raven is an early-morning kitty, often trying to wake us around 6am for playtime. Her arsenal of kitty wake-up tricks include: standing up on her hind legs with her front paws on the bed near her dad’s head, which despite the cuteness is a no-no due to his cat allergies; jumping up on the bed by our heads, or banging on the bi-fold closet doors to make a racket. Rolled up socks tossed at the banging kitty don’t deter her, she just ducks out of the way and continues her banging. She stops banging only when she’s put out of the bedroom – but then you had to get out of bed, chase her through the room, capture her (with snuggles of course), and put her out – which is all great kitty fun.

Sunday morning we decided to sleep in and ignore her invitations for play. Undeterred, Raven amused herself by investigating new heights, the aftermath of which was small-scale destruction and a lot of cleaning for us. When I heard the crash of glass breaking I went running. My first thought was that on her climb to the window, she knocked the empty 5-gallon fish tank off the desk. But when I saw the glass and liquid on the floor I instantly knew where she had been. After 8 months of living in her new home, she decided it was time to conquer the tallest bookcase in the office. She had gotten on top of the bookcase and knocked over a Galilean Thermometer. These are glass thermometers filled with oily liquid and floating things that show the temperature.

I had two simultaneous thoughts: is she ok, and did anything in dad’s office get damaged. I grabbed her and checked her paws for glass, and they were ok. After locking her and her sister Sammi in a bedroom, I assessed the damage and started cleaning.

The Kitty Gods were watching over her because: 1) she was safe and 2) the thermometer fell straight forward spewing oil and glass mostly on the wood floor and missing everything that would have been damaged or impossible to clean.

Oddly, she found the only glass decoration in the house. We don’t even leave drinking glasses standing in the sink overnight because I fear the cats will tip and break them.

When Raven wants to play, even at 6am, it’s probably a good idea to indulge her.

15 August 2009

Pet supplies and great customer service

If you're looking for a place to order pet supplies I've been very happy using KV Vet. I've purchased cat and dog supplies (grooming, beds, bowls, poop pick-up bags), Bentley's prescription medications, and medical & first-aid supplies like bandage scissors. They also have stuff for horses & livestock, which is fun to browse, and if you're in need of a sheep blanket or flat-sided water pail, heck you can get one!

If you're purchasing normal-sized items that don't weigh a lot, shipping is free on orders over $50. Otherwise there is a shipping charge (if under $50, or charges for bulky & heavy items). Returns are easy, and there wasn't any fee when I returned items, just the cost of mailing it back to them. They also have multiple item discounts, so if you order 3 of something, the price may be a little better than ordering just one. So if you use the same shampoo or get the same dog toys all the time, you can order several at once and save a bit of money.

What I've also found to be excellent at KV Vet is the customer service. Most recently, I ordered Bentley's prescription arthritis medication and just a couple days later we had to put him to sleep. Medications are not returnable, so I though I'd have to try to find someone who uses the same medication for thier pet, or donate it to a rescue group. But the order had not shipped yet, so I called KV Vet to see if I could cancel it. They were very nice on the phone and cancelled my order without any problems. It was one less thing to worry about during a very stressful event.
If you're looking for someplace to buy pet supplies or medications, give KVvet.com a look. I'm not getting paid to advertise for them, I just thought I'd give them some support since they've been a good company to purchase from.

13 August 2009

Bentley's Eternal Adventure


After 17 years of life and 8 years as an Indulged Furry, Bentley left for the Spirit World. For the past few months we've known his time with us was limited, so we tried to make the best of every day. Just a few days ago we celebrated his 17th birthday with a doggy-edible birthday cake, toys from his DoggySpace friend Boomer, and toys from his family. He enjoyed them all thoroughly, albeit with less energy than before.

On the morning of August 12 we had a vet come to our home and help our wonderful boy begin his journey. We had been up with him most of the night, helping him walk or carrying him to his bed, and there was no doubt that it was time for us to help him one final time. Bentley was safe in our arms as his life here came to an end.

By the end of this very long day I was hoping for a sign that my boy was where he was supposed to be. At about 11:30pm the night he died, I went outside to look for meteors from the Persied meteor shower. It was cloudy and not the best time to see meteors, but about 30 seconds after I went outside a large meteor streaked directly overhead, beneath the clouds, vivid yellowish-white. I can only think it was Bentley's way of letting me know he's still here - right over his backyard - going through the Spirit World with the exhuberance he had in his younger years.

Sadly, his DoggySpace friend Boomer passed away just the day before. I had hoped to see two meteors streaking across the sky - Boomer and Bentley playing together - but maybe that kind of sign is only meant for each "mom", and Boomer's mom has a sign of her own that her sweet boy is happy and safe.

Turn joyous circles, take a dip in a lake, and do all the thing you did in your younger years my big Goofy Golden. You will always be loved, and missed.

08 August 2009

Bentley's 17th Birthday

We never expected him to reach 17 years old, but Bentley has astounded all of us with his continuing good health and liveliness.



Of course we continued the tradition started last year and made him a doggy-edible birthday cake. We know it's silly, but its a way for us to celebrate what a wonderful dog he is and what joy he brings to our life. And if my sharing our unabashed devotion to our pets' health and happiness inspires someone else to do something fun and interesting with their pet, that's another benefit!






Bentley's doggy-edible cake is made of mashed potatoes and decorated mostly with his dry dog food. Since he eats mashed potatoes and kibble for every meal, this treat is safe for him (and vet approved).
The orange decoration on this cake is human-edible icing, but we did not allow Bentley to eat any of that.




Bentley thoroughly enjoyed eating a hunk of his birthday cake, and we enjoyed providing him with the excitement of a novel treat. He's rarely fed anything outside of his food bowl, so he knows this is a special event!




05 August 2009

Bentley's 17th Birthday Bash Begins

Bentley is on DoggySpace and has one special doggy friend that he "barks" with. His name is Boomer and when Boomer learned that Bentley's 17th birthday was coming, he and his mom wanted to send Bentley a birthday card. We thought that was very thoughtful of them, and since Bentley has never received a birthday card from anyone but his closest family, we waited eagerly for the card to arrive.


Well, Boomer, his mom, and their other furries Darla and Violet didn't just send a card, they sent a whole box of gifts! We couldn't be more surprised at this since we only know them from DoggySpace. But pet parents are special people and Boomer and Bentley share a special bond. They are both Senior Goldens who have had some health problem and are dearly loved and care for by their owners. And their owners also enjoy celebrating other doggy's special events.

These are the cards and gifts Boomer and his family sent. There's two chew toys, a big tennis ball, some healthy treats, a decorated birthday cookie, and even a party hat! We've never seen the yellow dog with tennis ball toy before so that will be a fun one to play with. Boomer's mom and furry family sent one card, and Boomer sent his very own birthday wishes to Bentley. It all so much fun and excitement for an old guy like Bentley.

Here's a link to a slideshow of my birthday extravaganza. .
Too many toys all at once is overwhelming for my Senior Doggy brain so I'll add more photos as I get to play with more of my new toys.

03 August 2009

The Dynamic Duo

A few months ago, mom thought it would be good for me to have a kitty sibling closer to my age and agility to play with. I’m 4 years old and Sammi is 10, and with only 3 legs she’s can’t play as long & hard as I can. Well, they adopted Cricket, but I let my displeasure of having to share my territory be known! After a week of hissing at her through the door and showing no tolerance of her whatsoever, mom started to rethink her decision. She thought she’d give it a month, and even bought kitty “be happy” pheromones (Feliway Comfort Zone) so we might all relax and live happily ever after. But Cricket wrote herself a ticket back to the SPCA after she tried to attack our doggy brother Bentley - a completely mellow kitty-loving Golden Retriever. In Cricket’s defense, her shortened/kinky tail may have been the result of a dog attack and she learned to be terrified of them. But I really didn’t care, my will was carried out and the kitty intruder was gone. I have mom convinced that I knew Cricket was a threat to Bentley, and that’s why I didn’t like her. Mom always gives me the benefit of the doubt, and I use that to my advantage. If there was any lingering doubt in her mind about my desire to live in a two-kitty home, I think I’ve finally convinced her. Last Saturday she went to the animal shelter to renew my license only to discover they were holding Kitty Palooza – a cat adoption event. They had oodles of kittens and cats that needed homes and of course mom being a kitty-loving softy was compelled to look at them. She thought maybe I’d be accepting of kittens instead of an adult cat. She even dragged dad back to Kitty Palooza on Sunday to look at kittens, and they were seriously considering adopting two cute & cuddly kittens. They also thought about adopting a 12-year old cat that had been surrendered by its owners because they could not afford a pet deposit on an apartment. Mom was heartbroken about that 12 year old cat, but suspected I would hate it. And I completely sympathize with that cat and it’s need for a loving home because I was surrendered by my owners who lost their home and couldn’t take me to their new apartment. But the suspicion that I will not tolerate another cat is engrained in mom’s mind, so they decided against adopting anyone and just made a donation instead.

Sammi and I are the Dynamic Duo and we’ve worked out who sleeps where, who ambushes who, and all the other kitty dynamics of our home. Mom is disappointed with my intolerance for other cats because we could provide a home for one or two more. And even though mom has finally acquiesced to my Dynamic Duo plan, she did give me a little talking-to and reminded me how fortunate I am to be living here. I acknowledged my gratitude by hacking up a gigantic furball. She really should comb me more often.

Advantages of Being a Senior Dog

As an Indulged Furry you get a lot of special treatment and latitude when you’re old. I’m just a few days shy of my 17th birthday, so I know what I’m talking about. When I was younger I was never allowed to be near the dining room table when my humans ate. They believe it is ill-mannered for a dog to beg during mealtime, especially since I’m fed my dinner before they eat so they know I’m not hungry. And for some reason they find panting doggy breath unappealing while they eat! The rules in our house are so strict that I couldn’t even sit a few feet away from the table and stare at them. Mom calls that “begging from a distance” and it is not tolerated. But for the last few months the rules have been relaxed a little. If I come by the table while they’re eating I’m allowed to stay, as long as I lie down. This new tolerance is only because mom knows I’m not trying to be disobedient. I just don’t remember all the rules anymore and I’m coming for some petting, not their food. It’s also a lot of effort for both of us navigate around the dining room table as she tries to coax me back to my bed in the living room.

Being “in the way” is also something I get to do more often because it’s too hard for me to get up and get “out of the way”. Unless I’m causing a safety issue, everyone, including the cats, just steps over me. There are still times when I have to move – like when I’m lying in front of the freezer and they have to get food out. But even then, sometimes they just slide me out of the way so I don’t have to get up.

When mom is feeling really indulgent, she brings me my night-time meal on my bed. I’m always excited about my food, but just lying there and all of a sudden your food bowl appears – wow – that’s gets my tail wagging. Mom says it’s good for me to get my “happy hormones” flowing.

This next one isn’t a fun topic, but it’s part of a senior dog’s life. Going potty can become difficult for an old guy like me. Sometimes my hips are sore and my legs are really tired so it’s hard for me to squat to go potty. And it’s especially difficult when it takes a long time to go potty because I can’t feel everything that goes on back there anymore. Well, a couple weeks ago I was a bit shaky while doing my “business” so mom came over and supported my rear end and thighs. She just stood behind me and held under my thighs while I squatted. Now that’s a thoughtful mommy!

The other advantage I have in being a senior is that I no longer have to tolerate extreme outdoor temperatures. It can get below freezing here in the winter mornings, and over 100 degrees in the summers, but I’m not out in those extremes anymore. Last winter I stayed in the house until lunch-time, when mom would make a trip home from work to let me out. And this summer, mom or dad comes home from work at lunch to bring me in the house so I’m not out in the heat. It’s a bit of extra driving for them, but they think it’s making it easier for my system to not have to try to stay warm or keep cool.

Life as an Old Doggy has its ups and downs, but with extra consideration and help from your humans, your later years can be very enjoyable.