26 August 2012

Cat Postcards: Mainzer cats swimming fun

Mainzer Postcard Cats at Dentist

 We went to a postcard show today and found lots of great postcards featuring cats. The first one we'll share is by Alfred Mainzer who created a lot of pictures of cats in "human" situations. We thought this one was cute with all the kitties wearing swim suits. Look in the top-left corner, there's a black kitty swimming with his tail out of the water! Click the picture for a big version.

22 August 2012

Anipal treasure hunt. Can you help us get this stamp?

Monaco Feline Exposition stamp 2012 Mom likes postage stamps, especially stamps with cats. We saw this 2012 Feline Exhibition postage stamp from Monaco and we'd love to get one. We're hoping our anipals can put their paws together and help us. Maybe this could be something fun where we send a U.S. stamp to someone and we could get this stamp in return. We'd really like the stamp to be unused, but even a used one without too much postal cancellation ink all over it would be ok. If anyone has any idea about how we could get this stamp, please leave a comment or contact us on Twitter @IndulgedFurries.

21 August 2012

Old Postcards of Cats

We like finding old pictures of cats. Here are two old postcards mom found at a stamp show. We were drawn to this one because the big black kitty looks like me! It's titled "Lost" and the poor little chick is in the midst of a clowder of cats. Did you know the term for a group of cats is a clowder? Click on the image to make it bigger. 
Cat Postcard Lost
Cat Postcard Two's Company

 This one is from 1909. I think the second puppy could fit under the umbrella if they all snuggled together.

20 August 2012

I'm photogenic even when wet.

Bentley getting an indoor winter bath
In the winter I get a bath inside. Even though I don't like baths, I must admit mom is very good at giving them. The water is always warm and it's like a water massage against my skin. I was a little disappointed in Dad taking photos instead of helping me escape. But he helped me get a tiny bit of satisfaction when he took this unflattering photo of her backside while she was drying my backside!
Bentley drying after bath
This post was inspired by Bear. I sympathize with you Bear!

Indulged Hamsters: amuse-busche

Hamster's amuse-busche
An amuse-busche (french for a bite-sized appetizer) isn't just for humans dining in a fancy restaurant. In the Indulged Furry home, even the hamsters get the occasional  tasty bite, selected by the chef. Tonight, Tux and Snowy are getting small bits of roasted chicken, fresh carrot, and cooked basmati rice.

19 August 2012

Raven and the Hamsters

I set up the hamster play area, but Raven thought it would be better if she occupied the fort while the Snowy and Tux stayed out in their balls.
Raven and Snowy
Raven and Tux
When it was the hamsters' turn to use their playland, she took a little too much interest in Tux. No hamsters and no cats were harmed in the making of this video...but the video ends abruptly because Raven was about to pounce on Tux and I had to grab her. She ignores the hamsters in their cages and avoids them when they're in their balls, but it's just too tempting to try to catch one when they're loose in their playland!

Raven was annoyed that she had to stay in "kitty prison" behind a closed door on the other side of the house for about 30 minutes while Tux and Snowy each spent time in their playland.

18 August 2012

Hairballs again! Trying Feline Greenies Smartbites Hairball Control treats

Despite being brushed daily, Raven has been getting too many hairballs again. I got some Tomyln Laxatone Natural, which is a plant oil and fish oil based gel that helps ingested hair pass through the digestive system. I like the natural ingredients and Raven likes the taste. Unfortunately, she doesn't "love" it and sometimes she doesn't want to eat it. I don't want it to be an unpleasant experience where I have to squish it in her mouth, so I thought I'd try something else. Raven eating GreeniesSmartbite hairball treats
I got some Feline Greenies Smartbites  hairball control treats. The first three ingredients are chicken meal, brewers rice, and wheat. I feed a higher protein, grain-free diet and I don't consider the Greenies ingredients to be the healthiest for a cat. These aren't something I'd want to give every day, but if they help prevent Raven from getting hairballs, I'm willing to give them once or twice a week during July & August when she tends to have the most problems with hairballs. The active ingredient is petrolatum, which helps hair pass through the digestive system. They also contain some fibers that are supposed to help keep the digestive system moving.

Raven is not a treat eater, so there's always a good chance she will sniff them and walk away. To my surprise, Raven really likes these treats.  I put them in a bowl next to her food and let her discover them for herself. When I checked her bowl later, they were gone!

The instructions say to feed 12 treats all at once. The treats are small and there are enough pieces for 14 servings.  Since I'm also using the Laxatone Natural the package will last at least a month. Here are two photos of the treats. They're a little smaller than a dime, with a crunchy green outer later and a yellowish inner layer. The photos aren't very good, but you get the idea.
Greenies Smartbites hairball control treats Greenies Smartbites hairball control treats
Hopefully the brushing, Laxatone Natural, and Greenies treats will help control Raven's hairballs. If nothing else, she'll enjoy getting a little treat every week!

12 August 2012

Good news update about our neighbor kitty

Last week I shared how Tyler, the big kitty on the left, was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common diseases of older cats. Today I went to visit and see how he's doing. His mom had very good news. The medication and prescription food are working very well. After having lost over 12 pounds (he was 25 pounds) before being diagnosed, his thyroid hormone levels are near normal and he had gained 1/2 pound. He actually needs less medication and the vet agreed that the prescription food was not necessary. The prescription food was a concern for his mom because it's very expensive and she has a difficult time making sure Tyler and Tippy don't eat each other's food.Tyler has a little way to go before he's healthy, but he's on the road to recovery.  He'll need to take medicine to control his thyroid hormone levels for the rest of his life, but hopefully he will do well and be my favorite, big, extra-toed kitty neighbor for a long time.

11 August 2012

This was a promising day, until...kitty bath!

Raven wet after bath
Raven asks, "What did I do to deserve a bath? The vet said I have healthy skin and fur, so why are you getting it wet? It's been a year since my last bath and I thought I was doing quite well grooming myself. I've even left some hairballs for you this week.

Mom: Exactly, Raven. An occasional bath helps keep your skin and coat healthy. More importantly, the bath will help get rid of some loose fur so you don't eat it while grooming and end up with more hairballs.  Don't worry, you'll be dry soon.

07 August 2012

Raven's Healthy kitty checkup

RavenAbout a week ago I went to the vet for my annual check-up.  I'm a very good patient and the only time I squirm is when the vet takes my temperature. The vet looked at my eyes, ears, teeth and felt all around my tummy. He also listened to my heart and lungs. He asked about the foods I eat and how my litter habits are. Everything checked out a-okay, but I do have a few minor things we need to stay on top of.  First on the list was my annual rabies vaccine. The vet is very good at giving shots, and I barely felt it.

We also talked about how often I get hairballs. If you remember, April 27 was Hairball Awareness Day, and mom prepared by brushing me a lot. I've had only three hairballs since then, but that's still too much. It's not good for my tummy to always be full of wads of fur and hairballs can cause serious medical problems. The vet combed me a little bit and said I have very healthy skin and a shiny coat. Then he suggested mom try some hairball prevention & treatment goo to help any hair I ingest slide through my system. She got Tomyln Laxatone Natural flavor, and to her surprise, I like the taste of it! I'm a very picky eater and I don't eat any treats so mom thought she'd have to smush it in my mouth. But I licked it off her finger.  She gives it to me 3 times a week and she's happy I enjoy eating it like a treat.

Next we talked about my broken tooth. I had a broken canine tooth when mom & dad adopted me and the vet said it's still ok. Eventually it will start to die and may get infected and then it will have to be pulled. But it's not giving me any problems so we'll just keep watching it for now. We joked a bit about getting a root canal. They do that for animals just like for humans. The vet said it's expensive and we could do it "if we had more money than sense".  We've had this vet for a long time, so he knows Mom would break out the credit card for whatever was in my best interest, but I don't think I need cosmetic dentistry. I think my broken tooth gives me extra character, and a little street cred (if I were ever allowed outside). That being said, if the vet said it was too risky to pull my tooth (broken bone or rupture into my nasal/sinus cavity), we would consider a root canal. Maybe I could get a gold cap to complement my gold eyes.

I'm a very lucky kitty to be healthy and I don't have to go to the vet for another year.

06 August 2012

Disappointing news about our neighbor kitty

Tyler and TippyA couple weeks ago my neighbor met me out front for a chat. Tyler, on the left, and Tippy are very friendly cats who I enjoy visiting and taking care of when their owner is away. As you can see, Tyler is a BIG boy. He's 25 pounds of love.  I'm sure he could lose a few pounds, but he's naturally a very large cat. His head is about the size of a softball. His sister Tippy is about 13 pounds and has the brightest blue eyes and softest fur you can imagine.

Unfortunately, she told me that Tyler was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We have experience with hyperthyroidism, because our diabetic cat had it too. What was very sad to me is that she didn't realize Tyler had lost nearly half his body weight. She also said he was eating ravenously. I'm still befuddled by her not realizing something was wrong, as I wouldn't think it hard to notice that a 25 pound cat is now almost as light as his sister. Both weight loss and increased appetite are classic signs of hyperthyroidism. Putting my frustrations at her lack of attention aside, I talked with her about Tyler's medications and diet. The vet put him on a prescription diet, which the owner doesn't like because the food is very expensive and it's hard for her to keep Tippy and the dog from eating it. I gave her lots of information from a well-respected vet about the shortcomings of this prescription food so that she could talk to her vet about going back to regular food.

It's been a couple weeks since Tyler started medication, so I want to check in on him. He will be lucky to not have any long-term consequences from his high thyroid levels and weight loss. He's such a big love-bug. I'm hoping his condition has stabilized and he's doing well.

One of the reasons I write about my pets' health conditions is the hope that it will help another owner with their pet. I'm always encouraging people to be mindful of their pet's condition and behaviors. It's easy to watch their eating, peeing, pooping, activity levels, and keep tabs on their weight. When you notice something has changed, give your vet a call and ask if a check-up is needed. Getting early treatment for many diseases is usually cheaper than dealing with a severely ill pet, and early treatment may prevent long-term health consequences.

05 August 2012

First a rabbit, now kittens. When will mom learn?

RavenMy mom loves animals. Her love of animals means she wants to add another furry to our family, but she can't figure out what would be best for all of us. A couple years ago she got a chinchilla. I thought it was dinner! Don't worry, it wasn't harmed, but it had to go back to the store. About a year ago she tried to add another adult cat, but I was terrified of him. Realizing another adult cat wasn't an option, a couple months ago, mom decided it would be nice to get a rabbit. I met the rabbit and was ok with it, but they didn't adopt it because dad is seriously allergic to the hay that rabbits eat every day. And since rabbits need lots of time out of their cage, mom didn't think we could give a rabbit a happy life.

Ok, no chinchilla, no adult cat, and no rabbit. We're not ready for a new dog so mom and dad think a kitten would be an option. They talked to my vet, who said a kitten would be non-threatening and I'd get used to it.

Through a neighbor, mom contacted a man who had some kittens. Turns out he's a cattle rancher whose cat had kittens. After a couple short chats on the phone, he came over with three kittens. As soon as she arrived, mom & dad had a bad feeling. He thought we'd come to his truck and choose a kitten from the carrier. Mom said no, please bring them in. He brought the kittens in, but left his dog out in the truck with the windows down a few inches, insisting adamantly that the dog would be ok. Mom said we could put the dog in the laundry room, but he refused. Mom knew she wanted to keep this visit short - because she wasn't getting a good feeling about the situation and was concerned about the dog.

While mom & dad checked out the kittens, I looked and hissed. Then I went into a different room, came back to see if the fluffy little nightmares were still there, saw them and hissed again. I wasn't mean to them and I wasn't afraid of them, but I didn't want any of them in my house.

Mom and dad decided the kittens were too young and had not been properly socialized. The man was what mom calls "old school cattle rancher".  During the interactions with this man she never got a feeling that the kittens were important to him. Putting all the information together she realized his cattle are his main concern. He said his female cat got pregnant and after allowing her to raise the kittens for 6-8 weeks in a spare bedroom, the kittens had to go. Some kittens were given away two weeks ago, and mom knows that's too young to take kittens from their mom & littermates. They should stay together for at least 8 weeks, and 12 weeks is even better. He had 3 kittens left and as far as he was concerned, they were weaned and had overstayed their welcome in his house.

Mom thanked him for bringing the kittens over but said she didn't want to take any of them. The man was a bit surprised and tried to convince her to take one. They were ready to go! He told her it could be left in the bathroom all day with food, water, a litter box and it would be fine. Mom has a different idea about how kittens should be raised and kept saying no, these kittens wouldn't work for our family. On his way back to his truck she said she'd call him if she knew any friends who wanted a kitten, but the man said no, "they're going to the shelter today." Mom knows unsocialized kittens don't have a good chance in the shelter, but there wasn't anything she could do about that. She didn't even suggest to him that he get his female cat spayed because she knew it would fall on deaf ears. After all, his vet comes only when one of the cows needs serious care, so why would he bother spaying his cat?!  ARGH!!!!

This 15-minute nightmare of invading kittens cane to an end, and I escaped another attempt to add to our furry family. I love that mom has a big heart for animals and wants to give another furry a loving home. I also appreciate that she won't add anyone to the family who will upset me or be a bad match for our family. But I hope I'm finally able to convince her that I'm the only furry she needs (the hamsters don't count) and I'd be happy to be the most indulged cat ever!

04 August 2012

Hamster stretches

Tux woke up and did a few good stretches before starting his evening. The front paw wave and back leg extension prepared him for running in his ball.

02 August 2012

A new hamster joined our family

Snowy HamsterA while ago I shared how Mom almost adopted a rabbit for our home. She bought all the supplies in preparation for getting the rabbit, then realized it wouldn't be healthy for Dad to have hay in the house. He is very allergic to grasses and the hay dust would make him sick.

So, everything had to be returned to the pet supply store. While making a return, they saw some really cute hamsters. Knowing Dad can live with hamsters, they thought that might be a better addition to our family.  They went back the next day at lunch to look at the hamsters again, but all the hammies were sleeping.  So, they went back after dinner hoping the hammies would be awake and they could find out if any of them were as friendly as they were cute.

Mom & Dad talked to an employee at the store and said they were looking for a friendly hamster. Our hamster Tux is nice and likes being petted, but he doesn't like being held. The employee said the big, cute hamsters are all very friendly, but if we want a friendly hamster, the best one they have is a female they have in back. She was brought in after having a litter of hamsters and the owner didn't want her anymore. Mom asked to see that hamster.

The hamster is white with red eyes. She's very friendly and enjoyed crawling around in mom's hands and arms. Mom & Dad decided to adopt her and bring her into the Indulged Furries family.

They got her a big cage, a ball, and some hide-out places. We already have food and treats for Tux.

Snowy's cageThis is Snowy's cage. It has 6 levels and lots of place to explore. Snowy doesn't think it's big enough and she has to come out every night to explore the house in her ball.

14 July 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - Dance

Sammi DancingEven without a front leg, Sammi could dance for her treats. She Loved her treats!

This week's Photo Hunt starts here.

16 June 2012

No rabbit for our family.

RabbitIt's been crazy around our house. Mom's been wanting another animal, and decided to get a rabbit. A couple weeks ago she went to a rabbit rescue group's adoption event and saw a very nice bunny who needed a new home. She talked to the foster mom about me and said she wasn't sure how I would react to a rabbit. I was "very interested" in the chinchilla they brought home a few years ago. I was so interested that the chinchilla had to be returned. I was very friendly with my kitty-sister Sammi, but I act afraid of all other cats, so a cat is not an option. Mom and Dad have been talking about getting another Golden Retriever because we all loved Bentley. But raising a puppy is A Lot of work! So, Mom thought a rabbit might be a good match for our family.

The rabbit foster lady agreed to bring the rabbit to our house for a test introduction. They set up a big pen and put the rabbit in it, then let me come in the room. I was apprehensive of it at first. I figured out it wasn't a cat, but since I had never seen such a critter before, I couldn't figure out if it was going to attack me, or if I was supposed to attack it. Within a couple minutes I realized we could be nice to each other. We sniffed noses through the pen and then I walked away.

Mom thought this was a great reaction and agreed to adopt the rabbit. They would wait one week to get the rabbit so they'd have time to get supplies. But after more reading about how much time and care rabbits need to be happy, and after bringing hay into the house, they realized a rabbit would not be a good match for our family. Dad is extremely allergic to grasses (and cats) and he has to get allergy shots. Rabbits need hay available all day, every day, and having dry, dusty hay in the house wasn't an option for dad.

Mom spoke with the rabbit's foster mom and explained our situation. The lady was very understanding and glad that we were honest with her and explained why we couldn't adopt the rabbit after all. We all agreed that a rabbit would not be a good match for our family.

27 May 2012

Tux's Outdoor Hamster Adventure

Tux had fun exploring his little play area today.

He enjoyed wandering around and getting lots of exercise. He didn't mind all the noise the neighbors were making while playing in the pool. We didn't think you'd enjoy their squeals, so we added music instead.

19 May 2012

A clean kitchen

Raven on kitchen counter Raven and I have a slightly different opinion about why I cleaned the kitchen. I wanted it to be clean for food preparation purposes. She thought the freshly cleaned counter was a nice spot to take a nap, especially with the little bit of warmth coming from the dishwasher below the counter.

15 May 2012

Raven finally gets to go in the backyard

Raven in the yardFinally, I got to go outside! The last time mom tried taking me outside, the neighbor cat Foxy jumped over the fence and mom had to rush me inside. Foxy played with my dad and stole all my outside time.

But this time it was a quiet, sunny day and Foxy was nowhere to be seen. I got to walk around my yard, sniff everything, and enjoy some sunshine. Mom took a little video of me. The background noise is our neighbor's pool equipment. It's just on the other side of the fence from my log. I think my log should be moved to a quieter location!  It was fun to get outside, but after about 10 minutes I wanted to go back inside. Maybe next time I'll stay out a little longer.

11 May 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - Scoop

Raven held by dadI love when dad scoops me up and holds me. Sometimes I cuddle up in his arms, other times I flop over his arm like a limp noodle. This time something out the front window caught my eye so I must go investigate.

Smokey on newspaperOur second photo is Smokey "scooping" her dad to the morning paper. It seems every cat has a talent for laying on whatever you're interested in reading. The common explanation for this is that kitty knows you're interested in the paper and they can get your attention if they lay on it. Whatever the reason, Smokey cherished getting tummy rubs from her dad.

Aren't you glad we didn't use the obvious cat house "scoop" photo. But remember, cats love a clean litter box, so scoop frequently!

This week's PhotoHunt Scoop starts here.

04 May 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - Zap

Raven watching FoxyRemember my photo from a couple weeks ago: Reflect. Some of you commented that our eyes looked like lasers. Well, I wish I really did have laser eyes so I could ZAP that pesky neighbor cat Foxy who always comes to play with my dad in the back yard. I should be the one outside with dad, but no, Foxy comes over and I have to stay inside. It's not fair!

Cats eyes reflecting

This week's PhotoHunt starts here.

03 May 2012

Eddie Bear "Supermoon"

Eddie Bear catWhen there's a full moon I call it an "Eddie Bear Moon" because our cat Ed departed for Spirit World under a full moon. Ed's official Indulged Furries name was Edward Lionheart. He joined our family when I found him sick and abandoned under my car. He had a hard start in life and always tried to be so brave, but was usually afraid of his own shadow. Most days we called him Eddie Bear because he was a big bundle of fur who just wanted to sleep on his momma and be loved, like a living teddy bear. Eddie Bear had a great personality and entertained us with his antics, including the ability to flatten himself and get comfy.

The moon will officially become full Saturday, May 5 at 11:35 p.m. EDT.  Since this month's full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth, it will also be the year's biggest. It will be bigger and brighter than a typical full moon.

Enjoy Saturday's Supermoon. I'll be remembering wonderful memories of my Eddie bear.
Learn what makes a big full moon a true 'supermoon' in this infographic.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

01 May 2012

Bella a three-legged llama gets a prosthetic leg

Bella, a llama, was recently fitted with a prosthetic leg. She broke her hind leg stepping in a gopher hole, and after two years of trying to get it to heal, she reinjured it. Her owner and vet decided to ampute the leg and get Bella a prosthesis.

It took three tries to make a leg that worked for Bella. She wears her leg for 6-8 hours each day and is doing very will with it.

It always amazes me how well animals adapt to a "disability". Our cat Sammi thrived after her front leg was amputated. I've seen dogs, a cow, and now a llama with a prosthetic leg. I think it's fantastic that owers are dedicated to the health and welfare of their pets (or farm animals) and we are able to adapt technology designed for humans to our animal companions.

Here's a short video of Bella with her new leg.

30 April 2012

Knowing what's normal for your pet can save their life

Bentley our Golden RetrieverA few days ago I wrote about almost taking Raven to the vet to have a perfectly healthy tooth looked at. I later realized her tooth was fine and cancelled our appointment.

But I've also been in the situation where suspecting something was wrong and taking my pet in for a check-up turned out to be a life-saving decision. This happened a few years ago, but it's an excellent example of how being familiar with your pet's normal behaviors and being proactive can save your pet's life.

Bentley was panting a lot. Summer was coming and it was getting warmer, but not so warm that he should be panting all the time. He was panting for no reason - while just lying around the house, or he'd wake up and start panting. This didn't seem right, so I took him to the vet. The vet could feel something in Bentley's abdomen, and an x-ray showed an abnormal mass. The vet was concerned, so we got the soonest appointment with the radiologist for an ultrasound. Bentley had a large mass on or near his spleen. The vet was very concerned that this large mass could rupture and Bentley could bleed to death! Two days later Bentley was scheduled for surgery.

The mass turned out to be a non-cancerous overgrowth of his spleen. Bentley's spleen was twice as large as normal and was taking up so much space that it was interfering with his breathing. After surgery, Bentley recovered very quickly and without any complications. Within a few weeks the only evidence that something had been wrong was a shaved belly.

Our situation shows how important it was that I knew Bentley's normal behaviors and I trusted my instincts that something was wrong. I didn't hestitate to get my vet's advice as soon as possible, even though Bentley didn't seem to be "sick". By being observant and proactive, we probably saved Bentley's life.

Here are my thoughts for being a great advocate for your pet's  health:

  • Know what's normal for your pet.

  • Trust your instincts when you think something is wrong.

  • Be proactive.

  • Have a skilled vet who you trust, literally, with your pet's life (thanks Dr. C).

  • Have a good relationship with your vet.

  • Don't be afraid to ask your vet for advice, even if you think you'll look foolish (this is why you want a good relationship with your vet).

27 April 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - texture (learning about a cat's tongue)

Sammi's cat tongueAnyone who's been licked by a cat knows their tongue can be very rough. A cat's tongue is an amazing structure that serves many purposes. The center of the tongue is rough due to the backwards-facing spines called papillae. The spines are stiff because they contain keratin, the same substance that makes up hair, fingernails, and claws.

The texture on a cat's tongue makes it a perfect tool for eating and grooming.  The spines help cats in the wild lick meat off a bone. For Sammi, they help her lick canned food off a plate! During grooming, the spines act like a comb and help a cat smooth their fur. But since the barbs face backwards, it also means they ingest a lot of fur. This can be a problem for long-haired cats who then get hairballs.  Yesterday was National Hairball Awareness day and you can learn about the seriousness of hairballs from Raven.

Surprisingly, the barbs on a cat's tongue aren't very important for drinking. The tip of a cat's tongue is smooth because it doesn't have barbs. Cats drink by dipping just the tip of their tongue into liquid and quickly pulling it up into their mouth, so the barbs don't matter much.

Different cats have different roughness to their tongue. Sammi had a very soft tongue while Raven's tongue is much rougher.

This week's PhotoHunt "Texture" starts here.

25 April 2012

Hairball Awareness Day - April 27

RavenApril 27th is Hairball Awareness Day.  We've been preparing for this day for several weeks, because I can produce some mighty hairballs. Last August I was hacking up so many big hairballs that mom started keeping track on a calendar. At the worst point, I had 5 big hairballs in 3 weeks. One was scary because after I regurgitated the hairball I rolled onto my side then hunched down on the floor for about 15 minutes breathing very quickly and shallowly! Mom was worried because she's never seen a kitty react to a hairball like that. Mom decided she had to get serious about brushing me to try to prevent hairballs.

Beginning in March, Mom started brushing me more often. She knew I'd start shedding more with the warm weather and she didn't want a repeat of last year's hairball nightmare. Every few days mom grooms me and gets out a small clump of fur. That means the fur isn't going into my tummy to create a hairball. It's April 25th and I haven't had a hairball yet.

Hairballs are more than just annoying, they're unhealthy. Here's an informative article by a vet describing how hairballs form and how a cat with hairballs might seem sick, and how to treat and prevent hairballs.

I have lots of grooming tools that help me keep my fur shiny, tangle-free, and prevent hairballs. Mom is really good at brushing me gently so I enjoy my grooming time.

  1. Good quality slicker brushes that have gentle wire bristles.

  2. The Zoom Groom rubber grooming brush

  3. A wide-toothed comb where the tines rotate in the holder.

  4. A flea comb

  5. A natural boar-bristle finishing brush

grooming toolsThe purple thing is a Zoom Groom. It works by gently grasping the loose fur and by static attraction between the rubber and fur. At first I didn't like it, but now I enjoy being ZoomGroomed - gently! Mom uses that first, then the wide-toothed comb and slicker brush to get the loosened fur off. The flea comb gets the last strands of fur. The natural boar bristle brush is for my head, cheeks and chin. One of the best things about boar bristle is that it doesn't create static. What girl wants static in their fur?!

23 April 2012

Being an observant and proactive pet owner.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Raven enjoys biting on my eyeglasses"]Raven biting my eyeglasses[/caption]

I read an interesting blog post the other day by Dr. Plotnick, a vet who specializes in feline veterinary medicine. His blog, "Cat Man Do" is a mix of veterinary information and other personal experiences. A recent post, It’s snot what you think… or maybe it is reminded me of a recent experience I had with Raven.

Raven has a broken upper canine tooth. We adopted her that way so we don't know when, or how, she did it. Every few months I take a peek in her mouth to check on her teeth and gums. She has a few tiny red areas on her gums, so I like to keep an eye on them to make sure they're not getting too inflammed.

The last time I checked her teeth it looked like she had broken another tooth. She had a stumpy little tooth in her upper jaw and it didn't look right to me, so I called the vet to make an appointment to have him look at it. Her mouth didn't seem to be bothering her at all, which seemed odd if her tooth was broken. So a couple days later I took another look in her mouth.  After looking at some photos on vet web sites and my cat health books, I realized her tooth wasn't broken. It was a normal, healthy, small premolar behind her upper canine tooth.

I called the vet to cancel the appointment and admitted my mistake. No broken tooth, just an over-protective mom. 

After having multiple cats and a dog who have all had serious health issues, I'm a firm believer in dealing with a potential issue as soon as possible. That gives us the best chance to catch things early and have good treatment options. And after nearly 15 years, my relationship with the vet is one where I wouldn't be embarassed by taking Raven in to have a perfectly healthy tooth looked at. He knows that I put my pet's health above everything, including my ego. And had I taken her in to have her healthy tooth looked at, he would just tell me everything is fine and I'd laugh and say thanks for taking a look at it for me.

22 April 2012

Raven's Warning?

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Credit: Pekka Parviainen/Science photo library"]meteorite[/caption]

Around 7:30 this morning Raven was in our bedroom being very active and meowing. She jumped on top of our dresser, which is something she doesn't do very often, and meowed and paced.  Raven can be talkative when she wants to play, but this seemed different. Later in the morning we turned on the news and they said they were being flooded with calls about a loud noise. The police in several neighboring counties were getting a lot of calls too. They suspect a meteroite hit ground somewhere in the area, and that's the loud noise people were hearing. Maybe Raven knew something strange was happening and tried to warn us. I'll have to watch the news later and see if they say a meteorite hit around the time Raven was meowing.

Here's an excerpt from the newspaper:

Explosions over the Sierra today caused by meteor shower

By Loretta Kalb

The sound of a powerful explosion punctuated the calm over a wide area of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California about 8:30 a.m. today, the apparent result of an ongoing meteor shower left by the annual Earth fly-by of Comet Thatcher.

Craig Shoemaker, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said the Lyrid meteor shower - the debris cloud left by the comet as it makes its annual pass -- is capable of producing fireballs and sonic booms when it enters the atmosphere, "similar as a plane would make" when it crosses the sound barrier.

20 April 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - Reflect (and learn about cat's eyes)

Light reflecting from Sammi's and Raven's eyes.

Sammi and Raven reflecting eyesWhat looks like a simple (or spooky) reflection is due to a special layer of tissue that cats and many other animals have behind the retina of their eyes. This special layer of tissue is called the tapetum lucidum and it reflects light that wasn't absorbed by the retina back into the eye so that it has another chance to be absorbed and send a signal to the brain.

Because of the tapetum lucidum, cat's are about 6 times more senstive to light than humans. This allows cats to see so very well in dim light, which is great for those late-night mouse (or toy) hunts.

When light hits the tapetum lucidum just right, it is reflected back out the front of the eye and we see that as eye shine. Most cats eyes shine green, but Siamese cats eyes shine red.

Since humans don't have a tapetum lucidum, our eyes don't shine.

Note: my cats are not harmed by the occasional flash that catches their eyes, but please don't torment your cat or any other animal by shining bright light into their eyes. And don't shine bright lights into nocturnal animals eyes like a hamster.  Their eyes are designed for vision during darkness (night) and bright light can cause damage to their vision.

The Saturday Blog Hop themed "Reflect" starts here.

Is a dog sibling in my future?

Last weekend, Mom & Dad went to a dog show. Bentley has been gone for almost three years and they've been thinking of getting another dog. I liked Bentley, so they think I would be happy to have a doggy sibling. I've made it very clear that I do not want a cat sibling. Sammi was my special friend and I liked her, but I don't like other cats.Raven and Bentley

Here are some of the dogs they saw at the show. Bentley was such an amazing dog that they are most likely to get another Golden Retriever. Mom & Dad like that they are gentle, smart, and easily trainable. Golden Retrievers

Then they saw some Siberian Huskies. Mom's family had Huskies when she was young, so she likes them. But we live in a very hot climate and that wouldn't be enjoyable for a cold-loving Husky.Siberian Huskies

Then she was the Big Doggies! These Saint Bernards were so big they couldn't fit in the picture. Mom likes big doggies, but these are too big and drooly for our home. Saint BernardsUnfortunately, Mom & Dad were very disappointed with the dog show. There were no breed clubs or information booths, and the people were busy showing their dogs and didn't want to be bothered by the public. We're not 100% ready to get a dog yet, but I suspect there might be one in my future.

Murder Past Due & Classified as Murder - Book Reviews

Classified As Murder bookI'm catching up on my reviews from books I read this winter. I enjoy reading fun mysteries with cats in them, and found two books by Miranda James that I really enjoyed. First is Murder Past Due. The second book in the series is Classified as Murder.  Usually these types of books involve women and their cats, but the main character in this series is Charlie Harris, a college librarian in Athena, Mississippi. He and his cat Diesel are a wonderful pair. One way or another, they find themselves in the midst of a murder mystery that needs solving. Charlie is a likable man and his young, affectionate, and very large Maine Coon Diesel is a cat every cat lover would want to have.

Murder Past Due bookThe books are entertaining and easy to read. I like a book with a good story, smooth writing style, and no words I have to look up in the dictionary! Four paws up for these books because it was a nice change of pace to have a man and his cat as the main characters. I've ordered the next book, File M for Murder and I hope it will be as entertaining as the first two.

18 April 2012

Sleight of Paw - Book Review

Sleight of Paw bookA while ago, I reviewed a book called Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly. I liked that book enough to read another book by the same author - Sleight of Paw.

Kathleen lives in the small town of Mayville Heights, Minnesota with two formerly feral cats Owen and Hercules, who have unusual abilities. Once again, Kathleen finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery and Hercules won't be left behind. There are funny, suspenseful, and tense moments as Kathleen and the kitties figure out who killed a local woman.

Three paws up for another easy to read, fun book for cat lovers.  I just ordered the next book in this series, Copycat Killing, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

16 April 2012

Foxy Intruder Plays in My Yard

After a long, cold, and rainy winter, it was a beautiful weekend and mom put on my harness so she could take me outside. Since I'm not allowed out on my own, it takes me a few minute to get comfortable outside. I walked around for a few minutes and was just starting to enjoy the sunny outdoors when I was scooped up by mom and taken inside.

What? This isn't right!  But then I saw what was going on. Mom heard Foxy meowing on the other side of the fence and she knew Foxy would be over the fence in no time. Sure enough, the little intruder came into my yard.
Mom took photos of the invasion. Foxy didn't just come into my yard, she played in it. She walked all around, sniffed the plants, got into the side yard - where My dad had to pick her up and take her away from all the yard equipment. She watched My mom & dad plant strawberries, layed in the sunny dirt, and even played with my dad.

Foxy the neighbor's cat Dad carying Foxy
Foxy by the strawberries Foxy in the dirt

Foxy playing with Dad

Mom thinks Foxy is cute, and even though she doesn't want to encourage Foxy to come over, she plays with her because Foxy comes over when her family is away and she's lonely. Foxy is only about 1 year old and my mom is a softy when it comes to making sure cats are happy. But this was just wrong! Foxy got to do all the things I should have been enjoying. She even had the audacity to come right up to my screen door! That's when I screamed at her in my loudest meowl and let her know I don't like her. Mom put Foxy up on the fence so she would go back home, but it wasn't until they were ready to come back in the house. Because of Foxy, I didn't get to have any time outside in my own yard.

Now I'm wondering when I'll get to enjoy my backyard. If Foxy hears us outside she'll come over and it wouldn't be safe for me to be out on my harness.

This is a frustrating dilema! What am I going to do? Spring is here and I want to enjoy my backyard.