Vet Update

 

Two updates in one day! Last month the three cats went in for their annual check ups and I found out Logan had a bad tooth. I should have just scheduled removal at the time, but the vet said to keep an eye on it.

Last week, I found Logan drooling. I called another vet figuring I’d get a second opinion on what was going on. I didn’t want to put her under anesthesia until I was certain that the removal was the right thing.

She had the tooth checked today, and it definitely needs to come out. The vet thinks the drooling was from something getting caught in her gum and irritating it near the bad tooth. We did a blood test today to make sure there isn’t anything going on that we should know about before we do the cleaning next week.

 

Cali needs a diet and a haircut!

We also found a lump on Cali’s side last week, so she also went in for a check up today. Thankfully, they are 90% sure that it is just a fatty deposit. They took a quick sample of it to be sure, but it doesn’t seem like anything to worry about.

Time to try something new for Cali’s allergies. She’s been taking Apoquel for years, and sometimes it seems to help more than others. We are going to slowly wean her off the Apoquel and see how she does with just Cytopoint injections. She had one today, she’ll have another in 30 days, and then we will see how she does. I’m excited to have her off Apoquel. I hope the new plan works.

Seems that Cali has also put on a few pounds. She weighed over 16 lbs today! She’s usually about 11. Time for more exercise and a doggie diet! That’s fine. Just thankful that the lump doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Laser Cat Toy by PetSafe

My cats have been playing with the Laser Tail Toy from PetSafe for a few months now, and they love it! I’ve used many PetSafe products over the years; toys, leashes, water fountains, and I find them generally to be good quality and fair prices. This laser toy certainly fits in that category.

The toy is roughly 7″ long and 5.5″ wide. It’s small enough to easily carry around in one hand. The device is very sturdy and can handle the cats pushing it, leaping on it, and even knocking it down the stairs. It has also been fine when I’ve forgotten about it and accidentally stepped on it, whoops!

The unit takes three double A batteries, and honestly they seem to last forever. As you can see above, it has three wheels that move the unit around on the floor. I have used it on linoleum, floor tiles, short carpet, and wood floors, and it seems to work well on all of them. It is able to move more quickly and freely on non-carpeted surfaces, of course, but it does work just fine on short carpet.

So what exactly does this toy do? It projects a laser on the floor. It’s simple and pretty awesome. For whatever reason, cats seem to love chasing laser beams. While it can be very enjoyable for humans to tease a cat with a handheld laser, this toy entertains your cat when you can’t, or when you just want to watch.

See that white circle above? That’s the power switch. Push it on, or push it off. It’s that simple. When it’s powered on, the toy turns on the laser, which projects onto the floor in front of it, and it moves. The toy moves backwards, forwards, left, right, and circles. It moves, stops, and moves again. It knows when it has bumped into something, and it changes direction. It will also turn itself off after a short period of time, so you could turn it on when you need to go out, and leave it to entertain your cats while you escape.

I keep this toy in the kitchen, for those times when the cats get pesty and need my attention, but I need to get something done. I hit the button on the bottom, and the cats are immediately off the counters, out of my way, and interested in what the toy is doing. Sometimes they just sit and watch it, other times they aggressively chase it, bat at it, and sometimes even knock it around.

Bean enjoys watching the laser. I’m not sure he really knows what to make of it. Sometimes he acts as if he is scared of it, but other times he enjoys chasing it. Most of the time, it’s a combination of watching and chasing.

Even though Bean is just a baby at barely a year old, he is still super lazy. A few minutes of play time, and he is ready for another nap!

Summary: I would definitely recommend this product for anyone looking to entertain their younger, more playful cats. My older cat, Logan, isn’t very playful anymore, and she doesn’t have any interest in this toy, but both of my younger boys enjoy playing with it. I do enjoy toys such as feathers on a stick and things like that which allow me to interact with the cats more, but this is a really handy thing to have when the cats need to play and I need to get something done. It’s sturdy, well designed, and long-lasting. I think it would be really fun to add a “tail” or other attachment to dangle off the back, but that might just get tangled up in the wheels. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The Sh*t Show

Good News and Bad news, first the good! It only took two mornings for Bean to learn that waking us up at 4 or 5AM was not good for anyone. We did a few different things, so I’m not exactly sure which one worked, or maybe it was the combination.

Master Bean and his sidekick Hector D. Byrd

The first thing I did was to stop feeding the cats canned food in the morning. They have dry food available at all times. They didn’t need breakfast. They asked for it for the first couple of mornings, but then they seemed to forget. Now I’m giving them a big serving of wet food once a day instead of the two wet food meals. Easier for me, no morning expectations, and easier clean up.

The next thing I did was to mess with Bean more at night. I played with him, patted him, groomed him, basically made sure he got lots of attention, whether he wanted it or not!

Finally, I brought a squirt bottle to bed with me. I didn’t want to use it, but he had to learn that screaming at 4AM was not the right way to get our attention. The first morning he came in and howled, I told him “no” and he did it again, so I squirted him. I aimed for his butt, and I’m not even sure the water hit him, but it did startle him. He left and didn’t come back.

At bedtime, I made sure that a quiet Bean knew he was welcome in our bed. I cuddled him and gave him lots of pats. I didn’t want him to think we didn’t want him in there. The next morning, he howled, I squirted way behind him, and he darted out of the room. He hasn’t been back to howl early morning since!

The bad news? I spent most of yesterday cleaning up Diarrhea. I currently still have two area rugs outside drying, and I just brought a third back to its normal spot after being washed, fun day, NOT!

It was one thing when the three cats were having diarrhea, but when the dog also started, I was so confused. The cats don’t go outside, they all eat different food. The dog doesn’t get into plants or anything like that the cats might have gotten into. Finally, I posted the issue on Facebook, and someone suggested it might be the water bowl, brilliant! It’s the only thing all four of them share. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with our water, because everyone else in the house is fine, but maybe there was something funky with the pet fountain.

Hector found it amusing to watch me scrubbing floors.

While I figured out the fountain, a call to the vet was in order, but with all the restrictions during this pandemic, my vet couldn’t see them for a week! I couldn’t live like this for a week, and I knew my pets would all be dehydrated. I got a little annoyed with the receptionist that she couldn’t get me in sooner. I  told her I would find another vet and hung up. Before I got a chance to call my back up vet, she called back and asked if I would bring in a fecal sample. I explained that I did that last week and it was negative. She told me to bring in different poop. With all of the pets having the same problem, I didn’t think that bringing in another sample would yield a different result. I told her no thanks. She tried to schedule me for next week again. I hung up.

Then she called me back a third time. She had talked to the doctor, a friend of mine for the last 15+ years. He knows me and knows my animals. He agreed to try a medication for them while I waited to come in. I picked up the medication that night. After just one dose each, no more problems! Thank goodness! I was running out of cleaner and we all know how hard it can be to acquire cleaning supplies during this pandemic.

I changed to my spare water fountain and put in all clean filters. I don’t know what could have happened to the fountain, but it seems to be the only logical cause. The fountain went through the dishwasher, now I’m leaving it for a bit. I did buy some cheap, generic filters for the fountain, and I’m wondering if there is a chance there was a chemical or something bad in those filters. I bought a ton of them, but it isn’t worth the risk. I’ll be throwing them all away.

The cats got canned food again last night, they were so happy. After two days of medication, everyone still seems to be doing fine.

The Dragon doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about!

 

 

June already?

Everything seems so crazy in the world right now. While I’m certainly concerned about all that is going on, I’m also happy to focus on the good for a few moments, so let’s talk pets!

The Dragon

The Dragon is cranky. It’s Spring shedding time and although much of her as already shed, she’s still got a lot of shedding to do, her head especially, and that seems to drive her crazy. I did discover some new greens that she is REALLY excited about. It used to be that the only green she really ate consistently was Arugula. I’ve tried so many different types of greens and she wouldn’t touch them. When I grocery shopped a few days ago, the store was totally out of Arugula. I thought I would try something different and I bought some pea shoots and broccoli sprouts. She is devouring them! This morning she ate a big bowl of them, and I just brought her another handful of the pea sprouts and she is gobbling them all up. I may have to bring her another helping.

I’m happy to find greens that she will eat so well!

Cali is doing fine, but she’s itchy. Spring is not the best season for her, and I’ve had to spot treat her skin, and also give her extra baths. I made need to bring her to the vet for an extra allergy shot, but so far she is hanging in there with the baths and spot treatments as well as her regular Apoquel.

I did clip her recently, and the short haircut also seems to help with the allergies. I can give her a really good scrub when I bathe her, and it is easier to get the topical sprays on her skin.

Hector is getting so brave! She’s still walking all around the house, and chewing and cardboard that crosses her path. The last few days, she has also been attempting short flights! I did clip Hector’s wings not long after we got her. I had taken her to the vet for a check up, and the vet suggested I clip her as she adjusted to her new home. I haven’t clipped her wings since. I’d prefer not to clip her, but if she starts flying and crashing I may have to clip her again so that she doesn’t hurt herself.

Hector has started a new little routine. After dinner and clean up, the family usually heads into the living room to watch a movie. Hector follows us to the living room now. I sit on the floor, play fetch with Cali, and Hector struts around checking everything out. Occasionally she will push a cat toy around or nibble on a dog toy. When she’s had enough, she makes this awful whistle/scream sound and we know it is time to give her a ride back to her cage.

Logan

Last but not least are all the kitties. All are doing well. Puck and Bean have been venturing outside on leashes a little bit. I’m starting to think it isn’t a good idea as Puck has been sitting at the door meowing like he is asking to go out. I don’t want outdoor cats, or even indoor/outdoor cats. I know everyone has different feelings on it, but it just isn’t my thing. The only time I’ve had an outdoor cat was when I had a barn in Texas and I had a barn cat. I used to worry every time I went out that I wouldn’t find him. I know I wouldn’t sleep if I had an outdoor cat and it didn’t come home one night.

Since I’ve given up on trying to get the cats to use new kitty litter, I’ve gotten a couple of mats to try and help contain the spread of the litter at least. I’ll post a review of the new mats tomorrow.

I’m also giving Primal cat food a try. I’ll get a review of that posted soon as well.

Stay well everyone!

 

Extra Time to Write

Bean has been checking his crystal ball, but no news on when the Corona virus will clear up. We all hope everyone is staying safe and well. On a positive note, I’m hoping the extra time at home will give me more time to update this blog. Let me know if there is a topic you would like covered.

Before I get into an update on my own creature friends, just a note to spread the word that reliable sources say pets can not carry Corona virus. I’m seeing to many stories about pets being dumped at shelters because people are scared. Keep your pets close and let’s get through this together.

Hector is a bit tired of having people around all the time. While she likes attention and activity, she is a little upset that her routine has been messed with. She is dealing with our later breakfast time, but she would definitely like some more quiet time. I’m often finding her with her head curled up trying to nap on top of her cage.

Wena, the bearded dragon, is doing well.  She’s been shedding like crazy and eating a ton. Thankfully I can still get live insect shipments delivered for her. Her body has mostly shed, but her head, back legs, and tail still need to go,  lots of baths for her.

Bean AND Logan

Bean isn’t always nice to Logan, but Logan can also be the cranky old lady. I do still catch Bean chasing her at times, but the other day I caught the two of them snuggling. Logan didn’t seem to mind Bean using her as a pillow. Nice to see them getting along!

 

Cali and Bean love to greet me when I come in the house even if I’ve only been gone a few minutes to grab the mail or put out the trash. Both are VERY happy to have people around all the time.

 

Our sweet boy Puck isn’t doing very well right now.  I feel so bad for him. He still seems to be suffering the effects of the cystitis he was diagnosed with a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it is my fault. I’ve been trying some non-prescription urinary health cat foods, but not the prescription one, after yesterday when I had to call the vet again, I’ve got him on the prescription diet, and now he is also on pain killers again.

The problem is that we have three cats in the house, and the prescription food is super expensive. One tiny little 3oz can costs about $1.50. The other problem is that Puck doesn’t love canned food.  He will eat a bit, then leave. This morning I mixed his canned food with a little extra water, and he actually seemed to really like that, and the extra water is supposed to be good for him. I invested in the prescription dry food as well, but it really isn’t sustainable to keep all three cats on this prescription food. The dry food is $40 for a 7lb bag, vs. about $20 for the 7 pound bags I used to buy.

This morning, Puck got his special prescription canned food, and the other two cats split a big can of the non-prescription urinary health food. Puck seemed to eat as much as he wanted before he left. Someone suggested a chip-reading feeder. I’m thinking about trying one, and setting it up so that Bean and Logan could eat from it, but not Puck, and then I can try to keep Puck eating only his prescription canned food. Of course the chip-reading feeders are also pretty expensive.  Maybe I can find a couple of them to review and check out.

If anyone has any other ideas on keeping Puck healthy without spending quite so much on prescription cat food, I’d love any new ideas.

Stay well everyone, and enjoy your pets!

Get a parrot they say…

Parrots are fun and pretty and smart! Yes, all of the above, and they are also characters! But the truth is parrots are high maintenance and super messy!

I’m trying to get some work done this morning, and Hector strolls over by my desk. “Wanna come up?” she says, but when I try to pick her up she poops, runs off, and laughs!

The kitties had been playing with a toy, but Hector strolled over and took over. She was enjoying watching the ball go around the track, but when the kitties stopped playing with it because she showed up, she lost interest.

Hector moved on…

She decided to remodel the cat perch I made, with a little help from Bean. I had to redirect her back to her cage with an almond bribe. All is quiet for the moment, other than the crunch, crunch of the almond.  Maybe I can get some work done!

 

Breeze Litter Box

Litter boxes are definitely the worst part of owning cats. With three kitties in the house, litter boxes are an issue. I’m constantly in search of the “perfect” box. Now, going from two cats to three, we’ve had to adjust, bigger food bowl, more water refills, more cleaning, and more litter boxes.

For the two cats, I had two litter boxes downstairs. We have a finished basement, and the stairs between the first floor and the basement have an open area under them. It is the perfect spot to have litter boxes out of the way. I keep a basket of bags there, and it is easy to clean the box, and step into the garage to put the dirty bag directly into the trashcan. When we got Bean, I added a third litter box downstairs with the others.

Little Bean started at our house without full freedom. I set him up in our laundry room which is actually an extra bedroom that we use as a laundry room. He had everything he needed in there, and it gave him a smaller space to acclimate to our home for a week or so until he was ready for run of the whole house.

As Bean gained his freedom and we started leaving him loose in the entire house while we were home, and then finally just all the time, I left his food, water, and litter box set up in the laundry room. Our older female cat, Logan, discovered this, and made herself at home.

Logan is kind of a weird cat. She spends a lot of time in our bedroom, and gets super nervous when extra people are at the house, or really there is any kind of change. I noticed that she really liked having the laundry room litter box, so I left it set up.

Logan

I don’t mind having a litter box there, the space works out, but after a few days I noticed we were starting to track litter all over the place. I bought a litter mat which is supposed to help catch and contain the litter, and it does help, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

I had heard of the Breeze litter system, and it seemed interesting, but with four litter boxes in my house, it seemed like it would be an expensive endeavor to keep up with the pads and special litter that go with it. Amazon had a deal I noticed over Christmas for the new covered Breeze box. For $23.99 I could get the box and a starter supply of litter and pads.

The timing was right. I needed a better solution for our laundry room litter box, and maybe Breeze was it.

The new box arrived just after Christmas. It took about a minute to set up, a pad goes in the bottom drawer. The drawer slides into the base, the top snaps on the base, and then you fill the base with the big, pellet litter.

Breeze Covered Litterbox

Design is really excellent. I love that the top flips back and doesn’t need to be removed for cleaning. Such a simple and useful design. There is even a spot on the outside of the box for the included scoop to hang from. The drawer slides open and closed easily. Changing the bottom pad that collects urine takes less than a minute, just pull it out, fold it up, and place a new one in the drawer.

Breeze Box with top flipped

After having it for about 5 days, the cats are still trying to figure it out. They have peed in it, but they are definitely using it less than they were using a traditional box with regular, clumping litter.

The big, chunky litter definitely doesn’t scatter around the house as badly, although occasionally Bean thinks the pellets are toys and I hear him batting one around the upstairs hallway. Even with Bean using the litter as a toy, it is still much less messy than traditional litter.

So far, I’m not noticing any odor from the pads. I did find generic pads on Amazon, so I’m less worried about the price, and since this isn’t a heavily used box, I can probably get away with changing the pad once a week even though we have multiple cats.

First impression is that this box may be perfect for my laundry room. It doesn’t smell, it’s easy to keep clean, and most importantly to me, the cats aren’t tracking litter everywhere.

I’ll update again in a couple of weeks as the cats continue to adjust to the new box and litter.

Post Holidays

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, or Hanukah, or just some nice family time, whatever you are celebrating. We certainly enjoyed the festivities here. It was wonderful to be home, and to have the whole family together.

After finding the kitties playing in the Christmas tree again last night, I think we will be rushing to take the tree down this year before the kitties do it for us! The kitties also got a new climbing tree for Christmas, but we are waiting to set it up until the tree is gone so we have enough room for it. Hopefully we can get the holiday tree packed up and the cat tree set up over the weekend.

Did your pets get holiday treats? Puck, Bean and Logan have plenty of new toys, Cali has new treats, toys, and a new jacket. We even managed to find my daughter a jacket to match Cali’s. The only thing I can’t figure out is why I find hoods on dog coats so often. They never work!

Hector loves to open presents. She spent most of the afternoon working on this package until all the paper was sufficiently shredded. So far, she has been much less interested in the toys that were inside the package than she was with the package. Next year maybe I’ll just wrap some empty boxes for her.

The lizard didn’t really need much for Christmas, so she got some new greenery for her tank. I just got it set up this morning. I think it makes her tank look nicer, but she hasn’t shown any interest in it at all yet.

Weena is way in the back right hand corner behind the tree trunk.

What did your pet-friends get for the holidays?

Coming up soon on the blog, I’ll be testing out a new litter box with the cats. It’s the TidyCat Breeze litter box. It has a pad system and it supposed to be low litter tracking, so I want to try it out in my laundry room where the extra cat box there is causing some litter mess. I also have some more treat reviews coming, and I still need to get my Pet Fountain review written up. Let me know if there is any kind of product you would like me to check out, or if there is a product you love that I should take a look at.

If anyone is interested in feeding outside birds, I found an article about safe human foods to feed them that you might find valuable: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/safe-food-for-birds/household-scraps-for-birds/

Purrs, barks, and tweets!

 

 

PetSafe Drinking Fountains

Do you use a Pet Fountain for your dog or cat? I started using one a few years ago, and I won’t ever go back to a regular water bowl, especially for my cats.

Bean loves the Fountain!


Years ago, I lost a cat to kidney disease. My vet told me it was very common because most cats don’t drink enough water. I switched to a diet of canned and dry food for my cats so they would get that little bit of extra moisture from the canned food, and I switched to a fountain.

I have two PetSafe fountains that I switch between. One is the Drinkwell Seascape Fountain, shown above with Bean, and the other is the Drinkwell, 2 gallon model. 

PetSafe 2 Gallon

Both fountains work great. I actually use them both and switch off between them. They both work in essentially the same way, they have a filter which circulates the water from the bowl, and then spits it out through the fountain. The 2 gallon model has a spout for the water to come out of, and the Seascape model uses a large ceramic globe or ball that the water comes out of the top and pours down over the sides.  I like to switch between the two fountains to keep the cats interest up. They seem to really like to lick the water off the ceramic globe of the Seascape, but they also enjoying playing with the water from the spout on the two gallon model.

Maintenance is easy. Each fountain contains a foam filter and a carbon filter. It takes me maybe ten minutes total for a thorough cleaning. The process is very similar for both. The foam filter fits around the pump and collects larger debris such as cat hair, and the carbon filter freshens the water. I clean my fountain about once every ten days, and usually change the carbon filter every time. There are times I’ve rinsed the filter and it has looked OK, so I’ve used it for a second cycle. The foam filter is very easy to rinse and reuse. I probably only change my foam filter once every three months. Both types of filters are easily and inexpensively available on Amazon. Here’s the insides of the Seascape fountain:

Seascape Fountain – foam filter and pump
Carbon filter and housing
Carbon filter assembled and attached to foam filter and pump
Ready to add the globe

The Two Gallon fountain is similar inside:

 

 

Pump and foam filter

 

Carbon filter and water intake

 

Housing goes over the pump and filters – the lever in the middle adjusts water flow
Cap covers the tower

The Seascape is slightly easier to clean, simply because of the material it is made from. We have lots of minerals in our water and they build up quickly on surfaces. I find it easier to clean the ceramic bowl of the Seascape than the plastic of the other fountain. As you can see in the picture above, I definitely get some mineral residue.

During the week, I simply add fresh water to the bowl as the level depletes. The nice thing about the plastic fountain is the bigger capacity. The Seascape fountain holds about 70 ounces, while the other, holds about 2 gallons. I’ve got three cats and a small dog, so the capacity of the Seascape works for me. I don’t mind refilling it daily. When I had my yellow lab, it was definitely helpful to have the larger fountain, and even then, I put out a large water bowl along with the fountain in summer because he would go through a lot of water. Honestly, I found my Lab preferred to just drink out of a bowl most of the time. The cats always seem to prefer the moving water from the fountain.

Aesthetically, I like the look of the Seascape better. The ceramic feels more finished. I also prefer the spherical design of the Seascape better than the spout design of the two gallon model.

Another small detail I like better about the Seascape model is that it is easier to pick up. The two gallon model has straight sides that go right to the floor, so it is harder to get a finger under it to lift it, and the sides are straight. The Seascape is a bit curved at the top of the bowl, so it is easy to pick up. It also feels sturdier than the plastic fountain when I have to move it with water in it.

Overall, I think they are both great fountains. If I had to chose only one, I would chose the Seascape because the capacity is enough for me, and I like the look of it, but if you need the bigger capacity, the Two gallon works just great.

Do you use a fountain for your pets? What features do you like? You can check out these two fountains at www.petsafe.com or look for them on Amazon.

Holiday Season

Do you include your pets in your holiday festivities? My pets have been involving themselves! Boxes everywhere, and everyone loves them! The cats hide in them, and Hector chews them.

The cats think that putting up the Christmas tree was the best thing we have ever done for them. Little Bean loves to knock the ornaments off the tree, and Puck has been caught trying to climb it more than once. Hector D. Byrd HATES change. She is very thankful the tree is no where near her cage, but she does seem to enjoy holiday music with all the bells.

Cali needs a haircut!

As I started to get a few presents wrapped an under the tree, I realized that none of my packages were going to have pretty bows this year. Bean thinks bows are toys, and I’ve just been finding them all over the house.

We will be home for Christmas, which is perfect because I really prefer to share the holidays with all my pet-babies. Everyone will have presents under the tree. Cali sometimes likes to open her own presents.  Hector definitely enjoys opening gifts.

I don’t usually do anything big/expensive for gifts, unless there is something a pet needs that I was able to time right and purchase for the holidays.  This year, Hector is getting a couple of new toys, Dragon is getting a new vine decoration for her tank, Cali is getting some treats and a toy, and the kitties also have treats and a couple of little toys. Since Bean is new to our house and Bean LOVES to climb, I did splurge a little this Christmas, and got the cats a new cat tree. It’s 72″ tall and has platforms and scratching posts. I think the kitties are going to be very excited!

How are you going to celebrate the holidays with your pets?