Thursday, October 30, 2014

Photos from home


I sit here at BarkWorld hundreds of miles from home, missing The Crew.. and my husband sent me a few photos of them for me, because the 100 of them I have on my phone just isn't the same as seeing them as they are today..

Yup.. I love those cats of mine (and even that cat of his)

Muffin

Kit

Fleurp


If you are at BarkWorld and would like a cat nip toy, come find me.. I have about 15 or so to give out..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sponsored - The Best Cat Book Ever


I was contacted a few weeks ago by Frances Lassora at St. Martin's Press asking if I might be interested in doing a review and giveaway for a new book they were promoting. She very generously offered five books and 50 postcard books books to give away to my readers.

Now I will admit fully to not doing my research before getting this book.  My mind was a little preoccupied but I figured it was a cat book, I'm sure I would love it.

The book arrived the other day, and at first I was kinda bothered with myself for not looking a little closer at what was being offered..


I opened the book to a random page and there was this black cat who did not look thrilled with the situation being dressed in clothes and positioned in a decorated background, and I thought 'oh what did I get myself into'.

I put the book down because Jack wanted attention, and he was my priority at the time. I picked it up again a few days later trying to figure out what on earth I was going to say about it, and this time I started at the front of the book and read it right through.  What I read impressed me.

As someone who isn't above putting her cats in clothing, the immediate premise was not a turn off, but it was more the cat's apparent attitude, but Kate addressed that pretty quickly. She admits that is just his 'resting face' and she only works when AC wants to. If he indicates that he isn't into it, she waits until he is in the mood.  The intro pages explaining what she does and why really improved my opinion of this book dramatically.

Looking through the pages there were some scenes that made me laugh, a few that made me shake my head and a couple that made me wonder what she was thinking, but each one had me reacting, and isn't that the point?


Because I rarely have 50 comments on my posts, I am going to say if you comment you will be getting a pack of post cards, and five of you have the chance to win a copy of the book.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The book is available for sale on Amazon if you want to just skip the giveaway and buy your own.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jack's trip to Angell for his I131



Yesterday my husband and I took Jack down to Boston to be checked into Angell Animal Medical Center for his I131 treatment for his hyperthyroid. I had options that were closer but I chose Angel because they dosed cats based on a scan and not by weight. I didn't like the idea that a cat who has a high thyroid reading got the same dose as a cat with a very high reading. I also chose Angel because they can treat cats with multiple health issues and I was freaking out at the idea of him being overly stressed and it causing him urinary issues.

We had a 10 am appointment and it is two hours away so we got a very early start.  Someone was not impressed.


He mewed quite pathetically once he was in the vehicle, and I was afraid the guilt of his unhappiness was going to kill me, but once we got under way he quieted down and we didn't hear from  him again.

The drive was pretty uneventful thankfully but even with leaving extra time we got there at 10:02.. they got us into a room pretty quickly and the doctor was very personable and Dr Duddy was very nice.  Jack was a bit freaked out by the drive, but I got him purring and making biscuits and eating treats, which helped my mental state a lot. He adapts very well to new situations since he was introduced to a lot when he was a kitten, so I'm sure he is adapting very well. However they then said to take my carrier with me. Leaving a veterinarian office with an empty carrier has only happened when end of life has occurred, so I was very close to tears, and I made my husband run the carrier out to the car while I waited to pay. The bill was the high side of the estimate I had gotten and was nearly $2000.. *sigh* but he is worth it, and believing this was his best option out of the three I had (and it was only a couple of hundred dollars more than the local place - which I REALLY did not want to give my money to considering how they treated him last time)


After we dropped him off my husband suggested we go for lunch at Panera. When we were there I had strong memories of being at Panera in Kansas with Amy and Lisa when Jack blocked, but I kept reminding myself this would not be a real issue at all.  They don't sedate him, the only real risk I could tease out of all of my reading would be they overdosed him and it kills some of the regular thyroid and he turns out hypo instead of hyper. Since we had to pill him twice a day without this, I figured we'd be right back where we are now if that happened, and this gives him the best chance of 'fixing' him and I am hopeful that all of the peeing we have had as of late can be attributed to his being hyperthyroid (it is a symptom that often happens but isn't really recognized as one of the standard side effects).

So when I get sad about his not being safe at home, I remind myself this is in his best interest.

I just got my daily call about how he is doing. He ate dinner for them and the scan went well so they are all set for tomorrow to give him the treatment. I wish I had been more comfortable asking more questions like 'is he flirting with you' and 'did you call him a handsome boy today?"  and yes, I REALLY want to ask for the camera feed that is monitoring them, but darn it if I don't have a lot to finish up before I get on a plane tomorrow.  I'm probably not going to be online a lot between now and when we get home with Jack, who is coming home with me as my husband is picking him up before getting me from Logan Sunday night.

I can get through this.. really.. I just have to remember to not focus on he isn't home.. Interestingly enough this was his horoscope from Caren and Cody for this month:

Taurus cats typically like ritual, consistency, and a laid-back lifestyle. However, the planets may have something else in store this month. The positioning of Mars – as well as Jupiter and Uranus – will break down the routine and open up for something new.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Getting ready for BarkWorld MeowWorld


I've been getting ready to head down to BarkWorld on Wednesday and I was remembering when I went to BlogPaws I saw some baby chicks there.  I thought: "Wouldn't it be nice to bring something for chicks and make nice with more people"

So I came up with this..


Yup, just a house for the Chicks.. really.. Hopefully there will be chicks there.. but if not I will still get to meet the awesome Waffles..

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Semi Sponsored Post - Cat Urine Extractor and Zero Odor Eliminator


So when I went to BlogPaws 2013 I ran into a company who was producing an odor eliminator product for pets. They gave me several of their products hoping I would blog about it. Unfortunately I haven't gotten around to it until now. While watching twitter during BlogPaws 2014 I saw a post by another company who was producing a product for cleaning up inappropriate elimination. I tweeted to them that I wish I was there so I could get some, and after quite a bit of emails and several follow ups on my part and with some time passing, I finally got a bottle.

I have used both over the months and have found both pros and cons for both. One I intend to buy again, the other I might but I think because of the former I won't need it.

The first product is called "Zero Odor" it is a febreze type product that when you spray it on something that smells it changes the molecular structure so it no longer smells. They demonstrated it with an onion in a chopper.. chopping it up, letting you smell it then covering it with the product and you could no longer smell it. The lack of smell was pretty impressive. He would then chop it some more and the odor would be back. The product only works on the molecules of odor it can reach.

It also comes in three different types, one for odor elimination, one for spraying on the litter box, and one for cleaning. I got all three, and while I didn't use the litter box one, the other two worked very well.

The second product is Cat Urine Extractor by Earth's Balance. It is a concentrated, professional strength formula that completely extracts pheromones, helping to stop your cat from remarking the same area. Moleculift™ technology lifts pheromones up and out, getting rid of stains and odors for good. (quoth the website)

The Zero Odor is in a spray bottle which makes it great for dosing exactly where you want it, and the exact amount you want. It covers up odors wonderfully. My husband had a preference for a very floral smelling product that would give me headaches when he used it, and this covered that up brilliantly. The one downside to it is if there is an odor causing substance soaked into something and you only get the spray on to the surface, it will come back.

The Cat Urine Extractor comes in a squirt bottle. The product has a water consistency so it pours out pretty easily and it is harder to control. Using it on hard surfaces I was less than impressed.

I wanted to do a side by side to see which would "win" so I went down into my basement where I have had some issues with inappropriate elimination. This time it was the entertainment center.. I brought both products down with me as well as a black light I picked up in early November one year as a Halloween clearance item. (seriously, go find one.. you will both be amazed and disgusted what you have in your home)

The equipment (paper towels not shown)
Entertainment center before
under the black light
ewww
challengers, prepared to 'do battle'
the after
another after shot. You can see the particle board starting to separate
all gone

For cleaning hard surfaces the Zero Odor in the spray bottle was great. We've all cleaned with a spray bottle, so I don't need to explain why. Using the zero odor on the hard surface was a bit more difficult, but not that bad. Here there really is no clear winner..

Where the Cat Urine Extractor excelled was the carpet cleaning. I tried to get good photos of it, but was really hard. Taking a photo of the stain on the carpet wasn't easy so a lot of them were very blurry (I need to get a tripod) but taking a picture of the stain not there was pointless.. it just looked like carpet. The Cat Urine Extractor totally removed the stain from the carpet under the blacklight; even the stains that came from vomit and not urine. Again, the dosing wasn't very precise, and I felt I often used far more than I had to. Once the product was in the carpet all I needed to do was scrub with my fingertips and the stain actually disappeared with in moments. I used paper towels to sop it up and the rest dried up fairly quickly and you could not tell either in normal light or under the blacklight that it had been there.

Both products failed to clean the unsealed wood on the doors in my basement. We have two, one that goes towards where we keep the litter boxes and one that goes into the kitten room. When we had Chandler in that room he peed on the door before he even explored the room and someone tried to cover up the smell from the outside. Neither product removed the stain on the door, neither did general cleaner.

The Zero Odor is a bit less expensive than the Cat Urine Extractor, both are available on Amazon, but I am really excited about the stain removal properties of the latter and I plan to buy another bottle or two of it to clean the carpet in the basement.



I call this a semi sponsored post because I got these products for free and the people who gave them to me knew I was a blogger, but there was never a discussion about a post which is why I decided to go for a one vs the other post..

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#BtC4Animals Bear Baiting


I live in Maine.  On the fourth day of November we will be asked to vote on a referendum banning bear baiting.



Here’s the exact language: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research.”

The animal advocate in me says YES YES YES oh heck YES!, but the blogger in me wonders why the Maine Game Wardens and Biologists are saying vote no. So I went into this hoping to find some bit of logical sense in all this for the opposition, to educate myself and maybe learn something.

Before delving into all of that, let me share with you something. There are currently only twelve states that allow bear baiting. Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Maine is the only state in the union that allows all three methods that they are trying to ban in this vote, baiting, trapping and using dogs.

So, to find out why I should "Vote No on One" I went to savemainesbearhunt.com. I have been extremely unhappy with the "No on One" campaign commercials in general, using a lot of fear and intimidation, implying that without bear baiting, bears will be coming up and mauling your children in your backyard



There have also been commericals implying that there will be nothing that can be done if these bears do come up into your neighborhood and are aggressive.. (except the question says you can to protect property or for public safety) (interestingly enough the No on One camp does not have it's commercials on it's website but the Yes on One does.  There are some really good ones on there, but this is an exercise in why I should vote no.)

So again, why do they oppose this?




Reading "savemainesbearhunt.org" (do you find that name as irritating as I do? You can still hunt bears, you just won't be able to bait them or trap them or use hounds to hunt them) They are saying that with out these 'reliable" methods of hunting, the cull of the population would go down. That it is very hard to hunt a bear with out these methods, and with an increased population you will have increased aggression in the population as they go in search of food. A quote from that website: "Consider: A year ago, hunters shot 2,845 bears in Maine. Of those bears, at least 2,633 — a whopping 93 percent of the total harvest — were shot using the methods that may be banned come November." *  Well considering these methods are legal, and cheap and easy, who wouldn't use them?? I don't think that is much of an argument.

However, reading their own website and reading the history of bear hunting, one has to wonder what the biologists and game wardens are thinking. Currently the cull is below management levels they themselves set and the population is increasing anyway. The history of bear hunting is that we used to do it twice a year, now we currently only allow it once a year. If hunting bears is so hard and getting rid of baiting would make it that much harder, why do we not allow increased time for hunts? Why are there still caps of two bears per hunter? Couldn't better management of the population occur with a fair hunt if done right?

Another reason they say we should allow baiting and trapping is because it allows for a 'cleaner kill'. I can't really fault that reasoning. Apparently a running bear is kinda hard to hit and can cause a hunter to wound the animal and not outright kill it. When this happens with a deer, it is not hard to imagine the hunter tracking the deer through the woods to either claim his deer or finish it off and then claim it. With a bear you run the risk of running into an injured bear being mauled. Okay, point to the baiting, but it also seems to be more fair to allow the bear the chance of getting away. If you want a bear sitting still when you shoot it, set up near a berry bush, or somewhere else a bear would naturally forage for food.

Interestingly enough, the Vote No on One camp admits there are no statistics on how many bears eat at traps and are never killed. They do claim that bear population isn't influenced by baiting, but I can't see how they can possibly claim that. There is a nice chart on this video showing the population waxing and waning, but would it go lower if there weren't millions of pounds of food put in the woods to 'feed the bears'? I don't know about you, but I grew up on Yogi Bear and learned from a very early age not to feed the bears. Feeding bears gets them used to people and gets them used to coming around populated areas.. They bait bears in the same area year after year, making the bears used to being able to find easy food.

So tell me again why are we baiting bears?

While looking for videos of the commercials playing on our airways on youtube, I came across this video of a fisher cat at a bait station. So how many other animals are we feeding, because no one is required to take the food up when they aren't watching it. And if you didn't know, fisher cats also prey on house cats.

Now I should probably tell you I am not a hunter (you have probably guessed that anyway) and I really abhor the idea and the practice of hunting, but I do fully accept that unless we cull the herd, the population will explode past the point of the land being able to sustain the animals and they will suffer and starve. They will also encroach on to land that is 'occupied by people' and become a nuisance (even though they were here first) and harm will most likely come to either a person or the bear. I also accept that if the hunter is going to use the animal for which he hunts and not discard it to simply display a trophy on a wall (or a rug on the floor) that the kill has a purpose. The meat can feed a family and keep a cow or a pack of chickens from being killed. Trophy hunters are abhorrent to me.

There have been other states that have banned baiting. According to one of the Yes on One commercials, when they have banned baiting in other states they were able to maintain a stable bear population.

So, voting no on one will make it easier for people to hunt by making the bears come to the people, and hopefully allowing for a cleaner shot, and they won't have to take fifteen days to find a bear to shoot.  *sarcasm on* oh yes, let us vote no on one *sarcasm off*

I really was open to finding an actual reason why we should continue to allow baiting, using dogs and traps to maintain the bear population. I don't think it would have changed my mind in voting no, but I was hoping there was something other than 'it is easier' as a reason.

(I know I'm late on BtC, but I wanted to blog about this, and it took a while to do all the reading and catch the commercial I wanted to share)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sponsored Post - Pet Feedster Automated Pet Feeder For Cats


I was contacted at the end of last month by Caroline Park of Winoe Corporation asking if I would be interested in reviewing the Pet Feedster Automated Pet Feeder. Since I am a raw household, The Crew didn't have much use for it, but with the foster kittens eating anything and everything donated to them through the shelter, I thought it would be great for them. After a bit of back and forth she sent me one and I went to set it up the night it arrived.

What's this?
Iz this for sitting?
kittens added for size
 oh who am I kidding, I couldn't get a photo without kittens unless I took it outside
Hopper large enough to fit one whole kitten
(or 10lbs of food, which ever gets in there first)

The item came mostly assembled. The feeding tray fits snugly over two tabs to hold it securely in the front. The tabs also extend down to the ground so you can screw it down if you feel the need. I was pretty sure the kittens couldn't knock this over (and they tried really REALLY hard) since it weighs seven pounds empty

One of the selling points on this feeder is that it is ant proof. There is a tray on the bottom that this fits on to and you can fill it with some water and vinegar to prevent the ants from walking up into the machine. Another selling point is that it holds up to 10 lbs of food. While I'm not a fan of you leaving your pets alone for long periods of time, there are other reasons to put 10 lbs of food into an automated feeder (like not wanting to fill it every day, or not wanting to store the bag of food).

This unit is programmable to dispense food up to five times per day. You do that by programming three settings, the time (in military time so no worrying about am/pm), the time you want the food to dispense, and then how much food. You do that all with just three buttons

Just added the optional shoot protector to keep cat paws from reaching up into the machine
the timer and controls
Programming does not require a masters degree, but it does need some manual dexterity and some patience. I was disappointed the controls were on the front of the machine and not the top, as I thought it would have been a heck of a lot easier if it was, but hopefully you aren't going to have to do this too often. This machine can run on either your standard electrical outlet or 6 D batteries (which should last you for six months). You would probably want to do both, because a simple power outage will wipe the memory and you will need to reprogram it all over again. :(


At first I had it dispensing the full amount of food in one program, but I thought that wouldn't be much fun for the kittens, so I cut it down in thirds and had it dispense at 1 am, 11 am and 3 pm. Since the unit does not have a sensor, it will not know when it overflows, so I was trying to be conservative. I normally give the kittens canned food at 8 am and 8 pm. I gave them enough canned food to cover them through the first day and left to see how it would work. Sadly, I forgot to turn the webcam back on that night, so I didn't get to capture the first feeding with it, but they had heard it go off when I was in there and it didn't frighten them at all. When I went and fed them in the morning it was obvious they had been nomming on the food. I was able to capture this the next morning at the 11 am feeding.


You can hear it isn't the quietest thing on the planet, but that can also be a positive because it can 'call' to your pets to let them know it is feeding time. When my Em was suffering from cancer, I got her a magnetic cat door and installed it in one of the bathroom doors so she could go in and nibble on food throughout the day without the other chowhound cats eating all on her. Well the sound of the magnetic door unlocking called to all of the other cats in the house to follow her in.. which was both amusing and frustrating.. but I am getting off track. The sound can be of help.

One nice thing about this product is it's adjustability. There are so many different types of kibble on the market from 3/16 to 3/4 inch sized kibble. This product has the ability to adjust for that and lets you set that manually on the auger inside.

A few not so good things, the power cord was very thin. A lot of cats are cord chewers, and a cord that thin simply begs to be chewed on. You can run it on batteries only, but those are very expensive to replace every six months, and yet are really are kind of necessary because unplugging the unit for more than two seconds wipes everything out of the program. I suppose if you live in a community where you never ever lose power, that would be one thing. It might have been good if they had two separate battery options, one for the timer to save the program in case of a power outage and one to run the machine, but that is me dreaming. I would also really would have liked the programming panel to be on the top of the machine. There are probably mechanical reasons why it is where it is, but in order to program it I had to lay it on the side to get the right pressure on the buttons and see what the display was reading. Since the power cord is a simple insert (like your laptop cord) into the machine, I was fearful of it being knocked out when programming and again when re-positioning it on the ground. If I had the D batteries on hand (not included in the unit) it would have been a little less concerning to me, but really, this is a minor issue (even though I feel like I'm harping on it).

The device worked very well, the kittens were not afraid of it, and it was nice to know they were not going to run out of dry food, and if they got on a kick and ate it all, it would only be a few hours before they would get more. If you have a kitty (or dog) that needs small regular meals and you feed dry food, this might be a really nice addition to your home.

I am unsure if I am going to be keeping this around for the kittens. The footprint of the device is a little larger than I really have room for in this set up. The unit is 17 1/2” high, 13” wide, and 18” from front to back including the food bowl. If I had the batteries for it (or were willing to invest 10-12 dollars for it) I could set it up wherever I wanted in that room, but at the moment we are confined to just two places near an outlet. Then there is the thinness of the cord and the love of kittens to chew such things. But the biggest reason I think I might rehome this is because I think this would be an awesome thing for the shelter to have for their feral cat population. Because it can run without a power source, they could put it in their feral barn, but I haven't decided yet.

After I formed my opinions, I went over to Amazon and read the reviews. They have almost universally glowing reviews. There were a few unhappy customers, but the company replied to all of them offering to help out. One less than five star review even said the designer of the product talked to them about the issue. Talk about your good customer service. Very few products can make every single person happy, so a few not so good reviews in this particular case were nothing to distract from this product.

Another consideration is the price. At over $200, this isn't something you pick up on a whim. There is a year warranty on it, and the company stands behind it's product, so if this is something you are in the market for, I would recommend you take a second look at this one.

(bonus kitten video - it has nothing to do with the product, but I love watching Pan attack Happy Bear's eyes)

This post is the result of the company furnishing me with a Pet Feedster free of charge, but the opinions are all my own.

*edited to add that Caroline contacted me after reading my review and wanted you to know the programming should remain in the device if unplugged.  That was not my experience, but she asked that I share with you that this is how it is designed to work. Maybe the programmed times remain, as I did not reprogram it because I did my unplug experiment the night before the kittens were to go back to the shelter and were supposed to not be getting food after midnight anyway, but the clock definitely reset to zero.

(also edited a few spelling errors that spell check didn't catch for me last night)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#PrimalPet Primal Pet treats molded way before expiration


So a month ago I was contacted by Chewy and offered a package of Primal treats to review. Sadly they weren't really loved, so they sat in my treat cupboard for a while and I didn't touch them. On Wednesday I thought I would give some to The Crew to nom on while I was at work.  When I got home they were all gone, so I decided to do the same thing on Thursday.

I opened up the package and was kind of distressed to see this.. 


You can see I left the desiccant in the package to keep the moisture levels down. There were no instructions on how to store this, so I assumed in the dry cabinet where I keep my other cat treats was as good a place as any. What is so distressing about this though is the expiration date on this product.. 


to me that reads 01/02/16. Maybe it is supposed to be 15, but even still we are still squarely in 2014 and fairly far from 15.

I was reluctant to buy these treats myself because the less than stellar consumption by The Crew, but I am even more so now consider this.. I'm just glad that no one got sick from the treats I fed the day before.. (well that I know of..) 

One quick note: I would far rather a product mold than never mold, because to me that indicates it is real food and not laden with preservatives and additives, but I really would have liked an expiration date that was a little more realistic, because if it had a 11/1/14 date, I would have taken a closer look at it the first time I gave it out this week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good luck sweet kittens


I am returning the kittens today, and they will be neutered and go up for adoption most likely for this weekend. If all goes well they will be in homes before the weekend is over. They are such outgoing purring kittens, I can't imagine anyone not snapping them up.

I thoght about keeping them longer, but darn it if these kittens aren't a wee bit overwhelming. They adore getting into trouble and despite that room being kitten safe, they still are making me roll my eyes. That photo from yesterday? Molly the little black girl kitten climbed into the wardrobe and then punched through the back and would not come back through.  It took two of us to tease her enough to grab her. She was the first kitten ever to do this.  To make things even more interesting when I opened up the kitten room door to call my husband to help Pan bolted through the door and I didn't even notice. Fortunately my husband didn't hear me the first time so I had to call again, and that is when I saw him hanging out with Twee oh so pleased with himself. *rolls eyes*

Fortunately yesterday they were tired when I visited them, and I was able to get some photos.  I've got enough to get a few more posts out of it, but I thought I'd share the shots of them 'sitting still' if you will, so you can get a good look at them.


Sorry Princess, but I promise, you will like your new place more.. you'll have your own people and your own house and your own bed that the people sleep in for you.. You might even have little people for you to play with..

Wordless Wednesday - the kitten, the husband and the wardrobe..


Trust us Tiger Lily. This is not the way to Narnia. Now Molly knows this for certain

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Really Iams? Really??




So I was watching Animal Planet the other day when I saw the following commercial. If you haven't seen it, please take a look at it. See if you can spot what got me all disgruntled. (and for once it isn't about the food - although that is a whole different subject all together and yes, I can get all indignant about that too)


So did you see it?  How about now?

The Before screenshot
The During screenshot
(yup, Iams can photoshop a few pounds off a cat.. impressive)
The After screenshot

So how many people think these are the same cats?  I'm not even convinced the during and the after are the same cat although it is hard to tell because of the angles.. and the cat eating out of the bowl at the end.. a different cat..

Generally this wouldn't be an issue for me in a cat food commercial, as you have specialized cats that can perform specialized tricks. However when you start saying this is the before and the after,  and this is the same kind of results your cat can achieve, you kinda need to use the same cat. If you don't you are now in the same field of scammers as the before and after shots of humans on diets on your facebook feed.. or in the back of rag magazines.

And since this is "Camo and Anna"'s commercial, I would think it would be important that an actual cat named Camo would be featured in it.. (oh come on Connie, this is TV, it's acting, it is all show, but STILL.. where is the truth in advertising?  oh wait.. I just answered my own question)

*sigh*

Since I totally expect this kind of shenanigans from Iams, I'm not bothering to write to them and complain, they won't care. But I could not just let this go without saying ANYTHING..

because.. really?!?

So tell me, are you okay with this? Am I being overly sensitive?
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