Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hartz Scoopable Paper Litter

One of the nice thing about fostering is that, because we rely on donations, we sometimes get to try new products.  I was in the shelter the other day and saw a bag of Hartz Scoopable Paper Litter, and I thought I would give it a try.

I know a lot of people have a problem with regular clay scooping litter, fearing ingestion of the clay and what that might do to a cat.  I personally don't have that fear. I don't like and thus won't buy scented litter, not only for the fact that those scents are all chemical and I fear what that will do to a cat, but also because cats simply do not like scented litter. I am always on the look out for a litter that might work better, and this was new so I grabbed it. I had very low expectations since it is from Hartz - one of my least favorite pet companies - but I figured it was litter so how bad could it be.

Well when I opened it, the scent was immediately noticeable and strong. I wouldn't say it was overwhelming, and as someone who is very sensitive to scents (many make me sneeze) I know I'm overly sensitive, but it was getting there.  I thought I'd leave the bag open for a few days and see if it dissipated.

Sadly, two days later the scent was as strong as ever, unfortunately I was out of regular clay litter and so I thought I'd put this in the foster kitten's litter box and see what happened.

Now I will admit the kittens had issues with litter box compliance up to this point for reasons beyond their control, but at the time I switched them over things were getting better.

The first night, we had one (#2) deposit in the box, and two deposits on the towels.  The next morning the box appeared to be unused, and the towel was.. well once again let me just say how much laundry I have been doing lately..  Because of this I needed to remove everything from the cage and set up new bedding for the kittens. I left the box outside of the cage while I did this.

A few minutes later Tucker walked over to the box, climbed into the big white box behind it, and settled down in the bed - it was oh so cute so I took a picture.

And darn it if that picture didn't look like Odilia at BlogPaws when she was poopin

Completely stolen from Riverfront Cats
 you should go visit them!
So I reached down and picked him up, and yes, he was European.. I grabbed some towels, muttered about even more laundry.. when I realized he walked over the litter box to get to the bed to go pee.  My husband even commented he was 'going in the box' and I had hoped that meant litter box compliance, then was struck by how cute he was climbing into the bed, then did a *headpalm* at the whole thing and THEN realized how much these kittens HATE this litter.

Boiled down:
 * it is made of paper and not clay so I am assuming it is environmentally friendly.

 * It is made by Hartz
 * It smells strongly
 * The shape of the pellets are similar to wood pellets - which most cats do not like using.
 * The kittens refuse to use it.

Well so much for that experiment. I have to wonder why they made the pellets so big. I think if they would have made them smaller it would have been better. Would it have helped litter box compliance or would the strong scent they put in it still have caused the kittens to go elsewhere?  I do not know.

Well this product gets a big ol "Nope" from me and the kittens.  Your experience may differ.

(if you couldn't tell, this is not a sponsored post, I just thought I'd tell you about something new I tried)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

So I went grocery shopping yesterday

I know, this sounds like a really odd thing to blog about, and even odder since this is a cat blog but hopefully you will begin to understand why I feel so darn strongly about this.

I am new to the phenomenon that is Market Basket.  There is one in NH that I have shopped at in the past, but randomly and I never really did understand what it stood for.  Market Basket, in case you don't know, is a family run business that treated its employees very well.  It also treated its customers very well in the form of low prices and happy employees. This is not cheap to do, and so you 'lose' some profits by doing this... but I also believe you gain some profits by doing this as well. Employees have a pretty low turn over rate so you don't need to invest a lot in training, and customers when treated properly tend to be loyal.

Back in June the board at Market Basket fired the people who made the decisions to invest in the employees and where to invest it's profit sharing portfolio. As a result of the firings, seven more executives quit (or were fired depending on your news source). Prior to the firings, they brought in two consultants, Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton. After the firing they were appointed to be the CEOs. These two people, from what I can tell, were there to 'make the company more profitable' which is more often than not at the expense of the employees..former companies worked at by Jim was Radio Shack and Sears. When this happened, the employees called for a boycott of the store, and most of the customers, myself included, supported them.

I don't know about you, but I am SICK AND TIRED of big business and how they feel they can do anything they want to raise corporate profit and take home more money for the 1% at the expense of the individual. It is very hard to get people to unite and say 'no, this isn't a good thing' because there are always people who are willing and some need to save a penny or two.  Finding real ice cream in your supermarket is harder and harder as cream has become more expensive, they have been substituting with cheaper ingredients and then hiding the fact that it isn't 'ice cream' but a 'frozen dairy desert' in wee little print (or not putting it on the package at all). Soda which used to be made with sugar (from sugar cane) started to become made with HFCS - because corn is subsidized by the government where cane sugar is taxed. A lot of 'sugar' being used actually comes from beets these days.  Packages are getting smaller and smaller and prices are not being reduced. When was the last time you were actually able to buy a half gallon of ice cream at the store?

I fear that all of these changes aren't just hurting us financially but also hurting our health. Have you looked at an ingredient list lately? Have you ever tried to buy something with out HFCS or GMO free? it is darn near impossible at your general grocery store with out going organic at which point you are often looking at an even smaller package and an even higher price point.  We have gotten to the point where what was once 'food' is now at a premium and food like substances (or frankenfood) is the norm.  It is just sad.

So why am I talking about all this when I said I wanted to talk about going grocery shopping? Because this non union store banded together, and as one collective voice said "NO!" They did not like the turn the company was taking and they did something about it. I was having a conversation with a co-worker wondering why they didn't just fire everyone who wasn't working - which is very hard to do when it is everyone, including the people who would do the hiring in the stores.  The employees did a very good job getting the word out to customers asking them not to shop at their stores and asking for their support in this boycott. I too was annoyed that I couldn't shop there because they carry a few products I can not get anywhere else (not to mention a number of products I can buy elsewhere are often several dollars more expensive) but I stood with them in the decision to say this is not acceptable.

Too many times big companies win.. Just look at Fairpoint Communications.  Four months their union has been with out a contract.

This time the 'people' won. They stood up and said let's have a fair work environment, lets go back to what was working and they stuck by their guns despite losing personal income for nearly two months. The company let this thing linger and linger losing nearly 10 million dollars a day since June, which also only set to lower the selling price, and yet they resisted selling to the one person the entire company base was screaming for. You have got to love the dynamics of a family run business

(point of note, I once worked for a different company that was sort of in the same situation. The decedents of the original owner were bickering on how things should be run and as a result one would make wild and unwise spending decisions that ran the company into the ground.  They barely survived but are just a shell of the company they were when I worked for them)

So good for you, the current Market Basket team. I hope you continue to be successful and keep the employee loyalty that you are now known for.

As I was shopping, I saw these coke bottles on the shelf just like this.. it made me smile.  I heard two different announcements by employees thanking shoppers for coming back (and it was PACKED when I was there) and each time the employees whooped it up and did some cat calls (see, I knew I'd get the word cat in this post somehow) and I walked by a half dozen employees having conversations with customers about what just happened, or thanking them for shopping, or where things were going.  The shelves were still not completely full.  Most of the produce was still missing, the meat department was kind of sad, but the people were all very happy.. employees and people alike - and when was the last time you could say that about shopping anywhere let alone grocery shopping.

I can not tell you how much I hope this impacts all other areas of business. How companies start thinking that maybe loyalty and treating people right is far more important than paying a penny more on it's shares or that their CEO makes a wee bit more than the CEO of the competition. Money is NOT the only sign of success.. and Artie T I am sure would agree with me.

I'm gonna take you down!

Seriously, I'm going to beat you up and take you down! ~Tucker 

Um, could you take yourself down so I can climb on you?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Warning - it's a litter box thing

Now don't forget, you were warned..

and in case you fell pray to the adorableness of Garp there, this is a litter box post.. and not a nice one.. so if you can't handle the poop, I suggest you leave now..  come back tomorrow, there is cuteness I promise..

Okay then, let's go over a few facts before we get started.  Garp, Sparkle and Tucker came to me as orphans when they were 'two weeks' old.  They had the feeling of older than two weeks, except Tucker who was little more than skin and bones.. I never did tell you how bad off he was - I could feel every rib in his body.. He also had no teeth showing at all, where Sparkle had her canines and Garp had some back molars.. so I just assumed he was so small because they were all of different ages.

Tucker also took three days to poop.. when he finally did the very tip of the stool was a whitish greenish color, and the rest looked pretty normal, so I didn't worry..

(last chance, don't say you weren't warned)

This isn't all that scary, that's just poop..
Connie, now you are just being weird

He continued to eat well and gain weight, so I put it out of my mind.. I had taken a photo in case something popped up but nothing had. A few days after that though, he had diarrhea so badly it leaked out of him.  It was watery, so getting a stool sample was not possible. Litter box compliance was hit or miss.  I contacted the shelter and told them of the diarrhea and how foul it smelled and how I suspected coccidia.  They sent me some marquis paste as well as five days of panacur to make sure there was nothing else going on and to kill it if it was.

Well two days after the start of medication (now you were warned that something came out of a kitten's but right?)

Okay, that is totes gross!

If you want to biggify, feel free..

Yes, that is one freakingly long - bigger than a spoon - round worm.  When I first saw it in the box all spread out like that my first thought was not round worm, but what on earth had these three gotten into.. as it dangled from my scooper,  I started to convince myself it was a thread or something.. but then... it moved.. *shudder* the small clump of poop in front of it is also full of round worm, so I am guessing both Tucker and Sparkle had them pretty bad - since they both had diarrhea and neither feel as robust as Garp does.  I have never seen one worm that big, especially not in a three week old kitten, my goodness how fast do these things grow?!?! In fact I almost never see round worms. I deworm for them all the time, but generally it kills the worm and it is digested up by the kitten..

Fortunately after expelling that thing, we had a successful litter box morning..

really, who wants to look at a used litter box?
 couldn't you just say there was well formed stool.

Before this it was all not well formed pudding.. some was even water-like.. so I consider this a huge success. I think the fact that they have had quite a few meals of raw has also helped sooth the savage colon and helped this 'progress in an orderly fashion' if you will.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

National Bow Tie Day!

I was on Facebook yesterday and Amy made it a point to tell me that today is National Bow Tie Day! Since Skippy is a charter member of the Bow Tie Club for ManCats, it is only fitting that we celebrate the day.

I put a bow tie on Skippy years ago and he didn't seem to mind in the least. He wears one constantly and has a whole collection of bow ties, including one made for him by Emily over at Kitty Cat Chronicles.

I got him two new ones recently, and he is currently wearing one.  I'm not sure I like it because it is so small it is hard to see, and I can't seem to get that darn bell off of it

Skippy will be enjoying National Bow Tie Day, I hope you do too.
I'm also LOVING this cartoon..

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Naming Day - The Tributes

Older boy
Younger boy
Since I got these kittens shortly after hearing about Robin Williams, I thought about naming them after him or characters he played. I wasn't all that interested in naming one Robin and one Williams since it was way too obvious, so I strived to find names of characters that would fit. I figured Mork and Mindy would be too obvious too, so I looked up the name of Mrs. Doubtfire since I had a girl, and frankly I am so horribly spelling impaired for that name. Around this time I heard back from my friend Rene. She had previously asked about possibly naming a foster kitten "Tucker" after her beloved Tucker. I wasn't sure if it was too soon or not, but she did like the idea of naming the wee littlest boy after her Tucker, so Tucker he became.

I was still searching around for names for the other two, and was thinking Flubber for a while, when Rene suggested Garp. Garp seem to fit the older boy very well, as he is kinda Garpish.. so he became Garp.

I still struggled for a name for the girl. She is FIERCELY independent, refusing to allow me to make her pee after eating after just a few days and proudly going to the box and peeing in it directly after I would put her down. She is smart, she is sassy, and she nurses on her brother's ear.. When I heard that Sparkle did not come home after her last trip to the vet, I thought of how independent and smart Sparkle was. Since I already had two tribute kittens, I wrote to Sparkle's mom Janiss and asked her if it would be okay if I named my little girl after her.  She wrote back saying of course I could, and mentioning she would be joining a number of cats who had been named after her.  And being as independent and fierce of spirit as she is, Sparkle seems to respond much better to Spark. I will be calling her both, and her official name is Sparkle.

These three have big paw prints to live up to, but I'm sure they'll do just fine.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Out of the bucket - into the cage

Now that the kitten room became vacant, it was time to move the bottle babies into there and out of my office which I had just finished cleaning up and was open to the cats to explore for the first time in months. I felt bad that they had only a few days in it before I closed it up again. Hopefully by the time you are reading this I will have cleaned up the room and sanitized it enough to feel comfortable opening it up to The Crew again.

The first few days with me I left the kittens in the cardboard carrier they came to me in. I then moved them to a round orange tote (which was previously used in the kitten room to hold recyclables) and then into a large storage tote once they started needing a litter box. The girl decided pretty early on that she did not want to be made to pee, but she would do it at her choosing, and fortunately she chose right away to pee in the box. The larger boy, he needed some convincing, and would often pee on the bedding instead of in the box.

We did have very good litter box compliance at the time of the move, but the first night someone didn't bother to make it to the litter box and peed on the towel. I am so hoping that is a one time fluke, because frankly I'm doing way too much laundry ;)

Being in the cage has its benefits and its challenges.

One benefit is there is more room so I can use a bigger litter box, and put a bowl of food down for them. They are eating food, but not consistently and not enough, so I am still supplementing regularly with formula, but with the addition of food, I won't feel so driven to come home at lunch time and to only get six hours of sleep because it is time to feed the kittens. I will be keeping a close eye on their health and weight to make sure they are eating enough and doing well, but as long as they do continue to do well the pressure isn't as bad, and things will be easier on me.

The other benefit, more room for them to walk around and wrestle in.

Unfortunately the challenges are kind of big - for me. The first being the only way to get to them is through the door, and we all know about doors and kittens... you open that thing up and an outpouring of kittens come spilling forth. The other is that the cage is climbable. Fortunately they can't get very far up before they come tumbling down but darn it if it doesn't bug me every time they fall.

The other down side, they don't make kitten sized tin cups..

So I have kept the tote in reserve for the storage of kittens during feeding times.

If you aren't following me on Facebook, you are missing out on "Your Morning Mews" where I shoot a small video of the kittens prior to my feeding them so you can hear them complain and watch them jump around telling me off for making them wait. It really is quite cute, and here is a small taste of the morning mews from the cage..

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Goodbye little house panthers

I got a phone call from the shelter yesterday asking me how I thought the kittens would do at PetSmart since the shelter has a satellite adoption center there. The kittens have shown themselves to be pretty resilient after showing up here, so I said yes. In order for them to go up for adoption at PetSmart they needed an additional vaccine, so the shelter needed me to bring them in there first then up to the store.

Well the vaccine was an injectable unlike most of their vaccines which are nasal. The shelter manager injected in their scruff *sigh* which I was none too happy about, but I kept my mouth shut. The next time I see the vet who works at the shelter's spay and neuter clinic I'll talk to him about it and let him deal with it if he feels the need.

They then went to PetSmart. There wasn't an official place for them as the portable cage needed to be brought out, so I didn't get to see them off.  I did meet a very sweet 3 year old girl who was unfortunately twice the size she should have been. I would have loved to snapped her up and brought her home for kitty weight loss on proper diet, but there is no room at the Inn o' Casa de Gato, thank you very much, so I left here there.  There was also another beautiful cat named Creamsicle, which frankly if you had asked me I would have called her Mocha Latte Swirl..

I walked around the store looking at all the cute Halloween stuffs. I bought The Crew a new mouse (because they SOOOO need new toys) and Skippy a new bow tie (because it was on sale) and saw this.. If this isn't an over-saturation of the market of holiday stuffs, I do not know what is.

I think only halloween toilet paper would be worse
I was about to leave the store - in fact I had gotten all the way out to my car, when I needed on e more peek at them. I was bothered I couldn't put them in the cage (stupid thing to be bothered with, I knew full well they were in good hands) so I ran back in.  The woman who was going to be taking care of them was about to leave on lunch break, and they were let out of the cage with the foods I brought them because I hadn't given them breakfast yet. It is better to hold off on foods when transitioning a cat so that they are hungry enough to consider food during the stress. Getting a cat to eat is huge in getting them to relax.  So they were eating, and they were exploring, I couldn't really have wanted more for them.. so I left (and yes, my eyes leaked on the way home.. but better I cry for having loved them than cry because there was no where for them to go)

Yup, those are the adoption cards on top of that cage.. 
Good luck you house panthers you.  May you live long and happy lives..

Friday, August 22, 2014

They're back..

Well the three little house panthers are back. I'm glad to see them, and they were very glad to see me, and Happy Bear. However I am disappointed that they are back because it was the original plan that they go back and go up for adoption because I am becoming overwhelmed with the bottle babies and these fosters and my own cats and my full time job and this blog. Not to mention that the longer they are here the longer it takes for them to find their families.


ah well, maybe it was mean to be. Maybe their people just aren't quite ready for them yet, and for them to be where they need to be they need to be here now.. Yup, that's what I'm telling myself.. I'm kitten sitting for their people..

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beef: it's what's for dinner - or for playin..

Since the black kittens are scheduled for surgery today I had to make sure they made weight. They REFUSED to eat pate food, to the point where they started losing weight, so I brought down some raw food - which went over well. I bought some beef chunks for my cats for chewin on to help clean their teeth, I thought I would bring a few down to the kittens to see what they would do with them.

The smaller pieces they chewed up and ate, the bigger pieces became toys

This is very typical with kittens. Mom would bring home prey for them to practice on and get used to killing for their food. Cats play with their prey to make sure it is dead and to make sure that the prey won't hurt them. Mice bite, birds peck.. hunting can be dangerous business. It might seem cruel when you see a cat play with it's prey, but it is for their own safety.

My thoughts will be with Fiji, Brooklyn and Paris today as they go in for their surgery and then as they go up for adoption. They are really outgoing kittens, so I bet they are snapped up before the weekend is up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pool Party - kitty style

I was sharing around my last post about the goodies Chewy sent me and Frankie Furter saw it and contacted me about joining in their Pool Pawty link up. A number of people who received summer fun boxes from Chewy thought it would be fun to do a link up to say thank you to Chewy for all the fun treats through out the year.

It was originally suggested that I reshare my old post, but I thought that's not much fun for you my readers, and since y'all had comments about how Traveling Jack used his Can Cozy wrong, he thought he'd give it another shot.

We also decided to try inviting a few additional friends..

Hey, we want to come!! ~Fiji, Paris, and Brooklyn
Um, yeah, no, I'll watch from here.. thanks ~Eli
I hope you guys had fun ~Fleurp
Are there any left over treats? ~Jack
Zzzzz  ~Skippy

Thank you again Chewy, I appreciate the gifts and the opportunity to review products each month. If you are interested in joining the Chewy Blogger program, you can contact Andrew at

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