Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Looks like the kittens will be here a little longer than we thought

Wait, what does that headline say???

We have had a bit of a turn of events here at Casa de Gato. The kittens showed up sneezing a bit, so we were keeping an eye on that and waiting to see if they broke with anything.. 

We didn't break anything, I swear!

While they are technically right, they didn't break anything, but we did end up with a few health challenges. Uma has a bit of a reaction to the sutures so her incision started to swell a little. It didn't seem to bother her initially, but because of the placement her belly folds over it frequently and either because of that or despite it I'm fairly certain she's been licking at it and the dampness has caused some problems. She is on clavamox for seven days.

Ugo also developed a fever this morning so he went with Uma to the shelter and he is also on clavamox. We are keeping them until Friday the 8th as long as they improve and remain healthy. Uli and Unique went along for the right because the more I can get freaked out kittens out of the kitten room, the better for them. When they came home they came right out of the carrier and stood right in the middle of the room so I know they were happy to be back and forgot to be afraid..

Who, me afraid, I think not!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy National Bow Tie Day with Skippy - and an announcement

It is National Bow Tie Day again, one of my favorite holidays because I get to dress up Skippy and take silly photos of him. Skippy has a pretty extensive bow tie collection because I keep a bow tie on him full time. I don't know why I put a bow tie on him the first time, but it is just seems to fit him, and now when I take them off he just looks so silly to me... kinda like when your friend takes off their eye glasses.

Instead of showing off his entire collection again we have an announcement to make.  We are leaving Casa de Gato. Taking our cue from several other great online cat personalities like Waffles, Sauerkraut and Sarah Donner, we are going to be moving. My husband was given a promotion to work in Vermont, so we are moving to be closer to his work. We haven't quite settled on a house yet, we have been looking at them since May and it has been incredibly draining on all of us. It has been 12-14 hour days driving out, looking at five or six houses and not finding anything we both really love. We have been in this house since before Twee was a baby, so we have a LOT to pack up and deal with.. (although interestingly, I've already moved once since starting this blog)

Skippy is loving it because I haven't let my cats into my office in quite some time. There is a very good reason for that..

Skippy thought these were super fun to play with.. I'm currently tempted to just sweep them up and throw them away so I don't have to pack it. Packing has been a bit of a challenge too... if you have ever had a cat and a cardboard box, you know what I am talking about.

We are hoping to make our decision this week. We are going out on another house seeing this week and we really believe we'll have a decision when we are done. Then it will be a big push to finish packing and then there will be the moving, but once there I will be working from home so we are expecting things will be awesome once we are settled; it is just the next few months that are going to be chaos. I am not sure if I will be taking anymore kittens until we are in the new place, but if the move takes a while I probably will as kittens are stress relief for me.

Two sodas we found when we stopped for refreshments while house hunting

So if you have noticed I haven't been as active online, that's why. I'm hopefully going to be back on top of things soon.

Yes, Fleurp, we'll bring you too

Friday, August 25, 2017

Breakthrough - the before and after

So, when I go into the kitten room I am lucky if I see this.. 

and even luckier if I see this.. 

So I do the most difficult thing a foster person can do.. I ignored them. After taking the photo, I turned around and started scooping the litter box. That did not sit well with them. Kittens can not stand being ignored, even if the thing that is ignoring them is super scary.

After scooping I put down some more food and then went to sit on the couch. Uma was still sitting there, so I picked her up and snuggled her. She started purring and we had a nice snuggle. When she realized there was food down she went and had a snack.

A few minutes later a kitten returned to the couch and started purring. I reached over and patted her and I nearly reacted when I realized that it was not Uma but Unique. Uma wasn't amused that I couldn't tell the difference when I wasn't looking at them or trying to pay attention.

Ugo, not to be ignored under any circumstances, decided to come up and make a real nuisance of himself. He walked right over and had a wrestling match on my chest with Uma. Guess who won..

So, I sat there and ignored everyone unless they were in reach of my hand, at which point I would pat them. Uma and Ugo and Unique were all purring and being generally happy that Uli came out of his hiding spot and sat on the floor and waited for me to do something, which I refused to do, so he jumped up on the couch and observed me from the end for a while and then decided he wanted in on the attention, so he came a little closer and started meowing at me, so I pet him, and he liked it. A lot. He rolled around and conducted me to all of the good petting spots - Then Ugo showed up again and so Uli went to sit with Unique.

So, once again, I have won. *insert not so evil laugh here* I guess the real test comes tomorrow when I go back down to the kitten room, but I will totally ignore them again

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I can't believe Fleurp ate that

I bought a bag of salt and vinegar chips the other day and when I opened the bag Fleurp INSISTED that I give her some. Apparently, everything in a crinkly bag is a cat treat. I told her she didn't want one but she didn't believe me, so I offered her one and she went to lick it. I took it back because I knew she wasn't going to eat the whole thing and I broke her off a piece and just to spite me she ate it.

I offered her another piece and wisely said no thanks, but Jack came along a bit later and gave it ago and thought it totally belonged on the floor.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What's this??

I was offered another set of kittens from the shelter. They have already been neutered so they will not be here long. The email said they were needed back on the first and the paperwork I got with them says the fifth, so somewhere in there, they will be going back.

The CatMan picked them up for me and dropped them off in the kitten room so they were there when I got home from work. I know they were there because the carrier was there and there was shuffling behind the couch. They were not the least bit interested in getting to know me. Fortunately, they were pretty to put my hands on, and they didn't react badly to being medicated, and they were completely interested in the food I put down, so I suspect that it won't be long before they are all up in my face.

So, I know they are neutered, I'm guessing they are about 10-12 weeks and I know their names are Ugo (the gray one) Unique(f), Uma(f) and Uli (m). I checked to see who the male was, and I *think* (honestly, I forgot, I know what a male looks like, I just forgot which face it went with) it is the one with the dots on the nose.. I'll have to check again in the morning.

As for who is Unique and who is Uma.. *shrug* no idea. I bet you ten dollars that if I pick I'll be wrong.

As I was leaving the kitten room last night, I called them the Yu-Gi-Oh! kittens. I think it is going to stick

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Take Your Cat to the Vet Day #Cat2VetDay

When I decided to blog about Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, I wanted to do a little research to find out when it started and who started it, but I have found very little information. In the end, it really doesn't matter who started it, but it is the message that is important.

I am not the person you would traditionally think of as advocating for regular vet visits because of my "raw feeding, minimal vaccination" stance. People who feed a raw diet and shun annual vaccinations usually have had run-ins with a vet who has turned them off completely and you hear them complain that they are all in it for the money and that they don't know what they are talking about.

And even though I have some incredibly bad vet experiences over the years, I still believe in regular visits... Annually for young healthy cats, semi-annual for senior healthy cats, and as needed whenever health or behavioral issues arise. There are things I cannot detect physically I can't tell a kidney that is cystic vs one that is shrunken vs one that is enlarged, in fact, I have no idea where the kidney is. Sometimes I can feel "ropey" intestines on kittens that have had some serious irritation, but I can't tell you if they are full of stool or full of gas.

Going to the vet for regular visits and running standard tests will help you catch disease before it advances to the point that it is too expensive or too late to treat.  Sadly, too few people think cats need regular care. They think if they aren't showing obvious symptoms of pain or discomfort that they aren't ill, forgetting that cats are prey animals and any sign of weakness could mean that they will be at the mercy of the predator.

Many people cite the difficulty of catching the cat and getting it in the carrier or the high stress on the cat to be taken out of the house and transported to the vet.

I can't imagine anyone is a fan of listening to their cats howl in the car or put up with vomiting/diarrhea/drooling if the cat is one to become car sick, but it is absolutely worth it to catch illnesses while they are treatable.

So few cats go to the vet on a regular basis, and I believe as a result of that there is less demand for research on illnesses and study of medications because vets believe that people just won't follow through on treatment and care. Often people give up on treatments because they can be very difficult and they don't follow-up with the vet to see if there are other options. This causes vets start thinking people do not care and not that if there were better options they would have higher compliance - this is why many vets are so reliant on Convenia and don't even bother to ask their clients if they would like it or a different medication. I believe that if more people took their cats to the vet more often vets would be more willing to help owners learn the skills needed to treat their cats, like how to pill them, or how to home test a diabetic cat.  I do believe it is a failure on cat owners to demand better healthcare and I think that stems from old beliefs that cats are 'throw away' animals, that you don't treat them when they get sick, that they don't live long and they just 'go off to die' when they get sick. Taking your cat in for regular exams tells your vet that you are a dedicated cat owner and you are worth investing their time in you because you will be back.

If you would like to do something to benefit companion animals today, share a photo of your kitty or tips to a successful, stress-free vet visit, using the hashtag #Cat2VetDay. For every share, a $5 donation will be made to Frankie's Friends.

Monday, August 21, 2017

What I did this weekend - Volunteering for the AcroCats

Last week the AcroCats came to Portland Maine. I saw the show a couple of years ago and I thought it might be fun to see it again. When I went to check out the times of the shows I noticed that one date corresponded with the day the Catman climbs up Mount Washington every year so I thought about inviting someone to go with me. When I saw they were looking for volunteers and I thought that might be even more fun.

I decided Saturday afternoon would work best. They had an online form so I signed up; I never received a confirmation which I thought was pretty odd, but when I went to check the next day my name was on the list, so I figured they were expecting me. I showed up a few minutes late and after a bit of confusion on my part as to where to go, I met Charmaine. She was busy downstairs boiling chicken for the show so she sat me down with the waiver to fill out (the "do you know you are volunteering and that means you aren't getting paid and we aren't responsible if you are foolish and get hurt" kind of waiver). Unfortunately, the times for volunteering were off on the website and I ended up being there about an hour before I needed to be.

They are so well run, that there really wasn't a need for a volunteer until just before the show when they loaded the cats from the bus into the theatre. We were asked to carry the kitties from the bus to the stage. The cats were brought to the bus door so I didn't even get to see the bus (not that I expected to). I did, however, get to snuggle a kitten.. and you know me, I'm all about the kittens.

The other two volunteers were the ticket takers at the door and I got to play gatekeeper by the stage door because the audience wasn't to be let in until half an hour before the show. Being that everyone there was a cat person, and cat people rock, it all went very smoothly. I was impressed with the number of young boys there, many dressed in cat t-shirts. There was one boy there who was very keen on the kittens and very well-mannered. He asked for permission to touch the kittens and then went back to tell his mom all about them. When he found out they were up for adoption, I know he asked his mother for permission because a few minutes later he came back to ask for an adoption application. It was so sweet. It restored some of my faith in humanity.

When the doors opened, everyone filed in and followed the rules, there was very little for me to do. I directed people as needed and thanked them for coming to the show. I was told when the show started I could take any available seat but I was planning on just standing off to the side, but I saw an empty seat right up on the front row in the corner that was unobtrusive and took it.

Pudge is my favorite for obvious reasons. Jax is also adorable and wandered off many times during the show to let the audience pet her, including the people in standing room only

Once the tricks were over, the Rock Cats performed.

and after that, it was the meet and greet. You could pet two of the kitties and take selfies with any of the others.

My job was then to direct the audience up onto the stage and make sure there was a clear path for them to leave so we could get them all on and off the stage in time to get ready for the next show. Once the audience had left, I help put the kitties in a rigged up cat condo in the back so they could have a potty break if they needed one. Once that was over the job was done and I left. On the way out I ran into this fellow.

He was running right up to me until I took my phone out to take his photo, at which point he veered off and ran under the fence.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Every year on Black Cat Appreciation Day, people are faced with the erroneous "fact" that black cats are overlooked in shelters and that they are less likely to be adopted when they are in shelters. I accepted this 'fact' for years but yet never really saw it in practice in my local shelter. I would have whole bunches of black kittens that would be snatched right up on adoption day.

Then I stumbled upon an article that actually turned that myth on its ear. Dr. Emily Weiss did a study to find out if black cats really were not being adopted. She looked at the data from the ASPCA's A Comprehensive Animal Risk Database, which pulled numbers from 14 communities and nearly 300,000 dogs and cats. She wondered if it could be that there are simply more black dogs and cats entering the system, making it appear that they are more at risk? A quote from her blog post: "Let’s say 4 black dogs and 1 white dog enter the shelter, and the next day 1 white dog and 1 black dog are adopted—that leaves just 3 black dogs in kennels, shifting a perception of risk. However, the same number of black and white dogs were adopted!"

Her post has some wonderful charts looking at the actual data of intakes and adoptions and those figures appear to support her theory. You can read a few more stories on this phenomenon at VetStreet.comNYMag.com, and OregonLive.com.

I recognize that a lot of people have superstitions about black cats that harken back to the dark ages, but people who subscribe to that generally aren't adopting cats anyway. Personally, I swore to never adopt another black cat after adopting Ollie because taking photos of him was so hard. Fortunately, my photography skills increased quite a deal since 2010, and I now look forward to the challenge of adopting black kitties.

I do not want to diminish the need to adopt black cats and I am all for any adoption promotions that make use of Black Cat Appreciation Day,  I just think we need to not fall prey to myth and misinformation when it comes to kitties.

I learned from A Tonk's Tail that black cats are genetically prone to be more friendly. She quoted what Dr. Temple Grandin wrote in her book "Animals Make Us Human": "black cats are friendlier than other cats, are better able to deal with crowding and urban life, and have greater aggregative tendencies" and "black cats are more social overall, whether it’s with other cats or with humans."

This may, or may not, be your experiences with black cats, but regardless of our personal feelings on coat colors, all cats deserve appreciation - but today is the day we stop to appreciate the black ones.

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