Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grizzly Salmon Oil

I made my first trip to Lori's Natural Foods today. I want to be able to buy some things in bulk and avoid packaging, like rice, flour, beans, etc. Great store, but most of the food being local and organic, very pricey. They had a small pet section, which hosted many cat and dog supplements - great, too, because I had been wanting to buy some fish oil to add to their food. Mellie and Domino have coarse, dry, and extremely sheddy (probably not a word) fur. The fish oil is supposed to promote "healthy skin and velvety fur", and I'm hoping that "less shedding" somehow comes into play with those two.

There were a couple of different kinds of fish oil: cod liver oil, salmon oil, anchovy oil... I'll be honest, I decided on the smallest and cheapest one - 4 ounces for $7. But hey, at least it won't hurt. Oh, and I just looked it up on Amazon, and it advertises "less shedding." I really truly hope so! I will sing a song of happiness!

As soon as I came home, we tried it out. Noms will eat anything. You could tell that he recognized something was different, but he chowed down after a split-second hesitation. Mellie left her food to steal Noms'. It was as if she thought he had something different, but after stealing a bite, I put her next to her food again, and she ate without an issue. Smidge, however, is definitely more picky. She sniffed it, then left. Waiting for something better. I left her food up on the table, staying in the area to make sure the other two don't eat it. This was two hours ago, and she has finally ventured a few bites. Probably only because she's super hungry now.

I actually don't mind if Smidgie doesn't like the salmon oil, since she has a super soft, less sheddy coat anyway. Figures, too, because she's black, and I would definitely rather have black fur everywhere than white, but no...

Leaving her food up there, whether it's wet food (she eats wet food extremely slowly), or too much dry food (she gets full faster than the others), or food with fish oil (oh no, it's different!) - it's difficult. Noms tries to be sneaky and jump up there to gobble it down. (He's like a child stealing the candy here) Mellie is ever so persistant about reaching up to knock the dish off the table so she can eat it. So I'm constantly on guard, with my eye on the table, because I know Smidge will go back to eat. Just don't know when. But there she is now, eating all her food. Go Smidgen!

It would be lovely if the salmon oil does help us out with the fur problem here. I'll let you know in a few weeks if anything seems different. Are there any other good supplements for pets I should know about? I'm off to find out via the internets, but if you have any ideas, let me know!

I splurged on the drop trap...

Now watch, I won't need to watch Snoopy anymore and will be out $175.

In researching drop traps, and trying to find someone that is capable of making them well, I found the Pawzenclaws Ebay page. Which led me to their own website. Because of Dr. Pierson's review of the ACA drop trap, I want to make extra sure that the trap I buy is not going to be made by someone who hasn't done their own research. So I read through the Pawzenclaws website, watched their youtube video, and came away feeling good about the trap. But still needing to be absolutely certain. I decided to email the "seller" at the Ebay page, asking how their trap compares with Dr. Pierson's review of Alley Cat Allies' trap. They wrote back, answering my questions wonderfully:

Hello Susannah,

Thank you for your email. I like someone who researches before delving into something new. To begin, I would never make a claim that any trap is "safe". One hopes that an intended capture goes smoothly but sometimes unforeseen things happen. There is inherent danger for the user and the animal in the use of such device. Now, in regards to the integrity of our foldable drop trap I am completely confident in its intended use. If you visit our website www.pawzenclawz.com and click on the "details" link; we list the items of construction which differ in comparison to ACA's and a few other drop traps out there. We knew the design could be improved of what was being offered out there so we set out and did just that! Now, I've read Dr. Pierson's page in the past and agree with much of her feedback. In all fairness to ACA this was based on their "old" drop trap. They do have a new one on their website under equipment however, it is not yet for sale. I do believe they have repeated some of the same flaws and presented new ones such as using pine, fabric netting, making the trap too light, and not offering an anchor flap to hold a weight. With this said, I do give ACA much respect for their TNR campaigns as well as their educational publications they make available. Also, if you haven't done so YouTube offers lots of videos educating the beginner with how to use drop traps. Check out our page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U26h8D_nHEI which has feedback from several people who have purchased our foldable drop trap and even someone who hasn't but likes our design (his site is great). Our design encompasses Dr. Piersons's suggestions for ACA's changes including - safety of the mesh, hardware, wood, and overall design. Most importantly, our design/materials offer stability which is required for any drop trap. Building a drop trap that is "debate free" is almost impossible. Example: We've read that the concern of the drop trap of injury to the cat's tail. So with this in mind we designed the contoured sides. A few months ago I heard from a gentlemen (this is on our YouTube page) who said he's had several hundred captures and not one had a tail injury with the trap he built that had flat bottom sides. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to meet, email, and speak with those involved in rescue efforts. Susannah, I hope I've answered your questions and I wish you the best of luck. Please contact me should you have any further questions, comments or suggestions.

Darlene A. Hatton

She certainly did answer all of my questions. I went ahead and ordered one of the traps - now I just have to order the transfer cages through the hospital! Dr. R said that the cages I want would probably be better for surgery handling anyway, which works out perfectly...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bergan Scratch Lounger

After reading through Moderncat's list of favorite cat scratchers, I decided to buy this one from Bergan because it is incredibly inexpensive. I don't have a lot of money, but I could definitely afford the $9 it cost me (including shipping) for this nifty piece of sleeping/scratching furniture. (You can find it here)

What I like about the lounger is that it's 100% recycled material. Interesting design, sturdy, but as light as an egg carton. You can even flip it over to play with the hollowed out parts! = )

All the cats seem to like it, but Mellie being Mellie has claimed this new piece of furniture. She loves to sleep on it. I haven't seen them scratch it yet, though. They've never scratched anything except corrugated cardboard and sisal rope, so this is a new substance for them. I will put some catnip on it to encourage them, but even if they just use it to sleep on, I rather like it and do not regret buying it.

Good for the earth, creative use of materials, and the cats like it. I think we all win!!!

Stranger & Company

The weather has been turning from a snowy, sloshy mess to a rainy, sloppy mess. But the cats seem to be happy with the increase of warm sunshine. (Jehzar, with Stranger and Torrini in background)

My feeding station really only serves one purpose well: keeping the water clean. Which is wonderful, since it's a pain to drag the watering can along with the food to the back gate (now padlocked due to rumors of burglers in the woods), but was not very helpful in keeping the cats out of the wind and snow. Also, five cats eating in such a small place does not always produce happy, lovely feelings with purple butterflies floating lazily around their heads.

Fortunately, I've been able to show my coworkers that at least 3 bowls are needed so that everyone gets a chance to eat. Telling them had little effect. Showing them that Pickle gets shoved to the side every time there are only 2 bowls produced an "oh, poor Pickle! He'll go hungry!" Happily for all cats, there are always three bowls now. Two heads in one bowl are fine, but three do not fit well because our Stranger (above) likes to hog the bowls.

As the ground dries up, I will have to haul some new straw out to their houses. I am glad that they have all made it through the winter, especially with that crazy blizzard we had. I had to go out there with a shovel and make paths to their houses because the snow completely covered their doorways! I was very happy to see little footprints leading to the smaller insulated house (the only time I've seen evidence of its use). I hope they all snuggled and made nice when it was freezing outside, because boy was it ever cold.

Speaking of making nice, Torrini here has something going on with his eye. A couple days earlier, it was all crusty and oozing, but it is clear again, although still swollen. Fight, most likely? We will be keeping watch over it and trap him if it seems necessary. Which is why I'm hoping to get a drop trap, because it would make it ever so much easier to trap these guys!

We've yet to trap Pickle (above), another reason we need this trap. Every time we put the regular traps out, Stranger and Snuggle go right into them. They won't let Pickle investigate. As of right now, we only have two traps, so we can't even trap them and hold them off the side to try to get Pickle. Those two are just food hogs! We even went out with a net, but couldn't separate Pickle with the food and get close enough to net him. Very frustrating.

Snuggle, our second food hog. The most meowy one, as well.

All the cats love this stick pile. I can't imagine it'd be comfy, but I suppose it's warm and dry in the sun. It's especially cute watching them snuggle up together on the pile in their little nests. I've tried to get pictures, but haven't been successful yet...

It's been a while...

Since I've written. Almost a month! I've been looking for apartments and houses and such. I may be moving out with a friend in May or June, but we are both quite limited financially, which narrows our options. Pets are also an issue - I have three cats, she has a dog. A pitbull, whose breed suffers from much breed specific legislation. He's a very sweet boy, friendly to most people (shy with some men), loves to play with other dogs, and gets along well with cats. (I'm more worried about my cats attempting to eat him than vice versa, haha) But he's a PITBULL all the same, and many people have trouble looking past that.

We found a wonderful little half-house with a backyard, pets okay, cheap enough for us, but they couldn't hold it until May 1st. I'm hoping we'll be able to find another place, but the pickings seem to be slim.

I will be pet sitting in April for a lovely family dog named Snoopy. The family is going down to DisneyLand/World (which one's in Florida?) and wants someone to stay with their dog during the evenings. I'm kind of excited, because I will be using the money to buy a drop trap. I would make one, but let me tell you, my making anything will not result in something even remotely safe. However, I want the one I buy to be very safe and well-made as well, so I'm trying to make sure before I buy (not that I have many options here, either). But trying to trap with just regular traps is simply not working the right kind of magic I need. Dr. R said we could buy a couple of more traps for the program, so I'm going to see if we can buy the ones with rear sliding doors that we can use with a drop trap for transfers.

Does anyone have any suggestions about drop traps? I believe there is a link somewhere on the right side that goes to the Drop Trap Design Bank blog, which has helped me out the most. Also helpful was Dr. Lisa Pierson's review of the Alley Cat Allies drop trap (http://www.catinfo.org/alleycatalliesdroptrapreview.htm) and her own personal sites on how to make a quality trap (http://www.catinfo.org/buildingadroptrap.htm) and even remote control traps! (http://www.catinfo.org/Remotecontrol-droptrap.htm) Actually, I spent the last hour perusing her pages on cat food, urinary tract issues, pilling animals, and the importance of water. It was all quite enlightening and informative. Definitely check it out if you belong to the under-informed group such as I do. = )

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Georgie-Muffin and Ian


George was a little scared of Ian at first, but he loved being out to play so much that he soon forgot his fear. = )

Trying to climb the tree.

Ian doesn't know what to think of the baby.

So he plays with his little fur ball while george explores in the back.

George was boarding at the hospital for about a week. Isn't he just the cutest thing ever???

We let him out to play with Ian a few times since he had no scheduled playtimes.

His eyes are so beautiful!!! = )

I think he was staring at Ian in this picture...

I love this picture!!! He was so cute trying to be a big boy and climb the tree, but it was a little difficult. = )

What *Not* to Let Happen to Your Cat

These pictures may seem a bit gross, but I am always horrified when a cat is brought to T, a groomer, who is so completely matted that the fur must be slowly shaved off - as if you are carefully skinning the cat. It's a good thing she's so good with the animals, because it is *so* easy to nick a cat when shaving them.

This is what she had to shave off the poor cat, who was only about a year old. This is almost the entire body of the cat!!! Because the cat was so incredibly matted, she had to get extremely close to the skin to free the cat.

You can see how thick the fur was. You couldn't even pull it apart - it was seriously like another skin to the cat.

What I've been wondering, though, is do mats hurt? If the fur is so tangled that it becomes a second skin, there's no brushing it out - is it painful for the cat? Also, when long-haired cats are stray/feral and have no one to brush their coats for them - does it get matted like this? Can it be as a protective mechanism, if it does?

The dogs kept trying to grab the fur while I was taking pictures. I almost wanted to give it to them as a toy, but felt that might be a bit disturbing... We'll stick with fake fur toys for now. = )

P.S. Rio went to her new home in New Hampshire. They have lots of land for her to run on, two kids, and two cats. She'll be well taken care of. It made me sad to have to say goodbye, though, because I know I'll probably never see her again. But a good ending, so that's all that matters. = )