Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

first thing

This is what I see first thing in the morning.


Nahum has taken to snuggling with me when I am sleeping. Usually, around 2 or 3 in the morning, he comes over and snuggles in on my chest.

You won't hear me complaining!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

another Rose update

I am happy to report that Rose is back from the kitty hospital.

She is a lot more spunky than when she was admitted. It's really good seeing her so energetic. Although, that good looking energy is going to be a challenge. The vet told us to restrict her movement, no running, no climbing and no jumping. We're gonna need to take the kitten out of the kitten!

When she is left alone, we are suppose to put a cone on her to keep her from licking on the sutures. I bet she will love the cone. I also bet I'm going to hate having to put it on her. We will see if we can do that for the 7-10 days they want us to.

Rose has been eating well. She chowed her dinner right down with the rest of the cats - so that is a good sign. I sure hope whatever bug she had, that it met it's match at the hospital and is no more.

I am very thankful to have my little Rose home. Her cuteness was very missed.

dual purpose

It's the Holiday season which typically involves more social occasions, which means more cooking and baking. And that means more yum!

I was cleaning out the large litter box, working very intently, making sure I got all the litter residue out. As I was cleaning, I thought to myself, "I can't believe we are doing this. This is going to far. I sure hope I can clean this up enough to get all the litter smell and taste out of it. After this, we will buy a different mixing bowl for the holiday food."

Then I woke up.

Thankfully, it was only a dream; but what does it say that my subconscious is even considering such things?! Yuck!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rose update

We visited Rose this evening at the kitty hospital. She was still a little loopy and scared. She eventually settled in Laura's lap and purred up a storm. It was great to get to visit with her.

She did well in the surgery. The vet didn't find any obstructions in her innards, that was a good thing. So, we are back to not really knowing what is causing her ailment. But we now know one important thing that we can rule out.

We go back in the morning for another visit and then hopefully take her home Sunday evening.

Sleep well my little Rose.

Rose


Little Rose is currently in the vet hospital. She is scheduled for exploratory surgery in a little over an hour. On Wednesday evening, she suddenly got very ill. Lots of vomiting, diarrhea, not eating nor drinking. A quick trip to the emergency vet and we were reassured that it was probably just a bug.

Over the holiday, there were times when she looked better and other times when she looked sickly. The vomiting and diarrhea, continued so she went back to the vet on Friday morning. The vet suspected a viral infection although she also said it could be a intestinal blockage from a foreign object. We came home with some special food in hopes of getting her to eat more. She didn't want much to do with the food.

The next step was an x-ray to look for any foreign objects. So, Saturday morning, we took her over again for more diagnostic work. The x-rays revealed no foreign objects but the vet did notice that her intestine didn't look right. She suspects there is something in there that doesn't belong. The next steps is exploratory surgery, which happen at 5:00 pm this evening. I certainly hope they find what they need to find and fix her up. 

It was really hard seeing her suffer. She looked very sickly. Occasionally, she would want to play, but very reservedly so. I am hoping that all of this goes well and she heals up quick. Not much to do now except pray and seek comfort.

Cinnamon roll = comfort

Individuals

Theo

Nahum

Rose

Willow

Friday, November 26, 2010

playing feather toy

Nahum loves his feather toy - it is his absolute favorite! Unfortunately, Rose also loves it, which means I have to lock her in the bedroom so Nahum can have it all his own.

Shoes enhance the joy of playing feather!


Parading around with his feather toy prize!


Taking a rest break.


Back at it! 


Proud feather toy champion.


Scheming a sneak attack on the feather from the safety of the tunnel.


Intense focus.


When hunting feather, Nahum always gives it his all.


Post feather toy snuggle.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

special vittles

Happy Thanksgiving!

The cats get some special vittles on a special day!

While out grocery shopping for the big holiday feast, a nearby Safeway had fresh refrigerated cat and dog food right there in the pet food aisle. So, we thought we would give our cats something special. Freshpet Select: Ocean Whitefish and Salmon in sauce - I bet they love it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

captivating cat figurines

I received my first piece of cat-related junk mail. I assume it came to me because of my recent subscription to Cat Fancy magazine.

Willabee and Ward is offering me a deal on Captivating Cat Figurines. The first figurine is $2.95 and subsequent figurines are only $12.95 each. If I act soon, I will also get a deluxe wooden collector's display.

The figurines are made of porcelain and are hand painted by skilled artisans. Each figurine is about 1½ inches tall.

Judging by the presentation of the mailer, I bet the figurines are good quality. The question now is how fast can I mail in my reply so my figurines start coming! Then I will have to decide where I can place them in the house where one of the cats can't knock them down.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

echoes

Today was a rare snow day. We rarely get enough snow to make a fuss about. In fact our last snow was two years ago. Seeing the all the snow today brought me back to December, 2008.

Max watching me shovel snow.


Max's paw prints in the snow.


Max getting his paws out of the cold snow.


Even as wonderful my four cats are now, I still intensely miss my delightful Max. He was a one of a kind cat.

chocolate

Chocolate is poisonous to cats, this I know. But how much does it take to cause problems?

I accidently left two Dove Peanut Butter chocolates unattended on the kitchen counter for a few minutes. Theo somehow knew this and snagged one. He nearly ate the entire thing before I scared him off, but the damage was done, only a few crumbs and a bit of wrapper remained.

So, then I wondered, how much chocolate is too much? So, I strolled over to the vet's office to ask them. I brought a long a few of the chocolates to show them what exactly he had eaten.

I asked Deanna, one of the front office workers, "one of my cats just ate an entire Dove Peanut Butter chocolate, so I am wondering how much chocolate is dangerous?" She replied, "was it Theo?"

Apparently he has a reputation. She went on to say that the quantity of chocolate in actually not much, because of the peanut butter filling, so he might have an upset stomach or diarrhea. I thanked her for her time as as I was about to leave, the other front desk person, Amanda, said, "You have the most interesting cats. They're always up to something."

That got me wondering, do other cat owner not have the dramas we have? I have always figured that cats are cats and therefore every cat owner must have similar experiences with their cats - but maybe not!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

elliot bay books

I recently had the occasion to browse through Elliot Bay Book Company's new location in Seattle. I was curious how their cat-to-dog book ratio would be.


The results: not much different than Borders. 66% of the shelf space dedicated to dogs, 12.5% for cats, 12.5% for horses and 9% for general information and small pets.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

manual deterrent

Two strategically placed squirt bottles has not been enough to effectively provide deterrent coverage across the entire house. Today, I found the perfect solution at the local variety store - a handy 6 pick of small water pistols.

Before I knew it I was faced with a situation where I could put them to the test. As I was filling the pistols with water and trying them out, Theo hopped up on the counter to see what I was doing. I immediately said "off!" and squirted him on the backside. The pistol delivered a nice beam of water right to his left hindquarters. Theo had no reaction - he never even flinched, he nonchalantly continued about his business as if nothing had happened.

I may have just wasted $1.99!

I remember reading awhile back that Bengal cats actually like being in the water. Which was certainly true when we gave him a bath long ago. So, maybe I need to keep working on the deterrents.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Willow smile

fun friday feline factoid - how cats drink

Researchers from MIT, Virginia Tech and Princeton joined forces to determine just how exactly cats consume liquids (see MIT press release for more info, pictures and video). Their results are fascinating and prove that cats are experts at hydromechanics.

The mechanism used to get the liquid is amazing. A domestic cat averages about four laps per second. Each lap yields about 0.1 milliliters of liquid. Research by a MIT researcher back in the 40's indicated that cat's use their tongue to ladle water into their mouth but this recent research debunks that theory.
Recent high-speed videos made by this team clearly revealed that the top surface of the cat’s tongue is the only surface to touch the liquid. Cats, unlike dogs, aren’t dipping their tongues into the liquid like ladles after all. Instead, the cat’s lapping mechanism is far more subtle and elegant. The smooth tip of the tongue barely brushes the surface of the liquid before the cat rapidly draws its tongue back up. As it does so, a column of milk forms between the moving tongue and the liquid’s surface. The cat then closes its mouth, pinching off the top of the column for a nice drink, while keeping its chin dry.

The liquid column, it turns out, is created by a delicate balance between gravity, which pulls the liquid back to the bowl, and inertia, which in physics, refers to the tendency of the liquid or any matter, to continue moving in a direction unless another force interferes. The cat instinctively knows just how quickly to lap in order to balance these two forces, and just when to close its mouth. If it waits another fraction of a second, the force of gravity will overtake inertia, causing the column to break, the liquid to fall back into the bowl, and the cat’s tongue to come up empty. 
The scientists also videotaped larger cats to study their drinking practices. With the collected data they were able to create a mathematical relationship based on the size of the animal.
With these videos slowed way down, the researchers established the speed of the tongue’s movement and the frequency of lapping. Knowing the size and speed of the tongue, the researchers then developed a mathematical model involving the Froude number, a dimensionless number that characterizes the ratio between gravity and inertia. For cats of all sizes, that number is almost exactly one, indicating a perfect balance.
Here is a video of a cat drinking, in very slow motion. This is truly amazing.


Wow, I am amazed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

automated deterrent

Contech StayAway Motion-Activated Pet DeterrentNeeding a solution to keep Theo from getting on the gas stove-top, I broke down and purchased Contech StayAway Motion-Activated Pet Deterrent. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I figured $40 is cheaper than a trip to the emergency vet office due a burned cat.

A motion sensor is perched atop a canister of compressed air. When it detects motion, the device either makes a loud sound and shoots a quick burst of air or just makes the sound. There is a small switch on the back where you can select the desired option. The idea is that when the cat triggers the device, it will be scared and not return.

The idea behind this product seems great, however I did have some concerns. First was how do I approach the device to turn it off when I want to use the stove? The answer is that it has to be arranged so someone can slip in behind it and flip the switch. My second concern was the impact of the sound on the non-offending cats. What will they associate the sound to when they are doing positive things.

I setup the device on top of the stove and waited.

It didn't take long before it sounded off, although the culprit wasn't Theo, it was Laura! She had forgotten it was there until it was too late! The sound certainly scared Nahum and Willow, they scrambled to get far away from the sound and hunkered down.

Later that same day, Theo hopped on the stove and set it off, immediately causing Willow and Nahum to flee for their lives. Theo, however, casually jumped off the stove and wasn't really that phased. He seemed more confused than scared. Rose also didn't even lift her head from her nap.

Theo made a second attempt that evening, but since then I haven't heard him up exploring the stove. I am not ready to call it a success just yet. Do I dare allow myself to be hopeful?!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rose

Rose sleeps anywhere. She enjoys this cat bed on the chair in the living room and she enjoys about every other chair and soft spot anywhere in the house!

Monday, November 15, 2010

peeking

Willow peeking through a hole in her cardboard kitty-fort.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Electronystagmography

I recently had the displeasure of experiencing a electronystagmography test. I can think of many more fun ways to torture myself than by intentionally inflicted dizziness. Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to this experience.

Anticipating feeling horrible after the test, I scheduled my day so I had no other responsibilities that day. Sure enough, the test made me feel terrible. So, as soon as I got home, I laid down on the couch for a nap. Nahum was the first to hop up, he stretched out on my feet and zonked out. Theo was next, he curled up on my chest and slept. Then Willow came up and stretched out on my legs and was out. I soon feel sleep with all three cats napping contently on me. I was in kitty nap heaven! I can't think of a better therapeutic remedy for dizziness.

It is extremely rare for Nahum to cuddle on the couch, he rarely even gets on the couch when humans are there. It is also rare for Willow to snuggle so directly. If she is going to snuggle, she usually likes to lay against a human, not on top of. And delightfully, it is quite common for Theo to curl up on one's chest!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nahum

There are many sides to Nahum. He can be super-snugly.
Or intensely playful!

fun friday feline factoid - Warriors

Warriors #1: Into the WildI was browsing at Borders the other day and ran across a series of fictional cat based adventure books. Warriors by Erin Hunter, is a fantasy adventure story involving feral cats as the main characters. I was amazed at the number of Warriors books on the shelves, almost two full shelves!

Wanting to know more about these books, I visited the official Warriors website. I learned that the author, Erin Hunter, is actually a pen name for four different authors.

I had no idea there were a bunch of cat-based adventure books written for young adults! The idea sounds great, I only hope the quality lives up to the potential. I have the first book on hold at the library, so after I get the chance to read it, I will follow-up with a review.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Double Whammy review

I bought the Double Whammy cat toy at Petsmart thinking it would integrate with the scratching post that I had purchased previously. Petsmart sells a bunch of cat products in what they call their, Petlinks System. The scratching post has a spot on the top of it where it holds a toy, I thought one of these bird things on a springy stick would be great, but it doesn't integrate that nicely.

So, I tried to use the Double Whammy toy as it was intended by sticking the suction cup to a clean flat surface. I even added a little moisture to the suction cup, but it won't stay stuck to anything. I tried all sorts of surfaces but no luck. The suction cup design is very poor. Even if it did work, the connections between the springy stick things and the bird thing are easily separated. When I held the suction cup to the floor with my finger to give the cats a chance to play with the bird part, one whack of a cat's paw and the parts went flying.

For $7.99, I want a toy that will function well and last a while. Sadly, the Double Whammy fails on both accounts. Don't waste your money on this poorly designed product.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

family photo

The other day, Laura came home to find three cats snuggled together in front of the fire!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

last bit of sun


In the nine years I have been here, Fall in the northwest has been rather lame. It usually consists of a week of Fall-like days before the rain starts in. This year we have had more cool days and sun. Some of the days have been nice enough to warrant having the windows open, something the cats love!
Theo watching a squirrel.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

dog friend

My friend Lisa and her well behaved chocolate lab, Gromit, came for dinner and a visit this evening. This was Rose's first introduction to a dog.

Rose can be rather skittish around humans. Fast movements really scare her. I feared a large dog might freak her out, causing her to disappear upstairs for the evening. However, she watched Gromit closely and never got too close, but was very curious. I was very impressed, her curiosity really tempered the fear.

Even Willow stayed downstairs for the whole time, something she has never done before. Usually, when she first senses Gromit's presence she disappears for the night upstairs. She hung out mostly under the couch, but she did venture out a few times.

Theo and Nahum were their typical comfortable selves. Nothing gets Theo worked up (except for the constant fear of not having enough food). The vacuuming earlier in the day didn't even phase him, he just went about his business. Nahum remained his amazing self.

I love having cats that are easy going about sharing their space with other people and animals.

Friday, November 5, 2010

fun friday feline factoid - statistics

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will have read one of my many rants about the greater abundance of dog-stuff available than cat-stuff.

So I decided to do a little research. The American Pet Products Association has a webpage specifically for Industry Statistics and Trends. Here are some of their stats:

Breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S. according to the 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey

Number of U.S. Households that Own a Pet (millions)
Dog45.6
Cat38.2

Number of Pets owned in the U.S. (millions)
Dog77.5
Cat93.6

According to the 2009-2010 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:
Dogs:Cats:
Surgical Vet Visits$532$278
Food$229$203
Kennel Boarding$273$255
Routine Vet$225$203
Groomer/Grooming Aids$66$22
Vitamins$61$28
Food Treats$64$37
Toys$40$19

Total$1,490$1,045

So, there are more dog households than cat households and yet there are more cats as pets than dogs which I suppose, indicates there are more multiple cat households than single cat households. I am still left wondering why people spend less money on their cats than they do on their dogs. Any one have any ideas?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

bias

I visited the local Borders Books store and looked around for the cat book section. Here is what I found:


Eleven shelves of dog books under the sign "DOGS" and two shelves of cat books under the heading "ANIMALS & PETS".

Out of the three bookcases dedicated to animals and pets, the allotment of shelf-space is as follows: dogs 61%, cats 11% and other (horses, rabbits, birds, rodents, etc.) 28%.

the boys

Nahum hogging the shelf while Theo makes do with a tiny corner.