Wednesday, June 29, 2011

pink is beautiful

Buddy still hasn't taken much to food, although he has eaten a tad more today than prior days. Took him over to the vet today in order to figure out what might be going on. Dr. Zastrow thought the Clavamox he had been taking for his urinary tract infection (UTI) might have caused some nausea. Who wants to eat when feeling nauseous?! Now that the antibiotic is complete (and the UTI is gone!) we are hoping his appetite returns.

Photo credit: Laura
"He looks pink" - some of the best words I heard today. Dr. Zastrow made this comment after examining Buddy. On his last visit he looked pale, and as I understand it pale kitties are sick kitties. The happy news was that the blood work showed a healthy red blood cell count - no more anemia! Yahoo!

So now we hope he regains his appetite then all will be well.

His appetite for snuggles has not waned, if anything the more he settles into his new home the more snuggles he desires.

Monday, June 27, 2011

concern

Thankfully, Buddy is pretty much fully integrated into the family now. He has free reign of his new kingdom. Willow continues to occasionally hiss but everyone else seems to have established an understanding. The only remaining complication is feeding time. He is used to free feeding, something that can't happen with Theo's eating craziness.


My concern is growing for his health. He has pretty much stopped eating. Since we got him, he hasn't expressed much interest in food. This didn't seem like a big deal, Max was more interested in loves than food. However, the last few days I have had to work hard to get him to eat, and then he would only eat a little bit. Today he didn't touch any of his food, wet or dry. He also refuses to eat any of the cat treats (freeze dried salmon, bonito flakes, etc.) This evening I thawed a little raw cat food and he showed some enthusiasm about it and actually ate part of it.

He continues to drink water and use the litter box and otherwise seems fine. Although, not having had him long, it 's hard to know what is normal for him.

I am planning to take him back to the vet on Wednesday to get him looked at again. I wish I could get him in tomorrow but my schedule doesn't allow it and our two regular vets are out on Tuesdays. 

I'm trying not to worry, but that is easier said that done.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

integration

Buddy's integration process continues. This morning I introduced him to Willow. That didn't go so good as Willow hissed and hissed. She followed him around and hissed at him wherever he went. Sweet Willow quickly became the Willow Monster which didn't make me happy. I started to really question our decision to bring Buddy home.

I tend to project a lot onto Willow and when she doesn't live up to my anthropomorphized projections it sends me into a tizzy. I need to remember she is a cat rather than little human in a cute cat suit - easier said than done.



In the evening, I decided to let Buddy mingle with the general population for the first time. The tension was high, all of us were on edge. Nahum is so sweet, he cautiously yet curiously sniffed Buddy and then quickly warmed up to him. Theo said a quick hello then didn't pay much attention to him after that. Willow continued to hiss but at least she didn't follow him around and torment him. Buddy decided to just ignore Willow, a wise move.

It didn't take too long for Buddy to relax in his new home. He found a perch on the back of the chair in the living room and hung out and watched the other cats mill about.

Rose was filled with cautious curiosity. She wanted so much to sniff Buddy but was too scared to get close. She tried several times to sneak a few sniffs then but would get spooked and run away. Eventually she worked up the courage to approach him for first contact. She has been quite friendly toward him with no hint of aggression.

Nahum and Buddy sharing the rug while enjoying the view out the front door.

Buddy loves to bat toys around. He doesn't seem to care much which toy, he has a good time. He also loves to play feather and string, which I have am bummed about, because that will be more competition for Nahum.

All this tension is hard, I just want it to be over and to have everyone be friends. I know it will happen in time, I just need to be patient. Initially Willow responded to Theo and Rose with the same nasty hiss, but eventually she relaxed and they became good friends, I trust this will happen again. Nahum has been a huge blessing, he is quite the ambassador. His gentle, non-threatening nature really helps to ease my anxiety - he truly is as his name signifies, a comforter.

notice of cat flap giveaway

If you don't follow Pawcurious, you are missing out on a SureFlap motorized cat flap giveaway - this is one that scans the cat's microchip and only opens for your cat, not the neighbor's cat. A $150 value!

The giveaway ends on June 28th and you can enter once per day by leaving a comment on Pawcurious's giveaway post. The odds are in your favor because not many people are leaving comments. May the best cat lover win!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

exploration

As part of Buddy's integration process, I swapped out the cat's space for the evening. Willow, Rose, Nahum and Theo got to sniff out the bedroom where Buddy has been living and Buddy got to explore the whole downstairs of the house.

Buddy started by pacing around the house cataloging everything with his eyes and nose. After he made a few laps around the house he then started surveying vertically by climbing up on stuff. He particularly liked the porches where he gazed outside. His attempts at opening the back porch door with his paw tells me that his previous owner may have been less than truthful when she reported that Buddy was an "indoor-only" cat. Buddy might eventually need to be fitted with a collar and tags in case he escapes.

Buddy explored every corner of the house.



He hasn't expressed much interest in toys, however he couldn't resist Theo's Kickeroo!

His little nose had to be tired after all that sniffing!

I would like to have Buddy be comfortable in the downstairs when he meets the other cats, that way he is not meeting unfamiliar cats in completely unfamiliar surroundings. Hopefully, if all continues to go well, we will try full integration over the weekend.

Meanwhile we continue to discuss Buddy's name. His name came from his original owner, so he has had it for all of his life, but we don't think it really fits him and we use 'buddy' as a nickname at times for the other cats. So, we contemplate changing Buddy's name, but can you do that with a 12-year old cat? We were trying to think of names that may sound like Buddy so as not to confuse him too much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

slow feed bowl test

I have written about Theo's eating disorder in the past - in short he inhales his food and then steals the nearest cat's food. I decided to try the smallest slow feed bowl I could find to see if it would slow him down.

Filling the test bowl.

The bone indicates it is for dogs, hopefully Theo doesn't reject his dinner
 because of this insult. (yea right, not much chance of that!)

Theo testing out his slow feed bowl.

And the result? It didn't slow him down one bit, he successfully inhaled the nuggets from around the obstacles in the bowl and then went for another cat's food. The bowl was a fail.

Not all was lost however. The pet store also had this cute bowl for Willow that I couldn't pass up! She loves it.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

around the hobby cattery

The slow introduction process for Buddy continues. I have been using Pam Johnson-Bennett's approach to kitty integration as spelled out in Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss. The process is a slow one, which tests my patience, but it is tried and true having been successfully used with Rose and Theo - each have integrated perfectly into the family. Hopefully, the same will be true for Buddy. For now though, he remains isolated from the other cats and dying to get on with exploring the entire house!

Buddy went to the get checked over by Dr. Zastrow on Friday. She said he overall looked good but was a little pale. At hearing these words my heart sank, the last time we heard them was when Max was diagnosed with CRF. Buddy's blood work revealed he has anemia but we do not know why. His kidneys were tested and appear to be working fine, so we have ruled out CRF - yahooo!! For now we are giving him some vitamins and are hoping for the best. He will be retested in three weeks when he goes in for a vaccine booster and a dental cleaning. His teeth are in rough shape, he definitely needs some dental work, but with his advanced age, 12, I am anxious about him being sedated, especially after The Very Best Cats lost KC back in January to the same procedure. 


Buddy is hanging out in isolation. Having him locked away in a room makes me feel like an evil step-parent who locks away their step-child. I look forward to once again having a fully integrated kitty house. Meanwhile, I visit him often and he loves to have his tummy rubbed and his cheeks and chin scratched. He also loves to be held. His way of snuggling is to have his face smashed against your face. Time will tell to see how that will play out in the sleeping hours!

In other news, Rose remains skittish of humans and yet she also highly desires loves. When she wants to be petted she squeaks at me just like she does when she wants to snuggle with Nahum. I interpret her squeak as an invitation. My current approach is to only pursue her when she squeaks at me. I also always try to end the time of loves before she gets uncomfortable. Sometimes I stop petting her and get up to leave and she squeaks to tell me she wasn't finished!

I am thinking this new approach will give her more of a sense of control as to when she is touched by the humans which hopefully will ease her fears. (If she asks for pets she gets it, if she doesn't ask she doesn't get it.)  

I am happy to report that I believe this approach is working! She has been asking for more loves and she wants them to go on longer and longer each time. Very slowly, we are gaining her trust, yahoo! Yesterday, she requested lots of loves and even rolled over so I could scratch her soft tummy several times through out the day. At the rate she is progressing she is gonna be a very lovey kitty in no time.


Rose is hanging out on the couch right next to me as I am writing this post. This marks a new milestone as she has never hung out on the couch with a human before!

Willow is certainly an extra lean ham!
Willow and Nahum had their annual check-ups and vaccines. All is well with them. I was a little disappointed that Dr. Zastrow didn't say that Willow was the cutest cat she had ever seen but she was probably just being polite - not wanting to hurt Nahum's feelings by saying it in front of him.

Theo is still Theo, he keeps me on my toes!

Nahum hunting the elusive string.
Theo and I watching the rain from the back porch.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buddy

With the start of summer, Laura and I decided to try something new. Every other Wednesday, we both take half the day off from work and have a date-day. We alternate deciding who gets to plan the activities for the time. Today it was my turn.

So my plan was to pick Laura up at work, grab some lunch at a delicious hole-in-the-wall Thai place and then take a short walk to visit the new Paws Cat City. After that quick stop, we would be off to the University of Washington boathouse to rent a canoe for a paddle around the lake. My plan got derailed.

You know how it goes - date night has a way of growing a family.

I walked into the Cat City and told the staffer, "We are not looking for another cat, we just want to visit the cats." She politely smirked. Thirty minutes later we were discussing matters of adoption.

Meet Buddy, the newest member of the Fourwhitepaws family!


Buddy is a 12-year-old boy who is a complete snuggle bug. He quickly stole our hearts.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


Exhibit C:


Resistance was futile. Welcome home Buddy!

Now that he is home, he has settled well into the small office room as he awaits integration. He is very bold and not at all scared or shy. We both look forward to getting to know this guy more and to providing him a great life.

fish toy love









Tuesday, June 14, 2011

new toy

Playtime for Cats: Activities and Games for FelinesI got the idea for this new toy from Playtime for Cats: Activities and Games for Felines by Helena Dbalý and Stefanie Sigl. I love this book because it has many great simple cat toy and game ideas.



This toy is made from a bunch of toilet paper rolls and an old tissue box.

A string or ribbon is threaded through two holes on the back so that it can be securely attached to a piece of furniture. I used a piece of string as it was easier than fighting Nahum for ribbon (Nahum loves string but he goes bazerk over ribbon!) I used a hot glue gun to attach the tubes together and to the sides of the box so nothing moves around. Be sure to start with the string or ribbon because trying to install it after the tubes are glued is a pain (learned that from experience!) I had to sequester myself when making this toy because the dangling string was too much for Nahum to resist - putting this all together with him attacking and pulling on it was too much!



The basis for this game is simple. The cat must figure out how to extract the treat from the tube by using their nose, eyes and paw. They can see and smell the treat in the tube but to get it they must figure out which tube to stick their paw into to pull it out. I loaded the toy up with a handful of dry nuggets and immediately the fun began.


This toy really appealed to Theo, since he is so driven by food. Nahum was also interested. Willow and Rose enjoyed playing with the string on the back! They would have played more with the toy if Theo didn't hog it. Maybe next time I will let them each take solo turns with it.


The tubes are just the right size for a paw, even one as big as Nahum's!






With my cats, this is a single use toy - they mangled it! We all had a full morning of fun. It cost virtually no money and about five minutes of time.

Nahum likes posing with his treasures.

Monday, June 13, 2011

sweetness

Another kitty-filled weekend gone by. I had some fun building a new toy and playing with the kitties, a post on that will come later in the week. All the cats seemed to enjoy the warmer weather, they celebrated by running around like crazy! Maybe they were just checking to make sure their claws still worked after being trimmed.








Each cat is quite unique. I'm so thankful to share my life with these four fun kitties.

Friday, June 10, 2011

nurse Willow

I've been battling a nasty bug all week and generally losing the battle. The result has been missing a lot of work and resting on the couch. Sweet loving Willow has been doing all she can to make me better.



Yea for getting more Willow time! 
With this kind of care, I'll never want to go back to work!