Wednesday, July 28, 2010

litter test - day 2

Well, the litter test may need to be scrubbed.

I witnessed Nahum checking out the new litter. He scratched around in it for a few minutes, took a passing glance at the wheatgrass litter and then went with the clay litter. Later in the day, I noticed that one of them had used the new litter (yea!) but hadn't covered it up - apparently it was all they could handle just to use it!

Then today, I found Theo enjoying a corn snack as he snarfed down the new corn litter like it was a special treat. I had to cover it up to get him to stop.

Having Theo eat cat litter is not an acceptable option. So, the test will be modified and re-administered. At this point, I am thinking I will need to mix in some of the used clay litter into both the wheatgrass litter and the corn litter. Maybe then, they will feel more comfortable using the new and Theo will be less likely to feast on it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

cat litter test

At the cat show I recently attended I got a hot tip from Steve, the owner and handler of some Maine Coon cats. He told me about The World's Best Cat Litter, which is made from corn rather than clay like traditional litters. It is suppose to be fully compostable and last longer. I am not too concerned about either of these points, but the selling point that intrigued me was the lack of silica dust. Our current litter, Litter Purrfect, leaves a thick coat of silica dust on everything in the room. I can only imagine what the silica dust does to Willow's asthmatic lungs.

The big down side to this new litter is the huge expense. It cost more than three times as much as our old litter! 0.91 cents per pound versus 0.27 cents per pound. But, if it helps Willow breathe better and extends her life than the extra cost will be worth it.

Besides the cost, my other hesitation in switching to this litter is the fact that it is made from corn and may be a temptation for Theo to eat. He gets ravenous at times and eats whatever he can find. I don't want him chowing down on the litter, albeit it fresh or used!

I took the plunge on the new expensive litter and have setup a preference test. We generally have two litter boxes for the cats to use, but for this test, we will have four boxes in operation. The options are: Cat Country (wheatgrass fiber pellets), The World's Best Cat Litter (ground up corn) and the Litter Purrfect (clay). 

Sure enough, minutes after pouring the litter into the box, Theo started eating it!

Stay tuned for the results.

Evergreen Cat Fanciers cat show

This past weekend was the annual Evergreen Cat Fanciers cat show in Bellevue, Washington.

There were six rings going all day and a lot of energy in the room. And there were a lot wonderful, well behaved cats! It is certainly fun seeing lots of kitties all brushed up nice and on their best behavior. Here are some pictures of what a cat show ring looks like:

This was ring 5

Here is ring 1

The winners in ring 1

From what I understand, each group of cats gets judged by each of the judges each day. After looking over every cat in the group, the judge select the placements (first, second, etc.) which translates to a point system. Three sets of ribbons are awarded in each judging, best out of the color group, best of the group and something else, which I am not sure! At the end of the show, the winner is the cat who gets the most points. Cat shows are certainly way more confusing than dog shows!

The benching area is where the cats are prepped for entering the ring. It is fun to walk around the benching area and see the kitties either napping or being primped. There are rather strict rules about not touching the cats to prevent the spread of germs and disease. I don't remember these concerns existing at the various dog shows I have attended, but that was many years ago.

The cat-housings in the benching area can be quite elaborate.

This is a Bengal kitten. After seeing these cats, we now believe Theo is a Bengal. His looks and personality characteristics are very similar to the Bengals we saw at the show. The Bengal show standard requires distinct black spots on the body of the cat, Theo has black stripes more than spots. 

This is a fluffy Maine Coon. He has big paws, lots of fluff and markings like our Nahum. The Maine Coon's ears are more pointed than our guy, but many of the other characteristics seem similar. Unfortunately, there were no Siberians at the show, so we couldn't compare the two to see which one more resembles our Nahum.

There were no cats that looked like our Willow. She must be a truly unique kitty! At the show, we learned of an even bigger show coming up in a few months, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The week in pictures

This weeks highlights...

small, medium and large

favorite mouse

cat recycling

naps on new favorite fuzzy blanket


more yardtime (before Theo escaped)

more naps

and snuggles!

one hundred

This post marks my 100th fourwhitepaws blog post!

Thanks to all my faithful followers whose frequent comments and feedback make it all worthwhile! And thanks to the stars of the show, Willow, Nahum, Theo and Max - without you guys there would be no blog.

Here's to the next 100!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It is common to see Theo trying to wrestle with Willow like he does with Nahum; tackling her when she is least expecting it and chasing after her. Unlike Nahum, however, she doesn't enjoy his antics. Her typical response is to cower and quickly escape, rarely does she dish back what Theo serves her.

Over the past year, Willow's energy has been greatly reduced by the daily steroid she gets to help her breathe. We recently tried cutting back the dose in an effort to find the lowest effective dose. The impact on her energy level has been remarkable. She runs and jumps around now like she did in the early days after we brought her home. It's absolutely delightful to see her spunky side again.

Last night she surprised us all. It was early evening, Willow was running and bounding around the house having lots of fun. In the midst of her bouncing around, she took a short pause while sitting near Theo. Then without any warning she sprang way up in the air and fully body slammed Theo to the floor! Thud! Theo was smacked down hard, a triumphant Willow on top of him. He managed to free himself and quickly retreated to a safe distance where he shook off the trauma. He carried a puzzled look on his face as he tried to figure out what had just happened. For the remainder of the night he was very cautious around her.

Willow gave notice this night, she is to be messed with no more!

There is something very satisfying about seeing the bully get his comeuppance! Go Willow!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

treat bandit

The absence of the cats' early morning lobbying for breakfast was the first sign something was amiss.

Then there was the evidence, left carelessly on the kitchen floor - a shredded bag of treats. It had been a brand new bag of treats and all that was left was a few crumbs and a shredded package.

The lack of the breakfast campaign by all three cats makes me believe all partook in the bounty. And I have my suspicions as to who did the deed of liberating the treats from the package - that would be the work of tenacious Theo.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


For the love of boxes...

training nearly complete

Nahum's training is nearly complete with about a 95% success rate for receiving the desired outcome.

This is how it works: Nahum plops down on the floor, stretches out and effortlessly rolls over. Then he waits, upside-down, for his tummy to be rubbed. The expectation is the human will drop whatever they are doing and attend to his tummy rub needs. If response time is unacceptably slow, he makes one of his odd meow sounds to alert the human to the problem.

Most often, Nahum gets what he wants, thus he has me trained well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Theo and Nahum are best friends - they get along amazingly well. They very much enjoy ambushing each other, tussling around, and a good chase. They also really like mutual bathing and a good snuggle.