Posted in lessons

Do you think it’s good to get a companion for your cat?

First of all this is a bit of a loaded question because it depends totally on the cat. I think you have to evaluate the temperment of the cat. Is it allof and not terribly social or is he or she all over you everytime you arrive home? Has the cat ever been around other animals? and how did he or she do? Try to step back and look at the cat you have not with a clear perspective (if possible) This is the quick, down and dirty answer.

The longer answer is I believe so, but let me explain. Our Siamese Momo was an only child for the first 4 years we had him, and I truly believed that if he had a choice he would have been fine with life continuing like that. We also knew he wasn’t perticularly good with other cats because when we got him, he was in a bedroom of the foster home in a large cage, while the other 2 siamese had free roam of the room.

Now doing a quick judgement of the house and situation, I’m guessing they were thrown in together without a proper introduction, which will fail everytime!

When we got Snickers, Momo was not to pleased. He was happy as an only cat thank-you-very-much; and it took them a long time to like each other. It was enemeies for a while then frienimies for probably about a year. (and I researched the heck out of how to do a proper introduction.) I really beileve that when we moved was the game changer. It was no longer Snickers on Mo’s territory, but both on neutral territory. I’m not saying you have to move to make it work, but in our situation, it helped tremendiously. I’m guessing it can still work, but it may take even more time.

After the move, we noticed a change in both of them. They would sleep near each other, then one would use the other’s rump for a pillow, then they started playing together which was amazing! Now that Momo passed away I see a change in Snickers. He’s less interested in things like visiting with the neighbor. Because he had a companion I think he misses having one. I’m sure we will eventually get another cat when my husband is ready. I just hope Snickers remembers when he was the one invading the territory and how much that wasn’t appreciated and that he is a bit kinder to the next cat, but we will see.

Introducing a new cat

If you get a cat from a shelter I have noticed at least some will tell you “not good with children” or “not good with other cats and/or dogs” so of course if you already have one this isn’t going to work well.

When you bring you’re new cat home, segregate the new one from the old one and let the new furbaby settle in for a few days.
You can start introducing them by taking something the resident cat sleeps on and introduce it to the new cat and visa versa. This is step 1
After a while, if you can crack the door a bit and let them sniff each other out, and see how that goes. Do they growl and hiss? Are they just curious?

You can also switch their positions. Put the resident cat in the room for a while and allow the new cat to roam, this way they get used to each other’s scent.

Next allow them to interact under supervision. How do they act toward each other? Do they hiss and scream? do they completely ingnore each other?

When the seem to tolerate each other, you can allow them to interact freely.
Don’t be suprised if they back step. We went from frenimies to enemies many many times. They would be fine one minute then everything would hit the fan the next. It doesn’t neccesarily mean all hope is lost, they just have to work it out.

Remember take it slow, this process can be over the course of weeks if neccessary. Carefully gage how each cat is reacting before proceeding to the next step.

Some cats will come to become great friends, others will learn to tolerate the other cat, and some just unfortunatly never can seem to get along. Just remember not to give up too soon. It took a very long time for Momo and Snickers, but in the end they became best buds!

Have you ever introduced two cats?
Did it work out or not?

Leave a comment below!

Posted in lessons

Cats on the move

The time has come to relocate. Of couse you want to make sure it goes smoothly and with as little stress as possible to you and your furbabies.

First think about a strategy to make the day smoother. Is it easier to remove all the boxes and small items first then all the furniture? or just the opposite; haul out all the furniture in one load, then remove boxes and small items in trips. Having a plan can make all the difference

Before the move

Make sure any microchips or collar tag information has your new address and phone number on it. If your kitty gets our and is picked up, you can be contacted.

You can also do a quick health check up with your vet. This would be a good time to bring up any concerns and discuss ways to keep your kitty calm if you have one that is highly anxious or just really doesn’t like the car.

On the day of your move

If it is a local move, we like to bring the cat(s) over to the new home as soon as we close so that they have a chance to check out the new digs before everything is moved over. Give him/her plenty of time to sniff every corner and check out every room. If your cat is highly anxious you may want to limit his/her activity to one or two rooms and slowly give them more freedom. Everything should come together for him/her the next time he/she sees the room with the furniture that has familar smells.

On the day of the move, choose a room that is quiet and out of the way to keep your furbabies safe. Make sure to choose a room that has a door that preferably locks. The last thing you want is to have the door accidently opened during the moving process and your kitty slips out…gone and make sure you’re baby has water and litterbox available. (you can give them food but keep it light since it could cause stomach upset)
My one kitty has become the master of escape. He’s figured out just the right time to make his move, slipping out sometimes without me realizing it. Luckliy where we live now we have an enclosed entryway so it’s not too critical, but generally during a move every door is open so make sure to secure your kitty in a place they can’t accidently get out. (you may want to put a sign on the door if you are using friends or professional movers) “Kitties inside, do not open!!!”

After everything been complete, pack up your furrbaby to make the final move to your new home.

Long Distance Moves

If you are doing a long distance move I would use the same strategy, lock them up until everything is on the truck then go in and pack your furbabies up last.

Make sure to pack the car up keeing in mind you will need a place for the carrier to sit where it will not slide around; and make sure there is nothing near the carrier that could harm your baby.

You wil also want to hold back food the day of the move since this could case stomach upset in the car. Make sure you take lots of drive breaks for water, potty and reassurance that everyting is ok.

When you arrive reverse the process of packing up. Find one room that is quiet and away from all the action where the cat can relax while everything is moved in and there is no chance of escape. Again I would try to have a door with a lock, or at least have a sign on the door so it is not accidently opened. Make sure the room has no hazards. Once the move is complete and you have checked to make sure there are no loose window screens or doors that can be pushed open, then you can allow your furbaby to explore the new home.

Hopefully your move will go smoothly and you and your furbaby can enjoy your new home.

What else did you do during your last move that kept your kitty safe?
Comment below (as always please be kind)

Posted in lessons

How to wash a cat in 12 steps

Cats in general hate baths, there are always exceptions, you run in to the occassional cat that loves water but more often than not I would not expect this reaction.

Cats for the most part take care of cleaning themselves; with regular burshing it is possible that bathing may not be neccessary. There are occassions that a bath is neccessary; if your cat gets in to something, drags a tail in the cat box, or has excessive sheeding and/or dandriff may be some reasons you might feel a bath is neccessary.

Sometimes my cat just smells or the coat starts to get a bit dull and a bath is neccessary; generally I give my cat a bath twice a year.

Here is a step by step guide to giving your cat a bath

  1. Gather all the equipment you will need. Cat shampoo or baby shampoo, a cup and towels (the more the better!). Regular shampoos for people are usually too harsh for feline skin and may cause irritation.
  2. Fill the bathtub to about 2 inches BEFORE you bring the cat in the room
  3. Bring the cat in the room and shut the door so he/she doesn’t escape
  4. Place the cat in the tub and begin getting the fur wet using your hands or cup. Make sure NOT to get water in the cat’s ears
  5. Start with a little shampoo (you can always add more). If you use too much shampoo you will be rinsing forever
  6. Make sure to soap the belly front paws and haunches
  7. Rinse the cat well using your hands or cup making sure to rinse the belly legs and hunches making sure all the shampoo is reinsed out (again being careful not to get water in the ears)
  8. Let the water out of the tub
  9. When the water is almost gone you can start carefully ‘wringing’ out the cat by gently squeezing the water out of the legs and tail
  10. After you’ve removed as much water as possible, wrap a towel around the cat and begin towel drying.
  11. Flip over and/or exchange towels to dry the cat off as much as possible.
  12. Release the cat to lick his damp fur and give you lots of dirty looks.

There you have it! How to bathe your cat

Have you bathed your cat?

Was it easier or harder than you expected?

Comment below

Posted in lessons

How do you ‘get over’ the death of your furrbaby?

Two words. YOU DON’T

BUT time will lessen the pain.

We recently had to put our beloved Momo to sleep, I talk about it in the ‘euthenasia-a change in perspective‘ blog. So with the topic fresh on my mind, here are a few tips to help you through the loss of you furrbaby.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself through the process.

1. Be kind to yourself.
You are mourning a family member.
Eating healthy food will give your body the energy it needs, and exercise releases endorphins that can improve your mood. Besides that just say do what feels right. If it means ball in up and crying your eyes out, do that. If you have someone that is just a good listener, just talking about the good times can be theraputic. Whatever you have to do to move yourself through the grief and out the other side.

2. Hold a funeral
For Snickerdoodle we were actually temporarily living away from home so we had her cremated. Then when we came home we had a funeral which consisted of burying most of her ashes in the garden and crying a lot. I would have loved to say how much we loved her, and how much of an awsome cat she was (and maybe we did) and how much we would miss her but it’s tough to cry and talk at the same time.

3. Consider getting another cat. When you are ready, (and only when you are ready.)
When our beloved Snickerdoodle passed away it was rough. She was our baby girl, our beloved daughter and we missed everything about her.
Within a couple of months the emptiness started to get to me and I was missing having a furrball around. I wasn’t looking to replace her but I needed a cat in my life; my husband on the other hand took longer. Snickerdoodle was a daddy’s little girl through and through and they were thick as thieves so understandably it took him longer to work through the grieving proccess. I had to be patient and respect the fact that he was still grieving and not ready to welcome a new life in to our family. It took about 4 months before he could start thinking about a new daughter, and when we were ready, we welcomed our son Momo.

Remember that grief is a PROCESS! There is no way to rush through it, no way to short cut it (as much as we would love to I’m sure). Yes it’s painful, yes it’s hard, but pushing you’re feelings down, ingoring them and not adressing the grief is worse. Do the work, be kind to yourself in the process, and remember with time things will get better.

Our Forever Pet
There’s something missing in our home.
We feel it day and night.
We know it will take time and strength
Before things feel quite right.

But just for now, we need to mourn,
Our hearts-they need to mend.
Though some may say it’s “just a pet”
We know we’ve lost a friend.

You’ve brought such laughter to our home,
and richness to our day…
A constant friend through joy or loss
With gentle loving ways.

Companion, pal and confidante,
A friend we won’t forget,
You’ll live for always in our hearts,
Our sweet forever pet.

Author Unknown

Posted in lessons

Euthanasia- a change in perspective

Momo the baby boy

I have always said “I don’t believe in euthanasia, it is playing God.” and “I could never give the order to kill my cat” but at the same time I recognized the need to not allow you baby to suffer. They seem mutually exclusive, well yes and no.

Snickerdoodle as a kitten

Our first cat Snickerdoodle when down fast (just 18 hrs). All her systems shut down and we’re not quite sure why; she was 11.5 yrs old. The only forwarning I had was she loved going for walks on her harness; the month prior to her death she would BEG me to take her for a walk, then one day she quit asking. I should have been suspicious but what was I going to say? “I’m bringing her to the vet because she doesn’t want to go for a walk?” Odd.

I am forever grateful that she died peacefully without help at the animal hospital. The vet called that morning and said “I think we need to help her so she doesn’t suffer”. Just as I was going in to my montra about how I didn’t believe in it, she passed away. I didn’t have to say the word, or give permission, she did it on her own. My only regret is I wish I had been there telling her I loved her. (but I digress)

Now with the end of Momo’s life on the horizon we again are faced with the fact that we will probably have to use euthanasia to end his suffering. I still don’t believe in it and I feel like we are playing God, but he has cancer in his nose. We did all we could but we didn’t catch it soon enough and while we made a good effort, the chemo only knocked it back for a time before the cancer came roaring back with a vengence.

We were getting 3 weeks of no symptoms. When it was down to 2, my husband said we need to stop the chemo, it’s getting expensive. I thought ‘If we get another 2 weeks symptom free I will fight for Mo to get at least 1 more dose of Chemo and when we aren’t getting 2 weeks anymore then it will be time to stop.’ I didn’t get my chance, in a 1.5 weeks the symptoms came roaring back.

He did pretty well for a while; he was pretty loud when he breathed but besides that he was (for the most part) his usually demanding self; until yesterday.
When I got up in the morning he seemed to be ok, I had been hand feeding him because he wasn’t eating willingly on his own.
Our Homeowners Association was having elections that day and I volunteered to sit at the ballot box and help hand out ballots. I was able to get a break around 1pm and came home to get some lunch and do some other things around the house.
To my shock Mo was stumbling around like a severe drunk, he couldn’t stand up for very long and fell over when he tried to walk; (we think he has a stroke) I knew in my heart this was it.

So I guess it boiles down to quality of life, or at least for me it does.
When he was just a heavy, loud breather and at the same time was still his usual bratty self, he had quality of life. When he still enjoyed sleeping with dad, screaming loudly that he found his toys, then refused to give them up; he still had quality of life. He didn’t seem to be in pain, it was just more difficult to breathe.

But now with him stumbling around, refusing to eat or drink (even when being hand fed), not able to enjoy any of his favorite things, and is not himself, it is time.

I told him several times ‘When you’re ready to go, when you’re tired and don’t have any more fight in you, let us know and we will honor that.’

It is time.

Posted in lessons

A New beginning

After the failure of my first blog StubsAndCompass I was reluctant to try again I really felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and there is so much to blogging it can be a bit mind boggling!

While I certianly still don’t know what I’m doing, I’m hoping that I can and have aligned myself with people who do. I have never been and never will be in favor of the “give me insane amounts of money and I”ll teach you what I know” classes. I have no plans to ever get in on one of those

I can’t say that going the free way is better or worse, but I do feel supported by hooking up with a couple of websites (I’ll post links at the bottom of the page) and connecting with other bloggers through Facebook who are also on the blogging road. We are at different levels but everyone tries to help each other no matter what level you are at.

About this Blog

To be succesful, you want to blog about something you are passionate about, something you could talk about for hours and for me that would be my cats. I can regale story after story about funny things one of my furbabies did, but it’s more than that it’s a love for cats in general. Their health, their welfare….. and the funny stories. I hope this blog will be a bit of this and a dash of that to keep it fresh. I hope you will join me on this journey.