Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jess and the Kitty

Watch this. I'm gonna wake Mom up. Tee Hee

Whatcha doin' Mom? Why are your eyes covered?

I love you. Can you stay asleep with my cold wet nose on your face?

Hey! Get that camera out of here!

O.K. fine! 5 more minutes. Wipe that smile off your face.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Poop - Cat and Dog Quick Facts

Did you know that cats also purr when they are distressed? At these times the purr is thought to be self-soothing, self-healing, a way to calm themselves. I remember taking a kitten for his first vet check up and he purred so loudly the vet couldn't listen to his chest!

It is a well known fact that dogs are pack animals but did you know that chihuahuas are also clan animals? This means they tend to get along better with their own kind. Socialization is key, training them how to behave and react around other animals and people.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Meowsings

I saw this on a coffee mug - "Cat hair is a condiment".

It's a wonder I have never coughed up a fur ball.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rippling Skin Disease

My little boy cat, Sunny, has Rippling Skin Disease or Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS). It started when he was quite young when I noticed his lower back was always twitchy. It does actually look like the skin is rippling or rolling. He also went from being my cuddly lap cat to not wanting to be petted which really broke my heart. Now he will rub himself back and forth on my leg but mostly ducks out of the way if I reach out.  Funnily enough, he does like to be brushed and purrs his little head off when I brush him. The brush must feel good to him.

The worst part of FHS is the attacking of the tail.  Last year at this time, he had a 1.5 inch laceration on the end of his tail because he continuously grabbed it with his claws, his claws got stuck in his tail, then he went in circles trying to get unstuck. Almost all the time I have to help him free his claws from his tail. As a result, I was constantly cleaning up blood from one end of the house to the other. The other thing he was doing was shaking his head a lot. This is usually a sign of mites or infection but for Sunny it was one more manifestation of FHS. 

He was thoroughly examined by the vet who recommended either anti-anxiety medication or anti-seizure medication. He also gave the gloomy prognosis that in all likelihood, the tail would have to be amputated. Oh hell no, I said as I grabbed my cat and ran screaming from the building. OK it wasn't that dramatic but I couldn't even consider that.

He sits upright on my bed and fondles his foot.

There are various causes for FHS but they are only theoretical. From my experience with it I can say with a degree of absolute certainy that it is exacerbated by stress. When he was mutilating his tail as I mentioned above, we were living in an extremely stressful situation. I have since moved to a place of my own and 8 months later, he hardly goes after his tail at all. He still has the rippling skin and head shake as well as a new puff from his nose after the head shake. He sometimes goes after something that isn't there and I just ask "Did you get it?"

I gave up trying to give him medication. I don't want him to be on medication long term and I would have a better chance of winning the lottery than I would getting him to swallow a pill. He gets a good quality food, stress in our home is kept to a minimum and I try to offer exercise-based play every day. It's a little extra work but he is well worth it.

 For more information on Rippling Skin Disease, follow this link

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Found: 6 Month Old Kitten

Brantford folks: know anyone who lost a young cat like this? Abt 6 mos. old, grey, wearing a white flea collar? I took her in Sunday night. She is painfully thin but seems otherwise healthy. If I don't find her owner, I will post on Kijiji for a loving home. She keeps squinting when I point the camera at her so she obviously has had her picture taken before.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Meowsings

I read recently that cats don't meow at each other in the wild and that they only use the meow to communicate with humans. If that where true, wouldn't they have come up with something more like:

"I want it right meow!" ?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Cat is 56 Years Old!

My Kizzie is 10 years old this month. That makes her 56 years old in human years. I adopted her from a young family who could not keep her because their baby became very allergic. She was not happy about the move and let everyone know it. Her attitude was "Fine. I will stay here and let you feed me but don't even think about touching me." If anyone dared to try and pet her, her indignation was palpable. It took a really long time to gain her trust - a good two years - and a miracle happened. She climbed half way on to my lap! I almost started to cry. I also wasn't sure how to respond. I gently petted her head a little bit and after a short while, she jumped down. Fast forward 7 years and she is my big old sucky cat. I can pet her and she purrs. She still chooses who is allowed to pet her though and some folks have a hard time accepting this.  She is mummies cat. To Kizzie I am the food/water/treat dispenser. I'm sure she loves me in her own way and I like her irascible nature.  If you want to know what human age your cat is go to this Cat age conversion chart .
Much love
Nanny McFur

sleeps with her paw pressed against the wall

goofy cat

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Meowsings

You could purchase one of these for the cat to rub themselves against as they walk by, but you know you already have a perfectly good pair of black dress pants hanging in your closet. Just sayin'.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Let's Talk About Declawing

First of all, my thoughts and prayers for those suffering in Japan. I can't even imagine the terror they must have felt or what they will go through in the aftermath of the tsunami. Please give to the Red Cross or other organizations who will come to their aid. A correction: Canada has offered assistance and is waiting to hear what is needed.
Here is my Saturday Blog Hop post ............................................................................

When I started my blog I decided that I would not speak as an expert. I advocate personal research and, above all, consultation with your veterinarian on all matters pertaining to your pet's health. Having said that, the topic of declawing cats has been popping up quite a bit lately and it is a hot button for me so I decided to write something about it. Think of this as your own nanny/nona/grandma offering that ever-so-annoying unsolicited advice.

I want to share some alternative solutions to declawing but first let's look at why cats scratch things. If we understand the behaviour we are half way to working with the behaviour.  Scratching is a natural inclination. It is how the cat lets other cats and people know what their territory is. They often stretch high so that "others" will know just how big they are. There is also a scent they deposit from their paws that other cats can smell. They scratch to remove the sheathe from their claws, and to relieve stress.

You know from experience that the cat has favourite things/places to scratch that they will go back to again and again, right? That is because of the scent marking and also because the more scratched up something is, the better visual clues other cats/people have to know where they live. They also seem partial to corners. I'm not sure why but I suspect it appears to be an entrance or pathway to what they consider to be "their" place.

Keeping those reasons in mind, here are some things you can try. Each cat is an individual so you may have to try different things until you find what works with your cat.

Some folks recommend deterrants: things like sprays that are supposed to repulse the cat or sticky tape which some cats don't like the feel of. Nanny believes in positive reinforcement by way of encouragement. "Look what I've got for you. It's all yours and you are supposed to scratch the hell out of it." You really can redirect the behaviour. Here are some things I have been successful with:

  1. You can purchase a cleaning product from the pet store and use it on those favourite areas to eliminate the scents they have put there. (vs. deterrant spray).
  2. Find a way to cover the areas they have scratched up so the cat can't see their handiwork. (vs. the sticky tape.)
  3.  Purchase several scratching posts, pads, toys of various sizes and heights and place them strategically around your home.  If they are scratching upward in a certain area, place a post. If they are scratching downward (i.e. carpeting) place a pad. Scratchers come in many textures (carpet, cardboard, sisal) and many forms (posts, pads for the floor, door hangers). You will have to experiment to see which ones your cats like. Mine like carpet and cardboard but dont like sisal. They also like posts or pads but don't like door hangers.
  4. Be prepared to experiment in order to find out where to place the scratchers. You will most likely find yourself moving them around but eventually will find a home for them.
  5. Keep their nails trimmed. You can purchase nail clippers at the pet store. Be very careful not to cut too close to the quick as they will bleed. If you are not comfortable, your vet or groomer can do this very inexpensively.
  6. Use cat nip. Some cat nip placed on the scratchers will attract them. You can also buy catnip spray.

Above all be patient if your cat forgets and scratches furniture or carpet. Just say "no" in a reminder tone of voice. If they look right at you and keep on scratching or if their claws are stuck, very gently take their paws and remove them saying "no" again in that reminder tone and then show them were they are allowed to scratch. Also, give praise when they get it right.

I hope this is helpful. After implementing these things, Nanny's cats rarely scratch on furniture. Please give it a try before you decide if you will declaw.
 Love always,

Love these!

Gives the cat a nice stretch

Can't beat the original!

Best money I ever spent!

Monday, March 7, 2011


I forgot to post a "Monday Meowsings" so I offer this, my favourite pet video instead. This bird is so highly intelligent it's almost creepy. His relationship with his owner is so endearing. Be sure to watch the related videos. This bird will amaze and entertain you. Enjoy

Saturday, March 5, 2011

100 Cats?

This is a story I have wanted to share for a while now. Last spring, my local SPCA received a call for help from a couple who could no longer cope with the number of cats they had. When the SPCA arrived at the residence, they discovered close to 100 cats and kittens!  It all started with one pregnant cat the couple had taken in and then escalated from there because they could not afford the vet bill to have it spayed and also could not afford to have the subsequent offspring spayed/neutered. Some of the cats where pregnant when they were rescued so the number rose to over 100 cats after they went to the shelter. The authorities found no abuse or neglect, reporting the cats where healthy, clean, and well nourished. The cats where also kept indoors. You can imagine the significant impact that had on the shelter.

I have often wondered why this wasn't cited as a case of animal hoarding.  The ASPCA uses the following definition from the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, an independent group of academic researchers based in Massachusetts, to determine animal hoarding:
  • More than the typical number of companion animals
  • Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death
  • Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling
By this definition, the folks above do not fall into this category.  Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

"People who hoard animals may collect dozens or even hundreds of pets. They usually hoard animals that can be confined inside and concealed more easily. Because of their sheer numbers, these animals often aren't cared for properly. Veterinarians may be the first to notice signs of animal hoarding when owners seek help for a steady stream of sick or injured pets."

By this definition the folks above might fall into this category. It must be difficult for the authorities who respond to the home to make that kind of determination.

What do you think? Animal hoarding or just good folks trying to be helpful but the situation got out of control?

Much love,