So first I must share the amazing news: not only are Maggie and Yuan sniffing noses now, but Deidre has reclaimed a bunch of territory and has been super brave!  She has joined me on the bed again, including when Yuan was also on the bed, and though a couple of times there were growls and hisses, there were also a couple of times where absolutely nothing happened.  The other day, she not only joined Yuan and I on the bed, but she climbed over me to be on the same side where he was, growled at him a little, he gave her kitty kisses/blinky eyes, and she calmed down.  Her nose was less than two inches from his foot and both of them were chill.  And to boot, she had to cross within inches of Maggie, who has taken to curling up on the floor next to the bed, to hop up and join us in the first place.

Amazing!!!

So on that note, I give you the latest addition of Things That Have Helped With The Peace Process: Spirit Essences by Jackson Galaxy.

"The Ultimate Peacemaker" sounds like a great title for an action movie, doesn't it?

“The Ultimate Peacemaker” sounds like a great title for an action movie, doesn’t it?

Spirit Essences are holistic remedies that you can give either in food or water, or topically (may I just say I love the topical option?  Especially if your kitties are sharing dishes, and/or you’ve got food bullies (*cough*Yuan*cough*), it can be hard to separate who gets what in food sometimes if they need different things.  So I can put Peacemaker (which is for everybody) in the water dishes/fountains which everyone drinks out of, and apply the Bully Remedy to Yuan and the Self Esteem to Deidre on their fur).

First of all, I have to say that they must not taste funny, because I’ve been putting Peacemaker in their water for a while now and no one seems to mind in the slightest.  At first I tried it in the gravity waterer and not the fountain, figuring if they were going to turn their noses up at the taste, they’d at least have an alternative and not go thirsty – but no one avoided it, so now it’s in both.  So that’s a plus from the get-go.

Secondly, the topical option, which not only is great for getting everyone their different needs, is *so easy*.  I just drop some drops into my hand, rub it across my palms, and pet them.  Especially Yuan, who loves the thorough, full-body pets will get into this, but I think he actually enjoys the essence itself, because he seems to get excited when I say, “It’s good juju stuff time!” …which is what I call Spirit Essences.  They are Good Juju Stuff.  😉

But most importantly, they seem to be helping!  We’ve made so much progress lately, which sure, you could say is a cumulative process, but the most dramatic changes have aligned pretty nicely with the continued use of Good Juju Stuff.

So – all three kitties and a human agree – Spirit Essences get two paws up!

 

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Deidre, the eldest of my three kittehs, is considered a senior (she’s 13).  Though she still looks and acts young most of the time, a recent discussion with a Facebook friend about litter box issues had me remembering some of the modifications that have helped her, and before her, my cat Butterscotch, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge several years ago.

Seen here with his cousin Salem - Butter is on the left, Salem on the right

Seen here with his cousin Salem – Butter is on the left, Salem on the right

So I decided to do a post about simple little modifications that may make life easier for your senior kittehs.  ^_^

 

The Litterbox

Ah yes, it’s our old friend the litterbox again!  Sometimes seniors may have a hard time climbing into a high-walled litterbox.  When we discovered that Butterscotch was having this issue, we got a paint roller tray (you know – like what you would find at Home Depot or Lowe’s when you are painting walls with a roller instead of a brush.  The tray that you would pour the paint in to refill your roller).  Think about it: a plastic tray that is very shallow on one end for easy entry, and gets deeper toward the back to keep the litter in.  It worked like a charm.  We also changed up his litter type.  What you change it to may depend on your kitty’s needs, but for Butter, who was declawed in the front and arthritic, we were recommended (by the vet, as I recall) to try Yesterday’s News (the recycled newspaper kind).  It’s not clumping (or at least, at the time they didn’t have a clumping version), but it was much easier on his paws.  The texture was smooth little rolled up pellets – kinda like rabbit food pellets.  Nothing sharp or small enough to wedge into his paws.  There are other senior-friendly varieties of litter (as previously mentioned, I tried CatAttract senior, which Maggie did appreciate, but it got the human veto for the amount of dust it kicked up.  As I am once again experimenting with litter types for entirely different reasons, I may try other silicone-type litters and see if they aren’t quite so dusty – reviews to come) which you may want to try, dependent on your kitties’ needs.

There are now litterboxes that have ramps going up into them, which may also be worth a try if your kitteh is having difficulties getting into the box.  Even if it doesn’t seem like they are in pain, if they are going outside the box, there’s usually a reason.  Of course take them to the vet to make sure they aren’t sick, but it could just be that it hurts!

The Furniture

Access is very important to a senior kitteh who may have a more difficult time jumping as high as they used to, or climbing onto unstable or awkward things.  Deidre can jump, but not very high; since my bed is on its highest setting so I can store things beneath it, this means when she makes the jump, she *just* makes it onto the corner edge of the mattress, and scrambles the rest of the way up.  So, I got her a scratcher that has, essentially, stairs, and put it next to the bed (*side note: that is not currently where it is thanks to the latest furniture arrangement, but that is soon to change again, thanks to the territory shift the kitties have recently undergone.  Yes, I rearrange furniture based on the territory arrangement to try and make peace.  It helps!).  I thought, that was the perfect way for her to climb up without stressing herself.  Funnily enough, she climbs up the stairs to curl up in the cup at the top of the scratcher, but has never used it as a stairstep to my bed.  Silly human!

Still though, there are lots of stairstep options, and not just in cat tree form.  There are regular, pet-sized stairs made out of all sorts of materials (cloth-covered foam, carpet-covered wood, even some with storage for toys and whatnot within the stairs!), or, of course, you could make your own.  There are also ramps (though if the issue is an arthritic senior, I would only go the ramp route if you can keep the angle gentle enough that they don’t have to claw their way up it).  If your senior has a favorite spot that they no longer frequent, try giving them a hand getting to it and see if they don’t return to it.

Supplements

Check with your vet first on this one, of course, but Butter was very much helped by a supplement for his joints as he got older (and I recently asked the vet about starting Deidre on it, so perhaps she’ll have an easier time making that crazy bed-jump if she still chooses to not use the stair steps when they go back next to the bed).  There are lots of options here, too – chewables, capsules that you can open up and mix in canned food (that’s how Butterscotch took them), etc.

The Weight Issue

Finally, and I know this is a tough one as two of my three are overweight as well, but there is the weight issue.  Just like in humans, a kitteh carrying around extra weight can sometimes have a harder time moving around because of it – both in the jumping/running/climbing sense, and also in the grooming themselves sense.  Ironically, Deidre is the only one who is not overweight.  Between Yuan the food bully and Maggie who is just now learning that toys are fun and not evil, they BOTH clock in at 17 pounds (Deidre is a svelte 12.8 pounds in comparison).  And yes, they have all been on a diet.  But now we have been making a point to get more playtime in – both to tire out Mr. Man so he doesn’t take out his exuberance on his sisters, and also to give them all fun and exercise – and hopefully, that will help the weight come off.  Find the right toys that your kittehs respond to (Da Bird is often an agreed upon favorite) and make play a part of your day.  And if they need a diet, put them on a diet.  You may even need to change their food type.  Also to consider: Butterscotch had food allergies that we never realized when he was younger (he didn’t exhibit any symptoms like itching or rashes), but once we found out and started getting him special allergy food from the vet (with certain proteins, such as duck and venison), the weight finally came off.  I know Yuan is overweight because he’s a food bully (we’re working on that), and Maggie came to me overweight and uninterested in play (we’re also working on that), so I don’t think it’s an allergy issue for them.  But if your cat is active and eating a normal amount and STILL won’t lose weight, check with the vet to see if it might be allergies.  We couldn’t believe the difference once we changed Butter’s diet!

So there are a few ideas to help your senior kittehs.  If you have any others, please leave them in the comments below!

It’s the little things that make me happy in the Quest For Kitteh Peace, and one of those things is Maggie and Yuan SNIFFING NOSES!

You may think that’s not a big deal, cats sniff noses all the time… but when they’re at war, they don’t!

Back when it was just the girls and I, one of the first signs of peace and tolerance for each other (which, incidentally, ALSO took about two years to develop) was that Deidre and Maggie would surreptitiously sniff each other.  Usually that meant one of them was cuddling with me in the papasan with their tail hanging over the side, and the other would come up and sniff the tail, with the cuddler unawares.  Or perhaps I was feeding them in the kitchen, and one would be so fixated on me with the food that they didn’t notice the other come up from behind and sniff their… behind.

Now Yuan and Maggie have been doing the while-they’re-not-looking sniffs, which made me happy in and of itself, but the other day they actually both turned the corner at the same time and sniffed *noses*.  No growls, no hisses.  Just sweet sniffs!

I am a happy human.

Yeah, my sister's alright.

Yeah, my sister’s alright.

And yes – I’ve had Yuan for a little over two years now.  Apparently that is the magic timeframe.

On a little side note, I finally got the water fountain working that had been out of commission for WAY too long (I lost two different parts at two different times when I had taken it apart for washing, and only found them months later, because yes, I think the dryer sock monster sometimes vacations in my kitchen), and Yuan is MYSTIFIED by it.  The girls seem to be like, “Oh yeah, the fountain,” but for the first day Yuan was just staring at it, as though he was debating whether he should drink from it or pounce it (he eventually did drink from it, and yes, I still have other water bowls about).  Simple kitty amusements.

And finally, the other kitteh news is: Maggie is frisky!!!  And playing with TOYS!  It’s a miracle!!!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that Maggie, historically, generally found toys to be evil.  She would growl and hiss at them, and seemed to be stressed out by their presence rather than amused.  As she is the fluffiest of the three (though Yuan The Food Bully is doing his darndest to catch up despite all of them being on a diet), I could never figure out how to get her to play so she’d get some exercise and have fun!  Then she got some awesome wine cork toys for Christmas from a neighbor friend, and she’d actually chase and play with them in small doses.  Previously, the closest we got to play was her rolling around in catnip or licking catnip toys enthusiastically – but she never chased them.  These ones she chased!

Then the other day, I couldn’t find the wine corks, so I tossed a feather-ball toy that we’ve had for years and… she actually chased it and attacked it!  We’ve had a few play sessions since then, and she’s actually having fun!

*sings the hallelujah chorus*

 

You may adore me now

You may adore me now

I have a Deidre curled up leaning on me right now, so I’m going to go and snuggle a kitteh.  The peace treaties are working!  Yay!  🙂

Now Deidre has been claiming her royal right to the timeshare throne:

Lounging in the sun

Lounging in the sun

Oh, are you taking my picture again?

Oh, are you taking my picture again?

Alright, I'll look beautiful for you.

Alright, I’ll look beautiful for you.

How many more of these are you going to take?

How many more of these are you going to take?

…a few more.  Then I left her alone.

…which had absolutely nothing to do with my camera batteries dying.  Nope.  Not at all.

The Kitteh Throne

24/11/2012

Those of you who have cats and papasans (bowl chairs) may know that they are the Kitteh Throne Of Choice.  All three of mine have at one time or another claimed the papasan as their territory, and currently it’s Miss Maggie Magnificat.

Princess Maggie in her royal throne

She’s so beautiful ❤

I love that face!

So if you’re looking for a comfy piece of furniture that the kittehs will enjoy just as much (if not moreso) than you do, get yourself a papasan!  Plus, they’re good for snuggling together in.  You know you love a cat curled up in your lap.  Don’t deny it. 😉

 

 

Tummeh Tuesday

20/11/2012

This is Yuan at this very moment:

Tummeh!

He’s so cute.

Love that fang

Don’t you wish we could be that comfortable however we fling ourselves down on the bed?

I just had to share how cute Yuan is when I put on the CatTV video.  He’s like a little kid watching Saturday morning cartoons, sitting right in front of the TV, staring intently at the screen:

Yep, my crazy human self tried to make the kittehs (but especially Yuan – since he’s the one that looks the most like Nyan Cat) a costume for Samhain (Halloween).  A few action shots, since Yuan was either attacking the costume or the camera strap… lol.

 

The closest I got to a picture of him properly in costume

“Why does she keep trying to put this thing on me?”

 

 

“Alright, I’m cute, would you stop accosting me with felt now?”

If I get any good shots of the girls in costume, I will post them later. 🙂

Now to explain Maggie’s boyfriend, mentioned in the last post.  There was an outdoor kitty (not mine), who took to peeing on the outside of my front door.  I live in an apartment building, but everyone’s door faces outside to an inner courtyard; while it’s possible he was from elsewhere and managed to get in and out of our (locked) building (squirrels do, and a neighbor adopted a stray that had done it before), I figured he was an indoor/outdoor cat that lived in the building, though I never caught him in the act to see who it was.  And yes, I was guessing male as it seemed like more of a male cat thing to do to have a bigger territory and get so close to other cats’ territory (whom he could see in the window and smell under the door).  Anyway, I would come home or go outside to find puddles on my doormat.  So Miss Maggie took to spraying the front door (really, truly, spraying up the side of the door, which she hadn’t done before this) in response, as if to say, “This is OUR house, buster!  You smell MY pee!”  This went on for some time – I’d clean the outside AND the inside pee spots, only to have it resurface in a day or so.  Finally I got wise and started spraying the outside stoop all over with feliway spray – and eventually her boyfriend stopped peeing out there.  Only then (and with strategic rearranging of litter boxes), did I get Maggie to finally stop peeing inside the door.  Oh yes, and putting the Big Scary Noisy Machines (read: the vacuum and the carpet shampooer) in front of the door for a few nights to deter visits.

I asked Maggie if outdoor kitty was her boyfriend (she said yes), so I called their messages-in-pee to each other “love notes”.

So that’s the story of Maggie’s boyfriend.

Before I found the solution via feliway spray, I was half tempted to take one of the soiled puppy pee-pee pads and stick it under my doormat.  It would smell (but it smelled there anyway thanks to the puddles), but I thought it might deter him.  Of course, I was also afraid that it might make him mark MORE, so I’m glad the feliway worked instead.  Ah, the joys of territory marking…

Are your animal friends dressing up for Halloween?  Let me know as what in the comments! 🙂

Hi everyone:

I will be working on a longer post soon, but just a quickie update to say that yes, the kitties and I are alive and well, and naughty blogger is naughty for not posting in so long.  Sorry!  As you may have noticed, I tend to blog in waves… a bunch of posts, and then a drought.  Another wave of posts, and then another drought.  That’s kind of how I function in most areas in my life… to everything, turn, turn, turn…

At this very moment as I type this, I am in my bed with Deidre and Yuan, playing Great Wall of China like I used to do with Maggie and Deidre.  AMAZING!  Especially since there has been a return of peeing-outside-the-box on the part of the girls as of late: Deidre because Yuan has been intimidating her, and Maggie because she has a boyfriend.  But more on the boyfriend later in the longer post.  I just repositioned a litter box again tonight – hopefully third time’s the charm on that front!  I should buy stock in enzyme cleaners.  And puppy peepee pads.

Yes, my cats will use puppy peepee pads when they won’t use the box.

Anyway!  I also wanted to mention that as I was looking things over today, I noticed that for some mysterious technology is the spawn of Loki reason, almost all of my embedded YouTube videos on this site have transmogrified to show the last video I uploaded to YouTube – which is a drive down Pikes Peak, instead of the relevant video, such as building cat shelves.  I do not know how that happened, but when I am working on the long post tomorrow I will see if it is fixible, or if Loki just wants to laugh at me some more. 😉

Finally, even though I am employing ever-more strategies to help my kitties get along all the time and hoping they will take, y’all know I have been at this for a while (Maggie joined Deidre and I four years ago this December – Yuan will be two years ago this October).  For those that don’t know me outside of this blog, I have been slowly working to downsize my massive amounts of clutter – for many reasons, but especially because I have a dream of building/owning my own tiny house.

The kitties already have territory issues in 600-some square feet… going smaller would take some serious progress on the making friends front.

So with that in mind, I saw on Facebook today that My Cat From Hell is now casting.

What do ya’ll think?  Should I ask Jackson Galaxy to come and play peace treaty negotiator for my kitties?  I’m seriously thinking about it!

Save us, Jackson Galaxy, you’re our only hope!

This is some video I got of a squirrel that decided to pay our window a visit one day.  Too cute!