Hello, interwebs! Long time no blogging!

Ye Olde Technology Curse kicked me in the pants hardcore, and TBH I didn’t have the technical ability to post anymore! But if this posts, I can blog with my Kindle, huzzah!

So… a lot has happened since I posted last. Let’s start with the hardest part.

Deidre crossed the rainbow bridge in October. She was 15 years old. She was my best friend, and I still cry sometimes when I miss her. She was acting totally normal until the week she passed. At first I thought it was another UTI like she had the year before, but it turned out her kidneys were failing, and her liver too at the end. We tried two days of IVs, but she wasn’t getting any better, wasn’t eating, and was in a lot of pain. I was with her as she passed (our vet hospital has a nice place with couches so you can hold them and feel more comforted). I scattered her ashes in my sacred place in the mountains. Deids is now with me in spirit.

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Maggie and Yuan are doing well. They have their ups and downs in the getting along department: on the one hand, Maggie has been Adventure Tortie and going places in the apartment she never went before, like the bathroom counter (really. 6 1/2 years, she never went on that counter until this week!). She has also asserted her right to Sleep With Her Human, whether little brother likes it or not. So now I often wake up with two kitties in bed, which makes me happy.

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She has also taken to belleh petting!!!

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Which makes me squee. Yuan likes to SHOW OFF his belleh, but don’t pet it… it’s a trap!

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^ a trap.

Yuan still has his bullypants moments, but there are things that help. He originally ratcheted down for a while after Deidre passed, as he was now The Undisputed Alpha. But then… I think he wasn’t keen on Maggie joining us in bed. Bed is very important territory. So he started picking on Maggie, and… surprise! Poop and pee in weird places!

The carpet in this apartment needs to be buried in that nuclear waste mountain at this point, I think.

BUT… when I play with Yuan enough that he gets to panting at least once but preferably a few times a day, he picks on Maggie less. So really, it seems to be more of an issue of distracting him and redirecting his energy. You know, to the REAL enemies. Like the business end of wand toys.

(Enter quasi technology curse here; video wasn’t letting me upload the post!)

He’s a very smart kitteh. He knows which end is running that show.

The kitteh superhighway has expanded, and all it needs now is a suspension bridge (yes, a suspension bridge). But even with the bridge missing, it still helps keep peace as only Yuan goes up to the high points, and when he’s up there, Maggie feels free to be a Beach Cat in the middle of the floor without being accosted my Mr. Pouncypants. I think when I finally have some money to make that last link, it will be even better, because then Yuan can on- and offramp on either end, bypassing Maggie if she is on the floor-to-ceiling cat tree (which she often is).

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^ still a trap.

We have had moments of peaceful tolerance! I have photographic evidence!

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…even the vacuum didn’t deter them!

And in the fluffy kittehs department, they finally settled on ONE food for wet and one for dry (after searching for a long time, trying to go raw, trying to minimize upset tummehs and hairballs), and they have both lost weight (I don’t know exactly how much as I haven’t weighed them in a while, but it’s visible AND I can tell when I lift them). They are NOT on a raw diet (the vet actually told me not to bother with that), they are not getting bored of it and turning up their noses at it (like they did with soooo many foods), Yuan is not having hairballs left and right (Maggie never did), and human and kittehs are happy!

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So that’s about it for now! If you are still following this blog, welcome back! If this works I shouldn’t be so derelict about posting in future. 🙂 Yay Kindle!

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Call the Vatican

24/04/2013

I have video evidence of a miracle!

Deidre says: you may not shower until I am done lying on the bath mat.

Deidre says: you may not shower until I am done lying on the bath mat.

So in my ever-expanding quest to catify the apartment to a) make them happy and b) help ease tensions, I re-did a corner of the living room again, all new and kitteh-like.  I moved the stairstep scratcher into the bedroom (its intended purchase was to provide steps to go up to the bed, though it has never been used that way), moved a litter box into that corner, added another wall shelf, cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half, and added a sky chair.

Wait, why did I cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half?  It has four stories inside made of super industrial cardboard.  Well, one of those stories went bye-bye after it was peed upon.  Two more have buckled and been clawed to death (btw, yes – considering I’ve had the House for I think a couple of years, that’s durable for them to have lasted this long).  They could no longer hop through all the stories up to the rooftop.  So I took the inner floor that was still intact and one of the buckling ones that was the least damaged (it wouldn’t matter if it was buckling if it was upside down and on the ground level), and made it a two-story House of Awesome instead.  I added a basket with the warming blanket I made them on top, and now they have a salvaged Cardboard House of Awesome!

I first tried making new levels out of the giant box my massage table came in.  Since they weren't strong enough, it was a wash, but Yuan had a good time helping me.

I first tried making new levels out of the giant box my massage table came in. Since they weren’t strong enough, it was a wash, but Yuan had a good time helping me.

Now, the sky chair.  Have you ever seen those beds that are pillows hung from the ceiling with cloth, like this?  I’ve long wanted to get one for my kitties, but I am, alas, but a poor blogger and funds are tight.  So, I made a makeshift one of my own!

All I did really was take one of their pillows that my grandmother had made them years ago, and suspended it in a macrame plant hanger.  Voilà!  Instant kitty sky chair!

So this is what the new-and-improved cat corner looks like:

Yuan really likes those Ruth Thompson prints (he paws and meows at them), so I'm imagining him chilling in the sky chair looking up at his favorite artwork.

Yuan really likes those Ruth Thompson prints (he paws and meows at them), so I’m imagining him chilling in the sky chair looking up at his favorite artwork.

I hope they like the changes.  Yuan has already been in the cup on the stairstep scratcher in the bedroom (I’m hoping its proximity to my pillows will facilitate two – or three – cats sharing bedtime with me with less of an issue, though it has been getting better already anyway).  But so far the corner has not been claimed (I just put up the sky chair this afternoon, and was modifying the Cardboard House of Awesome at about three this morning).  Maybe I’ll put out some catnip to signal that construction is complete.

Now if only I could mount a sky chair for *me* from the ceiling…

Deidre and Maggie have a heated discussion about exactly who can sit where on the papasan, and when.

Tabby Tuesday

26/03/2013

And now it’s time for some cute Deidre photos:

I am so tiny and cute!

I am so tiny and cute!

*purr*

*purr*

Meanwhile, little brother was on the other side of the door, wanting to play:

Come on!  Let me in!  I won't pounce!

Come on! Let me in! I won’t pounce!

 

 

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!

 

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.

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!