UPDATE: Raymond the Foster Kitten

Raymond the KittenBack in August, I fostered a kitten named Raymond. I took him home for a couple days to find out whether my two cats, Smirnoff and Bacardi, would tolerate me fostering for the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Bacardi said yes, Smirnoff said definitely not. So since then, Raymond is the only foster cat I’ve had.

Now, almost seven months later, Raymond is 9 months old. Continue reading “UPDATE: Raymond the Foster Kitten”

Alcohol Cats and the Candy Bar Dog

I’ve mentioned before that my sister has two dachshunds. Instead of being named after alcohol, her dogs are named after candy bars: Snickers and Mars. (“Mars” deriving from the British “Mars Bar,” which was the name of our Great-Aunt’s favorite dachshund. I’ll talk more about her another day.)

Well it just so happens that Mars loves cats. Really, he loves anything that moves. So a few times I’ve brought Mars over to meet the alcohol cats, because one day I want a dog. But more importantly, I want to know that Smirnoff and Bacardi would be okay living with a dog.

Cats will react very differently toward other cats versus dogs. As I found out when I tried to foster a kitten, Smirnoff hates other cats with a passion. Except for Bacardi, of course, who is his best friend/minion. But when another cat enters his view, Smirnoff will hiss and growl and he will take out his unhappiness on me, on Bacardi, and anyone who crosses his path. Even when the cat is in another room. Bacardi, however, was curious about the kitten and would sit side-by-side with it.

Continue reading “Alcohol Cats and the Candy Bar Dog”

The Sacred Box

SammyLet’s talk about litter. Because it’s really the only downside to owning a cat—although I am much happier having a box for the cat to go in than having to take a dog outside to pee when it’s -7 degrees. But that’s not really the point. A litter box still makes that annoying trail of litter on the floor, no matter how many mats you put underneath it, and all the baking soda in the world can’t mask Smirnoff’s poop on a bad day (sorry, Smirf).

And yet, litterbox issues—usually involving a cat not wanting to use said box—is one of the most prevalent behavioral issues a cat owner faces. Now, I’ll insert my disclaimer here, because I’m not a vet or a licensed behaviorist, but from my own experience, as well as the research I’ve done, the many seasons of My Cat From Hell I’ve watched, and working with cats at the shelter, here are some things to note if the litterbox is an issue with your cat:

1. Your cat might need to see a vet. In fact, that should be one of the first things you do. Male cats (neutered or unneutered) in particular are prone to urinary tract infections, and if that happens, urinating in litter can be painful. There could be other issues going on, of course, but if a UTI goes untreated then it could cause a blockage, which requires surgery. And yes, this can happen to female cats, too.

My experience: Smirnoff had this issue, and gave the tell-tale signs of a UTI: going to the litterbox frequently, meowing loudly while in said litterbox, and going into the litterbox but not producing any urine. I took him to the vet (which he hates) and he was prescribed antibotics. He now gets wet food mixed with water for one meal and Science Diet w/d dry food for the other meal. (SD w/d is a high fiber prescription diet that is used a lot for diabetic cats, but it also helps control the pH balance in urine, which prevents crystals from forming and causing blockages.)

What you should know: It’s actually important that you keep an eye on your cat’s litterbox habits. Sure, it seems gross and actually watching your cat pee or poop (which helps if you have multiple cats, so you know who is doing what) seems creepy, but it’s important. Knowing about how often your cat urinates, the consistency of its feces, can help you prevent really bad health problems later on—or at least catch them early.

Continue reading “The Sacred Box”