Mau’s Vet Trip

After Mau had his surgery, we noticed he had loose stool. At first we thought it might have simply been from all the medications he was given from his surgery and/or as a side effect from the two rounds of antibiotics he had been on prior to his surgery. But it didn’t go away and progressed to diarrhea. It’s no fun for anyone to wake up at 5am every day to a cat having loud-squirting diarrhea. Then one or both of us would have to get up to make sure there wasn’t a mess to clean up. Losing sleep due to cat-related reasons is par for the course but still. Sometimes he vomited as well.

We suspected that the diarrhea was due to the antibiotics and perhaps compounded by Mau essentially transitioning himself from wet to dry food. We added Fortiflora probiotics into his food. That helped a wee bit but he continued to leave sad stools in the Cat Genie. Fortunately his appetite was undiminished and he acted normally, so there were no changes in his behavior or apparent weight loss. But we were concerned and notified APA. Last Friday, Aaron took him to the vet while I stayed at home and worked on homework. Apparently the techs were amazed that Mau hadn’t been adopted yet and fawned over our handsome boy.

Results: Mau gained 1 lb (yay!) and the vet suspected that he might have inflammatory bowel disease, the same thing Boudicca had. We’re treating him with steroids, to which he is responding. We’ll see if his diarrhea stops. If he really has IBD, his owner will need to know and formulate a plan of treatment with a vet so Mau’s quality of life remains consistent. I’m happy to learn that he gained a little weight – he know weighs slightly over 10 lbs. His hips are still bony so he needs to fill out more. When at a healthy weight and filled out, Mau will be a big boy! He’s taller than Garrus and has a generally bigger frame than either of our tabbies do, so with that splendid tail, he’ll be a sight to behold.

Still Looking for A Furever Home for Mau

We’ve had Mau for almost three months now. About a dozen people have reached out to Austin Pets Alive expressing an interest in him, though several have not responded after an initial email. I’ve exchanged emails with a few and it was by mutual agreement that Mau was probably not a good fit for that particular person and home. (That’s OK. Not every pet fits every person.) Two people have met Mau in person but the main issue there is that he becomes Mr. Shy and hides under the bed whenever new people come to the house! It’s hard to convince someone that he is a lap cat when he’s nowhere to be seen and requires a lot of coaxing to come out.

After having Mau in our house for some time, we’ve been able to assess a few of his needs. If we were to draw up an ideal home for him, this is what we would want:

  1. Only cat home. While Mau is not overtly aggressive and seems to like other cats, he doesn’t grasp the concept of territoriality and gets in other cats’ faces when trying to play. He also steals food and butts in when another cat is receiving affection because he wants to be the center of attention. Garrus, being passive, is rather tolerant of these faux pas while Charlie does not like another cat being more intense than he is. Other cats could construe Mau’s behavior as being dominant, which, coupled with his size and clumsy manners, could lead to conflict. Furthermore, we have no idea how Mau would react to a dog or how a dog would react to him.
  2. Homebody. Mau would definitely do best with an owner that is home a good deal of the time. He craves human companionship and demands regular lap sessions and snuggles. Mau is the type of cat who will happily chill on the bed while you fold laundry just to be near you. He also enjoys toys and playing with the red dot, something that involves his human’s participation. Other cats are more independent and self-sufficient. Mau is not one of those cats; he’s a cuddle bug. While he is a color-point, he doesn’t demonstrate a lot of the traditional Siamese-y traits like being exceptionally vocal, extroverted, busy, precocious, and social. Instead Mau is low-key and selective but definitely a lap cat.
  3. Quiet home. Our home is a pretty chill environment. The most exciting thing that may happen is when we get all three cats to chase the red dot in laps across the house for a sustained period of time. We are definitely not the life of the party and our cats like it that way. Mau falls in that camp as well. Mau is not a fan of new people streaming in and out and would not like being in a loud, high-traffic, bustling house. With that in mind, Mau would probably not like being around small children. While he might do better with teenagers if they are respectful, Mau still might not do well with lots of noise and activity that often accompanies a house full of people. Because he can be timid and skittish, I suspect he would spend a lot of time hiding and being unhappy.
  4. Routine. This goes with #3. We have a predictable routine, something that works well for all three cats. They are most insistent about getting their meals at the same time every day and don’t care about weekends. I’m not kidding about Mau wanting regularly scheduled lap time and it is a common occurrence for Aaron to wake up with Mau sprawled on him. Mau is most persuasive with those huge Frank Sinatra blue eyes. You can’t say no to him. Then you can’t get up from the couch for a while because you have a sweet furball sprawled on your lap.
  5. Experienced cat owner. This would be a definite plus. Mau, now toothless, has had a rough life and may develop health issues as he gets older. While Mau is certainly cuddly with certain people, he can be very shy at first, so those expecting instant gratification might be disappointed. While he is a genuinely sweet cat, he doesn’t fit every household.
  6. Crazy cat man: extra brownie points. We’re not sure if Mau truly prefers men or if he’s simply enamored with Aaron. (He does look up at Aaron adoringly and wants to bro down with him early in the morning.) If the former is the case, Mau will be one happy kitty. In the same vein, Mau may be a one-person cat. He appears to be most selective.

LOOK AT HIM. He’s adorable, isn’t he?

National Pet Memorial Day

More than 40 years ago, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories created National Pet Memorial Day, held on the second Sunday in September, to honor pets both past and present. Pets, in their many shapes, forms, and personalities, undoubtedly and significantly impact our lives and hearts. To celebrate these wonderful furry family members after their passing, we can pay tribute to them in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  1. Ashes. A number of sites offer an impressive array of urns, boxes, and other containers, including jewelry in which your pet’s remains can be stored and cherished.
  2. Photos. Take a particularly memorable or professional photo of your pet, have it framed, and place it where it will bring you comfort. Showcase a collection of representative photos (pets doing different activities, at different ages, at special locations, etc.) in a scrapbook, collage, or matted collection.
  3. Portrait. Get your pet’s portrait painted! Often pet portrait artists work off a good photograph, so this ties in nicely with #2.
  4. Get crafty. Ideas: transferring a pet’s photo onto a needlepoint canvas or painting ceramics.
  5. Write it down. You compose a poem, a letter (to your pet or “from” your pet), a chronicle of your pet’s life, or a written family project. The point is to express your feelings and memories of your furry companion.
  6. Cyberspace. You can post your tribute online. A number of sites offer this service for free too. On social media, you can share photos, written tributes, and your memories. Use the hashtag #NationalPetMemorialDay.
  7. Plant a tree or shrub. For example, Treegivers offers the service of planting a tree in your pet’s name. You can also plant a tree or special plant, like catnip, in a memorial garden or city park.

When Nala and Boudicca passed, I had their ashes placed in a nice box and set their collars on top of the boxes. I put Nala’s box in the living room overlooking her usual spot while I put Boudicca’s box on a shelf in my office overlooking her office supurrviser spot (her bed). I also have a bit of Queen B’s fur in a sachet.

Listed above are only a handful of ways you can remember your beloved pet. There are many more specialized ways of doing this. For example, my mother made a lovely memorial collage quilt composed of the bandannas the Schnauzers received after they were groomed. Be creative! For more information, check out tips from Pet Loss, the Dog People, UF’s Small Animal Hospital, and the Huffington Post.

How have you memorialized your pets? How do you celebrate and remember your pets past and present? Share in the comments!

National Hug Your Hound Day

National Hug Your Hound Day was created by the author and canine behaviorist Ami Moore, the “Dog Whisperer of Chicago”. The holiday is observed annually on the second Sunday of September.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Hug Your Hound Day is about “truly observing your dog (from his point of view” in his environment and everyday life”. Like a number of other pet-themed holidays, it focuses on the happiness and health of your pet. Oh yeah, it might also be a perfect excuse to ensure your dog is sufficiently hugged!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

Happy Cat Month

I’m sure that Happy Cat Month occurs at my house every day (or at least I truly hope so)! The CATalyst Council created Happy Cat Month to educate cat owners about what they can do to ensure their fur person is indeed happy, healthy, and thoroughly loved. There are four themes throughout the month, as follows:

  • Happy Healthy Cat: September 1-5
  • Happy Enriched Cat: September 6-12
  • Happy Multi-Cat: September 13-19
  • Happy Valued Cat: September 20-30

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Isn’t that neat and comprehensive? For more information, check out the CATalyst Council’s Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Pexels