Summer Safety

Summer will end…eventually right? Here in Texas hot days drag on and on and on…Besides dreaming of somewhere cool and shady, you should make sure that your pets’ needs are considered during the hot summer months.

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. NEVER leave a pet in a parked car. It can get boiling hot in minutes. Seriously.
  2. Hot paws. Be mindful of hot sidewalks, driveways, and streets. If it’s too hot for you in bare feet, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws!
  3. Provide access to water and shade. Don’t assume they’ll find it themselves or that they’ll be fine for a while. Give them basic needs. Pets can easily suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
  4. Haircuts. For long-haired breeds, a summer trim may be a good idea but don’t go overboard because you may risk your pet getting a sunburn!
  5. Keep windows screened. Ventilation, yes. Pets falling out, NO.
  6. Barbecue caution. Fatty meats, onions, grapes, and alcohol are bad for pets. Curious pets can also be burned by the hot wood, coals, grill, or flames.
  7. Know the signs. Pay attention and act if you notice if your pup or cat may be suffering from overheating and dehydration.

Want more information? Check out Cat Behavior Associates’ Summer Safety Tips for Cats, the Pet Health Network’ Seven Summer Cat and Dog Safety Tips, and the ASCPA’s Hot Weather Safety Tips.

Mau is Sick

On Wednesday morning, we received an unwelcome present: cat barf. Mau had puked overnight. Sometimes cats puke and they occasionally cough up hairballs as well. It’s gross and you have to clean it up. It’s the unpleasant part of cat ownership. If it’s a one-time or occasional thing (especially with hairballs with long-haired breeds), it’s not usually anything to worry about. But Mau puked up his breakfast, and vomited three more times after that over the course of the morning. Normally he has no trouble chowing down on the wet food we give him. His stool was also looser than usual, another indicator that his tummy was unhappy. We have no idea why we became sick, especially since he’s been sequestered from Garrus and Charlie.

I emailed the Austin Pets Alive clinic, described the symptoms, and asked if we should bring him in for an appointment. The answer was yes, although Mau was not happy about this decision. That afternoon we put him in the carrier without much trouble but once inside he started crying. He has a most pitiful mew. In the clinic lobby he wanted everyone to know his name most emphatically. In the exam room Mau received intravenous fluids, since he was dehydrated from vomiting, and an injection of Cerenia to him less nauseated and hopefully stop the vomiting. We were sent home with a regimen. We’ll keep a close eye on Mr. Mau to check his progress.

A few hours after we returned home, Mau appeared to have decompressed enough to come out and ask for cuddles. He climbed into Aaron’s ask and was positively delighted to be brushed. There was much showing off of his tail, licking, and air biscuits.

Pet-Friendly Independence Day

May you and all your furry loved ones enjoy a safe and happy Independence Day! Here are a few things to keep in mind so your pets stay safe:

  1. Safe place. Some pets become highly agitated and frightened by fireworks while others may not like lots of people coming and going in the house. Have a quiet and escape-proof area, whether it is a room or a kennel, in which your pet likes to rest.
  2. Routine. Having a set routine can help alleviate anxiety. Our cats, for example, are definitely creatures of habit and prefer to have meal times, play, and snuggles at set times of the day!
  3. Identification. Ensure your pets have current ID tags and microchip information. Hundreds of pets escape and get lost every year around the fourth of July. Having proper ID allows for lost pets to be reunited with their owners much faster.
  4. No roaming. Keep an eye on your pet when he or she goes into the yard. Pets that normally stay inside a fenced area may bolt if sufficiently spooked by loud noises etc. If you’re having a party, picnic, or barbecue, don’t allow your pet to roam around unchecked. Many table scraps can be toxic to pets.
  5. Indoors is best. While you may like fireworks displays, your pet may not, and in fact might be terrified of them. Keep your pets indoors while fireworks and other festivities are going on.

Photo courtesy of Alpine Dog Coats

For more comprehensive Fourth of July safety tips for pets and livestock, check out the handy rundown provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Update on Mau

On Sunday Aaron and I took Mau to his vet appointment. He walked right into the carrier but once he realized Aaron shut the door behind him, Mau was decidedly upset about it. He complained a bit when carried and in the car but became quiet in the waiting room.

One of the vets looked him over and diagnosed him with severe gingivitis and multiple abscessed teeth. It is likely that he will have most, if not all, of his teeth removed. Because his teeth are rotting, that is why his breath smells like death. We just have to wait for a slot to open up so Mau can have his surgery. Also, judging from the age and condition of his teeth, it looks like Mau is older than I initially thought. Rather than being 10, he’s 15 years old! He is a sweet old man and a good houseguest.

He hid and slept under the desk after we brought him back from the vet. Poor guy.

On the bright side, Mau is eating wet food well. Both he and Garrus eat about 1-1.5 cans a day! It appears that since Mau was surrendered to the shelter in May, he has gained about half a pound of weight. We spend time with him every day, brushing him frequently and providing comfy laps and scritches. He is most grateful for any and all types of attention and responds by being most affectionate.

I also recently learned that Mau and his housemates came from a hoarding situation, which shed light as to why all three had significant dental problems. The oldest of the three went into foster care and recently passed away in his sleep. The female, also older than Mau, has one eye, if I recall correctly, and chronic bronchitis. When I gave the shelter director an update on Mau, she thought that he was lucky to be in our house. Aaron and I genuinely hope that we can help him get healthy and find a loving home in which he can live out the rest of his life, preferably most of it in someone’s lap and purring.

We think that Mau may be a Himalayan or possibly a Balinese cat! Look at that sweet face!

Mau did not want me to read my book (pictured on the desk) and instead wanted me to devote all my attention to him. After all, he takes lap time most seriously, even more so than Boudicca did!

Garrus’ Progress

Earlier this week Garrus had his follow-up to check his response to his steroid therapy. Dr. R was very pleased to report that his stomatitis had significantly decreased and only a very small amount of inflammation remained in the back right side of his mouth. Dr R wants to keep him on a low dose of steroids every other day for the next few weeks to continue treating his stomatitis.

“Excuse me. Could you please let me out?” Garrus was exceptionally well-behaved in the carrier to and from the vet.

He gained 0.6 lbs in three weeks and needs to gain 0.5-1 lb to be at a healthy weight. We’ve been able to give him, on average, at least one can of wet food a day. If he’s a particularly hungry Garrus, he will eat up to two cans in a day. Like Boudicca, he’s a little persnickety about how his food is presented (because it’s easier to eat): he likes it well chopped, fluffed, and room temperature. We indulge him because we want him to eat, be healthy, and be a happy cat.

For the last month we also gave a dose of Zylkene in his food. We had suspected that he had developed food anxiety as a result of being bullied for food by his previous housemates, and dealing with dental pain from stomatitis exacerbated this. We noticed that the boys acted a bit uneasy after Boudicca passed away, and Dr R explained that this was due to the social hierarchical dynamic shifting. By nature, Garrus tends to be a submissive cat; Charlie, while not a dominant (“bossy”) cat per se, is the most intense cat in the household now. Dr R suggested that we try Zylkene for a month or so to help both cats settle and relax. In our experience, it helped. Garrus in particular became more affectionate and faffed about less at meal times.

Garrus enjoys claiming Aaron’s pants as a bed and gives me side-eye when I take a photo.

Wherever Garrus is, Charlie often follows, sometimes bringing a toy with him. Here he claimed a towel as his lounging spot and slow-blinked at me, purring.

Adopt a Cat Month

Kitten season is here and so is Adopt a Cat Month! Did you know that more than 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters annually? Did you know that 860,000 cats are euthanized? Animals being euthanized due to lack of space and overpopulation makes me very sad, since this is a preventable problem. Spaying/neutering pets and catch-neuter/spay-release programs dramatically impact animal overpopulation issues in communities. If you want to add a fur person to your family, please, please consider checking out your local animal shelter or rescue group first. There are so many lovable cats (and dogs!) that deserve wonderful homes.

Moreover, this is Father’s Day weekend! Some shelters may run Father’s Day specials (read: discounts!) as well so be sure to ask about those too!

I’m so happy we adopted these two boys! I think they are quite handsome but I’m probably biased.