Googly Cat Remembered

I shared this little anecdote on Facebook one year ago, a few months before I started Purry Home Companion. It’s been three weeks since I said goodbye to Boudicca but she will always be my beloved Queen B in my heart.

This exchange happens nearly every time I open the sliding laundry doors…

Boudicca: Mama, whatcha doing? Can I help? I must be involved in every activity you do!

Me: Moving laundry.

Boudicca: I must explore this place for the 4,638th time! *sneaks in as I close the doors*…Um, Mama? Why is it dark in here? Mama? OMG I’ve been abandoned and imprisoned forever! I am now INCREDIBLY CONCERNED. Meow. Meow. Mreow. MROW.

Me: Boudicca, you’ve been in there for 2.3 seconds. Calm down. *I open the doors*

Boudicca: I must make epic prison break! I am FREE AT LAST! *darts out of laundry closet and proceeds with highly googly zoomies around the house*

In seventeen years, Boudicca hasn’t learned much and it’s still hilarious.

Garrus’ Follow Up Vet Visit

As you may remember, Garrus (aka Gentleman Cat) underwent extensive dental surgery two weeks ago. Dr R wanted to check how his mouth was healing and determine the next steps needed to make Garrus a healthy and happy cat.

Aaron and I were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get Garrus into the carrier in under 10 minutes and with remarkably minimal fuss. He wasn’t too happy about it and there was at least one pitiful meow saying “I want to lodge a complaint with the management about this!”. He didn’t meow at all in the car but let me know he was quite alarmed when we were in the vet office lobby. “Excuse me but there are dogs in here and I do not like this at all!” he seemed to say. Thankfully we were put in a room lickedy-split and instantly the complaints stopped.

When a tech came in to ask me questions, I told her that he has been eating, hasn’t displayed any lethargy, and has not vomited or had any diarrhea. In general he eats about 1 can of wet food a day but frequently when we offer him more food during the day, he faffs about and seems anxious. While he expresses gratitude by being affectionate and sweet, he won’t always eat the food we offer him. We’ve experimented with how we present the food (finely chopped, at room temperature instead of right-out-of-the-fridge cold) and ensure that Charlie doesn’t come in and make him nervous. I reported that Garrus sometimes appears ill at ease around Charlie, who, in his desperation for a playmate, will occasionally get most persistent and end up pestering Garrus.

The tech took him in the back, where she weighed him and took his temperature, and brought him back to the room, where Dr R examined him. I was pleased to learn that Garrus gained 0.6 lbs in two weeks! Most of the sutures dissolved on their own but she noted that there is still some inflammation (stomatitis) in his mouth. The treatment for this is steroid therapy, and she wants to see him again in three weeks to monitor his progress. In response to the anxious behavior I reported, Dr R thought that Zylkene, a natural supplement that helps pets manage stress, might be useful. We had given the boys this when we first adopted them to help them acclimate to the house and overcome shelter shock. I hope that these treatments help Garrus feel better all around.

Dr R reported that Garrus behaved exceptionally well and acted rather calm, huge improvements from how withdrawn and skittish he was when we adopted him 10 months ago. Cat parent achievement unlocked! He didn’t fuss at all while being weighed or getting his temperature taken, and, while not happy about getting his mouth examined, did not freak out. We had no issue getting him back into the carrier either. On the car ride back I repeatedly told him that he was such a good boy. (Yes, cats need to be told this too, not just dogs.)

About an hour after I let him out, I found Garrus investigating the carrier on his own.

He moved his head up as I snapped this photo, showing me his vampy teeth.

“I am pleased to report that the carrier is clear of any dangers, madam. Thank you for your cooperation.”

This is one of his favorite sunning spots. Sometimes after he finishes a lounge like this, he comes into my office for a visit. I love petting his soft, sun-warmed fur.

Hug Your Cat Day

Last night a storm blew through our area, filling the night with lots of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. It knocked the power out for a few hours too. The storm’s noise and emergency weather alerts woke us up. Aaron went into the living room to get his phone and found Garrus lounging unperturbed on the ottoman. Charlie, however, was ill at ease and sought us out. It was a pleasant surprise to find, while partly asleep, Charlie eagerly searching for my hands and purring loudly when I started petting him. I sleepily hugged Charlie and he settled in my arms for about a minute, kneading, before leaving to investigate what rubs Aaron had to offer.

This morning I had an ottoman visit with Garrus. I was able to place him on my lap and give him neck and chest scritches, which he loves, as well as stroking his back and kissing his head. Cue the warm fuzzies when I heard him purring.

Hug Your Cat Day is a fun excuse to give your feline companion a little extra love. If your cat is not a cuddler or into being held, respect that. Instead try a play session, tasty treats, back strokes, and/or quality bonding time together.

Pet Appreciation Week

The first full week in June–Sunday, June 3rd through Saturday, June 9th–is Pet Appreciation Week! Summer is the time for family vacations and fun, so make sure you take the time to acknowledge and truly treasure all the benefits that your pets have brought to your life. My cats bring me joy, laughter, and warm fuzzies, and have taught me about love, family, true friendship, and compassion.

I managed to snap a photo with Charlie looking directly at the camera while Garrus enjoys his buddy’s company.

What do you appreciate most about your pets? What lessons have they taught you? Share in the comments!

We Will Snuggle Whether You Like It or Not

Several times a week, Aaron and I find a snuggle in progress. Sometimes Charlie and Garrus sleep next to one another while at other times, they snooze in a yin-yang circle or fallen dominoes. Frequently Charlie uses Garrus as a pillow, although Garrus does not seem to mind.

Earlier Aaron remarked, “You should come check out this snuggle.” In our house, snuggles are very serious business so I had to investigate. When I did, I laughed and had to snap a photo.

We don’t think Garrus was consulted before Charlie flopped on him. Nevertheless they slept like this for a while.

This was a couple of hours later. If you look closely, you can nearly see the z’s floating off of them.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

As summer kicks off, many of us will be spending more time outside doing activities like hiking, camping, swimming, and traveling. (In Texas, I plan to stay out of the heat and NOT bake as much as possible.) One consequence of outdoor activity is exposure to insects and wildlife. One of these critters are ticks, which can transmit via biting a really nasty illness called Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis). This can affect both humans and animals and is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other tick-borne diseases can include anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Yuck!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Naturally, since May kicks off the summer season, it has been designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. The best way to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is to take preventive measures. Here’s how you can protect your pets:

  1. Tick-preventive products. Ask your veterinarian which would be the best solution for your pet.
  2. Vaccination. Again, speak with your veterinarian whether your dog should be vaccinated against Lyme disease. This may depend on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle, overall health, and other factors.
  3. Signs. Know the common symptoms of Lyme disease such as fever, appetite loss, lack of energy, lameness, stiffness, discomfort, pain, and joint swelling. These symptoms can progress to kidney failure as well as cardiac and neurological issues. Check here for more information.
  4. Avoid. If possible, don’t go into areas where ticks are likely to be found such as tall grasses, leaf litter, marshes, and wooded areas. (Side note: velociraptors might be hiding in tall grass too!)
  5. Check. Once indoors, make sure that a tick has not hitched a ride on you or any of your animals.
  6. Fortification. Place a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn, patio, play equipment, and wooded areas. By doing so, you will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  7. Sprays. Have a green industry professional inspect your property and spray the perimeter to reduce tick populations.
  8. Maintenance. Clear shrubbery and brush close to the house. Prune trees. Remove litter. Mow grass short. Let the lawn dry thoroughly between waterings.
  9. Removal. If you find a tick, use gloves and specialized tweezers, not your bare hands.

The American Veterinary Medical Association provides excellent information about Lyme disease and its effects on pets. You can also find information on flea and tick preventive products, disease precautions for outdoor enthusiasts and their animal buddies, and the CDC’s boatload of data pertaining to Lyme disease. To learn how to prevent Lyme disease in people, especially children, check out information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Did you know that animals, such as dogs and cats, can experience asthma and allergies just like humans do? For that reason, the National Asthma and Allergy Foundation designated May, a peak time for allergy symptoms, as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. While this campaign is directed at humans, conscientious pet owners should be able to recognize the way their pets may present symptoms of asthma and allergies.

Common Asthma Triggers in Pets

  • Dust
  • Pollens (grass, trees)
  • Air pollution, such as vehicle exhaust
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Smoke (fireplaces, tobacco products)
  • Household sprays and chemical solutions, such as hair spray, flea spray, air fresheners, household fragrances, and personal perfumes
  • Cat litter dust

Common Asthma Symptoms

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties (i.e. wheezing, labored breath, shallow breath)
  • Panting
  • Dyspnea
  • Poor appetite
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Pale or blue gums* [If you spot this, go to your vet immediately.)

When we took in Garrus and Charlie, we noticed that Garrus occasionally wheezed. We had not seen this behavior in previous cats, so we brought it up with our vet. Dr R thought he might have a mild case of asthma and suggested we make a log of how often he wheezed and if we noticed other symptoms. If his wheezing episodes became more frequent or more severe, we would investigate the issue further.

At the same time, we transitioned the boys from using regular litter boxes, which they used while in foster care, to Cat Genies after they fully integrated into the household. One of the things we like most about Cat Genies is there is no dust from cat litter! Aaron discovered that safflower seeds are excellent, environmentally-friendly substitutes for the plastic granules that a Cat Genie uses. We have since noticed that Garrus wheezes infrequently now, and Dr R was most pleased by this report. Dr R remarked that she had another feline patient that displayed asthma symptoms but these decreased after her owner switched to a litter that produced much less dust. She thought the same thing had happened with Garrus.

Common Allergies in Pets

  • Contact: Medication or detergent found in flea collar (example)
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Allergic to flea saliva
  • Food Allergies: Some pets don’t tolerate certain ingredients well such as beef, chicken, soy, and wheat.
  • Inhalant: Indoor or outdoor environmental factors (smoke, pollen, etc.)

Common Allergy Signs in Pets

  • Sneezing
  • Excessive grooming
  • Excessive itching
  • Paw chewing
  • Skin inflammation
  • Ear infection
  • Rashes

If you want to learn more about pet allergies and asthma, check out Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic, Pet MD for Canine Asthma, Pet MD Dog Allergy Center, Pet MD for Feline Asthma, 7 Common Cat Allergies (Pet MD), Pet Partners,and Canna Pet. If you think your pet may have asthma, allergies, bronchitis, respiratory issues, or other health concerns, please contact your veterinarian!