Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dorm pets

My husband sent me this article from CNN today on pets and dorm life.
As university residence halls seek to transition into more homey environments -- with additions like full kitchens and single-stall bathrooms -- pet ownership is still forbidden for the majority of dorm residents.

But several universities, including MIT, have now added some pets to the "acceptable" list of dorm possessions...

Other schools have jumped on the four-footed bandwagon: Stephen's College, a women's college in Columbia, Montana, allows for many household pets, including dogs, provided that they are vaccinated and under forty pounds.

During the four years I was in college, I did not have a cat either with me or at my parents' house. I really missed being able to snuggle with kitties! I would have loved to be able to have a cat in the dorm with me.

An excerpt from later in the article:
Sophomore Kara Brown, who suffers from asthma, said it is a bad idea to allow pets in residence halls. "I wouldn't love it if cats were allowed just because being anywhere near them makes me sick ... My breathing tubes start to close," Brown said. "I also feel like people usually have too much going on to really take care of a pet, especially now in college when you are already doing so much that takes a lot of effort."

I thought she made a really good point, and as much as I love cats I am inclined to agree with her. I would have loved a kitty to snuggle with, but in reality I think my life in college was too hectic for me to have properly taken care of an animal. Animals need attention, and when you're busy studying in the library or hanging out with friends, it's hard to give enough attention.

Of course, some people would probably do fine. I was very busy in college, but not everyone is. I definitely knew of people who spent a lot of time in their rooms and probably would have been very responsible pet owners. However, I do think those types of people are more rare than the typical college student.

Thoughts? Would you support pet-friendly dorms? Or would you be opposed to them?

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

How's your day going?

Got this as an email forward, and I thought it was really cute.

First you had trouble getting out of bed

You had a stiff neck

You washed your hair and couldn't do a thing with it

You felt like you had a hangover and you weren't even drinking last night

Your new diet really doesn't seem to be working out

You pulled a muscle when you tried to exercise

Your new hat looked better on you at the store

You keep losing things

The boss chewed you out at work

You got caught in the rain at lunchtime

Then the lunch you had didn't seem to agree with you

You feel trapped

Uninvited guests showed up at dinnertime

On top of that you think you're coming down with the flu

And finally, you're alone in the house at night when you think you hear a noise in the basement


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Tales Humane

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went up to Nashville for a wedding. The reception was held nearby a humane shelter, and I could not resist checking it out! They were closed, but I'd actually been there before when Jera ran away a year or so ago. They were extremely kind and helpful.

The place is called Happy Tales Humane, and they are located south of Nashville in Franklin, TN. If you're in that area, I would highly recommend checking it out for your next kitten or puppy! It is a no-kill shelter, and somewhat cage-free. We could see that a lot of the kittens that live there had free run of the place. It was so cute to see them playing with each other; you know I loved it!

We could only see the kitties through the glass. Here is one of the adorable kittens that came over to investigate me when I put my hand to the glass. You can see the reflection of my hand on the picture!

This white cat had been walking around earlier, but settled down for the night. He looked so cute with his little head sticking out! He even closed his eyes, just resting there with his head out. I thought it was adorable.

At one point I had 8 cats all at the glass doors watching me try to play with them. I stuck some paper under the door and coaxed them to chase it. I wish I could have pet them, but they were closed the whole time I was there. Oh well! It totally made my day just to see them there. (Look at the gray cat at the right staring through the glass. Doesn't he look cute??)

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Pet food recall

I'm sure most people have heard about it already, but there is a voluntary limited recall for Mars Petcare food. You can read all the details here.

Mars Petcare makes several different brands of food, most popularly Pedigree dog and cat food. It is being recalled due to the potential contamination of the Salmonella virus.

According to the recall notice:
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and can potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

In addition to Pedigree, other brands that could be affected are: Paws & Claws, Member's Mark, Natural Dog Food, Natural Cat Food, Doggy Bag, Red Flannel, Retriever, PMI Nutrition, Country Acres, Special Kitty, Pet Pride, Buju & Ziggie, and Bruiser.

Mars Petcare has a great tool on their site to help you figure out if the food you have is being recalled or not. Get out the bag of food that is in question and go to this link. You'll answer a few questions and the site will direct you to whether the food you have is being recalled or not. Definitely look into that if you have any of those brands at home.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Fat cat

I went to the vet on Saturday for the cats' annual vaccinations and check-up.

They weighed Lewis, and he came out to a whoppin' 14 lbs. Yikes! I knew he was overweight, but didn't realize by that much! I need to get him back down to a healthy 10 lbs or so. The vet warned me that the heavier he is, the more at risk for diabetes he is.

Also, another result of him being overweight is that he doesn't clean himself after using the littler box very well. (According to the vet, he can't reach all over his body because of his weight.) So, when I notice his fur getting crusty, I have to take a wet paper towel and wipe him clean. Ewwww. I think I'll focus on the weight loss!

We started by separating he and Ebony's bowls. We've noticed that when they're in the same room, Lewis won't let Ebony eat until he's had his fill. We also decided to feed him less - 1/4c a day of dry food instead of 1/2c day. When we give him more, we notice food leftover in the bowl after he's walked away, so we're not worried about starving him.

If that doesn't bring his weight down then the vet told us she's going to help us get a diet plan for him. Poor kitty! I know how you feel, Lewis, I know how you feel. We're on diets together. :-)

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Cleaning up

So today we went out and bought a big jug of Nature's Miracle. Tonight, I started in the bathroom - where the stench is the strongest - and set to work. I poured it all over the carpet and now have the fan pointed into the room. I really hope this works! If it helps the smell in the bathroom, then we'll know that the cats were the reason why our apartment reeks instead of something else. (We have other theories - dead animal in the walls, mold, sewer smells coming in through outlets and light fixtures...)

I also want to get Feliway that I mentioned yesterday. We're getting ready to move in a few weeks, and I think that might help while we try to make the move and for when we're in a new place. I don't want to deal with the horrible smell again!

Because of the problems we've been having, we're not going to try and convince some poor friend to take our cats during the weekend of our move. I'm in the process of finding a good place to board them. In the past, I've boarded them at PetSmart's PetsHotel and had a good experience there. Tomorrow we go to the vet, and I'll ask her if she has any recommendations.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Feliway to the rescue

I got an email from a friend this evening. It said:
We also have two cats. We were having problems with them peeing and puking, and we got the Feliway diffuser thing. It looks kind of like a Glade plug-in, and it supposedly releases pheromones to make cats feel happy. It was kind of expensive, but SO worth it! They haven't peed on anything (and we just bought a house, so we were freaked that they would pee everywhere), and our one anxiety-ridden puke-y cat throws up so much less now.

Anyway, just wanted to recommend Feliway. :) Give it a try. I hope it works. I know cat pee smell is wretched. :)

This definitely intrigued me! So I decided to look it up.

I found a helpful FAQ about Feliway on this site. I was going to copy-paste, but I decided it would be better to just point you to the site and suggest you read it yourself if you're interested. It explains everything in good, easy-to-understand detail.

It is interesting reading about Feliway. They claim that it not only will help with urinating outside the litter box, but also will stop cats from fighting. This especially intrigues me, because Lewis and Ebony fight all the time. My last two cats (Koko and Yum Yum) were so cuddly and friendly with each other that it makes me said that Lewis and Ebony seem to dislike each other.

Does anyone else have experience with Feliway? Anyone know of a good place to buy it? I would like to look into it further, but I definitely think this might be an answer for us! It's like with acne treatments - you get to the point where you'll just try anything! I'll see if the vet has any recommendations when I go on Saturday.


I love my cats, but sometimes they are so frustrating!

Lewis and Ebony's new trick is to PEE EVERYWHERE. We've always had wall-to-wall carpeting in our apartments, and we've never had trouble with them not using their litter box until now.

I can attribute it to several things:
  • Traveling - we've been gone a lot this summer, especially in the month of August
  • Being busy - we've added some weekly things to our schedules that require us to be gone from the house
  • New job - I started a new job about 6 months ago that no longer allows me to come home at lunch, and because of the commute I'm overall gone more hours of the day
  • Stress - I know that cats can sense their owners' stress, and ours has been high as of late. We're getting ready to move, and the frustration that has led up to that decision has been great.

Things will calm down after October, and hopefully be all still by next spring! But it still concerns me that any time we start traveling they'll revert back to their old ways. While things may calm down for the school year, we're always going to be the type to travel during the summers - whether it's visiting friends or camping (which we LOVE), it's just something we're going to do. And we've never had problems with them before this summer, and we haven't traveled any MORE than usual.

I've heard that once kitties start peeing on the carpet, it's hard to make them stop. I'm praying that's not true!! I am going to buy some Nature's Miracle that was recommended to me - I need to go to Petsmart to get it I think, and it's an out-of-the-way trip for me so I haven't had a chance to get it.

But in the meantime... SOOO frustrating!! And very stinky. :-(

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Four years ago...

Four years ago a very sweet litter of kitties were born. There were three boys and one girl. They grew quickly, learning to play and eat and live. At some point in their tiny lives, they were taken to an animal shelter so they could find good homes. When they were fourteen weeks old, a woman came in looking for two kitties for her daughter. When she spotted this litter of four kitties, she immediately fell in love and picked the female and one of the males.

The woman took the two kitties home to her house. There they were cuddled by four people, and excitedly told that they were a surprise gift for someone yet to come. The kittens immediately made themselves at home in their new surroundings, continuing to play with each other, eating and living.

Then the Day came. The Day when their new owner would be arriving! The two kittens were fitted with two red and green bows around their neck. They were placed on the bed, and the door of the room was closed. The kittens curled up and listened to the sounds outside. Doors opening, greetings, talking. Then footsteps. The door to the room opened. A redhead walked in, and upon spotting the kittens gasped in delight and immediately bent down to cuddle with them. And I have never looked back since. :-)

Happy 4th birthday to my darling babies, Lewis and Ebony! As a birthday present, I made an appointment to take you to a vet this weekend for your annual shots. :-) (I'm such a mean mommy!)

Lewis on the porch


Halloween costumes