Recently I recieved microbiome test kits for pets from a company called NonNomNow. The test kits are called “Insights” and I got them at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review. You can read about why I think testing the microbiome is important on my previous post about this product here.
The kits arrived about ten days ago but it took that long for me to actually witness a cat pooping. Finally, this morning I saw Chris in the box. I wanted to retrieve his poop before he buried it but I was two seconds too slow.
The kit comes with two swabs and two vials. I was momentarily confused by that but then I assumed there were extras in case of mistakes. After reading the directions I saw that this was the case. The kit also comes with a small resealable bag to put the sample in and a pre-labeled return envelope. It also comes with a card that has the registration number on it and a place to write your pet’s name in case you have more than one pet like I do.
Once you have acquired the poop, the next step is to insert the cotton swab into it and rotate. If needed you can use it as a scoop to get about a pea-size piece.
Then place the tip of the swab in the vial, which contains a small amount of liquid, and then push down on the top of the swab. This will eject the tip.
The next step is to screw on the lid and shake. Then put the vial in the enclosed resealable bag.
At this point the directions say to apply the barcode sticker to the bag but the sticker came pre-applied. This concerned me a little but I assumed the directions were written at a time when the label came separate. The next step is to place the bag in the supplied envelope and seal it.
Once registered the only thing left to do is drop off your test kit at the post office and wait for the results, which should take two to five weeks. When the results come back I will share them with you as well as my thoughts about it.
What do you think? Is this something you would be willing to try?
Floki is over three years old but he is still like a kitten when it comes to his favorite mouse. You may remember this post when I talked about Floki’s favorite mouse and my search to find a replacement. Well, I did find something similar that he likes just as much and bought a bag with a half dozen or more of them. We released about four of them into the wild and Floki plays with them quite often. Many times he will carry one onto our bed and play with it there. I have seen as many as three of his mice on our bed at the same time. In the following video, I see two of his mice.
I think it’s great that Floki plays a lot. If he is not playing with his mouse that he is playing tag with Frankie. Chris used to be a world class player but now he is more of a watcher.
What does ear polyps, arthritis, and 19 pounds have in common? If you guessed Chris then you would be right.
Chris has been shaking his head a lot lately indicating the problem with his ears has become bad again. We had to clean and medicate his ears last time he had that problem and he did not make that easy for us. I even brought him to the vet a month ago so they could clean his ears. I heard him in the other room screaming like he was being tortured. The first (or second) time I brought him in for that problem was when they discovered he needed some teeth extracted. I asked if they could start me off by cleaning his ears but Chris gave them such a hard time that they decided to wait until he was under anesthesia for his teeth.
The other issue with Chris started about a month ago. He stopped jumping on my lap while I was sitting at my desk. Instead he would claw at my legs and I would have to pick him up. After that I noticed him limping slightly. It was time to make an appointment for him at the vet.
I brought him in on Friday. The vet tech brought us into an exam room where she tried to get Chris out of his carrier so she could weigh him but Chris was not budging. I tried to help by tipping the carrier at an angle but he managed to hold on. She suggested taking the top off but the carrier I used had about fifteen screws and I said it was too much work to take it apart and put it back together. I asked if she could weigh him in the carrier and then weigh the carrier later and subtract. She thought that was a good idea and put him on the scale, carrier and all. I don’t remember the total weight but I do remember saying, “I sure hope this carrier weighs more than ten pounds.”
She left us in the room and I put Chris up on the table and opened the carrier door. He just stayed there. I tried to coax him out but he was staying put.
This is unusual behavior for Chris. In the past, he loved to get out and explore the exam room. A stubborn stationary cat was not his style. As recently as last December he was exploring the vet’s exam room.
After a while the tech came back in and we decided to remove the top of the carrier. She started removing screws on one side and I did the other. When we had him out I gave her the carrier to weigh. She came back with a weight of 19.6 pounds for Chris. Holy crap. The last time he was weighed he was 17.9 pounds and I thought that was bad.
I have been trying to get Chris’s weight down for a while now but it keeps going up. For years I have been gradually reducing the amount of dry food he is allowed to eat. I make a homemade food for them that consists mostly of organic chicken along with a high quality supplement blend. I want Chris to eat more of that but he rarely eats more than a few bites before walking away. Sometimes I find myself hand feeding it to him just to get him to eat some of it. Frankie and Floki have no trouble finishing their plates.
Because he doesn’t eat enough homemade food I do supplement with dry food. I have tried not giving him anything else but that does not get him to eat more of the good food, he just annoys everyone with his pathetic crying. I believe the dry food is largely responsible for his weight gain and these last couple of days I have restricted the dry food even more. Now, whenever he is not sleeping, he holds a vigil at the food bowl, talking to anyone that will listen to his sad story.
Anyway, getting back to the story, The vet examined his ears and talked about the polyps that we already knew about. He said they were bad and restricted airflow which promoted bacteria growth and infection. He said he was going to give me more ear cleaner and medicine. The ear cleaner needed to be used every other day and the medicine every day.
He also recommended that they surgically remove the polyps. I asked if they might return after the surgery and he said that they could. I asked how much the surgery would cost and he didn’t know. They would have to get back to me on that.
He then checked his paws and legs for any sign of injury but could find none. I told them he had a slight limp but didn’t know what foot seemed to be the problem. We put him down to watch him walk but he didn’t show a sign of limping at that time. I wished I had thought of videoing him walking at home but I didn’t.
The vet said that he could have some arthritis. He said it was even more likely because Chris was overweight. He recommended I buy Cosequin for him but they didn’t have any in stock. The vet tech gave me a card and said I could order it from their online store but I had no desire to pay double retail because it was coming from the vet so when I got home I looked on Amazon instead. I found Cosequin capsules and Cosequin chews. I wasn’t sure which would be better or easier. The chews seemed easier but if he didn’t like them they would be worthless. The capsules sprinkle on their food but since I have three cats it’s hard to know who is getting how much. I decided to by both and see which I like better.
Back at the vet we waited for quite a while.
Finally the vet tech came back with the medicine but they still did not have a surgery estimate so I paid the $150 bill and went home.
That email with the estimate came Saturday afternoon. For $588.43 Chris can be free of polyps for an undetermined amount of time. For now, we will give him the medication. If that works, the surgery might not be necessary at this time. If it doesn’t work, we will probably have to have it done.
Father’s Day definitely did not start out good. The evening before was not so great either. That started with my wife, Rose, complaining about a smell in the kitchen. I smelled nothing but I have the nose of a mere human. Rose, on the other hand, was the subject of a secret government experiment where her nose was genetically altered to that of a blood hound’s nose. She can smell a fly fart two houses down.
She did a thorough search of the kitchen but couldn’t find the source of the smell. We then went outside and she said “It smells worse out here!” There happened to be a bag of cat poop that I put outside the door but hadn’t yet put in the trash so we assumed it was that.
About this same time we were preparing dinner because Rose’s sister and here family were in town and coming to our house for dinner. That’s when we noticed the water was backing up in the sink. I had no Draino or sink plunger or time to go get one. The water drained out slowly and we were able to get through dinner but I had to wash dishes a few at a time.
Before I did anything else Sunday morning I decided to take off the P-trap and clean it. Unfortunately, the P-trap only unscrewed from one end. The other end was glued. It was hard but I managed to get the one side to separate from the other.
I was about to go to Home Depot to get an auger but Rose starting complaining loudly about how horrific it smelled in the house and I needed to look under the house to see what died. At that time, my human nose was starting to smell something. It was faint but it was there.
I found my flashlight but of course the batteries were dead. It needed three batteries and I managed to find two. Wonderful. “What else could go wrong?” I did manage to steal a battery from one of Rose’s beauty instruments, and went outside to see what I could see. I didn’t see anything but there were flies so I knew something had died under the house.
I went to Home Depot and got an auger and ran it through the p-trap but there was no obstruction. I then ran it down the main line as far as it would go but found nothing. At around this time, I don’t remember exactly when, Frankie escaped. I didn’t pursue him but worked on the drain for awhile hoping he would return but after a half hour he still wasn’t back.
I took another look under the house and that is when I found it. It was difficult to see and considering how close to the edge it was I was surprised I missed it. I couldn’t tell what kind of animal it was but I feared it was a cat because it had what looked like a cat’s paw.
Rose said, “You’ve got to get that out of there. I can’t take the smell for another day.”
“I know,” I said, “but it’s just too gross.” It wasn’t just the smell, it was the flies too. And if it was a cat I would be very sad to see that.
I needed to go back to Home Depot to get masks and gloves and a heavy duty drain cleaner but I didn’t want to leave before I found Frankie so I decided to go out looking. By then it was close to 11:00 and it was already hot and humid. I had walked around a little already but now I got my bike out and peddled around the neighborhood. After twenty minutes I gave up and came home.
When I got home I grabbed a can of flying insect killer and sprayed around the area where the dead animal was, which happened to be next to the air conditioner. That was probably how the smell was getting into the house. When I walked back around to the other side of the house I saw Frankie on top of Rose’s car. He meowed at me as if to say, “Where have you been?”
Now that Frankie was home I headed back to home depot. When I returned Rose and I put on masks and gloves like we were part of a hazmat team. I have a grabber tool so I brought that and a shovel to the other side of the house. I removed the bricks and used the grabber to pull out the animal which was a tabby cat. So sad. That is not something I ever want to do again.
It is now almost 4:00. My son is coming over around 6:00 but the drain cleaner didn’t work and our sink is no longer draining slow. It is not draining at all and both sides now have two inches of dirty water. We were going to cook dinner but now we need to make other plans. I did not really want to fight the crowds at a restaurant on Father’s day but we have no choice.
Here’s hoping all the Dad’s out there are having a better day.
Update: We ended up ordering takeout. My son came over and we ate pizza and watched a movie. The day certainly ended better than it started.
I thought it was time to update the logo for Bad Cat Chris. I have some experience with design but not with illustration. I wish I was an illustrator. Years ago I found enjoyment in drawing funny cartoons. I thought the content was great but the art was terrible. I tried to learn to draw to no avail so I just let the idea of becoming a cartoonist fall away.
This time I wanted to find someone with talent to help me out. I heard about Fiverr several years ago but since I make no money on my blog I didn’t really have a need for professional services. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little money to improve the look of the site a bit. I also wanted the image of Chris to more resemble the real Chris.
My biggest obstacle was that I didn’t really know what I wanted. I decided to look at the artwork from several artists and see if someone struck a chord with me. I settled on alicialucdesign because the first picture that came up was a cute illustration of a dog that I thought was the right style and she also had beautiful cat illustration so I knew she could draw cats.
There are three levels of illustrations you can get from Fiver; basic, standard and premium.
The basic, which is $10, includes “1 Figure, No Colour, High Resolution, Unlimited Revision, 2 Days delivery.”
The standard is $20 and includes “1 Figure, Full Colour, High Resolution, Unlimited Revision, 2 Days delivery.
The premium is $25 and includes “1 Figure, Full Colour, High Resolution, Background/Scene, Unlimited Revision, 2 Day delivery
I don’t know if these specifications are specific to the designer or to Fiverr, probably the designer. My first thought was to go with the premium but I had no idea what I wanted in the background. I was not even sure what I wanted in the foreground.
The order process was pretty easy except I hit a bit of a stumbling block. There was no way to type instructions for the job on the web page. Instead, there was a button for uploading the job specs. Since I had no specs, only basic instructions, I had to write them down in a text file and then upload that file. If I was designing the Fiverr website, would have put a text box for instructions and an upload button for additional materials.
Anyway, I gave her a link to the blog and another link to Chris’s tenth birthday post because there are many photos of Chris in that post. I asked her to create an illustration that resembles Chris. After that, Fiverr asked for money. The total was $22 which included a $2 service fee that I assume is Fiverr’s portion of the transaction.
A day or two later I received an email saying the order was complete. I downloaded it and was very impressed.
It was almost what I was looking for but not quite. The description says there is an unlimited number of revisions allowed, which, I think, is just asking for problems. I worked in a print shop so I know how much of a pain some customers can be. I didn’t want to be a pain. I’m sure one revision would not have been a big deal but I wasn’t really sure what it needed.
I accepted the image as is and gave a $10 tip. Fiverr added another $2 service fee to my tip which seemed wrong but I suppose they have credit card expenses they have to pay. I also left a five star review but used speech-to-text from my phone which never works right. After I left the review I noticed there were several errors making it difficult to read. I tried to change it but there is no way to edit your review. I’m a bit embarrassed but at least my last name is not displayed.
I considered the image for a while and then made some very minor changes myself. I increased his smile ever so slightly and added whiskers, horns, and a halo. I then added a background and put a mouse next to Chris with it’s tail under his foot.
All in all, I think $34 was a bargain for such quality work. What do you think about Fiverr? What about the art? Do you have any suggestions on improving the final image?
I finally caught Floki on Friday and brought him to the groomer. You may recall my last effort ended in failure. This time I caught him by surprise, picked him up and almost lost him as he twisted and scratched trying to get loose. My wife helped me get him into the carrier and off I went with him to the groomer.
I bring him to a place called Heaven Grooming where he is handled very well by the groomer.
Normally Floki is well behaved at the groomer, which is very different than at home. It is impossible for my wife and I to trim his nails but a groomer has no problem. I think it is because he is nervous around strangers so he behaves. Unfortunately, the groomer is not as much of a stranger as she used to be so he did struggle a little this time but she handled him well. Hopefully, that trend won’t continue.
The other day my Echo device was flashing yellow which means I have a notification. I said “Alexa, what’s my notification?”
She said, “One new notification for Rosemarie. Your package with Google Home has arrived.”
Google Home? That’s weird. I couldn’t imagine my wife ordering Google Home. I was also pretty sure Amazon didn’t sell Google products. Nevertheless, I opened the door to see if there was a package outside.
There was no package but when I opened the door, Frankie ran outside. I went out after him and tried to catch him but he ran and hid under a nearby car. I had no shoes on and decided to go in the house and watch him from the window. He usually gets bored after a while and comes home.
I may have mentioned it before but I have ADD and I am easily distracted. Soon another thought entered my head and I forgot about Frankie. 45 minutes went by and I looked at the clock and noticed it was time to feed the cats and got up to do that. When I didn’t see Frankie I remembered he was still outside and quickly went to the door to see if I could see him.
When I opened it I immediately saw Frankie’s head pop up from under the door as he walked inside, scolding me with his meows the whole time.
I don’t know what went wrong with Alexa that day but perhaps I can use her next time Frankie gets out. “Alexa, remind me Frankie’s outside in ten minutes.”
Each of our cats has his own special gift. Chris is highly intelligent, Frankie is exceedingly cute, and Floki can read minds. You read that right and I am not exaggerating. It is the only explanation for what I have witnesses again and again.
These mind reading skills were very apparent a couple of years ago when we tried to trim his nails. Later, when we gave up on trying to trim his nails, his psychic abilities would kick in when we wanted to bring him to the groomer to get his nails trimmed.
A recent example happened last Friday. I brought his carrier in from the shed and set it on the dining room table. He was sleeping on our bed and couldn’t see what I brought in. I casually walked into the bedroom to check on him. He was still sleeping so I pretended to get something out of the bathroom so he wouldn’t get suspicious and then walked back to the dining room.
I asked my wife to follow me into the bedroom with the carrier. My plan was to scoop him up, turn, and drop him into the carrier before he knew what hit him. It was a good plan but the instant I appeared in the doorway Floki jumped down and under the bed he went.
A little while later we heard Floki whining and saw him under the dining room table. Chris had him by the back of the neck and was holding him down. Chris used to sometimes do this with Puck and now he does it with Floki. Unlike Puck, Floki will make a big fuss until someone comes to rescue him.
It always seemed strange that little Chris could hold Floki down better than two grown adults but, at this place in time, that was a good thing. I thought I would grab him from Chris and put him in the carrier that was right there on the table. As soon as that thought entered my mind Floki’s struggles intensified as he looked in my eyes with fear on his face. By the time I got close enough to touch him he had freed himself and was gone. That was the first time I ever saw him get loose from Chris’s grasp.
A couple hours later I saw Floki sleeping on the small cat perch in the Florida room. It was the perch closest to the door so I thought I would sneak up on him and grab him. I quietly moved the carrier to the back of the sofa and came around the corner ready to grab him but he wasn’t there. I turned to look for him and saw him just before he ducked behind the sofa.
I have walked past him a hundred times since then but Floki has pretty much ignored me. The only difference is I have not thought about bringing him to the groomers since they closed on Friday.
What do you think? If he is not psychic, what is his secret?
I dug into the archives for today’s photo. This was taken August 28, 2005, the day we adopted Flash and Tigger (named Ernie and Dooly at the time). Tigger was adopted by my wife’s mother but she did not adopt his brother, Flash. Apparently, Flash was in such distress over the loss of his brother that the shelter called and said we either needed to adopt Flash as well or return Tigger. Since my mother-in-law was not ready for two cats, we took them both in.
While Tigger was very outgoing, Flash was not. In fact, he was so nervous that he scrunched himself under our kitchen cabinet as soon as we let the two of them out of their carriers.
We named him Flash because when you tried to pet him he was gone in a Flash. Tigger got his name because he seemed to bounce around the house like the cartoon Tigger.
Here are the two of them together a few days later.