I ordered a ground feeder last week in an attempt to distract the squirrels away from our new window bird feeder. While I was waiting for it, a Bluejay found our feeder. The curtain was partially closed and I didn’t want to get too close and scare him away, but I took a photo anyway.
The ground feeder I ordered doubles as a birdbath but I put corn in it, which I read is a favorite of squirrels, and placed it under the bird feeder yesterday.
Later that day I saw a squirrel in the bird feeder and looked down to see the corn had not been touched. I watched for a while and saw the squirrel come close to the corn but he never looked at it. I don’t know if he was ignoring it or just had not found it yet.
This morning the squirrel was back in the bird feeder while Frankie and Floki were there. This time he was not as nervous around them as in the past. Both cats even attacked the window to no avail. Eventually, they just settled down to watch.
When the squirrel left, I looked down and saw that all three ears of corn were gone. Somehow the little squirrel managed to drag three ears of corn away. I think now I need to buy a bag of sunflower seeds. I’d like to see him drag all those away.
I just realized I did not post anything in over a week. I have my own part-time business and was supplementing my income with a part-time job. Recently that job turned into full-time and combined with the hours I spend on my business, my life has left me with little free time to do the things I enjoy, like blogging.
I will try to be better at posting in the future. While you wait to see if I live up to that, enjoy a picture of Abbey, Chris, and Tigger from April of 2010 when Chris was about eleven months old.
As a side note, another photo taken at the same time was used on my most popular greeting card on Zazzle. If you are curious, you can see it here.
I don’t have many new photos this week so I found this photo from this day in 2010.
Sav-R-Cats is a shelter in Surfside, South Carolina (near Myrtle Beach) where we adopted Chris. I started volunteering at the Humane Society there where they had something like 200 cats all separated in individual cages. We were not allowed to take out more than one cat at a time and I just felt so bad every time I went in there. My neighbor told me about Sav-R_Cats and I decided to volunteer there instead. As you can see, they had no problem letting the cats mingle with one another.
To the right of the photo are several pens that are like small rooms. The cats are put in there at night and most are let out during the day. Some of the cats, particularly the long-term residents, are never put in cages. I understand that there is a greater risk of a sick cat infecting others but potentially sick cats are isolated so the risk is small. In my opinion, it is far more important for the cat’s well-being to make them as happy as possible while they are waiting for their forever home. What do you think?
About two weeks ago we were driving out of our neighborhood when we noticed an old couple outside with a couple of pet stairs that they labeled “free.” I stopped and mentioned that I had an older cat that might benefit from them. She said that she had them for her cat. I assumed the cat died but I didn’t pursue it.
I have been unsure about Chris’s capabilities lately. When I am sitting at my computer he scratches at my legs to get me to pick him up. He used to just jump on my lap but that ship sailed over a year ago. He also scratches at my legs or cries at me when I am sitting on the sofa, even though I know he can jump onto the sofa when I am not there.
In the bedroom, he jumps onto the footboard and then continues up from there. It is usually one fluid motion but lately, he seems to struggle to get onto the bed. He looks like someone who has slid off a cliff and is trying to pull himself back up.
I thought the stairs would be a big help so I put one in the bedroom and one in the living room next to the sofa. He didn’t use it at first and I had to put him on it a couple of times but he soon got the hang of it. I originally had it in front of my nightstand but my wife feared I would trip over it at night so she pushed the nightstand over and put it where it is now in the photo.
Having it this way does make more sense. It also means that Chris has to stop at the top and turn before getting on the bed but he quickly got the hang of that.
The stairs by the sofa are another story. Chris never used them and would either just jump onto the sofa or ask me to pick him up. I decided instead to put them next to my office chair. My hope was that he would climb the stairs to get on my lap.
So far he has never attempted to climb those stairs. He always just scratches my legs until I pick him up. They aren’t totally useless though. When I have to get up I sort of guide him to the stairs as I stand up. He then walks down the stairs and follows me, hoping this will be the time I will open the container of kibble.
I guess this is our reality now. Chris is not getting any younger or any lighter and I don’t expect that to change, although it would be helpful if I could get him to lose a few pounds.
I noticed recently that someone was peeing over the side of one of the litter boxes. I would often find pee on the floor between the blue litter box and the cabinet.
When I found pee on the floor I would clean everything extra thoroughly because I know sometimes the smell of one cat’s pee can prompt another cat to “mark” that same spot. It didn’t work. Almost every day I had to clean up pee.
It occurred to me that cats are creatures of habit. Once a habit is created, something must be done to break the habit. For example, I always make coffee in the morning and I put heavy cream in my coffee and my wife’s coffee. For some reason that I don’t remember, I started giving the cats a very small amount of that heavy cream whenever I made coffee. They soon became little vultures waiting for it and I couldn’t make coffee until they ate their breakfast or they would abandon their food in hopes of getting cream. When we went up to our home in West Virginia, it was the change I needed to break the habit. I stopped giving them the heavy cream and they never thought to beg for it because the situation was so different. When we returned to Florida I continued to not give them the cream and they all forgot about it.
This time I needed to change things enough to disrupt the routine of whoever the culprit was. I’m betting it was Frankie but I have no proof. I decided to move the blue box to the far right and shift the other two boxes over.
To my surprise, this actually worked. I have not had to clean pee off the floor in over a week.
What do you think? Does anyone else have experience breaking a pet’s bad habit?
Over the years I have been tinkering with the way I feed our cats but the tinkering has mostly stopped and a routine has set in. I am including links to many of the products I use so you can see details about them. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links but I do not recommend buying pet food from Amazon if you can find it locally because Amazon tends to be overpriced when it comes to pet food.
Here is a photo of all the foods I have right now, although sometimes the brands will change based on availability and price. If a high-quality brand is on sale I may pick up some cans or a bag to try.
For breakfast, they get one 5.5 ounce can of Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori. Amazon sells a case of 24 for $50, I buy it locally for $1.79 per can which is less than $43. Plus, I get ten percent off when buying a case. The downside is they don’t always have what I want. The last time I shopped there they were out of the Chicken Catcciatori which is why I have none in the photo. They seem happy with other flavors though but I stick with mostly poultry flavors.
I am not I big fan of dry cat food but Chris loves it. The main reason I keep giving it to them is that I have a hard time getting Chris to eat his wet food, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Shortly after breakfast Chris wants dry food and will annoy me until he gets it. I resist for a while and then get up and do something else, like clean the cat dishes, so he doesn’t think the annoying behavior works, and then I will give him, and Frankie and Floki, a few pieces of Stella and Chewy’s. In this rare instance, Amazon’s price is the same as my local price.
I like Stella and Chewy’s because it is essentially a freeze-dried version of a raw meat diet. I would replace the dry food with Stella and Chewy’s except for two reasons. It is more expensive, although not by much if you add water to it, and it might be dehydrating if they eat too much of it dry. They do like it with water added to it but they like it better dry. Plus, it is more convenient that way. Dry kibble is also dehydrating but I suspect slightly less so. I have not researched it so I don’t know that for sure.
They are usually satisfied for a half-hour or so and then Chris starts bothering me again. Sometimes he lies by the empty food bowls and talks to me whenever I walk by. So again, I hold out as long as I can and then give him a little dry food. I usually buy the Rawz brand of dry food. This is one of the best on the market but I sometimes switch it out for another brand, usually when I need food but can’t get to the store that sells it so end up at Petsmart or Petco. When I put down dry food, Frankie and Floki come to get some too. I give them just enough so that the bowls are empty in less than five minutes. Usually, Chris eats his and then takes over Frankie’s bowl. I put Floki’s bowl on the table so that is protected from the Kibble Monster.
I then take care of what chores I have left and get ready for work. When I leave I give them five more minutes worth of food if Rose is home. If she is not home that day I double it. Sometimes I even put food in their feeder ball if Rose is away and I know I will work a full day. The feeder ball, or whatever it is called, lets them work for their food. I don’t always put it in the same place so they have to find it. This ensures that all the kibble won’t be eaten by a certain piggy before I make it out the driveway.
If Rose is home, or if it is the weekend, they get one small can of Fancy Feast or a can or package of another low-cost wet cat food. I use a lower-cost brand because the smaller cans are way more costly per ounce than the bigger cans and I do not have a money tree growing in the backyard. I read somewhere that the worst wet food is better than the best dry food. I agree with this in principle but I think there are some bad wet foods out there that I would not buy. For example, years ago I bought a box of what I am pretty sure was Meow Mix. One of our cats puked it up and we were left with a stain on our carpet that we could not clean because of the food coloring. The fact that it was puked up was another strike against it.
When I buy Fancy Feast, I never buy the pate and I try to keep it to poultry flavors but I sometimes buy fish or beef just for the variety. Our cats prefer sliced or gravy lovers the most. This week I have a brand called Natural Balance which I happened to see on sale so I picked up several packages. Our cats really like it but I wouldn’t get it at full price for their mid-day snack.
Sometime after their lunch and before dinner, I will give them just a small amount of dry food or Stella and Chewy’s to hold them until dinner, which used to be after 5:00 but since Rose is usually home and I don’t work full time anymore, dinner has changed to between 3:00 and 4:00, depending on how annoying Frankie or Chris become.
For dinner, I feed them homemade, raw food made from ground chicken. You can read about how I make it here. I tried turkey and beef but they only like the chicken. I buy the supplement powder from a company called TC Feline. They are a Canadian company that has the best premix that I have found. You can buy the original premix where you just add your own meat, liver, and eggs, or you can buy the premix that already has the liver. That is what I usually get because it is easier but I sometimes like adding my own liver because it adds some health benefits. I just have trouble finding good liver since I moved farther away from Whole Foods.
I keep the raw food in plastic containers in the freezer and make sure I have three in the refrigerator at all times. I then take the top container, which is about the same size as a large can of cat food, and warm it up in the microwave for twenty seconds. While I am doing that, I grab a frozen container and put it on the bottom of the two remaining containers. I know that heating raw food is not good but twenty seconds just takes the chill off. If I have time and remember to do it, I will instead place the container in warm water for ten minutes.
The raw food is the food the cats like best and usually lick the bowls clean. A couple of years ago that was the only wet food that I gave them but they got tired of it and I ended up throwing a lot of it away. So even though I would like to give them only raw food, I have to play the hand I was dealt.
Sometime after dinner they get more Stella and Chewy’s and after that a little more kibble. The bowls are usually empty when we go to bed so I put just a little more dry food in them to end the day.
A word about variety: I know the conventional wisdom is to feed cats the same food or they will get sick. They say if you want to change their food you have to do it gradually. I have no evidence one way or the other but I believe it is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. I think the reason they get sick is because they have been eating the same food not because they switched. In other words, eating the same food has made them overly sensitive. I suppose it may be related to the fact that kids raised in a too clean environment develop allergies. I am certainly not giving you medical advice since it is just speculation on my part, but I do think it is something you should think about, and research, if you want to try giving your pets a variety. I will say this, none of our cats seem to be negatively affected by the various foods that they get. Frankie does puke sometimes but he has been a puker since we first adopted him and it seems more related to how much he eats and not what he eats.
What do you think? What does your pet’s diet look like?