Frankie escaped again early yesterday morning and did what he always does to keep from getting caught. He headed toward a car,
He knows that if he is near a car, he can duck under it if I come too close.
If there are other cars nearby he can go from car to car with little risk of getting caught.
I decided to just wait him out at home so I let Chris out to wait with me.
I still have to watch Chris but I don’t worry about him because he mostly likes to hang out near the house and eat grass or just chill.
That wasn’t always the case. Chris, after all, invented the hide-under-the-car-technique. Some of you may remember his younger days.
After a short time Frankie returned.
Unfortunately, as soon as I took this photo and put my phone away to catch him, he bolted and hid under a car again.
I put Chris in the house and went inside to wait for him. After a little while. while I was cleaning the litter boxes, I looked out the window and saw him out from under the car and very interested in a nearby tree. Then he jumped into the tree.
I hurried outside hoping I could catch him before he went too hign in the tree.
I couldn’t reach him good enough and forced him higher into the tree.
I went to my shed and found a grabber tool which was the longest thing I could find quickly and returned to the tree. I was barely able to reach Frankie with it and managed to turn him around and forced him out of the tree but he ran several houses away and under another car so I gave up, went home and waited.
He finally came home after being outside for over an hour and then settled into a nice morning nap with Chris and Floki.
Since today is National Cat Day, a day to raise awareness of homeless pets, I thought I would share some recent pictures I took while volunteering at a local SPCA in Largo, Florida. Most of these cats are very friendly and still available for adoption. If you don’t live near me, I’m sure your local shelter has plenty of cats that would love to share your home with you.
As you can see, many cats need a home and the pictures shown here are perhaps five to ten percent of the shelter’s total.
Lately, my wife and I have considered adopting a female cat to help keep our boys in line but we are currently two cats over our legal limit so I don’t know what will happen. If we do decide to adopt, one possibility is the cat shown below. Forgive the quality but I couldn’t get a decent photo of her face because of low light and too much movement.
This girl came to me as soon as I walked in. She got on my lap and purred up a storm. I was a bit concerned because she was practically skin and bones. When one of the shelter employees saw this she said, “Wow, Mama Girl is coming out of her shell.” This surprised me for two reasons. First, out of several cats in the pod, this one seemed the most outgoing and affectionate. Second, I thought she was still a kitten. How could she be a mother? I was told she was about a year old and had already had a litter of kittens.
I expressed my concern about her weight and the employee said she would make a note of it and watch her. If she didn’t improve they might have to remove her from the pod and isolate her. I hoped that wouldn’t happen but sometimes a bully cat can keep another cat from eating. She brought her a container of wet food and asked me to watch and make sure nobody took it from her, which I did. I then noticed a sore on her front leg which I also mentioned.
I will keep on eye on her for as long as she is there. Hopefully she will gain a little weight. Perhaps if I bring her home Chris could show her how to eat for weight gain.
We got back late Monday from our vacation to Germany where my wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We had a great time there but we were happy to get home and see our kitties. They were happy to see us too.
Of course, there were a lot of things we needed to do after we got home. For one thing, the bed sheets needed to be changed.
Frankie and Flokie were eager to help but Chris was lying in the hallway in a diabetic coma from all the dry food that he had unrestricted access to while we were away. He did manage to come up on the bed after it was made.
Frankie decided to join me in the bathroom. He likes to get on the sink and move the soap dish for some reason but this is the first time I saw him lie on the sink.
We also had plenty of laundry to do and Frankie and Floki were eager to help with that too.
I will write about our trip on my personal blog, CharlesHuss.com, when I have time so keep an eye out for that.
Hopefully I will be able to get back on track soon. We are having some major work done on our home starting Saturday so I don’t know how normal things will be for a while but I will try visit blogs and get some writing done if I can.
I recently read a post on Cat Chat with Caren and Cody where she posted old photos of Cody as a kitten and apologized for the quality. It reminded me that most of the photos I took of my pets back in the days when I used film cameras were not that good. I was capable of good photography back then but pet photos were usually taken spur of the moment in bad lighting without much effort put into quality.
I did manage to find a group of photos taken January 20, 2010 that are not too bad. We were still living in South Carolina at the time and a coworker sold me his Canon SLR that he bought for school but never used after his class was over. I bought a roll of film to test it out and then sold it on Ebay. Here are some of the test photos.
I know this is not my typical one-photo Friday post but I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into the past. It should be noted that we had two other cats, Sneakers and Princess. Sneakers went to live with my stepson, Nick, in 2007. He also took Princess when we moved to Myrtle Beach in 2009. Princess came back to us in 2010 but probably after these photos were taken.
I waited a long time for Floki’s microbiome report from NomNomNow but did not see it in my email so I went looking. For some reason, you can create an account and log into NomNomNow’s website if you have subscribed to their meal program but if you order a microbiome test, your results come in an email and no login is required. I think this is a mistake. For one thing, having a universal account would be a good way for them to cross market their products but it would also be convenient for a customer to log in and have information about their pet available to them.
I had to take a different approach. Since I didn’t have an email about Foki, I found the email sent to me about Frankie and clicked on the link. The test result number was embedded in the URL so I just changed the last two numbers to correspond to Floki’s test. Thankfully I still had the card. I think the average consumer would have been on the phone with them asking what happened to their results.
I should mention that these tests were given to me in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to understand what the Microbiome test is for, please read my post NomNomNow’s Microbiome Test Kit. To learn about what the results mean, you can read my post Chris’s Microbiome Report. Today I just want to compare Floki’s results with Chris’s and Frankie’s.
Floki scored best on Composition, getting 10 out of 17 while Chris got 9 and Frankie got 7. In diversity Floki and Chris both scored 2 out of 3 and Frankie a 1 out of 3. All scored in the normal range for both. As I mentioned before, it is unclear what the numbers 17 and 3 represent or what the difference between composition and diversity is.
Chris’s gut bacteria was dominated by one specific type, Bacteroides (73%), while Frankie’s is dominated by two types, Bacteroides (46%) and an unclassified bacteria in Enterobacteriaceae family (29%). Floki is in between with a predominance of Bacteroides (51%). I think having too many of one type of bacteria is not ideal but it could also mean that type is needed more because of their diet, I don’t know.
Floki scored a bit better than Frankie and Chris in most, but not all, in the Firmicutes family. This may be good for cats that eat dry food. Floki eats a mix of homemade raw wet food and a good quality dry food.
Floki, Frankie and Chris all scored low in the Actinobacteria family. This could be because they do eat some dry food which is higher in carbohydrates.
The level of Fusobacteria in all of our cats is high but there is little information about it. so there is no point in speculating about weather this is good or bad.
Frankie and Chris are both low in Prevotella while Floki has moderate levels. All our cats are high in Bacteroides, with Chris being the highest and Frankie the lowest.
Floki scored highest in the richness category but they were about the same in evenness. Their overall diversity scores were almost identical. There is still a lot that is unknown about gut bacteria in pets and there are variables such as genetics and diet that may influence the level of benefit from each species of bacteria.
While all of our cats had scores that varied somewhat, generally they are pretty similar. I expected that since they do eat the same diet and live in the same house. I was waiting to see all of the reports before doing anything about it and now I think they might benefit from a probiotic supplement.
As some of you know, I found Chris in 2009 at a shelter that I volunteered for in Myrtle Beach. I left Florida and moved to Myrtle Beach in July of that year because my wife was offered a promotion to go there. I could only find a part-time job so I volunteered at the Grand Strand Humane Society to fill my time. I was not happy there, partly because I didn’t like that all of the 200 plus cats were kept separate in small cages, and partly because we were not able to take out more than one cat at a time and there was no way to know which cats had already been let ot that day and which had not. I did not feel very useful.
After a month or so I left the Humane Society and volunteered for a place called Sav-R-Cats. I liked it there because the cats were kept in groups in larger cages and most were let out into the large community area during the day. Some did not even have a cage and stayed out in the community area full time. I was also able to be more useful there. I set up their Petfinder profile and photographed the cats and put them on Petfinder. I also updated their website and created a brochure for them. In addition, I helped clean cages occasionally when they were at PetSmart, which is where I met Chris.
We moved back to Florida in late 2010. This was after the economy collapsed and I again could only find a part time job so I again signed up to be a volunteer at a place called Suncoast Animal League. I was only there for about a month when I was offered a full time job. I kept my part time job for awhile too so I had to give up the volunteering.
I now have two businesses that keep me fairly busy but also give me a lot of flexibility. I will be losing some of my work next month because the company is for sale so I decided to look into volunteering again. I signed up to be a volunteer at the SPCA many weeks ago. I chose the SPCA not for any particular reason except it is the closet shelter to my home.
After about three weeks, maybe more, I still had not heard back from the SPCA about my volunteer application. That is when Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas. I heard about volunteer crews that were being sent there to help out and I had a strong desire to be part of it. I knew that was impossible. People sent into disasters have training and experience so I decided to start at the bottom. I signed up with my local Red Cross.
About a week later, and within a couple of days of each other, I got a call from both the Red Cross and the SPCA. I did phone interviews with both and then went to an orientation with the Red Cross on Friday and then with the SPCA on Tuesday.
At the SPCA I was with one other new volunteer while we were shown how everything works. Most of the cats that are for adoption are kept in small groups of eight or less. Each group has their own room that is about half the size of a typical bedroom. While it is not ideal, it is way better than small, cramped cages. They do have the smaller cages but cats kept there are either in isolation for health reasons or they new intakes.
We were brought into one of the larger rooms and spent some time interacting with the cats there. There were two young ginger kittens and a black kitten that was a little older.
It was fun playing with the kittens but then we moved to another pod where there were two adults and an older kitten.
Both of the adult cats were loving the attention and the gold kitten was quite playful, when he wasn’t eating. After about ten minutes we realized there was another cat in the room, hiding in the cat perch tube.
This fellow was not exactly exited about us being there. Perhaps he, or she, just needs more time to get used to people.
It looks like I will now be helping out there every Monday and/or Tuesday afternoon. I am also on call tomorrow, Friday, for the Red Cross. I am a little nervous about that since I have had no training and don’t really know what to expect but going out on calls is the training so I also look forward to it.
I understand that many of the calls are for house fires. When someone’s home burns down they are put in a situation where they have nothing. The Red Cross helps by giving them access to money to buy clothes and stay at a hotel. It is only short term help but it is desperately needed and I look forward to playing my part.
We were finally able to catch Floki last week to bring him to the groomer to get his nails trimmed. Our last two attempts ended in Failure. With Floki, if you try to catch him and fail, his guard is up for the rest of the day, or longer.
After the second failed attempt we decided to order a new cat scratcher to help keep his nails from getting too long between groomer visits. The sisal scratchers seem to be more useful in directing scratching activity away from furniture but I have always questioned their ability to actually keep nails short.
About five years ago, maybe more, I read about an all wood scratcher that interested me. I knew it might work because several years earlier, our cat Vinny would get on top of my son’s guinea pig cage and scratch the wood. There was one spot with large gouges in the wood from Vinny’s scratching.
At the time I thought I would just save money and build it myself. It seemed simple enough. I thought I might even try angling it or making it horizontal since Vinny used a horizontal piece of wood to scratch on. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem I didn’t anticipate.
I didn’t want to use chemically treated wood, which could be bad for the cats if they ingest any of it. I also wanted a soft wood like cedar that would allow them to dig into it a little. My feeling was that a wood that was too hard would interest them as much as a steel scratching post. The problem I ran into was that you can’t go into a local hardware store and buy a 4×4 piece of wood that is soft or untreated. I did find a place online but I would have had to buy an entire pallet which I didn’t want to do. So instead of just buying the scratcher at the time, I just forgot about the whole thing until Floki reminded me that we needed something for him since getting his nails trimmed is way too much trouble.
I found the same product on Amazon that I saw years before. The price went up five dollars but considering the time that has passed I would say that is less than inflation. The product is a Natural Scratch 32″ Scratching Post. It should be noted that this is an affiliate link so if you buy a scratcher I will get a little over two dollars and will be able to retire early. Thanks in advance.
When it arrived, our cats were more interested in the box then they were anything else.
Putting it together is pretty simple. The two base pieces have cutouts that allow them to fit together like an “X.” All the pieces have predrilled holes so you just use the included screws and screw the base to the post.
There were two minor things that I didn’t like about it. First, there should have been a recess in the base so the screws would not stick out and scratch the floor. I compensated by screwing them in tight so they dug into the wood far enough to not be an issue but some people might not think about that. I suppose that could have been in the instructions but I’m sure I am not the only one who doesn’t read those things.
The other issue was that I thought two screws were not enough to hold the pieces together properly. I considered drilling two more holes and putting in two additional screws but decided to see how it held up with two screws. So far it seems fine.
The scratcher comes with a “mouse hole” at the top where you can put treats, catnip or toys. I chose to put catnip in the hole for the introduction.
It also comes with a cord that they call an antenna. It is something to encourage your cats to reach up and play.
Of our three cats, only Frankie used the scratcher as a scratcher. He seemed to understand what it was for right away while Chris, and to a lesser degree Floki, were more interested in the catnip that fell on the floor.
It has been a week since I put it together and Frankie continues to use it on a regular basis. I must admit that the instructions had advice for getting your cats to use it but that accidently ended up in the trash before I could read it. I have seen Floki use it a couple of times but not regularly. I have not seen Chris use it at all.
So far I would only rate this as a partial success but I think it takes time for the cats to get used to it and learn what it is for. I blame myself for not putting in the time to train our cats, or at least show them that they have an alternative to their other scratching posts. I also think that even though we bought this mostly for Floki, Frankie’s use of it has had unexpected benefits. Frankie is our resident sofa scratcher and I have not seen him scratch the sofa since I introduced the new scratching post. Hopefully that behavior will continue.
What do you think? Does anyone have a natural wood scratcher? Does it work for you?