A shit ton of super duper common household items are pretty damn toxic to cats.
Opposed to listing every toxin I’ll post the highlights from the ASPCA:
Raisins & Grapes
Please make a point to review lists of dangers every so often as a refresher. In case of accidental poisoning you can always call the Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435. This phone call will cost you but it might also save your cat’s life.
Hooray, presents! What are you giving your cats for the holidays?
Whenever I skip a year of getting my kiddos gifts I always end up full of raging Catholic guilt. So this year I got a gift for the bedroom kitties (Annie and Oliver), the living room kitties (Finnegan, Maggie, and Gabby), and little things for everyone.
The living room kitties will be the recipients of an original CatPod!
(I got it on sale!)
I can really see Gabby enjoying it.
The bedroom kitties (who are a different sort of crazy) will get a food puzzle. I am so excited for this. Annie and Oliver are hunters to the core and working for their treats will really benefit them.
Before I get into bed I always hide treats around the bedroom and closet for them to find. But with the Turn Around from Trixie I can stick treats in there and let them tire themselves out. Hooray, everyone wins!
The toys for all the kiddos are cardboard mice from Matthew Ross’s Etsy shop.
I love these! Cardboard mice are the most amazing thing ever.
Merry Christmas, kiddos!
I have beef with automatic feeders, super beef with automatic litter boxes, and a little beef with automatic waterers (fountains)
Don’t get me wrong, I see the draw and have used many fountains over the years but it takes a diligent person to use such products and most people are lazy fucks.
Automatic feeders are the epitome of lazy: feeding cats makes them SO happy; why would you skip such a thing?! And then there are the people who think it’s just fine to leave cats all alone for 3 days at a time with a giant bowl of stale, dirty water, a dirty litter box, and a stupid automatic feeder. Ugh!
A feeder would be smart if say, your cat sitter came by in the morning to feed wet food and then 12 hours later the feeder opened to reveal some dry food. But to set a feeder because you can’t be bothered? Unacceptable!
Robotic litter boxes are a phenomenal waste of money. Phenomenal!
I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve walked into to that used to use robot boxes but now, none of them do. None! They are so bad. I’ve never met one I could tolerate. There are all these warning stickers on them alerting people to keep their hands, clothes, and children away from the moving parts yet by all means, stick your cat into the thing.
One time I walked into a home and the fucking Litter Maid was “sweeping” nonstop. That poor cat!
It takes seconds to scoop a box. And scooping lets you know if your cat is using the box regularly. Or if the kitty is blocked or if the kitty is having runny poops. These things are important! Get a nice big box and scoop that bitch!
Now fountains I get. Some cats are attracted to fresh, running water; some need the lure. But fountains get filthy and full of lint and dust just as quickly as a bowl does. Except a fountain is much more work to dump and refill.
And that’s my issue: people think just because they have a fountain that they don’t need to maintain it.
I’ve walked in on so many gross, slimy fountains full of hair and other disgusting things, it’s not even funny. But if you’re the type who can pick up, dump, clean out, and refill a fountain at the first sign of filth…go to it.
It amazes me that kitty litter is made out of so many different materials. It also amazes me that people often choose the shittiest litter possible. And I mean the shittiest.
It my own home I’ve tried every litter and in my job I’ve scooped every litter.
I hate, with the burning passions of 1000 suns, silica and clay and most non-clumping formulas.
Those awful, teeny, clay, grainy/crystal litters are the most horrible invention: Arm & Hammer, Scoop Away, Ever Clean, Fresh Step, Tidy Cats, Johnny Cat, and even Cat Attract (which did not work on Maggie) should be pulled off the shelves immediately.
The litters that I don’t mind are Feline Pine (especially their clumping formula), World’s Best, Swheat Scoop, BreederCelect (or Good Mews; which is the same thing with a much better name), and the Healthy Pet line, particularly Dust Free.
The litters that I love are Flush Away (don’t flush it!), Green Tea Leaves, and Forest Fresh. Those 3 are from NextGen Pet and I’m so grateful for them. They are all pretty similar, made of recycled wood, and the litter is chunky so it doesn’t track much.
When I notice a piece of litter under my foot it’s usually just 1 piece and flicks right off. But with shitty clay I can rub my foot all over the carpet in frustration and still feel teeny bits under my toes. If it gets under my toes then of course it gets under kitty toes. And kitties don’t furiously rub their toes, they lick their toes clean. All that grainy clay does not belong inside a cat.
Besides the tracking, I also love the NextGen litters because they’re not dusty. When I scoop a box with Arm & Hammer or Scoop Away I hold my breath because of the horrible mushroom cloud that erupts from my scooping. I then apologize profusely to the poor cat who has no choice but to breath that foul litter. There’s nothing worse than tasting dusty clay at the back of my throat. NOTHING.
The majority of litter boxes really annoy me. They are often way too small and don’t seem designed for cats, but for people. Screw people!
I really like corner boxes and boxes with high sides and the top-entry litter box. Typically, I hate covered litter boxes but Oliver is so goddamned giant that he manages to pee out of every other box.
Rubbermaid makes an intelligent (yet hard to find) high-sided litter box. Gabby has cerebellar hypoplasia and with her funky motor skills she needs the high sides to help support her.
By the way, cerebellar hypoplasia is the cutest kitty affliction of all time. PROOF:
We actually have another CH kitty, Finnegan, but it’s barley noticeable in him whereas Gabby is such more severe than Charley in the video.
Small, rectangular boxes are just so puny. I’ve seen a handful of circular boxes in my time and they’re okay but usually too small.
Litter liners are the bane of my existence (one of them) so please don’t be fooled by them. Kitty claws just get snagged. Pointless and frustrating! I never saw the point in dumping and refilling litter boxes unless there was diarrhea on the box or you use a non-clumping litter.
It’s actually on my bucket list to design litter boxes for SmartCat. They make quality. And I’d design fantastic boxes!
Do you know what cats suck at? Drinking water. They have these naturally weak kidneys and yet they suck at drinking water!
But they’re cute so we forgive them.
Besides the obvious (WET FOOD) putting water out for them is a must, even if they eat a 100% wet food diet.
Yet placing a water bowl by a food bowl is not the ideal. Neither are plastic dishes or giant bowls.
From my extensive experience with cats I can vouch that cats are much more likely to drink from a mug or glass than a big bowl. Ceramic or glass is preferred. And they definitively do not like their water by their food.
Food particles get in the water and cats don’t like that. Plus I’ve read (you know, somewhere) that water starts to smell like food and a thirsty cat does not want to drink food.
I keep elevated water dishes by the kitchen, in the hallway, the bedroom, and the bedroom closet. They get rinsed and refilled every day. Not lazily rinsed but rinsed with hot water and everything.
A very simple thing to do that will aid digestion, relieve pressure on the delicate elbow joints (those hurt on arthritic kitties), and is just plain nice is to feed your kitties on raised dishes.
I’m not saying you need to buy fancy raised dishes: just keep the dishes higher. Maggie eats on a saucer which sits on a bowl which is then placed on a small overturned box that is on a placemat. And all the placemats get swapped out and washed every Thursday.
Once you watch a cat eat off a raised dish, you will (hopefully) never let him eat from a dish set on the floor ever again. The way they have to sit on their elbows looks so incredibly uncomfortable. Sitting upright to eat looks so comfortable.
Make your cats comfortable, it’s the least you can do.
A big debate in the cat food world is wet food versus dry food. I used to think there were benefits to both so I used to feed both. I don’t do that anymore.
Wet food is what my cats get. Maggie does get 1oz of Addiction dry venison with breakfast and dinner but she has cancer and I want her to gain weight.
But the other 4 are strictly wet food kids. The logic behind this is hydration. Hydration is so important to cats as dehydration is such a killer. The weakest part of a cat is her kidneys. Kidneys need to be hydrated.
Dry food makes kitties thirsty, thirsty cats drink water, thirsty cats don’t always go and drink water since their humans don’t put water in convenient locations or provide fresh water; kitties then don’t drink water and stay dehydrated.
When you eat a lot of crackers don’t you get thirsty? Same idea. When you eat a lot of crackers aren’t your teeth full of crackers bits? Yes they are.
There is this ridiculous misconception that dry food cleans teeth. What a great way to peddle dry food to the masses. Don’t believe the hype! Cleaning your cat’s teeth is the only way to keep them clean. So feed wet food, leave the dry behind, and do good.
It is a well-known fact that cats are positively excellent at hiding illness and ailments. It’s a super duper skill like invisibility or flying.
So how can you tell if your cat is sick? You fucking pay attention. You pick them up, you put your hands around them and wonder if they feel thinner or heavier. You pay attention to eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping habits. You notice if they sleep more, are listless, cry in the kitchen for no good reason, or generally act “off.”
And no matter what, you take your cat/s in to see the vet once a year. Spring for the blood work, the urine and fecal test, and maybe even x-rays. X-rays aren’t typically part of a veterinary panel but in my experience, with my cats, x-rays are worth it.
Weirder than shit.
During August 2010 I took Maggie in to get her teeth cleaned. Her weight was noted. In May 2011 she had her annual exam and her weight was noted again; it was down. Maggie is already a petite cat so her losing weight concerned me.
My vet figured it was probably IBD - irritable bowel disease, common and manageable. Maggie was put on a novel protein diet. Novel proteins are venison, lamb, pheasant, duck, and rabbit.
Me being me I went to all the pet stores to check out everyone’s selection of novel foods, bought 1 of each flavor from each company, and did a hearty comparison. Addiction’s Venison & Apples was the clear winner.
So Maggie ate venison at every meal. Thankfully Maggie is…weirder than shit and did not notice or mind that she was eating the same food all the time. Every so often I would put her on the scale. She was 6.5lbs then 6lbs and then 5.5lbs. That is WAY too little.
Maggie went back to the vet and more blood was taken (still normal) and x-rays were taken as well (enlarged intestines). Her enlarged intestines got her an appointment with an internist at the specialty veterinary hospital. The internist was fascinated by Maggie (who really is weirder than shit) and did an ultrasound, endoscopy, and biopsy on my little cat.
Maggie has gastric intestinal lymphoma. It’s low-grade and small cell; which is good and since Maggie is only 9 (we think) she has youth on her side. She’s already on prednisolone (a steroid) and will start taking a pill twice a week for chemotherapy. She’s been given 1 1/2 to 2 years but she’s my cat so I think she’ll exceed that.
Go, Maggie, go!
Yes, they do, very much!
Feeding good, healthy foods isn’t enough; what you serve the food in is also important.
Plastic? No, never. Stainless steel? I’m not a fan, not for food especially. Glass or ceramic? Yes please!
Plastic is horrible because, think about it, it’s plastic. Humans don’t eat off plastic. It scratches and it gets dirty. Stainless steel tastes metallic; another reason why humans don’t use it. But ceramic is classic; it’s dishwasher safe, easy to wash, and suitable for humans.
But even that is not enough. CLEAN dishes at every meal. A cat eats with his mouth so he drool into his food, into his dish. That shit needs to be clean. My cats eat twice a day and eat off clean dishes twice a day. Why everyone doesn’t do this is beyond me. It’s so easy.
I have 3 sets of dishes so even if I’m too lazy I still have another set. Dirty dishes and plastic dishes cause acne in cats. Don’t give your cats acne! Even if you free feed (ugh) offer them food in a clean bowl every single day.
Water keeps colder and is more refreshing in ceramic or glass. If water is more refreshing it’s more appealing. And that too needs not just a refill, but a full rinsing. Maybe even with soap!
I’ve noticed from my years of pet sitting that cats are more likely to drink out of a glass or mug than a bowl. So that’s something to consider too. And really, if your cat can drink a bowl of water in one day, it’s time to make an appointment at your veterinary hospital. Yesterday!