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The Harmonious (sort of) Large Fries

10/05/2012

Belle

This is a completely non-fertility related post about my cats. Feel free to skip it if you are not a cat person!

I wrote a while back about all the cat dramaz in da’house. Things were getting rough, and by rough I mean four cats constantly on edge, growling, howling, pouncing and pooping outside of the box. NOT GOOD.

It was gross, annoying, loud, and, most importantly, terribly distressing. I love all my cats and hated to see everyone so unhappy. Spurred by Jackson and My Cat From Hell, we started to make changes. First we changed Newton’s medication since her original transdermal antidepressant was doing a whole lot of nothing and costing us $60 a month. I’m embarrassed to announce that both my cat and myself are now on 5 mg of Prozac once a day. Not only am I happier and easier to be around, so is my cat.

After months of sweet little Newton acting  out and looking genuinely miserable she is starting to return to her normal adorable self. She plays again. She cuddles in my lap again. She chirps happily and no longer stares aggressively. She has stopped harassing the the other cats. I’m so happy to report that the medication has not turned her into a kitty zombie and that last night she spent 30 minutes playing with a toy by herself, having a grand old time in her own little orange-cat world. This alone has made a huge improvement in the house.

We also ordered the cats some new things. Before you judge us for how much money we spent on these animals during the past month please remember that they are our children. The Professor and I are committed to caring for and loving these animals till death do we part, therefore spending money to keep them happy and healthy is absolutely acceptable.

I splurged and ordered this bundle for the cats. I knew the treat dispenser would be a hit, but did not expect the phallic looking grooming station and the racetrack to be so popular. Disturbing as the grooming thing looks, the cats LOVE it! The Professor’s three are all chord chewers but since this has come into the house I have seen zero chord chewing which is fantastic because I REALLY don’t want to experience a National Lampoon’s Fried Cat Scene. The racetrack is also a big hit and we have twice seen all three of the Professor’s cats playing with it TOGETHER, which is just so freaking adorable that I can’t help but squee.

Jackson on My Cat From Hell explains that cats need stimulation and exercise every day. We ordered this bird simulating toy and now play with the cats before dinner for at least 15 minutes. They have so much fun running around, burning off some steam and working up an appetite.  After eating they are all sleepy and tend to nest to groom and nap while the Professor and I enjoy a cat-free dinner. Heaven. The cats really love this toy, but I have to be honest, I feel it is cheaply made. There are other flying bird toys on the market that are more durable. I think I would skip “Da Bird” and instead opt for one with a bit more heft, especially if you have multiple cats trying to “kill it.”

I don’t know if I have made this clear on this blog, but I’m a design snob and have little tolerance for unattractive things in my living space. Cat furniture soooo falls into the tacky category.  Seriously, have you looked at some of the stuff out there? It is dreadful! The few things that are modern, sleek and don’t scream “crazy cat lady” are tremendously expensive. Seriously, who is going to spend $400 on modern cat tree? Not this cheapo. That said, having happy cats who don’t claw my furniture is sort of a big deal so I hunted for the least offensive cat scratcher/perch that was under $100. Enter the Smart Cat Ultimate Perch Post.

The scratcher part is quite tall giving my gigantic Maine Coon a good stretch while she scratches. For an extra $25 bucks you can buy the perch portion that attaches to the top giving the cats a nice high spot to sit on. I’m not a big fan of the color but am pleased with the shape. In a few weeks I’ll have time to whip up a new cover for it along with a few new cat beds out of the bolt of durable white and lime green zebra print fabric I purchased quite a while ago specifically for making cat cushions (yes, the cats get their own textile).

We purchased one of these fountains two years ago and have been so pleased with it. My cat won’t drink dirty water and the Professor’s cats like to stick their paws in the water and funk it up. By having a fountain with a filtration system the water stays clean and all the cats stay hydrated, which is soooo important because dehydrated cats get constipated and constipated cats are REALLY pathetic.

Lately there has been a lot of drama around the one fountain when two cats are thirsty at the same time. Tired of watching cat squabbles over water we bought a second fountain for the other side of the room. Instant cat peace and properly hydrated, non-constipated felines!

And finally: Feliway. I read a lot of reviews on this and it seems to work for about 50% of cats. Desperate for peace and harmony we finally bit the bullet and ordered the diffuser and the Feliway spray. Y’all, I can’t believe how well this works. I spray the new cat furniture,cat nests and our couch and chairs  twice a day and the cats are actually behaving differently! I spray if after play/eat time everyone settles down and looks happy. Even my cat who is always on high alert when downstairs will stretch out and relax. It is so nice to see her looking comfortable and confident! It is even nicer to not see anyone digging on my new couch cover!

So there we have a completely non-fertility related post about the pile of money we spent to finally have some feline peace. Did it make a dent in this months budget? Yes. Do we have happier cats though? Absolutely. The changes we have noticed in the last week have been considerable. Having my cats relaxed, cuddly and playful again is so nice and actually having a positive impact on my mood and depression while at home. Everyone wins!

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20 Comments

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  1. October 5, 2012

    I’m not a cat person, but I know all about trying to keep our dogs happy! Our pets are absolutely part of our family and are worth every penny we spend on them. 🙂

  2. October 5, 2012

    It’s great to hear that Newton is feeling better! I’m glad you found something that works.

    Our lazy bums don’t care about wands or strings or balls, just a laser pointer. That’s the only thing to grab their attention.

    We have one of the five foot tall cat tree atrocities. 🙂

    • October 5, 2012

      Ours love the laser pointer, too, but it can’t be used when I’m around. My eyes, thanks to the uveitis, are freakishly sensitive to bright lights and the laser pointer kills them!

      Oh, I should have been more clear: we also have a 5 foot tall cat tree atrocity that was a gift to the cats two years ago. I keep it in the sun room most days, but occasionally haul it in for play time. After 2 years it is now stained and the scratcher is coming apart. It is tremendously ugly but OMG you would think it was the holy grail with how excited they get when it ventures inside. Silly monsters!

  3. D #
    October 5, 2012

    I totally get the spending money on pets thing. A few years back my cats ate the tainted Iam’s pet food and one of them ended up almost dying. We paid a ton to keep her alive and now, several years later she is doing great (albeit 7 lbs heavier)! I would never even think to do differently. I feel like when you have a pet, it is your responsibility to keep them happy and healthy. They are like family members after all! Question about the cat water dish: Can it be knocked over easily? One of my cats loves to knock her bowls of water over and play in it (getting litter and other gross stuff in it). We have to keep their water in the tub now so we always have cat footprints in the upstairs hallway. How annoying!!

    • October 5, 2012

      I think that if your cat can knock this fountain over then you have a bigger problem on your hands then spilled water 🙂 It’s pretty heavy once filled and is a good size. I set ours on a cheap little serving tray to catch any drips from the paw dippers. I can’t recommend this fountain enough, actually. There is one that is ceramic, too, that might have more weight. They are cheapest on Amazon, too!

  4. Vanessa #
    October 5, 2012

    Aww… your cats are so adorable (or anerable, as Cute Overload would say). I’m tempted to invest in this grooming station thingy, but every time I buy my cat Weeps a toy or scratching post or other pet contraption, she ALWAYS ignores it. 😦

    • October 5, 2012

      I put catnip on it the first few days to get them into it. Never underestimate the power of catnip!

  5. jak #
    October 5, 2012

    i dont think you guys are a bit strange for doing things to make your cats happy, and that’s not just because i do that with our two dogs;) an animal is a commitment for life. they are living creatures, not toys. they need to be happy and healthy!

    you are quite handy though… so if you did want the equivalent of a modern $400 cat tower, i am sure you could construct one… in fact, that would be a very fun project!!

    • October 5, 2012

      !!! We actually have plans to build one in the future. Right now the Professor is too crazy busy, though. One day, though, I’ll have my modern cat furniture 🙂

  6. October 5, 2012

    I’m so glad that things are going better for the Large Frys. I think everything you’re doing with them is important, as it will not only improve their quality of life but will most certainly make life calmer. You’re spurring me to makes some changes too.

    Our biggest issue at the moment is feeding. One kitty is overweight and needs a regimented feeding schedule (no dry food). The other is of perfect weight, but is a snacker and a social feeder (i.e. she panics when she’s locked up). Also, she really prefers dry food. So meal time is a disaster, with one trying to eat as fast as he can so that he can sit outside the second bedroom and yowl while she is eating. And she eats in spurts, begging for more food later after while taking only 2-3 bites at a time. So, any advice?

    • October 5, 2012

      Oh kitties. We have “Scarf and barf” cats who can’t be free-fed because they will gobble it all up and then vomit it back on the couch (always the couch). Have you tried sitting with your slow eater and talking to her? If she is a social eater maybe she needs company while dining. You might want to try a few different foods, too. Yum Yum is a sudo-free feeder in that she eats half her meal then I put the other half away for an hour. She comes back to me and finishes the rest right before I go to work or bed. It’s annoying but works. However, she only does this with HER favorite food – Royal Canin Maine Coon food. The other stuff she picks at and then acts like she is starving. As for your fattie… maybe one of the humans can play with him while the slow eater finishes? When our cats get wet food (once or twice a week for hairball control) our fattie has to be carried out of the room and put in the sun room until everyone else finishes. I hate to do that to her but no matter what I do she charges the other’s bowls and runs them off.

  7. October 5, 2012

    What a good mommy to take extra good care of your cats. We have one cat. We rescued him in a vulnerable moment. He has three legs because someone shot him and left him for dead when he was a stray. Though the entitledness he feels is a bit off-putting, we do love him! I have yet to find the right toys/tunnels/scratchers. He’ll play with the laser pointer, one long string toy, and that’s it- for about 5 minutes every few weeks. The rest of his time is spent sleeping, scratching furniture, and acting as if we starve him to death. He’s out of control really 🙂

    • October 5, 2012

      Lol, ours act like we starve them to death, too. Bored cats = hungry bad cats. Finding what they will play with can be tricky, though. My Maine Coon, Yum Yum, is a great example of a picky player – she has little interest in actual cat toys but goes absolutely bonkers for a magazine insert, you know those annoying little cards you tear out? They have to be folded in quarters and she will catch them and chase them and play for ages with it. The key is that I have to play with her. She needs me to toss it to her, coo at her and egg her on. She also loves a filthy stinky old shoe lace. My parents used to have a cat who loved to play with the empty soft packs that cigarettes came in. My dad would collect them from coworkers, bring them home and crumble them in a ball and watch her go to town. They are all so funny as to what makes a great toy. I do recommend the bird simulating toy. Even Yum Yum plays with the bird toy, however, the magazine inserts are still her all time favorite. Go figure.It’s really a matter of just trying things and seeing what they respond too. If you cat is hanging out when you cook dinner, toss him a piece of lettuce or an empty sandwich bag. If your cat is bothering you while you work at your computer try playing with a pencil, etc.

      During the day we keep a bird feeder filled in the front window. The window also has a pillow in it now so they can be comfy. The “Bird Channel” keeps them entertained some during the long days. It works so well that we are adding another feeder in the back yard soon.

      • October 5, 2012

        I bought the damn play circuit! I HAD to click on that link. I had visions of no furniture scratching, no brown spots from him rubbing against the wall, no endless stairing at the food bowl!!!

        • October 5, 2012

          Lol! I had the exact same visions! As for the brown spots on the wall – buy a dry sponge. I had never heard of it until recently but it takes cat crud right off and does not hurt your paint. My husband was so freaking happy when it arrived you would have thought it was Christmas! I hope the little guy loves his play circuit and that there is cat happiness in your home!

  8. October 5, 2012

    TOTALLY WORTH IT.

    I love the idea of a grooming station… I bet our cats would love it. And maybe it would help with hairballs (though I doubt it, the part they probably rub on the grooming station wouldn’t be the part where most of the hairballs originate). Also, I love Feliway. It is the best 😀

  9. October 5, 2012

    Belle, thanks for the sweet comment on my blog.

    I understand about spending money on the cats. Since getting a new kitten in Dec and him getting out of quarantine in Feb, we invested in the Feliway diffuser. I can usually tell when it needs to be refilled because the boys start fighting mercilessly. The difference in their ages probably doesn’t help either (1 and 7), it’s like watching a toddler try to play with an old man.

    We need a new cat tree. The one we have is more for a single cat instead of two, and when it is out they fight over who will get to sleep on it *eyeroll*. Although I have to say the kitten knows how to use the scratcher more than Jack ever did (he used the couch). I have been interested in getting “Da Bird” toy, but read about how cheaply it’s made.

    I loved the cat post!

  10. October 6, 2012

    Even though I don’t have any cats now after our beloved four year old Norweigan Forest cat died from cancer (and broke both Darcy and my hearts: Purrcy was the bomb. Sob.) in 2010, I LOVE that show. Jackson has such brilliant ideas. I love his points about how cats like to be up high. Anyway, I’m a design snob too and I love the perch post you got. It’s chic!!

  11. October 6, 2012

    Those cat toys look awesome. I want to play with the racetrack!

  12. October 20, 2012

    So glad your cats are happy and healthy again! I know Purcey needs more playtime, but he doesn’t like to play. I have tried so many different toys and he is either scared of them or looks at me like I’m crazy to think he will play. He was getting lots of “playtime” watching the birds at the feeder, but now the birds are gone and I think he misses them.

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