Sympathies, Condolences, Holy Days, and the Florist

Please, oh pretty pretty please, DO NOT SEND traditional flora to cat owners on these occasions. I went browsing for arrangements this morning, after a friend died yesterday, and everything seems to be either lilies or orchids.
He and his widow are cat people, and these are highly toxic to cats.
When in doubt, Google is your friend, and hopefully the florist is wise to pet safety. One of their humans just lost a loved one, you don’t want to jeopardize the human’s sanity by the felines becoming deadly ill as well. These can be beautiful, but fatal bouquets without immediate and aggressive medical treatment. 
If you receive one, express gratitude, hug them, and do not even leave it in the same room as your cat. I got a lovely bouquet once, didn’t know if it was safe, and I put it outside on the patio. My cats stay indoors.

Depression in Guinea Pigs

There is a warning that prey animals can get depressed and die when they lose their mates, family members, herd members, pack. You have to watch them very closely, keep up with weight checks, and give them more attention to encourage them to stay out and be active.

I have watched how my guinea pigs respond when someone dies, and it is usually that they don’t seem to respond at all. After Potsticker died last winter, I got in touch with a rescue about information on their Twilight Fosters and if they would be interested in me, should my final piggy need a buddy. It would be down to either Lily or Murphy, and turns out my last guinea pig is Murphy.

My guinea pigs have always been in a central area of the home, and subject to a lot of foot traffic and conversations near their pen. Murphy was even born in my home, so she’s been around us giant predators since her first day with the ground under her feet. I was very nervous when her mother died in October, and it turned out that by the end of the month, Murphy needed medical attention. She was fine for a week and a half without her mother around, but after she had to have vet visits and her broken teeth attended to, she withdrew. She was frustrated and alone. She stopped talking to me for over almost two weeks, and was hiding often, and wasn’t responding to the treat call of the guinea pig: “WHEEK!”. I thought for sure that I had screwed up, and she was going to need another companion.

But she started coming out to talk to me. She started responding to piggy calls. She started to ask That Guy about treats. She was out in the open all the time. She was gaining weight back as her teeth started to grow back in correctly. She’s even vocalizing now, and I hear her voice almost every day. She was always the quiet pig and let her mother and big sister do all the squawking.

Murphy has been solo now for almost two months. I sat down on the sofa to do whatever humans do, and she stood up on the side of the pig pen and started gingerly wheeking at me. I got back up and gave her some fresh hay and stuck around for a minute or two to see if she required produce from the fridge as well. She’s doing pretty swell. A day or two ago, Dismal’s son asked if she’d had snacks and I told him “only a cookie”, so he came over to the pig pen and gave her a piece of fresh banana.

I’m really proud of her. She’s got her fourth birthday coming in February.

4 1/2 months old

Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery: made raw cat food today

I’ve been doing this for almost two years, so you’d thing I would know one small detail:

Which way does the blade go on the meat grinder?

I buy rabbit already ground with bone and organs. I end up cutting up half my turkey thighs, and the other half of my turkey thighs go through the coarse grind with all the skins. I’ve never assembled the grinder because I can’t even lift it. Dismal always sets it all up, and leaves me to it. But, today he was in a hurry to get to class.

I put together the grinder, and I jam the die on the first run. I take it apart, meat in the feeder, auger, and everything, an unholy mess, and I unplug the die with a chopstick. Put it back together and run it again. Jammed. Repeat. Repeat. Run it again. Jammed.

WHAT THE HEFF HOFF HIM JAG DO WOP AM I MISSING?! I made sure the spinny thing is keyed in the rear, I see that I matched the notch on the die with the notch on the end of the feeder, I finally tightened up the bolt on the side… WHAT?!

Try the blade. Flip the blade.

It was the blade. Turkey juice and pulp all over the grinder and part of the counter. Formula 409, baby.
Then I dropped something on top of the ceramic chop stick I left in the sink, so it’s broken.
Didn’t even care.

I was so close to trying to look up the manual on my phone after I’d wash my hands, of course. Stewart had come in and ate the mess on the floor that had dripped off the counter.

Stewart is my tux. He’s offered his services in the past:

Oxbow Simple Rewards Small Animal Treats #chewyinfluencer

We were given the option this month for an Oxbow product! I go way back to 2007 with my Oxbow experience, and when Chewy says I get to try something of theirs for free, of course I wanted to pick out an item to cheer Murphy up.

Murphy is now a single guinea pig. She’s been doing really well since we found and treated her broken incisors last month, and she’s back on her “cookies”. She already has Natural Science (Oxbow) Vitamin C hay tablets, and this month we got her a bag of oven baked Simple Rewards. Simple Rewards come in a variety of flavors, and after almost four years of being “Hey, Lady!” I carefully chose the carrot and dill cookies for her.

She loves them, but doesn’t love the camera.

How did you know I -heart- my Murphy?

The #1 ingredient is Timothy Hay.
Reward your small pet and support his overall health with Oxbow Simple Rewards Oven Baked with Carrot & Dill Small Animal Treats. Treats are a great way to bond with your pet, encourage interaction and provide healthy, fun mental stimulation. Oxbow Simple Rewards Oven Baked with Carrot & Dill Small Animal Treats are a wholesome, oven-baked blend of freeze-dried carrots and dill that provide a tasty, enriching snack. They are low in calcium and protein with a balanced protein-to-fiber ratio and no artificial color or preservatives. Feed one-to-two treat pieces a day. Treats should not exceed five percent of your pet’s daily food intake.

These also qualify for the auto-ship discount on Chewy. Every order $49+ ships in 1-2 days with free shipping.

Weruva Slide ‘N Serve cat pates

This is a multi-photo Instagram post, including a Boomerang, so I’m sharing it directly.
More information on Slide ‘N Serve can be found here on Weruva.com as well as the free recycling program offered by TerraCycle on this link for the contiguous U.S.

View this post on Instagram

We’re a little late to this party. I received my free package of Slide N’ Serve from @weruva in October, just before life hit the fan. I still want to tell you all about it! I love Weruva. It’s a cat food that almost always smells like YOUR food. It’s free from artificial colors or flavors, grains, carrageenan, and gluten – and the pouches are BPA free! 8 cleverly named varieties are available to find which one(s) suit your potentially finicky felines. My girls like Jeopurrdy Licious Chicken Breast Dinner, and Meal of Fortune Chicken Breast Dinner With Chicken Liver. I have never been able to get the female felines to eat fish, so we shared Love Connection, Let’s Make a Meal, The Newly Feds, Name ‘Dat Tuna, The Slice is Right, and Family Food with co-cats Banshee and Chaos. Their dad says Banshee particularly loved The Newly Feds Beef and Salmon. There is a variety pack named The Showcase Chowdown, which contains 2 – 2.8 oz pouches of each flavor. Choose which one you would like to serve your cats, slide out the portion size you wish, and clip the pouch shut and store in the refrigerator. The pouches are recyclable when you’re done. Please be sure to check with your neighborhood program or sign up for free through @terracycle . #catfood #pickyeaters #tasteslikechicken #keto #recycle #newproducts #pate #salmonchicken #meow

A post shared by Lala (@deadcherries) on

THROW OUT YOUR ROMAINE – C.D.C. alerts U.S. Consumers and cases in Canada

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/romaine-lettuce-is-not-safe-to-eat-cdc-warns-us-consumers/2018/11/20/726d0ae6-ece9-11e8-96d4-0d23f2aaad09_story.html?utm_term=.44b80d2a1169

E. coli outbreak once again. Discontinue all romaine until the issue is cleared, or indefinitely.

Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser Kit for kitties with aggression, anxiety, spraying, & unauthorized scratching

If your cats are acting out, there are two things you should try first:
1) a vet visit
2) Try Comfort Zone diffusers for either Multi-Cat or Calming, whether you have a few cats or just one

I have heard that this helps people so much. Many pet parents didn’t even realize that this was an option. Each complete kit has a refill that lasts up to 30 days, and you just plug the diffuser into an open power outlet. The refill gently warms and wicks into the air, and resembles the pheromone cats use naturally, to signal that they’re safe. Have you seen your cat rubbing their face on furniture or your pant leg? The side table, and you, ARE SAFE. They own these things. It’s perfectly okay for them to hang out here.

Our problems were a little bit bigger than Comfort Zone could handle, but I bought two kits a few years ago and plugged one in on the upstairs level and one on the downstairs level. Each device is said to cover up to 400 feet, so try it in the highly traveled areas, and definitely near where your cat tries to relax.

What I’m working with at home:
Stewart developed a spraying problem after living with us for 2-3 years and passed it onto my boy Tommy. It seems to have started because outside cats were coming onto the property. Bells and whistles: STEWART MUST WARD THE HOME FROM INVADERS! He even ended up on the kitchen counter spraying the windows and appliances. I had to toss out my favorite toaster. We did the vet, blacking out the windows, using enzymatic cleaner, scat mats, scccat cans, extra litter boxes, calming collars, Feliway/Comfort Zone, Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pet, and bought devices to connect to the garden hose to set it to spray anything that came into our yard. Yes – this meant our letter carrier delivering packages. She was not at all offended by this in the Phoenix heat, where we used to live. Eventually both boys were put on Prozac even though they were both full grown males who were neutered before they turned 1 year old. After a year I took Tommy off the Prozac and he’s mostly fine now, but Stewart will still have some days where he wants to spray, but the medication makes it difficult. This problem started at least 4 years ago. I didn’t even realize it until September, but when I moved into the new house I still plugged in the Comfort Zone diffuser in the master bedroom. Anything that can less his stress, I still try.

Amalie. Amalie is a little declawed tortie that moved in with me a year or so before Stewart, but she’s always hated him. She screams at him and sometimes attacks him. I tried Comfort Zone diffusers and a calming collar with her, and it hasn’t made a difference. She still hates him. Only lately, she’s hating everyone else too. She’s in pain which is likely related to the declaw that someone else performed on her before she became my roommate. Sometimes she walks around very stiff, and when the weather changes she screams in fear when you go to pick her up. So, I’m waiting on a package to start trying to treat her pain and inflammation.

I haven’t tried the new and improved design and formula, because I have the chaos in my house sort of worked out *for now*, so when Comfort Zone sent me this Epic Starter Kit for free, I have sent it to go live with my friend. He’s moving and “his cat household” and his girlfriend’s “her cat household” grow into 1 family after the New Year. I believe it’s going to be an entirely new place for both of them, and the cats are really going to need to settle in and establish their zones. My cats, on the other hand, have all lived together for 6 years.

Every time we move I plug another one or two in around the house, trying to do my part as their momma, especially when we don’t know if there was another cat living here before we signed the lease.

If you’re not satisfied, return the product within 90 days for your money back. Proof of purchase required.
Each diffuser needs to be retired after 12 months of running.

Comfort Zone has a few products for your cats, and a calming jacket for your doggies, so if you’d like to stay up to date with their newsletter: Chill Pets Club – Check that out here

Zoo Med Mini Can O’ Crickets Reptile & Bird Food #chewyinfluencer

Chewy offered us the mini Can O’ Crickets to try this month at no charge, and I thought it could be good for my birds.

Zoo Med Mini Can O’ Crickets Reptile & Bird Food is the latest in reptile nutrition and convenience. Feeder insects are cooked in the can to lock in flavor and freshness. This process also softens the exoskeleton for easier digestion. These mini-size crickets are ideal for most small lizards, turtles, fish and birds as well as small animals.

Healthy snack!

Koi Monkey, Jak, and Idris

These girls didn’t seem to think so. I offered them a few times, and they checked them out, but would not eat them.

They look really good

So then there is this guy

And Tommy Gargoyle loves them

This cat is notorious for trying everything at least once, and when it comes bugs and grubs, he finds them delicious.

While this didn’t work out for my birds I still wanted you to see the crickets this can delivers. Each can contains approximately 200 crickets, and does need to be refrigerated after opening.

Available here on Chewy.com and each order at $49 or higher gets fast, free shipping.

Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner cat food for #chewyinfluencer

Merrick Purrfect Bistro has a full line on Chewy, and with the holidays around the corner, Chewy thought we might want to get a little festive – so we got a case of Thanksgiving Day Dinner to try with our snooty cats for free.

Amalie and Princess Yue Pants

Will they love it?

This is a minced dinner in gravy, and after giving it a light stir, it looks pretty good. High in protein with turkey, chicken, duck, as well as containing no artificial colors.

Serve up the kitty version of all the fixings for your pal with the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner Minced in Gravy Canned Cat Food. It’s packed with high-protein, tender turkey, mixed with tasty sweet potatoes, cranberries and peas, and cooked in whisker-licking, hydrating gravy. Loaded with antioxidants to support immunity, omegas for a healthy skin and coat, plus vitamins, minerals and taurine in every bite, it’s sure to fuel all your kitty’s adventures, and then yum! Plus, it has zero grains, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives so you can let kitty dive right into his bowl.

My picky girls really seem to like this one. As do the boys since they have been following Princess Yue Pants around after her Snarf’n barf. I hope Thanksgiving Dinner comes with as much ease as opening a pull tab.

You can find the Purrfect Bistro Thanksgiving Day Dinner here

And all Chewy.com orders ship free at $49+ and arrive with in 1-2 days

Guinea pig gaining weight with bad teeth

My title is not as bad as it seems, but you’ll understand this in a few.

Murphy somehow managed to break the other tooth next to the broken one, and I assume they are more even. I can’t confirm because they are sharp, and she bites when you try to muzzle her with your fingertips to take a look. She is eating more comfortably, but she’s still getting her dental work done on Monday. I weighed her today and she is about thirty grams PLUS from where she was last week.
Soooooooooooooooo I haven’t been hand-feeding.

Which is great, but I’m afraid this is going to spin negatively on me somehow. How? This other vet that is local to me is suspect of my husbandry. I am afraid they are going to think that I tried to clip the longer incisor just because I’d mentioned I’d done it in the past, and that Murphy is combative so we were seeking their professional help. Their bedside and my bedside don’t mix, they know nothing about me, and they are very textbook “always rely on your medical professionals”. I didn’t use my regular vet because it’s a 2 hour round trip, across state lines, and I am burnt out, frankly.

I do a lot of things I have been shown how to do, and read up on. The only guinea pig’s teeth I ever trimmed was Cici’s top incisor when she was about 2-3 months old. Her teeth were still young, she was blind and mostly deaf, the tooth was growing out like a tusk so it was approximately at the length it was supposed to be before it curved outward sharply. I clipped that tooth and filed it, and was in contact with my vet throughout the week, and it grew straight after that, even with only 1 lower incisor – FOR THREE MORE YEARS UNTIL SHE DIED.

I don’t know what was with this vet last week but snidely she said that it likely never grew back the same because I fractured the tooth.

I also didn’t feel like telling them I had a rat that had an issue with overgrown lower incisors that were professionally trimmed the first time, and then we used all the same tools, and 2 adults, to wrangle him about every 6 weeks for a year and a half, and trimmed his lower teeth.

I disclaim this as often as I can: Do NOT do things you are not comfortable and confident with, or haven’t been shown how to do, just because you’re trying to save money. If you can do all of the above: Comfortable, Confident, Educated, AND SAVE MONEY – Sweet deal.

I also had permission to put Lily down at home that Wednesday night earlier this month. I had discussed that option with the vet during the last appointment, and we verified it is still acceptable by the AVMA and not considered inhumane, as well as getting the numbers for what their office charges and their euthanasia policies. When I contacted the vet about her last set of symptoms, I was told it was fatal, and with them closing in an hour (an hour from my house) I could assist her passing if I felt that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t though, because I still had hopes for her.

Murphy is gaining weight and I am not going to use that vet clinic after next week. My personal policy is that I once had an amazing veterinarian that worked with exotics. Unfortunately he passed about 5 years ago. I HOP HIS COLLEAGUES. Anyone I can find that he’s worked with and spoke at conferences with and taught with, and traveled with: I use their facilities.

Cheers.