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.

My guinea pigs are falling apart

I realized I last discussed about Lily’s passing, but I haven’t updated on Murphy other than her temperament.

My last guinea pig, Murphy (Lily’s daughter), ended up breaking a tooth on something. Now, she has malocclusion, and gets her dental done on Monday. Everything needs trimmed under anesthesia from her molars to her incisors.

Again I am hand feeding my guinea pig, giving liquid vitamin C, and then cutting produce into matchsticks until she gets this taken care of.

The new vet is by the house, and I never want to use them again, but I’ve already been to Fairfax twice this month for Lily, and the driving is wearing me out. They are competent by their ratings, but I will always prefer bedside manner a certain way. I started my family with a very awesome veterinarian who passed away about five years ago, and I choose my vet teams based on who he was good colleagues with. I am so drained from this awful illness Lily was suddenly afflicted with, but I’m just doing my Murph Murph close to home this time.
If and when it’s time to do her spay, I will take her back to Fairfax.

She’s still in a pretty great mood considering everything. She’s still able to eat the long strand hay just fine.

Single guinea pig

It’s been a week, and Murphy is working out alright. She’s talking to us all day long with sassy attitude.
Hey Lady! Oh!!! That Guy! You Too!
And she’s always asking us for treats.

This evening I had just left the dining room area and sat on the couch. I looked over and she was still in her usual Treats? spot. She hadn’t gotten my attention.
“Murphy? Hey sweetie. What’s up?” Then Murphy walks over to the corner of her pen, so she might address Hey Lady at the couch.

I’ve been feeding herd members together for a very long time, so I decided to swing by GuineaLynx to refresh myself on just how much fresh foods a single piggy should be allowed a day, because Murphy has cuteness and extortion to an art. 1 cup allowance of fresh produce, FYI.

This is Murphy’s baby pigture, seated to the right of her sister Ruby

4 1/2 months old

And we’re expecting a fourth birthday in February 2019.

This is a Positive Post

We will return shortly.

Lily Momma – last adopted guinea pig

My 8 year old guinea pig Chai had just died January 2015, and the next day Mu-Xi was all alone. Mu-Xi had been a very shy guinea pig. I originally got her for a Skinny I had, after her buddy passed away, but when Mu-Xi met Skeeter, she ran away screaming. She would scream any time Skeeter came near. Eventually Skeeter passed, Mu-Xi was a little less intense, and the final two piggies were Chai and Mu-Xi. The next day after Chai died, Mu-Xi was really nervous and wheeking very loudly. I freaked out and told the kids that I was going to adopt a piggy for Mu-Xi.

We did not bring Moe home with Lily. We left him for another family to adopt. I understood that Moe and Lily came in together, and that she could be pregnant. Two different vets said they can’t confirm she’s pregnant, and the pair of piggies were listed as “confiscated” on their documents for intake, so maybe the fact that she was only 830 grams meant she came from a very neglected situation?

I kept her in a dog kennel away from Mu-Xi for the first two weeks, while she got fat, and then after two weeks I introduced them. Lily was mean. VERY VERY MEAN. Two weeks later she had a litter of pups and scared the bejeebus out of me, so I get why she was so cranky. One morning she and Mu-Xi were eating breakfast salad like all was chill with the world, and out of the corner of the pen, a tiny guinea pig streaks across at full speed. I said “LILY! WHAT DID YOU DO?!!” and she just kept eating salad with her roomie. Obviously, not a thing.
I took a peak in a hidey muff nearby, and I saw a little wall of guinea pigs lined up inside. I put the stray back in the hidey, and tried not to freak out. I have a house full of cats, and newborns look nothing like real guinea pigs, and I had to take all their weights and start baby proofing.

One of the brown agouti abyssinians was somehow acquired by my cat the next day. He upset me greatly. My baby-proofing I guess was not well enough proofed, and Tommy was protecting the house against invaders.

Everyone else grew up. Upper right hand clockwise Auntie Mu-Xi, Murphy, Lily Momma, Ruby, and Potsticker

Having a new family where she started out as the elder, Mu-Xi came out of her shell so well for the second half of her life. Lily was very social, as were her offspring. They all traveled from Phoenix to D.C. in 2016.

The Triplets became Calendar Girls

Things change. Mu-Xi got sick with an abdominal mass early 2017, and she passed. Then September or October last year, we found Ruby had passed one morning. Potsticker took ill in January 2018 and suffered heart failure at the vet’s office. Lily Momma even needed surgery in April for a spay because her reproductive system was a wreck. She had ovarian cysts, and when they opened up her removed uterus, it was full of endometriosis. All those pieces had to go. AND SHE WAS MAD. When things aren’t going Lily’s way, she is so cranky. Recovery was a long 2 weeks of medications, and then a third week before her personality readjusted. Then she was the sweet and social, happy guinea pig again.

Two weeks ago Lily started rejecting her usual treats. She would run up to me for treats, say that what I was offering wasn’t a treat, and then leave. She would do this several times per day. From time to time, she would eat a treat, but it was most often her Oxbow Natural Science vitamin C hay tabs (her cookies). She was still eating her cookies and hay. She was eating. She was bright and alert and eating. I didn’t investigate until it was time to clean the pig pen last Friday. Lily was too light when I went to put her in the empty wading pool. The scale said 662. I called the vet, and they were full until Monday unless I brought her in as emergency. I told them I would wait until Monday and start her on vitamin C supplement, hand feeding, and metacam because from time to time she seems to be in pain. If she’s going to die over the weekend there is little I can do aside from run up a large vet bill. My stepson told me to get her cucumber, because she hadn’t had that treat in a long time. I got one for her, and she was very excited to eat it. I wasn’t able to get her Oxbow Critical Care supplemental feeding until Sunday because Amazon dropped the ball on “Next Day Pickup”. She ate some and did okay.

Monday morning though, she didn’t take her cookie from me, or the cucumber, so we weren’t improving. She hadn’t lost anymore weight. We went to the appointment and had her x-rayed with 3 views to make sure her stomach wasn’t twisted, because she was full of air. Bloat- specifically. Very dehydrated and beginning to show signs of G.I. Stasis. I declined to do blood work or have her hospitalized, because I was working with a very small credit line. They gave me an outline to work on: raised her metacam, gave me lactated ringers and butterfly needles to do subcutaneous fluids twice per day, hand feeding 3 times per day 10-15mL, cisapride twice per day, simethicone 2-3 times per day, liquid vitamin C supplement, and they administered an injection at the office that was supposed to help reduce the gas in her stomach.

Tuesday evening I posted this to Facebook

Wednesday morning she didn’t come out even after I piggy called her three times. I fished her out of the hidey and she was full like a balloon, and could barely walk. I got my credit limit raised and took her back to the vet as an emergency followup. This vet that was visiting took a look at her x-ray and showed me that one of her kidneys was very enlarged, and that we could be looking at a problem with the kidneys as well, but we’d need blood. She got another injection to decrease the gas in her stomach. They tried to get her blood but she was kicking and biting, so they had to give her a bit of anesthetic gas. The amount of time for her to react to the gas and then revive after the gas, was much much longer than an average healthy guinea pig. My first stunned moment of “oh crap”. They did get her blood, but the machine wouldn’t read it. They decided to spin the blood to see if it would work with their equipment, but it didn’t, and the vet brought out the tube to show me. The second “oh crap” moment immediately brought me to tears. I have sold my plasma enough to pay for pet food in the past, that I know what it’s supposed to look like. There was so little plasma at the top, and this was very, very bad. She was still chronically dehydrated, even after giving her fluids for 2 days.

The vet asked me if I wanted him to send the blood out to the independent lab. I spoke to my anthropologist partner on the phone about that, and he said (because I’m definitely emotional) that there is no point running that test if the treatment is the same either way. Blood test would give us answers, but add more to the bill, and the treatment would be the same. If she’s having kidney issues, treatment is feed and flush. Keep hand feeding, and keep up with subcutaneous fluids religiously. If she’s not having kidney issues, she’s still got nil plasma – feed and flush. If she’s got an infection, we can’t treat it while we’re fighting off G.I. Stasis, because it’s going to nuke whatever healthy bacteria is left in the gut. Feed and flush. Running then on a presumption that there may be kidney problems, we took her off metacam and was prescribed Tramadol. Also changed her fluids from 8mLx2pD to 10mLx3pD.

I took her home and gave her all her meds and fluids and only got her to eat half her food. She just kept hiding in the crook of my arm between bites. She was behaving like a terminal piggy, and I wondered if the narcotic was too much. I wouldn’t give her the Tramadol again, I decided.

A few hours later I went to check on her in her hidey, and she was soaked in diarrhea. She wasn’t moving very well, and there was a pile of stool behind here where she’d been laying. I shouted for my stepson to bring my phone. I washed her up, blow dried and brushed her, put a clean hidey in the dryer for a few minutes, placed her inside, and got the heating pad out of storage and laid her on it. The vet asked me a clarifying question, and I didn’t understand what he was getting at or why he told me what he did next:
“Is there mucous in the stool?” I pulled the pile out of her old hidey with a paper towel, and yes, there was.
“How far away are you?” I’m an hour, and you close at 8. “If you need to put her down at home, you can feel free to do that; She’s probably not going to make it to morning. I know we talked about the metacam and the kidneys, but that mucous is from inflammation in her cecum. Make her comfortable and give her a dose of the metacam.”

We had discussed at the visit that day about co2 euthanization. That I will not do it in an animal over 800 grams, but I have done it before, and the vet pulled up the veterinary guidelines to make sure it’s still listed as a viable method if applied correctly, and not that it’s been discontinued and is now instead of a form of cruelty.

I couldn’t process everything from that phone call while I had her in the new hidey sack on the heating pad. Dismal asked me if I wanted him to go get dry ice, and I told him I wasn’t ready to do that yet, and I’d rather he not leave.

This is the point as I write this, that I’m going to take a break and feed my cats because I’m crying again. It doesn’t get much worse from here, but we’re not to the end yet.

Even though I was told she was likely dying, I still gave her another dose of Tramadol, the metacam, and another round of warm subcutaneous fluids. I sat next to her on the couch, while she was in the guinea pig sack on the heating pad. I would keep checking on her, or move the opening of the hidey sack so that the bright light wasn’t stuck in her eyes. Eventually everyone went to bed and I stayed with her. At one point, she starts stirring around a bit with some discomfort, and I swaddled her in the sack into my arm while we watched tv. She kept twitching less and less over about 15 minutes, and then she was gone. When I pulled her out of the sack, her bum was dripping all over me.

What exactly was I being told during that phone call?

I called the office the next day for clarification, and while yesterday’s vet was traveling back to Miami, they were able to put me on the line with another. “I thought the whole point with bloat and G.I. Stasis WAS to see more poop. Why was ‘mucous’ the magic word?”
And I was told that it signaled her body was shutting down and everything was evacuating. She asked if I wanted answers and to have a necropsy performed on Lily, but I said that I was just here for an education. In eleven years I had never had this experience, and I’d been pretty confused as to what had been going on most of the time, even though I kept up with everything they told me to do.

They don’t talk about this on the internet. I had spent two hours key wording different way to say GUINEA PIG DEATH POOP, and GUINEA PIG BLOAT DIARRHEA, and you get nothing that helps. People either say my guinea pig died of bloat, or my guinea pig survived bloat. You don’t often get the uncomfortable details.

Thursday morning I noticed a watermelon on the counter that I had purchase for Lily on Monday, and I went to Twitter:

That’s what I’m going to say about it. I’ve been discussing things with Murphy for the last few days, as she’s alone in the pig pen, and she’s okay so far. This herd was very people friendly, and unafraid of the other species. I have a lot of guilt in my inexperience, and that I haven’t been this long with only 1 guinea pig since December 2007. Even when you do everything right, you don’t always get to shake that feeling off that you did something wrong somewhere.

The bloat killed her

We’ll talk about this later. It was Wednesday night curled up in my arms.

I was very wrong – My sick guinea pig

When you feel that you are well established, there would be no more surprises.

I must still be a layman because my guinea pig has a severe case of bloat. She’s not in G.I. Stasis, and yet her bloat is so severe that they took 3 views on the x-rays just to make sure her stomach wasn’t twisted like a dog.

They wanted to hospitalize her. I cannot afford that this year. I asked if they ever send Ringers home, and they said they do. This is lactated ringers: a sterile liquid solution used to re-hydrate a furry family member by being injected under the skin and creating a small hump that their body will absorb

Uh huh. I will be administering subcutaneous fluids to Lily over the next week, along with baby gasx, a higher dose of meloxicam, cisapride, liquid vitamin C, and 3 handfeedings a day. Today at the vet she received an injection meant to help break up the gas in her stomach, and they administered the first round of sub-qs.

Now if I can pull my head out of my butt (where it’s currently lodged in frustration) the reality is that this should be better than having a mass or a cyst, like I’d planned. But, I have experience in those, and none in this, so I feel completely drained and had nothing to prepare for. If Lily gets over the hump this week, she should be able to go on with her little punky haired potato life.