Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just answering some questions.

Hi everyone and thank you for the private mails with compliments about my blog, encouraging me to continue on with it.
Not everyone seems to know how Blogspot works. On the right hand side there is a blog archive where you can look at my older posts. When you click on the months, the posts will show.
People have been asking me about cat food. I wrote a blog entry about it. You can find it here. In this entry I promote canned/tinned food. One person wrote to me that I should be promoting raw food as that is the best food for cats.
I totally agree, but not a lot of people have a meat grinder that can grind meat and bones at home. Not everyone can or will invest the time in making raw food. Making raw food is a responsibility. You have to get it right. You have to make sure that your cats get the right amount of taurine and vitamins and minerals in their food. High quality canned/tinned food is the next best option. Even the cheap supermarket wet food would be better than the dry food. In some countries you may find ready-made raw food in the freezer section of your pet store.

Other people were asking me about the website I promote:
From the information I got, zooplus operates in at least 20 European countries. Try it out:,,, etc. It’s all there. So you might find the one for your country too. What I like about zooplus is that they offer good quality products at a reasonable price. You don’t pay delivery costs when you order over a certain amount.
Your local shops might have those products as well so make sure to check them out. I can’t get certain products here, or sometimes the products that I can get are much dearer so then I buy them at zooplus. They are reliable and delivery only takes a few days.

Somebody asked me where I get all my information. Well, I read books, watch TV programmes and I do a lot of research on the internet. On the internet especially, you have to be careful as there is also a lot of misinformation available. Common sense and using more than one source is the way to go. When I decided to give my cats topical treatment for the ringworm, I spent hours reading up on it first, before I decided on what to do. Some people recommended teatree oil but I read elsewhere, in several places, that teatree oil can be very bad for cats. So: no teatree oil or products containing teatree oil.
When I finally decided on what to buy, I asked for additional information in the chemist shop and health food shop and carefully read the leaflet before even going near them with the stuff.
If you’re not sure if your cats are healthy, go to the vet. If you’re not sure about health issues concerning your cats, always go with the vet’s advice.
It’s the safest way. If you’re not sure about the advice your vet gave you, go to another vet for a second opinion.
Ringworm is not life threatening. That’s why I tried out less invasive topical treatment first. If I don’t know what’s going on, I will always go to the vet.

Last but not least I want to thank everyone for their encouragement and compliments. And yes, I am a photographer also. You can find my work on my photography blogspot, on facebook and on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Charlie in trouble.

Monday the 3d of September, at 6.30 pm, Charlie came in to eat his dinner with his tail hanging at a weird angle. When I examined it a bit closer I saw some blood too. One of his back legs also had a wound on it but that didn’t seem to bother him. He did eat well though but went hiding behind the couch after, something he normally never does. They are not allowed in the bedroom at night but that night we left the bedroom door open. Charlie came in for a while and snuggled up to my stomach for comfort. But after about an hour he decided to go elsewhere. When I woke up in the middle of the night I checked and he was lying on the couch.
I phoned the vet in the morning but they couldn’t see him until 4pm that day. He wasn’t hiding anymore on Tuesday and seemed to be back to his normal self except for the tail. At the vet’s they couldn’t do a lot, because he was screaming his head off and wriggling like mad. They gave him a painkiller and send us home for the night. We brought him in on Wednesday morning on an empty stomach so he could be sedated and properly examined. They shaved off the hair and discovered a cut where the skin had been pulled for about a centimetre and stitched that up. They also took x-rays but nothing seemed to be broken. They weren’t too sure about other internal damage, as the punctures were quite deep. They think he got caught in a wire. The vet put him on a course of antibiotics and told me to keep an eye on it. He was so happy going back with me, that early Wednesday afternoon, that he was rolling around in the carrier, every now and then sticking his paw out to touch me. “You didn’t abandon me and leave me locked up in that funny smelling place. Thank you.”
The next few days we had to put on fresh bandages a few times as they came off, mainly because of his lively playing and running around. He only objected when we put on the bandages and were actually touching the tail but for the rest he didn’t seem to be in any great discomfort.
He did complain a lot about us not letting him go outside though. He was grounded for four days when I decided to go outside with him on Sunday. In all fairness: he was very good. He stayed with me the whole time and didn’t disappear into the bushes once. Tina was very sweet and also didn’t wander, which was nice. The two of them were chasing flies in the grass and each other. Three times I went out with him. The third time was after it had rained and I didn’t really wanted him to go as I didn’t want to get the bandage wet. His complaining was driving me up the wall though so I went with him for another half an hour.
Monday we decided to leave the bandage off and he didn’t seem to go at the stitches.
Last Wednesday we noticed that the end of his tail had gone quite stiff and dry. It looked like there was no blood supply. We phoned the vet and brought him back in on the Thursday. They decided that part of the tail had to come off so we brought him in on an empty stomach on Friday morning. Early afternoon they amputated his tail.
Friday night at around 7 pm he was back in the house, still asleep from the anaesthetic. Two and-a-half hours later he was awake and trying to get out of the carrier. He could barely walk and was going around like a drunk.
I went to bed early while Orla stayed up late to keep him company. I got up at 5.30 am to keep an eye on him again. At 7am I gave him his painkiller, antibiotic and some food. Tina went outside but I kept Charlie in. During the day he slowly got back to normal.
Yesterday he was back to his normal self and I went outside with him for a while. Tina and Charlie went around the garden but he stayed in sight. Then a rain shower came in and the two bolted for the door. I went outside with him two more times for short whiles. In between he slept on my lap while I was working on the computer.So far he’s doing well. He doesn’t seem to go at the stitches and the wound looks clean. It’s a shame that he had to loose his tail but at least he is still there, hopefully for a very long time if he can keep himself out of trouble.

Charlie's tail the day before the amputation and below, a day after the amputation.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hunting skills

There is never a dull moment with two cats in and around the house. Charlie and Tina go outside a lot and are perfecting their hunting skills. When they’re not hunting, they’re chasing each other around the garden, climbing trees and catching flies, sometimes midair.
The first time I was aware of their hunting success was when I saw Charlie snacking on a new-born mouse. Two weeks ago, Orla was mortified when they chased a shrew into the house and started playing with it. She eventually got the poor animal out with a dustpan while it was hiding under the brush. If it lived to tell the tale, it probably needs counselling for the rest of its life.
A week-and-a-half ago, Tina was playing outside with a dead mouse, throwing it up and dancing around it. A week ago, Charlie brought a dead rat into the house. Orla got it out again (these incidents happen when I’m at work). A few days ago I saw Tina with a small shrew in her mouth and yesterday she was eating a newborn mouse or rat. At least the rodents they’ve brought in after the incident with the shrew were dead.  I haven’t seen them with a bird yet and I hope I won’t. Rodents I can live with, as they have nests throughout the year and lots of offspring, certainly around where we live as the neighbouring field is a wheat field.
It was because of their hunting abilities that cats became popular pets in the first place. There was a 9500-year-old grave found on Cyprus with the skeleton of a human and a cat close together. Domestication seems to have started in the Middle East, as soon as humans settled down and grew crops. From there domestication spread to Cyprus and Egypt. Cats were used as mouse hunters in the grain stores in Egypt from about 6000 BC.
It is said that Egyptian cats came to Europe on board of grain vessels headed for Rome. There were, however, wild cats already in Europe. The domesticated Egyptian cats may have interbred with the European wild cats. The African wild cat (Felis lybica) and the European wild cat (Felis silvestris) are genetically very similar and the domestic cat (Felis catus) can interbreed with both.
Cats had a rough time in Europe during the Middle Ages when superstitious people associated them with the devil. But from then on they were doing well and kept vermin away from the grain stores. Even when they found homes as companions and didn’t have to hunt for their food anymore, they never lost their hunting skills and sometimes will bring back “presents” to their humans.
Cato once brought in a finch and insisted on eating it on the kitchen floor. He only left the little head behind. The rest he ate, feathers and all. Tiles are easily cleaned so after a wipe with disinfectant, even CSI would have had a problem finding any traces. I felt sorry for the poor bird but hey, that’s nature, right? And at least Cato ate what he caught.
There are definitely advantages of cats hunting their own prey. I feed my cats mostly wet food, as dry food doesn’t contain enough moisture and cats don’t drink enough. A cat who only eats commercial food might get a problem with the teeth as wet food doesn’t really clean a cat’s teeth and dry food is too brittle and won’t do the job either, even when it says so on the package. Biting and tearing certain toys or the use of a special toothbrush if the cat allows you to will help but piercing the skin of prey animals is a natural way of keeping their teeth clean.
Cats can’t process plant-based proteins and grains. Too much grain can even cause renal failure. They are carnivores, so they need the meat protein. They themselves know best what is good for them so when they catch a prey, you’ll be sure they’re eating something that meets their nutritional needs. The only cat fast food is the stuff provided by humans: the dry food with a lot of grain-based fillers.
They certainly won’t get renal failure from eating a mouse.
Oh, and in ancient Egypt cats were considered sacred and were worshipped. That won’t happen in our house. They’re family and we love them to bits. They will have to live with that.

 Charlie and Tina near the hedge. Something is moving.......