29 February, 2016

Medication Error

Folks, please PLEASE be careful when administering medications!  The Hubby and I just discovered that we made a huge error when using an old Metronidazole script from one pharmacy, and the new script, from another pharmacy, was for a different sized pill.  Since we have to cut pills to meet the doctor's orders, we didn't realize that the old script was for 1/8th pills, while the new was for 1/4 pills!

Chuck was not injured by the error, but I'm telling this embarrassing story to advise you all that it's important to be on the same page as the veterinarian, AND with anyone else in the household that is assisting with medicine handling!  I take full blame for the lack of communication...if I'd simply x'd out the old prescription label.

With multiple bottles of pills; each one has it's own instructions and how often administered, and the pills from the pharmacy are not the correct dosage size...they must be cut in half or quarters!  So, it's complicated and we've made our first big fat error.  I feel awful about it. The only way I'm not running out in the street for a bus to hit me, is the fact that Chuck is okay...this was a supplemental mild antibiotic for his IBD, NOT one of his heart meds.

In the future, when any new med is introduced, The Hubby and I will converse clearly so we both know what is what and who is who.  When we started, I was the only one cutting up pills and wrapping them, but our process morphed over time to The Hubby doing all the cutting, while we take turns in the pill wrapping.  Clearly, our instructional discussions need to morph too.

We are both pretty shaken by this, so again I warn you all to be careful; color-code, or write across pill bottles with markers, or tape them with different colors if that makes everything CRYSTAL CLEAR TO ALL.

P.S. Chuck is greatly improved using Metronidazole, even at the reduced dosage.  His litter box usage is significantly better, and we are glad his attitude is much more playful and kitten-like.

Sunday Chuck

25 February, 2016

The Food Bowl Slide

It has been sleeting, raining, snowing...then more sleet and rain again...and now snow and high winds here in Metro Detroit, Michigan!

The Hubby and I try to keep the deck and feeding station for Patty O'Malley and Sweetie as clear as we can, but Mother Nature just keeps throwing stuff at us.

This morning I brought out bowls of kibble, but the icy surface and gusting winds pushed the bowls right off the edge!  They simply slid right across. The cats were not amused, so I brought out heavier, ceramic bowls that stayed put.  I did not get photos; these old ones will have to do.
Earlier this month, Patty feeds
In January, Sweetie tells me how she likes
having her photo taken at mealtime!
From March 2014
Here's hoping the folks that got walloped by storms elsewhere are all okay.

24 February, 2016

Bacon Ball Ballet

Chuck was prescribed three medicines for his heart condition, and one for his intestinal issues.  I discovered pill paste from a blog comment months ago, and immediately ordered some online.  I have since discovered I can buy it at Petco stores, even if it's pricier.

This is what it looks like: it reminds me of Play-Doh!

We fold the pills into this pliable, soft stuff and roll it into a ball.

Early days, Chuck would just eat the 'bacon ball' (the jar says it's bacon-flavored!) out of my hand. One day, he bit into a buried pill that had a bad taste, and I haven't been able to get him to eat it since. He won't even eat any that is pill-free.  Angel gets a little bit as a treat, once in awhile.

The Hubby picks Chuck up, lays him across his lap, and pries open Chuck's mouth while dropping in the bacon ball.  Chuck hasn't bitten him yet...!  The Hubby gives Chuck mucho lovin' before and after the drop, and they do this every morning and every evening.  It's actually quite a sight.  A pill-dropping, bacon ball-toting ballet!

22 February, 2016


Borrowed from Wikipedia:

"Turducken is a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed into a deboned turkey. Outside of the United States and Canada, it is known as a Three Bird Roast. Gooducken is a traditional English variant, replacing turkey with goose."

Turducken, as portrayed by Patty O'Malley

21 February, 2016


I drove Chuck to the vet's office Friday evening, for his 6-month heart echocardiogram.  The weather was warm but gusty, and there was light rain.  Poor Chuck did NOT like the way the wind blew his carrier cover around!  He fervently sang the song of his people.

Dr. Griffen was pleased with Chuck's heart sounds, and even liked that he's put on a little bit of weight!  YAY!  We are to keep up with his four heart meds daily, and she added metronidazole for awhile, to aid his ongoing gastrointestinal issues.  It was a long vet office visit, but worth every second!

When we got back outside, there was lightning overhead, and it was really blowing now.  As I called home to announce our pending arrival, I only heard a fast busy signal and could not get through.  I put the car in gear, and away we went.

Fifteen minutes later, as I turned onto our street, there was a fire truck...with lights flashing...IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE! 


An old, dead tree in the alley behind the neighbor's house had crashed down on the power lines in the high wind while we were at the vet's, and the whole block was out of power.  The fireguys who blocked the driveway, were making sure the wires weren't going to set anything (like our barn!) on fire.
See the tree laying on the wires?

Our really old lilac bush cracked apart too; The Hubby
said it was planted by his mother a long time ago

Metro Detroit, Michigan and points farther west and north were all hit hard by the storm, so our powerless block was not the highest priority for the utility people.  Since it was warm and sunny Friday and Saturday, there was no panic.  The Hubby kept pots of water heating on the gas stove, for warmth.

Sunday morning, however, as the temps began to drop, we got concerned. Although both The Hubby and I were pleased about Chuck's vet info (and he's reacted well to the metronidazole!), this gloomy outlook with no power gave us the blues.  We lit out in the car, for some coffee and a drive in the country.  Back home again, a utility truck was in the alley behind our house, and the hard-hat man said the old tree had been cleared away, and they were about to start re-stringing lines. He gave me a quote of two hours.  But he was wrong...it only took one hour!  The heat is back on, the water heater is getting hot, and The Hubby has a college basketball game to watch. 

They took down the caution tape and got to work!
Being powerless meant that Sweetie and Patty O'Malley had no warming pad in The Cat Hotel. Again, lucky that Friday and Saturday were warmer than normal, even overnight, so the two cats did not get too chilled.

Patty only wants belleh rubs...but he's got a new
wound on his nose

Sweetie slept in the sunshine on Saturday!
I took this from inside the back door, so as not to
disturb her nap

18 February, 2016

Tasty Thursday...with some Tinkle

Angel, chewing on stacked newspapers this morning...nom, nom, nom!
The result
"What are you doing?  May I chew on your phone?"
Easy, little one...guess I'd better make breakfast!

And something else that happened this morning:

Images of peeballs from the litterbox below...
Proceed at your own risk...

Someone left us a Valentine heart!
The Hubby was unimpressed...

16 February, 2016

Whisker Toy

Angel's new favorite toy...is one of her spent whiskers!  I put my finger on the fat end of it, and twirl it around inside the box.  Angel jumps at it, bats at it, tries to chew it, and seems to really enjoy herself.  When I stop moving it around, the cat settles back down and doesn't bother with it.  How weird it that!

Another spent whisker story: in one of my favorite books, "A Cat Named Darwin: How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being" by William Jordan, the author fondly tells of a time that he narrowly avoided disaster when he chose to tickle Darwin's foot with a spent cat whisker.  The cat was sleeping, and the man tickled and poked at paw pads with only the whisker, until he suddenly found himself in a cat death grip, with front paws wrapped around his hand, back legs poised for arm evisceration, and mouth clamped on fingers.  Darwin the cat did not break the skin, but his posture meant business!  Quickly cooing and coaxing to convince the cat to let go, the author dropped that whisker and was released, but he learned a valuable lesson about tickling his sleeping cat!

15 February, 2016

Intruder Alert!

Was a bitterly cold weekend.  I've been worried about Patty O'Malley and Sweetie braving the elements, but The Cat Hotel must be keeping them warm.

However, I caught a whiff of something else in the cold air...cat urine! Some male cat has been peeing on various items on the deck, marking them to say, "I was here!"  Whenever this has happened in the past, I spritz white vinegar (straight) or baking soda (mixed with water), to eliminate the smell. If any urine smell gets on me or my long winter coat, it drives Angel and Chuck crazy, and it's not easy to eliminate.
Frozen spritz
I found one spot on Mama's House, and I give it a good dose of baking soda...and it all promptly froze.  This mancat also sprayed the water bucket, so I have washed it down as best I can.  With temperatures climbing in the next few days, I am hoping for a chance to hose things down even more.

And what about this cat?  I haven't seen him, and am really surprised that Patty O'Malley hasn't chased him away from his territory.  This mancat doesn't know who he's dealing with!  I'll pull out my traps and do a TNR on him before he knows what hit him!

12 February, 2016

11 February, 2016

What the Toof...?

Oh noes!

Angel had a broken toof!  The nice veterinarian made it all better for her, and she is acting perfectly fine this morning.  Yesterday, as I held her before she was whisked into the bowels of the vet's office, she managed to shed a ton of fur...on me!

Fur all over my front
Fur all over my arm
These photos do not convey the extent of furs stuck to my winter coat! Poor Angel, she was not a happy camper yesterday morning.  But...I am glad we got her teefs cleaned and serviced, since she'd lost some weight since her last visit.  Her bloods came back normal...yay!

Chucky did not take Angel's capture and removal from the house well, however.  I had explained to him what was going to happen, but he was very unhappy all day, says The Hubby.  He even had an accident outside the litter box, and when I got home from work, his tail was low and he needed lots of lovin' and smoochin'.  So, that's what I did to both kitties, and all seemed normal when I left this morning.

And I received a surprise!
A co-worker gifted me with lovey dovey cat socks!  See what happens when people find out I'm a crazy lady with cats?  Totally unexpected; I will wear them this Sunday on St. Valentine's Day. Thanks, CS!

09 February, 2016


Patty O'Malley aka Bubba
My friendly feral, round-mound-o'-love just isn't worried about the coming snow and cold!  He just wants belly rubs, face rubs, fur pulls and general worship.  He looks like a Bubba...

Wary Sweetie (see her front paw up?)
Patty has chased her into The Cat Hotel
See her tail?
Patty says, "You only need photos of me!"
Both Sweetie and Patty greet me when I walk up, but Sweetie always hangs back.  Patty will first block my attempts at petting her, then he steps in front of my camera so I can only get the briefest of shots, then he runs her off!  Thank goodness she doesn't hold his bad behavior against me, but she is so wary.  Surprisingly, when I put out food one bowl at a time, she tucks right into the first bowl down, and he has to wait for the second!  I guess they have worked out a system together.  I treasure the rare moments when I have Sweetie alone, and we have a purring, rubbing, lovin' session!

08 February, 2016

Holistic Vet Visit

Her Pills
Cute Angel!
On January 28, Angel and I visited Sheppard Alternative Animal Care in Utica, Michigan.  Such a calm and peaceful office!  Angel, however, was not calm; she cried most of the way there, and the drool!  I had no idea what to expect, but was delighted by the professionalism and obvious care every staff person radiated.  In a nutshell, the doctor and assistant, by touching Angel's body with their hands and small, sealed glass vials of different liquids, determined her system's strengths and weaknesses. Their website here says, "We use a non-invasive system of analyzing your pet's body through Nutrition Response Testing℠."

Angel, they determined, has a few food sensitivities, one of them being moose!  All in all, Angel's health is good, scoring 10 of 10 or 9 of 10 on most things.  The doctor suggested that I crush up two selected vitamins for her, to aid her digestion especially.  See the photo above of her pills.  He said to start slowly, just a sprinkle on her food for awhile.  She did not hesitate at all with the sprinkles, so I quickly began to give her full doses within days.  Where we've lucked out, is that there is no need to change her canned food.

I see no difference, honestly.  Yet.  I will continue to give her the vitamins, and go back for her return visit on February 27.  Her dental appointment is this Wednesday.  Chuck goes for his heart echo-cardiogram on February 19, at which time I will discuss the holistic approach with the heart veterinarian.

February is Veterinary month in our house!

03 February, 2016

Pretty As A Picture

A long time ago, we won a portrait of Angel from Ingrid King's The Conscious Cat. I finally found just the right frame for Michelle Wolff's art, and voila!  Pretty Angel on the wall.  See the original post here.

Angel is often napping on the opposite end of the room where her portrait now hangs, which seems fitting.

02 February, 2016

Cat Gloves

While hitting the resale shops this weekend, I found this pair of cuties for an excellent price.  Brand new, and they fit!  Aren't they cute?  I was hoping that having a new pair of warm gloves meant that Winter is on it's way out, but alas the meteorologists are predicting temperatures back in the average range in the next few weeks, which means just about at freezing during the day, and into the low-20's and teens (Fahrenheit) overnight.  I do not care what the Groundhog says (and I saw it live on TV this morning!)...here in Michigan, it's gonna stay nice and freezy for awhile.  Although I see men in shorts at the grocery store still.  What is with that, anyway?

01 February, 2016

Psst! Hey...Want Some Cat Grass?

Notice the grass blades already on the floor!
The Hubby is a whiz at growing cat grass, or wheat grass.  He's got a sprouting jar, where he pours in the wheat berries, then swishes water around.  After a few days of that, the baby sprouts are big enough to be placed in soil, then he hides his 'garden' way up so no cat can graze until the blades are long enough.

Chuck was on this garden as soon as it was set on the floor, and he pulls the blades out as he munches.  We are lucky to have many old-timey planters in the house; this one appears to be perfect for this application. Angel, for some reason, is avoiding this garden, and I had commissioned it just for her because I thought she was suffering from a hairball.  

Goes to show, that what I want...and what the cats do...are often very different things!