This is Cat Life

May 14, 2016

Feeding time at the zoo.

Feeding time at the zoo.

It’s taken me a while to write this post. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this site, how I would honor Romeo’s memory going forward, and what I would do with 7 years of history with readers, friends, rescues, partners, brands and more. I thought about closing up shop. How could this site go on without Romeo?

But after a lot of consideration, I’ve decided we’re not going away. I’d like to continue doing what we’ve been doing – raising money for cats in need and connecting with amazing people who love cats – but in a bit of a different way.

Obviously Romeo’s not writing this blog anymore. But I think he’d be happy to let me take over for him so that’s what I’ll do.

We want to continue to inspire, entertain and educate all while helping homeless cats so I hope you’ll stick with us as we bring you awesome cat content! Sign up to be on our newsletter in the sidebar so you can get updates.

Also, check out our Instagram account ThisisCatLife.

Now, onto some super exciting updates! I’m so happy to introduce you to two new members of the brood: Mr. Wilson and Rufus!

Pugsley welcomed these two new brothers with open paws.Well…I think so. He’s so chill I don’t really think he noticed there were new cats here for a while.

In December, soon after Romeo left us, one of Romeo’s amazing Facebook friends posted a pic of an adoptable cat named Mr. Wilson to our timeline. She was so sweet and said that she knew it was very soon but that Mr. Wilson’s story reminded her of Romeo’s. She was right! I looked into him right away.

Mr. Wilson

Mr. Wilson

Mr. Wilson is 13. He was found as a stray in North Carolina and taken to a shelter. He’s front paw declawed, has high blood pressure and was in tremendous pain due to horrific ear infections (all of these things just like my poor sweet Romeo!) The shelter that took him in called the rescue FLUFF in Nashville, Tenn. who agreed to pull him and care for him until he was ready to be adopted.

They took such great care of him, paying for surgeries on his ears and nursing him back to health. You’ll see from the photos that the surgeries left both of his ears permanently folded down! Just like Romeo had one ear folded down, this guy has two. It was meant to be! Mr. Wilson had lots of good people who wanted to adopt him but we really wanted him. He seemed perfected for our family.

Just as we were talking with FLUFF about adopting Mr. Wilson, we learned about another Persian boy here in Columbus who needed a home. The rescue where we got Romeo and Pugsley, Persian Purebred and Purrbaby, had a sweet 3-year-old Persian who looks very much like Romeo.

Crazy boy Rufus

Crazy boy Rufus

How could we choose between them? Well, we didn’t. We ended up adopting both of these wonderful boys!

Mr. Wilson is just a sweet, cuddly old man who loves to hang out on the back of the couch and watch the world go by, just like Romeo did.

Rufus is full of energy and so ornery. He’s total mama’s boy and he loves to curl up in my arms and sleep. He is SO snuggly and hilarious. And, just like Romeo, he loves to sleep on my head.

Both boys remind me in different ways of Romeo and I still miss him every day. But I know he’d be happy with our choices. And Pugsley seems happy to have friends. He and Mr. Wilson hang out a lot together. Rufus is always messing with the old guys but not in a nasty way…I think he’s just young and wants to play. The old guys just want to lounge.

Thanks for continuing to be part of our community and for all of your support and kind wishes after Romeo passed away. It meant the world to us.

Meow for now!

xo,

The Staff

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goldfish photo How much would you spend on your pet?

While many pet owners know only too well that vet bills for their beloved cats and dogs can easily run into the hundreds and thousands, more than a few eyebrows raised at the news that a man in the UK had paid £300 (about $400) for a goldfish to have a groundbreaking operation to relieve its constipation.

The story takes on even more significance when you find out that this goldfish was not a beloved family pet, but instead was an ‘office goldfish’ which lived in a tank at the man’s place of work.

The unnamed man had noticed that the goldfish was struggling to pass solids and seemed to be in pain, so he consulted a vet to find out how the fish could be helped. When the vet quoted £300 (about $400) for the mini-operation, the man reportedly balked at the cost, but after thinking about it, he called the veterinary practice back to give them the go-ahead for the surgery.

Without the operation, the vet’s opinion was that the buildup of toxins would eventually have resulted in the death of the fish.

Toll Barn Veterinary Centre in North Walsham, Norfolk UK carried out the operation, which involved first mixing anesthetic with the fish’s water to prepare it for surgery. A tiny tube was used to pump water laced with more anesthetic into the fish’s mouth and a mini heart rate monitor was used throughout the procedure to ensure that the goldfish had a heartbeat and continued to breathe. A tiny scalpel was used to remove two blockages from the goldfish during the 50 minute operation, after which the vet used 3 stitches and waterproof skin glue to help aid healing when the goldfish was back in its tank swimming around.

Faye Bethel, a vet at Toll Barn Veterinary Centre, told local press that: “There was nothing special about the fish. He just liked it a lot. People love their pets – but that was an expensive little goldfish.”

Happily, the fish made a full recovery from its surgical adventures!

The things we do for love

This pet fish isn’t the only one to undergo surgery in recent times. A pet goldfish named George in Australia underwent an operation to remove a tumor from its head. Using a similar process used for the UK fish, the antipodean patient underwent a delicate operation to cut away the tumor and seal the wound.

The procedure, this time costing approximately AUD $200 (£100 or $140 USD), was also considered successful, with the goldfish now expected to live for several more years.

While it’s probably true that most goldfish owners would draw the line at an expensive operation to save the inhabitant of their fish tank, you might be surprised at the lengths some people will go in order to give their pets a second chance or improve their quality of life.

In another UK-based survey, 86% of owners say they consider their pet as part of the family and are happy to pay high vet bills. A couple from Rotherham, Yorkshire UK racked up vet bills for £24,000 ($33,600 USD) since they brought home a German Shepherd puppy several months ago. The couple sold their car, canceled vacation and even decided to forgo Christmas gifts to pay for the four operations the pup has needed thus far.

When asked if it was all worth it, the pup’s owner, Miss Mitchell said, “A lot of my friends say they would have had him put down, but I could never have done that. It’s cost us a lot, but he’s worth every penny.”

This pup is still less than a year old, so could potentially have another 12+ years of costly veterinary treatment ahead of him thanks to his rare genetic condition. Thankfully for his owners, their vet is allowing them to pay off the current bill in monthly installments.

Our pets cost more than you might think

We’ve seen some extreme examples of the lengths (and costs) that owners are prepared to go to in order to save the lives of their pets, but even fairly routine costs can take owners by surprise sometimes. A UK-based survey of pet owners in 2015 found that on average, dog owners spend approximately £427 (or nearly $600.00 USD) a year on unexpected costs, including everything from vet trips to stays in kennels or catering for dietary conditions, which require specialty food.

You may think that cat owners get off more lightly, but the survey showed that wasn’t necessarily the case, with the average owner spending £322 (or about $450 USD) a year on things they hadn’t budgeted for when they got their kitty, including vet bills, pet stting and money owners have spent on replacing things around the home which the cat has damaged, such as carpets, rugs, wallpaper and electronics which have been nibbled or smashed.

Millions of people in the UK find that owning and sharing their life with pets is hugely rewarding, but anyone going into pet ownership without looking at the potential costs involved could be in for a surprise.

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Farewell, Romeo.

December 10, 2015

RomeoRomeo the Cat left us Saturday.

Ten years and 5 days after he curled up in our hearts Romeo left for a better place, taking a piece of us with him.

He’s been struggling lately. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a hereditary disease that causes cysts to grow in a cat’s kidneys and liver and eventually leads to kidney disease and failure. We’ve been on borrowed time and every day, week, month and year has been a gift.

But he’s been slowing down. He spent most of the past week by the refrigerator, which puts off a bit of heat from underneath it. Once we figured out why he liked it there, we got him a little space heater and a pillow and put it in the corner of the kitchen so he could stay in the middle of the action, where he always wanted to be.

When we realized he was declining fast and there was nothing more we could do for him, our kind vet came to our house and we freed our beloved boy from his pain. While he loved snuggling up next to us, he wasn’t big on being held. But that day he let me hold him against my chest as we cried.

♥♥♥

Boys on bed no room sizedWhen we met him, it was love at first sight. We’d decided to adopt a cat and my husband Chris happened to find Romeo’s photo on the site of a Persian rescue, Persian Purebred and Purrbaby, near his work. “Romeo is a red and white bi-colored persian who loves to eat” the description read.

On his lunch hour, Chris went to meet Romeo. Romeo’s interview was a complete disaster. He slunk around the room, not wanting to be picked up or petted. Plus, his permanently cranky expression wasn’t exactly inviting.

“He’s perfect. We want him,” Chris told the rescue. He knew there was something special about this boy.

And he was so, so right.

Romeo had been pulled by the rescue from a shelter in Kentucky. Apparently he had been returned there twice. The second time he was covered in fleas and a skin condition. Plus he was deaf in both ears. The rescue cleaned him up and nursed him through 8 surgeries on his ears to correct his hearing issues, leaving one of his ears permanently folded down. Along with his grumpy expression, he looked like a total “bad ass” as one of our friends commented.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Once he was settled in, we discovered how appropriate the name “Romeo” really was. He was the sweetest, most loving cat one could ever meet. I only heard him hiss one time – when Pugsley came to live with us. Just one hiss to assert his ownership over his domain and then the two boys were best friends for life – Romeo & Pugsley.

Romeo HeartPugsley misses Romeo too. We couldn’t find him for a long time that day and discovered him curled up in a closet where he’d never gone before.

After a couple of years we gave Romeo his first shave down and were surprised to discover a heart shaped marking on Romeo’s side. We’ll never know if that was the true source of his name but it was so appropriate. He was marked with love from the start.

Romeo was with us through so much change over the last 10 years, steadfastly sitting next to us on the couch, patiently observing transition after transition. My husband and I were engaged, married, moved five times in three different cities, and, a couple of years apart, brought home two baby girls.

When the girls were infants and I would get up in the middle of the night to feed them, I would rock them back to sleep and Romeo would climb up on the back of the chair and rock along with us, purring.

As the girls grew, Romeo and Pugsley grew to trust and love them. I always knew where I could find Romeo – snuggled up next to a little girl who was watching TV or playing on her iPad.Romeo and audrey

Having Romeo and Pugsley has been so amazing for our daughters, teaching them how to be gentle and empathetic at a young age. Now, Romeo has helped teach them about love and loss.

He slept partly on my head most nights, eventually squeezing me off the pillow, but I didn’t mind. Then, when he was ready for breakfast he would start his wake up process, trying different tactics each morning – standing on our chests, meowing, pawing our noses, snuffling in our ears – until my husband or I would heave ourselves out of bed and go downstairs to get the food out, Romeo trotting eagerly behind us.

Because he was such a character, he inspired this blog after my co-workers teased me about putting Romeo on Twitter. I did, and a social media cat was born. From the start, we dedicated this site to raising money for shelters and rescues and since then, this little blog has raised $95,000 for homeless pets. Thank you for supporting our efforts. We’ll continue to honor Romeo’s memory by giving to pets in need.

Romeo has been such a Romeo face up close(1)huge part of our lives for over a decade and already our home is emptier without his silent meows, the feel of his soft fur and the sound of his purrs. I keep expecting to turn the corner from the kitchen and see him sleeping on his favorite chair.

We will miss you every day, Romeo.

Until we meet again, sweet boy….

 

Dear Friends, so many of you have emailed me directly or left Facebook comments, thank you! I am sorry but something was wrong with the ability to comment here for a couple of days but I finally had a moment to get it fixed. Love you all so much and thank you for loving our boy, too. xoxo 

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Thinks his pee smells like flowers. It doesn't.

Thinks his pee smells like flowers. It doesn’t.

This post is sponsored by petMD and ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about The petMD Cat Care Center, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ and petMD are not responsible for the content of this article.

Guest post by the Staff.

The last thing you want someone to notice when they walk in your home is the smell of a litter box. Heck, the last thing I want to notice when I walk into my own home is litter box smell! Fortunately with a bit of diligence and a few tricks, you can keep that odor at bay!

While a little air freshener or pretty candles might help short term, they aren’t going to solve your problem. You need to get to the source.

There are a couple of key places to focus on when ensuring the litter box smell stays in check.

The Litter Box

According to petMD the most important aspect is to keep the cat litter box fastidiously clean. Seriously. It’s not that hard to scoop a few times a day. Plus, the more frequently you check the box the less work it becomes each time.

And, by the way, your cat will appreciate it. Nothing will send your cat peeing or pooping elsewhere than an overflowing dirty litter box. Can you blame him?

Scoop the litter boxes at least once a day and I recommend more. And, of course, get the waste out of your house!

Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the litter box. Many people swear by this method to help minimize odors.

Change the kitty litter frequently. Experts’ recommendations vary but I think it’s optimal to change it completely a couple of times a month to really keep odors under control. Also, each time you change the litter, wash out the box with mild soap and water.

Clump and SealChoose an odor fighting litter like lightweight ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™. There’s a unique technology that forms a tight seal around odor and destroys it with powerful odor eliminators and ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda. Get a $2 off coupon here.

Also, replace boxes completely once a year, or more frequently. No matter how well you wash them, over time, plastic boxes can trap bacteria and begin to smell.

Check out these DIY litter box area fresheners from petMD.

Outside the Litter Box

You may not realize your cat is choosing somewhere other than the litter box to do his business until you stumble upon a favorite pee spot behind the couch, for example.

Don’t make him get creative with his potty spots.

There are a few reasons a cat might poop or pee outside his box. First, take him to the vet. There are a number of medical issues that could be the cause.

A dirty litter box might be the cause. Or, your cat might not like the litter, the depth of litter. The box might be too small. Check out petMD’s resource center for additional reasons your cat might be avoiding the litter box.

Do a check of your carpets, walls and furniture to make sure your cat has not been marking them or using them as his personal potty. Then, use an enzymatic cleaner to clean. If he keeps going there after you’ve cleaned, you may have no choice but to pitch the items. Cats can smell their own scent better than we can so even if you don’t smell it, your cat might still think, “here’s where I go pee!” Focus your attention on the cat litter box, stay on top of it and make it a daily habit and you and your cat will be much happier!

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Today I’m thinking about something wonderful that cats and people have in common – intuition. Going with your gut. Operating by instinct. Listening to that little voice inside your head.

The difference between cats and people, though, is that people don’t always use their intuition. I don’t think it’s because you don’t know how. I think it’s because your intuition is telling you something you don’t want to hear…..

Like, dump that jerk.
Or, get out of the dead end job.
Or, this “quick money” investment smells fishy.

Sometimes I think humans are scared to take chances….

Like, this idea is so crazy it just might work (but you’re too scared to try)
Or, this job pays way less money than you’re used to but there’s something about it…..(but you’re too scared to take the risk)
Or, this relationship isn’t right for you (but you’re scared of being alone)

From a cat’s perspective, this is just plain silliness! If you’re not using your intuition you are wasting a valuable resource for survival. We cats rely on instinct and intuition for pretty much everything.

If someone’s an asshat, we know it. Even if there are treats involved.
If a situation might present danger, we know it. Even if there are treats involved.

Or, on the flip side, have you ever seen a scared cat suddenly come out of hiding for a particular person? That’s intuition at work, telling us it’s safe even though we have no prior experience with that person.

We never ignore our instincts. And neither should you. Pay attention to that little voice in your head. It’s there to guide you, prevent you from making stupid mistakes and keep you from missing out on great opportunities.

Trust me.

Meow for now,

R

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Stalking Cats Are Funny

August 18, 2015

In my opinion, the reason cats are so popular on the Internet is because they are SO DARN FUNNY even when they aren’t trying to be. Actually, they’re hilarious especially when they aren’t trying to be. Check out this video by Hooplaha.com and you’ll see what I mean.

What funny things do your cats do when they aren’t trying to be funny?

xo

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Black Cat Appreciation Day Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day! Paws up for our resident black cat, PUGSLEY!

While today is a great day for everyone to celebrate le chat noir, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day around here.

Here’s Why Black Cats are Awesome

1. Black fur does not show up on black pants.
2. One word: Shiny!
3. Black is always in fashion.
4. Black fur makes yellow eyes look bigger and cuter.
5. Food that gets stuck in whiskers stands out against black fur. Very funny.
6. House panther. ‘Nuff said.
7. Black cats have an air of mystique about them.
8. They get great nick names like Le Black, Inky, Blackie, Noir, Midnight, Licorice and more.

So, black cat fans….what would you add to this list?

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Be open to new ideas.

I yam who I yam.

Today I’m thinking about how humans are always trying to change other people. And that’s a shame.

We all bring something different to the table and embracing these differences, new ideas, and ways of doing things can benefit everyone involved.

I’m a cat who doesn’t like to be held. The staff is a very cuddly human and she likes to hold cats. This was a problem all those years ago when I first came to live here. She’d try to hold me and I’d try to get away. It seemed we were at an impasse on the cuddling front.

But fortunately, my staff was smart enough to know I wasn’t going to change and suddenly enjoy being carried around like a baby, so she stopped picking me up all the time and gave me the opportunity to show her my way of doing things.

Once she stopped, she says she realized that I am a cuddler….but in my own way. I like to sit next to her, pressed up against the side of her. That’s my way of being close and now she likes it better because we can sit there for hours, all snuggled up together, without anyone’s arms getting tired.

We are all a compilation of our experiences and history and personalities. Each of us is beautiful and wonderful and unique and we offer different viewpoints on how things can be done.

Don’t try to change others. Accept who they are and their lovely unique selves and you just might discover a more cuddly way of life.

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bonding with your cat

Yes, sometimes the bonding thing can get a bit out of hand…but it’s worth it!

By the staff

(Romeo and Pugsley have approved this message)

Cats have a reputation for being independent and standoffish but pet cats really seem to want to bond with their humans….just on their own terms!

And, like people, every cat responds differently to various activities and expressions. Here are some great ways to bond with your cat, based on my own experience, some input from Romeo and Pugsley, and plenty of articles and experts I’ve come across over the years.

Create a Happy, Safe Environment
Experts agree: when creating an environment, consider your cat’s natural instincts to climb on things, perch in high places, scratch stuff and truly rule over his domain. If your cat feels safe and happy in your home, he’ll likely feel safe and happy with you.

Pet retailers like Swell Pets and others carry an array of cat scratchers, cat trees, window perches, climbing systems and more to make your home as cat-friendly as possible.

Don’t Force Them

Any cat owner knows that cats like to do things when and how they want to do them! The minute any sort of requirement comes into play, cats buck the system. Let your cat come to you for petting or snuggling, for example.

Sometimes cats respond to certain forms of suggestion. My oldest daughter really wanted Pugsley to sleep in her room. I chose a super comfy chair and put a pillow and soft, snuggly blanket on it to make the chair as enticing as possible. Sure enough, Pug soon discovered this cat bed nirvana and sleeps there every night now!

Play With Them Often
Play is a great way to enhance a bond with your cat. Many people don’t realize that playing is an important part of a cat’s happiness and well-being. It helps nurture and fulfill his natural instincts to hunt and stalk prey. Try different types of toys until you discover what your cat likes best. Some cats love batting stuff across the floor. Others love wand toys. Some like to wrap themselves around plush toys and rabbit kick with them.

I noticed my cats changed their entire attitude towards my oldest daughter when she started playing with them (supervised of course). Before they were somewhat wary of my kids. Once we got out the wand and began showing the cats a good time, it was like a light switch went on. Both cats began trusting the girls more and even seeking them out.

Make play time with your cat a daily habit and you’ll see him thrive.

Groom and Pet Them Often
It’s natural for cats who are bonded to groom each other. And, most cats enjoy regular petting, scratching and grooming by their humans. When petting your cat, pay careful attention to spots he may really enjoy or shy away from. Romeo loves to get his hiney scratched, while Pugsley does not like it and will end the petting session pronto.

Grooming, using a soft brush that soothes your cat, can also go a long way in bonding, with the added benefit of helping reduce shedding, creating a shinier and healthier coat and distributing essential oils throughout his skin and coat.

Be the Human Food Truck
Cats are no dummies! They know who is feeding them and, most of the time, know to be nice to that person! Being the food source definitely helps strengthen your bond with your cat.

Another important food-related bonding tool is treats! If your cat associates you with the random, extra yummy stuff, he will likely want to spend more time with you, just in case you’re doling out some extra goodies.

So, friends, what do you think? Do you have other ideas for best ways to bond with your cats? Cats: any advice for your humans?

 

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If you need a break from your brackets, check out Flo’s rockstar team of cat basketball players. It’s #Flosanity Season! GO #FLOCATS!

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