All you cat-lovers out there know about Doctors Foster & Smith, right?
Love… love… love!
Wish I had a million dollars… love!

Got their new cat-alog today (hee hee) and here are all the things I want to get for my babies.

1. Catspa
CatSpa activity center for cats ensures sensory heaven for all kitties. Features a variety of textures your cat can rub, massage, and groom against. From low textured platforms to removable brush inserts, this playground even hides catnip. Rim guard prevents catnip tracking and rubber feet prevent slippage. Catnip (1/2 oz. bag) included. Removable parts for easy cleaning. Measures 20" diameter, overall height 6".

2.  Peek-a-Prize
Tantalize your cat's instinct to hunt! Toys peek out, but can your cat free the prize? Stimulating and challenging, this interactive puzzle box keeps your cat mentally active. Place toys or treats inside for your cat to reach, bat, and scoop, and ferret out. Sturdy all-wood construction lasts years, and box includes two assorted toys to get the fun started. Also makes great toy storage until the game begins again.

3.  Laser Light Show
This cat toy's automatic laser chaser keeps your cat on the prowl. The laser dot, which circles, pauses, and then circles again, cannot be caught – which keeps your cat moving. The Ba-Da-Beam features a rotating laser that can be directed into one of two adjustable positions – straight ahead for wall use, or downward toward the floor.

4.  Thing in a Bag
Cats think this durable, claw-resistant bag is really alive. "Thing in a Bag" shakes randomly, bringing out your cat's stalking instinct. When activated, inner battery-operated shaker operates for 3 minutes before turning off automatically. Self-fastening bag closure. Requires 3 AA batteries, not included. 5" x 2" x 9" high.

5.  Crinkle Tunnel
Crinkle tunnel mimics the paper-bag sound cats love. Do you remember the times you brought home groceries, and your cat darted into the first empty bag you unloaded? Likewise, this crinkle tunnel is just the right size for cats to roll around inside and play. Crinkle liner between the outer leopard print and neutral inner fabrics makes the tunnel crackle with every touch. It features two 6" peek holes, a hanging toy for batting fun, and a sturdy spiral frame that resists collapse.

And the two BEST BEST BEST thngs ever…

6.  Floor to Ceiling Cat Tree

Floor-to-ceiling cat trees perfect for hiding, climbing, scratching, and playing. Each is a full 8 ft high with a secure base. Enticing breakaway catnip toy encourages endless play. The Mega Deluxe is a mega-sized tree made especially for big, energetic cats, or multi-cat households. Includes one sisal post, and three carpeted posts (one adjustable); fleece-covered hoop, and tall, all-fleece crow's nest for rest or play. Perches on the Mega Deluxe Tree are 19" x 19". Post diameter is 6". Base measures 21" x 21". Fleece crow's nest measures 12-1/2" x 17".

7.  Outdoor Cat Playground

Create the ultimate outdoor playground for your indoor cat. Hours of safe, outdoor activity in a spacious, airy, attractive cat enclosure that features three popular Kittywalk Systems in ONE! This system is lightweight, portable, and easy to set up and take down.Each component in this system is made of sturdy, industrial strength fishnet, woven to a metal hoop-shaped wicket. Endures rain or shine – from summer to winter – without rust, rot, or mildew. Kittywalk does not harm grass. It can easily be moved from place to place when it comes time to mowing the lawn or when a change of scenery is desired.

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A Post About My Cats. Yes, Frank, I’m the Crazy Cat Lady

Is it just me or does Isabel look ever so slightly thinner? Humor me and say yes. The first was 2-3 weeks ago at my old house, the second was yesterday.

And now, for your viewing pleasure… I am slowly working on creating a cat jungle gym in my basement to keep my cats entertained and hopefully give them and avenue for exercise. The first thing I did was cover the support pole in carpet so they can climb it like a tree. The first video shows Dunkin doing his thing. It's about 1/3 of the way in if you want to fast forward. The second video is showcasing how funny he gets when he is on catnip. I sprinkled it around the base of the tree and rubbed it all over it to get them interested. Yes, two videos only a mother would love.


The other thing I've done so far to keep the kitties entertained – installed three of these super comfy window perches. Soooooooooo many things to look at outside of this house. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and bunnies in the backyard. People and cars in the front. Both cats are in one window or another throughout the day.

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What Celebrity is your Cat

Copying BA who was copying Arbed…

What celebrity would your pet be? I'm Will Smith! Find out at Catster.com

Will Smith

Leading Man

A fresh prince in the pursuit of happiness, dunkin is megastar Will Smith!

Putting the jazz back in jazzy, dunkin is always moving and grooving to the beat of his own internal drum. Not one to settle for second best, dunkin only takes on projects that are sure to draw attention and improve his pawpularity in the pack. dunkin's broad appeal across breed, age and gender lines means that his actions often lead to his being named best in show. Smooth, suave and debonair… he's the perfect pet to take home to Mommy. Not lacking in the looks department, dunkin‘s toothy grin would send even the most furrocious group of alien invaders spinning helplessly back into space.

What celebrity would your pet be? I'm Ellen DeGeneres! Find out at Catster.com

Isabel's quirky little act get laughs whenever she's out and about… Hey! She's Ellen DeGeneres!

Turning on the charm wherever she may be, Isabel can ham it up with the best of the best. She's not afraid to stand up and be the center of attention, even if it means getting egg on her fur. Isabel will do her shtick in any size venue, from small clubs and coffee houses to large parks with huge audiences. A true lover of animalkind, Isabel generously shares what she has with her fellow furry friends. Isabel's highly recognizable vocal style is known throughout the ‘hood, and her many fans gather ‘round to hear her snuzzy tails, sure that every episode will be unlike the rest.

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Dunkin Update

Thanks to everyone for the messages and well wishes. He's home now and seems fine. Whew!

This whole episode has been really rough. I'm sure Dunkin was feeling pretty rotten in the days leading up to Sunday when I finally realized something was wrong. But cats, like my grandmother, will never let you know they are in pain or feeling sick. And true to form, Dunkin was acting perfectly normally last week.

Man, the realization that he could be suffering without me knowing, and the fact he could die and I would never have known anything was wrong, is scary. I try to be tuned into them and pay attention, but this adds a whole new level of attentiveness.

And man, I've been just wiped out emotionally. Sunday and Monday I was basically frozen – waiting and waiting and waiting to hear from the vet whether or not he was blocked and whether he would make it. I didn't want to make travel plans for Christmas because I didn't know what kind of care or planning I would need to do for Dunkin. I didn't know whether to be confident or hopeful or sad. I kept spiraling through all those emotions all day long.

Then the news came that he had blocked but it was just a bit at the tip and crystally instead of solid which was a huge relief. But when I picked him up yesterday morning to transport him from the emergency clinic to the vet, he was so sad and scared and pathetic it sent me spiraling all over again.

He had to wear a cone around his neck to keep him from pulling out the catheter or IV which essentially made it impossible for him to lie down or get comfortable. So he was hovering in a crouched position and kept shifting positions trying to get comfortable. I figure he probably hasn't gotten much sleep the past three days and we all know how much cats like to sleep. He kept shaking the paw with the IV, so I'm sure it was pinching, and he was covered in urine.

And he just looked at me with his big round eyes and cried the whole ride. The hard part was I couldn't really comfort him because I didn't want to disturb the catheter or IV and hurt him in the process, so all I could do was talk to him and scratch his head. That was the hardest thing. I knew he just wanted to crawl into my lap and get loved on but I couldn't do it.

So, after getting a clean bill of health from the vet he's back home and seems to be ok. He's a lot more low key than usual, I think he's exhausted more than anything. But he's taken well to the new prescription cat food (as has Isabel – yay! – she tends to throw up food) and has been quietly snoozing.

Isabel was really funny when Dunkin came home yesterday – it was like she had never seen him before. I laughed my butt off. She froze at first with big bug eyes and just stared at him. Finally she worked up the courage to sniff his cat carrier – very stinky. When he went over to say hi she hissed at him and ran away. That pattern pretty much went on all night. Hee hee. Poor Isabel. I think she loved loved loved being an only kitty and was not happy to have to share my lap and attention again.

So today both cats are inside and I'm monitoring Dunkin to make sure he pees. Tomorrow both cats go to the vet for their annual check-ups. After that, hopefully life will start getting back to normal.

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Owners of Male Cats – Please Read

It'll be a Merry Christmas after all but we had a pretty big scare yesterday.

I was sitting on the couch, drinking my morning quart of coffee and snuggling with Dunkin, my male cat. As usual in these situations, I have to get up periodically thus displacing the cat.

My cats and I speak a common language and there are certain phrases that we completely understand from each other. From them, jumping on the bed and purring in my face means "I'm hungry", climbing on the computer keyboard means "I'm more important than your blog, love me", and swatting the venetian blinds means "I'm bored".

From me, "Time for bed, picklehead" means, well, it's time to go to bed, and "Gotta get up" or "Gotta go to the bathroom" mean "kindly remove yourself temporarily from my lap so that I might take care of business. I shall return momentarily at which time you may resume your snuggling".

Usually, we understand each other perfectly, but yesterday Dunkin didn't budge with the usual "Gotta get up". Didn't budge with "Gotta get up, Dunkin Donut". Didn't budge with "Gotta get up, Pookie Poo Poo" with accompanying physical cue of wiggling the legs. But being as I really had to get up, I picked him up to move him and he let out a yowl and thrashed around in the air until I put him down.

Now, he was not mad at me, I could tell, and though he is a vocal cat, this yowl was more like pain. So I start cataloging possible reasons in my head and really couldn't come up with anything except that he had been tussling with another cat again. I did not find any puncture wounds or cuts in a quick sweep on his back half, but I was very concerned so I called the emergency vet (mostly for reassurance, to be honest). That phone call lasted all of 5 minutes and in 15 minutes I was in my car on the way to the emergency hospital.

The vet tech who answered the phone asked three questions:
"Is he male?"
"Where was the pain?"
"Have you seen him pee lately?"

For me the answers were:
"Right near his hind legs."
"No, he's indoor/outdoor and he pees outside."

They responded, "He could be blocked. You need to get him in here right away."

Oh crap.

That was most definitely NOT reassuring.

So after a prolonged battle of attempted bribes and physical force, I finally got Dunkin into the cat carrier and into the car for the trip. Now, he is very talkative as I mentioned before and gave me all kinds of not-so-nice words and cat cursing the whole way there. But I talked to him about being sick and going to the doctor and loving him so much and  wanting him to be healthy and happy.

They weighed him – a whopping 12.8 pounds – and the vet felt his bladder which she said was very small at that point. She asked tons of questions about his habits, what food he ate, grooming habits, changes in his behavior, etc. Then told me that what she was concerned about was a urinary track blockage which in male cats can be fatal very quickly if left untreated.

So, for all you Voxers out there who have male cats, and especially neutered male cats – please read this. She said this is one of the most unknown and most important medical problems for male cats and lots of people lose their cats before they even know something is wrong.

A urinary track blockage can be caused by lots of things (bacteria, virus, change in food, bad water, stress, change in environment, etc) and no one is exactly sure from cat to cat why it starts. Essentially a male cat's urethra is longer and more narrow than a female cat's and is therefore much more prone to getting clogged. If a cat experiences any of the above issues, crystals can start building up in his urine which can be irritating causing mucus to be produced. The combination of crystals and mucus form a plug which can partially or totally block the urethra limiting or stopping urine flow.

Like a bladder infection in people, having difficulty or pain attached to urinating is a horrible feeling. It can be bloody, there can be pushing and straining, and excessive licking of the genital area (in cats – ha ha) to try and clean it enough to function properly. Many people actually think their cat is constipated because the behaviors in the litter box are the same.

But unlike being constipated, if the urethra is allowed to get completely blocked, the urine backs up, the bladder gets bigger and bigger, the kidneys stop creating urine because the bladder is full and thus stop cleaning the body of toxins, and finally the bladder ruptures and urine and toxins leak into the cat's body killing him pretty quickly. It is very serious, very dangerous, and oftentimes lethal.

By some extremely fortunate circumstances, I was at home yesterday, snuggling with Dunkin, and happened to hit exactly the right place to make him yowl and raise my concern. Because it turned out that he did have crystals in his urine and though his bladder was small when I brought him in at noon, by 8:00 last night it had grown twice as big and he was only able to produce a couple of drops of urine even with the vet palpitating and squeezing his bladder directly.

By the grace of God I got him in EXACTLY when he needed to because if I had not, he most likely would have died.

That yowl is the only thing that triggered my concern. He was still eating normally, he was still snuggling and purring, he was still playing and going outside and picking on my female cat, Isabel. Except for that yowl, every other thing about him was normal and I never would have known. Cats often will not let you know anything is wrong until it is almost too late.

So last night the vet inserted a catheter both to unblock him and drain the urine. Dunkin will wear it for 48 hours to make sure he does not block again. The good news is his blockage was very crystally and right at the tip, as opposed to being much more solid and blocked throughout the whole urethra. He was expelling urine and yelling his displeasure at the vet by 10:00pm. She is also giving him IV fluids to keep him hydrated, kick his kidneys back into action, and keep him urinating under observation. They will remove the catheter and watch him for another 12 hours or so to make sure he continues to urinate on his own.

He will be home Wednesday morning at 7:00am. I am very blessed. Another few hours or if he hadn't yowled and I might have lost him.

So, everyone who has a male cat, please get yourself educated about FLUTD. Google "cat blocked urinary track" and read read read. I recommend this site because it is almost word-for-word exactly as my vet explained it to me and is in language anyone can understand.

I hope all of you are as fortunate as I was if this ever happens to your cat.
Bless you, bless your cats, and Merry Christmas.

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Being cute… they can’t help it.

Who me? I didn't drink your pink stuff. I don't know what you're talking about.

Ahem. It is now time to open the door and let me in. Kthxbai.

Tan kittehs are soooooo much cuter.

Sunbathing kitteh is not amused.

Zen kitteh is zen.

Lamp works for sunbathing on cloudy days.

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Warning… Cat Food Commercial to Follow

Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by cat food, commercials, or individuals expressing completely unsubstantiated opinions, please turn off your browser now.


Since my cat Isabel disappeared for a few days last week I have been trying to figure out why. I suppose I should explain that this was COMPLETELY out of character for her. If cats can be homebodies like some people are, Isabel is one. Since I brought her home at 4 months old, she has been like clockwork: plopping herself on my lap the MINUTE I sit down, coming in to snuggle and sleep every night, and showing up in the kitchen for breakfast every morning. Like clockwork. Completely reliable.

Then Thursday morning came and went, no Isabel for breakfast. Thursday evening came and went, no Isabel for snuggling or sleeping. It did look like she might have been around eating on Thursday judging from the amount of food in the bowl so I didn't worry.

Friday morning came and went, no Isabel for breakfast. Friday evening came and went, no Isabel for snuggling or sleeping. Friday's food bowl did not look like two cats had been eating from it. I begin to get worried.

Saturday morning, no Isabel for breakfast. Saturday evening, no Isabel for snuggling or sleeping. Now I am very worried and walk the streets in my neighborhood calling her and looking for her on the side of the road. I begin to make all kinds of plans for Sunday to go door to door with her photo, call the SPCA, etc…

Fortunately, she showed up about 1am on Saturday night to snuggle and sleep. Purring as if nothing had happened. I thought she might have seemed a little skinnier and more skittish, but that was probably me projecting my worries onto her.

So, the analytical part of my brain has been trying to figure out why. I've been at home on vacation this week working on my PhD apps and so have had more time that usual to observe her. She has been back like clockwork for her daily routines – whew – but I have noticed a few other things:
1) she is not parked 22 out of every 24 hours on the back of the couch in her sleeping spot;
2) she can run – who knew?;
3) she has been outside in the yard chasing things like she used to as a kitten.

What has changed? Nothing except her cat food. Can that be it? I have heard the commercials on tv claiming how much more energy cats have after eating a certain brand of food and my brain automatically responded with "yeah, yeah" because that's what they are SUPPOSED to say in commercials, right? But, I think I am starting to believe that this might just be what has happened to my sweet little Isabel.

All that running around, being outside, and chasing things hasn't been just one or two days, it's every day. The other afternoon when I went for my walk I found her halfway down the block in a woody lot stalking and chasing. This is a cat that pretty much never leaves my yard. Seriously. Neither does Dunkin – it's a great yard and the perfect place to live if you're a cat. So it was surprising to see her so far away.

I truly believe that she may just be experiencing some sort of resurgence since I switched her cat food. And I'm a believer.

So what about Dunkin, you might be wondering.Honestly, I haven't seen any difference in Dunkin, but he has always been an active cat – outside a lot, exploring, having adventures. My neighbors tell me they have found him in the bed of their pickup and outside their back window visiting with their indoor-only cat. Dunkin is also the one who defends the fortress, yowling and hissing whenever an unwelcome feline-type happens to wander into the yard. I know he has been in at least one physical spat because of the tufts of grey fur I found one day. Don't worry – Dunkin is black, and there were no pieces of skin attached so I don't think the other cat got hurt either. It looked more like the piles of cat fur some of you post after you comb your cats.

So, what is this wondrous stuff that seems to have worked miracles for Isabel? Nutro Dry food for Weight Loss, Roasted Chicken flavor. Gotta tell you, for now I'm a believer. We'll see how it plays out over time. I plan to take photos to see if she really does seem to be losing weight and, of course, vet visits will confirm it eventually. But for now… wow… just wow.

Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Wheat Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Natural Flavors, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Egg Product, Lamb Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Monosodium Phosphate, Salt, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Inositol, Vitamin E Supplement, DL-Methionine, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Niacin, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selentite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid.
Nutro supports the safe, ethical and humane treatment of all animals.
  Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (minimum) 32.00%
Crude Fat (minimum) 10.00%
Crude Fiber (maximum) 6.00%
Moisture (maximum) 10.00%
Ash (maximum) 6.50%
Linoleic Acid (minimum) 2.50%
Zinc (minimum) 180 mg/kg
Taurine (minimum) 0.16%
Ascorbic Acid (minimum)** 26 mg/kg
**Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.


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