Friday, February 24, 2017

Mews and Nips: Cats for Hire

working-cats

Best Friends LA’s working cat program gives cats who are not bonded to humans a chance at being placed with adopters who are looking for natural rodent deterrents for enclosed properties such as barns, warehouses, churches, factories or other facilities. This program is a win-win on a lot of different levels: shelters benefit because it makes more room for socialized, friendly cats who need homes, adopters benefit because they can save their property from rodent damage without spending a lot of money, but most of all, the cats benefit, because the program allows them to safely live in an environment where they can thrive. For more about this wonderful program, visit the Best Friends Blog.

If you missed any of the stories featured on the Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap: on Sunday, we told you to just say no to drama, on Monday, we featured the first in our four part series about Ruby’s trip to the dentist (diagnosis and choosing a veterinary dentist,) on Tuesday, we reviewed Nature’s Cat litter mats,on Wednesday, we featured part two in our series about Ruby’s trip to the dentist (preparation,) and on Friday, we featured part three in our series about Ruby’s trip to the dentist (our day at Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery.) And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a Berkley Bestiary Collection Prize Pack from Galison!

The kitty in today’s video uses some of the most gentle wake up tactics I’ve ever seen – so sweet!

Have a great weekend!

Photo via Best Friends

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Morrocco Method 5 Elements Volcanic Dry Powder Cat Shampoo Prize Pack Winner, and Special Discount

morrocco-method-cat-shampoo

Congratulations, Cynthia Began! You’re the winner of a Morrocco Method 5 Elements Volcanic Dry Powder Cat Shampoo Prize Pack.

Look for an email from Ingrid*.

For more information about Morrocco Method’s pet products, please visit http://shop.morroccomethod.com/cats

Special 15% Discount for Conscious Cat readers

Get 15% off all orders with code Feline15.

*Winners are selected by random drawing. Winners need to provide a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours of receipt of notification e-mail or announcement of winner’s name(s) on The Conscious Cat. If this information is not received within the timeframe stated, an alternate winner will be chosen.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part Three: Our Day at Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Sleepypod-review

This is the third installment of our four-part series “Ruby Goes to the Dentist,” in which I share my recent experience with Ruby. I’m hoping that it will not only put your mind at ease if you’re faced with a cat who has to have a dental procedure, but that it will also help you ensure that your cat gets the optimal level of care before, during and after her dental work.

If you’ve missed the first part in this series, please read Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part One: Diagnosis, and Choosing a Veterinary Dentist

If you’ve missed the second part in this series, please read Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part Two: Preparation

Leaving for the dental clinic

The dreaded day had arrived. I will admit that no matter how much I tried to not feel anxious the day and night before, none of my tried and true techniques for reducing anxiety – meditation, deep breathing, herbal remedies, flower essences – quite did the trick. I did my best to stay as calm as I could.

Ruby was not thrilled that she didn’t get breakfast, but after some fussing, both girls settled into their normal morning routine of napping while I worked for an hour or two, then had breakfast.

Finally, it was time. I needed to put Ruby in the carrier. I briefly closed Allegra into my bedroom. I did not want her to see me put Ruby in the carrier. I was also worried that Ruby might be rather vocal about her displeasure, and I did not want to risk stressing Allegra out wondering what was going on. Thankfully, my “surprise” plan worked: I was able to put Ruby in the carrier without any fuss. However, once she realized that she was trapped, she was not happy. I had never heard sounds like that come out of my little girl!

I put the carrier in the car, and quickly went back into the house to open my bedroom door. Allegra gave me a curious look, but had already started to settle on my bed for her morning nap.

It’s a 25 minute drive from our house to the dental clinic, and for the first half of it, Ruby cried and cried. I played Through a Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming for her in the car. These recordings, re-orchestrated especially for animals to provide comfort and reduce anxiety, feature soft piano and string versions of classical pieces. The music helped relax me a little, and eventually, Ruby calmed down, too.

welcome-sign

Exam with Dr. Chamberlain

Once we got to the clinic, the receptionist ushered us directly into an exam room, so Ruby wouldn’t be exposed to other animals in the waiting room. I opened the carrier while we were waiting for Dr. Chamberlain. Ruby cautiously peeked out, then climbed on my lap. A few minutes later, Dr. Chamberlain entered the room. Ruby practically flew back into her carrier! I gently lifted her out again, and Dr. Chamberlain examined her mouth, and listened to her heart. He advised me that just on visual exam, he could see several teeth that most likely would need to be extracted. I had expected some extractions, so this did not come as a surprise. Of course, the full extent of what would need to be done wouldn’t be apparent until Ruby was under anesthesia and x-rays of her mouth had been taken.

Waiting and worrying

Ruby would be the second procedure of the day. Thankfully, the clinic had an empty room available where I could sit with her until it was time to induce anesthesia. Ruby sat quietly in her carrier, but I could tell how stressed she was. Every time there was a noise outside the door, she tensed up.

In the past, I was always able to observe my cats during dental procedures, since they were either done at a clinic I worked at, or by a veterinarian who was a friend. While I could have asked, and probably would have been approved, to watch Ruby’s surgery, as with Allegra’s procedure, something told me that it would better for all of us if I was just going to be the worried mom in the waiting room.

After a couple of hours, it was time. Jenn, Dr. Chamberlain’s technician, came out into the waiting room with an update. The x-rays showed that Ruby had multiple resorptive lesions. There was also a lot of damage to other teeth below the gum line, something that hadn’t been evident on a visual exam. Dr. Chamberlain recommended extracting all of Ruby’s teeth.

I had expected multiple extractions, but this came as a shock. Since I completely trust Dr. Chamberlain’s recommendations, I agreed, but it took me a while to wrap my mind around this. Buckley had had all her teeth extracted to treat her severe stomatitis, so I had experience with this. I knew that cats do just fine without teeth, but the thought of your cat having to go through this is pretty brutal even when you know what to expect.

Visual dental exams are not enough to assess dental problems

Unfortunately, this also perfectly illustrates why visual dental exams are not always good enough. Sometimes, as was the case with Ruby, the real damage occurs underneath the gum line. For this reason, I can’t stress enough just how important it is that the practice you choose to have your cat’s dental work done not only has dental x-ray capabilities, but that the veterinarians are also have extensive experience in interpreting dental x-rays.

Jenn advised me that it would be at least four or five hours before Ruby could go home. I was worried about Allegra being at home by herself for that long, so rather than sitting in the waiting room at the clinic, I went home.

I shouldn’t have worried. Allegra apparently couldn’t have cared less that he sister wasn’t there! She was totally relaxed and followed her usual routines.

Ruby was under anesthesia for three hours. About an hour after they finished, Lauren, another of Dr. Chamberlain’s technicians, gave me discharge instructions for Ruby. Then she brought a groggy looking Ruby back to me. It was finally time to take my baby home.

Coming Monday: Allegra Goes to the Dentist – Part Four:
Returning Home

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Giveaway: Berkley Bestiary Collection Prize Pack from Galison

cat-notebook-notecards

This giveaway is sponsored by Galison*

Galison was founded in 1979 to work with museums to make artist imagery widely available in the form of well-designed paper products. Galison first published calendars and a few books before focusing primarily on fine art stationery, boxed notecards, greeting cards, personalized Christmas cards (for individuals and businesses), journals, and other gift products for writers. Galison features a line of cat-inspired products, which includes notebooks, greeting cards, and even a 1,000 piece Cool Cats Puzzle.

cat-notebook

Enter to Win the Berkley Bestiary Collection

The “Berkley Bestiary” collection from Galison, as it is lovingly called, is filled with a cast of furry friends that you just can’t help but love! The collection includes 2 notebooks (80 lined pages per notebook), a greeting card assortment box that includes 16 notecards in four designs, and one porcelain tray – all featuring quirky yet sophisticated animal portraits and humorous anecdotes.

cat-porcellain-tray

For up to seven ways to enter, see the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada only, and ends Thursday, March 2. Winners will be chosen by random drawing*.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information about Galison’s products, and to purchase, please visit their website.You can also find Galison on Facebook and Instagram.

*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, you understand that you are providing your information to The Conscious Cat, and not to Facebook. We will never sell, rent or share your information with third parties. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winner must provide The Conscious Cat with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Galison, which means that I was paid to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will never see products or services featured on this site that I don’t approve of.

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The ARK pet oasis for pets taking planes

If you have to fly, the thought of transporting your pet in a crate in the cargo section of a plane may be disconcerting...but some airlines are taking more consideration for the welfare, comfort and well being of pets traveling by air.

Photo from arkjfk.com

















 A particularly encouraging improvement is the ARK at JFK--an airport lounge for animals. The ARK offers (or will offer when completely functional):

* more than 100,000 sq ft, 14.4 acre facility
*Pet Oasis features 47 kennels for dogs and 12 for cats
*round-the-clock 24/7 animal care
*Zen-like environment
*dedicated outdoor relief area for dogs
*quarantine area
* pre-flight and after-flight walks
*baths and/or brushing
*healthy meals
*cleaning of travel crate

*48 climate controlled stalls and 24 additional export stalls for horses
*aviary with special habitats
*vet on premises
*transportation to connecting planes
*airside location for direct access to planes
*

Have you ever experienced this kind of lounge or treatment when flying with your pet?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part Two: Preparation

tortoiseshell-cat-face

This is the second installment of our four-part series “Ruby Goes to the Dentist,” in which I share my recent experience with Ruby in hopes that it will not only put your mind at ease if you’re faced with a cat who has to have a dental procedure, but that it will also help you ensure that your cat gets the optimal level of care before, during and after her dental work.

If you’ve missed the first part in this series, please read Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part One: Diagnosis, and Choosing a Veterinary Dentist

Preanesthetic lab work

No cat, no matter how young, should ever undergo anesthesia without preanesthetic bloodwork. Cats under seven years of age should get a CBC (complete blood count) and “mini” serum chemistry. If the cat’s FeLV/FIV status is not known, these tests should also be run. Older cats should have a CBC, complete serum chemistry, T4 and urinalysis performed.

I had Ruby’s lab work done two weeks prior to the procedure. All results were normal, and she was cleared for the procedure.

The carrier

We’ve had housecall vets since I adopted Ruby six years ago, so she has never been in a carrier except for the trip from her foster home to mine. I’ll admit that I am not very good about carrier training my cats. The carriers are always out, and sometimes, Allegra or Ruby will nap in one or the other, but I have never been willing to actually put them in a carrier and take “trial rides.” Given how easily both of them get stressed, I felt that the benefits of these “trial runs” would be far outweighed by the stress it would cause them.

I felt that the best approach with Ruby was going to be using surprise to my advantage. As with so many things with cats, sometimes, you have to adapt the rules for your own cat’s personality.

Managing anxiety – Ruby’s, Allegra’s, and my own

I was pretty anxious about the whole thing, and I had to be careful to make sure that Ruby and Allegra would not pick up on my nervousness. While I needed to spend time planning the various aspects of this process, I also knew that I couldn’t spend the month between the time I scheduled the procedure and the actual date constantly worrying about it, so I forced myself to put it out of my mind each time the worry and anxiety entered my mind. I allotted myself a 5-minute worry period once a day, but that was the only time I got to worry about it.

Preparing both cats for being separated for the day

I was also concerned about Allegra. She had never been separated from Ruby before. While the girls don’t cuddle together, they genuinely like each other and enjoy spending time in the same room together. They have their routines. Would Allegra be stressed, having the house all to herself? Would she not recognize Ruby when we returned from the clinic?

It’s an all too common scenario: when one cat returns from the vet, the cat who stayed at home greets her former friend with hisses and growls, and may even attack. Experts are not sure what causes this form of aggression. Most likely is is caused by the returning cat smelling differently. Additionally, a cat who was under anesthesia may behave differently, which may be perceived as a threat by the cat who stayed at home.

I followed Pam Johnson-Bennett’s advice for preventing this type of aggression. I took a pair of clean socks and rubbed them over Ruby to collect her regular scent. I focused especially on the areas on her cheeks to collect the pheromones. I sealed the socks in a plastic bag. On our return, I would rub Ruby’s scent all over her to help get rid of the clinic smell.

I prepared my Reiki room as Ruby’s temporary recovery room. It’s never a good idea to let a cat who is returning from a day at the vet’s (or even just a regular vet visit) back out with your other cat unless you know that the cats have been fine with it in the past. Since we had issues when Allegra returned from her dental work, I wasn’t taking any chances. My plan was to keep Ruby in the Reiki room for at least a couple of hours, possibly overnight. This would allow for some of the clinic smells on her to dissipate, and give her a chance to recover more fully from anesthesia.

Coming Friday: Ruby Goes to the Dentist – Part Three:
Our Day at Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Nature’s Cat Litter Mat

litter-mat-review

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Cat Litter Mats

Litter mats can be a great way to reduce one of the messiest aspects of sharing life with a cat. They can help reduce tracking, and keep any accidental spills contained. The Nature’s Cat Litter Mat does both beautifully.

Generously sized, these thick, heavy duty mats come in rectangular and half moon shapes, and in two colors. They are made from commercial grade vinyl that will not slide on your floor and will not crack or rip with normal use. The mats are waterproof and BPA free.

litter-mats

We asked for the rectangular mat for this review. The first thing I liked about this mat is that it shipped rolled, so there were no creases or wrinkles in the mat when I took it out of the box. I simply rolled it once in the opposite direction, and it lay flat right away.

The mat is easy to clean – either vacuum up trapped litter or shake the mat out. Ruby is a vertical peer, but thankfully, since we’re using the Never Miss Litter Box, we no longer have urine accidents. Should you have any spills, the mat can be easily rinsed and dried.

litter-mat

I’ll offer one caution: if you’ve never used a litter mat before, or even if you’re currently using one with a different texture, give your cats a chance to get used to the texture of this mat before you put it under the box. Allegra and Ruby did not mind the rough texture (in fact, Allegra thought it made a delightful horizontal scratching pad,) but some cats may not like it, and you don’t want to inadvertently cause a litter box aversion.

Special offer for Conscious Cat readers:
Get 10% off plus free shipping!

The mats are available on Amazon, regular price is $19.99. The special 10% discount offer is good through March 1, 2017.

Click here to activate your special discount code

FTC Disclosure: I received these products for review at no charge. I also received a fee to feature these products. Receiving the free product and the fee did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion. Or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest and unbiased opinion.

 

 

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