A little spirit leaves us – Socks passes!

Socks was a very interesting cat.  He was a stray and my relative has been taking care of him.  She has been putting food out for him and he has been coming regularly to eat.  He has let me get about 5 feet from him. She could do better because it was her home and he knew her.   He stayed outside and she decided to not take him in because she had taken in two other strays years ago and was caring for them. One was a male and he didn’t like Socks at all.  The female tolerated him.

She noticed about a month ago that he was not using one of his back legs.  So she rented a trap for him but he freaked out once when he almost got inside.  He would not have anything to do with it after that.

We decided to remove the trap so she returned it and just wait.  He started coming back for food.

She then bought a dog/cat crate and which was bigger. A friend taught her how to rig a string so that she could close it from a far.  Once the cat was inside she would have to run to lock the door quickly.

She set the crate out and put the food into it to entice him in.  It took several days but she was successful. Once Socks was inside it, she sprayed some prenome to calm him.  He could hurt himself trying to get out.

Socks and awesome cat!

Socks an awesome cat!

My relative took him to the vet and he ended up being very sick with feline leukemia.  He also had a puncture wound.  His leg was not good.  He would have infected other cats with his disease.  He would have died very painfully and badly so maybe it was a good thing the decision to end his life was made. Never and easy decision to make.

So I celebrate Socks.  He was an awesome cat.  He had a very great strut.  He had long legs and could walk the patio swiftly.  I will miss keeping an eye out for him and helping to feed him on occasion.  Goodbye Socks.

 

Cat Scratch Post Refinished, a new take on it…

Sunny day, lazy day

Sunny day, lazy day

A relative decided she didn’t want a certain cat scratching post and so I asked if I could have it. She said “yes!”  I brought it home and introduced it to my cats.  They have been using it to the point that it was time to recover it again.

So on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, I jumped into the project.  Now, this relative said she had recovered it herself and when I started to work on it, I found a TON of nails.  They were everywhere.

Okay this cat scratch post was a design that I really liked.  Unfortunately I did not take a before photo.  Here are its features:

1. It didn’t tip over and I have two 16 pound cats that can do that very easily.  So it had a nice base.

2.  It was simply designed in a triangle shape.  We had been repairing a larger version with cubbies and we had grown tired of the complication.  This is the one that I have taken apart about 5-6 times and recovered.  It is now in the shed waiting to be redesigned.

3rd Reupholstering Job on the Posts

Too many Reupholstering Jobs on this version but too expensive not to repurpose!

This new/old one would be easier to recover and fix.  Here it is after I repaired it.  After taking it apart I thinking  that someone designed and created this cat tool and my relative somehow took possession along with a past pet.

The refurbished Cat Scratch Post May 2014

The refurbished Cat Scratch Post May 2014

3.  I am thinking of creating  a second cat scratch post that I could do a switch out with and therefore take my time in recovering it.  So I could set one out let them use that and when they had destroyed it, I would just put the new first out and go fix the second one and have it ready.

4.  This would be so much easier to fix and take apart.  My cats really don’t use the cubbies.  They are more interested in ripping into it with their claws.

Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of the cat scratch post before I started tearing into it.  It had sisal rope on the angle post and there was rug about 20 inches on the bottom part and sisal rope then more rug at the top.  Ebony did short work of the rug part. My cats are not that excited about rope although they had damaged some of it.  It also had a funny textured rug on the upright post that Sneakers was using but it was not helping him and his claws are getting long.  You can here them click on our floor as he walks.  So I really needed something better for them to use to help with their claw care.

Here I am removing the rope:

Removing the rope around the angle post

Removing the rope around the angle post

It had a ton of nails and tacks lodged in it and those are hard to remove.  I had to use my small and large crowbar and the claw part of my hammer to get them out.  I have removed many nails in my time so I kinda of know how.  There were very long nails 4 inches, tacks and variety of sizes of nails.  This concerns me because a cat can catch their claws in all these nails.  The tacks had big heads on them and that is okay as long as you secure them so the cat won’t catch on it.

I prefer to use long staples and an electric staple gun.  I then use a hammer to tap the staples in place after I shoot them into the rug and wood.  So I staple and then tap with the hammer and that locks them in.  If the staple doesn’t engage I do it again.  The staples work on one layer of rug.  If the rug is thick then you will have to use nails that have a good head on them so you can remove them later.  I also use screws so I can remove them with my drill.

This picture shows this design structure.  The post is not on the rug base.  The rug is around the base of the post.  This means the post sits on the wood directly and it much more stable.  Cool!

Scratch post construction angle

Scratch post construction angle

I started on the sisal rope and removed it and all the tacks.  I then removed the slanted post from the upright post and the bottom flat piece which meant I had to undo the rug piece that came off the top and spilled over onto the slanted post board.  I saved this because I wanted to reuse it.  I cleaned up and removed all the rug, staples and nails from the slanted post and saved the pieces so I could use them as a template to cut new rug pieces.  I was able to remove the funny textured rug on the upright post and not take the post off the flat base.  I recovered the upright which was not to hard or cumbersome because it was still attached to the base. I just made sure the rug was set down around the base of the post.  Now cutting the piece of rug for the slanted post is tricky because of the angles so I used the old pieces as templates.

Here is just portion of the nails:

The nail pile or some of them.

The nail pile or some of them.

The refurbished Cat Scratch Post May 2014

The refurbished Cat Scratch Post May 2014

Here is the photo again of the finished reupholstered cat scratch post.  Notice the piece of rug that is on the top of the upright post and spills over the top and down over the angled post.  I took it off and reattached that piece of rug after I secured the reupholstered angled post board.   I did not want to come up through the bottom piece of board and through the thick rug with a screw or nail, it is very hard to do.  So I did the attaching by screwing from the side of the bottom of the angle board.  Sounds complicated but not really.  I think they call it toenailing?

Once finished, Sneakers went over and tested it out.  He likes to squat at the bottom of the upright post and reach up.  He really dug in.  Later Ebony also went after the angle post.  It has withstood their assault so far.  It didn’t fall over on them or fall apart. Yeah!

Making a Second One:

So the plan is to make a second one of this design of cat scratch post and when I do I will post about it so you can give it a try if you like.

Making this new one will require using a skill saw or circular saw to cut the piece.  I have a Triton table that allows me to do cross-cut and it converts to a table saw.  So I guess I cheat a little.  I also get my hubby to do the sawing now.

You can use a circular saw free hand but please be careful and handle it safely.  It usually takes me about 1/2 hour to get my courage up to use it that way and while I do that I go over in my mind how to use it safely. Most important is kick back so don’t have your body right behind it, move a little to the side and have your marks on your post or board and secure the board so it won’t move.

http://www.raygirling.com/workctr.htm

This is a fancier one than mine.

This is a fancier one than mine.

The circular saw fits right into the Triton with some adjusting and works great.

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

I have not been able to find a similar design for a cat scratch post anywhere in the stores or online that I can afford or make.  This style and design is easy and I think we can get it done.

The nice thing is you can add sisal rope just about anywhere you like either on the slanted piece of board or the post piece.

Here are the dimensions.

Base:  18 x 16 inches – it is a piece of plywood about 3/8 inch thick.

Post:  This is the straight piece – it is a 4 x 4 post – 25 and 3/8 ” tall

Angle board:  This is a 2 x 4 piece of wood.  This has tricky cuts.  The bottom is at an angle and the top angle is very sharp.  I have drawn an outline of the angles using the angle board and my husband figured out those angles. The top angle is 34 degrees and the bottom angle is 65 degrees. This board is 25 and 1/4 inches long.

Don’t forget the rug and I usually go to Flynn’s Carpet Cents in Lynnwood, WA.  I can get pieces from them and you might be able to find a source near you that is similar. They do charge me for them about $10.00 but if Flynn is in the house you might get a freebie.  HA!

For more posts about how to recover a cat gym or scratch post go to the side of this blog and check under categories for “Cat Gym Repair.”  I talk about the tools you need and give other tips.  Maybe someday I will put all into a PDF.

Ebony has decided he likes us!

Ebony 2014

Ebony 2014

In the photo above, Ebony is right there below me while I am in my office chair asking to play or for more food. Look at the look, strong, direct…He was helping me practice with my new phonelet (phone and tablet in one).

In the past the cats or dogs that have come into my life, chose me.  So when I went to adopt Sneakers and Ebony at the Seattle Humane Shelter several years ago, I knew that this time I would choose and they would have to go along with that decision.

Sneakers didn’t hesitate, he accepted his two new humans quickly and happily.  It still took awhile to get him not to shy away if I tried to pet him from my full height and he gets uncomfortable when I get on the floor in front of him.  Mostly though he is putting his paw out to get our attention.

Ebony was a different matter.  It took him until now 2014 to finally calm down and not run away from us at a quick second.  He now lets us lean down and pet him without running off.  He still has to control it a little but he is asking for our attention with his little squeak, not just me but my hubby as well.  He even greets hubby at the door when he comes home.   We are so happy that he is finally relaxing and had decided we are okay.  He even licked my bare foot the other day, he just came over before I put my sock on and sniffed and licked it.  He sleeps on the Futon more instead of the bedroom all the time.  He climbs onto the table by the front window and looks out.  He occasionally jumps up on something like a chair rather than always stay on the floor.  He is an awesome cat and has the ability to be even more so and I keep hoping I can unlock that inner kitten…maybe this year??

I have observed that as a cat gets older it changes and usually becomes more confidant, if that is the word to describe it.  So that could also be a part of it for Ebony and Sneakers are now 14 years old.

So if you adopted a cat and it seems that it is just not happening where it is accepting you, just be patient and keep being gentle and loving.  If I have something in my hand, I let Ebony sniff it.  Why that helps I do not know but it seems to calm them. I took to petting Ebony while he was on the Futon when I went to get my slippers. He usually takes off when I approach cuz he knows it is my place to sit.  I also pet him right before I give him his breakfast.  I keep doing little things like that to reassure him it is okay.  Hang in there…!

Waiting for Spring!

Sneakers and Ebony are waiting for Spring.  They are tired of this strange winter.  Sneaker’s checked out the backyard and then told me all about it.

Soaking up the light

Soaking up the light

Sneakers and Ebony would like to encourage you to adopt a pet.  There are so many cats and dogs that need homes.

Try this website Adopt  Pet.com http://www.adoptapet.com/  Click on the tab for either dog or cat and add your zip code and grit your teeth through their email sign up which you can opt out if you like and ad, but eventually you get to the page you want showing animals in your area.  Click for more details and the shelter that has that animal gives more details and links in the description so you can check them out as well.

A Month into 2014!

Sneakers is helping with the laundry

Sneakers helping with the laundry

It is almost a whole month into 2014.  Sneakers is dreaming about Spring.  He goes outside for only a few minutes to sit on the back porch.  I think he is a fair weather cat and even though it is sunny it is chilly out there.  I was weeding in the front yard and left the gate open to the back yard and Sneakers was out but ran back real fast when I caught him.  Oops, I was not being a good human.  The front yard is not safe and he is so naive.

He was whacking his fuzzy ball around last night and scampering around the living room so he is feeling better.  He has had a bit of a cold and was sneezing some. Ebony was even playing a little and ran behind the Futon.

Ebony goes up to his human’s office door and yeowls.  He doesn’t like it closed. So this means a little petting session on the floor.  He tries to get as many of those in before the human bedtime.  He was fussing this morning about 4:20 am so up I got to settle him down.  He is coming out of his shell and getting bolder and bolder.  He has come so far from the scared depressed kitty in the cage at the shelter.  His left eye has been a little wet but he is not sneezing like Sneakers.

Ebony and Sneakers are doing well and enjoying life.

Celebration: Four Years with Sneakers & Ebony

Ebony & Sneakers by the front window

Ebony & Sneakers by the front window

Yes, it is that time again, November 21st.  Four years ago we adopted Ebony & Sneakers from the Seattle Humane Society — Ebony and Sneakers.  They were not in great shape with Ebony having Giardia.  They had been at the Humane Society for 4 months.  Both needed to learn to trust us and it has taken a long time with Sneakers being the bolder one.  Ebony was depressed and it took a long time to get him to even like catnip.  

Now…

Sneakers has his tail in the air and up 98% of the time.  It is down only when he hears thunder. He is doing well although he refuses to eat the kidney prescription diet so I am trying for cat food that is low in phosphorous.   I am also changing from the regular cat food Friskies Mixed Grill and trying other canned foods.  I am mixing it up.  So far they has rejected Wellness and EVO canned foods.

The point is to get him to eat the food. If you have a cat with kidney issues go here and be prepared to read: Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease  http://www.felinecrf.org/  She has a list of foods and their phosphorous levels and other ingredients.  It takes awhile to get use to the site, so go slow and take your time.  It is packed with information.

Ebony just went to the vet last Saturday and he is doing great.  He has a cyst on the right side of his neck and it was small last year and started to grow.  The vet treated it and removed the fluid and he is okay — no cancer.

So we have several options in dealing with this cyst:

1) Just check the cyst on occasion and keep and eye on it,

2) Take him in if the cyst gets too big and bothers him.  There is evidence that he has scratched it and caused scabbing.

3) Have it surgically removed.  It is a day surgery resulting in stitches that means we have to bring him back, followed by antibiotics for a day or two.

We are going with option one and two if needed.

The vet called last Monday and Ebony’s senior blood panel looked good but he did have one part elevated.  Sorry but I don’t remember the exact name of the blood reading.  It is associated with either parasites in his intestines or allergies.  I opt for allergies.  I have stopped giving him cat food with fish in it but that is very hard because the companies really like using it as an ingredient.  I was just looking at Wysong Chicken and fish was the second ingredient.  It is supposed to be low phosphorus although Ebony does not have kidney problems.  It is just easier to feed both the same foods.

Meanwhile, I had to pick up this medicine for Ebony and give it to him for 3 days (Pancour Suspension).  It comes in a plastic bottle about six inches tall with 6 six-inch syringes in it (3.5ml).   I give him the medicine for 3 days and then wait for three weeks and give him three more doses.  Sigh!  This photo is a little fuzzy but it gives you the idea of what I am dealing with.

Meds for Ebony

Meds for Ebony

Ebony is not easy, he is very skittish.  The last time we took him to the vet it took us a good 45 minutes to corral him and get him into the cat carrier.  All of us were not happy.

This time I was more confident for I had been picking him up and cuddling him in our morning petting sessions and he was okay with it.  I would lift him onto my knees and hold him close loving him.  A hug if you will and just for a minute and then release him.

I have been getting him use to me petting him in the morning when he is on the Futon and he doesn’t get up and run away.  This time I did my greeting with my fingers and let him sniff me and then I gently picked him up and made it to the kitchen were hubby was waiting to close the door if I didn’t get him into the cat carrier. I WAS AWESOME!  In he went into the carrier and I had the secured in seconds.  DONE! It was one of the better take Ebony to the vet sessions yet.  HA! YIPPEE!

He hollered the whole way to the vet.  He was pretty intimidated in the exam room but he was okay.  They were able to do all they needed to and returned him quickly.  We were back home within an hour and he was a little skittish for a while but about 2-3 hours later he was asking me for food and wanting attention.  So this visit to the vet went very well.

I have been trying to put the medicine into his food and it is requiring that I really watch him eat and monitor him carefully.  It is a lot of medicine and this is not the best way but trying to hold him and give it to him in his mouth is also not a great way either.  It might traumatized him and us and we actually might lose all the ground of trust we have built.

So here we are 4 years later.  Remember they are 14 years old.

The most important part is that they are happy cats.  Sneakers plays  with the loopy toy and whacks his fuzzy balls around.  He scampers through the living room on occasion. His tail is up at least 98% of the time except when there is thunder. At the moment he is sitting on my left on the desk platform drawer and his paw comes up and reaches out.  I can reach over and pet him and he squeaks.  We have this plastic roller cart with a step stool and he can climb up and lay on it near me while I work on the computer at my desk. He isn’t Minx who would actually sit on the desk within inches of me and whack me really hard with her paw.  Sneakers paw is a lot gentler and he is so patient waiting for me to pay attention to him.

They were piled on top of me the other night on the Futon and cuddled close.  This time Ebony curled up in front of me as I lay on my side and that is good because he is heavy about 15+ lbs. Second main human was talking and that usually triggers Ebony to run but he stayed put. Hopefully he is learning that our talking is not a bad thing??

Ebony was being very curious last night and was whacking a piece of straw that came down from some Halloween decorations I had.  We usually don’t see him play like that. Cool!

Sneakers keeps finding intruders in the backyard a couple of cats I don’t recognize but not serious confrontations.  He hears me say no and actually stops and looks at the stranger cat. Now if it was Puffer the stranger cat would be in BIG Trouble!  They usually run off so we are good.  It amazes me how fast Sneakers knows that something is not right.  I barely get the backdoor open and he is on alert in less than a second.

So life for Sneakers and Ebony has its challenges but on the whole things are going well.