We suggest you start reading at the beginning, June 2009. It's much more fun this way!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All cats are the same?

Whoever said this must have referred to the character of cats as it is very clear this statement could not have been made with regards to looks. I mean there are short hair, semi-long hair and long hair cats. We come in all kinds of colours and our coat can be anything from plain to striped to spotted to marked in endless variations.

But is it true that all cats are the same? No, absolutely not! Take us for example. Although we share looks (and pretty darn georgous ones we might add) we still are so different in character. Let's start with Hunter. He is one big fluffy, cuddly guy, very gentle with kids yet scary when he gets angry. It's the wildcat in him which also shows in his size and strength. He is totally focused on Sue and 150 % loyal to her.

Hunter does not like to lay on peoples laps but when he does it anyways, it's always with Sue. He seldom plays when someone is watching him - as if he was embarrassed of showing this side of himself. But when he thinks he is alone, he can chase a toy-mouse, trowing it high into the air or chase me, play hide and seek or simply chase his own shadow or some imaginary prey. His favourite toy is a small white pompom Sue made for him years ago and he looks so funny walking around carrying it in his mouth.

Hunter likes to lay on Sue's spot on the couch but when she comes and asks him to leave, an ever so slight touch will make him get up and leave the place to her. He also likes to lay on his back, all four paws stretched out and expose his belly. But careful there: you might scratch him a few times and then he decides he's had enough and bite you. Hunter goes and jumps on André's and Sue's bed every night when they go to bed. He will lay there for a few minutes and get pet then leave again. It's his way of saying good night to them.

All in all he is a great companion and very loving and devoted.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heahlty gourmet cats

André and Sue really take their responsibility for us serious. So when Sue saw a new cat food in the store which advertised as health food, she took the time to do some research. You see, they both want the best for us and the choice of the right food is not only important but with the two of us has some background history, too.

When I came to live here, André and Sue decided to feed me dry food and to stick with the brand the Human Society feeds. They would fill my bowl and I could (and still can) go snack whenever I feel hungry. Since I was only approximately 3 months old and still growing, I got kitten food which is extra rich and contains everything a kitten needs to grow healthy and strong. Some time later they changed to adult food and when I started to develop a weight challenge to a diet version.

Things changed when I arrived (what's new?) and they tried to give Hunter his diet food while at the same time feeding me the extra rich kitten food. Yeah right, as if we let anybody tell us what to eat. Since variety is the spice of life - and this certainly holds true when there is food involved - Hunter indulged in my food while I just loved his. This lead to Sue asking the vet for advise and ending up feeding us both the same, just regular adult food. But the damage had been done: Hunter had gained some more weight and I was just skin and bones. So Sue changed our food once again. There was a product which is supposed to help overweight cats with that issue while at the same time help underweight ones to build some muscle mass. It didn't really change anything for the two of us but at least it was tasty.

When Sue saw this new food we mentioned at the beginning, she put in several hours of research. She compared about 3 dozens dry cat foods for nutrients, protein, source of protein, healthy and unhealthy ingredients. Not just what was in there but how much and quality of ingredients, too. Then she narrowed it down to about six products and went to the store to compare prices. Based on all that she found that the healthiest food she could find for us cost just slightly more than what she was feeding us at the time. So now we get this new stuff and we love it - it's tasty and good for us. Honestly, who wouldn't want that if it means a longer life and fewer trips to the vet at the same time?

Boy, writing sure makes one hungry! Come on, lets go have a snack.

hunter and trapper

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At the groomer's

When André's family came to visit recently from Europe, Hunter and I got quiet a bit of attention. Most of them had never seen us before and only heard some of the stories about us. So when Sue told some that I hadn't heard before I listened with interest.

According to Sue it started with Hunter developing some mats in his fur which couldn't be combed out. He doesn't like it at all if something pulls too hard on his fur. It could be because of the shape his coat was in when he was brought to the Human Society as a baby. The staff had to completely shave him when he first got there. Maybe they had tried to comb him to the point where he just couldn't take the pulling any longer. After that experience he doesn't like being shaved either.

Anyway, he had those mats and André and Sue figured it would be easiest to bring him to the groomer and let a professional do the job. When Hunter and Sue arrived, the groomer had just finished with a dog and put him back into a cage. A second dog (both of them larger than Hunter by the way) was waiting to be picked up, too. As soon as they smelled a cat in the room they both started to bark and stand up in the front of their respective cages. You should have seen the look on the groomer's face when only moments later both dogs retreated to the back and lay down quiet and intimidated after Hunter had given them a piece of his mind!

So the groomer gets ready to cut the fur mats out and Sue takes her jacket off to give her a hand. Let the fun begin: Hunter puts up a major fight and no matter how much Sue tries to hold him, the situation quickly turns into a wrestling match. After a lengthy struggle they're finally done and the groomer is very happy to see Hunter back in his carrier. She advises Sue that she will not take Hunter back should he need more trimming. Sue would have to bring him to the vet who could do the job after giving Hunter a tranquilizer.

Now as you can see in Hunter's pictures his fur is really long - up to 4 inches - and this causes the mats. It's just impossible to keep his coat clean without help. So one year after the trip to the groomer there is no avoiding it any longer: Hunter's coat needs some trimming and off he goes to the vet where they have a really tough time doing the job even after they had given him not one but two shots of tranquilizer! Next time, they say, they will have to put him under a full anesthesia to do the job again!

Hunter looked kind of cute though: completely shaved except for his head, paws and tail. And he has not to go back since André found a way to groom him at home. One day, a bit frustrated with the situation, André grabbed the comb and got to work rather roughly. And surprise: Hunter doesn't mind at all - he even likes it that way. Problem solved! Maybe he is just ticklish!

Funny story, eh? See you around

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sick to the stomach

Unfortunately I became sick a second time in my life. This time real bad. It had something to do with my bowels. I was sick to the stomach and had a bad (and stinky) diarrhea and had become badly dehydrated. It was so bad, that I didn't even eat or drink anything anymore.

Based on previous experience and knowing that the vet would want to take my temperature again (and you know how that goes) both André and Sue came along to give the vet a hand. Yes, you read that right: 3 against 1! We went through the usual procedure and the vet made his diagnoses and determined the necessary treatment which would include pills - again.

The vet gave me two shots and then trimmed some fur around my back end to clean up a mess from my diarrhea and prevent it from building up again. Then he injected 2 large syringes of liquid under my skin to rehydrate me (I got two more of those a few days later). After supplying André and Sue with the necessary medications and giving them some instruction on getting food into me, he sent us on our way.

For the next ten days Andre and Sue looked after me real good and gave me tender loving care and my medications every day. Only once did we have a slight problem with the medicaion. Other than that we all did really good. I told you once before I am a good patient - and Sue is not too bad a nurse. The one part I didn't like was when they tried to force-feed me with soft and rather liquid food out of a syringe. It's kind of like taking pills - same principle and method.

I got all well again and have never been sick since then. Let's hope it will keep being this way for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How to give a cat a pill

Two weeks ago I told you about the time I was sick and admitted to the animal hospital. But then the next morning the vet sent me home because of the havoc I was raising in there. The vet gave Sue pills which she and André were supposed to give to me over the next 10 days. And that was when it got interesting. If there is one thing all cats agree on it is that they do not want to take pills. And so, over the years, we have developed instinctive defense mechanisms for this situation. That I am pretty big and strong and can get frighteningly wild if I dislike something probably made it even more of a wrestling match.

First day Sue tried to trick me into swallowing the pill by giving it to me with some food. But I'm not stupid and ate everything but the nasty little bit. So she tried again, now giving me some of my favourite treats and sneaking the pill in there. Forget it - same story, different way. As if I would fall for this old trick. Finally André tried and ended up holding me down and when I opened my mouth to protest, he shoved the pill into my throat.

The next day I was prepared for that trick and determined not to let it happen again. First of all I put up a little bit of a fight when André tried to hold me so he was forced to try to corner me somehow. Unfortunately I was not at my best and didn't see that one coming. It is relatively easy to back out of a hold but once your back is to the wall it becomes a bit more difficult. So he got me again.

Third day I tired to scare Sue off by growling and trying to bite her, which I really don't like to do to her, but she left me no choice. This was really making it difficult for her - but not impossible. I had to find a way of holding them off and quick. So on day four I combine my efforts to backing away and growling at the same time and biting as soon as they got their hands on me. They now had to join forces, one trying to hold me while the other was attempting to make me take the pill. I lost that wrestling match but not without putting up a fight for several minutes.

From that moment on the odds were stacked heavily against me since now they teamed up right from the get-go every morning. After trying different ways of holding me down they finally settled on this strategy: André would kneel over me so I could not back out with my back up against him and stuck between his legs. He would then hold my head with both hands in what looked as if he was strangling me. Then Sue moved in and tried to pry my jaws open and then shove the pill so far back into my mouth that I had no other way to get rid of it than to swallow. This was a mean maneuver and I finally had to admit defeat.

I had fought hard and as long as I could but in the end 2 humans against 1 cat turned out to be more than one cat - any cat - could possibly handle.

See you next week