Friday, April 14, 2006

Poor Kitty :(

Stuck for 14 days, she was finally freed. :)

It's amazing the lengths we will go for our pets...

Full Story

Toilet training your cat

No, not training your cat to use the litter box, but training him to use the actual toilet. Could this be possible?? We saw the cat in ‘Meet the Parents’ use it, but that’s just the movies, right? Well if you believe this guy it certainly is possible.

The idea of getting rid of the litter box got my wife and me thinking we should give it a try. So, we bought the book and set out to train Micio how to use the toilet. :)

Micio was actually pretty good in the first few stages. We moved his litter box right into the guest bathroom and he had no problems finding it. Then we moved it up onto a stack of phonebooks so that it was level with the toilet, just like the book says to; no problems. Then we took the next step of using a metal bowl filled with litter in the actual toilet; still no problems.

(A little side note: we bought this ‘system’ for toilet training. Perhaps it works for some, but micio wasn’t having any of it. It was flimsy and totally insufficient to support his weight. We tossed it in favor of the nice sturdy mixing bowl.)

Now we’re supposed to teach him ‘proper stance’ on the toilet seat. We would catch him using the toilet and needed to put his legs on the seat so he was properly perched, instead of standing in the bowl. This took a little more time than the previous steps, but he eventually got it. So now were about 2 weeks in and we’re supposed to begin removing littler from the bowl.

We slowly reduced the level of the litter until there was nothing. He didn’t like this much, and it is actually not that pleasant because you have to deal with ‘raw’ cat ‘excretions’. :)

Still he eventually got used to this… though there was definitely a level of agitation as we continued to modify his bathroom environment. The very last step is adding water to the bowl. For him, this was the last straw. Instead of trying to use the toilet, now with water in it, he decided the bathroom sink was more to his liking. This was mentioned in the book, and the suggested solution was to go back to putting a little litter in the bowl. We didn’t see how this would solve the problem and decided this was OUR last straw. :) Over the course of the previous month and a half or so we had grown tired of the ‘training’ and even began to want the liter box back ourselves. So, we gave it back to him, and he was HAPPY. That’s when we upgraded to ’the best ragdoll litter box, period’.

That’s our story… It may be possible, but neither Micio nor I possessed the mental fortitude to see it through to the end. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Stuck Byco

Stuck Byco
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.
Byco decided to jump behind the couch, but couldn't get out. After I took him out, he jumped right back there again :)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Micio’s Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

Sounds scary huh? Well it was…

It all started one day when Micio jumped out of my wife’s lap and caught his leg a little weird. He whined and limped a little bit, but not much and it seemed to come and go. We are concerned cat parents, though, so we took him to the vet after a couple days of catching him limping slightly.

The vet took some X-Rays and said he thought everything looked ‘OK’, bastard… Well he wasn’t ‘OK’. We took him home and just took special care to be gentle with him, but he kept limping and whining. Then, a week or so later, I picked him up and his leg swung up in an odd way, making him wince in pain; I felt terrible. He seemed to be ‘OK’ though…

The next morning, after waking up, he tried to stand up on our bed, cried and lay right back down. This scared the crap out of me, so I took him to the floor and tried to stand him up, but he just lay back down. He tried to walk, but he limped TERRIBLY. We took him right to the vet, who took more x-rays. This time he told us Micio had a growth plate fracture on the head of his femur.

(aside: A growth plate is where our bones grow longer when we’re young. They calcify over when we are fully grown. Micio, at 1.5yrs, being a ragdoll, wasn’t done growing…)

To this we responded, “But, you told us he was ‘OK’…” Anyway…

What he told us next was even worse… In order to fix Micio, we had to perform a FHO. This meant cutting off the head of his femur. We were shocked! The vet assured us that a ‘false joint’ would form and that since cats are light and four legged he would recover completely; we wouldn’t even know he had the procedure. Well considering the vets history of prognosis we were a little skeptical. But, Micio was in a LOT of pain, so we decided to go ahead with it.

Leaving Micio at the vet over night was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do… We went home and googled FHO. We read up on quite a few positive stories, like this one will turn out to be. :) We even read studies of when they are done and how, more often than not, recovery is complete…

Here’s what he looked like when we got him home…

Post Surgery
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

We had to do ‘physical therapy’ three times a day where we would move his leg in and out, he really disliked this… The reasoning behind it was that it would prevent adhesions from forming, resulting in limited mobility. We diligently performed all the proscribed therapy and took him in for checkups, but he never seemed to get back to 100%. He would still favor the leg, we called him tripod. :) He would clearly hop on three legs down the stairs and would lean on the left leg when he was standing still (even after 5 months). The vet said that it was because he wasn’t getting enough exercise. Dogs are easier in this respect because you can take them to the park and they happily run around and, as a result, heal nicely. Cats, on the other hand, are terribly indignant, and only do what they want…

Enter Byco :)

After byco grew up a bit, he began to get micio running around whether he wanted to or not. We noticed that Micio started jumping up on the counters again to get away from the little beast (he had stopped doing this altogether after the surgery). We noticed he even stopped favoring his right leg. Now, one year and three months after the surgery, after a lot of byco’s own flavor of rehab, you REALLY can’t tell micio had a FHO. It just took a bit longer than the vet promised…

Here’s his leg now…

Micio's Healed Leg
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

And here’s him and his physical therapist

Sleeping Nicely
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Drinkwell Pet Fountain

When we got micio he was perfectly content to drink from a normal water dish. We read about other Ragdolls drinking from the faucet and we saw them sleeping in the sinks even. :) We thought this was very cute...

Well micio soon began to lounge around in the bathroom sink, which we thought was just adorable. Then, one day, when my wife was brushing her teeth, Micio decided he'd have a taste of the sink faucet. Awwww :)

Well, not so much... For some reason, now he wouldn't drink from his water bowl anymore! So he would constantly beg for water from the sink; he would even wake us up in the middle of the night! Being the ingenious one that I am, I started imagining a solution involving a fish pump and a waterfall of some kind. Luckily I searched the internet first :)

Low and behold! A pet fountain :)

Apparently this fountain has all sorts of other ancillary benefits, besides allowing my wife and me to get a full night sleep again. Cats seem to think that running water is fresher, something to do with water stagnating in the wild (when house cats ran wild and free). :) The running water also stimulates them to drink more. You and I it stimulates to pee, however...

So we love the thing... When byco joined our family we got the add on resevoir so we didn't have to refill the darn thing every day.

There is one small drawback with it, though, and that is cleaning. It is pretty difficult to clean it thoroughly, and my big hands don't quite fit in all the little nooks and crannies. They do sell a cleaning kit, but I find that a brillow sponge and a tooth brush work pretty well. I also run a vinegar solution through it every few months to dissolve all the nasty hard water deposits that collect all over the thing.

So, if your cat has taken a liking to faucet water and wont let you asleep at night, or if you just want a happier, healthier kittie, get a DrinkWell.

By the way, both micio and byco still seem to think drinking from the faucet is a treat. :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sleeping Ragdolls

Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

Byco Sleeping
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

Is it a ragdoll thing to sleep like this? I have seen quite a few pics of other ragdolls, besides micio and byco, that sleep on their backs... Does anyone have a non-ragdoll that sleeps on his back?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bothersome Brother

Bothersome Brother
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.
For some reason byco LOVES to come over just to bother micio whenever he sees him resting comfortably :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The best Ragdoll litter box, period...

When you have a BIIIG cat, or two, you need a big litter box. You may think that your friendly neighborhood pet supply will have what you need; not so...

When we first got micio, we got one of those cute little boxes with the hood on them. He QUICLKY out grew it. We moved up to the largest litter box the pet store had. Well, that worked for a bit, but micio soon had trouble maneuvering in this. He is just about as big as ragdolls get, so this is perhaps only a problem for the upper limit. When we got byco it became apparent we needed another solution...

I had the bright idea of going outside the pet supply world and into the cement mixing world. :) Meet the best ragdoll litter box. It won’t win any beauty contests, but it's durable and it's BIG. It just so happens that it also fits very nicely in our office closet :)

My next idea was a kiddy swimming pool, but luckily they seem to be perfectly content with their cement mixing tub...

Ragdolls: The non shedding cat?

If you're thinking of buying a ragdoll you may have read up a little bit about their lovely demeanor or their gigantic size...

You may have also read that they are a 'non-shedding' breed. Well... This, my lovely reader friend, is what you call a 'relativistic term'. They must ALL be referring to non-shedding when compared to a Himalayan or perhaps a Persian, because they SHED A LOT!

My wife and I bought into this non-shedding thing completely, but just take a look around our house and you'll find little pieces of micio and byco rolling in the breeze like tumbleweeds. Our new duvet cover is a magnet for cat hair and I am frequently awoken by a tickling in my nose from hair I have inhaled off of it...

Don't get me wrong... We LOVE our 'Little' ragdolls, but just don't buy them because they're 'non-shedding'. And if you do buy one, Costco has a great deal on lint rollers. :)

P.S. Another thing you may have read is that they are 'non-matting'. This is pretty much true for such a long haired cat... I have read terrible stories about the other long hair breeds and we are definitely more fortunate than that. If you comb them at least once per week you shouldn't have any issues.

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