Learn about your pet’s body systems

A recent article on Dr. Plotnick’s blog about the feline lungs describes the functions of a cat’s lungs, some common diseases, and some words or phrases that are commonly misused to describe a cat’s breathing. It’s very interesting and Dr. Plotnick does a great job of explaining veterinary topics for pet owners.

Bentley getting love from FelixOur Golden Retriever Bentley didn’t have lung disease. But realizing that he wasn’t breathing normally and getting him to the vet saved his life.

It was June 2005 and Bentley was 13 years old. The springtime weather was getting warmer, but it wasn’t so warm that Bentley should be hot or panting. But he was panting for no reason. He’d be lying around the house, or wake up from sleeping and start panting. This didn’t seem right to me so I took him to the vet.

Bentley’s lungs sounded fine, but the vet could feel something in his abdomen and an ultrasound showed a large mass on or near his spleen. Because a ruptured mass or spleen can be life threatening, Bentley was in surgery two days later. His spleen was twice as large as normal and was taking up so much space that it was pressing up towards his lungs and interfering with his breathing. Luckily, the enlarged spleen was not due to cancer, and Bentley recovered very quickly from surgery.

The photo above is about a year after surgery, with Bentley getting some attention from Felix. Bentley lived 4 years after surgery until he was 17 years old!

The only indication I had that something was wrong was that Bentley was panting and he shouldn’t have been. This shows how important it is to know what’s normal for your pet and to get your vet’s advice when you suspect a problem.

Check out some of Dr. Plotnick’s other articles. His previous articles include the bladder, spleen, heart, esophagus, claws, and more. He’s a feline specialist but you can learn a bit about dogs too, and how dogs and cats are different.

Posted in Golden Retriever, Health | 17 Comments

Thirteen Questions & Answers

I was inspired by CK’s recent post and thought I’d do a Q & A myself.

  1. Night owl or morning person? Both. I like to play around 11 p.m. then sit and watch out the front window for a while. I also enjoy waking my humans early in the morning for breakfast.
  2. What is your favorite treat? Butter
  3. What is your favorite color? Red. I bet you thought I’d say black, or gold (for my eyes). But I think I rock my red collar (when you can see it).
  4. What’s your favorite tree? My 6-foot tall blue carpeted perch with the deep round bed.
  5. What’s your favorite form of exercise? Playing feather toy with Mom is fun, but I also enjoy batting & chasing balls up and down the long hall. Oh, I also like running away from my Dad and him chasing me.
  6. What’s your favorite newspaper? The one Dad is currently reading.
  7. What’s the longest trip you’ve taken? It’s 43 miles round trip to my vet.
  8. What’s the sickest you’ve ever been? Probably when I swallowed a long piece of ribbon-like fabric. I was VERY lucky to escape surgery and only needed lots of fluids and some laxatives to get it through my system.
  9. Do you sing in the car? Sometimes, but not too much.
  10. Do you prefer baths or showers? Showers, although Mom calls it giving me a “bath”, it’s really a shower. I’ve never had a bath.
  11. If you could get yourself anything, what would you get? Another kitty sibling who was friendly and didn’t intimidate me.
  12. What is your biggest pet peeve? I don’t know what a peeve is. Our biggest pet was my Golden Retriever brother Bentley. He was big, but super friendly.
  13. Are you superstitious? No. And that’s why we’re ending at number 13!
Posted in Random musings | 29 Comments

Restocking the scratcher supply

Mom hasn’t ordered a backup big scratcher lounger yet but she did restock my supply of Smartykat Cat Chaise scratchers. These are the ones I actually scratch on. She takes two scratchers and glues the edges together to make a double-wide. One scratcher would be adequate on it’s own, especially for a kitten or small cat. I’m a medium-sized kitty and I prefer a double-wide because there are more options for how I sit, lie, and use it for scratching. It can be used right-side-up like a cradle, or upside-down as  a platform with a little tunnel underneath. It’s lots of fun when mom wiggles the feather wand toy under the tunnel and I can get my paw under there to attack it.

These scratchers are fairly durable and have a lot of scratching area if you use both sides. Each scratcher comes with a little packet of catnip.

Raven with her scratchers

Hey, check out my tail. You can see that I’ve grown more fur. It’s still a long way from being floofy, but it has some thickness to it and Mom says I don’t have ‘possum tail anymore!

Posted in Cat antics, Product reviews | 21 Comments

Time to replace my scratcher lounge

Last night Mom heard barfy noises and this morning she found a hairball in the one place that’s impossible to clean – on one of my giant cardboard scratchers.

I hacked up a hairball once before on this scratcher, so mom took a utility knife and cut away the offending cardboard and turned the scratcher over. Now that I’ve soiled the other side, there’s no more flipping & hiding and it’s time for a replacement. Luckily, she’s been storing a second scratcher in the closet.

The PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge is a bit pricey ($50 at Amazon), but it lasts a long time because I treat this like furniture and don’t scratch it much. I mostly use it for lounging and as a step to the window sill. I’ve had this one for over 5 years and it’s still in very good condition so Mom doesn’t mind the cost.

Replacement Scratcher

The PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge is well made and looks nice in the living room. The cardboard is dense and the ones I purchased years ago are cut & smoothed very well. The slick, colored edging has held up beautifully. I’ve sent these as gifts to two family members and they’ve also been happy with them. A larger cat can’t fit in the openings at the end, but kittens certainly could. I’m ordering another next week so I’ll see if they’re still the same quality as the ones I purchased years ago.

Posted in Cat antics, Product reviews | 25 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Today, we’re joining Brian’s Thankful Thurdsay Blog Hop.

Neighbor kitty at the catnip

This was the second neighborhood kitty to visit the catnip pot in my backyard in about 20 minutes. This guy looked up to say thanks.

I’m  thankful that I’m feeling better. The vet called and said my urine culture came back with E. coli and the antibiotic I’m on should take care of it. We’re all thankful that we should get over this little hurdle pretty easily.

Posted in Health, Neighborhood animals | 34 Comments