Tuesday, June 4, 2019

They Peed the Chewy.com Box, So It Must Be Good

Mr. Micawber, otherwise known as "Anxiety Cat"
We placed our first Chewy.com order this week. I don't know why we waited so long. The prices were the same as Walmart and the service was excellent. In fact, the boxes pretty much arrived before we finished logging off the computer. Okay, so I exaggerate. But the boxes came within 24 hours, and the order was exactly as promised.

We ordered Friskies Tender and Crunchy, Nine Lives Plus Care for the boys who need the urinary tract formula, and cases of Meaty Bits and Fillets. All were priced appropriately and shipped promptly.

After unpacking the boxes and putting away all the food, we put the boxes in the garage to take to the recycling center next week. Unfortunately, last night was cat medication distribution night. Once a month, my husband and I make the rounds of all six of the boys who venture outdoors on a daily basis and we distribute Frontline. We use a syringe and follow a dosing schedule created by our veterinarian, Dr F.

My husband rigged up an ingenious way to hold the vials of Frontline: he uses a small shop vise. It holds each large blister pack up right so he can dip the syringe in and measure out the perfect dose.

I'm in charge of cat wrangling, and that's the hardest job of all. I get scratched, bitten, and covered with fur. Ingrates! Would they rather have ticks on their butt holes? Yes, they would. They really are little monsters on medication day.

I hold each cat firmly on a table while John pushed back the fur at the base of the neck and gently rubs in the dose of medication. The cats scurry off, furious with us, but we feed them immediately after, and are usually forgiven by the sight of a can of wet food in the bowl.

However...Micawber doesn't forgive easily. His nickname around here is "anxiety cat" because he's just a nervous wreck. Not just over little things, but all the time. Getting medication is a shrieking, shaking mess of an event that causes him to abandon his dinner and hide for hours.

We typically conduct "night check" before turning in and check to make sure every cat is accounted for and healthy. We missed Micawber, but Anxiety Cat never goes further than the back garden so we didn't worry. We went to bed...and were awakened at 4 a.m. by his shrieks.

Howls. Ear-splitting meows. I finally found him, sitting on my car in the garage. Ooops. We had somehow locked him into the garage overnight.

He wasn't inconvenienced in any way.  He used the Chewy.com box, with the nice shredded paper, for his litter box during his inadvertent incarceration.

Micawber gives the box "four paws up" like a Sisket and Ebert "two thumbs' up" review for its ability to double as a litter box. I give Chewy.com five stars out of five for their fast delivery and great prices.

Plus, we had a coupon. How great is that for this cat mama?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cat Claw Sheath or Help I Found a Claw

It's disconcerting to find a cat claw sheath on the carpet or perhaps stuck in furniture. I know the first time I found one, I wondered if my cat had pulled off a claw. But a cat's claws are meant to shed the outer covering so they stay sharp.

The claw sheath drops off as new claws grow underneath. 

Cat Claw Sheath: What Is It?

Cats use their claws for climbing, defense, and grooming. Cats claws are comprised of layers, and as the cat's claw grows, the outer layer loses its blood supply. When that happens, the cat sheds the outer layer, which is what you find on the carpet or in the sofa cushions. It's a natural process and essential for cats.

It's also why cats claw furniture, carpets, trees, and whatever else they can find. I'm not sure if it itches or just feels funny, but cats seem to know when they need to shed off those claw sheaths. They start scratching. That's why it's essential to supply your cats with YOUR chosen clawing surface. If it's up to them, you know they're going to choose the sofa, the recliner, your favorite chair, or even your leg.

Using an Appropriate Scratching Surface

It's kind of hit or miss with cats as to what appeals to them for a scratching post (surprise, surprise). Our boys have their unique preferences. Rocky, who was feral or at least on his own for a long time in the woods, loves to claw tree trunks on the property. He'll leap onto the rim of the compost pile, stretch out, and claw away at a pine tree growing behind the pile.

We're not so lucky with Shy Boy, Groucho, and Whitey, who enjoy clawing the pine posts on our porch railing. The naughty boys splintered and destroyed several posts.

Indoors, we have two designated "scratching posts" for the cats. One is a post my husband built from old lumber and a piece of remnant industrial carpeting. The second scratcher is a toy called the Turbo Scratcher. It is a plastic round disk about the size of a dinner plate with a ping pong ball that rolls around a track on the outside of the scratching surface. The scratching surface is made of recycled corrugated cardboard and is replaceable.

Our cats LOVE the Turbo Scratcher. Rocky comes inside and uses it (as well as his pine trees); Pierre, Micawber, Genghis Khan, and any other cat who finds it loves it too. Perhaps it's the catnip the company includes with the toy. It acts to attract the cats over to the Turbo Scratcher.

The inner disks do get messy and you will find bits of cardboard around the house, but it is worth it to save your couches. We have one chair that the cats continue to try to scratch but fortunately, it is in the living room and we usually see them and can shout at them to scatter them away from the chair.

The Turbo Scratcher remains their favorite scratching toy and at around $12 each with replacement disks under $5, you can't beat the price.

If you're finding claw sheaths around the house,  don't worry. It's just your cat doing what cats do naturally - shed their claws. Give them a good surface that YOU choose so they can scratch away and don't worry.