Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thoroughly Poetic Thankful Thimble Thursday

Hello and happy Thursday! If you're like us, you look forward to Angel Sammy's Thoroughly Poetic Thursday challenge each week.


Our poetic host always helps us out with a photo prompt. This week's prompt is this bright and busy one here:


In all honestly, I really wanted my poem and illustration to coincide with the winter series of doodles I've been working on. This prompt has absolutely nothing to do with winter, but that's okay. I simply tried my hand at a poem that somehow alluded to this photo but that was also wintry. I also of course threw some kitties in there, because that's a requirement. The result was this silly poem here:


Snow

Everyone wanted to go to the beach.
Well, everyone except for Christine.
The beach simply wasn't her scene.
In truth, Christine found all that sand quite obscene.

Christine had her own plans,
Plans that involved not a single grain of sand.
Her friends pleaded for her to go to the beach with them,
But she politely declined with a shake of her head.

One friend asked, "Where will you go if not to the beach, Christine?"
Another said, "Staying here during the approaching blizzard is just obscene."
At the mention of the snow, a smile spread across Christine's face.
Then she said, "I'll be more than fine, that's a promise I can make."

Though it took some time, Christine's friends finally went on their way.
They left to go enjoy a week of warm and sunny beach days.
It was something else that brought Christine joy, though.
For her, joy did not come from a beach's sand, but instead from snow.

Before long, the predicted snow blew in.
It indeed looked like a blizzard, and Christine loved it.
She first enjoyed watching the snow fly outside the window.
Once a blanket of white covered the ground, she went out to the enjoy that snow.

As Christine bundled up in her boots and coat,
It felt like something at her feet did move and float.
She looked down and could not help but smile.
Prancing around her feet were her cats, Munro and Miles.

"Let me guess," Christine said.
"You two want to play in snow with me, yes?"
The cats answered by meowing and pawing at the door.
They could not contain their excitement as they paced the floor.

Christine opened the door and snow swirled inside,
Which made the cats jump with excitement and Christine smile.
Seeing the moon and stars suspended over the snow in the sky,
Christine thought of something that reminded her of that very night.

Searching through the closet nearby,
What she was looking for finally caught her eye.
It was an umbrella Christine had bought during a sale she could not miss,
And it was an umbrella that depicted her love of snow and nights like this.

Sure, an umbrella might be more fitting for a beach beneath the sun.
In truth, though, Christine found using this umbrella in the snow more fun.
This particular umbrella even matched the snowy scene outside,
And Christine could not wait to give it a try.

And so, ready and rearing to go,
Christine and her cats Munro and Miles ran out into the snow.
They jumped, played, and frolicked to and fro,
They did this for one, two, three hours or so.

Christine could not imagine having this much fun at the beach.
She could not imagine trudging through sand rather than enjoying this snowy scene.
In truth, Christine did not wish to build castles of sand.
She simply wanted a quiet place to build a snowcat and snowman.




***

Now we're ready to participate in Brian's Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.


Thimble never fails to have something for which to be thankful. Today, Thimble is grateful that she has adorable toesies.


We're also thankful for this wonderful community, and for friends like all of you.



***

Last but not least, let's share the fill-in statements for tomorrow's Friendly Fill-Ins challenge. My co-host Ellen of 15andmeowing is the mastermind behind the first two, and I came up with the second two.


1. You don't have to convince me to _________.

2. _________ is causing me stress.

3. Speaking from experience, _________.

4. Over time, my opinion of _________ has changed.




We'll see you tomorrow, friends!



***
Tip of the Day

Can you believe that we're still on the topic of food? As we start to close out our National Cat Health Care Month tips, we're here today to offer a bit of a (lengthy) discussion on food intolerances versus food allergies. There is indeed a difference between the two, and both can affect your kitty and his or her health.

A food intolerance occurs when something found in a food cannot be properly digested in the body. For example, lactose intolerance occurs when a cat is deficient in lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose, a milk sugar. Such an intolerance can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues, if the problem food is ingested. Just as with humans, it is indeed possible for cats to be intolerant to foods such as dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and any other number of food ingredients. If your kitty is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, or other gastrointestinal distress after eating their food, then discontinue the food and discuss the issue with your veterinarian as needed.

Now, as for a food allergy, this is indeed different than an intolerance. A food allergy occurs when antibodies mount a response to a component in the food the cat is eating. In other words, the cat's immune system determines something in the food to be a harmful allergen, and so initiates an allergic reaction. This typically results in dermatological effects, such as itchy skin, scratching, redness, hair loss, and lesions. It is possible for a cat to have an allergy to any number of proteins that he or she has been exposed to in food. The types of food culprits can include beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey, just to name a couple.

That all being said, it can take time to develop an allergic response, as antibodies seen in allergic reactions only form after exposure to the food allergen at hand.. So, if you start your kitty on a new food, it may be a month or more later when they start developing signs such as itchy skin. For this reason, try to keep track of when you start your kitty on new foods, and also what types of food you have fed them. If a food allergy is expected, a veterinarian will often recommend the cat go on a novel diet, typically a diet containing a protein source to which the kitty has never before been exposed and therefore to which the kitty won't mount an allergic response. This is why it is important to keep track of the foods your kitty eats.

The same is important with regard to food intolerances. Food intolerances are more fast-acting than allergic responses, and symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting are more immediate. In this case also, though, it is still important to keep track of when you start your kitty on new food, or even when you open a new bag of food. Sometimes companies will make even slight changes in a food you've been buying for years, and sometimes those changes mean the introduction of components to which your kitty might be intolerant. So, keep tabs on any and all food going into your cat's body. This way, if need be, you and your veterinarian can determine what might be causing your cat distress, and can find the best options for keeping him or her healthy and happy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Woof Woof Wednesday

Astrid's birthday was on Saturday, and she already showed off the delicious puppy cookies she enjoyed. Now, today, she wanted to show you one more thing she got for her birthday.


No, that's not a real donut, unfortunately. That's actually a squeaky toy, and Astrid loves making that squeaker go.





Fun fact? When Astrid is hungry or needs to use the restroom, instead of going to her bowl or going to the door to let us know what she needs, she instead throws toys at us humans. This donut is now the toy she brings to us and pummels us with when she either wants food or a bathroom break. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Happy Wednesday!



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Flashback Doodle of the Day

Before February ends, we still have three doodles we want to re-share from last year's dark and somewhat whimsical winter series. We also have two new drawings to still share from this year's series of dark and sort of spooky winter doodles, one which will go along with tomorrow's poem and the other which will be shared for the Caturday Art Blog Hop. That means today will be a flashback doodle, and it's a weird and wacky one.


I used to really dislike gnomes, but now I kind of love them. I think a gnome or two will show up in some of my springtime doodles.



***
Tip of the Day

Since we've been giving a variety of food tips, today we figured we'd give a quick reminder on how to transition your cat to a new food, if needed. If a kitty is transitioned to a new food too quickly, a variety of gastrointestinal issues could possibly result, vomiting and diarrhea included. For this reason, it's generally recommended that you transition from the old food to the new food over a span of seven days or so.

To transition your cat to a new food, you can start by adding a small amount of the new food to the old food on the first day. Then, of course, you add more and more of the new food each day. On the final day of the transition, your kitty's food bowl will contain only the new food. Of course, when changing foods, keep in mind your particular kitty's overall status. If your cat is a finicky eater, whether by nature or due to age or an ailment, you may have to do a slower transition over a longer period of time, in order for them to accept the new food. In other cases, such as if your kitty is having adverse reactions to their current food, a more rapid or immediate transition might be necessary. This is of course something to discuss with your veterinarian. During any transition, of course keep an eye out for any adverse reactions. Alert your veterinarian of any concerns you have, and stop or slow the food transition as needed or as instructed if issues arise.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tonks Tuesday

Tonks loves sitting on my lap while I watch TV, even if she doesn't understand or agree with what I watch.


During this particular cuddle session, I was watching the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It's a movie in the Harry Potter franchise, starring a vast array of magical creatures. As a fan of fantasy, I quite enjoy the movie and have watched it multiple times, though Tonks firmly believes that the only creatures I need in my life are cats.

Happy Tuesday, friends!


***
Doodle of the Day

We have a couple more doodles to share from this year's sort of dark, sort of spooky winter series, and this is one of them.


If I'm being honest, I plan on doing a similar series of doodles come March, but with a springtime twist. It'll probably be a weird, wacky, and perhaps even a bit of a witchy series of springtime doodles. I hope you all don't mind seeing that sort of thing, but those simply are the type of doodles I'm really enjoying scribbling up for the time being.



***
Tip of the Day

We're making these National Cat Health Care Month tips stretch until the end of February. So, today's (incredibly long) tip is another one related to feeding those kitties of yours. In some cases, you might have multiple cats with differing dietary needs. For example, you may have one cat who needs a low-protein kidney diet in a household that also contains other cats in need of higher levels of protein. Or, you might have one cat on a diet for weight loss in a household also with other cats who should not be on a restrictive diet. Or, perhaps you simply have one kitty who steals the other kitty's food. If any of these are the case in your house, there are some possible ways to succeed in feeding your kitties their separate diets.

First, if your cats are of different sizes or have different physical abilities, there is a chance you can take advantage of these traits to separate their feeding stations. For example, if you have a large cat and a kitten needing separate foods, you could cut a hole in an upside box in which the kitten can fit, but not the larger cat. This way, the kitten could be fed its kitten food in the box without the larger cat feasting on the food. You can also try feeding one cat its food on various elevated surfaces, if its housemate cat on a different diet is unable to reach those elevated feeding spots.

Of course, there are many cases in which the above options simply will not work. If this is the case, one primary option is to stick to scheduled feedings of some sort, and to physically separate the cats during these feeding times. First, determine times of the day when you are home and can oversee feeding time, such as morning, lunch, and evening. Then, at feeding time, each cat can be given their specific diet separately under your observation. This can be done in a number of ways. You can simply separate the cats in the same room, if you are able to closely observe them so that no kitty's food is stolen by another. You can also separate the kitty's in the same room while using something such as baby gates to ensure they remain separated while they eat. Another option is, of course, shutting cats in different rooms to each eat their meal on their own. There is also a bowl on the market that can be linked to a certain microchip, and the bowl will only open and allow access to food for a furbaby with that particular microchip.

That all being said, if your cats are used to being free-fed all day and you find yourself needing to transition to scheduled feedings due to differing dietary needs, then do be patient and give this transition some time. A cat will have to get used to going from having access to food 24/7, to eating on a schedule. If need be, such as if your cats are not yet used to eating their meals at a scheduled time, then start this transition by feeding your cats more often, so that they will have more chances to eat their food throughout the day. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns with regard to feeding your kitties, do speak to your veterinarian!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Handsome Mancat Monday

To help you get through this Monday, mancat Evan thought he'd share a shot of his handsome self.

Do you like Evan's smoldering glare? He's been practicing it.

Happy Monday, friends!


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Flashback Doodle of the Day

We only have a couple more of the doodles to share from last year's dark, spooky winter series. We also only have a couple more to share from the new but similar series I scribbled up this year. For today, here's one of the last doodles from last year's series, and it's yet another witchy one.




***
Tip of the Day

After our tips on offering your kitty fresh water and food, we're now here today to remind you to keep those water and food bowls nice and clean. When it comes to keeping bowls clean, do your best to steer clear of using plastic bowls, as these can most easily harbor bacteria and other microbes, especially in scratches that might be the result of claws or other use and abuse. Rather than plastic, go for bowls that are stainless steel, or even ceramic or glass. Even so, though, it is still important to clean any and all bowls often. Saliva, oils or grease, and other debris from food or the environment can lead to a dirty bowl, so even if you have stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowls, do clean them often. Unclean bowls can lead to issues such as feline acne, or, in worst case scenarios, gastrointestinal or other serious conditions caused by dirty, spoiled remnants in a food or water bowl. So, though we're certain you all already know this, do be sure to keep those food and water bowls spick and span!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Selfies From a Birthday Girl

First, pup Astrid wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday! Second, she wanted to share some photos from her birthday. One of Astrid's favorite parts of her birthday was chowing down on her birthday cookies.


The poor birthday girl was asked to pose with the cookies first. She was patient, mostly.



And then the birthday girl go to scarf those cookies down.



Yum!

Astrid, all the kitties, and this here human wish you a super Sunday!


***
Flashback Doodle of the Day

Today's flashback doodle is another weird one from our sort of spooky, dark, and apparently witchy wintry series from last year. 




***
Tip of the Day

Yesterday, as part of our National Cat Health Care Month series of tips, we mentioned the importance of providing your kitty with fresh, easily accessible water at all times. Similar to this, today we're here to remind you of the importance of ensuring that your kitty is fed fresh food on a regular basis. To begin, as you all certainly know, moist food can spoil if left out for too long. It won't go rancid right away, but if left out for long periods of time, there is a concern for spoilage and consequential gastrointestinal issues if eaten. For this reason, refrigerate any unused portions of moist food (which can be reheated for a short amount of time in the microwave), and do not leave moist food out in your kitty's bowls for too long. While far less likely, it is not impossible for dry food to spoil, not to mention the possibility of it becoming stale, or even ants helping themselves to food that is sitting out. So, try to ensure that uneaten old food is not left at the bottom of a bowl for too long. Also try to make sure that your kitty's dry food is stored in some form of an air-tight container, or at least that the bag is securely sealed.

Continuing on with the importance of fresh food, many cats are indeed picky eaters, which means it is quite possible that some kitties may not eat food that has been sitting out for a certain amount of time. In addition to this, as some cats age, their senses, including smell, start to diminish. Similarly, cats with certain ailments might need food with a fresh, strong odor in order to feel tempted to eat. This is another reason to offer food that is fresh and therefore enticing, so that the kitty will indeed have a desire to eat it.

All of this being said, also keep in mind your individual cat's weight, diet, and overall health. It is of course important to ensure that your kitty has sufficient access to food. Food allowance or scheduling will be different for an underweight cat versus an overweight cat, so all such considerations have to be made. If you have any concerns regarding your cat's food situation, of course discuss this with a veterinarian!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Happy Birthday, Astrid!

I got so distracted with the preparations for Astrid's birthday that I forgot to schedule her birthday post. Shame on me!

So, today, resident pup Astrid turns 8. She is a senior dog, her muzzle is growing whiter every day, and she still acts like a puppy. Will this girl ever act her age? Honestly, though, I'm fine that Astrid doesn't act her age, because seeing her jumping and running around makes me happy. I hope she never loses her intense zest for life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ASTRID!

Today, Astrid will be indulging in puppy-safe cookies, cake, and ice cream. There's more than enough to go around, so feel free to party with us and to eat up!

Astrid, I hope you have the happiest birthday ever! All of your humans and kitties love you, pup!


***
Tip of the Day

Today's tip in our cat health series is plain and simple. We're here to remind you to make sure that your cat has easy access to fresh water at all times. Water intake is of course crucial to a kitty's health, as it is important for proper functioning of not only organs such as the kidneys, but all systems of the body. So, make sure that your cat has water readily available. Some considerations to make include ensuring that your kitty has water accessible in areas where they are comfortable drinking, such as somewhere that is not too heavy with foot traffic, yet also somewhere that they frequent often. You can of course also offer water bowls in multiple areas of the house, something that is often especially important in multi-cat households.

Also make sure that your kitty's water is in a bowl or other drinking vessel that they like. Some cats prefer typical bowls, some cats only want bowls with especially low sides, and some cats might even show a preference for drinking water out of cups or another container with high sides. Also, of course, freshen up that water as often as possible or as needed. Cats can be picky creatures, and some cats might refuse to drink water that is not fresh. In addition, fresh water is also simply healthier overall. To help ensure that water remains as fresh as possible, you could use a water fountain for your kitty. All in all, especially given how important it is for all bodily functions, make sure to give special attention to your kitty's water bowl.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Friendly Fill-Ins

Welcome to this day called Friday, friends! Today we have the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge. Want to join in on the fun? If so, we'll share the fill-in statements again below. Ellen of 15andmeowing came up with the first two, and I came up with the second two.


1. I keep hoping _________.

2. Last year at this time, I was _________.

3. _________ is my favorite kind of weather.

4. One random fact I happen to know is _________.


My answers are below in bold.

1. I keep hoping I will manage to fit more than 24 hours into a day.
(I could really use a couple or a few more hours per day. I have this problem where I have a great many things I want to accomplish in life, but then I also have this thing called a full-time job that takes most of the waking hours of my day. Don't get me wrong, because I am very grateful to have a steady job and income. Some days it's just a tad bit overwhelming trying to accomplish my personal goals while also juggling my job. That's why I will continue to hunt for extra hours in the day. If I find a few hours to add to the day, I'll let you all know how and where to get them.)

2. Last year at this time, I was doing the same ol' same ol'.
(I'm a creature of habit, and I'm also an asocial homebody, and so most of my days, weeks, months, and years look very similar. That's how much of a stick-in-the-mud I am, and I'm okay with that.)

3. Autumn is my favorite kind of weather.
(We have something like a foot of snow on the ground right now, and the temperatures have been subzero for many days over the past couple of weeks. Believe it or not, I don't hate winter. But, after shoveling snow and then driving and walking through it, as well as feeling frigid even while wearing countless layers of clothing, I'm really just eager for my favorite autumnal weather. I love the crisp yet cozy weather of autumn, when you're neither too hot nor too cold. I'll accept spring, too, but the extreme heat of the upcoming summer isn't my kind of thing, so I would be glad to pass on that.)

4. One random fact I happen to know is that the constellation Orion includes a red star called Betelgeuse.
(Does that star's name not remind anyone else of the movie Beetlejuice? Anyway, I love astronomy. I enjoy it enough that I took a couple of astronomy courses in college, even though astronomy had absolutely nothing to do with my major. What's more, my favorite constellation in the night sky is Orion. When you're looking at the sky, the star that is Orion's left shoulder looks sort of red, and that's the star Betelgeuse. It's red in tone because it's the type of star that's called a red giant, but I won't get into the details of what that means. In addition to Betelgeuse, Orion also includes the star Rigel, which is actually the brightest star in the Orion constellation. Sadly, we're reaching the end of being able to see Orion in the Northern Hemisphere, at least until November. It's visible in the sky from roughly November to February, and I always feel sad to see it go this time of year. If you're not into astronomy, you are probably bored to death right now. My apologies.)


Now it's your turn!
To add your link to the Friendly Fill-Ins Linky list, just click HERE!
You can also click on the badge below to add your link.


You are also welcome to complete the fill-ins in the comments below,
or in the comments on Ellen's blog, 15andmeowing.



***

Now, are you ready for your Eddy fix? Believe it or not, Eddy still has a photo or two to share from her relatively recent open window photo shoot. Remember the photo shoot we told you occurred with an open window on a cold winter day, because that's what it takes to distract Eddy for photos? Anyway, in today's photo, Eddy wants you all to see how she loves watching the birds in the trees and sky.


Sometimes, Eddy talks to birds in that adorable chirping-cackling way cats do. I just love when kitties do that.

Happy Friday, friends!



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Flashback Doodle of the Day

Today we have for you another flashback doodle from last year's dark winter series we shared. We've also been sharing a new series inspired by this one. Tomorrow's doodle will be in honor of pup Astrid's birthday, but after that we'll be back to the spooky winter doodles. Anyway, here's one for today, and apparently it's one I got a bit witchy with.




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Tip of the Day

Today's National Cat Health Care Month tip is all about those litter boxes. Especially if you have multiple cats, make sure that you have enough litter boxes with regard to the number of kitties in the home. It is often recommended that you have as many litter as you have cats, plus one. If there are not enough litter boxes, it is possible that cats might quickly find the litter boxes too filled or dirty, or that there might even be some bullying or battles over use of litter boxes. This could lead some cats to have to hold onto their urine or stool, which in turn could lead to issues such as UTIs or constipation. Or, some cats might simply begin looking for other areas in the house to urinate or defecate outside of the box.

Other litter box issues that might lead to health concerns or unwanted behaviors include litter boxes that are not cleaned enough, litter boxes that are in an area that is too high traffic for some cats' preference, litter boxes that are hidden too far away for certain cats' liking, or litter boxes that contain a type of litter that certain cats simply do not prefer. Obviously, issues such as holding urine or stool, resulting UTIs and constipation, and out-of-box urination and defecation are not ideal. For these reasons, do be sure that the litter box situation is suitable for all cats in the house, so that all the kitties involved can stay as happy and healthy as possible.