Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Nosy Wordless Wednesday

Our Tip of the Day:
I'm sure you all know that our furbabies have a far better sense of smell than us. That being said, please always be considerate with regards to what scented items you bring into your home. Candles, air fresheners, disinfectant sprays, and even perfumes, they all smell far stronger to our furbabies than to us. While some furbabies might not mind scents that us humans add to the mix of things, others might feel bothered by them. Keep this in mind if your furbaby seems to avoid rooms or areas of the house with scented items. What's more, some furbabies are actually sensitive and/or allergic to household items that provide added scent. If you add a new candle or other scented item and start noticing your furbaby sneezing, coughing, secreting discharge from the eyes and/or nose, or displaying symptoms of dermatitis, then it's possible that they are senstiive or allergic to the item and its scent. Certain scents, such as cinnamon and pine, can be especially strong and potentially bothersome, especially to furbabies more sensitive to such things. For reasons such as these, please always keep in mind the ways in which our furbabies differ from us, including their heightened sense of smell.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday Treats (#ChewyInfluencer)

Although Thanksgiving is now behind us, today we have a review that pup Astrid did for her special Thanksgiving treats as part of the Blogger Outreach Program. I wanted something special for Astrid to enjoy on Turkey Day, and when I saw Hill's® Ideal Balance­™ Soft-Bake Naturals treats, I was hopeful I'd found another winner.

To give you a brief reminder, Astrid pretty much only likes soft and chewy treats. If you give her a hard and crunchy treat, she might accept it from you, and she might even gum it a bit, but it quickly becomes obvious that she doesn't really enjoy the whole process. So, it's always soft and chewy treats for this pup.

That's why, when I saw that Astrid's beloved Hill's® brand had these soft-baked treats to offer, I knew I had to get them for her to try. This seemed like a good choice right off the bat, as I barely even got them out of that beloved Chewy box before she was breathing down my neck.

So I opened up the bag, and of course took a close-up shot of the treats themselves. Because that's what you do for one of these things, right?

They even have hearts on them! This was destined to be love at first bite.

Anyway, I made Astrid be a behaved little girl and lie down and wait for a treat. She always obeys, even if she looks downright pathetic doing so.

But don't worry, I didn't make her wait long. (Long enough to snap a shot first, though. Because I'm cruel like that.)

Long story short, Astrid loves these Hill's® Ideal Balance™ Soft-Bake Naturals treats! They're soft, chewy, and obviously quite tasty. I chose the beef version for Astrid, as that is just about her favorite thing in the world. These treats come in chicken and duck flavors, too, though. This beef flavor also has sweet potatoes as a primary ingredient, and even though Astrid won't eat plain potatoes, she'll happily gobble them up in this form.

She'll happily gobble them up indeed, and then ask for more.

And more she got.

A couple of other pluses? These treats are made from pure beef, which is in fact the first ingredient. They are also grain-free, and contain no corn, wheat, or soy. There are also no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. And they're even made right here in our USA. I guess these treats win all around, and they certainly get four paws up from Astrid.

(Disclaimer: As members of the Blogger Outreach Program, we received Hill's® Ideal Balance™ Soft-Baked Naturals treats in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own. We only review products that we believe will be of interest to our readers, and we never recommend a product that we do not believe in.)

Now, for today's art, we're still going all out Santa Paws around here. While the furbabies are loving them some Christmas (as in, the tree), this human is having her some ornament-making fun, like this:

I've got a whole series of little furry Santa doodles started. There's just something about furbabies in Santa hats that really gets me feeling festive.

Warm wishes to all!

Our Tip of the Day:
Today's tip is a reminder that I've mentioned at both Halloweentime and Christmastime in the past. And that is, please be respectful of your furbaby's comfort and preferences when dressing them up. Some furbabies may be more than happy to don a Santa hat or elf ears, whereas others might be perfectly opposed to the idea. Therefore, if you wish to try your furbaby in a festive costume, please always be watchful of their reactions and act accordingly. If your furbaby is trying to get away or looks unhappy during the experience, please be respectful of this and do not force it. Your furbaby trusts you and loves you, so please keep it that way!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Helpers

For this Mancat Monday, Evan would like to expand on the selfie that he took for yesterday's Sunday Selfie blog hop. Remember this?

Let's be honest, it took a lot of work to get the Christmas tree to that point. You see, we have an artificial tree, and it has to be built up practically limb by limb. Disassembled, it fills up 2 large tubs, a little like this:

It can seem like a daunting task, building the Christmas tree, but I love it. It really puts me in the proper holiday mood. The only setbacks usually involve furry little helpers who, well, try to "help".

It's "help" like this that always earns the kitties around here an early Christmas bribe present. What's so wrong with giving the kitties just a bit of a distraction? Last year they got a new little cat tree. This year, they got this:

Since Evan is paralyzed in his hind legs, and also because he's one of my most adamant holiday "helpers" around here, I always make sure that this early gift is one he can utilize and enjoy.

Though I failed to capture his antics on camera, Evan has been enjoying going in and out of this little kitty cube. This ox of a mancat is also purrfectly capable of pulling himself right up there and sleeping on top of it. Thanks to his love for this cube, I was finally able to manage this:

Whew. Now we're all ready for Santa Paws to come to town!

We hope your week starts off wonderfully!

Our Tip of the Day:
Thanks to a comment made by our pals at The Cat on My Head, today's tip is an advisement that it is possible for our furbabies to be allergic to certain types of trees used as Christmas trees. Signs of such an allergy include respiratory issues, such as sneezing and discharge from the nose and eyes, as well as itchy skin or other dermatitis. In some cases, certain pine trees will spark a reaction, while other types will not. If your furbaby has started to show signs of allergies after putting up your Christmas tree, be sure to consider that as a potential cause. If need be, talk to your vet about what to do for such allergies. Especially in the case of significant symptoms that are indeed negatively affecting your furbaby, consider using an artificial tree that is less likely to cause any allergic or other negative reactions from your furbaby.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cozy Christmas Selfie

We put up our Christmas tree and decked the halls the day after Thanksgiving, just as we do every year. It's always a struggle to hold out that long, but it only seems fair to give Thanksgiving its time to shine. The day after, though, it's Christmas!

Being that today is the much anticipated Sunday Selfie blog hop, hosted by the fantastic Kitties Blue over at The Cat on My Head, Evan was eager to snap a cozy selfie to give you all a sneak peak of our Christmas tree, as well as the kitties' early Christmas gift.

This selfie was taken before the tree's final touches had been added, and before the Christmas Tree Terrorist Eddy had realized that her victim the tree was being built. Although I have yet to acquire photographic evidence, Eddy has already climbed to the top of the tree, knocked a number of its branches out of place, and littered the floor with ornaments. Many, many times. I don't know whether to consider her a Christmas enthusiast, or to just call her the Grinch.

Have any of our furiends initiated their Christmas trees yet?

Happy Sunday!

Our Tip of the Day:
How about some more tips on cats and Christmas trees?

First, weigh out your options of an artificial versus a real tree. While artificial trees of course are not meant to be gnawed on by a kitty, a real tree could potentially cause intestinal upset if chewed, not to mention that the needles can be sharp and painful, and the water to keep it alive a potential danger. Also consider tree size, keeping in mind that the larger the tree, the more damaging and potentially dangerous it could be should it tip over with the help of a kitty.

After you've selected your tree, choose a safe place in the house to place it. You might want to select a place that is safe and snug but that also has plenty of free space around it, without many shelves or knickknacks to fall and hurt any nearby furbabies should a calamity occur. Ensure that the base is sturdily weighted, or even anchored down (thanks, Melissa, for the suggestion of anchoring the tree to the baseboard!). You can even try something to ward your kitty away from trying to climb the base of the tree, such as wrapping the base in aluminum foil, or even placing safe yet sturdy decorations or other items beneath it to block kitty's access.

And, of course, be cautious of what all goes on the tree. Avoid potentially dangerous or breakable ornaments if need be, and tinsel or any other potential choking hazards or dangerous items. Do your best to avoid leaving dangling or enticing cords or strands of decoration. If need be, keep the easily accessible bottom of the tree low on or free of those dangling and tempting ornaments and other decorations, especially those that are breakable or that could be potentially dangerous. Be sure to unplug all strands of lights or other cords should you be unable to supervise your kitty and the tree, especially if your cat is a known Christmas tree terrorist.

Also consider placing an enticing cat tree or other fun kitty zone near the Christmas tree, to perhaps prompt the kitty to use it instead of the Christmas tree. Cats love new things, which is why the Christmas tree going up can be so exciting for them. But, you can also use this concept to help save the tree. Consider getting your cat new toys at the same time as the Christmas tree, to give them something else to which to turn their attention.

If all else fails, you can put the tree in a secluded area where your furbabies are not allowed. There is also the option of putting it within the confines a barrier that they cannot pass. With some careful planning and trial and error, kitties and Christmas trees can coexist!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Caturday Art: Winter Wishes

It's one of our favorite days of the week, and not just because it's the weekend. Our love for today is in large part because we look so forward to the Caturday Art blog hop, hosted by Athena!

For today's art, we got ourselves into the proper winter mood.

This piece will probably end up as our winter blog header, at least for a while. We hope this scene isn't too chilly!

Snow or no snow, November or not, we're wishing all of our furiends out there warm winter wishes!

We're going to stop usual programming for just a brief PSA. We mentioned a couple weeks ago that this human's mom is partaking in a fundraiser to raise donations for one of our favorite, beloved animal rescues, Hospice Hearts.

Hospice Hearts works to find homes for those animals left as orphans when their owners become critically or terminally ill, enter nursing homes, or find themselves in other similar situations. Many of their intakes are senior and/or special needs animals themselves, which means more than average vet visits and therefore elevated costs. Hospice Hearts has had a slew of intakes that has left them nearly depleted in funds, which is why supporters like my mom are trying to help raise funds for their cause.

To read the original post about this fundraiser, please click here. This fundraiser will be closing tomorrow, so if you are able or interested in donating even a small amount, please do so here.

And, just as before, anyone who donates, no matter how big or small the amount, will receive their choice of an art bookmark, magnet, or ornament from me as a token of gratitude!

Again, though, please feel no pressure to donate. I never want to bully anyone into feeling as if they have to do so. Even purrs and prayers can help rescue groups like Hospice Hearts!


Happy Caturday to all of our furiends!

Our Tip of the Day:
As cold, winter weather approaches, please keep in mind your furbaby's health and safety when out in frigid temperatures. Although most of our furbabies indeed have natural coats that better equip them to insulation than us in winter weather, these coats of theirs are not perfect. Animals with little or no fur are of course more susceptible to losing heat when out in the winter weather, as are those that are especially young, senior, or thin or combating any number of ailments. Also keep in mind that no matter the type of animal or amount of fur, when out in frigid temperatures, there are certain parts of the body that might very well be more susceptible to the danger of frostbite. These include the nose, ears, and paws, which should be closely monitored when an animal is outside in cold weather for any extended period of time. Signs of frostbite include discoloration or paleness of the affected area, as well as coldness or hardness of the skin to the touch. If you have any concern at all that your furbaby might be suffering from frostbite, get the animal to a warm location and seek veterinary assistance.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Festive Flashback Friday

We hope all of our US pals had a fantastic Thanksgiving full of family, friends, fun, and lots of food! And we hope all of our non-US friends had a fantastic Thursday, and are having an even better Friday!

Speaking of Friday, it's time for the always fun Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by our great pals over at 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader.

Here are the fill-ins our clever hosts came up with this week:

1. Yesterday, _________.
2. _________ regift _________.
3. My favorite holiday leftover is _________.
4. The best part of a long, holiday weekend is _________.

And here are my best attempts at doing them proud:

1. Yesterday, I stuffed myself full.
(I regret nothing.)

2. I never regift an item that I know is from the heart.
(If a gift is from family or a dear friend, if it was carefully chosen just for me, I will never regift it. Even if it's something not all that up my alley, it will still stay with me. It's the thought that counts! That being said, I rarely regift anyway. The only time I might even consider regifting in any way is when I've received something impersonal and completely unrelated to me. Such gifts are usually those from simple acquaintances and the like. Even then, I don't prefer to give such things as actual gifts, but more as a "here, do you need one of these?" sort of thing.)

3. My favorite holiday leftover is sweet potatoes.
(Remember last week, when I mentioned how my love for sweet potatoes is sort of new? Well, new or not, I really do like these taters. I don't have sweet potatoes on a regular basis throughout the year, so whether they're freshly made or leftovers, I savor them. I'll even eat them cold and as a dessert when I have them leftover in my fridge.)

4. The best part of a long, holiday weekend is more time with family and furbabies!
(There's nothing like an extended stay at home to visit with loved ones and snuggle the wazoo out of the furbabies in my life.)

Now, before my furbabies and I move on to our traditional day-after-Thanksgiving decking of the halls and singing Christmas carols nonstop, how about your Eddy fix? For that Eddy fix today, you get a flashback photo that I posted last year. Given that we are now in the purrfect Christmas spirit, I figured it was a good time to give you all a reminder of the Christmas Tree Terrorist that lived at our house last year. See?

Last year was Eddy's first Christmas, and she sure made the most of it. Which is probably why today's art, the first of which will likely be a great many Christmasy pieces, looks a little like this:

Warm wishes to all!

Our Tip of the Day:
As Christmas approaches, please always keep in mind your furbaby's safety when decorating. When putting up a Christmas tree, consider whether you have a climber, and therefore whether you might need any special Christmas tree fortifications. Also be cautious what types of decorations go on the tree, or anywhere around the house. Tinsel, for example, can be hazardous, especially for those furabies who try to or do ingest it. And of course light strands must be strung as safely as possible, and it is perhaps most wise to keep all cords unplugged and out of reach when you are unable to monitor your furbaby around them. Don't forget to consider those ornaments, too! Do you have a batter or swatter of a kitty? If so, be cautious what types of ornaments are within their reach, if any. Christmas is indeed a wonderful, magical time of year. But, don't forget to always consider your furbaby's safety when decking those halls!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we wish all of our US friends a very happy Thanksgiving! (And a beautiful, blessed day to all of our non-US friends as well!)

On behalf of all of us here at Four-Legged Furballs, Thimble wishes you all many blessings on this day of thanks. And though this finicky girl may not join you in feasting on treats, she wishes you many of your own. Of course, that goes far beyond treats of the edible kind. We wish you all a day full of family and friends and fun, and health and happiness to one and all.

And, of course, on this day of giving thanks, we are so very grateful for all of you! We consider our blogging buddies amongst our very best of friends. And so thank you, each and every one of you, for being our friends!


Our Tip of the Day:
Always remember to give thanks! Please take at least one moment today to give thanks for all with which you are blessed, such as family and friends (of both the human and furry kind!), health, happiness, a roof over your head, and food on the table. Always be grateful for what you have, because to someone out there, the least of which you have is the most of which they have. Which is also why, if and when and however possible, try your best to offer help to those in need. The homeless and the hungry, of both the four-legged and two-legged kind, can always benefit from our help. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Thoughts of Turkey

Penny for your thoughts, Astrid?

Oh, I see.

Our Tip of the Day:
Do not take this human's doodles as good advice! First, as I'm sure you all know, bones can be very dangerous for your furbaby, for reasons such as choking hazard and possible intestinal perforation and/or obstruction if consumed. So, please be sure to keep all bones away from your furbabies. If need be, take any bones from Thanksgiving dinner, or any dinner, straight to a safe and secure waste bin. Not only that, but feeding turkey, especially in large amounts, can land you at a veterinary ER with a furbaby suffering from pancreatitis. Turkey can be a very fatty food, and fatty foods may lead not only to general intestinal distress, but pancreatitis, which can be very serious, painful, and potentially life-threatening. This is why veterinary ERs are sometimes especially busy places around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, please be aware and cautious of what foods your furbaby has access to this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday Temptations (#ChewyInfluencer)

This being the month of Thanksgiving, I wanted to be sure to let my furbabies test out something extra delicious for our Blogger Outreach Program reviews. That can be a bit difficult when it comes to my kitties, though, as they are so very picky about their food. But, when I saw none other than Temptations® treats on the list of goodies, I hoped I had found a winner.

These treats (all 16 oz. of them!) come in a variety of flavors. Knowing my kitties, I chose the chicken.

In case you've forgotten from previous mentions on this blog, Evan is most likely to go wild over treats, along with housemate Toby. Thimble, though, barely ever touches a treat, and Eddy somehow manages to care about them even less than that. So, though I highly doubted these treats would be gobbled down by every feline here, I hoped for the best.

So, on to the treat test. The first ray of hope was the fact that I hadn't even opened the bin of Temptations® treats before the swarms started coming.

And that was before I had even popped the lid open.

The kitties nearly turned it into a free-for-all after that.

So, they sure liked the smell of them. But, what about the taste?

As you can see, Evan couldn't scarf down the Temptations® treats fast enough.

Toby was a fan as well.

And as for Thimble, she actually licked one of them a few times. She didn't eat it or any of the following ones I offered, but getting her to merely lick a treat is a feat in itself.

Of course, Eddy didn't even give the treats so much as a glance. Although, for what it's worth, on Eddy's behalf, pup Astrid says they taste great.

In my house of food snobs, these treats didn't do too bad for themselves. If you ask Evan and Toby, these Temptations® treats get an A+.

Mmmmm. And I can feel good knowing that Temptations® boast less than 2 calories per treat. Eat up, boys!

(Disclaimer: As members of the Blogger Outreach Program, we received Temptations® treats in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own. We only review products that we believe will be of interest to our readers, and we never recommend a product that we do not believe in.)

Now, on to the art of the day. Housemate Toby wanted to be included in our Thanksgiving week art, and so he gets to star in today's. As a bit of a preface, Toby is a very touchy-feely kind of cat, if I may say so. When he likes something, he touches it, a lot. If he likes how one of his favorite humans smells, for example, or how his beloved pup Astrid smells, he gets all sorts of grabby and handsy. That's why this little doodle happened:

Happy Tuesday! We hope all of our US furiends are gearing up for a fun and safe Thanksgiving, and that our non-US furiends are having a wonderful week!

Our Tip of the Day:
Always remember that special treats are only meant to serve as a small portion of your furbaby's daily diet. Although sometimes we might forget or lose track, treats indeed add to a cat or dog's daily caloric intake, which means overdoing it can result in obesity, or set a weight loss patient back. Always be aware of who in the house, including visitors, has access to the treats and might be administering them, as monitoring food intake goes all the way down to those little treats just as much as those bowls of food. It is recommended that treats never make up more than 10% of your pet's diet, so do be sure to monitor those snacks!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mancat Monday Musings

Evan's feeling quite reminiscent this week.

You see, here for us in the US, Turkey Day (aka, Thanksgiving) is this very Thursday. And for Evan, turkeys hold a special, if not a tad bit unorthodox, meaning. Let us explain.

For those who have not already had this story forced on them roughly a gazillion times, I first met Evan when he was just about 6 weeks of age. I worked at a cat clinic at the time, and I was the first to arrive to work on that particular day. What I found at the front door was a carrier containing a tiny orange tabby kitten, who was dragging his hind legs and hissing up a storm. A letter attached to the carrier explained that he had been a barn kitten, and that a coyote had made its way into the barn, killed his mother cat and litter mates, and left him paralyzed in the hind legs.

But did you know that there's bit of an interesting detail that I don't usually include in Evan's origin story? I believe I've mentioned this detail perhaps once before, in brief, way back when. This detail involves none other than a turkey.

At that clinic where I worked, there was roughly a one-year span of time when a wild turkey would randomly show up on the premises. The bird didn't care that the clinic was located on a busy corner with constant traffic, or that a heavily trafficked railroad track was just across the way as well. Ignoring those cars and trains, the turkey would show up maybe once a month, make countless laps around the building, happily tormenting anyone and everyone that dared encroach on its territory.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the turkey usually showed up roughly one day a month. I don't know where it came from, or why, but I do know that on the day I found Evan abandoned at the clinic's front door, I found the turkey there as well.

This turkey, it was loud. Very, very loud. It always gobbled and gobbled and gobbled the entire time it patrolled the premises. I often find myself wondering how long Evan sat out there, listening to the hollering bird, watching it strut and shake its tail feathers. I remember feeling bad for Evan, to be honest, because that turkey loved the art of intimidation.

Perhaps all of the above is why, for Evan's Thanksgiving week art, I felt compelled to draw this happy little friendship:

Gobble, gobble, gobble! And happy Monday!

Our Tip of the Day:
Although instinct tells many of us to jump in and rescue baby animal that we see abandoned, please do try and assess any such situation before taking immediate action. This relates to many a kind of animal, including cats and squirrels, and even raccoons and such. Sometimes, a mother animal is nearby and simply left its baby in order to go search for food. Of course, if the baby is in immediate or obvious danger, your swift help may prove necessary and lifesaving. In other cases, though, we might think we're helping but are actually removing a baby from its much needed mother. If you find yourself facing such a situation, therefore, take a look around, see if there are signs that the mother might be nearby, consider whether the baby is somewhere that a mother might have placed it for safekeeping, or if it's somewhere it might have wandered while lost and alone. What's more, also always remember to consider the type of animal and its natural habitat. Squirrels and raccoons, for example, are wildlife, and so unnecessarily removing a baby from the wild can be very detrimental. As for cats, on the other hand, they are a domesticated species, and so rescuing them can prove beneficial to them and their livelihood. For the latter, when possible, rescue of the baby and mother can benefit both. Rescuing an animal can be a wonderful, rewarding accomplishment, if done in proper circumstances. For that reason, please familiarize yourself with knowledge on this topic, and perhaps research groups in your area that can assist in cases of animal rescues from the wild.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Selfies

It's that fun and fantastic time of the week! You know what I'm talking about. It's the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by our pals over at The Cat on My Head!

All of the furbabies in this home decided to participate, in one way or another. That always makes this momma happy.

Do you remember Astrid's post from Wednesday? (Click here if you'd like a refresher.) Well, that was one of her warm up shots for this selfie:

What does Evan + front door + sun puddle equal? This:

Adorable Thimble is, well, adorable:

And Eddy. Well, Eddy just couldn't do it this week. She was far too busy. A girl only has so many hours in a day to bounce off the walls, and she needs to make the most of them. She did ask me to cover for her, though, so here you go:

But, to help make up for the lack of Eddy's real presence, our housemate Toby went ahead and gifted us with a selfie this week. Here's the handsome mancat himself (he may or may not be admiring those smudges he and his nose so kindly bestowed on the camera):

We look forward to seeing all of our furiends' selfies! A happy Sunday to all!

Our Tip of the Day:
Saving money is something we all strive to do, not to mention that it's a wise habit. That being said, always keep in mind that the best way to save money on your furbaby's care is simply by taking the best care of them that you can. First and foremost, spay and neuter your furbabies. Past that, you'll likely save money in the long run if you take your pup or kitty in for regular annual exams, so that any conditions detrimental to your kitty's health, as well as to your wallet, can be determined and treated as early as possible. Discuss with your veterinarian which vaccines your furbaby does and does not truly require, as well as any other treatments or tests that might benefit your furbaby. Proper care at home can also of course save you money in the long run. For example, learn and follow through with proper dental care as well as grooming at home. Also do consider keeping up with your furbaby's parasite prevention year round, to ward off fleas and all that comes with them, as well as various worms and so forth. And, try to feed your furbaby as high quality of a diet as possible, to prevent any nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal distress, and other issues related to diet. So, having your furbaby's best interests in mind not only keeps them happy and healthy, but may very well do the same for your wallet!