Cats Archive

This and That

Posted February 21, 2018 By Ruth

I’m hoping to return to work next week (Tuesday will be 6 weeks), I likely won’t be able to do my normal lifting, but I should be good otherwise.

We moved the automated cat feeder, again, and this time start feeding Trouble her canned food out of it.  This has significantly reduced Shadow’s interest in it, and has gotten her comfortable eating out of it again.  We’ll go like this for at least a month, and then look at switching back to kibble in it.

We had a huge February thaw this past weekend.  Temps in the 60’s, and it was 72 outside this morning!  Course, as I type this a front is sweeping through and temps are crashing hard.  Most of the snow melted, resulting in flood warnings everywhere.  We took advantage of it to set up my new greenhouse:

Husband did all the heavy lifting for me.  But now that it’s setup I can get my christmas lights strung in it and start monitoring temps.  I’m a little concerned about the bigger/taller space being harder to keep warm enough.  I guess we’ll see.  Average last frost isn’t till mid-May, so no matter how tempting it is  I really don’t dare plant out before then.

Pepper seedlings are coming along nicely:

I’ve re-seeded the ones that didn’t sprout, and rearranged so that the plants that were along the edges are now in the middle.  The soda cans are part of an online contest for a Facebook group I’m in.  To see who can grow the best pepper plant in a can.  It sounded like fun, and I had the seeds, so might as well!

Update: 4 strings of C9 christmas lights are holding it 30+ degrees over air temps.  I’ll take it.

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Automated cat feeder update 2

Posted February 7, 2018 By Ruth

So, it worked very well for the first month or so.  The batteries in the base only last about a month, but thats live-able.

The problem:  Shadow is an asshole

He is clearly not deterred by the moving lid (like Trouble was), and clearly started getting pissed about the fact that there’s kibble RIGHT THERE and I CAN’T GET IT.  So every time Trouble would go get kibble he’d hop up behind her to try to horn in and get some while she was eating.  This would cause the lid to close.  Trouble HATES the moving lid.  Trouble now refuses to eat out of it unless we’re there to guard her because Shadow keeps causing the lid to move while she’s eating.

Moving things around to force him to come up from a different direction helped some, but only some.

Haven’t quite figured out the best way to handle it from here…..

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Cat kibble feeder update

Posted December 3, 2017 By Ruth

Trouble was fine with a collar, so I bought THIS feeder.  Note, prices vary, shop around.  Also, be VERY careful ordering one of these things on Amazon.  As I browsed I saw some really blatant listings for either knock-offs or fake listings of identical feeders.  Like, 7 or 8 per page.

With the lid stood open Trouble would eat from it no problem.  As soon as I added the sensor tag to her collar and turned on the feeder she clearly decided it was EVIL and had to be killed (she repeatedly swatted the moving lid).  I could wait for her to adapt to it.  Or I could play around with it.

In THIS video the guy explains how he swapped the feeder controls so that it stands open all the time and CLOSES when the tag approaches.  This would allow me to put the tag on Shadow, and not care if the moving lid freaked him out.  Note, this modifications require a soldering iron and a screw driver, but are otherwise very simple to do.  This modification would also fix the issue mentioned in the reviews where the unit sometimes loses the tag while the cat is eating resulting in the lid trying to close on the cat.

The collar is now on Shadow, who decided I was torturing him by putting this THING on him, and Trouble is back to happily eating out of the feeder.

There’s one other issue mentioned in reviews.  Some tags don’t seem to close down tight enough, with the battery in them, to actually work properly.  The tag included in my set initially seemed to have this problem.  I fixed it by removing a plastic ring gasket from inside the tag.  I assume that the tag is now no longer water resistant, but since my cats are indoor cats I can live with that.

Busy

Posted November 21, 2017 By Ruth

Been both busy and not busy.  And not had much I wanted to bother to type up.

We broke cold temp records for the area back at the beginning of Nov.  And it snowed Sunday night, and it actually stuck long enough for Apollo to enjoy it.  It’ll probably melt today, high is predicted to be 51.  I took pictures but haven’t remembered to get them off the camera.

Life keeps trying to beat us over the head, and we keep resisting.  I’d hoped to build a small greenhouse structure to replace the cheap plastic things I use, but that won’t be happening this winter after all.  Which means buying a new set of cheap plastic things, because I kept forgetting to put away the two from last summer and I’m pretty sure the sun has killed the plastic (though to be fair, one of them needed to be replaced anyway).

This will be Husband’s first holidays without his mother and he’s taking it about as expected.  As in, when his sister asked him if he had Thanksgiving plans he was struck speechless, cause no, Thanksgiving has always meant his mother cooked…..

We’ve been trying to switch the cats over to a mostly wet food diet.  While they’ll both eat wet food no problem Trouble tends to be a grazer, which doesn’t work so well with set meal times of wet food, and so she looks like losing weight again, which she really doesn’t need to do.  But if I try to put out kibble for her Shadow gobbles it up.  Now SHADOW needs to lose weight, but of course its not that simple.  I do have a “food tray” that requires them to pull out the kibble bits piece by piece to get them, but once Shadow figured that out it stopped slowing him down.  There are a few different food bowls that will only open to the animal wearing the sensor tag, but I’m not sure I can convince her to wear a collar, she’s never worn one before.  Plus they’re not especially cheap, and the cheapest one definitely has some issues, based on the reviews.  There’s a really nice looking one that’ll trigger off of the animal’s microchip, and getting her chipped would be simple enough, but it’s $140.  And I can’t quite convince myself to spend that much when I don’t know that she’d even use it.  Choices.

Christmas is in full swing at work.  Except for the live christmas trees.  Which apparently got lost or something.  Us and two other stores haven’t gotten their deliveries yet.  The truck carrying them  has completely disappeared.  Awesome huh?

General update

Posted September 18, 2017 By Ruth

I pulled the frost covers back OFF the garden, summer has decided that we’re not done yet, with another two + weeks of 80degree temps.

Interestingly the hot peppers that I covered, even briefly, look better than the ones I didn’t.  Mind, its not a huge surprise, but the difference is noticeable:

 

Leaf Footed Bug damage:

Not the best photo, BUT, that is what that Jalapeno looked like when I picked it off the plant.  Pretty gross.

Notice the bandaid in that photo?  Apparently I’m on a roll this year.  Right before New Year I tried to slice off my fingertip with a cheese knife.  Then I tripped over the dog and broke my arm.  Then I sliced a finger open on a child safety buckle on a shopping cart (I never did find the sharp spot that I somehow caught either).  Then, while adjusting the seat on the new mower I sliced a finger open.  And now I’ve sliced a finger open while adjusting Apollo’s dog tags.  I have no clue.  Someone on FB asked if I have a medical issue with fragile skin, but after some thought I can’t see how I could, if I did I’d go through a hell of a lot of bandaids every day at work!

Speaking of work…..Christmas has shipped:

Its not out on the shelves yet, but it has started arriving in stores!

I made two batches of hot pepper jelly this week.  Both made up, some 90%, of peppers frozen from last year’s bounty.  Thank god I did so or there’d likely be no jelly this year.

On an interesting note, peppers that have been in the freezer for that long are much dryer than fresh peppers.  I know, duh right?  But I hadn’t considered how much that would affect jelly making.  Usually I end up with slightly runny jelly at room temp.  Not a big deal, it solidifies enough in the fridge.  But these two batches were trying to jell in the pan as I cooked them!  Next time I use long frozen peppers I need to remember to reduce the pectin.

And your daily dose of cute, and one of two reasons why you always check that rumpled blanket on the couch before sitting on it in this house:

Hemopet

Posted July 30, 2016 By Ruth

I know.  Those of you who aren’t dog owners are probably going “WTF is Hemopet???”  Heck, an awful lot of dog owners are probably doing the same thing.

Hemopet is a multifunction non-profit:

They run one of the largest canine bloodbanks in the country, filling 40% of the nationwide need for canine blood for transfusions.  Yes, dogs need transfusions.  Not only because of injury, but because of surgeries, or medical problems.  If you’ve ever had a dog require major surgery, eat rat poison, be diagnosed with parvo, be diagnosed with IMHA, or any one of bunch of other issues, its very very likely your dog has received a blood transfusion, and there’s a 40% chance that blood came from Hemopet.

They provide a select list of blood testing, including one of the best thyroid labs you can have your dog’s bloodwork sent to.

They have run a variety of studies in vaccine efficacy, most recently proving that small dogs only need about half a dose of the standard vaccine package, reducing the load on the immune system for tiny dogs.  They are also helping with a study to look at the efficiency of the rabies vaccine, to prove that (like the other core vaccines) the rabies vaccine lasts far longer than the 3yrs that the laws allows for.  Hoping to reduce the number of dogs put down for rabies exposure just because their rabies vaccine had “expired”.

Unfortunately they’re in trouble.  The state of CA audited them, and decided that they owe sales taxes, despite their status as a non-profit.  A state Senate bill was created to ensure that non-profit canine blood banks were added to the list of not needing to pay taxes, and the Assembly modified it to state that they still owe BACK taxes, which would still require Hemopet to pay approx $81,000.  Since they came in -$90,000 in 2015 anyway, $81,000 is more than can be come up with.  Being forced to pay it would result in the shut down of Hemopet.

The country would lose 40% of its canine blood supply.  Us owners would lose one of the best places to have a variety of bloodwork done.  Not to mention the research they’ve been working on.

If you live in CA please go to the link above, follow the links, and send a letter to the committee that currently has control of the bill that controls Hemopet’s fate.

General update

Posted February 25, 2016 By Ruth

The broccoli survived the cold, I keep forgetting to take pictures, I’ll try this weekend.

I started my hot pepper seeds this week, I’ll wait another week or two before starting the tomatoes

I’m still torn over what exactly I want to grow this year.  I both want to narrow down my growing choices and at the same time I want to try 20-100 new things……

I think I’m going to try potatoes again this year.  One of the things I picked up at the end of last season was one of those “make it yourself” cedar raised bed kits for about $25 (which is cheaper than buying the lumber would have been).  It’s designed to be stacked so you can make it tall instead of wide, or both, so I’m thinking I’m going to try it for a potato bed.

Our snow is mostly gone.  And has been replaced with nasty freezing rain.  Which isn’t actually an improvement.

Shadow (the Siberian cat) has been diagnosed with a possible grade 2 or 3 heart murmur.  His workup to confirm the murmur and how bad it really is has been scheduled for the first week of March.

Trouble (the calico cat) had a fairly large bump appear out of nowhere on the side of her face, right between eye and ear.  This is a really bad spot for this sort of thing no matter what it is as there’s not alot of spare skin there, never mind the nerves for eye and ear being so close.  So the bump was removed, biopsy says it’s a benign “inclusion cyst”, so as long as it doesn’t grow back there shouldn’t be any further issues.

For some reason I’m not looking forward to taking the dogs in for their yearly checkups this year.

The appointment with my primary care doctor to request a new referral to a new rheumatologists office went well.  I did my best to be as honest as possible about both how I handled things and how I perceived the doctor and office handling things.  And she was still pretty darn peeved for me.  Which made me feel better cause it wasn’t just me being over-reactive or something.  Now the wait begins to see how long it’s going to take to get into the new office.

In other news we now have confirmation that when I get really really stressed and frustrated my blood pressure tries to go through the roof.  I normally sit below 110/70-60 and occasionally even lower.  So when I walk in with a blood pressure of 140/98 they get pretty upset.  Talking to the doctor helped though, before I left they took it again and it had already dropped to 132/78.  I know there are folks with blood pressure much higher, but for me, that’s high.

 

Text of the proposed amendment here.

Current status here.

This amendment will allow the court to sell, donate to a shelter, or destroy any animal thats been seized for PROBABLE CAUSE of abuse or neglect BEFORE the owner has their day in court.  And if the owner is then found not guilty they do not get their animal back.

This amendment will also, if the court does not decide on the above, to allow the court to set a “bond or security” that the ACCUSED owner must pay, to cover the costs of caring for the animals while the court case is pending.  And if the owner is found not guilty the funds will be returned to them.  HOWEVER, failure to pay those funds in the first place (because, you know, court costs alone are expensive) the animal is forfeited REGARDLESS of the outcome of the court case.

This one’s for you NH people.  I know there’s at least a couple of you who read here.

House Bill 0624 is going to modify the process of what happens when an animal is seized for abuse or the like.  I just did a quick scan of the text, but at least one problem jumped at me right away.

Apparently current process: your dog is seized for abuse, you go to court, and if you’re convicted you’re expected to pay for the costs of the care for the animal while it was in custody.

What they want to do: your dog is seized for abuse, you get handed a bill for the care of the animal before you even get to court, and if you can’t pay that bill you lose custody of the dog regardless of whether you end up convicted or not.  Cause you know, guilty till proven innocent or some such……

I can sympathize that caring for an animal, especially a sick or injured animal, while waiting for a case to go to court isn’t cheap and eats up the limited resources of shelters, but this isn’t the right solution either.

There have been SO MANY cases of reports of abuse that aren’t anywhere close to such.  People who see an animal with “an obvious health problem” where the animal is under the care of a vet for the condition and the owner is taking the appropriate steps to care for the animal.  And sometimes there isn’t a “health problem” at all beyond the reporter’s imagination and lack of knowledge of life.  

Its not bad enough that you’re spending alot of money on the vet bills and medications that your sick animal needs, but now, cause some idiot reported you for abuse and it went viral (which happens WAY TOO OFTEN cause people are fucking stupid), and the local ACO gave in to pressure, they seized your dog, so now you have to pay a ton of money in legal bills to get him back and clear your name……but now they want to  charge you for caring for the dog (which you were doing properly at home in the first place) and if you can’t pay that bill TOO you’re going to lose your dog no matter what the outcome of the court case……

Maryland folks, I’m being told that there’s a similar bill(s) pending in your state as well, I’ve not stopped to read them yet, but consider this a heads up you’ll want to check on!

No sympathy

Posted August 21, 2014 By Ruth

I’m to lazy to dig out all the news articles, if you really want to read them doing a search for “elbridge dog shooting” will get you most of them.

On May 31st an Elbridge woman shot her neighbor’s dog when the dog went after her cat.

Police declined to charge her with animal cruelty from the get go, charging her instead with firing a gun within town limits.

A couple days ago they dismissed those charges, stating that the law was aimed at reckless firearm discharge, and that people were still allowed to fire a gun in defense of self and property.

Of course, the dog owner is having a cow.  Upset that there won’t be justice for her dog.  Her grandkid is devastated.

Took a bit of digging, but I was able to confirm that Elbridge does indeed have a leash law.  Unlike alot of such they do make allowances for a dog to be under voice control of the owner.  However every single news article makes it clear that the dog was NOT under voice control at the time of the incident.

According to the above linked article the dog has multiple counts, confirmed by court records, of acting aggressively against the neighbors.  AND there have been multiple reports of the dog running loose and out of control.

While I have some sympathy for the grandkids, I have zero sympathy for the dog owner.  She repeatedly allowed her dog to run loose, despite repeated incidents of aggression by the dog and despite local leash laws.  If she had just taken the basic steps of containing and controlling her dog after the first incident this wouldn’t have happened.  Its not that hard, it just takes a little more effort on the part of the owner.  A dog who has a history of acting aggressive and is still allowed to run loose is not going to survive long, that is plain and simple fact.

Having said all that, I have to note, that the easiest way to ensure that your cat isn’t attacked by a local dog is to not allow your cat to run loose….