November 8, 2020 · 9:10 am
At Ivy the Wonder Cat’s veterinary check-up two years ago, the vet said that she was within an acceptable range for an adult indoor cat, but to ensure that she didn’t take on more weight. At that time, we put in place a few strategies to keep her on track.
Before our move to the country, when things were calm, normal and on a regular routine, her calorie count was pretty consistent without me needing to monitor her intake.
However, there has been so much commotion over the last year between renovations, staging, selling, packing, boarding, relocating, living among boxes, unpacking and more renovations, it was challenging to keep to the structure and certainty that this cat needed to thrive.
Given that she was on the streets for nine months before she was brought to a shelter, it should come as no surprise if this cat eats for survival in times of disruption. So she gained a little.
When the stress of the move had passed and Ivy was feeling more like her usual self, our new vet recommended that we start looking at measures to bring her weight down.
The vet recommended that we moderate and measure her food intake in an effort to reduce her calories, and to switch her to a prescribed food that should make her feel more satiated. Sold!
The part that was a little tricky was the recommendation to play with her more, to give her more exercise. Engaging a six-year-old indoor cat in longer play sessions is easier said than done. I can’t tell you how many times we started playing a game together, only to find myself playing alone when I realized that she had already walked away after approximately 42 seconds.
Over the span of a few weeks, I pulled out every favourite toy that I knew she enjoyed, only to find that she was over it pretty quickly. So much for the exercise part of the program. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as cat, cat care, Cats, control, exercise, fit, fitness, flea, indoor cat, leash, outdoors, pet care, prevention, secure, tick, training, vet, walk, walking, weight
June 28, 2020 · 8:39 am
In the five years since Ivy the Wonder Cat’s adoption, most days I would think that Ivy is one of the coolest, calmest and most predictable cats on the planet, given her innate ability to stick to a schedule which includes 14 hours of sleep per day.
When I say stick to a schedule, I mean you can set your watch by her. God forbid if I should miss her 9:00 p.m. treat time or should slip by more than five minutes for her regularly scheduled feeding times. Let’s just say my extroverted cat is not terribly subtle and if I am ever late, her mild meow builds up to a full ambulance siren within a matter of minutes.
I often ask myself who is the trainer and who is the student?
With a cat whose routine is so deeply entrenched, we are fortunate that harmony is a two way street. She knows when it’s her humans’ bedtime and she doesn’t typically wail by the door. She seems to understand our work-from-home routine and keeps herself quietly entertained during business hours. And she doesn’t usually beg for food outside of her appointed meal times.
But with that strong sense of structure, a sensitivity to disruption may be part of the package deal. Every November and December, as the holiday decorations go up and our schedules stray from the normal routine, she does get a little discombobulated, but then again, don’t we all to some extent? Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, home, Humour
Tagged as anxiety, cat care, Cats, cats of wordpress, feline, health, kidney, litter box, move, moving, pee, pet care, relocation, routine, stress, structure, urinary, urine, vet, veterinarian
August 11, 2019 · 12:30 pm
At Ivy-the-Wonder-Cat’s last vet appointment, I was told the news that I suspected was coming: It was time to start watching her weight.
I always thought that when it came to her diet, she was pretty much self-guiding. I was reading product labels for calorie counts and I kept an eye on the amount of wet and dry food she ate. Between the days she ate more and the days she ate less, it seemed to average out to the target calorie range… or so I thought.
But it also averaged out to one extra pound every year that she had been with me. If I wanted Ivy to have a healthy, long life, we needed to curb that increase.
After going over our daily routine, the vet and I came up with some solutions. I was apprehensive that Ivy would put up a fuss, but the vet reassured me that cats like structure, and these measures were just going to reinforce what they crave anyway.
When I think about it, there have been times that I could set a clock to Ivy’s behaviour, like when she is heading upstairs between 9:58 p.m. and 10:02 p.m. because to her, it’s bedtime. I don’t even have to suggest it.
Even as I wrote the first draft of this blog at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning, she walked by, yawned and crawled into her cat bed. She’s pretty punctual. Maybe these changes will work.
The first step was to have just one feeding station. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as calories, cat, cat care, cat health, Cats, dry food, feeding, food, free feeding, hangry, health, hungry, location, management, pet care, schedule, scheduled, structure, vitality, weight, wet food
May 5, 2019 · 8:39 am
I think I’ve created a monster!
When I adopted Ivy the Wonder Cat, naturally, she was guarded when it came to where she would allow herself to be petted by this new stranger. But as we got to spend more time together and she realized that she had nothing to fear with me, she started trusting me more and letting her guard down.
At first, I could pet her back and perhaps the top of her head, but that was it. If I pet her anywhere else, I risked getting bitten.
As she warmed up to me, her head became welcome territory as she loved getting massaged behind the ears. Then she started presenting her chin as she liked a little scratch there from time to time.
When she realized that I was a willing participant in indulging her requests for attention, the “rub my belly” days began. Whether I was just coming out of the bedroom in the morning, or coming home from work, she would collapse to the floor like her joints all gave out at the same time, roll over on her back, front paws up in the air and present her belly for a gentle tummy rub.
What surprised me was the slow evolution with her allowing me to go near her paws. As I discussed in my post about challenges in trimming my cat’s nails, she has never been fond with me touching her paws, even if I didn’t have the nail clippers in my hand. She took a long time to warm up. Continue reading →
June 24, 2018 · 8:48 am
I am not certain which is worse: driving in freezing rain, driving in poor visibility conditions, or driving with a cat that does not like car rides.
Regular readers will know that I adore my cat, Ivy, and despite a few feline eccentricities, she is an absolute angel. But nothing turns her into the devil’s child faster than taking her out for a car ride.
From what I understand, cats aren’t fans of change to begin with. Then, to place them in a crate, going to places unknown, can be a scary prospect for certain cats.
The first time I took her to the vet, she didn’t just cry, she meowed in repeated shrieks at the top of her lungs. It was horrible. Thankfully, the vet is just 5 minutes away, but that was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
I often wonder what must be running through her mind through her persistent meows.
But what is it that elicits this strong reaction? Is it the sound of the engine? Is it the tires against the pavement? Is it the motion? Is it the displacement from her cozy routine? Is it a little bit of everything? Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, How to, Travel
Tagged as advice, anxiety, car, cars, cat, cat care, cats of wordpress, crate, hints, meowing, motion, music, noise, pet care, pets, scary, solutions, stress, suggestions, tips, travel, trip
February 4, 2018 · 8:31 am
When I took Ivy the Wonder Cat to the veterinarian for the very first time, at one year old, she was just a feline teenager and the absolute picture of health. The only thing that was mentioned as a potential issue down the road was her teeth, as tartar was already starting to build up.
Given the back story offered to me by the Ottawa Humane Society, of a life on the cold, wintry streets of Ottawa, fending for herself, eating from garbage cans in a tough neighbourhood, I should not have been surprised that Ivy’s teeth weren’t worthy of a finalist’s spot on America’s Next Top Model.
My vet recommended I put out a bowl of tartar control dry food, something she might eat more consistently than the occasional tartar control cat treat that I might give her. The second alternative was to brush her teeth.
At the time, I was already on the nerve-racking journey of finding the right time and mood where she would allow me to gently trim her nails. Some days, the right mood just wasn’t there, as scratch marks added up like a tote board on a telethon. Getting a toothbrush anywhere near her mouth seemed like an impossible dream.
As I lugged the bag of tartar control food back to my car, I couldn’t help asking myself why it didn’t come in a sample size and where was I going to keep it? Given that Miss Ivy was already revealing signs of a picky palate (though after eating garbage for several months, you’d think that anything from a can or a bag would be a step up) there was a chance that she may not like it. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, How to, Humour
Tagged as advice, bristles, brush, brushing, care, cat care, Cats, Christmas tree, cleaning, control, dental, fear, food, funny, grooming, habits, health, how to, humor, humour, hygiene, independent, intuition, love, oral, pet care, pet owner, pets, struggle, tartar, technique, teeth, texture, tooth, toothbrush, toothpaste, veterinarian
December 17, 2017 · 8:42 am
The first Christmas after Ivy the Wonder Cat joined me, the same jitters that I felt before her adoption were back with a vengeance. This time, I was worried about how she would behave around the artificial Christmas tree.
Five months into our relationship, I already knew she was a good little kitty who didn’t have any predispositions to destructive behaviour. Nonetheless, she still had a strong curious streak which could make the tradition of keeping a Christmas tree upright a challenge. I had heard enough horror stories and had seen enough videos to know just exactly what cats are capable of, in the presence of a bright, shiny “play structure” in the middle of the living room.
I turned to my panel of experts at the office who all offered fabulous, practical tips to keeping the tree and the cat safe (thanks again, everyone!) Plus, with experience, I added a few of my own ideas upon realizing that my cat was not only smart but fearless when it came to climbing the tree.
Here are some of the strategies I use to keep my Christmas tree vertical throughout the holiday season:
– For the first Christmas with Ivy, I kept my most cherished (and breakable) ornaments in a box, safely tucked away until I knew how she would behave. This took some of the fear and apprehension out of the experience.
– When I install the tree lights, I try to avoid the branches at the very bottom, within the reach of her paws. By avoiding those branches, not only is it safer for Ivy and the tree, I find that at human eye-level, the overall appearance of the tree is enhanced given the greater concentration of lights higher up. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Christmas
Tagged as advice, apprehension, artificial, cat, Cats, Christmas, Christmas tree, curiosity, curious, decorating, decoration, decorations, fear, garland, health, hints, holiday, how to, ideas, ornaments, peace of mind, pet, pet care, pets, safe, safety, season, strategies, stress, tips, traditions, tree, unbreakable, worry
November 19, 2017 · 8:05 am
Now that Miss Ivy has been with me a couple of years, I am amused when I think back to the things I worried about before I got her.
Becoming a first time pet owner was not a decision I took lightly, nor should it be taken lightly. Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and I wanted to be absolutely certain I was doing the right thing, for her and for me.
As much as I worried (and obsessed) about it, I don’t think I could have imagined just exactly how much I would be getting out of this wonderful experience and how much joy she brought.
I would like to thank the friends and co-workers who took the time to walk me through their pet raising experiences to convince me that taking in a rescue cat was the right thing to do.
Here they are the top 10 things I worried about before I got the cat:
10- Objects not remaining where I left them
When hearing that cats can be pretty good at hiding things, especially items they may consider their favourite toys, I was worried about my belongings moving around the house. Fortunately Ivy lacks the dexterity or strength to move anything, but from time to time, I do see her own toys showing up unexpectedly in other rooms in the house.
A moving pile of laundry (notably a pile of towels) is a pretty common occurrence now. If I didn’t have a cat or a dog in the house, you better believe I would have jumped three feet off the floor at the sight of a pile of laundry walking away from the laundry centre.
9- Missing the litter box
When I moved into this house, the carpeting had a few nasty pet urine stains. On hot humid days, even with the air conditioning going full blast, it was as if those stains came back to life despite several professional cleanings.
Over the years, after spending several thousand dollars replacing the flooring and finally getting rid of that odour, I was very fearful of bringing in a pet. Miss Ivy put my fears to rest. With her litter box scooped every day or two, she always seems pretty content with her restroom facilities. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, Lists
Tagged as behaviour, behavioural issues, behaviours, cat care, catnip, Cats, hairballs, hints, human interest, litter box, loneliness, lonely, nails, pet care, pet ownership, pets, responsibility, scratching, scratching post, sleep, tips, trimming, worries, worry
July 30, 2017 · 6:42 am
I was browsing through the Ottawa Humane Society listings one lunch time, checking out the new cohort of cats and dogs looking for new homes. It’s not that I’m looking to add a friend for Ivy, but for entertainment purposes, I enjoy reading the cute biographies and appreciate the effort that goes into writing each one.
In the description of a handsome domestic short haired cat named Bryson, I paused when I read: “I also would love it if you could spend meal times with me in the beginning as I can be a social eater.”
“Social eater”?… is that a thing? Is that what Miss Ivy has been trying to tell me for all these months?
When it comes to her wet food, Ivy always seemed to prefer being served dinner in the basement. I always assumed it is because it is one of the quietest spots in the house. If that’s her preference (and now habit), I’ll happily oblige her.
But in recent months, she introduced a twist in the meal game.
Now, when she’s hungry, she’ll leave whatever room we’re in, approach the staircase, look down, and wait… and wait… and wait… until I get up from what I’m doing, at which time she proceeds to meow to catch my attention.
When I approach her to ask what she would like, she takes off for the basement and looks back. If I’m not following, she meows, increasing the volume gradually like a teenager might do with their sound system.
One day, I gave in and just followed her downstairs. When I arrived, she dove face down into the food bowl, merrily enjoying her meal. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, Misc blogs
Tagged as attention, cat, cat care, cat food, Cats, cats of wordpress, consistency, engage, engaging, feeding, feeding time, finicky, food, food bowl, grazing, habit, habits, meal time, myth, observations, pet care, reality, secure, security, seeking, social, social eater, social eaters, solitary, structure, truth
May 7, 2017 · 10:52 am
As much as I have gushed about all the fun things my cat Ivy has brought into my life, one area that has been a constant learning experience has been the act of trimming her nails.
What is it about my normally cool-as-a-cucumber kitty that the moment I attempt to gently snip 1/16th of an inch off a sharp nail, she can turn on a dime, and a zen moment suddenly becomes a scene from The Exorcist?
Trimming Ivy’s nails has been like a trip to the casino. Most times, I walk away with nothing. On a few occasions, I might get one or two nails done. And on a few rare occasions, I may hit the jackpot and get a whole paw (or even two) done! The trick has been to figure out why I am successful some times and not others, and then to follow the pattern.
It’s pretty easy to check the status of her nails without any intervention on my part. During our daily pets, she lies flat on her blanket and starts moving her little arms back and forth, making that kneading motion with her paws. Her little Wolverine claws pop in and out, giving me a full account of whether her nails are still blunt or if they are sharp or jagged, meaning she is due for a trim.
But if I miss the status check, another sign that a trim is overdue is when she walks around the house, when she doesn’t have her collar on. Usually she can be stealth kitty and sneak up on me at any given moment (which can also be a little creepy, quite frankly). But if I can hear her walking through the kitchen sounding like she is wearing stilettos, those nails are getting long.
The trick is finding the right time to do it. If I say yes to any of the following, chances are, it is not an opportune time: Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, How to, Humour
Tagged as affection, cat, cat care, cat lover, catnip, Cats, Caturday, claws, clipper, clippers, curtains, feline, fun, funny, furniture, gentle, how to, humour, love, maintenance, manicure, nails, patience, pedicure, pet care, petlover, routine, scratches, treats, trimming, trust