Tag Archives: wellness

How My Cat Convinced Me to Get Her a Water Fountain

When the season changes from winter to spring, I find that Ivy the Wonder Cat also seems to go through some changes. After being cooped up in the house with the windows closed for a harsh Canadian winter, those first blasts of fresh air with all of the delightful aromas of spring, seem to get her senses and her excitement levels running high again.

In doing so, she also starts shedding her winter coat and her tastes shift from heartier comfort foods to lighter meals (maybe I’m projecting a little on that last one), but true enough, she starts turning her nose up on some of the heavier pâté style cat foods.

But for the last two springs I also noticed that she seems prone to short periods of kitty constipation. Without going into too many details, when I finally do see the nuggets in the litter box coming at 3 or 4 day intervals, I think that passing those little rocks mustn’t be fun for my feline friend.

Last year, I tried adding pumpkin puree to her food to add a bit more gentle fiber to her meals, but Miss Ivy sees right through my mixing and masking. My little carnivore would rather eat more dry food than eat something from the fruit and vegetable food group.

The issue is that no matter how many times I clean and freshen her food bowl, I never see her drink much water, at least not on my watch. If she eats more dry food, that interval between trips to the litter box could get longer and get me more concerned.

After much research online for solutions, the theme of water fountains came up. Apparently some cats prefer drinking from a source of running water than a stagnant bowl of water. Fair enough. It sounds better to me too.

My greatest concern was with the price tag. What if she doesn’t take to it (as sometimes happens with new toys) and she starts ignoring it?

I went to a nearby pet supply store and had a chat with the manager. She offered me the opportunity to buy one, try it out, and if Miss Ivy truly does not use it, just wash it and bring it back in new condition and I could get a refund.

Talking it out certainly helped. Her offer took the risk and concern out of the transaction, so how could I go wrong?

As soon as I got home, I read the instructions meticulously, washed the individual pieces of the mechanism and assembled the fountain with the greatest of care. Before I knew it, I had a wonderful little feline fountain in a corner of my kitchen, which also seemed to act as a zen fountain for me, making gentle bubbling noises for spontaneous moments of serenity.

I didn’t even have to page Ivy, as moments later, she was in the kitchen investigating the new unfamiliar noise. She took her time sniffing it, examining it and I hoped getting acquainted with it on the best of terms. She then took one lick from the bubbling water and ran like the dickens. I felt defeated.

In the days that followed, as much as I tried to shake her noisy toys around the fountain to lure her to the general vicinity, she seemed uninterested. I was glad that I had taken great care when opening the packaging because it was looking more and more like this thing was going back, even though I was enjoying my… I mean, her… little serenity fountain.

But a few days later something happened. One day after cleaning and changing the litter box, I realized that there were three clumps waiting to be scooped up. Up to that point, she was generally a once-per-day kind of gal, if you know what I mean. I monitored in the coming days and even though I was never actually witnessing her drinking from the fountain, her tripled output was clearly telling a different story. I could not have been happier, she was indeed using the fountain!

With that, I also noticed that the intervals between her other deposits were also stabilized to once per day with no further concerns over kitty constipation.

Was getting a fountain a necessity? Many sources on the web suggest that it isn’t, given that cats are known to have survived well and thrived in the desert, thanks to their efficient physiology.
Just the same, PetMd.com suggests that a ten pound cat should take in 261 ml of water per day, give or take 52 ml. Fortunately, wet food can account for much of that intake.

But for the rest, for a house cat like Ivy who seems to avoid any liquid like the plague when I am around, why shouldn’t I offer her the means to supplement her intake with a fountain? If a bubbling source of fresh, filtered and cooled water is the way to get her to meet her “quota”, especially in warmer weather, then I am more than happy to oblige.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Filed under Cats, How to, Humour

Anxiety: When it was Time to Seek Help

As I get older, I like to think that I have things pretty well figured out and that it takes a lot to surprise me. I have become more accepting of my quirks and foibles and my reactions to situations are generally consistent, coming from a place of authenticity and self-awareness.

Through the years, I have also conquered some minor fears and sources of internal struggle that definitely kept me on my toes.

For me, the trick to remaining calm, cool and collected through life has been to gradually widen my comfort zone. It took guts, perseverance and hard work, but when taken in baby steps, it served me well. With a wider comfort zone, I could trust in my own skills, knowledge and resourcefulness in the face of adversity and stress.

And to cope with stress, I had in my back pocket a huge tool kit of stress management techniques, breathing exercises, mellow music, meditation techniques, grounding techniques and relaxing hobbies, not to mention lavender bath salts, scented candles and massage therapists on speed dial.

With things seemingly so neat and tidy, why is it that at the same time I felt I was becoming older and wiser, anxiety was suddenly creeping up on me as well?

“I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like ‘hmm, that’s odd.’ Or, ‘hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.’ Or, ‘hmm, is that right?’ It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder. I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives. And so, I ask people, ‘What are the whispers? What’s whispering to you now?'” – Oprah Winfrey

To read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-master-class/oprah-winfreys-master-class-quotes/all

To me, those whispers were showing up in the form of reactions to situations that seemed out of character. Beneath my usual calm and cool exterior, I was starting to experience more moments of nervousness, an increasing intensity of nervousness, longer spans of ruminating over issues and needing more time to bounce back from dealing with life’s issues. I was also having a much harder time letting go, no matter how many times I heard that Idina Menzel song. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Inspiring, Misc blogs

My Biggest Irritant

CankerEveryone seems to have a little issue that comes back to haunt every now and then. They are those ridiculous little conditions that hit us at the least opportune moments, that don’t necessarily prevent us from going about our days, but they certainly make them more uncomfortable and more challenging.

They are the issues that sometimes turn our duffle bags or purses into mini-pharmacies with a collection of every product on the market to take the edge off.

I am amazed that over 173 blog posts I have not mentioned a single word about one the biggest irritants for me… cankers. I will admit, it might not make the most compelling of blog topics but I have to appreciate the humour it can bring, as well as the gratitude when that little sucker finally heals.

For me, cankers are nothing new. I have had them on and off, as long as I can remember. I recall being 4 years old, crying my eyes out at the dinner table, because of a spaghetti dinner that was too painful to eat, because of the tomato sauce’s burning sensation on my canker.

I can’t remember if it was my Mom or Dad who first said “Put salt on it”, but when I did and it started to sizzle, I screamed and wondered what I did wrong to earn such a cruel punishment.

I was ready to pack my teddy bear and run away as my thanks for that wonderful parenting advice.

But I survived. And so ensued Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, Inspiring

Where Have All The Exercise Shows Gone?

20MW AlbumNot that long ago exercise shows were a staple of daytime TV. At any time of the day (sometimes evenings too), there always seemed to be an exercise show of some kind on one of the channels… and this was long before having 200 to 300 channels to choose from.

I admit that I was a disciple of those shows. It seemed that my VCR or my DVD recorder was always set to record some exercise show that matched my fitness goals at the time. To me, it was important to maintain a healthy shape, because I did not want a repeat performance of my “husky years”.

Among my favourites were “The Body Electric” (PBS), “Caribbean Workout” (The Sports Network), “Rendez-Vous Reebok” (Réseau des sports) and of course the classic that ran in syndication for many years, “The 20 Minute Workout”. I also enjoyed “Kiana’a Flex Appeal” and “Bodyshaping”, ESPN programs that aired on Canada’s TSN, which coached me in how to use gym equipment safely.

More recently, my local community TV channel has been airing a series I love called “Yoga for Runners”, an outstanding program that inspired my stretching routines before, during and after my training for my first half-marathon. I still do those stretches today.

Throughout my years of TV exercise shows, I have learned about muscle groups, exercise physiology, and proper nutrition while in training. I also learned to listen to my body and how to perform exercises correctly. The educational component of TV exercise shows cannot be denied.

TV exercise shows were always great tool, in my opinion, for juggling a busy professional life too. It was just me, the instructor(s), a few basic pieces of exercise equipment (free weights, mat, bands, step), in my living room, on my schedule.

Once I started learning the routines and actually feeling the positive effects through confidence, better quality sleep, better muscle tone and a higher metabolic rate, I would become very loyal, very quickly to the program that got me there. Also, the more fun the show and the instructors were, the longer I stuck with the program. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Inspiring, Running, TV