A last smarty-pants post on the balcony: make sure to double-check poisonous plants to cats! I was lucky enough that I only lost money, but I could have ended up with an injured cat too.
I was very disappointed when I found out that I bought toxic flowers. I actually spend a lot of time in the flower shop, checking each plant I liked. I relied on a well-recognized and seemingly reliable source: ASPCA . While I do believe that ASPCA is in general a very good reference, mistakes happen to the best of us.
I fell in love with these flowers and checked the latin name Gypsophila elegans on ASPCA’s webpages. “Non-toxic to cats”. Great!
However, I accidentally found out that ASPC had two articles on Gypsophila elegans under its common names Baby’s Breath and Maiden’s Breath.
Source: Aspca , 06/25/17
The latin name is identical so we are dealing with the very same flower – but one is toxic and the other non-toxic. Obviously, ASPCA made a mistake here.
I didn’t mean to shame a great society, and I’m sure that they do put a lot of effort into their great list of toxic plants. However, mistakes do happen, and I’ve definitely learned a lesson: to double-check. Keep in mind that many webpages (including blogs) refer to ASPCA, so double-checking doesn’t help when both websites use the same source!
Opinions and research on toxic plants to cats differ, and you’re likely to find contradictory statements. Oh yes, I spend many hours googling a replacement for my flowers. In the end, I had a small list of flowers which a) most sources considered non-toxic, b) I liked, c) were not too expensive and d) suitable for sub-arctic climate and an eastward balcony.
P.S. I already emailed ASPCA and asked them to control their entries on Gypsophila elegans. I’m sure they do their best to keep their pages updated and reliable!
I’m in general pretty good at doing things I find disgusting. Cleaning a shower drain from hair? Feline and human excrements? No problem.
For a long time, I had only dog poop(seriously, this is one of the reasons why I’d never get a dog) on my “hello gag reflex” list … until I ordered salmon oil. Believe me, Finnish is known for its great variety of swearwords, but non of them described what I felt when I opened this bottle.
The fish oil was to help my cats with hairballs. Both love butter and olive oil, but I thought that salmon oil would be even better because cats can’t utilize vegetable fat and proteins. Although I eat mainly vegetarian food, bloody offals don’t disgust me. I’d like to feed BARF (a raw food diet) in the long run, and started giving them fresh meat and offals. That being said, I won’t buy salmon oil again. I was glad when it finally expired in January – I gagged every time I saw this bottle in my fridge. Which is weird, because I didn’t mind storing feline diarrhea for the lab last summer. Fish oil is definitely worse than diarrhea!
So we’ll go back to butter every now and then. Have you ever tried fish oil? I still think it’s a great alternative to butter. Tessa and Kajsa loved it, and it’s a useful supplement for our carnivores.
One of the many things I tried during our Diarrhea Drama was Aptus Attapectin. It consists of pectin and helps, according to the manufacturer, with minor gastrointestinal problems.
Turned out that bacteria were causing their diarrhea, so pectin wasn’t really helping – which is fine, but I was annoyed about something else: it was a bloody (literally speaking) battle to get my cats to swallow any pill. I decided to give Attapectin a try when I read that you can dissolve it in water. Perfect, because it’s much easier to give Kajsa and Tessa liquids with syringes. It was, however, impossible to give Attapectin as a liquid: Dissolved in water, its texture was “porridge” and therefore too thick for a syringe.
Orion Pharma’s customer service was excellent and compensated me with a great parcel. They also recommended to use a bigger syringe next time. Great idea, but you can’t get any bigger from Finnish pharmacies.
Have you ever tried pectin with your cats? I’d love to hear your experiences, because Tessa and Kajsa are sometimes struggling with stomach problems.
Power outage is never funny, but it gets worse when it happens on a cold and dark December day in Finland. Tessa and Kajsa were first thrilled because I could neither read nor use any technical device: they had my full attention. However, our heating system needs electricity, and the fun part stopped when it became very cold inside.
I wasn’t sure what to do, and asked Punapippuri’s Äiti for help: is it better to keep the cats in a cold house or transport them somewhere warm? She advised us to stay home and had a brilliant idea: to check if we had some warm water left. I filled glass containers with warm water, and tried to convince Tessa and Kajsa with treats to lay next to them. Well, they ate the treats, tried to tilt the containers, and went away. Sigh.
It got colder and colder. I played a lot with them to keep them moving, and fed their favorite food to make them eat. I also tried to cover them with blankets whilst they were sleeping. Let’s put it that way: they didn’t quite get the idea. Sigh.
I eventually realized that I was a hysterical newbie again – if they don’t seek warmth, they’re probably not cold enough. So yes, after MONTHS of sanity, they made me going crazy again, good job!
So yes, we had some adventures during our blog break – but not only with trees.
A black cat came to our garden whilst I was outside with Tessa. S/he was whining and blinked excessively with his/her eyes. There were no signs of aggression. I was naïve and seriously thought that Tessa was making friends.
The black cat moved slowly closer to Tessa.
… and closer
… until s/he suddenly tried to bite Tessa’s neck, but Tessa was faster and run inside.
Seems like our black bandit is a tom cat who wanted to mate with Tessa. I’m however confused, because I’ve read that spayed cats cannot attract male cats. On the other side, it didn’t look like a territorial fight – he was showing her all the time that she’s the boss. I’m now wondering whether Tessa has been neutered correctly? She’s never been in heat though. I’ll see my vet at the latest in February due to vaccinations. I think we can wait until then – Tessa’s never alone outside, and she’s doing fine.
Do you have any experiences or thoughts? I would really appreciate some help here.
Postponed Posts show older stories and pictures. So yes, summer and early autumn are gone, but we had such a long blog break that we need to catch up.
Bah. Mom said it was typical that I threw up a hairball on her sheets. I don’t understand why she’s irritated. Why can’t she change the sheets if my tiny hairball bothers her so much? Aha – the construction workers have moved some furniture, and that’s why she can’t open the linen closet?
Even for humans it should be clear that the construction workers are the guilty ones here!
So I was quite satisfied with myself and chose an excellent place for dessert… Can you guess where I placed the aftermath?
Postponed Posts show older stories and pictures. So yes, the construction work is finally done, but we had such a long blog break that we need to catch up.
I don’t have a car, but public transportation is very good here. I never felt the urge of getting a car until my girls moved in. For some odd reason, all vets are difficult to reach. Well, not really difficult, but I don’t want to change busses with two cats. I neither want to walk for more than a few minutes with them, so I had to come up with something.
I admit that I’m quite satisfied with myself, because I had a brilliant idea. I bought on Ebay an old pram for 10€ (11$). The closest vet is a 20 minutes’ walk from my place – no problem when I put their carriers in the pram.
I love that I can use the pram regardless of the weather. It has a rain cover so my girls won’t get wet. I can cover their carriers with blankets if it’s really cold.
And best of all – you do entertain your neighborhood when you’re taking your cats for a walk!
So Detective Mamma has a new enemy: ticks. Sigh. As for fleas: they’re luckily very rare in Finland, so it’s unlikely my girls will catch them.
I sometimes catch those bastards earlier, sometimes later… this fat tick was on the bathroom floor, so Tessa was apparently hosting a guest for several days. Eek. I was a bit naive, I didn’t think of ticks when we started to go out. That’s probably why I didn’t see this one before it was on the floor.
It’d been better if Kajsa was the one who likes to go out, because it’s difficult to spot ticks in Tessa’s fur. Tessa is also really picky about her belly. I manage to search for ticks with my hands, but it’d been easier if I could use my eyes as well.
I’m a newbie to ticks, but so far, the best tool for removing ticks was a lice comb. Ticks are often crawling for 2-3 hours in their search for the perfect spot – I’ve been combing them out before they bite.
I know, there’re several methods to prevent ticks, (more…)