046 Caring for Older Cats

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In this special Catcast, we talk to Dr. Tracy McFarland, who was our guest on Episode 36, about caring for older cats. During the podcast we discuss:

  • Signs you need to take the cat to the vet
  • Dental disease
  • Oxifresh oral hygene
  • The dietary needs of older cats
  • Dry or wet food?
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Water
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • avmi.net
  • Grooming
  • Step stools
  • Checking your cat’s teeth and gums
  • Feeding times
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Integrating older and younger cats
  • Heating pads for older cats

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

New Cat Sensation: Faux Rat Tail

beettail

We’ve discovered a thrilling new cat toy: a long tail from a beet root. Yes indeed, it looks exactly like a hairy, dismembered rat tail, right down to the bloody stump. Even better, when batted, it moves like a rat tail.

In fact, the excitement around this toy was so great that I could not capture any decent images of our cat, Buck, and his rat tail, which he would not share with the other cats (who were wildly envious), or slow down his play so I could get an clear shot. By the next day, when he tired of it, the tail had dehydrated into little more than a rat whisker.

This Root Simple Approved Artisanal Feline Play Device contains no artificial flavors or colors. It is 100% organic, raw, vegan, locally grown, cruelty-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, compostable, non-toxic, derived from renewable beet crops and only somewhat staining to carpets.

buckandtail

036 The Cat Doctor

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Our guest this week is veterinarian Dr. Tracy McFarland DMV, founder of the Cat Doctor and Friends–a cat-only veterinary practice in Santa Clarita, CA. Dr. Tracy is our veterinarian, even though Santa Clarita is a bit of a haul from Los Angeles. We commute to see her, because she’s that good. And we are thrilled to have her with us this week to talk about cat health and cat behavior.  During the show we discuss:

  • The importance of checkups
  • What makes cats unique from a biological perspective
  • Cat dental care
  • Vaccinations
  • Rabies
  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • The outdoor vs. indoor cat debate
  • Ohio State University advice on environmental enrichment for indoor cats (pdf)
  • DIY cat toys
  • A toy to be careful about
  • Strange things Dr. Tracy has removed from cat’s stomachs
  • Plants that are toxic to cats
  • What should you feed your cats
  • The raw food debate
  • Natural veterinary food and homemade pet food resource: balanceit.com
  • AAFCO feeding trial
  • How to tell if your cat is fat
  • Meal feeding cats
  • How to know how much to feed a cat
  • Dry vs. wet food
  • Flea control
  • Heartworm
  • Listener questions: weepy eyes,
  • L-Lysine
  • Cat social hierarchy
  • Zylkene

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Submit your questions for the Cat Doctor!

cat at computer

Go ahead, tap on the bright box. It’s all you do anyway.

At the end of this week we will be interviewing Dr. Tracy McFarland  for our podcast, and we are absolutely thrilled.

Dr. Tracy is an top-notch vet who specializes in the care of felines. She’s also our very own vet. We’re going to talk about all things cats, and hear her advice on cat care, including feeding, vacinations and the perennial indoor or outdoor question. At the end of the conversation, if there’s time, we’ll pass on a few questions from our reader/listeners.

So please leave your cat-related questions here. We can’t guarantee they’ll be answered, but we’ll try. It’s best not to leave questions about specific cases (e.g. “My cat Mr.Muffinpuff has a purple spot on his ear…”) because this simply isn’t the correct forum for such things. Keep it general.

Cats!

Party in the Bathroom!!!!!

buck close

The Continuing Saga of Living in a 900 Square Foot House with 3 Indoor Cats

Every time I enter the bathroom, no matter what I plan to do in there, or how long I’ll be staying, I have company: at least one cat, often all three, come to join me for an impromptu party.

Yes, I close the door. But Phoebe, our little heart-challenged female, is a genius. She understands the principles of force and acceleration and all sorts of things I don’t even know the names of, and can send the bathroom door swinging inward with one precise smack of her dainty black paw. If I do lock the door, she scratches on the other side in protest–tirelessly– making a noise so annoying that I have to submit and let her in.

The boys, Buck and Trout, being handsome but sadly thick, can’t even begin to open the door without her.

Phoebe is deeply bathroom obsessed, though, so the boys will never be locked out. Wherever Phoebe is, she comes running when she hears me entering the bathroom. Maybe she doesn’t hear me–maybe she’s set up psychic trip wires. I have no idea, but she always knows.

Originally she liked to roll around on the bath mat while I was in the bathroom, giving me a rare opportunity to pet her, since she often doesn’t wish to be petted, at least by me. She’s Erik’s cat, shamelessly biased.

More recently she’s expanded her Empire of Domination and has trained me to open the bathtub faucet to a drizzle. The running water is never less than thrilling. I wonder why cats tire of everything else (toys, perches, etc.) quickly but the faucet never loses its charm. And I can’t help but obey her every wish, because, after all, she’s dying (despite looking bright and fiendish, she is in heart failure) and she’s on lots of diuretics, so water is good for her. I am her tub slave.

cat drinking from tub

Phoebe says, “Hmm, the rate of flow lacks that certain je ne sais quoi, Fix it. Now.”

So, turning on the tub is my first duty whenever I enter the bathroom. If I don’t do it, she’ll stare daggers at me until I obey.

Next the boys rush in, probably having heard the water running. They each have their own objectives. Trout likes to jump into the bathroom window and balance there precariously, threatening the screen. I worry about the screen, but mostly I’m grateful he’s leaving me alone.

trout in window

Trout says: “I may pop this screen, or I may jump down and break all your toiletries on the counter or I may just stare at you for a long while.”

Buck is more interactive. Not to get all TMI here, but when I am in our bathroom, occasionally I will be found sitting on the toilet, contemplating the nature of the universe or what have you, and at such moments Buck jumps up on the sink, which is just to the left of the toilet, and begins purring at full volume.Why he is so happy and excited, I cannot begin to guess.

In that position he is very near my shoulder, and a little taller than me, which is somewhat disturbing. He wants to be petted there on the sink. If I ignore him, or don’t pet him enough, he bats at my head and shoulder, to remind me of my duty.

If this does not satisfy, he jumps to the back of the toilet, where he skitters precariously on the stack of trashy free publications and ham radio catalogs Erik insists on keeping there, rubbing his cheek against mine until an avalanche of slippery magazines sends him jumping for safety, and sends me scrabbling to keep the magazines from falling down my back.

buck in sink

Buck says, “What…are you leaving already?”

And thus ends another relaxing visit to the bathroom.

We’re Thankful for . . .

phoebescratching

Sorry for the bad pic–Phoebe is impossible to photograph.

All of you, our dear readers–for your love and support. And for providing a lively dialog in our comment section.

We’re also thankful that our cat Phoebe has been granted another cat life. We really thought we’d have to put her down last week but she has recovered. While her defective heart means she won’t live a long life, we’re grateful for every day she graces our presence.  Perhaps I should say my presence, since she’s imperious towards everyone else, Kelly and her veterinarian.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.