Kittens Make You Do Things You Couldn’t Even Imagine

Jake’s had poop issues for the past week or so. Not diarrhea, exactly. Diarrhea is liquid. This is more…semi-soft. He’s perfectly healthy otherwise, eating and drinking and wrassling Angel and getting into trouble like any normal 5 month old kitten. He just has somewhat squirty poops (thank goodness he’s a great buryer like Gun-Hee).

I am blessed with great insight into this because every morning while I’m getting ready for work (or, on weekends, just doing my wake-up ritual cleaning) he has to use the litter box and make a stinky just for my benefit. Ain’t love grand?

I tried changing his diet, of course, giving him Hill’s z/d hypoallergenic canned food because it seemed the least like to cause an upset, but it didn’t seem to help. So, after consulting my cat medical books and a couple of websites, I finally called the vet to see if I needed to be worried about this. They told me what I basically already knew: if he was otherwise normal, there was probably nothing to worry about (and he’d been in their office a month ago and was fine), but to be safe, I could bring in a stool sample and they could rule out some causes. Fair enough.

So last night I got an empty deli-meat box, a ziplock bag and a Chinese take-out soup spoon in preparation for the morning. And, miracle of miracles, Jake actually stuck to his schedule and used the box today like clockwork. I took the take-out spoon and held it right under his tail and got a nice, litter-free sample, “mid-stream,” as it were.

I decided to take Jake’s “sample” to the vet this morning before work. It seemed easier to go straight there rather than take it in to work and then go all the way back out there at lunch (they’re in South Boston). Not to mention avoiding the whole squee factor of bringing cat poop into the office.

The most amusing part was the fact that I’d put my spoon-in-box-in-ziplock contraption into a small Cartier bag I found in the recycle bin. It made me smile to think of some thief snatching my “valuable” Cartier bag and discovering the “precious jewels” inside.

Of course, I’m easily amused.

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Brush with disaster

Jacoby, unlike most cats, actually tolerates having his teeth brushed. This is awesome, because he may avoid the dental problems Kylie has and Angel will have (the only cat who ever let me brush his teeth was Harri). Obviously, it’s a great help starting him out as a kitten, but I tried to start Kylie and Gun-Hee out as kittens, too, and they would have none of it.

I had some Benedent Triple-Pet All-Natural Vanilla-Mint toothpaste I’d gotten for Gun-Hee and Kylie, barely used since neither of them would put up with it. One day I was brushing Jake’s teeth, and I happened to notice that the toothpaste contained tea tree oil. That didn’t seem right, since tea tree oil is poisonous to cats. I’d bought it at a local groomer/pet supply shop and had been assured it was okay to use on cats. I looked around online to see if I could confirm or deny that it was okay to use on cats, and discovered it’s definitely marketed as a cat-safe toothpaste. In fact, I only found one site that even included a warning that it should be “used on a less frequent basis with cats”!

Needless to say, I threw it away, and ordered CET Enzymatic Toothpaste for him in Vanilla-Mint (because I like it) and Poultry (because I figured he might not like Vanilla-Mint) and now I’m alternating the two. No more tea tree oil!

Still, how scary: a toothpaste marketed for use on cats, containing an ingredient that’s poisonous to them! Good thing I read labels!