Aby-a-Day: 2 Augusti: Boss Chonk (Photoshop Friday)

There’s a meme going around with three cats at different levels, with the highest level cat being designated “Boss Chonk.” Well, we’re going to a cat show this weekend, and I bathed Izaak and Lorelai. I also bathed Alfred, to help get him used to bathing (something I should have started doing when he was younger). Whilst bathing these three, this meme inexplicably came to mind.

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So…I made a thing.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari: Tritrichomonas Foetus (Medical Monday)

You may recall that Jacoby has been having some sort of vague mysterious ailment. We spent much of the summer shuttling to the djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to figure out what the problem was. But we have finally gotten to the bottom of it. It took a while because I needed three separate fecal samples from Jake…and I was having a devil of a time catching him in the act! But finally the first week of September I got that third sample, and a week later Dr. Cecilia emailed me with the result: “Today I’ve finally recieved Jacoby’s fecal sample results. We have significant findings that may well explain his weight loss and (quite possibly) also his change in behavior. He has the parasite Tritrichomonas foetus that in chronic cases may induce chronic intestinal inflammations. He also has toxin-producing Clostridia in overgrowth.”

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TriTrich is a protozoan parasite that can infest multi-cat households. But it’s good news, right? At least we know what the problem is. I mean, we have already dealt with Giardia, which is a huge problem to deal with, and we managed to survive that…so TriTrich is at least better than that, right?

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Well, yes and no. Whilst Giardia is harder to kill in the house because the protozoa are shed encased in cysts which are hard to destroy, the medication is readily available in any Apotek. The TriTrich protozoa have no such protective “shells,” but the problem with treating TriTrich is that the medication for it, Ronidazole, is toxic. Like, wear rubber gloves when giving the pills (for four days), and also wear a face mask when cleaning the litterbox during medication and three days after the last pill has been given. Dr. Cecelia had to get specific licenses from Läkemedelsverket (the Swedish bureau that deals with prescription medication) for each cat based on their weight. This was delayed a bit because, as usual with Swedish government agencies, the instructions on the paperwork weren’t entirely clear, and there was an error on the original paperwork so it needed to be redone…and Läkemedelsverket only sends the denial notifications by snail mail.

But we finally got ahold of this highly-regulated, super-toxic medication, which I had to give to five cats once a day for fourteen days…yeah, good times. The exact written instructions were as follows: “All cats are treated with 1 capsule per day for 14 days. They are prescribed and will be sent directly home to you. The drug is toxic and is excreted through feces and urine. Therefore, you need to use disposable gloves and masks when you’re cleaning the litter boxes. The most common side effects (still uncommon), are neurological. Contact us immediately if any of the cats show any neurological abnormalities or other symptoms.” Now, that’s not at all daunting, is it? At least I’m not the only person who’s been through this! And hey, this time I didn’t get bitten, either!

I also had to bathe all the cats. I wasn’t sure when during the medication timeline I should bathe them all, so I emailed some researchers at North Carolina State University for advice, and was pleasantly surprised at their quick and helpful response! They told me: “To my knowledge, no one has looked at the optimal time for performing a disinfection during treatment for T. foetus (ie. at what point during the treatment, on average, is T. foetus no longer being shed by the cat). The good news is, the T. foetus organism is not particularly robust once outside the host. We have observed the organisms in feces are no longer viable 24hrs after being voided into a litter pan, in the absence of litter; the presence of litter likely speeds the process up via desiccation of the feces.” So, towards the end of the dosage period, we cleaned one room, washed all the cats, locked the cats up in the clean room and then cleaned the rest of the house. We used liberal amounts of Virkon (which is actually better than bleach for sanitizing – and without the smell and turning things white).

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Another importan part of eradicating TriTrich is to thoroughly clean all the litterboxes, since it is mainly transmitted in feces.

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It wasn’t easy, cleaning six litterboxes, but between the two bathrooms, I managed to wash them all.

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We got all the freshly cleaned boxes back in their places…

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…and filled them up with clean, fresh litter. We use two types, PeeWee pine pellets, which are wonderful, and Cat’s Best Öko, which is a plant-based wood fibre clumping litter. Both of these make collecting fecal samples very easy – much easier than clay litter.

This is important, because once we were done with the medication and the bathing and the cleaning, we needed to test all five cats’ poops. Which involved catching each cat “in the act,” so to speak. Izaak and Lorelai were easy – just catch them when we’re at a cat show. Jacoby, as well, was simple: he eats in a room with a box in it, so just catch him after he’s been fed. But Alfred and Angel…it took me weeks to catch them, especially Angel! I finally managed it, though…

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So now, we are TriTrich free…no diarrhea at all, and Jake seems happier and less growly, although he still hisses and growls at the younger cats…but I think now it’s just become a habit to be a grumpy old man towards them more than an actual medical symptom.

(And yeah, I wasn’t going to post a photo of anyone actually using a box, so have a shot of Jake having his perfect teeth checked instead.)

Aby-a-Day – 18 May: Splish splash, I was taking a bath (Fashion Friday)

One of the first things I do when bringing home a new kitten is to give them a bath. I know that may sound strange and a little non-intuitive, but it was actually something Sherry did when she brought us Jacoby (and which I wish I had taken photos of). She said it ensures that the new kitten doesn’t introduce anything to the resident cats from the cattery, it reduces the kitten’s “different” smell, and it distracts the kitten from being homesick at all. Ever since Jake, I have done that to every new kitten we’ve gotten, and it seems to work like a charm.

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So I introduced Lorelai to the cats and apartment, clipped her claws and popped her into the laundry room sink. I hadn’t gotten any Jerob Parisian Purple shampoo yet, so I had to make do with their Snowy Blue, which I use on Alfred and used on Logan. I certainly wasn’t going to wash her with Jake and Angel’s Mahogany Gold!

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First, I got her completely wet.

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Then I turn the water off and lather her up. Jerob shampoos should be diluted, and I usually add some of the De-greasing shampoo as well, to clean up the oils from hands petting their fur.

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Never put soap on a cat’s face though. I don’t lather beyond the ears.

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(Pause while all of you go Awwwwwwwww…)

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After she’s good and clean, it’s time for the rinse cycle.

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It is essential to make sure your cat’s fur is completely free of shampoo, or the fur will be dull and sticky.

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When you’re sure you’ve gotten out every last bit of soap, rinse one more time.

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After we’re all rinsed, it’s time to dry off.

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I use microfibre pet towels, and they really do suck up a lot of water.

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Finally, a little playtime with big brother Freddy…and the bath is forgotten.

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“Bath? What bath?”

Aby-a-Day: 11 April: Wordless Wednesday (Post-aBATHalyptic)

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Aby-a-Day – 11 February: Angel’s spa day

On Sunday, I decided to give Angel a bath.

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The second I shut the bathroom door with her inside, she knew something was up.

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She hasn’t had a bath in a very long time…at least two years (and probably more like four or five). Her fur was starting to look and feel a little greasy in a way that Jacoby’s fur never does.

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Angel’s spa day started off with a mani-pedi, and then a good Furmination. I actually got this Furminator with an “eject button” as a free gift from Blog Paws, and I have to say, it’s much better than the non-ejecting model.

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Don’t worry, Angel. Your hair won’t go to waste. I have plans to make Jake a Trump wig out of it. It’s just the right colour!

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Then, I put her into the tub…she wasn’t thrilled with that. I have to say, though, having sliding glass doors on the bathtub really makes bathing cats a lot easier!

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See? She can’t escape!

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No matter how hard she tries…

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…she can’t get the doors open.

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It really makes a difference. I can bathe a cat without any help. It’s nice. When we move, we’ll be back to shower curtains…but we’ll also have a hand-held shower head, so rinsing will be easier. It’s a trade-off I can accept.

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Finally it was time to dry off.

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I usually blow-dry Jake, but if I tried that with Angel she would freak out.

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So with her, it’s towel dry, lick, and shake.

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Angel, doesn’t it feel good to be all clean and sparkly?

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Er…I’ll ask you again once you’re all dry.

Aby-a-Day – October 9: Rub-a-dub-dub (Fashion Friday)

Getting all pretty for a cat show requires some effort.

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Namely, a bath. Luckily, Jacoby doesn’t mind baths. Of course, his baths are a lot less work than our showcat friend Summer‘s baths!

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It’s especially easy now that we have a sliding glass door on the tub instead of a shower curtain. He just sits in the tub and lets me wash and rinse him.

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I think he likes the bathing better than the blowdrying, to be honest. Luckily, he air dries fairly quickly.

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I feel very fortunate that he is such an easy cat to bathe. They’re all pretty easy, but he’s the only one I can really wash without another person helping me. I often brag I can wash him with one hand…or, actually, no hands.

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I wish I had photos of his very first bath. I don’t know what I was thinking, not taking any. Sherry brought him down from New Brunswick, and gave him a quick bath in our kitchen sink. He was completely unfazed by it. It was adorable.

Aby-a-Day – April 30: Bathing beauty

You may recall a couple of years ago when provided photographic evidence that I can bathe Jacoby with one hand. Well, as easy as it was to bathe him in our old apartment…

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…It’s about 100 times easier in our new apartment!

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The secret is the sliding glass doors.

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Which Jake cannot open.

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So I don’t need to hold onto him at all, unlike when we only had a shower curtain.

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This is so awesome. The only thing that would make bathing him even easier would be if we had a Shower Massage or some other kind of sprayer. Unfortunately, our building has some crazy Euro-fixtures and nothing we can buy will fit.

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So I have to rinse him under the faucet, or with cups.

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Having a door that shuts, though, makes a huge difference. I almost look forward to our pre-catshow bath, now.

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Can’t exactly say the same for Jake, though.