Aby-a-Day – 28 May: Nothing butt the truth (Medical Monday)

Today’s post is…I’m not going to lie. Today’s post is kind of nasty.

Today’s post is about cats’ anal glands. Now, 99.9% of cat owners don’t even know their cats have anal glands. But if you completely ignore them, it’s (pardon the expression) a complete pain in the ass.

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It started with Jacoby, who has had a history of soft poops, which means that his anal glands don’t get expressed natually when he poops. When he started smelling “whiffy,” I would have my vet express them…but it was happening too often to make that a regular thing. He was young and trusting, and I used to have to do this with my old Siamese Harri, so I started expressing Jake’s anal glands the same way I used to do Harri’s. He let me…and now it’s routine. But almost every other week, I’m justified.

I know this is a completely disgusting topic. The stuff in your cat’s anal glands is related to the stuff that skunks spray when they feel threatened. There are two methods used to empty the anal gland sacs; I use the “squeezing a zit” method as opposed to the more invasive, “grab the rubber gloves and the lube” method. It works, and I can sleep at night.

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If you haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with cats’ anal glands.…well, it’s about as pleasant as the words “anal” and “glands” in the same sentence might lead you to believe. Tessie had a problem with hers that ultimately required an anaesthetised procedure, and when I helped my vet to hold her while she looked at the problem, Tessie nearly ripped my throat out. So it pays to get your kittens used to having their bums squoze before it becomes a problem.

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Because Jake needed his glands expressed on a regular basis, when we added Alfred and Logan, and later Lorelai, to our family I added “checking the bum” to the bi-weekly grooming routine of weighing, clipping claws, cleaning ears, scraping and brushing teeth (except Angel) and combing and rubbing with Bay Rum and a chamois cloth. I think it helps; at least, it should prevent any horrific issues.

The reason for this post is due to the fact that, this past weekend for the first time ever, I was able to express Angel’s glands. And believe me, she needed it done. It’s a not-so-nice aspect of cat parenting…but it’s an important one. As our friends at Cats Herd You say, why don’t we cat owners talk about these sorts of things more?

Edit: Our friend Summer suggested I post a tutorial on how to do this. Turns out there’s a Japanese YouTube video featuring an Abyssinian that shows pretty much how I do it (but not exactly). For more information on how I express the cats’ glands, read my reply to Summer in comments.

Aby-a-Day – 12 March: Takes a ticking and keeps on licking (Medical Monday)

Disclaimer: This post contains images of a disgusting, blood-sucking parasite…no, not the one currently occupying the White House…I am talking an actual arachnid. If you’re squeamish about creepy crawlies, you might want to scroll quickly.

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The first summer we lived in Sweden, Jacoby went out on several outdoor expeditions in the tall grass on the slope near our apartment.

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A day or two after one such outing, I petted Jake and felt…a lump. I inspected it more closely, and…EWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwww!

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It was a tick! A big, nasty, swollen, blood-engorged tick! I don’t do exoskeletal, multi-legged things (except lobsters, crabs and shrimp), but Björn grew up next to a lake in Sweden and has dealt with ticks many times. He even had the appropriate extraction tool at the ready.

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Between cringing and making “ew” noises, I wasn’t much help.

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So I just held Jake still and took photos.

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I am so glad that Björn knows how to handle these monsters. It was hard enough just taking and editing the photos!

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All I know about ticks is what I’ve read in the Warriors books, and I was fresh out of moss and mouse bile.

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Of course, I could have always looked online for instructions on tick removal…but there was still that whole “I don’t do bugs” thing, so…

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…it’s a good thing I have Björn.

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Because…Ew! Ew-ew-ew-ew! EWWW!

Aby-a-Day – 26 January: Work in Progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’ve been postponing showing you all this one because I swore I’d finish it…but that was almost 8 months ago, so I thought I’d at least show you the sketch.

This goes back to when I met our friend Summer last May at BlogPaws.

As you may recall, I wasn’t allowed to bring Jacoby with me.

So I had to bring Flat Jake instead. This cartoon – which I had been planning to do about Jake and Summer finally meeting – is the result.

In some respect, Jake not going to BlogPaws is the reason I haven’t actually been able to finish this cartoon. Ever since I came back, things have been rather…interesting. But you know all about that.

Aby-a-Day – August 22: Peeping Queen

Well, a girlcat like Angel could hardly be called a peeping tom, now, could she?

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Angel loves to look out the window of our apartment. She actually is more into than the other cats.

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She especially loves the window when there are people swimming in the pool.

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I’m not sure what attracts her more, the people moving around out there or the sparkling sunlight reflecting off the water. But she’ll stay glued to that window til the sun sets and the people go back inside.

Aby-a-Day – August 14: The Cat Days of Summer (Cartoon Tuesday)

Cats, descended from desert-dwellers, know how to cope with hot weather.

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They also know how to take advantage of it.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – June 25: Lazy summer afternoon (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s been really hot in Boston the past few days.

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Even though we have air-conditioning, the hot weather still makes for sleepy afternoons.

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Jacoby was napping in the “big bed” this weekend and I crept up to catch him in the act…

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…I woke him up.

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But that didn’t last long.

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As soon as he realised that I was just taking photos of him again, he quickly lost interest.

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“Okay, mom…I don’t need to be awake for this.”

Aby-a-Day – June 21: Summertime and the living is easy

It’s finally getting warm and sunny in Boston.

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The other weekend, Jacoby and I went for a little walk along the Harborwalk, and we had a little picnic lunch on Fort Point Pier.

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It’s really nice to sit there; the dock moves with the water and the gentle rocking is so relaxing.

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Jake, my little daredevil, insisted on perching on the bracket that holds the dock onto the piling. I held his leash very tightly when he did that, but I didn’t want to be a helicopter pet parent who never allows a cat to explore.

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Still, I wasn’t really able to relax unless he was on the wood Part of the dock.

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He didn’t let me relax for long!

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I think he just wanted to be as close to the water as he could get.

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I didn’t see any fish, but I know they’re in the channel. While we were on the dock, I saw a cormorant come up with one in its beak. Maybe Jake could see them in the water even though I couldn’t.