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Cystitis – more common than you think!

Most women have had a bout of cystitis at some point in their lives.  Also called a Urinary Tract Infection, it can be caused by a variety of factors.

Believe it or not, animals can get cystitis too!

Male cats, especially, are prone to cystitis, or UTIs.  They won’t come tell you why, but they will give you signs.


An observant owner will usually put the pieces together:

  • urinating outside the litter box
  • crying when urinating
  • small, scanty drops of liquid
  • frequent trips to the litter box without much to show for it
  • starting out normal, but almost standing up when finishing

DON’T get mad at your cat if he’s suddenly peeing on the floor.  He can’t tell you he doesn’t feel good. He has to show you.

CANTHARIS is a great little remedy to have on hand and it usually works within a day or two.  I use the smallest pellets available and sprinkle a few in the offending cat’s wet food, twice a day.  You can attempt to put the pills into the cat’s mouth, but I don’t have much luck with that.

Ten days is the norm, but I find it works within 2-3 days.  Of course, every feline is different.

If your cat is totally plugged, take him to the Vet immediately.  This is a very dangerous condition for male cats, because the urine has crystallized and it cannot pass through the urethra.  Cats can die within 4-6 hours of total cessation of urine output.  There ARE homeopaths that you can try if you have them on hand, but I highly recommend a Vet visit.  I’ll post more information in another post.



Tattling on Tuffy

UGH.  There is nothing worse in this world than a cat with diarrhea.   Well, there probably is, truth be told, but….when you have a long-haired cat with the runs that literally clears a room after he uses the litter box, you begin to wonder!

I did a lot of research into what caused diarrhea, what the cures were, what I could do about it without dragging poor Tuffy to the Vet.  He’s not really a people cat and I didn’t want to stress him anymore than he already was, but……sometimes you just need to bite the bullet.

My own thoughts drifted from kidney failure (dealing with that for a different cat), fatty liver disease, cancer, IBD, parasites and food allergies.  I started keeping a journal of everything he ate, what meds I was giving him (homepaths) and his litter box habits.  I stopped giving him chicken and started buying very expensive cat food.  He never gained weight, but didn’t lose much more than his 9 pounds.  At 9 pounds, he was too thin.  When he stopped eating a whole can of food and finishing off the other 3 cats’ bowls, I knew something was wrong.  The next morning, he ate very little, but threw that up.  Panic mode set in and I called the Vet.

Don’t get me wrong – I think everyone needs a good Veterinarian.  I just prefer not subjecting my animals to anymore poking and prodding than necessary.   Dr. Howarth at Spencer Springs Animal Hospital in Henderson, NV was wonderful!  He checked Tuffy all over, took blood, gave him fluids and gave me a bottle of antibiotics to give Tuff for 10 days.  Then we had to take a stool sample back the next day.

The blood tests came back negative, AND the stool sample came back negative.  Thank goodness!  Dr. Howarth told me that chicken was the #1 food allergen for cats.  So, I decided to do a little research on what exactly I was feeding the kids.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness with Red Meat…..has chicken in it.  Since when is chicken a red meat????  Don’t get me wrong….I love Blue Buffalo food for my cats….just not with chicken.  Buy Blue Buffalo Basics if you want to stick with the brand.  It’s chicken-free!

Blue BuffaloBlue Buffalo 2



The more I looked, the more I found chicken.  Chicken, chicken everywhere!  ARRRRRGH!  It’s in Temptations treats (Tuffy’s favorite!), it’s in cheap cat food AND expensive cat food.  I was getting really depressed at PetsMart yesterday, until I started looking at Fancy Feast.  I’ve fed them Fancy Feast for years, but usually mixed it up between the Poultry and the Seafood.   And now that the Poultry was out, I needed to do something to keep my cats from all out mutiny.  And purchasing ridiculously expensive cat food for 4 cats is out of the question.  I don’t make enough money for that!

The 5 Fancy Feast cans below have no chicken in them.  Against the Grain and Avoderm Crab & Shrimp also have no chicken.  The Simply Nourish Tuna and Salmon both have chicken liver.  I’m going to give it a try anyway.  I gave the Blue Buffalo dry food away and purchased Simply Nourish Salmon.  I’ll probably go back to Blue Buffalo Basics next month.


They say it takes 6-12 weeks for the allergens to leave the body.   I’m hoping it takes less time.  My Scentsy burners are hoping it takes less time and my husband is hoping it takes less time as well!



The Art of the Litter Box

Have you ever done any research on litter boxes?  Do you buy one that you like, or do you try to please the cat.  Do you match the furniture?  Do you try to camouflage it or do you train your cat to use the human’s toilet instead?  So many choices!!!!

For years and years, I would purchase the nice looking litter boxes that had the “hood” lid.  I figured it would keep the smells inside and the cats could also have some privacy.  They worked to a certain degree….until someone (Ralphie) decided to terrorize someone else (Simba) while they were in the box doing their business.  Now, we may think it’s amusing to have cats wrestling by our legs when we’re sitting on the toilet, but cats don’t appreciate other cats bugging them when they’re trying to do their thing.

Because I had so many cats at one point, I opted for storage totes.  (The BIG ones).  I cut a hole in front and used those for many, many years.  It seemed a cheaper alternative than the fancy hooded boxes.

Because they got so bulky and cumbersome to try and clean, I ended up just getting the plain clear storage pans from Wal-Mart.  storage bin

Not exactly like this one, but you get the idea.  Easy to climb in and out of (ditch the lid though!) and easy to throw away when they get too dirty.  Fairly inexpensive as well.  These have served me well for many, many years, although my husband still prefers the ones with lids.

Another box that I have been using is from  If you’ve never looked at their site, I highly recommend it.  I have my cat food autoshipped monthly.  No shipping costs, their Customer Service is fantastic and I get some good discounts on the food.

litter box 2

This is the box I bought from Chewy.  It’s quite nice, although….looking at the size of a couple of my cats, it’s too small for them.  It still gives the user a bit of privacy but also has a quick exit over the side of someone decides an ambush is in order.

I always try to have +1 litter box per the amount of cats in the house.  So…if you have 3 cats, you should have 4 litter boxes.  Not everyone can do this.  Not everyone WILL do this, but it cuts down on a lot of accidents.  If you clean them at least twice a day, you and your cats will be much happier.  You don’t want to use a toilet that’s full of crap and toilet paper already, do you?  Neither do your cats.  Don’t fill them as full as you can fill them either – use no more than 2 inches of litter – easier to clean all the urine up (if you get the clumping litter) and it won’t permeate the whole box.

My cats seem happy about their litter boxes for the most part.  Of course, you’ll always have the cat that gets into the box, keeps his back to you, then proceeds to pee just outside the front of the box.  Patience grasshopper.  At least they’re trying!

box of Jo Jo

A healthy box of JoJo


Enter Ralphie Laughing

Well, just like I read….it took a little over 2 weeks for Ralphie to get back to his normal, perky self.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  He races around the house like a lunatic, picks on his brothers and sister and acts like nothing ever happened to him.  Thank goodness!  Now I’m dealing with Simba, who has a terrible sinus infection, much like Henry had a few years ago.  I am using both a humidifier and a vaporizer, alternatively, on him, but nothing seems to help.  He is still eating, most of the time, but he prefers sleep to anything else.


017 (2)

Ralphie is back to normal!

017 (3)

Simba is fighting the good fight.


Cats and Strokes

Do you ever have one of those years where you should have stayed in a locked room with all the windows bolted shut?  I feel that way this morning.

Moose, the Chocolate Lab, has been doing relatively well.  He actually had a real stool specimen yesterday instead of diarrhea, which is always a good sign.  He’s getting up by himself and continuing to eat well.

Ralphie, on the other hand, not so much.  Ralphie is my “failure to thrive” kitten that I adopted from a Shelter where I volunteered.  I think I posted about him before.

Anyway, I went down the hall to the office to do a little work and he was in the sitting room.  I heard him cry out….which he does when he can’t find me, so I didn’t think too much of it.  I called for him and he came in and jumped on his chair.  Then he started looking back at his back legs like something had bit him.  Then he started walking in circles.  THAT freaked me out.

I got him back into the sitting room and he seemed okay.  He jumped up on the couch back and took a long nap, snoring because he has a stuffy nose.  When he woke up, he went right back to the circling thing.

I grabbed my trusty homeopathic book for cats and  gave him Aconitum (200c) and another dose 30 minutes later.  He continued to walk in a circle.  After checking other websites, I opted to give him some Belladonna (30c) and 30 minutes later, Arnica (30c).  He finally settled down but I didn’t get much sleep last night.

No more circles this morning.  He’s quite weak, keeps bending his front paw when he walks and he’s dragging.  Wasn’t quite sure what to do with the dry cat food, but he did manage to eat his wet cat food (made wetter with some bottled water).  This is a cat that jumps off the bed 4-5 times a night to munch, mind you.

He used his litter box this morning and he actually played with his sister and with a string attached to one of his toys.  He’s now on Conium (30c) for 10 days.

He’s resting comfortably on the rug in our sitting room.  That isn’t common.  Usually he’s up on the couch, on his scratch post or on my lap.  This is going to be a tough one.


UPDATE:  I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Vestibular Disease.  The more I read, the more I think (hope!) this is what Ralphie is dealing with.  Check out this blog:

I gave him one pellet of Nux Vomica to help with his dizziness.  He’s been sleeping a lot (as cats do) but he does get up and wander around for a few minutes, then goes and lays back down.  Here’s hoping.