Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pet Food Recall

I must be living in a vacuum because I just found out this morning about the pet food recall and the rising number of the deaths caused by kidney failure from the tainted food. Here's a link to the latest news on it:


The list of recalled cat foods are here:


The list of recalled dog foods are here:


We were safe with our cat foods which are all made by Royal Canin but I had two cans of Nutra Ultra dog food for filling and freezing in kongs which was on the list. One was from the bad date and unopened. That went straight into the garbage. The opened one was 2/3 empty and was from before the recall date. That also went straight into the garbage. We're not taking any chances with a dog who is already missing one kidney.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cat Toys

We got a new favorite cat toy a month ago from the retail shelves at the Woodbury humane society shelter where I work. It's a simple toy made of stiff wire and little bits of tightly twisted paperboard, but it makes even our little fat cat dance around on her hind legs. Our other long-standing favorite toy is a beautiful length of fleece on a sturdy clear wand that reminds me of the long trailing ribbon wand things they use in rhythmic gymnastics. It can move like a snake and makes the cats do gymnastics. All the other wand type toys have died fairly quick deaths when the strings have broken or feathers or whatever was on the end were pulled out while we were playing. The fleece toy has lasted more than a year with frequent use - a record for our household. (A lot of our toys get put away when we're done playing since they fall victim to a combination team of chewing cats and dog if we're not looking.) I was surprised to see that both toys are made by the same company Cat Dancer. Here's a link to their products page. Our favorites are the Cat Dancer and the Cat Charmer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Ending Story

I accidentally stumbled into the filming of a news story about one of the dogs we're caring for at my work. It made the evening news here in the Twin Cities and I thought people might be interested in the clip they've posted on their site.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I was going to try to do regular posts but life got in the way. I've been busy with a new job coordinating volunteers for the local humane society and some of my own volunteer stuff. The new job is great. I can see kittens outside my office window and had a parrot for a neighbor for the good part of a month. He was adopted a couple weeks ago and though he is missed, it is much quieter. As I'm training volunteers to work with small mammals, I've been learning new rabbit and guinea pig skills. One of the nicest surprises is the shortage of dogs we have presently. We've been taking dogs from as far away as Michigan to fill our adoption kennels. Ten years ago, when I was volunteering with Minneapolis Animal Control in their shelter, summer months meant a lot of dogs. So spay and neuter efforts for canines are really paying off, at least in our Twin Cities metro area. I wish I could say the same thing for cats. Another thing that is different here, is that most of our animals are owner releases while in Minneapolis, at least back then, most were strays.

Today was supposed to be one of my short days, only four hours, but things kept happening and I couldn't get out of work. We had a staff meeting in the morning where I learned that staff had found a cat hiding under one of the cages and when they brought him back to his own cage, they found his roommate (they'd come in together and so were kept together) was also gone. Escapes themselves are not uncommon. Visitors sometimes leave cages open or barely latched. Cats are escaping from the cat colony all the time since they're confined to the room but not in cages and a few sit in wait for the door to open. Most of the time they're caught right away. This cat was still at large from the night before. A few hours later, I was sitting at my desk making phone calls and heard a little noise. When it happened again. I looked down expecting to see a mouse (wild not one of ours) and at the back of one of the shelves under desk, peaking over a stack of dog walking logs, I saw pointy gray ears and glowing eyes. It took two of us to get him out since whenever I tried to move him, he wedged himself in the opening at the back of the shelf.

Later, we had to come up with a plush dog toy policy. One of the dogs earlier in the month had been given a toy with a voice box in it complete with battery and had swallowed the voice box. Staff noticedthe fragements of the toy right away and the exam staff was able to induce vommitting. It ended well for this dog but I wanted to share the story because of the danger in case someone else had a toy destroyer. Gambit chews anything to pieces in minutes., especially while he's on this enforced rest thing again. This week, he destroyed a wooden spoon while Alan was in the shower. You wouldn't even know it was a spoon from the splintered remains. I've said it before but it bears repeating, thank goodness for kennel training. We wouldn't be able to both leave the house otherwise.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The kitties have been having hairballs all spring and I've been sporadically giving them the malt flavored tube remedy which helps temporarily. Back when I had a cat for the first time and needed advice, a friend said I should avoid the petroleum based remedies because they're nasty to a cats insides. Looking online I found two natural suggestions: brush your cat every day and prunes. The brushing the cats everyday was also supposed to help strengthen the bond between me and the cat. The gentle, skittish, half-feral one in particular loves it. The oldest, feisty one doesn't like being touched anywhere but around his face, so he doesn't get much. The youngest tends to get her claws out for play time after a few strokes and I've usually forced to stop or lose the skin on my knuckles. I think the recommendation of prunes was referring to prune mash. Has anyone tried it? Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Costs of Pet Ownership

I spent a little bit of time searching for sites that offered an estimate of pet costs. Here are some of the ones I found:


http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=adopt_petcarecosts (requires Flash Player)


Our vet is probably more expensive than many but a comparison with other local veterinarians showed they are competitive. We had two early visits, one for a respiratory infection, and one for shots and the normal screening. They found a parasite that the animal shelter had missed. These visits totalled about $350. His neutering was more complicated because one of his testicals hadn't descended and this was about $600. Right after that, we had him in for the failed kidney. Those visits were in an emergency vet clinic and the University of Minnesota pet hospital (both very expensive) and they totalled about $3400. A follow up visit to get a longer E. collar and to check the staples which were rubbed raw was another $120. Removing the stitches was free at least. Add our last visit for a badly torn dew claw and another $200. The total is about $4670. (I should have one of the tickers that tracks the continually rising expense here!) Even without the surgery which was for a weird birth defect, we've exceeded the estimated costs of ownership many of the sites listed. We're not even including the two leashes we've had to replace because he's a speed demon chewer or the lost coffee table. Then we've got an older cat who's had a cancerous tumor removed and a kidney stone in the past twelve months, which includes special food $60 for a big bag of dry and $2 a can for wet. We only give a couple of tablespoons a day of the canned but all three cats are eating the same diet now. You get the picture. This was probably the most expensive year for the cat but the problems were typical of an older pet. The totals on these sites seem a little unrealistic. I'd love to hear about other people's experiences.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


My husband and I have got a house full of pets: three cats and a ten month old puppy. The puppy, in particular, has been a particularly troublesome and expensive family member. He had a rough start in life as he was born somewhere in New Orleans shortly before Hurricane Katrina hit. He and his other two litter mates were on their own for 63 days before being brought into the shelter. He took a long trip north from the shelter in Mississippi up to Minnesota. We started fostering him October. He was a mess when we got him, afraid of everything and sick. He won us over right away, though, and in March he became ours. He's what is known as a vigorous chewer, tends to be hyperactive, and has had a number of pricey health issues in the short time we've had him. I found I was posting about him all the time on my blog. I was spending a lot of time searching for recommendations and advice about him and the kitties on the internet. It seemed to me that a blog would be a good place for a discussion of all things pet. I added Adsense in the hopes of recouping some of the over $4,000 we've spent on the dog over the last three months. So, welcome! Feel free to post comments and join in the discussion. If you'd like to become a member of this blog and start discussions yourself, send me an e-mail with a little background about yourself and we'll add you to the group.