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.