Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nulo Week #3--Time for a Treadmill, Disco?

Seems Disco is at a standstill...that's the trouble--hard to burn off calories when one is standing still!

He weighed in this week at 15# 13 oz...just the same as last week. Thank goodness for small favors, in that he isn't an ounce heavier! I swear, I think the folks at Nulo must think he is sneaking food someplace, especially as he shares his home with 4 other cats...but no, he isn't!

And changing from ad lib (or free choice) feedings has not been as disruptive as I imagined it would be in a house with 5 cats. So many of the clients at the cat hospital where I work resist suggestions of doing this to help with their cats weight loss.

The two momcats are confined with their kittens, where Disco can't get to their food. And in the guest bedroom, there is a bowl of dry food (not Nulo, as it's Disco that is participating in the 'Simply Fit' campaign and I have some other food to finish up) and periodically, during the time I am home, I let Brighton and the momcats in there to snack...but not Disco!

Disco gets his (a little less than ) 1/4 cup of Nulo dry in the morning, and he is eager to chow down! When I get up at 4:30am, he goes into the library room with me and gets the dry kibble portion of his morning meal while I am getting ready for work, just him and me.

He gobbles that down in less than 5 minutes, and that seems to satisfy him, in that he isn't hovering around me and yelling for more. I need to set aside this time in the morning to at least do 5 minutes of 'running in place' for him...but sigh, I haven't done it yet.

Then he and Brighton follow me downstairs and as they are in the habit of asking for a morning treat (it used to be Hill's t/d dental diet--which now is also in the guest bedroom for those who can still snack...), Disco patiently waits for a treat (I need to order some Nulo treats for him--he could have 1 (I know, I know) so then I put out his serving of slight less than half of the 6 oz canned Nulo and that is his morning wet food portion of his meal.

He nibbles and licks at his snack, but doesn't finish it. I just leave it out and during the day it usually gets nibbled on, and sometimes even disappears, but I am not sure if Disco is eating it or Brighton or both.

Then Disco settles down on the couch, bringing to mind the picture 'Couch Potato', although I usually call Disco a 'Sweet Potato' due to his coloring, hahameow!

I'll be the first to admit, I have not been good about his daily exercise program though...

For a kitty that is used to wearing a harness and leash, and traipsing around hotels, cat showhalls and schmoozing at BlogPaws...the 'great outdoors is something totally foreign to him! But I live at the bottom of a hill, on a cul-de-sac with nice sidewalks (but do I get out walking either---no) and I thought if we could go out powerwalking, that should help melt away the ounces, right?

I mean not for me, after all, a cat's pace wouldn't get my heartrate up, unless I happened to be chasing said cat. But I thought it was worth attempting to help Disco get fit.

I am glad none of my neighbors showed their faces, as the exhibition of 'Walking Our Way to Fitness' was well, more of a shuffle, helped along by me pushing Disco along with me positioned right behind him and helping him move forward with me walking kind of like a penguin.

And what was worse? Mosquitos!! They were hovering AND landing on Disco and while he is a very hairy naked cat now, still...I wondered if there was a cat-friendly bug repellant! He is (as are all the cats) on Revolution, but still, I didn't want him to have a skeeter bite reaction, so we shuffled back to the house and he went right into the tub for a bath, just in case any bugs or germs were on him.

That's another thing I worry about, that he could bring parasites or contagious disease in to the other cats...don't dog park people worry about that with their dogs? I mean, I am not anti-social but with all the easily transmittable diseases out there, and not knowing how the other animals out there are protected (and knowing many are not protected at all)...I am not sure it's worth the risks.

So, on to an alternate plan. I am now having Disco run up and down the stairs between Level 1 and Level 2 of my house, two times before I feed him in the morning and again in the evening. And then I lay on the floor and use that 'dragonfly wand' to encourage him to leap/lumber/walk over my body, until he loses interest...usually about 5 minutes worth.

If I can do that twice a day, while it's not the 10-15 minutes 3 X a day recommended, it's a start. This is what Nulo says on their website about exercising needs for cats: 'Get out some string or a light pointer and entice your cat to follow it around the house. Go up and down the stairs a few times. Make sure to put the string away when you're done so your overzealous cat doesn't ingest it. Cats can't resist exploring so create interesting places for her to climb so she will get climbing and jumping exercise. Put a table next to a bookshelf, for example, so she has several levels to climb.'

Still, I think back to the days when Disco was a show cat, fit and trim...and wonder what changed in his metabolism that started the ounces adding up? Aging, yes. Taking in more calories than he burns off? Sure looks like it. But even now, on the recommended feeding guide based on his BMI and age, he still isn't losing weight yet...and I have a question for all you cats (and humans) out there that are on anxiety medication.

Disco is taking Paxil for his spray marking behavior, at a very low dose now and it's working. But, it is when he started on behavior meds that he started putting on weight, maybe because he was less active or could it be that the medication has changed something else? I know some people have told me that they gained weight on Prozac, etc. Could there be something similar happening that complicates Disco being able to shed those unwanted pounds? Did any of your cats add poundage on anxiety meds, and how hard was it for them to lose them?

But we are only at week three of a 12 week program, so keep those encouraging rah-rahs coming and stay tuned for Disco's next update, OK?!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simply Monday Evening...since we missed Sunday!

We hope all you kitties and dawggies had a nice weekend, and got lots of 'face time' with your 'Tasty Faces', hahameow!

Our mewmmie is lovin' having her 3 day weekends back and we are liking the extra sleep in time with her, too! Not that she was at our beck and call all day, though...since we spend most days napping, at least she wasn't pestering us with the flashy box too much!

On Friday, she scoured all the local nurseries for end of season sales and got a bunch of new plants for 50% off! We should have lots of flutterbys in the garden cuz she got 6 butterfly bushes, as well as some peppermint as the flutterbys and bees like it when it flowers. She got some variegated vinca to hopefully spread around where one of the gutterspouts sometimes washes any bark or soil away.

She got some Coral Bells too, cuz the gardenlady said it's foolproof...does that mean a brown thumbed fool won't be able to kill it? Hopes so, since it's real purrty, some in purples and some in lime green, a variety called Key Lime Pie! And there is a new birdbath in the garden too (the old one was purrty but too hard to clean) and a little turtle too, since our petsitters sons are really into turtles and always look for them in our backyard...

And, just in case you think this is an early 'In the Garden with...' Thursday, there is some kitten news, of course!

Spot and Dot are spending lots of time out in the bedroom and playing up a storm. And perfecting their litterbox skills--sometimes it's hard to decide whether it's a fun playground to dig around in, or the kitty loo!

Mewmmie finally bought us some of those special Casbah Cats toys and they are the perfect size for kittens. The froggies made Teri laugh, the jelly beans got kinda ignored so far, but the ribbon tailed mousies were a hit with everyone!

Baby Fifi is growing like a weed too, and she just started her Early Neurological Stimulation exercises, so she grows up to be sweet and brave, too. These exercises were developed to raise high performance dogs back in the 70's. Teri feels certain our kittens are outgoing, well-adjusted and healthier because of this.

These exercises are designed to stimulate the neurological system at a time when typically kittens are isolated in the nest with their mother and not handled a lot by humans. Starting three days after birth, Teri starts exercising the kittens, and she continues these exercises through the time the kittens are 3 weeks old. It only takes less than a minute to complete the exercises and of course, the mother cat is present and able to see that they aren't being harmed, even though they do squeak, but aren't fearful or in pain.

We talked about these exercises in an earlier post, but here is a link to more info on it. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

And TomTom and Mama Katz, the outdoor ferals, still show up almost every night about 9pm and occasionally, Teri sees TomTom in the morning if she is up early enough. He is still avoiding being trapped, so Teri is now starting to feed him in a large cat carrier, so far he will eat the food if it's right inside the open door, so gradually she will try moving it a little each week so eventually the bowl will be in the back of the carrier and hopefully she can rig something up to shut the door, hahameow!

Here's a couple of handsome photos of TomTom, being our real garden cat!

And in between doing all of that, she made time to do a mani-pedi on herself after 'treating' us all to pawdicures. Not really a treat for us but she says it's a treat for her! She says it's her routine to clip all our nails every two weeks, but we still don't really think of it as a 'spa treatment' hahameow!

She says everyone needs their monthly bath next weekend, and she's got to get all those plants in the ground too, but she just ran out of time this past weekend...including not being able to fit in visiting all our bloggie furrends!

What's a cat gotta do to get some computer time around here? Sounds like it's time to wake up early and start knocking things off the nightstand...that would make the weekends longer, right?!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Kitten Mews...The Tortie Queen had a Tortie Princess!

Well, Kiki made me hold her paw and murmur encouraging words to her from about noontime Tuesday...Not really, but I had her at work with me and every time she meowed, the staff asked 'Anything yet?'.

I then had to leave work for my therapy appointment and thought about taking Kiki with me (my therapist used to bring her poodle to work before she passed away earlier this year) and know she would have understood (as I have birthed more babies than my vet, hahameow).

But I left her at work and got back 2 hours later, nothing new! Then I went and had my hair cut and came back in an hour, nothing new...so I made the 45 minute drive home...nothing new (Thank goodness, I have birthed kittens in the car on the drive home before...but that's when Mike was alive and he was driving!).

I got her settled into the tent at home, or tried to...she was sticking to me like velcro! I heated up some leftovers and popped a movie in the dvd player but finally gave up trying to watch it as Kiki wouldn't settle down.

About 10pm, her contractions started and I was a bit worried as this one baby looked so large on xray, but she had a short, 30 minute labor and gave birth to cutest, kinkiest furred little tortoiseshell girl kitten ever! She weighed in at 99 grams (about 3 ounces) which is perfect! She nursed within 30 minutes and while Kiki was restless all night, her kitten was happy and contented in the morning, so she must have nursed enough inbetween Kiki's moving about!

It's always fun to see what colors mother nature picked! I think I would find it kinda boring to breed something like Russian Blues, where all the kittens were blue...

The daddy, Sammy, is black and white and Kiki is a tortie and so the color possibilities are almost endless: black, blue, orange, cream (and all those colors plus with white), calico, blue cream, dilute calico, tortie. About the only colors I can't get are colorpoints or brown tabby variations.

Now, I have to think up a 'call name' for this little girl. Nothing pops right out at me. I keep thinking of 'summery' names, maybe a flower? Maybe I should have a contest to name her?

Update: It came to me...Firefly or FiFi for short. What do you think? I love fireflies! They don't have them in Oregon, where I came from, and the say 'Summer' to me, for sure! And they look black til they light up and glow...kinda like a tortie!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Disco 'n Nulo...Week Two, Up 1 oz!

OK, don't get discouraged, Disco. We are only 14 days into your 90 day get 'Simply Fit' program and your purrsonal trainer, well...she is certainly not keeping up her end of this campaign by 'Working Out' with you!!

Oh, sure...she tells everyone that you plop yourself in the middle of the hallway like a huge jellybean, and watch her get ready for work in the morning, while everyone else without a 'weight problem' scampers up and down the stairs with ease! She says she knows without exercise, even your purrsonal trainer can't lose the 15# of pooch she's got, either!

So, does she want you to succeed? Yes! In fact, she contacted Nulo to talk about some of the problems she was having with you 'accepting' the canned variety, as she really wants to have all the Furrydance kitties on a primarily canned food diet since Brighton had his bout with the urinary tract blockage. And she knew she'd never been able to get you to lose weight on dry food before.

And guess what?! The CEO of Nulo, Michael Landa , wrote back to her, answering every question she had and including charts and information she could give to her vet and to other people who wanted to know more about Nulo! She had read on another cat food website, that meals were bad, bad, bad and made up of 4D meats. She was pretty sure Nulo was getting their meals from good sources, but it felt really good to have Michael explain it to her, and even he said he was disappointed in the scare tactics this other 'premium pet food' was using (hint, hint...it has 'Stew' in it's name).

He told her Nulo uses Chicken or Salmon meal, naturally preserved. It is the highest quality meal, it is USDA inspected and iced down immediately after cooking the fat and water out. It is the type of meal Nulo purchases for all of its dry foods. It is an extremely concentrated, high-quality protein source which is essential when extruding dry foods for keeping the amount of animal protein high throughout processing. Yay, Teri thought!!

And when she told him she might add some Fancy Feast to the Nulo canned to get Disco to eat it, he told her he's looked at the Fancy Feast recipes, and the first 6 ingredients (~60-70% of the recipe total) are Turkey, liver, meat by-products, turkey broth, poultry giblets, artificial and natural flavor. And to notice that meat by-products is one of the major ingredients falls into the bottom tier of the pyramid above (Meat & Bone Meal). This product does not meet Nulo's quality standards – by-products and artificial flavors (chemicals) are not great ingredients.

Nulo canned food contains: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Beef Liver, Tuna…These are all named meats and it is a much healthier food for my cats. Disco's poor excuse for a purrsonal trainer had to giggle when Mr Landa told her 'If I ask a 7-year old whether he’d rather eat a can of Pringles, or a chicken breast, which do you think he’d select? The artificial flavors and colors of Fancy Feast may be swaying Disco a bit. We’d suggest cutting him off of Fancy Feast. Your cats (and I’m being completely serious) are the first cats that have not been ‘crazytown’ over our canned foods. Perhaps giving them both options is causing a neo-phobic reaction (some cats are simply afraid of new things). We had one blogger who’s cat wasn’t taking to the dry food, and after making it his only option, he slowly took to it, and now eats it up. And will be all the healthier for it.'

So...the Fancy Feast I have on the shelf is going to Mama Katz, TomTom and an occasional raccoon and the Disco will have to understand I have his best interests at heart! And if she doesn't want Disco to be another ounce heavier at his next weigh-in, she better be putting those new cat toys to use and waving them around for Disco to chase, right?!! And she unearthed the laser pointer, too...maybe he'll get excited about that!

Ps: The other Furrydance kitties get to eat Disco's 'leftovers' and they are all wild about both varieties of the dry food--HipHipHooray! The canned...well, maybe all they want is a lick or two, but that's OK. I am hoping with time, they will be happy with the change and she knows they will be the healthier for it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Simply (Kitten) Sunday Afternoon...

Not a lot new around the Furrydance household, but I did take some cute pix (click on them to biggify) and silly videos yesterday, so that's reason enough for a post, right?!

The kittens are now 5 weeks old, and are purrfecting their litterbox habits (after finding wee spots on the floor a couple of times and thinking it was water from the water dish), I moved one of the 2 litterboxes to that spot and they've been using it consistently now.

They are starting to eat canned food, with Spottie being more eager than Dottie about eating on her own. But if I 'finger feed' Dottie, she doesn't spit it out, hahameow. So, I have found one kitten poop in the litterbox so far and will take the next one in for testing this week. They are healthy--no eye or tummy issues, yay! Though food transition time can always be stressful in a way for them, I am happy to report they are doing great so far.

They now get time out in my bedroom 2-3 times a day (under supervision) and quickly learned when the bathroom door opens that playtime begins in the 'rumpus room'. They all love the new toys I got at the cat show last week, including Coco and there is lots of prey and pounce going on, as you can tell from these photos and movies...

I am on babywatch this weekend with Kiki, and so far, no sign of imminent labor. So I don't have to wake up every 2 hours during the night to check on her in the birthing tent in my bedroom, I have been sleeping with her and shutting the other cats out of the bedroom so it's just her and me in case she goes into labor. I still wake up and feel her abdomen and check her vulva for any discharge, but I don't have to actually get out of bed, hahameow!

If she hasn't had her baby by tomorrow, then I will take her in to work with me so I can monitor her closely and hope she goes into labor during the day so I can have a restful night. I can always sleep in on the weekend if a kitty keeps me up all night delivering kittens, but have to be up at 4:30am during the week for work but at least this time, once Kiki has delivered her one baby, and it has nursed, I could go back to sleep.

I'm still working on de-cluttering the basement, and next task today is cleaning out 2 more closets so I can put more stuff away, after weeding out what I don't need any longer and setting it aside for a donation pickup. The cats will be happy when they finally get their bird 'n squirrel watching station back, too. Here's some photos of what's on 'Cat TV' in the backyard today!

Brighton spent some time soaking up the 'rays' as it's sunny today and Disco...umm, he's put on 2 more ounces but we won't officially weigh in until tomorrow...

(enlarge this next photo at your own risk..)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nulo...First Week Down (Up 2 oz!)

It's one week into Disco's diet and while he didn't look any thinner yet, when he stepped on the scale tonight (and off and on and off and on...just to be sure), Teri's brow furrowed a little when she saw that he had put on 2 oz! (maybe his bladder was full, since we know his tummy wasn't, hahameow!)

She wasn't too surprised though, because he isn't wanting to eat his 2.6 ounces of canned Nulo in the morning and the evening, but is eager about both dry formulas-the chicken and the salmon. She has never gotten him to lose weight eating dry food before, but she is going to stick with the program and see how it goes. She would really like him (and all the other cats in the house) to be on 95% canned food, with dry being fed essentially as a treat, but as with any change and most cats who are often reluctant to change foods, she has to be patient and work at the diet transition!

This week she is going to mix a little Fancy Feast in with the Nulo canned food (as Disco likes that just fine, sigh...) and see if gradually she can wean him off the FF. It's not that he won't eat the Nulo canned at all, but he laps at it and maybe eats a tablespoon before he just walks away.

If Teri was around him 24/7, she would just offer him small amounts, numerous times a day and see if he would finish off his daily amount that way. So, even though he is actually eating less than the amount calculated for his girth and weight...he is slightly heavier after a week.

If Disco hasn't made progress by next Monday, then she will give the folks at Nulo a call and see what they recommend for 'His Chubbiness". Oh, yeah, there's that exercise program...ummm, that could be part of the problem! Just like she tells people about herself...if it wasn't for the stairs in our 3 level house, she wouldn't get much exercise either!!

But, the exercise that Disco seems best at is sitting and watching others exercise, so Teri bought him some new cat toys at the cat show and she spent 10 minutes with him tonight, getting Disco 'fired up' and running circles around and over her as she laid on the floor and waved the cat toy wands round and round.

But the folks at Nulo say he needs that amount of exercise 3 to 4 times a day...and just like with people, the most obese you are, the less active you get! She does notice that the other svelte cats in the house do race around a lot more than Disco does now that he has put on the pounds!

She promises she will do better...maybe even walk him around the house on his leash and harness, just like she did at BlogPaws with him and Brighton! She kind of wishes she could walk him outside like a dog, and even though he is up to date on his vaccinations and on Revolution to protect him against heartworms and fleas, she is still a bit nervous he could come in contact with something infectious out there...so she will have to make the 'indoor track' do for now!

She made him look to the left, look to the right, sit down, stand up...fight, fight, fight! Though she isn't sure this next move quite qualifies as a Leg Lift!