Sunday, October 7, 2012


Heath is entered in our local cat show this weekend. Two days, ten rings. My biggest worry is getting him bathed the day before. He will sit in the bath tub while I wash a dog and supervise the whole process, but if I try to wash him, he turns into a biting, clawing banshee. It's a bit tricky holding on to an  eighteen pound cat that wants to leave. Husband has located our cage curtains from two decades ago, the last time we showed a Household Pet, and I've run the iron over them. I think the actual show will be comparatively relaxing compared to competing with the dogs in agility. All I have to do is figure out when to get him to which ring, and I can sit back and watch.

This show is full circle from the show we saw Heath at a year ago as a kitten and fell in love him. His ears are normal now, and his coat has grown in from his surgery. Hopefully, his outgoing, confident personality will overcome his lack of early show experience. We should have new pictures and a report next week of how things go. Wish us luck!

I'm ready, put me in the game!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cat servants

How does your cat react when you leave the house and return? No matter if we have been gone an hour or all day, the Coon siblings greet us at the door when we return. Heath in particular demands attention. Loving and petting is required. Cali insists, "up, up, lift me up". Heath spent ten minutes lounging in my husband's arms when we returned from church this morning. (It's hard to do much else when you're holding 18 pounds of cat!) They both seem to be getting a little more into cuddles as they mature. It's enough to make a person feel really loved to get such a greeting on our return. Then we realized the bowl of kitty crunchies was empty. True love, or just a play to get the human servants back to work?

Friday, August 24, 2012

What's happening

Heath and Cali are stopping by their blog to say "hi". The big development at this time is that Heath may finally get to go to a cat show! (Cali is washing my hair for me as I type) I have been waiting for a local show, and we finally have one in October. I'm still debating about entering Cali, but I don't think I will. I know the problems related to her teeth are an autoimmune issue, and I don't think stressing a cat with autoimmune issues is a good idea. I'm pretty sure a cat show would be stressful to her. On the other hand, I'm guessing that Heath may actually enjoy it!

I'm giving a lot of consideration right now about the Coon's diet. As I've written, Cali in particular is addicted to cheap cat food. I'm reconsidering the wisdom following her wishes. We'll see. I expect I'll be writing more. Meanwhile, here's some new pictures.

Heath's fur has all grown back in. He does think he is looking very handsome!

Can I help you?

Up, up, lift me up! (I couldn't resist a view of Cali climbing my leg and demanding to come up, just like a kid)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cat tree revised

I wrote a post back in February about my first efforts to buy a cat tree for the Coons. It didn't go very well. I was very unhappy with the Sugar Kitty Gym I ordered. You can read about it here. My husband finally found time to modify the Gym to make it Coon safe. He took out the useless middle condo, which was way too small for them anyway. It is much shorter now, but they seem to really like having it by the kitchen window. It is getting a lot of use, both the top and the condo. So, at least the Coons are happy now. As a  bonus, they use it as a safer route on to the kitchen counter. Which may be good or bad, but that's a topic for another day.

Heath lounges on the modified, and much shorter, cat tree

Friday, July 13, 2012


Having long-haired cats definitely involves grooming. Heath is particularly prone to mats under his elbows and in his britches. This naturally means that he is not fond of grooming, in spite of my constant efforts since he first came home. Cali, on the other hand, adores grooming. She grooms herself frequently, and has the scraggly tail hair to prove it. I've found the easiest way to keep up on trying to keep the Coons mat free is to have brush and comb handy. Grooming tools tend to live on the kitchen desk or the coffee table so I can grab them any time I notice a mat starting when I pet the kitties. Heath does not appreciate my efforts. He lets me brush him, but insists that the problem areas are off limits. Which means I've gotten fast at grabbing my scissors and snipping mats. He will actually bite to tell me off (not hard, usually), bad boy, and then gives me loves to make up for it. Cali comes running when she sees me brushing Heath. Coon princesses love their beauty treatment! Keeping her mat free is much less problem. I start out working on Heath, and end up brushing Cali who insists on hogging my attention. She trades off by grooming my hair for me to get me out of bed in the morning. (I don't appreciate her grooming as much as she does).

Cali is relaxing after a good brushing. 

Heath made good on his escape when Cali butted in.
Do you groom your kitties regularly? How do they like it?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th - We're Back!!

Dear readers, I am so happy to be posting again. The last two months I was doubled up on my graduate classes, and just could not seem to find time to write the blog. I'm back to a "normal", busy schedule, so hopefully we will keep you up to date with Heath and Cali a little more regularly.

The Coon "kittens" are basically all grown up now, and impressive cats they are! It's the 4th of July, and they want to remind our U.S. readers what a scary day this can be for kitties and their canine friends. Heath and Cali don't seem too bothered by the fireworks going off in our neighborhood, but some of their canine buddies are very stressed and even, terrified. Please keep your cats and dogs safely inside tonight. Heath and Cali suggest they hang out in an interior room with some good music turned up loud. Heath really loves his canine brothers, and is hoping the awful noise ends soon, so his best friends will feel better. Stay safe, and have a happy 4th!

I'm talking to you, have a happy 4th and keep your  dogs and kitties safe inside.

Please, fireworks are scary. 

Hang out with a friend.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Creative Pet Furniture Review

If you have been reading along for awhile, you know how unhappy I was with my first attempt at buying  cat furniture for the Coons. I'm happy to say that round two was much more successful. On the advice of an acquaintance, I looked into Creative Pet Furniture, located in Oklahoma, and found exactly what I was looking for. I saved a bit from my paycheck for several  months, and just in time for their April birthday, the Coons got a cat center that should last practically forever.

I am very happy with all the features about this cat furniture. The most important thing is that it is actually designed to be big enough for Maine Coons! The unit I picked is the Cat Entertainment Center, Small Cattery, with Condo. The carousels on top of the center are 16 inches in diameter, rather than the 12 inch diameter you find on most pet store cat furniture. The free standing condo is also 16 inches in diameter. The condo is fully lined inside, unlike cheap cat furniture. The unit is modular in construction and was easy to assemble. As sections become worn, they can be individually replaced. I choose a custom color in light green, which is a nice change from the standard beige. It still only took about two and a half weeks to arrive. I got an email with a photo of the completed unit when it was on the way. This is a substantial piece of cat furniture, but it doesn't take up an overly large amount of floor space. It fit nicely into the space I had planned for it. Best of all, it is safe. The cats can easily climb to the top and down, and there is no way this sturdy unit is going to move. I'm very pleased.

Of course, it doesn't matter how much I like it, if the cats don't use it. Happily, they do like it. Cali likes to hide in the condo. Heath like to lord it up at the top and not share with his sister, which annoys me since I deliberately made sure there was room for multiple cats to share! Even our old, very fat cat has shown that she can climb up if she feels like it.

The price was amazing for the size and quality of the cat furniture. The only thing to be aware of is that shipping will add a substantial amount. Even with the price of shipping added in, I felt like this was a really good price for this fabulous cat furniture. If I was going to make one tiny change, it would be to have sisal on the front side of the cradles continuing up from the sisal posts. Cali is tall enough that that is where she usually scratches, and sisal would probably be sturdier than the carpet on that section. Of course, being Cali, she may scratch there because she prefers the carpet! Choose a color you love, you and your kitties will be enjoying your Creative Pet Furniture for many years to come!

Heath and Cali pose on their cat center fit for Maine Coons

Sturdy enough to play on

The girls hanging out, Cali and very old, fat cat, DSH, Solara

Condo big enough for the lion king

or for a Maine Coon princess to hide from her brother

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Zhu Zhu Pets for Cats

My daughter got out her Zhu Zhu Hamsters last week. The Coon cats thought it was a fabulous toy! I'm rather fond of the Zhu Zhu Hamsters myself. They're the only pets in the house that I don't have to feed or clean up after. If your kitty is bored, entertain them with a Zhu Zhu hamster, the next best thing to having their own rodents to chase!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

this and that

The Coon kitties celebrated their birthday with a big present. Probably their only birthday present ever. I'll write a review soon, but if you want to know, it came from Creative Pet Furniture. We're very happy with it. Heath and Cali are both doing so well now. Heath finally has most of his hair grown back in from his surgery in January. He is so beautiful, I'm thinking cat show! I'm not sure when one will be in our area, but I plan to take both kitties when I can. I'll take Cali along, too, at least the first time, and see how she likes it. She is not as adventuresome as Heath. They both went to one show as kittens (where I first saw them). I'm not too worried about Heath, he is confident and likes adventure, so I don't think the lack of showing his first year will be a problem. Cali may prefer to stay home. Adventure awaits!

hanging out on their birthday present! Big enough for Maine Coons


planning his next move

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Heath and Cali are one today! Hopefully I'll have a few minutes tomorrow to take some new birthday pictures, but for now, happy birthday to my beautiful, darling Maine Coon kitties!

Friday, April 13, 2012

How Big Is That Cat?

If they're Maine Coons, pretty big! Heath and Cali are just about two weeks away from their first birthday. As they are my first Maine Coons, I still marvel at how big they are. I was going to weigh them before writing this post, but both are sound asleep and don't want to be disturbed. (Cali is actually snuggled up, leaning on me)  Based on their most recent weights, within the last month or so, Cali is between 13 and 14 pounds, and Heath is between 15 and 16 pounds. Cali is a good sized girl cat, but is a petite girl cat next to her big brother. Now you hear stories of 30 pound Maine Coons, which makes 16 pounds not sound that impressive. I can tell you first hand that 16 pounds is a very big cat! My reading suggests that tales of 30 pound cats are generally greatly exaggerated. If not, the cat must be terribly fat. 20 pounds is a huge domestic cat. Even at 16 pounds, Heath is not all that graceful at times. Okay, husband just calls him clumsy. These are not lithe, agile cats. They more like the draft horse of the cat world. Heath and Cali can jump on the kitchen counter, but that is about the extent of their jumping ability. Actually, they've been known to miss, usually because of a pile of papers which makes them slip on landing.  (Did I mention the time I rushed Heath to vet with a swollen, hurt hock? Yeah, pretty sure he tried for the counter and missed.) Given that they are not quite a year old, I'm sure both kitties have a little more growing and filling out to do. With Heath's appetite, I'm trying to make sure he doesn't grow in the wrong direction. He is a very fine, big boy.

Postscript: We weighed the Coons. Heath is 15.2 pounds and Cali is 13.2 pounds.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


It's been quiet around here this week. I realized that I'm way behind on posting about Cali's recovery. There isn't much to say. She is doing great. She is eating her normal food, and behaving in her normal way.  That is what this week has been. Our first week with two normal, healthy Maine Coons. I'm giving Cali her antibiotics, which she'll finish in another day. Otherwise, no worries about either kitty. What a relief! I guess we'll have to start thinking about normal cat things soon, but for now, it is wonderful just to have them here and healthy.

Brother and sister squeezed onto the cat tree that is barely big enough for one Coon, let alone two. It was a brief, but cute moment, and I managed to grab the camera and get a picture.

A brief moment of sibling harmony

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cali is home!

and she's doing great. I think Heath definitely had the sulks while she was gone. He seems happy to see her. I let Cali out of her carrier and she greeted her brother and the dogs. Then she went to check on the birds out the window. She hadn't been home 20 minutes before she was on the counter and having a little crunchy kibble snack. Now she's giving herself a good bath. I'd say she's going to be just fine!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Training the human

Heath will tell you that as a cat servant I'm sometimes a little slow on the uptake. Just this morning it took him hours of naughtiness and racing and banging around for me to get the message to get out a cat toy and play with him. He even had to resort to knocking magnets off the refrigerator, one of his less endearing little games, as far as I'm concerned. It did finally dawn on me that I should spend a few minutes playing with him. Of course, then I was trying to take pictures of him at the same time as I was dangling the cat toy. That's just how it goes.

Cali had her surgery yesterday. We thought she might come home today, but now it looks like tomorrow. She is not eating yet. From what I've read that is the hardest thing about this surgery, getting them to eat. I'm sure her mouth hurts a lot. I feel so bad for her. If you're inclined, a few prayers or well wishes for her to start eating and feeling better soon would be very appreciated. Heath particularly wants his sister home and well so he can quit having to teach the human servant how to play properly.

Enough with the camera, human. I'm hunting.

Crazy cat is triumphant! The prey is captured! (and the camera battery died)

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Heath seems to missing his sister. He is being more demanding, naughty, and a little clingy. I'm missing Cali, too. Here are some recent pictures.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Feeding Finicky Cats

It may not be exactly fair to call Cali finicky. It is likely that her mouth is uncomfortable. It's hard not to compare her to Heath, though. Heath never met a meal he didn't want two of. Cali is in a good weight, so I haven't worried too much.

Cali has gone to her breeder to have her dental work done. She'll come home with most of her teeth extracted. So, what will she be able to eat? It seems apparent that at least for a while she will be eating only soft food. And there is the problem. She only likes Friskies!  I am really concerned about her getting good nutrition. I having been buying every type of food on the shelf. I keep hoping she will like a higher quality food, but so far, the more it costs, the faster she turns her nose up. (why am I complaining?) I guess we'll be experimenting some more. I really don't want to feed a raw diet, and I'm not sure she'd eat that either. Maybe she will be less picky when her mouth feels better.

I'm missing my sweet girl. Can't wait for her to be home again. I have some new pictures on my camera. I'll have to upload them and see what I've got.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Biotene review

If you've been reading along, then you know all about Cali's issue with juvenile gingivitis. If you're not keeping track, she and Heath are now ten and a half months old. Biotene was a product suggested for possibly helping with Cali's dental issue. I bought three of their products, the antiseptic dental gel, which is supposed to be used short term for severe dental issues, the maintenance dental gel, and the water additive. As you'll know from my last post, none of it has helped Cali.

I started the antiseptic gel about a week before she started on her antibiotic therapy. I've continued using it, switching to maintenance just recently. It hasn't helped her. I'm also using the maintenance gel as a toothpaste for my dogs. I have to admit, I don't brush their teeth every day. Again, I haven't noticed a difference. My opinion on the gels is that they work about as well as any other pet toothpaste. What helps is brushing your pet's teeth. (tarter is not Cali's problem)  I don't recommend the water additive. All my pets refused to drink when I first added it to the water. I cut it down from the recommended amount, and they would drink, but still don't seem to like it. Don't use it in something like a Drinkwell fountain. You need to change the water every day when using the additive or you will get mold. (yes, I found this out first hand)  I have not noticed cleaner teeth in anyone.

My advice, brush your pet's teeth and have their regular dentals done.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

feeling sad

I have been holding out hope that the Zithromax would work on Cali's juvenile gingivitis. Sadly, after 2 weeks, it doesn't seem to have made a difference. She is maturing into such a beautiful cat. The thought of having to pull her teeth makes me incredibly sad. I'm also sad that she will be gone for a short time back to her breeder to have the procedure done (but grateful the breeder is taking care of it!). I will miss our sweet girl while she is gone. I think Cali is the sweetest cat I have ever known. She has gotten so good about taking her pill every evening. She will even come in the kitchen to remind me to give it to her. I just open her mouth and put it in and she swallows it down. I need to take some new pictures.

Son tries to hold on to an armful of Maine Coon

Heath is doing well

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Naughty Heath

I haven't dropped off the earth. I'm just buried in the workload for my current Master of Ed. course among other things. So I apologize to those of you who have become loyal readers. The next eight weeks (or sixteen) will be sporadic.

Today's topic is some of the naughty things Heath does. Nothing like a teenage male cat! He is so funny that we usually just laugh. He throws the food bowls around and shares with the dogs. He climbs on the sink and bangs around dirty dishes. (you'd think that would get the family to clean up faster) When you open the fridge door, he stands on the counter and leans over to put his front feet in the fridge door. Sometimes he climbs into the fridge when it is opened! The other day he ran off with a bag of dog training treats that were on the coffee table. Anytime you walk down the stairs, he will grab your arm from his perch on the cat tree. He really is very funny and cute. I'm sure I'll think of more. How naughty is your kitty?

Sunday, March 4, 2012


When we first met Heath as a kitten at a cat show my overwhelming first impression was "here is a cat who will live comfortably with our dogs". He was, and is, a big, confident boy. That impression is what led to Heath joining our family, despite the fact that we were most definitely not looking for a cat. That impression has proven correct beyond my expectations. The Maine Coons get along so well with the dogs that I have taken to calling the whole group our pack/pride. The Coons remind me of the only social cats, lions, and Heath even looks a little like a male lion with their broad jaws and big ruffs. The Coons will wrestle and even play chase with the dogs. You think a dog is chasing the cat, when suddenly the cat turns around and is chasing the dog! The love to play. When treats are being passed out, they all appear in one great mass demanding their share of the goodies. I have a new picture of "getting along like cats and dogs".

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

this and that

The Coons got a new toy last week. I have been wanting to get them a Turbo Scratcher for a while. While walking through Petsmart, I saw it was on sale for $10. Sold! They love their Turbo Scratcher. They take turns, pounce each other, and play with it for hours each day. What an awesome toy! I put away a couple of the older toys. I'm hoping they will will be like new when I bring them back out again. Meanwhile, the Turbo Scratcher is all they want to play with.

The Biotene products arrived. I've started using the antiseptic gel on Cali. I also put the water additive in their water dishes. That has not gone over well. Apparently none of the dogs or cats in my house read where it says it has no flavor or scent. They all immediately refused to drink. After dumping all the water out, I'm trying to get them used to it by just adding a little, rather than the full strength. The dogs are doing okay with that, but the Coons still aren't impressed. We'll see how it goes.

lazy play the kitty way

a girl needs her beauty sleep after all that playing

yeah, what?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We have a Plan

Vet number two got back to me, and we have a treatment plan for Cali. I think I have read just about everything on the web about juvenile gingivitis and stomatitis in cats. Some vets believe that the bartonella bacteria plays a role in this problem. (This is the "cat scratch fever" bacteria.) Other vets disagree, saying that research has not proven a causal relation. The thing is, bartonella is a bacteria. There is an antibiotic that is fairly successful in treating it. The treatment is 21 days of azithromycin (Zithromax). The aspiring dental vet, after his own research, strongly recommended that we go ahead and try a course of antibiotic treatment. This seems pretty reasonable to me. If the treatment doesn't work, Cali is probably heading for caudal extractions, all the teeth behind the fangs. She could end up losing the front teeth also, eventually. In talking to Cali's breeder, she previously had a kitten in which treatment with azithromycin cured juvenile gingivitis, so I am praying it will work for Cali.

On the recommendation of a friend, and good reviews on Amazon, I've also purchased a product called Biotene to use. They make an oral antiseptic gel designed for use with severe gingivitis and stomatitis. They also make a maintenance gel and water additive to reduce plaque. I've purchased them all. Since we also have papillon dogs, who have notoriously bad teeth, I figured if it works they will all benefit and it will be well worth the cost. I'll let you know. I'm praying that this works for Cali.

Hoping to be better soon!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I know I'm very late posting today. I took Cali to the dental vet today. He told me what I already know. He asked for a day to look for the most up-to-date information. I am very happy to have all the research we can find, so that was easy to agree to.  We'll have to make decisions soon. I'll post when I know more.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Coon Care

It's been a lazy Sunday morning. I didn't make it to church. I've been watching and playing with the kitties. One of the things I do with the Coon kitties is to fit in grooming as fun time. I will generally try to keep claws trimmed about once a week. I do it when they are asleep. Okay, they start out asleep. Cali particularly likes to to chew on the toenails scissors that I use, which makes the actual trimming kind of tricky.  Brushing is also a game. They play with the brush while I try to actually get some brushing done. This does lead to pleasant associations with grooming. They think all my grooming tools are toys! Heath is willing to stand on the grooming table and let me groom him for treats. I think his new nickname is Hobbit. For his eating habits, not his size. He likes breakfast, and second breakfast, and elevens, brunch, lunch, second lunch....

Cali's dental issues are still unresolved. This situation is causing me quite a bit a stress figuring out what to do.  The breeder will take care of things if it comes to having extractions done. The problem is that I'm not at all sure the current gingivitis warrants extracting all her teeth. I've decided to have my local dental vet specialist take a look this week and give a second opinion. Meanwhile, it is obvious that dental care for both Coons needs to be a priority. Both kitties are learning to get their teeth brushed. Cali is much more tolerant of the process than Heath is! Right now I'm still trying to get them used to handling around their mouth and just letting me put some oral cleaning gel on their teeth with my finger. My vet shared some great info with me on dental issues like Cali is having. I'm just going to share these links for anyone interested in more information.

Here is a general article on dental care. This Canadian vet has written many articles on dental issues and care and has a great website. This is the article my vet shared with me. For a video on teaching your cat to accept tooth brushing, Cornell University has a good site.

It's hard to get the computer away from mom so I can watch my videos!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Pics - Instagram

love the tail!

lounging like the princess she is

watching snow leopards before bed

top cat