Tesco Cat Litter is staining Pete’s feet

Pete and I have been together three weeks and two days now, and I love him a little bit more every day.

We went to the vet today for his second vaccinations. He was ok in his carrier in the taxi going there – a bit agitated, but his curiosity seemed to to overrule his antipathy. He really hated the journey home though – meowed constantly and was very upset. I think the driver was too leaden-footed. He prefers a smoother ride. When we got into the vet’s treatment room, he hopped out of his carrier and went for a wander around the room, then jumped up onto the worktop. He walked across the vet’s keyboard and settled down for a snooze. He really didn’t like his injection and bit the vet and nearly bit me, but I don’t think there were any hard feelings.

We had a chat about his weight and his eating. He’s put on 150g since I got him, and he’s right at the top end of where he ought to be. I’m going to cut his dry food down by 20g per day and weigh him again in a month. He’s still got another week to go before he can go out, until the vaccinations have had a chance to fire up his immune system, so it’ll be a while before we can judge his activity levels, and adjust his food accordingly.

He’s getting on well with his Kerbl Maya Water Dispenser (3.5 litre). He has a water bowl by his food bowl, but I’ve put the water dispenser near to his favourite cardboard box. He drinks from it once or twice a day, so I’m going to get another one and try him with it for dry food. They’re very cheap so I reckon they’re worth trying. We’ve been back and forth to Glasgow for Commonwealth Games stuff over the past few days so he’s out of his routine. If he can have the option to graze on biscuits when he wants them, it might be less unsettling for him than me leaving him a day’s worth of food which he gobbles straightaway and then has to go without for the rest of the day.

I’m looking forward to him being able to get out and romp about, not least because he might need to use his litter tray a bit less often. I’ve tried a few cat litters over the past three weeks. The Catsan clumping is the best so far – forms good clumps, and limits odour pretty well. Tesco Everyday Value and Tesco Low Dust, I don’t like. Both are rubbish at minimising odour, and the Low Dust stuf is brown and it’s staining his white feet pinkish. I won’t be buying that again.

Feeding Pete (a never-ending story)

I’m really struggling to work out how much to feed Pete. The shelter said they gave him a wet pouch and biscuits twice a day. The day after I got him, I took him to the vet for jags and check-up. The vet weighed him and said 5.8kg was fine. I’ve been giving him a pouch when I get up and 20-25g biscuits when I leave for work, a pouch at teatime, and 20-25g biscuits when I go to bed. And if he’s been a really good boy, he gets a couple of Dreamies, and now and again I defrost a couple of prawns as a treat for him. He gobbles the pouches down in seconds and asks for more, and when I put the biscuits down, he gobbles about 3/4 of them and eats the rest little by little. But he seems to be hungry so much of the time, he spends a lot of time meowing for food, winds round my feet hopefully as soon as I go near the kitchen and tries to eat anything left out on the worktop that looks likely. And when he doesn’t get anything he lies down next to his bowl and looks sad. I don’t want to over feed him, especially just now when he’s not getting much exercise, but I don’t want to starve him. I gave him 30g biscuits this morning after his wet food and he ate most of them and has been snoozing contentedly ever since.

He’s a big strong cat, but he’s not fat, and you can feel but not see his ribs along his sides. How do I tell if he’s genuinely hungry and needs food, or if he’s just being greedy? We’re going back to the vet next week for his next jags so I’ll ask them to weigh him again and have a chat about the lower and upper limits of what to feed him.

I hope he’s ok during the day

The first two days I had Pete, I was on annual leave from work and by the end of the second day I was confident he was settled enough that I had no need to worry about him while I’m at work. I’ve continued to believe that for the last two weeks. As I start to unlock the door, I can usually hear him jump to the floor and run to meet me. He waits by the door for me to come in, lets me rub his head, and then he does that big stretch cats do when they’ve just woken up from a long sleep. So I’ve assumed he’s quite happy during the day.

But I saw my neighbour yesterday and she says she heard him crying on Monday. It was about lunchtime, and he was sitting behind the front door and meowing very loudly, and for quite a while. So now I’m worried that he does that every day.

It’s only another week till he gets his second lot of jags. I’m hoping that once he can come in and out freely, that might keep him a bit happier during the day. I hate to think of him crying alone all day every day. 😥

Bye bye flutterby

A butterfly just came in through the open window. Pete noticed it straight away. I was trying to guide it out when it landed on the windowsill, and before I could stop him, Pete ate it. 😦

RIP butterfly. I’m sorry.

Now he’s curled up in a cardboard box, chasing his tail, which involved doing somersaults in the enclosed space. 😀

The Andrew James New Automatic Pet Feeder

According to Amazon, this thing appeared on The Gadget Show. I have no idea what that is. The Andrew James New Automatic Pet Feeder is a programmable pet food dispenser, dispensing dry food only, programmable for up to 99 days in advance. So if you want to go off and leave your pet alone for three months, it won’t starve.

Except if you used the one I bought, your pet would definitely starve.

The pet feeder’s usual price is £99.95 and when I bought it on Amazon, it was reduced to under £30. It’s pretty big, and requires 4 large batteries. Of course, the battery compartment is on the bottom of the base unit, so make sure you put them in before you fill it. The control panel is on the back of the base unit. The hopper sits on top of the base unit, and dispenses into a detachable tray. The lid of the hopper locks very awkwardly – sometimes it worked very smoothly, but at other times I couldn’t open or lock it at all.

I found it incredibly difficult to set the clock and programme the timer. It took me three goes, and it seemed to be correct by the end of the third go. The feeder didn’t dispense at the requested time, and when I checked the clock, it was a couple of hours out. Somehow it had lost a couple of hours after I set it. So I set it all again. There doesn’t seem to be any way to just re-set the clock without re-setting the whole thing, timings and all. It dispensed one lot of food at roughly the correct time, but that was all it managed. After that, the clock just lost track of time completely, it dispensed at random hours, and then seemed to stop altogether. Good job I’d decided to try it out before I go away!

Weirdly, for a product sold in the UK, it only dispenses in cup sizes – quarter cup, half cup etc, even though nobody I know uses cups as a unit of measurement. That’s for Americans who can’t work scales, surely? I asked it to dispense a quarter of a cup and that worked out at about 30g, which is slightly more than I wanted it to dispense at a time, but not hugely problematic.

I considered sending it back and asking for a replacement, but then I spent some time watching Pete trying to eat from it. He finds it very difficult to get the dry cat food up from the dispenser tray. Pete’s a greedy cat and is very motivated by food, but he was struggling to eat from this so badly that he was choosing not to eat rather than struggle on. So I’ve asked them to arrange a return and full refund.

If you get one that works properly, and your pet can eat from it, then it’s a good product. But I wouldn’t want to rely on this to feed my cat over a weekend, let alone a fortnight’s holiday. And the people who are letting it feed their pets for 99 days are going to come home to a nasty shock, I think.

On the other hand, Pete loves the cardboard box it came in and is currently using it something like a greyhound trap, launching himself from it to tear around the flat like a maniac.

A Treat for Pete

I popped into Tesco tonight and they had prawns in the reduced/clearance bit, so I got them for Pete. He liked them.

Some people say this makes me a proper mad cat lady, but in my defence, I didn’t give him the dipping sauce.

Things I Love About Pete

After only a week, I’m taken aback by how much I love Pete already. These are the things I love most.

 

  1. When he really really really wants a head-rub, he stands on his back legs like a meerkat
  2.  When he’s lying on his back on the sofa, he sometimes does a funny little hitching thing to scoot himself over so he’s lying against me
  3. He’s always so pleased to see me
  4. Sometimes he wants to be near me so much that he’ll sprawl on the floor near wherever I am, even if I’m having a shower or cleaning my teeth or just doing the dishes
  5.  He likes a cuddle on my knee, but when he’s had enough, he just walks off
  6. When he plays with his catnip mouse he doesn’t bother to bat it around the room. He just tries to bite its head off

Catit Design Cabrio Cat Carrier

I mentioned the Catit Design Cabrio Cat Carrier in my last post, and then it occurred to me it might be worth doing a series of product reviews, as and when I have products to review.

So, the Catit Design Cabrio Cat Carrier. I decided to go for this one because the product reviews on Amazon were generally excellent, and the ones I looked at on Pets at Home generally had poor reviews. It was on sale when I bought it and I paid £26.90.

Good points

  • It’s a pretty big plastic carrier, easily big enough for my 5.8kg furry friend.
  • The main part of the floor is raised, so it has sunken channels at the sides, to allow for pee and vomit to run off if the cat gets upset while in it.
  • It allows for front and top-loading – top-loading being much easier than trying to get a reluctant cat in through a small door

Bad points

  • it’s self-assembly
  • the self-assembly is really awkward. My flat is furnished almost entirely with Ikea furniture, so I’m not a self-assembly novice. The instructions are diagrammatical rather than written, and the diagrams are too small and too cluttered to be clear or easily understandable.
  • The base is sturdy, but the two sides which fold out to allow for top-loading are made of a thin plastic which is too flexible and therefore wobbly. They are difficult to position correctly, and the instructions don’t make it clear that you should fit the hinge covers as soon as you’ve fitted the sides, or else they’ll fall off as soon as you touch them.
  • The instructions about which way up to fit the hinge covers could be clearer
  • the two top halves don’t align automatically – they have some awkward pegs/pins/struts and grooves which have to be correctly fitted to each other, and they are very fiddly. When I was testing this carrier with Pete, it was very easy for him to jump straight out while I was trying to get the two halves aligned and clipped together
  • the front door comes in two parts – a frame which fits to the main carrier, and the actual door which fits into the frame. It’s really awkward to fit the frame onto the carrier as it has to be done very precisely; it’s a two-person job really. I don’t have particularly weak arms and really struggled to push the frame in far enough until it clicked into place. And then I watched as the plastic expanded and the bottom corner of the frame detached itself. So I tapped it in lightly with a mallet (well, a claw hammer with the impact spread out via Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes) and it seemed to be in securely. The door fitted very easily into the frame, but as soon as I managed to get the reluctant Pete into it and lifted it, the frame came away again
  • Yes, that’s right. As soon as I lifted the carrier with the cat in it, the door frame came off.

So, I think it’s pretty useless, and it’s going back.

My next review will probably be the Andrew James New Automatic Pet Feeder. Fingers crossed that’s better.

Downstairs and a dog

The cat carrier I had bought for Pete was a Catit Design Cabrio Cat Carrier. It had good reviews, it’s big enough to fit my big furry boy into comfortably, and it looked well-designed. What a heap of shit. Images on the assembly instructions were not clear, and putting it together was very awkward. I found it really difficult to get the door frame attached to the body of the carrier, had to tap it in with a mallet*, and as soon as I persuaded** the cat into it to test it and lifted it up, the door frame came away from it. It’s going back. But now it’s assembled, it won’t fit in the bloody box and if I try and force it apart, it’ll break.

Fuck that shitty-arsed plastic crap. I’ve ordered a standard wire cat carrier instead. Not as comfy, but he’s unlikely to break out of it, and I can put a towel on the bottom to make it a bit nicer for him.

I took him out for another little getting-to-know-the-stair walk tonight. All went well until we got to the ground floor. It was just bad timing. The family from upstairs came in, and that made him anxious. So I picked him up to reassure him, and also to stop him bolting out of the door as they stood and dithered. I had to say to them “will you come in and shut the door please so he can’t get out?” He wasn’t too happy and stayed quite anxious until they were well past, and then just as I was persuading him to come back upstairs, my neighbour opened the main door to come in with her dog.

All credit to her, she stopped straight away, and backed out with the barking dog, but poor Pete was very scared. He curled up and hissed viciously at the dog. I wonder if he had a couple of run-ins with dogs in his previous life as a stray… I herded him back up stairs and he shot in the door and stayed upset for a little while. I got him onto my knee for a cuddle and soothed him till he purred. He’s been a wee bit clingy tonight, but that’s ok; I’ll just take it as a sign he trusts me. He seems a bit lethargic tonight, but still very affectionate and cuddly. I’m in two minds about whether to let him sleep in the bedroom – I know every time I let him (twice so far), it makes it harder to reinforce he’s not allowed in there, and I’m sure he’s forgotten all about his fright now. I will see how he is at bed time.

He seems to be not begging for food as much as he was last week. He’s still a greedy bugger, but I’m hoping he’s learning that food will be regular here and he doesn’t need to beg. I’ve ordered one of those timer food dispenser things for him. I’ll be out quite a bit over the next couple of weeks as I have tickets for 3 days of the Commonwealth Games, so his meals are at risk of being irregular. The dispenser I’ve ordered is for dry food only, so I can set it to dispense his biscuits while we’re out, and I can do his wet food before we go out and when we get back. I’m going away for 2 weeks later in the year too. Luckily a couple of friends have very kindly offered to come in and feed him, so I don’t have to think about a cattery or pay for a cat-sitter. Their kind offer enabled me to get him in the first place – I wouldn’t have wanted to rehome a rescue cat then put him into a cattery a couple of weeks later. I’ll try to get him used to using it before I go and that’ll mean my kind friends don’t need to pop in every day if they can’t.

 
*claw hammer and a book

**attempted to bribe with Dreamies, then forced