More Things I Love About Pete

1) He has a variety of meows which express different things. My favourite is a throaty chirp he uses as a way of showing he’s quizzical about something.

2) He’s an excellent mouser.

3) Today he tried to use my walking stick as a scratching post, even though it’s smooth, shiny and not at all suitable for scratching.

4) The other week he was so engrossed in killing his toy mouse, he didn’t notice he’d rolled into his water bowl.

5) Also the other week, I could hear a funny noise and when I looked, he was lying on his back on a sheet of bubblewrap (he loves to pounce on bubblewrap), holding his kickaroo in his front paws, licking it.

6) He’s so handsome.

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Pete’s On A Diet

For the first few months I had Pete, I gave him a wet pouch night and morning and let him have free access to dried food, hoping he would get used to regular food, feel more secure, and eventually learn to regulate his intake.

Didn’t happen.

When we went to the vet the other week for his split ear, the vet weighed him. From the healthy 5.8kg he was in July, he’s now hovering around 7kg, which is too much for him. So he’s on a diet. I’m still giving him two wet pouches a day, but I’ve decreased his biscuits gradually to 10g, at bedtime. I was worried he’d be really hungry, but he tells me he’s hungry all the time anyway, so it’s hard to tell. Even after he’s just eaten a pouch and he’s having a snooze and digesting it, if I make the slightest move towards the kitchen he follows me and begs for food. He still does it, but not any more than before diet started.

The hardest thing has been working out how much to feed him. He gets a mixture of Felix, Kitekat, Whiskas and Tesco pouches, but only the Kitekat has the calorie content on the packaging. (And once a week I replace a pouch with a raw chicken wing or drumstick with the bone in, to give his teeth and jaws a workout). By the power of the internet I worked out that to get him down to 6kg, he needs 200-220kcal per day. So I emailed Felix, Whiskas and Tesco to find out their cat food calories. Felix and Whiskas have got back to me – Felix is 70-75kcal per 100g pouch, and Whiskas is 80-85kcal per 100g. So he’s getting 150-170kcal from wet food every day, and has 30-50kcal left over for dry food. Again, the dry food manufacturers don’t put the calorie content on their packaging, not even on the diet food. So I used this site to work it out. This one does it too. I give him a mixture of biscuits – diet, hairball and normal ones all mixed together in a tupperware, in a ratio of about 3:1:1, so I’m basing the calculations on the diet food and then adding a little bit. So he can have 10-15 grams of biscuits per day, which is less than half of what he was eating when he had free access. No wonder he’s put weight on!

It’s important that cats don’t get too fat. Apart from the risk of heart disease and diabetes, carrying extra weight can damage their joints when they’re running and jumping, and in extreme cases they can get too fat to groom and clean themselves and can end up with nasty urine sores.

So I’m going to keep him on 2 pouches and 10 grams of food, plus the occasional treat, for a couple of months and see how he goes. If he hasn’t lost any weight by the new year, then I’ll think about taking him to the fat club his vet runs for cats.

It’s interesting that all the cat food packaging says a 4kg cat should have 3-4 pouches per day which is more calories than even a 6kg cat needs to maintain a healthy weight.

I Feel Awful

See previous post.

When I got up yesterday morning, I did what I always do – I threw the top half of the duvet off and left it there to let the bed air. I didn’t do what I always don’t, ie make the bed, so the duvet was still folded back on itself at bedtime. When I pulled it back into place, I saw two large patches of blood. Poor Pete had obviously come in from his scrap with a bleeding ear, meowed at me for help, was told to shush, so parked himself on the bed and bled onto the duvet. The wee scone had obviously bled for some time, and I was oblivious in the dark. And as he spent nobody knows how long as a streetfighting stray, he’s used to being ignored when he’s injured in a fight. I feel like I’ve let him down. I should have got up to see what was going on when he was clattering in and out of the catflap for two hours. I should have made the bed in the morning and noticed earlier.

So, on top of £16 in taxi fares and £44 in vet bills, I’ve also had a £17 bill for getting the duvet laundered. Tomorrow, he’s getting a paper round!

In Which Pete Goes To The Vet

As I was going to bed last night, Pete was in one of his skittish, playful moods. He was running from one end of the flat to the other, in and out of the catflap, on and off the furniture, killing his toys etc. Usually when he gets like that it only lasts 20 minutes or so, but it went on for a long time. I went to bed and left him to it, surprised he was so energetic for so long. Over the next couple of hours I heard him running about and several times going out of the catflap for a few minutes and then running back in again. Eventually he came in, meowed at me, was told “shush, it’s bed time, go to sleep,” jumped onto the bed and went to sleep.

He didn’t wake up until I woke up which is unusual. Most days, he’s awake by 0600 and purring in my face to say “I love you give me breakfast.” I got up and gave him his wet pouch and got ready for work. In the bedroom I noticed what looked like a small amount of gungy dried blood on the bottom end of the duvet cover where he had been sleeping, and when I went to look at Pete, he was lying in his bed, not asleep, just eyes half open and looking miserable. I put his dry food down and he didn’t even twitch, when usually he’s eaten it all before I’m out of the door.

It’s really dark here in the mornings just now and even with the lights on, it’s hard to see what’s going on with a black cat in artificial light. I ended up having to use my Fenix torch (bike light) to inspect him and his right ear was looking very gungy, with a thick black tarry mess inside it. Of course, I was so worried that the mouse he ate on Monday was poisoned and that Pete was bleeding from his ears because of the anticoagulants. I had stuff to do at work this morning that I couldn’t put off so I had to ask the vet for an afternoon appointment. When I got in from work, he’d obviously been asleep all day and still hadn’t touched his biscuits from the morning, and I got him into his carrier on the first attempt, so he obviously wasn’t right. I also noticed a large matted patch just behind his gungy ear.

He was very well behaved at the vet’s. He tolerated being examined very well and was quite content to lie on the bench being stroked while we all talked above his head. Once he was in the good light at the vet, it was very obvious that there is a slash in his ear, and that had caused the bleeding. He’s been fighting. That must have been what all the running in and out last night was. The vet didn’t want to clean the blood away in case it started to bleed again, so he’s still a bit of a mess, poor boy. He has a 5 day course of antibiotics – I’ll try poking them into prawns or bits of Philadelphia – and I will take him back if he gets an abscess or anything nasty. He had an uncooked chicken wing for tea when we got back and made very short work of it, bone and all, and he’s been fast asleep ever since.

I feel awful about it. I should have got up last night and checked on him when he was doing all the running about and maybe I could have prevented him getting into a fight. Poor Pete.

Mouseketeer

Pete was very lazy over the weekend. He just wanted to eat and sleep and I couldn’t interest him in going out or playing with his toys, or anything except sleeping and eating. The only thing he paid any attention to was the floorboards. Each time he got up for a meal, he would spend 20 minutes or so staring intently at the floorboards, listening intently, and sometimes scrabbling at them.

The weather suddenly turned much colder last week so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the cold has driven the mice back inside, and Pete can hear them. As I was going to bed last night I heard him clattering around – he had a mouse. It took some persuading to get it off him, but I got it into the kitchen bin, and went to bed. A short while later I heard more clattering – he’d tipped the bin over and was raking inside it to get to the mouse. I cleared up and took the binbag out, and eventually he calmed down and slept on my bed without disturbance. (He slept until nearly 7, for the first time since the clocks went back 2 weeks ago. I was so pleased!)

When I got in from work tonight, he didn’t come to the door to meet me and plead starvation like he usually does. I could hear him clattering and once I’d switched a light on I could see a tail poking out of his mouth. Unfortunately my hands were full, and he’d eaten the mouse whole before I could get it off him. Then he started asking for his tea. He seems ok at the moment, but I will worry for the next few days that the mouse might have been poisoned.