Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Renewed hope!

This is Dr. Radosta.  She's THE ONLY feline behaviorist in South Florida.  Luckily, she is also a DVM!!  She has given us hope.  (that's not Inky in her arms, by the way)
Dr. Radosta and her crew (three other kind and gentle women) came to Casa Marro on January 21st for a consultation with JP and INKY.  I was impressed with her knowledge and compassion.  They spent two hours gathering information about our cats, feeding rituals, how we ALL interact with eachother, litterboxes, medical history etc.  She examined JP and INKY for any apparent medical issues. 
One of the first changes she recommended was BIGGER LITTERBOXES!  OMG!  I already have giant sterilite storage boxes (on advice from Mieshelle Nagelschneider years ago), but she pointed out that I have giant cats and we all observed Spike perched on the edge of the box - indicating he could use more room.  OK, no prob - I can DO that.  I can get bigger boxes!  (we already had one ready from IKEA, but hadn't filled it yet.  I was waiting to show it to her)
She determined that JP was a confident cat and that INKY was insecure.  Most people don't believe this, but I do and so did Mieshelle Nagelschneider when we consulted her before.  Both cats seem to be acting out out of stress.  Overcrowding seems to be an issue, even though we have taken advantage of vertical space and really tried to enrich their environment.  My husband has built many structures for them to climb on, scratch, sleep on etc.  And we have toys galore!  But one thing we are going to do now is rotate the toys on a regular basis so the kitties don't get bored.  Also, we went out and bought some new ones to add to the mix.
We had a little training session too while they were here.  We learned how to teach JP and INKY to turn their head away and go to their "safe spot" so that if we see some intimidation happening or staring or the beginnings of a fight we can ask them to look away or walk away before it escalates.  Cool!  Smart.
Another recommendation was to use puzzle feeders.  Well, so far INKY is the only one who has figured that out.  We bought a few different ones.  Perhaps in time...
The last thing I want to write about today is Dr. Radosta's recommendation that we contact University of Tennessee's department of Veterinary Nutrition and have some food formulated (get a recipe perhaps) for JP because he has special needs due to his calcium oxalate stones in his bladder.  
I'm very impressed that Dr. Radosta wants to work as a team with my vets Dr. Yao and Dr. Herrington (who highly recommended her) and with my holistic pet wonderwoman Holistic Jodi!  I'm hopeful that together we can make all our kitties happy and healthy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Deals a Deal

We shook on it.  Really.  I've made a deal with INKY!
I got desperate for help with the cats and my husband got a new car (the 100% electric Nissan Leaf) with XM radio.  One Tuesday night he was driving home from work and heard Sonya Fitzpatricks weekly radio show, Animal Intuition. Sonya is a famous pet psychic. I used to watch her show on TV - I think it was on Animal Planet.  I called in this week and actually made it on the air! 
She says Inky is upset because I have been so sad about my mothers death last May.  Sonya claims Inky has a very strong bond with me and is effected by my emotional state.  He is spraying around the house for emotional reasons.  Also, she asked, "when did you switch their food?"  And "why?"  I told her we switched to holistic food because it's healthier.  She agreed stating, "let me just tell that to Inky, he was wondering why".  Sonya also asked, "who's the nervous cat?"  That would be Scooter.  Poor thing. 
She said Inky, in particular, is upset that I took away the dry food free feeding and asked if I could possibly give him more dry food.  And she said Inky misses his old food bowl and likes the blue grey litterbox.  Well, I wasn't sure what that was about but promised to give him something blue. 
So, Sonya asked if I would barter with INKY.  I promised to give him his old bowl back (not sure exactly which one he's talking about, but I stopped using the flat plates I had switched to after Spike got sick), give him extra dry food in the evening and I put a nice blue blanket on the foot of my bed just for him and INKY promises to only pee and spray and poop in the litterboxes.  I've been visualizing him peeing in the box several times a day (Sonya's reccomendation).
I'm optimistic that this will help.  What have I got to lose?  But I'm still keeping my appointment with Dr. Lisa Radosta, Veterinary Behaviorist.