Archive for November, 2007

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What my cats think of Cats Best Nature’s Gold cat litter

26 November, 2007

(please note that the opinions in this post expressed by my cats or myself are in no way representative of the general usability of the cat litters mentioned.  Cat litter usage depends on personal preference – some cats prefer one type over another, and of course, you need to buy the one that suits your needs and lifestyle.  And judging by the variety of cat litter on the market, there’s one that will suit every cat and cat owner’s preferences!)

As mentioned in my post about the Supreme, I bought some Cats Best Nature’s Gold.  It’s a variant on their OKO plus which is granular, made from spruce and fir, but in pelleted form, so there’s less tracking, and it’s supposed to not stick to longhaired fur.  So far so good – it’s lived up to those two promises.

Up until then I’d been trialling Sainsbury’s Ultra Clumping which is clay-based.  Yes, I know what I’ve said about not using clay-based clumping because of how it sticks to innards.  I’d only bought some because my supply of World’s Best (corn-based) litter had run out and the supplier had messed up on the delivery of kitten packs to my new kitten owners [they’ve promised to rectify this – hope so].  Surprise surprise, the cats took to the clay-based clumping readily – it had a granular sandy texture which they loved.  My Maine Coon girl, in particular, is a digger and she loved flinging it around the tray and burying her stuff in it.  It also absorbed smells well.  It tended to track, but that was also the case with World’s Best.

Anyway, I switched the litter to Nature’s Gold on Saturday, and got worried because even though it was used for pee, there was no poo until today (Monday).  I’m grateful they used it though because changing litter wholesale isn’t easy on cats – you’re supposed to do it in stages, a bit at a time.

In terms of cleaning, Nature’s Gold is easy to clean.  The clay-clumping litter tended to stick to the bottom of the tray, so you had to chisel it off sometimes, and it made me uneasy not to be able to totally remove all the dirty residue.  Nature’s Gold’s clumps lift off easily and cleanly with no sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In terms of clumping, Nature’s Gold clumps well with fluids (i.e. urine), and you can’t smell the urine.  But when it comes to cat poo, it didn’t quite cut it – it tended to form a thin coating to the poo, but my cats couldn’t quite bury it deep enough.  So it didn’t quite contain the poo smell.  So today I changed one of the pans back to the clay-clumping version to see which the cats would prefer.

Nature’s Gold reminds me of Yesterday’s News (which is pelleted recycled newspaper), but it’s softer and lighter.  I might use it again if there’s another litter of kittens, in place of Yesterday’s News.

The problem with clay-clumping litter is that it isn’t very eco-friendly – you can’t dump it in the loo.  But, I’ve just found out that you shouldn’t dump cat litter in the loo, anyway, because of a parasite called toxoplasma that is possibly present in cat poo.  This toxoplasma isn’t destroyed by sewage treatment and can end up killing sea otters and other sealife.  This is something that the makers of environmentally-friendly cat litter manufacturers haven’t mentioned.  I wonder why.  Check out the article in the link below:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/11/13/petscol.DTL&hw=cat+litter&sn=001&sc=1000

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The Supreme, Shopping and a Sphynx

24 November, 2007

The Supreme (which was held on Saturday 17th November this year), is the largest cat show in the UK and is run by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).  To qualify for entry to the Supreme Show a cat must first win at a GCCF Championship Show.   So as you can expect the standard is very high.It’s also one of the best shows if you want to see any breed of cat, meet cat breeders or go shopping for cat products.

It’s held at the NEC in Birmingham, and last year I went by train, which meant I couldn’t get as much cat goodies as I wanted to because I couldn’t see myself lugging bags of cat litter back on the train.  It was a shame because cat shows are the best places to see what was new on the market, buy in bulk, receive discounts, or to get free samples of cat products.

This year I was lucky.  My new kitten owners were curious to see what a cat show was like, plus they wanted to do some cat shopping.  They were going to drive there, so I cheekily asked if I could have a lift there – no problem, they said!  So this year, I did the journey there and back in an extremely comfortable car.  As an added bonus, the said car had a lot of boot space so we could really stock up.

And my, these new kitten owners were smart shoppers.  They came prepared with trolleys on wheels so we wouldn’t have to carry everything by hand.  Definitely a good idea, those trolleys – in fact, we probably could have set up a stand selling them as we saw loads of people struggling with bags while we sauntered by.

So what did we buy?

Cat food:  Applaws Cat food by the box because there was a case discount.  applaws.jpgApplaws is the UK-equivalent of Almo Nature Cat food – very very high quality, human-quality, in fact food.  Real bits of chicken, or fish.  No preservatives, soya, filler, carbs, apart from a little rice or pumpkin.  You could make a sandwich with the tinned chicken – it’s that good.   Bozita cat food by the case as well.  Bozita is a Swedish brand, it comes in nifty tetra-packs which fold over at the top so you can store them easily.  Bozita CrayfishThey were giving away kitten packs with every case – the box containing the kitten pack had a house printed on it, and the windows and door of the house were perforated so you could take them out and the kittens could play in the house!  Interesting flavours – crayfish, for one.  Bozita has an 88-95% meat content.  Unlike Applaws, it’s meat that’s reconstituted into chunks, not real pieces of meat, but without any soya or grains which is good because you want to avoid feeding carbs to cats.  Some of the ingredients seemed expensive to me, like crayfish, but maybe crayfish in Sweden is not an expensive food?  We got some free samples of a new brand of canned cat food from the US – Evangers – premium ingredients again, like organic chicken, or pheasant, and high in protein.  I went home and opened the can, and it was pate-type cat food which unfortunately aren’t to my cats’ tastes – pity.   Royal Canin had a large stand there – they make dried cat food and are priced at the higher end of the market.  I was curious about their breeder scheme, and was told that breeders received 30% discount (or thereabouts) or RC cat food.  However, you couldn’t just fill in a form to join, but you had to buy a 20kg bag from the stand, and then one of their sales reps would sit you down and talk to you.  What about I asked, but they wouldn’t tell me.  I didn’t have the time nor the inclination, so I declined.

CatsBestNaturesGoldCat Litter:  There were a few new-ish brands of cat litter on the market.  It seems the trend is moving towards biodegradable cat litter in a bid to capture the eco-conscious cat lover.  Which is all very well, but how good is the odour control and is it easy to clean?  I bought some Cat’s Best Nature’s Gold – it’s pellets made from fir and spruce wood.  I was interested in it because I’d used Cat’s Best OKO Plus previously which is more granular.  Nature’s Gold is supposed to track less, and not stick to the furry bottoms of long-haired cats.  There was a special offer on:  a 20kg bag for £12, 2 bags for £11 each etc.  World’s Best Cat Litter had a stand and I mentioned that my kitten packs never arrived, and they promised to send them to my kitten owners, so fingers crossed.

ElGatoCatnipCigarCat toys:  we were hoping that Da Bird cat toys would be available, but the person who has the sole distributorship in the UK wasn’t there.  We got some catnip toys – an El Gato catnip Cigar and a Yeoww!  Catnip Banana.  So far I haven’t found a more potent catnip toy, and one which lasts and lasts.  Some of the catnip toys on the market look large, but the catnip doesn’t fill the whole toy.  With an El Gato the whole of the catnip toy is packed with catnip.  And it seems to stay potent for a long time.  I still have a catnip cigar that’s a year old and still gets revisted by my cats.  These catnip toys are more pricey (RRP is £5.50), but we bought ours from a cat club table for £4.  I also bought two spiders made from pipe cleaners from another club table.  My Bengal loves these pipe cleaner spiders – it seems to trigger something in her predator brain and she will pounce and kill them over and over.

Which brings me to the cats, just in case you thought we were only there for the shopping.  Did we look at the Maine Coons?  Of course we did.  We saw some really huge fellas – the largest weighed in at 25 lbs!!!  My new kitten owner was a walking endorsement for me – she showed off her kitten photos, and I was really chuffed.  I’ve been hoping for a red stud boy for Ananda next year, and someone who saw the kitten photos was a breeder with just such a stud, so watch this space!

Which brings me to the final topic in this post: the Sphynx cat.  I wrote briefly about the Sphynx in my post last year on the Supreme.  They are an extreme-looking type of cat, and not to everyone’s taste, but there’s something so alien,  yet noble about their looks that I love them.  Despite their strangeness, they are cats through and through, and love a cuddle and are very friendly.  My new kitten owner hadn’t seen a Sphynx, so I dragged her to the exotic cat section.  She wasn’t disappointed.  In most cat shows, the owners don’t allow their cats to be handled by the public in case of germs.  The Sphynx owners were more obliging than most others – we got to touch and hold two Sphynx cats.

SupremeSphynx1 This is Infurno Kismet owned by Sara Allwright.  When I held him, he just lay in my arms, purring.  I put my cheek to his flank and it was warm and felt just like a peach.  Sphynx cats aren’t totally bald – they have little bits of fur at the base of their ears, and a few hairs on their tails.

See you next year at the Supreme!

(with many thanks to the Zealands for a fantastic day out, and without whom this post wouldn’t have been written)

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Loki and Elli in their new homes

22 November, 2007

lokiathome1a elliathome1a

(Catswhiskers Loki and Elli in their new home)

One of the best moments I have as a cat breeder is when I’m invited to visit my kittens in their new homes.

I’m grateful because it’s a chance for me to see how the kittens are growing. And it’s an honour to be invited into the homes of the proud owners.

Last year, I was invited twice to see Hudson, a cream kitten out of Ananda and Mullycoonz Romulas. An only cat, his owners dote on him. His tricks include drinking from the tap (when he’s thirsty he goes up to the kitchen tap and mews and his owners know what he means).

I also visited Remus (cream) and Sylvia (mackerel tortie tabby) whose owner let them have bed rights, and once told me how he didn’t dare move in the bed because Remus had his head on his shoulder!

This year, my kittens, Loki and Elli, went to a lovely couple who live in London. The wife had helped out in rescue, and also cat-sat for neighbours. (Needless to say, she was every cat breeder’s idea of a dream owner.)

I was invited to visit recently. The photos speak for themselves.

Loki and Elli had grown and were the picture of health. Elli was really coming into her own, her black coat had a fantastic sheen that shimmered when she moved. Loki’s colouring had become richer, if that’s possible, and the black stripe down his back seemed to have got broader.

I was impressed – they had everything cats would need plus more.

They had a room to themselves, plus a dedicated bathroom, immaculately kept. Their personalities were developing too. According to their owners, Loki was the bolder, and more impetuous of the two, and Elli was more cautious. When strangers came, she would observe them before approaching. Loki was greedier, he would scoff his food, and before he finished would move onto his sister’s. Depending on how hungry she was, she would either let him eat her share, or would bat him away. They loved water too: apparently the owner had had to bathed Loki because his pantaloons got messy, so they got used to water. But they prefer the shower to the bath, and there would sometimes be a queue while the owners had their morning showers!

I have been truly blessed with loving owners for my kittens. Have you ever played that game where you wished that in your next life you could come back as someone famous/richer/more beautiful etc.? Well, tell you what, in my next life I want to come back as these owners’ kittens!

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Cat Comfort

15 November, 2007

My mother cat, Ananda, is such a gentle and nurturing cat.  I know there is a tendency amongst cat lovers to humanise their cats, and to project onto them characteristics they think they should have, but I do believe that Ananda can sense when I’m unwell and offer me comfort.

Several weeks back I had a bad tummy ache, and was lying in bed in a cold sweat.  Ananda got onto my stomach and lay on me for a few moments.  I don’t know what she thought she was doing, and I can’t say having a 10-lb cat on my stomach was the most comfortable thing, but she had never done anything like that before.  There was no miraculous cure but I felt I wasn’t alone in my suffering.

This week, I was lying in bed, off work with a bad cold.  After I’d had a bad coughing fit, Ananda climbed onto my chest and shaped herself into a warm ball.  I could feel her soft purr reverberate through me.  Then she got off, and lay between my right arm and body, with her head right up against my cheek.  I could feel her whiskers quivering, and her little heart beating.  It was a very tender moment.

I have friends who tell me that when they’re ill, their cats lie against their backs, giving them firm support.  It always amazes and touches me when we manage to reach out to our furry companions, and they, in turn acknowledge the bond between us.

Please feel free to share any of your experiences of cat (or dog) comfort.