Guest Post!!

We have some great content from Emily Ridgewell (@ridgewell_j) about pets and foods that are toxic to them. The holidays present all sorts of opportunities for our furry friends to get into things that they shouldn't. What's harmless to use can be very harmful to them.

Take the time to check out the excellent and informative infographic, and stay healthy this holiday!

Toxic Foods

By Emily Ridgewell

A common argument exists for many animal lovers: are you a cat person or dog person? According to statistics from the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), although more people (36%) own dogs rather than cats (30%), the average number of these pets per household is higher for felines (2.1) when compared to canines (1.6). 

In the long run, we all love our pets, be them dogs or cats and as responsible animal owners, we will always do our best to keep them happy and healthy, which includes monitoring their diet. Since we often treat them as our own children, experts recommend keeping a list of important phone numbers on hand in case of an emergency. 

While we’re on the subject of poison and the topic of this article, there are some toxins that felines are particularly susceptible to that can cause sickness, and in some cases death, when ingested by our four-legged friends. Here are three of the worst offenders when it comes to possibly killing our kitties and how to keep them safe from harm:

KILLER COOLANT

Most of us are already aware that common coolants found in an automobile’s antifreeze system contain a chemical called ethylene glycol that can kill a cat with a very small dosage. Whether they mistake it for water or are attracted by its sweet aroma and taste, be on the lookout for small puddles of this poison in your yards and neighborhood.

GRUESOME GARAGE

This typical car storage area can be a minefield of menacing toxins from the storage of dangerous insecticides, solvents, gasoline and other hazardous materials like paint. From a home safety standpoint as well as protective measures for our pets, check this unit often for signs of leaks from storage containers, loose lids and keep them out of reach from naturally curious cats. 

PLANT POISON

The ASPCA warns us about hundreds of poisonous plants for cats, a lengthy A-Z list that contains everything from Aloe to Yucca. Ingesting some of these toxic plants can lead to gastritis, vomiting, diarrhea, liver and kidney failure or disease, and in some rare causes, can even result in death. 

With a little bit of vigilance and some extra proactive protective measures, we can keep our fluffy friends safe from possible harm. Check out this infographic that points out other dangers in our pet’s diet.

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pw-ig/ToxicFoods.png

ToxicFoods.png

Guest Post!!

Hi everyone! I know, the Bearded Man and the Lady are just the worst at continuing the blog. Luckily, from time to time, we get writers approach us who are looking for an outlet for their terrific work.

We hope that you enjoy guest blogger Cory Yeakel's post on how to live with and love a cat even if you have cat allergies! As a lot of you know, the Bearded Man is allergic to cats, including Matilda, and wasn't too thrilled when the Lady insisted that it was time to incorporate a feline friend. With time and a little bit of modification however, the two of them were snuggling and booping noses with careless abandon. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Enjoy!

 

 

Living with Cats When You Have Allergies

By Cory Yeakel

Let me come right out and admit it – growing up, I was not a cat person. It wasn’t because I didn’t love the adorable little fur balls, it was because I was allergic. I did just fine with dogs, but any time I visited a house with cats, my sinuses would start acting up and I’d be miserable for the next 24-48 hours. I didn’t think it would ever be too much of a worry in my life, but as fate would have it, one day I would meet a girl… and of course, she freaking loves cats.

 

When we finally reached the point of living together, we started talking pets. Naturally, I voted for a dog, and naturally, she voted for a cat. So, we did what any good couple would do, and we came to a compromise – we got a cat (two, in fact). And you’ll never guess who they love most… me.

 

For about the first year, my sinuses hated me. I went through more boxes of tissues than I could count. I was happy to push through it because my love for the kitties far outweighed the annoyance of my allergies, but still, my girlfriend and I were determined to figure out a solution. We started doing little things here and there in hopes that my allergies would get better, and slowly, but surely, they did.

 

I know I’m not the only one out there who deals with cat allergies (in fact, I’m told the Bearded Man and I have this in common!), so if you’re one of those people, here are a few things I’d recommend to keep your sinuses at bay to keep kitty play time as long as possible!

 

  1. Set up dedicated cat areas

 

If there’s only one tip you take away from this post, let it be this one. The best thing I ever did was set up specific areas for our cats to hangout. Everyone knows that cats love to lounge, and before, their favorite spots were our bed, our couch, and various other places where we would spend a good chunk of time. Obviously, this meant their hair and other kitty dander were heaviest in those places, which really riled up the allergies.

 

One day, I came home with a huge cat tree. They were kind of puzzled by it at first, but once I put some catnip and toys on different levels and showed them it was for them, it became their new playground. Next, I set up a window perch in both the front and back of the house for outdoor viewing, and again, with a little bit of coercing, they attracted like magnets. They no longer cared to stretch out across the couch or our bed, they wanted to be perched high on their cat tree or staring out the window at birds (we also made our bedroom off-limits, just to be safe).

 

Consequently, the hair and dander around the house started to decrease as they spent more time in their lounge spots, which was a major win for my sinuses. 

 

  1. Clean thoroughly and often

 

This tip probably comes as no surprise: the more you clean, the less cat dander will be around to mess with your allergies. We make it a point to clean the litter box daily and vacuum once or twice a week (including the cat areas). This is nothing groundbreaking, but I wanted to include a few extra points – we also use dust-free litter in the litter box to help bring down particles in the air, as well as a HEPA filter in the vacuum to trap as much dust and dander as possible.

 

  1. Use an air purifier

 

Routinely running the vacuum gets rid of the bulk of hair and dander, but for all the microscopic particles that linger around in the air, an air purifier is a huge help. To be honest, I never believed in them much before owning one. They always seemed like such a “hype” product, but my mom swears by these things, so I gave one a try. The first time I changed the filter and saw how dirty it was, I became a believer (this is also a HEPA filter, just FYI). As most of us with allergies know, it’s the airborne stuff that does the most damage, so I’d highly recommend a purifier now that I’ve had a chance to see their results. We run ours daily.

 

  1. Wash your cats – the right way

 

When we first got our cats, one of my first thoughts on reducing my allergies was, “I’ll just give them baths all the time!” If I bathe them more often, I’ll be getting rid of the hair and dander before it has a chance to spread everywhere and stoke my allergies, right? I tried bathing them once to twice a week for the first six months or so, but it didn’t seem to be doing much.

 

I decided to do a bit more reading on the matter, and that’s when I figured out that cat allergies aren’t just caused by the hair itself – they actually stem from a protein that cats produce in their saliva and skin called Fel d 1. And the weekly washing wasn’t really doing anything because Fel d 1 levels can get right back where they were before the bath within just 24 hours. So, I went another route: cat wipes.

 

Cat wipes are basically like baby wipes, but made specifically for your kitty. They’re wet, hypoallergenic, and are used to wipe away hair, dander, and most of the existing Fel d 1 your cat produces daily. As you can imagine, this is far more convenient than an actual full-blown bath (both for us and the kitties), which makes it an all-around win-win. 

 

As soon as I started wiping them down every other day, it made a pretty noticeable difference in my sneezing and stuffiness. We still give them a real bath a few times a month, but that’s more for general cleanliness and hygiene, not to combat allergens.

 

Final thoughts

 

Living with cats when you have allergies can be tough if you don’t have a plan. The four points above might sound like a lot of effort, but believe me, my clear sinuses are worth every minute of it. Thanks to these efforts, I now spend my nights watching TV shows with my girlfriend at my side and my kitties in my lap (of course, that’s their favorite spot), and the only time I sneeze is when I have a cold.

 

Guest Post!!

Hi everyone!

Very exciting news. We have a guest writer for our blog today! Please enjoy the very informative article by writer Amber Kingsley below.

 

Is Your Cat More In Your Face … Or Far Away … And Why?

By Amber Kingsley

Hey gang! 

Since Matilda is doing so much better now, I thought we’d take a look at another topic with our fabulous feline friends. Some may say that part of the allure with our beloved cats is that they have a such strong independent streak, but at the same time, many of them are so attached to us ... like glue. Sleeping on (or near) our face like Matilda and the bearded man from a previous post, they are both the poster children for unconditional love. 

So what causes certain behavior patterns that has our kitties either “making biscuits” on our bellies or sitting perfectly content, far away on a window sill and ignoring us completely? While there’s not a particular science behind which feline breed is more affectionate than others, still some of them seem to be more touchy-feely than others, and this type of behavior is complicated at best. 

 

Gender Bender

For example, big cats like lions in the wild are pride animals where there is only one dominant male in charge of a harem of females. In this type of a scenario, the girls do all work, the hunting (or shopping), rearing of the children (it’s a team effort), making their house a home, (again with both parties involved) .... but in the wild kingdom, there’s a singular guy lays around and sleeps all day waiting for breeding time. 

Without sounding ultra-feminist or to say that male lions aren’t good fathers (because they are - aka The Lion King), but most of this behavior happens to be true within nature. Some pet owners have found that larger, orange, tabby cats (that happen to be male), tend to be layabouts that only want to be fed and given plenty of love and affection.

On the other hand, the females in the pride of wilderness lions seem to be more distracted with hunting, stalking and patrolling the premises. Not to say that this is true in all situations, but it does seem to happen quite regularly with our domesticated felines. 

 

Scent-Sational

Most cat owners already know that when your cat is rubbing their kitty nose and lips all over you, be while they’re wrapping themselves around your lower legs or they’re totally in your face, they’re applying their scent and marking you as their territory. You are their territory … they are claiming you as their human!

But their whiskers are also in play during this type of a scenario. This is the most sensitive part of their entire body, one that they use them to detect a myriad of different things happening around them. Without going into detail about our own sensitive areas as human beings, this is an enormous amount of trust they are placing with us. At least they aren’t marking us in other ways … if you catch my drift. 

Whether your cat is independently aloof or overly affectionate, there may not be an exact scientific way to explain their affection levels towards us, but it still exists nonetheless. We love them for who they are, much in the same way they share their weird, unconditional love for us. Maybe it’s just a matter of perspective and while Matilda may continue to be a mystery to us and her medical team at times, we still love her all the same … and she loves us back.

Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA. Her art history background helps her hone in on topics that are of interest to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her pomeranian, Agatha.

Adoption

Hi everyone!

It's been such a long time since I've posted. Everything is going really well, my family has just been very busy!

As most of you know, we lost our beloved Dog to cancer in April. We are still heartbroken. He and Matilda were wonderful friends, and while she liked becoming the centre of attention, we could tell she was lonely.

Matilda's eyes (or lack thereof) are doing wonderfully! She has adjusted so amazingly well. She really doesn't seem bothered at all that they're gone. She can navigate the house perfectly, and has become much more playful now that they aren't in the way. It was really the best decision we could have made. We were afraid for how she would heal, and it was a long road, but I think it's safe to say that she is 100% recovered.

As for right now, Matilda is involved with two organizations to help promote pet adoption. First up, this weekend, it's National Adoption Weekend at PetSmart! PetSmart is hoping to drive tons of adoptions this weekend, and workers from adoption charities will be there through to Sunday to help match pets with their forever people. It you have room in your home and your heart, head down and see if there's an animal waiting for you!

Next up is Remember Me Thursday on September 22. This event is put on by a wonderful non-profit organization in California called the Helen Woodward Animal Center. They perform so much incredible work to help both animals and people.

Remember Me Thursday is held on the fourth Thursday of September every year by animal lovers and organizations across the globe. We light a candle in remembrance of the millions of orphan pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and to shine a light on the millions of orphan pets still waiting for their forever home.

We are so proud that Matilda is taking part this year as an Animal Luminary. We hope to help spread the word about pet adoption and save all of the beautiful, perfectly adoptable pets that are in danger of being killed while they wait in shelters.

Watch for Matilda’s social media posts leading up to September 22 to learn more about this amazing cause!

And last but certainly not least, and on the topic of pet adoption, we are so excited to share that a few weeks ago we adopted a baby sister for Matilda! Her name is Luna, and she is a 15-month-old border collie. What an intense infusion of energy in our house! We love her deeply and can't wait to share more photos of Luna and Matilda together on her social media accounts.

That's all for now. Keep adopting!

November update

In some of Matilda's photos you are able to see a brown/red line across the middle of her eyes, where the eyelids meet. This is due to her eyes trying to lubricate themselves, and from the extra lubricant we give her. Although it's a little bit gross, it comes off easily and doesn't hurt!

In some of Matilda's photos you are able to see a brown/red line across the middle of her eyes, where the eyelids meet. This is due to her eyes trying to lubricate themselves, and from the extra lubricant we give her. Although it's a little bit gross, it comes off easily and doesn't hurt!

Hello everyone!

Matilda has been a bit scarce lately but it's not her fault. We the servants were just a little busier than usual. But everything is back to normal now!

An update on health: Matilda saw her veterinary ophthalmologist last week and we are overjoyed to share that her eye pressures are still within the normal range. Every time we see the doctor she is in disbelief that Matilda still has a reflex to sensing light. Because her eyes are so big and cloudy it seems impossible that she would have any sight left, but she seems to have a little bit. She is truly amazing, to us and to the professionals that take care of her.

Because the eye pressures are normal and she is otherwise happy, the doctor is still opposed to surgery that would involve removing the eyes. It would be more traumatic than helpful. Her eyes are not bothering her, and she isn't slowed down by them in any sense, so there is no reason to put her through that at this time. It must be reiterated again that she does NOT have glaucoma at all.

We are however upping the dosage of her medicine, which is a corneal lubricant. It has become difficult for Matilda to keep her eyes moist without using her paws to move the eyelids around, so she needs some help. The goal here is to keep the eyes sufficiently moistened so that she can keep them clean and so they don't irritate her. Hopefully by helping her to lubricate them we can avoid ulceration.

Speaking of ulcers, the tiny tear on one of her eyes that was spotted last time has healed and is no longer there. She is so amazingly resilient and it makes us hopeful that she will continue to be able to heal when these things happen.

As far as solving Matilda's mystery goes, we're still working on that. Matilda's doctor has been in touch with other veterinary ophthalmologists and hopefully together they will be able to gather more information as time goes on.

It's cold and rainy where Matilda lives so she spends a lot of time cozied up in the blankets or her very special spacepod bed. More details on that soon! Also stay posted for more information on the Cats and Bros calendar that Matilda will appear in next year to help raise money for the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. It's going to be a good one, and for a good cause too!

National Adoption Weekend

Hiya friends!

Keeping up a Matilda blog is not so easy as it turns out. She is just so busy!

This weekend was National Adoption Weekend in the US and Canada. In preparation, all of our social media posts were dedicated to helping raise awareness around adopting pets and celebrating GotchaDay. When PetSmart asked us if we would be willing to help out by doing this, we said "Yes!" When the question came up as to whether it would be possible to take Matilda to a store to have her photo taken, the answer was a very wishy-washy "We're not sure..."

Matilda is an indoor cat. She was losing her sight when we moved into our apartment a year ago, and she's very good at navigating her own territory, but other environments are another story. I took her to the lobby of our building in June to get the mail, which involved an elevator ride, and she completely freaked out. We thought she would just have to be a little homebody forever.

But when it was a question of helping to support something we believe in, we wanted to try again. The idea was to get her a well-fitting harness  and a leash so she could comfortably explore while still feeling safe. So, off we went.

I beelined it to the cat harnesses, cradling her like a little baby. I had to put her down to pick one out, and had all these scary visions of her freaking out and trying to run away, but not knowing where to go.

So carefully, I set her down and... she sniffed and rolled around and took a few exploratory steps. It was like she'd been waiting for that moment her whole life. NBD.

She wasn't scared. She wasn't even nervous or a little bit skittish. It was like she owned the place. She found a nearby cat tree and set herself up there to listen to her surroundings while I shopped. She let strangers pet her and scratch her neck and listened to them gush about how special she is.

And when I put her in a harness she didn't even flinch. She just carried on. I scooped her up, paid, and we left the store, Matilda in her new outfit. She walked on her leash all the way from the car and back up to the elevator to our unit, this time not scared at all.

And for all the fuss I've heard about how hard it is to get a cat to walk on a leash... well I guess the lesson here is that Matilda is not an ordinary cat.

We went back to PetSmart again on the weekend and got to see some cats meeting their new families. PetSmart had a goal of helping 17 000 adoptable animals find their families this weekend, and if we had even a tiny part in that we would be so happy!

We hope everyone enjoyed our posts for National Adoption weekend, and even better, we hope that some of you were inspired to take home a critter of your own!


Surgery, Blinking, and Other Things

Happy Matilda Monday!

Not too much is new in Matilda's world. Her eyes are the same. It's super hot, so like most cats, Matilda is spending most of her time sleeping the heat away. We have had a lot of questions lately along the lines of "When will she get the surgery?"  and "Can she close her eyes?" so maybe today is a good day to clear that up.

Matilda will have surgery if and when her doctor thinks it's the right thing for her. As of right now, she doesn't believe it will be beneficial. A lot of speculation arose out of the GoFundMe campaign that we set up for her. This was for Matilda's eye treatments, and not necessarily surgery. The money is set aside in a special Matilda fund. We use it for her regular visits to the veterinary ophthalmologist (which are quite pricey!) and any medicine that is prescribed. Currently, Matilda uses a corneal lubricant to help her keep those big eyes comfortable. They are largely just a precaution, since Matilda doesn't show any signs of being uncomfortable in the first place. This is given to her as eyedrops. It is not a pain medication; it is a simple lubricant.

Which leads us into our next topic. Can Matilda blink? Yes, she can! When she is resting her eyes are usually nearly closed, but not completely. When she gives herself a bath, she uses her paws and rubs her eyelids around on her eyes, which is likely an adaptive behaviour for how her eyes are shaped. She will, however, blink her eyes all the way closed sometimes, and will sometimes sleep with them completely closed. Even when she was small and had small eyes, she often kept them partially open while sleeping. We're not sure if it's because her eyes have always been odd or if it's just the way she is. Either way, she is quite comfortable and happy and her doctor does not believe that she is in any pain. If she were, those eyes would come out immediately, and we'd do our best to manage the healing process, no matter how tough.

After the incredible success of Matilda's fundraiser, we realized two things. 1. People love to help animals like Matilda, and 2. It's a very scary and sad position to be in when you can't afford the unexpected medical care that your pet needs. With these things in mind, we created Matilda's webshop to address both of those issues.

The simple idea behind selling Matilda merchandise is this: buy a product, help an animal in need. When you make a purchase in her store, you get an awesome shirt or mug or whatever to rock, and a portion of those proceeds go to our chosen charity - Paws for Hope. The work they do is close to our heart because they financially assist those who can't afford to get veterinary help for their pets. We think that's awesome. So for those naysayers out there that say we're exploiting Matilda, it simply isn't true. Matilda is as happy and as healthy as she can be, and if she can raise some money to help other animals just by being her cute self, then that's what she's going to do!

If the day comes that Matilda needs surgery, the money from her GoFundMe campaign will not be enough. The extremely modest profits that come from her webshop go towards those savings.

And that's really all there is to that!

P.S. This reminds us, enjoy 15% off of all items starting tomorrow (August 4) until August 11 when you use the code SAVE15.

Enjoy, and stay cool out there!

What a busy month!

It's no secret that Matilda has been completely busy for the past month. None of us would have imagined that her little Instagram would blow up the way it did! Anyway, it's time for an update.

Matilda's health is good! Her eyes and behaviour have not changed since she last saw her doctor, so no news on that front. She has some new eyedrops to help her lubricate the corneas which she seems to like... once they're in. The bottle makes a noise when the drops are dispensed which she very quickly learned means drops are coming, and she freaks out. But when they go in there's no reaction and she seems quite happy. Maybe this is leftover from her old drops that didn't feel so good? Hopefully she will learn that drops = nice and will stop struggling soon.

In other news, Matilda will be making an appearance in the CFHS Cats & Bros 2016 calendar along with The Bearded Man! We are so excited to work with CFHS and extremely proud of the $563 we raised for the Cats and Bros campaign. This means that we may have helped 563 cats, and the idea of that gives us so much joy. Stay tuned to see Matilda's photoshoot!

Cats and Bros - vote now and spread the love!

Matilda and The Bearded Man aspire to be pin-up models! In the 2016 CFHS calendar, that is. Head on over to their page to vote and raise money for animal welfare! Every $1 raised counts as one vote. Will you help kitties in need and help Matilda and The Bearded Man appear in a calendar alongside their hero Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys? We hope so!

We're a little late to the party - the contest closes June 30 and we really want to reach our fundraising goal of $500! Every little bit helps!

No matter what the outcome, everything raised will help an animal in need. And that is pawesome!

You can vote here.

catsandbrosvotenow

Big News Coming Soon + The Feather on YouTube

Matilda is working on some very exciting things! Stay close to this blog to hear our big announcement coming soon!

matildaandfeather

Going forward we will try to have Matilda Mondays, when we update this blog with whatever is going on in Matilda's life. Let us know in the comments what kinds of things you would like to know!

This week, Matilda launched a new YouTube video called Alien Cat Matilda and the Feather. Matilda loves her yellow feather... a lot. Even if she can't see it very well, she's still a very skilled huntress and catches that thing every time. As I write this she is using those skills to track a fly that's stuck on the wrong side of the patio door. All good aliens know that you have to practice to stay sharp. Don't forget to subscribe to Matilda's channel to let us know that you want more Matilda videos!

Finally, big thanks to everyone who has donated to Paws for Hope and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies! We are still far from our goal, but anything raised at all is a pawsitive thing! Visit the Fundraising tab of this website to learn more.

Spreading Love Around the Galaxy

We are so excited to share the fundraising page that is up now! After our GoFundMe campaign to cover Matilda's care closed many of you expressed that you still wanted to help. Matilda is taken care of now, but there are lots of animals out there like her that still need a lot of help!

Matilda has chosen two organizations that are near and dear to her heart: Paws for Hope Animal Foundation and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Both of these organizations do amazing work to help protect animals and keep them safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your overwhelming support of our little alien!

If you would like to give to Matilda's cause, click here.

Thank  you!!!

Source: www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/help-matilda-spread-the-love-to-other-animals/

Thank You

There are no words to express how grateful and touched we are that so many of you gave to Matilda's health care fund. Early this morning we reached our goal and donations have been disabled. It is such a wonderful thing to know that we now have the resources available to help Matilda in the event that she needs emergency surgery. It also means that we can pay for her ongoing need for medicine and visits to the veterinary ophthalmologist.

We are also so happy to be able to redirect a healthy portion of the funds to people with pets who need medical help right now. It is so heartbreaking to learn that you are faced with a huge unexpected veterinary expense. Some people simply can not afford it, especially when it is a surprise, and these are the animals that Matilda will help.

Thank you all again!

Great news!

We had some wonderful news today. Matilda went to see the veterinary ophthalmologist to have a check-up. Remarkably, the pressures in her eyes came back completely within the normal range! (For you scientists out there, the left eye was 22 mmHg and the right was 18 mmHg. Normal is 15-25 mmHg).

The doctor took several readings and did many tests, and concluded that the lenses have settled behind the iris, and are two shrivelled little crunchy bits just hanging out back there. This may sound bad, but it's actually news that we were hoping for! Because they are behind the iris, they can't do her any harm. They won't get lodged in the pupil or anything like that. They can just chill, causing her no problems. Hooray!

This means that the lens removal surgery will not be necessary - ever! This is a relief because it is the more expensive of the two surgery options presented when her problem was developing.

As far as removing the eyes goes, that day could still be ahead of her, mainly because we don't know what will happen if the eyes keep growing as they are. The danger is if they tear. In that instance Matilda could find herself in trouble and emergency surgery or enucleation would be necessary.

But let's focus on the positive - they may not tear at all. In this case Matilda can just keep taking her eyedrops to keep her crazy eyes working as well as they can for as long as they can. There is an option to change the eyelids so that they don't open as far so that she can continue to be able to blink and wet them, but that also is not necessary at this point in time.

A very great day for Matilda! Thank you to everyone who has shown such wonderful support, and for you generous, beautiful souls who have given to Matilda's gofundme so that the resources will be there when she needs them.