Archive for August, 2007

I got it in my head to make a video showing people how easy it is to make your own cat food. I’ve gone from selling a nutritionally complete frozen raw food to a frozen meat/bone/organ food component – which is much more economical, but many of my customers/potential customers are daunted at the idea of supplementing it.

I’m actually pretty pleased with the “final” version. It’s not great – my editing skills leave much to be desired, as do my “starring” skills. But, I think it illustrates the point I wanted to make: This is Not Hard.

Making Cat Food

My first attempt was laughable. I showed it to a friend, and after laughing at my sad effort, she agreed to work the camera for my next attempt.

For laughs, here’s the first version. It’s quite obvious I struggle making food with one hand while running the camera with the other. It’s also apparent I have somehow managed to put the camcorder on zoom and don’t know how to take it off. Many extreme close-ups.
Making Cat Food – Poor First Attempt

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Ralph, aka Ralphie Fuzz Butt, aka the Miracle Man, aka the Poster Boy for Proper Nutrition… he’s the biggest reason I am such a fanatic about cat food.

I adopted Ralph on December 2, 2004. He’d been at the shelter since November 1998, when he was admitted at around age 3. That made him around 9 years old when I took him home. Ralph suffered from IBD (a gastro-intestinal disorder) and anemia. The anemia caused a heart murmur. One of the medications he took caused liver damage. The other suppressed his immune system, so he was constantly catching viruses and fungi, such as ringworm, getting infections, and it had induced diabetes. In fact, he spent much of his time at the shelter in ringworm isolation. At the time I adopted him, he’d spent nearly a year straight in the ringworm ward… and over 26 months of the last three years there. Because of the ringworm, when I adopted him he had to reside in my bathtub (with shower doors closed) so as not to expose my other cats. When we moved to our new house, December 27, 2004, he lived in a room in the basement.

I was determined to try another form of treatment for his problem. I changed his diet to a wholesome grain-free canned food, and supplemented with vitamin B12 injections weekly. I also weaned him off both the medications he was on. Ralph is my “poster boy” for illustrating what a HUGE difference the proper diet can make. Cats are carnivores and should not be eating foods loaded with grains. Read more at catinfo.org and catnutrition.org. The information there saved Ralph’s life.

As of his vet visit on April 22, 2005, Ralphie was ringworm *and* anemia free! Yay!

He got a complete work-up in September 2005, and his heart murmur was gone and all blood values (including liver and blood glucose) were normal. No anemia, no infection – all clean! Only thing necessary was a dental, which he got. Subsequent bloodwork panels have shown some elevated white blood cell counts and globulin levels, and low potassium levels – nothing alarming.

You may notice Ralph’s cloudy eye in the pictures. A veterinary opthamologist examined him and feels the cloudy eye was caused by a birth defect. That’s actually good news, as it means it’s unlikely to worsen over time. She thought he still had vision in both eyes, but the sight was most likely better in the clearer eye.

Ralph is always excited to greet any visitors, and patiently waits, hoping they will sit down so he can hop in their lap and purr loudly. He adores the other cats, and wrestles and cuddles daily with Louie (Aloysius) and Studley.

Update:  Ralph passed away in August 2009.  His memorial post is here.

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Vacation Day

I took a vacation day today.

Spent it as I usually spend vacation days – doing a million errands and activities. First, I had a service call to repair one of my freezers (fortunately, still under warranty). The repairman couldn’t help but notice the three freezers, filled with raw pet food – so that led to a long discussion, okay a speech, on the evils of dry cat food.

The furnace service call had to be rescheduled for late this afternoon.

I attended an all-staff meeting at the shelter. I also wanted to drop off some supplies and donations, and ask the veterinarian about an interesting case.

Went to the horrific post office on the way home. I HATE this post office. It’s the slowest post office in the universe, but the other one is west of my house (the shelter is east…) I was in line for about an hour, though it was middle of a weekday. Woman ahead of me finally gave up. Poor lady.

At one point, there were literally NO staff at the desk. NONE. For about 10-15 minutes, no one there – they’d all wandered off wherever. Plus, there’s one woman there that is SO SLOW, it’s unbelievable. The guy ahead of me just wanted to send a letter. She had to ask which method, of course… but then she won’t take your word for it, she has to try and talk you into something more expensive… then she wanted to know if he wanted tracking or something, and he kept saying no, and she kept going on and on about “Are these papers important to you?” OMG, just take his letter! She always has to offer to show you all the new postage stamps as well.

Luckily, perhaps she recognized me from my great post office rampage of 2006 (holiday season) where I literally began screaming – she accepted my word for it I wanted my two packages sent Parcel Post, and other than finding one to be taped unacceptably and insisting we fix it… it was okay. All told, about an hour and a half to mail two packages.

Stopped off at Staples and picked up a few office supplies.

The HVAC guys showed up for their rescheduled service call… then it landed up not being my furnace ignitor at all, as I was originally told. This repair guy, when he heard the basement had flooded, said the minute he got here he didn’t understand how it could be the ignitor… he thought it was the circuit board… well, that’s what it was.

So, they’re going to get me a quote on the circuit board… probably $400 or more… and it’s probably just time to bite the bullet and replace my 15-year-old furnace. Unfortunately, I somehow already spent my insurance proceeds.

I was telling the HVAC guy that I just got my circuit board replaced recently… I remember because it made sense to replace the furnace then, but it was FREEZING cold, so I made the repair guy go out and get me a new board ASAP even though it cost me more. I was trying to remember when that was, and was thinking aloud:

“Hmm… I remember it was really cold, and I had Elsinore and wrapped her in an electric blanket with me…”

He started laughing and said “you remember dates by what cats you had?”

“Um, yes, I guess I do.”

I also made a cat food making video. It turned out pretty bad. I had trouble holding the camera and making at the same time, so I kept having to set the camera down and then you can’t see what I’m doing… and I’m super messy and spill stuff everywhere…. and ramble on and on, and at the end get distracted with showing how cute my cats are… Plus, I should have cleaned off my counters first, as you can see my kitchen counters are piled high with cat pills & junk.

Then I did some things with my website. All in all, I didn’t get all I wanted done, but it was a pretty productive (though not particularly fun) vacation day.

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