Thursday 16 September 2021

Oh Pru! & Leading a cat to water & helping it to drink

I deliver dinner twice a week to my son & his family. It’s an arrangement that’s occurred partly as a result of covid & partly due to my having triply broke my ankle in April 2020. I used to do one meal a week plus a day of childcare. Covid & shielding has prevented the more hands on Grannying I used to enjoy, but at least I can feel useful to the family in making their meals plus I generally get two little slices of time to spend dedicated to them when dropping off dinner. It’s precious time & I will never take that for granted. 

While I cooked today, after an almost 6 pouch breakfast between them at 9:30 this morning, I was cooking at about 3:30pm when Vincent showed up at my feet demanding food. I fed him until he wondered off surprised that no one else came. I had just dished it all out, lids on ready to wagon roll at 4:40pm when kittens appeared ready to eat. Sorry boys, I cannot stop now but I’ll be back soon!

Well, soon was a tad later than anticipated (I did get to hug & snug with my grandbabies) so I’d imagine the scene at home during my absence was of 3 or 4 demanding boys insisting that since she can’t drive & was there, their mother needed to tide them over. And I’d add the suggestion that they were very, very demanding!

Admittedly I did get back later than I’d expected and as I did, 20 limbs stampeded toward the kitchen (4 kittens and Floozy!) Noodle came slowly after to ask where did I think I’d been and while I’m at it, things smell good, was there any leftovers (no Noodle, no left overs ever - but good try!) but wait! Where in the world was Pru???

Only on top of the fridge/freezer - Officially the highest point in the apartment she could be in! 

I quickly got the pouches opened - they were so eager to satisfy those hungry hippos tummies! Only later did Prune decide to venture down from her perch & since then she’s been carrying around mice calling her sons to eat ever since! 

Yes Clair, you are right, I am always feeding them. Actually it’s hard to believe looking at them now that this time last week their skeletal frames were so visible under their skin as they had all but stopped eating. Happily they’ve set about making up for lost time. Inevitably though I must follow the “always feeding” with with always scooping too - thankfully the after-effects of the antibiotics is slowly righting itself. Pro- Kolin advance has been giving them the help needed to firm up stool & to replace the lost good gut bacteria they need! 

I don’t know who it was but as I’ve been typing away someone has been heard playing with water. I could hear splash splash splash as a paw was bounced on the water, I’m guessing in the pool of the fountain. I didn’t go to investigate at the time because I’d have been heard coming and spoilt the game. Certainly whomever it was would have scarpered and the only way to tell who would have been capture and carry out paw checks! They quickly see there’s a system of capture and release afoot and make it very hard for me to accomplish. It sounded like an adult paw (though Humpty”’s are big!) so it might have been one of them with a game of enticement to mischief. There’s only one little monkey 🐒 I can think of ! It wasn’t Bing Crosby crooning away with his umbrella all a-twirl, so can you guess who? 

Do you use a fountain for your pets? There are several on the market. Often they’re made of plastic and often they feature replaceable filters requiring constant re-investment.

If you’ve read my book you’ll have read my words of wisdom about not using plastic bowls & dishes. This is not advice meant solely for Sphynx cats but is especially important to them. Your bowls, dishes, fountains should be made from stainless steel, from glass or from ceramic. Food dishes, particularly those feeding pouches or raw should ensure that they are cleaned in hot soapy water & rinsed well each feed. Bowls manufactures from those materials & hygienic practices will protect them from feline acne as well as from bacteria. Cats will avoid eating at all if dishes are not clean. 

Grogu’s mum Danni & I had a conversation this week about fountains and having been looking she asked me which I used. I was able to advise her right away that it’s not strictly necessary to have one at all however, it’s important to know that cats do need to drink water - more especially if having dry food diets or grazing. Often don’t drink enough and cats can be prone to urinary or kidney (particularly commercial diet fed animals so it’s important that you watch your cats fluid intake and take steps to encourage drinking as much as possible. Cats are known to be fastidious & they are keen on running water. I’ve known owners who say that their cats will only drink from a running tap - Noodle definitely likes a tap too - actually she is a good household monitor of water quality. If I don’t refresh the water bowls daily she is soon jumping up into to my kitchen sink or bathroom basin licking from inside the taps or asking me to switch the tap on for her. In hot weather she will often want tap water - I assume preferring it’s chill.  If a fountain is more your thing, I can suggest you have a look at the ceramic fountains sold at Miaustore. They have a large one with 8 different drinking surfaces/areas so is sure to appeal to whatever you cat prefers or they also now do a mini version. Both use the same pump - which I noted when visiting this week has been updated since I bought my fountain. There’s a 2 year warranty on that. There is an option to purchase a guard to fit to the pump. This is rinseable (no filters to replace). It’s purpose is to capture pet hair or food particles to prevent them being sucked into the pump. No hair kitties won’t shed hair into it snd, if you follow my advice to have water & food separate (cats prefer this) you won’t get food in their either. Another new feature on the large version is opting to have engraving (I like this!). The large version also offers an option to purchase a 10 year parts cover (all parts including the 4 ceramic elements), but I note that neither of these options are offered on the mini - a design made as one piece. Replacement parts are easily purchased including extra/replacement tubes and pumps or top pieces which can be bought in clear, black or anti microbial sterling silver. Each fountain comes in the same selection of colours, this matching dishes and a “cup” in which you can grow cat grass. Yikes there’s a 24ct gold decorated version of the large fountain too - who would be buying that! 

Accessories:  in addition to those mentioned already other add-ones or accessories include a USB extension cable, useful if your plug socket is too far away from there you’d like to site the fountain, theres a sensor which will switch the fountain on when a cat comes within 1.5m. Benefits of this are that it saves electricity (though the pump uses minimal electricity to run) and switching it off will help to prolong/extend the life of the pump. However, imho, the idea of a fountain and its usefulness at keeping water fresher over several days before changing/refilling is needed , relies on it constantly moving and oxygenating the water and so it being switched off for the majority of the time (excepting for the few moments when the cat comes to drink), is just not enough to keep it fresh and therefore using this energy/pump saving measure would only serve to make the water less desirable to your cat! In which case just use a bowl and change it daily/twice daily. For me personally, I’d rather pay the small amount it costs to run 24/7 and if necessary buy a new pump (currently priced at £11.90) if it breaks down (or if you opted for the 10 year additional warranty have it replaced). 

Other add on items are waterproof mats offered in a few colours and two sizes Oddly, they’re the same look & texture as some older style litter tray mats. They will do the job of preventing the unit scratching your floor if you’ve placed it on a hard floor, and they will contain any water drips which is definitely vital if you’ve got carpet but a lot of water, say if someone somehow knocked it would be a devil to dry from it simply because of its design/how they’re made. I have mine stood on Lino and on a wipe clean place mat that I bought at a local pet store but, if it were on carpet?then I’d look for  a melamine or plastic tray perhaps.  

Another add on item is a cleaning kit. Included in the kit are a couple of extra pump tubes (there can also be purchased as spares) but overall I feel that the kit is rather a lot of money for what it is. As well as the tubes, the thin brushes it supplies and which are used to clean the inside of tubes and the inner parts of the pump are “cheap as chips” to buy on sites such as eBay/Amazon etc. You surely already have a small cross-head screwdriver (not needed the old style pump). Perhaps the most useful part of the kit is the large cleaning brush supplies to clean the outer snd inner surfaces of the ceramic parts. A washing up brush would cost loads less though would not be soft. I make use of a microfibre cloth or use sponge - you could use anything that’s non abrasive. If you happen to have large hands though a long handled brush will be important. 

On its website miau has thoughtfully provided video demos showing how to set up your fountain - there’s an order in which you must place or remove the towers in the large model. There’s vital video demonstrations for both the old & new style pumps showing of how to disassemble, clean & reassemble each which is essential to do regularly to ensure there is no interruption to flow of water or turning off the pump. There’s also lots of other informative content relating to water & your cat so it’s a site that’s well worth a visit even if you ultimately decide not to purchase a fountain there.

If I recall correctly the units are shipped from Spain. In correspondence with miau this week, as I asked lots of questions & asked if they might kindly supply me with a discount code to give to my new families their representative has said that some colours are currently in short supply and they also advised that due to Brexit and the issues Covid has caused with there being a lack of haulier drivers, their deliveries are taking longer than usual. 

Unfortunately they were unable to offer me any discount code but did inform me that there’s an active Facebook page and Instagram channel and that they offer discounts there from time to time so this might be worth a follow! 

If ceramic is not for you, or the styles at miau are not to your liking. I’ve seen some attractive looking stainless steel fountains about online though as I don’t possess those I cannot personally recommend them. What I have noted looking at what’s currently out there is that often the stainless steel part - the area where the cat would take its drink from is there only stainless steel element while the reservoir/bowl holding the water is made of plastic. Yes, it’s design does keeps the face & mouth away from the plastic but it won’t do a thing for water quality. 

Kittens raised at Naked Sphynx Cat Hampshire are offered ceramic glazed bowls & the miau fountain as their water sources & so, when they leave to go into their new families they are able to accept & use bowls or fountains to drink from. 

Always have a cats water, it’s food and their litter trays in separate spaces.