Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recommended Reading: Dewey

I try not to read every dog or cat book that comes along, mainly because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. But also because they pretty much always end the same way: with euthanasia or natural death. I deal with death plenty on the job as it is, and don't need to be reading and crying about it on my off-hours, too.

But I was recently loaned a copy of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World by Vicki Myron, and it came with a glowing recommendation. So after sitting on it a couple of weeks and finishing up a Wendell Berry book of essays and while still not half done with rereading Aldo Leopold, I decided to make a marathon weekend project of it.

This book really struck a chord with me, probably because we have had many of our own mascots here at Cat's Meow Veterinary Clinic over the years, and in part also because it reminded me a great deal of how my cat Eddie came to his end last December. So I went through a whole lot of tissues at the end.

I'm gonna rate this book a Must Read for all but the most hard-hearted and leave the rest for you to discover. It's a wonderful story. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I managed to miss this cat when he was in the news during the 90's - I probably had my face buried in some veterinary journal at the time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please Pardon Our Mess!

We are starting work on our minor renovation project in the hallway on the way to the exam rooms. We will be removing the ancient plaster wall on the east side and installing fiberglass insulation prior to replacement with nice, modern drywall. The old plaster wall was cracked and repaired after the Northridge quake, but has steadily worsened as plaster is inclined to do.

All the work will be done after hours, so you shouldn't be inconvenienced. The most dusty phase of the job should be completed after this coming weekend, and then drywall installation should progress quickly. We are anticipating much less heat penetrating from the outside during warmer months, which is a very good thing! If we are satisfied with the results, the next project will be to do the same thing on the east (exterior) wall of Exam Room 1.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Doctor's Pick: Grooming Implements

Whether your cat has long, medium, or even short hair, eventually it's going to need some level of grooming. Bathing is usually a bad idea (cats hate water) and is generally unnecessary in a housecat. Even cats who go outdoors tend to keep themselves pretty clean. But the problem of loose fur is always with us, and we're heading into shedding season soon, where it escalates into a real problem for some cats.

Here at Cat's Meow Veterinary Clinic we utilize three different grooming tools, depending on the length of the cat's fur. The Zoom Groom (last pic), a rubber-fingered implement, is great at grabbing and loosening fur from deep in the coat, and it works best in short- and medium-haired cats. We follow up with a deep combing with the shedding comb (third pic, left), which has alternating long and short teeth. Then we clean up the surface with the slicker brush (second pic), which has hundreds of short, tiny sire teeth in a grid. For nail trims we use the cat claw scissor (top).
We normally carry these grooming tools at the clinic. If we are out, you can sometimes find them at pet stores, but the shedding comb is hard to find.
Note: Anybody who knows how to put the pictures where I want them in the post, and not where the Blog Machine wants them, please let me know. I'm having difficulties, to say the least.

Doctor's Pick: Cat Litter Scoop

Wow, you say! Doctor Robison has really turned into a control freak. Now she's trying to tell me what kind of cat litter scoop to use!!

Well, I have used and discarded just about every kind of litter scoop made in the past 30 years, and it took until a couple of years ago to find a real keeper. I just love the heavy-duty steel Durascoop with the squared corners (rather than those with the useless curved corners) that I found at Petco (disclaimer: PetSmart probably has them, too, and I don't care where you shop since I don't own stock in any pet stores anyway). Mine is enamel painted which may wear off over time. The newer ones are stainless steel.

Yes, they are expensive, but well worth it. No more broken scoops from trying to pick up too much at once. And the best part is how well it gets into the corners. Next time you need a new scoop, give this a try. You'll never want to go back to the old oval "pancake turner".