<$cats, rats, pets, advice$>

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catz 'n' Ratz Product Endorsement

Elsinore turned 19 years old sometime during the first week of April. Due to her heart problem (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), the after effects of her systemic infection, and old age, she goes through some incontinent spells. When one of us isn't here to supervise, she stays in a large dog kennel complete with food, water, bed, and litter box so that she doesn't foul the carpet.

She's had a bad spell this week, and tonight I'm doing her "laundry" (i.e., bedding) for the second time this week. Anyone who has had a cat pee or poop on fabric knows how hard it is to get the smell out...laundry detergent alone doesn't do the trick.

Years ago, I had a landlady who was caring for her elderly mother who suffered incontinence. My landlady, too, washed a lot of bed sheets, and fortunately I remembered her telling me that she added a capful of Lysol Concentrate to each load. It disinfects and really, REALLY eliminates poop odors. This product has been a lifesaver for me during the last six months or so. I highly recommend it to anyone taking care of an incontinent loved one, be it human or animal.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hummingbird Video

David created this lovely video of the hummingbirds from "egg" to take off. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007


It's a rainy Friday night, and here at Catz 'n' Ratz, we're staying dry and bedding down. Patty Rat, Marcy Rat, and Sally Rat are cuddling together inside their hammock/sleep sack. Elsinore is under my desk, Toby is asleep on the couch, Dougall is asleep on top of the couch, I'm in my PJs getting ready to curl up with a book, and Simone McSkitterson is...skittering, of course.

We hope you have a relaxing, safe weekend no matter what you plan to do!

Here's a closeup of Dougall snuggled against a pillow.

Hums, Before and After

It's still hard for me to believe that what you see on the left side of the photo turned into what you see on the right.

On the left, the hums had hatched only hours before this photo was taken. I took the photo on the right the day before they left the nest.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Empty Nest Syndrome

The baby hums fledged yesterday afternoon. The first one fluttered around the nest and then darted to a nearby eucalyptus tree around 1:15. It's sibling lifted off around a half hour later and disappeared into the trees and foliage on the hill behind our apartment. Mother hum buzzed around the general vicinity for the next hour and visited the nest several times. I haven't seen her in the last 24 hours.

Out of habit, Simone McSkitterson and I periodically peered between the blinds at the patio during the remainder of the day, expecting to see our backyard lodgers. No luck. Toward nightfall, the first baby hum had moved from the eucalyptus tree and disappeared into Bird World.

The nest is empty now. While I'm so very pleased that they matured into "fine young birds" and followed nature's call, I'm very sad as well that they're gone. The baby hums and their mom became a part of my life for around seven weeks.

My neighbors and I have hummingbird feeders and lots of flowering plants on our patios that attract a lot of hummingbirds each year. I hope that our hums will visit in the future. It's a strange but wonderous feeling knowing that, somewhere out there, these little creatures who we watched grow and who shared our space are buzzing around bottlebrush and fushias, living the lives they were born to live.

I'll have a few more baby hum pictures to share in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Latch-Key Hums

The baby hums are covered in feathers now and look like birds instead of aliens or porcupines. On the Web cam, we can see their little tongues flick in and out as they wait for momma to return with dinner. When they eliminate, they "squirt" over the edge (yes, the patio is getting rather messy!).

The babies are alone most of the time now; momma returns to the nest to feed them every hour or so, but she takes off again as soon as she's finished. She no longer sits on the nest at night. I don't know where she's sleeping; no doubt, she's somewhere nearby in case of a crisis.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Baby Hums, 10-Days Old

Here's a photo David took about an hour ago of the baby hummingbirds, who are 10 days old today. Their eyes have opened, their wings are getting bigger and feathered, and their beaks are much longer. They look less like space aliens and more like baby porcupines now. They jostle each other for room in the nest.

Momma hummer spends more and more time away from the nest collecting food. Actually, there's no place for her to sit anymore when she does come home!

Yep, that's poop on the side of the nest!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poison Alert

MSNBC has a good article about foods and substances that can poison your pet. I was surprised to learn that grapes and raisons can be lethal to dogs. I sometimes give the rats a couple of grapes, especially frozen grapes, during the hot summer months.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Baby Hums, 1-Week Old

Here's a photo taken last weekend of the baby hummingbirds. They hatched one week ago last weekend (March 31-April 1). Momma must be feeding them steak and potatoes, because they've really grown. They fill out the nest now. They're getting fuzzier, and I can see the feather "buds" beneath their skin. They're beaks are also getting longer. But they still look, how shall we say, rather "reptilian."