Pantgirl's Blog

The ponderings and boring life of a Scottish Vet

Archive for August, 2010

Busy week!

Posted by pantgirl on August 19, 2010

I have been rather busy this last week, well really from last weekend! Last Friday we went to a school friend of Robs wedding reception in Glasgow.  It was very rushed after work but was really lovely. My new dress was ace and I lasted almost 2 hours in my heels before discarding them due to pain!  Then on Saturday, Rob and I went along to the Dean Gallery to see the Surrealists Exhibition.  We had been at the Dean Gallery in June to go and see the Diane Arbus exhibition as Rob is a big fan of her photographs.  I hadn’t heard of her but recognised some of her work and really enjoyed her exhibition.

The Surrealists exhibition, named “Another World” takes up most of the entire gallery space and consisted of a whole spectrum of art from the very beginning “Dada” works all the way through to vaguely recently.  I recognised some names (Magritte, Picasso, Dali being the obvious ones) and some pieces (“The Fountain”) and was also surprised by the appearance of pieces of surrealist work by Desmond Morris, the TV presenter and zoologist!  I have to say that, surprisingly, I did enjoy myself again.  Ok, some pieces I had no idea what they were depicting and others I thought were utter guff, but the majority of them were lovely, and a treasure to see.

After the exhibition, we met up with Robs sister and her wife and went to Centotre Italian restaurant for a bit to eat before going to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Now, I had vague ideas about the plot and hadn’t seen the film so the stage show was a complete surprise to me.  I actually really enjoyed it (although I missed the first song as i went to the loo and then the bar, oops!).  I think Rob has found a copy of the film so i’ll try and catch that this weekend at some point.  Hedwig started and finished really late and we got back at around 2am!

Sunday we went into Glasgow as I wanted to find some yarn for a jumper I wanted to try to knit, but I was unsuccessful so we went for an early dinner at Dimaggios on the Royal Exchange Square and sat outside as the weather was lovely!  The rest of this week i’ve been working but work has been pretty dead!  Have had a few interesting cases in such as a cat that is now going to have its leg amputated tomorrow after someone shot it with an airgun and an old boxer that has pretty much zero white blood cells and not many red blood cells (thinking some sort of bone marrow disease – myeloid leukaemia most likely) but we’re waiting on blood results back from the lab and might be referring him.  On Monday I also took part in the online twEATS ran by River Cottage/Landshare/Central Station and NVA to promote the Glasgow Harvest Festival at the end of this month.  The food I made was really scrummy and there was enough for my lunch the next day and Rob used the homemade pesto on his steak and said it was lovely.

 

The jumper I mentioned earlier that I want to knit is OWLS by Kate Davies.  It’s my first ever attempt at a jumper and I bought yarn from it from Cucumberpatch.  I bought more than I needed and got 11 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in a bluey gray colourway.  I think it’ll look nice with the owl cabling at the yoke.  I cast on for it last night (after picking up the package of yarn from the Post Office) BUT my 80cm circular needles are far too long and I cannot physically knit with them so I need to purchase a pair of 60cm ones!  I then cast on for Ysoldas Estella hat pattern and have been going well on that with 1 minor frogging so far but I feel I may have to frog a whole row as I misunderstood one of the instructions as it’s supposed to be knit on a small circular as well and i’m using dpns!  Will get a small (40cm or less) circular for that and get it sorted tomorrow!  I have 3 projects unfinished at the moment (Elijah, Fetching and Kate the cat for my as yet unsent Feline Swap…oops…not received anything yet since the swap finished in April so i’m sure they forgot too!) so I need to get them finished.  I finally finished Elijahs ear the other night as I finally taught myself how to do short rows with the wrap and turn method and it came out beautifully!

This weekend my sister is coming to stay for a few days next week as she is playing in the RSNO again.  She’s a freelance professional double bass player and plays in loads of orchestras across the UK as a “dep” when people are off sick or on holiday etc.  She really wants a permanent job in an Orchestra but these are hard to come by and she’s getting good experience and contacts this way anyway.  I need to gut the flat before she comes up, at least this time we have the spare bedroom bed FINALLY up and functional!  Need to hoover the place well as she’s allergic to cats but she’s not been too bad the last few times she’s been here.  Then next weekend it’s the Lonach Highland Games in Strathdon!  Our family does a dram stop on the marchers route (ours is now after Billy Connollys one since he restarted that stop) and then we go to the games in the afternoon.  It’s a long day with us up early to try and get to Bellabeg for the marchers leaving to count them and see how many drams we need to lay out!

That’s it for now. I need to update more frequently so I don’t end up with a jumble of interesting things so I can concentrate more on one subject!  In other notes, the new cat litter is going amazingly well!  I haven’t had to change her litter tray in a week and its really absorbent and fab!  I am converted!

Sleepy cat says “time for bed!”

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Curiosity killed the cat…

Posted by pantgirl on August 10, 2010

I’ve never quite known where to go with this blog.  I have a few friends who are bloggers and they all seem to have one distinct purpose with their blogs.  Mine is definitely  going to be a huge mismash of various things.  My main ones will be knitting, cooking, going out for meals, my job (which is a large part of my life) and discussing various thoughts on animal topical subjects.  For the last few days I have been perusing various online pet supply places and comparing prices on various items and whether or not to change anything about my cat’s supplies.  I thought i’d write a blog about my experiences (so far) in ownership of a kittencat 🙂

This is the beastie above that I am going to talk about.  I rescued her from work and took her on with my boss repairing her leg for free for me.  I have then spayed her myself a good few months ago now and she’s grown up into a lovely kittencat.  I have never owned a cat before and I wanted to do the best for her as she is a lovely cat (even with her dramatic beginnings) and I wanted to raise her the best I could as a beginner cat owner.  My first research was into cat food.  When I first got her from work I just started her on a combination of Whiskas* Kitten and Felix Kitten, both big UK brands that I have heard of and that are both advertised well and popular.  I then did some research and discovered that they are not really the best foods for cats of any age.  Cats are pretty much obligate carnivores (unlike Dogs that can be fairly omnivorous) and get most of their nutrition (and vital amino acids like taurine) from meat.  When you look at the nutritional info for the two above brand leading kitten/cat food, you will see that they only contain 4% meat!!!  Hardly the majority of the food in the pouch!  The rest is made up from derivatives, vegetables, grains, cereals etc etc, all bulking agents and fillers and not ideal for the carnivorous cats.  I then switched over to the Pets at Home Purely range, which is good as a cheap but intermediate cat food which caters for all ages (kitten/adult/senior) and has an amazing 50% meat present!  They also do dry food in the Purely range which I also got to mix in with her pouch food.  She absolutely loved the Purely range compared to the Whiskas/Felix ranges and she also looked a lot healthier, with her coat becoming smoother and sleeker.  I kept her on the Purely Kitten food range until she was 9 months old and I then decided to change her again,  I experimented a wee bit by trialling the Applaws range kitten food and biscuits as the wet range has 75% meat content and around 50% fish content with the dry food having 80% meat content.  She loved the biscuits but wasn’t that keen on the wet food.  She would eat it but only after a while and not with her usual gusto.  The good thing about the wet kitten food is that it is complete, compared to the adult wet food which isn’t.  Both the dry biscuits are complete and can be fed alone or with the wet food combined.  I was impressed by the idea surrounding the Applaws food and the lack of crap in the food and the lack of cereals in the dry food (which can possibly cause indigestion upsets and allergies) but my cat just wasnt that keen on the lovely looking wet food in tins (it is also fairly costly but a little goes a long way).  I have finally now settled on Natures Menu Adult Cat Food range which she absolutely loves and squeals with delight whenever it’s feeding time and it has 70% meat content.  I combine this with the Applaws Adult Chicken Dry food which the cat loves a lot more than the kitten biscuits and clears the plate every time she gets them.  So far i’m pretty happy with my food choices for her, but regular browsing of the Zooplus website and personal reviews from people recommend Bozita and Almo Nature which I am tempted to try to see how it works out economy wise.  I feed my cat on a mixture of wet and dry food.  I don’t like cats being fed on fully dry food as it can possibley promote urinary tract disorders and people are mentioning that it could cause kidney problems but, as a Vet, I have not seen any clinical evidence to support this train of thought.  Also, a fully wet diet is also not that good as the soft mushy pre-packaged food requires pretty much no chewing so the teeth become plaque and then tartar covered which then progressed to dental disease.  This is why I like a nice mixture of wet and dry food.  My cats teeth are in excellent condition so far and I am suspecting it is due to her pretty good diet.

I hope this hasn’t gone really boring by the way!  My next cat topic is going to be cat litter, which is really boring I know, but I get a bee in my bonnet over certain things and try to find the next better one!  I had no idea about cat litter when I first cot my kittencat so I just went to Pets at Home and bought the cheapest litter I could see, which was the 2kg wood pellet non clumping own brand litter by Pets at Home.  This was ok as a started litter but blimmin eck, you went through a LOT per week.  The urine soaks into the pellets which then disintegrate and is impossible to completely remove by scooping as it falls apart so every day 1-2 times a day I had to completely empty the litter tray!  It worked out pretty uneconomical and I was planning on changing but hadn’t done my research.  As luck would have it, Audrey went to stay with my boyfriend and his mum for Christmas and her wood pellet litter ran out, so a random brand was bought, which was a pink clay clumping litter.  I liked the idea of a clumping litter as it was easy to pick out the bits you wanted and lasted a lot longer.  The brand I eventually went for was the Clean ‘n’ Tidy Cat Litter.  I used this litter from then until this weekend just been when my last bag finished.  It did work really well, I had to only empty the tray once a week and do 1-2 times a day cleanings .  One bag lasted 3-4 weeks which was pretty cheap!  I then did some more research and discovered that clay cat litters are pretty eco-damaging and unrecyclable.  A wee search through Zooplus again and PetPlanet turned up a few which looked costly.  I like to look at a few brands in person to work out how big it is and how long it claims it will last for.  I noted one brand was at PAH so I went along and came away with this

Cats Best Okoplus Cat Litter which is wood based AND clumping AND completely biodegradable – you can flush the clumps down the loo and then shove the remains of the used tray on your compost heap!  I have put some tonight in her tray and she has already used it twice and its working well so far!  In an ideal world I would absolutely LOVE either the Cat Geniewhich is a fully plumbed cat flushing toilet tray with a wash and dry cycle of the reusable fake cat litter!!!  It looks amazing and cheap to run AND economical!  If I couldn’t have the Cat Genie, then I would go for the Litter Robot, which seems to be the best from the large array of automatic litter trays.How amazing does that look?  It works using sensors, detecting when the cat leaves and then setting a time whereupon it closes over and then rotates, sifting out the clumped litter and leaving the rest clean!  These two seem the best from what I have investigated, but seem to only be available abroad.  I also fancy trying out the Litter Kwitter Which uses a series of toilet inserts to train your cat to go to the loo IN the loo rather than in a litter tray!  I am so so tempted by this but I have no idea how Audrey would take to it!  I have visions of her landing in her own pee in the toilet :/  Hmm.

I hope that this post has been vaguely interesting?  Of course loads of people have completely different and varied ideas, mainly on cat food etc so I am welcome to all!

*If you watch the Whiskas advert on that website, I get SO SO annoyed that they call the tortoishell cat a he!  They’re always female apart from the very rare XXY males!  Just a pet peeve by a well-known cat food company that should know better!

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