Diapering the Bob

Bob the cat photo by Kara Hartz
I’ve written before about my cat, Bob. For a little background though – Bob has a broken spine that left him with a dead tail (that was amputated) and he has fecal incontinence. This all happened to him when he was about 1 year old. He is now 19, and things in his back end have been slowly deteriorating over the years. 
He has always been prone to urinating in the wrong place, but in the past year or so it has become more clear that this is only sometimes a choice, and sometimes seems to catch him completely off guard. We tried different ways to deal with the urine and still keep Bob around. We’ve tried just keeping him out of rooms with beds in them, and we haven’t owned a sofa in years. For awhile we tried putting him in a portable dog kennel when no one would be home to supervise him. All of these things helped with the accidents, but didn’t stop them.
Then I had the idea to diaper him, and I wonder why I didn’t do this first. We could have skipped all those years of suffering (for us and for Bob).
Now, he certainly didn’t care for the diaper when we started. It bugged him. But I saw at once that it bugged him less than not being allowed to lay on a bed did, or even worse, to be kenneled all the time. After a couple weeks, he no longer seems to even notice it. And – Oh! The freedom! – for us all. 
I originally bought him doggie diapers. Then a helpful review on Amazon suggested that human baby diapers could have a tail hole cut in them, and were a heck of a lot cheaper. So that’s what I use now. I ended up picking a size based on the weight range on the package for lack of another idea, and that has worked well. The size 1 diapers fit him great. I’ve even stopped bothering to cut the tail hole since his remaining stub is so tiny it never stayed in the hole, and since he can’t feel his stub it doesn’t seem to bother him to just have it covered up. 
I’m sharing this information:
1) because is he not the cutest diapered cat you’ve ever seen?
2) Hopefully this will help someone else who may be struggling with a partially or fully incontinent older cat. If I can help a cat and person avoid all we went through, and save their relationship – then I want to do so. 
Bob the Cat photo by Kara Hartz


Microchips for Pets Work

This pretty girl joined me on my jog a couple nights ago. I’d just passed her and a man who was petting her in his front lawn. I shooed her back to him and kept running. As I crossed the street, she was running with me again. I stopped to shoo her more firmly back to her person, but he was gone. I walked back (and she came with me) and found him on his porch. It wasn’t his dog. She had come up to him and he had been looking for a collar and tags when I ran by and she decided it would be fun to come along with me. 
So I took her home, stopping to ask other folks who were out walking if they knew her. No one did.
I work as an RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) by day, so the next morning she came into work with me to check for a microchip. She had one, and I was on the phone with her person a few minutes later arranging how to get her home again. They didn’t want to wait until I came back to our neighborhood after work – they came out to get her.
Microchips work. Dogs are onery sometimes. They run off in a happy friendly frenzy, then find themselves lost. It doesn’t mean they have horrible families. In fact, this doggie’s family was out looking for her last night as I was looking for them. They said they met some of the people I stopped as I was walking home, and were told I was looking for them. We met the same people but never managed to meet each other as we searched for one another. 
Thanks to the chip though, she was home less than 24 hours later. Yea!


What About Bob?

photo by Kara Hartz 2016

I haven’t written about Bob in awhile. He is trucking along just fine. We adopted Bob in October of 1998, and at the time his doctor thought he was about a year old, which would give him a birthday in 1997. I think it is probably more likely he was a spring kitten, and closer to only 7 or 8 month old when we adopted him since he did grow a little after we got him. Still that would make him ‘only’ 18 years old instead of 19 right now. He’s an old dude – no getting around that.

His bathroom habits have deteriorated over the past year or so, and I am now manually helping him empty his bladder 1 to 2 times a day. I’d noticed him going from one litter box to another but not producing much, and seeming restless. At first he didn’t appreciate my help, but now he will go to my bathroom (I use the toilet when I empty him instead of a cat box) and meow at me. I take that as his request to be emptied.

A couple months ago I thought we might be near the end because he was eating very poorly and getting thinner and thinner. Then suddenly, he was eating great for about a week and just as my hopes were up, he stopped eating again. Belatedly, I put it together that the week he ate well, I had run out of his regular food and was feeding Fancy Feast, or whatever was on sale at the grocery store. As an experiment, I picked up some Fancy Feast, and sure enough, he are every bite. Since this revelation, he has been slowly putting weight back on and isn’t looking so frail.

There no stopping the Bob.
Not yet.


Zito the Rat 2013 – 2016

Is this not the most adorable rat you have ever seen?  
He is our rat, Zito, who passed away today just a month or two short of his third birthday. He came to us when his owners dumped him off at the sister veterinary hospital to the one I work at. My friends there knew we had a rat, so they called and asked if we wanted this little guy too. 
Often, I’ve noticed, rescued pets, or those that you find yourself with unexpectedly turn out to be the best pets ever.  That was true of Zito anyway. I’ve had lots of pet rats over the years. At least ten that I can think of off the top of my head. But Zito was special. He, more than most of the other rats I’ve known, seemed to really love human company. He was snugly. Loved his ears rubbed. He was just plain fun to be with.
Our other rat at the time Zito came to us was named Frito. We thought we would give the new guy a matching name. I suggested Cheeto, but the kids didn’t like that. They argued he wasn’t orange, so it didn’t work. They came up with Zito. Since then he has been the subject of many stories and poems and other school writing assignments. In fact, I just realized today that I have never given a character a pet rat, and that needs to be remedied. 
Thank you Michelle for taking such good care of him at the end for us. 
He will be greatly missed. Small lives can still  have a big impact on our hearts.