We were able to open the side door this weekend and let in some natural sunlight. Of course, Mom Paula grabbed the flashy box to try and get some photos of us in the natural light to show off our green eyes. Truffle paused a few seconds to pose for a photo. She has the most amazing big eyes.
We've always admired those kitties we've seen in the blogging world who've been able to eat grass. Some of them are able to eat it naturally outdoors, while others have it grown especially for them inside the house. Mom Paula jokes that she has a "black thumb" because she can't grow anything and it live. That is, until we were contacted by Pioneer Pet to review their Kitty's Garden.
Kitty's Garden comes in a sealed package complete with everything you need to grow oat, wheat, barley, and rye grass right in the wooden container. When you open the container, the grass seeds are in separate compartments. Upon lifting up the tray of seeds, you'll see four compartments with dirt pellets wrapped in a light net. You remove the netting and place each of the pellets back in the individual compartments and add 3 ounces of water and let it sit for 10 minutes for the pellets to soften and become planting soil. We added the each variety of the grass seeds to the soil in the separate compartments and waited approximately 5 days before the grass was ready to eat. Mom Paula needed to lightly sprinkle the soil as needed. It's important not to over water, which may cause fungal or mold growth. We were very impressed how quickly the grass grew and how easy it is to maintain. The container is also very attractive and sturdy do to its square wooden base. We're happy because we can finally experience the joys of eating grass.
Truffle testing out the grass in the Kitty's Garden
As soon as Mom Paula put the container of grass on the floor, we went to it. Brulee was the one who was the most interested in the grass and immediately began chewing it. We had a cute picture of Brulee with a piece of grass sticking out of her mouth like an "little old country farmer" but she wouldn't let us post it. She said it wasn't very ladycat-like.
Yummy, this is good
We think the grass is fun to play with because it flows with the breezes, which grabs our attention and once we grab it; it tastes great. Eating grass may also have dietary benefits for cats. Grass may supplement folic acid which supports growth and helps increase oxygen levels in the blood. Grass may act as a natural laxative and help kitties get rid of fur they ingest while grooming. Some believe eating broad grasses have a laxative effect while narrow grasses can help settle an upset tummy. Some kitties may throw up grass after eating it because they don't have the enzymes to digest a large amount of grass. However, vomiting helps a cat clear the tummy of fur, feathers, parasites, or bones. If your cat is eating a lot of grass every day, you may need to take him to the vet to make sure everything is okay.
Brulee thinks the grass is very tasty
The nice people at Pioneer Pet have agreed to let us host a give-away to let one of our lucky readers in the United States win their own Kitty's Garden. Just complete the two required categories in the Rafflecopter widget below. Once you've completed those, there are optional opportunities for additional entries.
Everyone in the cat blogging world was participating in the first annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day (August 28, 2015) sponsored by our friend, Deb, from Zee & Zoey Cat Chronicles. We were not able to participate in the blog hop yesterday because we were committed to share about our experiences with Natural Balance. This was a day to remember those special fur children who've put their pawprints in the hearts of our humans that will always be a reminder of the love that was shared. Mom Paula did post a collage on Facebook of her three feline children she's had who've crossed that bridge. At some point, we've talked about Muff, Sweet Praline, and Beignet and you've been introduced to them. We thought we'd pause a few minutes today for a belated post of our siblings-before-us who've left their pawprints on Mom Paula's heart.
Mom Paula grieved the loss of Muff, Sweet Praline, and Beignet each in her own time and own way. She does experience some sadness when the remembers the special times she had with each, but she also smiles a little inside when she remembers the things these special cats did to help make her day a little brighter.
Mom Paula and Muff (circa 1978)
Muff was the first kitty Mom Paula ever had. She'd grown up with dogs the first 20 years of her life. When she got married, she wanted a pet, but her husband didn't like dogs, so Mom Paula said she wanted a cat, but the cat would stay indoors to stay safe. Muff was "rescued" from underneath a mobile home in rural South Carolina. She wasn't feral, but was the kitten from a mom kitty who belonged to of one of Mom Paula's college classmates. Mom Paula immediately fell in love and wondered why she never had a cat. Muff was a destructive little kitty and never agreed to use a scratcher for her claws. She preferred to destroy two different sofas. As Muff became a senior kitty, she would lay down beside Mom Paula for an afternoon nap after Mom Paula would get home from a long day of teaching. When Mom Paula and her ex would get into fights (verbal), Muff would always walk in between their feet, look up at them, and meow loudly. That usually gave Mom Paula a laugh and their focus went to Muff. Muff developed chronic renal failure (CRF) as about 15 years old. When Mom Paula and her ex separated, he asked who would get Muff. Mom Paula's exact words were, "if I'm going to lose both of you, then I'd rather it be at the same time." She said this because the vet had only given Muff a short time to live. Muff fought the valiant fight for almost 5 more years before leaving for the bridge one month prior to Mom Paula's divorce (after 21 years of marriage). Mom Paula never got to say goodbye and that always makes her sad, but she does remember that fun times with her first little fur child. Muff was 19 years old when she left in 1996.
Mom Paula and Praline (circa 1995)
Mom Paula had been separated from her ex-husband and Muff for about 1 year and 3 months and was ready to bring another fur child into her heart back in 1995. She'd always admired Persians and wanted to get a Persian kitten. Mom Paula had begun working on a Ph.D. at Clemson University and she needed some companionship. She'd gone back home to Columbia, SC for a day to get her hair done. She dropped by a local pet store and there were the most adorable little Persian kittens for sale. The owners were an oriental couple and they introduced Mom Paula to Praline's mom kitty (seal-point Himalayan) and daddy kitty (red tabby Persian). The first thing Praline did when Mom Paula picked her up was to lick her face and start purring. The owners let Mom Paula carry Praline around the story in her arms for almost an hour while Praline fell asleep. Praline had chosen Mom Paula that day and went on to share a wonderful adventure together for almost 16 years. Praline was known as the Diva of the Cat Blogosphere because of her little arrogant Persian attitude. Mom Paula helped Sweet Praline go to the bridge on April 25, 2011 because of cancer. It was one of the hardest things she'd ever done, but it was the ultimate show of love to let Praline go when it was time. Praline fell asleep on Mom Paula's shoulder before that last needle was given to her to help her peacefully cross the bridge that day. Mom Paula still has moments when memories will flash back and the tears will flow, but we all believe that Praline is watching over all of us.
Beignet and Mom Paula - August 20, 2011
Beignet was the little mancat that wasn't meant to come live with Mom Paula. After losing Sweet Praline, Mom Paula knew she wanted another Persian kitten within six months. She's decided to get two this time because of her job commitment and so the kitties could keep each other company. Mom Paula was so lucky to find Mom Terri from Crystalpurrs Cattery, which was about 2 hours away. Mom Paula visited and saw that all of the cats were part of Mom Terri's home and family. Beignet was the only sibling to Truffle. This was going to be the first male cat that Mom Paula had ever had and since he was Truffle's brother, Mom Paula decided to get both. Since the cattery was only 2 hours away, Mom Paula was able to travel down 3 times to visit the kittens. There was already a bond that couldn't be broken. Unfortunately, little Beignet developed a fibrosarcoma (VAS) from his vaccination and crossed the bridge from the operating table exactly 4 months after Sweet Praline left.
Visit other blogs to read stories of precious fur children.
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about PetSmart® carrying Natural Balance® cat food in their stores. Flat Truffle and Flat Brulee went shopping with Mom Paula to bring us back some of this premium pet food. We'd never eaten Natural Balance cat food before because the only way we could get it was to order it online, which involved ordering cases of food we may not eat. We kitties are known for being finicky, so Mom Paula tends to purchase a couple of cans of different flavors, varieties, and brands to make sure we will eat it before ordering online. We'd seen Natural Balance in the online pet stores, but never had the opportunity to really try it until PetSmart made it available in the store. Brulee was quick to claim the basket of food as her own. She even picked out the first Natural Balance product that she wanted to try by biting into one of the Platefulls' bags.
"I want this one!"
Natural Balance cat food meets a variety of needs for our fur babies. The food is available in five formulas: Original Ultra®, Wild Pursuit™, L.I.D.®, Weight Management, Pouches, and Stews. You can choose from a variety of dry and canned foods, stews, and treats. Since this is our first time eating Natural Balance, we wanted to share some of our favorites.
Natural Balance Platefulls
Natural Balance® Platefulls® is Truffle and Brulee's favorite. This grain-free food comes in pouches in 8 different flavors to satisfy a variety of taste buds. Brulee likes this food because it's served in gravy, which makes it easier for her to eat. Mom Paula likes it because it's grain free and is a complete and balanced nutrition for all breeds of adult cats. The morsels are large enough that both Truffle and Brulee can also pick it up with their Persian mouths. If it's easy for them to eat, then they'll eat more.
Truffle eating her Natural Balance Platefulls.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets
L.I.D.® is designed to support healthy digestion and to maintain a healthy skin and coat. This formula is available in dry kibble and canned food. It's grain-free and is an excellent choice kitties who need a limited number of premium protein and carbohydrate sources.
Truffle presents some of the L.I.D. and Original Ultra® canned food
Natural Balance Delectable Delights Stews
The Delectable Delights™ are hand crafted with a savory flavor to impress a kitty's finicky taste buds. There are six formulas of the Delectable Delight Stews that provide a complete and balanced nutrition food for healthy adult cats. Brulee enjoyed this formula because there were smaller pieces in a tasty gravy, which made it easy for her to eat.
Brulee eating the Delectable Delights in the stereotypical Persian way.
Natural Balance Wild Pursuit
Wild Pursuit™ is a grain-free food with elevated levels of protein from multiple high-quality animal sources that mimics food our wild ancestors would instinctively seek. There are five flavors of canned food and two flavors of dry kibble. We wanted to try the dry kibble because it includes freeze-dried raw food and we've loved some of our freeze-dried raw treats we've eaten in the past. As soon as Mom Paula put the dry food in the bowl, Brulee immediately went to the bowl and ate it. Wild Pursuit is designed for all cat breeds, from kittens to adults.
Brulee really liked the Wild Pursuit dry cat formula.
Natural Balance Available in PetSmart
We're lucky to have three PetSmart stores within 15 miles of our house, so we can get there quickly to replenish our Natural Balance cat food. You can find your local PetSmart by visiting the PetSmart Store Locator.
Brulee is our little miracle kitty. When Mom Paula and Truffle lost Beignet to cancer on August 23, we had no idea there was another litter of kittens coming. Brulee was born 4 days later and what a cutie she was. It's hard to believe that was 4 years ago, but she has been a little charmer since day one. Here's one of the first photos Mom Terri sent us the day Brulee was born. She's with her mom kitty, Mikayla, and her siblings. Can you believe how dark they were when they were born? Mikayla is a golden shaded Persian, but all of her babies were silver shaded like Brulee.
Mikalya, Brulee and littermates
Brulee has grown into a beautiful lady cat, but she has such a cute little personality. She may be shy when she initially meets someone, but she's right in the middle of everything within a couple of minutes. Happy Birthday cute little Brulee!
Mom Paula took a little "staycation" last week and is working on purging a lot of things and cleaning up. She read somewhere that you should begin working on one room and take things you don't need in that room to another room in the house. So, she chose to bring all of her stuff into our home office. Brulee loves it because she feels she has a new jungle of things that has all of Mom Paula's smells on them.
Do you see a theme with all of these purses?
We wonder if the same saying holds true about purses as shoes? We think Mom Paula may have enough!
When Chewy.com sent us the possible items to review for the month of August, we jumped at the chance to try out the Catit Bench Scratcher. Mom Paula has provided a lot of "scratching" items around the house in hopes that we won't scratch the furniture. We have carpet, sisal, and cardboard scratchers. In fact, we still use an old scratcher that belonged to Angel Sweet Praline.
Brulee claiming the Catit Bench Scratcher
The Catit Bench Scratcher with Catnip is shaped like a bench and is made up of corrugated scratching surface. It's also stylish and complements our beautiful floof. The Catit Bench Scratcher is currently on sale at chewy.com for $7.99. As soon as Mom Paula pulled the bench out of the box and removed the plastic wrapping, we immediately got on it. We didn't even need the catnip. If fact, we loved the scratcher so much that we were getting into a few "tussles" over who was going to rest on the scratcher. Guess what? Mom Paula gave in and bought us a second one. We don't know what it is about this scratcher, but we love to scratch on it and take naps on it. When Mom Paula woke up from her Sunday afternoon nap, she saw both of us on our scratchers.
Sharing a peaceful Sunday afternoon on our Catit Bench Scratchers
Needless to say, we really do like these scratchers because we're constantly on them. Truffle is still her little bossy self and always wants the scratcher that Brulee is on, but at least there is a second one when Brulee is forced to leave. The cost is very reasonable, so we'll probably order a few of these and put them in storage for when our current scratchers wear out.
Four years ago today, Truffle's little brother, Beignet left to go to the bridge to join Sweet Praline (who had left for the bridge just four months earlier because of cancer). Beignet was Truffle's only litter mate and he was scheduled to come live with Mom Paula and Truffle, but he developed a Vaccine Associated Fibrosarcoma (VAS) from his vaccination and died on the operating table while the vet was removing the tumor.
A Vaccine-Associated Fibrosarcoma (VAS) AKA Feline post-vaccinal sarcomas or FISS is a type of malignant tumor found in cats (rarely found in dogs and ferrets), which has been linked to certain vaccines containing aluminum adjuvant. According to Wikipedia, "The incidence of VAS is 1 in 10,000 vaccinated cats and has been found to be dose-dependent. The time from vaccination to tumor formation varies from three months to eleven years." What was so unusual in the case of Beignet was that he developed the tumor within a couple of weeks from his vaccine and his vaccination was adjuvant-free. He was 10-weeks old when the tumor was discovered. Mom Terri immediately took him to the vet when the lump developed, thinking it was just a bump from the kittens rough-housing. The vet believed the same thing, but Mom Terri insisted on sending the mass off to be analyzed. The initial surgery to remove the lump occurred August 17, 2011. Mom Paula was able to travel down to Mt. Pleasant, SC to visit Truffle and Beignet that weekend on August 20, 2011.
A Sunday Selfie (sponsored by The Cat on My Head) of Mom Paula and Beignet from August 2011
Even though Beignet had a large incision on his side from the surgery, he was doing great. He was playing with Truffle and his half-siblings from another litter. Everyone believe he was going to be okay. Unfortunately, Mom Terri contacted Mom Paula on August 22, 2011 to let her know that the biopsy came back as cancer. As soon as a VAS tumor is diagnosed, treatment is through aggressive surgery. The vet must remove the tumor with wide margins in order to ensure complete removal of the cancer. The prognosis isn't always good because the tumor may reoccur. The day of the surgery, the vet assured Terri that Beignet would be okay and that he could still come to live with Mom Paula. Unfortunately, little Beignet died on the operating table during the surgery. We believe the reason this occurred was because he was so tiny and had to stay under the anesthesia so long for the complete removal of the tumor. Mom Terri contacted the company that produced the vaccines and also some feline pathologists that specialized in cancer research to study why this occurred because it's so rare, especially the quickness the tumor appeared and in such a young kitten. There was no "medical" reason they could determine why this happened. Even our current vet(s) are very surprised that this occurred. Mom Paula took the results of the pathology report to the vets to keep on record so we could monitor Truffle closely.
Beignet being petting by Mom Paula, August 20, 2011 It's so hard to believe he was gone three days later.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners have developed new vaccine protocols that limit the type and frequency of vaccinations given to cats. They've specifically recommended that the vaccine for feline leukemia virus should only be given to kittens and high-risk cats. The Felinerhinotracheitis/panleukopenia/calicivirus vaccines should be given to kittens, one year later, and then every three years. Preference is for a non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine that is given yearly over the adjuvanted three-year rabies vaccine products. Veterinarians are also giving vaccines in the back legs instead of the shoulder blades like they used to in order to make removal of a VAS easier, if one forms. Getting a rabies shot is required by law in South Carolina. Even though we are indoor-only kitties, we get the rabies vaccine because South Carolina does have a large number of identified cases of wild animals with rabies.
We didn't mean to make this post so long, but we did want to educate you on what actually happened to Beignet and how rare it is for a VAS to occur. We know that Beignet is at the bridge with Sweet Praline and that she is taking good care of him.
Four days later, Brulee was born... Note from Mom Paula: even though Beignet never came to live with me, he had a special place in my heart. I was able to visit with him three different times during his short life. He was going to be my first little mancat, but God had other plans. Terri and I had already discussed that I just couldn't bring Beignet home with me after the cancer diagnosis because of the prognosis of it returning and the medical commitment that was needed. I'd just lost Sweet Praline to cancer 4 months earlier and I just couldn't handle it again so soon. Terri promised me that Beignet had a home with her as long as he lived. We both loved that little man cat. The pain is still there, just like the pain from Sweet Praline, but life does move on and in order for me to heal, I must also move forward. But, I will always remember with a great love and a little sadness for my loss. God sent me Truffle and then Brulee. They are the light of my world now.
We're participating in the Caturday Art Blog Hop sponsored by Athena and Marie today. We used one of our favorite photo editors, Pho.to.com, to get artsy with our group photo that Aunt Bonnie took of us when she visited this week.
Original photo of Truffle, Mom Paula, and Brulee
We applied the Mirror Room effect in the Realistic Photomontage category. We then went to PicMonkey to put the frame and our watermark. We really like the effect.
We were thrilled to meet one of our long-time blogger friends, Bonnie Koenig. Bonnie is the human behind The Cat Post Intelligencer featuring Chey, Gemini, and Ichiro. Mom Paula has communicated with Mom Bonnie since she first began blogging 7 years ago and met her in person back in April 2011 when Bonnie was visiting within two hours from us. Chey was our very first kitty to comment on our blog back in July 2011.
First meeting with Bonnie and Flat Chey in Anderson, SC in 2011
A year later, Mom Paula had a business trip to Seattle, Washington and Bonnie picked her up from the hotel and took her to meet the real Chey, Ichiro, and Gemini. Mom Paula had to get on her hands and knees in the bedroom to see Gemini's cute little nose from under a dresser, but Ichiro and Chey were very friendly.
Ichiro meeting Flat Truffle and Flat Brulee in August 2012
Bonnie moved cross country this past Winter and now lives less than 2 hours from us. She came for a visit yesterday and has the honor of being the first cat blogger to meet us in person. We were a little shy at first, but she brought TREATS!
Brulee waiting on her scratcher lounge for Bonnie to open the treats
We all know what a treat hog Truffle is, so it didn't take her long at all to warm up to Bonnie once she realized there were treats involved.
Truffle has no shame when it comes to begging for treats
After a wonderful visit with us, Bonnie and Mom Paula joined Dean and Jeni McCaughan from Jasper McKitten-Cat for lunch. Dean introduced Sweet Praline to the Cat Blogosphere and is the reason Mom Paula began blogging seven years ago They were so caught up in conversation that they forgot to get a photo. What a wonderful day for some of the humans behind the cat blogs in the Carolinas. We know there are more of our Carolina cat bloggers out there and we hope to have a larger get-together in the near future.
Truffle thanked Bonnie for the treats by allowing her to touch her soft floof.
Brulee has the curliest fur on her belly compared to her long, straight fur on the rest of her body. Truffle's fur on her belly is straight and soft. However, Truffle doesn't expose her belly too often, so we can't show you a photo of her soft furry belly.