Sure, for the last couple weeks I have felt like a herd of miniature horses has run me over daily, and the doctor basically said "Who Knows." and tossed some antibiotics my way. But this post is really not about the grumpy and cough-so-hard-my-head-will-explode human in the house, it is about the old and grumpy cat. No... not that grumpy cat... my grumpy cat. The one that ends his "Meow" with an extra "feah" when he is angry with me.
My big old soon-to-be 19, deaf as a bat, screams louder than a heavy-metal band, beloved and just a little spoiled but totally deserves it for taking care of me since I graduated High School, cat. Hamper.
And while he is doing good for 18 years of age and having had a stroke last summer, some extra considerations are warranted for any older kitty. The first of which is several cat beds of different sizes and types around the house. Even a built-in-to-my-desk custom bed for him. And two of his beds got cheap bed-warmers that plug in and take about as much electricity as a night-light. It costs a few cents a day to keep his bed warm and cozy and is totally worth it.
As he got older, I built a step for him to get into his office bed and a step for him to get onto our bed as well.
Unfortunately, after his stroke, jumping up is the one thing Hamper hasn't really recovered. So his beds are all on the floor now and it became obvious that even the step to get onto the bed was no longer do-able. So he got a bed-ramp. Carpeted and built from some extra cupboard doors.
And now here is what you might have been waiting for... a couple cheap tips for cats...
First... The mess they make at their food dishes. Maybe you have a delicate flower of a cat that never makes a mess, but Hamper chews like a slob and Ten actually washes her feet in their water dish. The mess around their dishes was wild. Non-tipping dishes helped, but not a lot. So the first tip is a boot tray. They are available from $1 to $you-want-what-for-a-piece-of-plastic?. I like the mid-range $3 one from a home improvement store. It is more decorative and has higher side walls than the dollar one, but doesn't cost a small fortune, and fit nicely under the baker's rack where my cat food goes.
Next tip is wet-food dishes. I never used to feed wet food to the cats, but since Hamper has gotten older he gets wet food now. Small glass dipping-dishes come several-to-a-pack at the dollar store and mean grabbing a clean dish and tossing the messy one in the sink/dishwasher is easy and quick. Of course, if you have a cat like mine, he licks the dish further and further away and then licks the food out and onto the wall. A bit of tin-foil taped to the wall can help contain the mess and at least in my case is not really seen under the baker's rack unless you are crawling on the floor. (of course some wax paper and clear tape might look nicer if you crawl on the floor a lot)
Another cat food tip is that you can buy the fancy canned cat-food lids if you can find them for a reasonable price... or you can just use a bean-dip lid. Yep... and it makes for a good reason to buy some bean-dip.
And one final cat food tip for older cats: Raised food dish. As Hamper would lick the wet-food dish across the mat and to the wall, for some reason, he never moves his front feet. So he leans further and further forward and his back feet slide out like a baby deer on ice, until something has to give... either he would face-plant into the food dish or his back legs would give out all-together. Funny... but sad.
So I thought of trying one of those raised dishes with legs that would not only keep the dish from sliding away, but also mean Hamper would not have to lean as far over to eat. But have you ever looked at the prices of those things?!? Even the cheaper ones run in the $20 range and not something easily justified when I have no idea if my cat would love or hate it.
So here is the low budget do-it-yourself raised cat dish.
Start with a cheap plastic casserole dish from the dollar store. Then cut a hole in one side of the bottom as large as your wet-food dishes, but not as large as the rim of your dishes.
Put your dish in the hole. And..... done.
Hamper approves. Not only does it not slide any further back, but it also raises the dish just a couple inches and makes it easier for him to eat. Also, when he spills food over the top of the glass dish, it is right there to eat instead of falling behind or under the glass dish.
Of course, this doesn't prevent all messes, but sure makes cleanup easier. And furry face-plants less frequent.
And the last kitty tip for tonight is about litter boxes. Firstly, anyone who has had more than one cat knows that there is no amount of scooping that makes a standard size cat box adequate for two or more cats. And cat litter boxes are often ridiculously expensive. So I have taken to using a large and tall plastic storage box. Not very interesting, but the innovative part comes not in the fact that I spent less than $10 for a double-sized litter box, but that I discovered that as Hamper has gotten older, he makes it into the litter box and lets go like he is just happy he even made it.
Now, I think we have all felt that way once in a while, but at least we didn't have to turn around and then walk back out through the mess we made.... or at least I hope not. So I cut two holes so Hamper can come in one way, do his business, and exit the other side. While not perfect, it has kept his feet much cleaner.
So, that is the cat side of things, and not just because I am still coughing hard enough that doing anything new at 9,000ft takes more air than I can get. Or... well... exactly that. But I promise something new and hopefully interesting soon. In the mean time, back to my cough syrup and kitty-cuddling.