July 31, 2011

Potty Training Redux

After about two and a half years of anxiety and frustration caused by Kitten tracking litter absolutely everywhere (see: A Paw Problem), Boyfriend and I decided to take another shot at potty training him.

A few months back I was watching Shark Tank (which by the way, is no Dragons Den) and I saw the CitiKitty. It looked much more feline-ergonomic than the model Boyfriend and I had considered and rejected the first time round. 

The fact that we tried to make one of these ourselves may have been the reason for our ultimate failure. That, and Kitten was a kitten the first time and the instructions that came with the CitiKitty said you should only train adult cats.

The CitiKitty actually arrived prior to our Bonnaroo trip, but since the process requires supervision, we waited until we got back.

This is basically how it works:

You place the cats regular litter near the toilet so he gets used to going there. Then, you place the white plastic piece over the toilet and put enough litter in it to cover the entire bottom. The toilet seat rests on top of this so that the cat needs to sit on the seat to squat in the litter. You are supposed to clean the litter immediately since cats use litter to hide the smell -- if they learn that there is no smell, they won't try to burry it.

Once the cat gets used to this, you cut out the first pointy-oval shaped piece and wait until the cat has gotten comfortable with this change. Slowly you remove each section. The cat should learn to balance on the seat and should eventually realize that water covers smell just as well as litter.

Kitten enjoying the change-over process. 
The seat should be down, but this is what it looks like.

Well, this is how it is supposed to work.

When we first removed Kitten's litter box and replaced it with the white tray he was not too impressed. He checked it out to see what was blocking the way to his "water bowl." But because Kitten is a cat, he is engrained to use litter, so begrudgingly, he did.

Covering the scent is a very big issue for Kitten. Since there is only a small amount of litter in the tray, it is impossible to bury anything so Kitten needs to rely on Boyfriend and I to clean the tray after he uses it. Kitten however, has trust issues and always tries to deal with the stink himself. This leads to litter everywhere, including Kittens face.

Unimpressed Kitten with litter on his face.
Another issue Kitten has is that he prefers to sit directly on the tray as opposed to sitting on the seat. This is a crucial set back for us, since inevitably, Kitten must learn to sit on the seat. Unfortunately, it is difficult to work on this aspect of the training, when Kitten still has issues with using the tray.

He is able to go #1 in it without much trouble, though he won't use the tray again unless it is cleaned right away. The real problem is #2s. Even if the tray is perfectly clean, Kitten still gets anxious about using it for #2s. He prefers instead, the bathtub. 

Every now and then I hear a distinct echo of something in the bathtub (generally followed by a scratching sound) -- and I know. 

He has only done this a few times, but considering that we have been working on this for over a month, I was hoping he would not still be reverting to #2s in the bathtub at this point in the training. 
In fact, while I was writing this post I heard Kitten jump in the bathtub. I ran in, pulled him out and put him on the litter tray and walked away. Then, a few minutes later, I heard it again. So I ran in, pulled him out and put him on the litter tray. This time I stood over him and held him in place. Oddly enough, I think he finds it comforting to have someone there with him because as soon as I held him in place, he #2'd.

Ideally, I would like to not have to assist my cat with his BMs, but if this whole thing works, I am pretty sure it will all be worth it.

I will keep you up-to-date with some status reports throughout Kitten's potty training process. Right now we have the first pointy-oval shape popped out and Kitten seems okay with that adjustment. Considering his bathtub attempt this morning though, I think it will be a while before we remove another one.

In the meantime, please enjoy this video of me attempting to remove Kitten from the bathtub:

July 22, 2011

... and they came and they left tokens of their appreciation.

[UPDATE: Please read "Ex-" before any mention of "Boyfriend"]

After our "Sandwich Fail" we had to do something with that gigantic and broken loaf of bread. I considered picking off the Kitten hair and using it, but Boyfriend wasn't down. We decided that we would take it to a park near us and feed the squirrels, but we never got around to it. 
Then one day, I came home and saw the loaf of bread lying on our balcony. I asked Boyfriend why the bread was on the balcony and he said that he had put it there to attract pigeons so Kitten could watch them, since Kitten loved it so much the day the pigeon came.

I am pretty sure we are the only people to ever try to attract pigeons to our balcony. I always see balconies with plastic bags tied to them or screen covering the opening to keep pigeons out. Anyway, we wanted pigeons, and sure enough, we got pigeons.

Kitten absolutely loved it. Every time he heard that seductive cooing he would rush to the window to catch a glimpse. The pigeons that came were generally shy and would fly away when I came to the window, but I was able to snap a few pictures for you. 

At first I thought the pigeons were great. Kitten loved watching them and I was glad he had something to do during the day. Then one day I went out on the balcony and realized that the pigeons were leaving small donations for the bread that we were so generously providing. 

I was not too impressed, but Boyfriend seemed to think it was worth it for Kitten's happiness. 

Today, the bread is still there and the pigeons still come. But it's okay -- we don't really go out on the balcony much anyway, as I am sure you can tell from the cleanliness our the windows.

[UPDATE: The problem only got worse.  The balcony has become completely unusable due to the massive amounts of pigeon crap covering it.  They still come, even though the bread is long since gone.]

July 20, 2011

A Fur Coat in the Summer

It is HOT in here!

If you live in Ontario, I think you might have noticed that we are having a bit of a warm streek. Today, with the humidex (apparently this is a Canadian term -- it's an index used to calculate what the temperature feels like), it was 41 degrees (105.8 F). And tomorrow, well tomorrow is going to be 48 degrees (118.4 F). 

I am poor and I am lazy, so I do not have an air conditioner. I have a fan that I found in our apartment's garbage closet last year.  This is all fine and dandy for me since I love the heat. Or maybe I just really hate the cold. Either way, I could live like this everyday if it meant never being cold. 

Unfortunately, Kitten does not feel the same way. He is trapped in a fur coat, against his will, all summer long. He has spent the last few days spread out on the floor looking very hot and moving very little. 

What provides Kitten some relief from all of this heat, is the fancy new water fountain that Boyfriend and I bought for Kitten recently. 

We wanted to go to our friends cottage for four days and didn't think Kitten needed anyone to check up on him. Fill up his litter and give him several bowls of food and he is good for three or four days. He may be all matted and attention-seeking once we get back, but he is very much healthy and alive. The only trouble is that he gets his water all dirty. No matter how many bowls you put out, he gets them dirty. I am pretty sure this is because food gets stuck in his face-fur and gets transferred to the water bowls as he jams his flat face in to get water. We used to leave the toilet lid up because he would just drink out of there, but now that we are potty training him again (which I will tell you all about later), we can't do this. 

So, what did Boyfriend and I do? We went to our wonderful neighbourhood pet shop and bought a cat fountain. And let me tell you, Kitten LOVED it.  As soon as we started it up, he drank for seriously, half an hour. It was crazy. 

We are thinking that maybe Kitten was just super dehydrated because he hated drinking from his little water bowl. This might explain the problems he was having earlier... 

Once he was done he just watched the fountain -- for hours. 

The water fountain has become Kitten's new best friend and may possibly be saving his life during this heat wave. Sometimes, when he is just lying there looking hot and depressed, Boyfriend will pick him up and place him in from of the fountain. It's like he has forgotten about this existence of water, because as soon as he is in front of it, he will drink like hydration is the best gift he was ever given.

This is how he lies when he is hot and depressed.
We do feel pretty bad about how hot Kitten must feel. Boyfriend and I even considered giving Kitten a "Lion Cut." It is pretty self-explanatory, but incase you don't know what a lion cut is, see the picture below.
We decide against it.

July 18, 2011

It's amazing we can even keep Kitten alive...

If this is your first time reading my Kitten blog or if you have a bad memory, you might want to read this and this before moving on to today's post.

Oh and I got Twitter. I added a handy button (top right) to make following me that much easier.

After overcoming his initial misgivings, Kitten seemed to take quite a liking to the cat grass that Boyfriend and I had bought for him. He spent a lot of time lounging on the window by the grass, nibbling and gazing out at traffic pigeons people nothing. Unfortunately, Kitten's time with this fibre-y fare was cut short.

Shortly after the grass was full grown, I started to notice that it was turning yellow at the tips and becoming floppy. I googled these maladies and determined that the grass was being over-watered. I talked to Boyfriend about this since he was the one who had been watering the grass every day, to the point that there was always excess water in the bottom of the holder. Boyfriend essentially told me that if I didn't like his plant tending methods, then I could look after watering the grass myself.

I let the water-logged soil dry and started to water the grass as it appeared to need watering -- for about a day. Whereas Boyfriend over-water, I plain forgot to water. Soon after my semi-hostile takeover of the watering duty, the grass morphed from limp and yellow tipped, to a crackly, straw-coloured disaster. I would like to think that this happened during our weeklong trip to Bonnaroo (where we had my wonderful friend Andrea come and check on Kitten every few days), but in reality, I know that the grass had passed the point-of-no-return long before our Tennessee adventure.

I forgot to take a picture of the grass before throwing it out, but I found this picture which is pretty much exactly what a picture of the dead grass would have looked like.


Poor Kitten had his new found love ripped violently away from him, all because Boyfriend and I are failures at keeping things alive. Sometimes I really do think it is a miracle that Kitten is alive, but then I remember that Kitten is an agressive, un-coordinated, matted-monster beast... and it seems pretty accurate.

July 17, 2011

Return of the Kitten Blog

Hello Kitten-Lovers and everyone else who happens upon this blog after Googling: “kitten sandwich,” “how to tell a kittens gender” or “enema training.” 

Before I begin: to those of you reaching this site after typing in the above queries, I will let you know right now if you have reached this site in vain and need to return to Google or if you might want to consider poking around my site a bit. 

Kitten Sandwich:

While I don’t offer any advice on the art of making a Kitten Sandwich* (and in fact might need some advice myself), you will find a few pictures that might be of assistance. I myself have found that kittens tend to make the best sandwiches; cats are a little less cooperative.

* Please, don’t actually eat cats, just take a picture and let the poor thing go.

How to Tell a Kittens Gender:

While I haven’t written a blog on this, I think I can help* you: 

(1) Take your kitten in your lap and turn it so that its belly is facing you
(2) Now, pull the kitten’s back legs in opposite directions
(3) Do you see anything other than fur and the kitten’s bum?
(a) Yes – your kitten is a boy
(b) No – your kitten is not a boy

* I assume no responsibility for misdiagnosed genders.

Enema Training:

Sorry, I can’t help* you. Maybe talk to your family physician or nurse practitioner. Training yourself on Google might not be the best idea.

* I assume no responsibility for botched enemas.

Back to today’s blog…

Good news! I have emerged from my two month long Kitten blog hibernation. Unlike many of my globetrotter, adventure-seeking classmates (whom I am massively jealous of), I have not been travelling or doing anything remotely interesting enough to warrant such a hiatus. Instead, I have been hanging out at home, catching-up on some chick flicks and planning adventures with boyfriend that never make it past: “We should really go camping/learn to kayak/visit your family/go rock climbing/etc…” 

I suppose I am not being entirely truthful. Boyfriend and I did go to Bonnaroo in June (a kitten sitter was needed - thank you Andrea!), I joined an Ultimate Frisbee team and Boyfriend and I went to an absolutely fabulous four-day-long cottage party with friends we never get to see. )

But, I know no one comes to this blog to hear about my life, so on to the Kitten stories…

Since I have not written in quite a while, I have amassed a not insubstantial amount of stories about Kitten. Today I am going to do a brief re-cap of Kitten’s summer and will go into details about each story in the upcoming weeks. 

Here is what’s been going on...

Kitten loved his cat grass… for a while:

The pigeon returned, and he brought friends:

Kitten got a fountain. Turns out he may have been dehydrated:

We are taking another shot at potty training, but this time, we got help:

Keep checking back - I promise not to be such a laze-oid about Kitten blogging!