Category Archives: Bubba

Therapy Cats and the Power of Purr

Snuggling next to a purring ball of fur can make the weight of the world a little easier to endure. Bubba has helped me in that department for many years.

However, certified therapy cats are relatively rare. While we have nothing against dogs, we believe in purr power is an underutilized resource.

TheCatSite.com notes that cats are less likely to knock over large medical equipment. However, they require careful training  before starting this new unique career. The CatSite offers some tips for assessing your cat’s potential to be a therapy pet. The Delta Society and Love on a Leash are also valuable resources for aspiring therapy cats.

I would simply like to point out a few stories of people who have been helped by therapy cats. From SnikSnak.com, I learned about Marie, a senior citizen with no friends or family — until Handsome came along. This is how one little Persian cat helped a lonely, depressed old woman:

“She remained curled in a fetal position with no interest in living. She had sores on her legs from constant scratching. After Handsome became Marie’s roommate, whenever she tried to scratch herself, he would play with her hands or otherwise distract her. Within a month the sores had healed. But even more incredible, she was so fascinated with the cat that she asked the staff about his care. Before long, she was inviting other residents to come visit with her pet.”

And , About.com‘s Cat Guide. shared a reader’s story:

“I’ve suffered from clinical depression and ADHD all my life. A year and a half ago I finally sobered up after a battle with drug abuse and stayed sober after intense treatment at hospitals, outpatient work, therapy, and medication. My life was a little more stable without the drugs but I still found it really hard to interact with people and get out of bed each day let alone stay organized and try to be even a little productive. I made the decision to get a cat and 4 months ago I brought home two little two-month old fluffballs: Genghis (an orange tabby) and Fidel (a tuxedo cat). They have been such a blessing. I finally feel like my life is becoming normal and all the bumps are starting to smooth themselves out. It started with knowing that no matter what I had to get up everyday and take care of them. Now I can’t wait to get out of bed. They’ve done what no therapy could ever do. Whenever I feel down they come over looking for pets and to curl up beside me”

Lastly, I want to pay tribute to the many times, Bubba and his late brother, Pudpat, got me through some sad times. Bubba is still a touchstone, doing his best to help me through the past year-and-a-half. I can never repay him — simply cherish him more with each day.

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Commentary: Cats, Real Life and an Animal Abuse Registry

courtesy takecareofyourcat.com

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. Life, unemployment and stress are all factor but ultimately there is no excuse.

Through it all, Bubba and the girls have been a comfort — even when they are busting my chops to get out of bed. Especially when they want me to get up and face the world (but not before feeding them, of course).

On the blog news front, Bubba and OCR got a mention in Fetch magazine’s special senior pets issue. Alas, I’m not the article is not available online.

Elsewhere, we’ve been active on Facebook and continually amazed at the interested OCR has generated.  Thanks to everyone who has offered feedback, tips and postings.

Now, on to my commentary for the day.

The recent story of a New York man who tried to cook his cat, Navarro, understandably sparked anger among anyone with a heart. You don’t have to like cats to be sickened at such an act.

“What really grabbed my heart was this passage from the YNN.com story: “When he was brought here, he was in rough shape. He was still purring, still trying to be very friendly, but having a hard time,” said Gina Browning, public relations director of the Erie County SPCA.”

Fortunately, Navarro has a new name and a loving home.

Navarro’s story is one more reason we need a national registry for animal abusers. New York, California and Colorado are among several states that have considered a registry. Some may say it’s misguided to place animal abusers in the same category as child molesters.

To that I would state the obvious: it is a well-established that one of the hallmarks of may serial killers is torturing animals. A registry need not be a way to stigmatize people, rather an official step to treating those who are receptive to change. For people with deeper issues this mean early identification — potentially preventing a person’s murder.

The opposition could rightly counter that an animal abuse registry is creating one more bureaucratic morass in difficult times. The government is already swimming in a sea of debt and unemployed Americans who cannot find work. Why spend money on animals?

To that I would say a small tax on pet food and supplies is one option. I hate taxes as much as the next person, however, in a country where we will be forced to have health care of pay a fine, a few more pennies to protect those without a voice is a worthwhile investment.

To do otherwise would only chip at the innately giving spirit that has traditionally made this country great.

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To Bubba on His 22nd Birthday

Bubba the birthday boy.

Happy birthday, old friend.

I always said if you were human, you would be a cigar-smoking, lady-killing, country-music lovin’ conservative. You wake up every day, batting my face and rarin’ to go. Some days I swear you’re trying to tell me, “Time’s a wasting, let’s have an adventure.” Whether it is swatting your sisters when they become too demanding or meowing until a hug comes your way, you are always intent on embracing the life you have and making it good.

You may not want to admit this, Bubba, but you entered my life as a little hell-raiser from the streets of Jersey City. You romped through my tiny studio, breaking fancy wine glasses and annoying my ex-boyfriend — and he loved cats. You loudly chased your now-departed brother without mercy, although in retrospect I wonder if it was merely sibling rivalry between two spoiled brothers.

Oh, and let’s not forget how many important pieces of paper became lunch. I couldn’t very well tell the cable company “the cat ate my bill,” so I’m sure Time Warner customer reps thought I was the most disorganized person on the planet. And there was the memorable day you wrestled a Manhattan white pages to the ground and feasted on a large corner of said book. Months later, I still found little curls of shredded paper.

Then your brother got sick. You never left his side through a mercifully brief illness. When I came home with an empty carrier, you didn’t mope or look for him, however, his death changed you.

You now licked my face, slept close by and delighted in daily hugs. We were both older now; the time for childish games was over. Yet you never lost your sense of adventure or uncanny ability to run a household. Did I really need to remember a feeding schedule when you park yourself in front of me and meow until you lead me to the kitchen and look at the foods bowls?

If you were human, you might be on the radio because you sure love to talk. If I say something, you always respond. A lot of married people don’t have that kind of communication. At the risk of spouting cliches, I have to state the obvious: life is sort and time is precious — you seem to instinctively know that every time you start wailing for a hug or gently swat me into some action.

It’s not just me. Thank you, Bubba for grooming your sisters and setting a good example for them. It is cute to watch them seek your approval and the privilege of curling up in your greatness.

Never in my wildest dreams could I picture you, my brat cat, a sleek senior who has been on TV, inspired a blog and is now known to people around the world. As we’ve grown up together, you always remind me that home and family is everything; the rest is icing.

There is no birthday present I could offer as great as the one you give me every day.

Happy birthday, Bubba.

P.S.: President Obama, we want you to know that Bubba is still waiting for his birthday card.

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Fat Cats, Fun and the Scary Truth

courtesy catinfo.org

Once upon a time, Bubba tipped the scales at nearly 24 pounds. He is now diabetic and about 14 pounds. Hardly a bag of bones but the obesity that defined Bubba’s middle years means he must patiently endure daily shots of insulin for the rest of his life.

He was so huge at one point two burly Russian movers nearly dropped a dressing in fear. One waved a massive finger in Bubba’s direction and asked, “Dog… or cat?”

Fat cats are cute, funny and great for cuddling but like humans they pay the price.

I came across a video on YouTube that makes a point — without lecturing.

Watch the video

OK, you’ve had a giggle, now click on this chart for a guide to skinny, fat, fatter and life-threatening fat. Also click on some of the resources on this page for more information.

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Bubba Was Ready for His Closeup

Bubba and OldCatsRule were on Good Day LIVE Online this morning. Bubba, who is diabetic, was a model patient as Manhattan veterinaran Dr. Dan Lauridia demonstrates how to give a needle to a cat.

(The segments hit about 10:35-10:40)

Watch the show.

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Bubba and Diabetes

Bubba the cat.

Bubba the cat.

Bubba the wonder cat strutted through 20 years of good health, although he was as big as a miniature cow. In February, I noticed he lost a lot of weight and was drinking lakes worth of water.

A trip to the vet and several tests later, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Not only did this require changing his diet but those of my other two cats. Goodbye, dry food.

A special treat for Bubba was insulin injections. After a few fumbling attempts, we settled into a routine and Bubba accepted the inevitable with good grace.

Feline diabetes can affect cat at any time but it is more common in older, overweight felines. Like humans, they can suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 is when the body does not produce enough insulin; Type 2 occurs when the body can’t process insulin efficiently.

Symptoms include:

  • weight loss
  • excessive thirst/urination
  • dehydration
  • vomiting
  • general weakness.

Be sure to have a vet make the proper diagnosis.

Diabetes can be managed through diet, insulin injections and watching glucose levels. Your vet can give your flaky material that you add to cat litter, and it will change color according to your cat’s blood sugar level. Sometimes, oral medications are used.

Remember, some cats live many years after the initial diagnosis.

The following links may help you better understand felines diabetes:

FelineDiabetes.com

VetInfo.com

Vet.Cornell.edu

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OldCatsRule Blog

This is Bubba my CFM (chief feline muse).

This is Bubba my CFM (chief feline muse).

Welcome. My name is Bubba and I’m a 21-year-old black cat. I noticed my human reading stories about age 40 being the new 20, 50 being the new 30, etc. The same thing is true for cats.

My feline brothers and sisters are living longer, healthier lives and using our years of experience to teach our humans the importance of savoring every morsel of life. I can’t type so I asked my human to create a place that senior cats could call their own.

Think of OldCatsRule as a virtual scratching post — let loose with stories of the mouse that got away or the time you helped your human through a crisis. This is your home. I’m 21 (finally legal, woo-hoo), so I’m know there are more days behind me than ahead of me. It just means the sound of cat food cans opening is very sweet.

My advice to dealing with age is to keep your tail high and maintain a healthy cat-itude. Sure, I have a few aches and pains but I wouldn’t want to be a kitten again. I’ve been through a lot with my human and the surviving bad times only make us love each other more and relish the good times.

This blog/site is just beginning and I would love my human to add a slew of contests and stories as we evolve. If you want to watch some videos, check out the OldCatsRule channel. Send us your video links/code to Twitter at OldCatsRule and we’ll post it on the channel.

I’d love to hear from you. Share your pictures, stories and let us know what you think of OldCatsRule.

To be continued.

— Bubba

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