This would ordinarily be Crooked Acres Thursday, with pics of various and sundry sights from around Crooked Acres, but I didn’t get a single dog or garden or chicken picture this week (I just haven’t been motivated to do a single thing outside this week because of the heat and also the lack of sun for the better part of the week, because pictures taken outside when it’s overcast just don’t come out all that wonderfully), so instead I’m going to do a list of stuff I like and think y’all might like too!
FYI, none of this stuff was given to me, everything in this list was bought and paid for.
Stuff I Like (and you might like too!)
1. Carbonite. My friend Katherine suggested Carbonite to me, oh, sometime last year, I think? I made a mental note, and then I did nothing, because that’s just the way I am. And then I don’t remember exactly what spurred me to get my butt in gear – probably I was having issues with my hard drive – and I started thinking about the incredible number of pictures I have on my computer, and how sad I would be if I lost them all (or any of them!), and I finally signed up with Carbonite and installed the software. It took forever for the backup to happen, which wasn’t Carbonite’s fault because the way my failing hard drive was set up, I basically had two hard drives with everything copied over from one to the other, so there was a huge amount of information there. I think it took three weeks or so to get everything backed up, but once it was backed up, I set it so that Carbonite would update the backup starting at 10:00 every night, and I honestly never even notice that it’s there. Knowing that all those pictures and documents are backed up and safe makes me sleep a little better.
2. Neutrogena Body Oil. On Facebook, Catie mentioned that she’d used Neutrogena Body Oil instead of shaving cream or gel when she shaved her legs, and she got the best, closest, smoothest shave ever. I made a mental note and then promptly forgot about it until a few days (or weeks) later when Cait posted that she’d tried it as well, and she too got the best, closest, smoothest shave ever. This time, instead of making a mental note, I made a real ink-and-paper note in the form of adding Neutrogena Body Oil to the grocery list. Then I bought a bottle, and then I used it instead of shaving gel and OH MY. Catie and Cait were NOT kidding in the slightest – that is one excellent, awesome shave and I highly recommend it. Now, Neutrogena Body Oil is not the cheapest stuff on earth, but I can tell you the the one bottle I bought is hanging in there months later and I expect it’ll last another month or so. It’s definitely worth it!
(The rest of this list is cat-related. This should not surprise you.)
3. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat, and Cat Attract litters. Let me tell you a story. Back in February, I did something very stupid. Actually, I did a bunch of very stupid things: I was about to have surgery, so in the course of less than a week, I (1) found a new home for Reacher (who is doing very well these days, by the way) and he left our house, (2) I moved the couch to another part of the front room, (3) I removed the litter box from the guest bedroom, since there were no fosters staying in there, and (4) I completely changed the kind of litter I was using from Fresh Step (which we’ve used for years) to a different kind of litter that I cannot remember the name of at the moment. What happened next was a furious flood of cat urine from one end of the house to the other. Cats in this house were SERIOUSLY peeved and they were intent on letting me know it.
It wasn’t until mid-April or so that we finally determined who the peeing-outside-the-box culprits were, and it shocked me to find out that Tommy, our wonderful, awesome, super-sweet boy, was the one doing most of the peeing, accompanied by his evil accomplice Elwood. Also, there was some occasional spraying by Spanky and Joe Bob.
The first thing I did was switch the litter back to Fresh Step. The second thing I did was to add the litter box back to the guest bedroom. The third thing I did was to (finally) move the couch back to where it belonged. That stemmed the flow of cat urine (and is there anything that smells worse than cat urine? I think not.), but I was still having to get up every morning and walk throughout the house, looking for cat pee and then cleaning up what I found. And I was still finding at least one puddle or spray, and most days multiple.
It was delightful.
I have finally (fingers crossed) managed to stop the spraying and peeing by adding a litter box to the front room (it’s at the other end of the front room, away from the living room area) and slowly, slowly, slowwwwwwly switching our litter to Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract and Precious Cat. Between the two, I find that Cat Attract is less dusty than the Precious Cat (though it’s possible I just got a particularly dusty bag of Precious Cat), and I haven’t found any puddles or sprays outside the litter box in a few weeks now. Now, Dr. Elsey’s is not perfect – Fresh Step remains better at holding down the litter box smells – but we were getting to the point where Fred was coughing a lot, especially after I scooped in the evening, and since switching to Dr. Elsey’s he hasn’t been coughing at all. If this means that I have to change out the litter more often, I think that it’s worth it not to have Fred die a slow and painful death from Anderson Litter Lung while causing damage to my hearing because when he coughs and hacks, he does so at a decibel that hurts my ears. Why can’t he cough and hack quietly? Why? Whyyyyyyy?
4. Odor removers.
(a) Nose Offense. I don’t remember where I read about this stuff, but it is flat-out amazing. I’m listing it first not because it works so much better than the other two (in section c), because they work very well too, but because it works well AND it has no smell at all. The problem with anti-odor sprays is that they have a scent added to them, and after you’ve used them for a while, in your mind you link the smell of the spray with the smell of cat urine and then you catch a whiff of the anti-odor spray and you think “Did I just smell cat pee?”. Nose Offense works immediately, it takes the smell of cat pee (or whatever horrendous smell you’re trying to get rid of) away and leaves no smell in its place.
When I scoop the litter boxes, I take the bags of scoopings out to a trash can in the garage. I have a spray bottle of Nose Offense by the trash can, and I spray into the trash can once a day, and even though there’s this kitchen-sized trash can filled to the brim with bags of litter box scoopings by Wednesday night (trash day’s on Thursday), it doesn’t smell at all. I was going to say that my only gripe is that this stuff doesn’t come in gallon-sized containers, the largest size it comes in is 32 ounces, BUT I just went and looked and that is no longer true, it DOES come in gallon-sized containers now. Yay!
To further convince you that you should give this stuff a try, the months when I was dealing with cat pee on a daily basis, I used this stuff. It took care of the smell, but what was even better was that after I’d cleaned up the pee, the cats would avoid peeing in that spot for weeks afterward. This was good because, well, they weren’t always peeing in the same spot over and over again. This was bad because it became a game of “Where’s the pee?” I really really like this stuff, if you couldn’t tell.
(b) 16 0z Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 Teaspoon dishwashing liquid, 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda. One of the places the cats were peeing to show their displeasure with everything under the sun was on the couch. Grrrr. Yes, I could have used Nose Offense to get rid of the smell, but even though Nose Offense is very reasonably priced, I wanted to soak the couch down, and that would have taken a lot of liquid. What I did instead was mix up the Hydrogen Peroxide, dishwashing liquid and baking soda, mixed it gently, and I soaked the heck out of that couch. It stayed wet for a long time, but when it was dry, the smell was gone. Thank GOD.
(c) Anti-Ickypoo and Simple Solution Extreme Cat Stain & Odor Remover. If for some reason you’re against trying Nose Offense (you weirdo), both Anti-Ickypoo and Simple Solution (which you can get at Petsmart) work really well. I like Anti-Ickypoo because the trace scent isn’t a flowery one, it’s more a spicy smell, kind of cinnamon-y, and it works just fine. They both work perfectly fine, but they do have those trace scents, which Nose Offense does not. I’m just sayin’.
5. You can buy pet cord protector to protect your cords from cats, who just loooooove to chew through wires. For reference see: the cord to my memory stick reader. Grrr. The problem with those cord protectors is that they’re treated with a “citrus scent” that smells absolutely awful. It smells like cat pee to me.
What I do is buy flexible split tubing and put that on the cords instead. It’s actually more flexible than the citrus-infused pet cord protector, and so far is working really well. The magazine where I read the tip (Family Handyman magazine, if you must know, and shaddup) said you could find flexible split tubing at Lowe’s, but I couldn’t find it there. Instead, I ordered a 100 foot roll of it from usplastic.com. I ordered the 3/8″ black tubing, but they have it in 1/4″ as well, which would work just fine to cover most cords (also, 1/4″ is smaller than 3/8″, which I confirmed with Fred the math major. Shut up. Math is harrrrd.) I’m not going to lie to you: putting the tube on the cord (or the cord into the tube, whichever way you prefer to look at it) is a pain in the butt, but once it’s done you don’t have to do it again, and it protects your cords from sharp little gnawing teeth.
6. Ham-Micks. We’ve had our Ham-Micks for a year and a half. I can tell you that our cats were immediately interested (Sugarbutt, especially, loves to curl up in the Ham-Mick in a corner of the computer room), and both Ham-Micks are still getting lots of use. The fosters like them, the permanent cats like them, everyone likes them! (If you don’t like the fabric available, I’d encourage you to email Forty Paws and see if you can get something different. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect they’d work with you.)
7. Cat toys.
(a) Sunstones’ crocheted catnip cat toys. These are so pretty and so well-made that I try to have enough on hand to send home in the bag o’ toys I send with my foster kittens. The cats love them and did I mention that they’re pretty? They’re SO pretty – and all proceeds are donated to animal rescue/ rehabs.
(b) Tee Tugs’ Kitty Bugs. Kitty toys made from recycled t-shirts. The cats love the toys, they’re reasonably priced, and they’re made from recycled t-shirts. How cool is that?
(d) Meowing Deals. Do you know about this site? You get stuff for cats – usually toys, and usually KONG toys, which the cats and kittens ADORE – at a great price. I always get a little bit excited when I see that I have an email from Meowing Deals in my inbox. And I currently have about 300 Kong cat toys in this house. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good deal, especially when it involves cat toys. There’s also Barking Deals, for dog stuff.
Of these, the only fountain I do not recommend is the Cat-It. I was cleaning it and broke the globe within weeks of bringing it home. The Drinkwell and Petmate fountains were what I had in the house for the longest time, and the cats liked and used them just fine. The problem is that they’re made of plastic, and plastic can develop hairline cracks and hold bacteria, which can make your cats sick. So I got the Big Max, which is made of ceramic. I actually got two of them, with the intention of putting one in the upstairs bathroom and one in the laundry room. The one in the laundry room was fine, but the one in the upstairs bathroom didn’t work out because the hum was just too loud – the upstairs bathroom is across the hall from my bathroom, and even though I wear earplugs at night, I could still hear the hum of the fountain. So I sent that one back and looked around some more, and tried the Cat Mate.
The good thing about the Cat Mate: it’s super quiet. The bad thing about the Cat Mate: it’s made of plastic. The good thing about the Cat Mate: It’s dishwasher safe, so (I hope) any bacteria that get on/ in it is taken care of by the dishwasher; I run each Cat Mate through the dishwasher once a week. The other good thing about the Cat Mate: all the cats like it a LOT. The potential bad thing about the Cat Mate: a review I read (after I’d bought a couple) said that the pumps don’t last more than 8 months or so, and the company doesn’t sell replacement pumps. If that’s true, I won’t replace the Cat Mates, because that’s too much to pay for a fountain that only lasts several months.
And that’s all I can think of at the moment.
Now it’s your turn: tell me about cool stuff YOU like and think I might like too!
The Many Faces of Lucy Peppers.
I was thinking about Ciara and her nose freckle (god, I love that nose freckle), and I was thinking “You know, I really don’t think she had that freckle when she was wee…” so I had to go back and look…
So, there you go. The evolution of Ciara’s nose freckle.
She really reminds me of Dorothy more than a little.
We really don’t get many squirrels on the side stoop, surprisingly, but this was a day when the bird feeders were getting toward empty, and there is that bowl of cat food on the side porch. Oh, this was driving Sugarbutt crazy – I can only imagine the visions he was having about getting his paws on that squirrel.