Fall 2019 Reflections: Can This Year End Already? Horrible Vets, Shady Finland’s Post, And The Darkest Month

Hi, everyone! I thought this could be a fun, interesting, and maybe a bit intimate topic to explore every quarter of the year: one for winter, one for spring, one for summer, and one for fall. I am not big into all the reflecting at the end of the year, because I have bad memory, and also we’re wired to remember more hardships than good times. And I want my life to be filled with as many good things as possible!

These last few weeks (or months, rather) have been challenging. They always are when you’re a small business owner, and the busy holiday times hit & you’re trying to keep up with everything, but this fall has drained me already. Don’t get me wrong – I have NO problem with the amount of orders I’ve been receiving – after being in business for almost 5 years, I am pretty used to the high volume of orders during the fall season, so all is good in that department. The main things affecting my poor mental and physical health are the outside factors.

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Sleepy Queen Beliza.

Let’s start with one of my cats having a slight ear infection (plain yeast infection, nothing big, should be over in no time). Or that’s what we thought. Our usual vet has retired, so we’ve been on the mission to find a new one. Well, we thought we found a decent vet – she spayed Vampiria, and has said that she loves working with fearful animals, to which I thought “Awesome! Bacha always freaks out when she goes to the vet, so this lady might be a good fit!” Uhm, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

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My beautiful green-eyed princess Bacha.

So, we bring the cat in to get checked for ear infection. She takes swabs and brings them to the lab, comes back, tries to take a closer look into the cats ears – one ear is fine, but she shakes her head a couple of times, when the vet tries to look into the infected ear. What our previous vet would do in these situations? He’d just tell us how to hold her, or would invite his assistant to hold the cat properly. What does this new vet do? She sedates the cat without a second thought. Yep, she sedates the cat, because the cat (completely not aggressive, very friendly, has never scratched anyone) shook her infected ear couple of times. The vet CLEARLY has no idea how to properly hold the cat, and it seems she’s also a bit afraid of it. Then she takes a look at the ear, when the kitty falls asleep, complains about some gunk in the ears (hm-hm, the cat has an ear infection on top of being an oily Sphynx – shocker, she has some gunk!), then invites her assistant to clean out the ears. Ok, assistant comes, all is fine, until she starts digging all over the ears using this huge cotton bud. And she’s being rough! The cat is not completely sedated, only to the level of where she can barely move, and oh man, you can see she feels everything! She started trying to get away, digging, scratching, trying to cry while she was “sedated”, and she was clearly in a lot of pain. I give a few mad looks to the assistant, she calms down a bit. Oh, and can we just talk about the fact that she had the most disgusted face, when Vampiria shook her head (again, while “sedated”), and some of the ear cleaner got on her? It seems like all of these people are in the wrong profession.

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A beautiful moment from Vampiria’s first ever photoshoot. She loved every moment of it!

So, after paying a hefty bill, we came back home. And now we need to deal with a cat, who is absolutely terrified of us touching her ears. She used to snooze and purr while her ears were being cleaned, and after the vet visit we HAVE to make a purrito out of her, because otherwise she would injure herself and scratch our eyes out while trying to get away. She was never afraid of vets, she loved people, and would purr and give headbutts whenever we brought her to vet. She’s a completely different cat now. And it breaks my heart so much.

Oh, but there’s more! The “amazing” check up appointment a week later. The vet who checked and treated Vampiria for the first time, was busy in surgery, so another vet took her in. There was a slight hope, that was quickly destroyed. I wasn’t there, but my husband was. So, he brings Vampiria in, and the vet is already preparing the medicine to get her sedated. My husband says a firm “No” to the sedation (after Vampiria was so traumatized, there was no way we’d put her through that again). The vet tries to argue, but gives in, and comes to check her ears without sedation. And it went completely fine! The infection was gone, the ears looked fine, and she had absolutely no trouble checking everything.

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Playful Bacha, as always!

It seems like sedation is a common practice there. Easy to brag about being good with fearful pets, when you just sedate them, right? While living here in the capital for almost 7 years, we had luck of trying out about 9-10 different vets. This usually would happen if we needed a follow up appointment, and our usual vet was away, we’d need to go to a different one in his clinic. We also tried 3 or 4 different clinics over the years, in hopes we could find some vet who’s closer to our home (our usual vet was about 45 minutes away). Now, no shade to female vets over here in Finland, cause I am sure there are good ones out there, but we had an absolutely awful experience with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Our usual vet? An experienced man, who was always quick, super professional, knows how to handle the animals properly, and had a great customer service. Our cardiologist? Again, a man, very professional, handles the cats quickly, gives accurate diagnosis, etc. Pleasure to work with.

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More playtime! It’s always so much fun to do photoshoots!

Now, the female vets. There are very few male vets in comparison to females over here, so you usually end up with a female vet. Some of the things that many female vets share (from my personal experience when visiting about 8 different ones over the years):
– lack of knowledge on how to handle and hold the cat;
– being VERY afraid of getting scratched – once the cat moves even a bit, it needs to be sedated, cause it’s a killer cat;
– lack of education in the medicine that is out there. Now, hear me out on this one. I noticed that a lot of female vets tend to try to modernize the field a bit too much. I remember maybe 4 years ago, one of our cats got flu. Simple to treat? Well, not really, as we found out later! So, our vet is on vacation, we go to this female vet we’ve never been to before. She checks the cat, confirms it’s a simple flu, prescribes the meds. What kind of meds? Some kind of antibiotics, that are very fancy and new, and cost almost a €100/pack. OK, we suck it up, and buy two packs as per her recommendation. We give the meds for two weeks, absolutely no improvement, if anything, the cat’s getting worse. Finally, our vet is back from vacation. We pack up the cat, and go to him. He checks the cat, asks what meds she was given. We tell the name (can’t remember anymore as it’s been a while), and he just gets this look on his face like “Yeah, I know the meds, but…really???? It’s a new medicine, but older ones work just fine”. So, as his usual straight forward self, he prescribes meds that cost €15/bottle, and the cat is healthy within a week. Never again!
– Making the situation sound worse than it really is. You know how usually when you go in to get some kind of diagnosis, and the doctors keep everything to themselves until they know what’s wrong? Well, not when it comes to vets over here! Imagine, you had a headache for a while, go to the doctors office, and the doctor behaves something like this: “Oh my gosh, how long has this been going on??? A week? You had headache for a week?! You’re so irresponsible!!! We need to do an X-Ray, a cat scan, heart scan, do all the blood and allergy tests, flush out your intestines, check your bladder, and checking your eyes would be good too. If we don’t do that, you may die within 24 hours!”. So much for not freaking out the people, right? That’s how many vets we’ve been to behave, by suggesting all the possible tests, even though they may be completely unrelated to the actual problem. Oh, and add the slight freaked out face!
– Being afraid of any type of dirt. “Eww, there’s a piece of grass in your dogs fur”, “Ugh, your cat’s ears have some gunk”, “Oh, I see you haven’t brushed your pet’s teeth today, looks awful” are just a few things I have heard over the years.
– I won’t even start about the lack of knowledge when it comes to Sphynx breed.

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Pretty lady in red.

So, we keep looking. For a vet, who’s a man, and not a woman. We think we found one not too far away from us, and they seem to have good reviews from other cat owners, so that definitely gives us some hope! We will have to vaccinate Bacha and Beliza next month, so fingers crossed it will be a good experience!

Now, Finland’s Post aka Posti. Very shady! It’s crazy how a government owned company got so corrupt. I mean, sure, it’s not shady at all that the company’s directors salary increased by over 60% in mere 3 years, where he’s been earning about 84k/month in 2019. This has caused a public outrage (righteously so), and so he resigned. I mean, sure, when you keep on cutting workers’ salaries, and increasing prices for your crappy services (the prices increased by 25-30% in the past 4.5 years), you become a millionaire. The whole management team there is just as shady – at least the director apologized. And so they have yet another strike. Can’t say I am surprised – they want to cut off workers’ salaries by 30%, completely ignoring the original work agreements that were signed. Uh, bye Felicia!

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Baby boy rocking pastel rainbows!

It’s just such a mess. They tried to hire additional workers to do the job during the strike (which is illegal, because Posti is a government owned company), they threatened to fire the wokers if they don’t come to work because of strike (which is again, illegal). Road deliveries just shut down, international airport that’s responsible for mail, is shut down, railroad and ship companies will join the strike too. Many other unions have already joined. It’s mindblowing that a government owned company even has a right to negotiate. They’ve been “negotiating” the whole week, now they will meet again on Monday, aka today. I wish this sh*tshow would end already, I am so done with it.

It’s stressful, cause my customers’ packages will be delayed yet again as this is the second strike this fall. And while 99% of customers are absolutely amazing, and understanding, and patient, there will always be that 0.1% that will be rude, outraged, and will blast me all over the place for it. But that comes with the job I guess! It’s crazy how nowadays some people don’t know how to communicate with others without being mean and vicious.

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Vampiria’s second photoshoot. Still loving it!

All the strikes probably aged me by 5 years, and added like 200 gray hair on my head! I haven’t been able to sleep well either, which makes my fibromyalgia flare up even more. I am trying to get back on the straighter path though!

And, of course, the dark autumn. November is the darkest month over here in Finland. It literally looked like nighttime the whole day today. Can’t wait for the snow, so it will at least be brighter, and we’ll get some sun, hopefully.

73187900_10212374906807351_3734771949918748672_n2019 has been such a wild ride. Good things happened, bad things happened, but we’re all trying to stay alive in this sinking ship I guess! I still wait for the new year, and am looking forward to starting things fresh. In order to end this on a positive note, here are a few things I’ve been really grateful for this fall season.
– Cats, of course! Those purring balls of warmth and softness are the best things ever. They’re so loving, and always keep me company, no matter how great or bad I feel. Cats really do make the world a better place!
– Awesome customers! For every not-such-a-nice-person that I meet, there are 100 amazing ones! I love reading lovely reviews, chatting to people privately, and see all the beautiful pictures of their kitties. Whenever I feel down, stressed, or unsure, all the heartwarming reviews and messages make my day.
– Music, that I used to enjoy as a kid and teenager. Looking at you, Robbie Williams!
– All people, who are close to me, and are trying their best to be helpful during these challenging times!

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Aether wishes you a great fall season!

So, this is my reflection on the fall of 2019. Will we talk on this blog more, or will this be the last post of the year? Only time will tell. But for now, I wish you a wonderful week ahead, and stay cozy wherever you are!

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TOP 5 Online Cat Games My Cats Love

Hello! It seems like we survived the heatwave (yay!), and we can finally breathe again! It makes me so happy to see the cats being more active and playful instead of rolling all over the floor trying to cool down. Now that the playtime is back on the menu, I decided to share a few online games my cats love.

You can play them for your cats on your phone, laptop or tablet – all of these work well!

Number 1 and our favorite: catching mice!

Number 2: litter box fly!

Number 3: catching koi fish!

Number 4: catching a gecko!

And last, but not least: catching fish!

I hope your little friend will enjoy at least one of these games!

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asta

Review: Flying Tiger Pet Food Catapult – Does It Work?

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re doing great! This blog post was written a little bit impromptu, because I was planning to write on a different topic, but yesterday I was doing a little bit of shopping, and decided to visit Flying Tiger. While over there, I noticed something I thought was quite hilarious – pet food catapult! On the package they show a dog as an example, but I was wondering if it would work for cats as well. It’s called “Pet food catapult” after all! I just HAD to try it out. Let’s see how it went!

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Price. It was cheap, just like most things in Flying Tiger – I paid €4 for the pet food catapult.

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Looks & how it works. It’s made of plastic, and the front part (the little see-through part) comes off easily with a little twist, so it’s easy to clean and/or load the catapult with pet food. Then you simply push down the black button (see the picture) and press the black button next to it to “shoot” the food in the air.

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How my cats reacted to it. Well, the thing is that they didn’t. But no, really! They could not care less about the food flying out of that catapult. They were sitting in front of me with those huge eyes asking for treats, but they just couldn’t understand that the food was flying out of the catapult and they need to go pick it up. I loaded it with quite big cat treats (Dreamies to be precise), but I think the main issue was that the food would fly out at a very high speed, and the cats simply wouldn’t notice it. If the treats landed on the floor, they’d react to the noise it made, but that’s all.

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Some final thoughts and is it worth it. It’s hard to say whether it’s worth it or not. All of my cats didn’t understand it, but maybe they’re just not very smart, haha! 😀 It was only €4, so I don’t feel robbed, and, well, cats are beings that are very picky in general. It did not work for my cats at all, but it MAY work for your cat. Or maybe it works only for dogs. Or maybe it works for some pets only, while it also may not work at all. If you feel like trying it out – give it a go, but I personally won’t be using it.

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asta

Review: CATNIP SILVER VINE STICKS – Worth It Or Not?

Hello, everyone! Another month, another review is here! Today we’re talking about our kitties’ dental health. As some of you may know (or if you don’t – now you do!), I love browsing the wide oceans of the internet searching for things for my cats. I love trying out new things, so one day I accidentally came by these things called “Catnip Silver Vine Sticks” while browsing on Ebay. I got confused for a moment as I’ve never heard of thing called Silver Vine. I did some reading online and decided to purchase the sticks. If you’re just like me and wonder what on Earth that Silver Vine is, here’s a great article about it:
4 Reasons Why Catnip and Silver Vine Are Important to Your Cat’s Health.

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Where I got the sticks & the cost. I got them at ebay.co.uk. Now here’s the thing regarding the cost. I saw some Asian websites selling them & also some people from the UK were selling the same kind of sticks. My thought process was this: OK, UK must have better quality stuff, so I’ll pay more and get it from there. WRONG! So, I paid about £3 (about €3.40 or $3.90) for the sticks + about £3 for the shipping. I received the package and… surprise! There’s a nice Asian package of Silver Vine sticks, meaning that the seller simply purchased cheap Asian sticks and is reselling them for ridiculously high price. You can see the packaging in the picture below.

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Meanwhile the Asian shops they were selling these sticks for £0.99! Some were with free postage, while in some cases you would need to pay the P&P, which is £0.99. So even with the postage it would make under £2, which is less than the price of the sticks itself from the UK sellers. Never again! 🙂

More about the sticks & my cats’ reaction. The sticks come in 2 sizes: one thick, another one thinner. Both measure about 12.5 cm (about 5 inches) and are made of the same material.

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My cats really liked them! They were playing with the sticks for a while, they like poking them, rolling them around and biting them.

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How do the sticks look like now and would I recommend them. It’s been about 3 months since I got them, and they still look pretty good! They have some bite and scratch marks, but that’s completely normal. Cats play with them every now and then, so it wasn’t a waste of money. Do they really help to keep teeth in better condition in any way? I am not sure, but it’s definitely good to have something like this for your cat to chew on – in order to prevent them from chewing other things or to simply make their jaws stronger.

 

 

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Shop wise, I’d definitely advice to just get it off Ebay from some Asian shop! It is an Asian product, so there’s no need to pay 3 or 4 times more than you need to. Here are some example of Ebay search in ebay.co.uk (I’m sure you can get them just off any Ebay or even Amazon!):

Option No. 1
Option No. 2
Option No. 3

I hope you enjoyed this little review! Have an amazing week ahead of you! 🙂

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asta

DIY Cat Treats: Easy, Quick & Yummy

As a crazy cat lady, I always looks for something new for my cats. New toys, new scratching posts, new blankets, new beds… You name it, I got it. 😀 I also have quite a few books about cats, and I finally decided to get it together and make some use out of them. I flipped through one of the books I bought back in December of 2016 – it’s called “Treats for your cat”. Basically, there you can find a lot of DIY toys, pet carriers, etc. There’s also quite a few recipes with different meals you can prepare for your cats, and one of them caught my eye – it’s simple, quick and doesn’t require 15 weird and fancy products. It’s called “Christmas Cookies”, but believe me – your cat(s) will love these treats all year ’round.

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These cat treats have fish in them, and I know that there has been a little bit of a fuss about giving fish to your cat. Generally, moderate amounts of fish will provide your cat nutrients, however, it’s best to serve it cooked as raw fish contains thiaminase. It’s OK to give it to your cat as a treat sometimes, but it shouldn’t be a big part of your cat’s daily diet. With that little bit out of the way, let’s get into the recipe!

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So, I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my cats’ wishes, so I am sure that there will be no harm if you use something different too. The basic recipe for these treats is:
-225 g/8 oz plain wholemeal flour
-1 x 200 g/7 oz can pressed cods roe (I used tuna fish instead)
-90 g/2 oz vegetable fat
-1 egg

I think that unless you have 10+ cats, you should split all the amounts in half – I have 3 cats, made half of the amount written and there will easily be enough treats for quite a few days. These treats are yummy and cats love them, but they’re also very filling and your cat probably won’t be able to eat more than 2-3 treats at once (all depends on the size of treats of course).

So, you have the recipe, what do you do next? Well, firstly, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the baking tray with a parchment paper (baking sheet). While the oven is heating, make the treats: mix together flour, your fish of choice, vegetable fat and egg. You can add a little bit of water if the mixture is too stiff. And here comes in the creative part of this process: you can choose what shape treats you want to make. I simply took little balls, pressed them a bit and made little button like treats, but you can do something more creative! In the book, it suggests to roll out the dough and cut out the treats with a cookie cutter. Put the treats on the baking sheet, and once the treats are all made and the oven is heated, put them to bake until golden and crisp. I baked them for about 15-20 minutes.

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Once the treats are done, take them out of the oven and leave to cool down. Then give them to your cats and see if they like it! I am sure they will, because my Sphynxes generally don’t eat fish, but this time they made an exception!

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I store the treats in these little glass jars.

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If you have any questions regarding the recipe, please leave them down in the comments and I will get back to you! I hope you all have a wonderful day. 🙂

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asta