laturner: (apple)
Not sure how many of you out there are Mac users, but here are some useful apps I’ve found. I’ve bought most of these via either MacUpdate or MacZot, I highly recommend signing up for their emails to find software bargains.

DragThing: This app replaces the Dock. Actually, I keep the Dock on the right hand side of my screen, hidden, just in case an app wants my attention. I rarely have to use it though. I have several DragThing docks set up, one for my Most Used apps, and separate ones for Apps, Utilities, and Games. They all hide at the side as drawers. It’s nice to be able to have many apps available in docks without each of their icons being incredibly tiny.

Yep!: This app is to documents as iTunes is to audio or iPhoto is to pictures. I recently amalgamated the documents from several computers into one, and wasn’t looking forward to organizing the folders. Now I can just tag them and don’t have to worry about where they are, and if I have duplicates, it’s easy to tell. I will have to invest some time in this app to make it useful by adding keywords to my docs, but it will be worth it. Please note that there is a bug in the current version where you have to add a tag to one document before it will find the rest of your docs. Odd, but I’m sure they’ll fix it soon.

Notebook: I use this to keep notes for my D&D games. It has an interface like a looseleaf notebook, but adds functionality like an automatic index of capitalized words. Try out the demo. Other apps make you figure out the way they want to organize things, this one lets you organize the way you want to. I’m sure I’m only using 1% of its functionality, but that’s also beautiful in that I didn’t have a huge learning curve to get up and going. When I’m ready, the other features will be there.

MacGourmet Deluxe: This can be used just to store recipes, but it can do so much more. I plan to use it to print a lovely cookbook to give as presents some Christmas (optimistically this Christmas). It calculates nutritional info based on the ingredients, which is a really neat feature. You can create meal plans, import recipes from online sources, and much more.

The Print Shop 2: The Print Shop for Mac has been around (in name) for decades. I used it back in the 80’s with my dot matrix printer and Apple II. It’s come a long way, and it lets me produce posters and other documents very quickly. It’s very user friendly and stable, two important features.

MacJournal: The program I’m using to post this entry! It’s really meant for secure personal journalling, but the ability to post to LJ is what really attracted me to it. There is a Windows version as well.

GraphicConverter: A powerhouse program that I use for only a few things when it could do so much more. It is a fast little app. It has also been around forever, and if you want to manipulate images, it can do practically anything you want.

VirtualBox: When Parallels wanted another $50 to upgrade to the latest version, I checked out this open source Windows virtualization program. Since I don’t want to play games that require specialized graphics processing power, I think VirtualBox will work for the few times I need to run Windows software. It seems to run XP well, anyway, and it’s free. Of course you still need to buy a copy of Windows for it, that’s not included.

What Mac apps have you found useful lately?
laturner: (bear-xmas happy)
The mom from our P litter, Penny, was adopted today! Gesthen and I laughed and cried, a lot. We were so worried about her. What a great present!

penny1.89dLeglJJlUu.jpg
laturner: (OMGWTF?)
On Friday I was at the SPCA working on computers when some kittens were dropped off. Apparently a homeowner had a male cat and her tenants had a female cat. When they left they left the kittens with the landlord, taking their female cat with them. The kittens are three weeks old. Honestly, who does that?

I helped the kennel attendant on duty feed the babies, although they seemed less than interested in the slurry of wet food. They were all meowing in the way that kittens do when they’re just wondering what is going on. They were scared and wanted their mom back, I’d imagine. Poor babies. Anyway, the kennel attendant said something about fostering them herself, and so I went on my merry way.

Apparently that didn’t work out because yesterday while we were away we got a message asking us if we were interested in fostering the kittens. We thought about it for a few minutes... I mean, we were looking for a break... but hey, we had two weekends off, right? So today we went in and got the babies.

There are four of them, and I will introduce them over the next few days. One is a boy who is polydactyl, with six toes on his front paws and five on his back. We’ve named him Quintcy (emphasis on the Quint for the five back toes). :)

When we picked them up they were absolutely covered in soft food. They were eating a bit of it, but mostly they were walking through it and getting it all over themselves. The first order of business when we got them all home was a warm bath. They purred, partly because it was warm and partly because they were getting attention, I’m sure.

Pictures and more under the cut! )
laturner: (kitten mews)
Orlando at 5 months old!
This weekend we visited [livejournal.com profile] gesthen's parents, who adopted Orlando. He's five months old now and such a big boy! Yes, that's him in my user icon at two weeks old!


He was a bit surprised to see Annie at first, but soon remembered her.


Of course, because he's a teenager, he's testing the boundaries and the rules all the time. Apparently he likes coffee.


... and has the same opinion as I do about the last Saskatchewan Roughriders loss.
laturner: (Default)
I thought I'd try to get some photos of the P family with a plain background. It mostly worked, although I have a lot to learn about lighting and how to work the camera. Here you go!


Here's PePe, the little snugglebun!


Big boy Punkin is a real charmer.


Peanut always has places to go and people to see, and the cutest little purling mew.


Penny was so understanding, although she would rather have been adventuring or snuggling.


A rose for a sweet lady.

And of course we can't forget our babies who are already in their new homes!


Puss was a bit unsure of what was happening.


Polly and her heart. Too cute!

Thank goodness for digital photos, I took over a hundred to get a few good ones. The rest are variations on this theme...

Kittens!

Sep. 13th, 2009 10:13 pm
laturner: (kitten mews)
So many pictures of kittens being cute and wrestling with each other! Check out the gallery.

They are all over their little colds and are so darn cute and playful! When we show up with soft food, they will sometimes rush for it, but sometimes they want snuggles first. So cute. We have to sneak into the room quietly so that we can get in the door! When the kittens are a little bit older, and after we’ve re-kittenproofed the basement, we may let them out to explore.

We’re still feeding Penny some KMR each day to help her gain weight. She must have been on her own for at least a few months, because she was just so skinny, under 3kg. She’s mostly weaned the babies now, they will suckle for comfort for very brief periods.

These kittens are also learning how to “fight nice” much faster than the previous litter. I’m betting that momma puts a quick stop to any hard biting. It’s so amazing to have a momma cat, we never appreciated it so much before. :)
laturner: (kitten mews)
Penny had been sneezing, and so really it was only a matter of time before the kittens came down with something. It's a sad fact of life that the shelter is like a daycare... one cat gets a cold and it spreads like wildfire. The shelter is gradually converting to new cat enclosures that will prevent the spread of kitty colds.

Puss's one eye was stuck shut yesterday, and was full of green goop. Today we took them in to Arlington Animal Hospital and got some antibiotic drops for his poor eye. We are also adding a bit of powdered L-Lysine to Penny's milk and the babies' food. It's an antiviral that will help them fight off the cold, which is of course a virus. For some reason kittens tend to get infected eyes more often than the moms, maybe because their eyes are so tiny. They are all still full of energy and eating well though, so no worries.

I had been forgetting to crosspost entries about kittens here, sorry for the sudden catching up. :)
laturner: (kitten mews)
Well, we went through about ten different types of canned food, and none of them appealed to Penny. She did like the one Meow Mix dinner, but seemed more interested in licking up the juice than in the actual food. So we thought, why not mix some of our regular soft kitten food with KMR and water into a soup? BINGO! She liked it! She still seemed non-plussed about the meat though, so our next try was just KMR and water, so basically cat milk. No, she didn't like that. I can't believe how picky she is! Of course she eats tons of kibble and drinks lots of regular water, but for putting weight on her, we want to get something more into her.

Penny is a bit sniffly, and one of the kittens has a bit of eye gunk, but they're getting the best care possible, so hopefully the cold will pass quickly.

Kittens at this age are so dumb and cute. When we feed them, we still have to dab some food on their mouth so they realize that it's there. Once they start eating they're little machines, but it's like they haven't connected the smell of food with eating it yet. In a few days they'll be over that and it will be much easier to feed them, just put the plates down and let them have at it!

Last night Penny was meowing plaintively at us and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then I picked her up and snuggled her really firmly in my arms and scritched her. She purred up a storm. Some cats like that, I know our Molly does, but I was reluctant to try it with Penny. She was much happier after that. Silly cat. :)
laturner: (catnip)
We took Penny and Oreo in for ear mite treatments the other day. Penny has lost almost a pound since coming to stay with us. This isn't completely unexpected, since she is trying to eat for six, but it's still not great. She is currently eating only dry kitten kibble and ignoring the soft food we offered her. We became determined to find a soft food that she would like.

This meant that we had to "cross the line"... normally we will buy cat food that is high quality, with no byproducts. It's better for the cats. Unfortunately one of the reasons that the cheaper foods are often popular with cats is that the manufacturers focus on making the taste appealing, and less on the nutrition. People figure that since their cat loves the food, it must be good for them. Well, as with humans, that's not always true.

Still, the important thing for Penny is to give her lots of energy intake while her babies are nursing, so we bought several sample cans of different canned cat foods to see if one would catch her fancy.

So far, Friskies Tuna and Whitefish, although recommended by a shelter employee who lauded it as "stinky", was not appealing to Penny. She licked it a couple of times, then went away. It was definitely smelly food though.

Next up was the Meow Mix Select Tuna and Shrimp (with whole shrimp!). It was a whole new world of stinky. It also did seem to have real flaked tuna, and I spotted a little shrimp in there. We presented it to Penny and... she liked it! She wasn't crazy over it, but she ate about half the little can, and we've saved the rest to feed her later today.

The taste trials will continue. This is for entertainment purposes only, no endorsement of any product is intended, and Penny's tastes will be different from another cat's anyway. :)

We're also feeding the kittens a mix of KMR, soft canned kitten food, and warm water. Peanut and Puss are now gaining weight steadily, and the other kittens seem very interested in the food too. The sooner we can get them weaned, the better it will be for Penny.

In other good news, there were many little pewps in the litterbox, and none on the bedding! I'm always amazed at how quickly the little guys learn to use the litter.

Names!

Aug. 20th, 2009 01:50 pm
laturner: (kitten mews)

After much pondering, here are tentative kitten names:

Penny: mom (find a Penny, pick her up, all the day you’ll have good luck!)
Punkin: All orange male
Paulie: tuxedo male (I love having a cat named “Polly”, plus it’s a nod to the Sopranos)
Pepe (Longstocking): male, orange with white stockings and mittens
Puss… in boots!: male, orange with white stockings and front toes
Peanut: female torti




laturner: (kitten mews)
This morning when we weighed the kittens, we discovered that instead of two orange and one orange and white, we have one orange kitten and two orange and white! After much inspection and comparison, we saw that one of them has white gloves on his hands, and one just has white fingertips. So the one with long white stockings and gloves is going to be Pepe Longstocking. (Was going to be Pippy, but presence of harbls kind of nixed that idea.)
laturner: (kitten mews)
Good news first, Ophelia has been adopted!

Our poor Oreo has caught a little cold though. We offered to take her back home to get well, and found out that the shelter had a sudden influx of mother cats and babies. After some thought we decided we could probably fit another little family in our home.

Meet the P litter! After the cut... )
laturner: (kitten mews)

Opal and Orlando got their respective reproductive organs yoinked out of them yesterday.  "Pediatric" spays and neuters are quite nice, the kittens recover faster and definitely don't have time to get bad habits from their hormones kicking in.  Mortality rates are lower, and there are no chances for accidental babies.  Apparently one odd effect is that they may be taller and longer than cats neutered later in life, due to their bones growing for a longer time. 

The official paperwork sent home with them cautioned to "reduce their activity levels", but the tech and I both grinned and rolled our eyes because... they're kittens.  We won't play with them using toys that make them twist and jump, but we can't prevent them from fighting with each other and running around.  Well, technically we could put them both in separate small areas, but I think the mental trauma would be worse than the remote possibility that they might rip their stitches out while playing.

They were leaving their stitches alone, so we didn't put cones on them, but we're prepared.  That's really a last resort.

We were told that we should only feed them a little bit last night, because they might have upset tummies.  Thus we were treated to a display of two kittens who thought we were the stupidest monkeys on the planet.  They so clearly tried to tell us they were still hungry.  Poor babies. 

This morning they were all over the food when we brought it in.  Orlando finally looked up and came to visit us, but then looked back and went back to the food.  So cute, he was torn between snuggles and more food.  Finally they both came and cuddled us, happy that we'd finally gotten the message. Humans are so slow sometimes. :P

Orlando didn't slow down much at all due to the surgery, Opal did seem a bit tired last night.  She gets painkillers by mouth for the next few days, once a day, just in case.  The incision on her belly is only half an inch long, it's quite impressive that they can make such a little cut. 

This weekend our family members are coming in to adopt them and take them home!  So glad. 

laturner: (kitten mews)
I thought I had posted a video of a kitten drinking milk before, but maybe not! So click here to watch Othello drinking milk from the bottle last week.

We've been inviting friends over to see the kittens so that they don't grow up and "make strange" with others. So far it's been a success, the kittens seem to love everyone!

They're getting better at keeping clean when they're in the litterbox. They usually try to cover things up after they've done their business, but sometimes they are a little...off. They try so hard.

It's so cute to watch their little brains work. They have such short attention spans right now. Unfortunately it does mean that we can have food for them on the floor, and sometimes they come to us and meow in the "I'm hungry!" tone instead of remembering where the food is. We put them by the food again and they're happy. Sigh! Good thing they're cute. :P
laturner: (kitten mews)
The kittens are now eating from plates on the floor, although a few of them miss all the attention while they ate and will eat a bit, run to us for cuddles, then meow at us because they're still hungry. So we put them back at the food, they eat more, run back to us... silly kitties. Between the seven of them they're eating nearly four small cans of kitten food per feeding, which is now twice a day.

Here is a picture of the canned food mixed with water and a bit of KMR. That was four days ago, yesterday we just mixed it with some plain water, and today they got it right out of the can. They also have dry food and water available at all times.

When we go into the room, we sneak up so they don't hear us and rush the door. We run in (careful to not catch a kitten with the door), carrying the garbage can and clean towels and plates. We do a quick "butt check" to ensure the kittens are clean, and now they usually are. Then if it's morning we weigh them all, if not, we put food down for them.

Then it's the fun part, we sit on the futon and wait to become kitten playgrounds. :) Eventually they calm down and sleep on us, which is the best part of raising kittens in my opinion.

We've introduced them to our dog Annie a few times. Orion and Orlando hissed at first and retreated to our arms for safety, but they overcame their fear quickly and ended up crawling all over her like everyone else. Poor patient dog. :)

More pictures and info under the cut! )
laturner: (kitten mews)
Today we took the kittens out of the cage and gave them the run of the downstairs bedroom. They were getting playful and needed to run!

We fed them and then placed each one in a litterbox on the floor as they were finished. They ventured out a short way from the litterbox, but seemed hesitant. So much space! To make things familiar, we put their bed close to the litterbox and their food and water dishes where they were in relation in the cage. That made them happier and they began to explore.

It wasn't long before they connected our feet with our hands, and would sit on our foot and mew if they wanted cuddles. Tonight I made the mistake of wearing long pants and the kittens figured out they could just climb right up. Or at least Opal figured it out, Orlando (my orange sweetie) just watched her with this look on his face like "Wow. Why would you do that?" I picked him up anyway for snuggles.

The kittens are eating soft food mixed with water, and are free fed dry kitten food. We saw Ophelia eating some today, and Oreo definitely knows how to drink from the water bowl.

How to choose a kitten food? We chose the food with the highest protein content and fat content. Strangely, that is Iams kitten, and not any of the more expensive "premium" brands. Go figure.

The only really hard rule about soft food is: choose one you don't mind wearing. Because you will wear it, oh yes. Just when you think you're going to get away without a major mess, a kitten plunges a paw into the gooshy food and then shakes it. Or takes a faceplant in the food and sneezes and shakes its head. Mmmm, mystery meat.

The latest challenge is getting out of the room without kittens following us. One of us can leave and shut the door just as a wave of kittens bounces off of it. Luckily they have the attention spans of... kittens, and soon they stop meowing at the door and run off to play. Then the other one of us has to do the same thing. This will only get more difficult.

We're so glad that they're still doing well! We continue to weigh them every morning and feed them soft food twice a day, along with playtime and cuddles of course. We also do "butt check" to make sure they are clean, because we don't want them to learn to live with being dirty. They are mostly doing OK on that front, amazingly. Instinct is a powerful thing.
laturner: (red alert)
I realized that LJ isn't searchable, so probably isn't a great place for a kitten info blog. I've placed the kitten postings on my own site in a Wordpress blog. I'll mirror those posts here as well, but hopefully Google will index the external blog.

You can see info about most of the other animals we've fostered in the older entries.

http://www.saskatoonspca.com/LLfoster/

Soft food!

Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:10 pm
laturner: (kitten mews)
The kittens are now eating soft food! We mixed some warm kitten milk with soft canned kitten food (Iams is our current choice because of the high protein content). The kittens started with the bottle, then we took it away before they were full and smeared the food on their mouths. They started licking it, and as they licked we put a spoonful of soft food up to their mouths and they just kept on eating. Wooooo!

We've also reduced the number of times that we pee and poo them, because we know they are using the litterbox. We actually saw Oreo use it, squee! I can't believe we're excited about kitten pee. :P

Soon it will be more fun and less work, just providing food and then playing with them until they sleep. Sweet.

Pewpies!

Jun. 20th, 2009 07:32 pm
laturner: (kitten mews)
This morning we found little pees AND PEWPS in the litterbox! We're so glad! We are still going through the process of making them pee and poo, but it's great to see that some of them are getting the idea. Yay!!!
laturner: (kitten mews)
Last night we moved the kittens to their new home, a spare room in our basement. We've had flooring put in especially for fostering, with waterproof vinyl up the walls ten inches so we can clean the whole floor thoroughly. There's a large cage for the kittens until they have mastered the litterbox, then they'll get the run of the room.

Speaking of the litterbox, we put a small one in the cage with the kittens last night.

This morning, one of the kittens had peed in the box!!!

At the afternoon feeding, there was another pee in the box!

OMG. We have little prodigy kittens! ;)
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