Thursday, June 7, 2007

The case of the kitty dandruff...

Mr. Baz has dandruff. He's had it for a while, and it's particularly noticeable because he's very black. And not just his hair, but even his face and his nose and his little paw pads are black. Anyway, the dandruff seemed to get worse ever since we switched to the veterinarian-only cat food after Mr. Baz had the penis incident, where it got blocked and he started peeing in the bathtub. (Note: if your cat starts trying to pee in the bathtub, get him or her to the vet straight away! This a sign that something isn't right and he or she is trying to tell you.)

The veterinarian cat food actually isn't more expensive than the grocery store stuff we were feeding him before, but I am forced to buy a 10 kg bag and lug it home. The vet is close by, and right on my way home from work, so it seems plausible to carry it home while walking, but since the guy at the reception desk often insists on putting the bag of cat food inside a large black garbage bag ("In case you drop it! You don't want the bag to rip open on the street!" is his logic...), it sort of looks like I'm carrying home a dead body. Surprisingly, no one offers to help carry the bag home for me, even though people stare. Alot. You might be thinking, "Why WOULD anyone offer to help you carry the bag home?" But I live in a friendly neighbourhood. Like last summer, I decided to walk to The Beer Store (which is right across the street from the vet), and carry a 2-4 home (really, does it get much more UN-GIRLY than that, considering I don't even drink beer?) and I had three offers to help "carry" the case of Heineken home. I'm starting to think that the case never would've really made it home though - at least not to my home. Still, I'm a married woman, so I didn't accept the offers. I'm just saying it would be nice if a guy offered to help carry the bag of cat food/dead body home for me. Of course, I live beside the gaybourhood, so I'm guessing that's why no guys are really interested in my cat food, or me. Thank goodness the Hubs still is.

So anyway, the point of the story is that two weeks ago, while we were on vacation, Mr. Baz went to his summer home in the country (read: my parents' place in St. Catharines) And when he came back, the dandruff was gone! Vanished! Not a speck of white to be seen. Anywhere.

I have a theory. Perhaps my parents were NOT feeding him the specially formulated pee-freely cat food as instructed. Of course, I brought the food and it was sitting prominently beside the dish, so I can only assume they were feeding it to him. And if they weren't then he wouldn't be eating now, because he'd be used to eating something else.

So theory 2 is that the dandruff is caused by stress and that the stress of the city is too much for him and going to the country for two weeks chilled him out and the dandruff problem disappeared. But what's so stressful about living in the city? It's not like Mr. Baz has to fight traffic to get to work, or anywhere. He just sits inside all day. We don't ask him to do any chores, or even fill his own water bowl. And he's a city boy at heart. He was born in the city, on the streets, right in Chinatown. I mean, if anything, our place should be an oasis compared to the chaos a few blocks over - with the constant fish trucks driving around, millions of street cats to fight off to keep your home...

For a moment I thought maybe he's stressed out because he's inside all day, and is going stir-crazy. But if he wants to go outside, he can, because we leave the patio door open all day long, and he can sit out there as long as he likes. It's not the same as roaming in a backyard, but there's a lot less stress. There are no birds, no neighbouring cats or dogs, no bugs biting his butt.

But maybe he likes other cats, dogs, birds and bugs biting his butt. In the country he goes outside and the birds dive bomb him to tell him to get back inside. He chases bugs and catches butterflies. He rolls in the grass and hides under trees. He has none of that here in the city. Occasionally a leave will fall off one of the plants in the planter boxes and drift across the patio and he'll catch it, but that's the end of that game. So then I got to thinking, maybe his dandruff is caused by utter boredom.

Which is so awful, but what can I do? I wish I could bring the birds up to the 25th floor, but they're just not into it. Even the pigeons don't come this high. And bugs... can I transplant bugs into the planter boxes? Does he need a little Baby Baz to play with? And what if it's not boredom, what if he's over-stimulated at the cottage and the dandruff is really just caused by the difference in tap water he's drinking and then I go and get him bugs and birds and a baby kitten brother and that totally stresses him out and then he hates me?

Maybe I need a cat whisperer.

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