Calcifer Kitty Isn’t Feeling Well :(

cal yawning

Poor Calcifer hasn’t been feeling well this week.  It started Monday when I couldn’t get him to eat more than a few pieces of his dry food, or take more than a token lick of his canned food.  Since Calcifer is normally a very finicky cat this wasn’t totally unusual.  But after it continued like this for the rest of the day I knew something was wrong.  He acted like he wanted to eat, but just couldn’t.  I gave him some NutriCal, which is a high calorie supplement in a gel form and is supposed to help stimulate a cat’s appetite, and later some hairball medicine in case he had a hairball stuck.  He’s a very fluffy cat so he ends up ingesting a lot of fur even though I brush him and Ginko just about every day.  Unfortunately Calcifer also washes Ginko so he ingests even more fur from his brother, who’s quite the shedder.Calcifer washing Ginko

Then I checked Calcifer’s teeth and gums to see if he had an infection in his mouth that was keeping him from eating.  Surprisingly he didn’t object too much about me handling his mouth and running my finger along his gums.  He’s actually got some very healthy looking teeth and gums, so that didn’t appear to be the issue.

cal-yawning (706x1024)

When he still wasn’t eating the next day I knew I had to do something.  He’s not a very heavy cat in the first place and really can’t afford to lose any weight.  So I called the vet and made an appointment to get him in as soon as possible.  Unfortunately that wasn’t until Thursday, so in the meantime I had to figure out how to get some food into my skinny kitty.  I got him some chicken baby food and some Kitten Chow and he showed some interest in that.  When Ozzy was elderly and sick from kidney disease the only thing that would spark his appetite was chicken baby food, so I had hopes it would have the same result with Calcifer (even though he’s only 6, not at all elderly).

I felt better that I was at least getting a little something into his belly, but he still wasn’t eating much and wasn’t feeling good.  Even Ginko knew his brother was sick and was being very sweet to him.

calcifer and ginko cuddling

Wednesday I brought Calcifer’s carrier up from the tack room and put his favorite blanket in there so he would get comfortable with it and not freak out when it was time to go to the vet the next day.  Both cats took turns hanging out in the new Cat Cave ;)  Calcifer really seemed comfy and cozy in there.

cal in carrier 3

Before his appointment I gave him some Rescue Remedy to help take the edge off his fear.  He actually likes the flavor and will lick it right from the dropper.  When it was time to go he was already curled up in his carrier and all I had to do was close the door.  Of course he wasn’t at all happy about the ride to the vet, or the exam, but he took it better than I expected.

This was the first time I’ve been to the Prescott Valley Vet Clinic and I must say I really liked them.  Dr. Rogers and her assistants were very good with Calcifer and gave him a thorough exam.  They took some blood tests to see if any of the usual cat issues were the problem: thyroid, diabetes, liver, kidney.  He had a fever so she gave me some antibiotics for whatever infection he may have.  She also gave him some subcutaneous fluids since he was a little dehydrated.  When we got home Ginko was very concerned about Calcifer and gently washed all the places where they poked and prodded him.

ginko and calcifer 2

I gave Calcifer his first dose of antibiotics when we got home and he actually perked up a bit and ate some baby food and kitten food.  Today he seemed to be feeling even better and ate more kitten food and even a bit of his canned food.  I’m still giving him the NutriCal and will continue until he puts on the weight he’s lost.  The vet said he should weigh 10 or 11 pounds and he was down to just 8 :(

Dr. Rogers called this afternoon with his test results and he seems to be a very healthy cat, thankfully.  No issues with his thyroid, kidneys, no diabetes, and just slightly low liver enzymes- nothing to be worried about.  So he may have just picked up a small infection and that put him off his food.  He’s got a few more doses of his antibiotic and the vet has some pills that are supposed to help his appetite, so I’ll pick those up next week.

I’m still feeding him every few hours, sitting on the floor with him and putting a small pile of kitten food on the floor, just the way he likes it, and letting him lick the baby food off the spoon.  It’s time consuming, but he’s worth it.  Hopefully he’ll get back to eating like normal (which still isn’t all that much).  But I’ll do whatever I have to to keep Calcifer healthy.  I love this cat with all my heart <3

me and calcifer 2

And if anyone has any tips on getting a finicky cat to eat, please leave a comment below- I can use all the help I can get!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Personalized Catnip Pot

PITA's catnip pot

One of our friends rescued a kitten several months ago and has been in the process of spoiling her silly ;)  Pita is a frisky gray tabby cat who earned her name by being a bit of a PITA, according to her mom- LOL.  In spite of being the occasional pain Pita is a much loved kitty and is very affectionate.  The first time Sal and I visited Pita leaped right onto my shoulder and started rubbing against my head and purring in my ear.  She stayed there for most of our visit!  Of course I immediately fell in love with this sweet and adorable kitty.  I’ve already sent Gayle home with some fresh clipped catnip as well as a bag of dried catnip, but I decided this kitty needed her own supply on demand.  And since my own catnip is doing so well I knew I’d be able to divide one of the clumps and pot it up so Pita could have her fresh nip whenever she wanted it.  But of course I couldn’t just plop it in a pot and be done with it- oh no, not me!  I had to make it extra special, so I made the pot personalized by sculpting a miniature Pita kitty lounging on the rim and adding a sign saying PITA’S CATNIP, just so everyone would know who the catnip belonged to. ;)

Calcifer says, "Cute kitty- awfully small though."

Calcifer says, “Cute kitty- awfully small though.”

Of course Calcifer had to inspect my work ;)

So where's the catnip?

So where’s the catnip?

I dug up a few healthy little shoots that should do well.  They had some nice roots and I think this pot will be full of catnip in no time.

PITA's catnip pot 2

I just wanted to share this quick little project with you all.  Lately it’s been all about catnip!  I’ve been busy making new catnip toys to replace the ones I’ve sold.  If you’re interested in any of my catnip or cat toys check out my Organic Catnip Toys category in CreativeCritters.

And of course if you’d like me to create a custom order for you (pet sculptures, cat toys, etc.) just let me know and I’d be happy to work with you :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Meet the Newest (2 legged) Member of the Family!

Anna 9-8-15

This beautiful little girl is Anna, Sal’s granddaughter (Sal’s the man I live with and the love of my life <3).  His daughter Christina gave birth on Tuesday to a healthy 6 lb girl and the whole family couldn’t be happier.

Of course the minute I heard Christina was pregnant I started planning the gifts I would make for the new baby ;)  The baby blanket took months to complete and wasn’t totally finished until I was able to embroider her name and date of birth.anna's blanket 2

I found the heart pattern baby blanket here  It’s a fairly simple pattern, but it creates a really pretty blanket.  Of course I chose to use purple yarn ;)

anna's blanket

I used white yarn with specks of purple for the crocheted edging and the embroidery.  The edging is my own pattern and is basically a shell stitch.  It actually took about 3 tries before I settled on a pattern for the edging.  It’s been a while since I’ve done any crocheting, so I had to play around a bit to remember how to create the look I wanted.

anna's blanket ginko

And of course my quality control inspector, Ginko had to make sure everything looked good and was well made ;)  He also had to inspect the yarn as I was knitting, frequently trying to take it into his own room for closer investigation.  My kitties are all about quality and inspecting my work very thoroughly!  They are the backbone of CreativeCritters after all :)

anna's hat and booties

And while I was making the blanket I was also knitting this cute little hat and booties (I’m always multitasking- LOL!).  I used the purple and white yarn held together so they match the blanket and are super soft and cozy.  Christina lives in Chicago, so this baby’s going to need a nice warm blanket, hat, and booties to keep her toasty from head to toe this winter!  I used my knitting loom to make the hat and found the pattern for the booties here  This is a really easy pattern as well, which suits me just fine!  The end result is really cute, without having to stress over a lot of shaping or complicated stitches.

anna's hat and booties calcifer

Calcifer was my quality control inspector on this set ;)  He’s very into knitting and likes to take a “paws on” approach, helpfully “guiding” the yarn as I knit ;)  He doesn’t even seem to mind getting bonked in the head with my knitting needles while I work (it certainly doesn’t make him move off my lap anyway)!

anna's kitty

And finally I knit Anna this cute blue eyed kitty cat, because every little girl needs her own stuffed kitty to love and cuddle.  This one is completely my own pattern, knit from soft gold and white yarn and softly stuffed.  I made the bright blue eyes nice and large to give the kitty an open, happy, and friendly expression.  This is the sort of stuffed animal that a baby can grab onto and let her little finger sink into it.  It’s very soft and huggable <3

anna's kitty calcifer

And of course one kitty has to inspect another!

So these projects have kept me pretty busy (along with my paying work) while I awaited the arrival of little Anna.  I’ll have to wait a few more months to actually give her these gifts, since Christina won’t be coming to visit until Thanksgiving.  Heck, I may end up making her something else by then!  I love making gifts for babies and kids, and this little girl is definitely going to be spoiled with lots of handmade goodies :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

What I feed my puppy

dewey dude eating

Today I wanted to share with you what I feed my puppy.  Dewey Dude is a German Shepherd/ Rottweiler mix, so he’s going to be a pretty big dog, and good nutrition at an early age is especially important.  I want my little boy to grow up to be a big healthy dog and have him live a long life free of illness and major health issues.

His big brother Ziggi, a German Shorthair Pointer/ Australian Cattle Dog mix, has been eating essentially the same thing since he was a puppy, and at 6 years old he’s the picture of canine health and vitality!

handsome Ziggi

Both dogs were started on Kirkland Super Premium Puppy food.  Right now Dewey Dude is eating one cup, three times a day.  Breakfast is his biggest meal.  To his puppy food I add one fresh egg (we have 7 chickens so we normally get 7 eggs a day), which provides protein and fatty acids which can improve skin and coat health, as well as vitamin D, calcium, and Choline which assists with healthy bones and teeth.  Eggs also contain iron, Selenium, iodine, vitamin E, zinc, and riboflavin.  Lots of really good stuff in one little egg!

dewey's breakfast

I also add a teaspoon of Diatomaceous earth which helps to prevent and control internal parasites, and can also help to detoxify the body.  It’s supposed to help with digestion as well.  Then I add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, which also helps with digestion, along with many other health issues.  I take it daily myself as well.  Then there’s the scoop of yogurt, also to aid digestion and add protein and good bacteria.  Then about a teaspoon of wheat germ, which helps with skin problems, dull, dry hair and to regulate both immune and inflammatory responses in a dog’s body. Then a teaspoon of nutritional yeast, which is a rich source of amino acids and minerals and has high levels of B-complex vitamins.  And finally I add about a teaspoon of ground flax seed, which aids in making his coat softer and shinier, with healthier skin underneath.  In addition to the omega fatty acids, flax seed contains alpha-linoleic acid, which offers benefits to his immune system. Alpha-linoleic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect, so it can help prevent or control arthritis or other joint problems. Flax seed also contains antioxidants.  I add some water, mix it all up , and create a delicious stew :)

dewey eating LOL

Dewey Dude certainly seems to approve!  I add each of these ingredients for very specific purposes.  Both German Shepherds and Rottweilers can have issues with dry skin.  Rottweilers can suffer from digestive issues and have frequent bouts of diarrhea.  My neighbor had a Rotty that was constantly ill- poor thing :(  And both Rottweilers and Shepherds are large breed dogs that can have joint problems and arthritis.  Dewey Dude did have dry skin at first, but now his skin is nice and healthy and his coat is smooth and shiny.  From everything I can tell he’s a very healthy puppy, physically and emotionally.

My pet’s health is of the utmost importance to me and I want to do all I can to ensure that they live long healthy lives.  That starts with nutrition, but also factors in exercise, environment, mental stimulation, and lots of love <3

dewey dude and me

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Cheese Kitty!

ginko and dewey dude

To Dewey Dude, Ginko will forever be known as Cheese Kitty!Ginko LMAO

Twice a week I make omelets for breakfast. One of the benefits of having our own chickens is a surplus of fresh eggs ;)  Calcifer and Ginko have gotten into the habit of getting a bit of cheese when I add it to the omelets.  They’re so smart they even know when it’s time to add the cheese and they both come into the kitchen to wait for their treat.We're ready for our cheese now!

We’re ready for our cheese now!  Ginko prefers mozzarella and Calcifer will only eat goat cheese ;)

After I got Dewey Dude Calcifer requested his cheese in a dog free area for safety reasons ;)  Ginko the Fearless still wanted his cheese in the kitchen though, and since the puppy was usually sleeping while I made breakfast he figured there was no reason to change eating locales.

dewey and ginko

The first time we did the cheese thing Dewey Dude woke up while Ginko was eating his cheese, completely unaware that there was food to be had.  All he saw was a kitty, and he wanted to see the kitty, and jump on the kitty, and lick the kitty.  Of course Ginko made his escape as quickly and gracefully (which wasn’t very graceful at all- LOL) as possible, leaving behind a little pile of shredded mozzarella.

ginko and dewey

Of course Dewey Dude was quick to find and eat that delicious cheese!  And he seemed to think that it came from Ginko.  After all, he jumped on the kitty and then there was cheese!  This has happened several times now, with the same result.  Ginko gets his cheese, eats a bit, Dewey wakes up and jumps on Ginko,  Ginko leaves and voila- there’s cheese!  So Ginko has become known to Dewey Dude as Cheese Kitty!

Come back Cheese Kitty!

Come back Cheese Kitty!

I almost think Ginko does it on purpose now.  He really is a very generous cat, and will often leave his toys in the dog’s bed as a little gift for them.  He’s lost several toy mice like this ;)

I just wanted to share this little bit of humor that brightens my day a few times a week :)  I hope it gives you a giggle too! :D

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

The Garden in Review

dewey sleeping in garden

Well it’s been a long hot busy garden season, but the end is coming closer.  The nights are starting to cool off to the 60’s and the days are seeing fewer 100+ temps and more 80’s and lower 90’s (hey that’s actually considered cool in Arizona!).  All in all I’d have to say that the garden was pretty successful this year.  I started most of my seeds indoors under lights, then moved them out to the greenhouse as they got a bit bigger.  I did about three batches like this, starting the plants that took longest to mature first.  Some plants, like the zucchini and squash, I started in the greenhouse in the spring as temps warmed up a bit more.  I had a really good success rate and only lost a few seedlings- a big improvement over last year.

seedlings tomatoes peppers eggplant seedlings peppers

I think it really helped give the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants a jump start by starting the seeds indoors a bit earlier than usual.  By the time I put them out in the greenhouse they were already strong and healthy and able to handle the temperature variations.  I also took extra care to harden off all the seedlings before planting them in the garden.

hardening off peppers and cantaloupe

For the first day or so I set them outside in a sheltered spot for just a few hours, gradually working up to all day in full sun.  By the time Sal tilled the garden they were ready for the conditions they’d be living in ;)

newly planted tomatoes 2015

Sal cut the bottoms off of plastic pots and I put these over the newly planted tomatoes and peppers to give them additional protection from the wind and keep them a bit warmer.  It also made it very easy to water directly at the roots of each plant and protected them from crawling bugs.  None of the seedlings suffered from transplant shock or wind damage this season, and I think these pots had a lot to do with that.

back garden lettuce (2)

The lettuce in the back garden did really well and didn’t even begin to bolt until mid-July, which is just amazing considering the kind of heat we’ve had.  Of course I’ll be saving seeds from this batch!  The rapini did well too, but once the intense heat hit it quickly went to seed.  Last week I planted another crop which should go through fall.  Rapini definitely seems to prefer cooler temps.  I’m also trying collard greens for the first time.  I love trying new things and seeing just what I can do with them ;)


And by July this is what the big garden looked like!  Down the center I have the butternut squash, which should give us a nice harvest in another month or so.  In spite of squash bugs and cucumber beetles the plants managed to do pretty well.  I did spray them with Neem on a regular basis, along with hand picking as many bugs as I could, and I think that really helped.


And here you can see the carrots at the end and the onions next to them.  I just harvested the last of the red onions and they’re drying in the garage.  I harvested the yellow onions a week earlier and they’re down in the root cellar now.


And the Japanese eggplant have done extremely well.  I just made a big batch of eggplant croquettes which turned out really well.  I’ve started harvesting peppers in the last week and they’re coming on strong now.  I’ve been harvesting tomatoes for some time now and have already made two batches of sauce.  And of course I now have my little garden helper, Dewey Dude, to keep me company while I’m working out there ;)

dewey in garden 2

Some things are coming to the end, like the zucchini and yellow squash, while others, like the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers are just hitting their stride.  I’m already thinking about the fall garden though.  I’d like to plant some broccoli and Brussels sprouts along with some more kale in the next few weeks.  And by October it’ll be time to plant the garlic in the greenhouse again.

So you can see why I don’t have much time to blog about the garden- I’m too busy working in it!  I love being able to plant, grow, harvest, and cook with all these delicious veggies and herbs though.  It’s certainly worth the hard work and sweat that goes into gardening.  And speaking of cooking it’s about time I get some lunch on the table ;)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Meet the Family: Dewey Dude!

Dewey Dude

So far you’ve met my sweet Maine Coon cat, Calcifer, my comical kitty Ginko, and our German Shorthair Pointer/ Australian Cattle Dog mix, Ziggi.

cal-yawning (706x1024)


ginko-funny-face (961x1024)


me-and-zig (1024x988)


Well now it’s time to meet the newest member of the family, Dewey Dude, a German Shepherd/ Rottweiler mix puppy.

Dewey Dude

   Dewey Dude  

Dewey Dude was a gift from my boyfriend for my 40th birthday and I couldn’t have gotten a better present!  We had been discussing getting another dog for several months and Sal decided that my 40th was the perfect time.  We took some time to find just the right pup, wanting a dog that would fit in well with our lifestyle and one that would be a good companion for not only myself, but Ziggi as well.  And that meant a big dog who enjoyed being outdoors and living an active life.  Dewey is a German Shepherd/ Rottweiler mix.  Both are large breeds, and both have intelligence and protective, as well as herding instincts.  I can’t be sure just how big Dewey will get, but I’m betting he’ll be pretty large when he’s full grown.

We adopted Dewey Dude from a shelter in Phoenix after I saw his profile on a German Shepherd rescue website.  It was a choice between him and his brother, and although his brother was cute and friendly I fell in love with Dewey the moment I held him.  He was pretty calm and those eyes just melted my heart.  Plus he had very pretty markings, with a brindle pattern on his legs and cheeks and a gorgeous white flame on his chest.  I just knew that he was the one for me <3

dewey belly 2

Before we brought him home I set up his crate in the kitchen.  Of course Calcifer and Ginko had to give it their seal of approval!


Little did they know what would soon be sleeping in that cozy crate!

Dewey Dude and Ginko

Just look at Ginko’s fluffed up tail!  He didn’t know what to think of this strange new creature.  And Dewey was simply curious about Ginko- from the start this puppy seemed to just want to be friends with everyone.

Ziggi and Dewey Dude

  Ziggi and Dewey Dude

Ziggi was less than thrilled with his over-affectionate new little brother, but over the last few weeks he seems to be accepting him as a part of the family.  He even plays with Dewey now, and if the pup gets himself into trouble Ziggi’s the first one to answer his whimper for help.  When we ask Ziggi “Where’s Dewey Dude?”  he usually goes and finds him.  Ziggi is a very intelligent dog himself, and he’s already helping us train Dewey.

The cats are now okay with Dewey so long as there’s a gate or glass door between them ;)

cal ginko dewey

dewey cal gink

For his part Dewey has figured out that the cats run away when he gets excited and barks at them, so he’s learned (for the most part) to stay calm if he wants them to hang out with him.  He really is very smart dog!

Dewey learned “Go potty” and “sit” in his first few days with us, quickly followed by “time to eat”, “inside”, “outside” “lay down”, “come”, drink your water”, and “go for a walk”.  He knows who I am, who Sal is, who Ziggi is, and who Calcifer and Ginko are, all by name.  We’re still working on “no bite”, but I’m seeing a lot of progress in the last day or so.  He’s a very tactile dog and likes to paw things and people or put his mouth on them.  But Sal and I are being consistent in not allowing him to bite us, because although it may be kind of cute now, once he’s full grown that could be a very dangerous habit.

He’s very affectionate though and likes to get kisses and cuddles on a regular basis.

dewey and me

Within no time at all this sweet little puppy had completely stolen my heart!  I love him so much and am so proud of him already.  Even though he just turned 3 months old he’s only had one accident in the house, and that was my fault for not letting him out right after we finished playing.  He likes to play fetch with me and is really good about bringing the ball back, something Ziggi just refuses to do.  I’ve started walking him regularly and he picked up on leash training very quickly.  He doesn’t seem to have any fears or phobias and has already gone through two thunderstorms with no signs of fear at all.  In fact, I had to make him come in out of the rain the other day- getting wet didn’t bother him at all!  He’s not scared of other dogs, thinks horses are just fascinating, and gets along great with other people and kids.

Every day I watch him grow and mature.  His confidence grows by the day and with each new experience.  He loves the kiddie pool we got for him and Ziggi and even knows how to stick his head under water to retrieve a toy (or leaf, or bug, or whatever might catch his eye).

dewey in pool 2

dewey dude

I know I haven’t written many posts lately, being so busy with the garden and yard, not to mention this little guy, but I had to take a few minutes to share my newest baby with you all.  Anyone who knows me knows that my pets are my family and as such are incredibly important to me.  I put a lot into raising them and ensuring that they live happy, healthy, fulfilled lives.  Just think- this sweet puppy and his brothers were unwanted and homeless, but now I have the chance to give Dewey Dude all the love and joy he could ever want.  His brother got adopted as well :)

Don’t you just love stories with a happy ending?  Although this is really just the beginning of course!  I hope to be able to share many happy stories of Dewey Dude’s life an adventures :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters