Arthur and his crinkle ball“Mmmm-ra?”. A grey cat trots over to me, a fluffy orb in his mouth.

“Arthur, is that your crinkle ball?”


“Good boy!” I coo to the sweet cat. He has brought me his favourite toy, dripping with drool, waiting for me to take it from him. I try to do so, gingerly. He is proud of his hunting trophy and is coming for praise. He stalks away with ball in mouth like a small gray panther, with swagger, with catitude. Likely he’s hoping for a treat and this ball offering will be done many times through the day. Most times he does not relinquish it. He just seems to enjoy the attention.

I’m fostering Arthur, the blind Russian Blue who is awaiting his forever home and to see a vet specialist regarding eye surgery to reduce his recurrent eye discharge infections. Given his advanced age (over 11 years) and renal complications, perhaps treating with antibiotics occasionally will be enough.

Arthur refuses his food frequently and paws at his face, so the concern is that he might also have a dental issue. It’s a dilemma since it would be risky for him being under anesthetic for a dental exam, cleaning and possibly extractions, due to his age and compromised kidneys.

February is typically dental month at many veterinarian clinics to raise awareness that pets need their teeth cleaned and monitored, just like people. Swollen gums can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, reluctance to eat and can also be a sign of kidney disease or feline immunodeficiency virus. Cat owners should monitor any reluctance to eat, and excessive drooling and pawing at the mouth area as possible signs of dental problems.

Periodontal (gum) disease is considered the number one health problem in small animal patients. Studies report that between 50- 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease. Fortunately, the most common forms of these diseases are largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring. Daily brushing a cat's teeth is likely to be the most effective way to reduce dental plaque and maintain long-term oral health and can be introduced to a cat at any age if done gradually and with appropriate care.

Brushing Arthur’s teeth is not likely to happen as he is particularly sensitive to anyone touching his face area in general, due to his eye issue. So occasionally he gets dental kibble treats to help his oral health as a precaution to more serious issues developing.

The decision is made, and Arthur goes in for a dental exam to ensure that a bad tooth is not the cause of him not eating. Thankfully, he gets through the ordeal well and only needed a good cleaning (first time in his life), and no extractions. The dental work did help but Arthur still is a fussy eater. Perhaps the special feline canned kidney food prescribed by the vet, sprinkled with probiotics and kidney support, is not to his taste despite being healthy for him.

Arthur is now curled up in a ball himself on the armchair, no doubt dreaming of his next hunting victory. Sadly, he is not able to see the birds and squirrels gathering outside the window as part of his imaginary hunting. Regardless, no doubt his visions are still interesting. Sweet dreams, Arthur!

Gloria Lauris



The Very Best Toy for Cats

"Of all the [cat] toys available, none is better designed than the owner himself. A large multipurpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any direction. It comes completely assembled, and it makes a noise when you jump on it."

Stephen Baker