An Open Letter to Cat Owners and Enthusiasts – Mama’s Story

Dear Cat Lovers,

You may notice my cute chubby kitty on my previous Instagram post for ‪#‎nationalblackcatday‬. She is named Mama and is 8 years old. I adopted her from the shelter on October 1 and while she was affectionate and well-behaved, she was very upset with me at first in regards to food. She refused to eat both the wet or dry food she was fed at the Georgian Triangle shelter.

Concerned that she might develop the deadly condition, Hepatic Lipidosis, I reached out to the shelter coordinator. I found out she was fed Temptations cat treats by her very loving but misguided previous owner. Because she was fed many treats (I am not sure what else she ate) she has developed a very picky palate. The stress of the move and her picky behavior caused her to starve herself for the first day in her forever home. 

She also is a very blob-like girl and can barely clean herself, which results in dry skin all over her body. She was declawed by a previous owner’s vet, and the poor girl has a hard time playing with toys, hence she doesn’t know what to do when I introduce toys and mostly just sits around.

Mama loves to sit in her favorite position – the Catloaf, for hours at a time. The only way I can get her to move is by shaking her treat ball!

Please don’t declaw your cat – I strongly believe it has led to some of her problems! Not only is it inhumane in the sense that they are having their first finger joint removed (imagine your fingertips being cut off), she is at risk of developing arthritis. She also has a harder time pushing litter in the litter box, and has a higher risk of litter box aversion (which could lead to kidney disease) as she ages.

Back to food – she is so picky that she will not even eat real treats that most cats go crazy for food such as tuna or chicken!

This strange behaviour led me to start researching cat care by talking to vets, cat owners and pet store employees in Collingwood. I have also been looking online and I have found a few very well-researched articles on cat obesity that I urge my cat loving friends to take a glance at.

Because of this valuable information gathered from multiple sources, I have successfully switched Mama, the pickiest pet princess I know, from dry food to wet food. She gets multiple small meals a day to mimic her true hunting nature.

Mama still likes to beg for her crunchy food and will make a “purrlp” sound many times to get her heart’s desire. Stay strong, my friends! Cat diets take patience, time and dedication!

She still loves the sound of her dry food in the container, so she gets it as a treat for doing desirable things (playing, eating her wet food, jumping onto the windowsill, etc).

She is drinking more water, having fewer poops, urinating more and has more energy to play outside (supervised of course). She even chases squirrels now to get her daily dose of cardio. She sleeps longer, is less skittish and seems to be in less pain. I am weighing her in very soon and I strongly believe she has lost a little bit of weight.

Mama’s favorite perch – the front porch. Because she is declawed and virtually defenseless, I supervise her outdoor time to ensure she does not get hit by a car, eaten by a predator or wander too far from home. She loves to chase squirrels and delights in the sounds, smells and sights of the great outdoors. Her energy level and motivation have increased since I introduced outdoor time.

Is your kitty a bit chubby or getting older, check out this article. Paying attention to our beloved pet’s biological needs can potentially save your wallet from expensive trips to the vet, and contributes to a high quality of life.

Interested in becoming her Food Fairy? Please Check out the link below:

Ski Racing is Tough

Ski racing, from my personal perspective of 15 years training, coaching, communicating and managing in the sport, deserves to be revered in all of its toughness, catharsis and rugged glory.

Imagine yourself throwing your spandex-clad, shivering, fully tensed body at speeds of up to 130 kph down stupendously large, relatively frictionless and steep surfaces with trees (instant death) mere feet from you. You are on narrow, wooden fiberglass encased boards held onto your plastic molded feet by bindings no larger than your fist. The only contact point that you can use to slow you down is one millimeter of soft metal alongside a lush plastic core. Your head is protected by two inches of styrofoam, rubber and plastic, and you are viewing this all through a lens that could fog up or fail any minute.

The only thing protecting you from your doom is a plastic braided safety net put together by hundreds of volunteers. If you are lucky, a team of professionals will inflate dozens of space-grade sacs of air to protect you from lift towers that have been assembled by helicopters.

They Even pretend to be firefighters for two days, minus the nice warm fire to counteract the water freezing in them. All this just so your track is smooth!
They even pretend to be firefighters for two days, minus the nice warm fire to counteract the water freezing them. All this just so your track is smooth!

Then, imagine the scenario above amidst variable wind, temperature, lighting and snow conditions. Every day is a complete gamble for your personal safety.

Don’t forget to consider the tens of thousands of dollars it costs you to participate at a high level from the age of 13 onward.

Realize that even if you make a national team and win World Cup races, you will still make less money per year at the world stage than Professional Bowlers.

You might even become the sole and hands-down best athlete in Canada for the most revered discipline (the downhill). This is your job now, and your life is dedicated to your job. There is no vacation time, no family life and definitely no kids. You live out of a suitcase and remain nomadic until you retire at a very young age, having missed out on college or university with your friends. You see the world but are always at work, always looking to maintain your business presence and always literally and figuratively, on edge.

Sadly, you may not make the Olympic team one year due to an unfortunate work-related injury. Your income is greatly reduced, and your body is now in need of repair. You will most likely have to raise your own funds to pay for experts and facilities to rehabilitate yourself. Not to mention the food, rent and incidental expenses that are creeping up.

You might recover from this costly challenge and win a silver medal at the World Cup. The team might accept you after this, but fluctuations in government funding and sponsorships hang your career in the balance. You take all opportunities that drift your way, constantly in a state of motion.

Your life may end up looking like this.
Your life may end up looking like this.

If you happen to become monetarily successful like a handful of star athletes, you might have to deal with the FIS body and its increasing standards, fees and red tape. You might have to regretfully dismiss your primary source of income (your sponsors) if this organization wants to arbitrarily (or deliberately) level the playing field. You know this only makes the sport more unequal as the racers with incredible family wealth will not be affected as devastatingly, but you plug on anyway.

Also be sure to be in the gym doing every type of workout you can imagine for hours every single day. Extend this gruelling regime to all seasons to ensure you don’t wreck yourself.

Ski racing is without a doubt hard on the mind, body and wallet. Not only are the above conditions experienced by most athletes, there are even those who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders to name a few. add this shooter to the mixture of other variables and voila, you have just chugged a delicious but strong Stress Cocktail.

Shred Responsibly.