Ramblings of this guy you know!

Tech Stuff and random observations on life as I see it….

Tag Archives: Mac

Our cat contracted FLUTD – A scary week for Mac and Us

What is FLUTD?

Feline lower urinary tract disease “(commonly referred to as FLUTD, LUTD,FLUDT or FUS–feline urologic syndrome) come in at least three distinct varieties. All of them put together affect a small percentage of cats, but for those who are affected, it can be a major problem. Bladder diseases occur in both male and female cats, although males have a higher risk of life-threatening blockage of the urethra. Male cats’ urethras taper toward the opening at the prepuce making them especially susceptible to forming a “plug” which obstructs normal urination. All of the constituents of a urinary plug can be the result of a true bacterial infection or a complicated disorder called Feline (Idiopathic) Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD. It is usually first seen in cats between 2 and 7 years of age (though some very young and very old cats may develop signs). Episodes of FLUTDs are usually triggered by stress, such as home remodelling, severe weather, or loss or addition of a family member/pet.”

Meet Mac…

Mac on Pirate Ship
…our Maine Coon cross cat. He’s as soft as butter and the friendliest cat you could hope to meet… Unless that is, you are our dog Magic who Mac seems to hate with a passion and seems to blame for his current predicament… But I am getting ahead of myself…

I had a week off work recently and I was looking forward to some R&R, catching up on some cinema films and perhaps fit in some running along the way. All that went out the window when Mac stopped going to the toilet just before bed time. It wasn’t much, he just sat in the litter tray and did nothing… It might be something, it might be nothing. However, if you know the signs and when you see them you take note and that put Mac on the watch list. He’s not the first cat we have had problems with, Silver (my first cat that I had) also had problems though his was from Struvite crystals.

Next morning however there was no doubting that there was a problem… Mac always greets you in the morning with a miaow and a rub but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. We found him in a scratching post box looking miserable and with a very wet bottom. To give you an insight into Mac, if you were to personify him as a human, he would be a dandy, dressed in finery and perfumed. His bottom is normally quite perfumed anyway, I don’t know where he has a bottle of the stuff hidden away. So, to see him wet, was very disturbing…

Day 1 – Calling in the Vets

We are so very lucky in our neck of the woods to have the Ellon Mobile Vet service and so after a quick phone call and a short while later the vet was with us.He was diagnosed very quickly as having Flutds by the vet feeling that his bladder was full. The vet managed to squeeze the bladder hard enough to release the blockage and empty the bladder. A swift multifunction test swab showed us that there was a bacterial infection in the urine that was the most likely cause of the problem. Mac got a couple of injections, a long lasting antibiotic and and anti-inflammatory to hopefully release the blockage. Sure enough, through the afternoon we saw signs that he was going to the toilet though in small amounts and not the size of what he usually does. By the time we went to bed, he had stopped going.

Day 2 – Off to the vets

Next morning and Mac was back to leaking again and his sides were more solid than the should be so it was straight on to the vets again and they promptly came out and expressed his bladder again to relieve the pressure. Then he got whisked away in a carrier with a promise that he would be looked after.

All the catsThe other cats, you an see them all on the left there, were shocked when they came in after Mac had gone. They all looked so concerned that he wasn’t there and spent the entire day slinking about with their tails down.. I think they thought he wasn’t coming back. Mind you, If I had a tail, it would have been down too…

We called later that day and he had been put on a drip in his foreleg and a catheter at the other end to flush his system. He had been sedated but he was OK. “Hopefully”, they said, “We’ll get him back tomorrow morning”.

It was a long night.

Day 3  – Another overnight Stay

As soon as the vets were open the next morning, I was back on the phone to find out how he was. He was doing Ok they said but he was going to have to stay in another night as he had pulled his catheter out overnight and they wanted to ensure he was fully hydrated before they let him home… He was also starting a course of antispasmodics, Hypovaze from Pfizer. The hope here is that if we are dealign with a bacterial infection then the antispasmodics should help while that passes through his system and then hopefully his bladder will have recovered to normal function.

Another long day followed by a long night.

Day 4 – Back home again

Friday, we got him home. He got transported back to us from the vets and was very happy to be back home. We were happy to have him back and cuddled him half to death I think. The cats were overjoyed at him being back too.

So what happens now?

As well as continuing his course of antispasmodics, we have been instructed that he is to receive no dry food at all for at least three months and to give consideration to keeping him off cat biscuits always… This comes right after I purchased a 10Kg bag of biscuits from Amazon, typical! Beyond that we are adding extra water to his cat food so he gets as much fluid as possible – Have you ever tried to get a Cat to drink voluntarily? They never drink near enough.

Our other secret weapon is cat milk…. yes, horribly overpriced and with added sweeteners, Goats milk – Did you know that cat milk was Goats milk in disguise? I didn’t. However, Goats milk didn’t float his boat at all so back to the expensive stuff it is… If it keeps him healthy, he can bath in it if he wants.

Beyond that, it’s crossing our fingers and hoping beyond hope that it doesn’t happen again….

You mentioned the dog?

You’re so right, I did mention him right at the beginning of tho didn’t I? Poor Magic is getting the sharp edge to Mac’s claws at the moment. If Magic’s tail strikes anything too loud, if he barks just a little too loud, then Mac is on him. The cat for some reason blames the dog entirely for his current situation and gives him “the hairy eyeball” each time one or the other walks into the room with each other… There’s an uneasy truce until Magic makes a noise, then it’s all fur ‘n claws.

Off to get seem Felliway diffuser and a DAP diffuser to se if that helps…


Beware of false Flash Player Installers – a new Mac Trojan rises

At the recent Blackhat conference, the Mac world was warned that APT’s (Advanced Persistent Threats) were going to become more commonplace. This new Mac Trojan is making the rounds disguised as the installer for Flash Player!

If you are asked to update your version of Flash, be careful about where you are downloading the installer from. In fact if you are at all unsure, you might be best downloading directly from Adobe themselves. Otherwise you might be at risk. The new trojan is has been named Bash/QHost.WB by F-Secure and once it infects your Mac, it will edit the computers hosts file to redirect any visit to one of Google’s sites to an IP address in the Netherlands. The result is that every time you try to visit a Google site you are redirected to a fraudulent site that looks exactly the same.

Here’s what the redirected site looks like in a browser:

The trojan is set up to continually display annoying pop-up ads once it the page has been visited, it seems to be currently dormant however.

No Java on Mac OS X Lion – Do we care?

Chances are, if you work in a commercial business some of the apps you use or systems accessed via a Java Application or applet if however you are a home user, chances are you may not need it. Up until Lion was released, you got the Java runtime if you needed it or not. With the latest release this is no longer true.

Last year, in October, Apple caused a fair amount of unrest among Java developers when, in the release notes of a Java update, it said that Java on Mac had been “deprecated” and that it “may be removed from future versions of Mac OS.” The future of Java on OS X is unclear, but for now it appears when Apple drops development of Java that Oracle will assume the reins and maintain future releases of the runtime for OS X in partnership with Apple who would contribute the likes of a Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack, and base code for a new graphical client in a future release.

So, what if you do need it then? Well currently apple is providing Java 1.6.0_26 (the same version that is available for Snow Leopard) for Lion users but is not developing it any further than this. So, if an application requires it on your Mac a window will pop up and give you the option to download it. Giving permission will open up Software Update to download and install the required Java runtime. A stand-alone installed is also available from the Lion web site or from this Apple Support Article .

Rosetta was also previously deprecated by Apple, and the company barred applications using both Rosetta and Java from the new Mac App Store. With Snow Leopard, the previous version of Mac OS X, Rosetta was not installed by default, but users could install it if they chose to. Now it has been completely removed.

ITerm2, an alternative terminal app for Mac OSX

Image courtesy of iTerm2 website

I stumbled across this very nice Mac OSX terminal replacement while browsing through the Lifehacker site.
At first glance it might look unimpressive but under the hood, this app has a lot of really nice features that finally gives me that Putty like terminal app that I have been looking for since I switched over from Windows. If you spend a lot of time at the command line and you don’t want to spend out for one, this terminal app is worth looking at.

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Apple releases update to prevent MacDefender infection by enhancing OSX’s quarantine function, Security circumvented in less than a day.

I feel like I have been talking about MacDefender and MacGuard for a very long time now… Actually it’s only been through May but it feels longer. Today, the 31st of May 2011, Apple finally released the security patch it promised last week.

The Security Update 2011-003 adds protection to Snow Leopard 10.6.7 users only, earlier versions of OSX are not supported. The update makes a change in the Security section of Preferences to include changes to the File Quarantine feature, which is Apple’s version of antivirus software. This update includes definitions for Mac Defender and its known variants, as well as an automated removal tool.

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MacDefender leaps onto Facebook

In a desperate attempt to capture more victims before the latest Apple update kills MacDefender and MacGuard dead once and for all (for now anyway) the Mac malware has made the leap to Facebook and is now spreading virally, claiming to be a video of IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The malware is using a technique called clickjacking to spread. A message appears in your timeline apparently posted by one of your friends, in this case referring to the news story of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing charges in New York over charges of rape. You are then invited to click a link to view a story or in this case a video. Instead of opening anything however the malware download is triggered. Finally the message you received is now posted on your timeline to catch the next unwary viewer.
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Alfred for Mac OSX -The shortcut/launcher application

I have recently been reacquainted with a productivity app on my Mac called Alfred. Alfred likes to serve you with what you need, much like a butler – hence the name. It is much like other shortcut apps like Quicksilver but I always found the interface more complex than I wanted… This one pretty much works in one display bar and allows you to work more with the keyboard and have less switching between keyboard and mouse; great for those with RSI.
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New MACDefender Variant: lock up your browsers

Just mere hours after Apple announces that they will be providing an update to prevent further infections by the MACDefender trojan, a new variant named MacGuard is discovered by the Anti-virus provider Intego.

The main difference between the two variants is that this new version installs as the current user and so gets rid of one step towards infection by removing the needs to the administrator password to be entered.
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MACDefender: The fix – Apple shows the way!

First we heard of MACDefender, the fake Anti-Virus program and suggested it would only trap the Unwary, then we hear that more people are falling for the scam than was originally expected… Now, Apple comes to the rescue with an official support article on how to remove it and a notification that a fix from an update will arrive “in the coming days” – There’s nothing like a timescale… and that’s nothing like a timescale.
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It Bites: MACdefender Trojan on Macs

Back on the 9th of May I wrote an article warning about the MACdefender Trojan. Back then I said that it was one that would catch the unwary… How wrong was I? It would appear that people are falling for this one left, right and center. In fact it would seem that Mac users, smug for so long that viruses weren’t their problem and are asked to input their admin password so often, don’t recognise the danger signs when they come along. Converse to this, research is indicating that Windows users, who have been bashed and battered so regularly with attacks, are becoming much more security conscious these days.
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