Month: December 2009

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pets

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It’s that time of year again!  As you get ready to celebrate the holidays, keep in mind that some of our most cherished holiday traditions can be hazardous for our pets.  The ASPCA offers the following holiday safety tips:

Try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:

O Christmas Tree

Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water-which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset-from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Tinsel-less Town

Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries

By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy

Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.  Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. 

Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer-and tons of play sessions together.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the LeftoversFatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills. 

That Holiday Glow

Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up

Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

House RulesIf your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

 Put the Meds AwayMake sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too. 

Careful with Cocktails

If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own

Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to-complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

The Conscious Cat
wishes you and your furry family members
a  happy and safe holiday season!

About the author

Book Review: Cat Tales by Dr. Sharon Eisen and Linda Francese

Cat Tales book

Cat Tales is a heartwarming and inspirational collection of stories about cats that will make you smile, laugh and cry, sometimes all at the same time.  The stories will most certainly bring fond memories of all the cats that have graced your life, and they will make you love and appreciate your current feline companions even more.  These cats that come and go from our lives leave indelible pawprints on our hearts, and the authors have captured many of these special cats in the tales they share in their book.

There’s TiVo, the shy orange cat who tended to avoid human contact, and who broke through an autistic boy’s seemingly impenetrable shell of silence and showed him that it’s not so bad to be a little different, and in the process, taught the boy’s mother to be a little more patient and have a little more faith in the future.  There’s Chloe, the cat who saved her human’s life who was going through cancer treatments.  There’s Bentley, an international winning show cat whose beauty and huge spirit touched everyone he came into contact with and who turned his human from a die-hard dog lover into a cat-loving, cat-fancying addict.  There are many more stories like these, and they all touch the heart.

The book is interspersed with fascinating and entertaining facts about cats, and the photos that accompany each story enhance the tales being told.  Cat Tales celebrates cats in all their wonderful variety and glory, and it illustrates how much these wonderful creatures impact their humans’ lives in often unexpected ways.  A must read and a wonderful gift for any cat lover.

Dr. Sharon Eisen has been a practicing veterinarian since 1984.  In 1991, she realized her dream and opened a feline-only practice in Brookfield, CT.  The Complete Cat Clinic was the very first cat only hospital in the state.  In addition to devoting her career to the care and well-being of cats, Dr. Eisen has an abiding interest in the human-animal connection.  She has conducted programs in elementary schools to teach students about pet care.  She has led pet bereavement groups, and has brought cats and dogs to nursing homes to serve as pet therapists.

Linda Francese is a well-known radio personality for over 20 years, fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2004 and began working with cats as the head technician at the Complete Cat Clinic in Brookfield, CT.  A year later, she joined Dr. Eisen as co-owner of the Plaid Plus Cattery, breeding British Shorthair cats.  Mrs. Francese’s serious interest in the healing powers of the human-animal connection inspired her to co-author this book.

About the author

Book Review: Dear Sparkle – Advice from One Cat to Another by Sparkle, the Designer Cat

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There are lots of books on the market that give advice on how to care for cats, provide information on cat behavior, and address other aspects of living with a cat.  Dear Sparkle:  Advice from One Cat to Another, authored by Sparkle The Designer Cat and edited by Janiss Garza, is unique in this genre.  It combines solid advice with humor, and gives us an insider’s look into what and how cats think.  Sparkle  is a seven-year-old pedigreed Somali who speaks out on anything from how to address trouble with family members (both human and feline) to hairballs to culinary delights and disappointments.  A significant portion of the book is devoted to addressing questions about human foibles.  Writes Sparkle:  “Humans are complicated beings, and very hard to train.”

Sparkle, the internet’s premier cat-to-cat advice columnist, brings her feline point of view to help her fellow cats figure out human behavior and deal with the day-to-day frustrations that living with humans can bring for a cat.

Some samples of the kinds of questions Sparkle answers are:

My human used to give me treats at dinnertime, but the vet put me on a diet and now I’m starving!  How do I get these treats back?

A tom cat invaded my backyard and now my roommate hates my guts!  What happened, and what do I do about it?

My human brought home a snotty new kitten – how do I show him who’s boss?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable, often laugh out loud funny book filled with practical information presented in a unique style.

And if you can’t get enough of Sparkle’s advice from the book, you can visit her on her website at www.sparklecat.com.

Sparkle is a kind-hearted and generous cat and wants to help kitties who are less fortunate than she is.  For the rest of the year, she will donate $1 for every book sold through her website to Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary in Ringoes, NJ.  For more information about Sparkle’s mission to help Tabby’s Place, click here.

About the author