Month: June 2011

Product review: New Wellness grain-free canned food

Allegra and Ruby Wellness canned cat food

I don’t usually accept food and treats for review here on The Conscious Cat. I like what I feed Allegra and Ruby, and I won’t use them as product testers for diets whose claims I can’t verify. However, I have been feeding Wellness® grain-free canned food for many years, and it meets my criteria for what constitutes a species-appropriate diet for cats (a feline diet must be completely grain-free, and it must be canned or raw. I don’t recommend ANY dry food for cats).

When a representative for Wellness® contacted me to see whether Allegra and Ruby would like to taste test their new Succulent Cuts with Savory Sauces for Cats line of grain-free canned diets, I accepted their offer (and there was much celebrating on Allegra and Ruby’s part). 

The new Wellness® Cubed, Sliced and Minced canned diets are 100% grain-free and contain no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. For each recipe, Wellness® has paired succulent cuts of wholesome, all natural protein sources like chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna with savory sauces that are designed to please the palate of even the most finicky feline. The new diets come in 12 different sliced, cubed and minced varieties

Finicky is not a word I’d associate with either of my two. Ruby would probably eat just about anything I put in front of her. Allegra is a little more discerning and sometimes needs a little encouragement whenever I present a new brand or flavor.

We tested the Minced Chicken Dinner and the Sliced Turkey Entree. Allegra got the chicken, Ruby the turkey. But why don’t I let the girls tell you what they thought.

Allegra: Finally! I told you about those cans that had been sitting on our kitchen counter last week, and even though Ruby and I tried our best, we just couldn’t figure out how to open them ourselves, and we had to wait for Mom to do it. When she popped the lids (She makes it look so easy – why can’t we figure it out?), the smell coming at me was incredible! I couldn’t wait to taste what smelled so good!

Ruby: I smell food! Woohoo! It’s dinner time!

Allegra: When Mom put the dish in front of me, I wasn’t quite sure at first. It looked really different from our usual raw food, and it looked different from any of the canned food Mom occasionally gives us, too. But boy, did it smell good! So I took a lick – and that was all I needed. I proceeded to eat the entire can in one sitting. Yummy!

Ruby: Food, food, food! Put it down already, Mom! I’m totally starving! I haven’t eaten in hours!!! – Oh. Hmm. This is different from what I had for breakfast. But it’s food! It smells great! I’m going to eat it all as fast as I can!

Well – I told you not to expect much of a review from Ruby.

Allegra eating canned Wellness grain-free food

Allegra takes her product testing duties very seriously!

We were also sent cans of the Minced Tuna Dinner and Sliced Salmon Entree varieties. I only very rarely give the girls fish protein based food, so we’re saving them as a special treat. 

If I were feeding canned food on a regular basis, I would definitely consider adding these new foods to my rotation. I think it’s important to feed a variety of flavors and textures to avoid having your cat stuck on only one diet. The different texture may be an issue for some finicky eaters who are used to the standard canned food texture, for those cats, Wellness®’s regular grain-free canned varieties may be a better choice.

If your cat has tried these new products, let us know how she liked them in a comment!

For more information about Wellness and their wide range of products, please visit their website.

You may also enjoy reading:

The truth about dry cat food

Cats are not small dogs, especially when it comes to nutrition

Feline nutrition: who bears the responsibility?

About the author

Integrative medicine for your cat

cat veterinarian stethoscope

Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible to treat medical conditions in cats that would have been a death sentence a decade ago.  Conventional veterinary medicine offers anything from chemotherapy to kidney transplants, and cats can now receive almost the same level of medical care as humans. On the other end of the medical spectrum, alternative and holistic therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal treatments are also becoming more accepted for pets, as more people are understanding that well-being encompasses body, mind and spirit. As people are experiencing the benefits of alternative and holistic therapies for themselves, they’re also looking for alternative ways of caring for their cats.

I believe there are benefits to be derived from both approaches to medical care for our cats, which is why I like the term integrative medicine. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the National Institutes of Health, defines integrative medicine as “combining mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” In other words, integrative medicine lets you pick the best of both worlds.

Finding a veterinarian who successfully combines both of these worlds can be challenging, as Dr. Nancy Kay wrote in a recent blog post on the challenges of combining Eastern and Western medicine for pets. According to Dr. Kay:

“It can be difficult to find a veterinarian who practices Western medicine and supports referral for complementary medicine, and vice versa. Truthfully, it is difficult for a veterinarian to be extremely well versed in both disciplines (hard enough staying truly proficient in just one of them). There are a few veterinarians who do a great job with both, but they are few and far between. Western medicine is the discipline predominantly taught in veterinary schools throughout the United States. Proficiency in complementary modalities including Chinese herbs, homeopathy, and acupuncture requires additional training and certification.

 What can you do to avoid having your veterinarian roll his or her eyes at you? As you know, I am a big believer in picking and choosing your veterinarians wisely. Certainly, open-mindedness is an important trait in any doctor, whether providing service for us or for our beloved pets. The “ideal vet” is happy to have you work with other veterinarians so that your pets receive the care that is best for your peace of mind. Just as most of us have a number of doctors for our health needs, it’s perfectly acceptable for your pets to have different doctors for their different health care needs.”

I completely agree with Dr. Kay. I’ve had the good fortune of working with one veterinarian who was equally brilliant with conventional internal medicine and several holistic modalities (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) for eight years, but I’ve been unable to find that level of integrative medicine in a single vet since she relocated to a different part of the country.

Rather than looking for a vet who can do it all, it may make more sense to either look for a holistic vet for your cat’s basic health care needs and be prepared to seek help from a conventional vet for things that require conventional treatment, or find a conventional vet who may not be practicing holistic modalities, but is open to her clients seeking such care, and willing to work with the client and/or a holistic veterinarian. Having a vet roll your eyes at your if you even mention holistic modalities probably means that this vet is not going to be a good choice for you if you plan on using alternative therapies for your cat. You, better than anyone else, know what’s best for your cat.

The Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine provides resources for pet owners and veterinarians interested in the benefits of an integrative approach to animal healthcare. Their advisory board reads like a who’s who in veterinary holistic medicine and includes such well-known doctors as Jean Dodd, a leader in immunology research, Allen Schoen, one of the early pioneers of holistic veterinary medicine and author of Love, Miracles and Animal Healing and Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine, and Susan Wynn, an author, lecturer and practitioner of integrative medicine with a special interest in nutition and herbal remedies.

Do you use holistic modalities for your cat? Which ones have you used? Is your vet supportive of your choice?

You may also enjoy reading:

How to choose the right vet for your cat

Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences

About the author

New research brings hope in the battle against FIP

FIP research

Last night, several hundred people gathered in a hotel ballroom in Reston, VA for the Winn Feline Foundation’s 33rd Annual Feline Symposium for an unprecedented event featuring two legendary researchers who presented new developments in FIP research. The gathering included such noted feline veterinarians as Dr. Susan Little, past president and current board member of the Winn Feline Foundation and Dr. Jane Brunt, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council, as well as cat breeders, cat rescuers, and veterinarians. 

It also included cat owners like Harry and his daughter Rachel, who lost their kitten Parker to the disease.  Rachel wore Parker’s collar as a bracelet. “We lost Parker at the age of eight months to this disease I’d never heard of before,” said Harry. “For the last six years, I’ve been following all the research on the disease, and tonight, I’m excited to be here to hear about the latest discoveries.”

FIP are the three worst letters any cat lover can hear. Feline Infectious Peritonitis is caused by a coronavirus and affects the cells of the intestinal tract. The corona virus in itself is a common virus in cats, and cats may not even show symptoms other than perhaps a mild gastrointestinal upset. But for reasons that have eluded researchers so far, in some cats, the benign virus mutates into a highly infectious version that then causes FIP. It usually affects kittens and young cats, and it’s virtually 100% fatal. FIP kills as many as 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 cats under ages 3-5.

Renowned pet journalist and broadcaster Steve Dale opened the event and introduced Alfred M. Legendre, DVM, PhD, ACVIM, Professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and Niels Pedersen, DVM, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for Companion Animal Health and Director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Legendre shared preliminary findings from his study of Polyprenyl Immunostimulant in treating the “dry” (non-effusive) form of FIP. Polyprenyl Immunostimulant is a biologic product that upregulates innate immunity in animals and has a potential to prevent and to control diseases in cases when vaccinations are ineffective, not available, or when vaccinations are not practically feasible. The product shows promise in improving well-being and probably survival in cats with the dry form of FIP. Future studies are needed to look at Polyprenyl Immunostimulant with and without antiviral treatments, and the mechanism of immune response in cats treated with it. Median survival time in the study of 58 cats was 49 days. One cat is still alive more than five years after the study was begun.

Dr. Pedersen spoke about the challenges of FIP research. There are four primary components of FIP research currently conducted at UC Davis:

  1. Study the genetics of the virus.
  2. Study the origins of the virus in shelter environments and how different shelter environments and practices may influence disease incidence.
  3. Screen human anti-viral compounds for cross-reactivity to the FIP virus.
  4. Determine genetic polymorphisms that may be associated with resistance and/or susceptibility to the disease.

He emphasized that researchers can’t find answers without the help of breeders of pedigreed cats. DNA samples from breeds with known FIP histories can help researchers pinpoint the location of genes that may be involved in the susceptibility to FIP and other diseases.

The bottom line? There is much research that still needs to be done. Research requires money, and cat health studies are notoriously underfunded. In his opening remarks, Steve Dale’s statement that “if FIP happened in the dog world, there would already be a cure” was met with loud applause from the audience.

How can you help? Educate yourself about the disease and raise awareness. It’s a devastating disease – both physically for the affected cats, and emotionally for the cats’ owners. But there are small glimmers of hope. Help keep that hope alive by contributing financially to organizations that fund FIP research.

Resources:

Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies to improve cat health. If you have a cat, it has benefited from the work this foundation does.

The Bria Fund for FIP Research provides funding for FIP research. Bria was a nine month old Birman kitten who died from FIP in April, 2005. Bria had the good fortune to live with Susan Gingrich and her husband, James Shurskis, in Harrisburg, PA. Susan is a sister of Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and founder of the Center for Health Transformation. The Center provided a generous contribution to establish the Bria Fund.

SOCK FIP (Save Our Cats and Kittens from Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is a global consortium of cat lovers, breeders, rescue groups, veterinarians and geneticists who are working together to support research on feline infectious peritonitis at the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH).

July 10, 2011 update: Thank you to Steve Dale for posting the complete audio from the symposium on his blog – to listen, click here.

Photo: morguefile.com

About the author

Book review: A Cat Like That by Wendy Wahman

A Cat Like That by Wendy Wahman

This delightful book for young readers aged 4-8 helps children (and their parents) understand how to interact with a cat. Wendy Wahman’s charming, whimsical, brightly colored illustrations accompany sound advice and will teach cat-loving kids some new facts, and perhaps empower nervous kids to make new feline friends.

What does a cat want in a best friend? Someone who knows just where to scratch. Someone who can read the many moods of a cat’s tail. Someone who knows when to play, and when to stay away.

My absolute favorite part of the book is this:

“I’d send a kiss with my eyes by blinking slowly…and hope I got one back.”

This book is purrfect for kids who are about to adopt a cat or meet a cat for the first time – especially for the overeager ones!

Check out this cute video about A Cat Like That:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80WcGcwpvaI&feature=youtu.be

Wendy Wahman has won many awards for illustration, but her greatest joy is loving the two-, three-, and four-legged animals she has known. She is also the author of Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs. She lives in Washington State. You can learn more about Wendy and her work on her website.

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

About the author

New campaign hopes to increase feline veterinary visits

Have we seen your cat lately?

You’ve repeatedly seen me report here that cats are underserved when it comes to regular veterinary care. Recent statistics show that there are 82 million pet cats in the U.S., compared with 72 million dogs, making cats the most popular pet. Yet studies show the number of feline veterinary visits is declining steadily each year. For example, a recent industry survey revealed that compared with dogs, almost three times as many cats hadn’t received veterinary care in the past year. 

The disparity may be related to common myths about cat health, such as:

   • Cats are naturally healthier and more problem-free than dogs
   • Feline health problems come from outside and don’t affect indoor cats
   • Cats will display visible signs of illness like dogs do 

The truth is, cats need regular veterinary care, including annual, or, depending on their age, bi-annual, exams, just like dogs do. And because cats are masters at hiding signs of illness, regular exams are especially important for early diagnosis of health problems.

A new campaign, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., with support from the American Animal Hospital Association, aims to address this discrepancy. Titled “Have we seen your cat lately?“, the campaign offers participating veterinary clinics educational materials and checklists to help veterinarians and staff members communicate better with clients about feline wellness.

I’m all for any campaigns and efforts that result in getting cats better veterinary care. For more resources on why regular vet visits are so important for cats, please visit Healthy Cats for Life.

Is your cat due for her regular check up? Why not take a few minutes and make that appointment right now?

You may also enjoy reading:

Feline-friendly handling guidelines to make vet visits easier for cats

Is your vet cat-friendly?

About the author

Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences

flower essences for cats

Flower essences have been used since ancient times to provide vibrational healing for mind, body and spirit for people. Hildegard von Bingen (12th century) and Paracelsus (15th century) both wrote about the use of flowering plants to treat health imbalances. The healing method became better know in the 1930’s when Dr. Edward Bach, a British practitioner of homeopathy and bacteriology, developed his range of 38 essences known as the Bach Flower Remedies. The most well-known of his remedies is probably Rescue Remedy®.

As interest in holistic modalities for animals increases, flower essences are being used as a gentle, yet effective tool to enhance and improve their overall well-being.

Cats seem to be particularly responsive to these essences. They can help with a wide range of feline problems, from stress to litter box aversion to territorial issues.

What are flower essences?

Flower essences are obtained by extracting the vibrational healing properties of the blossoms after leaving them in sunlight and pure water for several hours. The resulting essence is then diluted out even more, and preserved with alcohol, usually brandy. Some flower essence manufacturers use alternate preservatives such as vinegar. The preservatives do not alter the vibrational quality of the essence.*

How do flower essences work?

Emotional and mental imbalances, if left untreated, will eventually manifest as physical illness. This is no different for cats than it is for people. Flower essences are vibrational medicine. They work in the energy field, similar to homeopathic remedies. They are safe to use, and, unlike some herbal treatments, do not interfere with allopathic drug treatments.

What types of problems can flower essences help with?

Flower essences are particularly effective for behavioral problems and stressful situations, whether it’s a move, trip to the vet, or a new cat in the household. I’ve used Rescue Remedy® for may years for my cats prior to visits to the vet, or during thunderstorms. (I also use it for myself during stressful situations.) I’ve been using flower essences to help with some of the behavior challenges Allegra was dealing with when I first adopted her, and I credit the progress we’ve made in no small amount to the essences.

How are flower essences administered?

Flower essences can be given orally, mixed with food or water, rubbed on the inside of the ear, or rubbed into the fur at the top of the head or base of the tail. Since they’re energy medicine, the only thing that matters is that they get into the cat’s energy field – how that is achieved is of secondary importance.

The Bach Flower Essences are widely available in health food stores, including national chains like Whole Foods. There are many other lines of essences available. I use the Green Hope Farm essences for Allegra.

I’ve recently become interested in Spirit Essences, the only line of flower essences developed by a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve. Spirit Essences is owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. During my interview with Jackson for The Conscious Cat, he graciously offered to send me a couple of his essences for Allegra. I’ll let you know how she does with them.

If you haven’t used flower essences for your cat, I’d encourage you to give them a try. If you have used them, I’d love to hear your experience with them.

*Please note that flower essences are not to be confused with aromatherapy or essential oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.

Photo: morguefile.com

About the author

Help feed shelter cats with Jackson Galaxy and the Pet Postcard Project

Jackson Galaxy and Caroline

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and cat listener extraordinaire, teamed up with The Pet Postcard Project for the months of June and July to provide 15,000 free meals to two cat rescue organizations Jackson has purrsonally selected, Cat House on the Kings in California, and Blind Cat Rescue in North Carolina.

For this campaign, Freekibble.com has generously pledged 15,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew for Cats to the two organizations in conjunction with Halo Purely For Pets.
Each rescue has 2 months to bring in 1000 cards each and they will earn 5000 meals each for their shelter. The rescue who brings in the most cards by the end of July will get an additional 5000 meals.

The Pet Postcard Project was created by Nikki Moustaki, who started the project as a way to help raise awareness and funds/food for rescue animals.

Here’s how you can help, and it won’t cost you a cent. All it takes is a little creativity. Simply create a postcard with a cat theme – it can be from photos, or hand drawn, or a collage.  Let your imagination go wild!

Mail your finished work of art to:

The Pet Postcard Project
678 Ninth Avenue, #321
New York, NY 10036

Watch Nikki Moustafi explain the project:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9NJdZwycR4

You may also enjoy reading:

Up close and purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

About the author

June is Adopt-a-Cat month: Meet some cats looking for their forever homes

Each spring during kitten season, thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters and foster homes across the country. The American Humane Association has designated June as Adopt-a-Cat Month® to help find these cats permanent homes.

Today, I’m featuring some adoptable cats from various rescue groups. Some are local to my area, others are groups readers of The Conscious Cat volunteer with. Please share this widely – let’s help find these cats their forever homes!

Madison Fancy Cats Rescue Team

You knew I’d start with a tortie! Madison is a a beautiful girl who really loves people and loves getting petted, but doesn’t do well with change. She may  need a little extra time before she settles in, but given the purring and head-butts she gives when she’s being petted, she’ll make someone a loving companion! Madison is fostered by Fancy Cats Rescue Team in Herndon, VA.

Ash, Dusty, Misty SPCA of Northern Virginia

Ash, Dusty and Misty are fostered for the SPCA of Northern Virginia by the same couple who fostered Ruby. These three little siblings are an affectionate, playful, friendly trio. They love to run around together, chasing tails, wrestling, and pouncing on each other. But when they’re all tired out, they like to sit in a warm lap and be adored. Purring comes as second nature to them and they love to cuddle long into the night. You can see more adorable photos of the trio on their foster parents’ photo blog.

Gabbie Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation

Look at this beauty! Gabbie is being fostered by Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in  Northern Virginia. She is going through a time of upheaval in her life. Her people, who loved her very much, couldn’t keep her, but Lost Dog and Cat Rescue promised her that they’d love her and rub her head until they found her a home that could keep her forever. They believe Gabbie would do well in a home as a single cat or with older, laid-back cats. I actually met Gabbie at an adoption event a couple of weeks ago, and she’s even more beautiful in purrson.

Aurora Lapcats.org

Aurora is being fostered by Lapcats.org in Sacramento, CA. She was liberated from the shelter on April 7th and couldn’t be happier. She’s been rubbing all over her foster mom as if to say “thank you!” She came to the shelter with a shaved spot on her side which looked like an area that was injured. She’s good as new and with a good diet and a brushing, she’ll be more beautiful than ever. She’s approximately 3-5 years old.

McGruber, Kitten Associates

MacGruber is fostered by Kitten Associates founder Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair fame. This handsome boy was rescued before his time was up at a high kill shelter, but they really think he used a paper clip and some gum to escape so he could be fostered by Kitten Associates! Mac is just a kitten at about 7 months old. He’s playful, very chatty and LOVES other cats! He loves people, too and seems to get along with everyone, though they feel he’s going to be a take charge kind of cat. So if you like a cat who’s ready to run the show, this boy if for you! He also loves to curl up in the sink and play with water coming out of the faucet.

Santos Cat Assistance NY

Santos is an adorable and sweet polylydactyl boy who is fostered through Cat Asssitance NY. He was found outside after being attacked by a raccoon. He had surgery to remove one of his nails and had to have staples put in his head. He’s very laid back and would do well with a dog, other cats and kids.

All of these groups have plenty of other beautiful cats looking for homes. If you’re looking for a new feline companion, please visit their websites, and look around.

About the author

A tax write-off for cat care expenses?

 claim kittens as dependents?

As cat parents, we all wish, come tax time, that we could claim our feline family members as dependents or, at the very least, claim some of the expenses for their care on our tax return. While you can’t do it for your own cats, you may be able to deduct some expenses related to volunteering with or fostering for a legitimate cat rescue organization.

A recent court case in California garnered quite a bit of attention for this issue. From the Don’t Mess With Taxes blog:

“Jan Elizabeth Van Dusen claimed $12,068 as a charitable contribution deduction on her 2004 tax return for unreimbursed volunteer expenses she incurred while caring for feral cats.

The Oakland, Calif., attorney volunteered with Fix Our Ferals, an IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) organization. Van Dusen trapped feral cats, had them spayed or neutered, housed them while they recuperated, got the animals vaccinated and other necessary medical treatments and then released them back into the wild. She also provided long-term foster care to cats in her home.

Essentially, according to filings in the tax deduction case, Van Dusen devoted her entire life outside of work to caring for the cats:

Each day she fed, cleaned, and looked after the cats. She laundered the cats’ bedding and sanitized the floors, household surfaces, and cages. Van Dusen even purchased a house “with the idea of fostering in mind.” Her house was so extensively used for cat care that she never had guests over for dinner.

Upon reviewing Van Dusen’s 2004 tax return, the agency determined that she owed $4,383. Most of the due tax was from the IRS’ disallowance of her charitable deduction of cat care expenses.”

Van Dusen took her case to Tax Court, where a judge found that her care of the cats did qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation. However, he disallowed some of the claimed expenses, such as cremation of a cat, bar association dues and department of motor vehicle fees, saying they were “categorically not related to taking care of foster cats and therefore not deductible.” The judge also found that the woman wasn’t keeping adequate records of the expenses.

IRS Publication 526 states that

You can claim a deduction fo:r a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records.

If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that lists each contribution and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions.

This is good news for those who volunteer for a legitimate recue group with 501(c)(3) status designating the group as a charitable organization, which makes it good news for animal rescue.

As with all tax related issues, you should always consult with a qualified tax advisor before claiming any deductions on your tax return.

Click here to watch a Wall Street Journal report titled Cat Lady Beats IRS in Court.

Do you volunteer with a legitimate cat rescue group? If so, do you deduct expenses related to your volunteer activities?

Photo: morguefile

About the author

Help The Conscious Cat win the 2011 Pettie Award for Best Cat Blog

 

2011 Pettie Awards

Dogtime Media’s 2011 Pettie Awards recognize excellence among animal-loving bloggers. The Petties are the only awards nominated by, voted for, and presented to individuals in the pet blogging community. The best part? In addition to winning this prestigious award, winners are honored with a $1000 donation to the shelter of their choice.

The Conscious Cat was a 2010 Pettie nominee, and we would love it if you would help us repeat this honor again this year by nominating us for Best Cat Blog. It only takes a minute.  And we would love it even more if you asked all your cat loving friends (or even non-cat loving friends!) to nominate us, too.

To nominate The Conscious Cat, click here. Complete the nominee information as follows:

Name: The Conscious Cat

Nominee URL: https://consciouscat.net

Nominee e-mail: [email protected]

Why should this blog win: This is where we hope you say something nice about us.

Nominations can be submitted through June 29.

The Conscious Cat - Allegra and Ruby

Allegra, Ruby and I thank you for your help!

About the author

A day in the life of an author’s cat

Fred, Lorna Barrett's cat

Guest post by Fred, owner of
New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett

Hello, my name is Fred. I’m a Tuxedo. That means I’m black and white. And very handsome. I know, because my author told me so.

Yes, I own an author. She wasn’t always an author, but when I came to live with her, her luck changed. Who says black cats are unlucky! She started selling lots of books. She has lots of author names: Lorna Barrett, Lorraine Bartlett, and L.L. Bartlett.

Why do people think black cats are unlucky? Okay, I do have some white fur, too, but I’m mostly a black cat. (Unless I lie on my back, and then my mapmaker—that’s the husband of my author—says I’m mostly white. Go figure!)

As an author-owner, I lead a pretty busy life. My day often starts at 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes I get restless and like to walk around the house talking to the cupboard. It holds lots of cans of cat food and kitty treats. I tell it to feed me, but it doesn’t listen well. So I walk around the house and talk to the furniture and the walls. Sometimes I talk (and scratch on) the bedroom closet door. For some reason when that happens, water comes squirting off of the mapmaker’s bedside table. Go figure!

I like to go back to bed about half an hour before everybody else gets up. Then I like to have a lie-in while my author and mapmaker play on their computers before breakfast.

I show up for breakfast every morning, but sometimes I don’t like what’s on the menu. I refuse to sit up and then I walk away. (But I sneak back when no one is looking. Hey, I gotta eat ya know.)

After breakfast, I like to jump on my author’s lap to take make sure she is correctly answering her email. Then I take a long nap on my mapmaker’s extra office chair. Sometimes I go sit under his 200 watt light bulb in my kitty bed. It’s too small for me, so sometimes I have to hang over the edges.

At lunchtime, I like to go see what my author is having. Sometimes she cuts up onions and celery and that means tuna will happen, and I get to drink the tuna water. I like that. (Doesn’t happen enough, though.)

After lunch, it’s nap time. I need to stay well rested because, like I said, I get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to talk to the walls and furniture. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

My favorite part of the day is Happy Hour. My author and mapmaker like to read (and my author often edits her work in progress at this time of day). Sometimes cheese happens. Yum! Chester (their other black cat) is good about telling them that WE NEED CAT TREATS NOW! Sometimes Betsy (one of the two sisters that live here—I like to chase or LOOK AT HER and make her SCREAM) leaves her treats. I’m fast. I clean up her leftovers.

During happy hour, I like to run around the house and pretend I’m a bullet train. (Only I can jump over chairs and knock over tables. It’s fun!) I have kitty OCD which makes my skin ripple and makes me run fast. The only thing that calms me down is my author petting me and telling me I’m a good and handsome boy. (I am!)

In the evening, I like to walk around the house and let everybody know that I’m in charge. (Chester doesn’t believe it.) I like to jump on the back of my author’s office chair and purr in her ear. She seems to like it.

If my author stays up too late, I have to remind her that it’s my bedtime. I start talking to the walls and furniture in her office until she says, “Alright already! Bedtime!” I sleep at the bottom of my author’s bed. I have an afghan my people-grandma made me and I have a little pillow, too. I like to rest my head on the pillow.

When I’m not doing all these things, I bring my author lots of luck to sell her books. That’s why she calls me her little prince (and her tiny son). She loves me a lot.

That’s my happy life. I hope your life is happy, too!

Lorraine Bartlett with Fred

Fred’s author is New York Times Bestselling author Lorna Barrett of the Booktown Mystery series. Sentenced To Death, #5 in the series, was relesed June 7th. Lorna also writes the Victoria Square Mysteries under the name Lorraine Bartlett and the Jeff Resnick Mysteries under the name L.L. Bartlett.

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An interview with Lorna Barrett

A mystery author and her cats

About the author