Month: February 2012

Feral Cats in the Spotlight

feral cat

The plight of feral cats continues to receive publicity – unfortunately, not all of it based in fact. Feral cats, also referred to as community cats, are often misunderstood.

What is a feral cat?

Feral cats are descendants of a domesticated cat that have returned to the wild. Feral cats are born in the wild, as opposed to stray cats, who are usually cats who have been lost or abandoned.

What is being done to help feral cats?

There are a number of high profile organizations that address the problem of feral cats nationwide. Groups such as Alley Cat Allies are dedicated to protecting the lives of cats through education, promoting humane care for feral cats, and putting an end to the killing of cats.Continue Reading

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Book review: Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Animal-Attraction-Jill-Shalvis

Okay, admit it: is this book cover totally cute? Not to mention hot? When this book caught my eye at my local Barnes and Noble store a while back, I just had to buy it. I do enjoy a nice romance novel every once in a while, and if there’s a cat in it, so much the better.

I did read the back cover before I bought it, just to make sure there really was a cat in the book, and yes, right there, it said “There’s nothing like working with animals, having a forlorn, grumpy stray kitten make its home under your desk…”Continue Reading

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Don’t force your cat to be vegan

vegan-diet-for-cats

People adopt a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons, some of them health related, others as a conscious choice to help the planet. One of the most frequently cited reasons why people become vegan is because of a genuine concern about animal rights. There is no doubt that factory farmed animals live in abysmal conditions both prior to and during slaughter.

I admire people who can completely embrace this way of eating. It’s too restrictive for me, but the evidence I’ve seen, both scientific and anectdotal, makes me think that it is, indeed, a better way to eat. I’m mostly vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish and seafood, and I do eat dairy. However, more and more, I try to incorporate vegan principles into my diet.

Unfortunately, the increased popularity of the vegan lifestyle presents an ethical dilemma for devoted cat guardians who believe that their cats should reflect their human beliefs about the treatment of animals and an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.Continue Reading

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Book review: Jekyll Says…Good Deeds Cats Do, That You Should, Too! by D.C. Blackbird

childrens-book-cat-cover

Jekyll Says…Good Deeds Cats Do, That You Should, Too! was written for the author’s feline companion, Jekyll. “We did not want him to be forgotten,” says D.C. Blackbird. “He deserves more than that. He was special and there are lessons that cats and humans can learn from the fine examples he set in his life.” The author, an American poet and songwriter, is an advocate of animal welfare as well as a proponent of veganism. “Our mission is to teach children, teenagers, and adults about extending compassion for all living beings, as well as values and principles that encourage them to be more just, kind and considerate in their relations with others, and how to live simpler, happier, and healthier lives.”Continue Reading

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Talking cats

tortoiseshell-cats-talking

One of the primary ways cats commuicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. And most cat’s vocal expressions go far beyond just “meow.”

Even though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. At first, I always went looking for her, concerned that maybe something was wrong. I soon realized that she just loved to “talk.” It was almost as if she felt compelled to provide a running commentary on her activities:  “I think I’ll go in the bedroom now.”  “Oh, maybe I’ll jump up on the window perch. That looks like fun.”  “Oh, look! There’s a big blue bird by the feeder!”  It seemed that her constant delight at everything in her life needed to be expressed out loud.Continue Reading

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Stomatitis: Painful for Cats, Frustrating for Guardians and Veterinarians

tortoiseshell-cat-window

Stomatitis is is one of the most painful and frustrating conditions cats can develop. Buckley suffered from this condition; a severe inflammation of the oral cavity in cats in which the affected cat essentially becomes allergic to her own teeth. The outward signs of this condition are red, inflamed, and often ulcerated gums, and this can be very painful for the cat.Continue Reading

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Book review: Pampered Pets On A Budget by Jeffrey L. Barnes and Kristen M. Levine

pampered-pets-on-a-budget-cover

Costs for pet health care, food and other supplies continue to increase just as human health care and food costs are rising. Since pets are part of the family, pet care expenses are often the last item that gets cut from the family budget. Pampered Pets On A Budget: Caring For Your Pet Without Losing Your Tail helps pet owners cut pet costs without compromising care.

I was curious about this book. Advising people to save on pet care expenses can backfire. Recommendations on how to save on veterinary costs published in a 2003 Consumer Reports article essentially stated that you should price shop for veterinary care. While price is certainly one consideration, it shouldn’t be the only one, and it should most definitely not be the most important one when choosing your pet’s family doctor.

Thankfully, the authors of this book do not make this mistake. Continue Reading

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Petting Aggression in Cats: Why Cats Bite the Hand They Love

petting-aggression-cats

Guest post by Harry Shubin

This stuff always seems to come in clusters. I spent some time counseling the first foster about why his cat was biting him. I spent even more time counseling the second foster. Then I worked with the adopter who had the same issue. It finally took Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet doing an episode where every cat bit his or her person, for me to see the, ah, cat scratches on the wall. Or bites on my arm.

Why does my cat attack me?

I can’t tell you how often I hear “why does my cat attack me?” Let’s start with full disclosure – I have a cat with “petting aggression.” “Aggression” isn’t really the right word, though that’s what it’s generally called. It’s not really aggressive – nor is it mean, nor is the intent to actually hurt someone.Continue Reading

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Tooth Resorption: A Painfully Common Dental Disease in Cats

cat-yawning-teeth-tongue

Guest post by Dr. Karen Becker

When a kitty has oral disease, it generally has one of four causes:

  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Oral cancer (especially squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Feline stomatitis (an autoimmune disorder that causes painful inflammation of the mouth, throat or pharynx)
  • Tooth resorption

Tooth resorption is also referred to as cervical line lesions, resorptive lesions, feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs), and (inaccurately) cavities. Of the four major feline oral diseases, tooth resorption is the most common. Estimates are the condition affects between about 30 to 40 percent of healthy adult cats, and from 60 to 80 percent of kitties who visit the vet for treatment of dental disease.Continue Reading

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A tribute to Cookie

cookie-tortoiseshell-cat-close-up

When a friend’s cat passes away, my heart hurts for my friend. When I lose one of my feline Reiki clients, my heart hurts for the cat’s guardian, and for the lost connection. When I connect with an animal during a Reiki session, I connect with the essence of that animal, and even though I never get to meet many of my remote Reiki clients in person, I form a strong attachment to them over the time that I work with them.

Cookie was both: a friend’s cat, and a Reiki client. She was also a tortie. Cookie belonged to animal artist Bernadette Kazmarski. Early this morning, at the ripe old age of 19 years, Cookie passed away after a long and steady, but gentle decline. As Bernadette writes in her beautiful tribute My Little Sunflower, “her green eyes looked directly into mine; we held each others’ gaze for a minute or more as she lifted her petite paw and laid it on the back of my hand, comforting me, saying goodbye. Then she shifted her position and her gaze and drifted from consciousness.”Continue Reading

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Review and giveaway: I’d Rather Be a Cat by Allia Zobel Nolan

I'd rather be a cat allia zobel nolan

I’d Rather Be a Cat: The Official “Better Than Dogs” Cat Book confirms once and for all what most of us already know: cats are better than dogs. Bestselling author and ailurophile Allia Zobel Nolan provides inexorable proof, with a little help from her three feline children, why cats are leaving their canine competition in the dust.

Consider the following:

  • Cats don’t have self esteem issues. They don’t jump all over their humans for approval.
  • You’ll never have to douse a cat with tomato juice, because cats are smart enough to know that skunks are not to be messed with.
  • Cats don’t beg. It’s not their style.Continue Reading

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