Month: July 2012

Plants and foods that are toxic to cats

cat_in_flower_pot

Guest post by Amanda McIntosh

If your cat is anything like mine, he is curious and adventurous, and more often than not he will try to get into things he shouldn’t.

Plants

The first time I took my cat outdoors, he was fascinated by the grass in the yard. He wouldn’t stop eating it. Thinking it could potentially harm him, I discouraged him from doing it. I later found out from my vet that cats will often enjoy eating grass and it’s perfectly safe for them. You can even buy kits to plant grass for indoor cats.

However, there are other indoor and outdoor plants that aren’t as safe. My cat had a random obsession with a Dieffenbachia plant, a medium-sized houseplant with large, thick leaves. I removed it out of his reach when he started gnawing on it. I found out after the fact that Dieffenbachias are toxic to cats. Thankfully, they are not life-threatening, and he suffered no ill effects.

The good news is there are plenty of indoor plants that won’t be harmful for  cats. The ASPCA website offers a complete listContinue Reading

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Cat chicken jerky treats recalled for possible high levels of propylene glycol

Vita_Kitty_chicken_recall

Arthur Dogswell LLC is recalling 1051 cartons packed as either 10 or 50 packages per case of Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins because it has the potential to contain propylene glycol. High levels of propylene glycol in the treats could result in serious injury to cats. The adverse health impacts could be reducing red blood cell survival time (anemia) and making the cells more susceptible to oxidative damage.

According to the FDA, no illnesses have been reported to date.

The VitaKitty treats were distributed nationwide via retail stores and mail order from April 13th through June 14th, 2012.

This product is packaged in a re-sealable 2 ounce orange plastic bag with a clear window.

The VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins lot codes affected are as follows:Continue Reading

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Book review: Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health by Michael W. Fox

Healing_Animals_and_the_Vision_of-One_Health

Let me start this review by saying that Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health: Earth Care and Human Care is not a cat book. So why am I reviewing it here? Because it is an amazing book that touches on so many things that matter a great deal to me: conscious living, animal health, human health, the health of our planet, the health care crisis for both animals and humans, and the many pitfalls of commercial pet food, to name just a few.

Michael Fox is a veterinarian best known for his syndicated “Animal Doctor” column. Born in England, the former vice president of The Humane Society of the United States and the author of more than 40 adult and children’s books on animal care, animal behavior and bioethics, is a renowned advocate of animal rights and a sharp and eloquent critic of the biotechnology industry. As a professor, bioethicist and veterinarian, Dr. Fox has spearheaded the movement to foster the ethical treatment of animals and the environment since 1967.

His new book presents a vision of a worldContinue Reading

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Prepare Your Cat and Your Home for Your Cat Sitter

cat_in_window

We’ve always had great luck with cat sitters. For almost 20 years, Ronnie took care of my cats. All my cats, going all the way back to Feebee, loved her. She went far above and beyond what I’d expect from an ordinary cat sitter. When she retired, I thought I might never be able to travel again, but once again, we’ve been fortunate: Valerie, the woman Ronnie sold her business to, has quickly become our new best friend

She doesn’t just feed Allegra and Ruby and clean out their litter boxes when she comes over. She also spends time brushing them, playing with them, and just hanging out with them. She often stays a little longer than her normal half-hour client visit if she feels they need a little extra attention.

I don’t like to travel because I miss my cats too much when I’m gone, but when I do, I feel more relaxed knowing that they’re in Valerie’s capable and loving care.

However, even though Valerie has been caring for my cats for several years now, I still leave her written instructions for each visit.Continue Reading

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Review and giveaway: Enchanting Lily by Anjali Banerjee

Enchanting_Lily_Anjali_Banerjee

The publicist’s e-mail asking me whether I’d be interested in reviewing Enchanting Lily read “Anjali Banerjee’s charming and whimsical women’s fiction novel is the story of a young widow whose eyes are opened to the magic and fortune all around her by the arrival of a special white cat.” I was hooked before I even had the book in my hands!

I enjoy well-written womens’ fiction, and of course, I love it even more when there’s a cat prominently featured as part of the story. In Enchanting Lily, we meet Lily Byrne, a young widow who is leaving Seattle and the memories of her life with her husband there to start over in a small town on an island in Puget Sound. Almost on a whim, she buys a charming cottage and decides to open a vintage clothing boutique. When a white cat arrives on her doorsteop, she has no intentions of keeping her. But the cat, and the universe, have other plans for Lily. The story follows Lily’s healing journey, which is intricately linked to the cat and the human inhabitants of this small community.

Told from both Lily’s and the cat’s perspective, Continue Reading

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Memorializing Your Cat

cat_window_looking_out

Losing a beloved cat is devastating. While there are commonalities in how we mourn, grief is a very individual experience, and no two people will deal with pet loss in exactly the same way. But there are some things that can help ease the pain of loss. Finding ways to memorialize a cat who has passed on can be an important part of the healing process.

A photo tribute

This can take many different forms. One of the things I’ve always done after losing one of my cats is surround myself with photos. I would place them all over my house. In some small way, it made me feel like the lost cat was still with me in a somewhat tangible way. You can also create a physical collage suitable for framing, or an online photo album. Going through years of photos may bring tears, but hopefully, it will also bring smiles as you remember your time together.

Plant something

Plant a tree, a rosebush, or a flowering plant in your cat’s memory. Doing something life giving is a wonderful way to remember a cat, and you can visit with your memorial plant whenever you feel you need to be close to your cat.

Have a portrait painted Continue Reading

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Does your home have a cat superhighway?

cat_superhighway

The term “cat superhighway” was coined by Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy. In most episodes of My Cat From Hell, you can watch him recommend some version of this environmental modification designed to give cats a way to traverse their indoor environment as if they were outdoors.

Cat superhighways are especially important in households with more than one cat. They give cats opportunities to share territory on more than one level, without bumping into each other and creating possible altercations.

A good cat superhighway includes the following elements:

  • multiple lanes offering alternate routes
  • on and off ramps
  • no dead ends
  • rest stops and lookout points

You can create a cat superhighwayContinue Reading

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Feline Dementia

senior_cat

Can cats get Alzheimer’s and dementia? As cats are living longer, they get diseases that are commonly associated with aging.  If your senior cat seems to be a bit forgetful at times, meows loudly or seems anxious for seemingly no reason, or appears to get lost in the house, he may be showing signs of the feline version of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Can cats get Alzheimer’s?

In 2006, scientists at the University of Edinburgh identified a protein that can build up in cats’ brain nerve cells and cause mental deterioration. “We’ve known for a long time that cats develop dementia, but this study tells us that the cat’s neural system is being compromised in a similar fashion to that we see in human Alzheimer’s sufferers,” says Danielle Gunn-Moore, one of the researchers participating in the study.  “Recent studies suggest that 28 percent of pet cats aged 11-14 years develop at least one old-age related behavior problem, and this increases to more than 50 percent for cats over the age of 15,” adds Gunn-Moore. For more on the study, please read Cats Can Get Alzheimer’s on the Washington Post website.

Symptoms of dementia

The following symptoms can be indicators for feline dementia:Continue Reading

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How to Introduce a Kitten to Your Older Cat (4 Easy Tips)

 cat_meets_kitten

Guest post by Jackie Roberts

Finding a companion for an older cat requires some forethought, and is frequently not quite as simple as finding an adorable kitten at the local shelter, bringing her home, and introducing her immediately to the older resident cat. Kittens may not be a good match for many senior cats, especially cats who are dealing with health issues. If, after careful thought, you decide to have a kitten join your older feline in residence, slow and steady introductions will ensure a smooth experience for everyone.

Beyond the unsure nature of socialization between cat and kitten, there are also potential health concerns with an immediate introduction. When taking a new kitten home, the first stop should be a veterinarian’s office to make sure he is feline leukemia and FIV negative, free of parasites, and otherwise in good health.

The following tips will help you introduce your new kitten to your older cat.Continue Reading

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Does your cat need supplements?

cat_taking_pills

How many times have you seen the words “complete and balanced” on a pet food label? Would this lead you to believe that the food baring this claim is all your cat will ever need to be in perfect health? If so, you may be wrong.

The claim of “complete and balanced” simply means that the pet food company making that claim for any particular food is stating that when a sample of that particular product was subjected to a chemical analysis, that sample was found to contain the currently “known to be essential” nutrients at the currently recommended levels according to the currently accepted provisions laid down by AAFCO. (Source: Dr. Billinghurst’s BARF Diet).

Sounds like a mouthful? What it means in plain English is that commercial pet food contains every nutrient that our pets require. It does not necessarily mean that it also contains all the nutrients our pets need to be in perfect, healthy balance.

I think the concept that a cat can thrive on the same food, day after day, no matter how high a quality, simply doesn’t make sense. Continue Reading

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Starving tortoiseshell cat is drawn to campfire and finds love

Whiskers_tortoiseshell_cat

Guest post by Josephia T. Liem

There’s a beautiful monastery by the hills of a conservatory forest in West Java, Indonesia and I had an opportunity to stay there during a religious outing last December. The best part was dinner because, at that time, various indigenous animals from nearby conservatory would go down to the smell of our food and peer at us. Two wild dogs even came round the camp fire and naturally, got a fair share of a healthy meal.

My attention was rather drawn into a quiet, almost invisible presence near my group; a tortoise-shell cat who sat silently as she stared toward us. Whenever someone left the circle, one of the dogs would follow, and the cat would run away, so I think she must have been afraid of the dogs. However, that night I put a plate of rice, chicken (from my group mate) and scrambled egg just outside my room, where she previously sat, and went to sleep.

She Came Back

The next day I woke up rather early, wondering how she was doing,Continue Reading

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