Julia’s nine-year-old son George was autistic. Quiet and withdrawn, he appeared lost in his own world. Then one day a small black-and-white stray cat appeared in her garden and George’s face lit up. George bonded with Ben and began to open up to his mother as well. For three happy years, the trio was inseparable and George made remarkable progress. But then disaster struck–Ben went missing and George regressed. The weeks turned into months, and Christmas was fast approaching, but on December 21, Julia got a call from a family more than fifty miles away, which finally offered a ray of hope . . . Genuinely touching, “The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas” is a story about devotion, love, and a holiday miracle.
This book has all the ingredients that usually make me love a cat story.Continue Reading
I frequently get questions about behavior problems with cats who live in multi-cat households. Whether it’s cat to cat introductions, litter box problems, or aggression, these types of issues can be extremely challenging for cat guardians, and sadly, they often result in cats being relinquished to shelters.
Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant and award winning author of more than twp dozen pet care books, put together a comprehensive guide for cat guardians facing these challenges. ComPetability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Cat Household helps cat parents understand why cats do the things they do, and how to create a peaceful multi-cat household.
This comprehensive guide covers how to
• Recognize and diffuse cat-to-cat aggression
• Settle disputes over territory, potty problems and mealtime woesContinue Reading
When your cat is recovering from a serious illness, surgery or an accident, she may require extended nursing care when she returns from the veterinary hospital. Providing nursing care can seem overwhelming, but most cats will recover more quickly if they’re at home in their familiar environment with the person they love.
The following tips can help take the stress out of caring for your cat after an illness or accident.
Provide a safe and quiet place for her to recuperate
Your cat’s personality, and the severity of the illness, will determine the right approach. If your cat seems to do better if she can access all her familiar places, than by all means, let her do so. But if she seems to want to just stay in one place, make the area as comfortable as you can for her. Provide plenty of blankets and soft bedding, and make sure that she has easy access to a litter box and fresh water.
Don’t worry, my book reviews have not gone to the dogs. The front cover of Amy Shojai’s debut thriller Lost and Found is a bit misleading, which is why I’m showing the back cover as well. While Shadow, the dog featured on the cover, plays a central role in the book, Macy the Maine Coon makes important contributions to solving the mystery, even if she was relegated to the back cover.
Amy Shojai is a certified pet behaviorist and award-winning author of more than 24 non-fiction pet books. I was intensely curious about her first foray into fiction.
From the publisher:
Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything—husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot—and flees to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promiseContinue Reading
Black cats. FIV+ cats. Senior cats. Special needs cats. These are just some of the factors that can make a cat seem ”less adoptable.” To promote these special cats (and dogs, too), Petfinder has designated September 17 – 23 as “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week.” I actually don’t like the term “less adoptable” at all, which is why I put it in quotes – I prefer to think of these cats as extra special.
The statistics are sobering: according to Petfinder, these “less-adoptable” cats are likely to spend nearly four times longer than the average pet waiting for a home. As anyone who has ever lived with a special needs cat knows, these wonderful cats make some of the most loving and wonderful companions. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a few of them that are looking for their forever homes.
How can you help these cats find a home? If you’re looking for a feline family member, consider opening your heart and home to one of these extra special cats. You won’t regret it. If you’re not ready to adopt right now, there are other ways you can help:Continue Reading
Animals Welcome: A Life of Reading, Writing and Rescue by Peg Kehret is a collection of stories of the animals in the author’s life. When Kehret and her husband moved to a log cabin near Mt. Rainier in Washington State, she was looking for a quiet place to write. A lifelong animal lover, she loved the abundance of wildlife in her backyard, and had her property designated as a wildlife sanctuary. Since the stray cats in the area can’t read, her home eventually also became a safe haven for stray cats.
From a mother cat and her kitten rescued after being shot with a pellet gun to a black bear living on her porch, Kehret shares the joys of rescuing and caring for animals. She also writes about the heartbreak of losing Pete, the shelter-cat who co-authored three of her books. When her husband of 48 years died of a heart attack, Kehret found comfort in opening her home to foster cats.
Tornadoes are a rarity in my part of the United States, but occasionally, we get some pretty wild weather. This past Saturday, a strong cold front was coming our way. Ever since the freak derecho storm that moved through here in June and left us without power for 48 hours, I’ve learned to pay attention when the sky gets dark. I also know to give Allegra Storm Soother and Stress Stopper at the first signs of any storminess. She’s come a long way, but she’s still a bit afraid of storms and prefers to ride them out in her safe space: behind the shower curtain in our downstairs bathroom.
After giving her the remedies, I checked the Washington Post Capital Weathergang Twitter feed, the most reliable weather source in this area, for updates on the coming storm. I certainly didn’t expect to see a tornado warning, with my immediate area directly in its path, and the words “TAKE COVER IN INTERIOR ROOM NOW!” Let me note that the Post rarely uses caps in its Twitter feed, so I knew they meant business.
Allegra was already in the downstairs bathroom, which is probably the safest room in our home. Continue Reading
If there was a feline equivalent to the human Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which ranks 43 stressful events that can contribute to illness, I’d guess that home improvement projects are at the top of the feline list of stressors. Not only are cats creatures of habit, and any change to their home environment, even something as minor as moving a piece of furniture, can cause stress. Home improvement projects come with noise, upheaval, potentially harmful tools and chemicals, representing just about everything a cat does not want to deal with.
If you’re planning home improvement or remodeling projects, there are things you can do to minimize stress on your cats.
Designate a safe room
This should be a quiet room, as far away from the construction noise as you can get. Put beds, food, water, toys, and cat trees and scratchers in the room. You may want to get your cats used to staying in this room a few days before construction begins so they associate it with something pleasant. Leave a radio or tv on in the room, this may act as white noise and block out some of the construction sounds.Continue Reading
FIP are the three worst letters a cat guardian 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.
The good news is that there are studies under way that bring hope for a future in which cats can be diagnosed, treated and cured of this devastating disease. Morris Animal Foundation, a world leader in advancing veterinary research that protects, treats and cures animals on every continent, is currently funding two studies.
When Ingrid asked if I’d like to write a blog about cats in my life as models for the cats in my books, I couldn’t wait to get started!
As I was about to turn thirteen, awkward and shy and brimming with early teenage yearning, I wanted only two things for my birthday. One was a date with Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. Which I could never have handled even had it been possible.
My second wish was for a kitten. Unfortunately, my birthday is in January and we lived in frozen Michigan, so kittens were scarce. But my pet-loving mother searched the animal shelters within a fifty mile radius and tracked down an orange tiger kitten. He had already been returned by one family, and so came with a “no refund” receipt.
Do you think you know the five most common cat diseases? The findings in Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health 2012 Report may surprise you.
The report captured and analyzed data from nearly 430,000 cats in 43 states over a period of five years. The driving force behind the study was a commitment to preventive care and early diagnosis. In addition to collecting medical data, the report also identified pet owner perceptions. For this part of the report, Banfield polled more than 1,000 cat owners in the United States.
The report also captured date from more than 2 million dogs. This discrepancy in cat vs. dog numbers highlights the prevalent trend that dogs get far more attention when it comes to medical and health studies than cats do. According to pet journalist Steve Dale, for every dollar devoted to cat health research, five to ten dollars are devoted to feline research.