Month: October 2012

Living with an arthritic senior cat

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Guest post by Lorie Huston, DVM

Living with a senior cat has rewards as well as challenges that are a bit different than those encountered when living with a younger cat. Pain is, of course, something we don’t want to see in any of our pets. However, senior cats are more likely to develop conditions and illnesses that create pain and discomfort. Arthritis is a common but often unrecognized disorder in older cats. In one study, 90 percent of cats over 12 years of age showed radiographic (X-ray) evidence of arthritis*.

Unfortunately, recognizing arthritis in cats is challenging at best. Many of our cats hide their pain very effectively. While we may sometimes see our older cat limping or favoring one leg or another, more often than not our arthritic cats simply become less active. They spend more time sleeping and resting. They may be reluctant to jump onto surfaces that were easily accessible previously. In fact, many of us mistake these symptoms of arthritis for normal aging. Too often, we simply assume that it’s normal for an older cat to sleep moreContinue Reading

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Review: Witness to a Rescue by Bernadette Kazmarski

Witness_to_a_Rescue

This illustrated story about a tabby and white cat who is rescued by a neighbor of the author showcases Bernadette Kazmarski’s multiple talents perfectly. Bernadette is a multi-faceted creative spirit:  artist, writer, graphic designer, painter, animal advocate, environmentalist. You may know her from her blog, The Creative Cat, or you may have been lucky enough to have been the recipient of one of her custom cat portraits.

Bernadette doesn’t just paint with colors, she also paints with words. Witness to a Rescue is a lovely example of this particular combination of her gifts. This charming story, remembered by the author for more than 20 years, will warm your heart as you follow an insistent little stray who has decided that she’s going to be an indoor cat. Even though the story is short, it packs a deceptively powerful punch, and will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever opened their heart to the love of a cat.

Witness to a Rescue is available for Kindle Continue Reading

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Adopting a purebred or almost purebred cat

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As most of you know, I’m partial to tortoiseshell cats. People often think that torties are a breed, but they’re not. The name simply refers to their beautiful coloring, which is the result of an interaction between genetic and developmental factors. It should come as no surprise that I was drawn to torties when I was ready to adopt again after losing Buckley and then Amber.

In much the same way, some people are drawn to a specific breed of cat, and frequently, this notion steers them away from adoption. What they don’t realize is that there are many cats and kittens in shelters who are either the kind of breed they’re looking for, or a near mix.

Meet some of these adoptable “purebred” cats below. The stories were provided by Adopt-a-Pet. On Adopt-a-Pet’s website, you can search for your next feline family member by breed, gender, color, coat length, age and more. Beautiful Grace in the photo above is available for adoption from Charm City Animal Rescue in Baltimore, MD.Continue Reading

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Are Processed Foods at the Root of All Feline Illness?

cat-eating

Diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, low immunity, even cancer – all of these diseases are ultimately caused by chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to healing by bringing an increased immune response to the site of an injury or infection, but when inflammation becomes chronic, it damages the body and causes illness.Continue Reading

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Review: Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat by Cathy Unruh

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Taming Me: Memoir of a Clever Island Cat by Cathy Unruh is the story of Lucy Miracle, a formerly feral kitten who learns to appreciate the joys of becoming a housecat. Narrated by Lucy herself, we first meet the hungry little kitten while she is foraging for food on a private island in the Bahamas, appropriately named Cat Cay.

Based on a true story, the reader gets to follow Lucy from her wild beginnings to the life of a spoiled and much loved housecat. Blending fact with fiction, the author shares Lucy’s journey in the kitten’s own words. But if you expect just a cute talking cat, you’re going to be disappointed. Unruh presents Lucy’s point of view in a sensitive, caring, and imaginative way. The author clearly knows and loves cats.

Through Lucy’s eyes, we learn what goes on in the mind of a feral cat when she is trapped.Continue Reading

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In praise of veterinary technicians

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When your cat goes to the veterinary hospital, chances are she’s going to spend much more time with veterinary technicians or other veterinary staff members than with the veterinarian. Veterinary technicians are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians to give cats the best medical care possible.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. (NAVTA) has designated October 14 through 20 as National Veterinary Technician Week. “Technicians are an integral part of the pet healthcare team, and play an important role in veterinary care, to both the client and their pets,” said Catherine Holly, CVT, president of NAVTA. “It’s important that we take the time to celebrate technicians. Not only do they provide top-notch care to our pets, but also put in long hours as researchers, and are oftentimes specialized. We just want people to know how valuable technicians actually are.”

I don’t much care for the term “technician” with its connotations of Continue Reading

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The Conscious Cat wins the 2012 Pettie for Best Cat Blog

2012 Petties Best Cat Blog

Allegra, Ruby and I are excited and happy to announce that The Conscious Cat won the 2012 Pettie for Best Cat Blog! And we’re even more excited that this award comes with a $1000 prize, which will go to Kitten Associates, a Connecticut based private rescue group founded by fellow Pettie nominee Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair.

Thank you again to all of you who read this blog every day, and who voted tirelessly to help us win this award. This award belongs to all of you!

Congratulations to the other winners, especially our friends Deb Barnes of Zee&Zoey, Joanne McGonagle of The Tiniest Tiger, and Lorie Huston of Pet Health Care Gazette.

If you missed the ceremony, you can watch it here:Continue Reading

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Review: In Search of Cleo by Gina Gershon

In_Search_of_Cleo_Gina_Gershon

Movie and television actress Gina Gershon (Showgirls, Curb Your Enthusiasm) considers herself a cat lady. In her new book, In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind, Gershon recounts the story of the two-month search for her beloved cat Cleo, after her assistant lost the cat while taking her to a groomer in Los Angeles.

Cleo, a beautiful black panther, came into Gerhson’s life while she was living in New York City. One snowy night, she heard the tiny black kitten howling in her building’s courtyard. She opened her window, and quietly gave directions to the scared kitten on how to come inside through her bedroom window: “Go to the left, onto the table, jump to the slight ledge that leads to my window, and come inside!” Before she knew it, the kitten leaped inside, right into Gina’s arms. It was love at first sight. Gershon’s boyfriend was not a cat person, but the kitten won him over in no time, and Gershon decided to name the little master seductress Cleopatra. A subsequent visit to the vet revealed that Cleo was a he, but Gershon had gotten so used to calling “her” Cleo that she didn’t want to change the  name.

Gina lived every cat parent’s nightmare when she came back from the Cannes film festival and was told that Cleo had gone missing.Continue Reading

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The Conscious Cat awarded four Certificates of Excellence

The Conscious Cat was awarded four Certificates of Excellence in the Cat Writers’ Association’s annual contest! The contest showcases the very best in the feline field of professional writers, broadcasters, photographers and graphic artists.

The Conscious Cat received a certificate for the “Website” category.

I also received Certificates of Excellence for three individual articles in the categories of “Online Article – Health and General Care” and “Online Article – Behavior and Training.” The winning articles are:

Stomatitis: Painful for Cats, Frustrating for Guardians and Veterinarians

High-tech Medicine for Your Cat: MRI’s

Redirected Aggression: When Good Cats Attack

In addition to these four certificates, I was also awarded a certificateContinue Reading

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A visit from Midnight Louie and Carole Nelson Douglas

 Cat in a White Tie and Tails cover

Guest post by Carole Nelson Douglas

Midnight Louie is delighted that I was invited to write about him for the Conscious Cat and pleased to see photos of attractive torties on the site. (Frankly, like any hard-boiled PI, he can’t resist a female of any species.) And that may be mutual, much as I hate to encourage him. He looks gorgeously dapper on the cover of his latest release, Cat in a White Tie and Tails.

We have a tortie at home, rescued off the neighbor’s roof at 6 a.m. She’s called Amberleigh because she has green eyes and (some) red hair, like the Irish heroine of my first book of that name.

Midnight Louie was a rescue cat before he became a literary lion. Actually, he would deny he had needed “rescuing.” He was a motel cat. Continue Reading

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What does holistic cat care mean to you?

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The term “holistic” means different things to different people. Wikipedia defines holistic health as a “concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole.” The term “holistic” is often used interchangeably with “alternative” when it comes to health.

When I refer to a holistic approach to health care, whether it’s for cats or for humans, I mean an approach that takes into account all aspects of what make up a living being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Looking at health, and illness, holistically, also means looking for, and treating, the cause of a problem or illness, rather than just treating symptoms. Symptoms are almost always a manifestation of a deeper problem.

Holistic therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal treatments are gaining increasing acceptance for cats, as moreContinue Reading

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