Month: February 2013

Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy When it Comes to Cat Food

cat eating food from bowl

Recently, a major pet food company announced a complete reformulation of one of its core product lines. The new formulas are to contain more natural ingredients, no by-products and no artificial colors or flavors. After looking at the list of ingredients, the new formulas don’t look much better to me than the old ones did, and still contain fillers such as wheat gluten, corn meal and powdered cellulose. While they may not contain by-products anymore, the non-specific proteins listed, such as “ocean fish” or “poultry” or “meat,” don’t provide enough information as to what the source of the protein is.

The intent of this article is not to point fingers at any one cat food manufacturer. Selling cat food is a business, and you can’t blame manufacturers for trying to position their products in the best possible light. This is why it’s up to each cat guardian to look past the marketing hype and educate themselves about what is really in their cat’s food. And that means understanding how to read the label.

One of the most misleading words on cat food labels (or any food label, for that matter) is probably the world “natural.”Continue Reading

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Copy Cat Festival entertains cat lovers


Written by Clea Simon

Somerville, MA is not Minneapolis. But this gritty little city, living cheek by jowl with Boston, is not only fun and funky (second only in artists per capita to New York) but also feline friendly. And so, after seeing the success of the Internet Cat Video Festival at the bigger city’s Walker Art Center, Somerville got on board with the honestly named Copy Cat Festival. Despite a winter storm that brought an additional several inches of snow and gale-force winds to town, on Sunday, February 17, the Somerville Arts Council hosted a total of 600 cat lovers at two iterations of a three-hour fest of local and international cat videos, cat photography and poetry, with a few feline surprise guests thrown in.

Maybe it was the call for local participation. According to the Boston Globe, four dozen local videos were submitted to the cat fest board, which included members of the arts council and Somerville Community Access Television (which was renamed for the festival as “Community Access Television of Somerville” or “CATS”). Tickets for the festival, which was originally scheduled for 4-7 p.m. at the Somerville Armory, were quickly sold out, necessitating the scheduling of an earlier, noon-3 p.m. showing.Continue Reading

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A Team Approach to Caring for Cats with Cancer


While cancer in cats is not as common as it in dogs, it is still one of the leading causes of death in older cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States along. And because cats are masters at masking illness, it is often harder to detect.

Cancer used to be a death sentence for cats, but recent advances in feline cancer research have made treatment possible in many cases. Just like with human cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment options may include sugery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Whether you choose aggressive treatment for your cat’s cancer, or whether you elect to provide palliative care, which focuses on providing quality of life for the ill cat as well as the cat’s caregiver, caring for the feline cancer patient is a team effort that involves the cat’s guardian, her veterinarian and staff, and, if needed, a social worker or bereavement counselor.

I recently had a chance to speak with Conor J. McNeill, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology), an oncolgist at the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary MedicineContinue Reading

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Nature’s Variety recalls one batch of Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Organic Chicken

Note: This article covers a recall that occurred in 2013. For up-to-date information on current pet food recalls, please visit the FDA’s recall website.

In 2013, Nature’s Variety announced a recall of one batch of Instinct® Raw Organic Chicken Formula with a “Best if Used By” date of 10/04/13. This action was taken because pieces of clear plastic may have been found in some bags and could cause a potential choking risk to pets.  The source of plastic has been identified and the issue has been resolved.

The affected product is strictly limited to a single batch of Organic Chicken Formula with the “Best if Used By” date of 10/04/13.  This includes:

• UPC# 7 69949 60137 1 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions, 3 lbs. bag

• UPC# 7 69949 70137 8 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions, 27 lbs. case

• UPC# 7 69949 60127 2 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties, 6 lbs. bag

• UPC# 7 69949 70127 9 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties, 36 lbs. caseContinue Reading

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Review and giveaway: Celebrity Cat Names by Christina Hamilton


Let’s face it, we’re a celebrity obsessed culture, and that obsession extends to celebrity pets as well. If you enjoy following celebrities, and if you’ve ever wondered about famous cat lovers and their beloved cats, you’ll enjoy Celebrity Cat Names.

From the publisher:

Celebrity stories from Cleopatra to Beyoncé revealed through their cats. From the legend of Prophet Mhammed’s Muezza to the tragic story of Kim Kardashian’s Mercy; from Thomas Hardy’s Kiddleywinkempoops to Big Bang Theory Sheldon’s scientist cats. A diverse mixture of fun facts about historical and contemporary celebrities, chock full of gorgeous cat photos, quotes and tales, Celebrity Cat Names is purrfect for everyone who loves cats.Continue Reading

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Cats & Birds: The Joys of Birdwatching for Indoor Cats


With the recent bad press cats have been getting with regards to birds (read my post Faulty Science Spread Lies About Cats and Their Impact on Wildlife for more information), I thought I’d highlight one area where birds can not only coexist peacefully with cats, they can also provide stimulating entertainment for indoor cats, and the best part: nobody gets hurt.

The topic of indoor vs. outdoor cats can be controversial for many, but for me, it’s pretty black and white. All of my cats have always been, and will always be indoor cats. Indoor cats live longer and safer lives, and as long as you provide plenty of environmental enrichment, frequent playtime, and lots of love and attention, cats will never miss the great outdoors.

A strategically placed birdfeeder could turn out to be one of the most popular choices of entertainment for your indoor cats. I happen to love birds, and love watching the activity at our feeder almost as much as Allegra and Ruby do (although I won’t chatter my teeth when I get excited…)Continue Reading

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Review: The Feline Yogi Mat


I’ve always felt that cats and yoga make for a purr-fect combination, which his why I was delighted when I discovered Feline Yogi, a blog with the tagline “Celebrating the Most Enlightened Species – the Cat!” Feline Yogi is brought to you by Pippy, a feline yogini who has her paws full to keep her humans in line: “They spend an obscene amount of time in front of their computers,” says Pippy, “when they could be taking care of my needs.” Pippy’s human Paige says she’s doing her best to be at the beck and call of any feline needs that may arise, while still making time for her own yoga practice – something she’s been focused on for over 20 years.

Paige is also the creator of the Feline Yogi Mat. Over the past two decades of practicing yoga, Paige found that inevitably, when she brought out her yoga mat, all her cats would immediately plop themselves smack in the middle of the mat, leaving no room for her. She decided that the cats needed their own mat.

We received a Feline Yogi mat for review. I couldn’t wait to seeContinue Reading

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Mammary Cancer in Cats


An estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of all cats will be affected by cancer. Mammary (breast) cancer is the third most common cancer in cats, after lymphoma and skin cancer. More than 90% of the victims are female cats older than 10 years of age. Early detection of this type of cancer is critical and greatly improves chances of survival for affected cats.


Mammary tumors often appear as small, hard lumps the size of a pebble or pea. They may be moveable, or may be firmly attached to the skin or underlying muscle. The most common locations for these tumors are the first front sets of mammary glands, but they can occur anywhere near the cat’s nipples. In its initial stage, the tumor may be hard to feel, it’s not painful, and there won’t be any obvious clinical signs. It can be months before a growth is noticed.


Diagnosis is obtained by surgically removing the growthContinue Reading

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Faulty science spreads lies about cats and their impact on wildlife


For the past week, the mainstream press has widely reported on a paper in which professional wildlife biologists associated with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim that domesticated cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds and more than 15 billion small mammals each year in the United States. The authors of the paper tried to assess the behavior of “owned” and “un-owned” cats, which would include feral, free roaming and indoor/outdoor cats.

This  paper was authored by researchers with an anti-cat track record, who arrived at their conclusions by picking and choosing data that supported their point of view. To make matters worse, they cite a researcher who was convicted for trying to poison cats.Continue Reading

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Why Do Cats Drool? 4 Common Reasons

Orange cat drooling

I recently received a question from a reader about why her cat drools when he purrs. She had lived with cats all her life, but had never had a “happy drooler.”

Some cats will, indeed, drool when they’re exceedingly happy and purring up a storm. I’ve lived with a couple of these happy droolers myself. Feebee mostly did it when he was a kitten, but stopped once he got older. Amber drooled throughout her life when she was completely relaxed and purring. Ruby will occasionally drool.

But far more commonly, drooling can be the sign of a behavioral or health problem. Some of the causes of excessive drooling are:

Dental disease

Periodontal disease is the most common cause for drooling.Continue Reading

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