Month: June 2013

What Is It About Cats and Bathrooms?

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Cats seem to have an endless fascination with bathrooms. Whether it’s sinks, bathtubs or shower stalls, I have yet to meet a cat who isn’t intrigued by at least one of those. And when was the last time you’ve been able to go to the bathroom without a feline escort?

I recently received an email from a reader telling me that the only time her cat will come up on her lap is when she’s in the bathroom. Why was she doing this, and how could she get her to come up on her lap at other times? My answer to the first question was “because your cat has a captive audience!” But the question also got me thinking about the topic of cats and bathrooms in general.

cat_in_sink

Allegra and Ruby both love being in the bathroomContinue Reading

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New Discovery Offers Hope Against Deadly FIP Virus

FIP_research_breakthrough

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.

After three decades of research, a breakthrough

Researchers at Cornell had a breakthrough after 30 years of research when they discovered Continue Reading

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Review: Fifth Life of the CatWoman by Kathleen Dexter

Fifth Life of the CatWoman

About a year ago, Kathleen Dexter posted a comment on what, with more than 12,000 comments, is arguably the most popular thread on this site, Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. She mentioned that several years ago, she wrote a novel featuring a tortoiseshell cat. At the time, the book was out of print. When Fifth Life of the CatWoman was re-released last month, the author sent me a review copy. Of course I was intrigued – any book featuring a tortie is going to get my interest. I didn’t know what to expect, and if it wasn’t for the tortie connection, I probably never would have picked up this book. Magical realism is not a genre I would typically read – but I sure am glad that I did.

From the publisher:

“It’s easy to find history written by those who win, those who hold power. It’s hard to find history written by the ones who lose,” says the mystery history teacher, Kat O’Malley. Unbeknownst to her students, she’s living the nine lives of a cat, and her history lessons come from four hundred yearsContinue Reading

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Review: Through A Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming

Through_a_cat's_ear

This post contains affiliate links*

I was very excited when I first heard about Through a Cat’s Ear, which combines music and sound therapy techniques, specifically designed for feline anxiety. This is not just simple relaxation music.

Why Through a Cat’s Ear is different from other relaxation music

Composer, music producer and sound researcher Joshua Leeds has been studying psychoacoustics—the effect of music and sound on human beings—since 1986. In 2003, concert pianist Lisa Spector inquired about adapting human sound therapy for dogs. Leeds began research into canine acoustic environments, which led to the release of the acclaimed audio series Through a Dog’s Ear. Through tonal and tempo selections, and simplification of solo piano music, Lisa and Joshua discovered effective solutions for many canine anxiety issues.

Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for catsContinue Reading

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Changing a Cat’s Name

changing_a_cat's_name

T.S. Elliott had it right in his famous poem: the naming cats is a difficult matter! Some of our cats come to us already named, and we keep the name because it suits, or because the cat already responds to it. Others come with names we don’t like,  so we choose a new name for them. Either way, most cat parents put a lot of thought into naming a cat. And some wonder whether it’s a good idea to change a cat’s name, especially if the cat is an adult who responds to her given name.

Allegra came to me with her name, but I changed Ruby’s.

I chose to keep Allegra’s name because it fits her joyful and happy personality to a tee.

Ruby’s name was Cinnamon when I first met her. There have to be a thousand torties named Cinnamon,Continue Reading

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New Natura Pet Food Recall Includes Several Dry Cat Food Brands

Natura_pet_food_recall

Natura Pet Products is voluntarily recalling specific lots of dry pet food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.Continue Reading

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A Writer’s Cat’s Work Is Never Done

Musetta Clea Simon

Guest post by Musetta Simon, feline muse to Clea Simon

Let me make one thing clear: I am Musetta, a cat. I am the cat, and I am not ungenerous.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention, however, that I share my person with several other felines. Well, if you can call them that, pale, thin imitations that they are. You see, my person, the writer Clea Simon, has been quite caught up recently with several feline characters, spending unconscionable hours devising escapades for them that she would never dream of allowing me – entrusting them with the health and safety of humans much more foolhardy than mine.

One of these, the so-called “feline specter,” Mr. Grey, does not bother me that much. Although he plays a key role in Clea’s latest mystery, Grey Dawn, as does a – dare I say it? – a werekitty, he is not a real threat to one such as myself. For one thing, Mr Grey – the companion of one Dulcie Schwartz, is a ghost. He does not demand pets or chin rubs, or any of those niceties that I have trained Clea to deliver. Besides, he is modeled on my predecessor as Best Cat in the World, Cyrus T. Cat. I have heard many stories of Cyrus, and although I think he must have been a bit of a wimp (he never bit anyone? Not even for fun?), I respect him, as all cats must respect their elders. We were once worshipped as divine for a reason.Continue Reading

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Signs of Illness in Cats

cat_in_bed

Cats are masters at hiding signs of illness, which is why regular veterinary exams are so important. All cats should get annual exams, and cats seven or older should be seen by a veterinarian twice a year. However, the most important person in keeping your cats healthy is you! You know your cat better than anyone, and it’s up to you to watch for any changes in your cat’s normal routine, behavior and attiude. They could be the first indicator that something is wrong.

Many pet guradians don’t realize that problems often develop slowly and cats especially don’t show symptoms until a disease is already advanced. If you can detect things early, you have a much better chance of addressing a problem successfully, and you’ll also save yourself money by avoiding costly veterinary fees for treating an advanced illness.

Look for Subtle Signs of Illness

Most signs start with a subtle change in your cat’s behavior, routine or attitude.Continue Reading

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Review: Lost Cat by Caroline Paul

Lost_Cat_Caroline_Paul

I approached reading Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology with apprehension. I find the thought of a cat going missing so gut-wrenching, it’s just not something I want to think about a whole lot. But thankfully, Caroline Paul’s cat Tibby wasn’t lost forever – five weeks after he disappeared, he returned home, looking fat and happy. And the author and her partner and illustrator of the book, Wendy MacNaughton, found themselves wondering where Tibby had gone and why he had left.

To answer these questions, Caroline and Wendy turned into stalkers. From GPS tracking devices to animal communicators, pet detectives and psychics, to covert missions through their neighborhood, they stopped at nothing to uncover the mystery of Tibby’s disappearance. Those of us who have occasionally demonstrated even mildly obsessive behavior when it comes to our cats will recognize ourselves in this poignant memoir.Continue Reading

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Feline Hyperthyroidism and Cat Food: Exploring a Possible Connection

cat_eating

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease that typically affects middle-aged and older cats.  It is caused by an excess production of thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland, located inside the cat’s neck.  Thyroid hormones affect nearly all organs, which is why thyroid disease can sometimes cause secondary problems such as hypertension, heart and kidney disease. There has been much speculation about what causes hyperthyrodism in cats. One of the culprits may be your cat’s food.

University of Georgia study looks at whether cat food ingredients play a role in disease development

Researchers at the University of Georgia are examining whether cat food ingredients play a role in disease development. In a study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, researchers treated feline thyroid cell cultures with various cat food ingredients to determine whether these ingredients stimulate normal thyroid cells. From the foundation website:

Researchers learnedContinue Reading

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