Month: November 2013

My Thank You to My Readers: Get Adventures in Veterinary Medicine FREE this Weekend!

Adventures_in_Veterinary Medicine_Ingrid_King

The Conscious Cat wouldn’t be what it is without all of you who read, comment and share each and every day. And to thank you for all of your support, I’m making my newest book, Adventures in Veterinary Medicine: What Working in Veterinary Hospitals Taught Me About Life, Love and Myself, available as a free download this holiday weekend.

The book offers a unique look at what really goes on in a veterinary hospital through the eyes of a former veterinary hospital manager, aka, yours truly. It provides insight into what makes veterinary medicine such a rewarding profession through a series of stories about some of the pets I connected with during my twelve years working in the field.Continue Reading

About the author

Up Close and Purrsonal with Simon Tofield, the Creator of Simon’s Cat

Simon_Tofield

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to be one of only a few local media members to get a private interview with Simon Tofield, the creator of Simon’s Cat, before his public event at Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore in Washington, DC. Even though Simon, who was in the middle of a US book tour, had just arrived from Miami, he made time to chat with me for an hour.

Simon’s Cat vs. The World

My first question was about Simon’s new book, Simon’s Cat vs. The World, which features Simon’s white cat in color for the first time: I was curious how he liked working in color, after doing the films, as well as the earlier books, in black and white all these years. Continue Reading

About the author

Does Your Cat Beg at the Dinner Table?

cat-beg-dinner

Begging at the dinner table is not a behavior that’s limited only to dogs. Cats can be just as persistent in looking longingly up at you while you’re trying to enjoy your meal, rub up against your legs, and meow. And unlike dogs, cats may also jump on the table during mealtime. Begging behavior can have a number of different reasons, ranging from physical to behavioral. Identifying the cause of the behavior is the first step in preventing it.Continue Reading

About the author

Alley Cat Allies National Conference

Alley_Cat_Allies_conference

I spent November 8 through 10 with more than 350 cat lovers at the first Alley Cat Allies National Conference in Crystal City, VA. I’ve attended many pet conferences over the years, including veterinary conferences, BlogPaws, Barkworld, and the Cat Writers Association conference, and they’re all great conferences, attended by people who love cats and whose work in some shape or form involves helping cats, whether it’s through writing, blogging or photography. But at no other conferences have I felt the level of caring and dedication to improving cats’ lives that I felt at this one. This conference was all about soaking up information on how to make lives better for cats, and networking with others with the same goal.

Attendees ranged from nationally known animal advocacy activists to the women and men who feed outdoor cats in their communitiesContinue Reading

About the author

Cats are Part of the Family Business for Artist Deborah Julian

Deborah_Julian_art

Deborah Julian has lived and worked in New York City for over twenty years, working as a photographer, innovative artist and art gallery director. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with honors and a degree in Art History. For the last ten years, she has been the director of a fine arts gallery in Manhattan and has continued to sell and exhibit her photographs.

Art and photography were Deborah’s primary passions for many years—until her heart was captured by a smart, funny cat named George. It was love at first sight from the moment they saw each other at the Humane Society of New York. She has since adopted two other terrific cats, Billy and Sammy. Her cats have become part of her art work as she creates colorful, whimsical images.Continue Reading

About the author

Tail Vaccinations May Facilitate Cancer Treatment in Cats

tail_vaccinations

When administering vaccinations to cats, most veterinarians give the injections below the elbow or knee joint in the leg, as recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners most recent guidelines. However, a recent study suggests that the tip of a cat’s tail appears to be as effective as vaccines at traditional sites.

Why inject vaccines into the tail?

The study was motivated by the high incidence of vaccine-induced sarcomas in cats. The incidence of these tumors ranges from 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10,000 cats. They can develop as quickly as 4 weeks or as late as 10 years post vaccination.

Typical treatment of these tumors is aggressive surgery. Since these tumors often infiltrate surrounding tissue, surgeons need to excise the tumor with a wide margin. This frequently means that the leg will need to be amputated. As a result, many cat guardians don’t pursue treatment, since this kind of extensive surgery is disfiguring, painful, and often very expensive. Injection into the tip of the tail would reduce the trauma of live saving surgery for cats who develop vaccine-induced cancers.

The study

Sixty cats were enrolled in the study. Thirty-one received vaccines in a hind leg below the knee and 20 received the same vaccines toward the back end of the tail. The researchers used a six-point scale (1 = no reaction, 6 = injection not possible) to assess the way in which the cats reacted to being vaccinated. They found “no significant differences” in the cats’ reactions to receiving injections in the tail versus the leg.

The researchers also collected blood samples from the cats to ensure that tail vaccination stimulated a good immune response.

What does it mean for your cat?

While some vets may begin tail vaccinations, it is doubtful that the veterinary community as a whole will jump on this bandwagon immediately. The study was only a pilot study and not a new recommendation for vaccine sites, as much of the media coverage would suggest.

The best vaccine plan for your cat will result from a thorough discussion with your veterinarian, taking your cat’s lifestyle and history into account, and assessing the the risks and benefits of vaccination, so you can make an informed choice for your cat.

The bigger picture

Veterinarians should be far more concerned about the high incidence of these cancers, than about the injection site itself. While vaccinations protect against disease, the emphasis should be put on avoiding adjuvanted vaccines. Adjuvants are substances added to a vaccine to enhance the immune system’s reaction, and studies suggest that they are responsible for the formation of tumors.

Reducing the frequency of vaccinations, and recommending titer testing as an alternative, should also be considered. Studies conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine have shown that immunity for some vaccines last seven years or longer, which suggests that even the more conservative vaccine protocols recommended by major veterinary organizations are still too frequent.

At this point, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Not enough cats have been vaccinated in the tail to really know whether this will truly reduce the incidence of injection-site sarcomas, and additionally, these cancers can take years to develop. But if your cat’s veterinarian starts vaccinating your cat in her tail, you will know why.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

About the author

Review and Giveaway: The Big New Yorker Book of Cats

The_Big_New_Yorker_Book_of_Cats

I absolutely adore The Big New Yorker Book of Cats. Aside from the from that fact that it combines two of my great loves, cats, and New York City, into one beautiful book, it’s everything a special cat book should be.

This beautifully illustrated collection is a celebration of cats. The book features articles, poems and humor pieces by such literary luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Roald Dahl, Robert Graves, Ted Hughes, Jamaica Kincaid, Jean Rhys, James Thurber, John Updike, Sylvia Townsend Warner, E. B. White, and many, many more. And of course, it also contains plenty of the New Yorker’s signature cartoons and drawings.Continue Reading

About the author

Review: Simon’s Cat vs. The World by Simon Tofield

Simon's_Cat_vs._the_World

You know Simon’s Cat from his YouTube videos. It all started with Cat Man Do, which I believe was the original Simon’s Cat video. The hand drawn animated video featuring black and white pencil drawings of a cat trying to wake his guardian has garnered more than 45 million views since it was posted five years ago.

Since then, Simon’s Cat has become an empire, featuring more videos, books, and merchandise ranging from t-shirts to cat beds to fine art prints.

Simon’s Cat vs. The World is the fourth book in Simon Tofield’s series based on his YouTube cartoon character. For the first time, Simon’s white cat is featured in full color.Continue Reading

About the author