Month: January 2014

Cat Sense by John Bradshaw (2023 Book Review)


Cats are the most popular pet in the world, and yet, so much about cats is still unknown. Even those of us who spend a large part of our lives learning about and trying to understand cats still feel like we have a lot to learn when it comes to these beloved, yet often enigmatic creatures.

In Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, renowned cat expert and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, who has studied cat behavior, and cats’ relationship with people, for more than 30 years, offers an in depth look at the latest research into how cats think, how they interpret the world around them, and what we know about cat personality. Bradshaw covers topics such asContinue Reading

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Euthanasia: When is the Right Time to Say Goodbye? Key Considerations

Woman owner hugging cat

Making a decision about whether or when the time is right for euthanasia is one of the hardest things someone loving a pet will ever go through. Unlike human medicine, veterinary medicine is fortunate to be able to legally offer the option of gently ending suffering when there seems to be no hope for recovery. It is a difficult decision to make at best, and it can be nearly impossible for some pet owners. There are so many factors that play into it. The term that is used the most in this context is “quality of life.” But what does that really mean? Are there hard and fast rules as to what constitutes good quality of life? Of course not. Quality of life means something different for every person, and for every animal.

There are some fairly obvious markers. Pain is one of them. No pet owner wants to see a beloved pet suffer. Animals, especially cats, are masters at masking pain, so this can be difficult to detect. Another marker is appetite. For most pet owners, the first indication that something is wrong is usually when a pet stops eating. A third important marker is dignity. Is the pet still able to relieve herself on her own, or does she need assistance with urination and defecation?

But even these three markers are not always helpful when trying to make a decision. Pain can be managed with medication. Some pets stop eating or eat very little but are still happy and are enjoying life. And who is to say that the dog that needs assistance with being carried outside to urinate or the cat that needs help to get into the litter box and needs to be cleaned off afterwards does not appreciate this level of care from his loving human and is otherwise happy and content?  Each pet is different, and each relationship between human and animal is unique.  There is no one right answer.

Veterinarian explaining things to cat owner in medical office
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

It is often said that making the decision to euthanize a pet is the final gift of love we can give our animals. I wholeheartedly believe that, but it still does not make the decision process any easier. Love and denial can be intricately linked, and it can sometimes be difficult to separate one from the other.

It is often said that we will just “know” when the time is right.  And I believe that when we do connect with the essence of our animals and manage to set aside worry and fear for even just a few moments at a time, we will know.  It takes courage to set aside our fears, and to tune in to the animal and really “hear”  them.  Ultimately, the only way any of us can make this decision is by listening to our animal friends with our hearts, not with our heads. It becomes a decision of love, not something to be reasoned out on an analytical and intellectual level.

Featured Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukde, Shutterstock

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Review: The Lap-Reluctant Cat by Stephanie Bouchard


Most of us have had one or more of these cats: they are happy, sweet, maybe even affectionate on their own terms, but they simply refuse to sit in our laps. Allegra is one of them. It took months after I first adopted her at seven months of age before she would even come near my lap. She liked being in the same room with me, even sit right next to me, but my lap? That was off limits territory as far as she was concerned. After almost four years with me, she has just recently started to come around and is starting to ask for some lap time.

Stephanie Bouchard can relate – to the point that she published a charming little book about the topic. Continue Reading

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Morris Animal Foundation Study Helps Cats With Blood Clots


Written by Katie Friedson on behalf of Morris Animal Foundation

Blood clots are a potentially deadly complication of heart disease. These clots can form when changes in the shape of the heart walls cause blood to move through the heart in an abnormal flow pattern, leaving stagnant spots were coagulation can occur. The vast majority of these clots lodge at the very end of the aorta, the biggest artery in the body, where it branches off to supply the rear legs and tail. When this happens, the affected cat will be literally fine one second and paralyzed the next. The pain is excruciating. This is a life-threatening crisis with a very poor prognosis for survival. It is a frightening scenario for any cat guardian.

It is estimated that between 200,000 and 600,000 cats develop blood clots every year. Only one third will survive the first blood clot, Continue Reading

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Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl Elevates Cute to a Whole New Level


I’m not a football fan, and I couldn’t care less who wins the big game. So why will I be watching football come Super Bowl Sunday this year? Why, it’s because I’ll be watching Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl! After years of having to wait for Animal Planet’s Kitten Halftime Show during their annual Puppy Bowl, cat lovers finally get their own event.

In this feline showdown, there will be two preliminary playoffs and a championship match. Continue Reading

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Hospice Care: An Alternative to Premature Euthanasia


With cat guardians understanding the importance of regular preventive care, and with veterinary medicine becoming more and more advanced, cats live longer lives than ever before. However, despite all the advanced treatment options, some illnesses are considered terminal. In the past, euthanasia was often the only option pet owners would consider at that stage. An alternative to premature euthanasia that is garnering more attention in the world of pet care is hospice care.

What is hospice care?

The definition of a terminal illness is an illness for which there is no cure. It is an active, progressive, irreversible illness with a fatal prognosis. Hospice care provides an alternative to prolonged suffering and is designed to give supportive care to cats in the final phase of a terminal illness. The goal is to keep the cat comfortable and free of pain, with a focus on quality of life.

Hospice care is not about giving up, or even about dying. It may actually involve providing more care for a terminally ill cat than pursuing aggressive medical treatment, not less. The decision to provide hospice care should be made in conjunction with your veterinarian, who will become an integral partner in the process.

What does hospice care involve?

Hospice care focuses on keeping the patient comfortable. This may mean providing additional soft bedding with easy access to food, litter boxes, and favorite sleeping spots. Depending on the cat’s condition, gentle handling may be required because many terminal medical conditions create discomfort and pain.

Pain management, also known as palliative care, is one of the cornerstones of hospice care. Cats are masters at hiding pain, so it is up to the cat’s guardian to watch for even subtle signs of pain, such as hiding or avoiding contact with family members or changes in sleeping position. Work with your cat’s veterinarian to develop an appropriate pain control program for your cat.

Provide easy access to food and water at all times. You may need to experiment with special foods to get an ill cat to eat.

Sick cats may not be able to groom themselves normally. You may have to assist your cat with grooming by gently brushing, and keeping eyes, ears, the area around the mouth and around the rectum and genitalia clean.

There are many non-invasive, gentle holistic therapies that can provide relief to terminally ill cats. Energy therapies such as Reiki, Healing Touch, Tellington Touch and others are particularly effective.

A time of peace

Hospice care can present logistic and emotional challenges for cats and their guardians, but this can also be a time of peace and increased bonding with your beloved feline companion. Additionally, hospice care allows cat guardians to gently prepare themselves for the impending loss.
Diagnosis of a terminal illness does not have to be the end. Hospice care can provide a compassionate and loving final phase of life for both cat and human.

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

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Review: My Best Little Buddy by Tom Templeman


When we lose a special cat, it’s the stories of that cat’s life that sustain us as we navigate through the devastating grief that comes with losing a best friend. For some, sharing those stories with a wider audience becomes an integral part of the healing process. This was the case for Tom Templeman, a Nashville based songwriter/artist.

Templeman was no stranger to loss. At age 4, he watched his 7-year-old brother being killed by a car. As an adult, he grieved the sudden, early death of his mother, and buried three of his closest friends. And yet, he was not prepared for the profound heartbreak of losing his 17-year-old grey tabby Tiger to heart disease.

In My Best Little Buddy: 17 Years of Love and Frienship with Tiger, Templeman shares his relationship with his special friend. Continue Reading

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Should You Vaccinate Your Adult Cat for Distemper? Important Facts


There is no question that vaccines protect against disease – but they also present considerable risk. Sadly, far too many cats are still being over-vaccinated because too many veterinarians, and cat guardians, still think annual “shots” are necessary. Vaccines are implicated in triggering various immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis). Vaccines are also implicated in 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.

There is some compelling evidence coming from a study conducted at The Center for Companion Animal Studies at Colorado State University that shows that the common FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and paneleukopenia) vaccine may cause long-term damage to cats’ kidneys that increases with every booster.Continue Reading

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No More Scaredy Cat by Sara Goldenthal (2023 Book Review)


If you have a cat that struggles with fear, hides under the bed and won’t come out, or startles easily, you may want to take a look at No More Scaredy Cat: The easy, step-by-step program that puts an end to stress, fear and anxiety for the cats you love

Sara Goldenthal, a practitioner of both TTouch and Bach Flower Essences has more than a dozen years experience working with cats with all kinds of behavioral challenges in private homes, as well as in animal shelters and rescues. In this small volume, she introduces a deceptively simple method of working with timid and traumatized cats that gradually eliminates fear, stress and anxiety.Continue Reading

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Feline Medicine Goes High-Tech


Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible to diagnose and treat medical conditions in cats that would have been a death sentence a decade ago. From chemotherapy to kidney transplants, MRI’s to radiation therapy, ICU care to chemotherapy, cats can now receive the same level of medical care as humans. Cutting-edge veterinary care by board-certified specialists ranging from internists to oncologists to ophtamologists is becoming more widely available than ever before.

Dr. Julie Smith is the Medical Director at AnimalScan Advanced Veterinary Imaging center just outside of Washington, DC. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facilities is one of the most powerful and accurate diagnostic techniques available today,Continue Reading

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Review and Giveaway: Review of My Cat by Tanner Ringerud and Jack Shepherd


Many of you have probably seen some of the often funny, sometimes sweet, posts about cats on Buzzfeed, a website that features “features breaking buzz and the kinds of things you’d want to pass along to your friends.” Now Tanner Ringerud and Jack Shepherd, two of the founders of the wildly successful site, have have created Review of My Cat, based on their popular Tumblr blog.

Let me just preface this review with the following disclaimer: Cats are the most wonderful creatures on this planet, and anyone who thinks differently – well, actually, they probably aren’t reading this site.Continue Reading

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