Feline Lifestyle

An interview with James Bowen, street musician and author of A Street Cat Named Bob

If you read my review of A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets, you already know how much I loved the book. I couldn’t put it down, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end! I definitely wanted to know more about James and Bob.

I was delighted to get an opportunity to interview James, and to share more about this amazing story with you.

How has your life changed since the book came out?

It hasn’t changed a huge amount really, I still play music most days with Bob around Covent Garden in London. That said, we do get a lot more attention than we did before.

Has his newfound fame changed Bob?Continue Reading

Meet Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy’s Furry Family Members

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Jackson Galaxy is a busy man these days. He just finished recording the audio version of his upcoming book, Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean. He’s gearing up for a book tour to promote the book, which will come out on May 10, and he is currently shooting the first of ten new episodes for Season Three of his wildly successful Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell.

I managed to catch up with Jackson last week while he was on the set of My Cat From Hell. We chatted a little about his busy life, and his book, but what I really wanted to talk to him about was cats. His own cats. Who are the felines he goes home to each night? Do they have behavioral problems, or are the Cat Daddy’s fur children problem-free?

Jackson shares his life with four cats.Continue Reading

Musetta’s complaint: Life with a writer is for the birds

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Guest post by Musetta Simon

What is it with these creatures?

I don’t mean the birds. Those little twittering things are amusing, in their way: hopping about, oblivious to the fact that certain death – in the form of a sleek feline killer – lurks just inside this glass door. I mean my humans. My mother, in particular. Instead of writing, or whatever it is she calls it when she sits at her desk, she has taken to lingering here, by the porch doors, with me. And while I appreciate the strokes I get, especially when I begin my morning commentary on the yard activity, it’s her frankly pointless fascination that I simply do not understand.

When my person first began feeding the creatures in our yard, I thought her motivations were obvious. She was fattening them up, clearly, Continue Reading

Loews Hotels in Orlando under fire for inhumane trapping of cats

Oreo Loews Hotels feral cat

The Loews Hotel properties in Orlando, located on the grounds of Universal Studios, had a model feral cat colony until this January, when the management of this self-proclaimed “pet friendly” chain decided that the cats needed to be trapped and taken to local shelters because they presented a threat to guests’ well-being. This decision, sure to be a death sentence for the affected cats, unleashed a firestorm of media outrage, and Loews suspended trapping and said the cats could stay.

Unfortunately, Loews has now reversed course again, and has begun trapping cats. In his article Loews Loathes Cats, which was also picked up by the Chicago Tribune, Steve Dale calls the situation inexplicable, adding that “according to an internal memo, if employees at the hotels feed the cats, this is potential cause for dismissal!”Continue Reading

Does your cat have a food fetish?

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Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat not just to thrive, but to survive. Most cats prefer a diet heavy on meat, poultry, or fish. As carnivores, they don’t need carbs, so they really shouldn’t even like things like vegetables or fruit. And yet, there are cats who love asparagus, cantaloupe, pumpkin and all sorts of other strange foods.

Additionally, according to a  report from Scientific American, cats lack the ability to taste sweetness, unlike every other mammal examined to date. And yet, there are cats who love things like ice cream and flavored yogurt.

Cats have a reputation for being finicky eaters. But maybe that’s just what they’d like us to think? Maybe they just have a hankering for something a little different on those days when they turn up their little noses at what’s in their bowls?Continue Reading

Lucky tortoiseshell kitten gets chance at a happy life

rescued tortoiseshell cat NomNom

Every rescue story is special, because every rescue saves a life. Some rescue stories, usually the ones involving disasters or tragedies, are reported by the big media outlets. But for every sensational rescue, there are hundreds of quiet rescues that happen every day. One such story came to me last week from Sue, who heard about me and my love for tortoiseshell cats from Caren Gittleman, who writes Cat Chat With Caren and Cody.

One cold Sunday in February, Sue and her 11-year-old son were headed to church. They took a side road with lots of fields and brush along the way. Sue just happened to glance to her left, and thought she saw a kitten hobbling by the roadside. She knew she had to turn around and check. That split decision changed Sue’s and her son’s lives.

The little tortoiseshell kitten Sue had seen out of the corner of her eye was still in the same spot. Continue Reading

Cats are good for your health

 cat at window

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of cats who could detect serious illness in their humans, and who even saved their humans’ lives. We previously reported on a woman in Wisconsin whose newly adopted cat alerted a family member that she was having a seizure. There’s a cat in England who “diagnosed” her human’s breast cancer before doctors found it, and a cat in Virginia who saved her human from dying from a brain aneurism.

Several studies have shown dogs’ ability to distinguish people with both early and late cancers from healthy controls. It is believed that dogs can identify VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are present in a person’s breath who has cancer. Seizure dogs alert their owners to an impending epileptic seizure; how dogs do this is a mystery, but some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. I have not found any research done with cats, but I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to assume that cats would be as sensitive to changes in a human’s body chemistry as dogs – if not more so.

Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states.Continue Reading

Cats in commercials

L'Odysee de Cartier commercial

It seems that there are more and more commercials featuring cats lately. On the whole, I think this is a wonderful trend. While I’m not a huge fan of cats being made to do things they wouldn’t naturally want to do, I do believe that some cats love the challenge of being trained to do “tricks.” As long as this training is done responsibly, I have no problem with it. And if done right, training your cat can be an extension of play, and enhance the bond between cat and human

I don’t care for commercials that show cats in clothes, or portray them in other ways that most self-respecting cats would consider less than dignified. With all the advances in computer animation technology, it’s possible to make funny commercials without putting cats through something that just isn’t very cat-like. And even then, there’s a fine line between something being funny, and making fun of someone at their expense.

A recent brilliant exampleContinue Reading

Tortoiseshell cats show limits of cloning

tortoiseshell cat coloring

Cloning pets is a relatively new, and very expensive, procedure. It not only raises ethical questions about whether pets should be cloned when there are thousands of adoptable pets in shelters and at risk of being killed, but the few pet owners who have had their pets cloned have come to realize that while the cloned pet may look like their favorite departed pet, his or her personality may be completely different from the original.

While I won’t even try to understand the science and mechanics involved with cloning, I do have a basic understanding of genetics, and I really know tortoiseshell cats. Those of us who love cats with this distinctive coloring also know that they are very unique when it comes to their personalities, often known as “tortitude.” And now scientists are finding that tortoiseshell cats also show the limits of cloning.Continue Reading

Cats in Japan, one year later

Japan Cat Network cat in Fukushima

Today is the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck 40 miles off the coast of Japan. The quake tilted the earth’s axis and triggered a series of powerful tsunamis, which wrought destruction for more than 6 miles inland. Fifteen thousand people died, thousands are still missing a year later. There are no statistics on how many animals died in the quake, but the number is sure to be staggering.

Immediately after the quake, animals rescue groups from around the world came together to help animals displaced by the massive disaster. One of the groups instrumental in coordinating rescue efforts on the ground in the early days was Japan Cat Network. I got in touch with Susan Roberts, the founder of Japan Cat Network, to find out how cats are faring in the earthquake area, one year later.

Japan Cat Network’s volunteers are still tirelessly working in the affected areas to help as many cats as they can. Continue Reading

Rare male tortoiseshell cat is looking for a home

male tortoiseshell cat

Those of us who love tortoiseshell cats already know that they’re unique when it comes to their personalities, also known as tortitude. They also have unique genetics. The vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female, because two X chromosomes are required to produce black, gold and orange coloring. Male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome, so technically it’s genetically almost impossible for a male to inherit the tortoiseshell coloring. A male tortoiseshell has an extra X chromosome, making it an XXY.

According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, only 1 in 3000 tortoiseshell cats is male.

Given the rarety of male torties, I’m always excited when I hear of one. Continue Reading