Feline Lifestyle

A Cat’s Prayer

Allegra cat napping sleeping sunshine

 Now I lay me down to sleep,
the king-size bed is soft and deep.
I sleep right in the center groove.
My human can hardly move!

I’ve trapped her legs, she’s tucked in tight,
and here is where I pass the night.
No one disturbs me or dares intrude
’til morning comes and “I want food!”

I sneak up slowly to begin
my nibbles on my human’s chin.
She wakes up quickly, I have sharp teeth
and my claws I will unsheath.

For the morning’s here and it’s time to play.
I always seem to get my way.
So thank you Lord for giving me
this human person that I see.

The one who hugs me and holds me tight
And sacrifices her bed at night.

~ Author Unknown ~

June is Adopt-a-Cat month: Meet more cats looking for their forever homes

The American Humane Association has designated June as Adopt-a-Cat Month® to help raise awareness for the plight of homeless cats.  June is kitten season, and shelters and rescue groups are overflowing with cute, adorable kittens who are joining the millions of older cats.  There’s something for everyone, and all of these cats are deserving of a loving home.

Earlier this month, I introduced you to some wonderful cats who are looking for homes, and today, you’ll get to meet a few more. Some are local to my area, others are fostered with organizations readers of The Conscious Cat volunteer with. Please share this widely – let’s help find these cats their forever homes!

I’d also love to hear your story if you adopted a cat in June. E-mail me a photo of your new family member, along with a brief description of how you found your new cat and why you picked her, and I’ll feature some of the stories in a future post. 

Kitten Associates Mazie

Mazie is being fostered by by Kitten Associates founder Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair fame. Mazie was rescued before her time was up at a high kill shelter. She had just given birth to 3 kittens. Mazie is a little over a year old. She’s basically a big kitten. She’s a love bug, outgoing, chatty and has been a great mom. Her kittens are grown and Mazie’s ready to find her forever family. She’ll hug your head, jump high after toys. She is very playful, with big green eyes and a combination of both spots on her sides and tiger stripes on her legs. Some of her toes are black and some are pink. She’s got so many colors and markings, she’ll amaze you! Mazie’s daughter Polly Picklepuss is also available for adoption.

Maine Coon Rescue Alliance

This beauty named Astra is being fostered by Maine Coon Rescue Alliance in Austin, TX. She is about five years old, and is a very social and sweet cat. She gets along with everyone who comes through the door. She would do fine with small dogs (under 12 pounds) – she loves to play with them. She cannot be placed in a home with large dogs since she was attacked by one when she was young and is abolutely terrified of them. She is a great lap cat and is very affectionate. 

Forever Home Feline Ranch

Max is a special needs kitty – he has feline leukemia. He currently lives at Forever Home Feline Ranch in Rochester, IL. He is a very affectionate, playful boy who loves people. Kept in a cage for the last 3+ years, he didn’t get to experience a normal kitty’s life like looking out a window, walking around a house, sitting on a couch, meeting people, pets, loves and cuddles. He can’t wait to see what he was missing and is looking for either a permanent or foster home.

Fancy Cats Rescue Team

These three babies are named Java, Mocha and Kona, and are fostered through Fancy Cats Rescue Team in Herndon, VA. They’re tiny balls of energy who zoom around the room, tumbling and playing. Their antics will keep you amused all day. Java is a boy, and Mocha and Kona are his sisters. Java has little white socks, and the girls are all brown tabby. We don’t know if they are actually related; they came from an overcrowded shelter with some other kittens of roughly the same age. But they’ve been together in their foster home for awhile now, and they all play together wonderfully.

Lost Dog and Cat Rescue

You knew there’d be at least one tortie in this group! Robin is fostered by Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in  Northern Virginia. Robin is  is an outgoing, fun cat who loves everybody. She especially enjoys playing with her sister Jackie. Robin is a spunky kitty who you will fall in love with!

All of these groups have plenty of other beautiful cats looking for homes. If you’re looking for a new feline companion, please visit their websites, and look around.

Help feed shelter cats with Jackson Galaxy and the Pet Postcard Project

Jackson Galaxy and Caroline

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and cat listener extraordinaire, teamed up with The Pet Postcard Project for the months of June and July to provide 15,000 free meals to two cat rescue organizations Jackson has purrsonally selected, Cat House on the Kings in California, and Blind Cat Rescue in North Carolina.

For this campaign, Freekibble.com has generously pledged 15,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew for Cats to the two organizations in conjunction with Halo Purely For Pets.
Each rescue has 2 months to bring in 1000 cards each and they will earn 5000 meals each for their shelter. The rescue who brings in the most cards by the end of July will get an additional 5000 meals.

The Pet Postcard Project was created by Nikki Moustaki, who started the project as a way to help raise awareness and funds/food for rescue animals.

Here’s how you can help, and it won’t cost you a cent. All it takes is a little creativity. Simply create a postcard with a cat theme – it can be from photos, or hand drawn, or a collage.  Let your imagination go wild!

Mail your finished work of art to:

The Pet Postcard Project
678 Ninth Avenue, #321
New York, NY 10036

Watch Nikki Moustafi explain the project:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9NJdZwycR4

You may also enjoy reading:

Up close and purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

June is Adopt-a-Cat month: Meet some cats looking for their forever homes

Each spring during kitten season, thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters and foster homes across the country. The American Humane Association has designated June as Adopt-a-Cat Month® to help find these cats permanent homes.

Today, I’m featuring some adoptable cats from various rescue groups. Some are local to my area, others are groups readers of The Conscious Cat volunteer with. Please share this widely – let’s help find these cats their forever homes!

Madison Fancy Cats Rescue Team

You knew I’d start with a tortie! Madison is a a beautiful girl who really loves people and loves getting petted, but doesn’t do well with change. She may  need a little extra time before she settles in, but given the purring and head-butts she gives when she’s being petted, she’ll make someone a loving companion! Madison is fostered by Fancy Cats Rescue Team in Herndon, VA.

Ash, Dusty, Misty SPCA of Northern Virginia

Ash, Dusty and Misty are fostered for the SPCA of Northern Virginia by the same couple who fostered Ruby. These three little siblings are an affectionate, playful, friendly trio. They love to run around together, chasing tails, wrestling, and pouncing on each other. But when they’re all tired out, they like to sit in a warm lap and be adored. Purring comes as second nature to them and they love to cuddle long into the night. You can see more adorable photos of the trio on their foster parents’ photo blog.

Gabbie Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation

Look at this beauty! Gabbie is being fostered by Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in  Northern Virginia. She is going through a time of upheaval in her life. Her people, who loved her very much, couldn’t keep her, but Lost Dog and Cat Rescue promised her that they’d love her and rub her head until they found her a home that could keep her forever. They believe Gabbie would do well in a home as a single cat or with older, laid-back cats. I actually met Gabbie at an adoption event a couple of weeks ago, and she’s even more beautiful in purrson.

Aurora Lapcats.org

Aurora is being fostered by Lapcats.org in Sacramento, CA. She was liberated from the shelter on April 7th and couldn’t be happier. She’s been rubbing all over her foster mom as if to say “thank you!” She came to the shelter with a shaved spot on her side which looked like an area that was injured. She’s good as new and with a good diet and a brushing, she’ll be more beautiful than ever. She’s approximately 3-5 years old.

McGruber, Kitten Associates

MacGruber is fostered by Kitten Associates founder Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair fame. This handsome boy was rescued before his time was up at a high kill shelter, but they really think he used a paper clip and some gum to escape so he could be fostered by Kitten Associates! Mac is just a kitten at about 7 months old. He’s playful, very chatty and LOVES other cats! He loves people, too and seems to get along with everyone, though they feel he’s going to be a take charge kind of cat. So if you like a cat who’s ready to run the show, this boy if for you! He also loves to curl up in the sink and play with water coming out of the faucet.

Santos Cat Assistance NY

Santos is an adorable and sweet polylydactyl boy who is fostered through Cat Asssitance NY. He was found outside after being attacked by a raccoon. He had surgery to remove one of his nails and had to have staples put in his head. He’s very laid back and would do well with a dog, other cats and kids.

All of these groups have plenty of other beautiful cats looking for homes. If you’re looking for a new feline companion, please visit their websites, and look around.

A tax write-off for cat care expenses?

 claim kittens as dependents?

As cat parents, we all wish, come tax time, that we could claim our feline family members as dependents or, at the very least, claim some of the expenses for their care on our tax return. While you can’t do it for your own cats, you may be able to deduct some expenses related to volunteering with or fostering for a legitimate cat rescue organization.

A recent court case in California garnered quite a bit of attention for this issue. From the Don’t Mess With Taxes blog:

“Jan Elizabeth Van Dusen claimed $12,068 as a charitable contribution deduction on her 2004 tax return for unreimbursed volunteer expenses she incurred while caring for feral cats.

The Oakland, Calif., attorney volunteered with Fix Our Ferals, an IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) organization. Van Dusen trapped feral cats, had them spayed or neutered, housed them while they recuperated, got the animals vaccinated and other necessary medical treatments and then released them back into the wild. She also provided long-term foster care to cats in her home.

Essentially, according to filings in the tax deduction case, Van Dusen devoted her entire life outside of work to caring for the cats:

Each day she fed, cleaned, and looked after the cats. She laundered the cats’ bedding and sanitized the floors, household surfaces, and cages. Van Dusen even purchased a house “with the idea of fostering in mind.” Her house was so extensively used for cat care that she never had guests over for dinner.

Upon reviewing Van Dusen’s 2004 tax return, the agency determined that she owed $4,383. Most of the due tax was from the IRS’ disallowance of her charitable deduction of cat care expenses.”

Van Dusen took her case to Tax Court, where a judge found that her care of the cats did qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation. However, he disallowed some of the claimed expenses, such as cremation of a cat, bar association dues and department of motor vehicle fees, saying they were “categorically not related to taking care of foster cats and therefore not deductible.” The judge also found that the woman wasn’t keeping adequate records of the expenses.

IRS Publication 526 states that

You can claim a deduction fo:r a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records.

If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that lists each contribution and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions.

This is good news for those who volunteer for a legitimate recue group with 501(c)(3) status designating the group as a charitable organization, which makes it good news for animal rescue.

As with all tax related issues, you should always consult with a qualified tax advisor before claiming any deductions on your tax return.

Click here to watch a Wall Street Journal report titled Cat Lady Beats IRS in Court.

Do you volunteer with a legitimate cat rescue group? If so, do you deduct expenses related to your volunteer activities?

Photo: morguefile

Can classical music lead to better veterinary care for cats?

Nora the piano cat

While cats outnumber dogs as pets (according to the latest statistics from the American Pet Products Association, there are 78.2 million households that own dogs versus 86.4 million that own cats), cats receive significantly less veterinary care than dogs. A veterinary study by Bayer shows that dogs visit the vet about 2.3 times a year compared to 1.7 times a year for cats. One of the most cited reasons by cat owners is the stress cats (and their owners) experience with a typical visit to the veterinarian, both on the way there and while at the clinic.

A new study at Colorado State University is looking at how classical music can help make a veterinary visit less stressful and thus lead to better veterinary care for cats.

Numerous studies in human medicine have shown that classical music can reduce stress in patients by lowering pain levels, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates.  This response appears to be the same in animals. For example, one study of dogs in rescue shelters showed that classical music changed their behavior to produce more periods of rest, less time standing and more quiet time.

From the Colorado State University Office of Public Relations news release:

“If this study finds that classical music lowers the stress levels for cats and their caretakers during veterinary visits, veterinarians can start using calming music in their waiting room immediately and improve the emotional health of those in their clinic — human and four-legged,” said Dr. Narda Robinson, a veterinarian at Colorado State University.

In addition to the potential stress-reducing benefits of music for felines and their caretakers, relaxed cats are easier for veterinarians to examine and need less restraint.

Robinson and fellow researcher Lori Kogan, a psychologist with Colorado State University who specializes in veterinary and animal issues, want to enroll 50 cats and their caretakers in the study. Cats will need to visit the Veterinary Teaching Hospital two times to be randomly exposed to one of two different soundscapes — either no music or slow, classical music– during each visit while in an exam room for about 15 minutes. The waiting time will be videotaped and behavior will be noted through an observation window by independent observers who will not know if music is playing in the exam room. Clients will also fill out surveys about their own as well as their cat’s stress levels before and after the session. An appointment with a veterinarian is not necessary, and cats enrolled in the study will not be examined by a veterinarian as part of the study.

If you live in the Ft. Collins, CO area, your cat may be eligible to participate in the study. Qualifying cats must be able to hear and meet some minimal health requirements, while caretakers must be able to bring cats to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital during afternoon, evening, or weekends for two visits at least two days apart.

I’m excited about this study. Coming on the heels of the Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines issued by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, it’s encouraging to see that more major organizations are making efforts to make cats’ lives better.

Do your cats respond to music? If so, what kind of music do they like?

Photo of Nora the Piano Cat, photo credit: Burnell Yow! , used by permission. According to Burnell, Nora’s favorite composer is Bach.

You may also enjoy reading:

Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines to make vet visits easier for cats

Is your vet cat-friendly?

A day in the life of an author’s cat

Fred, Lorna Barrett's cat

Guest post by Fred, owner of
New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett

Hello, my name is Fred. I’m a Tuxedo. That means I’m black and white. And very handsome. I know, because my author told me so.

Yes, I own an author. She wasn’t always an author, but when I came to live with her, her luck changed. Who says black cats are unlucky! She started selling lots of books. She has lots of author names: Lorna Barrett, Lorraine Bartlett, and L.L. Bartlett.

Why do people think black cats are unlucky? Okay, I do have some white fur, too, but I’m mostly a black cat. (Unless I lie on my back, and then my mapmaker—that’s the husband of my author—says I’m mostly white. Go figure!)

As an author-owner, I lead a pretty busy life. My day often starts at 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes I get restless and like to walk around the house talking to the cupboard. It holds lots of cans of cat food and kitty treats. I tell it to feed me, but it doesn’t listen well. So I walk around the house and talk to the furniture and the walls. Sometimes I talk (and scratch on) the bedroom closet door. For some reason when that happens, water comes squirting off of the mapmaker’s bedside table. Go figure!

I like to go back to bed about half an hour before everybody else gets up. Then I like to have a lie-in while my author and mapmaker play on their computers before breakfast.

I show up for breakfast every morning, but sometimes I don’t like what’s on the menu. I refuse to sit up and then I walk away. (But I sneak back when no one is looking. Hey, I gotta eat ya know.)

After breakfast, I like to jump on my author’s lap to take make sure she is correctly answering her email. Then I take a long nap on my mapmaker’s extra office chair. Sometimes I go sit under his 200 watt light bulb in my kitty bed. It’s too small for me, so sometimes I have to hang over the edges.

At lunchtime, I like to go see what my author is having. Sometimes she cuts up onions and celery and that means tuna will happen, and I get to drink the tuna water. I like that. (Doesn’t happen enough, though.)

After lunch, it’s nap time. I need to stay well rested because, like I said, I get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to talk to the walls and furniture. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

My favorite part of the day is Happy Hour. My author and mapmaker like to read (and my author often edits her work in progress at this time of day). Sometimes cheese happens. Yum! Chester (their other black cat) is good about telling them that WE NEED CAT TREATS NOW! Sometimes Betsy (one of the two sisters that live here—I like to chase or LOOK AT HER and make her SCREAM) leaves her treats. I’m fast. I clean up her leftovers.

During happy hour, I like to run around the house and pretend I’m a bullet train. (Only I can jump over chairs and knock over tables. It’s fun!) I have kitty OCD which makes my skin ripple and makes me run fast. The only thing that calms me down is my author petting me and telling me I’m a good and handsome boy. (I am!)

In the evening, I like to walk around the house and let everybody know that I’m in charge. (Chester doesn’t believe it.) I like to jump on the back of my author’s office chair and purr in her ear. She seems to like it.

If my author stays up too late, I have to remind her that it’s my bedtime. I start talking to the walls and furniture in her office until she says, “Alright already! Bedtime!” I sleep at the bottom of my author’s bed. I have an afghan my people-grandma made me and I have a little pillow, too. I like to rest my head on the pillow.

When I’m not doing all these things, I bring my author lots of luck to sell her books. That’s why she calls me her little prince (and her tiny son). She loves me a lot.

That’s my happy life. I hope your life is happy, too!

Lorraine Bartlett with Fred

Fred’s author is New York Times Bestselling author Lorna Barrett of the Booktown Mystery series. Sentenced To Death, #5 in the series, was relesed June 7th. Lorna also writes the Victoria Square Mysteries under the name Lorraine Bartlett and the Jeff Resnick Mysteries under the name L.L. Bartlett.

You may also enjoy reading:

An interview with Lorna Barrett

A mystery author and her cats

The Joys of Adopting an Older Cat

Buckley at the Middleburg Animal Hospital

Older cats are often overlooked in shelters filled to the brim with cute kittens and young adults. However, an older cat can make a purr-fect companion for many reasons.

In my years of working with cats, I’ve always been drawn to older cats, especially the really old ones with their graying muzzles and eyes filled with the wisdom of the world.  My own experience of adopting an older cat came with Buckley, who was most likely somewhere between eight and ten years old when I fell in love with her.   Even though she was only with me for three short years, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a single moment.

I adore my two girls who are barely  more than kittens. I adopted Allegra a little over a year ago, when she was seven months old, and I adopted Ruby less than two months ago at nine months of age. I wouldn’t trade the experience of watching Allegra grow into a beautiful young lady these past twelve months, or Ruby’s joyful kitten exuberance for the last two for anything,  but there were times, especially after Amber died, when I thought back fondly to the many joys of living with an older cat.

Avoid the kitten craziness

When adopting a senior cat, you avoid the kitten craziness phase.  While it’s fun to watch a kitten play and race through the house, remember that the playing and racing can happen at all hours, including at 3am, when you want to sleep.  Additionally, kittens can be hard on your home furnishings.  To a kitten, the whole world is a toy, which can lead to the destruction of anything from carpets to furniture to favorite family heirlooms.

Senior cats are already spayed or neutered and litter box trained

A senior cat is already spayed or neutered, and in most cases, litter box trained.  He will most likely be current on all vaccinations, and may even come with a complete health history.

What you see is what you get

With a senior cat, what you see is, for the most part, what you get when it comes to temperament and personality.  One caveat:  if you meet your potential older family member in a shelter setting, make some allowance for the fact that the cat may be stressed or frightened.  Ask to spend some time with the cat in a quiet area, if possible, to get a better sense of her true personality.

Older cats make great pets for seniors

A senior cat can be a wonderful choice for senior citizens who might hesitate to adopt a cat because they’re afraid the cat might outlive them.  Older cats often wind up in shelters because their owners died, and there were no relatives or friends who would give them a new home.  Bringing a senior cat whose owners died and a senior citizen looking for a feline companion together could be a match made in heaven.

A senior, or at least slightly older, cat could be a better choice for a family with young children than a kitten.  Kittens are fragile, their tiny bodies can be easily crushed or injured, and their sharp teeth and claws may inadvertently hurt small children.

Older cats make better companions for another senior cat

A senior cat may make a better companion for an older cat who lost her companion.  Senior cats are used to the more gentle energy of a mature cat, and a kitten’s high energy and constant motion can be aggravating and stressful for them.

Consider adopting a senior cat with special needs.  Diabetic cats, cats with missing limbs or eyes, and cats with special medical needs all come with the same wonderful personalities as healthy cats, and they tend to be incredibly grateful for being adopted.  Make sure you understand the costs involved in caring for a special needs cat before making an adoption decision.

Have you ever adopted an older cat? Share your story in a comment!

Photo of Buckley when she was still my office cat at the animal hospital

 

When two cats are better than one

Allegra and Ruby on the stairs

As regular readers of The Conscious Cat, you’ve been hearing directly from Allegra (and Ruby, too) how much fun it’s been for her since Ruby joined our family. It’s been an absolute joy to watch the two of them together, but what has been particularly wonderful for me is the transformation Allegra has gone through in the last six weeks. She has gained confidence, the behavioral challenges we’ve been working with for the past year have improved considerably to the point of being almost non-existent, and she continues to blossom and come into her own in ways I never expected.

I wrote about this topic for Pet Connection, and I thought you’d enjoy this slightly different vantage point. Click here to read the article.

Up close and Purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, Star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

If you haven’t watched Animal Planet’s new show “My Cat from Hell,” you don’t know what you’re missing. Jackson Galaxy, the star of the show, knows cats like no other. Cat behaviorist by day, musician by night, bald, bearded and covered in cat tattoos, he’s anything but your typical cat guy.

I had the opportunity to chat with Jackson yesterday while he was in between media appearances (since the launch of the show, Jackson has appeared on Access Hollywood, Fox and Friends, and taped a segment for The Daily Show, among others). It only took a few minutes of talking to him to realize that appearances are, indeed, deceiving: underneath the hip surface lies a sensitive, caring guy who genuinely loves cats.

Jackson is a cat behaviorist who has been called anything from a cat whisperer to a cat shrink to a cat trainer. He actually prefers to be called a “cat listener.” He doesn’t like the term cat whisperer, because, he says “it conotates exclusivity. It says I can do something you can’t.” His goal is to make everyone believe that they can do what he does. According to Jackson, what it really comes down to is a case of “slowing your head down long enough to listen to cats.”

Jackson’s mission is to reduce the number of cats in shelters. Based on Jackson’s experience, most behavior problems in shelter cats are not that tough to solve. He’s found that frequently, an hour spent with the cat and her human guardians can take care of the problem and prevent the cat from being returned to the shelter.

Jackson worked in shelters for many years, and later partnered with Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian. They called their business Big Little Cat, honoring domestic cats’ wild origins, and offered in-home mind body consults.

Jackson solves common and not so common behavior problems. He works with cats either during in-home consultations (in the Los Angeles area) or remotely. Consultations involve taking a detailed history, meeting the cat and her family, and watching the cat  interact with everyone and everything in her territory. For remote consultations, Jackson requests that the client provide a video showing the cat’s home, feeding station, and litter box locations. He says this way, he can pick up details that a client might not even think to provide by just filling out an intake form, no matter how detailed the questions may be.

He employs a variety of techniques, some traditional, some holistic, and some, according to Jackson “I’ve been told are completely off the wall.” His approach is all about giving the human guardians a deeper understanding of why cats act the way they do. “I always come down on the side of the cat,” says Jackson. Most feline behavior problems have very little to do with the cat, and everything to do with the fact that as humans, we ask cats to co-exist with us in environments that don’t always support their natural instincts.

“My Cat from Hell” features what most cat owners would consider hard core behavior issues. From spastic cats that threaten to break up relationships to aggressive felines that leave their owners bruised and bloody, these cats are not your average housecats. Each episode features two cases, showing the problem, Jackson’s initial visit with the cat and her guardians, and a follow up visit two weeks later. I asked Jackson whether it was really true that these cases are resolved in what seems like such a short period of time, or whether there was some artistic license to adapt what he does to fit the format of an hour long show. “The improvements really happened that fast,” said Jackson. He credits this to the fact that the cats’ guardians really did the homework he recommended after the initial session. Jackson has no doubt that being on TV provided added incentive for the cats’ guardians: “when you know you’re going to be on TV, you don’t want to look stupid!” In his real life cases, he usually tells clients that improvements may take 4-6 weeks, but much of that timeframe depends on how much the human guardians are willing to follow his recommendations.

Jackson also owns Spirit Esssences, a line of flower essences he developed with holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve. Flower essences are dilute extracts of  flowers and plants that work on the body’s energy system to create emotional, spiritual and physical balance. He uses the essences in every case he works with.

If you’re not already watching the show, tune in tomorrow night. Jackson told me that one of the two cases that will be featured in tomorrow’s episode was the most dramatic he’s ever worked with: a completely feral cat who was adopted out by the shelter under false pretenses. The cat’s new guardians  were told the cat was 70% domesticated. You’ll have to watch to see what Jackson calls “miraculous results.”

For more information about Jackson Galaxy, please visit his website. You can also find Jackson on Facebook and Twitter

Meet Doodlebug, a rare male tortie

male tortoiseshell cat

It’s no secret that I love torties. From my first office cat Virginia, to Amber, Buckley, Allegra and Ruby, there’s just something about these cats’  particular coloring, and their unique personalities, that has always appealed to me.

Tortoiseshell cats are named for their coat color, which is a mottled or brindled combination of brown, black, tan, gold, orange, and sometimes cream and blue. Those of us who fancy torties know that they have unique personalities, often referred to 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 all that, it’s no wonder that I was excited when I came across one of these rare male torties.

Doodlebug belongs to Sharon, one of our readers. He is 16 months old and is the son of Sharon’s other tortie, Callie. The fact that he was a he came as quite a surprise to Sharon. She actually called him Chloe for the first couple of months of his life, and she was caught rather off guard when she took him for his first vet visit. I asked what the vet’s reaction was when he realized that he had one of these rare male torties as a patient. “He was actually pretty matter of fact,” reports Sharon. “He told me that he would change the gender notation in the record, and that I might want to find another name.”

Male torties are believed to be sterile. Doodlebug is currently unneutered, but, says Sharon, “that will change the first time he sprays something.” He’s an indoor cat with limited access to an enclosed yard, and her other three cats are spayed. Doodlebug has shown no interest in roaming, spraying, or mounting the other cats. The vet has given him a clean bill of health.

As for tortitude, Doodlebug appears to be more laid back than the average tortie. He is very mellow, and likes to spend hours drowsing next to Sharon while she is on the computer or watching tv. He can be a bit possessive when one of the other cats takes over “his” side of the chair, but he’s very gentle about nudging them out of his territory. Eating is another favorite past time. In addition to his regular diet of dry cat food, he enjoys sampling the regional cuisine, including fried catfish and crawfish. He also loves chicken and sausage gumbo and will happily eat even the okra in it.

Because of their genetic rarity, some people mistakenly believe that male tortoiseshell cats are worth a lot of money. In reality, they’re only worth as much as any other cat who is loved and valued by their owners, and as we all know, there is no price tag on love.

Doodlebug is unaware of his newfound fame and remains unavailable for comment.

Photo of Doodlebug used with Sharon’s permission

You may also enjoy reading:

Tortitude: the unique personality of tortoiseshell cats