December 2008 Archives

With the end of the year quickly approaching, I thought I would highlight some of the most popular posts for the year. While you're reading and looking at some of these posts, sit back and play the Al Stewart, Year of the Cat video. Between the bad hair and gnarly clothing, I'm not sure what's more funny about this video. The dude is wearing a leather jacket with pink flowers on it, trust me, it's worth a look! LOL! The challenge is to get through this video without cracking up!



This will be a multi-part post so stick around and check out some of the highlights from 2008:

  • Paris Hilton thought it would be a great idea to abandon this cat.
  • The year's most popular talking cats
  • Can you ever get enough of Simon's cat?
  • Woman gets hugged by a 400 lb African Lion!
  • 12 cats that will be extinct by 2020
  • An engineer's guide to cats..(video)
  • Yes friends, a cat that scuba dives! (video)
  • Bowmanville Zoo is the worst zoo in North America
  • Owning a cat cuts your risk of heart disease by 30%!
  • Who could forget about Christian the Lion? What an amazing story
  • Neo just pooped out a balloon..pretty self-explanatory
  • Cat saves 97 year woman from fire


  • Be safe and have a great new years eve! Thanks for reading our blog. Tune in tomorrow for more 2008 highlights.

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    maddy_eat_parrot.jpgWhat make cats so amazing is their diversity in my opinion. Watching this video, I couldn't help wondering what my cat would do in the same situation. My best guess is the parrot would have been lunch as soon as he laid a claw on my cat Maddy. It's interesting to me that this cat doesn't mind the parrot playfully pushing his claw in his face.

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    basket_reaching.jpgI found this article just before I took Neo in to the cat hating vet in Richmond Hill, Ontario named Dr. John Mollard. The information is excellent. The article was written by John Paduchak.

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    Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson. My cat was acting lethargic and strange so I got worried and took her to the veterinarian. Turns out she had a urinary tract infection that had traveled up to her kidneys! My veterinarian told me that if I had waited any longer, my poor cat would have died. That was a wake-up call for me and made me realize that in order to keep my cat safe, I needed to learn what the signs and symptoms of cat urinary infection were so I could spot it quickly. Here are 8 ways to tell if your cat has a urinary infection before it's too late.

    1. If your cat is cringing in pain while urinating, this is a definite sign of cat urinary problems. It's important to know how your cat normally behaves in order to detect any unusual behavior.

    2. Excessive grooming of the genitals can possibly be a sign of cat urinary infection, especially if your cat is crying while grooming.

    3. Is your cat urinating more or less frequently than usual? Take note of any changes in urination patterns.

    4. Dehydration can be one of the first signs of cat urinary problems so if you notice your cat drinking more water than usual, your cat could possibly be suffering from a urinary tract infection.

    5. Let your cat urinate on a light-colored surface. If you see traces of blood in your cat's urine, it is most likely a sign of cat urinary infection. Take your cat to a veterinarian for immediate diagnosis.

    6. If your cat is urinating outside of its litter box, it is a sign of cat urinary problems. This happens because your cat associates the pain of urinating with the litter box and therefore tries to avoid it all costs.

    7. If your cat has a fever, and tender abdomen when you pick it up this is also a uti symptom you should be concerned about. Lethargy is a sign of the later stages of uti.

    8. If your cat stops urinating altogether, it is a serious red flag and you should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. If your cat goes even 3 to 4 days without urinating, it can be fatal.

    Pictures_cats_picking_names.jpgIn conclusion, if you want to treat your cat's urinary tract infection before it's too late, it's important to keep abreast of these signs and symptoms. Cat urinary infection can be fatal if not treated in time. The best way to treat these symptoms however is at home with a homeopathic remedy before they spiral out of control. Your first step should be to go to a veterinarian and get a correct diagnosis. Then you can administer a homeopathic remedy and make some important lifestyle changes. By doing so, you can kill two birds with one stone and treat the infection while preventing recurrence.

    John Paduchak is a pet enthusiast and webmaster of Pet Bladder Health and Marie's Pet Shop Throughout his life, John grew up on a 140 acre farm in upstate NY and had pet friends of many varieties. Now he currently has 3 cats, freshwater tropical fish, & 4 hermit crabs that he shares with his daughter, Marie. A strong supporter of naturopathy for pets he publishes articles on their care and training.

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    Picture_cat_Neo_vent.jpgThe furnace stopped working last night, so it got a little cold in here by morning. Fortunately, the furnace repair man came by ten this morning so we didn't suffer too long. It turns out it was just a faulty sensor that was easily replaced and the furnace was working just fine within a few minutes. Neo was very happy to feel hot air coming up through the vent again! This is a picture of him lying down on the vent when the heat started again.

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    Apparently, cats love heat so much because if you go far enough back in their genealogy, cats are from the desert. So seeking out the best heat source is genetic! It might also have to do with the fact that kittens spend so much of their first few weeks close to their mom's warm belly, getting food and cuddles whenever the kitten wanted.

    desk_napping.jpgIf you are looking for a place to designate for kitty, try a window seat in the sun or a warm blanket up on a high piece of furniture - heat rises and cats love to be on a perch above everyone. Please don't get your cat an electric blanket or heat pad - their nails or teeth can puncture it and cause serious injury. Neo also loves to sit under the lamp in my office, it's like his very own tanning salon!

    It's funny that an animal with so much fur loves so much heat. Have you noticed your cat gravitating toward heat sources? Like Neo loves it when I put the fire on, and fleece blankets are his favorite. He will sit on anything warm. What about your cat? What warm spot does he or she like?

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    Neo_Idog_napping.jpgNeo, like most cats, loves to take naps throughout the day. And he usually finds a funny position to sleep in or a funny place to sleep. But today was particularly funny.

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    I have an i-Dog on my desk (I also have an i-Cat, of course!) I don't turn it on very often but once in a while, I turn it on while I'm listening to music and working in the office. So I had the i-Dog out and left it on the desk. When I came back, I caught Neo leaning his head against the i-Dog's face! He's such a funny cat!

    Neo_loves_Idog.jpgI got a couple shots of him. He was leaning so hard on the I-dog, Neo's cheek was pushed up - very funny, that cat of mine. I thought it was cute that he chose to lean against the i-Dog, and not the i-Cat. He's such a lover. He loves all species, even electronic dogs!

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    Through the power of YouTube, we can actually view a confused dominant rabbit that clearly has an issue with understanding what an appropriate mate should look like. This video didn't go the way that I expected it to! LOL!

    After about 20 seconds of trying, the bunny finally understands that something isn't right about the cat. Go figure...

    Merry Christmas to all of you, I hope you had a safe and happy holiday.



    neo_gift_christmas.jpg


    Neo loved his new toys, well maybe he loved the wrapping paper and boxes more than the actual toys, but he had a great day anyway. These first pictures are of Neo examining his present.



    neo_gift_open.jpg


    I wrapped a little bit of catnip in with the toy and once he got a whiff of the cat nip, he wanted to get that present opened!



    neo_done_open.jpg


    The toy was a wind up toy that made clicking noises and unwound itself when it was tapped. Neo likes smart toys like that, he likes toys that do things to get his attention. Around noon, he disappeared for the rest of the afternoon. I found him curled up on a sweater on my bed, he looked like he was in a deep sleep. He had a busy morning playing with his new toys as you can see.



    neo_gift_play.jpg


    Merry Christmas everyone!

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    Why do the most amazing cat stories come from Australia and New Zealand? Another great story from Australia about a cat that fell 34 stories and survived. This isn't the first time a cat has survived such a high fall but it's always amazing to read about. Check it out...

    Cat Falls 24 Storeys And Survives: "A CAT fell 34 floors from a penthouse and survived to see out the rest of his eight lives, its owner says."

    (Via digg.)

    cat_catheter.jpgIn what will be a two part post, I intend on giving some advice to those that have endured serious issues with their veterinary. In light of what happened to Melanie the other day, I thought it would be interesting to review what her options are.

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    For those of you who might have missed what happened the other day. Here are the highlights:

  • Melanie noticed that her cat Neo was urinating outside of his litter box.
  • Concerned that there may be an issue, she was forced to bring her cat Neo to a new vet due to the fact her old vet (the vet that I use) had moved his offices far away from her home.
  • While at the new vet's office, (Dr. John Mollard of the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic) the doctor inserted a catheter in Neo's private parts without using an anesthetic. Not only did he not use an anesthetic but according to Melanie's account, he was quite proud of the fact that he could perform the torturous procedure without the anesthetic.
  • So to be clear. This is initial blog post that I intend on following up with after I get some returned phone calls from the appropriate authorities.

    On a side note, according to the a pet owner's survey taken in 2004 by the American Animal Hospital, respondents were asked "Who listens to you best?" an astounding 45% of individuals said that their pets listened to them more compared to 30% that said their spouse listens to them more. I bring this point up because I think this demonstrates the importance a lot of people place with their pets. Pets are a member of our family and no one wants to see a family member tortured.

    Getting back to my point now. According to my brief research, there are a few options in Ontario with regards to reporting an abusive veterinary, these options are probably (but not necessarily) similar to most states and other countries but you'll have to research that for yourself. What I can tell you is that the best place to start would be with the governing veterinary medical association in your region. In Ontario, the governing body for veterinaries is the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. Filing a formal complaint with the president or executive director within your local veterinary medical association is a very good way to start the process of reporting a specific incident.

    If you intend on going down this path, I would advise you to make accurate notes of the incident shortly after it happened. We all know what happens to memory with time. Secondly, I would save a copy of the receipt that you used to pay for the treatment. The receipt is important because it should show the procedures performed on your pet.

    Without being a doctor, what I can tell you is that the lack of anesthesia being used in certain circumstances is a hot button within the veterinary community. I found no shortage of examples of vets in the United States and in Canada that had their veterinary licenses revoked for performing procedures that did not allow the anesthesia to take full effect or for not using enough anesthesia. The fact that Dr. John Mollard freely admits to not using anesthesia for what is clearly a painful procedure is very concerning. Again, I'm not a doctor and I'm not a lawyer but this situation presented itself to me and I intend on finding out more information about what you can do to protect yourself from a bad vet.

    It's very interesting to note that (according to my research) there are a lot of bad veterinaries that avoid using anesthesia or don't fully understand the time required for the drug to take effect. As I've advised before, take the time to get to know your vet and ask questions particularly for any invasive procedure. The best vets will take the time to explain procedures to you, the worse ones (like Dr. John Mollard) tend to be more reticent of what exactly they're going to be doing to your pet.

    Within the next day or two, I'll be speaking to a board member within the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and I'll report my findings to you.

    basket_comfortable.jpgI promise, I won't bring it up again after today, but I am still upset about Dr. John Mollard at the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada for torturing Neo. When I think about how Neo fought so hard against them that he was weak when he came back to me, it just makes me get angry again.

    Well, more confused than angry now. Confused as to why someone who is supposedly there to help animals would want to inflict that much pain on an animal in his care. It's just baffling to me.

    I've been replaying the whole appointment in my head and going over what I said about Dr. John Mollard in my previous post about Dr. John Mollard and about Neo's test results. I am still very angry about how he treated Neo and how he didn't explain to me what he was going to do exactly.

    Even though I was angry when I wrote it, I still feel I was fair in my criticism, I know he said catheter to me a couple times, but never did he say, in another room and no anesthetic - I think my post explains my problem with him clearly.

    There was a man there in the waiting room who had been taking his dog there for 12 years who told me to trust him, that he is experienced, blah blah blah - but I had no reason to trust Dr. Mollard and it turns out I was right not to trust him.

    desk_napping4.jpgDr. Mollard even took that man's dog "into the back" to administer treatment - that man was ok with it, but I was not. Everyone has different standards, if you're a hands on owner, you're not going to like this reticent style of treatment... Maybe some people are fine "trusting" the supposed expert but now a days people are taking a more hands on approach to their own health and the health of their loved ones and pets are included too.

    Doctors make too many mistakes on people and on animals so you need to be there - no one looks out for you and yours except you and yours. Just because he's a doctor doens't meen you accept his dianosis or procedure... I don't mean to come down on all doctors, they do a great job for keeping animals and people alive, but all I'm saying is they don't know you and they don't know your pet like you do. So find a doctor you can relate to and who communicates clearly.

    So it's so important to choose your cat's health care provider carefully. Look out for a follow up post on specific questions to ask a vet, before you make an appointment. I hope that with my bad experience, you won't make the same mistake that I made with a very bad veterinarian, Dr. John Mollard in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

    As promised here is the second part of our cat and dog series. As you can see, cats and dogs do get get along well at times...

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    I'm featuring this video in my mini cat-dog relationship video series this weekend. Tune in tomorrow for a totally different type of cat dog video. Cats and dogs don't always get along as featured in this video...

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    Neo_pillow.jpgI am still angry at Dr. John Mollard at the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada for torturing Neo yesterday. Even after I've had some time now to think about it, and even in the cold light of day, I am stilling thinking about how badly he treated Neo.

    Like I blogged about yesterday, Neo had been peeing on the floor so I had to take him in to see a doctor. So aside from the obvious abuse at the hands of Dr. John Mollard, his urine analysis came back negative. No sign of bacterial infection, no sign of crystals or kidney stones, no obvious signs of an infection. The concentration was good, which means Neo is getting enough water in his diet and the PH was an 8, which according to Dr. Mollard was fine.

    Neo did, however, have additional skin cells in his urine, which Dr. Mollard said could be from anything - "Some cats just have dirty urine"... yeah.. right... you're telling me my cat has dirty urine? Those extra skin cells in the urine have nothing to do with your barbaric catheter inserting skills?

    Personally, I do not believe Neo has dirty urine. I feed him high quality canned cat food, Medi-Cal, which is a Canadian pet food only available through vets and is subject to rigorous testing. He also gets kitty cookies made by the same company as his treats. He's always got fresh, clean water to drink, usually from my glass. I think those extra skin cells appeared when Dr. Mollard shoved that catheter up Neo's urethra.

    basket_upside_down.jpgI'm getting angry again... give me a minute to cool off...

    Ok.. I'm good now. So Dr. Mollard suggested I give Neo antibiotics anyway because even though he didn't see any bacteria, there is still something irritating Neo and making him pee outside the litter box. He said the antibiotics will catch anything that might be starting.

    Another reason why Dr. Mollard wanted me to give him antibiotics is because of the rash he gets on the back of his legs from his allergies. Dr. Mollard believed that the rash is getting infected because it keeps returning.

    I'm not sure I agree with all of that, giving antibiotics is not something to take lightly for humans or animals. They disrupt the intestinal flora - which btw, Dr. Mollard didn't think was an issue but I know from personal experience that antibiotics can wipe out the healthy bacteria too.

    So I am left with a bit of a dilemma, I do not want to give him antibiotics because there is no sign of infection in his bladder, and as for the skin irritation, it has come and gone for years, I don't think bacteria does that. But the thing that made me pull out the dropper was the reality of the fact that Neo had a foreign object shoved up his urethra and that act in itself can cause infection. So here I go, to give him the antibiotic against my better judgement.

    desk_lamp.jpgI'm supposed to follow up with Dr. Mollard in a couple weeks. I'll give Dr. Vandenbrink a call instead. I think a 30 minute car ride is worth it for a compassionate, humane veterinary visit. But I won't be taking Neo back to Dr. Mollard at the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada ever again. That's for sure.

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    Other posts I think you might like:

    A Veterinarian in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Dr. John Mollard Tortured My Cat Today

    The true story of Christian the lion...

    12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

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    I_can_has_treats_please.jpgI took Neo to a horrible vet named Dr. John Mollard at the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada today. I am almost too ashamed to tell you what I let him do to Neo! But I have to get this off my chest and hope that you will be smarter and more prepared than I was.

    Neo had a wonderful vet. As a matter of fact, Dr. Vandenbrink is Maddy's vet also. Maddy (Wendell's cat) had a lot of medical issues when she was a kitten so Wendell found a really gentle, loving vet for her. He made sure that Maddy was in good hands. So when I got Neo, the choice of vets was clear. I kind of forgot that not all vets are as caring as Dr. Vandenbrink.

    Here is an example of what he's like. When you go in, he talks throughout the visit, explaining exactly what it is he is doing, what medications he's using, and why he needs to do what he is doing. He also asks lots of questions about food, water, litter box habits. He checks through his fur, feels around on the stomach and internal organs, listens to his heart, lungs and checks ears, eyes, nose and throat. That's all before you get to the real reason for why you are there!

    Then he asks for details about the problem. Neo has had teeth pulled, shots and a host of other medical reasons to visit Dr. Vandenbrink and every time, I got a thorough explanation of what he had to do to help Neo, and what my options were in terms of tests and types of medicines, and he'd also let me be involved. Dr. Vandenbrink felt strongly that a cat behaves better for most treatments if his owner is there. So I was used to being in on most medical procedures (not when he was neutered though, because that is surgical)

    We'd see Dr. Vandenbrink often. Neo has allergies and gets an inflamed scalp on the back of his right leg and sometimes in his mouth so we'd see Dr. Vandenbrink every 3 months or so for a shot. I saw Dr. Van more than I saw my family!

    On_my_shoulder_can't_lift_head.jpgThen, this summer, I get the devastating news that Dr. Vandenbrink is moving his offices further away from my house. That means that Neo would have to endure a 30 minute car ride to see him! So I made a few calls and decided to take him to a new vet. Dr. Mollard, who knew Dr. Vandenbrink and who seemed experienced and caring, just like Dr. Vandenbrink. I even followed Wendell's advice for picking a new vet. But...Well...here's what happened....

    About two weeks ago, Neo started peeing on the floor outside his litter box, which is a sure sign that something is not right in his life. Sometimes he is just telling me he is angry he can't go outside, and other times it's a not so subtle reminder that the litter box needs cleaning. But this time, it was persistent, every time he had to pee, it was outside the litter box. I knew that something was up. So I took him to this new vet.

    At first, the appointment was going well, Dr. Mollard was feeling around on his belly for sigs of inflammation and did an overall exam. But then he said, he had to get a urine sample. To me that meant, catching some urine as he went pee. For Dr. Mollard it meant sticking a catheter up Neo's penis and extracting urine.

    Then without me really knowing what was going on. He took Neo out of the exam room, to another room, way in the back somewhere before I could even ask a question or even really agree to the procedure. So there I was, completely dumbfounded and shocked about the fact that he was gone. I said to the receptionist, "I am not comfortable with this, this is my first visit here and my cat is taken away from me. Why does have to be taken away and why can't I go with him?"

    Get this, her reply was, "Owners make the cats feel more stress so the doctor takes them into the back so they'll be more compliant"

    Unbelievable! Again, I was shocked and speechless.

    To me, her response translates to, "we don't like you to see how we bully your pet while we do a painful procedure without anesthetic."

    Then, the next thing I hear is the sound of Neo screaming, no, not howling, not murmurs. not meowing....screaming. I can only imagine the medieval torture he endured in that back room.

    A minute or two later, the vet returns and brings a very shaken up Neo back to me. Dr. Mollard has a vial of urine and he shows me the catheter and brags... oh you'll love this too... he said, "Most vets can't insert a catheter without anesthetic." Like that is supposed to impress me. Again, I was too shocked for words. Then he went to go analyze the urine.

    Most vets care about inflicting pain on their patients so they give an anesthetic not because they are bad at inserting catheters but because they are humane vets and don't want to hurt their patients. I couldn't believe that he was actually proud of the fact that he didn't use an anesthetic. There is a reason you are supposed to use anesthetic. It hurts!.

    If he'd only explained to me what the situation was and what he had to do, I would have asked for the anesthetic. My vet bill was already up to $300.00 for this escapade with the catheter, lab costs, and Neo got his shots too, so if I'd been asked, I wouldn't have started to nickel and dime him now. But he didn't say anything. He just did it like my opinion didn't matter.

    So now the vet is gone and Neo is coughing and salivating, like he'd just been choked and he can't stand up. He falls over onto his side on the dirty floor. I pick him up and hold him, but he is too pissed off and in too much pain to accept my attention. I don't blame him, I feel so sorry for him. He'd obviously been held down very roughly, so roughly that he can't stand or breathe properly. I opened the carrier and he went inside and laid down. I stroked his head and talked to him and he just closed his eyes.

    pictures_cats_neo_Melanie.jpgWhen the vet came back, I tried to be diplomatic, I tried to listen to what he said, but I have to admit, it was very hard, I had to sit down and be far away from him, because I was feeling like maybe Dr. Mollard would like a catheter without anesthetic ... and I was prepared to do it.

    Anyway, I kept my cool and he prescribed some antibiotics, and I paid and left and will never return. I'll tell you more about Neo's urinary tract infection tomorrow. Right now, I just want to go cuddle with him and tell him again how sorry I am for taking him to that barbaric, unsympathetic, crude, pathetic excuse for a veterinarian, Dr. John Mollard at the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

    Brother, can you spare a twisty-tie? Hard economic times can mean fewer holiday gifts — for your pets, too. Fortunately, cats were into recycling and repurposing long before “green” became the latest buzzword.

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    If you've ever seen your cat walk past a nice stuffed mouse to bat around one of those wire twisty-ties that close a loaf of bread, why not take the hint? Here's what your feline family really wants you to do for the holidays:

    — Get milk! Or juice, as long as it's in a plastic jug. Those little caps make great toys, especially the kind with the tear-off plastic strip.

    — Drink wine to relax. If watching your portfolio crash means you're going through more wine these days, you've also got more corks for your cat to bat around.

    — Wear your wristwatch, even if you can't afford new batteries. On a sunny day, you can get the sun to reflect off it and make a spot of light that your cat will chase around the floor and walls — just like a laser pointer, but totally free.

    — Let your hair grow long. You'll save money on haircuts, and once it's long enough for a ponytail, you can share your hair ribbons. Cassandra Zaruba of Westminster, Md., has a cat that loves a particular kind of hair ribbon. “I keep them in a Rubbermaid box, and a sure way to lure her out of any hiding place is to pop the lid of that box,” she says. (Don't do this with rubber bands, which some cats might be tempted to eat.)

    — Buy presents for other people. Not because your cat is so generous, but because your cat will enjoy trying to help wrap presents. Tear off a piece of the wrapping paper and crunch it up on ball for her to chase around. When you run out, try aluminum foil or candy wrappers.

    — Shop by mail. Online or catalog, it doesn't matter what you buy as long as it's delivered in a box. Leave the empty shipping carton on the floor or a table, and cats are sucked in as if by a magical force.

    — But shop local, too. Your cat doesn't give a fig about keeping independent neighborhood shops in business, but you'll bring things home in paper bags that are great for hiding in and make that irresistible crinkly noise.

    cat1px00010_91_2.jpgIt's OK if you have to cut back on the shopping, because you only need a few of those boxes and bags. “What I've discovered is that if you move them to a different location, the cats think they're brand new and will start playing with them again,” says Karen Duvall of Bend, Ore.

    Don't forget that many activities that you think are chores are really cat games: You want to tie your shoes; your cat will want to bat the shoelaces. You want to change the sheets on your bed; your cat will want to play hide and seek.

    Speaking of beds, there is also no need to buy a special kitty bed. Cats love to lie on things on top of other things, no matter their texture or height: lying on a shirt that's on the bed is better than lying on any other spot on the bed, even if they're made of nearly identical fabric. A magazine on a table, even a piece of paper on the floor — if it's flat enough to lie on and it's on top of something else, it's a free cat bed.

    Kyle McCowin of Arlington, Va., has noticed this phenomenon, and wondered, is there such a thing as too much “on-topness”?

    “Like is a magazine on a newspaper on a shirt on the bed better than just a shirt on the bed, or is that too many layers?” asks McCowin. “These are the questions that keep me up at night.”

    And if other worries are keeping you up at night, you can both make use of another arrangement that pleases cats: read. Your cat loves to get in the way of a good read. When your cat sits on the newspaper, don't push him away. He'll be happy at no cost — and maybe skipping that bad economic news will be good for your mood too.

    Photos: Lucy hides in a paper bag (top) and chases the tear-off plastic strip from the cap of a gallon of water (above). Stace Maude/The Associated Press

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    pictures_cats_two_grooming.jpgWhat you can do to help shelter cats on an extremely tight budget. Last week I told you about my favorite humane places to shop online and I told you about animal rescue organizations where you make tax deductible donations, but these are some ideas of what you can do to offer immediate help but doesn't cost a lot of money.

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    A friend of mine, Leslie who is Mattie's human told me that she visits a dollar store every month and stocks up on toys, bowls, collars and any other pet supplies they have. Usually, it only costs about $10.00 - $15.00 to get several items that any shelter cat or dog needs. Then she donates them all to her local shelter, People for Pets a no kill organization that cares for all animals that people can't care for until the animals are once again adopted.

    White_Cat_grooming.jpgOn a tight budget, a dollar store is your best bet, you can get all sorts of wonderful things that a shelter needs without spending a lot of money. Most shelters have a list of things they need that you can buy from a dollar store, or from a discount grocery store. Most shelters have a wish list like this one. You can see from the items on this list that almost anything you buy will be appreciated. Shelters need the following items, so pick up what you can and take it over to your local shelter, the humans will be very grateful and the animals will experience less stress and be more content:

    Toys for cats and dogs

    Carriers, crates, kennels, dog houses

    Scoopable and non scoopable Kitty Litter

    Pooper Scoopers

    Disposable rubber gloves

    Food and water dishes (preferable stainless steel because they are easier to disinfect than the plastic ones)

    Leashes and collars

    Bleach, pet safe cleaning supplies

    laundry detergent

    dish soap

    anti-bacterial hand soap

    garbage bags

    paper towels

    toilet paper

    newspapers

    zip top storage bags

    plastic storage containers

    stamps and envelops

    copier paper, file folders

    blankets and comforters (clean of course)

    Cat and dog beds

    Bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths

    Mops, brooms, hand brush and dust pans

    plastic grocery bags

    rain ponchos

    heating pads

    animal nursing bottles

    grooming tools

    dog and cat shampoo

    kitten milk replacement formula

    scratching posts

    and even furniture and appliances (but check with the shelter before you bring them an item they may not need)

    Canned cat and dog food dog biscuits and kitty treats

    kitten.jpgMost shelters are run by volunteers. Everything from adoptions, to paper work to veterinary skills are all volunteered. Usually monetary donations go toward paying the rent, heating and cooling, phones, and other overhead expenses. Remember that $10.00 can go a long way at the dollar store but in these tough economic times, if 10.00 - 15.00 is too much for your budget right now, consider spending some time at your local shelter. Everyone has a skill they can use in a shelter like:

    building maintenance

    lawn or yard maintenance

    loving cuddles to needy animals

    Typing, letter writing, reception

    Computer maintenance

    Sweeping, cleaning

    grooming, nail clipping, bathing

    dog walking, cat toy wiggling

    Website building

    Professional legal skills

    Accountant skills

    Organize a fundraiser

    You don't need to donate huge sums of money or hours and hours of time to make a huge difference in the lives of the unfortunate cats and dogs of the world who just haven't found a loving home yet. All it takes is a little planning. Decide how much time or money you can afford, find your nearest dollar store and then drop off everything or head on over to the animal shelter. Any contribution is welcomed, especially now that the weather is getting colder and more animals are needing to find shelter.

    pictures_cats_kittens.jpgIf you are not sure where the nearest shelter is, visit the ASPCA Find a Shelter Page and enter in your state/province/territory or simply enter your city or county along with the words "humane society" or "animal shelter" in a search engine and a list of shelters will come up for you. If you have any other ideas for low cost ways to help animals, please comment below.

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    Picture-9.jpgIf you love poinsettias during the holidays and you love cats, maybe there is a way to enjoy both this holiday season. According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, Poinsettias are not nearly as toxic as we've been made to think.

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    In 1820 a beautiful red-leafed plant was brought to the United States from Mexico. Not long after, the plant became a popular Holiday plant with it's vibrant red color, now in pink and white too. But early in the 1900's it was believed that eating a poinsettia leaf was the cause of death of a 2 year old. No one knows for sure what the cause of death was, but the Poinsettia got a bad reputation after that.

    The rumors grew and grew over the generations, but the ASPCA claim the rumors have exaggerated the toxicity of the plant. In reality, the Poinsettia is not a healthy choice for a cat to snack on, it will still cause stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting, if ingested. Not pleasant at all, but the worries that it will cause death in an otherwise healthy cat is simply not true.

    Picture-8.jpgThe most common problem was stomach upset that included drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, but veterinary treatment isn't necessary unless your cat has an illness that could be complicated by ingesting Poinsettia. But if you think your cat has eaten some poinsettia, always consult your vet, they know your cat better than I do.

    Stomach upset is not what we want this holiday, from any of our furry friends, so it's best to keep the poinsettias out of reach of your cat, but they aren't as bad as we once thought, so go ahead deck your halls, carefully.

    You can check out a fairly complete list of common plants that are toxic to cats that the ASPCA has published. You'll note on that list are three other very common plants associated with the season, holly, mistletoe and lily, especially the stargazer lily - all of them can cause serious gastrointestinal disorders, and alter mood, mistletoe can cause heart failure, and lilies can cause kidney failure. These three plants are far more toxic to cats than the poinsettia. As a matter of fact, the poinsettia doesn't even appear on this list at all!

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    Just in time for the Christmas season. This video is one the most popular cat videos online today. Now if they could get these cats to sing Jingle Bell Rock, that would be really impressive..

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    I saw this online today and I thought this would be a great idea for my cat. At seven years old, my cat Maddy is just as active as the day I got her. Check out the video and let me know if your cat likes the toy too...

    cat.jpgAlthough you can make donations anytime of year, now is the perfect time to make tax deductible donations to one of these charitable cat and animal organizations before the fiscal year is over. At this time, most charitable organizations are working out their budgets for the upcoming year so any donations of money and donations of time, services or items on a wish list are always welcome.

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    Yesterday, I told you about my favorite humane places to shop online where proceeds go toward helping cats and other animals. BUt today, I'd like to tell you about some of the places that can use your tax deductible donation money to continue that work. It benefits everyone, saves you some money to the IRS and it helps cats. It's a win-win!

    1. Cat House of the Kings is a no cage, no kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption centre for cats and some dogs. It is completely non profit organization that gets no government or public funding, it relies completely on donations made directly to the cat house on the kings. All donations are tax deductible.

    2. Alley Cat Allies is a nationwide advocacy organization for the protection and humane treatment of cats, especially feral cats. There work has helped countless cats over the past 20 years and with continued community support. Make donations of as little as 5.00 to as much as you can afford, you can even donate your old car!

    3. Feral Cat Project promotes a trap, neuter, release program and will help you start your own clinic. They work with people who are feeding strays to make the cat's lives a little more comfortable while they continue to live out their days as feral cats. Some cats are adoptable but all of them need donations, time and supplies.

    4. ASPCA - The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a large national humane organization founded in 1866. By donating to the ASPCA you are actually helping all cats and animals across the nation. The ASPCA fights against animal cruelty to all animals, not just companion animals. So when you donate, your money is going to support animals of all types.

    5. PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Donations to PETA help animals suffering and dying in laboratories, factory farms, fur industry and in inhumane circuses. Become a member, make a monthly or one time donation or get involved by becoming aware of the products you buy and the impact they have on animals.

    Tell me about any local organizations that you donate your time, money or supplies to in the comments section below.

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    pictures_cats_holiday_gifts.jpegThere are several non profit organizations dedicated to cats and other animals who offer really great gift ideas for the cat lovers on your list. Giving gifts to cat lovers can also improve the life of other cats. Choose from these national organizations or visit your local shelter for gifts and to make donations in honor of the cat lovers in your life.

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    At this time of year, when it gets a little bit colder and the Holiday season approaches, I start thinking about those less fortunate than myself. That includes the felines of the world who do not have a soft bed, a warm home, healthy food, proper medical care and a loving owner. I know I spoil Neo, special meals on holidays, treats everyday, special play and grooming time most days and special cuddle time every night before bed. But some cats have had a really tough life filled with abandonment, abuse, malnutrition, disease, and a host of other challenges.pictures_cats_humane_society.jpeg

    Anyone can make the life of these unfortunate cats a little better by making a donation or buying merchandise from these non-profit organizations. Some of my favorite places that do great work with cats are listed below.

    Tabby's Place is a cage free cat sanctuary that provides refuge to cats in hopeless situations. Most of the cats who reside at Tabby's Place are from animal shelters who were scheduled for euthanasia. You can sponsor a special needs cat or make a donation in honor of someone.

    Rescue Cats of Georgia is an all volunteer organization that has lots of great gifts and 100% of your purchase goes toward helping cats in the facility.

    Animal Rescue Site has great gifts for animal lovers and you can click to give free food and care to homeless pets. I have them send me an email (from the hunger site) and I click to give everyday.

    Best Friends Animal Society mission statement is No More Homeless Pets in Our Lifetime. Become a member, give a donation on behalf of an animal lover in your life or sponsor an animal.

    ASPCA Online Store is always a great choice, unique gifts, huge selection and you know that the ASPCA is always fighting for needy cats and dogs nationwide.

    PETA has great gifts from clothes to snacks. You can buy gifts for your pet, for pet lovers or animal lovers in general. They support all types of animals.

    If you have favorite online charitable organization, comment below and share your information. I'd also like to hear about your local shelters and their holiday promotions too.

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    It's no secret that cats love treadmills. If you're looking for an idea to help keep your cat in shape, this video should give you some inspiration...

    pictures_cats_christmas.jpegNeither do dogs, fish, hamsters, gerbils, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and any other member of the animal kingdom. Holidays are a time when people seem to think that giving a gift of a pet to someone is a great idea. But unless you are absolutely sure that the recipient wants that exact animal with that exact personality and those distinct features, you're better off giving a sweater (but not a wool sweater because those poor sheep suffer when they are sheered!)

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    Cats and other animals require love, attention, training, medical care, and supplies that can put a strain on someone if they are given a pet they don't want. As a matter of fact, most of these pets get returned to the shelter or abandoned because the owner just wasn't ready to take on the responsibility of owning a pet. Or they wanted a different animal. And even worse, the pet gets handed around from home to home because no one wants it. The animal suffers trauma and acts out from behavioral issues which leads to injury and abuse. picture_cat_christmas_tree.jpeg

    What started out as a nice idea has turned into something ugly and irreversible with the poor animal being the one to suffer. PETA has a great article on Why Animals Do Not Make Good Gifts. If you or someone you know is thinking of giving an animal as a gift this holiday, please have them reconsider.

    On the other hand, if a family wants to adopt a cat and they are all willing to make the commitment to the animal, then by all means, go ahead, brighten the life of some neglected cat by visiting the shelter and bringing home a pet that everyone will love and take care of.

    pictures_cats_kittens.jpegOwing a pet is a long term commitment so it is best if people make the decision to get one on their own. If you really think someone wants a pet, give them a gift certificate to a local animal shelter. Then they can pick out the animal or supplies and services they'll need to take care of the animal responsibly. Most animal shelters will spay or neuter so you could get the shelter to provide that service for your loved one's pet when they do get one, rather than giving them an animal this year.

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    This cute video is one of the most popular videos being viewed today online. Who says cat's can't play dead?!

    The video below is one of the top cat videos online today. It features a cat that is trying to jump to a cluttered desk only to realize that the paper that she was aiming for wasn't supported by anything; the cat ends up falling to the ground violently. Apparently the cat is fine and it's kind of funny to look at but it brings up an important point to consider if you're a cat owner. Making your home safe for your cat will go a long way to preventing any serious injuries.

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    Here are a couple of tips:

  • Don't leave papers hanging over the edges of tables. Watch the video and you'll get my point.
  • It's Christmas time and and that traditionally means people get poinsettias for their homes. Poinsettias are pure poison to cats. Don't bring them into your home if you're a cat owner.
  • Don't leave chocolate lying around. Chocolate has an chemical within it that will kill your cat.
  • If you have any balconies that overlook another floor, be careful not to leave any decorations that your cat is inclined to play with. Cats typically get injured by shorter falls as apposed to longer falls. Shorter falls (two floors or less) don't always give your cat enough time to have all paws pointing to the ground.
  • Get a knife holder for the kitchen, an unsuspecting cat may get hurt by jumping on to a counter top or by simply marking the knife accidentally. This is rare but it happens.
  • During the holidays, watch your electrical cords. If you see that your cat is gnawing at the cords, you might want to consider taking the decoration down or moving it. Cats have been known to electrocute themselves on christmas light decorations.
  • Curtain cords are extremely dangerous to a cat's health. Cats will play will play with them and there is the possibility that your cat could strangle itself. It happens so be careful.
  • If you have any other tips that might be helpful. List them below, we'd love to hear from you.

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    pictures_cat_snow.jpegWinter is hard on people and even harder on animals. Each year, 100's of cats die simply because their owners get too busy at this time of year to remember to take a few precautions. Here are 10 ways to keep your cat safe this holiday season.

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    1. Make sure your outdoor cat is wearing ID tags. I know I've said this before...once or twice... but I can't stress enough how important this is. Your cat can become disoriented or frightened and end up far from home. Without ID tags his chances of getting home again are slim.

    2. Make sure your cats are visible at night. If you must send your cat out in the dark, make sure his collar is reflective or shiny so that others can see him and you can find him if he gets lost or scared.pictures_cats_Santa_hat.jpeg

    3. Limit the time your cat spends outside, their little ears can freeze and fall off - I've seen it, it's painful and very sad to see a cat missing his ears because he was out in the cold too long. Not to mention they can freeze their paws and tail too... then hypothermia sets in and then it's a sad day for everyone after that. I suggest no longer than 15 - 20 minutes at a time, even if your cat has a thick coat.

    4. If you have to go out of town, make sure your pet sitter knows when and how much to feed your cat, where you'll be if they need to reach you and if your cat has any special medical needs.

    5. Watch what your cat is eating, chocolate is poisonous to cats and pastries or other candies can be very dangerous. Neo loves crackers, so I have to be careful to keep them out of his reach so he doesn't eat too many. He doesn't throw up, but they make him constipated so the day or two after eats crackers are rather unpleasant for him and for me because he gets bad, smelly farts and rubs his bottom on the floor to clean it off.

    pictures_cats_christmas_tree.jpeg6. It's nice to start a fire, or light some candles, but so many cats are intrigued by the flames and get too close, burning their whiskers, fur and skin. I had a cat named Chloe who loved candles but she got too close to the flame and singed off her whiskers - they took months to grow back, as a matter of fact they never really grew back properly at all.

    7. Holiday decorations, bells, balls, plants and garland all pose threats to your cats health. Small parts can be ingested and cause choking, or a bowel obstruction leading to painful and expensive surgery. But of the utmost importance is do not use tinsel or poinsettias - tinsel is a choking hazard and can actually cut your cat's throat and stomach with it's sharp edges and poinsettias are poisonous to cats.

    8. Make sure you instruct your house guests to be mindful of your cat. Tell them the outdoor schedule so they don't unknowingly freeze your cat. Make sure they keep their toiletries and medicines carefully closed and out of reach. Neo loves my vitamins, they roll around and he thinks it's fun to play with them, but they are dangerous for him so since I realized that he likes them I keep them away from him.

    Pictures_cats_holiday_lights.jpeg9. Another thing about house guests, is to make sure that children and people who are not familiar with cats are supervised when playing with your cat. Your cat could be injured by rambunctious children or by toys that are not suitable for cats.

    10. Keep winter chemicals away from your cat. Antifreeze kills cats with even a small amount. Salt for icy streets is poisonous if they ingest it, and they will ingest it when they lick it off their paws. Switch to environmentally friendly choices like antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol or natural de-icers that are safe for pets and children.

    Comment below if you have other ways to keep your cat safe this holiday.

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    Pictures_cats_clean_ears.jpgCheck your cat's ears for wax build up and for ear mites. Clean ears mean a healthy cat and you can save money on vet bills if you check and clean your cat's ears.

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    How do you know if your cat has ear mites?

    Usually, there are several signs to tell you your cat has ear mites. If your cat frequently scratches his ears, shakes his head and if his ears look dirty inside, chances are she has ear mites. Don't treat ear mites at home. Your cat could lose his hearing or get an infection. The ear drops your vet will prescribe are not expensive and give your cat the relief he needs.

    Pictures_cats_cleaning_ears.jpgYou'll prbably need a second pair of hands to give him the drops. but it's possible to do it by yourself. When I have to give Neo medication or when I brush his teeth I sit down on the floor with my legs pressed against my chest with Neo held securely between my legs and my chest. This gives me two hands to do what I have to do. In this case, one hand to hold his head and the other hand to administer the drops.

    Before he shakes his head, you have to massage the ear. Never put your fingers into the cat's ear, just hold his ear at the base and gently squeeze and rub. Then stand back as he shakes his head - some of the drops will come flying out!

    How do you clean your cat's ears?

    pictures_cats_big_ears.jpgNever use cotton swabs or Q-tips - they are very dangerous and you can end up seriously hurting your cat or can make him lose his hearing. Instead, use those big fluffy cotton balls. Hold your cat on your lap like I mentioned above or get some help to hold him and then gently wipe away any visible debris with the cotton ball. If it's not coming out, slightly moisten the cloth with warm water - careful not to get water in the cat's ears, just use enough water to make the cotton ball slightly wet, but not soaking wet and wipe gently.

    Don't stick your fingers inside the cat's ear and don't be rough. Your cat has 32 muscles in his ear and many delicate intricate parts that clumsy human fingers can easily damage.

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    Other posts I think you might like:

    First Aid For Cats

    Cats will scratch, pick a scratching post that works

    What ingredients to look for in cat food

    cat_food_prey.jpgCats are obligate (strict) carnivores and are very different from dogs in their nutritional needs. What does it mean to be an ‘obligate carnivore’? It means that your cat was built by Mother Nature to get her nutritional needs met by the consumption of a large amount of animal-based proteins (meat) and derives much less nutritional support from plant-based proteins (grains). It means that cats lack specific metabolic (enzymatic) pathways and cannot utilize plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins.

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    It is very important to remember that not all proteins are created equal.

    Proteins derived from animal tissues have a complete amino acid profile. (Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Think of them as pieces of a puzzle.) Plant-based proteins do not contain the full compliment (puzzle pieces) of the critical amino acids required by an obligate carnivore. The quality and composition of a protein (how many puzzle pieces it has) is also referred to as its biological value.

    Humans and dogs can take the pieces of the puzzle in the plant protein and, from those, make the missing pieces. Cats cannot do this. This is why humans and dogs can live on a vegetarian diet but cats cannot. (Note that I do not recommend vegetarian diets for dogs.)pictures_cat_dog.jpg

    Taurine is one of the most important amino acids that is present in meat but is missing from plants. Taurine deficiency will cause blindness and heart problems in cats.

    The protein in dry food, which is often heavily plant-based, is not equal in quality to the protein in canned food, which is meat-based. The protein in dry food, therefore, earns a lower biological value score.

    Because plant proteins are cheaper than meat proteins, pet food companies will have a higher profit margin when using corn, wheat, soy, rice, etc.

    Veterinary nutritionists and pet food company representatives will argue that they are smart enough to know *exactly* what is missing from a plant in terms of nutrient forms and amounts - nutrients that would otherwise be in a meat-based diet. They will then claim that these missing elements are added to their diets to make it complete and balanced to sustain life in an obligate carnivore.

    The problem with this way of thinking is that Man is just not that smart and has made fatal errors in the past when trying to guess how to compensate for such a drastic deviation from nature. Not all that long ago (1980s) cats were going blind and dying from heart problems due to Man's arrogance. It was discovered in the late 1980s that cats are exquisitely sensitive to taurine deficiency and our cats were paying dearly for Man straying so far from nature in order to increase the profit margin of the pet food manufacturers.

    There are several situations that can lead to a diet being deficient in taurine but one of them is using a diet that relies heavily on plants as its source of protein. Instead of lowering their profit margin and going back to nature by adding more meat to the diets, the pet food companies simple started supplementing their diets with taurine.

    This is all well and good - for this particular problem - but how do we know that Man is not blindly going along unaware of another critical nutrient that is missing from a plant-based diet? Why is Man so arrogant that he thinks he can stray so far from what a cat is designed by nature to eat?

    Let's also ask ourselves how many cats become ill or die from these species-inappropriate diets yet the patient's diet is never even questioned as a possible cause of the illness or death? We cannot answer that question definitively but I have no doubt that the answer would be "many".

    cat_food-_mouse.jpgDo cats survive on these supplemented plant-based diets? Yes, many of them do.

    Do cats thrive on these diets? No, they do not.

    Please pay special attention to the words *survive* versus *thrive* as there is a very big difference between the two states of health.

    Another important issue with regard to the protein contained in a dry food is that it has been cooked at very high temperatures for a long period of time. This extensive cooking required to dry the product significantly decreases the biological value of the protein sources.

    With regard to the overall protein amounts contained in a food, do not be confused by the listing of the protein percentages in dry food compared to canned food. At first glance, it might appear that the dry food has a higher amount of protein than the canned food—but this is not true on a dry matter basis which is the accurate way to compare the two foods. Most canned foods, when figured on a dry matter basis, have more protein than dry food. And remember, even if this were not the case, the percentage numbers do not tell the whole story. It is the protein’s biological value that is critical.

    Click here for our past posts, our archives have hundreds of helpful cat information posts for cat lovers.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you're a cat person that likes cat related information, cat care advice and news.

      Read more of Dr. Lisa Pierson's articles about Feeding your Cat.

    Other posts I think you might be into:

    Six diseases caused by cat food: switch to canned homemade now!

    The true story of Christian the lion...

    12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

    When you go away, leave a mouse in the house for your cat! This toy is perfect for cats who have to be left alone for long periods of time. It isn't good for your cat to be left alone, they get bored, lonely and can start getting fat and depressed.

    photo-mith-toy-small.jpg

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    Mouse in the House is an automated cat toy that comes with a timer that turns on and calls to your cat when you are away. Or you can press a button and the mouse starts moving through the house and making sounds. The toy offers resistance if your cat tries to hold the mouse and shuts off if your cat starts getting too rough with it.

    It seems like a perfectly safe toy, and for less than 80.00 you can keep your cat entertained on those long shopping and work days as we near the holidays. Cat Dancer makes several other less expensive toys that are really safe and exciting for your cat.

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    pictures_cats_healthy.jpgChange your thinking about these pet care myths and watch your pet enjoy better health!

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    1. Feeding a pet a homemade diet, especially a raw diet, will kill your pet

    This is true IF you feed bad food, an improperly balanced diet, or raw food as contaminated with deadly bacteria. However, if you feed a properly balanced diet, add supplements to the diet, and properly handle all food, a homemade diet can even be more nutritious for your pet than many of the processed foods on the market.

    2. Frequent bathing would dry out your pet's skin or coat

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you are using harsh shampoos, or products made for people, frequent bathing is necessary when treating pets with skin problems. The more frequently the pet with a skin problem is bathed, the less conventional medications must be used to help cure the problem. Even pets without skin diseases can benefit from bathing weekly or more often.picture_of_cat_bath_in-sink.jpg

    3. Older pets have a higher risk of side effects including death when put under anesthesia

    Not only is this incorrect, but it discriminates against our senior citizens of the pet world. Age has nothing to do with safety of anesthesia. As long as the pet is healthy, the appropriate anesthetic agents are used, and the pet is carefully monitored during the anesthetic procedure, it is no more risky to anesthetize an older pet than a younger one. And because older pets tend to have more problems that require anesthesia to correct, they usually require anesthesia more often than younger pets.

    4. Dental disease is no big deal

    Dental disease is much more than a cosmetic problem. It is the most common infectious disease in dogs and cats, and must be treated aggressively as you would with any infection. Pets with dental disease are more likely to develop heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, and diabetes. Whenever I see in older pet who is eating less, sleeping more, and is not feeling too good, I always examine the pet's mouth. Usually the pet has dental disease, and once the teeth are cleaned, it's amazing how much better they feel! This should be no surprise since dental disease causes chronic inflammation and chronic infection in the pet's entire body.

    5. Pets need annual vaccinations

    Probably the biggest myth is that every pet needs vaccinations at least once per year. Some doctors even recommend vaccinating pets every six months! Research shows that few if any pets need vaccines throughout their lives. The vaccines currently on the market are so good that most pets buildup an immunity that can last many years or even a lifetime. The best way to determine what vaccines your pet might need is through a simple inexpensive blood test called a vaccine titer test. Using this test in my own practice has shown me that most of my patients hardly ever need a vaccine.

    images.jpgFor more information, visit Dr. Shawn's website Pet Care Naturally

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