Melanie: April 2008 Archives

This reminds me of Neo at meal times!

They sailed to America on the Mayflower; these All-American cats are a part of history. The American Shorthair makes a terrific pet. They are sensitive and playful and are good with children and adults alike. Because of their strength and good health, they have a long lifespan, so expect almost two decades of love from your American Shorthair.

Quick Cat Characteristics


Physical: Medium to large build, muscular with slightly rounded ears and a long tail.

Color: Many colors with tabby markings or patched.

Temperament: A cuddly lap cat that also loves to play.

History: One of America’s first settlers. The American Shorthair had a place on the Mayflower.

Cancer, digestive problems like chronic diarrhea, kidney failure or disease, urinary tract disease, diabetes and obesity are the main diseases that could be eliminated by feeding your cat moist, canned or homemade cat food.


Dry cat food may be convenient and inexpensive, but the time and money you save may end up costing you more to keep your cat healthy. Recently, more and more studies show that dry cat food is too full of grains and fillers to be considered healthy for your cat. A common mistake that vets and common people make is to treat your cat like a little dog. A cat's physiology is completely different from a dogs. What works for dogs, kibble with a bowl of water, does not work for cats. Cats are carnivores, unlike dogs, cats can't be healthy with a lot of grains and fillers in their food.

Here are six diseases that have been directly linked to dry cat food:

Whether it's caused by sunburn, parasites, medication, obesity or dry skin, cat dandruff is irritating and it could signal possible healthy problems. Cat dandruff occurs in healthy cats at the base of the tail because that is a hard to clean area, but some cats get dandruff all over their bodies for several reasons.


Cat Dandruff can be caused by:

*sunburnt skin that dies and peals off

*parasites that are living on your cats body

*lack of humidity in the air

*sensitivity to carpets, perfumes or other irritants in your home or yard

*medications that cause dry, itchy scalp

But the one major cause of Cat Dandruff is:


You see cats don't get enough moisture in their bodies if all they are fed is dry cat food. By nature, in the wild, cats get moisture from the live prey they hunt and eat, but our domestic feline friends don't get that moisture. And it is just not in their nature to drink enough water to compensate for it. So if you feed your cat dry food, start giving him moist canned, homemade or raw food and you'll notice a difference.

But what if you already feed your cat canned food and he still has dandruff?


There is something else that you can do and you'll notice health benefits beyond measure. Give your cat Essential Fatty Acids, you know, the ones you hear about all the time. Omega 3 - there are several formulas out there, but the best source is fish oil. Especially Cod Liver Oil. You can get it anywhere now, grocery stores, drug stores, health food stores. Just put a few drops on your cat's soft food and slowly work up to a teaspoon.

Cats love the taste so you won't have a hard time convincing them to take their Cod Liver Oil!

You should always talk to your vet about any supplements you are thinking about giving to your cat. If you are looking for a holistic vet you can find one at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

Sometimes you have the option to choose the perfect cat to be a companion to the cat you already live with. In that case blending cats into one household can be a breeze. If you are thinking about getting another cat, here are some ways to make blending cats into one household a little easier.


So how do you choose? In a perfect world, choose the cat that comes close to the following criteria. Choose a cat that is:

* younger - a kitten younger than your cat might make your cat become a surrogate parent for the kitten.

* smaller - a kitten smaller than your cat is no physical threat so your cat won't likely cause any harm.

The sex of the cat is important too, your cat can feel threatened if you introduce a sexually mature unneutered cat into the household so try to get a new kitten that is either:


* opposite sex - get a male if you have a female and vice versa.

* sexually immature - older cats do not usually feel threatened by a younger kitten.

* neutered/spayed - if the kitten is already spayed or neutered, that's great, but if not, get the new cat spayed or neutered as soon as your vet says.

Sometimes you just don't have the ability to choose your second cat so blending cats into one household becomes a challenge. If the new cats are abandoned cats that need rescuing, you have to move quickly. See my previous post on Blending Cats Into One Household for pointers on how to prepare for the new cat.

Blending cats into one household can be the most challenging thing for cat owners. But here are some tips and pointers that have worked for thousands of cat lovers everywhere. Just remember to be patient and to make the introductions slowly.


I realize that sometimes you just can't prepare to introduce a new cat. Often times the new cat is literally dumped on you and you are left with the problem of blending cats into one household quickly. But whether you have two hours or two months to prepare, you need to be prepared.

So how do you go about blending cats into one household?


It’s been hard for shelters in England to find homes for black cats and kittens. It seems that people are afraid black cats will bring bad luck to their homes.

There are four black cats at a shelter in the UK. Two adults who had to be put up for adoption because of their owners illness. And two little kittens not related. It seems that these cats have been there for months and have been passed over countless times for no reason other than their color.

Well this is a story near and dear to me. I chose Neo because of his personality and how cute he was, it didn’t really occur to me that he is a black cat that should be feared. So – does this mean that people don’t think black cats are cute and can have lovable personalities?

I’m surprised that these superstitions still hold true, even among cat lovers! I guess people think that a black cat crossing their path several times a day will lead to bad luck in the household?

The way I see it: the only ones experiencing bad luck are the black cats!

Read more about homes needed for 'unlucky' black cats.

Other posts I think you might be into:

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

Six diseases caused by dry cat food

See a 400 lbs African Lion hug and kiss his rescuer!

These ringtones will drive your cat crazy...

Some cats just don't want to be combed, whatever the reason, you've tried to get a comb on them, but it just won't work. It's important to keep their fur under control for their health. Here are three things you can try.


First, use a course fabric mitten. You can get ones made specifically for cats. Just put it on and pet your cat. it catches the loose fur. These aren't as good as a the comb but it will work.

Second, is to get one of these corner gadgets. You mount it on the wall about cat height and as they rub against it they comb themselves!

And third, seriously, try the vacuum, it doesn't massage the scalp very well, but some sensitive cats prefer it to combs. Especially the quieter models. This older cat loves the vacuum! And her owner is smart to use the little round bristle brush so her skin isn't sucked up into the machine.

5. Brush your cat's fur weekly if not more often. Regular brushing or combing catches loose fur and massages the scalp. You'll notice a reduction in fur balls and loose fur around your home.


4. Check for skin irritations, fleas and ticks when you brush. Early detection of these things can prevent bigger problems later. SOme skin irritations are the first signs of bigger problems like allergies, and diseases.

3. Feed your cat high quality food and treats from your vet. Grocery store and lower quality cat foods contain too many starches, sugars and grain products which leads to an unhealthy cat and unhealthy fur. If you switch to high quality canned or raw cat food you'll notice a difference in your cat's health and in his fur.


2. Let your cat move around while you are grooming him. He knows where his body needs to be groomed. He may have some hard to reach places like at the base of the tail and the top of his head.

1. Try several combs and brushes, even the vacuum cleaner! Neo likes it when I use one of those adhesive lint rollers on him after I comb him, it lifts up all the loose fur.


It's a myth that because cats clean themselves, they don't need to be groomed. If you have a Sphinx or a cat with VERY short hair, maybe that's true. But for cats with short, medium length or long fur, grooming has benefits greater than just giving them pretty fur.

One obvious benefit is a huge reduction in shedding, if you comb your cat regularly, you'll notice way less fur left on your clothes and on the couch.

Another benefit is a huge reduction in fur balls your cat coughs up. I don't know about you, but I had the unfortunate experience of stepping on one of Neo's with bare feet and it left a lasting impression, let me tell you. The soggy, matted, sausage shaped fur ball felt like I was stepping on some sort of rodent or reptile. Not a feeling I wish to repeat, so I comb Neo regularly now. I like to comb Neo once a week, more often when he is shedding in early spring.


But the best benefit of all is the bonding that develops between you and your cat when you are combing him. Seriously. Even the most cranky cat learns to love grooming. Neo has always loved being combed and now he moves around and offers different body parts for me to comb - he loves his head combed, he's gotta look good!


In the wild, Fishing Cats catch fish at night. But in this video, you get to see the rare and beautiful Fishing Cat catching fish during the day! Watch for the wild cat to tap the water with its paw and then dive in to catch the fish. They do this to mimic the behavior of insects before they pounce.

Fishing cats are a threatened species of wild cat so minimal efforts are being made to save them. There are hunting regulations in Laos, but Fishing Cats have no legal protection in Bhutan, Malaysia or Vietnam. Hunting isn't really the problem though, destruction of the wetlands is the primary threat. As usual, humans will wait until there are only a few left before we do something.


Fortunately, they are one of the few wild cats who can breed in captivity. With a little time and a lot of money, there may be hope for the future Fishing Cats. You can donate to the National Zoo to help them keep up their conservations efforts. This video was made in the National Zoo and features the Fishing Cats that now live there, some of them were born in captivity.

healthy cat food.jpgFinally, good food for cats, feline organic pet food in can and dried food from Halo, Purely for Pets. Halo, actually guarantees that you'll notice a difference in your cat's health after using their products. Amazing.

The ingredients list is very impressive, butcher quality meats, vegetables and whole grains. No fillers or preservatives, and nothing that can hurt your cat. But what would you expect from Ellen DeGeneres? She's always been an animal activist and now she's a co-owner of Halo, Purely for Pets Holistic Pet Food. She even feeds this to her own pets.

The best way to keep your cat healthy is to feed him good quality cat food. Its just like for people, people can't eat only candy, chocolate and soda and expect good health. Too often cat food manufacturers fill their cat food with fillers and by products, and so little nutritional ingredients. Then you feed this to your cat and your cat gets fat, or develops diabetes, or heart disease.

So check out their line of cat food and compare it to what you are feeding your cat now.

which_came_first_dogs_ or_cats.jpg

The debate rages on, which came first, dogs or cats? The mounting evidence shows that dogs were domesticated long before cats, but in my opinion, it all has to do with the nature of dogs and cats. Dogs are pack animals and can be trained by "alpha dogs" (or humans). Whereas cats have a different social structure and are direct descendants of wild cats. So domestication of dogs looks different to archaeologists than the domestication of cats. Let me explain...

Determining the exact era when cats were domesticated is difficult because cats aren't necessarily raised by humans but are attracted to human settlements. Imagine you have a number of cats living close to villages, they let humans touch them and interact with them, even allow their kittens to be touched but the cats remain independent. They come and go to and from the village as they please. Humans allow this because they understand that cats need their freedom to hunt.


Dogs on the other hand, are easier to see as domestic because they have often had collars and leashes. Dogs needed these collars and leashes so humans could control their labor, pulling sleds, sniffing out game for hunting, protection against predators, etc.

You see the difference? A cat on a leash can't stalk and kill rodents. But a dog on a leash can bark when danger approaches it's human. Archaeologists have found evidence of leashes and were able to determine without a doubt that the dog was domesticated.


Another major difference between cats and dogs that makes it difficult to determine which came first, dogs or cats is that cats are direct descendants of wild cats. A domestic cat is physically similar to its wild ancestors. So when archaeologists find the remains of a cat near a village, it is hard for them to tell if that cat was an integral part of village life or it was just passing by.

So for now, the debate continues, which came first, dogs or cats?


Declawing cats is illegal in many countries, for good reason, it's easy to trim your cat's claws and you don't have to permanently damage your cat to do it.

You need proper equipment, though, don't use human nail clippers because they shatter the claw and cause your cat pain. There are several claw trimmers on the market, your vet probably has a set that she uses to trim your cat's nails before an examination. There are many different types, but all of them have some things in common. All trimmers have a rounded blade and close in on the cats claw. The better ones look like little scissors with two small round blades. These ones don't crush the cat's nail.

picture_of_cat_nail_trimmer.jpg Gently squeeze your cat's paw and you will see his retractable claws come out. Before you begin, look closely at the claw to see where you will need to cut. Just like if you were cutting a child's nails, you don't want to get too close because it will hurt. There is a large vein running through the claw, called the quick. Trim just the tip off the nail, leave room between the quick and the blade. If you cut the quick, your cat will be in pain and likely will not let you finish trimming his claws.picture_of_cat_claws_where_to_cut.jpg It may not seem like such a small cut is effective but it makes a huge difference to your cat. If his nails are trimmed, he'll be less likely to scratch your furniture and it won't hurt if playtime gets a little rough. With regular trimming, the quick actually retracts a little bit. In time, you'll be able to trim his nails quit short so they won't cause any damage when he scratches.

So what do you think? Which came first, dogs or cats? It's generally believed that dogs were domesticated long before cats. But recently, growing evidence reveals that cats and humans have lived in harmony throughout the ages.

Most scientists agree that cats were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians about 6000 years ago. But we now know that this is not the earliest known case of cats and humans living in harmony. A cat and a human were found buried together on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus. This grave was dated at about 10,000 years old. That's at least 4000 years earlier than the Egyptian cats.


It makes sense because around 12,000 years ago, humans began to cultivate grains, store them in their villages and of course rats and mice were attracted to the stored grain. Wild cats sniffed out the rats and mice and moved closer to the villages to be near the steady food supply. The villages would have benefitted the wild cats - lots of mice and rats to eat, and protection from predators that hunted cats. Humans also would have benefited from the rodent control.


One interesting thing about this grave on Cyprus is the fact that it was an island, how did the cats get there? Most scientists agree that the cats were brought to the island with the human settlers. And the cat and human to be buried together suggests the importance of the cat to the human. Cats must have had both secular and spiritual significance to the people of the time.

It is hard to know exactly which came first, dogs or cats, because none of us were there. But with growing evidence like this, the answer is getting closer.


The Birman breed is playful and curious, yet gentle and soft spoken, a real live teddy bear. Once believed to be the reincarnated priests of Ancient Burma, Birman cats are still sacred cats. Anyone who owns one knows how loving and gentle these peaceful cats can be. Traditionally, all Birman kittens born in the same year are given names that start with the same letter of the alphabet. No letters are skipped and every 26 years the breeders start with the letter A again.

Physical – Strong and stocky with long body, legs and tail.

Color – strong contrasting color in Seal, Blue, Chocolate and Lilac point with a creamy white body and pure white fingers and toes.

Temperament – Extremely calm and docile, yet playful and social.

History – Guardians of the ancient temples of the Khmer people of Burma, two cats were brought to France in 1919 and the breed was developed, later all but two cats were destroyed in World War II.


Any amount of milk is too much milk. It is just a myth that cats need milk. In the wild, cats don't normally take down a cow so their bodies weren't designed to ingest milk. As a matter of fact, milk will cause obesity, diabetes, urinary tract disorders, diarrhea, gas and other illnesses. The only exception is orphaned kittens who are younger than three months. Even then, you aren't supposed to use cow's milk because it is too hard on their bodies.

I know, I know, it goes completely against what everyone believes about cats. You always see pictures of cats, especially kittens drinking milk. But just because it tastes good, doesn't mean it's good for them - think antifreeze - lots of cats are attracted to the taste of antifreeze, but antifreeze kills cats.


I know people who feed their cats milk everyday and the cats seem to be doing fine, but I am sure that the cats would be doing much better if they weren't addicted to milk. Yeah I said addicted, they gotta have their fix of milk everyday. Milk is too high in carbs. For cats, milk is not about nutrition, milk is about the carbs and the taste. It's a treat, but everyone knows that if you eat treats everyday, you will eventually develop some side effect - obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. If you want to give your cat a treat, give them cat treats, not cow's milk.


Tokyo University unveiled mice that do not fear cats and other predators. This doesn't seem very useful to the mice. But I imagine a few cats would like to meet these special mice.

The mice had receptors in their brains altered. These receptors process information about smells that would normally make the mouse panic and run. This experiment confirms what we've known for centuries, fear is connected to smell. But I find it interesting that the mouse gets frightened when it hears the cat meow. That proves to me that fear is connected to more than just one of the senses. I'm not sure why this experiment needed to be done. Didn't we already know this?


Everyone is talking about the mouse who has been genetically altered to not fear cats. But what amazes me is not so much the mouse, but the cats. I'd like to know has the cat also been genetically altered to not hunt mice? Why hasn’t the cat eaten that fearless mouse yet? I've never seen cats this docile! Especially when there is something like a real mouse to play with.

Genetically altered or not, that mouse wouldn’t last ten minutes around my cat, Neo.

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Born in the wild, American Bobtail Cats are a naturally occurring breed that has only recently been recognized.

The first at the door to greet company, will follow you from room to room in the house, plays fetch and even likes to play in water! American Bobtail cats are intensely devoted to their humans. But be sure to groom them regularly and keep lots of toys on hand, better yet, get two bobtails to keep each other amused while you are out!

Quick Cat Characteristics of the American Bobtail Breed:

Physical: Short tail, strong, stocky body with hind legs slightly longer than their front legs. A short tail.

Color: A distinctively wild appearance, but can be any color with long or short fur.

Temperament: Confident, friendly, easily adaptable and fairly vocal.

History: feral cats possessing a short tail.

It may sound like the word "yummy" if you don't understand cat communication. What is sounds like to me is, "Get your camera out of my face, I'm trying to eat!"

Why do people torment their cats like this? The poor cat is eating and this woman has her video camera in the cat’s face, trying to get the cat to say “Yummy”. The cat behavior is telling us he is hungry and obviously feeling threatened by her getting so close during meal time.

This kind of thing makes me mad. The cat is clearly trying to communicate that he is angry, but she is disrespectful of him. I think if you want to have a good relationship with your cat, you have to listen to his cat communication and watch the cat's behavior. Just respect what he is trying to say.

It may be a funny cat video to us, but if you think about it, it's not that funny for the cat.


Loving, Intelligent and Obedient, the Abyssinian Cat is one of the oldest known cat breeds.

Yep, I said Obedient, a rare personality trait amongst cats. But beware that although they’ll obey you and want to be part of your family, they’ll also do some shocking and intelligent things. Imagine a cat that lifts things to his mouth instead of lowering his head to pick it up! Abyssinians develop little habits like this that set them apart from other breeds. They’ll make you wonder...

This is one way to keep cat fur under control, when you vacuum the couch, just vacuum the cat too! This cat lies there and takes a good cleaning from the vacuum cleaner. If you are looking for alternatives for grooming your cat or when you get tired of combing your cat, you can always try the vacuum cleaner!


Kitty's been exploring and is really dusty and dirty now. Or maybe kitty came home covered in what looks like oil and smells like an engine. Now what?

You can’t let her clean herself, engine oil is toxic...the only thing you can do is give her a bath. Here is the best way to give a cat a bath. If you can get help, great, one of you to hold the cat and one to wet, shampoo, and rinse. Either way, follow these five steps for bathing cats and you and kitty will live to tell the tale!

Worried about property damage from cats? Trimming your cat's claws is the best way to avoid it.

Trimming your cat's claws is safe and easy. And it is much healthier for your cat than declawing - which is slicing off their fingers, leaving them in pain, emotionally damaged and unable to walk properly.

Ok, this guy has a very well trained F2 (second generation) Savannah male. I've never seen a cat so comfortable with having his claws cut! This is a good demonstration of how to cut your cat's claws. But if you don't have a cat that sits on a pedestal and gives you his paw, then keep watching.

This guy also has an F1 Savannah female who is not as laid back about having her nails trimmed. He demonstrates how to hold her through the process. Every cat owner has to trim the nails regularly to prevent property damage from cats. Also, if you opt in to get nail caps for cats, you have to trim regularly.

That’s an awful lot of fur to clean! But even though cats have been domestic for thousands of years, cleaning is one of the traits left over from their wild ancestry.


Have you ever noticed when cats clean themselves? before they sleep, after they eat and after you touch them? Well there are reasons for them to clean themselves. Grooming and combing are just part of the answer. Get this…

Cats clean themselves after they eat because they want to remove all scent of food from their bodies… in the wild, cats are small enough to become a meal for a larger animal. They want to remove all traces of food so that a larger predator doesn’t sniff them out and mistake kitty for a tasty treat…


…it’s the same when the clean themselves before they sleep. They think they are safer from larger predators if they remove any scent of what they ate, where they’ve been, who they met up with, etc. Kinda like taking a shower after a night of club-hopping and…. you know what I mean?……um…ahem … I guess that’s a story for another day…

Anyway… Cats also clean themselves after you pet them because they like how it feels to be petted, so they clean themselves as a way to keep the feeling going!

Other posts I think you might be into:

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

These ringtones will drive your cat crazy...

See a 400 lbs African Lion hug and kiss his rescuer!

Woman gets tackled by a lion at a Photoshoot!

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