Melanie: January 2009 Archives

pictures_cats_kittens_cuddling.jpgHaving kittens in the home can be an exciting thing, indeed. Newborn kitten care can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have kittens that have been rejected by their mother or simply don't have one to care for them due to orphaning or some other instance. Either way, knowing what to do in the instance of having to care for newborn kittens is of the essence. If you want your newborn kittens to survive having such knowledge on hand is of the essence.

Understand That There is a Difference

There is a huge difference between newborn kittens and grown cats. Newborn kitten care is not an easy thing to master, and it often takes more than one person to care for a group of kittens. If their mother is present, things are bound to be a lot easier-caring for them is just a matter of ensuring that they are in a safe environment and that their mother has the proper care and nutrition is all that is needed. If you are their sole caretaker, things are bound to be a lot different-and a lot harder on you.

Taking Care of Their Basic Needs

Taking care of your newborn kittens' basic needs is of the essence. Their basic needs are for warmth, feeding, and tender love and care. Warmth is easy; if they had a mother their mother's warmth could keep them plenty warm enough. Being that you may have to be a surrogate mother your own body warmth can do just fine. A kitten who is not warm enough can die in no time; a thick blanket, a very low (very, very low) heating pad, or some other source of heat is important with newborn kitten care-perhaps just as important as feeding them.

Feeding Newborn Kittens

K.M.R is the most popular nursing supplement for newborn kittens. It is available at a local pet store or veterinary office along with a feeder, usually a small nipple bottle or syringe. The feed has directions of how to administer the feeding, but it may take some time to get them to acclimate to the artificial nipple or syringe. They must be fed every two hours as their stomachs can only hold so much, so yes-4 a.m. feedings are something for you to look forward to.

It's an Around the Clock Job

kitten.jpgIf you have a job to go to from nine to five every day, newborn kitten care is not something you will be able to do unless you have a dependable person at home. That is enough time for your kittens to become extremely chilled, ill, or starve. Newborn kittens need almost constant care and when they have no mother to give it to them, it is up to you to take care of that for them or find somebody else who can.

Caring for newborn kittens is trying at times, but very rewarding. After several weeks the hard part is over and the cute part begins. Happy and healthy kittens are worth every frustrating moment!

Article by guest blogger Wendy Pan

Kate Tilmouth of Our Happy Cat writes about socializing feral cats.

pictures_feral_cats.jpgThe literal meaning of feral is “gone wild” and when used to describe a cat usually means that they have either been born in the wild or have once been domesticated but have been lost or abandoned and have reverted to the wild. Feral Cats are usually found living in groups or colonies where there is an easy and plentiful supply of food.

Feral cats may have very limited experience of human contact and so will generally keep away from people and run away if you try to approach them. However, as long as the cat is not too old, it is perfectly possible that they eventually could become very loving pets, if approached correctly. But be warned it can be a very long process of gentle persuasion and patience on your part. It can take weeks, even months before a feral cat may feel comfortable enough to be a part of your family.

It is essential that anyone considering re-homing a feral cat that they have a good understanding of cat behaviour and be prepared to take things at the cats pace. Cats generally learn by experience and so making the whole socialisation process a pleasant one will help to teach the cat not to be afraid of people and domestic life.

There are several steps to take to socialise your feral cat and each one can take weeks or months to complete and may even have to be repeated if a set back occurs. The first step is to provide the cat with a small room or pen where the cat cannot escape from and that does not have any hiding places. It should be a quiet area and be equipped with bedding, fresh water and food and a litter tray. Let them become accustomed to this area for a while before you attempt to introduce yourself to them. It is important that they feel safe.

Next spend some time with them, talking quietly to them but not attempting to touch them. After a while you may even be able to tempt them to take treats from your hand. Repeat this process daily until you sense that the cat is becoming less afraid of you. Only then try to stroke their head and back. If they back away, don’t worry; just repeat the hand treat regime for a few days more. A useful tip is not to look at your cat directly as they find this a threat. Instead either look away or half close your eyes.

Pictures_cats_cleaning_ears.jpgOver time the cat will become used to you and realise that you are not a threat to them. At this stage let them wander around the rest of the house and become accustomed to the whole house. Make sure other people in the house approach the cat in the same way as yourself by offering treats. It can take some feral cats quite some time to accept the whole family.

If you have other cats around make sure your new feral cat has become use to their scent before he meets them, do this by rubbing their bedding around his living area, do the same for your existing cats. Feral cats usually respond well to domesticated cats and it can even help speed up the socialisation process, as they will learn from their behaviour.

Finally when you notice the cat grooming itself and happily using the litter tray, it is safe to let them explore the outside world. By this time they will have become use to you and your home and have probably made it part of their territory and so will return for that free dinner and comfy bed. Many feral cats have become very loving pets and have settled down to domestic life very well.

I was looking back at pictures of Neo shortly after I brought him home and I found these great shots of him in the sun. He loved to bask in the sun all the time.

little_neo_in_the_sun.jpgNeo was born in a feral cat colony that had been taken care of by two little girls and their mom. You see, Neo's mom was the kitten of a feral cat in the community. Neo's mom was fed and cared for by the little girls and their mom and so she became comfortable around them. She and her sisters kind of moved in to their yard and the so the colony was established.

Neo's dad was also feral from a neighboring colony who had wondered into the community. He was nicknamed "Cowboy" and he rode into town and then disappeared for weeks on end. But he always returned much to the dismay of the people in the community. He would terrorize the neighborhood cats and you'd hear cat fights late at night when he was around. But oddly enough, he started to get quite comfortable with people, even moving in to the newly established colony that Neo's mom established.

Unfortunately, none of the cats were ever spayed or neutered so Neo's mom and her sisters all had kittens within a few months of each other. Neo's mom was still a kitten herself! So the colony grew by 14 kittens that spring, Neo was one of them.

On a positive note, Neo and his brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, mom and dad were given the best love a cat could get. The love of two pre-teen girls who spent all their waking moments with the cats. All of the kittens were handled right from birth and all the neighborhood kids and adults alike visited the kittens.

Neo_chair_sunlight.jpgMy sister has a cottage in that community so my two nieces and my sister would visit and play with the kittens. My sister has spotted Neo when he was just a few days old. If she didn't already have a cat, she would have adopted him. But she would bring him back to her cottage and spend the afternoon petting him, grooming him and playing with him.

So Neo is not a typical feral cat. Most ferals are afraid of people because either they are born far away from people or people consider them a nuisance and hurt them or scare them. This makes ferals very distrustful of people, but the cats in this colony, that summer had the best opportunity to learn to love people.

It's really no wonder that Neo is so cuddly and lovey dovey all the time. And it makes me feel strongly about feral cats in other communities. If given the right set of circumstances, all the ferals of the world could be loving pets too.

On_sofa_sunlight.jpgYesterday I told you about my January Blues and how Neo purrs and cuddles and makes me relax. So today, the sun came out and both Neo and I were happy to see the sunlight streaming into the house. I got a picture of him stretched out on the sofa enjoying the winter sun. I would like to have joined him, but the to do list for today was too long!

It's amazing how a little sunlight can do more than just brighten a room. Neo and I enjoyed some cuddling in the sun and when he had enough and was ready for sleep, he found the best spot that got sunlight for the rest of the afternoon. And I went back to my work feeling a little bit brighter and lighter too.

Have a great day everyone, and make sure you hug your cat today!

Neo_dolly_napping.jpgJanuary. Cold. Busy. Stressful. I find this time of year brings resolutions and change, some sleepless nights, busy days and less and less time to relax. But even though things get busy and I think I just don't have time for one more thing, along comes Neo and he looks up at me and starts talking to me. It's really no wonder that owning a cat has been linked to lower heart disease.

Just seeing his face, and petting his soft fur, then hearing that purr start up makes me breathe a little deeper and relax a bit. Just this afternoon, I had just got off a call that added about 20 large projects to my to do list and was feeling very stressed. As if he sensed my distress, Neo came along and sat down on the floor beside my chair. He looked up at me and meowed and yawned at the same time, which made me laugh.

Neo_one_leg_hanging_over.jpgHe then jumped up on my lap and started kneading my neck and purring. He got really comfortable and settled in expecting to be petted for a long time. I petted him for a few minutes and I could just feel the stress leave my body. Then he jumped down and I went back to my work feeling renewed and ready to tackle the tasks left for the day.

It's like I have my own little 10 pound massage therapist living with me. I suggest the next time you are feeling stressed or upset, go find your cat and pet him and cuddle him. You'll be surprised how good it will make you feel! Comment below about times your cat has been a stress reliever for you.

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Deborah sent me this picture of her three beautiful cats. The two younger cats, Jasmine and Precious are 6 and the oldest is Woo Woo, she's 19! The younger cats must be keeping Woo Woo happy and healthy!



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After Deborah and her husband got Jasmine, her husband adopted Woo Woo and then Precious came shortly after Woo Woo. Jasmine and Precious were rescued from the outdoors. They must have been strays.

They are all such beautiful cats and they look very comfortable, thanks for sending this picture in to FaceKitty!

I know the Florida Panthers haven't had the greatest season, but I sure hope Obama has better things to do than worry about hockey! Don't get me wrong, I'm up for a good hockey game, just like any other red blooded Canadian, but I'm talking about the actual animal that the Florida Panthers were named after. Yep, you guessed it, the Florida Panthers.



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There are less than 80 Florida panthers left in the world and they all live in South Florida. The only hope for the panthers is to get Obama's support to designate a specific area that the remaining panthers can live in protected.

CF9E4305-BA6A-464A-B6A7-A88A03DBD7B3.jpgYou see the problem is there has been controversy over where exactly the Florida Panther likes to live. They have been found living in forests, prairies, and swamps. So instead of conserving a little bit of every type of habitat, or setting aside a little bit of one type of habitat, only a small parcel of land has been conserved. Not enough has been done.

Authorities have argued and argued about it but no land has been designated to them. Because of the controversy, developers have stepped in and build indiscriminately and destroyed their habitat until there is no where left for them to go.

But they wouldn't be in this mess if Florida Panthers hadn't been hunted. Up until 30 years ago it was not uncommon to hear of panther hunting in Florida. Now, they are trying to do everything they can to save the once hunted panther.

E559A87C-C76A-498B-B5B4-E550CB98595E.jpgAnd the really sad thing is the fact that vehicles kill more panthers now than any other cause of death. 3 panthers have already lost their lives in 2009 due to vehicles. Pretty sad.

I'm sure Obama has a few things to take care of now that he has taken office, but I hope he can help save the remaining panthers before it is too late.

barack_cats.jpgEveryone knows that the Obamas will be adopting a pet and word on the street is that it will be a rescued dog from a shelter. Well, in my opinion a dog would be nice, even two dogs. I hear there are two Golden Retriever puppies that have been rescued from a puppy mill that would be perfect for the Obamas and the White House. But I think the Obama girls deserve to grow up with the love of two wonderful and happy cats too!

I might be a little biased, considering the fact that I am a hard core cat lover, but you have to admit that cats and dogs are different. Here's what I mean.

Dogs are wonderful companions that you can get out and do things with, they are like the fun pals you hang out with on the weekends. Cats are more like the soul mate or close friend that you can talk to about anything and who is always there for you, through thick and thin. In my opinion, two girls entering the world of politics on an international level at such a young age are bound to need someone to talk to about things they can't tell anyone else. Am I right?

Yes, I am and you know it too. Now I don't know what it's like to grow up in the White House, except for the fact that my house when I was growing up happened to be white. But I am sure that any teenage angst or drama is going to be amplified because their lives are going to be open to the world. Anything they think, do, or hope for will be closely monitored by every newspaper and magazine world wide. In essence the days of privacy are over.

So in light of this loss of freedom, and keeping in mind that these two girls will be watched closely, it might be a good idea for the Obamas to adopt two cats for them too. Cats are really good listeners and they show love in a more intimate way than dogs. Cats will stare at you lovingly when your heart is broken, and purr in your ear when you need to shut out the voices, and knead you and nuzzle you when you need to feel close to another living being but can't.

D27EF679-B93B-4110-96AB-EF1780B422E4.jpgCats offer a deep relationship because they are so human like in their emotions and responses. They feel what you feel. You know what I mean, cats feel sad when you feel sad and happy when you feel happy and they know exactly what you are feeling, when you are feeling it. Exactly what those two girls, Malia Ann and Natasha need.

So Mr. President, take it from one who has lived with cats and without cats, and who relied on the love and devotion of a cat throughout her difficult teenage years. There is nothing like the friendship of a cat. I'm not saying don't adopt the dogs, please do, your very complex daughters will need to have multiple furry friends to help them cope with the stresses of living in the White House. So do your daughters a favor and get them two dogs, but also get them two cats. You will be sending a message to them that says you love them and understand all aspects of them. You'll also be sending a message to America.

The Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center of Kansas City is urging every pet owner to take their cats in for regular check ups because early detection of disease or illness can save you money on costly vet bills and can even save your cat's life.

78F8C602-DB36-4FD0-9E8F-471F721F12D0.jpgWhen your cat is acting out of the ordinary, we all think, "well, let's just see if he heals on his own." But because cats are so stoic, sometimes they've been in pain or have suffered for a long time before you even know there is something wrong. By the time you see they are not well, they've already been sick for a while and taking them to the vet then is almost too late - the bills are big and it might be too late to help your cat.

Regular check ups can detect illness early. Wendell wrote an excellent post on what to expect at a vet exam. Your vet will feel your cats internal organs, by pressing on his abdomen, will listen to his heart and lungs and will check his eyes, ears and mouth. All of this poking and prodding is an excellent way to detect any problems early. Then you can have options for treatment.

If you wait until you see a problem with your cat, sometimes the options are an expensive treatment or euthanizing your cat - not what anyone wants. So take your cat in, even if you think you can't afford it. Most vets are understanding of people's financial situations. Often they will help you out with payment plans or direct you to a low cost vet clinic.

In any case, even if you are taking you cat in for regular checkups, which for a normal, healthy cat that has no medical condition, should be be once a year, you also need to watch out for certain symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

In addition to regular check ups, take your cat in when you see these symptoms:

Cat is not eating for more than 24 - 48.Unknown.jpeg

Cat is not drinking.

Cat is not able to sleep or get comfortable.

Cat is vomiting for 24 hours.

Cat tries but is unable to vomit.

Cat has blood in his stool or vomit.

Cat is not responding normally.

Also if you aren't sure, make a quick call to your vet's office, they won't diagnose over the phone, but they will certainly ask you questions to determine whether or not you should be taking your cat in.

The San Diego Wild Animal Park has a program that lets visitors meet a Cheetah named Majani and his dog Clifford. The Zoo paired the two up to help Majani feel more comfortable with the crowds of people and new situations.

48289D0B-9585-4DD7-B59D-E654CF24C787.jpgI don't agree with using wild animals for human entertainment. It's an accident waiting to happen. No matter how tame a wild cat is, they are unpredictable and act on instinct which means that they can hurt people by accident. Then in most cases where humans are hurt, the cat is killed. The cat was acting like a cat but a human got hurt in the process so the cat suffers for what is usually the human's mistake. Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

But in this case, I think the San Diego Zoo is on to a good idea. What the San Diego Zoo has done is domesticated a Cheetah kitten named Majani and paired him with a dog named Clifford. Because Cheetahs are skittish and very unpredictable, having a dog who is more comfortable with people helps the cheetah feel more at ease.

3CD1943A-EB5B-4CFD-9BFB-E17739CD8980.jpgThe idea came to the cheetah trainer six years ago when they were walking to an event and Majani saw a big green garbage can for the first time and was afraid of it. Clifford ran right up to the garbage can and sniffed it, Majani saw this and immediately felt at ease and walked on fearlessly. Since then, Clifford has accompanied Majani on all of his appearances.

Some domestic cats love dogs and it seems quite logical that a wild cat would take to a dog too. When you think about it, their personality traits are well suited to one another. Cheetahs are cautious and worried about hunting and unusual things in their environment, and dogs generally are more relaxed and trusting. Opposites attract even in the animal world!

The Keesling family of New Castle, Indiana is alive today because of their heroic cat, Winnie, who meowed loudly and paced up and down the bed to wake her humans when she detected a deadly gas leak.

03F956EE-2A9A-4E2F-BD96-91F4B6BAA231.jpgRead the report of the events of that night and about the reward given to Winnie for saving her family.

What I find interesting is that the cat, Winnie detected an odorless gas. According to the reports, Winnie detected it and then worked really hard to wake everyone up, even after the mom, Cathy repeatedly fainted as she made her way to the phone to call 911. I know cats noses are more sensitive than a human's sense of smell, but I really don't think Winnie was able to detect the gas.

What I think happened is Winnie detected changes in her human's behavior and breathing and got alarmed. One report even said that the 14 year old son had gone into the bathroom and passed out on the way back to his bedroom. His fall would have scared Winnie and she would have gone to wake up Cathy, the mom.

Every time I am sick or something unusual happens, Neo gets all freaked out and walks around meowing. That seems to be the kind of thing that cats do, they are really good at detecting differences in human behavior and are really good and knowing when people are in distress. So I think Winnie was looking out for her humans and did the right thing even if she wasn't able to detect the gas.

Does anyone have any stories of cats who can sense moods or distress in their humans? Please comment below.

Do cats really need supplements? Most people are doing the best they can to keep themselves and their cats healthy while still trying to save money. In this economic downturn, many people are turning to less expensive cat food to save some money and to hang on to their pets longer. But what about nutrition? how can you ensure your cat gets proper nutrition while eating cat food that may not have enough quality nutrition?

E3FAF546-CCDC-4F78-80F6-F44121215731.jpgSupplements. I know, I know, if you aren't able to buy supplements yourself, why would you start buying supplements for your cat? let me explain.

Fish oil, specifically cod liver oil is inexpensive and provides minerals that help keep eyes, joints, heart and lungs healthy. Not only for you cat, you can take it too! Cod liver oil is a high quality source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Dr. Michael Fox says, "I get tired of plugging fish oil at every turn, but it IS a miracle supplement.... Cod liver oil, up to a tablespoon a day...may help your poor cat."

If you go to a pharmacy, or grocery store, you can find cod liver oil in capsule or liquid form. The oil is not expensive at all - I paid $5.00 for a quart and Neo loves it. Keep the oil refrigerated and give it to your cat as a treat, 1 tsp at a time. Your cat will love the fishy flavor and you can rest assured that you are providing good nutrition for your cat without spending too much money.

If you are on a tight budget and barely keeping yourself and your cat fed, what will you do if your cat starts to get ill? Sometimes treatment is only a matter of $200.00 - $300.00 and your cat is back on his feet. But what if you don't have an extra $300.00 when you need it?

F8377CCE-F0E0-4D91-BF24-AC4E4F214D36.jpgIn cases like that, pet health insurance might be the best bet. A beloved pet who is part of your family doesn't deserve to be euthanized over a few hundred dollars. But there is something you can do right now to help keep your cat alive if an expensive illness comes up.

Pet Health insurance is usually one time payment that covers your vet bills for any new illness. Read the fine print, the insurance usually won't cover routine shots and you'll have to keep your cat's shots up to date in order for the insurance to be valid. But if this is something you plan on doing anyway, insurance will help you pay for anything over an above those usual pet expenses.

Another reason why pet health insurance is a good idea is because of advances in technology and specialists in the field of veterinary medicine. With pet health insurance you'll be able to give your cat the best possible treatment without having to worry about the expense. If your cat needs a specialist, you'll be able to take your cat there and the vet will be able to use the most advanced medical treatments and the insurance will foot the bill.

Pet owners and vets can benefit from a third party paying for medical expenses but the really, the one who benefits the most is Kitty.

Kersti Seksel, a veterinary behaviorist in Australia has the right idea, a training session for you and your kitten, called Kittengarten. The Washington Humane Society has started to give cats and their owners training in basic behavior and grooming. A great idea, I'd say! Too many people give their cats away or give up on their cats simply because they don't understand them.

Kittengarten is a great way for people to connect with their cats and to learn hands on how to trim your cats claws, comb and brush teeth. Also its a great way for you to learn about basic cat behavior and how you can build a strong relationship with your kitten. Read how to Teach your cat about playtime at Kittengarten.

unhappy_cat.jpgA while ago, I blogged about how you can help shelter cats for under $10.00. In that post I recommend going to a dollar store and I still do, but be cautious when purchasing cat treats or cat food from a dollar store.

I found this article about Dog Treats from dollar stores. Apparently, to keep costs down, the actual nutritional value of the ingredients in the treats is really low so you are not really helping your pet, your really only feeding them junk food. Another issue is that often the pet foods are expired so you could make your cat very, very sick if you purchase discounted food.

But here is the underlying bigger problem, cheap or expired ingredients can contain poisonous toxins - do we have to revisit the Menu Foods cat food recall issue to be reminded that thousands of cats and dogs were killed due to poison in the food? By buying dollar store or discounted pet foods and treats, you are increasing your chances of feeding your cat poison.

If you are looking for low cost treats and you can't find ones that work with your budget or your cat's palate, try a little chunk of tuna from a can before you mix in the mayo, or a little bit of roasted chicken or raw liver (ever wondered what to do with the organ meat from whole chickens?) My sister's cat loves chicken livers as a treat. Just chop it and freeze it in treat size portions.

There are ways to be frugal without killing your cat.

softpaws_2.jpgI've blogged about declawing your cat so you know I am totally against it and I've even written several posts about scratching posts and why your cat needs to scratch. But a friend of mine reminded me about Soft Paws. They are little nail caps that fit over your cat's claws and prevent your cat from doing any damage when he scratches.

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Soft Paws are like fake nails for your cat. Each 4 - 6 month supply comes with 40 caps in your choice of color and 2 tubes of adhesive for under $20.00. Applying the nail caps looks pretty easy, but you might have to try it when your cat is really relaxed!

softpaws_1.jpgYou have to replace the nail caps every 4 - 6 weeks because a cat's nails grow so quickly. So you might want to get a package that has lots of colors to choose from for variety.

The pictures of cats wearing soft paws all look so content and you should read all the success stories of cats who wear Soft Paws from their happy owners!

Has anyone tried Soft Paws? I'd love to hear your experiences with them too. Feel free to comment below.

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The World Wildlife Fund published their annual list of some of the most threatened species around the world. A list that keeps getting longer but is not a list an animal would want to be on. Sumatran tigers made the list of the 9 to Watch in 2009.

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savetigerpic1.jpgA little while ago, Wendell posted an article about the 12 cats that will be extinct by 2020. Sumatran Tigers were on his list too. The population is estimated at 400 but the exact count is not known - hopefully it could be as many as 500, but even so, that's not enough.

Poaching is the biggest problem for these tigers. Poachers have already killed off the entire populations of Javan and Balinese Tigers in the same region and it looks like the Sumatran Tiger is next.

The tigers are killed for body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine and their skins are often sold to western buyers.

Despicable.

When people stop buying body parts and skins is the day that we can truly stop cruelty to animals. I mean, I understand that Eastern medicine is deeply rooted in tradition and spiritual healing but an animal shot and killed in cold blood is not in keeping with tradition.

Chinese medicine dates back 5000 years. But the use of tigers and other animals only dates back 300 years. Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioners have successfully used herbs and other treatments for millennia so the practice of using a tiger's penis for virility or bones for soup to cure a fever is completely unnecessary, according to Dr. Henry Lee a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.

Another reason the Sumatran Tiger population is decreasing is shrinking habitat as the human population grows. In 2004, the Indonesian Government doubled the size of Tesso Nilo National Park to help save animals and forest, but this effort hasn't stopped poachers from entering the park and loggers from destroying the tiger's habitat.

savetigerpic3.jpgThe only way we can stop the hunting of these beautiful cats is to stop the market for their body parts. If people could find alternate ways to cure their illnesses through healthful living and herbal treatments instead of boiling up the bones of an endangered animal, the world would be in a much better place.

The thing I find interesting is the the Chinese and other religions believe in animal spirits. So if that's the case, why are they killing off these innocent creatures? It goes against their believe system which makes me think that eastern medicine is no better than our western "cutem up" and "drugem up" system. The only difference is, the animals we in the west kill are in labs and the animals those in the east kill are in the wild.

I'll get off my soap box now. But it really burns me up that all this killing happens so needlessly. True Traditional Chinese Medicine does not include killing animals, they're doing it wrong - and tigers have to pay the price. Help out if you can, by adopting a tiger, or make a donation to the WWF and get a gift.

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Other posts I think you might be into:

Auckland Zoo's 3 Sumatran Tiger Cubs

3 Sumatran Cubs at 12 Days old

Who Says Sumatran Tigers and Orangutans can't get along?

Cats love laser pointers, the little red light moving and dancing around is so intriguing to them. I had one for a while and Neo went crazy for it. He'd even come running if he heard the click when I accidentally turned the light on!

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Pictures_Kitten_cats_Attacks.jpgLaser pointers are an excellent way for cats to get some exercise and to have fun indoors. When you are looking to buy a laser, there are some things you need to know about the power levels. Before you buy.

Lasers are measured in milliwatts (mW) and you want the lowest number possible, somewhere around 5 or 10 mW is safest. To give you an example of the power of lasers, a 55mW laser can put holes in plastic and even pop a balloon. Any laser with enough power to put holes in plastic is too dangerous to use with your cat or dog. Be cautious when buying a laser pointer for your cat.

I recommend getting the laser pointers that are pens too - they are inexpensive and are the safest. They come in 5mW and cost about $5.00. You can use them as a pen too, so they serve a couple of purposes.

I spoke to two opthamologists about laser pointers because my daughter had looked directly at the light once. Both doctors said the same thing, if the power level is 10mW or below and the exposure time is low, then it is relatively safe. But both of the doctors agreed that even at such low power levels there is danger of eye damage if you point the light directly into the eye.

The important thing to remember is cat's eyes are even more sensitive than human's eyes, so the possibility for eye damage increases. The bottom line is this, have fun with the pointer, shine it up on walls, just out of your cat's reach, shine it along the floor and watch your cat chase after it. However,

Do Not Shine Lasers at a Cat's Eyes.

Post your stories about cats and lasers below, I'd love to hear about how your cat reacts to the little light.

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As a follow up to a previous post about recession proof cat toys, I found this article that gives some great advice for keeping kitty happy without spending money, and how to play with these make at home toys. No matter what your cat likes to do, he'll appreciate the quality time with you.

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pictures_cat_snow.jpegWhether your cat is an indoor cat or goes outside he will probably find that these long winter months can lead to a lot of ho-hum napping and, perhaps, some misbehaving.

Here are some tips to keep Suzy, and Zip, and Lucky happy:

First of all realize that cats (like all of us) pay most attention to something new in their environment. The best toy from yesterday will often be ignored today. They are on the prowl for the latest and greatest new object to attend to.

The trick, therefore, (this works well with kids, too) is to "rotate the stock." Keep a few toys out at all times (preferably in different areas of the house to keep them interesting--try putting a favorite toy in the bathtub) but switch them out every couple of days.

You know your cat better than anyone. When choosing toys (or making them-more on that later) don't try something your cat has never played with. If she doesn't like to chase things don't buy a mechanical mouse.

If she likes to play with your hanging clothes as you carrying them up the stairs then she will probably like "dangly toys."

We all know that cats have different types of play that assist them developmentally. This includes play fighting, hunting, and "flinging" where they pick up an object and throw it up into the air. You may want to try these activities with your cat and determine what they enjoy the most.

Many cats like rituals just like people (remember Mr. Rogers coming in, changing his sweater and shoes...) It may be jumping on its human's back every time he sits at the computer, pulling herself along the under side of a couch or chair, hanging upside down off a favorite step, or rolling on the sidewalk when his humans come home. We once had a very intelligent little female who loved this trick. If we left a glass of water on a table-and were too far away to grab it-she would wait until she got our attention and stare us in the eye as she casually knocked the glass over. These rituals are a great insight as to what cats like to do: pounce, climb, bat, wrestle, etc.

Pictures_of_Birman_breed_of_ cats_kitten.jpgPurchasing toys is great but I think its fun to give your cat a variety of options by putting together home made toys.

• A great flinging toy: take the crinkly wrapper off a package (the heavier is often better), string your cat's favorite toys (the ring around the milk lid, a large button, a large rubber band, etc.) and then tie the string around the middle of the cellophane like a bowtie. With just the slightest touch it jumps and crinkles.Make certain it is all very secure to avoid any choking hazard.

• If your cat loves to climb into boxes or bags this is a great activity when the kids and the cat are bored. Take a nice sized box, pierce one side, hang any toys or objects he enjoys inside, turn it sideways. Cut 2" holes on the sides, hang (on the outside) small objects in the center of the holes. Add-or expose-the rippled, corrugated cardboard for an instant scratching station. This should give lots of hours of play and hiding time. Don't leave it out too long, though. Put it away for more fun in a few weeks.

• For the smart, energetic cat I would recommend a bouncy ball from a toy store. Warrant Eckstein in his book, How to Get Your Cat to Do What You Want, describes his consultation with Lily Tomlin's cat. The cat seemed to have no interest in anything Eckstein could offer. He found a ball in a toy store that bounced very high and in unpredictable arcs. The cat loved it-the unpredictability being something that most cats are wild about!

• You may not realize it, especially in a single cat environment, that your little guy enjoys wrestling. Place a work glove or a hand puppet on your hand and tickle his belly (with, of course, an appropriate growl and argh thrown in.) You may be surprised at his excited and energetic response. This can be a fun time for both of you and can become a ritual.

The key to keeping our furry friends entertained (and decrease unwanted behavior) is to keep things changing. If your cat shows no interest in your new efforts be flexible and try something else. Rotate toys frequently and pay attention to what they already enjoy.

Pat Gilbers, from TwoPennyCat - is a lifetime cat lover as well as being an entrepreneur, non profit specialist (visit PookaFundraising.com for information on raising money), and free lance writer. Please enjoy her new cat site, TwoPennyCat.com for wonderful photos, funny videos, interesting articles, and a unique collection of cat products.

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.

 

funny-dog-pictures-some-dogs-find-lolcats-amusing1.jpgHave you ever visited the Lolcats website? If not, you'll want to bookmark it and go back often. It's one of my favorite cat websites when I need a lift, a laugh or to just see some funny pictures of cats.

There are a few inside jokes you need to know before you go, you'll catch on quickly, but just to give you a heads up about some of the cat humor here are some tips:

The captions (capshuns) are usually written from the cat's point of view and as if the cat himself wrote them. The next thing to keep in mind is that if cats could type, they'd write out the captions phonetically, not using correct spelling and grammar. It's kind of like baby talk, except with cats, and cat interests.

I find that the best way to read it, is to sound out the word, just like you did in grade school. Look at the words and say them aloud. It makes it much more funny if you say it like the cat would if he could speak and if he could write. It also helps you figure out what the words are and what they mean - the spelling is very creative.

Something you need to know to is that black cats are some times referred to as basement cat and white cats are sometimes referred to as ceiling cat. Basement cat is a bit naughty, maybe even evil and ceiling cat is often worshipped.

funny-pictures-cat-paper-ball-recession.jpgAnother joke that keeps coming up is a thing with a bucket. yes, a bucket, a pail, and a walrus. Back at the beginning when LOLcats - I can has cheezburger was new, there was a few pictures of a walrus and a bucket, and the joke just kind of grew from then on. Sometimes you'll see the bucket reappear.

For a complete breakdown of Lolcats Grammar, visit How to speak lolcat. Or if you want an English to lolcat translator, visit Speak Lolcat. Or the best place to learn to speak lolcat is to go to LOLspeak as a second language in 5 easy steps.

Other than that, the humor is very cute and if you love cats, it will put a smile on your face at the very least. Most of the time when I visit there is one that makes me laugh really hard and I save it in a special LOLcats folder on my desktop just to look at when I need a good laugh. What are some of your favorite LOLcats?

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picture_040.jpg2008 was an exciting year for Facekitty, lots of cats were saved and fed due to your signatures, donations and clicks. Thank you on behalf of kitties everywhere.

And thank you for your continued support, your emails and comments, your questions and advice. It really helps to hear from you, so I hope to hear more from you in the new year.

Now we turn our thoughts to 2009 and what the year holds. I have lots of ideas for posts about cat food, common cat illnesses, working on making your relationship with your cat even better and keeping you up to date with news in the cat world.

I'm also working on some special projects that I'll tell you about a little later in the year, but I'll give you a hint, one involves cat food, and another involves a website. Enough said, for now.

If you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas you'd like to suggest, don't hesitate to comment and tell us what you think. The New Year is a time for reflection and a time to make things better. So I'd love to hear from you, tell me how we're doing so far and what you'd like to see in the future.

Have a Happy New Year and we wish you every happiness in 2009.

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