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cat-at-the-vet.jpgYes, cats can get the flu.

Keep your pet healthy with supplements from Only Natural Pet Store

In the last couple of years, a hyper-virulent virus has been hitting shelters and other high-density housing of cats [catteries, rescues, veterinary clinics, pet stores]. And while nicknamed “cat flu”, it is most commonly caused by Feline Herpes Virus-1 [also known as Feline Virus Rhinotracheitis], or Feline Calicivirus. And then, there was also the startling news recently of a documented case of the H1N1 virus in a cat.

How is cat flu spread?

Much the same way a cold is spread in humans – from cat to cat contact, and from contact with the nasal and eye discharge from an infected cat.

Most kitten vaccines for feline distemper (panleukopenia) also include rhinotracheitis and calicivirus. There is also a vaccine for virulent calicivirus, but it is unlikely to protect against different strains. Like human flu viruses, feline calicivirus often mutates, making older vaccines ineffective. Vaccination does not prevent illness, and infected cats can still shed these highly contagious viruses; but vaccines are thought to minimize symptoms and reduce viral shedding. Fully vaccinated adult cats are still susceptible; in the case of virulent systemic calicivirus, adults actually fare worse than kittens.

9FD75FEE-FF36-4266-813D-8F037EC318FE.jpgErase from your mind the old style cat condos where there was nothing more than a wooden frame with carpeting wrapped around it. Instead, consider a condominium, with its spacious snoozing room, a nice place to scratch and of course, a way to perch on top to see all that is happening around the area. That is the type of toy you can give your pet and they will love you for it.

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Why Cat Condos Are So Important

You may be looking for this type of place for your feline so you can retake your favorite pillow (which they have claimed) or you may be looking for a fun toy for your pets. There are many reasons why these condominiums work so well.

*They are stylish and fit into virtually any home's furnishings without being tacky or ugly. Look for those condominiums that are made with a steel framing, to give the best look to the condominium itself. You will not mind having it in your living room!

*Cat condos are a fantastic investment for your pet. Choose those with foam scratching pads. The cat can scratch to his heart's delight on these pads, which keeps them from scratching at your furniture or pulling down the drapes in your living room. Plus, it keeps them busy, which helps to keep them mentally sharp.

*Give your cat a gift that they will love. When you select a strong, well-made design, the cat will be able to use their condo for the long term, enjoying every bit of it. It is their secret hide out. It is a fantastic place to catch an afternoon nap. It can be a good lookout, to keep them apprised of what is happening around them. They can scratch all they would like to without being shooed away.

C7F1AF41-7F29-4482-ACD4-3EAF4A55788F.jpgGiving your pet something like this does a lot for them, but it helps to keep your home your own. Other styles of cat toys and scratching posts are tacky and unattractive in most homes. You will not be embarrassed to keep these in your living room, though. The more modern cat condos are far better made and will last for a long time.

Cat condos are a great investment for your pet. Go ahead and let them enjoy the sunshine by perching on top of their condo. They will even stay off your pillow and out of the dog's way when you invest in these condos.

You can purchase cat condos right online. You do not have to spend a lot of money to get a great looking and durable condo. Best of all, a well-made condo will last and be loved for years to come.

Give your cat the gift of a quality modern cat condo.

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Article by Mark Neustedt.

Pictures_of_cat_groomed_and_posing.jpgAre you in the market for cat condo furniture? If so, you would not be alone. There are more people than ever investing in furniture for their pets. It used to be that a cat owned nothing more than perhaps a heart shaped medallion hanging from its neck. Today, your pet can have far more, even a condo to call his or her own. The good news is that these condos are a great investment not only in your pet's eyes (they will love them) but also in their well-being.

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How To Buy The Best

20F22E49-F809-4B0F-BED7-428EF2865E45.jpgA quick look online will reveal a range of different types of cat condo furniture. While there are many different options to invest in, not every piece of furniture is worth your investment. Here are a few tips to choosing the very best furniture for your pet.

*Choose furniture that is designed to last. If you go with the cheap, plastic cat products on the market, they will last perhaps as long as it takes you to build them. They are easily torn apart by the average cat. Instead, choose cat condo furniture that is strong and durable. Some of the best have steel frames, which not only add to the durability, but also to the stylish look of them.

*Look at the design of the furniture. Is it fitting to your cat's interest? It should have someplace your feline can scratch, such as a foam padding. It should have a nice place for your pet to nap. Cats love dark, small spaces where they can hide out and sleep well. What about a perch, or a way to get up high in the room so that they can look down on their surroundings? When choosing cat condo furniture, choose something that gives your cat plenty to do no matter what type of mood they are in.

*Your home does not have to suffer! When buying this type of furniture, keep in mind that it should become a part of your home. In other words, it has to look great as part of your home's furniture, as well as be a fun place for your pet. You can accomplish this in various ways. Choose cat condo furniture that is stylish, or even that matches your home's décor.

57AC9572-0EAC-4B6D-8277-7A55DF690D5F.jpgThis may sound like a big wish list but the fact is, there are many fantastic options to select from that meet these qualifications. Cat condo furniture should be a process that is much like buying other furniture in your home. What works for your pet's needs? The good news is that it can be a lot of fun to check out the options available. Many pet owners love making these additions to their homes since they are affordable and rewarding to their pet.

The quality modern cat condo is the perfect fit for any homes decor.

Article by Mark Neustedt

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pictures_cats_names.jpgCat behavior is more difficult for most people to understand than dog behavior, because they communicate so much differently. If you experience behavior problems with your cat, like biting, scratching, excessive meowing or avoiding the litter box, eliminate any physical causes and then patiently retrain your cat, to try to eliminate the undesirable behaviors. Remember, there aren't bad cats, just uninformed cat owners.

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It's best to deal with problem cat behavior one step at a time, lest you frustrate your cat with too many do's and don'ts. That would make it difficult for her to learn just what you want from her. Start with the most serious problems first, like chewing electric cords. Take care of one problem before you start work on another.

If your cat behavior is problematic because she is seeking more attention, you probably are hearing excess vocalization from your feline. She has underlying causes for this behavior, and they may be emotional, physical or both. Make sure she doesn't have some pain issues before you punish her for excessive meowing. She might be in heat, or there might be another physical cause.

If your pet's cat behavior includes being aggressive towards people, this may have been caused by poor training when she was a kitten. Or it could be a fear response, and she may have been mistreated or neglected when she was young. You, as your cat's caregiver, will need to learn what you can do to prevent aggression, how to take care of it when it occurs, and how to slow this behavior down.

pictures_cats_love_2.jpgCats are territorial animals, so expect some uproar if you introduce a new cat into your home. Sometimes they will settle down quickly, and sometimes you will need to separate them - as unpleasant as that idea might sound. Usually, after the first few cat-fights, your felines will fall into a pecking order, and the fights should be fewer then.

If you experience cat behavior in the areas of destructive chewing and scratching by kittens and cats, it is a dangerous habit for them and it causes damage to your belongings. Address the causes before you start flinging slippers at your cats - they may be expressing boredom, curiosity or even a deficiency in their nutrient levels. If your cat scratches you or your furniture, check out all your options before considering de-clawing. This is no more humane than removing your own fingernails would be. You can even buy thin plastic claw-covers in bright colors, to keep your cat's scratching from destroying anything else.

Many cat behavior problems are actually related to health issues, or caused by the inadvertent miscues of your cat caregivers. Make sure to give your feline the benefit of the doubt, and work patiently with her when correction needs to be administered.

Article by Jenny Styles

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cat-napped_pictures_of_cats.jpgStudies have shown that 30% of cats over 8 years of age, and a stunning 90% of cats over 12 years of age, have arthritis (osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease). These figures should give the veterinary community, which doesn't give nearly as much thought to arthritis in cats as it does to dogs, something to think about. What is generally perceived as "slowing down" or "a little stiff" may be a sign of significant joint deterioration, and probably causes some degree of discomfort in most older cats.

Arthritic cats often gradually stop jumping up as high as they once did, and may be reluctant to use the stairs. (Arthritis can cause litterbox problems if there is not a box on every level of the home.) Providing "steps" (a box or stool, for instance) up to a bed, chair, or other favorite high spots may be greatly appreciated by an older cat.

Cats cannot adequately metabolize many of the arthritis and pain medications commonly given to dogs, such as carprofen (Rimadyl). Moreover, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxyn (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are all highly toxic to both cats and dogs. Meloxicam (Metacam) is a newer NSAID that is commonly used for post-operative pain but only for a short time. Some experts claim it can be given long-term at a very low dose, but others are wary of the significant potential for kidney damage in cats. Aspirin can be used, but the dose and schedule are extremely limited; never give your cat aspirin without your vet's advice.

The good news is that there are simple, inexpensive nutritional supplements that are very effective and, most important, very safe. Supplements for arthritis include: glucosamine sulfate (250 mg per day), and MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) (200-400 mg per day). Both of these supplements have excellent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

pictures_cats_arthritis.jpgGlucosamine supplies the basic building blocks of cartilage and helps maintain the fluid that cushions and nourishes the joints, and MSM provides elemental sulfur for the body to make certain amino acids and other compounds. But they are not quick fixes-it may take 3-5 weeks for improvement to be noticeable (MSM may take less or more time), and they must be given daily without fail to prevent return of pain. They may not work in all cats. But many guardians notice significant improvement in their cat's activity and flexibility. Glucosamine is often packaged together with chondroitin, another cartilage compound. However, the evidence is less clear that chondroitin is effective, and it is much more expensive. Plain glucosamine (sulfate only, not hydrochloride) is adequate in most cases.

Another cartilage building block, hyaluronic acid, is also available in oral form. This is the basic ingredient of Adequan, a drug commonly injected directly into affected joints. However, these injections need to repeated regularly and there is always a risk of infection. Hyaluronic acid now comes in oral capsules, but the most effective form appears to be a saline-based liquid called "Hyalun." A cat would need at most a few drops per day, although if you also have dogs (or if you have joint problems yourself!) it is a good way to go.

Some herbs, such as Boswellia (frankincense), appear to be effective anti-inflammatories, but few herbs have been thoroughly studied for safety in cats. Boswellia is traditionally used in combination with other herbs in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Since some herbs can be extremely toxic to cats, it's best to consult with a veterinarian trained in the use of western or Chinese herbs (see below).

The antioxidant algae blend, BioSuperfood (read more about this in the Little Big Cat Free Article Library) may also minimize the inflammation and pain of arthritic joints.

Omega-3 fatty acids also have excellent anti-inflammatory properties; we recommend Nordic Naturals pet products for their purity and safety.

white_cat.jpgFrom a holistic viewpoint, no physical condition is simply physical. In energetic terms, disease, including arthritis, starts on the energetic plane and progresses through the mental and emotional spheres before manifesting itself in the physical body. One way to address this is through the use of flower essences, which can heal the imbalances on the mental and emotional planes. Another way to look at this is that mental "stiffness" ultimately contributes to stiffening of the physical joints. Our sister company, Spirit Essences, has developed an essence remedy called Creak-Away that's designed to keep the animal mentally and emotionally "flexible" and minimize the energetic stresses that contribute to the development of arthritis.

Acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, homeopathy, specific nutritional strategies and other holistic treatments may also be helpful for arthritic cats. For a practitioner in your area, visit or call the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at (410) 569-0795.

Dr. Jean Hofve is a retired holistic veterinarian with a special interest in nutrition and behavior. Her informational website, http://www.littlebigcat.com, features an extensive free article library on feline health and pet nutrition, as well as a free e-newsletter. Dr. Hofve founded Spirit Essences Holistic Remedies for Animals (http://www.spiritessence.com) in 1995; and it remains the only line of flower essence formulas designed by a veterinarian. She is a certified Medicine Woman within the Nemenhah Native American Traditional Organization who uses holistic remedies as a part of body-mind-spiritual healing.

Pictures_of_cat_groomed_and_posing.jpgSupport the ASPCA and make an online purchase of their orange products and save 20% - great spring and summer tees and tanks, wrist bands and mugs and bags. All proceeds go toward helping animals in need. Visit the Go Orange - ASPCA Store for details.

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cutest-sleeping-kitties10.jpgRemember the "Home Alone" movies? Remember all the mischief that young boy got into? Now, imagine that's your cat.

Our pets must sometimes be left alone. Perhaps, it's everyday, when you have to go to work. Your cat can be lonely without you. You need to give it some things to keep it busy and out of trouble.

If you can provide a companion cat, preferably a sibling, your cat will be better behaved and remain playful well into adulthood. Having another cat to romp and play with will help solve the problem of being alone.

You should definitely consider providing your cat with it's own furniture where it can scratch to it's hearts content. That could be just a scratching post or a cat condo. The cat condo gives it a place to play or rest and will accommodate more than one cat.

Secondly, provide some catnip toys. Cats love to push these little guys around, eventually hiding them for you to find later, pushed under furniture or the door of a closet or cabinet. There are also interactive toys, like Peek-A-Prize, Whirley Mouse and Squeak and Play, a variety of toys that make the sound of a real mouse, that can keep them busy for a long time. Keep their toys where they can easily find them. If you provide a 'toy box' they will know where to look.

pictures_cats_mischief.jpgFew indoor cats get enough exercise, often sleeping for up to 18 hours a day. There are now toys that will automatically release dry food or treats as your cat plays with them. This gives them a diversion with a reward! It's their treat for exercising.

A cat sometimes has a short attention span, so, the more diversions the better for keeping it entertained and out of trouble. With the proper surroundings, your cat can be kept safe, your furniture preserved and your precious pet will be happier.

The author, Pat Lemmons, lives in South Texas with her husband and five pampered house cats. She has owned cats for 10 years, knows cat behavior and operates a retail web site for cat products. The product prices are discounted for maximum savings and donations are made each month to animal shelters from the proceeds of sales on the site. The site features the latest technological products such as the newest, most unique automatic litter boxes, the best quality cat & kitty beds, pet doors, litter boxes & furniture covers, pet carriers, crates and containment, unique artist t-shirts, sweatshirts & nightshirts, and a large selection of kitty condos, trees, scratching posts, cat toys and treats. Nothing but the best for your pampered feline.

pictures_cats_cute_grey_cat.jpgDid you know that most cat food manufacturers give away free samples of cat food, treats and other products? I was surprised when I found a website called Free Mania - and I clicked through to their Free Pet Samples section. There is also another website called Free n Clear Pet Samples that has freebies for cat lovers.

If you are thinking about changing your cat's food or if you are just wanting to try another brand, this might be the way to try it without buying it. In some cases you have to pay shipping and handling or answer a survey, but take a look and let me know what you think of these freebies.

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pictures_cats_litter_alternatives.jpgIndoor cats use litter boxes, and those litter boxes need to be filled with litter. I, personally, am allergic to clay litter. Since I have an indoor cat, I have to find an alternative to clay litter. I'm going to review a few of the alternative non-clay litters that I have tried, namely PaPurr Scoop, World's Best and Swheat Scoop.

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My criteria for a good litter are:

- Dust-free (or as dust free as litter can get)

- Good odor control

- As little tracking as possible

- Good clumping for easy removal

- Smells good

With that, let me get on with the review of each.

PaPurr Scoop Review

First off, let me

review PaPurr Scoop.

PaPurr Scoop litter is a clumping litter made out of recycled paper. It is lightly scented with a somewhat floral scent. This litter does not have much dust since it is made out of recycled paper. What I like about this litter is that it feels just like clay with the little round particles. It feels good to the touch, so I would imagine it would feel good to a cat's paws as well.

My cat is really good with his litter box habits and so he will use whatever I put in his box. Which works great for me as I don't have to worry when switching litters for testing purposes. When I first put this litter into his box, he came over and sniffed it. He used it, but he didn't really like the smell of it. It made him sneeze. It made me sneeze too after it was sitting there for a while. It was the fragrance they put in it.

It didn't work out . . .

Moving on to World's Best Cat Litter . . .

World's Best Cat Litter Review

World's Best Cat Litter is made from corn. I know some cats and some people are allergic to corn, so caution needs to be exercised in this regard.

pictures_cats_clay_alternatives_litter.jpgThe litter is lightweight and so it does track quite a bit, unfortunately. This litter IS dusty. I ended up with a fine layer of corn dust everywhere my cat stepped. And my cat, whose feet are white, ended up with yellow feet a few weeks into using this litter . . . It was kinda funny . . . and if you happen to own a yellow cat, then this wouldn't be a problem . . .

Clumping-wise, World's Best does clump well. The clumps are rather loose though. My cat would end up playing with the clumps to the point of breaking it into many little clumps which would end up not getting scooped since they were so little . . . Not good.

World's Best is good at controlling odor though. The bag states that you can use this littler up a month, but I was only able to use it for about two weeks before it started smelling foul. This is probably due to my cat breaking apart his clumps . . . (I scoop twice daily.) And another note, a rather interesting one at that. This corn litter attracts moths, a lot of moths. It took me a few days to realize where they came from . . .

Next, we have Swheat Scoop.

Swheat Scoop Review

And thus, my trials took me to Swheat Scoop, my current favorite.

Swheat Scoop is truly a dust free litter. But again, this litter is not for those with wheat allergies.

Swheat Scoop has small granules that are denser than World's Best and so it tracks a bit less than World's Best.

It's odor control is great. I like the light scent of the wheat as well. My cat isn't bothered by the smell of it either. Out of these three litters, this is the only one that does not make him sneeze.

The clumps are hard and I haven't seen any broken clumps since I started using this product.

One word of caution, the bag states to keep at least 3 inches of litter in the box. This is a necessity! If you keep less, then you will end up with a mushy pile of litter at the bottom of the box. Not very pleasant to clean up . . . I currently keep about 4 inches of it in my jumbo size box (I have a big cat). It works great!

Thanks for reading! And I hope this helps in your search for a good alternative to clay cat litter.

Article by Amy Yang. Read more of Amy Yang's reviews at her blog, Best Cat Care Products.

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Cat_litter_box.jpgAutomatic litter boxes live to do one thing - clean up after your kitty's visits to the box. Around the clock, they scoop and clean the litter bed removing waste and leaving the pan fresh for the next call of nature. The most obvious benefit of a self cleaning box is in the time saved, but you might not realize that these boxes can actually be healthier for your kitty and you. Read on to learn how this new technology can protect the health your pet and your family.

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It's no secret that cat boxes develop an odor rather quickly. This is in part due to the fact that they hold kitty's waste. It is also partly due to the fact that bacteria can develop in the box, creating an odor and a health hazard.

Bacteria thrives in warm moist areas, just like the bottom of your litter pan. The longer waste sits, the more likely it is that bacteria will grow and thrive. The result is odor. Worse still, every time your pet visits the box they can get that bacteria on their paws and track it on to furniture, laps, and everywhere else they go. This spread of bacteria increases the chance of your pet becoming ill and possibly members of your family as well.

The solution? Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of your kitty's litter pan. Ideally, you should scoop after every visit as this will prevent the waste from sitting and the bacteria from developing. Realistically, no one has the time to constantly monitor their pets litter box. Fortunately, there are many options available in the way of automatic litter boxes.

Most self cleaning litter boxes work around the clock to clean up waste after your pet. Every model also has some type of storage for waste material so that it doesn't sit where it can develop a smell or come in contact with your pet. Maintaining one of these litter boxes is as easy as emptying out the waste compartment. There is even one type that cleans and disinfects it's self using a cleaning solution.

If you would like help choosing the right automatic litter box for you and your kitty's, be sure to check out my site for a number of litter box reviews. On my site you will find feedback from other cat owners on the variety of self cleaning cat boxes on the market and learn which ones work best and which ones are better avoided.

Article By A.J. Lowery

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