Peter, Paul and Mary....the chicken. [Image]

originally uploaded by lat454205 / Lisa.

Paul.....staring eye to eye with a chicken....MARY. Paul lost....the hen had her head in that bowl of cat food and Paul soon joined her. All three ate the entire bowl of now "Special Kitty Kitten Chow"....not Meow Mix anymore..

This is the only hen that lives in the barn.....she lays "bigger than JUMBO eggs" in Barney, Betty and Barbie's hay manger every single day......

Her black sister hen lives in the hen house with the other chickens.....I fear she will disappear like the Guinea. His feathers were more Guinea hens...

by lat454205/Lisa

I beg your pardon!

originally uploaded by Mr Moor.

Sjaantje didn't like Foppe's attitude one bit and waggled up to him to teach him a lesson. She didn't get a chance though, Foppe took off as quickly as he could;-)
These ducks are not to mess with;-)

by Mr Moor

Boog Gets a Drink

originally uploaded by cobalt123.

"Boog" belongs to Kris and Bill, and his name came from "Big Old Orange Guy". A stray who came to stay. [..]

Bill reports recently that Boog just died, hopefully of natural causes. Boog was a good ole boy and is missed. Bill has got a photo he took of Boog a few months ago, filling up the bathroom sink as his sleeping place. Take a look at it here.

by cobalt123

Mr. Munchkin's Morning Drink. [photo]

originally uploaded by AJSR Media.

Every morning as I get ready, Mr. Munchkin comes in and climbs in the tub, ready for his "fresh" drink of water. He will drink out of the daily-changed bowl but prefers the tub.

He will also sit between the two shower curtains while I shower...

by AJSR Media

How To Feed Your Pet And Keep Away The Vet

Once-a-day? Twice-a-day? Free-feed? Ask around and you'll hear lots of different opinions on what is the optimal feeding schedule for your cat or dog food. So what is the correct answer? Well first off, rest easy as there is no hard and fast correct answer. That said, however, it's our opinion that free-feeding is the worst way to go.

The best comparison we can make is that free-feeding would be like a person having a full buffet in your house, stocked with food 24 hours-a-day. When you think of it this way, it's not hard to understand why pets that are free-fed tend to be sluggish, lethargic, and passionless about their pet food -- in addition to having a variety of dog health problems. After all, how excited would you be about that lasagna if you had a big bowl of it sitting in the corner all day long. In a dog or cat's life food is the #1 motivation they have. Sure, they love rides in the car, going for a walk, or getting a visit from the neighbor's pet. But nothing beats a great natural dog food. A critter with no passion for food is an unhappy critter. A pet should have a unbridled passion for food. They need to look forward to their next meal with anticipation and excitement. This lays the foundation for a well-tempered, happy pet. In addition the negative effect on disposition, having access to food 24 hours-a-day is not ideal for the digestive system. Dogs and cats in the wild have long breaks between meals -- far longer than humans who operate ideally on 3 meals per day. These breaks give their digestive system a chance to rest and prepare for the next meal. So if this is all true, why do some pet foods suggest free-feeding? For the same reason that your shampoo bottle tells you to lather, rinse, and repeat . . . to sell more shampoo. The sad fact is that many pet food manufacturers are far more concerned with the almighty dollar than the health of your pets.

So now that we've eliminated free-feeding, should you go with once or twice-per-day? (We don't suggest three meals for the same reasons that free-feeding is not ideal). Between once-a-day and twice-a-day, it's really a matter of convenience and preference. If you need a definite answer, we would go with once-per day. This allows for a long period of rest for the digestive system and has shown to produce the best results over the years as far as the health and attitude of the dog or cat. However, once-a-day feeding has proven difficult. Many dogs and cats drive their owners crazy begging for food throughout the day when on a once-a-day diet. Usually this type of behavior can be trained out of the pet of you stick with it for a couple of weeks. But it does take a lot of patience in those cases. That said, twice-a-day does work for many people and they still have very good results -- along with a dog that's not quite so obsessive about food throughout the day. Whether you're trying to achieve once-per-day or twice-per-day feeding, the best way to do it is to be as consistent as possible with your feeding times. Put the pet food down for a specified feeding window and pick it up after around 10 minutes regardless of if they've finished or not. They will quickly conform to this new feeding window. The more you cave in to your pet's demands, the longer it will take them to become accustomed to their new feeding schedule. If you're going to do snacks during the day, we recommend feeding them as rewards only, and to use healthy foods like raw carrots or apples. Also, the more you stick to a routine of specific times and events for reward snacks, the less your dog or cat will beg between meals.

If you're doing twice-per-day feeding we suggest one meal in the morning and one at night. If you're feeding once-per-day, either morning or night will work. Also, keep in mind that these rules do not apply to puppies and kittens, which do need 2-3 smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to once-a-day feeding.

Ward Johnson
Holistic dog food

photo source

Priceless! [photo]

originally uploaded by thekidds.

Having such a nice creature at home is enough joy.

Adopt Me, Please! [photo]

originally uploaded by moosmom.

Adopted on NOV 8

My daughter & I rescued this precious kitten in Appling, sick and emaciated...weighed 3 pounds. She is actually 4-6 months old and stunted in her growth.This is the most lovable cat we have ever met. She spent two weeks at the vet hospital regaining her health and was adopted to a wonderful lady as her new companion. You won't find a sweeter kitten anywhere. Located in Evans, Georgia.

by moosmom

What To Do When Your Cat Won't Use The Cat Litter Tray

The development of the cat litter tray has truly become a milestone for pet ownership. The modern use of cat litter in boxes or trays has allowed the cat owner to easily take care of their cats waste as well as provide a great place for indoor cats to do their business.

But some cats tend not to do their elimination activities at designated places like the cat litter tray. It is important that you observe your pet closely and find out whether the litter tray is being used by the cat.

There are several possible factors that could prevent the cat from opting to use the cat litter tray. For one, cats need ample space to squat, turn around and dig when they do their thing. Thus, if the cat litter tray is too small, the cat may not have enough space to move around. Even you would not be comfortable doing such in a very tightly spaced bathroom, right?

Another factor would be the litter used in the tray. For years, manufacturers have used clay and silica as litter substrates. But lately, experts advise them to refrain from using such materials since cats are not comfortable digging through them.

There are two types of litter trays being sold in the market currently. One is the open-spaced type, and the other is the closed litter box. Based on observations and pet owners' experiences, cats usually prefer the open-type one because it provides ample room for movement. However, most pet owners prefer the closed-type because it hides the waste and keeps the smell from permeating throughout the house.

When buying cat litter trays for the first time, it is recommended that you purchase both types. That way, you can determine which type is preferred by the cat. Remember, it is the cat that would use the litter tray, not you, so respect the animal's preference.

When Your Cat Won't Use The Litter Tray

You could help make the tray be a comfortable place for your cat. For one, strategically place the tray where the cat could easily spot it and have access to it.

Do not place the cat litter tray at hidden areas like under some furniture, at the garage, under the air conditioner, or somewhere else where people could not easily spot the box. Chances are, the cat would also find it hard to find the litter tray, and it could no longer hold its urge before it finds the tray.

Manufacturers also advise that as much as possible, put litter trays in all floors of the house so the cat could easily have access to them once they feel the urge.

Do not put deodorizer or air fresheners on top or beneath the cat litter tray. The cat may not like the smell of the chemicals coming from such fresheners. If you want to make sure no smell would originate from the tray, you could put some baking soda underneath the tray. Baking soda would not be detected by the cat because it does not secrete harsh smell that may annoy the cat's sharp olfactory senses.

Since the cat is also a territorial animal, make sure each cat, if you have several at home, has its own designated cat litter tray. They would not want to share territories.

Buy trays that are using very fine materials, as fine as sand, as litter substrate. As mentioned earlier, silica and clay are not preferred by cats anymore.

If all else fails, your cat must have some sort of behavioral problems. Thus, seek the help of your veterinarian at once.

Lee Dobbins
Cat litter tray

photo source

Fluffy on banister [photo]

originally uploaded by afotographie.

This little devil is Fluffy. She belongs to a family that owns 12 cats... and I'm housesitting for them. They are all rescue animals that have health problems (mostly upper respiratory issues that require medication). Yes, they are all indoor cats. Yes, they have a maid that comes everyday. No, the house doesn't smell like cats (it helps that the place is huge!)

Fluffy is quite, um, fluffy. She also likes to give me the evil eye. The other cats mostly keep their distance, because she's one of the few that isn't declawed and the most likely to smack another cat in the face if she's annoyed with them.

by 'afotographie'

Tips on Cat Urine Removal

If you have lived for any amount of time with a pet (particularly a cat) you probably know the frustration of finding out that he/she has urinated in or on something they were not supposed to. Cat urine has a truly distinct odor and can ruin carpet and furniture if left untreated for long periods of time. Cat urine removal can sometimes prove to be a difficult task. So what can you do if your cat has urinated anywhere other than the litter box?

Cat Urine Removal Don'ts

Well, first let's discuss some of the myths that are incorrect methods of cat urine removal. Some think that cleaning with any cleaning product will do the trick. They look on the bottle and if it says "all purpose" on it, that will work for anything. This is incorrect. Never ever attempt cat urine removal with a cleaning product that contains ammonia. The reason for this is that cat urine consists of a fairly large amount of ammonia. If a cat smells this ammonia in the carpet they will probably urinate there again.

Pay Attention

If your cat is generally good with going in the litter box and never urinates outside of where they are supposed to and then all of the sudden starts having accidents, the solution to this problem may be as easy as paying attention to your surroundings. Cats often can be negatively affected by their surroundings. It is possible that your cat may be looking outside and becoming stressed by other cats, dogs walking by or maybe some other animals that it sees. What you may want to try to do is block their view from any outside events. Another option may be to keep a close eye on the litter box. Cats are neat freaks so if the litter box is dirty, chances are that they will not want to use it and will attempt to take their business elsewhere if this is the case.

Cat Urine Removal Steps

So if the above tips just simply aren't working and you do find an accident or two, here are a few steps to help you in the cat urine removal process:

Step 1: If you find a wet spot, immediately go and grab some paper towels and cover the affected area. Place the paper towels over top of the area and apply light pressure. Note, if you have a dry stain on your hands and don't know where to locate it, you can turn off your lights and use a black fluorescent light and this will bring out the cat urine stains in the carpet. Dampen the area before you proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Mix up a solution of white vinegar and water in a bucket. One part white vinegar and two parts water should do the trick. Rub the solution in the area with a paper towel or wash cloth.

Step 3: After the area seems to be clean, wipe the area with water using a separate wash cloth. It is recommended that you repeat the cat urine removal process again by rubbing the area with the vinegar water solution and wiping the area with water.

Step 4: If this solution does not work, you may want to consider investing in a product specifically aimed at cat urine removal. Their are many of them on the market today and you should ask your vet which one is right for your particular situation.

Cat urine removal can be a big headache but if you follow these simple steps you should be able to limit some of your stress. Make sure that if the cat urination persists or is out of the ordinary, that you take your pet to the vet to get him/her checked out. The urination may be caused by something medical related and you just don't want to take a chance.

Helen Croft
Cat Urine Removal

photo source

Yummy yumy [photo]

originally uploaded by pink_daisy.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

"Good Riddance (Time of you life)" - Green Day

by pink_daisy

Cat Insurance: Be a caring owner!

Many households in UK own a cat; in fact UK is considered a nation of pet lovers. But like other animals, a cat can also fall ill or meet with an accident. It is estimated that almost 50% of the cats in UK want a medical treatment of a high cost. Apart from emergencies, a cat needs regular vaccines and routine checkups. But just like the rising cost of medical bills of humans, the cost of cat's treatment is also on a rise. This unexpected medical bill can put a serious dent to your household's monthly budget. Therefore, cat insurance is a must for all cat loving human beings. Apart from its health issues, a cat also can get stolen or lost. And we all know how much does it cost to buy a cat in UK. Obviously we do not want to shell out hundreds of pounds again to buy a cat. Here also, a cat insurance policy can save you from this unexpected loss. All you need to do is to pay a certain amount to the insurance company as premium and the insurance company will provide you with the coverage for your pets.

A cat insurance policy is a necessity because, the government does not provide for health facilities to a cat for free unlike human beings. Therefore by buying cat insurance for your cats you can free yourself and also your cats from any financial constraints.

Cat insurance comes with certain restrictions, like pre-existing health conditions will not be covered by your cat insurance provider. So it is highly recommendable to read and re-read the insurance company's brochure. You should ask the insurance provider if there are some doubts in your mind regarding the amount of coverage. You need to provide to the insurance provider some information about your cat, its age, its breed etc. Apart from that you need to consider certain questions before buying cat insurance, like the rate of premium, amount of deductibles, amount of coverage etc.

With internet facilities you can easily search and locate cat insurance policies. You can compare hundreds of such companies that will provide you with cat insurance and later on you can choose the best policy from among them. Most companies offer discounts if you buy cat insurance from them through the online method. You can easily and conveniently get it delivered to your door steps by applying online. So get a cat insurance now and show that you care for your cats.

Jenny Black
Cat Insurance

photo source

Stop! No more pictures! [photo]

originally uploaded by Tanya Gin.

This is Eagle, my 3 year old camera shy cat.

by Tanya Gin

How To Solve Cat House Training Problems

One of the reasons why it can be difficult to solve any type of cat behavior problem relating to house training/house soiling or litter box avoidance, is because you have to identify the cause.

The most difficult part of solving litter box avoidance problems is figuring out what caused the problem in the first place. Unfortunately, cats are very sensitive to change - and if your cat had been using the litterbox faithfully and then suddenly stopped, something has changed whether you are aware of it or not.

So your goal is to find out what has changed.

Here are a few questions to keep in mind:

The most important thing to consider when you need to figure out what has caused a house soiling problem is: Approximately when did the house soiling begin?

2nd most important: Are you certain it's not a health issue such as an Urinary Tract Infection? (The #1 symptom of an UTI is litter box avoidance)

Here are a few other questions to consider that will help you pinpoint the cause:

Did anything at all change near the time when the behavior started? (Try to think of everything, no matter how unimportant it seems)

Have you recently moved to a new house?

Have you introduced a new cat/dog/ferret/roommate into your house?

Have any of the litter boxes been moved? (Maybe he or she has a favorite box to use and that particular one was moved)

Have you rearranged any of your furniture or added new furniture?

Are you completely positive you know which one of your cats is soiling on the carpet?

If you have multiple cats, are they getting along?

Inter-cat tension is actually a lot harder to spot than most owners realize. Your cats may not be physically fighting with each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are getting along. One of your cat's may actually be "silently" intimidating one of the others, but you don't know how to read the signs so you aren't aware of it.

If you know exactly which cat isn't using the litter box, and you know which litter box that cat usually uses, watch to see if any of the other cats tend to spend extra time "hanging out" near that box.

If you have any covered litter boxes, pay close attention to any cats that tend to sit on top of the litter box.

One surefire method of retraining a strong-willed cat is to put the cat in a nearly empty room for a few days, with only a few toys, a scratching post, water, a comfortable bed and a litter box.

When using this technique to house train your cat, make sure you don't allow access to the rest of the house until the cat has been completely retrained and there's no risk of further accidents.

Some people are stunned when they realize just how many things can cause a litter box avoidance problem. What they don't realize is that a cat's bathroom habits are actually a very complicated and delicate piece of a cat's life, and it can be easily disturbed

Liz Barton
Cat House Training

photo source

Happy Furry Friday!

originally uploaded by MacaDamien.

When I first adopted Cory, she was just a kitten and I'd been reading about how you can train your cat to use the toilet. No messy litter boxes, no odor...sounded good to me!
I fashioned a frame out of sturdy cardboard and made a drop-down litter pan (thanks to duct tape, man's best friend). I filled the pan with litter and encouraged Cory to hop in.

Unfortunately, at first, Cory merely thought I went out of my way to make her a really neat place to hang out, as evidenced here.
She eventually caught on and I think she would have taken to the whole idea of using the toilet to do her 'business', if I hadn't gotten too impatient and cut the middle hole too big.

She jumped up one day and splashed right into the water. Needless to say, the experiment ended up in the crapper, so to speak.

by MacaDamien

How to teach your cat to do simple tricks

How to train your cat to do simple tricks:

Most cats require little training-they prefer to train themselves. Will they do tricks? Some will and some won't. But if they won't, it's not because they're not smart enough-it's because they simply don't want to! And if you're determined to have a stunt cat, you've got to make your cat want to. Cats will not perform to please you. And they cannot be coaxed with fear or trickery. If you want to work with your cat, approach him when he is in the mood to come to you for play or affection.

Look for some action he does naturally that is either out of the ordinary or amusing and try to get him to repeat it in conjunction with your gentle command repeated again and again. When he performs, reward him with a bit of food and flattery. He likes treats with his tricks. Be careful not to tire the cat with practice sessions that are too long, or he may grow disgusted by the whole business!

Try to teach your cat these simple tricks:

Come To Call It is no trick to teach your cat to respond to his name. Use it all the time when you address him, and he will look at you whenever he hears it. "Come here" is just as easy. Command your cat to do what he already wants to do-for example, to come after a toy he been playing with or for his dish of food. By associating the phrase "Come here, Jason!" with his action of coming to you, he will soon respond to the phrase even when the come-on enticement is not in sight.

Roll Over Teaching a cat to obey this command makes use of the same principle-doing on command something he wants to do anyway. Your cat likes to have his stomach scratched, and when you do this, he rolls over on his back. Use the words "Jason, roll over" as you stroke him, then say it while only pretending to stroke him. Repeat it again and again until the word-command can replace the action. Praise him when he obeys and offer a tidbit.

Sit Up A catch will reach for a toy or tidbit by stretching up on his hind legs. Eventually he will tire and sit back on his haunches. Then you say "Sit Up!" Continue associating the word when he performs the action until the two are linked in his mind.

You may teach other lessons like "shake hands" or "lie down" using the same technique. Learning tricks keeps your cat's mind alert and interested. But make his teaching periods short, regular, frequent-and remember-when he's in the mood!

Mike Adley
Pet Meds Pets & Animals

photo source

Cat Eating Chicken Foot

originally uploaded by josiehen.

Cats get the chicken feet at butchers' stalls. This particular chicken foot tasted so good the cat didn't move for the hundreds of people coming through the crowded Hussein / Khan al-khalili area. (Egypt)

by josiehen

Cat Supplements and Vitamins - Does Your Cat Really Need Them?

As long you provide a well balanced and healthy diet for your pet, it is rare that your cat would need additional vitamins. Your cat's nutritional needs can be easily obtained from good quality lean meat and a small percentage of plant based fiber and therefore it is unlikely that you would even need to give your cat fiber supplements. Veterinary experts report that there is an increase in the number of diseases and illnesses reported in domestic cats over the last few decades since more owners turned to cheap, mass produced cat food when it was introduced on the market. Thus, it is worth your while to spend just a little more on a diet which sustain a cat's genetic feeding needs, compared to the alternative of hefty price tags that vets charge.

You should also bear in mind the ingredients and manufacturing process that would affect the supplements your cat takes. For instance, with manufacturers that maintain a policy for only using organic ingredients, there will be greater assurance that the supplements you are giving your cat contain no dangerous chemicals or hormones, compared to supplements manufactured from products from intensively farmed animals or sprayed crops. Although you may have the good intention of boosting your cat's health with cat liquid vitamin supplements or Brewer's Yeast, it's important to know what vitamins your cat lacks before administering them

Should your cat fall ill, there are many healthy options available to boost your cat's immunity to combat disease. Supplements are also readily available and help improve your cat's coat and skin as well as boost the general well being of your cat. However as with any other treatment or care, it is essential to consult your vet before you give your cat any supplements.

It would be useful to give the vet a detailed record of your cat's daily diet to help ascertain what vitamins your feline might be lacking in. The vet would be able to make a more informed clinical analysis on what ails your cat.

Secondly, the dosages for various supplements can vary from product to product and it's important to know if any supplement you're thinking of giving is likely to make any existing condition worse or mask the condition's symptoms.

Factors such as the age of your cat will be taken into consideration when vets prescribe supplements. For example, with cats that are getting on in years, it may be necessary to think about treatments and supplements for arthritis or bone conditions. This will provide mature cats with a better quality of life in their later years and keep pain under control. On the other hand, kittens would benefit more from products designed to boost immunity and encourage bone growth and density.

Moses Wright
Cat Nutrition

photo source

Cat eating pepper?

originally uploaded by Jolie2005.

This cat eats virtually anything...things like watermelon, tomatos, kiwifruit, uncooked peppers...

By Jolie2005

Feeding Kittens

originally uploaded by kotpani.

I ran across these on an old memory card. These are some of my favorites. A few years ago we found a very pregnant stray cat. She only weighed 6 lbs and less than a week later had 8 babies. We had to help feed them and they all made it ! This is a few days after they were born.

By kotpani

My Cat Won't Eat! - What is Wrong?

Occasionally you may find that your cat seems fussier about its food, only choosing to sample its food before walking away. Perhaps your cat could show signs of refusing to eat whenever you try to set your feline down. Perhaps your pet is not eating at all and seems disinterested in anything.

Being familiar with your cat's habits will help you recognize any behavioral changes and you can work out why it may be unwilling or unable to eat as it did before. Cats are very sensitive to changes in routine and atmosphere and it may be something as simple as your having introduced a new cat to your household and this arouses feelings of insecurity. A change in the arrangement of furniture could also unsettle your cat.

Have you been on holiday recently and left him with a cat kennel, or perhaps hired someone to come in to feed and look after him daily? A disinterest in food might be due to a simple case of depression that will only be relieved once you've coaxed it back into being his old self with some TLC and a few healthy nibbles.

Such minor issues will not present much of a headache for you as they can be dealt with easily. Offering a little healthy treat to tempt your cat or putting a little bit of meat jelly onto its gums just might persuade it to have a little something. You could try offering a taste of something your cat really does like, to see whether it's turning its nose up at what's on the menu or if there are other reasons for its reluctance to eat.

With cats accustomed to receiving titbits and carbohydrate rich food, a switch to a more health conscious diet could be the reason for its disinterest in food. A refusal of food may be a cat's attempt to show its displeasure in being denied its desires. Your cat may be under the mistaken impression that if it waits long enough you may relent and give in.

However, you should also note that putting an overweight cat on a crash diet of low carbohydrate food can result in your cat refusing to eat for more than two days. In such circumstances, a prolonged period of rejecting nourishment is likely to result in liver problems as your cat draws on his fat reserves and doesn't take in the protein which he needs.

In other circumstances, should your cat persist in not eating for more than a day or two, it could hint at an underlying health problem. In such situations, a consultation with your veterinarian is advised.

Your cat might have a problem with its teeth or jaw which makes eating painful or difficult, as would any problems associated with its digestive system. It could be suffering from inflamed gums or a broken tooth, a cut in its mouth, or an abscess in its jaw arising from a deep scratch. Your feline might be experiencing discomfort in its stomach or have an intestinal condition which will reduce its appetite. Your veterinarian will advise on the best course of treatment in these scenarios.

However, by keeping an eye on your cat and its behavior will help you deal with any problems before they get worse or chronic, and both you and your vet can make sure it has a full and happy life.

Moses Wright

photo source

Should I Spay or Neuter My Cat ?

Since the risks are very low, most common answer to the question 'Should I spay or neuter my cat?,' is 'Yes.' Unless you have a purebred cat you intend on using for breeding purposes, the reasons for spaying or neutering far outweigh any grounds for not.

The reasons a person would consider whether or not to spay or neuter their cat are numerous. Perhaps the largest and most common reason to spay or neuter a cat is to prevent unwanted litters, thus, lowering the population of unwanted and stray cats.

The surgery to sterilize a female cat is called 'spaying' and involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus. It is possible to spay a female cat when she is pregnant, however, the risks in surgery become greater. In a male cat the surgery is called 'neutering', which is the removal of the testicles.

Spaying or neutering should be done shortly after your cat has reached the age of six months. This helps reduce stress on your cat and any early unwanted litters. Of course, it is generally safe to have the spaying or neutering surgery done throughout your cat's adult years.

A common reason some cat owners avoid spaying or neutering their cat is they believe that by doing so they will change the cat's personality and their cat will become overweight. With proper feeding and care, spaying and neutering will not bring about any personality or weight changes. Other basis you may want to consider when deciding whether or not to spay your female cat, in addition to preventing unwanted or unwelcome litters of kittens, are health related. Spaying your female cat lowering the risk of mammary tumors, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. These health benefits are particularly increased if done before your female cat enters her first heat cycle.

Some behavioral issues in female cats that can be changed or altered by spaying include no more of that noisy howling and smelly urine spraying that comes with a female cat's heat cycle. As cat owners, we can all attest to what revolves around having cat urine in the house.

Neutering your male cat will help lower the risks of him getting testicular tumors and diseases of the prostate. Roaming is a problem that can keep your male cat away for many days at a time, and while gone he runs the risk of being harmed by non-cat lovers and other cat owners trying to prevent harm to their own cats. By having your male cat neutered, you can greatly reduce this behavior. In addition, a neutered male cat has lowered tendencies to be aggressive towards other male cats.

Matt Ryan
A Happy Cat

photo source

Cats' gift to you!

X4 [image]

originally uploaded by adampsyche.

The cutest gang of four, ever :)

The Advantages Of A Disposable Cat Litter Box

There are many different types of litter boxes, but perhaps the most practical type is the disposable cat litter box. The adaptability of a disposable box is proven by enabling even you to easily construct one at home. Various storage boxes that can be procured from nearby hardware stores can be easily transformed into disposable cat boxes. The bigger the box, the better and more desirable it is to be transformed into a cat box. A storage box with a minimum of twenty-four inches in length and width is ideal.

The basic structure of a cat litter box is a hard bottom section and elevated side and end walls. You can reinforce the lower portion of the box by placing its lid under the bottom of the box. Make sure that the walls are low enough to give your pet easy entry to the cat box. You can also provide for flaps on the upper section; these flaps will cover the litter box, fending off the odor of cat excrement.

Indeed, a disposable cat litter box is a great convenience for you and your cat. But having a cat box by itself is not enough to clear up your cat litter problems. The following are the main issues you should consider in utilizing the many-fold features of a disposable cat box.

Litter And Food Do Not Go Together

It is difficult to imagine having a six-course candlelit dinner inside your toilet. Same for cats, they definitely abhor having their meals in the same place they discharge waste. Therefore, it is important that you set the box as far from your cats food bowl as possible.

The Litter Box Is Place Of Sanctity

How do you feel when somebody barges into your toilet while you are using the comfort station? Like you, cats like quiet time while using their toilet. So put the cat box away from often used doors and noisy places. Privacy is a key consideration so that cats will use the disposable litter box.

Other Tips

If you live in a home with more than one level, it is desirable to set up a box in every level or floor of your home in which your cat can have entry. This is a great comfort for cats, especially the ones with arthritic problems as they do not have to go down or up the stairs just to do their elimination.

Finally, cats love familiarity so once you have found the best area on which to place your disposable litter box do not transfer it. If you must move the box to another place in your home, do not do the transfer drastically. Instead move the box on a piecemeal fashion, often going on just inches per day.

Lee Dobbins

photo source

Rain watchers [photo]

originally uploaded by jaki good.

nutmeg and pepper aren't happy about the weather

by jaki good

8 is enough [photo]

originally uploaded by kotpani.

I ran across these on an old memory card. These are some of my favorites.
A few years ago we found a very pregnant stray cat. She only weighed 6 lbs and less than a week later had 8 babies. We had to help feed them and they all made it ! Here is my very favorite. Not sure how I got all 8 to sit. If you ever tried taking pictures of kittens you know what I mean.

By kotpani

Jack [photo]

originally uploaded by Andreas Solberg.

Jack, our Ragdoll kitten - hungry after a nap.

by Andreas Solberg

Bug watch [photo]

originally uploaded by janoid.

Dandelion and Daffodil are cousins, and they are Ragdoll cats. This picture shows their innate hunting skills. They saw a *spider* on the floor and were riveted!

Our other cats Patch and Sparky are rescued strays. They must have been otherwise occupied, because that spider wouldn't have lasted 10 seconds if either of them had been around! :)

by janoid

Cat Breeding Basics

Cat breeding is an expensive undertaking both as far as the money it costs and the time it takes. It's important to realize that cat breeding is serious business and cannot be done well without a lot of effort.

The first thing you need to do if you want to get into cat breeding is learn everything you can find about your chosen breed. Research the breed, it's origin, it's history, and it's Cat Fancier Association breed standard.

Becoming a cat breeder is a huge commitment. Cat breeding is not easy. Make sure you are ready to make this huge commitment before you take the cat breeding plunge!

Health is the most important consideration when selecting cats for breeding. You also must consider coat color and pattern. It's important to have a thorough knowledge of your breed so you know exactly what you are looking for.

Breeding a male and female cat usually produces kittens in about 65 days. But it is not that unusual for cat pregnancies so don't necessarily be concerned if the pregnancy goes past 65 days.

It's very important that the mother cat is fed very well during her pregnancy. Of course you want to be consulting with your veterinarian during this very important time. Some feel it is a good idea to restrict the movement of the mother during her pregnancy not only to lower the chance of injury but also to get the mother cat used to her more sedentary lifestyle she'll be living once her kittens are born.

After the kittens are born be sure that they are gaining weight. You should be able to see the kittens gaining weight. If they are not gaining weight there is something wrong. You should know ahead of time how to tube feed a kitten and you should have that equipment available in case something is going wrong. The problem will most likely correct itself in a few days but if it does not you may need veterinarian assistance.

Weigh your kittens every day at the same time. Do not weight them in the morning one day and in the evening the next. Pick one time like 10 AM and weigh them at that one time every day to be sure you are getting an accurate reading. Little or no weight gain one day to the next is a sign of a problem. Kittens should be gaining weight every day!

After the 3rd week kitten food should be made available. Sometimes kittens ages 3 and 4 weeks will become curious about their mother's food and may try to eat it themselves.

Handle your kittens from an early age so they become more socialized. This will make them better pets and also better show cats.

No kittens should leave your home prior to 12 weeks. They should never leave your home before inoculations are complete.

Hopefully you've got some better idea about cat breeding basics from this article and you have a clear idea of whether you want to become a cat breeder and if you do, you should have some basic cat breeding knowledge now.

Matthew Yoho

photo source

The Ragdoll cat - All you need to know

Are You Considering Buying A Ragdoll Cat?

Ragdolls are large cats with pretty blue eyes and soft bushy tails. They do not have extreme features. A male ragdoll cat may reach over 20 pounds and a female cat reaches as high as 15 pounds. Their coats are soft and feel much like cashmere.

Ragdolls have four different types of coat patterns: van, bicolor, mitted, and pointed. Each of these patterns come in six different colors: blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, and seal.

Pointed ragdoll cats have siamese type markings with dark ears, legs, and tails with a creamy colored body.

Mitted ragdoll cats look like pointed ragdolls except they have mittens and boots are soft, fluffy white, and so are their chins.

Bicolor ragdoll cats have white legs, a white underbelly, a white chest and an upside down V marking on their face are white. Only the tail, ears, and the outer part of their masks show darker markings.

Vans ragdoll cats have crystal white bodies that contrast with their point markings and blue eyes. Only the top of the maks, ears, and tail, and sometimes some spots on the body show darker markings.

Ragdoll cats are gentle cats which are careful not to scratch people and they are good with children, older people, and with dogs. They usually will not scratch or bite even when frightened or in pain. They are usually not jumpers. They like to stay on the floor. They do not speak very often and when they do speak they have a soft voice. They are people oriented cats that will often greet you when you get home from work. They will follow you around, sleep with you, and generally keep you company wherever you go in the house (even the bathroom!) Ragdolls love attention.

Ragdoll cats are calmer cats compared to some. They are less likely to be knocking stuff off your table or knocking a cup out of your hand than some other cats!

Ragdolls need little help when it comes to grooming. They groom and bath themselves. They rarely shed, have hairballs, or need any grooming at all unless they are a show cat. While Ragdolls do not normally need to be combed they actually do enjoy it!

Ragdolls are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. They are a friendly calm breed of cat. If you are on the look out for a new cat then a ragdoll is definitely a great choice!

Mike Jensy
My Cat Wears Clothes

photo source

Just waiting for new orders. [photo]

originally uploaded by rich_mellish

Got a cat? Got to know this!

Got A Cat As A Pet? Here's How To Keep Them Healthy...

Our pet cats are often as close to us as members of our family. In fact, they virtually are members of our family! That's why cat owners should know as much as they can about cat health. Here are the major things to know about caring for your pet cat in a loving way:

Long-haired cats should be groomed regularly for optimum cat health. Use a pet brush and groom no less frequently than once a week.

Cat health is strongly affected by what your cat eats. Obesity is a major factor in heart disease particularly as your cat gets older. Choose a pet food for your cat that is right for it's age but feed it regularly. Consistency is the key to a well-fed cat.

Some diseases occur simply because your cat is getting older. These can be labeled elderly cat health problems. As cats age their kidneys and eyesight fail and they may need special diets.

The litter box can be dangerous to both cat health and human health if it isn't cleaned regularly. Change your pet's litter no less than once every four days and keep a small dish of baking soda near the litter area.

Scratching is a major cat health concern because if a cat scratches regularly it is often a sign of other problems. If your cat is scratching a particular area often try a delousing product and then take your pet to the vet.

Declawing your cat can be a major factor in Cat health. If you choose to declaw your pet it is important to remember to keep them inside at all times.

Many cat health problems relate to difficult or uncommon behavior. Listlessness can be a symptom of depression. Strange aggression is sometimes caused by hormone imbalances.

Your cat can easily get stressed out. Stressful situations like moving, travelling, natural disasters or even changes in the family can affect cat health. To minimize the effects of stress on your pet, buy a tranquilizer for distance travelling and have a place in your home where your cat can escape if there are busy changes in the house.

Make sure dangerous poisons like antifreeze cannot be reached by your pet. Some plants are fatal to cats so make sure to raise your plants and lock your toxins.

Parasites such as ringworms, heart worms and rabies can greatly affect cat health. Blood in a cat's stool or uncommon appetite are common signs of parasites.

Cats often have mouth diseases and this can influence cat health. Cats are just as prone to gingivitis as humans. For problems like rodents ulcer or bad breath, brush your cat's teeth with a small child's toothbrush.

One of the greatest factors in determining cat health is whether your pet goes outdoors. Cars, children, other animals and toxins are all dangerous and should be avoided by keeping your cat indoors.

Taking care of your cat is critical to your cats health. Hopefully this article has provided you with information that will make your pet's life much safer, healthier, happier and longer.

Michael Erder

photo source

Welcome to Cat City! [photo]

originally uploaded by evissa.

too joyful and welcoming cat :)

Behavior Training for your stubborn Cat

Learning cat behaviors before you start training them would be a good idea for anyone that is going to train a cat's behavior.

A cat can jump and land on its feet as this is a natural instinct for a cat. When a kitten is born the cushion in its paws are not developed with the cushion to land on its feet. It takes about 7 weeks to develop the cushion in a kittens paw for landing. A cats bone structure is unique to other animals as the bones are flexible, cats have no collar bone, which enables them to twist and bend their bones. A cat can jump a great distance without sustaining any injuries.

With this behavior, you will want to teach the cat to jump hoops, sticks, or off the scratching tree. Letting a cat jump from extreme heights will cause injury to the cat.

Cats have a unique hearing ability; they are able to hear high tones and pitches, like opening a door or a can of food. Cats also have unique smelling abilities. The reason a cat will scratch or urinate on the floor , rub its self up against a door or furniture, is the cat is leaving their scent in those areas so they will be able to come back and know they were there, in other words marking its territory. In addition, if another cat or animal comes along in the area a cat will know this. Cats can also smell with their mouths. There is a gland called Jacobson's organ, it is a sac in the cats upper mouth filled with blood, as the cat smells the scent and the slightly opens their mouth and upper lip, this allows the scent to be carried in and to the sac, which it will carry the scent goes to the cat brain. This mostly happen to male cats when a female has urinated.

Knowing these natural instincts and behaviors can give you some insight training your cat. With behavior training you will want to make sure that you allow your cat the ability in some way to play out its natural instincts and behaviors.

When training a cat for behaviors there are some things you need to take into consideration. Aggression, especially in older cats, can be caused from illness or other cats in the home. You may want to contact your vet to have your cat checked out to see if it's alright at this time to train a cat.

Depression and anxiety can play another part in trying to train your cat. If a cat is separated by a recent owner the cat can become depressed. Stress is not uncommon for a cat. If you think that your cat has depression or high anxiety, this would be a good time to take him to the vet. Vets can talk to you about some of the things that may be causing this. There are also medications that a vet can prescribe for the cat to help with depression and anxiety.

Never hit a cat for punishment, he will learn to fear you, and fearing will be a behavior you will not be able to control or retrain. When they do something that is not right, ignore the problem unless you catch them in the act, you can associate a noise with that behavior you don't like, or in a stern voice tell them "NO".

If a behavior is becoming impossible, you may have to resort to the baby proof home, all containers that have food in them have a lid on it. Make sure that the counters are clean and have nothing that a cat would want to play with.

You will want to start training your cat or kitten almost immediately after you get them. This will stop many unwanted behaviors and hopefully not let any new bad behaviors to start.

Healthy cats need healthy relationships with their owners. Good Luck!

J. Brian Keith
Cat Training

photo source

Care of Kittens

A pregnant queen should be isolated from other cats for the final three to six weeks of pregnancy and should not be overfed. A queen can experience a false pregnancy, or can reasorb fetuses, especially if she is old, if she feels overcrowded or disturbed, if she is unable to make a nest, or if a strange male is present. In extreme situation, she may abort and ingest her fetuses.

A nest box should be provided for the queen. If she feels secure, "queening" is generally a swift and easy process. The first kitten usually appears within an hour of the onset of labor. However, the entire litter may be delivered within the first hour, or, in some cases, the birth may take up to thirty or forty hours. A dark vaginal discharge indicates placental separation; this persists for only two or three days after delivery, unless there is a problem. Once labor has commenced, the queen should not be disturbed except to check occasionally that all is well.

Newborn Kittens

The new family should be left alone in warmth, quiet, and solitude. Constant crying, kittens squirming around the nest box, and restlessness of the queen are signs of trouble. Young kittens have a normal rectal temperature of about 96°, which may rise to about 100° (35.5°C to about 38°C) during the first week, after which the kittens develop the ability to shiver. Umbilical cords drop off at two to three days, and ears and eyes open at around six to twelve days.

Kittens weigh about 100 grams (3-5 ounces) at birth and gain approximately 7 to 15 grams per day (a quarter to over half an ounce). Thus, they will double their birth weight by seven days and triple it by twenty-one days (males gaining even faster). Large quantities of breast milk are needed, and this is stressful for the lactating mother. if a supplemental food source (e.g., milk replacer) can be provided by three weeks of age, it will lessen the need for milk production and may shorten the time to weaning.

Caring for Orphan Kittens

Occasionally, neonatal or young kittens are left with no queen to nurse them or care for them. If a breeding queen dies after giving birth, reject: her offspring, is unable to feed all of her young, or has a mammary disorder such as mastitis, human intervention becomes necessary if the kittens are to survive. The task of "substitute queen" requires meticulous attention to details and accurate record-keeping. A simple logbook will track the progress of each kitten and provide helpful data if one begins to fail. Kittens should be weighed at birth on a gram scale (newborns usually weigh between 90 and 110 grams [3.15 and 3.85 ounces), and then on a daily basis for the first two weeks. When properly fed, they will usually double their weight within the first week. In addition to food, warmth is essential to the well-being of newborn kittens.

A consistent environmental temperature of 90° to 94°F (approximately 32° to 34-5°C) is recommended for the first two weeks, then 75° to 80° (approximately 24° to 26.5°C) for the third week. A temporary incubator, using a standard household sixty-watt bulb placed approximately two and a half feet above the kittens, should maintain the desired temperature.

When the queen licks her kittens, she is not only cleaning them but also stimulating them to urinate and defecate. Massaging or stroking the kitten's anal area with a warm, damp cotton ball will provide the same stimulus. Massage the kittens after they have eaten and continue the massages for three weeks or until the kittens are capable of urinating and defecating on their own.

Kitten Diseases and Neonatal Mortality

Without question, the first two weeks of life are the most perilous for kittens. Almost all kittens that die before weaning succumb during this critical time. Expected preweaning losses range from 10 to 30 percent, with approximately 65 percent of these deaths occurring during the first week of life (about half of which are stillbirths). Deaths after weaning are less common and normally don't exceed 1 to 2 percent.

When less dim two weeks of age, kittens aren't yet capable of regulating their body temperature. Their immune systems are still underdeveloped, and they are not yet able to maintain normal levels of blood sugar. As a result, hypothermia, low blood sugar, dehydration, and inadequate quantities of oxygen in the blood are common preludes to death for kittens in this age group, regardless of the initial cause.

Because of the limited number of ways neonatal kittens can respond to illness, most "fading kittens" exhibit the. following: (1) low birth weight, loss of weight, and/or failure to gain weight; (2) diminished appetite and activity; (3) decreased muscle tone; (4) constant vocalization or restlessness early, but increasing quiet and inactivity later; and (5) a tendency to remain separate from the queen and the rest of the litter.

A number of noninfectious causes of kitten death are most important during the early nursing period. Difficult or prolonged labor, cannibalism, maternal inattention or over-attention, and lactation disorders are significant queen-related causes of neonatal mortality. Extremes of temperature and humidity, inadequate sanitation, overcrowding, and stress ultimately discourage nursing or allow hypothermia.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious causes of kitten mortality are more common during the late nursing or early weaning period than during the neonatal period, although there are exceptions. Young kittens are susceptible to a number of viral infections, some of which (feline panleukopenia virus, feline leukemia virus) may be contracted in utero.

Panleukopenia virus infection acquired before birth or just after birth can produce changes in the cerebellum (the portion of the brain concerned with motor function, balance, and coordination), intestinal tract, and bone marrow. Infected kittens may have lowered resistance to other infections, diarrhea, and a wobbly walk. Feline leukemia virus infections can cause stillbirths and fading kittens, in addition to other signs. Young kittens are also susceptible to infection with viruses that cause respiratory disease (feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus).

Bacterial infections are usually acquired across the placenta; during passage through the birth canal; via the umbilical cord, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, or respiratory tract; or through skin wounds. However, kittens nursing from queens with mastitis (mammary gland inflammation) may become infected themselves, manifesting signs such as fever, lethargy, depression, bloating, and diarrhea.

Mastitis in queens can be the result of infection with any of a number of bacteria, but Streptococcus spp. (spp. stands for species, plural), Stapbylococcus spp., and Escherichia coli are the most prominent. Affected animals become feverish and may refuse food; infected glands appeared, swollen, and painful.

It may be necessary to remove kittens of queens with mastitis and let them nurse from another queen or give them milk replacer. Veterinary attention should be sought immediately. Antibiotics may need to be given to the kittens as well as to their mother. In addition, surgical drainage procedures may be necessary to reduce swelling in the affected glands, especially if an abscess has developed.

The bacteria agent Chlamydia can produce signs ranging from mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyelids to life-threatening pneumonia. Infection with Bordetella bronchiseptica, another bacterial agent, is being reported with greater frequency than in the past. Respiratory tract signs predominate in infected kittens, with pneumonia being the most serious. Congenital Defects

Defects present at birth may affect any organ system, with grossly apparent anatomic birth defects occurring in up to 10 percent of nonsurviving neonatal kittens. Birth defects that are not grossly obvious (microanatomic birth defects) also occur. Although many defects are apparent during the early stages of the kitten's life, some may not manifest themselves until later in life. Congenital defects are often inherited, so breeding of cats with such defects should not be considered, unless it is known with certainty that the defect is not inherited.

Some of the more common birth defects involving the nervous system include cerebellar hypoplasia (usually caused by feline panleukopenia virus infection of the queen or kitten), spinal cord defects like Spina bifida (especially in tailless cats), and various storage diseases caused by inborn errors of metabolism (e.g., GMI/GM2-gangliosidosis, mucopolysacchiaridosis, mannosidosis, and globoid cell leukodystrophy).

Congenital cardiovascular diseases reported in cats include various septal defects, valve defects, aortic stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, and tetralogy of Fallot. Portosystemic or portocaval shunts are being diagnosed more frequently than in the past. This defect allows blood flowing from the intestinal tract to bypass the liver, resulting in a variety of clinical signs such as drooling, behavior changes, increased thirst and urination, stupor, incoordination, and stunted growth. Except for cleft palate, congenital defects of the gastrointestinal tract are fairly uncommon and include failure of normal development of segments of the intestine, abnormal development of the anus (atresia ani), megaesophagus, and pyloric stenosis, Craniofacial malformations occur primarily in Burmese cats but occasionally are seen in other breeds as well.

Respiratory system defects include chest wall abnormalities and pectus excavatum. Hereditary deafness, affecting either one or both ears, is common in white cats. Congenital hernias (especially diaphragmatic, peritoneopericardial, and umbilical) are fairly common defects in cats.

Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn

The two most common blood types in the cat are type A and type B, with the allele (one of a pair of genes for a given characteristic) for type A blood being completely dominant over the allele for type B blood. As a result, cats with type A blood may be either homozygous (genotype AA having the same two alleles at a given location on a chromosome) or heterozygous (genotype Ab, having two different alleles at a given location on a chromosome), but blood type B cats must always be homozygous (genotype Bb).

Approximately 95 percent of type B cats have high levels of antibody directed against type A blood cells. Therefore, when a type B queen gives birth to type A kittens (as can happen when bred to a type A male), antibodies in her colostrum destroy her kittens' red blood cells, resulting in a profound anemia, This condition, termed neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI), usually becomes apparent within one or two days after birth and can be rapidly fatal.

Severe depression, anemia, jaundice (yellowing of the mucous membranes), brownish-red urine, necrosis of the tail-tip, and respiratory difficulty may be seen. The diagnosis of NI is confirmed by blood typing. Affected kittens should be removed from the mother as soon as signs are seen, foster-nursed or fed feline milk replacer, and given supportive care. Because passage of antibody in the colostrum is transient, affected kittens can be returned to their queen after twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Neonatal isoerythrolysis can be prevented by avoiding the mating of type B females to type A males.

Parasitic Diseases in Kittens

Acute toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, may occur in young kittens, producing a rapidly fatal illness. Cats are the natural hosts for Toxoplasma gondii and, in most cases, are resistant to its disease-producing effects. Under certain conditions, however, the parasite can cause fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, depression, and neurological abnormalities. The prognosis is very poor in such cases. There are other parasites that more frequently cause disease in young kittens, such as roundworms, coccidia, and Giardia. These are much more common problems than toxoplasmosis and, in general, are much easier for the veterinarian to treat.

The above is general veterinary information. Do not begin any course of treatment without consulting your regular veterinarian. All animals should be examined at least once every 12 months.

Feline Advisory Council
Cornell University

photo source

Too too curious cat. [photo]

And cats love milk. [photo]

Cat obedience school. [cartoon]

Can Herbs Improve Your Pet's Behavior?

The use of herbs and other alternative remedies for the treatment of a wide range of human illnesses has rapidly gained popularity over the past two decades. Herbal remedies are especially popular among patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and gastrointestinal ailments. Also, some herbal treatments appear to be beneficial for treatment of psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. It is logical to think that if an herb or botanical preparation can help a human with a psychiatric disorder, then it might also help a pet with a behavioral problem.

Before going into specifics on what is known about improving animal behavior problems with natural herbal remedies, a word of caution is in order. Clearly, the increasing popularity of alternative remedies is partially due to the fact that some of these products work well. Unfortunately, much of the increased use of alternative therapies is due to hype and propaganda from companies that manufacture and sell such treatments. To separate fact from fiction, it is important to rely on information from objective, reliable sources like the scientific and medical literature rather than from dietary supplement websites and promotional pamphlets.

There seems to be an increasing number of false claims for products labeled "homoeopathic," which really just means that the "active ingredient" is so dilute as to be almost undetectable. There is little or no scientific evidence that these dilute formulations work. Therefore, the comments that follow are limited to herbs known to have beneficial effects when used in doses that are meaningful.

As always, it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian before beginning a new course of treatment for your pet. Following are some indications for use of herbal remedies:

  • Barking. Perhaps the best-known herbal remedy for dogs is the use of a lemon or citronella scented aerosol in a collar to control nuisance barking. Although commercial collars of this design are expensive, there is substantial evidence that this can be an effective behavior-modification tool for many dogs.
  • Anxiety. Valerian has been tested in humans with some success in the treatment of anxiety and sleeplessness. This herb is available in most health-food stores and in many groceries and pharmacies. Valerian can be useful to control a variety of anxiety-related or fear-induced problems such as restless during car travel, fear of thunder, and anxiety while left alone.
  • Forgetfulness & Senility. Another example of an herb that might have a useful role in pet health is Ginkgo. This herb is being tested for the improvement of memory and concentration in people with Alzheimer's disease. Ginkgo may be helpful in dogs with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or in older cats with random and excessive vocalization.
  • Others. Although most reports of the use of herbs are related to human conditions, there are increasing numbers of practitioners interested in their veterinary applications. For example, small studies are looking at the use of Chamomile to treat irritability in dogs and cats, and Cantharis and Staphisagria to reduce cat spraying.
But, Watch Out! Of course it is important to be cautious in the use of any new treatment, and this caution is especially important in the use of herbs, which are not always reliably packaged and labeled. Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe. Think of the natural poison, arsenic, for example. A very common herb, St. John's wort, can cause sensitivity to sunburn in both people and animals. Several dogs have died from being given excessive doses of an over-the-counter dietary supplement called 5HT (5 hydroxytryptophan - sometimes known as Griffonia seed extract). So, be skeptical of unproven claims, and gather reliable information.

Rob Lester

photo source

Pet Health Alert! Antifreeze can poison your dog or cat

Many people are unaware that some common substances regularly found around the house and yard can seriously affect your dog's health. One of these is antifreeze. When you change your car's antifreeze you may inadvertently allow some spillage or your car can develop an antifreeze leak.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol that is poisonous to dogs and cats. Just one teaspoon of ethylene glycol could be enough to kill a seven pound cat. Antifreeze is especially attractive to dogs that will lick it up quickly and ingest large amounts toxic to their body system.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning usually show up within 12 hours. The time frame depends on how much the dog ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, depression and general lethargy. Cats die more often than dogs when they ingest antifreeze.

To survive, your pet must be treated very quickly. Dogs require treatment within eight hours. Cats need treatment in four hours. So, if you see the symptoms do not hesitate to take action.

The ASPCA now has a new service providing pre-recorded information on more than 125 pet care topics, including health issues and behavioral problems: 1-888-252-7387 (24hrs)

Greg Cryns

photo source

Declawing Cat Information and Alternatives

Claws are a very important part of feline life. They allow the cat to balance when running to and from, jump and grab onto a surface, and protect themselves from predators, other cats, and catch prey. Claws also help a cat to stretch, which keeps their joints relaxed, as well as provide them with a source of relaxation and comfort when they stretch. Also, cat claws can be used to dig up dirt or clay and bury their mess once they use their toilet.

Cats are territorial animals, and they mark their territory. Sometimes, people have their cats fixed before he develops the ability to spray an area, but this is not his only method of marking. They also release a chemical in their paws that allows them to mark their area when they scratch the surface. We can't detect it, but other cats can, and this is very important for a cat to be able to mark the area.

Most importantly, the claws of a cat are actually the last digit of the cats paw. When a cat is declawed, the vet actually removes the entire claw, including muscle and the tip of the bone. To make an analogy to human hands, it would be like amputating the tip of the finger up to the base of the finger nail.

Now, the advantages to declawing are obvious. It will keep your furniture free of claw marks, and your cat won't be able to scratch anyone, or ruin rugs. However, if a declawed cat is threatened, it will sometimes compensate by biting instead of clawing, and this poses an even more serious risk of infection than a cat claw.

In fact, due to the traumatic nature of this operation, many vets will not perform it unless there is a medical necessity. For example, an AIDS patient in the latter portion of the disease may not be able to heal any wound or scratch that they get, so a cat scratch could be deadly. If the cat is a well loved family pet, the only option may be to give it away, or declaw it. In this case, a vet may perform the operation. But, this is the exception, and really should be the only time declawing is considered.

Furthermore, the trauma that declawing can cause may change a cats behavior dramatically. Some cats never adjust to life without their claws, and it can also be painful. Remember, this is an amputation, so it is expected that some will not recover emotionally from this procedure. Also, a cat that is used to jumping on furniture may find that it cannot do so anymore. Nor will it be able to claw at any cat toys, and this can cause depression or even aggressive behavior in a cat.

Training your cat is the best alternative to declawing.

And of course, just because you have beautiful furniture doesn't mean that you can't keep it, and your cat's claws. Start by getting a scratching post, and placing it in an area the cat is familiar with, and enjoys being. Also, a spare piece of carpeting or rug can work well for a cat to scratch on. Our cat happens to love cardboard, so we have several cardboard scratching posts that we add catnip to on occasion, and our furniture has never looked so good.

But what if you get the scratching posts, and they just collect dust?

Well, you need to train your cat to use it. Start by forcefully using the word "NO" when your cat scratches furniture. It's crucial that you DO NOT hit your cat when they scratch, it's cruel, illegal, and bottom line, it won't work! They will be confused, and simply grow to resent you. Instead, tell them no, pick them up and put them by the scratching post.

If your cat doesn't respond to a verbal warning, a good technique to try is to spray them with water. Most cats don't enjoy the water and this will get your point across.

Sometimes, they will prefer a horizontal scratching post to a vertical one, and visa versa. If the first one you get doesn't work, try another style, texture, or even room where it sits.

And of course, when your cat starts to use the scratching post, encourage it with treats and affection, this will keep them, and your furniture, happy for years to come.

Gregory Podsakoff

photo source