Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Baby is now a Senior Striped Tabby Cat

Yes, my adorable little 2 week old kitten that I fed with a bottle over 14 years ago is showing her age. She moves a little slower, shows her temper and wants things her way always - which, by the way, isn't much different from most cats I know, she is just a bit more spoiled I guess. It has always amazed me how much she really mimicked me, like my own child! If I had fur and stripes, you couldn't even tell us apart, I swear! She even follows me in the bathroom in the morning to have her make up applied just loving the sable brush across her furry face.

If I lose weight, she loses weight, if I don't like something, she will typically feel the same way, a true Mother-daughter relationship. Many people notice this strange phenomena with their pets - don't they? A family resemblance? OK, well humor me. And she has a little cowlick on top of her head just like me, except I use gel, she uses flea gel.  We are the perfect pair, my Baby and I as she snoozes beside me as I type away. She looks at me right about this time signaling me that it is time to go to bed and off we go. I can't imagine life without her. She will always be my Baby even when she hits 100, cat years willing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fix Every Kitty in the City: All pets deserve a safe loving home

This post is an effort to reduce the number of homeless cats and kittens that roam the streets and fields daily looking for food. The only way to accomplish this is by reducing the sheer number of these animals without loving permanent homes. By spaying or neutering your own cat and/or sponsoring a cat or donating to an organization that does this at a reduced fee, you are preventing unbelievable suffering and becoming a part of the solution!
Because of the pet overpopulation problem, more people are spaying/neutering their felines now than ever before. Over 10 million dogs and cats in the United States alone are being put to death by euthanasia each year in animal shelters because there are no homes for them. And, the great majority of these animals are perfectly healthy, friendly and young. Because of this, great care should be taken to prevent pets from unplanned breeding, or breeding without homes available and waiting for the babies. The best solution to this problem is to spay your female pets and neuter your male pets.
There are many benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered. For females, having them spayed will prevent them from going through any more heat cycles. Un-spayed females normally come into heat several times a year, and these cycles can last from several days to several weeks, and include such behaviors as spraying of urine (yes, females can spray, too!!), marking with urine, howling, and some other obnoxious behaviors. Neutering a male before he reaches puberty almost always prevents completely the development of all mating behavior, which includes spraying urine and marking territory with urine, and the desire to roam outside searching for a mate. This in itself puts the cat at great risk for injury or even death from being hit by cars; being the object of human cruelty; infection and disease from other cats; death from natural predators, and cat fighting.
So be sure to schedule surgery for your own pet and if you are able to help with our fix every kitty in the city program, please support your local non-profit spay/neuter clinic by either donating or sponsoring a pet. Be part of the solution! We thank you! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cat Woman Extraordinaire: A Feline's Best Friend

Saying goodbye to Sneakette

Her Avatar is appropriately Lucky Cats and I can testify, after getting to know a little bit about Kathy Novelli, any cats that are fortunate enough to cross her path are very lucky indeed! Originally from Napa, California, Kathy took in more than 70 stray, hurt and homeless cats over an approximate 20 year period. She expertly advocates spay and neuter as the ultimate and only solution, caring for these otherwise helpless felines with her own money and creating a bond that easily earns her the title, "Cat Woman Extraordinaire". Read more about Kathy helping furry friends in need! 
But that was just the beginning! Kathy and her partner Al decided to pack up, cats in tow and moved to a much roomier old style ranch with tons of character in Kansas that they fixed up to be an absolutely beautiful dream home for them and their ever increasing family of feline friends. The love and care that they give to these otherwise unwanted and forgotten cats is an example of humankind at its best. I get the feeling however that if you ask Kathy, she will tell you that she loves caring for her cats and that she, without a doubt, is the lucky one!
I say that if there were more people like Kathy and Al - the world would be a much better place for all of us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chocolate Can Poison your Dog: A Warning for all Dog Owners

Everyone knows that fireworks are dangerous to pets. But how many people know that during the yearly, traditional Easter egg hunt, your little dog could be poisoned by finding and consuming a chocolate egg or chocolate filled bunny? The Veterinary Poisons Information Service recently published figures showed that chocolate was the most common poison to affect dogs. A small dog can die after eating a single chocolate bar. The chemical in chocolate that gives humans a pleasant buzz – theobromine – has a highly toxic effect on dogs. A small chocolate feast that would be a pleasant indulgence for a human can kill a dog. Half a small bar of dark chocolate – around 50g (2 ounces) -  is enough to end the life of a little terrier. Milk chocolate is less dangerous, needing twice as much for the same effect.
Small dogs are much more at risk. Like most poisons, the effect is dose-dependent, so a 40kg Labrador would need to eat eight times as much chocolate as a 5kg terrier to be affected.
This is not just some theoretical risk. As a vet in practice, I see dogs dying of chocolate poisoning every year. If animals are rushed to the vet within an hour of eating the chocolate, there’s a good chance that they can be saved. Drugs can be given to induce vomiting, emptying the stomach before the chocolate has had time to be absorbed. If treatment is delayed, and the poison has been absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream, there’s sometimes little that can be done to help.
The signs of poisoning start within six hours of the chocolate being eaten, reaching a peak at around twelve hours, and continuing for another 24 to 48 hours. During this time, the chocolate toxins wreak havoc with the function of the heart and brain. Despite the best veterinary care, many patients don’t survive.
The signs of poisoning start with restlessness, vomiting and diarrhea, with tremors, convulsions and heart failure following soon after. It’s a desperately worrying time for owners: their beloved pets are left in intensive care at the vets, and it’s a matter of waiting, hoping and praying. Some dogs survive; many don’t.
The big risk, contrary to popular perception, is not dogs being given occasional chocolate treats by pampering owners. Most of the crises have involved dogs discovering stashes of chocolate. A box of chocolates is left on a table, or an Easter egg on a sideboard. The dog sniffs out the chocolate, tears the wrapping off and scoffs the whole lot within minutes. Most humans feel full after eating half a dozen chocolates. Dogs have no such “off” switch; they just keep eating the chocolate until every last one has been consumed.
The key to saving a dog’s life in this situation is speed. Any dog that’s eaten more than a square or two of chocolate needs to be rushed to the vet, so that their stomach can be emptied before the chocolate toxins have been absorbed into the bloodstream. Phone your vet at once, whatever the time of day or night. Get your animal treated as soon as possible, whatever it takes.
Dogs die unnecessarily every Easter or for that matter any time when you have chocolate around and accessible to your pup. Take the extra care to assure there is nothing chocolaty within reach and you just might save your best friend's life!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cats eating people food: What foods are safe to feed your pet

While humans are omnivores, meaning we can survive on meat and vegetables, a cat is classified as an obligate carnivore, meaning it needs meat to survive (or at least thrive). So, it’s true that cats, unlike humans, don’t derive much nutrition from vegetables. But Dr. Colleran assures us that carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad for cats. Rather, cats are just able to derive more energy from protein and use it more efficiently. Some cats enjoy chomping on plants every once in a while to get roughage or fiber.
If you’ve noticed that your cat has this craving, keep houseplants away from it, because they may be toxic. Instead, serve up small portions of veggies to your cat. Some recommended vegetables include baked carrots, steamed asparagus or broccoli, green beans, winter squash, or chopped greens. Dr. Colleran advises cat owners to wash veggies thoroughly and avoid anything that might be indigestible, like uncooked carrots.
Along these same lines, some cats chew on and eat grass in order to throw something up, like a hair ball that’s caught in their throat. Some cat owners without lawns will bring in some grass if their cat gets that craving.
Many cats love cheese, and it’s a good source of protein for them. And although some cats are able to eat it without any problem, you’ll find that dairy products often make the list of dangerous foods for cats. That’s because as many cats mature to adulthood, they become lactose intolerant. For these adult cats, any cheese, milk or other dairy will cause diarrhea.
If you’re interested in feeding your cat dairy, give it a very small amount at first to see how its digestive system handles it. It might be able to safely handle small portions of cottage cheese, or even yogurt and sour cream. You can also try giving your cat low-lactose varieties of cheese and milk.
If you only feed dairy to your cat occasionally as a special treat, you’ll be able to use it to get a finicky cat to take its medicine. Some sneaky cat owners actually grind up pills for their feline and put the powder on cheese or butter to get them to ingest the medicine.
Most cats love fish, and it can provide some much needed nutrients for them. After all, you’ll find it in many commercial cat foods. So, if you’re preparing a nice tuna sandwich, it shouldn’t do any harm to sneak your cat a bite.
But — and there’s always a “but” — you should be aware of some concerns with serving your cat too much fish. The high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in a heavy tuna diet will deplete a cat’s supply of vitamin E. You should also be aware that carnivorous fish like tuna, salmon and swordfish are more likely to contain higher levels of mercury than cod, halibut and flounder.
And although you’ll find some vets who believe that it’s fine and even preferable to give your cat uncooked fish, Dr. Colleran disagrees. She warns that uncooked oily fish contain too much thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine, an essential vitamin. This is addition to the safety hazard of eating raw fish. For instance, uncooked freshwater fish might carry a tapeworm.
Eggs are great for humans and cats because they’re rich in protein. In fact, many books that promote natural cat diets strongly encourage owners to give their cats eggs. After all, in the wild, cats would occasionally raid the nests of birds. Vets agree that cooked eggs, such as scrambled or hard-boiled, make an excellent and nutritious treat for a cat.
However, although some natural diet books recommend raw eggs — which provide more nutritional benefits and are what a cat would get in the wild — Dr. Colleran again says this is too dangerous. Salmonella and E. coli have become too much of a risk. “Not only do you not want to make your cat sick,” she notes, “but you don’t want to bring those kinds of organisms into your environment.” This can be a problem if, for instance, something harmful passes through the animal but remains in its excrement.
Another concern is that eggs are very allergenic. Dr. Colleran recommends watching for manifestations of an allergic reaction if you do feed your cat raw eggs, or anything for that matter.
Because cats are carnivores, animal meat is one of the safest human foods to give a cat, which it why we rank it at No. 1. Cooked poultry is probably the best choice. Uncooked meat brings with it the same safety concerns as uncooked fish or eggs. Nevertheless, as with fish and eggs, you’ll find a few vets who prefer raw for the nutritional value.
You’ll also find conflicting advice as to whether you should worry about fat content. Dr. Colleran explains that it’s largely a matter of calories. Fat is nutritious in itself, but cats, like humans, shouldn’t consume too much. And cats suffer from an obesity problem in the United States, too. Even if your cat could use the extra calories, however, too much fat in one sitting can cause diarrhea. This is why you shouldn’t let your cat finish your rejected fat trimmings from the table.
So, it seems that moderation is important for everything we can give a cat — except of course, our unconditional love.
Throw Me a Bone: Bones have an ideal ratio of calcium and phosphorus that’s nutritious for cats. But they’re also a choking hazard, so you’re best to take them out of the meat. However, veterinarian and author Dr. Bruce Fogle has said that bones from a well-cooked chicken neck should be fine if they’re introduced to the cat early in life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Are Cats Really Smarter than Dogs or Just Different?

Ok, before I start a major controversy here, I did not conduct this study. Researchers at Oxford University did. They have indeed conducted a study of mammal brain sizes and concluded dogs are smarter than cats because of their relative increase in brain size over the last 60 million years. How did they archive those records? They said dog brains grew more due to their constant social interaction, whereas cat brains stayed about the same size due to being more independent and more solitary creatures. But most animal lovers knew that already right?
Last year a study came to the same conclusion regarding dog intelligence, based on tests involving dogs and cats pulling strings to get rewards. No surprise, the cats didn’t do well at all. We probably have all heard people tell humorous stories of cats completely ignoring humans, and shunning interaction with humans, so why would a research study assume they would be suddenly fully engaged by a test set up by scientists at a particular time and place? We know that cat's own humans and not the other way around!
Dogs, on the other hand, appear to be generally very interested in social interaction, playing with balls, playing/wrestling with each other, and so forth. Visit a dog park on any day and you will see a high level of social engagement, when was the last time you went to a cat park? Perhaps one could say dogs are more task-oriented and since they are descended from wolves, which are very socially-oriented animals living in packs with complex interaction, a test set up by human masters involving simple tasks and rewards is nearly designed for them to excel on. Which is to say humans, being social creatures, made a research test biased towards other social creatures, dogs in this case. A test using sweet foods as rewards would not be indicative of cat intelligence because cats don’t taste sweetness due to their taste buds being different. Now this is news.
For this year’s study, the focus on physical brain measurements depends upon the assumption that an increase in brain size on a evolutionary time scale indicates dogs are smarter than cats. However, there is another assumption involved — that dogs and cats started off with equal intelligence, and dogs increased. Even if dogs and cats millions of years ago had the same size brains, that does mean they were of equal intelligence. It’s possible cats were smarter then, and still smarter now, but have smaller, more efficient brains. What is more likely given that evolution seems to reward creatures with adaptability and diverse skill sets, is that dog and cat intelligences are different, and comparing them is much more complex than simply measuring physical brain size. Like most studies, you must consider the set of variables and come up with your own conclusions.
Dog and Cats are very different animals altogether, but like most things, we love to compare them. I say they both have humans outsmarted any day of the week! Tune in for the next study and be the first to know  specific brain size differences, if any.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Earn Cash for the Animals and Yourself by Taking Surveys

You can earn some extra cash for yourself and the shelter animals by taking surveys through Opinions4good (Po4G), an Internet-based market research organization. Each survey pays at least $5 and only takes minutes to complete. And if enough people sign up, the Peninsula Humane Society will receive an additional $15,000 to $25,000 for their shelter animals! Anyone, anywhere is eligible to sign up, so please spread the word!
No doubt for a good cause and costs nothing but a little time. For more information about this and other unique pet services like, adoption and fostering opportunities and pet assisted therapy
visit their site for fascinating animal tales!
The  Pet Assisted Therapy teams are made up of dogs, cats and rabbits and their handlers who work in pairs, with their pets, to visit hospitals and other health care facilities offering the unique kind of therapy only an animal can provide. Don't underestimate the power and strength of the special bond that develops between an animal and his human counterpart, magical is the best word that I can find to describe it.